(*Author's Note: First, I'd like to thank my beta reader GoldAngel2 for giving this story a good looking over.
Second, I'd like to give some context for this story. This story is basically a continuation of my last story "Of Moths and Flames" (although, you don't really need to read that one to get this one if you've ever seen the episode "Hero"). In this story, I'll be answering the question of "What happened between Jet and Cathy being picked up the helicopter and that stuff right before the end?"
Just to warn you now, this is going to be a pretty long story. It's also going to be a bit shippy (if the characters cooperate with me - darn characters -_-*). I also change point of views (switching between Cathy and Jet) but I feel that it's fairly obvious when I do this.
Now that I've gotten all that out of the way . . . On to the story!
The hospital was bustling. There was really no other word to describe it. It wasn't panicked or disorganized or anything like that; there were simply too many people trying to make their way through halls that weren't quite wide enough to accommodate them all.
It was also loud. Everyone was talking at once and it seemed that every single cart being pushed had at least one squeaky wheel. Phones rang and machines bleeped and, if one listened very closely, one could hear metal tools clinking against metal trays.
The air was heavy with antiseptics and bleach, but even these powerful odors barely masked the smell of rot, urine, bile and blood. Some people would say that there were other smells, the smells of sickness and death - but those people were a little odd and usually hard to take seriously.
All in all, St. Mary's was a typical New York hospital but, on that night, it had a rather untypical man in one of its waiting rooms. His name was Jet Link and he was a cyborg.
Jet had never been fond of hospitals. In the old days (which, from his point of view, hadn't been so long ago), he hadn't liked them for a couple reasons: 1) he couldn't exactly pay for something like hospital care and 2) the doctors always asked questions he couldn't answer unless he'd like to go to jail once he was healed. No matter how bad it got, jail had never been a viable option.
He still wasn't fond of hospitals, but, thanks to Black Ghost, he had an entirely different reason. Being in a hospital (or any other sort of medical facility) made him think about things that he'd rather not; things that were the subject of many of his nightmares. Just sitting in the waiting room gave him the creeps - the idea of having a doctor actually touch him . . .
That, at least, was something he didn't have to worry about. He'd made it quite clear to the paramedics that he did not want any medical care. Of course, one of the paramedics tried to get him to change his mind, but once Jet had told him that he didn't have insurance either, the paramedic pretty much left him to his own devices. Which was good because he wanted to keep the fact that he was a cyborg to himself - he doubted that most people who take it as calmly as Cathy had.
And even if he hadn't cared about that, it still wouldn't have done much good to seek a doctor's help anyway. It was a fair bet that none of the doctors in this place had the knowledge or the materials to even think about trying to repair his knee. No, until he could get in touch with Doctor Gilmore, his leg would just have to wait.
Just thinking about it made him feel tired inside. He might have told Cathy during the helicopter ride that he leg would be just fine but he wasn't sure whether or not he believed it himself. Not only did it hurt a whole lot, the wound had been seeping fluid too. Not the rocket fuel (which was a good thing considering how flammable that stuff was), but some kind of pinkish liquid that he couldn't remember the function of. He definitely should have paid closer attention when Doctor Gilmore had explained it.
He looked down at the apron (which Cathy had given him back on the helicopter to wrap around his leg seeing as neither of them could come up with a good reason for Jet to have wires there) and winced. From the look of things, he was still losing fluid. He guessed it was pretty stupid of him to think that it would just stop on it's own - it wasn't like his leg could heal in the conventional way.
And he didn't dare to try and stop the leak. He remembered vividly what had happened the last time he'd done that to a leg wound*. Oh, he'd been fine for a while before the binding had caused a backup in his system. For a few hours, he hadn't been sure if he was going to be all right or not. If it hadn't been for the others and some quick work by Doctor Gilmore, he knew what the answer to that question would have been.
Considering the fact that he had no way of helping himself if something like that happened now, he didn't want to take that risk unless it was absolutely necessary. He knew that he couldn't exactly afford to keep losing fluid like this but, at the moment, it didn't seem life threatening. It looked like he was going to survive - not that he was enjoying it very much.
