you say that like it's a bad thing (catch22girl) wrote in 24_fanfic,
you say that like it's a bad thing

New: Our Last Memory

Title: Our Last Memory
Author: Catch22girl
Spoilers: 7x16
Summary: Renee pays Jack a visit.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Belong to FOX and Real Time Productions.
A/N: Inspired by Kay.

Jack's being monitored. Renee's known him for less than a day and has no doubt he hates it. She would, anyway. Since they met she has been comparing their lives and methods. Not many events match up, but she's drawn to him. Hard to believe that in a few hours he'll be gone. If she had more faith she'd go outside and beg for a reprive. It's so fucking unfair.

In the past she thought people who brought up fairness were whiners who couldn't accept that bad things happened to good people. She has that book somewhere. Larry bought it for her as a graduation gift and in their line of work, she's needed the reminder. All tragedy has happened outside of her little circle. She still talks to her grade school friend. Her family's all safe. Her mom and dad are at this moment asleep in their bed at her childhood home. Her life was so perfect that she felt almost guilty growing up. Maybe that's why she went to join the FBI and face the horrors of the world that she'd escaped for so long.

She never meant to become attached. It was stupid and now heartbreaking. Jack's going to die. No bargain to be made. No last minute rescue. He hasn't shown any symptoms, being okay for long enough to root dangerous hope.

Renee watches through the two-way mirror. He's unencumbered by wires or plastic tubing. A CDC person confided earlier that their painkillers couldn't even touch whatever agony awaited him. Once he started downhill there was nothing they could do. They tried to make her feel better about it by commenting that he might not be in his right mind by that time. Renee saw the video, trying to hide her horror. Larry knew, but he wouldn't call her on it now. No one knows how aware the victims were when they started convulsing.

He deserves more than being examined and although he'll never admit it, she thinks he doesn't want to be alone.

On the screen in front of her, Larry's still going building by building to find the weapons. She hears his voice in her ear, telling her to mark another structure as clean. "How is he?" Larry breaks in.

"So far he's asymptomatic," she sticks to medical terms, reciting what the doctor told her ten minutes earlier. On the video, Tony turns his head a little to look at Larry. She knows as hard as this for her, there are others that are feeling this more.

"Good. Keep me posted."

"Yeah. I'm going off comm for five."


"Larry," she closes her eyes. "I'll be right back." He goes silent. She pulls off the headset and walks out into the hallway. Larry can manage without her, at least she hopes so, ignoring the voice telling her how she's abandoning the mission. A few steps and she's at the door.

Jack's lying on his side, face hidden from the watchers and from her.

As the door opens, he turns over, his expression unreadable.

"Hi," she says, cautious in her movement toward the bed.

Something shifts behind his eyes, he reaches out and seizes her wrist, pulling her closer.

"We have to get out of here."

"Jack, it's okay."

"They're holding me here and won't let me leave." His expression is near to pleading.

"I know. You agreed to this, Jack. You wanted to help their research. "

"Why are you here?" his breath comes out short, his hand loosening.

She rubs her wrist gently.

It's a good question. Renee thought she knew the answer, her thoughts about comforting him or making him feel less isolated, are noble and innocent. Looking down at him sitting on the edge of the bed brings to mind other ideas. In the White House hallway she should have touched him, if she'd known her time with him would have been so short, she would have taken risks. Thinking about the future that's been robbed from him makes her want to sink down to the floor and sob.

"Do you want me to leave?" In the room she decided if this was about him, then she had to give him a choice. He's staring at her like she means more to him than just an interloper.

He shakes his head, covers his face with his hands. "Make them go away, please."

"I can't," she has her hand to his shoulder before she can figure out if this is appropriate.

"I thought out of everyone I could trust you."

"You can trust me."

"Not if you're with them -- they won't let me leave, I can't *stay* here - " his voice rises, stoicism giving way to panic. "How can you help them do this to me?"

He sounds like a lost kid.

"They're running tests, you haven't shown symptoms yet, there's still a chance -- "

"You can go back to your superiors and tell them no matter what I won't talk."

She stares, letting his words wash over her. Many explanations for what he's saying, but none that she wants to entertain.

"Jack, this isn't an interrogation. No one's trying to hurt you."

"You have to get out of here and find a phone, call the police, have them come rescue me. I'll create a diversion, you run. Don't try your cell, they have it re-wired to the building, I know they think they're clever but I'm smarter."

"No one can rescue you," she swallows, feeling a tear slide down her cheek.

"Are you working for them?" his eyes narrow, glaring at her with an expression she's never before seen. "All you have to do is get me a phone..."

"I can't do that."

"I should have suspected you a long time ago, everyone else has betrayed me, why not you too?"

"That's not fair. There's nothing I can do." Renee should have stayed behind the glass in the other room and kept her distance.

"How could you do this to me? To our daughter? Don't you hear her, Teri? Don't you hear her?"

She goes still. He's earnest in his delusion.

It's starting.

He thinks she's Teri. She saw the image of his dead wife, noticed some facial similarity, but no rational person could ever confuse them. Watching him makes her chest ache. Earlier she asked if he still felt pain, he told her to learn to live with it, and if she'd only managed to stay detached this would slide over her instead of covering her like a shroud.

The words stick in her throat. He's dying.

"Jack, Kim's safe. Whatever you're hearing isn't happening."

"It's not?" He sounds confused, anger draining away.

"She's safe. I'm safe. You're safe," her voice cracks just a little. "You have to believe me. You fell, they're monitoring you for brain damage, but you're going to be okay." Nowhere in the book covers this situation. Her lies are building on each other. She cannot stop. He may not even remember this in a few seconds.

He's focused on her, gazing at her with naked trust. "Come closer. Please."

He's dying. He won't have any memories. These will be hers.

Jack, still sitting on the bed, curls an arm around her waist, rests the side of his head against her lower abdomen. "I hope I didn't make you worry too much. I hear stress is bad for pregnant women."

She rests her hands on his arms, grips his shoulders to keep from pulling away. It wasn't in his file. Once again she feels like she thought she had a book of his life when all she had was an outline. He's lost everything one can lose. If she had her gun, she might offer it to him. "You didn't." Her jaw clenches, "Baby's fine. I'm fine." If possible she feels even worse when he lifts his head to look at her.

Charade's gone on long enough. Now it's verging on cruelty.

"I have to get back to work." Outside there are canisters to find and attacks to stop. Inside there's only a situation approaching folie a deux. He still has so much strength, but his brain's deteriorating. She takes a step back, turns around and curses her expressive face. He'll know she's lying if she looks back.

"Tell the doctors I can leave, Teri, please," he whispers in that commanding way she never heard before today and never will again.

"I'll talk to them. You just get some rest, okay?"

"Yeah. I love you so much, sweetheart."

If she doesn't get out of the room she's going to throw up.

"Me too. I'll be back soon."

Outside there is a blank hallway. She presses her lips together and strikes the wall with her palm, relishing the brief moment of pain. It reminds her of Quantico and training and feeling her hand connect with a pad. Her memories and her past. She flexes her fingers, breathes in and out.

Life is so unfair.

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