failegaidin: (Default)

At last, the final chapter of Anything For Love. I want to thank everyone for their encouraging comments, and especially sparky_girl82 for all of her help. 

            Chloe was incredibly nervous as she opened the door to her apartment. She and Jack hadn't really said anything during the drive home, but he had held her hand the entire time.
            Her head was still swimming from the events of the day. When she had asked Curtis for his help, her only goal had been to give Jack another chance at happiness. By the time she had found Audrey, she was fully expecting to not survive the mission. Finding herself completely alive at CTU, she had made the decision to walk away from Jack Bauer for good.
            But now Jack was standing in her living room, staring at her with a gentle smile on his face. She smiled back, remembering the feel of his lips against hers, his hands on her skin. She had never seen this coming.
            "Do you want to call Kim now?"
            Jack looked down at the floor nervously. "Yeah, thanks."
            Chloe walked to the kitchen, where she had Chase's number on the fridge. Taking the cordless phone from its cradle, she handed it to Jack.
            "There's the number," she said, pointing. "I'll just…umm…I'll just…"
            Jack smiled, resting a hand against her cheek. "You don't have to go."
            "But this is a private thing."
            Resting his forehead against hers, he whispered, "Please stay."
            Taking a deep breath, Chloe nodded and moved to make them some tea while Jack dialed the number with shaking hands. His stomach knotted painfully as he listened to the rings, and he suddenly wanted to hang up.
            "Hello?"
            The sound of her voice cut through him like a knife. Tears fell down his face and he found himself unable to speak.
            "Hello?"
            "Kim…" he whispered brokenly.
            There was silence on the other end of the line. The knot in Jack's stomach tightened as he tried to think of something suitable to say. Chloe saw the anguish on his face. Worried that Kim had once again rejected her father, she sat down next to him, taking his hand and caressing it gently. He looked up at her gratefully, but his eyes were still full of pain.
            "Daddy?"
            Jack found that he could breathe again as relief flooded through him. He squeezed Chloe's hand and gave her a smile.
            "Yeah, baby. It's me."
            He heard her start to cry, and he wanted nothing more than to wrap her in his arms and tell her that everything would be okay.
            "Shhhh…sweetheart, it's okay."
            "It's really you?" she asked.
            "Yes. Oh Kim, honey. I've missed you so much."
            "Where are you?"
            "Chloe's."
            "Chloe? Dad, I don't understand…"
            So Jack told her everything. He was done with lying, with hiding things to protect her. She was a grown woman now with a family of her own, and she deserved to know the truth. He told her about his release, the suitcase nukes, Audrey and Chloe. He told her their plans to move away from L.A., to start a new life far away from the pain that had plagued them for so many years. Chloe sat by him the whole time, holding his hand or rubbing her hands through his hair. He wasn't sure he would have been able to make the call if she hadn't been there.
            During her father's imprisonment in China, Kim had grown up considerably. She realized now that the things she blamed him for were not his fault, and that she'd give anything to have him back in her life. When she had heard his voice on the phone, she had nearly passed out. As the conversation continued, she knew that her decision was the right one – her father belonged in her life, and in the life of his grandchild.
            "You and Chloe, huh?" she asked after he had told his story.
            "Yeah," he said. She could practically hear the huge grin on his face.
            "Good."
            "Good?"
            "Yeah. You know, it's not that surprising."
            "I hear you have a couple surprises of your own."
            "Who told?"
            "Chloe."
            "Brat. I wanted to tell you."
            "I’m very happy for you, Kim."
            "Thank you, Dad." There was a pause. "So when are you two leaving?"
            Jack took a deep breath, trying to steady himself. "Well, that's the thing, honey. We don't want to leave you and Chase and the baby."
            "But you don't want to stay here either."
            "That's true. We want you to come with us."
            "You do?"
            "Yes."
            Kim placed the mouthpiece against her shoulder and turned to Chase. "He wants us to leave with him and Chloe," she told him quietly.
            "Do you want to?" he asked gently.
            Kim bit her lip in thought, but she didn't hesitate long before answering. "Yes."
            "Then tell him we'll start packing."
           
***
 
            Jack and Chloe stood in the kitchen after he hung up from Kim, with promises to meet up for dinner the following day. Neither knew what to do next. Jack had thought that the hard part was over, after telling her how he felt. But it seemed that now they had to figure out what the next step was.
            "Do you want to go to bed?" Chloe asked suddenly.
            Jack laughed softly. "Actually, I'd really like to take a shower first."
            She nodded, and then frowned as a thought struck her. "My shower doesn't work. You'll have to take a bath."
            "That works too."
            Taking him by the hand, Chloe led him down the hall and into her bathroom. She moved toward the tub, turning the dials and testing the water that came out of the spigots. She turned back to see Jack staring at the tub, an odd expression on his face.
            "Jack?"
            He shook his head. "I can't do it."
            "Do what?"
            "I can't," he repeated.
            Chloe took his face in her hands and forced him to look at her. "Jack? Jack! Look at me. What's wrong?"
            "They…while I was in China…they would…they…" Jack trailed off, his mind plunging into the nightmarish memory.
            "Jack, I'm right here. They can't hurt you anymore. You're safe here."
            He stared at her, and she realized that he was shaking. He was terrified, and it was the first time she had ever seen him break down in fear. An idea came to her.
            "What if I stay with you?"
            "What?"
            "I'll stay with you. We'll take a bath…together," she added, hoping that she wasn't pushing too hard.
            "You'll stay?" he asked, the fear still in his voice.
            She stroked his face. "I'll be right in there with you. I'm not going anywhere."
            As the water began to fill the tub, Chloe reached for the buttons of Jack's shirt. She slowly undid each one as he watched her with a measure of amazement. The look on her face was focused, but it lacked her usual scowl. She seemed calm as she reached the last button and released it from its hole. Reaching up, she slid the shirt off of his shoulders and let it flutter to the floor.
            Trailing her fingers down his chest, she looked sadly at the scars covering his torso. She knew that they were worse on his back, but she didn't want to make him feel like she was scrutinizing him. Leaning forward, she gently placed her lips on one of the scars. Jack closed his eyes at the unexpected contact, tears once again filling his eyes as she lovingly caressed every wound. When she finished, she looked up at him and wiped away the tears that had fallen onto his cheeks.
            "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I seem to be crying a lot today."
            Chloe smiled at him. "There's nothing to be sorry for, Jack."
            She let her fingers slide down his chest and stomach, resting them on his belt. Hesitating slightly, she began to undo it, slowly sliding the belt out of the buckle. She stopped suddenly when Jack's hands grabbed hers, forcing her to look up at him in confusion.
            "Chloe," he whispered. He looked at the floor nervously, and she could tell he was having a hard time finding the words. "I…I don't know if I can…I mean…it's been almost two years…"
            Suddenly understanding what he was saying, Chloe brought her body up against his, holding him close. He sank into her embrace, tightening his hold. After a few moments, she pulled away, looking up at him with a gentle smile.
            "It's okay, Jack. We don’t have to do anything tonight. I just want to hold you…touch you. We'll worry about the other stuff later."
            Returning her smile, Jack couldn’t help but wonder what he had done to deserve such an amazing woman. Then he thought back to his conversation with Bill earlier that day and realized that the older man was right. This wasn't about deserving – it was about love.
            He reached forward with shaking hands to undo the buttons of Chloe's shirt. Seeing his nervousness, she covered his hands with her own, guiding them as he undid each button. Her shirt joined his on the floor, and she turned her attention once again to his pants.
            Jack was torn between closing his eyes at the sensation of her hands at his waist, and wanting to stare at her body, taking in every beautiful aspect of her. Unable to stop himself, he reached out and touched her shoulders, rubbing his hands up and down her shoulders, reveling in the feel of her smooth skin. His eyes closed of their own accord and he gasped sharply as he felt Chloe slide his jeans and boxers off of him at the same time. He gingerly stepped out of them, kicking them across the floor and standing completely exposed to her.
            Chloe was having a hard time controlling herself. The sight of Jack Bauer standing in front of her drove her insane. She wanted to be touching and kissing every inch of him…but she also knew that that wasn't what he needed right then. They would get to that point eventually, but tonight was about comfort and trust. She smiled at him encouragingly as he moved to remove her pants and underwear as well, sighing at his touch on her bare flesh.
            They stood staring at each other, both naked. Taking him by the hand, Chloe went to step into the tub, intending to sit behind so that she could hold him. Jack pulled on her hand, though, stopping her. She looked back in confusion.
            Climbing into the tub and settling down against the back, he reached out his hand to help her in. "I want to take care of you," he whispered.
            Keeping her eyes locked on him, Chloe stepped in and sat between his legs, leaning back against his strong chest. His hands rested on her shoulders and began to knead the flesh, undoing the knots of stress that had grown there. She groaned in pleasure and closed her eyes, relaxing for the first time in almost four years.
 
***
 
            They had stayed until the water grew cold, neither wanting to move away from the other. But eventually they got out, wrapping themselves in Chloe's fluffy blue towels. This time Jack led her by the hand, walking them to her bedroom. Keeping his eyes locked on hers to make sure that this was okay, he removed his towel and slid into bed. Smiling anxiously, Chloe did the same, sighing happily as Jack pulled her to him. They fell asleep, tangled in each other.
 
***
 
            Chloe awoke early the next morning and headed out to the kitchen to make coffee, letting Jack sleep for a while longer. She tried to be quiet as she opened cupboards, smiling at how the day before had turned out.
            While the coffee was brewing, she thought back through everything that had happened. She still couldn't believe that Jack had chosen her, that he had told her he loved her…
            Chloe stopped suddenly on that thought. She quickly sifted through the memories, going back to when he had asked her to take him with her. Her dismay growing by the second, Chloe realized that Jack hadn't told her he loved her. He had only asked that she love him. And since they had gotten home last night, he hadn't kissed her, or given her any indication that he wanted to. He hadn't even wanted to make love to her when she was standing before him, completely naked.
            Chewing her nails, Chloe abandoned the coffee.
 
***
 
            When Jack awoke, he breathed in deeply, enjoying how relaxed and calm he felt. He had slept the entire night through, much to his surprise, and he smiled as he remembered the feel of Chloe sleeping in his arms. He frowned in consternation as he realized that she was no longer next to him, and then sat up as an unpleasant smell permeated the apartment. Rushing out of bed, he quickly got dressed and raced into the kitchen. The coffee machine was on, but it had been forgotten, and the smell of burnt coffee was everywhere. He shut the machine off and dumped it out, opening the kitchen window to let in some air. He wondered what could have possibly distracted Chloe from making the coffee, since he knew that she needed it to function properly in the morning.
            Walking into the living room, he stopped short at the sight before him. Chloe was wrapped in her bathrobe, sitting on the couch with her knees tucked under her chin. Tears were coming down her face, and she seemed to be staring into space. Jack went over to her quickly, taking her face in his hands and tucking her hair behind her ears.
            "Chloe, what's wrong?"
            Sniffing, she answered. "Nothing. I'm fine. Don't worry about it."
            "That's not gonna work with me, Chlo'. I know you too well."
            Chloe just shook her head, refusing to answer him. Jack decided to try another track. Bringing his lips to her ear, he whispered, "Last night…"
            She pulled away sharply. "You don't have to say anything."
            "What are you talking about?"
            "About last night. You don't have to say anything. It's okay. I get it."
            Jack looked at her sharply, worry creasing his face. "You get what?"
            Chloe took a deep breath, staring ahead and avoiding his eyes. "It's okay, Jack. I know that you don't want to be with me. You needed a friend, and I was there. I guess I just let it go to my head and I thought…but I get it now. It's okay."
            Jack stared at her in shock. This was the last thing he had been expecting from her. "Chloe…" he started, floundering for what he could say to convince her that she was wrong. "What would make you think that?"
            She gnawed at her bottom lip, not wanting to tell him. Jack dropped down on his knees in front of her, once again holding her head steady so that she was forced to look at him. "Chloe…" he nudged.
            Closing her eyes to block him out, Chloe tried to explain. "Last night…you…you didn't want to…" She couldn't finish the sentence, embarrassment causing her to blush.
            Jack inwardly groaned as he realized what his actions had done. Bringing his face up to hers, he desperately tried to make her understand. "Chloe-"
            But she cut him off. "And earlier. When you…asked me to love you…you never…you never…"
            "I never what?"
             A single tear slid down her cheek as she answered. "You never said that you loved me." She wiped away the tear and looked down at the ground. "But it's okay, Jack. I know…I know that you were just grateful that I saved Audrey. I know that this was just because you could trust me. It's okay-"
            "Chloe," he said sharply, causing her to stop. "I need you to turn your brain off. Now."
            She furrowed her brow and continued staring at the carpet, but she shut her mouth in an attempt to stem the tide of her thoughts. The struggle played out on her face, and the sight broke Jack's heart.
            "Oh Chloe," he said sadly, realizing how broken she was right then. He cursed himself for not having made himself more clear. He ran his hands through her hair, refusing to let her go. "I never meant…I never meant to make you doubt my feelings for you."
            Chloe's eyes snapped up, unable to believe what she was hearing.
            "Last night," he continued, swallowing his embarrassment, knowing that he had to make her understand. "I was afraid…it had been so long…since I'd been with anyone. I was afraid that I couldn't…that I wouldn't be able to. I didn't want to disappoint you." He paused, letting his words sink in. "And as for the other thing, Chloe…" He brought his lips up so that they were almost touching hers. "I love you. And I will say it as many times as you need to hear it."
            Jack closed the distance between them and kissed her, leaving no room for doubt as to how he felt. As his tongue slid into her mouth, he leaned her back so that she was lying down on the couch, his body on top of her. Their hands explored each other, and Jack groaned in frustration as her hips thrust against his. Feeling a familiar tightening in his groin, Jack pulled back slightly and smiled. Chloe felt it too, and she smiled up at him coyly.
            "Guess you can," she said.
            "Guess so," he replied as he leaned in to kiss her again.
            They were soon off the couch and down the hallway, both eager to find the bed. As Jack pushed her down onto the mattress, Chloe stopped, looking up at him with a frown.
            "What?" Jack asked, worried.
            "I'm sorry."
            "For what?"
            "For being so insecure. For making you have to prove it to me."
            "Chloe," he said gently. "I am just as scared as you are. I have no problem reminding you that I love you as many times as you need. In fact, I want to spend the rest of my life proving to you just how much I love you." He kissed her again and pulled back. "On one condition."
            "And what's that?" she asked warily.
            Resting his forehead on hers, he looked at her seriously. "That you'll do the same for me."
            Caressing his face, Chloe whispered, "I love you, Jack."
            "I love you too, Chloe," he said, leaning in to capture her mouth again. She pulled him closer and they blissfully sank into one another. 
           
failegaidin: (Default)
          Here's Chapter 6! This is not the last chapter - there's one more to go. Thanks to [profile] sparky_girl82for help with Bill's little outburst - it's about time somebody yelled at Jack! Enjoy :)  


            Jack walked down the corridor quickly, anxious to see Chloe. Ending things with Audrey had lifted a huge weight off of his shoulders, and he knew that now he had to figure things out with his best friend.
            He stopped dead in his tracks when he entered her room – she wasn't there. The bed was made and there was no sign that Chloe had ever been there. Panic began to set in, and he looked around wildly for someone who could tell him what had happened.
            "Jack."
            Jack whirled around and found himself face-to-face with Bill.
            "Where is she, Bill?" he asked, trying desperately to ignore the tight feeling in his chest.
            Bill saw the worry in the other man's eyes and moved quickly to reassure him. "She's okay, Jack. They got all the nails out and there wasn't any serious damage."
            Jack closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief before looking sharply at Bill again. "Then where is she?"
            Wordlessly, Bill handed him Chloe's letter of resignation. Jack looked at it in confusion, his expression becoming more pained as he read.
            "She's gone?" he whispered, his voice breaking.
            "Not yet." Bill paused. "Can I give you some advice?" Jack nodded. "Don't let her go. If she walks out that door, she's gone. For good. Tell her how you feel – she deserves that much."
            Jack was shaking his head. "But I don't deserve-"
            "Damnit, Jack!" Bill shouted. "Love isn't about what you deserve. It's about love. Plain and simple.  If it was about what we deserved, we'd all be miserable bastards wandering around without any hope. Love is about second and third chances – hell, it's about however many chances it takes for you to be happy. You love Chloe, and you screwed up. You let her believe that she meant nothing to you. You have to go fix that." Bill paused again, calming himself before he continued. "Before Karen, I…I thought it was over, Jack. I thought that I would be alone for the rest of my life. And when we started going out, I kept expecting it to end, because I couldn't possibly deserve someone as amazing as her. Now I know you've gone through a lot more than me, Jack, but that doesn't mean you can't be happy. Don't let her go."
            Jack reached out and shook the older man's hand. "Thank you, Bill," he whispered before leaving Medical and heading out onto the floor.
 
***
 
            She was standing at her station, packing her things into a box. Her clothes had had to be cut in order for the doctor to remove the nails, and her new ones covered the wounds. Her face was still drawn and pale though, and her eyes were downcast. His heart broke as he realized how much pain he had caused her. She had nearly sacrificed herself for what she believed would bring him happiness – and in the process he had almost lost the very thing that his happiness hinged upon. He walked up to her, trying to figure out just what he would say.
            "Chloe," he said quietly, causing her to jump in surprise.
            She turned to look at him, confusion etched on her face. "Jack? What are you doing here?"
            "I wanted to talk to you."
            "Shouldn't you be with Audrey?"
            "No."
            Chloe frowned, taken back by his answer. "Why not?"
            Jack smiled faintly. "Because I want to talk to you."
            Chloe sighed. "You're welcome, Jack."
            This time Jack frowned in confusion. "What?"
            "You're welcome. I know you're just here because you think you need to thank me for saving Audrey. But you don't. Just go be with her."
            "Chloe, I'm not here to thank you."
            Chloe looked down, trying to stop her bottom lip from quivering. "Oh. Are you…um…here to yell at me then?"
            Jack reached out and rested his hand gently on her arm. "No. Why would I yell at you?"
            "I don't know. For risking Curtis' life for a really dangerous mission. For not telling you where we were going. For making you have to save me…again."
            He took hold of both of Chloe's arms, pulling her closer to him and forcing her to look in his eyes. "Chloe," he whispered. I'm not here to yell at you either. I did that earlier, and actually, I need to apologize for that."
            "I yelled too. So I guess I should say sorry too."
            Jack smiled again. "No. I deserved it."
            Chloe looked down again, shuffling her feet. Jack watched her, trying to figure out what was going on inside her head. She spoke without looking back up. "Why are you here Jack?"
            He tried to get the words out – tried to tell her how much he loved her. But his brain refused to say it. "I wanted to make sure you were okay," he said lamely.
            Chloe pulled out of his grasp and turned her back on him. "I'm fine, Jack. Go."
            "Where do you want me to go?"
            "How about to the place you really want to be? Stop checking up on me and go sit with Audrey. You guys haven't seen each other in eighteen months. I'm sure there's some things that need to be said."
            "They've been said," he replied as he moved to behind her. He placed his hands gingerly on her shoulders. "I don't want to be anywhere that's not with you right now," he whispered.
            Chloe closed her eyes at the sound of his voice so close, the feel of his breath moving against her hair. She didn't want to move, but she knew that she needed to or she would never leave. She tried to order her body to walk away, but every muscle refused her, staying locked in place. She tried to get her mouth to tell him to go away, to leave her alone. But her tongue betrayed her as well, allowing her to only get out a breathy "What?"
            As he turned her around to face him, Jack once again tried to tell her that he loved her. But once again his brain rebelled. "Why are you leaving?" he asked instead.
            "Because it's time for me to go," Chloe mumbled, trying to avoid his intense gaze.
            "Why?"
            She sighed. "It's just something I need to do, Jack. I can't stay here anymore."
            Jack nodded, understanding.
            "Take me with you."
            "What?"
            "I want to go with you."
            "No you don't."
            "Yes I do."
            "No."
            "Yes."
            "No."
            Deciding that the argument was pointless, Jack leaned in and brushed his lips against hers. Chloe stopped immediately, staring at him in disbelief. Her surprise faded though, and was replaced with a look of hurt.
            "Why would you do that?" she whispered, her voice breaking.
            "Kiss you?"
            "Yes."
            "Because I wanted to. Because I've wanted to since before I left for Washington."
            Chloe backed away, pulling her arms out of his grasp. "No."
            "Chloe, it's the truth."
            "No," she repeated, shaking her head. "If that were true, you wouldn't have left. You wouldn't have stayed with Audrey. You wouldn't have chosen her over me time after time."
            Jack approached her again, this time taking her face in his hands. "It is the truth, Chloe. I never told you because…because after everything I'd asked of you…I didn't think…I couldn't ask you to love me too," he finished in a hoarse whisper.
            Chloe's gaze softened and she took Jack's right hand in both her own, bringing the scarred skin to her lips. She kissed it gently, never taking her eyes off of him. Jack's eyes immediately filled with tears at her gentleness.
            "Jack," she whispered. "You never had to ask." She reached up and brushed her lips against his. "I've always loved you."
            Jack smiled through the few tears that had escaped his eyes. He leaned in, capturing her lips with his and wrapping his arms around her waist to pull her closer. He teased her mouth open and slid his tongue into her mouth, holding her tighter as she moaned happily. Eventually they pulled away, Jack tucking her hair behind her ears and smiling.
            "Take me with you," he repeated.
            Chloe's brow furrowed. "But I'm leaving."
            "I know. Take me with you."
            "But you won't be happy."
            "Why not?"
            "Because…this is your life. You know, running around and shooting terrorists and stopping nukes from going off. I'm moving away from all this. Far away."
            Jack smiled at her concerned face. "How far away?"
            Chloe pursed her lips in thought. "New England," she said finally.
            "New England's nice."
            "But…you'll be…bored."
            Jack laughed, taking her face in his hands again. "Look, Chloe. I don't want to do this anymore. It's cost me too much. My wife, my daughter…and it almost cost me you. The president gave me a…generous retirement package. I say we buy a house in New England, maybe in Connecticut somewhere. A real fixer-upper. Then I can spend my days working on the house. That way I won't get bored."
            "A house?" Chloe asked, disbelief in her voice.
            "A house," he repeated. "And you wouldn't have to work either…unless you wanted to. You could help me with the house."
            "This is sounding awfully domestic, Jack."
            His smile faded a little. "Is that a problem?"
            "Not for me, but-"
            Jack pulled her closer. "Then it's not a problem. This is what I want, Chloe. A big house," he kissed her. "No more terrorists," he kissed her again. "And you."
            Chloe smiled up at him, still having trouble processing that Jack was saying those things to her. "So we'll leave?"
            "Yeah," he whispered.
            "When?"
            "As soon as we can. You need to sell your apartment, and…I'd like to see Kim before we go. Do you know where she is?"
            Chloe gave him a reassuring smile. "I do."
            "Where?"
            "Not far from me. She and Chase got back together a few months ago." Chloe paused, wondering if she should continue. "She pregnant," she finished, wary of Jack's response.
            She wasn't prepared for the blinding grin that erupted on Jack's face. He tried several times to speak, but each time his throat closed, the emotion threatening to overwhelm him.
            "Really?" he choked out.
            Chloe nodded. "Three months. And they're getting married."
            "I'm going to be a grandfather?"
            "Yep," Chloe responded, a sudden thought occurring to her. Jack saw the light fade from her eyes.
            "What is it?" he asked, concerned.
            "You won't want to leave now. Not with Kim pregnant."
            "Chloe…"
            She shook her head and smiled at him again. "No, it's okay. We can stay here."
            "You don't want to."
            "So? I want you, and you want to be near Kim. I can deal with that."
            An idea formed in Jack's head. "Do they like L.A.?"
            Chloe frowned. "No. Chase hates it and Kim doesn't want her baby growing up in a city…" she trailed off as she realized what Jack was asking.
            "Think maybe they'd like to move out east?"
            She smirked. "I'll tell Chase to start packing their stuff."
 
***
 
            Bill watched as his two best agents walked off the floor, hand in hand. He smiled as he realized that they were finally breaking free of the pain that had marked both their lives. Pulling out his cell phone, he called Karen to tell her the good news. 

Chapter 7
failegaidin: (Default)
I present you all with Chapter 5...thanks again to [profile] sparky_girl82, who helped despite being swamped by annoying people at work. And don't worry, this isn't over yet!       

                The ride back to CTU was awkward. Jack and Chloe sat in the backseat while Curtis drove, both avoiding the other's eyes. Curtis kept glancing at them through the rearview mirror. He had seen them talking on the beach, Jack laying on top of her. The scene had made him hopeful for his two friends, but the tension permeating the SUV made him question what had actually happened.
                "How did you find us?" Jack asked, pulling Curtis out of his thoughts. 
                "Chloe." Both stared at him in confusion, obviously not understanding. "Her vest. I had a tracker put in it."
"You what?" Chloe screeched.
Curtis chuckled. "Come on, Chloe. I knew you were going to get yourself into trouble on this one. I figured it would be a good idea to keep track of you in case you got lost. When Jack went after you, I realized that if there was any chance you were alive, he would find you."
At the mention of the rescue, Jack risked a glance at Chloe. He was still mad at her for almost getting killed – but only because he was so afraid of losing her. He'd almost kissed her on the beach, but Curtis had gotten there before he could. Now he wondered if he had scared her off. He had asked so much of her in the past; he wasn't sure he could ask her to love him as well.
As his eyes traveled down her body, he finally saw that she was bleeding from multiple wounds. Her face was pale and drawn, and he saw that her eyes were losing their focus.
"Chloe!" he yelled, reaching over to take her face in his hands. "Chloe, look at me! Baby, I need you to look at me. Please." A note of desperation seeped into his voice.
She didn't even register the term of endearment. The pain in her legs and shoulder was drowning out everything else. She tried to focus on Jack's face and the feel of his hands, but the world went black before she could.
 
***
 
Chloe was rushed to medical as soon as they reached CTU. Jack was just left staring in shock as they wheeled her inside. He couldn’t do anything for her now, and he found that he hated that fact. Standing next to the SUV, he looked around, unsure of what he was supposed to do next. Seeing his confusion, Curtis walked over and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"She'll be okay, Jack." The other man just nodded, not trusting his voice to speak. "Audrey's in Medical 3. She's probably awake by now. You should go see her." Nodding again, Jack walked toward Medical.
 
***
 
James Heller was standing outside his daughter's room, waiting for Jack Bauer. He knew that Jack would come eventually, especially since he had been in the field when Audrey had been brought in. He was not prepared, however, for the broken man that appeared before him.
"Mr. Secretary," Jack greeted, shaking the older man's hand.
"It's just Jim now, Jack. I left the political arena when they told me Audrey was dead."
Pain flashed in his eyes at the mention of her name. "How is she?" he asked shakily.
"She's actually going to be okay. It looks as though the Chinese didn't do too much to her. They were just…holding her until they could use her." Heller peered closely at Jack, noticing the worry in his eyes and the slight shake of his hands. "It's alright, Jack," he reassured him. "She's going to be alright."
Jack shook his head, trying to focus on what Heller was saying. "I'm sorry, sir. I was actually…one of my friends was just rushed in here. I'm worried about her."
"Oh?"
"Chloe O'Brian."
Heller frowned. "Isn't she a computer analyst?"
"Yes. But she's the one that rescued Audrey today."
His eyes widened in surprise. "I was under the impression that Agent Manning brought her in."
Jack closed his eyes, fighting back the image of Chloe tied to a chair, Cheng reaching for her. "He was with her, but…Chloe managed to get Audrey out with Curtis, but she was taken in the process."
Heller placed a hand on Jack's shoulder, sorry that that tragedy kept leaving a mark on this man's life. But what he needed to say to Bauer was important, and he didn't want it to wait.
"We need to talk, Jack."
The younger man walked over to a chair and sat down, his head in his hands. "If this is about me staying away from Audrey, you can save your breath."
"Look, Jack. I understand that you love her. But she just doesn't belong in your world. She can't handle it. And I can't handle her being hurt or kidnapped because some terrorist wants something from you. Please, Jack. You've got to let her go."
Heller was surprised by the deep chuckle that emanated from the man in front of him. "Did I say something funny?" he asked, anger evident in his voice.
Jack look up at him, quelling his laughter. "I'm sorry sir. It's just that I'd already made that decision. Audrey and I don't work. We can't."
"Really?"
Jack smiled. "Yes. That's why I'm here. I just wanted to say goodbye."
Heller nodded. "Thank you, Jack."
 
***
 
Audrey looked up as Jack entered the room, unable to stop the smile on her face. She still couldn't believe that he was alive and free. Despite continuing her search for him, she had started to believe that he had been killed. He walked over to the side of her bed and took her hand.
"Audrey," he whispered.
"Hi Jack." She paused, unsure of how to say the next part. Looking up at him nervously, she asked, "Did you talk to my father?"
Jack smiled gently, realizing what she was asking. "Yes. And don't worry – it's okay. I had made the same decision before I came."
Audrey breathed an audible sigh of relief. She loved Jack, but she knew that she couldn’t be with him. Her mind flashed back to the events of the day, and she suddenly remembered something.
"Oh, God. Chloe," she gasped. "What about Chloe? Is she alright?"
Jack's smile vanished and he fought to keep his voice from quaking. "She's…they're taking care of her now. I don't…I don’t know if she's okay."
Audrey tightened her grip on Jack's hand. "I couldn't believe it when I saw her there today. I never would have thought she'd rescue me. She even saved my life when the Chinese came in and shot at us. She pushed Curtis and I out the door…all these months that you've been gone, Jack…she's done nothing but look for you. I heard Morris yell at her for it on more than one occasion, telling her to accept the fact that you were dead. But she never gave up. She refused to believe that you were gone."
Jack's looked at her sharply. "She looked for me?"
"Of course she did, Jack. After everyone else gave up, she kept looking, disobeying direct orders from Division. I…I gave up too. But she just kept going, and eventually I asked her if I could help. I used my resources at DoD. But when I told her I was going to China, she told me not to. She said I would just get hurt or taken, and that you wouldn't want that. I went anyway. I should have listened to her. Then she wouldn't have had to come after me."
Jack bowed his heads, tears streaming down his face. "I thought…I thought she had given up on me. She didn't say anything about it when she told me what happened to you. I had no idea she kept looking."
Audrey smiled sadly. "Of all the people in this world, Jack, did you really think that Chloe would give up on you?"
"No," he whispered. "And that's why it hurt so much when I thought she had."
"Go, Jack. Go be with her. Make sure you're the first thing she sees when she wakes up. She deserves that much."
Jack nodded. "Goodbye, Audrey."
She squeezed his hand again. "Goodbye Jack."
 
***
 
Bill was surprised and a little perturbed to see Chloe at her station. She was going to be alright, but she hadn't been cleared by Medical to return to work. They wanted her to rest, seeing as how they had found nine nails embedded in her flesh from the Chinese. They hadn't been enough to seriously endanger her, but combined with the scare of torture and the stress of swimming to shore after the boat exploded, she had passed out and gone into shock.
Chloe stared at the paper in her hands. It was time. She fought back the tears, knowing that Buchanan wouldn't be happy with her. Not only had she seriously broken protocol, but she had almost gotten herself and Curtis killed.
Jack's actions had confused her. She hadn't expected him to come after her. He was supposed to just take Audrey home and be happy. And then the things he had said on the beach…she shook her head, refusing to let herself go down that road. He had just been relieved that she was alive. She knew that he was with Audrey now, and that they could finally be happy together. Things were the way they were supposed to be, even if they weren't the way she wanted them to be.
She looked up to see Bill walking over to her. Putting on her usual scowl, she crossed the distance to where he was.
"Look, Mr. Buchanan, I know you're mad at me, but-"
Bill raised a hand to cut her off. "Chloe, what are you doing out of Medical?"
She floundered, caught off-guard by his question. "I needed to print something."
"What could you possibly need to print right now?"
"This," she said, handing him the piece of paper. "I'll stick around for the debrief. You can just find me here when you're ready." Turning, she walked back to her station and sat down.
Bill frowned as he found himself looking at Chloe's letter of resignation. 

