Summary: Keppler doesn't die. I kind of take it from there.

Rating: T for some language, to be on the safe side.

Disclaimer: I didn't invent and don't own the characters. Though I wouldn't mind owning Liev Schreiber, personally.

A/N: I absolutely loved this character, and I thought he and Catherine had great potential. This is my take on the "what could have been".

If He Lived

by

Miranda

1.

"Oh no."

Michael Keppler didn't have to slowly navigate into consciousness. He opened his eyes to the blindingly white hospital room, and he knew. All of it, in an instant. He gasped.

"Oh no."

He gingerly turned his head. Catherine was sitting there, holding a plastic soda cup and drinking through a straw. The cup was white, and the straw was green, and she wasn't looking at him, she was looking through the window, gazing dreamily into the distance, happily enjoying her drink. She was wearing a green dress. Michael thought she looked like a schoolgirl. Then he blinked, and she was gone. The chair beside his bed was empty. She'd never been there.

He supposed he should try and alert someone to the fact that he was alive, which would probably be quite a surprise, and a big annoyance, to many people. But he didn't want to. He didn't want to be alive. And if he had to be, he wanted to stay just like this for as long as possible: alone, silent, in a white impersonal room, with no thoughts, no memories, no feelings.

The door opened, and Catherine stepped into the room. She wasn't wearing a green dress, but a dark-brown striped suit, and she had no soda cup, her hands were empty. Michael blinked, but she didn't go away. She stood there for a second, staring at him, wide-eyed. Then she said:

"Hi!"

"Hi."

He didn't know he could still talk. It hurt a little in his chest.

"How long have you been awake?"

"Not long."

Yes, it definitely hurt.

"Do the doctors know?"

"Uh-uh."

He shook his head. That hurt too. A lot. A miniature fusion went off between his brows, and all kinds of pains and aches started to blossom all along his body.

"I'll do it."

No, don't go, he wanted to say. You'll disappear again, and I'll have to stay in this white room with all the pain, and all the memories, and and thoughts, and feelings. He turned his head toward the window. The door clicked shut. Suddenly, he felt her hand on his cheek. He turned to look at her, and this time it didn't hurt. At all.