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
Dr. Heart prattles on for a while about scans and tests. Halfway through, Liz gives up actually listening and settles for nodding occasionally. Truthfully, her mind is on other things.
When at last the doctor is summoned out of the room, she sighs with relief because she can’t be talked at any longer. She takes a sip of the coffee they’ve gotten her, noting that it tastes rather rich for a hospital-grade beverage, and flops back on the pillows. The hot drink spreads warmth inside her, doing its best to soothe the anxious thoughts threatening to implode her head.
Melissa has gone off duty and a younger nurse that showed up during the neurologist’s speech lingers in the room, scribbling on some chart or another.
“That’s a lot to take in. How’re ya feelin’?” she asks in a soft southern accent.
Liz reads her nametag (“Kath”) and notes that she’s probably twenty-five at most. Great, she’s still being baby-sat. By an actual baby this time. She is unexpectedly reminded of Kenneth, and wonders if he’s moved on from being a page at her show. Oh, god, TGS…
“Really, really weird.” She tries to smile because Kath hardly deserves the worst of her irritated thoughts. Her stomach is still jumping around like she’s eaten a box of cheesy blasters, but it could just be the caffeine working. It’s the nicest thing she’s tasted in a while, having been in surgery for god knows how many days.
Surgery…Dr. Heart had probably talked about that. Not that she’d been paying attention.
The nurse gives her a sympathetic smile. “I don’t blame ya. Just take it easy; don’t push yourself. You’ve gotta lot to take in and your brain is tryin’ to reboot itself,” she drawls before consulting her watch in order to write down the time.
“When people get, you know, amnesia,” Liz begins, attempting to flatten the whine in her voice, “do the missing memories come back?”
She knows she sounds desperate, but really. How many season finales will she have to re-watch?
The baby-nurse nods reassuringly, her blond ponytail bobbing. “Usually.”
Liz shuts her eyes tight and tries to remember something, anything. But her dumb brain refuses to cooperate, and all it picks up is nothing. Just black, empty nothing.
“So, tell me about 2015.” She opens her eyes. “I guess Obama was reelected.”
Kath shrugs. “Yeah. I don’t follow politics much, but I think that Palin chick ran.”
Liz pouts. She can only imagine the material that she and her writers were able to come up with on that, and lets out a frustrated noise that she can’t recall any of it.
She rolls her eyes, and shakes her head. She doesn’t want to get into it, because what if this girl hates TGS? Or worse—is a fan of it?
“Nah, forget it. So…have they solved global warming yet? Or cured cancer?”
“Not yet,” Kath informs her. To be honest, Liz is a little unimpressed by 2015. Her face must reveal such, because the nurse smiles kindly.
“Maybe some breakfast will cheer ya up, hmm? Would ya like continental, hot, or a fruit basket? Or all three?”
Right on cue, Liz’s stomach growls and she winces in embarrassment. At least it didn’t say actual words this time.
“Um, continental, I guess. Thanks.” Then she frowns. “Hold it, fruit basket? Since when does this place have the money? No offense.”
Liz has only been here a few times, for tests and stuff, but the city hospital is always beyond busy and the staff overworked. She is aware of the fact that she’s received an awful lot of specialized attention, but she figured it was because she’s just an interesting case or something. Personally, she believes that they should be drawing up her reality show contract right about now. (She can see it now: Living With Amnesia: A Life in Ruins. Fridays at 11:30 PM, on NBC.)
“None taken,” Kath laughs, interrupting her fantasy. “This isn’t the public floor, though; you’re in the private wing,” she adds.
Private? Liz can’t afford to go private. Private is for Jack Donaghy. Or Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
“I’ll just get ya another coffee…” The nurse picks up the cup and turns to leave.
“Stop!” Liz exclaims in sudden panic. She can’t have any more coffee. It probably costs fifty bucks a cup.
“What’s wrong, hon?” Kath asks in surprise.
“I can’t afford all this,” she says in an awkward rush. “I’m sorry, I dunno why I’m in this room, but it’s probably a mistake. I’m happy to move.”
