Work Header

Jack + Fallout + Panic + Eyes

Work Text:

He was in a room, dirty and dark. The four walls, ceiling and floor made an over-sized coffin. The air was thick and choking, he struggled to breathe. Where was he? Why was he here? The only certain knowledge he had was that he had to get out. He had to. Then a door appeared. A feeling of relief coursed through him. He lunged at the door only to be rudely yanked back. He looked down, puzzled. A chain around his ankle prevented him from reaching the door. Fear and despair came crowding back. He held his face in his hands, eyes closed tightly, trying to block out his surroundings. When he looked up, a face was staring back at him, as terrified as he felt. With horror he recognized Mac. No, not the kid, please no. He couldn't help him, couldn't comfort those frightened blue eyes. A loud echoing voice reverberated through his entire body. "One lives, one dies." "One lives, one dies." Over and over again. He couldn't escape it. Jack screamed.

He woke up on the floor of his bedroom covered in sweat and shaking. Sitting up, he once more buried his face in his trembling hands and sobbed. This wasn't the first nightmare and it wouldn't be the last.  

Jack recovered somewhat and went out to sit on the fire escape. The night breeze felt good on his face as he tried to forget.

He showed up late to the meeting Matty called in the morning.

"Well it looks like someone had a great night," Matty said, noting his pale features and tired expression.

"Something like that, you should try it sometime," Jack answered, in a flat, dull tone. 

Something in his voice caught Mac's attention. Jack usually enjoyed his daily repartee with Matty. His eyes would twinkle as he pretended to be deadly serious. But his straight face never fooled anyone, especially since he could never hide his grin for long. Mac began to watch him closely.

Matty ignored Jack's remark and continued the mission briefing. On the screen was an image of an isolated prison cell. Jack felt his heart skip a beat. Matty continued showing blueprints of the building and the cell where a CIA operative was being held. Finally she pulled up a video taken by the terrorists of the hostage for proof of life. The man was chained to the floor of the cell. His face and body bore marks of torture. He sat listlessly, almost falling asleep, until one of his captors shouted something at him.

Jack suddenly realized he couldn't breathe. His heart was racing and the room  swayed. He closed his eyes and clutched his chest, wheezing. His other hand groped the darkness for someone, something to hold onto.
"help...I can't breathe...Mas, help," he gasped out.

Mac was already there and grabbed his hand. As if he was underwater he heard Riley asking if he was alright and Bozer babbling something about a heart attack. Matty must of left the room, he heard he barking indistinct orders to someone down the hall. Then his hearing cut out. 

He was in the room again. He was trapped with no way out. The walls moved in closer and closer. The weight on his chest tightened, he was suffocating. "One lives, one dies." The words were a part of him. He was staring into Mac's eyes again. He knew he had to die, Mac had to make it. The blue eyes were filled with pain. "Jack, help!" "One lives, one dies." The eyes closed and Mac disappeared. Jack shouted in agony, or at least tried to. He was convinced he was dying, if only it wasn't too late to save Mac. "I'll die, you live" he choked out. "Please, please, take me."

The moment Mac saw Jack double over, he realized what was happening. He had seen it many time in other soldiers, had even been through it before himself.  He grabbed Jack's hand and asked Riley to turn the screen off, something on it had obviously triggered this panic attack. 

Matty came back in the war room, "I just sent for medical, do we know what's going on?" She asked.

"I think  this is a panic attack," Mac replied, "the only thing we can do is help him ride it out."

"Jack? Can you hear me?" Mac squeezed Jack's hand, hoping to get him out of his head.
"One lives, one dies. One lives, one dies. One lives, one dies." Jack gasped out between breaths.

Matty, Riley and Bozer looked at each other, they had read the report of course, but only now began to realize the true horror of it all.

Mac continued in a steady voice although his free hand shook. "Jack were aren't in that room anymore. We are safe, we got out, remember?"

"I'll die, you live. Please, please, take me... don't hurt the kid...take me."

Mac's eyes filled with tears and his voice shook a little, "I'm safe Jack, you're safe. You saved us. We got out."

The others in the room were silent.

Mac moved Jack's hand to his chest, "I need you to breathe with me, in and out, just like I am."

Jack felt Mac before he heard him. He tried to match his breathing to Mac's. The walls were gone and he could feel the chair beneath him. Finally he managed to open his eyes. Mac's eyes looked back into his, questioningly. 

"Jack?" Mac asked, without changing his position.

"I'll be alright hoss," he answered huskily, "thanks."

The team snapped into action. Riley wrapped her jacket around his still shaking shoulders and Bozer produced a water bottle. Matty dismissed he medical team, and turned to the group.

"Blondie, you take Jack home and see that he stays there. Riley and Bozer we still have a hostage to rescue so I'm assigning you to another team for this mission."

The ride home was silent. Neither Mac nor Jack felt like saying much. Once inside, Mac wordlessly put on the first Die Hard film and grabbed a couple of beers. He and Jack watched in silence until the credits ran.

"Mac, about earlier-"

"Don't worry about it. Our lives aren't easy, but we wouldn't want to change that. We'll get you help and make it through this one."

"You know I'll always have your six, kid."

"I know, and I have yours."

"Well now that that's out of the way, what'd you say I grab some more beers, make some popcorn and we watch the next one."

"Sure thing Jack."

The screen flashed on and the two sat together arguing over Bruce Willis.