Hello! Alright, this is my favorite out of the many oneshot ideas I had in the last week, and I've really been looking forward to writing it. This will be Carlisle/Esme, from Esme's POV (and maybe Carlisle's at the end….I haven't decided yet.). It's set from the final battle and on past that some. I just love them as a couple, and we don't see that except in snatches, which leaves us fanfic writers to fill in the gaps…
Nope, I don't own them. But I want Carlisle as my doctor, dammit. Argh.
UPDATE: Edited, typos and such fixed.
I had never thought that it would end like this. To be honest, I had stopped thinking it would end at all. Foolish. I should have cherished every moment we had as if it was our last. Take nothing for granted. Being immortal didn't make us invincible, and that was something I had never truly considered. Not until the moment I had watched my husband cross to the center of the field, head high, greeting our enemy like a friend. I had never been so terrified and so numb in the same instant. There would be very little pain, I reasoned. If he died, so would I. I wasn't a warrior. It would be over quickly. I would charge his killer, and they would take me out before I could even feel it. Or, I might feel it, and that would be lucky indeed. Anything to distract from the searing pain I knew would come as my heart, no, my very soul was torn from my body. Carlisle was everything. Everything.
That terror had dulled as time had worn on, but a different kind took its place now. It wasn't just him I could lose. We were all going to die, all of us. Well. Jacob and Nessie would make it, if we were lucky. At least my beautiful granddaughter would survive, her and the one who loved her more than all of us put together, no matter how hard we tried. At least there was that consolation, and it did mean something. But all the same, I never thought it would end like this.
"Is there no hope then?" I had never heard him more defeated, more resigned. It tore at my heart, especially when I knew that he already knew the answer. As did I.
"There is absolutely hope. I only know my own fate." Hers, my daughters. And my son's, for he would not live without her, that much we all knew. I saw him take her hand, saw his eyes tighten. He was ready. He was not afraid. My Edward. The urge to take them in my arms was overwhelmed, though, by an even stronger pull. As strong as gravity. I hadn't even realized how close I was to sobbing until I heard my own breath, rough and unsteady. There was only one thing that would ease the pain. I touched them all as I passed, a reflex, my hands curving to the shapes of cheeks I knew well enough to not even glance at. Emmett. Rose. Bella. Edward. I didn't dwell on the two that were missing, my heart would only break again. And then I was close to the source that had drawn me, and I could feel the pain begin to numb already. His hand was held out to me, strong and steady, waiting, and I took it readily, clinging to him like the drug he was. His warm, smooth fingers intertwined with mine and it didn't hurt anymore. There was nothing else in all the world in that instant but the feel of my hand in his. Familiar. Home. Carlisle, my Carlisle.
Dimly, from the corner of my eye, I saw Emmett take Rosalie into his arms. Edward and Bella had no words, no passionate embrace. There was no difference, to my eyes, in the depth of their love. Only differences in how it was expressed. They had no need for words, or even actions. Only silence. For my part, the words hung at the back of my throat, caught. Carlisle, I love you. I've always loved you.
But it was nothing he didn't already know, and I couldn't say goodbye. I couldn't. Slowly, so tenderly it made my heart ache, I felt the pad of his thumb trace the shape of a crescent moon on my wrist. My breath caught in my chest, and I squeezed his hand tighter. He had said everything and more in that one touch, something only I would understand. It was the first place his venom had entered my veins, the first scar of four that he had given me. Though it had been to save my life, the horror of hurting me, even for that, had remained with him. Especially in the early days his fingers had slid to that scar in particular of their own accord, tracing and tracing it, as if the love in his hands could erase the mark. As the years passed his guilt had faded but never left him entirely. He was a vampire, and our memories never dimmed. He could remember my screams. I had told him a million times that he had saved me, and he knew it, logically. But he was Carlisle, and he couldn't stop blaming himself, telling himself he should have found a way to make it painless. My mind flooded with the hundred thousand times his thumb had made that same caress, the times his lips had found it when we made love, a cautious stroke of his tongue sealing the apology. A silent 'I love you' that meant more than any other. My Carlisle. No, there was nothing left to say. We were ready. As ready as we would ever be.
It was strange, to think that at any minute it would all be over. I wondered which of us it would be, first. Selfishly, I wanted it to be me. Then I would never have to see him suffer. I might could even remember the feel of his arms around me, just before. The other side of me, the larger part that loved him more than life, knew I should wish for the opposite. It would be kinder if…if he were first. I knew, out of the two, which would hurt me more, and so I knew that the same would be true for him. I would rather take the greater pain on myself. I would suffer his loss, rather than have him suffer mine. I had thought the time had come when I saw Edward lurch forward, his hand gripping his father's arm, the lines of his face hard and panicked. I think I went numb, almost entirely. But his answering voice calmed me, reassured me. Edward, Edward had been wrong. Something else was at work here. And then, then I saw Bella smile. And I knew that she was right about hope. In that moment, I think I might have started to breathe again without ever realizing I had stopped. There might be options beyond who would die first. There might be an option that left us alive. I hardly dared to think it.
The tables turned before I could even begin to grasp the concept of that much hope. I caught the scent at the same time I caught Edward's eyes, and though I wouldn't have released my grip on my lifeline for anything, it was all I could do not to reach out with my other arm and pull them both to me. My Alice, my Jasper. They had never left us after all, not really. All our relief was strong, but I wondered for a moment if mine wasn't the strongest. I was, after all, their mother. Jasper's eyes flickered to me, a wave of calm traveling with them. His expression told me everything. His sorrow for hurting me, his triumph that they had returned in time.
I had barely had time to register the fact that I probably wouldn't be someday mourning my granddaughter after all when it was over, and I had even more reason to celebrate. It was unconscious, the way I threw my arms around them both, pulled them in as close as I could. They came so willingly, Alice pressed against my side, Jaspser's face buried in my neck. They were, in that minute, children. Apologetic, relieved, joyful. Everything at once, and I was almost high on relief. I had feared them lost forever. They smelled and felt like heaven.
I only let them go when I heard his voice. Warm, welcoming our saviors. The sound summoned me back to my center of gravity with an even stronger pull than before. Stronger, because I was no longer afraid of that gravity falling away. No, being pulled away. I released them, but not without a parting kiss on each of their foreheads. We would talk later. For now, I needed…yes. This. His hand found mine without even looking back. As if he knew I was coming. Of course, he would have. After this many years together we had our own sort of mind reading down to a science. He would have known in that instant that he needed me, and it followed that I needed him just as strongly. It was simple, as instinctive and physical as breathing. I focused on our hands, they way they molded to each other. He was here. We were both here. And it was really over.
I didn't realize he had stopped talking to them, didn't realize he was looking at me until I felt his fingers under my chin, tipping my head up to look him in the eyes. They were a butterscotch gold, the same color as my own, but they never failed to leave me breathless. Especially now, with one of those looks he reserved only for me. The love was overwhelming, but there was concern there too. I hadn't spoken yet. "Carlisle…" even his name tasted unfamiliar. Speech was foreign. I'd been silent for what felt like an eternity but was probably only an hour or so. All the former fear that had simply faded away at Alice and Jasper's appearance broke through to make its final show. "Oh, Carlisle…" I was sobbing then, the only form of crying my body could manage.
He pulled me swiftly against his chest, his strong arms coming up to cradle me tenderly. His lips were against my ear murmuring soft words of comfort, his sure hands rubbing my back soothingly. There was a wave of sudden calm, and though I already knew the source it was made even clearer when I heard his response.
"It's alright, Jasper. I'll take care of this." His words were gentle but firm, and I could hear the pride in them. The fear returned with the compulsion to be calm removed, but it didn't last long under his hands. Aided, in all likelihood, by the fact that I knew he wanted it this way. If anyone was going to make me feel safe, he wanted it to be him. Not even my son, just him. "Shh…it's over. It's alright, Esme. Everyone's alright." He was right, of course, and it wasn't long before my breathing evened out. I pressed my lips against the column of his throat, inhaled his scent. Rain, moss, birch, and something that was distinctly Carlisle. The last of the fear disappeared.
"Yes. I'm fine. That was just…" Terrifying. Horrible. "Too close. And it just hit me all at once. But I shouldn't have overreacted though, I'm s-" I should have known he wouldn't let me finish.
