Author's note: Thank you to all the readers and special thanks to those who review.

Sorry it took me this long to update, but I was too busy studying. Besides, I've been working on my original writing projects.

If you guys have facebook pages I think it'd be cool if you befriended me. My name is Lara Garcia Costanzo. If you want, send me a friend request clarifying where you know me from.

By the way, I'm totally okay with harsh criticism. It actually helps me improve. I'm not writing this story solely for fun and to give Jack and Renee the happy ending they deserved. I'm also writing it to practice my English and my writing skills. In the spirit of improving, and because of a review I got recently, I have spent a few days editing the nine chapters I've written so far. It turned out to be a good idea because I managed to correct a few mistakes I'd made. I'd like to tank J. Peterman for his/her honesty. I hope he or she continues reading and reviewing,

I changed Rick Reynolds name. It's now Dale Reynolds. In the show, he simply appears as "Reynolds" and I foolishly named him Rick. There are millionths of Ricks in 24, it was stupid from me to give that name to a character. I edited the chapters in which he appears. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Disclaimer: The show's not mine. Neither are the characters. I do own the necklace Elisha Cubert used on season 7, the earrings Cherry Jones used on season 8 and the complete set of DVDs.

CHAPTER 10:

"It's the rock in your shoe"

Previously: A former Special Forces captain called Brendan Marson is leading a group of mercenaries that is building three bombs and planning an attack that will bring the government down to its knees. This group has the help of assassin Mandy, who is preparing herself to pose as a Secret Service agent.

Reporter Valery Layton found out that Renee was raped by Vladimir and then slept willingly with him for eight months. In exchange for her silence she wants details of the FBI-CTU rescue operation, an excusive with her about the kidnapping, what she went through and whatever she wants to say about Vladimir.

After being shot on the shoulder by Leo, Igor Laitanan was taken to a doctor that works for the Russian mob. The doctor fixed Igor's shoulder and implanted under his skin a memory card, which contains the evidence Charles Logan had used to blackmail Mikail Novakovich and Yuri Suvarov. After that, Igor killed the doctor.

The mysterious man who calls himself 'Joseph' wants Igor dead because he failed to kill Renee for the second time. So the Russian mob operating in DC. is looking for Igor to kill him.

Igor turns to Brendan and offers him money in exchange for help. Brendan pretends to help him for 200 hundredth thousand dollars, but then he calls Ivan Jacobi and sells Igor's location to him.

Some Russian gangsters called Akim Yudasi, SemyonGudovich and Iosef Gudovich kidnapped Leo and took him to a construction site to kill him. They made him dig his own grave. Jack secretly went to his rescue. He showed up just in time to save Leo. Leo killed Akim and Semyon and tied Jack to a pole so nobody suspects he abetted him. Leo tortured Iosef, who then told him that Liev Mastrosov is their leader and where to find him. The gangster also told him where to find Igor Laitanan.

The following takes place between 05.00 PM and 06.00 PM, on the day of the State of the Union Address.

January 29th 2019 – Wednesday

05.04.07 PM

Annandale, Virginia.

Leo had just left the construction site. He was driving the black Audi A3 he had stolen from the Russians that had attacked him and were now dead. He was heading to the place where he could find Igor Laitanan, a House in Salem Ln. 4467, which apparently belonged to some doctor called Gordon Hamish. The Russian gangsters had taken Igor to that doctor. He wondered why those gangsters were interested in helping Laitanan. The FBI had investigated those men for a few months but never managed to get enough evidence and never found out the name of their boss, except Leo knew now the name of their leader… Liev Mastrosov. That man had some explaining to do. Nevertheless, first of all, Leo had to find and kill Igor Laitanan. He was truly going to enjoy that.

He took a quick look at the big military-green backpack that lied on the shotgun seat. Inside of it he had everything he needed to face his mortal enemy. He had, all together, a Glock 19, a laptop, enough ammunition to invade a small country, two pairs of handcuffs, a first aid kit, a rope, a scalpel, and the necessary supplies so break into any house or apartment. Those were the items he already had on his backpack before going rogue. In addition to those, he had items he had acquired after Liz's death: four throwaway cellphones he had bought, four pairs of handcuffs, two Glock 23 guns he had stolen from agents Park and Reynolds, two Beretta 9000 pistols he had stolen from officers Bolan and Munson, four taser guns, he also had a Swiss Army knife and Beretta M9 guns he had taken from the Russian gangsters. But the most important items, at least to him, were the box of matches and the bottle of kerosene he had taken from Renee's house.

While he was driving, he grabbed one of the cellphones and dialed the phone number of FBI DC.

A beautiful desk agent with long sandy-brown hair, took the call. "FBI DC. This is Agent Marci Lamount How may I help you?".

"I need to talk to Janis Gold", Leo quickly told the woman.

"Ms. Gold is busy at the moment. May I take your message?", Marci told him cordially.

Leo frowned, clearly he was not happy. "No, you may not take my message. I need to talk to her now! It's urgent. Tell her it's Leo Craig. I think that will make a difference".

Marci widened her blue eyes in shock and quickly put Leo on hold. Then she pressed the right button on the phone to talk to Janis.

The nerdy data analyst, who was at her desk working, instantly picked up the phone when she saw a little red light in it indicating that someone was contacting her from inside the building. "Gold"

In such a day as the one they were living, everything had to be done at full speed, so the sensual blonde desk agent explained the situation without wasting time. "Janis, Leo's calling. He wants to talk to you".

Janis could not believe her ears. "What?". She blinked quickly with profound disbelief. "Patch him through". Janis bit her lower lip. Soon, Leo was on the other side of the line. "Leo, where are you?", she asked futilely while starting to trace the call coming from the federal fugitive.

Leo practically barked at her like a furious Doberman when he spoke. "It doesn't matter where I am. You just need to know that Jack Bauer is tied to a pole in a construction site in Annandale. I left him there. And in that place there are also three dead bodies. You need to send some agents".

Still in shock, the data analyst leaned back against the back of her chair and sighed. "Oh, God… who did you kill now?",

The fugitive's features darkened. "Those men were Akim Yudasi and Seymon and Iosef Gudovich. They were trying to kill me". He was losing the little patience he had left. "Look, just go rescue Jack".

He hung up the phone instantly. The call didn't last enough time for it to be traced. However, just in case, he opened the window of the black Audi and threw away the cellphone he had just used.

05.05.26 – 05.05.27 – 05.05-28 – 05.05.29 PM

Virginia Medical Center

Renee was still lying in her hospital bed, reading an important security report, when her assistant Zoe walked into the room carrying a coffee, a sandwich and a blueberry muffin. The chief of staff scolded the young woman lightly, "I told you I'm not hungry, Zoe".

The assistant simply disregarded what the older woman said and handed her the snack. "Ms. Walker, you never finished your lunch because of that creep…. You haven't eaten anything since breakfast. You have to eat something. Actually, your doctor told me so".

The Chief of staff lifted her eyebrows slightly. "You talked to my doctor?". She then looked down at her own hands and her lips curbed up slightly in a tiny smile. Soon she looked back at Zoe. "Thank you".

The green-eyed woman smiled back sweetly. "You're welcome". Next she handed her boss a bag with the sandwich and the coffee, saving the muffin for later.

Renee graciously took the bag and examined its content. It was a sandwich made with black bread, ham, cheese and tomatoes. Her favorite type of sandwich, indeed. She wasn't very hungry, though. She wasn't showing it, but she couldn't stop thinking about Igor Laitanan touching her, kissing her and trying to rape her. And thinking about Igor, inevitably, brought back the memory of the other Laitanan. Both of them made her feel nauseas, but Vladimir was worst because he had actually been in her.

Zoe took a seat by her boss and continued talking, not realizing Renee looked a little bit troubled. "And, by the way, your Aunt Brianna called". 'Aunt Brianna' was actually Miranda Jones, Renee's therapist. Zoe knew that but used the code anyway for her boss's protection. They hid the fact that Renee went to therapy by calling the weekly session 'The tennis match' and the therapist 'Aunt Brianna'. Nobody but Jack, Eric and Zoe knew that Renee's real aunt Brianna had actually died tragically in Ireland being just a toddler. "She said that, if you need to talk after what you went…".

The older woman didn't even let Zoe finish that sentence. "I'm fine", she claimed firmly. Truth be told, she didn't even know how she felt. She hadn't allowed herself to stop and process what had happened. However, 'I'm fine-let's-focus-on-work' was basically her default setting. As if to prove how fine she was, she made a huge effort and took a small bite of her sandwich. She swallowed it laboriously while Zoe watched attentively. "I don't have time to talk to her anyway".

"That's true", the assistant conceded weakly. She had only been working with her for a couple of months, so she didn't know the chief of staff well enough to know that Renee tended to use work to cover her emotions from the world and even from herself.

Trying to act casual, Renee ate a little bit more of her sandwich. "Anybody else called?".

The young girl looked at a notepad and then back at her boss. "Kim Bauer".

"It's Kim Calloway, Zoe", Renee corrected Zoe gently. "She goes by her husband's name".

"Sorry", Zoe apologized awkwardly. "Anyway, you should call her. She sounded worried about you".

Renee nodded, agreeing with her assistant, and smiled slightly, lowering her gaze. She found Kim's concern touching.

Then there was a knock on the door and two secret service agents walked into the hospital bedroom. One of them was Arizona Rush, whom Renee knew well because the agent was in charge of the chief of staff's office. The other agent was a man in his late thirties with black deep-set eyes and his head shaved. On the other hand, Arizona was a blonde boyish-looking woman with extremely short straight hair and big brandy-brown eyes.

The blonde agent was the first one to greet everybody with a serious pure-business expression. "Good afternoon, Ms. Walker". Next she bowed her head at the younger woman in the room. "Zoe".

Zoe gave the agent her typical warm smile. "Hi".

Renee bowed her head as greeting but failed to smile. "Agent Rush". Her crystal-blue eyes were then set in the man and, after that, they were back in Arizona. "Who's your partner?".

The man stepped up and spoke with a somewhat military tone. "I'm Special Agent Garrick Adamson, Ma'am. Agent O'Malley put us in charge of your protection, at the president's orders".

"We'll stay with you until Igor Laitanan gets caught", Arizona added.

The chief of staff didn't like having protection at all and didn't bother to hide it. "Look… I was an FBI agent. People seem to forget that. I can protect my self. So, if you guys want to do something else…". She knew very well that the agents would never go with her proposal. But she didn't lose anything with trying. "We'll tell the president and Nate that you protected me. They don't have to know".

Arizona just gave her a compassionate look. "I'm afraid we can't do that ma'am".

Renee rested her back against the pillow and sighed with resignation. "Yeah. I didn't think so".

The female agent gave her new protégé a sympathetic smile. "So, do you have any questions?".

The red-haired woman folded her arms across her chest with a scowl that never abandoned her delicate face. "How does this work, exactly?".

Arizona patiently began explaining Renee the whole deal with a very serious professional tone. "I'll be leading a detail of six agents. They'll work two at the time for eight hours each pair. Agent Adamson and I have the first shift. We'll set a command post in your manor"

Garrick then stepped up and continued giving Renee more information. "We have a couple of ground rules. You can't use your car. We'll drive you wherever you want to go from now to the moment Igor Laitanan gets caught. And we have to know were you are all the time".

Arizona then added, "We can't comment on what you do. And we definitely aren't here to judge. If you want to cheat on your boyfriend or drink a beer at 11 AM that's your business. But we have to watch you all the time".

"How far away from me will you be?", Renee asked, failing to hide her growing anxiety.

"We'll obviously respect a certain perimeter of privacy", Arizona assured the new protégé.

The chief of staff narrowed her crystal-blue eyes with doubt. "What does that mean?"

Garrick was the one to answer that question. "You can take a shower or use the bathroom by yourself".

"Provided that we check the facilities first", the female agent instantly clarified.

Renee didn't feel much better. But, what could she do? She was obligated to accept the protection because the president of the United States had ordered so. "Okay"

Arizona searched for something in Garrick's backpack and then handed Renee a folder and a pen. "Please, Ms. Walker, we need you to sign this before we can begin".

"Fine". Renee reluctantly took the folder and the pen, and then she signed the papers.

Next the door of the hospital bedroom got opened and Angela Nelson walked in with a polite smile on her face. "Hello, everyone".

Zoe greeted the white house press secretary right back. "Hello, Ms. Nelson".

Angie gave the young assistant a tiny smile and then exchanged greeting nods with the agents. After that, her concerned chestnut-brown eyes got set on the chief of staff. "Renee, how are you doing?".

"I'm fine", Renee answered with a sort of inpatient tone. She truly didn't want to talk about her own emotions. Instead, she handed the folder back at Arizona and focused on what she had to do. "Guys, would you please give me a minute with Angie?".

Arizona nodded in agreement. "We'll be right outside".

The male agent then handed Renee a panic button. "Please, press this is you need us".

"All right", Renee agreed without arguing, since she had no choice. Then the two agents and Zoe left her alone with Angie. Once she was alone with the press secretary, Renee's curious eyes posed on her. "So, what's that thing you needed to tell me?".

The press secretary took a seat on a chair that was by Renee's bed. She was silent for a moment. She didn't quite know how to say what she had to say. But she finally decided to just say it. "Some details about you and Vladimir Laitanan got leaked to the press".

Renee leaned back feeling horrified. "Oh, my God". She blinked very quickly. "What details?".

"Valery Layton knows you were…". Angie trailed off. She felt extremely uncomfortable discussing the topic with the chief of staff. After a few seconds, she spoke again lowering her voice to a whisper. "She knows he raped you and that, after that, you slept willingly with him for eight months".

At first, Renee said nothing. For a split second, she could feel Vladimir kissing her neck and touching every inch of her body. She felt grossed out and absolutely crushed. "Oh",

"And, Renee…". Angie got even more uncomfortable, if that was possible. "She knows about your miscarriage".

The news came like a dagger in Renee's heart. But she managed not to cry…. Barely. "Which one?".

"The first one", Angie answered with a kind tone of voice.

After a moment of silence, Renee swallowed and managed to speak with her voice nearly breaking. "How did she find out?".

"I don't know", Angie replied sorrowfully, with genuine compassion in her chestnut-brown eyes. "The information got send to her anonymously".

"We need to find out who her source is", Renee declared firmly. Only eleven people in the world knew that much about Renee, including Renee herself. Jack, Leo, Angie, the president, George Sullivan, Nathan O'Malley, Ethan Kanin, Caldwell Coleman, Chloe O'Brian and a private investigator who Ethan had hired to vet Renee when Allison chose her Chief of Staff.

"We are working on it", Angie assured her instantly.

Renee sighed, very painfully resigned. "What does she want?".

Angie sighed too defeated and then answered the question. "Details of the FBI-CTU rescue operation, an excusive about the kidnapping, what you went through, and whatever you want to say about Vladimir".

Renee's delicate features darkened significantly. "I see".

Next the press secretary had to tell Renee another bad news. "And, also, Sean Callahan knows that Igor Laitanan kidnapped you because you killed his brother".

Renee simply stared at the other woman in, looking completely lost. "What do you think I should do?".

"Well… I've been talking with Cal… The best way to avoid a scandal is leaking the information yourself, under your own terms. Give your own version of the story", the press secretary explained.

"What version?", Renee asked, not understanding what Angie meant.

"You were undercover with Vladimir Laitanan, who was a very violent man that raped you", Angie said, expositing smoothly what Renee should say. "That's when you got pregnant". She made a small pause as Renee absorbed the words. "He hit you and you lost the baby and left the mission. Six years later you had to go undercover with him again. He attacked you and you had no choice but to kill him in self defense. Considering what he had done to you in the past, you were genuinely afraid for your life".

Renee was then the perfect example of a bitter defeated woman. "I just have to lie about when I got pregnant and avoid giving details of how I killed him".

Angie nodded. "Exactly". The press secretary made a short pause. Renee looked so crushed. "Renee, people will understand. You were defending yourself from a Russian gangster who beat you and raped you". She made another pause. "You are the victim here".

Then Renee shot her an angry dart with her eyes. "Angie, you are an amazing press secretary… but if you ever call me the victim again I'll fire you".

Angie's whole body tensed. She nodded looking a bit frightened. "Okay".

After that, the chief of staff just leaned back against her pillow and looked into the space feeling devastated.

The press secretary gave Renee a sympathetic look.

Meanwhile, Arizona and Garrick were right outside, standing by the door.

In the same moment, Leo was heading to Gordon Hamish's house, driving the black Audi A3.

Simultaneously, Janis Gold was working by her desk, getting information about the Russian gangsters.

05.12.55 – 05.12.56 – 05.12-57 – 05.12.58 PM

05.15.43 – 05.15.44 – 05.15-45 – 05.15.46 PM

Zoe was working from the hospital's waiting room with a laptop.

Right then, Janis Gold was sending information to Agent Jeffrey Teller. .

Meanwhile, Angie and Renee were working together on a press statement Renee would give.

At the same time, Leo found himself stuck in traffic and was clearly pissed.

05.16.00 – 05.16.01 – 05.16-02 – 05.16.03 PM

Annandale, Virginia

In the middle of a construction site, Jack remained tied up to a pole. He was trying desperately to free himself to no avail. He mentally cursed Leo for putting him in that crappy situation.

Fortunately for him, the FBI arrived to his rescue. Two FBI cars were parked by the construction site. Agents Jeffrey Teller and Dale Reynolds got out from one of those cars, as agents Lenny Charters and Brandon Turner got out from the other one.

Lenny and Brandon hurried to free Jack, while Jeffrey and Dale observed the surroundings and noticed the dead bodies of the three Russian gangsters; one of them was inside a hole, literally buried up to the neck with a bullet on his forehead.

Jeffrey's expression turned extremely serious. "Call Janis", he ordered Dale. "We need four more agents to process this scene".

"And set a perimeter?", Dale suggested.

A now free Jack approached them and instantly jumped into the conversation. "It's not gonna do any good. He's gone".

Jeffrey stared at him with a look that clearly said and-who-the-hell-asked-you?. "Mr. Bauer, don't tell us how to do our jobs". He then addressed Dale. "Set a 20 block perimeter". Dale nodded quickly in agreement. Jeffrey's brown eyes were then on Jack again. "We'll need you to come with us".

Jack knew they would want to debrief him, but he didn't want that to happen. "I can't. Renee is still at the hospital. I have to be with her".

Of course Jeffrey wouldn't allow him to leave. "You have to come with us and explain what the hell happened here".

With a big scowl on his face and anger showing in his aquamarine eyes, Jack gave the FBI agent his own version of the story, "These men were Russian gangsters who were helping Igor Laitanan, and they were trying to kill Leo, so he killed them on self defense. That's all I know".

Jeffrey was deeply outraged because Bauer was taking him for an idiot. "On self defense?". He pointed his finger at the gangster buried to the neck while yelling heatedly. "Look at that man!". Jack didn't even move, which only infuriated the FBI agent more. "Look at him!".

Jack didn't obey. His scowl grew even deeper. But he realized that the self-defense excuse wouldn't work, and the FBI knew Leo had committed the murders anyway, so he tried to save himself. He argued angrily. "I had nothing to do with any of this. You saw me… I was tied to that pole. I tried to stop him".

The agent gave him a give-me-a-break look. "And how did you know he was here in the first place?". Jack remained silent, so Jeffrey exposited his own version of the story. "My guess is that he called you for help and you abetted him instead of calling the authorities".

"I wanted to talk to him first. I wanted to talk him into turning himself in", Jack claimed with a firm tone of voice and looking straight into the agent's brown eyes. "I was trying to…".

"I don't care why you did it!", Jeffrey interrupted him sharply. "You knew he was here and didn't tell us. So you have to come with us". The agent didn't give room for further arguing.

Jack was visibly pissed. "I want to be with Renee".

Naturally, Jeffrey couldn't care less. "Mr. Bauer, if you don't cooperate with us you'll definitely go to jail for obstruction of justice".

Jack found him self trapped. He had no choice but to do as Jeffrey said.

05.18.32 – 05.18.33 – 05.18-34 – 05.18.35 PM

Washington DC. - Gordon Hamish's house. Salem Ln. 4467.

Leo arrived to the house of Dr. Gordon Hamish. They had told him Igor Laitanan was in there. He drew his Beretta 9000 pistol and forced the door open. He then walked into the living room very slowly, trying not to make any noise, and examined the surroundings. He noticed some blood in one of the couches and some mail to 'Gordon Hamish', which told him he was definitely in the right house. He also saw about four different pictures in portraits of a man with a little girl and a little boy. He guessed the man was Gordon.

After that, he moved to the kitchen, where he saw absolutely nothing important but a laptop on a table. Subsequently, he left the kitchen and walked down a hallway. He kicked open the first door he saw with his gun readied. The room was a small bedroom with an adjoining bathroom. He looked around carefully. He opened the closet, searched under the bed for any clue, looked into every drawer and next registered the entire bathroom. Nothing extraordinary. All he found was some cocaine.

Afterwards, feeling frustrated, he kicked the door of the following room, which had an operating table, a desk and a big cabinet with medical supplies. He quickly scanned the room with his hazel eyes and was shocked to see two dead bodies lying on the floor.

