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A Strange New World

Chapter Text

“Hey, so what’s the big emergency?” Jack asked as he entered Henry’s garage. He stopped short upon seeing Allison, Jo, Henry, Grant and Fargo all standing around Beverly’s bridge device, which seemed to be powering up. “Oh, I’m not going to like this.”

Grant held out his hand. “I need your phone.”

“I thought we decided no more jumping around in time… remember? We decided that it was too dangerous?” Jack said, ignoring Grant’s request. “Doesn’t anyone remember that?”

“We don’t have much of a choice Jack,” Allison said as she dug into his pocket, retrieving his phone and giving it to Grant.

“General Masnfield is on his way here,” said Fargo. “He knows.”

“Knows…?”

“About the time travel and about us not following protocol,” Fargo elaborated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“How?”

“It started out with Grant’s file,” Jo began. “Just like Zane, someone took a closer look at it and realized that it was a nothing more than a very good fake. Then they started trying to figure out who created it and that lead them to Fargo. We can’t be sure if they know about the rest of us, but we can’t take any chances and they can’t stay.”

“And if we can’t stay and then we all have to go,” Fargo added.

“Go where?” Jack asked. “We already tried the whole going back in time to make things right thing… that didn’t work out so well.”

“We’re going to try to go back to the day when we came back to the future,” Henry explained from somewhere behind the bridge device. “Now that we know where and why things started going wrong, we can try to fix it.”

“Here you go sport,” Grant said, handing Jack back his phone.

Jack stared at the phone then looked to Allison. “I… I don’t want to go back. I like how things are here and now.”

Allison hugged him. “I know Jack, but we don’t have a choice. And besides, most things won’t change.”

Jack knew that she was pointedly referring to their new relationship. He sighed; he wished he could believe her, but past experiences had proven otherwise. “I wish I could believe that.”

The sound of screeching tires could be heard just outside. “Henry?” Fargo asked nervously.

“Almost there,” Henry said anxiously as he looked at the progress bar on his computer which read ninety-five percent.

Banging begun on the door. “Henry Deacon!” came General Mansfield’s voice. “Open up!”
Grant looked at the computer screen as he heard the general order someone to “break it down!” A different kind of banging began on the door and Allison wrapped her arms tightly around Jack as all in one instant, the door broke down and the bridge device activated.

Chapter Text

The sound of many voices could be heard around them and Allison opened her eyes to find herself hugging empty air. It took her a moment to adjust before she realized that she should be gripping Jenna’s stroller. “Jenna? Jenna!” she called out frantically, searching desperately for any sign of her daughter.

“Allison?” came a familiar voice from not far away.

Allison sought out the voice and finally laid eyes on Nathan, not far down the street, holding Jenna. Nathan was alive? It took her a moment to fully take it in but soon she ran over to the man and grabbed Jenna from his arms. “Oh Jenna…” she said, fighting back tears as she hugged her tightly.

Nathan frowned a bit. “What’s wrong Allison?”

“I… I just thought I’d lost her.”

Nathan smiled a little. “I just told you, not five minutes ago, that Callister and I were going to take her to get a balloon… you handed her to me, remember?”

“Callister?” Alison asked, confused.

Callister Raynes heard his name and turned away from the booth that he was perusing over to join them, one pink and one blue balloon in hand. “Hi Alison,” he said, smiling.

Allison stared at the artificially intelligent man. He was still alive too? But… he had died years ago from a virus corrupted system. How was he…?

“Allison!” Jack yelled, sounding out of breath. He bent over and rested his hands on his knees as he reached her, trying to regain control of his breathing.

“Um… Jack.”

“Yeah?” Jack stood abruptly and was shocked by the sight that he was met with. “Stark? Raynes?”

Nathan stared at the two, confused by their looks of confusion. “Jack…” Callister gave Jack a small smile and a wave.

“Jack,” Henry said as he, Jo, Fargo and Grant all came jogging over.

Jack turned to look at his friend. “I think you did something wrong.” Henry stared at Nathan and Callister, surprised.

Nathan frowned. “Allison… what’s going on?”

“I can honestly say that I have no idea,” she replied, looking Jenna over as if she expected to find something wrong with her.

Tess jogged across the street holding a sippy cup. “Tess?” Jack asked, a feeling of dread turning his stomach; he would have to break up with her all over again.

“Hey Jack,” Tess replied casually, smiling. “Here you go Jenna, here’s your sippy.” She handed the cup to the little girl who eagerly took it, giving the woman a happy smile, and gave Jenna’s tummy a little tickle.

“Thanks Tess,” Allison said hesitantly. She had forgotten that Tess and Jack would still be together at this point in time.

“Of course babe.” Tess smiled and pressed a quick kiss to her lips before moving beside her and wrapping an arm around her. As Allison’s mind reeled in shock, Tess began cooing at Jenna. Jo, Grant, Jack, and Henry all gaped while Fargo tried to suppress a grin as one of his fantasies came true. Tess noticed, “oh come on, I thought we had gotten past this.”

“No, of course we…” Henry quickly muttered.

“Yeah, no, we just…” Jo began. No one was really sure how to respond.

“Where are you going?” Allison asked quickly as she saw Jo retreating.

“I just remembered that there is a few personnel files that I needed to get for that thing that we were talking about earlier,” Jo said emphatically, hoping that they would understand what she was saying. “Uh, Carter, mind if I use your computer to access them?”

After a moment, it clicked with Jack and he nodded. “Yeah, of course. I’ll just… help you.”

“Oh yes, it would be very helpful to see those files,” Henry added, following.

Fargo couldn’t help himself as he wrapped his arms around Nathan and buried his nose into the man’s arm. “It’s really great to see you again Doctor Stark.”

“Fargo, you just saw me at Café Diem at breakfast.”

“It’s still really great to see you again.”

“Fargo,” Nathan said with a hint of annoyance, “you’re making absolutely no sense and you’re wrinkling me. Don’t make me send you in for a full medical evaluation six months early. I’ll tell the doctor refrigerate the lube before your prostate exam and colonoscopy.”

“I’m too young to need either of those procedures.”

“Keep wrinkling me and I’ll be sure that the examining doctor makes and exception just for you.” Fargo quickly released his mentor and hurried after the others. Grant chuckled, but gave no excuse as he went.

“Uh, Allison?” Nathan asked as she started past him. “Does Jenna need to know about whatever Carter and Lupo were rambling about?”

“”Uh…” Allison began, her mind still running rampant. “No, why?”

“I just thought that maybe I could spend more than five minutes with our daughter.”

Allison frowned and stared at Jenna for a moment, unsure if she was willing to let her daughter out of her sight in this strange new world. “Uh, sure.”

“It’s ok Ally,” Tess said, smiling, “I won’t let him fit her for a suit or anything.” Nathan shot her a look. Allison smiled a little as she reluctantly handed Jenna to her father and, with one last look, went to join the others in the Sheriff’s Department.

When she arrived inside, Jo was positioned in front of Jack’s computer, mouse clicking at an unbelievable pace, the printer was shooting out papers and Jack was collecting and distributing them as quickly as possible.

Henry frowned as he looked over his file and sighed heavily. “Jo, can you print off Grace’s file as well?” Jo nodded.

Fargo bounced on the balls of his feet anxiously, waiting for his file to be printed. When Jack handed him the next stack, he ran off to a corner to look them over.

“Huh,” Jo said.

“What?” Jack asked as he sorted Allison’s papers and handed them to her.

“Grant has a file,” Jo responded.

“What?” Grant asked from where he was leaning against the bars of the jail cell. “That’s not possible.” He pushed away from the bars and joined Jack beside the printer.

“Well apparently it is,” Jo said, putting his file in the print queue.

“How?”

Jo took a closer look at the file and her eyes widened. “Uh, Carter, you may want to sit down for this one…”

“Why?” Jack asked as he set his own file aside.

“Holy crap!” Fargo exclaimed, an ear to ear grin bursting forth on his lips. “This is officially the best day ever!”

“Don’t tell me you’re head of GD again Fargo,” Jack replied with trepidation.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Fargo said distractedly.

Grant pulled his file from the printer and scanned over it. His eyes widened as he spotted what he assumed Jo had told Carter that he should sit down for. “Well Jack, I can assure you that Fargo is not the head of GD.”

Fargo pouted momentarily. “Aw… and I was just getting used to and starting to like being ‘the man’.”

Jack smiled, completely ignoring Fargo. “Well that is great! I can sleep better at night now knowing that.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Jo mumbled.

“So who is? Stark again? Or Allison?”

“No,” Grant said slowly. “I am.”

Everyone looked to Jack as his smile disappeared. “Wh- what?” Grant watched Carter carefully. “There must be some mistake…”

“No mistake,” Jo said quietly, scooting the chair that she had been sitting in over to Jack before grabbing hers and Grace’s papers from the printer tray. “These files came straight off of the GD server.”

Jack plopped down into the chair, looking as though his entire world had just been crushed. “Could this day get any worse?” he asked as he picked up his papers.

“Congratulations is also a good response. Especially when you’re talking to your superior,” said Grant, unable to resist rubbing it in. Jack shot him a look.

“Grace and I aren’t married,” Henry said sadly. “I doubt we’ve even met.”

Jack looked to his friend. “You don’t know that…”

“No, but it’s a pretty good guess. In the original timeline, I had only met her today… and who knows if that’s even happened.” Henry’s frown deepened as he leaned back in his chair and slapped the papers against his leg in frustration.

“What?!” Jo exclaimed suddenly. “That has to be a mistake.”

Fargo strutted over to her. “No mistake babe, says it right here on my papers too.”

