Author’s Note: Written for angelqueen04 for the Eureka ficathon. Prompt: Actually a combination of two: 1) “Post-Season 2. Henry reflects on his actions throughout the season, especially toward Jack” and 2) “Post-Season 2. Jack has to deal with all of the secrets that have been kept from him. Include his changing relationships with Alison, Henry, and/or Nathan.”
Umm…how to explain this one? I kept getting started on my first prompt, getting stuck on it and switching to the second one, then getting stuck on that one and switching back to the first. So, when in the end I wound up with two finished fics, I decided I might as well just combine them. *grin* Hope that’s okay. Also, there is a *teensy* bit of het, but it was pretty impossible to consider Henry’s motives without considering his feelings for Kim; again, I hope that’s okay!
Beta: medie and ladyniko–thanks sooooooooo much, guys!
Jack never did understand.
Oh, he thought he did. He tried to. But the more he tried to be sympathetic, the more he only reminded me that he got to experience the world I’d tried to create. Then he destroyed it, and expected me to sympathize with his loss.
Four years. Years where Kim lived and loved at my side; what I would have done–what I did do–to experience it. Instead, my memories came from a very different future: one where those four years were spent working and waiting until the day when I could be in a position to go back and save her. The Henry Jack knew ceased to exist the moment he came back and stopped me.
I had to erase his memory of that future. It wasn’t mercy. It wasn’t revenge. It was survival. Because I couldn’t live with that constant reminder of what I’d lost before I ever had the chance to know it.
I also knew I had to try again, and if Jack remembered, he would do everything in his power to stop me.
Funny thing about time travel, though, is that you can never reset the clock. Not really. Jack might have undone the paradox caused by Kim’s survival, but even coming from two such different futures, there were events unfolding that neither he nor I could ever have anticipated.
Like what was happening to Kevin.
It’s ironic: until the moment that Beverly told me the truth about Kevin, I’ll be honest, all my motives were selfish. I wanted Kim back: if unraveling the universe meant I could have four more years with her, I would have done it happily.
But when I realized that to reach my goal this time, I would have to take Allison’s son away from her? I couldn’t do it.
I’ve never been a father – Jason stole that chance from me when he stole Kim from me – but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what it’s like for a parent to lose a child. I may not have experienced it, but I’ve seen it. Allison Blake has been a good friend of mine for years, and she deserved better from me, as did her son.
Eureka deserved better from me: I think that was when I realized how selfish I had truly been.
The irony is, the moment I realized this was almost the same moment when Nathan and Allison shut me out. Maybe I should have gone to Jack at that point: after all, if anyone could make Allison Blake see reason, it would be him. But doing that would have meant telling him the truth about a lot of things I wasn’t ready to be honest about. I might have given up trying to change the past to bring Kim back, but I still wasn’t ready to forgive the man who stopped me from saving her.
I’m fully cognizant of the irony of turning to Beverly instead, even if, in all fairness, I had meant to betray her from the start.
Life is full of irony. Not so long ago, I was ready to leave Eureka. It took Kim dying to make me realize that she was my reason to stay. So I stayed for the chance to bring her back and find that reason again, only to have the prize snatched out of my grasp by the one person in this town who’d become almost as important to me as she was.
Stranger still, now that I’ve found a reason to stay within myself…I may not have a choice. Actions have consequences, and I have to face mine. I almost killed Kevin trying to save him, and would have if Jack and Nathan hadn’t reached us in time. I’ve lost the trust of not just one but three of my closest friends, and I may lose the place I’ve come to think of as home, too. Even the one thing that has brought me joy in hard times may be taken away from me: after what I’ve done, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get a job that suits my talents again, in Eureka or outside it. I may never have the chance to work again as a free man.
In spite of that, I’m surprised by how few regrets I have. I saved a boy’s life: Kim would be proud of that. And as I told Diane, I really do believe I’ll see her again. It’s hard to wait, but now that my head has cleared some, I know she wouldn’t want me to waste my life chasing a futile dream, even if that dream is her.
I’ve got other dreams to chase, if they’ll let me. Like re-opening my garage. Telling a few people who deserve it that I’m sorry I let them down. Finding my place in Eureka again, the place I was once so sure of.
If they won’t let me…that’s okay too. I’ve had a good life so far. Even if I spend the rest of it inside a prison cell, I can find a way to make it…well, at least bearable. I have a feeling Allison will see to that.
Because there’s one thing I haven’t lost, and that’s my faith: I have faith that things will work out. I’ve got some good friends pulling for me, whether I deserve it or not, and some of those friends just happen to be among the most brilliant minds in the world.
With a team like that, what could possibly go wrong?
There are times when I hate this town.
Okay, so that’s an understatement. It would probably be more accurate to say there is at least one moment every day when I hate this town. Usually because I’ve been turned invisible, or covered in exploding skin grafts, or trapped in Zoe’s virtual reality therapy and I’m cursing every single twist of fate that brought us here.
But the thing about those moments is the feelings tend to go away. I’ll remember the good things that have happened since we came to Eureka, like the way Zoe and I have gotten to know each other so much better. Without this crazy little town, she would probably still hate me for abandoning her mother, and I’d be lucky if I got to see her once or twice a year outside of catching her at her latest act of delinquency and delivering her home to face charges.
Zoe’s changed. I’ve changed. I can’t regret that, because we’ve both changed for the better, so much so that even Abby could see it.
But there are other times when I hate Eureka in a deeper, darker way and those times are harder to just set aside.
It’s ironic. Six months ago, I knew where my life was going. I couldn’t imagine this place without Henry, I was nursing one hell of a crush on Allison Blake and pretty sure she felt the same, and Nathan Stark was a necessary evil I’d learned to live with.
Now everything’s turned upside down. Henry decided to stay but may be forced to leave, Allison and Stark have gone from recently divorced to practically engaged, and I don’t know who to trust anymore. The two people I did trust the most both lied to me, and even now after everything we went through to save Kevin and keep him out of Beverly’s hands, I don’t think they’ve told me the whole story. I still have memories that don’t fit, memories of Henry telling me he blamed me for Kim’s death when I wasn’t even anywhere near Section Five at the time of the accident.
I could live with losing Allison. I never really had her, just–as I said before–one hell of a crush. Besides, I know Nathan a lot better now and while I don’t think we’ll ever be best friends, I understand him better. He really does love her and that, well…that’s something I have to respect.
Even Henry leaving, if it had been by his own choice like he was considering all those months ago, I think would’ve been okay. I mean, God knows I’m sure he would’ve found a way to keep in touch. There are too many people here that are important to him for him to completely leave Eureka behind, even if he didn’t realize it then.
What I hate is losing the trust I had with both of them. Oh, I’ve always known there were secrets they couldn’t tell me, but I never dreamed there were secrets they just wouldn’t tell me. I may be just the dumb sheriff, but isn’t that why they brought me here: for my unique perspective? To know that none of them trusted me to care enough about Allison’s son to let them do what they needed to do to save him makes me wonder why they even bothered.
Hell, I’m a father. Even if Henry and Nathan don’t understand that, Allison should’ve known that I would do the same for Zoe in a heartbeat.
I’m not going to leave. If Allison and Henry were the only people here that I care about, maybe I would have, but Jo would probably kick my ass for even considering it.
Life is sure going to be different around here, though. I’ve lost my faith in the two people whose faith in me mattered most, and that’s one thing I don’t know if I’ll ever get over.
Yeah. Sometimes I really hate this town.