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Between Shadows

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“I know it’s stupid. I know it’s all in my head. But I just can’t stop it!” Jack growled. “I try to ignore it, I try to stop thinking about it but nothing works.” He paused and then in almost whisper said, “All I can hear is this voice telling me how all of you would be better if I died.”

Zoe whimpered and Nathan closed his eyes. They were outside Jack’s hospital room and could clearly hear what was being said.

“It is not stupid, Jack.” Allison said with a gentle voice. “I just wish you had come to me, or anybody else, for help.”

Jack didn't reply.

After a few moments of silence Allison said goodbye and closed the hospital door behind her. When she saw Zoe and Nathan she smiled sadly and went to sit with them.

“We talked with his doctor; Jack has been under strong antidepressants for a few years now.” Allison informed them. “But I guess you knew that” She said to Zoe who nodded. It has been such a shock to find out the Sheriff has been hiding such a secret.

“This is my fault.” Zoe said with a hoarse voice. “We had a fight, he didn't want me to see Lucas during school nights and I got so angry I said he didn't have a right to tell me what to do since he was on drugs all the time.”

Nathan cringed but held the teenager and tried to assure her that she wasn't responsible for this. “Zoe, your dad is sick. You might have fought but he was in one of his “down” periods.” He was apparently calm and collected but Allison could see though his façade. He was freaking out, just like her, and asking how in the world they didn't see something like this.

Zoe looked at him with red rimmed eyes. “But don’t you see? I am his daughter, I am supposed to help him though this, to watch for the warning signs.”

Allison just looked at her. What was she supposed to say to that? She tried to console Zoe when Jack was brought in but she blamed herself for not seeing this coming. Allison wanted Zoe to see how unpredictable Jack’s disease was but she doubted the teenager would believe her; the girl was still in shock. She has made it her job to make sure her father took his medicine and support him during the periods of depression. It was not a fair situation, Zoe has been doing the job of an adult, she wasn't prepared to take care of her father but she was all Jack had right now and they learnt to get by.

What she couldn't understand was how Jack got into a law enforcement agency. Didn't all officers go through a psych evaluation? And she was pretty sure that during a routine physical and blood screening the antidepressants would have easily been detected.

But what if Jack hasn't been taking his meds? What if he stopped taking them a long time ago and kept it a secret? No, Zoe checked her father’s meds and make sure everything was in order.

Allison sighed. So many questions and the one with the answers refused to talk about it.

She cared about Jack, she loved him and wanted what was best for him but she needed to make sure Jack wasn't a danger to himself or Eureka. She knew he could do his job before but right now Jack was too unstable, besides she was certain Jack’s superiors wouldn't be amused with his actions.


 

“Hey”

Jack has been pretending to watch TV but it was obvious his head was somewhere else. When he heard the greeting he almost jumped in surprise.

“Hey” Jack responded without enthusiasm. “I thought you were busy with one of your projects.”

Nathan nodded and not caring about being seen sat next to Jack and held his hand. “I don’t care about any project, right now all I care about is you.”

Jack looked away. “Be careful, someone could see your hand touching mine and last thing I want is people believing you are a faggot.”

Nathan sighed. “I know you probably don’t believe me but I do love you.”

Jack looked in surprised. “You love me?”

Nathan simply looked Jack in the eyes. “Yes, I do. I know we never talked about this but right now I think you need to know that you are important to me, if you are gone I would suffer and probably never get over it.”

Jack bit his lip but didn't say anything just squeezed Nathan’s hand.

“I talked with Abby and Zoe. We thought it would be a good idea if you went with Zoe and stayed with Abby for a few days.” Nathan hated this idea but what else could he do?

Jack’s eyes hardened. “That’s great!” Jack shouted and shoved Nathan away. “Send the nutjob away! First you say you love me and now you’re kicking me out.”

“I am not kicking you out; I am trying to help you.” Nathan tried to get though Jack’s paranoia. “Eureka is not doing you any good, right now you need a safe place, somewhere you are comfortable.”