“What’s wrong with you two?” Jack asked.

“Well, apparently…” Fargo began.

“Don’t you dare say it!” Jo warned.

“Well I’m sure they’ll find out eventually anyways. If it’s in this file and not under the part that requires security clearance, that means that it’s probably public knowledge… the whole town knows.” Jo groaned, sliding down in her chair as if trying to shrink away.

“Know what?”

“Jo and I are together,” Fargo beamed proudly. “Have been for at least a year now according to our files.”

Jack grinned a little – as did Henry, Alison and Grant – and tried to keep himself from outright laughing.

“Not a word Carter,” Jo cautioned, “or I swear to God that it will be the last thing you ever say.”

“I was only going to say congratulations.”

“Thank you Sheriff,” Fargo replied, placing a hand on Jo’s shoulder which was quickly pushed away. “Did you see Jo? We even live together in a lovely two story house on Euripides Drive; three bedrooms, two baths, a breakfast nook and play room… guess we were planning on having kids.”

“Fargo,” Jo said through gritted teeth, “if you want to live, you will shut up right now! And don’t touch me!”

“Well like it or not, we are going to have to live together… how would it look if the happy couple suddenly just split up?”

“It would look like we split up… and it would look better than one half of the happy couple killing the other.”

Fargo sighed. ‘We’re going to need couples counseling.”

“And Carter, I’m going to need to crash on your couch again.”

“Running to another man won’t help anything.”

“Fargo…” Jo said through gritted teeth.

Jack did his best to hide his grin. “I’ll have SARAH get the guest linens ready.”

“Thank you, Carter.”

Allison sat wordlessly, staring at her file. Jack scooted his chair over beside hers. “Well?”

“Nathan and I never got married… either time,” Allison began quietly. “Apparently, a couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted another baby and since I wasn’t even seeing anyone at the time, I selected a donor from the sperm bank.”

“And that donor was Stark,” Jack summed up.

Alison nodded. “Then, shortly after I was already pregnant, Tess showed up and… I guess we somehow fell in love.” Allison looked at Jack. “Tess and I are married. According to the marriage license, we got married a month before I gave birth to Jenna.”

“Oh,” Jack said. He couldn’t think of anything better to say.

“Wait, you said that you and Nathan never got married, even the first time… how is that possible?” Jo asked. “Things being different are to be expected, but most of the changes were in relatively recent events before.”

“Jo’s right,” Henry said, deep in thought. “There wouldn’t be this much variation in a simple time jump back to the day when all of this started… in fact, there really shouldn’t have been any changes. It’s more like we’re in a parallel universe.”

“Parallel universe…” Jack said, trying to remember what he had been told about them once before. “Uh… the farther away from the original universe that you get, the more that things change, right?”

“Theoretically,” Henry replied. “But it would explain these drastic changes… Nathan and Allison never marrying, Grant already having a file and being head of GD…”

“Me and Fargo living together,” Jo added unhappily.

“Tess and I being married,” Allison said.

“Wait, wasn’t something said about the sky being green?” Jack asked as he hurried to look out the window. The sky was still blue.

“I said that it could be, not that it would be,” said Henry. “The changes could be in anything.”

A thought struck Jack and he grabbed his papers again. He sighed a breath of relief as he saw that Zoe had been born and was still living with him. “Zoe’s still here,” he explained as he noticed that the group was staring at him. He noticed something else. “Oh, but Zoe is apparently turning out to be a carbon copy of Zane though; I guess she never quite stopped being the girl that I brought here five years ago… she’s just a whole lot smarter about it now.”

“Zane!” Jo said, hurrying back over to the computer and searching for his file. Her head dropped sadly. “He was never brought to Eureka. He’s currently in federal prison for stealing that three-point-two million dollars.”

“I’ll get him out and have him brought here as soon as possible,” Grant said.

Jack wanted to protest but stopped himself; Jo didn’t need to hear his complaints on what a delinquent Zane is right now. And though he didn’t like to admit it, Zane – like Stark – while annoying, was good to have around when the town was in trouble and something super complicated needed fixing. Fargo also seemed to want to protest, but also thought better of it.

Silence fell over the room as the changes and what they meant began to sink in. It was so much more than they ever could have expected and none of it was easily fixed.

“So what do we do now?” Jo asked morosely.

“There isn’t much that we can do… we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore,” Henry said. “For now, we just have to play our predetermined parts and try not to attract any suspicion. If this whole thing has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t fix the past and we can’t alter the present to mimic what we once knew.”

“So Fargo and I have to play house?” Jo asked in dismay.

“For now at least.”

“The last thing we want is to be found out again,” Grant said. “Who knows what kind of a situation we might end up in if we have to use the bridge device once more.”

Allison nodded despondently and looked to Jack. “They’re right.”

“I know,” he replied sadly.

Tess pulled the door open slightly and poked her head through gap; she briefly wondered why everyone looked as though someone had just run over their puppies, but quickly dismissed the thought. “Hey Ally, come on. It’s a beautiful day and we promised that we’d spend it together, as a family.”

Allison gave Jack one last sorrowful look before plastering on a smile and heading towards the door. “Where’s Nathan and Jenna?”

“At Café Diem, having some of Vincent’s Founder’s Day cake and ice cream.”

Jack stared after them and muttered, “things always change.”

 

~*~*~*~

 

A little over a week had passed since they had been thrown into the new and less desirable reality and things weren’t getting any easier. Jack hadn’t seen Allison in days, Jo had spent the night on his couch pretty much every other night because she couldn’t stand living with Fargo for more than a day at a time, Grant was taking full advantage of his seniority over Jack every chance that he got (or at least that was the way it seemed), Zane was currently residing in his jail cell and causing more trouble than he ever remembered the previous versions causing and he hadn’t seen Henry act so desolate since Kim had died.

“Please allow me to fix you a more balanced and nutritious meal Jack,” SARAH begged as Jack poked at the Cheerios floating in his bowl. "You know what they say; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

“Cheerios are nutritious and heart healthy,” Jack said drearily. “Says so in every commercial and even right on the box.”

“Yes, but not as nutritious and heart healthy as an egg white and baby spinach omelet with reduced fat sharp cheddar, bell peppers and cremini mushrooms.”

“You’re not helping your case, SARAH,” the sheriff said, wrinkling his nose at the thought of such a breakfast.

“Morning dad,” Zoe greeted as she entered the kitchen. “SARAH, soy milk.”

“Of course Zoe,” SARAH said, dispensing the milk as the refrigerator revolved around. “Egg white omelet?”

“Sounds good,” she replied cheerfully, taking a sip of the milk.

“See Jack, you could learn a few things from your daughter.”

Jack stared at Zoe’s hair, which had changed color and length for the second time this week; this time it was black with two pale lavender stripes in the front. “Yeah, I could learn from her,” he said sarcastically.

Zoe shot her father a look. “What, you don’t like it?” she asked as she smoothed a hand over her hair.

“Well, it is better than the shocking blue…”

“Varity is the spice of life dad.”

“Yeah, well, I doubt who ever said that had a daughter who changes hair colors more often than some people change underwear.”

“It was William Cowper, and why does it matter to you so much? It’s not your hair.”

“But I have to look at it.”

Zoe shook her head, grabbed the freshly cooked omelet and retreated to the dining room table. “Whatever.”

Jack sighed heavily and dumped the remainder of his soggy cereal out. He had gotten so used to the Zoe that was a model student and, for the most part, a pleasure to be around; it was difficult to try and deal with a smarter version of her former self.

“Perhaps you should take the day off Jack, you look so tired,” SARAH commented.

“A day off isn’t going to help.” He grabbed his gun belt and strapped it around his waist. “I’m off to work, see you later Zo.”

“Ok dad.”

“Try not to get into too much trouble,” Jack requested earnestly.

“No promises,” Zoe replied, a hint of annoyance in her voice.

 

~*~*~*~

 

“Carter… Carter, wake up.”

“Isn’t he adorable when he sleeps?”

Jack slowly opened his eyes and found Grant standing beside him, looking down at him with a hint of concern. “Grant, what are you doing here?” he asked with a yawn.

“I’ve been trying to call you, when you didn’t answer… I was concerned,” he replied honestly.

The sheriff gave a small smile as he wiped the sleep from his eyes. “Didn’t know you cared.”

“Is this what passes for foreplay between you two?” Zane asked, his forehead resting between two of the jail cells bars and smiling devilishly.

“Shut up,” Jack said unenthusiastically, throwing a box of Kleenex in Zane’s general direction.

Grant didn't seem fazed by Zane’s witticism. “Well, being the head of GD now, it makes me uneasy when I have a problem that needs to be dealt with by my sheriff and I can’t get a hold of him.”

“Aww, that’s so sweet!” Zane cooed. Jack grabbed his pencil holder and emptied it before throwing it at him. “You’re not getting this stuff back.”

Jack ignored him and stared up at Grant blankly. “Your sheriff? Do I really need to remind you that you that I’m the sheriff of the Eureka, not your lackey?”

“And do I need to remind you that as long as you’re the sheriff of Eureka, you have to look into and take care of matters concerning the town and Global Dynamics at my discretion?”

Jack narrowed his eyes at Grant and folded his arms over his chest; yet another instance of Grant rubbing his new position in. “Still doesn’t make me your lackey.” Grant gave him a challenging stare.

“Guess we know who the dom is and who’s the sub in the relationship.” Grant turned to stare at Zane, raising one eyebrow at the implication. Jack pressed the button on his bracelet and Zane squealed as an electrical field encompassed his arm. “Oww! That was totally unnecessary!”

“You said there was a problem?” Jack asked.

“One of the Section 5 scientists, George Calden, didn’t come to work today and – much like you – isn’t answering his phone.”

“Did you try going to his house and knocking on the door?”

“Fargo did, there was no response.”

“So Fargo is your lackey now?”

“What is it with you and the word ‘lackey’ today?”

“It seems appropriate.”

Grant sighed. “Just find him, will you?”

“Fine.” Jack stood and took a sip of his cold coffee.

“Haven’t been sleeping well?” Grant asked in a tone that, if Jack hadn’t known better, sounded sympathetic.

“No,” Jack said, heading for the door, “this whole thing with Allison is…” Why was talking to Grant about this? “Never mind.”

 

~*~*~*~

 

Dr. Calden was fairly easily found and, for once, there was no major disaster; just another scientist that had cracked under the pressure. Apparently Grant, at least the Grant that had been here before they had arrived, was somewhat of a tyrant.

Carter pressed the ‘up’ button for the elevator and stared at one of the former Grant’s motivational posters. It showed Grant sitting in a library holding a The History of Psychics and read “learn from the past to make a better future.” Jack gave the book in the poster a closer look and realized that it was by Dr. Trevor Grant. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open to reveal Allison. “Jack…”

Jack straightened up at the sound of her voice and turned to look at her, surprised. “Allison, hey…”

“Hey Carter.”Nathan stepped out of the elevator, followed by Callister; he looked between the two for a moment. “Ok then… Callister we have some atoms to supercharge and explode,” he said upon receiving no response. “I’ll pick up Jenna tomorrow afternoon Allison.”

“Ok,” she replied as he began to walk away, finally stepping out of the elevator.

Jack looked after the two men. “Supercharged exploding atoms? That doesn’t sound good…”

“It’s perfectly safe, every safety precaution has been taken,” Allison assured him.

“Yeah, that’s what everyone always says just before something goes boom and my phone starts ringing.” She smiled. “So… haven’t seen you around for a few days.”

“Yeah, I know,” she said hesitantly.

Jack pulled her off to a quiet, unoccupied corner of the hallway. “And?”

“Jack… I... I really don’t know what to say.”

“Anything would be a start.”

“Look, what we had before, it was… it was amazing.”

“But?” Jack said, a sense of dread filling his gut. “I can tell that there is a but there.”

“I have an established life here… I can’t just turn my back on that for something that may or may not last,” she explained, frustrated. She couldn’t bear to look into his eyes, she knew without even looking that that look of utter hurt and betrayal was spreading across his features.

“So… is this it? Are you breaking up with me?”

“I’m sorry Carter,” she said honestly. “I can’t expect you to understand…”

“Do you love her?” Jack asked seriously.

“Carter, I…”

“Do you love her?” he repeated, putting emphasis on each word.

“I don’t know… maybe. Tess and I have a history; it was good, we were happy before or careers took us in different directions.” Jack reeled at this new information; he had always suspected based on the way that they had interacted, but honestly he never truly accepted it as anything more than perhaps a wild fantasy of his. “Tess has a permanent place here now though and Jenna really loves her…”

Jack nodded. “Ok,” was all he could manage before walking away.

“Carter…” Allison called after him, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks, but he ignored her.

Chapter Text

Jack fastened the cuffs around Zane’s wrists a little too tightly as he stared at his freshly flattened and smoldering car, fuming silently.

“Oww!” Zane complained, fidgeting.

“Shut up,” Jack ordered, snapping the cuff he was currently fastening one notch tighter. “You pancaked my car… you don’t have the right to complain!”

Henry knelt over the remains of the car, looking for a place to attach the tow truck’s wench to. Jack used his spare pair of cuffs to tether Zane to a nearby fence before joining Henry. “I think it’s beyond a tow, Henry.”

Henry chuckled. “Another sheriff’s vehicle bites the dust. They’re getting quite a collection over at the recycling center.”

“I’m thinking of putting in a request for something armored,” Jack said. “The only problem is, I don’t think they make anything that’s Zane-proof.”

Henry laughed as he found a place to hook to the crushed metal and activated the chain, lifting the wreckage up a little, and pulling in onto a trailer with a deafening screech of metal on pavement. Jack plugged his ears and took great pleasure in seeing Zane squirm, trying and failing to cover his ears with his hands behind his back. “So,” Henry began as he secured the jeep remains, “how are you doing Jack?”

“Well, I’m stuck with a delinquent genius whose latest invention smashed my car…”

“But it worked, so it’s totally worth it!” Zane interjected.

“Maybe to you!”

“That’s not what I meant Jack and you know it.”

“I know,” Jack replied, kicking at a piece of his broken tail light. Henry was referring to the situation with Alison. “I… I guess I’m doing okay. I mean, it’s not like we were really serious or anything; our relationship had only really just begun. And Tess is great with Jenna…”

“Well… that’s very mature of you Jack,” Henry said, looking at him dubiously.

Jack saw the doubt in his friend’s expression. “I know what you’re thinking Henry. But honestly, I’m coming to terms the fact that maybe Allison and I just aren’t meant to be together. I mean, every time I think that things are going to work out, something or someone comes between us… that can’t just be a coincidence.”

“So you’re saying that you’re going to leave it up to destiny?”

“I… I don’t know,” Jack said, thinking it over. “I guess all I’m saying is that I’m not going to try to force a relationship that never gets anywhere. It just takes too much time and effort for something that doesn’t last very long.”

Henry placed a supportive hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I’m sorry Jack, I really wish that things would work out; I know how much you love her.”

Jack shrugged. “So, how are things going with you Henry? You seem a little more upbeat today.”

Henry tried to suppress the broad grin that threatened to burst forth. “Ah, yes, well, I… I have a date with Grace tomorrow night.”

Jack smiled. “Henry, that’s great! When did this happen?”

“A few days ago. She brought the Grant car to my shop for a repair to the oil pan. We got to talking; it seemed to be going well, so I asked her if she’d like to have dinner with me.”

“That’s the best news I’ve heard all week.”

“Thanks Jack. So, do you want to ride back into town with me or should I call Grant and have him send a car?”

“I’ll ride with you. With my luck, I’d get stuck riding with SARAH again… or worse.”

“Worse?”

“I’m sorry, but I’d never be able to trust a car sent by Grant.”

Henry laughed. “Ah.” As Jack started around to the passenger’s side, Henry cleared his throat. “Uh Jack? Aren’t you forgetting something?” Henry nodded his head to where an annoyed Zane was still cuffed.

“Oh, right! Do you have some more of these straps that you used to strap down my metal pancake?” Jack asked, jogging over to Zane.

“Yeah, why?” Henry asked. “I’ve got your jeep strapped down good enough.”

“It’s not for my jeep, it’s for him,” Jack said as he escorted Zane over to the trailer.

Zane’s eyes widened. “That’s cruel and unusual punishment, I could sue.”

“That,” Jack pointed to his flattened vehicle, “was cruel and unusual punishment, I should sue!”

“It’s just a car, it doesn’t feel anything,” Zane reasoned.

“I was in it moments before your thingy destroyed it! If I hadn’t seen it and jumped out in time, you would be facing murder charges.”

“It’s not like I was aiming for you!”

“Just stop,” Jack said, pulling him towards the truck, “there is nothing that you can say that will make this any better.”

 

~*~*~*~

 

“SARAH, is someone here?” Jack asked as he descended the stairs to his front door. He had noticed a car parked outside as he drove in; he wasn’t expecting anyone and he didn’t recognize the car.

“Yes Jack, you have a visitor,” SARAH replied, opening the door.

“Who?” As he stepped through the door, Grant stood from the couch and turned to look at him. “Grant? What are you doing here?”

“Uh, SARAH called,” he said as thought that explained everything.

“I thought that perhaps you could watch the ballgame together; Doctor Grant is a fan as well,” SARAH explained, sounding almost sheepish.

Grant looked up at the ceiling, brow furrowed. “You told me that Carter needed to see me about an urgent matter.”

“SARAH, what are you doing?” Jack asked suspiciously.

“You’ve been so down lately, I thought you could use some company…you shouldn’t be drinking alone.”

Jack looked at Grant, a nervousness creeping through him. “I’m not drinking… it’s just one beer with dinner… not drinking… SARAH, we’re going to have a long talk later about... boundaries and talking to people.”

Grant smiled a little. “Well then, I guess I’ll be going… if I hurry, I can get home before the game gets into full swing.”

“Oh please, Doctor Grant, don’t go yet,” SARAH begged. “I’m cooking steak and baked potatoes for two!”

“Steak and baked potatoes?” Jack asked. “Wow, she must really be desperate… she never lets me eat like that without a fight first.”

“Desperate? Are things that bad?” Grant asked, a hint of worry evident in his tone and expression.

“Things, what things? Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine… SARAH just over reacts. She thinks one beer is something horrible,” Jack said quickly, his words running together. Why did he sound panicked? There was no reason for that and besides, he didn’t need to defend himself to anyone, least of all Grant. So why did he still feel the need to?

“Oh, well, I heard about you and Allison… I just thought that maybe…”

“Maybe what?”

“Nothing, it’s… nothing. It’s perfectly understandable if you feel sad about losing Allison,” Grant said, feeling as though he was beginning to ramble.

“If you want to stay for the ballgame and steak, you’ll stop right there,” Jack warned, hanging up his coat and gun belt.

Grant promptly closed his mouth and gave a small nod; he understood, the wound was still fresh. He too had felt a bit of a loss when he’d heard of Allison’s decision to be with Tess, though he was certain that whatever he felt was nothing compared to what Jack felt; the poor man had been pining away for the woman for years longer than he had.

