Title: Colorful
Author: Ebony
Characters/Pairing: Esme/Carlisle
Rating: PG-13/T
Disclaimer: Twilight and all the characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.

Summary: "Oh, Doctor Cullen, how horrible," she cooed in his ear, struggling to keep her voice steady and not to give in the laughter bubbling right under the surface. "...I think I may have broken my leg."

A/N: Response to a prompt fic challenge over at LiveJournal, prompt for this piece: nostalgia. Just a bit of Esme/Carlisle fluff, they're my favourites. Feedback is always appreciated.

* * * * *

"Remind me once more what are we doing up here?"

Esme discarded another large maple leaf she'd been examining, deeming its color a shade too green for her liking, before casting her eyes upon her husband.

"I am looking for the perfect leaves for my fall arrangements, and you are helping me," Esme replied succinctly, smiling at the slightly confused expression on Carlisle's face.

"Couldn't you use the ones that are already on the ground?"

"I could, yes, but the ones with the most brilliant colors are in the trees," Esme explained patiently, glancing sideways at Carlisle.

His golden hair was offset brilliantly by the flurry of yellow, red and brown leaves around them, the lazy wind tousling the normally neat locks fetchingly. Sometimes it was hard to remember he was really only twenty-three years old despite his centuries of existence, but at the moment he looked his age. Goodness gracious, but he was so exceedingly handsome! Esme knew her cheeks would be tinged pink if she still could blush. He was so out of his element in the grand old maple, but willing to do it if it meant she was happy. At times, Esme still found it a marvel to think she had the right to call him her husband.

"And what was wrong with the one you just threw away?"

"It was a touch too green."

Carlisle tilted his head slightly, frowning. "But darling, it was yellow."

"True, but it was more of a chartreuse yellow rather than the tangerine yellow I want."

"I'm afraid I fail to see the distinction."

"Which is why I am in charge of the interiors of our houses, not you."

Esme swore she hear a faint sigh from him. "I fear I am not very well-suited for this task, love."

Smiling, Esme abandoned her quest for a moment and leaped from the branch she stood on to the one Carlisle was sitting on, landing gracefully as a cat and sitting next to him. The branch groaned and bent slightly, but held.

"Perhaps, but you are best suited for keeping me excellent company, dearest," she smiled and kissed him lightly on the lips.

"Flattery, my love? I think this was just an elaborate ruse to get me to climb trees with you," Carlisle teased with a fond smile.

"Ah, that was an added bonus," she laughed in delight. Her tone turned sterner as she went on, "Besides, you've been preoccupied lately with the children's squabbles and working too hard. You deserve a break."

Carlisle wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to his side, kissing her temple. "I'm sorry I've been so busy at the hospital recently, Esme. The flu season always takes its toll on the staff and I--"

"Feel compelled to cover for the other doctors' shifts because you can," Esme finished, smiling gently. "It's alright, Carlisle, I understand. It's what you do, and it's why I love you."

Carlisle gazed in her amber eyes lovingly, leaning his forehead against her. "Nevertheless, I've been remiss as your husband. I truly have missed you, love."

Tenderness welled within Esme as she whispered back, "Missed you, too."

Their lips met in a slow, deep kiss that was equal parts love and longing. Carlisle's fingers twined in her caramel hair while Esme's curled around his lapels, a shiver running down her spine as his familiar scent surrounded her. It really had been too long since they'd had any time alone. Their kiss grew in ardor and Esme was desperate to get closer to Carlisle, fervently trying to figure out the logistics of their situation...

...when the branch beneath them could no longer bear the combined weight of two vampires and snapped in two.

They landed on the ground on their sides, Carlisle's arms wrapped around Esme in an instinctual desire to protect her. Colorful maple leaves drifted slowly down in their wake and landed around them. Esme noticed in amusement they'd broken off a few more branches on their way down.

"Esme, are you alright?" Carlisle spoke against her neck, his tone tinged with concern. Esme smiled fondly; such little tumble could hardly hurt either of them. No matter how indestructible her body was now, it didn't keep him from worrying about her well-being. Her smile turned into a playful grin as a sudden idea occurred to her.

"Oh, Doctor Cullen, how horrible," she cooed in his ear, struggling to keep her voice steady and not to give in the laughter bubbling right under the surface. "...I think I may have broken my leg."

Dry leaves rustled beneath them as Carlisle lifted his head, quirking a curious brow beneath the ruffled fringe of golden hair that was falling over his eyes. Esme blinked up at him innocently, biting her tongue to keep from giggling. A slow grin formed on Carlisle's lips and Esme's dead heart ached at the beauty of him.

"That would be most grievous indeed. Climbing trees can be very dangerous," he murmured in low tone while gazing in her eyes, his hand slipping under her skirt and clasping her stocking-clad ankle gently. His thumb rubbed the skin over bone back and forth. "Does it hurt here?"

"No," Esme shook her head slightly, impish smile pulling at her lips.

"No?" Carlisle's hand climbed higher on her leg, settling on her calf. "Here?"

Esme tsked. "Are you quite certain you know your craft, Doctor?"

"Hmm, I see," Carlisle all but purred deep in his throat, his hand sliding over her knee with sensuous slowness.

"Oh!" Esme gasped as in split-second, he hooked a long finger over the top of her stocking and pulled, pushing the offending fabric down with his hand as he caressed the bare, smooth skin of her thigh with his palm, fingertips drawing patterns against the sensitive inside. Esme's mouth went dry and she swallowed, playfulness giving way to a different sentiment altogether.

"Does that feel any better, Mrs. Cullen?" Carlisle rumbled mischievously, bending his head to kiss the silver scar on the side of her neck he'd left there decades ago.

With a growl, Esme buried her hands in his soft hair and guided his lips to hers. No further words were needed in a good while.