By Andie O'Neill
Warning: SPOILERS FOR "I Do, Over" and "From Fear to Eternity"
Summary: What they'd had was a perfect triangle… equilateral in every way.
A/N: After watching the episode I just couldn't get this story out of my head. I suppose it was my therapy after the little 'surprise' they gave us there at the end.
Disclaimer: Don't own it... blah, blah, blah!
Ten years later and he looks just like Nathan even as he slides into home. Everyone is shouting in excitement as the dirt clears and its announced that the boy is safe. He's won the game. But Jack can barely hear the crowd. His eyes are focused on the child he's spent the last ten years raising. The boy flashes him a smile and just as every time before for those few moments its like Nathan Stark is alive. Blue eyes meet green and Jack Carter smiles back. Ten years… and he looks the very image of his father.
A silent tear falls down Carter's cheek as he watches the boy be surrounded by his team, being celebrated for his winning home run. He fingers his wedding ring and watches him laugh and for a moment everything slows down. It's the perfect moment, but only two are around to see it. His wife, Allison Carter runs out into the crowd to give her son a kiss and he kisses her back. His family. Only he stays behind. This isn't a moment to be shared. This is a moment to be observed… enjoyed. He thinks of Nathan as he looks upon the boy he's helped raise. How proud Nathan would be. How happy he'd be to see his son being carried off as a hero. He closes his eyes and shuts out the rest of the world.
"He really is amazing isn't he?"
He opens his eyes and the baseball field is gone, as he's surrounded by nothing but white. He turns around to see Nathan Stark standing before him in the suit he wore the day he died. "He's more like you every day."
Nathan steps toward Jack, invading his space. Jack can feel Stark's breath against his face… so close, but not enough. "You've taken good care of him, Jack," he whispers, a sad smile on his face.
Jack licks his lips, staring into Nathan's eyes as he swallows the lump in his throat. "How could I not? He's the only piece of you I have left." His voice is rough with emotion. He misses Nathan so much it hurts sometimes.
Nathan raises a hand to his cheek and he immediately leans into the touch. "That's not true, Jack. I'm also in here," he tells him, touching Jack's chest with his other hand for a brief moment. "And that's why you are the only man who could have ever raised my son."
Jack smiles, the words giving him comfort. "I love you, Nathan. I always have." He loves Allison, but he loves Nathan too. It's the perfect triangle… a love equilateral in every way.
"And you always will," Nathan whispers, leaning down to kiss his lips.
Jack kisses him back, holding onto memories of long ago… forgotten moments between him and Stark that Carter could never let go. He closes his eyes and gives in completely. He loses himself in the kiss. It's deep and passionate and just as Jack remembers. His heart aches as Nathan demands entrance to his mouth and Jack doesn't hesitate to give it, letting him in… heart, body, and soul. Finally Nathan withdraws, pulling away.
"I love you both, Jack. Take care of my son…" Nathan tells him.
Jack opens his eyes slowly, only Nathan is gone and he's back on the baseball field watching the boy as he runs toward him. "Did you see me, Dad? Did you see?!" he asks in excitement. Jack glances at his wife as she walks over to them.
"Yeah son… I saw you. I'm so proud of you, Nate," he tells the boy… named after his father, of course. Jack pulls him into his arms for a moment, giving him a warm hug, then stands back up, taking Allison's hand in his. "Come on… let's go home."
Allison falls in step beside him as little Nate runs ahead happily… his family. Jack takes one last look at the baseball field… seeing a lone figure stand over home plate, a distance away and just as he recognizes the face the sun blinds him momentarily. When he can see once more the lone figure is gone, but Jack can't help but smile. 'See you around, Jack.' They are words Jack Carter will never forget. "Jack?" Ally questions, a curious look in her eyes as she tugs on his hand. "You okay?"
He looks down at her and kisses her forehead, before leaving the field with his wife. "Yeah… I'm perfect," he assures her.
This time it's Allison that pauses, her eyes saddened. "He would have loved to see his son make that home run… wouldn't he have?" she asks him. He can see the unshed tears in her eyes, and knows she's thinking of Nathan.
Jack simply nods. "Yeah," he agrees, wrapping an arm around her. "He would have."
The two smile as together they remember the one they lost and make their way so as to catch up with the boy so much like his father. Jack misses Nathan, just as Allison does, but as long as they have the boy they know a little piece of him will always be there… a little piece of Nathan that they both can treasure. The truth was, in the end… they both had loved Nathan Stark, as Nathan Stark had loved the both of them. Three sides… equal.