Trouble (Yet Another Zoe Carter Story)

By Andie O'Neill

Rating: K+/ PG

Genre: Romance/Humor/Drama

Pairing: Nathan/Jack, Lucas/Zoe

Summary: Zoe was used to getting into trouble, but this was just ridiculous… even for her.

A/N: This is a sequel to "Family (A Zoe Carter Story)" and Parents (Another Zoe Carter Story) so before you read you might wanna check those two out. It's been really fun writing Zoe stories so I decided to continue. This one is a little more serious than the last two, as it goes into a very big issue, but I also tried to keep it light. I'm a little nervous about it, so let me know what ya think!

Disclaimer: Don't own it, and never will.

Zoe was used to getting into trouble, but this was just ridiculous… even for her. Apparently trouble followed her no matter where she went, and she was getting tired of it. Sure, the identity theft was a little much, and maybe the running away issue hadn't been much better, but she was trying, damn it! It wasn't even her fault!

"SHE DID WHAT?!" Jack Carter exclaimed angrily from the Principle's office.

Zoe Carter winced upon hearing her father's shout. This was not good. "Well, it was nice knowing you guys…" she muttered to Pilar and Lucas with a sigh. "I'm really going to miss you two."

Pilar rolled her eyes at Zoe. "Will you relax! They are not going to kill you! And they certainly can't punish you for this! You've done worse… right?" Zoe shrugged. It was true; she had done far worse in the past. Unfortunately her father just happened to be the Sheriff and she was pretty sure hitting someone was still a crime. For some reason her father had an issue with her breaking the law, especially when it conflicted with his job… frankly, she thought it was a bit unfair. Her chances of ever seeing the sun again did not look good. "I mean… she totally deserved it!" Pilar added.

Lucas slipped his hand into Zoe's, holding it tight, trying to support her anyway he could. He really was a great boyfriend. "Everything will be fine, Zo. You'll see. Yasmine Raymond is a narrow-minded bitch… everyone knows that-"

"Even the teachers," Pilar cut in.

Lucas frowned. "Somebody had to do it sooner or later… you just got to be the lucky one."

Zoe snorted, though not amused. "Lucky me… won't be allowed to leave the bunker till I'm thirty but at least I got to hit a bigoted freak," she muttered, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Pilar grinned at that. "Did you see her face?! Priceless! I just can't believe you broke her nose! That was so awesome!"

Zoe couldn't help but smile at the memory. Yasmine hadn't looked so smug after Zoe'd popped her one in the face. The wide eyes and open mouth as she screamed in fear would for sure be enough to get her through the months ahead. "It was kinda cool… not that Dad will see it that way." Her smile immediately faded.

"At least he's not yelling anymore… maybe she told your parents what Yasmine said," offered Lucas.

"And at least you're not getting suspended…" said Pilar with a gentle nudge.

Zoe didn't know what she'd done to end up with such loyal friends, but was sure as hell gonna keep doing it. "Thanks guys," was all she could say as she let her head fall back against the wall while her friends waited with her outside the Principle's office. With all three of them sitting quietly she could hear what was being said inside if she strained her ears.

"… at this school although we do not condone Zoe Carter's actions, we do recognize the reason behind it," said the Principle.

"So you're not gonna suspend her?" Nathan questioned, his voice filled with relief.

"No. She will be punished, of course, but I see no need to take things that far. What Yasmine said was uncalled for, and disrespectful… not to mention small-minded."

"Thank you… we really appreciate this," Jack said, far more calm than before. Zoe relaxed just a bit more, hoping it was a good sign. When Zoe lifted her eyes to see her parents walk out of the office she immediately stood, her friends following suit. Her father looked back at her, and gave her a small, but sad smile before wrapping an arm around her. "Come on, Zoe."

"Uh Sheriff?" Lucas spoke up, taking a step forward. "For what it's worth… Pilar and I would have done the same if we'd been in Zoe's position. Yasmine never should have said what she did. I just… uh… wanted you to know that," he said nervously.

Jack's smile grew as he patted Lucas' shoulder, surprising Zoe. "Thanks Lucas. Nathan and I appreciate that." Zoe gave Pilar and Lucas a small smile of her own before she was pulled along by her father.

Nathan paused behind them and gave Lucas and Pilar a warm smile. "Zoe really is lucky to have you two."

"Thank you sir, that… that means a lot," said Lucas, standing a bit straighter, his eyes wide with amazement.

Pilar blushed. "Thanks, Doctor Stark."

Nathan nodded to them both and quickened his pace to catch up with Jack and Zoe. Zoe let out a breath. Maybe she wasn't going to be murdered after all.

Zoe sat on the top step, legs folded as she watched her parents, hidden from view. Her father was pacing angrily in the living room, while Nathan stood calmly nearby, allowing him to vent.

"I mean the nerve of that kid! I just can't believe she said that to my daughter!" he shouted. "I mean, Eureka is supposed to hold some of the brightest, evolved minds in the whole country… maybe the world!"

It seemed Nathan had finally had enough and gently pulled Jack to him, resting his hands on Jack's hips. "Just because the town is populated by the brightest minds in the country doesn't mean they're also the most enlightened. For the most part yes, everyone here has been more than supportive, but that doesn't mean everyone agrees with how we choose to live our life. I know Raymond's parents… they've never been a very accepting bunch. It's how she was raised. And yes, it was wrong, and I hate that Zoe had to face that, but you should be proud. She handled herself well."

"Yeah, by giving the girl a broken nose," Jack added with a frustrated sigh. Zoe winced, sensing he wasn't all that pleased with her actions.

Nathan chuckled at that. "What matters is that Zoe is proud of us, and that she isn't ashamed of her family. She's strong… like her father. And I for one, am very proud of that," he told his husband, leaning down to kiss him.

Her father smiled, pulling away from the kiss to look his husband in the eye. "You know we're still going to have to punish her. She punched out a classmate."

Nathan shrugged. "We'll figure out something appropriate later… for now, why don't you and I go upstairs, lock the door, and take advantage of our day off?"

Zoe rolled her eyes. She really didn't need to hear that. Her father on the other hand seemed very pleased with the idea, which only disturbed her further. "Mmmm… I like the way you think," he whispered, kissing Nathan. Zoe immediately rushed to get up as she saw them deepen the kiss, hurrying back to her room. She was in enough therapy as it was!

Zoe glanced nervously at her parents as they all sat around the dinner table. They hadn't spoken a word about what happened and she wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Were they just letting her stew, torturing her slowly until she cracked?! What kind of sick people did that?! Okay yes, technically she'd punched out a fellow student… but they hadn't heard what Yasmine said! They hadn't been there when Yasmine talked about her parents like they were unnatural freaks. She'd resisted the temptation for as long as she could… then Yasmine had yelled out that her parents were going to hell and suddenly she saw red. The next thing she knew Yasmine was lying on the floor with blood pouring from her nose, eyes wide in shock while other students stared on in shock… some even cheered. No one talked about her parents like that… no one… and now Yasmine knew that. Zoe sighed, putting down her fork. "Okay, yes I assaulted her, but you weren't there! You didn't hear what she said!"

Nathan smiled, glancing at her father in amusement before he and Jack put their forks down. "The principle told us she said some pretty horrible things. We know it must have been hard for you to hear all that," Nathan told her, his voice almost soothing.

Zoe frowned. "She had no right to talk about you two like that."

"Zoe, you broke her nose," her father reminded her, though his voice didn't sound accusing as she'd expected it would.

She knew her reaction to Yasmine's words hadn't exactly been the best, but she'd been pissed. Yasmine had been purposely pushing her and she'd finally snapped. "Zoe, we're both proud of you for standing up for us, but hitting every person that doesn't agree with how we choose to live our life doesn't exactly solve anything," said Nathan, pausing as his smile grew. "Not to mention you'd only end up breaking your hand… where the hell did you learn to punch like that? She looked like her face had been hit with a two by four!"

"Nathan! Not helping!" her father exclaimed, glaring at him.

The scientist immediately cleared his throat, his smile fading. Zoe couldn't help but laugh. "I'm a Carter… we may not be certified geniuses, but we do know how to throw a punch." Although technically she was doing extremely well in school, especially after seeing her IQ scores, by Eureka standards she was still only average.

Her father rolled his eyes. "Zoe… just promise us next time you'll keep your fist to yourself."

"Promise," she agreed. "Can I egg their car?"

"NO!" both Nathan and Jack answered in unison.

Zoe shook her head smiling. "I love you guys," she told them, grabbing her plate and kissing them both on the cheek as she internally jumped for joy that she gotten away with punching a classmate with nothing more than a tap on the wrist. Unfortunately her relief did not last long.

"Hold it," said her father.

Zoe froze at the door, cursing under her breath as she turned around, giving him her best innocent look. "Yes Daddy?"

Her father shook his head. "That hasn't worked on me since you were five. You're grounded… no car, no TV, and no boyfriend."

"Oh come on! I defended your honor for Christ's sake! Totally unfair!" she protested.

Nathan leaned back in his chair. "Two weeks."

Zoe groaned, turning back around as she headed out the door.

"And you get to do dishes for a month," her father added.

Zoe paused at the door, closing her eyes as she cursed her parent's sick need to ruin her life. She was soooo moving to the other side of the planet when she was old enough…. "I so punched the wrong person," she mumbled under her breathe.

"I HEARD THAT!" her father shouted, and she could just imagine the amused smile on his face.

The teenager huffed, walking into the kitchen to wash the dishes. At least they hadn't taken her cell phone this time.

"AND NO CELL PHONE," added Nathan.

Zoe groaned. "You're both sick!"

"LOVE YOU TOO, HONEY!" her father called out from the other room.

Zoe rolled her eyes. Sometimes life just wasn't fair….

The End