A.N.: Whew! Two fanfictions in one day...but this idea would not get out of my head. Cliche'd it may be, but I really don't think it's all too far-fetched to imagine Carlisle as unsatisfied in his relationship with Esme. I mean, honestly, she seems way too complacent with him...they hardly ever get into fights or have huge sex-fests, which, I think, would bring out the man in Carlisle. He needs someone to get on his nerves! He's TOO nice! Which is why I think he's good with either Rosalie or Leah...maybe Alice, if she's written annoyingly enough (annoying!Alice would be fun to write!).

Anyways...


Compassion and Regret

She sat on the very edge of the vinyl seat like it burned the back of her exposed thighs. Her eyes were wide and moved far too much and too quickly, her teeth appearing every now and then to chew at her bottom lip in a habit. A nervous habit.

Nervous, though, sounded far too understated for the emotions currently pulsing through her.

There was anguish first: anguish at herself and her utter stupidity, followed by disbelief at the sheer absurdity of the situation, one she was only coming to terms with now though its existence must have lasted for what, now?

One, two weeks? It was a struggle to admit it to herself at first. Then came the disgust, a feeling that still existed in trace amounts, though her sudden "feelings" had swiftly and doggedly pushed down any and all negatives when it came to him.

Leah had imprinted on Carlisle Cullen in one glorious, regrettable moment, and ever since then it was hard to think about the man without the accumulation of joy tight in her chest, pure infatuation, almost obsession, nestled in beside it. Her stomach was roiling with detest, but only at herself, the sting of rejection swimming within her before it had even been delivered. But at this point, it was only inevitable.

Why else was he avoiding her? Whereas before the doctor had once accepted her gladly as a patient, both pre-and-post-transformation as a werewolf, he was suddenly dodging her calls, waving off her attempts to talk to him and generally just pretending that she didn't exist. She was sure he would never have been so averse to her phone calls had she called him if he didn't already know. He never overtly expressed his dislike of the other shapshifters, either, in fact, it was quite the opposite. Leah was convinced that he would have gladly spoken with her, perhaps discussing the finer points to being a female werewolf (yes, she admitted that she'd been watching him closely enough to discover his almost insatiable curiosity), if he didn't know.

Naturally, that meant he knew. Maybe that emotion-controlling one, Jasper, had tipped her off when she'd strayed too close to their house (but that was all done on her attempts to approach him there to tell him herself, honestly); maybe it was obvious (but then again, he'd made a point of not seeing her ever since it happened, so she had no clue how he could have detected it), but the fact remained that Carlisle knew she had imprinted and his course of action was to avoid her like the plague. That right there was already a sign of his rejection, his probable distaste at the very idea of it. It wasn't her fault, though, and she had never been able to explain any of it to him, nor to inform him of her intentions.

And so, it had come down to this. In order to even talk to him, Leah had taken the last, most desperate option: she'd made an appointment.

At this point, Leah didn't care what she had to do. All she knew was that she had to get this out of her system and off her chest, so she could move from one part of her life ruined by this damn imprinting to an eternity trying to suppress her own. These feelings chained her iron will with steel, making her an unwilling slave to this man, her natural enemy of all people. And it had all been done with a single good look at him, much like...

Much like now.

Doctor Cullen had strode through the patient room threshold, effectively halting her ruminations when his breathtaking gold eyes settled on her. He was wearing his customary unconsciously charming smile for greeting his patients, until he took in her full appearance and his expression became conflicted. Leah Clearwater was sitting on the patient bench, looking flushed, healthy and otherwise unharmed with no reason to be in that room.

No reason apart from the very same reason he'd been practicing his woefully underdeveloped skills of being a complete jerk-off. There was a moment of stunned silence as each of them drank the other in.

Leah looked remarkably tired, circles under her eyes that belied her normally exotically beautiful self. Not that she wasn't attractive, Carlisle somewhat guiltily admitted. Her hair was waist length and blue-black, shining with a healthy luster and radiance achieved most likely from her frequent phasing, among other things. Because she was wearing a pair of tiny shorts, her long legs, recently toned from the exercise demanded of phasing, were not overlooked by his sweeping eyes. Neither was the rest of her exposed bronze skin, or her brilliant black eyes, like two pieces of shiny coal in her large eyes...

Her attractiveness was part of the problem, Carlisle concluded, as was her recent...feelings of late. The truth was that he was having trouble, as hard as it was to realize—something he would never even think about confessing to the others, or to anyone, for that matter. He ran a hand distractedly through his blonde hair, quickly plastering a sheepish look on his face, albeit awkwardly.

Leah narrowed her eyes at him, but it was hard for her to remember what the hell she had been planning to say for the past two days plus the half-hour wait time in this tiny room... Faced with the object of her imprint, there was nothing she could feel besides an irrational relief, her body reacting to the presence of its decided-upon mate. The fact that he was just that much hotter in person did nothing to summon her thoughts back into her head, either.

His skin was still chalky pale and his eyes still an unnatural hue, but these qualities that once signified her natural enemy and thus her repulsion now made her feel a drop in her stomach, the hints of a girlish, nervous giggle lingering behind each of her words. His vampiric cough-syrup-like saturated sweetness was replaced with his clear, subtle scent of sandalwood, spice, and cologne with a hint of the latex from the gloves he wore. These were the changes brought with imprinting that frustrated her the most, that made stopping her heart from pounding and her blood from rushing erratically within her. Leah ducked her head with a shameful blush.

What, it wasn't bad enough that she had this compulsion towards him? Now he had to catch her in her active ogling of him? His handsome face briefly looked concerned at her reaction before realization dawned on him, and then, well, it was just embarrassing. She closed her eyes briefly, attempting to summon every ounce of courage within her and damn it, just to say it already!

"Dr. Cullen," she began, her voice jagged, her eyes on the floor.

"Carlisle," the smooth doctor interrupted, a small crease appearing between his eyebrows at her struggle.

"...Carlisle, um, I don't know h-how, um, to say this, but..." Whatever determination had existed in her first try had dissipated, and now her voice was barely audible. She cringed, both mentally and physically, at how weak she sounded, like a thirteen year old girl confessing a crush, when this was just so much more and so inexplicable. A crush was easy.

How could she possibly explain how her very being lit up when she heard his name? Her heart's swell when she smelled his scent? Her stomach's spine-tingling drop when she met his eyes, how she imagined that they'd darken with lust if only she was presented with the chance...?

Leah didn't notice as she gripped her knees that Carlisle had approached and lowered himself to her eye-level until his low whisper caressed her out of her struggle.

"Leah, look at me." He gently coaxed her into obedience with his gentle fingers on her chin. That same confusion was written in his eyes, looking at her like she was beyond his understanding: a frustrating problem he could never sort out.

Leah released a giggle of anxiety, even as she felt her eyes stinging with those unshed tears she promised herself she wouldn't cry. This was awful. She'd tried to prepare herself for it, but really...this was comparable to when Sam had dumped her, maybe even worse, because what she felt for this man right here never even stood a chance. She would never be able to experience their possible "what-if," and that was worse than having lived and loved, however briefly.

"This is so stupid. I-I want to...but I can't. I can't control it, no matter how hard I try an-and Carlisle, I love you." Immediately, she put a hand to her mouth in horror of what had just come out of it. She had never meant to... She was only supposed to tell him of the imprint, not whatever feelings she associated with it! Now she just sounded...

Carlisle's eyes swept her face searchingly, surprisingly not yet having burst into laughter at how pathetic she appeared or yelled at her for having said what she said. But, no, he was far too compassionate, far too kind to just brush her feelings off, which made her wonder whether his avoidance of her stemmed from something deeper than just rejection.

"You have to understand, it's the imprint. I figured you...I know you don't exactly...care for me—at all—but I, um, I wanted to tell you. I needed you to know...why," Leah's voice broke with the raw pain she felt. Her body protested at the wrongness of the situation, insisting that they were just soul mates and it knew it and how could a werewolf's instincts be wrong? She bit her lip once more, gazing into his face in the unbearable silence and attempting to read the emotions there.

His handsome, familiar features made her heart ache. Carlisle, however, looked genuinely apologetic but was completely at a loss for words, stunned into silence. Leah took that as a sound rejection that the doctor was simply too nice to give.

"I'll just, um, be going then... I just wanted to... And I realized that this was the only way to... I'm so, so sorry," Leah finished lamely with a voice torn and those damn tears already beginning to spill hotly from her eyes.

She made a move to slide off of the patient bench and leave the room before she really started sobbing, but was instantly steadied; Carlisle's hands, which had long ago left her face, were now clasping her shoulders just as lightly as before but anchoring her to her spot. And even in such a delicate situation, she couldn't stop her body's reaction to his skin on her skin bared by her tank top. Leah shivered, another flush suffusing her skin before she could prevent it.

"You shouldn't apologize," he whispered, his voice filled with the same bewildered expression on his face.

It was like he was completely unaware of the effect he held over her, and now that he was faced with it he was honestly baffled. She knew that on some level, it hurt him to see her in so much pain; hell, it was a given, seeing as he was only Carlisle Cullen, the very definition of saintliness, even for a leech.

