Well, I'm back. You can all thank wicked lovely gypsy for this piece. I'd never considered writing this from Jasper's POV until she suggested it. That being said, despite all my rambles on my profile about completing my stories before uploading them, this is still incomplete. I have it about halfway done, though from the looks of it, it's going to be a longer story from the one from Alice's POV. It's really boring just writing the same scenes over again, so I'm thinking about adding more that weren't featured in Alice's version.
Also, at the beginning of every chapter there will be a quote from a song that inspired me to write this. I wish I'd thought of this for Alice's version, because there were a lot of great songs that motivated me to write that piece. But I don't want to go back now and alter it, so it's going to stay as it is and only Jasper's version will have the songs.
In any case, I hope you all enjoy this and remember that I love to hear from you. Let me know what you think.
I gave up long ago
Painting love with crimson flow
Ran out of blood and hope
So I paint you no more
Sleepwalking Past Hope - HIM
"Come with us, Jasper. You need to hunt." Charlotte prodded.
I shook my head the barest fraction of an inch and resumed examining the dirt under my fingernails. I couldn't bear the thought of another hunt; of another life extinguished by my hellish need for blood. I couldn't bear feeling my victim's fear and pain even one more time. No, I would starve myself to death. And if that wouldn't work, I would starve myself until I was weak enough that someone could kill me and end my suffering.
A tinge of frustration rippled off Charlotte, though she tried to hide it well beneath her concern for me. "Jasper, whatever it is that's eating you, you need to get over it. You're going to die if you keep this up."
Ah, if only I was that lucky. Well, one could hope.
"Just leave him be, Charlotte." Peter said softly but firmly. Our fearless leader . . . my best friend.
Charlotte sighed discontentedly but didn't argue. A little flicker of anger at her mate rippled off her but she squashed it quickly. I ignored it and went back to the morose examination of my nails. These hands had seen so much blood . . . had shed so much blood.
I watched them go, hand in hand, and forced down the surge of jealousy that threatened to overtake me. I would never have that, there would never be one for me. I had commit far too many heinous crimes to deserve to be loved by anyone. But Peter had found love, I tried to argue with myself. But I had done so much worse things than Peter had. I pushed the thought from my mind. There would never be one for me.
It would be dawn in a few short hours, then we would be moving to a new location. I didn't really care where, it was all beginning to blur together. I leaned back against the wide boulder behind me and sighed discontentedly, contemplating the best way to end my life. The Volturi were always an option but . . . there were stories about when the Volturi purged the south. I shuddered. Nothing scared me, except the wrath of the Volturi. They were ruthless when angered in a way not even the wars could replicate.
There had to be someone else. Peter would never do it, I don't know if he even could. I was abnormally talented at combat. Maybe Peter and Charlotte together could manage it, but they probably wouldn't. And I wouldn't want to hurt them. If there was one thing I knew about myself, it was that I wouldn't go down without a fight. Whoever ended me had to best me. I wasn't going to just lay down and take it, no matter how much I wanted to die.
Perhaps I could run into and anger a large coven. I almost laughed, large coven indeed. The only large "covens" I knew about were the Southern armies and the Volturi. Hmm, the South had potential. I could just walk into Guadalajara, they knew my face well enough there to want to kill me. How many newborns would it take to bring me down, I wondered. Four, I guessed, maybe five depending on how skilled they were.
But again, there were Peter and Charlotte to factor into the equation. They would stop me if I began journeying south. No matter how much they liked me, there was still the underlying fear that I was here on Maria's behalf. They had too much to lose if their location was betrayed to her. They couldn't risk letting me go south. Of course, Maria would be just as angry with me as she was with Peter if we ever crossed paths again. But she'd probably just try to re-recruit me, instead of killing me. My gift was far to valuable to her for her to want to permanently dispose of me.
I could hear Peter and Charlotte approaching, I must have lost track of time again. It was happening a lot lately, either that or they were leaving me alone less often. That could be it. I didn't really care, let them worry.
"I bet you he's still in the same spot we left him." Charlotte whispered frustratedly. She'd never been one for a stealthy approach and constantly misjudged my hearing range.
