SLASH BACKSLASH ONE-SHOT CONTEST

Story Name: Worth the Climb, or The one where things come out in the dark

Pen name: ICMezzo
Pairing: Edward/Jasper
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns everything you recognize.
To see other entries in the "SLASH BACKSLASH" contest, please visit the C2:
http:/ /www (dot) fanfiction (dot) net/c2/68069/3/0/1/

A/N: Rated M. Contains slash. If that's not your thing, please don't read. If it is, well then, enjoy!

Many thanks to TwilightMundi for her beta work on this story.


It was a good idea in theory, I thought, pausing and stepping to the side of the trail to adjust the straps of the ridiculously heavy pack I carried. I was hunched over under its weight, surely resembling some sort of mule. My posture would never be the same. Luckily, we hadn't passed a single person thus far on the mountain, so the autumn leaves were the only ones present to judge me.

Jasper stopped just ahead on the mountain, and came back the short distance to join me as soon as he stopped hearing me huffing and puffing behind him.

He looked at me, eyebrow raised.

"Thanks," I panted in reply to his wordless question. I did need a bit of a break.

"That's cool. I could use some water myself," he said, setting his own backpack down on the ground and reaching for the bottle that was attached to the side by a myriad of little straps, pockets, and elastic connective doohickeys. I rolled my eyes. Since when was a plain old zipper or some simple Velcro not good enough?

Regardless, I had to shake my head at his response. He was such a liar. He wouldn't have needed to stop at all if it weren't for me. I clearly needed to spend less time in front of a piano and more time at the gym. The only lifting I regularly did was of heavy orchestral scores. I mean, I wasn't unfit, but Jasper was ridiculous. His stamina... shit. It was ridiculous. I pledged to start running every single day like he did.

After a few minutes he broke the companionable silence. "It's worth it, I promise you."

I humphed at him and wiped sweat off my brow.

He just laughed and picked up his pack.

"Ready to go? We need to reach the summit before sunset," he reminded me.

Right. As if I could forget. The last thing I wanted was to be in the middle of nowhere on some remote Maine mountain on a cold, black, late October night without a huge roaring fire directly in front of me.

You know, to keep away the mosquitoes. And maybe also bears. And racoons. Those fuckers were mischievous and I didn't particularly want one running off with my shorts or something while I slept.

Yeah, I was definitely in favor of arriving at the peak in plenty of time to set up camp. Plus, the way Jasper talked about how we'd be camping right on the edge of a cliff that overlooked the ocean, well, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to scope out the terrain at the peak. I didn't want either one of us to step out of the tent to pee in the middle of the night and end up cliff-diving by mistake. Fucking Jasper. Can't believe he was making me to do this.

I picked up my own pack and followed a few feet behind Jasper, listening to the leaves crunch beneath our feet. It was beautiful, I had to give Jasper that. I wiped the sweat off my forehead and paused to admire the amazing rainbow of colors in the trees. And the smell of the leaves mixed with the fresh air, it was pretty fantastic. I wondered briefly if this camping trip made me a leaf-peeper, or if that title was reserved only for people who stayed in B&Bs and went outlet shopping.

It was hard not to notice exactly how much Jasper seemed perfectly at home here in the wilderness. I watched for a moment as his incredibly strong calf muscles easily traversed the trail. This was his turf, I realized. We'd been friends for years now, ever since we were assigned to be roommates our freshman year in Boston, and shit, I'd never seen him look more comfortable than he did here. The concert hall, that was my kingdom. But this, this was clearly his.

"You okay?" he called back to me after awhile as we continued to push our way to the top of the Camden mountain.

I grunted, a sound he correctly interpreted as my reluctant affirmative.

We pushed on.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Holy fuck!"

I usually prided myself on being articulate, but as I gazed across the land and ocean from atop the mountain, I couldn't bring myself to care about eloquence.

"I know!" Jasper seemed excited by my reaction as much as by the view. "I told you!"

"Uh huh..." I trailed off, looking in wonder at the world around, well, mostly below me. "Holy..."

"Holy fuck, I know," he grinned. "Pretty fucking spectacular," he sighed.

I just nodded and stared at the scene below me.

The gray waves of the Atlantic ocean smashed against the rocky shore. It must have been high tide because there was very little beach visible before the sand and stone gave way to the first trees of the state forest, which were awash in brilliant autumnal colors. I breathed in deeply, sucking in the scent of fall and nature and dirt and salty ocean.

It was absolutely stunning. I had never seen anything like it. I guess I needed to get out of Boston more often.

I looked over at Jasper to express this, and found that instead of gazing at the landscape before us, he was watching me.

I rolled my eyes at him. If he wanted to stare at my mug instead of the view, that was his call. And then I realized exactly why he was staring at me. "I do look like a donkey, don't I?" I confirmed. Stupid fucking gigantic heavy backpack.

He just laughed and moved away from the steep drop. "Ready to set up camp?"

I agreed, hoping he'd choose a spot for our tent a little further from the cliff edge than where we were currently standing.

XXXXXXXXXX

"You know, if we hadn't had to lug all your special food our packs would have been lighter," Jasper commented after I'd whined yet again about how my back hurt from carrying our supplies up the mountain. We were sitting around our roaring campfire, consuming the last bits of our dinner.

"My veggie burgers were so not heavy. Your 17 pounds of beef on the other hand..." I disagreed.

"Hey, a man's got to eat. And when I say 'eat,' I don't mean the leaves and grass you call veggie burgers," he countered.

"Yeah well, when a bear attacks us later, he's going to go straight for you now that you reek of cow..." I mumbled. "He'll leave me alone because I just smell like tofu and broccoli."

"Edward, we're not going to get eaten by a bear, I promise," Jasper swore, but I could see the twinkle in his eyes. "And trust me, you don't smell like tofu."

"You just say that cause you're faster than me, so you'd be able to get away," I muttered, ignoring his comment on my scent. I mean, what did he want want? We'd just hiked up a mountain. If course I was a bit sweaty.

He snorted. "We'll both be fine. I promise," he said as he got up to rummage through our supplies.

He was probably right, I decided. Odds were pretty good that we wouldn't get eaten tonight, I thought as I stared at the campfire. Soon, I was lost in its magic.

Or at least I was until something hit me in the back of my head, at which point I yelped, jumped up from the log I'd been sitting on, spun around and faced the darkness in a defensive crouch.

It wasn't until then that I recognized Jasper cackling in the background. "Get 'em, Edward, get 'em! Quick before they attack again!"

I glared at him and then turned back to the darkness. After my eyes adjusted to the lack of light I found my attacker... a jumbo pack of marshmallows laying on the ground where they'd landed after Jasper threw them at my head. Fucking Jasper.

I snagged them off the ground where they'd landed after he tossed the bag at me. Fine. If Jasper wanted to play, that was fine with me. The marshmallows? They were now mine. All mine.

I huffed around the perimeter of our fire until I found a suitable stick, quickly loaded it with several marshmallows, and returned to the campfire to begin toasting them. But when Jasper reached for the bag, I just held it to my chest.

"Nope," I said. "They're mine."

He whined a bit, but I held firm as I toasted my treats slowly over the fire until they were perfectly browned. When I deemed them ready, I slowly began to pull them off my stick. I may have made a slight show of it, humming in delight, smacking my lips and licking my fingers. Honestly, I didn't even really like them very much, but that was hardly the point.

I looked over and grinned at him after I'd finished another and licked my lips. He was watching me with a seriously pained look in his eyes. He must really want a marshmallow. I considered giving in and giving them to him, but I had to teach Jasper a lesson. It was dangerous to throw marshmallows; someone could have gotten hurt.

I popped another of the toasty treats into my mouth and moaned in feigned happiness. Seriously, it was my ninth marshmallow and they were actually starting to make me sick. But I had to make my point.

I glanced at Jasper to make sure he noticed, but was surprised to see he looked more than a little flushed. I suggested he sit back a bit further from the fire, since his cheeks appeared so unusually red. The last thing we needed was for him to start cooking over the fire. The smell of smoked Jasper was likely to cause every grizzly in New England to come running. But Jasper just seemed to turn even redder at my suggestion, though he did scoot back a bit.

"Uh, you have some, uh, marshmallow on your chin and mouth. It looks like... well, just wipe it off, okay," Jasper said after a moment, while staring intently at the fire.

I wiped the white strings of sugar off my face and offered them to him. "You said you wanted some," I joked.

He rolled his eyes and walked over. "You're right. You are an ass."

"Huh?" I asked.

"You know... donkey...ass... you said you looked like a donkey..." he explained.

I took a marshmallow out of my bag, licked it thoroughly, then pegged Jasper with it.

"Don't worry, you're my favorite ass, Edward," he laughed sharply, picking up the marshmallow off the ground and putting it on his own stick. He stuck it in the fire.

"You aren't going to eat that, are you? It was on the ground and full of my spit!" I gaped at him. "Deer totally peed there!"

He rolled his eyes at me. "I'm sure the fire will disinfect it. And you won't give me any others, so this seems to be my only choice," he said before pausing for a moment.

"So... have I told you about the mountain lions?" he asked before popping the marshmallow into his mouth. "Mmm... deer piss..." he trailed off.

I narrowed my eyes and tried to gauge his face to tell whether he was joking about the mountain lion. I decided to take the bait.

"Mountain lions? They don't live here," I scoffed. I pulled out my cellphone to verify this on Wikipedia, but apparently there was no signal in East Bumblefuck.

"Depends on who you ask," he said cryptically.

"Fuck you, Jasper. Just tell me," I huffed.

"Hand over the marshmallows," he said with a smirk.

I thrust the bag at him. I was starting to get a stomachache anyway.

"Well, officially, there are no mountain lions in Maine, you're right. But... people have heard 'em" he said in a voice that was far too calm under the circumstances.

"Holy fuck! Why would you tell me that? Did you bring me here just to be eaten by large predators? I have a recital in like a month and if one of them eats even a little bit of my pinky finger, my entire career is over!" I freaked out at him. Mountain lions indeed. I'd never make it off this fucking mountain alive. Fucking Jasper.

"Okay, calm down. I didn't bring you here to be eaten. I'm sure the mountain lion thing is just a rumor anyway. We'll be fine. I mean, unless you want to hike back down in the dark," he offered before tossing multiple marshmallows in his mouth.

I considered my options. I could either fall off a very real cliff hiking down in the dark or face a possible mountain lion.

"Fine, we'll stay," I responded.

Fucking Jasper.

XXXXXXXXXX

Hours later and the fire had died down a bit. So too, had my anxiety level, thanks to the generous amounts of liquor we'd passed back and forth. The marshmallows were long gone and it was getting fairly late.

Our formerly boisterous conversation had taken a quieter turn as we spoke in low voices in the flickering firelight. And sometimes we didn't talk at all, instead just staring at the campfire absorbed in our own thoughts.

I looked up after a particularly long silence, and caught Jasper's eyes on me. He looked down quickly.

After a few more minutes, he broke the silence. "Um, so why don't you ever mention any girls?"

"Huh?" Apparently my eloquence disappeared in the face of extreme scenery and moderate drunkenness alike.

He shrugged. "The only girl you ever mention is Priscilla, and that's just the name of your favorite practice room piano."

"Oh... right. Well, I don't know. I guess there's just no one worth mentioning," I said and echoed his shrug.

"No girls?" he asked after a moment.

"Yeah, I guess not really," I confirmed. It was the truth. No one had caught my eye... like... ever. I mean, I could tell when someone was good looking, like my TA, Rosalie, she was a classic beauty, and Jasper himself was more handsome than anyone had a right to be. But yeah, no girls really appealed to me. Who needed 'em anyway? Jasper was the only one I needed. His friendship meant more to me than any girl ever could. I guess that was odd, but it was me, and what was the point of questioning my preferences? So what if I didn't really like girls, or bears, or Haydn oratorios very much?

I watched Jasper watching the campfire.

"I'd tell you if there was someone worth mentioning," I explained.

"If there was a girl worth mentioning, you mean?" he asked quietly.

I frowned, but nodded. Wasn't that what I just said? Well, maybe Jasper was just too buzzed to understand what I was saying.

I went back to staring at the fire.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Wait, what about you?" I asked Jasper after an another hour or so had passed. The fire had died down considerably and we were in near darkness.

"What about me what?" he replied.

"Girls. You don't mention them either," I said pointedly.

"No, I don't," he replied after a moment.

I waited for at least a little elaboration on his part, but got nothing.

"Why no—?" I started to ask, but he just cut me off.

"Ready for bed?" he asked, standing up abruptly.

"I... uh... sure," I said, somewhat surprised by his change of subject.

"Great," he said, just before dousing the remains of our fire with water, at which point we were plunged into total darkness.

"What the hell?" I hissed. "How am I going to find the tent?"

I heard laughter to my left. "Your flashlight is right beside you."

Oh. Right. I picked it up and turned it on, scanning the area for Jasper. I found him far too close to the edge of the cliff. But instead of turning around and coming back, he motioned toward me. "Come here!" he called.

"No fuckin' way! You're crazy! You're gonna fall off!" I tried to keep the panic out of my voice.

"Oh stop. It's fine! I'm far from the edge, but it is clearer out here out from under the trees. You can see all the stars. Come on, you'll see. Just be careful," he cautioned.

I winced and took a few steps toward him. Fucking Jasper. I was going to fall of the cliff, I could feel it.

"Oh, just get out here," he said. "Trust me." I could practically hear him rolling his eyes at me.

I humphed, but very slowly and even more carefully, I made my way to him. When I finally got there, he took my flashlight and turned it off. After telling me to wait a few seconds for my eyes to adjust, he finally instructed me to look up.

"Whoa." There were like actual stars up there. I was used to streetlights and light pollution, and the giant Citgo sign in Kenmore was my north star. But these, these were stars. "I had no idea there were so many of them..."

"I know," he said. I could hear the awe in his voice. After a few minutes, he began pointing out constellations. "There, do you see? Pegasus. With that bright one, and that one over there?"

I nodded, as he moved on to point out Aquarius. I craned my neck to follow his point of view but couldn't quite see the pattern he described.

"Here," he said quietly. "Let's try this."

He moved and suddenly he was standing behind me, right up against my back. I could feel his breath on my neck in contrast with the cold night air. He reached his arm around mine and pointed again toward the sky, while resting his chin on my shoulder. I tried to pay attention and follow the angle of his arm to see the constellation, but I was distracted by the feeling of him behind me. It was... warm. Comfortable. And not weird. At all. I frowned and tried to concentrate on the stars he was showing me.

He must have sensed he'd lost my attention, because he eventually dropped his arm from around me and took a slight step back. I shivered involuntarily at the loss of Jasper's warmth on my back. He must have noticed my tremble, however, because he immediately stepped up behind me again, and rubbed his hands up and down my arm to create friction. Again, I guessed it should have been weird. But... it just wasn't. It was just Jasper.

"Thanks," I whispered.

"No problem," he breathed back against my neck.

And we stared at the stars twinkling against the clear black sky, and heard the ocean crashing on the rocks far below.

I gasped when I saw a shooting star streak through the sky. I felt Jasper chuckle behind me.

"I saw it too," he whispered in my ear. "Make a wish?"

I thought for a moment. "You take mine," I told him. "As long as we both make it off this mountain alive, I don't need anything else." Besides, I didn't really believe in that sort of thing anyway.

It was while I was waiting for his response that I heard a jarring crack of a branch behind us. Naturally, it startled me and I jumped about three feet in the air. Jasper chuckled at my reaction and stepped back from me. I spun around to look in the direction of the sound.

Of course I was blind in the darkness. He handed me my flashlight.

I flicked it on, and saw nothing. "Probably a squirrel," I said quietly.

"Yup. Probably," Jasper added, patting me on the back. "Let's go to bed, huh?"

I nodded and started back in the direction of our tent.

I'm not sure how it happened exactly, but on the way I tripped over a tree root or a rock or something and stumbled forward. Luckily, Jasper was there to grab me before I went sprawling on the ground. I guess he held my arm the rest of the way back to the tent just in case I lost my balance again.

Soon, we had climbed into our tent, and our sleeping bags. And despite the discomfort of sleeping on the ground, the combination of exhaustion from the hike and the alcohol consumed by the fire was enough to send me swiftly into sleep.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Jasper," I hissed. "Jasper!"

He moaned and turned over in his sleeping bag. Okay, that was not helpful.

"Jasper!" I said louder this time, and reached out of my warm sleeping back to poke him. "Wake up!"

"Huh? Edward? What's the matter?" His voice was scratchy from sleep.

"I have to pee!" I told him.

He groaned. "So go pee!"

"I can't!" I cried. "It's really dark out there and there are mountain lions!"

"Oh my god. Edward, there are no mountain lions," he said, handing me his flashlight before he rolled over and curled up again, mumbling something about the marshmallows not being worth it.

"Jasper, I can't. I need your help," I whined. "Come with me."

"For the love of god, Edward," he replied. "It's cold out there."

"Just come on. Please," I begged. "Please. It's you're fault anyway. You made me drink."

I heard him pull his pillow over his head. "Edward, you're killing me. I am not helping you pee."

"Yes, you are," I told him. "You dragged me up this fucking mountain, and now you will hold my hand while I pee if I tell you to!"

He just laughed. "Nope."

"Jasper!" I cried. "I have to gooooo!"

"Oh for fuck's sake. Will you stop whining if I do?" he finally groaned, throwing his pillow to the side and reaching for his shoes.

"Yes," I replied, grabbing my own shoes and flashlight, greatly relieved that I wouldn't have to face the darkness or the large predators alone.

"You fucking owe me big," he commented, shivering at the cold air, as he grabbed his coat and climbed out of the tent.

I followed close behind him, and went to zip up my own coat once I'd stepped out into the cold night. Before I'd even finished he was pulling me toward the trees, his light leading the way.

Once we had traveled a short ways from the tent, he stopped abruptly. "Okay, go."

"You'll watch for bears?" I confirmed. "And racoons? And mosquitoes?" I didn't want one to bite my dick. That would seriously suck. It'd be all itchy and shit.

"Would you fuckin' go already? It's freezing out here," was his response, but I could tell he wasn't actually angry.

"Okay, okay," I replied and I unzipped my pants and exposed myself to the cold. "Don't watch."

"Edward, trust me. I couldn't see anything if I wanted to," he said. "Now, go, will ya?"

I swear, I did my best. But... I couldn't. I really had to, but I...just... couldn't go.

"Edward, come on!" Jasper hissed.

"Stop pressuring me!" I cried. "It's cold and I'm scared and you're listening!"

"Oh my god," he sighed. "What are you afraid of? Squirrels? I'm pretty sure they're completely uninterested in your nuts."

"You know what? Fuck you, Jasper," I retorted. It wasn't particularly clever, but hell, I was standing out in the middle of a forest with my dick hanging out, hoping to god that frostbite wasn't the reason I was having trouble taking a piss. What did he want from me? Fucking Jasper.

"Okay, that's it. I'm going back to bed." He started to walk back toward the tent.

"No! No! Jasper, don't go! Don't leave me here!" I begged in earnest. "Besides, you have the flashlight!"

I heard him stop. He sighed audibly. He slowly came back grumbling. "Okay, okay. What can I do?"

"Dude, just... protect me. And keep talking or something..." I trailed off.

"Fine." He stepped up behind me for the second time that night and put his hands on shoulders. "I got you. The bears don't stand a chance at getting your pale white ass."

"Hey! I thought you said you couldn't see!" I exclaimed.

But he ignored me and started talking about absolutely nothing but it was exactly right and exactly what I needed. I listened to his stories about his midterms and his crummy professor and before I knew it, I was finished peeing. I quickly zipped up my pants.

"Thanks," I sighed. Peeing is the most under-appreciated form of relief, in my opinion—not that I had much time to ruminate on this. It was fucking freezing. I needed my sleeping back right the fuck now.

Jasper grabbed my arm. "Can we please go back to bed now?"

I let him lead me back to our tent, but before he could duck inside I punched him lightly on the shoulder. "Thanks," I whispered.

He ruffled my hair then ducked into the tent. "No problem."

Before I followed him in, I wanted to wash my hands a bit. Just because I was in the woods didn't mean I had to be uncivilized. I grabbed the extra water jug and poured it a bit of it over my hands. Unfortunately, it was quite a bit fuller than I thought and I ended up accidentally dumping a fucking ton of the nearly freezing water all down the front of my pants and feet as well.

"Fuck! Cold!" I cried. "Fuckity-fuck! Mother shitty fuck. Fuckin' all wet!"

Great. Now I was going to die of hypothermia overnight. Fantastic. Well, at least I wouldn't have to worry about mountain lions; unless they had a hankering for popsicles, they'd probably leave me alone.

"You okay out there?" I heard Jasper call.

I snorted. "Not so much. Want to say your goodbyes now before I freeze to death so I can actually appreciate them?" I asked as I shed my shoes and climbed back into the tent now thoroughly drenched.

Jasper shined a flashlight over at me. "What happened—Fuck, Edward? Did you pee all over yourself?" He promptly started laughing.

"No," I huffed at him. Fucking Jasper.

"Alright, alright. You can't wear your wet clothes to bed. You'll never warm up. Take 'em off so you don't freeze."

I stripped down to my sweatshirt and boxers, which remained relatively dry, then as quickly as I could I climbed into my sleeping bag. I tried to control my shivering and pulled my arms into my sweatshirt and tucked my hands into my armpits to warm them. But my damp lower half of my body wouldn't seem to warm up. Minutes passed and my teeth actually chattered. I hadn't known that was actually possible. I wished I'd brought more clothing, but it hadn't seemed necessary for just the one night. I had layered for the cold, but now my layers were wet. Fuck.

My teeth chattered again.

"Edward?" Jasper whispered. "You awake?"

"Yes," I answered. "Still here. Not dead yet."

"Alright, we've got to warm you up. You need to climb into my sleeping bag and we'll put yours over top of both of us. Our combined warmth will do the trick," he explained.

"Ooooohkaaaaay," I shivered.

Jasper took charge and within minutes I was lying in his sleeping bag and he was behind me, both of us stripped down to undershirts and boxers. Immediately his body heat combined with me own and I stopped shivering. Huh. Maybe I wouldn't die tonight after all, I thought as I tucked myself against him. "You're so warm," I mumbled.

I realized of course, that once again our physical closeness should have been weird. But yet again, it was not. It was nice. And not just in a I'm-not-going-to-freeze-to-death kinda way.

"Shhh," he whispered and wrapped his arm around me. "Go to sleep."

I was starting to doze off when I felt Jasper pressing up against me. I jerked when I realized exactly what I was feeling; yeah, it was definitely Jasper's dick that was poking me in the ass. Okay, that was awkward. I rolled over and tried to put some distance between us, but sharing the same sleeping bag meant that we were in very tight quarters. Jasper, for his part, whispered an apology and buried his head in his arms.

"It's um, it's okay." I understood. We were guys. That stuff was inconvenient but it happened. Hell, I'd had a boner once when I'd seen Jasper swimming when we'd taken a day trip to Walden Pond.

I heard Jasper mumble his response. I asked him to repeat himself, but even the second time through I couldn't hear his muffled words. So I put my hand on his back to sooth him. "It's okay, Jasper. It happens."

Suddenly he shifted and I could tell he had raised his head and was facing me. "It's not okay... Edward... I'm gay."

And then there was dead silence. It didn't get much more silent than the middle of the night on top of a remote mountain.

"Uh, okay," I croaked.

"Shit," he said, burying his head in his hands once again. "I'm sorry..."

