leigh57: (8x17 Bed Smile Renee's Eyes Closed)
[personal profile] leigh57
fandom: 24
title: Our arms fill with miracles
word count: 927
warnings: Series spoilers, language, AU like woah
a/n: This is for [profile] century_fox, who prompted with, "Come head on, full circle / our arms fill with miracles.” Given that it’s you, Cinna, I’m hoping the fact that it’s almost June won’t squash the Christmas spirit. I will get all of these done eventually. The complete list of prompts is here. Ginormous thanks to [personal profile] adrenalin211 for being a great beta and a cheerleader when I needed one.

The title is taken from 'Go Places,' by The New Pornographers.


It’s only after the doctor disappears behind the giant double doors that Jack realizes.

The blood all over the man’s scrubs is Renee’s.

Time stops working.


A timid orderly approaches him, neatly folded clothes stacked on her arm. “Mr. Bauer? These might fit you, well enough at least. I can show you where the showers are if you’d like to change.”

He nods and follows her. Her scrubs have pink elephants and multi-colored gumballs on them.

He steams in the shower until he’s scrubbed every part of his body at least three times.

But he does it all with his eyes closed, so he won’t have to watch Renee’s blood drain away in an endless swirling circle.


He can’t stay still, but he doesn’t know what to do with his own body, muscle and bone that won’t settle, that keep him uncomfortable no matter how he shifts or rearranges.

He walks the long white hallway outside the ICU waiting room until he knows the number of tiles that make up the floor (18 x 6 = 108), until he’s afraid that exhaustion and terror might make him talk back to the screams in his head.

It’s quiet in the tiny chapel, a refuge from PA system static, from the smell of blood and disinfectant. He kneels (relic of reverence) in the stained-glass silence, watching the way the sun lights up the dust, haloed specks floating in front of the windows.

When he was young, they went to church every Sunday, the eight a.m. service.

He remembers it only in fragments. Itchy shirt and a grey and blue striped tie he could feel every time he swallowed. Graem poking his ribs with the edge of a hymnal. Driving home to receive the promised beating from his father for opening his eyes during prayer. (He’d always wanted to ask how you could know someone else’s eyes were open if your eyes were closed, but he assumed the pain would end sooner if he kept his mouth shut.)

Now, he doesn’t dare to pray.

(People like him have no right to ask anything of God.)

But he does light a candle.

The flame sputters and hesitates before it catches and burns with conviction.

His hand trembles as he holds it, studying the glow.

He’s not ready to put it with all the others.

Not yet.


When even the triple shot latte can’t revive him and his body gives out, he falls asleep on a stiff chair in the waiting room.

His dreams are a relentless clash of the bizarre and the horrifying.

Blood and bullets and cracking glass.

Barbies and orange juice and Charles Dickens and Kool-Aid popsicles.

When he opens his eyes, the giant flat-screen TV in the corner is closed-captioning news about Syria.

Black body bags and more blood.


Kim flies in, despite his protests.

(The second day? Maybe the third?)

It’s only when he feels her hand on his cheek, hears the achy comfort of her voice, that he realizes he’s been seeing in sepia.

Her presence dials color back into the room.

And when she says, Daddy, talk to me, he doesn’t try not to cry this time.


Contrary as always, Renee opens her eyes for the first time in the middle of the night.

He’s cold and uncomfortable, in the usual half-doze he manages for a few hours, curled in the pull-out chair that’s farther from her bed than he likes it.

He has no idea what alerts him to the change in the air. (Did she move? Make a noise?)

But he blinks awake, and when his eyes snap to her body, so small and pale in the giant mechanical bed, they land directly on hers.

Wide, green, terrified.

She’s already reaching for the tube in her throat.

His fucking foot is asleep, but he ignores the stabbing pins and needles, stumbles the few steps to the rail that separates them.

He grabs for her arm, words spilling out.

“Hey. It’s me. It’s okay. Don’t touch anything. Just breathe. Okay? Please?”

He really has no idea what he’s saying, but all he has to do is watch her eyes to follow what’s happening in her mind.

First, confusion. Forehead furrowed, sheets clenched in her hands.

Then, memory and horror. Frantic, her focus darts everywhere in half a second.

Her chest, the machines, the door, her chest again, and finally back to his face.

The beep that signals her pulse monitor is going nuts.

He can hear her breathing now, even over the rush of all the equipment, and it scares the shit out of him.

“Look at me. Look at me, please.”

She does, her eyes shiny. Way too bright.

He can only imagine how much she hurts.

“You remember?” he whispers.

She nods, barely.

He swallows (everything inside his heart is spinning) and tries to process what he’s supposed to do.

“I should get the nurse.”

She shakes her head, the motion so vehement that all the equipment attached to her body wiggles.

“Renee, I’ll only be gone for a second, but I need to-”

He stops when he sees her small white hand (dash of freckles) sliding slowly over the sheet, working its way toward the bars until her fingers can sneak through.

He wraps her hand in both of his. The rapid-fire beep of her pulse monitor begins to slow.

After a few seconds, her fingers tighten, soft grip on his skin.

The barely-there squeeze reminds him of the candle.


In entirely unrelated news, I continue to be amused by the collection of random that is tumblr. It works on my brain in such a strange way. It's a giant collision of funny, hot, thoughtful, weird, clever, pretty, and sometimes downright effing freaky. Also, one of the tags I track is "Jeremy Renner," and seriously, there must be ten posts a minute. I've given up even trying to see them all.

What's up with you guys?


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