“I’m home!” Maria called out as she came into her home and closed the door. She placed her handbag on the coat stand by the door and placed her craft bag on the staircase to take up to her craft room later.
She smiled as Roko and Kata raced in from the back of the house to greet her. “Hello my beautiful babies, hello. Yes, Mama’s home. Have you been good to your Tata?” She asked the over-exuberant Roko and Kata as she rubbed them down and earned herself some puppy kissed.
“Asher?” she called out.
“In the kitchen!” Asher replied, she gave the dogs one last pat down before she walked down the hallway to the kitchen.
“You wouldn’t believe what Marina said about her daughter in law-“ Maria stopped as she saw they had guest and not just any guests. It was her son and a beautiful young woman, Maria almost couldn’t believe it. “Garcia” she breathed, she watched as her son stand by the dining table. Tears filled her eyes as she couldn’t believe her was here. He was finally home.
“Hi Mama.” He said, he looked as overcome as she felt though just like his father he kept his emotions in better control than her.
“Oh my baby boy.” She said, she wrapped him up in her arms and held him. She let the tears fall down her face as it felt so good to have him back in her arms. Garcia returned the embrace. They held each other for a long moment as it had been years before she pulled back and laughed as she wiped the tears from her face. She reached up and cupped his face. “Let me look at you.” She said, Garcia smiled as he obliged her.
The first thing she noticed was how he much he looked like his father and how much he’d aged. He was starting to go grew at the temples, he had more worried lines than before. There was an exhaustion in his features but also happiness and relief. She moved her hands to his shoulders and upper arms, still believing this to be a mirage.
“You look well, are you?” Maria asked him, Garcia nodded before his face crumpled in grief and remorse for being away so long.
“I’m so sorry, Mama.” He said, she shook her head. The apology was sincere but she didn’t need it. She loved her son and she’d gotten past him disappearing into the ether. She had been angry, she had been bitter and sad, she had grieved and then a sense of peace washed through her as knew in her heart that he would come back.
“You don’t need to say you’re sorry. I’m just glad you’re back.” She told him, she cupped his face again and he leaned down so she could press a kiss to his forehead and cheeks. “We missed you dearly. Welcome home.” She told him, she brushed away the tears that fell from Garcia’s eyes before she pulled him into another hug. “I love you.” She whispered.
“I love you too.” Garcia whispered back. Maria felt herself on the verge of fresh tears. She held onto Garcia for a long moment before she let him go.
“Ok, enough. If we keep this up, I’ll be too overwrought to sleep.” She said as they pulled apart. She smiled wiped at her face, Garcia laughed as she he did the same. She looked to their actual guest. A beautiful brunette with expressive brown eyes and a gorgeous smile. She seemed just as overcome by the reunion as Maria felt.
“Mama, this is Lucy Preston. Lucy; my mother, Maria.” Garcia said making the introductions.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Lucy said as she rose from her chair and extended out a hand to her. Maria shook her head, Lucy frowned but she soon understood as Maria pulled her into a hug.
Lucy gave a surprised laugh and hugged her back. The two broke apart after a short moment. Maria smiled at her, she cupped Lucy's face in a motherly gesture. It was probably too much but Maria didn't care as Lucy brought her son home, that made her family.
“You too, I assume I have you to thank for getting my son back to me?” Maria asked her as she dropped her hands away from Lucy.
“Yes.” Garcia said.
“No, I just nudged him a little.” Lucy said in a self deprecating manner. Maria smiled.
“I don’t care if you lost a shoe up his ass to get him here. I’m just so happy to have him home.” Maria said, Lucy and Asher laughed while Garcia groaned as Maria hugged him again.
“Mama.” Garcia complained, his complain was more about her comment than the hug as he enjoyed his mother’s embrace. Her hugs were the best as they soothed pain, deflated anger and made one feel better for just a moment when everything was hell. But they were also joyous like this one, it was amazing how one physical gesture could imbue so much positivity.
“What? It’s been over 5 years.” Maria said jokingly as she released him and walked around the table to her husband. She gave him a quick couple of kisses ‘hello’ before she sat next to him at the table. “So, how long have you been back? Where have you been? When’s the baby due?” Maria asked casually.
“How did you know?” Lucy blurted in shock.
“You just told me.” Maria said with an evil grin, she gave a chuckle as Lucy looked to Garcia who rubbed a hand down his face in embarrassment.
