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posted in 24_fanfic

Title: The Beauty Of Our Weapons, Chapter 2
Author: marinw
Rating: PG for H/C Schmoop
Characters: Jack/Renee/Dr. Nicole Duncan
Summary: Jack deals with the consequences of his actions
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Likes that’s going to stop me.
A/C: I now await the wrath of leigh57 who wanted a co-ed hospital room. See if you can spot the Monty Python reference. Minor spoilers for Day 8. If you’ve seen the trailer, you won’t learn anything new. Thanks to my beta cybertoothtiger.

Dr. Nicole Duncan had analyzed every bodily fluid Jack was capable of producing.
“So far, there’s no trace of the virus is in your bloodstream,” She announced.
Jack sat on a gurney, the lower half of  his torso neatly bandaged.
“So far? Last time the bloodwork came back positive right away. That’s…what they told me anyway.” There was still so much about that day Jack didn’t remember.
“The pathogen may have mutated.”
“Or I really am immune.”
“Or that batch of the pathogen was never viable to begin with. The air samples CDC took were inconclusive.  I still don’t understand how Starkwood could get another sample.”
Jack struggled to remember. “I thought I got all the chemists. Someone must have escaped with the sample of my spinal fluid.”
“A few cc’s of spinal fluid isn’t enough to reconstitute any amount of pathogen.”
“There was another weapons lab in Sangala. Maybe they made more pathogen there.”
“It’s possible. We won’t know anything until CTU can question the men who were shot. But I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ll need to keep an eye on you for awhile, but you should be fine.”
“Can I get dressed now?” Jack glanced at his now bloody shirt next to him on the gurney.
“No. I’m keeping you here overnight.”
“Why? You said I was probably going to be fine.”
“Jack, you’ve been shot.”
“It’s just a flesh wound.”
“It’s a little more serious than that. There is some muscle damage. Considering how little abdominal fat you have, it’s lucky the bullet didn’t hit an organ.”
“So why keep me here?”
“There’s a danger of infection. You need to stay for observation and IV antibiotics.”
“Is that really necessary?”
Nicole put her hands in the pocket of her lab coat and assumed what Jack knew was her ‘Serious Doctor’ expression.
“I’ve read Sunny’s reports. Your recovery has been miraculous. But it's different for you now. You were on immune-suppressants for a long time and your system still hasn’t completely bounced back. And we still don't know exactly what you were exposed to today. We need to take every precaution. If you aren't feverish or otherwise symptomatic by morning I'll release you then.”
“Fine.” Jack knew that Nicole was right. He was nostalgic for the days when a minor gunshot wound could be treated by a paramedic in the back of an ambulance.
There was a knock on the side of the door. An older man wearing surgical scrubs  had appeared.
“Agent Walker?” Jack asked.
He still called her “Agent Walker” even though she wasn’t working for the FBI or CTU. Not officially.
“She’ll be in surgery for at least another hour. The bullet didn’t hit an organ but she’s lost a lot of blood. We’re transfusing her as quickly as possible.”
“Thank you for the update,” Nicole said.
“I need to get back in there,” The man nodded and left.
Jack turned to Nicole. “I want to be in the same room as her.”
“We don’t do that.”
“I’ll try to get her in the room next to yours.”
“Thank you.”
Jack lay on his uninjured side, staring at the open door. He was determined to stay awake until Renee was brought up from the OR.
That had been the plan. But now that he was ensconced in bed, Jack found himself wageing a losing battle against the weight of his eyelids. The pain medication he had tried to refuse further thwarted his attempts to remain conscious.
Despite his protestations to Nicole, Jack didn’t mind being back in the hospital.
That in itself was disturbing. This particular hospital wasn’t the one in Washington where he had spent so many weeks, but there was so much that was familiar: The smell of antiseptic, the cold light of the florescent tube above his bed, the sound of rubber soles of the medical personnel in the hallway. He had even stopped associating medical equipment with torture implements. He had once again managed to persuade the nurse to issue him scrubs instead of a hospital gown.
He felt safe here. Warm and protected
It did make a certain amount of sense. It had been almost a year since he had woken up in another hospital. Woken up with huge holes in his memory and a pathetically weakened body. It had been kind of a rebirth.
He had resented being taken out of the coma. He had known so much peace there. Floating and bodiless, with some vague awareness of his surroundings yet still detached from everything. It had been a beautiful, profound, almost…mystical…experience, something he was unable to describe or share with anyone.
Sometimes, if the conditions were exactly right, Jack could will himself back into that dark, serene place.
He went there now.
Jack didn’t wake up until dull morning light entered his room. His mind felt cloudy and his side ached.
Nicole was right. Things really were different for him now.
Jack gripped his side and held onto his IV stand for support as he made his way to the adjoining room. Nicole had kept her promise, and Renee was right next door.
She was either sleeping or unconscious. Her hair provided a sickening contrast to her pallor. Jack noticed the bag of plasma attached to her IV. The monitor showed that she was weak but stable.
The snaps at the shoulder of her green gown were open, revealing a large dressing covering her collarbone and shoulder. The pink scar on her neck had faded and was now almost invisible. This new gunshot wound was going to leave a much larger mark.
For some reason that made Jack ridiculously sad. He hadn’t even though of his own wound, he had so many scars one more wasn’t going to make much different. With Renee it was different.
He brushed the hair from her forehead and felt his throat close.
This was why he didn’t want a partner. He thought Renee was out, that she no longer wanted to be part of the FBI or CTU or any other agency. That she wanted something else.
Now she was back in the game. Jack wasn’t vain enough to assume she was here because of him, Renee had become involved for her own reasons.
That made Renee someone he could lose.
Jack didn’t know what to do with that.
He needed to think. There were some decisions he couldn’t put off any longer.
This was going to take awhile. He pulled up a chair and sat down.