FanFic - Other
"Same Day, Different Universe"
Part 2
by Rien
Disclaimer: Jason Katims, the WB, Melinda Metz and who knows who else owns these characters, the show, the books, and a whole lot of other stuff. Me , I just own a homebrew computer with a flaky power supply. No infringement intended or desired. This is a work of parody/satire.
Summary: Yet another take on what might have happened if someone else had been saved in the Crashdown on September 18, 1999.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: There will be a second story in this series with yet a different choice being made, and another variation on the theme.
If you'll pardon the sexist phrase, Maria DeLuca is one tough chick. Like this bird I used to know. And I know what I have to do for her now. Even if there's a videotape - or spectators - in the background.

** (Surfacing)

I look at my watch. Thirty seconds.

And then I realize I am - and have been this whole time - moving over Maria, alternately pushing down on her sternum with my hands together, then pretending to breathe into her lungs, in the position they taught us in school. Pushing down manually, but without much force, just enough to convince any onlookers, since her heart is already pounding. Rhythmic presses and then I put my mouth over hers and pretend to breath into her lungs.

Forty seconds.

With deliberate suddenness, I lift my head and say, as if amazed, she's breathing. And indeed she IS breathing.

With a cough and a sputter, Maria DeLuca shakes her head, opens her eyes, and says, weakly, what happened to me? And Max, why are you sitting by me like that?

Slowly, I get up, patting her on the shoulder, telling her she's going to be okay. Now sanity returns, and with it selfishness. You see, I never got a good look at the bird after she flew away, but I did get a good look at Michael's shoulder the time he separated it after one of his "discussions" with Hank. There was a silver handprint across his deltoids that lasted for over twenty-four hours. I know that Maria will bear a similar handprint. If I dared to look. But I don't.

Time passes, I don't know how much. I'm just standing there in shock, ignoring Michael's repeated demands that we leave, now. The shooter is long gone and everything is in chaos. But Michael's there to hold them back. I give him this certain look I have and, however grudgingly, he keeps order in the cramped cafe.

Finally, the paramedics and Sheriff Valenti arrive. The EMTs take Maria away in the ambulance, Liz riding in the back with her. Sheriff Valenti asks me some questions and then, unbelievably, he pats me on the back and says, that was good work, son.

* * *

Journal of Maria DeLuca

September 23, 1999

So...finally...we're back to September 23. Like I said, five days ago I died.

Three days ago, Sheriff Valenti and the president of the local chapter of the Red Cross presented Max Evans with a citation for saving my life. They also commended Michael Guerin - of all people - for keeping the onlookers under control so that Max could do the CPR and resuscitation on me. They say the story's gonna make the Santa Fe and Albequerque papers.

Two days ago, they let me out of the hospital. After a few days of observation and tests out the wazoo, they let me go sometime that afternoon. They can't find the exact reason why my heart stopped, there wasn't enough damage, but they say it happens sometimes. Maybe because I'm a flake, huh? Flaky Maria who freaks at the slightest weirdness - it's only right that I should die over a flesh wound.

And I did die. I know that, although I can't remember a thing, not really. I just know I was SOMEWHERE ELSE, if you know what I mean. NOT OF THIS EARTH. More about that later - let's just say I had a "physical manifestation." Well, without going on anymore sounding like one of those "back from the light" books my mom's so fond of, I'm a pretty lucky grrl. A bruised sternum from the CPR and a small scar where they took the bullet out. That's all I suffered. They say I lost less than a pint of blood because it got stuck in my boob. And here I'm always complaining about being flat-chested! Just think, if it'd been two inches closer, it would've hit my heart. And will wonders never cease, I even got to kiss Max Evans, sort of - even though I wasn't awake for the event. Even though he loves Liz. The guy did save my life, and maybe that's more than enough for now. See? I told you it was a real weird-fest. Like Maria DeLuca's life would be any different.

Now, you're almost up-to-date - but I have to cover yesterday.

See, there's a funny thing about dying, or almost dying, or whatever. When you come back, you really, really do have a different perspective, no matter how cheesy and new-age-goofy that seems. So, yesterday, I bought this journal. Liz keeps a series of them, carefully numbered, has for years. Begins a new one every fall. Of course, I'm sure my journal is nothing like hers. She's probably jotted down a way around relativistic limits in between her accounts of how Kyle Valenti kisses. And it's all written down in neat, perfect script.

Here you'll find no such stuff. I mean, look at my handwriting! If I can read this chicken scratch in ten years, I'll be amazed. And today, well, YOU'RE what I've been doing all day. Writing down everything that happened, everything I was thinking and talking- to you as if you were there with me the whole time. As if you were a friend. Anne Frank's diary - have you ever read that? Dear Kitty, I think she'd start each entry. A friend she could tell ANYTHING to. A friend I can tell anything to. Even the things I can't tell Liz. Especially the things I can't tell Liz.

And speaking of those things I can't tell Liz - NO, it's not more about my daydreams about Max Evans. There's just one thing. I wasn't even going to write it down but that's stupid, being afraid to write down what happened.

See, when I got to the hospital, I was pretty much conscious. They were cutting my uniform off in the ER despite the fact that I've got to pay for the replacement. I was lying there trying to explain to them that these things cost money, and they were ignoring me. I admit, I got a little pissed.

But then, all conversation stopped. Doctor, nurses, med tech all stopped to look. Right there in the middle of my chest, there was this funky silver handprint. They were all staring at it as if it were going to bite them.

I may be a flaky chick but I don't have any tattoos, I can tell you that. But they don't know that, now do they? I don't care where it came from and I don't care what it is. Maybe it was from - when I was wherever it was I went during those forty seconds of near-death. No matter, what, though, I wasn't going to let them make a big deal out of it. I knew what I had to do. Who can resist that Maria charm?

"Oh, that," I giggled. Actually giggled while I spoke! Hard to do, let me tell you. "My mom's trying out these temporary tattoos -- they last 24 hours -- for the festival, you know."

But then, all they did was roll their eyes at the thought of more Amy DeLuca alien-themed merchandise and then they finished cutting up my stupid uniform. $47.99 down the drain. And sure enough, the thing did fade in 24 hours. Or maybe I imagined it. Who knows? You know me, Maria the Flake. Starchild of West Roswell High.

So, anyway, I'm gonna keep on writing to you as if you were real. Who knows, maybe like the Velveteen Rabbit - which just happens to be my favorite story of ALL TIME - you too will become real. Maybe you already are. I guess if you are real and all that, I've bent your ear long enough. I need to go.

Oh, but just look...look up at the sky and how beautiful it is. I don't care how many people say it or how trite it is to notice, much less write it down. Ever since I was six years old and things started to go wrong for my parents, that dark carpet of shining stars has drawn me like the ocean, as if, out there, lay life - lives - too numerous and varied for me to ever know or understand. Not little inflatable green men or Bermuda Triangle rejects. But I believe they're out there. Somewhere.


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