Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended.

Rated M for language, sexuality, graphic violence.

"There where the waves shatter on the restless rocks
the clear light bursts and enacts its rose,
and the sea-circle shrinks to a cluster of buds,
to one drop of blue salt, falling.

O bright magnolia bursting in the foam,
magnetic transient whose death blooms
and vanishes-being, nothingness-forever:
broken salt, dazzling lurch of the sea.

You & I, Love, together we ratify the silence,
while the sea destroys its perpetual statues,
collapses its towers of wild speed and whiteness:

because in the weavings of those invisible fabrics,
galloping water, incessant sand,
we make the only permanent tenderness."

- Pablo Neruda, "Sonnet IX"

Chapter 24 – Permanent Tenderness


As I returned from feeding, racing across the Alaskan wilderness, I reached out with my mind, anxious to reconnect with my beautiful Jasper. When the first tendrils of thought filtered their way into my consciousness, I felt an immediate relief, as though something vital I hadn't even been aware of missing had now been returned. His thoughts, as so often was the case, were of me. I could picture him still, sitting on the corner of the couch in the living room of our cabin, his history book held open in front of him in one hand, his eyes unfocused on the page, but instead turned inward, re-playing moments of our lives together. His lap was empty save for the hand resting on his thigh, where until recently, my head had lain.

There were no corners of his mind that were closed to me, no pathway of thought I had not traveled down. Yet, I was constantly struck anew at the beauty of his mind, at his strength and intelligence, at the immeasurable love he held for me.

Right now he was recalling the feel of his fingers sliding through my hair, thinking about how much he loved simply being with me, relaxing and enjoying an afternoon of reading, loving the play of the silken strands against his skin. In his mind he made comparisons to earlier times, to when I was human, and my heart beat with passion as he professed his feelings in a torrent of poetry spilling from his lips.

My hair was one physical attribute that remained unchanged from the time I had been human. I initially worried that he would never love this new body the way he had loved the old. I remembered how he used to stand vigil outside my home every night, remembered him telling me how the sound of my heart grounded him and filled him with calm. I remembered the way he spoke of my skin, my eyes, how his descriptions were full of living imagery, my cheeks the petals of flowers, my eyes a leafy green. I knew how much he had hated his own granite flesh and I wondered if mine would make him feel the same.

Jasper let me know, without any room for doubt, that my fears were unfounded.

"I loved your green eyes, because they were yours," he had said. He placed his hand flat against my chest. "I loved the sound of your heartbeat, because it was your heart. I loved the flush on your cheeks, because it was your blood flowing under your skin. And I love your new body," he continued, running his hands up my arms, igniting a fire with his touch, "this flesh of ice and stone, because it is your body." His hands moved up to gently cup my cheeks. "I love your blood red eyes, just as I'll love your golden ones, as much as I loved your green ones, because they are yours, and every time I stare into them, I see forever, no matter what the color. These bodies, they are but vessels… transitory things. Tanya helped me realize that. It's love that's eternal."

Coming from anyone else, his words would sound incredibly sappy, but from Jasper… my vampire warrior with a poet's soul, they sounded heartfelt and romantic and sexy as hell. I leaned in to kiss him then, overwhelmed by the desire flaring from his simple touches. Every sensation was enhanced a hundred fold. The soft pressure of his lips, the gentle touch of his tongue sliding against mine short circuited every thought I had. I swayed toward him moaning into his mouth, gripping his shoulders with my fingers, thinking my new vampire strength wouldn't be enough to keep me upright as my knees threatened to buckle from under me. My mouth was full of the taste of him—delicious, heady, so fucking perfect. I wanted to devour him. Consume him. Crawl into his skin and merge us into one so this amazing feeling never had to stop. My mind was full of Jasper, his taste, his smell, the feel of his mouth against mine. Nothing in the world existed but him. Everything was Jasper.

A whimper escaped my lips as he pulled back and my mouth lost contact with his. His pupils were dark, ringed by a narrow circle of red and I could feel the desire rolling off him in waves. It took me a few minutes to realize that we had barely kissed, our lips and tongues meeting in but a brief caress. I could hear him wondering if this was too soon, if I needed more time to adjust to this new body, to these new sensations, if I had recovered from my earlier ordeal.

I could see images of the two of us playing through his mind. Me leaning over him, a drop of sweat dripping down my temple, face flushed, rocking slowly as I lifted my hips and slowly brought them back down… my green eyes looking up at him through dark lashes as my lips wrapped around his cock… the shape of my ass as I knelt on the bed, his hands parting me as a finger slipped inside of me… Image after image flashed in his mind, like a slide show in fast forward motion. His want was a tangible thing, reaching out for me, swirling around my body like a magnetic force. I could hear him wonder what it would be like not to have to hold back, to touch me in ways he was never able to before.

"Then touch me, Jasper," I urged. "Touch me like you never could before. Don't hold back. I don't want you to hold anything back."

His indecision kept him rooted, always so thoughtful, so careful to try and make the choices that were best for me, putting my needs above his own. What he hadn't yet realized was that I was as desperate for his touch as he was for mine.

"Touch me, Jasper," I repeated. "Please."

Whether it was the "please" or that he could sense my aching need, my words seemed to spur him into action. With a groan he closed the distance between us and crashed his lips against mine. The force of his movement propelled me backwards to the wall and I felt it crack behind me as his body slammed against mine. I moaned loudly into his mouth as I felt his firm thighs, his chest, his hips, his entire body pressed up against me. I reached around his back, grabbing his ass, pulling his groin toward mine, lining us up so I could frantically rub my cock against his. His hand were tearing at my clothes, ripping the shirt away from my body, cradling my face and stroking my neck as he ravaged my mouth with his tongue, then moving over my skin, across my shoulders, over my chest, flicking my nipples with his thumbs.

I marveled at how his skin, which used to feel so cool and hard, now felt pliant and warm. I wanted to explore more of it, as much as I could against my own. I wanted to taste it, touch it. Using my new strength, I grabbed his hips, and gave a hard push, twisting his body so that his back was now to the wall and I was leaning into him. His head fell back with a thud and he moaned as I latched onto his neck with my mouth, sucking and licking and scraping his skin with my teeth.

"Fuck, Edward," he gasped as I pulled his shirt over his head, grabbing his wrists with my hand and holding them against the wall while my mouth explored his bare chest. He gasped again as I circled his nipple with my tongue and his hips bucked forward, his erection straining. I used my free hand to unfasten his pants then plunged my hand down the waistband, grasping his cock in a firm grip.

He gave a strangled cry as I stroked him and writhed under the steady movements of my hand. His hips pumped into my fist and I watched him react, his head thrown back and eyes closed in ecstasy. Breathless pants escaped his lips. Initially, he had struggled to free his hands, but now his arms were still as he lost himself in my touch. I couldn't believe how hot he looked, finally able to let himself go, to let himself enjoy this physical pleasure without the worry of breaking me, or succumbing to the lure of my blood. I sped up my movements and released his wrists so I could use my other hand to reach down and cup his balls. Another moan left his lips and his arms fell limply to his sides. He pressed his palms against the wall behind him and thrust his hips forward again and again, faster and faster, chasing his impending release.

Overcome with a sudden need to taste him, I dropped to my knees and pulled his pants further down his thighs. "Fuck my mouth," I demanded before licking the length of his cock and closing my lips around the slick head. It tasted just as delicious as I remembered, only more potent, more flavorful. Jasper growled, grabbing onto my hair and then he was thrusting into my mouth, down my throat, with a wild and frenzied pace. As I reached once again between his legs to massage his balls and press lightly on that soft spot of skin behind them, he pulled sharply on my hair and stiffened with loud cry as his cock shot streams of cum into my mouth.

I struggled to swallow it all as Jasper's hips jerked above me. When he finally stilled, he dropped to his knees next to me, eyes dark and wild, and savaged my lips in a bruising kiss. A long moan was torn deep from my chest when his hand found my own aching erection.

"You begged me to touch you, now let me," he panted in my ear as he gave me a firm squeeze. "I want to feel every inch of you." He pushed me back so that I was lying on the ground while he covered my body with his own, kissing, licking, sucking on my throat, my jaw, my neck, whispering dirty things in my ear while his hand continued its maddening strokes, long and slow, enough to keep me on the edge, but not push me over.

With a frustrated growl, I flipped us again so that he was on his back under me, and I was on top of him. I rutted against him, my hips bucking frantically, my cock sliding against his, already hard again.

"One of the benefits of being a vampire?" I asked with a breathless laugh, and he chuckled, then groaned, head tipping back, chest arching up when my hand grasped both of our dicks and held them tightly together as I frotted against him. He only let me keep control for a few seconds until he was batting my hand away, flipping us again so that he was on top and it was his hand gripping our cocks.

I was barely coherent as my body writhed against his, loving the feel of his weight against mine. I flipped him again and sat up, straddling his thighs, wanting to watch his face, see what our cocks looked like lined up together like this. He let me stroke us together for just a moment or two, leaning up on his elbow, eyes hooded and dark, then he was back in control, panting, "Oh, no you don't. It's my turn," before pushing me backwards again. We wrestled back and forth for control, rolling across the floor. I heard the crash of a lamp as we knocked over a table, but I didn't care because my head was full of Jasper and his hand was on my cock and nothing had ever felt as good as this, and I was crying out and coming all over his fist.

I felt everything he was feeling, lust and love and want and gratitude and pleasure all rolled up into a ball of emotions that threatened to explode inside my chest. Words of adoration and desire tumbled from him and it took me moments to realize he wasn't speaking, his mouth firmly latched to mine, our tongues sliding together, teeth clashing gracelessly as we devoured each other, but that I was hearing his thoughts in my head. A sense of wonder flooded me as our gifts allowed a level of closeness I never could have dreamed, and then I was drowning again in heady desire, his cock hard against my thigh, my own growing stiff again.

"More," I begged against his lips. "I need more."

He moaned, gathering me to him and holding me close, arms wrapped tightly around me. Then he stood, pulling me to my feet, kissing me deeply until I thought I would melt back onto the floor. He slowly walked me backwards, kissing me all the while, hands roaming over my back, my ass, my sides, embracing me tightly again and again, now that he was finally able to do so without fear.

When the back of my knees connected with something solid, he gave me a slight shove and I tumbled backward onto the bed. "Lie back," he directed and I scooted up to lay my head on the pillows as he settled himself between my legs. Jasper had given me many blow jobs before, but nothing could compare to this, to his lips and tongue wrapped around my cock while his stream of commentary filled my head—how he loved sucking my cock, loved giving me pleasure, loved seeing me fall apart in his arms, loved the taste of my cum, how he couldn't wait until it was shooting down his throat. He pulled off for a second and I whimpered at the loss of contact, but his voice was in my head, promising it would be even better in just a minute. I leaned up to see him sucking his fingers into his mouth, coating them with moisture, then he took me deep again while his finger simultaneously pressed into my ass.

My body practically lifted off the bed the pleasure was so intense. He used one hand to press against my abdomen, holding me down as his finger slid in and out in time to the movements of his head. When he started thinking about fucking me, how he couldn't wait to have his dick filling me up, slamming into me, letting me feel everything he felt, his wild desire, I couldn't hold back and I let loose with a loud cry, my body spasming again and again as he swallowed my release.

Before I could even begin to recover from my intense orgasm, he had turned my body over and shifted me to my knees, spreading my cheeks with his hands and pressing his face against my hole, licking across my entrance, teasing it with flicks of his tongue. I could feel myself quivering in response and unbelievably, my dick was reacting to each caress, growing hard again. He pressed a finger into me while licking all around my entrance and I thought I might come again from that alone, especially when he slid another finger in and reached deep, stroking that spot inside that drove me wild.

"Holy fuck," I panted. "How is this even possible? You're going to make me come again."

He pulled his fingers out and replaced them with his tongue, thrusting it in as far as he could reach. My hands gripped the bedding as I pressed my face down into the pillows, muffling my ragged cries. When he reached his hand around to stroke my dick while he fucked me from behind with his tongue, I raised my head, begging him to stop.

"You've got to stop. I'm too close. I need you inside me first. Please, fuck me, Jasper. Please."

He let loose another one of his growls and then I felt him shift behind me, felt him at my entrance, and then he sunk into me in one deep thrust, his body draping over mine, his arm wrapping around me, pulling me flush against his chest.

He stayed against me like that for a long moment, whispering, "God, so good. You feel so fucking good," as my mind was again full of declarations, expressions of love and need. I'd never felt as close to him.

Then he was moving, pulling out and pushing back in, at first slow and steady, a grunt escaping with each thrust. His hand was on my cock again, stroking me, his mouth on my shoulder, lips open, tongue tasting my skin. I felt my orgasm approaching again, the sensations too much for me to bear, and I urged him to go faster.

"Harder, Jasper. Faster. I told you not to hold anything back. I need more."

His pace immediately picked up, his hand moving more firmly on my cock, each thrust filling me completely, his body slamming into mine. I pushed back against him, meeting his movements with my own, trying to take him deeper, to have him closer still, even though his body was so far inside mine, his thoughts in my head, his emotions consuming me. Then I was coming, my hands shredding the bedding, my teeth sinking into the pillow, my ass spasming around his cock as my release tore through me.

He leaned back, gripping my hips and pounding into me, slamming his body into mine, prolonging my pleasure as his cock thrust inside me again and again, deep and hard and fast, fucking me like I had never been fucked before, until he was crying out, spilling inside me as he came.

He pulled out and collapsed on top of me, his body heavy over mine. My legs sprawled out and we lay there, sated and breathless. I felt something tickling my face and I brushed it away, watching a feather float by. I laughed thinking of the poor pillow I had just chewed apart, remembering the crash of furniture, the damaged walls in the other room.

Jasper rolled off me onto his side, pulling me toward him so we were lying facing each other. A soft smile was on his face. I could feel his contentment, the satisfied post-coital bliss.

"Fuck, that was incredible," I exclaimed with an exhale of my breath. "Will it always be like that?"

"God, I hope so," Jasper said laughing, pulling me closer and burying his face in my shoulder. Eventually, he lifted his head and we stared into each other's eyes. I'm sure I was wearing a goofy grin.

"The eyes are pretty badass," I said, after a while. I still wasn't used to seeing him with that ring of red, and my own were pretty freaky as well. I bet he had been absolutely terrifying when he was all Vampire Army Commander.

Jasper looked shocked before giving a sharp laugh of surprise. Then his mood shifted and I searched his mind for the reason why, finding guilt and shame from the night of my change.

"Oh, no," I admonished. "No. You absolutely do not get to feel guilty about that night. You did exactly as I asked, and to tell you the truth, if you hadn't gotten turned on by drinking my blood, I think I'd be a little insulted." I tried to inject a little levity to keep him from sinking into one of his self-loathing moods.

In a more serious tone I told him, "You have to let that go. I don't want you to have any regrets, any bad feelings about the night you gave me a forever with you." Then I had kissed him, deep and hard, with all the love and longing I felt for him, doing my best to make him forget any reservations he still carried about my change.

Of course it was later that I learned first hand the horrific aspects of red tinged eyes. We were hunting and I caught a scent so powerful, I couldn't resist the pull. All rational thought left me and I took off running, chasing that enticing aroma. I had to have it; nothing was going to keep me from drinking my fill. I could sense something following me and I growled in warning, ready to defend my rightful prey. With a burst of speed, I widened the distance between us, exhilarated by the joy of the hunt.

It was only luck that Jasper knew this part of the terrain so well, knew a passage through the craggy landscape where he could circle around and cut me off from my intended route. He never would have been able to catch me, otherwise. He tackled me to the ground, wrestling with my feral, snarling form, suffering the sharp sting of my teeth as I sought to destroy him. Only his gift was able to penetrate my bloodlust, so crazed was I by the scent and the threat he posed to my meal.

