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New Beginnings, Chapter 12
Reply to Alex ParrishPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list October 6, 2003
Part: 12/19 "New Beginnings"
Author: Alex Parrish
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and the WB. No infringement is intended. I own nothing, Trust me. Suing is futile!
Distribution: Roswell Slash Archive/Others Ask
Rating: X? Explicit sex and language
Spoilers: Nothing in particular and seasons 1,2,3 in general
Thanks: To aunty_mib, Beta extraodinaire, eh!
Summary/General: The lives of the 7 primary characters for 9 months after they leave season 3.
Summary/Chapter: Alien fun turns serious for Kyle
The Big Sleep
Now that I have formed the habit of writing in this journal, I'm going to break the rules; rules are made to be broken. I'm going to ask someone besides myself to write in my journal. The reason I am doing this is that, in February of 2003, something happened to me that has changed my life more than anything that has ever happened to me, (except my relationship with Max) -- I think, even more life-changing than my mother leaving -- more than leaving Roswell -- and, typically, I was unconscious while it happened, and missed the whole thing. I might make some entries about my dreams while unconscious, but I am unable to account for three days of my life, and I feel, since they were so instrumental in making me who I am today, I cannot just skip over them. I have asked Liz to write an entry for my journal which I will paste into it. She agreed to do it. I can't risk giving her the journal itself to write into, because she might be tempted to read some of it, and that could lead to disaster.
Not only will this help my journal be a more complete picture of how we got where we are, but also, I hope to learn something about what was happening 'while I was out.'
Liz wrote this next section...
I feel honored that Kyle has asked me to add to his journal and I hope I can express the events of those days in a way that helps Kyle to come to grips with them, as well as giving him an historical record of the time.
It all began on February 18, 2003; a Tuesday. The Tuesday after Valentine's Day to be exact. Everyone had such fun with our Valentine's celebration, that we were all still 'coming-down' from the excitement, and everyone, even Michael, was in a good mood.
We were in the Great Room of the lodge; everyone except Max and Jesse (who had kitchen-duty that day and were preparing lunch.) We were on the floor in a semicircle in front of the great stone fireplace, for warmth, but also because it was a comfortable spot and nearly everybody's favorite gathering place. We were preparing for our Yoga Class. Isabel was on my left, closest to the fireplace, with Maria on my right. Michael, who usually skipped Yoga Class, but, as I said, he was in a particularly good mood that day, was on her right. On the other end of the semicircle, also next to the fireplace, on Michael's right, was Kyle. Class had not actually begun yet as we were all chatting and fooling around. We each began to assume the 'lotus-position' and Isabel, still in a silly mood decided to show us her version of the position. It was an ordinary 'lotus position' except that, using her powers, she was floating about two feet above the floor. Maria and I were laughing and Kyle, who has gotten past being "creeped-out" by the alien powers, (at least when it is to his advantage to have them used,) and is, I believe, envious of the alien's powers, was pleading, "Do me, do me -- make me float!"
Michael volunteered to 'float' Kyle, which was unusual because Michael is generally reluctant to play with his powers because he hasn't really mastered them all that well, even to this day. He was doing quite well at keeping Kyle floating about two feet from the floor when, suddenly, there was a huge roar followed by a crash and a lot of thumping. I thought it was an avalanche. As it turned out, we later learned that it was only a huge bank of snow sliding off the roof.
What happened next will take longer for you to read than it did to happen. Michael, like the rest of us, was distracted by the noise and turned his head to look out the window leaving Kyle at the mercy of the 'levitation.' I turned back just in time to see Kyle rapidly shooting into the air until his head hit the ceiling, some twenty feet above, with a dull thud. His body was tipped forward a little by the impact, and as he was tumbling back towards the floor, his forehead struck one of the huge wooden beams that hold up the lodge, with a sickening 'crack.' I screamed, but it was too late as his body somersaulted and then smacked the floor, face-first. As he lay there face-down, a pool of blood began to expand around his head. I knew, that he was dead, or, at least that is what I thought.
Michael, who was next to Kyle's body let out a wail, "Oh No! NO! NO! It was an accident, please don't be dead! Kyle, Kyle, I'm sorry, please don't be dead." I don't think I have ever seen Michael hysterical, but that is the only way I can describe his behavior at that moment.
