Just One Kiss by Pengi, evergreenwriter83

Kevin was sure he was seeing things - going crazy, from all the stress. There's no way that Nick was standing in his living room - not when he'd just gotten the call from Brian about the accident... And yet there he was, babbling about finding the one and not being able to rest until Kevin helped him find her.

From the collaborators that brought you She Wants Me and Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, here is yet another BROmantic comedy about true love, life, death, and waking up...

Categories: Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters: Group, Kevin, Nick
Genres: Angst, Drama, Humor
Warnings: None
Series: Out of Body Series
Chapters: 23 Completed: Yes Word count: 31305 Read: 158695 Published: 12/28/10 Updated: 01/08/11
Story Notes:
All portions of this story from Nick's POV were written by Evergreenwriter83, all portions of this story from Kevin's POV were written by Pengi.

1. Chapter 1 by Pengi

2. Chapter 2 by Pengi

3. Chapter 3 by evergreenwriter83

4. Chapter 4 by evergreenwriter83

5. Chapter 5 by evergreenwriter83

6. Chapter 6 by Pengi

7. Chapter 7 by Pengi

8. Chapter 8 by evergreenwriter83

9. Chapter 9 by evergreenwriter83

10. Chapter 10 by Pengi

11. Chapter 11 by evergreenwriter83

12. Chapter 12 by Pengi

13. Chapter 13 by evergreenwriter83

14. Chapter 14 by Pengi

15. Chapter 15 by evergreenwriter83

16. Chapter 16 by Pengi

17. Chapter 17 by evergreenwriter83

18. Chapter 18 by evergreenwriter83

19. Chapter 19 by evergreenwriter83

20. Chapter 20 by evergreenwriter83

21. Chapter 21 by evergreenwriter83

22. Chapter 22 by evergreenwriter83

23. Chapter 23 by evergreenwriter83

Chapter 1 by Pengi
Chapter One

"No, of course I can be at the airport early. How early?"




Howie wasn't joking around. I stopped at a red light, coughed, and glanced at my watch. It was seven. I was scheduled to meet my date for a late dinner in at seven thirty. Then if all went well, I'd take her clubbing. After a couple drinks, there might even be a nightcap at my place...or hers.

About six months ago, my girlfriend Lauren and I had broken up. It had been a messy blow-up. For the first time in my life, I had been the one left with a broken heart. After three months of moping, I had decided that I was going to find 'the one.' So far, all I'd managed to find was one double-jointed blonde, two potential stalkers, and one amazingly fiesty non-English speaking Russian . But I wasn't giving up. After all, I wasn't getting any younger. I wanted to have my act together by the time I was forty. I had nine years. Surely I could find someone. "Nick, are you even listening to me?"

"Hunh? Oh, yeah!" I said. I nodded my head even though I knew he couldn't see me.

"What did I say?"

I sighed and tucked the phone up under my chin. I was pretty much a professional at driving while talking, texting, and/or videotaping, but it was beginning to rain and I was about a year overdue for replacement windshield wipers. All they were doing was making messy streaks over the windshield. I squinted. The tinted glass didn't help.

"I'm guessing you told me to have a great time tonight," I said distractedly. "See you tomorrow."

"Nick, six a.m. Six--"

I hung up and tossed the phone on the empty passenger seat. I turned up my radio and drummed my fingers on the wheel.

Cal-i-fornia girls they're unforgettable. Daisy dukes bikinis on top. Sun-kissed skin so hot will melt your popsic--

Somehow this hobo jumped out from nowhere. One minute the rain-slick street was empty; the next, a guy wearing about four coats and wheeling a cart was right in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes. They squealed in protest. The car skidded to the left. I swung my wheel wildly; I know there's a proper way to get a renegade car under control, but truthfully I had no idea how it was done. If it wasn't for a driving instructor who was a TOTAL Backstreet Boys fan, I probably wouldn't have gotten my license. As it was, three autographs and one kiss later, I had a valid driver's license.

Unfortunately, my license was of no help to me. My foot struggled to find the brake; it found the accelerator first. With a terrifying screech the car shot forward. I felt the momentum build as the car jumped the curb. I even heard the sound of my windshield shattering into a million different pieces.

The pressure in my head that felt like my brain was being imploded was the worst. After that, everything else ceased to be.


"I miss you."

"I miss you too, babe. Give Mason a kiss for me, okay?"


"I will. He's been asking when you're coming home."


"Very soon." I pulled the cell phone away from my ear to see who the hell was calling me at 11:45 PM on a Sunday night. It was Brian. He could wait. "I promise, you can tell Mason that. Filming is almost done."

"That's what you said last week," Kristin complained.

Beepbeepbeep. - Brian had hung up.

"I know, but then the director had to extend shooting..."

"I know, I know..." Kristin sighed. "You're lucky I understand acting or else I'd think you were banging some hot babe out there.." she laughed.

I laughed, too.


What the hell Brian? I wondered, What could possibly be THAT important that you gotta call me twice? Can't it wait?

"Okay babe, I gotta go, Brian's calling me..."


"Okay sweetie. Call me tomorrow morning, okay? Mason wants to talk to Daddy."

"Will do, sweetie."

Beepbeepbeep. - He'd hung up again.

I made kissy noises to Kris and she giggled. "You're such a nerd, Kev."

"Yeah, but don't tell anyone."


"Okay, gotta go babe, he's not stopping, it must be important. Baylee probably learned how to recite the entire Old Testament or something," I said sarcastically. Brian had been calling me a lot to talk about Baylee and his accomplishments. Being the only dads with kids over the age of three, Brian always called me with his Baylee brags and funnies.


Kristin laughed, "Good luck sounding amused."

"Yeah I'll need it. Love ya, Kris."

I switched lines to Brian's call. "Hey cuz," I greeted him, "What's shakin?"

"Kevin... Nick's been in an accident. We need you."

My mind spun. "What?"

"Nick, he's been in an accident. He's got you as your emergency contact, he needs surgery. We need you down here, now."

I felt like I'd been dropped off the top of the Empire State Building without a parachute. Nick. Accident. SURGERY? "What the fuck happened?" I jumped up and grabbed my jeans and started tugging them on - backwards, I realized and had to start over again. My nerves were jiggling like jell-o.

"We don't really know much yet," Brian replied, "Howie was talking to him last, he was on his way to a date, he got in a car wreck... I dunno. He only had your old number on his forms so they called the next one on the list and that was me..."

Brian was terrified.

"What hospital?"

After I got the info from Brian, I ran down the stairs of the house I was renting while I was filming in Los Angeles and out to my car. I felt numb.
Chapter 2 by Pengi
Chapter Two

It's no secret that I've been high a time or two in my life. Okay, make that more than a time or two. Make it--well, I can't begin to give an actual number. Anyhow, I used to call my best highs my 'out of body experiences.'

Those highs paled in comparison to what I was currently experiencing.

I was currently hovering with my ass an inch above a hard plastic chair watching wide-eyed as a team of doctors surrounded my body. Monitors were beeping like crazy.

I'll be the first to admit that I was terrified. I'd heard stories about things like this. I glanced around nervously. So far, there was no big ball of light. I was determined to run the other way at the first sight of anything remotely big, bright, and round.

"He's crashing!" someone shouted.

"No, no I'm not!" I called out. No one heard me. Someone grabbed a pair of those huge paddles and rubbed them together. My body jerked as they pressed them into my chest.

"It was the hobo's fault," I said weakly. "I didn't see him. My wipers were bad. If you let me back in my body I swear I'll buy new wipers."


I watched my body jerk again as the paddles pressed into my chest once more.

"C'mon," I muttered. This would have been the time when I would have felt like passing out had I been alive. I held up my hand. It was still flesh-toned.

My only consolation was that I didn't look like Casper yet.

"There...we've got a weak pulse."

"Yes!" I screamed. I jumped up. I didn't feel the normal pressure one would have while standing. At the moment, gravity didn't seem to exist for me.

"Did someone get in contact with his family?" one of the doctors asked. A nurse nodded.

"I went down his list of emergency contacts."

I closed my eyes and groaned. My list of emergency contacts hadn't been updated in years. I thought hard. I knew my mom wasn't even on the list. I had done a complete overhaul of my next of kin during one of our famous feuds. I knew Brian was on there...

And Kevin. I was pretty sure Kevin was my first contact. I remember thinking that it was a good idea to put the most responsible person I knew first and then work from there.

I was pretty sure Kevin didn't even have that number anymore. Would anyone come for me? was I going to die alone?

That was a depressing thought. Dying in general isn't a cause for warm fuzzies, but I always thought I'd be old and surrounded by my loved ones. Y'know, my hot and MUCH younger wife and perhaps a kid or two.

"I'm not ready," I said aloud. I walked towards my body. I slid between two nurses and stared down at myself. Desparation was kicking in. I let out a war cry and hopped up on the gurney.

I had hoped that I'd be able to reconnect myself. I'd wake up, have a good laugh with the doctors, and maybe call my date and at least get a nightcap. Instead, I found myself hovering above the gurney, far enough that I could still see my hazy outline separate from my stoic self.

"Daaaaamnit," I whined. I sat up. I was eye to boobs. A nurse was leaning down over my body. She held a penlight between her fingers.

My desire for girly flesh didn't trump my curiosity on what was happening with me. I got off the gurney and stood right beside the nurse.

"I think we're going to need a CAT and an MRI," the doctor said. The nurse shone the light into my eyes while the doctor studied them, no doubt to see if there was any reaction. The look on the doctor's face said it all.

It wasn't looking good for Nick Carter.


I found Brian standing at a counter, fighting with a short, stout woman with flaming red hair that stuck out like she was BoBo the Clown. She had on too-tight-for-her-busty-frame scrubs and her fat, short little fingers waved at Brian as she tried to talk on the phone. "I need to see him," Brian was begging, "I'm not blood but I'm as close as he's got and --"

"Rok," I called, coming up behind him, "What's going on?"

"See? He'll tell you!" Brian thumbed at me, "He's the number one emergency contact, he's the one we've been waiting for." The nurse literally turned away. "Bitch!" Brian growled, and he looked ready to lunge himself over the counter.

If I hadn't caught him, he probably would've.

I dragged Brian away from the desk. "What's going on?"

"The doctor needs you to sign papers before they can start the surgery. They said they've almost lost him a ton of times. He needs blood and some other ... I don't know, I'm freaking out, I comprehended about a millionth of the shit they said." Brian was really worked up, he didn't typically swear.

"Okay, well let's find his doctor and find out what's going on, what papers need to be signed and everything. C'mon." I started to lead the way back to the counter. "Bri?"

"Kev I gotta call his family," Brian said, his eyes wide. "His mom and sisters and everybody. They don't know yet."

I frowned. "Ugh. Fine then, wait here. I'll go find his doctor."

Bobo the Clown had hung up the phone when I got back over to the desk. "My name is Kevin Richardson," I said, "I'm here for Nick Carter."

The woman was all too happy to oblige me, which made me wonder what the hell Brian had done to make her so frigid acting towards him. I pictured Brian at his worst, when he nagged and begged and whined until he got his way and figured that was probably my answer.

Fifteen minutes later, I was signing a piece of paper giving the doctors the okay to do whatever it took to save Nick. One of the things on the sheet asked about end of life options. Resuscitate? it asked, with two boxes to choose from to check off: YES and NO.

I pictured Nick hooked up to life support, with tubes and wires and pumps and monitors and my stomach turned. Once they reached that point they weren't really there anyway, were they? Would Nick really want to be kept alive by a machine? I could still remember the agony my mother went through with my father back in 1990 with the whole life support drama... I didn't want to go through that shit with Nick...

I stared at the sheet. I wanted to check no... but I figured I better talk to Brian and see if Nick had ever specifically mentioned his requests about that before I made a choice. I left that one blank and signed the bottom of the page.
Chapter 3 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Three

"Minimal brain activity."

"Swelling around the blah-de-blah-da."

Okay, so the doctor didn't say 'blah-de-blah-da," but I didn't understand what he said. I just know that no one looked happy.

I had been called braindead before, but that had been a joke. This...this wasn't a joke.

"Is his emergency contacts here?" one of the doctors asked. A nurse nodded. The doctor sighed.

"Bring them in."

The nurse practically walked through me towards the door. I looked back at myself. They had shoved one of those things down my throat. That was going to hurt like a bitch when they pulled it out.


Brian's scream would have sent shivers down my spine if I could have shivered. He was standing in the doorway looking like one of those Weeble people. One strong wind would have knocked him over. A large, kinda hairy hand wrapped around his arm. The arm was attached to a broad shoulder. The shoulder belonged to a dark, nononsense face.

Kevin. They had actually found him. He pushed Bri forward. A second later he collapsed into one of the hard plastic seats.

"What happened?" Kev asked calmly. At least he looked calm.

"Nick was in a bad automobile accident. His car crashed head-on into a tree. The windshield shattered and his seatbelt broke. There was full front lobe trauma upon inpact with the trunk of tree."

My eyes widened. I flew threw the windshield? I hit a tree? Why hadn't I been able to see that?

"How bad's the injury?" I watched Kevin's eyes dart towards me and then back to the doc. The doctor started to ramble all the mumbo jumbo from earlier.



Daaaaamn. I knew it hadn't looked good, but still--to actually hear it---

A loud snort filled the room. Bri had his face buried in one of the Wylee scarves. I'm sure Leighanne hadn't intended them to be snot catchers.

"Can we have a moment?" Kev asked quietly. The doctors nodded. They filed out of the room. Once the door closed, Kev sat down by Bri. He put a hand on his back. Both of them looked over at me.

"There was an option for life support on the sheet I signed," Kev said slowly. "I didn't mark it. I didn't know what Nick might have--"

"You didn't check 'no' did you?" Bri asked in a panic.

"I didn't mark anything," Kevin repeated. "I didn't know what he would have wanted."

"You can't kill him!" Bri shrieked. The soggy scarf flew towards Kev's face, but he dodged it.

"You can't kill someone who's already dead."

Uh-oh. I didn't like where this was headed. Kev was ready to pull the plug on me! I knelt down next to Brian.

"For the love of all things HOLY and BLONDE Brian, tell him to give me life support," I begged. I tried to punch his knee, but my hand went through him. Bri continued to look at Kev.

"I dunno, it just kinda seems like Nick would want to...fight."

"YES!" I screamed. "I wanna fight! I'm a fighter! I'm a lover too, but right now that's not important--"

The door opened and the doctors filed back in. More vitals were taken. The whole time, Kevin's face was a blank mask. I squeezed my eyes shut.

"Sir, you left something blank."

Dang-crabbit. The nurse was standing in me. I shifted feebly to the side. Kevin took the forms. I scrambled to my feet and hovered over his shoulder.

"Please, please, please, please, please," I begged. Kev's head shot up.

"Please what?"

I gasped. Bri just looked confused.

"I didn't say anything," he said.

"MARK YES!" I bellowed. "YES! YES! YES! YES! YE--"

Kev looked all around in bewilderment. It was like he could hear me. With a swipe of the pen, he marked yes. I exhaled.

"If his prognosis changes, we can revisit this at a later time," the nurse said. She took the form back. Meanwhile, I did a moonwalk across the linoleum.

"I swear I heard--" Kev said awkwardly. Before he could finish, Bri threw his arms around his cousin.

"Thank you," he said breathlessly. I smiled.

"Yeah, what he said."

Kev's head shot back up. I paused, mid-backwards slide.

I felt funny. Connected somehow. It was a faint feeling, but it seemed to be growing stronger. Kev stood up.

"Let's go in and see him for a minute," he told Bri. "Then we need to get some sleep. There's nothing we can do for him tonight."

Bri tagged after Kev. I watched quietly as they stood on either side of my bed. Bri started babbling about how Baylee was going to pray for me. Then he started rambling about a basketball game I had, ahem, cheated in last week.

Once he finally shut up, I watched Kev touch my hand.

"We're pulling for you."

With a heavy sigh, Kev turned. Bri leaned down and gave me a hug. When he pulled back, his nose was dripping again. He followed Kev out of the room.

I sank back down by myself. Even as I did, I felt a weird tug. Something told me I had someplace else to go. I just hoped it wasn't up or down. I closed my eyes and gave myself over to the sensation.

The next thing I knew, I was standing in an unfamiliar room. A door opened and the sound of keys hitting a table assailed my senses. The room was dark; I heard someone fumble around. Three clicks later, light flooded the room.

It was Kev. He ran a hand down his face. He looked tired.

"Phew. I thought you were the Grim Reaper," I said jokingly.

His hand paused. Slowly, his fingers spread.

I saw just a sliver of green before he fainted.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I've always been a sensible guy. My mom used to get all confused when I didn't know how to play pretend when I was a kid. I mean what's the point of running in circles in the living room shouting, "I'm a cowboy, I'm a cowboy!" and making pow-pow noises while pointing your fingers at the lamp? (Brian totally used to do this everyday by the way). It didn't make you anymore of a cowboy than it made the lamp a human being.

It's funny that now I'm an actor.

But I'd never been one for making up shit I couldn't really see. At least in acting the props are all there, you can see what you're pretending. That kind of pretending I'm okay with.

But the kind of pretending where you pretend you see your brain-dead friend in your living room ten minutes after signing forms to keep him on life support until you chose otherwise... That kind of pretending I just don't do.

And yet there I was, sitting in the living room of my rented house, giggling like a hyena while my imagination apologized for not being able to get a cup of water for me. "I mean my hand just goes right through stuff, see?" Nick - no, not Nick, my imagination - waved his hand through the coffee table a couple times. "I mean it's cool at first but then moments like this happen and it's like whoa hooollld up!"

I blinked up at him.

"Cos like you need water. Maybe an Advil. And whoa, holy crap, a shower. Why the hell can I smell but not pick shit up? That's a raw deal. Have you showered today?"

I blew a breath of air in his direction, expecting him to evaporate like smoke. Instead he gave me a look of utter confusion. "What the hell are you blowing air at me for? Dude you need to brush your chops too 'cos wheee that ain't pretty..." He paused. "Listen to me being an asshole to you... You saved my life!" He lunged forward and I felt the strangest, most bone-chilling feeling EVER in my ENTIRE LIFE as he passed through me. I almost threw up. He pulled back, an apologetic, tearful expression on his face. "Oh," he mumbled, "I forgot, I can't touch you, either."

I now had the chills. That's all, just the chills. I was obviously literally worried sick about Nick, I was hallucinating and I had the chills. I grabbed the blanket off the back of the sofa and pulled it over me and laid down across the cushions, staring up at the ceiling.

Nick leaned over the back of the sofa. "I mean to say thank you," he whispered, "For checking yes. Thank you for saving my life."

"You can't save what's already dead," I muttered. I closed my eyes and rolled over. I felt sick. "I made a mistake. I should've checked no, I should've just let it be over instead of letting Brian go home with hope that his best friend could wake up, instead of laying here thinking about Nick."

"NO!" he yelled. "No! Kevin, no!" His voice was so frantic, I opened my eyes and stared up at him. He was hovering over me. Full on hovering in the air. I blinked rapidly. Jesus, I thought, This imagination shit really catches up to you when you don't do it for a really long time, doesn't it? Maybe somebody slipped some kind of drug into my coffee at the hospital.

"I'm not dead, Kevin, you can see me, obviously I'm not dead. Can't you see me? Can't you hear me?" His voice dropped a few levels of excitement. He stared at me, his eyes suddenly filling with tears. "...Can't you?" he begged.

"You don't exist," I whispered.