When I finally realized what I was doing, I stilled in horror. His eyes were sorrowful, and full of guilt, and in that instant, he looked his years. I pushed him off me with a hard shove and took off running, needing to escape, needing to distance myself from the creature I had been in those terrifying moments, needing respite from the sad knowing look in Jasper's eyes, as he lay motionless on the ground.

Intellectually, I knew I would have to confront this aspect of my new nature; I had seen Jasper's continued struggles first hand, after all, even after decades of trying to cope. This was the first time, however, that I was faced with the reality of what it meant to crave blood, what it meant to be a vampire. What it meant to be a killer. Because that's what I now was, even if Jasper had stopped me from making the actual kill. I understood that the chances were more than good that there would eventually come a time when I would be overtaken with that craving, when Jasper might not be around to stop me, when I would sink my teeth into human skin and drink until the heart within that body would cease to beat.

I was sickened by the pleasure the thought gave me, by the memory of how alive my body felt as I chased that elusive scent. I understood, in a way I never could have before, all Jasper's self-hate, his guilt and shame over the night he turned me.

Three days passed before I returned home. I hadn't been able to face Jasper. Hadn't wanted him to see the recognition in my eyes of what I had become. I needed time to process and I couldn't bear to cause Jasper any more pain and guilt. There was no question that I had wanted to be turned. I wanted this life with him. I wanted the love and joy and a forever with him. The cost was something I hadn't truly understood, probably couldn't have understood before. Now that I was starting to, it didn't diminish my desire to be with him or my desire for this new existence. If anything, I felt closer to Jasper than ever before.

But it was… difficult. I knew it would probably be years before I'd be able to come to terms with what had happened and may—probably would I corrected, determined to be honest with myself—happen in the future, but I decided that I would accept it. I would learn how to cope. I wouldn't let this part of me define my future or my life with Jasper. He had carried that burden long enough.

His thoughts reached me long before I arrived at the cabin. Unsurprisingly, he was sick with worry, full of guilt, and desperately missing me, wanting to search for me but also wanting to give me the time I needed away, wondering if I would ever be able to forgive him.

He was waiting, standing in the living room watching the door as I entered, having sensed my approach. His relief was palpable. I tried to project love and reassurance as I walked straight to him, embracing him tightly and pouring everything I felt for him into a passionate kiss. Our reunion quickly escalated, desire flaring, and we were naked on the floor reconnecting in the most primal way possible, bodies shuddering against each other in a blaze of heat.

As we lay quietly together afterwards, reveling in soft touches and whispered words of love, my instinct was to keep my thoughts from Jasper, to not let him know how disturbed my mind had been. I realized the inequalities of our gifts. Jasper didn't have the luxury of hiding his thoughts from me; he hadn't even tried. Ever since the day he told me he would never hide anything from me again, he had kept his word. How could we go forward if one of was always keeping things from the other? I made a decision to offer myself fully to him, as he had done to me.

"I know you can't read my mind, but if you ask, I will always tell you what's in my thoughts. I won't ever keep anything from you. And you never have to ask to read my emotions. I want you to always feel free to reach out to me in every way possible."

He searched my face. "Do you want to talk about before? Why you ran?" he asked.

"No, not particularly."

"Then I don't need to know." He kissed me softly on the forehead, running his fingers through my hair, stroking my cheek with his thumb.

"But…" I began.

"Edward, I understand. I do. Besides, I don't think it's healthy for us to be in each other's heads twenty-four hours a day. I know you're still trying to learn how to control your gift, and I don't mind you knowing everything I'm thinking. But the worry, and the missing you aside, I think it was good for us to have some time apart, to have the space to think. We haven't been apart for even a second since you were turned.

"So as long as I know you're coming back," he gave a pained smile, "I think we should work out times when we can have that space. Maybe stop hunting together all the time. What do you think?"

I was relieved. It's not that I didn't want to talk to Jasper about what I had gone through; I just knew it would hurt him. I'd rather wait, until he was more sure of my decision to be turned, more secure in my desire to be with him forever. We could talk about it then, in the future.

He was right that I was still struggling to understand and control my gift. I would never forget those first moments waking up after going through the fire, the incredible agony of so many people in my head, almost as bad, in its own way, as what I had just endured. I thought I would go mad.

Jasper had been at my side every second of the change, using his own gift to do what he could to minimize my pain. I could feel his terror, hear the self-castigation, sure he had made a terrible mistake, that something had gone dreadfully wrong.

I reached out a shaky hand, grabbing his wrist, noticing even through my pain how soft and warm his skin felt. "It wasn't a mistake, Jasper. Don't ever say that," I had gasped out, even though I started screaming seconds later, grabbing my head in agony. Luckily, Carlisle had realized what was happening almost immediately. He hurried everyone out of the house and quickly packed the car, making calls to Alaska to prepare a place for us to stay in isolation while Jasper tried to calm me.

Our route consisted of as many back roads as possible, Jasper making an effort to stay away from highly populated areas. Regardless, the ride was excruciating and I spent most of it huddled in the back seat, my hands around my head, moaning and whimpering in pain. Only when we reached the sparsely populated areas of Alaska was I able to sit up and join Jasper in the front seat.

His worry filled my head and his expression was shadowed when he looked over at me. He reached out his hand to hold mine and squeezed tightly, nodding tersely when I told him, "Everything's going to be okay."

And it had been, for the most part. Jasper and I had been here for almost a year, with occasional forays near town, to test both my control over the blood lust and my ability to filter out the voices in my head. The shape-shifters, surprisingly enough, had been instrumental in the latter skill. They had had more than one pack member who had struggled with their ability to share each other's minds when in wolf form. Sam relayed numerous techniques they had developed to control unwelcome mental intrusions.

Jasper's family—my family now—had made frequent visits, allowing me to test my progress.

I had also had one human visitor: Bella Swan. Of course Jacob frothed at the mouth in protest, but Alice promised to accompany her, so that it would be two against one (Jasper and Alice against me) if I couldn't control myself. He wasn't happy at all with this compromise, but it was out of the question that he come as well.

Controlling myself hadn't been a problem. Nerves were taut and tensions high when she arrived, but when I curled up my nose as she entered the cabin, exclaiming, "Geez, Bella, you stink!" everyone relaxed. She did, though. Jacob must have rubbed himself over every inch of her and every last piece of clothing she wore. Territorial asshole. Interestingly, her mind was completely closed to me. It was a relief to spend time with someone else and only have one set of thoughts in my head.

"How is Fido?" I had asked, once we had a chance to sit down and talk.

Bella rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Edward. He's not going anywhere; you might as well get used to him being around and at least try and be polite. I think you'd find he's really a great guy if you bothered to take the time to get to know him."

"He was going to let me die!" I said indignantly.

She just cocked her eyebrow and said coolly, "Technically, you are dead."

"Ha. Ha," I retorted, disgruntled. Maybe it was because I was now a vampire and he was a werewolf and we were natural enemies, but I just didn't like the guy. I didn't want to argue with Bella about her choice of boyfriends, however. And I supposed as long as she was happy, I should shut up about it. I quickly moved off the subject of her smelly mate.

We caught up on everyone back in Forks and how school was going for her. I was disappointed I had to drop out, but was looking forward to going back one day. She ran interference with Mike for me, supporting my story that I had found college too difficult to deal with so soon after my parents' deaths and I had decided to take a few years off to travel.

Realizing I would likely never see Mike, or any other of my old friends, again was hard. I knew I had more difficulties ahead in that respect, as I aged and everyone I had ever known would grow old and die, even Bella. I was grateful to Jasper for forcing me to recall every memory I had about my parents, my childhood, my life before the change, and to write every detail down I could, so that I could keep them with me as much as possible. It was a painful exercise, but I knew how much he wished he had more than a few scattered memories of his human life.

After a while, I noticed Bella was looking at me funny.

"What?" I asked. "Is it the eyes? Because I thought the red was pretty much gone."

"It's not that," she said with a little shake of her head.

"Then what? You keep staring at me."

