AN: Okay, this is an old fic written a while ago. No Flames!

DISCLAIMER: I don't own! Insipid COW does... And you all know who I mean.

WARNING: YAOI. No likey? Leave.

-Ryder

TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS

I slowly walked along the crowded streets of Chicago, unsure of the year. I'd secluded myself from mainstream society and had discreetly gone to a tailor to refit my clothing to the current fashion. I tried to avoid any avid stares by pulling my hat down low, shielding my unusual eyes from the humans. I heard honks, nieghs, and all manners of shouts in several languages; all of which I knew already. I got shoved, none too gently, by a man in his late twenties who bounced off me and continued on his rambuncious way. I was forced to look up by this shove and saw a speeding truck head straight for a human boy. No one but me could easily have reached him and prevented bloodshed. I shot across the immense distance within a fraction of a second and pushed him into the mud, shielding him with my body. The driver stomped on the brake and swerved, cursing as he drove off down the street.

"Hey, kid, you alright?" I asked him, not smelling any blood but worried that he might have a concussion.

"I'm not a kid! Who the hell are you anyway?" The rough response to an obviously concerned question startled me and I hauled the boy up by his shirtfront, giving him a slight shake.

"I'm the guy who saved your life, you little snot, so show some appreciation." I snapped, anger seeping into my tone as I saw my only hat squashed in the mud. "You almost got run over by a delivery truck and this is the thanks I get for getting my clothes dirty? Hmph! I wonder if you speak to your parents with that uncivil tongue in your mouth." I said, setting him down and grabbing my hat, shaking off the worst of the mud. I was about to jam my hat back on, and be on my way, when a hand stopped me. "What?"

"I'm sorry, sir. It's been a really bad day for me... Would you like to come to my house and grab some dinner?" Earnest green eyes met mine with only a hint of curiousity. "My name's Edward, Edward Masen."

"Jasper Whitlock. I'd take you up on that offer, but I'm afraid that mud would be your mother's first impression of me."

"We've got some suits that ought to fit you pretty well. You're about my height, I think."

"I think not, young man. A compromise would be that you give me your address and I'll stop by."

"Alright, Mr. Whitlock. You look pretty young to me."

"Address, young man, and then be off." I said firmly, not liking the scene my rescue had caused. He handed me a scrap of paper with a scrawled address and he took off as though the accident had never happened.

-PoV-

I ran to my house, knocking on the door first before entering.

"Mother, I'm home from school!"

"Edward Junior, I will not have you shouting in our house like that." My mother admonished as my father blew out yet another smoke ring. "So, how was school?"

"I-I, uh, got an A on my English paper."

"Boy, did they beat you up again?" My father's gruff voice came from his chair as he looked over his newspaper to stare at me.

"No, Father. This is from being pushed into the mud."

"Why were you pushed into the mud?"

"Someone saved my life. He pushed me out of the path of a delivery truck I did not even notice. He sounded like he was from somewhere in the South. He refused my offer of supper, saying that he wouldn't like Mother's first impression of him to be mud."

"Did he ask for our address, Edward?"

"Yes, Mother, and I gave it to him. He didn't say when he'd visit, but that he'd stop by. His name was Jasper Whitlock." I ran upstairs, changed clothes and came back down, only to be cornered by my father.

"What'd he look like, son?"

"He was rather tall, blonde hair... and had the strangest eyes."

"Explain the strange part, boy. Go on then."

"They were golden, Father, like his hair, only a shade or two darker."

"You're lying, boy. No person has eyes that color."

"He di-" The doorbell rang and I jumped to answer it.

-PoV-

I politely stood outside the door after having rung the bell. I'd sent my mud-soaked clothes down to the maid's cleaning service and had changed into a somber grey for the occasion. I had also bought a new hat, a black fedora. Edward breathlessly answered the door, his eyes widening as he took in what I wore.

"Sir, Mr. Whitlock is here." He stated in a soft, scared tone.

"Come right on i- Oh, what unusual eyes you have!"

"I suppose so, ma'am."

"My father is in his study. He'd like to speak with you." Edward was more subdued in his home then outside of it; he feared his father.

"Lead the way, Edward, if you would." I subtly asked, seeking an answer that wasn't timid.

"Of course, Mr. Whitlock." The same tone again, whisper soft and fear in every syllable. He knocked on an ornate door and opened it very slowly. The man who was Edward's father had many lines, not all of them from laughter or joy. "Sir."

"Sit. I want both sides of the story." The man barked, the brown eyes flashing with authority.

"I'd rather stand, Mr. Masen, if it's all the same to you." I'd taken off my hat upon entering the house and I gave him a quick glance, lasting less than a split second.

"I would like to see your eyes. Edward has some silly notion that they're golden in color." I sat directly in front of him and looked him up then down in a derogatory manner. "Hmm, the boy speaks the truth for once. You're calculating, young sir, I'll give you that."

"I'm sure my word is more than sufficient, sir. Your son has no need to be here." I sent waves of calm to Edward and the tense atmosphere dispersed. I dropped my voice and pulled on the hunting techniques I'd all but lost. "Wouldn't you agree?"

"Certainly. Edward, you may go." Edward shot me a curious look, his emotions a tangle I would sort out later. "So, you saved his life?"

"I did, sir, and he was simply the most grateful person I've ever come across." The lie slipped off my tongue with velvet confidence.

"Alright then, it seems we're done here. Would you like to join us for supper?"

"I'll have to decline, Mr. Masen. I've a lady to court and visit. She's a jealous woman and demands to know what I've done with my day." The lady I spoke of was my thirst, and damn was she a demanding mistress when human interaction was in my day.

"Mr. Whitlock, I understand. You are welcome to our home and you can drop by any time you like."

"Thank you, sir. I'd better be on my way, then. May I have a private word with Edward before I go?"

"Certainly, when he isn't playing our upright, he's in his room doin' God knows what. Second door on the end, Mr. Whitlock."

"My thanks, Mr. Masen."

"Welcome. He'd speak less then two sentences if he wasn't involved in that war craze; the boy's only seventeen... He doesn't understand that he'll come back in some way worse than when he left."

"I do what I can to talk him out of it. War isn't pretty..."

"You went then?"

"Yes. I'd rather not talk about it." My war was different from the one being fought right at this moment, but; once you've been in one war, you've been to them all. I had fought against many of my best friends and had killed them. I made my way to Edward's room and knocked politely.

"Enter. Oh, it's you, Mr. Whitlock..." He pushed down his sleeve, but I saw the rather large bruise pattern on his forearm shaped like Mr. Masen's hand.

"I hope I wasn't intruding on your personal time, Edward." I blurted, unsure of what to say to this enigma of a human being.

"No, no, you weren't. Did you tell my father that I cursed?"

