See You Around
By Andie O'Neill
Pairing: Nathan/Carter, slight Nathan/Allison
Summary: They all thought he was gone, but when Nathan Stark appears in Eureka with no memory of who he is, it's Jack Carter that must learn the truth… and face the demons he never thought he had. Jack/Nathan Slash! SPOILERS FOR "I Do, Over."
A/N: So I decided to end it here with this very last chapter. Sorry it took so long, but it was hell trying to figure out how it should end, but I think I found something that worked. It's been awesome, and I thank all of you who stuck in there with me and gave me your encouragement. Couldn't have finished it without you guys! :D THANKS!
Disclaimer: I don't own Eureka, and that's probably a good thing….
"You think he'll make the right choice?" Allison asked quietly as she watched her son sleep on the couch in her office under a blanket. He looked so peaceful, so normal. She loved watching Kevin sleep.
Henry sat across from her in a chair in front of her desk, rolling a rubber band ball in his hands. "I wish I knew," was the only answer he gave, and Allison wondered if he was holding back because of her feelings for Nathan. It was true, she did love Nathan, but she'd long ago accepted that they weren't meant to be. Slowly her hand moved to the necklace her ex-husband had given her. "I do know one thing… he'd be a fool to let Jack slip through his fingers. When I think about all the missed opportunities when Kim and I first met…" his voice broke off.
Allison pulled her gaze from her son and smiled sadly at Henry. "You got a second chance with her, Henry… that's all that matters. You two were happy, and you were together. You'll always have that."
Henry nodded, looking away. Allison knew how hard it was for him. When Kevin's father had died she'd never felt so lost. She'd been left with a child to raise, alone, and it hadn't been easy. It never was easy to lose someone, but she'd managed to survive, just as Henry would. Allison followed Henry's eyes, watching her son shift in his sleep.
Deciding it would be better to change the subject she focused on her son, and the news Henry had recently given her regarding how Nathan Stark had managed to cheat death. "You really think it was Kevin? That saved Nathan?"
"It's the only theory that works. It explains everything… the scans after Nathan's sudden appearance that matched readings taken from the artifact and Kevin… there right there is reason enough. We can't possibly imagine what the artifact is capable of. What I do know is Kevin knew what was going to happen. He knew Nathan was going to die."
"It doesn't make any sense; if he somehow managed to transfer some of the artifact's energy to Nathan wouldn't he have shown some sign? The last time he was exposed to that kind of energy he almost burst into flames," she pointed out.
"Kevin controlled the field, Allison. We have no idea what is and is not possible with that kind of power at your fingertips. That energy had to go somewhere. I just hope Nathan realizes just what a precious gift he was given," Henry told her, gently settling the rubber band ball back on her desk.
Allison turned to look at Henry and smiled. "I hope so too." Henry turned, looking into her eyes and Allison was relieved to see the amusement hidden behind the chocolate brown depths.
"And if he doesn't we can always find ways of reminding him," he told her.
Allison laughed. "Oh I'm sure Jack will be more than happy to take that job."
Deacon chuckled, shaking his head. "Come on, it's getting pretty late. I'll walk you to your car."
She'd planned on staying a little longer to catch up on some paper work, especially with Thorne breathing down her neck about the stolen items Carter was now investigating, but as she felt herself yawn she knew it would have to wait for tomorrow. "Thanks, that'd be great."
Nathan stared at the ceiling as he lay in bed in the dark. Time was ticking by and he'd given up on sleep. He couldn't stop thinking about Jack. He wanted Jack Carter. He never thought it could happen. He'd loved Allison for so long… and now there was someone else. He would always care for Allison, but when he looked into Jack's eyes the feelings that overwhelmed him in those short moments were indescribable. He'd never felt such power, like this force… a hold that put gravity to shame. When he closed his eyes he saw blue pools looking back and his heart beat faster, his skin tingles; a shiver runs down his back. He sees those eyes and he can't breathe. He craves more… his hands itch to touch Jack's face, his body, everything. His lips feel dry as they yearn to feel Jack's lips pressed against his own.
