Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners Mutant Enemy et al and Kripke enterprises et al. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
This version will have a different ending than the one posted on LJ as part of the sncross big bang.
Banner by SecretPassions89 aka Romina May 21, 2001
Dean sat at the table, eyes closed, praying the scene before him was just some horrible nightmare and he'd wake up any minute. Sam could not leave, not like this. To make matters worse, his father bellowed, "If you walk out that door, don't you ever
Those words made Dean's eyes snap open; darting from his father to his brother when Sam shouted, "I wasn't planning on it!" Dean pushed himself up from the table as Sam grabbed his bags and stormed out; the door banging shut behind him.
"Dad!" Dean implored, but John turned away from Dean, knocking down a chair. "Dad, you can't just let him -"
Ignoring Dean, John kicked the chair out of his way, and snatched a bottle of Jack Daniels. "Go after him if you want," he growled and slammed the door as he stormed from the room.
Dean tore after his brother. He reached the top step of the porch as Sam hit the street. "Sam! Wait!"
Unlike John, Sam stopped and faced Dean. His eyes held angry tears that fell as he said, "I'm going, Dean. You can't stop me. I have
Dean met him on the side of the road and stood there awkwardly for a moment. "I know, I get it. But, don't leave like this. Go back in there and apologize. Make him understand."
"Apologize? For what? I don't think so, Dean. He basically just disowned me!" Sam looked passed his brother, down the road. "I can't believe you're taking his side. You know what this chance means to me!"
"I'm not taking his side, but you just dumped this on him. You didn't give him time to think about it."
"His answer would have been 'no'. I'm an adult, Dean. I can make my own decisions."
"So, you've decided to walk out on your family?"
"No, I've decided to make something of myself. Most fathers," he paused swallowing the lump in his throat. "Most fathers would be proud their son scored a full scholarship to Stanford."
"I know," Dean nodded slowly. "But, he's not most dads," he added as if that would excuse his father's actions
"Yeah, no shit." Sam looked at the ground for a minute. "I have to do this, Dean. It's my only chance." His tearful eyes met Dean's. "Dad is turning us into mindless killing machines. Do you even know how many things he's asked you to put down?"
"Sam, we're saving lives, we're helping people."
"I don't know, Dean. I gotta believe we were meant for more than this. I can't believe mom would want his life for either of us. There are other ways to help people." Unable to trust his voice, Dean nodded. "Take care of yourself, man." Sam added, then turned and walked away.
Dean felt torn. He wanted the best for his brother. He wanted the best for his family. But Dean was slowly realizing what he wanted never mattered.
John spent the night drinking until he passed out. Dean spent the night worrying. He couldn't abandon his father and go after Sam, yet, he hated the thought of Sam out there alone. Dean didn't find sleep until nearly dawn. When Dean finally woke, it was late the following morning, and he found himself in an empty house. A scribbled note informing him that his father had left for a hunt in Alabama was all Dean had to show anyone else had been there. Dean collapsed onto the closest chair. His insides aching and empty; wishing he could erase the past twenty four hours.
May 22, 2001 Sunnydale, California
Glory had been defeated but her evil plan was in effect, Doc had begun the ritual by cutting Dawn and causing her blood to spill. Standing on the shaky platform, Dawn turned to Buffy, her voice cracked, "I'm sorry."
"It doesn't matter," Buffy began, but Dawn started to make her way to the end of the platform. Buffy grabbed her, "What are you doing?"
"I can end this," Dawn pleaded.
"No!" Buffy insisted.
Dawn shook her head, "I have to jump. The energy -" She looked towards the portal.
"It'll kill you!"
"I know. Buffy, I know about the ritual! I have to stop it," Dawn explained tearfully.
"No!" Buffy shouted.
"I have to! Look at what's happening!" Dawn cried
The rift opened. Buffy took hold of her sister and stared into her eyes. "I don't care! Dawn, I won't lose you -"
"You have to!" Dawn cried. "You have to let me go! Blood starts it, and until the blood stops flowing, it'll never stop. You know you have to let me. It has to have the blood."
Buffy realized the drastic measure she had to take. She took a deep breath and studied her sister's face. Dawn gasped at the change in Buffy. "Buffy... no ..."
"Dawnie... I have to -" Buffy responded calmly.
"NO!" Dawn screamed at her.
Buffy shook off Dawn's reaction. "Listen to me! There's no time, Dawn, please listen." Buffy looked into Dawn's eyes. "I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me." Then, Buffy turned and ran off the edge of the platform, diving towards the ball of light and energy.Death is your gift
echoed through her mind as she came to understand it's true meaning.
With only the radio to keep him company, Dean drove through the late night thunderstorm. Even though the Impala hydroplaned more than once, he didn't stop. He ignored the way the wind battered the car. The rain was so heavy the wipers weren't keeping up and he was barely able to see. Thunder and lightning were so constant he was forced to squint. But, he wouldn't stop; the car had gotten him through similar storms plenty of times and he knew there was nothing around for miles.
He was about to switch off the radio, but then "Hey Jude" began. In his memory, he was transported back in time to when he was just three and a similar storm frightened him into his mother's arms. She held him and sang that song to him. Dean smiled slightly at the memory. Suddenly, a blinding flash of lightning, followed by deafening thunder shook him from the pleasant memory. With the next flash of lightning, Dean swore something was in the road ahead. He slowed the car, but whatever it was, it was barely discernible through the rain even with the light from his headlights. However, the next near blinding flash of lightning showed Dean a body in the road.
Dean fought the elements. He slowed the Impala and skidded to a stop right before the body. For a moment, he just sat there, looking at what appeared to be a girl lying in the road. He knew there wasn't a town in any direction for several miles. The storm was still raging, but Dean had to see if the person needed help. He also knew it could be a trap. Taking a gun from the glove box, he carefully opened the car door and made his way over to the body.
Rolling the body to face him, Dean put his hand to the unconscious girl's pulse point. She was still alive and Dean couldn't see any severe injuries. However he knew he had to move her, knew he was going to have to take her to the next town. Her clothes were soaked through, so when he placed her in the passenger seat, he plucked his jacket from the backseat and wrapped it around her. #*#*#*#
Carrying her through the doors of the small hospital Dean called out, "Could I get some help here?"
A very tired looking young man stood up from behind the desk. "What have we got there?"
"A girl. I don't know what happened to her. I found her in the middle of the highway."
The orderly tilted his head and studied the two rain drenched people. "Take her in there," he said pointing at a curtained off exam area. He returned to the desk and called the on call staff.
Dean rushed into the room and placed the girl gently on the cot. He replaced his jacket with a hospital blanket. A moment later, a young doctor and an even younger nurse walked in. "What have we got?" The doctor asked.
"I don't know. I found her unconscious," Dean answered.
The doctor and nurse exchanged looks of concern. "Why don't you wait in the hall while we take a look at her?"
Dean sat in a plastic chair in the hall across from the room. He watched the doctor check the girl's vitals and eyes. The nurse started an IV, then pulled the curtain preventing Dean from seeing anything else.
The storm continued its assault outside. The orderly tapped Dean on the shoulder and offered a cup of coffee. "What were you doing out on a night like this?"
Dean took the coffee and shrugged. "I was just passing through. If it hadn't been for the lightning, I'da run her over."
The orderly's eyes showed surprise at that and he looked at the clipboard in his hand. "Uh, so do you know who she is? Or did she have any I. D. on her?"
Dean shook his head. "She was laying in the middle of the road! I didn't check her for I. D. I only checked to see if she was breathing."
The orderly blinked a few times then sighed. "Well, I guess that means you can't fill out any of these forms, huh?"
At that moment, the doctor left the room to join them in the hall. "Well, your friend's vitals are normal. Blood sugar is a little off, she's a bit dehydrated and she's still unconscious."
"She's not his friend," the orderly interrupted. "He found her laying in the highway."
"What?" The doctor looked shocked. "Where?"
"West of here, about fifteen miles, maybe," Dean answered.
The doctor's brows knitted together. "There's nothing out that way. I mean nothing."
Dean shrugged, "I know. But, that's where I found her."
The nurse joined them. "She's resting comfortably. I'm sure she'll wake up soon." She hoped her smile masked her true concern.
The doctor turned to her. "You better call the sheriff. This guy says he found her laying in the highway. There may be a wreck out there." The nurse nodded then went to the desk to make the call.
"If you're done with me, I think I'm going to head out," Dean said pushing himself out of the chair.
The orderly was shocked. "In this storm?"
Dean shrugged. "I gotta find a place to stay at least."
The doctor clapped Dean on the shoulder. "I think we can give you a bed for the night. You go out there, and somebody is probably going to have to carry you in." The doctor shook his head. "Jerry, we got a room for this young man?"
The orderly smiled. "Sure, Doc. Right this way, man." Dean followed him to a private room just down the hall from the room where he had taken the girl.
The next morning, Dean was roused out of bed by the nurse from the night before. "Sorry to wake you, but the sheriff is here and he has some questions for you."
Dean rubbed a hand over his face. "Right. Okay. I'm up." Suddenly the meaning of the nurse's words became clear. "The sheriff? Why?"
The nurse only smiled at him. "When you're ready, he'll meet you by the nurse's station. I'll have coffee waiting for you."
"Thanks," Dean said as he swung his legs off the bed. "Hey, how's the girl?"
"She's awake and she's looking forward to meeting you," the nurse replied with another smile. #*#*#*#
At the desk, out side the girl's room, Sheriff Brown listened to the doctor's report. "Everything came back negative. No drugs, not even a trace of alcohol. Rape kit results were also negative," the doctor said as he rubbed an eye.
The sheriff nodded. "So the guy's story about finding her in the road -" the sheriff began but was cut off by the young doctor's look.
"Here he is now. Hey, how'd you sleep?" the doctor asked Dean when he approached them.
"Like the dead. Thanks for putting me up last night, Doc," Dean replied hoping for light humor.
"No problem. Uh, you know I never caught your name," the doctor said with a quick glance at the sheriff.
"Dean, Dean Johnson." He held out his hand to the doctor.
"Doctor Solomon," the young doctor answered as he shook Dean's proffered hand. Then he turned to the sheriff. "Dean, this is Sheriff John Brown. I was just filling him in on our patient's condition."
Dean's eyes were huge at the mention of the sheriff's name. "Sheriff John Brown? Like the song? Really?" he asked nearly laughing.
The doctor hid his smile by studying his shoes for a moment. The sheriff huffed a tired sigh, "Yeah, like the song." He leaned against the nurse's station. "And you're Johnson? Like the coach?" the sheriff clarified as he scribbled the name in a notebook.
"Yes, sir," Dean nodded, "no relation."
The sheriff smirked at Dean's small joke.
The night nurse approached the men and handed them each a cup of coffee from the tray she carried. "Here you go, gentlemen." She turned to the doctor. "I'm going in to tell her about the scans scheduled for today." Dean watched her walk into the room across the hall.
"So, the doc tells me you found that girl out on the highway, during that hell-storm we had last night. I'd like to hear what happened."
The sheriff drained his cup of coffee as he listened to Dean retell the tale of finding the girl in the road.
"So, you saw nothing on the road but her?" the man asked.
Dean covered his irritation at being questioned. "That's right, sir, just her."
The sheriff shook his head. "Damn. My deputy went twenty miles out that way once the storm cleared. He couldn't find anything. No wreck, not even a sign of one." He looked Dean over briefly. "I was hoping you'd know something."
"Sorry," Dean shrugged, wondering why the sheriff didn't ask the girl.
"Poor girl," the sheriff added, then he seemed to answer the question on Dean's mind. "She doesn't even know her own name, let alone how she ended up out in that storm or how you happened to find her on the highway."
Dean turned toward the girl's room in surprise. The girl looked much better than she did last night, in fact he found her kind of cute. She was smiling and interacting with the nurse. Turning to the doctor Dean asked, "Well, can I see her?"
After exchanging a brief look with the sheriff the doctor said, "No, sorry, we have a lot of tests scheduled for today."
Dean shrugged. "Yeah, of course you do. And I should really hit the road." He gave his contact information to the sheriff and left.
Dean strolled over to where he left the Impala in the hospital parking lot. Making his way to the driver's door, he spotted a pool of neon green liquid near the front of the car. He rushed over and knelt down. "No, no, no, no, no, no," he chanted. Wincing, he opened the hood of the car. "Shit! Goddammit!" he whined. Dean slammed the hood and returned to the hospital.
At the front desk, he asked the ancient lady working there for a phone book. She muttered something then, turned and waddled away. "Hey! Excuse me. Where are you going?" Dean called after her. "Great," Dean groaned and slammed his hand on the counter in frustration.
"Problem, Mr. Johnson?" the sheriff asked as he approached.
Dean looked at the sheriff. "Yeah, busted radiator. There's a lovely green puddle under my car," Dean smirked hoping to mask his irritation. "And the young lady working at this counter wobbled off before she could get me a phone book."
The sheriff nodded then pushed a button on his shoulder radio. "Sera, call a wrecker to come to the hospital for a tow." He looked at Dean and asked, "What kind of car?"
"'67 Impala," Dean answered.
The sheriff paused, made an approving face, and nodded. He pushed the button on his shoulder radio again. "Sera, cancel that and call Cliff for the tow." The sheriff leaned towards Dean. "Cliff restores classic cars. He'll take good care of it."
Dean's expression changed from frustrated to appreciative instantly. "Thanks, man, uh, I mean, sheriff."
The sheriff put a reassuring hand on Dean's shoulder. "You mind showing me this beauty before I've have to get back to the station?"
Dr. Solomon knocked on Buffy's door before sticking in his head. "Hi, I'm Dr. Solomon. I'd like to talk to you about your test results."
Buffy gave the young doctor a bored stare. "I know who you are. We met this morning, remember? I thought I was supposed to be the one with the memory problem."
The doctor bit his lip at her retort. "Yeah, um, sorry. I wasn't sure how your memory was holding up." He walked over to her bed, placed her file on the tray table, and gave her a tight smile. "See, the thing is, there's no real physical reason for your memory loss" he began. He opened her file and quickly flipped through some pages. "You have minor cranial swelling, but it's very minor." He looked at her in what he hoped was a reassuring expression.
Buffy nodded as the light bulb in her head turned on. "Oh, I see. So, I'm crazy-girl. That's what you're telling me."
"No," Dr. Solomon replied quickly. "But, I would like you to be seen by our staff psychiatrist, Dr. Sgriccia."
Buffy's eyes bugged out of her head at the psychiatrist's name. "Dr. Who?"
"Not Dr. Who," Dr. Solomon laughed slightly but realized Buffy didn't get the joke. "Dr. Sgriccia. Most of us call him Dr. Phil."
Buffy nodded. "Fine, Dr. Phil. When do I get to see him and have him tell me I'm crazy?"
The doctor sighed."I never said you were crazy. There could be many reasons for your memory loss. He is the best resource we have to determine the cause of your condition." Buffy relented so the doctor continued, "He wants to see you this afternoon."
In the cab of Cliff's Classic Cars tow truck, Dean checked his cell phone. "Oh, you won't get a signal on that thing around here," Cliff informed him.
"You've got to be kidding me," Dean said in frustration.
"Sorry, man. Coverage was always spotty at best, but the storm yesterday knocked out the only cell tower around here. Now, we've got nothing."
Dean scrubbed a hand over his face. "That's just effing perfect. How'm I supposed to let anyone know what happened?"
Cliff turned into his lot. "Hey, you can use my land line if it's a local call. If it's long distance, you're out of luck, those lines went down, too."
Dean hung his head in defeat. Talking to his dad or his brother was going to have to wait.
Buffy looked up at the soft knock on her door. "Hello." The man spoke quietly. "May I come in?"
Buffy nodded, but stared at the man. He was quite large and though he was dressed like a doctor, he looked more like a day laborer. He had a scruffy beard, unkempt hair, and he wore work boots.
"Thank you," he replied, again his voice was gentle. "I'm Dr. Sgriccia you can call me Dr. Phil."
Buffy gave him a tight smile, thinking the shrink was probably going to annoy her. She muttered, "Hi," but nothing more.
The doctor nodded. "Well, seems you remember you don't like doctors but you don't remember your name." He smiled softly, then seated himself in the only chair. "Let me assure you, I am only here to help. There are no physical reasons behind your condition, but there are many psychological reasons that may be causing your lack of memory. My concern is that you may have suffered a traumatic event and now you are suppressing that memory."
