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Kismet

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The muffled echoes of the gun silencers haunt him at night, replaying over and over again the events of the night Rittenhouse murdered his wife and daughter. Their neighborhood was always so quiet. Lorena heard Iris cough and got up out of bed, just barely patting him on the shoulder to let him know she would take care of it. He settled back into his pillow, readjusted his position so the neck of his white T-shirt was not pressed so tightly against his skin, he shut his eyes, and took in a deep breath. The next day he was going to follow up with his NSA contact about the Rittenhouse bankrolls to Connor Mason.

Then he heard two loud pops coming from his daughter's bedroom, but no screams. He knew the sound all too well. Handguns with suppressors. They are not that silent, especially in the deafening quiet of the night.

He struggled to comprehend why he heard those sounds in his home. He sat up in bed, and quickly planted his bare feet on the ground. His heart was racing. Was this a home invasion? He did not have time to give it much thought as he heard the boots of several men fast coming down the hallway toward the master bedroom.

He had had no time to retrieve his gun from the top shelf of the closet before men and women dressed all in black stormed into the room. He was grazed multiple times, and a bullet lodged itself deep in his shoulder. Nothing fatal. Nothing he could not patch up himself. Bullets were flying everywhere as he threw his body weight and punches into his would-be executioners in a fight for his life as he raced to check on Lorena and Iris, his heart telling him what he feared was true. They were dead and there was nothing he could do about it.

He ran to Iris's bedroom and saw his girls, he did not have time to check on them, but there was so much blood and brain matter spattered all over the room. He knew immediately they were both dead. He fought his way out of the house, to his car in the garage and sped away. He ditched his car and hotwired another only a few miles up the road. He broke into a closed gas station and patched himself up, digging a bullet out of his shoulder with his bare hands, without any anesthetic. He struggled to suppress his tears for his girls for a later time. He did not know if he had been followed. He had to save himself, grieve later.

He had no money on him, and he had to break into a local motel off of a highway on the way out of town. The rest of the night he spent lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, silently mourning the loss of the only two people he had left in this world. His mother and father had both passed away years ago, and his older brother, Gabriel had died back in 1969 (before he was even born) because of an allergic reaction to a bee sting. He was left with nothing. No one to turn to. No one to trust.

He was alone.

The next morning the news reported that he was wanted for the murders of Lorena and Iris Flynn, and he knew that his life was changed forever. He was now a wanted man, an innocent goddamn wanted man, because Rittenhouse framed him. He knew that he had to lie low. He had to make it appear that he had escaped the borders of the United States and made his way back to Eastern Europe. His training (which included hacking), and knowledge of the inner workings of the NSA databases, made it easy for him to create reports from trusted NSA sources, placing him in cities like Prague, Riga, Chechnya, Tallinn, Šibenik and Ljubljana.

He created false identities so he could move around the United States more freely. He kept his distance, did not make friends, and took side jobs to make money. He chose businesses where they would look the other way if he did not present a social security card or a valid government issue ID. He painted houses, did HVAC repairs, was a car mechanic, IT technician, and other odd jobs where he was paid "under the table."

Eventually he made enough money for himself and was able to stop living out of stolen cars and could afford a small apartment, where the management accepted cash payments. He did not risk setting up a bank account. He could not risk having a paper trail that this Rittenhouse organization could track him with.

For his small, shithole of an apartment, he bought a sofa, a coffee table, a workout bench and weights, a boxing bag, and a mattress with sheets and a blanket (not even a damn bed frame or pillow). He did not need much, just bare necessities to keep himself in shape should Rittenhouse ever find him again. He even bought himself an illegal handgun, a Smith & Wesson, with its serial number scratched off.

All he did to "deserve" what happened to his family, to his life, was to flag money transfers from Rittenhouse to Connor Mason, to his NSA contact. Four days later his life was turned upside down. Hours before his family's assassination, he was hunting monsters with a water gun in Iris's bedroom and had assured her that there were no monsters in her closet, and that he would always protect her.

Well, then, I'll protect you, okay? I'll always protect you.

He failed her.

He failed Lorena.

He failed himself.

Garcia picks up Lucy's well-worn journal and holds it delicately in his hands. The journal is the most important item he has in his possession. He has had her journal for over a year. She gave it to him as a guide, a map of sorts, to be able to hunt down Rittenhouse, to stop them before they could bend history in their favor and take over the world.

When he first acquired the journal, he wanted to know how Lucy had found him. He was living under a presumed name. There was no paper trail. His questions were answered within the pages of the journal. It took his breath away when he came across an entry in the journal in his own handwriting, a personal letter from his future self to Lucy. It brought tears to his eyes, the emotion, the pain in his words meant for her eyes only. There were other entries in his writing, of course, but the ones to Lucy affected him the most. He hated this version of himself. He cannot imagine being able to just accept that Lorena and Iris were dead, and with a time machine at his disposal, he would decide to not save them.

This journal was a team effort. Both he and Lucy contributed to its entries. It was fate that he would work closely with her in the future, but the future is not set, it is always in motion, changing with each decision. He decided that he would not make decisions that would draw him closer to Lucy. He would not allow himself to fall in love with her. He would do as Lucy asks in the journal: save the Hindenburg on arrival only to destroy it on its way out, destroy Texas by killing Colonel Travis before his "victory or death" letter could escape the walls of the Alamo to inspire a nation, find and bring back to the present some woman named Emma Whitmore, among other missions outlined in the journal.

Wyatt Logan, the man who will set out to kill him, a man who Lucy loved in the early entries of her journal. A man who lost his wife, Jessica, who had been returned to him after one of their missions had changed the past just enough to bring her back.

Lucy struggled letting go of Wyatt after Jessica's return. He concluded that when Lucy Preston fell in love, she fell hard and with all her heart. And Garcia knows that the intensity and the danger they faced chasing him through time is what drew them together. He understood their need to find safety and comfort with one another.

It was not so much love as it was the need to be grounded by someone who was experiencing time travel. It was not like Lucy could go home to her mother or her sister and talk about how she had been time traveling, and considering the truth about her mother… Lucy came to this same realization about her feelings for Wyatt being circumstantial on her own and wrote about it in her journal. After that her entries became more and more about her feelings for him, Garcia Flynn.

How she feared him when she first met him during the Hindenburg disaster. How he confused her when he told her that he was not trying to destroy America that he was trying to save it. And how she first sympathized with him when he told her in no uncertain terms that if he succeeded in saving his wife and daughter that he would hug them, say goodbye, and walk away from them forever.

He has read her journal so many times, and that was the turning point in her feelings for him. She saw him as a human being, not some monster. She felt for him. She said that it broke her heart that he would just walk away from his family after all he had done (was going to do) to try to destroy Rittenhouse. It angered him that he would be so revealing and open to her. He promises himself he will not open up to her this time around. No. His heart, his feelings, his soul belong to Lorena.

He has all but memorized this journal. He wanted to memorize it in its entirety, of course, in case it ever got lost or stolen, or God forbid Rittenhouse got their hands on it.

Outside he hears a low roll of thunder. A storm is coming. He closes his eyes and tilts his head back.

Kismet.

The night before he will steal a time machine mirrors the night Lucy Preston came to him from the future to give him her journal. It was late one Thursday night in June 2015. Outside a storm was raging, high winds, pouring rain, plenty of lightning. The power had cut out and his apartment was dark. He sat on his couch, unshaven, bags under his eyes from lack of sleep, his hair was longer than he used to wear it, and he was in an old pair of blue jeans (his illegal Smith & Wesson always tucked in the back pocket), and a black T-shirt. He did not allow himself the luxury of alcohol anymore, but he looked drunk.

There was a soft knock on his apartment door. He never received visitors. He stood up, hand reaching back to his weapon, and he looked out the window and saw an older woman, maybe ten or fifteen years older than he. She was petite, stood with good posture, had grey in her wet brown hair that had been pulled back into a chignon, rain water was dripping down her melancholy face. Though it was pouring rain, she stood there patiently as if knocking on his apartment door was deliberate, not a mistake. He thought maybe she was lost and in need of help, so he opened the door. After all, he was no monster, and if someone needed help he would give it.

He was very aware of his appearance in front of her, but she did not seem to mind. She did not look at him with judgement. Her eyes met his and she spoke.

"Garcia…" She seemed relieved to say his name, it came off her lips so naturally, properly pronounced Gar-thee-ah, European Spanish. No one ever said his name correctly like that except for his mother, and Lorena. Hearing her say his name gave his heart a jolt.

"I-I'm sorry… who are you?" He rubbed his eyes with his hands.

Her eyes were glistening with tears that she successfully held back as she spoke to him, "You… you don't know me yet, but I know you." Her body language told him that she wanted to reach out and touch him, but she restrained herself.

He started to direct his attention behind her, to see if anyone else was with her. Maybe she was Rittenhouse, and this was the night he would have to fight for his life or take her life to save his own.

"I'm not Rittenhouse, Garcia." She read his mind, and he redirected his gaze to her. "But if you can give me a few minutes of your time I can…" Her eyes looked away from him, and she took a deep breath, "I can help you find them, and I can help you destroy Rittenhouse."

She reached into her handbag, and he reached behind his back and took hold of the butt of his handgun. He did not feel that she was a threat, but he had to be careful. He watched her as she took out an old, well-worn black leather journal, and held it out to him. The letters "L" and "P" were etched in the bottom right corner. He wondered what they stood for.

"My initials." She smiled, again answering a question he had not asked out loud. "Lucy Preston."

With a raised eyebrow, Garcia took the journal from her, not once taking his eyes off her.

Lucy lightly brushed her hand against his arm, needing or wanting to assure him that she can be trusted, and that she is not here to hurt him. Then she walked into his dark apartment and took a seat on his couch. Her eyes wandered around the room, she seemed sad to see how he had to live his life.

Garcia stepped toward her but did not sit next to her. He decided to use his height to make sure she knew who was in charge in his home. He towered over her as she sat in front of him on his couch. She did not seem to mind. His brute size did not intimidate her. In fact, she seemed comfortable in his presence as if she somehow knew that he was just posturing and did not feel threatened by her.

She did not say much as he flipped through the pages of this handwritten journal. At first glance it looked like notes from a history class, and included drawings, newspaper clippings, and information about important events in world history. He also saw personal entries, and not wanting to violate her privacy, he closed the journal.

This was not making any sense. Why would some older woman want to give him some damn handwritten journal? He looked down at Lucy as she used her hand to wipe the drops of water from her hair. He suddenly felt the urge to want to get her a towel to dry off, but he does not offer. That would indicate that he expects her to stay longer than she should. He just wants to be left alone.

There was a flash of lightning, followed immediately by a loud crack of thunder. Lucy turned to look out the window, obviously worried about the weather outside.

"Why are you giving me this diary?" He sounds frustrated, and when he sounds frustrated his accent makes it seem like he is angry, but he is sympathetic to her now. She looks sad, but hope reflected in her eyes.

She reached out and took hold of his left hand, letting her thumb caress over his wedding band. The softness of her touch, how slowly she caressed the ring, indicated a sadness in her. His loss, his pain was also her pain. He withdrew his hand from her touch not wanting to feel her empathy for him.

"Garcia… I need you to steal a time machine from Mason Industries."

She says this so seriously that it brings a smile to his face, and he cannot help but laugh at her.

"No, please, hear me out. Time travel is real, and I need you to steal a time machine from Mason Industries. It's the only way we can stop Rittenhouse." Her eyes stare intently into his, and though this sounds ridiculous, he sits next to her and listens. After all, she knows about Rittenhouse.

Still frustrated, he asks her, "How do you know my name?" He sounded angry again.

And she knows that he is not angry with her, and she smiles nostalgically and says, "I know everything about you."

She explained that she could not stay long, that she had to travel back to her time, back to 2043. She stayed long enough to prove to him that she knew him well. She relayed to him a summary of his life. Facts about him no one could possibly know. Intimate things, things he had only shared with Lorena when she was alive. Details about his childhood, his teenage years in Eastern Europe, how his grandmother had spent time raising him in Croatia and taught him to speak the language at a young age. His favorite movies are black and white movies like Casablanca, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gaslight, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and not yet, but soon he would enjoy watching the Clark Gable classic, It Happened One Night (to which he made a face because romantic comedies aren't really his thing, and all she did was give him a knowing smile).

Lucy knew things that he had never even shared with Lorena and that bothered him. He lashed out in the only way he knew how with someone as charming and as sweet at Lucy Preston, with humor.

He chuckled and asked her, "Ok, so you know me well, but do you know where are my scars?" For the first time since Lorena died, he felt alive, joking with another human being. There was even a smile on his face.

But Lucy did not smile back at him. Something about his smile, his light-heartedness in the moment struck her. She looked sad again, heartbroken. She carefully inched toward him, and placed her hand on his shoulder, "here…" then slowly trailed her hand down to his stomach, "here…" then she moved her hand to rest on his lower back, "and here."

"How do you….?" He could not find the words.

"Bullet from Rittenhouse…" She touched his shoulder again. "Battle wound from falling debris in Kosovo…" she gently placed her hand on his stomach. "Hit by shrapnel in Iraq…" Her hand came to rest on his lower back, touching him in a way that felt intimate, too intimate. His mouth was agape, in shock, overwhelmed by her intimate knowledge of his body. Yet he could not wrap his mind around the idea that time travel is possible, and because of it this beautiful woman could know everything about him.

It terrified him that he would ever let another woman know him more intimately than he allowed Lorena to know him.

She told him that she understood that it is difficult for him to wrap his mind around the fact that time travel is real, but that he could trust her, just as she was entrusting him with her journal. She stressed to him that he do whatever it takes, any means necessary, to destroy Rittenhouse.

