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Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Father’s Day
Author: marinw
Rating: PG for angst and h/c
Characters: John Mason/Jack
Summary: Set a few days post Day 2. Jack keeps his word.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.
Notes: This fic was inspired by my Day 2 re-watch. Damn you, George Mason, for being so lovable. * Shakes fist * I also wanted an excuse to write yet another hospital!fic. Thanks to my beta reader, sardonicynic.

Captain’s dead
The war machine has fled
The people have gone home
Remember what he said
and you won't feel alone

You won't remember by this time
tomorrow when all the sorrow is gone
A pull of the lever and nothing's forever
We'll ride to the heart of the sun

~ “Captain’s Dead” by Guided by Voices

“Not more than a few minutes, Mr. Mason,” the nurse ordered.

Mr. Mason?

That wasn’t possible. George was dead.

Jack regarded the hulking young man with untidy blond hair who now stood unhappily by his bedside. Jack’s mind was currently wrapped up in a not-unpleasant haze of morphine, so it took him a moment to make the connection. He was going to have to concentrate, to work with the balls of cotton that had replaced his brain.

“You’re John Mason. George’s son,” Jack acknowledged groggily.

“They said you wanted to see me. What’s this about, Mr. Bauer?”

“My name’s Jack. Sorry to bring you here.” He tried to make his voice sound authoritative. It was taking a lot of effort to speak in complete sentences.

“Why are you in the hospital anyway? What happened to you?”

“That’s not important right now. John, I was with your father just before he died. I thought you should know what he said.”

“I don’t get. Dad said goodbye to me in his office. After he had me arrested. He died of radiation poisoning or something.”

“Your father inhaled a fatal dose of plutonium. He also flew the plane that crashed in the Mojave., He detonated the nuclear bomb you saw. He saved millions of innocent lives.”

John looked at the linoleum floor. “He’s still dead.”

“Yes. But his death meant something.” Jack resisted using the term ‘hero’. He doubted that term would bring John any comfort right now, that the overused label would sound hollow.

“His last thoughts were of you, John,” Jack continued. “You meant a lot to him.”

John didn’t lift his eyes from the floor. “He had a weird way of showing it.”

Shit. I’m not up to this. This could have waited until I was out of the hospital.

But Jack knew that once he was released he would have several million things to take care of. He didn’t want John to get lost in the shuffle. He deserved better.

“Parents can’t always be there. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t care. Believe me, I know.”

“Do you have any kids?”

“I have a daughter.”

“Are you close?”

“We’re working on it.”

“Why? Are you dying, too? Did you inhale some plutonium or something? Is that why you’re hooked up to all this junk?” John glanced at the monitor and the other equipment that crowded Jack’s room.

“No, I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine,” said John, noting the IV in Jack’s arm and the oxygen tubing that ran into his nostrils. There was a blood pressure cuff around his other arm and a bundle of wires emerged from the collar of his gown.

“This isn’t as bad as it looks,” said Jack, not very convincingly.

“If you say so. Can I go now?”

“John, please. Your father asked me to look in on you. To make sure that you were okay.”

John started crying. The young man wasn’t an elegant crier, he blubbered loudly and snot ran out of his nose.

He could so easily be Kim.

Jack recalled the brief conversation he had with Kim that night. How he didn’t have time to explain why single-engine recreational planes didn’t come equipped with sophisticated targeting systems, and how that one design oversight meant that someone had to die. They both knew how the math worked: Sacrifice one life, save a million.

Jack thought of the letter in his safe. Now he would have to re-write it.

“John, I’m, so sorry.”

“You’re supposed to look after me? We don’t even know each other. So how is that going to work?”

“We’ll figure something out. Hey, come here.”

Jack took the big young man in his arms, and together they shared the loss..