She looked embarrassed and I watched with fascination as a blush traveled across her cheeks. Suddenly, I was very aware of the sound of her heartbeat, the pulse of her blood under her skin. Yes, the stench of dog was overpowering, but I could still smell the delicious sweetness flowing underneath. I felt uncomfortable and wished Jasper was close enough to feel my distress.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

I had stopped breathing the moment I realized I was far too aware of the scent of her blood. After taking a moment to calm myself, I felt my confidence returning, knowing that I had myself under control.

"I'm fine. Don't try and change the subject. Why do you keep staring at me?"

"It's just that…"

"What, Bella?"

"Well, you've always been good looking."

"Um, thank you."

"I actually used to have quite the crush on you, a long time ago."

Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. "Did you now?"

She was grinning. "I did. Hopeless, really. You were the cutest boy I had ever seen."

I snorted.

"And now…" she continued.


"Well, damn, Edward, you're so fucking gorgeous, it's unreal. I can't stop staring at you."

I shot her a cocky look. "Oh, it's real, Bella."

"Asshole," she laughed, throwing a sofa pillow at me.

"I can't wait to talk to Jacob again," I teased.

She shrieked, laughing. "You better not."

Jasper and Alice returned just then, both of them smiling at our obvious fun. Jasper sat down next to me and gave me a gentle kiss on my lips. I practically melted.

"She's right, you know," Jasper said with a soft smile. "You are fucking gorgeous. I can't stop staring at you either."

As if on cue, Bella and Alice looked at each other and reached their fingers up to their mouths to make simultaneous gagging motions.

I smiled remembering that afternoon. It had been full of fun and laughter. I had been sorry to see Bella go. The visit's success, however, made me hopeful for the future. Soon, we'd probably be able to leave the wilds of Alaska.

I loved it here, though. Loved the time Jasper and I had had together, just the two of us. I loved seeing the places he had described that had helped lead him back to me. Loved getting to know Tanya and her sisters. I'd be sorry to go.

As I got closer to the cabin, Jasper's thoughts started drifting from the feeling of his fingers in my hair to the taste of my lips on his. I slowed my speed, enjoying the memories through Jasper's eyes. I saw him reliving the last time we had made love, earlier this morning, his cock buried deep in my ass, my legs wrapped tightly around him as he leaned over, staring into my eyes. So fucking beautiful.

When the cabin appeared through the trees, I saw him imagining what he planned to do to me when I returned—slowly strip off my clothes, lick every inch of my skin, slide his fingers into my body while sucking my cock down his throat. In his mind he'd bring me to the edge again and again until I was begging him to let me come. Then he'd sink his cock slowly into me, stroking me while he fucked me, pumping faster and harder until I was incoherent with pleasure.

A wave of lust hit me like a tsunami when I opened the cabin door. Jasper was on the couch where I had left him, but now he was naked, head tilted back, eyes closed, his hand stroking his hard cock.

I stood there watching him, seeing him thinking about fucking me.

"You were doing that on purpose," I accused.

He didn't look up, but I saw a small smile quirk at the corner of his mouth. The images continued in his head. Me riding him, grinding my ass down on him while I pinched his nipples, his hips thrusting up, burying his cock as deep as it could go.

He opened his eyes as he heard the unmistakable sounds of my clothing being removed. His eyes were dark and intense as he watched me take my own cock, long and hard and slick at the tip, in my hand and stroke it slowly.

"Go on," I urged. "What else would you do?" My voice was husky with desire.

His eyes stayed locked on mine as he imagined me bent over the back of the couch, him kneeling behind me, his hands spreading me open and his tongue tracing the delicate skin around my hole again and again, my opening fluttering in response.

My breathing picked up and my movements became firmer, my thumb sliding the moisture over the head of my cock with every stroke, pressing on the ridge with extra force. I watched as his own hand picked up speed and his legs opened wider, his hips thrusting up into his fist.

"What else?" I asked again, walking closer to him.

Now the image was one of me up against the wall, my chest pressed flat, his body flush against my back. His breath was heavy in my ear as his cock slid slowly in and out, his hand reaching round to stroke my dick.

I walked even closer still so that I was standing between his open legs, staring straight down at his beautiful cock. His eyes broke the lock they had on mine to stare at my own cock, directly in his line of sight.

"What next, Jasper?" I asked softly. "What would you do next?"

His eyes returned to mine and I could feel the tension between us, like an electrical current that popped and crackled, ready to overload the grid in a shower of sparks.

I was bent over the back of the couch again, my hands gripping the edge for leverage as I thrust backwards against him, his body slamming into mine. His hands were tight on my hips, fingers digging into my flesh, holding me steady as he sunk into me again and again. I was reaching down to stroke my cock and then I was coming, thick spurts of white splashing against the back of the sofa, my ass spasming around his cock as I cried out his name.

I heard my own name being called and watched as Jasper's entire body tensed, his hips jerking erratically as the hand working his cock was suddenly slick with his release. He continued to spurt and I was mesmerized seeing his chest and stomach covered with stripes of white. Seeing Jasper come was so hot it triggered my own orgasm, and I cried out, my hand guiding my cock to combine my release with his, painting his flesh with my own streams of cum.

As I shuddered through my final tremors, I felt my knees give out. Jasper caught me, pulling me onto his lap so that I was straddling his thighs. Then our mouths were on each other and we were kissing and kissing and kissing, as if we had been apart for weeks instead of just a few hours.

After breathless moments, I pulled back to drink in the face of my beautiful lover, my heart full of gratitude. How did I ever get so lucky?

"It sounds like you have quite the evening planned," I joked with a smile, shifting my body so he could feel my growing erection. "We better get started."

"Don't worry," Jasper responded with a smile, pushing me down onto the couch and pressing his body into mine. "We have plenty of time."

The End.

AN: Thank you so much for all the love you've given this little story. Thank you for reading, and for the awesome reviews, and for your recs, and nominations and the word of mouth on twitter and blogs and rec sites, and for the hand holding and support in WCs. I'm afraid if I started listing out all the people who have my heartfelt gratitude, I'd accidentally leave someone out, so if you think I'm talking about you, then just know that I am.

There are two people, however, I must mention by name. First, my beta OnTheTurningAway who just over a year ago, when the first chapter was posted in a google doc folder titled "baby fic", was one of a small handful of people in the fandom I had ever even spoken to. Thank you for being willing to look over an unknown writer's story ideas, for the hours of hashing out and beta work, and especially for such valuable input on the early chapters when I worried that I'd lose readers because of the lengthy back and forth background chapters. (I'm sure I did lose some readers regardless, but probably far fewer than if I hadn't condensed the chapters down to three each, as you so wisely suggested. ;-) Thank you, most of all, for your incredible friendship. I love you dearly and wouldn't have wanted to take this journey with anyone but you.

Second, thank you to Beautiful_Distraction, my fabulous Twilighted validation beta who took to this story with amazing enthusiasm from the very start, even though she wasn't really a slash reader. I appreciate your incredible support more than I can say.

Many of you have asked if I planned to write anything else after this story is done, and the answer is yes. In addition to the round robin slash fic, Big Gay Story (now live!), I have a one shot (or very short multi-chap) pack fic I plan to write next, then I hope to participate in the Twilight No Stress Love Fest hosted by OnTheTurningAway and naelany on Live Journal: http:/community(dot)livejournal(dot)com/twi_love_fest/. After that I have a multi-chapter crack fic in the works which I'm pretty excited about, then a short (six chapters or so) Alice spin-off. In addition, I still haven't ruled out expanding a few of my one shots. Since by now you've all realized what a slow writer I am, you can be assured that I plan to be around for a long time to come. ;-)

Before I say goodbye, I also wanted to mention that The Vampies are open for nominations again. This contest was so generous to me the last time around, and I'd love to see everyone give more of their favorite vamp stories their due. You can find out more here: http:/twificpics(dot)com/vampawards/.

Finally, I know some of you probably fell over when you received a review reply from me. If you still haven't heard from me (chaps 18-22 mostly), I can promise that you eventually will! I've temporarily enabled anonymous reviews. If you've been too shy to comment before now, I'd love to hear from you if you're so inclined before you go.

Now I'll bring this epic AN, along with the story of my two boys, to a close. Thank you, again.


- Maggie