Family (The Zoe Carter Story)
By Andie O'Neill
Rating: K/ PG
Summary: Okay, so we're not exactly the Brady bunch, but we are a family.
A/N: I wrote this mostly because there just aren't enough Zoe stories out there! But of course I did have to add a little Nathan/Jack! :D
Disclaimer: Don't own it, never will. That's why God invented fanfic!
"Okay, so we're not exactly the Brady bunch, but we are a family. It works, you know?"
"I just can't imagine having Doctor Stark as a step father," Pilar told her, shaking her head. Zoe pulled her eyes from the physics book she'd been reading to look at her best friend. Zoe was draped on her bed, lying on her stomach while her friend sat in the chair near the bed, legs folded under her with the same book in her lap. "I mean, isn't it weird?"
"You know, Nathan isn't just some cold-hearted scientist. He's funny and surprisingly sweet. I mean, sure it sucks that my boyfriend is terrified Nathan's going to end his career in science before it begins because he's dating the step daughter, but it really isn't that bad. Nathan's got a lot to learn about being a dad, but he's got a good teacher. I trained my Dad pretty well, so it's no sweat working with Nathan," she joked. It'd been almost three months since Jack Carter and Nathan Stark had gotten married. Zoe'd been very happy to see them finally tie the knot, but it was getting slightly tiresome hearing everyone talk about the fact that she was now technically related to the fearsome Doctor Stark. They just didn't get it.
Pilar frowned, putting her book down on the floor before she leaned forward. Zoe could see the curiosity in her eyes. "What's it like? Living with two Dads?"
Zoe shrugged. "I wake up each morning to see my Dad and Nathan either bickering like an old married couple or flirting and kissing like a couple of teenagers…."
"Gross," muttered Pilar with a laugh, making a face.
"But it's pretty cool. Nathan helps me with homework and helps me study for big tests. Dad's happier than he's ever been in his life. Plus Nathan's the only one who can get away with making fun of my Dad…. Oh, and Nathan is an amazing cook! He makes me laugh. And sometimes he makes a great mediator when me and Dad get into fights."
"Huh… too bad my Dad's straight," Pilar joked.
Zoe rolled her eyes. "Yeah well, a little over a year ago my Dad was straight… or so I thought." For a long time she'd believed her father would hook up with Allison Blake. She liked Allison, and hadn't been bothered by the idea of the two of them together. One could imagine her shock when she'd instead walked down the steps one night only to see her father and Nathan Stark (his rival of Allison's affections) locked in a passionate embrace. She'd never seen her Dad look so horrified when he'd realized he'd been caught making out with the scientist by his teenage daughter.
Pilar smiled. "They do make a cute couple, and I gotta admit for a guy in his late thirties, Doctor Stark's pretty hot. Your Dad certainly knows how to pick em!"
Zoe groaned, throwing a pillow at her friend. "That's sick! He's my step father!"
"Yeah and he's not mine," Pilar shot back, blocking the pillow attack with a laugh.
Pilar immediately stiffened as she heard Stark's voice, making Zoe snort in amusement. "Up here, Dad!" she shouted. Zoe could hear Nathan walk up the stairs and open her door.
"Hey Zo," he greeted, walking inside her room to kiss her forehead. He then turned to see Pilar and cleared his throat. "Hello Pilar."
"Uh hey Doctor Stark," said Pilar, a little uncomfortable, as she gave him an awkward wave.
"So what you two girls up to?" he asked, turning to look at Zoe once more.
"Just homework," she told him with a sigh. "What are you doing home so early?" Zoe questioned. "The world must be ending."
Nathan smiled. "If that were the case I'd still be at work trying to stop the end of the world, and would therefore be late for dinner… again."
Zoe immediately grinned. "Wait, this is brownie points for yesterday?" When her father and Stark had gotten married it hadn't taken long for them to start bickering about everything… including Nathan being late on the night Zoe's Dad had made a special romantic dinner.
Nathan rolled his eyes. "That couch has lumps," he told her, his smile faltering. "I have a bad back…."
Zoe shook her head. "You are so whipped!"
"Hey, the guy can turn the house against me," he fought in annoyance. "Now finish your homework before I tell your father about missing curfew the other night."
Zoe frowned, knowing he wasn't bluffing. "Oh come on, you're a technical genius. You could always make a few changes to S.A.R.A.H." she offered.
"I heard that. It would not be advisable for Doctor Stark to manipulate my programming, Zoe Carter," said the house and Zoe could hear the annoyance in the S.A.R.A.H.'s voice.
Zoe wasn't the least bit worried. "If Dad tries to use S.A.R.A.H. against you again just remind her of the little obsession she has with Jerry Springer. Works every time," she advises him. She likes it better when Nathan has the upper hand. It makes for great payback after everything her father's put her through. He enjoyed grounding her way too much. It was practically his hobby.
"You promised you wouldn't tell!" fought S.A.R.A.H.
Zoe smiled up at Nathan, seeing his grin return. "I'll keep that in mind. Now, I'm off to make dinner. Pilar? You staying for dinner?" he asked, turning back to look at Zoe's friend.
Pilar lifted an eyebrow, glancing at Zoe. "Sure… Zoe was just telling me what a great cook you are."
Nathan turned back to look at Zoe. "Oh has she? Well, you're in for a treat. It just so happens she's right."
"He's also very modest," Zoe mutters, her eyes back on the Physics book in front of her.
"Yeah… noticed," said Pilar with a smile while Nathan walked out of the room, chuckling.
Pilar had gone to freshen up in the bathroom while Zoe walked down the stairs, ready for dinner. She was just about to turn the corner and make her presence known when she noticed her two fathers in the kitchen. She couldn't help but smile when Nathan offered her Dad a taste of his sauce. He didn't even hesitate, his eyes focused on Stark as he tried some. "Ummm… it's good," her father told him.
Nathan tried some as well and shrugged. "Could use some salt."
Jack rolled his eyes. "Perfectionist," he muttered, kissing Nathan's lips. Zoe rolled her eyes. Teenagers!
Nathan grinned. "Mmm… now that's what I call perfection," he whispered to Zoe's Dad, resting his forehead against his husband's.
"Yeah well, don't think the ass kissing's got you out of the dog house with me," Jack told him with another quick kiss before he grabbed the plates to set up the table for four.
Nathan frowned, turning around and wrapping his arms around Zoe's father's waste, his chin resting on Jack's shoulder. "Awww come on, Jack! I lost track of time! It's not like it's the first time I've ever missed dinner!"
Zoe's Dad shook his head, smiling playfully. "It was Valentines Day!"
"And I'm an idiot… are we done stating facts?" Nathan joked.
Jack leaned back against him, turning his head to kiss his husband. "Okay… I'll give you points for admitting to being an idiot. How about that?"
Nathan laughed. "Tell anyone and not even that dog Fifi will be able to find your body."
"Where's the fun in that?" Jack fought.
"Hey, put your life in your hands if you want, but I've got friends in high places."
"Now why doesn't that surprise me," Carter muttered, shaking his head, before he turned in Nathan's arms, kissing his lips once more.
"Get a room you two!" Zoe told them, walking into the kitchen, pretending to look annoyed.
"We have one, but your father won't let me back in it," Nathan muttered, turning back around to finish dinner.
Zoe couldn't help but laugh as her father rolled his eyes dramatically. "So what's for dinner?" she asked Nathan, trying to get a glimpse.
"Let the cook work! Take a seat and you'll see in a minute," Nathan told her sternly.
Zoe huffed before taking a seat. Pilar soon entered the kitchen, sitting beside Zoe. "Something smells good," Pilar noted with a bright smile.
"I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, Pilar… I only married Stark for the food," Jack told her, making Pilar laugh as Nathan glared at the Sheriff. Zoe had heard the joke a million times, but Pilar obviously had not.
"And I only married Carter for the… aw damn, I think I got the raw end of this deal," he muttered. Zoe stifled a laugh as Jack turned to look at Nathan, folding his arms.
"Oh you are so back on the couch."
"We'll see about that," Nathan countered, giving Zoe a wink.
Zoe just shook her head. Oh yeah, definitely not the Brady bunch.
The dinner had been great. The conversation had been even better. Zoe knew her parents could be utterly embarrassing and obnoxious, but they'd both managed to behave while Pilar had been around. Zoe walked Pilar to her car just outside the bunker. "You were right," Pilar told her.
"About what?" Zoe asked.
"Doctor Stark… you're lucky to have him."
"We both are," Zoe told her with a shrug. "Just don't let him know that. Dad says if his ego gets any bigger we'll have to move to a bigger bunker," she joked.
Pilar laughed, opening the car door. "See you tomorrow at school!"
"See ya!" Once Pilar was gone Zoe rushed back into the house only to find her fathers in the kitchen making out… again. How they'd gone from washing the dishes to making out, Zoe would never know, nor did she really feel like finding out. "Good night," she sing-songed, walking into the kitchen.
Her fathers immediately broke apart. Jack smiled, kissing her forehead. "Night Zo!"
Nathan pulled her into a warm hug, kissing her cheek. "Night kid."
Zoe backed away a few steps, unable to keep the smile from her face. "Night!" she finally said, walking toward the door, only to turn back around. "Love you guys!"
"Love you too," her Dad whispered.
"Love you… sleep well," said Nathan.
Zoe knew the moment she walked up the steps they'd go back to sucking face, but somehow it didn't bother her as much as it probably should. They were after all… newlyweds. "Okay! Okay! I'm leaving! Resume!" she told them leaving the kitchen. She could hear Nathan laugh just before she rushed up the stairs.
Zoe Carter knew her family wasn't exactly 'normal,' but in Eureka… normal simply wasn't a word used very often. Nothing was normal in Eureka. All she knew was her family was complete. Her mom lived in California, but they'd managed to keep close despite the distance, and she had not one, but two fathers… two fathers that loved each other very much, and her too. What else could a girl ask for? Well… other than having a boyfriend who wasn't absolutely terrified of said fathers, but she'd just have to work on that one. If she could train Jack and Nathan to be great fathers, she's sure she could train Lucas to stop freaking out around her parents. Zoe laughed at the thought before getting into bed and closing her eyes.
"ZOE! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TO STOP LEAVING CLOTHES IN THE LIVING ROOM?!" she heard her Dad shout for downstairs and immediately groaned.
"AND WHEN THE HELL DID YOU BUY A THONG?!" added Nathan.
Zoe frowned. "Nope… definitely not the Brady bunch…."