Trying not to touch anything, he took a good look at the bodies. One of the dead men was the same man in the pictures that were in the living room. It had to be Dr. Gordon Hamish, whose college degrees from Saint Thomas University were hanging in the wall.

Leo recognized the other man because the guy had been investigated by the FBI. He remembered the name was Kirill Losev. Now he knew that the meaningless goon worked for Liev Mastrosov.

It didn't take much to figure out what had happened. The Russian gangsters had turned against Igor, so the fat bastard had killed Losev. Igor had also killed Hamish to keep the doctor from talking.

Leo then got some latex gloves from the cabinet, put them on and examined Kirill's body. He first noticed that the young gangster had a beetle tattooed in his hands, which symbolized pickpocketing. Next, he took off the guy's sweater and t-shirt. He saw the dead guy had a joker tattooed on the upper right arm, meaning he was a gambler, and aswastika on his other arm. (But in the world of the Russian gangsters, a swastika didn't mean necessarily that the wearer was a Nazi, it could just mean rebellion to the authority). On the chest, Kirill had a bat, like Leo, meaning he was nocturnal.

However, what called Leo's attention was the tatoo on the upper right chest. It was two swords stabbing through the heart, one side to side, one top to bottom.He had seen it in Iosef and in Jacob Bukin. What the hell did it mean? He had no idea.

He decided to let it go, for the moment, and proceeded to check the medical charts on the doctor's office. But the charts didn't have real names. They were written in codes so only the doctor could identify the patient. For instance, there was a chart labeled "Lion". That man had been treated repeatedly for gonorrhea and Chlamydia. The man had also suffered a couple of broken bones and had been shot twice. Another chart was labeled "Bear". This man had also suffered several broken bones, more than "Lion", and had been shot five times. Then he found a chart that belonged to a woman. It was labeled "Butterfly". The doctor had treated her for VDs and performed two abortions on her.

Leo left the charts and pondered for a brief moment about what to do next. He needed the FBI to process the scene and find as much information as possible. He didn't have the resources, but he could access to the FBI's information later, somehow. So, with that in mind, he took the cellphone and, this time, dialed Jeffrey Teller's number.

Agent Teller was driving his car with a very pissed off Jack on the back seat and Dale Reynolds in the shotgun seat. He heard the phone ringing and checked the caller ID screen. He didn't recognize the number but took the call anyway. "This is Teller. Who is this?".

"It's the rock in your shoe", Leo replied arrogantly, as he started leaving the place.

Jeffrey's features darkened. "Craig".

"You need to come to Salem Ln. 4467, in DC." the fugitive told him, somewhat with a bossy tone.

The new FBI director couldn't believe the fugitive was giving him a tip. "What's there?".

"Two dead bodies", Leo said. And before Jeffrey could say anything, he rushed to clarify the facts. "I didn't do it. Igor Laitanan killed them. He was here to have his shoulder fixed".

Jeffrey was visibly skeptical. "I have little reason to believe you, don't I?".

Leo couldn't care less about what Jeffrey believed. "Don't believe me. Process the scene and believe the evidence, I left it for you".

Obviously Jeffrey wasn't going to thank him. He simply proceeded to ask the question in his mind. "Who is dead?".

"Kirill Losev and a doctor working for the Russian gang", Leo answered, while he walked into Gordon's garage and saw the doctor's car, which was a White Porsche 911. Obviously being the doctor of Russian gangsters paid well.

Jeffrey paused to absorb the information before asking another question. "Do you know who this people work for?".

Leo got into the fancy vehicle and got it started as he barked a response Jeffrey wouldn't like. "I'm not going to do all the work for ya, Teller. Do your fucking job". He then hung up and threw the phone through the window. He then decided to go to Arlington, Virginia, where Liev Mastrosov lived.

05.20.52 – 05.20.53 – 05.20-54 – 05.20.55 PM

Washington DC. - Holocaust Museum

Igor Laitanan finally arrived to the holocaust museum in a red Volvo he had just stolen, since he could no longer drive the blue Chevrolet stolen by him earlier. He had first gone to his apartment to grab some things he needed and change his clothes, which were full of blood and brought too much attention to himself. The obese man was now wearing jeans, a long sleeve blue t-shirt, a blue sweater and a heavy black coat. He hid his sandy-brown short hair with a black winter hat and wore a black scarf that covered his lips and chin. He was also carrying a backpack with some stuff he would need and a money belt with one hundredth thousand dollars in cash for the man he knew as Martin Willard.

He got out of the red Volvo, walked into the museum after paying for his entrance and walked around it for a very short moment. Finally, he saw Ross Kinkaid, one of Willard's goons, a huge guy with a lot of muscle, black short curls and russet-brown eyes. He recognized him from the picture that had been sent to him. Igor approached him and greeted the young man somberly. "Mr. Kinkaid".

"Mr. Laitanan", Ross greeted the obese man back respectfully as they pretended to watch what was on display at the museum. He was shocked by the man's immensity. "You're late".

Igor became angry and instantly gave a very good excuse for his tardiness. "It wasn't easy getting the cash. The feds are all over me. And so are the Jacobis".

"Do you have it?", Ross asked brusquely.

As a response, Igor handed the other man the money belt. "One hundredth grands. I'll give him the rest once I'm safe".

Ross took a small peek inside the money belt and saw that, indeed, there was money inside. But sadly he couldn't count it in a public place. His eyes shifted from the money to Igor and tried to sound as scary as possible. "You better don't screw with Brendan". Ross stopped himself abruptly and his russet-brown eyes widened slightly in alarm, realizing that he had just revealed his boss's real name accidentally. He would be in serious problems if Brendan found out. The dumb gangster quickly made a pathetic attempt to fix it. "I mean Martin. You better don't screw with Martin. He's a very dangerous man".

"I know", Igor assured him, ignoring the 'Brendan' gaffe. He couldn't care less about Martin's real name. He had more important things to worry about. "Now, give me the address".

Ross complied. "Oronoco St. and Alfred N St. in Alexandria. It's a small house with white bricks and a black roof".

"And you'll bring me the new documents there?", Igor asked only for confirmation.

"Yeah", Ross promised falsely. Brendan was actually planning on selling Igor out to the Russian gangsters who wanted the obese man dead.

Then Ross quickly walked away from Igor.

At that same moment, Jack was still in the back of the FBI car with a scowl on his face.

Meanwhile, Agent Jeffrey Teller was driving the vehicle with a somber expression on his face.

At the same time, Leo was still driving his vehicle in direction to Liev's apartment, while smoking.

05.24.34 – 05.24.35 – 05.24-36 – 05.24.37 PM

05.28.52 – 05.28.53 – 05.28-54 – 05.28.55 PM

Jack, Jeffrey and Dale Reynolds arrived to the FBI DC Headquarters.

Right then, Brandon Turner and Lenny Charters were processing the scene in the construction site.

Simultaneously, Igor was driving the red Volvo, heading to Alexandria.

Meanwhile, Renee was still lying in the hospital bed, talking on the phone with his deputy.

The chief of staff was holding a folder with the state of the union address in her hands while her assistant Zoe held a cellphone by Renee's year. Renee was reviewing the state of the union over the phone with the Caldwell Coleman. She read out loud a part about a tax relief. "This tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes and it will help our economy immediately. Ninety…".

The white house communications director, who was sitting behind his desk, then interrupted her gently to make a correction. "We changed everyone for any American and immediately for straight away. Lynnete felt it sounded stronger".

Renee nodded approvingly and wrote down the change. "She's right". Then she proceeded to read the paragraph again. "This tax relief is for any American who pays income taxes and it will help our economy straight away. Ninety two million Americans will keep this year an average of almost $1,100 more of their own money. A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 per year".

"And we added a new line", Caldwell informed her, as he read from his own copy of the speech. "This tax relief is an absolute good for Americans in the near future, but is even better for Americans today".

"That's good", Renee approved as she wrote the line down. "But what about this part…". She browsed through the pages and read a highlighted part in the homeland security section. "I am proud to report our country is indeed 'stranger' than it was two years ago?".

"That's a typo. We meant stronger", Caldwell clarified.

Renee made the pertinent correction in her copy of the speech. "That's what I thought…. Although, I guess it's true either way". Her smartass remark got a soft chuckle out of Caldwell.

Zoe's cellphone then rang, so Renee had to hold her own cellphone and the young woman walked away to take the call.

"George thinks we can't claim the country is stronger when eight months ago the Kamistani president was murdered in our soil and a terrorist group nearly annihilated half Manhattan", Caldwell reported, as he scratched the back of his head, unsure of what to think. "I guess our vulnerability showed then".

Renee's bruised features darkened as she recalled that horrible spring day. "But we faced those difficulties and recovered from such blows".

The communications director pressed his lips together and pierced the sheet of paper before him with his big heavy-lidded grayish-blue eyes as he considered the issue. "I guess you're right".

The chief of staff then bit her lower lip. She had to move on to a much more uncomfortable topic. "Listen… I guess you already know about the situation with Valery Layton".

"Don't worry about it", Caldwell told her immediately. "We can handle it".

Renee was still very much concerned. "If you think I should give the president my resignation…"

"We can handle it", Caldwell repeated more firmly. "This won't become a big thing. We won't let it".

At that moment, Zoe handed Renee a note that said 'Jeffrey Teller needs to talk to you ASAP' and had a phone number written in it. The chief of staff read it and raised her thin eyebrows. Next she addressed the communications director. "Look, Cal, something happened with the FBI. I have to go".

Caldwell understood perfectly and felt a little bit worried. "Okay".

Renee disconnected the call and then dialled the number written on the paper.

In the FBI headquarters, Dale was questioning Jack in one of the offices while Jeffrey watched them with a frown and his arms folded across his chest. Then Jeffrey's cell began ringing. He took the call after barely one ring. "Teller".

"Jeffrey, it's me, Renee", she told him talking fast.

"Hi", Jeffrey greeted her with an extremely serious tone.

The Chief of staff was anxious to know what was happening. It sounded important. "You wanted to talk to me. What's going on?".

"We found Jack"., Jeffrey announced, thinking Renee was expecting so.

She was puzzled. Supposedly, Jack was at a meeting with the secretary of defence. "Found him?"

Jeffrey thought Renee was just playing dumb to cover up her own involvement. She was Leo's best friend and Jack's fiancée. The woman had to be involved. "Renee, we know he's been assisting Leo".

Renee was even more confused. "What are you talking about?".

He FBI agents narrowed his brown eyes with suspicion. "Are you saying you didn't know…?".

The chief of staff interrupted him sharply with a no-nonsense tone. "What's going on, Jeffrey?".

Jeffrey didn't quite believe Renee was completely innocent. But, in the off chance she really knew nothing, Jeffrey smoothly summarized the situation for her. "Leo killed three Russian gangsters in a construction site. Apparently they tried to kill him first, but Jack went to his rescue instead of turning him in. But then Leo threatened him, with a gun. We found Jack tied up to a pole".

Feeling overwhelmed, she took all the information in. She had more questions than answers. Who were those gangsters? Why were they trying to kill Leo? What the hell was Jack thinking, helping a federal fugitive? And why on earth would Leo threaten Jack and tie him to a pole? Leo was going insane. She felt her head spinning out of control. "Leo threatened Jack?"

"Jack claims he was trying to stop Leo and turn him in, so Leo threatened and tied him to a pole", Jeffrey explained. He made a short pause to let Renee absorb all the information before adding the most important part, "But Renee…. Even if he was trying to turn him in". And Jeffrey clearly didn't think that was the case. "The fact that he knew were Leo was and went there without telling us… that's bad. I had to tell the attorney general".

Renee's face remained hard like a stone. She acted surprisingly calm, trying not to show her emotions. "I understand". She swallowed. "Where's Jack now?".

"He's giving a statement at the headquarters", he told her. "Want to talk to him?"

"Not right now", Renee said, surprising Jeffrey. She was too angry at Jack to talk to him at the moment. He had lied to her and gotten himself in big legal trouble, potentially embarrassing the president. She wanted to strangle him. "Just send me all the information you've got".

05.33.23 – 05.33.24 – 05.33-25 – 05.33.26 PM

Arlington, Virginia.- Liev's apartment- 915 Nelson Street, apartment 2.b.

Leo finally arrived to the apartment of Liev. Just in case, he drew his weapon and readied it before forcing the door open. He walked in and took a look at the living room. It was empty. Soon, to his surprise, a very young girl emerged from the bathroom. The extremely thin girl couldn't be more than fifteen years old. Her body was still pretty much child-like. She had long black curls and pastel-blue eyes with long eyelashes.

The girl was naturally pretty scared by the stranger with a gun who had entered the apartment without permission.

Leo realized the girl was Liev's girlfriend because he knew that Russian gangsters often took teenage girls as concubines. It disgusted him. He lowered his weapon and talked to her in Russian with a gentle tone. "I'm not going to hurt you. Don't be scared. I just need to find Liev. Do you know where he is?". The girl just shook her head, still very frightened. "Look, he helped a man who killed my girlfriend. Please, help me find him".

The teenager shook her head again and spoke in Russian because she didn't speak English. "I can't. He'll kill me".

"You're scared of him. I understand. I bet he's a very bad man", Leo told her in Russian. The young girl nodded. "Tell me… what's your name?".

"Zara", she responded timidly.

Leo gave her a look full of compassion. "Zara, I'm Leo. And I know what that man is doing to you. I bet he makes you sleep with men and he beats you". Zara nodded, confirming what Leo knew without doubt. The sadness in her eyes was heartbreaking. "And I bet that he doesn't let you go anywhere by yourself and he doesn't let you use the phone".

The girl nodded once again. "A man said there was a job for me here as a maid. But then Liev made me sleep with him and other men".

Leo felt terrible for the poor girl. He wanted to give her a hug, but he didn't because it would only scare Zara. Instead, he decided to offer her some assistance. "Look, I can get you help. But you have to help me. Please, tell me where Liev is. Please".

The girl shook his head, refusing to cooperate. "He's going to kill me. He's dangerous. Very dangerous".

"He won't kill you", Leo promised sincerely. "You can hide in my apartment. Nobody is there anyway". Cooper was with his grandparents in their hotel room. "And then you can call a very nice woman called Renee Walker. She'll help you leave town and get a decent job. I swear. She's a very powerful woman", he added reassuringly. The girl still looked doubtful. "You don't have to stay with him, Zara. You can leave and make a better life for yourself. Whether you want to go back to your country or stay here Renee can make it happen".

Zara thought about it for a moment. She really wanted to leave the horrible man who beat her. She was scared. But the nice American man assured her that she wouldn't get hurt. She finally nodded agreeing with Leo's proposal. "Okay".

Leo then grabbed a piece of paper he saw over the table and a pen. He wrote something down and handed it to Zara. "This is the address of my apartment and Renee's phone number". Then he grabbed the keys of his apartment and gave them to Zara. He wasn't planning on going back anyway. "This are the keys. Now, could you please tell me where that man is?".

"He is with other men in a place called café Milano", she told him.

He nodded. "I know where that is". It was in Georgetown, very close to his apartment. "Do you know what kind of car is he driving?".

The girl shook her head. "It's navy blue. And it has a sticker of Jesus. But I don't know more about it".

"Okay. Thank you". After thanking her, Leo left the apartment.

05.36.01 – 05.36.02 – 05.36-03 – 05.36.04 PM

Washington DC. – Capitol Building.

The director of White House Secret Service operations, Nathaniel O'Malley, was at the command post secret service had set at the capitol to work in the security for the state of the Union address. He was busy supervising the work of other agents. Then he saw Agent Evan McDonnell walking towards him with a female agent. The female agent was a beautiful woman with short sandy-brown hair and dark-brown eyes. She also had a couple of brown moles on her right cheek.

Nathan approached her with a smile. "Agent Kirshner I presume?".

Mandy smiled back at him and they shook hands. "Yes. It's very nice to meet you, agent O'Malley".

"Likewise. Did you have a nice flight?", Nate asked politely. The woman he knew as Melinda Kirshner had just arrived from Venezuela, where she had worked to catch terrorists from Iran that wanted to kill President Taylor.

Mandy had actually caught those terrorists to pass successfully for a Secret service agent. He had infiltrated the secret service a few years before. She had been assigned to the office in Arkansas where nobody knew her. Only a select group of agents had access to her file.

She smiled again and answered the question. "It was very nice, thank you".

"I see you came to my seminars", Nathan commented.

"That's right", Mandy confirmed with a seductive smile. "They are very interesting".

They exchanged smiles once again. Then Nathan turned deadly serious. "Let me be honest with you, Agent Kirshner, I'm not sure if I should let you be involved in the security for tonight. You have just come back after all".

Evan then stepped in the conversation very quickly. "I can assure you, sir. She's more than ready for this assignment", he assured him. "She has experience securing buildings because she does so whenever President Taylor goes to Arkansas. And she's done the same for every president since Charles Logan".

"I'm ready, sir", Mandy affirmed with a great deal of confidence. "I've been dreaming about an important assignment like this since I joined the service". She wasn't exactly lying right then. Blowing up the capitol was her dream hit. It was challenging and very exciting. It wasn't a piece of cake like poisoning David Palmer or framing Richard Heller.

Nathan believed her. "Okay. You can work with Evan. He'll teach you the protocols for tonight".

Mandy nodded. "Thank you sir".

"Thank you", Evan said.

The two young agent and Mandy walked away from Nathan. Once they were sure nobody could hear them, Evan spoke. "I told you he wouldn't recognize you".

The beautiful assassin was still worried. "But Jack Bauer might".

Evan shook his hand dismissively as they kept walking. "Don't worry about Bauer. He'll be dead soon. He won't run into you".

At that moment, they saw a young female agent called Tara Banning approaching them. The make agent was surprised to see her. "Tara, I didn't know you had a double shift today".

"Trevor got sick and I drew the short straw", Tara explained with a charming smile.

Evan smiled back and then proceeded to make the pertinent introductions. "This is Agent Melinda Kirshner"

The women shook hands.

05.37.44 – 05.37.45 – 05.37-46 – 05.37.47 PM

FBI Headquarters

Jack, Agent Teller and Agent Reynolds were in the FBI headquarters, in a room that was used to debrief witnesses. Jack had been on that room before, the day he met Renee an agent had taken his statement there. He couldn't believe that had been less than two years before.

"So, are you saying that Craig called you around 4 PM?", Dale Reynolds asked only for confirmation, since Jack had already told them.

"Yes", Jack confirmed, not hiding his annoyance. "I told you. He called me and told me his life was in danger, Three Russian gangsters had taken him hostage. So I traced the phone and went to save him". He obviously omitted the past where Chloe had actually traced the phone. He wouldn't get his intelligent friend in trouble. "When I got there I found him fighting with the Russians and I saw him killing them on self defense". Jack didn't mention hitting two of those Russians with his car. "It turns out that my help was not needed after all".

Jeffrey knew Jack was lying and felt furious at the guy. "On self defense? One of those men was buried up to his neck with two of his toes missing".

Jack realized that the evidence was too damming. He had to tell the truth. "Okay. He killed the other two men on self defense, but he interrogated the youngest one".

"Interrogated him?", Jeffrey looked in complete disbelief and felt outraged. "Interrogated him? Is that how you call such act of brutality? He tortured the guy!".

"Mr. Bauer, did you help Craig torture the man?", Dale asked, knowing what Jack used to do to people.

Jack shot him an angry dart with his eyes. "Of course not. I tried to stop him but he tied me to a pole. You saw me".

Then Jeffrey continued to question Jack. "And, tell me, what did Craig find out?".

"Nothing. The guy never broke", Jack lied like an expert.

It was then Dale who went on with the questioning. "What kind of things did Craig do to him?"..

Jack wasn't planning on giving so much information. "You'll find out when they do the autopsy"

Jeffrey gave him a don't-mess-with-me stare. "Bauer…"

Jack didn't let him talk. He just lied to him without even blinking. "I saw nothing, Teller. I was unconscious most of the time He hit me pretty bad in the head".

Jeffrey didn't believe him. He approached the table, rested his hands on it and leaned towards Jack with a threatening tone. "Are you sure that's what happened?".

Not wanting to take it any longer, Jack stood up abruptly and shot pulverizing rays at Jeffrey with his aquamarine-green eyes. "Who do you think you are talking to? I'm not going to just sit here while you call me a liar. I can have your ass fired any time I want".

Far from being scared, Jeffrey looked defiant. "On what ground are they going to fire me, Bauer?".

Arrogantly, Jack got on his face. "Gross incompetence". He then stepped back a little. "You failed to catch Igor Laitanan. Craig escaped and murdered people on your watch. And, when the Chief of Staff was kidnapped, I was the one who rescued her. Your people couldn't find her".

Jeffrey's face darkened significantly. "None of that was my fault".

Jack didn't care at all about what Jeffrey was saying. And he didn't feel like arguing with the guy. All he wanted was to go to the hospital to see Renee. "That's for Tim Woods to decide", he stated. "I already told you everything I know". Saying that, he turned around and walked to the door.

"Bauer, I didn't say you could go", Jeffrey protested.

Jack ignored him and left the room. After that, he walked through the bullpen and reached the elevator. He took his cellphone and dialed Renee's number.

At the hospital, Renee was still lying on her bed and reading some reports. She heard her cellphone ringing and checked the caller ID, realizing it was Jack. Her expression became angry as she took the call and her tone was dry. "Jack".

Jack could sense she was angry and knew very well why. "Listen…".

Renee didn't let him talk. "You lied to me. You lied to me and went to help Leo".

Jack got in the elevator while he defended himself. "His life was in danger".

She wasn't going to accept that excuse. "You could have sent the authorities. You didn't have to go yourself and help him. Are you even aware of what you did? You abetted a fugitive. You could go to jail". As Jack's fiancée the idea terrified her. Plus, as White House Chief of staff, she had to think about the political consequences. "And the president of the United States trusted you, Jack. She made you her national security advisor. You going to jail would embarrass her. It could hurt her bad".

Twenty years of being married to Teri had taught Jack to apologize even when he didn't think he had done something wrong. "I'm sorry".

Renee knew him too well to fall for that one. "You are not sorry. You think you did the right thing".

The elevator reached its destination and jack walked out of it. He didn't want to argue over the phone anymore. "Look, we should talk about this in person".

"Yeah", Renee agreed feeling beat.

"See you in a few minutes". Jack then hung up the phone.

05.40.55 – 05.40.56 – 05.40-57 – 05.40.58 PM

Suitland- Silver Hill, Maryland. – Howe Av. and Lewis Av. – Brendan Marson's apartment

Brendan was finishing arming a bomb while his son Nolan was working on the other one. Then, Teddy Blackstone walked into the room. The cute woman with chartreuse-green eyes was Brendan's girlfriend even though he was twenty eight years older than she was. She smiled and held him from behind wrapping his waist with her arms. "Babe, Mandy took the bomb, didn't she?".

"Yes. She did", Brendan assured her. "Hers is ready. These ones are the ones the guys and I will plant".

"They are almost ready", Nolan added.

Brendan took his electric blue eyes from the bomb for a second and looked at his girlfriend. "You have the uniforms?".

Teddy nodded. "Yeah".

"And the badges?", he asked her with concern.

"Yes", the cute nerdy woman reassured her boyfriend. "Don't worry. They look very real".

Brendan relaxed slightly. "Good". Then his cellphone rang. He looked at the caller Id screen and it said 'Brooke'. He knew very well who Brooke was and she knew who he was. But they used each other's aliases in case someone heard them. His lips curbed up in a smile. "Hello, Brooke".

The mysterious woman greeted him back. "Martin. How are things going over there?".

"Everything is fine", Brendan assured his associate. "We are ready".

Brooke was genuinely concerned in spite of Brendan's words. What if things went wrong? "This better work. Joseph is already furious because Walker is still breathing".

The mercenary was not very worried. "She'll die at the thing anyway".

"She won't. If we take out Bauer she won't go to the thing, she'll go home to cry a river", the woman pointed out, not leaving room for doubt.

Brendan pondered about it for a moment and realized the woman was right. "Good point. But we need to take him out before the thing so he won't recognize Mandy". He didn't say anything Brooke didn't know already. Very quickly, he offered a solution. "My people and I can ambush her in her own house".

"Okay. But she's protected by two secret service agents", Brooke warned him.

The 56 year old man was still very confident. "My men and I can take them".

"I hope so", the woman said somberly. "What about Laitanan?".

"Jacobi's men will ambush him in my safe apartment", he stated confidently.

Brooke gave a slightly sight of relief. "Good. Now I have to go. I'll talk to you later".

Brendan nodded. "Okay".

The mercenary then went back to arming the bomb.

At the same time, Jack was driving back to the hospital.

At that moment, Leo was driving to where Liev was.

Right then, Mandy and Evan were pretending to revise the security protocol.

05.42.18 – 05.42.19 – 05.42-57 – 05.42.58 PM

05.45.01 – 05.45.02 – 05.45-03 – 05.45.04 PM

Nathan and the other agents were rehearsing for a possible evacuation.

Meanwhile, Garrick and Arizona were standing right outside Renee's hospital bedroom. .

Simultaneously, Renee was still in her hospital bed, working.

At that moment, Leo was arriving to Café Milano.

He got out of the Porsche he had stolen from the late doctor and walked towards a place in Georgetown called Café Milano, located at 3251 Prospect St. NW.Leo discretely looked through the window of the café. He then saw the man who had murdered Jacob Bukin, Liev Mastrosov. The Russian gangster was a big man, bald, who had a black soul patch and granite-grey eyes. Right then, Liev was eating and drinking with other men, who Leo presumed were other gangsters.

The American observed his target for a moment. But he unfortunately couldn't do anything while the man was in a public place.

He looked around and saw a Navy-blue lotus parked nearby with a sticker of Jesus. It had to be Liev's car. Leo took some supplies he needed for the task and easily opened the door's car and disconnected the alarm. He then hid on the back seat and waited for his target.

05.46.09 – 05.46.10 – 05.46-11 – 05.46.12 PM

Washington DC. – Capitol Building.

Inside the main chamber of the Capitol building, Nathan O'Malley had gathered a large group of agents to do a drill and practice what to do in case of emergency. They practiced quite often. But Nate was not happy with the results. "People, last time it took us two minutes". He lifted two fingers for emphasis. "Two minutes to put the president into the motorcade. That is unacceptable. Unacceptable. We must do better than that. It is our duty to make sure President Taylor gets to safely give the state of the union and we must be well prepared for everything. In our line of work, failure is not an option".

Agent Jerry Bradshaw, the second in command, stood next to Nate with an equally serious expression. He stepped up to add something more positive. "We can all do better. You guys are here because you are truly great at this job. Now, everybody assume your positions and let's practice situation 16".

All the agents did as they were told. Agent Tara Banning stood in the podium because she was playing the part of the president. Nathan assumed his position as well and set the chronometer. "Now!",

Jerry played the part of the attacker and aimed a gun at Tara.

Instantly, Agent Derrick Albertson and Hank Brewer yelled "Gun!" and run to tackle and disarm Jerry who got to fire a fake gun they used for drills.

Agent Trevor Montgomery jumped and stood between Tara and the bullet.

Nathan scooped Tara up like Kevin Costner in 'The body guard' and ran towards an exit with her. Other agents surrounded them to keep the crowd away from them. Nathan ran with Tara in his arms with the other agents clearing the way for him.

Soon enough, Nathan got to the motorcade with Tara, put her inside and got in with her. Then he checked the chronometer. He nodded, now pleased. He got out of the motorcade. "A minute and ten seconds. Good job everybody", he announced to everyone's relief. "Now, let's practice situation 32".

Once again, all the agents assumed their positions. Except this time agent Penny Hanson played the president while Tara went to cover one of the exits. Penny stood by the podium. Nathan was near her and got the chronometer back to 0. "Now!".

Agent Trevor Montgomery yelled "bomb!" and simultaneously ran towards Penny, and pushed her far away from the podium. Nathan ran quickly towards Penny and scooped her up. With her in his arms, he ran towards the exit while other agents opened the way for him. He left the capitol, put Penny in the motorcade and got in with her.

He checked the chronometer and felt pleased. "One minute and 8 seconds Great job".

05.48.14 – 05.48.15 – 05.48-16 – 05.48.17 PM

Virginia Medical Center

Jack walked into Virginia Medical Center and headed to Renee's bedroom. Right outside, he saw Agent Arizona Rush with a male agent he didn't know. "Hi. So, you two are assigned to Renee?".

"Yes, sir", Garrick replied with a military tone.

Jack gave him a distrustful look. "I don't know you".

"I'm Special Agent Garrick Adamson, sir", he told him, again using a military tone and with a solemn expression. He decided to give the man more information to reassure him. "On 2002 I graduated from Notre Dame with a mayor in chemistry and got a master degree in forensic sciences. Then I joined the service. Since last may I've been guarding the entrance to the EEOB. Before that I was in Charles Logan's detail". He didn't add the part where he had been taken from Logan's detail shortly before the former president tried to commit suicide. He had been reassigned for failing to smile back at the corrupt man, giving him an angry stare instead.

Jack was satisfied with the man's resume. Then his eyes shifted to Arizona. "Agent Rush, no offense, but the man who wants to kill Renee is three times your size. Will you be able to take him?".

Garrick and Arizona exchanged pointed looks. They both knew what they had to do. He moved forward like an attacker would. Then Arizona easily grabbed him, flipped him onto the floor, pulled her weapon, and put it in his face. She then looked triumphantly at Jack. "I had to grow up with the name Arizona. I learnt how to handle big bullies".

Jack was genuinely impressed. "Okay then". He gave the woman half a smile. "Excuse me, now I have to see Renee".

Garrick nodded and opened the door for him. "Of course".

He walked into the bedroom and saw Renee with Zoe and Angie by her side. "Hey"

Anger was then in Renee's eyes. "Hi". She looked at the other women in the room. "Please, I need a minute".

Angie and Zoe nodded and left immediately.

Jack attempted getting closer to his fiancée. "Look, I know you're mad at me…".

"How could you?", she asked rhetorically, visibly hurt. "You lied to me, you hid from me the fact that my best friend was in danger and you broke the law".

"To help your best friend", Jack reminded her. "He was about to get killed and I don't think he deserves to go to jail".

Renee sighed with clear exasperation. "Hasn't it occurred to you that going to jail could actually be what's best for him?"

Jack was sceptical. "How do you figure?",

"If he goes now, I can get him a short sentence. If he stays free, he's going to continue doing crazy things and I won't be able to protect him". She was actually very worried about Leo. She was afraid of what he might do. She feared for Jack too. "And what if you go to jail? You never think about the consequences of your actions".

Jack frowned feeling deeply outraged. "I think about the consequences of my actions"

"Right. You just don't care. You do whatever you want, even if it hurts those who love you".

He stepped back like she had slapped him. Then he tightened his jaw feeling angry. "I think I better leave now".

Renee nodded in agreement. "I think you better leave too".

Jack headed to the door. But, before leaving, he turned around and gave Renee a look. She looked so cold. He was going to say something. But then he didn't and just left the room.

She watched him leave with her heart aching and then she leaned back against the pillow looking at the closed door dismayed.

05.51.16 – 05.51.17 – 05.51-18 – 05.51.19 PM

Alexandria, Virginia - Oronoco St. and Alfred N St. – Brendan's Safe apartment

In the living room of the apartment, Igor Laitanan was sitting on the black leather couch watching TV while eating a big sandwich leaving crumbs all over the place.

On the TV, a news anchor was giving the news, "Now White House Chief of Staff Renee Walker is recovering well at Virginia Medical Center after being kidnapped". A photo of Renee with President Taylor in the Oval office was then shown as the anchor talked. "Reportedly, Walker will go back to the White House within the hour and give a press statement. Meanwhile, the FBI is looking for the man responsible for the kidnapping". A photo of Igor popped up in the screen. "Igor Laitanan. If you see him, call 911".

Igor frowned and changed the channels.

On the other channel, another news anchor was talking while a photo of Leon Craig was shown on the screen. "At this moment, the FBI is looking for Leon Craig, FBI director, for the murder of a suspect called Jacob Bukin". A mug photo of Jacob briefly appeared on the screen. "Craig was taken into custody immediately after Bukin was found dead, but he escaped after shooting one of his fellow agents and a police officer". Then they put another photo of Leo, this time a picture of him, Renee and Allison. "A White House senior official revealed that Craig's involvement in the murder has not been actually proven".

Seeing the faces of Leo and Renee on the screen infuriated Igor. It made his blood boil. Very harshly, he threw the remote at the TV.

Suddenly, Igor heard the sound of someone trying to break into the apartment. He immediately ducked behind the couch for cover; he readied his gun and also took a knife he had used to cut the bread. Those were the weapons he had handy.

Soon, four Russian men busted into the apartment. A short man with brown hair, a blonde man, a black-haired man and a very tall man in green clothes.

From behind the couch, Igor threw the knife and easily stuck it in the black-haired man's throat, killing him. Simultaneously, he fired his gun and managed to hit but not kill the short man and the blonde one.

The men fired right back at him but Igor remained covered.

The obese Russian popped out of the cover and returned the fire while running to the bedroom. This time he hit the very tall guy.

The short guy and the blonde one chased him and managed to shoot him in his left side and his right tight.

Wounded for the second time in two hours, Igor hid in the bedroom behind the bed.

The short guy and the blonde one busted into the bedroom, but they didn't get to fire their weapons. Igor masterly shot both of them in the head.

Feeling the pain in his left side and his right tight, he headed back to the living room. He saw that the very tall man was actually still alive, but barely moving. So Igor coldly shot the guy in the head.

He first dragged the body of the black-haired man into the bedroom and hid it there. After that, he did the same with the body of the very tall man.

Then he looked at the bodies and wondered what he should do. It was clear that those men worked for Ivan Jacobi. The apartment was no longer safe. Jacobi would send more men. Igor then thought of an idea to buy himself more time.

He took the short guy's cellphone and saw an incoming message from 'AJ', who had to be Andrian Jacobi. The message said 'Is it done?'.

Igor texted back saying, 'Yes. Laitanan is dead'.

Fifteen seconds later, another text came. 'Good. We'll see you at 10 pm at the restaurant.'

Igor replied the text instantly. 'Okay'

At ten PM the Jacobis would realize that their men four were dead. Igor had until then to hide and think about what to do. The FBI was looking for him, the Jacobis wanted him dead and 'Martin Willard' had obviously betrayed him. What could he do? He had no idea. But he knew that he had to leave the apartment and hide somewhere else.

He picked up his stuff, left the apartment and went to a different one across the hall, while blood leaked through his latest wounds. He then rang the doorbell.

A Jewish woman in her late seventies called Judith Solomon, who lived in that apartment, headed to get the door. "Who is it?".

"They told me there might be a gas leak here. I came to fix it", Igor lied.

Judith was surprised and confused. "I don't smell any gas".

"Your neighbour says he smells gas coming from here", he lied again, getting impatient.

The old woman then got scared. What if the apartment exploded or she died because of the carbon monoxide? She sighed and got the door open.

Igor immediately grabbed her, covered her mouth, and put a gun on her head. "Don't say a word, old lady. I'm gonna have to stay here for a little while".

The terrified woman could only bring herself to nod.

05.59.56 – 05.59.57 – 05.59-58 – 05.59.59 PM

06 PM