Disclaimer: Not mine, not profiting, etc.

Love remains the same

It had been like this as long as he could remember. The practiced technique of drawing attention away, their eyes flitting to everywhere but the sight of their fingers moving, needy and possessive, over the smallest patches of exposed skin. The smooth, undisturbed conversation, absent of the slightest hitch of breath, even when those fingers traveled dangerously to hypersensitive places. Jasper was the daring one, usually finding Edward's hand, deceptively casual but resolutely firm, clamped down on his wrist before he could really start to tease. They had spent more than enough time alone and uninterrupted for both of them to discover each other's kinks and idiosyncrasies. Jasper dared because he found that nothing pleased him more than pushing the limits of Edward's irritating and seemingly flawless self-control. When he did manage to catch Edward by surprise, he would gleefully note Edward's jaw tighten imperceptibly, as if in an effort to shift and reshape that self-control so it settled more tightly against him. But sometimes, Edward's teeth flashed instead, for the slightest fraction of a heated second to knick his bottom lip, and Jasper would have to steel himself against the gut-clenching urge to lean over and lick across the mark he imagined would be there if Edward was fragile and human.

Alice knew, he was sure of it, and he wondered what she saw in her head. Perhaps their knuckles brushing lightly in the space between their bodies, or Jasper's tongue on Edward's skin, tracing foreign patterns in a way that reminded her of how it traveled on hers. Jasper wasn't ashamed, only regretful that she had to see them, see something that must make her line up Jasper's love for her and for Edward, painstakingly or maybe just unconsciously, to feel for a difference. She knew, he was sure of it. Yet neither of them had confirmed it aloud. He regarded what he had with Alice and with Edward as distinct entities that took up spaces a universe apart, one sacred in its finality and the other in its solitude. Alice, he guessed, simply accepted that he needed something she couldn't give, understood that Edward wasn't competition, just complementary.

But now, he wanted more than anything, maybe irrationally so, to quit these games of hiding and silencing. Games always ended in winners and losers, and he felt his mouth fill with venom and disgust at the thought of this absolutism. He wanted to touch Alice without anxiety discoloring the space between them like a bruise spreading dully and uncontrollably over delicate skin. He wanted to slide his fingers across the smooth paleness where Edward's shirt and jeans didn't meet without casual pretense. He couldn't deny that he was selfish; he discovered long ago that losing his humanness hadn't meant losing the failings that came with it. Still, he also felt the uneasiness that tangled insidiously around Alice and Edward. Alice, artfully concealing a game she was forced to play and Edward, so far from wanting to quit but dangerously close to needing it.

"This," he said finally while waving his hands vaguely around and pacing the length of the living room, "needs to stop."

Edward's eyebrows drew together in confusion and then concern as Jasper's words settled heavily on their chests.

"What do you mean?" Jasper knew Edward's question was an old, human habit that muddled his actual intent.

"No, not us." Jasper shook his head impatiently. "This."

A tangible, shameless relief set in. Jasper only had the chance to swallow before Edward crossed the distance between them to cover Jasper's body against the wall with his own, their hips converging to a single, unseen pleasure point.

"This?" Edward teased and a breath-filled moan slipped too easily through Jasper's lips.

"Stop distracting me." Jasper tried for irritated but failed pathetically. "I mean it."

"I know." Edward leaned in carelessly for a light, open-mouthed caress. "I have no objections."

"That was insultingly easy." A smile sneaked onto Jasper's lips. The warm weight of contentment pressed down on them with welcomed pressure.

"Do you want me to make it harder for you?" Edward punctuated the word with a purposeful thrust of his hips that made Jasper slide his eyelids shut and leave finger-shaped marks on Edward's arms. White heat curled through his insides that made him wondrously aware of how cold he was everywhere else. A small, ridiculous part of him also imagined that they had dented the wall.

"Be my guest," Jasper replied, fingertips taking the long, heady journey from Edward's cheekbones to his waistband, eyes still tightly closed because nothing was better than feeling.