A/N: Edwards's infatuation with Bella follows similar rules as imprinting. I decided to go with canon characters as this is my first attempt writing for Twilight fans. I do not follow canon timelines/introductions but do attempt to emulate canon character behaviour. The story is set in 1889. Constructive criticism/encouragement welcome.
This chapter was updated 19th Aug 2014. The formatting fails to save as I leave it, sorry about that.
A special thank you to my fantastic beta reader icul8ter and to Jlbrew25 for some much appreciated guidance.
Disclaimer: The Twilight world belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Warning: Contains Pagan overtones, angst, NON-sexual spanking of a minor/teen, swearing and parental themes. Rated T as some of my views, and the views of this era, may offend.
Chapter One: A penny for your thoughts?
"The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know."
CPOV: 'Interns' I groaned, far too softly for their approaching human ears to hear, but still loud enough to prove cathartic. "Good evening, doctors," I greeted warmly, easily disguising my displeasure at being made an attending. My permit deems me far too green for such responsibility, yet there was something about a few hundred years experience that singled one out, even when such attention was unwanted. "With me please, Shibasaburo's Tetanus study needs reviewing." Their collective groan made me smirk, but I did not falter. If I had to do this I would do it well and they would learn more than technical prowess, they would leave here with a compassionate heart devoted to the preservation of life! Yes, or something like that... I shook my head as John tripped over his bootlace. "Collect a clipboard and begin," I instructed motioning to the precariously balanced stack. A nurse appeared from her station, attempting to add several more to the pile, but I happily intercepted; spinning her in a graceful loop as I headed towards the ward. Nurses truly were the unsung heroes of medicine, so undervalued considering the amount of work expected of them, not to mention they've been copping the blame for incompetent doctors since the dawn of time.
The evening had progressed as expected and by 0600 my mortal interns were beginning to tire, so as always I singled out the man most likely to slip up and sent him packing. No one liked being sent out of the game first; I did not doubt Joseph would be the butt of peer jokes at morning review. Fighting the urge to comfort him, I held up an impatient hand to his protests, "Now, please," I stated, faking distraction by poring over the confiscated file.
"Isabella?" I queried, glancing down at the grumpy seven year old. According to my chart she was not a part of Shibasaburo's case study, which made me wonder how on earth she'd ended up with Joseph in the first place. I shot the retreating man a cursory glance but decided against calling him back; internship was a hard slog: they must learn to roll with the punches if they wanted to survive.
"It hurts. I have a headache in my tummy!" the child spoke, regaining my attention.
"Oh my, that is not good," I replied feigning comical surprise to cover a cursory examination. "Does it hurt here?" I asked, a diagnosis already formulating from the rebound.
"Oww! Don't do that anymore!" the look she shot me would have frozen over Hades. If there was anything at all gained from being damned it was experience, and I was quick to diagnose an acute appendicitis.
"I am sorry, sweetheart. I know it's not nice, is it? How would you like to look after a special friend for me," I asked, holding out a handmade lead pencil with skinny arms and bristle moustache, "he gets very lonely up here in my pocket all day, you see".
Her eyes sparkled with delight, "he's so cute! What is his name?" she enquired.
"Hmm, let's see now. He's quite a fickle chap this one, changes it all the time you know; sometimes twice a day!" she smiled at me expectantly, "but I think today his name is," I leaned close as if waiting to hear a tiny whispered request from the pencil, she caught on quickly and to my surprise the consensus was that today my homemade pencil was calling itself 'Edward'.
I chuckled, pleased that my diversion had succeeded. The assisting nurse was just about done with her narcotic. I truly despised causing people pain, even if it was for their own good. Of course it was a lot worse with children as fear often heightened their pain. I did my best to conceal the hypodermic before leaning over to explain, "Alright sweetheart, Edward needs you to concentrate really hard on holding him tight now, both hands ok?" she nodded and squeezed him tightly to her chest. My left hand covered the shot while the nurse swabbed us a clean target.
"Good girl, try to keep still now, you're going to feel a tiny pinch and th..."
"No, no, I don't want it!" she stammered when realisation dawned. Her voice was thick with betrayal and the glare was frighteningly ominous for a seven year old! "Edward is so mad at you!" Her condemning tone stabbed at my heart as I gently prevented her escape; this had to be done and I would not hesitate again.
It was at that moment I felt (or smelt rather) a familiar presence. My Edward met me at the hospital most mornings to hunt on our way home, although today his typical enthusiasm was replaced by a look of shock as he stood frozen in the entrance. "Son, you should wait for me outside today," my words were not a request. His strange manner was starting to make me uneasy especially given he was the newest vampire to our family; Jasper and Alice no longer required supervision to hunt and were past the temptation humans presented but Edward was a different matter.
EPOV: That smell... Gods tell me it wasn't coming from his patient! Immediately I ceased to breathe, covering my mouth in an effort to control the conflicting instincts within. I sensed Carlisle's concern and heard his words, but even my coven leader could not corral such intensity. "Carlisle, no! You can't," I shouted moving at inhuman speed to intercept. My Fathers shock provided the nanosecond necessary to flick the horrendous looking syringe from his grasp. I knew Carlisle would never wilfully harm anyone, least of all a patient! But I simply could not control myself, it wasn't blood lust as much as the need to get her away from whatever he was holding her down to administer.
"Edward Cullen! What is wrong with you? Control yourself! "he demanded, catching the syringe mid-flight and fixing me with a menacing glare. He let out a low growl barely audible to my sensitive ears, then inconspicuously shifted between me and the two humans. "Remember who you are, son," he silently warned. His thoughts found me as clear as spoken words.
"I... what? I mean, I am sorry Fath―, I ―I mean, Dr Cullen. I." I shook my head trying to clear the fog preventing coherent sentences. "Dear god, she is a child!" Shocked I fumbled to explain, "I―well, you see, it's."
"Enough!" Carlisle interrupted, "Nurse Cooper, will you stay for a moment? Isabella is feeling a little upset, perhaps a story may help?" he suggested, nodding towards the nitrous oxide hanging above, then hauled me from the ward. I cringed at the thoughts I plucked from onlookers, but the shame was nothing compared to what could have happened had I allowed my instinct to take hold.
"Please don't be mad at Edward, pencil Edward says he was only trying to help," the child implored, doing her best to get me out of trouble. I shot her a wink hoping to convince her it was under control, but much to my surprise she'd pretty much taken it in stride. In fact, if I didn't know better I'd have sworn she found the entire thing amusing; was the gas working already, did she not fear me and why can't I hear her thoughts?
CPOV: "Edward! Have you completely lost your mind? Explain yourself!" I demanded shoving him into an empty staff room and slamming the door closed with my back.
"I― I do not think I can, it is not normal for a human to smell like that... Her scent, I― I have never experienced anything like it..." he trailed off into thought.
"Son, please," I encouraged, pinching the bridge of my nose for patience, "we are short on time. The child requires urgent treatment and this delay risks complications." His head snapped up at the grim prognosis, he did not need a mouthful of medical jargon to know I was serious.
"If something were to happen to her, I couldn't... I'd feel terrible," he glanced up at me, confusion evident in his mahogany eyes, "what's going on? I mean she looked at me as if we were old friends! And, I can't, I cannot hear her thoughts," he frowned shooting an accusing expression my way, "and how come her scent does not affect you?"
"Firstly, you need to calm down. I am not certain what this is, but I am certain that it is effecting you and that now is not the time to discuss it. I need you to go home. We can figure out whether you want to eat, date or father her later." I replied in a bemused tone.
"But, I― I can't leave! A qualified surgeon may be present, but," the boy blanched, completely oblivious to my failed attempt at wit. "Forgive me for prying, Father, I see an intern a clumsy intern doing the work."
"You know how I feel about privacy, Son." I warned, Edward knew such self-serving invasions on my thoughts were never appreciated.
"Besides it would seem you are opposed to a simple sedation so how do you suggest I proceed?" he frowned but did not argue. Besides, I had bigger problems not least of which was putting some distance between Edward and Isabella.
"Isabella? Her name is... Isabella?"
"You know 'what'!" I rebuked, and he dropped his gaze. "Enough of this, you will go home now. I will not say it again, understand?"
"B―but, Carlisle, what about BELLA!" he persisted shakily.
I could not believe my ears. Of course this was not the first time Edward or any one of my adopted children had challenged me, but I was shocked that something so trivial had caused this latest incident.
