Disclaimers: All characters (with some minor exceptions) are property of Bad Robot. I have merely borrowed them.
Authors note: In order for my story to work, some changes from the season finale were necessary. In my universe, Nadia survives. So just pretend she didn't go all glassy-eyed after she fell through the table, and that Jack did not go to the house and find her in a state beyond saving. There are a few other adjustments, but they still work within the debacle that was the series finale. Also, I wrote the Great Trophy Caper before the finale, so there will be a minor difference regarding the conception of JD. I'll see if I can fix it, but for now, this version is the one I will be using for this fanfic, and The Great Trophy Caper 2 (which I had mostly written until my laptop crashed. I am in the midst of rewriting it, and hope to start posting it in the near future.)
Thanks to any and all who choose to read my story, and if you feel inclined, I'd love to hear from you. Janice.
Pain. White hot, and intense. Jack Bristow wasn't sure how long he had been out, but instinctively he knew something aside from the pain was not right. He lay still, taking shallow breaths, trying to control the throbbing ache in his chest. His stilled his mind, allowing himself to focus on the source of his pain. His last memory was of standing inside a cave, wrapped in C-4 explosives. The man who had once been his closest friend, Arvin Sloane, had shot him in the chest multiple times. He remembered planning to detonate the explosives and bury both he and Sloane for eternity. Something else must have happened to change his plan. The pain had been so intense, he could hardly think straight. He remembered walking into the cave, his hand on the detonator. Vaguely he recalled feeling dizzy. Had he passed out? If so, someone had taken him from the cave and brought him to his present location.
Slowly, he opened his eyes, taking in his surroundings. The room was large, and tastefully decorated. The bed was comfortable, and felt expensive. He had an IV drip taped to his right arm. He frowned. Traditionally, an IV would be placed on the left arm, since most people are right handed. Whoever had brought him to this room must have known he was left-handed.
There was a hospital monitor recording his vital signs next to the IV drip. To his left was a large window, covered by green silk curtains that didn't quite keep the sun light out. Directly in front of him was a door, flanked by a soft green recliner on the right, and an old wooden wardrobe to the left.
He heard the turn of the doorknob before he saw it move. Quickly, he lay back against the pillow, eyes slitted to appear closed. The door creaked as it opened, a figure stood momentarily silhouetted by the hallway light, before entering in.
"You don't need to pretend you are still asleep, Jack," came a familiar accented voice. "You are hooked up to a monitor that sends me alerts on my phone."
"Irina." Jack acknowledged her, flatly. "I take it that you eluded Sydney in Mexico City?"
"You could say that."
"Am I your only houseguest, or is Arvin Sloane down the hall?"
Irina considered her husbands' question for a moment. "A 'Ménage à Trois'? Not really my style, but I am always willing to try something new."
Jack's brows narrowed. "I wouldn't want to stand in the way of a learning experience for you, but you can count me out," he responded stonily. He attempted to sit up, but the spasm of pain was too much. He lay back in the bed, trying not to show that the hurt was deeper than the physical wounds he had suffered.
"Jack, you need to keep still." Irina put a hand to his shoulder. "You will pull your stitches. The doctor said you need several more days of quiet rest to heal properly."
"And Arvin Sloane? How is he doing under your tender care?" Jack asked bitterly. "You should have left me there."
"Damn you, Jack. I don't know why you always have to think the worst of me." Irina stood, angrily. "Arvin Sloane is under a thousand pounds of rubble. It should take him some time to dig himself out, should he ever be able to do so."
"Are you saying you blew up the cave?"
Irina merely gave him a look, before walking from the room.
Jack lay back against the pillows, trying to make sense of what he had heard, but the exertion had made him tired, and he slept instead.
When he woke again, a small boy was seated in the recliner staring at him. The brown eyes, ears slightly too large for his head, and blonde curls reminded him of photos of himself as a child.
"Mama says you are my Daddy." The little boy eyed him curiously. "Are you my Daddy?"
Jack drew in a breath. "I-"
"JD!" Irina entered the room. "You are supposed to be in your room taking a nap."
