AN: Ok, I found this one shot gathering dust so I decided to go ahead and post it. I wrote this almost directly after S1 EP11. I am not a doctor- so I know there maybe some inaccuracies in the medical area. For the purposes of this story Charlie's coma wasn't as long as on the show.
That car. It was that car. Charlie shivered. There it sat in broad daylight on the street front of Hope-Zee his parents' crashed car. While he welcomed whole heartedly a treatment, any treatment, to get him out of his coma the side effects of this one were highly disturbing. He had so many questions his thoughts were racing. Why did his mind bring him there? Why his parents' accident? Something inside of him pulled him into the back seat. Charlie sat there and stared up front. The windshield was practically shattered. There on the driver's side his father slumped over the steering wheel his head bleeding. Charlie's mother's head was thrown back against the top of her passenger's side seat. Blood covered her face.
"When Aunt Liz told me you died in the accident- I didn't picture it like this," Charlie somehow kept his voice from cracking, "I don't know what I imagined." He looked at the floor briefly. Taking in a ragged breath Charlie lifted hurt eyes toward his parents. "You know, here's the thing, usually dead people talk to me. K? And I can't even get them to shut up half the time- why aren't you talking to me?" he ground out. "Talk to me!" Charlie demanded.
The next thing Charlie knew it was nighttime. The car was perfectly fine. It was now running. He father drove them down the road "What is this?" Charlie inquired.
His mother turned back to him, "Why don't you stretch out kiddo?" She smiled at him, "Try and sleep, ok?" Charlie's brow furrowed.
They continued to drive on into the night. "This can't be a memory," Charlie insisted, "I wasn't here."
They got behind a slow moving vehicle. "It's like this guy is driving a tractor," his father complained. He went to pass.
"There's no room," his mother cautioned, "John, there's no room!"
"Hold on," his father replied.
"Slow down," Charlie's mother urged, "You're not going to make it. John!" The lights of the oncoming traffic grew brighter and brighter. Charlie watched as his mother threw her hands up in the air in front of her face.
Charlie's own hands shot up over his head as his eyes popped open. He knocked the medical equipment above his head to the side. Startled it took Charlie some moments to recognize where he was. He brought himself up to a seated position, "Somebody?!" "Anybody, here?!" Melanda ran over to the door.
"Where is Alex?" Charlie inquired.
"There's a virus in the hospital," Melanda explained, "That why I am not in there with you right now."
"What kind of virus?" he asked.
"We're not sure, but two patients have died already," she explained.
"What about Alex?" Charlie restated his earlier question, "Is she ok?"
"Last I heard she was in isolation and was doing fine," Melanda said. Charlie began to unhook his EKG and then went to his IVs. "What are you doing? Stop it," she commanded.
"I need to get to Alex," he replied.
"She wants you here where you won't get sick," Melanda tried to reason with him, "So just stay calm and she will come to you when she can." Charlie pushed himself out of bed and took a few wobbly steps. He held onto the hospital bed. "Lie back down," she urged. Charlie slowly made his way to the door.
"We can open the door or I am breaking it down," he asserted.
"I can't do it, Charlie, you know protocol. Alex would never forgive me if anything happened to you. Just hang tight," Melanda advised.
"Melanda," Charlie looked up at her with pleading baby blue eyes, "Please."
Alex's hand stung as she wiped her mouth. If Alex could have, she would have slapped her ex-boyfriend harder. He had no right to grab her and kiss her like that. Not without her permission and then there was the fact that she was taken. Her fiancé was lying in a hospital bed. "You will never change," she spat. Joel turned away from Alex's glare. Just then her cell phone rang. She brought it up and recognized her best friend's number. Alex's heart leapt into her throat. She answered quickly, "Melanda? What's going on- is Charlie ok?"
"Alex, it's me."
"Charlie?!" Her eyes misted with happy tears. Alex smiled from one ear to another.
"Hey, Baby," Charlie crooned.
"You woke up!" she turned to the third person in the room, her friend and surgical nurse she often worked with, Victor, "Charlie is awake."
Victor smiled and nodded, "That's wonderful."
"Are you all right?" Charlie inquired.
"Are you kidding? You're awake," Alex answered, "I am better than all right. I'm… I'm… there are no words. Oh, Charlie."
"I heard about the virus. You were exposed?" he asked.
"Yes, I operated on the man that came in with it, but I am not showing any symptoms," she replied.
"Keep it that way," Charlie ordered.
"You don't know how good it is to hear your voice," Alex remarked.
