These Spanish Codes

by Aria



Disclaimer: I don't own Fox, 24, or any related production companies, or people. I actually own very little, seeing as I'm a student, and am currently living off of my student loan.

Rating: I guess it'll be a PG-13, and I'll put any terrible graphic violence or sex in another post with a higher rating.

Authors Note: I may have sunburn at the moment. It's keeping me up by infiltrating my dreams, did any one ever think that maybe sunburn is a bizarre pink life form that's out to get me? I want to finish this story before 10-11pm airs in the UK, so any prodding would be appreciated. Once again, this is a Jack/Nina how they got together, and as promised, I will work some Jack-whumping into this fic, although I'm not sure exactly how yet!

Summary: Antiphony Arms have a data disc, they have a code key, we want a data disc, we want a code key - it's a whole espionage thing.



The particular flavour of bureaucracy that Division favoured meant that once a month, the district leaders spent two hours in their offices reading reports that had taken their chief of staffs nearly two days to prepare. These reports would be on the general activities of the agents working in their district of CTU, on their expenses for the month, on the agents' personal lives...

Jack had breathed a sigh of relief that Nina had chosen not to submit a few choice discussions. She'd omitted their quarrels at the beginning of the month, and then the subsequent depression during which she'd gotten him to sign a completely blank sheet of paper, for no reason, other than to prove he was distracted.

Jack turned over page thirty-three and moved onto thirty-four. He rubbed his eyes as he felt them begin to water in frustration, and was desperately thankful that the phone rang a few seconds later.

Any normal person would have jumped at the intrusion of such a harsh sound into a previously silent work environment, but Jack wasn't disturbed, he pressed the speaker phone button and answered the call without even flinching or raising his eyes, or his attention from Nina's report. "Walsh just called," her voice sounded over the speaker.

"What did he want?" The name Richard Walsh momentarily distracted him from his line of thought, and he glanced over at the phone, as though he could gauge its response from its features. Richard Walsh was a good colleague of his, he'd known him back when he was working undercover, and he had been the one who'd signed him to CTU. Jack owed Richard his life, a few times.

"Don't know exactly." Nina's soft, uncertain voice resounded in the room, "Just said he wanted to see the two of us and would be in in less than twenty minutes."

"Okay," Jack tried desperately to think of a few hunches to play. It always helped to be prepared, and whilst his unit was designed for counter- terrorism work, they worked in intelligence and pre-emptive strikes. He couldn't think of any major problems coming up in the next week, Fourth of July weekend had gone off without any major hitches. He tried not to let Nina know he couldn't think of anything. "Come up when he comes in." He said.

He heard her reply. "Okay." And then the call light flicked off on his phone. It was unusual for Walsh to request that Nina be present in a meeting. He usually wanted Jack alone, or him and his entire staff. Walsh knew that anything he told Jack, unless specifically remarked as classified, was going to be told to Nina, it was essential to Jack's effectiveness, but never the less, he usually preferred to brief Jack alone.

He took a moment to glance down at his second, seated at her desk, she was diligently working at her computer, no doubt already making notes on next month's torture device. Had he not only just spoken to her, he would never have known she'd just finished a phone call. He watched as Tony approached her desk, leaving a couple of stapled pages off to one side of the curve behind her, and then returned to the work he was doing at station 6, a multi-user, advanced technology desk, working his way into a highly encrypted bank account. Tony gave Nina a soulful look as he left, the same look he frequently gave her when she wasn't looking. Nina didn't notice Tony as he came and went, not pausing for a few moments, until she reached for her coffee cup, and realising it was empty, stood to get herself another. She glanced up at Jack's office momentarily, and they caught each other's eyes, and then both resolved to move on to other work.

-24-

Nina rounded her chair as she noticed Richard Walsh and his small entourage enter CTU. She took a step into the hallway, blocking his path to Jack's office and shook his hand. She'd already tapped the intercom, and told her superior "Walsh's here." As she'd seen the glass doors swish, but she hadn't waited for his answer to register. "Send him up." As she moved to make 'nice' with the man who so obviously disliked her.

"Mr Walsh." She greeted him, shaking his hand and taking a few steps backwards until they reached the staircase.

