On the Rocks

by Brando (G-S)

Rated: PG-13 for Violence, Profanity and Terrorism Themes

Summary: After the events of 03, Jack Bauer and David Palmer go for a drink. They sit and reflect on the two women who died that day. The women who's hate for them was rivaled only by their love. Nina, Sherry, this one is for the two of you.

Disclaimer: I do not own 24, or any characters or places. They belong to Fox Television Network, Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, and the Producers and Stars.

A/N. This is a tribute to the favorite female baddies of the real-time thriller I love so much. Mostly it's Jack and David talking about their lost loves, and the good, and bad, effects this day has brought.

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The Following Takes Place Between 11:00pm and 12:00am

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The bar was small, with polished wood floors and a high oak bar that was covered with different taps and bottles and mugs and glasses. The stools were a dark wood furnish and the tops of them were red leather, torn in some spots from the normal wear and tear of the years. It may have been able to pass for the set of Cheers, a old television sitcom about a bar, if not for the fact no one was inside.

The reason this small bar was empty was not because their service was bad, or because business had been slow. Although it had been slow, ever since news of the Chandler-Plaza Hotel being attacked by terrorist using a biological weapon, the public life in Los Angeles county had slowed down drastically. But Stephen Saunders was stopped now, and he would not see the light of day for the rest of his life.

No the reason this bar was empty was because it was not empty. There was no bartender and the public was not allowed inside, being turned away by men in black suits who made no move to hide the automatic machine guns they carried with them. The Secret Service didn't like this very much, and Aaron had already warned the single occupant of the bar that it was a bad idea, but David Palmer was the President, and if he wanted to have a drink in this bar, he was going to. Even if it meant abusing his powers.

Aaron, the main bodyguard of President Palmer, was standing at the doors holding the same kind of gun as his fellow guards. He watched in silence as a car drove up and a man stepped out. The man was blonde, but his hair was a very dark blonde and could pass for brown with a bit of dye. He wore a blue sweater and a pair of jeans, and hanging around the sweat was his badge that identified him as Jack Bauer, the Head of Field Ops for CTU.

"I'm expected." Jack breathed quietly in his usual cold voice to Aaron.

"Yes sir, Mr. Bauer." Aaron responded. He had met Jack before, and he knew that Bauer was trusted by the President just as much, if not more than, most of his advisors. Even his brother and chief of staff Wayne Palmer had a difficult time trying to argue with anything Jack Bauer ever said to David.

David himself was dressed in a black suit and red tie as he sat at the bar on one of the red leather stools. It was unheard of for the President of the United States of American to do what he was doing now, but then again it was also unheard of for a President to be Black, Divorced and still the most loved man in the polls since Kennedy. David Palmer had never been much for precedents, he was his own man.

"Jack." He greeted his friend in the warmest voice he could muster. "Come in."

Jack flashed a false smile and sat down at the bar, leaving a empty stool between himself and the President. David didn't ask questions, instead he leaned over the bar and poured himself a small glass of whiskey. He looked to Bauer, quirking a brow and asking him without words if he wanted one, but Jack shook his head and reached across to make himself a Scotch. On the Rocks.

"Thank you for coming Jack." David said rather quietly. "I didn't know who else to call."

Jack nodded and shook his head as he finished the drink. He raised it to his face, but did not drink it. Instead he sat staring at it for a while before he finally spoke these words: "It's hard when your wife dies. Even if you've had problems."

David nodded. His former wife, Sherry Palmer, had been a very large problem. She had betrayed him in countless ways and had gone so far as to be involved with the man responsible for the Nuclear Bombing in Los Angeles three years ago, not to mention the scheme she had launched with Keeler to make David throw the election. And even after all of that, David found he was still depressed to lose her. Just as Jack had been depressed to lose Teri, despite the long time he spent cheating on her with a co-worker.

"How's Kim?" David asked quietly before downing the whiskey and puckering his face as if he had drunken something both spicy and sour, which whiskey was known to be.

Jack grunted. "She's dating a field agent. My partner, of all people."

Palmer turned a eye to his friend and nodded his head slowly. He knew that Jack had blamed himself for Teri's death, and while they had never spoken much about it, Palmer partially blamed his own being as well. It had been during the attempt on his life that Jack's wife had been shot and killed by his ex-lover. Of course Jack didn't blame the President, he only blamed himself, his job, and, of course, Nina Myers.

