John burst through the slightly ajar door to Evangeline’s apartment with unmatched anxiety. Close behind him Nora, Bo and Antonio followed. There had been little discussion when the phone call had come through to his office. Evangeline was alive and home and safe. He had ordered a police detail be dispatched to her residence immediately before making his exit from the police station, much like a bat out of hell. The officer had explained that his girlfriend was in bad shape, but she was safe. Apparently Evangeline had requested her savior take her home, where she had promptly requested John’s presence. John had made sure to call Michael at the hospital and request someone meet him at Evangeline’s apartment to make sure she was really alright.

“She’s pretty messed up boss,” The officer had confessed after John had jumped down his throat. But he would take her anyway he could get her, as long as she was home.

Once inside John was instantly met by familiar faces, where two of his officers stood in the middle of her living room, talking to a rather bewildered gentleman. The two cops like the man were wet from the freezing almost freezing rainfall that had started up a few minutes before.

The officers were silenced as they laid eyes on John McBain. The smart thing would have been to check in with them first, but he wasn’t thinking smart right now. Word of Evangeline’s rescue still rung in his ears and no matter what his mind told him he had to see for himself that she had been returned to him.

He started up the stairs, his long legs conquering their height in record time; he didn’t see the other man at the top of the stairs as he ascended.

“John, she’s fine.” Michael’s knew his words offer little reassurance as John pushed forcefully past his little brother and into Evangeline’s bedroom. The door to her room was open and at first all he could seed Dr. Paige Miller, she was leaning over the figure that lay in bed, one had clutching Evangeline’s tiny wrist as the other was bent upwards, allowing her to utilize the timing function on her wrist watch to check her pulse. He steadied himself with the door as he was brought to a halt by the sight before him.

Evangeline lay back on the patterned linen, her beautiful face slightly tilted. Her eyes were closed, but he could see a difference in her face. She seemed smaller, weaker even. Her hair was slightly damp and several strands were plastered to parts of her forehead and just above her chin. He knew she was asleep from the sound of her breathing, but her slumber was anything but peaceful. She seemed to make quick, twitching movements every few seconds. Beads of sweat seemed scattered across her face, only adding to her blatant restlessness. She seemed to be fighting a battle with her own body as she tossed her head from side to side.

“I just gave her something to help her sleep,” Dr. Miller spoke softly as John inched towards the bed. Dr. Miller rested Evangeline’s wrist by her side. It was then that he noticed the cuts on her arms, and an incredible gash on her neck. There were cuts and bruises everywhere, her fingers seemed painfully raw, as if she had been clawing at something…or someone.

“How is she?” He sat down slowly beside the bed, afraid to touch her. She was starting to settle down as the drug started to take effect. John’s fingers reached for her bruised wrist, caressing it between his thumb and fingers.

“They found her about forty five minutes ago,” John didn’t look up as Michael reentered the room, answering in barely a whisper “Some guy was driving down the freeway and found her. Says she came out of nowhere and she just passed out right there in the middle of the road. She was pretty beat up John.” His voice was soft as he came to stand over his brother. Michael’s heart ached as he watched his brother’s fingers link into Evangeline’s. John showed no reaction to Michael’s words as he moved the hair from her eyes, watching with unexplainable relief, as her chest rose and fell in a steady motion.

Dr. Miller’s eyes moved from her patient to the Lieutenant, and finally to Michael McBain. Michael didn’t know what to say. John had said barely two words since he had arrived on the scene. His eyes never left Evangeline as they spoke.

“John,” Dr. Miller cleared her throat. “She-she doesn’t remember anything.” She held her breath for a response but none came.

“She remembers the accident…but her thoughts are muddled. She couldn’t tell us what happened or where she was. But she was in pretty bad shape when we got here…pretty banged up, whatever happened it was bad.” Still there was silence as John’s finger held onto her even tighter. “It will probably all come back…soon. But right now she needs all the rest she can get.” Dr. Miller’s gaze shifted one last time, before she took the silence as her queue to leave.

“John did you hear what she said?” Once Paige had exited the room, Michael crouched down beside the bed, his eyes studying John’s reaction…or lack thereof. “This is serious Johnny.” When John still didn’t answer, he eventually stood up, glancing over the site of John and his girlfriend, he decide John needed some time to just be alone with the woman he loved.

As Michael closed the door behind him, Evangeline stirred. She moved her head again before resting it on her side, her eyes tilted towards John.

“John?” her eyed fluttered open, her eyes bring his face into focus.

“I’m right here.” His fingers increased their hold on hers and he felt her fingers respond to his touch. Evangeline looked up at him again even more intently.

“Don’t leave me, please.” The statement came out more as a plea, and without waiting for an answer her eyes closed again, as they sedative finally put her to rest.

John leaned in closer, his face close enough to hers to whisper his response into her ear.

“Never.” His voice was shaky as he said the word. He watched to make sure she was finally asleep before letting his head rest in his hands. And for the first time in what seemed like forever John McBain let himself weep over the what if’s that had tortured him since Evangeline had first disappeared.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t better help.” Evangeline was sitting up in bed as Bo questioned her, beside her in the bed; John sat with his arm pulling her towards him. He squeezed her to offer some reassurance. They had been at this all morning. As soon as Evangeline was well enough to talk, Bo had taken it upon himself to head the investigation into her abduction. He had forcefully removed John from the case, knowing he was too emotionally involved and that he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

John hadn’t had the will to protest. All he could think of was that no matter what the commissioner ordered, he would make someone pay for what ever had been done to her.

It had been two days, and still she couldn’t remember anything about the bruises, the cuts and scratches, the man who had supposedly carried her off into the night, and most importantly she had no recollection of what had transpired over the days she had been missing.

“I don’t know what to say,” There was a sense of frustration in her voice. Her eyes turned to John, who was trying so hard to not pressure her. But Evangeline was doing a fine job of being hard on herself. How could she not remember? HOW?

“It’s like I’ve got all these missing pieces in my memory and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to piece them back together.” Evangeline was trying to be brave in front of her friends and John, especially John. She didn’t want him to worry, the way she knew he would. The kind of worry where he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Consistently he had been the first face she laid eyes on as she had drifted in and out of sleep. He had spent every waking moment by her side, anchoring her to reality. Evangeline couldn’t even begin imagine how helpless he must feel, just sitting there, not able to do a thing…

“It will come back,” Nora was sitting on the bed closest to her. “You heard what Paige said. Sometimes when people suffer traumatic experiences there is bound to be some memory loss.” Evangeline sighed deeply at Nora’s words. It was what everyone had been telling her for the last few days, but she didn’t buy it. Nobody understood what it was like being inside her head, feeling like you were losing your mind. But every time she tried to remember, something seemed to block the memories she tried to recover.

“The important thing is that you’re ok. Everything will come back in time.” Bo winked at her as he got up to leave. “I better get back to the station, I’ll stop by tomorrow and see how you feel.” Evangeline nodded as John got up to see the commissioner off, instantly Nora was at her bedside.

“Now, I know that John is staying with you for a while…but if you need anything and I mean anything-”

“I won’t hesitate to call,” Evangeline put on her best smile as her best friend leaned in for a hug.

“Thank you.” She whispered. Nora had taken care of everything with work, offering to spend ever possible moment at Evangeline’s bedside. She had brought, food, and flowers and magazine’s, even Matthew in an attempt to cheer her up. Evangeline was grateful for her friendship and how much effort she had put into being there for her.

“It’ll come back,” Nora said as she pulled away, sensing a sadness emanating from her friend.

“That’s what everyone keeps saying,” she sighed. “But I feel so useless. I mean, I see all of you and how everyone was so worried about me. I see the look on John’s face, and my heart breaks into a million pieces. It’s like Caitlin all over again and that’s the last thing I ever wanted him to go through.”

“That’s what people do when their in love.” Nora grinned, in an effort to relax her friend. Evangeline managed a smile in response to her friend’s kind words. “Look, it’s late, I’ll check on you tomorrow.” She got up and walked towards the door.

“And get some rest,” Nora yelled back just as John reentered the room.

“You ok?” He sat beside her on the bed, as one hand moved to caress her face. Evangeline merely nodded as she reveled in the feel of his fingers on her skin. He watched her moment, at a loss for words to describe just how grateful he was that she was here.

“Mike called, he’s gonna send a nurse over to check on you tonight since asked him ever so politely to get lost.” Evangeline smiled. She had been joking earlier that day when she had instructed Michael to go away and stop fawning over her. But she had had her fill of sickbeds, hospital rooms and doctors and nurses. All she wanted now was to sit here with John and just be.

“I’m sorry,” She said suddenly, turning toward him.

“For what?” He watched her closely, and Evangeline saw the same fear in his eyes that she had recognized when she had first woke.

“For everything. My memory…all I remember is you and me at the hospital and this huge fight and…” Her voice quivered as she spoke.

“It’s over,” he half-smiled, “None of that matters now as long as you’re here.” The softness of his words made her heart ache, and for the first in what seemed like forever, Evangeline enjoyed the welcomed taste of John’s lips as he kissed her. Both hands cupped her face as his tongue delved into the welcoming depth of her warmth mouth, forcing her fingers to seek to bury themselves in his hair to steady herself.

The doorbell rang and John pulled away, just enough so that his lips rested on her forehead, his breath hot on her face as thy both struggled to control their breathing.

“Saved by the bell…” she giggled.

“No kidding,” He reluctantly moved to stand, “that’s probably the nurse; I’ll show her in and get you something to eat.”

Evangeline leaned back against the pillows, flustered. Her memory might be a little whacky but that she would never forget, the way her heart melted every time John McBain kissed her. She only wished she could remember enough to help him figure out what happened to her. She knew he was keeping something from her, but then again they all seemed guarded. Nobody knew what to say or what to do, the situation was so strange, so disturbing. The bandaged cuts on her arms scared her, not to mention the bruises everywhere, and her fingers…

Please help me remember… she pleaded to nobody in particular.

Moments later, she was still staring at the bruises as a knock came from the door. As she beckoned the knocker in, she watched as slim blonde woman entered her room, smiling sweetly as she did so. The moment Evangeline saw the woman’s face her body froze. Her blood pumped ridiculously through her veins as her heartbeat quickened and every muscle in her body was paralyzed with fear. She wanted to move but she couldn’t. All she could think about was the woman walking towards her and the loud drumming of her heart.

The nurse sat down beside her, smiling as she reached to tuck a loose strand behind her ear.

“Hello Evangeline,” Celia smiled at the still figure before her. She took Evangeline’s hand in one of hers, as with the other she produced a small syringe from the medical bag she was carrying. Evangeline watched with horror as the syringe was plunged into her upper arm and emptied. Instantly she relaxed against the headrest.

“That’s better,” Celia was still smiling, quickly replacing the empty syringe and closing her bag. “I have a job for you.” She continued.

“It’s a message, for you’re beloved John McBain.”

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