Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight

Summary: You shouldn't eavesdrop, you never know what you'll find out. Carlisle's mind is not as Edward expects it to be, and he reflects on how he's made his father suffer over the years.

When I first awoke to find myself unexpectedly immortal and possessing the auxiliary talent of being able to read the minds of every human and vampire in the immediate vicinity, I must admit that the disadvantages of such a skill were not immediately evident.

While I occupied myself in acclimatising to the lifestyle into which I had been reborn, Carlisle's thoughts was a source of ceaseless fascination to me. His intentions were so pure, in every aspect. If I had not been able to discern beyond doubt that my mothers ardent plea for me to be saved is what drew him to change me, I would have suspected that he only did so for the possible acquisition of a gifted newborn. This was not the case.

I learnt, from his mouth and his idle musings that his father had been an overzealous preacher, and that Carlisle had been born over two centuries ago in England. After his turning he hid away and attempted to end his existence, believing himself to be damned in the eyes of the church he held so dear. He failed to discover the lethal effects of fire on vampires before he also discovered that surviving on animal blood was entirely possible, and suddenly possibilities abounded.

He studied medicine in several countries over the years, waiting patiently until he had gained a tolerance adequate enough to be able to remain in a blood saturated atmosphere, where though he would be tempted, he would be able to work past the bloodlust and focus on his patient. His clean track record with animal blood and naturally selfless disposition was a boon in this endeavour.

The interesting thing to me was that until my mother had begged him to save me, in the way only he could, Carlisle had essentially been alone.

Of course there was his time with the Volturi, which although dotted with sporadic scenes of genuine contentment, were primarily bittersweet, and rife with tension. Even through the medium of memory, Aro was a terrifying spectre to behold, and the manipulative power he wielded along with his tendency to circumvent his own laws if the opportunity arose made it clear that he was the type who would change the rules in the middle of a game. I was glad of Carlisle's pacifist tendencies that had prompted him to leave Italy, though he warned him that a visit would have to be paid eventually, to show me off and reject the offer of guard membership that would undoubtedly be coming my way, for my possession of an uncommonly useful gift.

He had an optimistic outlook, and believed in God when I could not. For all my gratitude, I could not help but become somewhat embittered, bitter that I could never live up the standards he had set for himself and to an extent, expected from me.

I left because I felt stifled by his unconditional kindness and understanding. I was young and impetuous, and needed an outlet to vent my frustrations. I came to the conclusion that using my gift selectively would allow me to retain my fragile humanity, and at the same time ease my burning throat with something more satisfying than the blood of animals, inferior as it was.

Thus I left my sire behind, with nothing more than a defiant glare and a curt word of farewell, pushing his devastated visage to the back of my mind, where it remained for some time, until I realised that the sinners were for God, not for me and my reign of terror drew to an unexpected close. Carlisle's passionate ideals of restraint and responsibility echoed piously in my mind, and it was with a heavy heart that the prodigal son, having lived well, drunk his fill and spent all he had, returned to the giving father, who welcomed him back with open arms.

It was also then that Carlisle's peaceful mindset took a turn for the dark.

I do not mean to say that he lost his morals or his religion, but he lost the peace of mind I had so envied, and I was to blame.

Before I had come along there was only him, and he was accustomed to only being accountable for his own actions. Then he turned me, and I let the beast lead me astray. According to his code of honour, he was partially responsible for all my wrongs, for not teaching me well enough, for not being able to assuage my dissatisfaction with my new way of life. He had assumed that I would eventually learn to be content in witnessing new discoveries firsthand, of having time to do all the things a human lifetime could never accommodate, of seeing all the beauty the world had to offer.

But he had Esme, and that was the straw the broke the camels back for me.

I didn't begrudge him his happiness, I knew intimately how lonely he had been until he turned me, and then the woman he had fallen in love with ten years before, when she was just a girl. But I wanted the kind of unconditional love they shared too, and he knew that.

'Edward deserves someone, someone who can give him what I can't.'

'Are Esme and I making him feel even more isolated?'

'Rosalie might be able to help him.'

'She's marrying Emmett, now Edward will be alone again.'

'Jasper and Alice are obviously mated.'

I was destined to be the odd one out, and Carlisle wanted better for his first son. It all came down to me, and my unhappiness which he chose to blame himself for.

'If I hadn't changed him he wouldn't be unhappy.'

'If I had refused to make us move he wouldn't have left Bella.'

'If he kills himself, I'll die. He's my child.'

'If Bella dies in childbirth I will be entirely to blame.'

And last but not least.

'If Aro attempts to take them away from me, I'll sacrifice myself'

It didn't matter that it turned out alright in the end, that we continued to live the picturesque life we always had, and were now as happy as we had previously only pretended to be.

I took Carlisle's innocence, in a sense, and opened his eyes to the horrors our species could inflict beyond our little bubble of bliss. He would spend the rest of his existence protecting us, because that was his way, sacrificial to the last.

He would have been better off alone, no matter what he thought to the contrary. I was just too selfish to stay away.