Peter said nothing until they came into view seconds later. "Are you ready to leave, my friend?" He asked, looking cheerful and crimson eyed. I tried not to think about the blood that was now coursing through his veins. I tried not to think about the smell of it emanating off my friends. I tried not to think about the red hot burn in my throat.
It was mid-afternoon when we came upon the lake. The late autumn sun was beating down on the hundreds of sunbathers and swimmers enjoying one of the last opportunities to suck up the suns rays before winter set in. We skirted around the cleared picnicking area, keeping ourselves hidden in the shadows of the trees as we continued on our way, slowed to human speed as a precaution on the off chance that we were seen.
We were almost in the clear, almost past the crowded beach and able to speed up again when a football lodged itself in a tree to my right. I stopped mid-stride and stared at it, lifting it easily from the branches it was caught in.
"Hey, want to toss that back here?" A voice called through the few trees that separated us from the beach area. It was two boys, maybe seventeen years old. The burn in my throat spiked to an all time high. They weren't that far away. I could be done with the one almost before the other realized what was happening, definitely before the boy could alert someone else as to what was going on.
I breathed their scents in deeply, they smelled like suntan oil and lake water. I ought to have known myself better by now. Sure, thoughts of abstaining from blood were all well and good, but putting those thoughts into action left me somewhat wanting. I was weak, a creature who had been instantly gratified in every aspect of life for nearly a century.
Venom pooled in my mouth as I turned to the boys, rapidly studying them. I would save the one on the left for second, I decided, he was the smaller of the two, but looked more aggressive. Perhaps he would try to fight me as I drained his friend of life. That would make it easier on us all. If the little bugger took off to try to get help, it would make things more complicated.
The football was ripped from my grasp and hurled back at the boys the same moment Peter and Charlotte's restraining hands closed over my biceps. A low, feral growl tore from my lips before I could stifle it, one which Peter responded to in kind – trying to re-exert his dominance over me.
"Thanks." One of the boys called, waving with the football in hand as my coven-mates pulled me further back into the trees.
"Have you gone fucking mad?" Peter hissed in my ear. "It's broad daylight out and theres a hundred people milling around out there. Or did you forget about them?"
I didn't reply, keeping what was a brooding, moody – but hopefully dignified – silence. Peter was right, of course. It would have been reckless to hunt those boys in broad daylight when anyone could have stumbled upon us. But I would never admit that to him. As much as I liked Peter, I chafed under his leadership. It wasn't in me to follow, and certainly not to follow one weaker than myself. I had trained Peter myself, I'd taught him everything he knew – but not everything I knew. To be subordinate to him was, in all honesty, humiliating.
I had gone from Major Jasper Whitlock in my human life to Jasper of Monterrey, Maria of Monterrey's general and right hand man to . . . nothing. I could have fought Peter for the right to rule, of course, but then I would be a leader of nothing as I would, no doubt, have to kill Charlotte as well. I doubted she would take too kindly to the death of her mate. And I was still adverse to killing Peter, the closest thing I'd had to a friend in this life.
So I swallowed my pride a little and followed mutely behind Peter and Charlotte as they quickened their pace and continued on their way. Let him think that I had submitted to him if it would grant him peace of mind. The furious anger rolling off him was doing nothing to calm me, or to lessen my thirst which was currently wracking my throat with hellfire.
Maybe it was good that he had stopped me. I could pretend the incident had never happened and cling onto my self-righteous plan of abstinence. I had not tasted so much as a drop of blood in over a month now. Maybe I didn't really need it. Now that the temptation was gone, the humans already miles behind us, I was sure I'd be able to resist it. I'd been managing my thirst for weeks now, I could keep it up now. I just had to keep out of temptation's way.
Simple enough, in theory.
Peter's anger didn't eb over the hours I followed him mutely through forest. It was foolish of him. The only person who knew more about my gift than he did was Maria. He knew how his anger would effect me. I resisted it at first, forcing myself to exude calm, both at myself and at him, which earned me a sharp rebuff. I targeted only myself, but after hours of being constantly barraged by waves of hostility, it eventually wore through.
