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He tells her he loves her, as if that will change anything.

 

Part of her already knew this blinding revelation of his. She remembers how it felt wrapped around her. How his eyes whispered it to her soul with his hands pressing into the mattress by her head, her hands in his hair. The dim light barely enough to see anything, but this love he speaks of now, it was there even if he couldn't admit it before now.

 

It was the blade that sliced through her when he left. The cold sharp edge of betrayal that wasn't really a betrayal, because she couldn't return the feeling if he hadn't left her. If he hadn't gone back to his wife she never would have been able to look at him the same again. Though it didn't mean that emotion didn't cut her just as deeply.

 

She never blames him for leaving. She can't objectively and maybe that's what makes it so hard to accept. It's who he is, who he's always been. He's loyal. He loves so completely it blinds him. It's one of the things she loves about him so she can't hold it against him. Even if she wants to.

 

Mostly she misses him. Misses his hand on her back, his arm pulling her closer, but his touch undoes her and leaves her feeling worse. The tender way he'd buckle her in and that secret smile he only gave her, or at least she thought he only used with her. Apparently, Jessica also gets his goofy grin. She even misses the way he'd argue with her about what had to be done.

 

Since Jessica he's been like a wounded puppy, afraid to be around her or say something wrong. Afraid, and maybe a little bit guilty, because she knows he feels bad about what happened between them in that bedroom in the past even if he does love her. He told her he doesn't regret it and maybe she believed him in the beginning. She believed it too. No regrets. But time has made her see things differently.

 

She knows now he wishes it hadn't happened, because she wishes the same thing. Wishes they had just stepped back and pretended a little longer.

 

There are some things that are easier not to know, like the way his skin felt on hers or the gentle weight of his body as it pressed down and nudged her just a little closer to the edge. The hunger in his kiss or the sound of his voice raspy with sleep.

 

Or the fact that he loves her.

 

It's not fair that he gets to be wounded too. That those soft blue eyes get to fill with such a desperate longing and regret at the same time. Things would be so much easier if she could just get mad at him. If she could throw something or tell him he left her. That he left her after holding her all night. After telling her they could break the rules. After... just after...

 

But instead all she can be mad about is that it happened, even if he handled it poorly she can't really think of another way to handle it. It was a shit situation she can't think her way around either and that is enough to keep her up at night. It's enough to drive her to self destruction. She's not stupid. She knows what she's been doing to deal isn't going to last much longer.

 

She wishes she could grab his stupid collar and press her desperate lips against his and show him that she doesn't care. That she just needs him. Needs him to fix that damn hole he put in her heart. Needs him to hold her close and fill all the places her love is leaking out.

 

But she knows that's just another form of self destruction. Knows she could burn up in him easily. Use his warm voice and soft touch to burn reality away for a little bit, until all that is left of them is the ashes and a bitter taste.

 

So she doesn't tell him. And then the future shows up and it doesn't matter anyway.

 

Everyone's attention is focused on saving Rufus and fixing timelines and surviving another day. Another mission.

 

Though she doesn't miss the absolute devotion that FutureWyatt and FutureLucy share, or the sounds of absolutely mind blowing sex that escape closed doors. And she can't say she's sad when they leave and the intensity of Wyatt's looks fade just a little. His shower time shrinks with their departure as well. Not that she's keeping track, it's just difficult sharing facilities.

 

Other things, like the hole inside, grow larger; with every look he throws her way when he thinks she isn't paying attention. He doesn't know she's always paying attention; always aware because now she has to be. She has to be on her guard to make sure he doesn't sneak in again. Not yet. Not now. Though she isn't sure when would be a more acceptable time.

 

What is the correct amount of time for him to move passed his wife? How long does her heart need to forgive him for things she doesn't blame him for? When is it okay to let him take her hand to help her out of the lifeboat? Why doesn't any of it ever get easier?

 

So she doesn't have to say anything... but the pressure is still there. And maybe it's worse, because at least before they could pretend he wasn't thinking about tugging that zipper down, or the way her skin flushed when his lips pressed so softly against the skin he exposed. Now she knows he still thinks about it, and every time she slides out of her time appropriate clothing at the end of a mission she thinks about it too. About the way his eyes flash in appreciation with each new choice. About that damn smirk and how desperately she wants to tell him.

 

Her cuts and bruises heal. The rift in the rest of the team starts to heal too. They all forgive him for Jessica as things go back to normal or as close to normal as life gets. But she feels the rift between them grow and she worries things won't ever heal between them. That there are no words to bridge the divide and that she can only watch him slip further from her.

 

She watches Jiya and Rufus and wants to run back to him but she doesn't. She doesn't know what stops her again and again.

 

But every time it's like her heart ties her feet, and she can't push past the invisible bonds that trip her up. She feels it again and this time the fear becomes too much. Too much to answer him; to just tell him that she still feels it, always felt it. Almost from the beginning.

 

She's never felt more alone than she does with his love pressing her down.

 

Flynn tries but it doesn't feel right now that Wyatt has spoken and Jessica is gone. She can see it hurts Wyatt when she lets Flynn in and she remembers how it felt with Jessica; even if she is mad she can't do that to him. So she drinks a little more and says a little less and nobody seems to notice except maybe the two men who aren't allowed to touch her.

 

She doesn't know when she became so untouchable.

 

Maybe that's what leads to it all. To the stupid reckless choices, the close calls, and the eventuality of Wyatt storming in while she's got her shirt off tending to a knife wound in her arm from a mission that went slightly south.

 

“Stop,” he says as he throws the door open and she nearly jumps out of her skin.

 

“Do you mind?” she nods at the door and he mumbles something that sounds like an apology as he closes the door and stands in front of it. She waits for him to realize he's on the wrong side but he doesn't seem to pick up on her cue. So she pulls her discarded shirt across her front.

 

“I'm not leaving until you promise to stop trying to get yourself killed,” he explains and she half laughs and lets go of the shirt.

 

“I'm not trying to get myself killed, you can go,” she says dismissively then returns her attention to the cut on her arm as he tries to ignore the fact that she's basically sitting there in her bra.

 

“That's not what it looks like to anyone watching.” He sighs and looks away for a moment. She wonders if he's asking for strength and if it works.

 

He sits on the cot across from her and reaches out to take the gauze from her hand but pulls back when he realizes what he's doing.

 

“Lucy, just talk to me. Talk to Jiya, or Rufus, or as much as I hate the idea, even Flynn.” She doesn't miss the fact that Flynn's name is just kind of spat out like it's toxic and that makes her mad.

 

Flynn was there for her when he was off grinding broken glass into her heart.

 

“Oh, I have your permission to talk to Flynn. That's so generous of you,” She locks eyes with Wyatt and spits the words out with a little more venom then she'd intended.

 

He looks at her with his lost eyes and nods. It makes her feel guilty again. He's here now. He's trying to put the pieces back together and she's just giving him shit because she can.

 

She places the gauze she was using to clean her wound on the cot beside her and avoids his eyes.

 

“Will you ever forgive me,” he asks and hands her a clean piece of gauze. Waits for her to take it then wraps his hand around hers, trapping her until she meets his eyes. “Because I am sorry, Lucy.”

 

“I'm not... I don't... I know,” she hesitates, sighs, looks away.

 

“But it doesn't change anything, does it?”

 

He lets go of her hand and tears burn in her eyes but she won't let them fall. She takes a deep breath as she presses the new piece of gauze down and pretends it's the pain from her wound.

 

“I wish it did.”

 

It comes out on a sigh with a wince as he wraps a piece of medical tape around her arm.

 

“Me too. I don't know how much longer I can sit back and watch you implode.”

 

She peeks at him as he finishes taping her up. She tries to determine how worried he actually is and feels awful at the emotion he tries to hide from her. But that's another thing she loves about him, he's never been that great at hiding the truth from her.

 

“I'm fine, Wyatt. Just a little dinged up.”

 

She meets his eyes again and gives him a smile and it's almost like the ones she used to give him, but she can see she doesn't fool him either.

 

“I wish that were true too.”

 

She wants it to be true. She wants it to be fine. Them to be fine. So she dives in head first.

 

“Why did you say it?”

