Happy New Year! I know it's been a while since I first published this (five months…), but I've been going through some stuff and major life changes and haven't exactly had time to write or watch Eureka in any capacity. And if I don't watch my shows, I don't exactly have any inspiration for writing and I forget the character voices I use to write and it comes out bleh…
I know this is a little short compared to the first chapter, but I'm going to try and make up for that by updating at least once a week, just don't hold me 100% to that- maybe only like 75%
I'd love to thank everyone who Reviewed, Favorite'd, and Followed this since September. And if it pleases you, review again!
Nathan sat upright in his bed, staring vacantly at the wall, obviously deep in thought, when both men came in. He glanced up at their entrance and smiled.
"Nathan, do you need anything?" asked Henry.
Nathan shook his head. "No. Thank you, Henry. I'd like to talk to Carter alone."
Henry nodded. "I'll be in the next room with Allison."
He left and Jack moved to the side of Nathan's bed.
"How you feeling?"
Nathan snorted and smirked. "Fine. Well, as fine as I can having crashed my car into a lake, drowned, died, broken a bunch of bones, and had two coughing fits on a collapsed lung. I should be asking you that. CPR for four hours. You know that's impossible, right? You should have passed out from exhaustion around forty-five minutes."
"And what? Let the biggest pain in the ass I've ever had the pleasure of working with die?" asked Jack, smiling back. His face sobered, "I said I wouldn't let you die."
Jack roughed up the hair at the back of his head, randomly and suddenly nervous, remembering the look of utter trust Nathan had given him when he said that. The man had never done that before. In fact, Jack was pretty sure with the exception of Allison, Nathan didn't trust anyone. The sensation felt odd and he could feel the blood rising in his cheeks. Better there than where it could go, he thought. The skin around his mouth itched and he rubbed his hand over it, confused where the chafing had come from.
He shrugged, to cover his momentary insecurity and said, "I don't really feel tired, I've been asleep for six hours. The spider bites hurt."
"I bet that beard burn stings, too, doesn't it? Been busy have you?" There was an evil twinkle in the scientist's eyes and his smirk had grown larger.
"Oh, Shuddup!" snapped Jack, blushing. "It was your beard!"
"Hydrocortisone works. If you're allergic though, try an oil free lotion," offered Nathan.
"I know what works for me," huffed Jack, "I don't really want to know about yours and Allison's sex life, Stark."
Nathan leaned back and crossed his arms, raising his eyebrows at Jack. "Allie made me shave, Carter. I'm talking from personal experience. But it seems you already have some."
Jack opened his mouth with a comeback, but it died on his tongue when he realized what he had said.
What they both had said.
Closing his mouth to clear his throat, Jack replied, "Thanks. I'll- I'll look into it."
Nathan nodded and the both were quiet for a minute, not looking at each other, Jack rocking up onto his heels and back down.
"I wanted to thank you, Carter," said Nathan, his tone more serious. Jack looked at him. His eyes were almost dead. "If it wasn't for you, I'd have been a pile of sludge when they found me in a month or two. If anyone ever found me."
A look of fear crossed his face and Jack thought momentarily of the one line that had stuck with him from a poem in high school, 'I will show you fear in a handful of dust.' For most people, he realized, like him, it was a reality that they avoided thinking about. Being forgotten after death. For someone with an ego the size of a planet like Nathan, it was a legitimate fear.
"We would have found you. Every car in Eureka has a GPS device that transmits coordinates on impact," Jack reminded him.
Nathan smiled wryly, a lively twinkle in his eye. "As long as it's not an invisibling device."
"Hey! I was right about Anderson!" Jack pointed an indignant finger at him.
"You were. And you're right more often than I give you credit for."
"I- What?" Jack stared at him, not believing what he'd just heard.
"You may not be traditionally intelligent, but you have more correct epiphanies than anyone I've ever met," offered the scientist.
Jack was growing, genuinely concerned now for Nathan's mental wellbeing. "You sure you're okay? They didn't miss any head trauma, did they?"
Nathan smiled again, which just added to Jack's worry. The man had never smiled this often around him, unless it was at his expense. There had to be head trauma.
"I just came to a couple of realizations by the lake. You hate me, but you saved my life."
"I'm a sheriff. It's part of the job description." He shrugged, rubbing his hands over the back of his head again.
"Cobb might not have done it."
Jack nodded, unsure of what exactly his response to that was supposed to be.
Nathan seemed to sense his discomfort and changed the subject asking, "How did you get me out of the car?"
"Rescue hammer. I smashed the window in and cut the seatbelt. Lucky you were wearing one. Might have lost more than a few IQ points if you hadn't been."
"I like to drive fast, not stupidly."
"Huh. So why'd you crash?"
"A deer ran in front of me."
"I didn't see any blood."
Nathan rolled his eyes. "I said it ran in front of me. Not that I hit it. I'm an excellent driver."
"Except when you put your car in a lake," Jack added, grinning.
"I over corrected!"
"Cars have these things called brakes, you know. You might want to have Henry put a set in your next car."
Nathan frowned indignantly but didn't reply and Jack cheered internally that he had finally won a round.
"Did you arrest Fargo?" There was a challenge in the scientist's voice.
Jack looked up sharply at Nathan, ready to defend his position, but he must have seen the fight in Jack's eyes and nodded.
"Good. I have no idea what he's thinking half the time. What charges?"
"Reckless endangerment," explained Jack. "I wanted to add assaulting an officer, but he didn't really, so..."
"What about trespassing?"
"No. Forgot that one. I was a little busy not dying if a spider bite."
"Add it," suggested Nathan. "And you can keep him for a couple days. He needs to learn about consequences."
Jack raised his eyebrows, surprised. "I can't be sure you'll get him back in one piece. Depends on how much he irritates Jo."
Nathan smirked and they were quiet for a moment, the conversation running to a stop.
"I think Allison wants to see you," Jack said, offering an out before an awkward silence could begin to build.
"Ah, thanks." Nathan nodded, pursing his lips slightly. "Tell her I need a few minutes to rest."
"I will." Jack crammed his hands in the borrowed set of sweats he was wearing and turned to walk out. He was half out the door when Nathan said, "Really, thank you again. I'll see you around, Jack?"
The question in Nathan's voice confused Jack, used as he was to the man confidently demanding what he wanted. He smiled in an effort to give Nathan a touch of that confidence back. "Sure, Nathan."
He stepped out the door, closed it, then roughed his hands up the back of his head. Calling Nathan by his first name when he was half-unconscious to get his attention and to keep him from fainting in shock was one thing, but when they were both entirely lucid?
Touching his face in thought, he flinched at the feeling of his calluses against the beard burn. Nathan had said it first. He was just responding. Trying to… He had no idea.
It was a change, though, possibly for the good. And as much as he enjoyed hating Nathan, the scientist drove him insane. Maybe it would be good to try and make friends with him.
At least S.A.R.A.H. would let him eat red meat again if he got his blood pressure down.
Jack smiled at the thought, normal in the mess of his too-noisy mind which was adamantly trying to remember the swooping, bubbling feeling in his belly when he first started resuscitation on Nathan.
He walked back toward the lobby, a slight spring in his step he didn't exactly notice, wondering if maybe Nathan liked sports.