AN: Dark. Unbeta'd.
"On second thought, I'll just go fetch our guest." Jasper sent Carlisle enough fear to buckle a bull's knees and then strutted out of the door. Frantic leaders don't have followers for long. Every movement was chosen with care; every posture had a reason, often subtle or completely unexplained. The only time he ever truly relaxed was at home with Peter and Charlotte and that level of comfort had taken more years than he cared to remember to achieve.
Maybe that's why Jasper's sanity had begun to fray during the later years with Maria … A man can't pretend to be a coldhearted bastard twenty-four/seven for decades on end without becoming a merciless coldhearted bastard. The whimper just at the edge of his range caught his attention and drew him back to his purpose. He didn't have time to examine the minutia of his past. Although Carlisle was not a physical threat to Isabella right now, he was far from harmless. Emotional wounds could be deeper, leaving behind jagged, ugly scars that very rarely healed. He should know; he could feel them all.
Jasper prepared to block his sixth sense as he neared the van. Bella had placed some of the bags at the edge of the woods around the house. He'd gather the rest, position them, and then take their final treat inside for Daddy Dearest.
With a shovel and post digger propped over his shoulder, Jasper paused the edge of the clearing to listen to Carlisle's pathetic pleas for her mercy but never her forgiveness, prayers for her soul but never for the innocence he had destroyed. He listened only a minute more before he got back to work, content to let them have their moment. The sooner this was over, the sooner she would be back in his arms.
The electric fence hummed to life. No animals in; no monsters out. They could have been very effective security consultants or badass criminals had life twisted just a smidge one way or the other. The current buzzed like a gnat he just couldn't swat. He had to block it along with any other errant thoughts. The rest of the work was delicate, taking supreme concentration. A human couldn't have managed. The mines were on a vampire's version of a hair trigger and positioned so that one exploding would detonate the rest−as violent a domino effect that ever existed. The property would become nothing more than a smoking crater and another urban legend or conspiracy theory would be born. No matter. This land would never be more than a graveyard.
Finally the perimeter was secured. Jasper was dusting his hands off when Carlisle's words caught his attention again.
"M-my son will understand. You were grieving-" When she growled, he hastily amended- "You ached to replace the fetus you lost; in your desperation you sought out any donor, any substitution. I know my first born. He will forgive your transgressions and welcome you back with open arms, I'm certain."
"Jasper! What are you−" Peter's voice trailed off as Jasper sent him a heavy dose of his own personal shut-the-hell-up cocktail. Then he inhaled deeply. "Nevermind."
Bella ran out of the room with flaming cheeks, reeking of guilt and sex.
"Please tell me you're using a rubber." Jasper ignored him as he zipped his jeans and buckled his belt. "The last thing we need is some mutant thing sucking the life−" Peter was pinned against the wall before he could finish the thought. They all considered that to be a blessing in hindsight.
This wasn't the first comment the cocky bastard had made about Jasper and Isabella's increasingly physical relationship, but it would be the last in this vein. A misspoken word now could destroy any progress she was making, any strides she'd make in the future as well. Jasper didn't respond to Peter. He just held him to the wall, his feet scrambling to find purchase as he met the eyes of his pissed off sire. Finally, he stopped what little instinctive struggling there had been and dropped his gaze. He'd crossed the line, and he knew it. Jasper held him in place for another minute, flooding him with his pain and disappointment along with the briefest flicker of the inferno of his rage. And then he dropped Peter to the ground and went in search of his mate.
Peter deserved no explanation. There was none needed.
Their coupling had nothing to do with replacing what was lost. It might have been spurred on by the void, by the need to feel and be felt, but the purpose was not to fill that void. Besides, he had no more knowledge than she about exactly what Edward had done. She hadn't bled since her recovery the first week they arrived at Peter and Char's five months ago. Regardless, it was enough that she needed him.
He leapt the distance to the porch. The door never stood a chance against his rage. But she blocked his prey. Carlisle lay quivering in a stagnant pool of venom as more sprung from a new wound in the side of his head and trickled down his chin. He'd lost an ear in Jasper's absence but that wasn't enough. He'd never listened anyway.
