10 Days to Valentine's
AN: I don't actually know where Eureka would be located, but it should be in the Pacific Northwest.
Chapter 10: Feb. 14
After almost a full twenty-four hours, Nathan Stark pulled up to the bunker, also called the Smart house or SARAH, with a sigh.
When he had made sure that Sheriff Jack Carter wasn't in danger of mortal peril, he launched an investigation into the incident with Allison's blessing. Apparently, there had been a project that Henry hadn't known about buried about a couple feet into the Garage's backyard and it was activated by complete accident as all trouble making projects were.
No one quite knew much about the invention, but Henry reassured them that Jack wouldn't suffer any long term side effects, if there were any. Nathan had been dispatched to get Zoë Carter and, now that both Carters were in the same room with one still out like a light and the other waiting anxiously for her father to wake, Nathan was to pick some stuff up for Jack and Zoë, who was going to be spending the night with Jo.
Walking down the stairs, he waited until SARAH acknowledged him.
"Hello, Dr. Stark," she intoned brightly. "What seems to be the problem?"
"Both Carters won't be coming home tonight, SARAH," he informed. "I need to get what they need."
The door opened and he walked right in. Scanning the first floor, he headed to the stairs and second floor.
"SARAH, call Zoë," Nathan instructed. "I don't exactly know what she wants from me."
After an affirmative, the younger Carter walked him through her room ("Whatever you do, don't open the middle top drawer or the one under it." "Why?" "I am a girl, after all."). He hefted the duffle bag and headed for Jack's room.
After gathering his blond's belongings, he just so happened to glance at the bedside table, only to freeze.
There, sitting under the lamp on Jack's side, was a little card. One that Nathan found all too familiar.
"Can you be my Valentine?"
Green eyes swept over the note in his hand and over what appeared to be a florist receipt. For the same roses that was sitting on his desk that very moment.
'I guess I don't have to turn my Admirer down after all,' he mused.
"Hey, Stark," the young blonde greeted as she spotted the dark haired scientist lurking in the doorway.
"Zoë," he nodded. Looking toward the bed, he tilted his head as he noticed a bleary pair of blue staring back at him. "Carter, good to see you awake."
"Nathan," he smiled slightly.
"On a first name basis, now?" Nathan smiled slightly as he walked toward them and stopped in front of the pair.
"Only for today. Valentine's Day, you know," Jack sighed as he rested fully against the pillows.
"Nice to know," Nathan nodded.
Jo came to collect her houseguest a few minutes later and soon the two were alone.
"So, Carter," Nathan drawled, perching on the side of the bed. "I gave in to the 'spirit' and got you something."
"Really?" Blue eyes lit up with a smile, albeit a surprised one.
Nathan handed over the box and watched as the necklace was extracted. Jack smiled brightly as he recognized a recent invention: a holographic pendant. Staring at the deep blue screen, he saw the working/ animated model of an atomic structure appear. In the center, in lieu of the familiar bunch of atoms that made up the nucleus, a Sheriff's star was being surrounded by three orbiting circles that had a pair of letters: NS, GD, and EO.
Nathan watched as Jack took in the meaning of the letters as Nathan's own initials, Global Dynamics, and Eureka, Oregon.
"You always seem to be in the middle of everything," Nathan shrugged.
"What about you?" He wanted to know. "Your name is in here, too."
"Yeah, I was thinking about lying and telling you something completely different, but, now that I know who you really are… For awhile now, it seems that you've been at the center of most of my waking moments. Some days, I actively seek you out."
Jack shuffled to the side as Nathan suddenly lay down beside him. "What do you mean, 'now that you know who I really am'?" Jack smiled as he realized that he'd been found out.
"My Admirer," Nathan lay his head back and closed his eyes.
The pair lay in silence for a few minutes as Jack processed the information that Nathan had the same inclinations that Jack had. "You're alright with it?"
"More than," he looked at him. "Although, I do have to wonder about some of those gifts."
"Well," Jack shrugged. "Allison had maybe let slip that you like tea, especially when I left the coffee in your office that one day. The pillow was something that sort of reminded me of you on my last trip out of town. Then the watercolor," he flushed faintly. "I know I don't really advertise but… It's a sort of hobby of mine."
"That was you?" Nathan grinned. "That was a really good piece of work, Jack. How many know about this?"
"You, Henry, Zane, Jo, SARAH, Fargo, and Allison."
Nodding, Nathan suddenly remembered the thought that had struck him after finding the final card. "With the last card, what was it that you were going to give me?"
Jack smiled as he leant over and brushed their lips together.
"What would you have done if I didn't take too well to that?" Nathan smiled at him as he caught his hand.
"I'm a risk taker," Jack shrugged. "I would've found something else…"
"And shouldn't it have been 'Will you be my Valentine' instead of 'can'?" Nathan questioned.
Jack grinned at him brightly. "Yeah, about that… I thought you would've figured me out long ago, Scientist."
"How?" Nathan dug all of the notes out of his pocket. After the bunker, he had made a quick stop at home to gather the rest of the notes. "You didn't put your name on any of them."
"Actually, I did," Jack snickered as he plucked the ten notes out of his scientist's hand. Shuffling them, he put one note on his blanket covered leg and went about laying out the rest in a particular order. Seeing the notes all laid out like that, Nathan shook his head at the simplicity of it. 'And here I've been doing the code-breaking all wrong.'
Put in order and unscrambled, the notes read up to down:
"Always time for a snack."
"Careful, it's hot."
"Keep your head up."
"Can you be my Valentine?"
"Time for a nap."
And when you took the first letter of each line, they read: JACK CARTER.
"Well, gold star for creativity," Nathan chuckled at self satisfied look on his blond's face at having finally gotten one over on him.
"You do have a habit of over thinking things, so I thought I was safer with the simple track."
"And the missing video footage?" Nathan raised an amused eyebrow.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Jack gave him his best innocent face.
That brought Nathan to a realization. Leaning back to look the blond, he frowned. "That advice I gave you the other day was for *me*?"
"Yeah, sorry," Jack smiled up at him. "I was sort of running dry on ideas. I thought it was alright."
Thinking for a moment, Nathan suddenly smiled warmly. "You know, that leaves a lot of room for interpretation."
"I guess it does." Jack turned on his side to look at his scientist. "Would you want some clarification?"
"I think so."
Jack leaned over until they were almost nose to nose. "This has to be the best Valentine's Day ever. I get my perfect gift," he breathed as the centimeters closed.
'Me too,' Nathan gladly met the blond halfway.
'My perfect Valentine.'
AN: 10 Days to Valentine's is finished!
Sorry it was late, but better late than never and I had some things going on so I couldn't get to it until late. Hope everyone had a sweet V-day and I bet you were all wondering why Nathan started getting presents on the 5th. Now you know.
Thanks to my reviewers and all who have read, favorited, and alerted. I wasn't actually expecting such a gracious welcome into the J/N fold. Or a welcome, period. Nice to know people liked my story.
Keep an eye out for a future J/N story that will be coming out around Thanksgiving. Thereabouts.
I have other stories to raise, you know…
2. 15. 10 (M)