Lucy dragged herself out of bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. In a bleary haze, she could just make out the time shining from her bedside alarm clock: 2:37AM.
She was used to rude awakenings at all hours of the night. If she were being quite honest, her sleep schedule was completely off. Between the odd hours of the missions and the time travel, she counted herself lucky if she got 7 straight hours of sleep…and if it was in her own bed, well, that was just a miracle.
Most days and nights, she found herself dozing on a vacant chair, propped up against the LifeBoat in some distant point in time, or sharing a room in a strange hotel, in a year before she or her parents were ever even born, along with her two time travelling companions. Such was the state of her current situation…and it was catching up with her.
Just three days ago, she had spent a cold night sleeping underneath the stars, in a blanket of snow, next to a dying camp fire. She killed a man the next day. He was supposed to die, so it shouldn’t have bothered her that much, but she still couldn’t quite get over the fact that she, Lucy Preston, had shot Jesse James in the back.
The incessant buzzing of her phone had disturbed her sleep. One look at her screen told her all she needed to know. Mason Industries was calling and that meant another mission, another attempt to stop Garcia Flynn from changing history and disrupting the future.
Lucy’s entire body seemed to protest as she stumbled her way to the bathroom. Every muscle seemed to ache, her head pounded and she felt awful. Sleeping outside definitely didn’t agree with her. She felt more than the usual dose of tired – she was exhausted. Just standing at the sink, brushing her teeth seemed to zap her of any energy she had. I just need more sleep. She begrudgingly pulled on her jeans, threw on a sweater and splashed some water on her face. She ignored the weak feeling in her shaking legs as she quietly crept down the stairs and left her mother’s house.
When she walked into the launch bay, she was met with the familiar sights and sounds that accompanied the pre-jump process. Lights were flashing, alarms were sounding and the place was humming with activity. It made Lucy’s head hurt even more than it already did. Slowly, she made her way to the conference room where Agent Christopher sat with her team mates and friends, Wyatt Logan and Rufus Carlin.
“Glad you could join us, Ms. Preston.” Agent Christopher announced as Lucy crept into the room and slid into the nearest chair. She rubbed her fingers on her temples and then finally rested her head on her folded arms on the conference room table as she tried to listen to mission brief.
Rufus leaned over to her and whispered in her ear. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like actual crap, Lucy.”
“Thanks Rufus.” she muttered back.
Agent Christopher raised her eyebrows and cleared her throat. “Alright Lucy, Flynn has jumped to Paris, June 1919 - what have you got for us?”
Lucy lifted her head from the table, she kept her eyes closed…it felt like too much of a chore to open them. “That’s the Treaty of Versailles. It ended World War I, set up the League of Nations. Broke up a few colonial holdings.
“So, we’re thinking he wants to mess that up?” Wyatt asked looking at Lucy with growing concern.
“I don’t know…maybe.” Lucy couldn’t keep her head up anymore. She groaned as her head collapsed back onto her folded arms.
Agent Christopher gave Lucy an appraising glance, “Are you feeling alright?”
“Hmmm? Me? Oh, I’m fine. I’m just tired. If I get some coffee, I’ll be good to go.” Lucy muttered more to the table than to anyone else.
Rufus and Wyatt exchanged looks.
Agent Christopher walked over to Lucy and placed her hand on her head, “You are burning up. Do you have a fever?”
“No, I’m sure I’m fine.” She muttered again, but no one in the room was convinced.
“Lucy, no offense, but if you’re sick I don’t want to be sitting in a tiny compartment with you as we rip through the fabric of time and space. One, I don’t want whatever it is you have. And two, I’m not cleaning up the mess from whatever it is you have. As the pilot, the LifeBoat may be my responsibility, but I have my limits. I don’t do vomit…or any other bodily fluids that generally come about as a result of” he gestured to Lucy’s slumping figure “whatever it is you’ve got.”
Lucy sighed, “I am perfectly capable of doing this jump. It’s the Treaty of Versailles. I mean, granted that treaty basically laid the ground work for WWII, but if Flynn messes it up who knows what could happen? It could be so much worse. Besides, it’s Paris. How often do we get to go to Paris?”
