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Chapter One:

Rufus prepared the Lifeboat for the return trip home, after a week in 1967. Lucy fisted her shaking hands in her jacket pocket, hiding them from her team members. Wyatt was across from her, pale and withdrawn, rubbing his hands on his pants. She pressed her leg against his until he lifted his eyes to meet hers, and offered him a small smile.

“Are you okay?” She mouthed the words, not sure if they would carry over the loud buzzing. He seemed to understand, because he shrugged and nodded once.

Wyatt closed his eyes, pushed his head back into the seat as he tried to prepare for the jump. The events of the last week replayed through his head. He’d almost failed again.

One week earlier

They had arrived in Bridgewater, Massachusetts the day before, Lucy had thought the town sounded familiar but wasn't sure who or what Flynn could have been after. The only thing worth investigating had been the state hospital nearby.

While Wyatt had been talking to the head nurse, Lucy disappeared. One moment she was behind him, then she was gone. He had to fight his sudden panic with his years of military training. He knew she hadn't gone deeper into the hospital, he would have seen her walk by. That only left the restrooms and courtyard. He quickly cleared the men's room and startled one nurse in the women's but he didn't find Lucy.

“Get it together, Logan” he muttered to himself. He slammed through the front doors of the hospital, scanning and searching the open courtyard for her. She stood directly in the center with her back to him. He let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding and rushed to her side.

“Lucy! What the hell?” he exclaimed.

“He was here Wyatt, Flynn was here. He wants to meet later tonight to talk.” Lucy turned to him as excitement lit up her face and eyes.

Wyatt looked around but didn't see anyone. He took ahold of Lucy's arm and gently tugged her towards the car. She’d been alone with Flynn and he hadn’t been there to protect her; he could have taken her again and Wyatt would have never known. His heart sped up and his vision blurred. He subconsciously tightened his hold on her arm.

“Ouch! Hey, caveman, aren't you supposed to hit me over the head with something before dragging me off?” She tugged her arm free and walked in front of him. “We’ll talk about this,” she gestured around “when we get back to the hotel.”

The hotel room was cramped with all three of them inside. The room had one large bed and a small chaise lounge. The first night they had taken turns sleeping on the lounge or sharing the bed. Wyatt had been surprised to find out the hard way that Rufus was a cuddler and a deep sleeper.

Lucy had spent the last twenty minutes explaining her plan, which included a dinner date with a known terrorist, killer, and kidnapper. Wyatt was constantly surprised by this brave, intelligent woman who stood in front of him. He trusted her but he didn't have a good feeling about this plan.

“You can’t be serious about meeting Flynn alone,” he demands. “He’s dangerous, and he doesn't care who gets hurt.”

“Rittenhouse needs to be stopped and Flynn is the one out there trying to stop them. I may not like his methods but he knows more than we do.” She felt like time was running out and this would be her only chance to get more information, maybe even get a look in that journal.

“You can’t trust him, Lucy.” Wyatt hated thinking about the twenty feet that would separate him and Lucy while she was on a date with Flynn. Not like it was a real date, he told himself. He snapped his eyes to Lucy.

He’d only seen her get ready for one date and that was a guaranteed disaster, with a known assassination attempt looming. This was a different era and the dress was a lot shorter. He spent more time than he’d like to admit thinking about Lucy and possible dates, and none of those had included Flynn. He refused to think he was jealous; he was only concerned for his fellow co worker. If a small voice deep inside his heart called bullshit, he wouldn’t admit it to anyone.

“I didn't say I trusted him. I just need to see what he is planning.” Lucy tried to brush past him but he grabbed her wrist, stopping her.

“Dammit Lucy. This is the wrong call. We are flying blind here and you want to just go have dinner with the enemy.”

“Wyatt, let me go. This is our chance to get some answers.” She tugged her hand out of his grasp. “Besides, I'll have you watching my back and I trust you.” She gave him one last smile before leaving the room.

Everything was going according to plan. Rufus was watching the back door and Wyatt waited near the bar. From his position he was able to see the whole restaurant and all of the entrances. Suddenly, people flooded through the doors. Shouts and women's stifled screams filled the once quiet room.

Wyatt only caught a few words amongst the crowd.

