Summary: When a gifted Bella Swan starts her new school she begins to let her shield down, just when she might need it most... AH, AU.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or its characters; I am not the greatness that is Stephanie Meyer.
AN: Apologies, I didn't mean to stay away so long but it just happened. There's a link on my profile page to my attempt at making a banner for this fic, check it out if you want.
I took another deep breath and then ruined my illusion of calm by tripping through the doorway and almost landing on my face. Luckily my hands hadn't released the handle yet and I could right myself before I became more acquainted with Carlisle's carpet.
"Are you alright?" His voice sounded from just beside me as his warm hand wrapped around my arm and steadied me.
"I'm fine," I muttered, my cheeks blushing their usual crimson. "Just my other curse showing itself."
I tried not to look up at him and let him see my hurt and pain that had occurred because of my gift, especially after everything he'd done and was doing for me, but his voice was so soft and Edward's words of reassurance echoed in my mind so I did. He was staring at me with compassion and apathy and I managed a weak smile. He returned it with a full one of his own and then gently led me forwards into the room.
"My clumsiness," I said trying to get conversation going; for some reason I didn't want there to be silence. "If I wasn't 'gifted' then I'd be a freak because of that."
"You're not a freak Bella," Carlisle replied calmly, letting go of me so he could walk around his desk whilst I sat in a chair in front of it.
"I can barely walk ten steps without tripping."
"That doesn't make you a freak."
"It doesn't make me normal either."
Carlisle smiled. "What's so great about being normal?"
That stumped me. My entire life I'd been someone labelled as 'different' and everyone had always known it. I'd always been on the outside, just there on the fringe whilst life happened around me. I don't think I'd know how to be normal.
If such a thing existed in our world.
"Now Bella, we're just going to talk over what's going to happen today alright? I haven't got any other appointments so it's just you and me, and we're going to take this at your pace. We'll talk everything through and then you can say what you want to do. Anything you feel uncomfortable with, just say no. And if we start something and you become uncomfortable part way through say so and we'll stop. Do you understand?"
I nodded. "Yes."
"Good. Now we need to start with some basic medical tests I'm afraid. Nothing major, but I'll need to measure your blood pressure, take some blood, do a full body scan-"
"Did you say take some blood?" I blurted.
"Yes," Carlisle frowned. "Is that a problem?"
"I don't do so well with blood and needles," I said, looking down and fidgeting as I remembered a couple of occasions whilst doctors had tried to take samples. "It usually triggers my... ability."
"I see," Carlisle was smiling now, although I doubt he would be if he knew what I'd done to that one doctor... "Would it help if you couldn't see it?"
"Maybe. I'd still know it was going to happen though."
"Do you trust me Bella?"
I looked up sharply at that. Trust was a big issue for me, especially after everything I'd been through with the people in my life. I didn't trust people easily and I was always wondering about their motives, about what they wanted from me. But Carlisle was different. From day one he'd been upfront and honest about everything, and he'd proven that he only had my best interests at heart. He'd even passed the Charlie test so I know he could be trusted. But did I trust him?
"It's alright to say you don't," Carlisle said gently. "After everything you've been through I know it must be difficult for you to trust people and that's fine. All the time you're here you'll learn just who you can trust."
"I think I trust you Carlisle," I said quietly.
"Well that's certainly a step in the right direction," Carlisle beamed. "And thank you."
I simply nodded and walked over to a chair he indicated. It was large and plush, made of black leather and seemed typical of a doctor's office. I sat awkwardly, not knowing exactly what was going to happen next. I knew Carlisle would keep his word and tell me everything but right now he was rustling in a drawer and I was getting nervous.
He straightened and walked over to perch on the table next to my chair, a blood pressure pump in his hands. I automatically started rolling up one of me sleeves as he stared unwinding the kit.
"It's very important we stay on top of your medical condition," Carlisle said softly. "Your abilities can have an effect on your normal bodily functions and whereas it's very rare I like to know so we can make sure you're safe and healthy. Illness can also affect your powers so we need to get an idea of your body's typical processes. This means all the standard tests you would undergo at a doctor's. We also have some very advanced technology at our disposal here. The cerebral body scan can be disorientating but it is the most accurate scanner in the world to date. It means you only have to have one scan instead of lost of different tests." He smiled at me as he looped the cord around my arm. "When was the last time you visited a doctor for tests?"
"About a year ago," I swallowed nervously. "He tried to take some blood and ended up freaking out completely because I made him not able to see me."
"Not able to see you?"
"He yelled at Charlie that it was like I suddenly turned invisible," I answered, focusing on Carlisle and not the tightening in my arm. "Charlie was there with me and couldn't understand what was going on. He could see me perfectly and thought the doctor was just being awkward or trying to be funny. But he figured it was something to do with me when the doctor started waving a needle in his face that he'd tried it use to get blood from me."
My arm relaxed as Carlisle chuckled. "That sounds very interesting."
"I doubt you'd want to experience it yourself."
"Ah but I already have, at least in part," Carlisle replied. "There are two students here with the ability to make themselves invisible. One of whom has a similar needle phobia. Trying to inject someone when you cannot see them is an extremely tricky purpose."
I had the feeling he was trying to make me laugh. He should have chosen another topic.
"You still tried to stick them even though you couldn't see them?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes," he replied calmly. "His fear of being pricked in the wrong place was greater than his fear of being injected so he dropped his invisibility. It worked out well in the end and I haven't had that problem with him again."
"We're used to having to think outside the box here Bella," Carlisle said slowly. "If there's anything that makes you uncomfortable but is necessary then we do whatever we can, in whatever way possible, to make it easy for you."
I nodded and watched as Carlisle stood and walked over to his desk. He wrote something down in a file and then straightened. Smiling he beckoned me to follow him and led me through a door at the back of his office. The room behind was obviously a medical area, with hi-tech gadgets and machines all over the place. It was white with bright lighting, making it seem clinical and detached but someone had decorated the corners of the room with panels of gentle colour fabrics. Those were the areas of the room that had armchairs and was obviously for relaxation in between tests or treatments. Carlisle led me straight over to a big bed in the middle of the room.
"This is the cerebral body scanner Bella," he said softly. "It uses photon laser technology to scan your body. There are two lasers involved, one which takes images of your body whilst the other scans your body's dimensions. This happens whilst electrodes on your chest and temple record physiological activities. This scan will basically give me an entire reading on all your body's functions."
"You said... before," I looked at the machine dubiously. It looked just like a flat bed, although it was plastic and hard instead of any notion of being comforting. "...that it can be disorientating."
"Yes. To get proper reading the body has to be elevated in the air. Hover technology is built into the bed and propels your body upwards. It is completely safe but it can be disorientating, especially if you suffer from any form of motion sickness or are afraid of heights."
"I'm not a fan of heights but it's not a fear."
"Then you may find this very unsettling," Carlisle took a step closer to me. "But remember as soon as you say the word we'll stop alright?"
I nodded and Carlisle smiled and moved away. He'd only taken three steps when he turned back to face me.
"Actually Bella that's a little bit of a white lie. During the first four seconds, when you begin hovering and the laser is warming up it is the hardest time for you to accumulate to the scan. I have to wait out this period before the scan begins effectively and so I won't stop the scanner during this period. If after five seconds you say stop however, the scan will be stopped instantaneously."
"I understand that," I answered, swallowing the anxiousness in my voice. "Besides it's probably like your first time on a roller coaster, right? You hate it at first but are forced to stick it out and then discover that you actually like it."
"That's very perceptive of you," Carlisle said smiling.
He carried on walking a few more steps until he came to a computer. He turned it on and started typing away at the keys. As his attention was occupied by that I focused on the machine in front of me. It did resemble a bed but closer to it now I could see that the head of it was a large circular metal machine. Little black circles of what I thought were light bulbs were dotted around it, pointing out along the length of the bed. The actual bed had no mattress or anything, but square holes along it arranged in lines. I guessed these were the hover things, which would make the light bulbs the lasers.
Carlisle had said it was a full body imager though and I wondered how it could take a scan of my entire body from just one point of origin, especially as light travelled in lines. I was pondering this when a sudden noise behind me made me jump.
A machine was moving automatically forward, nearing the end of the bed. It stopped about three feet away. It reminded me of one of those sight machines at the opticians, the one that's rolled in front of you and projects light. I watched, half in fascination, half in fear, as the top of it split down the middle and moved outwards, forming a circle. Arranged in identical positions as the laser light bulbs at the end of the bed I realised there were little black circles. These however seemed to be mirrors.
"I need you to lay down now Bella," Carlisle's soft voice made me jump and I spun to see his gentle smile. "Remember, five seconds and you can end it."
"Okay," I tried to smile nervously. I was fairly sure he saw a grimace.
Carlisle just nodded and motioned to the bed. I gulped but walked towards it. He held up a hand and gently helped me onto the bed.
"I'll just need for you to remove your jacket and shoes."
I did so and handed them to him, then led back on the cold, hard bed. He moved around me quickly, pulling wires from underneath the bed and using a cold gel to stick them to my skin. One went on my chest, the other on my temple, just as he said. As he walked around the bed to do my other side I realised just how long the cables were. It impressed upon me that in just a minute or so I would be hovering in the air. Once he was done Carlisle squeezed my shoulder, and then turned away.
I heard Carlisle's footsteps as he walked away and my nerves increased, my stomach rolling uncomfortably. I wanted him close, in case anything went wrong.
I told myself to stop being a wimp and concentrated on what I was seeing. Up above me there were even more little black light bulbs/lasers in the ceiling. Not as many as on the bed head and moving-eye-stand lookalike but I counted at least twelve before there was a rumble and air was suddenly blasting across my entire back.
