AN: So (clearly) I've been on some sort of insane writing binge the past few days, but this is probably the last you'll hear from me until next episode because my fingers hurt.
Full confession: this may be my favorite Lyatt story I've written, and I'm really hoping this is what happens.
It took him twenty one days to admit to himself that his marriage was doomed.
Had possibly always been doomed.
Had maybe even been a mistake from the beginning.
Jessica was his past. The little boy who had never been able to be a little boy, who had run away at fifteen, who had smuggled drugs and crashed cars and gotten banned from school for drinking.
She'd been drinking with him, at least, so senior prom for her either.
They had run off after graduation. He had emptied his meager bank account to buy wedding rings and a marriage license, then enlisted in the Army the next day, promising Jess that he would always find a way to take care of her.
And he had failed spectacularly.
There was always a roof over her head, food on the table, and health insurance, thanks to his job with Uncle Sam, but it was a hell of a difference from what he'd imagined his happily ever after looking like.
They had been a wreck. Two kids that maybe had never grown up all the way. Her family, while more in tact than his, hadn't exactly been the American dream. Maybe they just didn't know how to do this marriage thing at all.
They fought. They yelled. They took cheap shots. They had fantastic make-up sex.
He got deployed.
He came home.
And then repeat again.
This was in his own timeline, the real timeline. Apparently he was even worse in the alternate reality Jess had been in for six years. Lucy had let it slip that Jessica had confessed that he had been unfaithful. Multiple times.
He had been physically ill.
Lucy was waiting quietly for him when he made it out of the bathroom, shaking and white-faced. Oddly, she was looking satisfied. Okay, he got that she wasn't his biggest fan right now, but being happy he was literally puking his guts out seemed a little much.
Then she smiled and handed him the towel she'd had slung over her shoulder, on her way to the shower before he'd sidelined her.
"I knew you weren't a cheater," she said. "That reaction pretty much confirms it."
He buried his face in the terrycloth, grateful for her loyalty. Not that he deserved it right now. Was he cheating on her? Wait - if he had actually cheated on Jessica in this other godforsaken reality, did that still make him an unfaithful bastard here? Now?
Most of his swearing was muffled by the towel, but Lucy managed to make out the gist of the convoluted question.
"Of course not," Lucy said, sounding shocked. She grabbed his wrists, pulled them down until she could see his face. "Wyatt," she said, those beautiful eyes of hers imploring. "What happens in these other timelines…it's not real. Trust me. I'd know better than anyone."
She was talking about Amy, and he took his own strength from the force of her conviction.
If Lucy knew something, then it had to be true.
That was all there was to it.
He wanted to kiss her.
But he couldn't.
So he just looked at her until she knew that, too. She had offered him a tight smile, pain in her eyes, then told him to keep the towel before disappearing around the corner.
He didn't see her for the rest of the day. Which, he suspected, was nothing but deliberate. It wasn't like he could blame her. If she got together with Flynn, for example, he was pretty sure he wouldn't ever be able to be in the same room with them again.
Lucy had, by all accounts, become friends with Jessica. Had convinced her to stay, at the cost of her own broken heart.
Even if it might have been a mistake.
Part of him was hurt that she hadn't fought for him. Did he mean so little to her? But then, he knew Lucy better than that. He knew Lucy better than anyone. She thought this was what he wanted, and she would let him have it.
In the beginning, after Jessica had returned, he had spent some time trying to talk himself out of his feelings for Lucy. When that was an absurd failure, he had tried to downplay them, to chalk them up to a mix of proximity and danger and the fact that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
Not something primal, instinctive, something he would kill and die for, something he would sell his soul for.
That, too, had not gone well.
He had been forced into admitting that what he felt for her was as strong or stronger than what he felt for his wife.
With the admission came deep guilt, not something he was a stranger to, but for a different reason than normal.
He punched another hole in the wall of the bunker. Made up a story about the cut on his hand.
There was a point beyond which he could go no farther.
Where anger and heartbreak and love and loyalty and redemption and wedding vows all crashed together in a vortex of absolute shit that left him on his knees, not knowing if he was praying or cursing God or even if he just unable to stand.
When the storm had passed, he had stood on shaking legs, his decision made. It hurt, but that pain was tempered by the unshakable knowledge that this was the right thing, the only thing to do.
And then he had gone to find Lucy, hands shoved in his pockets.
She was surprised to see him, nose buried in a book that looked older than she was. He studied her face like he hadn't seen her in weeks, and maybe he hadn't. The dark circles under her eyes looked bruised and painful, and he knew he was responsible for most of her sleepless nights.
He didn't know what his expression looked like, but it must have been alarming. Lucy started to stand, to take a step forward, brows furrowing.
"What happened?" she asked.
Well, that was a hell of a question.
He took a deep breath. "Can we talk?" A quick glance around the room informed him that a semi-private space still hadn't materialized out of thin air since last night. "Not here?"
"Sure," she said automatically, clearly still concerned.
He led her down the hall, thanking God that Jiya was doing some insanely technical thing with Rufus and Mason involving a lot of words that he had only heard in Star Wars. Up until now, that was.
Lucy's room was empty, and he gestured for her to sit. He took the spot across from her, wondering how on earth he was going to begin this conversation.
For her part, Lucy was looking wary and uncertain and guarded, and he hated that he had done this to her.
He sucked in a breath.
Out with it, Logan.
"I signed the divorce papers," he said precisely. Abruptly.
She stared at him.
He pulled his hand out of his pocket, showed her his bare left ring finger. There was still a slight indentation from the band, but that would fade. It had before.
"Lucy," he said softly, pulling her attention back from his naked hand. He knew his heart was in his eyes as he looked at her, knew that if she looked closely she would see how very close he was to falling apart.
"Why?" she finally choked out. Her eyes were glassy.
He stared. "Why what?"
And now she looked annoyed with him. "The entire time I've known you, you've wanted nothing more than to bring Jessica back. And now she is. And you're…just walking away from her?"
She wasn't correct, not entirely.
He'd wanted her, too.
But how could he explain that to her? And make her understand that she wasn't second place, could never be second place?
"I love you," he said, sorry he had never told her before. There was a lot he had to be sorry for.
The look on her face was…intoxicating and heart-stopping. He reached out, brushed his knuckles across her jaw. "When I got married to Jess, I loved her with everything I had, everything I was. And then she died, and the man I was died, too." There was a pause, and he could feel his thoughts spinning. "What I have now, Lucy, who I am now…is different. More, maybe, but certainly different. But whatever it is, whatever I am, I love you with all of it."
A tear slid down the soft ivory of her cheek.
He continued, hoping desperately he wasn't mangling this too badly. "I know you thought it was the right thing to go, trying to make my marriage work. I thought it was the right thing, too, the honorable thing." He thumbed another one of her tears away. "But there's nothing honorable about laying in bed with one woman and wishing she was someone else."
Tentatively, he took both of her hands. Thought it was a good sign that she let him. She was silent for so long that he started to worry, looking down at their linked fingers.
"Luce?" he finally asked.
She swallowed. Hard. "I can't be the other woman, Wyatt."
He felt a sense of panic start to rise. God, what if she did think they were worth it? What if she didn't think he was worth it? "You're not the other woman," he said, forcefully. "You're the only woman."
Tears had collected on her eyelashes. She was so beautiful his throat caught.
He kissed the tips of her fingers. Her skin was cold, and it bothered him deeply that she was afraid. He wasn't quite sure of what, though, and that scared him.
"Lucy," he said quietly, "I know this is a lot in a hurry." She snorted, and he felt slightly better. "I'm not asking you to fall back in my arms, though that would be ideal, obviously," he added, smiling just a little. "But I am asking you to give me a chance. Give us a chance."
It was not lost on him that he had said almost the same words to a different woman less than a month ago. Maybe it was selfish, what he had done to both Lucy and Jessica. Maybe it was an attempt to relieve some of the tearing guilt he kept with him over Jess's death. But he had been determined to try.
And now it was time to close that chapter. To move on, and to mean it, this time.
Her hands were shaking in his.
Screw it, he thought.
He pulled her into his arms. She came, willingly, her face tucked into his neck, arms linked around him. He hadn't held her since they'd come back from 1941, since he'd made love to her until they'd both collapsed. She fit against him like they were made to be together, and he silently thanked God, even if this was all he would ever have of her now.
In Hollywood, he had thought this was the start of the rest of their lives.
He hadn't paid close enough attention, hadn't memorized every minute detail of every small moment. Because there was a lifetime of them to come.
He had almost been dead wrong.
He still could be dead wrong.
It all depended on her.
She took a breath that sounded like a sob. "What if I say no?"
His heart contracted, stomach full of lead. "You have every right to say no," he told her. "But just know that I'm going to be waiting for you on the off chance you change your mind." Could he survive this? How the hell had she done it? He tightened his arms. Just a little longer…
Lucy raised her head, looked at him with an expression he just couldn't decipher. She touched his face softly, and it was only when she smoothed away a line of wetness that he figured out what she was doing. Jesus, was he crying?
He held her gaze, willing her to understand the truth of his words. He had no secrets from her now.
There was a very heavy pause, and he had the strangest feeling that the rest of his life was going to hang on whatever happened next.
"Wyatt?" she asked, very softly.
"Hmm?" He wasn't sure if he could speak at the moment.
"Did you mean it?"
"I meant it," he said hoarsely. It didn't matter what she was asking. He meant everything he had told her tonight, everything he had ever told her about possibilities and second chances. Meant everything he had whispered to her in the dark of night after he had earned the honor of being called her lover. Meant all the words he had never had the courage to tell her.
She kissed him, and he wondered if he was actually going to die.
It was not a kiss that could be called romantic, or even a textbook example of what a kiss should be. Their tears mingled together, her lips were trembling too badly to press against his for long, his arms were too tight around her.
But for him, not even firelight and whiskey and that white dress could compare to this.
She sobbed into his shoulder after. It was a catharsis, and as much as he hated himself for making her cry, he was just grateful that they were here now.
She was not the only one who cried.
When they had gotten under a little more control, Lucy had wiped her eyes and sat up. The change in her was startling.
"You're right," she finally said. "I don't know if I can just fall back in your arms and pick up where we left off."
He nodded. This was not, exactly, what he wanted to hear. But it wasn't an outright no.
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
"There's been…a lot that's happened between us in the last month, Wyatt."
Well, that was the understatement that ate California, but he conceded the point with a nod.
"I think, maybe…" She was having trouble getting her words out.
He interrupted. "What do you want, Lucy?"
She hesitated for no more than a split second. "I want to start over. I want us to start over."
He had not expected that. It was a hell of a thought. "Start over, you say?" He also heard what she wasn't saying. How very badly she wanted this to work.
"Yes." She sat up a little straighter. "We can do it better this time. No wives reappearing from the dead, no kidnapping by family members, no concealing meetings with possible terrorists."
He laughed. He wasn't sure he'd even had the ability anymore.
"I don't know, Luce. That sounds pretty boring. How will we ever get to know each other without these sorts of horrific obstacles in our way?"
She was smiling at him now, too, and he felt lighter than he had in ages.
"A clean slate," she said.
"A clean slate," he agreed. "Starting in ten seconds."
"Why ten seconds?" she asked.
His grin widened. "Because I have to sneak in one last kiss before you make me start earning them again."
He could feel her grin against his mouth, her fingers in his hair. "Three," he breathed, kissing her again. "Two." And again. "One."
She pulled back, and her expression was breathtaking. It reminded him that he hadn't seen her truly happy all that often. Something else to change this time around.
The sirens chose that moment to blare, interrupting the intimate atmosphere that had wrapped around them.
Rittenhouse would find a way to ruin this too, wouldn't they?
Lucy stood, turned to him.
"Well, Master Sergeant," she said, voice teasing. He didn't think she had ever referred to him by rank before and found it unbelievably sexy. "Should we go get our marching orders?"
He held the door open, gestured for her to go first. "Whatever you say." Then he paused for effect. "Ma'am."