July 2000

Disclaimer: I don't own theses characters, I'm just borrowing them.

Note: This is based on a real event that happened to a couple of
friends of mine, and I felt I needed to write about it to understand it
more fully. I don't know all of the details (so I'm making a lot of
this up in regard to what actually happened during the accident, but
the accident itself and the coma are actual current events), but I do
know what they're going through. I hope I get across what I'm trying
to convey here. First off, it's -not- alright to drink and drive. I
don't care how many you've had; -one- is one too many and can impair
your judgement and slow your reaction time. Secondly, I want to try and
show what people who are responsible for an accident go through inside
after the fact when someone else's life is in limbo because of them. I
understand this is a dark fic, but it's also about friendship and love,
and how no matter what mistakes you make, some people just refuse to
give up. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

The Crash
By Jade_Max

Voices drifted through the night air, laughing and joking. "Hey, how
many you had buddy?" and "S'ok, I can drive..." and "Hey, man, can you
drop him at home, he's had one too many!"

The voices drifted around him, making him smile. He'd only had a
couple, true, one had been a shot of whiskey, but his alcohol tolerance
wasn't so low that he wasn't alright to drive. He dug his keys out of
his pocket and grinned as he made an exaggerated show of losing his
balance. His friends laughed as he hooked one arm loosely around the
shoulders of his girlfriend. "Hey, should you be driving?" asked a
concerned female friend from behind him.

He turned, his smile rakish. "No need to worry little darlin', I'm
just joking, I'm sober enough to drive, I only had one."

She still looked sceptical, placing her hands on her hips as she looked
at him. She smiled, trusting his judgment, "Well, I need a ride home
too, you have room for one more?"

He looked back at his little black sports car and shrugged, "Sure, I've
always got room for one more."

He leaned down and smiled at woman under his arm before letting her go
as she walked to her cab. She'd asked for a ride before realising she
lived way on the other side of town and had called a cab. She gave
him a huge smile and planted a kiss on his lips shyly before turning to
the other woman and giving her a hug. Then she turned in a flurry of
honey coloured hair and ducked into the waiting cab. She waved,
blowing them a kiss and warning them to drive safe as the cabbie sped

He smiled as he unlocked the door of his car and then the passenger
side and climbed in. Two people joined him, a friend named Jake who
was a buddy from the bar and his girlfriend's best friend. He slid the
key into the ignition and revved the engine with a wicked smile before
pulling out of his parking stall and heading off towards Jake's place.
He pulled out onto the deserted street and gunned it, speeding up with
a whoop as the other two laughed. His car had no back seat; it had
been removed to make more room for his things, and Jake was braced
between the passenger seat and the driver's seat. None of the three
were wearing their seat belts.

The three lane highway stretched out in front of them. The windows
were open, the breeze ripping at their hair and clothes as they tore
down the street at over 120 klicks, almost twice as fast as the posted
speed limit. He saw the truck pull into the far lane ahead and then
move one over, taking note of its position. His focus on the road
blurred for a moment and he swore as he saw the vehicle swerved into
his lane, a moment too late, when his vision cleared.

He slammed on the brakes, locking them, spinning the steering wheel.
The tires squealed, sending smoke into the air as they desperately
searched for purchase on the cement. It slid. Time seemed to slow and
everything was suddenly crystal clear. He -knew- the car was going to
hit the back of the trailer-less semi. He -knew- it was too small and
that they were all going to be seriously hurt.

His horrified gaze turned to his passengers for a split second, and he
knew something terrible was going to happen to them. There was the
sound of crunching metal and a scream, the smell of burning rubber as
everything began to spin and then everything went black...


A constant beeping brought him back to wakefulness and he froze, unsure
where he was. His body was one big, dull ache and he couldn't place
the heavy feeling around one of his legs. He opened his eyes
cautiously. White greeted him. He sat up suddenly and let out a moan
as lances of pain shot through his skull.

"I see you're awake. About time too. How're you feeling?"

He looked around, careful to keep his movements small and slow, his
gaze focusing on an elderly nurse. She wore a smile that reflected in
her green eyes. "I've been better. What happened?"

"You don't remember?"

He shook his head.

"Car accident. You're not the worst of the group nor the best off, I'd
say you're right in the middle."

His eyes widened as the details of the crash came back in a rush and he
started to swing his legs off the bed when he noticed one of them was
in a cast. He stared at it dumbfounded before asking, "My friends...
are they alright? Nobody was killed, right?" He would never be able
to live with himself if someone had been killed while he was driving.

