i. a long cold lonely winter
It was nearly three years after almost losing Rufus and they were still fighting Rittenhouse. Though, not the whole organization. Emma and Jessica went on a campaign to eliminate all "legacy" members of Rittenhouse. The bloodlines Rittenhouse once prided themselves on were all but gone. As far as they knew there were only three members of the bloodlines left. Lucy, Ben, and Noah. Both Ben and Noah were in prison and unlikely allies for the Time Team but they proved useful. The current status of their war with Rittenhouse was evenly matched. They lost as many as they won.
Wyatt had long since stopped trying to find any of his Jessica in the current Jessica. They were too different and this Jessica had been with Rittenhouse too long. Even if she did decide to leave Rittenhouse there was no way he could trust her. She had lied to him one too many times. There was one lie in particular that he would never forgive her for.
She made him think he was going to be a father. He knew he should be relieved that Rittenhouse didn't have their hands on his kid but all he could think about was the child he and Jessica didn't have. The life that he thought he would have a chance to save. His father was a bastard and Wyatt always thought that when he had his chance to be a father he wouldn't let history repeat itself.
But it had been three years and Jessica never once mentioned their "child" in all their scuffles. If she had a life to hold over his head, wouldn't she use it? She manipulated him before and created such a guilt in him that he had been blind to the truth. Why wouldn't she have used their child to do the same? No, the only possibility was that the child never existed and it was a way to save her own ass. It kept him protecting her. It kept her alive.
With things with Rittenhouse on a clear long term path now, Christopher was helping them figure out how they could lead something resembling a normal life. They couldn't be trapped in this bunker forever. Neither could Christopher. She had started training someone to help lighten her workload so she could enjoy more time with her family.
Today, was the day they met their new Department of Homeland Security handler. This agent and Christopher would work in shifts. His thoughts were still on Jessica and the lies she fed him as Lucy sat down at the table next to him.
She placed her hand on his and squeezed with an encouraging smile.
They were all gathering together to be formally introduced to the new member of the team. The last time someone new had been introduced to the bunker, it hadn't ended so well. But Christopher assured them this new agent had been rigorously vetted.
"You okay?" Lucy asked.
He gave her a small smile and leaned across the distance to kiss her temple. "I'm fine."
Lucy scoffed "You know we all say that when we're lying, don't you? Your fine is totally transparent."
He sighed and put his arm around the back of her chair to pull it closer to his. "I was just thinking about the last time a new person entered the Bunker."
She turned and brought her left hand up to gently caress his cheek. He could feel the cool platinum of her engagement ring against his skin and it did wonders for his guilt weary heart. It had taken some time but he had earned another chance with Lucy Preston and he wasn't wasting it.
"Wyatt," Lucy told him softly as her understanding brown eyes met his. "You have to let that go. I have. Rufus has. We all have. All of us but you."
He turned his head and kissed the palm of her hand. "I know. I just think sometimes...her mission was to take all of us out, Lucy. At any point she could have acted on that mission and I would have lost everyone I care about. Try as I might to move on from that I can't. Just like I can't imagine what I would do if I ever lost you or anyone else that shares this underground hell hole with us."
"You didn't lose any of us," She replied. "We're all still here. Even if we had to take orders from our future selves to make that happen." She gave him a small grin and then leaned in to press her lips to his in a soft kiss. "Enjoy what we have right now, Wyatt, and let everything else go. The past is just that, the past. You know, except when we time travel, I guess."
He chuckled and kissed her again. "Right, except then."
"Oh, come on," Rufus said as he sat down across from them with a sigh. "You guys have a room for that now, you know."
"I think they're cute," Jiya said as she smacked Rufus's shoulder. "Leave them alone."
Flynn approached the table and turned one of the chairs around backwards before seating himself next to Lucy. "Do I really have to be here? Does it matter if we formally meet this person or not?"
"What else do you have to do, exactly?" Wyatt asked with a roll of his eyes.
Flynn opened his mouth to reply when Agent Christopher appeared at the table. "Oh good, the gang's all here."
She motioned behind her as a blonde and blue eyed woman in a crisp, pressed pantsuit joined her. She looked uncomfortable in the outfit, like it wasn't her preferred choice, and shifted her weight from foot to foot as she stood next to Agent Christopher. She had her weapon holstered on her hip and her arms crossed over her chest as her eyes scanned each person in the room.
"This is Agent Olivia Smith," Christopher said as she motioned to the younger woman. "If I am not here she will be or if Homeland Security needs a presence in the Lifeboat then she will accompany you."
"Wait," Lucy said with a furrowed brow. "She's traveling with us?"
"Only if necessary," Agent Smith answered. "Which I don't anticipate will be very often."
Rufus grinned at her. "So, you're...Agent Smith. Was there a glitch in The Matrix?"
"Funny," Agent Smith said as she rolled her eyes at him. "Never heard that one before."
"Great, we have a new babysitter. Nice to meet you. Can I go now?" Flynn asked with a huff.
Agent Smith quirked a brow at him. "What else do you have to do, exactly? You're trapped in a tin can and also classified as a terrorist by the US government."
The question was phrased exactly how Wyatt had phrased it earlier and when Flynn opened his mouth to reply Agent Smith waved him off.
"Never mind," she said dismissively. "I don't want to know and I really don't care. Leave if you want. I'm not here to protect you, Mr. Flynn. I'm here to protect them," she said as she motioned to Rufus, Lucy, Jiya, Mason, and himself. "And to make sure you stay detained."
Wyatt smirked at her. Yeah, okay, she might be fun to have around.
Flynn scoffed and stormed away toward his room. Lucy looked up at the newcomer with an apologetic glance.
"He's really not so bad," Lucy told her. "He's very effective on a mission."
The blonde chuckled dryly and nodded. "I appreciate your opinion, Professor Preston, but I've read his file. He's a psychopath and a necessary ally. I have no need to know him beyond that." She paused for a thoughtful moment and then continued. "Also I just don't like him. Can't explain it, but I don't."
"I can explain it," Wyatt supplied. "He's a terrorist who's tried to kill Lucy, Rufus, and myself more times that I can count. That's all the reason I need." Lucy elbowed him lightly and he let out a tired sigh. "But he has come through in the clutch on more than a few missions."
Rufus nodded his agreement. "And sometimes having him Flynn it up on missions can come in handy."
"Flynn it up?" Agent Smith asked with a smirk.
Wyatt's brow furrowed as she smirked and her eyes shined in amusement. Something about her seemed familiar. He didn't know what it was or why, but it almost felt like he knew her.
"It's this thing Rufus made up to describe Flynn's tendency to shoot first and cause chaos," Jiya told her.
"Chaos, right, like there's not enough of that involved in time travel as it is?" Agent Christopher asked with a sigh.
Agent Smith shrugged. "I don't know, Agent Christopher, it's been my experience that every mission is chaos. Things always get messy. There would be chaos even without someone there to Flynn it up." Agent Smith paused and then gave Rufus a questioning glance. "Did I use that right?"
"Perfect," Rufus replied with a grin.
The longer she talked, the more he felt he knew her. But how? She looked to be in her late thirties. She didn't carry herself like someone who might have served so it couldn't be through the Army. The only Homeland Security agent he'd ever worked with was Agent Christopher so it couldn't be anything to do with that either. What was it?
"How did you get this assignment?" Wyatt asked curiously.
"Agent Christopher recruited me," she replied. "She's known me since I was a kid and she said she needed someone trustworthy so here I am. Besides," she said as she slid her gaze from Wyatt to Rufus. "Never send a human to do a machine's job."
She smirked at Rufus and winked at Jiya with an air of confidence and swagger that he knew well. He used it to hide his baggage, his past. It seemed Agent Smith had picked up the same habit.
Rufus grinned between Agent Smith and Jiya before he spoke again. "Did she just confirm that we're actually living in The Matrix? And that she's actually Agent Smith?"
"This is all I'm going to think about now when we talk to you," Lucy said with a sigh and a playful roll of her eyes.
"Well, we can't have that now, can we, ma'am?" Agent Smith asked her with an amused smile.
Lucy tensed in her seat next to him for a split second and he saw a look of recognition cross her eyes. Did she feel the pull of familiarity too?
"How about you guys call me Liv?" She asked. She gave Agent Christopher an apologetic look. "I know it's not protocol but they're stuck in this hell hole and fighting an evil time traveling cult. I feel like protocol isn't the most important thing right now."
Agent Christopher chuckled at her. "What they call you is up to you. Besides, when have you ever followed protocol?"
"Touche," the agent answered with a laugh. "Not my fault protocol sometimes gets in the way of actually doing the job."
Connor grinned and motioned to Wyatt. "You sound like the Master Sergeant. He's not exactly a fan of protocol either."
Wyatt lifted a shoulder carelessly. "Guilty as charged."
"So, Liv," Jiya asked. "Are you from around here?"
"No, I grew up in Maryland, close to DC," Liv answered. "Moved out here after Agent Christopher begged me to come work for her and Homeland. Prior to that I was Secret Service and then FBI."
Liv looked to be close to his and Lucy's age, late thirties or early forties. Working for those three organizations and still being so young was impressive.
"I didn't beg you," Agent Christopher said with an amused grin.
"Pretty sure you did. There was more than one please and definitely more than one phone call involved in the asking. I think that qualifies as begging," Liv replied with a lopsided grin. "I mean I can't blame you for wanting to work with the best."
Wyatt chuckled at her and gave her a challenging look. "Someone's confident."
"Well, hell, I worked hard for this confidence. Might as well show it off."
He laughed and nodded his agreement. Yeah, they were all going to get along just fine. He could tell. Something about her just seemed to immediately click within the group.
The familiar feeling still nagged at him, though, he had to know her from somewhere.
Jiya was spending a lot of time with Liv lately. Liv and Christopher usually switched shifts around five in the afternoon.
After Jessica took advantage of the early morning hours to steal the Lifeboat, Christopher wanted to make sure there was someone field trained watching the Lifeboat and the team at all times. Now it seemed that was Liv's job. That meant during any late night missions, Jiya and Connor waited with Liv. She was quiet but her presence felt strangely comforting.
She dressed more casually after that first day. More casually than Agent Christopher ever had. She wore jeans, combat boots, and a loose button up blouse nearly every day. Her gun stayed holstered to the belt on her waist at all times and she had a swagger that oozed strength.
Like now for example, while she was lounging in a chair with her feet propped up on the desk next to Jiya's monitor.
Jiya sighed and gave her a scolding glance. "Could you not put your feet up next to the equipment?"
Liv immediately sat up and placed her boots on the ground. "Oh, right, sorry." She looked around the silo and cleared her throat. "So, how long are they usually gone on these missions?"
"It varies. I think the shortest ever was eight hours and the longest was three days," Jiya told her as she tried her best not to remember her team being stranded in 1754.
Liv nodded slowly. "So, you could be here a while then?"
"Connor and I switch off if it takes too long," Jiya told her.
Liv's blue eyes flicked to hers and Jiya could feel them quickly assessing her in a way that felt eerily familiar. "Can you really rest though if you don't know how they are? I don't think I would be able to. Not if I were as close to all of them as you are."
Jiya smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "I might get a little help from Jack Daniels sometimes."
"Ah, yes, Jack and I are old friends," Liv said with a laugh. "In fact, I think we should probably track down Jack right now, don't you?"
"You're working," Jiya said with a furrowed brow. "Aren't their rules about that?"
"Can the usual rules really apply when it comes to time travel?" Liv asked her. "Besides, I'm not trying to get you wasted, Marri. I'm just thinking of one drink. What'll it hurt?"
"As long as we don't end up toasting to oblivion," Jiya answered with a chuckle.
"What?" Liv asked with a furrowed brow.
"Just something Connor said while drunk once," she told her with a smirk.
"Ah, well I try to avoid oblivion whenever possible," Liv said with a light laugh. "Where do you guys stash the hard stuff?"
She didn't wait for Jiya to answer. She was already in the kitchen as Jiya began to call out the answer. But Liv beat her to it.
"Found it," Liv yelled. "Do you take it on the rocks or neat?"
"Doesn't matter," Jiya answered.
A few moments later Liv returned with two glasses of whiskey and put one down in front of Jiya.
"So," Liv said after taking a sip. "How did you get involved in all of this?" She motioned around the silo and ran a hand through her hair.
Jiya had a fleeting thought they had done this before. She knew they hadn't but she couldn't shake the sense of deja vu. "Mason recruited me on the time travel project just before the Mothership was stolen."
Liv nodded. "How did you go from on the Mason Industries payroll to trapped in this hellhole?"
"My mad skills," Jiya answered with a smirk.
Liv laughed and nodded. "I believe it."
"What about you?" Jiya asked. "You said you've known Christopher since you were a kid?"
Liv shifted nervously and looked down at the glass in her hand as she answered. "Yeah, she kinda took me under her wing. Kept me busy and out of trouble. An idle Liv is a troublemaking Liv."
"Trouble, huh?" Jiya asked. "What kind of trouble?"
"Let's just say I've historically had a problem with authority figures and I tended to act out if I didn't find a suitable distraction," Liv said with a shrug. She avoided looking at Jiya as she took another sip of her whiskey. "Denise - Agent Christopher, I mean, was the only good role model I had. She's tough but, I don't know, she was the first person to expect me to do something...positive with my life. No one else really gave a shit." Liv paused thoughtfully and took a deep breath. She shook her head as if she were shaking her past away and then smiled hesitantly at Jiya. "I have no idea why I just told you that. I don't normally - well, I'm not usually that talkative." She set the glass aside and cleared her throat. "Must be the Jack."
"No worries," Jiya told her with a warm smile. "We're a family here and, trust me, we all have our fair share of baggage. Anytime you want to talk. I'm here."
"A family, huh?" Liv asked her with a smile that didn't reach her cobalt blue eyes. "Must be nice. Never really had one of those, myself."
"You've got one now," Jiya said as she held up her whiskey glass. "If you want one." She paused and then gave Liv a questioning look. "To family?"
Liv gave her a considering stare for a long moment before she smirked slowly. She tapped her glass against Jiya's briefly and nodded. "To family."
They shared a small smile before Liv glanced down at her watch. "You guys get cable down here?" She asked.
"There's a Vanderpump Rules marathon tonight and seeing as we're just sitting here waiting I thought I might try and catch an episode or two," Liv said with a bashful grin. "It's my guilty pleasure show."
Jiya blinked at her for several seconds and as the silence engulfed them she realized why this moment seemed so familiar. "You like Vanderpump Rules?"
"Unfortunately," Liv answered with a chuckle. "I try not to but it sucks me in every time."
"Yeah, yeah me too."
"Oh, yeah?" Liv asked. "Wanna join me?"
The hair, the grin, the confidence. It all reminded her of just one person. The last person she'd sat up with drinking whiskey and watching trashy TV.
Jiya swallowed thickly and downed the rest of her whiskey. "You know, I think I'll have to take a rain check."
"You sure?" Liv asked. "You've been staring at this monitor for a while already."
"I'm sure. I should probably run some calibrations while everything's quiet anyway," Jiya answered as she forced a shaky smile.
"Okay, well suit yourself. I'll be parked in front of the TV if you change your mind," Liv told her with a wink as she picked up her glass and headed for the common area.
As soon as Liv was out of sight, Jiya fisted her shaking hands and breathed deeply. What the hell was that? There was no reason for her to feel so shaken. Liv wasn't Jessica. She knew that. Agent Christopher knew Liv well and had even vetted her. But Jiya couldn't shake the image of Jessica sharing popcorn and alcohol with her as they binged bad television on the uncomfortable common room couch.
Maybe it was just the mention of Vanderpump Rules. That had to be it. She cursed and huffed. If that was it then she had another reason to never forgive Jessica Logan. How dare she ruin a perfectly good guilty pleasure?
It happened sooner than any of them expected. Two weeks after Liv officially joined the team, she was filling an empty seat in the Lifeboat.
Wyatt was injured. Nothing major but enough to make him a liability in the field. He had sprained his ankle during a brawl on the mission the day before and was now forced to stay off of his feet for too long. When the alarm sounded Rufus and Lucy immediately looked uncomfortable. They didn't like traveling without each other. It irked Flynn that this was always such an issue but he had learned to deal with it.
"Liv, looks like you're on," Christopher ordered.
"Sweet," Liv answered with a smirk. "What year are we going to? Should I bring my thigh holster?"
Wyatt grimaced and shifted his weight in a clear sign that he was, for some reason, uncomfortable with her question.
"1926," Lucy answered. "A thigh holster would probably be a good idea."
"Nice, let me just grab it out of my car," Liv said as she sprinted toward the Bunker exit.
"Something wrong, Master Sergeant?" Flynn asked him with a grin.
"Not as long as you bring the three of them back in one piece," Wyatt answered through a clenched jaw.
Flynn raised a brow at that. The three of them? Agent Smith's safety was equal to Rufus and Lucy's? When had that begun?
"I think Agent Smith can handle herself. She is highly trained, after all," Flynn told him with a smirk.
For a moment, Wyatt looked as if he were going to respond and then Liv came back into the room, with an eager gleam in her eyes. Effectively, cutting off anything Wyatt had planned to say.
"We ready or what?" She asked. "I've been dying to kick some Rittenhouse ass since Agent Christopher first briefed me on the mission."
Rufus and Lucy shared an amused look and led the way to the Lifeboat. Flynn glanced back as he stepped inside last and was surprised by the intensely anxious look on Wyatt Logan's face. He'd been left behind on missions before but Flynn had never seen that particular expression on the younger man's face. It was almost an anguished level of worry.
Flynn had seen a similar look on his own face the first day he dropped Iris off at daycare. That revelation left Flynn even more confused. It didn't make sense.
Flynn and Lucy took their usual seats and let Liv take what was usually Wyatt's seat. Liv buckled herself in with ease, even having never done it before. Lucy gave her an amazed, nearly jealous glance before buckling herself in. Flynn chuckled lightly at the scene as he fastened his own seatbelt.
"Just so you know," Rufus said, turning slightly to face Liv. "The ride can cause intense motion sickness."
"I'll be fine," Liv replied. "But thanks for the heads up."
Lucy grinned at her in amusement. "Let's go, Rufus. You heard her. She'll be fine."
One final flip of a switch and Lifeboat was shaking and groaning and tossing them around. The pull always felt as if he were being ripped apart. When it stopped Liv looked pale and drawn.
"Still fine?" Lucy asked in an overly friendly tone.
"Yep, I'm good," Liv said stiffly. "I think I just need some air." She motioned to the hatch and glanced at Rufus pointedly.
He smirked and opened the hatch. The three of them watched as Liv undid her seatbelt and crawled clumsily out of the Lifeboat.
Flynn stepped down and spotted her doubled over and heaving in the woods next to the their landing spot. She straightened after a moment and wiped the back of her hand across her mouth. When she stood she remained perfectly still and breathed heavily.
"You good?" Rufus asked with a grin.
"Peachy," she answered sarcastically. "What now?"
"Steal some clothes, get a car," Rufus answered.
"Ah, great. Shoplifting is my specialty," Liv said with a smirk. "The results of a misspent youth."
Flynn recognized that insufferable smirk. He had seen it pointed at him enough times to have it burned into his memory. Wyatt Logan wasn't here, but it seemed some part of him was.
"So, you're a klepto?" Rufus asked teasingly. "That's your thing?"
"One of them," Liv answered with a chuckle. "I'm a woman of many talents."
"And apparently a troubled past," Flynn commented with an arched eyebrow. "Misspent youth?"
"Yeah," she answered as she clicked her tongue in irritation and glared at him. "I was a punk, and yet even I didn't grow up to be a terrorist. Go figure."
"I did what I had to do," Flynn told her with a glare of his own.
She laughed bitterly as they began to walk away from the Lifeboat. "Yeah, I've read the mission reports, Flynn. You murdered your way through time and majority of the people you murdered were innocent. Not to mention, if it weren't for the Professor, you would have murdered a child. That goes beyond doing what you have to do. Killing innocents just means you were waiting for an excuse - a cause - to justify becoming who you really are. I used to profile people just like you every damn day when I worked for the FBI. We called them serial killers. So, I don't trust you as far as I can throw you, Mr. Flynn." She stopped walking and turned to face him with a grin and an intimidating glare. "All I need is for you to give me one reason, just one, to shoot you. I won't waste it. Trust me."
She meant every word and he had no doubt she would follow through if she felt it was necessary. He knew then Wyatt Logan did not need to worry about Olivia Smith. She could fight her own battles and probably had been from a young age.
"Oh, I know you wouldn't waste the opportunity, Agent Smith. But I don't think it's just me you don't trust," Flynn told her as he shrugged off her threat and continued to follow after Lucy and Rufus. "I think you don't trust anyone. I think you've been alone for too long and trust is too difficult. Believe it or not, I can relate."
"You can cut out the Jedi mind tricks, Flynn. I'm not weak minded," Liv told him with a roll of her eyes. "Save it for the cell mates you'll have once we put down Rittenhouse and send you back to prison."
The last person to refer to his eloquence as a Jedi mind trick was Wyatt Logan. Suspicion and confusion flared again. There was a symmetry to Olivia and Wyatt. They had a commonality that could not be ignored. Though, what that was he couldn't quite discern. They had similarities in appearance and personality. But that could be coincidental.
Given their luck, the reasoning of a coincidence seemed highly unlikely. He doubted he would be getting any more clues from her. She was pointedly ignoring him as they walked side by side.
"Alright, then we will continue on in awkward silence," Flynn said with an amused grin.
"Fine by me," Liv replied through gritted teeth.
And again, he was reminded of Wyatt and the threat the younger man sneered at him just before they left for this particular mission. Just where had Olivia Smith come from? And why did she seem so familiar?
Wyatt wasn't sure why he felt uneasy about this particular mission. Lucy and Rufus had gone on missions without him before. In fact, he should feel less anxious about this mission because they had Liv with them. Liv who shared his feelings about Garcia Flynn and would be as wary of the terrorist as Wyatt would himself.
But somehow, Liv's presence made him all the more anxious. Sometime after her first week with the team they'd begun sparring together. She was good. Just as good as him. He knew she could take care of herself. Especially after hearing some of her stories.
How the hell she had survived to adulthood he would never know. She must have had some kind of guardian angel. He was seated in the common area with a beer, trying his best not to think about his team running around 1926 without him, when Denise Christopher sat down next to him.
"You seem more worried than usual, Wyatt," Denise said with a grin. "And that's saying a lot."
"You know, it's always nerve wracking when we put a new person in the field," he said as he tried to seem as careless as possible.
"Agent Smith is very capable. She's used to blending in," Denise said with a chuckle. "They'll be fine."
Wyatt turned to her with a furrowed brow. "What do you mean?"
"She was one of the FBI's favorite undercover operatives," Denise told him as she pulled her knitting from her bag. "Well, one of my favorite undercover operatives. She's very experienced at adapting to survive." Denise paused but when it was clear his worry hadn't lessened she grinned and continued. "I sent her undercover as a bartender once, gave her a week to prepare for it. She had a bartender boyfriend of hers teach her how to make every drink he knew. She learned it all with two days to spare, even learned how do some of those bottle tossing tricks. She's a fast learner. Time travel won't throw her for long."
"Did she bust whoever you were after?" Wyatt asked with a curious grin as a confusing sense of pride bubbled up in his chest.
"Oh yeah, she took a beer bottle shiv to the shoulder during the bust and still ended up subduing the guy," Denise told him with a laugh. "Scared me to death, but she was fine. She, um - what's that saying? - oh yes, she takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Always has, that girl. She never has it easy but she always overcomes. Kinda reminds me of somebody else I know."
Wyatt grinned at her and shook his head as she gave him a pointed look. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he said with a scoff.
"Sure, you don't," Denise said with a chuckle. "One of the reasons I worked so hard to recruit her was that I knew the two of you would hit it off and I thought having back up you trusted would make things easier for you. But the look on your face when I first sat down was not easier by any definition."
He gave Denise a long a wary glance as he debated whether to voice his worry. He sighed and decided, somehow, she would understand.
Denise grinned and nodded. "Yes she is. Quick tempered, too. But she's learned the art of control over time. She's reckless but not thoughtless."
"What if she decides to be a hero?" He asked with a furrowed brow. "You know, cowboy stuff?"
"What, like bringing grenades to the Alamo?" Denise asked him with a knowing smile.
He rolled his eyes and bit back a grin. "I'm serious."
"I know, you are. Look, I've known Liv since she was eleven years old. I have worried over her for years, but there are two things Liv has always done better than anyone else. Those two things ease my fears and keep me calm."
"And those two things are?" Wyatt asked before taking a sip of his beer.
"Protect and Survive," Denise replied. "She won't let anything happen to Rufus or Lucy. She won't play reckless or be a cowboy with their lives on the line. You don't have to worry about her protecting them as you would. She's a natural protector. She'll bring them home or die trying."
At her last sentence, a realization hit him. More like a cold surge of terror hit him that made him realize something. He wasn't worried about her abandoning Lucy and Rufus with some act of cowboy heroics. No, he was worried about whether or not she would survive an act of cowboy heroics.
What was going on? Since she walked into the bunker two weeks ago Agent Olivia Smith had seemed strangely familiar. He barely knew anything about her but he felt as though he knew everything about her. His protective nature had latched onto her as strongly as it had latched onto Lucy, Rufus, or Jiya. Only it had latched on instantaneously. What did that mean? Who was she and how did he know her? Because he had to have met her before. There was no other explanation.
He was going to have to do some investigating. He had questions that he needed answered. His mind thought back through everything Agent Christopher disclosed and he felt that confusing sense of pride again as he recalled her bar story. He chuckled and grinned before looking over at Denise again.
"She really took a beer bottle shiv to the shoulder and kept fighting?" Wyatt asked her.
Denise smiled brightly with the same pride he felt and nodded. "She still has the scar."
The phrase, 'that's my girl' ran across his mind and found its was to the very tip of his tongue before he managed to catch it.
...what the hell?
ii. smiles returning to the faces
Mason was really trying not to stare. He was certain the two didn't even realize what they were doing.
Agent Smith had joined them for dinner. At first, Mason didn't notice anything strange. All seemed normal until he looked up from his own container of Chinese take out and noticed it.
What was it, you ask?
Wyatt Logan has always, for as long as Connor Mason knew him, held his chopsticks incorrectly. He managed to make them work but the way he held them was clumsy at best. Mason always had this thought with a thrill of superiority because maybe he wasn't a hero with a chiseled stubbled jaw but at least he would never embarrass himself while eating with chopsticks. Mason prayed that the Master Sergeant was never sent to China or Japan for a mission and that he would never have to let anyone else see how awkwardly he held chopsticks.
It was unique to Wyatt Logan and would surely lead to embarrassment.
Or so he had always thought but apparently he was wrong. Because sitting next to Wyatt at the dinner table was Agent Olivia Smith and she was holding her chopsticks in the exact same awkward position as the soldier sitting on her right.
"Olivia," Connor called across the table with a curious smile. "Where did you learn to hold your chopsticks like that?"
"Learn?" She asked with a scoff. "I didn't learn anything. This is just the only way I can get them to actually pick up food."
Lucy's eyes fell to Olivia's hands at the question, from her seat next to Connor and across from Wyatt. Mason watched her eyes move back and forth between the two before he heard her mutter a quiet, "oh my god" under her breath.
So, he wasn't the only one to notice it seemed.
Lucy and Connor shared a surprised and awkward glance before deciding to pretend they hadn't noticed anything strange at all.
Coincidence. It was pure coincidence.
What else could it be?
This whole situation was weird. Liv Smith knew this. Time Travel was real. Hell, she'd seen the 1920s with her own eyes. There was a secret cult out to manipulate history to their own ends and they were led by a bitch of a redhead that she hadn't been able to get a clean shot on. There was a group of geniuses, heroes, and one criminal living in a secret missile silo. One that she spent more overnight shifts in than she could count at this point.
But the weirdest thing about all of it was Wyatt Logan.
There was a strange pull that she couldn't explain. They got on well, immediately. Not only that but his skills were on par with hers so that made him the ideal sparring partner. He could match her blow for blow. But beyond the obvious, she felt like she could talk to him about things she generally didn't talk about. She was going to have to be more cautious around him lest she spill her pathetic life story.
Right now, she was watching him train Lucy. Lucy was nearly three years into her training and already she was knowledgeable on an advanced level. She hadn't quite reached Wyatt's level yet but Professor Preston learned fast, it seemed. In fact, at the end of their current match she actually had Wyatt pinned to the mat. The match ended but neither person moved and Liv grinned knowingly. She had never seen two people more completely in love with every part of each other than Lucy and Wyatt.
Then again, she hadn't witnessed much real love in her lifetime period.
She cleared her throat with a smirk. "You two gonna keep lying on the mat all night or..."
At the sound of her voice, Lucy jumped up as if startled and stood quickly. Wyatt huffed and reluctantly joined her.
"Sorry," Liv said with chuckle. "Didn't mean to interrupt the lovebirds."
"Sure you didn't," Wyatt said with a teasing grin and a roll of his eyes. "No one in this place ever does."
She smirked and ignored him before turning to Lucy. "Looking good, Professor. Another few months and you might outgrow your teacher."
Lucy snorted derisively and shook her head. "Yeah, right. Good one."
Liv noticed Wyatt's face take on a small scolding glare. He looked ready to contradict Lucy but Liv beat him to it.
"I'm serious," Liv told her. "You learn fast. Must be because of that huge brain of yours. Seriously, it's impressive how you remember all those dates and facts and events. It makes sense that you would be able to pick up on hand to hand just as quickly as you can recite the Gettysburg Address or whatever. Believe me, learning as quickly as you have takes someone with a knack for it. Tried to teach one of my foster brothers how to fight while we were in high school, so he could protect himself from the bullies, and it quickly proved impossible. I ended up basically following him around like private security detail," Liv admitted with a nostalgic smile. A moment later she realized just what she had told them and the nostalgia was replaced by embarrassment. "You know, I think I'm going to go check in with Agent Christopher. It's almost time for our shift change."
She started to leave but felt Wyatt's hand on her shoulder, halting her movement.
"Hey, you don't have to go," he said softly as she reluctantly turned back around to face him. "We all have our scars, Liv. I mean, my dad was a world class son of a bitch. I ran away at fifteen and never looked back."
Lucy nodded and then gave her a sympathetic smile. "And my mother was the leader of a secret cult and tried to program me to join them. If there's ever anyone who understands a twisted situation, it's us."
"Did those guys ever leave your brother alone?" Wyatt asked cautiously.
He debated whether or not he should ask. She understood that. She was questioning whether or not she should answer.
"Yeah, they did. But only after I pounded the alpha male's face in. I got a three day suspension and moved to a new home as punishment," she answered as she tried to shrug carelessly. "The usual. It was worth it though if it meant they stopped targeting my brother."
An awkward silence descended on them as Wyatt and Lucy exchanged a look of some kind. The nonverbal communication between these two was almost freaky. If she didn't know any better she would think they were telepathic.
"So, you grew up in the foster system?" Lucy asked.
Ah, that's what caused the awkwardness. Made sense. Most people didn't know what to do with that.
Liv nodded and explained hesitantly. "Got dumped on the front stoop of a children's home when I was a toddler, then bounced around from home to home, jackass foster parents to jackass foster parents, right up until the day I turned 18." She met Wyatt's eyes with a rueful grin before she repeated his earlier words back to him. "Ran away to college and never looked back."
"College?" Lucy asked with an intrigued glance. "What did you study?"
"Administration of Justice at University of The District of Columbia. I couldn't join the DC police force until I was 21 so I had to do something," she answered. "I've learned it's best to keep myself busy."
Wyatt chuckled dryly and nodded. "Sounds familiar. The last time I was idle for a stretch did not end well for me."
"An idle Liv tends to result in a fist fight or two," Liv admitted with a smirk.
Wyatt met her smirk with one of his own and pointed to himself before he replied, "Car chases across the Mexican border."
Liv's eyes widened and she laughed. "Damn, Logan. Okay, you win. That's definitely more trouble than a bar brawl."
Lucy rolled her eyes at both of them and shook her head with a playful grin. "I am dreading the day we have both of you on a mission. I have enough trouble with one reckless hothead. I don't need two."
Liv and Wyatt shared knowing grins before Wyatt placed a quick kiss to Lucy's temple. "Whatever gets the job done, babydoll."
"Okay, go ahead but let's see if I'll be speaking to you when we get home, sweetheart," Lucy said with a teasing glare.
He chuckled. "That's an empty threat and we both know it. Who else would you lecture about history if you weren't speaking to me?"
That confounded her for a brief moment before she quirked a brow at him and shrugged. "Rufus or...I don't know maybe Flynn."
The mischievous sparkle in Lucy's eyes almost made Liv laugh out loud. That woman knew exactly what she was doing.
Wyatt's eyes narrowed and he huffed before wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into his side. "Oh hell no."
"Then I suppose you'll have to watch just how reckless and hot headed you decide to be, won't you?"
Liv laughed lightly and grinned as she met Wyatt's eyes with a shrug. "I think she's got you there, man."
"She always does and she knows it," Wyatt said with an affectionate smile and a roll of his eyes.
Lucy beamed up at him with a proud smile and placed a kiss to his cheek. "He's too much fun to tease."
Joy and contentment radiated off of Lucy and Wyatt as they fired playful banter back and forth and Liv couldn't imagine any couple being happier while trapped underground fighting a war they couldn't seem to win. She read the reports from their previous missions and she knew, at one point, Wyatt was married to someone else. But, looking at the couple in front of her right now, she knew he could not have seemed as complete with any other woman as he did with Lucy.
It gave her hope for her own heart one day. They made her believe it was possible to find a family when you weren't even sure you were worthy of one. And, hell, maybe she already found one.
Christopher needed Flynn and Wyatt for a top secret operation. No one but Liv knew exactly what but they all figure it had something to do with gathering evidence against Rittenhouse. The last time Wyatt had been held back from a mission he had single handedly raided their headquarters. Liv kept mum on the subject but she was able to assure Lucy that Wyatt wouldn't be going anywhere alone.
In place of Flynn and Wyatt, Christopher sent Liv and Jiya and let Lucy take her gun for the first time. Agent Christopher refused to let her take it on missions until Lucy was able to meet Homeland Security's marksmanship standards. She finally did and with them one gun short, Christopher agreed now was the time.
Liv bought her a thigh holster to celebrate. It wasn't anything customized or sexy like Liv's brown leather and rose detailed holster.
"Baby steps, Professor," Liv told her with a smirk as she handed her the standard issue black holster. "Besides, I think I'll leave the sexy kind of holster purchases to Logan."
And now they were running around New York in 1899, guns drawn chasing Jessica Logan down an alley. Liv stopped at the alley's entrance and motioned for Lucy to take cover behind a stack of empty wooden crates. Lucy didn't question it, even though she was more than capable of following. She wasn't the same historian who started these missions five years ago. But for some reason trust in Liv was automatic. It was already as unshakable as her trust in Wyatt and, for the life of her, Lucy couldn't explain it.
Jessica appeared from around the corner and both she and Liv had their guns trained on each other in an instant. Lucy waited for the sound of gunfire but it never came. When she peeked around she found the women locked in conflicted gazes. Guns were aimed at each other's chests but both women looked pained and confused.
Lucy's appearance broke the spell it seemed because the minute Jessica saw her she shifted her aim and a bullet flew past her into one of the shipping crates. That sent Liv into action. She kicked out and knocked Jessica's gun from her hand before connecting a punch to the other woman's jaw. Jessica stumbled back into the brick wall of the alley, landed a kick to Liv's stomach and then took off toward Lucy.
As she reached Lucy, a shot rang out and Jessica stumbled forward. She fell to her knees and brought a hand to her arm.
"Go, Lucy," Liv said through a tense jaw. "Now."
Lucy didn't need to be told twice. She could handle herself but something in Liv's tone made her instinctively obey. Lucy waited on the street, far enough away to not be seen but close enough to still hear everything.
"It seems the new girl is a crap shot," Jessica said in a strained but taunting voice.
Liv chuckled dryly. "If I wanted to kill you, you'd be dead. Trust me."
"Why wouldn't you want to kill me? Isn't your boss after my head? This shot to my arm should have been a kill shot and we both know it."
"Yeah, well, not exactly like you could shoot me either. I'm sure your redheaded Rittenbitch of a boss will love to hear all about that, won't she?" Lucy heard the sounds of a cartridge being unloaded from a gun and the thud of something hitting the dirt before Liv continued. "Consider this a warning. You come after my team again and I won't be so nice."
"And next time I won't hesitate to put a bullet in your chest."
Liv laughed bitterly. "Good luck with that. People been trying to kill me for years. I just can't seem to die."
A second later, Liv was at her side and pointing down the street to where they were supposed to meet Rufus and Jiya.
"Hopefully, they were more successful than we were," Liv muttered angrily as she stormed off toward a much busier street.
Lucy had barely registered she was there before Liv stomped away. Lucy chased after her and for a fleeting moment Lucy had a memory of chasing an enraged Wyatt just like this on more than one mission. Why her mind was correlating the two she wasn't quite sure. She caught up with her and gently grabbed Liv's arm to force her to stop.
"Hey," Lucy said softly. "You okay? What was that back there? You...you paused."
Liv ducked her head with an apologetic wince and shrugged. "I have no goddamn idea. I froze. I don't know, something about her standing there in front of me and her face and her hair - it all looked familiar and I couldn't place it. Still can't." Liv's hands fisted and she ripped off her white lace gloves. They were soiled and shredded to pieces anyway from her fight with Jessica. There was no point in keeping them. "I had the shot and I couldn't take it. I could have put her down, Lucy, but my finger wouldn't - it wouldn't pull the trigger."
Liv didn't wait for Lucy's response. She pushed ahead through the crowd and Lucy was forced to follow. The look of pain and confusion on Liv's face wasn't unfamiliar to Lucy. The last time she saw that same mix of emotions she'd been watching Wyatt and he was still under the impression Jessica was pregnant. Lucy's blood boiled briefly and she wished she'd had the presence of mind to take the shot herself. Lucy would never forgive Jessica for all the pain she put Wyatt through and all the lies she made him believe.
It seemed Jessica was somehow playing the same mind games with Liv.
Liv suddenly stopped and turned on Lucy with heated and angry eyes. "Next time. Next time, I'll take the shot. I won't fucking pause."
Lucy gave her a sympathetic smile and nodded. "I believe you."
"Good," Liv said with a huff. "Let's get the hell out of here. I gotta get this damn corset off as soon as possible. 1899 sucks ass."
That was the last they spoke of her hesitation for the rest of the trip. When they arrived back home and Christopher asked what happened, Lucy covered for her.
"We caught a glimpse of her," Lucy answered. "Liv managed to put a bullet in her arm, but she was long gone before we could catch up to her."
Liv's eyes met Lucy's in grateful surprise before she nodded her agreement.
"Well, good," Christopher said with a tired sigh. "At least she's wounded. Maybe that will slow her and Emma down for a few days."
Later, Lucy could hear the sounds of Liv taking out her frustrations on Wyatt's sandbag in their makeshift gym area as Lucy made her nightly cup of chamomile tea. The sounds of grunts and growls and unintelligible cursing could be heard by Wyatt and Rufus too as they sat and tried to play checkers. Wyatt turned curiously toward Liv before getting up from the couch and seeking out Lucy.
She felt his hand on the small of her back and she turned to face him with an expectant expression.
"What happened in 1899?" He asked with a worried wrinkle in his brow. "She's been murdering that sandbag for hours now."
Lucy sighed and shook her head. "I don't really know, honestly, but somehow," she paused and gave Wyatt a brief concerned glance as she continued. "Jessica got under her skin. Between you and me, she had a kill shot and she couldn't take it. She's been beating herself up about it ever since."
Wyatt looked thoughtful for a long moment as he absently rubbed the back of his neck. "She couldn't take the shot?"
"Not the kill shot, no. She did end up shooting her in the arm," Lucy clarified. "She just couldn't kill her."
"Can you take my place in checkers?" Wyatt asked as he turned his head to watch Liv continue to fight with her demons. "I feel like I should try and talk to her."
Lucy leaned up and placed a kiss to Wyatt's stubbled jaw. "Of course," she said with a nod. "Take all the time you need. I'll keep Rufus busy."
Wyatt gave her a small grin and a chuckle before dropping a kiss to her temple. "Thanks."
Lucy watched him approach Liv as she finished making her cup of tea. He stood back at first to watch her as she continued to furiously punch the bag. Lucy could see him analyzing Liv's form and style. The minute he spoke Liv swiveled on instinct and threw a punch at him. Wyatt deflected it easily, as if he had expected it, and held Liv's gaze. Lucy couldn't hear what he was saying but Liv's posture slowly relaxed. Liv gave him a half hearted smile as Wyatt took a position behind the bag, holding it steady for her. A moment later, Liv was back to punching the bag but she looked more present and clear headed than she had before.
Wyatt was speaking and Liv was adjusting her stance. Lucy chuckled to herself as she joined Rufus in the living room. He was offering her advice. Of course he was. Liv looked more than ready for the distraction as her eyes narrowed and darkened to a steel blue. She looked and acted so much like Wyatt. Lucy wondered if they realized just how alike they really were.
Something was up with Jiya.
That was all Rufus knew.
She was snippy and hostile and nothing he did managed to make it any better. He flipped through all the important dates in his head. He hadn't missed her birthday or their anniversary. But something was definitely wrong. She pushed him away all day long and refused to tell him what was bothering her. When he went to bed, she didn't follow. He gave her an hour or two, he lost track of time trying not to worry, before he went back out into the common area to check on her.
He stopped short of the couch at the sight that greeted him. Jiya was passed out with her head in Liv's lap while Liv rubbed slow comforting circles on her back. There were clear mascara tear tracks on Jiya's face as she dozed peacefully. Rufus still had no idea what was wrong. He was glad someone was able to be there for her, but he didn't know what had caused it.
Liv looked every bit the worried older sister as she sat and quietly offered Jiya comfort. She noticed Rufus across the room and smiled kindly at him.
"She's okay," she offered. "She had a tough day."
"I kept trying to get her to talk to me," Rufus told her with a tired sigh.
"She was trying to avoid talking about it," Liv told him. "I had to piss her off to get it out of her."
Rufus gave Liv a curious look. "What was it?"
"It was the anniversary of her dad's passing," Liv said as she absently rubbed another comforting circle across Jiya's back. "If she asks, I didn't tell you that."
"Got it. My lips are sealed," Rufus agreed. Jiya's father was always a sore subject and he'd been careless with that in the past. He couldn't blame her for not wanting to talk to him about it.
"You wanna switch?" Liv asked him. "She'll be much happier to wake up to you than to me. She's probably still pissed at me, at least a little. I had to provoke her pretty hard."
"What did you do?" Rufus asked with a quirked brow.
"She was shutting down. That's not healthy. I've seen what that does to a person up close and personal. So I just started pressing buttons till she exploded," Liv told him with a shrug. "It's not my preferred method but nothing else was working."
Rufus stared at her in surprise for a moment. Being their therapist wasn't her job. She could have stayed out of it, but watching Jiya push everyone away must have worried her. As hard as Liv seemed most days this softness he was seeing now was unexpected. As she waited for Rufus to answer her she pushed Jiya's hair out of her face and gently swept the rest of her long dark hair off her neck.
Her calloused hands moved soothingly and tenderly and he briefly remembered the many times he'd seen Wyatt's hands with the same intention. The memories came unbidden, but there they were. Flashes of him comforting Jiya, Agent Christopher, and, of course, Lucy. Even, occasionally, Wyatt comforting him with a hand on his shoulder or a pat to the back.
Why it was Wyatt he was thinking back on just now he wasn't at all sure. Liv and Wyatt shared the same protective instincts and maybe that would explain why Liv seemed to click with the team instantaneously.
The team had already accepted and adjusted to Wyatt so allowing room for someone similar to him was easy.
Rufus crossed the room and he and Liv switched places as seamlessly as they could. Jiya's head settled on his lap and she stirred briefly before falling still again. Both he and Liv breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank you," Rufus told her as he met Liv's eyes. "You didn't have to do this."
She smiled softly at him and shrugged. "Yeah, I did. I couldn't let her keep going like that. She was going to burn out if she kept it all in. I knew how to help so how could I ignore her? Besides, she told me once that we're a family, all of us, and I'd like to think this is what families do for one another."
Rufus smiled warmly as he nodded. "It is. It is what families do, and you are definitely a part of this one."
The look of gratitude on her face was so intense that Rufus almost had to look away. There were tears shining in her bright blue eyes as she forced her gaze to the floor and ran a barely trembling hand through her hair.
He heard a light sniffle as she looked up but she didn’t look at him. Her gaze went passed him in the direction of the main silo where he knew the Lifeboat sat, empty and quiet.
She let out a watery chuckle before she spoke. "It only took me about forty years to find a family. Better late than never, though, huh?"
"I know your life probably wasn't easy," Rufus said with a sympathetic smile. "I grew up with nothing but at least I had my mom and my brother, you know? I can't imagine only having myself. It had to have been lonely and I'm sorry for that, but I'm not sorry for whatever parts of that life led you here. We're lucky to have you, Liv. I hope you know that."
She gave him a long thoughtful glance and a sheepish lopsided smile before she responded. "I totally understand now why these people broke all the time travel rules to save you," Liv told him with a smirk. "This family would not be the same without you, Rufus. They need you."
He shook his head and gave her a bashful smile. She chuckled at his reluctance to accept praise but she didn't comment on it. As his eyes fell back on Jiya's tearstained but calm expression, he couldn't help but think that maybe they needed Liv too.
They didn't ask for her, but the things you really need are rarely the things you request. No, the things you need always seem to find you first. And isn't that what Liv did? She found them first.
He only hoped she stayed.
"Buchanan, New York. July 13th, 1977," Flynn read off the monitor. "Well, Unless the new Timeline crossing technology Rufus and Jiya have been working on is finally ready...it looks like I'll be sitting this one out."
"Finally, something good comes from our multiple failures," Rufus said as he pressed a kiss to Jiya's temple. "That almost makes the frustration worth it."
"Guess that means I'm up," Liv said with a smirk. "1977 seems to be a step up from 1899 at least."
"Uh, Yeah, you say that now, but you won't be saying that later when we walk straight into the New York City Blackout of 1977," Lucy told her with a wince.
Wyatt sighed tiredly and ran a hand through his hair. "Blackout in New York City? There was looting, wasn't there?"
"Vandalism, looting, arson. Over $300 million dollars in damages to New York City as a whole happened within one night. From 8:30 P.M. to 7:00 A.M.," Lucy answered. "As an example, 35 blocks on Broadway in Brooklyn were decimated. In that one area of Brooklyn alone, 134 stores were looted, 45 of them were set on fire."
"Alright, well, fun time in the hot town tonight," Liv said sarcastically. "Sounds like my kind of party."
"We stay together for this one," Wyatt ordered. "No splitting up."
They all nodded and then turned and headed for the Lifeboat.
"At least the looting will make stealing clothes easier," Rufus with a dry grin.
Minutes later they stepped out into 1977. Liv stumbled from the Lifeboat and hurried over to the trees just behind it. Her sickness was much more intense than any of theirs as it was only her third trip. Wyatt immediately followed her. His own stomach was churning but he'd been on enough trips now that his body adjusted with practice. When she was done she turned quickly with a hand wiping across her mouth and a red flushed face and nearly crashed into him. He caught her arms just in time to keep her from colliding with him and then held her back at a distance.
"Jesus," Liv cursed. "I didn't realize you were standing so close."
"Just making sure you were okay."
She rolled her eyes and scowled at him. "No more seasick than usual." she stepped back and then around him before she tossed one last biting remark over her shoulder. "But thanks anyway, dad."
It was sarcastic and meant to tell him he was being overprotective, he knew, but for some reason it froze him where he stood. He couldn't move a muscle for a solid minute. His other three team members were several paces ahead of him now and walking in the direction of the tiny town of Buchanan while he was still rooted to his spot next to the Lifeboat.
Lucy turned, finally noticing he wasn't with them, and gave him a concerned look. "You okay?"
He shook himself and took several long strides to catch up with her. "Yeah, yeah I'm good."
Rufus hotwired a car and they headed off to New York City. The drive would take at least an hour and a half which would put them arriving in the city two hours before the blackout.
"Do we know what we should be looking for?" Liv asked from her seat in the back next to Lucy. "What could Rittenhouse, or Emma, possibly want to accomplish during the Blackout?"
"If I were her I'd use the blackout for cover," Wyatt offered as he drove.
"Use it as a distraction," Liv said with a nod. "Makes sense, but for that to work you'd have to be doing something central to where the majority of the chaos takes place."
"Well, that would be Broadway in Brooklyn," Lucy said with a sigh. "You know, where all the arson is."
"Ah, yes let's run toward the risk of fire and smoke inhalation and dying in an inferno," Rufus said with feigned cheerfulness and a nod. "Good idea. I love my job."
They all took a moment to share a grin at Rufus' expense before Wyatt got back to the plan. "So, we head that way, keep an eye out for Emma, and then follow her once we find her."
"And if we don't find her?" Rufus asked.
"We get the hell out of dodge before they start burning the place to the ground," Liv told him. "In my experience looters don't exactly give a damn about collateral damage."
They parked the car on the street and then ducked into one of the many shops that would be destroyed in a couple of hours. They all changed quickly and abandoned their old clothes. Liv was very adept at popping security tags. All it took was a magnet applied to the back of the tag and it came off easily. Lucy had mentioned this to him after Liv's first mission when he had sprained his ankle. She mentioned Liv's 'misspent youth' was partially spent shoplifting and reselling designer clothing. But seeing her in action was different than hearing about it.
The three of them thought they were experts at shoplifting by now but Liv made them all look like clumsy fools. They left in totally different clothes than they came in wearing and the shop owner was none the wiser.
Liv was the last to leave the store and she met them around the block. The minute she came around the corner, Wyatt felt tension in his brow and his jaw. What the hell was she wearing? Was that a mini skirt and knee high boots? Why was she showing so much leg? They were on a mission not going out for a night on the town. Not only that but she had a Rolling Stones t-shirt tied up to expose her midriff. His disdain for her outfit must have shown on his face because she scoffed at him as she joined the group.
"What is your problem?" She asked him with an irritated expression.
"I don't know, don't you think you stand out just a little too much in that outfit?" He asked as he crossed his arms over his chest. "I mean we're supposed to blend in not be so...distracting."
"I am blending in," she told him with a roll of her eyes. "Listen, if ever a person was born in the wrong era of time it was me. I was meant to be a babe in the 1970s," she said with a smirk. "This is blending in. I mean no offense, but you guys look like office professionals on their evening commute. Where as I look cool and hip. Get over it."
"She's not wrong," Lucy told him with a shrug. "She is much more in line with street fashion in 1977 than any of us."
He gave Lucy a startled look. "Are you serious? You're on board with this? How the hell is she supposed to run in that outfit, let alone fight if the situation calls for it?"
"If she can fight Rittenhouse agents in a corset in 1899 then she can do anything," Lucy told him with a chuckle. "Relax."
Liv's hands were on her hips as she stared angrily at Wyatt. She didn't look over at Lucy for even a moment as she acknowledged her support. "Thank you, Lucy, at least one of you has some sense."
"Hey," Rufus added as he raised his hand. "I didn't say anything about your outfit. I mean honestly, I didn't even notice it until Wyatt said something."
Wyatt turned his head slowly to glare at Rufus but said nothing.
Rufus looked away from him with a guilty expression and shrugged. "What? She's right. She looks cool. Like a 1970s badass."
"Plus, if I'm gonna steal clothes, I'm gonna steal clothes I'd wear in the present," Liv added with a shrug of her own. "I have a red leather jacket at home that would look killer with this outfit."
Lucy gave the outfit another once over with a thoughtful expression and then grinned. "Oh, that would be cute! Maybe with your hair up and off your neck-"
Wyatt interrupted her with a loud sigh that was partially an irritated groan and Lucy rolled her eyes at him with a dry chuckle.
"God, what is up with you today?" Lucy asked with a shake of her head. "Relax. We still have an hour before the blackout starts. We're fine."
"Do we know where the looting around here starts?" Liv asked.
"No, and it took up 35 blocks so your guess is as good as mine," Lucy answered.
Liv bit her bottom lip and gave Wyatt a hesitant glance before she spoke. "Look, dude, I know you're not thrilled with me right now for some insane chauvinistic reason and I know you said you wanted us to stick together, but we cannot cover 35 blocks without splitting up. That is physically impossible."
"Hate to say it," Rufus said reluctantly. "But she's right."
"In an hour this city is going to be chaos," Wyatt told them with a shake of his head. "I need eyes on all of you."
Liv quirked a brow at him. "All of us? God, Logan, then why the hell am I here? I'm supposed to be your backup, remember? I've been on two missions with these guys and brought them home perfectly safe. What makes you think it'll go any differently with you here? I may not be Delta Force but I've been undercover and had the odds stacked against me enough times to know what I'm doing. If you want to get this done then you have to trust me to be as good at this as you are."
She was right. He knew she was right. But there was something in him that could not risk anything happening to her. He had an instinct to protect her instead of work with her and it wasn't that he didn't trust her to be good at her job. He did. He knew her record. He had heard Denise Christopher raving about her. It was the idea of her being so good at her job that they ended up losing her that had him hesitant to split up. But she was absolutely right. They didn't have time to cover all the ground they needed to as a group of four.
He sighed in resignation and nodded. "You're right. I'm sorry. You and Lucy head north. Rufus and I will head south. Just...both of you be careful, okay?"
Lucy stepped forward and kissed his cheek quickly. "You too. We'll meet back here in an hour?"
He nodded at her and gave Liv an apologetic smile before the two women walked away. He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly as he and Rufus headed in the opposite direction. Rufus was staring at him. Like he was dying to ask a question but he wasn't sure if he should.
"Spit it out," Wyatt finally said with a huff. "What is it?"
"What is with you today? Why are you being so weird about Liv? Do you-do you have a thing for her or something, man? Cause she's hot, sure, but after all the shit you and Lucy went through to get to the place you're in now I might actually try and fight you if you screw it up," Rufus asked him with narrowed eyes. He was barely taking the time to breathe between questions.
Wyatt's face pinched in disgust at the idea of him having that kind of interest in Liv and he adamantly shook his head in a negative response. "God, hell no, Rufus. Hell no. I will admit to being weird but it's not like that."
"Then what the hell is it?"
"Honestly? I have no idea. From the minute she showed up I just felt so protective of her. It's almost like she's...family somehow? But it doesn't feel like a sibling connection. It's different. I don't even know how to describe it. I just know it is not at all like what you're thinking," he clarified.
There was a moment of silence as they walked before Rufus finally replied. "You know, you two are remarkably similar. Jiya and I were talking about that the other night. You don't think the two of you could be actually related somehow, do you?"
"What?" Wyatt asked. "No, that would be too...coincidental."
"Come on, think about it," Rufus said with a shrug. "She has no idea who her real family is, right? You said yourself your dad was a bastard. Is it possible that maybe - I don't know, but maybe she actually is your sister?"
"You're suggesting that my dad had a child with some other woman that I never knew about and that this child somehow ended up at a children's home in DC, which is roughly a days drive from Texas by the way, and then coincidentally ended up assigned to our team by Homeland Security?" His tone was incredulously and his smirk was teasing. The idea was ridiculous and too far fetched even for them.
"Yeah, that does seem unlikely, huh?" Rufus asked with a chuckle.
"Just a bit," Wyatt answered with a grin.
"That would be cool, though, wouldn't it? I mean, after all the awful curveballs this job has thrown at us, it would be nice if one of the curveballs turned out to be a positive one, right?"
"If only, Rufus," Wyatt said with a crooked smile. "If only."
Lucy and Liv ended up finding Emma first and they followed her to where Rufus and Wyatt had found the rest of the Rittenhouse team, including his ex-wife. Lucy reached him first.
"The looting has officially started. What are they doing?" Lucy asked.
"Apparently, in 1977 several of the shops on Broadway were fronts for Rittenhouse. They're trying to make sure the cops find the evidence for some reason," Wyatt whispered.
"Must have something to do with one of the three families still left," Lucy replied. "Setting one of them up for prison so they're not around in the present, maybe?"
"If that's the case, then should we stop them?" Rufus asked. "I'm not seeing the problem."
"The problem comes in when we get back," Liv told him with a shake of her head. "This is a power grab. I'm not sure we want Rittenbitch to have any more power than she already has."
"Fair point," Rufus agreed. "So, what do we do?"
Liv and Wyatt exchanged glances before looking back through the shop window. It was a look that communicated a singular thought that they both knew was risky, but still their best option.
"We smoke them out," Wyatt said with a tired sigh.
"We interrupt before they can finish planting whatever evidence they're planting and we burn the place down to cover it up," Liv agreed with a nod.
"Wait, wait, wait," Lucy said with wide shocked eyes. "You want us to start the fires? The arson hasn't started yet and you want us to be the ones to start it?"
"Do you have a better plan?" Wyatt asked her with eager curiosity. "I'm serious. Do you? Because if you do we'll use it. I'm not crazy about this plan myself."
Three sets of eyes turned to Lucy before she shook her head with a wince. "I've got nothing. Sorry."
"Okay," Liv said as she pulled her gun from her thigh holster. "Bullets and flames it is then."
"We'll take care of the bullets," Wyatt said as he motioned to himself and Liv.
"We'll take care of the flames," Lucy agreed with a nod as she pulled Rufus to her side.
They shot through the shop window and stepped through, offering cover fire for each other, until the only people left in the shop were Emma and Jessica. Liv and Wyatt stood side by side with guns raised, each on a different target. Emma and Jessica had their guns aimed at them as well. Jessica's was trained on Liv and Emma's was trained on Wyatt.
"What are you waiting for?" Emma asked Jessica with a roll of her eyes. "You failed to shoot her last time. Now's your chance."
"I don't see you shooting either," Jessica spat.
"If I shoot then she'll shoot and you'll lose your chance. So, go on, shoot her. Or him. I don't care either way," Emma said with a twisted grin.
"Hell, she might just shoot anyway," Liv said with a smirk. "I'm standing right here, you know."
"Jessica," Wyatt said slowly as he watched Jessica's trigger finger twitch. "Don't. Don't do this."
"Then shoot me first, Wyatt," Jessica told him.
Something in her tone sounded strange to his ears. Almost...pleading. Why would she be pleading with him to shoot her? That didn't make sense.
"I don't have a choice," Jessica said as her finger tightened on the trigger.
Wyatt grit his teeth and fired his gun, hitting Jessica in the leg, causing her to stumble and lose her hold on her weapon. He let Jessica get away with a lot of things in the past, but no way in hell was he going to let her shoot Liv. No. Way. In. Hell.
Emma then fired at him in retaliation and from that point on the world moved in slow motion. Before he could stop her Liv was jumping in front of him and shooting at Emma. Both Emma and Liv fell to the ground. Wyatt could have sworn he heard Jessica yell out for Liv in a strangled tone that matched his own, but he didn't have time to focus on that just now. The smell of smoke was filling the room which meant Rufus and Lucy had started the fire and he needed to get them the hell out of there. He bent next to Liv and found her still conscious and bleeding from her side.
"Shit, Liv," Wyatt cursed. "What the hell were you thinking?"
"That bullet would have hit you square in the chest, Wyatt. You wouldn't have survived that. That's what I was thinking," Liv admitted with a pained cry. "God, just get me out of here, will you?"
He nodded and gently lifted her off the ground and held her against his chest. "Whatever you do, do not pass out on me. You got that?"
She nodded weakly. "Got it."
As Wyatt turned to walk away he caught Jessica's eye as she was bracing a wounded Emma against her side and limping away. For reasons he didn't understand, her expression looked grateful. Grateful for what? For shooting her in the leg? Grateful for ruining Rittenhouse's plan? None of what Jessica had done since they charged through that shop window made any sense.
However, that was the least of his worries, right now. First things first, find somewhere to patch up Liv and find it fast. From what he could see of the wound it wasn't fatal, but she was losing an awful lot of blood.
The minute Lucy saw Liv's ashen face she directed them to the nearest hospital. Normally, they avoided hospitals but it was an hour drive to the Lifeboat and this wasn't something they could patch up on their own.
Wyatt felt like someone was ripping his chest in two as he placed Liv on a gurney and watched them wheel her off. His heart was nearly beating out of his body and he would have felt totally numb were it not for Lucy's hand in his as she led him to one of the chair's in the waiting area.
"She's going to be okay," Lucy assured him. "You said yourself that it wasn't a fatal wound."
She was right. He knew that. He had seen it for himself. In fact, he had a scar in that exact same area from a bullet and he lived to tell the tale. It was a part of Liv's job to keep them safe. He knew that too. But still... it shouldn't have happened. Emma's bullet had been intended for him. Not Liv. He would rather it had hit him as intended because this sitting and waiting in a hospital was ten times worse than being shot himself.
"Are you okay?" Rufus asked from his seat next to him.
"I'm fine. I'm not the one who was shot," Wyatt said with a sigh as he stared down at his blood stained hands. Liv's blood. Not his own.
"Yeah, but...you shot Jessica. I mean you've never had to do that before so I didn't know if-you know, forget it. Forget I said anything." Rufus cleared his throat and ran a hand over his face. "I want coffee. You want anything?"
Wyatt shook his head and then felt Lucy's hand rubbing consoling circles on his back. His friends knew something was going on with him but, like him, they didn't know what. He had an attachment to Liv that he could not explain, a connection. He felt what she felt and he wanted to be there for her. He needed to be a part of her life. It wasn't romantic in anyway, he'd meant what he said to Rufus earlier that day. It was familial. Something that seemed ingrained in his very DNA. He couldn't shake it no matter how hard he tried.
He tensed as Rufus's words finally hit him. His reaction delayed by Rufus leaving and Lucy's comforting touch. But now he finally heard what Rufus had been trying to say.
He shot Jessica. Even after all the lies and manipulation and putting her behind him, he avoided shooting her or shooting at her if he could. He may not be in love with her and she wasn't the Jessica he lost in his original timeline, but she was still somehow a piece of that Jessica and he couldn't do her harm. Or at least that's what he thought, but the minute it was Liv's life on the line he didn't stop for a minute to think about his Jessica. It was Liv or Jessica and he picked Liv. It was the easiest decision he'd ever made.
What was wrong with him?
They were there for a few more hours before Liv was finally wheeled back out to them looking irritated and snapping at the nurse. She seemed fine. She had a thick bandage over her bullet wound that could fully be seen thanks to the midriff baring nature of her outfit and just the sight of it filled him with remorse. This should not have happened. This was all his fault.
"Stop that," he heard Liv say as she smacked his arm. "This is not your fault. This is Emma's."
"You took that bullet for me," he reminded her.
"Yes, I did, and I would do it again right now if I had to," Liv said with a kind smile. "No way in hell I was going to let Emma shoot you."
Her words echoed his thoughts while Jessica had her gun trained on Liv and he wondered if that was a coincidence or if it meant something. He was also beginning to think that there might be something to Rufus's sibling theory. There had to a reason he was so connected to Liv. Had to be.
"Now, can we please go home?" Liv asked with a tired sigh. "I love the 70s. In fact, you could call me obsessed, but even I'm ready to go home."
Lucy grinned knowingly at her. "Home as in the present or home as in the bunker?"
"Well, I'm sure as hell not talking about my empty two bedroom apartment where the only things waiting on me are week old take out and a bottle of Jack, now am I?" She replied with a wink at Lucy.
Home. She considered the bunker her home? She considered the place the team lived to be her home. He felt pride and warmth in his chest at that thought as he smiled at her easily.
"Well, honestly, you probably have a bottle of Jack waiting on you in the bunker too," He told her with a grin.
She laughed lightly and then winced when it must have tugged her stitches. "Yeah, but at least I have people to drink it with in the bunker."
"Yeah, you do," Rufus said as he extended his fist for a bump, which she obliged. "And we're happy to help you with a bottle anytime."
She laughed again but bit back the wince this time. "I always knew that bunker was full of alcoholics."
"Come on," Wyatt said with a chuckle. "Let's get you home, slugger."
He draped an arm around her shoulders as they walked, knowing she would not admit to needing to lean her weight on someone. She leaned into him just enough to manage her pain with a skeptical expression. He could tell she saw through the gesture but she, thankfully, didn't argue. He would figure out their connection later. For now, she needed them, the family she chose, and he planned to be there for her.
iii. i feel that ice is slowly melting
Okay, so she'd been shot just a little bit. She'd been through worse in her lifetime and honestly compared to having someone dig beer bottle shards out of her shoulder having a bullet fished out of her side was nothing. But with the way these people were hovering one would think she'd been near death.
Since returning from 1977, she had been to a modern day hospital, changed her dressing, and gone home for a day of leave. Yes, she had survived a day without Wyatt hovering over her shoulder, Lucy bringing her a fresh cup of tea every fifteen minutes, and Rufus offering up lame attempts at bullet wound related humor. It was shocking, but she managed it.
About halfway through her shift, when they should all be headed to bed but weren't, Liv couldn't take it anymore. She snuck away and barricaded herself in the bathroom with the chair firmly in place.
She was stitched up, not an invalid. Never in her life had she suffered such babysitting. It was suffocating. There had also been no Mothership jump since 1977. Emma and Jessica were probably nursing their wounds. It was good, but it meant the team had nothing to focus on but her.
She really needed them to have something else to focus on.
There was a knock on the metal door, and Liv bit back a groan.
Liv let out a long suffering sigh before responding. "Please tell me you're not bringing me another cup of tea."
There was a pause and then a chuckle. "I guess I deserved that."
There was another lingering silence as Liv waited for the question she knew was coming.
"Can I come in?"
She stared at the door for a long skeptical moment. "Are the other two musketeers with you? They're not gonna rush the door the minute I open it, are they?"
Lucy laughed loudly and when the laughter died she said, "Not now they aren't."
Liv rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I knew it."
"It'll just be me. I promise."
She pushed off of the tile floor and then reluctantly opened the door. Sure enough, only Lucy stood on the other side. But despite Liv's teasing earlier, she was actually holding a cup of tea.
Liv looked at the tea and then gave Lucy a bored glance. "Seriously?"
"I—it's for me," Lucy stuttered.
"Mhm," Liv said with a chuckle as she opened the door wider and allowed Lucy to step through.
"So, I'm guessing," Lucy said as she watched Liv close the door. "We overdid it?"
Liv gave Lucy a bemused half grin. "I don't know, Preston. How many cups of tea do you think a human can reasonably drink in four hours? Because for the last four hours you've brought me a cup of tea like every fifteen minutes. What do you think? Is that overdoing it?"
Lucy winced and nodded. "Sorry. I didn't realize...I wasn't counting."
"I know," Liv told her. She smiled sadly at her before leaning against the tile wall and studying the floor. She didn't want to see the pity in the other woman's eyes when she spoke next. "And it's not all you. I'm...I'm not used to this."
"This...what?" Lucy asked as she stepped closer.
"This having people worry about you thing or this people trying to take care of you thing. You know? It's been just me for so long that this whole team thing is sort of overwhelming," Liv admitted with a sigh and a careless shrug that she definitely didn't feel. "Except for some interference from Denise, I've either been the one taking care of others or on my own. That's all I know. It's who I am."
Liv felt a comforting hand on her arm and instinctively looked up to meet Lucy's eyes. Lucy was smiling gently at her.
"Believe it or not," Lucy told her. "I know exactly how you feel. I took care of everyone else growing up. My mother, my sister. I lived for other people. It took Wyatt and Rufus to show me that I deserved to be cared for too. That I could let people help me. I just had to trust them. It wasn't always easy and we definitely annoyed the hell out of each other at times, still do, but once it stops being overwhelming...you won't know how you ever did without it. Trust me."
Liv wasn't sure why, but she believed her. Trusted her.
"Come on, let's get out of here," Lucy said as she glanced around the bathroom. "We'll lighten up. I promise."
"No more tea?" Liv asked with a grin.
Lucy laughed and nodded. "No more tea."
"Alright, I'm in," Liv agreed. "But if Rufus makes one more 'you're hole-y' joke I'm coming right back here."
"Deal," Lucy said with a smirk. "I'll even join you. Those jokes are god awful."
While living in the bunker, Flynn had seen different people sleeping on the uncomfortable common room couch at various points. Usually, Rufus or Wyatt after a fight with their respective partner. A handful of times, he'd seen Jiya or Lucy after they were too emotionally exhausted to make it to their rooms. But never once had he entered the common area to find Liv's honey blonde head resting on their couch. She had rolled into the couch so that her back was facing the room. He spotted a small trash bin next to her, a glass of water, and two Tylenol on the coffee table.
It was too early for her to be here, and he confirmed that fact a second later when he spotted Denise Christopher making a pot of coffee.
"Has she been there all night?" Flynn asked Agent Christopher with a furrowed brow.
"No, I brought her in with me. Apparently, she spent last night smashed at some dive bar. The bartender called me on her phone as I was leaving for work. It's a good thing she was already scheduled to have today off or I would be lecturing her about responsibility," Denise said as she turned and gave Liv's back a scolding stare. "I should have seen this coming, though. She never handles today well."
"What's today?" He asked.
"Her birthday," Denise answered before glancing at him with questioning eyes. "Why do you care anyway? I didn't think you liked her."
"I don't," Flynn answered quickly. "She's not normally here this time of day. I was curious."
And now he was curious about something else. What was so horrible about her birthday that would cause her to drink herself into a catatonic state? He knew from seeing her around the bunker that the girl could handle her alcohol, so to end up hungover on their couch she must have had an exceptional amount of it.
Although, hadn't he gone on a similar bender on what would have been Iris's fourth birthday? When you've loved and lost birthdays aren't the easiest of days. But why her own birthday?
"Can I trust you not to kill her while she's sleeping?" Denise asked as she peered suspiciously at him over her coffee cup.
"Killing her would serve no benefit to me. Whether either of us like it or not, we're on the same side," Flynn told her with a quirked brow and a blank expression. Why did everyone always think murder was his first course of action?
"Good to know. I have reports to read and I need to get to work," she said with a nod as she took her coffee and made her way to her desk in the main silo.
Which left Flynn in the kitchen, just a few feet from a passed out and likely hungover Agent Olivia Smith.
The last time they'd been alone she threatened his life. It was probably best to make his breakfast and get out of her way. He quietly got to work making eggs and bacon for himself when he heard her stirring from behind him.
"Oh my god," she said with a pained moan. "Could you be cooking any louder?"
"Considering I have been going out of my way to not make a sound, yes I definitely could," Flynn answered with a roll of his eyes. "Would you like me to try?"
"Oh I see, you're an asshole no matter what time of day. Let me just file that bit of intel away."
"And you're sarcastic even when hungover," he told her as he feigned surprised. "Who knew?"
"I really don't like you."
"It's mutual. Take your Tylenol and get over it."
He heard her sigh and then the faint sounds of shuffling followed ending with the sound of glass being placed back down on the table. He turned his head just enough to see that she had gulped down the glass of water in one long sip and she now sat with her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands. Her clothes were rumpled and her hair matted. He saw her swallow thickly and could guess she was in a great deal of pain.
Something in him took pity on her.
He slid the plate of eggs and bacon he made for himself onto one of the nearby tables and pointed to it. "You should eat breakfast. It helps."
She looked up and stared between him and the plate for several quiet moments before she finally spoke. "What did you do to the eggs?"
He shook his head and huffed. "Nothing. You're already pathetic. I wouldn't kick you while you were down. That's entirely unfair."
She stood from the couch and wobbled unsteadily to the table, like a wounded baby animal. Seeing her this off balance was almost amusing. He's never seen anything ruffle Agent Smith's feathers.
She sat down and he handed her a fork which she accepted with a lazy nod. "Thanks."
He reached in the refrigerator and then set a bottle of Gatorade in front of her. "You should hydrate. Wouldn't want anyone to see you like this and assume I did this to you."
"I almost wish you had," Liv said as she opened the bottle. "Then I'd have something to punch. Or shoot."
"Well, once you've eaten a work out may not be a bad idea for you. They say you can sweat out a hangover," Flynn offered as he cracked two more eggs for himself.
He could feel her suspicious glare on his back.
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
He thought about it as he turned to face her. Why was he being nice to her? "I've seen you drink. You can handle your whiskey. So for you to be this hungover you must have drank half the bar and someone like you doesn't drink half the bar without a damn good reason. I've gotten wasted with a damn good reason more than once before. I know what that's like."
She sighed and turned a sullen glance down on her eggs. It was a familiar look that Flynn had seen on one Master Sergeant who was likely still in bed.
"Is not knowing your actual birthday a 'damn good' reason?" She asked quietly. "Cause that's what sets me off every year. I don't know my birthday, I don't know my real name, I don't have a real family...I'm alone. I'm alone and completely unknown. Some pediatrician guessed at my birthday after my real parents abandoned me at a children's home in the middle of the night. So, happy birthday to me, whoever the hell I actually am."
"You know, most of the people in this bunker are proof that your family doesn't actually define you," Flynn told her as he gave up cooking his breakfast and sat down across from her. "Lucy's family is two generations of evil bastards, Wyatt's father from what I understand was a son of a bitch.... My point is, not knowing who your family is doesn't mean you don't know who you are. There's more to any of us than our origin story."
"Including you?" She asked with a quirked brow.
He nodded. "No one should have to lose their family. Whether they lose them the way I did or they lose them the way you did. It's a trauma we never recover from."
She glanced down at her eggs and the bottle of Gatorade before giving him a small grin. "You know, before you were an asshole, I bet you were a pretty great dad."
"I tried to be."
"You ever think you can be the non-asshole version of you again?" She asked him with a look of genuine concern. "Because, I don't know, I'm starting to see some potential."
He chuckled dryly and shook his head at her. "Oh no, I can't have that. There's no potential for change here. Don't start with that. Lucy has already been down that road."
