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Out Takes: Life After

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Chapter Nine

'So far so good' Jack thought as he brushed his teeth taking double the normal length of time hoping that when he emerged from the ensuite bathroom off of his bedroom that his wife would already be asleep. After the game ended on tv he had avoided Laura while JJ got his pj's on by locking himself in their bathroom pretending to be using it for a good twenty minutes. Knowing his son as he did JJ only needed ten minutes to get his pj's on. Once out he made a beeline to his son's room where he spent the last hour trying to keep the boy awake reading to him something he hadn't done in over a year.
JJ had outgrown a bedtime story but tonight the young boy seemed to enjoy it as much as Jack did.

Rinsing his mouth out Jack turned off the tap and head for the bathroom door knowing he couldn't put off going to bed any longer. He turned the lights off as he walked out the door. Entering into the bedroom Jack could see Laura was awake setting up in bed. He could tell she was waiting for him. He got into bed quickly and then rolled over leaving his back to his wife hoping she would take the hint and leave him alone.

"Jack sweetie we need to talk" Laura said looking at her husband back. This was getting ridiculous Jack was acting like a child pouting, and she had no idea why.


"I'm tired can't we talk in the morning?" Jack ask planning to wake up early and leave before Laura woke up putting off any type of conversation until he felt ready for one. Not right now when he felt ready to snap at her at any moment.

"JJ will be awake then and by the way you're acting I don't think him being awake to hear us argue is a good idea"

"Why would we argue?" Jack ask with his back still to Laura not wanting to see her face needing to be looking anywhere else then at her knowing if he did he would lose his temper. No matter what the CIA ordered him to do, they weren't the ones having to live with the woman that played him for a fool, that caused the death of fellow agents, that almost had gotten their child killed. No it was better if Laura would just let this drop.

"Because you are being a jerk is why?" Laura shot back not being able to stop her hurt for replying. The man laying next to her was acting nothing like her husband of the last twenty years. "I'm sorry that you're having a hard time at work, but don't you dare come into our house and treat me like it's my fault"


** This is where the out take starts


"It is" Jack yelled back not even realizing what he just said as he turned to look his wife in the eyes for truly the first time tonight without trying to hide his hurt.

"What?" Laura looked at him as if he had gone mad "how in the world is it my fault you're in trouble with the CIA?" she was not going to let him blame her she had nothing to do with the CIA.

"Because the leaker was you" Jack threw back at her knowing he was getting himself into a lot of trouble right now but not being able to just cool down his temper. *
Laura was laughing now knowing Jack had lost his mind. She knew nothing about his work how could she have ever leaked any information about his work. The only thing she knew was about a Project Christmas he put Sydney in and she demanded he stop that. She didn't know the details of the project only that it would help Sydney defend herself if needed. Laura herself had told no one of this project, and she never would. Had it gotten out Jack has used Project Christmas on Sydney is that why he was in trouble?

"Jack if this is about you using Project Christmas on Sydney, I've never told anyone. I don't even really know what the project truly was." Laura defend herself with wanting to get this all out in the open, so they could move pass this. Also, so Jack could find out where the true leak came from.

"It is about Project Christmas alright, and you did leak it" Jack said as he was able to start actually thinking straight again not letting his temper rule him "before the accident you had an affair and told this person all about that project"

"No" Laura whispered not believing she could have ever done such a thing. She loved her husband and children too much to risk them for a meaningless fling. She couldn't even think for a second that it had meant something more than that. Because Laura's whole world was Jack and the kids even if at that time it was only one child they shared.

At any other time Jack would have pulled Laura into his arms at the devastated look on her face, not now though he just wanted as far away from her as possible. He did not even regret that it was he who caused that look on her face. Because his own heart had been ripped out and stomped on this last week over and over as he had to read first the Derevko file then give said file to his superiors. Having to search his own attic for information on his wife, finding out what he thought were gifts that proved his love were really being used to help kill good men broke another part of his already broken heart.
Not to mention the fact that Laura had been physically unfaithful as well, that a baby he had mourned and blame himself for death for over twenty yeas might not have been his child at all.

Jack had a hurricane of emotion going through his mind at the moment and no room for pity or sympathy for his wife, who had caused all his troubles even thought she didn't remember doing any of them.


