Disclaimer: I (obviously) don't own 24 or its characters…

Author's Note: This is my playing with how Jack's death would be treated/received. I feel like if the series doesn't end with his death, it will be unsatisfying. I really don't see any other way. Jack Bauer won't stop getting sucked into days of hell until he's dead. I like the idea of Chloe finding Jack dead the best, because (personally) I feel like we identify with her the most, she has an unwavering loyalty to him on par with us (the audience). Plus, she was there for what arguably were his worst of bad days.

Timeline: At least Post-Day 7 (written before Day 7 has even finished airing, so who knows which characters will still be around by this point)

Warning: Contains angst with not a whole lot of plot…


Chloe O'Brian rushed to the lone figure slumped in a wooden chair in the middle of the small, poorly lit room. Fast on her heels, Tony Almeida entered the room directly behind her and made his way to loose the cords binding the man's hands behind the back of the chair.

Crouching in front of the slack figure of her friend, she tried to rouse him by gently speaking his name.

"Jack. Jack, it's Chloe. C'mon, Jack."

The urgency in her voice compounded with every syllable she spoke that failed to elicit a response. His head was slumped against his chest and he was very still. But she had seen him knocked unconscious before. However, it seemed like the few seconds that had passed was far too long to rouse Jack Bauer from unconsciousness. She placed a hand upon his cheek, hoping the contact would stir him, but it only disturbed her further.

She didn't have time to ponder how cold his cheek felt before Tony had finished loosing Jack's binds, and she found herself catching the lax weight of her friend as he fell out of the chair into her arms.

Quickly, she eased him to the ground, panic rising fast in her, hastening her breathing as she released he wasn't.

And then she saw it.

The bullet hole was so clean and neat on his chest, but still she should've recognized the pool of blood on the floor, the one in which she was presently kneeling.

The pain of the revelation cut through her like the sharpest of blades, effectively slicing her heart in two. She cried out his name, a visceral scream unlike anything that had ever come close to passing over her lips.

Practically throwing herself onto the body of her dead friend, she sobbed violently onto his still chest, manically clenching fistfuls of his shirt in her hands. Of all the losses she had suffered, none had been so great as the sorrow she felt over him. And never had she broken down so completely, never had she so hysterically and unabashedly poured her pain out into the world.

The pain had been too immediate and too great for her to suppress until she could find a quiet corner in which to cry silently by herself. And she was too hurt to care who saw her being this emotional. Deep down, Chloe had never believed that Jack would actually be killed one day, even given the situations at which he relentlessly found himself the center. But shock did not claim her, either. Instead, an avalanche of grief and anger carried her away kicking and screaming.

There was nothing else in the world at the moment her heart broke for her friend. He was gone and it hurt so badly, so blindingly that she didn't see Tony punch the concrete wall, and then continue to assault it with kicks and strikes, and profane exclamations that degenerated to meaningless cries of anger until he collapsed against it, slumping to the floor burying his head in his bloodied hands. Neither did she know that Morris had entered on the scene shortly after the pair, finding them in their moment of horrifying grief as it exploded filling the once silent room with a lamentation beyond anything he had witnessed before.

He had frozen momentarily, his heart aching over the agony of his wife, the loss of a good man. The world felt so much colder, more chaotic and meaningless with the loss of Jack Bauer.

After a few moments, his concern for Chloe overcame his shock, and he approached the sobbing figure draped over the lifeless body. Gently, he placed a hand on her arm, a plea not for her to cease her mourning or suppress her emotions, but for her to return to reality before she became hopelessly lost and drowned in her despair.

"Chloe, darling, come away," he spoke deliberately, tenderly. He'd never shared a bond with a friend quite like she had with Jack, but he had family, he had Chloe and Prescott. It wasn't a thought he ever liked to ponder, but he imagined that's the type of loss his distraught beloved was feeling. However much he didn't understand his wife's exact feelings for the man, he knew that losing Jack Bauer was like losing a part of herself.

"Come away," he urged again, his grip on her arm tightening as she adamantly refused to leave the dead man's side. The last thing he wanted to do was cause her further pain, but clinging to a dead man wasn't going to help her.

"He's gone, Chloe."

"No!" she shouted practically incomprehensibly, her voice hoarse and ragged. She couldn't let him go. She knew he was gone, and that was why she couldn't let go. This was the last time she'd be near him. This was her last moment with him. There'd be memorial services and funerals, but those just finalized the truth, told her to end her grief. By then she'd be numb. Now she felt. She wanted to feel his loss. Jack deserved at least that. His death deserved the recognition that people had loved him, had lost him... so few knew him, really understood him and he had sacrificed so much in his life, ultimately including the lonely shell that had become his life.

The fight finally began to ebb from her, and she allowed Morris to pull her back from Jack's body, so still, so devoid of the survivor's spirit he had possessed… and now covered with Chloe's tears. Her husband had to support her, for her own body refused the task. She trembled as she fought him off, at the same time needing his comfort more than almost anything else in the world.

Morris silently accepted the anger momentarily directed upon his person, knowing it would pass quickly. And it did. He pulled her petite, shaking form into a tight hug and rocked her gently where they stood.

"He's finally at peace now," he said the only thought he could conjure about Jack's death that wasn't devastating. From all that Morris had seen of the man, from what his wife had told him, Jack's life had been nothing but struggle and pain, especially the last decade or so. He found himself hoping with all his heart that what he said to reassure his beloved was the truth, that Jack Bauer had found rest.

"He deserved better," Chloe managed to choke out before sobbing into Morris' shoulder some more.

"I know, darling, I know," he replied, rubbing her back.

Tears continued to roll down her raw cheeks, but the sobs had turned silent, and she had become aware enough of the world around her to see Tony pick himself up off from the floor. His eyes locked with hers for a split-second before he turned away, heading for the door. But that brief contact was all she needed to see the steeled determination in his eyes, very much intermingled with grief and pain. He would do something that she never could, and Chloe was glad there was someone left to do what was needed. Jack Bauer's death would not go unanswered.

And yet still...

"He deserved better."

END


A/N: That's my take on it. What's yours? I'd really like to know if I'm the only apparent sadist who'd want to see the series end with Jack's death (despite-or because of- my love for the character).