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!!

Sorry it took me so long to update, but life has been busy lately. Every time I wanted to sit down and write this chapter, something always seemed to come up. But I want to let you all know that I haven't forgotten about this fic, and that it will get finished. Since I'm still not sure how many chapters are left, I have no idea when that will be, and I still have several ideas for this story. So please keep reading!!


A week later, Neela was staring into the window of the door that looked into Ray's room. He was asleep and she didn't want to disturb him. Plus she needed to stand for a little while. Her legs were starting to hurt from sitting in that awful chair next to his bed for so long.

He was supposed to be getting released today. She hoped. Sometimes things happened at the last minute and then they decided to keep the patients a little longer. Neither she or Ray would be able to take much more of him having to be in the hospital. Not only was it mind numbingly boring, especially for Ray, but she hated having to see him like that. After all, no one in their right mind wanted to have to stay in a hospital, he would do much better at home.

The past week had gone by like sort of a blur. All of this still felt like a dream. Like one of those dreams that feels so real, but then when you wake up from it you're so relieved that it was just a dream. The kind of dream you were glad to wake up from.

She was still standing there watching him sleep when Abby came and stood next to her. Neela didn't know she was there until she started talking. "How is he?" she asked gently, not wanting to startle her because from the look on her face it seemed like her mind was off somewhere else. Abby tried to visit at least once a day, not just to see how Ray was doing, but also to be there for Neela.

"Much better" she said with a blank look on her face, not turning to look at her when she gave the response.

"Has he remembered anything?" she asked, realizing that Neela had been talking about his physical state when she answered the question. She didn't think anything had changed from yesterday, but it didn't hurt to ask.

The sadness came back onto Neela's face. It took her a moment to finally respond, the answer should have been obvious from the way she was acting, but she did it anyway "No" she responded quietly, undoubtedly hurt by the fact that Ray couldn't remember any of the time they had spent together as roommates.

"A majority of people that have amnesia get their memory back" she told her, even though Neela was a doctor and there wasn't really any need to, but she was her friend and wanted to keep her thinking positively.

"But nothing is guaranteed" she finished for her. Ray had severe retrograde amnesia, which meant that he still remembered things that had happened when he was young, but not things that had happened before the accident. In Ray's case, he had no memory of the past year and half of his life, and he also sometimes had difficulty remembering things that happened this past week.

She knew it was beyond his control, but she was still hurt that Ray had forgotten a good majority of the time they had spent together. Physically, he was doing much better than he had been, but mentally, he was still in the same place as he was before. The mind could be very unpredictable, and not everyone could have the same response. She had seen some get their memory back right away, while others took months or even years. There was no way of knowing when or how, or even if it would happen to him.

"I'm sorry" was all she could say. Abby couldn't lie to her and tell her she was wrong when she knew it just as well as she did.

"I don't know. I'm trying so hard, but it feels like it's not going anywhere. I can't go forward, but I also can't go back" she told her, trying to explain how she felt. She could feel the tears starting to come back in the corners of her eyes, but she wasn't crying. Yet. "He's here, but it's like he isn't." That was probably really confusing, but it made sense to her. "It's like he's someone else, like he isn't Ray" she mumbled quietly in a sad tone. To her, it was starting to feel like he was a stranger. It wasn't the same between them like it had been when they lived together. Before all the awkwardness obviously. It felt like it did when he had just come to County and they were more like acquaintances rather than friends.

"In a way, it feels almost as if he did…" she couldn't even finish the sentence as she started to lose her voice.

Abby looked at her and could tell what it was she was about to say, "Die?" she finished for her.

Neela finally looked at her. She couldn't say anything, all she did was start nodding her head slowly. No, she couldn't think like that. He hadn't died, he was alive. She had been thinking that having him this way was just as bad as him being dead. He wasn't dead, that was all that mattered. It would take some time, but he would eventually be fine physically. She would do whatever she could during their time together to try to help him remember. He was still here, and asking more than that right now would be too much and be selfish. She couldn't expect more than that. She should be grateful. Things could have been a lot worse.

Abby reached out and pulled her into an embrace. She wished she could have been there for her more than she had this week, but she was glad she had been there with her when it had happened. Neela put on a brave face in front of Ray, but deep down she was an emotional wreck. "He's going to be ok." Abby held onto her tightly for a few moments, trying to get her to cheer up. At least she had been better than she was when Abby first came down. She was looking at her and talking now. That was some improvement.

Neela pulled away and sniffled as she felt a small tear fall down her cheek. She quickly wiped it away. Ray would do better at home than he would here. If there was any place that would help him get back to normal, it was home. It would take longer than a week, but he would be well enough to at least take care of himself by the time she had to go back to work. Which didn't mean that she wouldn't still be worried, but at least she would be better than she was now.

The two of them started staring into the window again. She didn't know how she was going to be like when he was home. She was glad he was going home, but why did she feel a little sad about it? Shouldn't she be happy? She was happy, but having to go back there after all the time they had spent there together, and now with him the way he was, she was dreading it as much as she was looking forward to it.

Abby turned to her and said in a kind tone "The point is that he didn't. He's alive and he's really lucky. He doesn't remember right now, but that doesn't mean he will always be that way" she told her as she faced her. Ray hadn't been the only one who wasn't like himself this week. Neela had been like a ghost. Abby had never seen her this way. She knew there was nothing she could say or do that would change anything, but she couldn't help but try anyway. It's like when you do something and you know no matter how much you do it or even if you do it in a different way than you did before but it won't make any difference to the outcome and you do it anyway just because you have to try. "If anyone is going to bring his memory back, it's you" she whispered to her.

Neela didn't say anything to her. She nodded her head, silently agreeing with her. She was right. She had to be right, or at least she hoped she was. She knew him better than anyone, and he needed her right now. She would be the best person, perhaps the only person right now, who would be able to help him remember. With him in the hospital bed, this would probably be one of the last places that would do that. Down in the ER was better because he worked there, but home would be best. That was where they had spent most of their time together and that was most of what he had forgotten. Of course, it wasn't that she was being selfish and wanted to be the one who did this and didn't want anyone else to. She would just be glad that he was back. She didn't care how it happened or why, not that she wouldn't be happy if it did happen because of her help. She missed him so much. Even more than she had before. She didn't realize you could miss someone so much who was right there in front of you.

They stood there in silence for a few moments. Abby wasn't sure what was the right thing to say right now, but she didn't realize that she had already said it. She had already made her feel better. What Neela needed was someone who she could talk to about this, which she had already done. She couldn't talk to Ray about it. So once again, Abby had helped her more than she realized. All she needed was someone to talk to who would listen to how she felt and get it off her chest. She didn't need someone to tell her some insightful and profound words of wisdom.

"I forgot to ask you, did you ever talk to that cop?" she asked her. Neela had told the policeman she would give him her statement, but as far as she knew, she hadn't gotten around to it yet. She said she was going to, but she didn't know if she had yet. She hadn't talked her in a couple days. She had worked late the past couple nights. She had come down and seen Ray, but Neela hadn't been here because she was in the ER working. They had missed each other.

"I went the other night. When I was done, I came back here." It had been one of the nights she had missed Abby. She had just missed her by about 20 minutes, but Ray had told her about it when she came.

She had given her statement. Knowing they had gotten the guy who had done this to Ray helped, but it was still hard to talk about everything that happened and answer questions.

"Did it go ok?" She wasn't asking if they had believed her or not, but rather how it had been for Neela to basically have to relive something like that.

She could tell what Abby was really asking, and said "He asked me some questions, I gave him my statement, then I signed it. It was harder than I thought it would be, but if I don't do it, who will?" Neela crossed her arms as she continued to look at him through the glass. She had a lot more courage and strength then she gave herself credit for. If she didn't do it, then there wouldn't be anyone else. She had been the only person in the room besides Ray, and he couldn't do it. She couldn't let him down, she owed this to him, and he would have done the same for her.

Abby felt so bad she had to go through all this, but she was right. She was there for her, but without Ray to be a second witness, she was ultimately in this alone. "Are you going to have to testify?" There was a very good chance she was, she was the only witness at the moment.

"Yes. I have to go in a little over a week." They had enough to take him to trial, besides Neela's testimony, they also had the weapon. She hoped they had enough to convict him of attempted murder. She didn't know if they had any other evidence, she hadn't talked to the policemen or the lawyers that much yet. She hadn't had the time. She would worry about it later. She had told them a week and half because she was the only one who would be able to look after Ray. That was the soonest she could come, there was no way she would be able to come before that and she wasn't going to leave him alone.

"Is there anything I can do?" She felt so bad that she hadn't been there for her enough when she needed a friend the most. She was doing the best she could.

