Ee || StarkCarter || Ee || StarkCarter || Seeing You Around || StarkCarter || Ee || StarkCater || Ee
Title: Seeing You Around – Presents to Me a Whole New World
Fandom: Eureka; AU-version of season 4
Disclaimer: All rights reserved to Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia. The story in itself though is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.
Warnings: shounen-ai, shoujo-ai, hetero, AU
Main Pairing: Nathan x Jack
Side Pairings: Grant x Jack (one-sided), Tess x Allison, Henry x Grace, Zane x Fargo, Taggart x Jo, Lucas x Zoe (mentioned), Nathan x Allison (past), Zane x Jo (past)
Eureka Characters: Sheriff Jack Carter, Doctor Nathan Stark, Doctor Allison Blake, Doctor Tess Fontana, Doctor Henry Deacon, Grace Deacon, Josephina 'Jo' Lupo, Doctor Douglas Fargo, Zane Donovan, Doctor Charles/Trevor Grant, Doctor Jim Taggart, SARAH, Kevin Blake
Summary: Season 4 brought them into a whole new world after they traveled through time to the year 1947 and encountered Trevor Grant. But once they returned, Doctor Grant was with them. Thus, they changed the timeline. Henry is still mayor, but he's also married to Grace. Allison is director of medical science and Fargo is head of Global Dynamics. Deputy Andy replaced Jo since she's the head of security at GD. Zane and Jo never dated and Kevin is no longer autistic. In this AU of the AU, though, there is one supposedly dead scientist, who's now still working as director of research. How do the friends cope with this new reality? Because really, throwing another AU at the fans was annoying enough. But NOT including Nathan Stark again was just plain cruel. So I fixed their mistakes.
Seeing You Around
Presents to Me a Whole New World
"So... We're now stuck in an alternate version of the year 2010?", asked Jack in a hushed voice.
He looked uncomfortable, sitting between Allison and Henry. They, along with Fargo, Jo and their unwanted visitor Trevor Grant sat in a secluded booth in Café Diem.
It was mere hours after they had arrived back from 1947, just to find their hometown changed.
"What differences did we find till now?", wanted Henry level-headed to know. "I'm apparently married to a woman I barely know."
"Zane doesn't remember dating me", whispered Jo barely audible.
"Kevin is not autistic anymore and it appears Tess is living at my place", answered Allison confused and happy at the same time.
"Okay, I guess we have to be cautious around here. We don't know what – or who – else has been changed in this alternate timeline", summed Henry up.
"D-Doctor Stark?", squealed Fargo with wide eyes.
The mayor scolded irritated and settled for a slow nodding.
"Yeah, I suppose even the events with Stark could have..."
"What events with me, Henry?", asked a dark, rich voice good-humored.
Jack and Allison likewise stiffened and turned around slowly. The woman stared at her ex-husband in utter shock and confusion, clearly not certain how to react.
"An interesting group... The mayor, the sheriff, the director of medical science, the director of GD, the head of GD security and... who may you be? We haven't met yet, I suppose. But seeing you sitting at one table with the most important persons of Eureka, strangely enough excluding me, is kind of irritating. So, I'd love to hear an explanation."
The wheels in their heads turned as they all looked from one to another, linking every title to one face of their little group. Fargo, Jo and Allison had been quite the surprise to all of them. Their brains were not quite able to proceed all the input at once.
"Well?", drawled Nathan slowly, looking intrigued.
"I...", started Allison, but her words died on her tongue.
Seeing her ex-husband after she thought he would be gone forever was too much for her. They had been best friends for the longest time, were married and had raised Kevin together and even after their divorce they had stayed close friends. They even wanted to get married again, until...
"Ally?", exclaimed Stark confused as his ex-wife hugged him tightly. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah, just... glad to see you", whispered the dark-haired woman.
"Ally? You're acting like we haven't seen each other in months. I've been at your place yesterday, having dinner with you, Tess, Kevin and Jenna...", mumbled Nathan confused, knitting his brows. "That reminds me that Tess had said you're acting strange today. Did you two fight?"
"Fight? Eh, no", answered Allison slowly. She didn't know what to answer, she knew too little of this timeline and this Allison.
"You sure about that? Because Tess said you just disappeared during the festivity this afternoon and left her with the kids. You usually don't do that, except there's an emergency, since Kevin is still not at perfect terms with his step-mother."
Step-mother? That one took Allison by surprise. At least as much as Nathan being alive. But it would at least explain why Tess was living at her house...
"Well, yeah, it had been an emergency of sorts, you see...", started Doctor Blake slowly.
"An old friend of mine suddenly stood at my door, telling me he would move to Eureka and I asked Allison for her help", interjected Carter with one of his charming little boy smiles.
Nathan rolled his eyes at the sheriff's attics, but he couldn't fight the little smile tugging at his lips.
"We hadn't had the pleasure to meet yet, I suppose. I'm Doctor Charles Grant", greeted Grant.
"Doctor Nathan Stark, director of research at Global Dynamics. May someone now explain what this little meeting is supposed to be...?"
The two exchanged glares, measuring who had the longest without dropping their pants.
"Jack, Allison and I had shown Doctor Grant around the town and we happened to ran into Jo and Fargo on our way", answered Henry level-headed.
At least one of them seemed to still be calm and collected, even though they were facing the absurdity of this alternate reality. The black man grinned mischievously at his best friend and invited Nathan to sit beside him, coincidentally next to Grant. Partly to strengthen his cover, because sending Stark away would look suspicious, and partly because he had missed his late student dearly over the last year.
"So, Ally... You and Tess, everything all right? Because I don't want to have another awkward conversation with Kevin about his moms having a fight. The one about him getting two moms was strange enough", joked the green-eyed man.
"Yeah, well, I... guess I have to apologize to Tess when I get home", laughed Ally awkwardly.
Apologize and hope that the Other Allison got a diary hidden somewhere so she could read about her rather upside-down life in this world. Getting to know her son again and her... wife, as strange as that sounded. She glanced at her ex-husband out of the corner of her eyes.
"Right", chuckled the director of research.
Nathan watched with observing eyes how Grant and Carter exchanged some intense glances, not knowing what to read into them. The sheriff tried to ask without words how Trevor came up with the name Charles and Grant on the other hand answered with a certain glint in his eyes. Stark scowled annoyed, he didn't like that secrecy between his sheriff and that stranger.
"Well, Doctor Grant, I'm curious about how you and the sheriff know each other", asked Nathan.
Again with the unreadable glances! The black haired man's scowl deepened.
"Well, we've been to the same high school, you see. But after we've moved to Los Angeles I've lost contact to Charles. I've been surprised too when he phoned me, telling me that he'd move to Eureka too", lied Jack smoothly.
It came in handy to be an ex US-Marshall. A lie came so easily to him that it sometimes even scared himself. A reassuring smile graced his lips to underline his point.
"Really now, because you never mentioned a Charles Grant", mused Nathan with a raised eyebrow.
Jack frowned slightly. How should Stark know what acquaintances he had in high school?
"Well... I can't possible mention everyone I've ever known in my life", stated Jack neutrally.
Now it was Nathan's turn to frown. Why was the sheriff acting so distantly?
"No need to be cranky", chuckled Stark to lighten the mood. "I've been searching for you, Jack."
The others around the table had different looks of curiosity and confusion on their faces.
"Really?", squealed Jack, covering it with a cough. "Really? Why?"
"Zo had tried to contact you, but since you seemingly lost your cellphone, she called me."
Right. Cellphone laying somewhere in 1947, damn. Wait, why did his daughter call Stark when she couldn't reach him? And why was Stark calling his daughter Zo? That was his privilege!
"Did something happen?"
"Relax, Jack. It's nothing too serious. She's had a fallout with Lucas and just wanted to talk. Once we were finished talking, she was calm enough to reason that their fight was stupid. She asked me to not tell you because she was embarrassed about it, but I figured you'd throttle me if I won't tell you", explained Nathan shortly.
The sheriff nodded dumbfounded. He really needed to know more about this alternate universe. A universe where Nathan Stark was not only alive but also on familiar terms with the Carters?
"Ah, well, we... should probably get going", stammered Jack and stood up, indicating Grant to come with him. "SARAH's waiting with dinner."
They waved and left Café Diem in a hurry. Nathan narrowed his eyes, fixed on the two men.
"I should leave, too. I still owe Tess an apology", smiled Allison stained, rather facing a new wife than a supposedly dead ex-husband.
