A/N: For some reason, my bold is only working on occasion. Not sure why that is… anyway. I wrote this entire story last night (yeah, I had major plot-bunny-induced insomnia), and I was really worried that it sucked when no one had reviewed, and then I got back from going to the store for an hour, and I had three reviews! Those three reviews made my day, so I feel the need to tell those people how much I love them. A) Angelic Prophecy. Thanks for the compliments =D This is definitely the most I've ever gotten characters in-character, and it's not even canon! B) BandGeek58407. I didn't even realize I was Abigail-bashing until you typed that, and then I laughed because apparently my subconscious is telling me I hate Abigail. Thanks for the review! C) XxMemories4everxX. Thanks!
Okay, finally moving onto the story… part
Nothing had changed, even after five years. I tried to keep a normal life. Wake up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, work extraordinarily late hours, go home, dream… of him. Always nightmares. I have woken myself out of a sound sleep innumerable times yelling.
It was a Tuesday night. It was past midnight, and I was finally heading home. He--the dream he--had haunted me all day. He had died—Ian had shot him below Trinity Church, and with no medical equipment, we couldn't save him. Completely lost in thought, I hardly noticed a semi running a red light, and with a deafening crunch, I realized it had hit me on my side.
Time moved very, very slowly. I saw lights, and then I looked to my left and saw the grill of the truck.
Pain takes its time. I then realized my arm was throbbing painfully, and I saw bones sticking out of my skin.
Nausea then hit, and when I put my fingers to my forehead, I realized I was bleeding.
For a few, tortuous moments, I saw his face floating above me with a smile.
And then it was black.Riley
Five years, and nothing had changed. The same routine every day. Get up, get dressed, Starbuck's, go to work, work all day, get home, eat dinner, watch the news, take a shower, go to bed, dream… of him. Sometimes they're pleasant, and sometimes they're nightmares. Either way, I wake up each morning with his face burning in my memory, preserved perfectly despite our extended absence.
It was a Wednesday morning. The middle of the week. My routine was the same as every morning. It had been a nightmare last night… he had been crushed by the door in Cibola. I was trying not to think about it as I waited for my coffee. There was an unusual crowd of people around the TV that day. I wandered over to watch.
"…famous treasure hunter Benjamin Gates was involved in a car accident last night. He is said to be in serious condition."
My breathing was labored, coming in jagged rasps. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I couldn't even form coherent thoughts. The other customers were starting to stare, and one suggested calling an ambulance.
Just as the barista called my order, I sprinted—flew, really—out the door, too busy to notice my tears stinging and mingling with the constant rain.Ben
I woke up sporadically a number of times. First was in the ambulance, and for the two seconds I could keep my eyes open, I saw extremely worried faces.
Next I was in a hospital bed. I saw Abigail, crying, and the doctors hustling about. As I retreated back to sleep, I thought I heard someone yell "Code blue!"
Then I dreamt. Of him, of course. But for the first time in five years, these dreams were peaceful. Happy, even. At first, I was worried, but then I realized that any good dream of him couldn't be bad… I hoped.
It once flickered across my mind that if I did die, I would never have said goodbye.Riley
The plane ride was pure torture. I jittered from the moment I boarded, partly from anxiety, and partly from fear of planes. I'm fairly certain my teeth were chattering.
"Excuse me dear," said the flight attendant. She was an older lady, and he fought back the urge to glare at her. "You seem awfully nervous. Would you like a sleeping pill?"
I considered this for a moment. Then I realized that my nightmares would probably resurface… "No thank you. May I have a water though?"
She nodded and handed me one before hustling away.
My hands were shaking. I really needed a distraction. I had my iPod…
I practically threw open my backpack and grabbed it violently. I jammed the headphones in my ear and put it on shuffle.
Somebody to Love… no.
Livin' On A Prayer… no.
Feels Like Tonight… definitely not.
Why did I download all these stupid love songs?
I yanked the headphones out of my ear and threw the device back in my bag. The passenger next me to scooted to the far edge of his seat.
You've gotta relax, I said to myself. I took a few calming breaths and closed my eyes. To my dismay, he was lurking behind my lids. "Damnit!" I cursed, too loudly. The people around me whispered amongst themselves.
Whatever, I thought. I grabbed my bag again and rummaged through it, looking for something—anything—to distract me. I found a book… "Common Sense." I almost lost it there, but I threw it back in my bag and tried not to think. The only other book I found was my own.
Good God, had I last used this five years ago?
Whatever, I thought again. I flipped open to a random chapter and was finally settling down when—
"Oh my God, you're Riley Poole!"
Sure, no one walking the streets of Seattle recognized me. Random stranger on a plane… sure.
I glanced over my book at the voice.
"You were that treasure hunter's sidekick!" Ben Gates! Wasn't he in a really bad car accident?"
I had to bite my lip to keep the tears from falling. "I'm not who you think I am."
And it was so true.Ben
The first time I really woke up, I knew I was awake because he was gone. I couldn't decide if I was happy I was alive or sad he was gone.
I made a weak noise of discomfort. Abigail flew to my side, tears already falling.
"Ben, you're alive!" she whispered, and then proceeded to bury her face in my chest. I patted her with my un-casted arm.
"What happened?" I asked weakly.
"You were hit by a semi last night on your way from work."
I nodded—that much I knew.
"You were rushed to the hospital and you almost died—oh, Ben," and she cried into my chest once more.
"I'm not dead," I told her. "I'm still here."
"Please," she begged, her face muffled by my chest. "Just tell me you're going to be okay."
"I'm going to be okay," I promised. I felt myself fading back into sleep…Riley
Deep, calming breaths, I thought. In-2-3, out-2-3.
But it became increasingly harder to breathe when I pictured his broken body lying in a hospital, dead, for all I knew, while I was waiting to get my bags checked.
The shaking had started again, but it was my entire body this time instead of just my hands. I was freaking out, and I knew that if I didn't get through the line soon I would either scream at someone or collapse from a nervous breakdown.
Every scene played through his mind, significant or not. He couldn't stand the thought of not being able to say goodbye…
Finally, finally, I got through the line. I was full out sprinting towards the doors.
I'm coming, I whispered. I'm coming.Ben
I had no idea if I was awake.
At first, I thought I was, because I saw Abigail almost asleep on my chest. But then I heard a shout… it belonged to someone familiar…
"Ben!" I heard the voice say. It was him, definitely, but it had to be a dream, he was gone…
But, in my dreams, he had looked happy… he didn't look happy…
"Ben!" he cried again. He rushed to my side and I felt him clutching my hand desperately. "Ben, please still be alive, please, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry…" his rants turned into sobs and he gripped my hand harder.
"Hey," I managed. I was surprised by the crack in my voice.
He looked up, into my eyes, and in one fluid motion his lips were on mine, in a desperate attempt to prove I was still alive. Definitely not a dream.
"I'm so sorry I left," he muttered against my lips, "I shouldn't have left, I'm sorry-"
"It was my fault," I responded. "I'm so sorry I treated you like crap, I acted like such an ass-"
He cut me off with another kiss, the salty taste of his tears mixing with the flavor of his lips.
I heard a small sigh from in front of his face, and I realized Abigail hadn't left.
His eyes followed the cast down my arm until he reached my hand.
"Shit," he whispered at first. Then he yelled, "Shit!" he cursed, turning around and pounding his fists against the wall. "How could I forget?"
"Calm down Riley!" Abigail yelled, crossing the room in two steps and grabbing his hands. "Look at me, look at me!"
When he finally tore his gaze off the floor I felt a pang of guilt at the look no his face."
"We're not married, Riley."
For a moment he stood, dumbfounded. "You have rings-"
"It's a façade. I married Conor. Remember him? We took wedding photos but we're not married."
I watched the emotions play across his face. Anger, guilt, sadness. "Why?"
"It wouldn't look good if we had broken it off, would it?" she asked gently. "The press would have been all over it. Besides, he knew all along."
He bit his lip and glanced at me. "I'm sorry," I started. "I knew but I was afraid, and I'm sorry for being a coward, it was my fault for treating you like shit. I was trying to avoid what I knew was right."
A sudden realization dawned on him. "That summer… my book?"
"I was avoiding you so I wouldn't stay anything stupid that I thought I would regret," I muttered, ashamed. "And the book was too much of you for me to handle when I hadn't seen you in so long."
He sat carefully on the edge of my bed and placed a hand in mine.
"I thought I wouldn't be able to say goodbye," he admitted.
"Me either," I said quietly.
For a few minutes he was quieter than I had ever seen him. It occurred to me that he had changed since his departure.
At some point Abigail excused herself, and he looked down at me, biting his lip again. "I know it's early to be saying this or whatever," he said, fidgeting, "but I'm pretty sure I love you."
"I love you, too," I whispered.
And it was quiet again.
A/N: Alright. This was a crap-load happier that I thought it would be. But I really, really couldn't handle leaving Riley so sad. It kills me to see him sad.