Nathan wasn't used to such things. It was intense, yet oddly thrilling. He wanted more. He watched Jack walk away, the moment gone just as quickly as it had come, but the aftershocks were wreaking havoc in his mind. His life had become one giant contradiction where rules that normally cancelled each other out thrived together. He was a scientist. He believed in mathematics, equations, physics… just as a musician believed in notes and sounds… an artist in shades and lines… a writer in words and ideas. He was a scientist. One plus one always equaled two. E equals MC squared. He lived by laws… laws of physics, laws of gravity. Loving Jack meant breaking laws. It meant one plus one didn't always equal two. It was a whole new world and Nathan didn't know how to deal with it. He didn't understand this world.
Nathan closed his eyes, rubbing his face in frustration as he realized he could wait any longer. It didn't matter what world he was now living in. What mattered was what he was that he was LIVING in it… he was ALIVE. He'd never felt so alive in all his life. It was ironic really… it'd taken his death to realize just what it meant to be alive. For once in his life he wanted to break the rules… the rules he'd stuck by since before he could remember. His original plans for his future… his father's original plans. None of it mattered. It meant nothing to him anymore. He wanted Sheriff Jack Carter, and he wanted him now. Everything else was meaningless. He'd been given a second change, and he wasn't about to go fuck it up.
"Doctor Stark is at the door, Sheriff," said S.A.R.A.H. with her usual calm demeanor.
Jack groaned, peeking an eye open, not quite ready to get out of bed. "You have got to be kidding me," he grumbled, rolling over onto his back. "What time is it?"
"One o'clock AM," answered S.A.R.A.H.
Jack swore under his breath, forcing himself to sit up as he rubbed his tired eyes. "The man's lose his mind… what the hell could he possibly want?" he mumbled under his breath to no one in particular. The Sheriff slowly got himself out of bed, pulling on a shirt. He thought about pulling on some pants as he was in his boxers, but was too tired to find a pair. "Let him in S.A.R.A.H."
"As you wish, Sheriff."
Jack rolled his eyes at her cheerfulness, leaving his room. He walked down the steps just as the door opened and Nathan Stark entered. The Sheriff paused once he'd stepped off the last step, staring curiously at the scientist now in his living room. Nathan was in some worn out jeans and a rather tight red shirt that highlighted all his best attributes. It was a different look, but suited the man well. "Hey… so exactly what have you blown up this time?"
Stark's eyebrows lowered in confusion. "Excuse me?"
"I assume you're here because of some GD emergency considering the fact that it's one o'clock in the morning. Either that or you're exploring a new form of torture. If that is the case you should know a tired Sheriff is a dangerous Sheriff," he warned warily, folding his arms.
Nathan smiled in amusement. "You know… I blame you."
This time it was Jack's turn to be completely confused by the change in subject. "You blame me?" he repeated, not quite sure where the other man was going. "Wanna tell me what I did?"
Nathan took a step forward, his green eyes fierce in a way Carter never remembered seeing them, pupils blown wide, and sudden Jack had a feeling his visit had nothing to do with business. "I blame you for why I'm not with Allison… why I can't be with Allison." Jack felt his heart sink upon hearing the words. He was never going to let her go… he should have expected as much. Nathan continued on, taking another step. "You ruined everything. I had it all planned out… then you came in and blew it all to hell." Carter wasn't sure what to say. Earlier Jack had been sure back at Café Diem that they would have kissed if not for Vincent, but now the man looked almost angry as he spoke of his ruined plans. Nathan had talked about his plans once before… then again, falling in love with an emotionally stunted, genius scientist hadn't exactly been Carter's big plan either. Jack forced himself not to move, not to back down as he stared into the other man's dark green eyes. "I was supposed to hate you," Nathan whispered.
Jack couldn't help it as the corners of his mouth lifted into a small smile, relaxing immediately. "I was supposed to hate you too."
They were close, too close. Nathan's hand rose, hesitating for a second before he caressed the side of Jack's face. Carter stood perfectly still as the hand moved to the back of his neck, watched Nathan lower his lips till they were so close their breaths intermingled. "Just FYI… I don't," Nathan admitted softly. "I never did." Suddenly he moved forward, crushing their lips together. Jack immediately moaned as the kiss deepened, melting into it and he could have sworn he saw stars. Nathan's arms wrapped around him and Jack did the same, eager for more. God, he'd missed this. When the kiss finally ended, Nathan was laughing.