"I... uh... don't be sorry. You are who you are, Jasper." I was quickly recovering my ability to think and speak. This had to be difficult for him and I wanted to comfort him, but I wasn't quite sure what to say. I didn't think pretending nothing happened was the best option because that meant rolling back over and pressing my ass against him again. I was pretty certain that would not have been a good move.

"That's not all..." he lifted his head to continue. "Edward...I like you. Fuck. I can't hold it in any longer. I'm sorry, but I do. I wish I didn't, but I can't help it. I like you and I'm gay." He was practically choking on his words.

More silence. My brain was having trouble keeping up. Suddenly the elephant in the room was far scarier than any mountain lion.

"Should I help you get back into your own sleeping bag now?" he asked after a moment. "Or do you want me to sleep outside the tent?"

"No... I don't think... I mean... No! Jasper, no. I said it was okay... so..." I trailed off and tried to process what he was telling me. It really was okay, I realized. I didn't want to get in my own sleeping bag. It was warm and comfortable being with Jasper. That didn't need to change. I told him as much.

We were silent for awhile, listening to the air rustle the tree leaves above us and the sound of each other's breathing.

I tried to go to sleep, but suddenly I was wide awake. And I could tell Jasper was too; he snored like a motherfucker when he was asleep and right now he was just breathing quietly beside me.

"How did... um... how did you know?" I asked quietly after a few minutes had passed.

I felt him turn toward me. "I just knew. I always knew."

"Oh." I guess that made sense.

He cleared his throat. "Why do you ask?"

"I uh... I don't know. I just... wondered, I guess. Do you think you always 'just know'?" I asked.

"I don't know how it works for everyone else, but I feel like you probably would know. I mean, do you like guys?" he asked.

"No," I replied.

"Right, so there you go," he said a little too quickly. "You're not gay." I felt him roll over so his back was to me.

"Right," I agreed as he settled in. "But..." I trailed off not wanting to say what I knew I needed to say next. I swallowed hard. "But... I don't really like girls either."

"Huh," I heard him answer back, which I found to be supremely unhelpful.

More silence.

"So you aren't attracted to anyone?" Jasper asked.

"I don't know," I said, frustrated with myself for being so abnormal. I didn't like thinking about it. Fucking Jasper. "Never mind. We don't have to talk about it. It's late anyway. We should go to bed."

"If that's what you want," he replied.

"That's what I want," I confirmed before whispering good night and backing up against Jasper so we could sleep back to back.

"Goodnight," he whispered back.

Not long after, I heard his breathing even out and just a few minutes after that, I heard his snoring begin. My own eyes, however, refused to close.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Jasper? Are you awake?" I asked quietly. "Jasper?"

I rolled over to face him in the darkness, and gently moved him from his side to his back. "Jasper?"

I leaned over him, and brushed my hand over his body until I pressed it against his chest. "Jasper."

"No way. You can pee on your own this time," He said groggily, still half-asleep. I heard him reach up and fumble with something above his head, and soon he was attempting to hand me the flashlight he must have had stashed there.

"No, that's not it," I breathed, and leaned in further until I rested my forehead on his chest.

"Edward?" he asked softly.

"I don't like anyone but you. I can't remember the last time I did. But you're my best friend. So of course I like you. But maybe it is more than that and I just... didn't see it," I tried to explain. "I don't like guys though, I don't. I just... maybe I might I like you."

"You might like me?" he whispered, his hand moving to the back of my head.

I nodded into his chest.

"Kiss me," he breathed.

I lifted myself over him and leaned in until our faces were inches apart. I took a deep breath. "Will this ruin everything?"

"Never," he swore, and reached up until our lips met softly, tentatively.

I pulled back. "That was..." I couldn't think of the right word.

"Good?" he suggested. "Really good?"

"No, that's not it." I mean, it was nice. Comfortable. With Jasper, it always was. But it was something else too. But then it came to me.

"It was... right," I whispered. In fact, there had never been anything more right.

