Edward tried to ignore the various voices of his family chatting happily and to concentrate on the counterpoint to all the excitement inside: Jasper sitting in the dark out front on the stairs, lightly strumming random chords on his guitar as it seemed. However, the older vampire's soft humming completed the music to a song Edward didn't know but felt that it carried a certain melancholy with it.

Letting his mind reach out tentatively to Jasper, he only heard what probably were the words to the song he was humming. Jasper had been distant lately, more distant than usual and especially at night he seemed to be struck by a strange sense of melancholy that echoed through the dark with every single harmony he played.

Edward left the crowded living room almost unnoticed, slipping out into the dark night. He hovered uncertainly when Jasper didn't react to his presence and just kept on strumming. Eventually he sat down on the steps next to older vampire in companionable silence, staring into the dark. His eyes fell on Jasper when the music stopped abruptly.

"What do you want, Edward?"

"You looked like you could do with some company."

Jasper picked up the playing again, the melody soft. "What's the song called?"

The older vampire didn't look up. "Hard times come again no more."

They fell back into silence until the music stopped again. "Look, we don't have to this... you really don't need to keep me company."

"I want to."

And finally Edward could feel Jasper's resolve weaken, his thoughts only a scramble of fragments.

"Talk to me, Jasper."

The soft music started floating in the air again and Jasper kept staring out into the distance.

"I just can't stand it to be the only one not being able to control myself. I really want to but it's just so... difficult and all of you, you in particular, make it look so easy."

Strangely enough Jasper realised it felt good to finally talk someone, even if it was the one person whose self-control he loathed the most. Strangely, it was exactly this moment that made him feel warm again instead of the cold that constantly seeped through his every being. Jasper tensed momentarily when Edward's arm came around his shoulder in a gesture of comfort but soon relaxed.

"Thank you. For being here, I mean."

"Anytime, Jasper."

Edward got up again and was about to make his way back inside when the soft sound of Jasper's singing made him stop and hover for a while.

"There's a song, the sigh of the weary, hard times, hard times, come again no more. Many days you have lingered around my cabin door, oh hard times come again no more."

Jasper would get over this, Edward was sure. And if his friendship and guidance could help him, he was more than willing to offer.

He turned to go back inside and the quiet 'thank you' that filtered into his mind in that Southern lilt made him smile as the melodious song floated lightly through the air. Things would get better for him. Eventually.