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posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Patient Zero, Chapter 3
Author: marinw
Characters: Jack/Nurse Lee (OC)/ Sunny Macer/Renee
Rating: PG
Summary: Post Day 7 AU. Jack has a visitor.
Spoilers: for 7.16. If you haven’t seen that episode, you may want to skip this.
Disclaimer: 24 is the Property of the Fox Production Company. Oh 24,how you waterboard my heart.
A/N: It’s all rainbows and puppies in denial/grasping-at-straws land. Something to tide us over until Monday. I wrote the second part of this chapter especially for leigh57. Thanks to my beta, cybertoothtiger.

“Can you tell me your name?”

“Jack Bauer.”

“Do you know where you are?”

“West Arlington Hospital. Infectious disease ward.”

“Who is the president?”

“Allison Taylor.”

“Today’s date?”

“April 3, 2013.”

“Close enough.” Dr. Macer smiled “I’ll cut you some slack with that last question. You had a pretty rough night. Your fever only broke two hours ago. How do you feel?”

“I’m tired. I have a headache.”

Macer poked her ball-point pen into the heel of Jack’s bare foot, noticing how the limb immediately recoiled.

“Either the initial symptoms are taking longer than expected to present themselves, or your body really is producing antibodies. I’ll order an MRI and another spinal fluid sample. That will tell us more. We’ll get you cleaned up first.”

Somehow, it was that last statement that finally made Jack feel humiliated. He was lying in his own filth. There was a yellow stain on the front of his pants. The bed sheets where damp, tangled collection of knots. He was caked is several layers of dried sweat and the stuble on his chin was maddeningly itchy.

He felt more exposed now than when he was being hosed down in the middle of the street.

Macer nodded, sensing Jack’s discomfort. “I’ll go set everything up.”

Lee entered the room a moment after Macer left. Jack felt embarrassed all over again.

He still felt uncomfortable around Asians. He didn’t like that about himself.

“Look, last night, I may have said a few things,” Jack mumbled by way of apology.

“It’s all right. I didn’t take it personally.”

Lee’s expression said otherwise. Jack decided not to pursue the matter further.

“Do you feel up to taking a shower? If not, we can do a sponge bath.”

“A shower would be good.”

Lee withdrew the IV tube. He left the shunt in place, taping it over. He then detached the rest of the equipment. “Good. We need to change the sheets anyway. You may feel a little dizzy, so let’s go slowly.”

Jack tentatively stood up. For one horrible second, his legs were in danger of collapsing underneath him. He held on to Lee’s arm as he shuffled across the room. He had felt this way before, and not after being exposed to a weaponized virus.

The few meters to the bathroom was an epic journey. Jack knew that the MRI chamber wasn’t on this floor. Was he going to let Lee take him there in a wheelchair?

He would make that call later.

Lee had called another nurse to help him with his patient. The other man entered the bathroom and placed a plastic chair in the shower stall. They helped Jack out of his scrubs and sat him down.

For the second time, Jack allowed other people to wash him. This time was better, the water was warm and they used real shampoo.


Renee gently placed the duffle bag on the floor next to the locker.

She had spent an extremely awkward half-hour with Chloe as the two women packed up the belonging in Jack’s hotel room and settled the bill. Fortunately, Jack traveled light, she had managed to get all his casual clothes, toiletries and paperwork into one bag. His suits were to be stored elsewhere.

Chloe had declined Renee’s offer of a drive to the hospital, mumbling something about the babysitter and a arranging a memorial service for Bill with his widow. She said she would try to visit Jack later.

Those two had a very strange relationship.

Now that she was here, it took a moment for Renee to notice the man with very pale skin and sandy blond hair, dressed in white scrubs, lying in a white bed in a white room. If she didn’t know what to look for, she would have missed him altogether.

He was lying on his side, curled up in a semi-fetal position. There was an IV in his arm and a pulse clip on his middle figure. Other than that he was unencumbered. It was less equipment than Renee had expected. She looked at the monitor: His blood pressure was a little low and his pulse was a little rapid, but other than that he was stable.

On the bedside table there was a tray with half-empty bowl of green Jell-O and another half-empty bowl of something that looked like cream of wheat. There were also a couple of open cans of ginger ale. Renee interpreted this as a positive development.

He was fast asleep. His torso rose and fell slowly through the thin blanket.

He was so damn little. What were the stats in his file? 5’10”? 150 pounds on a good day?

Renee looked at him. Really looked at him. She noticed how his eyelashes were ridiculously long. How his small, upturned nose would, by any rational criteria, look better on a girl. How his mouth always made him look sad. She noticed how his face was funny-looking and heartbreakingly beautiful at the same time.

His feet had escaped from the sheets and blanket. They were surprisingly big for someone his size, and he had long toes which at this moment were curled slightly. The nails were well-groomed. That detail surprised her. The soles were marred by deep grooves. It looked like they had been burnt with a hot poker.

Renee realized that she had never touched him. The half-hug at another hospital after Marika was killed didn’t count.

She was tempted to brush his hair from his eyes. Or maybe she could get a washcloth and wipe the forehead that was dotted with sweat.

That could wake him up. Not worth the risk. If he was sleeping a real, natural, undruged sleep in the middle of the afternoon she should leave him the hell alone.

Reene pulled up a chair and studied the test results Dr. Macer had given her:

“Cautious optimism” was Macer’s mantra. The blood work confirmed that Jack’s body was producing massive numbers of antibodies, although the process was leaving him extremely weak. It would be at least a few days before they could safely extract enough of his blood to manufacture a test vaccine. (Fortunatly, all the known canisters of the weaponized CJD were secure, so there was no real hurry.) Apprently, possible pre-exposure to an earlier strain of the toxin combined with an “extremely robust immune system” (Macer’s words) was accomplishing what years of careful research never could.


The MRI and the other tests confirmed that there was some extremely minor prion deterioration. Jack could experience some minor numbness in the tips of his fingers and toes. With time and physical therapy he would learn to compensate.

Renee put away the paperwork. Jack was still sleeping.

She would come back later.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
He was so damn little. What were the stats in his file? 5’10”? 150 pounds on a good day?

*pets the bitty!Jack*

I really liked this, and Renee's POV in here. :)
Apr. 4th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
srsly, It wasn't until he took his clothes off (hurray!) that you realize the man dosn't have an extra pound to his name. And the TV camera is said to add 10 pounds.

Good things come in small packages.

Apr. 4th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha it's like when I RP Doc from Young Guns, it's like...aww, the little cowboy who could...but then again they were ALL little, back then.

Kiefer just hasn't grown more than a few inches since. XD
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
He was so damn little. What were the stats in his file? 5’10”? 150 pounds on a good day?

I too love that line. It makes me think of the commentaries from Season six, where they were talking about getting James Cromwell to play his dad, and he's like 6'4", a full 8" taller than Keifer! I'd always thought Keifer would be more like the 5'10" you have Jack being, lol. He just has something about him that makes you think he's bigger than he is!
Mar. 22nd, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
Kiefer's dad, the great Donald Sutherland, is about 6'4". but his mom is short, so it works out. And you are right, Jack is "Larger Than Life"
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )