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MAN OF ACTION

Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Man of Action
Author: marinw
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Jack/Diane
Summary: Set a couple of weeks after Day 6. Jack visits Diane.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Broadcasting Company. Like that’s going to stop me.
A/N: I avoid spoilers, so I don’t know what Jack is doing between Days 6 and 7. So I’m keeping his current place of residence (if any) deliberately vague.



Part of him was still in China.

The one-story bungalow hadn’t changed much. Jack took some comfort in that as he emerged from his car. He wasn’t usually given to vanity, but he couldn’t help but take a final glance at himself in the rear view mirror. He concluded that he looked older and thinner than the last time he had been here, almost two years earlier.

He walked towards the door. He felt nervous. But she was expecting him and it was too late to back out now.

Jack knocked on the thin metal door, and then quickly thrust his disfigured hand in his jacket pocket. A moment latter, a women answered.

She was almost exactly the way Jack remembered her.

She smiled, “Hello, Frank.”

Jack didn’t bother correcting her. “Hello, Diane.”

They were silent for a moment. “Why don’t you come in? I’ll make you one of my grilled cheese sandwiches.”

“That would be great.”

It was the same kitchen where Jack and Diane and Derek had eaten breakfast on so many mornings. The table was turned in the other direction and there seemed to be a new refrigerator, but other than that the room seemed about the same. If only everything could be that constant.

Diane brought Jack a cup of coffee—very black and very strong. As he reached for the mug, Diane couldn’t help but stare.

“What happened to your hand?”

“Barbeque accident.”

Diane looked skeptical. Her expression indicated that she wasn’t buying Jack’s explanation, but she wasn’t going to inquire further. She turned on the range and went to work.

Jack took a sip of coffee and found himself enjoying this little domestic vignette. Diane was so different from Kate or Audrey or even Chloe. She did not spend her days tracking satellites or uncovering terrorist plots and government conspiracies. Yet she made him feel comfortable.

“Where’s Derek?”

“He got an after-school job at the gas station.”

“Good for him.”

“You know how it is. Work has been hard to come by. People haven’t been moving to the Mojave Dessert since that bomb went off. People are afraid of the fallout”

“Humph.” Jack grunted non-committally. He had come very close to delivering that particular bomb personally.

Diane brought Jack a wonderfully gooey mess of bread and cheese, which he quickly began to devourer. It was the best thing he had eaten in weeks.

Diane poured herself her own cup of coffee and sat down “So I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me where you’ve been for the past two years?”

“Out of the country.”

“Were you deep undercover on some top-secret government mission?” The question seemed almost sarcastic, but not quite.

“Something like that.”

“I know. I can’t ask you about your work.”

“I’m sorry Diane. I know it’s not fair. But I can tell you that I’m not with the government anymore.”

“And you’re not on the run?”

“No. Not now.”

“So do I call you Frank? Or Jack?”

“You can call me whatever you like.”

“To me you’ll always be Frank Flynn.”

“I would like that.”

“Derek talks about that day all the time. The day David Palmer died. The day we all ended up in L.A.”

“I’m sorry you both had to experience that.”

“Derek was a little traumatized. But he was also very impressed. So was I. All the things you did. How you stole the helicopter. Killed Palmer’s assassin-we had no idea you could be so violent. And then there was the hostage situation at the airport. We talk about how well you can think on your feet. How cool you seem in a crisis. You are such a man of action.”

Jack pushed away the now-empty plate. “I’m not that man anymore.”

“I don’t believe that. Why are you here, Frank? It’s certainly not to talk about the last two years. That much is obvious.”

“Because I never had the chance to thank you. You took me in”

“You were paying me rent. When you could.”

“It wasn’t just that. I felt safe here. It was good to finally stop running.”

Jack was overcome by a wave of nostalgia. The six months he had stayed with Diane and Derek hadn’t been easy: He was constantly looking over his shoulder, wondering when the men who had found him in Chicago would catch up with him. He would furtively duck into internet café’s for missives from Chloe, who had insisted on more and more elaborate protocols. His lack of identification meant that he could only work as a day laborer for employers who didn’t care about official credentials. He had missed Kim and Audrey horribly.

But he hadn’t been unhappy.

“But you said you weren’t running anymore,” Diane finally said, “And that you aren’t with the government. So what are you going to do now?”

“I haven’t decided yet.”

“What about that lady I met? I think her name was Allie…”

“Audrey. We’re not together anymore.”

“And your daughter?”

“I haven’t had much contact with her.”

“I really should stop asking questions.”

“I would appreciate that. Why don’t you tell me about you and Derek? I’ve thought about both of you a lot.”

Diane shrugged. “There’s not much to tell. I’m still working the night shifts at the nursing home. Derek graduates from High School next year. He would like to go to the community college and become a mechanic, but he’s also thinking about joining the army. I’m trying to talk him out of it.”

Without asking questions, Diane soon ran out of things to say. The room became very quiet. Jack reached out with his good hand and touched Diane’s arm. The two locked eyes. They stayed like that for what seemed like a very long time.

Jack glanced towards the bedroom. God, it had been so long since he had been with anybody. He reviewed all the reasons he had invented to explain the scars on his back and tried to decide which one would sound the most plausible.

“Honey, I’m home.”

Jack snapped his head around. In the doorway of the kitchen stood a tall, burly man who looked a few years younger than Jack. He was wearing a denim jacket and holding a hardhat.

Diane quickly pulled her arm away. “Rob, this is Frank Flynn. He’s an old friend.”

“Diane has told me about you. I’m going to wash up before dinner.” Rob left the kitchen in a hurry.

“Don’t worry, Frank. I haven’t told him any of your secrets,” Diane said

“Who is he?” Jack tried not to make the question sound too much like the start of an interrogation.

“He’s my…border. I rented your old room to him.” Diane wasn’t apologetic.

Not everything is about you, Jack, he realized. The world has gone on without you.

“Two years is a long time, Frank.” Diane whispered.

END

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Comments

marinw
Jan. 8th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
I just wish that everyones life wasn't so horribly sad.

Jack does have a lot of sadness in his life. I am hoping that Day 7 will be about Jack regaining some of what he's lost, as seeing him lose everything is getting a little redundant.

I have Day 7 on the brian. Peahps you've noticed.

What fandoms have you written in?