Jasper rolled off of me with a contented sigh, kissing my forehead lightly. I closed my eyes and smiled. He did this every time, and it never got old. At first the kiss had been hesitant, a way of asking "was this okay?", but now he was starting to get more comfortable with our intimacy, and the kiss was a habit.

I propped myself up on my elbow, watching as he lay back on the scratchy hotel sheets, eyes closed. The edges of his lips were curled up slightly, not quite a smile, but at ease. I loved to watch him when he let his guard down like this. Lying there, still relishing in the previous moment, he was so at peace, and that was so rare that I relished the opportunity to see it.

I knew I should curl into his side like I usually did, laying my cheek on his bare chest before he caught me staring at him and put his shirt back on, but this time I couldn't stop watching the undisturbed posture of my beautiful, naked man. He always tried to dress so quickly afterwards, reaching for his shirt as soon as the post-coital haze lifted. By cuddling up to him, I could usually delay this, if not prevent it.

A lock of his messy, blond hair hung across his forehead. I brushed it aside with the pad of my thumb, rubbing the same half-circle over and over. His forehead was one of the few places that I could stroke without him tensing up because I was accidentally tracing a scar. When we made love was the only time he let himself relax enough to let me touch them.

"Your favorite spot," Jasper sighed wryly, without opening his eyes.

It had become a thing I did. I frequently ran my fingers over his forehead when we were lying in bed, because it was the only spot that was always safe. It frustrated him. He knew that I just wanted to be close to him when I ran my hand along his arm, or any other part of his body that was covered in scars, but he tensed involuntarily and shut down. There were too many painful memories.

"It's not my fault your hair is always in your face," I teased, running my hand into his curly mane, and tousling it, in an attempt at levity.

Jasper chuckled in spite of himself.

I sat on Jasper, my jean covered legs on either side of his lap. My head was pressed to his chest as I absently traced the constellations of scars on his back through his thin, blue t-shirt. His hand raked through my hair, pulling me tightly to him as my fingers continued to skim over the same patterns again and again.

When I focused again, he was frowning, and rolled onto his side, wrapping his arm around my waist.

I kissed him softly on the lips. "What is it?"

His gaze was on my shoulder, anywhere but my face really, as he answered, "I wish you didn't have to worry about making me anxious. I don't want to be anxious every time you touch me."

"Someday," I smiled wistfully, sliding myself to lay flat again, and tilting his chin up with the tips of my fingers so that he faced me.

"You've seen it?"

I nodded.

"When?"

I sighed. "I don't know."

He let his head fall against my shoulder again, and I slid my hand between his neck and the bed, so that I could pull him tightly to me. I held him like this in silence for a long time, my nose buried in his hair, breathing him in, our bodies casually intertwined.

Jasper's head was turned to stare at me, coral eyes gleaming nervously, as I traced my fingers along the deep ridges that crisscrossed his bicep. He lay his hand on top of mine, not stopping its movement on his arm.

"Why don't they repulse you?" he asked softly. "You look at them with reverence. They're not something to be proud of…" he trailed off, looking away toward the patch of sunlight streaming through the thick curtains.

"Whether you like them or not, they're part of who you are—"

He scowled.

"As long as I've known you—as long as I've seen you—you've had scars. And I love you. All of you. Scars and all.

I punctuated this by kissing the area under my hand, as Jasper turned back to me, wide-eyed.

I smiled, pressing my lips to his curls. He was going to at least be able to talk about soon.

"You're happier," he noted, face still pressed to the smooth skin of my chest.

"It's going to get easier."

He sighed, and pushed himself up to sit, eyes darting around the dim room, searching for his shirt.

"Soon," I added, as he swung his feet over the edge of the bed, and bent to retrieve his underwear.

"How can you tell its soon?" he asked, resting his head in his hands.

"Your eyes," I answered, kneeling behind him. "In my vision they haven't fully changed."

He scoffed. "That could just mean that it's after I—we both know that I'm going to mess up again."

I pressed my chest to his back, wrapping my arms tightly around him, and resting my head in the crook of his neck. "I'm an optimist."

"I love that about you," he murmured quietly, pressing the side of his head against mine.

I pursed my lips together as a dull ache formed behind my eyes at his admission. For someone who was constantly immersed in emotions, it was unlike him to be so frank about his own.

He pressed back against me, continuing, "Your hope. I've been happier this month than I can ever remember being…I want you to be able to touch me the way you want to."

"And that's probably why its going to get easier for you, because you want it to so badly."

"You think that's enough?"

"You're stronger than you think you are," I told him

He shook his head, letting it bow forward again.

"You are," I assured him, kissing the back of his neck. "But, I'm not going to push you. When you're ready—"

"Try it," he said suddenly, lifting his head.

"Try…?"

"I want to see if I can be as strong as you think I am, so…pick one."

"You're sure?"

He nodded. Jasper's head was turned to stare at me, coral eyes gleaming nervously, as I traced my fingers along the deep ridges that crisscrossed his bicep. He lay his hand on top of mine, not stopping its movement on his arm.

"Why don't they repulse you?" he asked softly. "You look at them with reverence. They're not something to be proud of…" he trailed off, looking away toward the patch of sunlight streaming through the thick curtains.

"Whether you like them or not, they're part of who you are—"

He scowled.

"As long as I've known you—as long as I've seen you—you've had scars. And I love you. All of you. Scars and all.

I punctuated this by kissing the area under my hand, continuing down his arm with my lips, as Jasper turned back to me, wide-eyed. When I reached his hand, he gently cupped my chin and drew me into a deep kiss. My hand continued to caress the puckered skin of his arm. After a few minutes, I slid on his lap to straddle him. He purred as I settled down onto him, leaning over so the kiss wasn't broken as I rocked against him. It was slow, building and building. There was no crying out this time, our lips were fused together. The world got bright behind my closed eyes, as a surge of love and happiness tore through us both.

Jasper fell back onto the mattress, pulling me with him. I lay with my head on his chest, and stroked his side with my knuckles.

"Thank you," he whispered, his arm wrapped tightly around my body.

I tilted my head up to face him. "What for?"

"For making me believe I was strong enough."

"You are."

He sighed, "Just keep telling me that when I'm not."

I smiled, kissing his chest. "One day at a time, my love. You can do it."

For happiness is anyone, and anything at all, that's loved by you, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown