A/N: Wishing you holidays filled with love, past and present, and quiet peace.
Contains vampires, slash, Christmas, angst, and citrus. Rated M.
Thanks so much to Theladyingrey42 for pre-reading and TwilightMundi for betaing.
Stephenie Meyer owns everything you recognize (except for "Silent Night," which was written by Joseph Mohr).
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
The room is silent, heavy, and thoroughly haunted by ghosts of Christmases past.
It is warm—almost too warm—and lit by spicy candles that flicker in the darkness.
I sit staring at the decorated pine in the corner, its scent bringing the forest into our home.
Unable to shed tears, I instead squint at the tree, willing the image to blur and distort with minimal success.
I am alone in our space, surrounded by the things we'd accumulated as we'd built our life together. These items, this life, it is usually enough.
No, it is always enough.
But nor is it everything.
My physical strength useless, I breathe in deeply, bracing against the weight of loss that presses heavily on my shoulders.
What I'd give for just one night of heavenly rest, for peaceful sleep, for the chance to—for just a moment—close my eyes and forget.
Instead, I remember.
A hundred years ago I spent Christmases with my mother and father. Holiday seasons were filled with joy and love and family and St. Nicholas.
But too young, my family was taken from me. And I was turned to coal, my insides charred beyond recognition until I emerged a living stone under Carlisle's care.
And I lost everyone I loved and everything I'd ever held dear.
The innocent magic never returned, but year after year after year, the holidays did. And in time, the yuletide season was filled with a different type of family, a different form of love, and even a different sort of joy.
And then there was the Christmas that Alice and Jasper joined our family. I'd never had a season like it - green with envy and red-hot with lust and love for the newest Cullen.
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
But I tucked away that bright blue flame far within the depths of me. Jasper must have occasionally felt my smoldering heart, but he never told.
Jasper paid me no particular attention, never offering a special smile nor sparing an extra glance. His thoughts unwaveringly centered on Alice. If he felt the spark, he never indicated as such.
And so I burned. For while I was fire; Jasper was warmth and light.
I welcomed the exquisite pain. I hadn't felt so alive since I'd been changed.
So I burned on without fodder.
And he was not mine.
Until he was.
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Lord, at Thy birth
He came to me one moonlit winter evening, as I stood frozen to the icy ground of a meadow.
He confessed hidden thoughts and visions Alice had tried not to see.
And when he pressed his lips to mine, glowing embers burst into flame.
I had never been so warm, never known such light.
Nor such guilt.
Alice, for her part, forgave fate, and released him to me. But the look in her eyes was haunted and unhealing. In our presence, she'd find no peace. So we said goodbye and set out on our own, armed only with each other.
Years later, I knew we were lucky, Jasper and I. We had our lives, twisted and wrapped up in each other. Undead and unchanging, our spark would never burn out.
We had found eternal light and love in each other.
But we'd had to say many goodbyes along the way, and this night they clung to me as I sat alone in the relative darkness.
There was little to do but submit to the ghosts that hovered around our happiness. I was strong, but not that strong.
I closed my eyes against the memories and the ache.
And I waited for my home to come home to me.
Silent Night! Holy Night
Sleeps the world in peace tonight.
God sends his Son to earth below
A Child from whom all blessings flow
The sound of the front door pulls me from my memories and announces my love's arrival.
Mindful of the silence, Jasper sits next to me on the floor and turns his gaze toward the decorated tree.
Sorry I'm late, he thinks.
I nod, feeling warmer in his immediate presence. "I'm glad you're home," I whisper, my voice feeling rusty from disuse.
He cups my chin to turn my head toward him.
You okay? he asks silently, pressing his finger to my lips.
"I'm just remembering."
They deserve to be remembered, he thinks. He puts his arm around me.
I nod again, turning back to the Christmas tree.
"Help me forget?" I ask softy. "Just for a moment?"
Silent Night, Holy Night
Mindful of mankind's plight
The Lord in Heav'n on high decreed
From earthly woes we would be freed
God's promise for peace.
Jasper takes his thumb and runs it across my cheek.
Of course, he thinks and then his mind is silent and he touches his mouth softly to mine.
Gently, carefully, the sweetness of his lips, the press of his tongue pulls me out of myself.
I close my eyes, focus on the feeling of his hands in my hair, the nearby candle warming my exposed skin.
Hands ghosting, sweeping away the past.
Kneeling before each other, my fingers find the buttons of his shirt, carefully exposing the body that completes me. My breath catches in my throat as I reveal the musculature of his torso.
While I undress him, he likewise exposes me, until the unnecessary layers between our hearts are peeled back. And then he takes me back in his arms, holding me together, sealing the cracks, mending the rough edges.
My lover wraps me up in his arms, sheltering me from nothing physical, and supports me as he lays me on the ground before him.
My fingers seek his neck, pulling him down to me, the weight of him a welcome reminder of what is real, important, mandatory, present.
Hip to hip, hands slowly, sensually caressing naked flesh. His lips on my neck, my shoulder, my chest. He grazes my nipples with his tongue.
My aching flesh arches to meet him as he raises himself over me, kneeling between my bent legs, his messy curls framing his face as his eyes rake over my body, the fire in his eyes burning hotter than a candle.
He sucks on my lower lip. Mouths united, hunger building, need making itself known, the present more pressing than the past.
Jeans no longer a welcome friction, zippers are undone, and we remove the remainder of our clothing.
Mouths that had parted rejoin, unhurried.
Caresses taken and given.
The lengths of our bodies are against each other.
His lips press against mine, then he moves them down along the planes of my body, sensuous and slow.
I reach for him as he takes me in his hand, stroking me lazily as he studies my form.
I watch him as well, as shadows dance across his skin, luminescent in the candlelight. It is silent but for the brush of skin against skin.
He presses our hardness together, takes us in hand as one, and I suck in air as the sensation overwhelms me, my mind hazy.
Then lips follow hands, and he is running his tongue along my length, around my head.
Licking every inch, luxuriously, all the time in the world.
He opens his mouth to take me in. Cheeks hollow, as he hovers over me, taking me little by little, accepting more and more, the slick caress of his mouth on my sensitive flesh maddening.
He swallows around me before releasing me, dragging his tongue until his hand takes over and his mouth once again meets mine.
I reach for him as he grazes his teeth along my neck, drags his lips across my jaw.
Wordlessly, he asks to join with me, and I nod, unwilling to break the silence.
He understands, and prepares my body for what I need: Him.
In the soft light his eyes are on mine as he enters me slowly, and I meet his gaze through the burn.
He thinks my name as he gives me time.
I think of his as he fills my body and mind.
Then he is moving, steady, unhurried, and the pleasure starts to overwhelm anything, everything else.
My hand finds my length, I crane to capture his lips with mine, as his knowing touches cause me to arch and pant and writhe.
Slow becomes rapid. He takes over, chasing our completion.
He is my undoing, and I am undone. I tense and come around him, and the room, the tree, the past, everything is nothing, except for him in me. And this is exactly what I need.
He follows, he too finding what he needs, in me.
Slowly, spice and evergreen and candlelight return. And I am aware again of the silence, though it is no longer lonely.
And then he is curled beside me, tucked against me, lips on my shoulder and hands draped everywhere.
In the comfort of his embrace there is perspective. Memories cannot fade for us, nor should they. We loved those we lost, those who helped form us. And they will remain a part of us.
Our love, however, is us. I am not without him; he is not without me.
I pull my love's arms tighter around me.
Fire and warmth and peace.