It's finally finished!!!!!!!!! There may be an epilogue at some point, but it won't really be J/C...more...M/N. That's if I ever get around to writing it. But as it stands now, the story is complete :) Hope you enjoy! Thanks to Ktswaz for the much needed help with the bedroom scene.
The walk back from the beach had been pleasant, but slightly awkward. Jack had taken her hand with a little more confidence than his earlier bumbling attempt. They had gone down the path in silence, both caught up in anxious thoughts on the night ahead.
When they had returned to the hotel room, Chloe immediately grabbed her bags and went into the bathroom, leaving Jack to change in the bedroom this time. As he opened his suitcase, he was relieved to see that Milo had packed him some nice clothes. He pulled out the black dress pants and black shirt and began to change, trying desperately to keep his nerves in check.
He wasn't exactly sure when things had started to change between himself and Chloe. They seemed to have just jumped from colleagues to friends to…whatever they were now. He racked his brain, trying to find that moment of change. He was pretty sure that the change to friendship had come when Chloe announced that she trusted him. It was at that point that he had realized he trusted her as well. But the other change…At first he thought that it had happened recently, since his return from China. As he continued to think about it though, he realized that the shift had occurred before then. The utter relief he had felt when she had run into his arms almost three years ago. His reluctance to let her go even though he knew Diane's son was watching from the helicopter. The rage he felt when he found out that Spencer had used her to get closer to him. The way his heart broke when she was forced to watch Edgar die. The fact that he had clung to the thought of her when everything else had left him under the constant weight of torture.
If he wanted to be honest with himself, Jack had to admit that he had fallen in love with Chloe O'Brian years ago.
Chloe tried desperately to still the butterflies that were fluttering around inside her stomach. She kept telling herself that it was just dinner with a friend, but her body knew the truth and refused to listen. With everything that had happened in the past two days, she knew that this was anything but an innocent dinner. Her body tingled as she tried to put on the black dress Nadia had packed her, and she realized with some surprise that her hands were shaking.
She had known that she had a crush on Jack Bauer for years. But she had written it off as a silly infatuation. But then she had found herself trusting him implicitly, going to him when Driscoll wouldn't listen to her. She offered to listen if he ever needed someone to talk to. She helped him fake his death – and then met with him secretly to keep him updated on what was happening at CTU. She called him out of hiding when the terrorists were chasing her, and she had practically leapt into his arms when she saw him waiting for her with a helicopter. She had nearly broken when the Chinese took him, her heart in physical pain at the thought of what he had to endure. And she had barely been able to contain her joy when he had walked back into CTU that day a free man.
Chloe sighed with the realization that she had been completely in love with Jack Bauer for years.
He turned around, startled at the small voice coming from the barely-opened bathroom door. Smiling, he took a few steps closer.
"I need help."
Chloe paused, feeling a flush creep up her neck. "With the dress. I need help."
It was Jack's turn to pause, as he registered her words. The image of a half-naked Chloe invaded his thoughts, and he found himself unable to think coherently. A voice in the back of his mind suggested that Milo and Nadia had planned this as well, giving Chloe a dress that she couldn't put on herself.
Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Jack stepped into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him without really knowing why.
Jack nearly choked at the sight before him. Chloe was standing in front of the mirror, her hands reached behind her, trying to tie up the laces of her dress. What made him stare though, was that the dress had no back. It cut all the way down to the base of her spine, and there were only small black laces that cut here and there across her back. His eyes skimmed over her bare skin, wondering again how he was supposed to do any kind of coherent thinking when she was around.
Chloe held out the bottom laces to him. "Well?" she asked.
Jack nodded, trying to refocus his mind on the task at hand. Reaching out, he took the laces in his hands and pulled, tightening the dress so that it hugged her every curve intimately. As he went to tie a knot, his knuckles grazed her spine and Chloe inhaled sharply. Jack froze, his hands still barely touching her back.
"Too tight?" he asked, surprised at how shaky his voice was.
Chloe shook her head and controlled her voice just long enough to get out a strained "No."
Jack finished tying the knot, but hesitated to move his hands away. Chloe stood still, her eyes closed. She wondered why Jack hadn't moved yet, but she couldn't convince her body to take a step away either.
A small gasp escaped her lips as she felt Jack's lips on her left shoulder. He paused, gauging her reaction. When she didn't pull away or yell at him, he lowered his lips to her skin again, kissing his way across her shoulder and down her neck. He paused at the top of her spine, his lips so close that she could feel his breath on her skin.
"Jack…" she whispered.
"Do you want me to stop?"
Chloe shook her head. "I was wondering if we could skip dinner."
Jack's eyes widened at her question and its implications. He gently put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around slowly so that he could look in her eyes. What he saw there took his breath away.
"I want to do this right, Chloe."
Chloe frowned. "I know, Jack. But…we already did the dinner thing. And I know you're sober. And I really just need you to kiss me right now."
Jack smiled as he brought his hands up to cup her face. Leaning in, he softly captured her lips with his, letting the kiss linger. Chloe sighed against him before moving her lips sensuously over his and sliding her arms up around his neck. Jack tilted his head to deepen the kiss, teasing her mouth open with his tongue and wrapping his arms around her waist to pull her up against his body. Turning her around, he pushed her back up against the bathroom door and pinned her there with his lower body, letting his hands roam.
As their kisses became more urgent, Jack realized that he had a problem. In no way did he want their first time to be there on the bathroom floor of a hotel, no matter how nice that bathroom floor was. But he had Chloe pinned against the door, and explaining his need to get into the bedroom would have required him to stop kissing her – and that was the last thing he wanted to do.
An idea finally formed in his head, and Jack wrapped his arms around Chloe's waist to lift her off the ground. She seemed to be having the same thoughts as she wrapped her legs around his body, letting him bear her weight. Staggering backwards slightly, Jack fumbled with the doorknob before finally wrenching it open and propelling them into the bedroom.
When they neared the foot of the bed, Jack set Chloe back down on the floor and reluctantly dragged his lips away from hers. He trailed kisses down her neck and onto her shoulder as he walked around her, coming to stand behind her. As he focused his mouth's attentions on her back, Jack undid the laces holding up her dress and let it flutter to the floor.
Turning her around to face him again, Jack took in the beauty of her body. He suddenly wondered why he…why they hadn't done this years ago. Staring at her, Jack silently cursed himself for repressing his feelings for so long, for making her doubt how important she was to him.
Chloe fidgeted under his scrutiny. They had been moving quickly toward the bed before, and his sudden halt made her worry that he was having second thoughts and wanted to stop.
"Jack?" she whispered.
He could hear the confusion and panic in her voice. Taking her face in his hands, he smiled at her warmly. "Still here. Not going anywhere."
He heard her sigh in relief and then her hands were at his shirt, unbuttoning it with a determined look on her face. As she undid each button she kissed the skin that was revealed there. Jack closed his eyes and rested his hands on her shoulders, rubbing them as Chloe rid him completely of his shirt.
As soon as the garment was gone, the two crashed back into each other, their lips eagerly seeking out the other's. Chloe gasped as Jack's bare chest made contact with her oversensitive breasts. Bringing his hands up to knead the soft mounds of flesh, Jack sent Chloe far past the point of any coherent thought. She arched into him, moaning into his mouth.
Then suddenly his hands were gone. But before Chloe could question their absence, she felt herself being lifted up and set gently on the bed. When Jack didn't immediately get on top of her, she propped herself up on her elbows to see what he was doing. She saw him staring at her as his trembling fingers were going toward his belt buckle.
Smiling, she swatted at his hands and his fingers stilled instantly. She gently brushed them aside before hooking her index finger behind the black patented leather. She unhurriedly urged it from the buckle. She glanced up at Jack innocently when she heard his breathing become labored.
"Tease," Jack jokingly huffed.
"You know you like it," she answered as she deliberately unbuttoned his trousers.
He chuckled at her bluntness. Her nimble fingers skimmed the metal of the zipper, forcing a sharp intake of breath from Jack. A few excruciating seconds later his pants were completely undone and Jack quickly rid himself of both them and his boxers.
A second later, Chloe found herself on her back again, trapped between his throbbing body and the mattress. Jack's insistent mouth crashed against hers again and she answered it with her own hunger. Both were left breathless when they pulled back. Jack gently brushed an errant strand of brown hair out of her face, idly wondering what he had done to deserve her. Chloe reached up and stroked his face with her hand.
"You okay?" she asked.
Jack nodded. "I love you," he whispered.
The grin that broke out on Chloe's face melted his heart. He was suddenly struck with the thought that he wanted to spend the rest of his life making her smile like that.
"I love you too."
Reaching her arms around his neck, she pulled him back down to her, molding her body to his. Moans of pleasure came from both as they explored each other, reveling in the feeling that they were finally home.