Disclaimer: I don't own any of the copyrighted stuff.

Author's note: So, here's the epilogue. I want to say a big thanks to ms-ambrosia for holding my hand through this. That lady has put up with a lot from me recently, and I love her real hard! She pre-read and beta'd this for me last minute because she's amazing like that. I think I should also mention that we're going from past to present tense and from third to first person in this. Enjoy! I'll blather more at the bottom.

This day is my last as a member of the Volturi guard. When I first entered the stone antechamber of the appointed rulers of the vampire world, it was with a burden I felt my immortality could not bear. That was twenty-seven years, seven months, and three days in the past. Since, I have come to imagine Volterra as my home; my position with the guard a necessity. I am a different man than the one that entered with a head full of sorrows.

Remembering what it felt like to be alone in the world, I lower my face to my hands, rubbing my cheeks and reveling in the unforgotten anguish because it was what brought me to him. I have learned that joy indeed can ride on the coattails of grief, and that it is not sinful to have it.

He has taught me not to merely exist, but to live.

I am alive, though not in the same sense as a human. My heart might not beat, but it is full; I might not need to breath, but I enjoy it, because every breath in his presence delivers his scent to me. Over the years, I've grown accustomed to the changes in his scent that accompany his moods. When he is blissful, he smells like the sand and sweet zephyr; when he is angry, he smells like cinnamon, and when he takes me in the circle of his arms, he smells like unrefined sugar. I know all of him, not because I can read his mind, but because he is as much a part of me as my leg, my shoulder, or my fingers.

I hear him approaching, the light cadence of his footsteps composing a rhythm that has become my heartbeat, and I am about to turn around when his steadfast arms grasp my hips.

"Edward," he whispers, my name passing from him to me like a secret. "Are you ready?"

"Yes, I am," I reply just as softly, entwining my fingers with his. The sensation of his skin against mine still causes a heady thrill to trickle through me, and I sigh, leaning into him. "I am ready for my only commitment to be to you, Demetri."

Placing his cheek on my shoulder, he turns his face towards me, and I seek out his mouth. My bottom lip fits between his with a familiarity that is dear to me, and I delight in the warmth of it before opening my mouth. He turns me towards him, our lips parting only long enough for me to remember why I need him; that does not take long. Moving his hands upwards, his palms press against my chest, traversing the flesh that would be ash if not for his guidance. They rest on my face, and he pulls back, but not before pressing the softness of his lips to each corner of mine.

"I love you," he says, the seemingly redundant statement supplemented by the openness of his expression. Demetri's mind is a mesh of colors and shapes, his thoughts transcending any words.

"Do you have everything you need?" I ask, slipping my fingers through his belt loops.

"Already in the car," he replies. Leaning down, he places a swift kiss on my neck before releasing me.

"We won't be returning for anything, will we?" I walk towards my bag and look back at him. He shakes his head.

"Not for at least a few years. I fully plan on being very selfish and keeping you to myself," Demetri chuckles, walking to the door and holding it open. He catches my hand as I go to exit, taking my bag so that he may carry it. I laugh at him, ever genteel.

When we leave, we will travel to Portovenere on the Gulf of Poets. My commitment to Aro, at his words, has been fulfilled, and I will now only be tied to Demetri. Many have asked us why we did not join sooner, but we had both agreed that we wanted to be committed only to one another, not to the Volturi. We finally will be able to do that. Few will be in attendance, neither of us wanting our marriage to be one for show, but simply desiring to be united formally as so many other couples do.

Although it feels incredibly silly after decades together, Demetri insists we drive separate vehicles to Portovenere; he says just because we're untraditional doesn't mean we can't follow a few traditions. The ceremony is to take place at dusk, a good choice considering the sun is shining brightly, but Alice has promised we will not be revealed.

Demetri asks me if there is anyone I would like to say goodbye to. I tell him no, everyone I care to see will be in Portovenere, including Aro with Sulpicia accompanied by Renata, although he invited himself. My family will be there, as well as Bella and Jacob. From the guard, Felix, Kelly, and Chelsea will be attending.

Only a few years ago had Aro even started considering letting us leave. Kelly had fine-tuned her tracking abilities almost twenty years prior, but Aro made excuses, citing he needed me. Finally, after a strangely long time had passed, Salvatore – the vampire we had approached on my first mission with the guard – decided to join the Volturi ranks. Aro was positively gleeful because Salvatore's abilities surpassed mine, and when I approached him with the idea of leaving, he graciously took only three years to consider it.

Carlisle is waiting for me in the parking garage; he is my mentor, has been for over a century, so I requested that he accompany me to Portovenere. Over the years, we have had a few visits, but I have not had uninterrupted hours with him for nearly three decades. I look forward to our time together.

The distance is a bit less than one hundred miles, and normally it would take over two hours. Carlisle is a speedy driver, but has learned to take his time when compared with others of our kind. I estimate perhaps an hour and a half at most to get us to our location.

Embracing me as well as Demetri, Carlisle smiles, making me feel content in the way only a father's approval can. His hand lingers on my shoulder and he squeezes, nodding.

"Are we set?" Carlisle asks while Demetri puts my bag in the car. My formal clothing is already awaiting me in Portovenere, and the bag contains the few things I will be taking with me when Demetri and I leave Italy. He has yet to tell me how we'll be spending our time, or where we'll be going, but it matters little.

"Yes we are," I reply, speaking to Carlisle but watching Demetri. I walk over to him as he closes the trunk of the car and I wrap my arms around him. There are only four short hours we are to be parted, but being faced with them, I realize how much I will miss him.

Squeezing me tightly, he kisses my cheek. I know that were I human, he would most definitely be crushing me; it's one of the many reasons I have to be glad I am invincible.

"I love you," I say, returning his kiss on the cheek. "I'll be seeing you. Soon," I add.

His boyish smirk appears on his features, and he looks every bit the twenty-year-old man that he is frozen as; we are frozen together.

Although we have only been separated a few hours, I find myself nervous about what is approaching. I glance in the mirror more than I normally would, taking care to smooth my lapels and straighten my tie. I think twice when beginning to flatten my hair; the wind will surely be so great that it will not matter. I picture him, waiting for me by stone and sea, upturned lips and eyes the color of straw, and my chest flutters.

"We should be leaving, Edward," Carlisle says, walking towards the door. I nod and follow him.

Finding myself by the exit, I remember the gift I have for Demetri. How is it that someone with a supposed perfect memory could almost forget something so important? I chuckle to myself, still in awe of the affect he has on me. When we are parted, nothing else sits at the forefront of my thoughts except for getting back to him.

We leave the hotel, walking to our location. Our few guests will have already gathered, and beautiful anticipation coils in my stomach. I feel so brilliantly and passionately alive. The setting sun sits, peeking over the horizon, its last rays paying mind to keep away from us while still allowing me to enjoy their glow, as though this day – this moment – were a fated thing. I believe with each piece of my soul that it is.

Carlisle puts his arm over my shoulders, passersby assume we are old friends, if only they knew how old. Never much for physical affection, I know that my giddy mood has rubbed off on him.

Everything brings a smile to my face, from the wind carrying the scent of the sea, to the muted sounds of birds in the air. Nothing compares to the perfect orchestration that nature's simple joys provide, and I am thankful that I now allow myself to notice them.

We arrive to the ruins overlooking the Gulf of Poets, and I see our guests milling about. The ceremony will be very informal - no pomp and circumstance, no aisles, only a gathering of friends. I do not see him yet, and I find myself rising to the balls of my feet, attempting to search him out. Carlisle laughs at me, and I look towards him, grinning.

Aro approaches us, his face cracked in an open-mouthed smile. Not even the sight of him makes me any less blissful.

"Dear, young man," he says, clasping my hand. "I shall miss you immensely! Your service has been most useful, and it has been an absolute pleasure working with you." His thoughts tell differently. "The joy I feel for you and Demetri is simply unfathomable."

"Thank you, Aro," I reply.

I honestly want to snicker, because he knows that I am aware he's lying. Over time, Aro and I have come to a mutual understanding; that is, we don't question each other. Even though he has replacements, Aro is still not used to losing members of his guard except for a rare death. I must give him credit where it's due, however, because he has handled the situation with poise, so we are parting on good terms.

Trying to see Demetri again, Bella and Jacob find me. My smile grows in size at seeing Bella, forty-five years old. Her mahogany hair is streaked around her face with silver. Tiny laugh lines show on her face, and she has a crinkly-eyed smile, so similar to that of her father. She looks beautiful, and I hug her loosely, noticing her hips are a bit wider than the last time we had embraced. After I left Forks, she and Jacob wed, and now have three grown children. I have not seen her except for once, many years ago, and through family pictures and letters sent in reply to the birthday cards Demetri and I are sure to send. I am still thankful for every day she lives.

