SofiaBlackBristow: Yeah, it's great that Jack's finally able to go home, but just because he, Irina, and the triplets are going home does not mean that things are back to normal for Jack and Irina. I'm glad you love it. Kiss and Merry Christmas to you too. Thank you for reading and commenting - it means so much. :-)

Margaret-the 1st time: I'm glad you like the double Ks, and you're welcome. There's some more double Ks for you in this chapter. I don't want to reveal things with what's going to happen in my stories, but things will eventually get back to normal between Jack and Irina - it's just going to take a long time. It's getting close to 11.00 a.m. here, so good morning to you. *lol* Thank you for reading and commenting - it means so much. :-)

NOTE: With this chapter it's as far as I am with the story, so there won't be an update for a long time. I'm going home to my parents today to spend Christmas, and while I'm at home I'll have no time to write, so I have no idea when I'll be able to update. I'm hoping that I'll be able to post the next chapter some time in January, but I'm pretty slow with the writing, and even though I know a lot of the things I want to include in the story, I'm still stuck at times. I'll do my best to write and update, but I'm not making any promises for when the next chapter will be posted.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. :-) It really does mean so much to me. *hugs* Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. :-)


Chapter 33

Jack, Irina, and the triplets arrived home in the afternoon. Sydney, Nadia, Peter and two agents were waiting for them at the airstrip. The triplets ran out of the plane first, and right over to Sydney and Nadia, who were waiting for them with open arms. After hugs and kisses had been passed around they looked at each other.

"It's so great to see you again, and it's great to have you home."

"Yeah, and we've missed you."

"We've missed you too."

"Yes, very much, and it's really great to be home." Sydney and Nadia smiled at their siblings and pulled them all in for another hug.

"We love you."

"We love you too." Nadia looked up and saw Irina walking towards them.

"Hi mom." Irina first hugged and kissed Nadia and then Sydney.

"Hi sweethearts."

"Where's dad?"

"Right here."

They all looked towards the plane, and saw Jack walking off the plane with a pair of crutches to help him. Two medics had been onboard the plane when it went to India to pick up Jack, Irina, and the triplets. One had walked out of the plane before Jack to help from the front in case something happened, and the other waited behind Jack to help from behind in case something went wrong.

Jack had no trouble getting off the plane and he walked closer to everyone without any trouble either. Sydney and Nadia gaped at seeing their father up and walking again and of how well he was doing. He chuckled when he saw their reaction.

"Wow."

"You ain't seen nothing yet." He took the crutch he was holding in his right hand over in his left hand. While leaning on both crutches with his left arm, he held out his right arm. "Tadaa." He chuckled again as they hadn't changed their facial expressions. "Well? Are you going to give me a hug or not?"

Irina was worried about Jack's health. Firstly, because he had one arm free and secondly, because he wanted Sydney and Nadia to hug him. She was worried that he'd be subjected to too much pressure to his wounds that still needed to heal a good amount.

Nadia stopped gaping and instead smiled and walked up to her father giving him a hug that put no pressure to his wounds. Irina breathed out a silent sigh of relief.

"Hi dad. It's so great to have you home." She gave him a kiss on the cheek, and he gave her one in return.

"Hi sweetheart. It's great to be home." Sydney then walked up to him and gave him the same kind of hug too.

"Hi dad. We've missed you." She gave him a kiss on the cheek too and he did the same to her.

"Hi sweetheart. I've missed you too."

While Sydney greeted Jack, Peter greeted Irina and the triplets before walking over to Jack. He reached out his hand and Jack shook it.

"Good to have you back, Jack."

"Thanks."

"Now, get back to using both crutches. Doctor's orders." Jack rolled his eyes but did as he was told, and Irina was happy about that. Jack took a look around, and then looked at Sydney and Nadia.

"Where is everybody?"

"Peter thought it'd be best to get you settled into the hospital first." Jack rolled his eyes at Peter. Peter shook his head amused.

"Roll your eyes all you want, Jack, but it's been a long flight, and I wasn't sure if you'd be up for seeing so many at once."

"I feel fine enough."

"That may very well be, but you're my patient now. I know you've done amazingly so far with your recovery, but I also want you to rest a bit before seeing so many people at a time." Jack sighed. "Don't worry, Jack. We'll get you settled into a bed and then you'll rest for about half an hour before we're bringing the rest of your family and friends to the hospital. Everyone here is more than welcome to stay with you during that time." Jack sighed while Irina was glad that Peter had told Jack to rest in bed.

"Dad, everyone is looking forward to seeing all of you too, and just like you, they can't wait either. But they know you have to follow the doctor's orders."

"And it'll only be for half an hour. That time will pass in no time." Jack smiled at Sydney and Nadia.

"I guess I can manage that."

"Yes, and the sooner we get you to the hospital, the sooner you can see them. Agent Thomson and agent Philips will bring your luggage to the cars."

The two agents, who'd been driving the two vans that would be driving everyone to the hospital, stepped forward. They nodded and smiled at Jack and Irina.

"Sir, ma'am, it's good to have you home again." Agent Thomson looked at the triplets too. "It's good to have all of you home again."

"Thank you. It's good to be home."

"Thank you."

"Well, let's get the luggage, so we can get you to the hospital." The agents walked towards the plane and Peter looked at the two medics.

"Why don't you give them a hand? That way we can get out of here faster." They nodded.

"Certainly." Peter looked at Jack.

"Do you need to sit down?" Jack shook his head.

"No, after sitting down for so many hours without being able to walk around much, I need to stretch my body."

"Okay that's fine." Jack smirked at Peter.

"So, am I allowed to walk around or will that go against doctor's orders?" Peter chuckled at Jack's question and so did everyone else, with the exception of Irina, who merely smiled a little.

"No, you can walk as much as you feel you can handle."

"Thank you." Jack looked around at everyone. "Anyone care to join me for a little walk?"

"Absolutely dad."

"There's nothing we'd rather do."

