It hurt. It hurt so badly. I rocked back and forth, feeling it ripping me from within. Endless but for my nightly reprieve, when I got a shallow feeding. But never enough to fill the void. A temporary warmth that only made the following emptiness so much more acute.
To have felt full. To have had paradise in my grasp and then to have lost it. I was so tired. I'd fought the hunger for so long. Now I lacked the will to fight anymore.
But an annoying voice kept calling me a coward.
Me. Leader of the Warrior Caste for the Council of Others. A coward.
I found something that was stronger than my pain. Stronger than even the ever punishing hunger.
Stronger than my love for Alice?
I shied away from thoughts of love immediately. It just hurt so much to think about, making the pain unbearable once again.
But I was General Jasper of Hale. Lord of the Whitlock holdings in the great and mighty State of Texas. I did not…wallow.
My enemies thought they'd defeated me by denying me the one thing I ever really wanted... Fuck, stop thinking about that…about her. It's counterproductive, you yellow belly snake.
It was time to stop fighting who I was. A true military man assesses his strengths and his enemy's weaknesses, and attacked with all his might, even if he knew he might lose the day. As long as his cause was just.
I forced open my eyes. And saw nothing. And panicked. Am I blind?
I took a deep breath—what the hell is that goddess awful smell?—and forced my panic back down. I tried to logically assess the situation, even though my brain was racing a million miles a minute.
No, I am not blind. Only in a pitch black room. Absent all light.
I slowly forced my ravished body to its feet. I could feel that I was just skin and bones. A mere shell of my once fit physique.
But, damn it, I was standing on my own two feet.
Alright, now I am sitting again. On what appears to be a soft bed.
I forced myself up on my feet again and felt myself swaying back and forth. Drawing in on my endless supply of pride and arrogance, I planted my feet and willed myself still.
I reached out, a blind man groping to find his place in the universe, and took a step forward and then another step further. I felt something at the edge of my finger tips and edged slowly until my hands lay flat against the objects in front of me.
Books. On a bookshelf.
I moved horizontally to my left and followed the line of bookshelves. I deduced that I was in some type of library, but what was that horrendous smell?
Suddenly the lights flooded on and I was truly blind. Even behind closed lids, the light pricked my overly sensitive, long unused eyes.
I heard a huge gasp. "He's awake!"
I recognized the voice at once.
"Matri?" I asked, my voice barely a whisper. I cringed because I had not called out for mother since I had learned to walk.
And then something I had not experienced in over a thousand years occurred: my mother hugged him. I mean truly embraced me. I felt her strong arms wrap around my arms and pull me close to her.
So shocked was I, my arms remained loose at their sides. My mother didn't seem to care; she kept me close to her.
And then I realized she was feeding me, forcing her energy into my own. And although it did not to ease the sharp, gnawing hunger, my weak muscles stopped protesting as much.
As I opened my eyes and looked around the elaborate library located in the heart of my childhood home, I realized she was saying something over and over again, in the ancient Greek tongue of my childhood.
"Forgive me." Over and over again, in a soft chant.
Before I had time to truly process anything, anger, a true fury, swept through me.
My mother flinched and let go of me. I immediately felt the loss of contact and of the life-force she'd been feeding me. My anger, though, gave me energy to proceed. The heat of it helped push back the hunger, and finally, finally I felt like I could think.
"Never," I hissed at my mother, refusing to look at her face, and instead staring at a point somewhere over her left shoulder.
She bowed her head, and I ignored the waves of pain and guilt that emanated from my mother. Some manipulative trick to keep me under her control. But having practically raised Rosalie meant that I was immune to the emotional exploitation of a succubus.
I marched out of the hallway and the stench that I'd suffered from in the library followed. I ignored it, more focused on my goal at hand. The hallway was lined with floor-to-ceiling windows and although I refused to look anyway but forward, I could tell from the corner of my eye that it was day outside. Judging by the shadows in the hallway it was late afternoon, nearly twilight.
"Jasper," I heard my mother call, her voice breaking on the last syllabus. She truly is an excellent actress. If I didn't know better, I'd think my mother was truly heartbroken over her past actions.
But I knew my mother's true loyalty and love ran to her own ambitions and schemes: her own sense of duty to the Others and her vision of the future for her kingdom. And I refused to ever, ever be a puppet for either my parents or the Council ever again. I was a complete dupe to have believed I owed them any duty or loyalty.