"I'm so glad you two could make it," I say honestly. I nod towards Jacob and shake his hand.

"We couldn't very well turn down a free overseas vacation," Jacob laughs, smiling despite his nervous thoughts. He has not phased into a wolf for nearly twenty years, but still has trepidations about being around so many vampires. I cannot blame him. He still looks very much the way I remember him – of course at that time, he could have passed for nearly thirty - seeming much younger than Bella. I hope it does not bother her too much. They seem to be very happy.

"I apologize I wasn't able to pick you up—" I start.

"No, don't apologize," Bella interrupts. "We got to visit with Alice and Jasper, which was wonderful." Her smile is lovely, and I have to hug her again; she was the beginning of my happily ever after, and I owe her so much that I can never repay.

"Thank you," I mumble into her hair.

I begin to look for Demetri again over Bella's shoulder, and I am starting to wonder if he is hiding.

"I'm going to look for Demetri," I say, letting Bella go and nodding at Jacob once again.

Esme and Alice find me before I get very far, and they greet me as we exchange embraces. I do not spend long speaking with them, because the longer I go without finding Demetri, the more anxious I become.

Our vows will take place by an aging stone arch by the sea, a flight of stairs leading down to it. I walk to the top of the stairs and look down. I see him. Carlisle has already made his way down, and Demetri is talking to him and smiling. Rosalie, Emmett, Chelsea and Jasper stand with him, and, not for the first time, I take pleasure at the way my family is so smitten with him. Even Rosalie adores him; she will not admit to it out loud, but it's quite obvious in the way she will actually engage him in conversation.

If I needed to breathe, I am sure at this moment I would not be able to. This moment I cannot move, speak, or think of anything that is not him. A tinge of color decorates his cheeks, and the wind causes his long hair to swirl around, the brown locks whispering across his beatific face the way my fingers are itching to. His suit is off-white and linen; he wears no tie and has left several buttons undone. Looking more at home than I have ever seen him, the backdrop of the crashing waves and casual clothing suits him, and I suddenly cannot wait to get him on his own.

I struggle to keep it human as I walk down the stairs; for the first time since becoming an immortal I fear I might trip, so I watch my feet.

Once I reach him, I push past the members of my family so that I may entwine my fingers with his, my other hand tucking the windswept tendrils of his hair behind his ear. I smile at him, and he returns it. I lean in to kiss him, but he turns his head.

"You're impatient," he chides. "Can you not wait twenty minutes after nearly thirty years?"

I shake my head and look down. "I would imagine you're right," I bring my eyes to meet his, "I've grown so used to instant gratification."

"Hey, now, bro," Rosalie interjects, "some things can stay private, especially talk of your gratification." Her tone is joking, and she smiles. I take a moment to greet the rest of my family members and Chelsea before Carlisle speaks.

"Are you two ready to begin?"

"Yes," I answer, and never have I meant a word more.

"Absolutely," Demetri says, gripping my hand tightly.

"Come closer, everyone," Carlisle says, gesturing with his hands to our friends and family to move closer. Out of the corner of my eye I see Felix, running down the stairs with Kelly over his shoulder. I snicker quietly as they come closer, Kelly's giggles accompanying the sound of the water.

"Everyone settled?" Carlisle asks, looking pointedly at Felix. He snorts and nods.

"We all know why we are here," Carlisle starts. He stands in the archway in front of us, our guests standing in a half-circle around it. "I am joyous to say, that after almost a century and a half, Edward here, has found someone to put up with him."

The small crowd laughs and I join in, quirking an eyebrow at Carlisle.

"In all seriousness," he continues, "Edward was the first real family I had in this life, and seeing him the way he is now is like a final piece of a puzzle finding its place." He shifts his gaze from the crowd to me. "Edward, you are my son, and I am proud of that."

"Now, with that being said, I want to say a few words about love and commitment.

"Love redeems us, when we feel we are unredeemable. Love teaches us to trust. It gives us strength when we are at our most weak. Above all, even when we are at our lowest point, love can bring us back from it. Love is found, at times, even when it is not sought. That is one of the miracles we can see happening on a day to day basis, but often times unnoticed.

"Commitment means a completely different thing to those of our kind. When you are an immortal," Carlisle is sure to keep his voice low when speaking of immortality, "and you promise forever, you quite literally must mean it. I have no doubts that these two do."

"I am elated that Demetri will be an official part of my family now. He has been a part of it for years, but this makes it formal," Carlisle smiles and claps Demetri on the back. "Be kind to each other. Trust each other. Love one another without measure or thoughts of an end," he finishes.

"Demetri and Edward have prepared a few things they would like to say to one another," Carlisle says, the volume of his voice rising again. I am nervous; I have one chance to speak to him on this, and I am worried to muck things up. I nod to Demetri, indicating he should speak first. Smiling, he begins.

"Edward. When I first met you, I thought you were an idiot, and I felt sorry for you. However, I did think you were very nice to look at." More laughter comes from our guests; Demetri loves being the center of attention. "But what I felt for you quickly moved into something else. I can't even begin to explain how it is possible that I feel more for you every day, but I do. I imagine, by the time the world ends, I'll be completely useless for anything else but to love you." Everyone has grown quiet, their laughter fading as Demetri turns serious.

"Edward," he starts again, "when humans are the myth, there are no stars in the sky, and words no longer make sense, I will still love you. That is my promise to you, and I do not break promises." He reaches out, swiping his index finger across my cheek, his expression somber. "There is so much more I could say to tell you how much I adore you, but I would much rather finish this up so I can show you," he finishes. I want to blush at his implication; instead I let out a nervous chortle.

His words are simple, but I know how thoroughly he means them. I am enamored by his unquestioning adoration. The way that he loves me is complete and unselfish, always has been, and I return every bit of it.

I swallow thickly as he returns both of his hands to mine. Everything I had wanted to say has become unimportant; the countless hours I spent practicing in front of the mirror I have forgotten, and I simply speak.

"Demetri," I look down at our interlaced fingers, "when I met you, you annoyed me." I smile, deciding that if he could start with humor, then so could I. "You annoyed me because you had this horrible habit of being right all the time, and for some reason, you did not want me wallowing in grief. I couldn't understand why. I loathed myself so much; there was no way I could comprehend why another would see anything redeemable in me. I thought that maybe your intent was to torment me further," I chuckle and look at him. With his gaze, he is opening me up, enabling me to speak without fear of fumbling. I know that he loves me even if I were to insist on leaving this instant.

"The thing is, I have come to look at my desperation and grief as one of the most beautiful and loving gifts I could have received. Without having been so utterly broken, so twisted with guilt and self-loathing, I could never, even in my wildest imaginings, realized the basest thing about myself. You were there to help me understand; you were there with more patience and more kindness than anyone could have expected, and you did it out of pure affection. You knew there was possibly nothing in it for you, yet you were there for me regardless.

"Because of you, I know that just because I am no longer human, it does not mean I am damned. I know that my soul exists because I willingly give it to you. Because of you, I will gladly live forever. I love you, Demetri," I say. He leans in to press his lips against mine, and, unlike him, I allow it. The meeting of our mouths is short and chaste, but Demetri follows with an even shorter kiss, almost like putting his signature on the promises he made to me.

I put my hand on the back of his neck, keeping his forehead against mine. I speak to him in a whisper, my eyes closed, suddenly wondering why we wanted to say these things in front of other people. I remember wanting to shout from the rooftops that he is mine, and I still do, but the urge to be alone with him is overpowering. "Such small decisions that led me to you, and I'm changed. You're such a good man." I open my eyes and am met with his, his features painted with emotions that I do not need to read his mind to distinguish.

"I wish I could make you feel what I feel, so you could know." I make no sense and I shake my head. I kiss his lips again. I leave my mouth against his, the will to separate myself from him diminishing with each glance and every thought. "You've taught me things I thought I already knew. Like how to play the piano." Demetri rolls his eyes; I am aware of it because I see it in his mind.

I only know two songs Edward, he thinks.

"You can mock me if you want, but it's true. You taught me that playing the piano is fun, not simply an achievement over which to boast. I know now that fun is okay.

"You taught me that beds are for more than sleeping." I smile when I am reminded we are not alone when the crowd snickers quietly. I shift my eyes to our small gathering. "Not like that," I chide. "He shared my bed with me before anything further happened," I say to them, raising my voice. I turn towards him fully again. "You taught me what it is to be complete, and that life cannot be judged by one grand event or achievement, but that a life well-lived is made up small joys: a smartly-played round of Heart and Soul, a winning hand at cards, the sun on your face, a reimagining of a child's game, or a first kiss in a library." I wind my arms around his waist and squeeze, increasing the pressure of his body against mine, kissing him with every piece of myself that belongs to him.

