Well, you asked for it.


"Ah, Jackson. Visiting hours aren't over, you know."

Jackson froze halfway down the hall at the deep male voice booming from the room behind him. He smiled to himself, fingering the blade in his pocket. There you are. He spun on his heel and stalked back down the passage, back to where he had left Lisa. He had wondered why she hadn't followed him, as he was sure she would have done, given her bleak predicament. I guess I know why. She was working with the creep after all. He heard a familiar high pitched scream and quickened his pace, whipping the knife from his pocket. The yelps continued, echoing down the hall and stinging his ears. He jolted to a halt in the doorway, his eyes fixed on Lisa as she sat slumped in the chair, her face buried in her hands. Her shoulders shook with her quiet sobs and he saw a thin, scarlet thread trickle through her fingers and drip into her lap.

Oh shit. Jackson rushed forward and pushed her back in the seat. Blood poured from a deep gash in her forehead and one along her jaw line, dripping onto her blouse and down her neck. "J-Jacks-" She broke off, gasping as a blade flashed to her throat from behind and grazed her lips.

"Forget something, Rippner?" Dr. James Roylott stepped from the shadows behind her chair, his knife still playing along the edge of Lisa's mouth. Jackson tore his horrified gaze from Lisa's face and leapt beneath the chair, tackling the doctor to the ground.

"You son of a bitch!" Jackson snarled, fiddling for a good grip on his own knife. "You touch her-" He was knocked backwards by a swift kick from the older man, but quickly recovered. Lisa had sprung from her chair and was staggering for the door, but Roylott deftly tripped her up with his right hand, sending her crashing to the ground. Her scream boiled Jackson's blood and he lunged at the doctor, digging his own knife into Roylott's calf. Roylott hissed in pain, but delivered Jackson a similar blow to his thigh. Jackson staggered back with a cry, wrenching the blade from his leg before he was tackled to the ground.

Roylott pressed his blade to his opponent's neck. "What have I told you about sentiments, Jackson? You're a sad shell of what you used to be, I'm ashamed to say. You couldn't finish the job now if you wanted to."

Jackson bared his teeth, growling, "You're first, doc."

Roylott flashed a wicked smile. "Doubt it, Rippner."

Jackson glanced down at the knife at his neck, then back up with a smile. "Going to do a little surgery for me after all?"

Roylott glared, the same twisted grin still plastered on his face. "You won't wake up from this one, I promise." Suddenly he was knocked sideways, slumping against the wall before becoming dead still. Lisa let the small monitor in her hands crash to the floor as Jackson stared up incredulously at her.

Lisa sank to her knees and crawled over to where he lay. "Jack, how bad is it?"

"Oh, the usual," he murmured, taking in the sight of her bloodied face with bleary eyes. He suddenly sat up, ignoring the flaming pain. His eyes searched her face then her bandaged wrist with a frown, his teeth clenched. "Look what that bastard did to you."

Lisa smiled grimly. "Nothing more than what you would have done."

Jackson blinked, then shook his head. Here's your chance. You have a weapon. You have her. Finish it. "Then why take out Roylott?"

Lisa's smile broadened. "I just wanted to shut him up, really. You know how he gets when he starts talking."

Jackson managed a weak smirk, then nodded to his leg. "This seems oddly familiar."

"Ah, yes. The memories." Lisa scooted closer, reaching a hand toward the wound. Jackson flinched at her touch as Lisa looked up to meet his gaze. "Well, you've had worse, Jack."

Jackson reached up to gently wipe away the blood from her forehead. Lisa stiffened but remained still, leaning slightly into his hand. Jackson's hand slowly roamed over her face, tracing the edges of the small cuts before stopping to rest at her cheek. Lisa closed her eyes, silently bracing herself for his grip to tighten around her chin. Her eyes shot open at the sudden pressure of his lips on her forehead. Her breath quickened as he grazed her jaw and came to rest his cheek against her neck. She leaned her head against his, biting her lip. Pull yourself together, Lisa.

