Title: Losing Control

Fanfic or Fanart: Fanfiction

Author: Pereybere

Prompt: Talk

Genre: Comfort/Angst

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1109

Spoilers: None

Author's Note: I've been really busy these past few weeks, hence why there have been no updates to my longer story. I had committed myself to writing a story for 'talk' under the apple-a-day contest and before my month was up, I decided to get this written and posted. I hope that you Bellisle fans enjoy it, even if it isn't especially romantic. Thanks for reading and do comment! :)

***

He was the epitome of everything that was calm and collected. The epitome of reason and rationalisation and all the qualities that made him an excellent leader. It was something that he worked hard at because unlike compassion, clear-headedness didn't come naturally. Almost always, through the heady and at times blinding fog of irrationality and emotion, the reason would penetrate and order would be restored in his chaotic world.

Until Helena Blake had arrived at the hospital, desperately fighting the aggressive clutches of a cancer that had left her beautiful features haggard and tired. She'd been barely twenty-one and the wisdom in her slate-grey eyes had begun the unravelling of his composure. So matter-of-fact in her grim acceptance that she was going to die, Helena had been a girl that had made him curious while he tried to nurse her back to health – failing miserably at each turn.

Chemotherapy made her sicker, caused the golden blonde tresses of her hair to fall out – a side-effect that she accepted with quiet dignity. Carlisle held his control as he watched her human life slipping away and very uncharacteristically, he envied that she had a chance to make peace with her God. Although Helena did not speak of religion during their times together, Carlisle sensed still that she prayed in private.

At nights when her family had departed for home and the hospital was a hub of gently beeping monitors and whooshing breathing apparatus, Carlisle would sit in her room and talk to her as though they were old friends. Esme noticed that darkening cloud that had developed around him as the girl's health deteriorated day by day.

On the night she finally died, he had confided his otherworldly abilities to her. With the same stoic acceptance with which she absorbed everything else, Helena had not shown surprise. She had not shown horror, either. When he asked if she wanted to be turned – to live forever – Helena had smiled sadly, had placed her still warm hand on top of his and had shook her head slowly.

"No," she'd whispered brokenly. "You have done all for me that can be done, Dr Cullen." Helena had never called him Carlisle, no matter how often he had insisted. "I have to believe that there was a purpose for my illness. That when I die there's something else out there for me."

A short time later, she was gone and their attempts at reviving her had been perfunctory and only because it was mandatory to try. Carlisle didn't have the heart to prolong her suffering needlessly, but as her body had been wheeled towards the morgue an incredible sense of loss had consumed him – in ways that he had not experienced before. If only the world's population possessed even an ounce of Helena's extraordinary dignity, he thought.

Back home, in the sanctuary of his office, Carlisle kept himself hidden from the people who loved him – simply because he couldn't be certain that his composure would remain in tact. It pained him to see the curious, worried glances shared between his family as they wondered whether the stresses of the hospital were getting to him after some hundred and fifty odd years. Perhaps they were, he thought as he looked at himself in the gilded mirror above the fireplace.

Pale as always, his blond hair stood on end – made askew by the hours he'd spent running his fingers through the strands. Quite what it was about Helena that was different, he could not ascertain. Emotion was an attribute of humanity and something he ought not to have been bothering himself with... but death, the sight of it, the smell of it and the sheer waste of it, had gotten under his skin. His golden-rod eyes were haunted by the memory of a broken, young woman with no chance of survival and he thought, if he could, he would have wept.

Esme had tried to offer comfort, but something in their lack of humanity as vampires made it impossible for him to confide in his family. How could they truly understand the fragility of life when they were immortal creatures? Indeed, they did the best they could to be good, noble creatures but still, the loss of Helena – just another human being in a world of six billion or so other human beings – would be lost on them.

She had wanted to be a dancer, once. Talented and dedicated, she could move like an ethereal vision – at least that was what a critic had said during one of her performances when she'd been sixteen and desperately vying for a place at the Royal School of Ballet in London. By her seventeenth birthday, Helena had been diagnosed with the illness that would eventually, after too many ravaging years, take her life – and her dreams.

Life was unfair, he thought. He supposed it made sense why so many people had to grasp unto their religions, because the notion that pain and suffering was for nothing and left to nothing but chance and an unfortunate lottery, was a difficult concept to swallow.

Carlisle had been studying his embittered reflection in the mirror for so long that he was no longer truly looking at it at all. His mind had wandered to the countless hours he'd spent watching a lively, ambition-driven girl become a sunken shell. He had literally watched Helena Blake waste away and it left him feeling angry. Irrationally and uncharacteristically, angry.

He swept his arm across the fireplace, sending two priceless crystal decanters spinning towards the floor. The impact, the shattering of sharp, shiny fragments was oddly satisfying and Carlisle watched the dim lamplight reflect the glittering slivers for a moment, surprised at his loss of composure.

The study door opened and Bella stepped inside, her teeth worrying at her lower lip as she eyed him cautiously – as though he were a super-volcano on the brink of a massive, devastating explosion. Carlisle could only look at her – could only study the pinkish blush of her human cheeks and revel in her vivaciousness, her existence.

"Carlisle, are you alright?" she asked tentatively as she dropped her eyes to the broken pieces at his feet. Her voice was laced with genuine concern.

"Not really, Bella," he admitted while struggling to put the fragments of his composure back into place.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He looked at her then; this human girl who might just understand the fragility of life, who might comprehend the astounding loss of a talented, brave and dignified young woman. Nodding slowly, he released a sigh.

"Yes," he said at last. "I really would."

-End-