“It’s all covered by your company health insurance,” the nurse says. “Don’t worry.”
Liz is taken aback. At most, she’d expected her to say that someone else was taking care of it (e.g. Jack Donaghy), but her own insurance? A writer at NBC wishes her benefits were that good. She should know, because they’d barely paid for her root canal. But she doesn’t even want to think about work—or Jack—right now. She’s still pissed that he’s AWOL.
But maybe he’d negotiated for her contract some time during the last three years, and now her coverage is better. That would explain it.
And then it hits her right in the stomach. She’s not the same person that she was three years ago. Sure, she’s still her, but also someone different and older (she’s reminded with a ping that she’s forty-five, nerds). But at least she’s someone with better health insurance, anyways.
What else has changed?
She takes a look around the room, and sees that the curtain has been pushed back. It was only a covering to keep out the light, not a divider as she’d previously thought, and it’s obvious that the room is hers alone. Her eyes land again on the leather bag, and she realizes that she is probably its owner. Holy cow, that’s some nice present. Either that, or she stole it. Liz hopes that she hasn’t turned to the life of a criminal.
“Kath, do you think the bag is mine?” she gestures at it, like Kath would be able to tell if it was stolen or not. Liz happens to know that those purses could feed a third-world country. She thinks of them with the same distaste as she does of, say, Jack’s baby seal couch, and she wonders if she became the type of person that revels in that kind of stuff.
“Should be.” The nurse nods. “I’ll just check for ya.” She opens the clasp, which rings with a nice metal ‘click’, and pulls out a matching leather wallet. “Yup, it’s yours, see?” She holds out a platinum American Express card with Elizabeth Lemon printed across it.
Her brain short-circuits as she stares at the card. This is her AmEx. That’s her bag. (Okay, she admits that it’s nice, despite the starving children.) But someone has got to be playing a really weird joke, like reverse identity theft.
“Are you joking? My credit sucks!” she blurts without caring. (She never did pay off that bicycle. Nor did she ride it.) She grabs the bag from Kath and sifts through it, brushing aside receipts and weighty lipsticks. She comes across a little compact mirror, and opens it gingerly to have a look.
“You’ve had some cuts to the face, Liz,” the nurse says quickly. “Don’t be alarmed—they’ll heal.”
As she meets her own eyes in the tiny mirror, Liz feels a burst of relief. It’s still her, even with a slightly swollen right eyelid. She tilts the mirror farther down: there are her lips, looking weirdly full and pink, like she’s been making out all night—
Son of a mother, whose teeth are those?
Those aren’t her teeth. They’re white and gleaming and straighter than what the Invisalign ever did for her.
“Are ya okay?” Kath breaks her daze. “Liz?”
“Do you have a better mirror?” she finally manages. “I’ve got kind of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers thing going on here and it’s freaking me out.”
The girl raises her eyebrows in confusion. “There’s one in the bathroom,” she says slowly, looking at Liz carefully. (Liz is not surprised. She probably looks like she’s about to punch something.)
She heaves herself out of the metal bed. Her legs are wobbly, but she manages to stumble to the adjoining bathroom.
“Now,” Kath says, “you have some cuts and bruisin’, so your appearance may be a bit of a shock.”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine, just show me,” she says impatiently. Liz takes a deep breath and steels herself. What if they’ve shaved her head? Or removed a boob? No, they haven’t done either of those things, she’d feel it. She needs to stop being ridiculous.
Kath swings the door shut to reveal a full-length mirror on the back of it.
Liz takes one look. Suddenly she can’t breathe, and she grabs the edge of the sink, trying to keep control of herself. She tries to speak and fails miserably.
“I know your injuries look bad,” Kath puts a strong arm under her, “but they’re just surface wounds. They’ll heal, believe me.” She winks at their reflection, and Liz stares on with horror.
She’s not looking at the cuts. Or the bandages on her forehead. It’s what’s underneath.