As quietly as I can I whisper to him, "I guess I should shut it now, so you can get to showing me like you promised earlier." He doesn't answer but laughs, the sound vibrating my chest where it is pressed against his.

"Okay you two," Carlisle says, reminding me that there are still other people around. "Here are your rings." He passes us the two white gold bands we decided to exchange.

Demetri slips one of the rings onto my finger and says, "With this hand I will lift your sorrows. Your cup will never empty, for I will be your wine," he pauses to snigger, "With this ring, I ask you to be mine."

Taking the remaining ring, I put it in place on his finger, and repeat the same phrase that Demetri quoted to me. The circle of gold satisfies me to see, and I bring his finger to my lips, enjoying what it symbolizes.

"Well," Carlisle begins, "I think that does it. Go ahead and kiss again." He chuckles knowing that it is pointless to give us permission.

This kiss is different from the previous ones. This kiss is binding, cementing an unbreakable vow between us. I never knew that such sovereignty could be found in giving myself over completely, but found it I have. I pull him closer as our guest's applause are drowned out by the sound of the sea.

We visit with our friends and family shortly and then say our goodbyes. My anticipation grows as the prospect of being completely alone with Demetri approaches. I am curious to know where he plans on us spending our first night of freedom together.

I am surprised when he takes my hand and leads me to the beach, walking towards the pier. Searching his mind, I am met with pop music. I look at him incredulously, wondering exactly what his intentions are.

"Don't look at me like that, E," he says. "I thought you liked surprises."

"I never said I didn't. I'm merely curious."

The sky is completely dark, and the lights from the pier reflect on the water, joining the moonlight in a frivolous dance across the rolling surface. I breathe deeply, cherishing the evening.

"Did you know," Demetri starts, "that Aro got us an extremely thoughtful gift?"

"I wasn't aware he'd given us anything," I answer as we approach a multitude of docked sailboats.

He continues down the line, passing many vessels and eventually stops in front of moderately sized boat; I would estimate it to be about thirty-two feet in length.

"This is what he gave us," Demetri says, beaming. I cannot think of anything to say. Aro must care for Demetri just as he always claimed.

"Oh," I say dumbly. "I would have thought that Aro would have picked something much flashier."

"He let me pick it out, Edward. I focus on dependability more than looks and size. You see, it's a commonly held belief that heavier displacement boats fare better in rough seas. It's actually the opposite. Lighter displacement boats don't bottom out as hard when they're riding down waves so they actually tend to handle better in choppy water. Also lighter…"

I try to listen to what he is saying - not that what he says does not interest me at all - but the way his mouth shapes the words and his eyes flash when speaking of something he has such knowledge of, I can concentrate on nothing but how handsome he is. So, I nod my head appropriately, and comment with short phrases, but keep my eyes trained on his lips.

"…and you're not listening to a word I say, are you?" he laughs, nodding his head.

"I was. You were talking about boat weight," I reply, trying to recite the last thing I had heard.

"That was about five minutes ago, E," he returns, indicating for me to board the ship. "Let's go ahead and get going."

"Where are we going?" I ask, trying to run through the conversation in my head to see if I missed him mentioning it.

"Nowhere really. I think I want to just take you out to the middle of the ocean, so we're sure not to be interrupted. We can live off sharks and little fishes and whatnot, right?" he says, his smile so wide that I'm sure his lips reach his ears.

"I hope you're not serious."

Rolling his eyes he says, "Fine, if you don't want to eat seafood, I imagine we could find places to stop every now and again." His tone is jokingly petulant. If I thought he honestly wanted to eat shark, I would gladly join him.

Starting his preparations to set sail, he fills me in on the fact that our luggage is already on board, even though he is sure we will not need it. Watching him work with his hands, seeing him in his true element, brings me a new piece of joy. Demetri has always been laid back, but seeing him now, he is completely relaxed and at home. Watching him liberated is a beautiful thing; I know that I had a part in it.

"Do you need any help?" I ask. Over time, I have tried to learn about sailing as much as possible; I want to know about the things he loves. My knowledge of the subject might be only theoretical, but I think I could be of assistance.

"No," he replies, never ceasing his movements. "Let me take care of this for you."

