Jasper sat in his usual spot, sunken down in the armchair next to the window, flickering through a large volume in his lap – obviously without intention to further his reading – and gazed through the open window. His right hand leafing through the pages and his left hand gently stroking the skin of his own neck, he looked intensely idle. One could possibly claim his face bore a tired expression, but since Edward new better, the thought merely flashed by him for a fraction of a second. He stood silently, at a distance, listening to the slow trail of Jasper's innocent thoughts. He was certain that Jasper new of his company, but that he pretended – as usual – not to take any notice of him.
The sunlight, with its graceful dance across the emerald foliage outside the window, seemed to entice Jasper, and he watched with fascination as the rays of light reached in to stroke his bare arm and make it glow. Tiny star-shaped lights erupted all over his skin and Edward heard as he, in his mind, described the phenomena in the very typical language which he always used when inspired. The words were carefully chosen, poetical; yet not as pretentious as one may expect.
Jasper carefully shut the book and put it aside on the armrest. Still intently watching the sparkle of his skin, his lips parted and, with a very enthralling voice, he said: "Will you ever tire of eavesdropping?"
Edward smiled and shifted his gaze for a moment. "Dear, I hope not. What would I do with all my spare time?" He stepped into the room, which was drowning in light, and felt the rays of the sun fall upon his face. Jasper looked up, and couldn't help but to let the word 'beautiful' soar through his mind.
Leaning against the window sill next to Jasper's armchair, Edward felt the warmth cover his back as the black jacket absorbed every possible sunray, though the warmth never seemed to spread to his skin; it lay like a blanket over his neck, shoulders and his back.
Being in the same room as Jasper always infused him with such a calm and soft feeling; like stepping into your old childhood home; the feeling of security and being undoubtedly safe. Edward smiled as he briefly reflected on what a powerful weapon this seemingly innocent creature possessed; and his smile widened as he realized that not only was Jasper powerful – he was more than aware of it, too. Still Edward, perhaps because he had no reason to fear him, enjoyed the serenity spreading through his limbs, filling up his lungs and his veins.
"Can I ask you something?" Jasper asked, and though Edward had already read the question several times, he gestured to his adoptive brother to continue. "Do you ever think back? To your time as a human, I mean. Do you ever miss it? Regret ... what you are?"
Edward knew that these were hardly questions; merely an easier way for Jasper to formulate his own emotions into words.
"Hardly," he answered plainly.
"Oh," Jasper replied, slightly taken aback by the certainty in Edwards answer. "Well, I do. Or, well. I didn't use to, but lately ..."
"Of course you know."
Jasper let out a sigh and shifted his weight, leaning now a little closer to his brother. Edward reached to remove a long curl of blonde hair from his eyes, and Jasper studied him with a slightly puzzled gaze. Looking into his curious eyes, Edward knew he could search Jasper's entire soul if he so wished, yet instead he decided to step back and shut him out. It was something he did every now and then, ever since meeting Bella; thinking that knowledge of body language and other, more subtle, indications of emotion could always come in handy. And, for that matter, he found it a nice challenge to see what people were thinking instead of having it spelled out for him. He was starting to get really good at it, too.
As he stroked the lock of hair behind his brother's soft ear, Jasper suddenly grabbed hold of his wrist. Holding it in a strong grip, Jasper was avoiding his gaze, looking down at his knees. The moment seemed awkwardly tense and had he had a beating heart, Edward was certain his pulse would be racing right now – though he was unsure of the reason why.
For a moment, they remained completely frozen; Jasper with his avoidant eyes, his firm grip around Edward's thin wrist never once loosening, the silent sparkle of his skin never seeming to fade; and Edward with his look of surprise, standing in this unusual position; leaning forward, arm outstretched.
When Jasper let go a few seconds passed before Edward's arm retreated. Jasper's gaze shifted to the side, a look of beautiful sorrow now decorating his delicate features. Edward became immediately fascinated by this new side to him. Could vampires cry, he wouldn't be surprised to see glittering drops of salt and water find their way from Jasper's eyes; that's how devastated he looked.
"Jazz – Jasper," he said. "Are you ... okay?" He looked so depressed, though the word seemed unfitting, but so did every other word he could think of. 'Sad' didn't seem at all appropriate for a creature who was entirely unable to cry.
