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Posted August 31, 2010
Series: Eureka Moments
Title: We Lie Loudest When We Lie To Ourselves
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: If the torch he'd carried for so long wasn't the unresolved issue bothering him most, Jack wasn't sure he wanted to find out what was. 900.
Spoilers: Eureka 4.8 "The Ex-Files"
Notes: Working out some issues with the current plotline; Jack/Allison present and several other past ships or potential ships mentioned. Caveat lector. Title is an Eric Hoffer quote.
"'I'm head over heels in love with you'," a familiar, irritating voice broke through the tranquility of Jack's half-waking thoughts. "You couldn't come up with anything better than that?"
Jack yelped, then blinked his eyes open and froze. He had hoped his confession to Allison would be enough to satisfy the therapeutic requirements of the device that had affected them, but apparently not, as the presence of a naked Stark stretched out on the other side of Allison proved. But if the torch he'd carried for so long wasn't the unresolved issue bothering him most, he wasn't sure he wanted to find out what was.
Allison murmured and stirred slightly, then quieted again, snuggling against him. Jack let himself relax, then turned his attention away from Stark's ghost, drinking in the sight of her: the glorious curves of her body, the softness of her skin against his, and the slight, joyous smile on her lips that he had put there at last.
Okay. Whatever he had to suffer for this? Totally worth it.
Jack glanced back toward his hallucinatory guest and jerked his chin toward the doorway. Then eased himself cautiously out of Allison's embrace, one deliberate movement at a time. With any luck, he'd be back before she woke, but even if he wasn't, he was going to remember her this way forever. She looked so content lying there, pleased with herself and all the world around her; and it felt so very right to him, more than any other relationship he'd had since Abby. He didn't know why, but it felt like they had been there before-- as though they were coming back together after a long and unexpected separation. He'd decided to take that as a positive sign.
Stark was waiting on him when he trudged out of the bedroom. Jack had thrown on a pair of sleep pants, but nothing else-- and the apparition had adopted the same outfit. He frowned at that, but complaining of modesty at that point would be a little ridiculous, so he padded toward the bathroom without commenting on it.
"S.A.R.A.H.? Recorders off, and initiate sound-proofing until I come out again," he ordered the house's AI as he shut the door behind him.
"Of course, Sheriff," she answered, easily. "Though I must say I'm a little surprised at the necessity, considering Dr. Blake's extended presence in your bedroom."
He could feel himself blushing at what that implied, and threw a preemptive quelling glance in Stark's direction. "Don't say it."
Stark smirked, eyeing Jack's body up and down. "If you say so," he said. "But I reserve the right to revisit the comment later. It's too good an opportunity to waste."
"If there is a later," Jack objected. "Which is kind of why I brought you down here."
Stark's expression grew more serious at that, and he nodded. "Allison basically said she was afraid you'd die on her-- and you told her you'd been in love with her since the day you met. Not exactly equal concerns, are they? Not to mention the blatant exaggeration."
Jack scowled at him as he leaned back against the sink. He wasn't going to sit down in front of Stark, imaginary or not; especially not the make-believe version, because that would mean he was taking a subordinate position to Allie's ex-husband in his own mind, and that was just-- no.
"Maybe a little exaggerated," he replied. "But not by much. I have been attracted to her since the day we met, and I've wanted to be with her pretty much ever since."
"Pretty much?" Stark repeated, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrows skeptically.
Jack swallowed. "Well," he admitted. "For a while there, I thought things would work out with Tess-- until she went to Australia and decided a long-distance relationship wasn't enough for her. And there was Callie-- but she let my job get in the way. And, okay, okay; so that wasn't always-- nightmare material." He gestured vaguely in the direction of Stark's bare chest. He'd never have said as much to the real Stark, but lying to himself would be counterproductive under the circumstances, and there was a certain commonality to be found in his interactions with Tess, Stark, and Abby.
"But none of those lasted. None of my relationships ever last; either my job gets in the way, or their job, or...." He gestured toward Stark again, wordlessly.
"They die. Like Angela Fairfield," Stark said, tactfully avoiding the subject of his own demise.
Jack winced. "Yeah. One way or another, everyone I've ever loved, or had the potential to love, has left me. So I guess..." He took a ragged breath as the truth revealed itself to him. "I'm scared that I'm not going to be enough for Allison-- not quick enough, smart enough, considerate enough, whatever-- and she's going to leave me, just like everyone else has."
"You're afraid of how it'll end. Just like Allie."
"Yeah." Jack blew out a breath; that was the crux of it. "But not scared enough to miss out on us, any more than she is."
Stark let that sink in a moment, then grinned approvingly. "Atta boy," he said, then faded into sparkles of light: one last trick of Jack's subconscious.
"Could've done without that, though," Jack sighed, rolling his eyes.
Then he swiped the door open again and headed upstairs to his future.
© 2010 Jedi Buttercup.