Hello, all! This is my first foray into AU fanfiction, in any fandom! Since I'm a stickler for canon, this story, too, has elements of the canon storyline in it, you'll know what I mean as you read.

This story was submitted as an entry for the Ho Hey contest, named for the song 'Ho Hey' by 'The Lumineers'. The song is pretty much brilliant, and so, this story will seem better to those familiar with the song since it borrows certain words and the general tone of the song. Listen to the song if you haven't, it's beautiful!

As usual, my one and only request: PLEASE REVIEW.


Disclaimer: If you didn't know, Twilight and all its characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. I'm not Stephanie Meyer. That is all.

Day 1

A frantic beeping sounds suddenly in the starkly white room. I wake up with a jerk, my eyes glancing instantly at the monitor. My body responds immediately and joins the nurses rushing into the ward, but my mood remains subdued.

"V-fib!" –I bark as one of the nurses wheels a crash cart in. The defibrillators are handed to me instantly, and while I rub the gel rapidly amidst them, another nurse rips open the front of the patient's gown.


The underdeveloped chest spasms upwards, but the beeps do not stop.


Another jolt of electricity is given, but to no avail.

"Clear!" Another jolt, but the graphs flatline and the intermittent beeping morphs into one long, drawn out wail. But I don't give up.

"Clear!" No change.


"Clear!" Nothing.

"Doctor, we must declare time of death."

"No. Clear!"


With a sigh, I let my arms sink. For a moment, there is no sound except the low, long beep from the monitor.

Then, I say, "Time of death, 3.55 a.m."

The nurses switch the equipment off, and tow away the cart, along with the defibrillators. They knew how much this patient had meant to me, and so they don't say a word. But before they could leave, I speak to them once more.

"Move her to the morgue now. I need to autopsy her."

Disregarding their respectful "Of course, Dr. Cullen", I stalk away.

Many people nod or smile at me as I walk down the corridors. I am reputed for my success rate, but I don't let statistics blind me into arrogance. I know my limits. I know I am just as prone to failure as any other doctor. Often, when success really matters to me, I fail. Like today.

I make my way to the rec room, where there is a passably good coffee-machine. As I wait for the jug to fill, I can't help but think of her face, her innocent eyes that had warmed my heart…

"You probably need something stronger."

The voice is familiar and often welcome, but not at that moment. Bernard is one of my good friends, but even he has never really understood me.

"Coffee will do for now," I say, offering a weak smile.

Bernard raises his eyebrow. "I don't know how you do it, Cullen. You always fraternize so well with the patients, and you'd think that would hinder you, but you never let your emotions run wild when they matter, and you come out with successes anyway. But when you do fail, it's like they're your family."

I try not to answer with an irked quip. "Gastroenterology is wasted on you, Bernard. Psychotherapy has lost a gem," I say instead, falling to wry humour.

Bernard grins. "I thought I said I don't know how you do it. Anyway, you Cullens are pretty hard to figure out."

To which I give my well-practised shrug, the one which I always use when people invariably talk of my family. But I know Bernard is not easily dissuaded, so I drain my coffee and say, "I'm off to the morgue. I'll probably see you later, then."

Before Bernard can say anything, I gave him a brisk nod and hurry out of the rec room.

"Seeya." Bernard says to no one in particular. Then –"Funny people, those Cullens."

The body is already awaiting me on the slab when I reach the morgue. Ignoring my heavy heart, I don my scrubs and get the tools of my trade together. As I am about to slap on the latex gloves, the double doors swing open and a male nurse rushes in with a gurney. I only glance at him at first; the occupant of the gurney is obviously dead, for he or she is covered by a shroud.

"Do you know which drawers are free?" The nurse asks me rather hurriedly.

"I'm not sure." –I say apologetically. Then, noticing his harried expression, I ask, "Is something the matter?"

