adrenalin211 (adrenalin211) wrote in 24_fanfic,
adrenalin211
adrenalin211
24_fanfic

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Title: The Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: adrenalin211
Rating: Um R? Idk. There’s some sex. What does that make it?
Characters: Jack, Renee, Kim, Stephen, Baby Teri
Summary: It was winter and it was cold. Jack and Renee were there. A lonely grey couch. “Oh look!” cried Teri. And then the kingdom was hers forever. The end. (Well not really. But close?)
Disclaimer: 24 and its characters belong to Fox. Not me.
A/N: Under the cut



A/N: I should warn you all: this is a total plot-less shipper/Grandpa!Jack/Christmas smush-fest! If you STILL want to continue, you should know I owe gratitude to an awesome beta, leigh57, (thank you for motivating me to write and allowing me to shamelessly steal your rewording suggestion), and musical-inspiration gratitude to Enya, whose winter CD I’ve been obsessively blasting. This story takes place on the twelve days leading up to Christmas.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Monday 12/14

There’d been this sort of something between them: a quiet calamity of words unspoken. It had remained undefined until this very moment. (Naked bodies slick and arching.)

For her it’s like an awakening of every sense: his heavy and uncontrolled breathing, the way he tastes like really good beer and smells like…comfort. His hands are rough, calloused, but they make a gentle discovery of the bends and curves of her body. A dizzying paradox.

For him it’s like sliding into some kind of home: her muted gasps, the long arch of her back, the way her lips are easily distracted by the bone of his shoulder and the scars on his chest. It is …right. This feels good, or a stronger word that should exist to describe the indescribable.

Oh my God.

“Jack,” she whispers into his shoulder. He’s inside of her now. The perfect pressure.

This is happening so quickly.

He stills, assuming the worst. “You want to stop?” His hand gingerly pushes red strands away from her cheek.

She answers by pressing hard into him, by smoothing her hand along the curve of his forearm. “What are we doing?” she asks.

She bites her lip; she’s close.

“God. I don’t know.” He feels the rhythm of her everywhere.

This was always going to be some kind of welcome catastrophe.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 12/15


She observes him at his desk, tapping his pencil eraser in an unsteady percussion of rubber on wood. It’s unnerving.

It’s sexy.

She doesn’t know what to say to him, what words are even appropriate when they’ve already fast-forwarded though the casual pleasantries of a typical relationship.

The downside is that now they have to rewind.

Yeah, well.

To her body it seems like she’s misplaced the fucking remote.

“Renee,” he says, looking up from his desk. He makes her nervous just by existing lately. God, what’s wrong with her? His face looks kind of pale, like he didn’t sleep. “Last night--”

“Jack, can we just kill the awkward?” she blurts. She doesn’t even know why she said that.

He swallows. “I was gonna say it was…good.”

“Good,” she repeats. The understatement of a decade. She manages to smile, unable to absorb the insecurity stamped on him like a passport.

“Wanna grab some dinner after we finish up here?” There’s a tremble in his inquiry, a kind of wary trepidation.

“Yeah,” she says. “I’d like that.”

Her stomach’s like frenzied fireflies in some jar, wanting nothing more than to find the air-hole and breathe.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 12/16


When he calls Kim during the day she’s always juggling about five things. “Dad, I’m gonna put Teri on. She wants to talk.”

“Okay.” The enthusiasm in his voice is likely unprofessional. He fights back a complete smile.

“Hi, sweetheart,” he says when he hears her little breaths through his cell.

“Grandpa! You there?” she squeaks. Her “t” sounds like a “d” but the inflection in her voice is precious. It’s the kind of thing kids absorb when you don’t know they’re listening.

“What are you doing today, honey?”

“Feeding my dolly,” she says, like it’s the most obvious thing.

He’s met this kid twice and she treats him like her new best friend. He loves this. His heart feels whole.

“Yeah? What’s her name?”

“Abigail,” she mumbles. Then, “Oh I must go now. Abigail is crying.

Jack laughs softly, trying to conceal his amusement. “Okay,” he says. "Bye!"

He hears a muffled, jovial, “Bye” before the dial tone.

The second he can tone down his joy, he swivels his chair around and notices Renee. She’s watching him, making no secret of it. Her eyes seem like an impossible collision of happy and sad.

He’s struck with the sudden urge to reassure her.

He also wants to call Teri back and tell her there’ll be plenty of time for adult responsibilities.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 12/17


For once she’s actually focused on the paperwork in front of her when the aroma of coffee beans infiltrates her senses. Jack sets a steaming Starbucks on her desk.

“If you’ve been sleeping like I have these last couple nights, you could use this.”

She almost chokes on his honesty, feeling that familiar nervousness creep through her. “Yeah. Then I could use it,” she manages. She stares at the festive label on the cup.

“It’s eggnog latte,” he says.

Pause.

When she still doesn’t say anything he adds, “If you don’t like it then-”

“No!” she says too loudly. “I love these. Thank you.” She’s trying to control her voice, trying to soak up the gesture for nothing more than what it is, and trying to work up the courage to say the following:

“Jack,” she starts. She rubs her thumb along the white plastic rim of the lid. “We just finished the testimonies. The paperwork is signed. The trial is over. Why are you still here?”

“What?”

“Kim must want you to go to L.A., right?”

Jack pauses, squinting before he speaks. (Before she realizes she’s holding in her breath.) “I am going,” he says. “A little after the holidays.”

“Okay,” is all she can say.

“I have appointments lined up with Dr. Macer,” he continues. “I have to be back here monthly. For… a long time.”

“Oh,” she says. Shit. What has her so incapable of speaking more than one word?

“We’ll have time,” he starts. She notices that he’s lifting his fingers into the palm of his hand again and again, like he’s squeezing some invisible stress ball. “I want to figure this out.”

She studies his face. “Me, too.”

“Okay.” He nods.

“Okay,” she repeats.

An expression of…relief, she guesses, appears on his face.

Everything becomes quieter than probability can permit. There’s a surge of something undefined, almost audible, traveling down her spinal column, resounding in a succession of physical echoes.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 12/18


Jack straightens his tie in the restaurant’s men’s room, wondering, for the fourth time this evening, if this fancy dinner-date was the right call. If it’s even them sitting at that table deciphering extraneous silverware while ordering fifty dollar entrees.

Definitely not.

He’d rather be sitting at home with Netflix and good take-out, laughing while Renee mocks his movie selection.

When he gets back to the table he doesn’t sit down. He leans in close, his lips just below her ear.

She smells like vanilla. God help him it’s the same fragrance she was wearing a few nights ago when he was lucky enough to experience it everywhere it lingered. He clenches his fist at the memory. “Let’s get out of here. I know a good burger place,” he says, before he does something he can’t undo.

He hears her swallow as he moves away. Relief, amusement, and a hint of something else seep into her voice. “Somewhere I can take off these shoes?” she asks. She shifts uneasily in her chair. “My feet aren’t used to this.”

He smiles as she stands. She looks uncomfortably incredible in a dark purple dress.

“How about take-out?”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 12/19


Any day that starts out ordinarily can end in another manner entirely.

(Renee learned this only a week into her training at Quantico.)

She and Jack see a tan four-door sedan fly past them about a half a minute before the call comes through on the comm.

Tan Honda Accord proceeding west onto 395. License plate number 2EZ148. All units proceed with caution. Suspect is armed.

Of course Jack was already in pursuit, even though this call isn’t meant for them.

They catch up on the on-ramp, still accelerating.

“Hold on,” he yells.

The rest of the details are so fuzzy and fast she can’t really speak to their sequence or accuracy:

An arm extends in front of her body.

She’s watching as the Honda spins out and obstructs their path, crashing into a highway barrier.

She’s thinking: Asshole engaged his parking brake.

A tense jolt, a cloud of chalky, odorous gas, a sensation of flying off axis and being punched with white sand.

She’s grasping at everything and nothing, reaching for Jack and coming up empty. There’s a rattling before her vision twists, a kaleidoscope of interweaving patterns.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 12/20


2 a.m.-- Jack startles awake in a damp tangle of sheets and sweat, shouting incoherently.

Renee, he thinks he’s saying.

But as his breathing settles, lucidity returns. Jack quickly surveys the room. He’s in his hotel bed: panicked, wet, so tired he’s approaching delirium.

But she had responded, he tells himself. The sound of her cough had put the air back in his lungs.

Ten minutes later he masters his nerves enough to call her.

“Yeah?” she says. Alert.

“You okay?”

“I’ve been showering all night,” she says. “I can still smell the air-bags.”

“It’ll go away.” He stops abruptly, about to say something he decides against.

“Jack?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” he whispers. “I figured you’d be up.”

Renee’s pause seems unnaturally long to him, but is more likely average. “Come over,” she says. “We’ll be restless together.”

Within fifteen minutes he’s at her apartment. In twenty they’re on her couch looking at each other too long and not long enough.

They talk some, but not much.

She falls asleep before him, her foot stretched out under his thigh.

He likes that.

Before he shuts his eyes and succumbs to the drifting sensation now overtaking him, he’s enclosed by a wave of gratitude. He squeezes her calf softly, not wanting to wake her.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 12/21


“What are you doing Christmas Eve?” he asks. Renee’s balancing her phone on her shoulder while trying to fold laundry.

“Probably attempting to cook and wrapping presents. I’ll be in Baltimore the next day.”

“Baltimore?”

“My Uncle lives there.” She puts down the sock, unable to find its partner. “Why?”

Jack sounds excited. It makes her wish she could see his expression. “Kim and Stephen are coming. His family’s in Virginia, but they’re flying in tomorrow morning and staying in D.C. for Christmas Eve. Kim wants you to know if you’d like to join us.”

Renee doesn’t know what to make of this. She just knows that she feels his question physically, bubbling up in her stomach. “Kim knows we’re… talking?”

“Yeah.” Jack pauses. Waiting for her to answer, she assumes.

“Do you want me there?” Renee busies her hands by searching absently though her laundry basket.

“Yeah. I’d like that.”

“Okay,” she says, before she has a chance to change her mind.

“Yeah?” She wonders why he sounds surprised. Why he thinks she could say no to this, even if she wanted to (and she actually kind of does want to).

“Yeah,” she manages, trying to sound as casual as possible. “Where are we going?”

“Stephen booked a suite at my hotel.”

“Okay,” she says. He sounds happy. It’s the strangest and most invigorating sound, coming from him. “I’m glad you get to see them.”

“Me, too,” he says.

All she can hear in his voice is honesty. All she can hear in her own is uncertainty as her confidence crumbles.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 12/22


“Grandpa, there’s no tree,” Teri announces dejectedly, looking all over the hotel suite.

Jack sees her little lip jutting out, the sparkle absent from her eyes as she displays irreversible disappointment. That’s all it takes for him to make up his mind.

“Well why don’t we all go pick one out? We can stick it in this corner right here.”

A smile illuminates her face.

The drive out of the city is long, but it’s all worth it when Jack watches Teri, this tiny speck in a huge coniferous forest, shouting, “This one! This one’s perfect.

It’s rather Charlie Brown for his liking, but he begins to cut it anyway.

Kim and Stephen are buying everyone hot chocolate when Jack spots them. He’s dragging the tree with his right hand, holding Teri’s in his left.

The pine smells like the way things are supposed to be.

“Look what Teri picked out,” he says proudly.

“Wow,” Kim and Stephen say enthusiastically, sharing a look of concealed sarcasm. Teri is oblivious anyway, her eyes spotting the cocoa.

Later, as Jack’s paying for the tree, Stephen asks through a laugh, “So how are we going to drag this past hotel security?”

“I’ll talk to them,” he assures, unworried.

He can’t even remember the last time he celebrated, but this year he’s spending Christmas with the people he loves. He can’t quite get over the fact that Renee agreed to Thursday night.

He’s trying to learn to savor moments of happiness without considering the future a chasm of potential disaster.

He knows it’s gonna take time.

Kim buckles her daughter into the car-seat as Jack secures the spruce to the roof.

“I can’t WAIT to decorate it,” he hears Teri shout, now high on hot chocolate. Her voice snaps him back to the present.

I can’t either, he thinks.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 12/23


“Well, what does she like?” Renee asks, not one hundred percent thrilled to be strolling the aisles of Macy’s two days before Christmas.

But Jack asked her to help pick out a gift for Kim, and he looks more clueless in this department store than she’s ever seen him. Anywhere.

“I don’t know,” he says. He looks around the store like it’s a problem in dire need of a solution. “Jewelry. Perfume.” He pauses. “She wears… sweaters.”

Renee bites down on her lip to hold in her laughter, but it’s too late. He’s looking at her, reading her expression.

His lips curve into a smile. “You find this funny?”

“Yes,” she admits unreservedly, letting her grin show.

His smile is so rare it’s contagious, something to which she’s never had a chance to build immunity. He walks towards her. She’s observing the display of cranberry cashmere scarves. “Well what do you like?” he asks.

Her stomach twists, a boldness taking shape. “I don’t think Kim and I want the same thing from you.”

She hastily imagines about five ways he could respond, but the action he takes reacquaints her with the notion of surprise. He leans in to place a soft kiss on her cheek, his hand gently sliding off her chin as he does so.

She’s never felt this before. The compulsion to tense and relax at precisely the same moment.

“Just watch,” he says into her ear. “Teri’s next. And I love toy stores.”

Renee knows she’ll be watching. She’s been watching this whole time.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 12/24


“Santa’s coming when?” Teri asks the second time she’s called for him after being put to bed.

“He comes at midnight, sweetheart. But you have to be quiet and go to sleep now,” Jack whispers, grateful Kim gave him the opportunity to tuck in his granddaughter.

“How many minutes is that?”

Jack chuckles. “A lot of minutes.”

The Night Before Christmas one more time?”

“No, baby. I already convinced your mom to let you stay up much later than you should.”

He places a kiss on her forehead, whispering, “Goodnight.”

Teri reluctantly shuts her eyelids. Jack tiptoes out of the room, leaving the door open a crack.

When he’s back in the suite’s living room it’s just Renee. She’s sitting on the couch, her face lit by the soft glow of colorful Christmas lights.

“Where is everybody?” he asks.

“Kim went to the ice machine and Stephen went out to get vodka.”

Jack raises an eyebrow. “What are we drinking?”

“Kim wants to make me her ‘famous’ drink. She won’t say what. It’s a surprise.” There’s excitement in her voice.

“This should be entertaining.” He loves her smile.

“You look tired.” Renee observes. “Why don’t you come sit?” She slides over on the sofa to make room for him. “This was a good idea,” she adds, when he’s next to her.

He’s never seen her look more genuine.

“It really was.”

His left arm stretches over the back of the couch, where Renee observes it and moves closer.

He’s warm all over.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 12/25


They left his family hours ago, an unspoken agreement that the night would continue.

They address almost everything in quiet conversation. What’s left uncovered is blanketed with disarming physicality.

She likes the way she makes him tremor with the unintentional release of hot breath on his neck. Her lips connect with him there. Wet.

This time she knows it’s what she should be doing.

He groans.

In seconds his mouth is rediscovering her, hands climbing underneath her sweater and up her backbone like trills.

He starts removing her clothing, painfully slowly, focused on kissing all the skin he exposes, a freckled canvas.

She feels tongue and warmth, fast breaths everywhere.

There’s no way she can handle this pace.

She unbuckles his belt and runs her thigh strategically against the taut denim below. Up. Down. His reaction is mobility.

Yes.

They stumble naked onto her couch, settling into a crook and staying there: a quick and steady gliding.

The knowledge is as irrefutable and smooth as the spread of her hands on his chest; they know it won’t take long tonight. They’ll have time for more.

In a striking chaos between spines, they come together, quick and hard, his staggered breaths in her ear, her soft hum at an erupting coursing of muscle and care.

He doesn’t stop touching and trembling for a while. When he disconnects from her physically, he lays a hand over hers and asks, “Are you okay with this?"

“Yes,” she tells him, watching her Christmas lights flicker sporadically like every nerve in her body. It seems like years since she’s embodied this degree of certainty.

His lips brush across hers and linger there. “We should go to bed,” he mumbles into her mouth before kissing her again.

“Okay,” she agrees in a whisper. But she draws him closer and settles further into her plush couch.

He looks at her and laughs softly. “You’re not moving.”

“I’m too comfortable,” she mumbles.

Jack looks at the tree now. The few glass ornaments she has catch the small lights and create a prism of wavelengths and shadows in her living room.

“Then let’s stay here,” he says.

He finds the blanket draped over the arm of her couch and covers them both.

Later, as she hears his breathing steady, she tries to imagine a better way to wake up on Christmas morning.

She falls asleep, unsuccessful.
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