Story Name: All the Years
Pen name: katinki
Pairing: ExJ
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. This is AU, most importantly in that Bella does not exist. This story contains somewhat explicit sexual content and mature language; reader be advised.

To see other entries in the "SLASH BACKSLASH" contest, please visit the C2:
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Summary: How many times can one heart be broken before it shatters beyond repair? How many ways can one body yearn for another before dissolving to nothing? How many years must pass before he acknowledges me? Before I completely unravel? For Slash Backslash 2.0.

I had been hungry all the years;
My noon had come, to dine;
I, trembling, drew the table near,
And touched the curious wine.
-E. Dickinson


Living in a house full of vampires is a complicated existence. There is no privacy; there are no moments of silence, no peace of mind. Especially for me. Because I hear everything, inside and out. I hear their innermost thoughts, their secret wants, their hidden desires. I see it all playing out as if on a movie screen. It's torture in the most painful of ways. Everyday, I break a little more, bending under the strain of what I see and hear and want, but cannot possess. For he is taken by another and always, I am alone.

Alone in my bedroom, I watch him love her with his lips, those same lips that I long to feel against my own. I watch him glide his long, slender fingers along her stony flesh, teasing and taunting, in the same ways I can only imagine in my waking dreams. His hands are firm and solid, kneading and squeezing, leaving her wet and wanting. I watch her take him inside of her, mewling like a cat in heat, and I squirm when his face lights up in rapture, his lips dropping into a small, surprised 'O'. He always looks surprised when he fucks her.

I watch them move, skin against skin and I hear their panting moans and slapping flesh. I feel the burning in his groin as the pressure builds. The soft grunts and groans call to me and I can't stop myself from growing hard.

It's embarrassing knowing that I can be heard, but I cannot resist. It's too much to bear hearing their cries and their thoughts. In less than a second, my pants circle my ankles and I'm flat on my back. I stroke my cock, hard, slow, fast, whatever pace he sets. I fuck myself as he fucks her. I can feel her tightness and I pretend it to be his hand, coaxing me to fall. I imagine it's him touching me, gripping my hips, pressing his mouth to my throat, digging his teeth into my skin. I want him to mark me, to scar me, to claim me as surely as he claims her. I want his hands in my hair, pulling me, pushing me. I want him deep inside of me; I want to feel him moving against me. I want that ecstasy of both being filled and being felt.

His face tenses; I see it in her thoughts. His goldenrod eyes are clenched shut and his teeth snap and grit. He's close, so very close. His mind is racing, chanting, Yes, yes, God, yes! My hand tightens and I rock my hips, mimicking his movements. The heat in my abdomen grows and swells, bubbling with urgency; I feel hot and oh-so-alive. I can taste his scent on my tongue and it spurs me on, speeding me to the edge. I need to come otherwise I know that I will implode.

Harder! she demands. Harder! I repeat. My motions are rough and quick, my hips lifting up from the mattress to meet my demanding fist. I don't care about being heard, being noticed. I don't care what they think. I can't resist it anymore. When she moans and calls out his name, licking flames ripple through my body with a violent force and I come and come, my cock choking out its release as I silently scream, Jasper!

But my bliss is fragile and fleeting. The second his body breaks under his need, he snarls, "Alice!" And I am crushed, for after all this time, I know that my name will never be uttered.


My body stretches beneath the hot summer sun. It feels warm across my shoulders, its heat palpable, spreading throughout my body, seeking out and driving away the cold. As I run, I can smell a hundred scents, taste a hundred spices. I fly as fast as my legs can carry me, racing between the trees in a blinding blur, the soles of my shoes barely gracing the forest floor. Here, with the wind glancing across my skin and whirring in my ears, I feel free and my head is clear.

As I draw near, my mind sighs, knowing that my reprieve is past, that my silence is over and spent. I push back the regret, feeling guilty that I do not want to return. I do not want to return to my father and mother and brother and sister. I feel shame that my hunting trip was a ruse, though borne of necessity. I wish that I didn't need the solitude. What they don't understand is that the stillness of the forest is far more enticing than the blood of its inhabitants.

The thoughts of my family two perfectly matched pairs drive me mad. Their love and their lust are impossible to ignore. Carlisle and Esme are more discreet and I'm almost used to hearing the steady outpouring of their love. They are connected, more like two parts of a whole than two separate entities. Theirs is a comfortable partnership, tender and sweet, always so loving. But Emmett and Rosalie are still young in their marriage fifteen years young. The seemingly constant sounds and thoughts coming from their room are all I can think about when I'm in the house. They are insatiable and it requires everything I can muster to push the images of their intimacy away.

I long for that same companionship, for the feel and the touch of another. I long to be mated and coupled like the rest of them, to experience what I only do in borrowed thoughts. For whatever reason, the years deny me. I repress the rising resentment, knowing that my failure to pair is my burden to bear, not their fault. Yet no one I've met even sparks a candle and with the passing of time, I grow impatient.

Three miles from home, I smell them, two fresh vampire scents, ones I have not encountered before. Because of our lifestyle, the majority of our kind views us with disdain, so I am always apprehensive of visitors, never knowing what to expect. But I'm curious intensely so. One of the scents stands out, a bold and vivid fragrance of tanned leather and spongy moss. It's strong and earthy, with a just hint of musk, and surprising me, it reaches down into the pit of my stomach and leaves me feeling needy and raw. It's as though I'm being reeled in. I'm hooked, unable to twist off the tie.

I force myself to go slowly, all the while fighting the urge to sprint. I don't know what to expect, who is there, why they are here. I anticipate nothing, but the draw of that scent pulls me forward. Maybe it's a pair, maybe merely companions. I wonder if someone else awaits, someone for whom I dare not hope. Maybe she is long-legged and blonde, maybe slender and brunette, maybe fire-haired and shapely.

When they come into view, however, my world cracks in two. For before me is not what I expect in the least.

At first, I think that the luscious scent comes from the petite, black-haired nymph, the vampire-girl who swings her arms in playful, casual comfort. But as soon as the thought flashes, it is quashed in sudden realization.

It is not her, but him. He his scentcalls to me. And my mind is stunned into silence, incapable of reconciling my body's unwitting reaction. It's as if the sun is rising and I'm blinded by its light. I have no words, no explanation, nothing.

Before me, a man stands. He is tall and lithe with riotous blond hair. Beneath the dark fabric of his clothes, I see the outlines of hard, chiseled muscles. This vampire's complexion, like all of us, is ashen, like virgin cream. His cheekbones are high and his jaw is angular. Like predator to prey, my eyes draw a bead to his lips, watching them move as he speaks, staring at the tip of his tongue when it darts out to moisten.

"Jasper," he speaks. I can hear the tinge of an accent, but his voice is fluid and soft, like strands of silk tickling and wrapping around my ears.

His breath rolls across the space between us, washing leather and moss over my face, flooding my nostrils with his musk. Pangs of heat stab my abdomen, creeping downward in unfamiliar sensation. I gulp and push away what I can only categorize as lust. I don't understand what it is about him, why I feel this way. Frantically, I search his mind, trying to determine if somehow he is purposefully doing this to me. I find nothing to answer my panic. But I cannot deny that I am lusting… for him.

When I hear his mental whisper, questioning, wildly wondering at my scrutiny, I glance up to his eyes. Seeing the dark color a deep, exotic claret I start. I expect to feel repulsed by his consumption of human liqueur, but I do not. Despite the haunting shade, they are warm and depthless, inviting. Mesmerized, I gape inappropriately and stumble over my words.

"Nice to meet you. I-, I'm Edward," I think I say. But all I can concentrate on is the man in front me. Everyone else my family, his Alice they fade to gray.

My gaze wanders and I see the glinting crescents, thousands of them, glittering in the overhead sun, littering nearly every inch of his exposed skin. So many angry mouths have captured his flesh. Brief glimmers of memories flicker. Newborn scars, I piece together. Once, he was a trainer of wild things, a commander of armies. His flesh bears his evidence.

But I see strength and alluring skill in his battle scars; unconsciously, my fingers twitch by my sides, wanting to feel their texture. Jasper smirks at my appraisal and I abruptly feel a wave of my own unexpected want mirrored back at me. For a split second, I think that it belongs to him, not seeing that he is gifted like me. Understanding dawns, however, and I realize the full force of my reaction.

I've never felt like this and my emotions frighten me. Never have I reacted so strongly to anything, to anyone human or non. But there is no denying the hunger coursing through my long-dead veins. It is alive and humming, jolting to life when I take his outstretched hand. It jars me again when he says my name. But I hear nothing from him that tells me he notices. All he can see is his Alice.


"I love you," he murmurs, but the words are hers. "I love you so much. There will never be anyone else but you."

I am repulsed by myself, in that in my depths, I hear those words singing for me. I hate myself for harboring a secret, jealous hatred toward my new sister.

In my mind, I replay the fleeting look from a week ago. For I caught him, unaware and surprised; he was watching me and suffering just a tiny fraction of the emotion always present in my own stare. In the pale molasses of his eyes, I saw it and I heard the hint of the thought. I heard the… appreciation of my lean form, my grace, as I leapt and took down the cat. I saw myself through his eyes as I wiped the blood from my lips and licked it from my thumb. And in that one moment in time, I knew it wasn't him projecting my own want back at me. I despise myself, in that I can so easily find hope in something that can only be described as wrong and forbidden.

Alice giggles and tickles his skin, running her hands over his cheeks and through his hair. In delight, he sighs and purrs, a low, rumbling sound of satisfaction, welling from deep within, and the fissure in my chest widens.


I know that I am selfish, but I tire of this house and this city. Carlisle wants to work in a large hospital where he can get away with long hours and not be noticed. Like always, he wants to help and to heal the sick. Everyday he comes home, reeking of death and decay, of penicillin and sickly blood. I wish that I had chosen to live apart like Rosalie and Emmett.

There are too many people in this city. It's alive and bustling, and initially I thought it would be a prime place for distractions. I need them so badly; I need diversions from my never-relenting thoughts, lest I fuck up beyond repair. Still grappling with self-realization, I'm moody and in constant bad temperament. Esme tells me I need to find someone to love and encourages me to visit a coven in Alaska. Emmett just laughs, slaps me on the back, and tells me I need to get laid. Jasper quietly says nothing, instead eyeing me in some form of imperceptible examination. Every time our eyes meet, mine cast down, unwilling to show him their depth. I need escape, an interruption from the never-ceasing disappointment of reaching my arms around a dissolving target.

But because of the city's location and the damnable weather, it's nearly impossible for me to flee. I want to hunt. I crave that brief thrill and rush of sinking my teeth into hide and feeling red-hot warmth coat my insides. It's been more than two weeks and my eyes are black as coal, my bloodlust rivaling the other.

"Come on, Alice," Jasper drawls, playfully tousling her hair. An electric current zaps me when he winks at me and grins. "Edward here is jittery and I think a little thirsty. When is it safe for us to go out?"

In concentration, her eyes close and I cannot help but stare at him. So few are the times when I can. Conscious of my gaze and my emotions, he looks up at me from the couch, and there is something in his eyes, something I have not seen before. His mind is muddled, as if he is sorting through a puzzle. But something is there and hope flares.

So many days I suffer this fate, watching but never touching, acting the part of the brother and friend. Surely, he knows, but I never catch it in his thoughts. If I were to, what could I possibly do? What would he do? Nothing.

"Tomorrow," she finally says, her eyes snapping back wide. Delicate brows arch and she smiles that special smile reserved only for her favorite pastime. "But in the meantime, I'm going to run to Gimbel's. There's a path through the shadows. No one will see. I've seen it," she continues, laughing and tapping her forehead.

"Esme? Want to go?" she calls. "We can run by Emmett's and Rosalie's to pick Rose up."

Later, it's just Jasper and me. With nothing else to do, we sit across from each other at Esme's new table playing open card 21. It's one of the only games that we can play considering my gift. After speeding through the deck, however, the cards are abandoned and we fall into easy conversation. When it's just us, it's too easy to slip. But we are alone, and for the thousandth time, I see again why I'm so in love with him.

"God, Edward, you should have seen them," he says, waving his hands. I'm listening but not really. He could be repeating the Soviet national anthem and it would be enthralling. "Monterrey was a bloodbath, in more than one way. Maria unleashed us and we decimated them. I've never seen fighting like that."

Only with me does he relive his bloodletting past. With me, even more than with Alice, he speaks without reserve. Knowing that I see it anyway allows him to be open and free. My stomach flutters with the knowledge that I possess a sliver of him that she does not.

As if in remembered pain, his fingers unconsciously stroke the outline of the crescents on his bare forearm. In the low lamplight, they shimmer and dance, throwing tiny starlets. I swallow, trying to quell the yearning to touch. But I fail so miserably, because I see it in his now-amber eyes when they meet mine. He feels me as I read him. Shamefully, I sense the churning of my stomach echoed back at me.

"You want to touch," he states quietly. It is not a question. "You're… curious."

"Yes," I manage, unable to hide the quiver in my voice.

As his arm extends toward me, I suck in a breath, tasting his fragrance. At the familiar sweetness, my eyes nearly roll back in my head, and all I think about is me touching him and him touching me in return. Years of hidden looks, innocent glances of skin, and confused thoughts have worn me down and shaken my resolve. After more than fifteen years of denial, I have finally reconciled that I do want him. More than anything else, I want him. I covet him and I ache for him. I admit it to myself now, but to no other.

Tentatively, my fingers walk up and down his arm, gently tracing the curved patterns, then moving on to outline the trail of bluish veins in the crook of his elbow. Longer than appropriate, I can't stop myself from touching him. I'm greedy, thinking that this is my only chance. His skin is so soft, even with the pattern of crisscrossed bite marks. Desperately, I want to kiss those marks, to feel the way they dip and roam. Considering the intensity of my emotion, his mind is surprisingly calm and quiet, his thoughts on nothing but my hands upon him.

No one touches me like this. Not even Alice, he accidentally slips as his lids close. It's almost a sigh, a resonance of my own longing. I dare not to allow my mind to wander down that twisted path, knowing that if I were to even emerge, I would be broken.

"I'm sorry," I mumble, pulling away, embarrassed to make him uncomfortable. "I just-,"

"Don't be," he answers, interrupting me. In reassurance, his free hand lifts off the table and ghosts across the top of my hand, just barely touching. Firecrackers spark across my skin everywhere his fingers skim. "I-, I know, Edward. I feel what you want."

Time stops and the world tilts. In a crazed, illogical moment, a surge of something akin to drowning swells my chest and that hope that I pushed away rears its head with ugly force. My breath stutters in my throat and I stupidly imagine his lips crashing into mine. I imagine pushing my tongue into his mouth and feeling his fingers wend through my hair, pulling me closer. I imagine saying the words over and over to him and hearing them repeated to me.

A pinprick of regret stabs through his thoughts, almost lost in a sea of shame for himself and pity for me. "But I can't reciprocate, you know that. I could never do that to Alice."


We are at the beach, a rarity for us, considering the sunlight. But this beach is barren and gray, high to the north where humans cannot bear the cold. The northern Pacific is frigid, still close to freezing, despite the heat of the season. For us, it matters not, and we enjoy the short-lived respite and the coarseness of the sand on our skin. Emmett has the foolish idea that he wants to hunt orca.

I catch him again, looking at me. The more decades that pass, the more often he slips and the more vivid are his imaginings. This time, there is a burning in the tips of his fingers when he imagines traveling the dips and lines of my bare chest and abdomen. I gasp at the sudden need and my cock jumps. When I turn my head, Jasper averts his eyes and fawns over Alice as if to prove something to me, or perhaps to himself.

Trying my damnedest to ignore his eyes wandering back to me, I strip down to my shorts and waste no time in plunging through the wall of breaking surf. While it can never match running in speed or in freedom, torpedoing through the brine feels… good. Muffled by liquid density, sounds quiet and thrum instead of screech. I don't know how far I swim but I just want… to be away for a while. I need to be away before the strain consumes me.


"Edward," she coos, tossing her golden curls over her shoulder. Her hand slips down to my crotch and like lightning, she whips out my flaccid cock. Before I can stop her, her mouth is on me, sucking me and stroking me. Her tongue curls and teases my slit and her hand works my length. But I feel nothing.

The family keeps forcing us together, thinking that if enough time passes, I will grow to love her, that maybe she can be my only.

Tanya is beautiful, even by our standards. She is voluptuous, seductive, and always eager. Like the rest of her body, her lips and mouth are perfectly designed for giving and receiving pleasure. And she wants me; she wants my cock. Indifferently, she says she only wants to fuck, but I hear her thoughts. Deep down, like the rest of them, she thinks that we can be mates, partners in this façade of a life we lead. Like me, Tanya is lonely, only she has been searching for centuries to my decades.

I will myself to attention, thinking not of her but of him. I imagine her lips to be his, her hands to be his. And like that, I am rock hard and fucking her mouth. Knowing that his name will spill if I cannot hold it in, I bite back a whimper and pull her off of me.

