Started writing this the day we were cancelled, and was still editing by the time we were un-cancelled! Has anyone in the fandom created a name for that crazy time yet? I think we need one—the pre-decision angst, the cancellation despondency, the un-cancellation joy….definitely needs an epic name.

Inspired by officerparker's week 3 challenge: Someone from Wyatt's past shows up and thinks Wyatt and Lucy are together. It's the first thing that popped into my head, when I read that prompt. Originally, this was part of a larger story that I have abandoned for now. I had intended to eliminate the "excess plot" from the main week 3 challenge idea, but the story said "no". So….now I have to add a warning: Here be massive shifts in tone! We're talking from time team joyful triviality to character shock and sadness…. I'm expecting 4 chapters of it.

So, to paraphrase All About Eve: Fasten your seatbelts—or better yet, have Wyatt do it-it's going to be a bumpy fic.

I of course own nothing that follows—not from Timeless, not the surprising number of paraphrased lines that crept in from another fandom—bonus points if you find them—and most definitely not the Shakespeare.

Wyatt pulled himself out of the life boat and pinched the bridge of his nose for a beat, willing his stomach to settle back somewhere in the approximate region of his abdomen, before he turned to offer his hand to Lucy. Apparently he had tugged her just a little too sharply, as she toppled out of the portal—legs tangled in her 1814 skirts. About to remark on the perils of being a time-travelling klutz, Wyatt thought better of it, and instead offered her his hand again. Given the look she shot him, he assumed that she must have been able to read the previous unspoken comment in his eyes. He smiled gently, and reached his hand closer to her, "Need some help, ma'am?"

There was that look again. "You're lucky it's your birthday Wyatt."

But Wyatt's grin widened, thankful once again that he'd stumbled upon that little gem of nomenclature the day they met, as he saw the slight flush of colour gaining traction on her cheeks-just as her annoyance seemed to fade.

Another voice sounded behind him, still inside the Lifeboat. "Speaking of that, can we please get out of here soon? I'm starving."

"Not to hold up the party folks, but there's this little thing called a debrief we like to do around here." Agent Christopher stood with her hands on her hips, gazing at the trio, although Wyatt recognized immediately that her expression didn't hold the same hard line as her words.

"So—what was Emma's plan this time?" she asked.

"No idea," shrugged Wyatt, walking toward the computer banks.

"Everything seemed proper, at Fort McHenry," came Lucy's voice, as she drew along beside him.

Was it just Wyatt's imagination, or was she standing closer and closer to him these days? He quirked an eyebrow at her slightly, maybe it was….nope; let's stop that line of thinking rightnow.Still on duty, and all. Instead, he pulled his ridiculously scratchy woollen cap from his head and sighed. "Yep-lots of rockets' red glare, bombs in the air….and most importantly, come dawn's early light," he nodded for emphasis, "The flag was still there."

"So you're saying you had no contact with her at all?" asked Agent Christopher.

"Saw her once," began Rufus.

"Yes," continued Lucy, "In a row boat on the river, making a hasty retreat from the fort."

"But we questioned everyone we could," Wyatt finished. "No one in the vicinity had any memory of seeing or talking to her. We can't pinpoint anything that she actually changed."

"What's her game?" asked Christopher, to no one in particular.

Wyatt started unbuttoning his top coat, damn uncomfortable and heavy period clothes. "You know, there was something to be said for Flynn's approach, at least we could always just follow the trail of bodies…."

Lucy flashed him an indistinguishable look. "Emma's methodical, careful. Knows exactly what she's going for, and just changes that one thing tiny thing to make the difference she wants….we just need to get ahead of her."

"And how do we do that?" asked Mason, who had joined the group at the edge of the platform, levelling his gaze on Lucy.

"Research," she shrugged. "Just like before, we take the data stick from the lifeboat with the previous history, then we hit the computers. Figure out whatever little bits have changed from the original timeline, look for trends, patterns, connections, anything we can find to try and predict her next move."

Wyatt pressed his palms against the nearest console, rolling his shoulders and huffing out an abbreviated chuckle. "Like I said….I miss Flynn."

"Well," said Mason, "I'll start running the numbers—go change and report back here. Time and tide, you know."

"No," said agent Christopher. "It can wait."

"What's that now?" asked Rufus, grasping Jiya's hand as he stood beside her.

"I know it's Wyatt's birthday—get out of here, have some fun….and get some sleep. That's an order. Mason's people will start running the program; it will be ready and waiting for you tomorrow morning."

Love constructive criticism feedback, but be gentle. First thing I've written in over a decade!