Sorry for the delay, life and Harry Potter has consumed my summer! But i'm back now!
Although Mike Doyle was deeply saddened by his friend’s assassination, he was more eager to see justice done. When an equally shaken Buchanan came to see him to discuss how to bring the culprit to equity. They did not to wait for the Bauer family; when they were ready they could request an update on the progress. He didn’t have the history that many at CTU LA had with Bauer but he respected him. Esteem for what he had accomplished for their country. True, they hadn’t started well; then again Mike hadn’t started well with anyone at LA. In his mind above all else whoever killed the senior agent was no doubt a terrorist and that was their business.
“How’s Chloe?” Doyle asked when he and his boss were sequestered in his office.
Buchanan laughed rancorously. “Not well last time I knew.” He reported sadly. He wished that there was something he could do for his friend’s widow. “You’ve had time, Mike, to think about the best route we should take to find this son of a bitch!” The director knew that his operative’s ‘wheels’ had been turning since he heard of Jack’s death.
“Of course.” He sighed angrily.
“I know I don’t have to tell you, Mike that this has top priority.”
“No, of course not.”
“Oh and yes this IS personal!” This surprised Doyle; he hadn’t thought that Buchanan would make this personal. He knew that he and Bauer were close friends as well as family now. Not that he was against this kind of intimacy among his co-workers. After his experience in Denver where no one cared about their co-workers, it was all about unbridled ambition there. It was novel. It was nice to have a director who truly cared about his subordinates.
After his beautiful wife went to the conference room to be with her family, Chase Edmunds went to see if his colleagues started the search for this blackguard responsible for his father in law’s senseless passing. He and Kim had spent their time together consoling each other. Jack’s death seemed to affect Kim differently this time around. This is not to say that she wasn’t crushed, but she was not inconsolable as she was the first time. Chase believed it was because her father died knowing just how much she adored him. Those living usually had minor regrets time lot, more time when they were alive. But with Jack’s first death she had lost contact with him of her own volition. That weighed heavily on her conscience which made her grief more acute. She now knew that she done everything in her power to repair their broken relationship. That she understood him on a much deeper level. And his dedication to his job. She respected him for his service to his nation. She saw the real Jack Bauer and wasn’t afraid of what was there.
Jack was everything Chase wanted to be from the day they met. Therefore it was better for all that his loving spouse understood her father. On their sun drenched honeymoon he explained to her that being a single father as well he understood Jack’s actions. That conversation changed his wife. “Kim, in order to keep you safe, he sacrificed the one thing he cherished the most. His relationship with you.” She admonished herself for she only saw her own pain. She failed miserably at seeing her father’s. “Chloe said that he would her weekly to get updates on you specifically.”
“So that’s why she was around all the time!”
“She cared. She just can’t show it in the ways others do.” He defended steadfastly. “She showed it by keeping a link between you and your father.” He vindicated.
If anyone ever doubted Chloe’s adoration of her father should have witnessed the heart-wrenching scene that Kim walked into. She was thankfully she wasn’t alone this time. God bless him, Chase tried but couldn’t truly understand her grief. Oddly enough, it had been two hours since she received that phone call from Clarissa, it felt strange to living in a world without her father. His poor widow could still be heard whimpering in the halls of CTU. Her broken younger brother was totally at lost on how to comfort their stepmother. She could tell that he was desperately trying to hold his own grief inside and was slowly losing the battle. Her mangled heart went out to him. She gave a sad smile to her best friend and sister in law; who returned it. “Chloe, Josh.” She whispered.
She lifted her tear streaked face. “Kim.” Chloe bleated dolefully.
“Hey Chloe.” She greeted despondently. ‘How she’s holding up?’ Was her silent query.
‘Not well.’ Was the equally noiseless answer. She nodded. She would ask how he was doing but she knew she wouldn’t get a straight answer. He felt as if he had to be the ‘strong one’ for Chloe and her. So like their father. The rugged rock that the weeping women crashed upon.
“We’re going to get through this, Chloe.” She said more resolutely than she felt. ‘We have to.’ She thought.
“I miss him so much already!” The other woman sobbed.
“I know you do.” She soothed.
“I hate feeling sorry for myself.” Chloe explained with self-disgust.
“Chlo, you have every right to feel sorry for yourself.” Kim replied firmly as she grasped her stepmother’s thin shoulders. ‘We all do!’ She thought.
Josh was indebted to allow his older sister take over consoling the lamenting widow. Women seemed to know how to do those things better than their male counterparts. Karen had long gone to prepare for the no doubt incoming dignitaries that would arrive for the forthcoming funeral services. Former President and longtime family friend, Wayne Palmer had already arrived to help Bill in any way he could. Terrorism had not disappeared because larger than life Jack Bauer died therefore Clare had to run CTU while her father devoted his time and efforts to unearth his friend’s slayer. Josh finally had time to really deal with his father’s death. His duty to those he loved came first and had been accomplished.
