Perchance to Dream, part 1


Author: hah
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: As many times as I've wished upon a star, Roswell *still* isn't mine.
Spoilers: General Season 2
Author's Note: Extreme thanks are due to Debbie and Bennie for supporting this idea from the beginning, and for their fabulous beta-ing of each part. So -- thank you! This is part 1/4.
Feedback: Please! I'd really like to know what you think.

The first thing I notice is how quiet it is. Not silent, because there's a gentle whirr in the background and a steady, rhythmic beeping, but quiet. The smell is the second thing. It doesn't smell like anything specific. More like a lack of smells. Sterile almost. The final thing is how dark it is; and that starts to panic me. At least until I realize my eyes are closed. With a sigh of relief, I try to open them.

That takes more effort than I would've guessed. I must've really been asleep. As I fight gravity to lift my eyelids, I hear a squeal. It's a sound that's instantly identifiable, especially in the eerie quiet that surrounds me. Maria.

"Oh, my god! I think she's waking up. She's finally waking up! Oh god, what do I do? A nurse. I get a nurse!" I want to ask her what all the fuss is about, but her voice gets farther from me and I hear a door open. I wonder who needs a nurse and try to ask her but no sound comes out when I open my mouth. What is going on?

I keep practicing saying Maria's name until I finally squeeze out a sound. It sort of sounds like her name, if you listen really close. I want to laugh, because it makes me think of "The Princess Bride." The argument over what the mostly dead body says. Before I can follow this tangent too far, I hear the door open again and people shuffling around me, near me. A hand wraps tightly around mine.

"Lizzie? Can you hear me? Squeeze my hand, Lizzie, if you can hear me. Come on baby, open your eyes." That's my mom, and now I'm really confused. But, to humor her, I squeeze her hand. There's a gasp and then my hand is being lifted and kisses pressed to it. I summon every ounce of determination I have within me and will my eyes to open. And they do.

It takes a minute to focus, to take in my surroundings. I'm lying in a bed. Mom is sitting beside it and Dad is standing behind her. Both have tears running down their faces. Maria flutters next to them. One hand is lifting one of her vials of oils to her nose; the other is furiously wiping away tears. I don't understand all the tears; I don't understand any of this.

"You're going to be ok, Lizzie. You're going to be ok now." Mom repeats this over and over, like a mantra. Or a prayer.

I want to ask questions, but all that emerges from my mouth is more squeaks. Mom shushes me, tells me not to try to talk. I'm getting frustrated. I think I'm in a hospital and I want to know why. Why didn't Max heal me? What is going on?

A nurse is suddenly by my side. Her stethoscope is cold again my chest. She notes something in a chart that suddenly appears in her hand. I want to ask more, but I'm suddenly tired again. "She needs her rest," the nurse tells my parents and Maria. But why do I need rest, I want to ask, try to ask, as my eyelids become heavy again and close. Why?


My eyes open more easily, and, this time, the disorientation doesn't last as long. I search my memory, trying to recall what happened. I remember Mom and Dad and Maria near my bed. Before that I only see flashes of Max and Maria and the others. I still don't remember what happened.

There's movement at the side of my bed and I turn my attention in that direction. Maria's sitting there, flipping through some fashion magazine. Her hair's short again and it's really disconcerting; it had taken me forever to get used to it long.

"Maria." My voice is low and raspy, but at least this time I can say her name.

"Liz! You're awake again. I'll go get your folks." She bounces up from her chair.

"Wait…what…happened?" It's a struggle to force each word out.

Maria stops on her way to the door and turns to face me. "You don't remember what happened?" Her voice is neutral and that worries me.

"No." I move my head back and forth on the pillow beneath it. I don't remember anything. Before she leaves, I have to ask her one more question. "Max?" I let my voice trail off; she'll know what I'm asking.

"Max? What do you mean, Liz?" She's looking at me funny. Did something happen to Max? Something she doesn't want to tell me? It would explain why he didn't heal me. Why can't I remember anything? She bites her lip and turns towards the door. "I'll go get your mom and dad."

She leaves the room and I'm alone again. With nothing to do. I want to know how I ended up here. I can't remember anything, so I look for another way to get the information. I'm in the hospital which means there's something wrong with me, right? I start a physical inventory. I wiggle my fingers and toes. They all work; I'm not paralyzed or anything. I try to push myself up to a sitting position. Pain radiates from my abdomen to the rest of my body. I lower my torso the couple inches back to the bed and gasp for air.

There's definitely something wrong. I slide my right hand under the covers and the hospital gown I'm wearing. The skin is tender as my fingers slide over it. I probe a little further and skin changes to rough cloth. A bandage. My fingers play with the tape at the edges, working to loosen it when the door to my room opens again.

"Liz!" My mom rushes to my bedside. Her arms enfold me carefully and she presses a kiss to my forehead. "I'm so glad you're awake, baby." She finally loosens her hold and shifts slightly so my dad can hug me too. They're both careful to avoid my right side.

The nurse who had entered the room with them gives a subtle cough and they both reluctantly move from my side. She checks my pulse and the machines I'm attached to and then gently raises my bed. Pillows are carefully fluffed and placed behind my back so I can sit comfortably. Now I can look at something other than the ceiling.

"What--" my voice is back to a croak. I hate this. Mom slips a piece of ice between my lips and I suck greedily at the moisture. When the ice has melted to nothing I try again. "What happened?"

"You don't remember?" Mom asks gently. Why do people keep asking that; I wouldn't be asking if I did.

"You were shot." Dad replies. Mom's crying.

Shot? Again? What is it about me and bullets?

"How?" Was it the Special Unit? The Skins? I have so many questions, questions my parents can't answer. Where are Max and Michael and Isabel and Tess? Why aren't they here?

"There was an argument in the Crashdown. One of the men pulled a gun. It went off and you were caught in the crossfire." Dad's voice is solemn and a little choked up. "We weren't sure you were going to make it."

He's still talking, but I only catch bits and pieces. Maria pressed a towel to the wound. Someone called 911. One of the customers was a doctor. My mind is racing. I remember the pain racing through me. The shock. That's what happened the first time. And then Max healed me. But the chances of the exact same shooting happening twice, the science geek in me argues, are slim to none. God, I don't understand what is going on here. Someone help me, please.

"And there are a couple of people here who want to see you," Dad says. "Maria called them as soon as you woke up. I think they must've broken speed limits getting here. Good thing Kyle's dad is the sheriff," he adds with a laugh.

Kyle. He'll be able to tell me what's going on. "Come on in, guys," Dad says, and the door opens. Kyle walks in. Followed by Maria and Alex. Alex?! But he's dead. I was at his funeral. Was that a dream? Or is this?

I don't get a chance to ask all the questions that are running through my head. Mom and Dad smile at the newcomers and then leave the room. Maria seats herself on the bed at my side, in the space vacated by Mom. Alex throws his lanky form into a chair by the bedside. Kyle approaches me and brushes my hair back from my forehead. I'm surprised at his gentleness; we haven't been dating in over a year.

"These are for you." He withdraws a hand from behind his back. It's a bouquet of roses. Pretty pale yellow ones. I'm glad they're not red, but white would have been nice. They're my favorite. Max knew that. Didn't he?

"Thank you." Just because I have no idea what the hell is going on, doesn't mean I don't use the manners my mom and grandma instilled in me. Grandma Claudia. If Alex is alive, does that mean…?

Maria is talking to me. "I thought you were dead. There was so much blood. Your heart stopped once, but the doctor did CPR until the ambulance arrived. Then they hooked you up to all these machines and brought you here." Her hand swirls around the room, indicating the hospital, I guess.

"What day is it?"

"It's September 25th, Liz," Alex answers. "You've been in a coma for almost a week. No one knew when, or if," his voice catches here, "you were going to come out of it."

I've been in a coma for a week? That means I was shot on the 18th, and I do remember that date. I don't understand half the things that are happening right now, so I focus on a few facts. My name is Liz Parker. One week ago I was shot and nearly died. And then things really got weird.

Perchance: 1 - Awakening / 2 - Time / 3 - Strangers / 4 - Focus

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