Once he is satisfied, we set out. He stands at the helm and says, "I would have liked to sail you off into the sunset, but since that's impossible, you'll have to be happy with seeing the sunrise surrounded by nothing but ocean."

Unable to keep my hands to myself anymore, I walk up behind him, bringing my arms around his waist. "That sounds perfect," I hum against his ear. His breathing quickens.

Once we are far enough into the water that we do not see land, Demetri makes a few more adjustments to the boat and turns towards me, his hands sweeping across my hips to my back, travelling upwards and underneath my shirt.

"I have you," Demetri says. His fingers touch each of my ribs, as though he were counting them. I search his mind, and find that he is.

"How many?" I whisper, bringing my cheek to press against his as I speak into his ear. I begin unfastening his buttons, my empty palms filling with the heat of his flesh. Each inch of skin that covers him I have touched and tasted, but, still, it is never enough. There are times I have wished for an extra arm, or another set of lips, so that I may be in contact with more of him.

"Still twelve," he says, his voice also dropping to a whisper. The movement of his lips and the sound of his voice coax out that licentious yearning that waits until he calls, its delicate footfalls tiptoeing down my spine, and I quiver.

Demetri moves his hands to my waist and unbuttons my trousers; he begins to push them down over my hips and feels the bulge in my pocket.

"What's this?" he asks, reaching his hand in without waiting on me to answer. Once again, in my haste to be near to him, I have forgotten his gift. Pulling out the small leather box, he looks at me with curious eyes.

"That… is actually your gift," I tell him, pulling it from his grasp and opening the lid. I suddenly feel very foolish about what I've gotten him. Once I've handed it back to him, I look down at my feet, awaiting his reaction.

"This is lovely, Edward, but you know I don't need a compass," he says, smiling. I meet his eyes and take the box back, pulling out the compass; it is the size of a pocket watch and has a chain so that he may wear it around his neck. I turn it over and show him the back.

"It has the Cullen crest on the back," I say to him, pointing out the emblem that has been a part of my sire's family for centuries. "And, it doesn't work like a normal compass." I feel even more self-conscious as I am about to tell him that I had the compass altered even more than simply the engraving. "The needle doesn't point north, in fact, it only points to this," I finally finish, opening the compass and showing him the oversized E that indicates east, frowning.

"So, metaphorically speaking, this compass always points to you?" Demetri questions. He puts his index finger under my chin, bringing my focus back to him. To me, he looks disappointed, and he is blocking me out by reciting Shakespearean sonnets in Portuguese.

"You hate it, don't you? It's silly I know. Here, give it back to me, and I'll get you something better," I say, trying to snatch it back from him. He holds it out of my reach and pulls me in to his chest.

"How can you second guess something this perfect, Edward? This is the single most thoughtful gift I could ever even think of receiving. Words fail me," he says, his voice faltering the tiniest bit. "I love it." He immediately throws the chain over his head, the compass coming to rest over his sternum; he watches it jostling until it stops moving, and looks back at me with a heart-stirring smile.

"Do you really?" I ask, his thoughts still blocked.

"Yes, really," he replies, and without pause, brings his mouth to mine, opening the window to his thoughts.

So many years we have already spent together, but his unhindered thoughts still encircle the innermost part of me like the heat of summer. They caress my senses more intimately than any physical presence imaginable.

He is thinking about the morning after we first made love. Standing in front of a mirror, he rubs his hands over his cheeks. When he looks into the reflective surface, his face splits into a wide grin, and he puts his hands on top of his head, just staring at his reflection and smiling. I watch him as he brings his right hand down and traces his own lips. He wants to remember what it feels like to be so happy, and he thinks euphoria such as what he is experiencing has to be tangible, so he tries to touch it on his face. This is a memory he has never shown me, and I'm glad he saved it for today.

"I think I must've grabbed a piece of it," he pauses, lips still pressed against mine, "because I still feel it."

And, with those words, he pours everything into me: his past, the present, his hopes, his joy, his trepidations. His thoughts become mine, and I have no desire to distinguish between them.

Pulling him close, my hands lose themselves in the tangles of his hair, as his are found on my hips. We are a mesh of lips, tongues, teeth, arms, and legs, woven together in a pattern so proverbial yet somehow fresh. Demetri tastes different with freedom in his soul.

Demetri pushes me firmly onto the deck. He covers me with his body as intimately as his thoughts embraced my mind. Each piece of flesh on flesh incinerates me in the most exquisite way.

Somehow, I am already naked, and I have no clue how it happened. Out of the corner of my eye, I see clothing thrown haphazardly around me. Demetri is in the same state as I, and I take a moment to trail my fingers beginning from his hips, across his ribs, up to his shoulders, and then back down again, lightly brushing his arousal. He hums against my mouth.

My fingertips follow a well-worn trail, traversed many times over decades, but the thrill of reaching their summit is no less fulfilling. I take him in my hand and stroke once; his hips thrust forward, and his mouth lingers against mine as he takes several rapid breaths.

Rolling onto his side, he takes me with him so that we are facing one another before bringing our mouths together once more. His hips match mine, and he presses his thigh against me, providing me with a delicious pressure exactly where I need it. Wanting him so thoroughly, I become overwhelmed, moving myself against his stone thigh, groaning at the friction against my stiffness.

He breaks the kiss and stills his body, his palm moving up my thigh and resting on my hip. Using his other hand, he sweeps his fingertips across my forehead and then down my nose. I can see his eyes jumping from my nose, to my lips, to my eyes.

"I'll never tire of you looking at me like that," Demetri breaths, squeezing my hip.

"Like what?" I smile.

"Like you want me. Like you want to open yourself up and let me in," he says, a hint of awe in his voice, as if he should expect anything less after our time together.

Sometimes, Demetri thinks, I wish I could make my skin translucent, and you could be in the exact same space as me… so I could let you in. That sounds ludicrous, doesn't it?

I shake my head, the only answer I have is to get nearer to him.

Pushing him flat on his back, I climb atop him and straddle his hips. I press myself against him, rolling my hips, both of us moaning in tandem. Being so intimately pressed against him is unmatched; no other kind of gratification remotely equates it.

Being on top of him like this, exposed in the middle of nowhere and everywhere with the wind thoroughly caressing my nakedness, is a new sensation, enthralling and lascivious. My hands reach out and trace the straight lines of his shoulders, glide up his throat, and my fingers press against the smoothness of his mouth. He parts his lips, and the heat of his body envelops my fingertip.

The warm pads of his thumbs whisper down my sternum, circling back up and tickling across my nipples. Allowing my head to fall back, he takes the opportunity to sit up, placing his open mouth over my throat. The warmth of his breath teases against the slickness of his venom on my flesh, and my arms wrap around his torso as my fingers dig into his back.

His right hand glides down my spine while his left holds him up, and with practiced fingers he prepares me. Knowing my body as well as his own, the pleasure I derive from what he is doing causes heat to flood my face. I cannot stop the feral sounds that unfurl from my chest and my eyelids flutter from the unapologetic way he touches me.

How could I have ever avoided him? Demetri, who is a part – no, who is my soul and my redemption. Those days when I floundered, made excuses, and pushed him away were so wasteful and pointless. He loved me when anyone else would have given up; he pieced me together, no part too far or too lost to make me unsalvageable. Now, he is forever. Forever, and I can have him each day of it. I try to wrap my mind around it, and the complete joy from thinking it makes me whimper and search out Demetri's mouth. He parts his lips so that I may taste him, to know he is existing and that I may have him.

Thrusting his hips upwards, I know he needs me as much as I need him. I press him down, until his back meets the deck. I take a moment to look at him - his pale skin a beautifully vast contrast to the surrounding black water – and think again of how I have committed my entire existence to this man. This time, when I share my body with him, it is as my husband, as well as my lover and my friend.

I press my torso against his, and I kiss him. Trying to keep my eyes open, I want to experience every bit of our first time together like this, but they shut without my permission when he moans into my mouth. Reaching between us, I bring his length to me, and slowly push myself down. Each inch of him that I take brings me closer to that completeness that I crave, and once he is fully inside of me and I rest on his hips, I part my lips and sigh – long and low.

"I love you," I murmur and then I start moving.

Very aware of his fingers digging in to the skin of my hips, I place my hands over his, loosening his grip so that I may move more freely. I run my hands up him abdomen and rest them on his chest, giving myself leverage. I decide that I need to touch more of him, and with my right hand explore his torso and throat.

Demetri is mumbling and his eyes are clenched as he rolls his head back and forth on the deck. I grab his chin and ask him to look at me. He does, and his eyes are black and feral; I increase the speed of my hips as my need for him threatens to consume me. His tongue peeks through his lips and I lean over to taste it; Demetri uses my new angle to thrust his hips upward repeatedly, and we are both making sounds that would not be considered human.

The choreography of our bodies is a well-practiced thing; we move together, we moan together, but with every instance I am still surprised by how overwhelming this physical experience can be. There are moments when I am so enraptured, I feel that I might need to separate my mind from my body, but could never quite bring myself to. It's frustrating and freeing, captivating and numbing.

In this moment, I am aware of every piece of flesh, from my elbows to my ears, from my shoulder to between my toes, because every bit of it is alive when he loves me.

His hips continue to snap, and I welcome each movement as my impending release gathers at the base of my spine and travels to my groin. My arousal lies heavily against Demetri's stomach, aching and pulsing, begging to be touched. He reaches between us and grasps me, stroking swiftly.

"De- oooh…nnn…I…that feels too good," I moan, clenching my jaw and biting my tongue, trying to keep myself from coming undone.

"God…I know. I can't wait to…nnn…do this in the sunlight," Demetri says, and the thought of him, naked and wild, heated skin, streaming sun reflecting on the water, is enough to bring me right to the edge, and I know that I can last only moments more.

I lean back, meeting the warmth of Demetri's thighs and hips with each thrust. Continuing to coax my release with his hand, he moves his free fingers over my abdomen and chest. The things he thinks make me moan, and I know his pleasure as well as my own. Not only am I filled, but I am the one that is held in the embrace of my body; I meet each thrust while making them; my hands are all over him, but also pleasuring me. The intensity is exquisitely maddening.

"You feel sooo…mmm…so warm inside," Demetri pants, shaking his head, teeth clenched as his hips continue their pace. He moans and writhes and whispers affection, and the flush of his chest and cheeks pushes me over.

I let go and let him in, and in this moment I am nothing but what he wants me to be. Outside of the confines of my granite body, I am light, and for that moment I exist solely to feel, to be caught in the wind and swept to sea. I am right and good and worthy and free and loved, because he wills it so.

In turn, he spills everything into me, his thoughts, his flesh, his venom, his soul. He comes and he says my name with those lips that I cannot stop staring at. I manage to keep my eyes open through my release as well as his, all my life culminating, piecing together, and made real in this moment. My time without him, before I knew him, my time with him, before I accepted him, and my time with him as I loved him, all rush into me and I understand for the first time why humans cry when they are happy.

He understands, too, and sits up, burying his face in my chest as I take him tightly in my arms. The balm of our coupling rebirths us both like a baptism by everything he is, everything I am, and everything we are, together. I lower my face into his hair, mindlessly inhaling, drunk off the scent of him.

Eventually, Demetri turns his face towards me. I still straddle his lap, so I look down at him, my hand finding its way to his cheek. Allowing several moments to pass in silence, we share a kiss – warm, gentle, slow – before he speaks.

"You know what I would love right now?" he asks me, the intensity of the moment lightened by his goofy smile.

"What's that?" I ask, matching his smile with an equally silly grin.

"A nap," he answers.

"We don't sleep, Demetri," I laugh, poking him in the arm with my index finger.

"Edward, I know you have an imagination in there somewhere. Let's try some role playing. What would be a simpler way to ease into it than pretending to sleep?" he says, nipping at my mouth before abruptly lying back, and I scoot awkwardly off his hips. "We'll let the sun wake us up, and then make plans on how we want to spend all this free time."

Comically, he closes his eyes and makes annoying noises; I assume he is pretending to snore. I lie down, my head on his shoulder, my leg over his thigh and he brings his arms around me. The sound of the waves lapping on the side of the boat brings me rest while the man underneath me brings me everything else. I close my eyes.

And I dream.

End notes: All done and the end! The vows that Demetri and Edward had while exchanging rings came from The Corpse Bride. I thought it very fitting and couldn't help myself.

Thanks to my awesome readers and reviewers! Some of you have been with me since almost the very beginning and I am completely blown away by that. I know my little story is different, and knowing that it was enjoyed by even a few people makes my heart sing!

Now, I've never been big on asking for reviews; I've always felt that if you're moved by a story you'll review, but I would love to hear from some of you now that TR is complete. Even if it's a only a word or two, your feedback is very welcome.

EDIT: I've posted a future glimpse featuring Edward/Demetri from this story called The Cadence of Humanity Check my profile if you're interested. :)