"Dr Cullen?" It was the Nurse I'd left in charge, she was tapping on the door.
I ignored the door for a moment, an ominous glare fixed firmly on my defiant son, "SIT! DOWN!" I commanded evenly, and to his credit this time he was quick to oblige. I opened the door, my gaze locked on his for a moment longer before collecting myself. "Is everything aright, nurse Cooper?" I feigned a cough to cover my smirk when I glanced down to find the young woman sitting obediently on the chair outside. Hmm, a little too much volume….
EPOV: Bollocks! Ok, just wait it out then plead temporary insanity... Driven mad by her intoxicating smell! But that would hardly aide my cause. Cause? What cause! What am I thinking? Argh. Stop it! Just stop it and perhaps he won't use my limbs as firewood. Carlisle's chuckle interrupted my thoughts, but his humorous disposition was short lived and seconds later I was dragged rudely from my chair. An instant later the unyielding hospital wall connected hard with my right cheek.
"Oaff! Carlisle, please!" I pleaded, but I knew this punishment well. Besides, while he took care of Cooper I had entertained everything from death by dismemberment to unspeakable humiliation, so I certainly wasn't about to complain...
I had just turned fifteen, I could hear my Mother pleading with our doctor to spare my life, pleading as if the poor man had a choice in my mortality! I barely had time to feel sorry for him before hallucinations began to mess with my mind, I felt cold wind rushing past me as if I were being whisked from roof to roof. Unfortunately the thrill ended there as his shocking words confirmed this was no hallucination, "Edward, son, look at me." there was a sense of urgency behind his honey eyes as he placed me on a single bunk, "you are going to die. I can prevent this but it will be excruciating and perhaps a fate worse than death itself. I promised your mother I would give you this option, do you understand?
"Y-yes, please... I don't care. I am not ready to die. I must live. Bella," I mumbled incoherently, although something in my dying words must have struck a chord with him as a second later sharp pain ripped through my throat and I was in agony!
Several decades later I find myself the youngest member of a vampire coven whose leader treats me no differently now than he did all those years ago. Is no credit given for mental maturity!?
"One hour and not a second less," he stated coldly, releasing his grip on my neck. I groaned as he held a penny against the wall millimetres from my nose and waited for compliance.
I pressed my nose against the coin, holding it fast to the wall and did not move. It was kinda hard to speak from this angle so I remained silent hoping he would leave without further comment. I should be so lucky.
"Edward, I'd be lying if I said I was not disappointed. I do not ask much of my family nor do I impose many rules or restrictions." He stopped pacing for a second to cuff my fidgeting hands, he was far from forceful but it was a warning nonetheless, so I did not resist when he pinned my arms behind my back. "Sometimes," he continued without comment, "it is neither the time nor place to argue; you know this." His disappointed tone took on a sharper edge now. "I need to know I can trust you to do as I say when I say it, not just when you feel I have a point! Have I ever treated you unfairly or lead you from the path of righteousness?" he asked pointedly.
"No, Sir" I replied curtly, not at all humoured by this ridiculous predicament. Gods how did he know exactly what to say at precisely the right moment to make me feel utterly ungrateful and uncivilised.
"Very well, leave the childish behaviour to the children, and you won't be treated like one. When the hour is up go directly home. Do not leave via my ward. I suggest you use this time to think about your actions and perhaps ponder their repercussions," his hand clapped my shoulder just hard enough to jostle the penny, but I was quick to adjust and luckily it did not drop. "Thanks to this delay Isabella has missed the first theatre slot."
I whined at this but cut it short at his growl.
"Fortunately, she has a doctor who's had eternity to perfect surgery on the fly. THINK, Edward, think before you act. Not everyone has our abilities to rely on."
Just when I thought I could feel no worse I heard the door slam shut and he was gone.
Barely ten minutes later the door burst open again, this time filling my solitude with whispered assumptions on how I'd come to be in such predicament. Had I been allowed to speak I'd have come up with something clever about taking one for the team so they'd all know not to antagonise their attending. Was it not punishment enough that I could hear every thought? Yep, it was smack bang in the middle of staff handover and this was karma, Carlisle style!
Damn you son of a pastor...