They walked around talking. They mostly talked about how all the kids were excited about Jack, Irina, and the triplets being home, and ten minutes later the cars were packed and they walked back to them.

Sydney looked between her parents.

"So who goes with whom?" Irina looked at her.

"You and Nadia can go with your father, Peter, and the two medics. The triplets and I can go in the other car." Sydney and Nadia nodded and Sydney looked at the triplets.

"Would that be alright with you?" The triplets smiled and nodded.

"Yes absolutely." She looked at Jack.

"Dad?" He smiled and nodded at her.

"Of course, sweetheart."

"Then we should get to the hospital so you can get settled into your bed. The sooner you do that, the sooner you get to see everyone else." Jack smiled and nodded before they all got into the cars and went to the hospital.


When they arrived at the hospital and everyone had gotten out agent Thomson looked at Irina.

"We're going to drop off your luggage at your house. Your sister and cousin said it would be alright, and they're at the house at the moment." Irina nodded and smiled.

"Thank you."

"Do you need any of the luggage?"

"I packed a bag with some of Jack things, he might need. I'll just get it." She got the bag and looked at the agents. "You can just leave everything in the hall, and tell my sister and cousin that I'll put everything away myself."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Thank you."

The agents left and everyone else went inside to get Jack settled into his bed.

After getting Jack settled in, Peter left the room while everyone else stayed and talked. Thirty minutes later Peter returned. Jack gave him an un-amused glare.

"I've been in my bed now for thirty minutes, and the rest of my family and friends aren't here yet. You said I would only have to rest for thirty minutes and then I could see them. If they'd been contacted fifteen minutes ago they could've been here by now, and I would still have rested for thirty minutes by the time they got here." Peter looked at him amused.

"Well hello to you too, Jack." Jack rolled his eyes.

"You left here thirty minutes ago, so I hardly think we need to say hello to each other again."

"Someone's a little grumpy."

"Only because you promised that I'd only have to stay in bed for thirty minutes before I could see the rest of my family and friends."

Sydney, Nadia, and the triplets tried to hide the grins on their faces from seeing how their father was reacting. When Sydney had her grin somewhat under control, she gave Jack's arm a gentle squeeze and smirked at him.

"Dad, remember what you promised Nadia and me before we left India?"

He gave her an un-amused glare when he saw the look on her face. When he saw the look on Nadia and the triplets' faces, he gave them an un-amused glare too. Nadia looked at Sydney.

"From the look on his face, I'd say he does, Syd." Nadia looked at her father. "Dad, the same thing applies here. You do as you're told by the doctors and nurses, no matter how many times they tell you. Promise us you'll do that."

"I made that promise to you in India."

"Yes, but that was then and this is now. With the way you're acting, I think it's best if you make us that promise again." Jack rolled his eyes.

"You're treating me like a child."

"That's only because you're acting a bit like a child at the moment." He rolled his eyes again.

"But also because we only want what's best for you." He looked at Sydney and Nadia again, and smiled lovingly at them when he saw that they smiled lovingly at him.

"Okay, okay. I promise I'll do everything I'm told by the doctors and nurses." He looked at the triplets and smiled lovingly back at them too before looking at Peter. "Can the rest of my family and friends be contacted now? I think we've all waited long enough." Peter nodded.

"Sure go ahead." Jack looked between Sydney and Nadia.

"You heard the man. Start calling everyone." Everyone laughed at that with the exception of Irina, who merely smiled a little.

Sydney and Nadia started calling everyone, and Peter left. When all the phone calls had been made, everyone started talking again.

Twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door.

"Come in."

Vaughn stuck his head in and smiled.

"Can we come in?" Everyone in the room smiled broadly.

"Yes, absolutely."

Vaughn walked in carrying Nicholas. Eric walked in after him carrying David. He was followed by Isabelle, Sarah, Becky, Katya, and Sergei.

"Grandma!"

"Uncle Sergei!"

"Aunt Katya!"

Isabelle, Sarah, and Becky went straight to Irina, who was waiting for them with open arms. Ethan, Caitie, and Maddie went straight to Katya and Sergei, who were waiting for them with open arms, and Vaughn and Eric walked up to Jack's bed so that he could say hello to his grandsons. Jack smiled.

"Hi boys. I've missed you." Eric smiled.

"We've missed you too, Jack." Jack gave him an un-amused glare.

"I was talking to my grandsons."

Vaughn chuckled and then looked at Eric smiling at him.

"It seems like he's his old self again." Eric smiled nodded and both he and Vaughn chuckled when Jack smirked at them.

When Jack was saying hello to his grandsons, Irina was hugging her granddaughters, and Katya and Sergei took turns hugging the triplets. Katya and Sergei hugged the triplets tighter than usual, but Irina noticed that Katya hugged them even tighter than Sergei did.

Katya gave the triplets an extra kiss and hug, and that didn't go by unnoticed by Irina either. Katya looked at the triplets and smiled at them.

"It's so great to finally have you home again. We've missed you terribly."

"We've missed you too, aunt Katya."

"We've missed you too, uncle Sergei." Sergei smiled at them.

"I've missed you too. So much." He gave them another hug and kiss too.

"We've missed you, grandma. We were afraid we'd never see you again." Irina kissed Isabelle's cheek.

"We've missed you too. And you don't need to be afraid anymore. We're all safe now."

"We're really happy about that." Irina gave Becky a kiss on the cheek too.

"So are all of us." She gave Sarah a kiss on the cheek too, and then engulfed them all in a tight hug.

"Hey, can I get a hug too?"

Irina, Isabelle, Sarah, and Becky looked at Jack, and while Isabelle, Sarah, and Becky were happy about hugging Jack again, Irina was worried that it would be too much for him. But she also didn't think it was good for anyone if she objected.

"Of course, grandpa."

Irina let go of her granddaughters and they walked over to Jack. Sydney and Nadia walked closer up to Jack's bed. Nadia looked at her daughter and nieces.

"You have to be careful when you hug grandpa. He still needs to recover a great deal, so you can't hug him too tightly."

Isabelle, Sarah, and Becky all looked a little afraid to hug Jack out of fear that they would hurt him. Jack saw this and leaned a little forward in his bed smiling at them.

"You don't have to be afraid of hurting me, because you won't." He could tell that they weren't completely convinced. "Tell you what, if you all take your turn sitting on the bed right next to me, I'll lean forward even more so that you can put your arms around my neck. I'll then put my arms around you and control the pressure of the hug. How does that sound?"

The girls weren't quite convinced yet.

"Are you sure we won't hurt you, grandpa?"

"Yes Sarah, I'm absolutely sure you won't hurt me. Getting a hug and a kiss from you three will help me feel better and help me heal faster." That made them smile and nod.

"Okay."

Irina watched as Isabelle was the first to put her arms around Jack. She held her breath afraid that it might hurt him, but her thoughts were soon interrupted as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned around and found Katya smiling at her.

"It's good to have you home again." Irina returned the smile.

"It's good to be home again." They hugged and exchanged kisses on the cheeks.

"You have been missed." Katya took Irina's face in her hands and spoke quietly. "How are you?" Irina nodded, smiled a little and spoke quietly too.

"It's over, so we're fine. And we're home now, so that helps." Katya eyed her for a moment but then nodded once.

"Okay." They hugged again until Sergei interrupted them.

"Can I get a hug now?" They released each other and Irina smiled at Sergei.

"Absolutely." They hugged and kissed each other on the cheeks like Irina and Katya had done.

"It's so good to have you all home again. You've all been missed greatly." They looked at each other.

"We've missed all of you too."

"I love you."

"I love you too, Sergei."

While Irina was hugging Katya and Sergei, the triplets walked over to Vaughn and Eric to get hugs from them, and to see their nephews again, and when Isabelle, Sarah, and Becky were done hugging Jack, the triplets hugged their nieces, while Irina held her grandsons.

Katya walked up to Jack's bed. She smiled at him.

"Good to have you back, Jack. Though, I never for a minute thought that you wouldn't come home." He smiled back at her.

"Thanks, Katya. I trust things have gone well at APO now that you've been around longer." She smirked.

"Of course. I've been the perfect angel." Jack laughed at that.

"Somehow, I doubt it." She shrugged while still smiling.

"Maybe not an angel, but still my charming self." He smirked at her now.

"Now that I can believe." Sergei joined Katya.

"It's great to have you all home, Jack." He gave Jack's shoulder a squeeze and then leaned in and gave him a quick hug.

"Thanks. It's good to see you all again."

After a few minutes of more hugging, kissing, and talking Caitie looked at Vaughn and Eric.

"Where's everyone else?"

"They'll be here a little later. They all thought we should be the first ones to welcome you home, and some of them had work, to finish." She nodded.

"Okay."

After another few minutes passed Vaughn, Sergei, and Eric went out to get chairs for everyone, and when they got back they all talked about what had been going on with the people at home, about the triplets' and Irina's experiences in India while Jack recovered, and about Jack's recovery.

An hour later there was another knock on the door.

"Come in."

Dixon popped his head in and smiled when he saw everyone, and when he saw Jack awake.

"Is this a good time for a visit?" Jack smiled back.

"It's a perfect time for a visit."

Dixon walked in followed by Chase, Stephen, Robin, Marshall, Carrie, Mitchell, Matthew, Chloe, and Gracie.

The triplets went to hug all the kids, while Carrie met Irina halfway and they hugged. Dixon walked up to Jack's bed and shook his hand.

"Good to have you back home, Jack. And it's great that you're doing so well." Jack returned the smile.

"Thanks, Marcus. It's great to finally be home."

"Hopefully you'll be able to get out of this hospital and completely home soon." Jack nodded.

"Yeah, I'm counting on that."

When Carrie had hugged Irina, Marshall didn't hesitate to hug her, and the huge smile on his face couldn't be denied.

"It's really great to have you back. We've missed you." Irina smiled broadly at him.

"We've missed all of you too."

Marshall looked passed Irina's shoulder over to Jack and watched Carrie greeting him. Jack caught Marshall looking at him and when he did, Marshall immediately started waving his hand at him.

"Hi Jack." Everyone couldn't help but laugh at Marshall overexcited outburst. Even Irina laughed a little. Jack smiled back at him.

"Hi Marshall." Marshall walked over to Jack's bed and looked at him a little nervously.

"Would it be alright to give you a hug? I mean, I don't want to hurt you or anything." Jack let out a little laugh.

"That would be alright. Just as long as you don't hug too tightly."

"I won't."

Irina couldn't stand to see Marshall hug Jack so she turned away from him and instead greeted Chase. Chase reached her hand out to her and smiled at her.

"It's good to have you home again, Irina." Irina smiled back.

"Thank you. It's good to be back."

While Jack hugged Marshall he noticed Irina shaking hands with Chase and how they were smiling at each other. It surprised him since he thought that nothing had changed between them nor did he know that Chase had been in India. It further surprised him seeing Chase smile when Dixon walked over to Irina and hugged her. However, he didn't have time to think about it any further as Robin, Stephen, Mitchell, Matthew, Chloe, and Gracie walked up to him to say hi.

"It's great to have you home again, Irina." Irina returned Dixon's smile.

"Thank you, Marcus. It's great to finally be home."

"The way Jack's looking it seems it won't be long until he's completely home." Irina gave a small smile to keep up appearances.

"We'll see. It all depends on what Peter says."

"Well from the looks of it I think he'll let Jack go home soon." Irina just kept on giving Dixon a small smile and was soon interrupted by Robin, Stephen, Mitchell, Matthew, Chloe, and Gracie, who all came to greet her.

Dixon went to join Carrie and Marshall in welcoming the triplets home, and Chase walked up to greet Jack. She smiled sincerely at him.

"Hello Jack." Jack nodded and smiled a little.

"Hello."

"You almost look like you're ready to return to work. You've certainly made a remarkable recovery." He looked at her a little oddly, but then nodded.

