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The Historian

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The six of them meet a lot at Cafe Diem and it makes sense. Sort of.

Dr. Fargo is the head of GD, after all; why shouldn't he be meeting with his chief medical officer and the mayor? Why shouldn't the head of GD security and the head of law enforcement in Eureka be there? It takes a lot to run this town, Vincent should know. Dr. Fargo, Allison, Henry, Jo, Sheriff Carter, that all makes sense.

They meet late -- logical, they work hard and long hours -- and Vincent brings them snacks and drinks, and they go quiet when he's around. In a way that's nice; lots of people pretend like the waitstaff of Cafe Diem don't exist or have feelings, so at least they're acknowledging that he's a person. Still, he'd like to eavesdrop sometime.

Once he'd heard Jo call their little gang the New World Club, but he assumed that was some kind of spirit thing. GD, forging a new world, right? Progress had always been Dr. Fargo's watchword.

The mystery is Dr. Grant, who smokes like he's never heard of lung cancer and talks like he walked out of a film from the forties (and dresses like it too, though you won't hear Vincent complaining). Not that Dr. Grant isn't nice. He's always polite and he treats the world with the kind of wonder most scientists don't -- they save their awe for one little area of life, the area they've specialized in, but Dr. Grant's face shows it all over. Espresso machines are equally as interesting to him as particle accelerators which are as interesting as cookie dough ice cream which is as interesting as the moon landing.

Still, Dr. Grant is, at the end of the day, a historian. There's no reason he should be meeting with the five most powerful people in Eureka. There's no reason he should sit next to Sheriff Carter and drink strong black coffee, no reason to hear his lazy drawl among the voices in the New World Club. It's not that Vincent thinks he shouldn't be there; he just can't see why he is.

And then late one night, just after the New World Club has gone, he's checking the calibration on the smokeless incinerator behind the cafe when he hears it -- a thump, like a body hitting brickwork, and a breathy laugh, and Dr. Grant's low, slow drawl.

Someone's in the alley, Dr. Grant and someone else, and Vincent peers around the corner of the building, shadowed under the roof's overhang.

The alley isn't so shadowed; the mouth of it is nearly blocked, on the other end, but moonlight pours down into it and he can see Dr. Grant leaning against the wall, sleeves rolled to the elbow, arms around someone's shoulders. Khaki and brown leather and brass. Jack Carter is pressing Charles Grant to the wall, thigh between his legs, head bent over him. Grant is smiling, looking up at the stars.

Vincent watches as Sheriff Carter lifts his head, rests it against Dr. Grant's forehead, exhales like he's coming home.

"Hey there, sport," Dr. Grant says easily, pulling Carter in for a kiss. Jack's holding onto him like he's the only real thing in the world. His hips hitch, the brass snap on his holster catching the moonlight for a second.

Everything falls into place. The sudden and horrible implosion of Jack and Tess's relationship; the presence of Dr. Grant at Jack's side during the meetings; and, Vincent realizes, the way Jack's been hedging around Cafe Diem lately, looking at Vincent like he wants to interrogate something out of him. Jack's in love and confused, and Vincent knows how he feels.

But it looks to him like Grant has everything pretty well under control.

He creeps back inside, and a minute later he glances up through the front window in time to catch Jack and Dr. Grant, side by side, walking hurriedly towards the Sheriff's jeep. Before Grant circles around to the passenger's side, his hand drifts across Jack's hip.

Young love, Vincent thinks, and smiles.

The next morning Jack's in for a late breakfast after an early call, and Vincent leans on the counter across from him and beams and beams. Jack looks unnerved, but that's pretty much his normal state.

"So, you and Dr. Grant seem like good friends," he says, and Jack chokes on his coffee.

"Yeah...?" he says carefully.

"You know, if you have any questions, I'm always happy to help," Vincent adds. People can be touchy when they're just coming out, which is understandable, and Jack pretty much had the closet door barred over and nailed shut for a while there.

Jack is staring at him now. "Questions about...Dr. Grant?"

"Well, in a manner of speaking," Vincent gestures vaguely. Jack's eyes go huge and round as saucers.

"You saw us?" he hisses.

"Sheriff, really. It's the twenty-first century," Vincent scolds lightly. "Eureka's very progressive."

"That's what he says," Jack mumbles into his coffee.

"I'm just saying, if you need an ear, or the URL of an instructional website, I'm a font of helpfulness," Vincent says, and leaves Jack coughing as he chokes on his coffee a second time.

Vincent is never sure if it's his little push or just nature taking its course, what happens afterwards. It takes weeks, really months, before it happens at all; perhaps Zoe coming home for the summer helped. The day after she came home she came into Cafe Diem looking a little stunned and said "Dad's dating...he's, uh, he's dating...someone..." and Vincent said "Oh my god, I know!" and then they had to hide in the kitchen together and eat brownies while he weaseled every detail out of her.

The point is, one morning early in summer, Jack and Dr. Grant come into Cafe Diem together. Their fingers are twined, subtle but visible, and when Jack gets up to leave for his shift he kisses Dr. Grant goodbye right there in front of everyone.

Dr. Grant's smile could light up half the town.

Word rushes through Eureka's gossip chain like wildfire that Sheriff Carter's dating the historian. Half the female population of Eureka looks disappointed. About a quarter of the male population, too (though they also look somewhat vindicated).

Vincent looks smug, and starts making up prospective menus for a wedding reception. Just in case.