2007-11-10: Shooting The Messenger

Starring:

Jack_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Summary: Mohinder has a diagnosis for Jack. He doesn't take it well.

Date It Happened: November 10th, 2007

Log Title Shooting the Messenger


Seekrit Mobile Lab

Mohinder is most unamused. For a myriad number of reasons. Being kidnapped away from something that's life and death. Certainly the virus research was getting frustrating, but he wasn't about to quit. The doctor in him, the scientist, is now offended by this forced project. In hand is one of the lovely bodily fluid samples provided by the kidnapper as Mohinder stands near the refrigeration unit. An impatient, yet wary, glare is thrown towards the end of the truck's bay, where the entrance to the makeshift lab is.

With a hiss and screech of heavy duty brakes, Mohinder's mobile lab swerves and grinds to a halt. Three sharp, metallic thwacking noises reverberate through the hatch at the rear, followed by a muffled shout. "Step away from the door!"

A moment later it clangs open, revealing a haggard-looking Jack with pistol in hand and a surgeon's mask covering his face. Attempting to conceal his deteriorating condition would be an exercise in futility, so he doesn't bother. His steps are staggering and disjointed, and though he has the presence of mind to heep Mohinder covered with his weapon as he mounts the vehicle, it's a creaky, painful ascent.

Upon closer inspection, the kidnapper's face is sheened with sweat, his skin is pale and flecked with fever spots, and the whites of his eyes have taken on a yellow tinge. No, he's not well at all. "Any progress?" he rasps hopefully.

"About time," Mohinder mutters at the by now familiar process. The sample in hand? Let's say it's more fluid in nature and hurled in Jack's direction as the door rolls up. Jack's worsening condition is noted, and dismissed. "Enough of this joke. I'm done. I have important work to be doing, not catering to the sadistic, sick whims of a drug addict." He's had enough time alone to stew on his 'discovery', and has concocted a nasty cocktail. Which resides in the syringe he grabs up. Showing little concern for the gun, he stalks towards Jack, intent on trying to fight his way out. "I'll know your name, your face, and I will be pressing charges."

Needless to say, this sudden bout of confidence from his prisoner comes as a surprise to Jack. He raises an eyebrow curiously and spends a half-second considering his options. Then he shrugs, lowers the tip of his pistol a few inches, and fires a low-velocity .22 caliber round at the meatiest area of the doctor's thigh.

Mohinder gambled on the bet that Jack wouldn't shoot him, and lost it. The syringe is dropped as the geneticist goes down onto the flooring of the truck and immediately starts applying pressure to the wound. The cocktail within the syringe is lost as it shatters on the floor. "… You are .. insane.." And all other matter of profane things and terminology that's rolling through the doctor's head. "You are a delusional drug addict who has nothing better to do with his time." Wincing at the stinging pain in his thigh, he dares to take a look through the hole in his pants. Not a lot of blood loss, that's a relief. This will be fun to tend to.

The smoking gun is holstered and Jack unsteadily crosses the room to squat at Mohinder's side. With clinical detachment, he rips open the hole in the doctor's pants to expose the injury. "Mmm," he grunts as he inspects it. "Flesh wound. You'll be fine. Now what the hell are you talking about? Drug addict-what?"

Mohinder raises a hand and shoves at Jack as the man gets too close. "You. Drug addict. This is a sick and delusional joke. There is not a damn thing wrong with you other than your body wanting it's next fix. I suspect you knew this all along but through the haze of morphine I dare say it slipped your mind." Yes, he's in a foul temper. His time is being /wasted/, he's been shot. It tends to annoy a person a bit.

"What?"

That one question speaks volumes. It's a possibility that had always nagged at Jack's subconscious, but never something he seriously considered. His eyes are wide and terrified, his brow pinched into a panicked frown, and all of his muscles tense as Mohinder's push sends his sprawling on his backside. There's no resistance, he just stares uncomprehendingly. Slowly, very slowly, the information starts to filter through. "I was never taking medicine?" he asks, his voice quiet and tremulous. "Just drugs?"