Jack laughed. “I haven’t felt safe or comfortable since I was ten years old and they used electroshock therapy on me to stop the voices in my head.”

Nathan bit his lip and tried not to cry in frustration. “What would you like to do, Jack?”

Jack was speechless. It was the first time in a long time that someone actually asked what he wanted to do, this kind of decisions were always taken by others and he was simply informed about what was being done. What would he like to do?

“I don’t want to stay with Abby.” Jack tried to explain himself. “I know you are all worried about me but she is not the solution. I know I need help but I don’t want her involved in this.”

Okay, Nathan could work with that. At least Jack acknowledged he needed help. That was progress, right?


 

“When were you going to mention that you've been sleeping with my dad?” Zoe said with an accusing tone.

Okay, that he was not expecting.

“You know, I have been thinking.” Zoe crossed her arms and shot daggers at Nathan. “You two have been really close lately and my dad, who usually mops and whines all over the place because of Allison, has been happy. And I don’t mean his maniac self but he has been smiling and feeling positive about things in general. I thought nothing of it, I was just glad things were going well.”

Nathan didn't know what to say. Jack tried to convince him that telling Zoe was a good idea but Nathan refused, too afraid of what others would say.

“But something suddenly happened. He went distant and ignored me; he even started drinking beer without me knowing.” Zoe continued. “So after what I just heard I believe I should ask what the hell did you do to my dad?”

Here goes nothing, thought Nathan. “I didn't want anyone to know about us.”

At this Zoe laughed harshly. “What, is my dad something to be ashamed of?”

Nathan shook his head. “No, I am a coward.”

“That you are.” Zoe nodded with fake sympathy. “Just so you know, until you man up I don’t want you to see my dad. I know it sounds cruel but I don’t think seeing you help him. He is still confused and doesn't seem to be aware of what he did.”

He couldn't refute that. Jack knew what he did, he remembered how and when he did it but he failed to see how serious his actions were. Doctors talked about delusion but he wasn't so sure, he thought Jack was in denial.


 

“Hey dad!” Zoe entered the room with a smile that got bigger when she saw his father.

Jack’s eyes went wide and his smile matched Zoe’s. “Zoe!”

His daughter hugged him hard and kissed his cheek. “I brought you pizza and coffee”

The doctors thought it was best to give Jack food he enjoyed to make him feel comfortable during his stay in the hospital seeing as he refused to eat the hospital’s food.

“That’s my girl!” Jack went straight to the bag and moaned in pleasure when he saw the pizza. “Finally, some real food.”

“You have to eat it later. The nurse is coming to administer your meds.” Zoe said and seeing her father’s face go white she asked, “Dad, when did you stop taking your meds?”

“Why does everyone make the same question?” Jack asked angrily. “What does it matter, Zoe?”

Zoe’s eyes went teary. “It matters because I need to know why I wasn't able to stop it.”

Jack held his daughter’s hands in his. “This is not your fault.”

“Neither is yours.”

She wanted his father to understand that his feelings of being a burden were unfounded but she didn't know how. She has obviously failed in showing him how much she loved him and needed him. “When you and mom started fighting I got mad at you, I blamed you for all the pain and confusion I had inside me but after coming here I realized I was afraid you hated me, I was afraid I was the reason you and mom couldn't be together.”

Jack frantically tried to convince his daughter she was not to blame for his and Abby’s divorce. “It had nothing to do with you. It was my fault, I pretty much abandoned you and your mom for my job and when I saw my mistakes it was too late.” It was his fault, he was responsible for making his wife’s life miserable, and he made his own daughter feel responsible for his stupidity and failures.

Zoe smiled at her dad with such love that Jack’s heart constricted a little. “I know that now and I don’t blame you anymore, I am just glad I had the chance to know you better and live with you. I am happy you are in my life, never doubt that.” She sobbed.

Jack hugged and kissed her head. “Oh Zoe, I love you so much.”

“I love you too, daddy”