Title: Right For The Job
Category: Pre Day 3
Pairings: Kind of Jack/Chloe
Summary: CTU needs a new analyst and Chase has someone in mind.
Season/Sequel: Before Day 3.
Author’s Notes: Written for fanfic100 challenge.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of 24 and The Fox Network. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
“He’s the best we’ve seen so far,” Tony argued persuasively.
Tony sighed, and fell into step beside him.
“Jack, we have to pick someone.”
Jack halted, forcing the man beside him to do the same. “Tony, you are sadly mistaken if you think I’m hiring that man.”
“He’s got all the right qualifications.”
“Did you see him Tony?” he asked, starting to move through the building again. “He was so nervous in there he was sweating like the last turkey on Christmas Eve. How the hell could we hire someone like that to run comms and point for field ops? How could we trust him when the pressure is really on?”
Chase watched the scene unfolding before him from the upper level. For the past three weeks there had been endless interviews with no candidates appearing to match what CTU needed, and it was starting to affect everyone around the two men. Chase watched as it was apparent this last interview had had the same result as the first.
Tony sighed in frustration, shaking his head, as Jack went up to his offices slamming the door behind him.
Chase decided to give his partner a few minutes to let off some hot air. But in a few minutes he followed Jack inside, knocking merely a formality.
“I take it it didn’t go great then?” He said conversationally.
Jack merely grunted, running a hand through his sun bleached hair.
“That well, huh?”
“Yeah,” he leaned forward in his chair checking the small, yellow memo stickers littered across his desk.
“You really need to get more organised, Jack. How the hell did you manage to run this whole place on your own before?”
Jack glared at him with narrowed eyes, and Chase held his hands up conciliatorily. “Okay, I get it. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
“Good. How did the meeting with Division go?”
“Fine. They’re talking about a national meeting between all the CTU heads sometime within the next six months. And this time, they’re insisting you actually turn up.”
Jack groaned, and slumped back into the leather chair behind his glass top desk.
“There’s something else for me to look forward to.”
“Yeah,” Chase said, moving forward and sitting casually down on the chair opposite Jack. “Listen, if you still haven’t found someone for the job, I have someone in mind.”
Jack looked at him in surprise. “You do? Who?”
“A friend of mine, I used to work with her in Washington. She’s the best analyst we had. She’s an expert in security systems and satellite navigation. She was the most highly rated of the analysts, and all the field agents loved it when she was at point. She was so organised, and every one of them knew she’d do everything in her power to make sure they got back alive.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about her before?”
Chase averted his gaze, a grimace on his face. “She’s married, her husband works as an analyst as well. But he’s an alcoholic ass, Jack. Still, she wouldn’t ‘give up on him.’ We all tried to tell her, and she finally left him last week. She’s looking for a change of scene, and to be honest, I’d feel a lot better knowing she had my back in the field.”
Jack considered him thoughtfully. “She’s that good?”
“You have no idea,” Chase leaned forward in the chair. “You’d like her Jack, she’s comes across a little blunt sometimes, but no matter what she gets the job done. She doesn’t take any nonsense, and she’ll keep everyone in line.”
“What’s her name?”
“Can you arrange for her to come see us?”
Chase’s smile widened. “Definitely.”
“Good, I’ll talk to Tony and set up an interview early next week.”
“You won’t regret this, Jack,” Chase said leaving his office, already planning the quickest way to get Chloe O’Brian to LA.
Chloe glared up at the sun shining in the blue Californian sky. It was just too damn hot. She straightened her dark pencil skirt and steeled herself as she entered the non descript building that was CTU-LA.
It took the security guards nearly ten minutes to check out her credentials before she was lead to the interview room. Of course she had checked up on the two men about to interview her, and so she was well aware of the reputations of Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida. She doubted they were the patient type.
Chloe walked into the room and eyed the two men who stood up as she entered. The taller, darker man shook her hand and introduced himself as Tony Almeida. She took in his relatively casual appearance and his cocky half smile. Clearly a boss who was relaxed, maybe even a bit too relaxed to get the people he worked for to like him. It wasn’t something she particularly approved of, and she frowned as she recalled his record in the files she’d accessed. Almeida needing the affection and approval of his employees didn’t seem fit right with what she’d read there either.
He turned and introduced her to the blonde man by his side, and as she shook hands with him, she found herself locked in an intense blue eyed gaze that had her frozen for a minute. Whatever she’d been expecting when she met Jack Bauer, the instant magnetic shock that went through her, was not it. It was only when she sat down that she realised while she’d been studying and critiquing them, Jack Bauer had been doing the exact same thing to her. He took in every detail about her, from the blonde hair pulled back with some silver slides to the kitten heeled shoes she’d chosen earlier that morning.
“So,” Tony began conversationally, smiling politely at her, “I hear you’re thinking of moving to LA.”
“That’s right,” she replied looking back at him, but being intensely aware of the silent man sitting beside him.
“And you think we can find a position for you here?” he encouraged her.
Immediately she was back in her comfort zone and she smiled smugly at him, “I know you’ll find a position for me here. You need me.”
“Excuse me?” Tony shared a look with Jack who leaned forward, scrutinising the woman in front of him.
“What time is it?” she asked suddenly.
Tony’s forehead scrunched in confusion, “uh, it’s nearly eleven thirty.”
