a/n: This is post-S1 established!Lyatt. If you want to pick basically any rando fic where I make them get together somewhere along the way, this can be the sequel to it since I skipped that part here...? And oh hey I still don't own timeless ;)
Also, this little ficlet has been loitering around unfinished in my drafts for more than several weeks, and then this month's prompts came out and gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finish it. So here's the inspiration from TFP that rounded this baby out & gave it an ending: Take any characters (or couple/ship) and describe the first time and the last time they did something together.
The snap of branches gave way to a glimpse of the Chesapeake Bay glimmering with the last light of day. Wyatt trudged along, keeping an even pace along the coastline. His head was drifting out ahead of the reflexive movements of his body, thoughts racing faster than his feet could carry him, which was really no problem at this point. He was trained to act on the impulse of nothing but muscle memory, a skill that had served him all too well lately. His favorite mantra these days - one thing at a time - was wearing a bit too thin, and it took all of his willpower to maintain that particular philosophy. And if he couldn't keep himself grounded in the act of focusing on the task at hand, how could he expect the same of his teammates?
Especially when their own personal trials had escalated to such distressing heights that in the darkest corner of his mind, he was sure they shouldn't be on this assignment anymore.
But he'd never admit that to a soul, not even under brutal torture.
He glanced back to cast an inquisitive brow at Rufus, only to find that his friend was looking right at him with an equally puzzled expression.
And the void between them - a void that was supposed to contain their third teammate - became frighteningly apparent before Wyatt could so much as blink.
"Hey where's - "
He cut himself off as his gaze swept across the landscape of the surrounding forest, his lung returning to proper working order once his eyes latched onto her willowy outline. The rapidly descending sun was throwing off an array of blinding light as it sank between water and sky into the fading horizon. The glare off the water almost eclipsed her entirely, but there she was. Her shoulders sagged and her dress was marred with dirt and the occasional streak of blood that turned even his stomach, but he didn't have to question that reaction too deeply to know its cause. Blood didn't bother him. It couldn't in his line of work. What did bother him, however, was blood on her. Or more specifically, her own blood spilled at the hands of a frickin' pirate of all things.
According to her own little speech - a speech she had dispensed with a hint of hysteria in her voice as Wyatt did his best to clean and bandage the laceration above her knee - William Kidd had once been a respectable proprietor of several properties in Manhattan. That was all before he went on a notorious seafaring crime spree, commandeering a collection of merchant ships up and down the African Coast.
Which was brought them here, to 1699, where Captain Kidd had landed on Delaware's coastline just before his eventual arrest in Boston; an arrest that almost wouldn't have happened if it had been up to Emma Whitmore and her ugly crew of Rittenhouse enforcers.
And despite it all - the pain of her injury, the pressure of keeping up with Emma, the need to defend history as she knew it, and above all, to keep her head above water on this whole Rittenhouse snafu that had understandably sent her into tailspin over the last several months - Lucy had met every challenge with excellence. They were going home with the full knowledge that this jump would go down as W in their column.
So to see her now, staring listlessly over the water, motionless and silent...? It wasn't quite adding up for him. Captain Kidd had moved on to Boston just as he was supposed to, and they'd chased Emma all the way to the Mothership where she'd escaped by nothing but the skin of her teeth, which meant they knew she was no longer a threat to the events of 1699. There was no reason to drag this jump out any longer than necessary.
"Lucy?" he called tentatively, forehead creasing further when she didn't immediately turn at the sound of her name.
She did eventually glance back at him from over her shoulder, dusk's stark distinction between warring sun and shadow keeping most of her face hidden from him. "I just need a second, okay?"
Wyatt eyed Rufus warily, and just as he'd anticipated, Rufus was barely withholding a flare of impatience. He slapped at a whirring mosquito and huffed a petulant sigh. "Catch you back at the Lifeboat, man. I live on the West Coast for a reason."
And then he was off, cursing about "this damn humidity" under his breath as he trampled over a few snarled tree roots.
But Wyatt knew his mood had a lot less to do with the humidity and a lot more to do with getting back to Jiya as quickly as he could. Her condition from their trip to '54 was still shrouded in mystery, and while the episodes were few and far between, they still weren't gaining much ground on identifying the cause of her visions. Take that fact and add in the less-than-friendly reception of a black man in an era that was by far the most primitive one they'd seen yet, and it was easy to sympathize with Rufus' crummy disposition.
And still Lucy was unyielding. With her face to the setting sun and arms woven compactly like a shield around her thin frame, she was nearly unapproachable.
"Lucy?" Wyatt asked again, scuffing the toe of his boot into the ground and creating a filmy cloud of dust before pushing himself forward. "What gives? I think Rufus is liable to take off without us this time if we make him wait too long."
She mumbled something in response, something that sounded alarmingly like maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing anymore...
"What was that?" He was close now, near enough to be awed by the ribbons of orange and blue that reflected from the bay and played across the unerring contours of her face.
"I like it here," she answered softly, her gaze fixed stubbornly on the dazzling show that nature seemed to be putting on just for them.
"Did you just admit to enjoying 1699? I know you're the history buff here, but I'm pretty sure we're light-years away from any kind of feminist movement at the moment."
His poured-on exhibit of disbelief did the trick. She smiled slowly, her eyes shining as she craned her head sideways to look at him. "No, I meant here as in right here. Undeveloped woodlands on the edge of the water. No settlements. No beach resorts or casinos or amusement parks."
"So what you really mean is no people."
His tone was uncompromising, and it swiftly robbed her of any levity. "You're supposed to like this kind of thing, aren't you? You're the one who had to do all the survivalist stuff. The weeks of off-the-grid wilderness training with nothing but the shirt on your back and all that..."
Wyatt's eyes rolled heavenward as he fought off a grin. "I think you've been watching too much Bear Grylls in your downtime, but yeah, I'm no stranger to forced isolation in the middle of nowhere." He paused, drawing a long breath before zeroing in on the real issue they were dancing around. "It won't help, though."
"Won't help with what, exactly?" she asked sharply.
"That impulse you're experiencing right now...the one that says you'd be better off if you just disappeared into the past and escaped everything that's waiting for you back in the present."
She shrugged as if the thought hadn't occurred to her. "Only a crazy person would suggest a thing."
He almost took the bait and swung back with a pointed retort, but then he caught the glint of jest in her dark eyes. "Switch out the word 'crazy' for 'desperate' and then we're on the same page."
Her eyes held his for a several seconds, fear and understanding filling the silence as they watched each other with an intensity that nearly snapped something inside of him. This was the moment he'd been cautiously awaiting, the wall she'd been bound to hit eventually. She'd been working too hard, running too fast, ignoring the sacrifices for too long; no matter how hard Lucy pushed, there was no eluding the long shadows of her mom's lies or their ancestral link to the very organization that she was fighting to abolish.
When she glanced back out to the last vestiges of the sunset, her words were weighted down and almost inaudible. "'I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach...'"
Wyatt frowned for a moment, sifting through his floundering memory to identify why those words were so familiar. "...Thoreau?"
Lucy nodded, her eyes widening just enough to let him on the fact that she hadn't expected him to place it. "Can you believe that we were required to read his work years ago - high school English, right? - and now we're standing here on the edge of the continent quoting him more than a hundred years before he's even born?"
"It's better for me not to think too much about that," he muttered, nudging her shoulder with his. "Hurts my head, you know?"
She nodded again, her chest rising and falling too fast, the shallowness of her breathing instantly doubling his concern.
"Lucy..." he slid a hand down her arm, tugging lightly until she turned to face him fully. "A wise person once told me that the present isn't perfect, but that it is ours. This - the new world or whatever they call it at this point - it might have its perks, but it doesn't belong to you and you don't belong to it."
Her eyes were swimming in unshed tears by the time he had finished, and he shook his head with a charged exhale, despising himself to the core for being the one to launch this round of lamentable emotion.
"Sorry," she whispered with a broken laugh, effectively catapulting a lone tear down her cheek. "I know, I know...more waterworks."
"Don't ever apologize for that," he murmured in return.
"It has to be getting old, though," she said bitterly, swiping at the path of saltwater that had been left behind.
Wyatt cupped her jaw in his hands, making sure he had her attention before he spoke. "The only thing that's getting old is my inability to remove you from this bullshit situation that makes you cry."
She pursed her lips determinedly and sniffled. "'Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.' That's also Thoreau."
He tilted his head, soaking in every ounce of golden-hued warmth that lined her face. "Wanna clue me in on what you're saying with that one, Luce? Because it sounds a hell of a lot better than the last quote, which more or less implied that you're planning to go AWOL in the 1600s."
"The loose translation? Our lives suck, but there's no one I'd rather time travel with than you."
He let out a low whistle. "Damn, that Thoreau guy was even better than I thought."
She smiled, brushed the last of her tears from her cheeks, and then pulled him down into a kiss that could outshine a hundred incandescent sunsets. It was a little hectic, brimming with the full spectrum of everything they felt for each other - the affection and infatuation of what was still so new between them, along with the urgency and anxiety that unfortunately followed them wherever they went. Her hand splayed across his chest before she sought more, but he knew better than to lose himself in her now. He swept a kiss to the tip of her nose before withdrawing lazily, his limbs tingling with an excitement that belonged solely to her.
"Rufus will have my head on a pike if I don't get us on that Lifeboat in the next five minutes."
She was the perfect picture of doe-eyed innocence until she opened her mouth. "Who says it needs to take more than five minutes?"
Wyatt felt his eyebrows hitting his hairline. "Take it easy on me, ma'am. I know you're a real-life Bond girl and all that, but I'm just a mere mortal. I can only handle so much..."
The resulting look - one that effortlessly mixed stern exasperation with girlish bashfulness - was the same look she always sent his way when he referenced her sultry cameo in Weapon of Choice, which he naturally brought up as often as possible. "You're right. I should have taken Ian Fleming up on his offer when I had the chance. I'm sure he had way more game than you."
"Nice try." He took both of her hands, propelling her back up to the route he'd been carving through the forest before she had stalled out along the way. "You can't trick me into proving you wrong. I know I have an incessant need to win every argument with you, but don't think you can use that against me now. I'm not naive. I know a trap when I see one."
"Who knew? Wyatt Logan, the Puritan." She wagered a one-sided grin in his direction. "Maybe you're the one who should think about staying in 1699."
"I think we both remember my very anti-Puritan performance in Normandy last week," he said in a voice that was pure gravel.
Lucy nodded slowly, her eyes raking over him with a growing smile. "Of course...je ne pourrais jamais t'oublier."
He stopped mid-stride. His hands released hers only to find their way around her narrow waist. "Ich weiß nicht, was das bedeutet, aber ich will dich alle Zeit."
She flushed against the backdrop of approaching twilight. "You know, between the two of us, we really could have done some topnotch spy work on behalf of the Allies if that had been the mission."
"If I'm being honest, I can barely remember what the mission was there, which really does not speak well for my potential spy credentials. There's something else that seems to dominate all of my thoughts when I try to envision anything that happened while we were in France."
"It really is a lovely country," she murmured with her fingertips sliding over his cheek.
"No arguments here," he said with a smirk, "but Rufus' impatience isn't the only thing that's cockblocking us this time around, babydoll."
Lucy backed away with a frown. "Then what - "
But Wyatt was already bending to hoist her up into his arms, holding her tightly to his chest as he set out for the time machine at a much faster clip than she could have managed. "You're limping, Lucy. And not in the cute we-just-had-one-hell-of-a-night kind of way."
She grimaced. "Oh..more like in the a-pirate-used-his-sword-to-lift-my-skirt-and-Wyatt-almost-ruined-everything-by-prematurely-killing-the-guy kind of way?"
"Yes," he said in a voice that was both amused and disgruntled as he stepped over a fallen tree branch, "just like that."
Her head wilted against his shoulder, fingers snarling into the fabric of his vest. "Feminist principles aside, I could get used to being carried back to the Lifeboat at the end of every jump. I think this brings new meaning to getting someone over the hump."
He snickered at that. "You're far from the first of my guys to get a lift out in the field, but this definitely qualifies as special treatment. It's a little cozier than protocol requires."
"Which is fireman's carry, right?" she asked with a poorly-concealed yawn.
"You got it. But only the best for you, Luce."
He glanced down curiously, unsure of the subtle shift in her tone. "Yeah?"
"This situation may be bullshit, but I can't imagine my life without it...without you."
He stood still for a breathless instant, peering down at her with a smile that threatened to rocket right off of his face. "I feel the same way. Je t'aime, Lucy."
Her body tensed against his chest and her grip on his vest intensified to the point where she was crumpling it beyond repair. "That...that was French."
"Yes it was," he replied simply.
"But..." she trailed off, blinking up at him with unconcealed amazement, "we - we've never said...and you don't speak French."
He smirked, shrugging gently as to not jostle her head from his shoulder. "It wasn't a hard phrase to learn."
Her hands were in his hair then, halting his progress toward the Lifeboat as she frantically guided him down to her mouth. He met her for every push and pull of lips and teeth and tongue, his heartbeat booming in his ears as he poured every inch of passion that he held for her into a kiss that almost sent him to his knees.
With her lips still grazing his, Lucy murmured in return, "Je t'aime aussi."
"Just the response I was hoping for," he answered with an overflowing grin.
"Say it again," she begged with a lilt of delighted laughter.
Wyatt delivered another boundless kiss of adoration to her mouth before complying. "Je t'aime."
He'd never expected - not in this lifetime or the next - that he'd tell another woman that he loved her after he'd lost Jess. To be fair, he'd also never expected that his military career would naturally segue into the role of a full-time traveler, and even in his wildest imagination he'd never believed that he would someday be getting into sword fights with 17th century pirates on the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. That mantra of one thing at a time rang through his head once more, reminding him that nothing of significance ever happened overnight. The healing of a heart, the strengthening of a team, the setting of the sun; it was all a work in progress. He was a work in progress.
With an impossibly giddy Lucy smiling up at him the rest of the way back to the Lifeboat, Wyatt knew without question that Thoreau had been right. There was no other land for him, no other life but this - the one where he had Lucy in his arms and was subsequently reacquainted with happiness for the first time in years. This was the only life he had now, and with every step he took along the way, he could no longer picture anything else in its place.
A spectacular array of light filtered in from the room's wide bank of windows. Blues, violets, a few specks of fading orange - the sun was giving him one hell of a royal sendoff, the encore of all encores, and he couldn't be more grateful to see it all one last time even if it was from a pitiful hospital bed. There was a constant rhythm of machinery around him - beep, hum, click; beep, hum, click - serving as a faithful reminder every few seconds that this was it. All he had left was a small impersonal room, a glorious view of one final sunset, and a ridiculously thin curtain to provide him with a measly screen of privacy as he drew his last breaths. It was a place for the end.
The dwindling hues of daylight were glowing in Lucy's dark eyes as she bent carefully over the rails of his bed and pressed a gentle kiss to his mouth.
"Je t'aime Wyatt," she whispered shakily, tears falling freely over her wrinkled cheeks. "I know, I know...more waterworks. I'll try to quit that."
"Don't bother. I can handle it, ma'am." He smirked slowly, causing a rumpled gathering of well-worn crows feet at the corners of his milky blue gaze. "Je t'aime aussi, Lucy. Always...I'll love you always."
A sob caught in her throat, but she swallowed it down for his sake. She had always been brave like that, hadn't she? There was no concealing her grief now - not she'd ever had much of a poker face anyway - but that didn't stop her from trying to put on a cheery front. Her lips twitched upward in spite of the tears trailing down her weathered face. She cleared her throat several times before she could reply, clutching her reading glasses so tightly in her veiny fist that it was some miracle of God that they hadn't already shattered into pieces. "I...I believe I'll see you again someday, sweetheart."
There was a riotous tremor in his arm as tried to reach for her at an infuriatingly sluggish pace. When he had made it to the top of the bed rail at last, his hand crumpled over top of hers and he held on with all that he had left to give. "Me too, babydoll. Me too."
Because somewhere along the way, he'd actually come to believe that it was true. He was no scholar of the faith, but he'd seen too much of this world - had suffered and fought for so many worthy causes, had journeyed through what felt like a million and one unbelievable adventures - that it was impossible not to believe that there was something greater behind it all. Whether he could chalk it up to God or fate or the Force, Wyatt Logan was certain that his purpose had been orchestrated long before he could ever recognize it for himself. He was born to serve his country. He was meant to protect history from those who wanted to corrupt it. He was destined to be with Lucy Preston, and while his body was currently fading away with the sunset, his limitless love for her could never be snuffed out so easily.
Wyatt let the touch of her hand beneath his soothe him to sleep amid another repetitious cycle of the beep, hum, click that signified he was still alive. There weren't too many of those beeps, hums, or clicks left in him now. He'd already made peace with that fact. He was an old man after all, and life had been ever so full for him. He'd been blessed with a wife who was still as sharp-witted and classically beautiful as she'd been on that first night so many years ago at Mason Industries. They'd shared so much together, including three wonderfully accomplished children, seven clever and loving grandchildren, and even one adorably precocious great-granddaughter who already had a head full of familiar brunette curls, the sight of which never failed to bring a smile to Wyatt's face.
His family wasn't just his legacy; they were his sole comfort tonight. He wasn't afraid of dying. He was afraid of leaving Lucy behind. He ached over the hurt that his passing would cause her, dreaded the loneliness and heartache that would fill their separation. But because of them - his son and two daughters, their children, and the flourishing generation that had already begun to follow after them - he could rest a little easier as the clock wound down. They were all waiting just beyond that thin curtain, ready to embrace Lucy when Wyatt could embrace her no longer, and with that knowledge, he patted her hand once and let the quiet harmony of what came next wash over him.
And even if he was wrong about what he would see on the other side - if there was no eternity, no golden shore where he'd eventually come face to face with Lucy again, that was okay too. If he got not other life that this, no other ending than the one where she was by his side as he closed his eyes for the last time, then he had been a damn lucky guy to have it as good as this.
Beep. Hum. Click.
Lucy took one staggering step backwards as the machines went silent and different monitors began to ring out their warning bells, whimpering weakly as she went, "I'll love you always, Wyatt."
And then the curtain behind her parted and she was wrapped in the arms of those who loved her most; those who had learned how to love so well from the glittering example of their devoted parents.
The sun took its last bow, and the day was lost to the night until another morning could dawn.
a/n: uhhh someone please hold me now :(
In case you're curious, here's the rundown on French & German phrases used in this fic (I relied on Google translate, so go easy on me if I did a sucky job).
Lucy: je ne pourrais jamais t'oublier - I could never forget you
Wyatt: Ich weiß nicht, was das bedeutet, aber ich will dich alle Zeit - I do not know what that means, but I want you all the time
And both of them use the following:
Je t'aime - I love you
Je t'aime aussi - I love you too