A/N: Thanks so much to SilverTwi and SorceressCirce for your winning bid on lil' ol' me at the Support Stacie Auction. I hope you like what you paid for.

Thank you to my betas SorceressCirce (yes, she gets double the fun; not only telling me what to write, but making it pretty as well ;-)), EchoesOfTwilight, and kimberlycullen10.

As ever, I do not own Twilight; I only wish.


Why the hell did I agree to go to this party again? I wondered for the umpteenth time as I looked around the crowd of people. Oh, that's right...Seth begged me to come. I gave a soft sigh as I looked guiltily at my...boyfriend, I guess - if you could call him that.

Seth was a beautiful specimen - he was tall, had long raven-black locks that came past his shoulders, warm chocolate-brown eyes, and a perpetual smile on his face that showed off his pearly white teeth. We had been friends since our college days, and there had always been an underlying chemistry between us - one that, up until a few months ago, we had never acted on.

We had gone to many parties together, and we had always had a blast, so why was it that I hadn't wanted to go to this one? Well, I knew that there was a good chance we would run into Jasper and his new boyfriend, and I wasn't sure I would be able to handle it. I knew he had been dating someone for the last month or two - it was one of the drawbacks and the plusses of having mutual friends, I suppose. You always got the latest gossip, whether you wanted it or not. And I didn't want it. Mostly because the news usually consisted of his seeing said other guy...and quite frankly, it stung.

Jasper and I broke up about three months ago; I couldn't even begin to tell you the reason why. Just stupid shit, both of us too stubborn to compromise with the other. He wanted to live in the country, to stay in and just relax - whereas I loved city life and a good party.

At least, I used to.

It didn't take me long after we had split up to figure out that spending a quiet night at home with the one you loved had its merits - that partying the night away without that person just didn't hold any appeal. So I had pretty much stopped going out; it just didn't feel right anymore. Not that those quiet nights at home were much better.

Enter Seth. We had stayed in touch over the years, and as I said before, we had partied quite a bit and always had fun. He had heard about the breakup, and within two weeks of me moving into my new place, he had come knocking on my door. We hung out regularly, mostly staying home or just going out to dinner and a movie - nothing major. I liked Seth - I always had - and he liked me, so one thing eventually led to another...and we had been going steady for the last month or so. He knew I still had feelings for Jasper - he knew, but he said he didn't care. He would take what he could get. I felt bad, but since he was aware of my feelings - both for him and for Jasper - I figured it was up to him.

The party we were at now was a New Year's Eve party that our friends Alice and Tanya were throwing. They had gone all out, from renting a dance hall and hiring a kick ass local band - The Vultures? Voltere? Volturi? Whatever... - to having a full blown buffet and bar. All in all, it was a grandiose affair, and had I been in a better mood, I would have loved every minute of it. But I wasn't. Because he would be here soon. I had already heard a couple of people talking about them.

Seth handed me a drink, having gone to the bar while my mind wandered. I smiled in thanks and asked him what it was.

He grinned, his eyes alight with mischief as he said, "A Piece Of Ass. Thought you might enjoy it."

He winked, and I almost snorted my drink, having just taken a sip as he spoke. I muttered, "You would know..." I took another sip and raised an eyebrow at him. "Not bad, thank you. So what did you get?"

He leaned in, his lips brushing against my ear as he said huskily, "Bend Me Over."

I gulped and whispered, "Fuck me..."

He chuckled, and - after running his tongue along the shell of my ear as his hand went to my crotch - said, "I was kinda hoping for the other way around, lover."

I turned my head and kissed him hard, his words and his hand palming my growing erection momentarily making me forget everything - where we were, who was here, who would be coming. Seth pulled away with a self-satisfied look, as if he had achieved what he had set out to do - and maybe he had, at least for the time being.

He straightened up and said, "Dance with me?"

I nodded, and we both downed our drinks before going out onto the dance floor. The band had an eclectic range, but most of it was good to dance to, and Seth and I soon found ourselves lost to the beat. There was a mass of bodies around us, and in that moment, it felt as if things were back to how they had been in the old days - except they weren't. And the reason for that walked in on the arm of someone else. He caught my eye almost as soon as they entered the room - as if there were a magnetic pull between us. Seth and I were dancing, my back to his chest, his face nestled in my neck - but from the moment Jasper walked in the room, my eyes were on him.