By the time darkness fell, I was inwardly seething, easily as angry as he was. And annoyed. Annoyed that he wasn't being a better leader for his coven. His anger was a sign of weakness – something I – or anyone else, for that matter - could exploit if I wished. A good leader refused to show weakness in front of his coven. I had never shown weakness in front of Maria's army . . . except once. Except for the time I had let Peter and Charlotte escape without pursuit.
No, that hadn't been weakness. That had been something else. Apathy maybe, or affection. I would have killed them, and I definitely could have, but there was no real need. They were leaving, they weren't about to come back and make trouble for Maria when she'd ordered them dead. Did Peter know that his name had been last on the list, I wondered? It was irrelevant now. I hadn't wanted to kill him, but I would have if he hadn't taken the initiative for self-preservation. It hadn't been weak to let him go. In some ways I had respected him, respected the way he'd been able to take his fate into his own hands. And their departure had been discreet, more or less.
My thoughts were interrupted by two, foreign hostile, but tentative, emotional auras coming towards us to head us off. I didn't recognize them, in short they were no one that I knew or had met before, but they were definitely vampires and the emotions they were emanating were familiar enough. It would come to a fight, if they thought they would win. These strangers were violent opportunists. They would have done well in Mexico, probably. We would see.
I didn't warn Peter and Charlotte of our inevitable meeting. It would make it more interesting if they were surprised for once. They were getting sloppy and out of training. If they'd been like this in Mexico, Peter would never have made it to his third year. He glared at me when he caught their scent a minute later, which I returned with an eager smirk. We would see if these strangers were good enough to take down Jasper of Monterrey. I smiled at the thought of the impending confrontation.
No, I didn't miss the fighting in the south. I didn't miss the wars, but I was a soldier. I had always been and would always be a soldier. And a soldier needed a challenge every once in a while. And a true soldier wouldn't go down without a fight, without meeting the challenge to the best of his ability. Maybe these strangers would be the ones to finally put me out of my misery. I'm sure Peter and Charlotte wouldn't grieve too much.
They broke through the trees ahead of us, two males, both massive hulking figures with more brawn than brain, it seemed. I hoped I was wrong. It would take more than sheer strength to take me down. I liked the look of the one on the left, he was the biggest, an inch or two taller than his companion, and had a thoughtful, calculating look in his eyes.
"Greetings, Friends." Peter said politely but firmly, making it clear that he didn't want to fight them. A sneer rose to my lips almost against my will. I wanted to fight them. I wanted to test my mettle against the two brutes.
They examined us each carefully before they responded. I noticed that they dismissed Charlotte as a threat almost immediately. It would be to their disadvantage if it came to a fight. I had trained Charlotte myself, and fought by her side in countless battles. Yes, she was small and fragile looking, but she was lethal and ruthlessly efficient, exactly how I had taught her to be. The strangers examined Peter longer, their eyes zeroing in on the few scars visible above his collar. One of the remarkable things about Charlotte was that she had escaped her year in Maria's service relatively unscathed. Peter and I hadn't been so lucky.
I grinned viciously when their gazes turned to examine me. The smaller of the two took an instinctive half-step back before he reigned in his reaction and set his face in a carefully neutral expression. "Greetings." He replied, his voice a careful monotone. "I'm Henry and this is my brother Charles."
Yes, the familial resemblance was obvious. They were biological brothers. Someone had changed them both when they'd been human. They had the same nose and obviously the same build.
"I'm Peter. This is my mate Charlotte and our friend Jasper." Peter said carefully polite.
I shook my head at him. He was losing it. He was being submissive to them despite holding the advantage of skill and numbers. Henry and Charles picked up on it immediately, the bigger oaf smirked a little.
"Do you plan to stay in the area long?" Henry asked.
"No. We're just passing through. Headed towards the Rockies, actually." Peter answered peaceably.
"We just came from that way." Henry replied.
"Followed by a path of charred corpses, no doubt." I sneered despite myself.
For a half a second no one spoke as they all took in my breach of authority.
"I'm not sure what your friend means by insulting us." Henry said sharply to Peter, effectively dismissing me. But his eyes were narrowed and the larger, silent one was flexing his hands, getting ready for a fight.
I couldn't wait for it to come.
"I apologize on his behalf. We mean you nothing but peace." Peter appeased quickly, but I could feel the black anger rippling on him. I'm not sure why, but I decided to push it.