Jasper needed flesh between his teeth to quench his howling rage, to drink his pain and bathe in his venom until all pretenses of the chains of civility had fallen away and nothing was left except her. It would be more honorable than this deluge of false platitudes and rain of guilt-tipped arrows aimed at his beloved.
Isabella did what few had survived in the past; she stepped into his war path. She soothed Jasper until he remembered his vow to her. He would not be the one to take away her choice−not here, not ever. Like jagged pieces of the same broken rock, they'd shred anything or anyone unfortunate enough to be caught between them, but they fit together perfectly. The majority of the sharp edges covered as long as they were together.
Once the imminent danger passed Carlisle drew a deep breath, inhaling the heady scent of free flowing blood: dirty, contaminated; delicious and attainable. Oh-so-close. A new frenzy lit his deadened gaze; venom pooled in his slack mouth before escaping down his chin. A soft rumble began in his chest, almost too far gone to stop breathing before the full frenzy set in.
Jasper felt her triumph as Carlisle regained his mind. What pleasure could be found in immediate capitulation? What penance in so brief a suffering? She was counting on his strong will. Breaking him would be much more satisfying.
"You really do have amazing self-control …"
"You're gonna need it," she sang in childlike manner as she prowled to Jasper's side. Jasper couldn't help the urge to dig a little deeper, explain what the physician already knew.
"The blood loss makes it worse, you know. All of those brutally suppressed survival instincts are up and a rarin' to go, looking for revenge after a century of neglect. And it's only gonna get worse from here." Bella purred her agreement, pecked Jasper's cheek, and then skipped out of the shattered door frame.
She returned minutes later dragging a broken, bloodied body by chains attached to its feet. Wrapped around the mutilated boy's bare torso was a strange, braided multihued rope. Carlisle watched in rapt horror as the ends of blood-soaked braids trailed behind the victim, leaving a smeared trail in its wake. Jasper smirked. He could practically see the gears sluggishly turning, trying to puzzle out this change in events.
Suspicion entered first … Carlisle compared the bronze skin of the natives from his memories to the greyish tinge present beneath the stains of bruises and multitude of lesions; he measured the length of the shattered femur to calculate approximate height had this body been fit enough to stand. Then came the flash of recognition, the unadulterated shock. His black eyes widened, shifting to Bella and away, afraid to draw her attention again, afraid to earn her wrath.
Finally a healthy fear, thought Jasper. Best capitalize on it. After all, fear as a motivator was historically unpredictable. Jasper was almost certain he could predict Carlisle's response, but the small niggling of doubt was enough to put him on edge. Their plan contained enough risk. No need to let negligence reduce their chances of success.
"Like the rope?" Carlisle's deadened gaze turned to Jasper's boots. He seemed to be reassessing his predicament. Good. "It was a gift from my sire. I believe you remember Maria?" His eyes shifted to Bella expecting a reaction from the name and away again confused. Jasper smirked. Isabella didn't have a problem with new people, new names. Only those from before. Maria and Isabella had pretty much ignored each other during their one brush, much to everyone's relief.
Jasper had contacted Maria as a courtesy. The message was simple: be on the lookout for some shape shifters in the south. He mailed along a scent of the Quileute tribe for comparison.
"Don't worry. She won't encroach on my territory−did I mention I've claimed the Pacific Northwest?—so as long as the rest of the dogs don't go roaming too far from the range, they'll live. If they get stupid, I'll put them down. Then again, Maria's always had a fondness for taming wild animals, and it has been a couple of decades since I've given her a present..."
Jasper was puzzled by how much the Cullens misunderstood his relationship with Maria. Sure, they'd had their troubles and she was a greedy, soulless bitch. But no more so than hundreds of other power hungry monarchs through history ruling their own pitiful realms. He'd been willing enough to eat by her hand after the first year. True, he hadn't known there was another way, but he'd stayed with her long after his shackles fell free and the blinders came off. They'd parted amicably enough. Hell, she'd even visited up them in Forks a few years back (and wasn't that an unmitigated disaster…) Why did everyone assume he feared her? If anything, it was she who chose to live and thus left him and his the fuck alone.