"I'd say at this point everyone's underreacting. Too close is the understatement of the year. They've crossed the line, beyond all doubt." He shook his head, eyes narrowing. "No matter what I told him, I'll never trust Aro again. Not in the slightest."
Edward growled, low and frightening even to me. "If he had been alone-"
"But he wasn't, and we don't need to be thinking about revenge. We've been very blessed here tonight." Carlisle's voice was soft but commanding, and Edward's shoulders immediately relaxed. Besides the fact that Carlisle was his father, he knew the wisdom of the words. His temper had a way of running away with him, even when he knew better. There was a silence then for a moment. Not the ringing, anxious kind, but a comfortable kind. Familiar. I could hear the snow falling.
It was, predictably, Emmett that broke it. "So…are we gonna stand out here all night, or are we gonna go home?"
After everything that had occurred, it felt almost strange to be at home. Stranger still to be in my own room. Edward and Bella had left a half hour before for the cottage, the rest of us slowly drifting away from the living room in the time afterward. Carlisle was down there still, speaking with Nahuel alone. I was glad. The boy needed a father figure, and there was nothing Carlisle was better at. If he decided to stay, I would love the chance to be his mother. But even if he didn't, I couldn't think of anyone that wouldn't be helped by speaking to Carlisle, even just once. But then again, I was biased.
I slid the closet door open soundlessly, easily tugging my boots off as I stepped inside. Even though nothing had happened, I was somehow eager to be out of these clothes. They were somehow part of…it. The fight that had almost been. The terror, the darkness. I unbuttoned my shirt and shrugged it off easily, my jeans following in the same movement. There. I felt better already. Now, to find something I felt truly comfortable in. I let my eyes dart over the rows as I walked slowly by, my hand trailing over the fabric behind me. It was all too much, but that was what happened when you lived with Alice. She never tired of buying me clothes, and I had stopped fighting a long time ago. It wasn't that I didn't love nice things, I did. But when I did my own shopping it was for more…simple things, more practical things. Alice was never practical, though that was part of her charm and I could never fault her for it. My hand traced something sleek and silk, unfamiliar for this part of the closet. Alice, it had to have been. And I was fairly certain I hadn't even had this one waved eagerly in front of my face before she buried it deep in the closet.
Keeping my hand on it, I turned back to pull it from the rack. Yes, this was most certainly just like Alice. It still had the tags on. Victoria's Secret. Didn't she only make lingerie? Apparently not. It was the softest silk, midnight black and cut thin, with a very deep v-neck. Well. It was certainly gorgeous but I could never… Well, if I wore it out… Not that I was all that attractive but, well, really! Someone would be bound to notice. My lips almost twitched into a smile at the memory of the look on Carlisle's face the last time he'd caught a man staring at me. It had been at the hospital, another doctor. My sweet, gentle Carlisle, and for a moment he had looked ready to take his head off. I giggled at the memory, shaking my head. Men.
"I believe, Mrs.Cullen, you could stop hearts in that without ever lifting a finger. A new string of unexplained deaths like in Seattle, this time all the victims male. Is that your plan?" My silent heart almost jolted out of my chest, hands gripping the hanger harder than necessary in my surprise. How had he snuck up on me? I really wasn't paying attention. I turned back to the closet door to see him leaning on one hand against the frame, his beautiful eyes a burning black. I was sure I would have been blushing under his open appraisal if I had been able.
I took a deep breath, focused on getting out a coherent reply. After all these years together, one look from Carlisle could still send me to pieces. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. "No, just admiring it. I'm afraid I don't get out much. You see my husband's a doctor, in fact you may have heard of him. He's very busy with work most of the time, I'm afraid. And I don't expect he'd like it if I went out in this alone." I expected a smile, maybe a soft laugh. And so I was taken by surprise when I saw his face tighten as if he were in pain, saw some of the desire fade from his eyes, lightening them to a dark topaz.
