Title: Phoenix

Written for cloemarrie

Written by Rebadams7

Rating: T for Teen

Summary/Prompt used: 2) Childhood friends become a couple but a tragedy strikes and separates them. A decade later they cross paths what will happen?

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The rain, spied out the back door, while on a short break, always brought out memories.

It had been a rainy afternoon just before the start of third grade when the Masen's new neighbors moved into the Cape Cod just down the block. The new Chief of Police was just in from the East, and his parents, Elizabeth and Edward met the Chief and his wife at the back to the classroom pot luck. Over heaping bowls of cole slaw and potato salad the couples had became friends The same could not be said of their children. Bella was very shy, preferring to sit at the farthest picnic table, a thick book perched on her lap. He recalled barreling right into her as he ran sideways to catch a frisbee thrown by his older brother Emmett. Emmett was from his Mom's first marriage, his father having given his life for his country as a Marine. Emmett was about twice Edward's size, having been nine when his baby brother arrived. He had just graduated from high school and was preparing to start college, after Marine basic training, of course. He'd joined the reserves in honor of his dad.

Bella was too shocked by the impact to cry out loud Suddenly her silent tears turned angry - she'd torn her book with her tumble. Emmett had been surprised to see such a little girl reading The Diary of Anne Frank. He recalled hearing his brother quip to Mom about the little genius that Ed had run over. In the coming weeks it would give him something to laugh about in Basic, as his Mom would recount many tales from Ed's classroom in her letters. She wrote how his brother and Bella had fallen into quite a rivalry.

Their antics became the stuff of legend. Quick wits, feeding off each other, words giving them their only level field of play as Edward had musical and athletic gifts. Bella was neither co-ordinated nor inclined towards any musical instrument. That would change with the Christmas Holliday celebration at school. Unbeknownst to the parents, Bella won a spot and would be singing a solo, accompanied on the piano by the best young pianist in the primary division - Edward.

His thoughts turned to their first concert. Her brown curls shone in the spotlight, a doe eyed angel bringing the assembly to absolute silence with her voice lifting, filling the vast gymnasium.

In his mind he saw himself after the concert, Bella had sat in an alcove, watching the crowd disperse through the lobby of the high school auditorium. She hadn't noticed the holiday decorations over her head.

Edward, after being prompted by his father, had brought Bella a cup of punch and a cookie. It had not been too bad to learn the song, and Bella was easy to play for. She worked hard to stay in tempo.

One of the high school choir members had tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, your girl is under the mistletoe! You know the rule? Right"

Edward had shot the teen a puzzled look as he replied "What rule?"

The older boy could not resist teasing the kid a little bit. The twerp could really play after all, better to keep him grounded. "You have to kiss the girl you find under the mistletoe, else you will never find your true love."

Edward had again stared at the older boy. Then he shrugged and continued to walk over to Bella to set the cookie and punch next to her. He had taken a deep breath and was leaned in, planning to kiss her cheek. Bella chose that moment to close her eyes and turn her head towards the cookies.

Their lips, moist with Carmex and sweetened with peppermints from backstage, met with a brush. At first they each thought they'd been shocked, but not hard, though rather softly, it sent a good prickle that ran from their lips to their toes. Wide eyed they each leaned back just enough.

Neither would admit to either that it had been an almost magic kiss, at least not till the next time they kissed, but that would not be for five more years.

A game of spin the bottle would mark the opening act of their teens. It was set in Jasper's basement for his 13th birthday. His parents thought taking the entire seventh grade bowling would be a fun evening. Of course it would..right? Not everyone's parents were driving, so seven boys and girls were waiting out the drizzle and the late arrivals in the game room. Jasper's birthday fell a week before Valentine's day and Alice was determined he would be hers. She'd arrived drinking a bottle of IBC root beer and gathered the assembly around the pool table. It didn't take much convincing to start the game.

The first spin set up an all girl kiss and that quickly changed the rules - opposites only. Jasper took the first official spin, and Bella with rose tinted cheeks, barely brushed lips with the birthday boy. It was apparent that there was no attraction, and perhaps a slight magnetic repulsion.

Bella was the next to spin. She crossed a finger as she twisted her wrist. She'd only admit to being a sucker for the color green, but not say why.

Childhood is the kingdom where no one dies. It does not fall away gracefully for most of us, and the awkward years begin with the river of hormones that can run amok and it might close with the thud of a fast beating heart- or in a more final way, the thud of a casket closing.

There would be no such sad sound that night for Bella. It was the thudding of two hearts in unison. It was as much a real kiss as either could imagine, tongues peeping out in shyness to merely moisten nervous lips, making contact, and like pilots of old, they found they were clear for take off, until the chuckles of the children around them broke the bubble.

Things just sweetly grew from there. The innocence of holding hands to good night kisses. To group dates and first car nights, movies and dances. The jealousy and petty antics of others served only as amusement and cautionary tales as they watched other couples come and go.

April of their senior year of high school found Bella and Edward at a crossroads, not in a splitting sense, but Edward was needed with his family at an engagement party for his Brother- it would have been called a shower but since whole families were invited, a party was what Edward called it. Bella was off in the opposite direction for Nana Marie's 80th birthday bash.

It was the simplest of good-bye's, more of a I'll call you tonight or dinner on Sunday when we both are home. Bella sent a present with Edward to Rosalie, having met her the previous summer and the two had become close via emails and texts. The silver lining in the unanticipated storm cloud that was fast approaching.

Gentle rain had been falling all afternoon as Edward had sat in the basement "den" with his brother and a multitude of cousins and neighbors along with his brother's fiancee's family. After all, one can only take so much of ooh's and aah's over towels and such, the liquor registry and the power tools were much more interesting to the male side of the gathering.

Edward wasn't a big drinker in high school, he had better things to do at parties when he and Bella did infrequently attend. It was probably only the second time he'd drank so much, shots at that, not just beer. Felix, the next door neighbor had challenged a few to a little drinking competition and Edward hated to lose. He just had no idea how high the stakes would go.

The slick road made for an even slipperier slope as Edward slid down the embankment to empty his stomach. Ten minutes into the ride to the airport he begged his father to stop. He did not want to ruin the inside of the rental. He already hated the disapproving face his mother had made as he'd climbed into the back seat with a groan as they left the party to head home.

Their choice of rental was happenstance, so was stopping on the shoulder of the road in Cicero. Ten minutes. Those ten minutes changed everything.

Bella woke on Sunday to an eerily quiet house. Her mom and dad were usually first up, and the traditional clink of pans and smell of coffee was missing. She tossed on a robe, anxious to see if anything was happening on the first floor. She spied her parents sitting, the little white tags hanging over the rim of the red mugs. Tea was for illness or upsetting news, like the passing of Papa Robert. The sight froze her in the kitchen doorway as her mother spoke softly. "Bella, honey. Come. Sit. We have some ... upsetting news."

Bella would lean on Rosalie and Emmett as much as they leaned on her to get through the next few weeks. It was decided to go on with the wedding, with the addition of three portraits in black frames in the front pew of the church.

All the ribbons and flowers could not erase her memory of the ceremony held there just a month earlier.

Emmett and Rose left the reception shortly after the first dance. Bella watched them go, twirling her bouquet in her hands, wondering if she'd ever have a good reason to see them again. They needed to go, live, heal. They had each other.

She had an ache. A hole that threatened to swallow her from time to time The night of prom, her girlfriends had ambushed her, getting her ready and taking her for photographs, insisting she attend a little of the dance. The sad looks from the friends and couples killed her inside, but she put on a brave face, imagining he might see her, and again at graduation as his name was read, Emmett accepting Edward's diploma. Ben mentioned him in his Valedictorial address. Bella wasn't really there that day, instead, Bella placed her faith in going off to college.

The change in scenery would help, and Rosalie had offered to show her around Seattle.

The rain had stopped and the August heat filled the street as Bella emptied the trunk with her father, carrying things into her dorm. Rose was helping her finish unpacking while she said good bye to her folks downstairs. Twenty minutes later she found herself staring up from her dorm room floor into Rose's astonished blue eyes, a cold cloth covering her forehead. "What happened?" was all she could croak out.

"Honey, you fainted." Rose helped her to sit up, and regarded her with her head cocked, considering.

A trip to CVS and an hour later Bella would never wonder about having a reason to stay in contact with Rose and Emmett ever again. Because nothing is perfect, nothing is 100% certain. Nothing.

Anthony Edward and Carlie Marie arrived early, Bella gave them Edward's last name. She felt well enough to still take her finals for her first semester.

Emmett and Rose bought a four bedroom house, insisting that Bella finish school. It took six years. Anthony was all Edward, except with Bella's brown eyes and hair. He took to the piano all on his own, starting at four. Marie was the benefactor of soft reddish curls and bright green eyes. She danced to whatever tune her brother played and could sing along, conjuring her own lyrics when there were no words known to her. They eased the ache in three hearts, the only odd moment was when Charlie mentioned shooting Edward if he'd ever show his face again, but only his car as he'd be so glad to see him. It should be mentioned Charlie was quite drunk at the time.

Marie took up the Cello in kindergarden. It was quite a sight to see the pair practice.

They loved to play for their tiny cousins. Rose and Emmett's firstborn was Robert Edward followed by Carol Elizabeth almost two years later. It was a full house.

The twins joined a youth symphony in third grade. Bella watched them grow, working toward contentment in their presence, finding it in simple things like having a good enough job as to purchase her own house. With her family as her world, she never took much interest in the men around her. Insurance was good steady work, but no passion and there was no passion in her life other than doing well for the twins. The one true thing that brought life and light to her face was listening to the music the children made.

Tony continued to watch the rain. He hoped Dr. Cullen and his wife made their flight on time. It had been a nice surprise to see them at the conference at the Hilton. Twelve years is a long time. It might be just happy coincidence they were now in the same field of medicine. Pediatric Trauma was a small specialty, so there was always hope now. His pocket buzzed. The pager showed the most feared code, the one for a mass casualty event.

He tossed back the cup and sent off a quick prayer. Never her children, please and help me save the rest.

The spring youth symphony concert tour would start in Rockford, Illinois, then off to Madison, Wisconsin, doubling back towards South Bend, Indiana. The Grand Finale would be with the Chicago Symphony. Afterwards, the driver of the truck was unconscious and would never again wake to contribute to the why of the accident. The three critical adults and the eleven seriously wounded children were removed via helicopter and and ambulance. Bella insisted Anthony go with his sister. It seemed to her that Carlie was the more injured and would need someone. Bella had no thought for herself, just keeping them together.

Mud and rain can obscure things, adrenaline and clinical resolve can repress others. Tony met the chopper and listened as the transport team rattled off the information, he called out the orders as they transferred the patient to the treatment table from the gurney. He didn't notice the boy who scrambled down from the copter and followed them right into the room. The boy hugged the wall, ignoring his own pain, staring at the doctor who strangely reminded him of someone. He considered his favorite TV actors as the doctor flashed a light into his sister's eyes and called out. "Sweetheart, you are in a hospital. Can you squeeze my hand?"

"Her name is Carlie. Carlie Marie Masen."

"Masen. Carlie Masen."

"Yeah. Mom is? I don't know where she is. I was told to go with my sister. I think she went by ambulance."

Tony stared into the green eyes that were struggling to focus on his face. "What's her, I mean your mother's name?"

"Isabella Swan."

Just then the portable X-Ray arrived and everyone moved to allow them to work. Tony turned and looked into an achingly familiar pair of brown eyes. This couldn't be real "How, how old are you, your sister?"

"We're 12. We're twins. You. Doctor? You look like someone I should know." Anthony continued to stare, willing his face to stay calm before he spoke again. "You look like...ah, never mind." In his mind the words ran round - my dad's picture. He's dead.

"I'm sorry? Ah, let me finish up with your sister and we can see how you are doing. How? Ah, where your mom is too." Tony's hand rubbed the back of his neck and he nodded.

Tony consulted with the surgeons and determined some abdominal repairs were necessary, along with setting her leg. A strange reluctance came over him as he turned her care over to the surgical team, then he started checking over Anthony. A sprained wrist and a few cuts and abrasions seemed to be all he had to bear.

Anthony never took his eyes of the doctor. He watched his hands as the MD examined his wrists. A melody came over the curtain of the treatment room, from someone else's TV. Classical piano. He drew a sharp breath. In his mind he saw the DVD of his father, playing a concert as a teenager. He knew his father would have studied to be a doctor. He knew.

"Who are you really?"

"Anthony, I'm a doctor. I'm Dr. Peterson" All the years of hiding weighed on his shoulders as he began to do a quick mental calculation. It couldn't be. Would anyone have told them? Agent Davis had let them know before the trial that Rosalie had married Emmett on schedule and Bella had graduated, gone off to Seattle, so he could not go there. He'd only been back in Chicago for six months, because of this fellowship. He'd be back in Philadelphia in six more months. He had to be sure. "Anthony who is your father?"

Anthony studied the face in front of him like a puzzle that was needing to be placed in order. He chewed his lip just a little. " Edward Masen. He was killed in a car crash not too far from here. Mom was afraid we'd be close to where it happened. That's why she volunteered as a chaperone. Guess she was right to be afraid."

Breaking protocol, Tony pulled the boy into his arms. He placed his chin on Anthony's head. "It will be alright." Son. He had to keep a grip, see their mother. He had to make sure they were alright.

Bella arrived by ambulance at a local ER and wasn't deemed too serious at first, but her answers to the nurse grew more scattered as the night progressed, till she fell asleep and couldn't be roused. With no neurologist on duty, the Lifelink chopper was called out again.

Tony sent a text on a disposable phone from his locker. It had been years, but he'd never let his guard down. Never got close to anyone. Aside from a few drunken escapades just after finals a few times, he'd done little more than kiss and run. No one deserved to be tainted with his danger. His innocence had been stolen on a roadside and he would protect them from him if he could find the strength.

He'd never kidded himself. He chose pediatrics because he'd never get kids of his own, this was as close as he'd ever come.

He put the phone back in the locker and banged his head against the door a few times, then he set off for the ICU.

Anthony was asleep in the waiting alcove right by the nurses' desk. Someone had placed a blanket over him and Tony tucked it around him. He couldn't decide if he should run or cry or laugh. A son, a daughter? A chance they would be alone now. He passed the station, snagging Bella's chart from the counter. He lucked out that the pad was still open. He would not have to log in on his code. He was still a ghost in the machine.

Bella was very still, with heavy bandages on her head where they had operated to reduce the cranial pressure and drain the hematoma. Her eyes appeared bruised and her pale skin almost matched the linen on her pillow. His heart nearly stopped as he looked at her. A brace covered her leg. She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen as he watched her chest rise and fall. They'd removed the ventilator already, a hopeful sign, but there was still adhesive around her mouth evidenced by the condition of her skin there. He traced her lips with his finger. He'd crossed a line if anyone had seen him. His heart shattered as he pulled back and watched her lips whisper and form just one word.


A tap on his shoulder brought him out of his reverie. An intense eyed young lady in a navy suit beckoned him to follow her. Figuring it was the answer to his text he followed her into a stairwell. It was just a few flights up to the roof, a place this pediatric trauma specialist knew too well.

Marcus Ceritelli stood in the doorway that lead to the roof. He waived off his daughter, who was all too glad to help her father reward the man who had gotten her mother's killer. Luckily she had friends in the right places. That text was hers first.

"Dr. Tony Peterson. Or may I thank you as Edward. You have done me a great favor."

Anthony woke to a gentle tap on his shoulder. A nurse led him to his sister's room, where she'd begun to stir. He wasn't sure when he could share his suspicions. He had to get his mother to wake up too. He was just afraid they would disappear.

Bella was sure she was hallucinating. She'd regained consciousness bit by bit in the middle of the night and was positive she'd gone mad. Between dreaming of the opening she'd done to each casket, she'd seen him sleeping in the chair in her room.

He hadn't moved much each time her eyes had opened. At first she was sure she was dead, but there was no light to head towards. The soft sounds of the hospital edged into her awareness and she studied the man in the chair.

The hair was so much shorter, but the tone was much the same and the set of the jaw had lost its baby soft edge and now was beautifully chiseled and dusted with a heavy five o'clock shadow. It looked as kissable as it had a decade or so earlier.

Bella's mind turned to her memory of the last kiss she'd given him. The three caskets had been closed and as soon as she was alone, she'd gone right to the latch and opened the one with the blue flowers, hoping for a chance to at least hold his hand. She'd found a cold, hard metal case with a multitude of screws. Frantic she'd checked the other caskets and found the same. She'd sagged and sobbed in the pew, when a lady had come and explained what was going on. It didn't help much but at least she understood how little remained of her future. They'd only had a few weeks of their love before all their dreams had ended in a fireball on an Illinois highway.

She'd placed a kiss on the cool, hard steel before the director re-sealed the casket.

There is a moment when you wake, where the world isn't in focus yet, and all seems possible before you fully come into your own skin. Tony shifted in the chair and noticed the beautiful brown eyes of his dreams, wide and fearful and hopeful, resting on his countenance.

"I saw your steel case, your casket. I had to close you from my heart but I couldn't. I want... I.. I want to kiss you and hit you and hold you and I hope to hell I am not hallucinating."

"You aren't dreaming Bella. Hell I only had a few more weeks here. It's a miracle. A miracle and you can hit me and kiss me and hold me. I don't care. I won't leave you till you order me away." He stood, "I can't hurt you now - I can't stay away." With that he came to the edge of her bed. Bandages and tubes be dammed and forgotten as two arms reached and two arms lifted into an embrace. It would take a monsoon to hide the happy tears sliding down these blushing cheeks as their words tumbled against each other.

