Disclaimer: I own neither "Eureka" nor "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer" … obviously.
AN: This story takes place after "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer" and sometime after season one of "Eureka," though there aren't that many specifics in the story.
The Quirked Eyebrow
"I don't need therapy," fumed Jack Carter to his deputy.
"You punched Stark," pointed out Jo Lupo.
"The guy was being a jerk," reasoned Jack, his voice going a bit high in frustration.
"And you punched him," repeated Jo as the two of them drove up to Global Dynamics in Jack's jeep.
"I still don't think I need to see a GD shrink," muttered Jack.
"Who are you seeing anyway?" Jo asked as they both stepped out of the car.
"Um …" said Jack as he began patting his pockets looking for the scrap of paper on which he had scribbled the name. He pulled a crumpled up wad of paper out of his pocket and tried to flatten it out to read the name, which just resulted in him ripping it a bit. "Um … Niel Osbo?"
"Let me see that," sighed Jo, snatching the paper out of his hand. After trying to decipher Jack's writing for a few moments, Jo suggested, "Daniel Osborne? Maybe?"
"Maybe," agreed Jack. "I think I remember writing down Daniel Osborne." Jo just shook her head good-naturedly.
By that time, they were in the Global Dynamics lobby. Dr. Allison Blake approached flawlessly in a pair of killer heels and said, "Oh, Oz … he's good."
"Is he?" asked Jack, unconsciously straightening his spine and adopting a somewhat silly grin.
"Yeah," responded Allison, not noticing Jack's physical response to her. "He's a bit unorthodox, but good. And he keeps some odd hours."
"Odd how?" asked Jo, thinking of the many Global Dynamics researchers who could be found in their offices in the middle of the night.
"He takes three days off each month for 'religious reasons,'" said Allison, making air quotes.
"What's his religion?" asked an intrigued Jack.
"Wiccan," said Allison with a wicked smile. "And I looked at a calendar; he always takes off the three days around the full moon."
"Maybe he's a werewolf?" suggested Jack with a roguish smile.
"His office certainly looks like it," said Allison.
"What does that mean?" asked Jack, beginning to feel a bit anxious about his upcoming therapy session.
"You'll see," said Allison playfully with a raised eyebrow. "Floor Two, Section G," she added as she walked away, "you can't miss it."
Bouncing on the balls of his feet, Jack rode the elevator to Floor Two, trying to ignore the nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach. That last time he had been in therapy, he had been seeing that traitor Beverly Barlowe. It was difficult to trust a new therapist when his relationship with the last one had ended so badly.
Walking down the hall, Jack read the nameplates on the doors, looking for the right one: Marti Noxon, David Fury, Skip Schoolnik, David Greenwalt, Oz—
Jack wrinkled his brow, trying to suppress a laugh. He knocked on the door, but did not hear any response. Knocking again, more loudly this time, Jack put his ear to the door to listen, but he still didn't hear anything.
"Hey," said a soft voice behind him.
Jack jumped, startled, and whirled around to come face to face with a man who was more than a head shorter than he and perhaps a decade younger. The man had red hair with frosted tips, black nail polish, a black Metallica t-shirt under an open gray button-down, and a slouching posture.
"Hi, uh … I'm looking for Oz …" said Jack, praying to whatever higher power might be out there that this was not his new therapist. After the man didn't say anything for a few moments, Jack asked, "Are you Oz?"
The man nodded and moved around Jack to open his office door. To say that Oz's office reflected a werewolf's paradise was a massive understatement. There were green, leafy plants taking over the office and several bonsai trees arranged on tables and desks. There was a mini-waterfall on one side, sending a cascade of water into a shallow, moss-covered pond. There was even a still-growing redwood burl on his desk. Hearing a rustling sound, Jack looked down to see a coating of dead, dried leaves over the plush, green carpet. That decided it for Jack: This guy was clearly nuts and was in no position to be helping others with psychiatric problems.
Oz motioned Jack to one of the chairs and sat himself down opposite Jack. Jack waited for Oz to say something, but when it became obvious that Oz wasn't going to say anything, Jack began to speak, just to fill the silence. "So, you probably know why I'm here. I punched Nathan Stark … in the face … He was being a jerk, as usual."
"Hmm," said Oz, with a quirked eyebrow.
Jack was dismayed to see that Oz wasn't going to say anything more. "Sometimes the man deserves to be punched," Jack added.
"Hmm," said Oz.
Clenching his jaw for a moment, Jack asked, "So, what do you think?"
"Why now?" asked Oz. When Oz shifted in his seat, Jack saw that the therapist was coloring in a circular pattern.
"What is that?" asked Jack, pointing to Oz's paper and ignoring the man's question.
"A mandala," answered Oz. "Repetitious patterns can calm the mind, center the being."
"Did you learn that at therapist school?" asked Jack.
"No, a Tibetan monastery," answered Oz.
"Really?" asked Jack, surprised. The guy looked grunge metal, but had spent time in a monastery. It reminded Jack of a "Monty Python" transition: "And now for something completely different."
Oz just shrugged. "Why now?" he repeated.
It took Jack a moment to realize that Oz was steering the conversation back on course. "I don't really get the question."
"Dr. Stark is always a dick," reasoned Oz. "Why punch him this time?"