"Please, Jackson." She tried to steady her quavering voice, and gasped as he leaned farther into her. She reached backward to steady herself as his body pressed her toward the floor. Her free hand pushed against his side and her eyes widened.

"Leese," he breathed raggedly before pushing himself to lie at her side. Lisa gasped as she caught sight of his face. His attention was wavering, the spark in his eyes fading in and out. She glanced down at her bloodied hand, then reached out and whipped Jackson's jacket back.

Oh God. "Jack, he-"

"Of course he did." His chest heaved, the blood from the gash in his left side having long soaked his shirt and now began pooling beneath him. His eyes fluttered as he strained to focus on Lisa, on anything. Just give up already, Jack. No use getting another shock, another stab, and another bruise for her. You can't take this much longer, you know.

Lisa watched helpless, her mind racing. I can't call anyone; he's a criminal for God's sake. And what would I tell them? That a doctor stabbed him? Sure, they'd believe that. "Jackson," she whispered. What do I do?

He smiled feebly as he rolled onto his good side to face her. "Here's your chance, Lisa. Make a run for it."

Lisa rolled her eyes. "You'll end up dragging yourself after me anyway."

"You'd get a nice head start, though."

"I wouldn't really call that a fair chase."

Jackson closed his eyes, his body shuddering slightly. "Dammit, Lisa, just get out of here."

Lisa's gaze shifted to Roylott's unconscious form against the wall. "What about him? I can always-"

"No," came his deadly command. Suddenly Jackson smirked. "Maybe we'll have a rematch." He closed his eyes with a sigh, the smile slowly fading. "But he'll have me in the end, though. He'll shock me, stab me, hell, maybe he'll even shoot me. The options are endless."

Lisa's eyes narrowed as she stood up. "It's not like you to give up so easily, Jack. I'm disappointed, really."

"These past weeks have been a bit rough on my body, believe it or not." He fumbled for the counter above him and shakily pulled himself to his feet. His blue eyes flicked to her, a faint spark playing in his gaze. "Shall I chase you now?"

A groan from the opposite wall sent Lisa rushing to Jackson's bent form. "Roylott," she hissed, clutching his shoulder with a fierce grip. Get out now!

Jackson removed a bloody hand from his side to steady his shaking frame against the counter. He shot a burning glare toward the fallen doctor as he suddenly staggered forward. He found his knife had slid beneath a table in the center of the room and stooped to snatch it up. With a cry he crashed to his knees, a hand shooting to his wounded side. "Damn it!" he hissed, his free hand finally finding the weapon and grasping it tightly. He began a painful crawl forward, his breath coming in hoarse pants. A hand suddenly tugged on his coattail and drew him slightly backward, away from the unconscious doctor.

"No, Jack!" Lisa pulled harder until he twisted his head to face her. The light in his eyes faltered as he watched the fear spread across her face, her eyes darting from him to Roylott.

As quickly as it had vanished, his resolve returned, his jaw setting as he spoke through clenched teeth, "He's pushed me far enough."

The tears were welling up in her eyes. Lisa tried to blink them away, but only more flooded her vision. "You're delirious, Jack. You won't walk away from this and you know it."

Jackson threw her a feverish smile. "Then let's make it a damn good fight."

Lisa tightened her grip on his coat as she watched his eyes glaze over. She couldn't let this happen, this wasn't supposed to happen. "He can't hurt you as long as you have the phone; finish this later, when you can actually stand up. For God's sake, get out of here, Jack!"

The crippling pain in his side prevented him from crawling forward again. Jackson could feel himself losing control to an evergrowing black spiral. His focus blurred and he closed his eyes as he fought to stay conscious. Lisa's voice suddenly became all that mattered, all he could hear. The desire to obey her desperate pleas became oddly irresistible. He swallowed the rage that burned in the pit of his stomach with a grimace. What good would it do to die at Roylott's feet a dog? He gave Roylott a final glare, blinking the man into a blurry focus. You'll look up at me as I watch you die.

"Let's go, Leese," he croaked, struggling to his feet. She caught his arm and they shuffled from the room, leaving the groggy doctor behind.