"I don't wanna nap, Mama," he whined. "I wanna see my Daddy."
"Want to," Irina corrected, automatically. "You know better AND I told you to wait until he was feeling better. Now go to your room."
"No 'but Mama's' young man. It's your naptime. You can visit Daddy later."
The little boy stuck out his lower lip. Tears welled up in his eyes.
Irina shook her head. "You should know by now that won't work with me".
"Okay, Mama," He said resignedly. He turned his sad little face to the man on the bed. "Bye, Daddy. Mama says I have to leave now."
Jack looked at Irina, too stunned to hide his surprise.
"Don't even go there, Jack," Irina warned. "I told you I was pregnant that last time when we met to plant the camera in Lazeray's office."
"You know as well as I do, that I was arrested not long after that for collaborating with you! Why didn't you tell me when I contacted you after my release from solitary confinement?"
"You didn't ask," she shrugged. "One would have thought you would have asked."
Jack felt tired. His mind was still fuzzy from the drugs being pumped through the IV to numb the pain. He tried to focus, but it was all so overwhelming. There had been a good reason for not asking, if only he could remember what it was.
"I had a reason, but I can't think right now, Irina. Can we fight about this later, sweetheart?" Jack closed his eyes, and was asleep again within minutes.
Irina waited impatiently for her personal physician to arrive. The doctor was a trusted friend, and one who knew how to keep secrets. He had delivered her son nearly three years earlier, and while he could not have missed the striking resemblance between the boy and his newest patient, he had chosen not to remark on it.
Doctor Jerry Reed had been a rising star in the Canadian medical community. He had the respect of both his colleagues and patients. His research on cutting edge surgery techniques made him a highly sought after guest speaker at medical symposiums. For all the accolades, he was a humble man, still madly in love with his college sweetheart, whom he had married during his last year of Medical school.
It was when he was speaking at a European symposium that his life took a dark turn. While at the conference, his wife Marie St. Claire, a French Canadian active in unification Québécois politics, was murdered. She had accompanied him, along with their five-year-old son, on the trip. They had planned on an early dinner and an excursion to the Eiffel Tower to see Paris at night. After participating in an afternoon panel that went long, he hurried to their hotel room. Despite his medical training, he gagged when he entered the room. His wife was sprawled out, legs and arms tied to the four corners of the bed. Her body had been mutilated almost beyond recognition. He found his son passed out in the bathroom, hands and feet tied. Thankfully the assassin had chloroformed the boy before tying him up. The police determined that his wife had been the target of a professional assassination, but were unable to find any clues to the killers' identity or motive for her death.
Had the panel not run overlong, the doctor would have been their main suspect, which was apparently what the murderer had intended. But with no obvious reason for her death, the case went cold.
It was during the course of the police investigation that Irina first met the doctor. She was in Paris on a personal shopping trip, taking a break between jobs. She had watched the news with avid interest, curious as to why a professional hit man would take down a woman whose life was circumspect and above reproach. When the police dropped their investigation, Irina offered to help. The doctor had been suspicious of her offer, thinking she was another of the voyeurs who had tried to befriend him as part of their sick death fantasies. When she uncovered a clue missed by the French police, he became less wary and gave her access to personal information in an effort to find the killer.
It took a little over a year, for Irina to track down the assassin. From there, she was able to trace the orders back to a radical Québécois separatist group who had grown concerned about Marie's growing influence among the young college set. Doctor Reed had been grateful for her assistance at bringing his wife's killers to justice, and had become a valuable friend. After her escape from the CIA prison, she had established a home base in Québec. In the seven years she had known him, Irina had come to trust the doctor, and he had proven to be a steadfast ally.
Irina resisted the urge to call the doctor again, knowing that he would get there as quickly as traffic allowed. When the doctor finally arrived, Irina briefed him on her husbands' progress.
A puzzled frown furrowed his brow. "I'll need to check the equipment. The sedatives should have kept him out until tomorrow. You say he woke up twice?"