“He escaped.”

“Better lock your doors and windows, our women aren't safe until he's found.”

Wyatt pushed through the crowd and only caught a glimpse of Lucy's face as she was dragged through the front door. He thought he heard his name but the crowd had stolen it away. He rushed through the door, knocking over a few people in his haste.

Once outside, he looked around, frantically searching the crowd for any sign of her, when he heard her call his name again. Her voice sounded further away, sending claws of panic through his mind, consuming his concentration. His heart rate spiked and he heard ringing in his ears. Wyatt needed to stop the noise around him so he could focus on Lucy’s voice. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. From across the street he heard a faint cry cut off. He didn't hesitate, he knew the sound of her voice anywhere and he ran, dodging around cars and missing the bumpers by inches.

He was in a dark alley but was still able make out the figure of a man in white standing over the unconconscious form of Lucy Preston. The man was in a naval uniform but he was scruffy and unkempt. He was stroking Lucy's cheek with one dirty hand. Wyatt rushed him, knocking him to the ground.

“Get away from her.” His voice was thick with rage. He didn't see any marks on her. He pulled his gun and aimed at the unknown man while he reached down and touched her cheek, she was warm to the touch. He slid his hand down to her neck and found her strong carotid pulse and her eyes flickered.

The wave of relief that filled him made him lower his gun for an instant. The man noticed his distraction and started to get up. But Wyatt grabbed his jacket, shoved him to the ground, and held the gun to the his head.

“What did you do to her?” He demanded, his voice low and full of malice.

“It wasn’t me I...I swear I-I found her like this. I was j-just checking to s-see if she was okay.” The man stuttered and tried to pull away.

“Where's Flynn?” Wyatt hissed.

“I don't know a Flynn, please I got to go,” the man begged.

“Move again and I won't hesitate to shoot you.” Wyatt reached down running his hand over Lucy’s head. He felt a large bump on the back of her head but he didn't feel anything wet and ruled out any bleeding. “ Lucy, can you hear me? Come on, open your eyes for me.”

Lucy’s eyes fluttered and she let out a low groan. She reached her hands up, grabbing at her head.

“Wyatt? What happened?” Her voice wavered.

“I was hoping you could tell me.” His heart was pounding so loud in his ears that he thought the Lucy could hear it. When her eyes opened and she met his eyes, the tension he hadn't known he was holding released. His hand was still under her head and he gently helped her sit up slowly. “What's the last thing you remember?” he asked while he moved his hand lower to her shoulder giving as much support as he could with one arm still holding the gun on the unknown threat.

“Flynn was talking about Rittenhouse and said he was expecting someone to join him. He told me I had to leave before he got there. I refused and when the crowd rushed the restaurant,” she closed her eyes again and winced with pain. “He pulled me outside. In the rush we were separated and I felt something smash into my head...oh my head.”

She wobbled back, but Wyatt pulled her into him. Lended her his support and comfort for both of them. Holding her spread warmth through his chest that expanded through his body. She held onto his shirt, resting her forehead against his chest. She took a few deep breaths and let them out slowly.

“I feel some nausea, dizziness and my head is killing me. I might have a concussion.” She mumbled into his chest.

She laid her cheek against his warm chest and with his free arm he pulled her in closer to his body cradling her head gently in his hand. He didn't want to move her too fast, worried she might get sick. They should even wait to leave until she felt better, unsure how a head injury and the Lifeboat would do together.

Lucy pulled back from him and took in the dark and deserted alley around them. She noticed the man in the uniform instantly. The low light made it difficult to get a good look at his ordinary face. But his stare felt cold and it made her feel uncomfortable. Lucy looked away from him and buried her face against Wyatt’s neck.

“Who's the guy?” she whispered to him, her breath warm against his ear, sending shivers down his spine.

“I found him leaning over you. He said he doesn't know Flynn.” Wyatt kept an eye and his gun on the man as he whispered in her ear. He tried to ignore the jolt of electricity as his lips brushed the shell of her ear when he talked.

He mentally scolded himself. This wasn't the place, and it sure as hell wasn't the right time, to be thinking about the taste of her skin. He had a hard enough time forgetting the sensation of her lips against his and the memories of laying beside Lucy, talking about possibilities. He had more than a few dreams of kissing her again. He had noticed she’d stopped wearing her engagement ring and he kept trying to figure out a way to bring it up, but it was never the right time.

They turned together and looked at the other man. He pulled back from them, his face turned away, crossing his arms around his thin body and looking for an escape. Lucy thought his face seemed familiar; maybe he was lying about knowing Flynn after all.

Suddenly, Lucy gasped and shrunk back from the other man. Newspaper images flashed through her mind, the headlines screaming at her to get away. She kept pushing herself back, even out of Wyatt’s safe arms. Wyatt reached for her hand but she slipped away, eyes wide with horror. He instantly tightened his grip on his gun and reassessed the threat level. He hadn’t seen her this panicked since the incident at the World’s Fair Hotel. Lucy jumped to her feet, waves of nausea and dizziness quickly washing through her, sending her back to her knees. The realization that she had been alone with this man and what could have happened if Wyatt had not shown up in time made the hair at the back of her neck rise.

“I know who you are. You're Albert DeSalvo.” Her words trembled, like her hands. She pushed herself back on her feet more slowly this time but she still felt unsteady and she didn't know if it was the head injury or the company.

She ran a hand over her head and down her clothing, checking to see if everything was intact. Wyatt watched her, ready to catch her if she fell back again. Besides the bump on her head and scraped knees she was fine. What would Flynn want with the Boston Strangler? What did he have to do with Rittenhouse? Was this who Flynn was waiting for? Questions bounced through her head but the answer eluded her.

“What do you know about Rittenhouse?” She demanded, feeling slightly safer with Wyatt between her and the evil man.

“What?! No, I've done what they asked, everything they asked. I escaped that hospital, so I could be free. I wasn’t going to hurt you. I haven’t seen anything so soft an’ pretty for over a year.” Lucy shivered at his soft monotone voice.

“Rittenhouse, what do you know?” Wyatt stood and moved back closer to Lucy but still standing between Albert and her. He did not like they way he was looking at her and he definitely didn't like the way she was responding .

“They own everything, everyone, and guide us through a better tomorrow. Rittenhouse is the future.” Albert leaned forward to see around Wyatt.
Lucy pressed forward up against Wyatt’s back. She wrapped her arms around his waist, trying to be as small as possible. She felt the cold sensation of fingers running down her spine every time he looked at her. She needed Wyatt’s warmth to fight the cold.

Wyatt could feel Lucy trembling behind him. With his gun still raised at the threat in front of them, he placed his other arm on her hand at his waist, letting her know he was here and she was safe. He didn't know why this guy had her so worked up, but he sure as hell wasn't letting him near her again.

Running footsteps thundered down the alley as Rufus and, surprisingly enough, Flynn rounded the corner. Wyatt slowly stepped back with Lucy still wrapped behind him. Rufus was relieved to see them and was about to step forward when Flynn stopped him with an arm pointed at Wyatt and Lucy as they slowly backed up towards them.

“Albert DeSalvo, I've been looking for you. I have some questions for you. But first why don't we let these three get on with their evening?” Flynn looked and caught Wyatt’s eye, tilting his head backwards, motioning for them to leave.

“We are not leaving someone from Rittenhouse with you.” Rufus said with a snort. The tension filled the small alley like a thick fog and Rufus was confused over everyone being threatened by the unarmed man in the corner. He moved to his friends, trying to read the situation just like Wyatt taught him and it looked like Lucy was unsteady on her feet even while holding onto Wyatt.

Lucy tightened her hold on Wyatt and nodded her head. Flynn noticed her unease and Wyatt squeezed her hand in understanding. This was one battle she wanted to be as far away from as she could and 2017 wasn't far enough. She stepped back, pulling Wyatt with her. He stumbled but kept his gun aimed.

Flynn stepped between them as they slowly retreated, still holding on to each other. He looked at Wyatt.

“Get her out of here. We don't need history repeating itself, do we, Mr. Logan?”

Wyatt looked from Flynn to the other man. Albert only had eyes for Lucy and his cold stare was hungry. He hated giving anything up to Flynn but he needed to protect his team and he knew by Lucy and Flynn's reaction who was most at risk.

