During his patrol around the perimeter, Jasper came across the scent of four strange vampires. He could have easily taken out the group, but he thought he would go back and get Peter. It would be a good test for him, and Jasper wanted to speak with him without any witnesses.
Peter was becoming more blatant in his refusal to lower his eyes when Maria bothered to come out and observe their training. The hate and rage Peter focused on her was stronger than any Jasper had felt from any of the newborns and though he shouldn’t care, he didn’t want Peter to try and kill her. If he succeeded, word would get out eventually that she was gone and despite Jasper’s own reputation, he didn’t want other vampires and their packs of newborns coming and trying to take over Maria’s claim. It was more likely that Maria would dismember Peter and order Jasper to burn him; if she hadn’t killed Peter while he was gone. Again, he was astonished to find he didn’t want that to happen.
He made his way quickly back to camp and strode into the barn where he and Maria made the newborns stay, flinging the door open hard enough that it slammed into the wall. He rarely ever went inside the barn and all twenty-four of them were dumbfounded at seeing him. Those that had been standing dropped to the floor and they all lowered their eyes.
“Where’s Peter?” he asked the cringing newborns.
When none of them answered him, he darted toward a little female whose name was Katherine and lifted her from the straw-covered ground by her neck until her fear darkened eyes were level with his. “Where. Is. Peter?”
A black-haired male of medium height jumped up, but he kept his eyes trained on the floor. “M-Major, M-Maria took him again.”
Jasper snarled, dropped the little female, and walked slowly toward the door. He had thought Maria would have grown tired of Peter. Her new lovers had never lasted very long. Of course, none of them could do for her what he did. Perhaps Maria had mistaken Peter’s fury and abhorrence for enthusiasm.
He strode toward Maria’s little white house, sending his senses ahead. Evidently, Maria was finished with him as he came out of the house as Jasper approached.
“Maria,” Jasper called, stopping about five yards in front of the covered porch.
Maria followed Peter through the door and raised a questioning eyebrow at Jasper as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“I scented four vampires in your territory. I’m taking Peter with me to track them.”
He couldn’t ignore the huge sense of relief that exuded from Peter.
Maria waved a hand dismissively. “Do as you will, my Major. Scatter their ashes and leave pieces of them unburned so that others will be warned about what will happen to them if they cross into my lands.”
Jasper nodded and signaled for Peter to follow him. They raced away.
They followed the four vampires’ trail to an abandoned mine within Maria’s territory, and they watched them from the cover of boulders and scraggly dry brush above the entrance of the mine. They had obviously taken up residence within it.
During the second day hidden in the rocks above the mine, Jasper whispered to Peter, “I know what you’ve been feeling. Do not attempt to kill Maria.”
“Then kill me. Burn me with the rest of them.” He gestured with a nod toward the mine. “She wouldn’t know. She would think they got me.” His eyes dropped to the ground. “I…I don’t think I can hold out until my year is up.”
Jasper’s eyes shot to Peter with alarm. How had he known about that?
Jasper didn’t want Peter to die, but he felt his desperation and understood his aversion to her—the aversion to the life they led.
It was if Jasper’s warning had opened the floodgates, and Peter began to speak in a rush. “Miguel told me the newborns only last about a year. He’s the oldest you got. He told me you got rid of a few right after he woke up.” Peter looked up at Jasper with a sardonic smile. “He’s a fuckin’ idiot, but he’s not stupid. He saw you take them out to patrol and not bring ‘em back. The moron managed to put two and two together. He’s proud he’s lasted this long. He thinks he’s goin’ to make the cut. Apparently, Maria told him a select few were spared now and then. She told me the same thing.” Peter shook his head. “Newborns who can’t fight don’t last long. We’ve all seen that. But I can fight. He only told me because he thinks I’ll be taken out in a couple months when my year is up.” He looked at Jasper from the corner of his eye. “He told me about the God of War, too, and that you’re her favorite. I’d rather be dead than…” Peter sighed wearily and shuddered. “I know what Maria has done to you. Some of it. She brags about it while she’s…” He ran his hand down over his face. “Anyhow, I thought that’s why you wanted me to come with ya day before yesterday. I thought you were goin’ to kill me, and I was so fuckin’ grateful.”
Jasper’s eyes narrowed at the God of War reference, but chose to ignore it. He focused instead on the thought the Peter would be grateful to him for his death. “Is that why you were so relieved? Because you thought I was goin’ to kill you?”
“Yeah. I thought you were bringin’ me out here to burn me. All I knew was I wouldn’t have to listen to that bitch’s stories or fuck that sadistic cunt anymore.” His hands curled into fists, and he shuddered again.
“What do you mean you knew?”
“I…I’m not sure. Sometimes I just know. I didn’t know what you were really bringin’ me out here for, but you’re gonna do somethin’ to help me, and I don’t even care if it’s lightin’ me on fire. I don’t know why the hell I would trust you, but I do. I just know I can.” His eyes looked down the barren hillside. “I also know those four vampires’ll be no trouble at all. It’ll be easy to kill ‘em.” He looked pleadingly up into Jasper’s eyes. “Like right now I know I’m not goin’ to kill Maria because you’re goin’ to help me. I don’t know what you’re gonna do, but whatever it is will work. I won’t get any more of her special attention.”
A sliver of hope wormed its way from Peter into Jasper’s awareness.
“No, I won’t end you.” Jasper looked down the side of the hill, his mind racing. After what Jasper had done to him, how could Peter say that he trusted him? How could he feel any kind of hope? Jasper could clearly sense Peter’s truthfulness and his yearning. “Let’s kill them.” He stood and shoved one of the boulders they were hiding behind down the steep slope.
As it bounced and rolled, it smashed and broke loose other rocks and stones. The clattering and rumbling drew the four vampires from the mine—three males and one tiny female.
Just glancing at them, Jasper already knew they would be easy to defeat. At his signal, he leapt and Peter followed him down the hill, bounding behind the boulder he had dislodged.
Jasper landed in front of the little female. She was too shocked by their sudden appearance to move and he grabbed her by her head and wrenched it off, ending her scream of terror. He threw her body aside, spun around and punched the male with the long, straight, black hair in the center of his face, shattering his head into a cloud of sparkling shards.
Another of the black haired males attempted to run, but Peter caught him and threw him back toward Jasper. Then Peter pounced on the fourth male who tried to take a stance against them. The vampire roared and swung his fist at Peter. Peter caught it, crushed it and slammed the male to the ground. He stomped down on the middle of his back and ripped his arms off, flinging them away. He twisted around, reached for the vampire’s legs, and tore them off one at a time.
Jasper held the struggling vampire Peter had thrown at him to his chest and hissed in his ear. “This is what happens when you trespass into Maria’s territory.”
After Peter removed the head from the fourth vampire he turned to Jasper. “We should let that one go. He’ll tell others.” Peter walked slowly toward them. “The propaganda of war.” He grabbed the vampire’s fingers and snapped them off, making him scream. His hand clamped around the smaller vampire’s throat and pulled him from Jasper’s grasp. He turned him to face Jasper. “Remember his face. That’s the God of War.” Peter’s fingers dug into the weakly struggling vampire’s neck and he pointed at Jasper. “He defends Maria’s land.” His eyes flicked up to Jasper’s and at Jasper’s nod he bit the smaller vampire’s jaw and injected his venom.
The captive vampire screamed louder as the sizzling venom worked its way through his veins. When the wails quieted to whimpers, Peter finally pulled his teeth away. “Don’t come back.”
Jasper grabbed the vampire by his jaw and held him up at his eye level. When Peter released him, Jasper blasted him with terror. “Stay out of Maria’s lands or I’ll make you watch as I burn you piece by piece.” He flung him away and he tumbled over the cracked earth.
The small male scrambled to his feet, clutched his maimed and bleeding hand to his chest and raced to the north.
Jasper and Peter silently gathered the other appendages and headless torsos, making a pile. Jasper handed a box of matches to Peter. As Peter struck a match and tossed it onto the venom-coated bodies, Jasper turned to face him.
“I won’t end you,” he repeated. “I only know one way to keep Maria away from you,” he murmured as he looked back into the spreading blue and orange flames.
“What way?” Peter asked, his head down and staring into the flames.
“Claim you as mine.”
“Do it,” Peter said, setting his jaw as his deep red eyes darkened to black.
Jasper lowered his head, closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. He had never hesitated in doing what he needed to do to achieve his objective or maintain control, but in that he hesitated. He hadn’t wanted to do that to Peter again.
He saw no other way.
When he opened his eyes and looked up at Peter he pushed a thick cloud of lust at him, giving him time to get away—time to change his mind. Jasper hadn’t given him a choice before, but he would that time.
Peter moaned, his head fell back, and his hands drew up to his chest. “Just … just do it.”
Jasper was instantly behind him and shoved him down onto his hands and knees, ripping his shirt from his body.
In shock, he stared at the long, thick scars that ran jaggedly down Peter’s back and around his sides. He hadn’t received them when fighting with the other newborns. Jasper knew Maria had been the one to inflict those wounds.
Those gashes had been opened and reopened; corrupted repeatedly with her foreign venom, making them wider with each slice of her teeth. Jasper could imagine that matching scars plagued Peter’s chest and abdomen also.
They resembled scars that she had carved into his own skin many years before.
He had not known. He had not been aware. Somehow, Peter had managed to block the fiery agony of those recurring lacerations and had kept it from him. But, why would he have confided in Jasper? Jasper had abused and mistreated him as badly as the other newborns. Jasper had not given him any reason to trust him.
Then he understood the sentences Peter had not completed—what he had not said.
He suddenly wondered why he cared. He had never cared about any of them.
His jaw clenched as he hissed and roughly forced Peter’s pants down his thighs, exposing more wide scars. He freed his own hardening dick and pushed more lust into Peter, but tempered it with compassion instead of submission and subservience.
Allowing himself to succumb to the lust, venom welled up in Jasper’s mouth, and he coated his right hand with venom before gripping his dick. He slid his left hand over Peter’s shoulder and enveloped him with relief and acceptance. Jasper couldn’t help the feeling of possessiveness that began to build with the compounding lust. When he felt the tension in Peter’s muscles ease the slightest amount he slowly thrust into him, moaning and curling over his back.
He sucked in a ragged breath and guided his left hand down Peter’s scarred back, around his waist and up his stomach to his chest, trailing his fingers over the ragged welts left behind by Maria’s sadistic games, drawing him upright. Peter was breathing heavily and spread his fingers over Jasper’s hand and forearm that was across his chest and holding him.
With his right hand, Jasper brushed the hair away from the left side of Peter’s neck and tilted his head to the right. He groaned into his ear, thrusting into him again. Jasper began to growl as his lips trailed down the scarred skin of Peter’s neck, and he slowly placed his teeth over the thick muscle at the top of his shoulder. “Peter, you are mine now.”
-oOoOo- the end -oOoOo-