He pulls the trigger and she falls.
"The end is the beginning is the end." Jennifer mutters to herself, charcoal in her hand, scribbling across the page in front of her. "Tick tock goes the clock."
She has a black smudge across her nose and drags another across her forehead when she pushes the hair out of her eyes.
"Saving the world is a whole lot of nothing, isn't it?" Deacon sighs.
He'd found her alone and talking to herself so he figured he'd try and talk to her instead; some part of him still trying to atone. He's been back from Titan for over a week now and he's caught Jennifer looking at him curiously a few times.
She looks up now, her dark eyes appraising him. Her gaze stays on him long enough for him to shift uncomfortably.
"Thanks for saving me." She finally says with half a smile.
Her fingers slide across the paper, dragging smudges across her drawing.
He's the attack dog, that's all. No higher purpose or pre-ordained shit. He's expendable.
Having it confirmed by Olivia only serves as a bolster to the reformation of his walls.
He shuts out everyone - even Jennifer.
He focuses on the mission. Always the mission. Stop Cole and Cassie. Stop the Witness (their son). Use any means necessary.
Jennifer calls him out and he's sharp and cruel and the hurt that flashes in her eyes almost makes him feel guilty. Almost. Because then her betrayal is exposed (how can loyalty to her friends be a betrayal?) and he does the very thing he promised never to do.
Her pleas echo in his head, long after he's slammed the doors of the holding room closed behind him. Her begging, the hum of electricity as the cage goes live, her sobs. Over and over. The whiskey doesn't drown them out.
Deacon, please! Deacon, no!
Over and over.
The guilt comes on slowly; creeping into his veins like ice. It chokes him and turns his stomach. He vomits.
No one is gonna lock you up.
Deacon drinks until he passes out.
It's the first time he's seen her since he sent her off into the unknown.
With the wink she'd sent him she'd eased his guilt enough but not completely.
Like a fox.
When they find themselves alone he finds the shame has made his mouth dry and he can't quite look her in the eye.
"You have every right to hate me. I just want you to know how sorry I am." He tells her and she nods.
"I forgive you."
He looks straight at her then.
"I know you did what you thought was right. " Jennifer tells him. "And I know that you know you were wrong."
She steps closer to him, keeping their gaze locked.
"We both know how this ends. You. Me. A bullet with my name on it."
His stomach turns over. She says it matter of factly, no hint of anger or hurt or anything and she dances away from him.
"Everything has a beginning and an end. It's the middle that's the fun part."
Saving the world was a whole lot of hanging around. Waiting for calculations, waiting for mission returns, waiting for something, anything to change around them as confirmation of success.
There's a lot of time to kill.
Deacon is surprised to find just how much of his down time he starts to spend with Jennifer. It starts small, a few throwaway comments about movies. Then the throwaway comments become full blown discussions until he and Jennifer are passionately debating what the end of Inception actually meant.
(He's awake, Deacon.)
Surprisingly, it's an easy friendship. She makes him smile and he doesn't look at her like something needs to be fixed. Before Cole she'd never really had a friend. Now she has several. Maybe even a best friend in Deacon. And what an odd concept that is.
The thing about Jennifer is she can sleep anywhere. Hell, she could curl up on solid concrete and she would still manage to get a couple of hours.
But sometimes the noise in her head is too much. Too many voices, too many echoes of the past and present and things still to come. Buzzing against her skull and trying to break out.
They're sitting on the floor of her room, backs against her bed. They each have a book open in front of them but Jennifer can't focus on the words; she's too exhausted.
"Read yours to me." She tells him, pushing her book away with a yawn. He raises his eyebrows in surprise but does as she asks.
It's a book about the Roman Empire and Jennifer isn't interested at all but Deacon keeps his voice quiet and soon enough her eyelids droop and her head falls onto his shoulder. He keeps reading, his voice growing even quieter and as Jennifer's deep and even breathing reaches his ears, he thinks it's probably worth the sore neck he's going to end up with.
Jennifer tames a cat. He doesn't know how it even got into the compound but the little guy is in a sorry state (its fur is matted, it's much too skinny and it's missing half an ear) but that doesn't make Jennifer love it any less. Kindred spirits, Deacon thinks.
The cat does not like Deacon. The little bastard bites and claws and hisses at him while Jennifer just laughs. She calls the cat Teddy and Deacon bristles when he hears her say it. But she's scratching behind the cat's ears and looking at it so affectionately that he can't help but smile just a little bit.
"He reminds me of you." She gives him by way of explanation without even looking up. He's not sure what to make of that. Scruffy, angry and unloved?
"It took him a while but he found his way." Jennifer presses a kiss to Teddy's head while he purrs and Deacon feels something spark inside him.
It's dull and barely there but Deacon feels it. Steady and warm, blooming in his chest.
He knows there's a time she's going to splinter and not come back. It's the way things have to be so time can play out like it's supposed to.
He's not sure what he'll do when that day comes. This girl who has become a constant in his life. A constant that always keeps him on his toes, pushes him to be better, doesn't see the world like anyone else does. Maybe the the day she goes is the day his cycle ends.
"You said you don't have a part in all of this. You do." Jennifer tells him.
He stares back at her.
"You got a magic drawing saying I do?" He asks, crossing his arms.
"Not exactly." She shrugs, as if suddenly self conscious. "Me. You're here for me."
"Killing you isn't exactly the part I thought I'd be destined to play in all this." Deacon snaps.
"No." Jennifer snaps right back and he loves her for it. And that thought hits him hard, but he can't contemplate it because Jennifer continues. "You're here because you help me. You help me see things more clearly. You help me see how the pieces can fit."
Deacon stares as Jennifer continues angrily. "And it might not seem epic or heroic enough to you but that's what it is, that's your lot, that's too bad."
She pushes past him and storms off.
He stands there for longer than he means to, processing. Love - that was a new one. He'd thought he'd loved Cassie but that had been an idealised, impossible thing. This is different.
Jennifer isn't in her room when he goes looking to apologise; so he waits. It's all he ever seems to do in this damn time.
They don't get a goodbye. Not a proper one anyway. She's sent back to 2021 and the tether is lost (or cast off - they're not all that sure). Deacon volunteers to splinter back and find her, Cole and Cassie do too. Jones refuses, tells them this is how it has to be.
Deacon feels the weight of grief bearing down on him. It's like she's died (again). He shrugs off Cassie's comforting hand on his shoulder, ignores Cole when he talks about her not really being dead, that Jennifer is alive and well and living the life she needs to. It's all bullshit. Deacon knows that she'll only get a couple of decades before he shoots a stranger in 2044 and she dies.
The cat (Teddy, Deacon reminds himself) is curled up on the foot of his bed when he reaches his room. He'd thought about going to hers (not yet, not yet) but his feet had taken him here. The cat stares at him and Deacon stares back.
"Guess you're stuck with me now." He says and the cat just blinks slowly at him, flicking his tail.
No scratching or biting, no hissing and backing away. The cat accepts the wary scratch behind the ears; like it knows they're all each other has now.
He finally visits her room a few weeks later. It's dusty and still. Drawings strewn across the floor and taped to the walls where she had left them.
There's an emptiness without Jennifer's excitement and activity. So often he would come to check on her and find her mid drawing, hair wild, eyes bright, fingers stained with charcoal. Now there's nothing.
Deacon wanders slowly around the room, taking it all in; every inch of Jennifer's presence, proof that she was here. There's a sweater thrown over a chair, a pair of boots abandoned by the door, and the drawings. So many drawings.
He comes across a neatly folded piece of paper on her bed; out of place in the chaos of her bedroom. It has his name on it and his heart skips a beat. Deacon picks it up warily and unfolds it.
Don't forget me.
His heart sinks. He isn't sure what he was expecting. A goodbye letter maybe, or at least something more than just a scribble on a scrap piece of paper. Hurt burns through him and he crumples the note in his fist. Forget her? How the hell was he supposed to forget her?
It takes a few moments for him to realise there are tears running down his cheeks. The grief claws at his throat and he takes a few attempts to clear it.
Carefully, he unclenches his fist and smooths the note out before folding it neatly and tucking it into the breast pocket of his jacket. He knows then it'll stay there until long after his bones have turned to dust.
He wants to leave the room untouched, just as she left it, and there's a part of him doing it so that if by some miracle Jennifer does make it back to this time, everything would be exactly where it was. It's the smallest piece of hope but it's all that is keeping Deacon from losing it completely.
Jennifer is coming up on forty when she encounters Deacon for the 'first' time.
Your dad is an asshole.
I'm sorry I killed you.
Someone's gotta watch your back.
The memories overwhelm her.
West Seven are notorious but her Daughters are known too.
He's younger (of course), less lines on his face, less grey in his hair. There's a dangerous arrogance about him that almost amuses her; knowing just how much he's going to change. Still, there's a prickle in her heart when she looks him over, knowing what he's done and what he's still going to do. But she can't change that - she doesn't want to change it really. He is who he is; terrible past and redemption and all. They all had chapters the wanted to forget.
Deacon is an asshole. They trade because it's necessary. He won't remember how her eyes followed him, how his (albeit shit eating) grin sparked a smile from her too. She doesn't know if she'll see him again (not until the end anyway) but she's not sure she wants to either because the Deacon at the end is her Deacon. Or at least he will be.
The day has come. Full circle. Cole comes to bring her home as the storms grow wild.
She sees Deacon in front of her for the first time in years and can't help but breathe out a laugh; it's typical that it has to be today of all days. She knows what's about to happen. But she reaches out and touches his face because he's here.
"See something you like, granny?"
"Not yet." He's missing a scar. He's missing the look in his eye she was so used to seeing from him; the look she hadn't seen in years.
There's no love in his eyes (not yet, not yet) but there will be. It's the end of her life but the beginning of his.
Tick tock goes the clock.
He pulls the trigger and she falls.
A.N: I started this after S3 and I was determined to finish it before S4. Obviously I work better with the pressure of a deadline because the new season starts tomorrow and all of this is about to be AU but at least it's out there. I hope all my fellow Deacon/Jennifer shippers enjoy and have a great season 4 (though I'm really not prepared at all).