"I do feel better every day, so hopefully it won't be long before I'm back at work. Though I'm sure my doctor will have something to say about that." Chase let out a small laugh which surprised Jack, though he didn't let it show enough for Chase to notice.

"There's no need to rush your recovery. Take all the time you need." She shook her head in amazement. "It really is remarkable how fast you've recovered considering the state I saw you in last." Jack gave her a confused look.

"What do you mean? The last time you saw me was here in L.A." Chase looked at Jack a little surprised.

"Didn't anyone tell you I was in India?" Jack shook his head.

"No." She spoke quietly so that the kids wouldn't hear.

"I went on the mission to oversee things in India, and I stayed for a few days after you were brought to the hospital."

"I didn't know that." She shrugged and smiled.

"My part in the mission wasn't as important as everyone else's, and you've all had more important things to think about. I'm sure that Irina and your children also had better things to talk about after you woke up than me being in India." Jack nodded and smiled a little.

"Yeah, I guess that must be why they didn't mention anything."

Jack was still curious as to why Irina hadn't mentioned anything and especially since she and Chase seemed to get along better than they'd ever done. But he wasn't going to ask Chase about her relationship with Irina now, nor was he going to ask Irina or anyone else about it right now. His thoughts were broken by Maddie's question to Dixon.

"Where's uncle Kendall?"

"He still had some work to do, but he promised he'd be here as soon as he could."

"Okay."

Everyone continued talking and forty minutes later there was another knock on the door.

"Come in."

Kendall popped his head in and smiled.

"I gather by the large crowd here that I don't have to ask if this is a good time to visit." Jack smiled back at Kendall.

"No, you don't need to ask about that." Kendall nodded and walked in. Within a second the triplets ran over to him all speaking simultaneously.

"Uncle Kendall!" He engulfed all three of them in a big tight hug.

"It's so great to see you again. I've missed you."

Katya watched as Kendall and the triplets hugged each other. A small smile spread across her lips which didn't go by unnoticed by Irina.

"We've missed you too, uncle Kendall." He smiled at them and gave them another hug.

"It's great to have you home." He let go of them and looked up at Irina and smiled. "It's great to have all of you home." He looked at Jack again and smiled at him too. They both returned the smile.

"It's great to see you too, Kendall." He let go of the triplets and walked over to Irina and gave her a hug.

"Welcome home."

"Thank you."

"You've all been missed."

"We've missed all of you too." They looked at each other smiling one more time before Kendall walked over to Jack.

"Well, well look at you. You look great, Jack."

"Thank you. I feel great too. Or at least I feel better with each passing day."

"Do you feel good enough to get a hug?" Jack chuckled a little.

"Yes, I do." Kendall chuckled too and gave Jack a small hug.

"Welcome home."

"Thank you." He motioned for Dixon to join them, and when he did Jack spoke to both of them quietly. "I trust everything at APO has been running smoothly as always. But is there anything I need to know about? What's been going on?"

"No, everything is just fine."

"You just concentrate on getting better." Jack gave them both an un-amused glare.

"I'm not that bad off that I can't be told what's going on at APO. I'm still the Director." Kendall and Dixon looked at each other and smirked.

"I don't know about you, Marcus, but his Bristow-boss-attitude seems to be perfectly fine as always." Dixon nodded.

"Yeah, I agree with you." Jack rolled his eyes at them.

"And your lack of humor seems to be missing as always." Both Kendall and Dixon laughed at that.

"Jack, we know you don't like being sick, but it's rea.."

"I'm not sick." Kendall and Dixon laughed again at Jack's attitude. Dixon looked at Jack again and nodded.

"Okay, so you're not sick. But you're not exactly in top shape either." Dixon ignored the slight glare Jack was giving him. "We just want you to take it easy, so that you can recover completely."

"I can still do that perfectly well while still knowing what's going on at APO." Kendall thought he'd give it a try and nodded at Jack.

"Yes, we know that. You're quite good at multitasking." Kendall grinned, but his joke only earned him a slight glare from Jack. "I see my humor hasn't improved on you in the last few seconds." Jack smirked and all three laughed. "How about you just rest for the day and enjoy everyone's company, and then tomorrow Marcus and I will tell you about APO when the three of us are alone?" Jack looked between the two of them and nodded.

"I think I can agree to that." They all laughed a little more.

"We're glad you agree."

Everyone continued talking and thirty minutes later Peter walked into Jack's room.

"How's the patient?" Jack rolled his eyes at Peter. Vaughn looked at Peter and smirked.

"Does that answer your question?" Peter laughed and nodded before walking up to Jack's bed. Jack gave him a slight glare.

"Don't even think about asking me how I'm doing." Peter laughed and shook his head.

"I wouldn't dream of it. I actually just came to ask about dinner." He looked around at everyone else. "Are you all planning on staying to have dinner with Jack?" Everyone looked around at each other. Sydney looked at Peter.

"I know that we'd like to stay." Nadia nodded.

"So would we." Peter nodded and then looked around at the rest of them.

"What about the rest of you."

Dixon looked at his children, who smiled at him indicating that they'd like to stay. He didn't bother to look at Chase before answering. Irina noticed him doing that, and noticed that Chase didn't object to not being asked or even being given the time of day.

"If it's no trouble, we'd like to stay." Peter shook his head.

"It's no trouble at all. I just wanted to know, so that I could tell the kitchen staff how many to make dinner for." Kendall smiled at Peter.

"That's very kind of you. Thank you." Everyone else nodded agreeing with Kendall.

"You're very welcome. So how many of the rest of you are staying?"

The rest of them each said they'd be staying and Peter nodded. Before leaving he told them that he'd be back when dinner was ready.

Forty-five minutes later Peter came back. He was about to speak but Jack cut him off before he even had a chance to say anything.

"Do not ask me how I'm doing." Everyone laughed at that except for Irina.

Peter crossed his arm across his chest and arched an eyebrow at Jack while smirking.

