Writer's Note: I'm sure I'm not the only one disappointed by the ending of tonight's 24 episode. I hope to be proven wrong, but I currently feel that killing Renee off was unnecessary and really kind of cruel. And like so often happens, I got pissed off. And my outage fueled my inspiration. And so I mentally trashed what I thought the writers of 24 did wrong, and rewrote it. Here is the outcome of that anger and that inspiration. Please forgive any errors, especially those of a medical nature; I'm not a doctor, I'm not pretending to be a doctor, and the medical procedures, etc. are not my focus right now; as such, I've tried to limit my description of medical processes so not to butcher the medical profession, hospital procedures, or anything else - too badly. ;) This story is intended to have two parts at the least; I'm not sure if, when, or how it will it be extended, but if you guys like it and I feel it can go further I will certainly try to continue it.

Jack closed the flip-phone and slid into a chair, heavily shaken. It sounded like Renee had a strong suspicion who killed their prisoner. It looked like some bastard had gotten the strong suspicion first, judging by the sniper that had so quickly found them and set up to take them out. To take her out.

"Mr. Bauer?"

Jack got to his feet immediately, aiming a fierce, yet upset look at the middle-aged doctor. "Yeah?"

"Renee Walker's condition is bad, but stable. We believe her chances of survival are good. You can see her now, but we need to keep it brief."

He followed the doctor down the hall. "Is she awake?"

"Not yet. The anesthetics are still active in her system; she won't be awake for a while." The doctor pushed open the door to Renee's hospital room.

Jack stared from the doorway for a long moment, swallowing hard. He knew there was a phone call he needed to make. He needed to call Chloe to get a team down to the hospital to set up a guard around Renee. He needed to get security measures in place to make sure no one knew she survived the sniper's shot. He needed to…

He heaved a sigh and looked down to hide the pained expression and the teary eyes. Yes, he needed to do all that and more. But first, he needed a moment…just one more moment with the woman he…that he had to admit he had come to love.

He stepped into the room and walked slowly to Renee's bedside. The pale cream hospital blankets were tucked neatly up to her waist, and she looked somber as she slept. A hospital gown covered the heavy bandaging Jack knew was bound tightly beneath her breasts, over the deadly shot that had nearly taken her life…that still might.

Jack slipped his hand over hers, which laid, folded, over her waist. His eyes searched her face. She looked neither pained, nor happy…she had a sort of somberness about her. If she were awake, she'd probably say, "Well hell, Jack, I got shot. Go figures."

He frowned. No, that sounded like something he would say to her, were the places switched. (Oh, how he wished they were.) If Renee were awake, she'd skip any conversation about herself and get straight to the point: "Jack, this is the man who tried to kill me. Jack, that is where I think he is now. Jack, this is what I know about him. Now go catch the bad guy."

He huffed a small, throaty laugh and leaned over to kiss Renee's forehead with fear and grief piling in his heart.

He hadn't even known Renee when he knew she was someone he'd never be likely to forget.

He'd only known her half a day when he knew he could trust her explicitly

He'd known her for just one day and several hours when he realized he loved her. Maybe not chin-in, head-over-heels blindly in love with her, but he loved her enough, and a lot more than he had anyone else at only two days – less than two days.

He released her hands regretfully. At least he would have the chance to fall head-over-heels in love with her. She was alive. Jack turned on his heel and stormed from the room, his phone at his ear with CTU on the line. He would make damn sure she stayed that way.