Chapter one: Meetings and Meanings
Sunlight filtered into a hotel room somewhere in Santa Monica, waking the redhead stretched out crossways on the queen size bed who let out a muffled groan as the pounding behind his swollen eye lids woke him the rest of the way. Now, Reno Kiribani was used to waking up with a hangover, Gods know he’d done it often enough, but what was new was waking up with a blond man’s arm flopped over his side, the man in question, familiar to him only through a few liquor-soaked flashes of memory, still fast asleep. “Wha?” the sound of the voice was raspy with sleep, eyes prying themselves open with much effort.
The one beside him sat up as well, looking equally sleepy. “Who are you, and what are you doing in my hotel room?” the voice belonged to Jack Bauer, CTU agent who had become famous for all of the imaginative ways in which he could kill another human being. He didn’t remember anything but a few scattered bits and pieces of the previous night, though he supposed the fact that he was sticky and stank of sex and semen should tell the story rather easily.
“Oh Gods, I stink, I’m sore, and there’s blood on the bed. What the fuck did we do last night?” Reno’s spiky red bangs hung down in his face as he got up to head toward the shower, realizing suddenly how sore he was when he did. “Oh God. . .you didn’t. . .we didn’t. . .” he couldn’t hear the muttering behind him through the rushing horror.
“I’m not gay, I’m not gay, I’m not gay.” The words were muttered by Jack as the man resisted the urge to bang his head against the wall.
“Sleeping with me doesn’t make you gay, yo. I got both, it makes you bi.” Reno was about tempted to throw a pillow at him, he didn’t like being thought of as anything less than normal, and he especially didn’t like the fact that he’d let someone take him there.
“That’s a comfort.” Jack drawled, wanting nothing more than to beat the son of a bitch for being so damn smug right in that moment. Right before he leaned over and quietly vomited, though if asked he would say it had been the hangover.
Reno glared at him. “Well fuck you very much for implying I’m some kind of a freak because I was born the way I was, asshole.” He huffed in an offended manner before he marched into the bathroom, red ponytail flying out behind the slender frame like a warning flag, carried by the wind of his passing. He didn’t like it being said or even implied that he was such, and Jack, however unintentionally, had done just that.
Jack groaned, walking to the door. “Look, I didn’t mean to imply that, ok? You’re not a freak, I’m the one that’s fucked in the head.” His proclamation was met by a bar of soap flying out the bathroom door and nailing him in the forehead. Ok, maybe vomiting when the guy had made that announcement hadn’t been the best idea, especially when he seemed to be rather temperamental and the slim musculature as well as the sharp, agile motions said the man probably knew at least a few dozen ways to kill, himself.
“Don’t even bother to fucking call me.” Reno barked as he got himself showered and redressed, marching out the door. To tell the truth, though he wasn’t about to admit it, he was more than a little freaked out at the thought that he’d gotten drunk enough to let someone have the hole in front, he’d shot at people for trying it before, no one ever got to touch that. Thought admittedly Jack was the kind of guy he’d go for if ever did decide to let someone risk it.
Jack let out another groan. “Great, just great. I have managed to piss off a guy I don’t even know and have managed to sleep with him and not even remember the previous night in the bargain. Fuck-my-life.”
He got himself showered and dressed as well, running a comb through his hair, noting how red his blue eyes looked in the mirror. “God I’m hung over. Kim is going to bitch me out.” His thoughts turned to his daughter. She tended to be extraordinarily protective of her father and had no problem at all with speaking up if something he had done displeased her. He swept his fingers through his hair and shook his head. He was badass, yes, but even he had to admit he was somewhat out of his depth trying to deal with the situation he’d found himself in.
Another head shake, and he got his things together to head out the door. He didn’t have any assignments for the day that he knew of, he was supposed to meet his daughter for lunch, and then he had every intention of going and getting drunk, again, maybe adding a few other illicit substances to that, and going back home, alone. He had no intention of repeating the previous night’s experience. “Maybe it’s time I quit drinking. Wait, no, not going to do that, never going to do that, I must be losing my mind to even think about it.”
With one last look in the mirror he walked out, locking the door of the room behind him and heading to check out.
Reno slammed his hands into the steering wheel as he pulled away from the hotel, aghast at himself. “Dammit, I can’t believe I did that! That’s just.” He shook his head, teal eyes with the faint gleam of mako in their depths closing briefly as he tried to remember the previous night, and not having a whole lot of success. “I should have stopped drinking after the first half a fifth of scotch, and I sure as fuck shouldn’t have smoked that blunt, or taken some of those fucking pills. That was not the smartest thing I have ever fucking done.”
The fact that he hadn’t seen his own world in three years hadn’t helped a thing, he was, in all ways, an alien. It had taken a good bit of finagling for him to find a way to get the documentation to be able to work on this world at all, and that had been through people he’d managed to do favors for. He missed his friends, he missed his apartment in Edge, missed his life, but there was little he could do about it now but survive. And he’d done a fairly good job of it.
Now, his loneliness had led him to do something foolish, and he was kicking himself for it. “Rude would tell me I was being an idiot, he hates when I do this impulsive shit that gets me into trouble, and I have a bad fucking habit of it. Getting shitfaced and sleeping with a fucking stranger has to be among the biggest mistakes, though.” He lifted up his jacket to toss it into the back, a business card fluttering to the floor of the car.
“Jack Bauer. . .CTU.” Reno read the name off the card. “Oh, fuck me. . .” the last three words were a faint moan. He knew who Jack Bauer was, though through reputation more than anything else. The man was as borderline sociopathic as he himself was, and that was only the start of it. Add to that the number of substances the man used and abused on a daily basis and it was a situation that just begged to be mocked.
“Thank God Laney’s not here, she would laugh at me so damn hard it isn’t even funny.” He finally got to the airport, dropped off the car, and got ready to fly back home. Conventions weren’t his thing at all, but as a Private Investigator he did what he could to rustle up contacts so he could keep his business going. It was the one he was best suited for after spending multiple years of his life as a Turk, the black operations arm of ShinRa Incorporated. “I have a few fucking days off, thank God, I can take them to get my fucking head together so I don’t do something like that again. Sleeping with Jack Bauer wasn’t one of my fucking brightest moves.”
He finally just stopped thinking about it, because if he didn’t he was going to drive himself insane. “Ok, just calm down, calm down. No sense gettin’ all up in fuckin’ arms about it now, chances are nothin’ will come of it, I bet I’m not fertile anyway, so nothin’ to worry about at all. Just forget it happened, and forget I ever met him, I can go back to my fuckin’ life and forget any of this ever happened.”
Resolved in that much he climbed onto the plane to head back to New York. The flight was several hours, several hours in which he had some time to actual think about the situation at hand. Of course it wouldn’t work out that way, he just didn’t realize that yet. It wouldn’t be for two more months that he would, at which time there would be an even more utter and total freak out than he had upon discovering that he had slept with the CTU agent in the first place.
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000Jack meanwhile had met Kim for lunch before heading back to the house. He was quiet, mostly because he was half afraid of her asking him why he looked like he’d just crawled out of bed and smelled like a whorehouse. He knew if she asked there were going to be questions he didn’t know how to answer, at least not to her. “Don’t ask, Kim, just trust me, don’t ask, you do not want to know.” He ignored her look because he knew if he said a word it would only get him in trouble.
The office building was dark inside, the only thing that could be seen inside a pair of round, pale blue eyes. “I called you here because we have a new mission, men.” The room was suddenly brightly lit by the flame of an expensive butane lighter, just for a moment, outlining the round and stocky figure and a blood red suit, blond hair wreathed in the smoke from the cigar he’d just lit. If one had the senses for it they would see golden eyes in a shadow behind him, gleaming in the darkness.
President Reginald ShinRa the second smirked at the faces around the room. None of them were familiar to him, but it didn’t really much matter. They were all useful in their own ways, men that were as intelligent and hardened as the Turks he had depended on when he’d been home. And he had plans here, as he’d had at home. Mother willed it, it would be done.
Take this world for me, my son. The words were whispered in his mind, wrapping around his consciousness like a soft whisper. Take it, make it ours. What I failed to do on Gaia, I will do here, after all, there are no Children of the Planet to stop me here.