He stepped toward me, almost hesitantly, eyes downcast. "Then I would say that your husband is a very foolish man." Before I knew it, he was close enough to touch and I almost did just that. In that instant, however, he raised his eyes to mine and the intensity I could see in them effectively froze me in place. "There is nothing, no justification worth losing sight of what he has, what he already doesn't deserve. What he could never endeavor to deserve. Not a thousand lives." His eyes fell from mine again, his head shaking slowly, his voice a whisper now. "You see he…he may have a pretty good memory. Better than most. But it is possible to forget things, to in a sense overlook them. And he had forgotten that even immortals are not invincible. That even they can lose what they hold most dear…and in realizing that, he can see just what he's been letting slide. And it should be unforgiveable."
I was speechless. Utterly. The pain, the agony in his voice…when had he been coming to these conclusions? During the discussions on the field, it seemed. Well, he had hid it very well. But, then, he had always been very good about keeping a calm exterior. "Carlisle…" In a second, my hands were free and I was cupping his cheeks, pulling his eyes back up to mine. "Carlisle, you've done nothing wrong. I understand that you're busy, you have your work, you love your work. That doesn't bother me. It never has, and it never will."
He smiled, but it was a little indulgent, a little sad. "Ah but you see, it does bother me. It bothers me even more that it took staring down an army to realize just how little time I've had in the past few years with just you and me. It's been five since we've been to the island. Five years and two months. And I've been…" His eyes slid shut, his left hand coming up to intertwine with my right. Ever so gently, he pressed my palm to his lips. "I took you away from a man who didn't deserve to live after what he had done to you. But if I don't treat you the way you deserve, then I'm not much better. Can you forgive me?"
I wasn't sure which of them carried the imbedded overactive guilt complex, but I suspected it was Edward. Whichever man had started it, they had rubbed off on each other, however slightly. Carlisle was a good thousand degrees more toned down on it than Edward, and when it did rise I always soothed him quickly, without complaint. But this was a statement I would not-could not- bear. "Carlisle Cullen." My voice was hard enough to snap his eyes open, hard enough that it surprised even me. "If I ever-ever-hear you compare yourself to that dog again, I won't forgive you for that kind of ignorance. Do you have any idea, any idea what he did to me? Hmm? I'm fairly certain you at least have a good concept of what he continued to do to my mind for years after I left him, you were present for that part. In fact, you cleaned up part of the aftermath, as I recall. As much as losing my son hurt, do you think that was all about him? Hmm? Or did it ever occur to you that there's only so much someone can take? That perhaps that was the breaking point? I know I've never been very descriptive but that was for your sake. Believe me, I remember vividly despite the human quality of those memories. Would you like to hear them?" He flinched, and I reeled my anger in, chastising myself for perhaps pushing him a bit too far. But he had to understand. He had to. He was my savior, my angel. I would not allow his name to be tarnished by association with that monster, even if he was the one saying it. Especially if he was the one saying it.
"Wait." I cut him off. "I wasn't finished." Halfway true. I really just wasn't ready for him to speak, but I wasn't quite sure of what else I could say. Yes, I could do what I threatened. Recount a bit of the things Charles had done. But now that the first burst of violent anger had played itself out, that felt crueler than I needed to be. I stepped in closer, pressed against his chest. Our hands were still intertwined and I pulled them down to my lips, left a line of soft kisses across his knuckles. "You know, I was still afraid of you in the beginning. I know you remember, but I don't think you ever understood the depth of it. Edward did, of course, but we both know he's too much of a gentlemen to tell you how much. To tell you the exact things I was afraid of. I was terrified of your hands, even being stronger than you. I couldn't comprehend that. I was always weaker, always. And he was always faster, and it was worse if I ran anyway." I heard his breathing quicken, and I wasn't sure if there was anything more I should say. I wanted to teach him, show him the kind of man he was. But not at the cost of giving him any more to haunt him. He already wished on a still-regular basis to revive Charles' bones if only to dismember them personally. Edward had told me before, Charles was the only man he had ever heard Carlisle to hate so completely, so entirely that he truly would have killed him.
