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Five Times They Controlled Themselves (and That One Time They Didn't)

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As it turns out, Wyatt and Lucy have come from the future to give them new technology. Specifically, the technology that will permit them to travel into time periods where they’ve been alive. It will require extensive retrofitting to apply the new tech. The Future versions of Wyatt and Lucy remain for a few hours to answer some of Jiya’s questions, and Lucy lingers, watching over their shoulders with mingled horror and confusion.

In the future, she’s close with Wyatt. This much is obvious. Lucy’s grateful for that, even while she’s unnerved by the casual touching, the laughter, the shoulders bumping together. She hurts on the inside. Wyatt just said that he loves her and it felt like hammering a coffin shut. How could they go from this, to…that? Traveling back in time together, looking like survivors of the war against Skynet?

Lucy ends up standing with herself. Lucy and Future Lucy, the same person in two bodies, with two wildly different minds. Future Lucy keeps giving Lucy sympathetic smiles but they’re not talking very much as they tidy the last of the equipment.

“Sorry,” Future Lucy says. “I don’t mean to be distant.”

“You’re protecting the timeline. I understand,” Lucy says.

Future Lucy bobs her head in a nod. Of course Lucy understands.

“But I guess I manage to forgive Wyatt, huh?” Lucy eventually asks, trying to sound upbeat. Like this is something that she wants.

“Oh…yes, but…” Future Lucy seems to be waffling. “Wyatt and I never got an opportunity to, you know, reconcile.” She lowers her voice so that only Lucy will be able to hear her. “We don’t end up ‘together,’ romantically speaking. He came exactly because we’re not together, actually.”

Down the hallway, Wyatt is also talking to himself. He’s not trying to be as quiet. He’s not being careful. Wyatt has asked, “So did you finally kill Flynn off?” and laughs, ha ha, such a funny joke. Killing his teammate.

“Flynn’s fine. More than fine. He couldn’t come because he’s taking care of his kid,” Future Wyatt explains. He laughs and rolls his eyes. “It’s kinda funny. His kid, Amy? She’s already four, and she still can’t sleep when both her parents are traveling.”

Lucy doesn’t register these two statements at first, happening on opposite ends of the room between different groups.

Flynn does.

His head snaps around, and his gaze is electricity on Lucy, as if seeing her again for the first time. As if remembering something he’d long since forgotten.

Slowly, her mind catches up with the statements, and she realizes that they’re connected. That Flynn has a four-year-old daughter named *Amy*, of all things, and he had to stay with *Amy* because the *mother* was “traveling,” suggesting that he’d had a baby with…

Lucy can’t finish that thought.

Her sister was named Amy.

Future Lucy has walked off to meet Future Wyatt. They’re about to leave, their technology transferred, the job done. They have to return to the year 2023 to avoid disrupting the timeline.

Lucy and Flynn look at each other, standing back near the kitchen table.

Both of them are obviously doing mental math.

She’s four years old, five years in the future.

Gestation is approximately nine months.

Conception would be sometime in the next three months.

Lucy is stuck on the words “next three months.” Her hand goes to her belly, and she feels kind of sick, thinking about her mother dying of gunshot wounds in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Flynn is stuck on the word “conception,” and he’s looking at Lucy’s lips. He’s thinking he hasn’t even kissed her yet. He’s only felt her body when pulling her against him, protecting her from gunfire. But that word is there. Conception. And Lucy’s body isn’t making him think about gunfights.

*****

They all gather to say goodbye to Future Lucy and Future Wyatt. It’s friendly but hurried. Lucy wonders if Future Lucy is in a rush to get back to her daughter Amy, who she must have conceived with Garcia Flynn sometime in the next three months. Jiya is certainly in a hurry to retrofit the Lifeboat so they can rescue Rufus, and they’ll need more room to work on that.

Their new tech means they should be hurrying to form new strategies—strategies to save Rufus—but even once the second Lifeboat irises back to the future, Lucy remains immobile. She is numb.

Flynn is at her shoulder.

“But I just bought all those new pants,” Lucy says offhandedly. “I can’t get pregnant.” She’s being funny. Flynn likes humor. It’ll break the ice between them, keep this from getting too awkward.