The nurse approached him and pulled the covers up over his chest,
smoothing them with a soothing gesture, "From what we can tell, your
male friend, Jake I believe his name is, will suffer no lasting
effects. The woman however is in a coma." The nurse sighed, "Pretty
little thing; all that blue hair and we had to cut most of it away to
get the brain monitors on her. Well, it will grow back. You, young
man, have a broken leg, in six places, and we will have to do a lot of
cosmetic work on your face if you ever want to have all of those
gorgeous looks back, but that's scheduled for tomorrow. After your
talk with the police. They've been waiting to get your statement on
what happened in the accident."

He shuddered, closing his eyes, "Amy, Jake. I'm so sorry," he
murmured, the backs of his eyelids burning. He felt bile rise up in
his throat and choked it back, thanking the nurse softly as she left
the room.


"How could you do something like this, Darien?!" demanded the pale
woman standing in front of him. He'd just been released from the
hospital, a good week and a half after the accident and felt almost
normal, save for the fact he had to hobble around on crutches. He'd
gone to see Amy and instead had been confronted by her mother.

He hung his head. He felt awful. Never had he thought, when he'd
gotten into his car with his friends, that something like this would
happen. He hadn't intended for it to happen! He'd already given his
statement to the police and they'd told him that the reports were
conflicting between his and the truckers. He admitted to dinking that
night, but only a shot or two of Whiskey and the police had told him
they'd be in touch. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Mizuno. I didn't-"

"You didn't think, Darien, that's what!" she'd cut him off on purpose
but he couldn't find the strength to argue with her. Not when she was
right, so far. "And now my baby girl, my only child is lying in a coma
with no signs of life! How could you do something so stupid!? I'm
going to sue you for everything you've got if she doesn't pull through
this. And even if she does, if she's reduced to a..." her voice
cracked, showing her pain through her anger for a brief second, "a
vegetable because of this, I'm going to sue you for damages!" with that
she turned on her heel and walked back into Amy's room.

Darien felt deflated. He'd known Amy was bad, but he hadn't expected
her mother, whom he knew and respected, to react that badly. He
couldn't blame her though; he deserved everything she'd just said to
him. 'IDIOT!' he silently shouted at himself, turning away and hobbling
slowly out of the hospital.

His parents were both dead but someone had thought to send a cab to get
him. He told the cabbie his address and then sank back into his
thoughts. 'One drink isn't too much, how stupid are you?' his
conscience shouted at him, 'Your girlfriend's best friend is laying in a
coma because of you! What do you think she'll say to that! Think she's
ever going to want to speak to you again? Hell no! She's probably
sitting at home crying her eyes out because you had to do something
stupid and her friend is paying for it! She'll dump you now for sure
and never speak to you again!'

Darien tunnelled his fingers into his hair and gritted his teeth. 'I
know, I know, I KNOW!' he shouted silently, tears burning the back of
his throat, 'I know what I did was a mistake, but I can't change that.
Oh god, I'm so, -so- sorry Serena! I didn't mean it, honestly! I
didn't want things to go this way, it wasn't my fault!'

That little voice shot back, 'But it was your fault. Had you not been
drinking you never would have hit the truck, your reactions would have
been faster and Amy would be alright. A little bruised maybe, but

"Hey fella, we're here. You alright?" the cabbie said suddenly.

Darien sat up straight and saw the familiar view of his apartment and
then reached down to grab the small bag of personal items the nurse had
given him when he'd left the hospital. Apparently someone had tried to
salvage what was in his car for him and the meagre bag was all they were
able to save. He pulled out his wallet and offered the cabbie the money
but he just shook his head. "Not on this trip pal. For the hospital we
make trips like this with no charge. You just get inside and take care
of yourself, you hear?"

Darien nodded mutely, feeling like he was obligated to pay the cabbie
anyway and dropped the money into the seat as he climbed out of the cab.
He pretended not to notice as the cabbie waved to him and bid him good
night. Darien hobbled up the stairs and rummaged around for his key,
pulling it out and then looked around before slipping it into the lock
and stepping inside the lobby of the apartment building.


