Timeline: Beginning of season two, although a little AU. Jack was not married to Allison in the alt. future.
Summary: No one could believe Nathan was really leaving.
A/N: This came from watching SGA re-runs while capping Eureka and thinking 'Wow. Stark and Weir are very different people. They wouldn't get on very well. Except maybe they would.' I live an a very strange world where my logical conclusions do not match anyone else's.
Feedback: Yes please!
Disclaimer: Not mine. I play with other people's toys.
"I can't believe you're leaving Eureka, Nathan," Allison told her ex-husband, watching him pack up his office from the door. "It feels like you just got back."
Nathan laughed, but it was void of any humor. "I seem to have done a lot of damage for someone who just got here."
"Is that why you're leaving? Because of Dr. Anderson's death? That wasn't your fault. It was an accident."
"That's not the conclusion the DOD came to," Stark crossed his arms and looked at her impassively when she sighed, frustrated.
"Kim Anderson was a brilliant scientist and an extremely important asset to Eureka. The DOD needed someone to blame and you were convenient. It could just have as easily have been you who died. Not to mention that if we'd been any slower getting to you, you'd be dead too." Allison met Nathan's gaze and held it, pleading, "Nathan, don't go."
"Allison..." She saw eyes softening for a moment, before hardening again. He turned away and resumed packing. "Don't do this. We're not married anymore and this isn't just about Kim. I've had an open invitation to join the Atlantis project for three years now. I need a change of venue and I'm looking forward to working with the team they've got out there."
"Nathan, please. Think about this for a minute. Eureka is your home. We're you family. Henry's still here because you asked him to stay. Kevin's been doing so much better since you came back. I haven't a clue how to do your job. And what about-" Nathan's head shot up and he fixed Allison with a cold stare before she could continue.
"Don't. Go. There." The former head of GD threw the rest of his folders into the bin on his desk unceremoniously. Allison watched silently as he closed his luggage lid and the automatic latch clicked softly. It sounded final.
"Have you even told Jack that you're going?" she asked, leaning into the doorway.
"Why would I tell Sheriff Carter of all people that I'm leaving? I've got too many important thing to do right now."
Shocked, Allison could only murmur, "Nathan..."
He lifted the container and walked over to her. "So are you going to move or..?"
"Nathan, stop. Think about this. Just-" She spread her arms and opened her mouth to argue, but staring into his face she froze. When she looked at him, really just looked at the man she'd been married to, Allison saw a man she barely recognised. He looked completely exhausted behind all this bravado. She'd only seen that look once before in all the time she'd known him; on the day she and Kevin had moved out. Defeated, she stepped back and allowed him to leave his office without further argument.
As he moved past her, she quickly reached out and put a tentative hand on his shoulder. "Take care of yourself, Nathan." He gave her a slight smile that didn't quite reach his eyes and nodded.
"Thanks, Ali. You too."
She still felt guilty for being appointed his old position. She hoped this would go better for him.
- . - . - . -
"I can't believe you're leaving Eureka, Dr. Stark."
"Get over it, Fargo." Nathan stalked past his old assistant, face carefully blank after his conversation with Allison.
"B-but are you sure? I mean, do you really want to go all the way out to Antarctica just to do basic tech research? Even I could do that!"
"Do you have full government clearance?"
"Then you couldn't do it."
"Oh." Fargo deflated.
"Look, Fargo, you were a great assistant and I recommended that Allison keep you on. I enjoyed working with you." That seemed to perk up the younger man.
"Really?" Fargo squeaked.
"Of course." Nathan held out his hand and Fargo stared at it for a moment before finally accepting it.
"Thank you, Dr. Stark."
"You're welcome, Dr. Fargo."
- . - . - . -
"I can't believe you're leaving Eureka."
"I can barely believe it myself, Henry," Nathan muttered.
"You know, you weren't responsible for what happened to Kim."
"Thank you, Henry. But I'm not entirely certain of that. And it isn't just because of her, though. I need to get away." Far away. Different-galaxy-far away.
Henry broke into a broad grin. "I understand that feeling. And Atlantis! It'll be a hell of an adventure, Nathan." His old mentor clapped him on the back. "I really envy you. I wish I could be going with you."
Stark stared at him, shocked. "You were offered head of the science team years ago. You turned it down."
"Yeah, well, someone had be here to keep all of you at Global from blowing up the town half of the time."
Stark laughed briefly. "And be the one setting off the explosions the other half?"
"Something like that."
"Well, I'll be able to keep you up to date on what I'm doing. If anyone has a clearance higher then mine, it's you." It would be good to keep contact with at least one person in Eureka who would care to hear from him.
"Thanks. You'll be missed." Henry sat at his workbench. "What are you and Jack going to do? I doubt his clearance is high enough to visit you in Pegasus."
"Why would the Sheriff visit me?" Henry's smile froze. "Don't tell me you two had a falling out because you're leaving. He must understand what an opportunity this is for you!"
"I wouldn't know what his views are on me leaving, or if he even has any." He didn't want to think about Jack. They hadn't spoken since... it had been a while. Before Atlantis, and then there had seemed no point to mention it.
"You didn't tell him?"
"It has nothing to do with him."
The older man just looked at him sadly before working picking up some gadget and slowly turning it over in his hands. "You don't believe that any more then I do, Nathan."
- . - . - . -
When Nathan heard his front door open, he didn't bother to look up from his book. Although a few people had a key to his house and even more probably knew how to hack the so-called hack-proof high-tech lock, he knew who it was. It's not as though it would be anyone else barging into his home. "You narcissistic jackass."
"Good evening to you too, Sheriff," Nathan watched Jack Carter storm into to his line of vision, demanding his attention.
"I can't believe you're leaving Eureka." Jack's fists were balled and he was standing so straight it looked like he might strain something, but his face was impassive. For the first time since Nathan had met the man, his features gave away nothing.
"I can't imagine why not. It's not as though you ever wanted me here in the first place." Nathan pointedly turned back to his book. It was a theoretical and remarkably erroneous report on wormhole travel, and he was probably going to toss it when he left in the morning. Unfortunately it wasn't as humourously distracting as it had been a few minutes ago.
"Okay, one, what the hell? And two, you were just going to leave without saying anything?" Anger was beginning to crack through Jack's voice.
"Of course not. Don't be ridiculous. I gave my resignation to General Mansfield and said goodbye to Allison." Nathan turned a page.
"And that was going to be it?" Jack's voice was hard as steel. "You were just going to resign and leave town."
"And you weren't even going to say anything to me?"
"I didn't have anything to say to you." That diagram didn't make sense even under the theoretician's presuppositions. Nathan turned the book sideways to see if it would make more sense. It didn't, but then he was having difficulty ignoring Jack's voice for the image in front of his eyes.
"You didn't have anything to say to me," Jack repeated dully. "Okay then. I guess this was just me making an ass of myself." Nathan jerked up in surprise as Jack started walking towards the door, dragging his feet like a puppy who'd just been told he was bad. "Forget I was here. Go have fun in Antarctica playing with whatever it is you're going to do. Don't bother writing, because you have nothing to say." He paused, then slammed his fist into the wall, startling Nathan into making eye contact when Jack turned about to face him. He suddenly looked livid and Nathan froze under his gaze. "No. You know what? No. What the hell is all this, Stark? And don't give me that line about Kim. Allison, Fargo, even Henry might believe that this is about her, about some sort of guilt trip, but I know you better than that." Jack was staring at Nathan now, walking back over to him. "You don't run away from things like that," he said softly, intently. "You try to make them better. If this were about Kim, you'd be locked in your office trying to figure out what happened to her, DOD decisions be damned. This is about something else." He stopped just short of Nathan.
Nathan shot out of his seat, furious and trying to hide it. "Really, Sheriff?" he snarled. "You know me so well? You think you know anything at all?" He threw the book to the floor and held his ground.
"Yeah, Nathan, I think I do. I'd say in the past few weeks, I've gotten to know you pretty well." Jack moved even closer. Nathan almost imagined he could physically feel the heat of his anger. "What the hell is this, anyway? I know getting demoted wasn't exactly the highlight of your life, but you seemed to be cool with it." The anger suddenly disappeared as Jack shrugged and looked uncomfortable. "Is it about us? Did I do something wrong? Did I push you too fast?"
Nathan looked away. "You give yourself far too much credit, Jack," he said, bitterly.
"Then what?" Jack reached out a hand but Nathan flinched and he dropped it.
"Why do you care? How does it affect you?" he asked, feeling desperate and hating it. "You accused me of not caring about the town as much as I do my projects, of leaving you to clean up afterwards! So you should be glad I'm going and leave it at that!"
Jack gaped at him and finally took a step back. "What..? We had a fight, Nathan. It happens, it's normal, especially for us! Do you even remember how we started this?" Jack paced away, then back, fists clenched. "Is that why you're leaving? Because of Global's latest runaway experiment? I was mad that I didn't know how to to fix something and you wouldn't tell me what it was, not because I think you don't care! We have that argument at least once a week!"
"Well, you must believe it, otherwise we wouldn't have to keep having the same fight!"
"You've got to be kidding me. It was an argument!" Jack punctuated his words by waving his hands in the air. "You called me a moron with a second grade comprehension level! Does that mean you believe that?" Nathan bit his tongue and stared at the floor. It was done, it was too late to turn back now. He just wanted Jack to leave. When he didn't say anything, Jack faltered. "Oh. Okay, then. Fine." He finally moved back to the door, "I guess you're right. We really have nothing to say to each other." He didn't pause as he left.
The second the door closed behind him, Nathan collapsed onto the couch. He reminded himself that he was Dr. Nathan Stark and he didn't cry. He hadn't cried when Allison left and he wasn't going to get pointlessly emotional now. Not over a man with an IQ of 111 who constantly challenged his authority. Even after everything. Callister and the DOD reviews and that artifact.
It was better this way.
- . - . - . -
"I can't believe you left Eureka, Dr. Stark."
"I'm still having trouble with the reality of it myself, Dr. Weir. But it's good to see you again."
The head of Atlantis held out her hand and Nathan took it firmly. After they let go, she gave him a lopsided smile.
"It's good to see you too, Nathan." She turned and gestured for him to follow. "Come on. There are some people waiting to meet you. Remember how I used to say you had the biggest ego of anyone on Earth? Well, just wait until you meet the head of out science team..."