I kissed his hand again, lingering longer this time, breathing in the scent of his skin. "I waited for you to hurt me too. You didn't. I waited for you to tell me how I was the worst woman you could have gotten stuck with, how every other woman would have been better than me. You didn't. After you told me you loved me, I waited for the strings I knew had to be attached. I waited for you to…to claim me as roughly as he had. As much as I already cared for you, I would have gone along willingly, but I would have expected it to be rough, and I expected it to be at your command. You didn't. But far more than what you didn't do, were the things that you did. You touched me like I was…" I smiled, lost in the memories. Memories that stretched from the first time he had caressed my cheek to this moment, to the way his hand fit in mine. "As if I was something precious. As if I were utterly priceless. You always have. You still do. You look at me as if you're the lucky one, as if it wasn't my blind luck that landed me here with you. You told me you loved me, read the skepticism in my eyes, and told me again every day until I believed you. You never pushed, you asked permission. You asked if I wanted you. And I think that it was when we made love for the first time that my fears started to fade. My Carlisle…" I reached up to run my fingers though his slightly messy hair, brought them back to lay against his cheek. He was silent, his eyes watching me carefully with his remaining sorrow mixed with what looked like awe. "You are the most gentle man I have ever known. You are more than I ever imagined. You were and are my savior, because without you I most certainly wouldn't be here. More than that, because without your love, I would have become a monster just to find a way to run from the pain. You didn't let me run from it, you destroyed it. You healed me when I didn't even want to be healed. And though Charles is long gone, even now his memory would haunt me if not for you. You protect me, keep me safe. You always have. He is my greatest fear, still. And you…" I melted against him, unable to resist burying my face in his chest any longer. His arms wrapped around me instantly, holding me almost painfully tight. "You are everything. Please, don't ever say that again."
I felt his lips on my hair, listened to the sound of his breathing evening. I wasn't sure how long he held me in silence before he spoke. "Can I speak now, love? Are you finished?"
The tone of his voice was almost normal, if a little strained. The warmth had returned. A smile tugged at my lips. "Yes, I'll permit you to speak."
"Good." His words were muffled, his head now nestled into the crook of my neck. "I'm sorry. Trying to apologize for one terrible mistake, I didn't stop to think about what I might be saying in that apology. I must ask your forgiveness again."
"It's already given."
"You forgive me too easily, but that's not something I'll ever complain about." He pressed his lips to my neck.
I chuckled then, smiling broader when I felt his lips curve against my skin. "Really, it's alright." He had, however, had a point. I would be overjoyed if he spent less time at the hospital, more time here in my arms. And maybe, now that the worst of his guilt was over, a little manipulation wouldn't hurt. I turned my head just enough to press a kiss to his collarbone. "I have missed you. We haven't had enough time for just the two of us. You work night shift at least two nights a week now and the other nights just aren't enough." I could feel the faint shiver work its way through his body then, just like I knew it would.
Before I could even react he swept me up in his arms, running us in the span of a second to the soft mattress of our king size bed. He was on top of me, braced on one arm, his lips trailing a path down my neck. It was heaven. I had told the truth, just a few nights a week wasn't enough. But it was only a slice of the truth. The real truth was that it could never be enough, not ever. This was an addiction. His hands were working behind my back and with practiced ease he made quick work of my bra, my underwear following in an even swifter move by his other hand.
His lips trailed lower, and I tugged on this collar of his shirt as gently as I could to pull him back up. I liked this shirt, I wanted to keep it. Even more than that, though, I wanted to feel his skin on mine, and if he didn't take it off now the fact that I wanted to keep it would be irrelevant in about 15 seconds. "Carlisle…" It came out as a plea instead of a demand. His lips were trailing lower across my stomach. He ignored me, other than to take my wrists in his iron strong grip and pin them to the bed. I had only been stronger than him as a newborn. I could have never broken his hold, and he knew that. He traveled farther, and I could feel his smile against the inside of my thigh as I struggled futilely against my bonds. His pace slowed now, moving ever so slowly toward his goal. "Carlisle…" Breathless. Yes, that sounded very convincingly annoyed. Sigh. Not that it mattered. I didn't really want him to stop, not now that he was there. Finally, his lips reached their goal. At the first gentle swipe of his tongue I shuddered and moaned softly, my back arching. He was so good at this. Amazingly good. Breathtakingly good. His hands squeezed my wrists, surprisingly gentle for how tightly he was already holding on. He knew from experience exactly what brought me to the edge the fastest, and it wasn't long at all before I was so close I could-
He stopped, drew away with a final swift kiss to my thigh. "Carlisle!" my voice just wouldn't come out how I wanted it to. It should have been reproachful, but it barely managed to be a whimper. All the same, it got the point across. I tried again, but this time the only whimper I could force out wasn't even a word. I could feel his breath on my skin.
