The Agent Carter crew for recessional
During the war, a nurse once told Peggy that most of her patients died not on the battlefield, not after surgery, but in the dark hours between midnight and dawn.
Superstition, Peggy might have said, but liminal, is the word that comes to mind now. A word she learned not in the expensive boarding school her parents sent her to, but from the novels she read avidly under the covers. It means between. Between the darkness and the dawn. Between light and dark, life and death.
She thinks of this as she leans over, some hours past midnight, and wipes at Jack's face with a wet towel. His fever has worsened over the last few hours, and as much as she loathed his pale stillness for the last few days, she likes this restless, incoherent wakefulness even less.
She and Daniel have been trading off guard duty on Jack, taking shifts with the handful of SSR agents they still trust. There's no reason why this has to include the duties of a nurse, but she's taken the hard metal chair by his bed, and the nurses are scarce on the floor at 3 a.m. It is only practical.
"Jack," she murmurs, catching his wrist as he thrashes in the throes of a dream she can't guess at. His wrist bones are sharp beneath the skin. "Jack," she says again, and he stills, as if her voice is a tether, and it catches at him and brings him down from ... wherever he is.
She isn't aware of falling asleep, only waking up, cold to the bone and shocked, for a moment, at her own failure to hold to the terms of her own code. You fell asleep on guard duty, soldier ...
And then, slowly, she becomes aware of a hand clasped over her wrist, with a desperate strength in those fingers reduced to little more than bones. And he is looking at her, his eyes fever-bright and yet focused.
"Jack," she gasps out, waking, and shifts the gun from her lap to the floor beside her chair. She leans over, shifting his grip so she can take his hand. "Jack?"
He wakes a little more, looking at her with a kind of vulnerable surprise, as if he's startled to find her here, or perhaps just surprised to find her in his dream. "Peggy," he says faintly.
"Hello," she says, and then, because she can't help herself, "Jack, I don't suppose you got a good look at the person who shot you --"
But he's already slipping away, she can see it -- eyes glazing, that quick sharp smile going blurred around the edges.
She shifts her hand to curl her fingers around his. "Jack --"
... but he's fallen away from her again. So she just holds his hand, her bones pressed to his, and answers his incoherent queries with whatever answers she has to give, until morning comes.
Punisher - Frank + any for rachelmanija
"How long has he been like this?" Sarah asked quietly, sitting beside David on the edge of Frank's bed.
"Awhile." David gave her a wan smile. "Half the night, probably. I didn't want to wake you or the kids."
In the bed, Frank turned his head to the side, mumbled something incomprehensible. Sarah laid the back of her hand on his forehead, testing the heat: a move long practiced on the kids. And if he had been one of her kids, she would have been rushing him to the emergency room.
"You know," she said softly, leaning her head against David's, "we may not be able to handle this here. We might not have a choice."
"I know." David bent over and dipped a dish towel into the bowl of cold water by his feet. "His medic buddy is coming by in the morning. He might have something to get the fever down."
"Or he might just say, 'Get this man to a hospital.'"
As David started to lay the dish towel against Frank's neck, Frank gasped suddenly and lurched half upright, catching David's arm in a bruising grip.
"Hey -- whoa, it's me, damn it --" David tried to jerk away.
Frank's eyes were glassy, not looking at either of them. Sarah gripped his arm, trying to pry it off, but even as weak as he was, his fingers were like iron.
"Frank, it's us, David and Sarah." She saw Frank's gaze sharpening blearily, focusing on her. "You're at our house. You're safe. It's David and Sarah, and you're hurting David; do you understand?"
There was a pause, then Frank peeled his hand off David's arm. "Sorry," he rasped out, collapsing back onto the sweat-soaked pillow.
"Hey, look who's back." David's voice was a little shaky, but his hands were steady as he laid the wet towel across Frank's chest.
"That's cold," Frank mumbled.
"Yeah, dude, you deserve it for trying to put me in an armlock just now."
"Water?" Sarah asked, and Frank nodded weakly. She supported his head for a few sips before his head dropped back and he sank into restless unconsciousness again.
"Hey, no, I was going to try to get some more Tylenol into him ... dammit." David sat back on the edge of the bed and gave Sarah a strained smile. "Well, one thing's for sure. Being a parent gives you a lot of practice at the basic fever routine, doesn't it?"
"Except a ten-year-old can't break your arm." Sarah stroked her hand lightly across his forearm. "That's going to bruise."
"Not his fault. He let go when he recognized me."
It could have been your neck instead, she thought, but didn't say. Because it wasn't his neck, and she felt as if that might be significant. Frank's instinctive reaction, off his head with fever, was to remove a threat, but not to remove it permanently.
"You want to get some sleep?" she asked. "I'll sit with him for a while."
"Yeah. Sure." But he didn't go anywhere for awhile, just leaned into her, sitting in the dark and letting the tension unwind.
Whumptober Master List
Oct. 1 - Shaky Hands (Stranger Things) - also on Tumblr
Oct. 2 - Explosion (Iron Fist) - also on Tumblr
Oct. 3 - Delirium #1 (Agent Carter) - also on Tumblr
Delirium #2 (Punisher) - also on Tumblr
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