"What is it?" Jack asked, curious.
Stark just shook his head. "I was just thinking… it feels pretty good to color outside the lines." Before Jack could even try to tackle what Nathan could possibly mean he was pulled into another bruising kiss. Jack really didn't mind the distraction.
Jack stared at Nathan's sleeping form, afraid he'd wake up to find it had all been a dream. He'd awake to find that Nathan Stark was still dead, or had chosen to go back to Allison rather take a chance on him. It didn't seem possible that it could finally be over. Had it really been five months since it all began? Over five months ago Nathan Stark had died, and the emotional rollercoaster ride since had only made things harder. It hit him all at once. He saw flashes of nights in bed… his grief overwhelming him, struggling every day just to get out of bed in the morning, the day Nathan Stark had reappeared and Jack had found himself in a clearing just holding the other man in his arms, long days of trying to help Nathan remember his past, the thrill of realizing he was in love, the pain that followed whenever something got in the way, the first night they'd finally made love, and the morning after when he'd felt his heart break. It had all been worth it, though. Jack was back in Nathan's arms and had no intentions of letting go… not this time.
Jack knew they weren't exactly a match made in heaven, but he couldn't help but feel it was meant to be. It hadn't been easy, and he never want to go through that kind of hell ever again, but it couldn't have all been for nothing. It had to mean something that he felt happier in this moment lying in Nathan's arms than he'd felt in a very, very long time… if ever. The scientist shifted in his sleep, tightening his hold on Jack and he almost laughed. He hadn't felt like laughing in a very long time.
Zoe frowned, staring at the red shirt lying haphazardly on the steps. She couldn't quite believe it to be her father's as she'd never seen it before, and it seemed a little strange that he'd just throw it on the steps considering what a neat freak he could often be. Zoe sighed, putting the mystery shirt on the couch as she headed toward the kitchen for breakfast, yawning. She paused the moment she heard voices coming from the kitchen, and neither sounded like Auntie Lex who she knew for a fact was still fast asleep.
"… don't you think it's a little early to be talking about marriage? I only just realized how I felt about you last night," said someone who sounded suspiciously like Nathan Stark. Zoe's heart sped up with hope, her eyes widening in surprise.
"All I'm saying is if we ever do decide to get married… we should shut down all GD projects first… just to be safe," said her father, and Zoe couldn't help but smile. It actually wasn't that bad an idea.
"I'll keep that in mind… although I'm pretty sure GD is done messing with time considering everything that's happened."
"Are you kidding me?! If it's not the time space continuum it something else… hell, next they'll probably be opening windows to other universes or playing with the laws of physics. Believe me, it's Global Dynamics… they'll find something else to screw up… inevitably causing the end of the world as we know it!" her father ranted.
"Don't you think you're being a little mellow dramatic, Jack?" asked Nathan.
Her father paused for a moment, and Zoe risked peaking into the kitchen, catching her father's pointed look. "Should we got ask Thorne to fetch the graph with the little red dots?"
Stark smiled, clearing his throat. "I don't think that'll be necessary," the scientist told him, smiling as he kissed her father's lips gently, and Zoe's smile widened. She would have screamed if it weren't for the fact that she'd just been eavesdropping. Zoe took a moment to calm herself down before finally making her presence known, pausing at the door as she pretended to be stunned by the scene before her.
"Oh. My. God!"
Nathan immediately moved away, breaking his kiss with her father. "Zoe!" her father and Stark both shouted in unison.
Zoe couldn't restrain herself from jumping towards Nathan, giving him a crushing hug as she thanked whatever deity responsible. "Took you long enough! You know for a scientist you certainly aren't the brightest crayon in the box!" she shouted when she'd finally pulled away.
Nathan smiled down at her. "Uh… thanks?"
"Zoe!" shouted Jack, giving her a glare.