"Yes. The first time he was awake for about ten minutes. It was shorter the second time, and he seemed less alert and bit confused. That was why I called you."
The doctor smiled reassuringly. "I have him on a really strong sedative. That alone would make anyone confused. I am more concerned that he woke up at all."
Irina led the doctor to the room. When they entered, Jack was still sleeping, but his movements were somewhat restless. The doctor checked the monitor, noting his patients' vital signs on his iPad. He examined the IV fluids and the line going to the patients arm, noting a small kink in the IV, which was keeping the equipment from working properly.
Jack seemed to sense their presence and opened his eyes. He shot Irina a suspicious look.
"Jack, this is Doctor Jerry Reed. He saved your life." Irina watched her husband closely to judge his reaction to their visitor. As she suspected he would, he shuttered himself off.
"Hello, Jack," the doctor said cheerfully, noting the stony expression of his patient. "I need to check your sutures. I'm going to need you to sit up for a few minutes. Can you do that?"
Jack nodded, and followed the doctor's directions. He shifted forward to allow the doctor to untie the medical gown. Once the gown was open, the doctor began scrutinizing the wounds on the chest. "Okay, I need you to take a few deep breaths. I'm checking your lungs. We don't want you to end up with pneumonia." The doctor placed the stethoscope at several locations along his chest and ribcage before gently sliding it under his back. He nodded. "The lungs sound good. On a scale of one to ten, how would you describe your pain?"
Jack thought a moment. "I'd give it a two."
"I see." Doctor Reed made a notation on his iPad. "You need to rest, and if you are in pain that won't happen. I'm going to reduce the morphine. That should take care of the fuzziness Irina says you have been feeling, but I do need to increase some of the other pain medications. Are you okay with that?"
Jack nodded. "How long before I can get out of this bed?"
"You seem to be progressing well. I will be back tomorrow, and if you are still doing this well, we can remove the catheter and you can start taking short walks with help."
"Thank you, Doctor." Jack lay back against the pillows, closing his eyes.
Irina pulled the sheet up to cover him, adjusting them underneath his arms so as not to impede the IV line. "Why did you write down a four for his pain level, Jerry? I thought he said it was at two."
"He is very anxious to be up and around. He seems the type to lie about it to achieve that." He looked at her thoughtfully for a moment. "I don't want to presume too much Irina, but I believe you know this man very well?" At her nod, he continued. "Based on your knowledge of him, what do you think his pain level is?"
Irina bit at her lower lip, considering the question. "He has never been good about taking pain medication. If aspirin couldn't take care of it, he would do without. Especially if it meant being confined in a hospital away from home. I would guess his pain level is probably a five or six."
"I see," he said thoughtfully, noting the use of the word home. His eyes searched Irina's, wondering if it was too soon to broach the subject he had wondered about from when she first brought the man on the bed to him. "Is he the father of JD? The resemblance is unmistakable."
Irina hesitated momentarily. Her natural reserve made her cautious about sharing personal information, but she had trusted the doctor with her life several times over the years she had known him. "Yes. I named him Jonathan after his father."
"I thought this man's name is Jack?"
Irina chuckled. "He's always been called Jack, but his birth certificate and mother say his name is Jonathan. He hates being called that, though."
"I see," Jerry murmured pensively. "Irina, why are you helping him? He didn't have the decency to be present during your pregnancy. He was absent when you gave birth. He didn't come for JD when you went missing. I'm not sure he deserves your consideration."
"You are aware that I am still awake," Jack said, dryly, silently enjoying the fact that he had startled them both. "I'm sure it is against your Hippocratic oath to knock me off while I'm still your patient."
"I beg your pardon, but I only spoke the truth." The doctor responded stiffly.
Irina started to laugh, but realized the doctor wouldn't understand the humor in the situation. "It's a long story, Jerry, but I can assure you that if my husband had been able to be there he would have."
The doctor's eyes widened in surprise. "Husband?" he questioned.
"We were married August 14, 1971. Bob Gibson pitched a no hitter against the Giants." Jack interjected, from the bed. "And we are still married," he added a little belligerently, not sure why, but feeling the need to claim Irina as his.
