"The Me and Mr McCarty" One-Shot Contest

Title: Hard as a Rock

Summary: A geology expedition yields a cache of life experience for college students Emmett and Jasper. Their most prized find? Eachother. AH SLASH

Pen name: Chele681

Primary Players: Emmett/Jasper

Rating: M

Word Count: 8,033

Beta'd by: Twanza03

Disclaimer: All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.

To see other entries in the "Me and Mr McCarty" contest, please visit the C2: .net/community/Me_Mr_McCarty_Contest_Entries/80509/

and/or the official List of Entries Page on the contest blog.

As I turned out onto the highway, clutching the smooth stone in my palm, I was filled with both elation and a bitter despondent ache. Funny how a few short days could alter everything you thought you knew about yourself. How the right person could change who you were. This weekend had changed me. Jasper had permanently changed me, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.


I wasn't sure what to expect when I met him at the trail head Friday morning. I suppose I was looking for shit-kicking boots and a ten-gallon hat or something equally clichéd. Perhaps I thought he would be awkward, he was an Anthropology/History major after all. What I didn't expect was the person I found sitting at the base of a huge pine tree reading a Tom Robbins novel with a goat on the cover. He was the picture of a man at peace with his surroundings. I wondered how he managed to look so settled in a place which was foreign to him.

Normally rather boisterous, I was hesitant to disturb his serenity. Instead of calling out a greeting, I waited for him to acknowledge me. When I got close enough to cast a shadow over him, he dog-eared the page he was reading, and looked up at me from under a curtain of wavy blond hair that was covering his right eye.

"You must be Emmett," he said, as he took my measure. In a brief flash of self-consciousness I wondered if I was what he had been expecting. He rose to his feet with surprising grace for a man of his height and reached out to shake my hand.

I hated shaking hands. Growing up I'd always been a head taller and six inches wider than kids my age. As a result, I had been the target of every bully trying to show his worth. If they could bring down Emmett McCarty, then they must be really tough. Through adolescence, it meant that I was either feared or challenged constantly. Now, it was the handshakes. Always too firm, always trying to prove something. At twenty I was finally resigned to the fact that it would always be that way.

Taking a deep breath, I reached out and grasped Jasper's offered hand. There was something about the way his palm met mine that made me relax. It was entirely without pretense or competition. It was just a greeting, an acknowledgement. I stifled a sigh of relief but not the grin that accompanied it.

"It's nice to meet you, Jasper," I said, and I really fucking meant it.

"You too," he replied, releasing my hand. He stooped over to secure his book into his backpack before standing to heft it onto his back and buckle it at his hips.

A distance learning student, Jasper had corresponded with me through email after we had been partnered together by our professor for the lab portion of our Geology of the Pacific Northwest course. Jasper had needed to fly in for the weekend in order to complete the hands-on portion of locating and identifying field samples. It was an immersion exercise, and when I suggested the hike along the trails surrounding Coos Bay in Oregon, his response had been enthusiastic. It was a bit of a drive for me, but the diverse terrain promised the best chance of obtaining the varied samples we needed during the relatively short time frame Jasper was able to be in town.

"Well, it doesn't take a geochronologist to know that we're burning daylight. Are you ready to hit the trail?"

Aaah, he was a nerd after all.

I craved the stimulus of someone who shared my passion. From his tiny joke, I had a feeling I'd found it in Jasper. My enthusiasm for this weekend soared.

I chuckled, trying to keep my excitement from being too obvious. "Yeah, man. Let's head out."

Jasper led the way down the path, which wound in and out of densely wooded areas and rocky outcroppings. He set a brisk pace until we hit a bit of an incline, and then we fell into a natural rhythm, following the path back and forth as it wound up in elevation and headed to the Pacific shoreline. I was surrounded by beautiful landscape, but found my eyes drawn to the pack in front of me and Jasper's well-traveled hiking boots. The percussions in his footsteps and the brush of fabric from his shorts along with my own sounded like music.

We got to know each other beyond the superficial emails we had exchanged. I usually preferred to hike in silence, enjoying the sounds of the earth, but his voice had a soothing cadence, which seemed to compliment the sound of nature around us as opposed to disturbing it.

As Jasper opened up about himself, I did the same. He was in the last semester of his senior year and majoring in anthropology. This was one of his final courses and he'd hoped to find artifacts or evidence of settlements from the Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes along on the trip as they held a particular fascination for him. I told him about my football scholarship; how I often felt trapped playing in order to stay in school. While I enjoyed it, I didn't feel the same passion about it as I did when I was younger.

