Title: Chances Are
Disclaimer: Not mine
She snuck around the building,
searching for an exit. If anyone knew where she was headed, it would mean her death. She silently counted the stairs, trying
to avoid the creaky floor board that would give her away. Balancing her weight on the railing, she jumped past the last two
stairs, landing with her knees bent and her hands pushed forward to brace herself from falling. Time stood still as she glanced
around the room. There was no movement and everything seemed quiet. Almost too quiet. A smirk graced her delicate features
as she struck out to her left, knocking a guard out. She closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. Amateurs. Her eyes narrowed
as she caught sight of the security camera. Searching through her small pack, she found a tiny device and snuck towards the
camera. She stood directly under it, slowly inching her way up until she stood on the tips of her toes. She attached the device
and counted to ten. A small beep alerted her that the camera was running on a continuous loop of film. She smiled in satisfaction.
This had barely even tested what she was capable of. She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out the keys to the black
BWM convertible. A laugh escaped as she thought about the look on Sark’s face when he realized his precious car was
missing. Opening the door, she frowned when she realized it was raining. Pulling her jacket tightly around her body, she ran
for the car, glad to see that the top was left up for once. She opened the door and started the engine, driving away from
the warehouse. She needed to meet Sloane to make sure he was still holding up his end of the deal. The rain pounded on the
windshield as she drove further into the night. It brought a certain smell with it, a smell that, try as she might, had always
reminded her of Jack. There had been so many nights when he worked late, when she would just wait for his arrival. Each time,
she'd run to the door to throw her arms around him and greet him with a kiss. Now, 30 years later, she could still smell Jack
in the rain. The years had blended together, memories faded, but moments lasted. Jack and Sydney had been moments. The car
turned into the empty lot. Irina shut the headlights off and she rolled to a stop just outside the gate. She sat in the car,
her hands clutching the steering wheel, just listening to the rain fall around her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
She turned off the engine and walked through the rain towards the building in front of her. She nodded at the guards as she
walked through the door. Rubbing her hands together, she tried not to focus on how wet she was. The halls seemed to stretch
before her, never ending. She turned left and found herself facing the maze of doorways that housed the Rambaldi artifacts.
Turning back, she headed the other way, not wanting to see anything that had to do with Rambaldi. It only saddened her to
know that her daughter was a part of the prophecy. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She paused, composing herself
before starting back towards Sloane's Rambaldi rooms. The key to her family's past and future was behind those doors. Opportunity
lay with her. So many miseries, so many lost moments because of her. If her allegiance with Sloane could unravel any part
of this prophesy, then she would use it, right down to its last flimsy bond. With more bravado then confidence, Irina headed
down the hallway, each step bringing her closer to the end, the end of everything, and possibly, the beginning of something
new and different. Voices drifted through the corridor and panic set in. She scanned the hallway, searching for a place to
hide. Her hand reached out and pushed open the nearest door. Quietly, she slipped in and listened in the dark. The voices
faded into the distance. Inhaling deeply, she brushed the hair out of her eyes and dropped her head against the cold metal
door with a thud. “Who is it?” a voice rasped in the darkness. She froze. A chill shot up her spine. She turned
and squinted into the darkness. “Jack?” She slowly approached the bed where he lay, shocked by what she saw. He
was covered in bruises and his left eye was swollen shut. His arm lay at an odd angle and she winced when she saw his shoulder.
“What happened?” Jack laughed bitterly. “I think it’s pretty obvious what happened.” He glared
at her. She took a step backwards, stunned by what she saw in his eyes. “Jack, I had nothing to do with this.”
“Why should I trust anything that comes out of your mouth?” She bristled, hating the fact that she was being forced
to fight with him. They were both so damned stubborn. Her hands clenched into fists and she struggled to control her temper.
“Jack, " she said through a clenched jaw. "Stubbornness becomes neither of us right now. Let me help you so we can help
our daughter." The words hung in the air - our daughter. There was no way to take them back. "What do you know?" Jack demanded.
“I know enough.” She turned and began to wander around the room, searching through the crates of supplies. Sloane
kept bandages and vitamins and various first aid supplies in this room. It made her sick to know that he kept Jack in this
room, so close to the supplies that would help him. She rummaged through one last crate, finally finding the salve that she
had been searching for. She approached Jack, warily, not sure of how he would react to her actually trying to help him. He
seemed ready to take all of his anger out on her before even giving her a chance to explain. She saw him wince as he tried
to move his arm. “Here, I’ll put this on, it’ll take the sting right out.” He closed his eyes and
she took the chance to approach him, her gaze softening as she rubbed the salve over his various bruises. She winced as she
saw the damage done to his shoulder and arm. Silently, she vowed that she would make Sloane pay for this. Tenderly applying
the salve to his swollen eye, she felt her throat constrict. Caught up in her actions, she was too busy to notice that Jack
had grabbed her free hand, gently squeezing it. His voice broke the silence and she jumped slightly. “It’s not
as bad as it looks. I’ve had worse.” Staring at him, she frowned, the idea of him in pain not sitting well with
her. He squeezed her hand again, trying to get her attention. “It’ll heal.” “That’s not the
point, Jack.” She pulled her hand away and sighed heavily. “What does Sloane want?” "What does Sloane want?"
Jack repeated the question. "Arvin Sloane wants what he's always wanted. Power. He is a greedy son of a bitch, with no regard
for anyone or anything. Those who dare to stand in his way will be damned. It either ends now, or it doesn't end at all."
His voice was laced with meaning. "Sydney," she said softly. Looking back at Jack, she saw the pain written across his face.
Instinctively, one hand reached up to caress his forehead, brushing his damp hair aside. His eyes closed as her touch lingered.
"Are you in pain or..." He slowly opened his eyes, his gaze clouded. “I will be if you stop.” His hand slowly
reached up to brush her hair behind her ear. Gently cupping her cheek, he forced her to meet his gaze. “Why do you always
make me want to trust you?” “Because you can.” She leaned forward, their mouths meeting in a desperate kiss.
She reluctantly pulled away after a few minutes, her breathing ragged. “Jack, we need to get you out of here.”
He nodded, taking a deep breath. "Let's do it." He grimaced as his weight shifted. "I’ll try not to hold you back."
She helped him into a sitting position, trying to support him enough to stand straight. “Jack, just take it easy on
yourself. I’m not hurting you, am I?” “And if you are? We need to get out of here.” He wrapped his
good arm around her waist to steady himself, slowly taking a step forward. They walked through the corridors, trying not to
attract any attention. Irina glanced to her left when she heard a faint click. She motioned for Jack to stay still, slowly
helping him to lean against the wall. She ran to the end of the corridor, kicking out with her right left. The guard sagged
against the floor and she grabbed his gun, arming herself in case they should run into any trouble. Walking back to Jack,
she frowned when she noticed how pale he was. She shouldered his weight again, letting him lean against her. “Jack,
are you sure you can make it?” His voice was gruff, but she knew it was to mask the pain. “I’m fine, but
I’ll be better once we get out of here.” She led him further down the corridors, stopping near an unmarked door.
“Do you think you can handle stairs? This is the only way we can get out without alerting the guards.” He nodded
and they entered the stair well. Before she realized it they had neared the exit, coming closer and closer to their goal.
She entered the pass code and waited for the click that announced her clearance. Turning to Jack, she smiled. “Almost
home free.” She handed him a secure cell phone and he grabbed it. “Call Sydney, tell her to take Agent Vaughn
and find a secure place to stay until we contact her again.” Jack nodded, punching in the number and relaying the information
to their daughter. The door swung open and the cold wind and rain blew against them. Irina spotted the silhouette of the car
across the lot. It seemed so far away. Jack wouldn't make it. "Wait here," she said to him, helping him balance against the
wall. "I'll be right back." Taking a breath, she stepped out into the rain and took off running. The rain pelted against her
face, soaking her skin and hair as she crossed the lot with smooth easy strides. The door opened easily and she looked back
at Jack before climbing into the car. The light shone down on him and even at a distance, the pain on his face was unmistakable.
The engine roared to life and the tires squealed as she tore across the empty lot to where Jack waited. She opened her door
and rushed to help Jack into the passenger’s side door. She made sure he was comfortable before buckling the seat belt
around him. She leaned forward, placing her forehead against his. “You’re ok?” He used his good hand to
pull her closer, kissing her. “Better now.” Sliding her hand down his chest, she leaned to whisper in his ear,
“Later.” They shared one last kiss before she pulled away, moving to go back to the driver’s seat. She tore
out of the lot, her mind focused on finding a safe location to spend the night. Her mind raced as she considered the options,
finally settling on a non- descript seedy motel. There were any number to choose from along the highway. Picking one, she
quickly pulled into the lot and ran inside, checking them in under an alias. Walking back to the car, she helped Jack to stand
and explained their aliases. They were a married couple, just looking to get away for the night. She wrapped her arm around
his waist and slowly led him to the room they would be sharing. Unlocking the door, she helped him to sit on the bed before
moving to shut and lock the door behind her. “Did you want to take a shower?” She slowly approached the bed and
sat next to him, laying her hand on his arm. “It can wait til tomorrow. Right now, I just want to pass out.” He
leaned back and closed his eyes, looking relaxed for the first time since she had laid eyes on him. She leaned forward, slowly
unbuttoning his dress shirt. “Do you think you can take it off yourself? Or is your shoulder too tender?” Her
hands stilled on his stomach, lightly tracing the muscles she found. “I’ll need some help.” He sat up and
she gently removed his arm from the sleeve, doing her best not to jar his shoulder. A breath caught in her throat when she
saw the disfigurement and bruising around his shoulder, or at least, where his should have been. It hung limply at his side,
the joint obviously out of place. "Jack. This has to hurt. It's dislocated..." Jack cut her off with a harsh growl. "Then
fix it," he said gruffly. She eyed him cautiously. "Do it." Irina braced herself behind him, placing pressure against his
arm. "A reduction? Are you sure?" She hesitated. "Do it," he demanded. Gritting her teeth, she gripped his arm and shoulder
firmly and pulled it back, until she felt it pop back into place. A yell escaped as the pain shot through him. Irina dropped
her head forward and rested it against his back. He struggled for air. Closing his eyes, he leaned forward, trying to even
out his breathing. “Thank you.” Placing a hand on his shoulder, she lightly massaged the area. She was careful
not to put too much pressure on it, using only enough force to ease the muscles around the injury. “Why don’t
you lie back?” Jack nodded and slowly moved backwards until he was comfortable. Irina continued to massage his shoulder,
focusing on listening to the sound of his breathing evening out. She sat back, leaning against the headboard and closed her
eyes. Opening her eyes, she slowly stood, stretching to loosen the kinks in her muscles. She walked over to the other side
of the bed and slowly unbuckled Jack’s belt, trying to make him more comfortable. She gently pulled the covers out from
beneath him, and began to unzip his pants. Jack’s hand covered hers and she stifled a gasp. “Trying to get into
my pants already?” “I’m trying to make sure you’re comfortable.” She pulled his shoes and socks
off and pulled his pants down, leaving him clad in only his boxers. She pulled the blanket over him and walked towards the
bathroom. She leaned against the door, trying to collect her thoughts. Being near Jack again was starting to affect her. She
stared at the shower, smiling. A hot shower would refresh her. She unzipped the black vest, tossing it to the side. The blue
turtleneck came next. She stretched the muscles in her back and sighed in relief as some of the tension left her body. Unzipping
the cargo pants, she pushed them down her hips, stepping out of them. She removed her underwear and turned the water on. Stepping
into the shower, she sighed as the water hit her skin. She held her face under the spray, letting the water soothe her nerves.
