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The Road Less Traveled

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Despite peer pressure in school, Wyatt Logan has never smoked a cigarette. He takes his eyes off of the crowd of passengers boarding the Titanic on the deck below, and stares at the pack of cigarettes in his hand. He huffs and raises his brow, thinking to himself: If Leo DiCaprio could look cool sucking on these things, I’ll look cool too.

Wyatt places a cigarette in his mouth, takes a pack of matches from his pocket, and tries six times to light the cigarette before it takes. He puffs out his chest as he inhales the nicotine, and immediately he bends over at the waist, coughing.

“Fuck that,” he says to himself as he throws the cigarette onto the wooden deck, squashing it with his foot.

He rolls his eyes at a couple of well-dressed male passengers who are looking at him as if he’s committed a great offence by saying the F word in their presence. He ignores them, turning his attention back to the stern of the ship where the last of the third class passengers are boarding the Titanic here in Cherbourg.

He scans the crowd searching for Garcia Flynn, or anyone from Flynn’s team – not that Wyatt is familiar with his team in the alternate 2017, but still. He has to at least look like he knows what he’s doing. Besides – he glances to his left at Emma, feeling better that neither one of them knows what’s happened in 2017 since they returned from 2003.

All he’s figured out though is that in their new reality, Rittenhouse actually views him better than the Rittenhouse from his original timeline. Apparently, he’s led missions, and wasn’t considered a screw up after failing to kill Garcia Flynn back in 2014. And Emma… he smirks, she’s lost everyone that supported her in her plan to take over Rittenhouse in their own timeline, and boy is she pissed about that.

His eyes scan the crowd.

Everyone looks so poor compared to the first and second class passengers he’s already encountered on this ship. He finds it hard to believe that Flynn and his team would lower themselves to such a low standard.

And then he sees her.

Lucy Preston.

He scans the people closest to Lucy.

He doesn’t see Garcia Flynn.

Lucy is alone.

Usually, she’s beautiful, but the ugly brown dress and plain, high-collared blouse she’s wearing really is not very flattering. She has a plain black bag slung over her shoulder. And her hair is braided, resting over her shoulder. Strands of loose hair blow in the wind around her.

Wyatt looks at her and wishes she had decided to board this ship as a first class passenger. She’d probably be wearing something much more flattering to her. Something that would make her stand out as the most beautiful woman on this ship. Instead, Wyatt’s face scrunches, she looks so plain.

Not that a plain girl is plain in bed, in the dark, but still. He expected class from Lucy Preston.

Wyatt sighs.

If Lucy is here, that means Garcia Flynn must be close by.

Before leaving 2017, Carol Preston gave him orders to kill Flynn if he showed up on this mission. He was also instructed to bring back Lucy if it’s true that she returned from 2003 with Flynn, and exists again in the timeline where she died.

Wyatt glances over at Emma.

Her eyes are narrowed, and her brow furrowed, as she stares at Lucy.

They have orders to bring Lucy back. And Wyatt hates that Lucy will be handed over to some guy named Byron Rittenhouse in the early 1700s to have his child. But he has to be ok with it because what happens to Lucy in 1725 is meant to be. He just wishes that he had a chance to be with her first. And if it weren’t for that damn Garcia Flynn in Hollywood in 1941, he might have had a real shot at getting her into bed.

What the Hell does Lucy see in Flynn anyway? He’s a tall brute, who is classified as a terrorist. He’s not even one-hundred percent American. Not exactly Lucy’s type. Wyatt’s pretty sure that her type is a man, not so tall, but taller than her, who was accepted into Delta Force. A man, like himself, that can speak an impressive four foreign languages. A guy, like himself, who likes cars, and would support her decision to stay at home to raise his kids, to be a housewife, once they were married.

A man who wanted to explore ‘possibilities’ with her before all Hell broke loose and Rittenhouse kidnapped her for their own selfish reasons. He had been so close to making Lucy Preston his.

Stupid Rittenhouse.

He coughs again, his lungs still irritated from the cigarette smoke he inhaled.

Wyatt approaches Emma, and leans forward on the rail next to her.

She barely glances at him, then says, “Cough up a lung?”

“Leo made it look easy.”

Emma snort-laughs, then turns to face him. “You crush on Leo when that movie came out?”

“No.”

“Mmhmm,” Emma smirks. “The last of the passengers have boarded, and no sign of Flynn or Lucy, so I guess that means that they’re either not here – which I doubt, or that they boarded at Southampton, or will board tomorrow at Queenstown.”

Wyatt is quiet. He knows that he saw Emma staring at Lucy. There’s no way she didn’t see her. What the fuck does this mean? Is she hiding something from him? Or is she not one-hundred percent on board with Rittenhouse’s plans to bring Lucy to them?

Whatever the reason for Emma not acknowledging Lucy’s presence on the ship, Wyatt decides to keep his mouth shut. He could use this against her to help boost his own status in Rittenhouse when they get back. Maybe use it somehow to convince Carol that after Byron is finished with Lucy, that he could marry her and help continue the family lineage in the present day.