Mohinder glares hard at Jack, and will leave the man's future in the hands of Karma. Violent plotting of revenge is reserved for one person thus far, and that's Sylar. "Did I suddenly start speaking Hindi? You're nothing more than a drug addict. There is nothing in your system aside from the drugs you've been willingly shooting into your person."

"No. NO. NO NO NO!" The irrational denial continues. In his heart, Jack knows that Suresh is right. If he weren't, Jack should've died minutes after he ran out of his original injections. His latex-gloved fingers claw desperately at the smooth metal floor as he pushes himself up, not all the way to his feet, but to a hands-and-knees stagger. He launches himself at the perceived source of his torment.

For lack of a better plan, he seems more than willing to strangle the messenger the old fashioned way.

"Saying no is not going to make it any less true." Mohinder's still annoyed, but now, he's not sure all the blame rests on Jack's shoulders alone. "Clearly, someone's played a rather sick joke on you and you've fallen for it. You should be fine once weaned off this medication through extensive rehab.." He doesn't finish the last word, seeing as now he's working on fending off a fresh attack. The launching for his throat gives him little reaction and recover time, but once he gets his wits back.. he tries to do the most debilitating thing he can try so that he can breathe freely again. He attempts to hit Jack square in the throat.

Jack is experienced enough to see the counterattack coming, he just doesn't care. He ducks his chin to cover his throat and takes the punch right in his mouth. Lips cut and bloodied, he doesn't flinch, he doesn't even blink. He just squeezes Suresh's neck harder. "YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO FIX ME!" he shouts, well past the point of rational thought. All his hopes for a clean, speedy fix have been dashed. Though he didn't get hooked willingly, the doctor is right. He's an addict. Nothing more.

This just makes him angrier.

There's no verbal response out of Mohinder, taking into consideration that his airflow is getting more and more restricted. One hit has been dealt, but another one isn't coming. He tries to swipe the gun from Jack's holster, while he's still conscious.

The addition of a potentially lethal element brings Jack back to himself. He pushes Mohinder backward, then scuttles and slides away until his own back presses against the rear hatch. "No," he repeats morosely, shaking his head. "This can't be right. This can't be happening. You have to be wrong."

Mohinder coughs as he chokes to regain his breath once he's let go and pushed back. "I'm not wrong," he rasps out. "I tested every damn sample you left. Nothing in it save for the drugs you're taking." Another cough is made as he raises a hand to massage his throat, the other hand, goes to press against the wound in his thigh. "Don't believe me, we'll draw a fresh sample. Here. Now. I've had enough of this farce."

Jack hugs his knees to his chest and rocks back and forth in place. His breath is still coming in shuddering gasps. Tears spring up in his grey and yellow eyes, but they don't fall. Deep in his throat, he whimpers like a lost, beaten dog. Then he nods just one time. When he pushes up his sleeve to offer his heavily needlemarked and tattooed forearm, he doesn't stand. He doesn't even look up. The dangerous kidnapper who started all of this is gone. All that's left is a sad, sorry man who has been forced to face his own problems.

And that.. is what makes Mohinder stay put instead of trying to limp off. It's pitiful. Pathetic. Disturbing. He regards Jack for several long moments and weighs the options he has on the table. "I'm going to show you that there is nothing wrong with you. Then.. then you're going to let me go." Gritting his teeth, and steeling for the pain, he pushes himself up from the floor. Using the bolted down tables, he grabs a hold of the surface to use as a crutch of sorts. "You're going to cooperate with me right now, seeing as you've shot my leg. Over here." There's a brief pause before he adds in, "Please."

Jack nods again and hauls himself to a wobbly standing position. He also uses the tables to support himself, though his only injury is his bloody mouth. Emotionally, he is injured very badly. He moves to Mohinder's side, still blankly holding out his arm and avoiding eye contact. "I'm sorry about your leg," he whispers. "And everything else."

Mohinder doesn't give much of a response to Jack's apology. Words mean very little at this point. The other man's posture, tone, it's all taken in and weighed as a fresh sample of blood is drawn. Not much is needed, so the process is quick. Playing a precarious balancing act as he tries to put his bodily weight on his good leg, and prepares a slide, he casts a brief glance towards Jack. "You haven't been in your right mind, I'd safely wager. The drugs you've been putting into your system are highly addictive, and damaging in the amount and frequency that you've been taking them."

The masked man nods loosely, his eyes still fixed on the tabletop. He sucks in a deep, steadying breath, then hisses it out slowly between his teeth. The prick of the needle through his skin is barely noticed. It's something he's done to himself so many times, the process has almost become reassuring. "So if you're right… I just stop taking the drugs and wait until I feel better?" In the manner of an intelligent but uneducated man, he's trying to understand this as best as he can.

"It's not as simple as that. I'm not the medical expert that you'll want to consult for taking yourself off the drugs. You stop taking them cold, you will quite possibly wish to die. I recommend coming off them slowly and in a prescribed fashion. Since you possibly won't trust any doctors that I am affiliated with, try seeing someone from a hospital in New York. Without kidnapping them." Mohinder's tone is even, controlled. He's trying to keep his temper down, his mind off the pain. It's like a focus exercise. "Alright.. here are the results from the samples that you kindly provided me." Sarcastic phrasing there? Definitely. Since the results would be like asking an illiterate person to read, Mohinder explains the earlier test findings in a patient and very basic manner to Jack.. "And here's your sample today.." He points out the results, the similarities. "You would get essentially the same if you were to take a run of the mill drug test."

Though he doesn't understand exactly what he's looking at, Jack is perceptive enough to realize at a glance that the two samples are nearly identical. When he sighs raggedly, the last bit of fight in him deflates and escapes as well. He pulls the gun from his holster, but he doesn't threaten Mohinder with it. The weapon is instead discarded onto the table. Then Jack pulls his mask down and reveals his face for the first time. Bereaved. Haunted. Hollow. These words best describe his painfully pinched features.

The two barriers that kept them as kidnapper and hostage instead of two human beings are gone. Jack grits his teeth painfully and glances up at the doctor. "Thank you for your help," he murmurs, his voice hoarsely honest.

Still disjointed and unsteady, he turns away, stumbles to the front of the compartment, and bangs a prearranged series of knocks on the wall that separates them from the driver. Immediately, the vehicle begins to slow.

"Your neck. Let me see it up close again." Mohinder remains intrigued, despite the kidnapping, being shot, etc. "This person, they still did something to you. To make you think you needed the concoction of drugs. I'm curious to see just what's under the skin. You wisely did not leave me with a scalpel, but there are instruments here I can make do with."

It takes a moment for Jack to realize that the doctor is talking to him. When he does, he turns back around and nods. He rips the bandage away from neck and tosses it to the floor. The welt underneath looks much the same as it did before. Small, dark red, with a jutting, circular protrusion in the middle.

"Hold on a sec," he says, digging into one of his pants pockets. The knife he produces is a tiny folding blade, but when he triggers the release and snaps it open, it's clear that the edge is very sharp. With a twitch of his fingers, he reverses it and holds it out to Mohinder handle'first. "There. It's clean."

The offered blade is clearly not clean to the doctor's standards. "Not as sharp or precise as a scalpel." The blade is taken, but not used just yet. With his hands still gloved from taking the blood sample, he probes carefully at the protrusion. "It seems just below the surface of the skin. What does it feel like to you? The sensation that is?" While he waits for Jack to respond, he finds alcohol wipes and uses them to clean the blade further. "This might require stitches," he warns.

"Ow." Jack winces, displaying a bit of humanity that finds a way through his tired, depressed mask. "Hurts," he elaborates. "And whatever it is, it feels like it's rolling around. Gives me the creeps. Go ahead and cut it out, man. I've been waiting for this."

Mohinder procures more alcohol wipes and sanitizes that area of Jack's neck. "You managed to put together a very fine lab," he does offer, praising the other man in some fashion. "You don't happen to recall if you had any first aid medical supplies gathered? Needles perhaps? You don't want to leave this incision left unattended to for very long. Now. If you don't want to go to a doctor or a hospital.. I know of someone who might tend to you. She's discreet, and I need to see her anyway. Rather urgently." All the while he's talking, he's done the best he can with applying a local to the skin prior to making his cut.

Knowing full well that it's a bad idea to nod when someone has a knife in the vicinity of your neck, Jack answers with a quiet, affirmative grunt. "Last drawer. No, wait. Second to last drawer." He lifts a long, quivering finger to point out the location of the requested supplies. "And discreet? That's my favorite word. What's your friend's name?" His relief at holding a relatively cordial and friendly conversation is almost tangible. He's starting to relax, and more importantly, he's starting to accept his situation.

"Cassandra Aldric," Mohinder supplies as he does the best he can. The incision isn't perfect, but it's doing the job. His eyes narrow, and he's not sure whether to laugh or feel really sorry for Jack now. "So. What did you do to this fellow? Desecrate his home, wife and deity? Hold very still." Using a pair of tweezers, he carefully extracts what looks to be no more than a plastic sphere. No bigger than a pencil eraser. "It must have been very bad to warrant such a cruel joke as this. The welt on your neck? Will heal nicely with stitching, keeping it clean and disinfected. Over the counter ointment should do the trick, same with pain medication.. Hrm.. Cass and I have been swamped with research, but we could possibly put our heads together on some sort of program to level you out. I would however, strongly recommend hospitalization at a facility that specializes in rehabilitation."

"No way. Cass has more important things to do," Jack replies shortly. He's holding very still and trying not to hold his breath as Mohinder digs around inside his neck, though he does let out an occasional grunt of pain. "W-w-w-wait," he suddenly stutters. "You know Cass? How the…" Realization is dawning on him. "Sonofabitch!" he shouts. "You were working on a virus. You're working on the same goddam virus she is, aren't you?" He pulls away from Mohinder's hands and clamps his slit skin together with two fingers. "Go! Jesus, you have to get out of here. Dammit!" The series of curses that come out of his mouth don't make much sense, but they're disturbingly coarse.

"Yes. She and I both have far more important things to do," Mohinder says as he drops the object onto a tray set on the table. "Yes. The same virus. You were far too drugged out of your mind and intent on kidnapping me that you failed to realize I was leaving her a phone message." He even said her name. It went missed. His mouth twitches ever so slightly. It could be in humor. "You're bleeding profusely. Sit still. This needs mending and I need patching up. We're going in the same direction, more or less. I need to see her immediately, and you should have her look you over. She's had more medical training than I have." Slowly, he moves over to where the necessary items for stitching should be located. His own wound isn't bleeding, it just stings. A lot.

"Just stitch me up, then. I know how to look after a wound. Then I'll drop you off at her place, okay?" It's the best compromise that Jack can offer right now. "Man. This sucks so much. I pulled you away for no reason." Which Mohinder knows, of course. Belaboring the point is helping to distract Jack from the blood that's seeping out between his fingers. "Christ on a crutch," he mutters.

Mohinder keeps his humor about the situation quite in check now as he stitches up Jack's neck. "Your neck is the least of your worries. It's weaning off those drugs now. I'll also be sure to inform Cass that my research delays are entirely your fault, and we're even." Although, it might be kinder if Mohinder were to let an elephant run over Jack. Repeatedly. "I'm not pleased that I was kidnapped," and everything surrounding it, "Yet, seeing what you were on and the circumstances, there is justification for your irrational behavior."

Jack winces and sighs. "I won't try and force you not to tell Cass. Just… Man, I'm so screwed." When the stitching is finished, he hangs his head shamefully and groans. "She's going to kill me. And Elena. And probably Peter. And. Man, I'm so screwed."

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