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THE BEAST IN CHAINS 4/4

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: The Beast In Chains, Chapter 4
Author: marinw
Rating: R for violence with a side of H/C and unabashed smoosh.
Characters: Jack/Renee
Summery: Day 8 AU. Jack is plagued by disturbing hallucinations.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of Fox. Thank you, Fox. It’s been quite a ride.
A/N: A denial-fic in which Renee still lives. Thanks to my beta cybertoothtiger.

Jack slept, but he didn’t rest.

His immune system had never completely re-booted after the stem cell treatment. The damage done by the sniper had been repaired and most of the lost blood had been replaced. But there had been side effects and consequences. One of which was a high fever with the associated delirium.

Jack’s mind had more than enough places to go when it needed source material for his nightmares and hallucinations. When he was awake Jack made a point of living entirely in the present moment, not always successfully ignoring the past and the future, living in the perpetual now. There was so much he needed to suppress, so many things he wanted to forget. Those memories were always there, waiting for an unguarded moment to make themselves known.

This time it was different. His mind traveled not to the past but sideways. His private universe had split from the point where he had made love to Renee.

In his private universe he had lost her. The sniper’s bullet fired into his apartment had hit Renee instead of him, and she died moments after he deposited her at the hospital

He had known her for a day and a half and her loss was unbearable. It wasn’t the length of time he had known her that was important.

A ‘natural killer’ is what the Coral Snake recruitment contact had called him. Jack hadn’t denied the label. The subsequent years with CTU had proved them right. Then, he had been a soldier. Soldiers killed. It was in the job description.

Today the monster that he had struggled to keep barely under control for all of his life had been unleashed. Now he had become an avenging angel, killing almost everything in his path.

He shot Dana Walsh simply because he wanted to.

The man who had killed Renee stood restrained before him. Jack channeled his father, the Drazens, Coral Snake, the Salazars, Cheng Zhi and his thugs, the soldiers of Sangalan warlords, the Russian mob who had held him captive earlier that day. He remembered every thing that had ever been done to him and paid it forward, releasing the violence onto another man. But killing the sniper wasn’t enough. Nothing was enough.

He encased himself in full body amour. He resembled a modern Samurai in metal and Kevlar as he had trapped Logan’s motorcade in the tunnel. He grabbed onto Logan like the squealing pig he was. Beneath his metal mask he wrinkled his nose at the mess the former President had made inside his expensive pants.

When the trail led to the Russian minister Jack murdered him as well. And then he had killed or wounded all his staff, not wondering if the men had merely being doing their jobs and were innocent of any conspiracy. Jack might had killed some good men. He may have killed the Russian equivalent of Aaron Pierce. He didn’t care.

Still, it wasn’t enough. The beast still had work to do. The beast was starving for more violence.

I have become death, the destroyer of worlds, Shiva had said.

In the fever of violence he had almost ignored his own wound, the wound made almost in the same place where Renee had made her own mark, last night and several universes ago.

He wiped his bloodied hand on the wall and moved forward. There was still so much to do.

A few hours later the binge was over. There was nothing left but bodies and remorse.

As her final crime the disgraced president granted him enough time to escape. Jack slipped away, his family in danger and his wounds untreated. The last thing to see him was a CTU drone.

••••

He had been here before.

A white room. Machines and tubes attached to the usual places on his body. A ceiling made of panels dotted with tiny holes he could count if he got bored.

There were the usual sensations as well: Pain partially suppressed by drugs that made him float in the space between the mattress and the bed sheets. A body that felt heavy and light at the same time. A series of thoughts he couldn’t connect. Not being exactly sure where he was on the continuum between coma, sleep, delirium and wakefulness.

Jack slowly turned his head, aware of how much of his torso was encased in dressings.

She sat slumped in a chair, her dark red hair over one shoulder, her eyes closed.

“Renee?”

She opened her eyes. A smile transformed her face.

“I’m here,” She put a slender hand on top of Jack’s, being careful of the IV inserted there.

“You died. In my arms, in the back of a Taxi.”

“You’re confused. We were in the back of cab, but you’re the one who were shot.”

“No. I can’t believe that. I want to believe that. But I can’t.”

Renee stroked his forehead. She spoke gently but came right to the point.

“A sniper shot you. In your apartment. I brought you here. You’ve been here for two days. There were some problems. You’ve had a high fever. You were delirious I…I thought I’d lost you.”

“I thought I’d lost you.”

“No. I’m right here.”

“I love you,” Jack said suddenly.

“You barely know me.”

“I know enough.”

Tears were in the corners of her eyes, “You’re still confused. Saying things in the moment. I won’t hold you to any of it.”

“That’s what you said last time. I’m not confused. I meant what I said. I saw what happened when you died. I…I lost control. I killed anyone who was connected to your death. Anyone. I couldn’t kill enough. And I enjoyed it.”

“You could never do that.”

“Yes. I could.”

“You don’t know what you’re saying, Jack.” Renee was crying freely now, tears running over her abundant freckles and into the hollow underneath her jaw. Her eyes changed their color from green to blue.

“I know exactly what I’m saying. I think you do too.”

“I know. If you died I would…I almost did.” Renee admitted

“Hey. C’mere,” Jack whispered.

Renee perched herself on the edge of the mattress. Jack brought his hand to her face and stroked her cheek.

“I don’t know if we can do this. Be together. Live a normal life. But I want to try.”

Renee closed her eyes and smiled. “So do I.”

THE END.

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