Buffy immediately began to worry. '"What kind of traumatic event?"
Dr. Sgriccia studied her expression. "Dr. Solomon went over your test results, correct?" Buffy nodded. "Then you know you show no signs of rape and there were no traces of drugs in your system?" Again, Buffy nodded, and the doctor smiled weakly. "Good. That leads me to believe that perhaps you witnessed something you weren't capable of dealing with. Whatever the case may be, I am here to help you figure out why you don't know who you are."
"Okay," Buffy replied in a tired voice.
The doctor sighed. "Well, let's begin with the first thing you remember."
"Well, like I've told everyone else, the first thing I remember is waking up in the emergency room. Jeanine, the nurse, and Dr. Solomon were checking my pulse and talking."
"That's it? Do you remember anything about last night or the young man the found you and brought you here?"
Buffy shrugged. She remembered thinking the guy was good looking, but thought the doctor probably wasn't refering to that. "Nope, not a thing. I saw the guy this morning, but I didn't even get a chance to talk to him."
"Did you want
to talk to him?" the doctor asked eagerly.
Again, Buffy shrugged. "Only to thank him for not leaving me out in the storm."
Doctor Sgriccia studied her for a moment then sighed heavily. "Okay, looks like we have our work cut out for us. I'd like to do a couple simple tests if you're up for it."
"Knock yourself out, Doc."
They spent the next several minutes reviewing basic history and geography. Buffy also proved to have some memory of Shakespeare and Greek myths. When Dr. Sgriccia suddenly asked for her phone number, Buffy blanked, then gaped at him. "What made you think I'd know my phone number?"
The doctor shook his head and explained how she had been reciting other items she had learned by rote memory, the same way one remembers a phone number. "I was hoping your brain would just spill it out like it did with the names of the states."
"Sorry, I guess it was worth a try, though," Buffy replied as if she was trying to encourage the doctor.
Dr. Sgriccia smiled warmly at her. He pulled a pamphlet from his folder. "I'd like you to read this. It's about hypnosis. It may be something we should try."
Four hours later, Dean was back in the emergency room of the hospital. His left hand was wrapped in a wad of towels and held over his head. Next to Dean, an anxious man rocked in his seat. "Oh god Oh god Oh god," the nervous man repeated. He looked at Dean and repeated the mantra again.
"Dude, enough already. I told you, I'm gonna be fine." Dean lowered his arm and moved aside the towel to look at his latest wound. "Probably only ten stitches. Twelve at the most."
Dean's companion chanced a look and promptly began to gag. Dean shook his head and chuckled.
"Dean?" a nurse called.
Dean rose at the sound of his name. "Right here," he answered waving his injured hand.
Twenty minutes later, Dean had thirty-two stitches in his numbed hand. He wiggled his fingers, amusing himself at the disconnection of the movement and the feeling. He looked around and saw his ride, Richie, the clumsy mechanic, had left. "Great," he muttered. #*#*#*#
Buffy wrapped the hospital robe around herself. "Can I go for a walk?" she asked the nurse at the station outside her room.
The nurse nodded. "Where are you going? You know your room number?"
Buffy did a half turn and pointed at her door. "Yeah, I got it. I'm just going to get some air."
The nurse shook her head. "Sorry. Can't let you go outside."
Buffy sighed. "Can I go to the gift shop?"
"Yeah, that you can do."
Grateful to be out of bed and out of her room, Buffy took her time walking to the small store. When she got there, she frowned realizing she didn't have any money. Maybe they wouldn't mind if she just looked at some magazines, she thought.
Dean was walking to the register from the back of the store when he saw her. "Hey, Roadkill, they let you out?" he joked coming to stand next to her.
Shocked someone was talking to her, Buffy only stared for a second before she recognized Dean, "Oh, hi. What are you doing here?"
Dean held up his arm. "Needed some stitches." He looked her over with a smile. "How're you doing?"
"Fine. I'm fine. What happened? How'd you get hurt?" Buffy asked and gently lifted his injured arm.
"Long boring story involving my car and a clumsy mechanic. Trust me, you don't want to hear it," Dean replied smiling. "But, you're fine? You got you memory back?"
Buffy averted her eyes to the magazine rack. "Uh, no. I still don't remember anything."
"Hm," Dean pressed his lips together in thought. "What's that like?"
Buffy frowned and looked back at him. He seemed friendly and actually concerned about her. For her part, she was happy to be speaking to someone at least close to her own age. "It's weird. I don't know my name, but I know I like the outfit she's wearing." Buffy answered pointing to a fashion magazine. "I don't know where I live either, but I can name all fifty states." She looked at Dean. "That's weird, right?"
"Yeah, I don't know, I guess that's weird," Dean agreed. "Do the doctors know why you lost your memory?"
"Dr. Phil told me -"
"Yeah, he's the hospital's shrink."
"So, not the one from TV, Oprah's friend," Dean joked.
"No," Buffy laughed."Not that guy. Anyway, this Dr. Phil said that I might be repressing a memory of some awful event or that I witnessed something traumatic." She looked intently at him. "Do you remember seeing anything when you found me?"
"No, sorry. Just you laying in the road during a storm."
Buffy sighed. "It's okay. I was just hoping you had a clue or something."
Dean studied her while she perused the magazine rack. "Hey, do you want anything or need anything? I'm buying," Dean offered.
"No," Buffy shook her head. "You already saved my life. I think you've done enough."
Dean scoffed. "What kind of life is it if you're bored? Come on, pick out a magazine, at least," he said encouraging her to look at the selections again.
Buffy smiled and chose a People
from the rack. "Thank you."
At the register, Dean snagged a couple Snickers bars. After paying for everything, Dean handed Buffy a Snickers. "I'm sure you remember chocolate. All girls like chocolate," he said with a grin as he tore off the end of his wrapper.
Buffy returned his friendly smile. "Are you calling yourself a girl?" she teased pointing at the candy bar he was devouring.
Dean chewed and shook his head. "No, not at all. I said all girls like chocolate." He grinned slyly at her. "And now I taste like chocolate." He wagged his eyebrows at her making her giggle.
"Ohmygod!" she giggled as she playfully swatted his uninjured arm.
When they came to the end of the hallway, Dean looked at her. "How long until the staff comes looking for you?" Buffy shrugged. "And you don't remember your name or anything?"
Buffy shook her head and answered, "Nope, no clue."
Dean looked at the directory on the wall behind Buffy then back at her. "Well, I can't keep calling you 'Roadkill'." He walked a few steps to the elevator and pushed the call button. "Come on. I have an idea."
"Okay," Buffy said hesitantly, "But I can't keep calling you 'nice guy who saved my life and bought me candy'. I mean I can, but it's kinda awkward."
Dean was surprised for a moment, then he chuckled. "Dean. My name's Dean." He held out his hand and Buffy shook it.
"Nice to meet you, Dean. And thank you for saving my life and for the chocolate."
"My pleasure, cute-girl-who-lays-in-road-during-storms." Buffy looked stunned at his new nick name for her. With a slight shrug Dean replied, "Your Native American name." As the elevator slid open, Dean said, "After you," with his hand held out, ushering her in before him. A smiling, slightly blushing Buffy bowed her head in thanks then led the way into the elevator. #*#*#*#
The elevator doors dinged open and Dean led Buffy onto the maternity ward. Buffy gave him a very confused look, but before she could get an answer from him, they were approached by a floor nurse. "Can I help you?" the nurse asked sweetly.
"We're here to see my sister. She just had a kid," Dean answered before attempting to walk around the nurse.
"Oh, congratulations Uncle!" the nurse responded with a smile before she turned to Buffy and pouted dramatically. "I'm real sorry, sweetie, but it's against hospital policy for patients to visit our newborns."
"Oh," Buffy replied looking at Dean for help.
The nurse returned her attention to Dean. "Your sister can bring the baby to visit ya'll down in your room, but we can't endanger the other newborns."
Both Dean and Buffy nodded. "Makes sense, I guess," Dean said. Turning to Buffy he continued, "Why don't you go back to your room? I'll be down in a couple minutes."