She snorted and then smirked at him. "And Lucy is never right about these things. Right?"
"Again, with the sarcasm."
She shrugged at him and laughed lightly. "It's my trademark."
There was shuffling from the hallway and they both turned to find Jiya staring at them in shock.
"Did I wake up in some alternate timeline? Or like the Twilight Zone? Are you two actually sitting at the same table and smiling?"
"I have an excuse," Olivia told Jiya with a smirk. "I'm hungover and not in my right mind."
Flynn grinned broadly and nodded his agreement. "And I'm taking pity on her."
"Right, sure, okay," Jiya said as she narrowed her eyes at both of them and made her way to the coffee. "Do whatever you want, just don't tell Wyatt. I am not in the mood to deal with his brooding today."
Flynn and Olivia shared a small secretive grin and silently agreed to Jiya's terms. They didn't want to suffer Wyatt's brooding either.
"Did you know Liv doesn't know her real birthday?" Lucy asked Wyatt as they got ready for bed.
"She doesn't? How is that possible?" Wyatt asked with a furrowed brow.
"She was left on the front steps as a toddler with no documentation or even a note, remember? She doesn't even know the name her parents gave her. She said the woman in charge of the home named her after Oliver Twist," Lucy said as she put lotion on her hands and watched Wyatt unmake the bed.
She frowned at the newly framed picture of the team on their bed side table and ran a finger over Liv's face.
"There has to be someway that we can find out for her, don't you think?" Lucy asked. "She deserves to know where she comes from."
"What if the reality of where she comes from is worse than not knowing?" Wyatt asked worriedly. "I mean was it pleasant finding out the truth about your family?"
"No," Lucy told him with a conflicted sigh. "But I'm glad I know. Even if dealing with it hurt, I don't regret finding out."
"How do you know this anyway?" Wyatt asked her with a furrowed brow. "Liv didn't tell you. She avoids talking about her childhood whenever possible."
She really hoped he wouldn't fixate on that. She should have known better.
"Flynn told me," she said quickly before moving on to her next thought, hoping to distract him. "I was thinking we could put Jiya to work researching it. She helped me figure out what happened to Amy. I'm sure she could find some clue as to who left Liv at that home all those years ago."
"I'm sorry," Wyatt said as he sat down on the edge of their two cots. "Who told you?"
Lucy bit her bottom lip and sighed. "Flynn told me."
"And how does Flynn know?" Wyatt asked with a stern gaze.
"Well, he and Liv are kind of friends now I guess," Lucy answered hesitantly. "It seems they bonded over losing their families or something."
"What and you and I haven't lost our families?"
Lucy turned a tired look on Wyatt and shook her head. "Okay, please do not turn this into a competition. I really don't want to compare all the ways we've suffered since this time travel mess started. We're all trying to move forward here. All of us. Including Liv and including Flynn."
"I thought you said she threatened his life on that one mission," Wyatt said with a huff.
"She did," Lucy answered as her lips twitched upward in amusement. "I guess they found some middle ground."
"Perfect," he said sarcastically. "Just what I need, another person trusting Flynn. I really thought I finally found an ally but, no, Flynn had to charm her too. What is with him? I mean is he really that likeable? And how come he's the one she tells about Oliver Twist and not knowing her birthday? Does she trust him more than us?"
"Wyatt," Lucy said as she gave him an affectionate smile. "You really care about her, don't you? Like she's family?"
She could tell by the way he sounded so jilted, like he'd been cheated out of an opportunity to help Liv. He wanted to be there for Liv and learn as much as he could about her. She could see that he genuinely wanted to get to know her. His interest in Liv might worry another woman but Lucy knew him well enough to spot the difference. She wasn't worried. She was touched, inspired, awed. She loved this man for this very reason.
He had a good heart and the instincts of a caretaker. Even during his darkest days, when he thought so little of himself, she knew who he really was. He was this man who worried over someone he barely knew and this man who felt cheated because someone else got to offer comfort instead of him. She had once tried to tell him that Jessica was his miracle. She had been wrong. Wyatt Logan wasn't given a miracle because Wyatt Logan was the miracle. He was her miracle, and moments like these always reminded her of that.
"It's hard to explain, Luce," he told her with a shake of his head. "But I feel like she is family. She has to be family. I immediately felt a connection to her unlike any connection in my life. I can't put a name to it, but it's there."
"Have you tried talking to her about it?" Lucy asked with a knowing grin. "You know, using your words?"
A small smile tugged at his lips as he answered her. "You know me, babydoll. Words are never my go to."
She sat down next to him and took his hand in hers. She pressed a lingering kiss to his cheek before pressing her forehead to his temple. "Sometimes, sweetheart, words are necessary. And, for someone who hates them so much, you're surprisingly good at them when you want to be. Bad jokes and awkward compliments aside."
She heard the low chuckle in his throat as he turned his head and focused a warm gaze on her. Those intense eyes always burned straight through her but that was especially true when they were full of love like they were in that moment.
"I'm never going to live that 'not hideous' line down, am I?"
She squinted one eye and bit her bottom lip as if in thought and then replied, "Nope. Definitely not."
"Alright, so I'm not exactly the world's best flirt," Wyatt admitted with a grin.
She laughed and smiled brightly for a long moment before speaking again. "No, you're not but when it really counts, Wyatt Logan, you know exactly what to say. The same night you crashed and burned at flirting, you also said six words I will never forget. Six words that made me realize a few things myself."
"Oh yeah? And what were those?"
"You saved my life, you know."
She spoke them in the same tone and reverence he had that night in 1941. She heard the catch in his breathing before she met his eyes again. They darkened considerably from the warm gaze she saw earlier. Blue pools of sparkling desire. Once again reminding her of that night in 1941 that set them down this path all those years ago.
"You did," she repeated. "You really did."
"We saved each other," Wyatt amended. "It's sort of our thing. Or haven't you noticed?"
Her eyes fell to the smug grin on his face and to his perfect lips surrounded by heavy stubble. He seemed to be gradually testing the waters for that beard his future self had three years ago. If he grew the beard then would she have to chop off her hair? Was the beard and the hair a package deal? Why was she thinking about this as Wyatt's arms were snaking around her and he was slowly moving in toward her? Now was not the time. He used his hold on her to lay them back on to the cot until she was stretched out and he was hovering over her. Her hand found his cheek and caressed lightly, brushing over it and then back into his hair. His eyes fell closed and he leaned into her touch.
Little touches and caresses were her favorite thing and Wyatt seemed to like receiving them as much as she liked giving them. It fit. Just like everything else about their relationship. Some things between them were work and had taken time to develop, but the little things always came naturally. Like breathing.
"God, I love you," Wyatt said in a hushed voice as he opened his eyes again and found hers.
"I love you too," Lucy replied with a glowing smile. "Now, Master Sergeant, are you gonna kiss me or what?"
He grinned and chuffed but a moment later she got what she wanted. His lips were on hers and he was kissing her with intent focus. The world fell away, leaving the two of them in their own hazy existence. If the ring on her finger hadn't already told her he planned to spend the rest of his life loving her then his kisses would. Every nip, every taste, every crash of his tongue against hers made it clear that she was the only woman he wanted to kiss for the rest of his life.
She had no clue how he managed to convey that with kisses but she hoped he never stopped.
They never finished their discussion about Liv but Lucy had already decided. She cared about Liv too, and Liv deserved answers. She would talk to Jiya in the morning but right now - well right now she needed to show Wyatt Logan he wasn't the only one who could kiss as if their life depended on it.
Jiya was anxiously awaiting Agent Christopher and Liv's shift change. She needed more information from Liv if she were going to try and find her family. But any question she had left her the minute Liv walked in, rumpled and grinning while wearing her exact same outfit from the day before.
"Um, excuse me," Jiya asked with a smirk. "Is this a walk of shame that I'm witnessing?"
Liv shrugged with a lopsided smirk and collapsed into the chair next to Jiya. She leaned back to put her feet up on the desk but stopped when Jiya's eyes narrowed into a glare.
"Maybe," she answered. "I have a friend that I see every now and then. Nothing serious, but we have fun and our schedules usually work out. Which given that I almost exclusively work nights now, is an amazing accomplishment on its own."
"Oh," Jiya asked with a curious expression. "And what does he do?"
"Oh, okay, so you're playing protective little sister now?"
Jiya chuckled and nodded. "Always."
"Well, she owns a bar and works nights too," Liv offered with an easy smile. "It's a friends with benefits situation. I don't do serious. Never have. Tried once, with this guy in DC while I was with the FBI and we ended up hating each other. I'm not an easy person to love, in case you didn't know. I'm told I'm a bit prickly and closed off."
"So was Wyatt once," Jiya offered with an encouraging smile. "And now he's like the softest idiot to ever be soft."
Liv laughed and nodded. "True. He's pretty soft."
"So maybe it just takes the right person," Jiya told her.
"Or maybe growing up without a real home has screwed me up for life and I'll end up one of those little old ladies who terrorizes people with her scooter and smacks them with her cane when they get in her way. I could be down with that," Liv said with a chuckle. "Besides, maybe it's not a romantic partner that softens me up. Maybe it's all of you."
Jiya smiled warmly at Liv and patted her hand sympathetically. "Maybe it is. Speaking of family, though, no one told you anything about your family growing up?"
"There was nothing to tell," Liv answered as she gave Jiya a skeptical glance. "Why?"
Liv's eyes narrowed to tiny slits as she peered at Jiya and Jiya felt like she was looking straight through her to her true motives. Sometimes she forgot Liv was a detective and agent for three different government agencies.
Liv threw her head back with a resigned sigh after a long silent moment. "Flynn told Lucy I don't know my real birthday, didn't he?"
"...no," Jiya lied.
Liv sat up and rolled her eyes. "Rat bastard. See if I ever tell him anything ever again."
"We just thought we might be able to help. Maybe there's something that's been missed, you know?"
"Jiya, you don't think I've done my own investigating over the years?" Liv asked with a huff as she stood up and fisted her hands at her sides in a clear sign of frustration. "I used every resource available to me at every agency I've worked for, even when I shouldn't have. There is literally nothing that anyone has missed. Every rock has been overturned. It's pointless. It's pointless because I only have one useful piece of information and it leads to a dead end."
"And that piece of information is?" Jiya asked eagerly. It didn't matter what Liv said, Jiya had to try.
"October 3rd, 1981," Liv told her through gritted teeth. "The date I was left at the home. I get why you guys want to help," she said with thinly veiled anger. Jiya could see veins popping out on her forehead as Liv continued. "But I've put this behind me as best I can and I don't see how reopening it now will do anyone any good."
"We're a determined group, Liv," Jiya told her as she scribbled down the date. "We're relentless. We'll keep looking until we find something, and we will find something."
Liv shook her head but Jiya could make out the small smile twitching across her lips. "Then I guess I'd better give you the address of the children's home too, huh?"
Jiya grinned and offered Liv her pen. "It would certainly make my job a little easier, yes."
Liv chuckled and took the pen from her. She rolled her eyes before she put the pen to the page and scrawled out the address. "I should have known none of you would leave well enough alone."
"Yeah," Jiya agreed. "You should have."
It wasn't every morning that Wyatt woke up to the echoing sounds of classic rock filling the bunker. In fact, he never woke up to the reverberating thud of classic rock. Ever. But sure as he knew time travel was real he could make out the chorus of "Dream On" from the other side of the metal bedroom door.
Lucy groaned tiredly and pulled her pillow over her head.
"What the hell is that?" She asked. Or he thought that's what she asked. It was muffled by the pillow. She adjusted the pillow so she could peer at him through one bleary eye. "What time is it?"
Wyatt reached for his watch on the bedside table to answer her. "Nine."
"Who is blasting Aerosmith at nine in the morning? And can you please kill them? You're Delta Force. I'm sure you can do it. I have faith in you."
"I'm sure I can find some other alternative to death," he said with a chuckle and a smirk. "Unless it's Flynn and then I'll consider it."
"I'm so tired that I don't even care enough to stop you," Lucy said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "Go, do, stop the music."
He grinned down at her for a moment before grabbing her hand and pressing a kiss to the back of it. "Yes, ma'am."
He quietly slipped on a t-shirt and sweatpants before venturing out into the bunker to find Liv with her back to him, cooking breakfast. He smirked and stood back to watch her. She was using a spatula as a guitar and riffing along with the track, kicking her leg as she hopped across the small kitchen.
She flipped her hair over her shoulder and that one flash of honey blonde was all it took for the vision in front of him to shift from reality to memory.
Suddenly, he was standing in his and Jessica's first apartment. His Jessica. In their tiny dated kitchen, with avocado countertops and cabinets to match, while she danced to whatever eighties pop blared from her favorite radio station. The feeling of familiarity and affection was so strong that he could have sworn he was actually there. He could even smell those vanilla and lavender candles she burned every chance she could, in an effort to cover up the smell of their old radiator kicking on.
The spell broke when "Dream On" shifted from blaring to a dull melody. The memory faded and in Jessica's place stood Liv, with her brow furrowed at him in concern.
"Wyatt?" She asked. "You okay?"
He shook himself and took in a deep breath. "Yeah, fine. Lucy sent me out here to find out what was up with the music."
"I'm making breakfast for everyone," she told him with a soft grin. "Figure blasting Aerosmith would be more pleasant than an alarm or a dinner bell or something."
He snorted and smirked. "Not for Lucy."
Liv directed her attention back to the stove and rolled her eyes. "Make her some tea. She'll get over it. That's her solution to everything, right? Tea?"
He laughed loudly and then nodded. "Pretty much."
"She's such a mom. I swear," Liv said with a light laugh.
The casual use of the word mom struck him hard. It reminded him of the sarcastic way Liv called him dad in 1977 and how that turned his brain into a jumbled mess for several minutes. This was getting ridiculous. Lucy was right. He needed to use his words.
"Hey, Liv?" Wyatt said hesitantly as he watched her turn the bacon.
The song changed from Aerosmith to Boston and Liv's smile widened as the intro to "More Than a Feeling" started and it felt like the universe was providing a strange soundtrack to their conversation.
"Yeah?" She asked.
"I'm about to ask you something that might sound insane-"
She scoffed. "We work with time travel. Nothing is insane anymore."
"Point taken," he said with a smirk. "But even I can't believe I'm about to ask what I'm about to ask so just...I don't know - don't judge me, okay?"
She laughed. "Wyatt, I am in no position to judge anyone. Trust me. Shoot."
For some reason the light and joking way she referred to her troubled past put a permanent crack in his heart, but he powered on. He was determined to have this conversation.
"Do I seem familiar to you?" He asked. "Does it seem like we know each other? Or should know each other?"
She flipped a pancake in the skillet and then her hand stilled with a tightened grip on the spatula. She didn't have to speak for him to know her answer.
"Yes," she said softly. "I-I thought it was just me."
"Not just you," Wyatt answered as he sighed in relief.
She turned to face him then and gave him a lopsided grin that he quickly mirrored. Neither knew what the mutual feeling meant, but acknowledging it felt right. It left a strange sense of validation between them that further clicked their connection into place. Whatever that connection was.
"Rufus actually suggested that we might be related," Wyatt told her.
"I know fucking nothing about my family so that's pretty damn possible," she said with a shrug and a smirk. "And we do look alike. Similar coloring and features. Who's to say we aren't somehow related? But, honestly, I can't see how it matters."
"What do you mean?" He asked with a furrowed brow. Of course it mattered.
She seemed to know what his furrowed brow meant because she smiled sheepishly before she answered him. "Sorry, I didn't mean it how it sounded. It does matter. I just mean...even if we're not related, you and yours still welcomed me with open arms. Which was more than I ever expected. So, blood relation or not, we're already family."
He didn't quite know what to say after that. She was right. They had all been assuring her of that from the very beginning but to hear her say it - to hear her accept it - left him speechless. The crack she'd put in his heart at the beginning of this conversation healed ever so slightly at her words. She misunderstood his silence, though, and turned away from him to go back to cooking breakfast.
"I mean, I consider us family," she amended. "Not that I expect you to or anything." She chuckled bitterly as she continued. "I don't expect anything. Ever."
"But I do, Liv," Wyatt said hurriedly. Wow, he was really screwing this up. "We all do. That's why Lucy and Jiya insisted on finding your family for you. They know you need answers. They know finding out the truth will help you. If we didn't care about you, we wouldn't invade your privacy."
She turned her head to look at him again and grinned. "Privacy? What privacy? I don't even know what that word means anymore."
"Yeah, been a while since I knew what it meant too." He smiled at her in amusement and then made his way to the coffee maker next to where she was still cooking. "Do you need any help?"
"The only help I need is getting the rest of the bunker fam up and out of bed," she told him with a mischievous smirk. "Think you can handle it?"
He poured himself a cup of coffee and then pulled down a glass from a nearby cabinet. "They'll get up. Or they'll end up soaked," he told her as he filled the glass full of tap water and set it aside. "My grandpa used to do this when I wouldn't wake up for our fishing trips."
"Do what?" She asked in confusion. "Pour a cup of water on you?"
He dipped his fingers in the water and then flicked them at her face. She winced and turned away as he did it two more times.
"Oh my god, stop! That is fucking annoying as hell, Logan," she yelled. Her words sounded angry but her laughter and the mirth in her eyes indicated the opposite. "Please get someone to film you doing that to Flynn. He's going to be murderous. Literally."
"Oh no, I'm not going anywhere near Flynn with this. You're apparently friends with him so I'll leave that to you," Wyatt told her with a teasing glare. "Traitor, by the way. You're a damn traitor, Olivia Smith."
"He made me hangover eggs. I had no choice but to befriend him. Those are the rules."
"Yeah, okay, I don't buy it," Wyatt told her with an eye roll.
"Whatever, man," Liv said as she shoved him playfully. "Go wake your woman. I'm making the eggs next and I don't want them to get cold."
As he walked backed toward his room with two cups of coffee, he had a feeling things with Liv were going to be a lot easier from here on out. They knew where they stood now, and the door was open for more conversations in the future. He had no doubt they would figure out what all of this meant eventually. For now, he planned to enjoy a rare quiet morning with his family. His entire family. For once, everyone was together and whole and happy.
It didn't matter what else happened for the rest of the day. Not now. Now that he and Liv had cleared the air it would be hard for anything to ruin it.
Rufus and Flynn were clearing away breakfast later when Jiya and Lucy exchanged a pained expression. Their eyes moved from each other to Liv and Rufus knew what that meant. Bad news. Of course, he knew that before they all woke up this morning. He had watched Jiya stress night after night while trying to find any small piece of information on Liv's family.
It turned out Liv was right. She really had overturned every stone. There was no new information to find.
Rufus tried to focus on doing dishes with Flynn but they both had one ear tuned to the conversation at the table behind them. Lucy and Jiya broke the news as gently as possible and Liv's response was unexpected.
But it was an awful sound. Hollow all the way through.
"I tried to tell you," she said with a sigh. "But you wouldn't listen. Thanks anyway, guys. It was a good try."
The chair scraped against the floor and Rufus felt her standing behind them. She tapped Flynn on the shoulder and gestured over her shoulder with her thumb. "Take a hike. I'll take drying duty."
The look on her face was too serious to argue with so Flynn merely shrugged and stepped aside.
Wyatt tried to talk to her but she held up a hand to stop him. "Not right now, Logan, okay? Just...give me time."
Hurt flashed across the soldier's much too expressive face before he nodded and muttered a quiet okay. Rufus gave him a sympathetic look as he walked away and then watched Liv for a minute as he handed her one dish and then the next. Finally, he decided to take a chance at humor.
"You couldn't have volunteered for washing duty?" He asked with a grin.
He got the reaction he wanted when she chuckled lightly and shook her head. "I cooked. I'm not washing too."
"Right, well you didn't ask me if I wanted to cook. I could have cooked. Why do I have to have dishpan hands because you decided to crash our bunker and make us breakfast?"
She laughed and bumped his shoulder. "You're a jackass."
"Hey, you're the one that broke into my house and used my food to cook yourself breakfast."
"Okay, well, I'll be sure not to do that again. Though, technically, Homeland Security pays for your groceries and I'm Homeland Security which means it's really my food. Also, you live in a government owned facility and I'm-"
"The government. Yeah okay, I get it. You can cook me food and dry the dishes. I give," Rufus told her with a feigned look of offense. "The Man's always gotta get you down. Figures."
"I am clearly not The Man," Liv said with a playful roll of her eyes. "The Man probably doesn't have a sealed juvenile offense record in his history."
"True, what did you do?" Rufus asked curiously.
"Reckless endangerment, grand theft among others," she said with a shrug. "Stole my piece of shit foster dad's boss' porsche and went for a joyride. Crashed it into a McDonald's sign, the sign fell caused damage to a few other vehicles...you know general chaos."
"Damn. How old?" Rufus asked with a grin.
"Thirteen," she said with a chuckle. "I had an 'attitude problem'."
"Had?" He asked teasingly.
She smirked and tilted her head thoughtfully. "Okay, maybe I still do."
"No maybe," Rufus told her with a laugh. "You definitely do. But I gotta say, you probably lived better than I did. I was a nerd. I watched 80s television and worked on science fair projects pretty much all day every day when I was thirteen."
"Honestly," Liv said with a sad sigh. "I wish that had been me, Rufus. All I ever wanted as a kid was to be normal and to understand why my family didn't want me or why no other family seemed to want me either. Well, no decent family anyway. It took basically my whole life to make peace with never getting those answers and I know Lucy and Jiya were trying to help but..."
"But hope opened up all those old wounds?" Rufus asked in understanding. "I get that."
She nodded with a solemn expression and a huff. "Now all those old questions are swirling around in my head again and I still have no hope for any answers."
"Sounds like you need a drink," he told her as he smirked knowingly.
"Yes, but it's 10 in the morning."
"Nah, it's always five o'clock somewhere when you can time travel," Rufus said with a grin. "We can hop in that eyeball and go anywhere you want."
"Yeah? Can we go to Studio 54 so I can get drunk and make out with Debbie Harry? I've always had a huge crush on her," Liv asked, half seriously, as she took the last dish from him.
Rufus laughed loudly and nodded. "Man, me too. Blondie was the shit. Good choice."
"People can say a lot of bad things about me, Rufus," she said with a smirk. "But they can't say I have bad taste in women or music. I've always been exceptional at picking both quality women and music."
"Good to know," he said with an amused smile. "Feeling better?"
She smiled warmly at him and nodded. "I am. Thank you."
"Anytime," he promised. "It's what I'm here for."
He meant it. For as long as she needed all of them, this family they had created, he would be there. He'd be standing by and ready with a joke or a quip, if it meant cheering her up. Anytime.
Jiya didn't know why she hadn't thought of it before. The solution had been staring her in the face since the moment Liv revealed that date to her. Her gift. She didn't need official documents or eyewitness testimonies. She could look back and see it for herself. Maybe it wouldn't solve all their problems, but seeing exactly who left Liv at that home would have to be enlightening somehow, wouldn't it?
Rufus was busy finishing the dishes with Liv, which meant she had their room all to herself. The perfect quiet space to let herself travel back in time.
She laid down on the cots and closed her eyes, willing everything else to fall away. She focused on one date and one address and soon the fog cleared and she found herself standing on the front yard of a dark brick building at night. Her eyes followed the sidewalk path to the brick stoop until they stopped on an adult woman holding a small child against her hip. A small child with blonde ringlet curls and piercing blue eyes who, despite the chubby cherub cheeks, was the spitting image of Wyatt Logan.
Jiya didn't know what she expected to see when the woman knocked and then turned and ran, leaving her baby daughter with one regretful kiss to the top of her head, but whatever she expected, it wasn't Jessica Logan.
Jiya gasped and watched as Jessica rushed passed her and sprinted off down the street. Jiya was torn between watching Liv and following Jessica, but she knew what happened to Liv. Liv would be fine. Jessica was the mystery. Jiya followed her through street after street until she turned a corner into a vacant warehouse and the Mothership came into view.
Emma was seated in the open doorway, looking expectant.
"Well, did you dump the brat?" Emma asked.
Jessica huffed, and it startled Jiya how much it reminded her of Liv, and replied, "Yes, okay? I did. Are you happy now?"
"Happy that we can get back to the mission? Hell yes. Having to cater to your baby schedule was ridiculous. She was getting in the way and you were questioning your place in the organization. It had to be done. You'll be better off without her and probably vice versa. Now let's get the hell out of here," Emma said as she stood and stepped into the machine.
Jessica glanced at the warehouse exit with an anguished expression before she took a deep fortifying breath, wiped a tear from her eye, and marched toward the Mothership. Her final decision was made. It was Liv or Rittenhouse and she chose Rittenhouse. Had Jiya really expected anything less?
Jiya watched the Mothership pop out of existence and felt the full weight of what she'd just uncovered.
Liv was Jessica's daughter. Which meant...
Which meant Liv was Wyatt's daughter too.
iv. little darling
Liv needed space so he gave her space. Finally, Wyatt spotted her walking toward him, looking ready to talk, but Jiya intercepted her. What the hell? Jiya looked panicked and wide eyed as she found his eyes and frantically motioned for him to join them. She looked serious, too serious.
"What's wrong?" Wyatt asked Jiya immediately upon joining them.
"I, um, took a little trip back in time," Jiya told them as she tapped her temple. "Since we couldn't find any actual information on who left Liv behind I thought maybe seeing them might help us so I went back to October 3rd, 1981."
Liv's eyes widened and she swallowed thickly. She suddenly looked more nervous than he had ever seen her. He could see a tremor in her hand. He'd never seen her shake, not even when she was shot. "And?" She asked. "What - what did you see?"
Jiya's eyes bore into Wyatt's with laser focus as if Liv wasn't even there. "Jessica, Wyatt. I saw Jessica on the front steps of that home."
He lost all ability to breathe. He couldn't take air into his lungs and couldn't expel air out. It was like his brain forgot how. He stumbled back until he collided against the back of the couch and leaned against it for support. He turned his gaze from Jiya to Liv. Liv still looked confused. She didn't quite understand what that meant.
But he did.
And it made so much damn sense.
Everything he felt from the moment Liv walked through the door fell into place.
Was it normal to hear buzzing or feel your pulse in your ears? Because there was a dull roar in his ears that would not go away and a pounding that beat in time with his heart. This was too much. This was insane. It was too insane to be a lie.
Jessica actually had been pregnant. Olivia Smith was his daughter.
Looked like Jessica got her baby girl after all.
Not that she deserved her.
His eyes connected with Liv's and the buzzing and pouding faded. They were replaced by nerves and worry. He was nervous about her reaction and worried this might be too much for her. She was still new to time travel and this would be a lot to take. Hell, he was a pro at it and it was a lot for him. He thought Rufus's suggestion of Liv being his sister was crazy enough, but this blew that out of the water a million times over.
"Jessica?" Liv asked him. "As in your ex-wife Jessica?"
He nodded. He couldn't speak even if he wanted to.
"The stone cold bitch that was gonna shoot me at point blank range until you shot her in the leg - that Jessica?" Liv asked as she pointed at his chest, the shake in her hand still present. Both he and Jiya nodded and Liv turned her focus on Jiya. "What the hell was she doing on those steps, Jiya?"
Jiya bit her bottom lip and opened her mouth to speak but miraculously Wyatt found himself interrupting her.
"Jessica claimed she was pregnant when she...left," Wyatt told Liv with a nervous gulp. Left sounded better than betrayed and for some reason he felt he needed to be as gentle as possible with this particular bit of news.
"Yeah, I know, I read the mission report while preparing for this assignment," Liv said as he saw realization start to dawn in her eyes. "Wait - wait. You're not saying...you can't be saying...that's fucking insane! Jessica has tried to kill me on two separate occasions. There is no way in hell she can be my mother. Plus, she's - and you too for that matter, Wyatt - younger than me."
Jiya offered a weak half hearted grin. "Right, um, what can I say except...wibbly wobbly timey wimey?"
Liv's eyes narrowed on Jiya with a huff. "Is that nerd speak for something time travel related?"
"She couldn't take you back to a time she already existed. It's a time travel rule that we will break, but haven't yet. So, my guess is 1981 was just far enough back to be safe from the dangers of time travel overlap," Jiya offered seriously. "And yes, since you were, what...two? It means you are now older than your parents. Which is what Wyatt and Jessica are, Liv. They are your parents."
"So, based on the context, wibbly wobbly timey wimey means 'messed up time travel bullshit'?" Liv asked as she placed a hand on the nearest wall to support herself.
Her other hand rubbed across her face as her eyes began to water and Wyatt felt the insane need to hold her. She was older than him. She'd lived a lifetime without him and certainly didn't need him. But even knowing all of that, he couldn't help himself. She was still his daughter.
"Pretty much, actually, yeah," Jiya answered softly.
"I...oh god," Liv said as she took a deep breath. "I gotta get out of here."
She turned on her heel and sprinted for the bunker door, passing Denise on her way out. Jiya moved to go after her but Wyatt put a firm hand on her shoulder.
"I got it," he told her with a wan smile. "Thank you, Jiya. For telling us. I'll take it from here."
"I'm sorry, Wyatt," Jiya said as her face crumpled and tears formed in her eyes. "I can't believe Jessica let you believe that she - you deserved to have a chance at watching her grow up and I'm sorry Jessica took that away from you."
He took a deep shaky breath and closed his eyes with a nod. "That makes two of us."
He gave Jiya's shoulder a reassuring squeeze before he took off after Liv. Denise stopped him before he reached the door.
"Where are you going?"
"Agent Christopher, I don't - I don't give a damn about the bunker rules right now. I need to talk to Liv."
"What happened?" Denise asked in genuine concern.
Wyatt let out a dark chuckle and a scoff as he rubbed a hand across his eyes that he was certain were now red and raw. "Well, my ex-wife who actually was pregnant when she betrayed us led me to believe our baby never really existed and then abandoned our daughter on the front steps of a children's home in 1981 where she was passed from shitty family to shitty family and completely alone until she walked through the bunker door a few months ago. That's what happened."
"Oh my god," Denise said in surprise as she blinked at him with wide eyes. "Liv is...I mean I always thought you reminded me of her but I never would have-" She cut off her own sentence and shook her head sadly. "Oh, Liv." She looked up and met Wyatt's eyes and gave his shoulder a comforting squeeze. "Come on, I'll go with you. Time travel is an awful, awful business."
Wyatt realized then that Denise was the person who knew Liv best. She was the person who saved Liv and had been there for her when no one else was. Time travel may be an awful business but somehow fate, god, or the Force always put the right people in their paths. Jessica could have left Liv at any home, but she chose the one close to DC. The one that was coincidentally close Denise Christopher. Was that an accident? Had she known?
He followed Denise out of the bunker and they both immediately spotted Liv stretched out on the hood of a Homeland Security town car.
"How many times have I told you not to lay on the Department's vehicles?" Denise asked in a scolding tone.
"I'm in crisis. I think you can let it slide this time," Liv fired back.
"Forty year old women are not 'in crisis', Liv," Denise told her with a small grin.
"Oh well, there you go, apparently I'm only really like two years old, so I guess now it's okay to be in crisis, right? Two year olds throw tantrums all the time so I'm told," Liv replied with a roll of her eyes.
"I get it," Denise said as she joined Liv on the hood of the car. "This is all screwed up."
"Understatement, I believe the phrase you're looking for is fucked up, Denise. This is fucked up. It's a subtle degree of difference but it's important."
"Yeah, I should have known you were Wyatt Logan's daughter as soon as I met him. Will you shut up and let me talk, smart ass?" Denise asked her with a shake of her head.
That got Liv's attention and Wyatt bit back a grin. The dynamic between Liv and Denise was so similar to his own dynamic with Agent Christopher that it really drove home just how much of a Logan Liv actually was.
Liv sat up and gave Denise her full attention. "Okay, sensei. What have you got for me?"
"Your whole life you have told me you wanted a family. Well, Olivia, now you have one. Maybe it's not ideal - save all sarcastic comments for the end please," Denise gave Liv a knowing look as she opened her mouth to speak. Liv promptly shut her mouth and nodded. "It's not ideal, but family never is. Family is complicated and messy but full of unconditional love. That's just how it works. You asked for family and you've been given the complete experience. Don't run away from him now," Christopher told her as she waved a hand toward Wyatt. "Figure it out. Make it work. This is what you've wished for as long as I've known you and if you waste it I will never let you forget it."
Family. It used to be as foreign a concept to him as it was to her. It took Lucy and Rufus for him to really understand what family should mean. He had a bastard of a dad and he promised himself he would never repeat that man's mistakes. But until Lucy, until Rufus, until frickin' time travel he didn't believe he could really break away.
But Christopher was right. This wasn't ideal. This was not the way he envisioned his own family would begin. But they could work with this. He had rolled with much stranger punches, including one that involved a future version of himself. If he could do that then he could do this.
Denise patted Liv's knee and then slid off the hood.
"I'm going to let you two talk," Denise told them both. "Somebody out there wanted the two of you to have a second chance at this. It's a gift. Do something with it."
And with that Denise turned and headed back into the bunker, leaving Wyatt and Liv alone.
"So," Liv said with a small awkward smile. "I'm your daughter?"
"And I'm your dad," he replied with a casual lift of his shoulder. "Welcome to the weird world of time travel."
"Anything like this happen to you before?" She asked.
"You've read the mission reports. What do you think?"
She chuckled before she answered. "I think it would be weird as hell to look my future self in the eyes. Weirder than finding out my dad is younger than me and that I was actually born in, what, 2018 or 2019? Shit, that was two years ago. Are we sure this is even possible? I mean isn't there some sort of overlapping timeline rule? Because if I was two when she left me behind and it's been just over two years since I was most likely born wouldn't that mean two of me existed at once? Shouldn't I have felt some sort of negative side effects of that or something?"
"Maybe not," Wyatt said with a furrowed brow. "If you disappeared from one timeline and then suddenly popped up in this one?" He scratched the side of his head with a bewildered expression before letting out an irritated huff. "Who the hell knows really? I haven't ever understood the physics of these time travel rules. I leave that shit to Rufus and Jiya and Mason."
"I mean I guess it doesn't matter, really. If I'm here then obviously it's possible," Liv said with a shrug. "This is giving me a headache."
"You and me, both," Wyatt told her. He gave her an apologetic glance before speaking again. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Liv asked in confusion.
"She played me again," Wyatt said with a bitter chuckle. "I should have done something. Actually looked or researched to try and find out if Jessica really had a child - something. She's a pathological liar. I should know better than to accept anything at face value with her. It's been three years. I should have learned by now."
"Are you serious?" Liv asked him in an outraged tone. "Wyatt, none of this is on you. She could have come to you and asked for help. She didn't. Jessica essentially took me from you. She took away your say in the matter. There was nothing you could have done. I don't accept your damn apology because you're not the one who needs to apologize. She should be apologizing to both of us. Not that I think she will. She made her choice, obviously, and it wasn't me."
"It should have been you," Wyatt assured her. "It should have been you every time. You didn't deserve to be left alone like that. That shouldn't have happened."
"Maybe not," Liv told him with a wan smile. "But it did. I've accepted it. I guess...I guess now you have to."
"I can't believe she did this," Wyatt said as his hands fisted at his sides. "She's done a lot of things in the last few years but this...this is bigger than her or me."
He felt Liv's smaller but equally callused hands wrap around his fists and jumped in surprise. He hadn't even heard her slide off the hood of the car.
"Sorry," she said with a smirk. "What's done is done. Don't let her get to you."
She squeezed his hands gently as his fists unclenched and then pulled them back to cross her arms over her chest. The gesture was over quickly but Wyatt appreciated it nonetheless.
"So, what do we do with this now that we know?" Liv asked. "I mean there's no-" she shook her head and chuckled. "It's not like anyone else has ever been through this before. There aren't any self help books out there we can refer to. We're on our own."
"Uncharted territory is kinda this team's specialty, in case you didn't know," Wyatt offered with a teasing grin. "We'll figure it out. Just...take it as it comes."
"Take it as it comes," Liv repeated. "Right. You'd think I would be good at that. It's basically my life story." She glanced hesitantly at the bunker entrance as her shoulders slumped and her face became pensive. "I guess we should go back inside."
"Probably," Wyatt agreed, though neither of them stepped any closer to the entrance.
They knew what was waiting for them on the other side. Hard truths and difficult questions. But, Wyatt couldn't help but think, hard and difficult might be easier to handle together.
"Jiya and Denise have probably told everyone what's going on, haven't they?"
Wyatt gave Liv a look that had to be both amused and resigned. He didn't need to answer her because she already knew the answer. This was big news and this makeshift family would want to throw their support behind the both of them. No matter how overwhelming that might be.
"Rufus and Jiya are probably hacking some system right now, desperately searching for information on either you or Jessica," Wyatt told her confidently. "They've got real breadcrumbs now. They won't stop till they find answers."
"So we're both about to be their sole focus?"
"Barring the Mothership making any jumps, hell yes."
Liv let out a long suffering sigh and then chuckled. "Fine, as long as Lucy doesn't force feed me tea again."
She was giving in to their help. Something he was familiar with. He never expected Lucy, Rufus, or Denise to stick up for him the way they did after The Alamo mission. He imagined he probably sounded exactly like Liv once it was all over. He heard exhaustion in her voice and begrudging affection. He knew both of those feelings well when it came to his team. Especially when it came to Lucy looking out for them.
There wasn't much the woman wouldn't do to make sure her family was happy.
"I'm not sure anyone can promise that," Wyatt told her with a grin. "But I'll see what I can do."
The flurry of activity that greeted them when they stepped back inside the bunker was entirely expected. Liv wandered over to where Rufus, Mason, and Jiya were all focused on their computers, furiously typing away, which gave Wyatt a long enough window to turn Lucy around as she walked toward Liv with a cup of tea in her hands. Of course, she had already made the tea. So much for stopping her. He bit back a laugh at her as she gave him a befuddled glance.
"Maybe pour her some Jack instead, Luce," he offered with a smirk.
"You Logans and your whiskey," Lucy told him with a gentle smile and a wink.
For a moment, he regretted not being able to tell her the news himself. He promised himself after the Jessica fiasco that he would go to Lucy first with everything. He would use his words, if only with her because Lucy deserved no less than his complete honesty. But the look of understanding in her eyes put him at ease. She had no such concerns about learning the news second hand. If she did he would see it on her face.
He threw one last look at Liv before following Lucy back to the kitchen. Now that Lucy knew, he was dying to talk to her about it. To express the happiness he held back from Liv so as not to overwhelm her. He had a daughter. Not just any daughter, either. Liv was a warrior - a fighter. She had demons but she hadn't fallen prey to them. She'd overcome. Before today he had marveled at her as a friend, but now he felt so much pride that he thought he might actually burst.
"I-Lucy, can you-can you believe it?" He asked her excitedly. He was certain his face reflected the brightness in his tone. "I mean I suspected there was a connection but I never would have thought - she's my daughter."
Lucy grinned at him for a moment and then placed her hand on his shoulder with a soft squeeze. Her caramel eyes studied his face before she nodded and replied. "You're smiling, soldier, so I'm assuming you like this news."
"Are you kidding?" He asked with a laugh. "She's badass and saving the world. Plus," he added with a rare bubbly mirth. "Her sarcasm is top notch."
"Well, she gets it honest," Lucy said as she set the mug of tea down on the counter and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Her dad's a little too sarcastic at times."
"Nah," he said with a smirk. "Me? Never."
"Right," Lucy replied with a roll of her eyes. "What was I thinking?"
Her dad. Dad. Yes, Liv was an adult but...he never thought the would ever hear that word in reference to himself. Hearing Lucy say it made it feel more like a reality than it had up until that moment. Dad.
"Found it!" Rufus suddenly yelled as he stood from his chair in excitement.
Lucy removed her arms from his neck as they both turned to face the main silo and Rufus.
"Found what?" Liv asked from her spot next to Denise and Flynn.
Surprisingly, Flynn hadn't said much since Wyatt and Liv had come back into the bunker. Wyatt half expected a smart ass remark but, thankfully, he'd remained stoically silent. Wyatt gave the man a brief nod in thanks and recognition before turning his full attention to Rufus.
"Your birth certificate," Rufus said with a mischievous grin. "I know your date of birth, your real name...you name it and I've got it. By the way, you're going to hate your real name. It's god awful."
Liv rushed to look over Rufus' shoulder and groaned as if she were in pain. "If you dare call me either of those names, I will shoot you."
"What if I shorten it?" Rufus asked teasingly. "Gwen? Gwenny? Gwen-Gwen?"
"You know I have my weapon on me right now, don't you?" Liv asked him with a glare.
Wyatt watched in amusement before recognition of the name floated across his brain.
"Gwen? Let me guess, Gwendolyn?" Wyatt asked as he made his way toward the main silo. He could feel Lucy following closely behind him. "That was Jessica's grandmother's name."
Rufus glanced from the screen to Lucy once they stopped next to him. "I'll give you one guess what Liv's real middle name is."
Lucy's brow furrowed. "Why are you looking at me?"
"I'm giving you a hint," Rufus said as he covered the screen with a piece of paper. He gave her a challenging grin. Rufus wasn't enjoying this at all, Wyatt thought sarcastically. "That's why. Guess."
Lucy looked thoughtful for a moment and they all noticed when the penny dropped and she understood. He didn't but Lucy seemed to understand Rufus and his hint.
"Carol? Are you kidding me?" Lucy turned a confused stare on Wyatt. "She named your daughter after my mother? I -" Lucy turned to Liv with a sigh and an apologetic wince. "I am so sorry. I would not wish that on anyone."
Wyatt put a hand on Lucy's back in a gesture of support. Jessica had made it clear over the years that she felt as though Carol was as close to her as any mother ever had been, but it also had become clear that Jessica knew a very different Carol than Lucy. It was a conflict he knew Lucy wasn't finished struggling with. Thinking you knew someone when you really had no idea who they were was a problem he was very familiar with himself.
They knew Liv's first and middle name and all that was left was the last name. Did Jessica use her maiden name? Did she make up an alias? Did she actually use his name and let him have some small piece of their daughter?
"Last name?" Wyatt asked Rufus with a nervous gulp. Exactly why he was nervous, he couldn't say.
Rufus smiled slowly and nodded as he took the paper off the screen. "Logan. Her last name is Logan. That was the only way I found it. Jessica used an alias for herself but she filled out the birth certificate with legitimate information."
Liv read the screen over his shoulder again. "I was born December 16th, 2018. So technically I'm just over two and a half. This is so weird. By the way, no way in hell am I keeping this horrible name. It's Olivia. That's final." She paused and looked over at Wyatt thoughtfully before she revised her statement. "Well, maybe I'll keep the last name."
"Honestly, you can't really claim it anyway. Our government might have some questions, considering you're thirty eight years older than you should be," Jiya said with a chuckle as she continued to type away. "I found Jessica's hospital records. I know exactly when she was admitted and when she was released. She was going by the name Amanda Owen."
Wyatt recognized both names. Her middle name and her brother's name. That figured.
"So, if we had the timeline crossing technology ready," Mason said thoughtfully as the room turned their attention on him. "We could hypothetically retrieve Liv before Jessica left her at that home."
Wyatt's eyebrows rose. They could what? Should they do that? Would they want to do that? Would Liv want them to do that? Surely not. Everything would change for her. For him too. That was a huge risk.
Denise shook her head at him. "No, you couldn't because technically that would be called kidnapping."
Flynn chuckled and snorted. "We break laws in the past all the time. What's a little kidnapping between enemies?"
Denise rolled her eyes and shook her head. After all this time, none of them should really be surprised by the things that came out of Flynn's mouth anymore.
"That would also mean we wouldn't have Liv now," Christopher told Flynn with a pointed glare.
Not having their current Liv, or the idea of not having her, left Wyatt with a strong feeling of sadness. He knew this Liv. He trained with her, kicked ass by her side, offered her advice...they were friends. Yes, she was his daughter and he was glad they knew that now. But it didn't change what they had always been. He would miss her if she weren't around.
Besides that, the idea of raising a toddler...
It scared him shitless. He would be responsible for the safety, well-being, and happiness of tiny trusting person. A small fragile person. How would that work exactly? The bunker wasn't exactly child safe. Plus, didn't kids need sunshine and a place to play? They didn't exactly have a backyard and a picket fence.
As much as he was upset that Jessica had forced him to miss so much, the pressure and responsibility of raising a person seemed too great. He would screw it up. He screwed up everything the first time around and it wasn't like you got a do-over with a kid. You had one shot and if you messed them up-
Well, the result was a person like him. Or even a person like Liv. A person with demons and trust issues and guilt so deep you could almost drown in it.
Wyatt glanced over at Liv to find her stare distant and her face thoughtful like she had been struck with an idea. He was certain he wouldn't like whatever it was she was thinking.
A moment later her eyes found Wyatt's and she pointed to Rufus, Lucy, and himself. "Can I...can we talk? Alone?"
Lucy blinked in surprise between Liv and Wyatt. Liv wasn't suggesting what Lucy thought she was suggesting, was she? They retreated to Lucy and Wyatt's room and the four of them were standing in a close circle. Lucy was almost certain she'd imagined it. There was no way Liv had really made that request. But she had. She really had. Liv's initial blunt statement of "Go back and save me" had stunned them all into silence.
That is until Wyatt broke it.
"Hell, no, Liv."
"Um, maybe Rufus and I should leave you two alone," Lucy suggested as she exchanged an awkward glance with Rufus.
Surely this was a private Logan Family moment. Or should be. They didn't need her or Rufus butting into their business-
Lucy turned in Wyatt's direction in surprise. Both Wyatt and Liv had objected to her suggestion at once with a firm glance at her. In one voice they made it crystal clear that they wanted her and Rufus to butt in.
"You're a part of this decision, Lucy. So is Rufus," Liv assured her in a much softer tone. "Please stay."
"What decision? We're not going back in time to snatch you. It's too risky," Wyatt told Liv with an adamant shake of his head.
Lucy was trying to stay present in the moment but she was still caught up in the fact that Liv wanted her opinion on a suggestion this huge. That meant the other woman had a lot of trust in her and valued her beyond the value of a friend. They were family. Lucy should have realized that sooner, and maybe on some level she had, but now it was glaringly obvious. Liv had accepted them as a permanent part of her life.
"Not from the hospital," Liv told him pointedly. "The technology isn't ready for that. I know."
"Then when?" Rufus asked.
The fact that the question was 'when' instead of 'where' should not seem as mundane as it did. Even after all this time, the quirks of time travel life still amazed her. That was when the implication in Liv's answer hit her. Not from the hospital. There was only one other time and place where they knew Liv would be for certain.
Lucy shared a look of understanding with Liv before she offered up her guess. "October 3rd, 1981."
The night Jessica left Liv behind.
Liv nodded and turned a pleading look on Wyatt. "Go and get me after she gives me up, Wyatt."
"No," he repeated. "If we do that, you don't exist."
Lucy bit back a sigh. Stubborn man.
Rufus held up a hand before he spoke. "Actually, that's not true. She would still exist. She would just be two years old instead of 40."
She wasn't sure that made anything better, but it was true. They would still have Liv. Just not the Liv they knew.
"Right! You would just have to wait 38 years to see me at my bad ass best. It's not a death, Wyatt. It's a fresh start," Liv told him nervously. "For both of us."
A fresh start. Well, hell, if there was anyone who was ever deserving of a fresh start it was Wyatt Logan. She never knew any man that punished himself more or carried around more guilt than him. He deserved a break. He deserved a chance.
Liv did too for that matter. Looking at her now as she pleaded with them to go back and find her, it became clear to Lucy just how broken Liv must feel. She had just as much bad luck as Wyatt. She'd been hurt and scarred and kicked around by the world as equally as her father. Lucy couldn't blame her for wanting to erase all of that. She'd wished to go back and start over once upon a time, when her own pain was too great.
Wyatt didn't look convinced as he turned his back on the group and paced a small path across the room. Lucy could understand his concern. This was a huge decision. Life changing. Terrifying. Not just for Liv, but for him too. He would take on the job of dad. She knew his own father had not been a shining example so his trepidation at the idea was sensible, she thought. But he didn't know himself the way she did. He saw his mistakes, she saw his strengths. He was caring and loyal and protective and he would do anything to keep the people he loved safe. Anything. Every piece of him, broken or not, was made to be a father. Lucy was certain of that.
But maybe he needed to hear that from Liv. Maybe he needed to understand why she would want this. He wasn't going to ask and neither was Rufus so it was up to her.
"Liv, why? Why do this?" Lucy asked her, more for Wyatt's benefit than her own. Lucy suspected she understood exactly why Liv wanted to do this.
"Denise reminded me earlier that I have spent my whole life trying to find some place I belong. I never fit in. Not at any of my foster homes, not in college, not in the FBI or Homeland Security. The only place that ever felt right is this bunker with all of you," Liv admitted. Liv rung her hands as she spoke and avoided eye contact with any of them. Her words felt private, as if she were reading from her diary.
Wyatt stopped pacing and focused his gaze on Liv's face. She finally looked up and met his eyes. Lucy could see the tears shining in them, even if they never fell. She could imagine a young Liv longing for a place where she fit, where people would put her first, and Lucy's heart broke at the idea of her being turned away every time.
Liv continued with an emotional gulp. "Denise also said something else, Wyatt, remember? She called this news for what it was. She called it a -"
"Gift," Wyatt finished for her. "She called it a gift."
That certainly sounded like Denise, Lucy thought. Denise had a softness to her she rarely showed that Lucy suspected came from being a wonderful mom. She had ways of teaching and putting things in perspective that were rarely wrong.
"And she told us to do something with it," Liv said with a nod. "This is what we do. This is it. Jessica took our first chance away from us. This is our second chance at being a family. Don't we both deserve that chance?"
Liv sounded so confident and certain that Lucy had to force herself not to nod along in agreement. Liv had already convinced Lucy several minutes ago, but really the decision wasn't hers to make. Only Liv and Wyatt could decide what they felt was best, even if they wanted her included on the choice.
"It won't be the same. You'll grow up and be...different," Wyatt warned her.
It was true. The factors that converged to form the Liv they had all grown to love would change irrevocably if they did this. Thirty-eight years in the future she would not be the same person that stood before them now.
Liv smiled warmly at him with a look of contentment and understanding in her eyes that Lucy had never seen from her before. She seemed so calm and assured.
"No, it won't be the same. It'll be better. I'll be better. Better off for having been raised by people who love me," Liv told him as she took a deep satisfying breath. It was as if the idea offered her a strange sense of comfort.
The look on Wyatt's face caused a physical pain in Lucy's chest. He looked so anguished, so conflicted. Scared. Scared to lose the person he already knew, scared to be responsible for who a new version of her would be, scared to make the wrong choice.
"Are you sure?" He asked quietly as he stepped into Liv's space and held her gaze.
Their identical blue eyes that were deep wells of emotions bore into each other through the blaring silence. Lucy glanced to Rufus and found him holding his breath for Liv's answer just as much as she was. Pins and needles.
Wyatt didn't waste a minute replying to her answer. He must have anticipated it because he found his words surprisingly quickly.
"This means that I," Wyatt stopped short and then gestured to Lucy. "We - would raise you. Do you trust us to do that?"
Lucy tensed at the assumption that she would be co-parenting. She knew it was true, but until that moment she hadn't thought of herself as a parent. Oh god. Wyatt's fear of responsibility was now hers too. She would be happy to do it, proud to do it. The idea of raising and loving Liv for her entire life was thrilling and frightening all at once. The fear was more intense than the thrill at the moment because Lucy kept thinking of her mother and the millions of tiny ways she'd controlled her. The things she'd vowed she would never put her child through, were she to have a child that was. With Rittenhouse still skulking around Lucy had packed the thought away and hadn't revisited it. But now suddenly here it was.
Could she keep all the promises she made to herself? Could she make those promises to Liv and be the parent Wyatt's daughter deserved?
Liv seemed to sense her distress. She reached across the circle and grabbed Lucy's hand while wearing an encouraging smile. "You'll be fine, Professor. Just never stop bringing me tea, even if I tell you to."
How did these Logans always see straight through her?
The small statement offered a peace of mind that seemed impossible. Liv had barely said anything, but the soft confidence in her tone left Lucy feeling like she could handle being Liv's parent if that's what Liv wanted from her. If Liv believed in her then who was she to question that?
"I trust all of you with my life," Liv said as she squeezed Lucy's hand and then released it. "Why wouldn't I trust you to raise me? Besides, you can't be any worse than my numerous sets of foster parents."
"That is true," Rufus agreed with a soft grin. "It's a low bar to clear."
Liv chuckled and rolled her eyes at Rufus. "That's not what I meant but if it makes you feel better about your abilities to properly 'uncle' then sure."
"Uncle?" Rufus asked brightly. "I'm gonna be an uncle?"
Liv let out a watery laugh and patted his shoulder. "Only if you want to be."
"Hell, yes. That means I get all the fun with none of the responsibility. I'm down for that," Rufus replied with a smirk before he turned a mock serious expression on Liv. "I promise, I will always give you candy and then send you back to mom and dad a hyper mess."
"Gee, I'm sure they'll love that," Liv said dryly.
"Eh, what else are uncles for?" Rufus asked with a huge toothy smile.
Wyatt was still quietly thinking, but Lucy could see his decision in his much too expressive eyes. Her declaration of trust seemed to be the argument that finally convinced him. He reached out and wrapped Liv in a hug, pulling her tightly against his chest. Liv went stiff in his arms for a moment before she melted into it and returned the hug. Liv buried her face in his shoulder but Lucy was certain she was crying. None of them had ever seen her cry. Lucy could feel the tears building as she watched them. It was a bittersweet embrace that seemed to be both a hello and a goodbye all at once.
"We're going to miss you," Wyatt said with an emotional catch in his voice. "I know you won't really be gone but this version of you is my friend. I'll miss that."
"I'm glad to be your friend, Logan," Liv told him in a voice that sounded thick with tears. "That's how I know."
"Know what?" He asked when she didn't elaborate.
"That's how I know you're going to be an amazing dad."
That was the moment Lucy let her own tears fall. Wyatt looked overcome with emotion too. That was the first time Liv truly sounded like a daughter to Lucy's ears. Her eyes shone with unwavering faith in Wyatt Logan. It was the unwavering faith of a daughter. Lucy knew that from experience. She missed Henry every day. She thought her mom was super woman, but her dad...
Her dad had always been her knight in shining armor. Lucy had talked to him with that same unwavering faith. It was a feeling that only the best fathers brought out in their daughters.
And like Liv, Lucy had no doubt that Wyatt would be the best father.
They were doing this, and they were doing this now.
Rufus thought, maybe, Liv would want time but he thought wrong.
"I won't remember this anyway, Rufus," she said. "So what's the point in waiting?"
It took him a minute to come up with a reply.
"You won't remember it," he finally said. "But I will. I'll remember you and this just feels too soon. I know, logically, we're not losing you but I can't exchange inappropriate jokes with a two year old nor can I talk to a two year old about how truly sexy Debbie Harry is. Sure, I'm gaining a niece, but I'm losing a friend. I don't know I thought...I thought we'd have more time."
"God, Debbie Harry. So hot," Liv said as she closed her eyes briefly.
She opened them with a smirk and punched his shoulder playfully. His expression didn't brighten, he knew. The joke fell flat because he was still upset. She was a part of the team now and he would miss her.
