Disclaimer: I do not own any of the situations or characters of Eureka. No money is being made off this story. Please do not sue me.
Author's Note: This is late. It started with a summary that would not get out of my head, but I didn't want to write it because Eureka is not my fandom (although that may change). So I put it off, but then more ideas came to me. And then it still took me about a month to write a measly three pages. So not the most timely look at Zane and Jo.
Summary: The second time Zane saw Jo naked for the first time. Set during and immediately after the end of "Reprise."
She gave him a quick kiss and told him what she always told him, that they were nothing. But Zane wasn't stupid. Far from. By the age of eighteen, he had already been expelled from more prestigious universities than most people could hope to be accepted to. So he hadn't forgotten about his grandmother's engagement ring or Jo's strange pronouncement on Founders' Day that she would marry him. He knew nothing was a lie.
In fact, he could be relatively certain their something involved a marriage proposal on his part. If that Zane was anything like this one, then he could also infer that things must have been pretty serious between them, considering that marriage was not something he ever saw in his future. Probably the main reason he was not confronting her with this bit of inductive reasoning was that he wanted to keep words like "engaged" out of their conversations. The one thing he was sure of was that, for the him in this timeline, it was way too early to be talking about that kind of stuff.
That kiss was supposed to prove there was nothing. It was short, no tongue, meant to dispel the myth that there was any spark between them.
When she tried to walk away, he grabbed her arm. He didn't feel nothing. He felt possibilities, intrigue, and a definite spark. Zane did not know what exactly he wanted from Jo; he just knew that he wanted more.
They turned to face each other. Jo wanted more too; it was written all over her face. He pulled her toward him slowly and gave her plenty of time to protest. Her response was to tilt her head to the side, welcoming another kiss.
This one was deeper, longer, lots of tongue and lots of spark. It was what a kiss should be. The first time he kissed her, or the first time he remembered kissing her, way back in the sheriff's office, she pulled away after a few seconds. This time she didn't. This time she brought her arms up to his neck and held him closer.
They went on like that for quite a while. Eventually, Zane started to tug at the bottom of her shirt to get it untucked. Once he'd successfully done that, he moved his hands up between their bodies. He managed to get her top button undone before Jo finally broke off the kiss.
"Okay, that—" She took a couple steps back. "That is not a good idea."
Zane was not sure if he had ever seen her without everything perfectly in place. She was looking a little disheveled, and he liked it. He really wanted to get her hair out of that ponytail, but he needed to focus on what was really important. "Look, I'm not looking for a relationship here, Lupo. I just—"
She gave a frustrated laugh and turned away. "Of course you're not. Which is fine, because I'm not either."
He was not going to let her get away that easily. He jogged around in front of her. "All I mean is that right now, I just want a conversation. Some honesty."
She pulled at the lapels of her shirt, opening it wider and giving him a really good view of her chest. "This is having a conversation?" When she saw where his gaze was going, she made a disgusted noise and moved to refasten the button.
Zane snapped his eyes back up to her face. "You—you don't have to do that."
Jo rolled her eyes and threw her hands up. She left the button undone, which was interesting. "Fine, honesty. We were. . ." She trailed off shaking her head. Finally, she said, "Involved. But you've already figured that out. So what is it you want to know?"
That was a good question. All he had really wanted was for her acknowledge that there was something there, which she had not quite done. However, now that she asked, he supposed there were a lot of things he wanted to know. "How did it start?"
"I don't know." She shrugged. "I guess you were hitting on me from the day you came to town."
He thought back to that time. "Well, there was that thing with the lingerie boxes, but—"
"Yes!" She seemed excited that he remembered something from her version of their past. "But it was more than that. You were relentless, and after a couple weeks, I agreed to go out with you."
A couple weeks. Ever since his space adventure with Fargo, Zane had wondered when his timeline and Jo's had diverged so dramatically. It turned out to be much earlier than he expected. He hadn't even really been hitting on her with the lingerie so much as trying to mess with her, not that he would have complained if she'd put it on. His motivations were probably the same in both timelines, but within a couple weeks they were on a completely different path. "And how was that?"
"Oh, you blew it." She sighed and reluctantly added, "But, luckily for you, I gave you a second chance."
He took a step toward her. "And do I get another second chance?"
"That would actually make three chances." She held up the appropriate number of fingers.
"Like in baseball. So I haven't struck out yet."
She put her hands on her hips. "Yeah, well, you're not getting on base either."
Zane nodded at her cleavage. "You sure about that, Jo-Jo?" He hooked his finger in her shirt and used that to pull her into another kiss.
This time, he got her shirt completely unbuttoned and halfway down her shoulders before she pushed him away. "Whoa, hey, that's. . ." She made some other unintelligible sounds and shrugged back into her shirt before finishing with, "No."
"You're cute when you're flustered." In all his time in Eureka, he'd never noticed that about her. Hot, yes, but he was starting to see how downright adorable she could be. It probably was not entirely his fault. Just as he was no longer the same Zane she knew, she was not quite the same Jo he had known. This one was softer. "I think we should revisit that whole naked thing."
Jo crossed her arms to hold her shirt closed. "In case you forgot, there's not actually a house here. We're technically in public, where my neighbors can see us." She pointed to the lit window in the house next door.
Zane looked up at the night sky. This was going to be an obstacle. The only thing he could think of was to point out that because of reflection, her neighbors couldn't actually see anything while they had the lights on. He knew that would not be good enough for Jo. While he groped for a response, he noted that she was not using this time to fix her shirt, which told him everything he needed to know. He had an opportunity here, one that might not last very much longer. He could try to move things to his house just a few blocks away, but then the shirt would get buttoned and their momentum would be lost, and more likely than not, at the suggestion she would go back to being her usual prickly self, possibly forever. No, if it was going to happen, it would have to be here, in the ashes of the house he burned down earlier that same day.
He knew this was not going to be won with talking; he needed to keep her distracted. He took Jo by the arm and guided her to the northwest corner of the house where the walls were still mostly standing. "You know, even with all our friction and you throwing me in a cell on a weekly basis, it's not like I never thought about this. Especially when you used to wear that deputy's uniform."
She laughed. "Yeah, you did—" The distinction came back to her, and her smile faded a little. "The other you really liked the uniform."
Even though it had been well over a year since Jo went to work at GD, memories of her law enforcement days came back to Zane. "I bet. He must have been a little disappointed when you quit the department. I mean, this look definitely works for you, but it doesn't . . . show off your assets quite as well."
"Actually, I—" She shook her head like it was not important.
Zane did not really want to talk about the other him anyway. Hoping she was sufficiently distracted, he pushed her hands away from her shirt so that it would fall open once again. "But really, I think you would look good in anything. Or . . ." He placed his hands on the bare skin of her waist. "Even nothing at all."
It was a pretty corny line, but Jo did not even roll her eyes at it. She just glanced back in the direction of the neighboring house and opened her mouth to speak. Zane did not give her the chance to renew her objections to being in public; he cut her off with another kiss.
He was not thinking when he backed her into an interior wall, and it swayed precariously. Without breaking off the kiss, Jo used the stud at her side to steady herself and then turned the whole thing around so that Zane was the one with his back pressed up against the stud. He had been aware of her physical strength for a while, but this was the first time he could remember her using it for something other than taking him into custody. He liked this better. Zane found it promising that rather than just following his lead, Jo was now taking charge of the situation. At least he did until she pushed herself away.
During the kiss, she had slipped her hands under his t-shirt, and she continued to rest them against his abs while she caught her breath. "Okay, maybe we should. . . " She took a couple more deep breaths. He fully expected her to say they should stop, but instead she said, "Just once. Just to get it out of our systems."
As he watched her strip out of her shirt and kick off her shoes, Zane was surprised it ended up being this easy. "Yeah?"
She paused with her hands on the button to her pants. "Yeah. So take that off."
He assumed "that" was meant to encompass everything he was wearing, but he did not move. Even at the risk of annoying her by continuing to make everything into a joke, he could not resist the impulse to tease her. "Now? Are you really so hot for me that you can't even wait until we're not in public?"
Jo considered that, and for a moment, it looked like she might just answer with a yes. She looked around to assess their situation. Taking a step closer, she said, "Actually, we're pretty well shielded from view in this corner here." She peeled his shirt completely over his head and threw it behind her. "Now stop talking."
Zane decided to comply before he talked himself right out of this. He pressed his lips together, but he did not continue getting undressed because he was too transfixed by the sight of Jo shimmying out of her pants.
When she was down to only her matching black bra and underwear, she stopped and put her hands on her hips. "What now? You don't want to do this?"
Zane could see that even now there was a danger Jo would interpret any hesitation on his part as a reason to stop. "No, I want to. I just like watching you." He leaned back against the stud and crossed his arms over his chest. "You should keep going."
She shook her head. "Not without a little quid pro quo. Lose the jeans, Donovan."
Zane was happy to obey, but he realized that his shoes would need to come off first, so he bent down to untie them. Then he stood and worked his feet out of the shoes, kicking them away. He reached for his fly, but he stopped when Jo placed her left hand on his chest.
For a few seconds, she stared at her hand and its placement. She splayed her fingers as wide as they would go, and when she finally looked him in the eye, her expression was somber. "I want you to understand that this is just going to be this one time. I don't want this to become a thing with us."
"Why not?" Zane asked.
Leaving her left hand in place, she grabbed onto his arm with her right hand. She made eye contact with his neck and said in a low voice, "I'm not looking to recapture anything. I just need to get you out of my system."
She sounded so serious, like this was all life and death somehow. And maybe Zane could kind of understand that she had all this history he didn't. He knew she had reasons why they did not work as a couple because she had told him all of them before giving back the ring; he just could not remember the details because he had no idea what she was talking about at the time. But on the other hand, she had the ring and she said yes, so it couldn't have been all bad. He did not point that out though because, again, marriage was far too heavy a topic for that night.
He tipped her head up. "I don't really know what happened between us before." Something occurred to him. "But you don't know either. All the ridiculous, trumped up reasons you had for locking me up just because you didn't like me."
She smiled a little. "I didn't trump up—I've read the files. I know what happened."
"Yeah, your versions of what happened." Zane pulled Jo closer and hugged her to his chest. "Anyway, my point is, we should put all that behind us and look at this as a new beginning of sorts. So, if it just takes one time to get it out of our systems, that's fine. If it takes more. . ." He shrugged. "I'm open to that."
Once again, Jo surprised him. Instead of continuing to insist that there would not be any more times, she moved her hands down to his waistband. "Fine, whatever it takes to get you out of these jeans."
Author's Note: I ended there because I didn't really want to write a sex scene. You know what happens next.