"Okay," Buffy answered still wondering what they were doing on the maternity ward. Did Dean really have a sister here, too? #*#*#*#
When Buffy returned to her room, she found a nurse rushing out. "Oh, sorry, excuse me," Buffy said as they nearly collided.
The nurse grabbed Buffy's arm roughly and checked her I.D. Bracelet. "Where were you?" the nurse asked as she released Buffy's arm.
"I went for a walk. I went to the gift shop and then a short detour on the elevator then-"
"You are not allowed to leave this room without an escort. Do you understand?"
The nurse's brusque manner surprised Buffy, who pointed at the nurse's desk. "The other nurse said I could go to the gift shop," Buffy replied feeling scolded.
"Hmpf, she shouldn't have allowed it." Then the nurse said. "Get in bed. I need to update your chart."
With wide eyes, Buffy did as she was told. #*#*#*#
Dean was stopped by the same nurse as he was about to enter Buffy's room. "Excuse me, young man can I help you?"
"No, I'm good." He continued towards Buffy's room.
The nurse moved from behind the desk and strode toward him. "What do you think you are doing?"
"I'm just going in for a minute," he answered nonchalantly.
"I'm sorry, but I can't allow that."
"What? Why? Did something happen? Is she okay?" Dean asked, suddenly worried.
Buffy heard the exchange from her spot on her bed and walked to the door.
"You aren't on the approved visitor list."
Buffy interrupted from the doorway, "It's okay. We know each other."
"See, she approved me," Dean smirked and moved closer to Buffy making her suddenly feel self conscious.
"It doesn't work that way. Young man, you need to leave now." The nurse turned to Buffy. "Miss, return to your room. You are not mentally capable of making a decision."
Buffy gasped, "What?"
Dean began to get angry with the nurse. "Listen, Nurse Ratched, you're the one not mentally capable. She should be able to have whoever she wants in her room."
"Young man, don't make me call security."
"Call them, doesn't bother me. In fact, call the sheriff. He'll tell you I can see her."
As the nurse began to walk to the desk, Buffy grasped Dean's hand. "Dean, I don't want you to get in trouble."
Dean looked down at her hand before meeting her eyes and winking at her. "Here," he handed her a book, "I got this for you from upstairs."
Before Buffy could look at the book, Dr. Solomon turned the corner and joined them. "Hello, Dean. Checking up on our patient?"
Dean grinned at the doctor and then at Buffy. "Yeah, would you mind telling Ratched over there that I'm allowed to visit? She's calling security on me."
The doctor's shoulders slumped. "You didn't call her that, did you?" Dean's answer was a smirk. "Oh jeez," the doctor sighed. "Nurse Walsh, you don't need to call security," he called, making his way to the nurse's station.
When they were alone, Buffy turned the book over. "The Complete Book of Baby Names
?" She looked up at Dean.
Dean shrugged, "I thought you could use it to help figure out your name." The arrival of a security officer at the nurse's station, drew Dean's attention. "Guess I better get going. I need to check on my car and find a place to stay anyway." Looking back at Buffy he added, "Take care of yourself."
"Thanks, Dean, I hope I get to see you again," Buffy added with a hopeful shy smile that made Dean feel strangely pleased with himself. He smiled back, before nodding and walking away.
It might only be late May, but it was still a scorcher in Texas. Dean dragged his forearm over his forehead to wipe away his sweat. He looked from his beloved car to Cliff and sighed, "Really?"
Seeing Dean's pained expression, Cliff nodded. "Yeah. Sorry, kid, but the differential is shot. But, I'll keep my word. I'm only charging for parts."
Dean looked at his injured hand. Their deal had been made when Dean could do the work himself. Dean rubbed his temple. "When will the parts arrive?"
Cliff looked at his clipboard. "Radiator should be in sometime day after tomorrow. And well, I think I can get a new gear box here next week, Tuesday at the latest."
Recognizing the look of despair on Dean's face, Cliff said, "I'll make you another deal. Richie's been thinkin' you're gonna sue him for what happened to your hand."
Dean quirked a brow at Cliff. The thought had never crossed his mind. "Hey, tell him -"
Cliff smirked and with a nod added, "I'll tell him the labor is on him. If you trust him with your car."
Dean's mouth fell open, "Really?"