“So, beer?” Jack asked, a bit of terseness in his time.

Grant nodded. “Absolutely. What’s a ballgame without beer?” Jack almost let the phrase ‘a man after my own heart’ out but caught himself just in time.

“SARAH…”

“Already pouring,” SARAH informed them and the sound of the refrigerator revolving around could be heard. She switched the television on and a young girl was just finishing sing the national anthem.

Grant stared at the large television in amazement as the players assumed their positions on the field and the pitcher prepared to throw out the first pitch. “Wow. I may have to watch every game here… this is incredible!”

Jack came back from the kitchen with a bag of pork rinds in his arm, a couple already stuffed into his mouth, and the glasses of cold beer. “Oh yeah, it’s the next best thing to being there. SARAH actually converted it to 3D once… it felt like you were actually there but it’s a little more than you can handle. I once had to duck under the table because I thought I was going to take a ball to the face.”

“Incredible,” Grant said, twenty-first century technology never ceasing to amaze him.

“Jack, you really shouldn’t be eating those, you’ll spoil your dinner,” SARAH chided.

“Oh, don’t start SARAH.”

“I’m only concerned about your health Jack; I do it because I love you. Would you care to see the game in 3D Doctor Grant?”

“Maybe another time SARAH, I think I need to get used to this first.”

“Very well then, enjoy the 2D game. You’re dinner will be ready in exactly four minutes and twenty-two seconds.”

Grant looked up at the ceiling again before leaning over and whispering to Jack, “it’s like you have an all-seeing wife. How do you stand it?”

“You get used to it, besides, I live to annoy her,” Jack replied, “and she can’t really do anything about it.”

“You aren’t scared that she’ll lock you in or something?”

“Ah, we’ve been through that already, we’re past it.”

“That was my alter-ego, BRAD, a decommissioned GD project. I would never lock Jack in unless it was for his own good, for example, by GD orders for his own safety,” SARAH explained.

“GD orders?” Grant said, his thoughts racing. “That would be orders from me?”

“Yes, Doctor Grant, orders from you.”

“Oh great, thanks SARAH! Now you’re giving him ideas.”

“I was just clarifying,” Grant said.

“Your dinners are ready,” SARAH informed them.

Jack retrieved the plates of food from the kitchen and tucked a few condiments in his arm before returning to the dining table. Grant barely looked at his plate as the player up to bat hit a home run. “Yes!” he exclaimed. Jack smiled a little; maybe this evening wouldn’t be so bad after all. At least they were rooting for the same team.

Their dinners, the bag of pork rinds, three beer refills, and six runs scored for their team later, Zoe arrived home. She attempted to sneak upstairs without being seen, but to no avail. “Zoe, it’s nine-thirty, you should have been home over an hour ago. Where have you been?” Jack asked, keeping one eye on the TV.

“At Pilar’s house, studying,” she said, a slight pause between each word. She was obviously lying.

“You want to try again?” Jack asked, annoyed.

“Uh, well…” Zoe began. For the first time she noticed the head of Global Dynamics sitting at their dining table and she pointed to him, “what’s he doing here? I thought you hated him.”

Grant gave Jack a questioning look, eyebrows raised.

“I don’t… hate is such a strong word… SARAH invited him over to watch the ballgame,” Jack stuttered. “Don’t think I don’t realize that you’re trying to change the subject! Now come on, out with it, where have you been?”

Zoe sighed. “Alright, don’t freak out, but I was at Jasper’s house.” The vein in her father’s forehead immediately popped out. “His parents where there and we were in the living room the whole time so there’s no reason to go all psycho dad on me.”

Jack had so many things that he wanted to say in that very moment, but none seemed to make it out. Instead, he took a calming breath and settled for, “we had an agreement. You should have called. And you’re curfew is at eight o’clock… I don’t care if you were working on the solution to world peace; you are to be inside the front door by that time.”

“So I’m grounded, right?” Zoe asked, annoyed. She already knew the answer.

“You bet your multi-colored hair you are,” Jack said firmly. “One week.”

Zoe looked at him as though she was about to protest, but kept her mouth shut. “Might as well be sent off to military school,” she muttered as she stomped up the stairs.

“Don’t tempt me!” he called after her. Jack looked back to the television to find that the game had just ended and his head dropped. “Man… who won?”

“Our team by one run, it was close,” Grant said, downing the rest of his beer.

Jack folded his arms on the table and allowed his head to fall between them, his forehead hitting the table with a thud. “Can’t believe I missed it.”

“I know that it’s not my place, but maybe you shouldn’t be so hard on her Jack,” Grant said, staring at the back of the man’s head. “She’s a good kid and, despite her hair colors, she is capable of making smart decisions.”

Jack sat up and slumped back into his chair. “That’s what I keep telling myself, but she keeps doing things, stupid things… things that she used to do before we came to Eureka. Two days ago she got caught stealing hair color and lipstick from the pharmacy. No matter how hard I try to get her to transform into the amazing girl that she used to be in the other timelines… it just isn’t happening.”

“We’ve only been here a few weeks Carter, you can’t expect such a dramatic change in such a small amount of time. She didn’t initially change overnight before, did she?”

“No, we bickered and butted heads for almost a year before I felt like I could truly trust her,” Jack replied, thinking back to that time and how it seemed like such a simpler time.

“Then why do you expect it to be any different now?” Grant asked. “Give it time, it’ll happen.”

Jack nodded and mulled it over in his head for a few moments before he realized how odd it was to be having this sort of conversation with Grant.

“Well,” Grant said as he stood, “I guess I had better be going, I have to be at GD very early tomorrow morning. Thanks for the beer and dinner and the ballgame.”

“Yeah, sure,” Jack said, escorting him to the door.

“Goodnight Carter.”

“Night Grant.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Jack started the morning with SARAH going on and on about how nice it had been to have Doctor Grant over and how it was good for him to socialize outside of work, followed by breakfast at Café Diem and then a trip to the park where Dr. Rogers was one again observing and occasionally measuring the children playing there.

“I know that childhood development is what you study, I get that, I do,” Jack assured the man. “But you can’t bother the children while they’re playing… and honestly, it’s a little creepy that you keep growth charts on them.”

“But this is vital to my research Sheriff,” the man argued. “If I don’t conduct my studies then I have no base reference for when my accelerated growth hormone is tested.” Jack stared at him, a little shocked by this new information.

“If it gets tested,” a familiar voice chimed in from not far away. It was Nathan. He was pushing Jenna in one of the toddler swings.

“Oh, it will be tested Doctor Stark. I’ve already received approval.”

“Yeah, on monkeys, not humans,” Callister said, sitting on one of the larger swings beside Jenna. “Shouldn’t you be measuring some monkeys?”

“Well, I…”

“Go measure some monkeys, Doctor Rogers,” Jack said, patting the man on the shoulder.

“Fine.” In a huff, Dr. Rogers gathered his things and stomped off through the sand.

Jack walked over to the three and smiled at Jenna. “Hi there Jenna,” he cooed to the slightly swinging little girl. She giggled and waved. “At the park again huh?”

“Oh yes,” Nathan said, giving his daughter another small, gentle push. “Jenna loves the park.”

“She loves the springy horse, the swings, the slide and the merry-go-round,” Callister informed him.

“Well who doesn’t?” Jack said with a grin.

“You’re in a good mood,” Nathan observed.

“Yes, and you’re not going to ruin it.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Nathan gave Callister a quick kiss to the top of his head before giving a push to his swing. “So, I heard you had a date with Grant last night.”

Jack’s eyes widened and his head jerked up to look at the man who was now smirking. “You heard what?!”

“That you had a date with Grant,” Nathan repeated. “I always suspected, but I was never completely sure.”

“No, I’m not… I didn’t… who told you that I had a date with Grant?” Jack fumbled over his words.

“Sheriff Andy said that SARAH told him that you and Grant had dinner together at your house last night,” Callister said, trying to swing in time with Jenna.

“Well yeah, we had dinner, but it wasn’t a date! SARAH invited him over, without consulting me first, to watch the ballgame; she fixed us dinner and we had a few beers and watched the game, that’s it.”

“That’s not the way we heard it,” Nathan said suggestively.

Jack pinched the bridge of his nose; he could feel a headache coming on. “I’m going to kill them, both of them! Not only for saying something in the first place, but lying and suggesting that things that didn’t happen, did happen.”

“Oh come on Carter, it’s not a big deal. Eureka is a very progressive town; Callister and I have been accepted with open arms, you and Grant will be too.”

“There is no me and Grant! We aren’t dating! We watched the baseball game and ate dinner, that’s it.” Jack stomped off towards his car muttering about how your house shouldn’t spread rumors about what happens within it.

“Bye bye,” Jenna said, waving to the retreating man.

Callister looked up at his lover, leaning against him carefully so as not to fall out of the swing, “do you think that they really did just watch a baseball game and eat dinner?”

Nathan shook his head. “Not a chance.”

Jenna smiled at Callister. “Horsey!” she said, pointing to the springy horse.

Callister stood from the swing and picked the little girl up. “You want to go ride the horsey?” She nodded. “Alright, let’s go ride the horseys,” he said as a car door could be heard slamming. Nathan slid his fingers between Callister’s and they headed across the playground.

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Hey Carter,” Jo said, quite possibly the biggest, most mischievous grin he’d ever seen adorn her face firmly in place.

“Hey Jo,” he replied cautiously, “what’s up?”

“Nothin’ much, how about you?”

“Just doing some paperwork.”

Jo nodded and pulled a chair close to his desk. They sat in silence for a few moments, Jo looking as though she were about to burst from the effort of keeping quiet, before she finally leaned forward. “I heard about last night.”

Zane, forgotten about in his cell, perked up this. What had the good sheriff done last night?

Jack threw his pen down on his desk and leaned back in his chair. “Oh come on! Does everyone know?”

“Well, SARAH told Deputy Andy who told Vincent, so, yeah.”

“I don’t know,” Zane said, getting up and walking to the bars. “What happened last night?”

“Nothing! I have a lying, gossipy house,” Jack replied before anything more could be said.

“Ok then, what supposedly happened last night?” Zane rephrased his question.

“Carter and Grant had dinner at Carter’s house last night… like a romantic dinner,” Jo said, unable to contain herself. “I heard that it turned into even more than that by the end of the night.”

“Jo!” Jack exclaimed in disbelief she would sell him out so easily like that.

“I knew it!” Zane said triumphantly. “I totally called that the first time that I saw them talking to each other.”

“Shut up, you did not… you turn everything into something that it’s not and that doesn’t count. You’re as bad as Vincent,” Jack said. “And it wasn’t a romantic dinner! It was just two guys watching a ballgame and having something to eat.” Was he going to have to tape that so that he wouldn’t have to repeat his story to every person that was likely to ask?

“Is 'ballgame' a euphuism for…” Zane began with a smirk.

“AGH! Don’t! Don’t you dare say another word!” Jack commanded, ready to plug his ears.

“Pics or it did happen!”

“What does that even mean?”

“I bet SARAH has some video, she’s always watching everything… you’d better watch out Sheriff, next thing you know your sex tape will be all over the internet,” Zane said with a enthusiastic smirk and a devilish sparkle in his eyes. He was totally hacking SARAH the next time he was allowed access to a computer.

“First of all, THERE IS NO SEX TAPE BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SEX!” Jack said enunciating every word.

“Well that’s good to know,” Zoe said. “One less thing I have to worry about stumbling onto and then ‘exploring’ during my therapy sessions. There’s not enough therapy in the world for that.”

Jack could practically feel the color drain from his face. “Hey Zoe… how long have you been standing there?”

“Just long enough to hear and be thoroughly disturbed by the prospect of my dad having a sex tape.”

“There’s no sex tape.”

“Good. But dad, we have to talk.”

Any blood that might have remained in his face promptly evacuated at those words that he’d always dreading hearing come from her mouth. “About what?” Jack asked as he mentally repeated ‘don’t let her be pregnant’ over and over in his head.

“Well, first off, I’m totally cool with you being gay, dad. But, if you’re going to have guys over, I want to revisit the whole topic of me having guys over.”

Jo let out something that sounded like a mixture of a cough and a laugh. Jack glared at her. “I’m so glad I’m here to witness this.”

“This may be my favorite conversation of all time,” Zane commented as a look of childish delight spread over his face.

“Totally beats the ‘stupid’ conversation,” Jo said.

“What ‘stupid’ conversation?”

“Huh? Oh, nothing, never mind.”

“Zo, you saw Grant and me last night. We were just having dinner and watching the baseball game, he left shortly after you stalked off upstairs. SARAH told Andy about it and Andy apparently told Vincent and… well, somewhere along the way it got twisted into something that it wasn’t.”

Zoe stared at her father in silence for a few moments, trying to decide if he was telling the truth or not. “Ok, whatever. I’m cool with it either way. Though, if you were dating Doctor Grant, my teachers would totally stop picking on me…”

“Zoe…”

“Just think about it dad!”

“Are you here for a reason?”

“Other than the thing about you and Doctor Grant, no.”

“Then go home, you’re grounded, remember?”

“Alright, fine,” Zoe said in defeat. She had hoped to get some slack on her punishment, given the current scandal. “I’m just going to stop by Café Diem for some lunch real quick before I go home though.”

“Should have done that when you were in there earlier,” Jack said, escorting her to the door. “Home, now.”

“I haven’t been to Café Diem today, I came straight here.”

“There where’d you hear the rumor?”

“Pilar called and told me; her mom heard and called her. Oh by the way, Pilar’s mom said to tell you that you and Doctor Grant make an adorable couple and she’d like to have us all over for dinner some night.”

Jack banged his head against the door facing in frustration. “Just go home Zo, SARAH can make you some lunch. Oh, and tell her that she is in big trouble.” With that, he nudged his daughter out the door and closed it firmly behind her.

“I love this day,” Zane said, grinning, as he flopped down onto his cot. “And I love this town! This is the only place where not only can a house start a rumor, but start it by telling it’s robot deputy sheriff boyfriend and then get in trouble for it. How do you even punish a house?”

Jack ignored Zane’s ramblings and plopped into his desk chair heavily. Jo continued to silently chuckle. “Did you come all the way over here just to laugh at my expense or did you need something?”

“No, I pretty much just dropped by to laugh… oh, and to say congratulations.”

Jack shot her a look. “Can you take your laughing somewhere else?” I have paperwork to do.”

“Aw, come on Carter, don’t be so grumpy,” Jo said as she stood.

“Grant’s not giving it to him enough,” Zane joked.

“Take him with you,” Jack said seriously, pointing to Zane.

“Sorry Carter, I can’t, he’s your responsibility until he can be trusted,” Jo said, backing towards the door.

Jack eyed her critically. “Seriously, you’re going to pass up an opportunity?” A thought came to mind. “Things going well with you and Fargo?”

The grin fell away from Jo’s features in an instant and Jack could have sworn that he saw a blush creep to her cheeks. “I’ve got to get back to GD.” And with that, she was out the door. It was Jack’s turn to grin.

“I can’t believe a dork like that Fargo dude is hooking up with a total babe like her,” Zane said.

“Neither can anyone else.”

It wasn’t long before Vincent came baring lunch for the sheriff and his prisoner. He didn’t stay long though, mainly due to the sheriff’s glaring, but Jack made sure to clear up the rumor and impress upon him that it would be in his best interest if he spread the truth before the man left.

As the two ate, the phone rang. Jack picked up the phone, “Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Carter speaking.”

“Hey Monkey!” Lexi’s jubilant voice came through.

“Lexi? What are you doing calling me at work? Is something wrong?” Jubilant could be confused for hysteria.

“Nothing’s wrong Jack. Zoe just called me earlier and told me about you and this Grant guy…” Jack knew where this was headed, “I just wanted to call and say that I am so happy for you Monkey!”

“Lex, there’s n…”

“I’m going to come visit the next chance that I get and we’re all going to spend a weekend together, getting to know each other and…”

“Lexi! There is no me and Grant!” he said quickly before she had a chance to continue on. “It was all just a rumor that ran rampant, that’s still running rampant.”

“Oh Monkey, don’t tell me that you’ve already broken up!” she said sadly.

“We were never together,” he said slowly, trying to make her understand.

“They totally are! He just refuses to admit it!” Zane yelled. Jack pushed the button on his bracelet and Zane received an electrical zap. He yelped.

“Who was that and why won’t you just admit it?” Lexi asked. “This is the twenty-first century Jack, being gay is okay. Say it with me now… being gay is…” Jack hung up the phone; when she got like this, there was no talking to her.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

At the end of the day, against his better judgment, Jack went to Café Diem for some dinner before going home.

“Hey Sheriff,” Vincent said uneasily as Jack took a seat at the counter.

“Vincent,” Jack said tersely.

Vincent leaned on the counter heavily. “Look, Sheriff, I just want to say that I am so sorry for my part in this whole rumor fiasco. I never meant…”

“I know Vince.”

“So… we’re okay then?” Jack nodded. “Oh, good,” Vincent said with a sigh of relief. “I’ve been so upset all afternoon since I found out that it wasn’t true, I basted, broiled and glazed three hams, made fifteen dozen cream-filled truffles, eight cakes and four soufflés.”

Jack had to chuckle at that. “Could I maybe get some of that ham and a piece of cake?”

Vincent seemed to brighten up at that. “Of course Sheriff, coming right up!” Within a few minutes, Vincent brought a plate with several slices of the glazed ham and two side vegetables from the kitchen and placed it before him.

Jack took a bite of the ham as Vincent stood, waiting for his reaction. “Wow Vince, this ham is incredible. I believe your upset cooking is some of the best cooking you’ve ever done!”

Vincent smiled. “Well, it’s not as good as my angry cooking, but it is easier on the cookware, my staff and my nerves.” Jack chuckled.

“Hey honey,” Grant said, smirking, as he passed behind Jack to take a seat on the other side of him. Vincent’s eyebrows rose at this.

“Oh, don’t you dare,” Jack warned around his mouthful of ham. “I’ve spent all day trying to correct the rumors, last thing I need is you joking about it and someone taking it seriously.” He gave Vincent a pointed look.

Vincent turned to Grant, looking a bit like a deer caught in headlights. “What can I get you Doctor Grant?”

Grant looked at Jack’s plate. “I’ll have what he’s having… looks good.”

“I’m calling it ‘Vincent’s rumor ham’.” Grant chuckled. “So, have you been setting people straight about the rumor all day too?”

“No,” he simply said.

Jack smiled a little. “Everyone too afraid of the big bad head of GD to say anything?”

“Yes, that was the case for the most part.”

“What about the rest?”

“What about them?” Vincent sat his plate of food on the counter and he sliced off a piece of the ham.

Jack poked at his vegetables. “What did you say to them?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

Jack noticed Vincent lurking and shot him another look; the man busied himself with slicing a cake, but was obviously still listening in. “Why not?”

“It’s just a rumor. It will pass, but people will always think what they want to think. I know that it isn’t true, that’s good enough for me.”

“But by not correcting them, you’re just making them think that the rumor is true,” Jack said, exasperated.

Grant turned to Jack and smirked a little. “Why does it bother you so much?”

“I…” The question caught him off guard. “It bothers me because it isn’t true.”

“That’s it? That’s the only reason?”

“Does there need to be another reason?”

“No, I suppose not, but there are always things floating around that aren’t true. They don’t affect you like this.”

“They aren’t about me.”

“Some of them are.”

Jack stared at Grant, taken aback. “ Wha- what kind of things?”

Vincent looked as though he were about to explode from the effort of keeping quite on this subject. “Here’s your cake Sheriff,” he said, sitting it on the counter.

“Vincent, do you know what he’s talking about?”

Vincent’s eyes widened and he began fidgeting with his apron. “Sorry Sheriff, I can’t talk right now, I have meat that needs marinating!” And with that he hurried off into the kitchen.

Jack stared after him. “What things?”

Grant slid his fork into the point of Jack’s slice of cake and broke off a piece. “They’re not important Jack, just forget about them.”

Jack watched as the man put the piece of cake in his mouth and slid the fork out through his lips. “That’s my cake, you’re eating my cake,” he said more calmly than he imagined he would be.

“It’s just one bite,” Grant said, smiling, even as he cut into the piece of cake again. “There’s always more.”

~*~*~*~*~

“SARAH, door,” Jack said sternly as he reached the bottom of the stairs, soggy cake box in hand. It had begun pouring down a cold rain on the way home and showed no signs of letting up. The door remained closed. “SARAH, door.” Nothing. “SARAH?”

“Good evening Sheriff,” SARAH greeted him, sounding nervous.

“Open the door.”

“I’m sorry Jack, I can’t do that.”

Jack looked at the camera positioned beside the doorway. “Why not?”

“Zoe said that you said that I was in big trouble.”

“You’re going to be in worse trouble if you don’t open the door right now,” Jack threatened. He was tired and wanted nothing more than to take a hot shower and go to bed, he had no patients for arguing with his house right now.

“I’m sorry Jack, but I don’t think that’s a good idea right now. You tend to act rashly when you’re upset and say and do things that you don’t really mean. I think it would be best if we didn’t see each other until you’ve had time to calm down.”

“I was calm up until about three minutes ago,” Jack growled. “Just let me in SARAH, I promise not to do anything except put this cake in the kitchen, shower and sleep.” Silence. “SARAH? Oh come on!” Jack slammed his fist against the front door in frustration.

“See, I knew that this would happen. I won’t hold it against you though, I know you don’t really mean to hurt me,” SARAH said sadly.

Jack held his aching hand. “I think it hurt me a lot worse that it did you.” No response. “So what am I supposed to do, huh? Sleep out here on the cold cement with a cake for a pillow and catch a death of cold?” More silence. Jack pulled out his phone and dialed Zoe’s number.

“I’m sorry, but your call could not be connected, please hang up and try again,” an automated voice instructed.

“Blocking my calls for help, huh?” Jack asked SARAH as he trudged back up the steps and out the bunker door. The next attempt was Henry, no answer, followed by Jo and Fargo who didn’t answer either. He looked at his watch, it was late; Henry might still be on his date with Grace and Jo said that Fargo liked to go bed at an early time, but still, why weren’t they answering? And there was no way that he was calling Allison and Tess; that would just be too weird. He sighed as he got back into his vehicle, tossing the cake into the passenger seat and scrolled through his list of contacts, pausing at one in particular. Grant. Was he really that desperate?

Yes, yes he was. He touched the screen before he could think twice and connected the call. A part of Jack hoped that he wouldn’t answer while another part, a betraying part, hoped that he would. “Hello?” Grant answered. Jack took in a deep breath slowly, reminding himself that it was going to be cold tonight and the rain would only make it colder. Grant arched a brow that the sound of the breath, intrigued. “Hello?”

“Hey, Grant… it’s Jack, Jack Carter.” Why was he clarifying who he was? He doubted that Grant knew another Jack in this universe – or even the other timeline for that matter; at least not well enough for them to be calling this late at night.

“Jack, this is a surprise.”

“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry.” Why was he apologizing? “Look, I know that this is a weird request for me to be making, but can I crash on your couch tonight? SARAH has locked me out… apparently she thinks that I’m going to damage her for starting the rumor or something and I can’t reach anyone else.”

“Sure Jack, I’ll pull out the guest linens.” Well that was easy. Maybe a little too easy?

Chapter Text

Jack rang the doorbell to Grant’s house with a sigh. This was definitely not where or how he envisioned spending his night. It didn’t take long for Grant to open the door. “Hello Jack,” he said, giving the man on his doorstep a good onceover. “You’re all wet.”

“How’d you ever come to that obvious conclusion?” Jack said sourly as he stared at Grant.

Grant chuckled, not letting Jack’s snarkiness get to him; Jack had had, in his own approximation, a bad day and he was just frustrated from that.

“Do I get to come in or are you going to bring the couch out here to me?”

“Oh, I’m sorry Jack, please, come in,” he said, stepping aside.

Jack looked around at the décor as he entered and was directed to the living room; he suddenly felt as though he had stepped into the homiest museum ever. He had thought that Grant’s offices were full of relics of an older time, but they had nothing on this.

“You’re dripping on my carpet.”

Jack wanted to say something more about the man stating the obvious, but decided against it.“Maybe you hadn’t noticed, but it’s pouring out there. I’m soaked to the skin, so your carpet is the only place the water had left to go.”

“I’ll get you a towel.” Grand disappeared through an archway and down a hall, returning after a few moments with a fluffy blue towel.

Jack gratefully accepted and began to pat himself down with it as he made his way over to the warm fire in the fireplace. “Wow, I wouldn’t have thought that Eureka would still have even a single house with a wood burning fireplace. Isn’t the smoke or something kind of bad for the environment?”

“I believe my house is the only one left in Eureka with a wood burning fireplace. They keep bothering me – well, mainly the other me, but I have received a few offers since I arrived – to upgrade to one of those new systems, but they just don’t give the same in ambiance as wood. And there is no smoke.”

“You’re such a romantic,” Jack jested. “Last I checked, wood smokes when it’s burning.”

“Yes, I am,” Grant said with a smirk. “And yes, wood does smoke. But those logs are not wood, not exactly. Those are faux logs made out of specially treated recycled paper; they don’t smoke.”

Jack stared at him, brow furrowed. “So, normal wood was turned into paper only for some scientist to turn it back into some sort of designer wood?”

“That’s what recycling is all about… meaningful use of something again and again until it is gone or no longer usable.”

“Do you recycle the ashes too?” Jack said sarcastically, scrubbing the towel over his hair.

“Well, actually…”

“You have got to be kidding.”

“This is Eureka, Jack, everything is recycled.” The way that he said ‘everything’ made Jack uncomfortable. Grant watched him for a moment in silence, taking note of just how damp his clothes still were. “You should go take a hot shower so that you don’t get sick. I’ll see if I can find something for you to wear.”

Jack smiled. “Oh, thanks, really, but the fire is doing a pretty good job of drying me off and warming me up; I’ll be fine. Beside, the pharmacy has a cure of the cold, so it’s not a big deal if I start getting sick.”

“Don’t be absurd Jack, there’s no sense in risking it just because there is medicine that you can take for it.”

“It’s fine, really.”

“Alright, let’s put it this way… you’re not so much as leaning on my couch while your clothes are still wet. It’ll take you hours to dry, even with the fire.”

Jack looked at the couch; it looked expensive, but far from comfortable. “With all of the craziness tonight, I’ll probably be awake even after I dry.”

Grant started at him with an amused expression. “What are you afraid of Jack? That someone will get the wrong idea of why you’re showering in my shower, wearing my clothes and sleeping on my couch? It’s just you and me here Jack, it’s not as though anyone will ever know.” Grant slowly pulled the wet towel from around Jack’s neck. “Or are you afraid that I’ll try to take advantage of you?” Jack watched the man seriously. After a moment, Grant grinned.

“No, of course not.” Jack chuckled, shaking his head. “You’re right. It’s just been a long day; I guess my nerves are just frazzled.”

“Alright then.” Grant headed into the other room to get some spare towels and deposit the wet one in the laundry. When he returned, he found Jack kneeling over, poking the fire and smiled.

When Jack realized that he had returned, he stood and hung the poker back on the rack. Grant handed him the neatly folded and stacked set of towels and washcloth. “Thanks.”

“No problem. The shower’s just upstairs, I’ll show you,” Grant said, already making his way to the staircase.

Jack noticed that there were three doors along the hallway on the second floor. “Any chance that I’ll get an actual bed instead of the couch?”

“If you’d like to sleep with me, then yes,” Grant said with a small smirk.

Jack was caught off guard by this comment, so it took him a moment to come back from it. “You’ve got two spare rooms and neither are guest rooms?”

“They’re filled with books and antiques,” he replied as means of an explanation as he led Jack into his bedroom.”

“You and your antiques.”

“They’re important parts of our past, Jack,” he said defensively. “Besides, In addition to being the head of GD, I’m also considered the town historian, it’s only natural that I collect bits of the past.”

Jack forced a small smile. “I know.”

“The bathroom is just over there,” Grant said, pointing to a slightly ajar door. “Take your time and get warmed up.”

Jack nodded as he made his way over to the bathroom and flipped on the light. “Yes mother,” he said as he closed the door.

Grant stared after him and chuckled before digging through his pajama drawer for something for both he and Jack to wear.

Though Jack felt a little weird about the situation, all was forgotten as the perfectly adjusted, wonderfully warm water flowed over his skin making it feel as though it were afire as it forced the chill from his body. He hadn’t truly realized just how cold he was and he stood perfectly still under the spray until all traces of the coldness were gone.

As Jack looked around the shower for some body wash, he couldn’t help but laugh at what he found. Old Spice Swagger body wash. Of course, what else would Dr. Old Spice use? He even had the Deck Scrubber body scrubber. This made him laugh even harder and he had to brace himself against the wall to keep from falling over.

Grant frowned slightly as he pulled his pajama pants on upon hearing the noise coming from the bathroom. Was that laughter or crying? “Jack?” he asked, knocking on the door. “Jack, are you alright?”

“Yeah, Doctor Old Spice, I better than alright,” Jack replied, looking away from the Deck Scrubber as it caused him to burst into a new fit of laughter.

Grant’s frown deepened as he became more confused as to what Jack could be laughing about. He was certain that it was laughter now. “Is this better than alright feeling that you’re having going to require me scrubbing the shower down?”

“What?” Jack asked before realization of what he meant sunk in. “Oh, no, nothing like that. Something just struck me funny.”

“Oh. Okay?”

Jack grabbed the body wash and squirted some on the washcloth that he had been given, still chuckling. As the scent flooded his nose, he had to admit that it did smell good. He supposed that it had come a long way in over half a century but he had still never noticed Grant smelling this good before. Maybe this was a different type than he typically used? A new bottle that he had gotten by mistake?

Once he was warm and clean, Jack turned the water off and wrapped one of the towels around his waist, drying off with the other. He looked around the bathroom for any sign of some clothes that Grant might have deposited inside, but found nothing. “Hey, uh, did you find something for me to wear?” he asked, sticking his head out the door.

Grant was relaxing on his bed, engrossed in thick book. “Yes, they’re over there. You can have your choice of gray or blue,” he said, giving Jack a brief glance.

Jack frowned a little; really he was going to make him walk all the way across the room in nothing but a towel? Ensuring that the towel was securely around his waist, he opened the door wider and strode across the bedroom to where the two pairs of pants were laying on top of the dresser.

“Did you enjoy your shower?” Grant asked from directly behind him, making Jack jump.

“Oh, uh, yeah,” Jack stammered. “Yeah I did, thanks.”

“Mmm, you smell good; you smell like me.”

“Yeah, not many choices in body wash in there,” Jack said, quickly grabbing the gray pair of pants. He moved to start back to the bathroom, but Grant was so close that he bumped into him; instinctively, he turned and grabbed the man’s arm so that he would not fall. Grant seemed to barely wobble on his feet, so the action proved to be unnecessary. “Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to bump into you there.”

Grant smiled. “That’s quite alright. I suppose it’s my fault for standing to close.” Despite his admission of standing to closely, however, he showed no signs of moving. “So, uh, turns out I don’t have any guest linens; really no sense in having them when you don’t have a guest room. I don’t really have an extra blanket either.”

“That’s fine,” Jack said, pressing himself back against the dresser. “Anything is better than sleeping in the car.”

“True.”

“I should go get dressed,” Jack said, holding up the sleeping pants.

“Okay.” Neither made a move, but instead simply stared at each other. Jack couldn’t seem to look away from Grant’s eyes where a strange glint of something somewhere between lust and mischief seemed to be growing. After a moment more, Grant placed his hands on the dresser on either side of Jack and pressed his lips to the Sheriff’s.

For a moment, Jack tensed, unsure of how to react… of how he wanted to react. His body seemed sure of how it wanted to react however. Grant kissed him again and this time he returned the kiss without hesitation.

To Jack, things seemed to happen in a blur of lust and lips and teeth and tongue and heated skin pressed against heated skin; before he had time to properly register what was happening, Grant pulled the towel from around his waist whilst giving him a look that would forever be seared into Jack’s brain, Jack had slid the obstructive sleep pants from Grant’s hips and they were on lying Grant’s bed in a struggle for control and more, harder, faster.

“I lied,” Grant said breathily once both men were spent.

Jack stared at him in confusion, just a hint of fear flashing through his eyes. “About what?” he asked hesitantly.

Grant grinned. “I do have an extra blanket.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

When Jack woke, he found that Grant was already gone from the bed. Slipping the long forgotten sleep pants on, he ventured downstairs where he found Grant in the kitchen, cooking breakfast.

“Morning Jack,” Grant said with a small smirk as he transferred bacon from the skillet to the two plates sitting on the counter.

“Morning,” Jack replied, staring at the food on the plates. It looked delicious. “You cook?”

“I’m multitalented.”

Jack decided not to comment on that, best not to feed his ego. “Um, where are my clothes?”

“You’re not going to eat?”

Jack looked at the plates of food once more, trying to decide whether it was worth the possible fall out or not. “I’d love to, really, but I have to get home and shower and still make it to work on time.”

“You can shower here,” Grant offered.

“Ah, well, I need a change of clothes.”

“Your uniform is in the dryer. You’d have to live without the light starch for once, but it’s clean. I put it through a short wash.”

“Oh,” Jack replied, his mind scrambling for another excuse.

“Come on Jack, don’t make it like that,” Grant said, grabbing two slices of toast from the toaster an putting them on the plates before placing one filled plate in front of Jack. “If you want last night to be a onetime thing, fine… it’s not going to hurt my feeling or anything. Just don’t make it unnecessarily awkward.”

“Alright,” he conceded, sitting at the bar and digging into the eggs. “Gotta make it quick though because I really will be late for work.”

Grant took a few bites of his breakfast before wandering off to the laundry room to retrieve Jack’s clothes. By the time he returned, Jack had managed to stuff all of his food down.

“Thanks,” Jack said around a mouth full of toast as he took the clothes from Grant and started off towards the shower. A though struck him and he stopped. “Don’t suppose you have any other body wash lying around the house, do you?”

“No, but…” Grant grabbed the dish soap from the sink and threw it to Jack. “This will do, you can smell of lemons instead of me. Awful shame though, you smell good in Old Spice.”

Jack grinned before turning to run up the stairs. In the end, he decided to risk the Old Spice body wash. He quickly dressed and ran back down the stairs and to the door, pausing as he tried to decide whether he should say goodbye or just leave.

Grant had heard his footsteps and had gone out into the living room. “See you later Jack.”

Jack nodded. “See you later.”

“Morning Carter!” Nathan called to him in an amused tone as Jack hurried out to his car.

Jack stopped dead in his tracks and looked in the direction of the voice. Walking down the steps and the pathway to his car was Nathan. “Stark?”

“Yes, it’s me Carter,” he replied with a grin. “What, did Grant bang you head against his headboard so many times that he gave you brain damage? Or at least more than you had to begin with?”

Jack’s eyes widened in both surprise and horror; how did he know? ‘Calm down Jack, he doesn’t know. He’s just trying to have some fun at your expense, like he always does.’ “I slept on Grant’s couch because SARAH locked me out, that’s it.”

“Really? That’s funny because Callister and I witnessed something entirely different last night,” Nathan replied with a self-satisfied smirk. Jack gave him his best ‘whatever’ look. “Word of advice, make sure the curtains are drawn before you get to involved. You really never know who is watching.”

“You didn’t see anything,” Jack said, his tone sure but something inside of him panicking because the light coming through Grant’s bedroom window had woken him.

“Oh no, we saw everything. I was genuinely worried that, no matter how advanced the technology that he is made of, I was going to have to repair a blown circuit in Callister when Grant pulled that towel from around your waist.”

Jack began wheezing and sputtering and he felt his heart stop at the realization that the two really had seen them.

“You still may have to yet, I’m feeling a little glitchy this morning,” Callister said as he descended the steps to their home. “In good ways though.”

Jack wondered for a moment how one could feel glitchy in a good way, but decided not to ask. He was probably too embarrassed to ask anyways; his mouth felt dry and his cheeks were ablaze. “I should arrest the two of you for being peeping toms,” he managed through gritted teeth.

“It’s not as though we were intentionally spying. Our bedroom window just happens to have a perfect view in through Grant’s bedroom window. You can’t arrest a person for looking out their window,” Callister replied matter-of-factly.

“Oh, by the way, that really is a cute birthmark you have.”

Jack narrowed his eyes at them suspiciously. “How could you have seen my birthmark? The lights were dim and you weren’t close enough.”

Nathan smirked deviously. “Turns out there are many uses for the zoom on our camera.”

“The night vision feature too.”

Anger rose within Jack almost to the boiling point. “Pictures?! You took pictures?!” Jack started towards the hedges dividing the two properties, ready to crawl over them. “That, that I can arrest you for!”

“Whoa, easy Carter! There are no pictures!” Nathan assured him.

Jack paused, hands resting on top of the perfectly trimmed hedges. “Then why did you have the camera out?”

The two lovers looked at each other. “Grant’s birthday is coming up, we needed to know what he already has so that we don’t accidently get him something that he doesn’t need,” Callister supplied.

Jack’s eyes narrowed again. “You are so lying!”

“But can you prove it?” Nathan said smugly.

No, no he couldn’t. Nathan was the world’s greatest when it came to excuses and talking his way out of trouble. He’d never be able to make anything stick. “I want your camera now. I want to make sure that there are no photos.”

“There are no photos Carter, I swear,” Nathan promised.

“I don’t care if you cross your heart and hope to die; I want to see that camera!”

“What are you, eight years old?” Callister said, amused.

Nathan opened the door to his car and slid into the driver’s seat. “There are no photos, only memories that will last a lifetime. But if you really want to see our camera, you’re going to have to get some sort of warrant and good luck explaining why you want it.”

“I hate you.”

“I know.” Nathan said, grinning as he closed the door. Callister slid into the passenger’s seat as Nathan started the engine and put the car into reverse.

As Jack helplessly watched the car back down the driveway and into the street, he noticed someone standing at the end of the driveway across the street.

“Morning Carter,” Jo said, trying to suppress her laughter.

Jack closed his eyes as he ran a hand over his face. Did all the people that he least wanted to know about this live in this neighborhood? “Hey, Jo. How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to wish that I had been standing here longer.”

So she didn’t know exactly what they had been talking about, that was something. “SARAH locked me out so I slept on the Grant’s couch last night,” he explained. Maybe the half-lie would work better on her.

“So you need a warrant to search for potential blackmail photos of you sleeping on Grant’s couch?” Jo said skeptically. She wasn’t buying that for a minute. She knew a thing or two about blackmail and it required a lot more than circumstantial evidence to get someone as riled up as Carter currently was.

Jack floundered at this. Of course he wouldn’t be able to get it past her, at least nowhere near as successfully as he had hoped to. “”You know how he is. With yesterday’s rumor, he could convince people of a lot of things with such an innocent shot.” And he could do a lot more with the actual photos that he might have.

“Uh huh,” she said. “Whatever you say Carter.”

Jack smiled, a thought on how to get her to leave it be coming to mind. “So how are things going with you and Fargo, the happy couple?”

“That’s not going to work Carter,” Jo said, shifting her weight from one leg to the other uncomfortably.

“You know, if they are in the habit of spying and possibly gathering blackmail photos of their neighbors, who knows what they might have on you,” Jack said deviously, turning the tables on her.

Jo glanced at the front door of Stark’s house. “Well if they did, then all they got was boring shots of Fargo sleeping on the couch,” she said with a forced smile.

‘Yeah, just like I slept on the couch I bet,’ Jack thought.

Jo looked down the street in the direction that their car had gone. “I’ve got to go or I’ll be late for work.” Without even saying a proper goodbye, she hopped into her car, backed out of the drive a little quicker than necessary and sped down the street after the two men.

“Smooth Jo, very inconspicuous,” Jack mumbled to himself as he headed back into the house.

“Jack,” Grant said with a smirk as Jack busted through his bedroom door. “Back so soon, eh? I thought you were going to be late for work.”

Jack crossed over to the window to the left side of the bed and peered through it. “Oh stop it. And I am, but I just have to see something first.” Sure enough, just across from the window that he was looking out of was another window and through it, a bed was visible. They had been telling the truth, they had seen everything without difficulty.

“What are you looking at?” Grant asked, joining Jack at the window and resting a hand on his lower back.

“Stark and Raynes saw us last night, they saw everything… including my birthmark.”

“And such a cute little birthmark it is.”

“So I’ve been told,” Jack said distractedly. “They may have taken photos of us, we need to get them back.”

Grant frowned a little at this information. “How do you know this?”

“Just had a little conversation with the voyeurs outside; they mentioned that they’d had their camera out for the zoom feature, but denied that they took any photos,” Jack informed him. “Needless to say, I don’t believe them.”

“The zoom feature huh?” Grant said, amused.

“For someone who came from a very conservative time, you certainly are anything but.”

“What can I say? The twenty-first century has corrupted me.”

“Yeah right,” Jack said sarcastically. “I think you were corrupted long before you entered the twenty-first century.”

Grant smirked. “It has corrupted me more.”

“Now that, I believe.” Jack chuckled. The two stared at each other for a moment – that same look in Grant’s eyes as the night before, just before they had ended up in bed together – before Jack brushed past him, choosing to stand by the bedroom door, away from the man. “We need to get that camera and make sure that there are no pictures, and if there is, delete them.”

“Alright,” Grant said. He grabbed his button-down shirt off of the bed and slid his arms into it, only bothering to button one of the buttons before walking out the door.

Getting in Stark’s house was easy enough; as advanced as Eureka might be, simple key locks were still used and were not difficult to pick. Eureka was a very trusting town and while that was usually a good thing; sometimes it turned out to be a very good thing, if for the wrong reason.

Jack looked at the framed photos on the wall as they climbed the stairs, all either of Nathan, Callister, or Jenna or a combination of the three except for a couple of Allison, Tess and Jenna. Despite himself, he couldn’t help but smile.

“Both make very nice families, don’t they?” said Grant.

“Yeah, they do.” He couldn’t deny that. However, he was surprised by the feeling that he got when looking at the ones containing Allison. Was that… contentment? The pain that normally shot through his heart when he saw her did not come, the feeling of betrayal was absent and instead, he felt happy for them. They had found something good, something that worked without having to force it work, and that was how it was supposed to be, wasn’t it? Yes, yes it was.

“Are you okay?” Grant asked as Jack continued to stare at the photos with an unreadable expression.

“Yeah,” Jack replied with a smile. “Yeah, I am. Let’s go find that camera.” As they entered the two men’s bedroom, Jack felt a bit uneasy. Regardless of why they were doing it, the conscious of a sheriff would not allow him to here without feeling bad for unlawfully trespassing.

“Any thoughts as to where he might keep it?” Grant said as they stepped inside.

“Well, this is Stark we’re dealing with, so a secret underground bunker with top level security jumps to mind.”

Grant laughed. “Looks like we’re in luck,” he said, spotting a camera lying on a table beside the window. “It appears that he forgot to put it back in the bunker.” Grant crossed the room, Jack hovering behind, and picked up the camera and turned it on. He navigated through the menu until he got to the saved content and selected the first thing that came up; a video of Raynes feeding Jenna what appeared to be puréed squash began to play. “Well, I’m not sure if this is the good news or the bad, but this is a video recorder.”

“Oh, I have a very bad feeling about this.”

Grant cycled through the videos, most of them contained Jenna playing or doing something cute, before stopping on one that was dimly lit. The two stared at the screen for a moment, trying to determine whether it was what they were looking for or not. Grant arched a brow as Callister came into view. “Wow, he is very flexible.”

“Agh! Next video, next video!” Jack exclaimed, looking away from the screen. The next video didn’t prove any better, nor did the following six. “It’s true what they say; what has been seen can never be unseen. That is a side of Stark that I never, ever expected to see.”

“Wait, here it is, here is the video from last night,” Grant said as the video clearly showing Jack in only one of his towels began.

“Those lying little…” Jack began, “I knew they were lying! I just had no idea that technically they were doing it by not lying.”

Grant looked to him, his brow slightly furrowed in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“I accused them of maybe taking pictures and Nathan swore that they hadn’t, which is technically true because they didn’t take photos, they recorded a video.” Jack explained.

“He told the truth without telling the whole truth,” Grant surmised. “Very clever of him, and on the fly too.”

“Yeah, he’s too clever for his own good. It’s like dealing with a politician on an almost daily basis; you never know when he telling the truth or lying or, in this case, twisting things around so that he’s telling the truth and lying all at the same time.”

Grant smirked. “I’m surprised that nothing ever happened between you two in the original universe and timeline.”

Jack stared at him, stunned. “Why would you say that?”

“You seem to be drawn to men that rub you the wrong way… no pun intended.”

“I am not!”

“Jack, you constantly complain about me, about practically everything that I do, but it’s not really because you just hate me that much. You just don’t know how handle an attraction.”

Jack laughed. “Yeah, that’s what it is,” he said sarcastically.

“Isn’t it?” Grant said, taking a step closer so that they were sharing the same breath.

“J- just delete the video,” Jack said, his breath hitching at the close proximity.

Grant looked down at the device that he held between them and pulled up the options, selecting one and pressing one more button before setting the recorder back on the table. “I think that it’s pretty obvious that that is what it is. You certainly stopped complaining last night once you decided to forget everything else and just enjoy it. Well, that’s not completely true, there were some complaints, but just because you weren’t happy with how hard or fast I was going and they certainly don’t count.”

Jack’s cheeks flushed at both the bold words and the fresh memories they brought forth. “I…” he began, but words seemed to fail him after that.

Grant grinned, that look in his eyes more prevalent than ever. “I’m not complaining though,” he said as used his body to push Jack back until the backs of his legs hit Nathan and Callister’s bed and Jack almost lost his balance. “I consider our banter to be foreplay.” He pushed Jack backwards onto the bed and crawled on top of him, kissing him hungrily.

Jack pushed him away a little after the initial kiss was over. “Grant, are you insane? This is Stark and Rayne’s bed, we can’t do this here.”

“Just consider it payback for recording us last night and then lying about it,” Grant said, his grin turning wicked. Before Jack had time to respond, he began worrying Jack’s collarbone with his teeth. As Jack thought it through – which was difficult to do considering the effect that Grant’s actions were having on his brain – he decided that Grant was right.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Did you delete the video?” Jack said as he buttoned his pants.

Grant slid on his shirt and glanced over at the recorder with a small smirk. “No, I’ll do it right now though.” Grant crossed over to the little table and picked up the recorder. In the top left hand corner, a little red circle and REC was displayed; he touched the screen and selected the option to stop recording. With one cautionary glance towards Jack, he selected the option to send videos to an e-mail address, selected both the video that Nathan and Callister had taken and the one that he had just taken and typed in his e-mail address. Once confirmation that they had been sent was displayed, he quickly deleted them from the device.

“Get it done?” Jack asked as he buttoned up his shirt.

Grant forced the grin that had appeared on his face away and held up the recorder with the confirmation of deletion up for jack to see. “Yes, they are permanently erased from the recorder’s memory.” ‘Jack’s favorite thing, a half-truth,” he mused to himself.

“Good, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”