Title: Encore!

Disclaimer: I do not own ER, Ray, Neela, or any of the music mentioned. I'm not trying to profit from any of the songs, it's for entertainment purposes only.

A/N: Thank you so much for the reviews! I love to hear from all of you!!


Neela watched in shock as Ray laid before her unconscious, he was dying right in front of her. It was like a bad dream. She wished this was a dream. She wanted to wake up and find that none of this had actually happened. But it was. All of it.

Abby, Sam, and Morris all ran into the room after Neela had called for help. They were in shock when they saw who was laying on the ground next to her, the pain they felt obvious on their faces. All of them hurriedly lifted Ray off the ground and onto the gurney, and wasted no time as they started hooking him up to machines and an IV.

"What happened?" Morris asked Neela as he started to cut open his shirt.

"One of my patients stabbed him" she replied, not really wanting to get into the whole story right now. They didn't have time. They needed to focus on Ray. She'd explain later.

She felt the tears spilling over even faster now as she started to wipe them away with her hands. Just a few weeks ago she had been foolish enough to think that he didn't care about her, or at least that he didn't respect her. Now he was laying on that table, for her. She had to save him. She didn't care how long it would take, she was going to save him. There was no way she was going to let him die. She didn't even want to think of the possibility of having to spend the rest of her life without him. That was not a possibility.

"He's lost a lot of blood" Abby said sadly. Neela looked at Abby knowing what she said was the truth. A brief flash of agony and torment passed over her face. No, he wasn't going to die. He was not going to die. She grabbed the other syringe that she had originally gotten for the rest of the drugs she was going to give to Mr. Murphy. Neela started to fill the syringe with meds. She sniffled as the tears kept falling from her eyes. It took her longer than usual because of her blurry eyesight, but she was finally able to get the dosage she wanted.

"Pupils are fixed and dilated" Morris said, more to Neela than to anyone else. Of course everyone knew it was affecting her in a different way then the rest of them. It was one thing having to work on someone you worked with and were friends with. Having to work on someone who was as close to you as she was with Ray was another situation. They couldn't imagine how hard this must have been for her. If that wasn't bad enough, the whole thing had happened right in front of her.

She held the syringe close to Ray's arm, getting ready to inject him. Her hand held onto it so tight that if it were any tighter there was a possibility she could split it in two. Going painfully slow, she felt her body start to tremble involuntarily. She had been crying this entire time. She closed her eyes. She wanted to save him. She was determined to. She had to. She had to find a way, but it was too much.

She started to sob, frustrated with herself because she wanted to help him. She couldn't do it. It was Ray. It was Ray.

Abby stood next to her and placed her hands onto Neela's shoulders. "Neela, sweetie, you shouldn't be in here. Let's go outside" she whispered kindly, offering to wait outside with her.

Neela finally opened her eyes and looked down at him. It was heartbreaking to see him like this. He had tubes up his nose, blood all over him, and was hooked up to machines, but she wasn't leaving. Even though seeing him like this was painful, it would be even more painful if she left. She shook her head quickly and said through her sobs "No." While she was weak and fragile, the determination was evident in her voice. "I can't leave him. I won't" she said, with everyone in the room looking at her.

"You can't do this." Neela knew that. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't do this, but she still couldn't bring herself to leave. "I'm sorry but, you can't help him like this." She kept staring at Ray. She lost him before and then it started to feel like he was going to be back in her life again, only to have him taken away from her again. She would rather it had been the way it was before, with him avoiding her. Anything was better than this. "It's ok" Abby assured her.

She was right. There was nothing she could do for him. If she couldn't help, then she would just be in the way, and she wouldn't be leaving, she would just be outside the door. Neela sadly nodded her head to show she agreed. Abby took the needle out of her hand and placed it onto the tray, before she helped her out of the room. They made sure to open the blinds before they left so they could look inside.

Watching them work on Ray, Neela said "It happened right in front of me. I watched him get stabbed, and I didn't try to stop it. I just sat there." It was her fault. This whole thing was her fault. She felt so guilty.

Abby looked at her, feeling so bad for her. How could she think that? "It wasn't your fault" she placed a hand on her shoulder as Neela looked into the window with a glazed, almost hypnotized look "There was nothing you could have done." If the man had a knife, then what could she have done? She hadn't been there, but she knew if there was any way Neela could have helped, she would have.

The tears kept falling, which was beyond her control now. "He's bleeding to death, and I couldn't do anything to help him" she said, talking about how she couldn't bring herself to help him just now because it was too heartbreaking for her.

"That's not your fault either. You couldn't help him because he means so much to you." She tried to get some sense into her. She was already worried about Ray, the last thing she needed was to make herself feel worse by blaming herself for it.

Of course she was right. Again. Ray was her best friend. She wouldn't just stand back and watch something bad happen to him. There was nothing she could have done. She didn't know what had happened until it was too late. But since he had been found as soon as he did, he had a better chance. Thanks to her. Maybe she had helped…hopefully.

Abby and Neela watched as they started wheeling Ray out of the exam room. They both moved out of the way as they started going through the door.

"He needs to go up to surgery" Sam explained to the two of them.

They walked towards the elevator. She went for his hand again as they walked, taking it in hers she immediately noticed how cold it felt. The surgery should take a few hours, if there were no complications.

A bittersweet smile came to her face as she started to remember the day she saw him for the first time. She had been talking to Abby, when she heard someone talking and turned around to see him popping his head around the doorway. He hadn't even been talking to her, but she still remembered being so intrigued by him. He came in a suit looking very professional, but from what she had heard, he hadn't been the only one to show up at County like that on their first day. Why anyone would get dressed up to treat sick people was beyond her. It was such a stark contrast when he showed up only a few days later looking completely different; eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos. In her opinion, Weaver had actually let him off really easy. She never understood why he made such a drastic transformation, and she couldn't come up with any other reason than that he must have been doing everything he could to ensure he got the job.

He had always come off as this really cocky, arrogant hotshot whose sole purpose in life was to piss her off. The first few weeks she knew him, she didn't think she would ever like him, let alone be friends with him. Not that she hated him. She could never hate him. It seemed like such a long time ago. Things were so different now.

As they were walking towards the elevator, Neela was suddenly approached by a police officer. "Dr. Rasgotra?" he asked.

"Yes?" She affirmed, but asked as more of a question to find out what he wanted. She didn't have the time to deal with this right now. If she just answered his questions quickly she could leave. Or hopefully answer them later if she had to.

"I need to ask you a few questions. It's about your patient Mr. Murphy…" he told her very serious and straight laced.

How did the police know? Ray came in and they were about to call someone but, then everything happened and they never got a chance to, and after that her mind had been on other things. She knew Ray hadn't told them, and she didn't tell them, so who did? "How did you…?" she started only to have her question answered before she could finish.

"We called" Morris told her. It was the least they could do, they knew Neela had more important things to worry about. She had seen them go over to the phone for a bit, but she just figured it had been to call up to surgery.

"We have a man in our custody who we believe to be the suspect" he said, looking solely at Neela.

Morris and Sam continued their path to the elevator. Time was precious. The sooner he got to the OR, the better. Neela watched as they went passed, wanting to finish this conversation as fast she could so she could be with Ray.

"We need you to give us an ID and a statement." It didn't take long after Morris and Sam had called to find him. He was dumb enough to try to hide in the hospital, and even dumber still that he still had the knife with him.

She looked at him in confusion as her head started to spin. Not even an hour ago she didn't even know who Mr. Murphy was, she was getting ready to leave so she could go home to rest, and Ray was fine. It was all happening so fast. She couldn't deal with all of this, not by herself. She was glad Abby was there, but she wasn't Ray. He was the only one who could help her.

Abby looked at her and could tell how she was feeling. She shook her head and replied for Neela after she still hadn't said anything "Can it wait? Now's not a good time."

She looked at Abby and did her best to give her a little smile, she was glad she had stayed with her. True, she wanted Ray of course, but Abby was still her friend. She was helping her more than she realized. She didn't know what she would do if she wasn't there with her. Just the fact that she didn't have to be alone was something in itself.

The officer understood because he knew the one who had gotten stabbed was one of their fellow colleagues, but that was it. The rest he knew was just about what had went on in the room, but even then he didn't know everything.

He nodded his head and agreed. He dealt with situations like this all the time, sometimes people didn't want to be bothered right then and wanted to talk about it later. Before he could walk away though, Neela saw Mr. Murphy being escorted out of the hospital by two other policemen, one on each side of him.

She watched him the entire time with burning anger in her eyes. Neela had never felt this way before. She remembered the look she had seen on Ray's face earlier, the one with so much malice and enmity. She understood how he felt now. This wasn't just dislike for someone, which she did feel for some people. This was sheer and outright hatred. Every day for her was about saving or preserving life. It was her career. He was the only person she had ever met in her whole life she actually wanted to be dead.

The policemen walked with him towards the entrance so they could take him outside. Her eyes still on him, she said with determination and fire "That's him" telling the cop, since he had said he wanted her to make a positive ID. That was one less thing she needed to worry about.

"Are you sure?" he asked, even though he was almost certain she was. They had found him in the hospital. It would have been unlikely it wasn't him, but it was his job to make sure.

"Positive" she said in the same tone she had before, but this time with confidence. She faced him, then said "I'll give you a statement later." She still didn't want to do this right now. Not without knowing if Ray was going to be ok or not. "Whatever you need from me, I'll do it." With Ray the way he was, she was the only one who could help for the time being, and she was going to do everything she could to make sure that jerk got what he deserved.

After he thanked her and left, Neela and Abby got into the elevator to go up to surgery.

"Are you ok?" Abby asked her, not talking about Ray, but about what just happened. She had never seen her look that way before, the look on her face was enough to scare her.

"I'm better. Now" she emphasized, letting her know she felt better knowing the guy who had done this wasn't still on the loose somewhere.

They stepped into the surgical room where there was a huge glass wall so they could watch the entire thing. Only doctors were allowed in here. They had already started working on him when they came in and sat down. Minutes seemed to go by like hours. Every time they treated a patient like this, this was what their loved ones had to go through. How did they stand it? She always felt compassion and empathy for them before, some more so than others, but now unfortunately she understood exactly what it was like.

Neither one of them said a word for what seemed like an eternity. Abby put her arm around her in the hopes that it would at least make her feel a little better and feel comforted. She got that same look on her face as before. The look where her face started to glaze over, like she was having an out of body experience, almost like it was happening to someone else. She didn't know if she was in shock or denial or what, or if her mind was still trying to process it all.

The tears started falling from her face again, and she felt Abby tighten her arm slightly. She didn't think she had ever cried this much in her life. She closed her eyes and used both her hands to cover her face as her whole body started to tremble. The past few hours had finally come crashing down on her all at once while she listened to the slow beeping coming from the monitor. He wasn't going to die, he couldn't. Not now. Not with the way things were between them. She would never be able to forgive herself. Abby pressed her head gently against Neela's. She wasn't really sure what to say to her right now, nothing she could say would make her feel better, but words weren't necessary. She didn't know where all of this had come from or why but it had been building up inside of her all this time until it got to the point where she couldn't hold it in any longer.

Her mind couldn't stop reminiscing over the time they had spent together. He's laying there, possibly dying, and she couldn't stop thinking about some of the times they shared. How much she missed him over these past few weeks, about the way she felt then was nothing compared to the way she felt now, about how much he meant to her and she couldn't lose him. It might have been selfish, especially after what he just did, but she didn't care.

She thought about the day she agreed to move in with him. Thinking it was a bad idea at first, and that she would regret it somehow. She did when she first moved in, but after a while she knew it was quite possibly the smartest decision she ever made. But maybe in a way right now, she did regret it just a little. If she hadn't moved in then he probably wouldn't be laying on that table. Maybe he would, she didn't know. Ray was the kind of person who would risk himself for anyone he knew or cared about, but even more so for her. He let her live with him when she had nowhere else to go, even though he hadn't known her for very long, he still cared about her enough to make sure she was ok.

She was forced out of her thoughts as one of the surgeons came to the intercom and said "He's going to be fine. We're just finishing up." Neela smiled through her tears as she felt all the fear and sadness vanish from her in an instant. Abby quickly reached over and pulled her into a hug. As Neela lifted her arms and returned the embrace, she let out a relieved sigh before a soft laugh escaped her lips as she realized he was going to be ok. "You can see him in a few minutes."

Her face still wet from the tears she had shed from earlier, she lifted her hand and wiped herself dry. She kept telling herself over and over he was going to be fine, that he had to be, but somewhere in the back of her mind was the nagging uncertainty and fear that wouldn't go away. To say she felt better would be a gross understatement. It would take him some time to get better, but at least there was no lasting damage. If the guy had stabbed him just an inch away from where he had, Ray would have bled to death instantly. He was really lucky.

As they were making their way out, Neela excused herself to the bathroom. She stood there for a bit and took a few slow, deep breaths to calm down and regain her sanity. She had experienced virtually every emotion possible today. When she looked in the mirror, she noticed she looked like a complete mess. Her eyes were red and puffy. She had faint traces of mascara on her cheeks. She couldn't let him see her like this. Yes, they lived together and he had seen her look worse than this before, like when she had just gotten out of bed or when she was sick. It might have seemed silly, but she didn't want him to see her like this when he woke up. It wasn't about vanity or being superficial.

She turned on the water and splashed some onto her face, the coolness of it helping to calm down her nerves. She could always talk to Ray, it had never really been an issue between them, but what was she going to say to him? No one had ever done anything like this for her before. If it wasn't for him, she would probably be dead. How was she supposed to put that into words? How was she going to tell him how she felt? There was nothing she could do to repay him.

She grabbed some paper towels from the container and wiped off her face, removing all her makeup. It was smudged and runny so it didn't serve a purpose anymore, other than to make her look worse. She scrubbed the hint of mascara off her cheeks. She didn't care less about not having any makeup on. She was too exhausted and had been through too much today to care.

She walked out to rejoin Abby, who was nice enough to wait for her while she was in the bathroom.

"When you were gone, I found out he's in room 3" she told her. Abby had quickly went to find out, they really needed to know, when Neela had been pulling herself back together just now in the restroom.

"Great. Thank you."

Of course, they both knew exactly where that was and started making their way towards it. There was no way he would be awake yet because of all the drugs they no doubt had given him before the surgery. Which was ok with her. She couldn't wait. Asleep or not, she had to see him now.

Walking in, she saw what she already knew affirmed. He was, indeed, still asleep.

Turning to Abby, she gave her a hug before she said "Thank you for staying. I want some time with him." She appreciated her staying the whole time, especially when she was supposed to be working. Neela knew Abby would have to stay longer now to make up her shift, but it wasn't personal. She simply wanted some time with him, even if he was asleep.

Abby returned her embrace, hugging her for the second time today. She giggled at her polite way of telling her to basically 'Get lost' so she could be alone with Ray. "Sure" she replied, before turning and walking out. It didn't hurt her feelings. She didn't mind and she completely understood.

Neela grabbed the chair that had been next to the one of the walls and set it next to his bed. Sitting down, she looked at him as his face was pointed in her direction. He wasn't going to be waking up any time soon. He was really out of it and would be asleep for at least a couple of hours. If she had been in his position, would she have done the same thing? She placed an arm onto the bed, propping herself up. Yes, she would. In a second. One of the first things she thought when it happened was how she wished it had been her instead. It was supposed to be her. He was willing to die for her and she wouldn't give him anything less if she was ever in that kind of situation.

She blinked slowly, her eyelids feeling heavier now, as her entire shift started to catch up with her. She was determined to be here the moment he woke up, but she didn't know how much longer she could keep her eyes open. She reached forward to gently hold his hand. There was so much she wanted to say to him. How could she have even thought she didn't mean anything to him? She shook her head slowly. She had been so stupid. But their friendship was still every bit as important to her as it was then.

Neela whispered softly "I'm so sorry, Ray. I'm so sorry" which was all she could think of to say to him, even though she knew he couldn't hear. Something about saying it out loud was important to her. Lifting his hand, she brought it to her mouth and kissed it softly. He was going to be spending the next month or so recovering. She needed to be strong, for him. He needed her now more than ever.

She looked at him one last time before she rested her head down on the bed. He wasn't going to wake up for a while, so it would be ok to get some rest. If she stayed awake, there would be nothing for her to do, he was asleep. Except maybe sit and stare at him. She closed her eyes. After a few minutes, she drifted off for some much needed sleep.

Neela kept remembering the little things about him. How he always cooked her something to eat when she got home, how he would make sure to save her some hot water before she took a shower, how he turned the heater up a little higher even though it was always too hot for him because he knew she was always so cold. One time he went to the store in the middle of the night for her, somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning, after she told him she didn't have any tequila. She never forgot that. It was so thoughtful and unselfish. Crazy, but unselfish.

She opened her eyes again to see him still sleeping. How long had she been asleep? She checked her watch. It had been over two hours. She was still very tired, but he wasn't awake yet so she was glad she decided to rest. He had a little more color than he did earlier, and he looked so peaceful laying there. Hopefully he would be awake soon. He should be. She still had to go give her statement to the policemen. That had escaped her entirely until now. That was hours ago. But she promised herself she would be here when he woke up. It would have to wait. She didn't know for how long, at least until after she got to talk to him.

Finally, she noticed as he started to stir slightly. Getting up from her chair, she whispered his name as she leaned over the bed. She didn't know if he was waking up or just fidgeting in his sleep, but just seeing him move filled her with so much excitement and eagerness. He slowly started to open his eyes, the pain killers and sedatives still coursing through his body. Where was he? He was in County. And who was it that was calling him? It sounded like Neela, he was almost sure of it but couldn't be positive. Usually he would be able to tell instantly but the drugs seemed to be clogging his brain. He couldn't think.

"Hi" she gave him a warm smile as the tears started to collect again, so close to spilling over, but not quite. Only this time if they did it would be out of pure joy.

He opened his eyes a little bigger, not only did everything look on the blurry side, but his eyes were adjusting to the light. He was able to see her standing there after a moment. He had been right. It was Neela. "Hey" he mumbled.

"How do you feel?" she asked, genuinely concerned and wanting to talk to him so badly.

"I don't really know." That probably sounded ridiculous, but all the medicine they had pumped into him did this. He didn't know how he was feeling because he honestly didn't feel anything. Well, no pain at least. For now. In actuality, how he was feeling wouldn't really hit him until after the painkillers wore off.

She was a doctor, she knew what he meant. This was what she saw every day. She was glad he wasn't in any pain. "You were really lucky. You should be able to go home in a week" she said with enthusiasm and happiness. She had missed talking to him so much, but she wasn't going to push him, especially at a time like this. "Weaver gave you a month of sick leave, and me a week so I can stay home to look after you." Their time off would start after he got out of the hospital of course. She was really looking forward to the time they were going to get to spend together. Of course, she wished they could spend it together under better circumstances, but she would take what she could get. At a time like this, after they hadn't talked to each other or even seen that much of each other for several weeks, they were going to need it.

He looked at her a little confused as he tried to process everything she just said. It was a lot to take in. "What?" he asked, almost like he wanted her to repeat it again. It was either that or he didn't understand what she was talking about. Maybe she should tell him again later after he woke up a little more.

"I'm going to help you recover when we get home" she said again, his reaction making her feel uneasy. Did he not want her to help him? She worried that maybe he didn't feel comfortable with it or that he had some lingering resentment.

"Neela, what are you talking about? You're making no sense. You and I don't live together" he told her quickly, looking at her like she was the one who didn't know what she was talking about. He was too tired and out of it and had too many drugs in his system to do their friendly teasing and bickering that had become a normal routine for them. He just hoped she knew that.

She started to laugh, thinking he was joking at first, until she saw the serious look on his face. He wasn't joking, he was being serious. This was weird. What was going on? Maybe something had gone wrong during his surgery. No, he must have been doing that thing where he acts like he's serious but really doing it as a joke to tease her. She hated whenever he did that. "Yes, we do. We've lived together for over a year and a half, Ray" she assured him, hoping he was just doing this as a joke. A joke which she didn't find funny in the least and would be sure to talk to him about later for being inconsiderate of her feelings and finding something like this funny.

"No" he said confidently, still with the same expression, like he thought she was talking nothing but nonsense "You live with Abby."

Yeah, she did before they lived together. She couldn't understand why he would do this to her when he had to have known what she just went through. To tease about them not living together was just plain mean. She looked at him and saw the expression on his face. He wasn't teasing her or trying to be funny. He really was being serious.

Her heart skipped a beat and all the blood escaped from her face as it suddenly dawned on her. She felt like she had just leapt off a 50 story building as she remembered how hard Ray had hit his head when he landed on the floor after he was stabbed.


A/N: I hope you liked it! Please review!!

I'm not too sure about this chapter and it seems a bit rushed to me. I had a lot to cover, and I thought of splitting it into two chapters but I really didn't want to. What do you guys think of it?