all you need is a new lady-friend
Before Edward, Carlisle was lonely.
1. all you need is a new lady-friend
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Carlisle was lonely.
All in all, it was to be expected, really. It had been two hundred years since he'd become a vampire, and after a while, being friendless could be slightly depressing. He needed someone -- someone like a companion, a person he could trust. He spent all of his life restraining himself, reining his blood lust in, keeping his desires on a tight leash.
It would be so nice to just relax with someone. Tell them everything without having to worry about keeping secrets. Rest a little and not stress about maybe losing control.
That ruled a human out -- there was no way he could befriend one. Sure, there were plenty of people at work with whom he was friendly, but that wasn't nearly the same thing. Plus there was that whole predicament about really wanting to drink their blood. No, humans were definitely out.
Where did that leave him, then? Who else would he be able to trust?
The answer hit him, and it was so glaringly obvious that Carlisle had to laugh. He could find another vampire. They wouldn't have to hide anything from each other, and he definitely would never feel the desire to drink a vampire's blood. It was a brilliant idea.
Except for one major flaw, of course. Where would he find one? He hadn't come across a vampire that shared his unusual diet, not unless he counted the Denali coven. Which didn't really count, since they were very happy in their current home and asking one of them to live in Chicago would be rather rude.
Vampires can be created.
As soon as that thought entered his mind, he squashed it down, repulsed by the very idea. He wasn't God. He didn't want to think about what it would take to create a new being, and besides, who was he to grant someone eternal life? That was not his right, not his decision --
But what if there was nothing you could do to save them?
No, he still couldn't do it. He wouldn't.
After all, he wasn't that lonely.
x x x
As he entered the hospital, the smell of sickness and death overwhelmed him. It was worse because of his heightened vampire senses -- he could tell exactly how many more had been brought in since yesterday for the treatment that probably would not save their lives anyway.
He saw so many of the dead. Horrific scenes flashed by him when he closed his eyes, scenes of suffering that he couldn't erase from his photographic memory. Another lost was nothing new -- he was numbed to it now, only going through the motions of easing the pain as much as he could, presenting a calm and caring face when he really was far gone on the inside.
He couldn't do anything for these people, not really. Human beings were so fragile, and when something as simple as the flu infected so many, it was hard for them to keep up their strength. How could he possibly help? He was a doctor, sworn to aid the ones who needed him and for what? Comforting words and gentle lies couldn't chase away the sickness that didn't want to leave. Frail, weak bodies succumbing to illness -- it was too much for him to handle. So he didn't. He simply walked through life, helping out where he could, but not thinking much. If he did, he'd venture down the road of they're going to die within the next few hours, what will the family think, are they leaving behind children that will miss them?
And that was just too depressing.
But as Carlisle was nearing the end of his shift -- a fact that he really didn't notice until one of the nurses mentioned it, so far was he gone -- a seventeen-year-old boy with beautiful bronze hair was wheeled in.
He couldn't explain why, at that moment, his hazy existence suddenly sharpened into clear, focused points all concentrated on that sickly face. His brain awoke instantly, and then, he felt incredibly sad. For some reason the image of this nearly-dead boy brought him back to reality with a jarring thud. How could he simply accept so much death without feeling a thing? In a single second, he mourned the losses of all the humans that had died so far and all the ones that would die in the future. And he mourned how he couldn't do anything.
Carlisle was so overcome with the emotion that had broken through his carefully constructed barrier of numbness that he sunk to the floor, head in his hands. Never mind that he was in a crowded hallway with ill patients constantly being brought in, never mind that he had so many people to look after in the last half hour of his shift. He just couldn't take anymore right then.
Melissa, one of the kindest nurses he knew and the one most requested by patients, walked over. She slid down the wall next to him and said, "Dr. Cullen, I know how you feel. It happened to me just last night."
Carlisle avoided contact -- he didn't want to alarm her with his cold skin -- but he looked up slowly. Turning his head to face her, he said, "Thank you so much, Melissa. You don't know how much that means to me." And he was being sincere. As soon as he finished talking, he knew what he had to do. He stood up and smiled at the young nurse, then turned and hurried (at human pace) down the hall where he'd seen that bronze-haired boy taken.
x x x
He was so worried he hadn't done it right. What if the boy -- Edward, he'd found out -- had been too weak before he'd been bitten? What if Carlisle would be responsible for his death?
Even though his pessimistic half was still questioning the sanity of this decision, inside Carlisle was hoping for everything to go well. It had been three days already, and during that time he'd been tortured by the sounds of Edward's screaming, sounds that had gone on and on until the poor boy's throat became too hoarse to cry out any longer. It was a horrible feeling to know that he was the cause of so much pain inflicted on another being.
And during the three days, he'd been tormented by his internal battle, as well.
After his breakdown in the hospital, he found Edward and brought him, secretly, to his relatively secluded home. He'd signed the death certificate and checked out with the secretary, so he was pretty sure no one would be suspicious. And he was so certain of his decision at first that he was filled with a giddy elation, even as Edward moaned feverishly in the backseat. He didn't start thinking those negative thoughts until he laid the boy on his bed and positioned himself near Edward's neck. His eyes closed and he backed away, sitting on the edge of the bed and just looking at the boy for a while.
Why was he doing this? It was insane. He couldn't believe he was even considering ending Edward's life, this boy whom he barely knew.
But I'm saving his life.
And condemning him to millennia of eternal darkness. Is it really worth it?
It's better than death. Anything is better than death.
But who was he to decide such a thing?
These thoughts kept him struggling -- but as a doctor, he knew that this boy would die any minute, and he had to make his decision fast. Almost without thinking, he leaned over Edward, took a deep unnecessary breath, and sunk his teeth into the sweaty skin.
It was still early enough for him to suck the venom out of the wound. Early enough for him to hurry and rethink his decision and not make this human immortal.
Early enough to let Edward die.
When he thought about it like that, there was no way he could let that happen. He'd vowed to himself that he'd save one person, even if it was in this way. It helped his feeling of hopelessness, his feeling that no matter what he did he couldn't really change anyone's lives, only coddle them on their journey to death. No, this was much different than being in the hospital, surrounded by things he couldn't do anything about. This was empowering.
And then...was Edward waking? Waking for the first time in his new life...
x x x
They were deep in the woods, far away from all other people and their thoughts, too. It was Carlisle's idea, thinking that if the people weren't in close proximity, Edward would be able to relax instead of being completely overwhelmed by the "voices" he couldn't help but hear. As they ran into the trees, Carlisle could tell that Edward needed to hunt -- he was becoming more restless the further they went, and his blood red eyes were constantly roaming.
And as soon as they were completely surrounded by nothing but dark twilight, Edward stopped running, turned to Carlisle, and kissed him.
It was absolutely unexpected. There was something about the kiss that was animalistic, as though Edward wanted and needed nothing more in life than to have lips meet his. But when Carlisle got his wits about him, he shoved the young vampire away. Edward's scarlet eyes were burning with a fierce hunger, and shakily, Carlisle said, "You need to hunt."
He didn't believe the boy understood this in his current state. Edward was simply too thirsty to think properly, that was all...
As they hunted, Carlisle kept his wits about him. He always had, unlike other vampires he'd met who became more like predators than civilized beings. Edward was one of those, and so it was safe to think without him overhearing -- his talent shoved to the back of his mind when more primal instincts took over.
What Carlisle decided was that the kiss meant nothing. After all, maybe it was just a side effect of a new vampire's hunger...he didn't really know much about these things, so it could be entirely possible. He was still shaking a bit, though. The feeling of someone so close to him after all the time alone was emotionally shocking.
What was more shocking was that he no longer felt even the slightest bit lonely.
x x x
Over the next few weeks, Edward learned much about his condition. Carlisle was relieved when he didn't seem to be resentful of his change -- rather, he was quite excited about being so powerful. Undoubtedly, his favorite aspect of being a vampire was the amazing speed and agility. Carlisle could only hope that this innocent happiness would remain for as long as possible. After all, it was inevitable that Edward would begin to question his place in the world, but for now he was young. Discussions like that could wait until he was older.
The unfortunate thing was that when he went back to work and saw the dead, he still felt the depression stealing in. Nothing he did helped. He tried to tell himself that he couldn't change all of them, that it wasn't his fault, that there was nothing he could do, but that didn't work. He talked about it with Edward when he got home, but though Edward consoled him with words, he never approached too closely. Carlisle supposed Edward was afraid of angering him.
He tried not to think of the kiss. Whenever the thought would creep in, he'd start reciting the Declaration of Independence in his head. Although this did conceal what he was thinking, he had the feeling that Edward knew what he was up to anyway -- what else could he be hiding?
After a while of this, Edward approached Carlisle.
"May I speak with you?" Edward asked, and Carlisle gestured him into his study.
"What is it?" When in the Course of human events...
"It's..." A wry smile. "It's about the Declaration of Independence."
...assume among the powers of earth -- What?! "What do you mean by that, Edward?"
He suddenly became very self-conscious, looking down at his shoes. "I'm sorry I kissed you, Carlisle."
No, it's -- it's not your fault --
"I have a theory, if you would like to hear it?"
Carlisle nodded, grateful that his babbling was ended, even if it only was inside his head.
"Whenever I need to hunt, I start to feel...other things...as well. It seems as though I crave the companionship of other people whenever I begin to be thirsty. It's...it's been hard these last few times to try and suppress this...urge."
"I- I can't say that I've ever felt that way, Edward. Perhaps it is because you are young, as that sort of thing is rather common among human teenagers. Is there any way I can...help?"
Edward stared at him, and Carlisle noticed for the first time that his eyes were nearly black. He must be having his...problem at this very moment, he thought.
"I am, actually," replied Edward to his unspoken question. "And if you'd like to help, well, this might."
He stood up and walked slowly around the desk to Carlisle's chair, then bent down and gave him a long, slow kiss. Carlisle closed his eyes and couldn't help but enjoy it -- the way Edward's tongue dragged across his teeth, the way that neither of them really needed to breathe. Soon Edward's hands were twined behind the older man's neck, and Carlisle tentatively wrapped his arms around Edward's waist. The boy smiled against Carlisle's mouth and then pulled away.
"That helped," he whispered.
You should go hunt now, Carlisle thought.
In a blink, Edward was gone.
Then the guilt set in. Not only was the boy much younger than him physically; it was deeper than that: He was over two hundred years older than Edward. How could he justify that? How could he accept having a relationship with someone who he needed as a friend for the rest of his life? He was straight...wasn't he? He'd always wanted a wife. Hadn't he?
This couldn't go on. Someone else had to help Edward with his "problem", and it surely wasn't going to be him. It was completely inappropriate.
He needed to find someone for Edward. Preferably someone beautiful, blonde, and sexually active.