Girl Talk 2
Author's Notes: ANGST AHOY. And a bit of language. Oh boy. What a mess…
Lucy groaned as she woke. The night had been restless at best, but she knew no more sleep would come. She couldn't ignore consciousness any longer. God… how much had she had to drink? She'd lost count after four. Carefully sitting up, she waited several moments to make sure the contents of her roiling stomach didn't come up. When things stabilized, she very slowly stood. And realized her feet were bare, her shoes neatly placed side by side with the few other pairs she had. She definitely hadn't had the presence of mind to do so last night. So who…? The dress which had draped so exquisitely over her skin the night before now felt sticky and confining, both too hot and too cold. For a moment she wished it had been taken off as well. But then she thought of who had probably arranged her shoes in such pristine order, and… yeah. She could not even start down that train of thought. She shed the dress as fast as she could, picking up the first things she found on her floor. Her usual garb of late: thin, baggy sweats and a t-shirt. Shitty clothes for a shitty life. She just didn't care anymore. Who did she need to impress? Certainly not anyone at the bunker. Not anymore.
She raked a hand through tangled hair and closed her eyes as she tried to remember the night before. She wasn't quite sure she wanted to, but she had to try. A kaleidoscope of images and sounds filtered through her brain. She felt dizzy.
Carol winning the Worst Mother of All Time Award.
A few drinks?
Wyatt in the hall.
Meeting with Wyatt and Rufus and… Oh… oh God. Did she seriously talk about Hollywood?
Then they got home and…
She groaned in horror and collapsed back onto her bed.
She did NOT respond to questions of bendiness with "Ask Wyatt" had she?
Sweet Jesus, could a chasm just open under her bed and swallow her whole? Would the team notice if she just… never came out of her room again?
She really shouldn't drink. Not anymore. Not since… everything. She'd never been a big drinker, really, but now she found she just couldn't stop. Could only take another sip. Then another.
God she was a mess.
And boy did her mother ever know it.
She groaned again, scrubbing her hands across a face that felt both raw and coated with filth. She hated sleeping with her makeup on. Grudgingly, she stood up again and shuffled towards the door. Carefully cracking it open, she scanned the hallway. No people present. Only a full glass of water and a bottle of painkillers. Her heart thudded painfully as she remembered the way Wyatt had tucked her in. Why did he do that? Why did he throw her away like yesterday's trash and then keep insisting on these little moments, these gestures of intimacy? It would be so much better if he could just ignore her entirely. Cold turkey would be easier than this goddamn middle zone. He couldn't be with Jessica and still be the way he was with her. Her heart couldn't handle it. She needed to tell him that, straight up. Just like she needed to confront him about her mother, and their apparent showdown.
Quickly snatching up the supplies, she downed several pills before hurrying to the bathroom. Removing her make up, brushing her teeth, and a painfully cold shower left her feeling only marginally worse than her usual misery.
At least she'd gotten to meet Eleanor Roosevelt. Yes, her conniving mother had had her grubby fingers all over the meeting but still.
Eleanor freaking Roosevelt.
Lucy kept that happy thought in mind as she tried to sneak back to her room.
Fate wouldn't let her, of course. God and The Force and the Universe forbid Lucy Preston ever catch a break.
Wyatt hadn't really slept, but even so he mentally groaned in dismay as Jessica's body started its typical shifting towards wakefulness. She never used to do that. She would just… wake up. None of this gradual, groaning, stretching business. There were a lot of physical things she did that he couldn't remember her doing. Little things, only, but still. Time must have altered his memories. It had to have. What else could it be?
He stayed still as a post as she shifted about, hoping she wouldn't wake. Breathing a sigh of relief when she settled again, he found his thoughts drifting to Lucy.
Because why wouldn't he be thinking about another woman as he slept beside his long-dead-but-now-miraculously-alive wife?
God his life was a mess.
He just couldn't help himself. Things with Lucy had been, in a word, perfect. The night in Hollywood was beyond anything he'd ever experienced. To say their lives were hard was a gross understatement, but whenever he was with Lucy, things didn't seem so bad. It wasn't that she'd been convenient, or the only single female who happened to be in his path. He'd genuinely fallen in, well, love, with her.
God help him.
He'd never let himself admit it out loud, but he knew. He'd known in Hollywood. He'd known in the trunk of the car. He'd known the whole six, hellish weeks she'd been gone.
He'd known last night, when he thought Carol Preston was going to snatch her out from under him once more. A blind rage had filled him, pure panic, action mode taking over in the blink of an eye. He hadn't heard a word she'd said until she'd yelled at him to stop. How many times had she already asked him to? He didn't know. He'd been focused solely on her protection, above any and everything else. He hadn't thought about the mission Rittenhouse could be on, hadn't cared that their leader was in the next room over. He could have ended things right there. But he hadn't. He couldn't. Because all he cared about in the world was Lucy's safety.
Jessica shifted next to him again and nuzzled her face against his chest. He flinched.
He goddamn flinched and drew back at the touch of his own wife. And it wasn't the first time. Things with her felt… off. Wrong. And he couldn't for the life of him understand why. It was like Lucy kept saying to him; it was a miracle. He'd gotten everything he wanted. He was happily married.
Then why did he feel so miserable all the time? Why did his thoughts turn to Lucy more than they did Jessica? Why were he and Jess fighting all the time? Only ever behind closed doors, though. The second they were near anyone else Jessica was all smiles and charm and let me get you a drink. Every time she did so he felt Lucy backing further and further away from him. Physically and emotionally.
It made him sick.
Then he remembered all the things Lucy had said on the way home.
I don't sleep anymore.
Always safe with you.
The vodka under her bed.
Now he felt worse.
With a grimace he carefully extracted himself from Jessica, grabbing some clothes off the floor as he snuck out. A bracingly cold shower might help his state of mind.
Fate, of course, decided to intervene.
He was just reaching to open the bathroom door when Lucy burst through it and careened right into him. She let out a shocked cry as her limbs caught with his and in true Lucy style, lost all control. His arms automatically wound around her, catching her before she could either fall, or take them both down. They stood, wrapped around each other in stunned silence for several moments as their heartbeats slowed and they made sure no one else had been woken up by the tumble. When it seemed apparent no one had, he cautiously looked down at her. She was staring up at him with big, bloodshot eyes. They were all at once sad, and thankful, and confused, and hopeful, and as always with Lucy so, so beautiful that he had to look away. She made a sound, possibly a sniff, and gracelessly started pulling away from him.
"Sorry," she mumbled. "I wasn't expecting anyone to be at the door."
"My fault," he countered. "I wasn't expecting anyone to be in the bathroom."
They awkwardly stood in the hall, shifting from side to side, both unsure of what to do.
Wyatt wanted to know if she remembered everything she'd said and done the night before. He wanted to hug her and ask about her mom. He wanted to confront her about the bottle under her bed.
Lucy wanted to apologize for everything she'd said and done the night before. She wanted to hug him and thank him for wanting to protect her from her mom. She wanted to confront him about his not killing her mom when he had the chance.
"I'm going to make some tea," she finally said.
"I'm gonna shower," he nodded.
They parted ways, practically running in opposite directions.
"So how's Lucy?"
Wyatt startled as he entered his room. Jessica was fully awake now, dressed for the day and perched on the edge of their bed.
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, Lucy. The drunk mess you kindly escorted back to her room last night?"
"Oh. Uh, you saw that?"
"Yes, darling, I saw it."
He edged forward carefully. "Okay, well, as you say, she was drunk. Some stuff went down on the mission, and she had a few too many. No big deal."
"Yeah. With her mom."
Jessica stiffened and sat up straighter. "Carol?"
Had he ever told her Lucy's mom's name? He must have.
"I don't really know."
"Lucy didn't say."
"How the hell should I know!?"
Jessica shrank back. "Jesus, Wyatt. I just wanted to make sure the mission went okay and that you are fine."
Great. Now he felt guilty for yelling at her.
"I'm sorry, Jess," he walked forwards and sat down next to her, placing a hand on her knee. She snatched it up with one of her own, threading her fingers through his.
"I just want you to be safe," she said. "And if one of your teammates isn't stable-"
"Woah, who said anything about Lucy being unstable?"
"Wyatt," she admonished softly. "Don't tell me you haven't noticed? I don't know what her deal is but that woman is unhinged, I swear."
"What?" he spluttered. "Why would you-"
"She's depressed," Jessica stated like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "She drinks way too much when she thinks no one is watching, she's hanging around with that psycho Flynn more and more and honestly, the way she stares at you sometimes when you're not looking… it's freaky, Wyatt."
"What the hell are you trying to say, here?"
She brought her free hand up to his chest, soothing it up and down. "I just want you happy and whole, honey. I want to know that you have the very best team backing you up."
"Lucy is the best."
"Really? There's not a single other historian on the planet who could do her job?"
No, Wyatt's mind screamed. Of course not. She was Lucy. He couldn't say that to Jess though, could he? There was no way to explain it to her.
"What do you want me to say, here?" he asked.
She shrugged, innocently. "Just that maybe, you could possibly, some day soon, consider talking to Agent Christopher about finding a new historian."
"Get rid of Lucy?"
Her fist clenched onto the material of his t-shirt and she gazed up at him with suddenly wet eyes. "She's putting you in danger, Wyatt."
"Getting drunk here isn't enough, she has to do it on missions now?"
"There wasn't really a mission anymore, we were safe! I told her to have fun!"
"You told her to get drunk?" she laughed incredulously. "Can you even hear yourself right now?"
"It wasn't like that!"
"And alcoholism aside, isn't she the main target for those Rittenhouse people? Isn't bringing her along with you just putting you all in completely unnecessary danger?"
"They'd be after us if Lucy was with us or not."
"Whatever, Wyatt," she shook her head, a disappointed frown on her face. "I'm hungry. Let's go get some breakfast and we can talk about this again later."
Before he could protest, she stood and strode out the door.
Lucy had barely poured the hot water into her mug when she sensed a presence enter the room. She glanced black fabric out of the corner of her eye and sighed.
Of course Flynn would show up right then.
She pursed her mouth to keep it shut and transported her tea to the table, sitting down at it with a louder thud than she intended. She heard Flynn make a noise and stared daggers into his back, daring him to speak. He started the coffee machine without a word. She waited for her tea to cool enough to drink, watching him like a hawk, but he didn't say a word. Not even when he sat down with his own steaming mug across from her. Her hand was shaky as she brought the mug to her lips. They sipped in silence for several minutes before she couldn't stand it anymore.
"I got drunk," she bluntly announced.
"So I heard."
She blanched. "You did?"
"Well, not much. Just you laughing a bit, and a couple of doors opening and closing."
She narrowed her eyes and tried to judge if he was lying or not. If he'd heard her comments about Wyatt. The ex NSA asset gave away nothing. Damn him.
"Yeah, well," she hedged. "I ended up at a party with Eleanor Roosevelt, so."
He brightened at that. "Really? You love her, don't you?"
She'd very briefly mentioned once, in passing, that she admired her a lot. She was surprised and touched that Flynn had remembered that.
"I do," she nodded. "But I think I celebrated a bit too much."
It was his turn to gauge her words for a few moments. She shifted uncomfortably. "You sure there was nothing else going on?" he finally, quietly asked.
She looked down at her tea, fiddling with the curved handle, feeling the warmth that emanated from the ceramic vessel.
He hummed and took a sip of coffee.
She looked up at him. "Really? That's all you have to say?"
"If you want to tell me about it, you will. I'm not going to pry."
She mulishly continued fiddling with her mug. Why could no one just come out and say what they wanted to say? Ask what they wanted to ask? She realized she was the ultimate hypocrite in thinking so, but still. Maybe if someone else started, she could follow.
"It just sucks, you know?" she tried to start. Then her throat mysteriously tightened, and she couldn't get any more words out. She saw Flynn put his hand on the table and start ever so slowly inching it towards hers. She didn't move away. Soon his hand was wrapped around hers, sharing the heat of her mug.
"Well good morning."
Lucy drew her hand back as if burned, head whipping towards the voice. "Morning, Jessica."
Could she sound any guiltier? Why was she, even? She'd done nothing wrong, damnit.
She looked down at her mug and closed her eyes, saying a few choice words in her head. "Hey, Wyatt."
Of course he was there too. They were a package deal, after all. Happy Couple. Miracle Reunion. His sole focus the entire time she'd known him.
The Logans set about pouring their own coffees before, much to her horror, sitting down in the final two chairs at the table. Couldn't they have taken the couch?
The image of them, all cuddled and cozy together against the cushions pushed itself into her mind. Okay, maybe she was glad they'd chosen the table.
"So I hear it was quite the mission," Jessica said, rather pointedly.
"Yes," Flynn replied before Lucy could even open her mouth. "Lucy got to meet her idol, Eleanor Roosevelt. It must have been an amazing night for her. A great cause for celebration."
"Oh, that's why…" Jessica trailed off as she looked at Wyatt. "You could have just said that, you know."
Lucy frowned down at her mug. What had Wyatt said? What had he told his wife about her, about what had happened? Did he always tell her everything, after missions?
"I'll try to remember that next time," he said slowly. Was she imagining the strain in his voice? Flynn was glowering, looking like he wanted to say something, and she found her instinct was to reach out to him, calm him. She realized suddenly that she could do that. She could calm him when no one else could.
Before she could unpack that insight, a chirpy voice entered the room.
"Oh wow, the gangs all here!"
A chorus of "Hi" and "Morning Jiya"s sounded through the common area. Rufus followed behind and greetings were added. They took the couch, cuddling position and all.
Happy couples everywhere. Wonderful.
Conversations started, but while the bunker inhabitants were usually pretty good at co-existing, that morning things were awkward and stilted. Things got worse when Mason arrived, the one person apparently oblivious to what had transpired in the night.
Lucy knew the tension was because of her, and the goddamn fool she'd made of herself. She should never have left her room. Maybe she could escape to it now, her appearance for the day made. There was a bit left in the bottle under her bed, at least. A little hair of the dog would help, right? Maybe not enough to put her to sleep, but hopefully enough to dull the edge. She just hoped the Mothership wouldn't jump again today. She rose to leave and was gifted the first reprieve she'd gotten in a while.
No one tried to stop her. She felt their eyes following her wordless exit, but no one said a word, and no one followed.
Minutes later the bottle was empty.
Not ten minutes after that, a knock sounded at her door. She ignored it. They knocked again. Could they not just leave her alone to wallow in her nausea, her exhaustion, the sickness in her heart? 20 seconds later they knocked again, a lot louder. She growled and leapt up, pausing for a moment as the world spun a bit. She told herself she was just tired and standing up made her light-headed. She stormed to the door and threw it open.
Agent Christopher startled. "Well excuse me for having something extremely important to talk to you about," she said shortly.
Lucy's face coloured, her shoulders dropping into a hunch. "Sorry. I thought… I thought you were someone else."
She wasn't even sure who she'd been expecting. Wyatt. Flynn. Jessica herself. She didn't know which would have been the worst.
"My office, now."
Lucy mutely trailed after her boss like a child heading to the principal's office. The agent closed the door behind her. Uh oh. Christopher settled herself into her chair before dropping a file folder on the desk.
"I think you should take a seat."
Oh god. What had happened? What had they changed? Had it been her fault? Had she said something the night before that had somehow screwed up their timeline?
She took a seat.
Christopher opened the folder and slid it towards her. "You want to explain to me what the hell this is about?"
Lucy read the words in front of her and frowned, her vision swimming. She shook her head and read them again.
No… there was no way… there was no chance in hell that she could have…
"Are you seriously collaborating with your mother on a book?" Christopher demanded to know. "At a time like this?"
Lucy gaped at her.
"I know she's your mother, and you must still love her, in some way. I know you want to finish this war and return to academia as soon as you can but my God, Lucy. Now? Her position in Rittenhouse aside, the way they're jumping, we don't have time for side-projects. And you know I can't let you out of the bunker for any meetings, or negotiations, or…"
Denise's voice faded to background noise as Lucy read the papers in front of her yet again. They were emails from her literary agent, enthusiastically praising and anticipating the latest joint venture of the great Carol and Lucy Preston. A brand new, revolutionary book.
On Eleanor Roosevelt.
There were several emails from her mother, as well, handling the initial details. They were time stamped. It was a struggle to keep things like hours and minutes straight in your head when you dealt with decades and centuries, but in this case, Lucy could do the calculations without thought. The first email had been sent the night before. Before they'd even got back from 1938.
Her mother had gone straight home from the party after their run-in and started… this. After everything she'd said. After everything Lucy had said.
Before she realized what was happening tears were welling up in her eyes. The rage of the night before snapped at her like the claws of a wild animal. Sadness washed over it like a tidal wave before things got even worse. Frustration. All consuming, tear your hair out and scream into the void frustration, the words in front of her blurring and whiting out before the final stage hit her.
Pure, utter, complete helplessness.
She'd thought she'd won a battle, last night. That something had finally gotten through to her mother. Lucy had been proud of herself for finally standing up to her, after so many years, her life, really, of always caving in. But her words, her courage, had meant nothing. Carol was still as relentless as ever. Still as diabolical. More than ever before, in fact. Lucy had no control anymore. Over anything. Her mother. Her friends. Her living space. Her job. Her heart.
She might as well have been back in that car, drowning.
She heard a terrible noise and realized it was her, a guttural sob rising from her chest and bubbling out of her throat as the dam of salty water in her eyes burst and tears poured down her cheeks.
Denise's eyes went wide and her tirade cut short. "Lucy?"
The historian couldn't respond, could only bring shaky hands up to try cover her face as her tears fell harder.
"I, I take it you were not aware of this development?" the Agent guessed.
All Lucy could manage was a shake of her head before she abruptly stood and fled, her chair knocking sideways with her haste. The door slammed behind her, leaving a shocked Christopher in her wake.
Everyone was still in the common room, making or finishing breakfast as Lucy stumbled towards her room, all heads turning as the whirlwind of tears and choked sounds flew past. For several moments there was only stunned silence. Then Wyatt and Flynn simultaneously stood up. A few more tense moments passed as the men stared each other down. Flynn's eyes flickered pointedly to Jessica. Wyatt's clenched jaw twitched. After a final, pained moment, Wyatt let out a breath and sat heavily into his chair. Jessica laid her hand on his leg as everyone watched Flynn stride to Lucy's room.
Wyatt was pacing, and he knew it. He didn't think he could stop even if he wanted to.
"Oh my god," Jessica drawled for the second, or was it third, time. "Seriously, Wyatt. Its not like he's murdering her in there. Or sleeping with her. Well, probably not that last one."
If he ground his teeth together any harder, they might pop out.
"Why would you even care?"
"Jess we've been over this. She's a member of my team. Ensuring her safety and well-being is literally my job."
"Your job. Right."
He pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned. "Jess-"
"You know she's in love with you, right?"
"Wow, stopped pulling the punches huh?"
They'd skirted around the subject many times, but she'd never said it so bluntly.
"Well it's true. Everyone knows it."
"Yeah, well, they're wrong," he scoffed. "Trust me."
"Sorry, but after you cheated and abandoned me for several months with no word, I have a bit of trouble with the trust department."
"Oh my god, Jess!" he cried. "I told you, I never cheated on you! I would never do that!"
"For all I know I know it could have been with Lucy herself!"
He schooled his features but Jessica was watching him like a hawk. Her jaw dropped and Wyatt's heart sank.
"Oh my god…" Jess breathed. "Oh my fucking god!"
"I didn't cheat!" he insisted. "You were dead!"
"No I wasn't!"
"You were to me!"
"You know what I meant."
"No, Wyatt, I don't think I do. I feel like I don't know what anything means with you anymore."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I don't even know," she yelled, wrenching herself off the bed to come face to face with him. "My brains a bit focused on the fact that my husband fucked his co-worker. Who lives two doors down from us!"
"Jesus, Jess, can you keep it down? You know these doors aren't soundproof!"
"Oh, geez, my bad, wouldn't want to reveal your dirty little secret to the rest of the prisoners!"
"It's not like that."
"What is it like?"
"I don't know, it… I mean…"
"Are you still sleeping with her?"
"Is that what happens on missions? You fight some bad guys, then sneak off and celebrate?"
"No! Of course not!"
"Is that what you were doing last night? In her room?"
"I saw you go in with her, draped all over you. You were there for quite a while."
"You were awake? You were watching us?"
She raised sceptical eyebrows, waiting for her question to be answered.
"It only happened once," he swore. "Just once. When I thought you were dead."
"You were clearly really broken up about that."
His eyes flashed steel. "Don't. Don't you dare imply that. You have no idea how much I suffered after you died."
Jess turned her nose up and sniffed. "Well I guess I'll never know."
No, she wouldn't. How could she? There was a whole, terrible chunk of his life that she would never be able to understand. All those years had changed him. Most for the worst, some, just recently, for the better. But she would never understand any of it. Her memories were of a man that wasn't him. Not really. Just like she wasn't the Jessica he'd known.
"No," he sighed, deflating. "I guess you won't."
"So what now, then?"
He ran a hand through his hair, thinking. "Now… I'm gonna go have a cup of coffee."
Not like there were many options in the bunker.
"You want to join?" he offered. Maybe in a more public setting they could calm down and have a rational talk.
She refused the olive branch. "No. I think I'll lie down. It's been a rather trying morning."
He nodded. There was nothing more to say. He left the room with a heavy head.
He was through his second coffee, alone in the kitchen, when Flynn appeared. He cast a look towards the launch room, hoping Jiya or Rufus would suddenly stop their mechanical checks and come save him. He got no such luck. Flynn came and sat right across from him, pinning him with a pointed look. Wyatt tried to ignore him, looking down into his empty mug with feigned fascination. Flynn let him get away with it for all of ten seconds.
"You should go see her," the older man said.
Wyatt's eyes flickered involuntarily to he and Jess' door. "I don't know if that's such a good idea."
Flynn folded his hands on the table, his gaze still fixed. "She needs you," he said quietly.
That got Wyatt to look at him. The fugitive had a strange look in his eyes.
"No, I don't think she does," Wyatt replied just as quietly. "Not anymore." He swallowed heavily before cautiously continuing. "Especially if she has you, now?" The words came out like a question. A question he hated asking. He didn't really want to know the answer, but he'd seen the way they'd been growing closer. He hated it, of course. But as Flynn had so kindly reminded him, Lucy wasn't his wife. Jess was. And with the conversation they'd just had, Wyatt had to be careful. Flynn could be there for Lucy like Wyatt couldn't, now. No matter what he felt, Wyatt wanted what was best for Lucy. If Flynn was it…
Flynn gave him a withering look. "She needs you," he repeated.
Huh. Maybe they weren't heading the direction he feared they were. He felt a flicker of hope that he quickly and firmly quashed. He was with Jess now. Again. Whatever.
"Are you going to keep agonizing or are you going to get off your sorry ass and help her?"
Wyatt gave him a quick glare but stood up. He heard the other man grumbling as he walked away, the words stubborn, stupid, and pride reaching his ears. He studiously ignored them as he knocked on Lucy's door.
The historian was sitting on the edge of the bed, hands in her lap, staring into space. It was the exact position she'd been in during their conversation all those months ago, reuniting after six weeks of brutal separation. He carefully approached and sat as far from her as he could.
"I'd lost everything," she said in a thick, low voice. Seemed he wasn't the only one who saw the parallel. "You said I hadn't. You said I hadn't lost you."
He looked down at his own lap. He'd meant it. He still did. Whatever he was with Jess, he knew no matter what happened, he would be there for Lucy however he could. He just had no clue how much he could.
"But then I did," she sighed. "You're still here, alive and healthy and breathing, but I lost you. Just like I lost my sister, like my father wasn't my father, like my mother wants only to either recruit me or kill me."
He didn't know what to say. Didn't know if he should speak at all, or just let her say her piece. He remained quiet.
"Last night she… she said things. Awful things, but nothing I hadn't wondered myself. She always seems to know exactly how to get to me. And no matter how much I tell myself I hate her, when she says she's disappointed in me…"
He wanted to talk about his dad. He wanted to say he understood.
"I told her she wasn't my mother."
He looked up at that. A speck of light appeared in his chest, pride beaming through. He couldn't imagine how difficult that must have been for her. She didn't look at him, but she didn't stop either.
"I did. Finally. I should have said so after the six weeks of…"
He held his breath, waiting for her to finally tell him what had happened.
"But I didn't. I don't know why. Maybe I just got so caught up in seeing you guys alive again I forgot what she'd done to me."
He ached to know. For her to unburden herself. To let him help her through it.
"Then last night happened. I mean, Eleanor Roosevelt!"
"You love her," he stated, a small, fond smile catching his lips unawares. She glanced up in surprise.
"I do. So much. Since as long as I can remember. And she knew it, and used it, and betrayed it."
Wyatt's heart clenched.
"It was our thing, Wyatt. The one time she wouldn't try to be pushing me one way or another. We would just talk. Gush. Admire. Or so I thought. And she threw it all in my face."
She finally looked at him, eyes bloodshot and wet.
"I thought that maybe, in our original timeline… I thought maybe my mother was different. That our past was special, that somehow having Henry, and Amy, made her good. Maybe my memories and the Carol we know now's memories were different."
Like he now had totally different memories than Jess. Not that Lucy knew that. He couldn't begin to know the frail hope Lucy must have had, reaching for any thread that could mean at least her mom had truly loved her.
"But if we still had Eleanor… then everything was the same. It made no difference. Cancer or no cancer, my mom was just like Carol. Rittenhouse. Evil. I've only ever been her tool. Right from the start. My whole life."
Her eyes squeezed shut, face scrunching up as tears flowed down her face.
Okay, to hell with this.
He scooted forward until their legs just barely brushed. He itched to wrap his arm around her, but he moved no further, just held his breath.
And let it out when she dropped her head to his shoulder, face turning into him. His arms wound around her, simply holding her as moisture seeped through his shirt. When she spoke again her voice was strained and brittle, on the edge.
"I thought I'd gotten through to her last night. I thought I'd finally made a point. But then Christopher calls me into her office and starts going off at me about a book I'm apparently co-authoring with my mothe- with Carol."
"Exactly!" she cried, pulling away from him, the edge in her voice leaning towards hysteria. "I finally told her off, and what does she do but run home and call my agent!"
He reluctantly dropped his arms back to his sides. "So just call him and-"
"You don't get it, Wyatt! It's not that simple! My world may seem stupid and silly to you-"
"I never said-"
"But it's been my whole life. Everything I've worked for since I was a child, and something like this…" she dropped her head into her hands. "The Preston name is a big deal. Carol made sure of it. Another joint book means a lot of money and credit for publishers. And a whole host of other people. My agent is going to be devastated. Angry. Confused. He'll demand to know why." She brought her head up and pierced him with a fierce gaze. "And what the hell can I even say? "Well, gee, Rick, Mama's actually a maniacal mass murderer destroying society as we know it, it's just not great working conditions! I mean, Jesus!" she laughed, hysteria rising. "He's probably going to drop me no matter what I say. The academic world of History is small. Word will spread fast and I guarantee everyone will side with her. With a couple of emails, she's basically fucked my entire career."
She suddenly stood and started pacing. "Not that I have a career to go back to anyways. I mean, the timeline's been so screwed I barely know anything anymore! I probably couldn't go back to teaching even if I tried. I'm basically useless, obsolete!"
"That's ridiculous!" he spluttered. "How could you-"
"I probably should have just cut my losses and blown up the mothership when I had the chance."
His body went cold. "Don't say that," he growled, voice dangerously low. "Don't you ever imply that-"
"That what? That the world would be better off without me? It sure as hell seems that it would!"
"What happens if we beat Rittenhouse tomorrow?" she demanded as she stepped up into his face, for once looking down at him, as he sat. "Rufus and Jiya go off and invent incredible things. Mason gets rich again. Christopher goes on to her next assignment. Flynn hopefully gets his family back. And you…" her voice cracked. "You ride off into the sunset with Jessica!'
Wyatt wanted to protest. It wasn't true. He wasn't living the dream she thought he was. Life was bad enough as it was, but with no Lucy… A world without Lucy Preston wasn't a world worth living in.
She suddenly deflated, stumbling to sit back down on the bed. "What is there left for me?"
"There's everything! We need you! All of us!"
"I'm just a worthless historian. You could find another one in a second. One who actually knows history as the world sees it now, after everything we've done."
"No, we couldn't," he shook his head in earnest. "Don't you get that by now? We don't just keep you around for a couple fun facts here and there. You're the whole backbone of the team, the glue that keeps us all together!"
She rolled her eyes and made a disbelieving face, wiping angrily at the tracks of dampness on her cheeks.
"Seriously," he shifted closer to her. "We'd have all fallen apart long ago if not for you. Rittenhouse would already be ruling the world if you hadn't been there to history us out of some tight spots. Beyond that though, you keep us all in line. You remind us of what we're fighting for, and who, and that every person in history is important, at least to someone. You keep our heads out of our asses and our hearts in the right place."
She was refusing to look at him, staring at a spot on the floor with a mulish expression.
He moved even closer and dared to put a hand on her knee. She stiffened but didn't pull away.
"You're the most courageous, brave, selfless, brilliant, big hearted… Lucy, you're the most purely good person I've ever known!"
She finally looked up at him, searching his eyes for a moment before smiling bitterly. "Just not as good as her."
And there it was.
He looked away.
Fuck, this was all his fault. How could he have not realized what he was doing to her? How could he have not realized what a colossal moron he had been? How could Lucy Preston think so lowly of herself?
Because everyone around her let her.
For her entire life, all she'd done was give. Ever since childhood, when all she tried to do was be good enough for her Mother. Make her Mother proud. Right from the second he'd met her, whatever her stance on the mission or the possibilities of changing history, she'd looked out for everyone else. Her heart, her mind, her soul, her life, if need be, would always be put on the line for others. She had and would always put everyone else's needs above her own. But she was everyone else's second choice. Who the hell ever looked out for her? Certainly not him. He'd put his own jackass, selfish needs first, turning a blind eye to the obvious and steep slope she'd been sliding down. God how he loathed himself. He looked at her, at the too-pale skin, the dark indents under her eyes, the constant pinch at the corners of a mouth that hadn't smiled in too long. There was so much he wanted, needed, to say. Her body listed towards his unknowingly, their mouths scant inches apart. He needed to tell her. Tell her everything. He took a deep breath.
The words bubbled out without his control "Have you been drinking?"
She abruptly leaned away. "Excuse me?"
Damnit, that was not what he meant to say. Fuck! But it was too late now, the words kept coming, a torrent he couldn't stop.
"It's from last night still," she quickly insisted.
It was like his body had taken control, ignoring his mental cries to stop. Almost as if he was watching himself move, he leant down and reached under the bed. He easily found the bottle and brought it up to face height.
