A/N: The history is canon, including the mature themes of the book. The story is not. I have basic science knowledge but I'm sure there are numerous errors. If genetic manipulation is a topic of discomfort for you, best to read a different story. That said, read it twice and it will make more sense. I don't own Twilight but like to have fun in the world created by Stephenie Meyer, and offer my thanks for allowing this creative outlet.
"Rosalie", Ness asks, "can we talk?".
"Of course, Ness" I answer, waiting.
"Not here", Ness, takes one look at her father, and it seemed like she was blocking him with one of Alice's tricks.
We run into the woods. I was intrigued about what Ness would want to talk with me about but I didn't rush her, she was faster than a human but still painfully slow by vampire standard.
She sat on a fallen log about 10 miles from the house and patted at the spot beside her hoping I would sit. Just to hurry things along, I did.
"Rose, you know about my studies over the last couple of years."
"Of course, are you any closer to knowing if you and Jacob can have a child?"
A little, but that's not why I wanted to talk with you. I think there's a small…very small chance that…but you might not want…its kind of awful… I don't know. How do I explain?" Ness mumbled incoherent half-sentences to me.
"Ness. I don't understand. Would it help to go back to Edward – he can verbalize what you're thinking. Though not always nicely, I have to admit"
"No Rose! He wouldn't. He probably knows though, I've been considering this for a few months but I didn't know if you'd want to hear it, I don't know if I can help either…there are so many obstacles…if you consider…if it's possible…if you don't think it's horrible…"
"Spill Ness!" I was more curious than mad but this whole process was torture.
OK. I think I need to start with basics – genetics 101 and fertility".
"Come on Ness! I've had the birds and the bees talk long ago…it doesn't apply to me anyway" I said miserably.
"I have tested that theory, and you're right. I'm sorry, Rose. Vampires cannot conceive together – even with a new human ova and female/male vampire DNA inserted. This was my first plan for you and Emmett. My second was a female vampire and human male; even with a new ova this didn't work either."
I was touched. Not only was Ness trying to figure out things for Jacob and herself, she was trying to help me. But the question remained. Who volunteered for Ness's study. Did I want to ask?
She answered my unasked question, "Alice and Jasper. I couldn't ask my parents for obvious reasons and grandparents are hardly a better choice. I'm sure Emmett would have offered but I couldn't ask you yet – I didn't want to get your hopes up, Rose. I was hopeful, and Alice and Jasper were at least game to try. Alice couldn't see if anything would happen or not so I had to at least attempt it. And just to put your mind at ease – I'm not working on this at school. Alice bought me the microscopes, centrifuge and cryogenic vault. And we bought a few frozen human eggs and sperm through Carlisle's connections."
"OK Ness. You were babbling earlier and it wasn't to tell me you tried and failed – what's your other plan?" I waited. And waited.
"OK, Rosalie. I don't know how to start. You can do nothing with this information, or think about it. If you consider it, Emmett will need to know, but it's your decision. I have tried to imagine how you will react but I have no idea. It might be different if…if it could be Emmett's but I can't make that happen"
I had a small glimmer of hope and I dared whisper, "But mine?"
" Rose if I could go further without involving you I would because I don't want to disappoint you. But I can't even test my theory without you.. please don't get your hopes up, Rosalie – It's a theory from an undergrad. Very rudimentary. And it will be a few years …if you want to try… that we could even begin. You need to know it may not be possible. It may not have happened. If it did, there's only one attempt. If it did, you may feel because of the circumstances you wouldn't want to do this. And if we try there's usually only a 10% chance of success with human situations…this one probably less. And to top it all off I still don't know if the potential surrogate is able to do this either. All told, likely less than a .1% chance this will work. But Rose you have been like a second mom to me my whole life and if there's a chance...even the teeniest possibility you could have a child I'd like to give you the choice."
Even with Ness's caution, warning and general pessimism, I couldn't help but imagine a baby in my arms. But I tried to reign myself in. All I could ask was "How?"
"Back to genetics 101, Rose. Humans conceive through intercourse, usually" Ness started as if in a lecture theatre.
I had to laugh. But she silenced me, I think we were at turning point in the conversation so I tried to concentrate.
"And a zygote results containing 23 pairs of chromosomes", she continued
I nodded like a kid in class waiting for the point. I obviously wasn't going to be able to rush her.