Trying to approximate a lover, I kiss down her throat and lap at her skin. Hearing her wants, I twist and suckle her nipples, and I push my fingers inside her slickness. Beneath me, her body shudders and quakes when I bite down, breaking her flesh. She moans my name but the pitch is all wrong. It should be lower, deeper. But I ignore it and I make her come.

It takes everything I have to stay hard when I feel her walls around me. As striking as she is, I can't bring myself to want her. But I use Tanya as surely as she uses me. I picture his face, the way his brow creases, the way his hands tremble, and my hips thrust in and out, over and over. Her tightness is his hand, and I close my eyes and I curse and I groan. She thinks it's all her. In my mind, however, I'm moaning his name as he penetrates my body.

But I can't. I can't release. I fuck her for hours, pushing her body over its peak time and time again. Never mind her clenching thighs and soft lips, I just don't feel it; my body knows what my mind tries to force away. I hate the smell of her on my skin. There is only one scent on God's earth I want on me. Disgusted with myself, I finally give up and pull out, knowing my efforts are futile.

"Is it me?" she asks as I pull on my jeans. Twinges of hurt lace both of her voices, and I feel nothing but disgrace for leading her on, knowing she wants more from me and knowing that I will never be able to give it to her.

I smile and gently cup her face, pushing back a stray blonde lock. Tanya is too good to settle for me, for someone who doesn't who can't want her. I refuse to be unfair, to use more than I have already.

"No, Tanya, you're a thousand times lovelier than the stars. Please, please don't let my inadequacy undermine your confidence. This is all me, I swear it," I promise, looking off and through the window. Outside the snowfall is heavy, the ground now a blanket of thick white.

"I don't understand, Edward," she murmurs, a break in her voice.

"I know," I sigh. "As much as I hate it, I belong to someone else."

She stares at me unabashedly, confused and disheartened. Rejection does not come easily. Her eyes are worrisome and her mind is thick with implication and suspicion.

"Someone I know?" she queries, her amber eyes glimmering in the dark.

"I doubt it," I answer, suddenly weary. I'm so tired of lying, of hiding. "I'd prefer not to say."

"Is she mated already?"

I nod, knowing no other response. How can I tell her the truth?

"I'm sorry," she breathes. Her lips turn down and her mind cries for me. She knows that my fate is sealed, that there is no respite for my want.

"Me, too," I whisper, as my chest swells and threatens to rip apart.


Exhausted and discontent, I spend some time alone in the mountains. For days, I speed through the thick, low brush, feeling the tickle of thorn and thistle. The wind whispers to me, singing and stroking my skin. It feels good to run again. I leap and bound across the rocks, and a spray of dust and debris kicks up from my feet, coughing out a visible trail of my meandering path.

Racing down a valley wall, my mind bends back to five days prior. As if it were present and real, I recall the feel of his hard hands settling upon the tops of my shoulders. It's meant to be a friendly gesture, but the moment our bodies collide, I swim with desire for him. Not just for his form and frame, but for his words and his thoughts. It's unfair and I resent him for making me feel this way. I'm envious of Alice and the way she holds his heart and the way he looks at her. I'm envious of their connection and love. I want it so fucking much and I just can't make myself not feel.

Vaguely, I recognize that it's getting worse; year after year, the yearning grows and festers, devouring me. I can't explain it; I can't pinpoint the exact reason why I need him so much, why I can't let him go. From that first moment of sight, I've wanted him. Even before, just his scent drew me in, like he was mine. In reality, I'm his, the toy he really doesn't want.

The failure with Tanya was just another chink in my chain, showing me how deep and how far I've sunk. But nothing compares to what he can do to me himself. Those few moments of his unanswered want give me hope, but the pity in his eyes when his fingers release me sends me careening toward the scorching fires of hell.


The bar is smoky and dim when he walks in. I've been watching him for weeks, a fellow student in one of my classes. I know that he notices me because each day, the moment I walk into class, I'm all that he can think of. The irony is not lost in that the way he fantasizes about me estimates the way I think of Jasper. Sighing, he pictures my cherry mouth upon his and my hands stroking him to release.

He's not the same but he's close. Slightly shorter but still hard-cut and lean. From behind, he's almost Jasper. Flicking in the fan's breeze, his hair is the same mottled blond. And his speech, the slight Southern intonation and inflection, is so reminiscent of the voice I beg to hear.