Some of her hair has been messed up by the crash, but the rest is a bright, unfamiliar shade of chestnut that curls gently past her shoulders. While still thick, it’s a far cry from her mousy brown mop that occasionally cooperates under extreme conditioning (and fair weather). The lady in the mirror…her hair is silky as hell without an ounce of frizz. Beyond that, underneath the cotton hospital gown are her legs—a little thinner, and more muscled. Liz finds it impossible that she ever made use of her treadmill for anything other than a laundry rack, and yet here is some evidence. Some beautiful, if slightly off-putting, evidence. She gives a little squeak of incredulity.
“What’s changed?” The nurse is looking at her curiously.
“Everything!” she grounds out. “I look all…shiny.”
“My hair, my legs, my teeth…” She can’t take her eyes off of the immaculate, Angelina-Jolie-grade teeth. They must have cost a freaking fortune.
“And my face is different; I’m not sure exactly how…” She doesn’t look much older, so to speak (hooray for good genes), and she scans her features, trying to figure it out. Her eyebrows aren’t really different, maybe a little more groomed…her usually thin lips seem fuller somehow…she peers more closely, suddenly suspicious. Has she had something done? Has she turned into someone who has work done?
With a spinning head, she flees the bathroom and the awful, lying mirror, and dives back into the bed. Ignoring the nurse’s protests to take it easy, she grabs the stupid expensive bag and yanks things out of it, hoping that something will give her a message. There’s silver Tiffany key fob, a pair of Prada sunglasses, a red YSL lipstick. Feeling very much like she’s spying on herself, Liz opens the wallet again and comes across a small bundle of business cards. She takes one out, glances at the name under the NBC logo—and freezes.
VICE PRESIDENT, EAST COAST TELEVISION
The ground has been taken away from under her. It has been taken away and needs to be put back right now because this is not okay.
“Liz?” Kath is regarding her with concern. “You’ve gone real pale.”
She thrusts the business card towards the nurse with trembling hands. The words pour out in a flood of discontent. “Look at this. This is not right. This tiny card is telling me that somehow, in some mysterious way, I now hold the job of Jack Donaghy—who, by the way, still has not contacted me even once while I have been in here—” she cuts herself off, aware that she is shouting at the poor girl in utter hysterics. Desperate for answers, she grabs for the iPhone again, and peers at the screen. She has to call Jenna, her mom, someone who knows what’s going on…
She unlocks the phone, and looks at the screen. No missed calls, but she does have an unread text message.
Good morning, Ms. Lemon—the sharks are kept at bay for now. I’m on my way from the office with some things; hang in there!
Who’s ‘A’? Before she can help it Liz thinks of that stupid show with a sinking heart. (And then she mentally slaps herself. Pretty Little Liars is, after all, targeted towards teenaged girls.) If she doesn’t pull it together, she may go into a stress coma and not even the doctors next door will be able to save her.
She racks her brains, but she can’t think of a single person that she knows whose name starts with ‘A’. She goes to the stored texts, and the first one is from ‘A’ again: Cobb for lunch today? A.
Is ‘A’ her new best friend or something?
With that thought, a redheaded twentysomething blows into the room, halting before her bed. She glances at Kath and sets a sturdy leather briefcase on the chair in the corner, before taking Liz in with impossibly wide blue eyes.
“Oh, Ms. Lemon, I’m sorry it took me so long. How are you?”
Liz narrows her eyes. “Who are you?” she replies somewhat rudely. The overly enthusiastic girl looks taken aback, before cocking her head.
“I’m your personal assistant. Angelique?” she says slowly, ending in a question. “They weren’t lying about the amnesia, then,” she confirms with a distressed mutter.
Liz just stares at her. As far as she knows about assistants (never mind that her knowledge extends as far as Jonathon and Kenneth), they are annoying and clingy. They’re for people like Tracy or Jack, for…for…
Well. For people like her, now.
She wants to know how the hell this happened. What became of TGS? Where did Jack go, now that she’s got his job? (Oh, god, please don’t let him be dead.)
Where did her life go?