A/N: This is my first oneshot in a very long time. My muses finally decided to pay me a visit, it seems. I'm currently working on a slightly longer piece, but in the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy this one. Please drop me a review if you do.
Disclaimer: The Twilight characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. I'm just borrowing them from time to time.
Bella was pregnant.
Even an hour after we had first received this stunning piece of news, it was still difficult to put these three words together, to conceive the inconceivable. I leaned against the wooden rail of the kitchen balcony and closed my eyes, letting the icy wind sweep across my face. The woody scent of the forest wrapped around me, strangely protective. After the rain, the air was fresh and crisp, but I didn't cower back from it. It was ten times, million times better than the tense atmosphere in the living room, where everyone had sat in silence, still trying to wrap their minds around the news and its consequences.
I couldn't handle the silence. I needed to be alone. Emmett eyed me with concern as I walked passed him on my way out of the room, but I couldn't even bring myself to look back and assure him I was fine. I wasn't sure I was fine; I wasn't sure how I was feeling. I was as overwhelmed as any of others, and anxious, a feeling which surprised me, because I had never cared much for Bella Swan, even though our relationship improved somewhat since she and Edward had got engaged. It wasn't pure anxiety, like the one which had reflected from Alice's face, or Esme's. They feared for Bella, and for Edward, if he was doomed to lose her so suddenly, as we had all assumed would happen. I simply dreaded the turn our lives were bound to take as a result of the situation.
It was quite startling, something none of us had expected would happen. When Emmett and Jasper had teased Edward about finally "doing the deed" on the morning of the wedding, neither of them had imagined that he – or any man of our kind, for that matter – was able to father a child. And now that I thought better of it, why not? Bella was human. She was young and healthy. Her body was still alive and constantly changing. In a way, we all should have seen it coming.
I tried to tell myself it shouldn't bother me. If anything, I should feel sorry for her, not resent her for getting the one thing I had always dreamt about. No one could want to conceive a monster, one that would crush you from inside out. I heard Carlisle as he explained to Edward what was bound to happen. It was not something I would wish on anyone, let alone on Bella, not after everything she had already gone through in our world. But the selfish part within me couldn't help feeling a little miffed. In a way, she was getting my happy ending.
Only in this case, I reminded myself, there would be no happy ending.
And yet, as the news slowly sank in, I found myself carried away by the romantic notion of it. Like many of my kind, I was familiar with the story of the immortal children since a very early stage of my existence, but they had always been more of a myth than reality in our world. No one could guarantee it wasn't a heap of nonsense, like the existing mythologies that had surrounded the world of vampires. People would believe anything, so why would vampires be different? And if that were the case, what if Carlisle was wrong? What if, by some miracle or other, the thing Bella was carrying wasn't a monstrous creature, but an actual baby?
I could see him so clearly now. He would have Bella's hair, and Edward's radiant green eyes. I had never seen his human eyes, of course, but I remembered being mystified by the stories about them as a newborn. He would be soft and warm, all rosy cheeks and sweet giggles. He would be a perfect symbol of their union, of two worlds neither of us had believed could co-exist without colliding; an ultimate proof that such a union could produce life instead of death.
Thinking of the situation this way, the bleak expressions on my family's faces made little sense to me. This was not the end, but a wonderful, glorious beginning. This baby didn't mean pain and destruction; it meant love and hope. Above all things, hope. How could they dismiss this? How could they wish to destroy it? How would anyone dare to destroy such a thing?
The phone in my pocket buzzed. I took it out absentmindedly, and froze on the spot at the sight of Edward's name and number flickering on the screen. A wave of panic washed over me. With such a distance between us, he wasn't able to read my mind, was he? Had he got a sense of my thoughts somehow (through Alice, perhaps), and was calling to lecture me against my vanity?
The baby in my mind laughed suddenly, a carefree sound, as pure as wind chimes. How strange. For a moment, he reminded me of Henry, Vera's baby, the one in my dreams. I pretended to hear words spoken through his laughter. Hope… new life… happy times… Everything that babies are supposed to stand for. When I opened my eyes, the voice was almost gone. The phone was still buzzing urgently in my fist.
And I had already made up my mind. I wouldn't let Edward reproach me, not this time. Not over this. As I accepted his call, I was more than ready to fight him off.
But the voice on the other end, soft and trembling rather than cold and spiteful, caught me off guard. "Rosalie? It's Bella. Please. You have to help me."
As soon as I recognized the hint of helplessness in her voice, my rage shifted into an emotion much softer, one which I couldn't quite pinpoint. "What's wrong?" What a stupid thing to ask. Everything was wrong. I had never heard her so terrified before. I couldn't even begin to imagine what she must feel like. I wondered how much Edward had told her about the thing that was growing inside her. "Where are you?"
"We're still on the island," she whispered. "I don't have much time. If Edward – "
Her voice trailed. She sniffed loudly. I could picture her in my mind, hiding from my overprotective brother in the bathroom. In the short time I had known her, she had always displayed such unbreakable strength. I could almost pictures the tears streaming down her face now. She sounded as if she was falling apart. "It's okay, Bella. Just tell me what happened."
When she spoke again, she did so hurriedly, hissing into the receiver. I didn't know where Edward was, but it was as though she was afraid he would be back with her any moment. "Edward thinks the baby is going to hurt me. He doesn't want it; he wants to get rid of it. He's got Carlisle in on it. He wouldn't hear me out. I don't want them to hurt him. You mustn't let them hurt him, Rose, please say you'll help me."
She was crying openly now, but silently, as though she feared the sound would get Edward's attention, wherever he was. It got right through me, almost physically painful. For the first time, I found myself feeling sorry for her. But there was more to it than that. Whether she had been aware of it or not, Bella was referring to the baby as he, as if she, too, could picture his emerald eyes, his peal of laughter. "What… what can I do?" I found myself asking. I knew that by doing so, I was going to betray my brother, and yet I couldn't care less.
"I want to keep him. I need to keep him. Edward thinks it's some evil monster that would destroy me, but he's wrong. It can't be evil. It can't. It's mine and his, how can it be evil?"
I nodded, even though she couldn't see me. I couldn't phrase this better myself if I tried.
"I need you to talk to Carlisle. I need you to tell him they got it all wrong. I don't want them to get it out. I won't let them."
A part of me rejoiced at her decision. I was pleased to find we had finally found a common ground, as grim as it may be. But another part of me, a smaller one, was suddenly hesitant. "Bella, are you sure? Carlisle says…"
"Carlisle is wrong."
Once again, her resolve caught me off guard. It was as if she was falling apart, but at the same time, she had never been stronger. I liked this side of her, the way she was standing behind her choices and their consequences. She said she wouldn't let them hurt the baby and I believed her, I believed in her. In many ways, this new and mature Bella had reminded me of myself.
"Rosalie?" The sound of my name, spoken so softly it was almost non-existent, shook my out of my somewhat surprising discovery. "Please say you'll help me. I can't trust anyone else."
"Of course I'll help you, Bella." There was not a hint of uncertainty in my voice now. We were one now. We shared the same goal, the same passion. We had to save this baby. We would save him. "You can count on me."
A sob escaped her, one she didn't seem able to hold back. I could almost picture her covering her mouth with her hand, trying to muffle the sound of it. "Thank you. Thank you so much. I have to go now, but – "
"I'll think of something," I told her hurriedly. "I promise."
She didn't answer. She sounded as though she couldn't. Something within me twitched.
"Bella, listen to me. It's alright. Everything would be alright. Don't worry about a thing. I've got it covered."
"Edward's coming. I've got to – "
The line went dead, and I found myself anxious for her. Did he walk in before she had managed to put the phone away? And if that were the case, what did he do? I watched my phone with growing dread for a moment, waiting for him to call and tell me off for intervening, but nothing happened. I stared at the screen intently, as if my glare could bring the thing to life. Still nothing. I released the breath I didn't realize I was holding.
The sound of her voice, of her broken sobs, lingered at the back of my mind. There was no doubt in my heart – I had to help her. I had to protect her from Edward, from Carlisle, from everyone in my family who would side with the two of them. I gritted my teeth, surprised at this new over protectiveness that had washed over me. I could kill Edward for distressing her so. I would kill him if he hurt Bella or this baby any further.
I placed the phone back in my pocket in one swift motion, and went back inside. Everyone was still gathered in the living room, still looking grim. Alice stood up as soon as she had noticed me, fresh alarm in her eyes, as if she had already seen what I had planned on doing. I raised my arm to stop her before she could try to talk me out of it. I walked straight to Carlisle, who was watching me wearily.
"I have just received a phone call from Bella," I informed him. Behind me, Esme gasped.
I glanced around me for a moment, taking in the worried faces of my family. I thought about Edward's wrath and Bella's misery; two people who had been destined for one other and produced a baby against all odds, one whose image still lingered in my mind. New life, not death. Hope, not despair. Miracles could happen, I reminded myself. If I was doomed to live like this for the end of eternity, I had to hold on to that belief, at least. I had to be strong enough to do this, not only for the baby's sake or Bella's, but for my own sake.
The remains of my uncertainties melted away as I directed my determined gaze with Carlisle's.
"We've got a problem."