"I just came to tell you that dinner is ready." Jack smirked back shrugging.

"Well, you never know." Everyone laughed again, but still Irina didn't.

"Fair enough, Jack. Now get out of bed if you want to eat."

Irina wanted to protest. She didn't want Jack to get out of bed on his own after the long flight. But she figured it wasn't a good thing to argue with him, and especially not in front of everyone. Instead she focused on Nicholas, whom she was holding.

Jack got out of the bed easily, and got ready to head down to dinner. When he was done he looked at Peter and smirked.

"Now will you stop asking me how I'm doing?" Peter smirked back and then shook his head.

"No." Jack sighed, and Peter let out a laugh. "It's for your own good, Jack. I'm your doctor and it's my job to get you well enough, so that you can go home." Jack was about to open his mouth to tell Peter he was fine, but Peter stopped him knowing of Jack's intention. "And that will only happen if you're completely honest with me, and if you quit the attitude." Jack pouted slightly and Eric laughed out loud at that.

"Poor Jack being told off by the big, mean doctor." Jack glared at Eric, which he didn't notice, because he was laughing too hard.

Ethan walked over to Eric and lightly tucked on Eric's sleeve. When he had Eric's attention, he smirked at him.

"I'd be careful if I was you. You need to keep in mind that you're still married to his daughter and that he's your boss. He can make your life miserable."

Eric stopped laughing but everyone else laughed even more than they'd done at Eric's comment. Even Irina smiled. He swallowed hard and then looked from Ethan to Jack and saw that father and son had matching smirks plastered on their faces. He pointed his finger from one to the other but then shook his head and then pointed the finger at Ethan again.

"You're beginning to be more and more like your father every day." Ethan crossed his arms across his chest and kept smirking.

"You're making it sound like that's a bad thing. Do you think it's a bad thing that I'm like my father?" Eric's jaw dropped while everyone laughed harder at that.

Nadia walked up to her husband and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Honey, I'd think long and hard before you give my brother an answer." Eric turned his head to look at his wife.

"Don't take your brother's side in this. You're supposed to be on my side." Now Nadia crossed her arms across her chest and smirked at Eric.

"You know perfectly well what you got yourself into when we got married." He gaped at her while everyone laughed even more.

Vaughn walked up to Eric laughing and padded him on the back.

"Seems like you got yourself into a lot of trouble." He kept laughing and then looked at Ethan. "I for one think it's wonderful that you're just like your dad." He smiled at Ethan and then looked at Jack smiling at him too.

Without looking at each other, Jack and Ethan answered Vaughn simultaneously.

"Smartass." Now it was Vaughn's turn to gape while Eric laughed along with everyone else.

"Hey, I was being honest." Sydney walked up to Vaughn and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"You have to admit that you had it coming." He was about to protest but then nodded.

"Yeah, I guess you're right." He looked between Jack and Ethan. "But I still meant it." They both smirked at him and then Jack turned his attention to Eric.

"I believe you still owe my son an answer." Eric rolled his eyes.

"Oh come on." He looked around at everyone, but seeing as he couldn't get out of it he looked at Ethan again. "No, I don't think it's a bad thing." He smirked back at Ethan. "Though, you could lighten up on some of your similarities." Ethan shrugged and everyone laughed. Eric then smiled sincerely. "But you're a perfect combination of both your mom and your dad." Ethan smiled at that. Vaughn nodded and looked at Sydney, Nadia, Maddie, and Caitie.

"And so are your sisters." Everyone else smiled and Ethan looked at Jack.

"Can you accept that answer, daddy." Jack smiled at his son, and then smirked.

"I can for now." Ethan smirked back.

"My thoughts exactly." They both smirked looking at Vaughn and Eric, and while they groaned everyone laughed, though Irina smiled slightly like she'd done the entire time.

After Peter finished laughing he looked around at everyone.

"How about you all go down to dinner now?"


Peter took them to a conference room where dinner had been set up, so that they could have some privacy. Everyone took a seat around the table and Katya and Kendall ended up sitting next to each other but didn't object. It wasn't until Kendall poured Katya some water in her water glass while she got some food that she objected. She gave him an annoyed look with her tone matching her facial expression.

"Did I ask you to give me some water?" He rolled his eyes while putting the water bottle down after pouring himself some water.

He looked at her and gave her an annoyed look matching her own.

"No, you didn't ask me to do that. But since you always have water with your meals, I just assumed that you wanted some now, too."

"Don't assume anything." He rolled his eyes at her again. "What am I supposed to do now? We can't trade glasses since you also have water in yours." He shook his head.

"Oh for crying out loud." He took her glass and drank all the water. When he was done he put it back down. "There. Water's all gone. Happy now?"

She gaped at him and then gave him an even more annoyed look.

"You drank my water."

"You said you didn't want it."

"I never said that." He rolled his eyes again.

"Well, you said we couldn't trade glasses because I had water in my glass, too. How am I supposed to know that it meant you still wanted the water? Everyone else here would think that it meant you didn't want the water."

"You drank from my glass."

"Oh grow up. I'm not sick, so it's not like you're going to catch anything."

She kept giving him an annoyed look, but he went back to getting himself some food. She gave up looking at him and then poured herself some water. When Kendall noticed that, he rolled his eyes at her and shook his head. Everyone else, who had tried their best not to laugh during Katya and Kendall's argument, rolled their eyes too.

When Katya was done she picked up her glass to take a sip from her water, and at the same time Kendall did the same with his glass. Katya didn't notice that she put her lips on the exact same spot where Kendall's lips had been. But Caitie noticed and started to grin.

"Aunt Katya, your lips are on the same spot where uncle Kendall's lips were. That's almost like you're kissing."

That comment made both Katya and Kendall spit out their water while everyone laughed. Katya shook her head while wiping her mouth and then looked at Caitie.

"It most certainly is not like we're kissing. That's a ridiculous thing to say."

"Come on, aunt Katya. Even you have to admit that it's funny." Katya shook her head at Maddie.