Lucy looked back and saw they were on the street and next to Rufus. She reached for his arm and grabbed onto his sleeve and pulled both men away from the dark. With the two men she trusted most in the world, she finally felt like she was able to breathe.

They just cleared around the corner when a thump and gasp came from the alley. Rufus tried to stop and go back but Lucy only tightened her grip, shaking her head which she discovered was a mistake. She was quickly overcome with flashes of light and an incessant high-pitched ringing. Wyatt caught her as she stumbled forward, fatigue immediately washing over her.

“What the hell is going on? We’re just letting Flynn have that guy!? What's wrong with Lucy?” Rufus was confused and noticed how pale Lucy was. Her eyes were closed and her head rested against Wyatt’s shoulder.

“We need to get her out of here. She was hit with something and has a big bump on her head; probably has a concussion. I'm not sure she'll be able to travel back yet.” Wyatt lifted her up into his arms and took off towards their hotel.

Wyatt and Rufus took turns sleeping so they could keep waking her every two hours during the first night. It had taken two days for Lucy to stop throwing up and her head to stop spinning when she sat up. They had a hard time keeping her hydrated. It took three days before she was able to eat anything solid. Her speech was mostly mumbled when she was awake. When she was asleep, she talked about her sister. A few times she said Wyatt’s name, but he couldn't understand more than that.

The news of the recapture of Albert DeSalvo, aka The Boston Strangler, was on every newspaper and gave everyone peace of mind. Reports stated that he had turned himself into the authorities. He had been severely beaten and treated at the local hospital and was to be sent to Walpole upon his release.

Wyatt didn't sleep much in the first few days but thanks to his time with Delta Force he didn't need to. He refused to leave Lucy’s side even when he did sleep; Rufus was sent to get any provisions they needed until Lucy was ready to travel. They had considered taking her to the doctor a few times but the fear of questions they couldn't answer trapped them in their small room.

Wyatt missed listening to her talk and they way she smiled. He hated the dark circles under her eyes and the trembling that shook the bed every couple of hours. He dreamed of staying in that alley helping Flynn “question” Albert, waking with his fist tight and jaw clenched.

Lucy stirred and woke up to the familiar room that she shared with her friends. She felt a warm hand in hers and slowly turned her head. Wyatt was seated in a chair next to her, sound asleep, leaning forward so his head was resting on the bed, his hand wrapped around hers. She gave into her temptation and brushed her free hand over his hair. He stirred instantly and squeezed her hand.

He rolled his head to the side and looked up at her. She continued running her fingers through his hair. He leaned into her touch and let out a sigh.

“Hey there, sweetheart,” she smiled down at him.

“Welcome back, babydoll,” Wyatt brushed his lips over her knuckles.

“Thank God you’re really awake this time. I thought Wyatt was going to wear a hole in the carpet,” Rufus chuckled from the doorway.

Wyatt sat back and dropped her hand, looking back at Rufus.

“I think it's time to go back home.” Wyatt said as he looked back at Lucy. “Are you up for it? We’ve been gone for a week in this time.”

Lucy turned to Rufus. “Will it be a week for our time, too?”

“Yes and Jiya is going to be pissed. Agent Christopher would have made contact with your mom and fiancée so they wouldn't worry.” Rufus quickly walked over to the bed and placed a hand on Lucy’s shoulder. “Are you really up for the trip?”

Wyatt stood from his chair and left the room. She watched him walk away, the warmth and security she’d felt moments ago leaving with him. She looked at Rufus and nodded.

“I better get up. Can you help me stand?” Rufus stepped forward and gave her his arm. She noticed she was in a new slip and wondered who changed her. She felt her cheeks flush at the mental image of Wyatt undressing her. Or, it could have been Rufus, she relented.

She didn't see Wyatt again until they arrived at the Lifeboat. He was standing outside, waiting for them with a small flask. Rufus shook his head and entered the ship. Wyatt offered his hand to Lucy and followed behind. He quickly helped her with the buckle and sat down without a word. He felt more distant than normal. She brushed her thumb over the same knuckles he had kissed only a few hours ago. She still felt the tingle of his lips.

The were greeted with cheers and back slaps by the Mason employees. Jiya rushed to Rufus, throwing herself in his arms and kissing him. She pulled back and then punched his arm before kissing him again. Agent Christopher looked as frazzled as they had ever seen her.

“Lucy needs medical attention. I'm going to change and shower before debriefing.” Wyatt brushed past the crowds of people without turning around.

“Lucy?” Agent Christopher asked.

Lucy watched his retreating form and wondered what happened from this morning to now. “I'm fine now, just a minor headache.” She waved her hand over her head. “I could really use a shower and fresh clothes, and I should probably call my mom. Just let me know what the cover story is before I call.”

For being gone over a week, the debriefing was surprisingly fast. They had mostly stayed in the room after Lucy was injured. Wyatt left as soon as they were cleared without a word and Rufus and Jiya took Lucy home, promising to check on her.

For once, Flynn was quiet, leaving them alone to live in the present. It was the radio silence from Wyatt that was the most startling; he hadn’t answered any of her texts or phone calls which was unusual. Lucy waited over a week before reaching out to Rufus.

“I'm getting worried. Have you heard from him?”

“No, he hasn't answered any of my texts either. I talked to Agent Christopher, though, and she said that he has answered her. I'm heading over now to check on him.”

“Should I come, too?” She was anxious to see him and she honestly missed him.

“Lucy, I don't know if that's a good idea. Let me talk to him.” He had a feeling that he knew what was going on and knew that Lucy was most likely the trigger.

Rufus walked up to the apartment carrying a pizza and six-pack of beer. He knocked and waited. Wyatt opened the door dressed in sweatpants and a faded army t-shirt. He obviously hadn't shaved and his normal scruff has turned into a full-on beard. Dark circles were under his bloodshot eyes.

“You look like crap, man. Let me in, I've let you brood long enough.” Rufus pushed past him without an invitation. “We are not leaving here until you talk, so you better make it good.” Rufus took off his coat and sat down on the worn couch.

Wyatt closed the door, resting his head against the frame before turning around. He looked at his friend and sighed.

“Where do I start?”

“The beginning, of course. Tell me about Jessica.”

Chapter Text

“The beginning, of course. Tell me about Jessica.”

Wyatt rubbed a hand over his face. He relived that night over and over but it never got any easier. The memory was seared into his brain and when he closed his eyes it would replay. He swore he could hear the music, smell the stale beer and bad perfume. He hadn’t wanted to go, but Jessica had insisted. She said that she couldn't stand being cooped up in the house and she needed to get out. Wyatt hated the crowd, hated the flashing lights and loud noises. But he stayed because Jessica loved it.

The night wore on his nerves, he tried to use alcohol to ease the tension rolling through him, but it only heightened his agitation. Jessica had tried to pull him onto the dance floor but the bodies pushed at him and the heat overpowered him. He left her alone on the floor and tried to catch his breath outside. He returned to find her dancing with another man.

He knew the man that had his hands all over Jessica, Trevor Lawson. Wyatt didn’t know much about the short time Jess and Trevor had dated. At the time Wyatt and Jessica had been on a break while Wyatt had been in basic training. But his wife's coworker never let him forget that she could have married him instead, and always promised to take care of her when he was gone. Wyatt saw red, his blood boiled.

Wyatt shoved his way through the crowd, the tension he'd tentatively been holding had slipped through his grasp. Vision of the two of them together played through his drunken mind. His friends had laid dying and his wife was home sleeping with this asshole. He’d lost his whole platoon and here she was, openly flirting with Trevor right in front of him. The music pulsed and lights flashed the closer Wyatt got to the dance floor, he flinched at the loud crash behind him. The need to get clear of danger, pressed down on him from every direction. He tried to focused in on Jessica’s blond hair and bright smile but Trevor stepped in front of her. He twirled her around him, rested his hands on her hips.

“Get your hands off my wife,” Wyatt warned.

Jessica turned with a smile, “Wyatt you’re back.”

“Logan, good to see you made it back. Jess and I were just talking about you,” Trevor smirked.

“I said, get your hands off my wife,” he growled.

“Ah man, I was just keeping her warm,” Trevor assured with a chuckle.

Wyatt grabbed Jessica’s elbow and pulled her toward him, and began dragging her through the crowd.

