By Andie O'Neill
Genre: Romance, Angst
Pairing: Nathan/Jack, Nathan/Allison (past)
Summary: Almost a year ago Jack Carter was fired as Sheriff, and moved from Eureka to start a new life in San Francisco, but he's not the only one who's moved on.
Spoiler Free Summary: Jack Carter and his daughter have started a new life in San Francisco, but they're not the only ones.
A/N: I'm not making this an AU story, which means it follows the timeline. Confused? Read and you'll understand! :D I like 'fix-it' stories.
Disclaimer: I do not own Eureka or any of this characters… :grumbles:
As he slowly reached consciousness once more it was his hope to find himself in bed, awakening from a very bad dream, but as he opened his eyes and saw the green that had haunted him so long after their owner's death… he knew there was no such luck. He groaned, sitting up slowly, noticing the amused smirk on the scientist/ghost's face. "Where the hell am I?" he asked, rubbing his head as he realized it was throbbing.
"You're at my apartment. The owner wanted to call 911, but I told her I was an old friend and she let me take care of things. You hit your head on the way down. I didn't have enough time to stop it. You'll have a bit of a bruise for awhile, but I'm pretty sure there's no concussion. You fainted," the ghost in the form of Stark explained.
Jack immediately glared at him. "I did not faint. I passed out."
"I did not faint, I just…" Jack shook his head, closing his eyes for a moment as he tried to gain back some control. "What the hell am I doing? I'm arguing with a corpse," he mumbled to himself.
Stark snorted. "Carter, I was never dead."
Jack frowned, looking back up, a little confused. "What?"
The ghost rolled his eyes once more, his amusement growing, and Jack soon realized he was sitting on a bed, with the ghost of Stark sitting beside him. The lights were low and almost intimate, and he couldn't help but feel his heart thud against his chest at the romantic feel. Hell… if he was Demi Moore he was gonna be seriously pissed. "Tell me something, Carter… did you ever notice a body after I did what I did to stop the time loop?"
Carter shook his head. "No, you just… disappeared."
"And before, when Winebrienner tried to stop the loop, was there a body?"
Jack felt like he was being talked down to, something Stark was famous for. He hadn't liked it then and he didn't like it now. "Of course… you were there."
"Shouldn't that have told you something?"
Carter raised an eyebrow, with a deadpanned expression.
Stark sighed dramatically. "Until there's a body… or residue that supports the theory that there once was a body… the person may not be as dead as you think," he finally explained.
Jack's brain was already starting to hurt. "If that's the case, where the hell were you? I watched you disappear! I watched you freeze, then… nothing," he fought.
Stark tilted his head, the amusement returning. "I was trapped in time. I would try to explain it further but I'd have better luck talking to a wall. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I'd probably still be in that state if not for an accident at GD that made people aware of my existence. It took Henry months before he was finally able to pull me back into the right timeline safely. Then came the long weeks of trying to bring me back from the dead… although it was made easier with the new updated form. It was the psychology bull that I could have done without."
Carter had to smile at the grimace on Nathan's face even thinking about sitting before a psychologist talking about his feelings. He didn't see that going over very well. "So you really are here… I'm not talking to a ghost?"
Stark shook his head. "Last I checked… not a ghost. I must say, I was surprised when Allison and Henry told me you'd been fired."
Jack shrugged, suddenly wishing they could talk about something else. "That was a long time ago. I've moved on from that life. It's better this way. Zoe gets to see her mother more often; I don't have the weight of the world on my shoulders… although the food could certainly be better." Stark whole-heartedly agreed. "So what the hell are you doing here?" Jack found himself asking. With Stark back he would have thought he'd stay in Eureka, perhaps resume his position with all its responsibilities. He and Allison could start from where they'd left off.
Nathan frowned, looking down for a moment. "Things weren't the same after I came back… I suppose I wasn't the same. Allison's engaged to a scientist… some new guy they brought in after I left. I'd missed too much time… so I left."
Carter couldn't help but be surprised, unable to believe the scientist would just up and leave. "What about your kid?" he asked.
Nathan gave him a confused look at first, before realization dawned, and suddenly his eyes grew distant. "She never told you?"
"Told me what?"
Stark took in a shaky breath. "She lost the baby," he whispered.
Jack knew it was a lot to take in at one time. Not only had a man come back from the dead, but he'd also learned apparently the woman Jack had cared about once back in a town he'd been trying to forget had gone through something horrible. After everything she'd been through, he could only imagine how devastating the loss had been, and his heart immediately hurt that he couldn't have been there for her. So many times she'd tried to stay in touch… her, Henry, Jo, and many of the others, but it was easier to just forget. He'd begun a new life, and he didn't want to be reminded of what he'd lost. He was at a loss for words, because nothing was good enough. He could see the pain in the scientist's eyes, and knew the real reason why Stark had left Eureka. Not only had he lost his fiancé, but he'd lost a child he'd never gotten the chance to know. "Jeez… Nathan, I'm sorry."
"Its fine," Stark lied, a faint smile on his lips, though his eyes were still distant. "I've started a new life here… and I see you've done the same. I left Eureka once… it was easier the second time around. "Allie's happy, Kevin's happy… and they have their own lives to live. I figured it was about time I found mine. I started a new company… Stark Industries. I've got a great office… over looking the Golden Gate Bridge. Business is good."
Carter could only imagine what Stark had been forced to go through after being brought back. He'd left everything behind, started his own company, but the Marshall knew he was alone… could see it in his eyes. Jack had, at least, had Zoe for support. On those bad days when they were reminded of the town they'd come to see as home, they had each other to rely on and draw comfort from. Stark had no one. "I'm glad. Just figures that you'd move to the one city I'm living in. You really must enjoy making my life miserable if you followed me all the way here," he joked.
Nathan smiled. "Best part of my day, Carter."
The two shared a small smile, and Jack could see the difference in Nathan. Without Allison between them the daggers in Stark's eyes were gone, and Jack suddenly wondered how it would change their relationship… if there was even something to change. Just because the man had taken him home and into his bed… (and didn't that just sound wrong on so many levels) didn't mean they were going to be friends… 'or more,' added the part of his brain that had always insisted that Nathan Stark was an attractive man. It was then that Jack thought about Zoe, and everything he'd just been told. The kid would probably be calling the Doctors to take him away when he told her who he'd run into. "What time is it?" he asked, his voice unusually deep.
Nathan looked down at his watch. "Almost one in the morning."
Carter cursed. He must have been out for a few hours for it to be that late. "Crap… Zoe… she's probably freaking out right about now. I was only going out to get some pizza."
Stark nodded, watching Jack sit up more, and the Marshall froze as it only moved their faces closer together, and the spark between them tripled. Blue met green and neither moved for quite some time. "You look good, Carter."
Jack blushed, unable to look away. "For a guy who's recently come back from the dead… so do you." It was then that Carter's mind decided it was time to remember those last few moments before he'd thought they'd lost Stark forever. He heard the words that always hit his heart, Stark's last words to him before he'd given him that watery smile. It had been at that moment that Jack had realized just what they'd all lost, and just how important the scientist had become to him. He'd never known until then how he'd felt about the man. Now it seemed like a second chance had just been placed into his lap (because how ironic was it that they'd both chosen the same place to start their life over after Eureka?)
He couldn't let the moment slip through his fingers. Before he could think of a reason not to, Jack moved a hand to Stark's cheek and pulled him into a kiss, pouring all the passion he'd felt building between them release. He should have been surprised when Nathan kissed him back, when he felt the scientist's arms wrap around him and suddenly he was falling backward against the bed. Zoe was forgotten as Jack moaned, feeling Nathan nibble on his bottom lip and gasped as hands wandered to slid under his shirt. His brain was quickly turning to mush and Jack knew no way to stop it. He was lost in the need he'd never known he'd had. They were two men, alone, cut off from a place they'd both called home and who the hell could fault them for wanting to find comfort in each other's arms? It'd been so long since Jack had been with someone… had felt such electricity. His skin was tingling in delicious ways, and he didn't want it to end. Thankfully, Nathan (being the genius he was) managed to gain back control, and pulled away, though not by much. They were both panting, eyes dark with arousal. "Call Zoe… tell her you're not coming home tonight," Nathan practically growled.
Jack didn't bother trying to argue as he pulled the phone from his belt, and dialed the number while Nathan licked and bit against exposed skin. Carter tried to stop him, not sure he wanted to have a conversation with his daughter while Nathan was doing such amazingly good things to his body. "Dad? Where the hell have you been? I've been scared to death that something happened to you!"
"I… I-I'm sorry Zoe… something kinda came up. I'm not gonna make it home tonight. Are you going to be okay by yourself?" he asked.
"I'm almost eighteen, Dad, I think I can manage," she assured him. "But what happened? Why do you sound like that? What's going on?" Her questions were making Jack's head spin, and he was distracted enough as it was watching Nathan push up his shirt to take a nipple into his mouth. Jack bit back a groan.
"I… uh… I just… uh… oh f- um… you might say I ran into a ghost. I'll explain later. Just call me if you need anything and I'll run straight home."
"Ooookay," she said, and he knew she was suspicious. "Are you with someone?"
"Goodbye Zoe," he told her, rolling his eyes. He could hear her let out a brief laugh and frowned.
He closed the phone and dropped it to the floor as Nathan moved on to the other nipple, groaning at the sensation. "You are seriously going to pay for that," he promised, pulling Nathan up for a kiss, and he could feel the scientist laugh against him.
"I hope to," he whispered against Jack's lips, pulling off the shirt and suddenly Carter's brain was melted once more, content to give into the sensations of his would-be ghost. "I sincerely hope so…."