Why in the last episode did Lara quit? It seemed out of character

She turned back, one last look at rescue she promised herself. Dean stood there, tears glistening in his eyes. A look of desperation about him, arms at his side. It would be so easy to run to him, cry into those strong arms and pretend the last few days hadn't happened but she couldn't. She couldn't let him in; it would hurt too much when he left.

"I'm sorry Dean" Lara whispered, before walking away from rescue forever.

She climbed into her car. It seemed empty without the rescue gear sitting on her back seat but she'd have to get us to it from now on.

Arriving home she looked round, she just couldn't do this anymore.

Dean sighed, something wasn't right but with Lara not opening up there was little he could do. Vince came out slapping Dean on the back

"What's up mate?" he asked

"Lara left and she isn't coming back" Dean told him glumly

"Sometimes you got to let them go, Lara has to work stuff out for herself. Come on I'll buy you a beer" Dean nodded, appreciating the gesture. Time with the team was just what he needed.

Arriving at the bar the team began healing the wounds left by Lara's absence.

The next morning Jordan and Heidi were cleaning the truck when a police car pulled up. Out jumped 2 officers both wearing uniforms indicating they were patrol. One was older his hair greying, he had a wariness that told everyone he was just waiting to retire, the other was younger and practically screamed newbie he was that green. Heidi saw them first dropping her sponge into the bucket and walking over

"Can I help you?" she asked politely watching as the newbie eyed her up. She ignore him use to creeps like that

"Yes were looking for a Lara Knight, we believe she works here?" the older of the 2 asked glaring as his partner to tone it down before he drooled

"She isn't here, she quit yesterday can I help?" Heidi asked wondering why they were looking for Lara it wasn't like she was the type of person who would get herself into trouble

"Not really, can we talk to someone in charge?"

"Sure I'll show you to the office, is Lara in trouble?" Heidi questioned slightly scared for her friend,

"Maybe" was all that they said.

They reached Michelle's office. Michelle closing the door, Vince came up behind her

"What did they want?" he asked

"They're looking for Lara" Heidi said very confused and worried

"They tell you why?" He questioned

"No"

They waiting watching as Michelle spoke to the officers she was sat behind the desk but appeared tense, she then rang someone, but didn't seem to get a response. Finally she opened the door,

"Get me Dean" she ordered before slamming the door. Vince went straight away to the gym where Dean was working out, he was lifting weights with Lachie spotting above him.

"Dean, Michelle wants you in her office immediately"

"Why?" Dean asked lifting the weight back onto its stand,

"Don't know mate, there some cops there though" Vince told him not missing the look of confusion and worry as he glanced over at both his brothers. Vince walked up with him hoping that his presence offered some comfort.

Dean entered the office, knocking first.

"Michelle" he greeted, "You wanted to see me" he didn't miss the tension in her face.

"Yes, how did Lara seem yesterday?"

"Upset, but she had almost died and was quitting rescue" Dean said the worry in his gut only growing

"What about before that?"

"Quiet slightly withdrawn, why Michelle what is going on?" he asked not being able to take the tension anymore

"Lara's dad died the day the garage exploded, Lara had just finished visiting and left upset. Staff heard an argument between them. The police just want to ask her some questions but her house is packed up. With quitting her job she has now become a person at risk, we need to find her"

"What? How did he die?" Dean asked

"Natural causes we think, we just needed to ask why she didn't report to the staff. According to reports she just left"

"She had just seen her father die" Dean defended

"It's ok Dean, there is no suspicion of foul play there just ticking boxes. We need you to think, where would Lara have gone?" Michelle asked Dean who drew a blank, he wanted to say to me but it obviously wasn't.

"I don't know"

"I want you to go to her house see if anything is missing, try to think where she could have gone" Michelle ordered,

Dean was out of the office running, without him explaining anything the team fell in behind him all they knew was that Lara was in trouble. They all climbed into the 2 cars Vince included. On the way Dean filled them in on what had gone on, Michelle helping via the radio. There was sympathy, worry and a little anger that Lara hadn't told them what was going on.

Arriving at Lara's house they split up. Each taking a room,

"Her climbing gear is gone" Heidi reported

"Her car is also gone, and her camping stuff" Chase noted.

"Right so we just need to work out where she'd go camping with climbing gear" Vince planned.

Dean was looking at the photos on the wall by her desk.

"Norva, she use to climb there with her dad, it's only 2 hours from here"

"Right Dean, Lachie, Chase I want you to drive out there bring her back, Jordan, Heidi I need you two to stay here to cover" Vince ordered. Reluctantly they nodded.

Wasting no time they were in the truck driving down to Norva hoping that's where she was. Dean sat looking out the window trying to remember anything Lara had said about her climbing.

"She used to go with her mum and dad climbing most holidays. Her mum died and they didn't go for a while, then 5 years after on the anniversary, she went with her dad. They climbed up the top and that's where she told him she didn't want to do gymnastics. She said he just walked away so she sat there under the stars at the top of the cliff. The next morning rescue showed up and when she left school she joined them." Dean recited putting together pieces that Lara had told him

"Did she say where?" Lachie asked

"No but there should be a report, if it was with rescue" he radioed

"Vince we need footnotes I think Lara was rescued from Norva a few years back pre rescue"

"She was, Top peak it's a hard climb be careful"

"Ok Vince" if Dean was suspicious on how quickly Vince had found the information he didn't let on.

"Be aware Dean there are storm warnings out."

"Ok Vince step on it Chase" Dean ordered.

They pulled up into the car park automatically they grabbed the gear. A light rain was falling, getting heavier.

"That's Lara's car" Chase pointed out, confirming at least she had been here and they were on the right track.

"Means we are on the right track, come on it is that way" Dean led, the other two following.

"Reminds me of when we were little, those camping trips dad took us all on" Chase reminisced,

"We were pretty lucky" Dean mused

"Yep you were you had amazing brothers" Lachie joked.

"What about Lara, when did her mum you know?" Chase asked, Lara had always been tight lipped as to her past,

"She died when Lara was 10, she never said how. She didn't get on very well with her dad. He pushed her hard into gymnastics, but she knew she wasn't good enough. After she refused to go further I think he cut her out of his life."

"Wow, tough break" Lachie sympathised.

"This is the beginning of the climb" Chase noted as the rain poured down they were all soaked but nobody was complaining, "There is an easier route left comes out nearby lots safer" it was slower too but he left that unsaid. They could see the rock face Lara would have used, very few rocks, lots of overhang and little or no footholds, the one they would use was round the corner, it was a lot less steep and had obvious footholds.

Dean weighed up the options; as much as he wanted to go up the more dangerous path in the rain he knew it was madness, he couldn't ask his team, his brothers to do that.

"Ok come on" he ordered setting up the ropes. It went without saying that Dean was to go first. Lachie called dibbs going next,

Lighting and thunder began half way up. The ground becoming treacherous, Vince was on the radio asking the conditions. Dean knew they wouldn't make it, at least not without injuries

"We can't get up the storm is too bad" he reported, angry with himself for not being able to get there and with Lara for running off.

"Ok sit tight for now, it looks like the storm should pass in about an hour" Vince radioed,

"Dean I got a chopper it will be there in 3 hours" Michelle added. They waited in the truck each changing into their spare uniform drying the wet ones in the back. As soon as the rain had died to a sprinkling they were back out retracing the path. As they passed the cliff face Lara would have traversed they saw signs of a rock fall.

"We go carefully" Dean announced aware this made the rescue potentially harder.

Again Dean went first this time determined he would reach the top.

He did, unhooking himself, he carefully walked in the direction where the other climb should have come out. Sitting there were ropes and a climbers bag with no Lara. He radioed

"I found some of her gear, but no signs of Lara"

"Ok have a look round see if you can see her," Vince replied

Dean walked round the hard rock making it hard to track. Its barren on top, no trees or bushes just rocks, lots and lots of rocks. By this the time he'd checked the immediate area Chase and Lachie had joined him.

"OK we split up, remember she is vulnerable and after a storm like that she may be hurt," Dean forewarned.

Dean took the left towards the sunset. He walked looking for any sign of any activity. Meeting the others they all back tracked

"Vince did the report say exactly where Lara was found the first time?" he asked

"It was a ledge on the west side, about a meter down"

"OK" Dean ran carefully to the west side lying down on his front. Looking down he saw the ledge it looked empty, but next it was disturbed mud.

"Lara" he shouted,

"Dean?" he heard shouted back "What are you doing here?"

"We know Lara, were here to bring you home, Chase Lachie I found her"

"Dean, I'm trapped" he could hear the panic in her voice

"Ok Lara I'm coming down where are you trapped?"

"My leg some rocks fell on top, I'm pretty stuck Dean"

By this time the ropes were set up, Dean was attached and ready to go down having filled Michelle and Vince in on the situation

"Ok I'm coming down, cover your eyes"

He abseiled the short distance landing on the ledge where the rest of Lara's gear was left scattered. From there he abseiled further down the rock face catching his first glimpse of Lara battered and bruised and most definitely trapped.

She was hanging nearly upside down, her leg was anchored in a natural gap in the rock. On top sat bigger rocks around the edge he could see blood seeping down the rock face.

First priority was getting her safe, luckily she was wearing a climbing harness so he attached her to his rope.