"71?" Reed looked at her curiously. "You told me you were a KGB operative. He's obviously an American."
"I told you it was a long story," Irina acknowledged, amused at Jack staking his claim. The drugs were affecting him more than he realized, lowering his natural reticence.
"When I come back tomorrow, I will bring Ryan. He can entertain JD while tell me your story." He put up a hand to stop her objections. "That's my home visit fee."
"Mama?" JD stood at the doorway, hair tousled from his nap, eyes still drowsy from sleep. "May I see my Daddy now?"
"JD, he needs to sleep."
"No, leave him," Jack said, eyes still closed. "He can visit for a little while."
Needing no further encouragement, the little boy climbed into the recliner. "Are you sick, Daddy? Mama rubs my tummy when I'm sick, and then I feel all better. Mama, are you going to rub Daddy's tummy?" He looked at her, his innocent face earnest.
Knowing her young son's curiosity, Irina knew better than to tell him that would not be appropriate under the circumstances, she opted for putting him off. "Maybe later, JD."
"I'll hold you to that, sweetheart. My tummy could use some rubbing." Jack wagged his eyebrows suggestively, and patted his belly.
Irina swallowed a laugh. While it was nice to see some of the humor in the man she had married back, Jack would be mortified to have someone other than her witness it. "I don't know what you gave him, Jerry, but for his sake, I hope he doesn't remember any of this."
"Why wouldn't he -, no, don't explain. You can tell me all tomorrow when I change out his medication. For now, I've adjusted it. He should be more lucid tomorrow." He put his stethoscope and iPad in his briefcase "I need to leave now, or I will be late picking up Ryan. Call me if there is any change. And," he smiled impishly. "I recommend against the tummy rub. At least for now."
JD stood quietly on the chair as his mother fastened the snaps on his pajamas; his little face awash in curiosity. "Mama, how come my daddy is always sleeping?"
"He is very sick, JD, and Uncle Jerry has him on sleep medicine, just like when Ryan was sick last month." Irina pulled the covers of bed back, and lifted the little boy from the chair on to the mattress. She helped him slide under the covers, before tucking him in.
JD thought about this for a moment. "Ryan had itchy bumps. Does my Daddy have itchy bumps?"
"Not itchy bumps, but he does have some boo boos that hurt. Your Daddy has to stay really quiet until they get better."
"I'm glad I have a Daddy. Ryan has a Daddy, but he doesn't have a Mama. I have a Mama and now I have a Daddy. Can we get Ryan a Mama?"
Irina tousled her son's hair, brushing the blonde curls back from his solemn face. He was an exceptionally bright child, very much like Sydney at the same age. She imagined Jack had been much the same as a child, ever curious, absorbing everything. He often surprised her with how much he comprehended. Her mother-in-law had told stories of Jack's advanced abilities as a child. It wasn't surprising that his children had inherited similar gifts.
"I think we need to leave that up to Ryan's Daddy."
He considered this. "Okay, Mama. Night."
Irina waited as sleep claimed her baby boy. Once he was fully asleep, she lifted the side rail of the bed, kissing him lightly on the cheek before leaving the room.
She went to Jack's room and settled into the recliner. She watched his slow even breaths for a while before picking up the book she had been reading. Soon she gave up, having read the same paragraph four times, the memory of the day she nearly lost him still too vivid in her mind.
One week earlier -
The phone rang just after she had tucked JD into bed.
"Mama, your phone is singing." JD wiggled under the covers. "It's Auntie Katya."
"So, I hear." She shook her head in wonder that he had connected that particular ring tone with his Aunt. "Why don't you say hello to Aunt Katya for me." She put the phone on speaker so they all could converse. Katya doted on her nephew, and always enjoyed talking to him.
"Hi Auntie Katya. It's me, JD."
"How is my baby nephew tonight?"
"I'm not a baby!" he giggled. "Guess what, Auntie Katya?"
"I don't know what, lyubimaya," Katya responded, amused.
