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Title: Kiss it Better
Fandom: 24
Characters: Jack Bauer, little!Kim Bauer
Rating: G
Summary: After a Delta mission, a young Kim does her best to help her Dad feel better. Very pre-S1.
Spoilers: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: Written for [ profile] 10_hurt_comfort, prompt: "Broken Bone"

"Daddy?" The timid little voice from nearby dragged Jack out of sleep with a jolt, the pain in his shoulder and arm removing the last of the cobwebs.

Jack winced, turning his head and opening his eyes to see Kim peeping over the edge of the mattress at him; her five-year-old face was lined with more worry than he liked to see.

He glanced at the clock on the bedside table: one in the afternoon. The painkillers and antibiotics must have really knocked him out. "Hey, sweetheart."

"Were you asleep? Mommy said I shouldn't wake you up if you were sleeping, but I didn't know if you were asleep or not."

"I woke up just before you came in," he said, glad she was probably too young to tell when he was lying. Jack lifted his head to sit up but gave up when the pounding in his head made it feel as though it was about to explode. "Where is Mommy?"

"In the kitchen making sammiches. Do your booboos hurt?" she asked, poking at the cast on his arm with one chubby finger.

"A little," he said, glancing over at the bedside table again. Teri had left a glass of water and the prescription painkillers close to the bed, thank God.

Kim tilted her head. "Did you fall down?"

That's one way of saying it, he thought. He'd certainly fallen when an explosion had knocked him and half of his Delta team down a flight of stairs; or at least so he'd been told. The concussion he'd suffered had wiped most of the mission from his memory, but he knew he shouldn't complain. If one of his team further down the stairs hadn't stopped and called his attention to something in the hallway behind them, he would have been two steps up from where he was and, according to his men, one of the chunks of shrapnel from the explosion would have caved his head in. He could deal with the fractured clavicle and ulna along with the concussion.

"Something like that," he said. "I have to have a cast on my arm and wear a sling for a little while but I'll be fine, sweetheart."

"Did Mommy try kissing it all better? That works when I fall down," she said seriously.

That wasn't exactly what Teri'd done the night before, though with his injuries it hadn't been the lovemaking that he was used to when he got home from a mission. It was the look of worry Teri had had when she saw him that was sticking with him at the moment, though, particularly as it had been mirrored on Kim's face a moment before. The last time he'd been seriously injured on a mission had been when Kim was too young to understand what was going on. Seeing his wife worried was bad enough, seeing the fear on his daughter's face was worse; it brought up the spectre of what it would be like for both of them if something happened to him. Maybe it was time to reconsider whether he wanted to take that risk any longer.

"It's not that kind of booboo, Kim. Not everything can be kissed all better."

Kim rested her chin on the edge of the bed for a moment, then hopped to her feet. "Wait here." Jack refrained from replying that he wasn't really in much shape to go anywhere any time soon.

Kim ran out of the room, reappearing a moment later with the large stuffed dog that she slept with every night. "Buster can sleep with you. He always makes me feel better," she said, holding up the floppy-eared dog.

"Thank you, sweetheart," he said, mustering a smile. "You know what would really make me feel better, though?"

"What?" Kim asked, obviously eager to help.

"If you came up here and curled up with me and Buster. That would make me feel a lot better." It would also make sure she stayed out of her mother's hair for a while; he owed Teri at least that much.

"Okay!" Kim crawled up on the bed, giving his cast a peck before crawling over him to his uninjured side, and tucking herself under his arm. "I kissed it a little better, Daddy."

"Thank you sweetheart," he whispered, stroking the blonde head resting on his chest.

His active duty period would be up in 4 months; he and Teri hadn't really talked about it yet, but he doubted she'd be too disappointed if he decided not to re-up. After that he could move to the Individual Ready Reserve for the remainder of his enlistment, which wouldn't entirely keep him from being called up, but things would have to be pretty bad for it to happen. With his experience in counter-terrorism, he could easily go into law enforcement, maybe go back to school and get a graduate degree in law or criminology to get him in a position where he'd have the kind of freedom to work that he had in Delta.

When he'd graduated from college and got chosen for Delta, he'd expected to be career military. With the decision looming, he wasn't sure any more that that was what he wanted, or what would be best for his family.

Kim craned her neck to kiss him on a stubbly cheek. "I hope you feel better, Daddy."

Lying there, holding his little girl, he knew where it was he should be. "I feel better already, sweetheart."
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