"Sure, kid. I told him he'd be lucky if you didn't go after him or me for everything we have," Cliff replied as he returned to the office.
"I wouldn't..." Dean began but Cliff interrupted again.
"Good. But, don't tell Richie that." He took out a form and began to jot down some information. "How can I reach you, if we need something? Where are you staying in town?"
Dean dragged a hand over his head. "I don't know. You know any place that's within walking distance?"
Cliff scrunched his face in thought. "Well, there's the Bluebird. They've been remodeling so I don't know if they're open, but it's right down the road. Tell Mr. Lee I sent you, he'll give you a good deal."
Dean sighed. "Right, the Bluebird. Got it."
Buffy's thumb flipped the pages of the baby name book as she looked at the People magazine. Though the celebrities seemed familiar, Buffy wasn't interested in their stories. She studied each page hoping something would awaken a memory, but she was coming up empty.
"Hello, I'm Jeanine, remember me? I'll be your nurse for the evening. How are you feeling?" Jeanine asked cheerfully as she filled in Buffy's chart.
Buffy looked up from her magazine. "I'm fine. I feel fine, anyway."
Jeanine smiled. "That's good. Have you had a chance to look at the dinner menu?" She handed Buffy a copy. "What's that you've got there?"
Buffy took the menu, "Just a magazine a friend bought for me."
The mention of a friend captured the nurse's full attention. "A friend? Oh, you know who you are now?" she asked excitedly.
Buffy shook her head. "No, uh, a guy named Dean bought it for me. He got me this book, too."
"Ooh, that cute guy that brought you in? He came to see you?" Jeanine's response made Buffy blush.
"No, he hurt his hand and needed stitches. We met up in the gift shop," Buffy answered looking down to hide the way her cheeks were warming.
Jeanine saw Buffy's reaction and decided to continue teasing her. "So, cute guy who saved your life, also bought you gifts. Hmm, I think cute guy thinks you're cute, too."
Buffy shook her head. "I think he felt sorry for me, that's all."
Jeanine smirked. "Sure, that's all. What's this?" she asked picking up the baby name book.
"Dean thought it would help me remember my name," Buffy answered hoping the teasing was over.
"Have you looked at it yet?" When Buffy shook her head, Jeanine nodded and opened the book to a random page. "Wow, this is pretty good. Look at the page for Catherine." She held the book open for Buffy to see. "It lists every nick name and alternate spellings. Cathy, Katie, Cat, Kate..." She looked Buffy in the eye. "This actually might help. You should look at it."
Buffy shrugged. "Okay. I guess I could at least pick a name I'd like to be called. I mean I can't go around being called 'Roadkill'."
Jeanine gasped, "Who called you that?"
"Dean," Buffy answered. Jeanine paused then giggled.
Buffy stood before the bathroom mirror. She turned her head to the left then the right. Then she made a face at the reflection. Sighing, she whined at herself, "Tell me who you are." She thumbed through the baby name book. "Angela?" She looked in the mirror. "No, not Angela." She squinted at herself before she returned to looking through the book. "Theresa." Quick glance in mirror, "Uh-uh. Terry?" She paused, wrinkled her nose and flipped more pages. "Elizabeth. Whoa, that's a lot of nick-names." Buffy looked in the mirror. Elizabeth didn't look right, but Liza? Liz? Lilly? Ella? Beth? Betsy? Buffy tilted her head. Betsy? No, none of these were it. One more try. Her thumb zipped through the pages again. Rebecca. Buffy looked in the mirror and repeated the name. "Rebecca, Becca, Becky." She blinked. "Becky." She repeated Becky several times as she looked at herself from different angles. Then she shrugged, "I could be a Becky."
She walked out to the nurses station where Jeanine was working. "Hey, do I look like a Becky to you?"
Jeanine pushed out her lower lip in judgment, then nodded. "Yeah, you could be a Becky." She pulled out a note card and a Sharpie and wrote Buffy's new name on it. "Now we hang this on your door, and no one will call you 'Roadkill' anymore."
Buffy stared at the note card. It wasn't right. Becky was definitely not her name. But, she reminded herself, at least it was something. It was close to being right. She felt the answer was on the tip of her tongue.