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TURNING THE TABLES

Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Turning the Tables
Author: marinw
Rating: R for content
Pairing: Jack/Cheng
Summary: Post Day 6. Jack confronts Cheng.
Disclaimer: 24 and its denizens aren’t mine.
A/N: This is my first post!

He knew he had to get out of LA. Every hour he spent in the city brought him closer to being sucked back into the life he was trying to leave.

But Jack had one more person to see…

~

The holding cell was underground in one of LA’s more secure facilities. A middle-aged Asian man in a bright orange jumpsuit sat on the narrow bench, his expression unreadable. At first he said nothing when his latest visitor arrived. The visitor’s intense blue eyes could have bored a hole right into anybody’s skull.

Anybody except Cheng.

Finally, Cheng’s turned his head to look through the clear, thick glass. “Still not talking, Mr. Bauer? I never could make you talk.” Cheng said that with the tinniest hint of respect.

“I have nothing to say to you.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I had to see this for myself. I had to see you like this. You’re going to pay for what you did to Audrey. For what you did to me.”

Cheng almost snorted. “You are very naive, Mr. Bauer. Even now my people are working on my release. They will not abandon me.”

“Keep telling yourself that.”

“I will see my homeland soon. Have no doubt of that.”

Jack only had a few more minutes. Arranging this visit had not been easy: His grandiose attempts to vanish had been thwarted as soon as Heller had notified CTU, demanding that the trespasser be removed from his property. It was Bill who finally came to the beach house, and Bill who had arranged to have Jack admitted to a small private clinic outside of Los Angeles.

“If you want to disappear, fine. I’ll even help you. But not until I know you’re all right.” Bill had said.

That had been almost a week ago. Jack had been listed as active when Cheng had captured him, so he had two years of back pay with which which to start over. He hadn’t even officially resigned from CTU. It was his active status that had allowed him this visit. His ID was clipped to his jacket.

He wanted Cheng to see him like this, clean-shaven with new clothes. He wasn’t sure why.

Cheng took notice of Jack’s neat appearance. “You are fortunate, Mr. Bauer, that I instructed my men to give you preferential treatment. It could have been so much worse.”

“What are you saying!” Jack bellowed.

“I could have left you even more disfigured. I could have ordered my men remove your nose, or an eye, or a limb. But I didn’t. You should be grateful.”

“Those injuries would have killed me! You wanted me alive!”

“After you identified Hong, it really didn’t matter. Although I am glad I did keep you alive. You made for a most valuable trade. They still haven’t told you, have they, Mr. Bauer?”

“Told me what!?”

“Who you were traded for. Interesting. Your superiors still don’t trust you.”

The two became silent for a moment. Jack glared. Cheng stared back impassively.

“I still do not understand why you came, Mr. Bauer. What could you possibly hope to accomplish?"

“Five more minutes, Agent Bauer.” Said the guard.

Jack regarded the guard for first time: A young man with a stocky build and a single sidearm. He was sitting within arms reach of the panic button.

There was also the ubiquitous security camera, mounted high on the wall. It recorded everything.

No matter. Jack could have easily overwhelmed the guard. A scenario instantly formed in his mind: Yes. If he moved quickly, he could tackle the guard and take his sidearm. He could shoot out the camera. And then he could shoot his way into Cheng’s cell. And then he could kill Cheng. Or he could make him suffer. He could think of a dozen different ways to make Cheng suffer. Reinforcements would soon arrive and start blow torching their way through the thick metal of the outer wall. They could accomplish that task in a few minutes. But that was all the time Jack would need. He could do an astonishing amount of damage in a few minutes.

He clenched his burnt fist. It would be so easy. And it would feel so good.

There was another possibility: Jack could simply leave. Leave the deep basement of the prison. Go out into the sun. And leave the city. He was free. He could go anywhere he wanted. Anywhere at all.

But executing that scenario would be harder.

Jack considered his options.

END

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