"At this stage usually, in the lab, they wait a few days and then freeze the embryos for implantation at a later date, but sometimes zygotes are frozen before they reach this stage"
Ness took a deep breath. She was building "This is the tough part, Rose. Before you became a vampire – this might have happened...to you. With you and one of them, Royce or John…" she trailed off and looked at me with such sorrow.
I had the flashback again, horrible, degrading, serially violated and left for dead for hours. I couldn't look at Ness. I understood the courage behind her hesitation and the work up to this moment in slow motion. If it had happened …she meant if my egg met one of the million sperm of any of the monsters in that moment of horror, terror, there could be a zygote in me still. She was asking if the science permitted, if this child could really be born… would I, could I overcome this to love my child, my own flesh and blood. Could I raise a child of mine and that of a real monster? I remembered vaguely something I'd told Bella when I'd killed the bastards: 'I didn't want any part of them in me..' Did that include this? What if after 90 years I could…be a mom. I was in shock.
Ness brought me out of the blackness "I'm sorry, Rose. If there was another way….Do you want me to go get Emmett?"
I'd been holding my breath for the last five minutes. "Not yet, Ness. I need time. How can we know if it even happened?" I didn't know what to do. But I needed more details.
"That's one of the other problems. We… well not me… someone venomous…would need to …help." Ness explained delicately.
"You basically mean rip me open and find one tiny little cell."
"Well, it's a big cell, actually, easily seen by the human eye. For a vampire it should be easy. And it shouldn't be too damaging, Rose. And you'll be back to normal in no time. I'm not saying it wouldn't hurt… or bring back memories." Ness stated softly. She was giving it to me straight.
"So then, if I do this, if it's there, we hire a surrogate" I finished.
"No. There will be too much vampire material around the egg. It will need a special surrogate, if said potential surrogate can – say in a few years – carry a vampire-human-wolf embryo to term. A human zygote with a little vampire bit to break down should be a piece of cake" Ness winked.
"No Ness! I can't ask you to.."
"You're not asking. I'm volunteering. Jake doesn't know details but he has been helping. Like I said, we've been wondering if I can carry a fetus at all. We did find out we can make … zygotes and embryos. They're frozen in the cryovault", Ness was beaming like a new mom.
"That must have been a fun afternoon in the lab", I said. Oh crap, I thought, Emmett is rubbing off on me.
"Not so much, Rose. Carlisle had to extract the eggs and Jake went into the washroom alone– not exactly romantic."
I made a face. Ness froze her zygotes in the name of science. It looked like Ness was willing to experiment with her body for me. I didn't like it but she seemed determined to follow through – If I was.
"So Rose, you don't need to decide now. A few years, I'll be done school, get a job. Jake and I will get married. Then maybe we'll be ready for a family. If I can carry ours, there's more of a chance – if you want it- that I can do it for you if you decide – really decide - you want to try. I know this is already too much to consider. But there's still more – if there is a baby, it will be fully human, we promised after mom – no more vampires. You would have to understand you would outlive your child. I know you all considered this for me, but it isn't the case. I have the same problem Rose, Jake and I know it's very likely our children will be mortal but it's a price we're willing to pay." Ness started to tear up and didn't hide it. "Sometimes, love is what matters for as much time as you have."
If I could form tears I would have followed suit. So much emotion, so much hope, yet anger; joy, yet fear built up on a cell no larger than a period at the end of a sentence. Could I do this, love what would be my baby despite the circumstances surrounding his or her beginning? It was a lot to think about. Could Emmett?
I looked at Ness and wiped her tears. "Thank-you, Nessie, for having hope and for not giving up. I hope your actual thesis isn't this difficult."
"Nope. Jake and I are going to Brazil this summer. I'm going to study the mating behavior and genetic diversity of vampire bats" she winked "It might help this current problem as well".
I couldn't contain my laughter, all tension eased. Despite our serious conversation we were caught in a fit of giggles.
"Come on Ness, let's get home. I need to talk to Emmett. And you might want Jake to not spend any more time in the bat-room alone" I hinted, Emmett style. Ness hit me which I couldn't say I didn't deserve. There would be time in the coming months and years I'd need to get serious about this again and make a decision, one that melded my old life with my new existence, or let it disappear. This time it was my choice.