This is un-beta'd, because I'm too lazy to e-mail it. -Sheepish grin to Beta- -Beta raises window-curtain thing threateningly- -backs away slowly-

This is to my own challenge, although it won't meet all the requirements because I want it to be a one shot. For the full challenge, see my profile.

Oh, and I'm afraid I don't know anything about mental institutions... so if I get something wrong or offend anyone somehow I'm sorry and don't mean anything by it. I also don't know anything about how the brain works before and after a coma, so I don't know if what happened to Numair is plausible. If not, then... willing suspension of disbelief, people!

DISCLAIMER: Tamora Pierce owns Daine, Numair, and Tortall. Oh, and I got the idea for the indents and the words slurred together from Elizabeth Kerner's Song in the Silence.

"Surfacing Into Reality, Only to Submerge Again…"

Nurse Sarah Darien sighed as she gazed at her patient, who was locked in a padded room and strapped to a wall. The patient was twisting and turning, yelling something about "Stormwings," her blue-gray eyes unfocused. Sarah looked sadly at Daisy Sarsry, who had had this unknown mental disorder since she was thirteen. Doctor Ben, Daisy's doctor, walked in.

"I think this is it, Sarah!"

"What do you mean?" Sarah couldn't tear her eyes from her patient, who suddenly cried "NUMAIR!" in a broken voice.

"Look. I think Daisy's hallucinations have to do with an unbalanced chemical in her brain, and, in theory, if we inject some of this into her blood, it'll... well, bring her to Earth, so to speak."

Sarah tore her eyes away from the sobbing girl. "Really?"

"Yes."

They both looked sadly at the girl – young woman, really, who was twisting and turning, shouting what sounded like war cries and curses. Sarah tore her eyes away from the sad sight for the second time that day.

"Well? When can we inject it?"

Doctor Ben nodded. "I'll go get it."


Numair heard Daine scream his name and stared in shock as a Stormwing slashed his shoulder to bits, laying it out to the bone. He turned to kill it, oddly calm, then gasped with surprise as something heavy knocked his head. He fell to his side; a loud roaring filling his ears, then everything dissolved into blackness and a soft beeping...

Beep...

Beep...

Beep...

Why was is so black? His eyes were closed. Numair wondered why. And that infernal beeping, where was it coming from? It was giving him a headache.

"Bert? Oh, god, Bert I hope you can hear me, I wanted to say I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..."

Bert? Who was Bert? He tried to open his eyes, but they felt like led. He tried to move, but he couldn't. What in the Black God's Realm was going on?

"Nathan, you have to leave, now, Norbert needs to take his medicine..."

Norbert? Who was Norbert? Certainly not he!His name was Numair! Not... Norbert.

...Or was it? His mind was fuzzy. Where was Daine?

Something bit his arm. He tried to jerk away, but he couldn't move. Hell, he couldn't even open his eyes.

Hell? What was a Hell? Where had that come from? And where was... she? What was her name again? He should know this... the woman with fierce blue-gray eyes that turned so tender when she looked at him... what was her name? The last thing that he could remember was the Stormwing...


Daine gave a furious cry as she shot the Stormwing that had dared harm Numair, then whirled as something climbed up her arm. It was a bug of some kind... she had seen them in Carthak. A... scorpion? But what was it doing in Tortall...? She reached to brush it off, but then it's barbed tail lashed out, and she gave a cry of surprise, then everything got blurry... she heard Alanna crying her name.

"Daine! Dain! Daze! Daye! Daisy!"

Why did Alanna's voice sound so weird? And why was she pronouncing her name so oddly?

And why were her eyes closed? Where was her bow? Why couldn't she move her arms? Daine opened her eyes, slowly. She gasped as she looked into worried blue eyes, then cried out (she'd been doing that a lot lately) when she realized that her hands and feet were bound.

"Who are you?" she breathed.

The woman with the blue eyes smiled. "Hello, Daisy."

What?

"Who are you?" Daine whimpered again. She pressed back against the wall, afraid. She was bound, trapped helpless.... Then she was angry. "And why am I tied up? Let me go!"

"We were afraid you'd hurt yourself, you see. Tell me, how many fingers am I holding up?" A man stood next to the woman, holding up three fingers.

"Three. Now let me go!"

"We will, just don't run off, dear." Said the woman, and began to unlock the shackles – they weren't ropes after all - that held Daine.

"I'm Doctor Ben," Said the man, "and this is Nurse Darien. I apologize for locking you to this wall– a few days ago, you kept hitting your head against that wall over there, and we couldn't do anything else to stop you."

"What?" Daine asked, bewildered. "A few days ago I was... I was..." She couldn't remember. There was a faint memory of a castle, several faces, but it all felt like a dream somehow...

"Where am I?" she whispered, distressed. She wanted her lover, that gentle swarthy-skinned man with loving black eyes, but she couldn't remember his name. She wanted the violet-eyed woman to tell her that it was all right, she wanted a gray pony to snap at her that she was being foolish. She wanted... she wanted...

She couldn't remember.

She looked, distress in her eyes, at her surroundings. She was in a white room, and when she touched a wall, she realized that it was padded.

"Daisy..." murmured Doctorben, "we need to run some tests, to seeif you are truly healed."

"Healed?" She asked, looking at him.

"Yousuffered from brain damage when you were very young,"TheWomanSaid."youweresick...

.........withan.........

.................unknown.................

...Disease...

..........Serum........"

Everything went black.


"Bert? Can you hear me, Bert?"

"Norbert..."

Numair tried to open his eyes, and nearly cried with joy when they opened.

"Bert!"

Numair's eyes focused on the person standing in front of him. It was a man, that much he could tell. And there was another, a woman behind him. Who were...? Everything was fuzzy...

It was blurring...

...He couldn't see...

............Bert!

Numair

............LostTooMany..............

......................Braincells.................

...................Cells...Cells....Cellcellcell..................

.................................Won'tFunctionProperly..................................


Daine and Numair woke in each other's arms. They looked in the other's eyes and chorused, "I had the strangest dream..."

But as Numair told her of his dream first, Daine could have sworn she heard someone crying "Daisy! Dammit, she's sunk back into herself! Do something Ben!" whispered in her ear.


So, is it all a dream? Or...not?

If you want to flame me, see the AN above, and then please don't, I don't mean to offend/upset anyone, and I'm sorry if I did....