He thought killing Curtis would be the worst thing to happen, that from there on it could only get better. But it didn't. As the day went on, he watched his brother be killed in front of eyes, the only solace that came from it the fact that Jack wasn't the one to do it. He then watched his father be exposed as part of Graham's plot, revealing the betrayal that had landed him in a Chinese hellhole for 20 months. He watched his family's actions result in a mushroom cloud, one that took thousands of lives. He then raced after 4 remaining bombs, and succeeded in stopping them. 40 minutes later, he received a call from Bill Buchanan telling him that Audrey was dead.
The cause of her death was a blur to Jack, as was its reality. It was too much. It was too cruel. His mind, so delicately fragile already, threatened to break down for good if this reality were to hit him. So he forced Bill to let him head up the team that was to take out what was revealed to be the terror cell behind the nukes. These were the people who had held Audrey hostage, who had murdered her when CTU refused to exchange her for one of their own - a tactic meant solely for show. Jack wanted revenge.
So he had his revenge. Revenge was all he had left as he cried burning tears into his clenched fists. He truly wanted nothing more than to die.
Meanwhile, Chloe stood silently at her station, listening to Morris come to terms with the day's events in the last way she thought he would. Maybe what surprised her most was her lack of an emotional reaction.
"Chloe, God knows I love you more than should be humanly possible," he said, his usual glibness failing him when he needed it most. "And yesterday, I thought we were doing just perfectly, but today you confirmed what I've always known subconsciously but denied in my head. And it breaks my heart, Chloe, it just..."
She watched tears shine in his eyes, something she'd never seen before.
He took a deep breath. "When Jack walked in here for the first time today, I saw the way you looked at him. I've never seen that look before, at least not on your face. And I knew then, at that very instant, that you could never look at me that way."
"I'm sorry," she managed weakly, knowing denial wasn't an option. "I really am."
He shook his head. "No, don't be. You deserve to be happy. You deserve everything you want, despite my selfishness. I just...I wish I could be for you everything he is to you."
She gave a faint smile. "Me too."
Morris then took her in his arms and felt his heart swell with his love for her. She was the love of his life, and she had been since the day he met her. He knew the last few months had been too good to be true.
"Thank you, Morris, for everything," she said when they pulled apart.
"Anything for you, Chloe, no matter what. I will always be here. You do know that?"
She nodded, then watched him walk away, this time for good.
Jack cradled his gun in his hand, thinking how much easier it would have been if Fayed had killed him when he'd been handed over at the start of the day. As tempting the idea was to his desperation, Jack knew he couldn't pull the trigger on himself. It was a coward's way out, the most selfish act one could do. But he thought of all the people who would still be living had he never existed. The names read like a sick guestbook - Teri, Audrey, Curtis, Tony, Michelle, David Palmer, Claudia...
Of course, he didn't bother to consider the lives he'd saved. He wouldn't grant himself such a luxury. He was a failure, a gross disappointment, a burden on everyone he cared for.
"Jack?" a frightened voice called, startling him out of his train of thoughts. "What are you doing?"
He looked down the corridor to find Chloe, not far away, looking at the gun in his hands. "Chloe," he replied, putting the gun back in its holster. "I'm sorry, I didn't know you were there."
She approached him slowly, this being the first time she'd seen him since he'd completed his last mission. His eyes remained fixated on the floor, and they stayed there as Chloe slid down beside him.
She studied him for a moment, noticing the pained red his blue eyes had become from his tears. He bore many scars, some from that day, others from China, still others from even earlier. Most she couldn't see, but they made their presence known.
There were no words she could say to him. Nothing could be appropriate at a time like this. She could try the standard "I'm sorry" line, but she was Chloe, and he was Jack. Nothing about them had ever been standard.
So she maintained her silence, extending a single gesture in the form of her hand lightly gripping his scarred right hand. A moment passed before he gripped her hand back, with all the strength that was left in him.
She watched a tear roll down his face, the first of many. Sobbing for each person he loved who he had lost, he let himself seek comfort in his most loyal ally by lying his aching head in her lap and crying until he no longer could.
She caressed his head and ran her fingers through the length of his short hair, each move coming so naturally it startled her. She could feel each pang of new & old grief that he felt, each of his tears matched by her own.
But in time, Jack grew still, and before she had time to realize, he had fallen asleep.
Chloe knew this was where she belonged. She felt it in her bones, beating in her heart, and running through her veins. A sense of purpose like no other she'd felt before. This was her time to stand by him and bring him back to life. It was beyond romance or friendship in her mind - it was simply a destiny of sorts. She was all he truly had left, and she would fill that role, beginning there, on the floor of a government agency, away from the crowd and away from the noise. No, he would never be the same, but he would survive, and she was going to see him through it. She was going to be there every single step of the way.
And she didn't even have to tell him. He knew.