"There was an accident on Highway 13 –bus, truck and some cars. No casualties, but the ER's packed full." The nurse gestures at his gurney and says, "She wasn't in it. Found at the bottom of the cliffs. Possibly a suicide."

I grimace. Suicides always disconcert me.

The nurse says hesitantly, "As a matter of fact, Doctor, the ER's really short-staffed at the moment. Is it alright if…"

"-if you leave her on the gurney for some time? By all means. It won't make a difference to her, certainly."

The nurse grins at me. "Thanks, Doctor. I'll be back soon to move her."

"Take your time."

The nurse rushes away immediately.

As the doors swing shut, I glance at the gurney. Really, it is in the way standing there, not two feet from the door.

I sigh and trudge over to the gurney and push it a few feet to the left, closer to the tiled wall. The occupant seems to be quite light. I hesitate by her side. I have a sudden wish to see her face, to see for myself what abject defeat would look like.

Gently, I lift the shroud from her face.

And my world turns upside down.

"Last one for the day, Dr. Cullen."

"Thank you, Nurse Leeds."

The woman, at least twice my age, bestows a simpering smile on me and trots away. I sigh. Women are absolute fools sometimes, I think. Then the door opens and a tall, well-rounded woman enters with a comparatively small-framed teenage girl. I can see immediately what the problem is. The girl is limping.

I smile as she settles herself on the chair with a sulk, and try to initiate conversation with a mildly funny icebreaker. "Danced too hard, Miss er-"

"Platt," the woman answers for the girl. "And no, my daughter simply wants to prove she's as nimble as a monkey."

"I fell off a tree," the girl explains, her sulk suddenly absent. "And you can call me Esme," she says, her rosy cheeks dimpling.

"Really, Esme, climbing trees at your age!"

"I'm sixteen, Mom, not sixty."

"Other girls your age-"

"Other girls my age are busy doing drugs and throwing away their virginity," she cuts in abruptly, her voice suddenly mature. "You should be happy I still have some amount of childishness left in me."

"Esme!" The mother sounds scandalised.

I cough delicately. "May I?"

The girl focuses her attention back to me, and, with another shy smile, extends her left leg. I push her scuffed jeans up to reveal her swollen ankle, and flex it slightly. She remains surprisingly still and quiet, despite the pain that she is obviously experiencing.

"Well, it doesn't seem to be too serious, just a sprain. Rest your leg for a week or two and then you can climb as many trees as you like."

"I'm sure she doesn't need your encouragement," the mother says disapprovingly. "You heard the doctor. No more running about from you," she addresses her daughter.

The girl's scowl returns. I glance between mother and daughter, noting the strain in their postures and the sullen gazes directed at each other. I feel a sudden pang of pity for this girl. I certainly would have been much more vocal in my displeasure if I had a mother like that.

On an impulse, I say, "But just to be sure, I think I should X-ray your leg."

Both the women look at me, surprised. I see the similarities in their features in that moment. The mother must have been a handsome woman in her youth.

"But you just said it's just a sprain," the mother says with a frown. "Is there something wrong?"

"No, no. I'd just like to be sure. Injuries like these often present themselves in full force a while after they occur."

The girl is staring at me contemplatively. "If you think it's best, then alright," she murmurs, indirectly silencing her mother.

I beam at her and, ignoring the sudden widening of her eyes, turn to her mother. "Good. If you'll wait outside, Mrs. Platt-"

"Why should I?" –the mother cuts in imperiously. "I'll stay by my daughter's side-"

"Oh, for God's sake, Mom, it's just an X-ray. I'll be fine." –her daughter snaps.


"The Lord's name was not taken in vain. I was beseeching Him to protect me from the pain of this bodily affliction."

The immediate wry comeback surprises me and I struggle to hold in my amused snort. The mother rolls her eyes in a 'whatever am I to do with you' gesture and shuffles out of the exam room.