Darien closed and locked the door to his apartment behind him before
tossing his keys and the small bag on the table with a vase of wilted
red roses. He carefully manoeuvred himself into his kitchen and went
about sloppily putting together something to eat. He didn't care, when
he sat at the table that his kitchen was a mess. He didn't care, as he
dropped his dishes in the skin, that one of them broke. He grabbed the
milk jug fro the fridge and drank directly from it for the first time in
years, not bothering with a glass. He was numb. Amy, sweet little
genius Amy, was stuck in a coma all because he hadn't been able to react
fast enough to avoid the trucker. If only he'd not been speeding! He
slammed one fist into his palm and then closed his eyes, his mind
suddenly dredging up the memory of those last few seconds before they'd
hit the truck.

The squeal of the tires shrieked in his head, mingling with Amy's final
scream. He realized then that if she did die, if she never came out of
the coma, that her last sound would haunt him forever. He shuddered
involuntarily, suddenly chilled. He shook his head, wrapping his arms
around himself as he settled into the corner of his couch. He was cold,
in his soul and heart, thinking about the night of the crash.

All of them had been drinking, Amy included, which was the big surprise.
It had been a belated celebration of her and his girlfriend's 18th
birthday. And tomorrow was Darien's 28th. He closed his eyes,
massaging his temples. His eyes flew open as his phone started to ring.
He let it, not interested in talking to anyone. He wasn't interested in
listening to the ten plus messages on his machine, if the flashing light
was any indication.

The machine picked up and an angry female voice came over the speaker.
A voice he knew, one of Amy's friends. "How could you do that to Amy,
Darien?! How? If she doesn't come out of that coma, I'll never forgive
you, and you can bet I'll never let you forget about it." She choked and
then hung up.

Darien sighed, "I'm sorry, Raye, it wasn't supposed to turn out like
this." His whisper was lost as the phone rang again. Another of Amy's
friends was on the line and he listened as he was beaten verbally once

"Darien, I swear, it should be you in that coma, not Amy! How could you
be so stupid as to drive after drinking?! Couldn't you have just called
a cab and gotten your car in the morning. Thanks to you, Amy is
fighting for her life and in the place where you should be! I swear, if
she never pulls out of this I'm going to make sure you don't ever forget
what a loveable, innocent person you've killed!" it hung up and Darien
sighed, agreeing with the caller silently; that it should be he, not
Amy, in the blasted coma.

Over the next couple hours the phone rang dozens more, all from people
who had threats to give or harsh words to say. Finally, unable to take
it any longer, he disconnected his answering machine and un plugged his
phone. Tears pooled in his eyes but he blinked them back. He was
alone, all alone, once again. He hobbled into his bedroom and closed
the door behind him quietly, before climbing into bed.


Smoke. It filled his lungs; something was burning. A blood chilling
scream that came from somewhere nearby. The smell of blood, the agony
of a broken limb, everything swirled around in one big blur, little
things standing out. The seat thrown forward, Amy crumpled beneath it.
The look on Jake's face, as if saying he was sorry. His own hands
covered in blood, the ring on one finger glinting, untouched. Amy's
clothes, still in one piece, nothing torn. Jake's body, looking as if
he was a rag doll that had seen too much playtime. The car hitting the
truck in a crunch of metal, bone and rubber, everything smoky from the
tires which had been unable to stop their forward momentum. Little
snippets of conversation from the bar they'd been at swirled around and
then stopped as he heard his laboured breathing. Tires squealed and...

Darien shot bolt upright in bed, his breathing ragged. He threw the
blankets off, "I need air!" he said, dragging in huge a lung-full as he
grabbed his crutches and quickly made his way outside. He flung the
patio doors open and stepped outside, leaning on the rail as his
breathing slowed and his heart-rate returned to normal. The fear and
guilt, however, refused to go away. "Amy, I'm -so- sorry," he whispered
as he looked up into the night sky.

The stars glittered in the heavens, winking down at him. He swallowed
hard, "God, if you're listening, please, please let her be alright. Let
her pull through this..." his voice was swallowed by the slight breeze.
He'd never prayed before, but he felt he had to say something to the man

He smiled slightly as he thought of his friend. Amy and he had grown up
together, in fact she'd been the one to introduce him to Serena, his
girlfriend. They'd laughed together, and fought together. Amy was the
one who'd gotten him interested in the biological field. Beneath that
intellect and shy exterior was a little scrapper. She was open and well
loved and could usually talk her way out of anything, but the rare
occasion she couldn't, she knew how to defend herself. 'Maybe she's
just in the coma because she got sick of fighting with you and so
decided to go fight with the big man himself' commented some irrational
part of his brain. The thought made him smile, but tears had pooled in
his eyes. Sweet loveable Amy could die because of his mistakes, and
nothing he could do would change that.

