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NOTES FOR A FUNERAL

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Notes For A Funeral
Author: marinw

Rating: PG for angst
Characters: Detox!Jack/Chloe
Summary: Post Day 3. Jack tries to write a eulogy.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.

A/N: CTU must get a bulk discount at the funeral home. I wrote this for my self-imposed armbell challenge. The prompt was “Sacrifice”.

What have I become,
my sweetest friend?
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end.
You could have it all,
my empire of dirt.
I will let you down.
I will make you hurt.
~ “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails


Jack sat in front of his laptop with chattering teeth and shaking hands.

Patients in rehab facilities were forbidden from having personal computers, especially those with working internet connections. Yet the large, gruff orderly whose job it was to supervise Jack had entered the small room, put Jack’s MacBook on the bedside table, and announced that he would come to retrieve it when Jack was finished.

Finished with what?

Jack pulled his heavy bathrobe around his trembling frame. His head pounded in several different places. He had hoped that he they would let him go through rapid detox. But no, they said that method had a high likelihood of relapse. It was apperently better to let him suffer.

Jack opened his mailbox and was confronted by hundreds of new messages. He clicked on the must recent:

TO: j_bauer@ctula.gov
FROM: c_obrian@ctula.gov
RE: Eulogy

Hi Jack,

Michelle has decided to delay Gael’s service because his wife has been charged with manslaughter. That leaves Mr. Chappelle’s funeral. It’s going to be a small service. He didn’t seem to have any close family, which isn’t a surprise considering how he wasn’t very good with people. We still don’t know if they’re going to let Tony out of jail so that he can go. Kim spends all her time at the hospital with Chase, but I guess you already know that.

Anyway, the President said he would send a statement which is nice of him. But Michelle is doing all the work and things are really hard for her right now. I’m trying to be sensitive to her feelings and to be a good friend.

So I was thinking: You were the last person to be with Mr. Chapelle just before he died. That means you must have some insight into what the last few minutes of his life were like. So I think it would be appropriate if you write a few words on Chapelle’s behalf. Considering how he died I think it’s the least you can do. Besides, I’ve been reading about post traumatic stress(It’s an occupational hazard around here ha ha) and writing about bad experiences can help. So if you could just reply to this message with a few sentences I can make sure someone reads it.

Get well soon. I’d send flowers but I’m not allowed.

Chloe.


Jack tried to fight off a fresh wave of nausea. One of the few good things about being committed to this rehab clinic is that he had a valid excuse to get out of the latest round of memorial services.

He stared at the message trying to decide how to proceed. In a very weird way, Chloe was right. He did owe it to Ryan to say a few words.

Jack thought about Ryan, how he had tried to kill himself but he couldn’t pull the trigger. Jack had done the job, and he made it quick. He liked to think that somebody would do the same for him, if that ever became necessary.

Jack saw in his mind how the remains of Ryan’s skull had looked a moment later. He realized that he had just lost the ability to keep down the bowl of lime Jell-O he had managed to eat a few minutes ago.

He returned after he had wiped the green slime off of the increasingly besieged toilet. It would be easier if the orderly had given Jack a time limit before repossessing his MacBook. Jack was extremely good at meeting deadlines. Where there was no hard deadline, Jack gave himself an artificial one: He would stop vomiting long enough to write this goddamn eulogy.

He hit ‘reply’ and willed his aching fingers to action.

Ryan Chappelle sacrificed himself for the security his country.

Well, that was certainly a cliché. Jack and Ryan hadn’t exactly been friends, but that sentence came right out of the Standard Eulogy Handbook.

Maybe Ryan would have wanted it that way. He had liked to go by the book. Jack continued:

Ryan understood the importance of this sacrifice. He sacrificed himself willingly, knowing that his sacrifice would stop an unimaginable loss of life. We will always remember his sacrifice…

Jack stopped. Eventually, he was going to have to compose a sentence without using the word ‘sacrifice’.

He wanted to write something meaningful. Something personal.

Ryan had mentioned that he had a brother to whom he hadn’t spoken to in years. That was one thing Jack and Ryan had in common. Perhaps he could start there? Not specifically - Jack didn’t want to make this about him – but more generally.

He deleted the last three sentences and started over:

Ryan died in the line of duty because we let him down. We did everything we could do and it wasn’t enough.

Even so, his sacrifice bought us time. The time we needed to stop the death of thousands of innocent people. His life bought the lives of woman, children, people who just want to live their lives. That’s how it sometimes works. That’s how the job needs to be done. Sometimes we don’t have a choice.


Jack realized that did have a choice. He could have refused a direct order from the President. It wouldn’t be the first time. There must have been another solution. He just hadn’t seen it in time.

Ryan, I’m sorry it had to play out this way. Your sacrifice wasn’t for nothing.

(Jack hated himself for this. He had crossed a line and he could never go back.)

That was it. That was all he needed to say. It was all he could say. He pressed “send”.

Jack slammed the laptop closed and threw the thing across the room. The aluminum casing survived the impact, keeping keyboard and monitor together as the MacBook clattered to the floor. Only the glowing Apple logo dimmed.

END

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