Out of Time

By Andie O'Neill

Rating: T/ R

Genre: Romance, Angst, Alternate Universe, (slight) Action/Adventure

Pairing: Nathan/Jack, Lucas/Zoe, Zane/Jo, (Mentions of Nathan/Allison)

Warnings: Slash, (small hints) Sex, Violence, Language

Spoilers: Season Three

Summary: Jack's life is on the line when he and Nathan are kidnapped by a scientist bent on creating a weapon more powerful than anything ever built… and Nathan's going to help whether he wants to or not.

A/N: Sorry this took so long, but I was having some serious issues with this chapter. There will probably be either one or two more chapters left, depending on how large I make the chapters. But anyway… enjoy! :D

Disclaimer: You think I'd be writing fan fiction if I owned Eureka and it's characters? I think not! Don't own a thing.

Part Eight

Darren walked alongside the Deputy, trying to keep calm as he ignored the voice in the back of his head reminding him that he was betraying the man he was supposed to be in love with. He couldn't just ignore the fact that lives were in jeopardy, and that Ethan had betrayed him first by lying to him. For all Darren knew, their whole relationship had been a lie. He wasn't sure why, but somehow his talk with Lupo had opened his eyes to the possibility that Ethan had never truly loved him in the first place. Even if he did, could Darren really let peoples lives be on his conscious. Before this moment the only real strike on his record had been a few unpaid parking tickets. Ethan had betrayed him first, and no matter how Darren felt about him… he couldn't let that go. He couldn't let people's lives be lost when it could have been prevented. Darren looked over at Lupo, unable to stop himself from frowning. He liked her. She was strong, confident, tough, and surprising. She was beautiful too, though there was a shyness about her beauty that he doubted most people saw. "Can I ask you something?" he spoke quietly to her, keeping in step beside her as they traveled through the woods of Eureka, farther away from the town.

Lupo gave him a curious glance. "Shoot," she spoke, her hand on her gun tightening as Darren lead her more to the right.

"You said you've been in love before… with the robot guy. What about now? I'm guessing robot guy isn't in the picture anymore, but I have a feeling when you hesitated it wasn't just him you were thinking about." The look in her eyes just before she began her story about her robot boyfriend had screamed of a different kind of love… something new that she had yet to define.

Lupo looked back at the GD security trailing behind them, obviously hesitant to speak about personal matters in front of the team she'd brought with her. Darren could understand her wish for privacy, but he suspected she wanted to talk about it just as much as he wanted to listen. He needed the distraction. "It's complicated," she finally spoke.

Darren smiled at her answer. Love always was. "Deputy, you either love him or you don't," he pushed.

Lupo frowned, clearing her throat as she looked back once again. "He and I… we haven't really figured out what it is. It's getting serious, but he's not exactly the settling type. I really don't know where we stand at this point," she admitted. Darren had been there many times before. It made sense that she wouldn't want to admit to something when she had no idea how he felt for her. To say it out loud was a giant step.

"What's his name?" he decided to ask, wondering if he knew the man.

"Zane," she answered.

Zane Donovan… he should have known. Almost everyone in GD seemed to be talking about the young scientist. He was a hot topic especially amongst the females who obviously found more than his brain stimulating. Darren had met him once or twice, worked with him a few times and knew first hand just how… charming he could be. The scientist enjoyed flirting, but Darren had always believed he was mostly talk. "Well, if it doesn't work out I can think of one guy on the rebound who'd just love to date a woman like you."

Lupo paused for a moment, staring at Darren in surprise. "Wait… aren't you supposed to be gay?" she asked, forging ahead once more, though her eyes were focused on him, as if he were some puzzle to figure out.

"Bisexual actually," he told her. "Ethan was the first real male relationship I was ever in." Most of his life he'd denied his interest in men, scared to be different. His friends back then hadn't exactly been fans of homosexuals, and Darren had always known his parents weren't too fond of the lifestyle either. When he'd moved on to college he'd left those fears behind, experimenting to see just where his interests lied. He didn't have any real boyfriends, but he'd certainly had enough sex and a few dates to tell him he wasn't just confined to one gender. When he'd met Ethan he'd fallen, and fallen hard. Ethan had a confidence about him that not many did, as if he knew he was a great catch and was proud of it. When Darren had moved to Eureka it had been Ethan that he'd been drawn to, the man who'd helped him adapt to the new life and eventually the man he'd begun a relationship with.

Lupo shook her head. "The first time I met you… I arrested you," she reminded him, looking almost confused by his interest.

Darren almost laughed if not for the reminder of what he was about to do. "You call it arrest, I call it foreplay," he joked. Lupo finally smiled at that. He paused when he spotted the bridge that ran over a small lake and knew they were close. His mood immediately darkened. "You think he'll ever forgive me for this?" he asked. He couldn't help his feelings. As much as he hated the man who'd so willingly hurt other people, he couldn't forget the man he'd spent years in a loving relationship with. He couldn't forget the man who he'd woken up next to, finding him already awake and drawing circles on his skin. The look of pity on Lupo's face said it all, and suddenly he felt his stomach flop. "Nevermind… stupid question," he muttered and headed for the bridge.

"What are you putting in him?" Nathan demanded as he stood over Jack, holding his hand as the other man lay unconscious on the bed. Stark had tensed immediately upon seeing Forrester preparing a needle with an unknown substance inside. He knew he was being protective, but he had every right to be. He didn't trust Ethan Forrester, and he never would.

"Relax Doctor Stark; this should slow down the nanoid's attack on his lungs. He'll be able to breathe on his own again," Ethan explained, injecting the substance into Jack's system. Nathan's grip on Jack's hand tightened as he watched the liquid go in. They'd finally made progress, realized how they felt about each other. Nathan wasn't ready to give up on Jack just yet. He didn't want to have to face Zoe knowing her father was dead and it was his fault. He couldn't have Jack's death on his conscious. "He doesn't have much longer. This may give him a day or so more. I can treat the cut on his head. It doesn't look too bad, but we'll do a scan just in case there was some internal damage. The nanoids are causing great damage on his kidneys. In a few days he may need to go on dialysis. He'll lose total kidney function. If we do not hurry, the damage will be permanent and there will be no chance… we won't be able to save him," Forrester told him calmly, as if he were talking about the weather. He wasn't talking about the weather though. He was talking about another man's life. Nathan didn't understand how he could be so calm about that.

"You could save him right now! Destroy the nanoids before they kill him! I give you my word I will help you finish this project." Nathan saw no other way out. He saw no other way of keeping Jack alive.

"I wish I could believe that, Nathan, but I can't. He remains as he is until the project is finished."

Nathan took a step over to Forrester, frustrated and angry. "Damn it Forrester! He may not last that long! You talk about trust?! How can I trust you to save his life when you're calmly killing Jack?! For all I know my fate is the same as Jack's! For all I know you could be planning to kill us both after you've gotten what you want!"

Ethan simply smiled, and Nathan felt a cold chill through his body at the sight of it. "The lab is down the hall. If you want to save the man you so obviously care for… then you will do as I say. You have no other choices Nathan."

Lucas didn't really know what to do. He'd never seen Zoe so upset. He wasn't good at comfort. He never knew the right things to say. Hell, he was still surprised that he could manage to even speak around Sheriff Carter with how nervous the man made him. It had taken them being paired for a project for Lucas to finally get up the nerve to even have a real conversation with Zoe. He'd watched her from afar for most of the year, watching her follow around Jasper as if he were some sort of saint while he was ignored. She hadn't even known he existed. In the end he'd gotten the girl, and he knew he was lucky as hell. Somehow she'd seen something in Lucas, had been willing to give him a chance, and she needed him now. She needed him to be a good boyfriend. She needed him to make her feel better; distract her from what was happening. He didn't know what to do.

When Pilar had called him in a panic he'd known Zoe's nightmares were getting worse. Sometimes the more powerful they became, the harder it was to gain back control once awake. He didn't have to deal with the same things she did. He never worried about his parent's safety. When his father was working on a dangerous project he rarely told Lucas about it, and often assured him that he'd never put his life in danger when he had a family to take care of. Lucas wasn't sure if he was lying or not, but the words had always made him feel better anyway. With Zoe it was different. Her father was in a situation that he might not return from, and she knew it. She knew he was in real danger and she had no idea how to handle it. Lucas needed to be strong. He needed to be there for her. All he'd known to do was gather her into his arms and hold her. It's what he always did when she worried about her Dad. He'd wrap an arm around her and tell her everything would be fine. Everything wasn't fine. He couldn't keep lying to her and telling her he'd be alright when he didn't know. He had his doubts. He was scared for the Sheriff, and although the man barely seemed to like him, Lucas did look up to Jack Carter. He wanted the Sheriff to be okay. He just wished he knew one way or another if he would be.

Zoe's mom was still days away, and that mean Zoe was on her own. Lucas and Pilar were all she had. He just wished he could do something. He wished there were some way to chase away the nightmares, give her something better. Lucas frowned, looking over at Pilar who sat before them, legs folded and hands in her lap. He could see the tears in her eyes. Maybe they could help. Maybe they just needed to give Zoe a better dream. Lucas kissed Zoe's forehead and leaned back against the bed, holding his girlfriend close. "Zoe… your Dad likes to play baseball… right?"

Pilar gave him a confused look, but he simply ignored her, focusing on Zoe. Zoe looked up at him and nodded, looking just as confused. "Uh yeah… he always has." Then he saw it… a faint smile. "You know he once destroyed his precious autographed world series bat just to save my life? He worshiped that bat! I even touched that bat and he'd be ready to ground me till I was fifty. Then he totally turns right around and bangs the hell out of it just to protect me." Zoe shook her head. "I used to complain that he loved the bat more than me, but… I guess I was wrong. He didn't even seem upset about it." She was crying, and Lucas just held her tighter.

Lucas smiled back down at her. "He really does love you," he whispered.

Zoe nodded. "I love him too… I just wish I told him more. There's a lot of stuff I wish I'd told him."

Pilar reached out, taking Zoe's hand in hers. "You'll get your chance, Zoe. I know it."

Zoe squeezed Pilar's hand, resting her head on Lucas' shoulder. They stayed like that for quite awhile, silently worrying about the Sheriff. Lucas just hoped they found him soon. He didn't want to see the town without Sheriff Carter protecting it. And he certainly didn't want to see Zoe without Sheriff Carter around… even if the man was only there to tell Lucas to stay three feet away from his daughter. One day Lucas planned on marrying Zoe Carter and he'd be damned if he was going to let her walk down the isle without her father to give her away. They needed to find the Sheriff, and they needed to find him fast.

"This is it," Darren whispered, looking down at the vault coming up out of the ground. It was a simple hatch, difficult not to miss under the cover of the brush. Lupo glanced down at the hatch, pushing away the bushes surrounding it and signaled to the guards to open the hatch.

"Is there anything we should look out for? Does he have anything protecting it… codes, weapons?" she asked Darren, holding her gun up as she watched the two GD officers pull open the hatch with loud screech of metal rubbing against metal.

Darren Milton shook his head. "He didn't have time for any of that. That's why he made sure to hide the hatch. I've only been there a few times. My guess is he has security down there protecting his project lab. He set up a dampening field around the bunker to make sure it couldn't be detected. The only way you'd find him is if I helped you, and he obviously never expected that I would." There was a sadness in Darren's voice, and Jo couldn't help feeling bad for him. He was obviously having a hard time with what he was doing, but was ignoring his doubts to save lives. Jo liked him, could see he was a good man who'd been betrayed by a person he'd thought truly loved him.

Jo cocked her weapon and pointed her flashlight down, spotting the bars coming from the sides of the small circular drop that led inside the bunker. She looked back at Darren. "You've been in there before… how many rooms?" she asked.

Darren paused for a moment. "No more than four. One is being used for a lab. The only almost looked like a make-shift infirmary. The last two were closed off rooms. I never saw inside either of them. I'm willing to bet if he's holding them anywhere… it'd be in those rooms," he answered.

Jo nodded, handing the GD officer beside her, her weapon and planted her hands on either side of the hatch, easing herself inside as she blindly searched for a place to rest her feet so she could climb down. Once her foot hit the metal bar she immediately was given back her weapon and slowly began the climb down. Darren followed next, followed by the rest under her command. The lighting got brighter and brighter as she descended till the flashlight was no longer needed, and she switched it off, dropping off the ladder to face the next hatch, a door. There was a combination lock on it and she immediately turned to Darren for assistance. "Do you have the combination?"

Milton nodded, focusing on the lock, rubbing his hands nervously before he pressed in the numbers. It was a four digit combination… 7-9-6-4. The door immediately opened, and Jo gave Darren a smile as she pointed her weapon at the opening, slipping deeper into the bunker. They found themselves in a rather large room. Ahead was a hallway that obviously led to the other rooms. Jo waited for the others to follow, keeping her eyes open for anyone who walked by. They were trying to use the element of surprise… it might be their only chance to save Carter and Stark. Jo crept down toward the hallway, peaking through to see armed guards stationed in the hallway right outside the large room she was in. They'd have to knock them both out. Jo took a deep breathe and looked at her men. She gestured what she'd seen to the men, ordering them into position and readied herself to use force. They wouldn't know what was coming. It'd been a long time since she'd gotten to do anything like what she was doing now… not since special forces. She couldn't help the smile on her face as she jumped out into the hallway and slammed the tail end of her weapon into the nearest guard.

Nathan wasn't quite sure what to expect when he'd heard the alarms go off and a guard rush into the room to speak with Forrester. Ethan immediately cursed, looking over at Nathan and Stark could see the fury in his eyes. Something was happening. "Stay here!" Forrester ordered and rushed out of the room, leaving two guards to stand watch over Nathan and Jack. Stark's grip on Jack tightened further as he stared down the guards. This might be his chance. He could hear a commotion going on outside the room. Perhaps there was a problem with the project. He didn't know… but he couldn't just ignore his last chance of escape. If he could get Jack back to Global it was possible they could save him. Slowly he bent down to look at Jack, letting his lips graze Jack's forehead before his hand slipped from Jack's and he turned toward the guards. He squeezed his hands into fists, hoping he wasn't making a mistake and immediately broke into a run, jumping head first into one of the guards. The man hadn't known what hit him.

Supplies flew everywhere as the guard was thrown against a table, knocked unconscious almost immediately, but before Nathan could do a thing he could feel someone grab him from behind, throwing him off the unconscious guard and to the ground. He'd had no time to prepare for the hard swung punch that connected with his jaw, and immediately grunted in pain. Next he felt a blow to his stomach and he groaned… eyes closed at the intense pain. Blindly he started swinging, hoping he could push the other guard off him. Eventually he made contact, and heard a grunt as the guard fell over beside him. Nathan was going on instinct by that moment. He'd been in fights before. Being a genius hadn't exactly made him the most popular kid in school, and his father had always emphasized the importance of defending ones self. All the skills he'd learned then were bubbling to the surface and he pictured Jack slowly dying in his mind, using it to fuel his anger as he swung his fist with all he had and knocked the other guard unconscious.

When he finally managed to open his eyes he could feel the throbbing in his fist, feel the headache from the guard now lying underneath him. He grunted in pain as he pulled himself up, one hand moving to his side. He'd probably broken a rib. He was by Carter's side moments later, immediately pulling the other man into his arms, swinging him over his shoulder despite the pain and turned toward the door just as it swung open and he was faced with the barrel of a very powerful weapon. He immediately froze, convinced he was going to die. "Doctor Stark?"

Nathan frowned, watching the weapon lower and let out a sigh of relief as he saw Deputy Jo Lupo's face. "Oh thank god! Carter's in trouble! We need to get him out of here… NOW!"

Lupo nodded immediately, turning towards the men standing beside her. "Here, give Carter to Jenkins! We'll get you both back to GD!"

Nathan shook his head. "I got him… let's just get out of here." He wasn't letting Jack go until he had to. All that mattered was they'd finally be rescued. He just hoped it wasn't too late….

To Be Continued