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LOOSE ENDS

Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Loose Ends
Author: marinw
Rating: PG for angst
Characters: Jack/Chloe/Marilyn/Josh/Sam
Summary: Post Day 6. Jack ties up some lose ends.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Evil corporations sometimes supply us with good stuff.
A/N: The plot bunny was hatched while I was watching Six Feet Under. Thanks to my beta reader, sardonicynic.


I should feel something.

Jack regarded the two gray urns sitting on the altar at the front of chapel. He knew the urn on the left was empty. No body meant no ashes.

My brother. My father. I should feel something.

Josh and Marilyn were already there, sitting in the front row. His sister-in-law seemed dazed, subdued by whatever meds she was on as she attempted to play the part of the grieving widow. Josh fidgeted and looked at his watch, wanting it to be over.

Jack stood at the door. He didn’t want them to see them. He could deal with Josh but not with Marilyn. She had insisted on delaying the service until Jack was out of the hospital. He wished she hadn’t.

He would have to speak to her eventually, and hear the same pleas over again:

“Don’t let the FBI take BXJ and most of our money. Please. Come home with Josh and me. Please. Let me take care of you. Please.”

You can’t take care of me, Marilyn. I don’t want you to. It’s not your job.

There were other people here: Sam. Friends and business associates, a few relatives. A good turnout, considering how Phillip and Graem Bauer had died. A heart attack and a warehouse explosion were the official explanations. Close enough.

They were people Jack hadn’t spoken to in years. After twenty months of self-imposed silence he found making small talk and exchanging pleasantries excruciating.

And then there would be the questions:

Where have you been for the past three years? We thought you were dead. Then we heard you were in prison. Why? What happened to your hand?

Jack had his cover story worked out. He could lie very convincingly. He just didn’t want to.

He hoped he wouldn’t be recognized. Being the so-called black sheep of the family had its advantages.

Jack wondered why he was even here.

He needed to focus on something else: He thought of the suit he was wearing, purchased just that morning. It was his suit, not the one borrowed from Charles Logan’s closet and never returned. It felt good, having his own clothes. He hid his right hand in the pocket of his trousers. He stroked the smooth surface of his cell phone as he switched it to the ‘vibrate’ mode. He had an appointment with a plastic surgeon tomorrow.

This was his life now. A thousand loose ends.

He remembered staring out from Heller’s balcony that morning, feeling like the proverbial slate had been wiped cleaned. He felt empty, he had nothing, and he was free.

He soon discovered it wasn’t that simple. A lot of things were right where he left them.

Two of them were at the front of the room.

He heard someone approaching.

“Hey.”

“Chloe,” he smiled. “Thank you for coming.”

“Yeah, well, I should warn you. I’m not good at memorials.”

“Neither am I,” Jack admitted.

“Your funeral sucked.”

“I heard.”

“Curtis’s wasn’t that great either. I guess you didn’t want to go.”

Jack had to change the subject.

“Chloe, Bill told me the news. Congratulations. I’m happy for you and Morris.”

She gave Jack a smile mixed with a scowl. “Thanks. It feels kind of weird.”

“I imagine it would.”

Chloe looked around the chapel. “Where’s your mom?”

“I don’t want to talk about her.”

“Okay.”

“I can’t do this,” Jack whispered suddenly.

“What?”

“This memorial service. Talking to people. I can’t do it.”

“You don’t have to, I guess. I suppose we can go. Um…I can buy you lunch. If you want.”

“Lunch?”

“You can choose where.”

“You’re eating for two, Chloe. You decide.”

“There’s a Chinese place I like.”

Jack winced.

“Sorry. I guess I need to work on my empathy. There’s a deli nearby. We can go there.”

“Chloe, thank you.”

“Well, whatever. Let’s get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.”

Jack and Chloe left the chapel. For once, the dead could take care of themselves.

END

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
celestialjules
Jan. 10th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
"There's a Chinese place I like."

Classic classic Chloe... love it! Jack and her are so alike, both so socially akward. It makes me happt they have each other.
marinw
Jan. 10th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Which is why Jack and Chloe would be a disaster as a romantic couple, IMO. Jack need a calming influence in his life. They are best as friends.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )