Characters: Jack Bauer
Summary: Two short ficlets on the varying aspects of Jack's personality.
Spoilers: End of Season 4
Challenges: Written for the psych_30 challenge, prompt #5 - Multiple Personality
Originally written: June 12, 2006
This time, it was Teri's birthday.
Even so long after her death, he'd never forgotten it, not until now. He'd stared at the date on a newspaper, something deep in his mind telling him that he was missing something. It was only as he'd flipped through the paper, spotted something about an art exhibition that he'd put it together: Teri's birthday had been two days before. He'd never forgotten it before, and he scrambled to prove to himself that he wasn't forgetting other things; tried to remember her face, the smell of her hair, the sound of her laugh, and found them faded. Like old documents, the ink turning brown and then fading away as its components break down, voices from the past dulled to a whisper.
It didn't just feel like losing her again, though. It felt like losing himself. Like the things that made him Jack Bauer were fading, and he wondered if someday the lies he tells people, the personal history he makes up in his head will ever seem more real. Whether someday Frank Flynn, with a face that looks oddly like Bauer's, will be all that's left; the man who never really existed more real than one who did.
His hands belie their use, their contrary purposes hidden. Hands that touch a lover's skin so gently as to hardly be felt, that comfort and arouse with deft fingers. Hands that wrap around a throat and hold life in their hands, that balance a weapon easily, placing two shots within inches of each other, puncturing a beating human heart.
His eyes belie the soul inside, revealing only what their owner wishes. Eyes that speak volumes when words fail; that show the depths of love when his strength or his own vulnerability don't admit the telling; that well with tears when the weight of the world and the actions of that other side of him slump his shoulders, too much for one person to bear stoically. Eyes that speak of possibilities better left untested, of actions better left untried if the audience knows what's best for them; eyes the burn with hatred or disgust, that have seen more than enough of what humanity is capable of.
His heart belies its strength, its dogged determination. A heart that is boundless, giving such care to thousands that its owner would risk its own beating so that others wouldn't have to know sorrow or distress; prepared to give so much to those allowed inside, the select few that bypass defences, earning trust. A heart that turns cold, meeting hatred with hatred, betrayal with loathing, barred and shuttered when it comes time to deliver retribution. A heart torn and broken by a civil war between two opposing sides, both contained in one too-human frame, until it ceases to beat in armistice.