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posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Exiles
Author: marinw
Rating: PG
Characters: Jack/Allison Taylor (No longer the POTUS)
Summery: Set a year post Day 8. Jack finds refuge in an unexpected place.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of Fox.
A/N: This fic is my humble attempt to deal with the way the series ended, and what the writers did to Taylor and Jack, both of whom I still want to love and respect. Thanks to my beta cybertoothtiger. Thanks as well to paladin24 and leigh57 for their own musings on post Day 8 Taylor and Jack.


The light here was different. Late afternoon in September gave the cyprus and olive trees a golden glow.

After Jack had gotten off the train in Cortona he took took a bus to the village specified in the email. He would have preferred to rent a car, but that would have required showing the rental agency a credit card. Even with all his aliases Jack knew he couldn’t be too careful. Public transportation required only cash, with no questions asked.

He was taking enough of a risk by not doing more to change his appearance. For awhile he had a beard until the summer heat had compelled him to shave the damn thing off. And it had grown in half gray, a detail that bothered Jack more than it should have.

He settled for wearing a hat with a deep brim and sunglasses.

He switched his courier bag to his other shoulder and trudged up the lane leading to the villa.

Was this a trap? Were there special forces lying in wait behind the fence? Jack looked about warily.

No. She wouldn’t do that. She wouldn’t have allowed Jack to escape only to trap him a year later in the middle of Italy.

Would she?

The last time Jack had sneaked a peak at International Most Wanted websites he had discovered that he was no longer even on the front page. He had felt more dejected than relieved.

Get over yourself. You’re not that important, Jack told himself.

Even so, letting his guard down wasn’t an option.

As he had been instructed, Jack went to the back entrance of the villa. The building was small by Italian Villa standards but still an impressive size. A typical McMansion for an American. There was even small swimming pool hidden from the road by a stone wall.

Not a bad place to be exiled. At all.

Jack was about to ring the doorbell when the heavy wooden door opened for him.

Without the expertly applied makeup she looked older. Her hair had become a lighter, more silvery shade of gray. Her clothes were expensive-looking but frumpy.

“Jack,” she said warmly.

“Madam President.”

“It’s just Allison now,” she corrected.

“Yes ma’am,” Jack replied.

“Come in.”

Jack took off his hat and glasses and went inside the pleasantly cool house.

Jack noticed that other that the former president the house was empty. There must have been some staff somewhere. Maybe Allison had sent them away early.

Allison led Jack down a hallway decorated with tasteful photos and other artwork. They came to a large, sunny kitchen piled with all manner of foodstuffs and cooking paraphernalia. Jack smelt about five varieties of goat cheese and spicy salami.

So Allison Taylor likes to cook, Jack concluded.

She motioned towards a large wooden table. Jack sat down. He laid his bag on the floor, grateful to be temporarily relived of the lopsided weight. His shoulder still bothered him.

“I was surprised to hear from you, ma’am,” Jack said.

“I still have some connections. I persuaded the director of CTU to give me one of your email addresses.”


“You’re taking a risk, ma’am. You’re harboring a fugitive.”

“I’m not worried.” Allison took a bottle of red wine and a couple of wine glasses from the crowded counter.

“Will you join me?” She asked.

“Yeah. Sure.” Jack noticed several empty bottles on the counter. He tried not to draw too many conclusions about Allison’s alcohol consumption. This was Tuscany.

“So how are you doing?” Allison asked as she poured the wine.

“I’m fine.”

She smiled, “You have a rather expansive definition of the word ‘fine,’ Jack. This last year must have been very difficult for you.”

“I needed to face the consequences.”

“Really, Jack. If you were willing to face the consequences you would have turned yourself in.”

Touche. Jack stared at the floor.

“You couldn’t stand the thought of going back to prison, could you?” Allison asked softly. “A good lawyer could have made a convincing case for temporary insanity or post traumatic stress disorder. You could have served out your time in a psychiatric facility. If that wasn’t possible even an American prison would be preferable to a Russian prison.”

Or a Chinese prison, Jack thought.

“You let me escape,” he countered. Jack remembered the morning he had sat before Senator Blaine Meyer, proudly declaring that he wasn’t above the law, that the American people should be the ones to determine his fate.

Jack had meted out justice to the people responsible for Renee’s death. And then he found himself unable to face justice for himself. He was a hypocrite. A trait he hadn’t previously listed amongst his many flaws.

“Many would argue that you’re not paying enough of a price for your actions.” Allison said.

