A/N: Hope you enjoy this chapter! Reminder that for this story, season six ended when they found Fayed. Please let me know what you think!
Jack took Kim's advice to take the next day off from watching Jack Jr. Audrey agreed that it would be good for Jack to take some time for himself. However, Jack found himself particularly bored. And, when he let himself get bored, his mind would drift to the tortures he endured in China. Instead, Jack found himself keeping busy around the house, cleaning up toys and doing laundry to help out. Anything to keep his mind moving. After a while, there was no housework left to do and he decided to take a drive.
He drove until he arrived at CTU. He figured it would be a good idea to check up on the aftermath of the attacks that he had helped with only a few days earlier, especially considering the role his family played in the attacks.
"Jack?" Chloe called out, as he walked onto the floor.
"Hi Chloe," Jack greeted. "How's everything going here?"
"Fine, I guess," Chloe answered. "Busy, mostly. How are you? Did you see Kim and Audrey?"
"And, my son," Jack added. "A warning would have been nice."
"Sorry. It wasn't my news to tell."
"How did you know?" Jack asked, remembering that Chloe and Audrey weren't really friends.
"She mentioned it to me right before Bill kicked her out of CTU," Chloe said.
"Bill kicked her out?" Jack asked, surprised.
"I probably shouldn't have told you that," Chloe mumbled.
"When Audrey would come to LA, she would come here and use CTU's resources to work on rescuing you. Mostly, she was recruiting me to the cause which I was all for but Bill didn't like that it was taking time away from my actual work."
"I guess that explains why she's working with DSS now," Jack said. He had wondered why she wasn't working with CTU after moving to LA. He figured she had just been looking for a more regularly timed job with the baby, which was likely part of why she had made the switch.
Just then, Bill Buchanan made his way over to Jack and Chloe. "Jack. Good to see you."
"You too, Bill," Jack replied.
"Let's go to my office," Bill suggested. Jack said goodbye to Chloe and followed Bill to his office.
"I was wondering when or if I'd see you again," Bill said. Jack asked Bill for an update on how the aftermath of the terrorist attacks which Bill gave him.
"And, my father?" Jack inquired. "Has he been found?"
Bill shook his head. "Sorry, Jack. He's still out there."
Jack let his head sink for a moment, remembering his father and brother's involvement in the attacks. Not only the other day but with the nerve gas and Palmer's assassination. Both were traitors to their country. Jack was happy that Graem was dead. He hated thinking of how Phillip was still out there somewhere. Thinking of his family reminded Jack that he should get in touch with Marilyn and Josh soon to make sure they are okay.
"We'll find him," Bill promised. Jack nodded.
Bill asked, "What have you been doing? Where have you been staying?"
"With Audrey," Jack told him.
"How is she?" Bill asked.
Jack smiled. "Good. Actually, we have a son."
Bill looked confused.
"She was pregnant the last time you saw her," Jack explained.
"That would explain a lot," Bill reasoned, thinking back to her erratic behavior and now blaming it on hormones. "I didn't want to ask her to leave. But, she was so hell-bent on getting you back that she was interfering with our day to day operations. Audrey's a pretty level-headed woman. But, back then, you wouldn't have even recognized her. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that she's doing well and that you two finally have a chance to be together."
"Thanks," Jack said.
"Speaking of being together," Bill started. "I'm moving to D.C. to be closer to Karen."
"Congratulations," Jack responded.
"I need to put a recommendation into Division for who I want to take over CTU," Bill told him. "I'd like to put you. If you would want me to."
Jack was taken aback. "I haven't ran CTU in years."
"You are more than capable," Bill praised.
Jack thought it over for a minute. "I'm not sure."
"Well, think about it," Bill said. "Let me know by the end of the week. It doesn't mean you have to take it or that Division will even offer it to you but at least your name will be in the mix."
"Thanks. I'll think about it." Jack left CTU, considering whether or not he would want to run CTU again. He desperately wanted to be working again. It had been too long since he held an actual job. He wanted to be able to provide for his beautiful family. But, working at CTU always came with risks.
He put it out of his mind and went to pick up Jack Jr. from daycare. The child bounced and hummed in his arms as he carried him to the car and Jack talked to him, asking about his day even though there would be no meaningful response. Jack got the child situated in his car seat and buckled him in and checked three times before deciding that he had done it correctly. He called Audrey on his way home to tell her that he had picked up Jack Jr. so that she wouldn't head there after work.
Audrey arrived home from work an hour later. After putting the baby to bed that night, Audrey told Jack about her day and asked how his day to himself had gone.
"I went to CTU," Jack told her.
Jack noticed Audrey jaw clench. "Why?"
"I just wanted an update from the attacks the other day."
"Why?" Audrey repeated, with an obvious distaste in her voice.
"You really hate CTU," Jack commented, with a smile. "I heard about Bill kicking you out."
"Oh please," Audrey laughed. "You think that's when I began hating CTU?"
"No," Audrey assured him, taking his hand. "Jack, you give everything to CTU the minute they ask. But, they are so quick to throw you under the bus for their problems. After everything you've done for them, they forget about you in an instant. They didn't care that you were taken by the Chinese. You are completely expendable to them."
"It's a job, Audrey. I don't need them to be my friend," Jack insisted.
"I know. It's just hard to watch. Because I love you so much and you are not expendable to me," Audrey said. Jack smiled at her and squeezed her hand. He had to admit it felt nice to hear that. "Looking back, Bill had every right to kick me out. Honestly, if my dad wasn't the Secretary of Defense, I probably would have been fired. I was misusing DOD and CTU resources. I didn't care. I just wanted you back with me."
Jack wasn't sure how to respond so he just pulled her closer. Jack now had Audrey sitting sideways on his lap on the couch, her head nestled into his neck.
"Anyway," Audrey segwayed, wanting to change the subject. "Why was it so important for you to get an update at CTU? You're not going back there, right?"
"The terrorist attacks were personal this time," Jack told her, his fingers tapping nervously on her leg. Audrey didn't ask questions but just cuddled up against Jack's shoulder, which made Jack want to tell her more. "My father and my brother were involved in the attacks."
Audrey looked up at him confused. "Involved, as in working with the terrorists?"
"That would be putting it nicely," Jack muttered. Jack explained to her how they were involved in everything from the Sentox nerve gas attacks to David Palmer's assassination, to the deaths of Tony and Michelle to the theft of the suitcase nukes. He told her about how Graem had killed Tony and Michelle to lure him out of hiding in order to frame him for the assassination of President Palmer. Then, how Graem was responsible for the Chinese capturing him. Finally, about how they had tried to cover up the theft of nuclear weapons to protect their company.
"They're in custody now?" Audrey asked.
"My father still hasn't been brought in," Jack told her. "He was about to kill me but ran away instead. CTU hasn't been able to find him."
"They will though," Audrey assured him. "What about your brother?"
"Graem is dead."
"Jack, did you-"
"No," Jack interrupted, telling her that he did not kill his brother. "I thought I killed Graem for a while. He died of cardiac arrest from hyoscine-pentothal after I interrogated him."
He felt Audrey tense against him. She knew how badly the drug hurt from when she was framed during the nerve gas attacks. Jack kissed the top of her head in an attempt to apologize for making her think of that terrible memory.
"But, it wasn't you?" she asked.
Jack shook his head. "My father administered another dose afterwards that killed him. He didn't want to risk Graem implicating him."
"God," Audrey breathed, wondering how someone could kill their own son. "I'm so sorry that all this happened."
"Me too," Jack said, coldly. "They didn't deserve to get off that easily. And, they left the mess of their company for Marilyn to clean up."
"Graem's wife," Jack told her, leaving out that she also happened to be his ex and that he had almost given into her attempt to kiss him. As much as his old feelings for Marilyn had resurfaced that day, he desperately wanted to see Audrey again.
"Wow, I can't even imagine what she's going through," Audrey commented. "Have you checked in on her at all?"
"Not yet," Jack answered. "I told her I'd come check on her and her son, Josh. I should. Tomorrow."
Audrey nodded in agreement. Jack relaxed and noticed that he had been tightly gripping Audrey's leg just above her knee. He released his grip, afraid that he might have been hurting her.
"Sorry," he muttered, moving his hand down her smooth leg gently.
"It didn't hurt," Audrey promised him. Audrey relaxed completely into Jack as he massaged her calves. She always loved the feeling of his warm, strong hands on her. She felt his hands slide upwards to her knees and then to her thighs. Audrey let out a soft moan as his hands massaged her inner thighs. Jack smiled at the sound of Audrey reacting to his touch.
"You have the most amazing legs," Jack whispered into her ear. Audrey instantly was turned on by the sound of his deep sexy voice in her ear. Audrey kissed him, as Jack continued to caress her legs. Audrey ran her hands across his chest and deepened the kiss. Jack let his hands continue up her leg. He was getting lost in the moment. He enjoyed turning her on like this and wanted to touch her and make her feel incredible. However, he still wasn't sure how she'd react to his scars. He wasn't ready to show her.
Audrey loved the feeling of Jack's hands moving upwards towards where she desperately wanted him to touch her. But, now she wanted to feel him. She tried to reposition herself in a way that she would be able to pay Jack the same level of attention that he was giving her but was stopped by Jack who held her where she was. Audrey looked at him questioningly.
"Let me take care of you tonight," Jack insisted. Audrey was about to protest to tell him that she wanted more than that, but Jack continued. "Just relax."
Audrey didn't continue with her protest, as she was distracted by Jack's hand which now touching her most sensitive parts through her panties. Jack could feel the wetness on them which confirmed for him that he was still able to turn her on. Jack's hands moved out from under her skirt quickly and Audrey was disappointed until she felt him pushing her skirt and panties off completely. He then unbuttoned her blouse and she helped him get it off. Finally, he removed her bra, leaving her completely naked on his lap. Jack looked over her body. She was leaning back against the armrest of the couch. She was just as beautiful as he remembered.
"Jack," she moaned, as he ran his hand over her breasts. He continued massaging her breasts as his other hand moved lower and lower until finding its target. Audrey bit her lip as Jack inserted his fingers inside her to avoid screaming out in pleasure. Jack stroked her gently at first and increasingly harder until he felt her walls closing around his fingers and her face burying into his shoulder as she called out his name.
Jack held Audrey closely as she came down from her high. Audrey felt completely exhausted and rested her head against Jack's shoulder.
"Thank you," she whispered, kissing his cheek. "That felt incredible."
"Anytime," Jack promised, his fingertips tracing circles on her hip. Audrey smiled. After a minute, Jack heard Audrey's rhythmic breathing and realized she had fallen asleep. He carefully lifted her and carried her to the bedroom. He laid her gently onto the bed and fell asleep next to her.
Jack could just barely see one of Cheng's men, since one of his eyes was bruised and swollen from his last beating. All he could see was a bright red glow. He fought against his restraints knowing that they were about to touch his naked body with the scalding hot metal. He clenched his teeth as the guard pressed the flaming metal rod in between his shoulder blades. He attempted not to scream. He didn't want to give the guards or Cheng the satisfaction. However, he found it impossible to hold back as they continued by not only touching the glowing metal to his skin but also beating him with it. They hit his back, chest, and stomach repeatedly. The guards shook him by the shoulders, every time he looked like he would pass out.
"Jack," Audrey called out, gently trying to shake him awake, as he screamed aloud next to her. "Jack, wake up."
Jack woke up covered in sweat with Audrey looking over him with a worried expression on her face.
"It's okay," Audrey told him. "You're safe."
Jack sat up, unable to speak.
Audrey rubbed his shoulder gently. Jack was dripping in sweat and his skin felt warm.
"I'll get you some water," Audrey suggested. Jack nodded slightly and Audrey got up and got him a glass of water, which he drank in seconds.
"Are you okay?" Audrey asked, after Jack seemed more relaxed.
Jack nodded. "I'm fine. I'm so sorry I woke you."
"Jack, you don't have to apologize," Audrey insisted, brushing the backs of her hands against his cheeks and touched her forehead to his. It broke her heart to hear him screaming next to her. He was clearly in a lot of pain in his nightmare.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.
"No." Jack shook his head. "I'm fine now."
Audrey watched him skeptically. "Okay. How about you get changed before we go back to bed?"
Jack knew there was no way he would get back to sleep tonight. Jack leaned forward, letting his lips brush against Audrey. "I think I'll shower first."
"And, then you'll come back to bed?" Audrey asked, knowing full well that he had no intention of doing that.
Jack sighed. "Go back to sleep. I love you."
"Love you too," she replied, her eyes already half closed.
Jack went to the shower. It felt nice to wash away the layer of sweat on his body. However, as the warm water washed over him, he couldn't help but think of the nightmare he had had. His nightmare had been more than a dream. It was his memory of the first time they used the hot metal rod to beat him. Looking back this wasn't even one of the worst things he had to endure but his nightmare made him feel like he was back in that moment. Jack tried to force it out of his mind. He couldn't stay focused on any one topic for very long before his mind would return back to China.