She explained that she, of present day, and her team, would get in his way. She explained that she will forgive him for everything one day. She knows that he never meant to hurt her, or her friends, and added with a smile, "Make sure to get me out of harm's way at the play in 1865, I didn't really like getting grazed by your bullet trying to save General Grant."

He could feel the confusion settling into his facial features. Either this visit was very real, or he will wake up in the morning and it will have been a dream.

His future, her future, and the future of the world depended on this journal. She quickly looked away from him, and he sensed that she was trying to conceal tears that had formed in her eyes, he reached out, and before he could touch her she was on her feet, heading to the door, as if his touch would break her. She was strong, but he was her weakness.

He stood and followed her. He had so many more questions to ask her.

"Lucy…" He called out to her in a whisper.

She turned around, wiping a tear from her cheek. It was getting harder for her to conceal her emotions. She smiled sadly at him and said "It's nice to hear you say my name again, Garcia." She paused, hesitated, and then stepped toward him, rising on her toes so she could place a tender kiss on his cheek. She pulled away and looked him in the eyes one last time and left without saying another word.

He stood in the open door and watched her walk through the parking lot, to the empty street in the pouring rain. She only looked back once, paused, and ran. He watched her until he could not see her anymore.

Outside he hears a low roll of thunder. The storm has arrived. He opens his eyes and raises his head, pulling himself out of the past and back into the present.

Kismet.

The past, the present, and the future rely on the actions he will take tomorrow night. He has read her journal, no, their journal more times than he can count. He may not have it memorized, but he has done his research. This past year he took it upon himself to study history, become acquainted with as many names, dates, and events as possible. He even attended a few of Lucy's lectures, so he could understand the Lucy of today, to hear her take on history (and her take was always more interesting than the facts presented in textbooks). He bought her book on Abraham Lincoln and read it, taking in all her opinions and thoughts (making his own notes in the margins, and highlighting his favorite passages). He did all this so that he will be better equipped to maneuver through time to take down Rittenhouse, to save his family, but in the process of doing so, he has come to feel like he knows Lucy better than anyone, maybe even herself at this point in time.

Their journal has prepared him for the mission at hand: destroy Rittenhouse, wipe them off the face of this Earth. That is the mission priority, but if bringing them down means he will return home to Lorena and Iris, it will all be worth it in the end.

It is heartbreaking to read the journal. To see her words, to see their love story play out on its pages, knowing that he only wants to bring back his wife and daughter. If he succeeds the Lucy of the journal will not have him. He knows that in the future he died, and she came to him to save his life. This breaks his heart because he knows how much she could love him, and he has read his own words about how much he came to love her, but if he had Lorena and Iris, he would never leave them for Lucy. If he changes things, makes it so he and Lucy never fall in love, then she will never know, and it will not and cannot hurt her.

Right now, Lucy Preston is probably sitting at home at her sick mother's bedside, a pile of Snicker bars on the nightstand, worrying about whether or not she will get tenure as her sister, Amy, teases her about how nervous she is about it.

Tomorrow at this time… he flips to the beginning of the journal and looks at her words. Well, tomorrow at this time she will become a time traveler. She will have met Wyatt Logan and Rufus Carlin, her "time team." He flips through the pages of their journal, passing her entry about how he can stop Rittenhouse in its tracks in 1937 with the Hindenburg by taking out members John D. Rockefeller Jr., Omar Bradley, and Igor Sikorsky on its return trip to Europe. If he succeeds this time, Amy will still exist, her mother will still have cancer, she will not be engaged to some guy named Noah, and he might even be able to save her the heartache of falling in love with Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan and losing him when his wife, Jessica, comes back to life.

Garcia goes to the end of the journal. The last entry is in his handwriting, and it is stained with her tears.

Moja ljubav,
No matter what happens, or what changes are made,
know that there will always be a part of me that loves you with all my heart.
Tvoja ljubav. Stalno.
Garcia

Garcia gently runs his fingertips over where her tears smudged his handwriting.

Though he only knows Lucy through this journal, he has come to care for her a great deal. He also knows that she will come to care for him as well. Tomorrow's mission will be dangerous, but he will do everything in his power to make sure she is safe in 1937. He wants her to survive, he wants her to make her own life for herself. The future is not written, it can be anything they want.

And after tomorrow's trip to the Hindenburg, perhaps he'll come home and be welcomed by Lorena and a nice home cooked meal. He will hug his wife and pick his little girl up in his arms and tell them he loves them. He will help Lorena finish dinner, watch TV with his girls, get his little Iris ready for bed, and all will be right in the world. All it will take is one perfect mission, one trip back in time to destroy Rittenhouse, and everything he has ever wanted will be returned to him as if nothing had ever changed.