"Time," Isabella said from the doorway, depositing her latest finds on the porch. Carlisle didn't have a chance to react as Jasper sprang forward, pinning his upper body to the floor, allowing Isabella to rip off his feet at the ankles. Jasper pressed the screaming male into the hardwood until his mate was once again safe with her bounty. Then Jasper resumed his position, standing with his feet shoulder width apart a few feet in front of the gaping hole where a door once stood.
It was time to get down to business. Jasper only hoped Carlisle had enough venom left to comprehend; otherwise this stage of their revenge would be rather short-lived. "Motion sensitive mines have been placed at random intervals around the property." Carlisle's breath hitched, and Jasper snorted. "Oh, now you're worried about the poor innocent sheep in town? Well, don't. The property is now completely fenced in. The current buzzing throughout should deter any interlopers who ignore the multitude of signs. And then there's the tripwires …"
"It's all about who you know and knowing how to make contact with other useful beings in the 'verse." Peter cockily explained as he spun around in his computer chair. Apparently the Firefly marathon had been a bad idea.
"How 'bout you tell me what the hell you're on about and how it helps us before I insert your mouse into the closest orifice?"
"She wanted something with fire to ensure he wouldn't be able to escape the house unscathed."
"And?" Jasper asked, annoyed that he had to ask for an explanation in the first place.
"Do you remember freaky Fredrick?" The question was rhetorical; of course Jasper remembered. His gift, if you could call it such, was to fabricate whatever supernatural pest control product you think you might need. He was a merc. Jasper didn't always appreciate his creations, but there was something refreshingly straightforward about a vampire motivated by blood and currency alone.
"How'd you find him?"
"Byters." Jasper stilled. Byters (or the vamp pages as it was more commonly known) were a few immortals taking advantage of the growing obsession that humans had with rampant, oversexualized vampire lore to be able to communicate through an online community. They had a code of their own and an obvious death wish. Peter knew how Jasper felt about such flashy behavior.
Peter snorted. "Oh please. They'd have to discover the world wide web first, and then debate for the next hundred years on the validity of engaging in such a human enterprise. Not to mention the time it would take to convene the Council to include any such activity as a breech under the law. And they'd still have to dispatch a guard to investigate, and then another when the first is returned by priority shipping in a hundred tiny pieces. By that time, they'll probably discover the app and have to begin the process again. I think we're good."
"Peter," Jasper warned and Peter straightened up, exchanging bravado for sincerity.
"Major, I'm doing what you asked. No more, but never less. We can't get everything we need without making some outside contacts. In any case, her mission is likely not to remain as secret as we all wish. You know nomads spread gossip spreads like wildfire in the dry season. The territory changeover is going to ignite curiosity. Everything else is just fuel."
"Ironic that you might trip a tripwire with no feet, huh?" Jasper paused, noting that he no longer had Carlisle's unwavering attention. He followed Carlisle's line of sight to Isabella across the room. He winced at the piercing whine as she drilled the custom anchors into the studs surrounding the fireplace and again in the ceiling. The concrete beneath the teak wood floors would be last. She was oddly graceful as she leapt about with a tool belt slung low on her hips and a manic grin gracing her lips. She had the dog strung up and secured in three minutes flat. Spread eagle he was of little threat but she wasn't gentle as she strapped on his new bone white mask complete with spiked collar. A little wood carving of a wolf dangled incongruously from the front of the collar.
I surrounded her with my confidence and pride until I felt her return it in equal measure. Vengeance and violence went against her very nature, but she'd embraced them when needed. How could I feel anything other than pride (and a cart load of lust) in the presence of such a woman. There was no doubting her strength.
Feeling Carlisle's confusion, I explained for both of their benefit. I'd been through this with the dog already but it's hard to tell what sticks in a mind clouded with pain and grief.
"The mutt has been blocking the seer since we began this little foray. The new muzzle was made by a vampire of vampire bones for just such an occasion with minor adjustments made for your unique specs. The spikes around the collar are venom laced-"
"Mine," Bella snarled and I continued with a smirk.
"Yeah, she was mighty insistent that if you were to die a slow and agonizing death that it'd be her venom running through your veins. Guess puppies are not in your future after all." The mutt's harsh breathing and Bella's low rumbling growl were the only sounds breeching the peace as they all committed this moment to memory.
"Survival instinct," Bella ground out. Jasper's head snapped back to her, but the rest of is movements were languid, calm. Even if she lost her cool, she wouldn't hurt him. But he knew how important her plan was to her.
"He did always say you had no self-preservation skills…"
Jasper casually reached out to stroke the soft skin beneath Bella's ear and then followed her delicate jawline all the way down to her chin. Using just the tips of his fingers and the sweetest of touches, he traced her neck down to the bit of collarbone on display.
Her growl turned into a purr well before she turned back to the business at hand and retrieved some rope from the army green duffle by the vacant door. Jasper continued in a much colder voice.
"She's banking on you being different. The premise is simple. You shift, you die. Hell, the rope around your middle is likely to slice you right in two. And in case you're harboring hope of the vampire saving you, let me assure you he's been reduced to average human capabilities—if that. The collar around your neck is soaked in blood. After a venom-letting like today, not even the stench of cowardly wet dog can overpower the sweet call of fresh AB neg." Carlisle's eyes dropped away from the mutt as Bella approached him carrying a thick braid of purple, red, and white dripping with clear venom.
"Not that we'd leave anything this important to chance," Jasper added as Bella looped a noose around Carlisle's neck and began dragging him to the farthest side of the room. Instinct had him clawing at the rope around his neck, hissing and spitting as she dropped him to install more anchors. "Guess I should've warned you that there living rope is sharp. Well… more accurately, it's undead rope, harvested from vampires expressly for this purpose. The lingering burn you're feeling now is courtesy of our donors and myself. Should make for some pretty little scars…"
With both of the perpetrators were strung up to her satisfaction, Bella started hauling in the bodies we collected for this purpose. We drank enough to kill them, and then sealed their wounds to preserve as much blood as possible. Some had been dead only hours. Some days. A few had been in storage for weeks.
The bodies cut the room in half, covering any possible entrance or exit. She returned to her bag for the donor blood we'd bought off of Byter's red market. The end product was art of the highest quality. It was a shame no one else would ever see it… I snapped a few pictures for Peter. He was sure to appreciate her dramatic flair if nothing else.
Carlisle's eyes were blown wide as he struggled not to breathe. The habit was hard to break, especially when instinct was to hunt and scent in the midst of danger and prey. The old blood wouldn't kill him if he partook, but the aftermath might cause him to wish it had. Whatever sanity he still possessed would be long gone by that point anyway. Jasper made his way to the security panel, but waited until the shutters had descended, blackening out all but the gaping front door to speak again. Bella stood by his side, tall and proud as any Valkyrie every to walk on Earth.
"Carlisle Cullen, former patriarch of the Cullen coven, you stand accused of willfully breaking our first and foremost law of privacy, leading your coven astray many times, and the murder of one to whom you had sworn allegiance and protection. Your word is false, your testimony spoiled. Your punishment is befitting your crimes."
Bella left his side to place a framed picture in the middle of the room on top of the body of a young brown haired girl. It was a picture of the whole coven, all dressed up on the day of Bella and Edward's wedding. She placed a Bible on the next body, and then returned to her place by his side.
"Your feet are gone, so that you will no longer run from your duties as patriarch. As there is no escape from the pain you caused your victims, so there will be no escape from this your new hell. There are trip wires for acres. Fire will engulf the entire area if you should attempt to escape, and whether you live or die, the population of the two towns closest to the house will be exterminated just as they would have been had the Volturi ever discovered your crimes. Hundreds of human lives … perhaps more than you've ever saved as a doctor… I believe you know that I am a man of my word."
Carlisle's horror knew no bounds, and Jasper relished in the feel of it combined with his resignation. There was still a tiny spark of hope present in the eternal optimist. As he placed a new piece of steel over the hole where the door had been, Jasper hoped that tiny spark would be the last thing to go before true madness descended.
He looked forward to checking back in a few years… Until Peter could watch the surveillance feed and they could move on to the third stage.
AN 2.0: Thanks for reading! I haven't had any time to respond but hearing from y'all keeps this fic alive. Only four chapters to go now!
For info on my original work, PM me.