She glances over, but he’s walked away.

*****

The First Time.

“I keep thinking,” Lucy says abruptly, while aggressively smearing butter on her toast the next morning, “that if we don't...conceive...a child we know to exist in the future... That changes the timeline.”

Flynn is at a loss for sarcasm, for once. “Are you saying…?” he begins, once he’s able to speak.

“Oh, no! No.” Lucy laughs nervously. “I’m not saying we should—we shouldn’t! Even if it changes the timeline. I just can’t even imagine it. You and me—we aren’t! It’s not like we would! I would never.” She’s babbling. Those aren’t even sentences. She’s now smeared an inch-thick layer of butter on her bread.

Flynn is behind her suddenly. Very close behind her. He’s careful not to touch her, but his heat radiates over her back, and his voice has dropped to a husky undertone. “Never?”

Lucy turns and is shocked to see he’s much too close for her to be able to eat her buttered toast. She can barely breathe. The slightest movement will bring her against his body, which is a pretty good body, because he probably has great genetics. Amy must have great genetics.

The next three months.

“Maybe we misinterpreted it anyway,” Lucy says. “They didn’t say what we think they said.”

“I know what they said,” Flynn says.

His eyes are fixed on Lucy’s mouth.

She licks her lips, and his eyes track that motion too.

“Toast,” Lucy says. She tries to lift it between them, but they really have no room now. She’s rocked her hips forward unconsciously to make contact with his. He’s bowed over her. “I made toast. I should eat the toast.”

Flynn lowers his head…and takes a big bite out of the toast. “That is too much butter,” he says, licking it off of his lips.

“I can have all the butter I want. That was my toast,” Lucy says. And now she can’t stop watching his lips as he makes sure every fleck of butter vanishes. She’d like to see those lips against her body. She’d like to feel that tongue.

They’re bowed against each other like yin and yang, their hands carefully away from each other.

Lucy really did just buy a couple pairs of high-waisted slacks. They won’t fit if she gets pregnant, and she’s pretty sure she can get pregnant just from how hard they’re staring at each other.

She controls herself enough to look away from Flynn before she ovulates on the spot.

Flynn steps back, somehow.

The Lifeboat’s retrofit is going to be done by the end of the day. Wyatt is planning a test ride to gather intel, and Lucy elects to stay in the bunker for the night. A historian isn’t needed for visits within the decade. She makes good use of the empty bathroom to scrub herself in the shower until the water runs cold but still can’t stop thinking about Garcia Flynn.

*****

The Second Time.

Things go south on their “just an intel” trip. Wyatt runs afoul of Rittenhouse; somehow it leads to Flynn staggering out of the Lifeboat with a bullet hole in his thigh. He is treated for the injury. The blood loss is not significant. Everything is, for the time being, completely fine.

They didn’t get the intel they needed. They’re no closer to saving Rufus.

Lucy lies in bed that night listening to Jiya weep quietly into her pillow. She can’t sleep. There’s a hole in the world, a yawning silence where someone should be, and that silence screams.

She’ll never sleep like this.

Once Jiya’s silent, lost in a vision or fallen asleep, Lucy slips out of bed. She finds Flynn recuperating in his room. He says, “Enter,” when she knocks. And she goes inside to find that he’s stretched out in that chair, bandaged leg elevated.

“No vodka?” Flynn asks.

“Not tonight. I just need to rest.” She hugs her pillow tighter, head hanging. “Without Rufus…” The bunker is empty. Jiya is empty. There’s nothing to rattle around inside Lucy’s breast except her fear of swelling out of the cute slacks (one pair of which she is stubbornly wearing) and it’s too much. Way too much.

Somehow, even though Flynn is at the epicenter of the world-shattering earthquake rolling through Lucy’s marrow, he is also the only thing that can calm it. Her heart’s already slowing in his presence.

He nods. “Take the bed.”

“No. You need to sleep in the bed because you need to heal. I don’t mind the floor.” Her nervous laugh slips out despite her best efforts. “It’s like having a sleepover again.”

“I would argue with you under most circumstances. Tonight…” He smirks wryly at his leg, annoyed at the injury. It must hurt a lot. “I’ll move to the bed so you can sleep.”

