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Nature vs Nurture

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Zoe Carter knew from the second her dad informed her of his promotion to Sheriff of Eureka that their lives would never be the same again. That knowledge was further cemented when he told her about the snarky genius Nathan Stark. Knowing her dad needed her, she packed a bag, used a stolen credit card to buy a bus ticket, and headed back to Eureka.

Jack didn't advertise his sexual orientation, but he never took outrageous steps to hide that he was bisexual. No one in Eureka knew yet, which made it even more difficult to deal with when he found himself attracted not only to Allison Blake, but to her estranged husband, as well. Zoe could see the situation he was in and knew her dad's life was about to become a living hell.

Zoe watched as, though he kept flirting with Allison, Jack studied everything about Nathan. The more he saw and learned, the more her dad wanted him rather than Allison. Unfortunately, it became clear that Nathan's only interest was reconciliation with Allison.

She spent years in emotional pain watching her dad watch Allison and Nathan grow closer. Only two things kept Jack from leaving Eureka. His relationship with Zoe had never been better, and Henry's friendship which was a blessing. Zoe knew they were all that kept him sane in his misery. She did everything she could, including being the rebellious teenager, to help him focus elsewhere.

Now Allison and Nathan were engaged to be remarried, and Jack was absolutely devastated. Everyone except Zoe and Henry thought Jack was pining over Allison, but he had long since lost interest in her. It was Nathan that was breaking his heart. And that was breaking Zoe's heart.

From day one as sheriff, Zoe feared Jack would eventually be killed because of some insane experiment in this town, and after learning that Allison had accepted Nathan's marriage proposal, she feared her dad wouldn't take the care he always had to stay safe.

 

“Jack, damn it, let me in there,” Nathan demanded after Carter had punched him and shoved him aside.

“There's no time to argue, Nathan. Now talk me through this or the world's gonna end.”

Jack hadn't left him any options so Nathan did as Jack said.

As the last seconds counted down, Jack said, “Nathan, help Henry look after Zoe and Lexie for me.”

“I promise, Jack. I promise.”

“And Nathan, I love you,” Jack said and hit the button to accelerate the photon.

“You did it!” Fargo yelled as he rushed over to the chamber. “We're moving forward again.”

“Yeah, we are,” Nathan said as they watched Jack dematerialize.

Nathan turned, leaned back against the chamber, and slid to the floor.

“Dr. Stark, are you okay?” Fargo asked.

“Yeah, just, it should have been me.” Nathan said. The scientist shook his head and stood up. He turned to Fargo and said, “Fargo, I want,”

Fargo interrupted, “I've already started compiling all the data from today and Wienbrenner's research to be sent to you, and I've arranged for the time lab to be sealed with only Henry, Zane, you and I having access.”

Nathan smiled sadly, “Thank you, Douglas. We have a wedding to ruin.”

 

Nathan got Henry and headed to Allie's tent. Fargo was already there with Zoe, Lexie, and Lupo.

Ignoring everyone else, Nathan went straight to Zoe and knelt before the young woman bravely struggling to hide her fear.

“Zoe,” Nathan asked calmly, “have you noticed your dad acting odd today?”

“What? No,” Zoe said. She looked at Lexie and hesitated, “Well, somehow he knew Aunt Lexie would be here today when we weren't expecting her until next week, and he knew she'd have cats with her.”

Nathan nodded, “One of Global's scientists got too eager and ran his experiment before he was ready. The result was a time loop that your dad got caught in. He knew your Aunt Lexie would be here today because he had already lived this day several times.

“He tried to tell me, Zoe. I'm ashamed to admit that I thought he was trying to stop the wedding. If I had just listened to him days ago,” Nathan said and ran his hand over his face before he continued.

“We figured out how to stop the loop, but then there was a malfunction. That meant the GD clock and the scientist's computer had to be synced manually from inside a photon deceleration chamber. Fargo volunteered to do it, but I wouldn't let him because I knew what would happen.

“Zoe, I know I'm not your favorite person because your dad and I always fought so much, but I swear, I swear to you that I had every intention of being the one to go into that chamber.”

Allison gasped behind him, and Zoe wiped her eyes as Nathan's own eyes filled with tears.

“Your dad punched me and shoved me down. By the time I was back on my feet, he'd locked himself in the chamber. Time was running out; so were our options. I could either talk him through syncing the clock or let the world end.

“Your dad is a hero, Zoe. He saved you. He saved Eureka. He saved the entire universe.

“His last thoughts were of you. He asked me to help Henry look after you and Lexie. That's a promise I fully intend to keep if you'll let me.”

Zoe fell forward and hugged Nathan. “You're lucky he didn't knock you out. I've seen him do it, but I guess he knew he needed you to tell him how to fix the time loop.”

She pulled back and looked Nathan in the eye, “Dr. Stark, if my dad trusted you enough to ask you to look out for me, and I know he did, then I'm okay with it.”

The young woman turned to the bride, “Allison, I'm sorry to miss your big day, but I think I'd like to go home now.”

“Fargo,” Nathan said.

Fargo said, “Come on, Zoe, I'll drive you and Lexie home.”

Nathan said, “Lupo, you're acting sheriff now. I know you'll want to do your own investigation, but I hope it can wait until tomorrow. By then I can give you all the data at one time and take you to the lab. It's already been sealed.”

Lupo wiped tears from her eyes and said, “I think that would be best,” she hurried from the tent.

“Allie, I think it's best under the circumstances,” Nathan began.

“You're right,” Allie said, “we should call the wedding off.”

“I'll make the announcement,” Henry said. “Should I tell them about Jack?”

Nathan nodded. “Make sure they know he died a hero, Henry.”

Henry nodded and left the tent with tears falling from his own eyes.

“Nathan,” Allie said after Henry left the tent, “I know you meant that we should postpone the wedding, but...”

“Allie, you're right to call it off. Neither of us would have walked away this time, and neither of us would have been happy. I hate that it took this for us to see it, but for both our sake, and Kevin's, I'm glad we saw it before it was too late.”

Allison took Nathan's offered hands and smiled sadly, “And I'm glad we can face that without losing our friendship.”

Nathan, Henry, Fargo, and Zane, did everything they could to bring Jack back to them. All of Eureka mourned when they discovered it couldn't be done without ending the world.

 

Eureka changed that day. Without Jack Carter's contagious smile and open attitude, it was a darker place. Smiles were seen less frequently and were dimmer when they came. Greetings were subdued, and small talk was almost nonexistent. Even Vincent was less boisterous in his customer service. No one seemed to know how to deal with losing their sheriff.

Abby wanted Zoe to return to L.A. After watching Zoe cry on Henry's shoulder for an hour because she didn't want to lose her home on top of losing her dad, Nathan took action.

“This is the best offer you will ever get, Dr. Carter. I hope you see the wisdom in accepting the position,” Stark said.

“What I see is that you want me to keep my daughter in the screwed up town that took her father's life. I have a practice, a boyfriend, and a life back in L.A. Zoe and I will be going home this weekend.”

“What would it take to convince you? I could easily arrange a nice signing bonus.”

“No, thank you, Dr, Stark. I'm not staying here in Eureka.”

“You're forcing me to play hard ball, Dr. Carter. Zoe considers Eureka her home. Jack asked Henry and me to look after her. I'm sorry to do this, but if you take Zoe with you, you will not be returning to your practice or your boyfriend. You will be returning to news stories and board inquiries into your past relationships with your patients.”

“You're a real bastard, Dr. Stark.”

“Yes, I am, but that has nothing to do with this. I made a promise to Sheriff Carter, I intend to keep it. You still have the option to stay and take the position of psychohterapist.”

“Go to hell,” Abby said and left Stark's office. Abby went home to L.A. Alone.

“Are you sure you'll be okay, Zoe,” Lexie asked again as she stood at SARAH's door with her suitcase in hand.

“I'll be fine, Aunt Lexie. Henry and Nathan will take good care of me.”

Lexie hugged Zoe once more and left with Duncan.

Nathan gave Zoe a choice: she would move into his guest room or he would move into her guest room. He expected a hell of a fight from the sixteen year old and had Henry ready to back him up.

“I know you and Henry worry about me, but I can't leave SARAH. I know she's AI, but she's as lost right now as I am,” Zoe said as she took her lunch break with Nathan at Café Diem.

“Then I'll move in with you,” Nathan smiled.

“I hate to ask that of you.”

“You're not asking, Zoe. I'm offering. Well, more like telling,” Nathan chuckled.

Zoe laughed, and Nathan was thrilled to hear it. “Besides, with SARAH connected to GD, I'll be able to do a good bit of work from home and stay out of the office a while. Fargo will love that,” he smiled. Nathan moved in that evening after work.

Carter's death had an impact on GD as well. Despite Thorne's redaction binges, scientists stopped rushing their experiments. There were no explosions, no huge spills, and no out of control devices. The few mishaps that did occur were unrelated to violation of safety protocol.

Even Eva Thorne was affected. A week after Jack's memorial, she called Allison, Nathan, and Henry to her office. She told them all about a bunker under Tesla, what happened there, and how she knew about it. She explained that she wanted to finally lay those men to rest properly and prevent anyone else from suffering the same fate they had.

With Zane's help, the bunker was opened. Henry got samples of the byproduct of the bomb testing, Allison took care of the remains, and Nathan had the bunker thermo cleaned and filled completely with an unbreakable cement.

Henry found the cure to Eva's condition and left the choice up to her. Eva was found dead in her office a week later. Her will, made a week before her death, left Zoe, Zane, and Henry more than comfortable for the rest of their lives. It set up the Allison Blake-Nathan Stark Scholarship Foundation for students devoted to science. It also set up the Jack Carter Scholarship Foundation for students devoted to law enforcement.

The DoD introduced a robotic AI that they wanted to be sheriff. Andy was nothing like Calister. Nathan would have fought for Lupo regardless, but that made him fight harder. He and Allison both put their feet down, and with the support of Henry as mayor and the entire town, the DoD relented. Jo remained sheriff; Andy became her deputy.

Through everything, Nathan came to love Zoe like his own daughter. Her mannerisms and sass were so much like Jack's that Nathan realized how very much he missed the sheriff. It was shocking to Nathan to realize that he had felt much more for Jack Carter than he ever thought he could feel for anyone. It was bittersweet because, on top of realizing he'd lost the love of his life when Jack died, loving Zoe more and more made him miss and love Jack that much more.

Nathan and Henry had both written letters to MIT on Zoe's behalf when they found out she had applied there and was interested in AI. Zoe left for MIT two semesters before her classmates graduated. She always came home to Eureka for long weekends and holidays, except for Thanksgiving which she spent with Abby.

Founder's Day fell on one of Zoe's long weekends. Main street was packed with people and exhibits. Zoe and Henry were walking down the street and came upon Nathan and Jo discussing security. Allison and her friend Tess Fontana were talking nearby as Kevin tinkered with one of the exhibits.

“What is that thing?” she asked as she watched Kevin.

“It's the Einstein-Grant Bridge Device,” Jo said as she hugged Zoe.

“Einstein and Grant thought the bridge could be used to traverse wormholes from one time to another.” Nathan said.

“I take it the bridge never worked,” Zoe said.

“Thankfully, no,” Henry said. “The consequences could have been disastrous.”

“Nothing good comes from playing with time,” Zoe said and walked on down the street.

“Unless you know exactly what you're doing,” Kevin mumbled.

Nathan stared at Kevin, certain he had misunderstood the boy's words. He walked on down the street with the others, but Kevin's words stayed in the back of his mind.

Allison, Jo, Zoe, Fargo, Henry, and Nathan were having coffee at a table outside Café Diem an hour later. Everyone was regaling Zoe with stories of past Founders' Day blunders to get her mind off what happened earlier when all their phones rang at once.

Each answered and was stunned to look around and see a military camp where Eureka had been only a second earlier.

Within another few seconds they were surrounded by soldiers with guns drawn. Nathan could see that Lupo wanted to fight, but one glance at Zoe settled her down. The six were taken into custody as suspected spies.

They were questioned for hours, and a couple of the soldiers got rough with Nathan, Henry, and Fargo. Two others began to express an interest in getting handsy in a different way with Zoe, Jo, and Allison.

The base commander and another man walked in just in time to hear what those soldiers were planning. The commander pulled his weapon and shot the mouthy soldiers in their legs. As they were dragged passed her and out the door, Zoe spat at them.

“Easy, Zoe,” Nathan cautioned.

“She has every right to be angry at those two. No one here will hold that against her,” the civilian said.

The commander stood at attention by the door. The civilian walked over and sat on the edge on the table, looking them over thoroughly before he said, “You're from the future.”

“That's insane,” Nathan said. “We've told your people repeatedly that we're scientists from Canada who want to be part of the community you're building here.”

“Yes, yes, so you've said. However, your clothes, your mannerisms, the technology you carry, all of that tells a different story.”

Zoe said, “Look mister...”

“Doctor,” the man said, “Dr. Trevor Grant.”

“The Trevor Grant?” Henry asked. “You're just the man we came to see.”

“Ryan, give me a few moments with these fine people.”

“Are you sure, Grant?” the commander asked.

“I'm sure. They pose no immediate threat to us. I actually think we pose more of a threat to them.”

Ryan left, and Henry, at Grant's request, made the introductions.

“Now that we have the pleasantries out of the way,” Grant said, “let's get down to business, shall we? I know you're from the future. I can think of several reasons you're denying it, not the least of which is the need to not tamper with the timeline.

“Of course, I must also consider the possibility that you are here to intentionally undermine our efforts to create a safe haven for the country's greatest minds to work, especially since you've already stated knowledge of our intent.”

Grant shifted to a more comfortable position and lit a cigarette. After exhaling the smoke, he said, “Don't you think honesty would be the best policy right now?”

“What's to say you'll believe us and not shoot us for treason?” Zoe asked.

“Absolutely nothing. However, refusing to tell us anything, anything believable,” he corrected himself, “will definitely get you shot for treason.”

The group looked around at each other. No one seemed to know what to say. The fear and uncertainty in their eyes, especially in Zoe's, made Nathan speak up. “We don't know any more about this than you do.”

Grant scoffed. “I find that rather difficult to believe.”

“How do you think we feel?” Zoe asked. “One minute, we're sitting together drinking coffee and celebrating Founders' Day.”

Nathan picked up her thought, “The next minute, we're sitting in the middle of a runway with soldiers rushing at us, guns drawn and ready to shoot.”

Henry added, “We have no idea how we got here or why.”

Zoe sat up straighter, her eyes wide with surprise, “I think I do. Kevin.”

Allison jerked her head toward Zoe, “What? My Kevin?”

Nathan dropped his head as if in prayer, “Kevin was tinkering with the bridge device on Main Street. Zoe said something about playing with time being a bad thing. Kevin said, 'Unless you know what you're doing,' as though he had a purpose in mind.”

Grant's eyes narrowed, “What bridge device?”

“Your bridge device,” Henry said. “Kevin must have gotten it to work.”

Grant shook his head. “That's not possible. Dr. Einstein and I have tried to get that machine to work for years. It's a lost cause we only keep around to remind us we're not perfect.”

Allison spoke again, “My son has autism, Asperger's Syndrome, to be precise, but his IQ is higher than yours or Dr. Einstein's.”

Grant squared his shoulders, “My IQ is higher than any measured IQ except Dr. Einstein's.”

Nathan smirked, “Your IQ is 153. Dr. Einstein's is 160. Dr. Deacon's,” Nathan nodded toward Henry, “is 178. Mine is 186. Kevin's is 192.”

“I have no trouble at all believing Kevin got your machine to work, Dr. Grant,” Zoe said earnestly. “I've seen that boy save the world with my own eyes.”

Grant got up and paced around the table. “Why would he send you here?”

Fargo spoke in a subdued voice, “There was an incident almost two years ago. We lost a highly valued member of our community, a wonderful man who sacrificed himself to end a time loop.”

Nathan said, “Time may have splintered before Jack accelerated the photon. This may be Kevin's way of trying to fix it.”

“Why this time period?” Jo asked. “This is a bit more than two years ago for us.”

“Because the bridge is still on,” Grant said. “We really had given up on it, we just haven't been able to bring ourselves to shut it down yet. My guess is that once we do shut it down, it won't be powered back up until your Founders' Day celebration.”

“What can we possibly do now to fix time in the future?” Zoe asked.

“You have to make a major change that will affect your time period,” Grant said.

“No,” Henry said adamantly. “That will cause a paradox that will destroy the universe.”

“It could,” Grant began.

“It will,” Henry insisted.

“Henry?” Nathan asked.

“Kim died. I couldn't deal with it. I used Walter Perkins' machine and saved her. Everything was stable for four years, but the paradox did occur,” Henry said.

“When was this?” Grant asked. “Before or after the time loop?”

“Before.” Henry said.

“What difference does that make?” Jo asked.

Nathan shook his head, “It wasn't the time loop that splintered time. It was Walter's tachyon accelerator.”

“The bridge device should have much less of an impact on the space-time continuum because it uses worm holes rather than tachyon particles,” Grant said.

“Meaning?” Allison said.

“Meaning that whatever changes we make now are probably not going to cause a paradox,” Nathan said.

Zoe said, “So that leaves us deciding what changes to make and figuring out how to get home.”

“I can use the bridge device to get you back to almost the exact second you left,” Grant said.

“So what do we change?” Jo asked.

Henry looked at Grant, “You have a soldier here by the name of Adam Barlowe.”

“Yes?” Grant said.

“He's going to have a daughter in a few years. Her name is Beverly Barlowe. She will become involved with a group that calls itself the consortium. This group is made up of fanatics who will kill in cold blood in the name of controlling scientific advancement. Beverly is the one who kills Kim,” Nathan said. “Stop her from becoming involved with the consortium and Kim will live. There's our major change.”

Grant sat down hard on the table. “I founded the consortium. It's in its infancy now; there are only six of us. I didn't intend for it to become something vile and dangerous. I just didn't want any more bombs.”

Zoe spoke softly but firmly, “They don't succeed, Dr. Grant. Nuclear weapons are so advanced now, and so widely possessed, that everyone is afraid to use them. But the threat is still there and always will be.”

“We wanted to use the device to go back and prevent the bomb from ever being created,” Grant said dejectedly. “Now, I know that's not possible because the bridge device was only a theory then.”

Grant looked at Henry and Nathan, “How many people have been hurt because of the consortium?”

Nathan shook his head, “There's no way to know. We don't even know how many members there are. We only know that Beverly told us there are thousands, all devoted to their cause and willing to do whatever it takes.”

“Dear God,” Grant said. He walked to the door and told the commander that he wanted to see Private Barlowe. Then he cut everyone loose.

The group waited in silence for Barlowe to arrive, though Zoe, Jo, and Nathan got up to move around. They explained everything to Barlowe when he arrived, but the soldier didn't want to believe them.

“Adam,” Grant said, exasperated, “this group is going to turn into something even worse than nuclear bombs. We cannot let that happen.”

“We don't know that, Trevor. For all we know, this group succeeds and they,” Barlowe indicated Nathan and the others, “are here to stop us. I'm going back, just like we planned, and making sure that bomb doesn't get built.”

The commander had come in with Barlowe and now knew everything. He pulled his gun on the private, “I can't let you do that Barlowe. I hate that so many lives were lost, but those bombs are the reason we won the war. Attempting to change that makes you a traitor. We are still under orders to shoot spies and traitors on the spot. Stand down or I will kill you.”

Nathan pulled Zoe to him and turned her back to the arguing men. Jo stepped forward and put herself between the soldiers and her friends. Fargo pulled Allison and Henry closer to Zoe and Nathan before stepping beside Jo to help shield the others.

“Adam, for God's sake, listen to reason,” Grant said.

“I don't believe a word they're saying,” Barlowe insisted.

“Then believe Ryan and the gun in his hand. It's over, Adam. The group is done. I'm going to help these people get back to their time, and then I'm going to destroy the bridge device and the blueprints,” Grant said.

Barlowe lunged at Grant. Ryan shot the private. Zoe screamed.

Ryan turned the gun on Grant. “I couldn't let Barlowe prevent the bomb from being made, but that doesn't clear these people of being spies.”

Jo knocked Ryan out before he could fully look in her direction. “What?” she asked as everyone stared at her. “He's never going to believe us, and we need to get home.”

Grant used Ryan's cuffs to restrain him. Jo and Fargo half carried, half dragged Ryan with them as the group made their way to Einstein's lab and the bridge device.

Less than an hour later, they were sitting at their table in front of Café Diem, their coffee still warm.

Everything looked the same as they took in their surroundings. Vincent was even standing in the same place with a tray of Cold War Cappuccino talking to the same scientist as when they left.

“There's no way things are exactly the same,” Henry said.

“No way what's the same?” Kim asked as she put her arms around Henry from behind. She looked at Nathan and asked, “What is my mad scientist husband up to now?”

Henry was surprised and grinning from ear to ear as he held Kim's hand tightly to his chest.

“I could ask the same of my mad scientist husband,” Jack said as he put his hand on Nathan's shoulder and squeezed gently.

None of the group could speak, but Zoe found the strength to get up and hug her dad.

“Maybe, uh,” Nathan had to stop to clear his throat, “maybe we should all head to the bunker. We need to have a serious talk.”

“I don't remember the last time you said bunker and not home. What's going on, Nathan?” Jack asked.

“Please, Jack, just trust me. I'll tell you everything when we get home,” Nathan said.

 

“We died? Jack and I were both dead to you yesterday?” Kim asked. She was holding Henry's hand tight and couldn't seem to stop looking at him.

“How is any of this possible?” Jack asked. “When Perkins and King nearly destroyed the universe, the DoD banned all time experiments.”

“It's possible because the wormhole was already open,” Henry said. “I just hope it closed behind us.”

“It closed when Grant destroyed the bridge,” Nathan said. “This timeline should be and should remain stable.”

“Should being the operative word,” Kim said. “What do we do if a paradox does happen?”

“We'll use Perkins' tachyon accelerator to go back and fix it,” Zoe said.

“So what do we tell everyone about what happened to us?” Jo asked.

“Nothing,” Jack said hurriedly. “No one can know anything. Walter Perkins and Warren King were sanctioned for even trying to time travel. There's no way the DoD won't sanction anyone who actually did it, intentionally or not.”

“Sanctioned as in redacted and blacklisted?” Fargo asked.

“Sanctioned as in never seen or heard from again,” Kim said as she moved impossibly closer to Henry.

“How are we supposed to know what else is different in our lives now?” Zoe asked. “How do we not accidentally screw up and get caught?”

“I can help with that,” SARAH said. “I have detailed files on each of Eureka's citizens in case of emergency.”

“Don't we need to wipe SARAH's memory of this?” Jo asked.

Jack shook his head, “No, as the home of the Director of Global Dynamics, anything said or done here is classified for his eyes only.”

“That's a relief,” Allison said, “unless she goes psycho on us again.”

“Huh? What do you mean, Allison?” Jack asked.

“After Seth Osborne's pollen caused the whole town to act out of character, things were a bit tense. SARAH tricked some of us in higher level positions into coming here and held us captive wanting us to work out our differences. She killed a pizza delivery guy and nearly killed Zoe.”

“That didn't happen here,” Jack said as he pulled Zoe closer to his side.

Zoe defended her AI friend, “SARAH did not go psycho. She simply held a much needed intervention. It was you insisting someone get her to open the door that resulted in Nathan and Henry overloading her electrical system, Allison. That brought BRAD online, and he's the one who killed the pizza guy and nearly killed me.”

“Nathan,” Jack said.

Nathan squeezed Jack's arm and said, “I'll make sure BRAD is completely disabled as soon as we're done here.”

Jack nodded his thanks and moved on, “I think the first thing is for each of you to know where you live, where you work, and who you're dating.”

SARAH stated each of their addresses. They were all the same. Allison was the Director of Medical Research. Jo was the head of GD security. Fargo was the head of Section 3 where Kim worked. Henry was the head of Section 5.

Allison was dating Dr. Suenos. Zoe was dating Dr. Finn. Jo and Fargo were seeing each other and were discussing marriage.

“Oh, my God,” Jo said.

“Don't hurt me,” Fargo said at the same time, backing away from Lupo instinctively.

That caused everyone else to laugh and broke some of the tension in the room.

“How did you and Nathan get together, dad?” Zoe asked her father.

Jack actually blushed. “SARAH didn't set up an intervention, but we did have an issue with Seth's pollen causing out of character behavior. I went to GD to question Fargo about trespassing and vandalism, and Nathan and I ended up in a fight. I mean we actually came to blows.

“Two days after I burned the pollen plants, we ran into each other at Café Diem. I told Nathan that if he wanted to press charges against me that I would understand. He said he'd rather I take him out to dinner to make up for his black eye. We've been together ever since.”

Allison quickly changed the subject, “How am I supposed to fake a relationship with someone I hardly know and was never interested in?”

“You just do it. You do it for your son's sake,” Jack said.

“I still can't believe he's in college already,” Allison sighed.

“You were the one who insisted that he go,” Kim said.

“Why would I do that?” Allison asked in confusion.

“Because he doesn't like Suenos at all,” Jack said.

“I sent my son away for a man?” she gasped.