He spent his off day shuttling, back and forth between the two buildings, caring for his miracles, with Anthony's help.

It was decided Tony would assist Bella in crossing the tunnel to Children's where she'd find her children. His story would be told to the family ensemble. Forty minutes and a full dose of Tylenol later, after hugs and making sure each other was as well as the other, Anthony sat on his sister's bed with his mother in a wheel chair beside him. He studied the doctor.

Bella spoke first. "I want you two to officially meet someone. He's going to explain a lot of things to us this morning. I want you to know I love you both and you two are my first and foremost concern, always." She reached and gave each of the twins a hug, then the six eyes turned toward Dr. Peterson.

Tony closed his eyes for a moment, praying he was on the right road as he started his tale.

"I started down the path to become Dr. Anthony Peterson on a rainy roadside here in Illinois, over ten years ago. I'd slid down an embankment in the rain, to get a bit away from the road, and I came upon a horrific sight. Two thugs were wailing away on a petite woman. I threw up on the one guy and he turned and took a swing at me. I saw his face."

Bella's eyes flashed to his. Realization hit. "They hid you? To testify. They hid all of you." She sucked down a long breath. "Witsec." It came out as a whoosh.

"Yeaah. There were some officers that had stopped to check on Mom and Dad. A fuel truck had really crashed nearby, so it created the perfect cover. I was sent off to school after living in a safe house for a year and studying online while waiting. I've only seen my folks once since the trial. Afterwards I was sent to the East coast to study, forbidden from Seattle too. I went to school, them Med school and after my residency, I'm here as an ER trauma Fellow for six months. Before you ask, I've not done much, no other family but for you two."

"You think you are my dad?" Carlie wasn't convinced. She looked over at her mother, wondering if the injury had scrambled her mom more than anyone realized. Her brother broke the silence.

"Sis, he has to be our dad. Look, look at him. Plus he was humming our lullaby to you last night. I heard him." Anthony watched as the realization hit his sister. Their mom had played the CD for them since, well since always. It was the one song that always soothed them.

"Now do we have, I mean to be together, to hide, to disappear?" Anthony scowled a bit with worry as he waited for his answer.

"No, I got some good, unexpected news late yesterday. I was approached by Marcus and Charlotte Ceretelli. I'd done him an unknown favor, helping to put away his wife's killer and helping return their daughter to her father. He'd ended the opposition and had arrived to tell me just last night that I was freed of my hiding. He'd eliminated his enemies and therefore, mine as well. My folks' too. They are living in a warmer climate now..."

The sun was relentless but the air in the rehearsal hall was cool enough for Bella to relax for a while. It had been a busy month, moving into a bigger house and finishing the preparations for the ceremony. Emmett and Rose had decided to christen their youngest closer to Bella's new home, and Bella and Dr. Peterson were going to be the godparents.

Their good friends, The Cullens had encouraged the move. At first they'd had separate addresses, with Bella and the children moving into a townhouse and Tony stayed with their friends. A few months of dating, if you can call it that, mostly pizza nights with the twins and getting them all adjusted to a new place. A brighter, hotter place. With the inclusion in the youth symphony they had found new friends and new energy. All had healed in the sunshine and space provided by the valley of the sun.

Breaking the news to Rosalie and Emmett had been almost the hardest part. Emmett had to hold Rose as she desperately wanted to pummel "Dr. Peterson" Charlie had been more circumspect. "Well, that explains things. He'll be good to you." It was a statement, not a question from his lips, and musing on his expression as he'd sat with her in the hospital in Chicago. Tony had waited in the hall, before entering the room.

Charlie had stared at him and asked an odd question. Where was his car?

Bella couldn't hide her laughter when later Tony reported that someone had shot one of his tires...

He'd asked Charlie for his blessing while they shopped for replacements.

A country song had been playing in the background, Bella recalled, as he had slipped the solitaire on her finger. It wasn't what they usually chose, but When I Said I Do by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman became their anthem.

Now the sounds of the symphony soothed her as she studied her iPad, looking for a good date on her calendar. Then a great location. Somewhere they hadn't visited or he'd hidden in or too grown up for the kids...

It was on the water that they wed, the twins had a cabin near their grandparents and they never did reveal exactly where they were onboard the Epic. After all, Tony had a lot of practice.


Thank you to all the authors who participated in this collection, may the muses be ever in your favor!