At six thirty-five, right before a dinner of potatoes and lamb, there is a quiet knock on a bright red door.

When the door swings wide, Carlisle's heart knocks, and a harsh breath escapes his lungs.


His boy is so thin, a six foot tall mass of skin and bones. There's no way that he weighs more than one-fifty. He's dirty, smudged, and there's no mistaking the stench of sweat and the streets on his clothes. Edward's skin is sallow and his face is haggard, and purple-gray shadows circle eyes that were once so bright, but are now nearly dead.

Every bone in Carlisle's body aches to scoop him up and to pull his only son inside, to ease the pain that's etched in those downcast eyes. He wants. So much. He would give his soul if it would make his boy whole once more.

Forever seems to pass before either speaks. Carlisle clears his throat. "Edward. Why are you–"

"Help me." Haunted eyes stare back at him, and Carlisle's heart shatters into a million pieces. "Please, Dad. I'll go."