Category: AU, Pre Day 6
Prompt: New Years
Word Count: 3,294
Summary: It’s New Years Eve, and Chloe intends on enjoying herself.
Season/Sequel: AU, Pre Day6.
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.
She laughed until tears stung her eyes and she nearly doubled over, before being hastily caught by a much stronger arm.
“Careful there, Chloe. How many of them have you had to drink?”
Chloe shrugged and looked up too quickly, causing her world to spin suddenly and she clung to Chase.
“Uhh, I don’t know. Three, four? Definitely no more than five anyway. Anyway, if you can’t drink on New Year’s Eve, then when can you?”
Chase looked unconvinced but she caught an amused smile on his cleanly shaven face.
“What are you smiling at?”
“Chloe, the tipsy fairy!”
“I am not tipsy!” she exclaimed emphatically, pushing her finger against his chest to emphasise the point. He held up his hands in mock surrender and she nodded triumphantly.
“Hey Curtis!” Chloe called to the grinning man as he walked by.
“Hey guys. Having a good time?”
“The best!” Chloe agreed readily. “You should do this every year.”
“Well, we’ll see how this one goes first, before committing to anything.” He replied, his mouth twitching at the corners.
Chase clapped him on the shoulder. “Thanks for the invite. Really, I appreciate it.”
Curtis flashed a genuine smile, “No problem, man. You know you’re still a member of the CTU family!” He spun around when he heard his name called. “Look, I gotta go play party host, but you guys enjoy yourself!” he called over his shoulder as he moved through the crowd.
“Well you’re definitely enjoying yourself,” Chase grinned at Chloe. He looked around the room, his gaze suddenly focusing on one particular point. He started to move, pulling her along behind him.
“There’s Jack,” he told her over the din of the music, “let’s go say hi.”
“No,” she whined, digging her heels into the floor.
Chase turned to her, eyebrows raised in surprise and curiosity. “Chloe O’Brian not wanting to spend time with Jack Bauer? Has hell truly frozen over?”
Chloe’s eyes narrowed at his good natured teasing but she chose to ignore it.
“He’s no fun anymore,” she pouted. “Ever since Audrey went off with that French ambassador, he’s been sulking! Look at him.”
They both looked at him, leaning against the wall and, for those who knew him well enough, looking distinctly uncomfortable in Curtis’s living room with people drinking and dancing all around him.
“Dammit!” Chloe cursed, brow furrowed in frustration.
“You made me look at him, and now I feel bad for him and want to make him happy again, and I’ll probably only say something stupid. This is all your fault!” she glared at Chase.
While they’d been talking, Jack had spotted them and meandered through the crowd to appear at her elbow and touch her arm.
She spun around suddenly her flushed upturned face meeting his.
“Hi Jack,” she said a little too brightly.
Jack shared an incredulous look with Chase who sniggered at them both.
“Drunk as a skunk? Oh yeah!”
“I am not!” Chloe bit out, slapping Chase squarely on the arm. “I’m…merry. It’s the holidays, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Chloe, are you sure you’re okay?” Jack placed a steadying hand on her shoulder and she rolled her eyes.
“I’m fine, Jack. Yeesh! Can’t a girl take a drink without everyone thinking the world’s about to end? Come on, let’s dance!”
She grabbed both their hands and dragged them out towards the middle of the make shift dance floor in Curtis’ sitting room.
“That’s okay. I’m not much of a dancer,” Jack explained, pulling his hand out of Chloe’s surprisingly strong grip.
“Fine,” she shrugged, “suit yourself. Come on Chasey.”
They danced in the throng of people, bumping into others, laughing and generally having a good time. Chase put his hand into his pocket feeling his phone vibrate and indicating to her his phone left onto the terrace. Chloe grabbed a drink from the table by the door before following him outside.
His conversation was brief, but Chloe saw the tension return to his shoulders. In a moment he snapped his cellphone shut and turned back to her running a hand through his short hair.
“Chloe, I’m really sorry, but I have to go.”
“What? Why? Is something wrong?”
He shifted uneasily, “it’s Angela, she’s got a fever and the babysitter wants me to come home.”
“Fever? Want me to come.”
“No, you stay enjoy yourself. She’s probably exaggerating anyway. Besides, I’ll have enough trouble looking after Angela without having to worry about you throwing up in the bathroom upstairs.”
“That’s not funny!”
He grinned at her, “Come on, Chloe. Jack’s still here. It can be your mission to cheer him up for the New Year.”
She rolled her eyes, sighing heavily. “An impossible challenge, but I’ll accept.”
He lead her back along the dance floor and she moved to the beat of the music eventually twirling and falling gracelessly into the arms of Jack Bauer. He grunted at the sudden dead weight and she heard him promise Chase to look after her. Normally she’d give out to both of them but she just couldn’t be bothered right now. She was getting tired, but really she could use another drink.
Jack, however, didn’t seem to think this was a good idea. “I’m pretty sure you’ve had enough, Chloe.”
She pouted at him, crossing her arms and he grinned down at her, his eyes twinkling in amusement. “Sorry, Chloe. No more alcohol for you.”
She felt the urge to stamp her foot impetuously but, thankfully, tempered this urge and settled for a run of the mill glare.
“Come on, let’s dance.” He hauled her out onto the floor where she happily let him hold her up and let him lead the way.
“I thought you didn’t like to dance,” she mumbled.
“For you I’ll make an exception,” he told her, smiling softly at her.
She rested her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes uncaring if the music was high tempo or low, Jack was holding her and she was perfectly content to stay just where she was for the remainder of her life.
“Chloe,” he whispered in her ear, causing shivers of awareness to race down her spine.
“Hmm?” lazily she lifted her head off his shoulder and opened sleepy eyes to him.
Brushing a lock of hair out her eyes he smiled gently down at her and pointed towards the top of the room. “They’re counting down to the start of the New Year.”
“Oh.” She looked around her, at the smiling faces and cosy couples, with arms around each other and hopeful smiles on their faces.
“Ten, nine, eight,” her arms wrapped around his waist and she leaned against his chest, a contented sigh escaping.
“Seven, six, five,” he pulled her closer to him, tightening his grip, and she was sure she’d never felt so safe in her entire life.
“Four, three, two,” she looked up at him and found him staring down at her, a wistful smile on his lips.
All at once his lips met hers, soft and pliable, she immediately opened herself to him, moaning softly as his tongue caressed hers gently, lovingly.
“Happy New Year, Chloe,” he whispered huskily to her when he pulled back, watching the colour rise in her cheeks.
She grinned up at him. “Well that was a good way to ring it in anyway. We don’t do that enough. We should do that more often. That can be our New Year’s Resolution.”
He laughed out loud, his head thrown back in merriment. “Chloe, that is one resolution I can easily keep.” He leaned down and captured her lips again, proving just how easy it really was.
“How about I take you home?”
“Is that a proposition,” she fluttered her eyelashes coquettishly at him and he chuckled, hugging her to his chest.
“I don’t think you’d be up to it tonight, Chloe.”
She jabbed a finger into his stomach and smiled sweetly at him, “you’d be surprised what I can do Jack Bauer. You always this gentlemanly?”
“Once in a while. Don’t get used to it though, it only happens once in a blue moon.”
“That’s okay, I like my men to be a bit rough and ready. And you definitely fit that bill.”
He quirked an eyebrow at her, trying to smother a smile behind his hand. “Does that make me your man, Chloe?” he leaned down and whispered in her ear.
She snorted. “Please Jack, everyone already knows that. I’m just waiting for you to figure it out.”
She tripped over a forgotten glass and grabbed hold of his arm while he helped her stand up straight.
“I definitely think it’s time I took you home.”
“In the non-propositional way,” she clarified.
“In the non-propositional way,” he repeated, a smile still on his face.
He disappeared to collect their coats from one of the guest bedrooms and she took the opportunity to wish Curtis a Happy New Year which he gladly returned along with a celebratory drink. It would have been rude to refuse it, she reasoned to herself, when she took a large drink.
“I thought we said you’d had enough?” She froze at Jack’s voice, like the proverbial child caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
“I, I…this is the last one.”