"Chase Lachie, she is trapped pretty well, I need one of you down here" Dean radioed before filling everyone in.

"Her leg is trapped below knee, there is blood it appears broken maybe dislocated as well. She is hanging at a 120 degree angle, I've secured her and am about to do my full survey" Dean reported. "Ok Lara I'm Dean" he joked, it was worth it as she grinned and rolled her eyes at him.

"Dean I'm sorry I just needed to get out of there, get some space" Lara told him,

"It's ok, we'll talk later. Now where does it hurt?"

"My leg,"

"Ok where else, did you bash your head or have any pain in your neck."

"My head hurts I didn't black out, no neck pain but I feel dizzy probably from being upside down for so long, I have grazes to my back and hands but that's it Dean"

"OK, Lara I'm going to go have a look at that leg see if we can get it free. Lachie is here too" he told her as Lachie came down.

"We need to get these rocks off this leg and get her out of here" Dean whispered

"How bad it is?" Lachie asked

"Bad, when we get her up we'll need to get an IV in splint the leg and take it slow, we need to get her out of here fast, she has already been hanging upside down for too long," they were risking her passing out, they both knew it.

"Right we need to take the weight off the knee and start shifting the rocks. I'll try getting a line in and some pain killer" Dean planned. He lowered himself back down to Lara, she wordlessly gave him her arm.

"I know it's bad Dean. Arrgghhhhh" She screamed as Lachie moved a rock off her leg.

"Dean" Lachie called his voice reflecting it was something important. Dean climbed up

"I can't see her leg, but there is a lot of blood, if I move this rock we better be ready to move quickly" Lachie told him, trying to keep calm.

"Ok Chase get ready to pull us up quickly" Dean ordered squeezing the IV bag into Lara's veins.

"Dean I can't pull all 3 of you" Chase protested

"Pull up Lara, Lachie and I will climb it" Dean ordered before focusing back on Lara

"This is going to hurt" he apologised

"I know just do it Dean," Lara said her focus slipping, she just felt so dizzy and her head was spinning, "I feel so tired Dean"

"Just hold on Lara" Dean ordered keeping the panic out of his voices,

"Why?" she whispered before slipping into unconsciousness

"Because I love you" Dean replied his response going unheard "Right go Lachie" Dean ordered, Lachie lifted the heavy stone and immediately applied pressure

"Chase pull" Lachie ordered, as he secured the dressing, Lara jerked upwards her harness secure as Dean and Lachie raced up beside her.

Arriving at the top first Dean helped Chase to pull Lara up. At the top Dean began hooking her up to monitors, it wasn't good, her pulse was fast, her breathing laboured and fast with her oxygen levels low, her blood pressure was holding steady but Dean knew it wasn't going to be for long. Dehydration, blood loss and hypothermia was taking its toll.

"Chase squeeze in those fluids, Lachie how does the leg look?" Dean asked

"I don't think it's broken but it's a nasty cut" Lachie said

"OK can we move her?" Dean asked, Chase and Lachie nodded Chase assembling the stretcher

"Dean how is she?" Michelle radioed,

"Not good Michelle, blood pressure 110/65, pulse 165, resp rate 32, temp 34.9, GCS is dropping currently 7/15 we are trying to warm her up and give her fluids but we need an ambulance standing by or a helicopter"

"Heidy-Ho is on her way ETA 10minutes" Vince said, Dean nodded it wasn't ideal but it was quicker than the land ambulance.

"Come on Lara hang on" he whispered as he tugged the oxygen mask back into place, "Chase another Hartmans, Lachie how is the bleeding?"

"Slowing I think" Lachie said,

"We are running low on fluids Dean" Chase reported worry creeping into his tone,

"Give her what we have got Chase Heidi is nearly here" Dean said, trying to keep calm, rechecking her temperature relieved to discover it was going up.

"Dean" Lara muttered coming back slightly the fluids doing their job in rehydrating her,

"Lara were here, you're going to be ok" Dean promised "Just hold on"

"Love you Dean" Lara muttered, Chase and Lachie ignored the comment still focusing on trying to get Lara through this

"I know Lara I love you too and when you get better we are going to sit down and have a talk about all of this" Dean promised

"You won't leave will you?" Lara muttered,

"Never," Dean said firmly,

"Dad left" Lara cried still confused and disorientated

"We know, it's why we came looking for you"

"He was angry at me, said I shouldn't have done rescue, but if I hadn't I wouldn't have met you" Lara babbled

"It's ok Lara," Dean reassured, Lara nodded trusting her partner.

"Kay Dean" Lara replied sleepily, overhead they heard the helicopter approaching, Chase radioed it into position as Lachie and Dean secured Lara safely. Wordlessly it was agreed Dean would go with her to the hospital as he harnessed himself to the stretcher. Giving the signal he felt himself lift up and began the ascent to the helicopter.