"I couldn't have" Laura whispered again "I would not have" she almost yelled out that caught Jack's attention. "It's lies whoever is telling you this they are lying" Laura defended herself with.

Jack looked up into her eyes Laura could see all the hurt in his eyes she went to pull him into a hug, but he just got out of the bed not wanting her touch. Watching him retreat from her felt like a punch to the gut.

"There not lying Laura, you cheated on me. You leaked the information about Project Christmas. There is proof" Jack said backing away from their bed "I wasn't support to tell you act like everything was normal, but I can't" Jack said this then headed for the bedroom door he couldn't stay in their room any longer he just wanted away from the woman he once loved more than anything.

"If that's true why haven't they arrested me?" Laura asked grasping at straws to prove her innocents.

"Because you have no memories of doing it" Jack answered as his hand was on the door knob "I'm trying to get you a pardon"

Laura felt her heart start to beat again hearing Jack say he was trying to help her. He must still love her if he was trying to stop her from being put in jail. They just needed time to let this hurt go away that they both were experiencing right now. Given time Laura prayed they could get past this. Laura did not want to ask what proof the CIA had that she was guilt. If Jack was trying to get her a pardon they had to have proof and Jack wouldn't be acting this way if he didn't know she had done what they said.

"Is this why you've been gone this week?" Laura asked tears running down her face.

"Yes, I've been really busy trying to clean up the mess you've made" Jack curtly replied.

"I didn't do it" Laura yelled back not caring if her loud voice wake up JJ for that moment. "I would never cheat on you Jack, I love you"

"But she didn't" was Jack's answer back "maybe at the end she did. It was all a lie"

Laura was confused now what was Jack saying? That before the accident she hadn't loved him? That was a lie Laura had seen the pictures from their wedding the ones from before that of them dating. They had Sydney just because there was a affair doesn't mean that she hadn't loved Jack.

"Just because of a affair doesn't mean she well I didn't love you" Laura said trying to help her husband through this hurt clearly heard in his voice and written on his face.

"If it was only that" Jack whisper then turned to the door again "I will sleep in Sydney's old room tonight. I will be gone before you wake in the morning. I will be back tomorrow night"

Laura just nodded her head and watched Jack closed their door after he left, it felt like her whole world was ending. It did not seem like Jack would be able to forgive her for an old betrayal she had nothing to do with. It wasn't fair at all, but yet how could she really blame Jack he had just learned she had betrayed him and like the wonderful husband he was, he was trying to save her from going to jail. Could she blame him if he did not want to continue their marriage? Blame him? No, be hurt beyond belief if he left her, yes she would be. Laura did not even what to think how this could affect the kids.

All because of something Laura had done over twenty years ago, something the old her had done. It felt so unfair to be punished for something she could not remember doing. But all the same she must have Jack would not let anyone place blame on her if it wasn't true, he loved her to to much for that.


Jack was true to his word he left before sunrise the next morning getting into work earlier than most. He kept himself busy doing paperwork something he usually hated, but it gave him something else to focus on so right now he loved it. He did not want to relive the conversation he had with Laura last night. Jack knew if the CIA heard about that he would be in serious trouble for breaking his orders.

But like all the orders from the CIA in the past that he found were unreasonable he just didn't listen to them and hoped he could explain why he did what he felt was right at a later time if he was questioned on it. He had only ever been questioned on not obey orders a few times each time coming out on top.

Before he left the house this morning Jack had checked on JJ the little boy was sleeping peacefully. It brought tears to Jack's eyes not knowing just how much longer JJ would be able to sleep a careful night. JJ's world consistent of his home life and Jack did not know for how much longer that would be the way it was now. It would be hard on his son to have his Father move out. It would be hard on Jack too, he had loved coming home to his wife and son night after night.

Jack did not know after Laura received her pardon if he could keep up this charade that had become their marriage. Right now he was sure Laura wanted to stay married, but who's to know if after a few months of living with him treating her poorly she would. Jack wasn't sure he could treat her anything else while they were alone. It was something he felt shame for but wasn't able so far to stop himself from doing.

He needed to talk to someone to get his feelings of anger out before he took them out on Laura again. And the only person Jack knew at the CIA he could trust not to go and tell his superiors of what he had done last night was Agent Vaughn. The younger man was willingly to keep the secret of just who Laura Bristow truly was, even after knowing she had a part in his Father's death. He was a man Jack knew could be trusted with his secret.


