Through a Wall
Title: Through a Wall
Character(s) or Pairing: Ray/Neela
Prompt: #7 – Both Sides
Summary: Various points in Neela and Ray’s lives from “I Do” to “Lost in America”.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any recognisable characters, and they are used here without permission. ER belongs to Michael Crichton, John Wells, Amblin Entertainment, Warner Brothers and a bunch of other people all of whom are richer than me.
A/N: Spoilers up to 12.17.
Beta: fc2001 thank you so much Fi!
***I never thought it was possible to lose someone before they were even yours… I know different now. I always thought that what we have – had - was one of those things that would always be there, but one day it would change and become something more. That can’t happen anymore. She’s not mine. Never has been. I just didn’t know it. I’d always thought Michael was someone she used as a barrier from getting hurt by people who were actually there. Not anymore. She’s Michael’s now.
Ray looked up from his journal and snorted. She’d even gotten him writing out his thoughts like some pathetic loser. He reached for the bottle of beer on his nightstand and took a long swig. Suddenly, he heard a noise, almost like a giggle. That wasn’t right. Neela doesn’t giggle. Does she?
“Michael, we can’t.”
“Come on Neela, he’s probably asleep by now, and anyway… we’re newlyweds.”
She squealed, “Michael! Stop it! Oh… ok, then.”
Ray sighed and reached for the earplugs that also lay on the nightstand. He made a note in his journal to ask Kovac for some alternate shifts to Neela.Maybe going back to the old plan will get things back.
***I think they had their first fight tonight, they were supposed to be looking at some apartment. They came back, he went straight to bed and Neela sat up and drank half my beer, admittedly I sat there with her and drank the other half. Is it horrible of me that I feel good right now? Everything isn’t all right in paradise and I want to dance across the ER with Haleh and Morris singing in the background.
Ray reached for the beer on his nightstand, the last of his stash, and took a swig. Going back to the old plan hadn’t worked. Kovac wouldn’t let him switch shifts and Morris was being an ass about it all. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to hear anything through the wall tonight. Then again, maybe he was wrong. Her bed was creaking.
“Mi-Michael… stop it, I’m angry at you.”
“No. Not when we’re angry. We need to talk about this.”
“We talked already, Neela!”
Ray put in the earplugs. This was new; things were bad, but it didn’t make him happy. Sure, in the long run, them fighting would be good – for him – but Neela was hurting right now. That was never a good thing.
***He’ll be gone tomorrow, flies out in the afternoon. She doesn’t talk about it to me, to Abby, to anyone. I can see it on her face though, she doesn’t know whether to cry or laugh or be relieved or pissed off… she’s confused. And there’s nothing I can do to help her. He’s certainly not doing anything to help; I asked him yesterday if he knew how much he was hurting her. He looked at me like I was scum and told me she was his wife and he knew her better than anyone, no matter what anyone else thought, let alone me.
Ray took another swig of the beer already in his hand; there hadn’t been much noise through the wall in the last few nights. Maybe there wouldn’t be any more tonight. Nah.
He wasn’t that lucky.
“No. I don’t want to talk about this again. Let’s just agree to disagree.”
There was a creaking noise as someone turned over.
“I’m in early tomorrow, let me sleep Michael.”
“I love you.”
“I know. That’s not the point.”
***It’s been weird lately. Michael’s gone but I’ve not seen more of Neela, she’s been on weird shift patterns ‘cause of her rotation. When she does get back she’s bitchy, she says it’s ‘cause Albright’s ragging on her, but that can’t be all of it, can it? I know my girl; she wouldn’t let something like that get her down. Yeah, I know I just called her mine; but somehow it feels like maybe I was wrong before – it’s me she’s living with, isn’t it?
Ray grabbed the bottle from the floor and took a swig of the beer. He heard a noise through the wall, it sounded like sobbing. His face contorted into a look of pain. There was no way she would let him go in there and comfort her. He couldn’t put in the earplugs either – that would be like blocking out her pain and he couldn’t do that.
***How is it that something as small as her hand on my leg while we watch a show I taped for her after she’d had a crappy day makes me giddy? Is that how far gone I am. I told her I’d do anything for her, my roomie. Does she know it’s more than that? I lied to her, told her I had a date. As if – not when she’s right there. I can’t do that anymore.
He wasn’t alone in his room drinking beer. What he was doing was dangerous. She’d never let him hear the end of it if she saw his journal, not to mention what could happen if she ever read it. But he just couldn’t leave her by herself to sleep on the couch. He’d gone and gotten his journal, and a blanket to cover her with, and returned to his seat, letting her lean against him again.
She jolted awake, “Ray?”
He slipped the journal out of her eye line and answered, “Yeah?”
She yawned, “What time is it?”
“Uh, half past two.”
“Wow. I’m going to go to bed. Night Ray.”
“Best sleep I’ve had in months.” She muttered as she crossed to her room, not realising Ray could hear her.
***Where did it go wrong? We were good yesterday, even this morning, even if she was jumpy over her lecture. She got back and said she thought she needed to move out and that I knew why. Then she retreated into her room. She damn near ran to it! It’s even worse than that, I do know why. I even understand. She’s married, she can’t be living here right now, and she needs to get her head clear so she can think. So she can make up her mind. This time I had a chance and I’ve lost her again.
Ray was back in his old habits. He had had only a few weeks break from them and here he was back writing in his journal, in bed, drinking beer from the bottle. He sighs, puts the bottle and the journal on the nightstand, turns out the light and lays back.
He doesn’t want to hear through the wall tonight, and he knows he won’t. She’s already cried herself to sleep.
***“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”