Zoe ignored her father, staring at the scientist for a long moment. When her father and her mother had first gotten a divorce Zoe never would have believed she'd deal with her family being split apart. Then one day she'd learned to accept it… her only hope being that her father wouldn't be alone for the rest of his life. She wanted to see him happy again. The night she'd witnessed her father break down she'd wondered if she'd ever see her wish come true, and over the last few months she'd been quite certain it never would… until now. Zoe hugged Nathan once more, her smile growing as she felt his hands move gently around her… and that was the exactly moment that Zoe Carter began to cry. But not because she was upset… these tears were tears of joy… because it was finally, FINALLY over.
Seven Months Later
"See you around, Jack."
Jack couldn't help but stare into Nathan's eyes as the countdown continued. He didn't understand. He knew something bad was about to happen. Stark knew it too if the sad look in his eyes meant anything at all. He couldn't look away no matter how hard he wanted to. All he could do was hold Nathan's gaze, see the tears Stark refused to let fall and suddenly it hit him like a ton of bricks. His heart wouldn't stop pounding… so loud it was all he could hear anymore. He felt cold, as if the world was both ending and beginning at the same time and he was powerless to stop it. Time stood still as the countdown ended… and all Jack could see was Nathan Stark. NO! It was over, and his body went numb. Time sped up moments later, but while Fargo shouted in triumph Carter watched the man he loved disappear, taking a piece of Jack's soul with him.
Jack thrashed and jerked trying to reach out to Nathan, but all he felt was air.
Jack's eyes opened immediately, gasping for air, his muscles tense, sweat pouring down his face and for a moment he panicked in the dark. "NATHAN!"
Warm hands pulled him close, and Jack sighed in relief as he was held in a strong embrace, desperate. He could barely breathe, his heart still beating far too quick, and he was starting to feel a little light-headed. "Shhhh its okay… I'm here… its okay." The words soothed him immediate, and he closed his eyes tight, chasing away the horrifying images from his memory. He rarely got the nightmares anymore, but when they came… they hit him just as hard as they always had.
"Oh god… you were dead… you died," he whispered, still panting.
"I know, Jack… its okay. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere," Nathan told him, rocking him back and forth, doing anything and everything to calm Jack down.
He was practically shaking, but it helped to hear Nathan's voice, to feel his firm grip reminding him that everything was okay. A year ago Nathan had died, and although he'd come back… the scars left behind would probably never go away. He refused to let the tears swelling in his eyes fall, forcing himself to calm down and slowly he began to relax. Jack's head was buried in Nathan's chest and he lifted his head up, pulling Nathan down for a soft kiss. "God, I love you so much… don't you ever leave me again." He said the words every time the nightmare came.
Nathan kissed him back. "I'll do my best," he whispered just as he had every other time. "I love you too, Jack."
They lay in bed holding each other for hours, both knowing sleep would not come for some time. They'd both had close calls in the past, but nothing touched what had happened to Nathan. That moment in time… the day Nathan Stark died had changed Jack's world in more ways than he ever would have imagined. Jack wasn't sure what he would have done if Nathan hadn't come back… but he had come back. He was alive, he was breathing, and he was with Jack. "You never even said goodbye."
"That day…" Jack swallowed hard. "You never said goodbye. Why?"
Nathan sighed, tightening his hold on Jack even more. "I can't explain how I know… but I knew it wasn't goodbye. It couldn't end that way… not for us. I wasn't going to die in some tube saving the world… my life full of regrets."
Jack almost smiled at the idea of Nathan refusing to believe he could die in such a way, as if the very idea was unthinkable. It seemed almost sick to ask, but he couldn't let it go. "Then exactly how do you go?"
Nathan kissed his lips. "In your arms… old and grey," he whispered.
The dream faded from his mind, as Jack slowly closed his eyes. "After having lived happily ever after?" he teased, feeling himself drift back to sleep.
Nathan chuckled beside him. "Go back to sleep… I promise I'll be here when you wake up."
"Okay… see you around, Nathan," said Jack, just before he surrendered, falling back to sleep.
Nathan leaned down, kissing Jack's lips. "See you around, Jack."
Those words, at one time bringing nothing but despair, became something else entirely. It was strange how such simple words could have such a powerful affect. Those words were not a final goodbye, as Jack had once thought, but beacon of hope… because they would see each other again. They had seen each other again. After all, this wasn't just some ordinary town with its ordinary people living their ordinary lives… this was Eureka. And nothing was impossible in Eureka… not even coming back from the dead….