He shifted his leg (which hadn't stopped throbbing since he'd staggered to this place after being separate from Cathy) in a futile attempt to make himself more comfortable. Of course, the greatest source of his discomfort was not his leg, but all the people who were in the waiting room with him. If the stares he was getting were any indication, they must have found him very interesting to look at.
He tried his best to ignore them as he held an old People magazine in front of his face. Jet knew he didn't look so great - what with the fire damage to his clothes and the apron wrapped around his leg that only highlighted the fact that he was injured - but was it really asking too much for people to mind their own business? Didn't they have anything better to do than gape at him?
Taking a quick look over the top of the magazine, he saw that the answer to that question was a resounding 'no.' Only a few people seemed embarrassed enough to look away once they noticed he was watching them and the rest pretended that they didn't notice his scrutiny. He almost asked them what their problem was before deciding that he didn't really want to talk to any of them.
Jet stared back down at the People but didn't bother reading it. There were exactly three reasons for this. The first reason was that, between being frozen for forty years and then fighting Black Ghost, he had absolutely no idea who any of these people were. The second reason was that, even if he had known who they were, he wouldn't have been interested in reading about them anyway - his only interest in Hollywood was watching the occasional movie.
The third reason, and the most important, was the fact that he felt far too edgy to actually concentrate on the words. He'd been sitting around - doing nothing - for almost an hour now. He was being gawked at as if he was some kind of circus freak. He was also fairly sure that if he heard too much more of that horrible elevator music that was being piped into the waiting room, he'd go nuts.
To top it all off, he had no idea what had happened to Cathy. How long did it take to get looked over by a doctor anyway? She'd looked fine to him! And how the heck was he supposed to find her when the doctor was done with her - use his amazing, non-existent power of telepathy?!
He heard the sound of tearing paper and he stared dumbly at the ripped magazine in his hands for a second before realizing what he'd done.
With a disgusted sigh, he tossed the remains of the magazine on the waiting room table. Okay, that was it. He was done waiting around for someone to tell him what was going on. Jet Link did not just sit around waiting for things to happen. It was time to take some action!
Bracing himself (because he knew that this was going to hurt), he pushed down on the arms of the chair and got to his feet -
- and immediately fell back into his seat with a gasp. Oh, that had not been one of his better ideas! The pain was incredible and he felt nauseous. It almost hurt more now than it had back at the hotel when he'd been carrying Cathy on his back. This was not good. Not good at all.
And it gave him something else to worry about. He knew, without having to try again, that he'd never be able to make it back to his apartment on his own; he could barely stand - walking was completely out of the question. Unless he found Cathy on his own (which would be nearly impossible in his current condition) or he was able to convince someone to take him there (which, considering that New York wasn't exactly known for good Samaritans, probably had about as much chance of happening as Scarl had of coming back to life and taking up ballet), he was stuck here.
"Are you okay?"
The question shook him from his thoughts and Jet turned to face the girl who had asked it. The teenager was sitting a seat away form him, looking concerned. He tried to smile but, between the stress and his general nature, he wasn't able to keep his tongue under control. "Do I look okay to you?"
The girl got a hurt expression on her face and Jet immediately felt guilty. "It's been a rough night." Jet: Master of the Understatement.
She smiled again, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
His first impulse had been to tell her 'no', but he realized, before the word even formed in his throat, that this was the opportunity he'd been waiting for. And it hadn't even involved ballet-
He gave his head a quick shake to dislodge the thought before making his smile a bit more friendly and giving his answer. "Actually, there is. Could you go up to the desk over there and ask them where Cathy Jenkins is?"
"I could but, " the girls shook her head, looking apologetic, "they wouldn't tell me anything- they're sworn to secrecy."
This had to be one of the most ridiculous things he'd ever heard (and, living so long with 009, he'd heard some pretty ridiculous things). "What! That's insane."
The girl shrugged. "Unless you're a relative - a blood relative," she clarified, obviously noticing the speculative look on his face, "they can't tell you anything about a patient. It's against the law."
"Oh." So much for that plan. Now what was he going to do?
"If you want, I can find her for you."
The girl sounded way too excited to do this for him and Jet would have raised an eyebrow if he knew how to raise just one. He settled for a long stare before responding. "Why do you want to do this so much?" It seemed odd that a self-absorbed teenager would be so interested in running an errand.
"I'm bored! I've been here almost all night waiting for mom to get out of work and I haven't had anything to do." She looked at him imploringly, obviously expecting some sort of sympathy. When it became apparent to her that Jet wasn't very impressed with her plight, she switched tactics. "I know this hospital like the back of my hand - I could find her easily."
While Jet had his doubts about whether or not the girl could do that, he decided that sending her off couldn't hurt. At the very least, it gave her something to do and, it could happen, she might be able to find Cathy. "All right, you've convinced me."
She smiled widely. "Cool." She plopped herself in the chair next to his. "Just tell me what she looks like and where you last saw her."
"She's taller than you. Blonde, her hair's in a pony tail and she's wearing a maid's uniform. Her eyes are green and she's kind of thin-"
"Is she pretty?"
The question was unexpected and he was caught off guard. The girl's laugh interrupted him before he could come up with a response.
"Like you're going to say your girlfriend's ugly." She shook her head and started talking again before Jet could tell her that Cathy wasn't his girlfriend. It didn't really matter; it wasn't like he was going to see this kid again and, as long as Cathy never heard about it, he guessed it did no harm for her to think what she wanted.
"Okay, and where did you last see her?"
"The paramedics were talking about bringing her to Dr. Roche. I think he's a lung doctor . . . " or something like that. After he'd told them that he hadn't wanted any medical attention, the paramedics had seemed to forget that he was there and he'd been too busy trying to keep upright on his own to really listen to what they'd said about Cathy.
The girl nodded. "All right, one last thing: what's your name?"
"Why do you want to know?" The instant suspicion in the question was a throwback from the old days and Jet felt a little annoyed with himself. Why wouldn't she want to know his name; if he was in her place, he'd want to know who he was helping.
The girl rolled her eyes and looked at him as if he was the dumbest person on the planet. "So she knows you sent me and that I'm not yanking her around." She didn't say 'duh,' but it was clearly implied.
She made a face before shrugging. "Brett it is." Before Jet had a chance to correct her about his name, she stood and said: "Cathy's as good as found," over her shoulder as she walked away.
He looked after her for a moment and wondered if she could actually deliver what she had promised. He certainly hoped so - and not just because he'd be stuck here is she couldn't. While Cathy had seemed all right when they parted, he knew how fragile the human body was. And Cathy had inhaled more than her share of smoke . . .
Jet shook his head. It did no good to worry about it: if she was okay, she was okay and if she wasn't, she wasn't. No amount of worrying would change that. He knew that but he found it hard not to worry a little anyway. Cathy had really made an impression on him tonight and he didn't want anything to be wrong with her.
Of course, even if she hadn't, he'd still worry about her for Jimmy's sake. It was for Jimmy that he'd gone into that building in the first place. If it had been anyone else but Jimmy's mother, Jet would have trusted the firemen to do their jobs; since it had been his mother, Jet knew he'd never be able to forgive himself if she died while he'd done nothing -
But no one had died and he was sure that Cathy would be just fine. Settling back in the chair and crossing his arms behind his head, he tried to relax. There was really nothing else to do but wait and hope for the best. Although he was never completely happy with a plan that involved waiting and hoping, he knew that he had no other option at the moment.
The noises of the waiting room began to fade and he felt himself begin to drift away. Since he felt tired and there was really nothing else he could do, he didn't even try to fight it. He only hoped, as he fell into a dose, that Cathy would be there when he woke up.
To be continued . . .
* This happened in "Land of Reunions" and "Farewell, My Friend" (I believe, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)