“I said, how-”
Her words were cut off as the room was plunged into darkness before the dim illumination of the emergency lights were switched on.
“What the hell?” Tony stood up and grabbed the nearby phone, punching in a number. “Adam, what is going on out there?”
Chloe looked down, a small satisfied smile on her face, until she felt the hairs on the back of neck rise. Instantly, she looked up and found herself trapped in the gaze of Jack. He gave no indication of any emotion, and she felt powerless to look away from his blank expression.
“Tony,” he said quietly, for the first time since she’d entered the room, “it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with the systems.”
“How,” he stopped seeing the current staring match between the two other occupants in the room. “You did this?” he yelled, and she turned her cool gaze towards him, just as the whirr and buzz of the machinery turning itself back on became apparent.
“You’re hired,” Jack said, getting up from the desk, “starting immediately.”
“Jack,” Tony grabbed him by the upper arm, “can I have a word. In private?”
“Excuse us,” he said to Chloe as the two men exited the room.
“You can’t be serious,” Tony hissed.
“Tony, I’ve never been more serious in my life.”
“She just shut down our systems!”
“Yeah, she did, Tony. Which is exactly why we need her. She didn’t know our systems, and she still managed to get in and manipulate them. And if she can do that, there’s a damn good chance she’s the best person to know how to stop anybody else from doing the same.”
“Jack,” Tony sighed, “I’m not comfortable having someone like that working for me. I don’t think I could fully trust her.”
Jack nodded thoughtfully, looking through the glass window and the woman who waited impatiently with her back to them, and tapping her nails rhythmically on the table top.
“I want her, Tony.”
Tony hesitated, but knew that tone all too well. “Are you sure about this?”
Jack nodded, and turned to him. “I’ll take full responsibility for anything she does. In fact, she can work for me exclusively,” he had his head down thinking it through. “It makes sense, if she’ll be my contact with CTU when I’m out on the field, it will make things run a lot smoother around here. It could save us some valuable time.”
Tony shifted his feet, his hands resting on his hips. “You’re sure about this? Taking full responsibility for the actions of someone you’ve only met.”
“Absolutely.” Jack met his eyes, his mouth curving up at the corner. “Trust me, Tony. She’ll be worth it.”
“Well, if you feel that strongly about it…”
Tony sighed in defeat. “Fine, I give in.”
Jack smiled as he opened the door and called to her. “Chloe, I need you to fix the computer systems. Whatever it is you need to do, do it.”
“Right, Jack.” She stood up and followed him out of the room, well aware of the dark looks being sent her way by Tony.
“And just so you know,” she said as she smirked at him. “I didn’t shut down your systems, I merely set a timer for the networks to hibernate, you know like on your PC. It only lasts fifteen seconds and none of your programmes or files would have been affected or lost.”
“Well at least that’s something.” Tony muttered. Chloe glared at him, and he glared right back at her.
“You’ll be working for me,” Jack interrupted them, steering her through the corridors and across the floor of CTU.
“You?” she asked in confusion, “but I thought…Chase said you were in charge of the field agents and Almeida was in charge of the analysts.”
“That’s right, but I need a contact here at CTU, someone who’ll work exclusively for me,” he said quietly. “I need someone to run point and comms on my missions, liaise with Tony and Division when needed, and take care of anything for my attention when I’m not here.”
“You want me to be your glorified PA?” she asked angrily as he climbed the stairs ahead of her.
He stopped abruptly and she barely stopped herself from walking straight into his back. Turning around, he stepped down until he was level with her, taking her arm in his vice like grip. She was shocked once again at the jolt of awareness that ran through her at the contact, even through the layers of clothing, and she could have sworn she saw surprise fleet across his face, before the harsh expression reappeared.
“I’ll be trusting you with my life and the life of my agents, if you don’t think that’s good enough for you, you can turn around and walk out of here.”
She swallowed, and licked her dry lips, aware of Jack’s eyes taking in her nervous habit.
“No, I want to help you.”
“Good,” he nodded finishing up the top of the stairs. “Your first job will be to upgrade and implement any security procedures and protocols you think are necessary.”
His eyes swept the area outside his office. Beside him, Chloe smiled as she spied Chase a few feet away.
“I’ll have a desk set up for you out here.”
“Where do you want me to work in the meantime?”
“Chase,” he called to the blue eyed man who smiled when he saw his friend standing by his partner. “Can you set Chloe up on station five for me?”
“Thanks,” he turned to Chloe and took a moment to study her once more. “Let me know when you’re done.”
“Right,” Chloe watched as he disappeared into his office hearing the grin in Chase’s voice.
“I guess this means I’ll have you bossing me around again, darlin’?”
She finally turned towards him, a smirk on her face. “Someone has to keep you in line.”
“Yeah,” Chase agreed, looking over her head in the direction of Jack’s office. “And I’m not the only one.”
Chloe glanced up at him in surprise, before a smirk settled onto her face. “Don’t worry; I can handle him as well.”
Chase tapped her arm. “I bet you can. Come on, I’ll get you set up.”
She risked one last glance at the glass office in front of her, and the blonde man, already deeply focused on the files in front of him, and had the feeling it was going to be pretty interesting working in LA.
Copyright ©, 2007 held by the author