Her face was stone, her voice the same. "Have you been searching through my things?"
"I found it while tucking you in last night. It was an accident. But this bottle wasn't empty, then. When were you going to tell me about this?"
She stood up and glared down at him, eyes suddenly on fire. "When were you going to tell me about nearly shooting my mother in the face?"
He blinked, completely taken aback. How the hell… Oh. "She told you. Last night."
"She sure did!" Lucy nodded with a no-shit expression. "She told me everything. So please, tell me your side of the story. Enlighten me."
Wyatt dropped his head into his hands for a moment, scrubbing at his face. This was so not how he'd wanted to do this.
"Well," he carefully began. "You remember when you went back to 1936, to Robert Johnson. Without me."
"Because I was ordered to, yes," she said shortly.
"Right. Um, well, I was kept back for a reason."
"To try take on Rittenhouse all by yourself, like the stupid, reckless idiot that you are."
He could do nothing but nod in agreement. "Yes, well, I was ordered to, so-"
"Don't even get me started on Christopher," she cut in darkly.
"Okay. Well, uh, I found the place. Got in. Found some bad guys, and, um. Dealt, with them."
"Killed them, Wyatt," she supplied. "You can say it. I've done it before, too."
He gritted his teeth and took a deep breath. He did not need to be reminded of Jesse James and the spectacular failure he'd been. Not now. Not ever. The things he'd made Lucy suffer through, the atrocities he'd made her commit…
"Don't you spiral on me now, Wyatt," she commanded. "I'm a big girl. I make my own decisions. Not every action I take is because of you."
Okay, he might have deserved that. She was a fully grown, independent woman who could indeed make her own choices. He recognized and respected that. But even so he couldn't help his own foolish head from wanting to take responsibility for it all. To lift the burdens from her too-slight shoulders and carry it all himself so that she didn't have to. But he couldn't tell her that, could he. He could never make her understand.
"Anyways," he continued. "They set off self-defence measures. The whole place started burning down, and then your m... Then Carol arrived to escape through the Mothership. She was right there, a few feet in front of me."
He trailed off, caught in the memory of smoke and flame and the paralyzing uncertainty of what to do.
Her voice was suddenly soft again, confused, earnest. "So why didn't you take the shot?"
He lifted his eyes to hers, her brown gaze intent and full of something he couldn't name. He was helpless to that look. He could only tell the truth.
"Because I couldn't do that to you. She's your mother, Lucy! Whatever you decided last night, she's your parent, your blood! Whatever she's done, to others or to you, I know… I know how deep down, somehow, you still love her. Like I always loved my dad. That you would want to keep giving her a chance, see if she could come back to the light. I could never take that chance, that hope, away from you."
"Why not?" she cried, starting up another staccato pace across the floor. "You're a soldier! You were given orders. You could have been court-martialed! Thrown in jail!"
"I didn't care!" he yelled as he stood up and blocked her path, the empty bottle falling to the bed.
"How could you not care?"
"Because you are more important!"
She gaped at him a few moments, face-to-face, heavy breaths mingling before she stuttered "You mean the mission is more important. You needed me to be okay so I could keep the missions on track so you could get to Jessica and-"
Fuck he was so sick of hearing that.
"No!" he exploded. "Not because of fucking Jessica. Because of you! Because I love you, Lucy!"
She gasped, her eyes growing large.
"I love you," he repeated. "I have for a long time. I always have."
"No," she breathed.
"I've loved you since Hollywood. Since I saw you for the first time after 6 weeks of torture. Since… damnit, since the Alamo!"
"Stop," she choked. "Jess-"
"We're not happy," he blurted. "We haven't been for a long time."
"What? I don't- no, just stop," she pleaded.
"And I'm sick of lying about it! To myself, to her, to you!"
"Shut up!" she demanded, harsher now, backing away from him like he was a wild animal, feral and dangerous.
"I said SHUT UP!" she shrieked. "You can't say that! Don't you dare say that to me, because if it's true…" Tears started to flow down her cheeks once more. "If it's true then these last few months, all the bullshit, having my heart ripped to fucking shreds day after day as I watched you two together, heard you at night… it was all for nothing."
"I said go."
"No, Lucy. I've finally said it, and now-"
"Now what? Now you skip back to Jessica, say she's out, and come swanning back into my arms? Jesus, Wyatt, have you forgotten where we are? What our lives are? You can't exactly just boot her out of our top-secret bunker hideout you know!"
"And even if you could, how can you… how can I possibly trust you again?"
Was it too late? Fuck, please, it couldn't be too late. It couldn't be. Because if it was, he'd be done. For good. He couldn't live without her. He knew that now. He thought he could live with being her friend, but he couldn't. He needed her like he needed oxygen. Why did it always take him wildly fucking up to realize what was important to him?
"Please, just give me a chance to-"
"Get out of my room."
He stepped towards her, palms stretched out and imploring. "Lucy, just-"
"Get the fuck out of my room!"
She lunged at him but as he opened his arms to embrace her, she reached past him and grabbed the vodka bottle from the mattress. She whirled about and hurled the bottle at the wall as she screamed at him.
"I SAID GET OUT!"
The bottle smashed against the wall with a spectacular crash, a million tiny shards of glass shattering in a kaleidoscope of light before scattering across the floor and coming to rest. The soldier was stunned into silence. He stared at the shards, the pattern of chaos on the bare, cold floor somehow beautiful. Then he looked up at Lucy, just as cold, but even more beautiful. He stepped carefully over the broken pieces and opened the door. He walked out without a backwards glance.
Jessica was in the room. Of course. Lounging on the bed as if without a care in the world.
"Get out," he demanded hollowly.
"Excuse me?" her eyebrows rose.
"I said get out."
She rose to sit, head tilting to the side and mouth smirking in superiority. "Really, Wyatt? Why don't you just-"
"Jessica, just get the hell out of this room!" he roared.
She jumped as if struck, eyes wide and mouth agape. She made a sound as if to protest but it died before any words were formed. Her lips trembled and her eyes watered but he was unmoved. He stood stock still, fists clenched and staring at the wall as she shuffled out, sucking every second she could to make him reconsider. Her efforts were useless. He'd finally realized what an act it all was.
As soon as the door clicked shut behind her, Wyatt crumpled.
His body deflated like a marionette whose strings had been let go. He stumbled forward, barely making it to the bed before collapsing on top of it. There might as well have been no mattress, his body sinking into it like a lump of metal falling through water, down, down, further into the abyss. His hands covered his face as his own tears finally started to fall.
It was done. He was done. He'd finally screwed up too much, gone too far. He'd made the wrong decision at every turn, months upon months of purposely ignoring how badly he was hurting Lucy had finally come to a head. He'd laid himself out, every card on the table. And she'd thrown him out. Rightfully so. He was no good for her. Could never deserve someone like her. He'd always maintained that she was better off without him. It was better this way. It would have to be. Rittenhouse would probably get to him soon anyway. It would be for the best. She could finally forget him and find someone who could truly make her happy like she deserved.
But God, the Universe, and the Force help him… until that day, he would love Lucy Preston with every fibre of his being.
For all goddamn time.
Lucy sobbed into her pillow. She hadn't known a person could even hold so many tears.
He loved her? He wasn't happy? He'd always loved her?
What the fuck was she supposed to do with that?
Everything she'd told him was true. She didn't know how to handle his confession. If it was true… how could she, how could they reconcile the torturous last few months? How could they forgive and move on? How would Jessica get out of the picture? How would everyone else in the bunker react? How would it work with missions? The uncertainty was endless.
And that's if she could ever trust him again.
Which she was so completely incapable of figuring out right then. She was done. Spent. Worn out in heart, mind, body and soul. How could so much shit be dumped on her in one, single day? She'd thought things couldn't get worse. The laugh was on her.
But the biggest kick of all, the thing that made her want to tear the walls down around her, was that for all the shit Wyatt Logan had put her through, all the shit she knew he still would…
She still loved him.
With every fibre of her being, she still loved him so goddamn much. Even crying her heart out, crushed by her mother, and him, and life, when he'd offered the comfort of his body, she'd been unable to resist. Still took it, needed it like the pathetic creature she was. Because she loved him. And she knew that she always would. No matter what happened.
She would love him for all goddamn time.
Firstly: Hope everyone is safe and healthy and still isolating.
Secondly: Get ready for a story. Because this second part sure has a story. I wrote it ages ago by now. I did 9100 words in ONE night, one of my best writing sprees ever, equalling, with part one, over 15000 in less than 24 hours. I was SO proud of the result, so proud of myself, so amped up on crazy mad Timeless angst. A totally different type of story than my usual. So free flowing, so awesome…
And then I open it up the next day to edit, amazingly graced with the perfect amount of free time to tweak it to perfection and send to my beta so I can get it to you fine people ASAP.
And half of it is gone.
Disappeared into the void and lost to the sands of space-time.
I spent half a day absolutely losing my mind trying to search for it in the deep-web of my tablet. I write on a USB, you see, so that I can just transfer between writing on my home PC or on my Tablet on-the-go. And have multiple backups in various places cause I'm paranoid. But it's nowhere. I get home and spend more hours agonizing on my home computer. It's nowhere. Gone. Poof. Nada. The ENTIRE scene between Lucy and Wyatt… all the fighting, screaming, crying, stupidity, angst and rage. Gone.
I could barely even remember what happened or what was said. I just remember my joy, pride, deep sense of fulfilment and having let them express what they needed to express. Gone.
I couldn't even look at this story for the rest of the day. Or weeks. Or months. I was so beyond heartsick and frustrated and angry out of my mind. I have always been the most insane, paranoid, save after every sentence crazy person. And somehow, this, my longest, most angsty fic to date, hours and hours and hours of my life, decides to disappear on me. I still have no idea why. I'm still beyond upset.
It's been MOOOOONTHS since I last opened this and I have no idea if what I re-wrote was what I intended in the first draft. I'll never know. I think it's garbage compared to the original, but it's the best I could do to recreate the magic. I hope you all still got something out of it. I loved it SO MUCH and now it's a black stain on my heart and memory, just like Carol ruined Eleanor Roosevelt for Lucy.
Sometimes fic writing sucks
Also yes, I'm a very dramatic person! Whoops. Don't mind me.
If you actually read this depressed rant… good for you. Extra cookies to you all. Now can anyone please write some fluff for me…?