~*~ Turning the water off, she stepped out of the shower and grabbed some towels from the shelf. She wrapped on around her
body and used another to dry her hair. Searching through the cabinet, she was able to find a comb. It would have to do for
now. She slowly combed the tangles out of her hair, giving it a chance to air dry. She wiped the condensation from the mirror
and studied her reflection. Out of the corner of her eye, she spied her old clothes. Wrinkling her nose in distaste, she decided
to stay with the towel. Jack had seen her in less, he would survive. Gathering up her clothes, she neatly folded them and
placed them on the bathroom counter. She opened the door and met Jack’s gaze. She laughed when realization dawned on
his face. “That’s what you’re wearing?” “Well, cargo pants that are full of heavy weapons aren’t
all that comfortable.” She walked toward the bed, smirking when she noticed Jack shifting to lie on his side. “You’ve
seen me in much less.” He mumbled something intelligible and she laughed, pulling the covers back enough to slide under
them. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, content for the first time since she had left Jack
in Panama. ~*~ The crash of thunder woke her, shaking her from sleep. She blinked, taking in her surroundings and sighed in
relief when she realized where she was. She turned to lie on her side and found herself staring into Jack’s eyes. “How’s
the shoulder?” “Still a little tender, but I’ll manage.” His hand reached out to trace the top of
her towel and she sighed. “Someone slept well I see.” He leaned forward placing kisses along her collarbone, gently
nibbling on the area near her pulse point. “I hardly slept with you lying there in almost nothing.” Her hands
moved to run through his hair, gently ruffling it. She gasped as he slowly pushed the towel from her body, revealing her breasts.
She pushed him back on the bed, lightly straddling his body. Jack pushed the towel to the floor, his hands moving to cup her
breasts. She leaned forward, meeting his mouth in a kiss. Her hands traveled along his sides and she moved to place light
kisses over every bruise that she could find. His hands moved to her hips, gently urging her to move forward. She nipped lightly
at his chin before sliding down the length of his body. She teased his erection through the material of his boxer shorts.
He groaned and she leaned forward to kiss him through the material. She moved to slide his shorts past his hips before straddling
his body once more. She looked into his eyes as she slowly slid onto his erection. She gasped as he filled her, arching his
hips. She rocked against him, closing her eyes. Holding onto his arms, she built up a steady rhythm. Tightening her muscles
around him, she arched her back as the sensations began to flood her body. Jack gripped her hips as he thrust into her. One
hand moved between their bodies, slowly fingering her clit. She came, gasping his name as he thrust into her once more, finding
his own release. ~*~ She lit the lilac scented candle, taking a deep breath of the wonderful scent. She held the robe around
her body, not wanting to bother with the belt. It wouldn’t be staying on long anyway. She gathered her hair up in a
loose knot at the nape of her neck, holding it together with a few precisely placed pins. Loose tendrils framed her face and
she brushed them behind her ear. The door opened and she couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face. She approached
the door, swaying her hips as she walked. Jack placed his coat on the chair near the door and she took the opportunity to
surprise him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and placed her chin on his shoulder. “I’ve missed you.”
Placing a kiss on his neck, she slowly backed away. She held her hand up, motioning for him to wait. Irina flashed a small
seductive smile as she lowered the robe off her shoulders. "Welcome home, Jack," she purred, watching his eyes cloud over
with lust as the robe hit the floor. "Sydney called. She and Vaughn will be up on the weekend for a visit." "Great," Jack
growled, stepping closer. "We'll see them later. I see you now." His arms wrapped around her waist, fiercely pulling her towards
him. She traced her fingers lightly across the small scar on his chest. It had been a year. So much had happened in that year,
so many moments. Jack's hand covered hers. "It's done," he said, bringing his lips down to hers. She smiled against his kisses.
Jack pulled back and grinned at her. "But we're just getting started..."