He shook his head and took the glass out of her hands and helped her into her coat.
They made their way out calling out well wishes. They walked along the street in silence, Chloe leaning on heavily on his arm, trying to keep her eyes open, and only remembering they were looking for Jack’s car when he told her it was parked half a block away.
“Do you miss, Audrey?” she asked suddenly, turning to face him.
“What?” he looked so startled she felt the need to explain to him.
“Well, you were together a long time and you must miss her,” suddenly she slowed, her steps faltered and looking down at her, he saw a horrified expression slowly transform her alcohol induced relaxed features. “I’m not meant to talk about Audrey. I’m sorry, I keep saying things I’m not meant to.” She furrowed her eyebrows, angry at herself and snatched her arm from his grip taking a few unsteady steps forward before he reached forward taking her arm again and helping her to steady herself.
“Chloe, Audrey left four months ago. I know the way the gossip works in CTU, but sometimes they get it wrong.”
“What?” she looked confused, “she went off with a Frenchman. I don’t know if you’re living in some delusional world Jack, but it happened. I saw them myself a few weeks before they went to Paris or wherever he lives. I hate to be the one to ruin your fantasy, Jack, but there was a Frenchman and Audrey went away with him.”
He smiled at her, “I know there was a Frenchman Chloe, but Audrey and I had already broken up.”
“You didn’t tell me!” she bit out, before snapping her mouth closed.
“Do I have to tell you everything?”
“No,” she muttered sulkily, “but it would have been nice to know.”
“I was getting around to it.”
“What, four months later?”
He shrugged, pressing the key and she jumped seeing the flashing orange just in front of her.
“Chase moved back to LA and two of you seem to be getting on very well.”
“I didn’t want to get into the middle of that.”
She looked at him like he had two heads. He held the door open for her but she continued to stare and him, before the bubble of laughter escaped from her mouth, eventually leaving her laughing for the second time that night doubled over with tears running out of the corners of her eyes.
Jack stepped forward and held onto her, unsure of what else to do. Eventually, she calmed enough to wipe her eyes and get into the car. He got in the other side and started the engine, pulling out onto the road. She looked at him again, giggling again.
“I don’t see what’s so funny.”
“Are you kidding me? The way you said that makes it sound like you think Chase and I are…you know, together.”
He turned a raised eyebrow to her quickly. “And what’s wrong with that.”
“Ugh, I know I’ve drunk too much now. Chase and I? Ewwwe. That would be like dating my older brother. I don’t have an older brother but I’m guessing that’s what it would be like. What does this have to do with anything anyway? What? You were jealous of Chase?” she began to laugh again.
“And if I was?” she studied his profile, her fogged brain not able for a conversation like this. She couldn’t tell if he was serious of joking.
Shaking her head, she snorted and made no reply, she just felt too tired. Her eyelids were so heavy, too heavy. She decided she’d just close them and rest them for a few minutes. Just for a minute.
Her tongue felt like a furry carpet that had caught and held onto all the dirt and fluff that had fallen on it for the past year. She opened her eyes, only to close them again against the harsh onslaught of morning light. Groaning she rolled over and buried her head in the blankets, only for her brain to wake her up and tell her something was seriously wrong. Since when did the sun shine from the right side of the room in the morning?
Immediately, her eyes snapped opened, protected somewhat by the large white duvet that didn’t belong to her. Pulling back the blankets slowly, she sat up and took in her surroundings. Definitely not her room. Panic suddenly raced through her, where the hell was she? Closing her eyes she forced herself to take some deep breaths and remember what the hell had happened last night.
She remembered getting a taxi with Chase to the party, and she remembered the first few drinks and well wishes by colleagues and other people she didn’t know. Everything after her third drink seemed to be a bit of a blur. But looking down, she saw she was still in the dress she’d put on the previous night. That was a blessing at least.
She glanced around the room, and immediately her gaze fixed on a framed picture on the far side locker. Reaching over she picked it up and studied it. Kim Bauer.
“Jack.” Her eyes widened and dropping the frame onto the plush covers, she let out a muffled scream against the pillow. In a rush, it all came flooding back to her.