The boy, the man, the human whatever I choose to call him this time sees me and his silver-gray eyes brighten and warm. He's excited, apprehensive, and frightened all in the same breath. Smiling a glamour-shot smile, I let him see me appraise him and I lift my hand to motion him over.

"Hi," he breathes, nervous and hot. Involuntarily, my lungs suck in his fragrance and briefly I wonder what the hell I think I'm doing. Ripened and tangy, for a split second, the smell of his blood almost overtakes me. But I know I have the control necessary. I'm fed and sated, having pulled down a muscular bull elk only an hour ago.

"Edward," I greet, pushing my voice lower. The sound of my voice flows through his mind seductive and sweet. "I think we share a class together. Care for a drink?"

Elated, he accepts my offer, as I knew he would. When he sits by my side, a wave of his heat gushes across my skin and I lean closer to feel the wind of his breath. His heart stutters at my brazen move, and I can't quash the grin stretching across my face. When he introduces himself as Jason, my grin twists to a smirk.

No more than an hour later, I press my palm against his lower back as I lead him into the hotel.

"Oh, God," he cries as my lips encircle his cock. Back against the wall, fingers splayed out, his mind races, trying to make sense of the flurry of sensations my hands and mouth elicit. My tongue licks along his length, lapping at the raised edge of his head. My hands reach around, cupping his ass, pulling him further inside. I'm so very careful with him, knowing that one wrong move and my teeth will ruin him. But I know exactly what I'm doing; I read him and hear him. I act on every wish that comes to mind.

Tonight, he is my Jasper, and I imagine that it's him who I'm fucking, him who I'm loving with my mouth, not this human named Jason. Rationalizing, I decide that if I can't have Jasper, I can, at least, have this.

I taste his seed, a rich and pungent mixture of salt and human perfume. It's so strong, testing every bit of my control. For the first time in decades, I want to drink a human and my eyes shade to night. Some dark part of me wants to latch my teeth onto his broad shoulder as I take him. But I won't; I'm not that animal. I will never stoop that low.

My human is panting from his high, and his thoughts scream praises to my skill. I'm his dream come to life he thinks, his waking fantasy, his God-made flesh. Not for one moment does he question the ice of my touch or the hardness of my skin. He doesn't care and nor do I.

I lift myself and guide him to the bed. Gently, I push him down to his hands and knees. He wants his chest to mine, that special closeness of moving together eyes on eyes. But I know my limits and I can't take him on his back. I can't see his face for then my fantasy will shatter. I'm using him, and I should feel guilty, but seeing the lines of his body beneath me and the tint of his curls demolishes my guilt and hardens my cock.

Tenderly, I rub his backside, kneading the oily lubricant into his skin. He moans and rears his head when my thumb grazes the puckered entry. I tell myself over and over to go slowly and to not hurt my human Jasper. I prod and I stretch him, working the oil inside. I'm not so selfish to not consider his pleasure. When I'm confident he is ready to accept me, I roll on a condom and slather it with another coat of oil. The latex is unnecessary but I think it will shield him from my chill.

Slowly, so agonizingly slowly, I push inside, sheathing myself in his warmth. My human Jasper is so tight and so hot. For a moment, I snap my eyes shut and my mouth gapes at the sensations. I could come this very instant. Blinded by lust, my cock twitches inside of him and I resist the urge to fuck him the way I want, to slam into him, to answer all my aggression and unrequited emotion.

"Jasper," I moan, as I pull out and push in again. I don't stop until my hips meet skin.

"Jason," he gasps, his muscles tensing. He is confused and there is a pang of jealousy for someone he hasn't met.

Angrily, I grab him by the waist and pull him up, his back to my chest. I lick along the shell of his ear, and I reach around to grope his lengthening cock. I grip it and I stroke, rougher than with my mouth. A loud groan echoes in my ears, and his head lolls back against my shoulder, rolling back and forth. I move inside of him, filling him, claiming him as I long to be claimed. With every thrust of my hips and stroke of my palm, his body rocks with white-hot shudders.

"No, you are my Jasper," I growl, willing him to submit. My hands grip his hips too hard, knowing but not caring that there will be marks tomorrow. His thoughts are too clouded to discern, too inundated and hazy to protest. He feels nothing but the pleasure my body is giving him. When he whimpers, my hips buck harder, burying me deeper inside.

