Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or the characters: they are the property of Stephanie Meyer. I just daydream with them a bit.
Rated M for profanity, violence and potential adult situations.
Author's Note: Thank you everyone! I really appreciate all your comments and adds! Without further ado, here's the Major.
We ran through the night without stopping. It is long past time for me to see her, I growled. My thoughts sped me on; it felt like a race, but I had no clue what I was racing against. I knew that Peter and Charlotte could sense my desperation to be near Isabella again, and did not complain at the pace I set. They must have some sense of self-preservation after all.
It was nearing dawn as we reached the outskirts of Phoenix. To human eyes it would look as dark as midnight, but I could detect the faintest lightening of the sky to the east. The murky black was fading to the darkest navy. I mentally calculated how much darkness we had. If we hurried, I could check on Isabella before retiring from the sun for the day.
Leading the way towards her house, I noticed a spike of worry come from Peter. I turned to him to determine the reason, but before I could ask he said, "Take it easy, Major. Things will all work out." With an exasperated huff, I turned back and focused on getting to Isabella. I hated Peter's vague answers, but comforted myself with the knowledge that he was nearly always right. At least things will all work out, I repeated to myself.
We turned the corner to Isabella's street and I came to an abrupt stop in front of her house. I inhaled deeply, expecting the sweet fragrance of my Belle. I did not catch even the faintest whiff. It was as if she did not exist.
Growing anxious, I sprinted around the house to the window I knew was Isabella's room. The windows gaped empty, mocking me. Peering through the glass, I braced myself for what my instinct was warning I would see. All of Isabella's belongings had been removed and what looked to be an art studio was in their place.
Isabella was gone.
Gone. Gone. Gone. Gone.
She was gone.
It echoed through my mind as I stood rooted to the spot. Someone will pay for this, I raged. How dare they! My hands curled into claws and my lip quivered in a snarl. I was ready to rip someone limb from limb for taking my Isabella away, for taking my Mate away.
Shock...My racing mind froze, ringing in the aftermath of my last thought: Mate. It was the first time I had admitted to myself what I had known all along: inexplicably—impossibly!—Isabella Swan, a human, was my Mate. Dazed by my realizations, I shook my head slightly, clearing the fog.
Peter was saying something to me, but his voice was a faint echo and I could not comprehend his words. All I could feel was the searing pain in my heart, the awful loneliness that threatened to consume me. I finally realized what I have and it has been taken away.
"Major, snap to." Peter cuffed me on the back of my head, bringing me back to my senses. He was lucky I hadn't been paying attention, or he would be missing an arm. "Your Isabella may be gone, but she is not lost. Think, Major. What do we know of her? Where else could she be?" Peter was frustrated and concerned, probably because of my momentary break from reality. He prodded me to action, refined my grand schemes, curtailed my wrath: he was the perfect captain—despite the fact that he could be irksome.
Peter's questions got my gears into motion and I mentally ran through all the information we had on Isabella. She was the only daughter of Renee' Swan. Renee' had been briefly married Charlie Swan. When Isabella was just a little baby, Renee' ran off with her and filed for divorce. Charlie lived in Forks, Washington. Isabella occasionally spent summers with her father. It was the only logical place she could be.
"We go to Forks." Without waiting to see if Peter and Charlotte were going to follow, I turned and raced north. I will find her. It will all work out. It had to. I repeated this mantra, staunchly willing myself to believe it would be true. Peter was never wrong. I could not fathom any other ending. I would not let myself even consider it.
It took us a couple of days to run from Arizona to Washington, since we decided to stop and hunt along the way. Well, Peter decided, really, I huffed, irritated. I was all for heading straight to Forks, but Peter convinced me that I ought to feed. He rightly pointed out that I could not go to Isabella hungry and risk hurting her. I hated it when he was right. Especially since he would inevitably gloat about it for days.
I really had no idea of what I would do once we got to Forks. Storming up to Isabella and demanding to know why she left sounded like a good option, but Peter was less than enthusiastic. He seemed to think she would be offended. It wasn't like she owed me an explanation.
But really, what was I expecting? She didn't even know I existed, much less the hand I had in her life, or the great influence she had on mine. Not to mention the tiny detail that I happened to be a killing machine, who could drain her dry at the drop of a hat. Focus on one thing at a time, I chided myself. Find her first, worry about the rest later.
On the morning of the third day, we finally reached the humble city of Forks. The town was surrounded by rain forest that constantly threatened to reclaim its territory. Thankful for the cloudy weather that allowed us to be out during the day, Peter, Charlotte and I ambled nonchalantly down main street.
We passed a gas station, a market, and the school before suddenly, I picked up unmistakable traces of freesia. She's here, I glorified. I veered into the trees so that I could pick up the pace without calling undue attention to myself.
Isabella's scent was easy to track through town. We were led directly to what I assumed was her father's home. The old house and yard were saturated with her potent fragrance, the rain soaking it into the ground. I breathed her perfume like a man dying of thirst drinks water. It was freesia and strawberries and clean soap; there was something else too, something syrupy sweet underneath it all.
Peter watched me warily, looking ready to spring into action. That was never a good sign. After a few moments of bliss, I began analyzing what I was smelling. Under the intoxicating aroma of Isabella, there was that trace of something else. It was something that I would never mistake, and I felt my eyes grow dark.
Vampires. Shit! I cursed internally. Shit. Shit. Shit! There had been vampires at my Belle's house. How on earth did Isabella manage to ensnare herself with not only one, but multiple, covens of vampires? My fists clenched and a rumble emanated from my chest.
Anxiety flooded me, and it was my own. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Peter stood at attention, blatantly not looking at me. My eyes narrowed and I slowly turned my head to survey my second-in-command. Anger bubbled up, setting a fire in my stomach.
I stalked over, stopping only when my chest was touching his. Sticking my face in Peter's so that we were nose-to-nose, I coldly hissed: "This is your fault. You kept me from going back. This wouldn't be happening if you hadn't stopped me all those times."
Peter didn't respond, which just pissed me off more. I slugged him in the gut, the force of my impact thundering through the trees. He doubled over, pain radiating from him. "Nothing? You have nothing to say?" I paced before him, waiting for some sort of explanation. This was his fuck-up and I was going to make sure he knew it. He remained silent. "Well?" I demanded, shoving him hard to the ground. He slid through the soft earth, leaving a trail in his wake. "Speak up!"
"You can kick my ass if you want, Major, but I thought you wanted to get to your Mate ASAP. Tearing me apart would just waste time. Do we find these fuckers or what?" He was right. I hated it when he was right.
I gave a curt nod: "We go now." I was not letting him off the hook, just postponing judgement. Isabella was not at the house, which increased the likelihood that she could be with the unknown Vampires. I had no time to wait. What if they were draining her? What if she was dead? NO! Don't even go there. I reminded myself to focus. I had to approach this with care. Plans flashed through my mind and were discarded one by one.
It came down to only one logical choice. If Isabella was with vampires, then there was no need to hide what I was. If there was no need to hide what I was, then I might as well use all my skills to my advantage. We could go in, incapacitate the enemy, and take Isabella to safety. There would be no discussion, no chance for her to be harmed. All questions could be dealt with after.
Knowing that my appearance would work in my favor, I stripped off my backpack and tore out of my shirt. As we ran through the unrelenting green, I sensed, rather than saw, Peter do the same. His scars were a mere fraction of my own, but together we made just the right impression. We were not ones to be fucked with. Most would cower in terror just at the sight of me. But with the both of us, our odds would go up two fold.
It was an easy trail to follow. The unknown vampires had nearly carved a highway through the forest and everything was saturated in their scent. I could tell we were drawing closer. Emotions teased my mind and began growing more intense. I could pick out multiple distinct sets of emotions and knew that we would be dealing with a large coven.
I slowed and Peter drew up next to me, Charlotte on the other side. We strode out from the trees into an artificial clearing. An expansive white house sat smack-dab in the middle, but it wasn't what I was paying attention to.
Standing on the porch was a group of vampires. They had plainly anticipated our arrival and were waiting. There were 6 in all: three men and three women, none of whom looked to be fighters, except perhaps the large one. A young blonde man was in front, hands held up in a gesture of peace.
Peace was not my mission. However, as I did not see Isabella, my original plan began to shift; answers became my goal. Perhaps I would go easy on them. It was always hard to get answers when the victim was too terrified to speak. Growling, I sent trickles of fear and awe out before me. Combined with the horrifying sight of my hundreds of scars, the group was quickly cowering in terror, ripe for the picking.
The man in front roused himself enough to turn and address the others, telling them to go inside; that he would deal with me alone. As they did, I saw her. How could I have been so distracted? Idiot. Fool. That's what you get for running in blind. You know better, Major, I berated myself.
Isabella had been standing behind the others the whole time and I had not noticed her presence. I certainly noticed her now. Her heartbeat called out to me, commanding me to come nearer. She was dressed simply in dark jeans and a sweater the color of sage, with supple leather knee-high boots. Curly chestnut hair cascaded down her back, rippling in the breeze and framing her stunning heart-shaped face.
And her eyes, I sighed. I could drown in her endless, chocolate eyes. Even after all these years they never lost their strength, only now it was accompanied by wisdom. She had grown from a beautiful child to a graceful woman. I was enraptured.
I was caught up in memorizing every detail of her long limbs and delicate features. It was the first time I had seen Isabella without feeling like a demented stalker, and I was going to take advantage of it. When she realized that I was staring, Isabella licked her full lips and drew herself up. Unblushingly, she stared right back, head cocked to the side and eyebrow raised as though she were trying to solve a mystery.
I could tell that she was drawn to me as much as I was to her. Powerful feelings of hope, joy and wonder flowed out from her, caressing me with their tender embrace. She took an involuntary step forward. As she did, the bronze haired boy grabbed her around the waist and began to drag her inside. She struggled vainly, crying, "Let me go, Edward." Even angry, her voice was musical.
All I knew was red. Rage flooded out from me in a torrent and I heard the others snarling in response. He had touched her, and she didn't want to be touched. Quicker than lightning, I had the foolish boy away from Isabella and pinned to the ground, my teeth millimeters away from his throat. Peter was yelling something and the blonde man was coming towards us. I froze, vying instincts at war with each other. I was unwilling to let this scum up, but I needed to make sure Isabella was unharmed.
The blond man approached me slowly, hands up, eyes down, staring intently at the boy in my grasp. He spoke quietly and gently, trying to soothe me into clarity. The bronze haired boy moved infinitesimally and I strengthened my hold, warily listening to the other. "I am Carlisle Cullen. This is my home and these people are my family. You are holding Edward, my first son. If you will release him, he will go inside and leave us to talk. I'm sure we could settle any misunderstanding there may be."
Debating the offer for a few moments, I tried to calm myself enough to let Edward go. When I was composed enough to talk without growling I said, "Isabella stays out here with us." Carlisle was stunned at my request; I felt the shock he his under his calm demeanor. I sensed his acquiescence as he realized he was in no position to bargain.
"Very well. Bella, please join us, dear." Carlisle motioned for her to come closer. She did, radiating curiosity and intrigue, jumbled together with excitement. As Isabella drew near, I released Edward, shoving him roughly towards the house. He looked back, scowling; I sensed his hatred for me, and his twisted possessiveness of Isabella.
He did not love her, he did not even like her. In fact, he loathed her. But the hatred was mixed up with a need to have her. I could feel that he claimed her as his thing, and was upset with me for trespassing on what he saw as his territory.
Edward straightened his jacket with a huff and stormed inside, slamming the door behind him. Carlisle stood next to Isabella while Peter and Charlotte came up behind me. I had eyes only for her, and likewise, she could not take her eyes off of me. Lust flooded me and I realized that she was examining my bare chest, clearly admiring what she saw.
I stood up tall with pride that this beautiful woman would desire me. She isn't running away! I exulted. No one had ever looked at me with longing before; vampires took one look at me and ran the other way. My skin was mutilated with hundreds upon hundreds of scars, rendering it rough and frightening to look at. They screamed to all that could see, 'Danger!'
I longed to sweep her up in my arms, to hold her close, but I refrained. I reminded myself that while I had loved her for years, she was meeting me for the first time. I stood as still as possible, giving her the chance to grow accustomed to my appearance and presence. I can go slow. I can go as slow as we need.
Before I could stop her, Isabella reached towards me; with a touch as light as a feather, she traced the pattern of scars above my heart. My dead heart soared at the simple gesture of approval. A low rumble vibrated in my chest and I delighted in her touch. If I thought that I cared for Isabella before, her one action had increased that love a hundred fold.
I reached out and traced the curve of her face, lifting her chin so I could better admire her features. Her skin was satin beneath my finger and I marveled as she closed her eyes and leaned into my touch. Incredible, my heart whispered. Sparks ignited on all my nerves, shooting heat through my body. At once, peace settled about me and I felt joy for the first time in my long existence.
Remembering that there were several people witnessing our intimate moment, I broke contact, every cell of my being screaming at me not to. Turning to Carlisle, I introduced myself, "I'm Jasper Whitlock. These two are Peter and Charlotte Whitlock." Carlisle's eyes went wide at my name. Obviously he had heard of me. Guess that's what you get for having a reputation as notorious as mine, I conceded. I hoped that it wouldn't complicate things.
Carlisle opened his mouth to speak but I rudely interrupted him. I was in no mood to play 20 questions. "It's a long story of how we came to be on your land, but I believe I'm sufficiently calm enough to tell it now," I volunteered. "I will not cause any problems so long as Edward keeps his hands to himself. You will have a chance to ask your questions."
Carlisle surveyed us three for a moment before nodding and inviting us inside. "Please come in. We can have this discussion more comfortably. Welcome to our home." He smiled and smoothly gestured to the house for us to follow him.
To Isabella I added softly, "This involves you too, my Belle." She nodded, not correcting my term of endearment. With a slight bow, I offered her my arm. As she rested her hand in the crook of my elbow, I detected a slight tremor run through her body. I placed my hand over hers, luxuriating in the feel of her warm, silky sink. Following Carlisle up the path, I escorted her inside.
A/N: So the Major and Bella have finally met. What'd you think? Was it everything you hoped for? If not, what would you like to see happen in the future? Next up is Bella...