He was reaching out to wake Kyle, or perhaps to turn him over but Maria grabbed him and screamed. "Don't touch him, you could hurt him more by turning him over!" Isabel was screaming for Max, who came running from the kitchen with Jesse right behind. They both knelt, on either side of Kyle, and Jesse immediately, put his ear to Kyle's back and picked up his arm by the wrist to check for a pulse and breathing. Max began to move his hands over Kyle's body, and I hoped Kyle would just wake-up and be fine, thanks to Max's powers.
"He's alive," Jesse announced, gravely, as we could see the pool of blood around Kyle's head growing steadily larger. "We've got to turn him over and try to stop the bleeding. Isabel, go get the ironing board from the laundry room to use as a splint. Liz, get some scissors and cut a towel into two-inch strips lengthwise, to use to secure him to the ironing board" It took about a minute to gather the items, another to cut the towel, and one more to bind Kyle's forehead, shoulders and back in a straight line on the ironing board. Max was the very picture of a calm, efficient, EMT as he and Jesse carefully turned Kyle, trying their utmost to keep his spine straight on the makeshift splint.
The problem was, for all his healing powers, Max was not trained as an EMT, nor were any of us. Jesse has a first-aid certificate, and I worked as a nurse's aid one summer. Kyle was certified in CPR, but that wasn't going to help. This was serious.
I cannot tell you where we are/were, but I can tell you that emergency services were simply not available. Even if we could get someone on the cellphone, it would be hours, maybe even days before anyone could get here. With Max's healing powers we never imagined this would be a problem. We were completely isolated and absolutely snowbound. And Kyle was dying, drop by drop.
I thought of the tiny infirmary in the basement -- now I understood why it was there -- and I offered to get medical supplies from downstairs. "What should I bring?"
Jesse answered, "Get ... I don't know, bring everything, and hurry!"
Isabel went with me. As we descended the stairs, she spied a large empty carton and brought it to put the supplies into. We indiscriminately grabbed some of everything and rushed back upstairs.
Maria had escorted a still-hysterical Michael to the other side of the Great Room, where he was pacing in a small circle with both hands on his head and chanting over and over again, "It was an accident; I didn't mean to, I'm sorry; it was an accident."
She was trying to calm him, holding him and saying, "Of course it was. It was an accident. You didn't mean for it to happen. It's not your fault. No one is blaming you. Try to calm down. Kyle's going to need our help, and this just isn't the time for you to fall apart."
Michael, however, was not buying it.
Max looked over his shoulder and hissed a threat, "Michael, I don't know what you did, or why, but, believe me, I'm going to deal with you later."
Isabel and I both spoke at once, "No, no, no -- Max! It was an accident -- just an accident, I saw it -- it wasn't Michael's fault."
Max turned back to Kyle and said nothing more.
Then, we got our second word of good news from Jesse.
"It looks like it's a scalp wound -- a large cut across his forehead, just at the hair line. It actually doesn't look that bad; scalp wounds bleed like crazy, and some of the blood is coming from his nose. It's broken." "How ironic," I thought, "That I should consider a broken nose to be good news."
While Jesse was speaking, Max had his eyes closed and was already beginning to coax the scalp wound to close. He spent about a minute working on that, and that stopped most of the flow. It took another 30 seconds, and some manual adjustment to fix the nose. Kyle insists that it is still not right, but it looks perfectly straight to me. (Can a gay man have a 'straight' nose?) Max then resumed moving, methodically down and up Kyle's body with his hands almost touching Kyle, and with his eyes still closed.
Finally, he stopped, and announced, "I don't think there is anything else broken. As far as I can tell, everything else seems OK. When he regains consciousness, he can tell me if anywhere else hurts."
I jumped in, "No, Max, there's more. He hit the top of his head on the ceiling -- REALLY hard!"
After untying Kyle from the ironing board and gingerly sliding it from under him, Max moved so that he was kneeling at Kyle's head, and put both hands on it, once more closing his eyes. Even with his eyes closed, you could see that he was straining and his shirt was wet with sweat.
After nearly two minutes, he stopped, and opened his eyes. "You're right, there's more damage than we saw at first. I don't think there are any fractures, but his brain is definitely shaken-up.
"Let's see if we can wake him," Jesse suggested. "Do you have any smelling-salts there?"
I called to Maria; she knows about aromatherapy and herbal medicines. I thought she would be the most likely one to know which drugs would do what. She dug around for a moment, looking at several little bottles and vials, finally producing a small bottle which she handed to Jesse.
