One Day Later

Jack propped himself up on his arm and watched her with gratefulness still bursting from every inch of his body. She, Renee Walker, slept peacefully on the hospital bed. The doctors were far more sure now of her predicted recovery, than they were at the time he came flying into the ER with her bleeding in his arms.

He wasn't sure he believed in God, but he thanked him anyway, over and over. For once, everything he absolutely needed to go right – his security around Renee – went right. There was a second attempt on Renee's life, but it had been intercepted swiftly and without further danger to her life. Maybe it was the fact that he would've flayed anyone who failed to protect her that made them so damn vigilant. Maybe they were just that good. Jack didn't know and didn't care which, but he mentally filed a reminder to thank every person on Renee's security team anyway. He exhaled a deep and silent sigh. Later.

Movement caught his attention; her eyes began to flutter, and then they opened to reveal her hazy, blue-green eyes. Those eyes wandered for but a second before they landed on him, and she half-smiled, too tired or too shaken to complete the smile.

Jack tried to hide all residual worry from his expression and he smiled back. :"Hey," he said softly. He reached out to touch her cheek.

"He–" Her croaky response was cut off by a cough. She finished in a whisper, "Didn't you promise me something about a drink?"

His memory flashed back to the blissful moments before the shot, and he chuckled in spite of the dark moments that followed. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I did. Hold on..." He gave her cheek a caress as he left her side. He found a nurse in the hall and asked her to bring something to soothe the newly-awakened patient's throat. He returned to her side, then, and they just stared at each other, watching volumes of emotions play off each other's face. Their expressions communicated a wordless, perfect story.

The nurse's footsteps broke the spell, and Jack took the cup she handed him. "Well, it's not a drink," he said, "but it's ice chips; they should feel good. You still want them?" Renee nodded and, though she could have done it herself, let him spoon-feed her while the nurse scribbled some notes down on a clipboard.

"I'm going to page Dr. Mendel," the nurse told them. She gave them a brief nod as she excused herself, and left the room briskly in her sensible, no-nonsense sneakers.

The chips melted in the cup to a frosty water before Renee could finish them, and Jack handed the cup over so she could down the last bit. "One day…" he began. She met his eyes over the rim of the Styrofoam. "…One day, we will have just one day without one of us getting shot at…"

"Stabbed," she contributed, her eyes falling to the side of his torso.

"Buried alive."

"Chased after."

"Held hostage."

"Or infected with rare and deadly diseases," he finished. They shared a wry grin.

Renee's head fell back against the pillow and she sighed deeply, a wince crossing her face as her hand ghost-swept across her torso. Jack reached over to stroke his fingers through her hair. "You want me to get the nurse back here to give you some more painkillers?"

They both knew painkillers would knock her out for a while. She smiled again, this time a fuller, softer smile. "In a minute…" she said lazily. There was a pointed undertone to her reply.

Jack returned her smile with breathless amazement, and leaned over to kiss first her head, then her cheek, and finally, softly, her lips.

For once, what he needed to go right went exactly right.

For once, he didn't feel like he was cursed to bring doom to everyone he cared about.

Writer's Note: Reviews are definitely appreciated. This is my first 24 fic, so feedback concerning particularly with how I wrote the characters would be wonderful; I hate getting characters dramatically out-of-character. :) Like I said, I don't know if this will go anywhere else, but if the inspiration itches at me again, I'll continue it. Thanks a mill. :)