She laughed a little more, less hollowly, at his naivety. The truth was that she should probably get right out of town if she had any hopes of crushing this...this thing before it could be stopped. With his face so close and his eyes so intense, Leah was already thinking about what he would do if she kissed him. He should just get it over with already. What was the point in prolonging her torture?

"I should be sorry. If I wasn't like this... I'll just be out of your way for a while. Maybe get out of town for a few...years. Y'know, until I can control i-it." She tried to punctuate the sentence with a chuckle, but instead she choked out her first sob. Leah was dissolving to tears, and if he wasn't going to take her then she needed to just...go. Before she acted on her desires as they played out against the walls of her skull. She brought her hands to her eyes but couldn't leave, not when his icy hands still held her gently. As long as he touched her, her body refused to leave.

"I don't want you to leave town because of what you may or may not feel for me. Leah...you're beautiful. And strong. And...well, the boys are lucky to have you. I couldn't let you leave them because of me."

"Damn it, don't you get it?" she snarled through tears, hands firmly pressed against her eyelids. "If I don't go, this-this thing makes me want to do horrible things!"

His voice was concerned as he used both hand to gently pry hers off of her face, clasping her wrists delicately. "Horrible?"

Leah's head lowered, her face heated in shame. "All I want to do is kiss you," she whispered almost inaudibly.

He was disgusted. He had to be. But no, when she dared herself to peer into his face she simply saw his acceptance and his...awe? Astonishment? Was it really so hard for him to believe that a girl might have felt that way about him?

"Leah," he said finally. "that's not horrible. Were things different, I would be grateful for it. But I've already told you that I understand and accept your condition. I don't want you to suffer if you have to; I don't want anyone to suffer. The pack cannot afford to lose you. You're valuable to more than just a few."

Carlisle stared deeply into her tear-filled eyes, trying to communicate what he couldn't express in words. Then his voice softened. "And besides, if anyone can fight this thing, I know it'll be you. You're a very strong person, Leah. Stronger than you know."

He reached out tentatively and with a tender finger, brushed her hair behind her ear. Leah bit her lip, trying to squash down the soaring within her heart at his calling her valuable. He was so kind. She hadn't fallen for the wrong man at all...just a married one.

Still, faint vestiges of hope pulsed within her. A small smile was shared between the two of them, and an idea occurred to her.

"Carlisle?"

"Hm?"

Leah looked up at him for the first time with palpable shyness, taking him aback considerably.

"Can I, um, ask a favor before I leave?"

He was still puzzled, but answered without hesitation. "Of course."

Leah took a deep breath to still the rapid pounding of her heart, not bothering to explain to the bemused doctor.

"Can you...close your eyes?" Surprisingly, he did so without question, and she was left to marvel at this perfect man, hers for maybe a few moments of pretend.

With a shaky hand and a lurching stomach, Leah traced the outline of his strong jaw, bringing her heated skin against his smooth, frigid flesh. Her touches were feather light and her eyes were closed as she memorized the shape and feel of his face. Then, slowly, slow enough to give him time to duck out of the way, she brought her lips to his in a chaste kiss.

Immediately, something fierce roared to life within her, a bubbling pool of explosive heat settling in the pit of her stomach. She pressed her lips insistently against Carlisle's briefly, feeling his full, unyielding mouth against hers and wishing that this could be real, that she could wake up with his lips like this after falling asleep together...

Leah sighed and it was over; she pulled herself back from him without meeting his eyes. She was on the verge of sliding off the chair and out the door when she was once more stopped by his touch.

By his lips.

Carlisle pulled her forward urgingly, hand perched on the back of her neck, twisted in that silk rope of brilliant black hair that he'd admired from the beginning. She gasped, but it was swallowed by him, by his kiss that had rapidly turned from languid to devouring. That pit in her belly had been stoked to the highest flame, the waft of proverbial smoke making her high like no other drug.

His teeth nipped gently at her lips, his tongue passionate in its entwine with hers... And though his hands stayed fully on her shoulder and her neck, she could sense his burn to touch her somewhere, everywhere else. She burned for him. She burned for his cold touch on her inflamed body, for her heart to rocket while his stayed constant and dead, for her to drive him crazy with desire while his other senses flat-lined. Her hands went to his chest, clasping the material of his lab coat, tugging him closer with every stroke of his tongue.

He allowed her to breathe with one last nip to her swollen lips, retreating with one last kiss...and then another. Leah was breathing heavily, her face twisted into some bitter semblance of a smile as she released her hold on him.

Carlisle was the one to avert his eyes this time. He stood and let her pass him by with one last glance before she swept out of the room, and only when her back turned did he allow himself to look at her. He couldn't let her see the utter regret that shone in his darkened eyes, the same expression that lay in hers: regret for what was, and regret for what could have been.