Guess this is what you could call my return to the E:FC writers guild. I wrote this really late (or very early, take your pick), and I'm not entirely sure where it came from. This fic didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, but I can live with it. It's a Renee-angst piece, and could be considered LiRay friendship.

DISCLAIMER: I own absolutely nothing, not even the words, only the order in which they were placed.

This takes place right after Subterra (S5). It's been awhile since I actually saw that episode, so forgive me if any of the very limited references are in any way inaccurate. The song is "My Immortal" by Evanescence, which I recommend everyone listen to, it's awesome. And so here we go!

Copyright Jamie Zimmerman, 2003

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IMMORTAL

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I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all of my childish fears

And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Because your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone

She sat on the couch in the confines of the artificially illuminated cavern, not that a window to the outside world would have made a difference; the sun was several hours from making itself known once again. The earlier events of the evening had been occupying her mind. Despite her exhaustion, she stood up and began to pace.

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

She was sick of it all. Sick of having to worry about aliens, about plotting humans, of having to think of ways to counter the next horror that was going to befall the planet - whether it be alien or human in nature. She was sick of thinking in general. But maybe she would finally get a break and have someone believe her for once. If someone respected like Melissa Donovan was going to expose the Atavus, Renee would get the recognition she needed to rally support to form a new Resistance.

Melissa Donovan. She couldn't help the small smile that played at the corners of her mouth as that name made her think of Joe. She noticed them staring at each other earlier that night before she left. Joe had grown on her, and if he had another chance at happiness, then she was glad.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I've held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me

Joe. It was unusual for her, but tonight Renee Palmer's thoughts kept jumping from one semi-related subject to another. She looked over at the far corner, where Joe had changed into the clothes she'd given him. Liam's clothes. Left there in case he ever needed to change; she did the same, as did Street. It had never occurred to either of them to remove them…in fact, until she had had to look for them, Renee hadn't even realize he still had some stuff there.

Gaze flickering to the left, she caught site of the jacket, right where she'd carefully placed it after taking it back from Joe. She couldn't figure out at the time why she couldn't let him wear it, and she still didn't know. The other clothes she'd had no problem with - hadn't even given them a second thought. But the moment he held up that jacket….

It made no sense. It wasn't particularly important, in fact it had only been Liam's old spare; his favourite jacket had been in that damn chamber with him. So why had she felt the need to hold onto it, to keep it down here where it would serve nobody? That was what her thoughts had now focused on.

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
But now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away all the sanity in me

She walked to the place her eyes had fixed upon, and picked up the article of clothing in question. She ran her fingers over its semi-smooth exterior, feeling its weight in her hands. The jacket had Liam written all over it, and down here, in this hole in the ground, it had been left to sit, waiting for its owner to return, requiring its use. It was if it were waiting for Liam to come back and get it. She hastily put the jacket back down, resuming the pacing she'd previously been engaged in.

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

What the hell was wrong with her? She had accepted the fact that he wasn't coming back weeks ago! Despite the fact that she'd spent months looking for him, she had resigned herself to that painful truth and had moved on. Or so she had apparently thought.

Her pacing had brought her to the nearby Knock'em! punching bag.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I've held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me

"Damn it!" she exclaimed, through clenched teeth, as knuckles came into contact with the hard padding. Absently she shook her hand - the bag wasn't meant to be hit that hard without gloves or taped fists - while continuing to pace, as if nothing happened. She didn't need this, not tonight. It was late, she was exhausted…why now, of all times? Why did she now have to be reminded of him, when she'd finally begun to move on with what little there was left of her life?

Worrying about aliens and plotting humans was beginning to generate a whole new appeal.

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
And though you're still with me
I've been alone all along

She sat back down, resting her elbows on her legs and holding her head up with her hands. How come every time she thought too much about this subject, she began to doubt? To doubt that he was actually gone, that he could actually be gone? Sure, she had just told herself that she'd accepted his death, but now she was beginning to wonder. It wasn't a feeling of sadness that made her question this, it was a feeling of disbelief.

It wasn't the type of disbelief that came with shock, or trauma. It was simply…there. Disbelief that permeated her very being. She knew she was completely prepared to accept Liam's death and move on…but she hadn't. Because she just didn't believe. And it was slowly, surreptitiously, driving her insane.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I've held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me

It was late, Renee knew she should be going home and to bed - this wasn't doing her any good. She walked once more to the corner and picked the jacket back up. It was time she let him go, it wasn't healthy for her to continue on in this limbo. Slinging the article of clothing over her forearm, she gathered her own jacket and bag and headed for the elevator.

As she was about to step through the door, she paused. Something, some calm feeling, was telling her this wasn't right. She turned back to face the Lair; it had changed slightly since she and Street had been forced to deal with the new Atavus threat. It didn't look quite as it had before.

She looked the left of the doors, where an empty, old-fashioned coat rack had been placed. She looked down to the floor, chewing at her bottom lip, thinking. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she gazed back out at the Lair, and paused. Slowly a slightly smile appeared on her face. An internal battle had been won.

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
And though you're still with me
I've been alone all along

Her face full of resolve, Renee turned back to the coat rack, gently placing Liam's jacket in plain view. And why the hell not? He'd be wanting it when he got back.

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Mata'he'le (End)

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NOTE: Anyone interested in the LiRay relationship should check out the LiRay Sanctuary mailing list at (groups.yahoo.com/liray)