Title: Remember Me?
Timeline: Post season-6 finale.
Summary: When Liz wakes up in the hospital having lost three years of memory, she’s about to find out just how much things have changed. Inspired by Sophie Kinsella’s novel of the same name. All belongs to her and Tina; I own nothing!Pairing: Jack/Liz
Liz wakes up to find beams of morning light streaming through the scratchy blue hospital curtains. The IV drip has disappeared, which makes her feel way more normal. Melissa is in a corner of the room, messing with some papers, and Liz clears her still scratchy throat.
“Hey. Melissa,” she says, “Do you know what time it is?”
The nurse turns around with raised eyebrows. “You remember me?”
“Yeah, of course,” Liz says in surprise. “We talked last night.”
“Wonderful! That means you’ve recovered from the post-traumatic amnesia,” the woman beams. “Don’t worry; the confusion is normal after a head injury,” she adds.
Before Liz can reply, there’s a knock on the door and a petite woman in her sixties enters. She has short, strawberry-blond dyed curly hair, tortoiseshell glasses, and is holding a plastic Duane Reade bag.
Margaret Lemon purses her lips in utter sympathy, and Liz can’t help but feel relief that somebody finally showed up.
“Elizabeth, baby, how are you feeling?” she asks in a familiar oh-poor-Liz voice, which makes her feel five years old all over again. “It’s me. Your mo-ther,” she says slowly and loudly.
“Hi, Mom, I’m fine,” she shrugs. Her mother ignores this, and then asks Melissa how her daughter is. Apparently she needs an official confirmation.
“Liz is much better today,” the nurse smiles. “A lot less confused than yesterday.”
“Thank goodness!” Margaret says, and then lowers her voice in what is probably supposed to be a subtle move but instead results in a very obvious stage whisper. “It was like talking to a crazy person yesterday; I’m just so relieved.”
Melissa defends her patient with a frown. “Well, she isn’t insane in the slightest, and she can understand everything you say.”
To be honest, Liz isn’t listening. She can’t help but stare at her mother, because something just seems…wrong. She looks different. Kind of…older?
Liz wonders for a moment if Margaret is sick, but that can’t be it. It’s true that she hasn’t seen her in a while, what with the Christmas disasters that seem to have become the new tradition, and she feels a sudden guilt for not calling more often. Her mom seems to have aged overnight, almost. But no, she would know if her mother was ill. Right?
“Here you go, Liz, darling,” she says in an overly loud, clear tone. She hands over the plastic bag, which contains some travel shampoos and other toiletries.
“Thanks, Mom,” she rolls her eyes.
“Your father sends his love.”
“Oh, and I’ve got a card for you, from your nephew Randy. The gay one,” she adds, as if this is a new and meaningful piece of information.
Liz wants to ask if Jack or Jenna has been by while she slept, but is interrupted once again.
“—He’s doing quite well with that Steve fellow. They want to ask your advice on skiing,” Margaret informs her.
Steve? Liz doesn’t know who Steve is; she’s sure Randy hasn’t mentioned anyone in the occasional emails that they trade.
Also, skiing? She has no idea how to ski.
“Mom…” Liz frowns, “What are you talking about?”
She doesn’t get an answer, because right then a doctor that she doesn’t recognize, with a couple of young, brainy-looking men behind him, enters the room. A room that is suddenly feeling very crowded.
“I should get going, Liz,” her mom says. “I’m so glad you’re feeling better, but my flight out of Newark is in forty minutes and I’ve got to get the rental car back to Hertz.” She drops a quick kiss on her daughter’s cheek before adding, “I can’t believe the GW bridge toll—fifteen dollars I had to pay!”
That’s not right either. The bridge toll isn’t fifteen; Liz’s sure it’s only twelve, not that she ever uses a car—
Then her stomach drops. Oh, god—her mom is going senile at the age of sixty-two. Liz makes a note to ask the doctors about early-onset Alzheimer’s the second Margaret is out of here. Does her father know? Ugh, probably not, he’s so oblivious.
“Yeah, okay. Bye, Mom,” she says with forced cheer, and tries not to look completely downtrodden. Even her mother can’t bear to spend more than five minutes at what is probably her deathbed.
The elder Lemon bustles out of the room, nearly knocking over the doctor who has been observing the exchange with an air of amusement. His interns hang back with quiet attention, ready to take copious notes from the looks of it.
“Hi there, Elizabeth,” he says in a pleasant, brisk tone. “I’m Dr. Heart, one of the resident neurologists here. How are you feeling?”
“Okay,” she replies uncertainly. Liz is always wary of doctors. (With good reason.) She wonders randomly if they’ve removed any of her organs without her permission, but that’s a train of thought that can only lead to no good.
“Great.” The doctor nods. “I’m going to ask you some questions, bear with me if they seem a little obvious.”
That sounds reasonable. “Okay,” she agrees cautiously.
“Can you tell me your full name, please?”
“Elizabeth Lemon,” she replies easily. Dr. Heart nods and checks something off on his clipboard.
“And the year you were born, please?”
“Nineteen-seventy,” she mumbles almost incoherently. Because she loves being reminded that she is still alone and freelancing it at forty-one.
“Very good. Now, Liz, when your town car crashed, you bumped your head against the windshield. Your brain went through a minor amount of swelling, but you’ve been very lucky.” He turns back to the paperwork, and she stares at him, puzzled.
“Um…I think you’ve mixed me up with someone else. I pretty much never take the company car, unless it’s with Jack—Jack Donaghy—in which case why isn’t he here too?” She frowns deeper, because she figures that even if he was in the crash, he probably got away fine, jerk that he is. And anyways, it was a taxi. She remembers the ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ ad on its roof.
The doctor knits his eyebrows, and consults the file. “It says the patient was involved in a traffic accident. It was only you—I believe we’ve established that you are certainly Ms. Elizabeth Lemon—and a hired driver, who only experienced slight bruising. No ‘Jack Donaghy’ was involved,” he says conclusively. The interns bob their heads in agreement, and she scowls. (Grad students are the worst.)
“Well, they must’ve written it down wrong,” Liz protests. “I was at a party, and I was running for a taxi and I fell. That’s what happened, I’m sure of it.”
Dr. Heart and Melissa exchange confused looks.
“But it says here—” he tries to continue, and she cuts him off.
“I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty hammered that night. But I vividly remember a yellow taxi,” she says, frustrated. “Look, we’ve already settled that I know who I am. Liz Lemon; head writer at NBC for a show that will be cancelled very, very soon; recently dumped forty-two-year-old with a half-painted nursery/guest room/office, etc etc…”
At this point in her speech, she notices that the doctor and his posse are looking at her much too closely, with matching expressions that are basically, well, grave. Her stomach starts flip-flopping, because this is it, right? This is when they tell her that she has cancer, or a brain tumor, or a weird parasite disease from the tap water in her building that the super told her to stop drinking, but she refuses to pay those absurd prices for the bottled stuff?
With a sudden wobble in her voice, she asks, “Is something really wrong with me? Just tell me, okay?”
Oh, God, who’s going to remind Kenneth to feed Tracy’s lizard when she’s gone?
“Liz, I’d like to ask you another question,” the doctor says gently. “Can you tell me what year it is?”
This perplexes her. “What year it is?”
“Don’t be alarmed. It’s one of our standard questions.”
Too late, buster. She feels like she’s about to have a stroke, from the way her heart is pounding. Something’s the matter, she feels like they’re almost playing a trick on her.
“It’s 2012,” Liz says finally.
Why won’t they stop looking at her so carefully? There’s a weird stillness in the room, and Liz can tell she’s not the only one who isn’t breathing.
“Okay,” Dr. Heart lowers his clipboard. “Liz, today is September 20, 2015.”
His face is serious. Melissa’s face is serious. The baby-faced doctors-in-training even look serious.
They have to be messing with her, right?
“Ha, ha,” she rolls her eyes. “Very funny, doc. Is this supposed to lighten the mood? Let me tell you, I know comedy. Don’t quit your day job.”
Then she frowns.
“Did Spaceman put you up to this? I swear, if that guy is lurking around here I will give him a piece of my—”
Dr. Heart doesn’t break his gaze. “I’m not joking,” he says slowly.
“He’s serious, Ms. Lemon,” one of the trainees pipes up, and Liz has the sudden urge to squeeze his neck until his head pops off. “We’re really in 2015.”
She can hear what they’re saying, but it’s ridiculous. The other day it was 2012. Katie and Tom were getting a divorce. How could they have jumped three years?
“It can’t be 2015. Impossible. I’m not stupid—!”
“Take a deep breath; it’s important to stay calm,” The doctor says, to which she takes several short, gasping gulps of air. Stay calm, her ass. “Let’s take this slowly. What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Okay, well,” she scrunches up her face in concentration. “The last thing I remember is leaving Kenneth’s party, in Queens, and the cab, like I said. I slipped in a puddle, I think, and fell.” Her voice is trembling, and she hates that she’s becoming less sure by the minute. “And I woke up in a hospital. That was July 20th, 2012. I remember because the stupid invitation had it written in red Sharpie,” she adds grumpily.
“Liz, all of that happened more than three years ago,” Melissa says softly. “You’re remembering the wrong accident.”
She seems so sure; they all do, and panic rises in Liz as she looks at their faces. It’s 2012. It feels like 2012. She just saw the new Spider-man movie last week, the one with Andrew Garfield, for God’s sake! He was so cute in spandex!
“What else do you remember?” asks Dr. Heart. “Working back from the accident, I should say.”
“I dunno. Everything, I think. I remember work, and my friend Jenna, and my apartment, a-and Criss…” she trails off.
One of the interns had left the room while they were talking, and he returns now, holding a copy of the New York Times. The doctor nods.
“Yes, that’s a good idea,” he says.
“Look, Liz,” Melissa says gingerly, probably worried that she’ll start shouting again. “This is today’s paper.”
She experiences a massive jolt of shock as she reads the date: September 20, 2015. But that doesn’t mean anything. It’s just some words printed on a paper. It doesn’t prove…she looks farther down the page, at a photograph of Obama.
“Huh, he’s aged!” she blurts before she can help it, and just like Mom flits through her mind. With shaky hands, she turns the page, her gaze travelling uncertainly over a few headlines—fracking bill on hold, student loan rates to rise—then is drawn to a full-page movie ad:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 in theaters Friday
The Thrilling Conclusion to the Epic Trilogy
Okay, now she’s really freaked out. She’s seen Peeta Mellark in all of his boyish glory, but the sequel Catching Fire wasn’t supposed to be out—wouldn’t come out—until November 2013. Liz knows, because she has a Google Alert and the IMDB page bookmarked on her MacBook Pro.
She stares at the newspaper until the words begin to swim in front of her eyes, and it occurs to her that she can read it fine without help, positive she’s not wearing contacts. Maybe the Lasig just took a few years to work.
And then Liz realizes that this is why nothing made sense—it’s not her mother that’s confused, it’s her.
“Am I hallucinating?” she asks, her eyes darting from one professional to the other. “Have I gone nuts?”
“No!” Dr. Heart says empathetically. “Liz, I believe you’re suffering from retrograde amnesia. It’s normal for such a condition to arise after head injuries, it simply appears that yours is, well, dragging out a little.”
Liz bites one lip, considering. She does have a tendency to hold on to things sometimes.
With a sigh, she glares at him, “So I’ve lost my memory? Is that it? Three years?”
“Well, it’s difficult to be precise, but that’s what it looks like.”
She grabs the paper again. September 20, 2015. September 20, 2015.
It really is the year 2015. Which means she must be…
Oh, God. She’s forty-five.
Son of a mother, she’s old.