Disclaimer: Not my world, not my characters.

"The army group is leaving tomorrow afternoon. You should be ready early, for the drive down to San Diego."

"I'm not going, you know that."

"This is not optional. You are in too much danger here, who knows how many of the rest of them will be targeting you? If one of them cuts your throat next time, that silver won't have time to save you."

Why wouldn't Lucy understand? Nothing else would matter if she got killed. All the days and nights of waiting and watching, searching, and the work he'd had to do at the FBI to get them to understand the problem and let him take charge. Her life was the only important thing left. There couldn't be that much left of his own, even if he did survive and succeed at capturing the rest of the '63s, but she still had most of her life ahead of her. If he could convince her not to waste herself on trying to stay with him.

She took a step closer to him and softly put her hand on his chest.

"Emerson, I won't leave you. I can't just watch you get on a plane, and what? Wait for you to come back, when even more of your life will have gone on without me?"

He pushed her hand away. He knew what he could say, to make her leave. He'd hoped he could convince her another way, he didn't want to lie to her, especially not this lie, but he was running out of options. Ever since they found the map, and another '63 with it, that doctor, he'd been getting his team ready to go after Tommy Madsen and hopefully find the warden.

"I don't need your help. I need a clear shot at them and if you or any other civilians are around it may affect what they do, where they go. I don't need you to do a job I've been doing my whole life, much longer than you've been in it. I'm pleased you survived the time jump and your knowledge of the inmates has been useful while things have been quiet, but that doesn't mean I want you still getting in my way when things start moving more quickly."

She was suddenly quiet, and Emerson couldn't stop himself from looking away. He kept his face neutral, and concentrated on looking like a heartless bastard. He had plenty of practice around other people, but he had to stifle his urge to put his arms around her and tell her he didn't mean it.

"You don't want me here?" she asked in a low tone.

He tried a smirk. "Now you're getting it. That database you helped with has been handy, but Doc seems to have a better handle on it than you."

"Am I mis-remembering it, or did you once tell me you still loved me?"

I love you, I need you, I want only you forever, please forgive me, he didn't say. Keeping the image of her bleeding on an ambulance gurney in his mind and trying to remember the promise he'd made to himself at the time (never again, no matter what), he kept his composure.

"I will always care about what happens to you," he said. "But fifty years is a long time, and people change. I was so... young, before. It's just not the same now. Besides, you have your whole life ahead of you, I'm sure you'll make waves somewhere. All I really want is to wrap this up and then retire somewhere quiet where I can be alone."

She looked down at her hands in her lap. "Very well then. I suppose nothing is keeping me here any longer. I'll be ready in the morning."

He wanted to say something, anything, that might make her feel better. Knowing her well, he could see how hurt she was even though she wasn't letting it show. She'd never been the hysterical type and he loved her calm, capable bearing, but he'd gone too far to turn back. All he could do was walk out of her office.

The next morning, he sent two of the guards to drive her to San Diego while he went back to supervising the search, the interrogations, the data mining, and the gathering of supplies. Keeping busy didn't help at all, nothing did, but at least this way she might be safe someday.