"Are you still in isolation?" he asked.
"Yeah," she heard movement as Charlie got up from where he was resting, "What's going on?"
"Everything is fine," he assured her.
"Turn around," Charlie requested.
"Turn around," he repeated. Alex pivoted on the spot. There on just the other side of the glass doors was Charlie. She ran to him. They hung up their cell phones. Charlie pressed the button for the intercom. Alex did the same.
"Hello," he greeted.
"What are you doing here? You could have just exposed yourself-," Alex protested.
"I had to see you," Charlie lifted his free hand and placed it against the glass door.
Unconsciously Alex switched hands holding the intercom button down so her hand would match with his. She placed it on the same spot on the door, "You can't come in." Her green eyes locked with his blue orbs and time froze for them as they drank each other in.
"Good to see you, Dr. Harris," Joel came forward.
"Charlie," the man on the other side of the door corrected him.
"Is there a chair out there for you to sit in?" Joel inquired.
"I am fine," Charlie replied.
"You need to be where they can keep an eye on you instead of breaking protocol," Joel added.
"Thank you for your concern, Dr. Goran, and forgive my frankness, but I haven't been able to be with my fiancée in months- screw protocol," Charlie retorted.
"Let me talk to him," Alex told her ex. Joel went to check on Victor. She turned back to Charlie. "You crazy man," Alex shook her head, "How did you find me?"
"Melanda told me the floor number to get me calm," Charlie answered, "The rest was my Alex radar." She bit her bottom lip in response to the hunger in his gaze."
"Melanda better be ok- she wouldn't let you out by yourself," she rejoined.
"Don't worry- she let me borrow her phone to talk to you- I slipped out while she had to deal with another patient," he confessed.
Alex felt the room begin to spin. Her face turned pale. She covered her mouth and stepped away from the door. Alex faltered. Charlie charged into the room. Cutting Joel off, he swept in to catch Alex. They grabbed onto each other arms to keep steady. Once the lovers touched they were in their own little world. Not taking their eyes away from the other the pair breathed in and regained their bearings. They eased themselves down to sit on the floor. "Charlie, you shouldn't be touching me- if I have the virus…" Alex warned.
"Then I want it too," Charlie's lips quivered. The underlying meaning behind those words and his sincerity hit Alex like a ton of bricks. Tears began to well in her eyes. He brought her into his lap.
"I am just dehydrated," she dismissed her early notion. Charlie lifted his head and brought Alex's forehead to his check to check her temperature. "You were two floors away and the elevators are on emergency use only," she said, "So you got here how?"
"The stairs," Charlie answered.
"How did you get down all those stairs?" Alex demanded.
"Very carefully," he offered, "I only fell down a few."
"You fell?!" she interjected.
"Yeah," Charlie chuckled, "Nothing hurt, but my pride."
Alex looked him over, "Are you really ok?"
"Yes, it's just- while I was in the coma I had these flashes about my parents' accident," he said, "They were so vivid, almost like…"
"Memories?" she finished.
Charlie nodded, "I was in the car, in the backseat."
"That means," Alex continued, "You saw your parents die."
"How could I forget that?" he questioned.
"You were six and orphaned," she said.
"So I just suppressed the memories?" Charlie threw out.
"It happens," Alex replied, "I can't imagine the pain you went through."
"They left me," Charlie's voice cracked, "Most people do."
"Not me," she countered.
"No, you wouldn't willingly," he cupped her neck in the palm of his hand.
"I am here to stay," Alex declared.
"You stood by me through my coma. You are much stronger than I am," Charlie admitted, "If it had been you… I would have lost it."
She tilted her head and pursed her lips, "You don't know your own strength- you would have held on for me."
"You think so," Charlie said.
"I know so," she replied, "You're my man."
"I'm ours," he affirmed. They inched closer.
"My Charlie," Alex said.
"My Alex," Charlie replied. Their noses were touching now- lips were just a breath apart.
The glass doors opened and in walked the man who had taken over as chief surgical resident: Tom Reycraft. He spoke without noticing Charlie & Alex off in their own little corner, "Good news! It's over. The virus is not airborne."
"Well, now that is good news," Charlie said. Reycraft turned his head and saw Charlie. He stood there with his jaw on the floor. Alex laughed and threw her arms around Charlie's neck. She laid her head on his shoulder. He lifted her face to his. Charlie smiled wide, "Can we get married now?" Alex kissed him: slowly, tenderly, and thoroughly.