*Author's note: In this fic, I used a character I created for my fic "Sunrise." You may want to read it first: Sunrise THE WALLS OF JERICHO Jack stirs and opens his eyes, looking around to see where he is. I lay a hand on his forehead. It’s okay, Jack, I tell him. It’s okay. You’re in the hospital, but you’re going to be fine. I smile as his eyes focus on the electrodes on his chest and follow the lead wires to the cardiac monitor at his bedside. No, it wasn’t a heart attack. The doctor says it’s just exhaustion. You’re in a general medical unit. They want to keep an eye on you for a day or two. How long have I been here? He asks. Since last night, I reply. They’ve been keeping you lightly sedated to help you rest. Jack smiles drowsily. I can tell. Well, don’t fight it, I tell him. Go back to sleep. I’ll be here. Thank you, Rachel, he murmurs. His eyes close, and soon he’s asleep again. I sit there at his bedside, holding his hand. * * * It’s been a rough 18 months for Jack. A few months before I met him, his former wife escaped from his custody and disappeared. Not long after that, he was kidnapped and taken to Mexico City by a former friend. Then, worst of all, his daughter Sydney disappeared a year ago under very bizarre circumstances. For the past couple of weeks, he’s been wrangling with Kendall and the brass at Langley, who want to officially declare Sydney missing and presumed dead. They have a point, I guess. Jack has been bouncing all around the globe, chasing down even the slimmest of leads as to where Sydney might be or at least what happened to her. Each time, he has come back exhausted and empty-handed. Obviously it has taken its toll. Jack hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in I don’t know how long, and he’s grown much too thin. His 55-year-old body had to give out some time. I’m not surprised, just angry – and not at him. He’s been in this business for far too long; he really doesn’t know anything else. Since before he was even old enough to vote, he’s been doing just about anything the CIA asked of him; and here, nearly four decades later, is the result. What was the point? Communism died of its own weight, not because of the cat and mouse games the CIA played with the Russians during the Cold War. And as for SD-6, they should have raided that place years ago; instead, they waited until some psycho nearly electrocuted him. He spent three days in this same hospital after that one, he tells me; and he still has ugly scars on his lower legs. Too bad the emotional wounds won’t heal so easily. When I first met Jack, he reminded me of some ancient city, with walls ten feet thick and twenty feet high around him and a vast array of secrets inside. Well, even the walls of Jericho eventually fell. As soon as he gets out of here, I’m taking him home to Canada with me, and I won’t take no for an answer. I’ll keep him there for as long as he’ll let me. We’re both from London, Ontario, and my family apparently knew his when he was a small boy. They’ve been wanting to meet him. He says he remembers London as a beautiful, quiet place, though he hasn’t been back since his family moved to Boston when he was eight; and he’s right. Before I met him, I had been seriously considered returning – and not just for a visit. At least there no one will take advantage of him. He’s been taken advantage of his whole adult life. First the CIA took what was best in him – his patriotism, his selflessness, and his courage – and twisted it until he became nearly as sociopathic as his former wife. And she exploited his love for her in the worst possible way, coming dangerously close to getting him executed for treason on top of everything else. Then she betrayed him again when he put her in a position of trust. Even Sydney, as much as she loved him, often seems to have taken him for granted. There will be no more of that. It’s strange to think that this man, who probably knows twenty or more ways to kill, needs protection, but he does. Guess what – he isn’t superhuman, though most of the people he works with probably think he is. They’ve had their turn. He’s mine now. They can just find someone else.