I let out a silent sigh of relief. "This way, Esme," I smile at her, turning to another door in the opposite wall. She sidles off the chair, and hesitates as I help her onto a wheelchair. "I… I don't know your name," she says slowly, her cheeks very red.

"My name is Carlisle Cullen."

Her voice is very, very soft as she says, "Thank you, Dr. Cullen."

Esme Platt.

Esme Platt is on the gurney in front of me. Under the shroud. Dead.

Esme Platt is dead.

My shoulders sag and I clutch at the gurney. After all I have been through today, this is possibly the worst the fates have thrown at me.

I remember her shy smile, the way her clear hazel eyes had twinkled up at me. How well those eyes had suited her personality –mostly warm brown, with flashes of bright, lively green. I am surprised I still remember that.

My hand drifts to her eyelids and I notice dully that it is shaking. Slowly, I lift the pale lids. In the cold light of the morgue, her irises appear dull and murky brown. All the liveliness has been extinguished with her life.

And that is what I cannot comprehend. How could Esme –the lovely, lively girl who still climbed trees at sixteen- commit suicide? How could she be driven to such desperation?

Even as I ponder over these conundrums, a small part of my brain quickly analyses what I see. It is obvious she has fallen from a great height –all her limbs are bruised and there is an ugly wound on the side of her head. I am sure there are internal injuries as well. The list is probably extensive. She must have died on impact.

I take a deep, shuddering breath and close her eyelids again, standing straight. A strange sort of despair is overtaking my senses, something I know has a simple explanation, but I can't think what it is. I sigh silently and clutch at the shroud.

And stop. The shroud is cold.

Esme's eyelids were warm.

Shock permeates my senses for the second time in ten minutes. Gently, I touch her eyelids again, ignoring my suddenly racing heart. She is cold, yes, but not as cold as the rest of the morgue. She has been in it long enough to reach the same temperature as every other object, though. Unless she is being warmed by something else.

From inside. From her heart.

Instantly, I rip the shroud away altogether and lean forward. No time to waste searching for a pulse, I have to check the source. I place my ear on her soft chest, trying hard to steady my excited breaths so I can hear what I want to, berating myself that I hadn't thought to bring a stethoscope into the morgue.

I catch nothing for three agonising seconds. And then I do. Her heart is still beating. She is alive.

"So why were you climbing the tree?" –I ask as I push her down the short corridor.

She shrugs in her chair. "I like the view."

I chuckle. "That's as good a reason as any."

When we arrive, we find that the X-ray machine is already in use. I find myself quite happy to wait. The girl interests me.

"You said your name is Cullen," she says presently.

A familiar wariness envelops me. "Yes."

"You're the doctor," she says. "The famous rich one."

I give her a small smile. "I suppose so. But I'm still only a medical intern."

She is silent for a moment before answering, "I think what you're doing is wonderful. And I don't mean it like the media or other people do. It must take a lot to go against what you're supposed or expects to do." Again, her mature words surprise me. "It did take a lot," I admit, and realise that she is the first person to whom I am admitting this. "But it is worth the effort, in the end."

She takes this in with a serious expression.

I understand. "I take you are expects to do several things as well?"

She smiles grimly. "Yes. Not like you, not in such a grand scale, but yes. It's so…irritating. And stifling."

"Stifling's the right word," I agree. A moment of companionable silence passes, when she says in a low voice, "But I don't know if I'll ever be able to do something like that. To –to just burn your bridges and just turn your back to every stupid obligation and do what you want."

I don't like her serious tone. Somehow, I feel that this innocent, lively girl must always remain that way. Warm and lovely, and yes, lively. "You do climb trees," I say, in an attempt to cheer her. It works, partly.

"So you got that, huh?" –she asks with a wry smile. "But these little things don't matter. Someday, it'll be something big and life-defining and I… I'm scared I won't say no." Her voice trembles. I wonder exactly what she is going through in her home. I long to ask her, but I know I mustn't pry.

