Title: Mission: Cheer Up My Dad

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not.

Summary: The last time Zoe's Dad had gotten depressed, there had been beer on breakfast cereal, S.A.R.A.H. on extreme lockdown, and all kinds of other associated badness. 900 words.

Spoilers: Eureka post-3.1 "Bad to the Drone"

Notes: Week 1 entry for the eureka tag community.

Zoe looked up at her Dad as they walked out of Café Diem at the end of her first day's shift, take two, and frowned a little at the pained expression on his face. Maybe she shouldn't have pointed out what was going on with Allison and Dr. Stark-- though he could hardly have missed it. Still, while she might be a little irritated at him for not getting off his butt and doing something about his Thing with Allison long before things got this far, she wasn't relishing the idea of having to deal with a mopey Jack Carter again, either. The last time her Dad had gotten depressed, there had been beer on breakfast cereal, S.A.R.A.H. on extreme lockdown, and all kinds of other associated badness.

In the interests of not ending up scarred for life, it might be a good idea to come up with something to cheer him up. S.A.R.A.H. might have some ideas; for an A.I., she was pretty observant about people. Which, hey, that reminded her: there was something she'd totally meant to show him earlier, before Vincent's shuttle had turned out to be Martha and he'd ruined everything by sending her home.

"Hey, Dad, wait a minute," she said, stopping short on the sidewalk. "Before we go-- there's something I wanted to show you."

His eyebrows went up, and his expression lightened a little: a good start. "Couldn't get enough of your first day on the job, huh?"

Zoe snorted. "It's not like there aren't going to be other days, unless you get overprotective and ground me again. No, seriously: you have got to see this."

She grabbed him by the hand and dragged him back inside, steering him out of line-of-sight of Allison's table. "Hey, Vin; I'm just going to show my dad your fridge," she called as she walked back around behind the counter.

"Just don't let him touch anything!" Vincent called back as he topped up Dr. Stark's glass of champagne. He sounded just a tad annoyed still over the Mustard Incident earlier, but he'd get over that soon enough, Zoe was sure. As far as business-as-usual in Eureka went, a few stray squirts of yellow ick were really pretty mild.

She grinned briefly at him anyway before turning to open the fridge door. "Don't worry!" she replied. "We'll just be a second!"

"You want to show me his fridge?" her dad said, in baffled tones, studying the fairly normal-looking door. "What's so special about it?"

"You tell me," she said, paused a moment for suspense, then threw open the door "Ta da!"

His reaction was exactly what she'd hoped for. "Whoa," he said, stepping forward to get a better view of the rows and rows of shelves stretching into the distance. "How does all this fit back here?" he asked, a wondering expression on his face.

"I have no idea," Zoe said, then stepped forward with him to let the door shut behind them. "I mean, the building sure doesn't look this big from the outside."

"No kidding." Her dad grinned at her then, the clouds clearing from his expression. "I bet you felt like Lucy the first time you came in here."

"Exactly. Total Narnia material," she replied, grinning.

If there was one thing Zoe would never, ever regret about running away from her mom to come back to Eureka, no matter what happened, it would be getting to see this side of her dad. He's been such a serious Officer of the Law practically her whole life; he'd tried not to bring it home, but with every year that had passed he'd been away more and more until she'd just about forgotten what he sounded like when he laughed. Eureka had been good for him, even considering all the crap that came along with being the only average guy in a town full of geniuses.

He made a musing noise and crossed his arms as he considered the apparently endless variety of food products stored in the massive refrigerator. "Huh. I don't know why I'm surprised; the entire town's like this, pretty much. We might as well have fallen through the wardrobe that first day we got stranded here, and if any 'son of Adam' was more surprised to get a promotion to a place that doesn't exist on any maps, you couldn't prove it by me."

Okay, that was getting a little deep for a simple trip into a fridge. Zoe'd been trying to un-depress her dad, not make him all philosophical. "Oh, don't go there," she said, in a deliberately light-hearted tone. "Because that would make you Edmund, and I seriously doubt Allison would enjoy being compared to the White Witch."

"Oh, I don't know. I could do worse than being known as 'Sherriff Carter the Just'. But you're right; if anyone's the White Witch in this town..." He trailed off, chuckling, as he glanced back at the door.

Zoe snickered. He made it so easy sometimes! "Don't go there either Dad, because seriously, I know you get off on challenges, but if he's what you find tempting? I really don't want to know."

"What? Zoe!" he spluttered. "I was just going to say, the way Larry was sucking up to that Fixer woman..."

"Sure, sure," she said, nudging him with an elbow.

Mission, cheer up my dad: Success! Zoe thought to herself, and grinned.