Author's note: Thanks to ms. ambrosia, who read this even though she feels icky. You guys know that song "Samson" by Regina Spektor? If not, you should, because it's beautiful and inspired much of this story (not to mention this chapter title). You who are still reading are lovers of the angst and I love you for it.

Disclaimer: Don't own. Boo hoo.


After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.And his strength left him. The Bible, Judges 16:19


Carlisle chuckled. "Is that what you worry over? The length of my hair?"

"If that were the only thing, I would be glad of it," Edward replied, in his voice a smile.

Carlisle felt torn this way and that, tossed about in a frightful storm. Through the open window, he saw the light leaving the sky, and the night sounds began invading the room. The Winter wind was sweet, but none sweeter than the man with hands in Carlisle's hair. Never had he known it was a possibility to feel such wholeness along with sorrow and regret.

Maybe he could let go of his hair; he had let go of Edward, never truly had him to begin with, but the idea of him had to be removed from him for always. He thought it God's will. Fate was inevitable; what will be, will be.

"Do you think it can be cut?" Carlisle asked.

"I think I can put the appropriate strength behind something to do so," Edward answered, continuing his fingertip's journey across Carlisle's scalp. The sensation was enlivening and comforting, calming all at once. Carlisle would not find it in himself to ask the boy to stop. Why should he? It was innocent.

"Do you think you can do a good job?" Carlisle asked. "It won't grow back."

Edward scoffed. "So far, I am incredibly good at everything I do. I see no reason why a haircut should be any different."

"Let's do it then."

~oOo~

Edward stood behind Carlisle, his father's straight razor sharpened and poised in his hand. Carlisle sat in an old wooden kitchen chair, a worn out shawl draped over his shoulders. Edward had a few lamps lit to fight the dark, although he saw well enough in it.

"Are you nervous?" he asked Carlisle, who clutched the shawl fiercely.

"A bit," Carlisle admitted.

"Surely, you're not vain, Carlisle? Vanity is a sin." Edward laughed. All seemed quiet and still, and so was Edward's laugh.

"I have looked the same for hundreds of years, Edward. Would you not be the smallest bit apprehensive?" Carlisle adjusted his position in the chair, crossed his ankle over his knee.

"When you say it that way..." Edward stopped, grinned. He leaned down, close to Carlisle's ear. "Don't worry. I'll take care of you."

Carlisle shuddered, and he knew it was due to Edward's closeness. This moment Carlisle would think back on as precious, that he already acknowledged. Edward stood straight again, began combing his fingers through Carlisle's hair.

Edward chose a small group of strands to begin with and held them tightly at the base of Carlisle's skull. With a gentle force he brought the razor down, and Carlisle was surprised when the strands began falling away much easier than anticipated. He closed his eyes.

The hands in Carlisle's hair were sure, but not swift. He appreciated the steady slowness Edward adhered to, each strand flowing away as each of Carlisle's desires. In the silence, he heard the sound as forgotten locks hit the floor, and with each one, he thought: Edward's lips, Edward's throat, Edward's arms, his strength, his want, his passion, his love... And he tried to let them go, let them go.

Edward's thoughts nearly echoed Carlisle's. He watched his hope fall away, each strand a moment he might have had. To hold his hand, claim him as my own, to have my breath stolen by a willing kiss, to have him look me in the eye as he tells me he loves me.

For Edward, it was a sweet anguish, Carlisle's thoughts unguarded and flowing, his love, his passion undulating as his heart wept. Again, Edward felt himself wanting to argue against Carlisle's decision, but how could he ask Carlisle to commit what he thought was a sin purposefully? Abandon Esme? Break her heart? No, Carlisle would never forgive himself.

For Carlisle, Edward's fingers whispering through his hair told of the trust he had for the boy, the adoration which would never go away. Before he had lusted after Edward in body, he had been drawn to his spirit, even as a human, although it was late to be admitting that to himself. He wanted to keep Edward from harm, but could not tell him to go from the very thing continuing to hurt him. Edward had told Carlisle he was not horribly unhappy. Carlisle, knowing it false, still chose to believe his words instead of his every action, the broken slump of his shoulders, the madness brewing in his eyes.

Edward's hand moved from Carlisle's head to his neck, steadying him as Edward began cutting close to his throat. Fingers nimble and strong, he cut Carlisle's hair short and even. When it came time to rid the back of Carlisle's neck of the soft, white-gold hair at the base of his skull, Edward placed the razor down, instead using the lethal tips of his fingernails. He counted every touch.

Gently, so gently Carlisle felt nothing but a breeze, Edward brushed away the stray locks from Carlisle's neck, his throat, his shoulders. Again, he put his hands in Carlisle's shorn hair, smoothing it, passing his love in the only way allowed.

A slight breeze blew in through the window, the chill of winter in its wake. Carlisle felt cold, something he was not supposed to feel. He pulled the shawl tighter.

Esme would not be back for two days.

Carlisle could not break the silence. Edward was finished, neither man having moved for several moments. Finally, Carlisle felt the heavy weight of Edward's hands on his shoulders. As though he fought against himself, Edward's fingertips moved to Carlisle's collar bone and further down, inside Carlisle's shirt, until the palm of Edward's hand rested over Carlisle's heart. Carlisle sighed and opened his eyes, trained them on the strong hand resting over his chest. His breathing sped.

"Sorry," Edward breathed. He let out a quiet laugh of embarrassment and then went silent again.

Carlisle could not say anything back, could not tell Edward to remove his hand, not when he felt his heart would go with Edward were it removed. He could not tell him to touch him more either, though he yearned for it.

Leaning forward, Edward placed his lips to Carlisle's hair, inhaling deeply, fingers clutching Carlisle's flesh as though he would drown in the scent of him did he not hold on. The hand resting on Carlisle's shoulder went to his neck, fingers splaying, warm and sure against Carlisle's skin. Carlisle's hand covered Edward's where it rested over his heart, and Edward made a sound of pain.

"I have to go, Carlisle," Edward whispered, his voice unsteady.

Carlisle, the stillness forgotten, turned in the chair to look up at Edward. He went from feeling reflective to panic. Edward could not leave; Carlisle could not remember a time he had not loved him, and the thought of being separate from him was as foreign as a fish with wings.

"Edward," Carlisle started, "wh- Please. Stay." Almost asking why, Carlisle thought better of it. He would not demean what they both felt any longer by denying it. "We can make this work."

"How, Carlisle?" Carlisle waited on that old anger to flare in Edward, but all he saw on the boy's face was defeat. He was resigned. "What reason is there to stay?"

Carlisle answered without pause. "Me. Stay for me. Things will get better."

"How can you know?" Edward was aghast. All his sacrifice, all his pain and Carlisle still begged him to stay. Carlisle's face burned with shame, although he could not let Edward leave.

"God will help-"

"Don't talk to me about Him!" Edward shouted, the resentment coloring his cheeks.

Carlisle stood to face Edward, the torture of living without him never having felt so real. His eyes could not hide the misery of it and Edward softened immediately. He reached out, hands placed on Carlisle's neck, thumbs moving to smooth the sorrow of his brow.

"I apologize," Edward said. "This is how you feel, and I won't mock you for it again."

"Please don't apologize to me," Carlisle replied, looking at everything but the tender expression on Edward's face. His own woe choked him; Edward's would surely kill him. "I should apologize." Edward was so close now, Carlisle feeling the boy's sweet breath on his face. "How dare I ask you to stay."

"So you withdraw your request?" Edward asked.

Carlisle sobbed. Edward's arms wrapped around his middle and pulled him close. Carlisle nuzzled into the crook of Edward's neck, took greedy gulps of Edward's scent and hoped to never lament the absence of it.

"No. I cannot," Carlisle answered as his own arms pulled Edward into a fierce embrace. "Can you not see this is for the best?"

"I see that you see it, Carlisle," he whispered. "Why should I stay and torment the both of us? Do you believe this feeling will go away?"

"I- Edward, I know I will love you, always, but I pray it changes to a different sort of love," Carlisle answered, as truthfully as he could manage. He had to hold onto the faith God would heal them.

"I ask again, what reason do I have to remain here?"

It was then Carlisle became fully aware of their position, his body pressed flush against Edward's, his strength radiating through every muscle and spreading to Carlisle as though his will were alive. Carlisle's chest to Edward's, his hips against Edward's hips, Edward's arms encircling him so tightly not even the thinnest piece of parchment might fit between them.

True repentance means never intending to commit that sin again, Carlisle thought.

Maybe for one night, Carlisle could be human. And it was with that thought in his head, the forgiveness already being sought, that he willfully looked into Edward's face, his beautiful, youthful, pained face and kissed him with more passion than he knew himself capable.

Carlisle's hands were in Edward's hair, on his neck, his shoulders, his chest, his hips. Everywhere he touched him, his frustration grew when he was met with clothing. His wicked hands yearned to be filled with Edward's flesh and he felt a fire low in his stomach he could not quench with mere imaginings. His thoughts repeated, Stay for this. Stay for this.

Edward slowed Carlisle's movements, tenderly gripped Carlisle's wrists as his hands scrabbled to touch more. He made Carlisle look at him, beseeching with his eyes the earnestness of Carlisle's thoughts. "I love you," he said, leaning in and pressing his lips against the perfect indentation below Carlisle's nose, above his lips, remembering Carlisle's face upon waking into this new life.

"And I love you," Carlisle whispered, feeling as though he should brand the words into his forehead, chisel them on immovable stone. "May we, I mean, would you..."

Carlisle quivered under Edward's gaze and he smoothed his palms over Carlisle's trembling arms, placed a tender kiss against Carlisle's trembling lips. "Would you like to accompany me to my room?" Edward asked, the very air surrounding them heating with the implication of the request. Carlisle nodded and took Edward's hand, clutching it tightly.

Once in Edward's room, their fervor returned, Carlisle groaning as he aided Edward in shedding his clothing, each new patch of flesh revealed to him a gift, from whom, he would not think on. He touched the bare skin of Edward's stomach, his thighs, his backside, unmarred and inviting. Carlisle's mouth devoured Edward's, each breath was his breath, each sigh was his sigh. Finding the spot where he had bitten Edward, Carlisle ran his tongue over the puckered skin, silver in the absence of light, and thanked whoever listened for Edward's existence.

Edward struggled with Carlisle's clothes, Carlisle helping Edward where he could between touches, and when they were both naked, Carlisle swore aloud. The heat and love and lust and sensation consumed him, and although he had as many minutes to exist as drops of water in the ocean, he knew it would never be enough time. Never would there be enough time to worship Edward the way he wanted.

And love opened its arms to them, promising a safe haven from the tumultuous feelings they experienced in the past years. For a night, Carlisle and Edward could simply be, Carlisle listening to the stirrings of his heart instead of his mind.

Carlisle pressed Edward against the wall, open mouth against Edward's, sharing more a breath than a kiss. The older vampire's lips found their way again to Edward's throat, to the place Carlisle remembered the steady thunder of life before he had bit down, the raging heat. Before Carlisle thought it, he was on his knees, cheeks, chin and lips nuzzling Edward in the most intimate of places. Edward gasped, fingers clutching hopelessly at the wall, searching for something to keep him upright. He moved his hands to Carlisle's shoulders and held on.

Inhaling, Carlisle thought on Edward's concentrated scent, sweet and aroused, flesh hard and hot as tempered metal. Carlisle's hands smoothed across the skin of Edward's thighs, across his backside, dug into Edward's hips as he began kissing Edward's length. Opening his mouth, Carlisle tasted Edward's cock with the tip of his tongue and thought he would fly away or never be able to move again. Edward's answering moan moved Carlisle with a sense of pride unlike he had never known, and - with no reluctance - took the tip of Edward's erection between his parted lips. The boy cried out and thrust his hips forward, Carlisle holding him steady, mouth moving up and down.

Edward looked down at Carlisle, on his knees, mouth full of Edward's flesh. Carlisle wondered if he could be so bold as to look Edward in the eyes as he committed such an act. Edward, hearing Carlisle's thoughts, moved his hands to Carlisle's face, urging him to tilt it. Carlisle met Edward's lustful gaze, finally, and felt a thrill of fear at the young vampire's dark eyes, squared jaw, flared nostrils. This was Edward at his most feral.

Carlisle wanted more, more, more of Edward. He halted his attentions to Edward's cock, but Edward did not protest because he knew Carlisle's mind. Carlisle turned Edward around, the boy's stomach and chest pressed against the wall. Never having moved from his knees, Carlisle rubbed his cheeks across the rounded globes of Edward's backside, teeth itching to bite the sweet flesh like ripe fruit. Unable to stop, Carlisle nipped and suckled, his palms spreading Edward open, revealing the spot Carlisle so wanted to bury himself.

"Please, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop," Edward murmured, over and over. He arched his back, body trembling. Carlisle felt Edward's need, his own need matching it, and - he was sure - surpassing it.

Carlisle flattened his tongue and licked across Edward's opening. He shuddered, his forehead falling into the wall, his hips pushing back further still. Again, Carlisle felt that burgeoning pride, his love for Edward swelling as the tide. He brought his tongue to a point and pushed inside of Edward, grasping Edward's hips and urging him back harder, further still. Carlisle's hand made its way to Edward's length and squeezed, doubling Edward's pleasure as he could not decide whether to push back or thrust forward.

All Carlisle knew was that he wanted to crawl inside Edward, be a part of him, attached to him, joined with him. He pressed his chest to the back of Edward's thighs, his body aching in the places not in contact with Edward. The carnal sounds in the room - Edward's moans and breathy murmurs, Carlisle's tongue as it filled Edward - had them both electrified with want.

"I want to touch you, Carlisle," Edward panted, his face buried in the crook of his elbow, his chest rising and falling. Carlisle began to stand, planting kisses up Edward's spine as he went. Again, he turned Edward around, shoved him against the wall and brought their bodies flush. Carlisle cried out when Edward pressed their hips together, both men's erections finding friction. The room seemed to lighten with the static of their desire and Carlisle already felt his release begging to be freed.

And Edward did touch Carlisle, pulling him close, holding him tightly as though he feared Carlisle would flee. Carlisle could not blame him and basked in the need Edward had for him, as wicked as it was to do so.

"Take me to bed," Edward practically whimpered, "please."

So Carlisle did, their lips sealed together as if in breaking apart they would fall to pieces. Carlisle felt the bed against his legs and fell back, pulling Edward on top of him, their hips finding a quick tempo as Edward's hands once again went to Carlisle's hair, grasping the strands, pulling Carlisle closer to him. They kissed each other to the point of pain, to the point where neither man knew whose lips were whose. It was frantic and desperate; they were sand rushing through an hourglass, the wings of a hummingbird, notes of music speeding to halves, to eighths to sixteenths.

Carlisle flipped them over, his entire future playing out in his head, the future he might have shared with Edward. He thought of the tender caresses they might have shared, gentle kisses, day upon day of neverending leisure to explore Edward's body. Carlisle wanted to know the shape of Edward's fingerprints, how many strands of hair the boy had on his head. He wanted to know all of him. Instead he would grant himself this one night. Why were they rushing?

Edward, in reponse to Carlisle's thoughts, slowed his hips. Their lips still matched, Carlisle breathed in Edward, their chests pressing together with each inhale. He pulled back, separated their mouths so he could look at Edward, set to memory the boy's parted lips, dark eyes and reddened cheeks.

"Edward," Carlisle breathed, "I want to be inside you." He stopped. Edward smiled at him but there was no joy in it. "But-"

"I know, Carlisle," Edward replied, his tongue darting out to wetten his lips. "You don't need to explain. I know." The boy raised his head to pepper kisses across Carlisle's jaw, down his throat. A sound escaped Carlisle, a sound of joy, of deepest regret, and he began moving his hips again. Edward's hand snaked between their bodies, adding pressure behind Carlisle's erection, ensuring pleasure.

Carlisle felt it again, his release building in his stomach and spine, feeling rapture to the very bottoms of his feet, the tips of his fingers. Carlisle thought of Edward - his wits, his flesh, his music, his passion - and knew how undeserving he was of any it.

Even though he was commiting countless wicked things with Edward, he would not take his virginity. It was something, in that moment, he would not even give of himself, no matter how much he wanted it. These firsts would have to be enough for them both.

Instead he imagined his flesh buried, tight, inside Edward's open body, his muscles clenching around him, begging Carlisle, pleading with him to come, to fill him with everything Carlisle is, was or ever would be. Then he was coming and it was painful and exhilarating and agonizing. His body quaked in the power of it, all the suppression and denial spurring Carlisle to the heavens and he saw the stars themselves. His heart was full, so full, and the memory of its pounding had never been so fresh. Edward below him, his face contorted in pleasure and sorrow, watched Carlisle closely as he came, a sigh emitting from his parted lips as the warmth spread between their two bodies.

Edward had yet to come, so Carlisle hurried to wrap his lips around Edward's stiffness again, some feral need rising in him to be filled with Edward's seed. He worked him swiftly, Edward's fingers curling in the bedsheets, ripping them, Carlisle's name tumbling from his mouth. Carlisle begged Edward in his thoughts to come, to let him drink from his body as he had years before. That intimacy remembered, Edward spilled inside Carlisle's mouth, hips moving erratically, the cry escaping him full of an emotion neither man could name.

They did not speak, neither man knowing words to breach the chasm existing between them, a void never to be filled, but Carlisle was already aroused again, so they chased the mourning the only way they could.

They found moments of joy as they fought daybreak, tangled together until the morning light.

~oOo~

The buttery sunshine streamed through Edward's curtains. Carlisle curled himself against Edward's back, lips pressing against his shoulder. Their hands were intertwined over Edward's heart. Edward bit his lower lip.

"When I was ten," Edward started, "I swore I was in love." He laughed. Carlisle smiled against his skin. "We even had a song. Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Mother gave me five cents to get her some candy. She broke up with me for my friend. His mother had given him a dime to get her something. I was devastated."

"Ah, the angst of childhood," Carlisle said, a breathy laugh against Edward's neck, a press of lips under his ear.

Edward rolled onto to his back, Carlisle's arm still draped across his torso. "I laid down in the sitting room floor and listened to Let Me Call You Sweetheart for two weeks - as long as the relationship had been, mind you - and cried. I never thought I would love again." Edward laughed out loud, grabbed Carlisle's hand again and brought it to his lips, kissing each digit. "I know now it wasn't love." Edward grew serious, head against the pillow, and turned to look at Carlisle. "Maybe that is how this will be."

The words closed around Carlisle's heart and squeezed. The thought of his feelings for Edward equated to the crush of a ten-year-old was almost too much to bear, yet he hoped Edward's words would one day be true. He prayed for it, not only for Edward's benefit.

Carlisle nodded, swallowed the ache rising in his throat and said, "I'm sure it will be, Edward."

They both knew it was a lie.