Kassandra: Aaaww Thanks! Here's another chapter just for you then :D I've actually written 15 words pages total, but I wanted to see if people would be interessed in the preface before posting anything else!

Anyway, here it goes!

A violent pain in his chest got him out of a blank unconsciousness. The slightest breath was killing him. He had no idea where he was, what was happening, and even who he was anymore. The only thing he could identifiy was this pain growing in his chest and in his throat. He was between a deep, dream-free sleep and a beginning of consciousness. A minute, as well as a week could have gone by while he was asleep and he wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

- God. Are you serious?, asked a very high-pitched voice hysterically.

- Yes, I am. Now would you keep it down a little? You're gonna woke him up, whispered a second lower voice.

- Oh come on! Ryan Atwood ran like 15 miles in less than an hour and he only has a few scratches and it seems normal to you?

- You know, if you're gonna go all hysterical-y on something, you could at least pick the most incredible stuff.

- What' you mean? What' you mean?

The lower voice stopped.

- You don't know?, she said finally.

- Know what?

- Why he ran those 15 miles?

The high-pitched voice let out a small excited gasp. Ryan heard the sound of two hands claping together with excitement.

- Tell me!

Ryan could hear the words the two girls were saying, but he could not understand their meaning. He was slowly gaining consciousness, helped by the very loud and high-pitched voice.

- For a gossip lover, you're not very well informed of everything around here.

- Gimme a break, I was sick all week, so how d'you want me to know? Now would you just tell me already?

- All right, all right. You know Marissa Cooper?

Ryan's eyebrows furrowed at the mention of this name, his eyes still closed. He knew it was part of the reason why he was here, but he was drowning in such a blur he could not remember exactly why.

- You mean the little Miss not-so-perfect who shot someone to save her boyfriend's life and got kicked out of Harbor before being reinserted a few months later thanks to her friends and the pleading of Sandy Cohen, the adopting father of Ryan—which is also the real father of Seth Cohen, who is actually going out with Summer Roberts?

- Haha. Now you're talking! So yeah, that Marissa had a car accident yesterday night. Ryan was taking her to the airport so she could leave town with her father, and that kinda scary—but real' hot!—bad boy she dated for a little while, you know, whose always hanging out on the beach-Volch-something, followed them and began hitting their car, making them go off road. I heard the car flipped several times. Ryan must have taken Marissa out of the car before it exploded. And she was loosing a lot of blood so he tried to go get help as fast as he could.

Suddenly, Ryan remembered everything. How scared he was that Marissa Cooper would disappear forever of the surface of this world, how he just had to give his best to save her. His heartbeats speeded up, making the biping sound of the machine go faster as well. What had happened to her in the end? Was she still alive? What if he had done all this for nothing? Those questions were killing him, but he just couldn't find the strength to open his eyes and get out of his bed.

-Oh. My. God. Those stuffs only happen on TV shows or something. How do these four do to always put themselves into this much trouble?

- Meh. Good question.

- So, so, so? What happened to the girl? Is she dead?

- Not yet. But she's in a ver…

Ryan abruptly straight himself up, indifferent to the pain beating in his chest and in his head. He jumped out of his hospital bed, threw a quick glance at the two Harbor students—probably working at the hospital part time—which were looking at him mouth open as if he was some sort of ghost.

He ran to the lobby of the hospital and asked for Marissa Cooper.

A black little lady with a friendly face was taking him to her room. They had tried to make him go back in his room, but he had knew how to be persuasive enough to obtain the right to see Marissa a bit—he still didn't know how he had managed to though. He didn't even have to hit anyone.

He was finding that corridor really long and that nurse really slowly-walking. But finally he was in front of the door number 207. The nurse knocked before entering the room, as if someone would answer. She was followed very closely by Ryan. Seeing her plug in so many machines and in such a bad condition made him flinch. He slowly took a few steps closer to her and gazed at her face covered with big scratches and bandages. Without turning his head from her, he asked the nurse standing close to the door:

- How is she?