When Director Bristow had asked him to lunch this afternoon Vaughn was sure they would talk about the Derevko mess. But he also had thought they would get to eat in a seat down restaurant instead of getting drive thru from a burger place and eating outside on a picnic table. Jack has just explained he had to be sure there was no listen devices nearby which was why their cell phones were left in the car.

"Agent Vaughn I know I can trust you" Jack said then added "but what I'm about to tell you could get me in trouble for breaking orders for the CIA so I don't have to explain how upset I would be if this converstation were to get out"

"I won't tell a soul" Vaughn answered hoping Jack hadn't killed his wife and needed help getting rid of the body.

"I lost it last night with Laura" Jack stopped to take a sip of his drink "I had been ordered by the CIA to go home and pretend everything was fine I couldn't."

Vaughn nodded understanding how Jack could lose control how could the CIA not be concern that they were ordering a man who had his life just broken in a million piece back to the arms on the one who did it? Jack should have been made to see a therapist first to help him deal with the emotional upheaval he was going through not order to go right back into the thick of it.

"Is she okay" Vaughn asked wanting to get that out first knowing he did not condone a man beating women but in this case he could see how anyone could lose control. He just hoped Laura was okay.

"Yes physically she fine, she's upset, I told her she had an affair and leaked information to her lover." Jack pronounced "that the CIA knew she had done this and were investigating her"

"That sounds close to the truth" Vaughn stated knowing that keeping this a secret could hurt his career but right now that didn't matter. What did was trying to salvage the Bristows life and even perhaps their marriage down the road.

"I have to go home tonight but at least now Laura knows why I don't want to be alone with her" Jack informed his friend. "I know I'm not being fair to her, but how can I?"

Vaughn did not have an answer to that question at least not one that wouldn't make him seem not uncaring. Telling Jack to stuck it up and do his job was out of line. The man had come to him for help or just really maybe to vent to someone.

"Jack I've been thinking about the Derevko file. It doesn't make sense why there were so many things missing" Vaughn began.

"You mean why her handlers names are ranks were not noted. Why Derevko's family isn't in it? Why my name wasn't clearly stated in it anywhere?" Jack calmly stated he was a strategist after all he noticed things like that were missing from the file that night after Agent Vaughn had gone to bed. It was one of the reasons he turned Laura in. Jack knew whoever had let the file out was looking for Derevko they wanted something from her. Maybe just to unearth her past and destroy her life, but Jack was not taking any chances with his children being in the crossfire.

"Yes all those things" Vaughn agreed.

"I know what you're thinking, is someone after Laura?" Jack ask both men forgetting all about Jack confess of a few minutes ago. "I need you to look into it for me, I'm not allowed to"

"I will" Vaughn said then shoved a french fry into his mouth. Jack was trusting him to protect his family and Vaughn knew how much trust he was having put on him and just what Jack would do to him if he failed.


Chapter Ten

If someone was after Laura Bristow aka Irina Derevko they were good at covering their tracks. Vaughn knew as well as Jack that the CIA was keeping an eye on Laura to see if she had contact with anyone suspicious. Director Bristow was being kept away from the investigation of his Wife and Vaughn would feed him information he was able to glean from other Agents.

It seemed that they had sent in Agents from other departments who were not working under Jack to head up the investigation. That was a smart move but all it did was keep the person who knew Derevko the best out of helping them.

Vaughn what had found out was no new information had been discovered. All they could find was that Laura Bristow was a kindergarten teacher whose friends were other teachers and other than that stuck mostly to herself or spending time with her children. Vaughn had not told Jack, but the CIA had even run a background check and were following Sydney Bristow around making sure she wasn't a plant as her Mother once had been. Vaughn had felt that was going too far, Ms. Bristow had never left the country much less was a spy. The background check on her boyfriend Daniel Hacht, Vaughn understood the man check out though, he was focused on being a doctor.

Even little JJ Bristow was thoroughly check out or more importantly all his friends and their parents had been. JJ himself wasn't being thought of as anything but a little boy who looked just like his namesake.
It made Vaughn sick the way Jack's family and the man himself was being treated as a threat. Jack was being watched in case he had been in on it with his wife from the beginning. Vaughn knew Jack hadn't told just who had given him the file so at least he himself wasn't being watched.