"Anything," he begs, feeling the build of his release. "I'll do anything you want. God, don't stop, Edward. Please don't stop."

I smile and suck hard on his flesh, careful not to break it, tasting the salt away. My fantasy takes flight and my mouth moves against his sweat-soaked skin with the words I've wanted to speak for half a century. "I love you, Jasper. This is what you wanted, didn't you? You've always wanted me this way."

When I come, almost viciously from my need, it's his face I see, that same surprised expression I always see through her eyes. Jasper's sweet lilt stutters out my name, and I feel him pulsing in my hand. Unseeing and shaking, my muscles contract and I pump until I'm limp and spent. It's pure, unadulterated ecstasy I feel. Nothing in heaven or hell can compare.

But as my pants subside, a thundering heartbeat, racing from exertion, throws me back down to earth. Hearing those mortal cries, my high sputters away and so quickly do I return to despairing emptiness. My eyes burn and all I can think of is how much I want him. Unable to hear those sounds and bear the ache, I wrench myself away from my human's quaking body, my stomach curling and heaving. I feel dirty and wasted, as though there is some stain that won't wash away. Stammering out some pitiful excuse for an apology, as always, I run and escape my madness.


"Enough," I sob, jerking my hand away. After he snarls her name a second time, my name enters his mind. Just a whisper, but it's there. It's more an afterthought, or more likely, simply the effect of the emotion rolling out from me and into him.

And it's too much for me. No longer can I bear it, no longer am I willing to live this existence of half-life, waiting for something that will never be. When I see his blissful smile and hear him murmur his adorations for her, the cracks in my chest splinter and spread, and I'm left with a wide, gaping hole that will never fill or heal. It's permanent, a raw and blistering wound that can never be cured. The agony is so acute, so stabbing, it staggers me and my face contorts under its power.

"No," I whimper into my pillow. My fingers grasp and tear at the sheets, willing reality away.

They won't understand; they cannot, for they have never experienced the anguish of not only being alone, but of being alone and knowing that their other half is already bound. My family will despise me for leaving, but I refuse to cause more damage by explaining. But I'm no longer content to live in the periphery, alone and begging for the barest hint of affection. I won't anymore; I won't suffer this way for eternity. There is nothing left for me. I know that now. I can accept it.

One last time, I want to taste the blood. One last time, I race to the quiet of the woods to quell my thirst, knowing that just a drink will sustain me until I make my way there. Two days and I will be free, I think, and the wracking pain stutters its approval.

Numbly, I creep through the forest, listening and searching out my prey. To my left, I hear three thumping rhythms, deer by cadence. I smell the spice of their blood, and the gurgle of their veins pulls me forward. For these few minutes, my mind turns to void, only concentrating on the noises of my prey.

With vampire grace and vampire speed, I'm upon them, sprinting out from the trees, seeking out the largest by instinct. The animal darts away and gives chase, but it is no match for me. My hands find their target and my teeth break hide, sinking through sinew and tissue and finally vein. For once, I'm not careful or tidy, and I drink in long, desperate pulls, sighing as the blood coats my tongue and washes the blaze from my throat. The animal is strong and it thrashes against me, its heart pounding in my hands. Beneath me, I can feel the thud of its valves opening and closing, pushing its very life away and into me.

When I'm sated, I rise and scrub my face. Smiling down at my hands, I note the mess I've made.

"I'm sorry, Edward," I hear.

My eyes jump wide and I spin to face the voice I hear constantly. So buried in my own thoughts and my hunt, I didn't even notice his approach. His eyes are wary and his mind garbled and confused. He gulps and walks toward me, and my body tenses.

"Why are you here?" I whisper, begging that Alice only saw my flight and not its cause.

I'm sorry, Edward. It slipped. I didn't mean to cause you pain, he silently pleads. His tone is forlorn and despairing.

Unable to answer him and look at him, too, I turn away and shut my eyes. "It doesn't matter."

I can't stop myself. I don't understand it. But… I feel it, too. Surely you know that?

Bitterly, I laugh, wishing I had tears to cry. "Like I said, it doesn't matter. Nothing changes."

His hand cups my shoulder and I allow him to turn me. But I still can't meet his eyes, can't bear to see the pity I abhor. When the back of his hand skims down my jaw, I flex and flinch away. "Please… don't," I beg. Not this, I think. Not this. I can't bear it now. Anything more, and I will surely shatter and turn to ash.