"No, that is best left between us. I saw it, you know." I'd closed the bedroom door as I finished my sentence. "The bruise, Edward. I'm not blind by any rights. You protecting your mother?" I asked softly, pushing the sleeve back up to see deep purple and black bruises all up and down his arm.

"I'm fine." A hint of anger reached his tone as he tried to free himself from my grip. "Hey, let go."

"You may try, but it won't work." I said, laughing. He stopped at my laugh, a crooked grin spreading across his features. "May I see to them?"

"The bruises? They fade in time..." The green eyes filled with tears and suddenly I was hugged as tight as a human can hug someone who's made of a stone-like material. "You're not warm..."

"We all have our secrets, Edward, and this is mine to keep." I told him gently, smoothing ungent onto the bruises and wrapping them with a soft touch. "Try not to add a new layer to those before I stop by again to change them, please?"

-PoV-

Jasper looked at me with earnest golden eyes as he asked the question.

"So, I'm supposed to let my mother take the hits? Especially when he's drunk!" I snapped back, spilling my family's darkest secret. "You didn't hear that. Please, promise me you won't say anything."

"Hear what? All I heard was a kid spouting obsessed war stories." He answered with a straight face, not a single hint that he'd heard my enraged shout. "You want to go to Europe to prove yourself, right?"

"You're not deaf as well, are you?"

"No. I merely chose to omit the words you spoke from my memory. So, in all truth, I really didn't hear them." His accent was stronger now and it sounded like he was angry. I watched in astonishment as he slid a pale hand through his hair and a look of burning self-hatred replaced the look of concern on his face. "If you'll excuse me then, Edward." I watched him go with a heavy heart. He knew my secret now, but what would he say about it?

The next morning dawned bright but cold. It seemed like yesterday was a dream, but, as I pulled back my sleeves to wash my face, the stark white bandage proved me wrong. I finished dressing with quick efficiency and was down before my father was to breakfast.

"Mother, Mr. Whitlock knows. I-I was trying to bandage them without his notice, but he's very intense and very strong. I tried to twist out of his grip and it was like trying to move stone; even Father isn't that strong..." She ruffled my hair and motioned to an already made breakfast plate. "He bandaged them for me."

"He did? Well, now, darling I suppose Mr. Whitlock is a kind soul who didn't like what he saw."

"I asked him not to tell anyone."

"Who doesn't already know, sweetheart?" Her tone was bitter and I saw a huge bruise across her cheek and blood trickling down from a laceration on her forehead.

"Why didn't you say something, Mother?" I grabbed our kit from my room and fixed the things I could see as best I could. "I'm sorry. When-When did it happen?"

"Shortly before you got up, sweetheart. You'll get the groceries for me, then?" She said, softly touching the bandage I'd made for her.

"I always do, Mother. Sometimes... Sometimes I wish he was different; a better man then he is now, you know?"

"Don't say such things about your father." Her tone was harsh now, her green eyes showing the spitfire and moxie she used to have when I was younger. "It's not his fault the drink's gotten to him."

"He could stop drinking." I fired back, clapping a hand to my mouth after I'd said it.

"He's on a business trip that'll last three days, so we have the house all to ourselves." She said, smiling to show that she'd forgiven me.

"Truely?"

"Yes, so you can invite Mr. Whitlock over for dinner. I hope he doesn't decline our offer yet again; he looks too skinny." I smiled at my mother's inane comments as she bustled about the kitchen, humming Vivaldi under her breath. She was happy now, a glow about her as she moved. Only the bandages marred what could have been a regular day for us; my mother in the kitchen as I played our upright. I tapped out a few notes and then thought of Mr. Whitlock and a song came pouring out of nowhere, my hand flashing across the pages of blank sheet music as fast as it would come to my brain. I played it through the first time around before fixing a few notes and sitting back from the edge of the seat. "You're composing again, Edward? Who is this one for?" She asked, her warm hands skimming down the dry ink and squeezing my shoulders.

"Jas- Mr. Whitlock." I answered honestly, another downpour of notes demanding my attention as I scribbled furiously across several more pages. "His is a symphony; he's too complex for a melody or a short ditty." I explained as it became longer and deeply ingrained in my memory.

"I can see that, dear, but why? What interest does he hold for you?"

"I- I'm not really sure, Mother." I blushed and collected the symphony that was only halfway done in my mind. I wanted to figure him out, in ways I didn't understand and didn't want to. "I need a few moments alone." I was interested in girls, wasn't I? Had I not kissed several in broken-off courtships? The questions I'd asked myself before came back with a vengeance, making me feel trapped. I thought of each girl in turn and thought of why I'd been pushed aside for some other guy. I'd been attentive and had listened to their every word, had comforted them when they needed it... Perhaps I should have been manlier when I did so. I was weak compared to my father and I would never reach his height, at least not in this house. The Army would've toughened me up, made me stronger than before. But my Father insisted on me going to a musical academy and I had several musical scholarships to go to schools in Europe; schools that were begging for my music.

-PoV-

I watched the Masen household from the cover of the forest for several hours after sunrise. Edward's father had hit his mother; I could smell and see the blood as it trickled down her face. Edward was up shortly after his father and he told his mother that I knew their supposed 'dark' secret. Mine was far scarier and more deadly than they ever could imagine. His mother smiled and said words I'd never heard about myself I thought I'd never hear, "He did? Well, now, darling I suppose Mr. Whitlock is a kind soul who didn't like what he saw." My mind was reeling, but part of it remained focused on their conversation.

"I asked him not to tell anyone."

"Who doesn't already know, sweetheart?" Her tone boardered on acidic, the blood starting to coagulate. Edward showed deep concern and bandaged it, taking extreme care not to hurt her.

"I'm sorry. When-When did it happen?" He asked in a soft voice, slight anger at himself for not being there and blocking the fist with his body.

"Shortly before you got up, sweetheart. You'll get the groceries for me, then?" She smiled sweetly and touched the well-made bandage.

"I always do, Mother. Sometimes... Sometimes I wish he was different; a better man then he is now, you know?" There was a wistful tone in his response.

"Don't say such things about your father. It's not his fault the drink's gotten to him." She snarled, her green eyes a shade darker then Edward's.

"He could stop drinking." He fired back, his resentment clear.

"He's on a business trip that'll last three days, so we have the house all to ourselves." She replied lightly, her tone forgiving.

"Truely?" He sounded relieved, as though she'd forgiven him for what he'd said earlier.

"Yes, so you can invite Mr. Whitlock over for dinner. I hope he doesn't decline our offer yet again; he looks too skinny." Her voice was light and slightly absent as she tied an apron about her waist, humming Vivaldi, I suppose, under her breath to regular human hearing. Edward strolled over to the upright, stroked a few keys and attacked the blank music pages with his fountain pen, his hand flying across them. He played out what he wrote, changing a few notes and then again his hand flew across the pages, organizing them in neat stacks as he finished what music he had been composing. "You're composing again, Edward? Who is this one for?" She asked, her fingers brushing the dry ink before rubbing his shoulders.

"Jas- Mr. Whitlock." He wrote again, a look of deep concentration on his face as several more pages joined the immense pile of music. "His is a symphony; he's too complex for a melody or a short ditty."

"I can see that, dear, but why? What interest does he hold for you?" She asked him, and as I watched, his face twisted into a look of confusion and pain.

"I- I'm not really sure, Mother. I need a moment alone." He fled the room, grabbing the pile of sheet music and slamming the door of his room. I silently tracked him with my eyes as he placed the music onto his black cherry desk and paced relentlessly. After running his hand through his hair several times, he sat down on the edge of his bed, his green eyes lost in thought. Edward's light green eyes were so expressive and I wanted to see what they would be like when darkened with desire. No, it was better to keep such disturbing thoughts far from the object of my curiousity. He'd become a puzzle that I simply had to solve. I silently ran around the Masen house, marking each tree with special care, labelling the Masen household, and all who lived there, as mine. I watched the sun become ensnared by dark clouds and smiled as the rain began to pour. I ran for the door at a human pace, laughing as I knocked on the door.

"Mr. Whitlock, what a pleasant suprise! I was just about to send Edward out- Oh, my, the weather's turned terrible. Come inside." She beckonded me in without another thought, closing the door on the howling winds.

"I'm glad you didn't send him out in this weather... He seems so fragile." The words slipped out of my mouth before I had truely thought them through.

"Yes, but therein lies a strength that scares even me when it comes to protecting me. I know you know about our little secret."

"I'll kindly assume he isn't home, since you're speaking so candidly." I said, a proper response for not having been there when he'd left that morning.

"He'll be gone on a business trip; I know what it really means." Her classic beauty was marred by a subtle curling of her lip into a sneer.

"How long?"

"Three days, Mr. Whitlock. You can drop by any time you want for those days." She was very permissive and her eyes wandered up and down my body in a suggestive manner.

"I'm afraid what you ask isn't possible, Mrs. Masen. I've never particularly cared for a female companion in that matter." I explained as delicately as I could in the situation as Edward had arrived from the hallway that held his room rather breathlessly. A smile spread across my face as I took my hands from behind my back, showing each of them a single flower and handing it to the respective person that I had intended it for. Edward recieved the deep red rose, the color almost black it was so rich. For his mother, a rose so pale it put the moon to shame. "May I join you for dinner?" I had been training myself for nearly several hours on how to eat food I couldn't even taste.

"We thought you'd never stop and enjoy our company." Mrs. Masen's tone became deadpan and I couldn't help but laugh again. Edward flushed and the sudden smell of blood had me stock-still for a fiftieth of a second. I smiled to hide my momentary freeze and Edward's mother lead me to a homey circular table, already set with three plates.

"I have told you that we were expecting you, right?"

"Of course, Mrs. Masen."

"Elizabeth, Mr. Whitlock, please."

"If you insist on informality, I shall have to as well, madam."

"Insist all you wish. When my husband isn't here, I go by Elizabeth. Mrs. Masen will get you giggled at."

"Jasper, Ms. Elizabeth. I'm sorry, I can't be that informal."

"Ms. Elizabeth for only you then. Edward, would you like to say grace?"

"Yes, Mother. Let us thank the Lord for our beautifully cooked food and for our unusual guest. Amen."

"Amen to that." Elizabeth murmured, a smile tugging at her lips.

"Amen. Must you speak of me like I'm the guest of honor? I've known you both for less than two days."

"Jasper, anyone who Edward composes for is important to him, therefore you are important to me."

"He composed about me? Did you?" I acted suprised, a mild amusement still trailing it, as I'd heard it all this morning.

"I compose music; my father must have told you about our upright and how I'm on it most days."

"He said that you played, Edward, not that you composed. I could barely stand his presence." I answered honestly, again the beguiling green eyes allowing my tongue to slip occasionally. "I apologize if it was rude, but I will not apologize for my inner dislike of the man."

"Oh, silly Jasper. In one form or another, we all hold some form of dislike for Edward's father. You'll notice his vast collection of composed music does not include his father. I have several pieces composed about me and he has one for each of his broken-off courtships-"

"Mother, please stop singing my praises."

"Ah, but it is my pleasure to hear them. I rather like the fact that you write music; that you wrote something for me, it means a great deal, Edward." I paused to scoop a bite of what tasted the same to me, blew on it, and swallowed the trash I was going to have to hack up later.

"Oh." He blushed and ate, ignoring me for the rest of the meal.

"What do you do for a living, Jasper?"

"I design homes and buildings; I'm an architect. Your house is a home... If it weren't for your little 'problem', I'm sure it would be a happy home."

"It's happy when he's not here." Edward stated bluntly, pushing his empty plate away. His green eyes locked onto mine and I saw the desire and frustration in them. "It was nice of you to drop in, Mr. Whitlock. May I leave the table?"

"You may, darling, but take your plate into the kitchen." He stood, stiffly bowed to his mother and to me before fleeing to his room. "Jasper, I'm afraid your presence has done me worse for the wear when it comes to Edward marrying a girl."

"In what fashion, Ms. Elizabeth?"

"He's entirely smitten with you."

"Me? Ms. Elizabeth, what a terrible thing to say about me and your own son!" Now I really was suprised, as I hadn't noticed at all.

"You have no idea, do you, of the figure you cut? How the women and even the men sigh after what can only be beauty?"

"I haven't looked into a mirror in a very long time, Ms. Elizabeth." I told her, running a hand through my hair.

"Stop that! Edward does that as well and it drives me crazy... You both have hair that looks better messy and you're both constantly running a hand through it, keeping it that way." She snapped, exasperation in her tone.

"I apologize, Ms. Elizabeth. I'm afraid you're incorrect when it comes to beauty, however. Your face holds the classical features of a Bottocelli angel and you're the special one that God brought to life for Edward Sr. He just doesn't understand the gift he holds in the palm of his hand. He should protect you; not hurt you." Again, the green eyes, so very similar to Edward's, filmed over and I was involutarily pulled into what I suppose was a rib-cracking hug. "Believe in yourself, Elizabeth, and nothing and no one can do what he did. Would you like me to show you how to defend yourself?"

"What you say is kind and very sweet, but no thank you. I've done my part in keeping Edward out of harm's way. I need someone stronger than me physically to protect him now. He is very fragile and that strength he has will eventually break, as mine has."

"It's there, Ms. Elizabeth, it's waiting for you to call upon it." I told her, using the softest possible touch to pat her back.

"You're very gentle, Jasper."

"I suppose, Ms. Elizabeth. I tend to have a rather rough touch normally. You two seem to bring out my gentle side."

"Hmm. I'll be cleaning up the kitchen. Please go talk to Edward for me, if you would." She unwrapped her slim arms from around me and patted my face, smiling wistfully.

"I'll do my best, Ms. Elizabeth." I answered, a grin of my own tugging on my lips. I made my way to his room, pausing at the door. "Edward, may I come in?"

"No." His voice sounded like he'd been crying and I heard subtle hitching with each breath he took. "I refuse to let you in. I don't want you to see me like this."

"Like what? Edward, what are you so scared of?" I asked in complete and total confusion. "Are-Are you crying?"

"No! Go away; I don't ever want to see your face again!"

"I can't do that." I still had to figure him out, figuratively and literally. "You see, Edward, you're a puzzle to me."

"... What kind of puzzle?"

"The best kind; a mystery." I teased very gently, testing the doorknob. It open under human-like pressure and I saw that Edward had looked up; his green eyes were red-rimmed and puffy.

"Get OUT!" He roared, flinging a feather-filled pillow at me, which I caught before it exploded. "I said I didn't want you seeing me like this!" I sighed as I let him tackle me and we fell against the golden carpet together, my arms unconciously folding around him, protecting him from injury. "I'm sorry, Jas- Mr. Whitlock. You make me feel things I shouldn't and make me say things I normally wouldn't." I fit myself to him, letting my latent desire bloom to full-blown lust. "What-What are you doing?" The question was nearly breathless and I felt his arousal against my thigh. This was going to be interesting.

"I like you this way, soft, warm... and under me." I whispered in his ear, seducing this innocent boy. "May I kiss you?" I searched long and hard before an answering lust appeared in his eyes. I closed my eyes and very slowly ran my tongue along the seam of his lips, being as gentle as I possibly could be. Edward's mouth parted reflexively and I plunged inside, tasting the complex flavors that made him so much a curiousity. He arched against me and wrapped his arms around my neck, a long moan seemingly pulled from him as I continued to suck on his tongue, giving and taking, tangling with him, submitting to him. As we continued to kiss, a vague part of my mind wondered why a burning pain raged in my throat. My thirst was back, and with a vengeance, demanding to be fed Edward's sweet lifeblood. I pulled back from the kiss, gasping as I struggled to retain my sanity. "You're a really good kisser, Mr. Whitlock." He panted, his green eyes holding something that shocked me; blatant sexuality and seduction lay in those beguiling eyes.

"Jasper, Edward, call me Jasper. We shared something... amazing. Why can't the rest of the world see the beauty, hmm? Such desire lies in your smitten green eyes." I answered absently, the burning pain almost a pleasure in his company.

"You look like you're in pain, Jasper. Is there anything I can do?"

"Trust me, you do not want to help me out with this, sweet Edward. Same time tomorrow?" I nearly gave in and slaked my thirst with him, he gave me such a sad look. "I'll stay until you're asleep, how is that?" I would control myself, damn it, because he meant something to me.

-PoV-

When Jasper kissed me, it was like the world had stopped for just us. He broke the kiss, gasping and wide-eyed.

"You're a really good kisser, Mr. Whitlock." I panted, a feeling of euphoria sweeping over my body, which was still under him.

"Jasper, Edward, call me Jasper. We shared something... amazing. Why can't the rest of the world see the beauty, hmm? Such desire lies in your smitten green eyes." He answered, a look of agony crossing his perfect features. I wanted to help him, to take away the pain I saw.

"You look like you're in pain, Jasper. Is there anything I can do?" I asked, looking up into deep golden eyes. His eyes darkened as I watched and then he answered me in a warm, velvet tone.

"Trust me, you do not want to help me out with this, sweet Edward. Same time tomorrow?" Something in me hurt and I guess it showed on my face, because he hurridly corrected his statement, his eyes becoming a warmer shade amber by the second. "I'll stay until you're asleep, how is that?"

"That's nice of you, Jasper." His stern expression broke, laughter bubbling up from him, which was sweet and bell-like. "Your laughter is beautiful, like you." I said, a slight blush creeping up my cheeks.

"Your mother said the same thing... I haven't seen a mirror in forever. Besides, it's more fun to use other people as your mirror; they can be as honest as a real mirror or as false as a circus one." He replied, ruffling my hair and allowing me to get up. Jasper caught me as I swayed. "Sleep, Edward. I'll see you soon." He picked me up, placed me on the bed, and took off my shoes and socks. Jasper reached out and stroked back a stray strand of my unruly bronze hair. "Your mother was right... The pair of us are smitten." He smiled and pulled the covers over me, then laid down on top of them. He watched me with contented topaz eyes until mine drooped and they followed me into my dreams.

-PoV-

Edward's eyes slid closed and his breathing evened out, indicating that he was asleep. He mumbled something unintelligible, then spoke out loud.

"Jasper..." Then he flat out moaned and arched under the covers, this dream clearly going in the direction of my own fantasies. He gasped several times and shuddered once, falling back onto the bed, covered in sweat. Apparently, my dream self wasn't finished because he did this four times before curling up next to me and sighing, his heat a remarkable thing.

"Edward?" He gave a small, soft little snore, turning his smaller body into mine as far as it would go. My thirst continued to rage, but I simply ignored it. I allowed my gaze to linger on his face, his slightly swollen lips curved into a crooked smile. My own pulled into a soft smile as I stroked back a rogue piece of his bronze hair that refused to stay that way. He leaned into the touch and grabbed my hand, his grip fairly strong.

"Mmm..." He let go suddenly, shivering violently. He shot up, a scream ripping from him as he gripped his head in both hands. "Ahhhhhhhhh!" The screaming continued for hours, and I finally pulled him against me and began to speak.

"Edward, you listen to me, you hear? Whatever is happening to you isn't real; I won't let happen to you. I'm here for you and I will never leave your side." I spoke softly and a hint of desperation reached my tone. I stroked back his hair and he gave a choking sob, wrapping his arms around me in a vice-like grip. "Let it out, Edward. It's going to be alright, okay? We're here and I swear to you, I will never leave you unless it is by your request." He gave a final shudder and fell asleep in my lap. I was extremely worried for the rest of the night, watching his every move, waiting for that terrible scream to escape him yet again. Even when dawn threatened to reveal what I was to him, I stayed. He only awoke once, and released his grip on me, curling into a tight ball. I pulled the covers over him and made my side of the bed, being as silent as possible. I pressed a soft kiss to his still sweaty temple and left, closing the door and running into Mrs. Masen. "He has nightmares, doesn't he?"

"Oh, you stayed all night with him? We used to; until he lashed out at his father unintentionally. Edward Sr. held him pinned and our son panicked... It wasn't a pretty sight. Edward, my baby, beat the snot out of his own father, screaming that horrible scream the entire time. He knew he was doing it and he couldn't stop. He had tears coming down his face when he fell back asleep. My husband wanted to return the treatment he'd recieved, but I told him no. That's how it started... The nasty side of his father had been revealed and it got so much worse. Some days, I was barely able to move from what he'd done to me. That enraged Edward so much, he began to take the hits for me and fighting with his father. They hate each other with a passion that is tearing me apart, because I can't choose between the people I love."

"You never had to tell him, did you? He knew instinctively that he'd done it?" I asked, knowing that he'd heard my words with certainty.

"Yes. It's eating him up on the inside, I just know it. Edward Sr. wanted to shut him away in an asylum. But then, the world would neve get to hear the beautiful music he writes when he meets people. Edward is extremely sensitive to people and he loves making music that hasn't existed yet. Last night... They were cut short by a full three hours. Was that you?"

"I told him things that he and I knew to be true. I also made him a grave promise."

"I think your voice alone would've done it. Did you hold him?"

"I held him to me, but my hold was loose, so he could leave at any moment. I was so scared for him." I whispered the last part and she caught it, a look of understanding crossing her face.

"Breakfast always cures nightmare fatigue. Care to join me?"

"I'm afraid not. I feel rather tired and would like nothing more than my bed at this point. Perhaps I may join you again for dinner?"

"Of course, Jasper. Thank you."

"Tell Edward I stayed, that I'm coming back when I've rested up. Please, tell him that."

"I will. You're smitten as well, if not more so, I think."

"Most assuredly, Ms. Elizabeth." A faint grin graced my face before I walked out into the dawn, avoiding the sunlit patches like they were the very devil.

-PoV-

I awoke warm and covered. I sat up, a frown on my face as I saw that Jasper wasn't there. Then last night rushed over me and I smiled. He'd stayed and had promised not to leave me. I strolled into the bathroom, enjoying the rare sunlight that streamed through my window. I wished that Jasper were here with me, but I knew that he was very tired and I wouldn't be so cruel as to deny the man a rest. I bathed and dressed for the day, remembering the soft kiss he'd given me before he'd left the room. As I made my way to our table, an amused smile reached my lips as I thought of the dream I'd had before the nightmare. I was pretty sure I'd made some form of noise in my sleep, if not a fair amount. I blushed as I sat, the silly grin still on my face.

"Good morning, sweety. Jasper left a few minutes ago and he wanted me to tell you that he stayed and that he promised to come back after he's rested. He was very persistant that you know this before your breakfast. He's smitten with you, as you are with him. I don't mind, as your happiness matters a great deal more to me than proper protocal."

"Mother!" I protested, then stopped as I began to fully recall my dream from the night before and my blush deepened. "We kissed."

"Did you now? Omlette or scrambled?" She casually asked, pulling eggs from the ice box.

"Omlette. It was the best kiss I've ever had."

"Oh. He must be expirenced in the giving of kisses then." She teased, watching my omlette on the stove with ease.

"Mmm, you have no idea. I think it lasted more than two minutes and I really didn't want it to end." I said absently, my mind on Jasper.

"My goodness, that is a rather long kiss. You do know you have school today."

"Yes, Mother. I already did my homework."

"Here, eat this and scamper off. Jasper will be here for dinner, so don't rush home expecting him to be here."

"He will? I have something to look forward to." I said, scarfing down my eggs. "Ooh, hot!"

"Silly. Here, drink this. You have to get the groceries, okay, sweety."

"Of course, Mother. Thank you." I drank the cool milk and it faintly reminded me of the way Jasper felt. "I'm going." I gave her a peck on the cheek as I pulled on my cap and raced out the door. The morning was nibbly, but less so than the other day. I pulled on my jacket and made it before the bell rang. My teacher, Ms. Landon, was setting up the class and I placed my books on my desk, going to help her out. "May I help, Ms. Landon?"

"Oh, hello Edward. Of course you may. You seem happier today."

"I met someone." Thinking of Jasper, a smile tugged at my lips. "They're very sweet, and sensitive."

"Do I know her?"

"No, she's older than school age." The lie easily slipped off my tongue, my thoughts along the lines of protecting Jasper from ridicule.

"Well, that's good. Maybe she'll curtail your war fever." My teacher said, her tone slightly suggestive. I had to hold in a shudder as her tone turned to what she thought was seductive. "But, I could do it much better." I made a face and ran outside, slamming into the bigger boys in the yard.

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah, you'll be sorry once we're done with you, Edward Masen." Detra Marisnicov snarled, grabbing me by my shirtfront.

"Hey, put him down!" I laughed as I heard my best friend yelling from roughly three feet away. Detra put me down very slowly as Ezio Machiavelli strolled into the group, towering over them as he patted my shoulder. "Buongiorno, Edward."

"Good morning, Ezio. How was your morning?"

"My sister sends a flower for you. I have no idea why she's got her eye on my best friend, but, she insisted." He handed me a note and a poppy, which I tossed. I kept the note and opened it. It read:

Dear Edward,

I wish you to come with my brother to our house this evening. Give your reply by coming or not.

-Maria Machiavelli

I laughed and tore it into tiny shreds. No way was I giving up Jasper's company with my mother for some girl. "I take it that's a no."

"Damn straight it is. I'm not giving up time with- It's nothing."

"Spill, now." His voice turned persuasive, and I sighed, rolling my eyes.

"I met someone special this weekend and now it seems like since I'm unavailable, it's attracting girls like flies."

"You met someone? What's she like?" Interest entered his voice and his accent thickened.

"Sweet. You'd like her; not that I'm sharing." I said lightly, laughing at the flabbergasted look on his face.

"Who's that? He's waving at you." I turned around and, sure enough, it was Jasper waving. I smiled and ran straight towards him, loving that his arms swept around me and turned us away from the school as he kissed me.

"Jasper... What are you doing up?"

"I couldn't wait. I'll be honest, you had me worried last night, Edward."

"I know; I forgot to tell you about them."

"Mmm, just seeing you is nice." He pulled me close again and gave me another kiss, this one not so innocent. I gave in, leaning against him and feeling wanton as I let a deep moan escape my mouth. He grinned against my lips before thrusting his cool tongue into my mouth and making me weak in the knees. "Kissing you is even better." He whispered, his velvet voice causing me to softly gasp into his mouth as he continued the kiss. The bell ringing had him growling and letting go, stroking back the rogue strand and softly touching my face. "See you tonight. I'm breaking my own personal code for you, you know. I shouldn't even be here." The topaz eyes were gently teasing as he spoke.

"You'll be there, tonight, right? Jasper, you wouldn't leave me hanging..." I asked; feeling foolish as I did so. I sounded so needy.

"I will be where you need me, cheri. You need only ask, Edward, and I will reply as honestly as I am able." He answered, adoration in his golden gaze. "Go; you'll be late for class." He turned and ran, waving before taking off, a smile on his face.

"Amico, I think I know who your 'girl' is. I don't blame you; he's like an angel come from heaven." Ezio's voice caused me to jump as he chuckled. "Hell, if I met someone like him, I'd be like you in a heartbeat. I'll keep your secret. So, what's his name?"

"Jasper. He's an architect." I said as we found our seats in the very back of the class.

"You must really like this guy; you're literally glowing with happiness. That's what's attracting the ladies. Do you mind if I steal what you don't want?"

"No, not really, but don't hurt them, you Lothario." I teased, punching his arm.

"So... Quick question, amico; did you ever like me like that?"

"Hell no! I- Jasper's different. He's affectionate without being pushy, and he helped me with the nightmares. I actually got some sleep last night." I whisper-hissed, offended.

"That man has risen immensely in my personal opinion. Anything else you'd like to spill before the signora targets us with those beady black eyes?" He whispered, using the class chatter with Ms. Landon to cover our conversation.

"He's coming over to dinner tonight at my house."

"Hmm... Lunch chatter." He said, turning his eyes towards the front of the class. I tried to pay attention in class, but Jasper's words kept coming back to my mind. We were studying the French Revolution, so I decided to ask a question that would divert her attention from my absent-mindedness.

"Ms. Landon?"

"Yes, Edward?" I shuddered internally at the tone she used with me, but asked my question anyway.

"Since we're studying the French Revolution, I picked up a textbook in my father's study on basic French. I came across a word I didn't understand... I think it was cheri. Do you know what it means?"

"Well, now, that is a very interesting question, Edward. I took French 101 in my training and it means something close to beloved. Anyone else have questions about the language?" That sparked a class discussion between English and French and the older boys gave me thankful glances as she prattled on. The sun suddenly broke through the winter clouds and the younger students cheered. "Oh, it looks like the sun is out. Lunch break is now in session." I sighed in relief as Ezio and I ran to my house. My mother was outside, with our home grown roses clipped and in her hand. The bruise was gone and the laceration had shrunk considerably, making it look as though she had hit her head on the edge of one of our cabinets.

"Good afternoon, Signora Masen!" Ezio was unfailingly polite to my mother, as always.

"Oh, Ezio! Edward, your lunch is in the kitchen." We rushed in and shared my lunch.

"So, this Jasper... Does your mother know?"

"Yes, and she approves."

"Well, that changes everything. Does your father know?" Ezio asked me seriously, his dark brown eyes boring into my own.

"He's on a business trip for three days. He doesn't know a thing, Ezio, and I plan on keeping it that way." I replied, my voice thick with worry.

"Ah. So, can I conviently come over for dinner?"

"No! You're just going to ask him awkward questions!" I fired back, a blush spreading across my face. I shoved my hair away from my forehead and put my head on the table. Ezio touched my arm that had the bruises and I flinched unintentionally.

"Edward, did he hurt you again? I saw that cut on your mamma's forehead."

"No. I'm fine, Ezio. Mind your own business." I snarled, pulling my arm away from him.

"Edward... You and I are good friends. Even those idiota can see that you are getting hurt. When are you going to admit it?"

"I don't know what you're talking about Ezio. I fell and hurt my arm while clipping the hedge." I said, avoiding his question. "It's just bruised, okay? It's not like it's broken."

"Edward..."

"Just... Mind your own business. I know what happens at your house and it's not like it's any better..." My mother shrieked and I ran outside, wondering if she was hurt. "Mother, are you alright?"

"I'm fine. Your father sent a telegram message that he'll be away for another three months." Her answer was bright and cheery as she came into the house, placing the telegram and the roses onto the counter. She placed the roses in a crystal vase as she prepared to make dinner. "Oh, Edward, could you get the groceries?"

"Yes, Mother." I replied, trying hard not to be giddy.

"You can celebrate, Edward. I can see it on your face." She said fondly, ruffling my hair.

"Yes! Now I have the house and you to myself." I teased gently, hugging her and twirling her about the room. Her laughter was like the sun, rare yet beautiful. "Hmm."

"Alright, now get back to school."

"Signora, can I come over for dinner?"

"Ezio, no. He's going to ask Jasper awkward questions..."

"Your best friend should know when to be polite and when to be inappropriate in this house. Yes, you may. Now, off with you both."

"Yes, Mother." We rushed back to school and were barely in our seats when the bell rang. Ms. Landon checked off our names from her attendance list.

"Who can tell me what three times four is?"

"Ms. Landon, the answer is twelve." One of the younger students chirped enthusiastically.

"Shoot me now, please..." I whispered, placing my head on the desk. "Ezio, take notes for that aren't in Italian, please?" I was out before he could ask his standard questions.

I awoke against Jasper's cool chest, yawning hugely.

"Hey, did I fall asleep in class again?"

"Yes, cheri. I picked you up, as your father will not be home for another three months..."

"Can you stop calling me that?" I asked, rolling my eyes at the endearment.

"Of course, but... I have a small question; why?"

"Because I know what it means."

"You would deny me calling you such?"

"Jasper... I really don't mind, but I wish you'd start making sense. Why would you call me that? We barely know each other..."

"Yet you and I kiss as though we were meant to be. Is this not so, mon petit ange?"

"Will you stop with the French?" Jasper sighed and his lips moved so quickly they looked like they were quivering.

"As you wish, Edward." The wistful tone in his voice said he only obeyed me because he wanted to. "Why did you fall asleep in class?"

"Mmm, I think because it's the only place I don't scream in my sleep. I've finally gotten some sleep, thanks to you, Jasper. I think my body's trying to catch up on all the sleep it missed."

"Perhaps." Jasper's voice sounded distant, like he was thinking about something else.

"Did you get any sleep at all?"

"Worried, are we? I am perfectly well rested. You may fall asleep any time you wish."

"Jasper, I can walk."

"I know that; I just prefer to carry you and your books home to your mother without a scratch."

"Jasper..."

"Yes, Edward?"

"I was seeing if you actually obeyed me... It's not nice to do that to someone else when I've been told what to do my whole life. What I'm trying to say is be yourself, Jasper."

"My only intent is to see you happy, cheri. What makes you happy makes me happy, do you understand?" His golden eyes were completely sincere in everyway.

"Umm..." I couldn't breathe as his topaz eyes slowly raked my body and I blushed, turning my head away. "I guess."

"Were you speechless, Edward?" The incredulity in his tone was hilarious to me and I laughed.

"I am every damn time you look at me. Why wouldn't I be now?"

"I-I make you happy?" The hesitancy was so heartbreaking I had to say yes.

"Yes, Jasper. Just being here with me."

-PoV-

"Umm..." Edward said, blushing and turning his beautiful green eyes away from me. "I guess."

"Were you speechless, Edward?" I asked him, completely shocked. He laughed and I had to bite back a groan as I felt my erection spring to life.

"I am every damn time you look at me. Why wouldn't I be now?" If I could've blushed, I would've at that moment. Once again my mouth spoke before I thought, which always seemed to happen around him.

"I-I make you happy?"

"Yes, Jasper. Just being here with me." He looked up with contented and sleepy green eyes. I smiled as he fell back asleep just as we reached the house. I smelled another human who wasn't a part if the Masen family, but the scent was a familiar one. I knocked on the door after setting Edward on the porch swing. The person who opened the door crossed himself and looked up with calculating eyes. This human knew what I was, or had some idea of it.

"You must be Jasper. Come in." I picked up Edward, his schoolbooks, and went inside, taking my beloved to his room. The human boy followed me as I tucked Edward in and gave him a small kiss on the forehead. My green eyed mynx moaned softly and curled into a little ball. "I know what you are." The Italian didn't throw me off one bit.

"Do you now? Might I know my enemy's name?"

"You know Italian. My enemy is more knowledgeable I am."

"Quit it. You'll wake Edward. We can discuss this in the kitchen." I snapped, pushing a frustrated hand through my hair. "Now, I want a name, damn you."

"Ezio Machiavelli, Volturi assistant. I'm human, of course, but we were sent to monitor the activities of the nomadic vampires. We've been watching you for several weeks. I must admit, you are harder to track than the younger ones."

"I knew it. I made it fun because it's been boring for the past three decades." I sneered, chuckling at the shock on his face. "Oh, and by the way, I'm not going to hurt Edward. I don't hunt people anymore; haven't since I left my creator."

"So? How do I know you aren't lying to me?"

"He means too much to me, damn it!"

"I apologize, Jasper. That was too far, yes? Vampires don't lie about love; they can't, considering they love only once."

"Damn right you went too far. It's lucky you are good friends with my beloved. Otherwise..." I drew a hand across his throat.

"I understand. I assume you know what is going on here?"

"I'd love to beat the snot out of Edward Sr. I cannot, because they love him." I decided to switch back to English. "So, you are familiar with this type of home?"

"My own is like this. I protect my mother and sisters as best I can... But he eventually beats me down. Allora, what about you?"

"I left to join the war and haven't seen mine since." He grimaced and switched back to Italian.

"Which war are we speaking of here?"

"Both."

"Specify, Jasper."

"This one and the Civil War. I am originally from Texas."

"Ah. So you know what it's like." The switch to English was not lost on me.

"Yes. War's a sad business, Ezio."

"Profitable for some, however."

"Always a silver lining for you, Ezio." My beloved's sweet voice had me smiling. "Is there a language you don't know, Jasper?" He asked as his arms wrapped around me from behind.

"Hmm... Not sure." I knew all of the European languages and several others.

"Is Mother done with dinner?"

"Yes, dear. Sit and eat. Jasper, would you like to say grace?"

"Certainly. We thank God for this enjoyable meal and the company in which it brings. Amen."

"Amen." They all said at the same time, then fell about giggling.

"You all are silly." Ms. Elizabeth snickered as she sat properly and served the meal.

"I was not the one to fall into tittering." I replied, my tone teasing.

"True. You were the grump." She giggled back. I laughed at their antics and then Edward gave a slight snigger at Ezio's shocked expression, which started us all laughing again. After several fits of giggles, we managed a steady conversation and I swallowed the food I couldn't taste as though I could. Ezio raised an eyebrow and I motioned that he and I should clean the kitchen together for me to explain.

"Ms. Elizabeth, perhaps you would like to listen to Edward play one of his compositions?" Edward actually brightened and ran to go get my symphony. It seemed he had more to write about me. "Well, we'll clean the kitchen." He and I got right to it, talking as we worked. "I can pull that human farce easily enough."

"How?"

"Hours of training, Ezio, many hours of training. Of course, I have to hack the trash back up, but it's worth it." I retorted, my speed getting the chore done so much faster. I cleaned the table slowly, not wanting to break what was clearly antique wood.

"You are the strangest vampire I have ever met." Ezio stated, his brown eyes full of confusion as my symphony filled the house.

"I take that as a compliment." I murmured to him as I went to go watch my beloved compose. Nearly thirty pages filled and he was stil writing more; would Edward truely ever be finished? A part of me knew he would be when I told him the truth. He sighed, scraped back his beautiful bronze hair, and stopped playing. "Edward, may I hear what you have so far?" I asked him as I sat next to him. I dare not kiss him in front of the other two, waiting to see how he would react. He looked at me and flushed a delicate pink.

"Of course, Jasper." His fingers glided across the ivory keys, creating the most exquisite music I had ever heard, besting even Mozart. He played through the music he had and looked up at me with adoration. Edward grinned and suddenly his hand was flying across the pages, the notes completely precise and flowing. He played it out and added it to the now thirty-five page symphony. "I think I'm done for the day. Are the chores done?"

"Finished, cheri. What do you want to do now?"

"Sit on the porch with you." We went outside and he buried his smaller, warmer body against me. "They were starting to annoy me."

"But, they are the ones closest to you. Why would they-Ah, I see. They were waiting for us to do this." I kissed him, reveling in his glorious scent and the way he tasted. Edward became bold and thrust his tongue into my mouth. I chuckled and tangled my tongue with his, taunting him. He moaned as I pulled him against me, rubbing my already tight erection against his growing one.

"Ahh...Uhh... Jasper..." He reflexively arched his hips up as I softly stroked down his back and trailed kisses down his neck. My thirst reared it's ugly head and I ignored it, instead concentrating on how he felt under me and on me. "Jasper... I-I can't... take this." His husky tone had me looking up and catching a growl of pleasure about to rumble out of me at the sight I was seeing. His pupils were dialated, showing only a slim ring of green, and he was flushed a bright pink.

"Neither can I, Edward." I unsuccessfully tried to stifle a gasp of pleasure as he thrust against me, the friction delicious. "We-We need to stop."

"Why?" Damned if I wasn't asking that question myself.

"Because... I want your first time to be special. I'm not stupid, you know."

-PoV-

"Why?" I begged, the heat in my body demanding a way out.

"Because... I want your first time to be special. I'm not stupid, you know." Came Jasper's growled reply. He was trying to protect my reputation! "Cheri, I've been keeping secrets and you need to know before we go further than this. This is potentially deadly for you." Deadly? Why would it be deadly?

"What the hell are you talking about, Jasper? Start making sense."

"I'm trying to." He answered, his tone frustrated as he swept back his golden locks. "Hell, this is going to sound crazy, for all I know."

"What is going to sound crazy?"

"What I'm about to tell you. Can you listen without interruption and refrain from calling me crazy when this is over?"

"Of course." He took a deep breath and stared at the way we were. He picked me up and off his lap with ease. Jasper strode into the house and straight to my room. He put me down as though I was made of glass.

"I'm older than I look, Edward. What age would you guess me to be at?"

"Twenty-three." I told him my estimate and he laughed.

"I am seventy-three. You were off by fifty years, cheri."

"That's not possible."

"It isn't? I assure you it damn well is. I fought in the Civil War and this one as well. I was born in Texas in 1844. I volunteered in the Civil War at the same age you are now. I was tall enough to get away with it. I was an officer within a fair amount of time and I was put in charge of evacuating Galveston. I had seen the first group of women and childern to safety and had taken another horse to go back for the third group. I met three women dressed in white on my way back." His Southern accent had thickened and his golden eyes burned with pain. "They looked like they hadn't been counted; I'd have remembered such beautiful faces. There were two blondes and one brunette... She was clearly in charge of the small group of women."

"Did you know her?"

"Getting there, ma cheri, I'm getting there. No, I did not know any of them. They spoke amongst themselves and I learned two of their names; Maria and Nettie. Maria was the brunette and she ordered the other two away. She terrified me and I soon learned why. She turned me into a vampire." I looked at him and laughed. "It's not funny." He was completely serious with me, the golden eyes resentful.

"Okay, show me your fangs."

"... I very clearly do not have fangs."

"Alright. Vampires are supposed to be extremely fast-" He smirked, and I blinked. "That doesn't prove anything."

"It does not? Pray tell how that rose got in your hand?" He replied evenly, as I looked down. I yelped and fell off the bed, only Jasper caught me. I flat-out fainted, my lungs incapable of working as I realized what he said was true.

-PoV-

Edward fainted when he fell of the bed, his breath leaving him in a rush. I was worried until he started breathing again, his eyes closed. I sighed heavily and waited for him to open his eyes. Nearly an hour passed before he stirred, his green eyes groggy.

"Jasper? Wow, I had the weirdest dream ever. You said you were a vampire..." I sighed and stroked back his hair, trying not to restate that fact. I knew that if he didn't accept me now, there was no way he would accept who and what I was. Edward gave me a once-over and I flinched, enough so that it was visible even to him. "You don't like it when I use that word, Jasper?"

"No. Perhaps it would be better if I le-"

"You promised you wouldn't, not unless it was by my request." At the tone of his words, I looked up to see tears spill onto his beautiful face and drop onto the bed noiselessly. "I-I don't care that you're a vampire!" Again, the word, carelessly used had me flinching.

"I don't like being reminded that I'm a monster, Edward. I wish you'd stop using it."

"Can I ask you about it?"

"My life or my dining habits, Edward?"

"Umm... Both, I think. Dining habits first."

"I don't hunt people. I can't stand hunting them."

"Why?"

"Because I can feel their emotions as they die... I prefer animals." I answered harshly, my hand clenching into a fist. I hated the questions he was asking, but I'd told him I'd answer honestly. "I stopped trying to be frightening, stopped trying to avoid humanity; and look where it's gotten me. Attached to a human who'll die within the century... Love is certainly fickle and has a cruel sense of humor."

"You-You love me?"

"From the moment I saw you across the street. It's a thing that comes with what I have. We only love once." I told him, shrugging.

"So, when I die... You'll be alone?" His tone was sad and he wrapped his warm hands around my much larger, cooler one.

"Yes. Ask me something else; it disturbs me to hear you say such things." I begged, pulling him against me.

"Do you sleep?"

"No. I cannot." Wistfully, I smiled, thinking that I would dream of him.

"You cannot sleep? So, do you watch me sleep?"

"Only these past few days."

"Coffins?"

"Horrible, dusty things. They are meant for the truely dead."

"Sunlight?"

"Ah... That is difficult to explain. It is easier to show you."

"Show me? So you don't burn."

"No, cheri, I don't. I do something rather embarassing instead." I grimaced at the the thought of him seeing me sparkle in the sun.

"What-"

"No, I will not answer that one. Next question?"

"Did you have any siblings?"

"One. His name was Larsen and he was five months old when I left to fight in the war."

"The Civil War, right? What side were you on?"

"I was a Confederate through and through. I thought you paid attention in class..." I teased, chuckling.

"I did. We haven't gotten to the Civil War yet."

"I see. That woman who teaches... Was she trying to consort with you, by any chance?"

"No; at least I don't think so. She was trying to seduce me. Does that count? Do you even get jealous?"

"No to the first and yes to the second. I was about ready to hurt her for such unbecoming behavior..."

"You were jealous of her?"

"Don't ask me why, I just was. The human who threatened you got his due."

"What did you do to Detra?"

"Merely shook him soundly and told him not to lay a hand upon you again in his native tongue. Why, did he mean anything to you?"

"Haha! I told him he'd bitten off more than he could chew, but I didn't know when or how." He cracked a huge yawn right after he said that, his eyelids drooping.

"I'll still be here, cheri. I've nothing better to do than hack up the dinner I swallowed and hunt." I told him, tucking him in and kissing him lightly. He was out by the time I jumped out of his window, ran deep into the forest, and hacked up the human food. Vile, dirt-tasting necessity! I rinsed my mouth out with water and spit that out as well before hunting. I chanced upon another vampire with the same intent as mine. We nodded silently to one another and hunted different cats. When I'd finished mine and he'd finished his, we spoke.

"You don't hunt humans?"

"I haven't for nearly two centuries. What about you?"

"Only twenty years, but then again, it is easier to hunt things that don't really feel."

"So you have extra abilities."

"Yes. I have a residence in the city."

"May I visit? I also have one."

"Stay away from my human."

"Your human?"

"Damn straight, my human. He knows about us. There's also a Volturi potential in the vicinity. Thought you ought to know, sir."

"Carlisle. Call me Carlisle. And you, young man?"

"Major Whitlock, Carlisle. It's nice to see another like myself." I answered truthfully. He smiled faintly and nodded once more before returning to Chicago with a fair amount of speed. I sighed. We 'traitors' could live together in a city and never meet more than once before getting on with our existances. I followed him for a short while, but he lived on the opposite side of what I considered my city. He could keep it, so long as he stayed away from Edward. I smiled and ran back to my beloved's house, hopping through the window and straight onto the bed covers. He sighed and snuggled against me, his heat such a strange thing to me. I knew I felt cooler than he did, but why did he insist on being close to me? He moaned in his sleep and my gut twisted, my arousal instantaneous. Edward arched his hips and slumped down again, his eyes wide and unseeing. "Edward? Are you-" He screamed again and my heart hurt at the agony I heard. Edward gripped his head and I pulled him close, hoping my voice would calm him.

"Edward, I'm here with you." He gasped and began crying again, huge sobs wracking his small frame. "Cursed nightmares... Will they ever go away?" Instantly, he awoke.

"Jas-Jasper... I'm scared."

"I know. What was it about?"

"Something bad is going to happen. I can feel it..." Even as he said it, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

"Even I can feel it, mon petit ange. A storm is gathering, and it isn't physical."

TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS TiwaGoS

Ending A/N: Anyone care for the rest of what I have typed out?