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AFTER THE STORM

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: After The Storm
Author: marinw
Characters: Chloe/Cole/Morris
Spoilers: Day 8 DVD Epilogue
Summery: Post Day 8. Chloe learns the details of Renee’s death.
Rating: R for angst and mentions of violence and sexual situations.
Disclaimer: 24 is and was the property of Fox.
A/N: As much as I love sailing down the Denial River, my Muse had other ideas. This was inspired by the little spoiler from the Day 8 DVD epilogue. Thanks to cybertoothtiger for the beta.

Jack owned exactly three pairs of shoes.

A non-descript pair of black lace-ups he wore with one of two suits. He kept those perfectly polished. A pair of sneakers Kim had purchased for her father’s daily trips to the gym at the rehab centre.

And the worn-out combat boots he wore everywhere else. Chloe had once bought him a new pair, identical to the old boots but shiny and new with thick soles. It had been half-meant as a joke. Somehow they hadn’t made it into Jack’s apartment on the happy day he had been allowed to go to out-patient status.

Hint taken. You like those stupid old boots better. Chloe had concluded.

Jack was probably wearing those old boots now. Chloe found that oddly comforting.

She wore her status as Acting Director of CTU like a coat that was slightly too big. The title sounded strange when she used it to describe herself, it pointed to a degree of authority that was alien to her. She used her title to accompany Cole and the FBI to Jack’s apartment the day after he disappeared.

There was yellow police tape over the door. An older man Chloe assumed to be the superintendent was arguing with an agent, asking when he could get the place cleaned up, when he could rent it to someone else.

When Chloe ducked beneath the tape the first thing she noticed were two small bullet holes in the window, outlined by a spider web of cracked glass.

On the table there were a couple of placemats, a salt and pepper shaker. There was a copy of yesterday’s New York Times, the headline proclaiming the imminent signing of Taylor’s peace treaty in a huge, confident font.

Two jackets, one black and one tan, lay on the couch. A kettle sat on the stove. There were two glasses on the counter, both empty.

Chloe swallowed.

“Ma’am,” an agent called from the door of the bedroom.

Cole shook his head slowly at Chloe, trying to warn her, silently attempting to tell her that she really didn’t want to see the bedroom.

She joined Cole and the other agent at the threshold.

The wood floor was smeared with a hideous abstract painting of blood.

Chloe immediately noticed that the top sheet of the rumpled double bed was gone. Chloe walked over to the end of the bed.

There were the jeans Renee had been wearing, and the salmon scoop-necked t-shirt she had picked up from CTU medical. A pair of sensible cowboy boots with low heels. Panties and a bra.

Clothes that had been taken off quickly, happily abandoned where they fell.

Chloe understood. In the hell of that morning and afternoon she hadn’t wondered exactly what Renee was doing with Jack after Omar Hassan’s murder. She had assumed it was to rest, talk, maybe eat something and shower. Normal things. Jack was trying to have a normal life and do normal things.

Now Chloe knew what Jack and Renee and been doing in their hour alone together.

Chloe was an intruder here, In Jack’s bedroom, in this intimate moment, in this crime scene.

Chloe had seen more than enough. She walked back into the apartment’s main room. An FBI agent wearing thin blue rubber gloves was picking up amber vials of Jack’s medication and placing them in a plastic evidence bag.

Another agent regarded the photo of Teri.

“I’ll take that,” Chloe said, reaching for the frame.

“It’s evidence, ma’am,” the man answered, putting down the photo and picking up a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

“Evidence of what? That he has a granddaughter? That’s not exactly classified.”

“I have my orders.”

“Yes, of course you do.”

Chloe regarded another agent rummaging through a half-packed suitcase.

She wanted to scream.

How many times was this now? Three. Kim had been there the first time, cleaning out her father’s Washington apartment, with Kim sobbing and Chloe trying desperately trying not to blurt out that Jack was still alive. The second time it had been his hotel room, and he had only been almost dead, so that had been easier.

Kim wasn’t here this time. She was entering witness protection with her husband and daughter. True to her promise, Chloe was doing what she could to protect them.

I always clean up your mess, Chloe thought.

She looked back at Cole, “We’re done here.”

••••

Chloe returned home early that evening. She could hear the strains of Prescott’s violin practice coming from his the study. Morris was sitting alone at the kitchen table. Silently. He looked up at his wife and said nothing.

It was the face of pure resentment.

She had seen Morris look at her that way before. On the days when Chloe returned to her family after spending hours at the hospital, sitting by Jack’s bed or pushing him about in his wheelchair.

Now, Chloe noticed a glass filled with a clear liquid sitting besides Morris’s laptop.

“That had better be soda water,” Chloe said.

“The FBI called,” said Morris.

“Of course they did. They want statement from anyone who knows Jack.”

“I’m not the one they want to talk to.”

“I already gave my statement at CTU.”

“I don’t think they bought it, darling. They asked where you were. I said I wasn’t sure. I think they’re on their way over here now.”

“Oh.”

“You should decide which one of us you’re married to.”

THE END

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sardonicynic
Dec. 13th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, that last line hurts; Morris, I love you, but ow. (The fact that it's true makes it that much more ouchy.)

And augh, how much do I love Chloe's thought about always cleaning up Jack's messes? So, so much.
marinw
Dec. 13th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
One of the things I find fascinating about Chloe-she's devoted to Jack is a way that's entirely different then the way she is devoted to Prescott and Morris. I think Morris realizes this, but how could he not resent Jack for putting Chloe in positions that could end with jail time-twice?

I think Chloe marrying Morris-again-because she was pregnant seems rather old-fashioned, but those are just my own sensibilities.
(Deleted comment)
marinw
Dec. 14th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
Awe, you are so thorough with your double posting! I will say here that I enjoy writing Jack/Chloe because I personally have a better understanding of platonic love then I do with romantic love. And that was more information than you probably needed!
(Deleted comment)
marinw
Dec. 14th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
That icon is a Fringe reference.

I actually prefer pre-sex Muldner/Scully to the Post-Sex Muldner/Scully. They had brain sex, which was so much more interesting than the other kind of sex.

*Ducks from incoming leigh57 missiles*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )