action_antihero: (Waugh!)
In retrospect, he probably should have taken the hint and stayed in bed that morning. Then again, it's not like the sign had been a clear one; not when it was the fact that he'd been unable to stay in bed that night that was the first big hint.

He hadn't slept well, not that that was anything new. Sleepless nights are more rare, with the sleeping pills his doctor had given him, but he hadn't taken any the night before. He tried not to take them more than a couple nights in a row, and he had too much to do the next morning to want to put up with the grogginess that inevitably followed when he'd dosed himself to sleep.

As he makes his way into the lobby of the condo, though, he's thinking that feeling groggy probably would be the least of his problems at the moment.

First there had been the traffic--bumper to bumper, horns honking, people cutting him off left, right and center. The chaos of the roads had--not surprisingly--been reflected in the chaos at the DMV where he'd been squished into a line with God knew how many other people, standing there for an hour just to change the address on his driver's licence. Naturally when the clerk had typed in his licence number, some kind of red flag had come up, needing a manager's attention, even though he'd been told that he'd been reinserted into the database as though his name had never been removed. An additional thirty minutes later, he'd finally walked out with his new licence and his nerves wound so tight that he'd found himself gripping the steering wheel, white-knuckled, as he drove out of the lot.

More traffic, more bureaucratic bullshit as he filed the official change-of-address for other government agencies at the court house, then more traffic on his way home. By the time he walks back into the lobby he's exhausted and one of the muscles in his right shoulder is starting to twitch, that all-too-familiar feeling of tension, of feeling boxed in creeping over him. He goes for the stairs, not wanting to add insult to injury by taking the elevator; something which still makes him pretty uncomfortable.

It isn't enough, though. By the time he gets to the door to their apartment, his hands are shaking, the claustrophobic feeling not going away. It takes him a moment to get his key in the door before he finally unlocks it and gratefully closes the door behind him. His breath is coming in rapid, jerky gasps, his heart racing as he breaks out in a cold sweat.

Oh fuck, nonono, not again, not now, not again--

The last thing he needs today is a fucking panic attack. He really should just have stayed in bed.
action_antihero: (Pre-S1!Jack_thinking)
Another night, and Jack's outside by the lake again.  he's been sitting in the bar, hoping for Kim to come in, but he hasn't seen any sign of her yet.  He's headed outside now, trying to get some space to think about things, as well as hopefully avoid seeing some people; he's not sure he wants to speak to Nina at the moment. 

He's starting to get cold despite the warm layers the bar had givne him, and he'll head inside in a few minutes.  Just...not yet.
action_antihero: (Pre-S1!Jack_nothappy)
Early February, 2004

Getting called into Ryan Chappelle's office is never a good thing.  Getting called into Chappelle's office to get pulled over the coals on behalf of CTU the night after a pretty stressful dinner date with Teri was definitely not a good thing.  And he's not sure whether he's being bitched at about what was, in the end, a successful operation, makes it better or worse.

"Shouldn't the most important part be the fact that we managed to stop the attack before they caused the public any major harm?" he asks, coolly.
action_antihero: (TitanicShip)
He's really starting to hate flying; he'd doped himself up again this time, and had luckily been able to nod off for much of the flight. That didn't mean he wasn't glad to be back on the ground--or more importantly, out of the confined space of an airplane fuselage. He could handle it all right, providing he slept, but even then, five hours in the air was starting to push it.

The one consolation is, of course, that he won't have to do it again soon. He's going home for good.

He lets out a long breath as he walks up the jetway to the concourse, his muscles gradually relaxing, unknotting as he has the chance to stretch them. Through the hallways of LAX, down an escalator to the baggage claim area, he dodges other passengers, picking up his pace. It's not just the chance to stretch his muscles that's making him hurry; it's thinking about what's waiting for him at the end of this long trip.
action_antihero: (Headachy!Jack)
It's cold outside, so when Jack comes in after a walk, a shower seems like a good way to warm up quickly; not to mention to get rid of the sweat and grime of the day.  He'd spoent the day trying to finish up his chores at his clients' places, trying to get them read for opening in a few weeks.    That and do a few things around his cabin to improve its marketability.

He steps in the shower, lathering up with Chris' floral-scented shampoo as he'd forgotten to get more of his.  He'll cope; the fact that it's in his shower is enough, considering what it represents.  Of course the difference between the two is negligible when you get it in your eyes, and he curses loudly as his eyes start to sting.

He's groping for the knob to turn off the water, trying to rinse the soap out of his hair, when he bumps against the know controlling the temperature instead.  Suddenly the water goes cold, and he gasps, a memory coming back to his so strongly that he has to grab onto the towel bar in the shower to support himself.

He'd been locked in that cell, been sick and covered in filth and blood, and occasionally they'd come in with buckets or a hose and hit him with cold water, just enough to clean him superficially, just enough that he wasn't caked in his own vomit and blood, so that his torturers could stand to get close enough to him to inflict pain.

Even though he's holding onto the towel bar for dear life, his legs feel rubbery, his breath coming in short gasps.  He sinks to his knees, banging his knee against the cold enamel of the tub's bottom.  The moment of pain is enough to bring him back to reality as the walls feel as though they're closing in.  He's in Milliways, not China; he can turn the water off, he can make it stop.

Groping blindly for the knob to turn the water off, near-panic making him fumble, his fingers find it and stop the steady stream of water, leaving him shivering in the bottom of the tub.  He opens his eyes, squinting but still able to see where he is--and more importantly, where he's not.

You're not back there.  You're in Milliways, you're safe.  Now get out of the tub and dry yourself off.  One step at a time.

He manages to get his feet under him and step out of the tub, shivering not just from the cold water.  Grabbing his bathrobe, he wraps it around him, tying it tightly before he heads out into his suite, grabbing a pair fo jeans and the sweater Erin had given him.  Even with them on, though, he's still shivering, and he grabs the blanket at the end of the bed, wrapping it around his shoulders.   Sitting heavily on the edge of the bed, he puts his head in his hands, trying to breathe more slowly, to calm down.

It's been a while since he had a flashback like that; one that seemed to take over until he wasn't sure where he was.  The fact that he's had one again isn't encouraging.  He doesn't want to think that they'll keep happening, doesn't want to be on the alert for a flashback or a panic attack, particularly in front of someone else.  He wants to believe that things are getting better, that they'll be okay.

He knows they will be, but it certainly feels like it's going to be a long, long time.
action_antihero: (Default)
Sitting in his cardiologist's office without a shirt on, shivering slightly from the chill of the air conditioning, Jack has to be thankful for two things. One, that despite the poking and prodding he'd undergone for the last forty-five minutes, he hasn't had a repeat of the near-panic attack he'd had the day before at his physician's; two, that this appointment hadn't been for the day before. Though for the second, the relief is more that he wouldn't have to explain the sudden spike in heart rate that would have appeared in the data for the middle of the night when his cardiologist looked at the results from the Holter monitor that's about to be strapped to his chest. Or the entry he would have had to make in the log that went with the monitor: 0230: Woken by nightmare of seeing loved ones die. 0300: Scared half to death by daughter, followed by argument and discussion of suicidal thoughts.

Jack rubs his eyes, trying to focus on the first item to be grateful for. A repeat of yesterday is all he needs, though with this appointment there's less to cause flashbacks, other than the general atmosphere. Today's appointment has been less intrusive at least, though at the moment he still feels somewhat shaky and there's a part of him that's eager to get the fuck out of there. Drumming his fingers against the exmaination table, he looks down at the spots on his chest where it's been shaved so the leads get better contact with his skin; six bald patches in his chest hair. It looks like he has some weird disease; Chris will probably get a good giggle out of it at least. He won't be surprised if the term "crop circles" comes up.

It seems to take forever, but finally Dr. Campbell comes in, carrying the monitor and getting it set up; sticking the leads on Jack's chest, testing to make sure it's recording properly. He goes over the rules--write down what you do, no showers or baths for 24 hours, avoid strong magnets and metal detectors--while Jack only half-listens. He knows the drill by now; he's had to do it a couple times a year since his heart attack, with the exception of the last two, of course.

"I've booked you in to remove the monitor at the same time tomorrow, and I should have the results within a couple days. You'll be here in L.A. until the end of the week, you said?" Campbell asks; Jack nodding his reply. "Okay, I'll call you and make an appointment once I've had to look at your results. Also, I want to switch your medication."

Jack looks at Campbell a little warily. "Something wrong with the digoxin?" Just his luck the FDA will have found out it causes cancer or something in the last year or two, while he's still been taking it, unaware.

"It's just not as effective as once thought; particularly for people who exercise. You're actually doing better than expected, considering how long you've been taking it." Jack nods again, trying not to look shifty. Of course, having someone heal your heart with magical powers more than once might be the cause of that, but there's no way in hell he's going to mention that. "I want to switch you over to a beta-blocker; they're generally better for younger or more active people. Keep taking the digoxin for the next couple days, and when you come in to discuss the results, we can get started on getting you on the new medication. All set? I'll let you get dressed then, and I'll see you tomorrow."

Jack puts his shirt back on, saying his goodbyes and heading out to the car, trying to get used to the feeling of having the monitor strapped to his waist, wires snaking around his chest. He won't get used to it, he knows that, but even as he settles into the driver's seat, trying to get comfortable and failing, he can't help but hope. The only bonus is at least the damn thing will be off by the time he meets up with Chris the next day, with ample time to have a shower.
action_antihero: (Horrified!Jack)
Somehow--dazed and maybe a little tipsy--Jack makes it upstairs from the bar without actually consciously thinking about where he's going. He's desperately trying not to think of what he'd seen downstairs, but oh God, is it ever not working.

Reaching his room, he opens the door, wondering if he should sit down and try to hold off the nausea or just go to the bathroom and throw up right now.
action_antihero: (TitanicShip)
Dinner had been nice; certainly a welcome change for Jack and Chris to be able to go out to dinner like anyone else, even if he'd still had some residual jitters from the last couple days. He'd had to stop himself from looking over his shoulder, had to keep reminding himself that he didn't have to worry about who saw him, who might recognise him anymore.

Maybe because of that, or maybe because it was just more quiet and comfortable, it's just as nice where he is now, cuddled up with Chris on her couch, a glass of wine in his hand. Closing his eyes for a moment, he lets out a sigh, trying to push away every thought that tried to spoil the moment.
action_antihero: (Sleepy!Jack)
The world doesn't look much better in the morning, when Jack wakes after a restless few hours of sleep. Particularly not when he remembers his conversation with Kim the night before. It's not that what he'd said hadn't been true at some point in the last few weeks; even fairly recently. But it's not necessarily true at this moment, and he knows she's probably just going to fret over him more. She'd jsut caught his at a bad time, when his defenses were down and he hadn't been expressing himself clearly.

The house is silent, the light outside dim, it's still early but as he's wide awake, he might as well get ready for the day. Particularly as he's going to have to talk to Kim about this later, try and reassure her when he's not sure how reassuring he's going to be. Dragging himself out of bed, he pulls on some clothes and heads for the kitchen; if he's going to do anything today, he's going to need coffee.
action_antihero: (Sleepy!Jack)
He wakes with a start, gasping for breath, and staring around him for a moment before the dream image fades and he realizes where he is: the spare room at Kim and Chase's house.  For one tense moment, he listens but everything is still; he hasn't cried out and woken anyone, thank God.  He's not sure he wants to see anyone at the moment, shaking and soaked in a cold sweat, though considering the dream he's just had, it might be reassuring.

He'd been back in China, back in that torture room, only in addition to Chris and Tony, Kim had been there.  They'd shot Chris first, and about the only thing he can say he's relieved at at the moment is that he'd woken before the second shot.  Even still, the sight of Chris being shot execution-style...   He closes his eyes again, swallowing so he doesn't throw up.

Opening his eyes again, he looks down at his hands, seeing them shake in the dim light.  Fuck, he's been jittery all day, ever since going for his first doctor's appointment that morning.  He'd thought he'd be okay as he'd headed into Dr. Breckenridge's office and lab, even if navigating the heavy L.A. traffic had rattled him a bit.  Even when he'd stepped in and smelled the usual sterile smell of a doctor's office, his heart starting to beat faster, he'd managed to convince himself that he'd be fine.

That had gone out the window as soon as the nurse had come in, and he'd seen the tourniquet and butterfly needle in the tray she carried.  He'd known he was going to have a full physical, known somewhere in the back of his mind that part of that was getting blood taken, and that they couldn't do that without some kind of needle, but somehow he hadn't actually thought about it.  

He still isn't quite sure of exactly what had happened next, as it seems like a split-second later that he was trying to keep from hyperventilating and Breckenridge was in the office, and calling Jack by his first name for the first time in the thirteen years that Jack had been his patient.  He'd made Jack stretch out on the examining table for fifteen minutes before they'd continued with the physical, leaving the needles for last.  Not that the rest of it had been much better; the snap of latex, the smells of disinfectant, the feeling of being poked and examined--the entire experience had been one big flashback trigger.  About the only plus was the fact that, as a government-approved doctor, Breckenridge had the clearance to know that Jack had been held in China, and had the facilities to do the preliminary labwork instead of sending him to an ordinary lab where they may have been alarmed at his freakout, not to mention the still-visible track marks on his arms.  

He'd gotten through it, seemed all right again as he'd left, only to be forced to pull over until the shakes had dissipated, leaving his muscles feeling rubbery and tired.  The experience had thrown off the entire day, though, and it should have been enough to get him to use the heavy-duty sleeping pills Breckenridge had prescribed, but he hadn't wanted to take them.  Stupidly, he'd wanted to try and sleep naturally, considering he has an appointment with his cardiologist early the next day.

So here he is, wide awake and shaking, nerves wound tight as a spring and not wanting to go back to sleep.  God, he just wants this to go away, to be over.  He wants to be able to not think about this, not feel like this for just a little while.  The only thing is, he knows the main way he can achieve that, and he knows if he goes that route he's not coming back.  As much as a single hit of heroin is tempting him right now, he knows it wouldn't be a single hit, and that more importantly he'd be letting everyone down, including himself.

Taking a deep breath, trying to steady himself he gets up, moving quietly out into the hall and down to the living room.  There are other things he can do to try and relax enough to sleep, and he'd noticed that Chase and Kim have a decent amount of alcohol in the house.  One drink, just enough to settle his nerves, then he'll try to sleep.
action_antihero: (Default)
Right now, Jack's really reconsidering not going to L.A. through Milliways.

As the plane's engines begin to whine, the fight attendants going through the "just in case, but face it, if anything goes wrong you're probably fucked" safety demonstration,  Jack tries to remind himself that with the governmetn probably watching for him to cross the border, his popping up in L.A. without a record of him passing through customs is likely to raise more than a few eyebrows.  He can't draw attention to himself, can't do anything suspicious as the implication had been that while they hadn't been able to find anything suspicious in his debrielfing, they still don't trust him.

But crammed into coach seating in a flying beer can, his knees practically bumping into the seat in front of him, the feeling of things closing in around him isn't helping his concentration any.  And he knows once they're in the air he'll have five straight hours of being inside.

Taking a deep breath, he tries not to think about how long he's going to be inside the plane, trying to think about everything he has to look forward to back on the ground.  Doctors'  appointments; to say that his physician and cardiologist had been shocked to get a phone call from him to set up appointments would be a gross understatement.  It's not often that a patient that's been dead for two years asks to come in for a checkup.  Thanks to that, of course, he has two things to look forward to: a full physical and having the fun of having electrodes stuck to his chest and a monitor strapped to his waist for 24 hours, which he knows from past experience means he won't be sleeping at least one night of the week.

That's obviously not what he's trying to focus on as the plane pulls away from the gate, of course.  It's seeing Kim and Chase, playing with Angie, going out with Chris, and most of all, not having to look over his shoulder while he does any of it.  It's being able to see the people he loves, at home, doing ordinary things.

As the plane makes its way in line for the runway, Jack takes a deep breath, trying to just keep calm until they reach altitude and he can take one of the over-the-counter sleeping pills.  It'll be enough to knock him out for part of the flight, at least, and hopefully then it'll seem like no time at all before he's home.
action_antihero: (Thinking!Jack)
In the last couple weeks he's been trying to force himself to go out for a walk every day; even if there are days when he doesn't want to, when he doesn't care, he knows there'll come a point that he'll regret it if he doesn't start getting back into shape.  Those days are getting fewer and further between at least, which he supposes should be something of a comfort.

Today, though, he's out for a walk so he has some space to think about everything that's happened.  About all the people he has to talk to or worse, apologise to, after acting like an idiot for a few days, and saying things he  wouldn't have thought otherwise.

About his dream  the other night, and his talk with Tony.

He doesn't have too long to think, though, as he spots someone familiar not far away.  Someone he should apologise to, perhaps more than anyone else he'd talked to: Kim, practicing off to one side of the lawn around Milliways, near the lake.

Approaching carefully--he's learned the hard way not to startle her while she's using her powers--he heads over to her.
action_antihero: (*facepalm*!Jack)

Jack opens his eyes for a minute, then closes them tightly.  Damn, his head hurts.  Not as much as it did when he went on a bender and got properly drunk, but hurts nonetheless.  Must've been because of how late he and Chris were up last night doing...

...Last night.  Costumes.  Chocolate.

Wedding rings.

Oh shit.

Chris is curled up next to him, her head resting on his shoulder and he tries to pull his arm out from under the pillow without waking her.  Shit he has to know--

Cracking his eyes open again, he can clearly see the light glinting off the gold band on the third finger of his left hand.  Letting his hand fall again, he stifles a groan.  Dammit what are they going to do about this?  Not that it's some huge tragedy, but getting married on the spur of the moment like that probably wasn't the best idea.

...Particularly when half the bar knew about it already.

It's probably a good thing Jack hasn't remembered everything else he did on the candy just yet. 
action_antihero: (Eep!)
Jack walked into the bedroom, rubbing his forehead and wishing his headache would go away.  He can't take any aspirin with his sleeping pills, though, and he just has to hope that the pills will kick in quickly.  This has been one bitch of a day and he's glad it's over.  Not that everything will have disappeared the next day, but at least Bar won't be forcing him to wear any stupid costumes.

Curling up next to an already-sleeping Chris, he pulls the blankets up and closes his eyes, gratefully feeling sleepiness already starting to take him.

He wakes, and suddenly he's not in his bed anymore. 

Or at least he thinks he's awake.  He recognises where he is--sitting beneath a tree next to Milliways Lake, his surroundings so clear that he can't be dreaming.  But then, the last thing he remembered, he was falling asleep in his own bed; he has no memory of coming out here.

Shit, was he blacking out?  Sleepwalking?  The thought makes his stomach turn.  If he's sleepwalking then...what has he done that he's not aware of?

He turns, his first instinct to go back to his room and make sure Chris is okay.  He doesn't manage to take a step before he spots someone nearby, though.  Someone so familiar but so unexpected that he can hardly breathe.

action_antihero: (Headachy!Jack)
Wandering blindly through the dark, groping for walls, doorways, anything that will tell him where he is.  Silence, deep and cold and impenetrable, hardly able to even hear himself breathing, to hear his heartbeat in his own ears.

A gunshot suddenly shatters the stillness, and he turns toward it, hearing the echo and following the sound.  Running toward the gunshot probably isn't a good idea, but it's something in this featureless void.  Bumping against walls, tripping over something, he tries to run but can't; his legs feel like lead weights. 

A thin bead of light appears along the floor and he runs to it, finding a door.  He fumbles with the doorknob for a moment, hearing noises from behind the door, but they stop when he finally opens it.  The light is dim, but he can make out the shape and the few objects of the torture room back in the mine in Xinjiang.  He barely has time to recognise the room before he sees the dark-haired figure slumped on the floor across the room, the smell of blood thick and heavy in his nose.  He moves to them as fast as he can, turning the body over to see Chris' face looking up at him.  Her eyes are vacant, glazed, her body limp as he pulls her body to him, cradling her in his arms as he starts to sob.

There's a click near his ear, and he turns to find himself looking down the barrel of a gun.  He looks down the length of the gun, up the arm to the face as the person holding it steps into the light and sees--


Her only response is to pull the trigger.

