Title: Five Years (Betrayal) - Day 7
Author: Zoi no miko
Characters/Pairing: Jack Bauer/Tony Almeida, Tony/Michelle
Word Count: 3094
Rating: 18A for adult themes
Disclaimer: The people, characters and show do not belong to me and I do not make any money off of them/it.
Author's Notes: Ok, I had to add an 8th deadly sin, 'cause S7 didn't really go as I anticipated. So I still have to write Lust, which will be Post-7, and will have lots of sex. For now, here's a bucket of angst and hot man-kisses, Tony Almeida Style.
(Spoilers for Seasons 1-5, and 7, but not 6 'cause I skipped it. *shame*)
Five Years (Betrayal)
Finding out Jack Bauer was in play was the last thing I expected and wanted, especially on the day we were to turn the CIP device over to Dubaku. D-day. But then, Jack always seemed to have a knack of popping up in the thick of things just as the shit was about to hit the fan. And so I had to add "dealing with Jack" to the list of things to worry about that day.
Bill had suggested calling Jack into it weeks before, when rumours had gotten back of what had taken place in Africa, but I wouldn't hear about it. "Jack stays out of this."
"Even if it means the difference between success and failure? I don't have to remind you, of all people, what a valuable asset he would be."
"Jack stays out of this," I growled, punctuating each word exactly, meeting his eyes with a challenge. "We can do this ourselves."
Bill sighed, dropping his eyes, brows furrowed in disapproval. "It might be easier for him to hear it from you, you know. He'll find out sooner or later."
"That you're alive." He folded his arms across his chest. "I know you two were close."
My eyes narrowed. "You saw Jack Bauer for one day before the Logan's regime tried to kill him and sent him into hiding. You don't know anything about us."
"I know more than you think, Tony," he said quietly, in that calm, wise, yet humble tone of his. Suddenly I remembered that day, and remembered hating Bill for being close to Michelle. She wouldn't have told him what she'd suspected then, would she? Could she? She'd been so angry with me....
I closed my eyes for a long moment. "Bill... I don't want him to see me like this."
He gave a little nod to acknowledge my words. "Have it your way. Just don't think you can fly under the radar with him forever. You can't afford to let anything distract you from this mission."
I really wasn't surprised, when I found out the FBI had enlisted him to help catch me. They would use anything they could against me. I'd planned for it, though, and acted as quickly as I could to try and throw him off my trail. For a short time, I thought it had worked. Then I heard gunshots outside the boat, and even that wasn't a surprise. Jack was good. Jack had always been good. The best. Just one of the many reasons I loved him so hard.
Hearing Jack's call my name, however, that had been the first shock, my heart stopping as I looked over to find him staring at me, down the barrel of a gun. I'd always expected that there would be a gun, whenever I finally ran into Jack, when the unavoidable day came when I couldn't hide from him anymore. What I hadn't expected was the incredible hurt in his expression - pain where I had expected rage, sorrow, like a small puppy that had been kicked by its master, and all of a sudden my heart was beating again for the first time in five years, racing in my ears, and I could feel so intensely, feel things I wasn't prepared to feel again. I'd prepared myself for rage, I would have been able to handle rage. But not sorrow, not to see Jack crushed in front of me.
I ran. It was the only thing I could do, to run before I broke, before my heart took control and I blew everything just because of how much I needed him, how much I missed him. Because of how much I wanted to pull him to me and never let go again. As soon as I started running, he was chasing, and I could hide my emotions under the rush of adrenaline, steel my determination to throw him off and get away, to fight him, and his blows were almost satisfyingly painful in their passion after so long with nothing.
I gave in finally, I had to. Jack wouldn't stop fighting until he had me where he needed me, I knew that. He slammed me up against a crate, hands at my throat, and though part of me could hear his voice, his words, yelling, the rest of me turned off. I clung to the anger, the hatred, to all the shit Emmerson had pumped me full of - to hate the government for taking everything dear to me - because if I didn't cling to that, then I wouldn't be able to stop myself from thinking about how close he was to me, from thinking about the scent of him that surrounded me, his body faintly trembling in rage against mine, his hands on my skin.
"What the hell happened to you?"
I said nothing, swallowing hard, shuddering, and could feel my cheek twitch with the effort of holding it all back, holding myself back when all I wanted was him. I said nothing, because I couldn't hope to speak and keep control of myself, and I knew that as soon as I spoke it would all be over. He'd know in an instant, he could read me far too well. So I let him believe the anger, let him believe that I was everything he feared. It was safer, that way.
By the time I saw him again in the FBI interrogation room, I felt stronger, I had a plan of action. As much as I'd wanted to leave him out of this whole mess, as much as I'd vowed never to endanger Jack again, I'd realized that it was no longer an option. Jack would always be involved in these things, somehow. And if he was to be involved, I wanted to be at his side. So I devoted every bit of attention to schooling my features, to holding perfectly still. To preparing myself to handle the storm that was Jack Bauer.
"I watched you die in my arms," he said simply, and yet it said everything, all the hurt that I'd seen in his eyes, everything that we'd lost. Trust Jack not to pull any punches. The others wouldn't know, the various FBI personnel that were no doubt watching from behind the 2-way mirror, but I knew. Knew that he'd cried, begged me not to leave him with the simple act of calling my name. Now he was testing me, testing what I'd felt for him then, trying to find some sign of it, some weakness to exploit. But I'd been prepared for this, and I steeled myself, tuning out his words, mind going over and over what I needed to say to him.
He was frightened for me, and that would make this easier for me. I could tell by the slight tremor in that beautiful voice, unnoticeable to anyone but me, when he talked about torture, when he talked about the consequences of my actions, talked about the death penalty. Then he jumped straight to an offer of immunity, very unlike Jack, which a very tiny part of me, the part that was tired of guns and terrorists, wanted very much to take, to grab it and Jack and run far away where no-one could ever find us. But there was so much more at stake here, and I couldn't abandon my mission. I had things to set right. So I needed to make Jack believe that I was everything that the FBI thought I was, just for a little while longer.
He claimed he didn't believe me, and there was that look again, that crushed, hopeless look to his eyes, and I promised myself that no matter what happened, I'd somehow make things right with him when this was all over. For now I had to stay the course.
"Come on, Jack. Don't look so surprised. Money's the only reason I have left for doing anything. The government took care of that."
"The government didn't kill Michelle."
Michelle, it always came back to Michelle with him. But I didn't blame the government for Michelle, not really. Not anymore. Their sin was taking Jack from me, time and time again.
I threw everything I had at him, pushed every button I knew, threw it all in his face - Teri, Kim, Palmer, Audrey - even me, using his own hurt and confusion against him. I needed to make him angry, uncontrollably angry, which was never a sensible thing to do to Jack Bauer, but I'd never been particularly sensible when it came to Jack. It was the only way I could think of to both maintain my cover and get him close enough to give him the information he needed. And god, he was angry. But underneath it, I could still see the same betrayal, the same raw pain, and it almost killed me again to see it, even with his hands at my throat, crushing my windpipe. I hated myself more than ever in that moment, that I had to hurt my Jack. That I had to say what I did, that I had to let him believe I was dead for so long.
For a moment, I thought it wouldn't work, when the FBI intervened moments after I'd whispered the phone code. I thought everything I'd worked for was lost. But my information must have gotten through, and somehow he set aside his rage and trusted me enough to call Buchanan, enough to break me out of the FBI, which would have been entirely impossible without him. Maybe he just needed something, anything to believe that I wasn't what they said, that I hadn't gone dirty.
As soon as I tumbled into the van after Jack his mouth was on me, gasping, tearing at mine, hands fisted in my shirt, and I knew that the tension I'd felt the moment I'd seen him, the desire that had rushed through me when he'd pinned me up against that wall in the interrogation room, had definitely not been one sided. He was warm and trembling just a little against me from the rush of our escape, and I tangled my fingers tight in his hair, yielding to the force of his kisses, stealing from him what I'd wanted so badly since the moment I heard his voice, laid eyes on him on the boat.
"You all right?" He breathed, pulling back finally, blue eyes shadowed, still trying to catch his breath.
I nodded, body still aching from the tumble, not even beginning to imagine how much he hurt. "Thanks, Jack." There was so much I wanted to say to him about everything, on the drive, then back at our sad little excuse for a CTU, and it broke my heart to have to come clean to him there, to tell him I'd gone dirty, if even for a short while. I said it was because I had nothing, and with all my being I prayed for him to understand. Michelle was dead. Jack was as good as, deserted by the government he served to a fate possibly worth than death at the hands of the Chinese. Then when they'd brought him back, they hadn't even done it to rescue him, to do right by the man that had saved their asses countless times. No, it was just to trade my Jack to yet another fucking terrorist. So of course I'd been angry. So very, very angry. I had truly had nothing left in the world.
Maybe he'd heard what I'd said without words, like he always had, when we were together so long ago. Or maybe he just didn't have anywhere else to go after breaking me out, but whatever the reason, he agreed to go in with me, back undercover, to the most dangerous and impossible mission yet. And then I just had to pray to god that I wouldn't end up getting him killed.