Wyatt smirked to himself. Lucy couldn’t even lift her head off the table for more than a few seconds, but here she was trying to convince them all that she could take on Flynn and his gang of toughs to save the end of World War I….and get a chance to go to Paris. “Lucy,” he chuckled “look at yourself. I don’t even know how you made it here.”
Lucy immediately sat up in defiance, grimacing slightly as she did so, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I. feel. fine.”
“Hmmmm…we’ll see about that” Agent Christopher said skeptically as she collected the files scattered around the conference room table.
One trip to the medical bay later and Lucy was sitting in the hall listening to the on-call doctor relay her condition to Agent Christopher.
“She’s running a fever of 103. Her exhaustion and the muscle aches she’s complaining of make me suspect the flu. She absolutely shouldn’t be traveling under such conditions. Particularly to that time in history – the Spanish flu had just decimated the population. You don’t need to introduce a new flu strain to an already compromised populace”
“They can’t go without me” Lucy complained. “It’s 1919. It’s Paris. Neither one of them speak French. Just give me some medicine and I’m sure I’ll be fine”
Agent Christopher gave her motherly smirk, “We’ve got that covered. We have a replacement coming in for you as we speak. Get some rest, Ms. Preston.” Lucy started to object. “That’s an order.” Denise Christopher gave her one lingering and meaningful glare, turned on her heel and walked away.
Wyatt, already changed into his era-appropriate attire, met Lucy as she was making her way down the hall from the medical wing. “What’s the diagnosis?”
“I’m benched.” Lucy said with a defeated scowl, her shoulders slumping down as she leaned against the wall in the corridor.
Wyatt gave her a sympathetic frown as he felt her head with the back of his hand. “You are burning up…” Lucy rolled her eyes. “Look, we’ll be fine. We’ve got Bam Bam coming along and he speaks some French…though I’m pretty sure he just uses it to pick up women.” He gave her a good-natured smirk and a wink.
Lucy gaped at him sardonically. “Not helping, Wyatt. What if something goes wrong? What if you get there and something is supposed to happen and it doesn’t because I’m not there to tell you what’s supposed to happen?”
Wyatt presented her with a stapled stack of papers. “It’s all right here. I just finished a crash course on the Treaty of Versailles, and I’m taking this with me so it’ll be like I have you in my back pocket.”
“I would hope that I’m more useful than a Wikipedia print-out.” Lucy said with an exasperated sigh. “Doesn’t say much for my contribution to the team if you can get by with just a few spark notes.”
Wyatt laughed at her, “Lucy, do you honestly think any one of us can do what you do? You know this stuff -- we don’t.” He shook the notes at her. “How awkward do you think it’s going to be when I’ve gotta pull these things out to make sure Louis XVI signs the treaty and ends World War II?”
Lucy shot him a panicked look only to see that Wyatt was flashing her a devilish grin. “That’s not funny” she said with a repressed smile. “This is a very important peace agreement, it –“
Wyatt put his hand on her shoulder, “Hey, I’ve got this, okay? I promise, I will do my best not to screw up history too much. You just get better so I don’t have to take cheat sheets with me any more than I have to, okay?”
She nodded at him. “C’mon Professor, you need to get home and get some rest – how about I call you a taxi so you don’t have to drive?”
Lucy shook her head, “No, it’s fine. I haven’t taken the pills they gave me yet and there won’t be any traffic this time of night…I’ll be home in no time.”
Wyatt gave her an appraising look. “You sure? Because Rufus is right, you look like actual crap.”
She hit him in the arm as he escaped from her chuckling as he went, down the hall, running headlong into Dave Baumgardner. “Hey Bam Bam! On a mission together, just like old times, right?” The two soldiers shook hands and slapped each other on the back.
