Title: How could it not have been?

Author: ICMezzo

Rating: R

Characters: Carlisle (Edward)

Word count: 1,300

Tags: slash, vampires, canon

Prompt: 17. Long before he found his mate in Esme, Carlisle shared a forbidden love with [another vampire].

Summary: Temptation comes in many forms. Carlisle's thoughts to his mind-reader.

Author's Note: Thanks to my beta, TwilightMundi, and pre-readers Missyfits and ArcadianMaggie, for their assistance.

This bit of flash fiction was originally written for the Twilight No Stress Love Fest. Thanks so much to those who ran it!

Disclaimer: All Twilight characters belong to Stephenie Meyer, Little, Brown, et. al. No profit was made and no copyright infringement is intended.

February 1919

I...I'm sorry, Edward. I should have better prepared you. Indeed, how could you have known?

And yet, how could it not have been so?

What choice had the young woman in the presence of one such as you?

Did you not also notice her widened pupils? The slight catch in her breath as she first caught the pallor of your flesh, the breadth of your shoulders? Her cheeks staining crimson as she observed the red of your lips, the exceeding strength of your jaw, the narrowness of your waist?

Certainly, it was to be expected, the way her heart would sputter then race in your presence, the organ announcing itself, unaware that drawing the attention of one so new to this life was a foolhardy aim indeed.

Edward, I was foolish not to have cautioned you to the reaction the woman—any woman, and truly, any honest man—would have in light of your new-found grace and eternal beauty. Such physical glory is bestowed upon any pressed into the ranks of immortal death, but yours...Well, it transcends any I have yet encountered. How could she not have reacted as such?

For had I a heart that still beat, it surely would have quickened.

Even back in the dim, death-soaked hospital where I first caught glimpse of you, it would have done so. That time prior to the taste of your heart's work on my tongue, and when yours was still capable of answering in return, were my heart alive it would have pulsed with maddening joy.

And now, comprised as we are of stone and light, were mine yet free to pulse, my heart's fury would rage still; becoming accustomed to your presence would be an impossibility, even though we have eternity.

Yes, I should have anticipated her reaction, and prepared you for the potential onslaught of living desire. For you, taken from life at your young age, how were you to understand the reaction of her flesh?

Without sufficient years and no partner to acquaint you with such physical—no, you simply could not have known. Yet, it is the truth. The heart that called out to you—I should have warned you...had I but warned you, you could have prepared—the girl's young heart, it beat as such for you. Not from weakness, but want.

Edward, the remnants of your life's blood linger in your veins and you are yet stronger than I. Restraining you would not have been within my capabilities.

Yet there, in the unexpected presence of willing blood, where death verily demanded itself through thoroughly arrhythmic beating, you proved stronger than I anticipated.

Stronger than I dared hope for.

For instead of claiming your wanting prey, you turned to me, forgoing instinct for guidance. I can recall, shall forever remember, the look of realization that crossed your features, eyes dark and thirsty yet bright with restraint, pleading for my aid, for a way to ease the bloodlust threatening to obliterate those precious remnants of our humanity.

I have taken so very much from you, yet would give everything I have. The one thing you requested, I could not provide. I had no blood to offer you in her stead, nothing to quench the agony flaming in your throat. Despite centuries on this earth, no true substitute had I found, no balm to ease the pain.

I could suggest but one thing: Distance.

That you accepted this course of action, I am now free to admit, fully astonished me. Do not misunderstand; I have never been so filled with joy. That you chose to run with me was a decision I could not have expected from one so recently changed. Far older than you have succumbed to far less.

And so we ran, the sun our goal, the wind our trail, until space eased the blood fog that clouded our minds—for of course, I feel it too. The fiery scent, addictive and dangerous, I am well accustomed.

But I also know discipline. Scores upon scores of years and not a drop. No, naught but discipline. Never wavering to temptation.

I could not have asked that discipline be your guide; such rectitude is the result of years of arduous practice.

So I understood, of course, when minutes and miles away from the maddening pulse, you cried in agony, fighting every element of your being that ached to return. To kill and quench and flourish. The sound of your voice as you pled for me to distract you from turning back, the hunger in your eyes...Edward, what choice had I but to fall victim to your need?

For surely, it was my need as well.

This society, this world...it condemns love such as ours. As though it could ever been wrong to love one so pure, so good.

Yes, love. It is true. You know my mind, and thus, my heart.

And I know you, Edward. And so I recognize the subtle changeover from thirst to desire as it settles in your eyes, across your mouth, in your stance.

You must understand, previous attempts to deny our passions lay solidly in noble intentions, but when lustful desires are weighted against life preservation, how could I refuse us?

And so, in the face of one temptation, we would fall prey to another.

It is then that I pulled you to me, reaching for you, claiming your attention, slowly backing you up against the rough bark of a tree, barren in the winter's cold.

Your eyes, caught and held by mine, cleared by degrees as I pressed your back to the wood, as I grasped your arms and held them firmly in my control. And to hear you speak my name as you did, need and anguish and desire—of course you know what that did to me. What choice had I but to close in upon your form, until far more than my hands held you to the tree? Molded against you, I finally gave myself the long-denied pleasure of tracing your forbidden lip with my tongue, tasting you for the first time since I'd sipped from your humanity.

Entirely different, newly exquisite.

And, my beautiful one, when your tongue darted out to meet mine, I finally kissed you as I had always dreamed I could, yet never presumed I would.

Taking your hands in mine, flesh warm though cold as ice, and raising them above us to rest against the wood, the entire length of me then woven in and matched to your hardness, the considerable pressure of want pulling me into you. Your powerful need manifest in arching, biting, gasping, pleading.

I relished the strength of your hands as they tore free our garments, the force of your limbs as you freed yourself from my prison, twisting and grasping until the cold ground became our bed.

Clawing hands and reckless teeth.

Mounting hunger, fading thirst.

Desire manifest.

Persons of the softest stone, reaching need and parting flesh, bodies united until undone.

A glimpse of heaven for those believed hell-bound.

Ahh, Edward, I surely should have foreseen and cautioned you as to the reaction of those who should chance to cross our paths. Risking the life of another is not ever—no, even if it ultimately led us to this point—I cannot justify such a grievous error on my part.

Yet somehow, despite oversight and instinct, we flee by choice to the wilderness from this town, each inhabitant and our humanity intact. And we run, newly bound through blood and love, seeking time apart from beating hearts but also to learn the intricacies of two poisoned into silence.

Perchance it is fate, that we would fall together.

For how could it not have been as such? What chance had I in the presence of one such as you?

Truly, 'most none at all.