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THE BEAST IN CHAINS 1/4

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: The Beast In Chains, Chapter 1
Author: marinw
Rating: R for violence
Characters: Renee/Jack/Chloe
Summary: Day 8 AU, from the last act of 8x17
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of Fox, whose creation I both love and hate.
A/N: A WIP denial-fic because I like to pretend that the back third of Day 8 never happened. Thanks to my beta cybertoothtiger. Thanks as well to paladin24,kcountess and leigh57 for their suggestions and enabling.

Renee pulled on a pair of Jack’s boxer shorts. She pulled one of his white shirts out of a nearby suitcase and buttoned it on over her bra.

he was reasonably sure he wouldn’t mind.

After drinking a few glasses of water Jack and Renee had gone back to bed. Now Jack was sleeping, the white sheet wrapped about his waist, peaceful and seemingly un-self-conscious of the fading scars across his back.

Renee couldn’t have slept if she tried.

Coffee. Jack had mentioned coffee.

Renee tiptoed out into the main room of the apartment, which contained the combined kitchen and living room. The mid-morning light bathed the room in a soft glow.

It was almost if last night had never happened.

On the counter she found a reasonable coffee maker, but only a jar of instant coffee.

Instant coffee? It figured. She was also sure that there was almost no food here. Maybe they could go out for a late breakfast? Renee smiled at the thought.

Renee filled the kettle. She was about to turn the gas on when she heard the phone ringing from the bedroom.

It must have been Chloe, getting back to her about the Samir and his suspected Russian contact.

“Yeah?” Renee heard Jack say into the phone. “Okay, sure. I’ll get her…”

And then she heard it.

The sound of bullets penetrating the glass. Two popping sounds in rapid succession.

She knew that sound.

She also recognized the sound of a body dropping to a wooden floor.

“Jack!” She screamed.

Renee dived to the floor. There were already more gunshots. The shooter wanted both of them.

She dived behind the couch and shimmied on her elbows, just as she had been trained to do in the deliberately muddy training grounds of Quantico.

When she reached the bedroom Jack was on the floor, gasping, the now bloody sheet still wrapped around his middle. Blood was coming out from the side of his mouth.

No. Not this. Not now.

Renee refused to panic. She allowed her training to take over her actions. No thinking. No feeling. Just instinct and movement.

The bullet had hit him somewhere beneath his heart and above his stomach. The entry wound would be deceptively small.

“Jack! Jack! Look at me!”

He looked at her, his eyes already unfocused.

Renee picked up the phone.

“We’re under fire! Jack’s been shot!” Renee said.

“What? Okay then. I’ll send a tact team and an ambulance,” Chloe answered.

“There’s no time. He’s bleeding out. I have to get him out of here now.”

“The nearest trauma center is Saint Andrew’s.”

Renee kept the line open as she put Jack’s phone in the back pocket of the shorts.

She grabbed his face. “Jack. We have to go. Stay down.”

She pulled Jack halfway to his feet, draping the sheet over one of his shoulders like a sloppy toga. She knew that Jack standing, or moving at all, could be fatal. Right now there was no other option, she couldn’t wait until the shooter gave up or ran out of ammunition.

With one arm around her shoulder, Jack held on to Renee as they half stumbled out of the apartment, keeping both their heads down and more gunfire ricocheted through the apartment. Renee didn’t even consider finding a handgun and firing back, at this range a handgun would be useless.

Once outside the front door Jack fell to the floor, blood staining the hallway carpet.

She couldn’t carry him more then a few feet. That conclusion wasn’t sexism, it was simple physics. Jack was a good twenty five or thirty pounds heavier than she.

The noise had alerted a neighbor. The man was outside his door now, heavyset, with an appropriately bewildered expression.

Perfect.

“Grab his feet!” Renee ordered.

She didn’t check to see if Jack was still conscious.

With Renee grabbing Jack’s shoulders and the man holding his ankles, they managed to get to the emergency stairwell. Renee pushed the fire door open with her elbow. The metal steps were too slippery underneath her bare feet. By the time they got Jack down the stairs and into the lobby it was filled with the building’s residents. A cab was already waiting outside, the back door open.

Renee knew she was in full view of the sniper when she and the man carried Jack outside. There was a crowd, and the crowd would provide some cover. Or else the sniper didn’t want any collateral damage. Unless he didn't care? Renee didn't have time to consider.

Even so, she felt horribly exposed as Jack was carried to the taxi.

She remembered reading that New York City Taxi’s weren’t bulletproof. But waiting for an ambulance simply wasn’t an option.

This wasn’t a calculated risk. It was just a risk, undertaken because it was the only play Renee had.

“Get us to Saint Andrew’s. Now!” Renee screamed at the driver.

She turned to Jack. His skin was gray, the bloodstain on the sheet covering him spreading outwards. She covered the wound with one hand, applying as much pressure as she could. With her other hand she slapped his face, and not so gently.

“Jack. Jack! Stay with me!” She demanded. “Look at me. Just look at me.”

She controlled the shaking of her hand as she stroked his cheek.

His eyes focused on hers.

Jack wanted to live. Renee believed that.

She also knew that Jack was aware of what was happening to him. So she couldn’t offer him any platitudes or promise him that everything was going to be okay.

“Whaaa….” He tried to say

“Don’t try to talk. Just keep your eyes open. Good. Good. Just stay with me. We’re almost there.” Renee kept her voice strong and gentle, hoping to offer Jack reassurance.

Jack’s next breath came out as a wet gurgle.

“Go faster,” Renee ordered the driver, “We’re running out of time.”

The driver was not a man who was easily rattled. He swerved passed several other drivers and ran a red light.

She realized she didn’t have her wallet. This heroic driver would go unpaid.

Renee pulled the phone out of her pocket. It almost fell out her hand, made slippery from the blood.

“Chloe. Talk to me!”

“We’re tracking you on satellite. You’ll be there in a minute. The trauma team will meet you at the entrance.”

As promised, a team of personnel wearing scrubs was waiting with a gurney when the taxi pulled up to the Emergency entrance. As soon as Renee opened the door two men carefully pulled Jack from the taxi and laid him on the stretcher. Jack was complexly limp now, not reacting to or resisting the actions of the trauma team.

“Call CTU. They’ll pay you,” she told the rather shell-shocked driver. He nodded his understanding as he regarding the dark blood on the back seat of his previously clean taxi.

Renee was becoming shell-shocked herself. She watched the team rush Jack inside.

Numbly, she walked after them. She was aware of the stares she was receiving from the patients and medical personnel scattered about the Emergency Room. For the first time she noticed that her white clothes were smeared in blood, as were her bare legs and feet.

One member the surgical team came up to her. “What can you tell us?”

“It was a sniper’s rifle. The wound looked like it came from a .308 round. I couldn’t find an exit wound.” Her voice was stiff and formal, as if someone else was speaking.

The man nodded curtly and left, “We need four units of O negative!” He ordered his team.

She thought about the stem cell treatment. They would need to know about that. Renee assumed that Chloe had sent over Jack’s medical file.

There was nothing more she could do.

Jack and the team disappeared into the waiting surgical suite, the doors swinging closed behind them.

Renee kept walking until she came to a row of chairs. She sat down slowly, staring straight ahead, not blinking.

At some point the phone must have hung up, because now it was ringing again. Renee picked it up without answering.

“How is he?” Chloe asked.

“Not good. Tell me who did this.”

“Don’t worry about that. Just stay with him. I wish I could be there too but I can’t right now.”

“I can’t stay with him. He’s in surgery. Just tell me. Who did this?”

“There was a name in your file how matched the description of the paramedic you identified. Pavel Tokarev. He came into the country a few months ago on a diplomatic visa. I’m sending you the photo now.”

Renee looked at the photo. A thin man with thick black hair.

She knew him. Far better than she had wanted too.

“It’s him. He’s the one I saw with Samir. Where is he now?”

“We don’t know,” Chloe admitted.

“I’m finding him.”

“We have it covered. Just stay where you are.”

Renee was about to argue the point when she saw the surgeon exiting the operating room.

“I’ll have to call you back,” Renee said as she pocketed the phone. She stood up, waiting for the surgeon to speak.

“It’s bad. The bullet is lodged in his large intestine and pierced his abdominal wall. And he’s lost a great deal of blood.”

“What are you telling me?” The question sounded stupid even as she asked it.

“He’ll be in surgery for at least a few hours. We’ll do everything we can but I can’t guarantee that he’ll survive. Are you his wife?”

“No.”

“If he has any family they need to be contacted.”

“I’ll take care of it.” Renee answered.

She was going to have to call Kim.

“I wish I could give you more encouraging news. If you’ll excuse me I have to get back in there.”

The surgeon disappeared back into the OR.

Renee sat back down.

A nurse appeared with a pile of clothes. “These belong to an intern,” the nurse announced setting the pile down. Jeans, a blouse, a pair of sneakers.

“Thank you,” Renee managed to say.

Renee couldn’t move, couldn’t blink. She could barely breathe. She could only think about what Chloe had told her.

Pavel. He had worked with Vladimir. He was a mercenary, a lackey, someone whose services where available to anyone willing to pay. He also had ties to the Russian government, ties Vladimir had been able to exploit.

Why would Pavel want Jack dead?

He didn’t. The bullet had been meant for her.

Jack was dying because of her.

She waited.

After a few minutes she couldn’t wait any more. She needed to move, to act.

Renee grabbed the clothes and stood up, her plan already formed.

TO BE CONTINUED…