“Wyatt!” Jessica yelped.

“Hey, what the hell, Logan?” Trevor objected.

Wyatt snapped back, “We’re leaving.”

“Wyatt! Let go of my arm,” Jessica demanded, tugging her arm out of his hold. Trevor scowled and followed close behind.

“Is this what you do while I’m deployed?” Wyatt snapped, in her face. “Have you been fucking him?

“What?!” Jessica gasped. “No! I’d never, do that Wyatt!?”

“Wyatt, you got it all wrong,” Trevor protested. “Just back off and we can talk about this. Jess, are you okay?”

Wyatt took a step into Trevor’s space and shoved him. Trevor stumbled but remained standing. Jessica gasped and stepped between the two men. She placed her hands on Wyatt’s chest, preventing him from going after Trevor again.

“Wyatt, you need to stop,” she cautioned.

“I am sick and fucking tired of people telling me what I fucking need. What I need is a wife that’s not out banging her coworker!” Wyatt raged.

People turned and pulled away from the scene. Jessica’s face flushed with indignation and disappointment. Wyatt knew he’d gone too far, but he couldn’t stop himself, he couldn’t quiet the roar of the gunfire in his ears. Nothing was in his control anymore and he needed space to breath. He needed people to stop asking him how he was doing. People to stop congratulating him on making it home, getting a new medal, asking how bad it was over there.

Wyatt took a shallow breath and looked down at his wife, he tried to shake off the haze that filled his mind. Her eyes were wet from unshed tears, her face bright red and her lips pursed. She reached out for his hand but he flinched back, he couldn’t be near her with his mind filled with visions of her infidelity. In his right state of mind he knew it wasn’t true that it was his own demons playing tricks on him. Wyatt turned his back on Jessica and stomped out of the bar. Nothing here was going to bring him peace tonight.

“Wyatt?” Jessica called to him.

“I’m leaving,” Wyatt barked. “Are you coming home with me or him?”

Jessica grabbed her purse, “I’m sorry Trevor, he not in his right mind.”

“As long as you're safe Jess.” Trevor glared at Wyatt.

“Don’t apologize to him for me.” Wyatt spun away from both of them. He still heard Jessica last words.

“Wyatt would never hurt me, even if he's a drunk idiot.”

Wyatt can't recall the fight in the car. He knew she hadn't wanted him to drive but he ignored her protest. She pushed and prodded his open festering wound of a soul and he couldn't stop the flood of images of running through the desert, away from his friends his platoon. Jessica had wanted him to talk, tell her what was wrong, she kept repeating that he was home, he was safe. He didn't feel home he didn't feel safe.

She threw up her hands and demanded he pull over. She couldn't deal with his silent bitterness anymore. Wyatt had refused, but Jessica had screamed at him stop the car. She told him she would rather walk, his internal demons mocked him with words of failure. He slammed on the breaks and silently watch her get out the car, arms on her hip she shut the door and walked away. Wyatt stared at his wife's retreating back for a moment before he pulled away.

It only took him twenty minutes of silence and doubt for him to turn the car around. He hoped she would forgive him, he had made a fool of himself and her. He knew he was going to need to beg, but Jessica was worth it. Their love was stronger then one night. But she wasn't on the street he left her on. Or the one next to it. Wyatt tried to remain calm, to convince himself that she just beat him home. He drove home and called her name but there was no answer.

For two weeks he lost himself in the search. Her family and friends came by constantly to aid in the search. His friends stood vigil, and forced him to sleep when they could. Wyatt can still hear the hollow knock on the front door when the San Diego detectives arrived. Jessica had been found and she was never coming home again. Someone had taken her for him. He had thought he knew pain, he thought he knew loss but nothing compared to the hole that ripped through his chest on learning his beautiful Jessica was killed and it was his fault.

“Jessica and I were fighting and she asked to get out of the car.” Wyatt looked at his friend, wrecked by the words that could never heal him. “That was the last time I saw her, in the side of the road. She was so disappointed and mad at me. And I just left her.” The last words were whispered.

Rufus placed a hand on his shoulder, “Wyatt, man you are so focused on her death that you have forgotten how she lived. Tell me about Jessica. How did you two meet?” Rufus worried that he might have pushed too hard.

Wyatt snapped his eyes up to his friend’s, and a wave of bitter sadness engulfed him. Rufus was right - he’d forgotten his wife. He thought about failing her, losing her, and missing her. But he never thought about the time before, when they were happy. Wait that's not right, Wyatt realized. In Arkansas with Lucy, he had told the story of their engagement.

The sensation of a soft cheek against his hand and softer lips on his, invaded his mind. Kissing Lucy had been a ploy apart of an act but weeks later he could still feel her lips against his. But he couldn't remember the last kiss he shared with his wife, he had forgotten.

He stumbled from the couch and rushed to the bathroom, he fell to his knees in front of the toilet
and he expelled a week long bender. Wyatt heaved until nothing was left in his stomach, he felt the cool sensation of a towel on the back of his neck. He rolled his head to look up at Rufus.

“My mom always did it when I got sick,” he said with half a shrug.

“Thanks, it helped,” Wyatt grumbled.

Wyatt tried to stand and would have fallen back to his knees, if Rufus hadn't caught him. Together they got him back to the couch, Rufus brought water and crackers he found.

“Not too fast,” Rufus warned.

Wyatt nodded, “High school, junior year.”

“Huh?” Rufus started but stopped when he realized Wyatt was talking about Jessica.

“I was on the football team and we were playing a game against our rivals. I wasn't paying attention and I bowled over one of the cheerleaders. She laughed and asked if I at least caught the ball. Her brown eyes sparkled with amusement when I handed her the ball and asked for her number.

That was all it took for me to be knocked off my feet in love. We were inseparable after that. Crowned king and queen at prom, voted cutest couple, we didn't go anywhere without the other. Her parents worried we were going to fast, but we ignored them.

When Jessica was accepted to San Diego State, it was the first big challenge in our relationship. College wasn't an option for me, I wasn't good enough at sports for scholarships and my family didn't have the money. The only way I knew to get a real education was from the military G.I. Bill. We fought for weeks, it was a first for us we normally agreed on everything. I promised her I would try the community college before enlisting.”

Wyatt stood from the couch, the memories of their last summer before she left for college filled his head. He worked two jobs and didn't have a lot of free time but she never complained. His first paycheck he bought her a charm bracelet, with a diploma and a heart. He promised that every year he would buy her another charm. That was the night they first made love, on a blanket under the stars.

“I barely lasted a semester, before the burden of two jobs and classes became too much to handle. I went straight to the recruitment office after my last class. Jess was pissed when I told her, she expected more from me. We fought when we talked and stopped calling each other as much. She came home for Christmas and I told her I was leaving after New Year’s.

“She told me she didn't want to be a soldiers wife and she need time to think. I was heartbroken but stubborn. I wrote to her while I was training, talked about my day how much I missed her. She wrote once told me she went on a date, but couldn't take my bracelet off. I begged her to meet me in Texas when I was on leave, before I left for more advance training.

I was so nervous she wouldn't show, when she did it was like nothing had changed. I was only home a few weeks but I had a plan. I asked her to marry me under the tree where I first kissed her and dropped the ring.”

Telling the story to Rufus didn't hurt as badly as he had thought it would. Talking about Jessica became easier, each word peeled back a layer of shadows that covered the sun, allowing the light back in.

“We were married on our five year anniversary, she said so I only had to remember one day, October 16th. A few weeks later I started with the Delta Force. Deployments are frequent and erratic, sometimes we were away a few weeks others it was months. Jess stayed in school and got a degree in Social Work, the work kept her busy while I was away. I knew she hated the time we were apart. She wanted to start a family, but I wasn’t ready.

“The last few years we spent a lot more time fight than getting along. The closer the end of my enlistment contract came, the more we fought. She wanted me to get out, but I excelled at being a solder. I didn't have a plan or any idea what I would do if I wasn’t a solder. When I was home she would leave pamphlets on job fairs, applications, and printed job announcements around the house. It was exhausting, for both of us.”

Wyatt refilled his water glass and looked out the small window. He hadn’t thought about the fighting outside that one night. She hated the quiet when he got home after a mission. She wanted to go out, he need to stay in. The world outside confused and presented challenges he wasn’t sure how to cope with. He saw the sadness that draped around her shoulders when he was around, but he didn’t know how to help himself much less her. They weren’t the same people and he can’t honestly say where they would be now if she hadn't died.

Rufus, step beside Wyatt placed his hand on his shoulder and looked out the window. “We were together almost ten years. Married for almost five when she was killed at twenty-seven.” Wyatt’s voice low. “I replay that night, over and over but nothing changes. I tried everything I could think of to change it. But nothing has worked. I felt cheated,” Wyatt ventured. “But now, now there is something I didn’t plan. I didn’t see coming.”

Rufus, watched his friend stand up taller, open his eyes and take a deep breath. He knew that Wyatt wasn’t talking about time travel, he was talking about Lucy.

“Being around Lucy is like waking up from a bad dream. She reached in and pulled me out of the fire, pulled my head out of my ass. I’m not sure who has saved who more.”

“I’m sure, I've done plenty of saving too,” Rufus murmured under his breath.

Wyatt chuckled, “Yeah, you have.”

“So why are you shutting her out?” Rufus wondered.

“Shit man, I’m terrified,” Wyatt blurted. “After losing Jessica, I never thought I would be happy again. That I would ever want to be with someone else. I never thought that I would fall in love with a bossy know-it-all that can’t buckle a seatbelt.”

Wyatt gasped in surprise, his eyes widened and his eyebrows went to his hairline.

Rufus looked at him and smirked, “Is that the first time you said that out loud, or did you just realize?”

“Both,” Wyatt breathed.

“So, what are you going to do?” Rufus insisted.

“Rufus, I have no idea. You saw me in ‘67, when she was hurt. I don’t know how I survived Jessica dying, but Lucy…” Wyatt trailed off with a shiver. “No, I can’t even image it. I am damaged and I can’t bare to drape her in sadness, like I did my wife.”

“Lucy is not Jessica. She has her own layer of sadness, her own baggage. Let's not even bring up the surprise fiancee.” Wyatt scowled. “Her sister is gone, and was never here. Her childhood father is not her father and she has to deal with us.”

Wyatt nodded along, “I don’t want to be a burden.”

“You are not a burden, you are our friend.” Rufus corrected. “I know if Lucy was here she would say the same thing. She’s worried about you, and would have been here if I didn’t tell her to wait. I don’t know how much longer she can wait.”

“I know, I just need to work through what happened.” Wyatt hated worrying her. The image of her on the stairs still haunted him.

“How much more is there to work out? You love her and she loves you.”

Wyatt shook his head, but smiled. “She never said that.”

Rufus stared at Wyatt until the other man looked away. “Well, she hasn’t.”

“I am sure she is just as terrified as you are. But, you need to talk to her, tell her how you feel. If you want to back out of the team, tell her. And me. We need you man, but if you can’t do it then we will understand.”

“I’m not going anywhere. This is my fight, and you are my team.” Wyatt’s voice was full of conviction. “ Does Lucy think I want out of the team?”

“I don’t know what Lucy is thinking, besides being worried about you.”

“I should go tell her I’m not leaving.” Wyatt grabbed his car keys and jacket.

“Ah man you might want to shower, and sleep. You still look like shit, and kind of smell.”

Wyatt looked down and couldn’t remember his last shower. “You’re right, but I can still text her.”

Rufus cringed and rolled his head. “Are you sure you want to go that route? At this hour?”

Wyatt nodded and grabbed his phone.

Wyatt 02:20am: Lucy I’m not going anywhere. Talk when I’m sober?

He didn’t get an answer right away and then he realized the time, oh she was not going to like that, he thought.

Lucy 02:35am: Good, sleep, water

Wyatt beamed up at Rufus, and he realized that he was laying down on the floor. He didn't even remember getting there. Lucy was right it was sleep time. He typed another message but fell asleep before sending it. Rufus took his phone and looked down.

Wyatt 02:40: I love Lucy Preston, tell her in the morning.

Rufus laughed and sent the message to himself only so he had proof to show Wyatt. He placed a pillow under his head on the floor and left a glass of water, too. He covered Wyatt with a blanket and wondered when Wyatt would face his last demon, self-doubt, and take a chance on love again.