Um, I have no idea.

I don't own Twilight.

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A Lifelong Guilt

--

He watched the foggy sun rise over the horizons, clouds barring the passage of its rays to the ground below. The trees and plants were mourning the loss of sunlight, but Carlisle was thankful for the absence—he got to go to work.

"You've been sitting there all night, Carlisle."

He looked up, his tawny eyes coming to rest on those of his wife. She was beaming, a teasing glint in her golden orbs. Carlisle would never adjust to just how amazing she was—in every aspect of her being. How lovely, how intelligent, how perfect that she was. He didn't think he could have saved a better person than Esme.

"I was just thinking." He murmured. A shadow seemed to pass over Esme's flawless face, her lips turning down ever so slightly at the corners. Those eyes he loved grew a little bit darker, and it seemed that maybe, in those few moments, she'd never smile again—because she knew what he was thinking about. The same thing every one else was thinking about.

"I see."

"Esme," he whispered, coming to stand in front of her. He brushed a piece of hair from her face, caressing the soft, alabaster flesh of her cheek. The caramel haired beauty shook her head, ridding her mind of tragic thoughts, and memories still fresh. Just like that, the dark look passed, and she was smiling up at him.

"I just wanted to wish you a good day at work."

He nodded, laying a chaste kiss to her forehead, and letting a smile grace his handsome visage, "Thank you, love."

She laughed lightly, placing her arms around his back and hugging his taller frame to her shorter one, "When will you be home?"

He tossed his shoulders carelessly, "Late, I'm sure."

She buried herself deeper into his chest as he rested his chin on top of her long mane of toffee colored hair. Her eyes closed, and for once in the never-ending months they had been there—they were content at being just them, just happy. With all the faults in their lives, with all the loss they had suffered just recently, they were still able to find happiness in the darkest of times.

"I'm going to look around today, I think." She murmured, moments later, her voice muffled a little by the fabric of his shirt.

"Enjoy yourself," he told her, pulling back from their embrace, "be careful."

She rolled her eyes, "I believe I can manage."

He smiled, leaning down to capture her lips in a sweet kiss.

"If you were really my parents," Emmett's voice made them pull apart to see their smirking surrogate son leaning on the banister outside the door, "that would be so wrong."

Carlisle chuckled, "don't you think it acceptable for older couples to show their affection?"

"What," Emmett wrinkled his nose in distaste as he joined Carlisle in walking down the stairs, "like old people," here he shuddered, "kissing and stuff?"

Carlisle smirked, "Technically, Emmett, you're old."

The giant vampire pursed his lips, "That's different."

"You'll never lose the desire to kiss your wife Emmett. It's the same with pairs of a more… significant age."

He huffed, calling to Rosalie, "Come on," he urged her, "Carlisle just outsmarted me… again, and I want to make my quick escape."

Carlisle laughed as he grabbed his bag and keys, "I'll see you all tonight."

Esme waved to him from the second story landing, "Bye."

--

Another ambulance pulled up to the hospital, and Carlisle rubbed his eyes from exhaustion. True, he couldn't really get tired, couldn't feel fatigue, but seeing lives so effortlessly taken away drained the centuries old doctor. His topaz gaze landed on a woman in a stretcher, a brace around her neck, her hand wrapped tightly around a rosary.

Her lips were moving slightly, as she prayed to whatever god would listen to her pleas. Carlisle could imagine her words, having heard the last wishes of so many in his lifetime. The bloody fingers rubbed the beads of her charm as she was wheeled into a room, the handsome doctor following her in.

"What happened?" he asked an EMT, his fierce, passionate eyes boring into the man's frantic ones.

The young volunteer swallowed as he looked over at the woman, his green eyes darting across her bloodied face, "She was crossing the street…" he mumbled, "just walking across the street when she was hit by a car. She went through the glass."

Charlotte, Carlisle read from the chart in his hands, 49. He walked over to her bedside as other doctors extracted pieces of glass from her flesh, his gaze landing once more on her rosary. Somehow, this tiny article of faith broke his resolve just slightly, put a hitch in his belief of not getting involved emotionally. He didn't think his sanity could cope with all the death he was witness to if he did take the chance to feel.

"Charlotte?" he said loudly, making the woman's eyes snap open. Her cloudy green orbs blinked into coherence, landing on his face. Her monitor jolted when the doctor placed his hand on her arm, trying to get her to answer the questions that he himself wasn't sure he had heard.

"Charlotte, do you remember what happened?" he said again, his voice raising a little as her monitor began to get slower and slower. She gave a watery smile through her fresh tears, her lips trembling as her machine finally flat-lined. The doctor that was working beside Carlisle swore, trying to barricade the large gash he had just uncovered by removing a nine inch piece of fiber glass from beneath her breast bone. He plugged it hopelessly with gauze, while shouting to the nurses to get him something—anything—to stop the bleeding.

