Bullets cut through the air, screaming past their heads, hitting trees, barely missing them. The resounding clunk of one bouncing off the lifeboat riled Wyatt, and he growled as he returned fire, covering Rufus while he opened the door so they could flee from this hellhole and return home. He was already pissed, at Emma, for sending her goons after them while she escaped back to the future. Now they were hitting the lifeboat, aiming for his friend, and damn if he wasn’t going to take every single one of them out for that.
Except… he’d promised Lucy he wouldn’t shoot one person in particular, and he wasn’t excited about being verbally ripped to shreds if he broke that promise. So he was trying really damn hard to only take down the bastards protecting the biggest bastard of them all, but if they kept aiming for Rufus he’d be damned if he continued to care who he hit.
“Go, Lucy,” he told her, both crouched down behind a fallen log, heads ducked and out of the way of the oncoming rounds. “Now. Run.” He turned and fired off shots while Lucy pushed herself to her feet and fled, running for the lifeboat that Rufus was already inside.
He fired, and turned to make a run for it, when another bullet screamed past him, and he ducked his head again – and heard a yelp. Turning, he saw Lucy on her knees, head hanging forward, her right hand clutching her left arm.
“Shit,” he cursed, turning and firing while he stumbled back. He aimed for two men in particular, and felt the smug tug of victory as they fell. “You okay?” he asked, knowing she was injured but hoping she could still stand, walk, clamber into the lifeboat. When she groaned in pain and shook her head, he reached for her good arm, and helped her to her feet. “Rufus,” he yelled, “Help Lucy in.” He boosted her up while Rufus wrapped his arms around her and she was soon sprawled on the floor of the lifeboat, eyes closed tight, tears leaking from the sides.
Wyatt stumbled in after her, firing off a couple of final shots as the door closed. He turned, to find her now curled on her side, still gripping her arm as her blood seeped out from between her fingers and stained the grey metal floor of the lifeboat claret. Bullets pinged off the outside, but he ignored it. “Rufus, the first aid kit,” he ordered the pilot as he crouched beside Lucy. He laid a gentle hand on her arm, just above her wound, and said her name.
“Am I dead?” she asked, her voice broken from the pain washing through her.
Wyatt shook his head. “No, but you did take a bullet there, Lucy. Can I look?” he asked.
She attempted to sit, but the pain forced her back down again. Groaning, she said. “If you must."
The first aid kit now at his side, Wyatt covered her hand with his and gently pried her fingers away from the wound she’d been holding. Even through the pain she’d had the good sense to keep pressure on it. Blood still seeped from the angry, red gash, but he’d seen a lot worse. “It’s just a graze,” he told her.
She huffed out a pained sigh. “The words ‘just’ and ‘graze’ do not belong in the same sentence.”
Covering it with gauze, he wrapped a bandage around it, enough to keep her from bleeding all over herself during the trip home. “You doing okay?” he asked.
“You okay to sit up? Get into your chair?”
“With help,” she admitted.
“No problem.” He wrapped an arm around her, with Rufus on her other side, both helping her to her feet. They guided her into her seat, and Wyatt snapped her seatbelts into place, his eyes on her, while Rufus started up the machine.
Her chin dipped, and she heaved in a deep breath, before she lifted her head again. “Did Custer shoot me?”
“Maybe. You’re lucky it didn’t take your arm off. Those bullets meant business.”
“Did you shoot him?”
“He’s a world class sonofabitch, but you made me promise not to kill him, so I didn’t.”
He face contorted in pain, but she kept her voice even, speaking between clenched teeth, as she said, “He’ll be dead by the end of the month anyway, but thank you.”
“I did take out two of his buddies though,” he admitted.
“Wyatt,” she bemoaned.
“Well it was them or us, okay?” He snapped his seatbelts into place just seconds before the intense rattling indicated they were about to be fired through the wormhole. He hated this part. He watched Lucy slumping in her seat, her body like a ragdoll as she was flung forward when they landed in 2017. He always tried to brace himself for that moment, scared one day they’d knock heads, even though their restraints stopped them from being forced that close to one another. Watching her now he was more thankful than ever for the seatbelts.
It was shock. He knew. He’d seen it enough. And the gash on her arm was bad enough to require stitches. But she hadn’t fainted yet (and he was rather proud of her for that) although he suspected her lunch might be about to revisit her.
The machine powered down and he yelled for a medic out the opening door as he undid his seatbelt and moved to help her. Rufus was at his side, and together they guided their wobbly historian to the door.
Wyatt changed while they patched her up, and realized then that his cellphone wasn’t in his locker. Had he put it there? Had he even brought it to the base? He frowned as he searched through the contents of his locker. Maybe it was in his car?
Car keys and wallet shoved into the pockets of his jeans, he headed back to the infirmary, to find Lucy sitting up, arm professionally bandaged, eyes a little glassy, her face lighting up when she saw him.
“I can’t feel a thing,” she told him as he approached the bed she sat on.
He chuckled. “Yeah, they’ve got the good drugs here.”
“Did we change anything?” she asked, her voice soft. “Did Emma?”
“Custer still died on June 25th,” he told her. “I checked, just for you.”
“Thank you.” Her lips turned down and lines appeared at the bridge of her nose. “And thank you for not shooting him.”
“Only because you asked me not to,” he replied, before adding, “ma’am,” to make her smile. When he achieved that, he asked, “You ready to leave?”
“Yeah. I was waiting for my ride.”
“Oh, well, I’ll leave you then, since you have Rufus…” He acted like he was leaving, turning to walk away, teasing her because it made her drug-hazed eyes sparkle and her lips curl up.
Laughing, Lucy said, “You’re my ride.”
“I guess I can do that." He winked at her. "Any instruction from the doc?”
Worrying her lower lip between her teeth as she tried to remember, she released it and recited, “I need to come back in twenty-four hours to have the dressing changed.”
Wyatt shook his head. “I can do that, you don't need to come back.” He helped her down, sticking close to her side as she stepped tentatively on wobbly legs, his hand curling around her elbow, guiding her down the corridors.
She remained quiet during the drive to her place, the day catching up with her and her eyelids growing heavy. He walked her to her front door, but she stopped him from going any further, shaking her head and putting a finger to his chest.
“Nope. Rittenhouse mom, remember. You don’t want to come inside.”
His eyebrows drew together at her words. He hated that reminder. He hated that she had to deal with that every day now, and she didn’t have her sister there to support her. But, she had a healthy mom, who was part of her life, and so he couldn’t hate the situation completely. It was more than he had. More than he’d had in a long, long time. “You gonna be okay?”
“She’s my mom, Wyatt. Despite it all we’re still family. I’ll be fine. But,” she said as she fished around in her pocket for her keys, “I’ll come to your place tomorrow, to change the dressing. If that’s okay?”
“We can order pizza, watch a crappy movie, make an evening of it.”
She smiled. “That sounds good. Thank you.”
“See you tomorrow. Six PM.”
She nodded and unlocked the door, giving him one last thankful smile before disappearing inside.
No matter what he thought of the woman he’d never met, Lucy at least had someone looking out for her tonight, and it was a comforting enough thought to allow his legs to take him back to his car, even if he did look back, three times, before he bridged the distance.
And once more before driving away.