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THE ONLY FRIENDS I HAVE LEFT

Posted in 24_fanfic

Characters: Jack/POTUS

Summary: Sometime post Live Another Day. Jack is released from Russia and meets yet another American President.

Author’s Note:
I am indulging in as much wish fulfillment as I want while still staying on Canon. I am way out of practice so please bear with me. Also, 24 goes through Presidents like Star Trek goes through security guards. Thanks to cybertoothtiger for the super-fast beta.

Jack sat on the couch, waiting. A half empty cup of coffee sat on a nearby table. His first cup of truly excellent coffee in a very long time, and his stomach was too queasy to enjoy it. Still, he appreciated the gesture.

He wondered what she would make of him now. His hair had given up all pretence of being blond and was now well on its way to being grey.

Jack was still surprised when he looked in the mirror. He had already lived far longer than he had thought possible.

She entered the room. Jack got to his feet.

“Hello, Jack,” Karen Hayes said warmly.

“Madam President.”

She motioned to him to sit back down. She followed suit on the opposite couch. She waved away the two secret service agents flanking her.

Karen regarded her iPad. “I was just reviewing the report submitted by the agents I sent to debrief you. You told them you were not mistreated. At least not by the standards of Russian Prisons. The medical report confirms this.”

“The hospital wasn’t necessary, ma’am.”

“Standard procedure. You know that. Even so, I’m glad you’re alright.”

“I didn’t talk, Madam President.”

“I’m sure you didn’t. I wasn’t worried.”

“Then why did you get me released?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You must want me to do something.”

“Not at the moment.”

Jack was nonplussed.

“You’re welcome,” said the President.

“Ma’am, please. I...don’t understand.”

“Fair enough, Jack, I’ll tell you.” She laid the iPad on the couch. She suddenly seemed softer.

“Jack, not one president since David Palmer has completed a single term of office. I admired Allison and James a great deal. I still do. Yet even they were forced to resign. I would like to be the exception. But I’m also a realist. The truth is I don’t know how much time I have to do the work I want to do.”

“I remember how upset Bill was when he couldn’t secure your release from China. Far more so than he ever allowed anyone to see. Anyone save for me. I was the director of Homeland Security, and even I couldn’t help you. Not until your extradition was deemed a necessary part of a larger strategy. I didn’t want that to happen again. So I acted. I arranged your return to American soil because I wanted to. And because I could. It’s that simple.”

“How did you do it?”

“It wasn’t difficult. We have a lot of things the Russians want. So I gave them one. Something the American people won’t miss.”

Jack mentally went through a list of Russian criminals and operatives he knew were in American custody.

Karen smiled. “When I was running for office I frustrated my campaign manager to no end. She wanted me to mention Bill more than I did. To emphasize his service, the sacrifice he made. There’s a lock-down room on the main floor of the White House. You know where it is, Jack. You were there. The place where my husband died. No matter how busy I am I make a point of walking by there every day. I loved Bill. I miss him terribly, even now. But my feelings about my husband are private. I didn’t want to use his memory as ammunition to fuel my own ambitions. ”

“I understand.”

“I knew you would. That’s why I told you. Bill would have wanted this for you. And so did I.”

“I appreciate that, Madam President.”

“You’re probably wondering what will happen to you now.”

“I haven’t thought about it.”

“I’m not your keeper. My aides have set up a bank account for you. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s enough. When you leave the White House an aide will take you to a car. It’s yours. What happens next is up to you. Maybe you will want to see Chloe. Or Kim. Or your grandchildren. Or you may leave the country again. I’m giving you back your life, Jack. It’s a gift. Try not to screw it up.”

Jack felt his composure slipping. He looked down.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

The President stood up. “I wish we had more time. But running this country is more than a full-time job.”

Jack stood “Good luck, Madam President.”

“Good luck to you too.”

THE END

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
girl4edwards04
Jul. 17th, 2014 01:00 am (UTC)
UUUUUGGGGHHHH this is just the thing I needed after that finale, man, whaT THE SHIT WHAT EVEN WAS THAT

I still have not recovered.

I refuse to acknowledge that last silent clock.

I refuse to believe anything other than the idea that Jack's resourcefulness got him away from the Russians, and also that anything other than this exchange with President Karen took place.

I'm just

marinw
Jul. 17th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC)
Oh Jack totally commandeered the chopper. He's good at that. Note sure how that works with my President Karen story, but whatever.

Thanks for reading.

Love that gif.

Edited at 2014-07-17 01:07 am (UTC)
cybertoothtiger
Jul. 17th, 2014 05:07 am (UTC)
Yay! You posted!

Things I love about this:
- Karen as POTUS
- Karen rescuing Jack for no reason other than that he is Jack, and she and Bill care(d) about him
- Karen going by the place where Bill died every day, to remember
- Karen telling Jack not to screw up his final chance at a normal life.

All in all, so many things to love!
marinw
Jul. 17th, 2014 09:54 am (UTC)
If someone in 24land is elected POTUS, does one offer congratulations or condolences?

As for Jack having a normal life, I think Karen doesn't expect that of him. To use a rather hoary cliche, he's a wild thing that is beyond taming. Best to let him back into the wild with car and money.

Karen would so not grieve in public, methinks.

Thank you for betaing so quickly. I am thrilled at all the comments this has gotten already.
myheadisclear
Dec. 26th, 2014 04:50 am (UTC)
I love this!
I haven't seen beyond ep 5 in LAD so I have no idea what is going on. I am scared to, so many things I've heard about it makes me wonder if 24 will ever be 24 again! Is it true they're making another season?
Anyhoo! Karen as president. I always loved her. Love her strength and how she always cared about Jack and listened to Bill when it came to Jack, even when everyone else thought different!
I love she is still willing to give Jack another chance and give him his life back, whatever that may be!
marinw
Dec. 26th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
I don't think that are making another season. Whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view!

Thanks for reading. I have wanted Karen for POTUS for a long time. Although with Jack's luck, she would be assassinated before Jack left the White House, sending him off on another 24 hour shitstorm...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )