|Fits and Starts
Author: Cris PM
These are starts to fics that I've vowed not to continue until ACAP is complete, but I wanted to post. You're also free to take and run with them, and create your own fics from these starts. Some vamps, some AH. Some OOC. Even one crackfic ch 3 !Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 3 - Words: 12,436 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 05-07-11 - Published: 05-06-11 - id: 6969401
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Pregnancy crackfic. You have been warned!
3rd person Carlisle POV (for now). All vampire. Takes place after Bella's change, assuming no pregnancy and no Nessie.
I love a good baby story, though I know many people here dislike them. My favorite vampy baby fic thus far is "That Girl" by u2shay. I'm also enamored of "Lost, Disturbed, and Seeking Revenge," by Kgirlhits in the AH category. I'm not aware of any all-vampire pregnancy stories, which, you guessed it, is what we have here. Hence the crackfic label. The end result when I write it will probably be squicky and pervy with a weirdly happy ending, but when you write it? Who knows? In fact, because of where I left off, you might not even make it a pregnancy or baby fic at all. There's even actually opportunity to turn it into Bella/Rosalie or Bella/Carlisle if you're into that sorta stuff, I think.
All standard disclaimers apply. Remember to PM or email me if you decide to run with this.
Carlisle sighed and pushed away from the microscope, pinching the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. Rose had been bugging him about this for weeks now, and he'd finally given in. But what he found was not what he'd expected. He had explained to her time and time again that the only substance produced by vampire bodies was venom. No tears. No saliva. Certainly no blood.
She had argued that she knew that was categorically not true, and she'd done so with aplomb. Never had medical terms been flung in his face mixed with so many fucks and other coarse words. And she'd been right about one thing: female vampires did produce natural lubrication, just like human women. He'd known that for decades - decades of making love with his wife with no bottled assistance, as it were. But it had never occurred to him to push further, to question more.
But it occurred to Rosalie. Of course it occurred to Rosalie. He muttered a little, shaking his head at the thought of his daughter's obsession when it came to all aspects of reproduction. Poor Rose desperately wanted a child - had wanted one even as a human, and wanted it even more now that it was impossible. Esme felt the loss of her reproductive ability as well, though not as acutely as Rosalie. Nobody felt it as acutely as Rosalie. Alice seemed unaffected by sterility, admitting a fondness for other people's children but never a wish for her own. And Bella? Carlisle shook his head a little with fond exasperation when he thought of his youngest daughter, still so new to this vampire life. She wanted to please Edward - nothing more. It was so hard to figure out what else she might desire, beyond that.
As for the men in the family, Carlisle knew even less. Men didn't share their feelings as freely as women did, even within the tightly-knit group of the Cullen clan. He knew Edward would have wanted children, were it possible - but Edward had been his companion long before the rest of the family solidified. The years they had spent, just the two of them, made it easier to read Edward than any of the others. Jasper and Emmett, he had no clue.
Not that it really mattered, Carlisle tried to tell himself as he levered his body away from the microscope in his home office and tipped his head back, thinking.
Motility. Rose had been right again.
She'd pestered and pestered until Carlisle agreed to look at a slide of vampire ejaculate under the microscope. He felt sure he'd find nothing exciting. He already knew what venom looked like - had seen it under the microscope more than once. He was a doctor, after all, and the workings of his vampire body were just as interesting to him as the workings of a human body.
But he'd never before attempted to look at this particular vampire function.
Esme had helped him...obtain the sample, as it were. And when he'd placed a drop on a slide and slid it under the microscope, he honestly could not believe what he saw.
Motile. To use a turn of phrase his children would employ: those things were fucking motile. If he hadn't seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn't have believed it.
His sperm looked no different from human specimens - there was nothing about the little swimmers that seemed off at all. They struggled around on the slide, looking like pale little proto-tadpoles, doing nothing out of the ordinary. They certainly sported neither capes nor fangs, nor anything else that would showcase their vampire origin. Carlisle snorted quietly at that thought. He was being as ridiculous as Emmett, now, even imagining something as silly as a caped, fanged spermatozoa wriggling around on a microscope slide.