Nina Myers. In life she had been a enigma, a riddle, a question, a query, a foggy haze, and a complete and utter mystery to Jack Bauer. He did not know how she could live with herself, or why she would want to. Jack had taken no pleasure or satisfaction when he killed Nina, three days ago, and he had found no answers. She was just as strange and enigmatic to him now as she had been when he first met her. When he had first fallen for her, when he had first kissed her, when he had first fucked her, when he had first shot her, and when he had finally killed her. It was all the same. Nothing changed.

In fact Jack had more questions now.

The one question that burned in Jack's heart and mind the most was the one he was most terrified of. The question of what it had been. Jack told himself that Nina Myers had been nothing more than a lustful, sex-filled fling to him. He told himself that he did not, nor ever could, be possible of loving her. He told himself that even if he had thought so once, he had been wrong. He could not love someone so horrible. He could not love Nina. And that's why it was so hard to wonder if she had ever loved him.

Jack had wondered for four in a half years if she loved him. He wondered if she had loved him when they kissed, or when he had cheated on his wife for her. He wondered if they had been in love when they made love, or if it had just been a act. He wondered if she had loved him when she had killed Teri, and he had wondered if she loved him when she tried to kill him during the Nuke Crisis, and he wondered if she had loved him in Mexico when she made him kiss her.

He was unsure if he wanted her love. He was unsure if he wanted her to have ever lover him. On the one hand it was easy to think No! I don't want that traitor's love! I hope she never loved me at all.

But that made him wonder if she had already been planning her betrayal during that time they spent making love while Teri and Kim were blissfully unaware. Did he want that? Did he want everything they had had to have been lies and deceit? But for her to have loved him, did he had to admit that at one time in his life he had loved Nina Myers as well?

"Jack!" David Palmer's deep voice woke him from his never-ending questions about Nina and he turned to see the President very worried.

"I'm sorry sir." Jack mumbled. "I must have dozed off."

David knew better, but he didn't say a word to his friend. Instead he downed a second shot of whiskey and then set the glass down. He knew he couldn't drink as much as he wanted to because he was the most powerful man on the planet, and thus the man with the most responsibility. He sighed.

"I miss her Jack. I miss Sherry. It was one thing to be separated, but to know that she is dead. . ."

"Mr. President." Jack said quietly, fully understanding his friend's pain. "I won't lie. It doesn't get any easier with time. But you learn to push past it. Sherry was not a good person, sir. She lied and betrayed you, and if you want, you can look at her with hate and trick yourself into being happy she is gone. Or you can remember that no matter what she did, she was still someone you loved, and you can't lose that. Hang onto your kids, sir, and hang onto your memories, because no matter how much evil she may have committed, no matter how many times she may have wronged you, she was still a woman you loved."

Jack finished his speech, still staring at the scotch, on the rocks, in his hand. He was fully aware that the speech he had made, while applicable in David Palmer's situation, was also a reflection of his own self. And as Chase Edmunds had said to him back when that day three days ago first began, he was "holding up a mirror". Chase had meant his addiction to drugs, but Jack knew now he was addicted to something far more horrible and far more deadly than any drug.

He was addicted to Nina Myers.

Could he forgive Nina for killing Teri? No. He could not.

Could he forgive Nina for trying to kill Kim? No. He could not.

Could he forgive Nina for selling out her country to terrorists, not once, not twice, but three times? No. He could not.

Did he still love Nina Myers?

"Well Jack." David said, raising a third glass of whiskey. "Here's to our wives."

Jack sighed. "Here's to the women we loved."

David clinged the glasses together and said in his low, somehow calming voice. "Sherry."

Jack let his scotch touch the President's glass and he let himself say Teri's name, for Teri was his wife and Teri was his lover. And he loved Teri more than he ever would anyone else. Not Kate Warner, Not Claudia, none of them would ever take Teri's place.

But still, in his mind, he had said Nina's name.

And then they drank.

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-yawns-

Well? What do you think?

Ok. A few notes.

I know that the President would never in real life have the secret service close down a bar so that he and his federal agent friend could go get drunk. That's a little over the top.

My only explanation to this is David wanted to get away from the office and away from his job, because it reminds him so much of Sherry. Like I said, I know in reality this kind of thing wouldn't happen, but still, if you're seeing this you obviously read it anyway.

Now I shall leave and let you review if you want to, or not.

Hope you all enjoyed it!

I might add a second chapter, full of flashbacks about the girls, if it is requested.

- Brando! (Golden-sama)