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Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Hood/Rachel
Disclaimer: Not mine
Timeline: A missing scenes and extended scenes from Containment.
Note: The title and the lyrics that are running through Rachel’s head are from the song American Pie by Don McLean. Needless to say, I don’t own that either.


This Will Be The Day That I Die

By Lattelady




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Rachel, don’t touch him!” Jacob Hood shouted, but his warning came too late.

Seconds earlier, a car had struck the suspect Special Agent Young had been chasing, and touch or not, she’d still ended up covered in blood. The largest amount was on her hand where she’d instinctively reached to check the man’s vitals. But even if she’d reacted as quickly as Hood had spoken, the damage would have been done. There was blood spattered in her hair, and on her neck, face and clothes from the impact of a body being hit by a fast moving automobile.

The breath caught in Rachel’s throat. She could hear Jacob barking orders in the background but she couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying. Strange tinkling music cut through her thoughts, making it impossible to remember from one second to the next what was happening…This will be the day that I die…Bye-bye Miss American Pie….This…will…be…the…day…that…I…die…Drove my Chevy to the levee…but…but she couldn’t remember what came next.

The song was an old favorite. On more than one occasion, she and her friends had danced, each with a bottle of wine in hand, and let music like that, assisted by alcohol, carry away their worries.

She shook her head, bringing her back to the present. She needed to focus on what was going on around her. It took all her courage to turn and look over her shoulder. When she did, she wished she hadn’t. The dread and sorrow in Hood’s eyes confirmed her worst fears: it was likely she’d been exposed to the hybrid strain of smallpox that had already killed one person and caused twenty-one others to be quarantined.

“Jacob,” unthinking her lips formed his first name, but no sound came out. As she reached toward him with her right, blood-spotted hand, she was flooded with the urge to fight back, but she knew there was nothing to fight. She couldn’t very well shoot a microscopic organism.

“I’m right here.” He crouched on the ground fifteen feet away, his arm raised, mirroring hers. “It’s imperative you stay where you are until we can help you. The police…the police are here…” he couldn’t finish what he was saying. How could he tell her that four officers had pistols trained at her head?

“I know,” she whispered and cleared her throat to be sure he heard her. “I understand.” Instinct born from long hours of war games played out at the Academy’s Hogan’s Alley, warned her that weapons were pointed her way. That same instinct made her skin crawl and shouted at her to find cover, but she remained frozen in place.

There was noise and activity all around them as the Department of Health set up a perimeter to keep them in and the onlookers out. In the distance the Hazardous Materials Squad was gearing up. But for the blonde woman and the dark haired man, there was just the two of them.

“I’m sorry.” The pain in Hood’s voice spoke volumes with few words. Rachel didn’t understand how she’d missed that about him. She was precise in her observations of people and Dr. Jacob Hood had been her main focal point for months. How had it slipped past her that he could be so expressive?

“Not your fault, mine…my carelessness.” She couldn’t tear her gaze away from his. She was terribly afraid that she’d break down and lose control, sweeping away her tough image, if she didn’t steal a bit of his strength to hide behind.

“I’m right here. I’ll figure this thing out.” He hoped to hell he wasn’t making false promises. He knew if it ended badly for her that he was done for. He’d been about to tell his old pal Frank Morgan, Director of the FBI, thanks but no things, until Agent Young came along. All the others they’d paired him with were inept fools. But she…she…was different. His composure began to crack when she began to tremble. “Talk to me, Rachel,” he shouted.

“I…Ja…Jac…Hood…” Damn what was wrong with her? She’d almost called him by his first name. She never did that, not even in her head. Was she feeling the effects of the virus already? Her outstretched arm dropped to the ground and she spread her fingers over the sun-warmed asphalt, but she couldn’t stop shivering. She bit her lip to keep from begging him to…to…what…she wasn’t sure what she wanted from him. All Rachel could think about was that she trusted him and it had been a very long time since she could say that about anyone. “Such a shame,” she whispered.

“Rachel, I can’t hear you.” He barked to get her attention. “What did you say?” He could see she was struggling to remain calm and it terrified him. “Talk to me, damnit!” he shouted. She was too used to meeting each battle head on and this was one she couldn’t do on her own. This one he’d have to fight for her.

“I…I…don’t think I said anything.” She shook her head to try and clear it, but she never took her eyes off the deep hazel ones that bore into hers.

She was so intent on Hood, she didn’t noticed the men and women in Haz-Met suits and masks until they had her surrounded in a ring of bulky white suits. “Don’t touch me!” she gasped and twisted away as thickly gloved hands reached for her to pull her to her feet.

“Rachel, calm down.” Hood tried to shift to the left, but his old friend Cal Rigdon had a tight grip on his arm, keeping him securely in place.

“Jacob,” the other scientist warned. “You won’t be any good to her if they quarantine you too.”

“I know. Damnit, Cal, let me go.” He glared at his friend and rotated his arm up and around, forcing Rigdon to set him free. He needed to see Rachel. “I just want to talk to her,” his voice was ripe with frustration. “I’m only going to...here” He moved until he could see between the team that was surrounding her.

“Hood,” her voice was filled with panic. She was closed in and her fingers itched to reach for her weapon.

“Rachel, they’re here to help you.” He tried to look and sound reassuring as his eyes met and held hers.

“I’m covered in blood.” She tilted her head and razed her hands so he could see them. “They can’t…they need to stay away.” She could see him again and it calmed her more than she realized it would.

“It’s all right. They’re wearing protection.” This was getting worse by the minute. He’d never seen her panic before, but then he’d never seen her in a position where she had to rely on someone else to take out the enemy. “Go with them, they’ll get you cleaned up and I’ll see you soon.”
.......................................

Rachel’s temper came back with a vengeance while she was being washed off in a decontamination shower. She was cold and frightened and damned if she’d let it show again. She was furious with herself for losing control at the scene and with everyone around her for seeing it happen. She held tight to her anger to keep fear at bay. But her anger wasn’t any help when Hood refused to obey her and call D.C. for back-up. She knew the odds, she was a dead woman and that left him alone, with no protection. It was the final straw that broke her emotions. She turned her back, hid her face in her arms and cried.
........................................

She stood in the half dark of night in the quarantine tent. Her body begged for sleep, but she was terrified that if she closed her eyes she’d never wake up again. “Bye, bye, Miss American pie, Drove my Chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry…” she sang just above a whisper, rocking back and forth, and wishing she had bottle of Zinfandel to help the time pass easier. “This will be the day that I die.”

“You’re not going to die.” Hood stood on the other side of the protective barrier. He needed to be with Rachel while they waited for the results of the blood tests.

“You didn’t call for another handler, did you?” She glared at him. As annoyed that he’d been able to catch her unawares, as she was with his cavalier attitude toward his safety.

“What makes you think I didn’t?” He was taking unfair advantage of the situation and he knew it, but he was damned if he was going to bring in her replacement, leaving her alone, shivering and frightened behind a wall of plastic.

“Because if you had, he or she would have gotten your ass out of here.” She gritted her teeth. He was her responsibility. “Damnit, Hood, I can’t watch your back from in here or when…I’m dead.”

“It’s my turn to watch yours.” He refused to budge.

“I want my cell phone,” she demanded. If he wouldn’t make the call, she would. It was something she should have tended to when she was first contaminated, and couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t.

“Sorry, I don’t know where it is.” He shrugged trying to look innocent.

“Damn you, Hood!” All thoughts of singing maudlin songs and drinking herself to death were forgotten, as she let out a fierce low wail. It was a mixture of fear, anger, and frustration and made Jacob feel as if someone had punched him in the gut.

“Rachel,” his voice cracked and he stepped closer to the barrier between them. “I’m not convinced the man you were chasing was patient zero of this outbreak.” He hadn’t told her sooner because he didn’t want to give her false hope, but he had to give her something to hold onto.

“What do you mean?” Her head snapped up and she rested her hand on the barrier. Her eyes were huge and blue and damp with unshed tears.

“The timeline isn’t right.” He deliberately placed his hand against hers, with only the plastic separating their palms. “That man had just arrived in the U.S. He couldn’t have infected the first victim.”

“We don’t know that for sure.” She bit her lip to keep it from quivering. “How many of the construction workers have died so far?”

“Eight and three more have become comatose.” He knew a coma was the final stage before death but he wasn’t sure she did. “That still doesn’t mean you’ve been infected by the same virus.”

“Hood, you’re not talking or thinking like a scientist.”

“I’m not?” His brows rose in surprise and doubt. He was convinced he was.

“No, you’re not, you’re talking like a friend.”

“Can’t I be both?” He ran his thumb across the sensitive pad of her hand, hoping she could feel it through the curtain. The slight twitch of her fingers assured him that she did.

“Not in this case.” She shook her head. “Not in our line of work.”

“Too late.” As he said the words, he knew they were true. When Maggie had died, he’d sworn he’d never get close to another person again in his life. The pain had been too great when he lost her. It wasn’t the same with Rachel, but there was something there that he’d been refusing to examine.

“It is too late, Hood. Look at my wrist.” She held up her right hand so he could see the red blotches that were forming on the skin from the base of her thumb to halfway to her elbow. “Look at it.”

“Does it itch?” He tightened his grip on her hand that he was holding through the plastic quarantine drape.

“Yeah.” She nodded and cleared her throat that was clogged with tears.

“It looks like contact dermatitis, probably from the chemicals in the shower they gave you.” He looked her over carefully and could see a small-reddened area peeking out of the V-neck of her scrub top. “Do you have it anywhere else?”

“On my chest and abdomen,” she whispered.

“Rachel, smallpox forms pustules, those aren’t pustules and don’t look like they’ll turn into them.”

“But you don’t know that for sure.”

“No I don’t, but I do know that you’ve got fair skin which is more prone to contact dermatitis and the most vulnerable places for it are where the skin is the most sensitive. The inner wrist, chest and abdomen are three of those places.” If they hadn’t been standing in the middle of a level three isolation facility, on opposite sides of a quarantine barrier, Hood would have laughed at the face she made when he used the word sensitive in regard to anything that had to do with her, even her skin. She liked to think of herself as a tough as nails FBI agent.