Angela was sick, and Chase had to leave – she should check on her later, if she could get out of here without making a fool of herself.
He’d abandoned her to Jack though, and she wasn’t sure she could forgive him for that too easily. He knew what she was like when she was drunk and she’d shown Jack the full extent of that last night.
She turned crimson, even alone, when she remembered him hauling her out onto the dance floor and having to hold her up to keep her from collapsing like a sack of potatoes at his feet.
And he’d kissed her. Jack Bauer had actually kissed her. She could feel a goofy grin spread across her face at that particular memory, only to be immediately banished by the memory of a strange conversation about Audrey and Chase. She felt herself wince at some remembered conversations she was sure they both would find embarrassing this morning.
Throwing back the covers, she climbed out of bed, determined to get her coat and sneak out of there as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, she stubbed her toe on the nearby dresser and let out a loud yelp.
She spun around and found him standing at the entrance to the room, sleepy headed, and dressed in only a robe and boxers.
“Chloe,” he stepped further into the room, and she forced herself to look away from his bared chest. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this lost for words before.”
She glared at him, and stood straighter. “Can you leave me to get ready, please?”
The corner of his mouth twitched, and he cleared his throat, obviously trying to restrain himself from laughing.
“Of course. I’ll see what there is for breakfast.”
When the door closed quietly behind him, she sat back on the bed. She was definitely going to kill Chase.
She went into the en suite and went through her normal morning routine as quickly as her thumping head would let her. Leaving the bedroom, she half intended to sneak out the door when the smell of bacon made her stomach growl.
Sighing, she entered the main kitchen and found Jack standing over a few pans sizzling on the stove.
“I thought you might be hungry,” he smiled, dishing out eggs and bacon and handing a plate to her.
“Thanks,” she answered, sitting down at the table. She couldn’t decide if she were more disappointed or relieved that he’d managed to change into sweats and a tee shirt while she’d been showering.
“So, how’s your head this morning?” he smirked knowingly at her.
She glared at him from across the table. “It’s okay. What’s the deal with you? How come you’re Mr Chipper this morning?”
“Well, Chloe,” he smiled, digging into his breakfast, “I didn’t drink myself into a stupor last night, so I woke up bright and breezy this morning.”
Chloe gave a snort of disgust but said nothing.
“Wait,” she dropped her fork, “you weren’t drunk?”
“Chloe, do you even remember how you got here?” she could see the worry radiating from his blue eyes and she shook her head lightly.
“You drove,” she said more to herself thank to him. “You drove, so you weren’t drinking!”
She looked up at him wide-eyed. “You weren’t drunk!” she accused him.
“No,” he agreed, an amused smile on his face. “I wasn’t drunk.”
“That means you were sober when you said you thought Chase and I were a couple.”
He shifted a bit uncomfortable in his chair, and her expression grew even more shocked.
“Do you have any idea how gross that is? Kissing Chase would be like-”
“Kissing an older brother you don’t have. Yeah, I heard last night.”
She scrunched her nose up in disgust, “I can’t believe you’d think Chase and I,” she shivered, “I can’t even say it.”
“I was wrong, I’m sorry.” He replied, clearing the plates away.
She studied his back as he cleaned the dishes and eventually she got up and taking a dish cloth, began to dry the cutlery.
After a few minutes of working together in silence she heard Jack curse angrily and when she turned to him, he took the opportunity to press his lips to her. Her mouth parted in surprise and he took advantage deepen the kiss.
Suddenly, the dish cloth was forgotten and she gripped his arms as his wet, sudsy hands grasped her waist pulling her closer to him.
Eventually, they parted, panting lightly and Chloe closed her eyes and leaned her head against his chest.
“What was that for?” she queried lightly.
“Just making good on our New Year’s Resolution,” his voice rumbled against her cheek.
She felt her face break into a grin and she stepped back smiling up into his eyes, “I remember that resolution,” she agreed with him. “But I can think of one or two more we can add to the list,” she whispered grabbing the front of his tee shirt and pulling him down to meet her lips again.