My first story in a loooooooooooooong while. Just had to post cause this idea for a random rabble was floating around my head for a long time, so please read and review.

Jack Bauer was sitting in a moving van, looking out the window, wondering. He thought he heard a voice. Was someone talking to him? He turned to the other occupants of the vehicle, but none of their mouths were moving. Jack turned back to the window, lost in his thoughts.

"Jack? Will you please stop playing with that lighter? All the clicking is getting on my nerves."

Jack barely heard whomever it was that had talked. But he looked down at his hands anyway. He noticed that he was clutching a small, red lighter, turning the flame on and off with a click produced by his thumb. When had he gotten the object out? The fact that he couldn't remember should have been worrying but the CTU veteran couldn't manage to care.

"I'm sorry Jack."

"Don't be. Believe me, it'll be a relief."

How long ago was it that he'd uttered those words? How long had it been since he'd been rescued from China only to be traded off to terrorists?

Jack turned the lighter on again. Only this time, he was dumb enough to look at the small flame. The flickering fire sent him into a horrible memory…

There was pain. Kicking, screaming, punching, kicking. Jack tried desperately to shield his face and head but the rare hard boot made it past his defenses and struck him hard in the temple. His vision was blurry, he was beaten and bloodied, and there were probably a couple of things broken, but Jack didn't say a word. A face suddenly appeared in front of his own and Jack struggled to get a look at the man, so that he could seek him out later and have his revenge. The face was angry, yet pleased at seeing him suffer. He hated that satisfaction with a violent loathing.

"Once you talk all of this will be over. Just tell us what we want to know and the pain will stop."

Liar. The Chinese man should have known that out of all people, Jack Bauer, would not be so stupid and fall into that trick. Once they had what they wanted his purpose would expire and there would be no reason to keep him alive. It was the basic lesson at CTU and in life in general. You keep the status quo as long as you can.

"You cannot possibly be waiting for your friends! They won't come and get you. You're just a dog they trained to go fetch and come when called. You're nothing more than a tool."

Jack hated that he was right. Why hadn't they come by now? Hadn't someone said anything? But that was his life. The mission was everything; it held priority over everything else. If the mission was compromised, if the plans fell apart, then you took the fall. A whole country couldn't take the fall, it was unheard of. Unspeakable. So you took the fall and hoped that you'd served good enough to be considered worth rescuing. That was the summary of his job. And while he was thinking all these things, someone snatched his arm and brought it near something hot. Jack tried to fight back but starvation, exhaustion, pain and generally the whole world seemed to be against him. His hand was kept there for what seemed like ages, but in reality was only seconds of blinding pain. A howl escaped his lips and his arm was dropped. The last thing he saw before merciful darkness enveloped his mind was the man throwing whatever it was that had been used to burn his hand into Jack's line of sight. It was nothing more that a stupid lighter.

"Jack? Will you snap out of it? Have you even listened to a word I've said?"

Jack mumbled an apology, silently thanking the voice that had snapped him out of his flashback.

"What were you doing anyway?"

"Just thinking about some things."

"Really? Where have you been the past week? You're always thinking about something. Because if something is bothering you, we can always schedule another appointment with Dr. C-"

"No, I'm fine really. I was just thinking about Kim and Chloe. You know, the usual stuff."

Jack marveled that his nose didn't grow a mile and bonk the other man in the head. It was protocol that all victims of torture or other traumatic events see the department psychologist. Jack had only gone twice. The first time he'd barely talked about anything, just sat there and glared daggers at the unfortunate woman's head. The second time though, he'd blabbed through the entire session. He'd talked about his family, about his job and about how he was so glad to be back and alive that he had time for nothing else. Of course every word that came out of his mouth then, and a good portion of now, was a lie but it wasn't like he was going to be taking a lie detector test soon. If anything at all, the terrible experience in China had taught him to keep his mouth shut. And even when the woman had signed his 'he is mentally stable to get back to work' papers after much insistence, he knew that she knew that he wasn't all right. In fact, everyone did. They all wanted a hero so bad that they would pretend that he was fine.

They wanted to sleep safely at night, thinking that they had someone courageous and strong fighting for them. Jack had to laugh at that one. He couldn't even guarantee his own safety half the time. But who was he to tell them otherwise? So he went along with their pretending and told them day in and day out that he was fine. It was his purpose, his reason for being. It wasn't like if he suddenly quit and moved to a peaceful village the problems wouldn't follow him there. There were too many people who would gladly pay to do what the Chinese had done and Jack couldn't blame them.

"You're just like us. We are both dogs fighting for our countries because it has to be done. We kill and destroy anything and everyone that compromises our country and its secrets. In return we get to hide in justice and righteousness, because they tell us that we are doing bad for the greater good. The only difference is that my sponsor and yours are on opposing sides. But if you look closely, they're really not that different at all. They both employ murderers and mercenaries."

And the man was so right. How many had he killed? How many times had he made another man beg and howl like he had? In fact, that's where they were going right now. Another man had been captured, suspected of holding valuable secrets and information that could help them in their investigation. The only problem was that he was keeping his mouth shut and not uttering a word. And that's when Jack remembered why he'd brought the lighter along. He flicked on the flame once more before closing it and returning it to his pocket until it was time to take it out again. He looked at the places they passed, houses and cars and fields with animals. Someone in the car said something and the others laughed. Jack laughed along, pretending to be fine, so bravely carrying on his mission.

But who the hell am I trying to fool? I'm no hero…

Hoped you liked. Next will be Kim's thoughts and then Chloe's and then someone else. If I ever get that far…anyway, please review, your comments are appreciated. Did anyone hear about the 24 movie?