"Amy, I'm so, -so- sorry!" he said, closing his eyes and hanging his
head. He heard his heart pounding in his head as a headache started.
He vaguely remembered the doctor telling him that he might have a major
concussion and to take it easy, but after the last few days, he found it
doubtful. Besides, his own condition should have been worse, he'd been
the one driving for God's sake! 'It should have been me!' he cried
silently, clenching his fists as his heart constricted painfully. 'Why
isn't it me lying there on the verge of life and death? Why? She did
nothing to deserve this! Oh God, please don't let Amy die! Don't let
her die! I swear I'll never drink again if you'll just let her live!'
he felt something wet slide down his cheeks and jerked as he realized he
was crying.

"Darien?" yelled a voice from the street. It held a worried tone and he
looked down, seeing a woman with long, blonde hair staring up at him,
her eyes wide and concerned, even from this distance. He choked back
the tears and retreated into his apartment, pretending he hadn't heard
her. He closed the door behind him and locked it. She shouldn't be
here. Not now; not when he couldn't even face himself in the mirror,
let alone anyone else face to face. She should be at the hospital
cursing him for putting her best friend in a coma and swearing revenge
on his hide.

'What -is- she doing here?' he wondered silently, 'did she come to talk
me down, to threaten me like the rest of them? She shouldn't be here!'
his mind was spinning; his thought in turmoil as he hobbled slowly over
to his couch and took a seat. He burrowed his fingers into his hair and
closed his eyes, absently massaging his scalp. He couldn't, for the
life of him, make sense out of what she was doing outside at this hour,
concern written all over her features.

His head shot up as the buzzer for his door sounded. 'Please, Serena,
if that's you, just go away.' He thought silently, 'I don't want, nor
need company. I just want to slip into a coma or to sleep and not wake
up until Amy is better. And if she doesn't get better I don't want to
wake up at all! I wouldn't be able to live with myself!'

The buzzer sounded again. Wearily he grabbed his crutches and walked
over to it slowly. He pressed the talk button, "What?" he sounded
rough, rude and unwelcoming. Exactly the way he felt.

"Darien? It's Serena, can I come up?" the response was tentative,
almost as if she wasn't sure the reception she'd get to that remark.

"Go home, Serena, I don't want you here." He told her tersely.

"Dammit, Darien, I tried to call you but I got no answer! Please, hon,
please, I just want to make sure you're alright!" she begged him.

Darien closed his eyes, "Amy's the one you should be worrying about
Serena, why do you want to see me when she's the one fighting for her
life? It's not like I'm going anywhere."

"Darien, don't be so stubborn, please? I've seen the papers, I've read
the reports, you may have had a drink or two but that driver cut you
off! Please, talk-"

Darien cut her off, "Get lost, Serena, I don't want to talk to you." He
shut off the line and slumped against the wall. He was guilty dammit!
Guilty of drinking before driving, of hitting that car, and of putting
both of his friends in the hospital, not to mention himself! Why did
she have to worry about him, he was fine. Amy was the one who was
walking that fine line, hell, her brain wasn't even showing signs of
activity yet.

The buzzer sounded again and he glared at it. "I thought I told you to
go away!" he yelled as he pressed the button to open the line.

"Not on your life buster, no matter how worthless you may think it is!"
she shot back through the line. He could picture her in his mind, her
crystal blue eyes spitting fire. He almost smiled. "I'm not leaving
until you either let me up to talk to you or you come down here and kick
my butt out of this lobby!"

He shook his head in frustration, "Dammit girl LEAVE! I don't want you
here, alright?! Just go away and leave me alone, you should hate me for
what I've done to Amy. You shouldn't be here you should be there
helping her get through this! You should be praying to god that she's
going to be alright and lastly you shouldn't care about me at all
because I'm scum! I'm nothing, I'm the jackass who put her there and
can't do a damn thing to change the stupidest move I've ever made in
life!" his angry voice practically bust the speaker of the intercom.

"Darien?" her voice was steady.

'Why was she still there?' his mind screamed. She should have been
running away crying like she usually did when something went wrong.
Instead she'd shocked him and stuck around, her voice amazingly steady.
"Are you still there?" he demanded, "I thought I told you to get lost."

"You can tell me anything you want to, my love. As long as it's to my
face and you're talking. Let me come up stairs, Darien."

He groaned when she said 'my love' knowing that he didn't deserve it,
didn't deserve her after everything he'd done. "No, dammit, you're not
coming up here!"