"How did you do it?" –she asks suddenly. "How did you make such a huge choice and stick to it?"

I glance at her. Her eyes are hopeful, and her expression is eager, which alarms me. I am no idol, no rôle model for some teenager to follow!

"I didn't burn all my bridges. Not really. I'm still on the Cullen Industries board, you know. I'm still rich." The last takes a lot to admit. I have somehow managed to keep the true state of my finances private to all outsiders, until now. I realise suddenly that I am telling more of myself to this teenaged girl than I have to some members of my family.

"Oh!" –she says, looking surprised "Why don't you give it all away?"

"Why should I?" –I ask her, grinning.

She seems unable to find a good enough answer. "But… you left that life behind!"

"I wanted to do what my heart called for –and that is practising medicine. I may have no business interests, but I do have every right to keep my inheritance, the results of my ancestors' toils, to myself, don't I?"

She is still frowning, her ideas upset. A sudden fear darts through my chest. I hope she doesn't hate me. And then another thought follows that one –why do I care?

Without answering that thought, I hasten to explain, "I have merely kept it aside, relegating the more demanding responsibilities to my cousin. I live by my own merits and my money does not factor anywhere else in my life."

"But you could give it to the poor, the needy!" –she seems vehement.

"I do donate. I have a charity of my own."

She still seems unconvinced, so I continue, "Look. In twenty years, maybe even in ten, I might be needy as well. I might be in most need of my own money and I won't have it! And then I'd regret giving it away, and begrudge the people that would have benefited from my charitable gesture. It is a very human tendency, and I'd rather avoid that uncharitable feeling." And then, not able to resist myself, I quote, "'Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…'"

She starts at the words. "Did you just quote from the Bible?" –she asks suspiciously.

I shrug, grinning. "I was brought up religiously. My grandfather was a priest."


I grin. "I seem to have upset all your opinions about me. My father inherited the business from my great-uncle, my grandfather's brother, who had no children of his own. As such, we still view all the money we received as our rightful inheritance."

I pause, and continue gently, "I have been given a gift, Esme. A gift to do some good in this world, whether by my wealth or my medical skills. By giving up either one, I reduce my chances of performing services for people who need them."

Finally, to my relief, she nods slowly. "I understand."

"Thank you," I say, smiling back at her.

She takes a deep breath and says with a grin, "So, in short you're just a multibillionaire businessman who sometimes plays doctor."

I grin back. "And vice versa."

At that moment, the x-ray room's occupant is wheeled out. I wheel my patient in with no little regret –I haven't had such a stimulating conversation in months. She seems disappointed, too, and this observation cheers me more than it ought, but I pay no attention to it.

"Well?" –I demand.

"It's her kidneys. Everything else is non-threatening."

Relief courses through me, soothing my frazzled nerves. "Thank God," I sigh.

"Cullen. She still won't make it."

My head shoots up to glare at Bernard.

He shrugs. "Look at her. With healthier organs she would heal. But with that busted-up kidney and all those injuries-"

"Her heart is sounder than an average man's heart!"

"The average man doesn't have extensive bodily damage, loss of blood and postnatal deficiencies."

My own heart, which had lightened for the first time that day, feels heavier than ever. For several moments my throat is constricted and I can't speak.

My expression seems to break his self-possessed veneer, which I'm glad of. Any more smug calmness from him and I'd have punched him.

"She's bleeding out, Carlisle."

I take a deep, shuddering breath. After being so shaken by her near-loss, I cannot countenance losing her again.

"Then give her a transfusion."

"Her kidneys-"

"Then get her a transplant! I don't care, just do something, for God's sake!"

Bernard hesitates, then nods. "I'll get her some blood." He starts to leave, but I stop him. "What about the transplant?"

Although I know the answer, I wait for him to respond. I feel despair and anger creeping up on my senses and I need to find someone to direct the latter on. Bernard fits the rôle of a sounding-board perfectly.

"You know that's not a viable option. Even if she does get on the list despite her injuries, the chances of finding a donor match in time is almost zero. And I'm pretty sure she won't even get on the list in the first place."

Yes, I already know it. But I can't just let her go.

I whirl away and march into the ICU, where she lies, swathed in wires, tubes and bandages.

"Oh Esme," I murmur, gently touching the small bit of caramel-coloured hair that I can reach through the bandaging. I realise anew how beautiful this woman really is, with her amber hair and pale skin. Like some actress from the 30's. Or, I realise, like that fantastical creature, a dryad.

So beautiful. So perfect. And she is dying.

The tears that have been held in check all day trickle down my cheeks. I touch them gingerly. It has been years since I've cried.

"What more can I do?" –I mumble as I stroke her own bruised cheek. "What else is left?"

No answer, of course, is forthcoming, and I spend several moments watching her silently, a tear or two sliding down my cheeks every now and then.

Ten minutes later, Bernard arrives, clutching two I.V. bags of blood and an I.V. line. He doesn't speak or comment on my wet cheeks, for which I am grateful. I watch him hook the bags up expressionlessly.

"What type is she?" –I ask, feeling irrationally ashamed that I don't know.

"B-positive," he says warily.

Surprise, instantly followed by excitement, takes over my senses. It is not a very common type. I know, because so is mine.

And immediately I know what has been bothering me, why I have been feeling that I have not done everything that I can possibly do for her.

Because I haven't.

"Test me," I say, springing up from my chair.


"Test my kidneys. I'll give her one of them."

Bernard looks shocked. "You can't just donate an organ on a whim!"

"It's not a whim," I say as calmly as possible. "It's an informed, rational decision."

Bernard still looks disapproving.

"Would it make you feel better if I called my medical proxy?" –I demand.

Bernard sighs. "Cullen. You are a doctor. You can't start donating organs to every dying patient-"

"She's not just any patient, and you know it!" –I interrupt. "In any case, I'm not her doctor –you are. I'm a friend trying to save her life."

"Just a friend?"

The question doesn't surprise me. If only I knew the answer.

"Run the tests," I say instead.

"Fine. But call your proxy. This madness had better be backed by someone," Bernard responds.

The door of the ICU slides open and I whip around. I feel only slight disappointment. Next to Bernard with the test results, this is the one person I want to talk to at the moment.

"Edward," I greet him with a tired smile. He gives me a brief hug, and sits in the other chair.

"Tell me," he says laconically.

So I tell him. From the start, from when I'd met her ten years ago, to how I'd found her presumed dead in the morgue.

"That was… providential," Edward says. "What if you hadn't lifted the shroud to see her?"

"I know," I say softly. "It's been so close. I could have lost her so easily, but I didn't. And now I can't let her go, not when I've been given such a unique opportunity to save her."

"I agree completely," Edward says, reinforcing my trust in him. "We must take every chance we get to save her."

I smile at him, relieved. "Thank you. That will appease Bernard."

Edward snorts. "Bernard is an ass. Why you're letting him be the attending doctor, I don't know."

"He's a good man," I respond defensively, as Edward always makes me do. "And a competent doctor."

"But unimaginative. Strait-laced."

I shrug. "That's why I'm here. To make the wild and absurd suggestions."

Edward grins. "I can't imagine anyone calling you wild or your ideas absurd."

I chuckle, grateful for his efforts at raising my spirits. "How're the others?"

"Emmett called yesterday, complaining that he'd lost two more pounds. I told him if he really hated running the company so much he should quit and get back into sports."

"What did he say?"

"He said, was I crazy? –sports can become hobbies, but work can't."

I laugh. Emmett Cullen stepped into my shoes when I refused to have anything to do with the running of the family business. I have not regretted that decision since I made it. He makes a formidable Chairman of the Board.