The hallway led to a set of ornate, golden doors: doors that I had never entered before without invitation. Without even waiting for a steadying breath or a chance to second guess the plan I'd cobbled together on my brief stroll through the hallway, I kicked open the damn doors.
And thank the goddess they opened 'cause if I'd been in the Council's position I would have warded them against me. But then the Council members were bureaucrats or sniveling nobleman, they wouldn't know a practical idea if it bit them on their well brown nosed asses.
Which is why those asses were about to be grass.
The lounging assholes all looked up as I strolled through the splintered doors. I mentally patted myself on the back because my timing was impeccable. Everyone was seated nicely at the large round table in the center of the room: I'd interrupted the afternoon session of the Council.
"Jasper," my father thundered, "about time you got your act together. But couldn't you have put on some clothing or taken a bath before reporting for duty, son?"
Shit, I guess the smell was coming from me.
I noticed Lady Jane of the Gargoyles Clan cast a coy glance at my lower middle area, and I felt a small glimmer of embarrassment before I squashed it ruthlessly.
"Why?" I demanded, looking at the beings I had only served dutifully, without question, for centuries.
"We couldn't afford for our sovereign prince and future ruler to be distracted by a human," answered my father stiffly "You disappeared for almost a year to pursue a mere mortal, abandoning your responsibilities to the Council."
"I am not a member of the Council, and I have never agreed to take over leadership of the Council," I protested. Those were my parent's plans, not mine. " I am entitled a mate."
"You are the Council's warrior, the General of its armies. You had no right to endanger us and the peace of our land because you couldn't figure out how to lay with a human," sneered Aro, who was seated to the right of my father. Aro was one of the three heads that shared the same Volturri body. Somehow each of the three heads of the one Volturri Hydra body was considered a separate member of the Council. .
"She made you weak," sneered head number two, Caius. "She does not have the pedigree to be such a strong influence on a leader of the Others."
"She became a Muse, one step below a Fate," I protested. "She could have been trained."
"She made you weak," repeated Caius. "You joined with her once and you fell into a coma like a weak schoolgirl."
"You were denied her company, and instead of fighting for her you curled up into a pitiful ball for the last four months," Aro smoothly took up the argument. "She is your weakness, something our enemies can exploit easily. You are not fit to lead our armies, much less our Council."
Marcus, the third head, merely arched an eyebrow at me and hoarsely muttered, "We must be strong."
"So this was all about politics? You felt unsafe? My loyal service for over a thousand years was not enough? What enemies have I left standing for you to be so afraid? The Giants are a weak shell of their former glory, the Niads bow to your ever whim…please tell me this isn't about the vampires…"
I trailed off as I realized what this was about. The Council was punishing me for championing the cause of the vampires. When they thought I was the mate of the son of the Vampire's leader, they'd felt the vampires were under their control. Ironic, that the Council felt the vampires were not a threat if I was mated to Edward, but Alice as my mate changed the balance.
Vampires, whose numbers could easily outnumber our own in a couple of years. Vampires, who had championed Alice and presented her at our joining ceremony. Carlisle, their leader, acting as her surrogate father.
Alice, who was best friends with the Council's sorceress. And that didn't even count her connections to Emmett, Rosalie, and Jake. All royalty in the realm of the Others.
As I realized the small mindedness and bigotry in the room that had allowed my former friends and family to betray me, I burned white hot.
"I will show you weak," I roared.
Only my father had an inkling of what I was about to do, of what I was capable of doing.
"Jasper, wait," he began, trying to sound sensible.
I let go. Let go of my control, of my pain, and became what I had denied for so long. A life-stealing incubus.
I let each being in the room feel the pain that I'd suffered for a millennium. All around me Council members shrieked as if their skin was on fire and they were burning up alive. I paid special attention to the Volturri hydra, who was now laying on the floor writhing in pain. The hydra was bent backward at an unnatural angle, locked in pain, as the veins in each of the heads' long necks swelled up and looked ready to explode.
And I smiled as I harvested their pain and misery. These were some of the most powerful beings the earth had ever known and they were helpless against me. Too arrogant to understand that I was no longer their toady.
