Disclaimer: I'm not SM, merely playing in her wonderful driveway with her awesome toys.
Scenes changed in and out like a nightmare playing in strobe light fashion. Time passed, of that he was certain, but he didn't know how much happened in the black spaces between glimpses of bright light.
Over and over the scene played out in his head. He remembered rushing into the house, seeing blood and glass all over the floor. Emily Uley's face was gashed open, though her groans told him she was alive. Jacob Black was dead, his body sprawled between the back porch and the Uley's living room, with a giant shard of glass sticking out of his throat. Edward's partner was already phoning in an ambulance and back up, g'dammit.
All of that faded into the background as Edward ran down the steps, looking around frantically.
"Bella!" Sam Uley's voice half pleaded, half growled, drawing Edward's attention into the forest. He ran. He ran and prayed to beings he wasn't sure he even believed in that he wouldn't be too late. Edward burst out of the treeline, finding himself precariously near a cliff. One glance down a ways from where he emerged he spotted his quarry.
"Bella, please. Let me explain." Maddened, his smart dress shirt streaked with blood, Sam approached Bella, his arm extended. She skittered back, but there was no where left for her to go.
"Bella!" Edward yelled, running toward them.
She looked up, her frightened, furious eyes finding his for one, two, three beats as he flung himself forward. Then her feet scrambled for purchase and she fell backward, screaming his name as she tumbled toward the water.
"Bella!" he yelled again, and he flung himself off the cliff after her, ignoring the man who had been his target for so many long months.
The tumultuous sea below them swallowed Bella and the sound of her scream seconds before the ice water hit him like a brick to the chest. That was where the scene began to fade in and out. He remembered forcing himself to cling to the edges of consciousness that wanted to fold in like a flower as the day fell. Somehow, he'd managed to succeed in his singular task, despite the waves threatening to beat him and his charge against the side of the rocks. His arms locked around Bella, he dragged her to the rocky shore before he passed out.
It seemed only a second later that he heard his breathless partner shouting. "Don't be dead, asshole. I'm not doing all this fucking paperwork by myself."
Edward's head rolled against the rough, pebbled beach and he opened his eyes. It was another sight he wouldn't soon forget. His partner was bent over Bella, his lips pressed to hers. Edward would have been jealous except that he was completely frantic. Bella's skin was a sickly gray aside from the river of crimson that fell from a wicked looking gash on her forehead. The chill from the water was nothing - a balmy day compared to what it felt like when he realized Bella wasn't breathing. He rasped her name weakly before darkness took him again.
He woke up once in the ambulance, long enough to vomit out whatever was in his stomach - sea water and the disgusting burrito from the corner store his partner had forced him to eat -and to see that Bella was with him. She was breathing, or that's what he surmised given she was in an oxygen mask and not a body bag.
He'd told her more than once that she would look beautiful no matter what she did. Right then, even he had to admit she looked terrible. Though he felt feeble, so weak he didn't even have the strength to be frustrated about it, he reached his hand out, searching for hers.
"Easy, buddy," the medic said. He must have realized what Edward wanted as he guided their hands together. "Better?"
Edward didn't look away from Bella long enough to acknowledge the man, though he was ever so grateful. The blackness encroached again, and he couldn't fight it.
He woke up again in a hospital bed. It couldn't have been too bad - whatever was wrong with him. He wasn't hooked to any machines. His head was threatening to pound right off his neck, and his partner was poking him in the side.
"Wake up you son of a bitch," he muttered. "You're not supposed to be asleep."
Edward groaned and licked his lips. He turned his head, forcing himself to concentrate until his partner and friend, Jasper Whitlock, came into focus.
"Bella?" he said, demanded really. He was weak and still too cold, but she was his priority.
Jasper narrowed his eyes. "Her father's here, and Black's father for that matter. As for Swan... I don't honestly know."
With another moan, Edward tried to get out of bed only to have Jasper push him back down. "You're supposed to be resting. Not sleeping, mind. Resting. Getting warm again. You can't go where the family is - but you knew that. So cool your damn heels and level with me."
Edward dug the palms of his hands into his eyes, trying to tone down the freight train that was barreling through his head. "About what?" he deflected, really just wanting to know, hell or high water, if Bella was okay.
She didn't look okay.
Again, Jasper pushed him backward onto the bed. He was leaning in Edward's face. "There's something going on between you and Bella Swan," he accused. There was no question.
Edward sighed because he always knew it would be Jasper who figured it out first. On another day he might have cared. Today, he would have given up anything just to know Bella was going to survive.
He swallowed hard, staring straight up at the ceiling. "Yeah," he finally murmured.
"Fuck," Jasper swore. He was silent for long minutes before he sighed. "This isn't like you."
"You don't understand," Edward said, an edge of desperation in his voice. "I know what it looks like, but you don't understand what she means to me. I need to see her, Jasper. I need to know she's going to be okay. I can't-"
"Okay, okay, I get it," his partner said, pushing him down again. "Jesus this is all going to hell faster than quick."
"Edward, oh good. You're alert," a voice from the doorway interrupted them. The two men looked up to see a petite nurse with jet black hair walking toward them.
"Alice," Edward breathed, relieved to see a familiar face. "Please tell me what's going on."
"Well, you have a conc-"
"Not with me!" Edward interrupted.
Alice studied him intently for a moment and nodded. "Your dad's in surgery now with Emily Uley."
"And Bella?" Edward asked.
"Critical but stable condition. That's all I know," she said, interrupting him before he could ask. "I'm supposed to be concentrating on you... but Brett said you got agitated in the ambulance until you could hold her hand."
"I'm fine," he insisted. "Alice, I need to see her. I need to be there."
She sighed, rolling her eyes skyward. "What you need is a trip through the MRI machine to make sure that thick skull of yours isn't cracked. But...seeing as I can't get you in one for at least another hour... I'm going to turn my back. Her dad's down in the ER waiting room. If you get worse, your ass better tell a nurse or I'm killing you myself, understand?" she said sternly.
"Thank you, Alice," Edward said, already swinging his legs over the side of the bed.
Alice just shook her head. She turned slightly, looking at Jasper. "You must be his partner. I'm Alice Brandon."
"Jasper Whitlock," Jasper confirmed, shaking her hand.
"Well, I'm sure you deserve double what they pay you. Looking after this one is a full time job on its own," she groused, nodding at Edward.
"Speaking of..." Jasper pulled his phone out and sighed. "It's Banner. Go on, you stubborn ass. I'll fill you in when you get back."
Nodding gratefully, Edward stood, fighting the wooziness that threatened to send him tumbling right back down. Alice was watching... if he showed signs of weakness she was just as likely to strap him to the bed as anything else.
Once he was on his feet, Edward was out of the room as fast as his sore legs would carry him. Trying to keep the urge to panic at bay, he imagined how he would approach the situation.
He'd already decided to come clean about what Bella meant to him. There wasn't anything more important than being able to see her. He wanted the chance to sit by her bedside along with her father.
Charlie Swan might kick him out. Fuck, Charlie Swan might kick his ass. Edward knew he would let him, but he still had some semblance of hope that maybe taking a punch would buy him the right to be there for her.
Nervous on too many levels, Edward reached up to run a hand through his hair and winced. His hair was a mass of snarls, dirty from the ocean water. As if first impressions could get any worse...
He stopped just short of the ER waiting room, hearing that hushed tone he associated with doctors. Quickly, he pressed his back against the wall, sliding as close as possible so he could hear what was going on.
"-on a ventilator for the time being. She inhaled a fair bit of ocean water."
"She'll be uncomfortable," a gruff voice said, and Edward imagined it must be Charlie. He could hear the emotion in his tone. He closed his eyes, remembering the sound of her voice when she spoke of her father. There was such tenderness there, a love she didn't speak about, but that leaked out whenever she talked about him.
Obviously, it went both ways.
The doctor cleared her throat. "Her lungs will recover... but what we're most concerned about is the blow to the head she suffered. Isabella is comatose."
Edward's eyes flew open and he barely caught the cry that threatened to betray his hiding place. He heard Charlie mutter a raw, "Oh, God."
"There's considerable brain swelling. We're working to bring that down, but until she wakes up, it's difficult to tell what, if any, long term damage there may be," the doctor continued. "I'm sorry. I know this is difficult," she said.
"I do have a question for you as to how to proceed treating Isabella. I'm not sure if you're aware, but she's pregnant."
The volume of Charlie's reaction covered the noise of Edward falling to his knees in the hallway. He leaned forward, pressing the back of his hand hard against his mouth. His head spun.
"What's the question?" Charlie asked raggedly.
"Again, I am so sorry. No one should have to make these decisions. But we need to know how to proceed. If we try to save the pregnancy, we'll have to make different choices about the medications we use," the doctor continued. "And there is no guarantee. It's too early to tell if any of the trauma Isabella suffered has had an affect on the fetus."
"Saving the pregnancy won't endanger her further?"
"No. It just changes the way we treat her," the doctor assured.
"Then please, do what you can. It's what she would want."
"Okay," the doctor said, and there was rustling. Edward imagined she was getting to her feet. "You'll be able to see Isabella within the hour. We're going to move her into the ICU. I'll have a nurse come get you."
The silence that consumed the hall was deafening. It was a hospital for fucks sake. Where were all the people?
It was too much, too much all at once. He was scared out of his mind. The idea that Bella would never wake up was very real - too real. It was a concept he couldn't fathom. He'd only barely found her. She didn't deserve to die like this.
On top of the fear and the grief, the guilt he felt was crippling. Kneeling on the floor of the hospital, he bowed his head nearly to the tile, gripping both his fists in his hair. How many times had he assured her that what she was doing, what Jacob Black was doing, wasn't dangerous?. He had convinced her to stay, in fact, when she wanted to leave. Now she was dying and Jacob was dead.
And then this child. He knew it had to be his. Bella hadn't had sex with Jacob for nearly a year. He was sure she would have told him if that changed. But there was one problem.
"It's ... right, Charlie," another voice said from the waiting room. It took Edward a moment to remember that Jasper said Jacob's father was with Charlie. It must have been Billy Black. "It's right that some part of my son lives on."
Pulling himself upright again, Edward rubbed his eyes, wiping away the tears.
To the best of his knowledge, the only people who knew that Jacob and Bella's relationship had been over for the last five months were Bella and himself. How was he supposed to do this? To take responsibility for killing Billy Black's only son and in the same breath tell him that Jacob's relationship the last five months had been a sham? Would they even understand... or would they think she was a cheater? She couldn't exactly defend herself. Jacob knew about them, but they would only have Edward's word to verify that.
The word of the man who had gotten Jacob Black killed.
The word of an FBI agent who had slept with the woman who was part of his sting, who it had been his responsibility to protect.
Edward stared at the bright florescent lights above him at a total loss for what to do.
A/N: This will start updating soon, probably in the next couple of weeks.
Thanks so much to jfka06, barburella and thetinkk for looking everything over for me. I love ya.
So…first impressions? Yay/Nay? Zomg, let me know.