Title: Last Night
Author: Pange
Pairing: Garrett, Jasper

Word Count: 2922 according to Word
Rating, Disclaimer, and appropriate Warnings: I don't own the characters. I just make them cry. Rated M for mature situations and language.

Please see all entries at www (dot) fanfiction (dot) net/community/Slash_Backslash_3_0/74941/14/0/1/

A/N Thanks to mycrookedsmile for the last minute beta job. Any errors that are left are my responsibility.

"Come with me."

His breath is hot against my skin as his tongue peeks out to trace along my hip. I squirm, hard and aching and needy.

"You know I can't."

I run my fingers over his shorn hair, the lovely blond locks cut close to his head.

"Please. We can behave. No one will know."

He takes my cock in his mouth and my eyes cross from the sheer pleasure. It's difficult to remember why I would ever tell him no.

But I do remember and it breaks my heart.

"They'll know. I won't be able to hide it. And I won't risk it."

He releases me and rests his head against my thigh, his long lashes sweeping along my skin. I don't realize he's crying until the moisture gathers and slides toward the mattress.

"I need you."

With a short, painful cry I pull him to me and press my mouth to his over and over. Our cries turn to moans and he reaches an already slick hand between us to guide me. He is hot and tight around me and there is nothing comparable. We are sealed together at the mouth and hips; our hands are clasped as if afraid that the other will disappear.

Too soon the friction is too much and he is spilling across my chest while I shudder inside of him. He collapses against me and I wrap my arms around him, holding him as tightly to me as humanly possible.

"You have me," I whisper.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

I came out to my parents the week after my high school graduation. I figured that way if they kicked me out or disinherited me, I at least had my diploma and could get a job. Turns out that was the smart thing to do, as they lived down to my lowest expectations.

Setting out on the road by myself with nothing but a backpack of clothes thrown over my shoulder and the $56.00 my father had tossed at me from his wallet was a freeing experience.

For the first time, I no longer had to answer to anyone else. Nor did I have to hide my true self. I didn't have to hide the awkward erections in the locker room or pretend to talk about girls with my friends. I assumed I'd eventually miss my folks, but, as it turns out, even that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I worked odd jobs as I made my way east, as far away from the tiny, close-minded town as I could get. I bussed tables at a restaurant in Houston, answered phones for a mechanic's shop outside Baton Rouge, and beat nails with a hammer at a construction site near Birmingham.

After that, well, it was just easy to follow the jobs that came my way, as I grew more experienced.

A full decade after I set out on my own, I found myself comfortably settled near Nashville, Tennessee. The wanderlust that colored my younger years eventually gave way to an ache for something steadier, more reliable.

I quit my job and found something steady with a printing company in the city. I rented an apartment, upgraded my car, and by the time I celebrated a year there, managed to amass a motley group of friends that stepped neatly into the hole left by my family.

I met them all through Emmett, who worked with me and easily qualified as the best friend I ever had. He stood six feet, five inches tall in his bare feet and possessed a loud, booming voice that could scatter birds and scare small children. But really he was the gentle giant who everybody loved. I once saw him stop his car in the middle of the road, get out and pick up a baby bird, completely ignoring the horns of the cars behind him as he placed it gently near a tree off to the side of the road.

There was Alice, his tiny wife with her wavy, black hair and bright blue eyes. Emmett may have looked like the dominant personality, but in reality it was Alice who kept us all together. She bubbled over with pure joy, and in the whole time I've known them, only one situation has dampened her spirit. Every month I watched her and Emmett get their hopes up, only to get sucker punched over and over again. I didn't know why the fates chose to keep those two from starting their family, but it broke my heart all the same.

It was through Alice that I met Garrett, her childhood best friend. Shaggy blond hair, bright blue eyes, strong shoulders, and wide smile; he was everything I'd ever wanted in a man.

Garrett was home on leave from the Army and Alice threw a huge party to celebrate. He followed me home and, well, let's just say I kept him.

Sure he had to go back, but the next time he got the option, he chose a position at the base only an hour from where we lived. An apartment in the middle, a thirty minute drive for each of us. That was the price I was willing to pay to be with my boy.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

Garrett's breathing evens out against my arm and it isn't long before the ache in my chest becomes unbearable. My skin crawls with the need to be up, to move, to smoke a goddamn cigarette as I watch my world fall apart.

