Disclaimer: Ray Barnett, Neela Rasgotra and other recognizable characters contained belong to ER, NBC, John Wells, Michael Crichton, ect. No infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission. The characters of Will Gordon, Maddie Hall, Brian Murphy, and the Fords were created by me. Ray's mother was not, I only named her.
Spoilers: Mild ones for Only Connect, Spilt Decisions, Lost in America, Strange Bedfellows, The Gallant Hero and the Tragic Victor, 21 Guns, Bloodline and Graduation Day
Content Warning: Violence, Child Abuse & Profanity
Author's Note: Just my little take on Ray's past and why he became a doctor. And what would happen if that past came back to haunt him. I want to thank Darshana for beta-ing for me. She helped whip this chapter into shape! Enjoy!
It had been a trying day.
Between the twins in exam two with the flu and the wino detoxing in curtain three mumbling something about an impending apocalypse, he wanted desperately to call it a day.
"What have we got?" he asked the nurse as he approached exam four.
"Ten-year old abuse victim. Looks like a broken right-arm with possible fractures of the ribs on the left side and left cheekbone." She sighed sadly. "The kid's one giant bruise."
She grimaced. "Yeah, that's not all. They brought his mom in too. She's up in surgery for some internal bleeding." "
Nights like these he wondered why he became an ER doctor.
The doctor glanced down at the chart to get the patient's name. "As I'll ever be."
They entered the exam room. A boy with brown hair and green eyes sat on the exam table hugging his right arm to his body.
"Hi Raymond! I'm Dr. Gordon, but you can call me Will. And this is Maria, she's the nurse who's going to be helping me out."
"It's Ray. How's my Mom?"
"I'm not sure, but I do know they're doing everything to make her feel better upstairs. I'll find out more as soon as I'm done taking care of you. We're going to need to take an x-ray to get a better look at your arm. And your ribs and face." He gently took Ray's chin and studied the damage done to his face. "Your cheekbone may be fractured." He paused. "I hope you got a shot in."
Ray looked startled at that statement, and then his eyes darkened. "I hit him in the knee cap with my bat. That's what got me the face."
"He started on your mom?"
The boy's face screwed up with rage. "I told him to keep his hands off her, but he was kicking the shit out of her when I got home from practice. So I just started swinging at him."
"How long has this been going on?"
Ray looked down at his tennis shoes. "Four years now. Since they got married."
"So he's not your father?"
"No! I don't like him! I'll never call him my dad, or step-dad!"
"Where's your real father?"
"Don't know, but at least he's not around to beat on us too!"
"Well, lets get you up to x-ray."
"Do you want me to get Dr. Ramsey so you can sign this over to him? You're shift's over," Maria offered in a quiet voice. Unfortunately Ray still overheard and shot her a resentful glare.
"No, I'll take care of this one. Besides, we're still backed up, so Prentis will probably want me to stay and help anyway."
Maria nodded and they began to push Ray's gurney out into the hall and toward the elevators.
They passed a man handcuffed to a gurney with two police officers guarding him.
"You little shit!" he screamed as soon as he saw Ray. "I'm gonna get you for this. You are dead, punk!"
Ray looked at the man defiantly, but Will noticed he cringed a little.
"Just ignore him Ray," Maria insisted gently. "He's not worth getting worked up over."
Ray smiled at her as they got on the elevator. As the doors closed they could still see the man fighting against the cuffs so hard it looked like he'd tip the gurney.
After the x-rays were done they took Ray back down to the exam room. Will sent Maria to call up to OR to find out about his mother.
"What's going to happen now?" Ray asked softly, trying to stop the tears that filled his eyes.
Will looked at Ray. He'd been trying so hard to maintain the tough-guy facade throughout the whole ordeal, but now he just looked like the little boy he was.
The doctor sighed. "To be completely honest Ray, Child Services will probably be called and they'll come here and take you into protective custody. After that, if they can't find your biological father or any other relatives, they'll probably place you in a foster home. Your step-father is going to jail. And your Mom's going to be here for a while as she recovers."
Ray nodded, some of the tears escaping and rolling down his cheeks. "At least you didn't lie to me. Mom lies all the time and says that Brian loves us and that he'll be better next time. Always next time."
"She probably wants to believe that. It may give her a sense of comfort and hope instead of thinking about how miserable you two actually are."
"Yeah, I guess."
Maria came back in with a soft smile for Ray. "Your Mom's in recovery now. They stopped the bleeding. She should be fine in no time."
Ray dropped his head back against the pillow and he threw his good arm over his eyes. They could tell he was softly crying.
"We're going to go check and see if your x-rays are back then we can set your arm and get a cast on," Will offered. With that they left to let him have a little time to himself.
Child Services arrived for Ray as Will was signing Ray's cast.
"Hey Will," the case-worker greeted. "And you must be Ray Barnett?"
"No," Ray mumbled sinking back against the gurney like he wanted to disappear.
"Ray," Will scolded gently. "Don't lie."
"Sorry," he said, even though he didn't seem to be.
"That's okay. I know it's been a rough day for you. I'm Maddie Hall. I'll be your case-worker." She sat down on the edge of Ray's gurney. "I just need to get some info from you. Do you have any relatives we can contact?"
"Do you know your father's name? Maybe we can find him."
"George Barnett. But you won't find him. Mom says he doesn't want to be found."
Maddie nodded and jotted down her notes. "Ray, I'm going to have to take you to a foster home for the time being. At least until we can track down your father or any other relatives."
"What about my Mom? Can I go back to her when she gets better?"
"I hope so, but I can't promise anything."
Ray scowled. "That means no."
"No, that means we'll see. As in it's too early to tell. But there will have to be a hearing first, to determine if she's capable of caring for you."
"Whatever. Can we just go?"
"One thing first," Will said pulling his prescription pad out of his pocket. He jotted something down then tore the sheet off, handing it to Ray. "I want you to call me if you need anything."
Ray took it and looked at Will skeptically. "Riiiiight."
"I mean it," Will reiterated as he sat next to Ray on the gurney. "Have I lied to you yet?"
Ray shook his head.
"Promise you'll call, no matter what, if you need me."
He looked up at Will, then moved closer to the man and leaned his head against Will's arm. "I promise," Ray whispered.