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Carlisle's Return

Summary:
Edward never came back during New Moon. Carlisle wants too look around Forks just to see how things are, and he's very unhappy with what he finds. Bella isn't herself anymore. Something bad has happened, and he needs to set right what was made wrong five years ago. It's my first fan fic. Please bear with me, and tell me what you think.


Notes:
It's all from Carlisle's point of view.


1. Chapter 1 - The Hospital

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1810   Review this Chapter

I was pleased to see that most of the doctors had changed rotations. Dr. Snow and Dr. Gerandy seemed to have moved. There was less of a chance I would be remembered, less of a chance that someone would see my face and know that I had not changed a bit in the past five years.

I constantly asked myself what I was doing here. It was wrong, and I knew it. Edward – if he could pull himself together enough to know what was going on, I knew that he would be horribly angry with me.

But really, what was I supposed to do? Esme was so sad all the time now. It would be horrible of me not to try to mend our broken family. Edward was practically gone, an empty shell, a ghost of the joy he had been when Bella was with him. I owed this to him.

Dr. Pryce opened the door to the staff lounge, which hadn’t changed at all since I had left.

“I’ll just be a moment, Mr. Cullen,” he said, taking off his jacket and reaching into the closet for a fresh set of scrubs. “Do you wish for a guided tour, or do you think you remember your way around here?”

“I should be able to guide myself, I think,” I said politely, trying to not see repulsed by the idea of being led around my own hospital. I paused in the act of inhaling, frozen. I recognized one of the scents of a patient. I knew her smell better than I knew my own.

“Dr. Pryce, do you have a patient named Isabella Swan?” I asked, scrambling to think of a good enough story that would let me know that she was here.

The doctor’s face froze with something that could have been pain. “Ah,” he said. “Bella.”

I let my own face respond to the pain in his, feeling it pierce my dead heart. “She was the daughter of a… family friend, when I was here. I had heard that she wasn’t doing so well.”

His head shook slowly. “No, she isn’t doing well. You must mean Charlie Swan? Poor man.”

I was frozen with shock. What had happened to Charlie? “Yes,” I murmured. “Poor man. Is it possible, Doctor, for me to see Bella?”
He pursed his lips, deliberating. “She’s in pretty bad shape, Mr. Cullen,” he mused. “She hasn’t moved since they brought her in. We’re getting real concerned.”

“Please, Dr. Pryce. I would really appreciate just a moment to see her again.”

Dr. Pryce nodded. “I’m sure no one would mind. I’ll take you to her.”

No! “No,” I pled calmly. “Could you just give me her room number? I need to do this… alone.”

His eyes were sympathetic. “Room six-oh-two, Mr. Cullen. I realize this must be hard for you and your family.”

The six hundreds? That was where they used to put the patients that they believed were terminal. “Thank you, Doctor.”

I hurried out of the room, running once I was out of sight. The need to see Bella was suddenly overpowering. Her scent brought back so many memories of a time long forgotten – a happier time, when my family was whole and Edward was not so broken. When everything was the way it was meant to be, instead of the way things are now. I burst into her room, and stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of her.

The poor thing had barely changed, in principle. Her face was still exactly the same, only a little more worn. If her body had changed at all, it was only that it was more frail She didn’t look as if she had aged much.

But in reality, she was totally different. She was not the Bella I knew. Her face was etched with deep lines – not from age, but from grief. I could see where it had left its mark on her brow, where her lips had turned down into a near permanent frown. Her eyes were set deeper in her face, which had become significantly less plump. She looked haunted, waxy and unhealthy. I could see the pain that we had left with her, and felt immeasurably guilty.

She was much thinner, looking so much more breakable even than she had the last time I had seen her, when Edward had thrown her into a pile of crystal plates. Her injuries looked much less curable than they had then. Bruises ran up her arms and across her neck. One of her arms was broken, and her foot was in a brace. But there was something else. Something much more horrifying. Her stomach – it was a small mound under the blankets. A new life inside her, I knew. But whose? I instantly knew the problem. Her body was far too frail to support another, and she was far too injured. Who had done this to her? Why?

The heavy, woody smell of dog was hanging in the air around her. I had thought they all left. Why now? Why Bella? Could they have done this to her?

I sank into a chair at her bedside, stroking her mess of long, tangled hair automatically, instinctively disapproving that she had not been cleaned up. I was at a loss for what to do. Dr. Pryce had been right in saying she hadn’t moved since they brought her. I couldn’t entirely determine the cause of her coma. Shock, perhaps?