"Shh, my lady..." And that was almost my undoing, right there. His voice was low, husky, but there was more. He was, as it was so easy to forget, an old London native. His accent had been largely lost over the years, you could only hear it now in his common speech if you knew on what words to pay special attention. But you could hear it clearer when he was like this, and the sound of it never failed to send a shock through my body. There was something so utterly sexy about that accent mixed with his perfect voice. He had pity on me, as he always did. He could be a tease, but he was never too harsh. He lowered his head again, and I was soon crying out his name, twisting my hands to grip his wrists.
He followed his former trail back up, pausing only to ease the tight grip on my left wrist and lower his lips to my skin. He sucked and lapped tenderly at the scar there until he could feel me tremble, nuzzling it one last time before coming back up to claim my lips with his own for the first time since we had stepped into the field. It was wilder, more unrestrained than he usually was with me and I returned the passion. I was as hungry for him as he was for me, and the knowledge that I could have lost him tonight fueled my desire to have his taste on my tongue. I pressed against him, then growled in frustration. The clothes had to go.
He disengaged his lips from mine and his laugh was musical, brilliant. "I couldn't agree more, love, give me a second." Only with a vampire could that be taken literally, something for which I was very grateful at the moment. He made quick work of the pesky things, then it was over, and he was once again pressed full length against me. I could feel him now, every inch of him. It was a feeling I never grew tired of or even used to. He was all contrasts, soft skin and hard muscle. His skin felt warm against mine, and I wrapped my legs around his waist to pull him closer. We took this slower, usually. He was, after all, the greatest gentleman I had ever known. But tonight, I was ready now. I arched against him as I trailed a line of kisses along his jaw, stopping against his ear. "Carlisle, please. I want you."
He groaned, low, and I felt his muscles twitch under my hands. His words were whispered, breathless "Esme, love, do you know what that does to me? Do you know how it feels to hear that from you? My darling…" His lips were everywhere, his kisses looser, less controlled. He was still trying to wait, to draw it out. Ah, Carlisle.
I pressed against him more insistently. "Show me. Please."
Even his herculean self control had limits. He moaned, and I knew he had given in when I felt his hand slide to my hip, his hold gentle as he entered me. I could remember back to the first time I had felt this, the first time in my life sex had been anything more than quick and painful. The wonder, the ecstasy in it had not changed in the slightest, nor had his methods. He knew, in a general way, what life had been for me before. He had vowed long ago that our love making would be nothing less than this. I was always first in his mind, always. And to think he thought that he didn't deserve me.
We moved together in perfect rhythm, our breathing ragged and perfectly matched. Despite his careful self control he let go first when I drew my nails down his back, moaning his name against his shoulder. I followed less than a second behind. He drew away from me while I was still drifting, though he moved only enough to roll onto his back and tuck me close against his side. I focused on the feel of his ribs expanding and contracting against my chest. The room was still spinning. When I did look up, it was his golden eyes I saw, and they were full of wonder. As if that had been our first time, no, perhaps as if he had never even seen me before in all his life. As if he were falling in love with me then. It was a look I saw often, but it never failed to take my breath. "What is it?" I couldn't help it. I was a little dizzy. "What are you seeing when you look at me like that?"
"Just you. No, wait." He shook his head as if to clear it, still smiling warmly. "You. Because there is no 'just' about it. I'm seeing you, right now, in my arms, with the knowledge that I put that look on your face." He trailed his fingers across my cheek. "That I took your breath. That you chose me. And that leaves me in a state of constant wonder."
There really was nothing to say to that. I stretched up to kiss his lips, slow and thorough. Nothing to say except…. "I love you."
"And I you."
I lay my head on his chest, content to wait out the dawn from the safety of his arms. I could get up then, go check on the children. See my granddaughter. Or I could stay right here, lay like this all day if I wanted to. Make love to him again. In the light of what we had almost lost, it seemed I had been given the gift of life all over again. The gift of forever. And I wasn't going to take a moment of it for granted.
I finished it! This one took a few days, hope it came out alright. : )
Let me know what you think!