Bifurcation @aushapasha
Chapter 2

Dearest Esme,

I hope you don't mind the owl. Please let her hunt and rest before sending a reply. Albus has asked me to stay for the next week, with visits every few months after.

He's terribly worried about a tournament his school is hosting, and frankly, I'm worried about what he's asked of me.

I'll be home in two weeks and will be able to explain everything much more clearly.

I miss you and our family dearly. Keep a close watch on Jasper, and I shall join you again soon.

Yours always,

Carlisle

Rolling up the parchment and securing it to the owl's leg, he sent it on its way to the United States.

Walking down the steps from the owlery, he saw smoke coming from Hagrid's chimney and thought that if he wanted to be berated with questions, that would be a fine place to turn to. But he had questions of his own, so he turned back toward the castle and made his way to the West Towers and the massive stone gargoyle that guards Dumbledore's office.

"Ice mice," he calls out to the statue, who slowly begins to turn in place and a spiral staircase replaces it.

As he ascends, he can just make out Albus' voice softly cooing to someone or something. Just as Carlisle is about to knock, Albus calls out for him to enter.

Perched on his large, ornate desk is a brightly colored bird—his Phoenix, Fawkes.

"I wouldn't get to close, my friend. I believe we're getting very close to a burning day," the headmaster tells him as Carlisle reaches out a hand to pet the bird.

"I'll take my chances on such a magnificent creature."

Settling down in a chair opposite the desk, Carlisle steeples his fingers together as if in prayer.

"You have questions? Concerns?" Albus asks, but the answer is plain as day on the pale face.

"I'm worried. With the recent events at the World Cup, the heightened security with the Minister being here … I'm not a part of your world, Albus. Someone is bound to notice me."

"So … we'll keep you out of the sun. It shouldn't be too terribly hard in this part of the country." The joke, while funny, falls flat. "You have my word, my oath as your friend, no harm will come to you. I've met your mate; she's fierce. I would not want to be at the end of her wrath."

Carlisle does chuckle at this. "But what of the children? The first years are so young."

"The rules have changed; students need to be 17 to enter. The ones you've changed weren't much older."

"Some newborns are unpredictable with their memories and abilities. If it gets out that there is a whole community of magical people and I've changed one …" His eyes are wide and he slumps into the chair defeated.

"The Volturi know all about us and who we are and what we can do. You, of all people, should know this, stregoni benefici. We have a treaty, and they have been told that I have sought your help because of your benevolent manner."

Carlisle sighs. "I can't get out of this, can I?"

"You can always say 'no'. You and I will part as friends, as we always do, and when we shall meet again, I will greet you with a hug and offer a drink."

"You're too kind, Albus."

"I am myself." The headmaster peers over his half-moon glasses at the much younger looking man. "But I ask, maybe beg, that you reconsider. I have taken into account the memories of the individual, and you have told me that some vampires have special abilities. Perhaps the magic can be funneled into that?"

They speak for hours on the plans that have been made and the plans that are to come, and with every passing minute, Carlisle is sure of one thing—he can't let a being suffer when he knows he can help them.

"I'll do this, but only for one. If there are too many," his voice trails off.

"I understand the importance of keeping the newborn count low," Albus acknowledges with a solemn nod. "Thank you, my friend. You being here to help eases my mind greatly."

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