Arriving he quickly handed over to the on board doctor aiding him in getting her settled on board. In no time at all they were landing on the helipad, a trauma team was standing by ready whisking Lara off into the rhesus department as soon as they had landed. Dean waited outside while Heidi returned the helicopter and returned, Vince, Michelle and Jordan in tow.

"How is she?" Michelle asked concerned,

"Still waiting it has been 40minutes" Dean said trying not to get impatient,

"What happened Dean?" Michelle asked. Dean told them everything, by the end he felt exhausted and even more worried about Lara it had been over an hour since they had arrived! Finally the doors to the relatives room opened and a doctor appeared.

"Are you guys rescue with a Lara Knight?" he asked

"Yes how is she?" Michelle asked taking the lead

"Better, we have given her 2 units of blood, which has stabilised her, we are currently awaiting theatre to become free as we need to wash out, debride and stitch up her leg, but it appears currently that she should regain full use of the leg." The doctor said

"When can I see her?" Dean questioned,

"After the operation, she is currently being made ready" The doctor said firmly, they weren't family and she was definitely not looking her best.

"How long will the operation be?" Dean persisted

"A few hours minimum, we can ring you if you want from the ward once we are done" The doctor recommended. Only Michelle's calming hand on Deans shoulder stopped him from having an argument with the doctor.

"We'll wait at the station, Chase and Lachie will be back soon," Michelle decided. She knew from experience the hospital wouldn't move on this and it would be hours. The surgery would take 90minutes if there was no complication but with such a dirty wound it could easily take longer, then there was recovery, she'd be there for a minimum of an hour but realistically it would be 2 or 3 which made 4-5 in total without complications.

Reluctantly Dean nodded knowing Michelle made sense plus by the time they were finished and she was settled on the ward it would be after 1am it was unlikely they would allow visitors anyway. Sighing he collected his kit. Heidi drove them back to the station. Waiting was Jordan, Chase and Lachie. They ordered pizza and sat talking the mood glum. Every hour Dean would ring the hospital but there was no news for 4 hour, then the news came she had made it through, it had gone well and would be on the ward shortly. One by one the rescue crew left to go home aware they were working later on that day. Dean was the first to leave, going to Lara's house and packing her a bag of clothes and toiletries he planned to drop them in early the next day before work.

Despite being sure he wouldn't sleep well he did drifting off into a peaceful slumber.

Lara awoke in pain her leg screaming in agony. Remembering where she was she buzzed the nurse who came and speedily have her morphine which sent her straight back to sleep. The next time she awoke was to someone calling her name, dazed she opened her eyes, the nurse took her observations before letting her sleep again. This continued overnight in the morning she sat up ready, she wanted to get home. Vaguely she remembered the rescue although it seemed more of a dream, had she really told Dean she loved him? She just couldn't remember clearly. In fact all the events of the last few days seemed fuzzy, then it all came back to her, before she could panic Dean was there at her side.

"Hey Lara" he greeted, ignoring her panicked expression,

"Dean, you're here" Lara exclaimed

"The nurses let me sneak in, I can't be long though how are you feeling?" he asked

"I'm ok" Lara said her response more automatic than thoughtful. "Did my dad really die?" she asked half hoping it was a nightmare.

"Yes" Dean replied,

"He said rescue was a mistake, that he was disappointed in me and that I was only a liability to you all" Lara admitted not meeting Dean's eyes terrified of what she would see in them "I shouted at him, and he died. I killed him Dean" Lara sobbed. Dean hugged her tightly rocking her.

"It wasn't your fault" he soothed until she stopped crying. "You should have told us though instead of running off on your own"

"I know, I'm sorry" Lara said, "I just needed space and I didn't want you guys to be disappointed"

"You know that couldn't happen right" Dean checked, Lara said nothing to ashamed to look up. "Lara," he said firmly.

"Sorry,"

"Good, I won't ever leave you Lara I promise" Dean told her "Right I have to go the nurses are glaring at me so I got to go I need to check in with rescue and then I need to get quotes for my bathroom. I found a woman I want to keep" Dean said making Lara smile. He kissed her cheek before leaving.

It took weeks of physiotherapy and antibiotics before Lara was discharged the wound having gotten infected from the dirt that the mountain had ingrained in her wound. By the time she was discharged Dean had put a new bathroom in. The police had been satisfied that it was a natural death, a blood clot in his leg had travelled into his brain causing a huge stroke. Lara had also spoken to Michelle and managed to take a leave of absence from rescue it gave her time to heal and see where the relationship with Dean was going.

The end