An answering bark of laughter from downstairs made clear that Edward felt the same. He heard the front door slam, and knew Edward, Emmett, Jasper, and Alice had left for their planned hunting trip.
Then Rosalie was at his office door, banging on it, demanding to know what Edward had thought was so funny. With another sigh - this one inward so Rose couldn't hear it - Carlisle admitted his tall, blond daughter.
She spared him no more than a glance, instead marching over to the microscope and peering through one lens instead of taking the time to adjust both. Her head snapped up a moment later, a triumphant gleam in her gleaming gold eyes.
"I knew it!" she said, leaning back against the desk and crossing her arms over her chest. "I fucking knew it!"
"Now, Rose, just a moment," Carlisle said, sinking down into his desk chair. "Just because - "
"This is huge, Carlisle, and don't you dare tell me it's not!" she snapped, pinning him with her icy stare. He suppressed a shudder. Though he'd seen Rose's fierce, terrifying looks plenty of times over the decades, they still managed to fill him with trepidation. He knew perfectly well what his daughter was capable of. The fact that she had never actually harmed a family member was not particularly comforting when she levered one of her worst glares at him.
"I don't dispute that," he said quietly, trying to diffuse some of the tension in the room.
Esme appeared in the doorway, gliding silently into the office. She put a hand gently on Rosalie's shoulder, offering comfort as she so often did. The mood in the room calmed abruptly, almost as if Jasper had spread a blanket of good feeling around. Carlisle could feel that he hadn't; the peace was all Esme. He felt an echoing rush of affection for his wife, who was so good at diffusing tense situations and knowing just what the members of her family needed at any given time.
"Rose, honey," Esme said quietly, "I'm just as interested as you are to hear the results of this test. Let's wait and see what he says, all right?"
Rosalie did not answer with words, but her tense body relaxed slightly and she didn't offer resistance to Esme. She turned her eyes back to Carlisle, and he noted that they were considerably less harsh this time.
"I know how much these tests mean to you," Carlisle said, returning Rosalie's gaze. "Believe me, I know. But there are so many more tests to do; this one confirmation of your theory doesn't really mean much on its own."
"That's two confirmations now," Rose countered. "Female vampires do produce vaginal lubrication that is not made up of venom - we figured that one out first. Now you know that male vampires produce motile sperm."
"But motile isn't necessarily the same thing as viable, please understand that. And male viability makes absolutely no difference if females don't produce fertile ova. Female vampires do not menstruate. Therefore, they do not ovulate."
"Says who?" Rosalie demanded. "Menstruation is merely the body's way of shedding the endometrium if conception does not take place. Who says the lack of a menstrual period must mean the lack of ovulation?" She scowled. "We had ova before we were changed, Carlisle. What do you think happened to them, huh? They didn't just disappear."
"I very much doubt that they did," Carlisle said, trying to remain calm and clinical. Why had he encouraged Rosalie to major in pre-med biology on one of her many trips through college? At the moment, he couldn't remember. She was throwing his profession back in his face. There were so many mysteries about the vampire body and what changed and did not change during and after transformation. He was the only vampire doctor that he knew of in the entire world, so it wasn't like there were many people searching for answers, either. "I assume they become sterile - or non-viable, if you prefer - after the transformation," he continued. "It seems the most likely explanation for the fact that there has never been a pregnant vampire."
"But you don't know," Rosalie insisted, and Carlisle had to agree with her there. She was right: he didn't know. Nobody knew for sure. And she was so dead-set on having the answers - having the answers for sure - that he had humored her and embarked on this scientific expedition. Now he was almost regretting it. Not because she had been right on her first two guesses and he had been wrong. No, that didn't bother him at all. He was a scientist at heart, and scientists enjoyed being proved wrong almost as much as they enjoyed being proved right. Having proof at all was the important thing. No, what bothered him was that eventually Rose would be proved wrong. He didn't know what she would do when that inevitable day happened, and he was afraid to imagine it. Poor Rosalie wanted so badly for there to be a cure, a key, a loophole - something that would allow her to have the child she craved. But Carlisle knew it was impossible. He didn't need to know the results of each little test to understand what the end result would be.
"All right," he said softly, caving to the inevitable. "You're correct. I don't know for sure that vampire ova are non-viable."
Rosalie looked at least somewhat mollified. "Plenty of creatures don't menstruate. In some, the uterine lining gets reabsorbed instead of shed. Why couldn't that happen with vampires? Why do you think that just because our bodies don't react exactly as a human's does, they don't react at all?"
"Point," Carlisle said gently. "But, Rose, what exactly do you expect us to do now? We can't exactly cut one of you open to look for viable ova."
She wrinkled her elegant nose, looking down at him irritably. "When was the last time you took a course in gynecology, Doctor?" she asked, stressing his title sarcastically. "You don't have to slice up one of us; a flexible endoscope to at least look inside would do the job quite nicely."
"Don't act so snide," Carlisle said, trying to keep his irritation at bay. Rosalie didn't mean to be cruel; she was just Rosalie and nothing would change her. Her direct, untactful speech was part of who she was. "I'm fully aware of the benefits of endoscopy. However, even the smallest endoscopes can't access the ovaries vaginally. You have to make an incision - typically at the navel - and go from there. How, then, do you propose to do this?" He waited, looking quietly at his daughter. It was an honest question, not a mean one. If Rosalie had an idea, he wanted to hear it.
She scowled. "There has to be a way," she insisted.
"Why?" Carlisle asked gently. "Why does there have to be a way? Because you want there to be?" He smiled softly. "Many humans have begged and prayed over the centuries for cures for this or that malaise - leprosy, plague, and now cancer and AIDS. If there doesn't 'have to be' a cure for the current scourge, why does there 'have to be' a way to do this? Think on that, child."
"I'm not a child," Rose snapped, though her voice did not hold the rancor Carlisle expected. She was thoughtful instead, and he knew her mind was far away at the moment, trying to puzzle out an answer to this riddle.
Carlisle turned, unsurprised that he had not heard footsteps. Even to vampire ears, the grace of their steps could be silent when they chose. He saw his newest child waiting in the doorway, not barging into the room as her siblings would do.
Even after several years as a vampire and full member of the family, Bella was still so hesitant. It made Carlisle chuckle when he thought about how different she was compared with her husband and their siblings. She no longer tripped over thin air as she had when she was a clumsy little human teenager, but she still held herself as if prepared to do so at any moment. It would take time for the habits of her human life to fade.
He smiled in welcome and beckoned that she was allowed to enter, which she did haltingly. Carlisle smiled inwardly. She was quite a fetching creature, this Bella. Though he could not feel Edward's love as Jasper could, he thought he understood what drew his son to this girl. She was delicate and quiet, a perfect match for Edward's old-fashioned sensibilities. Yet at the same time, she had a firmness to her, a quiet kind of certainty, that no girl in Edward's time would have had. She was her own person just as much as her sisters were, and she could hold her own in this family with little problem.
Now she stepped slowly across the threshold, her lower lip caught in her upper teeth in the gesture that meant she was nervous about something. Her cheeks would never blush rose-red again, but Carlisle could still tell when his youngest child felt embarrassed. "I don't want to intrude," she said quietly, "but I had a thought."
"You're never intruding in this house, Bella," Esme said warmly. Carlisle had lost track of how many times his wife had said similar things to this girl, but he guessed it didn't really matter. Eventually she would grow more comfortable around them. Some people just needed more time than others. Alice, now - Alice had been the exact opposite of Bella. She'd been settled in her room and had rustled out her place in the family in less than a day, as if she'd been part of the family all along.
Bella bit her lip a little harder, and Carlisle felt very glad that she was no longer human. That habit, which Edward found so endearing, was a dangerous one for a human among vampires. "I just...well, nothing but vampire teeth and werewolf claws can harm a vampire, right?"
"That is correct," Carlisle confirmed.
Bella inched a little closer to the desk. "Well, what's to stop you from making an incision with your teeth, then?"
Rosalie cocked her head to the side, obviously thinking over the proposal.
"I mean," Bella went on with a little shift of her weight that told Carlisle she'd be blushing even redder were she still human, "if surgical tools won't work, get creative, right?"
Carlisle considered the idea for less than a second before rejecting it. "It's a nice thought," he said gently, not wanting to hurt Bella's feelings, "but listen here: we are not impervious to pain, though it certainly takes more to hurt us than it does to hurt a human or animal. When performing endoscopy on a human, I would give the patient either local or general anesthesia. Medicine like that won't work on a vampire. To make an incision with teeth and then insert an endoscope under the skin would likely cause intense pain. I've taken the Hippocratic Oath, and my job is to relieve pain and suffering, not cause it. I can't justify inflicting that sort of pain on anyone, let alone a member of my family. Especially since there's no guarantee it would solve anything. I've honestly never really looked at the inside of a vampire's body before. It's very possible the endoscope would just break."
Instead of looking chastened, Bella seemed intrigued. "You've never seen the inside of a vampire's body?" she asked. "What's in there, exactly? I never even thought to ask."
Carlisle opened his mouth to answer and then quickly closed it again. "You know," he said finally, turning the question over in his head, "I'm not...quite sure. I've seen vampires torn apart in front of my eyes before, but I never really...looked, if you take my meaning." He frowned. Bella's question was an excellent one, and it dredged up many other questions in his mind. Why hadn't he ever tried to look? He'd seen the Volturi impose punishments before, and then of course there was James, just a few years ago, ripped apart by his children as he tried desperately to stop Bella from bleeding. "I was told by the Volturi that our outward appearance in sunshine is a manifestation of what we are inside - literally frozen. Like crystal, like ice that will never melt. My memory dredges up glimpses here and there. We are...pale. Though current research in cell biology suggests that's only natural. Did you know that - "
Rosalie held up a hand, cutting him off before he digressed into a rant about some of the fascinating topics on the cutting edge of science***. "Cool it, Mr. Wizard," she said, and though the words were irritable, he heard the faint edge of humor as well.
"I'm actually kind of interested," Bella said quietly. "About what's inside us, I mean." She ran a pale hand across her belly, as if by touch alone she could answer this riddle. "I know you said it would hurt, but it wouldn't be for long, right? I mean, you could use your vampire speed and make it as quick as possible, couldn't you? And we heal so fast the pain couldn't possibly last more than a few minutes, don't you think?"
Rose's eyes gleamed.
"I don't think you understand the kind of pain we're talking about here, Bella," Carlisle said, a little alarmed at both his daughters' lack of understanding. "We're talking about tearing someone open and inserting a camera on a long tube into the reproductive system. Without any sort of pain medication. This is serious, honey."
"I know," Bella said quietly. "But Rosalie wants answers so much." She bit her lip again and looked carefully up at her older sister, who now gave Bella her full attention.
The two had formed an uneasy truce just before the wedding, as Rosalie understood that she wasn't going to change Bella's mind and she had to either get used to her new family member or leave. She chose to stay, but things between her and Bella were never easy. Partially it was because of Rose's insistence that Bella could never want this sort of existence. Partially it was because the two women had such different personalities. Rose's icy, stony exterior still scared Bella, and Bella's shy sweetness irritated Rosalie.
But now it looked like Bella was holding out a proverbial hand to Rose, an offering of peace and alliance in this endeavor. For the first time, Carlisle fervently wished Rose would continue her pattern of rejecting Bella's hesitant advances. The two of them united would not be a good idea in this case. He knew he would never be able to stand up to the combined forces of Rose's ferocity and Bella's big, pleading eyes. He was just glad Esme had decided not to take sides in this whole debate. If she sided against him, he truly would be lost.
"She's right," Rose said, and the words only had a hint of grudging slowness. "It will hurt, but it'll only be for a few minutes. And I fucking want some answers, damn it!"
Carlisle sighed expansively and pinched the bridge of his nose again.
"That's settled," Rose continued firmly. "How long will it take you to gather the necessary equipment?"
"I don't - " Carlisle started, but she cut him off.
"Don't fight me on this," she said. "I want to be on that examining table, you ready to operate, as soon as possible."
"Um, Rosalie?" Bella's voice was soft and reluctant. Carlisle knew the feeling. He didn't want to interrupt her when she got like this either. "I don't think that's possible."
Rose turned venomous eyes to her younger sister, suspicion written plainly in them. "Just what," she said, "is that supposed to mean?" Carlisle could read her expression with no trouble at all. She was rescinding the tentative alliance they had made mere moments earlier.
"Well," Bella said, swallowing nervously, "I don't know as much as the rest of you about being a vampire, so correct me if I'm wrong. But we're super strong, right?"
"Right," Rose said flatly, impatience clear in both her voice and posture.
"Well, if you were the one Carlisle operated on, and it hurts as much as he says it will, you'd probably be moving and struggling a lot, right? And if we're so strong, normal restraints on a gurney or medical table won't hold you, right?"
"So we need the boys to come and hold - oh." Rose stopped abruptly and the annoyance bled from her face. She didn't apologize for how she'd spoken earlier, but the fact that she acknowledged what Bella was trying to say spoke volumes.
"That's right," Bella said softly. "The boys will have to hold the test subject down."
Rose blew an irritated breath, but this time the annoyance was directed at herself - at her past - rather than at her sister. "I get it," she said stonily. "Because of what happened with Royce and his friends, being held down really isn't an option for me."
"And Emmett would refuse," Bella added. "There's no way he'd do that to you, and he's the strongest of us all. We need him if this is going to happen."
Rose looked up, locking eyes with her sister. "Then what do you suggest?"
Bella took a deep, unneeded breath. "I'll do it."
Edward fought, of course. When the rest of the family returned from their hunting trip, he fought madly and threw the biggest tantrums Carlisle had ever seen from him. But Bella was implacable, and she refused to be cowed or dissuaded from her decision. She said she wanted to do this, for Rosalie and for herself.
Edward tried to forbid it, but Bella only laughed. "The sexual revolution was decades ago, love," she told him gently but firmly. "You don't get to tell me what to do. If you wanted a nice little obedient doormat, you should have married someone from your own time."
Edward's reply was to storm out of the house and then sulk for two straight days.
In the end the team of Rosalie-plus-Bella won, as Carlisle knew it eventually would. He agreed to perform the endoscopy on Bella and retrieve an ovum if at all possible, and Jasper and Emmett reluctantly agreed to assist. The Cullen women - besides Bella - would have their hands full restraining Edward, who was patently not allowed in Carlisle's office while the procedure took place. Carlisle had suggested flying Edward far, far away - maybe to visit their cousins in Alaska - but Edward had flatly refused. He wanted to be nearby when it was over, wanted to be able to hold his wife in his arms and assure himself that she was all right. Carlisle understood, but he didn't like the fact that he had to divvy up the family members to restrain two individuals. He'd much rather have ample restraint on Bella and not have to worry about Edward at all.
But he had no illusions about what would happen if the girls weren't holding his son down during the procedure. At the first sound of Bella in pain Edward would become a raving animal, doing everything in his power to reach her. Carlisle knew that couldn't possibly end well, so he had to hope the three women holding Edward would be enough to keep him away.
The state-of-the-art endoscope arrived a week after he'd purchased it. It was the smallest, most flexible one he could find, and it had cost a pretty penny. He planned to donate it to the hospital when he was done, if the equipment wasn't destroyed. Forks Hospital had an endoscope already, but it wasn't as nice as this one. Carlisle wanted nothing but the best equipment if he was going to perform a painful procedure on a member of his family.
He still didn't think this was a good idea - didn't think the benefit outweighed the risks. There was no risk of permanent damage to Bella, thankfully; if there had been, he would have put his foot down and flatly refused. But this would undoubtedly cause intense pain, and he hated the thought of that. Hated even more that it would be him inflicting that pain on his youngest daughter.
But she and Rosalie had really given him no choice. Rosalie was adamant that as much research be done as possible into why vampires didn't seem able to reproduce sexually. Bella seemed more curious about the general makeup of her insides, which Carlisle wholeheartedly understood. He also suspected she had volunteered in part to win points with her tall blond sister, but he did not voice this suspicion out loud. Bella's choice was her own, and Jasper agreed that while she was nervous, she was telling the truth when she said she was willing to play the guinea pig in this endeavor.
Finally the day of truth arrived and there was no more stalling that Carlisle could do. He had a gleaming metal examination table bolted to the floor of his office - in truth it was a mortuary table, which Bella found darkly humorous, but he'd felt the firm metal would hold up better than a padded exam table under the strain of four vampires. The equipment was set up, Edward was in the basement, and Jasper and Emmett loitered nervously in the corner of the office.
Rosalie and Bella walked calmly into the room, and while they both looked a little anxious they didn't seem fearful. Bella wore pajamas - some soft, low-riding sleep shorts and a stretchy camisole. It was a good outfit. Carlisle had access to the skin he needed, and there was nothing to get in Jasper or Emmett's way. Her hair was pulled back in a French braid, a hairstyle that was too severe for her delicate face, but it kept the long strands very well contained.
"Remember, we want video," Rose said, talking to Carlisle but touching Bella's shoulder gently. Carlisle didn't answer. He'd already set the machine to record the images, and Rosalie knew that perfectly well. Her nerves were talking, and Carlisle understood that. She wasn't a selfish creature, and she was feeling a little guilty that Bella was going under the proverbial knife at least in part for Rose's benefit.
"It'll be fine," Bella said, giving her older sister a small smile before pulling herself up onto the table. "It'll all be over in a few minutes. Do me a favor and keep my husband from interfering, huh?"
"You bet," Rose said, a devious gleam in her eye. She was going to enjoy restraining Edward. Carlisle knew that perfectly well. But Rose's soft touch on Bella's shoulder had not gone unnoticed. It was the first time she'd done so, to his knowledge. If nothing else, progress was being made between the two of them.
Rose left quickly, and Bella lay down on the cold metal table without a qualm as Carlisle listened to steps descend to the basement.
"We're ready down here," Rosalie called when all the girls were assembled with Edward. The basement had been deemed the safest place to keep him - there was nothing down there to damage. All their stored boxes had been moved to the attic for the moment, and the basement was nothing but a dark underground room with a cement floor and cement walls that could be easily patched if Edward managed to crack them.
"Ready, Bella?" Carlisle asked, hesitating. He was in scrubs because he felt most comfortable operating this way, though certainly there would be no bloody mess as there was in a normal operating room. He resisted the urge to wash his hands again and pull on gloves; Bella couldn't contract any illnesses, but he felt remiss nonetheless.
"I'm more ready than you are," she said, smiling gently at her father figure. If Chief Swan knew what Carlisle planned to do to his daughter in just a moment, he'd go ballistic. Carlisle grimaced internally, thinking about Bella's biological father. He was a good man, and had accepted the changes in his daughter stoically. He hadn't wanted explanations or details. He'd just asked that they not take her away from him, and Carlisle agreed. Charlie was no danger to their secret; he could stay in Bella's life for as long as his human life lasted.
Bella's gentle voice roused him from his musings, and he smiled sadly at her. "You're very right, honey," he said. "I really don't want to do this."
"I know," she said softly. "Thank you. I appreciate your willingness, despite your objections."
Carlisle sighed and nodded for his sons to step closer to the table. "Who am I to stand in the way of science?"
***Want to know what Carlisle was going to talk about? Watch Nova Science Now: Can We Live Forever? It's available on Netflix Instant, and sometimes online at PBS. Fuck me, some of the things they talked about on that episode are so amazing that they quite literally blew my mind! Also creepy. Very creepy. For those of you who are like, "Oh, Nova, that's boring!" give Nova Science Now a chance. It's a great new(ish) series with astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson as host, and it's both accessible and very interesting.