Nick's eyes opened wide. "So you can see me?"

"I'm fucking insane," I whispered, sitting back up. Nick lowered back onto the sofa in front of me. He stared at me, excitement etched into his face. "I'm hallucinating."

"No... no you aren't... Kev, please, you aren't."

I shook my head, "God fucking damn it. I should call the fucking hospital right fucking now and tell them to pull the fucking pl--" I'd reached for the phone but Nick's hand had shot out to stop me and that freezing cold bone-chilling sensation ran up my arm as his hand passed through my hand and the phone and the table the phone sat on.

"DON'T! PLEASE DON'T! I don't wanna die yet! I don't wanna die!"





"This.. this is impossible.. Fucking A, Nick you've finally fucking done it, you've finally drove me off the cliff, you've finally made me lose it, you've finally - finally - after eighteen years of torturing me and being a pain in my fucking ass you've FINALLY made me clinically insane! I HOPE YOUR HAPPY!" I stormed out of the room into the bathroom and ripped the medicine cabinet open so hard I thought it was gonna come off in my hands. I grabbed the Advil PM.

Nick suddenly appeared at my side. He didn't come in the door, no he just appeared. I dropped the Advil when I saw him hovering behind me in the mirror. They clattered into the sink basin. I hung my head and closed my eyes.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, "But you're the only one who can see me."

I clutched the sink counter. "That's because you're in my head," I repeated for about the millionth time.

"Don't give up on me... please Kevin." He put his hand on my shoulder. The bone-chilling cold eked its way through my body once again.

"You," I whispered, "Are a hallucination."

I opened the Advil bottle and took out three pills. I downed them, swallowed a palm-full of water from the tap, and went into the bedroom, where I pulled the blankets over my head and closed my eyes and prayed the hallucinations would be gone the next morning.
Chapter 4 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Four

"I'm 'enry the 8th I am! 'enry the 8th I am, I am. I've been married to the widow next do--"


Kev batted at his covers as he struggled to sit up. I had been singing the same line over and over again for the past hour. The digital display on the clock flipped over. It was two in the morning. I was sitting Indian style, levitating over the end of the bed. Under any other circumstance, the trick would have been cool; instead, the novelty had already worn off.

"You're not real," Kevin said for the millionth time.

"But I am," I protested. "In fact---I'm 'enry the 8th I am! 'enry the 8th--"

"Why? Why are you doing this?"

I smiled. "Haven't you ever seen the movie Ghost? You're like Whoopi Goldberg and I'm like Patrick Swayze. You're ignoring me, so I'm being annoying."

"You don't have to sing that to be annoying."

I stuck out my tongue. Kev rubbed his eyes. The three Advil tablets he had downed hadn't knocked him out yet. He looked at me; I stared back.

"Help," I said pathetically.

"I can't help something that doesn't exist," Kevin said forcefully.

"But I do exist. And you can see me."

Kev fell back and smothered his face in a pillow. "If you exist, go visit Bri," he mumbled.

"But he can't SEE me!"

There was a creaking of bedsprings; Kev rolled over to his side. For a second, I thought about running my hand through his head and freaking him out again. I was even ready to strike, but then I had a change of heart.

If Kevin was my only help, then I needed him on my side.

After a few minutes, I saw his chest rise and fall in the familiar rhythm of sleep. I got up and walked around.

The house Kevin was staying in was small and quiet. Really quiet. If I could have, I would have sprawled out on the couch and fallen asleep. But I wasn't tired; I guess ghosts (or whatever the hell I was) don't have to sleep.

By the time I saw the first hint of sun, I was sure I was going insane. I had played the counting game for hours. I knew just how many tiles were in the bathroom, how many swirls were in the ceiling plaster, and how many pairs of socks Kevin had squished into his top dresser drawer. There was only one thing I could think to do. I cleared my throat, walked up to the bed, and knelt down by Kevin's ear.

"WAAAAKKKE UPPPP!" I screamed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If he'd existed, I would've choked him. But he didn't exist.

"Any news about Nick?" Brian asked. He was on the phone. The phone whose cord Nick was pretending to get clotheslined by. He'd walk up to it, then walk through it and pretend to fall backwards, waving his hands about and making goofy noises. I blinked. He continued the charade. Like he wouldn't just go through the fucking cord, I thought. Then I realized what I thought and I reprimanded myself.

He wouldn't go through the fucking cord because he doesn't EXIST.

"I haven't heard anything," I answered. I hesitated, "Brian, look, we need to talk - about the life support thing..."

My mirage Nick froze mid-fall, hovering at a ninety degree angle, and stared at me, his eyes wide. I turned my back. "I think we made the wrong choice, Bri, it's really bothering me."

"WHAT?" Nick and Brian had both shouted the word at the same time - it was like hearing it in stereo. "YOU CAN'T KILL --" Nick said 'me', Brian said 'him', but otherwise it was the same exact sentence. Nick raced around the front of me, skidding and floating into the middle of the kitchen sink. He looked around himself at the counter that surrounded him like he'd been sticking out of a hole in the middle of it and - if mirages can pale, anyways - his face turned white. Like a ghost.

But ghosts don't exist.

He scrambled out of the sink. "Kevin!" he wailed, "You can't, you can't pull the plug, I'm here, I'm real."

"He isn't dead yet, Kevin!" Brian wailed in my ear.

Nick pointed at the phone, "WHAT HE SAID! I ain't dead yet!"

"ISN'T," I instinctively corrected Nick.

"I said isn't," Brian responded, "And seriously, Kevin? Grammar lessons? Now? We're talking about ending the life of my best friend."

Nick was on his knees in front of me.

"I just - I'm going crazy, Bri," I said, staring at Nick, whose hands were clasped and whose face was contorted into a begging expression. I paused. "Do you remember when- when my dad--"

"Yes, Kevin," Brian answered quietly, "I do."

"And we held on for so long that by the time we let go... it... it was just - we waited so long... and my mom..." I shook my head, trying to erase the bad memories. Nick's brow cinched together and he looked down at the floor, a frown on his face. "This is too much like that, I'm scared we're gonna cling to him too long... Force him to stay where he doesn't belong..."

"But I do belong," Nick whispered.

Brian's breathing had become rugged. "Please. Just a little bit longer, Kev," he whispered, hoarse. "Please."

Nick looked up, hopefully.

"One week," I said, "Day Seven we pull it."

Brian sniffled, "Okay."

After I hung up with Brian, I sighed and faced the table. I covered my face in my hands. "Oh God," I mumbled. Hot tears stung my eyelids and they flooded into my palms. I felt the bone-chilling cold creep up and down my spine. Nick was rubbing my back.

"It's okay, Kevin," he whispered. "It's ok."

"It's not," I answered quietly, "I- I don't want to kill him, I just- I don't want to- to draw it out - to - to make it harder on Brian, or on me, or on you."

As soon as the word you came out of my mouth I knew I was gonna regret it.


I groaned. Fucking annoying mirage.
Chapter 5 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Five

"I know we're going to figure a way to get my brain working again," I said. Kev glanced in his rearview mirror; his knuckles were white on the wheel.

"I'm just overworked," Kevin rationalized. "You're going to go away soon."

"Not if you don't pull the plug," I said. Kev sighed.

"You don't want to be a vegetable. Trust me."

"How do you know? I make a pretty good-looking vegetable."

Kev didn't answer. We passed the large red sign that said 'EMERGENCY.'

"Oh, we're going to go visit me?" I asked excitedly. Kev's frown deepened.

He got out of the car; I seemed to disappear in the sunlight. The look of relief on Kev's face said it all; the look disappeared the moment we walked into the lobby.

"Damn," he muttered.

"You can't get rid of me that easily," I said.

"Shut up for a second!"

"Excuse me?"

Kev jerked. The receptionist was frowning up at him.

"Sorry, I didn't mean you. I meant--"

Kev gestured towards me. I leaned towards him.

"Psst...she can't see me."

The 'brow' furled. "Right," he muttered. He cleared his throat. "I'm here to see Nick Carter."

Once he got clearance, we rode quietly up in the elevator. I was hoping that there'd be some good news. Maybe they just needed to smack me with the paddles one more time...

"Looks like a party," Kev said as the elevator doors opened.

He wasn't kidding. My whole damn family was there. Aaron was slumped down on the floor in the hallway. Angel hovered over him uncertainly. Mom and dad were bitching at each other. BJ was wailing at the top of her lungs.

Bri was hiding behind the soda machine.

"You've got to get them out of here," I hissed. Kev swatted me like I was a gnat.



His loud 'shhh' caught everyone's attention.

"Kevin, it's been a long time!" mom said. She walked over and gave him a hug. I danced around them and made a face.

"I know. I'm so sorry," Kev whispered. Mom's eyes filled with tears.

"If you're only giving me seven days I am NOT wasting one dealing with my dysfunctional family," I quipped. "I know what's gonna bring me back."

Kev's head snapped up. "You do?"

"I do?" mom asked.

"Did someone say they wanted Mountain Dew?" Bri called out.

"We just need to check on me and get outta here. I have an idea," I said. During the night, I had done a lot of thinking. My mind kept coming back to my goal in life. I needed to find 'the one.' If I did that...well, then maybe I'd have a reason for living.

"How's Nick?" Kevin asked. Mom sighed.

"The doctor says the scans show no improvement."

The moment mom frowned, I sensed trouble.

"You know, I should be the one to decide on life support. I'm his mother. It's--it's my job."

"Excuse me? I think I should have a say in this."

I groaned. Dad walked up holding Kaden. Mom whirled around. In seconds, World War 18 started. I motioned to Kev. Even though he was still trying to pretend I didn't exist, he followed me. We crept towards my room.

The same busty nurse from the day before was in my room. She fluffed my pillow and checked my monitors. Kev sighed.


"Don't," I pleaded. "I--"

"AJ and Howie just left," Bri said quietly. He hugged Kev. "I miss him so muchhhh!"

With that, Bri started to cry. Kev and I shared a look.

My best friend had lost it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You're really only giving him seven days?" Brian asked, holding actual-Nick's hand. Mirage Nick sat cross-legged, hovering over the foot of the bed, staring down at himself.

"Wake up, wake up, wake up," he kept begging himself quietly.

I rubbed my palms against my knees, "Yeah," I answered, "Any longer than that and- I dunno, I wouldn't want to be forced to stay alive."

"I'm not being forced," Mirage Nick whined. "I'm asking you to keep me alive."

Brian rubbed Real Nick's hand with both of his. "Wake up, buddy."

"I'm trying to," Mirage Nick said, pouting.

I wasn't sure how much more of this I could take. I stepped up to the bed and, in a motion pretending to adjust Real Nick's blankets, I shooed Mirage Nick away. My arms just went through him, getting bone-cold sensation again. I shivered.

Brian looked at me, concerned, "You okay, Kev?"

"I'm just a little cold," I answered.

"It's hotter than hell in here," Brian answered, still concerned.

"There's a draft," I said.

Brian raised an eyebrow and looked around. "Kev, there's no draft."

Before the conversation could continue any further, though, Nick's family burst into the room. "Aw hell no," Mirage Nick groaned. "Seriously get them outta here, they aren't helping."

Jane was hysterical. She flung herself at Real Nick and wrapped her arms around him, kissing his cheeks. "Aw mom stop it! Stop it!" Mirage Nick whined. "Get 'er offa me!"

I touched Jane's shoulder and she stood upright. Her eyes focused on me, and she looked pissed. "What right do you have to make my son's life choices?" she demanded.

"Nick filled out the paperwork, ma'm, not me," I answered.

Jane scowled. "I'm his mother," she said, "And I say Nicky needs to be given all the time that he needs to wake up."

"I never in my whole life thought I'd ever, ever say this," Mirage Nick intoned, hovering over her head, "But I agree 100,000% percent with my mom!"

"Jane, Nick is brain dead," I said, "His brain is not functioning..."

"And that's different from normal because...?" Aaron joked. Angel jabbed him in the chest with her elbow so hard that I can only assume Aaron wound up with a bruise the size of the Superman logo.

"...He's probably not going to come out of this," I continued as though the twins hadn't interrupted.

"See you said probably," Jane argued. "Don't play Kevorkian, let my son live."

"It's not about living or dying," I said. I could feel my face flushing, my volume level rising. "Nick's not technically alive right now! This tube," I touched a plastic tube coming out of his mouth, "This is the only reason he's breathing right now. If this tube was taken out he'd be done."

Jane's eyes filled with tears, "You heartless bastard," she wailed and she ran from the room.

Brian was pale and wide-eyed too, leaning away from me. Aaron was holding Angel, who'd begun crying, too, and BJ was shaking in the corner. Only Robert, Nick's dad, who was still clutching Kaden, didn't look shaken by my harsh words. He looked Nick over, "I agree with you Kev," he said, "Nick should be at peace." He turned and walked out the door, carrying his son.

I looked around, Mirage Nick was no where to be seen.

Had I actually gotten rid of him?
Chapter 6 by Pengi
Chapter Six

I couldn't help but follow my mom out of the room. She didn't want my plug pulled! Why the hell didn't I leave her as my guardian? Ugh.

"You're a piece of shit," mom snapped. Dad stopped. Kaden started to cry.

"Jane, I'm being realistic. I--"

"He's not dead."

"She's right," I said. Neither one could hear me.

"I don't want to sit by and watch him deteriorate," dad said. His voice cracked.

Dad was thinking the same way Kev was. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. I looked at mom. I had to prove that I wasn't just some figment of Kev's imagination. I needed him on mom and Brian's side. The more people pulling for me...

"AH! AH-AH!" I ran back into the room. Ignoring my stationary body, I ran right through Kev.

"JESUS!" he yelped.

"Sorry!" I said breathlessly. "It's just...I know how to prove to you that I'm not imaginary."

"Are you okay?" Bri asked. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

"I'm--" Kev trailed off.

"Kev, go ask my mom what my imaginary friend's name used to be," I said. "I swear to God that it's Pancake."


"How can you think of eating at a time like this?" Bri said sorrowfully.

"I, uh--" Kev looked between me and Bri. "I'll be back."

He turned. I followed him gleefully out the door.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," Kev muttered. He cleared his throat. "Jane? Can I have a moment."

" Mom gave Kev a dirty look. She folded her arms across her chest and reluctantly nodded.

"This is going to sound weird," Kev said awkwardly. "But um, I was wondering if Nick ever had a...a imaginary friend?"

"Pancake?" mom asked in surprise. "What about him?"

I fist pummeled the air. "Ask her what color his hair was. She's gonna say indigo."

Kevin swallowed. Hard. "What, er--what color was Pancake's hair?"

Mom's eyes filled with tears. "Indigo," she whispered.

Kev whirled around. His eyes were wide and wild. I smiled sweetly and wiggled my fingertips.

"Boo," I said.

I gasped as Kev went stiff as a board and his eyes rolled back in his head. He hit the floor with a thud as he fainted.

"Whoops," I said. Mom was already calling for help.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"HEAL HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!" Brian's voice was echoing through the halls of the hospital. "HEAL HIM! HEAL HIM! I AM NOT LOSING TWO OF 'EM AT THE SAME TIME GOD DAMN IT!"

"If he dies, does medical choices deflect to family?" I heard Jane ask.

Kaden was sobbing.

"I told you I was real."

That last one made my eyes pop open. Nick was hovering over me. I was on the floor. Chaos had erupted all around me. Brian was on his knees, clutching my hand, a doctor had my other hand, checking my pulse. Nick's mom was shaking the doctor's shoulder urgently. Kaden was flailing in Robert's arms.

I stared up at Nick.

"Now do you believe me?"

I couldn't answer him. I didn't dare to. I felt my face flush.

"Kevin, speak to me!" Brian begged.

"I - I think... I think I need to go home," I muttered. I sat up.

"Careful son," the doctor braced my back, "Not too fast."

I felt dizzy, but I had to get alone with Nick so I could talk. I stood up. I fell into the wall. No way in hell was I driving safely yet. I glanced around at the concerned faces that were studying me. "Bathroom," I muttered, looking directly at Nick.

He followed along behind me towards the rest room, glancing back over his shoulder as he went. "I really don't wanna see your ding dong man," he said, "Can't I wait back there with --"

I swiped at him but my hand passed through him. "Ugh!" I groaned, "I gotta stop doing that, you're freezing," I hissed.

"Sorry," Nick said.

"C'mon." He hovered into the bathrooms and perched on a sink basin. I paced back and forth in front of him. "I dunno what to think right now, Nick. I feel like I'm fucking insane..."

"You aren't insane," he said.

"But I feel it. You're here, you're real. I don't get it. I don't believe in ghosts."

"I'm not a ghost," he argued.

"Then what the hell are you?" I asked.

Nick shrugged, "I dunno. I'm me.. just.. lighter, I guess."

I sighed. "Why me? Why not Brian?"

Nick shrugged again. "I dunno."

I leaned against a bathroom stall and closed my eyes. "Fricking A," I mumbled, rubbing my eyelids.

"I- I know how we can fix it," Nick whispered.

I opened my eyes and looked up at him. "How?"

"Well, I think I do anyway. I'm not positive. But I have this theory..."

"Wait. Is this anything like your frozen jello theory? Cos I gotta tell you man, that didn't work out so good."

"No, it's not like that," Nick said. He laughed, "Aw man I still say that should have worked. Seriously, doesn't it seem like it should work?"

"Nick.. the point, please?" Fucking A, even as a ghost he rambled.

"Oh right - right," Nick nodded, "You gotta get me a woman."

"Nick seriously this is not the time for sex."

"NOOO, Kevin, I'm serious!" Nick wailed.

Suddenly a toilet flushed in one of the stalls and a guy came out, looking bewildered. He stared at me and went over to the sink where Nick was and plunged his hands through Nick's crotch to turn on the water.

"WOOOAH there buster," Nick cried, levitating off the sink basic, a horror struck look in his eyes, "Even if they ain't tangible I don't want no one man-handling my balls, thank you..."

"Relax," I muttered, rolling my eyes, "No one is man handling your balls."

The guy turned around slowly, eyes wide. "Ex- excuse me?"

I blinked. "Uh... I uh..."

The guy bolted out of the bathroom.

Nick looked at me, his expression serious once more. "When this happened, this accident, I was going to see this girl..."

"Nick, I'm not getting brain-dead you laid," I snapped.

"Dude hear me out," Nick cried, "It's not about the sex, man, I wanted to get to know this one, to do it right, like I should've done with Lauren." His voice cracked ever so slightly. "I wanted to - to finally -" he paused. "I wanted to finally be a man."

"So how is getting you laid gonna wake you up?"

"Kevin, I need to find my One True Love," Nick said in a low, whispery, dramatic voice. He grabbed my shirt. "If she kisses me... I... I'll know I have a reason to keep living..."

I stared at him. "You're nuts."

"You're the one seeing braindead people," he reminded me.

I stared at him. "Okay you either are real or you aren't, but either way you don't get to make fun of me, so stop it."

"Kevin," Nick returned to the original subject, "I gotta find her, Kev. I gotta."

"Okay, so what was her name?" I asked.

Nick bit her lip. "See, Kev, thats the thing..."

"You don't know who she is do you?" I asked.

Nick shook his head. "N- not exactly."

"Fuckin' perfect," I muttered.
Chapter 7 by Pengi
Chapter Seven

"The key's in the fake poop by the door."

"Who uses fake poop?"

"Does it look fake?" I asked. Kev sighed. I knew he couldn't deny the authenticity of the huge hunk of turd sitting behind the big green bush.

"You really need a better security system too," Kev quipped. I stuck my hands in my pockets and whistled. I was the guy whose Internet got hacked at the AMA's for crying out loud. I guess 'Nick Carter's shit' wasn't the best way to label my, er, well, shit.

I continued to whistle as Kev slid the bottom out of the poo and grabbed my house key. He unlocked the door and we walked in.


Kev quickly covered his nose. Even I winced.

"No one's checked on my babies since my accident!" I cried.

Two crazy, barking dogs flew at Kev. He stepped back, but it was no use. He was tackled down on the ground.

"You gotta pick up the poo," I said seriously.

"Ya think?" Kev screamed.

"Lemme show you my paper towels!" I said happily. It wasn't like I could help Kev to his feet after all. I floated around doing a little Mexican hat dance while he got the dogs off of him. He followed me to the kitchen.

"In that cabinet," I said. "And you need to feed them and--"

"We need to board them," Kev said.

My eyes grew huge. "What? You can't board them! They wanna stay home!"

I crouched down and put my head behind Silas'. "Plllleaaaseeee don't send me awwwwaaayyyy," I howled. Kev purposely smacked himself with the paper towels.

"This is why I left," he mumbled. I sat back.

"What? What do you mean this is why you left?"

"Nothing," he muttered. I followed him as he started poop patrol. For only being gone two days, the dogs pooped a LOT. It was totally disgusting. Kev's face, on the other hand, was totally amusing.

Forty-five minutes later, my dogs had water and food and they were happily putting more poo-making goodness in their bodies. Kev hopped up on my kitchen counter and looked around.

"So where is it?" he asked. I was air-petting Silas.

"Where's what?"

"The book!"

My mouth formed an O. "That's in the safe."

"The safe? You put your house key in fake poop but you put your address book in a safe?"

"It's not just an address book!" I said defensively. "It's my little black book. It's like my...my pussy wagon."

Kev groaned. "Nick, this is why you don't have anyone--"

"Don't be a Debbie Downer!" I said. I tried to tug his arm, but I just flew through him. Kev's eyes grew dark.

"Sorry. I keep forgettin'," I mumbled.

Kev jumped down and we headed upstairs. My bedroom was just like I left it...a total mess. The Playboy channel was still on. Even Kev couldn't help but stop and look. We both nodded in appreciation.

"Those are nice," Kev admitted.

"Totally. I'd put my face right in them if my face didn't go through people at the moment," I quipped. The corner's of Kev's mouth twitched. I almost had a smile...ha!

After another minute of boob-arific action, Kev turned. I pointed to my closet.

"My safe's on the floor behind my foam finger," I said.

Kev crouched down. A giant foam finger flew through my body.


"What's the code?"

"36-18-33," I said.

"Any special meaning?" Kev asked. I watched his fingers twirl the lock. I smiled.

"Those are Barbie's measurements if she was real," I said. Kev stopped and looked at me.

"You've got to be kidding."

I shook my head. "Nope! If she was real she wouldn't even be able to stand up!" I said happily. I was proud of my bank of useless knowledge.

"No kidding," Kev muttered. A second later, the safe lid swung open.

And there it was. The mecca. I had even put in a light that turned on whenever the door was opened. It was shining right down on my Babe Bible. It was a total Indiana Jones moment.

"Pick it up," I said in a hush. Kev didn't waste any time. He didn't even make it look cool. He just picked it up and turned to the first page. I plopped down on the ground.

"There must be a thousand names in here!" Kev said in astonishment. I leaned over. My tiny writing was crammed in tightly on every page.

"We've got a lot of work to do," I said solemnly.

"I need that kiss."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Anderson, Wendy... Anderson, Alexis..." I raised my eyebrow and looked at Nick.

"Slutty sisters," he said, nodding.

"Oh for the love of Pete," I turned back to the book. "This is going to take for-fucking-ever. Are you sure you even wrote the girl in here?"

"I always write the girl in there," he answered solemnly.

I grumbled. "It's a wonder you haven't died long before now. Of herpes or AIDs or something..."

"Hey I'm clean!" he yelped defensively.

"I'm just saying, Don Juan."

Nick grinned, "Don Juan? I like that." He stared up at the ceiling for a long moment. I turned back to the book and kept searching. There were girls literally from every corner of the world crammed in here in tiny chicken scratch. This was going to take fucking decades. I was not prepared to spend decades looking up Nick's old bed bugs. "...and a sword and a sombrero and..."

I'd tuned out on Nick, but he was apparently still on the Don Juan thing.

"Hey," I clicked my fingers, "How about helping me figure out which one your one dream girl is, huh?" I demanded, trying to refocus him.

"Oh oh, right," Nick floated closer to me and hovered, looking over the page.

I sighed. "Well I guess first is first. You haven't known her long, so we need recent entries. That should help narrow them down."

"But it's not like I date them," Nick said. He thought about it a moment, then laughed, "The entries I mean. Some of the girls I actually saw more than once." He grinned, like that was an accomplishment.

"No, dumbfuck, but ones that're blocked in by two-to-three hundred more entries probably aren't recent," I rationalized.

Nick grinned, "Not particularly."

I looked up at him.

"What? I'm just saying!" Nick held up his hands. "Don't act like you aren't jealous."

"I'm not jealous," I muttered.

"Or like you didn't get laid almost every night, too," Nick added, jabbing his finger at me, "I saw you lookin' at the porn, you're just as much a horn dog as I am, it's just you're married. And if every time you and Kristen boinged had its own entry in that book you'd have a thicker book than I do," he added.

"I'm married," I snapped.

"Yeah, the sex is supposed to stop after that," he joked.

I glared at him.

"Hurry up, this isn't helping me get awake any, now is it?" Nick asked, grinning. "Don't you want me to wake up?"

"Yeah, if for no other reason than to get you the hell away from me," I said before the words could be stoppered up. I bit my lips the moment they'd fallen out of my mouth and looked up at Nick.

He pretended to be concentrating on the book. "Sorry I annoy you so much," he muttered.

"You don't annoy me," I answered - lying.

Nick nodded, "Right. Anyways..." he pointed to the page. "She's new. I bet that's her."

Atchley, Jullian.

"Okay." I stood up, "So let's call Miss. Atchley and get you kissed."
Chapter 8 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Eight

Jullian Atchley was five foot four with dark brownish black hair and a tongue ring. She looked more like the type of girl AJ would date. Then again, I had never been picky. In fact, I was pretty sure J and I had quite a few duplicate entries in our little black books...

"Miss Atchley?" Kev asked. I snorted. He was being the total Southern Gentleman to a girl who, albeit short, looked like she could snap him in half with her eyes. In fact, I got the distinct impression that Kevin hadn't made a good first impression. She tried to look around him.

"Where's Nick?" she asked.

Kevin looked at me. I grinned. "See this won't be so bad," I said. "You mention my name and the girls will just come a'runnin'."

I got a major eye roll for that. Kev turned back to Jullian. "Well, this is going to sound odd, but Nick was in a car accident two days ago. He's brain dead and--"

"Then not much has changed. He was brain dead on our entire date," she said with a scowl. I gasped. Kevin grinned from ear to ear. I didn't know why he was so happy; if I had already gone on one date with her that meant she wasn't my car-crash girl.

"I take it that you wouldn't give him another chance?" Kev mused.

Jullian smiled. "I didn't say that. He might be dumb, but he's cute."

"Ha! Ha, ha!" I shouted as Kev's grin slid right off his face. "I'm cuuuuttteee! Make her kiss me!"

"I know your cute!" Kev yelled.


Kev winced. He pretty much sucked at the 'don't address invisible Nick when others are around' game.

"What I meant to say was that Nick told me you were cute," Kevin said. Jule's (isn't that a cute nickname? I just thought it up) eyes narrowed.

"Listen, if you're looking for a date, you've called the wrong girl. You're not my type and--"

"No!" he practically shouted. I sighed. I was pretty sure I was mere seconds away from losing my first potential 'one.'

"No," Kev said normally. "I'm calling on behalf of Nick."

Now he had her attention.


Kev nodded. "He told me that if anything ever happened to him that he wanted me to call you."

Jule's eyes filled with tears. "That's so...sweet."

"I am sweet, aren't I?" I said. Kev snuck a finger behind his back. I'll give you one guess which one it was.

"We're not sure if he's gonna make it and he really wanted just one last kiss," Kev said. His delivery was kinda lame, but luckily Jules was still stuck on the part about me wanting someone to call her.

"Is he really brain dead?" she asked. Kevin nodded. I'll give him credit - he was a decent actor when he wanted to be. He even produced a big tear. Jullian started to cry.

"Oh my gawd. What hospital?"

"Woohoo! We got a bite! On our first try! You are friggin' awesome!"

In my excitement, I tried to hug Kev. I landed on the floor. Not that it hurt--I ended up just hovering. Kev shivered miserably.

"I wish you'd stop that," he said quietly.

"I'm sorry," Jullian said. "Do you have a Kleenex?"

"Not y--" Kev started to say. He clamped his lips shut and turned around.

"Kleenex is in that bathroom," I said sweetly. I wiggled my finger in the direction of the hall. Kev disappeared. I studied Jules. She looked around curiously. I imagined myself getting all old and wrinkly with her. I didn't know what happened to pierced tongues when you got old; I imagined it wasn't very attractive.

But, none of that really mattered. If she could wake me up, I'd totally suffer through gaping tongue holes and saggy stuff any day.

I just wanted to be me again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ask her when we went out," Nick commanded. He was hovering in the back seat of the car while I drove Jullian to the hospital to give this kissing thing a whirl. She was sitting there in her emo-punk clothes, playing with her tongue ring on her teeth. I hate tongue rings. I had been purposely trying not to speak to her. I didn't like this girl. Figures Nick would want her to come make out with him. But whatever. Whatever worked to get him off my back.

"So uh, when did you and Nick go out?" I asked tentatively.

Julian shrugged, "Been awhile."

She was apparently trying not to answer me as hard as I was trying not to talk to her.

"Ask her .. ask her what we did," Nick suggested. He was looking at her as though he thought he were in love with her.

"Oh I'm pretty sure I know what you did," I muttered under my breath.

Jullian looked at me. "What?"

Shit this girl's gonna think I'm a friggin psycho, I thought. Then I considered the situation. Maybe she's right. "I asked what you did," I said lamely, "On the date, with Nick."

"Oh," Jullian's face turned red. "You know. We - We -" she cleared her throat. "Ate dinner."

Nick grinned.

Ate dinner clearly was translating into sex.

"I am so the man," Nick hissed from the back seat.

I stared at my hands on the steering wheel, trying to think of anything to say to Jullian to keep this conversation from ending on a completely awkward note. Nothing came to mind. Finally, I squeaked out, "Well, that's nice." But the comment was so late, it made it even more awkward.

"I'm so excited," Nick was babbling in the backseat, "I'm gonna wake up and I'm gonna propose and we're gonna have lotsa lotsa babies and sex and stuff and I'm gonna grow old and die an old, old, old man - like that dude, that dude in the Bible there, whats his face? With the longass, weird name..."

"Methuselah," I said.

"What?" Jullian looked confused.

"Sorry, thinking outloud," I muttered.

"YES!" Nick yelped, "Methuselah. He was all like old and shit. I'ma be old and shit before I die too." He grinned. Then he stuck out his tongue at me. "You can't pull the plu-ug, you can't pull the plu-ug," he sing-songed.

I bit my lip and reminded myself if I slugged him I'd just get cold fingers and a strange look from Jullian.

When we got to the hospital, I led Jullian, whose eyes were now watering, to the unit Nick was in. When the nurse stopped us and asked who we were, she shook her head, "Only blood and next of kin." She thumbed at me.

"This is his fiance," I said, thinking quickly.

Nick floated around Jullian, "Yes it is, yes it is, that's true! She doesn't know it yet, but I'm sooo gonna marry her and have lotsa lotsa babies and --"

I tuned him out.

The nurse's eyes flashed with sadness. "Oh. Oh, I didn't know he had a fiance. I'm sorry. Come with me." She led the way to Nick's room. When we got there, I opened the door and started to follow Jullian in, but Nick hovered in front of me.

"Stay here, Kev," he said, "I need some alone time with my bride to be." Nick grinned.

"Whatever." I wandered to a seat in the corner and sat down. Nick scooted through the door into his hospital room and I cupped my hands over my eyes. "For the love of Pete," I muttered, "I'm going insane."

"You okay?"

The busty nurse from a moment before was standing in front of me.

"Yeah I'm great," I said, "Just - y'know, worried about him."

"Who wouldn't be? I'm sure he's a great friend." She smiled and sat down next to me. "But there's always hope, you know? That's why we encourage the family to talk to the patients, because you never know what might bring them back..."

"Oh trust me," I muttered, "I've talked to him plenty."

Suddenly Nick came floating out of his room door, a panic-stricken look on his face, "KEV! KEV! GET IN HERE! GET'ER OFFA ME!!"

"I - I uh - I'm gonna go check on them," I stammered, and I leaped to my feet and ran for the room.

Ten minutes and three security guards later, the pierced pixie had been hauled off of Nick and I was sitting in the corner of his room in a plastic chair while the busty nurse was checking his vitals. Nick was hovering at the end of his bed, over his own feet, looking glum.

"I thought for sure that was the answer," he muttered.

The busty nurse was fixing Nick's pillow and adjusting the stoic version of him to make sure he was comfortable. "There ya go, right as rain," she laughed, "Stay here, I'll be back with your fluids." She bustled out of the room.

"I need to find the one, Kev," Nick muttered, "Someone who will kiss me and wake me up and marry me and have lotsa lotsa babies and sex and --"

"And make you stop haunting me, yes," I moaned, rubbing my forehead.

Nick nodded, "Yeah, that too." He hesitated, "Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board... or the book, whatever."

"Yeah, the Nick Carter Booty Directory," I mumbled.

Nick beamed, "Hey I like that. I could start a business. I could rate them from one to five stars and --"

Oh Jesus.
Chapter 9 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Nine

So Jullian was a bust. A BIG bust. As soon as she had wrapped her fingers around my neck, I remembered her. Lord, did I remember her. She had been into all that kinky stuff where you almost had to kill her before she --

"NICK! A little help here?"

I had discovered a neat new trick. When I tuned everything out except for myself, I managed to float upside down. My hair was almost touching the ground. I made a face and flipped myself back over.

"Who's next?" I asked.

"That's what I need to know," Kev said. My black bible, my baby was sitting open. I looked at the rest of the A's and shook my head.

"Flip the page," I said. Kev licked his finger and flipped the page. I made a face.

"Why did you spit on my book?" I demanded. He looked at me in surprise.

"I just turned the page!"

"You slathered your pointer all up before you did it!" I argued.

"Normal people flip pages that way!"

"Normal people? Normal people?" I repeated. I huffed. "If you're gonna make this a habit we need to find you a finger condom or something."

I saw Kev slightly repeat the phrase 'finger condom.' His shoulders rippled.

"This is the end of the A's and the beginning of the B's," he explained. I hovered close to the page.

"I see that, thank you."

Avery, Adelle -- Ayers, Britney -- Backstreet, Bambi...

"Bambi Backstreet?" Kevin inquired. I giggled.

"Yeah. She was this stripper. That was her stage name. She sucked a mean--"

"Move on. Move on!"

My eyes landed further on down the page. Baxter, Heather -- Bells, Chloe -- Bersell, Ginny.

"Bersell, Ginny!" I announced.

"Is that your dinner date?" Kev asked. Even he sounded excited.

"No, but I remember her. We had a really nice dinner. She was double-jointed. We went out like three times and then she told me her period was late and then I had to suffer through the whole pee test thing. As soon as that minus sign hit, I was out the door."

Kev gave me a hard look. "Charming."

"What?" I said. "I was immature."


I nodded towards the book. "This girl was totally excited about the thought of having my baby. At the moment, I'm pretty excited about it too. I'm excited about getting my body part to make babies functioning again. Call her."

"Hold on," Kev said. He got to his feet. I stayed by my book, lest an army of hungry mice decided to steal it. I heard my kitchen cabinets opening and closing. Five minutes later Kev came back with a glass of scotch. He knocked a big swig back and picked up the phone.
As it turns out, Ginny Bersell liked babies so much that in the five years since our last date, she had three of them. And a husband. Hunh.

"No, I don't want my ass kicked, thank you," Kev said. Ginny's husband was still yelling loudly as Kev hung up.

"Okay, so that was a bad choice," I admitted. "This next choice will be golden. I promise."

While Kev went to get himself a refill, I went back to the book. Bittle, Udelita (or something like that) -- Bivielli, Selena, -- Bobbins, Justine -- Bodell, Caralyn.

"Anything?" Kev asked. He made a little slurp noise with the glass.

"Caralyn," I said. "I don't remember her, but the name's pretty. I bet she'd be the type of girl to bring a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies to the hospital."

"How do you propose you eat them?" Kev asked. The corners of his mouth twitched. "Should I put them in a food processor and throw them down your feeding tube?"

The last bit of happiness got sucked out of me. I lowered my head.

"Damnit, Nick. I'm sorry. That was low," Kev apologized. I sniffled. I wanted to cry. I couldn't cry. I couldn't do anything.

"I'm going to call her, okay? I think she sounds good. See, I'm dialing the number--"

All of a sudden, Kev was giving me a play by play in a voice I just KNEW he used on Mason. Even though I didn't want it to, it made me feel better. I stuck my pinkie in my mouth and watched him anxiously.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for Caralyn Bodell to show up. Nick was hovering next to me, practically salivating as I drank my caramel macchiato - which he'd bitched until I ordered in lieu of the vanilla chai I actually wanted to get, and I felt too bad to not order after the stupid food-processed-cookie remark I'd made earlier. "She's the one," he muttered, "I can feel it. The name sounds so... so... like someone I'd remember! I can feel it."

I could think of a lot of other things Nick had felt in the last couple days that had been dead wrong - not the least of which was our last contestant on The Lips Are Right.

"OH THERE SHE IS!" Nick wailed as a tall, leggy blonde with boobs out to there and a short, short mini denim skirt walked in. He redirected his salivation towards her as she walked to the line at the counter. "Yeaaaahhh," he muttered, checking out the cresant moon that peeked below her itty-bitty skirt. "That's definitely her." His eyes were trained on her, and I watched as a tall, average girl with regular boobs and red braids walked into the coffee house, looked at me, and smiled, and started coming over.

"Nick," I said, waving my hand in his direction - a motion that normally would've resulted in patting his elbow, but in my case resulted in frost bite of the hand. I shivered.

He wooshed around. "Oh."

"'lo mate!" Caralyn had a perfect Australian accent that I'd admired when I'd called her to set up the 'date'.

Nick glanced over his shoulder at Sailor Moon. "Maybe we could get her," he muttered, "Just for kicks?"

I ignored him.

"Hey Caralyn," I said, standing up and pulling out her chair for her.

Nick watched and raised his eyebrow. "Dude, don't be too nice to these women, I gotta live up to the standards you set, y'know."

Caralyn giggled and blushed as she sat down.

I stuck my tongue out at Nick. His eyes widened. "HOLY SHIT!" he yelled, "KEVIN SCOTT RICHARDSON! You stuck out your tongue?!??" He pretended to have a heart attack. "Oh my God if I wasn't half dead already I'd die from the shock of it all!!" He floated sideways and levitated towards the ceiling.

I continued to ignore him.

Maybe he'd float away.

Caralyn leaned against the table, "So, Kevin, you were kinda vague about Nick and -- and his - his condition," she said slowly. "Is he okay?"

Nick floated back into the room. His eyes softened. "Aw oh my gosh, she's worried about me. Like actually worried." He looked at me with big, goofy-sad eyes, "Isn't that sweet? We're meant to be."

"Well," I said slowly, "He was in an accident, and - they - well, they say he's brain dead."

She gasped and covered her mouth with one hand.

"See? Oh man, we're gonna get married and have lotsa lotsa babies and sex and..."

I tuned Nick out.

"What can I do?" Caralyn asked, her eyes big and wet and teary.

"Nick asked me to contact you if ever anything happened to him because - because he loved you dearly and wanted to have just one kiss before - before..."

She gasped and again covered her mouth - with just one of her hands.

"Oh Nick," she mumbled.

"Ask her how I met her," Nick begged. "I'll need to know this stuff later and now's a good time to learn it as any. Gotta tell the grand kids someday, y'know?"

I stared at my cup. "If you don't mind me asking... How did you two -er- meet?" I asked.

"I was his surfing instructor," she answered.

I couldn't help it. I snorted. A large chunk of biscotti, which I'd bitten into as she answered, lodged itself in the back of my left nostril. "NICK?" I gasped, "SURFED?"

"And I was damn good, too!" Nick scowled.

"If you wanna call what he did surfing," laughed Caralyn.

I grinned.

Nick scowled harder.

"Please tell me you have like videos of that?" I begged. Nick ran his hand through the back of my head and I received the sensation of brain freeze. Totally worth it if I could score this tape of blackmail.

"I used to," Caralyn replied, "But I burned everything of his after we broke up."

"Oh," I said.

Nick frowned, "Why did we break up?" he asked.

"What made you break up with him?" I asked.

I felt like a translator for a foreign diplomat.

"He broke my arm."

I blinked. "He what?"

"Yeah - he broke my arm and I never heard from him again after he sent the payment for a new one."

"A new --"

Nick's eyes had grown wide. "Oh. My. Fucking. CRAP!" he yelled. His entire face was scarlet red.

Caralyn reached up and pulled her arm off at the shoulder.

I almost passed out.

"Nick, you broke a fucking woman's fake arm and you sent her a CHECK and never CALLED HER?" I demanded fifteen minutes later, when we'd gotten out of Starbucks.

He shrugged, "I was immature, what can I say?"

"I can't believe you broke some girls fake arm."

"I said I was sorry!" he wailed.

"WHEN?" I demanded, "In the memo space on the check?!"

"I didn't mean to!" he cried, "It was an accident and it was WEIRD."

"Dude you like double jointed Russians that can't speak English but you're freaked out by a girl with a prosthetic ARM?" I demanded.

Nick pouted. "It fell off during sex."

I stared at him.

"What? It did!" he cried.

I shook my head. "When you wake up, you have got to write a fucking memoir of all the weird bullshit you've done."

Nick grinned.


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Chapter 10 by Pengi
Chapter Ten

"See that one? We were going at it in the car and this big spider dropped down. She knee'd me in the balls and I had to get stitches. If someone ever tries to steal my identity, make sure they pull down their pants. If they don't got the scar, they're a fakey-Mc-fakerson."

Kev opened his mouth, thought twice, and flipped the page.

I felt bad for my black-browed buddy. We had gone through a huge chunk of B's and we hadn't gotten anywhere. The spider girl had been Cable, Stephanie. I knew for a fact she wasn't the one. She wasn't a great kisser and I totally didn't want to have babies with her.

"What about Taylor Cage?" Kevin asked.

I stared down at my all-too familiar handwriting. I couldn't match the face with a name. Her name seemed to be fairly fresh. That was a good sign.

"I dunno," I admitted.

"Do you see a better option on this page?" Kev asked. I shook my head.

"Well, she's going to be the last one today," Kev announced. I made a face. I wished that he didn't have to sleep. We were going to be wasting precious hours while he was drooling all over his 'Bears of Kentucky' pillowcase.

I levitated up to the ceiling while Kev made the call. He was always so darn polite; it got boring after awhile. I hummed to entertain myself.

"Nick's not able to come to the phone right now," Kevin was explaining. "There was an accident."

He gave the same speech that I had already heard a half dozen times.

"Would you mind meeting me at the hospital?"

I stopped and drifted back down to the ground. Kev wasn't playing around; she must have sounded pretty good on the phone for him to take another drive to see me all carrot- like.

"Twenty? Perfect. Thank you."

Kev hung up and rubbed his neck.


"She sounds nice. I don't even have to ask her how you met. She already told me."


"She's your dog groomer."

I gasped. "That's right! She's got really curly hair that reminds me of a poodle!" I said happily. "And she really is a good groomer. My pubes--"

"If you say one more word I will drive to the hospital and yank the tube out myself," Kev warned. I clamped my mouth shut. I guess someone didn't like to talk about pubic hair.

What a fuddy-duddy.

Kev stood up. I heard a bone or two creak. I so wanted to make a comment about his age, but I wasn't taking a chance with the whole 'one more word' thing. I floated along beside him as he grabbed his car keys. I took my seat in the back. Kev's eyes kept flickering back at me.

"So you obviously didn't do anything stupid to this girl," Kev rationalized. "I mean if she's still grooming your dogs..."

"Naw," I said. "We're tight."

I leaned forward. I just couldn't help myself.

"You know what she likes best, Kev? Hunh? Hunh?"

Kev sighed. "What?"

I giggled. "Doggy style."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I could've fallen asleep standing up. Going through the ghosts of Nick's sex life past was really tiring... and to think we hadn't even capped off the C's yet. I was leaning against the wall in the hospital with my eyes closed when I heard. "Sorry I'm late, the traffic was something awful."

I opened my eyes and they landed on Taylor Cage, Doggy Stylist Professional.

She did, indeed, have poodle hair. She was wearing cargo pants and a tshirt with the logo for her doggy beauty parlor - Pawsitive Styling, Pawsitively the Best PAWS DOWN!

Nick sighed, "See, look, she has a sense of humor! She's gonna wake me up, I can feel it."

I didn't even have the energy to contemplate how many things Nick had felt now. Nor did I have the energy to get annoyed by his tirade about lots of babies again. I struck out my hand to Taylor Cage. "Hey," I said, "No problem. Last thing I want is to hear about reckless driving right now. I'm glad you took your time."

Taylor nodded, "God you look so tired," she said. She reached up and tucked a flyaway piece of my hair behind my ear and grinned.

"It's been a LONG couple days," I admitted. I waved her to follow me and we climbed aboard the elevator, heading up to Nick's room.

Before the doors closed, though, the busty nurse that'd been taking care of Nick trotted into the car. "Oh! Hey Mr. Richardson," she greeted me, grinning, "I was just on my way up to Nick's room to give him his dinner." She held up a bag of fluid.

Nick made a face at it. "Gross," he muttered. "I want those food processed cookies now, Kev."

"Ohhh you're taking care of Nicky?" Taylor asked, teary eyed.

Busty The Nurse looked at Taylor. "Um yes..." she paused, "Who are you?"

"Nick's fiance," I answered automatically...forgetting the incident with Jullian earlier.

Busty raised an eyebrow, "I thought that Jullian was his fiance?" she asked, confused.

"Who's Jullian?" Taylor demanded.

"Nick's a polygamist," I muttered.

"What's a polly's-legs-are-moist, Kev?" Nick asked, floating around me. "WAIT! Is that like where I have a harem? I definitely wanna be a polly's-legs-are-moist!"

Busty's eyebrow went through the roof. "Oh is he now?" she smirked. She knew.

"WHO is Jullian?" Taylor demanded.

"Nick's other fiance," Busty The Nurse replied.

Instigating BITCH.

Nick frowned, "Um This isn't good," he muttered.

Taylor looked at me.

"She visited him this morning."

Taylor turned away, crossing her arms, pissed looking. I was concentrating on the numbered buttons on the wall by the door. Seriously could this elevator ride BE any longer? I wondered.

Nick hovered in circles around us, looking nervous. "I dunno if I wanna be a Polly's-legs-are-moist anymore, Kev," he said.

Suddenly the elevator lurched to a stop.

I looked around. "Uhm."

Taylor hit the number button for the floor Nick was on again. Twice. Nothing happened. I looked at Busty, nervous. I looked at Taylor. Nick disappeared through the ceiling of the elevator then came back in. "Ya'll are stopped," he announced.

"No shit Sherlock," I muttered.

Both women stared at me.

Chapter 11 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Eleven

"Yanno, I watched a porno like this once. It turned out really nice. Not that I want you sleeping with my future wife or anything, but..."

"It's okay, this happens all the time," the nurse said. She juggled my dinner (God, it was gross) and fiddled with a panel in the elevator.

"So what's the deal?" Taylor said. She was tapping her foot and frowning. I was pretty sure she must have been ragging. There was something about bleeding that brought out the worst in girls.

"There's no deal," Kev said calmly. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. "Nick left me two, just two girls to contact if anything ever happened to him. Jullian, the one that came earlier, tried to kill him."

The actor shit was pouring out of Kev. His face crumpled in sadness. Taylor worked with little puppies all day; she was a sucker for sadness. She wrapped her arms around him.

"You poor thing! This has to be so hard on you..."

"Yes, I'm Rebekah Wilson, one of the neurology nurses. Elevator H is stuck again."

The nurse's voice distracted me for just a second. When I turned back to Kev and Taylor, I couldn't believe me eyes.

Taylor was kissing Kev! She was sucking on his lips like he was one of those Sour Patch Kids!

"HEY! She's mine!" I yelped. I ended up levitating out of the elevator again. I scrambled back down.

"What are you doing?" Kev barked. He backed away. Taylor's frizzy hair bounced up and down.

"You were always my favorite," she said. "One time, I wrote this fanfic and we were stuck in an elevator. Now it's like my imagination's become reality."

Kev looked right at me. "I thought you said she was normal," he said.

"She is! I mean...she was. Hey, do you realize it looks like your talking to air?" I asked.

"Fanfic? What the hell is a fanfic?"

Taylor turned towards Nurse Becky. Kev and I both stood there while she rambled on about AU's and visuals and--

"When I get back to my body," I whispered. "I'm going to spend a whole day reading some of this shit. I feel...violated."

"I never thought I'd hear you say you were going to spend a whole day reading," Kev mumbled out of the corner of his mouth.

"Of course, my story didn't include you," Taylor concluded. She paused and eyed my nursey-poo. "But, it makes for an interesting twist." Taylor turned back to Kev. "This can be our little secret," she said.

Kev's mouth dropped open. So did mine.

"Dayyyy-ummm," I said. "A threesome! I think you should take her up on the offer," I suggested.

"What?!" Kev said. Taylor thought he was addressing her.

"Haven't you ever made love in an elevator?" Taylor asked.

"C'mon. I'll never tell Kristin. And Nurse Becky over there doesn't look totally opposed," I prodded.

We both looked at my nurse. She had turned her back on us. She was carefully juggling my din-din and pressing buttons..

"You've got the best eyes."

I had distracted Kevin so much that Taylor had managed to get all up on him. Her hand slid up his chest. Kev's face flamed.

"Remember those tits on my Playboy channel?" I said. "These are smaller, but they're nice."

"Isn't she supposed to kiss you?" Kev asked me.

"You want her to kiss me?" Taylor asked.

Before Kev could say anything, Taylor walked towards Rebekah. This was a 'take no prisoners' game of absolute hotness. A minute later I was in my glory. If I wasn't already half-dead I probably would have completely died. The girl-on-girl action was pretty hot.

While it lasted, at least. I don't think Nurse Becky was as sold on the idea as I had initially thought. She smacked Taylor in the head with my bag of fluid. Taylor crumpled to the ground.

Kev was speechless. I looked down to see if I had a ghostly hard-on.

No such luck.

"What just happened?" Kev asked weakly. At the same time, the elevator jerked and started going up.

"Are you still going to take his fiancee in to see him?" Rebekah asked instead. The doors opened to my floor. Kev shook his head.

"Just...just send us down."

My nurse turned. Her eyes sparkled. "You two are making my job interesting," she said. She turned and pressed the down button. She was still smiling as the doors closed. Taylor was still knocked out on the floor, but I didn't really care. Something nursey had said stuck in my mind.

"Kev," I said. "She said 'you two.' YOU TWO! Do you think...do you think she can see me?"

Kev was wiping his mouth, no doubt trying to get rid of any trace of Taylor's DNA.

"Nick," he said. "Don't be stupid."

I sighed. "Don't blame me for hoping," I mumbled.

I couldn't stop hoping. If I did...well...

I would probably stop living.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You're stupid," Nick muttered, hovering around as I sighed, listening to Kristin freak out. "She never would've known and what do you do? You tell her."

I couldn't say anything to address him without Kristin thinking I was off my rocker or else ignoring her or with psycho-story-writing-doggy-style-professional, so I raised my hand and extended my middle finger in his face. This made Nick grin for whatever God-forsaken reason, and he did somersaults through the air laughing.

"Why in the hell were you bringing women from Nick's little black book up to see him anyways?" she demanded suddenly.

I blinked. I didn't really have a good reason for that. I looked at Nick. He was still somersaulting through the air. "I just thought maybe it would help him out if he had a lot of company," I lied.

Kristin was quiet for a long moment. "How are you getting them in, too, isn't he in ICU? Isn't that like family and next of kin and priests only or something?"

"Nick's a polygamist now," I muttered.

Kristin tried to resist laughing. "What?"

"I told them the girls were Nick's fiancees."

"You what?" she snorted.

At least she's laughing, I thought to myself. I'd take it. Anything to get me out of trouble for being nearly raped in an elevator by the groomer.

"Well the nurse asked who they were, and I wanted to get'em in, so I said Nick's fiance both times, I just- I didn't notice it was the same nurse until she'd said something about it." I wasn't even about to tell Kris I was mentally calling the nurse Busty.

"So you told them he's a polygamist?"

"I don't know," I answered.


"Well Nick liked the idea until she went crazy," I laughed. Nick's eyes widened as I laughed... until I realized why his eyes had widened.

"Excuse me?" Kristin asked.

"I-" ...had no clue what the hell to say that didn't sound fucking insane.

Nick stared at me.

"I- was-" I paused.

"Awe Kev," Kristin whispered, "I'm sure if Nick was awake he would've laughed about this all with you." She sounded apologetic, she sounded like she felt bad for me. "I know you miss him...."

I looked at him hovering a few feet away, a look of concern on his face about how crazy my wife now thought I was.

"Yeah," I said, "I miss him."

Nick's face broke into a grin. "He misses me, he misses me, Kevin freakin' misses me!" he sang, floating around.

I managed to get Kris off the phone and groaned. I was so tired, I could've fallen asleep on a bed of nails. I leaned back into the couch cushions.

"Whatsa matter Kev?" Nick hovered over me so we were face to face.

"I'm tired," I answered.

Nick nodded, "Yeah," he said. He sighed. I closed my eyes and was just about to fall asleep when he laughed.

I creaked one eye opened to look at him. "What?" I asked.

"I just was thinking about how funny it was when Nurse Becky Boobs hit Taylor with my food," he answered, giggling.

I closed my eyes again.

"Like BAM!" Nick said.

"Okay Emril," I muttered.

He was quiet for a couple minutes. "Hey Kev?" he asked.

"Hmm?" I hummed.

"What if she did see me today?"

"She didn't see you, Nick," I answered.

Nick argued, "But she said you two."

"She meant you but not you you, the real you, the you that she's been nursing the last four days," I said, "Not hover craft you."

"Yeah... true..." Nick sighed, "I thought it might be cool if she could see me."


He shrugged, "I'd be more real..." he said slowly.


"Well, you're still gonna pull the plug on me in four more days, right?"


"Maybe if you weren't the only one who knew I was here, you wouldn't do that."

I stared at my hands.

"I don't want to die, Kevin."

"But do you really want to live like this?" I asked.

"At least like this I get to hang out with you," he said.

"Just what I always wanted," I murmured sarcastically. The words hung in the air. I hadn't meant them mean, but the moment they came out, they kind of had that ring to them like they were. I opened my eyes. Nick was hovering a couple feet away, tears in his eyes. "Nick," I said slowly, sitting up, "I didn't --"

"It's fine, Kev," Nick said, shaking his head, "Forget it."

"Nick, I--"

"It's okay Kev," he said, "I shouldn't have forced you to help me. You didn't want to from the start. Y-you don't have to anymore..." he floated backwards like he was backing up away from me.

"Nick, stop it, I didn't really mea--"

"You only hafta put up with me for four more days then you can pull the plug and be done with me forever," he said, and just like that, he zoomed through the closed window and disappeared.
Chapter 12 by Pengi
Chapter Twelve

I knew ghosts couldn't cry; but that didn't stop me from feeling like I was going to cry. At the same time, a strange thing happened. It was like a slow fade to black; the walls disappeared and I was certain I had died. Something must have happened to me in the hospital. I was like James Dean - a rebel without a cause. Gone too soon.

"Turning you will keep you from getting sores. We want you to be as comfortable as you can be."

Slowly, the black stretched out. I found myself hovering over my body. Nurse Becky had my body turned to the side. The breathing machine continued to work - up, down, up, down. She knelt by my side.

"So how many fiancee's am I going to meet tomorrow?" she asked with a smile. I hovered over her and smiled. She pressed a cloth to my head.

"Why are you always here?" I asked curiously. I flipped upside down. She glanced at the machines.

"You know, I don't believe in miracles," she said softly. "But I've had a lot of patients and you're the first one that seems more alive than dead."

"HA!" I shouted. "That's 'cause I am."

She took the cloth from my forehead and stood up. She shook a bag.

"I bet you'd kill for a cheeseburger right now, huh?"

"Oh, you read my mind," I said. I glanced ahead dreamily. "A double cheeseburger with lettuce...pickle..."

"Becks, isn't your shift over?"

A nurse I hadn't seen before was hovering in the doorway. Nurse Becky jumped.

"What? Oh, I just needed..."

"Needed to talk to the vegetable?"

I frowned. Please, don't let her be MY night nurse, I thought.

"They're still human beings, Colleen," Nurse Becky said.

"Well, I've got to admit, he's the best looking one we've had in awhile. I heard you had another exciting day with his crazy friend. Who in their right mind would give that Richardson guy the power of life or death?"

"What do you mean?"

"The guy's always talking to himself. It's like he's got an imaginary buddy or something."

"I'm not imaginary," I said stubbornly.

Becky smiled. "Everyone has a different way of coping with tragedy. A better bedside manner would do you well. I heard you got down for the promotion."

"I heard you did too," Colleen snapped. Becky shrugged.

"I like it on this floor."

"Surrounded by death?"

"Someday, something amazing's going to happen here," Becky said. Her voice got lower. "I wanna be here when it does."

"You're crazy," Colleen said. She walked into the room and yanked my food bag. I grimaced.

"I just turned him," Becky said. "His vitals are stable and--"

"Eh, I just might give him a spongebath," Colleen said. She gave Becky a smirk. "I'll give you a full report in the morning."

"NO!" I shouted. "Don't leave me with Nurse Hatchet!" If she yanked my extemities as hard as she had yanked my food supply---

"Already done," Becky said. She returned the smirk. My eyes widened. I had missed witnessing my spongebath with her? Damnit.

"If you don't go, I'm gonna have to let them know you're violating policy," Colleen said. Becky hovered uncertainly. She lifted her head.

"I'm going," she said coldly. Colleen raised my hand and shook it. My hand slapped limply around at the wrist.

"Bye Becky," Colleen said in a deep voice. Then she cackled. Seriously, she did. It was all witchy too.

After Becky left, I sank down so that I was hovering by the visitor's chair. I was almost glad Kevin had been so mean to me. It looked like I was meant to spend the night watching myself. Colleen yanked at a few more things and walked out of the room.

"Well, Nick," I said to myself. My chest rose and fell in tune with the breathing machine. "I think we're in deep chizz. I wish I could have haunted Bri. I'd probably be back in you by now."

I didn't get an answer; not that I had expected one. I propped my chin in my hand and studied my face. "You know I am good-looking," I said. "Surely there's got to be one chick that would put up with me forever. I mean, yeah I don't brush my teeth everyday and I sometimes turn my shirts inside-out so I can get another use out of them, but doesn't every guy? I don't want to be remembered as a scummy gigolo."

I slumped down. Even I knew that the more days that went by with me like...like this, the less chance I would have of recovering.

But I didn't want to die.


I was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at the clock on the wall. A glass of scotch sat in front of me - the last of the bottle I'd opened earlier. My eyes were blurry. It was 5:43 AM. I hadn't slept. I felt like absolute, complete, total shit.

Once again my stupid mouth and stupid attitude had hurt someone that I loved dearly... I'd hurt what little bit was left of Nick. He didn't have anything; he didn't even have a body. It wouldn't take much to make him give up, to lose what little hope he had... For all I knew, when he disappeared, it was because he gave up, because he ----

I got up and grabbed my keys off the counter, shaking, just a little bit tipsy from the other drinks, and I headed for my car.

Visiting hours didn't start until much later in the morning, but I knew if Nurse Bustalot was still there I'd be able to get in. I took the stairs three at a time to Nick's floor, gasping for breath but still reluctant to revisit the elevator. I reached the floor and glanced around. The doors to the ICU were standing peacefully, like sentinels. I opened the first one and stood in the vestibule between that one and the second one. I peeked through the window.

Nurse Busty had been replaced by a woman who reminded me of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter books: short, rotund, and toadlike. She didn't look like the type that would be of much help to me at all.

I sighed and considered my situation. My best bet, I realized, was going to be to get in there without her help if I could and claim I didn't know there was a cut off or that I'd left something important behind earlier.

I had to get in and see Nick. I had to know that he was alive. I couldn't handle not knowing. I know the mirage Nick had been driving me crazy, but not crazy enough that I'd rather he died.

I watched through the window until the nurse had gone into a patient's room with her blood pressure machine and a bag of fluid, then I creaked the door open and crept inside the forbidden territory. I moved quickly, trying to keep my shoes silent, and reached Nick's door with - amazingly - no sound.

I stepped inside and closed the door behind me, leaning against it in relief, my eyes closed as I sighed. "Oh thank God," I murmured.


My heart skipped a beat at the sound of his voice. My eyes snapped open. I looked first at the real Nick - but he hadn't moved. Mirage Nick was hovering in a corner in a ball, knees to his chest and a long frown on his face. He was staring up at me in disbelief. "What're you doing here?" he asked. He studied me a second, "You look.... like crap."

"I haven't slept," I said, "I drank a bottle of Scotch." I moved towards him and sat down on a plastic chair and pulled it closer to him, facing the wall he was leaning against. "Listen, Nick, I need to apologize for my big mouth," I said. "I- I've been really hard on you and - well, you've got enough hard stuff going on, you don't need me mouthing off, too." I stared into those ghostly blue eyes of his. "The truth is, you're one of my very best friends and I love you like a son." I gnawed my lip, "And I'd take you, like this, for the rest of my life if that were the only way I could keep you around."

Nick stared at me long and hard. "Damn it Kevin," he squeaked, "I can't even cry."

"Tomorrow I'll come in and sign the papers to keep them from being able to pull the plug," I added. I paused. "I don't want you to die, either Nick. We're gonna figure this out. We're gonna wake you up if I have to hold auditions with every woman in the world."

"Thank you," Nick gasped. He started to leap up and hug me, but stopped, realizing all he'd do is make me freeze half to death.

"Can we go home now?" I pleaded.

"I can't yet," Nick answered. "I - I don't dare to leave me alone with her."

"Her?" I asked.

"The nurse," Nick answered slowly. He frowned, "She's not a good person.

I looked at Nick's body, laying on the bed, in concern. "What'd she do?"

"She hates me," Nick whispered.

"I doubt it," I said. "Maybe she's just rough around the edges..."

"She'd pull my plug in a second," Nick argued. "She's really rough, she almost knocked over the IV earlier forcing the bag onto it, and she turned me and banged my head on the guard rail thing and instead of like apologizing she muttered something about me not feeling it anyway..." he paused, "And she was mean to Nurse Becky."

"Nurse Becky?" I asked.

Nick nodded, "The one you got stuck on the elevator with? She's okay to leave me with, but not this one. This one is like the dev--"

And suddenly the door opened, and there she stood... blinking at me as I sat in the corner, staring at Nick... Who she couldn't see. I must've looked like I needed a dunce cap on.

"What in the name of hell are you doing here?" she demanded.

Nick cringed.
Chapter 13 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Thirteen

I was sure that Nurse Toadstool was gonna get the straightjacket for Kev. The bitch had horrible timing...Kev and I were having a moment and she had to come in and ruin it.

"What are you doing?" she repeated.

"I was...I was praying," Kev said.

"Praying?" I asked. Kev ignored me.

"Praying?" the nurse asked.

"Yes," Kev said. His face hardened. "Last time I looked, a person was entitled to practice their own religious beliefs."

"What religion talks to walls?" I asked. Kev's eye began to twitch.

"Visitors aren't allowed right now," Nurse Toadtastic snapped.

"I'm--I'm sorry. I just felt--"

"I don't care. Please come back in the morning."

"You can't leave!" I cried. I didn't like the way she was looking at my body. I could just imagine her trying to do something gross like--

"I'd like to talk to your supervisor," Kevin said.

"Yeah, so would I!" I said.

Nurse Hatchett didn't even flinch. "I'm Head Nurse on call tonight."

"I don't believe her," I whispered.

"I know there's someone above you," Kev said.

"I think you were just praying to him," she said. I gasped. Kev looked like he was going to run at her like a bull, but before he could, she took off down the hall.

"SEE?!" I screeched. "She's gonna kill me! I want MY nurse!"

Kev sighed. "Nick, you get whatever nurse is on duty."

"But she's not a nurse...she's the devil!"

"You're right about that. God, I've never seen anyone that--"

I didn't get to find out what exactly he was gonna call Nurse Ribbit. He glanced down and pulled his phone out of his pocket.

"You can't have electronic devices turned on," I said. Kev gave me a look.

"What? I've been staring at the sign for hours!" I explained. I pointed at the little blue sign with white stamped writing. Kev rolled his eyes.

"It'll be our little secret, okay?" he said in his 'Mason daddy voice' again. I pouted. Kev looked at the display and smiled. I couldn't stay quiet. I just couldn't.


"Kris is flying out," Kev said. He sounded totally excited. "Her mom's watching Mason. I've got to go pick her up at the airport--"

"No you don't," I said. "You can't leave me."

"Nick, I'm not leaving my wife at the airport," Kev said impatiently. There was a moment of silence while I continued to pout and Kev looked thoughtful.

"Don't you think you could come get me if you need help?" Kev asked.

"Come get you?" I repeated. "Don't you think it would be too late?"

"Nick, my rental isn't far from the hospital. Besides, Kristin will probably want to come see you."

That made me grin. "Hey Kev, wouldn't it be funny if she kissed me and I woke up? Oooh...that would be messy."

The look I got made me wish I was invisible.

"Keep dreaming," Kev said.

I held up my hands and floated backwards. "You will come back right away though, right?"

"Of course. By that time it should be visiting hours anyhow."

I glanced at my body. It wasn't like I was going anywhere unless I--

I didn't want to think about it.

"Okay," I said. I went back to my seat and hovered down over it. "I'll be here."

Kev took out his keys. He walked over to my body and squeezed my hand. It was a touching move, but it made me sad. Real sad."

"Hang in there, buddy," Kev whispered. His shoulders sagged as he turned and walked out. I covered my face.

I didn't have a good concept of time anymore, but it seemed like I sat there for a LONG time. So long in fact that the next voice I heard was Nurse Becky's. My head shot up.

"Thank God you're here," I said. I watched her walk to my bedside.

"Good Morning Nick," she said pleasantly. She lifted my head gently and fluffed up my pillow. "How was your night?"

I scowled. "Horrible."

She glanced at my bags. "Oh, you're hungry, aren't you?"

"Yes, please," I said. I hovered close to her. She patted my hand. "Be right back."

I smiled. I felt safe again. Safe enough in fact to go see if Kev was on his way.

I just didn't know how to do it.

"Um, to Kevin!" I shouted. I threw my arm in the air like Superman.


I sighed. I thought back to when I had appeared back in the hospital. I had just REALLY wanted to get away from Kev. I thought about Nurse Nightmare and closed my eyes. I remembered how she had hit my head on the guardrail...

When I opened my eyes, the room was closing in on me. Success! This time I wasn't so panicked. I let myself get boxed in and then slowly my new destination came into view.

My mouth fell open. I was back in Kevin's bedroom. So was Kev, but he wasn't alone. For a second, I was speechless. Kristin was one hot mama. She had an awesome body and it was currently bouncing up and down on--

"Need any pointers? I've got a book full," I said. I flipped upside down. Kev's eyes had been closed; he had been making a hilarious 'sex' face that I was so going to tease him for later. As soon as he heard my voice, his eyes practically bugged out of his head. He screamed. Kristin ended up on the floor.

And I saw something I never ever wanted to see - Kevin's johnson.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"DON'T LOOK AT ME!" I bellowed.



Kristin popped up over the side of the bed, "What the frickin' hell is wrong with you?!?"

"Not you," I yelled at her, "HIM!... HIM!" I waved my hand frantically at the ceiling, where Nick was writhing mid-air, clutching his eyes.

"Who?" Kristin demanded.


"NICK," I yelled.

Kristin's face went blank.


"If you weren't already half dead Carter, I'd kill you," I yelled.

"WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO, KEVIN?" Kristin yelled.

I froze.

Nick froze.

I stared at Kris. Oh. My. God.

"Kevin?" she asked.

"Psstt," Nick hovered by my ear. "Cover your schlong will you?"

I grabbed a pillow and covered my groin. "She doesn't hafta cover those, though," Nick murmured, staring at Kris. I threw her a pillow too.

"Kevin, what in the name of San Jose is going on here?" Kristin asked, hugging the pillow to her chest. "What are you yelling about? Who are you yelling at? What about Nick?"

"He didn't want me seeing his peee-peeee," Nick sang out.

I wanted to choke him again. It didn't take long for me to want to kill Nick after our little make up session back at the hospital.

Kristin stared at me. "Kevin!" she snapped. A concerned look crossed her face.

"I... I just... I think I had... a uh... a dream."

"A dream?"

Nick giggled, "You realized if you had a dream it means that --"

"YOU FELL ASLEEP?!?" she cried, "DURING SEX?"

My face turned bright red.

"Yeah that," Nick hissed. He twirled away through the air and perched himself on the dresser like he was Peter Pan or something. He watched with a grin.

"I... uh.. I'm exhausted Kris," I mumbled.

Kristin stared at me. "Uh huh."

"I am."

"Dawg I need popcorn for this," Nick muttered. "If only I could eat." He pretended to throw his feet up and leaned back against the wall.

Kristin turned, her beautiful ass shaking as she stormed out of the room... "I'll be downstairs, Kev, so you can get some sleep."

"Kris, I--"

"Go to sleep." The door closed behind her.

I looked at Nick. "What?" I demanded.

He pouted. "You said you were coming back," he said.

"I was," I answered.

"No you weren't coming back just now, you were just plain co--"

"NICK!" I growled.

A slight smirk crossed his face. He hovered closer. "Kev," he said, "Are you sure we can't have Kris try wakin' me up? Cos those boobs of hers... RAWR. How the crap do you get anything done with them around?"

I stared at him. "Dude. Can we not talk about my wife's breasts please?"

Nick shrugged, "I'm just sayin' .. they fiiiine."

I could feel a migraine coming on.

"So how's your body?" I asked.

"Nurse Becky's back."

"Nurse Becky?"


"Oh. Well then, your body's getting enough boobs for the both of ya'll, why the hell are you looking at my wife's?"

"It's not like I planned to see you having sex -- or your winky for that reason."

"My wi--" I stopped midword. I just couldn't. I stared at him. "You're something else," I muttered.
Chapter 14 by Pengi
Chapter Fourteen

"You've really done it now," I complained. I was staring at the wall, but the sound of Kev zipping up his jeans was unmistakable. "Kristin thinks you need to sleep."

"I do need to sleep," Kev said. I turned around. He did look kinda rough around the edges. The bags around his eyes might as well have been labeled 'Hefty.' "You said it yourself. Nurse Becky's on duty right now. It won't hurt if I lay down for a couple hours, will it?"

"You're gonna sleep while your wifey's mad at you?" I questioned.

"It's part of marriage. Kristin gets mad and we leave each other alone to cool off. Then when we make-up..."

"I've seen what happens," I said. I know knew two things about brain-dead ghosts. One - you can't cry. Two - you can't throw up (God knows I tried).

Kev crawled back into bed. "You said it yourself. It's the perk of being married."

I hovered close to his bedside. "Doesn't it get old?"


"Sleeping with one person."

Kev smiled. "Not if you know what to do."

I snorted. "It didn't look like you were doing much. She was doing all the work and--"

"Good night, Nick."

"But it's morning!"

He didn't say anything else. A few minutes later, I knew he was zonked out. I sighed. I was just about ready to go another round with Henry the Eighth when the door opened.

Kristin crept towards the bed wrapped in a robe. Her eyes softened. She pulled a thin blanket over Kev and tucked it in around him. She leaned down and kissed his forehead.

"You poor thing," she whispered.

It was a really sweet moment. Kristin crawled into bed next to him and snuggled up. The room oozed with intimacy. Not the 'I'm gonna bang your brains out' intimacy. It was something else...

Something I wasn't familiar with.

I knew I needed to leave them alone. I knew they would be at the hospital later. Until then, I needed to be back with my body. I concentrated hard. The now familiar fading came and went.

At first, I thought I had come to the wrong place. There were so many bodies packed in the room it was insane.


"Bri?" I said. I freaked more than a few girls out with my coldness as I pushed my way through the bodies.

Brian and Nurse Becky were standing by my bed. Bri looked panicked.

"I'm so going to get fired," Nurse Becky mumbled as Bri stood on a chair.

"Numbers one through ten stay here! Everyone else ya gotta wait downstairs with AJ or Nick will never wake up!"

A loud rumbling flew through the crowd. After another few minutes of insanity, the room cleared out except for ten girls.

I had no clue what was going on. Bri whapped his scarf behind his shoulder and took a deep breath.

"Okay, this is how it's going to work. Each of you is going to come up to the bed and give Nick one kiss. After ten seconds if he hasn't stirred, then you're not the one. Got it?"

The girls nodded.

My mouth dropped open. How did Bri know about the mission? Where did all these girls come from?

One by one girl after girl came to my bedside and gave me a kiss. After the first ten disappeared, Nurse Becky turned to Brian.

"I'm not so sure about this--"

"Kev's heart is in the right place and I'm determined to help him. I have the power of Twitter on my side."

Bri held up his phone. "Chirp," he said for emphasis.

I glanced at Nurse Becky again. She sighed. "I shouldn't have said anything."

"No! I'm glad you did. This would be so like Nick. Machines can only do so much. But girls...that's what he lives for."

Bri left the room, no doubt to call up the next ten. Nurse Becky turned to me and patted my hand.

"Your friends are nuts, but they mean well. For your sake, I hope this works."

With that, she walked out. Bri came back with the next gaggle of groupies. I hovered by my head and smiled.

This was gonna be a fun day. I couldn't wait until Kev came and saw how many chicks Bri had managed to snag me.

Sure, I probably didn't know any of them, but it kind of made sense. Maybe I hadn't even met Miss Right yet.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'd woken up to find her in my arms and smiled before turning to say "See? There are perks to marriage." but he was gone. I shot up and almost knocked Kristin out of the bed again. "NICK?" I bellowed. Nothing. "NICK?"

Kristin grabbed my arms before I could get out of bed. "Kevin! Kevin!" she yelled, even as I was struggling to get out of bed. I hadn't said anything this time! Why would he have left? I clawed at the blankets and tried to pry Kris's hands off of me to go see if he was in the living room, hover-crafting around in there or something. Sure last time he disappeared he'd been in the hospital room, but this time... this time... what if he'd...

"KEVIN." Kristin yanked me so hard that I tumbled flat on my back into the bed. I stared up at her. "Nick is not here," she whispered. Her eyes pooled with tears, "He's not here," she repeated. She reached down and rubbed my chest. "You poor baby," she whispered.

"I know he's not here," I said rationally, "That's why I'm panicking!"

"Kev," she hummed. "Calm down... Its okay. We'll go visit him."

"Right now?" I pleaded. Please be there, Nick, I thought.

"Right now." Kris kissed my forehead.

I was high strung all the way to the hospital. My heart was racing, my head was aching. My fingers clutched the steering wheel... Kristin rubbed my arm and whispered soothingly. "It's okay, Kev," she said, pouting, "He's okay."

I ran through the lobby doors to the elevator....... and stopped short, frozen in place.

I felt Kris come to a stop beside me.

I could not believe what I was seeing.

"Enough jostling, ladies! I told you already, if I have to speak to you more than once about the pushing I'm going to have to forbid you from seeing him... That's right... Now orderly... orderly..."

AJ was standing on a bench in the waiting area of the hospital next to the elevator doors and a large ficus plant. He had a clipboard and was waving his arms and pointing with a pencil in various directions as a huge crowd of girls milled and pushed around in the cramped space.

"What in the world?" I heard Kristin mutter, "When did you tell the fans about Nick's condition?" she asked.

"I didn't," I snapped.

I launched myself forward, shoving my way through the crowd; I was being flung responses as I made my way towards my tattooed friend. "AJ just said to stop pushing!" "HEY! Wait your turn!" "Who do you think you--" That last one actually looked to see what was happening when I shoved her, and saw me. I was about halfway across the sea of fans. "OH MY GOD!" she screamed, "KEVIN!"

All of them turned to look. Including AJ.

"KEVIN!" AJ yelled, beaming.

"Watch out," I snapped at the girls. I pushed my way through them still. They continued jostling, this time towards me instead of the elevator. I finally managed to get to AJ and I shouted, "AJ, what the fuck is all this?"

AJ turned red, "Well Brian said that ---" he stopped mid-sentence.

"BRIAN said WHAT?" I demanded.

The elevator doors chimed and slid open and there stood Brian next to a hysterical girl wearing a Backstreet Boys t-shirt. He looked up, "Next?" he called as the girl stepped out of the elevator. Several girls shoved to get to him from the front of the line, and finally one made it.


Brian looked up.

"What in the hell are you doing?" I waved my arms at all the girls.

Brian's face fell, paled, then turned almost green. "Shit." His hand shot for the elevator door button.

I managed to get onto the elevator before it closed.

The fan was paler than Brian, gawking between the two of us, clutching a teddy bear in her hands, eyes wide. Normally, I wouldn't kill one of the other Boys in front of a fan - but this, I felt, was a special occasion.

"What in the name of Saint Peter's holy dove crap is going on here?" I wailed.

Brian scuffed his toe against the floor. "I'm trying to wake him up..."

My mind reeled. "What?"

"Well if he gets a kiss from The One, he wakes up, right?"

I stared at him. "You see him too?" I gasped. "Does Nick know?"

Brian stared at me. "What?"

I paused.

"Nick's nurse, Becky, she told me about you and the polygamist thing and --" he paused, "What the hell are you talking about?"

"She told you about that?" I demanded.


"What the fuck business is it of hers?" I asked, anger rising through my face. And where the HELL is Nick? I thought.

Brian shrugged, "She wants him to wake up as much as I do, Kevin, it's in her job description."

The elevator doors chimed at the top and I stepped out of the car before Brian could and bolted for the bedroom Nick was in. Nurse Becky came running up behind me. "Kevin," she cried, clutching papers in her hands, "Kevin, I need to talk to y---"


Nurse Becky looked taken aback. "I didn't --"


Nick came zooming out of the room, gleeful at first, then, when he saw what was happening, his face fell and he walied, "Kev!! Don't get mad at her!" he begged.


Becky shrunk away. "I- I'm sorry, I --"

"This is wrong on SO MANY LEVELS," I barked at her.

Tears were in her eyes.

"What I was doing was private!" I shouted, "You had no business telling anyone. I'm calling the hospital later, I want Nick transferred. I don't want him here with you and that other toad," I snarled. "This is ridiculous."

"NO!" Becky and Nick both wailed at the same time.

Nick zoomed in front of Becky and spread his arms out, "Kev, no! I like her being my nurse! She's my favorite! I want Becky taking care of me!" he looked horrified.

"I can do whatever the fuck I want!" I yelled, "I am legally the one who makes all decisions about it!"

Becky's face paled even further. "Um.. That's... That's actually what I needed to - to talk to you about."

Nick whipped around.

"What?" I snapped.

"I - I got orders from higher up," she whispered. "Nick's father, Robert Carter, filed for an override on Nick's medical contacts list citing that he is a blood relative. He - he won." She thrust a sheath of papers to me, shoving them right through Nick's stomach. Nick stared down at her hand, and she shivered. I grabbed the papers and she withdrew her hand and rubbed her arms.

"She felt me," he whispered, focusing on her.

My eyes swept the sheet.

Robert Carter was now legally in charge of making all choices about Nick and his medical care.

And he wanted the plug pulled if Nick hadn't woken up within 24 hours.

I looked up. "Twenty-four hours?" I hissed.

Nurse Becky nodded.

"Twenty-four hours for what?" Nick asked, looking at me, then at Becky, then back at me. "Twenty-four hours for what, Kev? Kev?"

Brian had migrated closer. "What happened?" He looked over my shoulder at the form. "NO!" he yelled, "NO!! HE CAN'T! NICK'S NOT DEAD!"

I clutched the paper and looked up at Nick, who hovered directly in front of me. "Please Kevin," he begged, "Please!" He was closer now to crying than he'd been even when I'd hurt him so much with my words.

My heart felt like it was being squeezed. For the first time, I realized that not only could I very seriously loose Nick forever, but I really didn't have any control over any of it. I suddenly knew what Brian had felt when I'd talked about pulling the plug.

"Please Kevin, fix it!" Nick's voice was shaky and cracking, "Please."
Chapter 15 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Fifteen

"Bob, please," Kev pleaded.

After Kev and Bri learned I only had twenty-four hours (now twenty two hours) to live, my girl party had ended quickly. AJ, Howie, Kev, and Bri were currently sitting in the hospital's 'family room' with my dad trying desperately to talk some sense into him.

"Kevin, you said it yourself. Nick's brain dead. Even if a miracle did happen and he woke up, he wouldn't be the same. I don't want to watch Nick live a half life. It's all or nothing."

Dad lowered his head; his shoulders shook. Kev's watery green eyes looked up at me.

"I have every reason to believe that he's going to make a full recovery," Kev said firmly. Bri's hands were clasped in front of him; I had no doubt he was praying for the hundredth time today.

"How? You said it yourself just a few days ago. Nick--"

"I was wrong," Kev said. My eyes widened. It wasn't often that Kev admitted he was wrong about something. Again, his eyes flickered over to me. "Nick's a fighter. He just needs time and--"

"Time's something I can't handle," dad said. "The longer I wait, the more his mother will make my life a living hell. I've already lived like that for years. I...I can't."

"You bastard," I said angrily. "God, you couldn't be there for me when I was alive and now you're going to ...you're gonna..."

I couldn't finish. I was so angry. I ran straight at the wall. I wanted to hurt. Unfortunately, I just ended up flying through it.

"Does he have anyone else that we should contact?"

Nurse Becky's voice caught my attention. She was standing in the hall right outside the room I had just vacated talking to Kristin. Kris folded her arms tightly across her chest, her forehead creased in concern.

"Well, there is one person," Kris whispered. She looked at the closed door before looking at Becky. "His girlfriend, Lauren, broke up with him six months ago. I don't think the guys have called her, but--"

"If she wants a chance to say good-bye, she better be contacted soon," Becky said. Kris nodded. I watched Nurse Becky walk into my room.

My eyes widened. Lauren? The possibility that Lauren might still be the one hadn't occured to me. I floated back into the room.


Kev jumped. AJ looked up in surprise. "You okay?"

Kev's eye twitched; he was trying hard not to look at me again. "I've been better."

Dad was full-on crying now. Bri was hugging him and offering his scarf as a snot rag again.

"Kev, I just overheard Nurse Busty and Kristin talking. No one's contacted Lauren! What if she's still the one? Oh my gawd Kev, you gotta call her! Time's running out!"

Kev's shoulders slumped. He looked at dad and then up towards the ceiling.

"Excuse me a moment," he said. Howie patted Kev's arm as he walked past him.

"Are you gonna call?" I asked. "Huh?"

"Yessss," Kev mumbled out of the corner of his mouth.

Fifteen minutes later, Kev was in the men's bathroom again, sitting on the toilet dialing Lauren's number that I still had memorized. For my benefit, he put her on speaker phone.

"I know we've never met, but I'm calling on behalf of Nick," Kev said.

"Nick?" Lauren said. "What about--"

"He was in a bad car accident several days ago. He's currently on life support. His dad's taking him off tomorrow, and--" Kev stopped and swallowed hard. He was getting choked up. I balled my hands into fists.

"Life support?" Lauren repeated. I noticed the panic in her voice. "Is this some kind of joke?"

"I wish it was," Kev said weakly. "I just wanted to let you know. I think it would mean a lot to Nick if you could--if you could come say goodbye."

"What hospital?"

My fingers relaxed. "She's coming!" I shouted. Kev waved at me. He gave her the address to the hospital.

"Isn't it family only?" Lauren asked. Kev's mouth twitched.

"Just tell them you're his fiancee."


"Nothing," Kev said quickly. "Just give this number a callback and I will make sure you get up to see him."

"Okay," Lauren acquisenced. "Thank you for calling me."

"No, thank you," Kev said. He hung up and looked up at me.

"I've got a good feeling about this," I said. "Our worries are over."

"Nick, if this doesn't--"

"IT WILL!" I yelled. "It's...it's gotta work. Lauren's the only girl I really loved. She's the only one that's ever broken my heart. This is right."

Kev sighed. I hated that it couldn't be more hopeful. I needed hope. I needed reassurance.

This was my life on the line.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The lump in my throat grew every minute that went by. I kept glancing at my watch without really meaning to. I felt Nick's watery eyes on me. Honestly, I wasn't laying much stock in Lauren. I know Nick had the whole thing mentally plotted out, but I couldn't see it being that obvious. Although, I guess Lauren wasn't that obvious, since we'd overlooked calling her in the first place, but still...

My mind was racing ahead to how the hell I was going to stop Bob... and in less than (I glanced at my watch) 20 hours.

"When is Lauren getting here?" Nick was hovering in and out of the glass of the window in the family room. Bob had left, Kristin was gone to get lunch, Brian was in with Nick, and Howie and AJ had gone home, having said their goodbyes to Nick just in case and feeling helpless and "third wheel" as AJ put it. I was alone in the family room with Nick, rubbing my neck and staring at the carpet fibers, wracking my brain for the answer.

"I dunno, soon," I muttered.

Nick leaned backwards and, laying on the air, floated around the room about waist-height from the floor, like he was in a swimming pool. I watched him a moment. "Christ," I hissed, "Leave it to your fucking family to ruin everything."

Nick frowned. "And that's different from usual... how again?"

"Well it's a little more than fudging up a holiday or something this time, Nick, they're literally ending--" I stopped and stood up. Tension coursed through my body. I felt sick. I looked around, ready to snap, and lobbed a harsh punch into the wall. The plaster formed a dent around my hand.

Nick hung there in the air, staring at me.

"God damn it," I yelled at the wall. "God fucking damn him."

Nick stared at my back - I could feel his eyes boring holes through me. "Kev," he whispered.

"What?" I hissed.

"How is this different than you saying seven days... exactly?" he asked.

The way he said it, I know he'd been wondering it for quite some time. And to be honest, I had been, too. How was it different? Why did it kill me inside to think of Bob doing it, but made sense when I wanted to do it? The answer was obviously one of two things: Either I really couldn't stand not having control of a situation... or I'd been all talk when I'd said I'd pull it on Nick and, had day seven come, I would've backed down.

I looked up at Nick. "Because I wouldn't have really done it," I answered.

"What?" Nick asked.

Suddenly the family room door burst open. "Kevin! I got here as soon as I could!" Lauren rushed into the room, passed directly through Nick, who stood, gape-mouthed and staring at me, and wrapped her arms around me.

I blinked. This was the first time I'd ever met Lauren.

"I'm so glad you called, I - I can't believe this is - is happening."

I patted her back and stared at Nick, who was still vacantly staring at me, in shock. I cleared my throat and stood up from the chair. When I stood and Lauren was still eye-to-eye with me, I was surprised. "Damn," I muttered, "Be a little tall why don't you?"

Lauren laughed in the back of her throat, "Nick always liked that he didn't have to touch his toes to kiss me."

Nick's vacant, surprised stare melted and a smile snuck onto his mouth, his eyes shifting to Lauren. "Hey, I remember that..." he said softly. He hovered closer to her, "I remember that, Lau." He reached out a hand and tried to touch her shoulder... but it went right through. He frowned.

"He's a good guy," I said.

Lauren nodded, "He is, and - he would've made someone very happy."

"I wanna make you happy," Nick whispered.

"C'mon, Lau... Let me show you to his room... so you can say good bye," I said, snaking an arm around her waist.

"And I can say hello," Nick added, zooming after us.
Chapter 16 by Pengi
Chapter Sixteen

"Nick," Lauren whimpered the moment she saw me.

"Now do you feel bad you dumped me?" I asked.

"He just looks like he's sleeping..." Lauren whispered. She sat down in my seat and scooted up to my bed. Her hand wrapped around my wrist.

"The scans haven't showed improvement," Kev said. "But, I think if he just had more time."

His voice broke. Lauren slid her fingers between mine.

"See? Ya love me after all," I said. "Go ahead and kiss me. I'll wake up and we'll get married and have lots and lots of tall babies..."

"They'd be like giraffes," Kev agreed.

"What?" Lauren asked.

"You've got to stop doing that," I said. "People are gonna start thinking you're nuts."

Kev groaned. "Nothing, I was just thinking about how...how much Nick loved giraffes."

"He did? I never knew that," Lauren murmured. She turned back to me.

"Hey Kev, I don't think she's gonna kiss me if you're standing there gawking and talking 'bout giraffes."

He looked like he wanted to say something, but for once he didn't address me.

"I'm gonna give you a moment," Kev said. He started backing up towards the door. I don't think Lauren even heard him. She stood up and ran a hand down my cheek.

"We had a lot of good times, Nick," she whispered.

"We did," I said. I stood by her. "Maybe you should give me a good time right now and give me a kiss."

"You know, I would have married you in a minute. If you could have only grown up..."

"I'm grown up NOW!" I argued. "KISS ME! KISS ME! I will marry you and give you BABIES!"

I watched a big tear drip down her cheek. "I hope we can meet again someday."

With that, she leaned down. I crouched down with her. Her lips puckered.

"Perfect form," I said. "Let the smooching commence!"

Her eyes fluttered closed as she pressed her lips to mine. I held my breath. The seconds ticked by.

I didn't know what exactly I was expecting. I was hoping for a tingling or a sudden suction force pulling me back into my body.

But, none of that happen. Lauren stood back up, her tears falling faster now. I was still laying there looking like a white-draped mummy.

"Good-bye Nick," she choked. She squeezed my fingers one last time before turning quickly and walking to the door.

She glanced back at me once before she covered her face and ran into the hall. Kev came back in a moment later.

"Well? Did it--oh." We both looked at me. I floated all the way down to the ground and covered my face. It was over. Lauren was my last chance.

All my hope was gone.

I knew I was going to have to spend my last few hours preparing myself mentally to die.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I knew it was going to happen this way, but it still wrecked me inside when Nick floated to the ground. I stared at his body, at the slight lipstick mark on his mouth from Lauren... the image of giraffe children leaving my mind. I stepped up to the bed, being careful not to step in mirage Nick and grabbed the edge of the blanket and gently wiped the lipstick off his face. Then I turned and looked at the floor, where Nick was curled into a ball, hovering less than a quarter inch off the floor.

"Get up," I snapped.

"It's no use!" Nick yelled. "I have less than eighteen hours probably..."

I kicked my foot through him, the chill running up my leg and into my spine. I didn't care. "GET UP," I yelled.

Nick quickly zoomed off the floor and hovered a few feet away, "Stop kickin at me," he whined.

"Stop, right now, with the pity party," I said, snapping into Daddy Richardson mode. I stared him down for a long moment. "We have eighteen hours, Nick, to figure this shit out. Now is not the time to start your pity party. Wallowing in your misery isn't gonna help you wake up, nor is it, I bet, the way you want to spend your last eighteen hours alive. Am I right?"

Nick stared at me.

"Let's go."

"Where are we going?"

"Nick, I said let's go."

He stared at me, dumbfounded. "But Kev, what about -" he looked at his body, "What about the plug?" he asked.

"You have eighteen hours left to live, Nick, I am not letting you spend it sitting here, staring at your fucking body."

Nick hovered for just a moment, then he let out a sigh, and followed me out the door. I was a man on a mission - what mission, exactly, I didn't know, but I knew one thing: there were a million and three things we could do, no way in Hell's bells was Nick going to wallow in his misery. I was going to find something that would distract him for eighteen hours and if, at the end of that, he ... he ... died, then at least he died happy instead of floating around miserably.

I was marching past the nurse's station when Nurse Becky came out of a locker room. She almost ran into me. She looked up with tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry," she gasped and she started to turn to go, but I grabbed her by the elbow.

Nick's eyes grew wide. "Don't let her go!" he begged.

"Where are you going?"

"I traded a few hours with another girl," she answered quietly, "So I could be with him when..." she paused.

Nick's eyes were watery, "Yeah I want you there when I..." he stopped and stared at her.

Becky's eyes shifted to the ground. "I don't want him to be alone."

"I'll be there," I answered.

Nick looked at me, "But I want her there," he said.

And something about the tone of his voice... But I couldn't put my finger quite on it. I looked at Becky... and an idea occurred to me. But in order to talk her into it... I'd have to tell her everything. I looked at Nick for the briefest of moments, then turned back to Nurse Becky.

"Do you believe in miracles?" I asked her.

Becky stared at me. "I've seen unexplainable things happen," she answered.

"How about ghosts?" I asked.

"Kev?" Nick eyed me, "What're you doing Kev?"

Becky shrugged, "I- I don't know..." she stared right into my eyes. "Why?"

"I was just about to go for a walk," I said slowly. I stuck out my hand, "Care to join me?"

"Kev?" Nick looked utterly confused. "Kev? What'cha doing?"

"I've got some stuff to tell you," I said. Becky took my hand and I led her to the elevator.

Nick zoomed after me, "Kev! She's gonna think you're crazy! ...Kev!!"

Chapter 17 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Seventeen

Kev had finally lost it. Instead of being with me in my last few hours, he was holding onto Nurse Busty's hand and they were making their way out of the hospital. I floated along helplessly.

"This is so not a good idea," I said.

"About that miracle," Kev said as they walked in tandem down the street. I hadn't seen Nurse Becky in street clothes before. She made the jeans she was wearing look like heaven.

I prayed Heaven would be that good.

"I hope that a miracle happens," she said. "I don't know why, but Nick...he just...there's something about him."

As scared as I was, I couldn't help but smile. "Kev, did you hear that? There's something about me!"

Kev smiled. "There is something about him. In fact, that's what I want to talk to you about."


Kev stopped underneath a big shady tree. He glanced up at the foilage and sighed. "I can see him."

Becky's eyes widened. "Excuse me?"

"Kev..." I warned.

"I can see him. Nick's ghost, or mirage, or soul, or whatever it is has been following me around for days."

"Really..." Nurse Becky said slowly.

"Kev's cuckoo for cocoa puffs!" I shouted. I twirled my finger by my temple, but Kev continued to ignore me.

"That's how I got the idea for the kiss. Nick thinks he hasn't already died because he hasn't completed his mission in life."

"His mission is to kiss a bunch of girls?" Becky surmised. I slapped my forehead.

"See? Now she REALLY thinks I'm a poly-legs-are-moist!"

"No," Kev said. "His mission in life was to find 'the one'."


Nurse Becky's voice was so soft that I dropped my hand and looked at her. The wind picked up strands of her blonde hair and whipped them around. I reached for one, knowing full well that I couldn't touch it, but also knowing that she wouldn't get a cold chill if I went through a lock.

"Yeah, actually," Kev chuckled. "His specific goal is to get married and have lots and lots of babies."

Becky's lips twitched. "You know what's funny? I can really picture him saying that."

I gasped. "I think she might be believin' you!"

"I know I sound insane, but Nick's still alive. Even if it is only in spirit right now. I wasn't going to pull the plug; he's one of my best friends. And now---now that decision's fallen into the wrong hands. I just want to give him a last day he'll never forget and --"

Kev did something I had never seen him do before. He burst into tears. Becky wrapped her arms around him and hugged him.

The scene was a little embarassing. Kev's face got all splotchy when he cried. Drips of snot clung to his 'stache. He lifted his head and wiped his eyes.

"Kevin, I really want to believe you," Nurse Becky said softly. She took a deep breath. "If Nick is really hanging around with you, he'll know how many fingers I'm holding up behind my back."

Her arm shot behind her back. I swung behind her. She was holding up one finger - her middle finger. I laughed. She had a great sense of humor. Kev looked at me expectantly.

"Tell her she's holding up one finger," I said. "Her middle finger."

"Nick says you're holding up your middle finger," Kev said.

"What about now?" Becky asked. Three fingers wiggled in the air.

"She's wiggling three fingers."

"You're wiggling three fingers."

"Oh my God."

Becky whirled around and stared right at me. It was the first time I had seen her face to face instead of face to boob or with her back to me. She was friggin' stunning.

"Hubba bubba," I said thickly.

"You're serious," she said. She took Kev's hands and squezed them. "This is...INCREDIBLE!"

"Oh, it is, is it?"

The voice made me jump. Kris was standing a few feet away looking murderous. "Oh, crap, we forgot about Kris!" I yelped. "Kev, I hate to say it but this looks baaa- aaaaad."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"So this is your poptart..." Kristin said, "This is why your shoots keep going long? Why you can't come home with your son?" She had tears running down her cheeks, "Good fucking thing Nick's dying, huh, now you have extra time with your whore girlfriend from California?"

I was stunned. How in the fuck did this happen?

"Kris," I stammered, "Let me explain what's really going on here--" I started.

"Do not start with me, Kevin," she snapped. "I'm not stupid."

"I know you aren't stupid, which is why if you listen to me you'll see that I'd have to be stupid to cheat on you..." I said, moving towards Kris.

Nick hung back and Nurse Becky accidentally backed through him and a chill went through her body. She shook and looked around, "Nick?" she asked, glancing back and forth.

"I'm here!" Nick wailed waving his arms in front of her, "Here! Right here!!" He reached out and touched her arm with his hand for just the briefest of seconds.

Nurse Becky held up a palm. Nick placed his against hers. She shivered, but smiled. "Wow," she whispered.

I was focused on Kris, though, barely noticing them. "Honey, have you seen you? You're gorgeous, why in hell would I cheat on you?"

"Something new," she wailed, "I don't know - Midlife crisis?!"

"What? NO! That's bull," I reached for her arms.

"So explain it then, Kevin, what the hell were you doing out here, huh?" she pulled her arms away from me, "Explain to me why you left your friend, who's dying in less than eighteen hours, and deserted me, your wife, to go walk in an empty park with the sexy, off-duty ICU nurse you've been spending an awful lot of time talking to in the past few days?"

"She's Nick's nurse," I gasped, "Of course I've spent time talking to her, she knows his condition..."

"And she just happens to be a sexpot."

"Yeah," I shrugged, "Besides, I'm not the one that kept her around, I tried to fire her from taking care of him- Nick wanted to keep her."

Kristin rolled her eyes, "Kevin, Nick is a vegeta--"

"No, Kris, listen, I know I sound freaking insane, but listen to me--" I gasped, "I can see Nick. His like - I don't know, his spirit or whatever, I see it. I've been talking to him and helping him for the past few days and --"

"Kevin you're crazy," Kris now looked a little scared, "You're either lying or you're freaking crazy."

"Kevin's not lying."

Both our focuses shifted to Becky, who had both hands up in the air, pressed against Nick's palms. "Kristin, I swear to you, he just told me, too, and- and I think I'm touching Nick's hands right now..." her eyes darted to mine.

"You are," I said.

Becky swallowed and looked at her palms. "I didn't believe him either, but Nick told him how many fingers I held up behind my back, and..." she looked at her hands. "Hold out your hands, let him touch you, you'll feel it," she said.

Nick's eyes were watery, staring down at her hands, too. He glanced at me.

"Do it, Kris," I begged, "Please. Believe me."

Kris rolled her eyes and held out her palms, "You're both fucking insane," she grumbled, "You both belong in a --" She stopped as Nick laid his hands on hers. Her eyes widened and a shiver shook her. "Oh my God," she whispered.

"That's why I'm out here, Kris," I whispered. "Nick has eighteen hours to live and if I can't wake him up I'm at least gonna show him a good time... and... he loves Nurse Becky."

Becky and Kris's eyes were both full of tears.

Nick's breath wobbled. "You're right Kev," he whispered, "I think I do."

Kristin nodded, "Okay then." She dropped her palms from under Nick's and looked around at Becky, Nick - or at least the air she saw where he was standing, and I. Becky held up her palm again and Nick placed his palm against hers. "What're we doing then?" Kris asked.
Chapter 18 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Eighteen

"Kev, I love you!"

"I would never do this for anyone else," Kev said.

We were at the beach. Kris and Busty Becky were sitting on the sand in teeny weeny bikinis looking amazing. Especially Becky. I was in love with Becky. If I had been alive, I would have married her today. Then we could have worked on the lots of babies parts. My bgigest death regret was going to be not being able to rock her world.

"Kev, I'm not sure about this," Kris called out. She sounded worried.

"Are you ready, Kevin?"

Kev exhaled. "As ready as I'm going to be."

With that, he climbed up onto the boat. I happily came along.

"This has always been a dream of mine," I said. Kev clamped his lips shut and nodded.

Forty-five minutes later, we were in the middle of the ocean. Our guide anchored the boat and went over to a lime green cage.

"They've been biting pretty well today," the guide joked. Kev paled. I giggled excitedly.

"Go ahead and get in your wetsuit."

Kev stripped down to his underwear. I air-floated around him in a circle. "Y'know, technically I've always wanted to swim with sharks naked."

Kev paused. "In your dreams."

"Did you say something?"

"NO!" Kev called.

Five minutes later, Kevin looked eerily like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants. His feet slapped across the deck.

"Just a few ground rules to get you ready," the guide said. "First off, you don't need to be a scuba diver." He held up a mask and snorkel. "All you have to do is simply snorkel from the safety of our floating shark cage."

"The sharks can't get through the cage?" Kev asked.

"Are you afraid of sharks or something?" I asked. "Why are you not excited?!"

"I do horses, not sharks," Kev said aloud. The guide looked uneasy. I started to laugh.

"Dude, you made that sound like you rape horses."

"The sharks can't get through the cages," the guide said slowly. Kev affixed the mask and snorkel, no doubt to keep from talking again. "Getting in and out of the cage is a snap. It's as simple as standing up and stepping on and off the boat."

Kev nodded and gave a shaky thumbs up. The guide opened the cage. It rocked slightly as Kevin got in. He rubbed his hands on his legs, omitting a squeaking sound from the wetsuit. I hovered around him.

"Know what's even cooler about this?" I asked. Kev shrugged.

"I can breath underwater! I'm like...I'm like Sea Man!" I fell back laughing. "Get it Kevin? Sea man? Se--"

Kev shoved his hand through me just as the cage hit the water.

For once, I was glad I didn't feel a thing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If it was possible to get the guide to drive us out to the ocean and lower an empty cage into the water, I would've asked for that. This was Nick's idea of something that had to be done before he died, not mine. I laid on my belly in the water, the snorkel funnel giving me air, and bobbed around, looking through the depths of hazy greenish- blue. Nick hovered beside me, looking oddly shimmery and pale in the water.

I clutched the snorkel in my teeth and listened to the Darth Vadar-like sound of my own breathing.

And then - then came the sharks.

They loomed out of the dark water like ghosts themselves. I stared at them, reminding myself that the wire cage around me was safe, that they couldn't get in, I was just looking at them. Their ghostly forms came right up to the metal, their eyes glowing through the murk, studying me the way I studied Kristin's stuffed pork chops. I looked at Nick.

"Hey Sharky, Sharky," he murmured, his voice warbling in the water like Pinnochio calling for Gepetto.

I clutched the snorkel tighter between my teeth and watched as Nick floated to the edge of the cage, struck out his arm, and touched the shark as it floated by. The shark shivered. "Wow, cool," Nick murmured, "He feels me." The shark eyeballed me, like I'd caused the offensive chill to run down his spine (do sharks have spines?) as Nick petted him again.

You're seriously pissing off the shark, I thought, trying to send a telepathic message to him.

"I wanna touch his teeth," Nick whispered.

I'm gonna be eaten by friggin' sharks because this one wants to feel it up, I thought. Are you gonna jerk it off, too? I aimed my ESP at his head.

Nick looked at me, "This is amazing, Kevin," he warbled sincerely. "Thank you."

And just like that I was glad we were underwater because otherwise Nick would've known I was crying. Again.

I watched, my heart clenching in my chest with agonized realization that Nick was here because he was dying, as he reached out his ice-cold, ghostly palm, and stroked the side of the shark's face. It snapped at the water, and Nick's fingers grazed his teeth before the mouth snapped shut around Nick's arm. Nick with drew his hand and smiled, "Dude, I totally got bit by a shark," he said. "I touched his teeth, Kev."

I nodded.

Nick hovered around me in circles, "I can't believe I touched a shark!" he crowed, the water making his voice sound like a yodel.

I nodded towards the boat, and struggled up out of the water.

One thing was for certain... I'd never forget the experience, either. When I got onto the deck, Nick wrapped his arms around me. The wet suit and the chill of the water made me less sensitive to his icy cold touch, and I didn't shrug him away for once. "Thank you, Kevin," Nick whispered.

I took the snorkel out of my mouth.

"I'm really sorry," the guide said as he started sorting out the equipment. "But the picture of you down there didn't come out so great."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"The complimentary photo," Nick said like I should've known there was such a thing. "They take a picture with an underwater camera so you can see yourself with the sharks."

"Well," the old man continued, "I need to clean up the camera lens, I guess," he pointed at an iPad on a desk. I picked it up and stared at the picture. "There's something stuck to the lens it looks."

There I was, bobbling in the water, the pissed off shark with his mouth open wide and a big, ghostly white blur reaching into the mouth of the underwater beast.

I looked up at Nick.

"No," I said to the guide, "It's perfect. Can I have two prints of this please?"

"If ya pay extra," the guide answered, shrugging.

I smiled, "I'll pay whatever it takes."

Nick's eyes were watery as he stared down at the screen.
Chapter 19 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Nineteen

"I'm on film! There's photographic evidence I do exist!" I shouted gleefully as the boat pulled towards shore. Kev was clutching the prints as if his life depended on it.

Wait, I take that back. My life depended on it.

The girls were still lounging on the beach. It was amazing the amply amount of curves that were currently being hugged by a tiny little scrap of bikini. For a moment I just gawked.

"Kris! Busty! I mean, Becky!" Kev shouted. He hopped off the boat and held the pictures aloft. "You've got to look at this!"

"Do you realize you just yelled out Busty right in front of your wife?" I asked.

"Yes, damnit!" Kev bellowed happily.

"What happened?" Kris asked. She got to Kev first. She started to check him over, no doubt for shark bites.

"Nick and I---we were under the water. He wanted to touch the shark's teeth and well..."

Kev thrusted a copy of the picture into Kris and Becky's hands.

"This is incredible," Becky murmured. She touched my white form.

"You look terrified," Kris pointed out. Kev nodded and nuzzled her neck. "I was totally terrified. But it was worth it."

"This isn't fair," Becky said. Her eyes welled with tears. No girl that looked that good in a swimsuit should ever have to cry. I touched her shoulder. She shivered, but she didn't turn away.

"I'm showing this picture to Bob," Kev said. "Of all people, he should know how bad Nick would have wanted to do this. And the form...it's proof."

' "Honey, we believe you, but to anyone else it will just look like the lens has a film on it," Kristin said sorrowfully.

"No," Kev said. He shook his head. "You're a photographer. You can see that this isn't just a smear."

On one hand, I was on Kevin's side. That was the optimistic 'I wanna live' side. The other side of me, the side that was beginning to come to grips with my fate, realized Kristin was probably right. I walked back over to Kevin.

"Kev, I have one more request," I said. He looked at me.


I glanced back over at Becky longingly. "I wanna see Nurse Busty naked."

"I can't help you with that," Kev said quickly.

"You could ask her," I said sweetly. "Please?"

"What's going on?" Becky asked.

"Nick, I'm not going to ask her to do that."

"Do what?" Kris asked.

I got down on my knees and bobbed above the sand. "Kev, please. If I'm gonna die, I want her body to be the last woman's body I see. Please? Pretty please? With a cherry on top?" I thought of something. "Oooh, I wonder if she still has her cherry? Maaannnn."

"You're not going to die," Kev assured me. "This picture--"

"I don't want to take any chances," I said seriously. Kev closed his eyes, seemed to count to ten, and looked at Becky.

"Nick," he said slowly. "Has one last request."

"What is it?"

Kev fidgeted. "He wants to see you, uh--"

"NAKED!" I shouted.

"He wants a striptease," Kev said. I laughed.

"Boy, do I."

"You don't have to go with him do you?" Kris asked quickly.

"NO!" we both shouted. Of course, they only heard Kev.

"Well, I..." Becky blushed. "I guess that would be okay."

"WOOHOO!" I shouted. I jumped up and down. Then I hugged Kev's neck. He yelped.

"Hey Kev?" I whispered.


I smiled. "Do you think ghosts can get boners?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Turns out, the answer is yes.

It was later that night and Kristin and I were sitting on the couch and watched TV. It was rather awkward, knowing what was going on in the next room, but we held each other's hands and pretended to be oblivious.

Kristin kissed my cheek.

"What's that for?" I asked.

"Being so sweet to him," she answered.

Nick's eyes were huge when he came floating out of the guest bedroom in the house I'd rented. "If I somehow live," Nick mumbled, "I swear I will worship her body every single day of my life."

"That good huh?" I asked.

Kristin looked up at me, "They're done?"

The bedroom door creaked open and Becky, bright red in the cheeks and disheveled, came out. "Hey," she whispered.

"You were a hit," I said.

She blushed harder.

"Tell her I like her freckles," Nick grinned wickedly.

I'm pretty sure I didn't wanna know where those freckles were because when I repeated the sentence, Becky turned even brighter red and covered her face. "Oh God," she laughed into her hands.

"Kevin," Nick said, "Please bring Becky to kiss me... I just know that I'll wake up if she kisses me."

"Nick," I said, worried he was gonna get his hopes back up.


I looked at my watch. We had about twelve hours left. I sighed. "Okay."

"What now?" Kristin asked as I stood up.

"Nick wants to know if you'll try kissing him to wake him up," I said.

Becky paused. "Okay." She puckered her lips.

Nick's eyes grew wide.

"He means his --"

"SHUT UP KEV!" Nick zoomed over and pressed his ghostly lips against Becky's. Her eyes opened wide when his mouth touched hers and she gasped into his mouth. He brought his palms to her cheeks, and literally gave the girl chills.

Kristin stared at Becky. She looked at me. "He isn't even visible and I know that kiss was freaking amazing," Kris whispered, "Why don't you kiss me like that anymore?"

"I will," I said simply.

When Nick finally pulled back, he had his eyes closed, he was concentrating. "Please," he whispered, hoarse, "Just... go back in..." he muttered. He opened his eyes and stared at Becky. "God I wanna live so much," he whispered.

"Maybe kissing his- his body- instead," I suggested.

Becky nodded, clearly a little disappointed.

"C'mon," I said, "We've got twelve hours to fix this. Let's go back to the hospital, and try the kiss and if that doesn't work, then... then I'll try to talk to Bob." I grabbed a copy of the shark picture, "We can't give up yet."
Chapter 20 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Twenty

"What are you doing back so soon, Becky?" Nurse Toadstool snapped as the four of us stepped off the elevator.

"She's with us," Kristin said. For such a little thing, she gave one helluva death stare. "That's not a problem is it?"

Nurse Ribbity looked like she was practically swallowing her tongue. "No," she finally said.

We filed past her. She stuck her middle finger up as soon as the other three walked by.

"She gives a new meaning to the word e-vil," I said. Kev glanced over at Becky.

"That woman has no bedside manner," he said. Becky nodded.

"I know. She's in it for the money."

I started to scowl, but stopped when we got to my room. It seemed like every available space was covered in flowers. Becky looked like she was walking through a garden as she made her way up to my bed.

"Hey," she whispered. She sat on the bed, her amazingly perfect derriere smashed up against my arm. I looked at my ghostly appendage sadly, wishing I could actually feel it. Her head lowerered.

"You're gorgeous," she whispered; her lips were barely an inch from my own.

Becky was a half a second away from kissing me when the door opened. Becky jumped.

Dad was standing in the doorway. His eyes were rimmed with dark circles. He was flanked by Aaron, Angel, Leslie, and BJ.

"What's this?" Kev asked.

"Everyone wanted to come say their goodbyes," dad said weakly. "We've decided not to prolong it another night. We're pulling the plug in an hour."

Becky, Kris, Kevin, and I all collectively gasped. Kev's face grew wild with panic.

"Bob, I need to talk to you. I--"

"Nothing you will do or say can change my mind."

"He's dead!" Leslie wailed. I rolled my eyes. "You are such a damn drama queen!" I shouted back.

"Please. Just ten minutes. That's all I ask."

Dad sighed. He looked at Aaron and put an arm affectionately around him. "You and your sisters stay here. I'll be back."

Aaron nodded and puffed out his chest. The little prick was already trying out the 'oldest brother' power. "Sure, dad. No problem."

Kris, Becky, and I filed out of the room with dad and Kevin. I didn't want to stick around and here my sisters wail and carry on. Besides, Aaron would probably use the opportunity to post a dramatic Twitter picture.

"What's this about?" dad asked as Kev closed the door of the family room. Becky's eyes darted around the room. Finally, her fingers stretched out in invitation. I hovered my hand against hers; she shivered, but she remained resolute.

"This is going to sound crazy," Kev said breathlessly. "But Nick and I went swimming with sharks earlier today."

Dad snorted. "What? Son, you've been drinking. I--"


Kev thrust the picture at dad. Dad held it, his expression stoic.

"I see you, sharks, and a film over the camera lens," he said. "So?"

"That's not a film. That's Nick. His ghost has been stuck with me since the accident. He doesn't want to die. He's not ready."

"I know that Nick meant a lot to you," dad said softly. "But, the media's going crazy. The family's at its breaking point. We need closure. We need peace."

Becky covered her mouth, but not before a loud sob escaped. Kris hugged her.

"You've got to at least give us until morning," Kevin begged. Dad shook his head.

"Jane will be here in twenty minutes. It's been decided. I'm sorry. If you need to call Brian, Howie, and AJ, please do. But...the decision is final."

"Kev," I said quietly as dad walked out of the room. Kev clung to the picture, his face about ready to fall. "We've got to get everyone out so Becky can kiss me. Please, it's...it's my last request. Just one kiss."

Kev threw his shoulders back. His lips shook slightly as he lifted his head once more to the sky.

"It's a promise," he said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I pushed my own emotion aside. My heart was slamming so loud I'm sure they could all hear it and every muscle in my body was tense. I had to stay strong. Sixty minutes. In sixty minutes, THEN I could break down, but here... now... I had to stay strong. For Nick.

Nick was collapsing.

"I don't wanna die, I don't want to die," he was begging his father as we followed Bob into the room where Nick was laying. "Please, for the love of blonde, believe Kevin, please!" He touched his father's back, but being a cold-blooded son of a bitch, Bob didn't even feel it.

"You're such a fucking bastard you can't even notice your son when he's on his god damn death bed," I hissed under my breath.

Bob pretended not to notice.

Becky reached around me and plucked Aaron's cell phone out of his hand. "Sorry, no electronic devices in the ICU," she said in a haughty tone, shutting it off expertly and tossing it onto a chair across the room.

"Nick wanted to say goodbye to his Twitter followers," Aaron complained.

"I DO NOT want myself all over your fucking Twitter account looking like - like -" Nick looked at himself. "THAT." He hung his head.

Leslie and BJ were supporting each other and Angel was standing at Nick's feet, her hands on his toes, her face sullen.

"I can't take it anymore," BJ sobbed. "Goodbye Nick," she said. She turned and rushed out of the hospital room. Leslie glanced at her brother, but couldn't seem to get up the guts to say anything before she rushed after the eldest Carter sister.

"Go you hypocritical bitch," muttered Angel under her breath.

"This is not the time to be cutting down your sisters," Aaron said in a haughty-sounds-just-like-Bob tone. Bob smiled proudly.

Angel glared at her twin. "Like you should talk," she snapped. "Mr. Agreeing to kill your brother just to suck up to dad." Her lip curled. "You're pathetic. I can't believe I shared a womb with you." She looked at Nick. "HAUNT THE FUCK OUT OF HIM," she yelled. "Torture him until the day he dies for this." She looked at Aaron. "It should be you not Nick. We're losing the only person in this family with a soul." She turned and stormed out of the room.

"Woah," Kris muttered.

Aaron glowered.

Bob sighed, "Come on son," he said to Aaron, "I don't want to be here when your mother arrives."

Aaron glared at Nick. "Bye," he muttered, and he started to turn to leave.

"BYE?!?" Nick screamed, "THATS IT? BYE?" He reached for Aaron and his hand swiped the back of Aaron's head in what would've been a smack had he been - you know, tangible - but instead it went through Aaron.

Aaron stopped.

"Yeah that's right you little shit," Nick yelled, "Get back here and give me the good-bye I deserve!"

Aaron turned and looked at Nick's body. Tears filled his eyes. "I--"

"AARON," Bob called from the hall, "Let's go."

Aaron stared at Nick for a long, long second, then turned and speed-walked out the door.

Nick watched the door closed.

Becky whispered, "You poor thing."

We all turned to see her, stroking Nick's hand. He moved over to the other side of the bed and leaned down to watch her face. He even hovered onto the bed so he was just above his own body... a ghostly shadow around the actual thing.

Kris grabbed my hand as Becky leaned forward... her mouth puckered...

And the door flew open, cracking me in the back and sending me forward. I stumbled into the IV pole and only just caught myself before knocking it over across Nick's body. Kris helped he stand upright.


Jane had arrived.
Chapter 21 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Twenty One

Becky shot up from her perch, my lips once again left unkissed. Kev was rubbing his tailbone, his eyes watering from being smacked by the force of the door. I floated away from my body, stopping right in front of my mom.

"WHY?!" I screamed. "Why must every goddamn member of my family ruin my life?!"

"Nick," mom whimpered. She took Angel's place by my toes, stroking them gently. "Oh baby, I never wanted you to leave here before I did. This isn't fair. God isn't fair."

"What isn't fair is that I'm not getting my kiss!" I whined. I glanced up at the clock. I only had forty minutes left. I looked at Kev.

"We have to do something."

"Jane," Kev said. "Nick's brothers and sisters were just here. Did you--"

"I saw them," Jane said. "I can't believe that out of the whole bunch only Angel and Nick turned out well." Her shoulders slumped. "I failed."

Nick's eyes softened. "You didn't fail," he said quietly. "It's just as much dad's fault."

"You didn't fail," Kevin said. "You gave the world something...something..."

"Beautiful," Becky said. I walked over and pressed my cheek against her shoulder. She gasped.

"She thinks I'm beautiful," I said breathlessly.

"Who are you?" mom asked. Becky looked surprised to actually be addressed. Dad and everyone else had ignored her, except for her little tuff with Aaron.


"Nick's girlfriend," Kevin finished. Becky nodded.

The moment mom heard the word girlfriend, she was all for knowing details. I backed up.

"You're the only guy I know that can snag a girlfriend without even being awake," Kev said out of the corner of his mouth. I smiled sadly.

"I had a lot of talent," I agreed mournfully.

"Have," Kevin amended.

"Not for much longer."

We both glanced at the clock. Thirty five minutes.

"I can't be here when...when it happens," Jane was saying to Becky. Becky had her arm on mom's shoulder, nodding sympathetically.

"I'll be here," Kevin said.

"I'm staying too," Becky whispered.

"Is Bob coming back?" Jane asked. She turned to Kevin. Kev shook his head.

"I really don't...I don't think so."

Jane's face hardened. "The bastard."

She moved past Becky then, to my bedside. She picked up my hand and stroked it.

"You'll always be my special baby," she whispered. "I know we've had bad times, but I'll always keep the good times in my heart. No one can ever take the quiet nights in New York when it was just you and me in the rocking chair. My beautiful, beautiful baby boy."

Large tears cascaded down her face. She leaned over and kissed me, her body racking with sobs. Kris and Becky began to weep. Kev seemed a little unsteady on his feet.

"I love you mom," I said. I hugged her. A chill swept through her, but somehow she seemed to pull herself together. She gave my hand one last squeeze.

"I'll be in touch," she assured Kevin. "Bob may have gotten his life, but I'm going to make sure he has a proper send-off."

"Thank you," Kev said gently. He pulled her in for a tight hug. I looked at the clock in desperation.

Twenty-five minutes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nick's mother left. I looked at the clock and my heart almost stopped. We had fifteen minutes. What if the kiss didn't work right away? What if it took warming up? Crap. I looked at Becky. "Kiss him, dammit," I muttered. I reached for the door and flicked the lock.

When I turned back around, Becky had wasted no time. Her mouth was on Nick's. Nick had reassumed his position laying within himself, and his eyes were closed, and their mouths were touching. She had her hands on his face.

It felt like Kristin and I were holding our breath.

Seconds ticked by like decades. I could do nothing but stare at the connection their mouths made and cling to Kris's hand, a prayer resonating deep, deep inside my chest. I didn't know how I would pull it together if this didn't work because this truly was Nick's last chance.

But when Becky pulled back a moment later, I felt my heart sink directly to my toes. Nick's eyes were still closed. I felt Kristin's fingers tighten around mine. Becky withdrew slowly, like everything was in slow motion. My throat closed up as she sat upright and stared at Nick's face. Mirage Nick's eyes opened... an eerie thing to see when they were so perfectly aligned with his actual eyes. He sat up slowly, ripping away from his body.

He looked down at himself.

"It didn't work," he whispered.

Becky looked at me.

"Its okay Nick..." I whispered. Somewhere deep inside me, a parental protection took over. The same way that I was able not to panic when Mason had a problem. It wasn't anything I could define or control. It was just... what I had to do. I reached out and, though it chilled me deeply, rested my hand as close to his as I could, hovering in what felt like cold air. He looked at me. "Nick, you remember what Brian always talks about? With Heaven and how wonderful it is, right?"

Nick's eyes filled with tears. "I wasn't ready yet for that though," he whispered.

"I know, but--" I inched closer, "It's- It's gonna happen and I just - think about how good you're gonna feel. This pain - this horrible pain your family causes you, it's - you aren't gonna feel it anymore, you know? You're gonna be happy."

Becky started sobbing and collapsed into Kris, who was only just holding it together.

Nick leaned back into his own body and I laid my hand on his cheek, "It's okay, you know? Because you're gonna be happy."

"I wanted to be happy here," he said.

"I wanted you to be happy here, too," I answered. I stroked his cheek with the back of my hand so softly. I reached for his body's hand and picked it up. A cursory glance at the clock told me we only had a couple minutes left.

The door opened and Colleen, the toadlike nurse, stepped in with a doctor in tow. Kristin covered her mouth as the doctor pulled on some rubber gloves at the door. I clutched Nick's hand. He gasped. "No, no they're early!" he cried, "Where's Brian? Kevin! I can't go without Brian saying goo-"

And Brian rushed in the door at that very moment.

"NICK!" he yelled. He ran to Nick's other side. He was tailed by AJ and Howie, who were both paler than I'd ever seen them. They hovered by the door, rather than come too close. AJ had admitted already he was scared to death of being up here...It was a miracle he'd come past the lobby at all.

"Fellas," Nick whispered.

Becky pressed her face into Kris's shoulder.

Nick looked at me.

The doctor came over. "Excuse me," he whispered in an apologetic tone. He reached up. All our eyes were on him. His hand hovered over the heart monitor machine's power button... and he turned it off. Then he turned to Nick's body and slowly lifted off the clear plastic tubes that were in his nose. They'd taken out the feeding tube earlier, and now, with the oxygen stuff off his face, he looked... he looked like he was taking a nap.

I felt like I was going to throw up.

"How long?" I whispered.

"Minutes, most likely... maybe a bit longer..." the doctor said apologetically . He backed away, "I'm sorry."

Colleen grabbed the IV stand and started yanking it away out the door.

We all stood there in the now intensely silent room... staring at one another...

"You were my best friend," Brian said, breaking the silence. "You always will be, even if you aren't here. I - I'll never -" his tears spilled over his eye lids and he gasped. "I'll never forget you." He covered his mouth.

"I'll never forget you, neither, BRok," Nick whispered.

Becky touched Nick's knee. "I wish I'd had more time to - to know you," she whispered.

"You're a hot babe," Nick said, "I wouldda married you and made you lotsa babies, you know that... Someone's gonna be soooo lucky to- to have-" he stopped. "Fuck and I can't even cry," he whimpered.

Becky was shaking.

"You were the cool one," AJ muttered. "The whole time. Everyone thought it was me with my shades but it was always you."

"I liked it when you pissed me off and I had to threaten to keel you," Howie confessed. "I always smiled about it later..."

"You were a wonderful man," Kristin said.

Nick looked at me. "I'm sorry I irritated you these past few days..." he whispered.

Mirage Nick was fading. He was half as opaque as he'd been. I felt my throat burning. Tears spilled out of my eyes, and I curled around myself, clutching Nick's hand to my chest. My shoulder curved in toward him. "Jesus, Nicky," I whispered.

"You were like a dad to me," Nick whispered.

I could feel his coldness touching my face as I held his real hand against it. "Nick," I hissed. "I know... I know I was mean to you..." He was fading sooo fast now. I knew I had to get the words out before he wouldn't hear them. "I know I said horrible things, and hurt your feelings, and that it seemed like I was mean to you, like I - I was hard on you. I know I blamed you for things, that I left the band, that... that I deserted you when you needed me most, but... but Nick, you - you've always been like a son to me, and I - I treated you the best I knew how to... I tried to - to show you how much you mean to me and - I'm - I'm not always real good at that. I swear to God Nick if you - if you just - just hold on... I'll... I'll be better. I'll --"

I looked up.

"I love you Kevin." His voice was barely a breath.

"I love you Nick," I whispered.

And just like that... he'd disappeared.
Chapter 22 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Twenty Two

It was the strangest thing I had ever felt in my entire life. It was like I was waking up from a deep, sound sleep. The voices were incomplete at first, but became louder and louder as consciousness returned. The first thing I clearly heard was Brian's frantic sobs.

"I'm a Frick without a Frack!" he wailed.

"Aren't you Frack?" D asked.

"I don't know anymore!"

The next thing I heard was a lower cry. A much more mournful, much less spazz- tic cry. Kevin. For some reason, Kev's crying compelled me to open my eyes. The light burned my retinas; I fought to keep them open even a fraction. My head was killing me.

"Kev?" I croaked. "Whatsa matter?"

I don't know what I did, but a collective gasp filled the room. Bri crashed down on his knees so hard, I thought he probably broke them. His hands slapped together.

"It's a miracle!" he shouted.


Kev blinked furiously at the tears that were pooling in his eyes. Still more were streaming down his face.

"Hi," I said. Kev broke into a huge smile and took my hand.


"Welcome back."

It was the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. I turned my head ever so slowly to look to my left; my heart sped up. The woman smiling at me was stunning. Her blonde hair was framed by the horrible hospital lights in such a way that it almost looked like she was glowing. She seemed so familiar. I had dreamed about her...

"Can I have another?" I asked hopefully, my thoughts still fully unable to seperate fantasy from reality.

"Another what?" J asked in confusion. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Brian stand up and streak out of my room.

"Kiss," I said automatically. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the beautiful blonde. Her lips curved into a smile and she leaned down. The moment her lips touched mine I knew I was head over heels in love.

And I didn't even know her name.

"What's going on here?"

A very fat, very grumpy looking nurse stood in the doorway. Brian danced around her like a leprechaun.

"He woke up! He woke up! He's not dead!" Bri shouted gleefully.

"I was dead?" I asked in confusion. I looked back at Kev. He looked concerned.

"You don't remember...anything?" he asked.

It hurt to think, but I tried my best.

"The last thing I remember is that damn hobo," I said. Kris wrapped her hands around Kevin's shoulder.

"You don't remember the sharks?" Kevin asked.

"What sharks?"

"What about the bedroom?" Kev whirled around and started gesturing towards Kris' boobs. Her eyes widened and she slapped his hand away.

"We're going to have to talk about that later," Kris said.

"Are we sure I should be the one in the hospital bed?" I asked.

The beautiful blonde started to laugh.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nick was sitting up two hours later. He was weak, but Becky was carefully feeding him a cup of Jello. I was waving the picture of the sharks in front of him. "Great to know I'm dying and this one here goes and swims with sharks," Nick murmured, staring at Becky's boobs intently.

Becky laughed. "You were there, too, you nincompoop."

"THIS. IS. YOU." I ran my finger along the blurry outline.

"That is FILM," Nick replied.

He was freaking alive again for like 122 minutes and I already wanted to kill him again. God dammit.

"You did a lot more than see sharks," Becky laughed, her voice tingly.

Nick's eyes traveled up her neck to her eyes and he raised an eyebrow. "What in the hell did I miss?" he asked.

Becky leaned forward and kissed his nose, "Nothing you won't get the chance to see again."

"Well, maybe one thing," Kristin muttered. I'd told her about the boobs thing. She glowered at me.

"Hey I handed you a pillow," I mumbled.

"There! I told all the chirpsters he's awake!" Brian came back in the room, gleeful as all hell. He frolicked towards us. "Nick, smile!!" He snapped a picture with his blackberry.

"That's not supposed to be on in the ICU," Becky said, pointing at Brian with Nick's spoon. The jello on the spoon went flying and spattered on Brian's scarf.

"Aw man! Leighanne's gonna freak out!" He scurried out, presumably to go wash off his scarf in the bathroom.

I looked at Nick. I was both glad he didn't remember and hurt at the same time. I smiled.

Nick smiled back. "Thanks for being here," he said. "Even if it did make you go all psycho-Kevin and stuff," he added.

"Yeah, no problem," I answered. I couldn't help a big fat old yawn escaping me. I stretched. "God I'm exhausted."

Nick nodded, "You freaking look it, when the hell was the last time you slept?"

"About three days ago, and that was only for a couple minutes before some people I know started singing Henry the Eighth."

"Who sang Henry the Eighth?" Nick asked, looking blank, "Thats my trick to piss you off, who's stealing my tricks? OH MY GOD - is Mason stealing my shit now?"

I smacked my hand to my forehead.
Chapter 23 by evergreenwriter83
Chapter Twenty Three

"This is great. What is this stuff?"

Becky laughed. I knew her name was Becky now. After I had stopped gawking at her boobs, I had asked her. She didn't seem offended that I didn't know her name. She held up another spoonful of heaven. I took it greedily.

"It's beef broth," she said.

"It tastes amazing."

"Well, you've been fed out of a bag for awhile," she explained. "I'm sure anything would taste good."

I smiled and nodded. As I was opening my mouth for another mouthful, the door banged open. I expected Kev.

Instead, Nurse Ribbit was standing there.

"You," she said angrily.

"Me?" Becky and I said at the same time. She pointed at Becky.

"You! You insolent little bitch!"

"Wait a minute," I croaked. My throat was still raw from the feeding tube.

"What did I do?" Becky asked.

The bloated nurse's face turned scarlet. "I just got fired thanks to you!"

Becky's mouth opened. "I--"

"This is all because of you and that--that--resurrected vegetable there!"

Becky tossed the spoon back into my broth and slid off my bed. She marched over to the nurse, her head held high.

"Listen here," she said hotly. "Maybe if you had one ounce of human kindness, you wouldn't have to pack your bags. You are the meanest, most cold-hearted woman I have ever met. I wouldn't trust a worm with you."

"And worms can grow back if you chop 'em," I said. The death glare I got shut me back up.

"I swear if our paths ever cross again I will make sure you get your comeuppance," Nurse Cranky vowed. Becky gave her a little finger wave and backed up.

"Let's hope it's a cold day in hell before we meet again."

With that, Nurse Bulldog marched out. Becky shook her head, closed the door, and turned back to me.

"Sorry about that," Becky said gently. She pushed back my hair and kissed my forehead.

We got back to the broth-feeding. Becky had just tipped the last spoonful in my mouth when my door opened again.

"Rebekah?" Becky turned. This time, she didn't look so hostile.

"Marge. What brings you down here?"

The lady standing at the door was short and on the heavy side, but other than that she didn't look anything like Nurse Toad. In fact she looked like Aunt Jemima. All of a sudden I wanted pancakes.

"I was hoping we could speak for a minute."

Becky looked at me and then back at the lady. "Of course."

I got a gentle squeeze on my wrist. I lay back against my pillows and yawned.

I couldn't believe that I had been declared brain dead. I was uncomfortable and bruised, but dead?

Not a chance.

As I lay contemplating my good luck, I heard a squeal from outside my room. Seconds later the door flung open and Becky bounced in.

"What happened?" I asked in confusion. Whatever it was, I was totally glad it happened; she climbed back up on my bed and kissed me.

"I," she said proudly. "Am now the head nurse on this floor."

"You deserve it," I said quickly. "Look how well you took care of me."

She blushed. "Well, I've got to tell you Nick..."

"You're special."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


"Careful of that door jamb man."

I popped a wheelie with the chair and got Nick over the jamb.

"Was the sun always this fuckin bright?" he asked, squinting into the glare, "Cos I don't remember it being this fuckin bright." He covered his eyes.

"Yeah it was always this bright," I groaned.

Becky stood beside me, "Poor baby," she muttered, running her fingers across his forehead, pushing his hair out of his face.

Nick leaned into her touch, "I am poor. Keep touchin me."

Kristin pulled the car up at that moment - mercifully before the touching got too serious. "Say goodbye for now, Nick."

"Goodbye for now, Nick," he said, smirking.

I looked at Becky, "Really? You like him? Why?"

She smiled, "I seem to remember someone freaking out pretty well when he thought this one wasn't gonna wake up," she teased.

"Yeah yeah," I grumbled, "Minor details."

"You love me Kevin, you can't deny it," Nick sang.

I glared at Becky. She grinned. Bending low to kiss his forehead she said, "I'll come see you later tonight, okay, sweetie? I'll miss you. The ICU's gonna be really dull without you."

"Yeah, and quieter, too." I rolled my eyes.

"Don't roll your eyes at me," Nick said, "I was braindead! You can't be mad at me!"

"Uh huh," I mumbled.

I opened the door to the car and helped Nick out of the wheel chair. Mason cooed from the backseat and waved. Nick walked slowly to the car and slid onto the seat. "Buh-bye hospital with gross food I can't stand," he muttered. "Buh-bye sexy nurse who I plan to have sex with later." He blew Becky a kiss. "Buh-bye sexy nurse boobies that I'm gonna lick all --"

"DUDE, my SON is in the car," I snapped. I pushed his legs in the rest of the way and slammed the door.

I turned to Becky. "Thanks for putting up with... doh-doh brains here."

Becky smiled, "Thanks for letting me in on the secret," she said, winking.

I nodded, "Thanks for not having me commited for the polygamist thing."

Becky giggled. "That was great."

I waved goodbye to her and climbed into the passenger seat. I looked back at Nick. "Buckled in?"

"Yes daddy," he said pointedly.

I rolled my eyes. Again.

We were just pulling into traffic at the exit to the hospital campus when Nick said, "Hey Kevin... Guess what?"

"What Nick?"

"I'm 'ennnnryyy the eighth I aaaam...." he sang.

I closed my eyes.

One day, I vowed to myself, I would be forced to kill him. And for the love of blonde, when that day comes, I will so not try to wake him up again.

"'ennnnry the eiiiighth I aaaamm........ ."

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