A/N: I own nothing.

"Hi." Brenda leaned on the doorframe to Brandon's room.

"Hi." Dylan smiled slightly. "Aren't visiting hours over?"

"Maybe." she stayed where she was, and Dylan closed his eyes in defeat.

"Please, come here." he said, quietly.

"I can't."

"I need you to."

"Why can't you understand that I need space?"

"Because...I was afraid that I lost you."

"I was afraid that I lost you today, Dylan." she corrected him. "Do you have any idea what you put me through today?"

"I thought you didn't care."

"Number one, of course I care." Brenda crossed the room to his bedside. "Number two, there can't be any way you actually believed that I don't care about you."

"Brenda, I'm sorry for being a jerk to you."

"I'm sorry for how I froze you out." Brenda resisted the urge to sit down by his side. It was an old habit dying hard. She took one step back from him.

"Brenda-" Dylan tried to sit up, and his broken ribs pushed together in protest. He gasped in pain, and Brenda hesitated from leaving.

"Dylan, please." Brenda closed her eyes, but she couldn't get the sight of Dylan out of her head.

"Please help me, Brenda."

"I can't. You can't ask me to."

"I know, but I'm asking anyway." Dylan surrendered to the feeling of utter hopelessness that threatened to engulf him. "Good night, Brenda."

"Good night." she said, softly.

Late into the night, Dylan lay awake. He had to get out, away from the Walshes' house, away from Brenda, just away. He sat up, painfully, and hoped that Brandon had brought his Porsche over from the beach. He had, and Dylan slipped into it, gingerly. Thankfully, it sat on the street, and he turned on the engine and drove away without disturbing anyone with lights cascading into the windows of the house.

The storm was brewing in the sky above him as Dylan pulled into the beach club. He slipped into his family's old cabana as the rain began to pound on the cement outside. He could hear the waves thrashing the shore, and silence reigned as the power to the club was lost. Fans and lights cut off, and Dylan fairly collapsed onto the couch in the cabana. His only light was from his lighter. He lay on his side, painful as it was to, and curled up in a ball. His ribs were on fire, and he wished with all his might for the pain to stop. Then he realized that it was the only thing that made him feel alive. He embraced the feeling, and curled up tighter. Now the tears came, and with them, racking sobs that made the pain go from unbearable to astronomical.

"Brandon." Back at the house, Brenda had heard Dylan leave. She thought he was just blowing off steam, or going for a walk. Then she heard his car start. She raced downstairs and shook Brandon awake on the couch.

"Brenda...it's the middle of the night. What's going on?" Brandon protested.

"Dylan left."

"What?" Brandon was wide awake now. Minutes later, they were headed down the quiet street, trying to think of where Dylan might go.

"He had better not be out on the water." Brenda jumped to a conclusion, one that scared her. "He could kill himself."

"He's not stupid enough to go surfing tonight." Brandon reassured her.

"You think he went to the beach?"

"Yeah." Brandon nodded.

They reached the beach club in record time. "If Brandon's out in this weather, he might have come here to take shelter. I hope." Brenda said, almost to herself. Sure enough, they saw Dylan's Porsche, sitting in the parking lot, filling up with the torrential downpour that had just started. Brandon felt in his pocket for the spare key.

"I'm going to close up the roof on the car. You go see if you can find him."

"Okay." Brenda headed for the beachfront, but stopped under the awning by the snack bar. The door to the next cabana was open. She thought it strange, since Donna and Kelly had told her that the owners of that room were away for the summer, with their cute son, in Europe. She thought back to a conversation Dylan had had with her once, about his childhood. He had told her that the last happy summer he had spent had been the year he was six, and he and his parents had stayed here. She moved to the open sliding glass door, and pushed aside the curtain hanging over it. She saw an open flame on the coffee table, illuminating a figure curled up on the couch.

"Dylan?" she whispered, and he started at the sound of her voice. He gasped audibly in pain, but didn't acknowledge that she had spoken. She crossed the short distance to where he lay, and stood over him. "Dylan."

He relaxed as she said his name again, but buried his face in his arms. She sat down in front of him, pushing the coffee table back by a little, being careful not to knock the lighter over. She tugged at his sleeve, trying to get him to uncover his face. Finally, he did, and she covered one of his closed fists with her hand. He relaxed the fist, and allowed her to intertwine his fingers with hers.

"Why did you leave?" she asked.

"I couldn't stay there. Your dad hates me, you don't want me there, and I just couldn't stand it."

"Stand what?"

"You being in the next room but feeling like we were worlds apart."

"Dylan, please come back." she didn't even address what he was trying to convey. It would be better, easier for everyone if he would just come back home with her, and they could go back to being friends.

"What did you say earlier?" he pulled his hand away from hers, and repeated, "I can't. You can't ask me to."

"Don't throw that back in my face." Brenda warned him. Inside, her heart was breaking that she couldn't just magically make everything in his life make sense. "I can't deal with that, either."

"You've got to deal with it sometime, Bren." he used the diminutive form of her name, out of habit, and she smiled slightly, in spite of herself.

"What do you want from me?" Brenda asked. "No games, no excuses, no escape. What do you want?"

"I want you and me, back the way it was before."

"What if I can't do that?"

"Why can't you?"

"Dylan, a pregnancy scare is bigger than "oh, that's a relief." It needs more consideration than a geometry test or who's taking who out on Friday night. It isn't something you can shake off like a bad spill off your surfboard." Then she realized the position he was in, with broken ribs and a minor concussion. "Not that you can just shake that off, sometimes, either." she amended.

"Do you want to know why I was relieved that you weren't pregnant?" Dylan demanded, with quiet vehemence.


"Because no one deserves to have me as their father."

Brenda's mouth practically dropped open in surprise. He couldn't seriously think that. "That's ridiculous."

"That's the truth. I am so screwed up, it's not fair to make some poor kid have me for a dad."

"Dylan..." Brenda Walsh was speechless, possibly for the first time ever.

"Brenda, just go. Go home."

"Not without you."

"Are you sure?"

"I am." she nodded.

"Where do we go from here?" Dylan asked her.

"Well, if there's a "we," we have all summer to find out."

"Okay." he tried to sit up, and winced as fire shot through his body.

"Let me help you." Brenda helped him to his feet, and they joined Brandon outside. The trio walked slowly back to the parking lot, and after they had settled Dylan into the backseat, Brandon stopped Brenda before she got into the car.

"Is everything okay between the two of you?"

"It will be." she assured him, and he smiled. He knew that they belonged together, and hoped they would realize it soon.