Flynn tries to get up, but falls back in the chair with a groan. His leg can’t support his weight.

“Let me help you.” Lucy tries to prop him up when he stands again. It’s a kind effort, but in vain; she’s about half his body weight and a foot shorter. They stumble. She ends up pinned against the wall with Flynn's arms framing her head. She reflexively flung an arm around his back. The muscles are broad, stony under the wool of his turtleneck.

They’re touching.

Oh God, they’re *touching*, and Lucy can already imagine labor contractions, and suffering millions of hours of labor bringing a new Rittenhouse heir into the world.

Amy. Amy Preston? Amy Flynn? Garcia Flynn fathering a Rittenhouse heir?

Oh God we’re touching.

Flynn gives a low chuckle, his brow furrowed with silent pain. “You’re thinking too loudly.”

“You’re almost in bed,” she says. He’s halfway there. Unfortunately, Lucy has ended up with the backs of her knees against the frame, and she’s one wobble away from falling onto the mattress under him.

She can’t let him fall, and not just because she’s terrified his sperm will teleport to her ovum. Flynn’s in pain. She can see it. And…well, silly as it seems, she doesn’t want her six-and-a-half-foot tall soldier-spy hurting so much.

It takes a lot of awkward maneuvering to get him horizontal without Lucy getting stuck under him. He still groans when he flops back, eyes shut, fists clenched. She sits behind him, her fingers brushing over his fevered forehead. He would do better in a hospital. But Lucy survived an infection earned from the Salem Witch Trials, and at least Flynn got shot in modern day. Also, again, Flynn is huge. He’ll probably be fine.

He turns his head so that his cheek rests in her palm. His eyes are open to slits, watching her.

“We’ll get Rufus back,” Flynn says. “We won’t stop until he’s safe.”

“I know,” Lucy says.

Her thumb traces down the line of his cheekbone to the corner of his mouth. She wonders if Amy Flynn (no way in hell Lucy’s giving her child the Preston name) has her father’s cheekbones.

Or his lips.

Lucy would like to kiss his lips.

She’s pretty sure he’s thinking something similar.

They’ve both been thinking about it for a while. Lucy’s confident of this, even though they haven’t talked about the energy between them. It’s been there for weeks (months?) but impossible to ignore since that long ride to Port Royal, when Lucy realized that she’s capable of talking to Flynn for hours, about anything, and that she never feels safer than at his side.

“We both need rest,” Flynn says. His moving mouth traces the words against the pad of Lucy’s thumb.

“Yeah,” she says.

She’s leaning toward him.

He says, “Separately.”

Lucy stops. “Oh, yeah. Of course.” She tries to get out of bed, feeling foolish, but his hand tightens on her waist. His eyes are burning coals.

“Only because if you stay here, neither of us will rest,” Flynn says. “Denise will be angry if I tear my stitches.” And he smirks.

*****

The Third Time.

Of course, Lucy has trouble sleeping on the floor after that, but she manages somehow. She wakes with a crick in her back and without a baby in her uterus (because she can stare as intensely at Garcia Flynn’s mouth as she wants without getting pregnant, seriously). Over the next few days, they take another few trips on the Lifeboat. Little ones. Collecting more information about Rittenhouse. Drawing up a timeline to see if they can tweak it for Rufus’s survival without dramatically altering the future.

They talk a lot about Future Lucy and Future Wyatt, collectively speaking. Flynn and Lucy don’t talk about it when they’re together. Lucy and Jiya do a bit, quietly; Agent Christopher talks with Mason about it too. Wyatt is the quietest of them. He’s the angriest. He is brooding, and when he broods, he keeps shooting weird looks at Lucy.

Lucy, who keeps sleeping in Flynn’s bedroom, on Flynn’s floor.

Not getting pregnant with Flynn's daughter.

But thinking about it constantly.

It’s a week after Future Lucy and Future Wyatt visited when Lucy awakes in Flynn’s bed. It’s in the early hours of the morning—four or five, judging by the sound of Agent Christopher puttering in the kitchen—and Lucy doesn’t remember climbing in with Flynn, but she’s definitely there. Curled against his side, on top of the blankets. He has thrown an arm over her. He’s snoring. Garcia Flynn snores. It’s endearing.

