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The Second Chance

Chapter Text

The silence that echoed in the time lab was deafening to Jack’s ears. The last few particles of Nathan Stark were leaving the chamber, but Jack couldn’t bring himself to watch. This couldn’t be real. This wasn’t supposed to be how it ended. Nathan was supposed to live, get re-married to Allison, and live happily for the rest of his, hopefully, long life. Despite the fact that Jack was completely in love with the man, he would have sat back and let Nathan live his life with another person, as long as he was happy. Everyone in town knew that Allison Blake made Nathan happy, so Jack had been content to play the part of a happy and supportive friend to Allison, as well as to Nathan, but he had to keep up appearances of hating the man. But now? Nathan Stark didn’t exist anymore, and it was Jack’s fault. If he had gotten into the chamber before Nathan could, then those around him wouldn’t be on the receiving end of such bad news.

Of course, if Jack had died in Nathan’s place, people would still mourn, but they would eventually move on. Zoe would be devastated, but she would still have her mother, and god-forbid, her boyfriend, so she too would move on eventually. Jack knew the people of the town liked their sheriff. He knew that they would grieve if he were to die, but they didn’t need him. The entire town needed Nathan. He was an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend to those he deemed worthy. How was he supposed to break the news to the town, let alone Allison? Jack couldn’t help but stare at the now empty chamber in front of him, a single tear making a path down his cheek. How was he supposed to move on when the man he loved no longer existed?

~~~~~ Time Skip~~~~~

Jack sat at a booth in Café Diem, sitting across from a sullen faced Allison, a sense of déjà vu overcoming him. It had been four months since he found himself in this same position, and it had been a six months since Nathan’s death. Half a year since the entire town stood around his empty grave, silent tears streaming down their faces. Allison had taken Kevin and left town shortly after his funeral, needing to get away from things for a while. No one had questioned her disappearance, but when she returned two weeks later, a bright smile and a new attitude, people started to worry; especially Jack. Having still been in mourning himself, however, Jack let it slide for a month. Then Allison appeared at his door late one night and practically jumped him. He had been over Allison for a long, long time, but he liked the way Nathan looked when he got jealous, so he kept up with the flirting. Unfortunately, it seemed as if Allison hadn’t caught on to this, so when Jack turned her down, he wasn’t prepared for the amount of tears she would cry. She wasn’t over Nathan’s death, nor was she ready for a relationship, and they both knew it, but she needed someone who understood her pain to help her get through it, so Jack took the position.

They became closer than before, not as lovers, but as friends. They were more like brother and sister than lovers, and they were okay with that. After four months of their relationship staying at this dynamic, Allison made a confession. They had been sitting at the same booth in Café Diem, Kevin was writing in his journal, some sort of equation Jack guessed. Allison ordered a salad, some kind of oriental salad from what he could tell, and Jack got his usual. “Jack, can I tell you something? Something important that you can never tell anyone?” Jack nodded, immediately sensing the tense atmosphere. Allison sighed, glancing at Kevin out of the corner of her eye quickly, before looking back at Jack. “I always loved Nathan, even after we got divorced. But when we started to get intimate again, I wasn’t ‘in love with him’, I just loved him like I always did. I agreed to marry him because he was familiar. We already knew each other, so we knew which ways we worked together, and which ways we didn’t. I don’t know if we would have lasted, but I had hoped we could. But now, after six months, I can safely say that we probably wouldn’t have lasted an entire year. Neither one of us was a good match, my first priority will always be Kevin. And no matter how hard he tried, Nathan wasn’t in love with me either.” Jack was quiet for a moment, allowing her words to sink in, before he gave one nod. She didn’t need someone to comfort her right now. She just needed to tell someone what she had been holding in for a long time. After than moment, the conversation was lighter, no talk of Nathan, but just because no words were spoken about him, didn’t mean he wasn’t constantly on Jack’s mind.

Now, two months later, sitting in the exact same booth, Jack grew weary as Allison wouldn’t meet his eye. Kevin was at school, leaving the two of them to themselves. Normally that would be fine, but today, Jack could tell that something was wrong. “Jack, I need to tell you something.” Those familiar words rushed through his brain, and Jack immediately came to the worst possible conclusion, but what followed made him smile. “I’m pregnant.” Two words. That’s all she had to do before the grin took over his face. The following six months were hard on both of them. They grew together, not as a couple, but as a family. When Allison gave birth to a baby girl, Jack was ecstatic. She might not have been his, but she was his only link to Nathan Stark and he loved her as if she was his own. So for another year, they lived as one, slightly odd, happy family. Then the accident happened.

~~~~~ Time Skip~~~~~

Jack sighed in relief as the familiar sight of Eureka, in its present day, greeted him. Time travel in the movies was one of the coolest inventions, but in real life, it was much more terrifying. Glancing around he didn’t spot any immediate changes, but when he examined his surroundings closely, he saw the minor changes. The statue of Archimedes wasn’t granite any longer, and Jack could only hope that was as far as the changes went. But as he rushed back to his home, his heart grew weary at the sight of other minor changes. It wasn’t much, but when he would see the sight of a house that was red when it used to be white, or a cherry tree where there used to be an oak tree, his chest would grow tight.

When he pulled into his normal parking spot outside the bunker, Jack let out a sigh. So far the bunker looked the same, but that didn’t mean much. Stepping carefully towards the door, Jack decided he was being stupid, and rolled his eyes. Flying the rest of the way down the stairs and into the bunker, Jack held his breath as he looked around. Once again, it only seemed like minor changes had happened. There was a black jacket resting on the railing of the stairs. Where he usually placed his keys and gun holster on the table next to the door, there was another set of keys and a wallet. His curiosity with who the wallet belonged to was only outweighed by his need to make sure Zoe was still safe.

“SARAH, is Zoe still at Harvard?” Jack waited anxiously, hoping that at least that part of his life was still the same.

“Jack, are you feeling alright? You know Zoe’s at MIT, not Harvard.” Jack stood, frozen to his spot. The voice had come from behind him, from the direction of the kitchen. It wasn’t so much the fact that he heard the voice, as it was who that voice belonged to. That voice belonged to a dead man. A dead man that just so happened to be standing behind him. “Jack?” The feeling of a body standing close behind him caused Jack to tense, but he still couldn’t make his legs move. It wasn’t until he felt the slightly rough hands of the man behind him on his arms that his legs started to move. Turning around so fast Jack could have sworn he got whiplash, but at the moment, that didn’t matter. All he could see was the man in front of him, looking down at him with those bright green eyes, filled with concern and another emotion he didn’t dare to name.

Jack didn’t say a word, just backed up slightly. The hurt that flitted across Nathan’s face was enough to make Jack cringe, but Nathan immediately covered up any emotion, replacing it with the indifferent mask that Jack had come to know. “Jack, tell me what’s wrong. I can’t help you if you don’t tell me, you know that.” Jack let out a sharp breath, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to fall. Standing in front of him was Nathan Stark; the man he loved. Jack had had dreams of this moment for two years, but he knew it wasn’t possible. Yet here he was, alive and concerned for Jack’s wellbeing. Jack couldn’t hold back the tears any longer, and before he knew it, he had collapsed back onto the couch and held his head in his hands. Nathan, for his part, looked like he wanted to comfort Jack, but knew it would only make it worse. Nathan knelt in front of Jack, trying to get the blonde man to meet his eye, before letting out a sigh. “Jack,” Nathan tried once more, “please.” The sound of Nathan Stark’s voice breaking slightly with the amount of emotion had Jack almost falling into the man’s arms, but Jack held back, if only slightly.

“You have to promise you won’t tell anyone, and you can’t go to the DOD.” Nathan nodded immediately, looking hurt at the fact that Jack didn’t trust him. Jack let out one last sigh and he wiped the tears off his face, trying to gather his bearings. “Earlier today, I guess, myself, Henry, Allison, Jo, and Fargo were at the Founders Day parade when we somehow ended up in 1947. We tried to not change anything, but something must have changed and when we got back to present time, everything was different. At first it was just small things, the statue of Archimedes used to be granite, a house down the way that used to be white was now red. Then when I got here, I just-“. Jack let out a sigh, frustration at his predicament taking over. Jack looked up at Nathan, taking in the man’s stoic expression. Nathan was still staring into the blonde’s eyes, searching for something. He must have found whatever he was searching for, as the green eyed man moved his hand to rest on Jacks shoulder.

“What were the major changes once you got here, Jack?” Jack couldn’t hold back a bitter laugh, but he responded anyway, rubbing a hand down his face.

“Zoe went to Harvard for Medicine, not MIT,” Jack paused, looking away from the man still kneeling before him, “and you were dead.” Jack’s gaze refused to deviate from the floor, trying to focus on all the different colors that made up the off white carpet. Hearing Nathan gasp slightly made Jack glance back up to see the taller man swaying a little, as if Jack’s words had knocked him off balance.

“How did I die?” He asked. Jack looked into his shocked, green eyes before he answered.

“Two years ago there was an accident in the Time Lab. Leo Weinbrenner was working on some project, but he was about to get laid off since Thorne was making budget cuts. I don’t understand the science of it, but he built his own time loop to stop himself from being fired, that way he could keep working on his project until he got results, and hopefully keep his job, but something went wrong. After Weinbrenner realized it wasn’t happening the way it was supposed to, he tried to stop it, but he ended up dead in the process, only his charred remains were found. Somehow I had gotten caught in the time loop, and every time I went through another loop, I would get injured. The more loops I went through, the worse the injuries, but some of them seemed to disappear randomly. Henry later told me that he thought it was because the injuries were bleeding through from a different reality.

Jack sighed again, never taking his eyes off the man in front of him, who seemed to be absorbing Jack’s every word. “I ended up being able to convince you that I wasn’t crazy, and you and Fargo helped to end the loop. You were supposed to marry Allison again that day, but you sacrificed yourself in order to stop the loop altogether. Using the Swiss Clock GD had just gotten, you were able to stop the loop with some kind of complicated science at the precise moment in time needed, but you disappeared, piece by piece in front of my eyes.” Jack did his best to hold his emotions in check, but he couldn’t help it when his voice cracked slightly at the end. Resting his face in his hands, Jack was determined to not meet the scientist’s eyes, but Nathan’s hands pulled Jack’s away from his face and held them tightly in his own.

“Jack, I-,” Nathan let out a sigh before continuing. “Jack, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for you-“. Jack couldn’t help the humorless laugh that bubbled out of his throat, causing the green eyed man to falter for a second. “Jack?”