He sighed and left the shower, realizing that he should not stay in there with his thoughts. He opened the door to Jack Jr.'s room and found his son sleeping peacefully. He wished he was awake. He needed a distraction. He puttered around the house. He found that a handle to one of the cabinet doors in the kitchen was loose and fixed it up by tightening the screw. He then went into Jack Jr.'s toy box and began organizing the toys. He continued to find new projects to keep himself occupied, not wanting to let his brain rest. Eventually it became six in the morning and Jack started the coffee to have it ready for when Audrey woke in a few minutes.
She came out of the bedroom yawning. Jack noticed she had put on an old t-shirt of his which barely covered her bottom.
"Morning," she groaned, sitting down at the table with Jack and taking the coffee he had put out for her.
"You didn't come back to bed," she complained, rubbing his back.
"I wasn't tired," Jack lied.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yes," Jack insisted. "It was just a bad dream."
"Okay," Audrey agreed, unconvinced. "Well, I missed having you next to me."
She leaned in to kiss him and Jack accepted, his hands caressing her cheeks.
Audrey took another sip of her coffee before getting up to get breakfast. Jack followed her and grabbed the milk out of the fridge as Audrey filled two bowls with cereal. Jack put the milk down on the counter and stood up against Audrey whose back was to him. He snaked his arms around her waist and kissed her on the back of her shoulder.
Jack tugged gently on the t-shirt she was wearing. "You know, I think this is mine."
Audrey turned around to face him and smiled. "Not anymore."
"You were the one complaining that I didn't buy enough clothes when I came back," Jack countered. "I'm going to need this one back. Immediately."
Audrey's heart was beating out of her chest as Jack lifted the shirt over her head and looked over her body. Jack hungrily kissed her, his hands roaming her chest, stomach, and butt. Jack grabbed her by the hips and lifted her onto the counter. Audrey wrapped her legs around Jack's hips as they kissed, pulling him closer to her. Just as Jack began moving his lips to her neck and downwards, they heard the baby crying.
Audrey and Jack locked eyes for a moment, wishing they continue. Audrey hopped off the counter and picked up Jack's old t-shirt from the floor and put it back on.
"You're not taking my t-shirt," Audrey insisted, with a chuckle.
"You can keep it," Jack agreed, following her to Jack Jr.'s room. "It looks better on you anyway."
Audrey and Jack got the baby ready for the day and Audrey insisted that she take him to daycare on her way to work since Jack had barely gotten any sleep the night before.
"Audrey," Jack pleaded. "I'm not tired. I want to spend the day with him."
Audrey shook her head. "Didn't you say you were going to be visiting your sister-in-law and her son today? How about you get some sleep, do that, and pick him up from daycare later?"
Jack realized this was not a suggestion and reluctantly agreed. They kissed goodbye. Jack was left alone with his thoughts once again. He tried once again to distract himself with small projects around the house. He realized it was times like this when he desperately wished that he had a job. A fast-paced one. He picked up his phone and stared at it contemplating the offer Bill had made him.
Originally, he had put CTU out of his mind after realizing that he had a bright future with Audrey, their son, and Kim. He knew that working in the field again would be out of the question. He wouldn't put Audrey and his kids through that. But, Director of CTU was different. It was technically a desk-job. He could make it work so long as he wasn't tempted into the field. And, telling Bill that he was interested didn't mean he had to accept. It would take time to hear back from Division and they would likely give the job to someone who was currently working for CTU instead, despite Bill's recommendation. There was really no harm in being recommended. He dialed Bill's number and reached his voicemail.
"Bill, it's Jack. I would be interested in the job if you still wanted to recommend me," Jack told him. "Thanks."
Jack arrived at Marilyn's house in the afternoon. Marilyn opened the door and welcomed Jack inside, pulling him into a hug.
"It's good to see you," Jack said. "I hope this isn't a bad time."
Marilyn laughed. "If you waited for a good time, you never would have been able to come."
"I'm sorry. I'm sure this hasn't been easy for you. Or Josh." Jack followed her into the living room and sat down in the chair across from her. "How are you holding up?"
"Is it wrong to say that I feel relieved?" Marilyn asked. "Graem is dead. And, honestly, it just puts my mind at ease."
"I get it," Jack agreed.
"Any word on Phillip?" Marilyn asked.
Jack shook his head.
"You don't think he'd come after Josh again, do you?"
"No," Jack assured her. "He doesn't want to be found. He's hoping for a clean getaway."
"I hope so," Marilyn said. "I mean, obviously I would prefer if he went to jail but I'm happy as long as he doesn't come back here."
Jack nodded in agreement. "How is everything going with BXJ Technologies?"
"The company has been a handful," she admitted. "Investors are angry and pulling out. There are hefty fines to pay. The business is going down but I'm just worried that there won't be enough money to pay the fines. I don't know if they can go after Graem's estates but I have no idea what to do if it comes to that."
"Do you have lawyers and financial advisors helping you?" Jack asked.
"Yes," Marilyn assured him. "I just hope this will be over soon."
Jack nodded. "And, how is Josh?"
"He's not great," Marilyn told him. "He's still confused about everything that happened."
"I can help with that," Jack promised. "Is he here?"
"No, he's at school. He should be home in a half hour or so. I told him to take some time off, but I think he likes the distraction." Marilyn dropped her head into her hands. "As terrible a man as Graem was, he was a good father to Josh. I hate knowing how much Josh misses him."
Jack reached out and put a hand on her shoulder as she cried. After a minute, she wiped her eyes and placed her hand on top of Jack's.
"Thank you," Marilyn said, rubbing his hand lovingly. "Will you stay and wait for Josh?"
"Sure," Jack agreed, pulling his hand away.
"How have you been the last few days?" Marilyn finally asked. "Where have you been staying? Because you're more than welcome to stay here."
"Thank you. I'm actually staying with Audrey."
"Audrey," Marilyn repeated. Jack could hear the disappointment in her voice. "Is she the woman you were with before China?"
"Yes," Jack confirmed.
"And, she still wants to be with you?" Marilyn probed.
"Yes," Jack agreed, trying to hold back the smile forming on his lips. "We actually have a child together. A boy."
Marilyn smiled. As disappointed as she was about Jack going back to Audrey, she couldn't help but smile at the thought of Jack's child. She figured he must be incredibly cute.
"I'd love to meet them sometime," Marilyn replied.
Josh came home a little while later and was happy to see his uncle. Marilyn left them alone for a while to talk and Jack answered all of Josh's questions about the attacks. Josh was clearly still upset about his father's death.
"You're okay with being back in school so soon?" Jack asked. "Your mom said you can take some time off."
"I don't want to get behind," Josh explained. "Besides, I like to keep busy."
Jack could relate. He was doing the same. He looked for anything to keep him busy so he wouldn't have to think about China.
"Eventually you'll have to face everything that happened. You can't hide behind school work forever," Jack told him. Josh nodded. "Well, I'm just a phone call away if you need someone to talk to."
"Thanks Uncle Jack," Josh responded.
Jack said goodbye to Marilyn on his way out, who pulled him into a tight hug.
"Thank you for talking to him," Marilyn said.
"Anytime," Jack told her. "It was good to see you."
Marilyn smiled shyly and Jack felt uncomfortable thinking that she may have misinterpreted his words to mean more than what he said.
Jack left and picked up his son from daycare. Jack found himself getting better at this parenting thing. He was learning Jack Jr.'s favorite toys and foods. Jack had even been helping him learn to walk. Jack Jr. was so close to taking his first unassisted steps but still hadn't managed to figure it out.
Audrey came home and sat with them while they played. She was happy to see that Jack was enjoying his time with their son better than on the first day he watched him.
"How was your sister-in-law and her son?" Audrey asked, as they watched Jack Jr. sort different shaped blocks into a box.
"They're doing okay," Jack told her. "Josh has been going to school to keep himself distracted. I don't think it's the best idea. Everything is going to catch up to him if he doesn't take a minute to let himself think about it."
"Hmm," Audrey shrugged.
"Nothing. Obviously he is part of the Bauer family."
"Audrey, I'm completely fine," Jack assured her, knowing the connection she was trying to make. "It's just that he is a kid. He needs help working through it."
"And, you don't?" Audrey asked, skeptically.
"Audrey, please believe me. I don't need any help."
Audrey sighed. "Okay."
Jack got up to get a drink of water. Audrey noticed Jack Jr. stand up. He watched his dad walk to the kitchen. As Jack walked back into the room, it looked like Jack Jr. was about to take a step.
"Stop," Audrey instructed Jack. "Stay there and see if he'll walk to you."
Jack crouched to the ground a short distance away from Jack Jr. Jack extended his arm out trying to entice him. Eventually Jack Jr. perked up the courage and took a few steps towards Jack before falling to the ground. Jack and Audrey couldn't stop smiling and celebrating Jack Jr.'s first steps. Jack felt especially honored that the first steps were an attempt to walk to him.
Jack and Audrey had Jack Jr. practice walking back and forth between them until he got tired of it and went back to playing with his toys. Jack and Audrey gave each other a kiss, happy that they were there to witness their child's first steps together.