I wasn't sure if he had felt the same pull as I did, but his eyes found mine almost at the same time, and I could see he stiffened slightly before determinedly crossing the room and heading for the bar.

He hasn't changed a bit...

This was the first time since our break up that we had been face to face - so to speak - somehow always managing to never be at the same gathering, or just missing each other. If it were choreographed, we couldn't have danced around each other better. Seeing him now, though...it literally made me ache inside. And when I saw him - Peter - kissing Jasper's neck below the ear, I had to fight back a growl.

I was jealous. I was hurt.

And I was completely out of bounds.

I knew Peter, or rather, I knew of him. Back when we were all in college, he had garnered a reputation - and it wasn't a good one. He looked like an angel with his long, white-blond hair which he had tied back in a low ponytail. He was the same height as Jasper and had a runner's physique. I knew his voice was smooth and warm, like a good brandy - I knew his words were even smoother. I had heard too many of my friends talk about how Peter would sashay into their lives - usually after a break up, when people were at their most vulnerable - and sweet-talk his way into their hearts. For a while, everything would seem sunshine and roses, right up until the point where he let his true colors show, and he would turn domineering - and not in a good way. He would end up using and abusing men and women alike until he got bored with them - to him, they were just toys, playthings to be tossed aside when they had served their purpose.

When I had first heard about Jasper hooking up with Peter, I didn't want to believe it. I knew Jasper had heard the same things, so why would he set himself up for that? It didn't make sense - it wasn't the Jasper that I knew. But seeing them here, together, I couldn't deny it.

I watched them as they got their drinks and found a table. I was still dancing with Seth, though my movements had become automatic and stiff - my heart just wasn't in it anymore. At the end of the song, I turned to Seth and told him I was going to sit down. His eyes searched mine for a moment, and - unable to stand the scrutiny - I averted my gaze. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Jasper - his eyes seemed to be on me, but I couldn't be sure as they quickly darted away.

I frowned, my hands clenching into fists. I can't do this anymore. It's not fair to Seth. I looked back up at him and cupped his cheek as I gave him a small smile.

"You're a good man, Seth. You'll make someone very happy someday, but it won't be me. I'm sorry."

He sighed, covering my hand with his as he nodded. "I'm sorry, too." He leaned in, placing a brief, but tender kiss on my lips before whispering against them, "Go get him, tiger. He still loves you, too." A look of quiet resignation was in his eyes as he gave me a sad smile.

I appreciated his words, though I couldn't be certain of the truth behind them. Either way, it didn't matter. My heart wasn't with Seth, so I had to let him go. He deserved better than what I could give him. With one last hug, we went our separate ways. I truly hoped Seth would find someone deserving of him.

I made my way over to the bar and ordered another Piece Of Ass, ruefully thinking that it was likely the only piece of ass I'd be getting tonight - or any time soon, for that matter. As I stood at the bar, my eyes found Jasper again. Peter was leaning in, appearing to be talking intimately with him, though Jasper's eyes were once again on me. I tried to figure out what was going through his mind but I got nowhere fast.

I watched as Peter led a begrudging Jasper to the dance floor, and they started dancing. It killed me to see Peter with him, to see Peter's hands roam the body I had touched for so long - the body of the man I still yearned for, the man I still loved. Their backs were to me as they moved to the music. My eyes never left them, but my mind took me back to a time where it was me with Jasper, my hands that caressed his sides before slipping under his shirt. My lips that left a trail of open mouthed kisses on the column of his neck. I could almost feel his body press into mine as I imagined my fingers skimming up his abs to his chest - could almost hear his soft whimper as I teased his nipples.

Fuck.

I had to tear my eyes away from them as reality and my memories overlapped. I stared down at my empty glass, frowning as I tried to ignore the things he was doing to my body even now, without touching me - without even knowing it.

How can he be with him? How can he even stand to let him touch him?

The bartender gave me another drink, and I downed it quickly, pulling a face and shuddering at the overpowering taste of the sour mix. I think he missed the mark on his measurements there. When I turned to look for Jasper again, I found him in the middle of the dance floor.

The song had changed to something a little slower, and Peter had turned him around so they could dance more intimately as they embraced. To anyone not aware, it looked as if they we completely absorbed in each other. Certainly Peter made a show of being close to Jasper, his face against Jasper's - who was looking directly at me.

I wouldn't have been able to look away had I wanted to. Jasper seemed...broken. It was as if I could see the pieces of him that he had tried to hold together just...fall apart, little by little. We stared at each other throughout the entire song, and I could have sworn that he was trying to tell me something, but I was afraid to find out what. Worried that he was telling me it was my fault he was hurting, and he was no longer the same person he was when we had been together. I could see that now. He had changed. He had to have, in order to have gotten involved with someone like Peter.

Just as the song was coming to an end, I saw Jasper school his face and put on a smile right as Peter pulled away. He said something to him, and Jasper nodded before Peter walked in the direction of the restrooms. My eyes were still trained on Jasper when he looked back at me, his eyes flickering with something I couldn't name.

After staring at me for another moment, he suddenly lowered his eyes and turned his head. Before I could move to do anything, he turned and walked away, heading to the exit. As he walked out of my sight, I felt my chest tighten, and I knew in that moment that I couldn't let him get away. Not again. If I let him walk out of my life now, I'd never be able to try and get him back - and I wanted to try.

I had to.

I crossed the dance floor as quickly as I was able while trying to weave my way through the mass of bodies crowding me. When I finally made it through, I could just see the back of Jasper's head as he walked away from the coat check counter, shrugging into his jacket as he headed out the door.

"Jasper!"

I saw him stiffen slightly as I called out his name, but he continued walking, the door falling shut behind him before I could reach it. I hurriedly claimed my coat, pulling it on as I stepped through the door, frantically trying to see where he had gone to. At first glance, I didn't see him, and it wasn't until he moved away from the crowd of people by the door and began to cross the parking lot that I finally spotted him.

Figuring that calling out to him wouldn't work anyway, I opted to walk as quickly as I could - running was out of the question since the pavement was a little icy. I didn't catch up to him until he had gotten to his car, and I felt a small twinge of hope when I realized that he must have moved much slower than necessary with his head start.

He was standing at the driver's side, one hand on the roof of the car, the other on the handle of the door - unmoving. I couldn't even tell if he was breathing, he stood so still. I walked up to him, not stopping until I was mere inches from him - wanting to close the distance, but afraid to bridge the gap.

There were a million things I wanted to say - to ask him - but when I opened my mouth, nothing came out, my mind suddenly blank. I took a steadying breath, trying to clear my head so I could say something. We stood like that for immeasurable moments. It wasn't until a car pulled up in the spot next to us that I came to my senses. Their music was on loud enough for us to hear, and I couldn't help but smile as I recognized The Beatles playing - one of Jasper's favorite bands.

I listened closely to the words, feeling somehow that perhaps someone was looking out for us, trying to nudge us in the right direction. I noticed Jasper standing a little straighter, his head tilted toward the music as the words of "This Boy" drifted our way - as if by some divine intervention.

My voice joined that of The Beatles as they sang:

That boy isn't good for you,
Tho' he may want you too,
This boy wants you back again.

Letting the rest of the words fall away, I said softly, "This boy does want you back, Jasper. Can you ever forgive me? I was so stupid..."

Jasper's shoulders shook once as he rested his forehead against his hand. I closed my eyes briefly before reaching out and touching his shoulder gently. I took it as a good sign when he didn't flinch or pull away - though I didn't dare do more.

He spoke so softly, his voice so husky with emotion that I almost didn't hear him. "Can you forgive me?"

He raised his head as if to look at something over the top of his car, but when I tried to see where he was facing, I couldn't find anything. I stepped closer so I stood next to him, my hand moving to the nape of his neck as I did. When I looked at him, I saw that his eyes were closed, his brow furrowed as he waited for me to say something.

My thumb brushed lightly against his skin, causing him to shiver - or maybe it was just the chill in the air. He finally turned his face to look at me, and the sadness I saw in his eyes pierced my heart with regret - I had been the cause of that. There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind about that, and I briefly wondered if I even deserved his forgiveness, let alone a chance to try again.

My voice was low, breaking as I said, "Forgive you? For what, baby?"

I held my breath as I realized the slip. He wasn't mine to call that anymore. He didn't say anything though, at least not about that. His eyes searched mine for a moment.

