Prologue: Complication

Carlisle Cullen loved his job. Not only did it pay well, but he got to save lives. After his pet dog died when he was just a young boy, he knew he wanted to be some kind of doctor. At first, he believed in being a veterinarian. But humans seemed more important to him, anyway. And yes, he was studying to become a surgeon.

His close friends and wife, Esme, had told him to not go through the extra work.

"You're already well-known," Esme said. "You're a well-known doctor; you make a lot of money. It's good."

Yes, it was good. That was the life for Carlisle. He enjoyed his life.

But he wanted to do more. He believed that if one is capable to do anything good, then they should. He stuck to that philosophy, and nothing was going to change that – not even his beloved Esme. If he was capable of becoming a surgeon, even if it meant going that extra mile, he would do it.

After all, one person can make a huge difference in the world. Right?

The good side of being a doctor was the saving the lives part. It was easier to detect and diagnose patients whose diseases could be cured if found early enough. He also enjoyed working with kids every now and then, because he could never have one of his own.

He never blamed Esme for that, though, ignoring the countless times she had apologized and sobbed over the situation. But no. Carlisle loved Esme to the end of the Earth, and just because conceiving a child wouldn't happen, he didn't love her any less. Besides, they could just adopt. And they did. Emmett was the best thing that ever happened to Esme, besides Carlisle himself, of course.

But every job has a downside, and Carlisle absolutely despised his. In fact, his job at a couple downsides to it. Carlisle hated it when doctors did their best to try to save a human life, only to result in death in the end. It was like beating a dead horse, in some strange, twisted way. It always angered him to know that things could have turned out completely different – such as life over death – if one little thing did or didn't happen.

And the second downside? Telling the patients' families or close friends that they had lost a loved one was one of the most difficult things to do. He especially hated the cries of the mother, the paleness each would turn. Just the thought of death was agonizing, and telling the people and passing on the pain did not make things better. Carlisle hated that he couldn't say "Everything will be okay" and actually mean it. He'd seen every reaction there ever was to see, but those were just images. Pictures. There was no true feeling or emotion that Carlisle felt besides sympathy and regret. He didn't know what it was like to lose a loved one.

Until now.

He looked down at his young "nephew," feeling the soft, topaz eyes of the nurse boring into the side of his head. Carmen's serious expression was unnerving, for her usual coquettish and flirty demeanor was gone. Carlisle had never seen her so serious.

The room smelled like hospital, period. The steady beep, beepof the heart monitor was audible but not acknowledged, as usual. There were curtains on the east and west walls of the room, and in the center towards the back was the hospital bed. There on it laid a handsome young boy.

"He's suffered from a severe head injury," she said quietly, her hands clasped respectfully before her. In the dim light of the hospital room, her thick black hair seemed to glow. "It's caused retrograde amnesia, Doctor. He won't remember what happened."

Carlisle didn't respond. His cousin and his cousin's wife were dead. Pale and lifeless. And all they left behind was a surviving son, who not only suffered from a severe concussion, but received a lot more injuries that seemed nearly impossible to fix.

It was a strange feeling for him, because he'd just seen this happy family not four hours prior to time of death. One moment, they were discussing Elizabeth's seven-month pregnancy, and the next, everyone's dead. Except for little Edward Jr, of course.

"It's a miracle he survived," Carmen murmured softly, her voice barely above a whisper. She seemed hesitant for a moment, and then slowly continued, "My mother…she used to say that miracles happen for a reason. It was one of the things she told me in the hospital just before her death. Edward Masen is destined to do something in life."

Carlisle tore his gaze from the child and brought it to Carmen's face, her skin a pale white color in the lighting of the room.

"How can you be sure?" Carlisle asked before he could stop himself.

Carmen smiled at him, and it wasn't flirtatious or seductive, but more of empathetic and compassionate. "No one can be sure of the future, Dr. Cullen. We live blindly." She gestured back at the bronze-haired boy lying helpless on the hospital bed. "No one saw this coming. But…I have a feeling. There's something about him that tells me he's alive for a reason."

