This stretch of hallway looks familiar.

She slows her speed, squinting, the soles of shoes clicking against the tile. Seeing her stop, he pauses too, unsure. "Dubbie?" he asks. "What's the matter?"

"Deja vu."

"Deja vu?" he repeats, concerned.

"What?" she replies. "A disturbance in the Force? A glitch in the Matrix?"

"You're clearly not getting enough sleep and it's affecting your reasoning capabilities." She sighs, rolls her eyes. "Plus, with all the alcohol you consume on Drunk Thursdays, it's no wonder your brain cells--"

She sputters. "What, my brain cells are fine! And you should talk, you were a Navy SEAL!"

"In that case, the Ichthyamalizagilanemakarpitoodle is escaping!" He begins to sprint down the length of the hallway as she sighs, taking off behind him momentarily.

"Seriously," she huffs as she lengthens her stride to catch up, "We can't find any ne'er-do-well weird monsters from outer space with shorter names to catch?" He just calls her name again. "Set phasers to stun," she drones, continuing to chase him continuing to chase a mutant fish that vaguely looks like an ugly Pokemon. "Got it."

Halfway down this new hallway, she's suddenly running back towards the hexagonal area they were just in. He's there too, blinking, looking at her quizzically. "Dubbie? What's the matter?"

"Deja vu."

"Deja vu?"

"We were just here!"

"You know, deja vu is clearly a sign of--"

"Me not getting enough sleep, yeah, yeah, yeah. You don't remember having a conversation like this seconds ago?"

"It seems familiar, I agree," he says, "but we have a lot of conversations where you dismiss my perfectly reasonable concern for your health."

"Come on," she groans. "We're wasting time. We have to find the Ichthyamalizagilanemakarpitoodle."

They run down a different stretch of hallway, following the sparkly purple slime trail the thing leaves behind. "See," the Middleman says with a small smile, "I told you--"

And then they're back.

"Dubbie?" he says. "What's the matter?"

She sits, puts her head in her hands.

He purses his lips. "We're stuck in a time loop."

"Stuck in a time loop? Great," she intones, drily, looking down at herself. "I'm going to die in these clothes, repeating the same five minutes over and over again in outer space." She jumps to her feet. "Hey, what are they going to tell my mother? She's Cuban, you know. She's not going to take this lying down without a fight. She'll probably fight Ida."

"We're not going to die." He taps the side of his watch, which crackles with static. "Ida?"

"Yeah, boss?"

"We seem to be caught in a time loop."

She hears various clicks of machinery computing and then, "That you are, boss."

"You need to get us out of here."

"That's a bit of a tricky pickle."

"A tricky pickle? But that's halfway down the list!"

(Later, Wendy learns that Ida and the Middleman have a list for rating the "how big of a catastrophe is this event" kind of thing. Tricky pickle is 15, with 1 being the lowest rating and 37 being the highest. Yeah, they pick really weird numbers., they all rhyme.)

"You're in space, so it's going to take a while for the coordinates to triangulate."

"Well, that doesn't sound good," Wendy chirps.

"Can you at least calculate how long before the next cycle?"

"I can, but only after it happens."

"So what do we do now?" Wendy asks, sinking down to sit on the floor. He sits next to her.

"Well, we wait until Ida can get us out."

"What about Fishface?"

"We'll contact the Intergalactic authorities and try to get the Ichthyamalanian Embassy to intervene."


And then they're both standing. "Dubbie? What's the matter?"

She blinks, her mind fuzzy. "Check your watch."

He clicks a button and Ida chirps: "Thirteen minutes."

"Thirteen minutes?"

"The time loop," Wendy says.


Thirteen minutes, it turns out, is not, like, the hugest gap of time.

She's bored. And yet she can't do anything.

She blows a wisp of hair out of her line of vision. "I'm bored."

"Dubbie, it's only a matter of time before Ida fixes this."

Wendy snorts. "If there's anything I've learned from Terminator, it's that machines can't always be trusted."

"Well, we could talk."

"Talk," she repeats.


"About what?"

"Well..." He pauses. "How have things been between you and Lacey recently?"

"Are you secretly trying to ask me whether or not my roommate is single while we're stuck in a time loop in outer space?" He just gapes at her. "Okay, that might have just been me. We're good."

"That's good."

There's another ten minutes of silence as Wendy tries not to hum the Clash song she has stuck in her head.


(Thirteen minutes later...)

"Seriously, you won't tell me your name?"

He sighs. "That is a matter of utmost secrecy."

"What, are the evil aliens going to torture me for your name?" He doesn't respond. "You're kidding, right?"


"When is Ida going to patch us through the...time-space thing?"

