Renee was sent to the burns unit for the electrical burns from the makeshift electrical chair that Lu had put her through. The main ones were on the backs of her thighs, but also on her wrists and back. Her clothes in those places were singed, even charred in some places. On her back, there was a hole burned through both her jacket and shirt. Not to mention she needed stitches for both the blow to her head—two—and more on her back from the razor cuts—seventeen.
"You're a mess," one nurse told her with a grin. Jack barely resisted telling her to shut up—just barely. Renee forced a smile, and squeezed Jack's hand.
"It'll be okay." They had to take turns being the strong one.
Renee's doctor decided to put her out for the removal of dead skin from her electrical burns. The pain would be unbearable, especially for someone whom had already had a total of nineteen stitches and according to her record, a history of suicide attempts.
The nurse came over. "We're going to put you out for this, all right Ms. Walker?
"No," Renee said, a note of panic coming into her voice. "Don't put me out."
"Ms. Walker, the pain will be agonizing to say the least. We have to put you out."
"No," Renee repeated, her voice already rising a note. Jack put a hand on each side of her face.
"Look at me, Renee." She stopped, took a breath, looked into his face. She was trembling slightly. "I need you to do this."
"Jack, I don't want to."
"I know, but listen. I don't think I can watch this happen to you." A note of pleading entered his voice as well. "Please, Renee. Do this. Do it for me."
She swallowed, looked into his eyes, "I don't want to Jack."
"Please. I'll be here the very second you wake up, okay?"
She took a deep, shuddering breath. "Okay."
"It'll be all right, Renee. I promise."
"Okay." She nodded. The nurse injected the drug into Renee's IV tube. Jack lay in her hospital bed next to her, silencing a protesting nurse with a glare.
"I'm right here," he whispered to Renee. She nodded slowly, her eyelids beginning to droop. "It's okay, Renee. Just let go. You'll be all right." He pressed his lips to her forehead, and it was the last thing she remembered as she drifted into black unconsciousness.
As Jack paced in the hall, his phone rang.
"Boss, we've got a problem."
"Elliot, what is it?"
"Mozart got away."
"What?" Jack hissed, furious. "How?"
"I don't know. I turned around for maybe two minutes to take a call and when I turned back around, the two buffoons were there, but no Mozart."
"All right. I'm recording his plans as we speak. Once I'm finished, they'll be sent to CTU and we can get this done. Call the director and inform him of the update. And send Team Four out looking for Mozart. He can't have gotten far. Get a map of the sewers and go through them."
"Out." Jack hit the off button and swore. The clock in Renee's room ticked and Jack wrote Mozart's plans on a legal pad. An hour passed, then two. He finished his statement, had it sent, and waited. Another hour passed before Renee was wheeled back into her room. She was bandaged almost everywhere, it seemed. Her head lolled to one side, blank and asleep.
"When should she come to?"
"Maybe half an hour."
Jack sat next to her bed, gently stroking her hand. He traced circles on her pale skin with his fingers, stroked her palms with his thumbs. Twenty minutes passed before she stirred.
"Jack?" she mumbled sleepily.
"I'm right here, Renee."
"Okay," she drifted back into unconsciousness. This happened three or four times in the next hour and Jack was always there. The second time, he hung up on the president so he could be with her as she blearily came to. An hour passed before she was lucid.
"What did the doctors say? Am I all right?"
"You're gonna be okay." His mind flashed back to hours before, when he had watched rivulets of blood trace tiny rivers down her back, unable to stop it. He pushed it back, determined to stay in the present.
"And the burns?"
"You won't need any skin grafts, but you'll have those bandages for probably two weeks. And it's going to hurt. A lot."
"Pain is just weakness leaving the body," Renee grunted sarcastically.
"Is that what they teach you in FBI school?"
"That and how to shoot your partner if he gets too annoying."
"Ah. I can see how that would be useful."
"It might if you decide to annoy me."
His phone warbled and Jack pressed his Bluetooth.
"We found where Mozart was, Boss. There was a note for us. And a body."
"What did the note say?"
"You've only heard the allegro."
"What's an allegro?"
"Traditionally, the beginning part of a symphony…according to the internet anyway."
"Great. There's more to come. And whose body was it?"
"We don't know."
"Well, find out Elliot. We're running out of time."
Jack waited with Renee. And waited. They talked some of the time, were silent the rest. He only left her to fetch non-hospital food and to use the facilities. Days passed as CTU decrypted files, followed leads. Nothing required Jack's attention. It took a week before the hospital decided Renee was ready to leave. Jack could count on one hand the number of times he had been happier than the moment the nurse brought him the release forms. Her stitches had been removed from her forehead and the doctor said that there would be minimal to no scarring. They scheduled a return appointment to remove the stitches on her back and to look at her burns within a few days.
They climbed into a black CTU SUV and drove back to headquarters. Jack was all for getting Renee to her apartment, but she steadfastly insisted in going to CTU. They arrived to hundreds of people running to and fro, a giant layout of Mozart's plan on the wall with parts circled, crossed out, and color-coded. Computer keys clacked in the background and Director Frost watched it all from his glass office, as he talked on the phone with the CIA head.
Jack was sent to Frost's office, with Renee following.
"Jack. Good to see you back. And you too Renee. How're you doing?"
"Fine," she replied. "What're our leads?"
Jacob Frost smiled, indicating the diagram projected onto the wall. "We're following several at the moment. Elliot's doing really well as your sub, Jack. I'm thinking when this is all over, I'll make him leader of one of the teams. Six, I think."
"He's a good man and a good soldier. Now what can we do to help?"
Renee loved that he said 'we'. Not I, we. He was not sheltering her, as he so often did, and as he looked over at her, making sure it was okay that he was doing this, she smiled at him. She needed to work, to be useful.