"Then I'm going to keep you awake all night buzzing your apartment,
Darien. It's that or I'll wait until one of your neighbours comes down
so I can get in. The choice is yours."

"I WANT YOU TO LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK," he practically roared at her.
There was a thumping sound from above as someone stomped on the floor of
their apartment, indicating that he should be quiet.

"I can't do that Darien," came her soft reply. She sounded like she was
determined and he had to admit he didn't expect to have to argue with
her about this. He'd expected her to go scurrying off like a frightened
rabbit when he raised his voice at her. He'd never yelled at her
before, and suddenly felt very contrite about yelling at her when she'd
done nothing to deserve it.

"Alright, Serena, but no more than five minutes." He told her

"Thank you," she told him and he cut the connection as he pressed the
button for the lock to let her in.

He waited by the door, wondering what in the world he was doing allowing
her in here when he was in such a dark state of mind. He waited, deep
in thought. Two minutes later there was a knock on his door and he
quickly checked to see who it was before unbolting it and letting her
in. "You have five minutes," he told her tersely.

She looked at him, her eyes taking in his appearance. His hair was
shorter, though not by much, and he was missing a dark thatch just above
his right ear. He looked gaunt and tired, his right leg encased in
plaster from his thigh to his toes. She felt her heart constrict as she
looked at him. He looked bone tired and she knew he had to be beating
himself up emotionally after the crash.

"How are you feeling?" she asked softly, her eyes clear and focused on

Darien looked at her, from the tips of her unique hairstyle, down over
her angelic face, her pouting lips and cute chin, over her light blue
sweater that was falling off one shoulder, her skin tight jeans that
revealed her long legs down to her mud encrusted tennis shoes. He'd
never seen her look lovelier and all he wanted to do was beg her to
leave him alone to die in peace. "How do you think I'm feeling?" he
asked her scornfully.

He expression didn't change and he didn't see anything akin to hurt in
her eyes either. She seemed to be taking his words and letting them
slide off her shoulders. "I think you're beating yourself up over an
accident that could or could not have been avoided. I think you're
beating yourself up and treating yourself to such a guilt trip that you
can't even recognize when someone is hear to try and help. I think you
blame yourself, instead of a series of conditions, that lead to an
accident where someone you care about was hurt, and could possibly die.
But most of all I think you just want to lay down and die because you
can't bear the thought of living with someone's possible death, however
unintentional, on your mind." Her voice was steady but her saw that she
wasn't as confident as she looked when her lower lip trembled while
talking about Amy's possible death.

He wanted to scream, throw things and yell at her to get out but he
found it heard to find breath as she nailed the buttons of what he was
feeling exactly. Right down to the part about giving up on living.
"Get out," he told her softly, turning his back on her and hobbling over
to the couch. He'd expected her to follow his strangled command but she
didn't. Instead he heard her remove her shoes and then the soft rustle
of worn denim as she crossed the floor.

"I can't do that Darien. I won't lose two of the people I hold the
closest my heart. Amy will wake up eventually and she'll forgive you
for what you did. She got into that car willingly; it wasn't your
fault. You didn't hold a gun to her head and tell her she had to. You
didn't insist she go with you when she could have called a cab like I
did. You didn't tell her she had no other choice. She asked you for a
ride Darien, it's not your fault she was with you."

"I could have told her no. My car only has two seatbelts." He said

"Had either of you been wearing your seatbelts you both would have been
killed." She told him, her voice soft and strangled.

His gaze flew to hers, "How do you know that?"

"I saw the pictures. Your car was completely wrecked, it hit the semi,
careened off to one side and then rolled a couple of times before coming
to a halt right side up in the ditch. Jake was thrown on impact and Amy
was crumpled underneath the dash. You got stuck behind the steering
wheel. Had either of you been wearing your seat belts, both of you
would have had one huge metal grave." He saw her swallow hard. She was
starting to crack after telling him the facts he'd obviously missed at
the police station. "I know it's hard to believe, but you both would
have been decapitated or maimed for life had you been buckled up.
Please Darien, don't shut me out, not when you need me the most."

"Your five minute is up." He told her, not looking at her. He saw her
head jerk back out of the corner of his eye, almost as if he'd
physically hit her. He bowed his head, hoping she'd take the hint that
he just wanted to be alone and didn't ask for, nor welcome, her company.

"I'm not leaving." She said, her voice soft. Silence stretched between
them for a long while. It was a silence that allowed one to think, but
it was uncomfortable.

Finally, he looked at her through impossibly long lashes, not bothering
to lift his head, "Why are you still here?"

Serena favoured him with a smile, "Because if I left, what kind of
friend would I be? You need me, Darien, even if you don't know it yet.
Somebody has to pull you back from the brink of despair."

"I don't want you here, I just want to be alone," he told her stiffly.

She snorted and went to kneel in front of him, gently resting her
fingertips on his knees, "No you don't. You want to die." Her voice was
harsh in contrast to her gentle touch. His head shot up as she
continued, her voice low, but packing a punch. "You want to die so you
don't have to deal with the pain! You want to die so that you can run
away from your mistake. You want to die because you don't deserve to
live. You don't want to be alone, you want to be dead so that you can't
feel anymore."

He jerked back from her as she talked, unable to believe that she could
read him so well. So far, she had yet to hit off the mark with one of
her statements and he found it unnerving.

"You don't want to face that Amy was injured because of a mistake you
made, but you also can't face the fact that she chose to get in your
car, and nobody forced her. You can't see that your friends love you,
and that I love you. You won't accept that because you feel you don't
deserve it! Well, I'm not giving up on you, the way you've given up on
yourself, Darien. If I have to fight God or all the angels in heaven to
keep you with me I will because I have never been happier than when I am
with you. You may not be able to see it, but the trucker you hit is
just as much at fault as you in that accident, you did everything
humanly possible to avoid it. Of that I have no doubt. Come back to
me, Darien. Forgive yourself for something that you can't change, I
love you, I need you, I won't let you drown yourself in your sorrows."

Darien looked at her sincere face, her crystal eyes filled with tears
for him. She was grasping his hands now, tightly, and he couldn't feel
his fingers. He didn't dare speak; worried he might fly apart if he

"Work at trying to fix things, Darien, not on ways to make them worse.
Amy wouldn't want you to beat yourself up over this, she knows that
things happen you can't control. She'd want you to be there when she
wakes up giving her that killer smile of yours and asking her if she can
help you with your advanced physics. She'd want to know that you were
there for me, and me for you, during this hard time. She wouldn't want
you to beat yourself to death with self-recriminations; she'd want you
to continue living, if not for yourself, then for her! Please Darien.
Don't give up! Think of what she'll think when she wakes up only to find
out that you'd given up on her and yourself! Have some faith, please!
She's going to be fine, please Darien, just hold on."

He shoved her away from him and awkwardly got to his feet, "Leave me
alone!" he yelled at her. She lost her balance, falling backwards into
the coffee table and let out a shriek of pain as her back connected with
the edge.

She fell on the ground, sobbing as the pain raced up her spin and her
legs went dead. "Oh, God, I can't feel my legs! I can't feel my legs
Darien!" she cried, panicked.

Darien sat on the floor next to her, horrified at his actions. Never
had he intended to hurt her, "Baby, baby, I'm so sorry." He whispered as
his practiced hands flew up and down her back, lifting her sweater to
check her back. A nasty red mark was swelling in the middle of her back
and he gently tested the spine before pulling her into his arms and
cradling her, "You'll be alright, honey, it's alright. I'm sorry, oh
God, am I ever sorry! Please don't cry. I can't believe I made you cry,
I'm so, so sorry."

Serena looked up through her tears and sniffled, her eyes widening as
she saw tears trickle down his cheeks, "You... you're crying for me?"

He nodded, dipping his head to look her straight in the eyes, "I'm
sorry, Serena, oh so sorry. For everything. None of this should have
happened and now I've hurt you too. Why, why do you stay?" he asked
her, his voice cracking, "I'm nothing, I'm no better than the dirt you
walk on, no higher than the slug... can't you see that, I'm not worth
your sympathy and understanding." His voice was soft, but Serena could
hear the sincerity in his voice, the regret and the self-recrimination.

She grabbed his head between both her hands and forced him to look at
her. The pain, doubts and self-loathing she saw in his eyes made her
heart twist, "Oh, Darien, no... No! You're the man I love more than
anything, can't you see that?"

"You shouldn't love me," he told her angrily, "You shouldn't! I don't
deserve you, I don't deserve to enjoy life while Amy is sitting there
fighting for hers! I should be the one in the coma, not her!"

Serena looked at him, her mouth thinning before she removed both of her
hands and then whipped around one to smack him HARD. "Don't you dare
say that," she said quietly, her eyes rimmed with tears. "I love you
and nothing you do is going to change that. Even if Amy di..." she
faltered, "doesn't make it, I'll still love you."

"You shouldn't!" he cried brokenly, not seeming to notice the stinging
or the metallic taste of blood in his mouth, "How could you love me
after I was the one to put her in the place she's in? If she dies, I'll
never forgive myself and you shouldn't forgive me either."

"Why, because you made a mistake; because you're human; because you made
a wrong turn or choice? Dammit Darien, I love you! Nothing you say or
do is going to change that! Why can't you just accept that and trust
me?" she cried angrily.

He laughed harshly, "Trust you? I don't even trust myself, not after
what happened."

Serena froze, "Do you love me, Darien?" she asked softly, out of the

He hung his head, "Yes, but I have no right to love you. Not anymore."

Serena looked at his bowed head and then encircled his shoulders,
hugging him to her. "Let me decide that," she told him fiercely, "You
just concentrate on getting better, alright?"

He nodded, to drained to reply.

**** A week and four days later ****

Serena rang the door for Darien's apartment. She felt tears burning in
the back of her throat, she just had to see him! She couldn't let
anyone else tell him her news. His voice came over the speaker and she
identified herself. He buzzed her up and she ran to the elevator,
jabbing the up button with cold fingers. She needed to see him. Needed
to hold him. He hadn't gotten much better in the last couple of weeks,
but he was starting to. He knew and accepted that Amy would probably
never come out of the coma. The doctors had dubbed it highly unlikely
with the extent of her injuries, which neither of them really knew.
That morning Serena had gotten to see her friend. On her way back from
the hospital she stopped by to see Darien.

She stepped into the elevator and shut the door, stabbing the floor
button repeatedly. The doors closed slowly and she had the sudden urge
to bolt and take the stairs. She resisted and took the slow elevator
all the way to his floor. When the doors were hardly halfway open she
burst through them and ran down the hall to his door. Tears blurred her
vision but she knew the way by heart. She burst through his door and
into his apartment, her hair flying out wildly behind her. She ran
straight to him and threw her arms around his waist, careful not to
knock him off his feet, but hung onto him tightly.

"What is it?" he asked, alarmed by her sobbing and the tight, air
stealing grip she had on him.

"Amy..." she trailed off, her sobbing growing worse as she buried her
face in his shirt.

"Is she alright?"

Serena shook her head, crying harder.

Darien sucked in a sharp breath, a sick feeling filing his stomach,
"Is... is she..." he couldn't finish

Serena gulped down her tears, looking up at him, her face ready to
crack, "She died this morning, Darien," she told him softly, her voice
breaking on the last words as she buried her face in his shirt again and
began to cry.

The shock hit him first, followed by a swift pain and the knowledge that
he's managed to wipe out one of the most beautiful young women he'd ever
met. He staggered and would have fallen but for Serena's hold on him.
"Amy..." he murmured, his heart constricting in his chest, "Oh lord,
Amy!" tears followed swiftly, overflowing down his cheeks and raining
down on Serena's bowed head. He held her tightly, holding her as close
as possible, as he bent his head and surrendered to the grief that was
tearing through his soul and heart with the force of a freight train.
He buried his face in her hair, soaking it with the tears he couldn't
seem to stop.

They stood that way, wrapped in each other's arms until the phone began
to shrill loudly in the background. The machine picked it up but even
before he heard the voice he knew it would be that of Amy's grief
stricken mother, telling him that she was going to have his life for her
daughter's... and he found he couldn't blame her. He ignored the
ringing of he phone, cradling the woman he loved but didn't have a right
to in his arms, crying with her for the lost of one of the most amazing
people to have graced either of their lives.


Serena took a deep breath as she waked into the funeral parlour for
Amy's funeral. She'd shed a lot of tears over her friend in the last
three days since she had slipped away from them. Now it came to this.
It was going to be a short Mass and she'd been asked to speak, briefly,
but she still felt honoured.

She looked around again, feeling empty without Darien around to help her
through this. They'd talked it over and Amy's mother would not have
wanted him there but Serena knew he had wanted to come. He'd felt her
passing as nobody else could. He'd been wounded past healing almost
with the blow of her death. Not being able to witness Amy's funeral was
an added blow but one that was necessary. Before she'd left she'd told
him the extent of her injuries. She'd blown the artery in the right
side of her brain, making her effectively brain dead on one side, a
broken pelvis, two punctured lungs and an assortment of smaller
injuries. Had she lived she would have been not even half a person and
Serena had made the comment she was glad that Amy hadn't been made to
suffer like that. It didn't make stop Darien wanting to come to the
funeral, but it made him feel a bit better to know she wasn't in pain.