After a short, awkward silence, even Fargo and Jo left, hurriedly saying their good-byes, leaving Henry and Stark alone. The mayor was weary about his best friend. Not without reason, though.
"Spill it, Henry", demanded Nathan with furrowed brows.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Nathan", objected the other man.
"Don't do that, Henry. We're been best friends for a long time now and I am not stupid."
"I know that you're not stupid, Nath-"
"Then don't lie to me. You, all of you, had been acting like you were walking on glass right now. Tess reported to me that Allison was cautious and distant back home and she was confusingly clingy when we met here. And whatever you were doing here really, it certainly wasn't some 'funny accidental meeting'. I've never ever seen you or Ally or Jack for that matter interact with Fargo non-professional. And Jack had never mentioned this guy before."
"Right. Because you and Jack are the bestest of friends", humored Henry himself.
They eyed each other suspiciously. Henry couldn't believe that in another universe there was a chance that his two best friends would interact any different way than the normal angry bickering.
"Since Ally had turned both of us down to get back together with her high school sweetheart, yeah. But you know that, Henry. Or, Henry should know that. I'm not quite sure whether I should believe that you are from a different time, or if you all suffer a sudden memory loss, but you are not yourselves anymore. And I'll be damned if I won't find out what's wrong."
Without a warning, he stood up and left. Henry stayed some longer, considering the dinner and the interesting conversation he had had with the supposedly dead Stark. He also spend the whole night thinking about their next steps, laying wide awake next to a woman he barely knew. Once Grace opened her eyes and smiled at him like she used to smile at her husband, his decision was made.
"Love? Are you awake yet?", yelled Tess from the kitchen.
Awake was not quite the right word to describe Allison's current condition. She had spend most of the night cuddled to her ex-girlfriend-turned-wife and wondered how on earth this had happened. Yes, she and Tess had had a short living relationship during high school, but hadn't everyone experimented as a teen? And now? Now they were married and Allison didn't know the date of their wedding or what flowers they had or how Jenna fit into that equation.
"Mom?", asked Kevin concerned, sticking his head into his parents' bedroom again.
"I... don't feel so good, I guess I'll stay home today", whispered his mother hoarsely.
She really didn't feel ready to face the world. To face this world.
"Step-Tess! Mom's not feeling well", called the dark-skinned teen down.
"Oh? Okay... Then I'll drive you to school then, Kev. Ally, I'll come check on you during my lunch break, okay? Or do you want me to stay? I could take the day off and watch over you, you haven't been sick in a long time after all...", offered Tess from the kitchen, obviously worried.
"No, I'll be alright, you go to work, don't bother, I'll somehow manage until you're back again", smiled Allison reassuringly.
It was strangely easy to fall back into old habitual patterns with the woman she had considered more than a friend a long time ago. Tess came up behind her step-son, looking her wife up and down in concern. In the end, she smiled at Allison and nodded, taking off to bring Kevin to Tesla. Only a few seconds later, the doctor's cellphone rang.
"Hello? ...Yeah, okay, we'll meet at the bunker in half an hour, okay, Henry."
Fargo maybe was the only one out of their little group that had had a nice, long good night's sleep. Though that had certainly also to do with the warm body beside him.
He was head of GD.
Not some little assistant, but the big boss.
And, maybe even better than that, his former boss, his former mentor, his role-model, the man he always had adored with everything he had, was still alive!
"Dougie, are you still awake?", muttered a hoarse voice behind him.
"Eh... No...?", squealed Fargo nervously.
A deep chuckle rumbled in the chest beneath him, the arms around his waist tightening.
"You're such a bad liar, you know that, right? And that's annoyingly adorable, Dougie."
"Shut up, Zane!", hissed the smaller man with a blush.
Sure, he certainly was not used to such affectionate behavior, but life still couldn't possibly be any better. He had had a major crush on Zane ever since the bad boy had arrived in Eureka, after all, but he never tried anything because he knew Jo was in love with him. This world, however, was different. In this world, the handsome scientist was his...
So, naturally, he had been well-rested when Henry called him to the bunker.
Jo on the other hand may have been the most miserable. She thought coping with Zane not knowing about their relationship was hard, but coping with that while Taggart was moving around in their house was even harder. Zane's smile had haunted her in her dreams and she woke up to be comforted by her ex-boyfriend. The situation was so surreal, on the other hand however it stirred feelings she thought she had burried deep down. She was grateful when her cellphone vibrated in the morning and she sneaked out from Taggart's grip to get the call. The man only grunted in his sleep.
"Yeah, okay, Henry, I'll be over in a quarter."
Jack walked circles in his living room, still trying to comprehend the concept of a living, breathing Stark who seemed to have a friendly relationship not only with Carter himself but also with Zoe.
Nathan Stark. The man he had been in love with for the longest of times now. The man he fell so hard for that it still hurt. The man he had been attracted to since he first saw him, shirtless in the infantry. The man that thought Carter had a thing for his ex-wife, even though it had been about him, only him, right from the beginning. Sure, he had flirted with Allison a lot, but mainly because he knew it infuriated the man beyond belief. The man he had been bicker-flirting with for three years until he had just... disappeared. And not only from Carter's life, but from the entire world.
See you around, Jack.
That had been the last words of one Nathan Stark. How ironic that they would, in the end, turn out to be true. Jack couldn't help but wonder how on earth they had become friends in this world.
And not only was this man still alive and friends with him, no, he wasn't even involved with Allison anymore. Even though he had thought that in any future or alternate world with a living Nathan they would be married again, or still, or whatever. But seeing Allison being married to Carter's ex-girlfriend (had they ever even been involved in this world?), was kind of a big shocker.
"Jack? Are you alright?", asked the concerned voice of SARAH.
At least some things hadn't changed. He wouldn't have known what to do if the loveable AI wouldn't have existed in this world. A faint smile graced his lips and he shook his head.
"I'm okay, SARAH. Really. Just a bit sleepy is all."
"If you say so", commented the AI sceptically. "Jo Lupo and the Doctors Deacon, Blake and Fargo are at the door. Shall I tell them that you don't feel well?"
"No. Let them in", sighed Jack and shook his head.
"Good morning, Jack", greeted Henry with a half-smile.
"Mornin', was your night nearly as horrible as mine?", asked the sheriff with a sigh.
"Yeah", groaned Allison and Jo in unison.
"I haven't slept as good in ages", grinned Fargo happily.
He earned some disturbed glances from the others. A dark chuckle from the stairs interrupted them.
"I guess Doctor Fargo is the only one happy with the outcome of this timeline?", assumed Grant.
"Why exactly did you want us to meet anyway, Henry?", interjected Allison.
"Well, we all know what possible consequences it would have if anyone would learn about our little time traveling", started the mayor.
"They would probably arrest us in section thirteen and experiment with us", whimpered Fargo.
"So... Telling anyone is a really, really bad idea. Got it", nodded Jack concerned.
"But I think we should tell Nathan", advised Henry.
"Why?", exclaimed both Allison and Jack at the same time.
The older man chuckled darkly, regarding both his friends with a knowing smirk.
"Because, first off, we don't know a thing about this world. I mean, if we wouldn't have met him yesterday, Fargo wouldn't know that he's supposed to be the head of GD. We need some inside information about this alternate world. And beside that, Nathan already suspects something. He's not quite sure what's wrong with us, but he saw that we acted differently than our counterparts from this world. I suppose he'll catch on sooner or later and it would be better if we have him on our side. I think that including him would be a win-win situation for us."
"Because telling Stark of all people sounds like such a great idea", groaned Jack with an eye-roll.
"I am really curious as to why you are so biased about this Doctor Stark", grunted Charles with a lopsided grin.
The man stood with only a towel around his waist behind Carter, water dripping down his broad chest, his dark hair still wet against his skull. Jack regarded him with a curious once-over, his eyes staying clued to the well-defined abs of the older man.
"That's a thing I'd be interested in, too", interjected a dark, curious voice behind them.
The green-eyed doctor rounded the corner and entered the kitchen, holding a brown bag from Cafè Diem in one hand and two cups of Vinspresso in the other.
"Good morning, Nathan. I suppose you didn't bring enough breakfast this time", greeted SARAH.
"Stark? What are you doing here?", asked Jack incredulously.
"I've come here, with breakfast, for the last few months. Ever since Zo went to college", informed him the director of research. "But seeing as you are not my Jack, you can't know that, eh?"
