agentrez (agentrez) wrote in 24_fanfic,

New 24 Fanfiction: I Don't Know You Anymore

Originally posted by agentrez at New 24 Fanfiction: "I Don't Know You Anymore"
Title: I Don't Know You Anymore
Summary: A short fic that covers Jack's thoughts during his emotional reunion with Audrey in Live Another Day episode 5. Depending on how the finale turns out, I will probably do another chapter that gives the same scene from Audrey's perspective. The title comes from a song by Savage Garden that reminded me so much of that scene. I highly recommend listening to it while reading this fic.
Rating: PG
Characters: Jack Bauer, Audrey Boudreau
Disclaimer: If I owned the characters, Jack never would have walked away from Audrey at the end of season 6.
Spoilers: Through Live Another Day episode 5
Note: Enjoy and please, pretty please review!

I sit in the room waiting, hoping that the president will agree to my plan before it's too late. The door opens, and I expect it to be someone on the president's staff, either to tell me that the president has changed his mind or to take me back to holding.

Instead, I look up and there she is. After all these years, there she is standing right in front of me, looking even more beautiful than I remembered.

"It's okay, Tom," I hear her say to the Secret Service agent who accompanied her. He closes the door and leaves the two of us alone.

I just stare at her for a few long moments. My heart is pounding and I find myself at a loss for words. "You shouldn't be here," I say eventually. Why, I'm not so sure. I tell myself it's for her sake, but the truth is, I'm too afraid of all the emotions her presence might dig up.

She looks visibly nervous as she starts to speak. She stammers something about having a lead on Al Harazi's location and an operation being underway. Normally, I would have been skeptical of how it could be that easy and wondering if the field agents were walking into a trap. But at that moment I barely process the message, because I am almost mesmerized by the messenger.

"That's...that's good news," I manage.

I am determined to keep my distance, but I feel myself stepping closer toward her then. She steps closer to me as well, then stops as her eyes well up with tears. From the look on her face, I wonder for a moment if she is going to slap me across the face, and part of me wishes she would. With everything I put her through, it's the least of what I deserve. But she doesn't. She just chokes back tears and tells me that she doesn't even know where to begin.

"Me neither," I say softly. There are so many things I have wanted to say to her for years, things I never thought I would get the chance to tell her. But as I look at her now I don't know where to begin, or what I can possibly say that will make things any easier for either of us.

"You''re married," I stammer finally. She nods ever so slightly, the expression on her face almost apologetic. As if she has anything to apologize for.

"Are you happy?" I ask gently. "Is he good to you?"

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I want her to answer. Of course, I hope that she says yes. I want nothing more than for her to be happy. G-d only knows she deserves it. These past few years, while I've been in exile, it's been comforting to be able to watch her and hear her voice on tv. As far as I can tell, she's mostly recovered from her ordeal in China, and at least on TV she seems like the same strong-willed, passionate woman I fell in love with. At the same time, it's been painful, because it reminds me of the life I wanted with her, a life I came to accept that I could never have. As much as I hope she's happy, sometimes I'm hit with pangs of jealousy and regret when I see her wedding ring.

She doesn't answer. Instead, she walks toward me, desperately choking back tears. "I know that I should have defended you more when I heard about those things..." she begins.

"Audrey, no. Stop!" I say quickly. I look down slightly, unable to look her in the eye. "Everything they said, it's true," I admit.

She looks up but does not back away, a confused expression on her face. "It was complicated, but...I killed those people," I say softly.

She doesn't recoil with disgust like I expected her to. She just looks at me with wide eyes, as if she's willing it not to be true.

I know that I owe her a better explanation than "it was complicated", but at the moment it's all I can muster. I don't know how to explain Renee to her, for starters. I promised Audrey when I left her all those years ago that I would always love her with all my heart. And I do still love her - that much I'm more sure of than ever. But Renee meant a lot to me too, and I don't know how to explain it, even to myself, let alone to Audrey. And it wouldn't be fair to even try to explain how I feel. I've already caused Audrey so much pain; the last thing I want to do now is get in the way of her marriage.

"I'm sorry," I say softly. "I'm so sorry."

Those words feel strange and unfamiliar. For the past four years, I've been adamant that I had nothing to apologize for. I believed that what I was doing was right at the time, and I have stubbornly refused to second-guess the decisions I made that day. The way I saw it, I'm the one paying the price and I don't owe anyone an apology. But I never thought I'd see Audrey again. I never thought I would have to look her in the eye and admit that I failed to live up to the man she thought I was when she decided to risk her life to get me out of China.

A tear rolls down her cheek, and I want nothing more than to wipe it away and hold her. But I can't. She isn't mine to hold anymore.

Suddenly, the room feels like it's 100 degrees, and I feel like I can barely breathe. "You should go," I say quickly. She protests, but I insist. "You need to go. Audrey you need to go now," I say firmly. "Now!" I say more forcefully than necessary as she starts to back away. She quickly turns and walks out the door, struggling not to lose it completely.

I know I'm not being fair to her. After everything she sacrificed for me, I owe it to her to explain the decisions I made.

Part of me wants to run after her, call her back into the room and tell her everything I've wanted to say to her for all these years, knowing that I will never get another chance. But I just can't.
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