Chapter Five - Fate's Alternate Plan:

Her hand rested limply in his. He kissed her bruised fingers lightly and he stared into her cut and bloodied face. The thick layer of white bandages wrapped around her head sustained the bleeding of her head wound. Her mind and body was asleep.

By some unforeseen power of grace, she was still alive. Her life had been spared. She came through the horrific ordeal with her life intact, though it was beginning to slip away. He was thankful now for her comatose state. She would be in severe pain if she weren't. As hard as it was to see her in this state, seeing her cry tears of pain would be more than he could ever bear.

Zack brought Lisa's limp hand to his lips and kissed it softly. He shouldn't be there. He should be in his own room recuperating; tending to his own battered body. But this is where she was, and with her is where he intended to be. Not the hospital staff, her parents, or even his could change that. He would hold vigilantly by her bed for as long as he needed to. Until she fought through the darkness and came back to him.

He watched her face diligently. Waited for any sign of a flickering eye. His eyes moved to her chest, watching the rise and fall of her breast. At least she was breathing on her own now. That was always a good sign. She still had a long way to go, but he would be there to support her, silently, lovingly, along her way.

Bitter tears stung his eyes as he watched her. Her skin was growing colder. Hatred filled his heart. Sorrow and anger were not displaced, but present as well. He had only just found her. He couldn't lose her. Not now. They had a life to share.

Zack entwined his fingers in hers, caressed her face with the other free hand, and continued to watch her comatose body. He ran his index finger over her lips. He could still hear her screaming in his mind.

That powerful, terrified scream.

"Do you realize that after our big revelation, you will be able to walk down the hallways of Bayside High for the next two weeks and hold my hand?" Lisa joked from the passenger side of Zack's car.

"Yes, I did realize that." Zack replied with a bright smile. "I also realized that I would be able to kiss you in the hallways as well. Which I plan to do at least ten times today."

Lisa hitched an eyebrow. "Ten times?"

"Yep."

"You sure you have that many in you?"

A sexy, charming smirk crossed his lips. He glanced to her when he stopped the car at a red light. "Would that be a challenge?"

"Consider the gauntlet thrown." Lisa quipped with a sexy smirk of her own. Zack winked to her and she let out a laugh. Her joyous mood was steadily declining as they approached the school. She sighed heavily. "Do you think it will be okay?"

Zack nodded. "I'm sure it will be fine."

"And if it's not?"

"We still have each other."

Lisa smiled. That was true; and just what she needed to hear. "I love you, Zack."

The car pulled off.

"I love you, too, Lis." He took one hand from the steering wheel, grabbed her hand and kissed it. "You'll see. It'll all work out."

Those were the last words he spoke to her while she was conscious. As soon as they pulled off into the intersection, some drunk driver ran the red light, running straight into the passenger side of his car.

Lisa took full impact.

"Oh, God, Lisa, I'm so sorry." He cried against her hand. "I'm so sorry."

He was so lost in his own pain that he didn't hear the door to her room open and close. He jumped at the hand placed on his shoulder. He pulled back, sitting erect, to find the touch belonged to Lisa's mother. He sniffled lightly, wiping the tears from his face with one hand, while the other stayed entwined with Lisa's.

"Dr. Turtle." He greeted the surgeon formally. He looked up at her with helpless eyes; hoping she was there to bring him some good news.

Dr. Turtle shook her head nimbly. Lisa had made no change. She smiled to Zack sadly and ran a hand through his hair. "You should be resting. I don't need you to succumb to exhaustion, Zachary. You could end up in bed right beside her."

His body shook with an unexpected sob. "Then, that's where I'll be." He replied. "I'm not leaving her."

"You know I could have an orderly come in here and remove you, don't you?" She didn't mean that the way it sounded. She wasn't threatening to have him removed; she simply wanted him to think about his well-being. He was no good to her daughter in a coma as well.

He turned his head to face his girlfriend's mother for just a moment, giving her a proper stare of defiance, before returning to stare at Lisa's sleeping face. "Then that's what you're going to have to do, because I'm not leaving her until she opens her eyes."

Dr. Turtle smiled. "I'm not going to do that, Zack. Having you here . . . I don't know . . . I think it's helping her. She knows she has something here to fight for. To fight her way back to." She touched his shoulder again. "But if you experience any pain-"

"I'll call you first." He replied with a smile. He didn't feel any pain. At least not any from his battered body. He received a few cuts and bruised with a fractured rib was the full extent of his damage. It was Lisa's pain he felt. From her broken leg to her gushing head wound. The only pain he felt came from seeing her lying there. Living over again the terrifying ordeal.

Zack's car began to spin around uncontrollably. Lisa was screaming in horror and pain. His seatbelt strap caught him against the chest as he was jerked about. As the car was on its last spin, his head slammed against the window. He heard the cracking of the glass and felt the blood begin to pour from the side of his head.

The car stopped with a lurch and for the moment . . . all was silent.

Two minutes had passed before he opened his eyes again. His breath caught in reaction from the pain in his head. His body was slumped over the steering wheel. Groggily, his eyes fluttered open. It took a moment for his mind to snap to attention. Another moment for his eyes to fully focus. Another to control his breathing and the rapid intense beating of his heart.

Lisa, he thought.

He sat erect, painfully, and he caught first glimpse of her. She was lying back in the seat, unconscious, blood pouring from her head.

Lisa!

He quickly unbuckled his seatbelt and then hers. Her body fell slowly to the passenger side door. He could hear the sirens in the distance. Passersby on the street ran to his car to help him. He couldn't think. The pain in his body, the loss of blood.

Lisa.

The doors of his car were opened. He felt someone grab him and pull him from the car. Lisa was being pulled out as well. He wanted to go to her, but his body wouldn't allow. The loss of blood was too great.

"Lisa." He whispered as he collapsed to the ground.

And then, mercifully, everything went black.