10 Days to Valentine's
Disclaimer: I don't own Eureka, but if I did, Nathan would still be around.
AN: One of my reviewers told me that we need more Jack/Nathan stories on this site and I have to agree.
Chapter One: Feb. 5
Nathan Stark sat in his car in front of Café Diem. 'Ten days til the big day,' he sighed to himself. And he still had no idea about what to get the man that he'd been obsessing over for almost two and a half years. He wasn't all that sure when he started seeing Sheriff Jack Carter as more than a potential enemy, but it was very gradual.
Shaking his head, Nathan got out and entered the Café. 'What is it about Jack that makes me like him so much?' Was it the way those blue eyes lit up when he learned something new? Or was it that he always had a retort for him when Nathan started heckling him?
Nathan honestly didn't know. He did suspect that it was a combination of all these different little things over a long period of time, but what really mattered was that he was pretty much in love with the blond now.
"Hello, Dr. Stark," Vincent greeted as he looked up from helping another customer. "I'll be right with you."
"Take your time," he waved a hand and started for his usual spot in the corner. It wasn't until he almost sat down did he really look at his table.
Laying there on the surface of the table was a rose.
Looking around, Nathan found that no-one was paying him any mind as they went about their business. Sitting down carefully, it was then that he noticed the small card laying under the rose.
He picked it up carefully and opened it, tilting his head slightly as he read the note.
"What the…" That was it, no name or anything else.
Flipping it over, he still couldn't find anything telling him the name of the person who sent it or the person who it was meant for, because he didn't know if he was the intended target or not.
It was while he was studying both card and rose that he suddenly realized that someone was standing next to him.
"Hey, Scientist," Sheriff Jack Carter drawled as he looked down at him. "Whatcha got there?"
"Sheriff," Nathan nodded coolly, hoping that the blond didn't notice the approving once over. Jack's days off were Nathan's favorite sort of days as the blond wasn't confined to the dull brown of the Sheriff's uniform, but the blond filled out just as well in any outfit that Nathan had had the pleasure of seeing him in. "I believe that this belongs to someone else."
Leaning against the booth, Carter swept a gaze over the rose. "I think someone's trying to get your attention."
"What did the note say?" Carter asked. Nathan handed the card over and shrugged a shoulder.
" 'Enjoy today,' huh?" Blue eyes lit up with amusement. "You've got someone tied up over you."
"I sincerely doubt that," Nathan drawled at him with a practiced roll of the eyes. "Moreover, it's probably someone who wanted to apologize for screwing something up at one point."
"Don't be so cynical," Carter shook his head at him. "Why's it so hard for you to believe that someone is interested in you? Hey, I bet it's Allison."
"No," Nathan frowned as he took the card back from him. "She would have written it by hand."
"Well, I hate to admit this, but you may have a point," Jack looked out over the rest of the Café while Nathan studied the computer generated calligraphy. "Oh, I almost forgot," Nathan looked up at the sigh. Turning to follow the blond's gaze, he grimaced.
"Sheriff, I do believe that I feel sorry for you." Under any other circumstance, Nathan wouldn't have said what he did especially with sympathy in fear of being found out, but he had had past dealings with this particular scientist and he felt that the sympathy was well deserved.
"That makes two of us," Carter sighed again. A few minutes of silence was broken when Vin came up to take Nathan's order. "Well, I'd better get going," Carter shifted weight from foot to foot.
"See you, Sheriff," Nathan hated that he couldn't ask the blond to stay a little longer. Well, not until the perfect Valentine's Day gift was found.
"Yeah, Scientist," Carter looked back at the rose and grinned. "Take the card's advice and 'enjoy today'."
Nathan smiled slightly as the blond walked away from him.
'I think I will.'
AN: 1/10 is finished. Hope that wasn't too bad.
2. 1. 10 (M)
10 Days to Valentine's
Chapter Two: Feb. 6
The rose was put out of Nathan's mind and wasn't thought about for the rest of the day. It wasn't until the next little gift showed up the next morning that Nathan finally admitted that he really was the one that was supposed to be getting these little tokens of affection.
He had only left his office for a few minutes, but that had apparently been enough time for someone to have slipped in and left a Vinspresso on his desk with yet another card nearby.
Nathan shook his head as green eyes swept over this note.
'Careful, it's hot.'
"Who in the world is doing this?" He thought aloud. Sighing slightly, he took both note and coffee and headed immediately to Allison's office, determined to find out who was in his office. Reaching the room, he didn't even think about knocking or seeing if Allie was the only one in there.
Storming in, he headed straight for her desk and growled, "Someone was in my office and left me these. Did you see anyone hanging around my office?"
"No, I didn't, Nathan," Allison Blake took in the Vinspresso and the innocuous looking note.
He was about to open his mouth to say something else when he heard a chuckle come from somewhere off to the left. "Your secret admirer leave something else?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Sheriff, but I have reason to believe that we have a security breach," Nathan only hoped that he wasn't showing relief at having the other man there to help him with this. A rose laying on a booth table was one thing, but it was a whole other story when a cup of coffee was found sitting on his desk when he was out of the room for only a short while.
"Nathan, that's a serious allegation," Allison frowned, getting up and rounding the desk to stand in front of her ex-husband and her friend. "Especially since this is over a cup of coffee."
"I'd like to know that someone isn't trying to poison me or something," Nathan snapped back at her. Before anyone could react, Carter reached over to snatch it out of his hand and took a sip.
"Carter!" Allison yelled out as the blond turned slightly green and spat it out in her trashcan. "Are you alright? Nathan, help me get him to the infir-"
"No, it's not that," Carter grimaced, snatching his arm from Allison. "How can anyone drink coffee like that?"
"What?" Nathan halted mid-reach as Allison looked closer at the coffee and started laughing.
"Nathan, this is always how you take your coffee whenever you decide you want coffee," Allison grinned as she saw Carter using a tissue to wipe his tongue.
Outwardly wrinkling his nose in distaste and inwardly chuckling in amusement, Nathan commented, "Charming, Carter."
"I don't care," the blond huffed on his way out. "I just want this nasty taste out of my mouth. Later, Allison, Stark."
"So," Allison sighed as she looked at the coffee. "You want me to test it?"
"No, that's alright," Nathan studied it dubiously. "But I think we should turn the security up a little."
"That's fine," Allison nodded sagely. "Now," she suddenly grinned with interest. "What's this I hear about you getting a secret admirer?"
"It's nothing, Allie," Nathan shook his head.
Leaving the coffee with her to do what she wished, he returned to his office and frowned as he noticed that he had only nine days left to figure out what to get Jack.
AN: 2/10 finished. In case you all were wondering, the chapters are supposed to be short. A trial run, if you will.
2. 1. 10 (M)
Chapter 3: 10 Days to Valentine's Chapter 3
10 Days to Valentine's
10 Days to Valentine's
Chapter Three: Feb. 7
When Nathan walked into his office the next day, he honestly wasn't surprised to find another 'gift'.
"Evidently," he drawled, extracting the ever present note card from the flat package that was wrapped in a blue paper with snowflake prints. "I have the attention of someone who can get virtually anywhere they want." He wasn't all that sure if it was a male or female, but he did know for certain that he was only interested in one person.
'One person who seems to delight in sneaking up on people,' he grinned inwardly as he turned to his endearingly nosy blond. "Sheriff, do you have a particular reason for being here today? I wasn't aware we needed your services."
Nathan was slightly surprised to see Jack wince. "Yeah, about that… I sort of need to know where you were last night."
"Why?" He settled down behind his desk and picked up the latest token from his fan.
Jack sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Because someone said that they might have seen you somewhere that you shouldn't have been."
"Ah, I understand now and for the sake of Eureka, this time I will cooperate with you," Nathan tapped what appeared to be glass under the wrapping paper. "I was at home, on my laptop."
"Doing what?" Jack's blue eyes lit upon the newest addition to Nathan's collection. "And another gift from your Admirer? Did they leave a note again?"
"Work, yes, and here," he let him have the note. There was absolutely no reason to tell him that Nathan had been trying to come up with Jack's Valentine.
Blue eyes frowned as they skimmed the familiar calligraphy.
"Interesting," Carter nodded, handing it back. "That reminds me. Why are you sharing your Admirer with me of all people?"
'If only Valentine's Day could get here fast enough.' He thought. Aloud, he said, "Since you happen to always be nearby when I find it… Why is that?" Nathan tilted his head slightly as he studied the blond.
"Luck?" Jack shrugged. "So," he shoved his hands in his pockets. "What's in it?"
Before Nathan could ask why Jack was so interested and to tease him about being jealous, Douglas Fargo came sliding in through the door with a panicked look on his face.
"Sheriff! Jo… Tesla High… NOW!"
Both Fargo and Sheriff were probably about half way to the high school before Nathan could run that sentence through again. Shooting out after them, Allison caught him by the arm as he went past.
"We have this, Nathan," she paused to lock eyes with him. "Go shut down that area of the Grid while we figure out what's going on."
Nodding, he headed back to his office to turn on his computer. Since he could access the Grid from there, he looked at the present while waiting for his screen to boot up. Shrugging, he picked it up and opened it carefully. When the last of the wrapping paper fell away, his breath caught in his throat as he found himself staring at a watercolor of a lily pad that vaguely reminded him of the ones that grew around the fountain at the Spa. He loved looking at those whenever he could get away, but he frowned as he saw that the flower was a light red shade.
"It's very well done," Nathan smiled slightly. "The artist is very talented. Well, Valentine's Day is coming up," he added as he looked at the red flower. "And I still don't have anything for Jack."
He sighed and temporarily put the watercolor out of his mind as he went back to work fixing whatever mess had happened this week.
AN: 3/10 finished.
FYI: They are probably out of character, but I like them the way they are.
And, Grid means the Eureka Power Grid and the Spa refers to The Employee Spa that we saw in that one episode.
2. 3.10 (W)
Chapter 4: 10 Days to Valentine's Chapter 4
10 Days to Valentine's
10 Days to Valentine's
Note: this happens the very next day from chapter 3.
Chapter 4: Feb. 8
It took the rest of the day and all of next to straighten out what ended up being a mess of miscommunication.
Nathan rubbed his temples as he shut down his computer for the night. 'Hurry up so I can go and get something for my headache,' he silently pleaded with his computer as he looked around his office to see what he needed to take home.
He suddenly remembered the watercolor of the lily pad and smiled slightly as he picked it up. "Well, this was an interesting day," he told it.
When his computer finally turned off, he gathered the watercolor and a few other things on his way out the door.
As he exited the compound of Global Dynamics and headed for his car, he couldn't help but wonder what had happened to his Secret Admirer as there had been no new gift or note since the watercolor had showed up on his desk yesterday.
Arriving at his car, he just happened to look inside the driver's side window and paused. 'Ah, so my Admirer still lives,' he studied the newest offering and the folded card underneath.
Opening the car door and settling into the driver's seat, he reached over and retrieved what was on the passenger side to study a little better.
Nathan blinked as he suddenly realized the presence of a light headache. Rubbing his eyes with one hand, he smiled wryly. "Shouldn't be surprised, really," he told himself. "What with trying to figure out what was going on at Tesla and how to stop the school from suddenly becoming non-existent."
Looking down, he noted with some surprise that it was a box of assorted fruit flavored herbal teas. 'Maybe they didn't know which flavor I preferred,' he thought.
Putting the tea back down and stuffing the note in his pocket to put with the other notes that he'd been keeping on his bedside table to go over, he was about to insert the key into the ignition when a light tapping came to his attention. Turning to look out the left side window, he spotted the familiar blue eyes of his blond staring in at him.
"Sheriff, what do I owe this visit?" he drawled coolly, suppressing the urge to run a hand through short blond strands. It was becoming a greater annoyance than it was a month ago…
"I was just clearing some things up with Allison and saw you sitting here in the dark. Car doing alright?"
"Of course, but I was a little sidetracked."
Jack frowned and looked past Nathan before nodding. "Another one? What'd the note say this time?"
"Why, Carter, do I detect a hint of jealousy?" Nathan had to tease. "You're not normally so nosy. Especially in my business."
"No, Stark, just making sure that it's not something that's going to give us trouble down the road."
"Right," Nathan nodded, praying to all deities out there that Jack didn't notice the disappointment that Jack wasn't looking out for his personal welfare. It was in Jack's nature to worry about others whether he found them as exasperating as Fargo or as annoying as others employed by Global Dynamics. "Well, this one said, 'rest easy.'"
"Hmm," blue eyes studied him for a second. "You do look sort of wrung out. I'll let you get home and ready for bed."
"Thanks, Carter." Beside the fact that he really didn't want to go, his headache was starting to get a little more painful and he was sure that the blond had other duties to take care of before turning in for the night. "I shall see you later."
Just as he was turning the car on, Jack stopped him from putting the car into gear and taking off.
"Stark," serious blue met curious green. "If you start getting nervous about your Admirer, let me know and I'll find a way to put a stop to it."
Filing the blooming warmth away to treasure later, Nathan solemnly promised, "You have my word that should I feel the need to seek your help, I will do so."
Studying the scientist a little more, Jack nodded and waved at him as the blond turned and went back to whatever it was that he was doing before confronting Nathan.
Smiling slightly, Nathan turned the car toward home. He would be having good dreams, he knew.
AN: 4/10 is finished. Hope everyone enjoyed the 44th Super Bowl between the Colts and the Saints.
2. 7. 10 (Su)
Chapter 5: 10 Days to Valentine's Chapter 5
10 Days to Valentine's
10 Days to Valentine's
Chapter 5: Feb. 9
Nathan sighed as Allison pulled him into the Sheriff's office on his enforced lunch break the very next day.
His headache from last night had disappeared and he was very happy about it, but Allison was under the impression that her ex-husband was working too hard and had dragged him out of the office and down into the town proper for lunch at Café Diem. 'With a side stop at Jack's,' he added to himself, as he gave Allie the expected griping.
"Oh, be quiet, Nathan," she shook her head as they entered the station to see Deputy Jo Lupo hard at work on some paperwork. "You know as well as I do that you need to relax before meeting with Dr. Komansly. Remember what happened the last time?"
Nathan winced as the unwanted memory suddenly came up.
Jo looked up with sympathy. "Yeah, Stark," she nodded. "We really don't need a repeat of that. Carter was pretty antsy for a few days afterwards."
'That is precisely why I lit into Komansly,' he thought darkly as he also remembered the satisfying reaming out when it was discovered that the pharmacist was somehow responsible for Jack's unusual energy levels.
"Say, Jo," Allie smiled at the younger female, "is Carter around? I thought we would all have lunch."
"Nah, he got called out on some sort of disturbance issue," Jo shook her head. "That was an hour ago and he took Henry with him. I don't know how long they're going to be."
"Oh," Allie processed that for a moment and nodded. "Of course. Did you want to go as well?"
"Zane wanted to have lunch a little later," Jo grinned, "but thanks for the offer."
Within a few minutes, Nathan and Allie were both at Café Diem and at the bar.
While Allie was making small talk with Vin, Nathan played with his cup of sweet ice tea. 'I really wanted to see Jack, too,' he inwardly whined about the unavoidable separation. Normally, he didn't whine, but he felt a little entitled since Valentine's Day was quickly coming up and Nathan wanted to feel Jack out a little more to see what kind of gift would be the most appropriate before Nathan told him about his attraction to him. He smiled slightly as he remembered his previous thoughts about calling the Sheriff 'his blond'.
Yes, he had felt a little possessive of Allie when they had been married, but Nathan didn't think he had ever felt like this before actually accepting his feelings for the blond.
"Nathan," he looked up at Allie. "Are you alright? You look sort of disappointed."
Trying to come up with a plausible excuse, she suddenly grinned. "I forgot that you had that meeting with Komansly today, if you can believe it. And," she nodded in understanding, "I bet you were counting on Carter to be around so you could let off some steam. I've always noticed that you both seemed slightly more relaxed after one of your arguments."
Nathan had noticed that, too. That was actually one of reasons why he didn't feel as adverse to having feelings for the blond as he did. He'd come to realize that the blond was an unexpected calming influence on him in the first few months of them knowing each other. He just didn't think anything of it at the time.
'That sort of is the reason I'm disappointed. I really was planning on seeing Carter, if not talking to him,' he thought with a sigh. Just looking at his blond was enough to keep his temper in check for the rest of the day.
Allison's pager went off, telling her to come back for an emergency, a few minutes later. Nathan, having been declined to assist, slunk over to his booth where he leaned his head on a fist and closed his eyes for a few seconds to work up the courage for the meet ahead.
It was when he let his gaze float to the side did he notice that his Admirer had once again left him something. This time, he was interested to note that today's little card came with a duck bobble head. It was the size of a rubber ducky, and probably was a rubber ducky, but with a bobbing head. 'Yellow and blue,' he thought absently as he picked up the card. 'Like blond and sky blue.'
"Keep your head up."
Looking from the note to the duck, he nodded once. 'Appropriate,' he smirked.
As his phone rang, he kept looking around, but for who he honestly didn't know: either his Admirer or Carter. Carter would have been his preferred choice, especially since he kept showing up, but the Sheriff must still have been out on call and no one was paying him undue attention so he gave up for the moment. Answering, he grimaced as he was informed that the meeting was in half an hour.
'Carter would be much preferred right about now,' he thought as he finished his coffee. Grabbing duck and note, he made his way out to his car, grateful that he had insisted on taking his own instead of riding with Allison. He stuffed the note in his pocket and held the duck until he was inside, where he put it on the dashboard.
Remembering what was ahead of him and what the note had said, he sighed as he pulled out of his parking spot.
''Keep your head up', huh? No promises.'
AN: 5/10 is finished. Whew, halfway there already. My, time flies by pretty fast, don't it?
Will you all believe this weather, we're having? I'm sort of glad I don't live any further north than where I am now. Most we might get is a half inch of precip, but up in DC? Power's out, money's all used for clearing the roads, another snow system will be dumping more white stuff on them, and they're still buried under, at least, a foot of snow.
2. 8.10 (M)
Chapter 6: Feb. 10th
This entire story has been completed in 2010. I will post the rest of it here.
Nathan blinked as he registered the blinking digits on the clock on the right side of his desk.
‘Wow, it’s almost lunchtime,’ he noted.
After the meeting, he had went looking for Carter (if not for a vent of finally letting his tongue form the words that he’d wanted to spew at the idiot who called himself ‘doctor’ in a tirade that the blond would probably be better off not knowing most of what was being said, then because Nathan had found that Jack could take the edge off his anger with a good insult or twelve) but to no avail. Having returned to his office, he had decided to take out his anger on reports and other things that had the unfortunate attention of the single minded scientist.
In fact, he was so single minded that he hadn’t actually noticed how much time had passed.
Stretching, he stood and walked around his office a few times to get some circulation back into his lower extremities. Nathan decided to head on down to the cafeteria for a late breakfast/ early lunch instead of Café Diem because of yet some more paperwork that needed his signature and he wanted to get to them as quickly as possible.
“Another day at GD,” he muttered to himself as he locked up and went down to the cafeteria to pick some suitable food. “Only thing that would make it a normal day is if something blew up.”
Entering the cafeteria area, he noted that there wasn’t actually a lot of people and that actually made his day a little better since there were no people trying to give him a bigger headache than he already had and that also meant a shorter line.
He turned to see Allison sitting with Henry Deacon and the formerly missing Sheriff. Signaling to wait a few minutes, he got through the line quickly and sat down next to Henry and across from Allison with Jack next to her and across from Henry.
“Henry, Allison, Sheriff,” he nodded as well as his suddenly pounding headache would allow.
“Nathan,” Henry and Allison smiled as Jack put his head down on the table.
“Something wrong, Sheriff?” Nathan couldn’t help but study the other man with hidden concern. Henry chuckled.
“You have the vanilla pudding,” Allison grinned with a slanted glance at her blond friend.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Nathan frowned as he looked at his pudding. Usually, he would get the chocolate, but there was none left to speak of.
“Don’t,” Jack mumbled as he kept his head down. He rolled his head from side to side. “Just don’t.”
Nathan narrowed his eyes at his blond as he continued eating, while Allie and Henry kept up a background noise of things that only they seemed to know about.
When he went back up an hour later, it was to find another gift and note.
“Time for a nap.”
Nathan stared at the pillow in disbelief. ‘Are you kidding?’
Sighing, he picked up the light green pillow and studied it. It seemed to be a feather pillow with its own case, which was a light green background and had a very soothing pattern of swirls of blue embroidered in a complicated design that actually sort of reminded him of an atom structure.
“Well, that was thoughtful,” he intoned, setting the pillow back down and settling behind his desk for some more work.
Allison was flipping through the paperwork on her desk when she noticed the time. ‘Nathan was supposed to be here an hour ago,’ she frowned. ‘Being late is just not like him.’
After calling his office with no result, she sighed and got up. “Guess I’ll just have to go up and talk to him.”
Walking down the hall toward his office, she nodded to all the employees that she passed, including the doctor responsible for Carter’s current dislike of vanilla pudding. She couldn’t help but giggle as she remembered the mess that she had walked into late yesterday.
Still smiling, she walked into her ex-husband’s office. “Hey, Nathan…”
Allison trailed off as her eyes adjusted to the dimmed lighting and took in the sight of the missing scientist on the couch, head on his new pillow, out like a light.
AN: 6/10 is finished.
Have a happy rest of the day and remember, no one is too old for a nap.
2. 9. 10
Chapter 7: Feb. 11
Don't own Hershey's, but their goodies are to die for!
Nathan sighed as he stretched after 5 hours of sitting down with no break. Getting up and walking out of his office, he went down to the cafeteria for some coffee and a side stop in the bathroom. Not necessarily in that order, of course. He walked into the cafeteria and headed directly to the coffee machine. Even though he had a coffee machine in his office, he didn’t actually want to go to the trouble of making the coffee and instead poured himself some. “I still don’t understand how you can drink that stuff,” a voice sounded off to his right as his dear Sheriff sidled up next to him. “You don’t even put sugar in it.” “Sheriff, not everyone likes their drinks full of sugar,” Nathan sniffed at him. ‘Well,’ he couldn’t help noticing the light grey t-shirt that signaled not only Jack’s day off, but also showcased his torso a little better than some other shirts in the past. ‘Any liquids, that is. Solids, on the other hand, I think can get away with it. Someone like you comes to mind,’ he hurriedly sipped his coffee to disguise the need to lick his lips. “Yeah, well,” the blond grimaced. He ran a hand through his hair as he looked around before suddenly walking around to Nathan’s other side in order to put the scientist between him and everyone else. “Not him, again.” “Who?” Nathan turned to look around, but saw no one to garner that particular response. “Look, just… Pretend I’m not here,” Jack advised, crouching down. ‘I can’t do that,’ Nathan sighed. He looked down at him and smiled slightly at the picture the blond made. Blue eyes looked up and Jack reached for his arm to pull Nathan along around the corner, where they wouldn’t be overheard. “Carter, what are you doing?” Nathan just barely managed to keep all his coffee in the cup as his often confusing blond managed to secure the corner. “Listen, I don’t want to have to deal with that… that… scientist for at least another hour, alright?” Jack aimed a glare into the room proper. “Fine,” Nathan sipped his drink again as he studied the other man, who suddenly seemed very uncomfortable. “What?” Nathan frowned. “What seems to be the matter?” “Do… you have a Valentine to think about?” Jack asked, uncomfortably. To say that Nathan was a bit surprised was a complete understatement. “Yes, may I ask why?” He mentally patted himself on the shoulder for being able to stay neutral, but he couldn’t help noticing those blue eyes losing some of their shine. “You have one?” “Yeah, yeah, actually.” The Sheriff rubbed the back of his neck. “Have, uh, you figured out what to get them? For Valentine’s Day?” “No,” he said simply. “I haven’t quite the faintest idea about any ideas that might help.” “Well,” Jack sighed and looked everywhere but at Nathan. “I think I know a lot about my Valentine, but I really don’t know what would be special enough to give them on February 14.” “And what, pray tell, do you want from me?” Nathan couldn’t help but feel a little sick at the thought that he was about to give advice to his Valentine, who was undoubtedly going to use that information to gain the affections of his own Valentine. “Well, what exactly would be a good gift to give someone that you really like? I mean, I’m all out of ideas. I was thinking, maybe, you could give me a jumpstart…?” ‘The things I do…’ Nathan sighed. “Well, think about their personality. What would they most likely treasure? It probably doesn’t have to be big, or even all that physically pleasing. It should be something that they would, without a doubt, be happy to have. Is this making sense to you?” He couldn’t help but wince at sounding uncertain like that. Although, that did seem to give him an idea of what to get his blond… “I think,” Jack said thoughtfully, “that does make some sense. But even though it does,” he frowned, “I still think that has a heck of a lot of room for interpretation.” “It probably does,” Nathan was jolted from his thoughts in time to answer. “Well, it does give me some thing to think about. Hey, thanks, Stark,” he smiled brightly at him. “No problem, Sheriff,” he shrugged slightly. “Though, I honestly don’t think that I’m the right person to give advice.” “You are,” Jack hurriedly assured him. “Really. I have to go.” Nathan nodded and watched him head off, still trying to avoid that scientist. A little later, he headed back up to his office only to find yet another gift and note. “Really smooth.” “I can’t help but wonder if my Admirer was watching us or listening in,” Nathan blinked as he studied the brand new bar of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate while remembering the dreaded conversation between him and Jack. Seeing no signs of tampering, he opened the bar and took a small bite. ‘‘Really smooth’, indeed.’ Settling behind his desk, he started searching in earnest for the perfect Valentine for his Sheriff. *** AN: 7/10 is done. *To all my fellow ‘Deadliest Catch’ peeps: Today is a very sad day indeed. Please give a moment to remember the captain of the Cornelia Marie, Phil Harris. He will be sorely missed by friends, family, and fans alike. My sincerest condolences to all those close to him. We miss you, Captain Phil! May you keep watch up in that Crab hotspot in the sky and help all your fellow Bering Captains come home to their friends and families safe and sound. 2. 10. 10 (W)
Nathan sighed as he stretched after 5 hours of sitting down with no break.
Getting up and walking out of his office, he went down to the cafeteria for some coffee and a side stop in the bathroom. Not necessarily in that order, of course.
He walked into the cafeteria and headed directly to the coffee machine. Even though he had a coffee machine in his office, he didn’t actually want to go to the trouble of making the coffee and instead poured himself some.
“I still don’t understand how you can drink that stuff,” a voice sounded off to his right as his dear Sheriff sidled up next to him. “You don’t even put sugar in it.”
“Sheriff, not everyone likes their drinks full of sugar,” Nathan sniffed at him. ‘Well,’ he couldn’t help noticing the light grey t-shirt that signaled not only Jack’s day off, but also showcased his torso a little better than some other shirts in the past. ‘Any liquids, that is. Solids, on the other hand, I think can get away with it. Someone like you comes to mind,’ he hurriedly sipped his coffee to disguise the need to lick his lips.
“Yeah, well,” the blond grimaced. He ran a hand through his hair as he looked around before suddenly walking around to Nathan’s other side in order to put the scientist between him and everyone else. “Not him, again.”
“Who?” Nathan turned to look around, but saw no one to garner that particular response.
“Look, just… Pretend I’m not here,” Jack advised, crouching down.
‘I can’t do that,’ Nathan sighed. He looked down at him and smiled slightly at the picture the blond made.
Blue eyes looked up and Jack reached for his arm to pull Nathan along around the corner, where they wouldn’t be overheard.
“Carter, what are you doing?” Nathan just barely managed to keep all his coffee in the cup as his often confusing blond managed to secure the corner.
“Listen, I don’t want to have to deal with that… that… scientist for at least another hour, alright?” Jack aimed a glare into the room proper.
“Fine,” Nathan sipped his drink again as he studied the other man, who suddenly seemed very uncomfortable. “What?” Nathan frowned. “What seems to be the matter?”
“Do… you have a Valentine to think about?” Jack asked, uncomfortably.
To say that Nathan was a bit surprised was a complete understatement. “Yes, may I ask why?” He mentally patted himself on the shoulder for being able to stay neutral, but he couldn’t help noticing those blue eyes losing some of their shine. “You have one?”
“Yeah, yeah, actually.” The Sheriff rubbed the back of his neck. “Have, uh, you figured out what to get them? For Valentine’s Day?”
“No,” he said simply. “I haven’t quite the faintest idea about any ideas that might help.”
“Well,” Jack sighed and looked everywhere but at Nathan. “I think I know a lot about my Valentine, but I really don’t know what would be special enough to give them on February 14.”
“And what, pray tell, do you want from me?” Nathan couldn’t help but feel a little sick at the thought that he was about to give advice to his Valentine, who was undoubtedly going to use that information to gain the affections of his own Valentine.
“Well, what exactly would be a good gift to give someone that you really like? I mean, I’m all out of ideas. I was thinking, maybe, you could give me a jumpstart…?”
‘The things I do…’ Nathan sighed. “Well, think about their personality. What would they most likely treasure? It probably doesn’t have to be big, or even all that physically pleasing. It should be something that they would, without a doubt, be happy to have. Is this making sense to you?” He couldn’t help but wince at sounding uncertain like that. Although, that did seem to give him an idea of what to get his blond…
“I think,” Jack said thoughtfully, “that does make some sense. But even though it does,” he frowned, “I still think that has a heck of a lot of room for interpretation.”
“It probably does,” Nathan was jolted from his thoughts in time to answer.
“Well, it does give me some thing to think about. Hey, thanks, Stark,” he smiled brightly at him.
“No problem, Sheriff,” he shrugged slightly. “Though, I honestly don’t think that I’m the right person to give advice.”
“You are,” Jack hurriedly assured him. “Really. I have to go.”
Nathan nodded and watched him head off, still trying to avoid that scientist.
A little later, he headed back up to his office only to find yet another gift and note.
“I can’t help but wonder if my Admirer was watching us or listening in,” Nathan blinked as he studied the brand new bar of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate while remembering the dreaded conversation between him and Jack.
Seeing no signs of tampering, he opened the bar and took a small bite. ‘‘Really smooth’, indeed.’
Settling behind his desk, he started searching in earnest for the perfect Valentine for his Sheriff.
AN: 7/10 is done.
*To all my fellow ‘Deadliest Catch’ peeps: Today is a very sad day indeed. Please give a moment to remember the captain of the Cornelia Marie, Phil Harris. He will be sorely missed by friends, family, and fans alike. My sincerest condolences to all those close to him. We miss you, Captain Phil! May you keep watch up in that Crab hotspot in the sky and help all your fellow Bering Captains come home to their friends and families safe and sound.
2. 10. 10 (W)
Chapter 8: Feb. 12
Guys, to let you know, this has already been completed, I'm just trying to move chapters from ff net.
Nathan growled as yet another scientist tried to get his attention.
"I hate this time of year," he grumbled, walking toward the Sheriff's Office and ducking inside. The whole lot of GD employees wanted his approval on a myriad of projects and while normally Allison would take care of this stuff, she was in the middle of a high profile meeting that she couldn't get out of until later that evening. With her out of the picture, that left him as the only high ranking scientist available.
He turned from looking out of the windows to see Deputy Jo Lupo staring at him with an eyebrow raised. "Lupo," he nodded as he straightened his clothes after his race through town.
"Carter isn't here yet," she turned back to her reports, leaving him staring at her.
"What makes you think I'm here for Carter?" He asked, coming over to lean against the Sheriff's desk.
"Well, believe it or not, he has a sort of 'gift' for dealing with annoying scientists," she smiled absently. "Just seems to me that you've been having some trouble with 'em. Carter can run them off for you, if you want."
"Ah, no, that's fine, really."
Nathan studied her for a few minutes. 'What exactly does Donovan see in her?' he asked himself.
Jo suddenly looked up at the clock. "I think the coast is clear, now," she commented.
"I'll see you around, then," he offered.
"Sure," she nodded, still working at her desk.
Nathan nodded in return and stepped out. Not without a quick look around to make sure no one was paying him any mind. He was about to go to the Café, but he nixed that idea when he happened to glance inside and saw at least two of his most persistent pursuers.
Sighing, he turned toward his house, and car, to go back to Global Dynamics and the office.
A few minutes later, he entered his office to see yet another gift from his Admirer.
"Always time for a snack."
He narrowed his eyes at the innocuous looking muffin sitting on the corner of his desk. 'Well, they do seem to like my office,' he frowned as he looked around. He was in the middle of thinking that he should figure out how, exactly, certain minutes of security footage disappeared and who was behind it, when the door opened to admit none other than the Sheriff.
"Hey, Stark," he tilted his head as he studied the scientist, who was apparently trying to set fire to a delicious looking muffin. "What did it say?"
"What?" He frowned at his blond, who grinned.
"It obviously said something to insult you, otherwise you wouldn't be trying to make a bonfire out of that goodie."
"Don't be ridiculous," Nathan rolled his eyes, pretty sure that the amusement was leaking through his façade. "If you must know, my Admirer has struck again."
"Oh?" Carter took a closer look at the muffin. "And you're thinking that it's got something other than ingredients?"
"In a manner of speaking," he nodded.
Jack was silent for a minute before shrugging. "Wanna share it?"
Nathan stared. "What?"
"Yeah," Jack smiled slightly. "If something else is in that muffin, half a dose probably won't hurt."
As much as Nathan liked the idea of sharing a muffin with his Sheriff, he did have to admit that it was a sound suggestion. "What if there is actually something in it?"
"We could touch base every hour or so."
"I would rather like to have it examined, but if you think it's more practical…"
"Great," Jack rubbed his hands together slightly. "When we're done, we're going to need…"
Nathan couldn't help but tune out the words as he listened and watched as the blond went about dividing the muffin into two equal parts. Suddenly, he smiled slightly.
'I think I know the perfect Valentine.'
Chapter 9: Feb. 13
Nathan dutifully answered the phone. "I'm still fine, Carter. Really."
"You know," the blond said, "I think we stopped that a few hours ago."
"So we have," he looked at the clock and saw that they had indeed stopped checking up on each other an hour after midnight. It was almost 11 o'clock in the morning now. "What seems to be the problem this morning?"
"Have you heard of a Dr. Missumkin?"
Nathan pursed his lips as he thought. "I don't believe so. Have you talked to Henry?"
"I'm actually on the way, now. I just wanted to know if you had any information to save me the trouble."
"Alright, well," Nathan had to smile at the sheepish confession. "Keep me-"
He looked up at Fargo as the younger man called his attention. "Carter, keep me informed."
"Will do, Stark."
Nathan put the phone down and turned his attention to Fargo. "What is it?"
"There's a bunch of flowers for you," he adjusted his glasses. "And a card was delivered with them."
"Thanks, Fargo," he appropriated his Admirer's newest gift and saw the card.
"Absolutely you," he read a few minutes later as he settled behind his desk once more, alone in his office.
Red and white roses, in full bloom, sat contently on his desk, with a bow wrapped around the neck.
"I'm afraid that I'm still going to have to turn you down, Admirer," Nathan shook his head as he pocketed the newest note.
Opening a drawer, he pulled out a small box that was slightly larger than palm-sized. 'Tomorrow is the day,' he thought as he opened it and studied the pendant laying in the middle. 'I don't quite know what I'll do if he doesn't feel the same, but at least I will have a friend out of all this.' He hadn't quite had a true male friend outside of Henry Deacon, but that would have to be enough if Jack wanted.
In any case, the pendant will have to be accepted, since Nathan wanted the blond to keep it anyway. 'If only to symbolize a new friendship,' he would say.
Nodding to himself, he returned the box to the drawer and closed it.
Three hours later, he studied the roses on his desk. "I wonder what my Admirer will do tomorrow," he pondered aloud, fingering the nearest white rose. "Well, in order to turn them down, I will need to meet them face to face."
He heard the phone ring and picked it up. "St-"
"Nathan! Get to the infirmary as soon as possible," Allison yelled at him. "There was an accident and Carter's being brought in. After we figure out what happened, you need to go get Zoë and… Nathan? Nathan, are you there?"
The office was empty.
Chapter 10: Feb. 14
Everything comes together.
Thanks for being patient about my moving this over from FF.net. Last chapter, folks. Thanks for hanging around!
After almost a full twenty-four hours, Nathan Stark pulled up to the bunker, also called the Smart house or SARAH, with a sigh.
When he had made sure that Sheriff Jack Carter wasn't in danger of mortal peril, he launched an investigation into the incident with Allison's blessing. Apparently, there had been a project that Henry hadn't known about buried about a couple feet into the Garage's backyard and it was activated by complete accident as all trouble making projects were.
No one quite knew much about the invention, but Henry reassured them that Jack wouldn't suffer any long term side effects, if there were any. Nathan had been dispatched to get Zoë Carter and, now that both Carters were in the same room with one still out like a light and the other waiting anxiously for her father to wake, Nathan was to pick some stuff up for Jack and Zoë, who was going to be spending the night with Jo.
Walking down the stairs, he waited until SARAH acknowledged him.
"Hello, Dr. Stark," she intoned brightly. "What seems to be the problem?"
"Both Carters won't be coming home tonight, SARAH," he informed. "I need to get what they need."
The door opened and he walked right in. Scanning the first floor, he headed to the stairs and second floor.
"SARAH, call Zoë," Nathan instructed. "I don't exactly know what she wants from me."
After an affirmative, the younger Carter walked him through her room ("Whatever you do, don't open the middle top drawer or the one under it." "Why?" "I am a girl, after all."). He hefted the duffle bag and headed for Jack's room.
After gathering his blond's belongings, he just so happened to glance at the bedside table, only to freeze.
There, sitting under the lamp on Jack's side, was a little card. One that Nathan found all too familiar.
"Can you be my Valentine?"
Green eyes swept over the note in his hand and over what appeared to be a florist receipt. For the same roses that was sitting on his desk that very moment.
'I guess I don't have to turn my Admirer down after all,' he mused.
"Hey, Stark," the young blonde greeted as she spotted the dark haired scientist lurking in the doorway.
"Zoë," he nodded. Looking toward the bed, he tilted his head as he noticed a bleary pair of blue staring back at him. "Carter, good to see you awake."
"Nathan," he smiled slightly.
"On a first name basis, now?" Nathan smiled slightly as he walked toward them and stopped in front of the pair.
"Only for today. Valentine's Day, you know," Jack sighed as he rested fully against the pillows.
"Nice to know," Nathan nodded.
Jo came to collect her houseguest a few minutes later and soon the two were alone.
"So, Carter," Nathan drawled, perching on the side of the bed. "I gave in to the 'spirit' and got you something."
"Really?" Blue eyes lit up with a smile, albeit a surprised one.
Nathan handed over the box and watched as the necklace was extracted. Jack smiled brightly as he recognized a recent invention: a holographic pendant. Staring at the deep blue screen, he saw the working/ animated model of an atomic structure appear. In the center, in lieu of the familiar bunch of atoms that made up the nucleus, a Sheriff's star was being surrounded by three orbiting circles that had a pair of letters: NS, GD, and EO.
Nathan watched as Jack took in the meaning of the letters as Nathan's own initials, Global Dynamics, and Eureka, Oregon.
"You always seem to be in the middle of everything," Nathan shrugged.
"What about you?" He wanted to know. "Your name is in here, too."
"Yeah, I was thinking about lying and telling you something completely different, but, now that I know who you really are… For awhile now, it seems that you've been at the center of most of my waking moments. Some days, I actively seek you out."
Jack shuffled to the side as Nathan suddenly lay down beside him. "What do you mean, 'now that you know who I really am'?" Jack smiled as he realized that he'd been found out.
"My Admirer," Nathan lay his head back and closed his eyes.
The pair lay in silence for a few minutes as Jack processed the information that Nathan had the same inclinations that Jack had. "You're alright with it?"
"More than," he looked at him. "Although, I do have to wonder about some of those gifts."
"Well," Jack shrugged. "Allison had maybe let slip that you like tea, especially when I left the coffee in your office that one day. The pillow was something that sort of reminded me of you on my last trip out of town. Then the watercolor," he flushed faintly. "I know I don't really advertise but… It's a sort of hobby of mine."
"That was you?" Nathan grinned. "That was a really good piece of work, Jack. How many know about this?"
"You, Henry, Zane, Jo, SARAH, Fargo, and Allison."
Nodding, Nathan suddenly remembered the thought that had struck him after finding the final card. "With the last card, what was it that you were going to give me?"
Jack smiled as he leant over and brushed their lips together.
"What would you have done if I didn't take too well to that?" Nathan smiled at him as he caught his hand.
"I'm a risk taker," Jack shrugged. "I would've found something else…"
"And shouldn't it have been 'Will you be my Valentine' instead of 'can'?" Nathan questioned.
Jack grinned at him brightly. "Yeah, about that… I thought you would've figured me out long ago, Scientist."
"How?" Nathan dug all of the notes out of his pocket. After the bunker, he had made a quick stop at home to gather the rest of the notes. "You didn't put your name on any of them."
"Actually, I did," Jack snickered as he plucked the ten notes out of his scientist's hand. Shuffling them, he put one note on his blanket covered leg and went about laying out the rest in a particular order. Seeing the notes all laid out like that, Nathan shook his head at the simplicity of it. 'And here I've been doing the code-breaking all wrong.'
Put in order and unscrambled, the notes read up to down:
"Always time for a snack."
"Careful, it's hot."
"Keep your head up."
"Can you be my Valentine?"
"Time for a nap."
And when you took the first letter of each line, they read: JACK CARTER.
"Well, gold star for creativity," Nathan chuckled at self satisfied look on his blond's face at having finally gotten one over on him.
"You do have a habit of over thinking things, so I thought I was safer with the simple track."
"And the missing video footage?" Nathan raised an amused eyebrow.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Jack gave him his best innocent face.
That brought Nathan to a realization. Leaning back to look the blond, he frowned. "That advice I gave you the other day was for *me*?"
"Yeah, sorry," Jack smiled up at him. "I was sort of running dry on ideas. I thought it was alright."
Thinking for a moment, Nathan suddenly smiled warmly. "You know, that leaves a lot of room for interpretation."
"I guess it does." Jack turned on his side to look at his scientist. "Would you want some clarification?"
"I think so."
Jack leaned over until they were almost nose to nose. "This has to be the best Valentine's Day ever. I get my perfect gift," he breathed as the centimeters closed.
'Me too,' Nathan gladly met the blond halfway.
'My perfect Valentine.'