Eureka is not mine, and it never will be. I promise I will finish stolen memories but right now it's just not speaking to me. This one just kept creeping into my head.
The last six months had been the best six months of Zane Donovan's life. Six months ago the Astreaus had found its way back to Eureka. He had found his way home to Jo. The two had been almost inseparable ever since. Zane had only been back to his apartment to pick something up that he had forgotten there.
Something big had happened in that time, something no one ever thought would happen. Zane Donovan had grown up. Sure he was always going to be just a little immautre but for thr first time in his life he was behaving like a full fledged adult.
In fact lots of big changes had happened in the last six months. Holly was now working at Global Dynamics full time. She and Fargo were still dating and becoming serious in there own geeky way. Allison and Jack eloped a few months back and had just announced that they had a baby on the way. Grace and Henry were still just solid as a rock.
Three months ago Jo had sent Zane an email, it simply said. When you're ready, I'm ready. Love Jo Attached had been an Occupancy Release form for his apartment. Jo had been only slightly surprised when she had gotten an email back ten minutes later, filled out forms attached, that said I thought you'd never ask. I'll move the rest of my stuff over this weekend. Love Z.
Before he left for the mission Zane had only felt truly alive in those times he spent with Jo. Only in the stolen times when it was just the two of them, when he wasn't teasing her about leaving and she wasn't swearing they were only friends and this was the last time. Only in those moments when the world stopped for everyone else but them had his life made sense. He had thought life could not get any better then it did than in those moments or hours they spent connected.
He had been completely wrong. Since they came back he had gotten to experience what it meant to openly love and to be loved by Miss Josefina Lupo. Every moment felt like those few and far between stolen moments they had previously. It was the most liberating and awe inspiring thing he had ever experienced, not that he would admit that to anyone other then Jo herself. He did still have an image to maintain after all.
In any case, he had come to realize that she was the one person he couldn't live without. He had begun to draw the conclusion that this thing between him and Jo was forever. The thought of a life without her seemed bleak and unacceptable.
A week ago he had pulled his grandmother's ring (his ring not the one Jo had gotten from other him) out of his safe deposit box. As he sat on the couch in their living room, he thought tonight might be the night to give her that ring. This time there would be no elaborate recreation of their first meeting, no dinner at a fancy restaurant and no ballet. There would also be no running off if it took her more then a few seconds, minutes or hell days to give him answer, if that's what she needed.
It was a rare Friday night that they had gotten to spend together, neither one having to rush out and save the world. Being early December, they had put up their tree. Each telling stories from their childhood Christmases while drinking cider and then cuddling in front of the fire. Soft holiday tunes played softly in the background. The clock on the mantle struck 11pm on their perfect evening.
"Hey Jo, I have question I want to ask you." Zane planted a kiss into her hair.
"Hmm, what kind of question?" She asked leaning her head onto his shoulder.
He shifted slightly to pull the ring out of his pocket. "It's an important question. One I want you to be sure of your answer to, before you give…" He was cut off by a knocking, almost pounding on the front door.
Disappointment in the lost moment filled Zane as he shoved the ring back into his pocket.
"Just ignore it." Jo protested as Zane stood up. "If it was important t they would have called first."
"In this town you can't discount that the phones aren't working. I'm sure it will just take a minute." The moment already ruined, Zane crossed the room and opened the front door. He was surprised to see the face of a man he had only seen in pictures. The infant carrier he held on his arm confirmed just which one of the Lupo men he was.
"You must be Zane." The man extended a hand to him.
"Yeah, come in it must be freezing out there." Zane stepped back to let the man and child enter.
"Ricco!" Jo exclaimed seeing her oldest brother enter the room. "What are you doing here? Where's Kim?" Kim being Ricco's on again off again girlfriend and mother of the baby in the carrier which Jo reached out to take.
Ricco shrugged out of his coat and hung it on the rack before turning back to his baby sister. "Kim left."
"What? Why? What happened? Why didn't you call me?" Jo asked as she peeked under the blanket to see her sleeping nephew, Tanner, before standing to look her brother in the eye.
"Long story short, she wasn't handling the whole being a mother thing very well. And last week when she found out I was going to deploy about 2 weeks from now, let's just say it was more then she could take. She took off in the middle of the night. Won't answer phone calls, none of her friends or family have seen or heard from her since she left. I was about to file a missing persons report when I got served papers yesterday." Ricco had sunk into the couch head in his hands.
Jo moved to sit next to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "What kind of papers?"
"Ones giving up her parental rights and a letter. Apparently she couldn't handle Tanner and the prospect of an 18 month deployment for me was just too much. Said she wasn't meant to be a mother."
"And you're deploying in two weeks?" Jo asked. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm not sure. Kim's family wants nothing to do with me or Tanner. With mom and dad both gone and Nicky and Tony overseas…" Rico trailed off. It was obvious why he was here, Jo was the only one he could turn too.
Jo looked at a loss for words so Zane stepped in placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Turning to Jo's brother Zane said "Hey Ricco, did you bring anything for this little guy to sleep in? I can get everything set up while you two talk."
Ricco blinked at him before fishing car keys out of his pocket "Um yeah, sure in the car."
"Zane, you can put them in the guest room with the attached bath." Jo said softly as he once again crossed the room.
Taking the keys Zane went outside to bring in the babies things. Well it looked like to night may bring a life altering decision but it wasn't exactly the one Zane had in mind.
"Coffee?" Jo asked leading her brother to the kitchen.
"Sure," He answered not wanting to look into her face.
"Ricco, seriously why didn't you call me?" Jo stared at her brother.
He snorted. "I'm the big brother, sis, I'm supposed to help solve your problems not the other way around."
"This isn't some kid picking on you in the halls at school. This is Kim leaving you a few weeks before you deploy." Jo tried not to raise her voice at her stubborn brother. Out of all the siblings Jo and Ricco had the most friction filled relationship. Sure she loved him but in many ways they were too much alike to ever be extremely close. Stubborn, always wanting to be the leader, not wanting to show any sign of weakness, but most of the time it seemed like he still saw her as a little girl instead of the mature woman she had become.
"Days, a few days before I have to leave. My unit is leaving from Ft Hood in two weeks but I have to leave for DC in three days. I have a week of briefings before I head out."
"Where's Tanner going to go?" Jo's heart skipped a beat. Tanner was why her brother was here. Her nephew had no place to go. Their other brothers were bachelors and they didn't have any other family. If Kim's family wouldn't take Tanner that just left her to take the little boy. Not that she wouldn't drop everything for family, but she had just gotten back on track with Zane.
"Josie, I don't have anyone else, no where else to take him, I hate to spring this on you, especially since you have your own life." Ricco looked close to tears. "I wish I didn't have to ask…"
Jo pulled her brother into a hug. "Stop, family comes first you know that. Of course I'll take care of him while you're gone." Outside Jo seemed all cool and collected, on the inside she was panicking. Her life was about to be thrown for another loop. One she wasn't sure she could handle.
In the living room Tanner started crying. Both Jo and Ricco were moving towards the door, when the crying stopped. "No worries, I got him." Zane called from the living room.
"When do you have to head back to base?" Jo asked.
Ricco cleared his throat, clearly looking uncomfortable. "My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. I still have to get the house packed up before I leave."
Jo had to bite her tongue. This was so like her brother to drop the bomb and run. "Great so we'll have enough time to talk to one of the legal councils from my company."
"A lawyer on a Saturday, don't want to see the bill for that one."
"Luckily the company I work for has at least one on staff 7 days a week. You never know when you need to file a patent." That God GD offered great benefits Jo thought.
"We really don't need much more then a notary. I had one of the base attorney's draft the custody papers this morning. Just need your signature and we're all set. I also brought you the papers Kim sent, Tanner's birth certificate, social security card and his medical records. And a limited power of attorney for me."
"At least you came prepared." Jo sighed military life and deployments had always taught them paperwork was important. Make sure the ones left behind could keep things going in your absence. "If you would have called I would have come got him you know. Or were you just trying to ambush me on the off chance I'd say no?"
Swallowing hard Ricco answered. "It wasn't you I was worried about, Josie. I don't have any other options and I don't know how your boyfriend would feel. It's not like I'm asking you to babysit for the weekend."
"Zane's not heartless." Jo was quick to defend him. Speak of the devil, Zane walked through the kitchen door.
"Tanner is changed and sleeping soundly in the pack-n-play in the spare bed room. Cute kid by the way." Zane looked back and forth between the siblings. "What'd I miss?"
Ricco looked away nervously. Jo rolled her eyes. Zane knew what was up, the man was a genius and had more then enough info to have figured this out. Instead of just saying how he felt about the situation he stood there a smirk on his face, eyes dancing with laughter.
"Well" Jo started. "Since Ricco has to leave for his deployment soon. Tanner is going to be staying with us for the duration of his dad's time away." She held her breath, not really expecting him to be upset or angry but a small part was still scared that this could tear her and Zane apart.
"Sounds like fun." He smiled at the siblings. "I love kids. Most people would tell you I'm still one myself."
Ricco let go of the breath he was holding onto himself. "Thanks man. I know my son will be in good hands with Josie. I just didn't want to cause any problems for her, you know."
Zane wrapped an arm around Jo's waist. "Jo's family is my family. No worries man. Seriously."
Leaning into Zane, Jo relaxed. This wasn't going to be easy. "Well gentlemen I think it's time we head to bed. It looks like tomorrow is going to be a busy day."