I slip away from him as gently as I can, pausing to make sure that he doesn't wake. I don't turn on the lights as I wander down the hallway and the back door barely whispers as I push it open and step out into the nighttime heat. I lean against the concrete balcony wall and rub absently at my chest.

Not for the first time I wonder about the price I'm paying to be in love with him. Not the apartment, or the fairly long commute. The real price is what it costs to not be open about our relationship. Being gay in a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army is complicated no matter where you rank in the hierarchy.

But Garrett is an officer, a leader of other men, so he walks a fine line. On one side is being true to himself and who he is. On the other side is his job, the only job he's ever wanted.

I sink to the ground, knowing that it is futile to keep going over and over this all again. I knew about Garrett's job when we first started dating so I can't really even blame him.

A car door slams behind the building, but eventually the night settles back into its peaceful rhythms. My breath begins to slow and the urge for a smoke fades. Our door slides open and Garrett steps outside with just the blanket from the foot of our bed wrapped around his waist.

"Hey. You okay?" He stands awkwardly, unsure if his is the company that I want right now. Just his presence calms me and I smile, reaching my hand toward him and tugging him down to my lap.

He settles against me with a sigh. We sit in silence and I study our legs, stretched out in the moonlight. He is the light against my dark. Not just physically, although his pale skin reflects the light where my tanned skin absorbs it. Garrett is trusting and joyful and spirited where I am suspicious and tend to get too caught up in my own brain.

"I'm sorry," he whispers finally, apologizing for what must be the thousandth time since he received his orders. I lay my head against his back and listen to his heartbeat.

"There's nothing to apologize for," I murmur.

It's not true and I wish there was not this seed of anger against him. A small, petty part of me is furious that he continually chooses his career over me. He chooses to hide me away and introduce me to his Army buddies as his roommate.

He's choosing to leave.

But I won't say that. I won't hurt him like that. I won't make him choose me over his calling.

Before long our breathing synchronizes and, even though the cement is digging into the skin of my legs and back, I sit as still as I can, drinking in this moment.

Garrett traces his fingers along my forearm, over and over. I know he's fallen asleep when the movement ceases.

I am still as a statue as I watch the moments slip by, one for every whisper of his breath against my skin. Somewhere deep inside me, I am screaming and sobbing and begging him to stay. But that part is buried deep and instead of acting it out, I sit and watch as the eastern sky begins to burn pink with the new day.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

Every so often there is a thump or a mild curse from the bedroom, but other than that our house is silent. I pace like a wild animal from the living room to the kitchen and back again.

"Jasper," he calls down the hall, "have you seen my flashlight?"

There is a flash of impatience and I struggle to hide it before responding.

"Garrett, why would I know where your flashlight is?" I call back.

I dread him leaving, but if he doesn't leave soon I will go insane.

"Ah ha!" His triumphant yell follows more banging and I can't help but grin.

My smile fades with the quiet knock on the door. Emmett slips inside, followed closely by Alice. They both greet me with sympathetic hugs and Alice kisses my cheek.

They've come to take Garrett to the airfield since I refuse to go.

"Jasper," Alice whispers. "Are you sure you won't come with us?" There is a sheen to her eyes that speaks of tears waiting to fall. My throat tightens and all I can do is shake my head. She kisses me on the cheek and lets me go.

Garrett comes bounding down the hall, duffle bag slung over his shoulder and field cap perched at a jaunty angle on his head. He bro-hugs Emmett and then sweeps Alice around in a circle. His actions make her giggle and burst into tears all at the same time.

Clearing his throat, Emmett grabs the duffle bag and nods to me. I wave as he leaves, slipping on a pair of dark sunglasses.

Alice lets go of Garrett and squeezes my hand, following Emmett quietly.

Garrett and I stand, gazing at each other from opposite sides of the hallway. Emotions war against each other inside my chest. There is so much love and pride for him and who he is and what he does. At the same time, fear and sadness threaten to choke me with their strength.

"I miss you already," I say finally, trying to smile, but failing miserably.

We move as one then, meeting in the middle to hold each other tightly. I wrap my arms around his waist and rest my forehead on his shoulder. His hands tangle in my chin-length hair, just like he's done a million times before.

The moment feels so final. I try to memorize it all; the feel of his hard body against mine, the taste of the soft patch of his skin just under his ear, the scent of him all around me. I know that I'll need these memories in the long months to come.

"I love you so much," Garrett whispers fiercely in my ear. He pulls away slightly and presses his mouth to mine. I can't help but respond eagerly, licking along his full bottom lip and tangling my tongue with his.

When we pull apart, we are both crying. He rests his forehead against mine and smiles.

"Jasper, in the long span of our lives, the next six months will just be a drop of water. I fully plan on kissing you like that every single day of forever."

I laugh a little. "Promise?"

I choke on everything I want to say, all of those last minute promises I want to make. I can hear how needy I sound, how desperate, but I can't make myself stop.

He kisses me again, soft and sweet this time and then pulls away.

"I love you too!" I manage to choke out the words just as he reaches the door. He turns and smiles.

And then he's gone.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

I don't fare well after that.

I pace around the apartment: living room, hall, kitchen, hall, bedroom, hall, guest bedroom, hall, living room, balcony, living room. Over and over again.

The need for action pulses through me and the pacing doesn't cut it. I can't go to him. I can't go to the airfield with all of those families, all those women with all those kids, and proclaim myself Garrett's partner, his lover, his life mate.

The silence in the house presses against me until I think my ears will pop.

Shaking my head, I grab my keys and wallet from the table by the door. The need to get out of there is overwhelming and my red pickup truck shines like a beacon from the driveway.

I lock up the apartment and then I drive. I stop once for cigarettes and then I try my best to get lost. Johnny Cash rumbles from the speakers and I drive. Cigarette after cigarette smoked all the way to the filter. I drive until the sky reddens and begins to darken.

I know that the time for Garrett's departure must be close. He told me before that the troops were always required to show up early, but then they usually waited around all day for the plane to depart.

Deciding quickly, I turn at the next light and gun it, heading for the airfield. Skirting the back of the post, I follow the road as it winds around the base. Red lights alert me to the end of the tarmac and I pull over into the empty field. Off in the distance, I can see the hangars and the large plane that will carry them all away.

I throw my truck in park and climb out, lighting another smoke as I slam the door. I climb into the bed of my truck and lean back against the side.

It's a clear, hot, starry night and I gaze upwards as I inhale. I wish I could count the stars. I wish I could gather them in a bag and take them home to paste all over the house, one for each day until Garrett comes home.

Most of all I wish he were here with me.

As if on cue, the engines of the plane on one end of the tarmac start getting louder as the pilot prepares for take off. I flick my cigarette off into the darkness and wait.

Slideshow images flicker through my mind. The first time I saw Garrett, standing in Alice's kitchen, smiling and laughing at something she said. The nervous stutter of my heart the first time I leaned in to kiss him. The sheer joy that winged through my body every time he wrapped himself around me.

How could I face each morning of the next six months without his sleepy smile?

I watch as the plane powers up and begins its trek down the tarmac. The whine of its engines increases steadily until it is thundering toward the end, lifting off, disappearing into the night.

I watch as its lights fade slowly away. I sit in the sudden stillness and remember to breathe. Eventually the normal nighttime sounds return and I force myself to move, to stretch, to get in the cab of my truck and drive home.

Our living room lights are on when I pull into the drive and Alice and Emmett's car is parked out front. I sit in silence for several moments, listening to the ticking of the cooling engine. My face is dry, the tears from earlier causing my skin to feel like it's been stretched too tight across my bones.

Alice jumps up from the couch when I walk in. She too has stopped crying, but there is a well of sadness still in her eyes. I drop my keys in the bowl on the table and take a deep breath.

"He's gone." The words drive the fact home for both of us.

Alice takes three steps towards me until she can slip her small hands into mine. She squeezes them tightly and I hold on to her like an anchor.

"Yes." She confirms and lays her hand softly on my cheek. "But he'll be back."

I take a moment to sort through the remnants of the emotional storm that raged through me for most of the day. And there it is, the bright spot of hope and optimism that I can cling to until things get easy again.

I pull Alice to me so I can hug her. I smile and say, "I know."