“I can't say about you now,” Jack said, “but the you I knew yesterday was a real bitch. She was pissed when Nathan and I got together. She tried several times to break us up. She told the DoD that I'm a drug addict. She even refused to treat a patient just because the woman said something nice about Nathan. All of that is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Oh, God,” Allison said. “What the hell was wrong with me?”

“Spoiled rich kid with beauty, brains, and attitude used to getting what she wanted,” Kim said.

Fargo visibly flinched at Kim's words.

“SARAH, is there a Dr. Jacob Blake incarcerated anywhere in the country?” Nathan asked.

“Dr. Jacob Marcus Blake was shot and killed in his home in Massachusetts fifteen years ago,” SARAH said. “His wife, niece, brother, sister-in-law, and live-in servants were in the home sleeping at the time of the murder. The prime suspect was Allison Marie Blake, however, no arrest was ever made.”

Nathan looked at Allison with tears in his eyes. “He was never caught, and you never got the therapy you needed.”

The room was silent as everyone realized the meaning behind Nathan's words.

Allison stood, “I, uh, I need to, I, I can't.” she ran for the door and SARAH let her out.

“Should I not have given the details, Dr. Stark?” SARAH asked.

“That's a major difference in her timeline, SARAH, one she needed to know. You did the right thing,” Nathan replied.

“Why wouldn't you have told anyone this sooner, Nathan?” Kim asked.

“I may not have known. She may never have confided in me about her uncle's death the way she did about his abusing her.

“Jack,” Nathan said, “I know there's no statute of limitations on murder...”

Jack cut Nathan off, “The woman who just ran out that door didn't murder anyone. And if I had known all of this a month ago, all I would have done was insist she get therapy.”

Nathan took Jack's hand in his and squeezed it, “You're still the same Jack Carter we all know and love.”

“Thank God for that,” Zoe said as she hugged her dad.

“Nathan,” Jack asked, “did you love the Jack Carter in your timeline?”

Nathan sighed, “I'm ashamed to say that I didn't admit it, even to myself, until I lost him, but I did love him. It nearly killed me when he died.”

“Do you think you can love this me?”

“I already do,” Nathan smiled.

“We're all looking at this wrong,” Zoe said.

“How so, Zoe?” Henry asked.

Zoe began pacing the living room. “I don't know if I can explain it right, but we're not different people. At our core, in our hearts and souls, we're all still the same. Allison proves that.”

Kim said, “The Allison we knew last week was a bitch, Zoe. The Allison we met today isn't.”

“That's where you're looking at it wrong. She is the same woman. You said she's rich and spoiled. You're right. She was just wearing a nurse's uniform because of Founders' Day, but she's normally in the latest, most flattering business attire with perfect hair, makeup, and accessories. You said she's a bitch. She played my dad and Nathan against each other for years until it was obvious that being married to Nathan would benefit her more. Not getting therapy only enhanced behavior she already exhibited.

“Look at Jo and Fargo,” Zoe said.

“What about Jo and Fargo?” Jo asked suspiciously.

Zoe went on as though she hadn't heard the woman she loved like a sister, “Fargo's had a crush on Jo for years. He'd always get bashful and tongue-tied around her. Jo always thought it was cute and never hurt his feelings about it.

“Now, with Jo working at GD, they've no doubt spent more time together. Fargo's bound to have calmed down and been himself around her, and Jo's gotten the chance to really know him. He's always been what Jo once told me she wanted: intelligent, caring, funny, brave, and handsome, in a youthful sort of way. It makes sense that they would be together. They are still the same people.”

Jo and Fargo looked at each other in surprise as everyone else stared at them.

Henry said, “Zoe, you're talking nature versus nurture. That's a debate that may never be resolved.”

“That's the thing, Henry. It will never be solved because it's not actually either, or. It's both. We will always be the same at our core, our nature is always there. Nurture only accents nature; it can't change it.”

Zoe turned to Jack and asked, “Dad, does Nathan seem all that different to you?”

Jack shook his head again, “No, no he doesn't seem all that different at all.”

“That's because he's not. The reason there seems to be such a big difference in Allison is because there's such a big difference in her past. Her nature is the same. It's the nurture that made her angrier in this timeline.”

“Even if you're right, Zoe, how do we explain that difference in her to Eureka and the DoD?” Kim asked.

“She fakes a nervous breakdown and gets therapy,” Jo said. “Given how upsetting this whole situation is for her, she should be able to easily pull it off.”

Jack asked, “Will she agree to it?”

Nathan nodded, “I believe she will, for Kevin's sake if for no other reason.”

“Who should approach her with the idea?” Kim asked. “I would volunteer, but she and I aren't that close in my timeline, and I'm dead in hers.”

“I will,” Fargo said. “Dr. Stark is too close to the situation. I've been her assistant for years, but I'm more of an objective party. She might just listen to me.”

Jo stood, “I'll go with you. A woman's presence right now couldn't hurt.”

Jo and Fargo left to go see Allison. Kim and Henry went home to compare their histories.

Zoe looked at her dad and Nathan. “I guess I should start getting to know Dr. Finn better.”

“Well, you should start by calling him Aaron,” Jack grinned. “Just so you know, sweetheart, I won't be overly upset if your relationship doesn't work out. I said from the start that he's too old for you.”

“There's my reason for breaking up with him if it turns out I don't like him,” Zoe grinned. She kissed her dad and Nathan on their cheeks. “I really missed you, dad,” she said before she left.

The instant the door closed behind Zoe, Nathan felt the explosion of tension that Jack had been holding in.

“Jack, let it out,” Nathan said softly.

Jack rubbed the back of his neck as he walked toward the kitchen and said, “SARAH, beer me.”

Nathan followed but remained quiet and waited for Jack to collect his thoughts.

Jack drank most of his beer before he turned to Nathan and said, “Is Zoe right? Are you the same Nathan I love? Am I the same Jack you love?”

“I believe so, yes.”

“You're sure that's not just wishful thinking? I mean, our experiences make us who we are. We obviously have different experiences than the other versions of us had.”

“Those experiences can't be all that different. I'm still the head of GD. I still have a Nobel Prize. And given the room we passed on the way in here, I still like to work out.

“You're still the Sheriff of Eureka. You still have Zoe. And given the bat on the mantel in the living room, you still love baseball.

“I'm still your Nathan, and you're still my Jack. I still love you, Jack, with every ounce of my being.”

Jack's shoulders sagged in relief as Nathan pulled the sheriff into his arms. “There's no timeline, no universe, and no reality where I wouldn't be head over heels in love with you, Jack Carter.”

Jack squeezed Nathan tight and said, “I love you, too.”

 

Allison refused to go through therapy again. She said there was no way she could talk to a therapist without revealing the time travel. Three months after their time trip, Allison took a job in Massachusetts to be closer to Kevin and away from seeing Nathan and Jack together.

Jo and Fargo fell in love and got engaged right after Allison left. Jo had actually thanked Zoe for her words the day they returned because that's what made Jo decide to give Fargo a chance.

Dr. Suenos was as broken up over Allison's abrupt departure as people had expected. Less than a month after she left, Suenos and Vincent went on their first date.

Kim and Henry were happy, and Henry was grateful to have her back.

Finn transferred to Area 51 after Zoe broke up with him. Everyone was surprised when she started dating Zane.

 

Six months after the time travel, a woman who called herself Mrs. Fredrick showed up at the bunker out of the blue.

She hadn't come in the door; she was just there. SARAH immediately initiated a force field that the woman walked straight through. Jack pulled and kept his gun aimed at her while Nathan verified her credentials.

Once the men were satisfied, Mrs. Fredrick told them about some place called Warehouse 13 and the artifacts they collected there. Nathan was fascinated; Jack was confused. His confusion turned to anger when Nathan handed over his and Jack's wedding rings. It seemed that Nathan and Jack's love after the time jump had turned them into artifacts and made them potential dangers.

While Jack argued with Nathan about letting her have their rings, the woman vanished as quickly as she had arrived. They never did find out how she had entered and exited the bunker, which upset SARAH to no end. She also never told them how she knew about the time jump, but no one else ever discovered it.

 

With Zoe's help in putting everything together, Nathan made losing the rings up to Jack with a surprise wedding under the guise of renewing their vows. Their old rings had been plain golden bands. Their new wedding rings had the infinity symbol all around them.

Zoe had known the time travel would change their lives forever. This time the changes were for the better. Her friends were happy. Her dad was happy. Zoe was happy. She had never loved Eureka more. Her toast at her dad and Nathan's wedding was, “To my dad and Nathan, may you always nurture the good nature inside.”