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Zoe Carter walked down the hall and entered her bedroom. She turned on her stereo, blasted some Linkin'Park, and flopped on the bed.

She was home.

Back in Los Angeles.

Back where she belonged.

It felt different though, she felt different.

Twirling the small stud on her nose, she braced her feet against the wall and stared at the ceiling. She'd always prided herself on doing things that made her stand out. She was never the normal one in the group. She was never the quiet one in the crowd. It had started as a way to get her dad to take notice, to spend some extra time with her -- even if he was usually yelling when he did it. After he'd moved out, it had been a way for her to bring him back.

It hadn't worked.

It would probably never work.

He had returned for a little while. He had come after her when she'd run away. He had arrested her when she got caught shoplifting. And he had brought her home.

If circumstances arose, he would probably do it all again, too.

But things were different now. He wasn't just a US Marshall scouting the country, doing all sorts of work, and having to track down his juvenile-delinquent daughter in his spare time. He was a sheriff now. Most people would probably think that was some sort of demotion. But most people hadn't been to Eureka.

They had no idea of all the interesting and wacky things that went on in that crazy little town. Hell, most normal people didn't even know the town existed.

In Eureka, being normal alone was enough to make you stand out.

There was no need to pierce your nose, dye your hair, break the law, or run away. In Eureka, being a normal teenager was grounds enough to warrant being called a freak.

The short amount of time that she'd spent in Eureka had probably been the best time that she'd spent with her father in years. While they hadn't been on the best of terms for the entire trip, by the time they'd left Eureka they had been closer than she could remember them ever being. She had enjoyed that closeness.

Now he was back in Eureka, virtually cut off and untouchable by the rest of the world. The way things seemed to go in that town, she might never get to experience that closeness again.

She had told him that once you had a child you couldn't just up and check out of their lives. But now that he was living in Eureka, would he really have much of a choice?

As an outsider, she wouldn't be privy to anything that touched his life. Though she knew of the existence of the town, because she didn't live there she wasn't allowed to know anything about future activities or events that happened there. If she stayed in Los Angeles her father would only continue to drift further and further away from her, and it would become increasingly more difficult for her to garner any of his attention.

If she chose to move to Eureka, her options would be unlimited. She could stand out by piercing her nose, dying her hair, or any number of other things, or simply by being herself. She was not and never would be a brainiac on the level of the people that lived in that town. She would never measure up to the nine-year-old that was taking Theoretical Astrophysics, but at the same time, she wouldn't have to.

The disk in her CD player switched from Linkin'Park to Seather and she could just make out the sound of her mother yelling that she was leaving to go shopping and would be back in an hour or so.

Zoe closed her eyes and reconsidered what she was thinking.

Things between her and her mother had been difficult for the past year. She assumed it was much like things between any teenaged girl and their mother -- the arguments, the fights, seemed almost non-stop. She knew she hadn't really done much to help matters, but her mother was always there.

She always would be.

It was her father that she always seemed to wonder about.

If she moved to Eureka, she wouldn't have to wonder anymore. She could live with her dad and visit her mom whenever she wanted. Her father's life and the things he was interested and involved in would be open to her - or at least as open as she could want them to be. And she wouldn't have to fear the loss of the connection that they'd finally started to share.

Now, while it sounded all well and good in her head, there was no way she would ever admit any of this to either of her parents. It was all way too mushy and emotional for her liking.

And trying to discuss the decision to go and live with her father over her mother would cause too much arguing and strife and waste too much time. It would be much easier to just sit down and do it her way.

She was more than positive that she'd be able to find Eureka again; after all, she was her father's daughter and excellent with directions. And she knew just who to contact once she got into town.

Zoe hopped up from the bed and grabbed her duffle bag, easily throwing in the things that she knew she would need. Anything extra she was sure could be figured out later.

She wanted to leave her mother a note, explain her reasoning for leaving. She was fairly certain her mother would understand, but it wasn't her style and it would only complicate the plan.

She would have to give her mother some sort of an explanation after everything was over and done with. Until then, she would just leave her a note saying she was running out and would be back soon, her usual modus operandi. When she didn't come home after a few hours, her mother was sure to pick up on the fact that she was taking off again and call her father.

Knowing him, he still wouldn't have a clue. He'd be as shocked as ever to see her when she showed up on the doorstep of whatever house he had managed to find in Eureka. When he did finally come around to figuring it out, she hoped he would be open to the idea of her staying. With that accomplished, her mom would be easy to convince and Zoe was sure she would understand.