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: The title is a (probably extremely subtle) reference to the Augustana song "Boston." (As in "I think I'll go to Boston, I think I'll start a new life.")
Start a New Life
Summary: Outside of Eureka, Zane and Jo's careers are on very different paths. They need to talk about what that will mean for their future.
Spoilers Through: 5x12—Double Take
It had been days since word came about the DOD defunding Eureka. And in that time, Jo and Zane had never broached the subject of what happens next for them. Jo knew why, obviously. Without Eureka, there was no next for them. But it was time to talk about it.
They were having dinner at Cafe Diem, maybe in the same exact booth they had been in when Shaw delivered the news, maybe one over; Jo did not remember. She cleared her throat. "Have you—Have you given any thought to what you're going to do when GD shuts down?"
He sighed. She could tell he had been thinking about it. Of course, he had. "Um, I guess I'll get back into theoretical work. After my pardons came down, I fielded some offers, just to see what my options were. The best offer came out of MIT, so I'll probably end up there."
That was a little more specific than she hoped. "Didn't MIT kick you out?" She did not know why she was trying to talk him out of the job. It was not like any of the other offers would be any better for them.
Zane smiled. "Yeah, and then I published a very well received doctoral thesis at Yale. And another one at Cornell that received a prestigious award. MIT really wants my next publication to have their name on it. Enough to overlook the follies of my youth." His smile faded considerably. "What about you? You going back into the Army?"
It sounded like he knew the answer, and in a way, he did. She came to Eureka to be a part of the amazing scientific advancements that were happening there, but in the outside world, local law enforcement and private security were not what she wanted to do with her life. "I don't know, maybe. I have some friends at the NSA who've told me I have a standing offer, but it's still informal."
Zane nodded. "I'm guessing we're not talking about a desk job."
"No." Even though she could see the futility, she still had to ask. "Should we talk about—"
He did not let her finish. "What is there to talk about? Special forces or NSA, your career plan involves running around the most dangerous parts of the world, putting yourself in mortal peril. I'm leaning toward Boston, but if you wanted to go to, say, Seattle, I could see what the University of Washington has to offer, maybe talk with some tech firms. I can't follow you to Afghanistan, Jo. Or Syria, or god knows where."
She knew that, and she was glad that someone had put it out there. It just really, really sucked. She thought about where his career path was taking him. "What am I going to do in Boston?"
He shrugged, his dinner effectively forgotten. "If you were going to be in D.C., actually spending most of your time in D.C., maybe I could—"
It was Jo's turn to cut him off. "The NSA is not going to offer me a job so I can sit at a desk in Washington. I'm not an intelligence analyst, Zane; I'm an intelligence gatherer."
Zane looked frustrated. He did not want to let this go without a fight. That was good. If it was going to end, at least, they'd know they tried. "Why can't you just do something domestic?"
If he had to ask that, he didn't know her as well as Jo thought. "Like what, get pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen?"
He narrowed his eyes at her and didn't say anything for a second. "No, like join the FBI and hunt terrorists in this country."
"Oh, that kind of domestic," Jo said, slightly embarrassed. His question made more sense now.
"Yeah," he responded slowly. "Although I might want kids someday. And who wears shoes in the kitchen?"
They were talking about it, how to make their lives work together outside of Eureka. She considered the FBI's counterterrorism division. If it meant staying with Zane . . . "You know, the FBI doesn't let you choose where you're assigned."
He might have taken that as a acquiescence to domestic federal law enforcement. "Just tell me the city, and I'll make it work. I'm one of the top particle physicists in the world. If I focus on theoretical physics, I could be doing Nobel Prize level work within ten years. MIT is not the only school that wants their name attached to my work. Now that I don't have outstanding warrants hanging over my head, I can pretty much write my own ticket."
"And you'll go anywhere in the U.S.?"
Zane did not even hesitate. "Yeah. I mean, express a strong preference for Boston, and try to avoid the Midwest, unless it's Chicago. But yeah, anywhere."
He was talking like this was a done deal. There were things she could ask him, like what if she was assigned to Alaska or some other remote place with no nearby research universities? It didn't matter; his offer to go anywhere for her was enough. There wasn't even a point in pursuing a career with the FBI if not to stay with Zane. She made a split second decision. "You should take the job at MIT, and I'll do my best to make Boston work."
Jo was pretty elite in her field too, and she knew enough people in the Justice Department that she could probably write her own ticket as well. The FBI was not her dream job, but it could be close. In about a year she would know whether she made the right decision or not, and the NSA would still be there if she hadn't. Right now, she was willing to bet on a future with Zane.
New Post-Finale Author's Note: This was written prior to the finale, including the few parts that are kinda similar to the canon. Had I seen the finale I would have remembered that nothing is ever this easy with those two. Anything beyond this point (should there be more in this universe, no promises) will be written after the finale, but will be AU anyway, and so it shouldn't matter.
New New Author's Note: I had a reviewer who thought I wasn't giving Alaska fair treatment. Apparently U of AK Fairbanks has a very good engineering school. So had Jo asked that question, I suppose that's how Zane would have replied. Although his interest here is still in theoretical work. (And, on a related note, I am well aware that the University of Washington would not be a bad place to end up, physics-wise.)