"Okay." She sighed and smiled sadly at him. "How about this, you promise me, here and now, that for my twenty-first birthday you'll take me to Studio 54. You'll have to wait nineteen years, but eventually, we'll have Debbie Harry back. Trust me. I'll see her and immediately fall in love."
Rufus chuckled at her in amazement. "You realize that when this happens I'll be the fifty seven year old creeper checking out Debbie Harry with a hot blonde twenty one year old wing woman, don't you?"
She grimaced and dramatically shuddered at the image. "No, I did not but that is a good point. So...nevermind. Just buy me a Blondie album on vinyl or something. That is much less disturbing."
Rufus laughed, loud and uninhibited, before he replied. "Good call, Gwen-Gwen."
"Oh god, seriously, do not call me that. Ever."
"Come on, you gotta admit that's cute and it'll be even cuter on two year old you!"
"I am not kidding, I will shoot you," Liv threatened. Though the smile on her face and the laughter in her eyes looked anything but threatening. She reached over and patted his hand as her expression grew serious. "I know you'll miss me, Rufus, and I know it won't be the same, but...promise me you'll always be this person. Because I'm gonna need you. I'm going to need my caring hilarious Uncle Rufus. I know myself. I was an angsty teenager and I'll need you when I start taking myself too seriously so you have to promise me. Promise me, that even if I'm different you won't be."
He squeezed her hand and looked directly in her eyes when answered her. A promise was something important in any type of relationship and Rufus took them very seriously. "I promise. I promise to always be your weird funny uncle who cares way too much, and I promise you will know so much more about The A-Team than you do right now because it is tragic that you have no idea who Face is. You would love him."
"Oh god," Liv said with a warm laugh. "Just don't turn me into a total geek, okay? I've got to keep at least a little of my edge."
In a few minutes, he would be sitting in the pilots chair on the Lifeboat and no one would remember this conversation but him. It made the moment both beautiful and sad. He would need to commit every second of it to memory because someday he would tell her all about this crazy situation and he wanted her to know that every version of her was loved and important. She was part of this family that he chose and he would choose her every time.
He would choose all of them every time.
Wyatt turned back one last time on the steps leading up to the Lifeboat to look at Liv. She had one arm slung around Jiya's shoulders and the other was raised to give him a wave. Her smile was bright and big. It was probably the happiest expression he had ever seen on her face. Jiya's face was wrecked and her eyes bloodshot but Liv looked near radiant. Since making her decision, she'd been eerily calm. He was reminded of all the times Lucy had admonished him for the same thing.
She'd called it annoying.
She was right.
"It's okay, Wyatt," Liv called out from her spot behind the monitors. "Go."
"Last chance to change your mind," he told her as he felt his brow furrow in worry.
Liv rolled her eyes and grinned at him. "I'm not changing my mind. I want this. So, go," she told him as her wave turned into a sweeping hand motion meant to urge him through the hatch.
He slowly turned to leave, just before he stepped though, she called him back.
He turned and gave her an expectant look.
Her grin grew into a wide affectionate smile and she lifted one shoulder in a breezy way he knew she didn't feel before her blue eyes, that were near identical to his, found his across the silo. Her smile never faltered as she spoke. "See you in 1981, Dad."
Hearing her call him dad brought a reflexive smile to his face. It just happened. He didn't even have to think about it. He nodded and let out a light chuckle. "See you in 1981, Daughter."
He breathed deeply and took that last step through the hatch. As it closed behind him he sought solace in Rufus and Lucy. They were the only other people who would ever remember the Liv he'd just said goodbye to.
There were the only people who would ever truly understand, but then...wasn't that always the way? In the end, it was always the three of them. One team, one family.
"You'll see her again," Lucy told him as she reached out from her seat and took his hand. Her smile was soft and reassuring and he felt the tightness in his chest releasing at the sight of it.
"Yeah, in about thirty eight years. In the meantime you get your daughter just in time for her terrible twos," Rufus said with a smirk.
"I thought it was terrible threes?" Lucy asked him with a tilt of her head.
Rufus shrugged. "From what I hear they're both pretty terrible."
"Gee, thanks guys," Wyatt said with a dry laugh. "This is super helpful."
"Come on," Rufus said with a laugh. "You know we all live together, right? If the twos and threes are terrible we'll be suffering right alongside you."
"True Time Team solidarity," Lucy agreed with a nod.
"Hey, even if we get out of the bunker. You're stuck with me, Preston," Wyatt told her as he sat down and in his usual seat. "So, Liv and I will be following you where ever you go."
To his surprise, her face softened and the teasing glint in her eyes turned into something much more emotional as she replied. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
She was already buckled in but that didn't stop Wyatt from leaning across and double checking her restraints. Rufus turned around and focused on getting the Lifeboat started which gave Wyatt the perfect opportunity to steal a quick kiss, or maybe two, before he leaned back in his own seat and buckled in. Lucy and Wyatt maintained their eye contact, silently assuring each other that they could handle being parents, that this was the right decision, that it was what Liv wanted. Finally, the machine began their journey back to 1981 and he was momentarily distracted from his thoughts by the overwhelming nausea that always accompanied time travel.
They landed with a jolt and the three of them turned in their chairs to stare at the closed hatch.
This was it. They were here. All that was left now was to reach the home, wait for Jess to show up and leave Liv, and then bring the toddler home with them. They already discussed what would happen now. He and Lucy would go to the home alone. They were afraid too many people might scare her. Rufus agreed to wait with the Lifeboat.
This was going to be a quick trip. Probably their quickest trip ever. He wouldn't be waiting long.
Lucy unbuckled and stood before he could manage to. She hit the button to open the hatch and turned to face him.
No. No, he really wasn't. When Jessica initially told him she was pregnant he thought about the kind of father he wanted to be and how fatherhood would feel. He never imagined it would fill him with such paralyzing fear. He'd been in war zones across time, behind enemy lines, and faced down death more times than he could count and felt little more than annoyed. But it was the idea of being one little girl's everything that left him shaking in his boots.
One glance from Rufus to Lucy and their concerned faces eased his fears immediately because he remembered.
He remembered he wasn't alone.
He took a deep breath, unbuckled his seatbelt and stood.
"Let's do this."
This trip was so quick that they weren't going to bother with stealing clothes. They did steal a car though. They somehow managed to arrive just ten minutes before Jessica showed herself. He and Lucy watched from their parked car a few feet away as Jessica approached the stoop with Liv held against her hip. She stood and stared at the door for a few minutes before walking up the steps. She set Liv down on her feet and knelt in front of her. She smoothed the child's wild hair, straightened her tiny cardigan, knocked on the door, and finally placed a kiss to the crown of her head before slowly walking down the steps and away from their daughter.
Wyatt knew this is what would happen. Jiya told him. Liv told him herself. And yet watching it happen in front of him still filled him with a blind rage that he had to work his damndest to control. How could she do that? How could she walk away from an innocent little person, their daughter, for the sake of an organization that thrived on control and fear? How was that even a choice?
"Come on," Lucy said as she squeezed his arm and opened her car door. "It's time."
Time. Time to meet his baby daughter. Time to be a dad. Time to succeed for Liv where Jessica failed. Time to give this little girl the loving family she deserved.
That last thought pushed him onward and out of the car. The closer he got to the stoop the more clearly he could make out the little girl's features. Beautiful blonde ringlets framed her chubby face as her huge blue eyes blinked owlishly at the two adults who approached her. She took one tiny step back, nearly off the stoop, but Wyatt's hand on her back caught her quickly.
"No, sweetie, it's okay," Lucy said soothingly as she sat down on one of the steps. "We're here to help you."
"Help?" She asked with as her tiny brow furrowed at them.
The small scared voice did him in. His connection to adult Liv had been instant but his love for this tiny version of her standing before him was almost more than he could take. She was perfect. She was his, and he would keep her safe, keep her happy, until his dying day. He knew it in his bones.
"Where mommy go?"
Lucy bit her bottom lip and ran a tender finger down the side of the little girl's face.
"She had to leave," Lucy told her in a voice that wavered with tears. He could understand why. How did you tell a child their mother wasn't coming back? "But we're here now."
"And we're not going anywhere," Wyatt promised as he finally found his voice. Liv's head swiveled to him. She observed him with curious eyes and a tilted head. His heart nearly burst as she reached a tiny hand out and ran it down his cheek, mimicking Lucy's action from earlier.
She brought her other little hand to his face and stepped right up to him. Her eyes found his and she smiled brightly.
"Dad?" She asked.
He was stunned. Stunned and moved. How did she know? Did she feel it like he did? Did Jessica show her pictures? How did this small person understand who he was with one sentence and one touch?
His reply came out hoarse and strangled. He was feeling too many things at once. He was grateful he could form words at all. "Yes, baby, Dad."
That was all it took for Liv to decide she trusted him, it seemed, because she threw herself in his arms and tucked her head against his shoulder. Her arms had a death grip around his neck.
"Daddy, up. Go find mommy."
How many ways could a person's heart break? Wyatt really thought he'd experienced them all. But this was a brand new type of fracture that threatened to undo him completely. Wyatt scooped her up and held her against his chest as he stood to his full height. He didn't know what to say about Jessica so he said nothing. He looked over the two year old bundle in his arms and found Lucy standing across from him with a gentle hand on Liv's back.
It was late and it was dark but there were just enough street lights to allow him to see the tears streaming down Lucy's face.
He adjusted Liv to a one arm hold and then used his other arm to pull Lucy into him. He directed all of them back toward the car and away from the home. He would try to explain Jessica later, but right now he wanted Liv as far away from this children's home as possible.
In the few short moments it took to reach the car he felt Liv's stressed little body go slack and felt her breathing deepen. She must have been exhausted.
The car they stole didn't have a child's seat but they would have to make due. Wyatt opened the passenger side door for Lucy and waited for her to be seated before he carefully passed Liv to her.
Lucy tucked Liv against her chest and cradled her like she belonged there. Like she just fit. He was suddenly struck with a sense of calm and confidence and an intense wave of affection. They really could do this, he and Lucy. They could be parents. They could be a family. She was his partner in every sense of the word. They could take this on like they did everything else. Together.
Wyatt leaned into the open car door and placed a slow chaste kiss on Lucy's lips as gratitude for her swelled within him. She smiled warmly at him as their eyes connected, as if she could read his thoughts like they were written on his forehead.
"Come on, Dad," Lucy said as her eyes drifted purposefully down to the two year old in her arms. "Let's go home."
Home. It's funny, but growing up he always thought of home as a place. But now, as he drove toward the Lifeboat with the two most important women in his life in tow, he realized home was found in the people you loved. Not the place you lived. In that car, in that moment, he was home.
And so was Liv.
She was right. They both deserved a chance at family - a chance to get it right. One glance at her little dozing face and the decision was made. He wouldn't waste that chance. He wouldn't let her down.
He would be better. He would be all the things both Liv and Lucy deserved. He would keep them safe. He would make them happy. He would find a way to make sure the sun never set on them. He felt like he was seeing his first morning after decades of darkness.
The sun was here. The sun was beautiful.
The sun was named Olivia Logan.
And everything would be all right from here on out.
A week later, Rufus was performing his regular test of the Lifeboat's systems when he found it. A small black flash drive with a white label on the top of it. His eyes widened at the name on the label.
As if the younger Liv sensed his discovery, Rufus heard a high pitched peel of gleeful laughter from somewhere in the bunker. It was a sound that assured him happiness was contagious because every time that little girl laughed he smiled. He couldn't help himself.
The bunker had always been a hell hole but, with Liv around, these days it seemed much more like a home than a prison.
They missed her, though. He could tell when one of them felt her absence. They each drifted away in conversations. In those moments, they were remembering Liv. They were the only ones that could.
His fist tightened around the flash drive and he climbed out of the Lifeboat as fast as his feet would allow. He called for Lucy and Wyatt as he moved and by the time he reached the available computer next to Jiya they were already there waiting on him.
Wyatt had Liv thrown over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. His face was as serious as it could be while his two year old daughter giggled maniacally. The soldier's lips were still twitched up slightly but his eyes looked at Rufus in concern.
"What?" He asked. "What happened?"
Rufus held up the Flashdrive for Lucy and Wyatt to see and then smirked. "Liv left us a present."
Lucy gasped with bright eager eyes and lightly hit Rufus' shoulder. "What are you waiting for?" She asked. "Play! Play!"
Little Liv's giggling faded and from Wyatt's shoulder her face turned serious. She stretched her arms out to Lucy and glanced at the monitor in front of Rufus.
"Lucy, hold?" Liv asked.
Lucy melted and complied instantly with such an intense look of affection that Rufus almost laughed out loud. Liv placed a sloppy kiss to Lucy's cheek as Wyatt passed her over. Both his friends' faces went completely soft at the gesture. This little girl had them all wrapped around her finger.
Rufus knew why Liv suddenly wanted Lucy to hold her though. Lucy was closer to the monitor than Wyatt. She had the better view. Smart kid.
Jiya slid her chair over next to his to join them as Rufus plugged in the flashdrive and opened it up.
"Adult Liv left you guys something to remember her by?" Jiya asked.
"Something for all of us to remember her by," Rufus assured his girlfriend with a soft smile.
"It looks like just one video file," Wyatt said as he nodded toward the screen.
"Should we get the others or what?" Rufus asked.
"Play, man. We can play it again for the others later," Wyatt told him. "I don't think I can wait for everyone else."
"Okay, then here we go," Rufus said as he took a deep breath and double clicked the video.
"Hello, Time Team," Older Liv said with a familiar smirk. "Oh and Little Liv too, I guess." Older Liv waved and smiled at the mention of her younger self.
"Hi!" Little Liv suddenly shouted as she waved enthusiastically at the screen.
They all chuckled and Rufus paused the video to turn to face Little Liv. "Kid, you're gonna look like that one day."
The two year old squinted at the woman on the monitor and then looked at Rufus skeptically before laughing with her entire body. "Silly, Ruf!" she shouted. She turned her head toward Lucy and then pointed at Rufus. "Ruf funny!"
Lucy laughed too and then nodded her agreement. "Yes, he is."
"Funny looking, maybe," Wyatt threw in with a smirk.
Liv threw herself forward, nearly knocking Lucy off balance, and placed a quick kiss on the top of Rufus' head. "No, daddy, Ruf is pretty."
Jiya bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing and then spoke in a teasing tone. "Yes, Liv. Ruf is very pretty. The prettiest."
"I despise all of you," Rufus said flatly. "I really do."
He shook his head and pressed play. This time deciding not to stop it anymore.
He would let Liv say her piece as she intended.
"I walked through that bunker door expecting just another assignment. I didn't know what I would find. I didn't know it would bring me a family. I know only three of you remember me and that's okay. Because even if you don't remember what I meant to you, I remember what you all meant to me and I can tell you. Here and now. There's just a few minutes until Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt leave for 1981 and I thought I could use those minutes to get a few things off my chest. I'm not one for words. I think them, but it's not often that I say them. I'm told I get that from my dad."
"I want to start with the people who don't remember me. Mason, Flynn, Jiya. Denise. I hope younger me appreciates what each of you will bring into her life. Mason and Flynn were unexpected support. Mason with his dry wit and surprising wisdom. And Flynn with his - well, I still have my issues with Flynn but sometimes I catch glimpses of the man he used to be. The dad and husband that he must have been. And Flynn, if you're watching, you can be that man again. I know because I saw him one morning while he made me hangover eggs. He's still there. You just need to let yourself find him again."
"Jiya, my sister from another mister - your words by the way. Not mine. I would never say something so cheesy. You are fierce and you are strong and you never let me get away with anything. You were determined to be there for me, even when I tried to push you away. I had lots of foster sisters throughout my lifetime, Marri, but none as genuine as you. Never change. Keep being the stonewall of support that you are. I know that right now the only version of me you know is two years old and there's a lot of years between us now, but keep doing what you've been doing. Don't let me push anyone away as I get older. Stand in my way until I let you help. I need that."
"Denise. I don't have enough time to properly express what you mean to me or what you did for me. You practically raised me. You were the mom I never really had. Until recently, you were the only person to love me unconditionally. Even when I screwed up, you were there. You inspired me to go into law enforcement. My entire career was modeled after yours. DC Police, FBI, Homeland Security. You were the example I needed in a world that was unfair to me. I am happy that younger me will have Wyatt and Lucy, but she'll need you too. Your strength and your grace and your warmth will be more influential than you can ever know."
"Now we get to the three of you who I hope will never forget me. I'm crying. Why the hel-heck. I meant heck. Sorry, Little Liv. Why the heck am I crying? I don't do that. Of course, I guess I never had a reason to care this much before so maybe I do cry now. Rufus, I love you, man. You are brilliant and you are kind and you are hilarious. You have been underestimated your whole life but you never let that stop you. That deserves so much respect, my friend. More than I can express in this hastily thrown together video. But just know, you have my respect and admiration. You're going to be a great weird uncle. I am so excited for the younger me to get to grow up with you in her life. She can only be a better person for knowing you. I'm saying this from personal experience."
"Lucy, I could tell you had your doubts about who you could be to me. I want to make it clear. I have no doubts. You don't see it for some reason but you are already such a mom. You would sacrifice anything for someone else's happiness and that's what moms are supposed to do. You do that every day. Sometimes in big ways, but usually in little ones. You have taken care of other people your whole life. You're already prepared for this. I know you won't fail. You'll exceed at being a mom like you exceed at everything else, Professor. Trust yourself. Your instincts are good."
"And finally, Wyatt - dad - god that's weird. Our lives have been very similar, Logan. We grew up around people that hurt us. We acted out, we learned, we grew. But we were largely alone until a group of nerds decided they needed us. Life before them was one long cold lonely winter. Meeting you felt like seeing the sun for the first time. You know, that first week I was here I couldn't stop listening to the Beatles. I must have kept 'Here Comes the Sun' on loop that entire week. I couldn't get it out of my head. Now, I know why. My life was about to get a whole lot better because you were going to be in it. Even when displaced in time, there was a bond. Even while being older than you, there was still a lot you could teach me. You worried and you cared and you kept me safe. If you did that with me then you can do that with her. You were already a wonderful father before I even knew that's what you were. Little Liv is a lucky kid. She gets decades of you that I never had."
"I should probably wrap this up. But I just want to say, if she loves all of you the way I do then you've got a lot of happy times ahead of you. You are all her sun, her light. I'm not saying it will be easy, but I do know that she'll be a lot brighter and sleep a lot easier. Everything is going to be all right."
"So, Little Liv, here comes the sun. Enjoy it. Enjoy them. Because they are the best family you could ever ask for."
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear.
Here comes the sun.
Here comes the sun,
and I say, It's all right.
-"Here Comes the Sun", The Beatles