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With Each Breathing

It was a conundrum, Jasper's quiet, steady way of controlling others when he couldn't even control himself. Edward imagined the fragility that made Jasper turn away from his reflection more often than his scars, afraid that its intensity would be enough to negate the hardness of his skin. That he made his great escape outward to make up for his weakness, repairing or exploiting everyone else with a streak of ruthlessness, the telltale sign of helpless overcompensation.

Edward was the exception. Because only he was allowed those sacred glimpses of Jasper's otherness that Alice thought she knew. Because, in return, Edward offered his own thread of fragility that he hadn't needed to dig so deep to find. Now that thread was wrapped in painstaking, undoable knots around Jasper's fingers; all Jasper had to do was pull and Edward's world would open and close, shape and shift to a gentle whim. Jasper didn't abuse this power and Edward didn't mind it. They gave each other something that was sweet and foreign, like silkily spiced tea from the outer reaches of a place unexplored and compelling in their combined imaginations.

Still Edward admitted silently that he was afraid, at times, of this thing that existed within him and beyond him, that extended in unknowable ways to Jasper and spoke of a thick depth in which he willingly submerged himself. Whenever he stretched over Jasper's body, aware of each nerve ending that mapped their proximity, he took his fingers on a slow journey across unyielding skin that still trembled delicately like petals under a gauzy rain curtain. And whenever Jasper or he took a breath, out of habit and the need to inhale everything precious in those moments, he remembered that instead of humanness, they had forever.