Lucy was slowly making her way towards the exit, glancing over her shoulder when Wyatt called her over. “Hey Lucy, c’mere.” She turned and approached them slowly. “This is Dave Baumgardner.” she raised her eyebrows and nodded at him pleasantly. “Bam Bam, this is Lucy. She is our resident historian, a genius, really.” Lucy gave Wyatt a withering look. Wyatt cleared his throat. “She’s um…not feeling well today…and she since she’s the only one of us that speaks French, you’ve been called in to make sure we don’t run into any problems.”
“Nice to meet you, ma’am” Bam Bam said as he shook her hand. Wyatt’s eyes lit up in amusement as he saw the little flicker of annoyance in Lucy’s face at being addressed in such a way.
Bam Bam didn’t notice any irritation, because he was too busy turning on the charm. He flashed her a dashing grin and reached out for her hand. “Or should I say, Ravi de vous rencontrer?” He brought her hand to his lips. “I must say, you’re much prettier than I thought you’d be, being the historian and all – definitely not the balding, mustached history teacher I had in school.”
Lucy’s eyes widened.
And so did Wyatt’s.
She cleared her throat. “Yes, well, it’s Lucy and I’m glad I could break up that stereotype for you - not all historians are men.”
Wyatt smirked. That got him.
Bam Bam smiled at her, “I’m well aware of that, Lucy. Mrs. Jonas was MOST definitely not a man, but she looked nothing like you.”
Lucy shook her head with a small grin, clearly a little flustered. “Um…well, Wyatt’s told us a lot about you – when was that, the Alamo mission?” Wyatt nodded, giving Bam Bam a sidelong glance. “He said we’d like you more than him….and since he just told me I look like actual crap, I’d say right now I agree with him.” She rolled her eyes over towards Wyatt who was suddenly very interested in his shoes.
“Well not to contradict my good buddy Wyatt here, Lucy, but he really is the best among us. You’re quite lucky to have him on your team.” He slapped Wyatt on the arm.
“Yes, we are.” Lucy agreed with a smirk.
Wyatt eyes darted up and looked at Lucy as he gave her a soft smile.
Agent Christopher’s voice barked at them from the end of the hall. “C’mon gentleman we don’t have all day!” The two soldiers snapped to attention, looking towards the Homeland Security agent. She was glaring at them with her hands of her hips. “And Lucy, I thought you’d be on your way home by now? Don’t you think you need to get some rest?” Lucy shrugged her shoulders at them and turned to go once more.
Wyatt grabbed her elbow before she once again headed for the exit, “Get better.” His face was suddenly serious. “It’s not going to be the same out there without you.”
Lucy nodded and gave him a small smirk, “Just try not to start Armageddon.”
Wyatt grinned at her once again and slapped Bam Bam on the back, walking him down the hall towards the launch bay. “It was nice to meet you, Lucy!” Bam Bam called over his shoulder giving her a wave as he did so.
Lucy pushed open the exit door and stepped into the cold, dark morning. It felt strange to be left behind while her team went back in time without her. They had never gone on a mission without one another and she couldn’t help but feel a little lonely without them. They were going to Paris and she was going to be at home, lying in bed, high on a cocktail of flu medicine and vitamin C. Dang it. Of all the times to be sick, it had to be now. She threw her head back and cursed her bad luck. She thought of all the things they would see without her, all the history she would miss seeing first-hand, she thought of the possibilities that could happen between two people in the City of Lights…
Nope. She didn’t need to be thinking about that. Wyatt was dead set of getting his wife back. That kiss in Arkansas meant nothing. He was just playing a role. He said so. Jessica was his lightning bolt – she was the only one for him. Which meant that there was no room for her. Besides, she had a sort of fiancé, didn’t she? Noah was a nice guy, he seemed to really care about her…right? They had a date the other night that was…not as awkward as it could have been. Ugh. No. She wasn’t going to do this to herself. Even if things didn’t work out with Noah, Wyatt was her friend and co-worker. That was it. He had said it himself, the only one in the entire world for him was the wife he had lost five years ago.
As Lucy sat in her car preparing to leave Mason Industries, she wondered vaguely if Wyatt would help Bam Bam with his seat belt in the LifeBoat.