A/N: G'day again, my lovelies.

In all honesty, Carlisle has always been a fascinating character. I only wish he wasn't the ultimate father figure to me because I have enjoyed writing about him in so many ways. Just... GAH.

You know?

But I am proud of this little story, and I'm glad it seems like I've done justice to the man and the pairing.


Five Years Later

There was a time when being on tour took up the majority of Carlisle's year. It had been quite some time since that was the case. This year, he'd only been gone for three months.

What a long three months it had been.

As she had the last three years, Bella had accompanied him for part of his tour. This year she'd only been able to come for the first week - the first two shows. She was a busy woman these days having finished graduate classes.

She was smart - his beautiful wife. Why she had chosen to stay after all the bullshit they'd been through at the beginning of their relationship, he would never know.

There had been a lot of media speculation about their relationship. The paparazzi could always be depended upon. They'd caught him on the campus that very first weekend and rumors flew. Being thrust into the face of the media in the middle of a scandal would have sent more tender souls running for the hills, but Bella was made of sterner stuff.

He was the luckiest man in the world that she'd stood at his side through the good and the bad. They'd married on a whim in Vegas, and she'd promptly threatened to divorce him a couple of weeks later when he sold the rights to one of his songs to Glee.

The house was dark when he returned home. It was the middle of the night, and he wasn't expected home until the next evening. He took a minute to appreciate his house, his home. After three months of hotel suites, even the entryway was inviting.

And instead of the placid hotel paintings, his walls were covered in tasteful decor, modern art, and pictures of his gorgeous family. As he climbed the stairs, he passed pictures of the first time he held Benjamin, knowing he was his son. The two year old looked painfully uncertain in that picture, but Carlisle kept it up to remind them both how far they'd come. The next photo was one of them, Benjamin's skinny arms wrapped around Carlisle's neck. It didn't matter that Benjamin wasn't a child of his body, that his skin was a different, pleasing olive tone. The two in the picture were father and son, their bond irrevocable.

Carlisle stopped in Benjamin's room first.

It was hard to believe his baby was a big boy of eight now. He was old enough that he'd actually come with Carlisle for the first three weeks of his tour.

With his family there, Carlisle could see how much his life had changed just by what he did before and after getting onstage. In his youth, concert days were spent surrounded by people fawning over him: girls, boys. And he didn't crave the attention so much as he craved the atmosphere. It was never not incredible to connect with another human being who had been moved by his music.

When he was tired of being surrounded by people who didn't know him but pretended to, he'd become rather reclusive. There was nothing lonelier than being alone in the middle of the crowd. It took him years to work through Esme's death, and when he had, he'd pulled away from almost everyone. As good as it had been for his craft, he had reached a very sad point without realizing where he was.

Until Bella.

Bella had marked the beginning of a complete change in his life that had only fully come to fruition when he came home to his son and his wife.

Sitting on the edge of Benjamin's bed, he leaned over him, clicking on the lamp. He ran his fingers through his son's silky black curly hair,

As strange as it sometimes sounded, Carlisle had always considered Benjamin to be Bella's child in a way. She'd been the catalyst that sent him down the road that led to him adopting the then-two-year-old boy.

Though it was easy to get lost in the magic that was what they felt for each other, as a father, Carlisle had known from the get go he had to do what was right for Benjamin. In reality, Bella was a twenty-year-old girl without many responsibilities; she could decide to wash her hands of everything in an instant. Despite the fact their relationship was made public pretty much from the beginning, they were very careful around Benjamin.

In the end, though, Carlisle needn't have worried. Bella adored Benjamin. She felt much the same way he did. Benjamin was a clever boy. Even when he was very little, he'd always made them laugh. He was a very independant child, which occasionally made Carlisle sad. Benjamin couldn't stand being cuddled or carried around, preferring instead to walk on his own two feet.

Carlisle had asked Bella once if she felt slighted having to share his attention from minute one of their relationship.

