Summary: "I had a dream that I was dead." Rachel wakes up in the middle of the woods, naked -- and very much alive! And somewhere in this, a depressed hawk comes back and, oh I don't know, makes out with her. AU and possibly factually-incorrect.
Figured it's been too long since I wrote any T/R, and the T/R ship def needs too much love to be ignored. And HELLO! AU fic, coming your way. Big fat apologies if my facts are all wrong, IT'S BEEN AWHILE, and they're all most likely intentional. All I know is, I want to write some T/R, so that's what I'm going to do. Tobias seriously needs to get some tail.

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I had a dream that I was dead.

I've had a few bad dreams before – but never anything like this. Once I was held hostage in my basement, where my neighbor's cat wore a designer suit and smoked a Cuban cigar while he pointed a gun to my head. Another where I was being chased by a slimy, pink brain blob. It was terrifying – but dreams and nightmares usually have this uncanny sense of timing; it stops right when you're right about to die. In my dreams, I would be waiting for it – to feel the hard, bone-shattering impact of the ground underneath me when I fell, and the explosion of the bullet as it splintered through my skull and made a mess of me everywhere – and it would never come. Dreams are funny that way.

I'm not afraid of much. Dreams that used to petrify me and have me running to my mom's bed when I was six don't do so much as give me a little shiver these days – because I've seen worse, believe me, I've seen worse. One thing you learn about dreams is that they can't hurt you. People who die in your dreams don't die in real life. You wake up, and they're there, as good as you left them, and that fear and anxiety webs away into nothing, air. It's different now. These days, when I wake up, it's like falling into a nightmare. Bad dreams are walks in the park compared to what we have to face when we get out of bed.

The pain was quick – just a flash of terrible, inexplicable agony. Then it was gone. Then it was like my soul had careened out of my body, in a wild and whirling tornado, tearing out of my bones and my flesh. For a minute I stood above them, but everything was faint and ghostly, like a flimsy veil had fallen between me and – them. Cassie, Jake, Marco, Axe, Tobias. Tobias. I saw him, crying, and for a minute I couldn't figure it out. I'd never seen him cry before – crying just wasn't his thing. Manly pride and all that. Didn't exactly help, either, that hawks were an extremely proud species.

Then I realized what had just happened. The shock hadn't settled yet, but it was beginning to. Everything felt fuzzy, and disoriented, and everything was starting to blur away. From the distance I could barely make out everyone's grim faces, and then a body, a big bloody mess of a body – of a girl. Or, at least, what used to be a girl.

It was me.

I was dead.

Or – at least, I was supposed to be. Supposedly. Rachel, dead girl, with the Carrie outfit. But now I'm thinking it was all a dream. Because, well, how else would you explain it? That you were crushed and minced to pieces, and then to wake up the next day, in the middle of nowhere, but in one complete piece and totally, completely, undoubtedly and unfathomably alive?

I had a dream that I was dead.

That's the best explanation I can give you for now.