"This should wake him." she said.
Jesse took the bottle and, as he was opening it, wondered aloud, "I wonder how old this stuff is? I hope it's still good."
He held the bottle to his nose for a fraction of a second, and then jerked it away, shaking his head. "Oh yeah! It's still good. We need to check his nose to make sure there are no blood-clots blocking the passage."
We all just kind-of looked at each other, but finally I volunteered. I found some latex gloves in the box and told Isabel to get the mirror which I knew she always kept in her purse. Gently checking inside each nostril, I determined that there were no clots I could find, and, when Isabel returned with the mirror, I held it to Kyle's nose, gently putting my hand over his mouth for a short moment and found that he was breathing through both nostrils.
Then Jesse told Max to prop him up so that he was sitting a little more upright so the salts wouldn't spill out into his nose. Kyle looked so small and fragile as Max reached under his shoulders and gently lifted his torso to a 45 degree angle, holding him there while Jesse held the salts to Kyle's nose. There was no reaction. After a few seconds, he pulled them away again and replaced the bottle-cap.
"Sometimes it takes a couple of minutes for the body to reorient itself," Jesse offered. "I'll try again in a couple of minutes."
Instead of laying Kyle down again, Max scooted around so that Kyle's head was in his lap, oblivious of the fact that he had planted himself directly into the pool of coagulating blood. Jesse's and Max's hands were still covered with blood, as was most of Kyle's face. I ran to the bathroom for some facecloths and began to gently remove some of the blood from Kyle's face as Max and Jesse used the other cloth to clean their hands.
Jesse tried the salts again. No response. I was at the verge of panic.
Jesse rose and headed upstairs towards the bedrooms.
"Where are you going?" Isabel asked as I was about to.
"To the internet!" was the reply. "I'm going to learn all I can about Head Trauma. As soon as I find anything useful, I'll be back."
Time stood still and I don't think I was even breathing.
Jesse was back impossibly soon and began barking orders. "Isabel, go to the kitchen and get the plastic dishpan and a sharp knife, oh, and some plastic sandwich bags. Liz, go find a bunch of towels. Max, stay where you are -- the elevation is a good thing -- see if you can increase it to sixty-degrees from the floor. Michael, Maria, get your coats and take some big pans from the kitchen and fill them with snow and bring them here. On your way out tell Isabel to look around for a thermometer, wait, there's one here in the box, just get the snow."
Maria had returned to Michael and had managed to calm him down a little; he was now sitting with his face in his hands, quietly crying. She was sitting next to him with her arms around him. At Jesse's command, she jumped up and pulled Michael with her. "Come on; Kyle needs your help, now."
In less than five minutes, everyone had completed their assignment and gathered at Kyle's side.
I could wait no longer. "What are we doing?" I asked Jesse.
"Swelling," he began, "Swelling is the enemy. When the brain swells, it puts pressure on the skull and, if that pressure has nowhere to go, it can cause permanent damage. We've got to prevent or reduce the swelling as much as we can. One way to do that is by lowering the temperature of his brain. You know, like you put ice on an injury; to stop the swelling. We need to keep his brain temperature below 37.5 Celsius. Damn, what is that conversion, Celsius to Fahrenheit? Who remembers?"
"[1.8*C] + 32, with 'C' being the Celsius number." It was Michael who spoke.
"Are you sure?" Isabel asked the question we all were thinking.
"Yes, I'm sure -- I remember it." he assured her.
We were all still just standing around staring at him when he protested, "What? ... I went to class sometimes! I remembered it, OK?"
I did the calculation aloud, hoping everyone else was double-checking me. "The value of 1.8 times 37.5 is ... is... 67.5; plus 32 is 99.5." I looked around, no one disagreed.
"My Man!" Jesse said to Michael. "Now, we have to use this snow and some water to keep Kyle's brain temperature below 99.5. We don't have any real way of regulating it other than measuring with a thermometer on the outside, but 99.5 is the top limit, so if we can keep his head anywhere between that and frostbite, it should control the swelling. Let's aim for between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the sandwich bags on his head to prevent his skin from freezing. Isabel, cut a large notch in the side of the dishpan to fit around his neck so that we can rest his head in the dishpan. Wrap a towel around his head and then pack the dishpan with snow. Maria, go get a container of ice-water. We'll pour the water on the towel, and the snow will help cool it and act as an insulator. We'll just have to guess at the difference between the towel temperature and what's going on in his brain."
"What can I do?" Max demanded.
I could tell his frustration was becoming almost unbearable.
"Max, can you detect or do anything about clots which may have formed or be forming? There's also danger of bleeding inside the brain. The cooler temperature should slow down the clotting as well as the swelling, but clotting and bleeding are the other two potential dangers."
"I don't know," Max offered, "But I'll sure-as-hell try."
"Good. Everybody get to work."
Right at that moment, Jesse was my hero and, I thought, If Isabel wasn't already married to him, I would marry him instantly. Why not? Max is married to Kyle and me, both. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! (Kyle, I know you're going to read this, so let's just keep this a little secret between us, OK? There's no need to make Max jealous.)
We worked at it for an hour or so until we figured out how to regulate the temperature. Still, Kyle showed no signs of consciousness. We quietly reached a consensus that, perhaps we should prepare for a long haul. Jesse and Michael disassembled a bed from one of the spare bedrooms and set it up in the Great Room, not too close to the fire, but close enough to get some benefit from it. While Maria dressed the bed and propped it up with as many pillows as she could find, I suggested we get Kyle out of his blood-drenched clothes and into his pajamas. Max informed me that Kyle didn't wear pajamas, and, as far as Max knew, didn't own any. He mentioned that Kyle did have a long flannel nightshirt he wore when he felt cold, but that would have to go on over his head, and so, it didn't seem practical to put him in that. Jesse volunteered a spare set of flannel pajamas, and went to fetch them, while Max and I began to carefully remove Kyle's clothing, washing away as much blood from his skin as seemed possible.
I confess that I had never seen Kyle naked before that day; shirtless -- but not naked.
Kyle, I have always envisioned you as the tough athlete, the invulnerable football captain, and medal-winning wrestler. When I saw you lying there naked, I could see that you are, of course, still the muscular athlete I remember, but somehow, in this circumstance, you seemed so still, and so pale, and so beautiful, and so young, and so vulnerable -- I guess that is when reality finally fully caught up with me, and my tears began to flow. I didn't even try to stop them or hide them.
Max looked up at me with such a pitiful expression, and I could see the tears silently streaming down his face as well. He couldn't reach me because he was still propping Kyle up, and I was frozen with emotion. Max and I just stared at each other as the tears rolled down and we comforted each other as best we could -- with our eyes.
It took nearly an hour to get Kyle settled into bed and everything in order to offer as much help as we could. I mentioned to you that Michael helped Jesse bring a bed from upstairs. That marked the last time Michael left Kyle's side. As soon as Kyle was settled in the bed, Michael pulled a chair up next to it and took Kyle's hand. He didn't move for three days. Maria says she sat-in for him when he took a bathroom break once or twice, but I didn't see that. It was amazing. I don't know if it was grief or guilt or both, but his devotion was total. He slept in that chair, still holding Kyle's hand. He barely ate, but when he did, Maria brought food to him and he ate it there, next to Kyle. We all took turns tending the dishpan and sitting with Kyle, 24 hours a day, but even Max took breaks, and slept in his own bed. Michael didn't take turns -- he was there for the duration. I was really touched, and later, Kyle, when you learned about this, I think that you were touched too. I think that you would agree that your relationship with Michael has moved to a much higher level, and I think, finally, the two of you are truly friends.
Max, for his part, was equally as faithful, but did not stay beside the bed all of the time. Every two hours, night and day, Max would go to Kyle's bedside, and place his hands on Kyle's head, straining to use as much of his healing power as he could without passing out. Each time, then, he would gently try to wake him, and each time he would fail. I could tell, he just felt utterly helpless, but he never gave up. Max isn't used to feeling helpless, but, as you know, Kyle, he almost always bottles-up his feelings until they reach the breaking point. This happened on Thursday afternoon. After trying again and failing to heal you, he walked to the closet and got his coat, not bothering to put on boots, and went wading through the deep snow towards the woods. I asked him where he was going, but he just angrily said, "Out!" and slammed the door behind him. I went to the window to look, and as he approached the edge of the clearing, he began to explode trees. I mean BIG trees. He would just wave a hand at them and the trunk would explode and down they came. He must have taken down a dozen trees, and then he turned back toward the lodge. He apparently changed his mind, because, he turned again, and suddenly there was a gigantic explosion, and all of the trees on the ground exploded into little pieces. It looked like it was raining wood-flakes. He came back into the lodge, hung up his coat and removed his soggy shoes and socks. Then, he came into the Great Room, kissed you on the forehead, and, without a word to anyone, went into your room and closed the door. He didn't come out the rest of the evening except to keep his 'healing schedule'. Even then, he didn't talk, he just went back to your room. He slept there Thursday night. Friday morning he was back to normal -- that is -- holding back his feelings again.
