Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

Sandcastle

Bella lay with her head on Alice's lap. Sounds of the others drifted around her, calming her somewhat. Esme was tumbling around in the kitchen. Jasper and Emmett were conversing in Jasper's study nearby. Unfortunately, they hadn't thought to close the door. Sounds of Emmett rage resounded in the bathroom. Rosalie was most likely phoning Charlie to tell him of Felix's attack on Bella.

Carlisle was tending to Bella's wound. She laid stiffly upon the long marble countertop located in Alice and Jasper's bathroom. With her back facing Carlisle, her body curled up in a fetal position, and her head buried in Alice's lap, she braced herself each time Carlisle touched her.

The slight flinch and the tightening of her entire body that was accompanied by each time he touched her made him suggest, several times to Alice, that she should be sedated. Alice wouldn't allow it.

It was clear that Bella, who had been fairly calm considering all circumstances, was becoming unresponsive – save her reactions to Carlisle's ministrations.

Alice knew that it would only be putting off what was bound to be a very explosive and self-destructive outburst on Bella's part. Felix's first attack on her quite nearly four years prior had put her in a catatonic state for several months and also caused her panic attack induced seizures.

The worst she'd ever had was the time she bit her tongue almost all the way through.

A small hiss escaped Bella's mouth. Carlisle hesitated before continuing to flush the bite. Filled with clean water and a small amount of an antiseptic, the bottle had a cake decorating type of mouth, making the stream of water easier to maneuver on Carlisle's end, but more difficult for Bella on her end as it stung something fierce.

As he continued to flush the bite, he recited the aftercare that would be needed. Though his touch was highly unnerving to her, Carlisle's muted voice seemed to have a calming effect – even though she had no idea what he was talking about. Alice listened carefully, already knowing that Bella was floating off somewhere and was not entirely available.

Carlisle paused in his work, pondering. "When's the last time you've had a booster shot?" he questioned, concerned about tetanus.

Alice leaned backwards to peer down at Bella's face – still on her lap. Bella blinked at her owlishly.

"Bella." Alice shook her friend a little. Alice knew that it was entirely possible that if it had been less than 5 to 10 years since her last tetanus shot, she may become allergic to the vaccine if she got the shot without allowing an adequate amount of time to pass between them. It would be risky for her to take any more shots after that and she would no longer be protected against tetanus.

Bella burrowed her face into Alice's lap and muttered something about birds.

"Phoenix," Carlisle supplied upon Alice's bewildered look.

Alice quickly masked her features, snapping, "Of course that's what she said. I knew that." She rolled her eyes and then returned to petting Bella's curly hair.

Carlisle said a quick, "Of course, honey," before returning to his task.

Rosalie then walked into the bathroom, muttering to herself in Irish. Even Carlisle winced at some of her words. "I need to borrow your car," she said to Carlisle.

He stopped the flushing and looked up at her, eyebrows raised and forehead crinkled. "Why?"

"Charlie's freaking out and I'm afraid he'll do something stupid," she said, holding her hand out impatiently.

"Esme has the keys. She's afraid I'll drive over to Volterra and shoot up the god-damn place," he muttered, wondering how the hell Esme knew to demand the keys just as he decided to go ahead with his plan. Damn the consequences, he'd thought, that bloodsucker deserves to die.

Rosalie patted his back, understanding his want to do that and then touched Alice's knee. Alice broke her gaze from Bella's face and nodded at her, telling her she had everything under control. Rosalie responded with a look that said, 'I fucking hope so', before turning and heading towards the kitchen.

Carlisle called after her, "Take Emmett with you!"

Rosalie turned and gave him an indulgent look. The man was already on edge so she just nodded her head and continued on her way to the kitchen for Carlisle's car keys. She worked in the city, and it wasn't like she really needed a car since she would just use the subway or even a cab.

Carlisle sighed and finished up with Bella. She was clenching her fists into little balls at the waist of Alice's dress – which she had yet to change.

After bandaging her up, he put his medical supplies back into his leather bag. He was stalling for time and he knew it. But eventually, there was nothing left for him to pack up or clean until it shined.

He gave Alice a regretful look. She squeezed her eyes shut.

Slowly, he moved to put his arms around Bella's shoulders and under her knees to pick her up.

The first scream was high pitched. Though he was expecting it, he still started, nearly dropping Bella.

But then they became more desperate. A rawness, unlike anything human, crept into her cries. Almost everyone in the apartment froze, except for Carlisle. He made his way out of the bathroom, towards one of the guestrooms.

Emmett, who was standing in the living room near the front door, turned his head, unable to watch as Bella thrashed in Carlisle's arms, trying to get away from the man who had done nothing but try to protect her with every fiber of his being.

She pushed at his chest with tiny balled up fist, so insignificant against his hardened chest that she felt like crying even harder, and so she did.

Alice finally worked up the courage to open her eyes. Moving from her place on the counter in the bathroom, she followed behind Carlisle like a little girl just wanting her daddy to fix everything and make it okay again.

As soon as Carlisle set her down on the bed, she scrambled away from him, into Alice's waiting arms. As she hushed the hysterical girl, Carlisle escaped the room and went towards the bourbon Jasper had locked in the desk in his study.

He forewent a tumbler and dragged a mouthful straight from the bottle. Jasper entered the room. "Guess who's here," he muttered, unenthusiastically.

Edward shoved passed the blond man with a playful grin.

Carlisle sat heavily in Jasper's high backed leather office chair. "Talk to me," he said to his young son.

Edward raised an eyebrow at the open bottle of liquor beside the computer, but continued none the less. "It was Bree."

Carlisle paused. "Bree?"

Jasper's eyes widened. "Are you saying a seventeen year old girl tried to make off with thousands of dollars' worth of cocaine just for the hell of it?" he asked, appalled. "What'd you do to her? Did you kill her?" Jasper's curiosity and anger got the best of him.
"Son," Carlisle warned quietly.

Jasper's fists clenched at his sides. "I'm going to help Alice," he muttered, leaving the room.

Edward's eyes followed his retreating form. "Help Alice with what?"

Carlisle paused before murmuring, "Nothing you'd care about," his eyes downcast.

Edward cast him a strange look before continuing. "The Volturi made contact with Bree. They said if she didn't help them, they'd kill her dad, far before the cancer would," Edward finished quietly.

"How did you –"

"Bree and John are being relocated to a safe house in northern Utah as we speak."

Carlisle slumped in his seat, nodding, before picking up the bottle of bourbon. "Thank you," he whispered.

Edward nodded once before a hard look set into his eyes. "She's here. Isn't she?"

"Edward –"

Edward stopped him with a palm thrust outward. "Whatever, dad," he said, shoving his seat backwards before leaving the room.

Carlisle's head fell into his palms. His wife's fingers through his hair coaxed him from his statue-like position a while later. "Try to get some sleep."

Carlisle caught her wrist in his grip, placing a kiss on the delicate skin there before standing. "My aimé," he breathed. "I will not rest until that slime is dead and my family is safe."

Esme's gaze hardened before she pulled her hands from his. "You can't expect us to be safe, Carlisle. Not in this lifestyle you've brought us into." She spun around and went to help Alice with a now catatonic Bella.

Carlisle collapsed into the brown leather beneath him, wondering how the hell everything he'd built had begun to crumble like a drying sandcastle.

A/N: I know how short this was. But it's honestly all I can give you, presently. I apologize. I'm trying. I really am. Review please.