"Don't pretend like you don't already know what's the matter," Jasper replied in a low voice, still avoiding looking directly at him.
Of course Edward could simply turn up the volume of his brother's thoughts and find out what was bothering him – but something, a feeling almost human, prevented him and, instead, he very honestly replied: "I want you to tell me."
Surprised at this, Jasper forgot himself for a second and looked straight at him, analyzing every inch of Edward's face. Was he toying with him, making him expose his feelings for his own personal amusement? But Edward's expression seemed not vile, but curious and caring as a lover's. When he realized this, Jasper allowed himself to relax a little.
"It just gets to me. I try not to think of it, but at times I become so painfully aware ..." He trailed off.
Edward reached to touch his arm; his fingers lightly brushing against Jasper's nearly hairless wrist, as if encouraging him to continue. "Creatures like us, Edward ... We live forever. Decades, millennia's will pass, but we will go on living, moving through the years like ghosts through the night; untouched by the hands of time; doomed to struggle with the thirst, the loneliness, the longing ... Forever. I can't comprehend that. Or rather, I don't want to comprehend it. I keep thinking of the day the world will end. How will it happen, will I be here then, still? Will I die alongside humanity, or will I be forced to continue walking this earth, stepping over the ashes of their lifeless bodies, knowing that my life – if that is in fact what this is – will never end? It makes me wish I had never been created. It makes me long for death; that sweet, silent and motionless rest, the knowledge that there is an end to all of this." He took a deep breath. "But there isn't. It's just going to go on and on and on, in an eternal, inevitable cycle. This ... is forever."
Falling silent, he turned away from Edward, moving his hands up to cover his face as if the feelings were just too intense to bear. Edward stared at him, his lips parted in amazement at such a display of emotion, of fear and despair. He didn't quite know what to make of it.
"I'm sorry," Jasper whispered, suddenly embarrassed by this spontaneous outburst.
Edward wanted to tell him not to be sorry but he couldn't find the words; they seemed to be stuck somewhere in his throat, so instead he just stood there, lips parted, and stared. As the shock slowly subsided and he began to grasp the depth of Jasper's despair, he was filled with such empathy it overwhelmed him. This sensation surprised him; he hadn't felt such a human feeling for such a long time. Jasper, still with his face covered by his palms, noticed nothing.
"Jazz ..." was the only word Edward could seem to find; it sounded weak and so full of pity as it left his lips and whirled into the air. He hesitated for a moment, then moved closer and sat down on the armrest of the chair, wrapping an arm around Jasper's sloping shoulders. He felt them move as Jasper drew a deep breath filled with anguish.
"How could I've missed this?" Edward mumbled to himself, as he buried his face into Jaspers hair. His eyes were burning as if tears were going to erupt from them at any second. The feeling of having let Jasper down was devastating. There was no plausible reason for him not to notice such pain in someone he lived so close to, and the guilt was destroying him already. He would never forgive himself.
"Don't blame yourself," came Jasper's voice from beneath his palms. "Please."
Edward gently removed Jasper's hands from his face and held them. They were still glowing in the sunlight; the rays covered them both entirely at this point. Jasper slightly straightened his back, suddenly aware of the intimacy of the situation, but Edward seemed lost in his own thoughts, softly stroking Jasper's palm with his thumb, his lips still softly pressed against Jasper's pale hair.
"What are you thinking?" Jasper asked, and Edward tore himself away from the deep feeling of failure. When he didn't answer, still at a loss of words, Jasper added: "Do you think ... have you really never thought of this ... ever?"
Edward vaguely shook his head. "I've thought of it. But only for a second. I've never ... felt it, the way you do."
Jasper sighed. After another moment of silence, Edward's voice rose again.
"Can you ever forgive me?"
"It's not your fault. I told you."
"But I should have known; me of all people. I could've helped you."
Jasper closed his eyes and shook his head; the pale curls softly bobbing as the face moved. "No, Edward, don't do this, not now. Please, don't turn this into something about you."
Edward flinched at these words. Jasper continued, his voice shaky and cracked: "You always do this. Everything doesn't revolve around you. You're not almighty. You're not the hero you think you are; you never will be."
