Disclaimer: I don't own any of the people in this story, as usual.
A/N: I'm not really sure if anyone is still interested in this "trilogy" but I figured that someone might be curious enough to read it. If you are new to this, then I suggest that you read both Drop to Zero and Someday, since they both occur before this story. Hopefully to those who are still following (if there are any), it won't disappoint, and to those who are new, it will be something interesting enough to pass the time!
A/N2: The italicized part at the beginning of this chapter is the same as the Epilogue that was added to Someday. It's a little memory refresher for everyone. Enjoy!
Chris was sitting in the hard, plastic chair that was situated next to Stephanie's bed, watching in awe as she held their infant son, Ash Edward Irvine, in her arms. Chris watched on with concern, since his wife had technically died not any more than an hour ago. He smiled at her though, since he couldn't help it. Every time that he looked at her with his son…it was just a beautiful moment for him. He finally felt as if his life was coming together.
"He looks almost exactly like you." Stephanie said quietly. Chris smirked and leaned closer to her.
"What are you talking about? I don't look like that." He said sarcastically. She looked up at him and rolled her eyes. Chris chuckled right as Batista and Shawn re-entered the room. Chris turned to them.
"How is Jay?" he asked, the ever-familiar worry line starting to crease through his forehead.
"He's okay." Batista said, walking over to one of the other chairs and sitting down, Shawn leaned back against the wall. "Pretty banged up, but he's okay."
"Did you tell him?" Chris asked. Batista nodded.
"Shawn explained it," he said. Chris glanced at Shawn and nodded. Shawn was another thing that concerned him. When he finally went home, he was going to be greeted with an empty house filled with toys and tons of Cameron's things…not to mention he still had to plan the funeral…Chris knew that it was going to be extremely hard for him, especially since the birth of Ash. He was going to have his own responsibilities, and not always be able to be there for him when he needed him.
"I'm just glad that Hunter is finally dead. No one else will have to suffer from him. That's what I was aiming for." Batista said.
"That's what you got, and I am extremely thankful for your help." Chris said. "We both are." He added, looking over at Stephanie. At that moment, the door cracked open a little, and a limping Jack Bauer hobbled into the room, dressed in a horrible hospital gown. He was walking with his IV in his hand. He turned and looked at the group.
"What? You didn't invite me to the party?" he asked, smiling. The rest of the group chuckled.
"Are you alright?" Stephanie asked from the bed. Jack smiled at her and shrugged off her concern.
"I'm fine, just trying to hide from the crazy nurses in this place. I thought that being a security guard was bad…" he trailed off. He walked over to Stephanie. "So that is your son, huh?" he asked, looking at Chris. Chris beamed with pride again.
"Yup, that's him. Ash, say hi to Jack." He said. Jack smirked down at the child, clutching his stomach.
"He's cute." He said. Just then the nurse walked into the room.
"Mr. Bauer, you are not supposed to be out of your bed!" she hissed at him. Jack looked at Chris and rolled his eyes. "You're supposed to be resting!"
"I am perfectly fine." Jack said, "I was just catching up with a few friends…"
"You can catch up later, right now you need to rest!" The nurse yelled at him. Jack held up his hands in surrender.
"Fine, fine, I'm coming." He said.
"Be careful Jack." Chris said. Jack nodded.
"Careful is my middle name." He said, and suddenly winced because he had moved too fast. Chris smirked at him.
"Right." He said, as Jack was dragged from the room. After that, Batista stood.
"I need to be going, it's late and I would like some sleep." He said. Chris nodded.
"I know how you feel. Hopefully I'll get there soon." He said, shaking Batista's hand gingerly, making sure to be gentle with his hand. Batista smiled. "Keep in touch, man." Chris said.
"I will." He said, and exited the room. Chris leaned back in his chair.
"And then there were three…" Chris said. Stephanie was staring at Shawn.
"Shawn…" she said quietly, seeing the look on his face.
"I'm fine." He said automatically looking at her, clearly aware of the tears that were streaming down his face.
"You're not fine." She insisted. "You watched your son-"
"That's not important right now." Shawn said, cutting her off. There's nothing we can do about that. I just want to make sure that you're alright." He said.
"Me?" she asked incredulously. "I'm fine." She said. "Thanks to you, Dave, Jack, and Chris, I am perfectly fine." Shawn nodded.
"I'm glad." He said. An awkward silence fell over the room at that point. "I'm going to go and get a snack or something so you guys can talk." He said.
"See you soon, Shawn." Chris said as Shawn headed out the door. Chris shook his head and turned to Stephanie. "Alone at last." He said.
"I'm really concerned about him." Stephanie said. Chris sighed.
"I know. I'm concerned about him too, but he'll be okay. We'll both be there for him and he'll get out of the slump that he's in." Chris said. He leaned back and closed his eyes.
"Day's catching up, isn't it?" she asked him. Chris nodded.
"Like you wouldn't believe." He said. "You know what we should do?" he asked suddenly.
"What?" Stephanie asked him. Chris smiled without opening his eyes.
"We should finally go on our vacation to the Caribbean like we always talked about." Chris said. Stephanie sighed.
"That sounds nice." She said. Chris re-opened his eyes and looked at her.
"I love you." He said. She smiled.
"I love you, too." She said. Chris stared at her, studying her face and her hair, just the way she was sitting and holding their son…
He couldn't shake the feeling of uneasiness that he had as he stared at his wife.
He couldn't shake the feeling that something big was going to happen to them.
Something so big…
He blocked it out of his mind, and smiled at Stephanie.
He was just becoming paranoid about everything from the events of the day again.
9:00 He had never really been sure when his life had fallen apart.
All he knew was that it had definitely happened. And it had happened without him being able to stop it. His whole world had come crashing down around him so quickly that he had lost his footing, and now he was here, in this dump, wasting his life and money away on booze that took away the pain that her memory brought him.
He took another swig from the bottle of Jack Daniels that rested on his coffee table.
Since he had thrown their mattress out into the yard and burned it, along with every sheet set that they had owned, he no longer had a bed to sleep in, and therefore resided on the couch. He wished that he could've seen the look on her face through that tinted vehicle window. That might've made him feel a little better.
9:16 He took another swig from the bottle.
But then again, who was he kidding? By pulling that little stunt and not being able to pull his voice down to a normal volume when speaking to her, he had royally screwed himself. She had taken away the only thing that he had been living for. She had taken him with her. Their son.
He took another swig from the bottle.
He knew that he should have seen it coming, hell he had almost asked for it by letting them spend time together. He pressed his palm to his eyes and sat back against the couch. He wished that he could bore out the image that had been burned there, behind his eyes. The image of them together…together in bed.
9:32 He took another swig from the bottle.
In a way, he almost wished that he could have seen himself in that moment…when he had stumbled in on them…He only remembered how he felt. Shock first…and then…anger, boiling anger that just completely blurred his vision. He honestly couldn't remember what he had said or done after that, but based on the fact of where he was sitting right now, he was sure that it hadn't been good.
He took another swig from the bottle.
Absently, he ran a hand over his unshaven face. What would she say if she saw him now? Would she apologize to him? Admit that she had made a stupid mistake? Ask him to take her back? After all, he had been the one to file for the divorce. He had done it in almost a numb state, the same state that he was in right now. He hadn't really known what to do, only knowing that every time that he would see her, he would see them. So he had taken himself out of her life, and she had taken their son out of his.
9:48 He took another swig from the bottle.
The liquid burned as it tore through the back of his throat. He closed his eyes and thought about everything that he once had…and everything that he had lost. He clenched his hand and looked down at the scars that were still there from that day. He had managed to be happy after that, although he had never been sure how. Now, happiness seemed to be only a figment of his imagination.
He took another swig from the bottle.
He grabbed the picture frame that he had stuffed down in between the cushions of the couch, and moved it into his lap. It was the only picture that he had of him…of Ash. He was only about two in the picture, but it was Ash all the same. He felt the tears coming to his eyes again as he ran a hand over the broken glass that littered the frame. He wished that he could hold his son, just one more time…Just for a moment.
He put the bottle back on the coffee table.
What would he say if he saw what his father had become…had wasted away to? Would he cower away in fear? Or would he simply smile his boyish smile and accept it? He knew that she would kill him if she knew that he had been spending his afternoons watching him play outside the daycare center that he went to. Of course he wouldn't be able to do that anymore, seeing as he was starting the "big boy" school today. He was jumping into the pond of kindergarten fish now, farther away from him.
He grabbed the bottle and was about to finish it off, when he thought better of it.
Instead, he tossed it with as much strength as he could muster and watched with satisfaction as it shattered against the wall.
Chris Irvine looked down again at the picture of his son, and put his head in his hands.
9:59 "Damn you, Stephanie." He muttered. "Damn you to hell."
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