On Wednesday, Isabel dream-walked Kyle, and reported back that he was, in fact, dreaming, but he seemed to be under the impression that he was dead. Isabel said that she told him that he was not dead and that we all wanted him back with us, but she was unsure if he really understood.
I hadn't prayed in a long time, but I prayed with nearly every breath during those three days. Maria spent hours on the other side of the room, hands folded, head down, eyes closed, and sometimes I joined her as did Jesse and even Isabel. Max didn't, but instead, spent much of the time holding Kyle's other hand, stroking his brow and just talking to him as though he could hear; about mundane things like, what classes they wanted to take, how he was counting on Kyle's passion to teach our sons to play sports -- anything he could think of.
When I sat with Kyle, I read to him from our book of the week. Maria sometimes brought her guitar and sang quiet songs to him. Isabel carried on a one-sided conversation about whatever was on her mind; what she was cooking for dinner, or her plans for the next craft project. Jesse pretty much just sat with him.
We only spoke in whispers, no matter where we were in the lodge. As I look back on it, it is as if it was a sacred time -- a time when all we could do was to have faith that there was a power greater than us, and that this power would intervene on Kyle's behalf. I believe it did.
Friday evening, at 7:45, Kyle woke up. Just as suddenly as he had been taken from us, he was back.
His first groggy words were to Michael, "Has-n't any-one told you that you haf-ta play care-ful-ly with the hu-mans? -- they're fra- gile!" At that moment Max was there, and holding Kyle to his chest and crying; telling Kyle he loved him, over and over again. I think we were all crying until Kyle finally said, "OK, I'm better now and I'm not gonna die, at least not today, so lets stop with the touchy- feely stuff, OK?" This is so typical of Kyle, but it made me laugh.
That accounts for all the time Kyle was unconscious and completes my assignment. It is up to Kyle to tell you more about that time, or not.
One more thing; I don't know if I will ever be able to tell you in words Kyle, how much I love you and how terrified I was of losing you; those are hard words to say aloud, but I hope you will read them here and know that I truly mean them.
Elizabeth Parker Evans (aka Nancy Black)
This is Kyle again. Well, I knew I could expect Liz to get all emotional in telling the story, and she didn't let me down.
As far as dreams, I can only remember two. In one dream, I was in a long, long hallway with doors every few feet on either side, and I walked down the hall, occasionally opening a door, and finding someone behind it. Sometimes I knew the people, sometimes not. The hallway just went on and on and on. That's really all I remember about that dream.
I do remember Isabel dream-walking me but I don't remember what happened. Isabel claims that I was running around hollering. "Where's the light, there's supposed to be a white light! I deserve a light, where's my white light?" I remember no such thing. She also claims that she told me that this was not even my dream; it was a scene we saw on "The Dead Zone" a couple of weeks ago. I'm not about to admit that even my dreams lack imagination. I prefer to believe that Isabel made up the story for entertainment purposes.
I am grateful to Max for using his powers over and over again. I think that probably kept me from dying; that and Jesse's quick- study on head-trauma treatment techniques. I am still a little puzzled about Michael's behavior -- I suppose that it was just massive guilt and the fear that someone might think he had made good on his threat to kill me. I certainly don't think that. I am sure it was totally an accident with Michael's inept use of his power.
One good thing is that, Michael and I really are closer now. He no longer treats me like a non-entity and now gives me only the same level of abuse he gives to Max and Isabel -- the sure sign of friendship from him. Seriously, I was touched when Max told me about Michael's vigil. I would not have expected that.
Everyone wanted to know what I experienced while I was 'out.' I really don't have any insights to offer, but I am not alone in this. I am reminded of a story about one of the Zen masters.
The Emperor asked Master Gudo, "What happens to a person of enlightenment after death?"
"How should I know?" Gudo replied .
"Because you are a master," answered the Emperor.
"Yes sir," said Gudo, "but I am not a dead one."
I guess that says it all.
Continue to Chapter 13
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