"And Alice and Rosalie are fighting again," he continues, rolling his eyes. "Honestly, you can only do so much with clothes. Why these women bicker about it so much I can't imagine. The clothes aren't even for them!"

"Women," I say, smiling, "are incomprehensible." I glance at Esme lying on the bed and my smile slips away.

"You love her," Edward says suddenly. I don't contradict him.


Edward seems surprised that I agreed so quickly. "But you barely know her! She consulted you –once –ten years ago, as a teenager. You haven't even spoken to her since then…"

"I know," I sigh. "And I don't care."

Edward seems to be at a loss for words. Before he can find something appropriate to say, the door slides open once more. It's Bernard.

He smiles wearily. "It's a match."

Periodic flashes of white blind me as we pass under more fluorescent lights. I glance to the right and see Edward walking next to my gurney, his features set in a grim expression. He rather looks like an angel of death at the moment. Not for the first time, I find myself wondering why he still isn't in a relationship with some nice girl. His looks should have guaranteed that.

Or maybe that's the problem.

I smirk very slightly at my own foolish thoughts. Paternal feelings aside, I'd be a hypocrite if I worried about Edward without recognising that I have the same problems as well.

"Something funny?" –Edward asks suddenly.

"Just… laughing at myself," I say honestly.

"A rare gift," he grins. "Not many people would know themselves well enough to do that."

My gurney passes through another set of doors, and I know from the changed lights above me that we've reached our destination. One of the nurses tells Edward, "Mr. Cullen, you'll have to stop here."

He nods stiffly. I raise my head by an inch and turn to look at him. I know I don't have to speak anything –it's like he can read my mind.

He nods again, smiling this time. "We're all with you on this, Carlisle. You're doing the right thing."

I smile my thanks at him and allow myself to be wheeled into the OR, where Esme lies awaiting.

I catch a small glimpse of her on the adjoining table before the curtains are closed. The one uncovered, unbandaged part of her I can see is her nose. Her nose –and that reminds me of our goodbye…

"Looks like I was right," I say, holding the x-ray up to the light. "It's just a sprain after all."

Is it just me, or does she look a little downcast by this pronouncement?

"So… I don't have to come back for, um, another cast or anything?"

Nope. Definitely not just me.

I smile at her, hoping the reason for her disappointment isn't what I think it is. "You could come back in two weeks for another check-up. In case you want to continue your, er, energetic activities." I wink at her.

She giggles, "Good. Then maybe we can continue our discussion on existential beliefs."

I hesitate before I answer. She doesn't know I'm leaving in three days, my internship having come to a close. For some strange reason I don't want to tell her. I don't want her to know that we'll never see each other again.

I give myself a mental eye-roll. My sleep-deprived brain isn't making sense to me anymore. I really need to rest.

"Maybe. Or we could talk about other things, more childish things," I say. My slight dig at her does not go unnoticed.

"That's unfair!" –she laughs. "I was just trying to piss my mother off. I'm not a child." Her eyes are fixed on mine as she speaks.

I pretend to ignore her implication. "Well, you've definitely succeeded in that. Your mother seems convinced of your immaturity."

"Just the way I want it," she says softly.

Again, I struggle to not pry. This simple teenage girl's life somehow interests me a lot, like an unusual puzzle I badly want to solve. I don't like it. I thought I was above such petty curiosity.

"Well, you sure have chosen a strange way to rebel."

"Would you rather I pierced my nose?" –she asks with a sly grin.

My answer comes pat, truthful. "Honestly, no, I don't. You have a fine nose, the kind that people get surgeries for, and I'd prefer it remained unmarred."

"Thank you," she murmurs, a soft red flush creeping up her neck, her sudden shyness surprising me. "That has to be the first time someone's complimented me so… frankly."

"Anytime, Esme." I find myself uncomfortable with the obvious signs she's sending me. It's nothing I haven't seen before, but I somehow can't bear such interest on her part. So I glance at the clock, realising that I can't prolong this anymore. "I think it's about time we informed your mother, yes?"