When I found out, later that night, that he'd been infected, my whole world changed. Seeing Jack, meeting Jack again had turned everything around for me. Given me hope again, made me believe that there could be something in life other than pain. But finding out that he was dying took that all away. What option did I have but to go back to my original plan? What reason did I have left but vengeance?
Vengence on the people who had killed him, who'd taken everything from me. My last effort to throw open the conspiracy that was responsible for it all. Casualties didn't matter, no matter how many people died. I had to get to them, no matter what needed to be sacrificed. They had to go down.
When I saw Jack again, after Larry Moss died, it brought the most unbearable pain. Jack, my Jack, reduced to this, reduced to trembling hands and weak limbs and lapses of memory. It wasn't even the idea of Jack dying that hurt so much - dying in battle was something I'd half expected for him, because it was something we all had to come to terms with, doing what we did. Jack deserved a warrior's death, not this. Not weak and trembling and in pain. Not this, not for my Jack.
I closed my eyes, I let it consume me. The sorrow, the despair, the agony. Just for one indulgent moment, because that was all I could afford. Then I channelled it, just like David had taught me. Turned it to rage, let it give me power when I had none, let it move my limbs when all I wanted to do was curl up and die.
I didn't say goodbye to him then, though in hindsight, perhaps I should have taken the chance for one last kiss before he found out the truth. I couldn't bare it. Didn't try to find a quiet moment to tell him what he meant to me, because it would be easier on him if he could hate me. I stayed the course, betrayed him, took his medicine from him, let him collapse onto the ground. And then I walked away, without waiting to see if he lived or died. It didn't matter. Jack Bauer was already dead, along with the remains of my humanity.
When he caught me again, it was like he'd been at the beginning of the day, but worse. Before he had hope, but now he was convinced - the Tony he'd known and loved was no longer. I couldn't deny it... the last spark of hope in me had gone out, the last piece of the old me had died with the news that he was dying.
He told the agents guarding me to walk away, and faced me down, just the two of us. His blows weren't as strong as they normally would be, but it still hurt, to be the target of his rage. The pain was bright and hot, and unlike when he'd hit me earlier, these just added to my agony. I tried to add that to my rage, to hatred toward this situation, toward the corrupt people that had pitted us against each other. But then he spoke.
"Why did you betray me? Why?" His words, the pain in his eyes, hearing him say that he had nothing left, that he'd kill me in cold blood, it broke me.
"You think I have anything left to lose, Jack?" I gasped, feeling my pain come out as a bitter laugh, letting him see it in my eyes. Let him make of it what he would. I wouldn't change my mind. At least if he killed me, I wouldn't have to watch him die. "Do it."
He wouldn't, and I knew it. Couldn't shoot me point blank, couldn't ever kill me, his agony at the mere thought of it written on his face clear as day. Because he knew I didn't deserve a hollow, meaningless death any more than he did. And that's when I began to see it, to see one last chance to right this, one last chance to see it through and go out in a blaze of glory, Jack and I. I'd already planned to use Kim as leverage, have Jack break me out once again, but I hadn't thought about taking him with me. Not until now. Use Jack to get to Alan Wilson. Use Jack to kill the man who had sentenced him to death. Make his death, his sacrifice mean something.
I took him with me, I let them experiment on him. And he tried to kill himself in a blaze of glory, typical Jack style. My beautiful Jack.
So I came clean and told him everything - almost - as I wired the explosives around his chest. I owed him that much, even if he'd never understand. Even then, he still thought it was about Michelle. It was never about Michelle. It was always about Jack.
Suddenly, I couldn't stand it anymore. "I don't want it to end in a hospital surrounded by tubes and wires," I murmured, heart aching. "I won't let you die like that." And then I pressed my lips to his cheek, and felt him shiver under my mouth.
He looked at me as I pulled back, striken, blue eyes wide, and I knew he understood this. "Don't do this, Tony," he whispered. "Let me make that choice."
"I'm sorry, Jack," I replied, voice raw and shaking despite my efforts at self control. "He killed you. He took you from me five years ago, and now he's killed you, just when I got you back. I won't let him live."
I pressed the piece of duct tape over his mouth, smoothing it firmly into place, then let my forehead rest against his, let my fingers run through his hair, and heard him sigh, felt his breath on my face. I tightened my grip in his hair and pressed my lips to his through the tape, hard, feeling him shudder against me, and I knew it was only half rage. One last kiss, one last memory of him. "I wish it could end any other way," I whispered, then pulled back, stood, and put myself back together.
This was the only end for me now. One last desperate reach for glory, after everything I'd shared with him, a blaze to rival the passion we'd shared, Jack and I.
I'm sorry, Jack. But I'll join you soon. Just at soon as it's over for good.