A/N: I hope you enjoy this story! It's quite dark…
Disclaimer: I don't own Paul.
The light of the day looked astonishingly normal when Clive opened his eyes. After all of those crazy adventures waking up to see a regular sunny day was weird in a way. He tried to blink several times, letting his sight adjust to the conditions, which gave him an increasing headache.
"Hey, Sausage," as the writer's eyes finally got used to the light, a familiar figure appeared by his side. Graeme's lip was still not completely healed after the fight with the "Big Guy" and he had quite a few bruises but it could have been worse. Clive swallowed. So much worse…
He shut his eyes tightly to erase the agonizing images which suddenly flooded his mind. It was the one image actually, but it was horrifically haunting. He opened his eyes and tried to focus on something else.
"Where are we?" he asked, looking around him. It looked like a hospital but why were they there?
Graeme frowned with concern.
"Don't you remember what happened?"
Clive tried to focus. What did he mean? So many different things had happened. Too many things.
"Good to see you are awake, Mr. Gollings," a doctor pushed himself into view, causing Graeme to shuffle awkwardly towards the door, making "I'll be right back" gestures on his way.
"So," the doctor started after a basic examination. "Do you remember what happened?"
Clive just stared at him.
"Okay," the doctor encouraged. "Looks like you've had a head injury. It is common to lose memory of the events that caused it. What is the last thing you remember?"
Clive shut his eyes in concentration.
"Well… We were driving along…" he made a pause as his mind was completely empty. And then he started to recall something. At first there were only sounds. Someone screaming, metallic screeching… then the visual memory kicked in, which turned out to be just a range of flashing lights. Not very helpful but Clive got the general idea.
"I see you are beginning to remember your…" the doctor took a short pause to find the most appropriate words, "traffic collision…"
Clive nodded. He still couldn't recall the details so he gave up trying. Hopefully Graeme would tell him about it.
"I'll leave you for now," the doctor said with quiet understanding. "You need some time to get over all the past events… We'll keep you under watch for a while, just to be sure there are no complications".
He exited the room but Clive didn't have to stay alone for long, since Graeme walked in like a minute later.
"So… do you remember the car crash now?" he asked, sitting down on a chair near the bed.
"Not really," Clive admitted. "How did it happen?" he suddenly started to realize the full meaning of that event. He looked at his friend more carefully but didn't notice any serious injuries. "Is everyone else alright?"
"Well, we were in Lorenzo's car… I think he was tired or something and didn't notice the truck in our way. The police have already gotten that crazy truck driver".
"And what about Lorenzo?" Clive asked when he saw his friend's face show signs of uneasiness.
"He's here, too. Hasn't woken up yet. His wife is with him".
Clive swallowed. He needed to ask one more question. Graeme's lively tone already suggested that Ruth was alright but he needed to check.
"And where is Ruth?" he asked softly, trying not to upset Graeme just in case.
"Oh, she's fine. She was in the car with Mr. Buggs. It was she who called for help when this all happened".
The writer nodded.
"And what about you, Eggie?"
Graeme smiled at the nickname.
"Well, as you see, I'm okay. Guess Lady Luck smiled at me that night," he let out an awkward laugh.
Clive couldn't stop himself from remembering what "that night" had also included. He glared at his illustrator, wondering how one can call himself lucky for getting fatally shot in the chest. On the other hand, not everyone can consider coming back from the dead bad luck. He shut his eyes as his thoughts became too confusing.
"The doctor said you shouldn't exhaust yourself," Graeme's voice sounded from far away. Clive only murmured a quiet "mhm" and fell asleep once again.
The next time he woke up Graeme was nowhere to be seen. Instead there were the already familiar doctor and a man the writer didn't know. The doctor looked really annoyed with the other man's presence.
"Mr. Gollings," he started apologetically. "This is…"
"Inspector Doyle," the man growled impatiently, unwilling to wait to be introduced.
Clive swallowed. Police? A lot had happened, but he didn't know whether he was supposed to talk about it. If only agent Zoil was there… But maybe it was all about the car crash…
"So tell me, Mr. Gollings, all you can about the kidnapping of Ms. Ruth Buggs".
Clive's eyes widened with utter disbelief.
"What?" was all he could say before reversing into mumbling. "We didn't… she was…"
"Oh, she's not laying any charges if that's what you mean," the Inspector interrupted. "But I need to know all about this since it led to a murder. And I think you should be a bit more cooperative since it's your friend who's been killed".
He totally ignored the doctor's glare while delivering that speech. Clive just stared. How did this guy know about what had happened? And why did it even matter? Everything was back to normal anyway.
"What?" Clive knew he probably sounded completely retarded but he couldn't help it. "But he wasn't killed. I mean, he was but…"
He got cut off when Graeme entered the room.
"What's going on?" his gaze was jumping from the doctor to the Inspector.
"They want to investigate your… death," Clive was already too lost to realize how odd that must have sounded.
"Oh," Graeme exhaled shortly. "Can this wait?"
The doctor seemed to agree with that statement.
"That's it, Inspector," he sounded really irritated. "I think you should go now".
Just as Clive thought his head was going to explode, the door opened again, letting in a young woman with a patch over her eye. Wait. What?
"Ruth?" Clive barely recognized his own voice. "What's wrong with your eye?"
She ignored the question.
"I… I just wanted to say that I am sorry for what happened," she sobbed. "Papa… my father… he never meant to… and they explained it wasn't your fault in kidnapping me, said you had been delirious… I'm so sorry…" she blurted all of that really quickly, finishing her rant with "may God have mercy on us all".
Clive couldn't understand anything. It felt like his brain was melting.
"Am I going completely mad?" he groaned, trying and failing to regain his grip on reality. He glanced at Graeme who looked equally confused.
The doctor let out an exasperated sigh.
"Alright, Mr. Gollings, I think I have to take the risk and tell you the truth".
Clive felt worried about what that could mean but remained silent.
"It has been proved that you were under the influence of a drug someone put in your drinks when you kidnapped Ms. Buggs a month ago…"
"A month?" Clive's head was spinning. "What are you talking about?"
"The effects should have worn off," the doctor ignored the interruption, "but the stress you got when your friend was killed exacerbated your condition. You got into a car crash and have been staying in our facility for all this time. You also got memory losses so I don't expect you to remember any of this tomorrow".
The doctor sighed.
"Paul the alien who can heal and bring the dead back to life…" he recited. "We have already heard this numerous times. I am sorry, there was no Paul. You have to come to terms with the fact that…" he swallowed, knowing how cruel he sounded. But shock therapy could be effective sometimes. "Your friend… Graeme, was it?.. Was killed and never came back".
"For goodness' sake, he's not dead!" Clive sobbed. Why were they saying this? This was too ridiculous, considering Graeme was in the room himself. "He's standing to your right!"
Ruth and the policeman exchanged disturbed glances. The doctor looked at the writer with compassion.
"There is nobody there, Clive," he almost whispered.
Clive looked back at Graeme and his eyes widened with horror. The wound he remembered all too well appeared on his friend's chest again, blood flowing from it like a small river. He looked up at Graeme's face and saw a bitter and slightly guilty smile on it. Mortified, he watched as his friend's figure started to become more and more transparent, until it finally completely disappeared.
His eyes still filled with horror and indescribable pain, he looked at the doctor. For a few seconds he couldn't say anything. And then tears started sliding down his face.
"Leave me alone," he was choking now. Something was squeezing his throat with great force. It felt like his heart was torn into pieces and those pieces were traveling around his body, causing pain to everything.
The doctor did what he was asked to, motioning to the other two people to follow him out. This time they obeyed without objecting, leaving Clive to cry until his vision became completely dark.
Clive opened his eyes and tried to understand where he was. It looked like a hospital but definitely not the one he remembered falling asleep… or more like passing out at.
"Hey, Sausage," the familiar voice sent shivers down his spine. "You're finally awake".
He stared at Graeme who was sitting in a chair by his bed, pressing a button to call the doctor.
"Do you remember what happened?" the illustrator asked, and Clive's reaction (an affirmative nod and a negative headshake right after it) made him look quite alarmed.
"What's wrong with him?" he asked the doctor who came in for the call. Not the same doctor, either...
"Might be the shock…" the doctor tried to sound reassuring.
"You're not real," Clive whispered, staring at his friend with a mixture of fear and sorrow in his eyes.
"What?" Graeme now looked both alarmed and increasingly confused.
"You're not real!" Clive exclaimed louder. "You died. You were killed…"
Graeme swallowed the lump in his throat.
"Um, yes, but Paul saved me, remember?"
Clive shook his head again, tears ready to fall from his eyes.
"You died," he repeated. "I was holding your hand. I saw it happen. It happened".
"Yes, but you also saw me come back…" Graeme was now crying himself. He tried to lay his hand on his friend's shoulder but Clive backed away from his reach. The illustrator looked at the doctor helplessly, but the latter only shrugged. He couldn't understand what they were talking about anyway.
"Stop it, Clive, you are freaking me out," he sobbed. "I don't know what kind of dreams you saw while you were unconscious but now it's over".
Clive's look changed slightly for a few seconds as he studied his friend's features.
"How do I know it's not a dream now?" he finally asked a bit calmer. "How do I know I can believe this?"
"Sometimes you've just got to roll the dice," Graeme tried to smile while simultaneously reaching for Clive's shoulder again. While he failed completely at his first task, the second one went more successfully. He leaned closer and pulled his friend into a tight hug. Clive clung to him like to dear life. He was awake now. Definitely.