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Story Data

Posted September 17, 2008

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Series: Eureka Moments

Title: Woman, Wondering

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG.

Summary: Allison bit her lip, trying not to let herself hope too soon. 700 words.

Spoilers: Eureka post-3.6 "Phased and Confused"

Notes: An attempt at working out Allison's motivations. Refers to past canon character death.

"I'm not sure how much more of this I can take," Allison murmured, watching anxiously as Henry attempted to stabilize Chuck's phasing with their carefully-designed frequency shifting treatment. There were no signs of increasing decoherence as yet, but it would be another minute or two before they could be certain the cure had worked.

She hadn't meant for anyone to overhear her, but Henry shot her a speaking glance over his shoulder at her words, dark eyes warm with commiseration. Allison gave him a thin, tense smile; she knew he missed Nathan very nearly as much as she did, and had worked closely with Jack ever since the sheriff's arrival in town. If there was anyone in Eureka likely to understand the way she was feeling at the moment, it would be Henry.

So how did he deal with it? How could he be so calm about Carter just-- charging in like that, making life-or-death decisions and acting on them as easily as if he were flipping a coin? Sooner or later, that coin would have to come up tails. Nathan's had. So what made Carter think he was invincible?

Seconds were passing; Henry glanced at his chronometer, and his smile grew a little more genuine. "I think it's working," he said, nodding to Chuck. "Just a minute longer-- then we'll get you out from under the hollow cathode lights and test it."

Chuck closed his eyes, relief stamped in every line of his suddenly relaxed body; and Allison bit her lip, trying not to let herself hope too soon. Stupidly brave men. No, it wasn't that Carter thought he was invincible, she had to admit: it was that he thought he had something-- someone-- to protect, and as far as he was concerned that was all the justification he needed. For all his scoffing earlier about scientists pretending they were superheroes, he was just as bad about it; with ZoŽ at risk, he hadn't even pretended to listen to Allison's arguments against his using the potentially fatal phasing device. No more than Nathan had let Fargo or Jack stand in his place in the photon accelerator that had saved Eureka-- and taken his life.

She rubbed at her temple, then glanced over toward the other bed, where the sheriff rested under his own set of 'grow lights', looking paler than usual. She knew she'd hurt and confused him in the months leading up to the wedding-that-hadn't-happened; she still wasn't sure how to explain it to him in words that didn't sound selfish and condescending, but in a strange way it had been Jack's strong, supportive nature and unwavering appreciation for her that had given her the confidence to accept Nathan's second proposal. Without his catalyzing presence, she didn't think either she or Nathan would ever have reached a place where they could have made those sorts of promises to each other again, and mean them.

But that didn't mean she'd felt any less for Jack than he had for her; their connection had simply been overshadowed by deeper, older ties. And-- though she felt guilty for even thinking it-- Jack's continued constancy had been a safety net for her; it had made her feel more secure to know that he would always be there for her, no matter what happened.

Today's little adventure had nearly taken that support from her-- and might still do so, if this cure didn't work. Losing any of her friends so soon after Nathan's death would devastate her, but Jack-- the day his heroics took him from her side, she'd do what even Nathan's loss had not driven her to, and turn in her resignation. Life without Nathan was just barely manageable; trying to keep her feet in this town with them both gone would be impossible.

"Well, it looks like that's done it," Henry said cheerfully, and Allison snapped out of her introspection to see Chuck sitting up, touching the tray next to his bed as he hadn't been able to before.

Relief burst through her, and she felt the tension in her shoulders ebb a little. That day might still come, but it wouldn't be today. Thank God; it wouldn't be today.


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