How Nathan said his name made Jack shudder in the most impossible way.
"So, time-travel, it is?", asked Nathan casually and slit into the seat next to Carter, purposely blocking Grant from the sheriff.
The scientist from 1947 looked mildly amused and greatly annoyed as he sat down beside the newly arrived visitor. Stark pushed one of the cups deliberately to the sheriff and smiled goodnatured.
"Yeah, time-travel, Nathan", answered Henry with a nod.
"From what time are you, then? I mean, obviously Jack does not remember that we were ever friends, because he is looking at me like a gazelle at a lion. Allison doesn't seem to remember being married to Tess. And Fargo does not remember being head of GD. That means you must be from what? Two years ago? Three at the max, because Jack hadn't been to Eureka for that long. Frankly, I don't remember any time-traveling devices back then."
He shot an amused look at Jack at the last part. The sheriff grinned lopsided.
"No, we are not from the past. Neither are we from the future", declined Allison.
She looked worried for a moment, regarding everyone present for a second there.
"But... That's the way time-traveling works?", grunted Nathan irritated.
"We have been at the festival and then – one second to the other – we were in camp Eureka, in the year 1947. But... We changed stuff and when we returned to the festival, Eureka was different", explained Jack patiently, the best he could.
Nathan nodded interested, his gaze calculating, trying to figure this equation out.
"And how does this Doctor Grant fit into your story?"
"He's kind of the odd number in this. He traveled with us back to the year 2010. He's one of the founders of Eureka, but because we took him out of time, everything has changed", explained Henry.
"So, basically, everything would be normal if you weren't there", grunted Nathan, staring at Grant.
"I have been curious about the future", grinned Charles nonchalantly and shrugged.
"And you ruined the timeline by being so", huffed the head of research annoyed.
"We need your help", started Allison slowly to change the topic.
"I figured as much", chuckled the supposedly dead scientist. "You want to know more about this timeline, am I right? Though, in exchange, I'd like to know more about your timeline."
"Yes, yes, just give us a little insight!", urged Jo on.
"Ah... Where to start...?", hummed Stark with a smirk.
"Relationships. That would be much appreciated", sighed Henry.
"What do you mean?", asked Nathan confused and leaned back.
"It seems Henry is married. And it also seems I am married, too. Then there is the matter of Zane... In our world, Zane and Jo were engaged. And Tess was with Jack", explained his ex-wife.
"Wait a second, Jack and Tess?", Stark laughed loudly at that. "That's ridiculous! After she came back to Eureka, you two picked it off where you left as teens. Jack was as far from dating Tess as imaginable. And Zane? He and Jo are like cat and dog, especially since Missus Josephina Taggart over there wouldn't dream of dating a criminal."
"Hold on there a second, buddy! Jim and I are married?", exclaimed Jo wide-eyed.
"For... three years now, if I'm not mistaken", nodded Nathan.
"And... about Zane...", drawled Fargo, blushing vigorously.
The glint in Stark's eyes was answer enough for the clumsy scientist.
"About our work, please!", grunted Jo irritated at the comment, not desiring to talk about Zane.
"Henry is mayor of Eureka", started Nathan.
"That far we agree", nodded Henry. "Though I've been single in our world..."
"Ally is director of medical science, like I am director of researches. Left and right hand of Fargo, our dear head of GD. Though I've already noticed that your Fargo over there is more like the old Fargo, before the position went straight to his head. Jo is the head of security at GD, this solved some problems we had before they even happened. Easier for Jack to do his work. If you're wondering, Deputy Andy, an android AI, replaced Jo. For everything else I advice you to try your
'new' jobs out. If something confuses you, you can still call me. I'm glad to help."
The smirk on Stark's lips told them that he would love to help, as long as the stories he'd receive would be worth the effort. The head of research leaned back some more and regarded the group with a curious glare, thinking about his next question.
"What about me? In your world, I mean..."
The rest of the group exchanged uncertain looks, no one daring to say a word. Until the sheriff sighed and stood, looking around his bunker awkwardly.
"How about you guys go and adjust to your new jobs and I'll tell Stark a story."
"Are you sure, Jack? You know that I could...", offered the mayor slowly.
"No, it's alright. Just... get going... And I know my job anyway."
"If you're sure", sighed Ally reluctantly.
