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Thirty-six Inches

Spoilers for Breaking Dawn. Carlisle and Esme have a conversation. That's the most I can say without spoiling.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1160   Review this Chapter

We entered the room silently. No words had passed between us since they had returned home, since he had agreed with Edward's suggestion. Like the good, supportive wife I was, I had held my tongue. It was how I was raised. A wife does not question her husband in public. The idea was ingrained so far into my being that no amount of venom could ever wash it away.

"You have something on your mind, I can tell. Please, go ahead. Say what you want to say."

I threw a quick glance over my shoulder, watching as he quietly shut the door to our bedroom. But still I remained tight lipped, not trusting myself to speak without anger.

"We've been married for far too long, Esme. I know when you are angry with me."

I moved about the room, straightening the dresser, drawing the curtains closed, switching on the lamps and turning down the bed. Purely human actions, they were unnecessary to our current life but brought a sense of comfort and certainty to my life, which was sorely needed, especially in times like these.


"I cannot believe you. I cannot believe that you agree...." I trailed off, inhaling deeply in an effort to control my temper and trying desperately to keep my voice low, lest our children hear our disagreement. "You, of all people should understand..."

"It's killing her, Esme."

"It?" I scoffed. "We don't know what the baby is doing to her. We don't have any idea what is truly going on."

"Exactly! Which is why..."

I interrupted him, turning towards him and moving across the room, my movements uncharacteristically awkward and rough. "Which is why we shouldn't be hasty! Why we shouldn't condone anything so...final!"

"If we wait, she could die."

"Or she could live. They could live. Our grandbaby could live," I pleaded with him, grabbing at his shirt. "Carlisle, please..."

"You don't know, Esme. We don't know what she is carrying!"

I released his shirt and sighed, shaking my head. "Don't be ridiculous."

"You know we tried. Alice can't see..."

"Are you trying to tell me that you think Bella, perfectly good, perfectly clumsy, perfectly human Bella and our Edward, our dear sweet Edward, created a monster?" I asked in exasperation.

"We don't know!"

"Carlisle...." I sighed. I had been doing a lot of sighing since Bella's phone call to Rosalie. "I know in my heart that there is no way that Bella is carrying anything but her and Edward's child. Not a monster. Their child." I looked into his eyes, begging him to agree with me.

"Look at her, Esme. Look at what it is doing to her.... You saw what losing her did to Edward. Do you honestly believe he will survive losing her again?"

"Yes. I have to..." I ran my hands through my hair in frustration and walked to our bed, sitting on the edge. "I have to have hope. I have to have faith." I dropped my head and stared at the floor.

"And I have to be practical."

I felt the bed shift as he sat next to me. "I know. But Carlisle, agreeing with Edward? Suggesting that she..." I couldn't bring myself to say it aloud. "Did you see her? I don't need Jasper's gift or Edward's talent to know how much it hurt her."

"She's sacrificing her life..."

"A mother would do anything for her child."

The words hung in the air and once again we lapsed into silence.

"I don't know what to do for her. For Edward."

At his confession, I turned towards my husband, my soul mate, and saw the helplessness in his eyes. He fell back onto the bed and covered his face with his beautiful hands. I stretched alongside him and began running my fingers gently through his hair, trying to soothe him, to soothe myself.

"I know. But we have to try. We have to do everything, we have to..."

"But what if we lose her? What if she dies? What if the...what if they both die?"

"Then we will know that we did all that we could. That we did everything in our power. Carlisle, if I could have saved my son by giving up my own life, I would have. Gladly."

He removed his hands from his face and took hold of mine. "Esme, I am so sorry. I know this must be infinitely hard for you."

"I understand Bella. I understand why she's doing what she is. Carlisle, put yourself in Edward's shoes..."

"I'd save her."

I shushed him and placed a finger against his lips. "I wasn't finished. Imagine if things had been different. Instead of you leaving after you set my leg, you stayed. Instead of marrying when we did, we married when I was human..."


"Hush," I smiled sadly. "What if I were the one pregnant? If I were pregnant with your baby, with our baby?" I once again stressed the word baby, again trying to convince him that that was what Bella was carrying. "What if I were suffering as Bella now suffers?"

"I'd save you. You know that I would. I know what life is like without you and I cannot face it again."

"Would you? Would you sacrifice your own child? Let your child die without trying? Or would you do everything within your power to save us both?"

I watched him as he thought and it was quiet for a long moment.

"I'd want you both."

I kissed him quickly, then laid my forehead against his. "Of course you would. Because that's who you are. Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Healer. Protector. Savior."

He closed his eyes. "How? Just tell me how? Tell me where to look!"

"We'll figure it out. We always do."

I pressed myself against him, draping my arm across his chest and nuzzling my face into the space between his neck and his shoulder. "We just have to get them to 36 weeks."

"Centimeters. Bella's progressing much faster than any normal pregnancy."

"36 centimeters then. Viability. That's our goal," I squeezed him closer to me, trying to force my faith into him. "We save them both. We save Bella. We save our grandchild. And by doing so, we save our son, we save Edward. 36 centimeters, Carlisle." I lifted my head and looked into his eyes. I hoped he could see how much I believed in him, in his abilities as a doctor, as a father. "36 centimeters."

"36 centimeters."