Jasper Whitlock changed directions in his hunt for food when the zesty scent of a unicorn touched his nose. He'd heard stories of what became of vampires who dared to kill one of those creatures and he had no desire to either prove or disprove the rumors. It had taken the vampire a while to become used to the smell of magical creatures. Too long had he been tethered to the non-magical world with his family, moving endlessly to various small towns and trying to pretend to be something he wasn't. He would still be there with them had he not slipped and slaughtered Bella Swan in his uncontrollable urge to feed from a human.
He could still see the tragedy replay itself in his mind.
Jasper sat on the end of the couch rereading his 1879 copy of " Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia" while the rest of the family was out feeding. Feeling the need to be alone for a while, the blonde had decided to wait until they returned to find his own sustenance.
Much to his consternation, Edward's girlfriend Bella chose that moment to visit. When Jasper told the human bluntly that her boyfriend was away and not expected to return anytime soon, she had simply smiled in her own clueless manner, plopped herself down on the other end of the sofa and pulled out her cellphone to await his return. The girl couldn't take a hint to save her life… literally, as it turns out.
The civil war vampire could never say for sure what triggered the attack. He remembered getting increasingly agitated by the mechanical beeping of whatever game Swan had been playing on the device before he suddenly snapped. The next thing of which he was aware was the heavenly feeling of sinking his fangs deep into her carotid artery. Her brown eyes widened in horror as her delicious blood began flowing down Jasper's throat. The terrified and pained screams Bella emitted had only fueled his desire to completely consume her.
When he'd drank his fill, Jasper finally pulled back in time to see the light ultimately fade from her eyes. He would always feel a great sense of guilt that his first thought after dropping Bella Swan's lifeless corpse was how glad he was that her intrusive presence would never again serve to plague him. He was sorry for what his actions would cost his family, especially Edward, but Jasper would never regret giving into his not-so-hidden desires once more.
And that's what frightened him the most.
His family had forgiven him instantly… even Edward, much to Jasper's shock. In the midst of the chaotic rush to pack up and move, the blonde had asked his brother why he'd been so understanding. It turns out that the bronze-haired vampire had finally realized that the annoying human wasn't his mate when Alice met hers in a nomad who'd been passing through Forks two months prior to the slipup. Edward said he'd been trying to come up with a way to break things off with the human without risking exposure ever since his sister's discovery.
The second that Alice's eyes had caught those of Everett Warren, they had both felt an instant connection. The two had instinctively pulled closer together and whispered words of claiming. It had been the same for every true case of two souls joining since the dawn of time, and it was the first time Edward had ever witnessed the birth of the connection. His family had been telling him for ages that Bella wasn't his chosen, but it took actually seeing the truth for him to finally believe it.
Edward had then been forced to realize that he'd never felt that way about Bella. His struggles with that girl had been just that… a constant struggle. Nothing had ever been easy, and a vampire would never have the urge to feed from his mate! Though his brother had never voiced it out loud, Jasper assumed from the guilt he'd felt from the other that Edward was more than a bit relieved that the girl was dead. Both his sister and brother had unwittingly saved him from a lifetime of regret.
Though Jasper and Alice had been together a long time, both vampires had always known that they weren't soul mates. There had been an unspoken agreement between them from the first moment he took her into his bed that as soon as either of them found their destined mate, their relationship would end. Even knowing it had been coming didn't lessen the bittersweet taste in his mouth that, while she had found her chosen, Jasper was still alone. He was happy for her, make no mistake. After everything they had been through, she would always hold a place in his heart.
Knowing their sudden departure would be suspicious to the townspeople of Forks, especially as it would coincide with Bella's disappearance, the family decided to spend time living abroad. Alice and Everett had followed them, the latter having been talked into giving vegetarianism a try. The wolves would no doubt deduce the truth of the matter, so they all knew returning to Forks would never be an option while the Quileute tribe still lived there. Charlie Swan would most likely believe Bella had run away since Edward, in the effort of covering their tracks, had made it appear as if the girl had packed a bag and left of her own volition. He'd even thought to leave a note in an exact copy of Bella's handwriting stating Edward had broken up with her because he and his family were moving and she'd be away from home for a few days to come to terms with the loss.
After disposing of the human's remains, vehicle, and packed belongings at the bottom of a remote lake, the entire family rented a private jet and flew to Scotland. Once they had settled into their new life in a small town close to Glasgow, Jasper had broken the news to them that he wanted to strike out on his own for a while to come to terms with his momentary loss of control. Carlisle had taken him aside before he left to let him know that he would always be a treasured member of the family, no matter what decision he came to on his journey.
Though he would remain in touch with the others, he expressed a need to see something other than the inside of another high school. He needed to spread his proverbial wings and fly. He needed to go somewhere where he wasn't constantly tempted to slaughter humans. He needed to live.
He needed to… find out where that heavenly scent was coming from!
Changing directions yet again, Jasper followed the most intriguing aroma his nose had ever encountered. It wasn't food… absolutely not! He had no desire to harm whatever that was – quite the contrary, actually. Whenever he located its source he would admire it, cherish it, protect it, and beg it to follow him home so he could enjoy its intoxicating fragrance for all eternity. Jasper could only hope that whatever it was would be okay with that.
Words could never adequately describe the anger Harry Potter felt for Albus Fucking Dumbledore at this moment in time. After everything that had happened in his life… after every single trial he'd undergone in the name of the Light, the son of a whore felt the need to hide something of this magnitude from him?! The sight of Sirius' face as he fell backwards into the veil of death would forever haunt him. It could have all been avoided if Dumbledore had only been honest with him from the beginning!
But no… he'd been kept in the dark for the most stupid reason the manipulative old coot could invent. Was he seriously supposed to believe that the same man who had knowingly placed him at the doorstep of child abusers truly went to all this effort simply so he would be able to better enjoy his childhood? Had he ever even had the privilege of being a child? Dumbledore hadn't been overly concerned with him retaining his innocence when it came to the dangers he'd faced every fucking year since coming to school at the supposed "safest place in the wizarding world."
If this truly was the most protected place the magical world had to offer, then they were all well and truly buggered.
After his magical outburst had destroyed all of the stupid trinkets in Dumbledore's office, Harry had fled the school in a rage. The last thing he wanted to encounter was one of his so-called friends nagging him for details about his epic battle with Voldemort. Harry could count on one hand the people he felt were true friends to him and still have a finger left over. Neville, Luna, Fred, and George. Everyone else, as far as he was concerned, had either betrayed or belittled him at one point or another.
Any student who hadn't done either were simply not close enough to him to become a confidant.
Of course the entire magical community would argue that Ron and Hermione were his best friends, but they'd be wrong. Ron had never really been a true companion… befriending him was nothing more than a desperate attempt of a lonely boy to have someone on his side for once. Even Hermione was included simply because he felt sorry for her. He truly had never been able to stomach her haughty know-it-all bossiness. Why the girl constantly felt the need to lecture him as if she were his mother was beyond him.
Well Harry was tired of sitting back and listening to the crap those two kept spewing. Starting today, Harry James Potter was his own man and those who didn't like it could go avada themselves!
He entered the forbidden forest without hesitation and sat down with his back against a tall oak just inside the tree line. He wasn't suicidal enough to venture deep into the forest of death at night. Harry sighed and ran his fingers through the unruly mop on top of his head. Even though he hated Draco Malfoy with a fiery passion, he couldn't help but wonder how his life would have turned out if he'd accepted the prat's hand at their first meeting. Would he be in Slytherin? If he had been placed there, would he have been accepted among the children of Death Eaters, or would he have been smothered in his sleep? In any case, that fate would most likely have been preferable to the life he was now living.
Any house had to be better than the loud obnoxiousness of Gryffindor. He was sorely tempted to piss his teachers off for the rest of his magical education in order to see the hourglass belonging to the house of lions plummet.
Harry was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of a snapping branch in his vicinity. He was on his feet with his wand drawn in record time, but it wasn't needed. Standing before him was the most beautiful being he'd ever seen. The red eyes and pale skin told him this was a vampire, but if it was his time to die Harry could think of no better way to go than in the arms of this magnificent creature.
Something deep within his chest seemed to take over his body, for he lowered his wand and whispered, "Mine."
"Mine," the vampire answered, and before Harry knew it he was being held by the other.
For the first time in his entire existence, Harry Potter truly felt safe.
Jasper, once he regained control of his senses, backed up a bit in order to fully take in the sight of his mate. The boy was beyond beautiful, despite his current bedraggled appearance. The robes he was wearing was full of burn marks and blood stains. Raven-colored hair was plastered against sweaty skin, and the greenest set of eyes he had ever seen in his one hundred fifty-two years of walking this earth were partially hidden by a pair of old glasses with cracked frames.
He was a mess.
Once the vampire realized some of the blood on his wizard was his own, he felt an indescribable rage take over. Someone had hurt his mate! He was going to rip that person apart and bathe in their blood! He hadn't realized he'd began growling in a feral manner until he felt slight fear come from the other. Jasper immediately silenced himself and sent out vibes of reassurance and peace. "Don't be scared. You don't ever have to be scared of me," he said as he cupped the boy's face. "My name is Jasper Whitlock… what's yours?"
"Harry Potter," he said and Jasper frowned in concern at the way Harry seemed to brace himself after speaking his name. When Jasper didn't give whatever reaction he'd been expecting, the wizard instantly relaxed. "I love your accent. Where are you from?"
They both sat side by side against the tree, already completely at ease with each other.
Jasper smiled, feeling giddy that he had found his other half so soon after losing Alice to her mate. "I was born in the United States… Texas to be exact." For the first time in his entire existence he told his story to someone without hesitation. He wanted Harry to know everything about him… needed to disclose every bit of information. Even Alice had struggled to pull odds and ends from him throughout the years.
What made the process even sweeter was the fact that his beautiful wizard had never once felt an ounce of pity in regards to anything he'd been told. He'd emitted feelings of joy, sorrow, compassion, and pride. No one else had been able to listen to his tale without feeling sorry for him at some point.
Once he'd finished with the entire saga of his life, Harry had stared at him in amazement. "Wow! I can't imagine how strong you must be to have fought so many battles and lived." The wizard reached out and shyly ran his fingers over the pale hand Jasper had propped on his upraised knee.
With a smile Jasper opened his hand and interlocked their fingers. "I think a lot of it was due more to luck rather than skill… especially in the beginning. What about you, Harry? What's your story?"
The wizard sighed as he began detailing his own life. Jasper couldn't believe how many horrors could be packed in a mere fifteen… nearly sixteen years! As the tale continued, the vampire made careful mental notes of everyone he was going to have to kill for daring to bring harm to his soul mate. He would happily start with the boy's aunt, uncle, and cousin.
By the time they had both finished recounting their past experiences the moon was high in the sky. Knowing his mate was still in school, Jasper asked, "Aren't you supposed to be in bed by now? Don't they do a bed check?"
Harry scoffed. "I don't give a fuck about what they want anymore. Soon they'll be shipping me back to the Dursleys; Sirius is dead and with him went my final chance for freedom." Unable to hold back his grief over the death of his godfather any longer, he collapsed into Jasper's arms and screamed his anguish into the vampire's black silk shirt. "Oh Merlin why can't they just leave me alone! They want me to save them, but right now I just want them all to fucking burn!"
Jasper held tightly to his mate. He would be happy to destroy the entire wizarding world himself if it would please the young wizard in his arms. "Then let them burn, Harry. Let them all burn."
Harry sighed despondently after rubbing his eyes beneath his glasses. "Will I ever see you again, Jasper?"
The vampire chuckled and lifted Harry's chin up to meet his gaze. "You're my soul mate, Harry. I'm afraid you're stuck with me now." He thought for a moment. "Have you ever thought of becoming emancipated?"
The raven-haired boy stared up into the darkness. "Dumbledore would never allow that… and I wouldn't even begin to know how to go about doing it if he did."
Scowling at the audacity of this Dumbledore man, Jasper said, "And why does the headmaster of your school have any say in your life? This man is the one who placed you with your relatives when your godfather hadn't yet committed a crime, he forces you to return there each year despite obvious signs of neglect and abuse, and then he neglects to tell you about a so-called prophecy that may or may not be about you."
"You think it may be false," Harry asked hopefully.
Jasper squeezed his mate's hand. "I think that Dumbledore can't be trusted, Harry. I don't know if the prophecy is true, but even if it is, do you really want to save the same people who keep beating you down every time the wind changes direction?"
Harry stared at the blonde beside him, processing his words. After a few moments of thought he shook his head. "No… no I really don't."