Summary: Jack wakes up after a rough night.
A/N: Don't own it. I forgot that we couldn't leave until after the Small's dance lesson. I'd taken my laptop to do some work, but we have to drive right by the park across from the methadone clinic to get to the dance studio, and there were all these sad little plot bunnies hopping around...
“Mister?” Jack woke to feel a small hand on his shoulder. “Mister, are you okay?”
Jack groaned. Good question. He took a quick inventory. His jaw hurt, and his stomach, ribs and kidneys ached. His woollen tongue slid over a rough tooth, That’s new, and tasted the dried blood in the corner of his mouth. Obviously, he had been in a fight. He wondered vaguely what the other guy looked like.
Where the hell was he? He felt warm, but whatever he was lying on was hard and lumpy. He could hear traffic and… birds? Was he outside? He groaned again and peeled open one eyelid to see a boy of about eight standing over him, his dark eyes full of concern. Jack closed his eye again.
“Montel?” A woman called in the distance. She sounded pissed. “Montel, you get your ass back here!” The voice was getting closer. “How many times have I told you not to talk to the junkies in the park?”
Now, that hurt, Jack thought wryly.
“But Ma, I think he’s hurt,” the kid shouted back. “Maybe we should call an ambulance.”
Jack’s hand shot out and grabbed the kid around the ankle. He looked up. “Don’t,” he croaked. “Don’t call an ambulance.” The kid just stood there calmly, which was odd. Was he used to strange men grabbing his legs? Jack let go and struggled to sit up. “I’m fine. But thank you.” He was knocked back to the ground by a handbag swung against his head.
“You fucker! Don’t you touch my son!” The woman was going ballistic, beating him around the head and shoulders with her large black bag. “You fucking!” whap. “Piece!” whap. “Of shit!” whap. Jack held up his arms to protect his face.
“Jeez, lady, take it easy.”
“Shuddup!” She gave him a kick for good measure.
“Come on, Montel.” The woman grabbed the boy’s hand. “Let’s get out of here.”
Jack lay there and watched the boy being dragged across the small park to the street until they disappeared around the corner. He closed his eyes again and listened to the birds while he gathered his thoughts. He would get up in a minute. He just needed another minute….
He could hear the usual pigeons, but he thought maybe that call was a robin. Teri had told him that people further north regarded the return of the robins as the first true sign of spring. Teri loved birds. Teri… Jack rubbed his forehead. For once, he was almost glad she wasn’t around. She would hate this.
What exactly was this? Jack tried to think. Last night had been the first time he hadn’t paid them. He waited until he was jonesing pretty bad before going to Emilio’s. He wasn’t really using much more than before, but he was careful to time his interactions to make it look like he was using more heavily than he was. He would buy either soon after he shot up or close to when he’d have to fix again.
Last night he had decided it was time to start running up a tab. He had to be into them for a fair amount before they would let him start working it off. If they would let him work it off. They might just kill him. He hoped he’d struck the right note. He grimaced, remembering.
“Please, man. I’ll get you the money. I just need a little to tide me over.” Jack coughed. He didn’t have to fake the twitching, but he played it up a bit. He paced jerkily around the almost empty living room of the house that served as Emilio’s office.
“Yeah? When you going to get me the money? I’m not a charity, man.” Emilio was enjoying this.
“Tomorrow. I can get you the money tomorrow.” Jack ran his hand through his hair nervously. “I just need to get my head straight so I can get it for you.” He wanted this to be over so he could fix, one way or the other.
“Well, you know, I like you, Jack.” Emilio clapped a hand on Jack’s shoulder. “I hate to see you like this.” The tall, skinny Mexican tilted his head so he was looking down his nose at Jack. “I can set you up with something. But just this once,” he warned.
Jack sighed with relief. “Okay, yeah, thanks man. I owe you one.”
He was surprised when Emilio started preparing a needle for him. He hadn’t anticipated this. Usually he just gave Jack the stuff. Jack tried not to show his fear when he saw the size of the dose. It was more than he was used to, but it was too late to back out now. He started to tie off his arm.
Emilio held out the needle and Jack took it, grateful that the other man would attribute the shaking in his hands to withdrawal. Emilio was watching closely, so there was no way to spill part of it or fake it. Jack took a deep breath and plunged the needle home.
The warmth spread through his veins and he sighed, letting his head fall back. The higher dose made it almost as good as the first time. Jack stumbled and Emilio helped him down onto the stained couch.
He didn’t remember anything after that.
Jack rolled over and pushed himself off the hard ground, staying on his hands and knees for a few seconds before he stood up. His legs felt shaky, but he didn’t need to fix yet. He reached up and brushed the twigs and grass out of his hair before he checked for his wallet. Shit.
Thank god he didn’t carry much in it, and never his badge when he was undercover. They’d taken his phone, too, but that was no big deal. He’d left the one he used to check in with CTU behind. The one he carried with him had no incriminating numbers on it.
He looked around to get his bearings, and started the long walk back to the apartment he was calling home.