Chapter: Part 3
Summary: Jack visits Sawyer at the hospital
Prevous chapters: One | Two
Jack knew he should really go home. James Ford’s blood was still all over his office. He’d sat in a kind of a daze for a long time, trying to make sense of it all. That, and the fear that if he got up, he’d head straight for the nearest bar.
He started to shiver and realized that the evening air trickling in through the broken window was actually cooler than the air conditioning tonight. He should really go. He had his jogging clothes he could change into. He was just pulling a damp, far-from-clean T-shirt over his head when the phone rang. Why was his secretary letting it ring through? And then he realized how late it was. She’d gone home.
He’d sent her home, after assuring her he was OK. She’d asked if she should cancel his appointments for tomorrow and he’d nodded numbly. She’d probably have to cancel the lot.
The phone was still ringing and he finally picked up. “Dr. Shephard?” came a brisk voice.
“Dr. Travis at Good Samaritan. I’ve got one of your patients here...” a muffled pause and the sound of paper rustling, “a James Ford.”
Jack sat up, suddenly alert. His mouth felt dry. “How is he?”
The other doctor assured him that Ford was fine, was resting and sedated. They just needed him to bring in his file, help them with their psych eval.
Jack ran his hand over his head. “Sure. When?”
“Can you come tonight yet?”
“Yeah, no problem.” Jack put the phone back in its cradle. He looked at his hands. They were still bloody. He went to the bathroom and soaped up his hands and arms, rubbing them over and over, caught up in the motion. He avoided catching his own eye in the mirror. Being alone in the building so late at night just added to to the sense of unreality. Everything had that hushed sense you often only get in dreams.
Back in his office he finished dressing, grabbed the file, and taking one last look around his ruined office and practice, left for the hospital.
He’d answered as many questions as he could, while being painfully aware of his own dressed down state, of his own negligence in Ford being here at all. There was more than a hint of disapproval from Travis, a brusque, 50ish disappointed type who was clearly overworked and underpaid, as he gleaned what he could from Jack.
“Suicidal with paranoid delusions. Right,” Travis sighed, making a note. “We’ll try him on Haloperidol. It would be nice if we had medical records for him going back farther than one week.”
“He’s not in the system?” Jack asked, surprised.
“Not exactly, no. I’m sure we’ll find him, though. Or we’ll just have to get his history from him, if we can.”
“Well, he was a con man, probably he changed his name...?”
“Could be. Say, you the Jack he’s been asking for?” Travis looked him up and down and Jack felt himself flushing. He uncrossed his arms and then recrossed them again. He felt ridiculously self-conscious.
“I ... don’t think so.”
“You sure? He’s also been asking for someone called ‘Doc.’”
“Listen, I’m not sure my presence wouldn’t agitate him more.”
“He can’t really get agitated right now,” Travis said knowingly. He left the room and Jack decided he meant for him to follow.
He led Jack down the hallway, to a heavy door with a reinforced glass window. “There’s your Mr. Ford,” he indicated, tapping on the glass with his clipboard.
He moved aside and Jack peered through the door. Ford was lying on a bed, wrists strapped to the metal railings. He was facing away from the door. He might have been sleeping.
“You can go in,” Travis said and, despite Jack’s protestations, he’d opened the door to him and Jack found himself walking inside.
The door closed and he was alone with him. He walked over to the bed, his tennis shoes squeaking softly on the floor. James turned at the noise and his eyes -- unfocused at first -- widened when he saw Jack.
“Hey,” Jack said, putting a hand on the railing. He noted the bandage on Ford’s arm, the hands now clenched within the restraints. Easy. Easy. He didn’t want to get him upset again.
“Where you been, doc?” James’s head left the pillow, his whole body straining up. His voice, groggy with the sedative, was tinged with relief
“I had to let them take care of you,” Jack reassured him, patting Ford’s arm.
He relaxed back against the pillow. “Been waitin’ for you,” he sighed. “Knew you’d come.”
“You did?” Jack felt the pulse in Ford’s elbow as it slowed down, grew more regular, as if a powerful sedative were just now kicking in.
“Yeah. I keep thinkin’ I’m crackin’ up. But you’re here now.” He closed his eyes but then they fluttered open with great effort, those clouded blue eyes roaming over his face, hungrily drinking in every detail.
“James, I’m so sorry..”
Ford flinched at the name, as if Jack had hit him. “No,” he shook his head fiercely, a wounded expression on his face. “You don’t call me that. Jack never calls me that.”
“I didn’t mean to upset you,” Jack said unhappily, cursing himself for agreeing to see him. “I shouldn’t have come.”
He patted James’s arm again, daring to look into those burning eyes, and then he turned to go.
“Doc!” James’s voice was surprisingly forceful. “You’re just gonna leave me here?”
“They’ll take care of you,” Jack said, turning back to look at him. “Better than I could.”
James swallowed hard, fear and hurt plain on his pinched features and then his face closed like a mask as his head fell back onto the pillow.
Jack couldn’t sleep that night. He went over the scenes with Ford again, trying to think what else he could have done. And then his mind circled back to the fact that he was all but guaranteed to be shut down by the board.
He planned to stay away from the office the next day, but he stopped by anyway. There were some books he wanted to consult. HIs office had been cleaned and the window was already fixed. Like nothing had ever happened. Even his bloody shirt and suit had been cleaned, hanging on the back of his door in a plastic bag.
Connie hovered over him and then handed him a bunch of messages. Among them was the one he’d been dreading. The one asking for a review of the incident.
He stared at the message for a few minutes and then he made the call.