Before I can stop him, however, his lips, the very ones for which I've pined for decades, suddenly clamp over my lips, and I gasp like I've been shocked. When my mouth opens, his tongue licks its way in and slides against mine. He tastes the residual deer blood from my feast and he moans in a low keen. I know this will go nowhere and I want to pull away, but my body refuses, needing to feel this, begging for it not to stop, longing to hear him moan again.

Caging me, his arms wrap around my torso, darting up and underneath my shirt. Against the rigid flesh of my back, I feel his hands scrabbling and pawing, pulling me closer until my chest is against his. His movements are furtive and unfamiliar, but so needy. And it feels oh-so-good. His mouth and hands are nothing like the kisses I see through Alice's eyes. It's everything I ever wanted.

I can't stop my hands from tangling in his hair, from pulling his mouth tighter against mine. A spark races down my chest and my stomach, targeting my groin. I should feel humiliated, but when I feel the outline of his hardness against my thigh, I nearly come undone. For just that moment, his thoughts are nothing but of me, and I want to weep.

Only vaguely do I feel the crack of wood when my back slams into a nearby tree. I don't know how long we stand like that, in our awkward, first-time embrace. But nothing reaches me; I see only him and he sees only me.

But like the heat of a flash fire, it's gone when I see her eyes dart across his mind. Into his mouth, I cry the cry of piercing pain, but his lips still slow and then stop and he becomes stiff and tense. His thoughts turn angry, not at me, but at himself. I cannot bear to touch him like this, knowing it was all for naught, so I pull away, still feeling the bite of his teeth on my lips.

"That shouldn't have happened," he groans. "It was wrong of me. God, Edward, I'm so sorry. I-, I just- fuck."

That gaping hole that I thought was wide and jagged is now a black abyss.

"I understand," I mutter, miserable and grieving. "I get it, Jasper. It's my fault. I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be here… with you. You won't leave Alice, and it's so wrong for me to want you to."

He nods and at least I get the satisfaction of the sadness in his eyes. At least I know he feels something, that my love for him has not gone completely unanswered. At least I have this memory to take with me.

"What are you doing? I heard you leave so fast."

I run my hands through my tangled hair, feeling the grime from my hunt. "I can't be here anymore, Jasper. Not anymore. I-, I can't."

"What will you do, Edward? Please don't go." Knowing that a too-small fraction of him wants me merely steels my resolve. I cannot live with just a fraction, a blurred shadow of my half.

He grimaces and his thoughts are gray and dark. He bites his lip and continues, worrying if his words will hurt me more. "I'm sorry. I wish things were different. But you know… I can't leave Alice. I love her. And it… would destroy her."

"I know. I never expected you to."

"Where will you go?"

I stare off through the trees and say again, "It doesn't matter." Because it doesn't, not to him, or them. If I am gone, where I am makes no difference. If I am no more, it makes no difference.

"Please don't say that. I don't want you to leave. I'm worried about you."

I thumb his lower lip, feeling the corresponding zing of recognition in mine. "It's okay, Jasper. I'll be fine."

He shivers, feeling the dark determination emanating from me. "Will you really?"

I smile a smile just for him, trying to assuage his guilt. "Yeah. I wish-… no, never mind. I've always loved you, you know. That won't ever change."

"Where are you going?" he stammers, his hands twisting. His voice is high; he knows that this is the end, that these are our last moments. His heart cries for me and for what might have been. But his regret is nothing compared to mine.

In my mind, I see the spires and parapets, ancient walls of stone and mortar. I've seen them before in Carlisle's mind. He lived there once, a guest of three kings and he told me of their rules. There, I can find rest; there, I can find respite for my world-weary bones and broken soul. They will grant me that, I think; they will give me the oblivion I seek, the only end I want. If they refuse, I can always force their hand. Someway, somehow, they will take me from this world and the ache I no longer can shoulder.

Looking away, I see nothing and everything all at once. I wave my hand and I shrug with indifference. "I think I may head to Europe for a while. You know, see some paintings and architecture. I haven't been in years. I think I'd like to see Italy."

A/N: As always, thank you to my beta-lady extraordinaire, Scooterstale, for making everything better. An additional thank you to a few ladies for holding my hand during my foray into slashy wonderland. Thank you, Ms. lisamichelle17, Ms. BellaFlan, and Ms. Kassiah.