Taking Stock – Part 3

Pairing: Tony/Jack

Fandom: NCIS, Eureka

WARNINGS: slight character bashing

Summary:Tony was done. He had hit his limit and there was just nothing else to say about it.

It wasn’t a slow dawning process or anything of that sort — at least not from his point of view. Surely, it must be from an outsider’s, but to him, it was like a punch to the gut.


Jack left Tony at his house for the moment, both agreeing that they needed to get Stark over there before Tony was introduced to the town, and more specifically, Alison. He knew it was only a matter of time before he received a call for something that needed handling up at GD, so just stopped by the station to wait. Lo and behold, thirty minutes later he picked up the phone to a frantic Fargo.

“Sheriff, you need to get over here, we have a problem.”

“What happened now, Fargo?”

“It’s the Nanotech department again, they –”

Jack Fargo off, already knowing what he was going to say. “Are Diane and Alex going at it again? Weren’t they put on different shifts for this very reason?” His jacket was already on and he grabbed his keys.

“Yes, yes, Sheriff. Are you coming?” Fargo asked, his nervousness readily apparent.

“On my way.”

“The Graysons again?” Jo asked from across the room, not even looking up from her paperwork.

“Yep, going to go give a lecture and kick out whoever is violating the rule this time. Who am I kidding? We both know who probably did what, but I am still going to go do my due diligence just in case. Then I am going to talk to Stark about handling it once and for all. I am really tired of having to handle it at all.”

“Amen to that.”

~~~

After separating the freshly divorced pair, Jack made his way to Stark’s office, amazed he managed to do all this without running into Alison. He got the nod from Fargo to enter, gathering that Stark was expecting him.

“Have a few for me, Stark?” he asked, closing the door behind him.

“Carter, always have some time for the local law,” Stark replied with the requisite smirk, turning around to see him. The smirk dropped when he saw the serious look and closed door. A paper was pushed under his nose which he read quickly before it was taken away. “Fargo has already informed me of the Grayson situation and I have authorized the exit procedures to begin. This has gone far enough.”

“It would have ended a month ago if Alison hadn’t interfered, Stark,” Jack offered, testing the waters.

“You aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know, Sheriff.” Stark tapped the paper Jack had slipped him before putting it in his pocket.

“Any idea what is going on there?” Jack asked.

Before an answer could be given, both men turned their heads as they heard the telltale signs of Alison’s approach. Jack quickly shook his head at Stark, who nodded in understanding.

Alison burst into the room without knocking. “What is going on? Why is Diane being kicked out, Nathan?”

“And hello to you, too, Alison,” Jack said from behind her. “Why no, you’re not interrupting at all. Nothing rude about what you just did whatsoever.” Jack didn’t even bother to try and keep his voice down.

Stark coughed in an attempt to hide his laugh, but it was readily apparent to all that he was amused. “Yes, Alison. Thanks so much for knocking. However, yes, Diane Grayson is being let go. She has violated the terms set out for her three times now, and she just isn’t so valuable that her continued harassment of another employee will be overlooked. We have rules about that.”

“She just wants –”

“She just wants to keep making her wife miserable. We all know that. You know that. Stop giving her more chances to disrupt everyone’s work day, Alison. Alex isn’t the only one affected anymore, even though you should still be concerned about how her work and well being are being affected by her shenanigans.”

Jack decided to step in. “Alison, Alex is pressing charges this time, it is out of your hands. What Diane did today was deliberate assault on Alex’s person and there are witnesses. She also did damage to Global Dynamics property. I have already called Jo to start the exit paperwork.”

“Jack,” she implored, placing a hand on his arm. “I’m sure Diane is just upset and misses her wife. The divorce was hard on her.”

Jack shrugged off Alison’s hand and stepped away. “Alison, Diane is the one who cheated on Alex. She is the one who ruined the marriage, so my empathy for her isn’t high. This is the third time she’s done this, even if it’s the first time she’s gone this far.”

Stark spoke up as well, “Really, Alison? Have you done no research into the situation at all? Or did you think I knew nothing about it at all? Their divorce proceedings were not quiet in the least. We all know that she cheated on Alex and then was upset when she wouldn’t give her a second chance afterwards. Alex filed for divorce directly after catching them in the act, and that is the end of it. Diane can throw as many tantrums about that as she wants, Alison, just not during work hours and not on my property. Diane seems to have a very difficult time with that. She’s gone, final word. End of discussion.”

Stark turned back to his computer, essentially dismissing everyone from his office.

Alison gave off one last “Nathan!” before marching off, anger radiating off every inch of her.

Jack waited a moment to make sure she wouldn’t be waiting for him before making his way out.

~~~

After three hours of redacting, Diane Grayson was finally gone from Eureka. Jack made his way back to the bunker as if it was a normal afternoon, end of shift for him. Once he entered, he threw down his jacket and disarmed himself while calling out for his guest. “So any surprises while I was gone?”

“A red head, SARAH helped me identify her as Dr. Beverly Barlowe, tried to get in here, for some reason, but SARAH kept her out, like the amazing lady that she is.”

“Thank you, Agent DiNozzo,” SARAH replied. “She did not have permission to enter, and I did not appreciate her attempts to circumnavigate my protocols. It was very rude.”

“Yes, it was,” Jack agreed. “Did she say why she wanted in here?”

“Something about needing to pick up some files you left behind. You asked her to do it as a favor.”

“More like she probably wanted to have a look around and drop a few bugs,” Jack offered. “Mole? Spy?”

“Probably. So is Stark in?” Tony asked, setting a coffee in front of his friend while turning back to the soup he had on the stove.

“Yes, he is. I slipped him a note to be here in an hour. He understands it is without Alison, and after the confrontation we had with her earlier, he is even more put off by her, I think. She just won’t stop.

“Yes, well, we’ll get it all sorted out one way or another.”

~~~

Nathan Stark waited for SARAH to close and seal the door behind him before saying anything. By silent agreement, neither of the men instigated any digital correspondence that could be intercepted.

Tony was setting out the dishes for dinner while Jack filled Nathan in on the meeting with General Mansfield.  

“Dr. Nathan Stark,” Stark said, holding out his hand.

“Agent Tony DiNozzo, at your service,” Tony replied with a smile. “Thoughts on the situation?”

“Well, Carter is right, Alison has been playing us against each other. It has been a big barrier between us and until about a month ago it was working.”

“What changed for you?” Tony asked, bringing the food to the table. He wanted to get most of the heavy aspects of the conversation over with before Zoe came home.

“Did Carter –”

“Jack. Call me Jack, for Pete’s sake. You’re in my home, eating my food and discussing conspiracy theories. I think we can use first names by this point.”

“Jack, then. Nathan, please.”

At Jack’s nod, he continued. “Did Jack tell you about my son?”

“Yes,” Tony said softly. “I’m very sorry for your loss.”

“Yes, thank you. If only Alison had responded in kind instead of telling me he was just –” Nathan stopped and took a deep breath.

Jack took over. “Alison treated Callister as an object, a robot, instead of as an actual person. She overlooked Stark’s — I mean, Nathan’s feelings completely, and Jo’s and everyone else’s. If the situation had been reversed there would have been hell to pay.”

“That is when her little games with both of us stopped working. We just haven’t had a chance to speak, yet.”

Tony decided it was his turn. “Yes, well, I think that’s for the best. I spent all day while Jack was busy going through town footage, analysing data with SARAH, and well — basically, SARAH was filling me on town gossip.”

“For real?” Jack laughed, although he knew Tony was perfectly serious.

“Conclusions?” Nathan asked, continuing to eat.

“I have already informed the General that he needs to go ahead and transfer Dr. Blake elsewhere. She is completely ineffectual here. She is more focused on playing her little mind games than on her actual job, otherwise, she would have caught on to Dr. Barlowe before now.”

“Well, Dr. Barlowe does have access to everyone as their psychotherapist,” Nathan began, “and I have received some complaints that some people can’t remember their sessions too well.”

“Henry isn’t so fond of her either, for some reason, but I am unsure why,” Jack offered.

“Well, her position is perfect for mining information. We need to find out who she is reporting to and what their goal is. Can we trust Henry enough to bring him in on this?” Tony asked.

“Yes, of course,” Nathan said.

“Okay, then. Dr. Blake should be getting her new orders as we speak, and once she is gone, then I will ‘arrive.’ There is no reason for her to ever meet me.”

“Oh, I totally agree on that. You would just become another target for her, otherwise,” Jack said, cleaning his plate.

“Sorry to interrupt, gentlemen, but Zoe is approaching,” SARAH announced.

“Right. Well, she can keep me a secret, can’t she?” Tony asked Jack.

“Definitely. She isn’t exactly fond of Alison after the Callister incident, either.”

“Excellent. Let’s get this show on the road.”

“Are we taking bets on how long it will be before Ally shows up here?” Stark asked.

“I’m wondering who she will blame for her reassignment, me or you,” Jack replied.

“Well, in any case, if she does show up, I am hiding upstairs and no one mentions me.” Looking at the table he had another thought. “Actually, let’s clean this up so there are no accidents, okay?”

“Good thought.”

“You know we eventually need to talk about this town, our roles, etc…?” Jack said as they cleaned.

“Yes, I do,” Nathan said, sighing. “There is a lot to cover, not the least of which, why Alison changed so much. She didn’t use to be like this.”

“I know. When I first arrived, I admired her, was even somewhat attracted to her. She seemed above this type of pettiness. I don’t — I really don’t know where any of this came from. I was even open to a friendship with you until she –“

“Until she made sure that wasn’t an option? Yeah, I saw it, too. Shortly after Callister I sat down to think about how many of the town’s problems were being handled by you and not her. Yet, she was taking credit for them, especially when she was speaking to me. She would constantly –“

“Put me down? Belittle me? While she would make you out to be controlling, egotistical, self-involved?”

“To put it simply.”

“No worries, the cat’s already out of the bag on that one.”

“Noted.”

~~~

Zoe was brought up to speed — at least on the need for secrecy and that Alison was not in on it — as soon as she got home. No more than five minutes later SARAH notified them that Alison was approaching the bunker.

“Damnit, she’s probably seen my car outside already. This will be fun, Jack,” Nathan grumbled as Tony and Zoe grabbed their things to hide upstairs.

“Actually, you should use that to your advantage,” Tony offered on his way up the stairs.

“Way ahead of you,” Jack said coming into the living room with two beers, setting a comfortable social scene. “SARAH, turn on some baseball, if you don’t mind, please.”

“Ah, I see what you’re doing, yes, this is perfect.”

“Shall I give her entry, Sheriff? She seems quite agitated,” SARAH commented.

“Make her wait another full minute and then let her in, SARAH,” Jack advised. “We’re in no hurry to get this going. And we want those two upstairs to get settled first. Make sure they can see what is happening down here, please.”

“Certainly, Sheriff.”

Exactly sixty seconds later SARAH opened the main door to a fuming Alison Blake. “What the hell, Jack? Why was I out there for so long?”

“And hello to you, too, Alison. I’m fine, thanks,” Jack said, eyes still on the screen instead of the angry woman standing to the side, hands on hips, tapping her foot. “I could say the same thing, you know. What the hell, Alison, arriving unannounced? Is there some emergency in the town? My phone isn’t ringing. I haven’t received any texts from Jo or Henry.”

“Funny, I haven’t received anything about an emergency, either,” Nathan commented, sipping his beer.

“And what the hell are you doing here?” Alison demanded. “Since when are the two of you friends?”

With a sigh, Jack turned to her. “Do I need to use smaller words? Why are you here? I’m still waiting on an answer.”

“Not until you tell me what is going on here,” she all be shouted, gesturing at the two of them on the couch.

“Uh, Ally, you’re the one who barged in here uninvited. Pretty sure no one owes you anything right now,” Stark put in, placing his beer down.

“If you have nothing to say, report, or a problem in town that needs solving, then you can leave the way you came in, Dr. Blake.” Jack stood up, ready to show her out.

“Nathan, since when do you spend time with anyone of an IQ less –”

“Whoa, I am stopping you right there,” Nathan said, shock tinting his voice. “Are you kidding me right now? What do you care who I spend time with? You’ve made it clear that you want nothing to do with me unless it has to do with work. Now, answer the man’s question.”

“One last time, and then I am having SARAH ‘help’ you to the door. Why. Are. You. Here.”

Alison stared at the two of them silently for a few moments before grinding out, “I am being transferred to the Atlanta, Georgia office. Kevin and I will be gone by 1800 tomorrow.” She glanced back and forth between them again. “ I know one of you did this to me.”

They looked at each other for a beat before bursting out laughing.

“Do you have any idea how much you sound like a B-movie villain at the moment?” Jack asked, physically dismissing her and sitting back down in his seat, Stark following him. “I couldn’t care less about your career, Alison, but good luck in your new place.”

“And I have way more important things on my plate than what is going on in your life. If you’ve been transferred, then ask your higher ups why.” Nathan picked his beer back up and paid attention to the screen once more as well.

“I’m sure the exit paperwork has already been started then. I’ll get to it in the morning. Thanks for stopping by.” Jack tipped an imaginary hat and waved towards the door.

SARAH opened the front and lit a strobe light showing her the way. The only sounds in living room came from the baseball game on screen.

With a huff, Alison marched herself out of the bunker and SARAH closed the door behind her.

“Wow, what a piece of work,” floated from upstairs.

“Understatement,” Jack and Nathan replied at the same time.

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