- Not good.

She made a pause, hove a sigh and said:

- Look, I'm not gonna lie to you, son. She has very few chances to wake up. She's between life and death, in a very deep coma state. And to be completely honest with you, she's a lot closer to death than she is to life right now. I'm sorry.

Ryan did not answer; he just sat on the armchair next to Marissa's bed and took her hand on his. It was cold.

- Have you called her parents yet?, he said in a voice he wanted balanced.

- Yes. Her mother left not so long ago. She'll be back soon, she told me she wanted to talk to you.

- Julie Cooper wanted to talk to me?, said Ryan, a bit surprised.

The door had barely opened on Seth that Summer came rushing into his arms. She was crying.

- Summer, honey, what's wrong?, said Seth in an alarmed voice.

The young lady did not answer right away, her head was buried in Seth's neck and she was holding him close. After a few minutes, she finally lifted up her head, looked at him with teary and big eyes and hiccupped:

- H-haven't-t y-you…h-hear-red?

- Oh my god, Ryan!

Julie Cooper entered the room and went to hug Ryan, who widened his eyes and blinked them very quickly, as he always did when he was surprised. He hugged her back, in a very tensed and embarrassed way. He heard her sobbing.

- You saved her life. Again. I don't know how I could thank you enough.

She finally released him, took a tissue and dried her tears by giving light raps under her eyes.

- She's not really saved yet, added Ryan in a hesitating tone.

Julie stopped drying her eyes and looked right into Ryan's eyes.

- Listen to me, young man. You're not gonna go all Ryan-y about this. I won't let you. Now I want to see you showing a little optimism. Marissa is a very strong girl. She has already been threw so much and she recovered. So, it will take the time it will take, but she will wake up. I know it. Is that clear enough for you now?

Ryan, by experience, knew it had never been a good idea to go against what Julie Cooper said, so he just silently nodded, a little scared.

- What about her dad, does he know…?

- Yes. He is coming to see her.

- Won't that be dangerous? Last time he was in Newport Beach he got beat up...

- Oh, Sandy took care of that long ago. That little coward didn't come home because he was too scared to face me.

"And damn, was he right." said a little voice inside Ryan's head.

The first weeks all passed in a state of complete blur for Ryan. Seth and Summer came as soon as they could, completely choked over what had happened. Without even thinking about it, Ryan decided to stay by Marissa side and not leave for college yet. Nobody dared try to get this idea out of his mind, not even Kirsten. Seth and Summer stayed too, but promised themselves they would make it to Brown by January, so they could both enter the university in the same time as they had dreamed of.

Days, weeks, and months went by without Ryan really realizing it. Ryan came to see Marissa every day and Seth and Summer came with him every Thursday and weekends. Ryan had learn by some doctor that talking to the patient might help him woke up. So Ryan, though really not the talkative type, learned—and forced himself—to talk a lot about everything; what he had done with his day, how he was feeling at the moment, what he planed to do some other day...

Over five months had gone by since the accident. Everyone was starting to lose hope, especially the doctors that never really had any hope to see her waking up in the first place. They were saying her coma state was too deep. It was apparently already a miracle in itself that she didn't die right away from that car accident. "A miracle named Ryan", Julie Cooper often added.

Today was the anniversary of the sixth months since Marissa had fallen into a coma. Ryan, as usual, was coming directly from school to the hospital. He had spent the last months either working to get his mind off of everything he was struggling with, studying very hard in the pool house or at the hospital.

When he walked into the hallway of Saint Joseph Hospital, a few nurses and interns waved at him. He realized he was pretty known in the area now. As he grew closer to the 207, he began slowing down.

The door wasn't completely closed, and he could hear the humming noise of two people talking. Though not loud enough for him to distinguish what exact words they were saying.

He drew closer to the door and was about to knock when he heard the words "going to France". He frozed in his movement and blinked his eyes a few time.

- Why would we move this far?, he heard Julie's voice exclaim.

- Because you might have more luck there, responded a clam, deep voice. There's a hospital in Paris directed by a dear friend of mine which has a big team of specialists on everything related to coma state. It's quite experimental but I heard they were making miracles over there. You should think about it.

Julie stayed silent a while, as if she was lost in her dreams. She snapped back to reality with a small gasp and she said with a voice full of emotion:

- Thank you doctor. I really appreciate you sharing this with me. I'll think about it.

But as he heard her speak, Ryan thought that all was already decided in Julie Cooper's head. She would do absolutely anything that had even the slightest chance to make Marissa feel better. And, well, he unfortunately couldn't agree more.

And Ryan was right. As soon as she could, Julie started convincing her family and everyone close to Marissa that going to Paris was the solution. That the miracle she knew was going to happen would definitely occur there. In an incredible short amount of time—Ryan suspected she had done her research before that time—Julie had find a small apartment where they could live before finding a better place, had managed, thanks to the great help of the doctor, to get a spot for Marissa in the hospital, where she could be part of that "amazing experiment".

It was happening.

Julie knocked at the door and opened it on the same time, while trying to smile to brighten up the mood. Ryan barely turned his head to face her. She sighed. This was going to be tough.

- So, the big day is coming soon, right!, she said, all enthusiastically.

Only the bip of the machines answered her. She thought that maybe she should try another approach and just get to the point.

- Ryan, I came here because I…I have something for you. It's a letter Marissa wrote you before she left NewPort with you. It came back a few days ago. Must have been lost in the mail. Here.

She handed to him, and he took it, looking quite upset.

A few days passed, and he still couldn't find the strength to open that letter. It was there, right next to his bed and he looked at it every morning when he woke up and every night when he went to sleep. He constantly thought about what could have been written on that letter. One afternoon, while Seth and Ryan were hanging out in the pool house, playing videos games, his friend said to him:

- Man, you gotta read that thing. It's driving you crazy. Why don't you just get it over with?

Ryan stayed silent. He blinked his eyes a few times and sighed. He knew Seth was right. But he thought he liked the fact that he had something "new" from Marissa. Something he hadn't discovered yet.

He sighed again and scratched the corner of his eyes with two fingers, putting the joystick away from him.

- You're right. I'll do it.

And, without loosing any more time, he took the letter and headed off to the beach. This letter could only be read in one place.

The sun was going down, but some people were still playing on the beach, mixing the sound of waves with the sound of children's laughter.

Ryan stood a moment next to Marissa's favourite place, a hand on the banister, not sure if it was okay for him to sit there. He had been here with her before, but it just didn't feel the same now. Still he went to sit and opened the letter with apprehension:

"Dear Ryan,

If you're reading this, I guess it means I'm already gone. Thanks again for bringing me at the airport, it really meant a lot to me. I wanted you to be the last person I would see before living this place.

I just wanted you to know something that I couldn't get myself to say to your face. Maybe because I am too much of a coward, or because it might have changed my mind about leaving New Port. And I needed it.

But anyway, I just thought I owed you the truth.

First, I hope you don't blame yourself for my departure. If anything, I think you being in New Port is one of the main reasons why I stayed there this long. But I just need to go away from everything. I need to start a new life now. After everything that's happened in the past three years, I really can't cope with New Port anymore.

I know that all those things and big dramas we confronted, we've overcome them together and I hope you don't see me going as an abandon. It will sound very cheesy, but you'll always have a big part in my heart, even if I never got to see you again in my life. That's kinda what I wanted you to know actually.

Okay, here goes: Ryan, I have always loved you. And I never stopped.

When I first met you, looking all lost and kinda dark I have to say—but definitely in a good way—with that cigarette on the edge of your lips and you're "whatever you want me to be", I just knew, I don't know how, that you were this amazing person who was going to mean a huge deal to me. And I was right.

Even through the fights, the breakups—because we did have a lot of those, if I may say—and everything, I never stopped loving you. It didn't stopped me to date other people, because well, you were doing it too. But my feelings for you were always there, somewhere hidden on the back of my head, ready to invade my mind whenever I got to spend time with you, talk to you or even walked by you in the corridors of Harbor. You were always there for me. Always. You protected me, loved me and just stood by my side, ready to catch me if I were to fall.

I am so sorry you got involved with Voldchok. I think he could easily won the 3rd place of my worst mistakes, right after when I and when I didn't trust you about Oliver. Again, I am so sorry for all the craziness.

Anyway, just know that, even if I leave, I will always be there for you if you ever need me. Just know that I will never, ever forget you.



Ryan didn't count the number of times he read it, the only thing he knew was that it was pretty dark when he finally decided to walk back to the Cohen's house.

On the morning, Ryan woke up with a sad thought. Marissa was leaving today. He took a glance at his clock and saw 7:30. Visits weren't allowed until 9 AM and he didn't sleep very well last night. He rolled on the side and tried to fall back asleep.

- Ryaaaaaaan! Come on! Wake up.

Summer entered the pool house without even knocking. He groaned and turn towards her while opening one eye.

- What'you want? It's only 7:30.

- Well duuh. Remember, Marissa. Leaving?

- Visits aren't allowed yet.

- See if I care! Come on, it's our last day with Marissa until god-knows-when.

Ryan wasn't moving. Summer sighted and threw something at him.

- Here. It's a letter I wrote to her. Add something if you want. Later.

At the word "letter", Ryan jumped in his bed. He needed to respond to her letter she wrote him. Except he wasn't very good with words.

There they were, saying goodbyes again. And Marissa couldn't even say the words. Julie had left Seth and Summer alone with her a while.

Summer was sitting on the armchair, her hand squeezing Marissa's. Everything was ready and packed. Soon, even Marissa would be gone. She was biting her lips, fighting her tears. Seth drew closer to her and putted a protective hand on her shoulder.

- I know it's hard Sum', but it's for the best. You'll see her again.

Summer turned her head toward him.

- How do you know she'll wake up?, she said in a cute whiny voice.

He shrugged his shoulders.

- Because it couldn't be any other way. Come here.

He slid his hand down her arm and took her hand in his. She let go of Marissa's and got up from the armchair. Seth took her in his arms and kissed her forehead.

- It going to be okay, he whispered against her skin.

Summer sighed and buried her face under Seth's neck.

- We should go, she said after a while.

Before they left the room, she took a last glance at Marissa and kissed her cheek.

- See you, Coop'.

As Julie moved closer to the room, she found Seth and Summer walking away from the 207, Seth's arms around Summer whose eyes were red from crying.

- You better give me news everyday!, Summer said to Julie, pointing her finger towards her.

Julie nodded. She was taking her father with her too. They had finally made up and since Summer was going away to Brown, M. Roberts had decided to go to France too.

- Of course. We'll be back in no time anyway, she said with a smile.

But the three of them knew it was more a way to persuade her of it than what she actually thought.

Ryan was the last one to go. Sandy and Kirsten had already gone home and Jimmy was packing to France as well. He didn't want to abandon his daughter anymore. As he entered the room, he found Julie waiting for him. She stood up from the armchair when she heard him coming.

- Hi, Ryan, I…found this on her cupboard. I think it belongs to you.

Julie handed him a black leathered jacket. It was the one he was wearing the night of the accident, what he had put under Marissa's head. He looked at it a little while, and sighed.

- Nah, keep it. Marissa used to like it. Give it to her when she'll wake up.

Julie smiled and nodded. She noticed he had said "when" and not "if". She hugged him.

- Take care of you Ryan.

- I will. (He got a few steps away from her) Take care of her.

She smiled even more. Ryan thought he saw her eyes giving out sparks for a moment.

- I will.