"I wish I could get a better idea of what exactly it is," Carlisle murmured. "The fetus is well protected. I haven't been able to produce an ultrasonic image. I doubt there is any way to get a needle through the amniotic sac, but Rosalie won't agree to let me try, in any case."

"A needle?" I mumbled. "What good would that do?"

"The more I know about the fetus, the better I can estimate what it will be capable of. What I wouldn't give for even a little amniotic fluid. If I knew even the chromosomal count..."

"You're losing me, Doc. Can you dumb it down?"

He chuckled once - even his laugh sounded exhausted. "Okay. How much biology have you taken? Did you study chromosomal pairs?"

"Think so. We have twenty-three, right?"

"Humans do."

I blinked. "How many do you have?"

"Twenty-five."

I frowned at my fists for a second. "What does that mean?"

"I thought it meant that our species were almost completely different. Less related than a lion and a house cat. But this new life - well, it suggests that we're more genetically compatible than I'd thought." He sighed sadly. "I didn't know to warn them."

I sighed, too. It had been easy to hate Edward for the same ignorance. I still hated him for it. It was just hard to feel the same way about Carlisle. Maybe because I wasn't ten shades of jealous in Carlisle's case.

"It might help to know what the count was - whether the fetus was closer to us or to her. To know what to expect." Then he shrugged. "And maybe it wouldn't help anything. I guess I just wish I had something to study, anything to do."

"Wonder what my chromosomes are like," I muttered randomly. I thought of those Olympic steroids tests again. Did they run DNA scans?

Carlisle coughed self-consciously. "You have twenty-four pairs, Jacob."

I turned slowly to stare at him, raising my eyebrows.

He looked embarrassed. "I was... curious. I took the liberty when I was treating you last June."

I thought about it for a second. "I guess that should piss me off. But I don't really care."

"I'm sorry. I should have asked."

"S'okay, Doc. You didn't mean any harm."

"No, I promise you that I did not mean you any harm. It's just that... I find your species fascinating. I suppose that the elements of vampiric nature have come to seem commonplace to me over the centuries. Your family's divergence from humanity is much more interesting. Magical, almost."

"Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," I mumbled. He was just like Bella with all the magic garbage.

Carlisle laughed another weary laugh.

Then we heard Edward's voice inside the house, and we both paused to listen.

"I'll be right back, Bella. I want to speak with Carlisle for a moment. Actually, Rosalie, would you mind accompanying me?" Edward sounded different. There was a little life in his dead voice. A spark of something. Not hope exactly, but maybe the desire to hope.

"What is it, Edward?" Bella asked hoarsely.

"Nothing you need to worry about, love. It will just take a second. Please, Rose?"

"Esme?" Rosalie called. "Can you mindBella for me?"

Iheard the whisper of wind as Esme flitted down the stairs.

"Of course," she said.

Carlisle shifted, twisting to look expectantly at the door. Edward was through the door first, with Rosalie right on his heels. His face was, like his voice, no longer dead. He seemed intensely focused. Rosalie looked suspicious.

Edward shut the door behind her.

"Carlisle," he murmured.

"What is it, Edward?"

"Perhaps we've been going about this the wrong way. I was listening to you and Jacob just now, and when you were speaking of what the... fetus wants, Jacob had an interesting thought."

Me?What had thought? Besides my obvious hatred for the thing? At least I wasn't alone in that. I could tell that Edward had a difficult time using a term as mild as fetus.

"We haven't actually addressed that angle," Edward went on. "We've been trying to get Bella what she needs. And her body is accepting it about as well as one of ours would. Perhaps we should address the needs of the... fetus first. Maybe if we can satisfy it, we'll be able to help her more effectively."

"I'm not following you, Edward," Carlisle said.

"Think about it, Carlisle. If that creature is more vampire than human, can't you guess what it craves  - what it's not getting? Jacob did."

I did? I ran through the conversation, trying to remember what thoughts I'd kept to myself. I remembered at the same time that Carlisle understood.

"Oh," he said in a surprised tone. "You think it is... thirsty?"

Rosalie hissed under her breath. She wasn't suspicious anymore. Her revoltingly perfect face wasall lit up, her eyes wide with excitement. "Of course," she muttered. "Carlisle, we have all that type O negative laid aside for Bella. It's a good idea," she added, not looking at me.

"Hmm." Carlisle put his hand to his chin, lost in thought. "I wonder... And then, what would be the best way to administer___"

Rosalie shook her head. "We don't have time to be creative. I'd say we should start with the traditional way."

"Wait a minute," i whispered. "Just hold on. Are you - are you talking about making Bella drink blood?"

"It was your idea, dog," Rosalie said, scowling at me without ever quite looking at me.

I ignored her and watched Carlisle. That same ghost of hope that had been in Edward's face was now in the doctor's eyes. He pursed his lips, speculating.

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