AN: This tells about Jasper's relationship with James before Peter, and how the Major found his mate and changed him. This is NOT Jasper from the story, this is the Major at his darkest before Peter softened him up. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story line, SM owns the characters I'm just having fun with them.
South Texas, 1920
I sat at the bottom of the dirty pond for hours before Maria sent James after me. My lieutenant knew to approach me cautiously, but he really had no reason to fear me. He was just as much a pawn in this fucked-up game as I was. At least he was obedient, something I had trouble mastering. I felt his emotional signature long before he slipped into the water to sit next to me. I'm sure he wondered about my sanity, what I was doing submerged down here, but he would never understand. James had a relatively easy job at camp, and he was rarely punished after his newborn year.
He was one of my few success stories. I hadn't sired him, but I did save him. We discovered his gift by blind luck, just after his first birthday. He was set to be destroyed with the rest of his batch when he told me that one of our rival warlords was approaching from the west about 20 miles out. I sent a drone out to scout and he confirmed the story, leading us to discover James tracking gift. I was secretly pleased to keep him around longer; he was one of my favorite pets, and one of the few that Maria and I both agreed on. When I couldn't avoid her advances I would bring him along with me, both to distract her, and to satisfy myself.
I had tried to claim him as my own but the bitch wouldn't let me. She knew his gift was too valuable to let me turn him against her. Over the years he became a toy we fought over, kept from each other, and baited each other with. These days, we rarely shared him. Of course, we rarely shared anyone anymore, not even each other. She knew I despised her, but we were both stuck. We needed each other.
James pulled me from my contemplation by bravely laying his hand on my arm and sending me his curiosity. He was the only vampire I'd met who was willing to communicate with my gift. Hell, Maria didn't even know it was possible. That's a great sire for ya.
Thinking of my sire brought me back to what I was brooding about. Culling day. I'd spent the morning tearing my soldiers to pieces and burning them. It was something that happened every year, but this year was tougher than most. Maria had gotten even more lazy than usual, and all the vampires killed today were ones I had sired myself. I selected them, bit them, and trained them from day one. I held myself aloof, but I could never completely escape my sire's bond. As much as I hardened myself, I couldn't help but feel the betrayal when my children realized I was ending the life I gave them.
I had to distract myself so I turned to James and nodded to the surface, pulling him with me as I kicked up. "You with her tonight?" I growled at him.
He tried not to frown but couldn't hide his disgust from me as he nodded, "Yes, sir."
"Not anymore. Come on." I dragged him over to the dry grass around edge of the pond and pulled him up for a bruising kiss. His lust spiked immediately, something he only felt for me, never our sire. "This ain't gonna be nice. I ain't had the best day." He just nodded, he had never turned me away yet. Obedient little fucker. I flipped him around to face the tree in front of us and said, "Hold on."
Walking back into camp a few hours later, I had my head held high. Bringing Maria's bitch back to her completely covered in my scent almost made my day better. The smugness radiating off of James stroked my ego and fueled our camaraderie. I led him to her tent, where I kissed him in front of everyone there and slapped his ass as he went through the opening. "I'm goin' to hunt, Mistress. If ya want me back before dawn, I wouldn't send my favorite toy after me this time. Adios!"
I walked out of camp, making sure I wasn't followed, and headed for the nearest town. It was dark when I reached the factory near the railroad. This was a prime hunting spot for me, both for meals and for soldiers. Despite the new human laws of Prohibition, the men leaving work always congregated together to share their bootleg whiskey and moonshine. A drunk victim was a compliant victim. The alcohol sweetened the blood as well.
I caught a scent that instantly drew me in, but my thirst did not increase for some reason. I stretched my gift out and almost fell over by the waves of misery and despair coming from behind one of the clapboard buildings. I approached cautiously, not sure why this human was affecting me so much. As I came around the corner, I felt like a steel cable was drawing me to the man slumped against the building. I shot to his side to investigate. He was tall, but not as tall as me. His long blonde hair was pulled back with a leather strap and his tanned skin was smooth and clear. His clothes were dirty, but in good condition. As if sensing my presence, he opened his eyes and I reeled in shock as the sky blue irises locked on mine. Mine. That's what I felt. He was mine. I couldn't keep my hands off him.
I reached to brush back a strand of hair from his forehead and his eyes widened when my cold skin made contact with his face. "Are you an angel?" he whispered, filled with awe.
I laughed without humor. "No, boy. I'm about as far from an angel as you can get. What's your name?"
"Peter. Why did you call me boy? Last time I checked I was a man." He's got spunk, I like that. I'll have to break him though, if he's gonna last at camp.
"I called you boy, 'cause your mine. You belong to me, so don't forget it." As I picked him up I noticed a glint of silver on his hand. A wedding ring. Fuck. "Where's your wife?"
The misery came back full force and I came very close to dropping him. If I didn't have vampire hearing I would have missed his whisper, it was so soft. "She's dead. They're both dead. I lost them. Nothing left." I was completely lost when he began to cry. Deep, desperate sobs wracked his body as his tears soaked my shirt. I pulled his face to mine and growled.
"Stop it. Whatever you had don't matter no more. I told ya- you're MINE. Got it?" I slipped the ring off his finger and crumbled it into a small metal ball and tossed it behind me. His eyes were wide pools of blue as I moved closer and pressed my lips to his. He gasped and I pressed my tongue into his mouth, growling again when he didn't move against me. I pushed some lust at him and felt him respond, groaning beneath me. Satisfied, I pulled back and looked in his eyes one last time. "MINE." I told him.
He nodded and looked slightly dazed as he said, 'Yours." I bent my head to his neck and bit. I savored the sweet taste of his blood; one part of my mind told me it was honey and cinnamon. Forcing myself to stop, I began pumping venom into the wound, before sealing it with my tongue. I laid him down to bite his wrists and ankles, before opening his shirt to bite directly above his heart.
I cradled him to my chest and began to run as he thrashed around. I put my hand over his mouth to muffle his screams until we were clear of the town. My mind was working overtime as I ran to camp, I had to figure out what to do so I could keep him. Maria ordered all mated pairs to be destroyed; she called them a liability. I had lost some good fighters over the years just because they had found their mates. I doubted she would actually kill me, but I had no doubt she would destroy Peter. So she couldn't find out about our true relationship.
Before I was within hearing range of the camp, I sat down and pulled Peter close to me. I pushed as much calm into him and tried to pull his pain away so he could concentrate on what I was saying. "Listen, we're about to go into camp. I won't lie to ya, it ain't a good place to be. But I'm gonna do my best to watch out for ya and make life easier for ya. The main thing you have to know is that no one can know you are mine. I'm gonna tell them you're just a pet, a toy, but you remember that you're more than that. You're my mate, but I can't have ya taken away from me so nobody can know that. Now we're gonna run in now and I'm gonna be a little rough with ya, but I can't show ya too much favoritism, alright? It's nothin' personal."
Not sure how much he understood, I picked him up and slung him over my shoulder, like I normally do when I bring in a new recruit. I approached camp cautiously, knowing Peter's screams would draw an audience. When I saw Maria standing outside her tent, I straightened up and put a cocky look on my face. "Look here, bitch. This one is mine. I found him, bit him, and I'm keepin' him. You ain't got no claim on him so keep your hands off."
She walked around to look at him and shrugged her shoulders when she wasn't impressed. "Whatever you say, mi amor, he doesn't look like much fun. Although he does bear a strong resemblance to our lieutenant. Are you playing games with me? Well, if you are keeping your new toy, then I am taking James. Keep your hands off my toy, and I'll leave yours alone as well." I made an angry face, even though I was secretly thrilled. She saved me from an awkward situation trying to explain to my favorite pet why he no longer held my interest.
Safe in my tent, I set about making my mate comfortable. I started to lay him on my pallet, but the smell of other vampires made me growl. I threw the blankets outside and yelled for fresh ones. One of the human servant girls ran in a few minutes later, shaking like a leaf. She actually fell over when I simply took the blankets and murmured, "thank you." I would have to work harder on my tough façade. My mate was already making me soft, and that would never work.
Turning my attention to Peter, I stripped his clothes off and used my basin and pitcher to clean the dirt and sweat from his body. I would keep his clothes to be washed, they were a commodity around here, and he would go through several sets before he figured out his strength. Seeing him nude, I realized I would probably rip his clothes off myself quite often as well. I had a beautiful mate, even as a human. I shook my thoughts away and dressed him in my own pants and shirt, covering him in my scent. It soothed my beast until I could mark him and let everyone know he was off limits.
I stayed in my tent the next three days, ordering everyone away who tried to disturb me. As his heartbeat sped up, I knew the end was near and I waited to see what kind of newborn he would be. I crouched next to him, ready to subdue him if he tried to flee, and watched as his eyes opened. My breath caught as the bright ruby orbs drew me in, much like the sky blue ones had only days earlier. The pull to him was overwhelming and I reached my hand toward him without thinking.
His strong emotions bounced so fast I thought I was going to be dizzy. Fear, anger, confusion, thirst, and finally lust. His eyes darkened as he looked me over and I finished reaching and drew him to me. I crushed him to my chest and kissed him hard and rough. I pulled his ear close and whispered almost silently, "We're gonna get out of here so I can explain stuff to ya. I need ya to keep quiet, keep yer head down, and don't say a word. Got it?" I paused while he nodded. "Good. If ya step outta line I have no choice but to punish ya. I don't wanna hurt ya but I have to keep up appearances here."
Sending him some calm, I pulled him to his feet and held his hands behind him. He immediately ducked his head in submission and I was pleased he seemed to be a quick learner. I pushed him out of the tent and walked toward where Maria was watching the other officers fight. "Aah, your new pet is awake I see." I growled when she reached toward him and she glared back at me. "Well, at least he's not completely useless. A vampire with no scent will make an excellent scout for us." I locked down my expression, hoping my confusion didn't leak out. What was she talking about? Peter smelled fantastic. So sweet and spicy, I just wanted to drink him in. I knew I couldn't let on that I could smell him, sure it must have something to do with him being my mate. So I just nodded and said,
"I'm takin' him to hunt. Might take me a while since I didn't hunt the night I found him. I'll have to break him in good too, so don't wait up for me." I felt Peter's fear spike at my words and I sent him some trust so we could get out of here fast. He relaxed a little and I eased my hold on his wrists. I turned him to face me, keeping my voice stern when I told him, "You stick with me now, ok? We got a tracker here who will hunt you to the ends of the earth, so don't think about runnin' from me. Let's go."
I kept hold of his arm and took off running, slowly building my speed to get him used to his new abilities. We were halfway to town when I stopped, pulling him with me. "Ok, how much do remember about the night I found you?"
His smooth deep voice soothed something deep inside me when he spoke. "Um, I'm yours right? Not sure what that means, but I feel connected to ya somehow, right here." he said, thumping his hand over his silent heart.
"That's right. You're mine. You're my mate, and we're both vampires. I'm about to take you huntin'. It will take you a while to get the technique down, so I'll bring your meals to ya at first." My beast stirred at the thought of feeding my mate. "I'll explain more about life at camp after you've fed, but the main thing you need to remember is, don't worry about how I treat ya in front of others. They can't know you're my mate or they will kill you. I can't lose ya. I've been alone for a long time.
"Now, they shouldn't really suspect anythin'- I've never seen two males as mates, so we have that workin' in our favor. It's probably for the best, I'm a tough vampire, and I doubt a female could keep up with me and all my needs. Now, I'm gonna train you myself but you can't ignore the other officers. Just because I claimed ya, doesn't let ya off the hook in their eyes, so don't be gettin' a big head around camp or spoutin' your mouth off about it, ok?"
"Yeah, ok." he answered.
Reflexively, I pulled him up by his collar and growled in his face. "It's yes, sir!" His eyes were wide and almost childlike in their fear. For once I actually felt remorse, but there was no place for it here. He had to learn respect, or he would get himself killed. "Always address me as 'sir' or you will be punished harshly and swiftly. There ain't no second chances around here. Lack of respect will cost you an arm or a leg, the choice goes to the officer you piss off. Length of time is usually determined by me or Maria. Always keep your eyes lowered and your position submissive. With your height, you'll need to be extra careful of this. You can't look an officer in the eyes, they'll see it as a challenge and take you down.
"We'll work on all this when we're alone, but I won't punish you unless we're in camp around others. I can't avoid it then. Look, I don't wanna hurt ya, ok? It's just how things have to be." His head was lowered, studying his boots, but he nodded and whispered a faint "Yes, sir." His fear actually caused me physical pain, but I knew I couldn't take it from him, he needed the fear to survive. I did put my hand under his chin and raise his face to mine. "Come on, let's get ya fed. You'll think better with your thirst taken care of." I kissed him again, pleased when he grabbed me to pull me close.
He stuck close to me as we approached town and followed my instructions to the letter. I brought him three humans and he drained them like a normal newborn, all teeth and noise. When he was finished, and completely drenched in blood, it was my turn to attack. I had never wanted anyone as much as I wanted my mate. His instincts had him fighting me for dominance but I quickly showed him who was in charge. I had him begging me to fuck him before I finally gave in, and the satisfaction I felt sinking my teeth in his neck was like nothing I had ever experienced. I could definitely get used to this.
Walking back to camp, I was more than a little nervous. I had drilled Peter on all he needed to know, and started sparring with him some. He had a natural talent for fighting, so that was a good thing. He was very intelligent and I knew I would be consulting with him on battle strategies once his newborn attention span had lengthened somewhat. But first order of business was getting him in the routine of camp life.
My face hardened as I walked him to the fighting pits. I hated that this would be his first introduction to the officers, but it couldn't be helped. Newborns in Maria's camp had to prove their worth from day one. I walked him over and introduced him around, and handing him over for training. He started in the pit with 6 other newborns, the blood from his earlier feed making him an easy target. I was fighting my instincts the whole time he was down there, cringing with every bite they got in.
I could tell Maria was surprised by how well he held his own. He dispatched all six, only losing his left hand in the process. I pulled his pain back and sent him some peace as he waited for her approval. I had to bite back a growl when his eyes shot up to meet mine and the bitch saw it all. "Well, Major, he fights well, but you obviously haven't taught him enough respect. You're getting lazy in your training. Take his arm and I don't want to see him back before tomorrow. Drop him in the barracks with the rest."
"No. He's mine, he's stayin' with me. I don't trust him to be there when I get back if I leave him with the rest. I've marked him, see? Nobody gets him but me." She waved off my concerns but didn't back down on his punishment. I steeled myself against his fear and betrayal as I reached for his arm. I could have sworn I felt bile rise in my throat as I harmed my mate, the one person I was made to protect above all others. Pushing the feelings down, I sank further into the Major and hardened my gaze against his bowed head.
Back in the tent, I put him back together and whispered my apologies, but the damage was already done. He knew where he stood with me and I doubted I could ever fully regain his trust.