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LIFE IMMITATES ART

posted in 24_fanfic

Procrastination, thy name is Marin. I am supposed to be designing a brochure right now, but felt compelled the post this quicky…

Title: Life Imitates Art
Author: marinw
Rating: PG for angst
Characters: Jack/David Palmer
Summary: Post Day 1. David’s Palmer’s inauguration.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.
A/N: Written for the “Change” armbell prompt.

It’s coming to America first.
the cradle of the best of the worst.
It’s here they have the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst…


Jack turned off the radio.

Leonard Cohen’s song was all too relevant. The radio had been playing ironically patriotic music all morning.

Teri would have been amused.

Teri would have been proud.

Teri wasn’t here.

Jack looked around his new home. The unpacked boxes lay about his split-level apartment. He had gotten a good price from the sale of the house and he had given some of the money to Kim. He was on a paid leave of absence from CTU. Or something. He didn’t care. Money wasn’t a problem.

He had spent the last few months settling Teri’s affairs and seeing the psychiatrist George and Tony had insisted upon. The shrink was an idiot, Jack easily faked his way through the mandatory sessions.

Jack hadn’t realized he was capable of this much self-pity. He thought of how he had withdrawn from Teri after Operation Nightfall. Stupid. He hadn’t realized what he had until it was lost.

Jack turned on the television. He had only sprung for basic cable, but the inauguration would be on every channel.

The first African American president of the United States of America was about to be sworn in.

The mood in Los Angeles - in all of the United Stastes – was euphoric to the point of being otherworldly. Palmer was being hailed as an almost messianic figure. The soaring rhetoric of his election-night acceptance speech added to that image.

Palmer had taken over three hundred electoral college votes and the battleground states of Florida and Ohio. Popular opinion suggested that this meant that America, and indeed the entire world, had changed. An era of peace and prosperity had surely arrived.

Jack wanted to believe that.

Not that Palmer didn’t have his detracters. Some pundits had predicted that a divorced president would be harder to accept than a black one. The American people, to their credit, seemed more interested in Palmer’s abilities than his messy family life.

On the screen Jack could see that the Washington Mall was already crowded with people. Jack automatically thought of the security arrangements that were necessary. There would be snipers on every rooftop and plain - clothed secret service agents dispersed throughout the crowd. It was going to be a busy day for CTU Washington. CTU Los Angeles was busy with its own, parallel arrangements.

That wasn’t Jack’s problem anymore.

He sank down into the couch, scratching his increasingly hirsute jaw. He hadn’t bothered shaving in over two weeks.

Palmer was already walking down the mall, flanked by his two children. This was the man Jack had almost assassinated and then saved on the same day. Twice. This moment was possible because of what Jack had done. Because of who he had sacrificed. She had died because he wasn’t there to protect her, because his duty had always come first.

Jack knew he would never get any credit for his actions. That was how it worked. Chappelle told him he was lucky to escape criminal charges. No official recognition in return for leniency. It was a fair exchange.

David Palmer had now reached the podium. Millions of people were waiting for what he would say next.

For a moment, Jack was proud.

END

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
agentrez
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
This is awesome! I noticed the date that you wrote it, and I am guessing you were inspired by real-life events. You captured both Jack's feelings (thinking about the security arrangements is classic) and the real-life mood of the country about the historic milestone marked by Obama's inauguration. And I loved how you had Jack, if only for a brief moment, share in that same pride we all felt in spite of all his grief. Way to weave 24 in with real history...great story!



marinw
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
Hee. Other than being Black and Denocrat and the POTUS, Palmer and Obama are very different men. Even though I am Canadian, I was caught up in the moment.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )