A few months later...
Although it had taken some getting used to, Jack had settled well into his new identity, and as Dennis Sutherland, he was now living happily near Kim and her family. Some minor plastic surgery had transformed his face, and CTU had been satisfied enough that his life was not in danger that the monitoring had ended.
Walking up to the school gates, where he would be meeting his granddaughter, he felt proud of how he and his family had survived, how they had managed to regain some sense of happy normality into their lives. Teri had been told to call her Grandpa by his first name, rather than his title, which had confused her at first, but now she was a natural at it.
"Dennis!," Teri shouted as she ran across the playground, a huge grin on her face. Jack held out his hands to catch her, scooping her up as she reached him.
"Hi Annie, ready to go home?," Jack asked her, using her cover name, as he walked back towards his car, which in typical Jack style was a jet black SUV. He always tried to hide the sadness that he felt when he said home – to him, home had been Los Angeles, home had been with his wife and daughter, and only now did he once more have a real home to go to.
In the late summer of the early 1990s, life was good for the Bauer family. Jack had just started a new job at CTU, Teri's career as an interior designer was going well, and Kim had just started school. The hot Californian sun beamed down on Jack as he climbed out of his car and took a look around for his daughter, who had been so nervous that morning.
"Daddy!." Kim yelled, before throwing herself into him, causing him to laugh. For some reason, he just knew that the first day had gone well.
"I take it the day went well?," Jack asked regardless, to which Kim simply nodded. As they walked back to his car, he was glad to leave behind the world of espionage, and savour the world of being a father.
Federal Correctional Institute, Herlong, California
Where one former CTU agent had once been held, another took his place, and in his cell, Tony sat on the edge of his bunk and wondered just how different things could have been. Sentenced to life without parole, with a possible extradition to Germany to face further charges, Tony knew that he would be going nowhere fast.
Looking outside, he could see the same fence he had seen before, and he could see the wall that he and Alex had sat against all of those years ago. It had been a strange experience to meet Alex in prison, and he had always thought, once he had been released the first time, that he would never go to jail again, and that Alex would never be free again, but here he was. He hadn't seen Alex since the rescue in Germany, and he had no idea where Alex had gone. His best guess was Chicago, back to where he, and Tony, were from.
After months of incarceration as a traitor, Tony had finally been freed from jail, but his life was in ruins. He had lost his job and he had lost Michelle. He had an urge to call his friends, but he didn't think any of them would want to associate with him – Jack was across the country in Washington, almost everyone else rarely socialised with him outside of work, Alex was still in jail. Even his own family seemed distant towards him, and that hurt him the most. Family was important to him, and he had even started to think of starting one with Michelle, before he was arrested.
As he made it home, he unlocked the door for the first time in months, although he knew that Michelle would have been there a couple of times in order to pick up her things, and he reminded himself that the house was empty, that no one was going to greet him, and no one was going to walk through the door after him. Slumping down on the couch, he smiled slightly as he spotted his Cubs mug on the coffee table. Even when all of the big things seemed to be in constant change, the small things always seemed to stay the same.
New Okavango School, Sangala
Now that the rebels had been removed and the government restored, the country was rebuilding itself and coming to terms with the aftermath. The school were Jack had once worked with his old friend Carl Benton had been ruined by the fighting, and it required a lot of work from a small group of American aid workers, who had been tasked with the revival of the school for war orphans, to rebuild.
"Be careful over there, we still have to clear the minefield," Alex spoke, watching as another aid worker slowly made their way through a small field, before returning to the work of painting a door. He felt pride at what his work would help to achieve, but he also felt sadness that the work Benton had done there had been wiped out so easily by the conflict. He looked over at the main building, which was an impressive wooden structure, painted in bright colours, and imagined the time to come when children would be using the building to learn. A Sangalan flag flew from a flagpole in front of the building, the colours looking impressive in the sunshine as it flew weakly in what little breeze there was.
Suddenly, the peacefulness was shattered as an explosion ripped through the air. Turning around quickly, Alex looked to see what exactly had happened, hoping that someone hadn't stepped on a landmine or worse, that the rebels were attempting another coup.
"Sorry, everyone, should have warned you! We're just blowing up some old landmines!," yelled a voice with a thick Texan accent from nearby. Alex, whose subconscious had made him grip the brush a little too tightly after the explosion, returned to his work, his heart rate slowly returning to normal.
As the car sped towards San Jose, Alex tried not think of the bombing, but it was proving difficult. He tried not to think of the rubble crushing people, the patches of fresh blood, the cries of the injured and shocked. They had had so little warning of the imminent attack, he thought to himself, ironically for a counter-terrrorism agency. He remembered managing to get out of the main building, staggering into the parking lot, suddenly unsure of where he was, or even what had just happened.
"You OK?," Kim had asked, seemingly noticing the look on Alex's face. He made a quick check to see if Megan was asleep, and nodded without certainty.
"Yeah, I guess. Just thinking a bit too much about this morning," he had replied. He knew that he wouldn't feel as bad as he really did, if Nina just hadn't been involved. Somehow, even though she was involved not only in the bombing, but in the threat to the city, he still hung onto his love for her. He willed what was left of the good Nina to overthrow the bad Nina who had taken over, even if just for a few hours, to help stop the bomb.