Title: Coming Back

Author: AnitaB

Author's Notes: Like hell was she not coming back. Or at least that's what everyone in my head starting yelling when I finally made myself what the Alcatraz finale. So here's what happened instead. It'll end up Doc/Rebecca if the voices and I have our way. Some Emerson/Lucy too if they'll talk to me. But first, somebody's got to make it through the surgery…

Here's to hospital fic.

Oh, and I own nothing from Alcatraz and make no money. No infringement is intended.

Coming Back

By AnitaB

Chapter One: Stubbornness in the blood

He knew what it was like to lose something. He could understand completely the frustration on Hauser's back when Lucy refused to be hidden away. When she insisted on staying on the front line. It was the same frustration that he felt in every inch of his back every single time he stayed in the car while his partner, his young, petite, kickass partner chased the world's worst criminals.

But Diego knew even now that Lucy wasn't going anywhere. Just like he knew that to hold Rebecca back from chasing those criminal would never work. He knew that deep, deep in his chest. Diego couldn't even wish his amazing partner was anything other than the kickass woman she was. She would be okay. And if backing her up meant he literally had her blood on his hands, then he would figure out how to be what she needed each and every time.

And he'd start that project just as soon as she gave him that little 'it's all okay' smile from her hospital bed. Nothing else could possibly matter until that moment. He'd stand here in this waiting room for weeks if he had to until he got that smile and the strength of her tiny hand holding his.

Nothing else mattered. Diego handed Hauser the third key without the slightest wish or reluctance. All the answers he really needed were in that operating room. Hauser and Lucy could hunt down Tommy Madsen without him. They could go explore whatever answers they might find behind the bulkhead under the light house without him.

Rebecca needed him here. So here is exactly where he'd be.

As long as it took.

Hours passed. Eventually he found himself sitting while Ray took his turn pacing and holding up the walls. Diego stared down at his hands, picking at her blood under his nails. He could still feel her body in his arms. She'd tried to wrap an arm around his neck as he lifted her from the sidewalk and carried her to the front seat of her car. Rebecca had felt even tinier clinging to the front of his jacket with one hand as he'd bundled her against his chest. The first time he'd gotten his arms around her and it was because her grandfather had stabbed her in the side.

Diego hoped Hauser put a whole clip of bullets into Madsen when he found him. No amount of suffering would be enough to make up for the little pained noise Rebecca had made when he buckled her seatbelt and proceeded to break as many traffic laws as he had to on the way here.

"She's tough."

Ray stopped the same two steps from the wall he always did and turned around. "I know that. My little Rebecca has stubbornness in her blood."

Diego looked down at the evidence of that in the creases of his knuckles. /Our Rebecca.\\ He rubbed his hands together and glanced at the nurses' station. They said they'd let him know the second there was any news on her condition. But the nurse behind the counter was dodging his eyes. "She's going to pull through this. I know that."

"She'd better. I don't know what I'd do if I lost her."

/Neither do I…\\ That tiny, stubborn, amazing woman had stormed into his life and taken over every aspect of it. And no matter how hard their cases could be, no matter how ill-prepared he felt he was sometimes… he wouldn't change a minute of it before today.

Today, he'd trade anything to any devil in hell to have gotten to her side five minutes earlier. To have taken that knife for her himself if that was the only way.

Rebecca had made his life so much more than it had been before her. And he'd never gotten to tell her just how important she was…

She was going to be fine. She just had to be. "We're not losing her. Rebecca is coming back to us. I know it."

Ray turned a precise two steps from the other wall and broke his pattern. The former prison guard moved to sit across from the Alcatraz expert and comic writer. "And how are you so sure, Doc, that our Becca is coming back to us?"

Diego flinched a little at Rebecca's nickname for him on her uncle's lips. It made him wonder what the other man knew. But he couldn't know this. Not even Rebecca did. "She doesn't give up, not ever, not until she's found what she was looking for and gotten her man. Rebecca will fight like hell to get back, to get better, because she's not done yet. She hasn't gotten her answers yet, hasn't put her man in cuffs. Rebecca's coming back to us."

Ray Archer's face went still, thoughtful. And Diego suddenly remember that he'd been a cop as well as a guard and raised Rebecca mostly on his own. To have brought up such an amazing woman into an amazing cop meant the bar owner was no fool. And the closest thing his partner had to a father. Diego was suddenly uncomfortable under those eyes in a way that hours of silence and worry hadn't managed. "I think you're right, Doc. That girl of ours doesn't have any quit in her and she always gets her man."

A door on the other side of the room open and suddenly none of the awkward conversation still even existed in Diego's head. That was the ER doc who'd taken Rebecca right out of his arms.

000

He knew who came through the door by just the sudden change in Doctor Diego Soto's expression. He was a step behind in crossing the room. The Doc sure moved fast for a big fella.

"Rebecca Madsen?"

"That's us. How is she?" Ray's heart was racing in his chest. If the doctor said what he hoped to hear, then maybe he could start breathing again. If not…

"She pulled through." Relief washed through him like a flood, touching every nerve in his body. But then the doctor kept talking and his breathing stopped in his throat. "Once we got her heart restarted, she handled the surgery as well as could be expected. She's lost a lot of blood and the next few hours are critical." /Once we got her heart restarted…\\ She'd flatlined. His baby girl had … Ray felt his knees threaten to give out in the instant before a hand touched his back. He'd missed a few sentences while he'd been lost in his head and his worst nightmare. "We're giving her a transfusion to get her blood pressure back up, but right now she seems stable. We've got her all patched up, now the rest is up to her."

/Hold on, sweetheart. You have to fight.\\

His baby girl's partner was the one bracing him with one hand, the one carrying the conversation with the doctor. "When can we see her?"

"She's being transferred to a private recovery room now. But the anesthesia won't wear off for several more hours."

/I'd walk through hell just to watch her sleep.\\ He was about to say something to that effect, but the Doc beat him to it. "I don't need to question her, I need to see her. I need to touch her hand. When can I see my partner?"

"Give us a little time to get her moved and settled in. Then I'll have a nurse take the two of you to Ms. Madsen. You can see her for a few minutes, then we should let her rest."

"Whatever you say, Doctor. We'll be waiting." Ray let Doc lead the way back to their chairs and watched as he promptly buried his head in his hands. The big man took in a shaky breath and muttered the word 'restarted' several times under his breath. Now he braced the other man, rubbing a hand over his back. "He said 'restarted.' We almost lost her already."

"But we didn't lose her. She pulled through." He took a deep breath and reached deep for the words. "Our Rebecca's one hell of a fighter. You got her here fast and the doctors got her through the surgery. She's not gonna give up now."

"I should have been there, Ray. I'm her partner and I didn't get to her in time."

/Silly boy.\\ Ray had heard exactly how tight that timeline had been. This man had arrived at the scene of the stabbing on Tommy's heels. "You are the only reason Rebecca didn't bleed out on the street where he left her. You already saved her life. And she's going to need you during the recovery. Don't start doubting yourself now."

"I won't let her down again, I promise you that."

Ray remembered the tones in Rebecca's voice every time she'd mentioned her new partner in conversation. She'd started trusting and depending on him faster than any other partner she'd ever had. "I don't think you've ever let her down."

Doc was clearly about to argue when a nurse appeared at his side with a large Ziploc bag in her hands. "Ms. Madsen is settled in and ready for visitors. Here are her possessions."

Doc beat him to the bag, digging out her badge to clutch in one hand like a talisman. "Take us to her, please."

Ray found himself trailing Diego Soto and the nurse through the building, watching thick fingers rub back and forth over her name and number imprinted in brass. Yes, Rebecca would be coming back to them. Because there wasn't a chance in hell of her partner letting her go. Ray would be surprised if security managed to pry the man from her bedside in the next twelve hours.

His little girl was in good hands. Not that he wasn't going to keep an eye on the situation himself. If his little girl had finally found the guy who could keep up with her, he wasn't about to miss a minute of it. It was going to be one hell of a show.

But before anything could happen, his little girl needed to wake up and make a full recovery. He needed to see her, give her a kiss on the forehead, and hold her hand. Then he needed to take a step back and let Doctor Diego Soto do all of those things. And as hard as it would be, maybe then he should run a few errands and give the man some time alone with her. Rebecca would be here awhile in the best of healing rates. There were some things she'd need from her apartment.

"Rebecca…" Doc's steps suddenly hurried and Ray's heart caught the new rhythm and hurried in time. He turned the corner into the room just in time to see Doc clutch her hand between his own and claim a chair at her side. "I'm so sorry, Rebecca. But I'm here now and I'm not going anywhere."

Yeah, there was a good possibility that Doc wasn't going anywhere for a very, very long time. /That's my little girl.\\

000