Word Count: 23,000+
Rating: NC-17/ Mature Content
Summary: Eureka plunges into a dark fairytale world where its citizens must figure out the curse of the Red Witch and break the spell in order to get back to their lives. Written for the Marshal Science August Challenge and Musingdarkly/Becca who wanted "anything, hot smut would be a plus".
Chapter 7: Waiting is the Hardest Part
It was a nice night out and Jack decided to skip the almost constant party at Tabernum Diem in order to get some time alone. He’d never been one for large crowds.
Only a block down the street and he could feel a familiar presence. “You know, I’m not actually trying to run away.”
“I know,” Nathan replied, coming up alongside him.
Jack looked at him sideways.
“You would have taken some provisions,” Stark answered his unspoken ‘yeah right’. “It’s not much safer in town than in the woods.”
“So what, you’re my knight in shining armor?”
“Maybe not in armor,” Nathan teased. “I just don’t want you to get hurt because I’m not around.”
“You want me to get hurt only when you are around,” Jack teased back. “I see.”
Nathan flashed him a small grin. “Seriously, I know we’re in town with more people around, but it’s still dangerous.”
Jack shrugged. “There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of people around right now,” he said, wagging his eyebrows up and down.
“Was that an invitation?”
“I don’t seem to remember you ever needing one.”
Nathan shook his head in frustration. “You drive me crazy, you know that?”
“Well, I do try my best.”
They stopped walking in a small, but nice park central to the town. A water fountain splashed, reflecting the light of the stars in the sky. Nathan half sat on a retaining wall, bringing him down to Jack’s height.
“Why are you staring at me?”
“I’m trying to imagine you without the antlers,” Jack replied.
Nathan touched them in a self-conscious gesture.
“I didn’t mean I didn’t like them.”
“So you’re into deer?” he asked with a straight face.
“Ha, ha. Very funny.” Jack shuffled over to in front of Nathan. He reached up and for the first time touched the antlers, running his fingers lightly up the smooth shafts to the pointy tips and back down again. Nathan’s eyes never left his face. “You know, half the time I don’t even notice them anymore and the rest of the time they make you seem…”
“More wild, but in a good way. It’s like with them, I get the sense that there’s all this passion beneath whatever mask you’re wearing even when you seem as cold as stone and without them, I’d probably think you were just cold.”
“Am I wearing a mask now?”
Jack looked into Nathan’s eyes and shook his head, then leaned in to kiss him.
“You drive me crazy too,” Jack whispered against Nathan’s lips. “And I can’t quite figure out why I can’t seem to stop wanting to kiss you.”
Nathan brought Jack closer until he was settled between his legs. They stood kissing in the moonlight until Nathan pulled back. “What do you feel when I touch the collar around your neck?”
Jack felt himself blush all the way down to his roots. “It’s good.”
“Oh that’s descriptive,” Nathan quipped.
“It’s like…,” Jack searched for the words, “flying through the air without ever having to be afraid because someone’s going to catch you.”
Nathan kissed him quickly again. “You know I will catch you.”
“I know.” Jack kissed him back with more fervor, but Nathan drew back again.
“The Innkeeper gave us a room all to ourselves.”
They raced back to the inn and up the stairs, practically knocking people over in their wake. As soon as the door shut, Nathan started stripping Jack. He had his shirt off before Jack even got his hands on Nathan’s pants. Something was ripped in the ensuing frenzy, but Jack was only vaguely aware of it happening and didn’t even know what it was.
Nathan half threw him on the bed before stripping off his trousers and following him, then his antlers hit the headboard when he tried to pounce on Jack. Nathan cursed and Jack nearly fell off the bed laughing.
“Here lets,” Jack gestured, moving to lie across the width of the bed and still giggling a little. “There’s no headboard this way.”
Nathan shifted position. “I’ll be so happy when these things are gone,” he muttered before laying on top of Jack and brushed his lips against Jack’s with soft, tender motions that quickly escalated into intense kisses.
Jack moaned, luxuriating in the feel of Nathan’s skin on his. Jack ran his hands through Nathan’s hair and pulled his head back so he could kiss along his jaw line and up to the shell of his ear, which Jack traced with his tongue. Nathan shivered and moaned. Jack flipped them over until he was lying on top and kissed his way down Nathan’s neck, running his teeth along the delicate skin here and there while his hands trace over Nathan’s hips and up the side of his torso.
Nathan lay back, submitting to Jack’s every move and watching him with heavily lidded, dark eyes. Jack lifted his head to look into Nathan’s eyes for a moment before tracing his chest with his tongue.
Jack’s lips brushed over Nathan’s nipple and he felt the other man’s entire body jolt in response. “Should I tie you up this time and tease you until you beg?”
“If you want,” Nathan replied. “I’m at your mercy.”
Jack smoothed Nathan’s hair back. “No, I don’t think I will this time,” he said before moving up Nathans body to kiss him ever so soft on the forehead.
Nathan brought his right hand up to trace the outline of Jack’s face. “How did you get under my skin?”
“No, I don’t think that was it.”
“Um…my charming personality?”
Nathan smiled. “Perhaps.”
“I think we just fit together,” Jack said. “Now shut up and kiss me.”
A knocking on the door woke them up.
“I’ll get it,” Jack offered, climbing out of his side of the bed and pulling on his pants. “It’s probably Fargo or Taggart.”
Nathan watched him pad across the wood floor in bare feet, open the door and bend down to pick something up. “What is it?”
“A snack,” Jack came back in with a small basket of apples. “Vincent must have dropped this off.”
Something nagged Nathan in the back of his mind when he looked at the shiny red fruit, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
Jack took a bite of the apple. It tasted sweet, but didn’t settle well. He felt like the world started spinning around him. He was flying apart at the most basic level until he blacked out and felt no more.
Jack took a bite before Nathan could do anything and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
“Jack!” Nathan called out, feeling the connection to the collar tug violently at the back of his mind. His heart raced and his head hurt violently until there was hardly anything left of the connection between him and Jack.
He found his pants half under the bed, dressed quickly and bolted out of the door and down the stairs. The party was still going strong and Nathan felt strangely disconnected from the buzzing of an inebriated crowd.
“What’s wrong?” Taggart asked, taking in Nathan’s panicked state.
“What do you mean? I didn’t see him come down the stairs after you two went up.”
“He didn’t. One moment he was standing in the doorway and the next he was gone,” Stark explained, “and wherever he is, he’s far away now. I can feel it.”
“Through the collar?”
“We should see the Queen as soon as possible.”
“What do you mean by coming here this late at night,” Queen Josephine asked with some irritation in her voice. Nathan couldn’t blame her; he’d interrupted her session with Zane who was still semi-hanging from the ceiling in chains.
“I’m sorry your Majesty, but something has happened to Jack.”
“The Tailor? Has he run off?”
Nathan shook his head, “not this time, M’Lady. I’m sure he was abducted using some kind of dark magic.”
“Do you know by whom?”
“No, and I can’t tell which direction he’s gone in – the signal from the collar is too weak to trace.”
The Queen bowed her head for a moment in thought. “We’ll proceed with the plan despite his absence.”
“We’re not going to send out search parties?” Nathan objected. “He’s vital to breaking the curse. Without him, we’ll never get through.”
“That may be so and I do realize he’s come to mean something to you, but if he’s been abducted by magic then he’s being hidden by magic. Whoever took him could also be interfering with the function of the collar,” the Queen said in a gentle voice and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “You must have faith.”
Nathan squared his shoulders. “Alright, but if I find out anything about where he’s being held, I’m going after him no matter what.”
“I won’t stop you,” she conceded. “The weapon should be complete by noon tomorrow. Return to the throne room with the other two and you can leave then. That way you can clear a path for him to accomplish his task hopefully before he returns.”
“Do you know something I don’t know?”
She smiled. “Just that sometimes these stories often work out in ways we have not anticipated.”
“Jack has the key to the Kingdom. How are we supposed to get in without it?”
“Rely on your clever little shepherd boy for that one,” she said knowingly. “I’m sure he’ll come through.”
Nathan didn’t sleep any further; instead he spent the hours before dawn searching his mind for the missing passcode with no luck. He could see the peaceful and soothing halls of Global Dynamics. He found it strange how comfortable he felt within its walls. In his mind he wondered from room to room, picturing the people who belonged. Every once in a while he’d catch glimpses of the Princess which left him aching. Whenever Jack would show up in his vision, he’d be down a hall or behind a glass door just out of Nathan’s reach and no matter how much he called out or how fast he ran, he couldn’t catch him.
Then another presence would be there, in the back of Nathan’s mind, urging him to go down more, to go further. It beckoned like a siren, but every time Nathan made it to the bottom of Global Dynamics, sure he was so close, the doors wouldn’t open.
He’d end up staring at a blinking screen asking for the passcode and completely unable to recall it.
“Ready to go,” Zane asked, jolting Nathan out of his trance.
“Yes. Do you have the weapon?”
Zane nodded. “It’s downstairs with the rest of the supplies. Have you remembered the passcode yet?”
“No," Nathan replied before pushing past him and out of the small room.