Title: Left Behind
Category: missing scene, friendship, angst
Pairings: Chase/Chloe friendship, mentions of Jack/Chloe friendship
Spoilers: Day Six, episodes eighteen and nineteen.
Season/Sequel: Day six, during episode nineteen.
Author’s Notes: I wrote this small episode addition after seeing episode nineteen, and it just seemed to fit in with an earlier story I’d written – “Confessional,” so this is a sequel to it :-)
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 picked up the ringing cellphone with a smile on his face as he recognised the name on the small, flashing screen. Putting down the wriggling child in his arms, he answered the insistent ringing.
“Hey, Chloe,” his smile widened, waiting to hear her relief at having the nukes safely contained. “I wasn’t expecting to hear from you so soon. I just heard the news, you must be delighted.”
The grin on his face melted away as he heard the barely restrained quiver in her voice.
“Chloe? What’s wrong? Is it Morris?” he couldn’t help the loathing that flowed from him. The man had put Chloe through hell when they were married and for some reason she’d agreed to take him back. Chase had made damn sure he’d know exactly what would happen to him if he even dared to try to put her through that again.
Chloe glanced cautiously down the barely lit CTU hallways before disappearing into Tech Room 1.
“It’s Audrey,” she whispered, leaning heavily against the nearby wall.
“Audrey?” he asked, confused, sitting down on his couch while keeping an eye on Angela playing with her Barbie dolls in the corner.
“Yeah,” she swallowed hard, her eyes closing involuntarily. “Chase, Audrey’s alive.”
“What?! No, that’s not right, she can’t be. There must be a mistake.”
“No, Chase,” Chloe snapped, “there’s no mistake. Jack called me; the Chinese have held her prisoner for months so they could have something to hold over him, to get him to do what they want.”
“Jack’s back,” his voice was barely a whisper and he screwed his eyes tightly shut knowing how it would affect his friend.
“Yeah,” she said bitterly, “and he’s going to hate me even more when he finds out I sent Audrey to China and left her behind.”
“It’s not your fault, Chloe. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“Chase, I did exactly what I hated everyone else doing to Jack. They forgot about him, left him behind, and that’s exactly what we did to Audrey.”
“Hey, you looked for her, you went through the records. They had dental records, skin samples, everything. Nobody could blame you for not picking up on it.”
She snorted, “yeah, because it’s not as if I ever faked anyone’s death before.”
They remained silent for a few moments and Chloe let out a shaky breath.
“I need to tell you something,” Chase said, keeping his voice level, aware of his little girl just a few feet away from him.
Immediately Chloe’s eyes had snapped open and she frowned at the empty wall in front of her.
“What is it?”
“You remember a few months ago, I had to go on that business trip, and you looked after Angela for me?”
“Yeah,” Chloe replied suspiciously, “you were gone for over a week.”
He hesitated, “I went back to China, Chloe.”
“What?” she exploded.
He sighed, wincing at the anger in her voice. “I went back. I thought something wasn’t right with Audrey death. It was too clean, everything came out too quickly, it was too…perfect. I couldn’t find anything concrete, but I went to James Heller. I couldn’t just ignore my gut, but he asked me to leave his family in peace and let him grieve his daughter’s death. He asked me to leave and not look into it again. So…I respected his wishes, Chloe.”
Chloe stood dumb struck in the room, before allowing her body to slump gratefully against the supporting wall at her back.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” her voice was hoarse and choked.
“Because I couldn’t watch you go through that again, Chlo.”
She sighed heavily, a small sob escaping.
“Jack won’t hate you, Chloe,” Chase said quietly, “whatever he’s been through, whatever happens with Audrey, he won’t hate you.”
A sudden pain, stabbed her in the chest, and she let her head fall forward, too tired to hold it up.
“I betrayed him.”
“Chase,” she cut him off harshly, “he called and asked me to get something he needed, something I didn’t have access to, but Morris did. So, I, I hacked onto his system and got what Jack needed…..but Morris found out.” Her voice trembled and she bit her lip. In her mind she could still picture Morris’s incredulous face as he’d realised what she’d done.
“What happened?” Chase asked trying to restrain his inner anger and frustration.
“He made me tell Buchanon,” she replied quietly. “I tried to tell him Jack gave me his word he wouldn’t let anything bad happen with what I gave him, but Morris couldn’t accept that. He said if I didn’t tell Mr Buchanon then he would.”
“The man’s an ass, Chloe. You didn’t have a choice.”
“Yeah, only now Jack is going to think that I betrayed his trust by telling Buchanon when he specifically told me not to, and even though the president’s given the go-ahead to get Audrey back, I’m not allowed work on comms because Mr Buchanon doesn’t trust me anymore. And when Jack finds out about sending Audrey to China, he-”
“Chloe,” Chase cut through, recognising the onset of a panic attack when he heard one and wishing he could be with her to help calm her and alleviate her fears. “Chloe, it’s okay. Just, breathe for me darlin,’ none of this is your fault. Jack’s not going to blame you.”
“I’m just,” she shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts, “everything’s going wrong, Chase. Morris is angry with me, he doesn’t get why or how I can trust Jack so much, Mr Buchanon doesn’t trust me to do my job anymore, and Jack…Jack already doesn’t seem like he wants to have all that much to do with me. I mean, apart from when he first arrived at CTU and yelling at me for not telling him about Audrey dying, he’s not really said anything to me. And to top it all off, I keep crying. I swear I’ve gone through nearly two whole boxes of Kleenex at this stage.”
“You just need to relax,” Chase tried to soothe her. “You’re the best analyst CTU has, and Buchanon knows that, he’s not going to let a valuable resource just sit unused.”
“But he doesn’t trust me.”
“He doesn’t have to trust you. He knows how you and Jack are, he knows you’d do anything for Jack, and if CTU are going to help Jack get Audrey back, then he knows there’s nobody better for the job than you.”
“Darling, only an idiot would believe anybody else could know the way Jack works and thinks better than you.”
She sighed, and got up from the floor. “Thanks Chase, I’m sorry for calling you like this.”
“Hey, if you can’t call your best friend, who can you call?”
“Yeah, well thanks again. Hug Angela for me?”
“No problem, darling, and hey there’s one silver lining here.”
“And that is?”
“You got him home, Chloe. Jack’s back.”
She smiled wanly, “yeah, Chase, he is.”