And then I felt his lips on mine again, more insistent, more heated this time. And then his hands moved to pull me closer, and I almost fell on top of him. He groaned when he felt my weight.

"Sorry," I apologized and tried to get roll off him.

"No fuckin way," he said. And his mouth was once again on mine. I let myself go, and melted into him. He smelled like campfire.

But then he stopped kissing me suddenly. "Am I pushing you? Is this too fast?"

"No," I breathed. "No way."

"I kinda wish I could see your face. I can't read your eyes, so I can't tell what you're feeling. Are you sure?" he asked.

I grabbed the flashlight off the floor of my tent, turned it on, and aimed it at my face.

"Better?" I asked, then crossed my eyes and stuck out my tongue.

His only response was to grab the light from me and toss it across the tent. When it rolled to a stop, it was aimed away from us, but still a soft light reflected off the walls of the tent and back in our direction. I had to admit he was right. The light enabled me to see the slightest hints of his expressions. Jasper had always been a happy guy, but knowing his current smile was because of me, well, it warmed me. I smiled back at him.

I leaned back down and kissed his smile chastely and then scooted down a bit so I could rest my head on his chest. Once I'd settled, he wrapped his arms around me and leaned up to kiss the top of my head. It was so warm and comfortable in his arms, I realized, as I lay with him. I'd been such an idiot. How had I not realized?

When I felt Jasper stir, and felt my own response to his heat, that was right too. And then suddenly he was moving beneath me, if you could call anything "sudden" after what now seemed like years and years of the subtlest foreplay. As we rocked against and arched into each other I listened to the sounds Jasper made, his hitched breaths, his slight moan, and the sound he made when his lips found mine.

I paused to sit up and peel off our shirts, shivering at the feel of the cold night air until I could resume my place against him, snuggled in our heavy sleeping bag.

I ran my hand down his body to the edge of his boxers. "Can I?" I whispered.

"Does a bear shit in the woo—" he started to reply.

I clamped my free hand over his mouth. Fucking Jasper.

When I was satisfied that he'd keep his mouth shut, I removed my hand from his lips and slid them down to his hips. Then, I carefully slipped his boxers down, freeing him. And then I took him in my hand. He groaned in response. He was the same, yet completely different. And then I began moving my hand, slowly stroking him, learning him. I wasn't sure if the feel of him in my hand or the sounds he made were hotter. And I picked up speed for him, his release now my top priority. And when he came, he called my name into the night air.

And then his eager lips were on me, and his hands roamed my body and I was feeling things that I hadn't imagined, putty in his hands. He turned us, so he was now above me, and then his hand found my length. And when he ran his hand over my cock it was ecstasy.

Fuck, he was everything, I realized as I felt his hands on my chest. Fire; his touches scorched my skin, leaving me burning for him. And water; his muscles ebbed and swelled beneath me like the ocean waves far below us. And of course, air; the feel of his breath sweeping across my skin and the sounds of his breath hitching when I ran my lips down along his neck.

It was as though he knew exactly what to do to make me fall apart. He stroked me faster, harder. And far too quickly, I came, unable to withstand his assault on my body.

At some point he cleaned us with one of our discarded t-shirts, after which he continued to place sweet chaste kisses all over my body as I drifted along the fine line between awake and asleep. I let my mind wander to what the morning would bring, and how things would be in the light of day. I chuckled at the thought that maybe Jasper would want to head back down the mountain holding hands. And then something very important occurred to me.

"Hey Jasper?" I asked.

"Hmmm?"

"When we hike back tomorrow will you carry my backpack?" I asked, less than eager to look and feel like a mule for the second day in a row.

He snorted. "I would have thought you'd want to wear it yourself. It's good protection against any mountain lions that sneak up from behind."

I shuddered in response and tucked myself into his arms. Fucking Jasper.


A/N: The small mountain Jasper and Edward climbed is in Camden, ME. And yes, I know there aren't supposed to be mountain lions in Maine, but I swear I heard one once when I was backwoods camping up in the northern part of the state (not where Jasper and Edward were). It was seriously one of the most frightening moments of my life. I may have peed a little. ;)