Summary: For once, Carter was right. It was the fault of an ignoramus messing around with something he knew nothing about. However, it wasn't Fargo's fault. Or Taggart's. Or even Larry's.
Beta: Apologies to enigmaticblues, but it hasn't been. Sorry, Hun!
"I'm sorry Ali, but I just don't understand how you manage to tolerate that man." Nathan looked over at the Sheriff making wild gestures in the air as he spoke to his daughter. Allison chuckled. "What?"
"He said the same thing about you, yesterday." Stark glowered at him, however before he could reply, Vince breezed over to them and set down their coffees.
"There you go, Dr. Stark, Dr. Blake."
"Thank you, Vincent." As Allison reached for the closer take-out cup, it was snatched away.
"Oops. Sorry, Allison. Wrong order." He grinned widely at her and handed it to Stark. "Yours was the non-fat latte, right?" If it was possible, the taller man's frown deepened.
"Come on, Allison. We're going to be late."
She shook her head in amusement. "It really is amazing how childish you both behave."
"Admit it, Nathan. If there is one thing you and Carter have in common, it's that neither of you know how to back down gracefully. You'll end up driving each other into the ground before either of you blink."
The glair he sent her way was murderous. Allison's grin grew.
As they walked past the Carters, he turned his death-glair onto the Sheriff. Remarkably, Jack remained unfazed. "Good morning Allison. Stark." His voice was chipper, not a trace of malice in it. Allison nodded at him.
As they left the Cafe, Nathan turned to her and said loudly, "He'll break before I do." before shoving his way through the doors, nearly hitting Dr. Barlowe as he left. Eureka's psychotherapist arched an eyebrow at Allison in question, but only got a shrug in return.
Beverly sighed. It was going to be another busy week for her if this is how it was starting.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Stark roared at Dr. Haberman, just as intimidating in the Hazmat suit as ever. "What the hell did you think you were doing down here?" Larry shrunk back, avoiding eye contact.
"I j-just thought that since no one was using the space down here, and I don't really have a lab of my own..."
"You don't have a lab space of your own because you don't have the brains to be able to manage one! Didn't it even occur to you that maybe there was a reason-"
"Leave the kiss-ass alone, Stark." Carter strolled into the dark lab casually with Fargo following behind. Both wearing the bulky, protective suits, Nathan admired how Jack managed to move around with grace then he'd ever seen the Sheriff display before.
"Stay out of this, Carter." For some reason he couldn't think of, the head of GD felt his hold of his anger slipping.
"Sorry, no can do." He chirped, cheerfully, pulling out his handcuffs. "Got a message that you wanted Larry arrested and I can't arrest him if he'd dead." He glanced down at the metal cuffed and laughed. "I'd have to arrest you, instead." He looked at the scientist, and Stark swore he saw something playful flash in Carter's eyes behind the mask. "Although that could be fun..."
Stark blinked before smirking. As the other man took a step forward, he gave the underling in question a light shove. There was little force behind it, but it caught them both off balance and sent them sprawling to the floor, among the various boxes being stored there.
The deep laughter that follower startled Nathan for a microsecond, before he realized it was him laughing. The Sheriff glared at him, half buried under Larry.
"What are you laughing at, Stark?"
"You." The answer was sequent, barely managed through his laughter, and to his surprise Carter joined him.
"Okay then." He watched Carter try to get Larry off of him, unsuccessfully. The scientist on the floor seemed to be in shock. Taking pity, he walked over and stood over them.
"Haberman, you're dismissed." he barked. It did the trick. Larry scampered up and fled out of the lab. Only then did he remember why he'd called Jack. "Damn."
"I forgot I wanted you to arrest him." Without thinking, he offered the Sherriff his hand to help him up.
"Got it covered." Carter accepted the assistance and stood, dusting off his EV suit. "Taggart's out there."
"On my way over here, I called him. I thought it might be a good idea to have backup in case something went wrong. You know, animal hormones and crazy behaviour are right up his ally."
"Good thinking, Carter." He clapped his hand across Jack's back as they left the lab. "Luckily, it seems Larry's incompetence won out." With his arm still across Carter's shoulders, he used his free hand to remove his helmet, and then took off Carter's as well. If the other man was surprised by the gesture, he didn't show it. "Let's go tell Dr. Lam that he can resume his work."
Stark keyed open the door of the lab next to the storage area.
"Dr. Lam? It's now clear for you to-" As they entered the lab, there was an explosion and the next thing he knew, he was drenched. He looked over at Carter, equally soaked, his blue eyes comically wide.
"Dr. Stark! I'm so sorry! You startled me and-" The stocky scientist was cut off as both his boss and the Sheriff sank to the floor in giggles, leaning against each other. "Dr. Stark?" Much to his surprise, Stark waved him off.
"Don't worry about it." Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Lam nodded and left. The sound of the town's most prominent men giggling followed him down the hall.
As silently as he could, Nathan snuck into Alison's office. Luckily, she was on the phone with her back to the door.
"Not since this morning, at Café Diem." He paused. That latte was really good this morning. "Is he missing?"
Uninterested in Ali's conversation, Nathan began to look for the papers he went for. As quietly as he could, he opened her desk and began to go through the files.
"Is this a joke? ...And you think something here affected him?" Allison absently turned around. "What was he exposed to?" She glanced up, seeing the man in her office for the first time. "Nathan!" He looked up, upset at having been distracted. He was looking for something important, after all. "Jo, can you hang on for a second?" She stormed over to him, her hand over the mouthpiece of her cell. "What are you doing?" She hissed. Finally, he found the file. He held it up proudly.
"This." He waved the folder in the air. Allison grabbed it out of his hand, throwing him off balance and he knocked the desk phone and lamp off her desk as he tried to keep his balance.
She turned her back to Nathan and read the name on the folder. She tucked it under her arm and went back to talking on the phone. "That was Nathan. Apparently, he decided it would be a good idea to riffle through my desk."
"Hey!" He stood up straighter and marched over to Alison, bent on retrieving the file. "Give that back!" Even though he was put out that Alison was withholding the papers, he couldn`t make himself hold the scowl. He tries to grab the folder from her, but she didn't seem to be having trouble keeping it from her.
"It's looking that way... Can you get him back here?" She looked at Nathan like has grown a second head.
"Crap." He knew that look. "Allie..."
"I'd like to run some more extensive tests." She closed her phone and looked at him. "Come on."
"Allison, there's nothing wrong with me." His wife eyed him dangerously.
He sighed. Allison could really be a buzz-kill when she wanted. "Fine."
Walking to the infirmary, she looked at him curiously. "Why did you want to see Jack's personnel file? And why couldn't you call it up on your own computer?"
Much to Nathan's embarrassment, he could feel himself blush. "I just did."
"Uh-huh. Whatever you say, Nathan. You know, you could just ask him."
"Ask who what?"
"Nathan!" Grateful for the distraction of having to go over Larry's screw-up again, he looked up to see Jack bounding into the infirmary.
"They got to you, too, huh?" To his surprise, Jack just shrugged.
"I guess. I mean, yeah, but whatever." He shrugged again. Stark grinned.
"I know. But it's so boring down here." He looked at Allie pointedly. Jack laughed.
"Nathan, could you please pay attention?"
"No. I've told you everything there is to say three times." He stood up.
"Nathan, I just need to go over-"
"Three. Times." He strolled purposefully over to Jack. "Come on."
"Nathan! Even if you're not going to stay, I need to interview Carter."
"Interview Haberman. Or Lam, or Fargo." Nathan didn't look back as he left, instinctually knowing Jack followed. He heard Allison sigh, but to his surprise, she didn't object.
Halfway to his office, he couldn't take it anymore. He stopped and Jack stumbled into him.
"Oops." The scientist looked at him.
"Were you skipping?"
"What? No." Jack blushed. "Kinda, yeah. So?"
"Nothing. Just curious."
"Okay..." He paused. "Where are we going?"
Stark glanced around. He nodded towards a room a few doors down. "In there." If he remembered correctly, the room wasn't scheduled to be in use all day.
The nanosecond after Jack was in the room, Nathan had the door closed and stalked towards him. "Uh... Stark?"
"Yeah?" He loved the look of confusion that flickered across the other man's face.
"What're you doing?"
Nathan gave him a predatory grin. "Testing a hypothesis." Not waiting for a response, he kissed him. Immediately, Jack started kissing him back. For the first time in his life, Nathan was 100% in the moment. All he could think about was the feel of the Sheriff's mouth on his and how the only sound in the room was the two of them breathing heavily. He wasn't even thinking about how he got there or that they were in a GD boardroom. Instead, Nathan was doing everything in his power to get Carter make those sounds over and over again. Who would have thought the man's neck would taste so good? Jack's hands began crawling under his shirt and Nathan's mouth moved oven to his collarbone.
Just as Nathan began to fight with Jack's belt, the door clicked. Not that either of the men heard it.
"I know, Fargo. I'm sure Larry will be disciplined. Dr. Stark will- Oh my god. Uh... Nathan?" Nathan's head jerked up at the sound of his name.
"Uh... Nathan?" Jack had his eyes screwed shut and his uniform shirt, half undone, showed his blush had spread down past his neck. "Tell me Allison didn't just walk in here with Fargo."
Even in his compromising state, Nathan had to laugh. "Okay, I won't. Good afternoon Allison. Fargo." His bruised lips twisted into a smirk. "Deputy Lupo."
"Oh god." The shorter man moaned and his head fell into Nathan's shoulder. "Jo's here, too?"
Before he could answer, Jo spoke. "Okay, boys." He could hear the amusement in her voice. "How about we get you back to the infirmary for some more fun tests?"
"Oh god..." Jack whine again.
"Fuck." He repeated in agreement.
"Feel better." Nathan barely managed to suppress a moan as Jo's perkiness shot through his head like a bolt. "By the way, nice hicky." He waited until Jo left before rolling onto his side to face Jack.
"So gonna kill Vince when I get out of here." Despite his throbbing pain, he laughed. The whole situation was ridicules. Vincent spiking their coffee, Larry's Fargo-sized screw-up, getting caught moments before he had his hands down the Sheriff's pants... "Are you laughing?"
"Are you okay, Sheriff?"
"I think we're a little past the need to be formal, Scientist. A few more minutes and I had plans involving your dick down my throat." Jack paused and put his hands over his face. "I didn't just say that."
"Whatever you say, Jack." Whatever Jack might have said was silenced by his groan. "It's a hell of a hangover."
"I'll make you a deal. I'll let you kill Vincent if you let me thank him first."
"I'm going to sleep now." Nathan said. "You let me know what you think an appropriate gift for setting us up should be when we're both functional again."