“You want to know the worst part?” Jack knew he sounded slightly hysterical, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. “The worst part is right before you started to disappear, you said ‘see you around, Jack’. I didn’t even get to say goodbye before you were gone, and I didn’t even get to tell you that I l-.” Jack let out a sigh, rubbing the heel of his palms over his eyes vigorously. “It wasn’t fair.” Jack couldn’t hold back the tears that threatened to fall any longer. As soon as Nathan realized that Jack was crying, the taller man moved to sit next to Jack, wrapping his arms around the blonde, and pulled him in close, letting Jack cry into his chest. After a few minutes, Jack began to feel himself calm down slightly. Whether it was his own doing, or the fact that Nathan was rubbing a hand across Jack’s shoulders while whispering comforting words in his ear, Jack didn’t know. He did, however, know that he should probably move away from the man, knowing how Nathan wasn’t exactly big on people invading his personal space, but when Jack tried to move away, Nathan would only tighten his grip. Eventually Jack gave up and just let himself be held by the man he loved, even if it was a different version of him.

“Jack, there are some things you need to know. Two years ago, Leo Weinbrenner died in a lab accident. He was doing just as you said, but instead of myself getting into the chamber, Allison got in instead. I wasn’t going to get married to her, she was renewing her vows with her husband, Daniel Blake. I was at the reception as Daniel’s best man when Allison sacrificed herself.” Jack took a moment to let that sink in, hating himself for feeling slightly relieved that it meant Nathan was still here, before he gasped and scrambled to get out of Nathan’s embrace. Nathan, sensing his panic, let him sit up before grabbing his shoulders and holding him still. “What’s wrong, Jack?” The concerned green eyes connected with panic filled blue eyes.

“Allison! She’s dead in your time, but she was with us when we arrived here. If anyone sees her…” Jack trailed off, watching as Nathan’s eyes grew wide, before the scientist pulled out his phone and pressed a few random numbers.

“Daniel, I need you to listen to me. Get the kids and come to the bunker. It’s an emergency.” With that, Nathan hung up, watching as Jack’s eyebrows rose slightly. “I don’t want to tell him over the phone for many reasons, and I don’t want to risk him seeing Allison before he’s ready.” Jack nodded at that and relaxed slightly in his seat. “Jack, I know this must be hard for you, but you need to understand that I’ll help you through it, I promise.” The look in Nathan’s eyes held determination and love, but Jack wouldn’t admit that he recognized that last one. Nodding slightly, Jack drew in a deep breath.

“I- um, I’m not complaining or anything, but what exactly are we in this time?” Jack could feel the slight blush that rose on his neck, glad that the old uniform he was wearing covered it up, mostly. Glancing at the green eyed man quickly, he was met by the growing, trademark smirk of Nathan’s. Jack almost wanted to curse his name when he felt his blush deepen, and knew Nathan could see it by now, with the tips of Jack’s ears turning bright red. Nathan didn’t say a word, just held out his left hand for Jack. Jack was impressed with himself for not letting out the shocked gasp that so desperately crawled at his throat. On Nathan’s left hand, on his ring finger, sat a simple looking, silver wedding band. Jack realized a little too late that his fingers were tracing the ring on Nathan’s hand. Pulling his hand back in shock, and slight embarrassment, Jack coughed once, then stood. “I’m sorry.”

“What for?” Nathan’s face was void of expression, but his eyes held confusion and curiosity. Jack ran a hand down his face once more, aware that he was probably going to go prematurely gray from stress.

“Your Jack,” Jack started. “I didn’t mean for this to happen.” Neither of them spoke, letting the silence drift on between them, before Nathan broke the silence.

“He’s not gone, not completely anyway. You are Jack, even though you haven’t lived through the memories I may have with him. So far, in just the past few minutes, you’ve proven to be my Jack. While I’ll miss him, he’s never truly gone, especially when I can still feel the life bond connected to you.” Jack will admit that his mouth hung open, rather unattractively mind you, as the words sunk in. When he got to the part about the life bond, he felt like a fish out of water with his mouth opening and closing repeatedly. Before he could question Nathan on his terminology, however, SARAH announced that Daniel Blake was at the door. Nathan stood, his smirk still in place while leaving Jack standing there looking like an idiot. Opening the door, a tall, dark skinned man walked in with a concerned look on his face. Kevin, looking exactly the same, walked behind who Jack assumed was Daniel, and a little girl, not Jenna, Jack realized, was in the man’s arms.

“Nathan, what’s going on?” Daniel asked. Jack sighed, knowing this conversation wouldn’t be easy. Nathan clapped a hand on Daniel’s shoulder before leading him to the couch.

“Kevin, how about you take Eliza into the kitchen. Maybe, if you ask nice enough, SARAH will make you guys a milkshake,” Nathan told the boy. Kevin grinned at Nathan, giving him a small nod, then took Eliza’s hand and led her to the kitchen. Jack tried not to stare, he really did, but when Kevin didn’t show any signs of his normal, autistic self, Jack couldn’t help it. Daniel coughed slightly, noticing the way Jack was staring, and gave the blonde a curious look, before taking the proffered seat.

“Alright, will someone tell me what the hell is going on? You said it was an emergency, Nathan.” Daniel was getting annoyed, Jack could tell. Nathan took the seat next to Daniel, Jack sitting in the armchair across from them.

“Daniel, I know this is going to be a shock, but it’s true, I promise.” Nathan sighed, glancing at Jack for a moment, then turned back to the confused man next to him. “Earlier today, Jack and a few others were at the Founder’s Day Parade when something happened. I’m not sure what, as Jack didn’t quite know himself, but Jack and the group with him found themselves at Camp Eureka in 1947. They managed to get back to the proper time, but they ended up changing events which caused the time they came back to to be slightly different.” Daniel nodded a little, seeming to at least understand that much.

“You do realize they could get sanctioned for this? You shouldn’t even be telling me this in the first place. What if the DOD finds out?” Nathan gave the man a small smile.

“I trust you, but that’s not the reason I’m telling you. I’m telling you this because it’s affected you as well. In Jack’s original time, I was the one that stopped the Weinbrenner incident, not Allison.” Nathan let the words hang in the air for a moment, allowing the shocked man in front of him to think. “Daniel, Allison from Jack’s time was one of the people in the group that ended up here.” Jack was impressed that the man didn’t get up and immediately start throwing things around. Instead, the man turned to Jack and stared at him for a few minutes. Just when Jack was about to say something, Daniel opened his mouth to speak.

“Allison’s alive?” The sheer emotion in Daniel’s words had Jack nodding, unable to speak due to his constricted throat. “How- how is she?” Jack’s heart went out to this man, knowing he had missed his wife more than anything.

“Allison is fine. She’s probably going to be a little shocked when she sees you, but knowing her, she’ll be happier than anything.” At Daniel’s confused, yet grateful, smile, Jack continued. “You should probably know that in my time you died in a lab accident before Kevin was born. She doesn’t know you exist in this time line, but she’s always loved you the same.” Daniel let out a shuddering breath, feeling the emotional toll go through him. Jack sat back after that, allowing the two men in front of him the space needed to discuss the matter of consequences should anyone find out, then Jack’s phone started to ring. Confused at the fact that it even worked, Jack slowly pulled it from his pocket and answered.

“Hello?”

“Jack! Good, I’ve been trying to get a hold of everyone for a while, but no one has answered besides you. Where are you?” The slightly frantic voice of Henry came through the small speaker of Jack’s phone.

“I’m at the bunker. Henry, there’s a few things I need to tell you.” Jack sighed. He knew this conversation wasn’t going to be an easy one. Already two people knew about the time travel incident and Jack knew Henry wouldn’t be too ecstatic about that. “For one, Nathan’s alive, Henry.” Jack waited patiently for Henry to gather himself, before he continued. He thought he heard the sound of Henry falling into a chair, he presumed.

“Nathan? He’s alive?” Henry’s voice was filled with shock and joy and Jack was sure Henry had tears in his eyes.

“Yeah, he’s alive, and so is Daniel Blake.” Henry started to laugh, and before he knew it, Jack joined in. He had to admit, Jack never thought he’d be in this situation. It was weird, even by Eureka standards.

“Daniel Blake. I never thought I’d hear that name again. How is Allison holding up?” Henry asked. Jack sucked in a breath, not quite sure how to answer that. Eventually he sighed and rubbed his right hand down his face. Jack could see both men watching him, Nathan’s gaze filled with curiosity and concern.

“I don’t know, to be honest. But that’s not even the half of it. Henry, Allison was the one who took Nathan’s place in the time loop incident. She’s not supposed to be alive in this time.” Henry sighed, understanding the predicament they now faced.

“We need to find Allison then, and hopefully figure out how to avoid people knowing what happened.”

“Yeah, about that. Both Nathan and Daniel know what happened.” Jack sat, patiently waiting the verbal dressing down he was going to receive, but surprisingly, none came.

“Well, that will make things a little easier I guess. We’ll have to all meet up and figure out what to do next. Have you heard from the others?” Jack almost shook his head, but remembered last second that Henry couldn’t see him.

“No, but I know Allison is probably at home, most likely freaking out about the absence of her kids. Jo would be heading to Zane, and I have no idea what Fargo would be up to. Just as long as he isn’t streaking through the town. Again.” Jack sighed, rolling his eyes at the memory he’d rather he didn’t have.

“What? Director Fargo did that?” Daniel asked. Jack couldn’t help the laugh at his words, wiping away imaginary tears.

“Dir-director Fargo?” Even Henry could be heard laughing on the other end of the phone. After a full minute of laughing, Jack noticed neither man in front of him thought it was amusing, though Nathan had a fond smile on his face. “You can’t be serious? Douglas Fargo is the Director of GD?” Jack waited for both men to nod. “Who in their right minds would make him the director?” Jack almost had to laugh again when Henry could be heard agreeing with him through the speaker. Nathan and Daniel glanced at one another before turning back to Jack.

“We did, Jack. After the event with the Artifact, everyone thought it was best if someone else was to take over as the Director in mine and Daniel’s place. After discussing it with the DOD, everyone, including you, agreed that Fargo was capable enough. He’s been running GD ever since, and doing a fairly good job of it,” Nathan said. Jack was stunned. He couldn’t believe the fact that he, Jack Carter, or was it Jack Stark now, had agreed to let Fargo be the Director of GD. Even Jack could admit to the fact that Fargo had definitely grown as a person, and matured quite a bit, but he didn’t think Fargo was quite ready for the pressure of his day job. Jack nodded, staring at the men in front of him, before shaking his shock off and returning back to his conversation with Henry.

“Okay, well we still have to find everyone, then we can all discuss the next steps. Where should we meet?” Jack asked.

“I’d suggest somewhere safe where no prying eyes and ears will be. I’d say my place, but it seems to be occupied by a wife I never knew I had, so how about we just gather everyone up and meet at your place instead?” Henry asked. Jack smiled at his friends words. It seemed as if he wasn’t the only one to be married in this time.

“That should be okay, Nathan and Daniel are already here, though maybe we should be careful when we explain this to Allison.” Jack sighed. He was not looking forward to explaining this to Allison. He wasn’t sure how she would take the news.

“Agreed. How about I go track down Fargo and Jo, and I’ll leave Allison to you. You two were pretty close, so she might take the news better from you.” Jack nodded, forgetting that Henry wasn’t in the room with him and couldn’t see him. The resulting blush when the two scientist’s in the room laughed made Jack glare in their direction.

“Yeah, you’re right. You know where to find Jo? She’ll probably be in the station confronting Zane about his marriage proposal. On second thought, be careful when you go in there. I’m not too sure if they’ll be decent enough to answer right away.” Henry laughed once more before hanging up. Jack placed his phone back in the stiff uniform from 1947. “I’m going to go change, then I’m out of here. You got things under control?” Jack asked Nathan. Nathan gave him that trademark smirk again, causing Jack’s heart to skip a beat.

“Do you doubt my abilities, Sheriff?” Jack grinned and shook his head, before heading upstairs to change into his normal uniform. Taking his time, Jack let his mind wander down to the people in his, no, their, living room. Despite the amount of differences between this time and the one they came from, Jack couldn’t help but hope that there would be no way to get back to the original time. He had Zoe, even if she was at a different school, and now he had Nathan too. Allison, even if she didn’t know it at the moment, had Kevin and Eliza, which reminded him to look into Jenna, and now she had Daniel once more. Fargo would be insanely happy with his new position as Director of GD. Jack gave one last snort at that thought before he reigned in his amusement. Henry had a wife, not that Jack knew who it was, but if they were anything like their doubles, then Henry would have made a good choice in his spouse. Jo was the only one Jack didn’t know about, but if everything with Zane went normally, then none of them really had a reason to want to return. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad…

Chapter Text

In the time it took to reach Allison’s house, well, Daniel’s house, Jack had convinced himself that everything would be so much better if they stayed in this time line. Jack did feel extremely guilty for the fact that their counterparts from this time no longer existed, but so far, Nathan didn’t seem too fussed. Jack decided he would keep an eye on him for the next few days though, just in case. The smile that had formed on Jack’s face immediately fell as he spotted a hysterical Allison sitting on her porch. Running the rest of the way, Jack collapsed on the ground next to her, bringing her close and rocking her back and forth. After a few minutes, Allison managed to calm herself enough to speak.

“J-Jack, I can’t get in and I don’t recognize any of the furniture! I don’t know where my children are and when I called Vincent to see in Kevin was still at the Parade, he told me to stop joking around. I don’t know what’s going on!” She couldn’t seem to get anymore words out as the sobs racked through her body once more.

“Ally, I need you to listen to me. Kevin is safe, I promise. I saw him just a few minutes ago, before I came looking for you.” Allison calmed slightly at that. “He’s back at the bunker with his sister and-,” Jack paused.

“And?” Allison was impatient to hear the rest, and Jack didn’t blame her.

“And they’re with Nathan and their father, Daniel.” Jack gave her a moment, letting his words sink in. If he hadn’t of known the amount of stress Allison was under, he might have laughed at the comical expression on her face. Calm and composed Allison Blake was no longer so calm and composed. Her eyes were blown wide, her mouth wide open, and the blood drained from her face.

“Daniel?” Jack nodded, knowing she was in shock. “He’s alive?”

“He’s very much alive and he’s in kind of the same boat as you, Ally.” Jack sighed and ran a hand down his face. He needed a beer, or four. “In this time, that lab accident that he died in never happened. He lived to see Kevin grow and eventually you two had another child; Eliza. She’s beautiful, Ally. She has your eyes.” Allison let a tear fall, but it wasn’t one of grief. “The only problem is, when Weinbrenner made his time loop, you and Daniel were going to renew your vows. Instead of Nathan getting into the chamber and saving the world, you did. You died that day, Ally.” The sound of her heavy breathing made Jack worry for her, but she plastered her professional mask over her face, hiding whatever she was feeling. “Ally?”

“Jack, I-,” She sighed, looking many years older than she was in that moment. “I’m dead?” Jack nodded, grimacing at her words. “What about Jenna?” This time it was Jack’s turn to sigh.

“I only have theories, but since you and Nathan were never together in this time, Jenna never happened. I can only assume that Eliza took her place, since she looks to be a little older than Jenna was.” Allison looked like she wanted to cry for her lost daughter, but it seemed as if she had no more tears to cry. “I told Nathan what happened. I couldn’t hide it from him, and he told Daniel. To Daniel and your kids, you’ve been dead for two years now, but he was elated at the chance to see you again. I’m not sure if either of them have told the kids yet, but I know they will greet you with open arms.” Allison nodded, but Jack could tell that while she may be calm on the outside, her emotions and thoughts were a raging storm on the inside. Jack sighed and stood, holding his hand out to the shocked woman in front of him. “Henry called a meeting back at the bunker. He should have Jo and Fargo wrangled up by now. Want to go meet your family?” Allison gave a small smile with a little nod and accepted Jack’s hand.

The drive back to the bunker was relatively silent, at least until Allison shook most of her shock away. Jack should have known she would have questions, but he didn’t think she would have the mindset to ask them this soon. “How did you know Nathan was alive, and Daniel as well?” Jack could hear the slightly accusing tone in her voice as he shifted in his seat a little. Grimacing at the knowing look on Allison’s face, Jack decided the road was a better place to look.

“Well, when we parted ways at the parade, I rushed home to see if everything was normal there and to make sure Zoe was still in school. To my surprise, Zoe chose to go to MIT and study Robotics instead of going to Harvard. That wasn’t the biggest shock, though.” Jack sighed, trying to figure out the best way to break it to Allison that he was married to her late ex-husband/fiancé.

“Spit it out, Jack.” He could’ve sworn that Allison’s lips twitched slightly in amusement.

“I’mmarriedtoStark.” He said it so fast that he didn’t think Allison heard him, but that changed when she doubled over in tears. Jack yelped in surprise and skidded to a halt at the side of the road. “Ally? Are you okay?” Jack carefully reached to rub his hand over Allison’s back, but when she drew in a large breath and began to laugh, Jack sighed in relief. It only took a moment for him to start laughing as well, realizing how weird this situation was. Minutes went by with the two of them clinging to the other for support before Allison calmed enough to speak.

“Only in Eureka.” Jack had to agree with that statement. As he turned to get the car back on the road, he was stunned into silence, only for a moment, as a figure came into view.

