Title: Closed Doors
Characters: Jo, Grace
Prompt: [Character] is stuck in an elevator with someone that he/she hates
Author's Note: I still hate the 1,000 word limit that's part of this challenge. But, on the bright side, this fic won the challenge this round. I'm not sure why but 'Yay!' anyways.
There was nothing Jo hated more than inaction. When something happened, there was supposed to be an equal but opposite reaction. Someone breaks the law? Arrest them. House blows up? Start planning to build a new one. Rodents of unusual size take over? Find a bigger cat. There were a thousand protocols to deal with the multitude of problems that happened in Eureka but there was only one reaction to an elevator breaking down. Wait. And waiting patiently for someone else to fix the problem wasn't something Jo was very good at doing.
"Jo, just sit down. Fargo said that they'd have us out of here as soon as possible."
Jo muttered something incoherent and continued pacing. Five minutes and one phone call was all it had taken for Grace to serenely accept the situation. She had sat down calmly and tried to start a conversation. Several conversations, actually.
Of course, it's hard to have a conversation when one person really doesn't want to talk.
It wasn't like Jo didn't hear Grace's little sighs every time a question went unanswered. Jo just didn't see a reason to reply. It wasn't like they were friends. Hell, she barely knew the other woman. Henry, Allison, Carter and Fargo might be able to accept Grace into their little circle of friends but Jo couldn't. Wouldn't. Whatever.
"How the hell does an elevator in the world's most advanced research facility break down?" The question was rhetorical, obviously, but Jo wasn't surprised when Grace answered. She seemed determined to draw Jo into a conversation- any conversation- and Jo's frustrated complaint provided her with an opening.
"Well, it could be a number of things. Faulty equipment, power overload, mutant amoeba infestation," Grace mused with a soft smile. She shrugged and grinned. "Honestly, in Eureka, it could be anything."
Yeah. That was reassuring.
"But I'm not really concerned about the elevator right now," Grace continued, "I'm more worried about you, Jo. You haven't really been yourself since the incident with Beverly last week and no one's been able to find out why."
Jo choked back a bitter laugh and tried not to think about what had been bothering her. It sure as hell wasn't Beverly but there was no way she could explain that to Grace.
"Come on, Jo. Maybe I can help. Just tell me what's going on."
"Don't you think you've been talked to enough?" The words were out of Jo's mouth before she realized it.
Grace jolted as though she had been stung. She regained her composure quickly though and simply asked, "What do you mean?"
It was irritating how well she could do that. The whole serenity thing was something that Jo had never been able to learn and, this week, calm wasn't an option either. Calm went out the window the second the others vetoed her suggestion that they let Zane know what had happened. He'd figured out some of it anyway but they'd still said no. He couldn't know any more than he already did. This Zane wasn't their Zane. He wasn't to be trusted. Blah, blah, blah.
But this woman sitting in front of her could be told anything. This stranger could be trusted because 'other Henry' had married her. Henry could show her his memories of the other timeline but Jo couldn't even tell Zane that there was another timeline.
It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair and it sucked. But telling Grace that wasn't an option. So Jo just shrugged and continued pacing. Four steps along one side, a quarter turn, four more steps and then back again. It wasn't helping any but at least it was something. The repetition of steps gave Jo a sense of rhythm and allowed her to get back to the problem at hand.
Elevators didn't just stop in Eureka. There was always a reason and those reasons usually came with an alarm of some sort. Yellow lights for power issues, red lights for fires or explosions, and orange for lock-down. But, in this instance, there was no change of lighting or siren. No computerized voice explaining the situation. The elevator had just stopped and the only way that could happen was if...
A lightbulb went off in Jo's brain and she stopped her incessant pacing. The only way for the elevator to have been stopped the way it had been was if it had been shut down manually and Fargo was the only other person who had the codes to do that. But why would he do that? Why would he leave her stuck in a tin box with Grace?
"Jo? Is something wrong?"
With a grimace, Jo realized what had happened. Grabbing her phone, she quickly dialed Fargo's number. When he answered, Jo didn't even give him a chance to speak before blurting out, "I know what's going on. Now get me out of here."
"Um, I don't know what you mean." If everything else hadn't added up, the guilt alone in Fargo's voice would have given it away.
"Fargo, just because I'm not a genius doesn't mean I'm stupid. Get me out of here. Now."
He sighed and Jo knew she had won. The elevator started moving again and Jo allowed herself one brief moment of satisfaction. The moment quickly passed, though, once she started thinking about what Fargo had done.
After only a week of, admittedly, hostile behavior, Fargo had locked her in an elevator with Grace in the hopes that she would break down and talk things out. Henry and Allison were probably in on it too. Carter would have told them it was a bad idea but they never listened to him until it was too late.
This whole situation was just an impromptu therapy session and, if she hadn't been so pissed off, Jo would have laughed. If they had thought they could make her talk about what was bothering her, they were in for a surprise.
They wanted her to talk? Fine. She'd talk. Just not to them.