Disclaimer: Not mine, etc.

All Going Down

He leaned in for the finale that was more bitter than sweet.

"Jasper, don't," but he couldn't and was viciously glad there was nothing beating in his chest that could break from the heaviness behind those two little words.

For a wild, senseless moment, he wondered if they looked like sculptures, carved deftly by hands that knew what was beautiful and tragic. Lips against lips, they were absolutely still for a time that would have been uncomfortably long for a human, but was unbearably brief for Jasper.

Finally, he dragged his mouth away with an unconscious shudder that spoke of regret that would last him a handful of human lifetimes. His fingertips remained frozen against Edward's cheek and he wondered if he would ever learn to stop touching, seeking what he had believed was indisputably his.

"Jasper, please." Edward's voice lifted and fell in unison with his left foot as he took a graceless step away. "We said – you promised –"

Something ugly and furious jerked reality off of its precarious axis. "What? That I would make this easy for you? That you would be able to leave with a smile and a bow? That we would be," Jasper was painfully close to a sneer, "civilized?"

Edward looked embarrassingly helpless and Jasper clenched his teeth against the rearing monster that clawed at the roof of his mouth.

Sometimes he plays their last, honest conversation on repeat in his head, knowing that Edward doesn't listen in anymore. He likes to believe that it's become habit more than anything else, but whenever he sees Bella, he feels old wounds tearing under a sheath of new skin, echoing pain that sounds fresh and gaudily red. And then he finds that nothing holds him back from imagining that Edward can hear it.