“You make me sound like some…some delicate flower.” She frowned and rolled her eyes.

“Hardly that.” He smiled, relieved that she wasn’t looking so lost and alone. “More like a person whose skin doesn’t take well to heavy chemical washes.”

Rachel shivered at the memory of the cold shower and tried to grab onto some of the temper that had kept her from weeping like a schoolgirl at the indignity of the entire event. But the anger wouldn’t come. Instead she was flooded with sorrow and truth. “Or maybe I’m a person whose immune system doesn’t take well to being exposed to smallpox.” She looked him in the eyes, needing him to be honest with her.

“There is that possibility but…” He stepped closer to her and tugged slightly on her hand so it was resting against his shoulder.

For one moment she leaned her forehead against his chest. It gave her time to compose her features before she faced him again. “Thank you.” Rachel lifted her head and took a deep breath. “Thank you for telling me the truth.”

“There is no truth yet, only a number of untested hypothesis.” Even as he said it, he knew that the accident victim’s blood was being spun-down and slides being made. Soon he’d need to go and check them. He was exhausted, and knew the smart thing would be to walk away. He’d watched his wife die of a brain tumor. He didn’t think he had it in him to watch his…whatever - bodyguard – partner – friend – there were too many layers to his relationship with Rachel Young to think about - die of smallpox.

“But you’ll know more soon, won’t you?” She stepped back and laced her fingers tightly together.

“Yes.” He caught his breath and then went on. She wanted honesty from him, but he never thought it would hurt so much. “We have blood from the man you touched. Cal’s assistant is making slides. When she’s done, I examine them under a microscope and then we’ll know. They should be ready soon.”

“Oh,” her head popped back as if he’d hit her on the chin. “You’ll have someone tell me as soon as you know?” Her eyes clouded over and one moment it was as if she was very far away.

“Rachel I’ll…”

“No,” she cut him off. “Not you, Hood. You have to promise me that after you’ve looked at the slides, you’ll make the call and leave. I know you feel the need to help Dr. Rigdon, but you can do that online, from a safe distance away.” Tears filled her eyes but she refused to give in to them.

“I’m not leaving.” Something stubborn and painful jumped to life in him. He was terribly afraid he was going to have to do it again, sit and watch, as someone important to him died a horrible death. “Now I have some samples to check.” He turned and walked away from the stunned agent.

“No, no, damn you Hood, I don’t want you sitting deathwatch over me.” She cried out, but he kept on walking refusing to listen, refusing to let her die in his mind until he had the proof he hoped he wouldn’t find.
.......................................

Hours later, after it had been determined that Hood was right, Rachel hadn’t been exposed to smallpox; after it was discovered that Cal Rigdon had been the source of the virus getting free in Pittsburg; and after the blackmailer had been brought down, Rachel Young walked back into the level-three containment facility. Hood was seated outside a plastic isolation drape keeping watch over the dying man on the inside.

“How are you doing, Dr. Rigdon?” Young asked as she stood beside Jacob, dizzy at how quickly the disease was ravishing the other man’s body.

“I’m dying,” his voice cracked. “Has it been contained?”

“Yes, you’re the last…victim.” Rachel gripped Hood’s shoulder to keep her balance. It was too easy to picture herself where the doctor was now.

“I want you two to go.” Rigdon coughed as he spoke. “Damnit Hood, she’s exhausted and shouldn’t have to see this after what I’ve put her through today.”

“It’s all right.” She smiled reassuringly at the dying man, but her eyes were filled with pain she couldn’t hide.

“He’s right, Rachel, you should go to the hotel and get some sleep.” Jacob felt her tremble against his side and understood how hard this was for her.

“I can’t, you know that.” She looked down into his face inches away and realized she was much to close to him. Reluctantly, she took a step back.

“Agent Young, get him out of here.” Cal nodded toward Jacob. “Not easy for him either.”

“Come on, Hood, I’ll even say ‘please’.” She wrapped her arms around his waste and pulled upward. If he chose not to stand or go with her, there was nothing she could do. He was enough bigger than she was that, short of violence, she wouldn’t be able to move him.

“All right.” He stood slowly with sorrow etched on his face. He nodded to his friend as their eyes met one last time. Then Hood turned and guided Rachel out of the room with his hand resting on the small of her back.

Rigdon smiled as he watched them leave. Maybe it was because he was dying that he saw what they couldn’t see themselves. Maybe it was wishful thinking, or maybe it was because he’d been a matchmaker once before for Jacob Hood and he wanted to try his hand one last time. “Best of luck, you two, best of luck.” He closed his eyes and slipped into a coma.

The End

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ruafair
Mar. 7th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
Oh that was just gorgeous!! I loved how you write Rachel in this.

Fiona
lattelady6
Mar. 8th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I tried to keep to character with Rachel, but played with it a little. I thought that she had to be pretty off balance to face death and not be able to do anything to help herself.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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