Without waiting for her answer, I stride to the door, open it, and call out for Mrs. Platt, who looks disgruntled as she answers my summons.

"Well? Is it anything serious?" –she asks as soon as she enters the exam room.

Her daughter answers before I can. "No. It's just a sprain. I'm fine." I risk a glance at her. She looks hurt, and I feel a sudden emptiness in my chest at the realisation that I caused her the pain.

Well, I'm sure it's fleeting, my pessimist-self tells me. Just like all the other girls.

"There! See? A complete waste of time and money –and I suppose I'll have to pay for the unnecessary x-ray?" The mother demands.

I try to explain the hospital rules, especially when it comes to bills, to Mrs. Platt as politely as possible. To my intense irritation, she refuses to even listen to what I'm trying to say.

"We never asked for the x-ray! It was all your decision. I don't see why I should pay for your uncertain nature."

"Mom!" –Esme hisses, turning redder than I have seen her yet.

"I'm not wrong am I? Besides, I hear you have rich friends. Pay for it yourself!"

My irritation quickly turns to anger, and my nostrils flare as I attempt to check my temper.

"Mom, stop it! Just cut the x-ray's cost from my allowance. Jeez!" –Esme snaps.

The thought of Esme paying for a whim of mine disgusts me. I can see how tyrannical her parents –at the very least, her mother –are. What if she's been saving up for something? I can very well imagine her doing something like that.

"That's not necessary," I say in her defence, disregarding the fact that I have no reason to butt into their obviously private matter.

"I don't see how that's any business of yours," Mrs. Platt says with a glare. "Come, Esme."

Esme sidles off the seat obediently and hobbles over to the door. I cringe slightly, noting that she's not even glancing at me.

But at the threshold she stops and turns to look at me. "See you in two weeks, Dr. Cullen," she says with a forgiving smile. My returning smile isn't as wide as I'd like it to be –I know with absolute certainty that I will not see her in two weeks.

"Goodbye, Esme."

My almost solemn answer seems to surprise her, and she hesitates at the doorway, her wondering eyes trained on me. That expression stays even as the door closes; I simultaneously realise that that is the last time I will ever see her. For a reason I still can't seem to think of, that thought saddens me more than I imagined.

After the door closes behind them, I am frozen still for a moment. Then, making up my mind, I get up with full determination and take quick strides to the desk. I rummage for my chequebook in my bag, find it, and quickly fill out the cost of a single x-ray on the first cheque, payable to Esme Platt.

As I place the cheque within an envelope, I try to imagine what her reaction will be when she'll get it. If I know her, and I think I do, she's going to be very angry.

And so I rip out a new leaf from my prescription pad, and, pausing for a moment to form my words, write,

To Miss Platt, a small contribution in support of the preservation of fine, surgery-worthy noses.

Carlisle Cullen

There. Best keep it humorous.

I slip my little note into the envelope as well and glue the flap down. As I write 'To Esme Platt' on the front, I already begin to suppress my thoughts about her. I have taken a surprisingly intense interest in this strange teenaged girl, but I must stop here. It's highly unprofessional, in any case.

Of course, I don't know it at the moment, but I do succeed in my endeavour to forget Esme Platt, somewhat successfully.

I don't consciously think of her until I see her broken, dying body in a morgue, ten years from now.

A/N: I'd just like to explain the kidney transplant. In canon, Esme survives at the last possible moment because of Carlisle's intervention. Nothing and no one else would have saved her. I wanted that same kind of exclusivity in this story.

If Carlisle hadn't offered his kidney, Esme would almost certainly have died. From what Wikipedia and House, M.D. told me, patients close to death with more than one bodily complaint are not often eligible for transplants. Esme came in that category, and thus Carlisle offering his kidney to her is, to me, the human equivalent of him injecting his venom into her to turn her into an immortal vampire.