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SANCTUARY 3/3

Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Sanctuary, Chapter 3
Author: marinw
Characters: Jack/ Kayla Hassan/Dalia Hassan
Summery: Jack finds refuge in an unexpected place.
Rating: R for mentions of violence.
Disclaimer: 24 is and was the property of Fox.
A/N: This was written for the 24n’more Write Your Own Day 9 Challenge. Thanks to cybertoothtiger for the beta.

Kayla entered Jack’s room. She was carrying a bundle of clothes. She laid them on Jack’s bed.

“I heard that you were feeling better.”

“I am. Thank you.” Dr. Kadr’s regime had been simple and effective. His body was stubbornly strong. His emotional state was another matter. When he cried he would bury his face in the pillows, careful that no one would see or hear his stolen moments of grief.

“So much better, in fact, that you can leave the hospital. I am here to take you to my mother.”

“Thank you. Miss Hassan…”

“Kayla. Please.”

“Kayla, what you did a few days ago. Getting me out of the country. That was very brave. Thank you.”

“Mr. Bauer…”

For the first time in days, he smiled. “Jack.”

“Jack. When you tried to get my father to McGuire, there was a woman with us. Another agent. Renee Walker. I know she was killed a few hours later. I…am sorry.”

Jack looked down. Shit. It would be so much easier if no one would mention her name. Jack felt strangely selfish, his grief was something he wanted to keep to himself.

“I sometimes forget that my mother and I were not the only people to lose someone on that day.”

“I appreciate that.”

“I will give your privacy.” Kayla patted the pile of clothes and smiled coyly as she left.

Was Kayla flirting with him? Dammit. Another thing that could be added to the long list of things Jack didn’t need. For the briefest of moments, Jack was reminded of his estranged sister-in-law Marilyn. No, that wasn’t fair

He went into the bathroom and abandoned his robe. Jack took a quick shower and shaved away a few days worth of stubble. He was alarmed that the emerging beard had been gray rather than blond.

He returned to the room and put on the clothes that Kayla had provided: A loose white button-down shirt and a pair of khakis. A non-descript pair of tennis shoes. He wondered where his boots were.

He noticed a simple meal was awaiting him: thick yogurt with honey and few pieces of flat bread. A small pot of tea. He managed a few bites and felt better.

By the time he finished eating Kayla had returned.

“We took your other things to the palace.”

“Thank you.”

“We should go. My mother is waiting.”

••••

Jack sat in the back seat of the black limousine as the hulking vehicle made its way through Kamitstan’s capital city.

He noticed that the building identified as the American embassy was shuttered, the flag missing from its pole.

Jack could imagine how the last few days had played out: a rapid deterioration in the relationship between Russia, the IRK, the US and a dozen other allies. This would lead to more terrorist threats, more innocent deaths. Jack knew that Vice President Hayworth was not as enthusiastic about diplomacy as Allison Taylor had been, and that he had a reputation for being unable to make bold decisions.Thinking about all this made Jack feel helpless. He wasn’t in a position to help the American government, even if he wanted to.

As the limo drove through a busy marketplace Jack peered out the tinted windows. He noticed that there were plenty of women here, wearing everything from the body-covering niqab to clothes that would not have been out of place is Los Angeles. Not surprising, really, considering how enthusiastically the citizens of Kamistan had supported the sudden ascension of a female President.

Hell, this was still a world where a female President of the United States was considered something of a novelty. Allison Taylor had been the most popular President in years.

Kayla sat beside Jack, saying nothing. She was lost in her own thoughts and Jack was lost in his.

••••

When they arrived at the palace a couple of security guards met Jack and Kayla at the imposing entrance of the palace and led them upstairs.

President Dalia Hassan was sitting behind an enourmous desk. When her guest arrived she rose to greet them. She was she was garbed in a long, brightly colored sari-like dress

She looked like she was born to be the president: beautiful and more than a little intimidating. All the more so now, here in her own nation.

“Kayla, if you would excuse us.”

“Yes, mother.” Kayla nodded and left.

Dalia regarded her guest. “You seem to have recovered well, Mr. Bauer.”

“Thanks to you and your daughter, Ma’am.”

She gestured towards a nearby couch. “Please, sit down.”

Jack did as instructed. Dalia smiled.

“I had my people look into your background. It was not difficult as much of your file had been de-classified when you here called to speak before the U.S. senate.”

“Then you must know that I’ve stopped a lot of terrorist attacks. Many of which originated in this area of the world.”

“My late husband and I condemned those attacks. We have no use for extremist violence. As for you, Mr. Bauer, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

“Is that why I’m here, Madam President?”

“I am surprised at your cynicism. As I said before, we extracted you as a gesture of our thanks. The American authorities do not know you are here. We do not intend to use you to as a tool to mock the American or Russian government.”

“You’ll forgive me if I thought that.”

“I must be honest with you. Having someone with your particular skills and knowledge would be extremely useful to me.”

“Madam President, I appreciate your getting me out of the U.S. But with all due respect, your relationship with America is now hostile. Working with you would mean working against the United States. I can’t do that.”

“Even now, when you are a fugitive and will never be allowed to return to your country as a free man?”

“Even now.”

“As I said on the plane, I rescued you as a gesture of thanks. You are free to leave Kamistan if you so choose. My staff has arranged an apartment for you nearby. Take some time and consider my invitation.”

••••

Jack made his decision as soon as he had access to the internet.

When he got to his apartment, the first thing he did was check the desktop computer, The information he really wanted was all classified, and he was sure all the encryption codes had been changed, so he called up the day’s issue of The New York Times. The front page stated that Vice President Hayworth had taken the oath of office.

He scrolled through some of the smaller articles, buried on page ten was a small article stating that Chloe O’Brien, acting director of CTU, was now under arrest for reasons that remained classified to the public.

Jack knew. Chloe was in prison because of him. Her son was in danger of growing up without her.

In their final conversation, Chloe had promised Jack that she would protect Kim, Teri and Stephen. She couldn’t do that now.

Jack wanted to believe that Allison Taylor would use the remnants of her power to protect his family. But there was no way he could be sure.

Jack knew that his many enemies would soon be after his family. He knew that because that’s exactly what he would do. Only his pursuers would do more than just make threats.

Jack rubbed his temples. He thought of how he had left Novanovich, on the floor of his suite with a fire poker through his chest.

A few hot, frustrated tears fell from his eyes.

Stupid. Maybe Novanovich had been partially responsible for Renee’s death. But his staff may not have been. Guilt by association was not always the correct conclusion.

Jack had made a bad call. And his few remaining friends were suffering because of that.

Jack went to the window and looked out on the street. Evening worshipers were exiting a nearby mosque.

Dalia Hassan had offered Jack sanctuary, safety, a place to rest. Perhaps even a new purpose, a way to use his skills from another angle. In spite of his protestations and declarations of patriotism, assisting President Hassan did hold a certain appeal.

Jack knew he couldn’t stay. He had to make things right for Chloe and both their families. Maybe turn himself in.

Somewhere there was a major shitstorm happening. There always was. Jack could offer his services in exchange for immunity for himself and exoneration for Chloe. How many other criminals had made that play?

It only took Jack a few minutes to pack his few things and brace himself to a return into the fray.

THE END