Serena smoothed down her skirt and top and then squared her shoulders
and entered the parlour. All around her people had come to say goodbye
to her best friend. People were in tears as they approached the doors
where two guest books were set up. Both held a picture of a laughing
blue haired little nymph, wire rimmed glasses perched on her nose as she
beamed at the camera, a book dangling from one hands. She was dressed
in lose fitting t-shirt and a jeans. Serena felt tears threaten but she
bit them back, offering out hugs without reserve to people she'd only
met a few times. Amy had been well loved; the number of people at this
proved that.

Serena sat next to the podium, her legs crossed in front of her, her
pads clasped in her lap. She stood when the casket was rolled into the
room, keeping her eyes adverted, knowing she'd need the strength to read
the little poem she'd written. The preacher spoke for a little while,
telling about his first meeting with Amy and his surprise at her inner
strength. He'd also been amazed at how beautiful she was, on the inside
and out, and how she wanted to make people smile, even in her own shy
kind of way. Finally he let her mother speak and Mrs. Mizuno spoke
hesitantly about the amazing gift of having a daughter that could have
gone so far, only to have her life brutally snatched away. Her closing
statement was only a tear-filled plea that everyone wear their seat

Then it was Serena's turn. She stood and gracefully mounted the podium,
a single piece of paper clutched in her hand. She unfolded it and
adjusted the microphone so that she didn't have to stretch to use it.
She gently smoothed her hands over the paper and cleared her throat. "I
know what you all must be thinking and feeling. I know better than
most, just how special this young woman was. I don't pretend to think
what I'm about to do will be easy, but perhaps, this poem I wrote will
help lend you some comfort and see that her passing is a sorrow we will
never cease to feel, but she is still with us, even if we can't see

She swallowed past the tightness in her throat and looked down at the
words on the page beneath her shaking hands. 'Amy, if you can hear me,
hon. Help me out here, I need your strength.' She said silently. She
suddenly felt calm wash over her soul and strength fill her. She took a
deep breath and began to read.

"One Moment

A moment can seem like forever,
The good times and the bad
The friends and jokes made together
Some of the best times we've ever had.
Life is short, and rightly so,
We don't appreciate what is there
It can push you up or drag you down
Until you find someone who cares.

A moment in the good or the bad
Laughs shared and upsets we've had.

They're all frozen in time
Like drops of rain on a lawn
And slowly they begin to shine
One moment passes and the next begins,
With the beginning of the dawn.

A tribute to Amy Mizuno, the sunshine after the rain, who made everyone
smile. Though she's gone, she's still with us, living in our hearts.
May we never forget her, or the way she touched every one of our lives.
We love you Amy."

She looked up when she was finished, focusing on the back of the church
and there was Amy, smiling reassuringly at her and giving her a thumbs
-up sign. She winked, then blew her a kiss and disappeared. The sound
of people crying finally registered in her brain and she looked around
the church. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Without another word
she stepped down from the podium.

Feeling complete for the first time since her friend's death, she let
the rest of the ceremony pass and concentrated on the last gesture of
her friend, seeing her smile in her mind. The next two days passed in a
blur of which the smile of her best friend kept her going.


In the end Mrs. Mizuno didn't sue Darien but he lost his license for
just over three years, being convicted of drunk driving resulting in
death. He and Serena grew closer after the death of Amy and spent a lot
of time together, and with Mrs. Mizuno. She never entirely forgave
Darien for stealing her daughter away just at the peak of her life, but
she swore that if he didn't make Serena, who was just like a daughter to
her, happy, she would see that he lived to regret ever crossing her
path. Darien spent all of his time only trying to make her happy and to
prove to himself that he was worth her love. By Serena's next birthday
they were engaged, but that, my friends, is another story in another

The End

Author's note: And that -is- the end. I have no intention of doing a
sequel to this. The poem is mine, written for the friend of mine that
was in a coma for just under a week and died, after a car crash. As I
said in the note above this was indeed based on a true event in my life.
I lost a friend in a crash that shattered her family and had them
swearing vengeance on the driver of the car. To this day, three weeks
after the accident, the driver of the car remembers nothing of the
accident. My friend was a very special person and I hope you can all
understand how much it hurts to lose someone you know. I appreciate you
taking the time to read my story.

Thank you.