The blond doctor moved out of the way as the RN tried to revive the middle-aged Charlotte, watching in desperation as the line continued to run across her monitor. His reality slipped away, and all he could focus on was that he had lost another person, another life he could have saved.

"I'm sorry," he whispered to himself, turning from the room as they announced the time of death.

It wasn't until later that night, or next morning you could say, however, that Carlisle really felt the pressure of playing god.

--

Stripping the gloves from his hands, and throwing them in the wastebasket, Carlisle moved to the door of his office, flicking the lights off as he went. Charlotte's name still flicked around his mind, wondering why today of all days, the guilt had finally started to get to him. Was it a sign? He wondered with bitter amusement, was this supposed to show him that no one is meant to live forever?

As he walked towards the nurses station, every intention of signing out, and calling in sick tomorrow, the noise of an ambulance siren stopped him; for it wasn't a singular siren—it was four. The other people in the hospital hadn't heard it yet, so he waited, knowing they were already understaffed, believing they really would need his help.

Fetching a pair of gloves from behind the desk of the nurses station, he fixed his stare to the sliding doors as the sirens finally reached the ears of the humans.

"This can't be good," Betty, one of the senior nurses murmured to her trainee, a small, fragile blond named Alette. Carlisle watched as they positioned themselves towards the side as the stretchers, carrying severely mangled bodies filtered through the doors. His eyes widened at the contents of the mobile beds—kids, no older than his so called sons and daughters. He walked along with the EMT's, easily keeping pace as he pulled his stethoscope from around his neck—just for show.

"What happened?" he asked the young man next him who was nearly in tears as they rolled one of the patients into a room.

"These kids were at a party the police were called to break up," he said hysterically, "Drove straight into a brick wall. All intoxicated."

"Is this all of them?"

The young man locked his gaze with that of Doctor Cullen, "All that survived."

--

This was the choice he had come down to, the choice he faced at least once a month. When there's nothing else, do you give someone a gift that is at the same time, an endless torment? Do you let them live forever, instead of watching them die?

The young woman who lay on the bed before him wouldn't make it through the night. She could barely breathe as it was, could barely open her bleary, cobalt blue eyes. The seemingly young Doctor watched as she took another shaky breath, a wheezing sound coming from her inflamed throat.

Her bloody blond hair was matted to her forehead and scalp, her thin lips split open where the glass had hit her. One eye was bruised badly, while the other was almost clear of cuts. The crimson liquid she had lost so much of was still seeping from the several gashes along her body, Carlisle could smell it.

From her chart, it said she was in the front passenger seat, and was impacted severely from the condition. What do I do? He wondered, clenching and unclenching his fists.

A movement in the corner of his eye made his stare shoot down to the young woman's hand—a hand that was extended to him. He stopped breathing, trying to think if any family of hers had come, if he should fetch one of them to hold her open palm. Vaguely, his memory told him there was no one but him and her.

Once again beginning his breathing, Carlisle grasped her weak hand, noticing that her eyes were trained on him from under heavy lids. Those crystal blue orbs were watching him, and he could see clearly now the tears falling onto her scarred cheeks.

He wanted to say he was sorry, he wanted to ask her if she'd like to live, but in that moment, he couldn't bring himself to speak at all. She however, broke the silence.

Her voice was hoarse, dry blood still collected in the back of her throat, "I'm going to die, right?"

Carlisle looked down at her, his eyes full of pity, taking a small step nearer to her bedside.

"No, there's--."

"Please don't lie," she croaked, "please."

He broke eye contact, only returning when she gently squeezed his hand, "there's nothing else we can do."

She blinked once, showing him that she understood. Her lip began to tremble, and Carlisle placed his other hand on top of hers, feeling the warmth slowly leave it. This seventeen year old woman, a life so long yet to live, was going to die—and he was going to watch.

"Thank you." Her voice was barely detectable, but he heard it, and opened his mouth to speak. No words came to him, however, for at that moment, her monitor gave the familiar sound of death.

Seventeen years old, his subconscious whispered, and you let her die.

--

At three o'clock in the morning, a black Mercedes pulled up in front of the new residence the Cullens had taken up. Esme sat on the porch, her face unreadable as Carlisle emerged from the car. So broken, and so hurt, she stumbled towards him, letting out a dry sob as she clutched his body to hers.

"What is it?" he asked quickly, his arms wrapping around her tiny waist.

"It's Bella…" Esme choked, her voice becoming bitter, "… she's committed suicide."

Carlisle's arms fell from his wife's form, as she cried immaculately into his shoulder. Another one, he berated himself, another one you could have saved.

--

What do you think?