His mother always knew how to get a person to confess to a secret quickly. It looked like not too much had changed with her. Though she did smile more, there were a twinkle in her eyes that he’d only ever seen in 1969. She had more laughing lines that enriched her face and she seemed more exuberant. She was definitely cheekier.
“Congratulations.” Asher said.
“Thank you, the baby is due in 7 months’ time. We just hadn’t gotten around to telling anyone as we were waiting.” Garcia said, his mother had her moments.
“Well, I’ve been waiting over 5 years for you to come home. I know you only bring home women who are special.” Maria said before she took a sip of tea from her husband’s cup.
“So, I’ve heard.” Lucy said with a light blush on her cheeks.
“What did Marina say?” Asher asked Maria, bringing the conversation back to what Maria had been saying before she realised who was home. Maria waved a dismissive hand.
“Doesn’t matter, I want to know all about how Lucy and Garcia met.” Maria said with a smile as she wanted know as much as she could of the last five years she’d missed.
A few hours later after a relaxing dinner and dessert, Lucy and Garcia retired to his childhood bedroom. Garcia had tried to beg out of staying in his family home, he didn’t want to intrude and he also didn’t know how Lucy was coping with it. She seemed happy as can be but frankly, he was unsettled. He was home but everything was just slightly off because of Gabriel’s existence in his history. It wasn’t bad nor was it 'better' if one could quantify such a value to a life he didn't have memories for. It was different, he desperately wanted to fit in with them.
“Your room so-“ Lucy drawled unable to find the right adjective.
“Navy blue?” he offered as the walls were navy blue with cream trims and ceiling with dark mahogany floorboards. He held the sheets and towels his mother had given him. Maria and Asher reiterated that their bedroom was on the far side of the house and couldn’t hear a thing. Just in case they were wondering.
“I thought burgundy all the way with cowboy figurines and posters.” Lucy said with a smile.
“I got the cowboy paraphernalia and my comics stashed in my closet." He opened his wardrobe and smiled at the Tex Willer poster still tacked to the inside of the door. "When I was a teenager, I wanted a more adult room.” Garcia said, he was glad the room remained the same. He idly wondered if his porn magazines were still where he stashed them when he was a teenager or if they had been discovered. But brushed it away the thought as he could find out another time.
“Because your Mom treats you like her beautiful baby boy?” Lucy asked teasingly as she took the bed sheets from him and moved to get the bed made up.
“Yes, it wasn’t until Lorena and I had Iris that she stopped coddling me like a child but she still has her moments.” Flynn said with a soft smile as certain behaviours his mother had that drove him nuts in his youth, he now cherished as good memories. “She happier than I remember.” He added.
“You saved Gabriel.” Lucy said as they went about getting the bed made up.
“I did, it wasn’t like my childhood was terrible. I had a great childhood but there were times she would seem utterly bereft. Certain days of the year, she’d withdraw into herself. Dad would always distract me, he would tell me Happiness was a transient state. It comes and goes. Sometimes Mama needed time to herself. I thought it was normal until I learned the truth and I understood or I thought I did. But I didn't understand the depth or the mark it left until Iris was taken from me, .” Garcia said, he knew he had told Lucy before but he couldn’t help but repeat himself as the memories of his youth played through his mind.
“Losing a loved one is never easy. Losing a child-“
“Is an unimaginable pain.” Garcia finished for her, Lucy nodded as they both tucked in the bed sheets and pulled the blanket and quilts back onto the bed.
“You spared her from that. It was and is a good thing that you did for her.” Lucy said softly.
“I know, I’m glad I did it. I would do it again.” He told her, she crawled over the bed to his side and kneeled on the mattress in front of him. The bed adding height to her. She smoothed her hands up his chest and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Look, I know it bothers you that you don’t have the memories but memories or not; your family loves you. They are so happy to have you back, you are their son.” She told him, her hands gently massaged his neck and shoulders. Garcia sighed and nodded as he snaked his arms around her and held her close. He pressed a kiss to the side of her neck.
Lucy tightened her arms and held him tight, sinking in the moment of pure comfort. She knew what it was like to walking into one’s life and feel like a stranger.
Luckily for Garcia, he only had a few changes but nothing major like a fiancée who popped out of nowhere. Or a dark family legacy of an evil time travel cult. She pushed away her negative thoughts as she didn’t want to spiral. She wanted to enjoy their fresh start. While she had lost her family, she had gained a new one with Garcia and his family.
“I think your parents approve of me.” Lucy said lightening the conversation. Garcia chuckled as he pulled back and smiled at her.
“They love you.” Garcia told her, Lucy smiled as she liked that she was welcomed into the fold so easily. Garcia's parents were warm, kind and intelligent people. They were so well read that they could hold a discussion on nearly any topic. They were happy to discuss any topic.
“Your mother is kind of a conspiracy theorist and so close to truth.” Lucy whispered to him as Maria after learning Lucy was an Author and Historian; had regaled them with her theories of time travellers and U.F.O.s. It all seemed to stem from Gabriel being saved by a stranger who looked remarkably like Asher and Garcia claimed to know her and a possible soviet spy masquerading as an F.B.I. Agent. Maria laughed off her theories as fun mental exercises but it was clear her life had been changed in a monumental way that day.
“Yes, she is but we can’t ever tell her the truth.” Garcia reminded her, Lucy nodded.
“No argument there.” She said before she kissed him slow, warm and gentle. When it ended, she rested her forehead against his, felt his breath on her lips, felt the emotional connection they shared. “You want the shower first?” she asked.
“You go.” He said, before they kissed again.
A couple hours later, Garcia laid wide awake waiting for Lucy’s snores to lull him to sleep but no such luck. His mind was just too active to let him rest. He looked over at Lucy and tried not to laugh as she did a weird choking noise before a long snore. He knew she wasn't going to wake up for a long while.
He carefully slipped out of bed and pulled on his sweats and a t-shirt before he quietly left his room. He headed downstairs for a glass of water and to snoop a little. He wanted to see how much had really changed besides what his parents told him. He was glad Lucy had brought him home, he was glad she was able to naturally unlocked a part of past he couldn’t subtly access.
He slowly walked past the photos in the hallway; taking in the happiness and joy. He still felt joy as he reminisced over his childhood. Yes, Maria had grieved Gabriel’s death in the past timeline but she never once made Garcia feel unloved. Never once did Garcia feel like a disappointment or a replacement for Gabriel. She was a good mother.
He kept walking until he came to the kitchen and found the lights on and his mother pottering around the kitchen. It looked like she was making something, he had no idea what.
“Mama?” he asked, Maria turned around and smiled. “Everything ok?” he asked her, he moved into the kitchen and embraced her again. Just because he could.
“Yes, when you get to my age, sleep eludes you.” She said, she pulled away and went back to her mess. “I’m making bread. Do you want to help?” she asked.
“Don’t you have a bread maker?” he asked.
“It doesn’t do the job properly.” She told him, Garcia smiled at her clear stubbornness as the bread maker was probably perfect at its job. But he nodded as he washed his hands in the sink and dried them before standing next to her. “How are you? I mean really, how are you?” she asked after she told him what to do in regards to making the bread.
“I’m good. Thank you for everything you did my absence. The funeral and everything.” He said sincerely.
“It’s what mothers do. You still have your house, we had it cleaned and put sheets over the furniture and packed away mementos for safe keeping. You should know the police told us that they believed you killed Lorena and Iris. But your father and I didn’t, not for one second. Did you find out who did?” she asked him softly as she worked beside him at the bench.
“Yes, they got what they deserved. My name is clear and I’m not in any trouble.” He promised her, she looked up with him and smiled in a way that was so reminiscent of 1969. The conversation they shared was so clear in his mind when she had said she’d do the same as he. Sure, she had been speaking hypothetically but it meant a lot in that moment just as it did now.
“Good.” She said firmly, “Now, you and Lucy are together.” She said not so subtly directing the conversation.
“Yes.” Garcia replied.
“Baby on the way.” Maria added.
“Yes, I didn’t think I’d ever get a second chance.” Garcia admitted, he felt grief slice through him as he thought of Lorena and Iris. The grief had faded to the background when he accepted their fate was something he couldn’t change but there were moments when it cropped up.
He highly doubted he would ever be free of it. That was ok, because he still carried a lot of good memories and happiness from that time of his life. He had a future to look forward to with Lucy, his life was not over.
“You look happy. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly.” Maria confessed.
“Me either.” Garcia agreed.
“But I think it’s a good thing, we all deserve to be happy. I can’t wait for another baby in the family and Lucy for a daughter in law.” Maria said with a smile. Not so subtly pushing her own agenda of making the Flynn family grow.
“Subtle, Mama.” Garcia said dryly.
“Do you know where you’ll settle?” Maria asked not so innocently.
“Not in this house.” Garcia assured her, Maria laughed as she bumped shoulders with him. Garcia smile enjoying the levity of the moment and just bonding with her.
“I don’t see why not, there’s plenty of space.” Maria teased.