 

She really wants to ask him if he realizes how cruel it was to confess his love and then tell her she didn't have to answer. Then give her an out, knowing she would take it. Knowing that it was too damn hard to just forget what came before.

 

“What?”

 

He gives her a smile and tries to deflect. Shifts a little. She's got him and she knows it.

 

“You know what.” His smile fades slowly. “It's too heavy,” she whispers with no other words to describe the horrible weight.

 

“I...” he hesitates and she stands. Her discarded shirt falls to the floor.

 

“I feel it weighing over me every damn day.” She leans into his space. “Like it's all my fault.” She almost touches him but pulls back.

 

“Take it back,” she knows how defeated she sounds as she sits down again and pulls her knees to her chest.

 

“I can't,” he mutters then finds her eyes again. “You know I can't. Lucy...” Her name from his lips is like a vice on her heart. “I just can't.”

 

It takes her a minute as she lets his words wash over her, waits for the grip on her heart to loosen and air fill her lungs again.

He only looks at her as if he's expecting some kind of answer or acknowledgment.

“I know but I don't know what to do with it.”

 

She doesn't know how to file it away to make things right again. She's tried ignoring it and it's been eating her alive. If he can't take it back she doesn't know how to live with it. Because she can't accept it. She can't just tell him it's cool, she loves him too.

 

Last time she thought he knew, he left her for another woman.

 

“I think you do and that's the real problem.”

 

He knows her better than she thought. It seems as though he sees right through her.

 

He's right and that is the problem. She knows exactly what she has to do if she wants things to ever be good between them again.

 

“It hurts too much,” she says and she watches as his face falls further into despair. But he's right, she can't keep pretending that part of her isn't still angry and hurt. It hasn't done either one of them any favors.

 

“I regret that every day,” he admits and it confirms what she already knows. “I wish we could go back to that night. I wish we never had--”

 

She puts her knees down and interrupts him before he can finish because she knows she will never be able to hear those words out of his mouth and still be able to look at him with anything other than regret.

 

“I know. You wish we'd never spent that night--”

 

“No!” he practically yells, as he comes to his feet and sits on the cot next to her. “God Lucy, this whole time did you think I wish we'd never slept together,” he asks and it takes a minute for it to sink in.

 

“It would be easier,” she offers.

 

She really wants to believe the guilt he's been wearing isn't about sleeping with her, but it's been so heavy on his neck that she's wary. She knows better than to wear her heart on her sleeve when it comes to him, but she wants to believe him.

 

God, does she want to believe him.

 

“I don't regret one second,” he vows. “Maybe it would have been easier but Lucy...” He puts his hand on her cheek and her heart seizes, stutters, restarts.

 

“No. Just no. I don't know how to explain it without using words you don't want to hear.”

 

His hand feels right at home and she brings hers up to hold it in place as his other hand finds a home on the small of her back. She feels like putty. Like coming home. Dizzy.

 

“It was pretty nice,” she smiles for the first time in a long time.

 

Maybe those words aren't so heavy when he's there holding her.

 

“Nice. Yeah. I guess that's one way of putting it,” he teases her and she's not sure he realizes that his thumb is brushing her cheek or that his eyes have gotten hungry again.

 

“What were you going to say then,” she asks and she can feel the tension in his body as his fingers trace their way to her side and tighten against her skin, cradling her just a little closer.

 

“I wish we could go back to that night? That part?”

 

She wonders how he doesn't get just as lost as she does. He's saying something, she knows it, but her mind is cloudy with the need to just lean in and forgive him for everything. It takes her a minute to replay what he asks.

 

“The other part,” she finally answers and he smiles, but this time it doesn't hurt. This time she knows it's hers and no one will ever take it from her.

 

“I wish we never had to leave. I miss you,” he whispers and rests his forehead against hers. “You're right here but you haven't really been with me since that night or morning. I want to sit like this. I want to be here.”

 

He closes his eyes and braces himself before continuing.

 

“If those words are too heavy, forget them. I can't make them untrue but if you need them gone, then they're gone.”

 

Just like that he gives her everything she didn't think she needed.

 

“No!” She pulls back and his eyes flash open. “I mean they are nice words. It's not the words fault,” she amends.

 

“No?”

 

His question is so hopeful and for the first time in a long time she feels hopeful.

 

“No,” she whispers and leans into him again.

 

“I mean I kind of knew, or I guessed hoped,” she admits.

 

“Hoped?”

 

She nods and he understands what she means about being hopeful, as her nose brushes his and her hands rest against his cheeks.

 

“Lucy, I think I need to leave now,” he barely whispers and she pulls back in confusion.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I'm going to kiss you if I don't,” he admits, his voice and face so strained she thinks he might burst a blood vessel from the effort of holding back.

 

It occurs to her then that her lack of clothing isn't really helping him all that much.

 

“I was kind of hoping that was the case,” she murmurs and leans in again.

 

“You're going to be the death of me,” he breathes in the space between.

 

“Not funny,” she protests.

 

“Sorry,” he mumbles as his eyes lock on her lips and she watches him get lost again.

 

“So...” she asks when he forgets to move.

 

“So what?” She laughs at his confusion and frustration.

 

“Are you going to make me beg?”

 

“No, Ma'am,” he murmurs against her lips.

 

 

This time the feeling doesn't cut, it burns with a gentle heat that thaws the parts of her she didn't realize were frozen. It travels through his fingertips as they trace across her skin. It's sweet on her lips as his press against them, and dances across her tongue when she invites him into her mouth.

 

It spills from her pores as she pulls him down on top of her, puddling in the sheets around them, washing them clean.

 

“Just to be clear, this is okay, right?” he asks as he fiddles with the strap of her bra, then returns his lips to that place under her ear. He prods at it with is tongue and she closes her eyes and threads her fingers through his hair, holding on tightly.

 

“Yes, a thousand times. Yes.”

 

Her heart is deafening as his lips rest above it and his fingertips trip and fumble with the clasp between her breasts, his need resting impatiently against her thigh. Her hands push his away as she flips the clasp then grabs for his shirt tugging it just as urgently, tossing it to the side as his eyes and then hands travel back to where they were moments before.

 

He's careful with her arm, kisses the bandage tenderly for a moment before crushing her to him, like he's terrified by what happened. She realizes that he was, that he had to watch her in silence while she nearly died and she's filled with remorse. She kisses his cheeks, his nose, his eyelids. Presses apologies to his skin with lips and fingertips.

 

He acknowledges her atonement with his lips against her jaw then rests his cheek against her chest and lets his fingers tangle in her hair. They stay in each others arms, half dressed, as the feeling engulfs them, healing what is broken. Her hands run down his spine and through his hair, soothing and soft.

 

She thinks about that first night, a little hurried and hungry. Now his hands are deliberate and delicate as they free her from the rest of her clothing. His eyes so serious, his words so loud in their silence. Her legs tremble, he smiles and pulls her ankle to his mouth, one hand on her calf the other holding her ankle to his lips as he kisses her skin so carefully. His eyes don't wander from hers and she believes.

 

He returns her leg to the cot, and she sits up. Running her hands down his chest she pops the button on his pants. She grins and he laughs as he pushes her back down on the bed and tries to free himself of his pants while perched over her on the too small cot. They fumble and fight to free him until she pushes him off the cot to his feet.

 

He pulls her from the cot and wraps his arms around her, pressing her to him and capturing her lips again. Pants around his ankles he half dances, half waddles backwards. His kisses more persistent, her hands more eager until he sits and pulls her into his lap.

 

Her fingers tighten on his shoulders, his disappear between them. The warm glow of those words build in her as he plays her body like some kind of prodigy. It spills past her lips in a hiss, her body exploding with them and collapsing into him. His lips against her forehead, his arms holding her to his greedy heart.

 

The need in his body translates in tension, it travels through his skin, transfixing her. It infects and incites her to action. Her palms press him down, her hips raise then slide so slowly down. He reaches for her hands and she captures them in her own as she moves with him, against him.

 

It's then that she figures out what to do with his words.

 

“Wyatt,” she whispers.

 

Then she gives his words back to him, making them hers.

 

Theirs.

 

It gives them a different weight. It gives them a different worth.

 

And the joy it puts in his eyes and in her heart make it worth any wait.