The heist had gone well.
The painting was back in the rightful owner’s hands and the collector arrested. After making sure the ledger accounting for all the art the collector had swindled was strategically left where the annoyingly persistent detective was sure to find it, Jack had slipped out of the office.
He was halfway to the red light motel that he was using as a safe house when his side reminded him he hadn’t gotten away unscathed. He gritted his teeth, barely making it to his room. He dropped to his knees with a gasp as the door closed behind him.
He rode out the wave of pain, then stripped his sweater and shirt off. He stumbled to the bathroom to examine the wound.
A jagged gash at the level of his navel, still bleeding sluggishly met his eyes. It didn’t appear deep, but Jack wasn’t a doctor. And while he was no stranger to injury, this felt different. He couldn’t put his finger on how, just that something was wrong.
He scowled in aggravation. He didn’t have the money to pay his usual underground doctor right now, so he’d have to take care of this himself. Thankfully, he had some supplies stashed.
He gripped the sink tightly as the bathroom began to spin. His stomach roiled, the light causing nausea to suddenly appear. His eyes felt heavy and he suddenly realized what had happened.
Cursing, he reached for his phone. He hadn’t wanted attention, choosing instead to hide the fact he’d been injured from the team. But he couldn’t hide this. Punching in Rei’s number, he slowly made his way to the bed and lay down.
“Kimimura. Wait a minute, Jack?”
The surprise in his voice brought a smile to Jack’s face. It vanished as another wave of pain hit and he let out a whimper.
“Jack, what’s wrong?” He heard Rei tell someone, probably Taiga, to trace his cell.
“Got hurt.. think it was laced with something..” He forced out between clenched teeth. He tried to pay attention to Rei’s voice, but his eyes closed and the world went dark.
Whispered voices brought him back to consciousness.
“He is going to be okay, right?” Keisuke sounded worried.
“We got the antidote in time.” Taiga tried to sound confident, but there was an undercurrent of concern to his words.
“He needs to rest.” Rei sounded completely normal.
Jack suddenly became aware of fingers running through his hair. Opening his eyes, he was surprised to see Karen cradling his head in her lap. He gave her a puzzled look, receiving a soft smile in return. He tried to rise, but Rei put a hand on his chest.
“Stay down. Keisuke had to put fifteen stitches in your side. You need to rest.”
Jack swallowed, his mouth dry. “What-?”
Rei rolled his eyes. “Taiga tracked your cell. We got here to find you unconscious. Nishizaki recognized the poison in your system and was able to get the antidote. He says you’ll probably be over the effects in a day or two.”
Jack nodded slowly, feeling fatigued. “Everybody didn’t have to come.”
Rei gave him a sharp look. “Of course we did. You’re one of us, Jack. When one of us is in trouble, we come running.” He grinned at the shocked look. “Get used to it. Also, you better not hide any more injuries.”
Jack gave a wry half smile, his eyes closing. There was a warm feeling in his chest.
He wasn’t going to fight Rei on this. He knew when he was beat.
It had simply been a job, a way to find his siblings. Somehow, it had become a second family.
He wouldn’t have it any other way.