"For everything - being so stubborn, letting you go..." He paused and took a shuddering breath. "For Peter..."

I flinched when he said the name; I couldn't help myself. We had both acted stupidly, both too stubborn for our own good. But I had to know...

"Why...him?"

Jasper averted his eyes from mine and cleared his throat. "He was there. He was attentive...made me feel some of what..." I watched his Adam's apple bob a few times as he swallowed. "Some of what you used to make me feel, even if it was only a shadow in comparison."

I didn't think it was possible to feel both elated and hurt at the same time, over the same thing, but I did. Except that the hurt I felt wasn't just for myself, but for him. That he felt he had to go to someone like Peter, because of me...

Without thinking about it, I wrapped my arms around Jasper's shoulders, pulling him close as I nuzzled his neck. It took me a second or two to realize that he had put his arms around my waist, holding me just as tightly as I held him.

I had been so wrong to walk away, to try and find what I had lost by hooking up with Seth. Just being held by Jasper again felt so right, it was as if a missing piece of me - one that I hadn't been able to replace - fell into place again.

And I found that I couldn't let it go.

I pressed my lips against his neck, whispering softly as I told him I forgave him and asked him again to forgive me. His arms around me tightened as he nodded. He took a deep breath and hummed softly when I tangled my fingers in his hair, letting my other hand caress his back. I started to feel more alive again the longer we touched, and I reveled in it.

Jasper's whispered, "I love you," made me pause all movement, and I could feel him tense back up again. I pulled away slowly, my eyes finding his as he watched me - a mixture of hope, love, and anguish in his eyes. Keeping my fingers in his hair, I moved my right hand to cup his cheek, my thumb stroking his cheekbone lightly.

I smiled tentatively at him as I gave a soft chuckle that was more relief than anything else. "I never thought I'd hear you say those words again. I love you, too, Jasper."

He gave me a hesitant smile as his eyes searched mine, trying to find truth there. When his smile turned crooked and his eyes lit up, bringing back some of the Jasper that I loved, I knew he had found it.

His brow furrowed briefly, the right side of his bottom lip disappearing between his teeth as it always did when he contemplated something. Finally, right as I was about to ask what was troubling him, he said, "Please come home?"

Home. He wants me back!

For a moment, everything fell away as all I could feel was elation at the thought of being given the second chance I had hoped for. I pulled his face to mine, the fingers in his hair tightening their grip as I captured his lips with mine in a fevered kiss - one that Jasper returned with equal measure.

He pressed closer to me, and I could feel his arousal as his hips met mine. I bit back a moan as I slowly pulled away, the reality of the situation filtering into my mind. It took me a moment to catch my breath, and I could feel a frown form on my forehead as I closed my eyes.

My voice was thick, heavy with want, yet laced with pain. "What about Peter?"

"Yes, what about Peter?"

Both Jasper and I froze. I raised my head, opening my eyes to look at the person who I least wanted to see - though a part of me would have argued he was the one I most wanted to confront. Jasper briefly burrowed his face into my shoulder before looking up as well. Peter stood about two feet away, his head cocked and his arms crossed over his chest as he watched us.

Before either of us could say anything, he spoke again, his voice filled with scorn. "I must say, you two look awfully sweet standing there like that. Too bad, really. You had your chance, Edward...and I wasn't quite done with Jasper yet, so if you please..."

He waved his hand at me in a dismissive manner, telling me without words to be on my way. I felt Jasper cringe slightly at his words, and my arms went around his shoulders again as I held him tight. He hated confrontation, and I knew this time would be no different. I felt a surge of protectiveness toward him, and I asked him in a low murmur so Peter wouldn't hear if Peter had hurt him. At Jasper's subtle shake of his head, I looked back at Peter again, my jaw clenching and unclenching a few times before I was able to speak - had Jasper answered differently, I was sure things would have gotten out of hand quickly.

"I think that whether or not you are done with Jasper would be his decision, Peter. Not yours."

Peter's arms fell to his sides as he clenched his hands into fists. I turned us slightly, putting Jasper further from Peter with me in between them - an overbearing and unnecessary move on my part, but one that was made out of instinct.

Peter looked directly at Jasper, his voice commanding as he said, "I think it's time to go."

I heard Jasper let out a deep sigh as he straightened and pulled away from me. My heart clenched at the thought that he was actually going to go with Peter. My whispered "Jasper, no..." left my lips before I could stop myself, and Jasper's eyes cut briefly to mine before going straight back to Peter's.

Jasper's voice was gentle but firm as he put his hand on the roof of his car, stepping in front of me. It was all I could do not to pull him behind me again.

"You're right, Peter. It is time to go. Cab-stop is over that way, " he tilted his head toward the other side of the parking lot as he continued, "I suggest you make use of it. We're through."

I couldn't help the smile that formed on my lips as Jasper's words sunk in. My eyes were on Peter, though, and the initial look of utter disbelief soon made way for one of rage. I doubted anyone had ever shown him the curb, and I was silently proud of my Jasper for giving him a taste of his own medicine in a way.

Yes,
my Jasper.

Peter took one step forward, his hand reaching out as if to grab Jasper. I put my arm in front of Jasper's chest, pulling him back a step. I felt a growl bubble up in my throat, and I scowled at Peter as I said, "Give it up, Peter. You heard Jasper; he's made his choice. Go!" My voice was harsh and tight with repressed anger.

Peter looked from Jasper to me, his face turning an angry shade of red, his nostrils flaring as he breathed deeply. Jasper didn't give him a chance to speak.

"You need to leave, Peter. Don't contact me again."

Jasper grabbed my hand, squeezing it to get my attention. I turned just enough to look at him, making sure to keep Peter in my peripheral vision.

His voice was soft as he asked, "Come home, Edward?"

There was a loud, metallic thud as I nodded, and both of us reflexively flinched at the sound, turning to see Peter rubbing the side of his hand as he scowled at us before turning on his heel and stalking off. I glanced at the side of the trunk, noticing a dent about the size of a fist; I turned my eyes back to Jasper and saw the same look of surprise on his face that I was sure he could see on mine.

His low whistle was followed by a prolonged, "Okay then..." before shaking his head.

I let out a quiet chuckle, putting my hands on either side of his face and planting a tender kiss on his lips. My eyes searched his, needing for him to be absolutely certain. "Are you sure, baby?"

I knew I didn't need to qualify what I was asking him, especially not when instead of giving me a verbal answer, he gave me a searing kiss as he pressed closer to me.

After making sure that he was okay to drive, he took me back to his place - our place again, now. The drive home was silent, each of us occasionally stealing glances of the other and smiling shyly as we got caught.

When we got to the house he still rented, I had just enough time to notice that everything looked exactly as it had when I had left. He hadn't changed a thing - there was no sign at all of Peter anywhere, and that realization alone was enough to put any worries about him wanting to try again to rest. Before I could think too long on it, though, Jasper pulled me to him roughly and kissed me with abandon - one hand lodging itself in my hair while the other went to cup my ass, kneading it.

I moaned into the kiss as my own hands found their way to his back, pulling him closer to me - it felt as if I simply could not get him close enough. He seemed to be of a similar mind as he let go of me only to bring his hands to my waist and begin tugging at my shirt to pull it out of the confines of my pants. When he finally managed to get it out, he undid the top three buttons only, pulling it over my head rather than fighting with the rest of them - our lips parting only long enough for me to remove his shirt as well.

The feeling of his nimble fingers roaming my bare skin made me shudder in anticipation of what I knew he could do with them - and hopefully would do, soon. Jasper pulled away from our kiss with a crooked grin, his eyes alight again as they found mine, and I could have wept for joy at the sight. It was as if the pieces I had seen falling away from him earlier were being put together again, one by one. He ducked his head, trailing open mouthed kisses and licks as he made his way from my neck down to my chest in search of my nipples. His fingers skittered along my skin until they reached one at the same time his teeth lightly latched onto the other. He rolled it between his fingers, tugging at it - eliciting soft whimpers as I let my head fall back, my lips parted and my eyes closed.

My hands returned to his hair, gently scratching his scalp as he kept up his teasing. I could feel myself getting harder, straining against the button fly of my jeans. I hissed when I felt Jasper's right hand rub against it a few times before he stood up. Without a word, he hooked his finger through one of my belt loops and headed toward the bedroom, giving me little choice but to follow - not that I would have had it any other way.