Jack jerks awake with a gasp, his heart racing.  The memory of the smell of blood is still in his nose, and he doesn't have a chance to catch his breath before his stomach wrenches.  He barely makes it down to the bathroom in time before throwing up, violently ejecting everything he's eaten, still heaving when his stomach is empty.  He flushes the mess away, then sits back, against the tub, closing his eyes for a moment and trying to catch his breath.  He hadn't intended to fall asleep; he'd just come back to his cabin after putting in some work on one of his clients' cottages, and had decided to lie down for a bit before making an attempt to cook something for dinner.  If he'd known he was going to dream like that, he wouldn't have gone to lie down in the first place.

He's not entirely surprised at his physical reaction to the dream, not at his finding that his cheeks are damp or that he's cold all over.  This definitely isn't the first time he's woken up and needed to puke, though most of the time he was just covered in a cold sweat.  Pulling himself to his feet, he rinses his mouth out and splashes his face with water, trying to wash away the image in his head of Chris' eyes staring blankly up at him, but he can't quite do it, starting to shake all over.  There's no way he's going back to sleep any time soon; he doesn't want to experience that again.  He never wants to experience that again, even just as a dream.

And if it ever happened in real life...

He shakes off the thought, feeling nauseated again, and heads upstairs to the loft.  There, he pulls a warmer sweater over his long-sleeved t-shirt before walking back downstairs and grabbing his coat and boots.  He needs fresh air, and something to distract him.

The air's still chilly, the temperature not that far above freezing, and he pulls on his gloves as he heads down the steps to the dock, listening to the sounds of his movement echo in the night air.  Taking a seat in the Adirondack chair near the end of the dock, he takes in a couple deep breaths, trying to clear his head.  He tilts his head back, looking up at the millions of stars overhead, trying to concentrate on naming all the constellations and planets he can see though other thoughts keep intruding.

He doesn't want to think of the what-ifs.  Of how he'd feel and what he'd do if Chris-- 

He swallows, rubbing his forehead for a moment.  No, he definitely doesn't want to think about it, though it's one that's been haunting him the last few weeks; the knowledge that if they hadn't been rescued when they had, she and Chase would most likely have been killed.  As much as he feels guilty for the thought, considering Tony didn't make it back alive, he has to be thankful that they both made it.

Of course knowing that she's at CTU isn't exactly a complete relief either; it's not like even those that stayed in the building and didn't go out in the field weren't still at risk.   The building itself is a target.  But as much as he'd like to see her out of danger, he knows it's not realistic, and it's not what she wants.  He can't ask her to leave--he wouldn't.  He just has to trust that CTU will be able to stop any threat before it hits.

Even that thought doesn't help dispel his unease though; right now he just wants to be with her, to push the dream away by seeing her, reminding himself that she's still here.  He gets up from the chair in a quick, decisive movement, hurrying back up the stairs to the cabin and immediately heading through the door into the bar.   He checks the bar, their rooms, the lake; she's nowhere to be found, and it's hard not to feel some disappointment that the timing hadn't worked out.

Then again, there were other ways he could get in contact with her now.  Heading back out of the bar, he grabs the new cellphone he'd bought, the day that a CSIS agent had shown up with a Temporary Residency Card and a list of questions in his hand.  Jack's legitimate now; if only for six months so far.  He doesn't have to worry about being covert.  Checking his watch, he tries to remember the time difference; it should be early evening in L.A.

Walking back outside, he heads back down to the dock and takes a seat, punching in Chris' phone number.  Even if she can't get into the bar tonight, he still just wants to hear her voice.
action_antihero: (Aaaaaangst!)
Jack turns the light on to his living room before crossing the theshold; an action that's become almost routine since he got back.  He stands back, holding the door open for Michelle; knowing that he's in for it now.  All he can do is stand back and take it.
action_antihero: (OOM - Sanctuary)
Jack steps through into the cabin, stepping to the side so Chris can come in.   It's rather chilly at the moment, as there hasn't been a fire in the woodstove for nearly a week.

"Well, here it is," he says, gesturing to the relatively small space.  He's more aware than usual of how shabby it looks, a little nervous at what she'll think of the place.  "I'll get a fire going to warm the place up."
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