"I don't know," spluttered Jack. "You tell me!"
"Set the scene for me," said Oz, sitting back in his chair, relaxing his muscles to the point that it looked like he had no bones.
"Stark was being a dick, like you said," answered Jack. "That's it."
Oz just quirked his eyebrow.
"OK, OK," said Jack. "We were in Stark's lab."
"'We'?" asked Oz.
"Me, Stark, Lupo, and Allison," clarified Jack. Oz quirked his eyebrow again, making Jack querulous. "What now?" Oz just shrugged and motioned for Jack to continue. "This scientist created this thingamabob that was making people mute. Fargo was blissfully quiet for once. Anyway, we were trying to solve the problem and Stark was being a dick."
"How?" prompted Oz.
"He was using all these big sciency words that he knew I wouldn't understand and then he made fun of me for not understanding him. I may not be book-smart, but I'm street-smart — street-smarter than him. You can't be stupid to be a federal marshal. So I'm not a scientist. So what? I have a college degree and I provide for my family."
"What happened directly prior to the punch?" asked Oz, once it seemed that Jack's rant had ended.
"Well, I told him that I'd understand better if he spoke English, and he said that maybe I'd understand better if he spoke 'a simian language.' Then he began grunting at me like a chimp or something, and Allison laughed, and I punched him."
"What was Deputy Lupo doing?" asked Oz.
"I don't know," shrugged Jack.
"Hmm," said Oz with a quirked eyebrow.
"What?" demanded Jack.
"Why do you think you snapped this time?" asked Oz.
"Shouldn't you be telling me that?" said Jack. Then, growing suspicious, "Wait, why do you think I punched Stark?"
"Dr. Blake," said Oz simply.
"What?!" spluttered Jack. "That makes no sense. Also, shouldn't you be turning this around and asking me what the problem is?"
"Should I?" joked Oz. "I'm not a cliché psychiatrist. I'm here to help you work through some issues. If I need to lead you a bit, fine, I will."
Despite the office's odd atmosphere and Oz's taciturn nature, Jack found himself liking the therapist. "So, Allison how?"
"You obviously care about her opinion," said Oz.
"No more than I care about others'," said Jack.
Oz tilted his head and quirked his eyebrow, as if to say 'I disagree.'
"What makes you say that?" asked Jack, settling down to business.
Oz took a deep breath, getting ready to say a mouthful, a fairly unusual occurrence for him. "Well, when you set the scene for me, everyone was named by last name, except Dr. Blake. You called her 'Allison,'" reasoned Oz. "And, although you were fighting with Dr. Stark, you were aware of what Dr. Blake was doing, but not Deputy Lupo. You didn't punch Dr. Stark because he was mocking you — he always does that — you punched him because Dr. Blake laughed."
"That's ridiculous," said Jack, punctuating his speech with nervous laughter.
"Is it?" asked Oz with yet another quirk of the eyebrow.
"Don't do that!" said Jack. "I do not have a thing for Allison — Dr. Blake!"
"Then why do you think you punched Dr. Stark?" asked Oz.
"Because he was being a jerk!" said Jack, looking at the door so he wouldn't have to see Oz's quirked eyebrow.
"How often do you bring her coffee from Vince's?" asked Oz.
"I don't know … a few times a week," spluttered Jack.
"More or less often than you bring Deputy Lupo coffee?"
Jack's pursed lips answered the question better than any words could have.
"Do you ever go out of your way to do favors for her?"
"I do favors for everyone," retorted Jack.
"If Dr. Blake asked you to run an errand for her that was thirty minutes out of your way, would you do it?"
"Maybe," hedged Jack.
"Would you for Deputy Lupo?"
"Yes," said Jack, although his voice strongly implied that he was lying. And both he and Oz knew it.
"Do you know her family?"
"Lupo's family doesn't live around here," whined Jack. Off of Oz's chuckle, he added, sotto voce, "Yes, I know Allison's son."
"So why did you punch Dr. Stark?"
"Because he is always making me look stupid in front of Allison and I like her," said Jack, realizing for the first time just how strong his feelings for Allison were … and how obvious it was to others.
As Jack thought about the things that had just been said in session, Oz continued to color, giving Jack the time he needed to process. After a few minutes Oz said, "I'll sign off that you aren't dangerous. Just don't punch Dr. Stark again. Anything else you want to discuss?"
"Wanna hear about my dreams?" joked Jack.
"Not really," chuckled Oz.
Looking at his watch, Jack proclaimed, "We have thirty-five minutes left."
"Do you like Nirvana?" asked Oz.
"I'm all for inner-peace and stuff, I guess," responded Jack.
"That's great, but I meant the band," said Oz.
"Oh, uh … sure," said Jack.
Without any more conversation, Oz put on a Nirvana CD — and Jack could not remember the last time he had seen someone else in Eureka use an actual CD rather than a computer program — and began dealing out playing cards.
Thirty-five minutes later, after Oz had trounced Jack at cards, Oz turned off the music, opened his office door, and motioned for Jack to leave.
"Uh, thanks. Thanks a lot," said Jack, not quite sure what to do with his hands as Oz did not seem like the handshaking type. "And if you are a werewolf, you're a really cool one." Oz just nodded as Jack left.
Just before closing his office door, Oz said, "My door is always figuratively open … except during the full moon."
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