Just stripping off the blood-soaked shirt made him feel improved. But he was nearly fully recovered after a long hot shower. He let the temperate water rush the day’s tribulations down the drain. Although he felt better already he knew he…they had miles to go. No, he hadn’t accepted his father’s death, probably never would entirely. It aggrieved him to know that his and Clare’s children would never know their paternal grandfather. He would never be a man to them but simply a mythological figure. A picture on the mantle and a name.
“I thought I’d find you here.”
“Clare.” He sighed contentedly.
“How was your shower?” She sank next to him onto the cool metal bench that was surrounded by the lockers. Sliding a dainty hand into his larger one.
She smiled, grateful that he was able to find some sort of relief no matter how brief. “Good.” She would feel much better when he had his cry. But that wouldn’t come until much later; when everyone else had been taken care of. That was when a Bauer man could finally let his guard down.
“I miss him, Clare.” He pronounced abruptly.
She took his handsome face into her hands. “I know you, Josh, I know you do.” She offered a conciliatory smile. “I do too!” Her heart ached for her husband and his pain.
“What am I going to do?” He asked, adrift. He moved his head within her smooth palms to kiss one.
“As girlie as this may sound, my darling husband, Jack is a part of you. He’ll never leave you really.” She smiled hopefully. “Try not seeing as Jack’s stamp on this place as burden but a refuge.” What would he do without her? What did he ever do to deserve such a brilliant woman?
“She frowned in perplexity. “For what?” She really didn’t know?
“For knowing exactly what to say.” He explained indebted.
“Silly, I’m your wife. Besides, I merely telling the truth.” She replied. “Sure, people can and probably will say that people who share the same emotional trauma are most likely to form a bond. But I was there from the beginning of your alls ‘new’ relationship.” Her ever cautious father phoned shortly after Fayed had malicious detonated the only atomic bomb in Valencia to ask her to come into CTU for her own safety and his sanity. The original plan was for Clare to be at CTU until Karen got there. But of course she desperately needed to return to the White House after the second President Palmer was seriously injured in a bomb attack. Truth be told she felt safer there. And if California was going to end then she much rather be with her Dad then at school.
She remembered well the first time she laid eyes on Josh that horrible day. Jack had made a few medical returns to CTU. Marilyn, Josh’s Mom was dramatically clinging to him whenever she could. As if Jack was her lifejacket. She recalled thinking ‘Lady, the poor man just returned from a country whose prison system isn’t exactly known for observing basic human rights. He just found out that his ‘whatever’ expired in a car accident while he was absent. Let him be!’ But movement in the waiting area caught her eye. It was a terrified flaxen blonde boy who looked as if to be about her age. She didn’t blame him everyone in southern California was frightened after that morning’s occurrence. From the look of him he had to be a nephew of Jack. There was a remarkable resemblance to Kim. A more cynical person would have assumed that the likeness to Jack’s own child meant he too fathered the young man. But during her father’s tenure in LA she got to know his best field operative. Over the years she learned that the man she knew would never treat his wife with such malice. And from his actions outside CTU’s waiting area it was apparent to the voyeur that he did not return her amorous feelings. Then again did he feel yet? He had just returned from a Chinese penal complex no doubt he was tortured daily. In ways most Americans would think as barbaric. For anyone to survive even Jack Bauer in those savage conditions was to mentally shut down, to go within themselves.
But it wasn’t until a few days later that they were officially introduced. It wasn’t by any means love at first sight. They were instant friends. But it wasn’t until the summer before their freshman year of college that their relationship changed.
“He adored you, you know.” Josh nodded forlornly.
“I know. I think that’s what makes it so much harder to take. Because we as Dad’s family lost so much time with him.”
“I’m sorry you didn’t have more time with him. I know both of you wanted more time.”
“There was so much left unsaid.” He hiccupped.
“Not really.” She disagreed gently. “He knew all what was important. That you loved him. I know it doesn’t make his death any less pointless. Or help for that matters.”
“But it does help, Clare, you reminding me of that.”
She sighed frustrated. “I feel so damn useless.”
“You are far from useless.”
“You’re hurting. Chloe has a long and hard road ahead of her. Kim has lost her last parent. And there’s nothing I can do to help.”
“You are helping, sweetheart.”
“Humph.” She said as she pulled a face. He chuckled.
“I promise. Would your adoring husband lie to you?” He asked with an arched eyebrow.
She rolled her eyes dramatically. “Is that a question, dearest?”
“Funny, very funny.”
She batted her eyes coyly at him. “I thought so.”
“I know you sure thought so.” He quipped with an easy smile.
“I sure did, buster.” She agreed assure of herself.
“You see you’re making me smile.” He pointed out. “Dad wouldn’t want us to be gloomy.” He was right. Jack would want his loved ones to move on with their lives. Not dwell on their pain. It’s ironic really since he wrote the book on brooding.
“Glad I could do something.” She replied.
“Something important, babe.” She finally nodded. “I mean it, keeping me sane is what you do. And I need you more than ever.”