Letting go of Jasper's shoulders, Edward stared at the floor, considering his words, not knowing what to do with them. Though hurt and quite taken aback, he knew deep inside that there was truth to what Jasper had said.
Jasper made no reply; he merely sat there, resting his arms against his knees, watching his own shoes. The look of painful sorrow had gone from his delicate face and, though he still felt hurt, Edward reached out to caress Jasper's cheek. At that moment, Jasper turned to face Edward, causing the hand to gently stroke Jasper's pale lips. Edward pulled his hand back as fast as if he'd been burned, as they watched each other with newly found interest.
That tension from before seemed to appear between them yet again, and Edward felt that uncertain awkwardness once more. As if he wasn't feeling confused enough as it was, Jasper now took his hand and decisively placed it upon his own cheek. Jasper shut his eyes for a moment, whispering: "Your touch has a soothing effect on me."
There was something so strange about all of this; finding out about Jasper's fears and Edward's inability to see them, and now this – whatever it was. Before he even knew it, Edward was touching the curve of Jasper's lower lip with his thumb; somewhat trembling as he did so. Their gazes were interlocked in the most intense eye contact that both of them had ever experienced. What did Jasper see in his golden irises, in the deep blackness of his pupils? Guilt, empathy, confusion? Or something else, something more complex?
As the minutes passed, they sat like that; for vampires, a minute is like a second. They sat like statues; their skin gleaming in the sunlight, an aura of intensity surrounding them, a silent void where speeding heartbeats were supposed to be heard.
And then, as if breaking a spell, Jasper leaned in, moving up towards Edward, and kissed him. To begin with, the lips feebly brushed against each other, as they got used to the intimacy and each other's breaths; so clean and alluring. Then something seemed to grab Jasper by the heart and, placing his hands on Edward's neck, he shut his eyes and pulled him closer, nearly standing on his knees in the armchair now.
Everything was spinning; Edward felt confused, captivated and absolutely charmed by the density of the body pressing against him, the softness of the lips that were kissing him. He felt the arousing sensation of nails gently scratching at the back of his neck; a friendly tongue searching its way in between his lips; the mixing of the saliva, the taste of his incredibly, unbelievably soft tongue. Jasper's incredibly, unbelievably soft tongue.
Careful not to offend him, Edward slowly pulled away. Jasper, still with his eyes closed, let his hands rest at the sides of Edward's neck and breathed as though he'd been under water for some time. Edward watched him, fascinated by his flawless skin; the darkness of his eyelashes; how every hair in his eyebrows lay beautifully aligned with the rest.
When Jasper opened his eyes, they were soft and joyful.
"We should probably slow down," was everything Edward managed to say.
Jasper's hand slid of off his neck as he slowly sunk back into the chair, letting out a long, yet satisfied sigh. "I suppose you're right." Then he moved closer to Edward, yet again, and put his head in his lap. Unsure of what to do, Edward placed his hand upon Jasper's head and took a deep breath. He was considering whether he'd ever felt this dazed before, but never came to any conclusions. Looking down at his brother, one emotion was racing after the other inside of his chest.
Something similar was happing inside of Jasper; though his feelings were slightly less confused. To think; all along, the closeness to another vampire – or perhaps to this one in particular – was the only thing he'd needed to feel human again, if only for a brief moment. The sorrow of before seemed to float up toward the ceiling and vanish entirely; the pain of immortality suddenly eased by this beautiful creature to whom he had now offered himself completely. Closing his eyes, feeling Edward's gentle strokes over his head, he thought to himself that perhaps immortality wasn't that bad after all; perhaps it could even be pleasant, could he spend it with someone like Edward?
Who knew where they would go from there?
At that moment, Jasper didn't really care. He wanted to just lay there for infinity, remembering the sweet taste of Edward's tongue while silently resting against his thigh. The sun was still shining with a resolute intensity; the skin of the two men were glowing like the surface of water under a setting sun, both of them still; without breathing, without speaking.
And so, the sun wandered across the sky, turning the day into twilight and into night. But in that room the men remained for hours; hours that would have seemed long if not for the fact that decades lay behind and ahead of them. They sat for hours, deep in thought and emotion, looking through the darkness, waiting for the morning to come.
And so, dawn came.