Chapter 6
failegaidin: (Default)
Chapter 4!!! The beach finally comes into play in this one. Oh, and don't think it's over. 'Cause it's not. We've got some stuff to deal with in the aftermath. Thanks again to [profile] sparky_girl82  for being the lovely slave-driver that she is. 

Title: Anything For Love (Chapter 4)
Rating: same as the other chapters
Part: 4/? (maybe 5 or 6???)
Prompt: Beach


            Jack watched in dismay as men set up camera equipment around Chloe. She was blinking her eyes against the harsh lights that surrounded her, trying to conceal her fear about what was going to happen next. Cables were set up and tripods assembled as Jack tried to think of something – anything – he could do to save her. All he knew was that he couldn’t stand there and let them torture her. He struggled to keep his emotions in check – she deserved so much better than this.
 
***
 
            When everything was in place, Cheng ordered everyone out of the room. His men all shuffled out, closing the heavy door behind them. Cheng secured the locks and then went to stand in front of Chloe.
            "Well, Miss O'Brian. Have you figured out what's going to happen? I'm sure you have – you're a smart girl."
            Chloe glared up at him with unconcealed hatred. She wouldn't give him the pleasure of seeing her fear.
            "It's all very simple," Cheng continued, ignoring the daggers in her eyes. "When my men come back in, they're going to turn all of this equipment on. Then, we're going to employ all of those interrogation techniques we used on Mr. Bauer on you." He leaned down, bringing his face level with hers. "The only difference is, we don't want any information from you. We're going to broadcast it, so that Bauer has to watch you die, painfully – and there will be no way for him to save you." He smiled cruelly. "Now, why don't we take off that vest you're wearing?"
 
***
 
            Jack snapped. The sight of Cheng's fingers touching Chloe enraged him past any coherent thought and he ran from his hiding place. Snatching up one of the tripods, he swung it at Cheng, taking out his knees. The man fell to the floor, his cry cut off as Jack was on top of him, hands around his throat. He squeezed tighter, as all the anger from the past two years came spilling out of him.
            "How dare you touch her?" he seethed between clenched teeth. "You want revenge? You take it out on me. You don’t go after the people I love. You don't go after the one person I have left in this world. Your biggest mistake, Cheng? Was going after Chloe."
 
***
 
            At first Chloe thought she was imagining things. She knew that Jack couldn't possibly be there. But then he had knocked Cheng down and started to choke him, and she knew that he was really there, that he was going to save her.
            His words shocked her, but she was even more stunned by the anger in them. She knew that he was furious about what they done to him, for taking Audrey to use against him. But when he mentioned her name, she heard a deeper rage. She watched as he slowly choked the life out of Cheng, his attention focused solely on the other man's face.
 
***
 
            Everything fell away as Jack watched Cheng's face turn purple. He channeled all the anger and pain into his hands as they squeezed tighter and tighter. He envisioned Cheng's hands once again reaching for Chloe, and his mouth twisted into a snarl, his fingers closing in even more.
            "Jack?" a small voice behind him tore his attention away. The red faded from his eyes as he remembered that Chloe was still there, still tied to a chair, still waiting for him. With one swift movement, he snapped Cheng's neck, putting an end to the man's power over him.
            Standing up, he looked over at Chloe with a reassuring smile on his face. "Let's get you out of here," he said gently.
 
***
 
            Chloe rubbed at her wrists, thankful that the ropes were finally gone. Jack starting opening the crates he had been hiding behind, looking for something that would help them escape. Finally he stopped, staring into one with a smile on his face.
            "What is it?" Chloe asked, walking over to him.
            He pulled something out of the crate and looked at her. "C4."
 
***
 
            This time Jack didn't care who knew he was on the boat. His only priority was getting Chloe to safety. The men they ran into didn't last long, Jack taking them out quickly with a few well-aimed bullets. They ran up to the main deck amidst shouts from the men that they passed. Jack led Chloe by the hand and they raced to the end of the boat. Taking out one more guard with his gun trained on them, the two jumped into the water.
 
***
 
            It wasn't long before Cheng was found. There was a flurry of activity as messages were relayed across the boat. When it was known by Cheng's top lieutenants that Bauer had escaped with their hostage, they immediately ordered for them to be chased and recaptured.
 
***
 
            Jack swam as fast as he could, with Chloe keeping pace as best she could. The salt water stung her wounds, and she was still bleeding, but she knew that their survival depended on them getting as far away as they could. She redoubled her efforts and surged ahead.
            The explosion caused a surge of waves that pulled them under, threatening to drown them despite their best efforts. But neither was willing to give up after their escape, and they fought the water until it acquiesced, accepting that there were two who refused to made victims that day.
            With the boat gone and the threat of chase eliminated, they swam to shore.
 
***
 
            Chloe had never been so happy to see a beach in her entire life. Generally she hated them. It was the sand – it got everywhere, and you could never really be rid of it. But as she fell onto the ground, caking her body with the offending sand, she suddenly thought that she could spend the rest of her life there.
            She saw Jack fall down next to her, and they both rolled onto their backs, trying desperately to catch their breath. The sun was out and strong, and they soon felt their clothes drying and hardening against their bodies. The sand dried onto their skin too, but both were past the point of caring.
            Chloe closed her eyes, just thankful to be alive. She had known all along that they wouldn't fail getting Audrey out, but she hadn't actually expected to survive the mission. She started thinking about what had to come next. It was time to leave CTU, she knew that much. She just couldn't be there anymore when Jack came back, needing her help. She knew that her feelings for him bordered on pathetic, and it was just time to move on. And she would have to do that somewhere outside of California.
            Her thoughts were suddenly swept aside as she felt a weight on her body and looked up to see a very angry Jack Bauer on top of her, his faces barely an inch away from hers.
            "What the hell were you thinking?" he growled at her.
            "Jack-"
            "You go in there, with only Curtis for backup. You don't tell anyone where you're going. They were going to torture you Chloe. How could you be so stupid?"
            This time it was Chloe's turn to be angry. Her eyes went cold and her voice lowered to match his. "How dare you?" she seethed. "I went in there for you. I went in there to save Audrey so that you could be happy. I didn't tell you because it would have killed you if I had been wrong. This was the only way. And she's safe now. So why don't you just go be with her and leave me the hell alone?"
            She hadn't meant to say all that. She hadn't meant to lose her temper with him. But his anger had been too much. She knew that she didn't deserve that.
            Shocked from her outburst, the anger slid out of Jack. He had been angry because he was scared. He had almost lost her today, and he couldn't forget the feeling in his chest when Curtis had told him that she wasn't coming back. His eyes softened as he looked down at her and the tears finally came, sliding silently down his cheeks.
            "I thought I had lost you," he whispered. The emotion in his voice brought her up short, and she lost all inclination to yell at him. "Curtis told me that you hadn't made it…and…oh God, Chloe…I couldn't breathe." He took her face in his hands, leaning his forehead against hers. "Don't ever do something like that ever again. I can live without Audrey. I can't live without you."
            Chloe's eyes widened in shock at his words, but before she could respond, three SUV's pulled up beside them. They looked up to see Curtis jump out of a vehicle before it completely stopped, rushing over to them. Jack got off of Chloe and helped her to her feet.
            "That's it," he said as he came up to them. "I'm not leaving either of you unsupervised ever again. You come up with hare-brained ideas like stealing people from the Chinese or sneaking onto their boats."
            "They stole Audrey first," Chloe pointed out.
            "Chloe…" Curtis sighed.
            "Besides, we blew it up," she continued absent-mindedly.
            "You what?"
            "Their boat. We blew it up, Curtis. Long story," Jack told him.
            Chloe scowled at him. "No it's not. Bad guys wanted to kill us. We set C4 and then ran. End of story."
            Jack rolled his eyes at her and was about to retort when Curtis cut them off. "Enough, you two. You can continue this later. Right now I have orders from Bill to get you back to CTU medical – and to strap you both to a hospital bed."
            Turning around, he led them to the waiting vehicle. 