"Or he does, in any case." I murmured with a daring smirk.
The strangers turned their eyes on me again, Henry issued a low growl at me that was mirrored by Peter. Maybe they'd all turn on me. Four on one, two of which I knew were accomplished at combat. Those were odds I liked.
"Jasper!" Charlotte hissed angrily.
And that was all it took. The strangers backed off immediately and I felt the very instant their anger turned to trepidation. Sure, I was being insubordinate. Sure, I was trying to thrust my coven into a violent altercation. But we weren't afraid of it. Even Charlotte, as small and fragile as she looked, wasn't afraid of entering into a confrontation with the two hulking strangers. She was just furious that I was trying to make her. She'd left that life behind her. She hated the fight, not to say she wasn't good at it.
"We'll be going." Henry said darkly, trying to keep his sudden apprehension hidden. I smirked. That was one thing he couldn't hide from me.
We watched mutely as they fled past us, continuing on their way to wherever it was they had been headed. No one moved until they were well beyond earshot. Then Peter turned on me, his face livid.
"What the hell is your problem, Jasper?" He hissed as he stalked towards me. "First you damn near expose us all on that beach and now you're trying to draw us into a conflict with a couple of nomads! I don't care if you can feel every measly iota to emotion coming off them, you are hunting tonight."
"I want to see you make me, Peter." I scowled.
"We can do this an easy way or a hard way. Now, I will bleed one of them right in front of you. And I know what you like in a meal." He threatened.
This was what he asked of me? This was what he wanted me to do? Because he thought he was my superior? Because he thought it was well within the bounds of his authority to demand it, this is what he wanted from me? To just hand him over the last ragged shreds of my moral integrity? Unlikely. Beyond unlikely. Instead, I snarled.
"You have no right to make such demands." I hissed at him. I was not hunting tonight. I was not going to just give in after my close call this afternoon. I was not going to accept that one near-miss suddenly voided my determination.
"And you have no right to put my coven in danger." Peter retorted angrily.
"When, I wonder, did I ever put your coven in danger? Or are you so inept at combat now that those mindless nomads would have been able to best you? Where did your pride go, Peter?" I demanded.
"My pride?" He snarled angrily. "We never loved the fight, Jasper. There was no pride in what we did for Maria. That was sheer barbarianism. But if you miss that kind of brainless savagery, maybe you never should have left Mexico. I will not engage my coven in pointless conflicts with strangers for your amusement. And you are going to hunt tonight."
I clenched my teeth together and already I could feel the venom pooling in my mouth as it always did before a fight. "I will not."
He dove at me then, his hand closing over my elbow as he sank his teeth into my shoulder. I stifled my gasp of surprise and deftly threw him off of me. A direct attack from Peter after a monologue about how he hates to fight was the last thing I was expecting. Not that I hadn't been hoping and praying for it for months now.
I didn't give him a chance to recover as I threw myself at him, ignoring the acidic burning of his venom in my shoulder as best as I could. My teeth sought his throat out immediately and with practiced ease they found it. As my teeth sank into his skin, Charlotte shrieked furiously and the familiar revulsion rose up in me as I tasted the flesh of my own kind. It was that which stopped me, not the way Charlotte flung herself at me to protect her mate.
What the hell was I doing? Why was I even here with them? There was no drive in this kind of life. There was no destination to their mindless wanderings. There was no purpose here. I didn't need them and they quite obviously didn't need me. This wasn't a joining of convenience. I sure as hell didn't need them. I didn't need Peter with his failed attempts at dominance. I didn't need Charlotte and her constant worrying. I didn't need them. I didn't need anyone. In fact, it would probably be a lot better without them. Without having to manage all their petty emotions as well as my own. No, I didn't need them.
I released Peter and shoved Charlotte off me where she had latched onto my back before taking a wide step back. I rose my hands, somewhere between a gesture of surrender and a wave goodbye before I turned my back on them and left.
So there's the first chapter. I know it starts kind of . . . . angsty, but I wanted to begin his tale with the conflict with Charlotte and Peter that I mentioned in Alice's version. Alice makes her appearance in the next chapter, so I hope you'll all stick around that long. Thank you for reading.