[music| Far Away - Nickleback]
I swear I've spent the past hour arguing with Fanfiction.net since it refuses to allow me to upload any documents...sometimes I just hate that site. Anyway, I've written a new 24 Jack/Chloe fic which apparently you can only find on LJ since fanfiction is being so bitchy. Enjoy!
Category: Angst, Romance (kind of)
Spoilers: 24 season six trailer.
Season/Sequel: Beginning of Day Six.
Summary: Chloe’s a brunette and Jack’s about to be handed over to the terrorists.
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.
Even when she’d entered the room, he had merely glanced at her but had said nothing. She wasn’t sure what she had expected – a hug like the last time they’d met up after a long separation maybe? But this deafening silence and stillness had not been it. He sat in a far corner of the warm room on a comfortable looking armchair beside a small coffee table. A television sat in front of him, its blank screen a mirror image of the vacant face staring back at it.
Chloe shivered at the comparison and shook herself out of the frozen stance she’d seemed to adopt. She wasn’t sure how long she’d stood there, her heart racing and unable to take her eyes off him. This wasn’t how she’d planned this at all.
After demanding to see Jack before they sent him off to his death ‘for the good of the country,’ she found herself in a room alone with him, unable to think of one appropriate thing to say. And it seemed he was just as disinclined to speak to her.
“I dyed my hair,” she blurted, unable to stop the words rising to her lips, “I’m not blonde anymore.”
His heavy shoulders finally moved, and his dark, troubled eyes, sought hers from across the room. She watched as the corner of his mouth lifted in what could possibly be considered a smile, considering he probably hadn’t done so since he was last on American soil.
His voice sounded rough, hoarse and out of practice. She shrugged and her eyebrows drew together. “I guessed as much, but thought I should say something to fill in the long, tense silence. Figured it was better than asking how you’re doing.”
A brief twinkle flashed in his eyes. “God, I missed you,” he replied, and even though his voice was jagged and gravely, she didn’t think anyone had ever said anything quite so beautiful and touching to her before.
“You mean my blunt, awkward, often out of place statements?”
He nodded his head, “there’s only one Chloe O’Brien.”
When she’d first seen his haggard appearance, his long tangled hair and beard filled with bits of dirt, blood and food, the compassion in her had risen at seeing a fellow human being treated like this. But she had been refused permission point blank to speak with him. Only after much arguing and demanding from Bill Buchanon had she been granted the concession of fifteen minutes. The security cameras had been disabled - she’d seen to that herself- and even though when she’d arrived, he’d been shaved, had his hair cut and dressed up nicely, he still sat with the defeated posture that made her soul ache.
CTU had been relatively quiet the past few weeks, and her biggest worry had been whether she’d made the right the decision to go auburn. While her appearance wasn’t normally something she’d fret about, she’d decided to dye her hair on the spur of the moment and had been regretting it ever since. The surprised looks and comments the next day at work had made her uncomfortable and she’d sniped and bitched like never before. She’d been blonde most of her life, and she knew it was a stupid thing to worry about, especially considering where she worked. Seeing Jack now only highlighted once again how insignificant her worries had been. Why she had chosen this small, insignificant insecurity to be her opening sentence to a man who was facing imminent death, she didn’t know.
She sighed, still not moving from her spot by the door. She could still remember the thrill she’d felt when they’d finally found Jack, and the horror and indignation when they told her of their intended plans for him. She had at one point feared she’d never see him again, that he’d disappeared forever never to return. Seeing him now was the answer to a prayer that had become a part of her daily ritual.
She only wished she could have been who he’d really want to see. Wished she could have had enough time and warning to bring his daughter and lover to see him. Maybe it would have made it easier for him, given something to hold onto instead of the betrayal of his own country handing him over to terrorists. Every time she thought of it her ire rose. America didn’t negotiate with terrorists. That’s what she’d been told, what the American public had been told, and yet here they were giving over their most successful agent to them.
“I’m sorry Audrey and Kim couldn’t be here.”
“Don’t be,” he said straight away. “They shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t want them to see me like this. I’m not sure they could handle it.”
Chloe nodded her eyes downcast, she was having hard enough time with it, but she was glad she could get to see him again, and was sure Kim and Audrey would have welcomed the opportunity. At a loss at what to say, she marched towards him, and pulled something out of her pocket and placed it in his hand.
“They wanted me to give you this. I don’t know why, but here you go.”
He couldn’t help staring at it. The comfortable, warm weight in the palm of his hand. Black, slinky, and small, he had never seen anything more beautiful. For the first time since he’d arrived back ‘home,’ he actually thought he might weep.
“Jack?” Chloe called to him uncertainly, hoping to get his attention. Finally his gaze brought her into focus.
“I’m sorry, it’s just…” he picked it up reverently and flipped the lid, the screen lighting reflecting eerily against his pale skin. He stared at the screen showing the wide coverage and full battery.
“In my less lucid moments, I kept…I kept thinking I could …” he hesitated and closed his eyes briefly, the strain appearing on his face, before opening them again and tracing the number pad with a shaking finger. “I’d reach into my pocket expecting to find my phone. So I could call you, hear your voice and tell you I needed help. I wanted to hear your voice…your reassurance that everything would be okay, that backup was coming. But obviously, you weren’t there.”
Chloe swallowed the lump in her throat his words caused and ignored the sharp pain in her chest.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
He continued staring at the phone, sheen of tears appearing in his eyes. Without thought, Chloe went to him and wrapped her arms around him. Their embrace was clumsy and awkward at first, but eventually he pulled her down onto his lap and rested his head against her shoulder.
She rubbed his back but remained quiet, unable to think of anything but mundane or empty promises that everything would be okay. She wouldn’t make Jack any promises she couldn’t keep. Even if it was to try to comfort him.
He pulled back a bit and looked at her, his eyes tracing every feature, familiar yet different. His gaze swept over her and took in the difference in her hair, the dark marks under her eyes that she couldn’t quite cover with the little make-up she wore, the small lines that were forming at the corner of her eyes and mouth.
His hand reached up and rough, calloused fingers traced the corner of her mouth. She looked at him questioningly but he merely pulled her closer and kissed her cheek. His lips danced a trail from her soft cheeks until eventually they brushed across her mouth and he kissed her, drawing her to him, taking a part of her and giving a part of himself.
He pulled back and looked at her, her flushed skin and swollen lips, and the corners of his mouth lifted.
“I promised myself a long time I’d kiss Chloe O’Brian at least once before I died.”
Overwhelmed Chloe kissed him again before he buried his nose in the crook of her neck and rested there, his eyes closed. He relished the feel of her, of the warmth of being surrounded by the softness of a woman, such a stark contrast to his nights spent in cold, dank rusting rooms in China.
Kissing the top of his head, Chloe held him to her, the realisation that she would soon have to let him go to possibly, and probably, face his death, hitting her and making her breathing hitch. The panic rose in her. It felt like they were saying goodbye, like he was saying goodbye to her forever. And the fear that he would let them win, let them kill him without a fight terrified her. His spirit had been damaged, that could be seen in the way he walked and the way he held himself. He wasn’t the same Jack she’d seen take down the President of the United States.
They’d managed to convince her this was for the best, to send him away to save the lives of many. In the back of her mind she’d been sure he’d find a way out of it. He was Jack Bauer, he could do anything, but she wasn’t sure the man in front of her had the strength to do anything but give up. She didn’t think she could do it now. Send him away to his death while she sat quietly back in CTU playing the good little Comms analyst.
A knock sounded on the door and they turned to see Curtis standing there, a pained expression on his face.
“It’s time, Jack.”
Jack nodded, “just give me two minutes.”
Curtis nodded and left, quietly closing the door behind him.
Chloe slid off his lap and grasped his hand, helping him stand up and keeping it entwined with hers, his left hand still tightly grasping the small phone.
“Jack, if you find a way to get out of this and not be killed, take it. I don’t care what it is, just do it.” Her fear and sudden anxiety was evident in her shaking tone and hurried words, her eyes begging him with everything in her.
“Chloe, I can’t-”
“Promise me, Jack.” She moved closer to him and covered his mouth with her hand. “Promise me.”
He closed his eyes and his head fell forward. She let her hand fall away.
“Don’t make me do this, Chloe. Don’t let me make promises I’m not sure I can, or want to keep.”
“That’s exactly why I’m making you do this,” she hissed, “I don’t want you to give up, Jack. You have so much to come back for, your friends, your daughter-”
“Kim hates me.”
“Kim loves you. Trust me, I’ve been with her the past eighteen months. She might moan, and bitch and whinge, and sure I had my issues with her when she turned up with Barry that day, but she loves you Jack. She wants to see you. You have to come back, for her…and for me. I need you, Jack. We all do. So promise me. Promise me you won’t give up.”
He sighed but met her gaze, his blue eyes still dark and troubled but the spark of a light she couldn’t name shone through them.
“Okay, okay, Chloe. I promise. I won’t give up.”
She squeezed his hand. “Thank you.”
Curtis reappeared at the door.
“Sorry, Jack, but we have to go now.”
His hand pulled away from hers and he brushed past her, hesitating for a moment by door. He turned around a soft smile on his face.
“You look good as a brunette.”
She flashed him a watery smile and scrunched her hands into balls at her side. When the door shut behind him, she slid down the wall and wrapped her arms around her shaking form. She focused her breathing and felt her erratic heartbeat slow down. She stared blankly at the wall in front of her.
He’d find a way through this, and he’d have her help like he’d always had. Besides, she thought, running her fingers through her hair, Jack liked her as a brunette, and that had to be a good sign.