I told him about the band I was in, and my passion for music. I explained that I'd stopped trying to share my love for geology with my best friend and band-mate, Jake, when in describing a vesicle, he thought I was talking about his balls instead of a cavity in igneous rock.

"Did you explain to him that it was formed by a bubble of escaping gas?" Jasper had asked, not missing a beat. "Maybe he could have been able to relate to that?"

"It's like you know him so well," I replied, laughing along with him at Jake's expense.

When I'd asked him about his plans after graduation, he surprised me.

"I'll be heading to Paraguay to serve in the Peace Corps for the next two years. I want to travel and be useful to the world before life ties me down with debt and possession," he said. "It's selfish, really. There is such a rich cultural history down there, and I'm anxious to immerse myself in it."

He just threw it out there like everyone was doing it. Like it was no big deal. I couldn't imagine myself so far from home and creature comforts for such a long time; I found it inconvenient to deal with crapping in the woods on a two-day hike. Yet I could see Jasper perfectly, the same casual look on his face as he helped build roads, or taught schoolchildren. There was no pretense when he said he felt this was a selfish act. He seemed to genuinely believe that he would gain more from the experience than he gave to others. Although only a few years older than me, there was a chasm of maturity between us and I caught myself feeling almost reverential toward him as the day wore on.

Our comfortable exchanges were interrupted periodically when one of us would spot a specimen for the project. The larger stones and formations we documented photographically, whereas the smaller ones we packed away having received a special permit to remove them for display at the university.

Jasper carried the first several samples we found in his pack, since the tent was in mine. We'd agreed to share one in order to lighten the load, knowing that the multitude of samples would weigh us down. We'd be feeling every ounce on our backs by the time we hiked out on Sunday. He was a natural at spotting rock samples, so between his knack and my experience we managed to check several off our list of required samples within the first three miles. His enthusiasm impressed me, and I found quickly that, despite this being an elective course for him, his knowledge was extensive. When we found a striated section of sandstone along the creek bed, I couldn't help but grin as he waxed philosophical about the formation of sedimentary rock.

"Lithification is an amazing process. I don't think that people really see the connection between rocks and the human condition."

I raised an eyebrow at him.

"They're just like people, you know? Layer upon layer, history and experience piled upon each other until they compress under the weight of their circumstance. The results... nothing short of beautiful," he said, lifting his eyes to mine as he finished speaking.

I was impressed both by his words, and the passion behind them.

"I've never heard it explained so well, but I've always felt that." I had always felt a connection to the earth and seen beauty in geological formations, but had never known anyone else who felt as deeply about it as I did. Others in my field of study tended to take a more academic view, preferring to quantify composition of aggregates as opposed to appreciating the aesthetics of stone at their origin.

Catching a glint of sun over Jasper's shoulder, I took off my boots and waded into the icy stream to a rocky protrusion. As I got closer, I could make out the tell-tale crystalline shimmer of a pocket of amethyst about the size of a quarter nestled in the underside rock face. I took out my rock hammer and chipped the sparkling cluster away. I excitedly splashed back to Jasper, who had been watching me from his place on the side of the stream

"See? Now that's fucking beautiful, man," he said enthusiastically. "But we've already found our quota for quartz. I think you should keep it. It'll give you something to remember this trip."

I watched him while he spoke, his presence indelibly marking itself in my history. Holding the stone in my hand, I knew that years from now when I looked at it, it wouldn't be a field trip to Oregon I remembered.

It would be Jasper.

By the end of the day, we'd gathered most of the data and samples we needed to complete our project with the exception of those found nearer to the coast, which we'd tackle the following day. When we ran out of daylight, we found a small clearing to set up camp. We pitched the tent, but the temperature was unseasonably warm that night, so we agreed not to build a fire because we were both too exhausted. I had a less than satisfying dinner of jerky and trail mix and other non-perishable camping food. Jasper mocked me for my Easy Cheeze, but eventually succumbed to the siren call of the aerosol can of processed food product, and had a squirt or two himself.

We fell into bed, exhausted, and told each other dirty jokes until sleep dragged us under. The last thing I heard was Jasper's slow drawl as he said, "An old man and an old lady are getting ready for bed when the woman bursts out of the bathroom, flings open her robe and yells "Super Pussy!" The old man says, "I'll have the soup."

I was still smiling when sleep claimed me.


I woke up just after sunrise, a little disorientated. I was unaccustomed to sleeping on the hard ground and stretched to get the blood flowing to my aching muscles. Working the kinks from my neck, I turned toward Jasper. He was sleeping as peacefully as if he were lying on a plush mattress with eight hundred thread-count sheets instead of a thin foam pad. At the thought of what might be underneath him I felt the all-too-familiar stirring of morning wood. I tried to dismiss it as my body's response to waking. It certainly wasn't the first morning I've woken up hard.

It is the first time you've woken up hard with your face six inches from a dude.

I needed to get out of the tent and find a bush to handle one or both of my morning urges, but I found it impossible to pass up the opportunity to study Jasper without his penetrating gaze in return. The sun was piercing the thin tent walls as it began its climb. It glinted off the golden strands of his hair, which framed his face. His breathing was even through slightly parted lips, he was the picture of peace. His countenance wasn't all that different from when he was awake.

Even sleeping he was fucking cool.

I puzzled at the way he made me feel so comfortable in his presence, taking away the need to pretend I wasn't a total geek.

My studious gaze caught a small scar at the corner of his mouth which marred his otherwise symmetrical lips. I hadn't really noticed it yesterday and thought perhaps it was only when he was still that it was even discernible. I wondered how many people would even know it was there, his ever-present lazy smile keeping it obscured during his waking hours. I thought for a moment that having a secret with Jasper would make me feel special. It was smooth and I resisted the urge to touch it. I wondered why it would even occur to me to do so.

As if my thoughts had conjured it, his lazy smile appeared and my eyes snapped to his. No longer met with fanned lashes, just deep pools of cerulean blue, their shape thinning with an amused expression.

He caught me staring at his lips.

"Good morning, Sunshine," he said, his voice raspy with sleep; his accent far more pronounced than it had been yesterday, a drawl I felt as much as heard.

He was amused. I was horrified.

My immediate instinct was to bolt from the tent, but considering the tent situation in my pants, I was going to have to stay put and give things a minute to settle before acting on any grand plans to escape. Meanwhile, Jasper was looking at me intently and I realized I still hadn't said a word to the man whose lips I'd been second away from stroking.

I did what any self-respecting guy would do under the circumstances, I pretended everything was cool.

"Morning," I said, and then attempted to move us directly onto academic topics. "Think we'll be able to find a massive rock sample today?"

Jasper eyes darted down for a fraction of a second, but I didn't dare follow his glance to confirm what I was afraid he'd already seen. He quirked his eyebrow before his lip curled into a smirk. "Ummm, yeah, I think we might be able to cross it off the list."

With a chuckle he hopped up and mumbled something about a "morning constitution" before stepping out of the tent. I gathered the threads of my dignity after a moment and followed him out.

Jasper had a map out and was chewing on a breakfast bar. When he saw me, he reached into his pack and tossed me two. He detailed his plans to hike to the beach, which was apparently only about a half mile away. No further comment was made about my morning situation and our easy conversation continued.

We had everything packed up and were on the trail in no time, making it to the beach before the sun completely wrested its way from the morning fog. We fed off each other's enthusiasm at being so close to the shore, where we were certain to find the majority of specimens to complete our project. The hike down the cliffs was treacherous, but we made it down without incident, even sampling and photographing several of the coastal sediments on our descent.

Quickly realizing they were a hindrance, we shed our packs and boots while we explored the shore and tidal pools. Jasper's demeanor carried a weight of maturity, but there was a physical lightness to him as he dodged the waves to get to the coves along the beach. He was like a kid, his laughter ringing out above the sound of the surf. The waves were rough, and the spray quickly had us soaked. Jasper stripped his shirt off, spreading it across a driftwood log further up the beach. I did the same. Unlike my pale skin, a victim of Washington's overcast skies, Jasper looked like a surf god with his golden glow. The coal black design of a tribal tattoo snuck out of the waistband of his shorts along his right hip like. Its flames licked at his ribs and I added it to the list of places I had an inexplicable urge to touch him.

Our pockets bulged with samples and the weight caused Jasper's shorts to hang precariously low on his hips, exposing more of the tattoo, and the line of delineation where the honey tone of his torso met the pale alabaster slope of his ass. I hid a smile at my pleasure of seeing a part of him he hadn't even shared with the sun. Each time I was sure his pants would drop from their delicate perch, he would shift them back up. I mourned the loss of sharing that secret glimpse of him.

My fixation was getting seriously out of control. I had accepted my stargazing at him yesterday; he was obviously brilliant and well-traveled, with a wicked sense of humor. He was the kind of guy who could set anyone at ease in any situation. If the world were to end in a ball of flames, Jasper would be toasting marshmallows while everyone else ran around trying to right their wrongs. I tried to convince myself it was just hero-worship, but my body's reaction to him this morning, and the subtle tension I felt building in my chest now told me there was more going on and it was something I had no previous experience with.

I was attracted to my cool-as-ice-leaving-for-a-foreign-country-in-two-weeks lab partner, Jasper. Who was not a girl.

Before I could spend too much time dwelling on this epiphany, and what crushing on a guy meant to me, Jasper called my attention to a tide pool he was crouched over. He was examining several creatures that were caught when the water had receded. He sifted through the pebbles and bits of sea glass and held up each stone to look at it more minutely. I came closer and crouched down. His hair was dripping wet and hung down over his eyes, partially obscuring the expression on his face as he scrutinized the piece in his hands.

My recent revelation made me bold and I reached out and traced my fingers along the tips of his tattoo.

"I got it when I was with Peter," he said so casually that it took me a minute to calculate that the way he said "with Peter" indicated more than a friendship. His nonchalant mention was as much of a declaration as an answer to my unspoken question about the ink's significance.

"It's awesome. He must have been important to you," I stated, fishing for information.

"He was. Still is. We've managed to save our friendship despite a rough break-up. We were always better as friends, really, but I don't regret any of it," he said, trailing off as he looked up at me. This was more than just a casual mention of his ex-boyfriend. He was acknowledging my touch and giving me a piece of who he was.

I wanted to reciprocate, but everything I was feeling and my desire to keep tracing the dark lines along his smooth skin left me unraveled. I held my tongue at first instead of risking that I would say something stupid.

"It suits you," I said, finally, and pulled my hand back before my wayward touch took me to a place I wasn't sure I was ready to go.

His eyes never left mine, but he raised his hand, bringing the sparkling wet stone to our field of vision. A shimmering swirl of blues, greens and browns balanced between his finger and thumb; its edges softened by millennia of surf.

It was the most beautiful piece of jasper I had ever seen.

I laughed out loud at the irony. Jasper joined me, the tension of the moment before rolled away like the tide.

"I think we've got everything we need," he said, rising to his feet. "Let's head back up the cliffs before we have to do it in the dark."

We gathered our gear, tucking our still-wet shirts into the waistbands of our pants before donning our packs, and began our ascent.

The trip back up the hillside was, not-surprisingly, more difficult that the trip down. The incline became steep as we wound our way back up the rocky path along the cliff face and the beach. Jasper was in front of me, my vision limited to the granite and earth below my feet, and the back of his knees in front of me. I didn't dare look up beyond that. The trail was already precarious, and the rocks slick with moisture and sea spray, and my body edgy with mutiny.

Above the sound of the tide, I heard him humming. I wondered what kind of tune he'd choose, if it was something I might know. I wanted it to be something that would prompt another musical discussion on the merits of folk-infused power ballads. I wanted him to give me that feeling again, the feeling of peace and sweet relief. Jasper seemed to carry it with him and shared it with me like a secret. It was like checkers in the park, like getting out of the car after a long drive to stretch and yawn. Simple and soothing.

I strained to hear him, focus my attention to catch the individual notes, to piece them together, my mind latched onto the rhythm.

At that moment I lost my footing, my left leg slipped along the boulder's edge and began to fall. I braced myself for the impact, my arms reaching out to grab hold of the sporadic sea oats growing from between the rocks to try to slow my descent. Instead of grass, my hand was met with warm flesh and a strong grip which gave me a solid yank back toward the trail. I went down hard; the air knocked from my lungs by the force of the blow, but thanks to Jasper I wasn't laying on a pile of jagged stones fifteen feet down the cliff face. Unfortunately, our weight differential coupled with my inertia had caused me to take Jasper with me. I lay there a moment, half on top of him, gasping for breath and swimming in gratitude our faces close enough to share our panted breath.

"Thanks man. That was... If you hadn't..." I shook my head, the words not cooperating. I realized that I had him pinned under me, and rolled to the side while I tried to gather my wits.

"Are you okay?" he asked, his eyes searching my face as if the answer was written there.

"Yeah, I've had worse hits, that's for sure. Just a little freaked out about how close that was. You fucking saved me," I said. I unbuckled my pack, hopped up and held out my hand out to help him to his feet. That's when I notice the steady trickle of blood running down his leg.

"Shit, you're hurt!"

"It's nothing, just a scrape."

"Dude, that is NOT nothing. Let me take care of you... errr, this... your leg. "

There were a few places on his shin which were gauged pretty deeply, and at least one which I suspected could use a stitch, but a butterfly bandage would do if I could get it to hold. Finding the antibacterial wipes in the kit, I attempted to clean the debris from the scrapes. His skin felt hot and angry under my hands.

Although I knew the solution I was wiping on had to sting, Jasper hadn't made a sound. I glanced up at him, but he was just looking at me like I was fixing his bike, interested, collected and a little anxious that I would fuck it up. I had to dry the area, but didn't want to swipe at it any more than I already had. Leaning close, I held my lips a few inches away from his leg, and gently blew cool air over his skin. I felt his goose bumps under my fingertips where I held the back of his calf and heard a sharp gasp of breath.

I pulled away, stuttering an apology and placed my hand above his knee, rubbing slightly, trying to reassure him that I understood the ache he was feeling. The muscles in his thigh tightened under my hand, and I knew he was straining to stay tough. However, when I looked at his face, agony wasn't what I saw. His jaw was tight, and his nostrils flared as he took in steady, deep breaths. His eyes looked those of a starving man.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. Must be the adrenaline. Feels a little crazy. I thought you were going over the edge."

I swallowed, not sure how to respond, not wanting to embarrass myself if I misunderstood what I was reading on his face. I looked away quickly and focused on getting him patched up.

The sun was high in the sky and we were exposed to its full glare on the rocky outcropping. Sweat started to bead up on my forehead and I tried to wipe it away on my shoulder, to keep from getting my hands sweaty. My hair fell down on my forehead and I blew at it and shook my head to try to get it off, but felt Jasper's fingers swiping it back. He didn't stop there, and let his fingers trail along the skin behind my ear, down my neck. He rested his hand on my shoulder a moment before he pulled away.

I was grateful that I was squatting, because while my mind was confused by what Jasper's intent was in touching me, my dick thought it had a pretty good idea and was asking to be called upon for the answer. I concentrated on Jasper, reminding myself that he was in pain, which was a pretty fucked up thing to have a boner over. After a few minutes, I had him patched up to the best of my ability with the tools at hand.

"Thanks," he whispered.

"You're welcome. I think, under the circumstances, we should probably take it easy on the hiking. I'm not sure that bandage is going to stand up against much of a challenge. Let's not push it. If you let it set tonight, it should be healed enough in the morning for us to hike out of here," I said. "We can set up camp at the place from last night. It's only a thousand feet up the trail or so."

We climbed to the top of the bluff and back to the clearing, markedly more slowly and carefully than we had made the descent, but without further incident. Jasper tried to protest, but I insisted he rest and elevate his leg while I made camp. I worked up quite a sweat getting the tent stakes into the ground, having to pound them in with a mallet. I distracted myself by remembering Jasper completing the same task yesterday, although he seemed to have accomplished it with less effort.

I felt his eyes on me as I went about the task of gathering wood for a fire so we could boil some water from the stream for drinking. The temperature dropped as the afternoon dipped into evening, and I knew we'd need the heat too. The spring weather was unpredictable and our sleeping bags were not heavyweight.

Jasper had settled himself against the base of a tree, positioned much like I had found him yesterday morning, although it seemed like another life. He'd pulled the worn, leather-bound journal I'd seen him taking field notes in through the hike yesterday and bent over it, writing intently. He seemed to be in deep concentration. I wanted to see the exuberance he radiated when he was concentrating. His hair fell forward into his eyes, and I itched to return the favor from earlier. Just when I thought I would give myself permission to do it for him, he reached up and brushed it away himself. I was surprised at the frustration I saw on his face.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Fine," he said, shaking his head, but never looking up from the page.

I'd never seen him rattled; even when he's saved me on the cliff he'd projected a soothing calm. I looked away; afraid that that intensity was directed toward me, and stayed busy by opening the can of pork and beans I'd saved for dinner. I set it along the coals at the edge of the fire I'd managed coax to life. We sat in a silence which was growing uncomfortable as the sun sank low on the horizon.

"Would you care to partake of a gourmet can of franks and beans?" I said, offering him half of the warmed can.

"I don't eat meat,' he said, shaking his head, but not looking up from his journal, where he seemed to be intently sketching a fucking plant.

Irritated, I spoke without thinking, "That's not the impression I got earlier." Even I cringed when the words escaped my mouth. I hadn't intended to be hurtful, but as they tumbled out, I felt the rejection they carried in the air.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" he asked, looking up at me, seething.

"Shit, I'm sorry man. I didn't mean it like that. Well, I guess I did, but it sounded funnier in my head. I'm just trying to lighten the situation." I'd wanted to get back to where we had been this afternoon on the beach, but from the look of disappointment on Jasper's face, it had had exactly the opposite effect.

"You think it's funny? I don't share that shit with everyone, but I thought you were safe," he said, his anger laced with hurt. "I thought it would mean something to you. Were you just waiting to throw it back in my face?"

"It's not like that. I just... you were so fucking quiet. I don't know what's going on here. This is all pretty fucking new to me, like, this morning new. I'm completely out of control. I don't even know why I feel this way about you."

"How do you feel about me?"

"Never mind. I don't do this."

"So you're straight? Is that what you're trying to tell me? Because, the hard-on you've been sporting since yesterday is calling you a liar, and I have a tendency to fucking agree with it."

"No, you're right. I have no fucking idea what I'm doing, I admit it. Yes, my fucking cock wants to follow you around like a puppy. It's more than that, though. I've never felt anything like this."

He seemed to deflate, his ire leaving him. "I know. That's why I thought is would be better to just.. detach. I just can't do this with you."

"I wasn't asking you for anything; just wanted to enjoy feeling this way about you. I was going to figure out what it meant when it was over."

I turned and walked away from the fire, feeling rejected. I crawled into the tent hoping sleep would save me from my embarrassment at having been laid bare. It did not escape me that regardless of Jasper's rejection, the revelation I'd had regarding my attraction to him wasn't something I'd be able to forget about. This weekend had changed everything for me.

For several minutes the only thing I heard was the crackle of the fire. I pictured Jasper looking into it, his face illuminated by the flames. I hoped I hadn't made him feel so uncomfortable that he'd try to sleep outside so he wouldn't have to be in the tent with me.

I curled on my side, my back to the light from the fire that filtered through the tent. I must have dozed off and awoke with a start at the sound of the tent door being unzipped. The fire was out and the only light was coming from the moon overhead, visible through the screened vents above.

He lay down beside me, a heavy silence between us. It stretched on for what seemed like a long time before he said, "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth."

"You're quoting the Buddha now?" I asked, a huff of breath escaping. "There's the Jasper I know."

"Fuck. I knew you'd know it. It's like you're made for me."

"Yeah, I know the feeling."

We grew quiet again, but it felt lighter somehow, as if acknowledging it had repaired a rift. I could hear the ocean in the distance like a far away train. The similar rhythm of Jasper's breath was so close, in and out.

"So you've never been with a man before?" Jasper asked.


"I thought not."

"I want to be with you, though." I said. My voice sounded shaky, even to me.

His breath escaped him in a sigh, "I thought so."

"Oh. That's cool if you're not -"

Before I could finish he interrupted, "No, It's not that I don't. Fuck, Emmett. I'm only here for the weekend. I'm not prepared for this…any of this. In two weeks I'll be living in a hut without indoor plumbing. I'm not sure I'll even have a phone. I can't even promise to call you. Up until yesterday I knew, unequivocally, that it was the greatest decision I'd ever made. I still know it's the right thing to do, but I'm feeling an entirely different kind of selfish now. I don't want to toy with you. I can't stay, but god, I just...I want to touch you so fucking badly right now."

I heard the desperation in his voice. It mirrored mine.

"Please," I said.

His breath was on my face, only inches from me in the inky blackness of the tent. He was only a shadow in my vision, but I could feel the heat rolling off of him. His fingertips ghosted along the side of my face. I grew afraid his touch was only one of comfort. I wasn't sure how to begin. With a woman I'd be rounding bases, but this wasn't some random post-game hook-up. I froze at my fear of rejection and ache for his acceptance. I was out of my comfort zone, but I wanted this.

The darkness made me bold; I slid my hand along the backs of his fingers, which were against my jaw. I held his skin to mine. Turning my head, I pressed my lips to his palm, accepting him, begging him.

A groan rumbled deep in his chest and in an instant he rolled me onto my back, his weight pressing down on me. Both his hands gripped my hair, pushing my head back into my sweatshirt that I had balled up into a pillow. His shirt rose up and the skin of his back was exposed. I slipped my fingers under the hem and slid my hand to the small of his back. I held him to me, anchoring him in place. He moved ever so slightly, shifting his hips, which caused my dick to throb painfully, aching to cut itself free from its confinement, determined to find a way through the layer of fabric between us.

I had to get closer to him. I wanted be inside of him, to be surrounded by him, to pretend for a moment that the rest of the world didn't exist. There wasn't time for a slow build for us.

He unzipped my sleeping bag, lifting up off of me to push it aside, and blanketed me in his warmth instead. Our sole focus became getting rid of everything between us. We shed our clothes without ceremony in a clumsy, slightly frantic tangle of cloth and limbs. When I lifted me arms above my head to take off my shirt, he caught me exposed, running his hands along my chest and down my sides along my ribs, causing me to giggle in what I thought was a very un-sexy way.

Jasper stilled his hands, digging his fingers where they stalled, turning his touch into ten points of white-hot sensation, and pressed his forehead into my chest. I felt his tongue, hot against my skin as he trailed it up my sternum, along my neck. He nipped at my jaw and whispered in my ear," I fucking love to hear you laugh, but this isn't supposed to be funny."

With that he grabbed my shirt and finally tugged it off. He pressed our bare chests together. I felt seared to him, inseparable. I held him still above me, savoring the way our legs were tangled together. We were connected and equal. His body was wound tight, every muscle coiled. I felt three panting breaths bathe my face before he surrendered and our lips crashed together. I moaned into his mouth and his body melted into me at the sound. As I felt the rest of his body soften, his hardness at my hip was more apparent. I raised my arms from where they'd been clenched in fists at my side and stretched my fingers. I let them hover over his back, hesitating before surrendering to the call of his skin.

I pulled him closer to me, exploring his mouth and his neck with my lips. Neither of us had shaved since yesterday morning. The feel of his stubble against my cheek and on my lips set my nerves on edge. I was shocked at the pleasure such a small, unexpected sensation could bring.

I traced my fingers along the tattoo on his side, down his hip, pretending I could feel the marks on his skin, like I was reading him by Braille. Reaching down between us, I took him in my hand, unsurprised by the substantial weight I found. With Jasper, I'd learned to have high expectations. He quickly followed suit, snaking his hand between us and pulling on my dick with a sure, firm stroke. We were both touching with urgency, panting kisses against each other, and moving way too quickly toward an end I wasn't ready for. I wanted more than his hand, wanted to give him more of me.

Nudging him away, I changed position before he could misconstrue my intention and rolled onto him. I kissed him deeply before whispering against his lips, "Let me be yours. Let me make you feel good."

"Are you sure? You don't have to. I'm not expecting anything."

I answered him by kissing him soundly. I moved down his torso, trailing my lips and tongue along his abs, kissing the dip in his hip.

I pressed his cock against my face, feeling the heat and size of it, careful not to rub my stubble against it, but getting into the mental headspace I needed to cross this bridge. I wanted this, but I also wanted to be good at it. To be good for him. I snaked my tongue out, running it from base to tip, taking just the head in my mouth and pausing to catch my breath, letting my tongue explore the smooth tip, getting my first taste of him.

Suddenly I felt odd, like a deer caught in headlights. Frozen with a mouth full of rock-hard flesh, I started to panic.

"Fuck Emmett, you feel so good." The sound of his voice was all I needed to bring me back to the moment. I slid down his length, taking as much in as I dared. I wrapped my hand around the base. Jasper wasn't small and I had no illusions of getting him all in my mouth, but I gripped him, and let my hand follow my lips as I rose back to the tip, before repeating my descent.

"God, this is all I've thought about for two fucking days, having your lips wrapped around me, being this close to you. I've been aching to touch you. To make sure you were real."

I moaned around his length in my mouth, encouraging him to talk without disconnecting from him.

"Come here, Emmett, let me take care of you, too. I want you inside of me. I need to be closer to you," he said, pulling at my shoulders, bringing me up to his lips. I kissed him with everything I had, my lips swollen sliding over his, his tongue seeking the depths of my mouth, oblivious to his own taste. Being this close to him was an amazing feeling. It was safety and acceptance and making good on a promise.

"Turn around. I want you to stay on top, so you're in control if it's too much for you."

I let him guide me, although I felt terribly exposed with my knees on either side of his head, the awkwardness I felt disappeared when I felt his tongue teasing my length. My muscles tensed at the shock of pleasure. Jasper responded immediately, using his hands to sooth me, rubbing into the muscles on the back of my thighs, along my ass and hips, releasing the tension with his touch.

Once I'd steadied my breathing, I leaned down, returning to Jasper, taking him back between my lips. It was easier to allow him further into my mouth from this angle. Following his lead, I ran my hand along his thighs, wanting to make him come undone.

If I hadn't been intent on taking care of him, I wouldn't have lasted a minute under his expert tongue. It's as if I'd never received a real blow job before Jasper's lips were wrapped around me. The distraction of wanting to please him allowed me to hold off, coming just to the edge of distraction before refocusing my attention on him, causing his motions to slow.

Jasper released me from his mouth, his hand still gripped around my base.

"Emmett, I'm going to come. You don't have to…" he trailed off in a groan, his hips rising off of the ground, pumping gently into my mouth. I doubled my efforts, feeling a thrill at the desperation in his voice, knowing I had that effect on him. He was giving me an out, but I was in too deep, and couldn't let him go.

He cried out and I felt a heat in my mouth, filling the spaces around his cock. I wrapped my lips around him, letting him ride it out. I swallowed quickly before I could consider letting go of even this part of him.

Before letting himself recover, Jasper took me back in his mouth sucking and swirling his tongue around me. I was so close already that his undistracted efforts had me on edge before I had a second to think. I released his dick from my mouth to keep from biting down on him as I clenched my jaw in ecstasy. Jasper took me over the edge as I cried out in my release, my hand still gripped tightly around him, like we were completing a circuit.

Jasper pressed his palm to my hip, urging me to free him from where he was trapped between my thighs, and I quickly rolled off of him onto my back and lay panting, catching my breath while my mind started to race. He quickly came to me, settling himself in my arms. He rested his head on my shoulder. I calmed immediately and tightened my hold on him, leaning down to kiss his lips before folding the sleeping bag over us. Despite the chaos in my mind, my body took over and I fell asleep.

Waking up with Jasper in my arms on Sunday morning was bittersweet. He clung to me, our legs intertwined, his head on my chest over my heart. The weight felt appropriate and I lay there for the longest time just watching him come into focus as the sun marked the start of the day.

I knew he was awake when his grip tightened suddenly. He looked up, like he was startled to see me, before the most glorious smile settled on his face. We shared a few tender kisses, a physical acknowledgement of the indelible marks we'd left on each other's souls the night before. We didn't take it any further physically in the light of the morning, nor did we talk much as we started in on the practicalities of the day. We were both already in too deeply. No declaration was needed after last night. Anything we said or did would only make it harder to let him go.

When he left the tent I dug into my pack, in search of the amethyst I'd found the day before. I brought it to my lips before placing it in the bottom of his pack, settling it next to the soft leather of his journal, where I knew he would understand my intention when he found it.

This was important. Don't ever forget that.

Our mood grew somber as we packed up camp and headed back up the trail toward the cars, toward reality. After a couple of miles I couldn't take the silence.

"What's the definition of a Yankee?" I asked. Jasper paused, and looked over his shoulder at me, clearly confused. "Same thing as a "quickie", only you do it yourself," I said, and held my breath for his reaction.

He laughed and it was like music, even if it was as much a laugh at my lameness as it was at the joke, but I'd made him smile. I'd gladly embarrass myself again to make that happen. Things seemed easier after that and we settled back into our easy exchange. We spent a good portion of the hike debating whether wind chimes were a percussion instrument. I disagreed just to listen to him plead his case, and I suspected he was doing the same.

Too soon, we were standing back in the lot where our trip had begun, each stowing or gear into our respective cars.

When it came time to say good-bye, I felt shy, and waited for him to come to me in silent protest of our impending separation.

"I'll never forget you," I said, as he came close enough to hear me.

"No," he chuckled, "I don't expect you will." His eyes betrayed his lighthearted tone. I knew I had to go, or tomorrow I'd be on a plane following him to Texas, and half way around the world after that if he'd let me, just to keep feeling this.

I held my hand out, silently begging for his touch. He gave it to me, and pulled me into a hug, which would have looked casual to the common observer, but the way his lips trailed along my ear was anything but. I inhaled deeply, trying to capture his sage and cedar scent, needing to keep something of his with me before I could stand to turn away.

"I will never fucking forget you," he said, before placing a final kiss on my lips and turning to walk away.

I waited until he'd pulled away and watched his car disappear before I took a deep breath and got into mine. I reached into my back pocket to take my wallet out and put it in the console so I wouldn't be sitting on it for the long drive home, but when I pulled it out, something else fell out into the seat of the car. I picked it up, my fingers feeling at home along its smooth surface, worn perfectly in the way only time and circumstance could. My heart was soaring before I'd looked at it, knowing he'd wanted me to have it; that he'd let me keep a tangible piece of himself.

I let my eyes confirm what I already knew I was holding. Resting in my palm was the most beautiful piece of jasper I'd ever seen.



A/N The universe that made this Emmett and Jasper would not exist without Dahliablack86 and Sweet Dulcinea. My courage to write would not exist without Twanza03.