"Everyone has a reason for living," Carlisle countered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his white coat.

Carmen didn't move her gaze from the child. "Indeed," she concurred. "But if that was so, then was the reason for Elizabeth to live, just to die?" she asked as she twiddled her thumbs thoughtfully.

Carlisle shook his head, feeling half-annoyed, half-curious. "Everyone dies eventually," he muttered.

Carmen took a small step forward, looking tense and slightly uncomfortable. "But why so soon?" She arched an eyebrow at him. "Think, Dr. Cullen."

Carlisle was about ready to step out of the room. But resisting the urge to do so, he merely glanced back at the boy he liked to call his nephew and quoted Elizabeth's classic answer, "She lived because she was destined to meet my cousin, and they were destined to be married and have children." He sighed sadly, feeling his stomach clench.

Carmen nodded, agreeing with him once again. "Then maybe Edward Jr. survived because he was destined to meet someone else. A soul mate perhaps."

A sudden image of a little brown-haired girl popped into his head, and Carlisle remembered Elizabeth describing her son's actions at a park several years ago. She'd described this little girl whom Edward had apparently grown close to in a span of fifteen minutes.

Snapping out of his reverie, Carlisle moved his gaze to Carmen once again, and she smiled gently at him. "How can you know this?" he repeated, his expression slightly skeptical. It seemed so surreal and brainless that he wanted to laugh, if only the ambiance wasn't so formal.

"Dr. Cullen, I don't know anything," she recurred, shaking her head. "It's just a matter of inferring." She paused, pursing her lips, and then looked up at him with such fierceness in her eyes that Carlisle was slightly stunned. "You watch this boy grow up. You cherish him and care for him just like your cousin did, and you love him as much as if he were your own son." The intensity in her voice was startling, yet she managed to keep her voice soft and muted. "You will also love your daughter-in-law, because if she is important enough to Edward, then she's important enough to you." She raised a hand to keep Carlisle from interrupting, and her deep, rich voice continued, "And when you and Esme are old and wrinkled, you can sit on the crusty, wooden porch of your old home and play with their grandchildren."

"Those had always been Edward's dreams," Carlisle said, smiling as he thought of Edward Senior's face. But then the smile was gone, for he felt guilty for looking the slightest bit cheerful.

"Sure," Carmen murmured. "But he's not around to fulfill them anymore," she said flatly, carefully pending his reaction. Carlisle kept his expression impassive, though his insides were churning.

"Carlisle," she addressed, waiting for him to look at her. When he finally turned his gaze in her direction, Carmen smiled sympathetically. "Do it. Esme would want it, and you know that deep down, you want this too."

With that, she silently left the room.

Carlisle got one last glimpse of Edward Jr, then exited the room after her and headed towards his office. As he spun the black leather chair around in circles, he rested his elbows on the arms and chewed on the tip of his pen.

He didn't think such a young, innocent child could deserve such agony. In fact, no one deserved the pain. Where would Edward go now? He had no parents. He wouldn't remember his childhood or his mother and father. His family was in pieces. And he was so young, too. He had his entire life ahead of him, and Carlisle knew he was capable of making it the best there could be. Carmen knew that too. He kind of liked this side of her.

And for once, Carlisle felt selfish as he repeated her words over and over in his mind. He knew that deep down, he didn't trust the Foster parents that may or may not adopt the child. He felt protective for some reason. He did love the boy, very much indeed. Esme loved him too, and what would Emmett say when he would discover that he would never see Edward again? Emmett would be devastated. He was a bulky, intimidating twelve-year-old, but he had a big heart.

Carlisle knew what could be done. Esme wouldn't mind having another child, and he could just imagine Emmett's enthusiastic reaction. Carlisle himself didn't mind either. Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, his new son. He liked the sound of that.