She'd smirked at him. "Your twenties were full of challenges and adventures. You never regretted them, for the most part. My twenties have different challenges, but I won't regret my choices, especially since they mean I have you and Benjamin."

With a grumble, Benjamin shifted, blinking into bleary consciousness. "Daddy?" he mumbled. "Are you real?"

Smiling gently, Carlisle brushed his fingertips down his son's cheek. "Go back to sleep. I'll be real when you wake up."

"Okay," Benjamin agreed, falling quickly back to sleep.

He watched his son sleep for a minute more before he reached over him, turning off the light.

Back in the hallway, Carlisle found his step was lighter. The closer he got to the master bedroom, the more his weariness was replaced by excitement. His skin was suddenly itching with the need to see his wife, to touch her.

Still, mindful that she was likely deeply asleep, he eased the door open carefully.

Bella looked so small curled in the middle of their big bed. When he looked at her, he always had the strangest sense, like he would do anything to protect her. Yet, he knew Bella was stronger than almost anyone he'd known. He admired this woman so very much.

He loved her. Every time he looked at her, he felt that emotion down to the marrow of his bones.

Walking softly, he crossed to the side of the bed and knelt on the floor. He laid his head on the pillow beside her, watching for long moments, re-memorizing the lines of her face. Her cheeks were ever so slightly fuller than the last time he saw her. Her lips were lightly pouted in her sleep.

She was so beautiful, it stole his breath.

What he knew he should do was carefully climb in bed beside her, making sure not to jostle her. He should absolutely not touch her, shouldn't run his fingers over her lips, her cheeks. He definitely shouldn't pull the blanket down off her shoulders so he could see the rest of her.

But then, Carlisle had had just enough willpower to walk away from her once. He'd used up his entire reserve when he let her go. He had none left to fight his urges, especially now that he was so curious about the changes to her body the last three months might have brought.

His eyes travelled down the length of her body, and he gasped when his gaze settled at her middle. His hands were on her in an instant, moving wondrously over the swell that had most definitely not been there when she left him in Phoenix.

"Carlisle?"

The scratchy quality of her voice had always been one of his favorite things, perhaps one of the only things that could have drawn his eyes away from the sight in from of him. He raised his head, his smile threatening to crack right through his cheeks.

"You're home?" She shifted, sitting up.

Rising up, he sat on the edge of the bed, cupping her cheek and kissing her soundly. "Couldn't take being away from you any longer," he murmured between kisses. "I got right on a plane after New York City."

She glanced over his shoulder at the clock. "That was five hours ago."

He tapped the tip of her nose. "You always have been good at math." He kissed her again, just thrilled that he could, and again pressed his hand to her belly, stroking. "When did this happen?"

Her eyes were still sleepy, but there was a mischievous glint in them as she smiled, putting her hand over his against her skin. "Well, about five months and two weeks ago, Alistair and I got a little tipsy-"

She was cut off when he kissed her again, this one hard and possessive. "Alistair, huh?"

"Oh." She giggled when his nose brushed against the skin of his neck. "That was you. I get all you old men mixed up sometimes."

Leaning back against the headboard, he wrapped one arm around her, gathering her close. His hand under her chin, he tilted her head up. "You must keep your husband on his toes, Mrs. Cullen."

She kissed him sweetly, humming against his lips. "Not so sure about that. I talk science to him, and he falls asleep. It's useful, I suppose, because otherwise he's kind of an insomniac..." She frowned at him, her expression hurt.

"That was one time!" he started to defend himself, but she laughed at him, and he had to laugh, too. He stroked her hair reverently. "I did miss you, Bella."

Her fingers played at the nape of his neck, brushing through his hair. Her smile was adoring, loving. "I'm glad you're home." Taking his hand, she put it back to her distended stomach, stroking his fingers as she pressed his palm beneath the nightshirt she wore. "To answer your question, this just decided to appear out of nowhere a few days ago."

Tilting his head to rest against hers, he explored the bump, his heart caught up in his throat. "This is so incredible, what you're doing here," he whispered, turning his head to kiss along her ear. "I love you."

She moved, pressing her body against his. Her hand was on his thigh as she found his lips. "I want you," she replied, her hand moving to unbutton his pants.

Carlisle didn't have to be told twice.

This was the best part about having to go away: coming home to this, to her. It was an amazing thing to be familiar with the small weight of her body as she straddled him, her fingers quick to unbutton his shirt and push it from his shoulders. The softness of her skin, her silky hair beneath his fingers... it was all what he dreamed about every day he was away.

Then there were the delightful new things he was quickly discovering.

When she was with him on tour, she'd still been queasy and tired. Her sex drive had returned when he was much too far away, though it had made for interesting Skype and phone-sex sessions. They'd talked at length about all the things they were going to do when this moment came.

Eager now, he pulled her nightshirt up and off. She'd teased him so often that her breasts were tender, left him aching as he watched her play with herself. He'd sworn payback, and he was quick to enact it. Lowering his head, he flicked his tongue over her nipple, palming her other breast with his hand.

Instantly, her nails dug into his back and she gasped.

He licked and suckled, squeezed, and groped until she was grinding her pelvis against him, speaking in a language that was made up of various curses and pieces of his name. The wanton tone of her words, her moans, was enough to make him hard. He thought she could easily bring him to orgasm, wriggling the way she was on top of him.

But no. He wanted to be inside her when he came.

He slid down until he was on his back. Getting the idea quickly, her hands were back at his pants, tugging. Together, they managed to rid themselves of the rest of their clothes in between needy kisses.

When she pulled back, he sat up, chasing her lips because he was so hungry for her. But she pushed him back down, her hands splayed on his chest. His cock was caught between his body and where she was slick and warm and inviting. He groaned. "Want you," he said breathlessly.

"Need you," she replied. She lifted her hips, and he guided himself inside her.

Home. He was home. This simple moment of connection, with her eyes soft and intense on his and his hand cupped over the life their coupling had sparked into being, was sweeter than any note, more aweing than any lyric.

He liked this position, loved being able to explore her body with his hands as he thrust up into her and she rocked her hips to the rhythm he set. There was a sense of urgency to their lovemaking this morning, a fervor born of too many days and weeks apart. Homecoming was always nice, like they were rediscovering each other, appreciating things they had taken for granted when they saw each other every day.

It seemed to him he had forgotten just how perfectly his hands fit against her waist. He could keep her steady and feel the way her body moved with his. He had a renewed sense of appreciation for how well she knew him, that she knew stroking his earlobes drove him crazy and tickling his sides lightly during sex made him moan.

He traced the pad of his finger over her full lips, sucking in a breath when she took him in her mouth, her eyes holding his gaze. His heart beat faster, his chest expanding in an emotion far too big for his body to hold.

He sat up because even being inside her was not enough. He wanted his body to engulf her. He wanted to feel her nipples against his chest and the hard swell of her belly against his skin.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, her tongue moving along his. When he folded his legs up, needing every part of him to be close to some part of her, his thrusts hit an increasingly frantic pace. She threw her head back, exhaling in a whining gust, and he moved his lips to her neck, nipping, sucking.

The way she cried his name, her tone begging in that single word, made him groan.

"Yes," she panted. "Please," she pleaded.

And when she contracted around him, her moan loud and fabulous against his ear, he was not far behind her.

Heads resting on each others shoulders, they swayed together for another minute more. Her pants were hot against his neck, her hands brushing the moisture from the sweat-damped skin of his back.

Slowly, he raised his head, humming softly to her - one of the many songs he'd written trying, failing in his opinion, to encapsulate the depth of the emotion he felt for her. But as inadequate as his words and music felt, they were what he had, and he sang quietly to her as he guided them both back down on the bed and wrapped her up in his arms.

He was just going to have to hope she could hear all the things he didn't know how to say, all the words to the spaces between notes.

~The End~

Thank you: to barburella, to jessypt, and to all of you for your response.