"I have a big boy bed. Mama got it for me," he told her excitedly. "It's got two beds so Ryan can stay and sleep, too."
"I see. Maybe when I come I can stay and sleep there, too."
JD yawned. "Okay, Auntie Katya. You have to sleep on top."
Katya laughed. "Then it's a good thing I like sleeping on top"
"Katya," Irina hissed, taking the phone off speaker and switching to Russian. "He's a child. You shouldn't say things like that to him," she scolded her sister.
"Relax Irina. He's too young to read any other meaning into my words."
"Children are parrots at this age. Mark my words, he will repeat what you said and it will be at the most inopportune time. I'm sure you remember how embarrassed you were when Anya repeated that joke to the General."
"It was funny, though. I thought the General was going to have a heart attack."
"You didn't think it so funny at the time," Irina reminded her.
"Yes, well time has a way of changing our memories and Anya managed to survive her childhood, despite her uncanny ability to repeat the wrong things in public. Speaking of time, Irochka, I do hope you have a baby sitter available. Arvin Sloane is headed to Ulan Bator."
"So he has located the cave where Rambaldi hid the final two pieces?"
"I believe so. You know, I never really believed that a man born 500 years ago had found the secret to eternal life. One would have thought he would have used the potion on himself."
"As always, you are the pragmatic one. Fifteenth Century genius or not, I no longer care about his inventions or treasures. My family has suffered enough at the hands of his followers."
"Unfortunately, they still exist and are as rabid as ever. Sloane reportedly has a partner in this endeavor."
"Me?" Irina frowned. "Katya, cryptic doesn't suit you. Working with Arvin Sloane is like sleeping with the devil. Besides, I am no longer interested in Rambaldi's work."
"I believe it's the woman our dear sister Elena cloned to taunt Jack into killing you; or is it the clone who decided to replace you? All these clones: it's all so confusing," Katya complained.
"I thought Jack killed her."
"Not that one. According to my source, Elena had cloned another one of the rabid Rambaldi believers to become you. Alas, our sister did not take the time to check her out. The woman had no intention of dying for the cause. Her plan was to become you, and take over your empire."
"And…? Katya, you do so love to draw out a story."
"And you have no patience, Ira dear." Katya gave a huge sigh. "Very well. Since Elena was determined to bring most of humanity to extinction, it didn't really matter. She had already taken the steps to infect her the clone. She found another acolyte. This time she selected someone not quite as clever and more willing to die for the cause. That was the one Jack shot."
"I'll take care of the clone later. Can you make arrangements for a helicopter in Ulan Bator? I'll need three men, with the usual weapons, C-4..."
"Certainly, sister dear, for a price."
"For you Katya, there is always a price," Irina laughed. "What do you want this time? Ice cream on the Seine, or gazpacho in Spain?"
"Prime beef with some American Cowboys, sweetie. Young cowboys, Irina." Katya let her displeasure be heard. "I was not at all happy with your last treat. There were far too many old men."
Irina smirked. "You didn't specify, and they did meet your criteria. You wanted to be surrounded by French playboys."
"Young cowboys, Irina," Katya emphasized again. "All will be ready when you arrive. Kiss my lyubimaya goodnight for me. Oh, there is one other thing-" Katya braced herself for her sister's ire, knowing her sister would have wanted to hear this new first. "Sloane found the cure for Nadia. She woke up."
"My God, that's great." Irina felt the heaviness in Katya's silence. "What is it you aren't telling me?"
"I had my people watching her. She went to see Sloane. When Sloane left the house without Nadia, they went in to check on her. There must have been a struggle. Anatoly found her with a piece of glass in her neck."
"I'll kill the bastard." Irina's voice was deadly.
"I'll be happy to help. She's alive, Ira, but in a coma. She lost a lot of blood." Katya paused again, not sure if she wanted to broach the next subject now, or wait for a face-to-face meeting.
"I can hear you thinking, Katya. Why don't you go ahead and tell me what is on your mind."
"Why didn't you tell me Nadia was Jack's daughter?" Katya asked silkily.