Lucy should be cramped, but she feels like she’s gotten the best sleep of her life.

Without moving, she watches his face in the semi-darkness, wondering when someone so frightening became so familiar. If she were truthful with herself, she’s not horrified by the idea of being with him—even having a family with him, under different circumstances.

It’s just too fast. She’s not ready.

His eyes have opened, and Lucy is startled to realize he’s staring at her. She’s not sure how long he’s been awake.

“Good morning,” he says, husky and quiet.

“Why aren’t we talking about it?” Lucy asks. There’s no need to be specific about what “it” is. The name Amy Flynn has been on her mind nonstop for days. “Why aren’t we figuring this out?”

“I have nothing to figure out,” Flynn says, just as quietly. “Lucy…I closed the door on the idea of having a family when my wife and daughter died.” His thumb strokes her elbow. “I didn’t plan on opening the door again, but now I see what might be waiting on the other side, and… I will walk through that door.”

She can’t breathe.

Flynn says, “I will do whatever you want.”

Her heart is beating so fast.

“Anything at all,” he says.

She has never felt such adrenaline.

But when her arms wrap around his neck, closing the millimeters between them, she feels safe. Supported. They will do whatever Lucy wants to do. She can make this choice.

Nothing is inevitable, especially now.

“I don’t want to have a baby,” Lucy says, in all honesty. “Not right now. It’s too fast, and we’re trying to save Rufus. This isn’t the right time.”

“Okay,” he says steadily.

“But I think I want you,” she says.

This time, his voice is not steady, but hoarse. Hungry. “Okay.”

She swallows hard. Her foot slips over the shape of his ankle under the sheets, and his hand spreads over the small of her back, bringing her fully in line against him. “What are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking that I would like to kiss you,” Flynn says.

“That sounds good.” Lucy immediately regrets the awkward words, like a book nerd agreeing on what her club should read next month.

He kisses her with such restraint. He’s more careful than Lucy wants, holding her close but not too tight, his mouth moving over hers like he’s offering himself rather than like he’s taking her. Lucy wants to be taken. She wants him to devour her whole.

It’s up to Lucy. She can tell him what she wants and he will do it.

Alarms blare. The Mothership has jumped.

Flynn’s kisses slow, moving over the corner of her mouth, to her jaw.

“Wyatt could take care of that,” Lucy says.

“He could.” Flynn pushes himself gently away from her, brushing the hair out of her face to tuck it behind her ear. “But I think it’s best if we control ourselves anyway.”

Lucy thinks he’s right.

But she also thinks that self-control kinda sucks.

*****

The Fourth Time.

It’s 1995 in Oklahoma City, which means that Rittenhouse is giving bigger, better bombs to Timothy McVeigh, proving that they are in fact the most evil of all the evil organizations to ever evil around history. Beating back Rittenhouse is perilous. Lucy decides to save everyone at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Flynn is enthusiastically supportive of this, especially the part where they turn Emma over to the authorities.

They get a drink at a bar in downtown Oklahoma City together, watching the news to make sure the bombers and the usurper of Rittenhouse are both detained. Jiya is trying to find the Mothership. They’ll have a few hours to relax in the 90s, which are a tragic time for fashion, but a pretty good time period for bar snacks.

A very large basket of French fries does not console Lucy when she remembers all the people waiting to take over for Emma. All the people who will make sure to keep Rittenhouse running.

Two beers into dinner, which Lucy spends sitting much closer to Flynn than she’s ever dared before, she decides to confess. “When I was with Rittenhouse, my mother told me that I’m the last descendant of John Rittenhouse. I’m the heir. Any daughter of mine would take that legacy.”

She expects him to be angry. She just admitted that she’s the embodiment of everything that Flynn hates, and rightfully so.

He doesn’t even look at her before saying, “No, she won’t.” He drains his beer and waves at the waitress for another. “You’ve rejected the legacy. You have nothing to do with Rittenhouse except destroying them. And any daughter you have will be as remarkable as you.”

Lucy feels very strange, and it might be the beer, or her ovaries, but she’s thinking again about what great genetics Garcia Flynn has.

That’s probably why they end up making out in the alley behind a bar in 1995 Oklahoma City.

Flynn’s hands are in her feathery hair, styled sleek but kinda poofy like “The Rachel.” Her cuffed mom jeans are sliding up his thighs as she molds herself to him, giving herself full permission to feel his body the way she’s wanted. He looks good in plaid. Nobody looks good in plaid except Flynn.

He’d look better out of plaid, though.

She’s not looking at him very much at the moment. They’re so close that there’s no air between them. Their atoms have probably melded.

Her skin is alight with the brush of his fingertips and the stroke of his lips over hers. They should be more desperate, shouldn’t they? All this tension between them put off for so long. It shouldn’t feel like Flynn is savoring the shape of her rib cage under his palm while his tongue explores the crooks of her mouth. She shouldn’t be able to take her time rocking her hips against him, seeking the pleasure of contact rather than the release she so, so badly needs.

He needs it too. He’s hard against her. Lucy has a very easy time imagining what Flynn’s cock might look like, and easier still imagining how it would feel to have him inside of her, and she’s still just nuzzling his neck somehow.

This is okay. She can’t get pregnant from the way he’s panting hot against her hideous hair. They’re not doing anything wrong. It somehow feels sinful anyway. The best kind of sin.

The sharp edge of his teeth are gentle on the crescent of her ear. He’s avoiding her erogenous zones with his hands, skimming the shape of her breasts without actually touching them. It’s lucky she’s wearing a bodysuit because the clasps between her thighs are the only thing keeping her from throwing her shirt off right at that moment to see what his teeth might feel like on her aching nipples.

My nipples will ache a lot when I’m pregnant.

“Tell me what you want, Lucy,” he says.

You. I want you.

“I still don’t want to get pregnant,” she says, which is an embarrassingly not-sexy thing to say, and it doesn’t sound especially convincing. Especially because she leverages herself against him to get access to his shoulder, yanking aside the neck of his shirt so that she can inhale against the muscle. He smells like sweat and gun oil.

He scoops her closer against him, sparing her the scrape of brick at her back. “I can be careful,” he growls. Somehow he makes “careful” sound very sexy. Maybe it’s because the motion of his hips has become decidedly rhythmic in that animal sort of way that suggests he’s got no control of himself—a thrilling, terrifying possibility.

“All birth control can fail, even used perfectly,” Lucy said. “We have no reason to think that our future selves weren’t careful.”

“You mean…?”

“We can’t have sex at all,” Lucy says. “If we don’t want to…conceive.”

Flynn swears in three different languages. All of them painfully sexy. He takes her words to mean no—which she’s not certain that they do—and allows her to fall back to her feet. His self-control is clearly better than hers.

He adjusts his erection within tight denim and limps out of the alley, looking very uncomfortable.

*****

The Fifth Time.

It takes all hands on deck to rescue Rufus. They’ve altered the Lifeboat to fit everyone: Jiya, Wyatt, Mason, and even Denise, in addition to Lucy and Flynn. Rittenhouse knows where they’re going. They’ve gotten good at predicting the Time Team’s maneuvers. They’ll be greeted by overwhelming odds, and while six people will still be overwhelmed by time-traveling fascists, at least they’ll be overwhelmed together.

Anyway, Agent Christopher looks adorable in her cowboy outfit.

They’re going back to the Wild West where Rufus died. It’s a careful jump. They’ll have to arrive in the same moment where they did the first time. But they can’t park the Lifeboat in the same place, and they can’t cross paths with themselves as much as possible.

Somehow, in order to avoid a profound alteration of the timeline that destroys the present as they know it, they’ll have to get Rufus out of that bar before he can get shot. And they’ll have to do it without interacting with themselves. Again.

It’s obviously possible. Future Lucy and Future Wyatt proved that once.

Agent Christopher’s plan is elaborate. It involves a rescue that will require soldier-spy Flynn to slip into the saloon to extract Rufus while everyone else provides cover fire. Jiya and Mason have become decent with firearms in the last three months of determined practice, but Lucy has not; she’s been much too busy thinking about potential middle names for a baby girl who doesn’t exist to shoot straight.

That lands her with Wyatt, where he can protect Lucy as she acts as their eyes in the sky.

Flynn doesn’t like it.

Truthfully, Lucy doesn’t either.

Wyatt’s been acting normal on missions but he’s quiet on that rooftop with Lucy. She’s not sure what his expression means. She’s never quite seen it. It looks like a storm has crossed his masculine features and he's trapped in the middle of it.

She occupies herself by tinkering with the Walkie-Talkie they smuggled into the past. She's meant to watch the entrances to the saloon and warn Flynn if the timeline does anything unpredictable. Even concealed within a saddle bag, the Walkie Talkie is a painfully obvious anachronism, and Lucy can't help but fiddling with it.

"You're in love with him," Wyatt says eventually, hoarsely. "Aren't you?"

It's been hours since he last spoke. Lucy still isn't braced for the question.

"I don't know how I feel," she says.

"But you don't love me."

Lucy hurts. She does love Wyatt. She cares about him in a totally different way than Rufus or Denise or anyone else on the Time Team. But telling him that would be hollow comfort, because she doesn't love him the way he wants, and they both know it now. The wordless silence that stretches over the rooftop says it all.

"Are you being careful?" Wyatt asks.

"Excuse me?"

"Come on, Lucy. I don't have all your degrees but I can still do the math. You and Flynn are...at risk."

Lucy prickles at Wyatt's implication that her daughter is a risk. Some unwanted side-effect of the eerie prophecy Future Lucy and Future Wyatt accidentally foretold with their visit. But she understands that Wyatt is hurting, and he's just worried about her. "Yes, Wyatt. I'm being very, very careful."

Wyatt doesn't look to believe her. "You just have to get through a few more weeks," he says. "Once we've saved Rufus, the timeline's gonna change. Nothing we saw in that future needs to happen."

"Not everything we saw in that future would be a bad thing," Lucy says.

The realization settles over him. His fingers relax on his gun, his shoulders sag. He searches Lucy's features. "So that's how it is. I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel like a kick in the teeth."

"I'm sorry." She means it. She wishes she could take the pain away. "Remember, my relationship with Flynn isn't the only one that changes. You and I are going to move past...this. We're going to be friends."

"Yeah," he says. "Someday."

It's not exactly a mercy that everything goes wrong in the saloon, but the timing is merciful. The explosion of activity on the street prevents Lucy and Wyatt from having to talk.

Rittenhouse somehow learned of their plan, and countered it. The details aren't immediately clear. Those inside the saloon are too besieged by gunfire to figure out where the extra bodies came from, and Lucy can't tell what's happening inside those walls.

Wyatt has to extract Lucy from the chaos. He kills at least three men before getting her to the street. Even in his hurt, he's still the hero, and Lucy's unharmed when she stumbles around the corner of the saloon.

Flynn is in the alleyway. He's watching Lucy when she catches a stray bullet on the arm.

Time stops at the bite of pain. Funny how fluid a thing Time has become to Lucy. She's traveled throughout the centuries and lived more life than any other woman, yet getting shot still feels like it takes centuries more.

"No!" Flynn's cry tears from him.

He is a bull through the Rittenhouse agents. Lucy is too dazed, sinking into shock, to see how Flynn dispenses with them. It's violent, she can tell that much. There's no violence in Flynn when he scoops Lucy into his arms to spirit her back to the Mothership.

"I'm okay," she says when he tries to stem the bleeding. "It's a flesh wound." She's not sure if she's lying. She can't feel the wound.

Feeling comes back when they're approaching the Mothership, chased by Rittenhouse. It hurts in a very special kind of way. Somewhere between a large bee sting and having her arm run over by a motorcycle. Flynn is a man possessed. Nobody gets near Lucy again, or shoots Lucy again, and she's the first one into the Mothership.

Flynn shoves her to the floor, down where she's safe. He goes back to fight.

"Garcia!" she cries.

He doesn't come, not yet. Not until everyone else gets back into the ship with her: Jia, Denise, Wyatt, and...Rufus, his arm slung over Mason's shoulder, wounded but alive. Seeing her lost friend alive again puts Lucy back into shock. There are bullets hitting the outside of the Mothership but the team collapses in on each other, embracing with bone-deep relief.

Flynn gets inside. "Go!"

And they do.

Lucy isn't the only one injured, so there's nobody with the energy to celebrate their victory. There's quiet happy crying in the living room. A few beers. Lucy doesn't get to join in with them because Flynn all but tosses her over his shoulder to sweep her back to his room--their room--and sit her firmly upon the bed.

"I'm okay," she says again. Now she's surer of it. It hurts, but the wound is shallow. It seems to have clotted.

"Stay there," Flynn says.

He retrieves medical supplies and tends the wound himself, still wearing his dusty suit and low-slung holsters. Lucy marvels at how gentle those giant shovel-hands of his can be. He's not just being careful, but he's practiced. This isn't the first bullet wound he's cleaned and wrapped.

Only when the bandages are pinned in place and the medical kit snaps shut does Flynn fix her with a look.

That look.

"Why do I feel like I should apologize?" Lucy asks.

His answer comes in the form of a kiss--crushing, breathless, and needy, dragging his hands over her body as if to reassure himself she's still whole. "Today I glimpsed a future without you," he says. His voice is so husky. His lips graze the skin of her neck when he speaks. His hands tremble against her waist, gathering her skirts above her knees. "I want you."

"I want you too." The words escape Lucy, tiny and rushed.

She spills back against the bed, resting her fatigued body as Flynn kneels before her.

"It occurs to me," he says, "that there are ways besides abstinence to avoid pregnancy, Lucy."

That's the only warning she has before her underwear is gone. She refused to wear period-appropriate undergarments, so there's not much for him to tear away. She liked those panties. She feels like they're a fitting sacrifice.

Lucy can only imagine how she smells after another adventure in the Wild West, but Flynn seems to like it. He nuzzles the inside of her thigh. His tongue strokes her slit.

She bucks against him but he holds her hips steady. He won't let her lift from the mattress. Flynn hitches her thighs tight against his neck and fists her skirt and he devours her.

Lucy's a rational lady. She knows she can't get pregnant from Flynn's mouth between her legs. But the way that he growls at her scent, buries his nose against her, seeks the innermost curves of her body with his tongue... It feels like his breath should fill her with new life, like Zeus raining a child unto Danae.

He pants almost as hard as she does. Flynn groans with Lucy when she reaches her peak, bowing her body around his head as the tremors take over. The muscles of her neck go tight and her fingers clench at his hair and Flynn sounds like a man who has seen God.

She goes limp.

Flynn remains between her knees, resting her forehead against the smooth skin of her leg. He strokes her gently. Behind the knee, down the calf.

When he finally rises, the crotch of his slacks are damp. Flynn doesn't seem the type to lose control like that. But then again, Flynn looks more like a starving wolf than his usual sly fox. When Lucy meets his gaze and finds nothing rational in them, she finally realizes how much trouble she's in. They have gone somewhere beyond control. They'll make it out this time, but next time...

Lucy is going to have to buy bigger jeans.

*****

That One Time.

A couple days later, after a lot of eating, sleeping, and painkillers, the Time Team is complete again. They congregate in the lounge to demolish the remaining alcohol. Rufus is alive. Jiya’s smiling—her first smile in months—and sitting halfway on top of him, as if she’s afraid he’ll vanish if they separate. Wyatt and Denise are several shots into a drinking game. Mason has fallen asleep on the couch.

Lucy, meanwhile, is more relaxed than she's felt in...well, maybe her whole life. Sure, Rittenhouse is still out there. They're too complicated an enemy to be so easily severed from time. But her family is whole. There's blues by Robert Johnson on the stereo. Lucy's swaying to the music, lost in her own world, and she thinks they can survive anything.

Her heart skips when Flynn's warmth radiates at her back. He moves in close enough for her to feel him, but not close enough to stop the swaying.

"It's late," he murmurs. "You're not healed. You need rest."

Lucy's a little drunk. Bold-drunk, not trashed-drunk. "Okay," she says. "Let's go to bed."

He keeps his arm around her down the hall, holding her close. He's been like this for days. Stalking around Lucy, hovering over her, watching her closely. She can hardly breathe anticipating the moment he snaps. But he hasn't snapped.

Flynn has rediscovered his sense of self-control.

