Fandom: Pairing: Eureka: Nathan Stark/Jack Carter proto-slash
Spoilers: 'Missing' scene from 'Right as Raynes'.
Concrit: Please. If you spot a typo, feel free to tell me in comments.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Warnings/Squicks: Mention of canonical death; unconventional transportation of the remains.
Summary: 'Missing' scene, set after the bus station death scene but before the final 'morning after' scene in 'Right as Raynes'. Jack couldn't just drop Stark off at home to spend the night alone after Callister died in his arms.
Notes: This is my first fic in this fandom, but it probably won't be the last. Dedicated to literati, who knows I'm a soft touch who cannot resist snarky men.
The drive back from Somerville bus station was completed in almost total silence. Zoë was slumped in the back seat, having cried herself to sleep less than ten minutes into the journey. From the sound of her sighs, uneasy shifting and shaky sobs, Jack figured the sadness of the day had followed her into her dreams.
He resisted the urge to reach back and comfort her, not only because he knew better than to do something so reckless while driving, but also --mostly-- because he feared he craved the physical contact more to ease his own heart than that of his daughter.
Stark hadn't said a thing since he'd helped Jack fold Callister's remains into the trunk of the car with callous efficiency, having vehemently refused Jack's offer to call an ambulance or someone at G.D. or even Henry, Jack's go-to guy for everything absurdly, uniquely Eureka.
Stark didn't want anyone getting hold of, and maybe reverse engineering, Callister's… remains? Corpse? Vessel? Shell? What the hell was he supposed to call the lifeless, powerless human-shaped remnant of Stark's artificially intelligent robot pseudo-son?
Jack flicked a lightning fast glance to his right to check that, yup, Stark hadn't moved an inch. In fact, Jack wasn't sure the man had blinked even once. He was sitting exactly as he had been when he'd closed the car door with an obscenely muted click. In his place, Jack knew, he would have slammed that door so hard the window would have shattered to match his heart.
That thought formed itself into a solid lump of terror in his throat which threatened to choke him until he managed to swallow it down. Then he turned his attention to loosening his death-grip on the wheel so he could get his passengers safely home.
All three of them.
Zoë went straight for the kitchen and a huge mug of marshmallow-capped hot chocolate, then bid her father and an unresponsive Stark good night and told S.A.R.A.H. to soundproof her room until morning.
"This way I won’t overhear Dr Stark accidentally being human, and you don't have to listen to me crying into my cocoa." She shook her head before her father could say anything comforting. "I'll be okay, really, it's just… He was a nice guy, you know? I think we could have been friends."
She darted forward and enveloped Jack in a brief hug, going up on tiptoe to kiss his cheek.
"Good night, Dad."
The flinch was almost imperceptible, but Jack had been waiting for Stark's emotionless façade to crack for over an hour now. He returned Zoë's hug with interest, keeping track of Stark from the corner of one eye.
"'Night, Zo. Come wake me if you need to, okay? S.A.R.A.H., if she has nightmares you let me know."
"Of course, Sheriff Carter. Would Dr Stark like a drink? I have his favorite whiskey in stock, and several bottles of his favorite microbrew."
Jack shook his head. "I don't think alcohol's going to help right now, S.A.R.A.H., but maybe-"
"Whiskey will be fine, S.A.R.A.H., thank you."
Stark's right hand was knotted into a white-knuckled fist, the bones in his wrist twisting rhythmically as he flexed. The muscle along his jaw ticked along in synch. Jack easily recognised someone spoiling for a fight. He wasn't about to oblige.
"In that case I'll join you. I hate to see anyone drink alone."
When Jack turned back to the room, generous measures of whiskey in hand, he found Stark standing unnervingly close, eyes sharply focused, watchful. Jack blinked but didn't step back, instead holding up the Scotch in mute offering.
With a tiny smirk, Stark curled the fingers of his left hand carefully around the cut glass tumbler, taking his time and almost caressing Jack's fingers and palm as he did so.
He spit out a toast, "To Callister, the son I never had," and tossed the expensive liquor back in one go, swallowing it down without once breaking eye contact. He stared blandly at Jack until he did the same.
Jack was more of a beer guy; he'd never developed a taste for anything harder, but his ego and the look on Stark's face wouldn't allow him to do more than inhale sharply through his nose as the whiskey burned its way to his stomach.
Stark's smirk grew two sizes anyway.
Jack's question was cut off by the unexpected press of Stark's lips against his.
It was an angry kiss, bitter, tainted with grief and raw emotions, but to Jack's surprise it wasn't violent. On first contact, he'd braced himself for lip-splitting pressure and cruel fingers grippinging his jaw, or maybe curled around his throat, holding him in place for the coming assault. He'd been there a time or two before.
Instead, Stark teased the line of Jack's lips with his own; hands cradling his skull, thumbs resting on his temples, reading every skip and jump of his agitated pulse. His tongue insinuated itself into Jack's mouth, searching out the last traces of Scotch.
Jack was just beginning to get with the program when Stark pulled back and let his hands drop to his sides. He studied Jack for several moments, a slight frown drawing a crease between his eyebrows.
"That… wasn't exactly the response I was expecting."
"You, what, weren't expecting me to kiss you back? Why else would…?"
Belatedly taking in the once again clenched fist and the pugnacious tilt of Stark's jaw, Jack sighed.
"Oh. Dammit! First thing tomorrow morning, I'm drafting a memo to everyone in Eureka. The US Marshals are not the US Marines, and I am not a homophobe! You…" Jack took a deep breath and tried not to let his temper --or his hurt-- get the better of him.
"You really thought I'd punch you out for kissing me? Or is it more like you were hoping I would?" Stark's expression was answer enough, and Jack wiped a hand across his face, trying to push past the weariness.
"I'm not going to let you use me to punish yourself for whatever sins you think you've committed. If you want to try this again when you're not so screwed up with grief you can't see straight, come find me, but right now I think we'd both be better off in bed - alone! I'm sure S.A.R.A.H.'s got the guest room ready for you by now. In the morning we'll… do what has to be done."