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STANDARD PROCEDURE

Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Standard Procedure
Author: marinw
Characters: Jack/Bill
Spoilers: Day 6 Debrief Mobisodes
Rating: PG
Summary: Set right after the Day 6 Debrief. Jack and Bill finally discuss what happened in China.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Note to the 24 PTB: If your material inspires fanfiction, that’s a good sign. It shows we still care.
A/N: xbedhead recently wrote that fresh canon material “...can shoot your own version of canon to hell.” Point taken. The Debrief effectively invalidates my earlier fics “Turning the Tables” and “Fallout.” Such are the perils of 24 fandom. A shout-out to catch22girl, who challenged me to write some Day 6 H/C.



How dare they.

That single phrase played itself over and over in Jack’s pounding head as he made his way through the dark corridors of District. Everyone gave him a wide berth. Good.

I didn’t betray Marcus. I didn’t talk at all. Why can’t anyone believe me?

He needed to get out of there.

But as soon as Jack reached the stairwell he felt a sting at the back of his neck. He quickly pulled the dart away, but it was too late. Dammit. He sank to his knees. As his vision grew fuzzy he could see a familiar face, a face with strong cheekbones and blue eyes. Bill. He wore almost the same expression as he had on the previous morning when Jack had first arrived back in the States. That couldn’t be good.

••••

He awoke suddenly. He was lying in bed, which was still a distinctly unfamiliar experience. The fat pillows underneath his head and shoulders and the springs of the mattress felt impossibly lumpy after so many months of sleeping on the bare floor.

For a moment Jack thought he was back in his apartment. But this room was different, spare and clean and smelling, very faintly, of antiseptic. The scent almost made him gag. He kicked off the sheets and blanket, he appreciated the warmth but found their weight oppressive. He was grateful to discover that he was dressed in a set of green surgical scrubs rather then one of those ridiculous hospital gowns. At least someone respected his dignity.

Diffuse natural light made its way through the large window. How long had he been here?

Jack felt a tug on his left hand, and was alarmed to discover himself attached to an IV. There was a large bag of something attached to a smaller bag of something else. A lead on his middle finger led to a monitor. He felt himself starting to panic. IVs and monitors were instruments of interrogation, something with which Jack was far too familiar. He instinctively reached over to pull out the tube.

“Leave that alone.” Ordered a familiar voice.

Bill had just entered the room. He was dressed casually in a dark turtleneck sweater and jeans. He looked tired.

“I convinced the good people here not to put you in restraints. Please don’t make me regret that.” Bill glanced towards the IV stand. “That’s just saline and antibiotics. And a little something extra for the pain. Nothing to be concerned about.”

“Where are we?” Jack demanded.

“A small clinic in Monterey. All the hospitals in Los Angeles are bursting at the seams, and I know you wouldn’t react well to being sent to CTU medical. So Karen called in a few favors, and I brought you here in a chopper. I know these people, Jack. We can trust them.”

“Why I am here?”

“You know why. You were gone for twenty months. This is standard procedure. This is something that should have been done as soon as you got back. So we’re doing it now.”

Jack tried to digest this new information. He had no reason not to trust Bill. But he still couldn’t allow himself to relax. He had to get his bearings.

“What time is it?”

“About 10 am. The drug wore off some time ago. You’re just tired.”

“They didn’t have to tranq me. I would have cooperated.”

Bill poured a cup of water and handed it to Jack. Then he pulled up a chair and sat down. “That was Burke’s idea. They had to sedate you anyway, just to get you through the examination.”

“What did they do to me?”

“The usual: Photos and X-rays. An MRI. Some bloodwork. You have a mild concussion, the stab wounds in your shoulder are infected, and there are some floating rib fragments they’re concerned about. There are the…other injuries. You’re also rather dehydrated, malnourished and anemic. The doctor is amazed you were still walking around. So you’re staying here for a few days. No arguments.”

Jack took a sip of water and immediately felt nauseas. He put the cup back on the bedside table. He noticed that Bill was holding a file. A file with his name on it.

“The bloodwork. What did it say?”

“There are trace amounts of all sorts of drugs still in your system. Drugs that match the inventory Cheng gave us. Including sodium pentothal. Jack, I’m sorry.”

“Dammit.”

“I thought you deserved to know.”

Jack found himself blinking back tears. “I didn’t talk, Bill,” he whispered desperately. “I didn’t say anything. I would never betray Marcus. I wouldn’t do that. You have to believe me.”

“You don’t remember talking. I believe that. I saw Ramirez’s interrogation tape. I understand why you were so upset.”

“I was upset because I was cuffed to a chair and Burke tried to inject me. I was cooperating. I was telling him everything. He didn’t need to use those tactics.”

“It’s a little late in the game to start criticizing our interrogation techniques. Burke didn’t do anything to you that haven’t ordered done to your own suspects.”

Including my own brother. Jack immediately shut himself off from that line of thought. He couldn’t process Graem’s death. Not yet.

Bill continued. “You’re upset because you know that Ramirez and Burke are right. There are gaps in your memory. I saw how you looked when you got off the plane two days ago. I’ve read the medical report. I have some idea what Cheng did to you. You’ve been through hell. You may have given up Marcus, but it wasn’t your fault. No one is holding you personally responsible. District just needs to know what happened.”

“Then ask Cheng.”

“They have. He seems to be cooperating.”

“Let me interrogate Cheng. I had a lot of time to observe him. I know how he thinks.”

“That’s one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.”

“Bill, you need to leave. You need to go before I say something I regret.”

“No.”

“Don’t you have anything better to do?”

“Not really.”

“Bill, you’re wasting your time. If you’re feeling guilty babysitting me isn’t going to help.”

“You’re right, Jack, I do feel guilty. We abandoned you. I abandoned you. Nothing can make up for what happened to you in China, and I’m not going to ask you to forgive me. But let me take care of you now.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not even close to fine. I know you just want to disappear. I respect that. I’ll even help. But not until I know you’re all right.” Bill took a deep breath. “I’m sending someone in to talk to you. A specialist.”

“You mean a shrink. That won’t help me remember anything about Marcus. I can’t remember what didn’t happen.”

“This isn’t about Marcus Holt. It’s about you. A psyche exam is…”

“Standard procedure. I know. Bill, please. Just go. Leave me alone. That’s all I want.”

Bill stood up. “Get some rest. I’ll come back later.”

Jack grunted.

Bill looked sad as he left the room.

Jack let out a huge breath and fell back against the pillows. No one was holding him prisoner. He wasn’t restrained. The door and window had been left open. Hospitals were full of things that could be used as weapons. He could leave if he wanted to.

But he realized he had nowhere to go. He couldn’t go back to his apartment. That was the first place Ramirez would look. He closed his eyes but tried to fend off sleep. If he slept his mind would go back to China. It was as if part of him was still there. He wanted to leave but he didn’t know how. Maybe he did need to talk to the shrink.

Jack tried to think. He tried to decide what his next move should be, what he should do now.

He had no idea.

END

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