Chapter 5
failegaidin: (Default)

Chapter 3 is finished! Thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments and encouragement. It made me want to start this chapter right away! Hopefully I won't lose my momentum and Chapter 4 will come together tomorrow - but don't expect anything over the weekend! It's my mommy's 50th bday party and it seems I can only really write while I'm at work. But I'll try not to leave you a cliffhanger for 2 days ;)

Many thanks again to

[profile] sparky_girl82, who's high demands make me actually focus and write the story instead of dilly-dallying with other things (you know, like my job). 

Title: Anything For Love (Chapter 3)
Rating: PG-13/R is probably appropriate for the rest of the story
Part 3/?


 

 

            It hurt. Her leg was throbbing, and she could feel blood running down into her shoe. She tried to reach down, to feel how bad the wound was, but her heart sank as she realized that her hands were restrained behind her. Her shoulder screamed in protest of her movements, and she remembered the nail gun, and the pain that had engulfed her just before she hit the ground.
            Her eyes fluttered open as a harsh light suddenly lit up her face. She scowled at the intrusion even as she tried to get a handle on her surroundings. There were other people in the room – that much she could tell. But their faces were beyond the reach of the light and their voices blended into a muffled undertone.
            A face broke away from the rest, coming closer to her. His features became clearer as he stopped mere inches from her, a leering smile plastered on his face. 
            "It's nice to finally meet you, Miss O'Brian."
 
***
 
            Curtis ran with Audrey all the way back to the car, his heart breaking the whole time. He hadn't wanted to leave Chloe. He would have stood there and gone down fighting with her. But the look in her eyes had stalled him. She was so desperate to ease Jack's pain, to finally give him some chance at happiness. He wanted to cry for her – for her selflessness. She was giving her life so that the man she loved could be with a woman she hated.
            As he reached the car he slowed, allowing himself to take some much-needed breaths. Leaning Audrey against the side, he opened the passenger side door and set her in the seat. She hadn't spoken since they'd left the warehouse, and now she just stared off into space, a confused and broken expression on her face.
            An SUV came to a sudden stop beside them, and Curtis saw Jack jump out, anger and worry clearly etched across his face. He strode over to them, but stopped suddenly when he saw Audrey in the car.
            They stared at each other for a moment before Jack crossed the rest of the distance. He gently laid a hand against her cheek, amazed that she was really there, really alive. They continued to hold the other's gaze, unable to think of anything to say or to even figure out what they were feeling beyond relief.
            Jack's eyes finally left Audrey as he swept the rest of the car and the area around him. He turned to his partner, confusion in his eyes.
            "Where's Chloe?"
            Curtis dropped his eyes to the ground, and Audrey shrank back slightly. Jack noted both reactions. He took his hand from Audrey and advanced on Curtis.
            "Where is she?" he asked, his tone forcing Curtis to look at him. Jack watched as he floundered for an answer, his anger growing with every second.
            "WHERE IS SHE!?" he thundered, taking Curtis by the collar of his shirt and shaking him.
            Curtis removed Jack's hands from his shirt, and then led him by the arm away from the SUV. He knew that Jack wasn't going to take the news lightly, and he didn't want Audrey having to deal with his anger just yet. When they were out of earshot, he stopped and faced Jack.
            "She's still down there, Jack. In the warehouse. I don’t think she…" he paused, his throat constricting with emotion. "I don't think she made it," he whispered.
            Jack's bottom lip began to tremble as confusion and disbelief marred his features. "What are you talking about?"
            "This was all her plan, Jack. She thought she knew where the Chinese were holding Audrey. She asked for my help. When we got here, they immediately opened fire on us. I held them off, gave Chloe time to get down to the warehouse. By the time I got down there, she had already found Audrey and was trying to get her out. But some of them found us before we made it. One of them had a nail gun…Chloe got hit…"
            Jack's hands were immediately around his neck, shaking him again. "And you just left her?" he screamed. "You left her there to die!?"
            Curtis fought to loosen Jack's grip, finally managing to push the enraged agent off of him. "I had to!"
            Jack's fist flew out and rammed into Curtis' face. "No! You didn't!" he roared back. "You should have saved her!"
            "She wouldn't let me!" Curtis yelled, pushing Jack away from him and trying to make him understand. "You think I wanted to leave her? You think I wanted to save your girlfriend while Chloe got hurt? I would have loved nothing better than to have dropped Audrey's sorry ass right there and rushed Chloe out!"
            "Then why didn't you?" Jack asked, his voice small and broken.
            "You should have seen the look in her eyes, Jack," Curtis explained, his voice lowering. "She was so desperate to save Audrey – to give you a chance to be happy. That's all she wanted, and she was willing to die for it." He paused, unsure that he should continue. "I know how you feel about her Jack."
            The change in his tone caused Jack to look at him sharply. "What are you talking about?"
            "I'm the only one left who knows, Jack. I remember how hard you fell for Chloe after that day with the Salazars. I know you've loved her since before you met Audrey. I know you still do. But I could never have convinced her of that. She thinks you can only be happy with Audrey, and she was going to do everything she could to let you two be together."
            Jack couldn't keep the tears in anymore. They flowed freely down his cheeks as he realized that everything had gone wrong, and that now Chloe was probably dead because of his inability to voice his feelings. He replayed the scene Curtis had explained to him, his mind latching on to something.
            "You said the guy had a nail gun?" he asked suddenly.
            "Yeah. Why?"
            "So she might still be alive."
            "Yeah, but Jack-"
            "No, Curtis," Jack said, effectively cutting him off. "They took Audrey to get to me. Why wouldn't they do the same to Chloe?" He paused, looking down on the docks. "I'm going after her."
            "There any way I can convince you to wait for backup?" Curtis asked, already knowing the answer.
            "No," he whispered, before turning to face his partner again. "Take care of Audrey. Get her back to CTU."
            Curtis nodded, extending his hand. Jack looked at it for a moment before taking it, and the two friends shook hands. Without another word, Jack slipped down to the docks.
 
***
 
 
            Chloe winced as she was roughly hauled onto someone's shoulder and taken from the warehouse. Her captors hadn't said much to her since taking her, and everything they had said to one another had been in Chinese. She worried about what they were going to do with her, fearing that they would try to use her to get something from Jack.
            She blinked against the sunlight as they carried her outside. She tried to see if Curtis and Audrey were close by, but she didn't want to draw attention to herself by swinging her head around too much. She just prayed that they had gotten away safely.
            The sound of footsteps on metal grabbed her attention, and she realized that she was being taken onto a boat. It seemed they weren't going to just kill her. She wasn't really afraid of the pain of torture, but she refused to be used as a bargaining chip. Falling deeper into her own thoughts, Chloe tried to formulate a plan to take herself out of the equation if they tried to use her against Jack.
 
***
 
            "Damnit!" Jack swore when he saw that the warehouse was empty. He knew that they couldn't have been gone long, and he was determined to find Chloe. The fact that her body wasn't there gave him hope – if they had killed her, they would have just left her on the floor.
            He did another sweep of the building, looking for anything that would tell him where they had gone. As he passed by one of the windows, he noticed a large freighter tied up to a nearby dock. Two young Chinese men guarded the ramp. An idea began to form in Jack's head. Slipping out the door furthest from the boat, he headed for the water.
 
***
 
            She was tied to another metal chair, another harsh light in her face. She could feel the boat rocking underneath her with the waves, and she idly wondered where they were taking her. Would they just head for international waters, or would they take her all the way to China?
            The man with the leering smile came into the room, smirking arrogantly. He carried a chair over and sat in front of her, as though they were old friends having a chat.
            "Hello, Miss O'Brian."
            "What do you want?" Chloe spat out, not caring whether she upset him or not.
            "Just to talk. My name is Cheng."
            "Talk all you want. But you're not going to get anything from me."
            "What makes you think we want anything?"
            "Why else would you have kept me alive?" she asked warily, suddenly unsure of the rules of the game.
            Cheng laughed. "Like I said, we just want to talk. All you have to do is listen."
 
***
 
            Jack was amazed at how easy it had been to get on the boat undetected. He completely avoided the guards, knowing that killing or rendering them unconscious would eventually raise an alarm that would be deadly for both he and Chloe. He kept to the shadows and quickly descended into the lower portions of the ship.
            Finding the main hold, Jack risked a glance in. He breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Chloe there, obviously alive. But his chest constricted with a burning rage as he saw Cheng talking to her. Unsure of what the best plan was, he slipped into the hold, hiding behind a stack of crates.
 
***
 
            "I need to thank you, Miss O'Brian," Cheng started.
            "Thank me? What the hell for?"
            "For taking Miss Raines off of our hands and providing us with a more…useful tool."
            "Useful? If you think I'm going to be more cooperative than Audrey, you obviously have no idea who you're talking to."
            "I already explained that we do not want information from you."
            "He won't do it, you know."
            "Who?"
            Chloe sighed. "Jack. He won't give you whatever it is you want. Not for me."
            "That is where you're wrong, Miss O'Brian. We know how much you mean to Bauer."
            She snorted. "Please. I'm just his go-to girl. He's not gonna do anything stupid to save me. So you're pretty much wasting your time. You might as well just kill me now."
            Cheng looked at her closely. "You really don't know, do you?" he asked, amusement lacing his voice.
            "Know what?" she snapped, frustrated with the conversation.
            "Bauer never broke during our…conversations with him. But we did learn some very interesting things…"
            "Like what?"
            "That Miss Raines does not hold the power over his heart that we thought she did."
            "You've obviously never seen them together," Chloe mumbled.
            "He held onto the memories of Miss Raines for a while…we heard him whisper her name in his sleep as he tried to cling to the last vestiges of his sanity."
            Tears stung the back of Chloe's eyes as she pictured Jack, broken and bleeding on the floor, desperately clinging to an image of his lover. She was suddenly filled with the most intense hatred for the man sitting before her.
            "But she eventually faded from his memory. As our interrogations increased, he began calling on another person. Every night when we would drop him back in his cell, he fell asleep in a little ball, crying and begging for this person to come save him. He'd call for her over and over again. Do you know who that person was, Miss O'Brian?"
            Chloe shook her head, the tears falling from her eyes. She didn't want to believe what Cheng was telling her, didn't want to entertain the thought that Jack had called for her. She watched warily as Cheng pulled a small tape recorder out of his pocket.
            "Let's listen then, shall we?"
 
***
 
            Jack couldn't move – he could hardly breathe. He remembered those nights, calling Chloe's name over and over. But he didn't want her to know. He didn't want her to be wracked with guilt. He contemplated rushing over and breaking Cheng's neck right then, but then he saw the tape recorder. He froze in shock.
 
***
 
            Cheng pressed 'play,' and Jack's agonized voice filled the room. It reverberated off of the metal walls, echoing and growing louder as the pain intensified. His screams filled Chloe's head, and she thought her heart would burst. She wanted to run to him, hold him, tell him that she was there, that she would save him. But she knew that it was too late. That all this had happened in the past and she hadn't saved him. She had failed him and left him to endure the pain alone.
            "Chloe…oh God, Chloe, where are you? I need you, Chloe…Please…Help me…save me…" Chloe began to sob as his screams resumed, the words no longer intelligible.
            "What do you want?" she begged.
            Cheng stopped the recording. "Now that we know who Bauer really loves," he said. "We want to make him suffer."
 
***
 
            It had taken all of Jack's self-control to not run screaming at Cheng, emptying his clip into him. The sound of his own screams filling the room had brought him back to those eighteen months of hell. Then he heard Chloe's sobs, and his heart broke for her. Tightening his grip on his gun, Jack prepared to move in on Cheng. But the boat shuddered beneath him as the engines roared to life, and Jack realized that they were setting sail.
           
***
 
            Curtis had waited a while, hoping against hope that he would see Jack coming back to the car, Chloe in his arms. But as the minutes slowly dragged by, he began to realize that both of his friends were probably dead. The only thing he could do now was to keep his promise to Jack and get Audrey back to CTU.
            As he started the car, he noticed one of the freighters leaving the dock. It moved slowly into more open waters, and Curtis wondered at the timing of the ship's departure. A sudden thought struck him.
            He dialed Bill's number as he sped back to CTU.
           
 
 
 
           
           
             Chapter 4




failegaidin: (Default)
Chapter 2 is here and ready for your enjoyment. Please comment! And I swear, Glory, a beach WILL come into play eventually!!!
Many thanks again to [profile] sparky_girl82

Title: Anything for Love
Rating: R for language
Chapter: 2/?
Prompt: Beach



            Chloe's plan was fairly simple – Curtis would shoot people while she ran in to retrieve Audrey. Before leaving CTU, Curtis had insisted that she carry at least one gun and wear a bullet-proof vest. She had no problem with the gun – there was no way she was going out into the field without one. But the vest was bulky and uncomfortable, and she was certain that it would get in her way if she had to run or fight. Curtis, however, refused to let her out of the building until she gave into his demands.
            "There's no way this is gonna work," Curtis pointed out as they drove toward the docks. "We have no idea how many guards there are, or where exactly they're keeping Audrey. We're not even sure they have her!"
            Chloe scowled at him. "Then why did you agree to come?"
            Curtis sighed. "Because we can't just leave Audrey there if there's a chance we can save her. Besides," he turned to look at her. "I knew you were going in no matter what the odds were. I couldn't let you do it alone." He turned back to the road. "Jack would never forgive me if I let something happen to you," he finished quietly.
 
***
 
            Curtis parked their SUV a good distance from the warehouses along the docks. He didn't know how far out their sentries would be posted, and he didn't want to risk the alarm being raised. He and Chloe slipped out of the vehicle quietly, both with their weapons drawn. They moved away from the car, keeping low and moving quickly toward the water.
            The relative quiet was shattered as gunfire erupted around them. Chloe dove to the ground as Curtis engaged the shooters. Although the sudden onslaught of bullets made it seem as though they were surrounded, she knew that there could be no more than three or four gunmen.
            Curtis quickly eliminated one for the shooters, but he was having trouble with the other three. He scrambled over to Chloe, making sure that she hadn't been hit.
            "Are you alright?" he asked, his eyes still scanning for a clear shot.
            "Aside from the angry Chinese guys trying to kill me? I'm fine."
            He marveled at her ability to be so sarcastic even while being shot at. But he had to admit that their plan was falling apart. They had to get down to the warehouses before the Chinese decided to move – or worse, kill – Audrey.
            "Remember our old plan?" he asked suddenly.
            Chloe looked at him like he'd grown a second head. "You mean the one where you kill people and I rescue the annoying one? Yeah, I remember."
            "Good. So I'm gonna stand up and shoot these guys, and you're gonna haul ass down to the warehouses. Got it?"
            Chloe stared at him. "Don't be stupid, Curtis. They'll kill you. Let's just get rid of them and go down together."
            Curtis shook his head. "If I draw their fire, you'll have a chance to get down there."
            "But-"
            "O'Brian, you had better start running when I stand up, or I swear to God, I will shoot you myself!"
            Curtis sprung from his hiding place, immediately opening fire on the Chinese that appeared when he broke cover. Chloe watched in stunned silence for a moment before shaking herself out of her reverie. Curtis was taking a big risk for her, and if she didn't start running he would get hurt for nothing. When she was sure the shooters were focused on him, she raised herself to a crouch and started scuttling toward the docks. She skirted around behind the Chinese, praying fervently that none of them would see her. Turning her head to check on Curtis, she saw him go down as a bullet found its mark. But before she could do anything, he was up again, his vest having saved him from a mortal wound.
            As Curtis finally took down another shooter, he glanced up to see one of the Chinese aim his gun at Chloe. Before he could do anything, the man fired, and Curtis watched in horror as Chloe fell to the ground. Blind rage spurring him on, he turned to the shooter and killed him with two shots to the chest. He wanted to run to Chloe, but the last guy  was still firing at him. As he engaged him, he saw out of the corner of his eye Chloe staggering to her feet, blood flowing freely down her left arm. She nodded at him to signal that she was okay, and she continued down to the docks.
 