"Jack, I want you directing team eight from here, and Renee, we have some intel we'd like you to appraise.
They both nodded, and Director Frost indicated a side room. Renee sat down at a computer and Jack at the one next to her. He rested a warm hand on her knee as she typed in her security code, then pulled on a headset and they got to work.
Mozart smiled as he twisted the final two wires together. It was always a good idea to make a bang as your first impression. He set a timer on his little bomb and slipped it into a bag. Up ahead, the Supreme Court loomed. How he loved situational irony.
There were many things Mozart had planned for—the case, the date, even how to get past security. He had not planned for the judge whom had condemned him into exile to have been out sick with a nasty cold. He wheeled into the Supreme Court in a wheelchair. The bomb was in a bag in what appeared to all others to be a bedpan. He was patted down gently by a security guard, then allowed to go in.
He wheeled down the corridor and checked the time on his watch. He pressed a button on the side, as though to illuminate the dial. The power in the building shut down. As backup generators began to hum, Mozart hit another button on his watch. Within seconds, the backup generators were down as well. He wheeled down to the main court and stood, pushed open the door, and removed the bomb from his bedpan. He tucked it in a trash basket in one corner and crept out. He had hundreds of pictures of this room and knew exactly what to do. Panicked voices were demanding to know what was going on and people had their cell phones out for light. The security officer was so busy restraining an angry plaintiff that he didn't even notice Mozart creeping out. The only person who saw him was an elderly woman who wondered quietly to herself if he had fixed the fuses.
When the power returned, the security guards found the old man wheeling out the door, muttering about modern conveniences being the death of them all. They dismissed him easily and Mozart took the Metro to another DC station, covering his face with the hood of a windbreaker and walking with a limp.
At exactly half-past three in the afternoon, a courtroom of the Supreme Court containing three justices talking during an unexpected recess, exploded. All three men were killed instantly and when the news came on half an hour later, Mozart cursed the heavens for a good twenty minutes. The man he had targeted was not in the room. He was alive. His plan had failed…but he still had lots to go on.
At CTU, Jack gave another order, Renee read another page.
"Salto, Ferris, Lucro, Banks—left side of the building. Reynolds, Jansen, get the roof. The rest of you go through the main entrance. Move."
"Copy," ten voices said in near-unison. Jack nodded. Next to him, Renee double-clicked a sentence and re-read it.
"This intel is good. They know a lot of key pieces of information." She showed Jack the sentences she'd highlighted throughout the documents. "Piece it all together and you've got the makings of an excellent informant. We want to follow this lead. They've worked with Mozart before and if we can get a deal with him…or her…then we've got a much better chance of finding him.
Jack nodded and absently traced designs on Renee's knee. She shivered a little and suppressed a smile. Static came in on his comm. Leaving one hand on her knee, he pressed the button on his mike.
"This is Bauer, come in eight. Over."
"Bauer to Salto. Come in Salto. Ferris? Lucro? Banks?" He called all the names. More static.
"Something's not right. Someone get me Chloe."
Renee pressed a button on the phone on the desk, dialed the extension. "Chloe? Jack needs you here now. We just lost contact with all of team eight. And bring Frances."
"Got it. Be right there."
Chloe arrived within a manner of seconds, with a black woman right behind. Frances grinned in a friendly manner at Renee. It had puzzled Jack and Renee to no end that somehow bouncy, happy-go-lucky Frances would get along so well with straightforward, blunt Chloe, but something about the pair clicked and they made an excellent team. Not to mention that Frances was one of the few people who could keep up with Chloe and simultaneously not be offended or annoyed by her.
Frances slid a rolling chair in next to Renee and began to type furiously at the keys. She was still smiling and hummed as she worked, her fingers flying. Chloe had already taken her place at Jack's computer and the pair were a duo of clacking computer keys. Jack and Renee stood side by side behind them, letting the techies do their jobs. Renee's hand drifted over to brush Jack's thigh and he held her hand. When he looked over into her face, scabs from her blow to the head still showed. He gingerly traced the wound with one finger and Renee gently took hold of his wrist and lowered it from her cut, placed it on her cheek so his palm cradled her face.
"It wasn't your fault," she murmured too quietly for Frances and Chloe to hear. Jack nodded, and for a split second, it was almost the opposite situation that they had encountered after Renee's attack on Vladimir. Before she had been shot by that sniper, before he had come this close to losing her. Renee glanced over at Chloe and Frances, then gently brushed her lips across Jack's, in a caress so soft and brief, it tingled as the nerves reached for more. It was over only a moment after it had began, and Jack smiled faintly. Another techie walked in, and winked at Jack, flashed Renee a knowing grin. It was a man this time, wearing wire-framed glasses and with a head of explosive carrot-colored hair. He was tall, over six-three, and still had the awkwardness of a teenager. This was due to the fact that he was nineteen and CTU's resident genius.
"Thought I'd come see if I could help."
"Kyle, this really isn't a good time."
"It never is. What can I do?"
Without missing a beat, Frances said something in French and Kyle grinned widely.
"I love breaking the rules." He sat down at another chair and began typing.
Yes, I am now aware that this is AU due to the fact that those IDIOT WRITERS FREAKING KILLED RENEE!!!! Though as a writer I understand that this is a great tool for plot development, there's always the tride-and-true coma from which she cannot wake, then miraculously does at the end. But unless they've shot the ending episodes already, Renee's gone. Annie Wersching's belly is too pregnant to play Renee any longer and have it still be plausible. Though my writer self has accepted it, my 24 fangirl still weeps openly and screams her rage to the skies. I once again apologize to my beta for not having her look over this. Plot bunnies. And I hope you all read, review, and enjoy. In my writings, Renee shall live, so fear not Renack-ers. You shall have your fluff.