The rush of energy was magnificent. I looked down and saw my body filling out. A light glowed from underneath my skin and my senses sharpened. I felt glorious, and I wanted more. So even though I was more than full, I gluttonously fed, thriving on the tortured screams from the beings around me.
"I can give you back Alice," said a voice to my left. I spun around to confront the bastard who would even utter her sweet name in my presence.
It was James. Standing in front of me, grinning. Apparently unaffected by my powers. I wanted to attack so badly, but my training cautioned me to hold back until I could find the Fate's weakness. A visible Fate was a new phenomena and I was not sure what his powers truly were or if he could even be hurt.
"Alice is human now," I told him coldly. "She has forgotten about me and has continued with her life."
"She was made to forget," James replied, his smirk unbearable. "And she is so vulnerable right now; only protected by vampire, your best friend. She believes she loves him, you know." I took a step forward, ready to throw caution in the wind and wrap my fingers around his scrawny neck. He raised his hand as if to caution me. "There is nothing stopping you from being with her again."
"Can you grant her immortality again?" I hissed, incredulously.
"No." The smirk remained in place.
"Then she will die too shortly and I will be back her in this same room, doing the same to these same beings." I sent out a new waive of pain, harvesting back groans and screams for my effort. "Only next time I will not have the element of surprise and it might be… harder to accomplish my goals."
"And what are those goals?"
"To make these bastards suffer for the next thousand years." Now I had someone wailing and I felt gluttonous. Sickly full, as if I could vomit power. I looked down at my hand as was momentarily captivated by the energy spilling forth from my fingertips.
"And while you do this, who will make sure that the fractions do not war amongst themselves? Who will keep the veil of secrecy from the mortals?"
"I. Don't. Give. A. Fuck." My long fingers curled into a fist.
"Is Alice worth so little?"
I started. And found that I burned through so much of my pain that could clearly envision my love without cringing.
"She is everything," I whispered, wondering for the first time if Edward truly was up to the challenge of guarding such a special creature.
"More than your vengeance?"
An image of Alice with her happy emotions sparkling all over popped into my head, breaking the outpouring of pain I'd been saturating the room with. There were many sighs of relief.
"Yes, But I cannot bear losing her again."
"Humans die. So easily."
And this time I roared and attacked, unable to escape my rage. James easily avoided my charge by leaping straight up and I found myself crashing through one of the room's windows.
I shoved the glass off my arms and chest and shook it out of my hair: I absently noticed the plethora of cuts and scratches on my body. I did, though, take a deep breath of fresh air and it centered me. And more images and memories of Alice came crashing through my defenses.
Alice trying on four inch heels. Alice bending over to pick up a piece of litter and her skirt rising up to heavenly heights. Alice's soft lips. Alice's laugh.
I crashed down to the floor, wheezing.
"Oh, for goddess's sake," James complained, "get a fucking grip."
Without my anger, all I had to draw on was my pride, which gave me the strength to look up at James.
"What can I do to be with her again?"
"What are you prepared to give up?"
"These assholes here," James indicated the members of the Others Council's, many of whom were trying to stand, some of whom did not move at all, "will never stop bothering you because you are next in line for leadership."
"I renounce it." I stated firmly.
I heard my father's strangles, "No!" And my blood boiled at Aro's excited hiss, but I ignored it. Nothing was as important as getting back to Alice.
"The Council will try to punish you for this little stunt today."
"Fuck 'em." This pronouncement was followed by many outraged gasps.
"I think there is a way to get them off your back and to ensure you will never be parted from Alice again," said James mysteriously, a wide grin across his face.
"Tell me," I ordered.
"I could make you say pretty place," he replied snidely, lifting a brow, "but I suspect you will learn humility soon enough."
"Tell me.," I took a deep breath and sacrificed a General's pride, "please."
"Become mortal," he replied, "then you are outside of the realm of the Council."
"And I can be mortal with Alice," I stated softly, joy flooding through my every part. As a mortal, I could have children without worrying about creating soul sucking monsters. I could grow old with my love, not have to worry about living an eternity without her.
"Yes," I stated.
I heard my mother being to wail, but didn't bother to even spare her a glance.
James reached over and touched my shoulder, a sharp pain flaring throughout my body and the world went white..
Is anyone still interested in seeing how this all ends?