"I don't see that there's anything remotely funny about it. Now can we eat and not speak of this again?" Everyone shrugged and resumed eating while Katya turned her glass around, so that the same thing wouldn't happen again.

From the corner of his eye Kendall watched what she did with her glass but didn't comment on it. He kept looking at her from the corner of his eye for a few seconds while eating, but when there was no further reaction from her, he turned his attention completely back on his food, and joined the conversation that Marshall started.

During dinner everyone talked, but it was mostly the children, who controlled the conversation. After dinner they all moved into another room with armchairs and couches, so that they could sit more comfortably.


Hours after dinner, Sydney looked around at her children. Nicholas was asleep, Sarah was just about to sleep, and Isabelle also had to fight to keep her eyes open.

"Okay, I think it's time we got you home. It's way passed your bedtime anyway." Carrie looked around at her own children.

"Yeah, Marshall, I think we should get the kids home, too." He nodded and Nadia looked at Eric after looking at their children.

"I think we should do the same."

Isabelle gave her mom a puppy dog look.

"Can't we stay for a little while longer with grandpa and grandma?" Sydney smiled at her.

"You can barely keep your eyes open. If we stayed you'd only be falling asleep within the next few minutes. But we'll be back tomorrow to visit grandpa, and I know that grandma will be here too."

Jack kept up appearances on the outside, but on the inside he wasn't so sure if Irina wanted to come back the next day. He knew she would, but he thought that spending too much alone time with him, even with the triplets there, would prove to be too much intimacy too soon. He looked at Irina to see if he could see any indication that she'd be uncomfortable, but when he saw none he turned his attention to Isabelle.

"You should listen to your mother, sweetheart. You can come and visit me tomorrow for as long as you want." Isabelle smiled at that.

"Okay grandpa."

Dixon looked at his children.

"We should leave too. I need to be at the office early to make a phone call to London." They nodded and went to say goodbye to Jack.

Vaughn looked at Katya, Sergei, and Kendall.

"Are you leaving too?"

"No, Katya and I are staying for a while yet." Kendall nodded.

"So am I." Katya looked at Kendall.

"You're staying?" He looked at Katya.

"Yes. Why, is that a problem?"

"I just thought you also had work to do tomorrow."

"I do, but not as early as Marcus, so I'm allowed to stay out longer." She gave him an annoyed glance that made him roll his eyes. "I'm not staying for several hours, if that's what you're worried about. I'm sure I'll be leaving before you do."

"I have better things to do with my time than worry about how long you're staying here." They kept glaring a bit at each other and Vaughn shook his head.

"I'm sorry I ever asked if you were staying. If you'll excuse me, I think I'll just say goodnight to Jack, Irina, and the triplets." Sergei shook his head at Katya and Kendall and wished he was Vaughn at that moment.

Sydney had just said goodbye to her father and was about to say goodbye to her mother as well.

"Bye mom."

"I'm coming with you down to the cars to say goodbye. I could use the fresh air." She looked at the triplets. "What do you three say to going with me to get a mouthful of fresh air?" They nodded and she smiled at them. "Good." Sydney nodded.

"Okay. I'll just get Nicholas, and by the looks of things everyone else is ready to leave too." Irina nodded and then looked around at Jack, Katya, Sergei, and Kendall.

"See you in a little while." They all nodded and after a few more goodbyes the four of them were the only ones left in the room.


After having said goodbye to everyone, Irina and the triplets stayed outside for a few more minutes but then headed back inside. On the elevator ride up to their father, aunt, and uncles Maddie looked at her mother.

"Are we sleeping here tonight, mommy?" Irina shook her head and then looked around at the triplets.

"No, we're going home. All our stuff is there, and our things, we had in India, are now also at home. Besides, it'll do us all good to sleep in our own beds and start getting back to normal."

"But what about daddy? Won't he be lonely?" Irina smiled at Caitie.

"He's a big boy, so he'll be just fine. Sleeping at home won't be any different from our sleeping arrangement in India after daddy woke up. It'll just take us a little longer to get to his room when we're sleeping at home."

Irina knew that by sleeping at home, she wouldn't have to see Jack getting out of bed in the morning, and she wouldn't do anything that might cause his recovery to go the wrong way. She knew that the triplets would want to be near Jack, but she didn't want to leave any room for discussion. And she knew she wasn't lying to the triplets when she said that the sleeping arrangements now wouldn't be different from the ones in India. She was glad to see that they all nodded and that they didn't seem to be too sad about it.

"But we're coming to see daddy tomorrow, right?" She nodded and smiled at Ethan.

"Of course, sweetheart. But we'll also be going out once in a while to get things back to normal. Your father will need his rest anyway, so we can go out when he's doing that."

"But the last couple of days in India, he didn't need to rest so much. Do you really think he'll need to rest much now, and especially since he's doing better every day?"

"It was a long flight home, so I know he'll need his rest for the first few days. And if he gets plenty of rest, he'll heal faster." The triplets nodded and shrugged slightly. "Besides, you three need to get back to your normal routines. The sooner we put what happened behind us properly, the sooner it will all just seem like a horrible nightmare that we won't remember so well." Deep in the back of her mind, she knew she was trying to convince herself more of that than she was trying to convince the triplets. But she didn't let it show. "I'm sure you'd like to go to the playground, the carrousel, and the zoo." They nodded a bit more now and smiled.

"Yes mommy. You're right."

"I'm glad you agree."

They arrived back at the floor the others were on and a few moments later, they joined them.


A little over an hour later Kendall looked at his watch.

"I hate to leave, but I should get home." Katya smirked at him.

"Does the princess need to get her beauty sleep?" He rolled his eyes at her.

"Yeah, yeah whatever." He got up and walked over to Jack, who stood up. "It's great having you home again, Jack." Jack returned the hug he got.

"Thank you. It's great to be home." Kendall moved onto Irina and was about to hug her goodbye too.

"Actually, I think we should be leaving too. It's getting late and it was a long flight." She looked at the triplets. "I don't know about you three, but I'm pretty tired."

Kendall nodded and went over to say goodbye to Sergei, who had just gotten back from the restroom. Jack looked at Irina a bit surprised.

"You're leaving? I mean, you're staying at home tonight?" Irina looked back at him.

"Yes. I think it's best for the triplets that they get back to normal and back to their normal routines. They also need to get a proper night's sleep and they can best get that in their own beds."

Jack nodded. He had hoped Irina and the triplets would've stayed at the hospital, but he also knew that what Irina said made sense, so he guessed he shouldn't really have been that surprised. However, he'd hoped that they would at least be the very last ones to leave. He didn't really think he had any other choice but to agree.

"Yes, you're right."

Sergei walked back towards the rest of them and looked at Irina.

"Kendall just told me that you're leaving too." She nodded and he then looked at Katya. "I guess that means that we might as well leave too." Katya nodded but then Sergei looked at Jack. "Unless, of course, you'd like us to stay?"

Jack was tempted to take Sergei up on his offer, because he didn't feel like going to bed just yet, and especially because he didn't want to be alone. However, more importantly he wanted Irina and the triplets to stay, but wouldn't ask her to do that if she wasn't comfortable around him. If he asked her to stay he felt that he'd be forcing her to do so, and he'd never want to force her to do anything. She'd been forced to do enough horrible and uncomfortable things in her life, and he would not be the one adding to that list. His mind went to Kashmir and the DVDs they'd watched there, but he shook his head to get rid of those images while also shaking his head at Sergei's question.

"No, it's fine. It's been a long day, so I probably need my rest more than I realize." Irina was happy to hear that and looked around at everyone.

"I have a few things I need to talk with the night nurse on duty about, so you can all say your goodnights while I'm gone and I'll meet you by the cars." Before anyone could say anything Irina had left.

Irina got back twenty minutes later. It had taken her a little while to find the nurse, who'd be in charge of Jack, but she hadn't exactly hurried either. She didn't want anyone around when she said goodnight to Jack. Having people possibly ask questions about her behavior was something she was not up for. That's also why she had told everyone that she'd meet them by the cars and then left in a hurry.

She was glad to see Jack alone outside the room they'd been sitting in. She approached him slowly not wanting to make any sudden or fast moves that could endanger him.

"That took you a bit of time."

"I had trouble finding the nurse."

"Oh."

There were a few moments of awkward silence.

"So, has everyone gone down?" He nodded.

"Yeah, they're all waiting for you by the cars like you told them to."

"Okay. Well, then I guess I shouldn't keep them waiting any longer."

"Yeah, I guess you shouldn't keep them waiting. What time will you be here tomorrow?" She shrugged.

"I haven't talked it over with the kids, but like I said they need to get back to their normal routines. That means that they also need to do some of the things they normally do like going to the playground, the carrousel and stuff like that."

Jack wanted to beg her to come and be with him as early as possible, but also knew that she was right about the triplets. Even though they were managing just fine and were happy after everything they'd been through, he knew that they also needed to get back to doing things they did before the kidnapping in order for them to get completely passed and move on from what happened.

"Does that mean you won't be here until some time in the afternoon?" Irina shrugged.

"I really don't know. It depends on what we decide to do. But you shouldn't expect us for breakfast. I think they need to have that at home for their first morning back." Jack nodded reluctantly but didn't let it show.

"Okay. I guess I'll see you when I see you."

"Yes." Another few awkward moments of silence passed. "Well goodnight, Jack."

"Goodnight Irina." Irina walked away quickly and Jack waited until the elevator doors had closed before walking back to his room.


A few minutes later Katya heard Irina approaching and turned to look at her.

"I trust everything went as it should." Irina smiled at her sister.

"Yes absolutely." When she reached everyone, she looked at Sergei and Kendall. "I just realized I don't have a car, so I'm assuming we can catch a ride with one of you." Kendall nodded.

"You can catch a ride with me. With Katya driving with Sergei my car is the only one that has seatbelts for everyone." He looked between Katya and Sergei. "That is if that's alright with you?" They both nodded. "Okay. I assume I'll be seeing the two of you tomorrow or in the coming days." Katya was about to open her mouth, but he put a hand up stopping her. "Let me rephrase that." He looked at Sergei. "I assume that I'll be seeing you tomorrow or in the coming days." He then looked at Katya. "I won't assume anything with you." She smirked at him.

"Well, I guess the old saying is wrong, because you can actually teach an old dog new tricks." He rolled his eyes at her and looked at Irina.

"I'll wait for you in the car." She nodded and turned her attention to Katya when she spoke to her.

"I've been staying with Sergei and others while you've been gone and all my stuff is at his place. But if you don't want to be alone tonight, I can go to Sergei's and get my things and he can drop me off at your place. Or we can both stay with you, if you'd like." Irina shook her head.

"No, there's no need for you to go to Sergei's and then drive over to my place. Besides, I'm fine. And I'm tired, so I'll just be going straight to bed anyway." Katya eyed her.

"Are you sure?" Irina smiled back at her.

"Yes, I'm absolutely sure." Katya nodded but wasn't sure she was completely convinced. However, she, more than anyone, knew not to push for the truth.

"Okay. Call me if you need anything and I'll be right there."

"Thank you for the offer. I'll keep it in mind, but I know I won't be needing it." Katya nodded her understanding and they hugged goodbye.

When they were done Sergei, who'd been hugging the triplets goodbye, hugged Irina, and Katya hugged the triplets. When Irina was done she got into Kendall's car and let the triplets have a few moments alone with Katya and Sergei.

"I hope you don't mind, but when I heard you'd be staying at home I got in touch with a team of agents. They're going to be keeping a lookout for any dangers outside your house. I know your alarm system is first class, and that you're more than capable of defending yourself, but I just want to give you some extra protection in case of anything. I talked it over with Jack and he agreed. Besides, the agents won't be noticeable." Irina smiled at him.

"Thank you. I appreciate that. I think it'll be good for the triplets to know that they're completely safe and well protected."

She couldn't help but feel a bit relieved herself. She wasn't really scared of possible dangers lurking around, and didn't think that anything would happen if there were no agents looking out for them. But since Jack wasn't in the house with them, she was glad to know that agents were posted outside her house.

She was about to ask about what was going on between Dixon and Chase, but didn't get the chance since the triplets got in the car.

Kendall looked at them and when they were all buckled up, he smiled.

"Let's get you home."


When Irina saw her house again, she almost started to cry. Just a few weeks ago, she thought she'd never see this place again. However, she bit her lower lip and prevented her tears from falling and instead got out of the car along with everyone else and acted completely normal.

"Thank you for driving us home." Kendall shook his head smiling at her.

"Don't mention it. Is there anything I can do for you? I can stay if you want me to?" She smiled at him.

"Thank you, but that won't be necessary. We'll be perfectly fine."

"Okay. But don't hesitate to call me if you need anything. It doesn't matter if it's in the middle of the night. You just call me if there's anything I can do for you."

"Thank you. I'll remember that." They hugged goodbye and Kendall gave the triplets a big hug goodbye.

"I'll see you three tomorrow. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, uncle Kendall."

"See you tomorrow."

"And sleep tight." He laughed at that.

"You too. Bye." He got in his car and Irina and the triplets watched him leave until they couldn't see him anymore.

Irina looked at the triplets.

"Well, here we are. Home sweet home."

They went inside and ended up walking around for a bit downstairs in silence taking in the familiar surroundings. It felt good to be able to do that since just a few weeks ago all four of them thought they'd never see their home again. They ended up in the kitchen and Maddie saw a note on the refrigerator.

"It's from Sydney and Nadia." Irina took the note and read. As she read it, she smiled.

"It seems your sisters went grocery shopping and got us a few of the essentials." She opened the refrigerator. "Do you want something to drink before going to bed?"

"I wouldn't mind having a glass of orange juice, if there is any?" Irina smiled at Caitie.

"There's plenty."

"I'd also like some orange juice then."

"Me too."

"And I'll have some as well, so four glasses of orange juice coming right up."

They drank their juice mostly in silence, but it didn't take them long to finish anyway. When Maddie had finished hers, she looked at her mother.

"Mommy, Caitie, Ethan, and I would like to sleep in the same bed tonight, if that's alright?" Irina smiled lovingly at her children.

"Of course that's alright." Then she got a little concerned. "Are the three of you more scared and worried than you're letting on?" All three shook their heads and answered simultaneously and reassuringly.

"No." Maddie took the lead.

"No mommy, we're not scared, worried, or anything like that. We've just been used to sleeping together for a long time now and it's comforting. We won't continue with that forever, but we'd just like to do it for a little while longer. At least until daddy gets home." Irina smiled lovingly at them again and nodded.

"That's understandable. But as long as you're alright and it's not because you're covering up some deeper fear." She looked at each of them for a few seconds to see if she could tell if they were being honest about their wellbeing.

"We're alright, mommy. Honestly." Irina nodded seeing that they were telling her the truth.

"I'm glad. The three of you are also welcome to snuggle with me." The triplets eyed her.

"Are you scared or worried about something, mommy? Do you need us to snuggle with you?" Irina finished the last of her juice before answering Ethan.

"No sweetheart. I'm a big girl and I'm fine. I just wanted to let you know that if you wanted to snuggle that it would be alright with me." The triplets nodded thinking that their mother was fine like she said.

"Okay."

"How about we go to bed? I don't think anyone put fresh sheets on the bed, so that'll also take a while, which is why we might as well head upstairs now." The triplets nodded.

"Good idea. But now that the three of us are sharing a bed, you only need to put fresh sheets on two beds instead of four beds." Irina let out a small chuckle.

"Right you are. You go on up and I'll just finish things down here." They nodded and left the kitchen.

After putting away the glasses and taking one quick look around the house to make sure that everything was locked, Irina checked the alarm system twice. She thought she could wait until the next day to take the suitcases they brought home from India upstairs, and went up without them.

When she got upstairs she saw the triplets walking to the bathroom.

"We're staying in my room, mommy." Irina nodded at Caitie.

"Okay sweetheart. I'll just go and put fresh sheets on your bed, then." She went and did that, and then waited for the triplets to return. When they did and were under the covers Irina engulfed them in a tight hug. "I love you." She gave each of them a kiss and looked at them in the eyes, smiling.

"I love you too, mommy."

"I love you too, mommy."

"And I love you too, mommy."

"Now, if you at any time during the night want to talk to me about anything or just want to snuggle with me, you just come and wake me up. Okay?" All three nodded and answered simultaneously.

"Yes mommy." She smiled at them.

"Good." She gave them one more kiss before getting up to leave. "Goodnight sweethearts." Again they answered her simultaneously.

"Goodnight mommy." She turned off the lights and headed back to her own bedroom.

When she was inside her own bedroom, she closed the door and just stood there for a few moments without moving. She didn't bother to turn on the lights and decided that she didn't want to bother changing the sheets either. Knowing the way to the bathroom by heart, she didn't bother turning on the lights and she didn't turn on the lights in the bathroom either.

After leaving the bathroom she decided that she'd just sleep in the shirt that she'd last slept in and that she knew would be under the covers. She stripped out of her clothes and reached for her nightshirt as she pulled the covers away. But she could feel that she'd ended up getting Jack's shirt instead. She put it up to her nose and took in the scent. There was only a faint smell of Jack's scent left on the shirt, and she knew she should really put on a fresh shirt since it had been more than a month since he'd slept in it. But she didn't care.

She didn't care about clean sheets or a clean nightshirt. All she cared about was that they were finally completely home. And that's when it once again hit her of how she could've lost everything, and she lost control of her emotions and started sobbing. She put the nightshirt on, got under the covers, and rolled onto Jack's side of the bed and sobbed into his pillow. Like so many other nights in her life before this one, she cried herself to sleep.

TBC