I couldn't help my scream, even though I managed to muffle it to sound like a high-pitched squawk.
"It's alright Bella," Carlisle called. "Just try to relax. That's the hover jets. They aim high pressured air underneath you so that you are propelled upwards." My body started to move and I stifled the urge to scream. "Five seconds starts from now."
I closed my eyes and swallowed my nausea. I could feel where the air was impacting my body, could feel myself being pushed upwards. I didn't want to move any part of me, I felt so fragile, balanced in the air. My hair was loose and blowing in the air streams, showing my just how powerful the air pressure was. I wished I'd tied it up as it was very disconcerting. It was even worse than the feeling in my feet, as if they were over the edge of a bed, suspended in mid air. My hair was attached to my head. The electrode cables weren't helping either, as the tugged on my skin.
"Five seconds up," Carlisle called. "Say stop at any time Bella."
I had the almost overwhelming urge to shout out stop and get this over with right now but the rational side of my brain kicked in. If I said stop now I'd have to do this again sometime. Sucking in my breath I decided I'd much rather only experience this once.
"I'm o-okay," I stuttered.
"Alright," Carlisle answered. "This will only take a minute."
I refrained from nodding, really not wanting to move my head. I couldn't reply verbally though as I was too focused on taking quick shallow breaths.
"Deep breaths Bella," he called. "You need to keep breathing properly."
I tried to calm myself down, to do as he asked but it took a little while. I was so aware of my body, simply floating in mid air.
I didn't like it at all.
My breathing sped up again and I was ready to go into fully blown panic attack mode when Carlisle finally called out it was ending. The air pressure lessened and I slowly floated back down to the metal table.
I opened my eyes once I could feel the hard surface beneath me, my hands shooting out to grip at the edges.
"That was excellent Bella," Carlisle was smiling broadly as he approached me, a clipboard in one hand. He reached around me and gently began to disengage the electrodes, pulling them away from my skin. He tugged a little too hard on the last one and pain shot through my head.
I felt one split-second of pain and my poor brain freaked. My eyes rammed shut and I turned away instinctively, bringing my arms up to cover my chest as I just wanted it to go away. A loud crash echoed through the room and I instinctively looked at what had happened.
Carlisle was lying halfway across the room, slumped on top of a lab desk, the computer from which was in parts, scattered along the floor.
I stared in horror as he pulled himself upright.
"Carlisle!" I quickly tried to run to him but I tripped. I twisted and managed to grab another table to keep myself upright. By the time I got to him he was already standing, brushing himself down.
"I'm so sorry," I choked out. "I'll find a way to... to pay... for the d-damage. Are you hurt?" Please don't let my freak-out have hurt him.
"No, I'm fine," he flashed me a big smile. "And there's no need to worry about money. This is nothing. We've had a lot worse, believe me."
"You were highly emotional in a situation where you felt threatened due to previous bad experiences," he said softly, his earnest gaze boring into me. "Bella after the incidents you've had I knew this wasn't going to be easy or accomplished in one day. You did phenomenally well with the body scan and that will give me plenty of data to accumulate your medical and physiological profile." He straightened and placed a hand on my shoulder gently. "We're taking this at your pace and I think that was a pretty big sign of you having enough. Even," he raised his voice slightly as I began to protest "if you think you can do more. Our subconscious is a powerful thing Bella and we should listen to it when it gives us clear indications of what we want."
I couldn't keep his gaze and looked to the ground, nodding slowly. I hated to let anyone down and I had doubly with Carlisle; first attacking him and then not being able to finish the tests. His hand squeezed my shoulder.
"You have to give it time. That is the only way these things will work. Rush it and you will find whatever you learnt will be almost useless."
I nodded again, raising my head with a small smile. I couldn't quite meet his eyes though and I heard Carlisle exhale softly. His hand left my shoulder as he turned away, rustling with papers.
"So that's it for today. I think if you hurry you'll be just in time for lunch."
I grabbed my shoes and jacket, hastily pulling them on as I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.
"Why don't we take a rest tomorrow, hmm? Let you settle a bit. We'll meet the day after same time as this morning, in my study again. Does that sound alright with you?"
I nodded and mumbled a "Fine." but my flight mode was fully engaged and I wanted out of there.
"There is also..." Carlisle trailed off. "Well there was something else," he said after a pause. "If I remember I'll come find you."
"Good. Okay, bye Carlisle." And with that I was out of there.
I somehow managed to negotiate my way through the corridors, even with my face down and my eyesight blurred by tears. I shuffled ran, too afraid to properly run as I'd fall and I didn't need that as well right now, as fast as I could and made it back to my room within a few minutes. I scrabbled with the key in the lock and flung myself through the door as soon as it was open. I threw myself onto my bed and let the tears fall as I pulled myself into a ball.
I'd screwed up so badly.
I was such a freak.