MariaShades asks for: Day 16: Flatline | "Don't go where I can't follow." With Scarlet/Rhapsody

Warnings: Car crash, Injury, Blood, MCD

Since that fateful day, Paul had always had a kind of sixth sense whenever there was a Mysteron threat around.

Unfortunately, that didn't - couldn't - help him today.

The car came out of nowhere.

There had been little doubt about the answer, but still, Paul found himself relieved when Dianne finally said yes. She'd left him down on one knee longer than he'd been comfortable with – a fact that the twinkle in her eyes told him she was well aware of – but eventually she'd said yes.

They had dined well, had gone to the Lyceum Theatre for a show he couldn't remember and then, as they strolled back to their car, arm in arm along the Thames in the warm evening, he'd suddenly known the moment was right.

Neither of them could wipe the grins off their faces, and nor did they want to.

Eventually they had reached the vintage sports car and drove off, intent on returning to Dianne's parents to share the good news, and they were on the outskirts of London when the unthinkable happened.

The car came out of nowhere.

The car came out of nowhere and hit the passenger side with such force that the sports car spun over and over and over again.

For a moment, at first impact, time froze. Paul was aware of a gasp from Dianne and then they were flying, were spinning.

And then he knew no more.

It was the steady drip-drip-drip sound of liquid dropping onto a surface that had Paul waking up. He blinked in the darkness. Someone had lit a fire in the back of his head. Oh, in the front of his head too…he blinked again.

No – there actually was a fire somewhere to the left of him. And that thought brought everything into sharp focus.

A car had hit them.

They'd crashed.

Right now he was hanging upside down. He could feel that deep sensation of the retrometabolism getting to work. Broken arm and a cracked head at the very least.

But the plash-plash-plash of blood dripping reminded him that Paul was not alone in the car. He turned his head to check.

Dianne was hanging limp. Blood was dripping from her forehead onto the dashboard. Paul didn't like the look of her, how she just hung there. He scrambled out of his seatbelt, ignoring the flare of pain as he landed and felt for a pulse.

He couldn't find one.

Holding himself together for now, the professional in him took over. He needed room to manoeuvre Dianne out, and he kicked the shattered windscreen until the pane fell outwards and scrambled onto the ground and in front.

What he needed to do wasn't made easy by the darkness or his injuries, and the fact that he was already healing made him weaker than he would like, but he held Dianne carefully as he released her belt, and she dropped into his arms.

Paul wriggled them both out from under the car, barely aware of the approaching footsteps of people and the sirens he could hear getting closer.

He could smell the blood. Somewhere other than her head she was bleeding. The light from the other car burning wasn't enough for him to see the extent of her injuries, and for that he was both thankful and cursing.

Then there were hands pulling him away, firmly holding him back, and paramedics were there. He listened dully as words were said and movements became fast and everything blurred as Dianne was strapped into a stretcher and whisked into an ambulance.

Paul was looked over, but he knew that most of his injuries by now would seem superficial. Since he didn't look too bad they allowed him in the ambulance on the strict proviso that he let them continue working, and he knew he'd nodded in agreement, so he sat slightly behind Dianne's head and leant forward so he could hold her hand as they hooked her up to various machines he knew but couldn't recall the names of now.

The heart monitor didn't beep-beep-beep. Its monotone flatline was a stark opposing backdrop to his own heartbeat picking up and beating faster.

He watched them work on her as they rushed through the night but the flatline didn't change, and before they had reached the hospital they stopped with an apology and backed away to give him some space.

Paul grasped her hand tightly and leaned forward until their foreheads were touching. His tears washed the blood of her cheeks.

'Don't go. Please. Don't go where I can't follow. Dianne – come back. Please!'

It was the familiar hand of Adam who gently but firmly pulled him away from her body. Paul didn't have the wherewithal to wonder where his best friend had come from – probably alerted when his car crashed by the extra safety measures Spectrum built into everything – and for once in his life Paul clung to Adam tightly.

The two men wept.


On Cloudbase Colonel White closed the file he had been staring at for the last hour. Finally he sighed and rubbed a hand down his face. He was alone in his room, sat at his desk, and he sighed again before reaching forward and hitting a switch.

'It's done.'