The truth was that Neela didn't really mind. She knew she was busy and she appreciated that she would even come at all after a long shift. It meant a lot to her that she would have a friend who would be there for her like that. "Can you go with me?" she mumbled quietly.

"Yes. Of course" she said with a smile, glad to help her out even it was something as easy as being there for moral support.

Neela didn't expect her to have to do anything for her. She knew this was something she had to do on her own, but when she did have to go on the stand, she didn't want to have to go by herself. Taking someone there with her, even if they were only sitting in the crowd, would be enough for her. She hadn't said anything about it to Ray. He knew what had happened to him, but she didn't talk to him about the trial. He didn't remember and she didn't want him to feel guilty that he couldn't help. He had enough to deal with right now.

"Thank you" she said with the faintest hint of a smile on her face. Abby would be the perfect person to take. She always seemed like she was so much more brave than Neela was. If she got scared, she would just remind herself why she was there. She was doing this for Ray. Nothing else mattered.

Abby noticed how exhausted she looked. "You look tired. You slept here again last night, didn't you?"

Blinking slowly and with small bags under her eyes, she said "Yes. I can't sleep in that apartment knowing he's here, but hopefully I will tonight." She had spent every night here with him, usually sleeping in the chair next to the bed. Or trying to. It wasn't easy trying to sleep in a chair. Especially in the ones they had here which weren't really that great to begin with. It was unbelievably uncomfortable, but she couldn't sleep anywhere else. She hadn't gotten much sleep in the past week, and she spent every moment she could with him. The only time she would go home was when she had to take a shower and change her clothes. The rest of the time she was either working, or in here with him. The thought of having to go home to an empty apartment or having to sleep there when he wasn't there was too depressing for her. She couldn't do it. It was their apartment. Not hers. Not His. But theirs. So, she spent as little time there as possible.

"He's going home today?" she asked, judging from what she had said about hopefully she would be able to sleep at home tonight.

Neela could see Abby's hopeful look out of the corner of her eye. She had felt the same way all week. Hoping that he would come home today. It had been a little more than a week, and now she wasn't too sure.

"Supposedly" she mumbled. While it was true she was a doctor and would be able to tell when and if he would be able to be released, but she only knew about his physical condition. Physically, yes, he was ready, but mentally could have been a totally different story. She was a doctor. Not a psychologist. She had seen it before. There had been patients who had been well enough to go home, but that weren't allowed to because they weren't ready or weren't stable enough. Not that Ray was unstable, but that still didn't mean his doctor would want him released today. "That's what everyone keeps saying."

They looked in and noticed that he was starting to wake up. Neela let out a breath to try to relax a little before she opened the door as the two of them headed inside. She let Abby take the seat next to his bed, while she stood next to her.

He smiled when he saw the two of them, glad to be having some company. They had become close friends. Closer than Ray realized just yet, but of course not as close as he and Neela were. They all were in their same year of residency so they looked out for each other and understood what they had to go through. Like having to deal with endless hours and crazy attendings.

"Hey" he said to them with a smile, not directing it toward one over the other, but to both of them.

"Hi, Ray. You're actually awake" Abby teased him with a soft laugh. He hadn't been asleep every time she came, but he did sleep a lot which was normal for someone in his condition.

"It gets pretty boring if no one's here, so I go to sleep because there's nothing else to do" he said with a chuckle. If Neela was there, he would stay awake and talk to her, but sometimes he would occasionally nod off for a while. If there was no one there to talk to, then what else was there to do? And watching TV got so tedious after a while. There was only so many channels to watch. The TV in his room was off most of the time.

"How did you sleep?" Neela asked, even though she had watched him just now. She came after her shift and he had been sleeping this whole time.

"Good" he said as he let out a yawn, then raised the bed so he could sit up and look at them without having to angle his neck. "I'm ready to go home" he said it in a way that you could tell he was far passed ready and was sick of being in the hospital, which made the two of them start to laugh. "Did I miss the doctor?" If he had come when he was sleeping, that would have been just perfect. He waited for him all day. Then again if he had, then maybe he said he could go home, but he would have either been woken up or Abby and Neela would have told him when they came in.

"No. He hasn't come. We're still waiting" she said, feeling a little sad, too. She wanted him to get out of here today just as much as he did. He was supposed to be released a few days ago, but the doctor kept extending it, telling them he wasn't well enough to leave yet. Every day they would say maybe he could leave the next day. It was becoming a routine, but after three days Ray's patience was reaching a boiling point.

He laid his head back against the pillow and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the pain he was starting to get in his head. His fall to the floor had given him a concussion, which was mainly responsible for his memory loss, too. He brought his hand to his head and covered his eyes, trying to block the light, which was making his headache even worse. What he wouldn't give for a power outage right now.

Neela walked closer and stood next to him. "You getting another headache?" she asked softly, knowing that he would sometimes get some that would make him sensitive to sound. One time she had just asked him something, not loudly because she hardly ever talked that way, but asked him what was wrong when she saw his expression. All he told her was that she was talking too loud. She could never seem to be quiet enough.

"Yeah" he mumbled quietly with his eyes closed, still not wanting to open them. He hadn't even said anything about the pain he had in his head, but somehow she knew. He didn't always understand that because they were friends but not that close. In his opinion. Maybe he was more obvious than he thought, but from what she and everyone else kept telling him, she was his roommate.

Reaching over to the table next to his bed, she grabbed the small pitcher that had water in it and poured some in a plastic cup. She put her hand on his shoulder to get his attention and handed it to him. Turning around, she poured out a dose of one of his pain meds. After helping him take it, she threw the empty cup away in the trash.

He got headaches daily, even two or three on some days. Some of them were worse than others, and would occasionally turn into migraines. But the headaches would gradually lessen over time, and then should disappear completely.

She knew he would take a pill over an injection any time. Despite the fact that an injection would work faster. He would rather suffer through the pain than to have an injection. One thing he still had was his phobia of needles. She didn't know how he had survived in the hospital with them in his arm when he couldn't even stand to have a silly flu shot. Well, he didn't have a choice really. He needed it. There was no other way. He wouldn't be able to survive without them, so he must have just learned to deal with it.

He laid there and let the drugs take effect. They had him here to make sure he didn't go home until he was ready mentally. Which was weird because if he had to stay here for much longer, then he was going to start losing it, which would only make him stay longer. He was never going to get out of here. How do people who have to stay in the hospital all the time stand it?

Everyone looked when there was a sudden knock on the door.

"Hello" she said in a cheerful tone as she came in and started walking up to his bed "How are we feeling today?"

He let out a somewhat humorless chuckle. Was this what they sounded like to the patients? No wonder people hated going to the doctor so much. "Aside from getting stabbed, I've never been better" he replied back sarcastically. Pulling an attitude with the person who decided if you went home or not probably wasn't the best idea, but he had just been through a lot and now with the hard thumping in his head, he was allowed to be a little grouchy.

After asking him a few basic questions, she found that things hadn't really changed from before. Neela and Ray both worried even more now that they might want him to stay. They had hoped that they would see some change by keeping him here. He was still getting better even if it wasn't in the way they had been wanting. It wasn't like he wouldn't have the energy or the strength to be able to stay at home. They had removed the oxygen and the IV yesterday already and he was still fine. Basically the only thing he did here now was sleep. Was there something he did here that he couldn't do at home? Although, he did need help sometimes. He couldn't do too much. He would get weak and tired after exerting too much energy.

"The results from your CT and MRI show that there is no serious damage." She looked through his chart to make sure she hadn't missed or forgotten anything.

"So, does that mean I can go home?" he asked, wanting her to answer the only thing he wanted to know already, wishing she would say he could but not wanting to get his hopes up. Abby and Neela both listened carefully as they all waited in anticipation for her answer.

"Yes. I'm going to sign your release and your regular physician prescribed you more Topamax for your headaches. I'll need to have him sign your release as well, but we've already talked about it and you will be able to go home today."

"Thank you" he said happily with a big smile on his face, one that matched Neela's. It did catch them a little by surprise, not that they weren't happy about it. They had done everything they could to help him, but they wouldn't be able to do anything for him to get his memory back. There was no reason to have him stay. It wasn't a jail or prison. If Ray really wanted to go home then they couldn't keep him here. His mental state could have been better, but they had seen a lot worse. Some people would lose everything. Losing a year and half wasn't good either, but he did have most of it. Still wasn't good, but not as bad as it could have been.

"And when you get home try to do as many normal everyday things as you can. Just like you used to do" she made sure to tell him before she turned and made her way out.

He understood and nodded his head in agreement. As long as he got to go home he wasn't going to argue with her. There wasn't any medication they could give him to help his memory. There was one or two they had used on other patients before, but nothing had been proven it worked. The brain is so complex that it makes it difficult to prescribe anything for it in a situation like this.

Right after the psychologist left the room, Neela quickly went over and threw her arms around him, not able to contain herself any longer. He hadn't been expecting it and she had kind of come out of nowhere, but he did hug her back after the initial shock wore off. She knew he wouldn't fully understand what she was doing right now or what was going on to make her act this way, how close they actually were, but she couldn't help herself.

"I brought you a change of clothes" she said and went over to the other side of the room to get them for him. She hadn't known for sure if he would be coming home today, but Neela was always prepared just in case. What if something unexpected happened and she didn't have something important because she didn't think she would need it? She would be stuck. It was better to be over prepared than not prepared enough. So, she had made sure to bring some clothes for him before she left the house for work. Although he looked good in the gown, he would be more comfortable, and it would be more appropriate if he walked out in his own clothes. She had made sure to get him one of his favorite shirts, one that he wore a lot. She didn't know, it might help and it certainly didn't hurt to try. She was willing to try anything. She also brought a nice pair of jeans that she knew he really liked.

He took the bag from her with a smile, glad he finally had something to wear that wasn't open in the back. He couldn't believe he was actually going home. He had been here for so long. Actually it had only been a little over a week, but when you're in the hospital it always seemed like much, much longer. He excused himself to the bathroom to go change. He wanted to go in and do it before one of the doctor's came in and told him they changed their mind. He had to get out of here while the getting was good.

While he was gone, Neela and Abby started to collect all of his things; his toothbrush and toothpaste, the clothes he had worn that day, although they didn't look like they would be wearable anymore. He also had some get well cards from people at County who had come to visit him. Luka had come down, Morris, Pratt, and even Weaver stopped by before one of her shifts. The staff could drive each other crazy sometimes. The patients, and the inhumane hours they worked. All the stress. It could build up until you couldn't take it anymore, but there was no other group of people they would rather work with. If you needed them, you could always count on them no matter what. They protected each other and were there for each other.

Getting changed wasn't very easy. Neela usually offered to help him with things like this, but she had learned when he wanted to do things for himself. It wasn't that he didn't want her help, but he was never going to recover if she did everything for him. He smiled when he saw his shirt, one that he would wear to gigs. He couldn't remember when he had bought it, but he couldn't bear to part with it because it had a lot of sentimental value and brought back good memories. It was a dark blue band t-shirt with the words 'Rock On' written on the back of it. He felt a little dumb for getting so excited over just a t-shirt. Oh, well. Guess Neela did know him better than he thought. He started to put on the pants. Where had these come from? He didn't think he had ever seen these before. For a second he thought maybe she had bought them for him, but why would she do that? He couldn't even remember a stupid pair of jeans? He was hopeless. He was going to drive himself crazy trying to remember all of this.

He came out of the bathroom all dressed. It was kind of hard to tell he had spent all this time here. He was walking around and didn't appear to be injured. If you looked carefully, though, you could see he was still in pain.

Neela was closing up the bag after putting the last of his things in before she looked up and saw him walking towards her. She gave him a smile, happy to see him like this again. Now he was beginning to look more like the old Ray. "Ready?" she asked him, to which he didn't say anything in response but only smiled at her, figuring that would be enough to answer her question. Either his headache was gone now, or being able to go home was making him not pay attention to it.

Maybe she could ask Weaver for an extra week of leave just to be sure. He could use her help. He wasn't going to be well after only a week. It was going to take longer than that. What had she been thinking? Of course, that was before things had gotten complicated. She had felt a lot better about just a week then. He wasn't going to be working until who knows when, and it had just been her working for a week and a half. This week, they would both be home. Neither of them would be working. She was was starting to get worried. She couldn't take off another week as much as she wanted to. They couldn't afford it. She didn't know if they would be able to afford a week even, but they had no choice. She would have to make sure to do some double shifts when she came back, she hadn't done any this past week. Her mind had been on other things. She would come up with the money somehow. Now wasn't the time to be thinking about this. She didn't want to ruin this for herself or Ray.

Neela carried his stuff for him so he wouldn't have to as the three of them walked slowly out of the room. She didn't feel he should have to carry it in the condition he was in.

They went up to the desk to wait for the papers to get signed so he could leave.


A/N: Please review!! And I promise you guys won't have to wait as long for the next chapter!

Glad you guys liked the ending of the last chapter. I wanted to have something a little different. Most stories I've read always have one of our roomies just magically get better after getting shot or hurt or whatever it is, and to me that's not very realistic. I didn't originally intend to have it be the way it was, but like I said, this story has taken on a life of it's own!