The question that now remained was what to do? I couldn’t call Edward. He wouldn’t answer the phone, and if I told him where I was in the off chance that he would actually speak to me, he would come and kill me. Who could I call? Who would come? I knew they all would come – willingly, too – but there was nothing they could do. I needed Edward here, badly. But first I needed to find out more about what had happened in Forks since we had left. I needed to see the dogs. I needed to find Charlie.

But I was so unwilling to leave Bella’s side… I stayed there for at least an hour, just stroking her hair, working out the tangles absently with my fingers. It occurred to me in passing that she would be as old as me now, but she didn’t look it. She looked younger, even. So much frailer. My heart was breaking. I was sad for her. Sad for Edward. And furious at whoever had done this to her.

An hour later, I felt compelled to rise. Watching Bella sleep had given me a sense of purpose. Seeing the frown that etched itself onto her face had motivated me to avenge her injuries. I wouldn’t do anything drastic, of course, but I had to do something. For her sake, and for Edward’s.

I stopped in the staff room, and Dr. Pryce was chatting with a nurse. No one I recognized, thank God.

“Mr. Cullen!” he said, turning instantly when I walked in the door.
“Thank you for allowing me to visit here, Doctor,” I said heavily, unable to keep my emotions completely out of my tone. “If it is quite all right with you, I will be back to visit dear Bella.”

The doctor’s eyes lit up. “That would be very welcome, Mr. Cullen. I fear that ever after the horrible incident with her father she does not have many visitors anymore. You have to feel sorry for the poor girl.”

I did. More so than he could imagine. “I will be back. Good day to you, Doctor.”

I hurried outinto the rain, got into the Mercedes and paused. Part of me desperately wanted to call someone in my family – to tell them where I was, and what I was doing here. But surely, Alice would have seen my by now?


I was torn with indecision – something that I rarely had to face. My choice was made for me when the phone rang, and the number on the caller ID was Alice’s.

“What?” I asked. I had been silent for too long, and my voice sounded strangely harsh and strangled in the silent car. I could hear my pain, barely concealed.

“Carlisle,” she sighed. “Where are you?”

“Haven’t you seen that, Alice?” What was wrong with me? Why could I not be civil to my own daughter? The image of Bella’s broken body flashed before my eyes again. I knew I could never rest until I saw her alive again. I feared I would be horribly temperamental until then. I needed to move, I needed to solve this puzzle. I almost hung up on Alice, because she was holding me back.

“Carlisle, what are you doing there?” she shrilled. “God knows I’ve wanted to go there myself, to see Bella, and to mend what’s been broken. But how could you do that to EDWARD?”

“Alice,” I said, as calmly as I could, “Bella’s in trouble. She needs me here. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but I’ll find out, and I’ll call you again. Please don’t tell Edward, and don’t come after me.”

“What do you mean, Bella’s in trouble?”

I wondered if telling her was the wrong thing to do. It was too late to change that. “Alice, I’m on my way to Charlie Swan’s house. I really should go.”

She paused, still shocked. “Can you tell Bella I say hi?” she asked cautiously.

“No.” I hesitated. “Bella is in a coma.” And then I hung up on her.
I set the phone aside and pressed my fingers to my temples, leaning against the steering wheel. What a mess. So many loose ends to tie. So many things to sort through, Wouldn’t it just be easier if Edward could come back and fix everything?

I twisted the key in the ignition and began the fast drive down the wet road to the Swan house. I didn’t think that Charlie would be very happy to see me, but I had to find out if he was okay, and what had happened to Bella. I knew that hospital policy specifically said I, an outsider, could not have asked that of Dr. Pryce.

I stopped the car across the street, and stared at his house. Emptiness screamed from Bella’s window, and the rest of the house seemed slightly deserted. His cruiser was in the driveway. That was a good sign.

With a heavy heart, I climbed up the stairs to the front door, paused, collected myself, and then knocked three times.

The Charlie Swan who answered the door was a different Charlie Swan from the man I had known. He was thinner, worn and older. His hair was graying now, and he was losing some of it. He looked sallow and unhealthy, and I guessed he was having heart problems. The rhythm of his heart sounded off. He looked sweaty and exhausted, mentally and physically drained.

He squinted at me. “Carlisle Cullen?”