"Grant, how about you come with us?", suggested Jo after a short glance at Carter and Stark.
"That's a great idea, Jo. Go and show him around a bit", agreed Jack eagerly.
He didn't need the scientist from the past to butt into this very important conversation. The sheriff waved them all off, until he was alone with Nathan Stark.
"Okay, Jack. This gravely atmosphere is enough to tell a complete moron that something is off", grunted Stark with one raised eyebrow and sat down on the couch. "Are you going to tell me what had happened to me in your world or are we playing ten questions?"
His humor died down once the sheriff turned around to face him. The beautiful baby-blue eyes he valued so much were clouded with sadness. A sadness Nathan didn't like at all.
"Jack, tell me what's wrong. We're best friends... in my world at least. What had happened to me that made you all so surprised to see me? Did I die?"
"No", declined the blonde with a slow shake of his head.
"Well, if I didn't die, what else? Did I leave Eureka and decide to never come back?", chuckled the older man with an amused undertone.
Blue eyes searched for a place somewhere behind Nathan and to the scientist's surprise the blonde nodded slowly. "You could say it like that..."
"Huh? So what? After Ally came back together with Tess, I've been so heartbroken that I ran away to curl up and whimper in a corner far away from Eureka?", grunted Stark.
Jack heaved a sigh and sat down onto the couch opposite the scientist, his hands folded in his lap and his head hung low. A dark eyebrow was raised in confusion. If he wasn't dead, why did the blonde look like he already had attended Nathan's funeral?
"Tess was my girlfriend in our world", explained the sheriff. "And you were back together with Ally. You two were happy. In love, all over again. You were supposed to get remarried..."
"Wait. Ally and me? Together again? In love? And what's 'supposed' supposed to mean?"
"Something went wrong and... funny... it was a different timeline, too. But this different timeline was slowly destroying our world, tearing apart everything we knew and loved... Nathan, our Nathan, sacrificed himself... He just... vaporized into tiny bits and vanished... At their wedding day... Ally had been devastated, everybody had been... they... we all... tried to get him back, but it was futile... He was gone... That was two years ago..."
Jack's voice broke and he grabbed his head desperately, sobs ragging his body. The scientist opposite him stood and walked over to the sheriff, sitting down next to him and wrapping his arms around the blonde, pulling him into a soothing hug. He still couldn't comprehend what had been said – he would collect the scientific details from Fargo and Henry later on – but he saw evidently that Nathan Stark's departure had hit the sheriff hard.
"And here I had the impression that you and my counterpart from your world didn't get along..."
"Stark couldn't stand me, that doesn't mean it was mutual...", muttered Jack awkwardly into the scientist's broad chest.
"Funny", chuckled Nathan humorless. "Between my Jack and me were some not quite mutual feelings, too..."
The blonde in his arms stiffened significantly and the scientist wondered briefly if he had said too much this time. Jack pushed back some and tilted his head in confusion.
"What... kind of feelings...?", asked the sheriff.
"Well, the Jack from my world and I had grown to be good friends, we spend much time together... Very much time... Maybe too much... It's actually kind of funny, Ally was the first one to notice. She pointed out the obvious to me and when I confronted Jack with it, he... Well, he is – was? – still in love with Zoe's mother and turned me down politely", explained Nathan with a sigh.
"Turned you down? You mean...", gasped Jack wide-eyed.
"Very much so, yes", nodded the scientist gravely.
"Uh...", muttered the blonde awkwardly and looked around. "Okay, this is the last thing I'd ever expected to hear from the great Nathan Stark..." He chuckled lowly.
"Look, I guess I shouldn't have said that. Don't worry, I'm used to you turning me down-"
Nathan was interrupted as fierce lips pressed against his own. His eyes widened in surprise.
"Okay, this was the last thing I'd ever expect Jack Carter to do", stated Nathan as they parted.
"Well... I thought I'd never see you again... I mean, I know you're not the same Nathan I had fallen for... And I'm not the same Jack you had fallen for... But... Essentially seen we are the same people, aren't we? I mean... We could give it a try... I would give it a try..."
"So would I", murmured Nathan against Jack's lips before sealing them with his own again.
Maybe they weren't the exact same, but they were each other's only chance. Their only second chance of a happy life with the man they each loved.
~*~ The End ~*~