Wendy's watch crackles. "Listen, sweetcakes. I know you're a little twitchy since you're not hittin' the wacky weed right now, but there's only so much I can do from another dimension, okay?"

"Well," Wendy hisses into her watch, "Work as fast as those little pistons will let you."


She gets tired of sitting against the wall after the third or fourth time (fifth? sixth?) the loop restarts, so she takes to laying down on the floor. She tries to avoid getting her hair in the slime. They haven't really achieved anything close to a comfortable silence, so she thinks taking a 13-minute nap might not be a bad idea. If she sleeps thirteen minutes over and over again, it has to end up adding to some number that makes up for the sleep she missed, right?

(He watches her when she sleeps - just to make sure she's okay; there's still Ichthyamalizagilanemakarpitoodle slime everywhere.)


"Can't we play tag or something?" she whines. "Surely your fifties mentality will let you play a harmless game of tag."

"Tag with two people?"

"Oh, come on. When my little cousin and I had to spend the weekend together, that's all we did. Of course, my mom called it fighting, but you know, whatever."

He doesn't respond, so she leans out, and pushes him - pokes him, really - in the middle of his chest. "Tag, you're it."

He quirks a tiny smile, though he tries to fight it.

He pushes her back.


At times like these, when she's leaning on his shoulder, trying not to fall asleep from just how exhausted she feels (who'da thought that muscles, unfortunately, do not enjoy time loops?) that she realizes just how solid he is.

Plus, unlike most other men she knows who seem to be completely made of muscle (read: none), he doesn't smell bad. Her eyes feel heavy. She dozes off for a few minutes.


"Don't you ever get lonely?" she asks, bluntly. She's swinging her arms back and forth, green jacket shrugged off and lying casually on the floor. Her white button-down shirt is a little stiff, crinkles with her movements.

She alternates between feeling incredibly exhausted and incredibly hyper.

She squints at him.

"You know, it's so weird to think of you having friends," she babbles. "Like, what do you do? Just sit around, drinking milk, playing checkers?"

He presses his lips together, tilts his head to the side. "That's not too far from the truth."

"Oh, please," she sighs. "That's right out of The Andy Griffith Show. What, is one of your friends named Opie too? You were a Navy SEAL, for crying out loud." She sits back down next to him, nudges him with the side of her body. "You have to have some stories."

"You bring that up a lot," he says. "That I was a Navy SEAL. It's just not a part of my life I like to talk about."

"You're my Obi-Wan," she says, nudging him again. "You're supposed to tell me your dark stories so that I can learn from them to defeat Darth Vader." She shrugs, "Or, you know, lie to me about who my father really is in order to protect me from the fact that he's an evil surgically-modified manbot bent on world domination, but I'm getting off topic."

Elbow on her knee, she leans her head against her hand, tilts to look at him. "Dubbie," he says, with a hint of exasperation. She doesn't know why - the angle she's at, she catches the slight bob of his adam's apple and she leans in, actions more definite than her own feelings, for Christ's sake, and her lips touch his.

Hell, she figures. Might as well go for it.

Except she doesn't know why she goes for it (but, oh, she does - lips slanting over his, pushing against him, daring him to make a move); he's never been her type. She's always dated the artsy boys - boys who write love poetry and recite Byron, take Polaroids and wear skinny jeans. His hand comes up then, and for a minute, she's pretty sure he's going to push her off and give her some long-winded lecture about chastity and the downfall of the American teenager since someone busted McCarthyism in the '50s. But he doesn't. He cups the side of her face and he leans into her, and the tip of his tongue slips past her lips, and all in all, holy shit is he a good kisser.

When they pull away, she's a little flushed at the base of her neck and he doesn't say anything. "Huh," she says. "I don't think Obi-Wan ever did that with Luke Skywalker though. Unless that's a movie I skipped."

(She doesn't really want to admit it, but goddamn, she's a little turned on right now.


And the lightsabers are not a Freudian metaphor.)


They get beamed back to HQ and she looks up at him, the flush briefly returning. She doesn't say anything, just sprints up to the changing rooms.

"What's up with her?" Ida says.

He doesn't answer her question, just says, "Thanks, Ida. That was almost a sticky situation."

"Yeah," she grumbles. "Sorry it took so long."


She's loosening her tie when he comes in. "We should talk about this."

She purses her lips, shrugs out of her jacket (again). "Talk," she repeats. And she walks to where he is, tilts her head to look up at him.

She bites her lip before reaching for the lapels of his jacket, pulling him against her for a quick kiss. Her lips are soft and he can't really think beyond the occasional I really shouldn't be doing this, but she has his jacket crushed in her fists, her hips pressed up against his, and to be really honest, he can't really think.


They leave together (she buys him dinner first).