Irina sucked in a deep breath. "How-"
"How do I know?" Katya interjected. "Both you and Arvin Sloane are type O, Jack and Sydney are both type B. Nadia is also type B. I had a doctor verify my suspicions. Sloane's rh allele's are both positive. Nadia is B negative, as are you, Jack, and Sydney. He told me that based on blood type Sloane could not possibly be Nadia's father. And yet I checked the DNA. It does match yours and Sloane's. Tell me what is going on."
"I'm not certain, Katya, but I believe the a part of the experiments they performed on her when she was a child was a modified version of the cloning process. I don't know why it was necessary, but it has to factor in Rambaldi's vision."
"That doesn't explain why you didn't tell me." Katya was more than a little miffed.
"I suspected I was pregnant when I was ordered to retrieve information from Sloane." Irina raked a hand through her hair. "When I read the prophecy about Nadia, I assumed I was mistaken. Sloane checked the DNA. I saw the report." A realization suddenly hit Irina. "Katya, the information you retrieved – it would take some time to gather it. How long ago did Nadia wake from her coma?"
"I didn't tell you, Irina, because I wasn't sure she would survive. Even now, nothing is certain."
"You should have told me."
"There was nothing you could do, Ira," Katya responded, flatly.
"Where is she?"
"After Anotoly called the paramedics, he sent a message to Jack. He had her transported to the CIA hospital."
"Anotoly contacted Jack? Does he know who he is?"
"That he is my son? It was the quickest way to get his attention."
Irina pursed her lips. "Nadia has been through so much. I should have taken her with me."
"You should not blame yourself for this, Irina. Arvin Sloane is the one who needs to suffer." Katya decided it was time to shift the subject. "Jack has been very attentive to Nadia for a man who believes she is the result of an affair between his wife and his best friend. When did you know she was really Jack's?" Katya asked, abruptly.
"When Sydney and Jack rescued me, Nadia was there, too. I can't tell what it was, but I knew then that she was Jack's daughter. It was something in her eyes, I think. It didn't occur to me that her blood type would reveal the truth."
"Why didn't you tell me the truth?" She demanded, again. The two sisters had always shared each other's secrets, and Katya was annoyed that Irina had chosen to withhold this information.
"The DNA said otherwise. You would have told me I was being silly, and that my love for Jack was clouding my judgment."
"You know me, too well, little sister. When do you plan on sharing with Jack that he not only has a son, but a grown daughter, too?"
"Jack isn't ready for the truth," Irina said flatly.
"Irina, I know you love to say 'truth take time', but there has to be a time for telling the truth. Jack deserves better."
"Katya, what is going on? You've always despised Jack for not figuring out who I really was. Something has changed your mind. What happened between you two when you went to Los Angeles?"
"Let me just say that I got to know him a little better and leave it at that."
"You are hiding something." Irina knew her sister too well to believe that was all there was to her visit.
"If you must know, I realized that he was not such an idiot, after all. It was most alarming, Irina, to find that you were right about him." Katya decided it was wiser to change the subject than to let Irina continue questioning her. "While I realize Jack is a fascinating subject for you, we need to get back to the problem of Arvin Sloane. I have already secured a plane for you, and made arrangements for a helicopter in Ulan Butar. Three of my men will meet you at the airport."
"It may take me a few hours to find someone to stay with JD. Dr. Reed is away at a symposium in Tokyo. Ryan is staying with his maternal grandmother in Montreal, so that option is not available."
"Ah, the delectable Dr. Reed. Tokyo, you say?"
"Katya, you are far too old for Dr. Reed!"
"Irina, one is never too old. However, I do not have eyes on him for myself."
"We are just friends, Katya. Nothing more."
"You weren't the one I had in mind, either. The only people on this planet who don't know you are head over heals in love with you husband, are Jack and Sydney," Katya pointed out, not a little caustically. "Don't worry about finding someone for JD. Anya will be there soon. She has all the information you will need."
"Katya, you are the best of sisters!"
"I know," Katya responded smugly. "Now go and rid the world of Arvin Sloane. I am tired of his interference.