"Nina," he didn't look far enough down to see her head, evidently he didn't bend like that. "Are we ready?" He asked this as though he expected her to have to run off quickly with something to do.

"Yes." She replied, noticing as pinky and perky took up positions at the foot of the stairs to Jack's office. She was sure that they were either decorative, or that they were less educated, less opinionated versions of what she was to Jack.

"Then let's begin." Walsh lead the way up the stairs, walking at a hurried, yet dignified pace. Leaving her to trot behind him. When she caught up he'd pushed the door open to Jack's office, which was up from his seat and leaning over his desk to shake his superior's hand.

"Richard." Jack greeted, smiling.

"Jack." Richard returned the greeting, accepting his hand, giving Jack a look that she was sure he could interpret as a happy emotion, whilst she could only interpret it as some kind of dislike.

"Shall we get to work?" Jack suggested, offering Richard a seat. Truth was, both men would normally prefer to stand whilst they spoke, but here it would have been awkward, so instead they chose to sit, both of them uneasy as to how their seat positions referred to their status. Nina waited for both of them to sit, before she took a place in on of Jack's guest chairs, she took a yellow legal pad off of Jack's desk, one she was sure was hers, and rested it on her knee, she didn't take a pen, although knew where she could get one, and waited for Richard to begin.

"We recently received intelligence that states Antiphony Arms have received a number of documents encoded with the Dramhurst code key." Walsh began, resting a hand on his knee; he spoke primarily to Jack, which allowed Nina to give Jack a meaningful glance. They'd spoken about this before. Everyone else briefed the two of them, Walsh preferred to brief Jack alone, initially at least. She wondered if it was because of Jack that she was included in this briefing. Jack couldn't obviously respond to her, but she knew she'd gotten her point across to him.

"Do they have the code key?" Nina interjected, wanting to contribute to the briefing. She realised that this was obviously important if it had been bought to Jack, but she also knew that it was unlikely that the Antiphony Arms, a separatist union, based in Southern Spain, would have the means to decode these texts, and that bought them time.

"They've had it for sometime, we're just not sure that they realise what it is." Richard took a moment to gauge her reaction, which was evident from her face, and then continued on. "What we want you to do is to go to Spain, bring back the computer files, and bring back the original copy of the Dramhurst key."

Jack glanced over at Nina, who looked over at him at exactly the same time, acceptance, not that they had a choice, but both saw that the other was willing to go. "When do we leave?" Jack asked, moving his hands away from Nina's report on his desk.

"The next flight to Malaga is at three am, you have three hours to review the dossiers on your alter egos." Richard said. Both had to bite back their tongues to avoid complaining about the complete lack of notice. "We can't afford to have you discovered, my agents have packed you both suitcases, and made you hotel reservations and booked your flights under an alias. If US customs asks, you are a married couple going away for a few weeks. You can not take the information my men will give you with you, you must know everything about it before you go to the airport."

Nina nodded slowly. Richard didn't have to see Jack's reaction, this wasn't a mission Jack could choose to accept, and this was a mission he had to do. "I'll have my agents bring you the dossiers and travel documents, if you have any questions, ask them, one of them will take you to the airport."

Nina stood, normally she'd just leave, but with Walsh there, she had to ask permission. "I need to sort out a few things before we go." She told Jack.

"Replacements will be sent in to cover your positions." Wash supplied.

"I know that, there's just a few personal things that I..."

"Go." Jack said to her, and she quickly departed, letting the glass door shut behind her.

Walsh watched the magnet seal engage, and then waited for her head to disappear down the stairs before he started. "Do you think she can do this?" He asked, leaning back in his chair, raising his hands to the armrest.

"Yeah." Jack said, nodding.

"She's only done short stints of undercover work, nothing of this scale." Richard stood and walked over behind Jack's desk, only for a moment, to nod to one of his agents down stairs before returning to his seat.

"Can she handle it? Definitely. I'll make sure of it." Jack told him, absolutely sure of his agent's abilities. "Don't believe what Mason says about her, he's just resentful because..." They both knew Mason only seemed to respect women under his command if they slept with him, but Jack didn't need to say it out loud. "She's a good agent, Richard."

"You'd better be sure, Jack, because if Antiphony Arms break your cover, they'll kill you on the spot." Richard warned, standing once again from his chair, and making his way to the exit.

Jack stood and walked over to Richard before he made the door. "Richard, these documents..."

"Our undercover agents in Serbia, in Iran, in Afghanistan, our British allies undercover in Kashmir, the list is endless, Jack, some of whom I can't even tell you about." Richard revealed. He opened the door as he finished, and made his way down the steps. One of his agents had already gone off somewhere, and the other accompanied him back out the helipad.

-24-

Nina returned to him as she twisted the cap off of a bottle of water. The mineral water, despite being bought in the departure lounge was probably two dollars more expensive than elsewhere in the country. Duty free didn't mean the companies we're allowed to over price their goods. He was thirsty too, but one of them had to sit with their bags, and as far as asking favours of Nina went, he wasn't sure if calling her 'honey' would get him a bottle of water or a kick in the balls.

She stood in front of him for a moment as she drained the entire bottle in one long gulp. Jack had sent a long email to Kim, wishing her good luck in her exams, whilst he'd sent a short email to Teri hoping to see a new exhibit in her gallery when he got back. He didn't have time to call, and it was late at night now, he'd sooner not wake them.

"We boarding yet?" He asked her. She'd stood in front of the monitors for a few moments before she bought her drink, and he couldn't see that far across the lounge. He watched as she collected a few things that had spilled from her bag in her absence, tucked them away, and placed them on the floor before she sat and answered him.

"Not our seats yet, they're boarding people with children." Jack nodded slowly and picked at a few loose fibres in his trouser leg. Nina watched him for a moment, and then pressed a few fingers lightly on his wrist. "You okay?"

"Fine." He replied, brushing the tearing strands flat on his leg and then moving his arm to the arm rest, Nina's hand moved to the side and he caught her fingers, he squeezed them, and it took her a moment to realise he wanted to hold her hand. She shifted in her seat to lean against his shoulder.

"I paint." She whispered, as she watched a group of kids run past them. "Apparently it's my great passion in life, I even have canvas in my bag." She whispered to him. On the canvas were the plans to the building they believed the computer documents to be in. They'd been painted on by an ink containing cobalt. It oxidised in air to give a colourless compound of cobalt, but it could be reduced again, using another bottle of ink she had, containing a stronger oxidising agent than cobalt, which would turn the ink back to its natural colour.

Jack took her left hand as she spoke, moving it across his seat and into his left hand, where he examined her ring again. It wasn't an unusual thing for someone to do, he could recall countless times he'd spent playing with Teri's ring on her finger. It was a way of drawing attention to it, of pointing out to everyone, 'she's mine'. Only this time he wanted to see what the FBI had given them, what sort of rings busted drug lords gave their girlfriends. He raised it to his face a little, and rotated it, turning the ring on her finger. Nina didn't seem bothered, glancing around the airport and carefully watching the people around them, "What's yours?" She whispered.

"I don't think I really have a hobby," he muttered to her. Whilst they'd studied their files together in his office, it had taken them a full three hours to make it through; they hadn't had time to get to know each other's characters. "I'm an investment banker, high net worth, I own a boat but it's harboured in LA."

"A boat?" Nina queried, she tried not to fidget as Jack stroked her hand, instead raised her head from his shoulder, creating a little more distance between them. "Do you know how to sail?"

"Yes, a yacht, and yeah, I learnt a mission a while back." Jack contributed, the tannoy system came on, and he half focused on the announcement as she spoke.

"Do you think that'll come in handy?" She asked him, rising as she heard their seat numbers called out. She took 'her' handbag from the floor and passed him a shopping bag with three papers in it, the Economist, the Independent and the Los Angeles Herald.

Jack stood next to her, collecting her almost empty bottle from the chair arm and downing what little was left of the water. He waited as she rooted around inside the bag to find their boarding passes and passports, and caught a glance at the ring, he realised, belatedly, that all the time he'd spent examining the ring had really been spent examining the texture of her finger.