“Hello, Sport! What a surprise.”

~~~~~ Time Skip ~~~~~

By the time the trio reached the bunker, Allison and Jack had sobered completely. The, insanely happy, Trevor Grant in the back seat had ruined the light mood. After Jack had, literally, thrown the man into the jeep, Grant had tried to make light of their situation, but neither of the people sitting in the front of the car thought it was remotely amusing. Unfortunately, this only seemed to make Grant even happier. Jack almost wanted to yell in frustration, choosing to rub his free hand over his face almost violently. Allison glanced at Jack, worried, before turning back to the front. While she wasn’t very happy with the fact that Dr. Trevor Grant was in his future, she didn’t quite understand why Jack was so angry, having not been near them when they were transported back to the present, or in Grant’s case, the future.

Making their way quietly into the bunker, Allison decided to hang back a little, not sure if she was completely welcome or not. Jack, sensing her nervousness, placed a hand on her shoulder and pulled her into the smart house with him. All talking ceased the moment the trio stepped inside, most of them focused on Trevor Grant, surprised at first, before turning to look at the interaction between Allison and Daniel. Jack didn’t know how to explain it, but if forced to, he would say it looked like a blind man seeing the world around him for the first time. Allison looked overjoyed to see her long lost husband, tears of joy marking her cheeks, but Daniel looked like he was in heaven with misty eyes. As Jack saw Allison rush forward and straight into Daniel’s arms, he decided to give the couple some privacy. Turning back to the group with a small smile on his face, he met Nathan’s eyes briefly, his neck turning red at the intense look the green eyed man was giving him, before clearing his throat.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw the two Blake’s leave the room to go sit with their children and catch up. “Hmm, I thought you said she wasn’t taken?” Jack heard. Immediately his whole mood turned sour, and the resulting glare Jack threw at Grant was probably one of the harshest glares he had ever given. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect, though, as Grant merely shrugged off his glare and turned to the rest of the room.

“The only reason I haven’t shot you yet is because I don’t want to have to clean up the mess.” Jack could have sworn he heard a chuckle come from Jo before he felt arms wrap around his middle and lead him to the couch. When he was sitting, thanks to Nathan, he relaxed only slightly into the arms of his husband. That didn’t sound as weird as I thought it would, Jack thought. The man in question was currently rubbing a hand across Jack’s shoulders, occasionally making a path up to the back of his neck and stroking gently. If Jack hadn’t believed Nathan before about being married to each other for a few years, he would have been completely certain in that moment. Only those closest to him, namely those he was in a long term relationship with, knew about his ‘sweet spot’. Anyone who touched the back of Jack’s neck was going to be in for a surprise when the man all but became jello in their arms.

“Doctor Trevor Grant. I wish I could say it was a pleasure to see you again, but considering the circumstances, forgive me for not saying it.” Henry, having helped Jack fight Grant off back in 1947, knew exactly how Jack was feeling. The rest of their group, however, was more than a little confused. Those that had been in the past with them knew only half of what was going on, but Nathan, and Daniel, Jack noted, were completely confused.

“Wait a minute. Are you telling me you brought Doctor Trevor Grant, one of the founders of Eureka, to the present time?” Daniel’s voice was a little higher than it had been, probably with anger Jack guessed. Nathan made a low noise in the back of his throat that almost sounded disappointed. Jack rolled his eyes at the slimy looking bastard sitting in front of them before speaking.

“No, we didn’t. When we figured out how to get back to our time using our cellphones, Grant here decided to help us. We all thought he was just being nice until he tried to knock me out to take my cellphone. Henry was the only one with us when it happened, so he helped me fight off Grant long enough for us to leave that time, but it appears he managed to hitch a ride here anyways.” Jack was furious. Not only was he risking every one’s life by being in the future, but he had tried to leave Jack stranded in 1947, knowing Jack wasn’t smart enough to figure out his own way home.

“What can I say, the future sounded like an exciting prospect, and I was right. This is such a marvelous place!” Grant was all smiles as he looked around him at the modern living space. Nathan’s grip tightened on Jack, and at first he thought it was to hold the blonde man back, but Jack realized that Nathan was just as furious as Jack was and was holding himself back instead.

“How did you manage to get to this time if you didn’t have a cellphone?” Allison asked. It seemed as if the reunited couple had come back from the kitchen and were now catching up with the rest of the group. Allison and Daniel looked happy to be together again, sitting close to each other.

“I had hoped that by hanging onto sleeve of my Jack I would still be able to tag along to your time, and it seems I was correct.” Grant smiled at Jack, but Jack was too caught up in the growl that sounded from Nathan’s throat. It was low enough that only Jack heard it, but deep enough that Jack felt it too. It was quite possibly the hottest sound Jack had ever heard, and he had a feeling Nathan knew it, but he was too preoccupied with glaring at Grant.

“Mine.” Nathan whispered in Jack’s ear. The shiver that went through Jack’s body was one of pleasure. He knew he would be teased mercilessly later for it, but at the moment, he didn’t care. Especially when Jack could feel Nathan smirking into his shoulder knowingly. Shifting slightly, Jack was taken by surprise at the obvious erection pressing into his hip, and he had to stop himself from gasping at the feeling. Sure, he had fooled around with his college roommate a little, but all that had come of it was a really good hand job and his first kiss with someone of the same gender. Knowing that Jack, albeit a different version of him, had been sleeping with Nathan intimately for many years was a huge turn on, especially when he could still cause this kind of reaction out of the man next to him.

Henry, ever the voice of reason, sighed and addressed the room. “There’s not much we can do to fix this, and I don’t think anyone in this room really wants to go back. Even if we could, however, I don’t think it would be possible for hundreds of years. The conditions won’t be the same for at least another century, and we still have no idea exactly what happened in the first place. We’ll have to figure out exactly what our counterparts were like and what they were doing so that we can blend in as seamlessly as possible. We also need to make sure that no one else but those of us in the room know exactly what happened. The consequences would be dire if the truth was heard by the wrong person. With that being said, maybe we should all figure out what the biggest differences between the two times are. I’ll start, I guess. I uh-, I seem to be married to a woman named Grace. I had only met her in passing back in our time. We’ve been married for almost a year, from what I can gather. Everything else is the same, though.” Jack nodded at Henry’s words. He didn’t want the truth to get out to anymore people, knowing that they would be safer that way.

“Well, almost everything is pretty much the same for me, I think. Zane did ask me to marry him this morning. The only thing that I can think of as different is my nameplate wasn’t on my desk at the station.” Jo said. Jack was glad that the different times hadn’t given Jo any trouble, but he too was confused at the nameplate not being there. Jo was very fond of her nameplate.

“I think I can be of some assistance there. Were you the deputy in you time?” Nathan asked. Jack could feel the taller man’s chest vibrate with each word. At Jo’s nod, Nathan continued. “Here, you’re the Head of Security at GD. Andy, the A.I., is your deputy, Jack.” Jack couldn’t suppress the groan that escaped his throat. Feeling Nathan laughing at his reaction, Jack gave the green eyed man a halfhearted glare.

“Why would you do such a thing to me, Jo?” Jo, managing to barely hold in her chuckle at Jack’s expense, rolled her eyes at his dramatics. Fargo, after he quit laughing, let out a sigh.

“Well, it seems as if I’m the only one the universe decided to rain on. My kind of girlfriend is a gazillionaire and she’s married to an astronaut.” He paused, then kept going. “How can I compete with an astronaut? Beyond that though, I seem to be living the same life, just alone.” Fargo dropped his chin to the palm of his hand and let out a huff. “This reality blows.” Jack couldn’t help it, he laughed. Soon after, Henry joined in, understanding what Jack thought was so funny. The others were looking at them strangely, Fargo just gave them a look of annoyance.

“Fargo, trust me, your life here is so much better.” Jack said, still letting out a few chuckles. “You’re the head of GD, Director Fargo.” For a moment, all was silent, then all that could be heard was Fargo’s yips of happiness. The entire group laughed at his display before settling back down. After a moment, Allison could be heard clearing her throat slightly.

“I’d like to introduce to those of you that don’t know him, my husband, Daniel Blake.” The entire group, that didn’t already know Daniel, gaped at Allison, before cheering and congratulating her. “And this,” Allison said, holding Eliza up slightly, “is my daughter, Eliza.” Everyone cooed at the tiny girl trying to hide in her mother’s arms. “I know all of you know Kevin, but he’s a little different too. He doesn’t have autism in this reality. The only bad thing is not having Jenna here, but since the events leading up to her never happened…” Allison trailed off as everyone glanced at Nathan before turning away just as quickly.

“I’m so sorry, Allison. I can’t imagine-,” Henry began.

“No, I uh-, it will take some getting used to, but it’ll be okay, eventually.” Henry nodded, before he turned to Jack.

“Well Jack, it seems like you’re the only one left to share.” Henry told him with a thinly concealed smirk. Jack gave the older man a mock glare before smiling.

“It looks like there’s only two major differences for me. Zoe is at MIT instead of Harvard, studying Robotics and I am,” Jack paused, letting the group fidget a little, “well, I’m married to Nathan.” The silence was deafening, but Jack knew they were just getting over their shock. Henry had obviously seen this coming, and Allison already knew, but Jo looked like she was going to blow and Fargo was grinning at the pair.

“I didn’t know you were gay! Why didn’t you tell me?” Jo demanded. Jack laughed at her, before glancing at Nathan, who happened to be looking straight at Jack.

“To be honest, I didn’t know myself.” After the group settled down a little, and those who hadn’t been formally introduced to Daniel made introductions, Henry once again took the role of the leader, calling everyone to attention.

“It seems like there is only one problem left; Doctor Trevor Grant.” Jack sighed. He had no idea what was going to become of the man, but he knew that they had to make it believable so they wouldn’t be sanctioned. “We can’t just send him away without teaching him about our time and giving him a believable cover story. There’s no telling what would happen if we did that.” Before anyone could voice their opinion, however, Grant stood to address the group.

“I would like to say that I’m willing to learn, and once you have deemed me able, I will leave town if you so wish. I only wanted to see the future, and so far it has been brilliant.” Grant tried to meet Jack’s eyes, but Jack wasn’t having it. The man had assaulted him then used him as transport to get to the future. In Jack’s eyes, they should just wipe his memory and put him in a hospital somewhere far from here, but Jack knew that that was morally wrong. Nathan’s grip on Jack tightened, and when Jack looked at Nathan, he saw the taller man glaring openly at Grant.

“I agree with Henry. We can’t let him fall into the wrong hands, or even let the truth get out on accident, so we have to keep an eye on him. A cover story shouldn’t be too hard considering the way he acted. Selling him as a bastard child of a descendant of Doctor Grant should work fabulously.” Allison’s smile was sickly sweet and Jack almost laughed at the face Grant made.

“A bastard child, eh? Well, I suppose that wouldn’t be too bad. Maybe the stigma isn’t so harsh these days?” Jack grumbled at his easy acceptance, hoping that the man would have been a little more upset about it. “I shall go by Charles Grant. My Father’s middle name was Charles.” Everyone nodded at this.

Henry gave a tense smile to the newly named Doctor Grant. “We will have to make a backstory involving more details later, but for now, Charles Grant it is. Considering the fact that you come from the past, maybe we should hire you as a historian?”

“I’ll have the paperwork made up in the morning and send it to Director Fargo,” Nathan said. Fargo’s gleeful grin lit up the room again when he heard his title. Henry smiled at Nathan, before asking his next question.

“Is there anything we should know about this time line?” Everyone turned their attention to Nathan who took a moment to answer.

“Earlier, Jack, when I mentioned a life bond, you looked confused. Has anyone heard of a life bond before?” At the blank looks on everyone’s faces, Nathan sighed. “We’re not sure when it happened, but at some point in time, the ability to form bonds with other human beings appeared. The generation that experienced it first named it the ‘life bond’ and said it was a gift from the universe. Basically, when one person meets a potential partner, a bond forms between the two. It isn’t love at first sight, but it allows the two people to understand that it could eventually become love. Everyone in this room, besides Doctor Grant for obvious reasons, has formed a life bond with someone. Henry, you formed a bond with your wife, Grace, when you first met a two years ago. Jo, you and Zane formed the bond when you first met, but didn’t act on it for about a year. Allison, you and Daniel have a life bond. Director Fargo formed a life bond with Larry Haberman, and Jack and I formed a bond when I came back to town all those years ago. In order for everyone to learn about this time, Daniel and I will make up information packets to give to all of you about this world and your pasts. Hopefully by doing that, we can keep the suspicion of the town at a minimum.”

Everyone was quiet at Nathan’s words, trying to let the new information sink in. Jack was struck by the pure oddity of this Eureka, but he wouldn’t put it past the old one to be just as weird; it was Eureka… “Is that kind of like the imprinting thing that some animals do?” Jack asked. To be fair, it did sound like some kind of Disney movie with people finding their ‘one true love’. Nathan met Jack’s eyes and Jack couldn’t help but compare the two Stark’s he knew. Before the Stark from his time died, he was closed off and refused to let Jack see any emotion, besides annoyance and amusement. This Stark had an almost constant look of content, only changing when someone angered him, along with the fond expression he threw Jack’s way a few times. The ‘old Stark’ would have made some offhand, offensive comment about Jack’s lack of intelligence, but the ‘new Stark’ just smiled slightly, with that fond look in his eyes, and nodded.

“It is sort of like that, but a little more intimate. Most animals that imprint do so on their parental influences in order to learn how to survive. For us, the life bond connects us to another person in which we have the opportunity to live a good, happy life. It’s like a push in the right direction that we can accept or deny. Most people accept their life bond, but there are a few cases in which one of the persons involved denies the bond and therefore cancels out the effects of the bond for both people.” Nathan explained. Jack nodded, now knowing what he meant.

“How do we know when the bond forms?” Jo asked.

“Well, you have to be relatively close in distance to the person you will form a bond to. The bond itself feels like an out of body experience. You don’t really feel any different, but there is kind of a pull of sorts toward the person with which you bonded. Most people don’t know that they’ve bonded right away, they just assume that they are attracted to said person. Nothing else really happens with bonded pairs. You can’t feel each other’s emotions or sense when the other is in danger like in some movies. There are no guaranteed happy ever after’s, you still have to work in your relationship in order for it to succeed.” This time it was Daniel that answered. Though Jack had never met the man, he could tell that Daniel loved his small family very much. The pure adoration on his face when he looked at Kevin or Eliza was akin to the way Jack felt about Zoe. When Daniel would look at Allison, however, Jack couldn’t help but look away, feeling like he was intruding on their private moment.