When he gets to the room, he tells Lucy, "You can sleep on the bed." As if for some reason, they might not sleep together. To be fair, Lucy isn't sure that Flynn hasn't been staying awake all night to watch her, making sure she doesn't spontaneously die while his guard is down.

He settles into a nearby chair. Lucy can't bring herself to lie down.

"Wyatt brought up an interesting point," she says. Flynn's eyes still darken at the other man's name. It's competition, fierce and furious. Flynn doesn't realize that Wyatt hasn't presented a threat in months. "He said that we're changing the timeline anyway, so if I don't get pregnant by the 'deadline' then that's...you know, it might never have to happen."

"I realized that too," Flynn says. "We may be safe in another month." And now she sees the source of his quiet watchfulness. He has just enough control to wait until pregnancy isn't inevitable. "You are safe with me. Always."

Lucy finds this answer insufficient. She slides into his lap, her thighs bracketing his hips. Her backside fills his hands when she settles against him. "I wouldn't mind being slightly less safe."

His gaze can't seem to leave her lips. He is thirsty, and she is the only oasis amid endless miles of desert. "Lucy..."

"I mean, we could just do it the once," Lucy says. "I got a condom just in case."

The sight of the foil in her fingers seems to unravel what little control Flynn possesses.

They do not "just do it the once."

They do it once on that chair, right there, because neither of them can wait any longer. It takes a few moments of panting and rearranging to allow their bodies to meet. Lucy sinks onto him, inch by inch, and she's got him inside of her, splitting her open, pressing against her deepest core. She shudders when he bottoms out. He whispers filthy nothings into her ear, makes promises that the language centers of her brain can't parse. His growling breath is hot on her neck. Flynn's mouth captures hers when she comes, as if he wants to swallow the sound.

Then they do it on the cot--slower, with more hands, more tongue, more exploration. Flynn returns to the heat of her cunt with a hunger that hasn't abated since their rescue mission. He makes her climax twice before allowing her to return the favor. He still sheathes himself inside Lucy before reaching his finish. Luckily, she bought a whole box of condoms. They're being so careful.

They do it again with Lucy bent over the desk, taking Flynn so deeply that she can taste him. She didn't mean to have sex with him again. She just can't resist the slide of his skin against hers, the brush of his chest hair, the scent of his sweat. He buries his face between her shoulder blades and bites the skin when he spends himself. He's even careful with his teeth. Lucy trusts he won't leave a bruise. She wouldn't mind if he did.

They sleep at some point that night, tangled in each other. Sated. But when the morning comes and Lucy wakes with her leg thrown over Flynn's hip, she can't resist pulling herself against him, waking him with her fingers through his hair. He kisses her hard. He lifts her leg higher. He slides himself inside, and Lucy is whole.

*****

Two weeks later.

Lucy shouldn’t be surprised when the pregnancy test comes up with two lines. That was what started this whole thing, after all: worrying so much about a baby that didn’t yet exist that she found herself thinking unrelentingly about making that baby, until she finally couldn’t help but let destiny take the reins.

Blame destiny, not Lucy’s off-brand gas station condoms.

She stays on the toilet lid for about an hour. The longer she looks at them, the more those two lines seem to spell out the name “Amy.” Amy with the good genetics. Amy with her sister’s name. Amy with…oh, she would definitely have dark hair, wouldn’t she? She'll have Flynn's dark gaze and Lucy's angled cheekbones. She'll be smart. She'll be tough.

Lucy can't wait to meet her.

When she finally steps out the door, Flynn is waiting. He's changing the sheets on their bed. When he sees the pregnancy test in her hand, he stops.

There are no words for this moment. Telling a man who lost his first child that he's about to have another. That Flynn and Lucy are in the process of growing a life together. She should say something but all she can do is offer a weak smile.

"We didn't break the timeline," Lucy says lightly.

She barely gets the sentence out before Flynn is atop her, around her, lifting her from the ground. His hands span her back as he presses her against his chest, feet high off the floor. Lucy doesn't often get to look down at him like this. Her hair swings around them, capturing his dusky features as he drinks in the sight of Lucy.

Flynn kisses her. "I love you," he says. "And I already love her."

Lucy feels just the same.