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.
A Place for Everyone
Summary: And everyone was finally back in their place. At least for one night.
Spoilers through: 5x03—Force Quit
There was something so perfect about this moment. Jo was lying on her stomach, wearing nothing but a sheet. She was half propped up on one elbow, her fingers entwined in her disheveled black hair. As much as Zane greatly enjoyed having sex with her, it was this part, the part after, that made the reunion feel real to him. For just this one perfect moment, she was his. As she looked down on him, there was a look in her eyes like no one and nothing else mattered to her. And after the terrible month he'd just had, that was all Zane needed.
It was his first night back in his own home, his real home, since the whole Astraeus ordeal started. He had invited Jo to join him, fully expecting her to say no. To his surprise, and he shouldn't have been surprised, she said yes. Now that he had gotten a proper welcome back, he kind of wanted to talk about what came next for them, and he also wanted to avoid it. He found a compromise. "So what exactly does a walkabout entail?"
Jo gave a little chuckle. "That is a good question. I guess it's just letting the universe guide you, going with the—" She smiled and winced to show that she realized how ridiculous this sounded. "—flow."
As far as he knew, she had not yet decided whether she needed to continue her walkabout, and Zane thought maybe there was a way to convince her that she did not. "Didn't the universe guide you back to Eureka?"
She disagreed. "Carter's phone call guided me back to Eureka."
Zane could not help it; he felt a sting of jealousy at the thought that she came back for Carter, which was not even what she was saying. Even though none of that ever happened and none of it was likely ever to happen, it still hurt. He put those feelings aside. "Well, as a physicist, I'm qualified to inform you that Carter is part of the universe."
She considered this for a moment. "I just—I still haven't figured anything out."
Over the last month and the last day, Zane had figured a lot of things out, most importantly that he did not ever want to see Jo with another man again. Push come to shove, Carter wasn't really that bad of a guy. If Zane were really dead and Allison was out of the picture, he would probably want Jo to be with someone like Carter. And for a month he tried to convince himself that maybe this was better, maybe Carter was better for her. It still didn't stop Zane from wanting to punch the guy every time he saw him.
So by now Zane knew with some specificity how he felt about Jo. There were even some words that he thought he might be ready to use. But he could not force her to reach the same conclusions. If she needed this walkabout to figure it out, then he just had to accept that. And the sooner she left, the sooner she would come back. Or announce that she was not coming back. That was the part that worried him. "Does that mean you're going to go?"
She blew out her breath and ran her hand through her hair, readjusting its position on her head. "I don't really know what I'm going to do. I'm not sure it's a good idea for me to keep staying with Carter."
That hit him hard, like the remnant of something that shouldn't be. It took Zane a second to remember that she was staying with Carter because her house was destroyed, twice. He knew that. There was nothing suggestive or troubling about it. Just a friend helping out another friend. "Is that because of the. . . " There was confusion in her eyes so he did not finish.
She jumped on that. "The what? What happened in there? Because Carter can barely look at me, and Allison . . . There's something Allison's not telling me."
Of course no one had told her. Allison would not have mentioned it for the same reason Zane hadn't; it was too difficult to talk about. Eventually, she would probably need to know, especially if it was causing her problems with Allison and Carter. But not tonight. Carter was already between them; talking about it was not going to help. "Nothing. Literally, nothing happened in there because it wasn't real."
She opened her mouth to say something, but Zane cut her off. "If it's just that you need a place to stay, I guess you could stay here."
That distracted her from her questions about the computer world. "Did you just ask me to move in with you?" she asked, half teasing, half asking.
That would be absurd; they weren't even really together yet. For him to ask her to move in would be taking things way too fast, but at this point, he would do anything to get her out of Carter's house. "I'm just offering you a place to stay, like any friend would. Like Carter did."
"This is a little different than Carter."
He hated that he needed to hear her say that. There was never anything going on between those two. And he hated that he was going to prompt her to say more. "Really? How?" he asked, pretending like he was just playing dumb.
She made a thoughtful humming noise. "Well, first of all, this is a one-bedroom apartment. Also, I'm naked."
He glanced down at her body as though he had not noticed. "Oh, that." He shrugged. "I like when you're naked. And don't worry about the bedroom; I have a very comfortable couch."
"Uh-huh." She pulled her arm out from under her and scooted closer to him. "Your couch isn't really that comfortable. Are you sure you're going to be okay on it?"
Her face was so close to his, and she had that look again, like they were the only people in the world. It was all he could do not to pull her down on top of him. "Does that mean you're staying?" he asked, well aware that mirror image of that question had gone unanswered a few minutes before.
Her eyes scanned over his face as she gave this some thought. "Well, I'm definitely staying tonight."
Author's Note: I'm not going to write it, but I imagine that the next day there's some scene where Zane runs into Allison and says something like, "Jo's decided to move out of Carter's place. Just thought you might want to know." And Allison very much appreciates that he shared the news with her.