When we got to the side of the bed - the one we used to share - I felt a twinge of uncertainty. Had he shared our bed with Peter? As if sensing my unease, he gently pulled me to him, wrapping his arms around my waist as he whispered against my lips.

"I've not shared this bed with anyone but you, darlin'. I haven't slept in this room since you left."

He pressed his lips tenderly against mine, and I felt the last of my tension melt away. I slipped my tongue into his mouth, and we simply stood there, kissing languidly as our tongues and lips got reacquainted with each other. It was heaven to taste him again, to feel him in my arms again - his heart beating so close to my own.

I needed more of him, though, needed to feel him inside of me - it had been far too long. I pulled away with a soft hum, cupping his cheek as I looked into his eyes.

"Make me yours again, Jasper, please?"

There was a glimmer of hesitancy in his eyes as he searched mine. We had often switched positions when we had been together, depending on the mood at the time. However, while I had been with Seth, I had only topped. That gift had only ever belonged to Jasper, and it hadn't felt right to do anything else. Seth had preferred to bottom, so it was never an issue. From what I knew about Peter, he never did anything but top - he wanted the control, the sense of power some men felt when they topped.

I wondered just how much of himself Jasper had lost or shoved aside while we had been apart, and I vowed to myself that I would do all I could to make him whole again. I knew that it had been hard for me to be away from him - much harder than I had ever thought it could be - but it seemed as if Jasper had been cut much deeper than I could see - than he would let me see.

My thumb traced his cheekbone as I whispered, "Please, Jasper? I need you...I haven't...wouldn't..." I sighed, raising my eyes to the ceiling as I tried to gather my thoughts. I leveled my gaze with his again and said, "That was always yours, baby. I never gave that to anyone else. I won't ever..."

Before I could finish my sentence, his lips crashed to mine, hungry and demanding - one hand tangled in my hair while the other went to work on my jeans. Within moments, he had unbuckled my belt, unbuttoned my fly and - without breaking our kiss - had yanked my jeans past my hips.

When he brushed against my hard-on, his eyes widened and he moaned into my mouth before breaking away just far enough to croak out, "Fuck me...commando? Still?"

I shrugged, grinning crookedly as I murmured against his lips, "You know me..."

I gave a low growl as he wrapped his fingers around my shaft, pumping me slowly as he grinned at me. "Indeed..."

He kissed me hard before letting me go and ordering me to lie down on the bed. He didn't have to tell me twice - I was out of my jeans, shoes, and socks in no time at all. By the time I had settled into the middle of the bed, Jasper was naked and crawling over to me, his eyes traveling over my body with a hunger that matched my own as I took in his body as well.

He stopped as he got to my hips, his hands braced on either side of me as he locked his eyes with mine. He lowered his head until I could feel his breath washing over my cock; his voice was gravely with desire as he spoke. "God, I've missed seeing you like this. I've missed you."

I smiled as I ran my fingers through his hair. "I've missed you, t-...oh Christ!" He had taken me in his mouth without any preamble, as only he had ever done. My back arched, and I had to slam my eyes shut, my jaw clenching as I felt his tongue teasing me as he worked my shaft. When I felt his slick finger pushing into me, it was all I could do to keep it together. I had been so absorbed in him - in all the things he made me feel - that I hadn't even noticed him pulling the lube from the bedside table where we'd kept it. The pleasure he was able to bring me had always amazed me, the way he played my body as only he could.

Before too long he had me panting and aching for him to just take me. "Please...oh God...please Jasper..."

I gasped when he released me, his fingers slipping out of me as he sat up. I finally opened my eyes and watched him as he tore open the packet and rolled on the condom with practiced ease. I bit back a moan as he took himself in hand, making sure he was well-lubed. His eyes were on mine, and when I looked up to his face, I saw that he was grinning.

My breath hitched at the sight of him - all hard muscle, blond curls, vibrant blue eyes, sensual, and predatory in a way - he was beautiful...and he was mine.

Again.

I raised myself up, resting on one arm as I reached for him with the other, my fingers curling around his neck as I pulled him to me and kissed him briefly. "I love you," I murmured against his lips.

He pushed me back down onto the pillows with an "I love you" of his own. I smiled at him, my brow furrowing slightly as I felt him enter me slowly. I welcomed the initial burn, but any discomfort was soon forgotten when he began to move. I wrapped my legs around him, pushing him further into me as we began to move as one.

A small part of my mind marveled at being with Jasper again. To have him move inside of me, feel his weight above me, his fingers, lips, and tongue everywhere he could reach, his whispered words - tantalizing all my senses. Everything else ceased to exist, leaving me only with him.

Every move he made was grace, every touch precision, designed to please - to love. How could I ever have thought it possible to be without him? The thought was quickly chased out of my head by a forceful thrust of his hips, hitting my prostate - causing me to cry out his name. He lifted my right leg, resting it against his shoulder, thus changing the angle. I was left grasping the sheets, my head pressing into the pillow as he found his mark again and again.

I had no more thoughts, no longer capable of anything that required rationale as he had me panting, whimpering, and begging for release - a release that was imminent, but one he would not grant, at least not yet. He wanted us to come together, so I did what I could to hold out - and to help him chase after his own release by tightening my muscles around him.

A curse, a thrust, and then another, and we were both crying out as bliss overtook us. I pried my eyes open, needing to see him - desperate not to miss any part of him. Jasper had stilled against me, his fingers digging into my hips painfully as if holding on for dear life - his head thrown back, and though I couldn't see them, I knew his eyes would be closed and his lips parted. Slowly, he tilted his head to me and the expression of complete peace I saw on his face made me smile, knowing that I had been able to help put it there again.

He blinked slowly, giving me a lazy smile - one side of his mouth curving slightly higher than the other. His eyes flickered to his hands and his brows raised slightly as he noticed the tight grip he had on me. "Oh..."

I shook my head - not minding in the slightest - and grinned at him. He rubbed my skin gently, trying to soothe and silently apologize, but I would have none of it. Lifting myself up again - though with considerably more effort this time - I put my hand at the back of his neck and kissed him soundly. My eyes closed when I felt him respond in kind, simply enjoying this connection with him. I whimpered into his mouth as I lost the only other connection we had when he slowly pulled out of me.

When we finally broke apart - desperate for air - he quickly disposed of the condom. I fell back onto the bed at the same time he got off of it to get a damp wash cloth and a towel, returning moments later to tenderly clean me up. It was something we had always done when we topped, cleaning the other after - if we didn't end up showering together, that is. This small ritual felt like a final piece of homecoming, and when he crawled back in bed after putting the cloth and towel in the hamper, he did so into my open arms.

He put his head on my shoulder, draping his arm and leg over me as he burrowed close. After a few quiet moments just lying with each other, he lifted his head and looked at me. Pressing his lips to mine briefly, he said, "Welcome home, darlin'."

I smiled, cupping his cheek. Just as I opened my mouth to thank him for taking me back, I heard my phone-alarm beep. I frowned and turned my head to look at the clock. Midnight. Looking back at Jasper, I grinned at him. He gave me a puzzled look as I lifted my chin - my lips a hair's breadth away from his as I whispered, "Happy New Year, my love," and kissed him.


A/N: A bit of housekeeping to be done, before I forget ^_^

Marked has been nominated for Best Slash at the Golden Lemon Awards! SorceressCirce and I are stunned and excited, and we appreciate everyone who nominated...now go vote, if you will :) You can go here: http://www(dot)goldenlemonawards(dot)com/ to vote for all of your lemon-related favorites before February 13th.

There's also a new awards show in town - The Slash Awards are now accepting nominations. This is (as far as I know) the first awards page devoted entirely to slash. Please visit http://theslashawards(dot)blogspot(dot)com/ to make your nominations by February 28th.

Finally, there are two contests I'd like to mention -

If you received an FML prompt, remember to have your story complete and turned in by February 15th. For those of you looking for all sorts of stories from hilarious to heart-breaking, visit the FML Contest C2 at - http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/community/FML_Contest_Fics/77195/ - The first round of voting begins February 18th!

TwiSlash Unveiled is hosting its Slash Contest right now. Submissions are accepted until February 28th for this anonymous contest. Please check out the contest page at http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/u/1945699/TwiSlash_Unveiled for more details.

Last, but most definitely not least, I just wanted to thank Silvertwi and SorceressCirce again for helping make the Support Stacie Auction such a success. Not just them, but everyone who contributed - every author, every bidder, every person that helped spread the word. I'm honored to have been a part of it.