“With all due respect, ma’am, that’s not for you to decide.”

“I think it is. If I had listened to you perhaps you wouldn’t have gone rogue. But really, Jack, Novanovich? And his entire staff? No one made you do that. What were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t thinking, ma’am. It was a mistake.” Jack admitted. He took a long sip of wine.

“Yes. Yes it was.”

“Why did call me here, Madam President? What could you possibly want from me now?”

Madam President. The title was hers for life. Jack used the term more out of respect for the office of president then for the former president herself.

“I didn’t call you here to beg for your forgiveness, Jack. We’ve both made bad calls.”

“Okay then. What?”

“I wanted to give you a chance to make this right.” Allison leaned forward across the table. “I still have access to highly classified information. All former presidents do. Something is about to happen. Here, in the European Union. Something that poses a grave threat to both the United States and Russia. I may not be the president anymore, but I am still a patriot. When the time comes, I will have to act. And so will you.”

It was going to happen again. Jack could already feel himself being pulled back into the vortex.

“I don’t think so.” The classic Refusal Of The Call, as Joseph Campbell had once described it. Jack needed to go through the motions, resist as much as he could.

“Hear me out. There will come a time when my successor in the White House is going to need to react to the situation here in Europe. The FBI, the CIA, CTU. They all suspect you’re already here. And so the president may call on you, Jack. He will ask you to take care of the crises as only you can. But this time you can ask for something in return. Agree to help the president. But don’t do it for anything less than a full pardon.”

“The president will never let me go home.”

“You will never be allowed to return to the United States. That’s true. But you may be allowed to live out the rest of your life in Europe. Or Africa. Or even parts of Asia or Oceania. Trust me, it’s not a bad fate.”

“The Russians wouldn’t allow it.”

“Don’t be so sure. Suvarov is no longer the president of Russia. And Novanovich had his share of enemies. The current Russian government could be persuaded to leave you alone.”

Jack looked at his now half-empty glass of wine because it was easier than looking at his former commander in chief.

The last year had been miserable. Constantly looking over his sore shoulder was exhausting. Almost literally sleeping with one eye open. Relying on one of several numbered bank accounts and whatever odd jobs he could pick up. Calling in every last one of his favors, hiding both in remote areas and in plain sight. A year ago he had unlimited access to state-of-the-art medical care. Now he was forced to make do with his own first aid or doctors who worked outside the official system.

He was alone. Profoundly, endlessly alone.

Jack clung to what was left of his freedom desperately. He wasn’t free, not really, he was suspended in some sort of purgatory between true freedom and imprisonment. He had been in this state before, during the eighteen months he had lived as Frank Flynn and during the year he had been evading the State Department subpoena. His fugitive state could only end one of two ways: Prison. Or Death. Now Allison Taylor was offering him a third way. She was reaching out to him at a risk to herself.

Allison Taylor was acknowledging her mistakes. Maybe she really was trying to make things right. Jack couldn’t just ignore her.

“What else can you tell me?” He asked.

“So far, very little. I don’t want to divulge more until I have more intelligence.”

“When?” He asked.

“Soon. You’ll be contacted.”

“Fine.” Jack picked up his bag and started to stand up.

“Wait.” Allison said. “Sit down. Talk to me.”

Jack sat down.

“This house has been in my family for three generations. I used to take my family here when I was in the Senate. After I decided to seek the presidency there simply wasn’t the time to visit. Now I have all the time in the world. But no family. Olivia has been granted early parole but she won’t speak to me. Either will my ex-husband. I’ve had some contact with Ethan but it has been...awkward.”

Why is she telling me all this? Jack thought.

Because she’s lonely. She needs someone to talk to.

“I know it’s hard to feel any sympathy for me, Jack. I lost my office but I kept my freedom. Presidents don’t go to jail. Even Charles Logan avoided being incarcerated. But I have paid a price. Public opinion is a harsh thing. I let down the American people. I let myself down. I betrayed my office. Now I have to live with that. I’ve been serving my country all my life. It’s so hard to just stop.”

“Ma’am, I’ll think about helping the president. I don’t know what else you want from me.”

“You can stay for dinner.”

“Excuse me?”

What next? Is she going to tuck me into bed and read me a story? Jack wondered.

“It’s been so long since I had anyone to cook for. And if I may be blunt, you look like you can use a good meal.”

There it was again. The loneliness.

It was a feeling Jack understood well.

He couldn’t help but smile. “Okay, Madam President. Fine. I’ll stay for dinner.”