Characters: Tess Fontana, Grace Monroe
Pairing: Jack Carter/Tess Fontana, Grace Monroe/Henry Deacon
Timeline: post 4.01, but deals with the changes that happened. Possible spoilers up to 4.04, because I can't keep track.
A/N: I was going to wait until I had all the characters I plan to do this for done, but they need a lot of tiny canon info that I'll need to wait until Space airs them to get. Also, who knows how long it'll be until I get them done and the odds of me forgetting altogether is probably pretty high.
A/N2: I may write another bit for each of the characters, using the timeline from "Once in a Lifetime".
Feedback: will tell me if I should write these for the 1.12 timeline as well. Please, let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: Not mine. I play with other people's toys.
First Posted: September 29, 2010


-|-|- Take One -|-|-

Tess didn't regret telling Allison she'd cover her position at GD most of the time, because Allison was her best friend and she'd gotten to meet Jack because of it. But right now, in the bowels of Eureka's storage facility, that was all she could think about. She'd learned quickly that one of the unofficial jobs as the head of Global was making sure everything was ready months in advance in case of something (or a lot of somethings) went wrong at the last minute and they didn't have time to do it when any normal person would.

The redhead coughed as another cloud of dust attacked her for moving the box it had been living on. Apparently, everything as to be perfect this year, as a tribute to Nathan Stark's memory (not that she could see the connection, from what Tess knew of Nathan, Founder's Day was something he'd personally have avoided) and a gift to Henry for talking the position as Mayor (that she could see; this was right up Dr. Deacon's ally). According to her scanner, this box was supposed to hold the nurses uniforms from when Eureka was first being built. Tess tentatively opened the ancient box, pleasantly surprised to see that the computer had been right. After being down here for decades, all but forgotten, almost every box thus far had been misrecorded.

"I found the nurses outfits, Grace!" She hollered to her companion.

"Good for you!" Grace yelled back, "I still can't find the solder's uniforms. You sure they didn't get thrown out?"

"Yes, I'm sure. One thing that's consistent over time is that our government doesn't give any more funding to science then it has to. Back then, they kept a record of every penny spent to fund Eureka, including the cost of the first telegram to Einstein and Grant. Once there was an actual town to speak of, they demanded that everything be saved for future use. Never mind that none of it has seen the light of day since it was put down here almost a century ago." The acting director dragged the box from where she'd found it and over to where they'd set up a work station. "The cost of storing them is higher than any use we might get out of them. I checked the numbers. But who am I to complain about how the government spends our tax money?"

Dr. Monroe poked her head around the corner. "No one. The proof is that you thought about it."

"Did you find them?"

"Yes, Mistress Fontana. Here they are. Now, please, tell me again why I was drafted into helping you with this? I haven't even been in Eureka long enough to know when Founder's Day is."

"Because you're a newbie and therefore get the newbie duties." Tess smiles sweetly at the other woman. "Besides, you're one of the few people here who don't make me want to pull my hair out of my head, one strand at a time. You and I, Hun, we're the closest thing this town's got to normal. We need to stick together so we can hold on to it for as long as possible." She pointed at the empty chair across from her, "Now, sit. I need you to count the uniforms and make sure they're all there. We may as well get the inventory for it done as well."

Grace stuck her tongue out playfully but did as she was told. Half-way through empting out the contents, the sound of a cell on vibrate going off make them both jump. "That's you." The engineer told her.

"Uh-huh." Tess looked up from her box and at her phone as it danced on the rickety card table. She caught it just before it dropped off the edge. She looked at the Caller ID and jumped up. "Hello, Tess Fontana." She answered, and then cupped the speaker with her palm, "I've got to take this," she told Grace, faking apologetic as well as she could with a backward glance. "Thanks!" She whispered before abandoning the woman she'd bribed into helping her alone in the creepy basement. "Thank you for calling. Yes, I've given it a lot of thought and I would very much like to accept the job."

As she left, she barely heard Grace sigh in exasperation. But she'd have to have been def to miss the louder, pointed one that followed. When she entered the elevator, Tess made a mental note to add another zero to the already large budget she'd promised Dr. Monroe for her new project.

.-.

-|-|- Take Two -|-|-

Tess didn't regret telling Allison she'd cover her position at Global most of the time, because Allison was her best friend and she'd gotten to know the sexy Sheriff because of it. But right now, in the bowels of Eureka's storage facility, she had some choice words for the mother-to-be. She'd understood coming into the job that it wouldn't be all cushy desk work and simple supervising of Allison's staff, but Allison conveniently neglected to mention that she's be at the mercy of the irritating Nazi-minded director. Apparently, one of the unofficial jobs as the head of Global was making sure everything was ready months in advance in case of something (or a lot of somethings) went wrong at the last minute and they didn't have time to do it when any normal person would, and that Dr. Fargo got a perverse pleasure in assigning those jobs to the people least suited for them.

The redhead tugged the box that was supposed to hold the old nurses uniforms a little harder then necessary and it made a loud thump as it hit the concrete floor. "Are you okay, Tess?" Dr. Monroe asked from a few rows over. Dust billowed around Tess and she took a deep breath, intent on answering, but instead got a lung full of whatever the hell made up the sentiment in the hell that was the storage in GD. She coughed once and tried to breathe, only to bet more of the shit in her airway. By the time Grace got to her, she was choking on the crap as it tried to kill her. Grace clapped her on the back a few times.

"Thanks." She said as soon as she was able, and blinked twice to clear her eyes. "Ugh. With my luck, that's asbestoses or arsenic."

Grace grinned at her before heading back to wherever she'd been before the dust from hell had attacked. "I doubt it. It's probably just a little anthrax, planted by our loving dictator just before he gave you this assignment."

"That is not an appropriate joke to be making about our director, Dr. Monroe." Tess said at sternly as she could, knowing it lost some of its affect from the giggle she couldn't keep from escaping. "Knowing Fargo, his Geheime Staatspolizei probably has bugs planted down here."

According to Dr. Fargo, everything as to be perfect this year, as a tribute to his "excellent leadership ability". Tess still could feel where she'd dug her nails into her palm to suppress the numerous retorts she'd wanted to say when Larry passed that along. "Don't worry about it. Jo might work for the little weasel, but she's cool. Hell, after having to report directly to him for the past three years, I think she hated him more than anyone."

Even in her short time here, Dr. Fontana had seen the murderous looks the former Ranger reserved for their boss, so she couldn't disagree. Instead, she cautiously opened the ancient box her scanner told her was supposed to hold the nurses uniforms from when Eureka was first being built. Tess was pleasantly surprised to see that the computer had been right. After being down here for decades, all but forgotten, almost every box thus far had been misrecorded.

"I found the nurses outfits, Grace!" She hollered to her companion, then cleared her throat. It was still raw and she sounded like she used to back in collage when she chain-smoked. Jack was going to have a field day teasing her about it.

"Good for you!" Grace yelled back, "I still can't find the solder's uniforms. Are you sure they didn't get thrown out?"

"God, I hope not. If they were, then we're gonna be down here forever." She sighed. "They should be here, though. One thing that's consistent over time is that our government doesn't give any more funding to science then it has to. Back then, they kept a record of every penny spent to fund Eureka, including the cost of the first telegram to Einstein and whatever his MIA assistant was named. By the time there was an actual town to speak of, out leaders demanded that everything be saved for future use. It's idiotic; that none of this stuff has seen the light of day since it was put in storage almost a century ago." The acting medical director dragged the box out of the stacks and over to where they'd made Larry set up a work station. At least Fargo had conceded to loan them his snivelling assistant long enough to make him drag a proper table in here. Maybe it wasn't fair to take out her frustration out on Fargo's butt-boy, but it had felt good. "The cost of storing them has to be higher than any use we might get out of them. But who am I to complain about how the government spends our tax money?"

Grace poked her head around the corner. "No one. The proof is that you thought about it." She answered cheekily before disappearing back into the shelves.

"Did you find them?" Tess asked her friend as she started to pull out the micro-dresses and ridiculous hats.

"I did, thank God. Here they are." Grace came back into sight, pushing one box with her foot and tugging another behind her by a precariously attached flap. "Now, please, tell me again why I was drafted into helping you with this?" Grace questioned for the hundredth time, only half kidding. "Or for that matter, why were you drafted for this? You haven't even been in Eureka long enough to know when Founder's Day is."

"Well, I'm here because I told Fargo where to stick it last week and this is his way of punishing me. You're here because you're my friend and would hate to see me go insane, being stuck down here by myself." Tess smiles sweetly at the other woman. "Besides, you're one of the few people here who hasn't gone insane yet from Fargo's micro-managing. We're the closest thing this town's got to normal." Grace frowned and opened her mouth to protest, "Don't say it. I love your husband, Grace, but souping up a car engine so it runs like a rocket is not normal. You and I, Hun, we're normal and we need to stick together so we can hold on to it for as long as possible."

"Well, we can't all be dating all-American boys like Jack." Grace teased as she sat down across from Tess. "So, now that you've explained why we're here, how about what we're doing? Now that we've very heroically located the lost... whatever we're calling this, what's next?"

"We need to count the uniforms and make sure they're all here. So if any are missing, Mein Fuhrer can't blame us."

"So, what are we waiting for?" Grace asked, overly perky. Tess stuck her tongue out playfully. "The sooner we get this party started, the sooner we can be upset it's over."

About fifteen minutes later, Tess groaned. "There's one missing. According to the invoice, not to mention employment records and government policy on Eureka's staffing, there should be 23 uniforms, even. 6 nurses per shift with two shifts, plus two on swing, each assigned two uniforms, minus four due do damage and one from a disgruntled woman's right activist torching it. That makes 23. But there are only 22." The sound of a cell on vibrate going off prevented her from going into a full-blown rant.

"That's you." The engineer told her.

"Uh-huh." Tess looked up from the offending garments and at her hoodie she'd dropped unceremoniously on the floor earlier. She bit her lip, considering whether or not to answer. "I know."

Grace arched an eyebrow at her. "Are you going to answer it?"

"I don't think so."

"Okay." Grace shrugged and went back to sorting the uniforms as the phone buzzed twice more, then went silent. "You going to explain why you didn't answer that?"

Tess sighed in frustration. "I need to figure this out. There should be another uniform here."

"Ah." Her friend nodded sagely. "And you don't want to be distracted from our very challenging job of counting clothing. I understand."

Tess ignored Grace and looked at the documents again. They were practically mocking her. Maybe they were in another box. "Hey, you know what? You're right. You don't have to be here."

"I was only kidding, Tess."

"I know. But you have a husband who needs you to drag him away from his Garage. You already helped me with the hard part, I just have to inventory it. It won't take long."

"You sure?" Dr. Monroe asked, but she was already standing and collecting her things. Tess nodded. "Thanks!" She called as she all but ran toward the elevator, clearly determined not to give Tess a chance to change her mind.

As Grace left the woman who'd guilted her down there in the first place, Tess huffed in amusement. When the elevator dinged to signal it had arrived, Tess sighed dramatically without turning around.

Oh well. It's not like she had anything better to do.