***
 
            Chloe was pretty sure she knew where the Chinese were holding Audrey. She had used satellite images to keep an eye on the place, and she had noticed one building in particular that had a lot of traffic. As she tried to visualize the satellite images in her head, she veered toward a large warehouse to her right.
            As she neared the building, Chloe holstered her weapon, pulling her taser out of her back pocket. She didn't really feel comfortable killing people, and she always thought that shooting caused a lot more noise than was necessary. She opted for making people unconscious instead. Grimacing at where the bullet had grazed her arm, she continued forward.
            The three guards she passed went down without a fight. She managed to come up behind them, shocking them before they even noticed she was there. Everything was quiet as she slipped through the doorway and into the building.
 
***
 
            As Curtis dove behind a rock for cover, his cell phone rang. He picked it up as he fired two more shots at his opponent.
            "Manning."
            "Curtis, where the hell are you?" Jack yelled through the phone.
            "Busy," he replied, cringing as a bullet ricocheted off the rock.
            "Is that gunfire?"
            "Maybe."
            "Curtis…"
            "Yes. It's gunfire."
            "Do you need help?"
            "Nah. I think I got it. There's only one guy left. What do you need?"
            "Do you know where Chloe is?"
            Curtis paused, unsure of what to say.
            "Curtis?"
            "Yeah. I'm here."
            "Do you know where Chloe is?"
            "Why?"
            "Curtis, do you know where she is or not?"
            "Yeah."
            "And?"
            Curtis swallowed, hoping that he wouldn't get killed by either Jack or Chloe before the end of the day. "Here."
            "There?"
            "Yeah."
            "Where there's gunfire?"
            "Yeah."
            "With you?"
            "Not exactly."
            Jack paused, and Curtis could hear him trying to control the anger in his voice. "What do you mean, not exactly?"
            Seeing an opportunity, Curtis dropped the phone and took aim, putting a bullet in the shooter's head. Satisfied that all the gunmen were dead, he picked the phone back up.
            "Curtis? Curtis!?"
            "Calm down, Jack."
            "Where. Is. Chloe?" Jack growled.
            "Probably in the warehouse by now."
            Jack was seeing red as he climbed into his SUV and started the car. "Address, Curtis. Now."
            Curtis sighed. Chloe was definitely going to kill him, if Jack didn't get to it first. "2784 Bestend Street. By the docks."
            "One more thing Curtis."
            "Yeah?"
            "Who was shooting at you?"
            "Some angry Chinese motherfucker."
            "I'll be there in fifteen minutes."
 
***
 
            Chloe was torn between immense relief and disappointment when she found Audrey tied to a chair in the corner of the room. She really hated the woman, but she meant the world to Jack, and she couldn't stand to see him so lost and broken without her. Checking to make sure that there were no more guards in the room, she ran over to her.
            "Hey Audrey," she said as she knelt down untie the ropes. She needed both hands and put her taser back in her pocket, focusing on the knots.
            "Chl-Chloe?" Audrey stammered, shock evident in her voice.
            "Yeah. It's me. I know you would probably rather see Jack, but you'll have to wait until later. For now, you're stuck with me."
            Finally dispensing with the knots, Chloe tried to help Audrey to her feet. But Audrey was incredibly weak from the months she had been with the Chinese, and her knees gave out on her. Chloe half-carried, half-dragged her toward the door, hoping that she had really gotten rid of all the guards.
            She nearly jumped out of her skin when Curtis came bursting through the door, gun drawn and ready. He immediately ran over to them, taking Audrey's weight so that Chloe could pull out her weapon as well.
            "Chloe, look out!" Audrey yelled.
            Chloe turned and saw two men rush into the room from the other end. The warehouse was large and there was a significant distance between them. Pushing Audrey into Curtis' arms, she tried to shove them both toward the door.
            "Go!"
            Curtis fought against her. "No! We leave together!"
            "You'll have to carry her Curtis. She can't walk. And that means you can't shoot your gun. Go. Get her to Jack."
            She turned to face the men again, and watched as one picked up a nail gun from the top of a crate, aiming it at Audrey. Chloe turned her back to them, pushing Audrey into Curtis' arms so that he had no choice but to carry her. She yelled in pain as something ripped into her thigh, forcing her to stumble. She pushed Curtis again, who was frozen in shock.
            "Go! Get her to Jack!"
            Curtis finally nodded, lifting Audrey completely off the ground and running from the building. Chloe turned to face her assailants, only to see that the man with the nail gun had gotten much closer. She pulled her gun, trying to steady her hand and take a shot. Pain burst through her body as the Chinese man pulled his trigger first, and she fell to the ground.
 
 
            Chapter 3
failegaidin: (Default)

So, in response to my request for prompt suggestions from that silly little table in my journal, 

[profile] glorylinnemann suggested "Beach." I thought, okay, I can do that. Just look at "Somewhere Warm." So I was wracking (sp?) my brain, trying to come up with another mindless little fluff fic having to do with warm weather and Jack on a beach. Suddenly, the plot bunnies escaped from the cage that I keep them tightly locked in, and began running rampant down hallways where they are most definitely NOT ALLOWED. I managed to get them all back in except one, and that plot bunny has "multi-chapter angst" written in big letters on its side - really not sure who spray-painted the bunnies, but I assure you that the perpetrator will be caught and punished. ANYWAY, this is what resulted. This is just the first chapter, and yes, I realize it's wicked short. But I think it provides a good jumping-off base for the rest of the story. Much thanks goes to [profile] sparky_girl82, because she lets me bug her all day at work for ideas and titles and such. I totally heart her. 

Oh, and the chapters probably won't have titles. But this one was too good to pass up.

Title: Anything for Love
Rating: PG for right now
Chapter: 1/?
Prompt: Beach
A/N: I have completely hijacked the Audrey storyline from S6 and decided to make it work my way since the writers and I are having a bit of a disagreement right now. 

Chapter 1 - Operation: Save the Oddity 

 

 

            "I need your help."
            Curtis turned, jumping slightly at the sudden interruption on his thoughts. His eyes rested on Chloe as she fidgeted behind him. He smiled at her blunt demeanor.
            "Hey, Chloe. What's up?"
            "I need your help," she repeated, looking furtively around the locker room.
            Curtis chuckled. "You already said that. What do you need?"
            Chloe gripped the sides of her skirt, suddenly rethinking her decision to bring Curtis in on her plan. But he was the only one who could help her, and she wasn't sure she could do this on her own.
            "Not here," she whispered before motioning for him to follow her.
            Curtis was so intrigued by her behavior that he followed her without another word. She led him out of the locker room and down the hall, making various turns that soon had them in a more isolated part of the building. She opened a door and Curtis saw that they were in a small room filled with dusty filing cabinets and a lone laptop sitting on the table. When he had shut the door behind them, Chloe turned to face him.
            "I'm pretty sure I've found Audrey," she began, everything coming out in a rush. "Turns out she didn't die in a car crash after all. The Chinese kidnapped her to get to Jack. I need your help in getting her back. I don't want to tell Jack and get his hopes up if I'm wrong. But I can't do this alone."
            Curtis stared at her in shock – his brain struggling to comprehend everything she had just dumped on him. But as his thoughts continued to race, he realized that a decision had to be made. He looked at Chloe critically.
            "You're gonna need to change your clothes."


Chapter 2

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