“Darling,” Wyatt starts, but immediately regrets his choice of word when Emma glares at him. “Anyway, we should get back to our stateroom.”

Emma glances once more at the newly boarded passengers, giving one last look at Lucy before turning her back and making her way towards the door which takes them to the second class B Deck promenade.

“All I have to say is how thankful I am that we have second class tickets,” Emma says as she holds the door open for Wyatt.

“I think we should’ve been in first class.”

Emma rolls her eyes. The second class cabin bunk beds are the only reason why she’s thankful they obtained second class tickets. If she didn’t have to play house with Wyatt for the next few days, she too would have preferred to hold a first class ticket. It terrified her; the way Wyatt was going on about how they’d have to share a bed since they are posing as a married couple.

After what seems like a lifetime of listening to Wyatt complain about second class accommodations, they finally make it back to their room.

Emma looks around the cabin, admiring the quality of its oak paneling which has been painted white. There’s a dressing table with a washbasin and mirror. She turns her back to Wyatt and looks at her reflection in the mirror.

She looks tired.

Her own internal battle with Rittenhouse is wearing on her.

In her original timeline, she had been conspiring with Denise Christopher to overthrow the Table of Elders, to take over the organization. Emma looks at Wyatt from the reflection in the mirror. Even he had been in-the-know about her hope to attempt a coup. His loyalties can’t be trusted. He’s too much of a suck-up to be trusted. Unlike herself, he wouldn’t betray Rittenhouse.

“So… LaRoche? He’s a black man with a white wife, right?” Wyatt asks.

“Yes.”

“I guess we’ll have to hunt him down in third class tomorrow then, huh?”

“No, actually, we won’t.”

“What?” Wyatt smirks. “Planning on defying Rittenhouse’s orders?”

“No,” she answers. “He and his family actually hold second class tickets.”

“How the Hell does a black man, in 1912, afford that?”

“He actually held first class tickets on another ocean liner, The France, but they wouldn’t allow his children to dine with him and his wife, so they exchanged their first class tickets on that ship for second class tickets on the Titanic.”

Wyatt looks dumbfounded. “Did he die when this ship sinks?”

“He does.”

“That sucks. He should’ve kept that first class ticket on that other ship, huh?”

Emma takes a deep breath. She has no interest in having more conversation with Wyatt than is required. She changes the subject. “And… he’s not exactly our mission. He’s attached to it, but he’s not a target.”

“Explain.” Wyatt crosses his arms and leans against the wall.

“Julian Charvet is The Lion in 1912. He holds that position until…” Emma pauses, unsure of how to say this. “… until Garcia Flynn kills him in 1927 – at least that’s what happened in our timeline. I’m not sure if the Flynn of the alternate timeline did the same.”

“You didn’t find that out?” Wyatt asks, judging her.

“Did you?” Emma retorts. “Anyway, Charvet was a friend of LaRoche and asked him to carry classified documents with him to New York to deliver to Rittenhouse.”

“What was in the documents?”

“That’s classified,” Emma smirks.

-----

It’s past eight o’clock in the evening by the time the loading process has been completed at Cherbourg. The stars twinkle in the night sky above as Lucy makes her way across the deck towards the third class entrance. She stares up at the four funnels towering above the ship. They’re so much taller than she imagined. She loses her balance and reaches out to hold onto the wooden railing to keep from falling.

A man places his hand on her back.

“Do you need help?” He asks her with a heavy Slavic accent.

Lucy turns around, a smile crossing her face hearing a familiar Croatian accent. This man isn’t Garcia – she wouldn’t be so lucky to find him this quickly. Instead, she looks up at a man who looks to be in his thirties. He has dark hair and a moustache.

“Ne. Ne trebam pomoć,” Lucy tells him with her very thick American accent, that she doesn’t need help. She tries to tell him she has no other luggage, “Ja nemam…” she gestures to the bag on her shoulder. She doesn’t know the word for ‘luggage.’ She switches to English. “I’m sorry, my Croatian isn’t very good.”

“No problem, ma’am,” he smiles at her. “You have no baggages?”

“I don’t.”

“Prtljage,” he says with a smile.

“I’m sorry?”

“It means baggages in Croatian.”

Lucy smiles and nods her head. She tries her best to repeat the word, but it’s too much of a tongue twister for her to conquer right now, “Purt-la-geh?”

“Is close enough,” he laughs. “Zovem se Jozef Draženović. A Vi?”

“I’m Lucy…” She pauses, uncertain she should be giving her real name. “Lucy Flynn,” she tells him, extending her hand out to shake his. She notices a ring on his finger, and asks, “Are you traveling alone?”

“Yes. My wife Jaga and moja djeca, sorry, my children are home in Hrastelnica.”

“How many children do you have?” Lucy asks, her heart aching, knowing that the chances of this man’s survival is slim.

“Three,” a smile lights up his face. “Miko, Ljubica, and Kate.”

“Kate’s a Croatian name?”

“No. Has different mother than my wife.”

Lucy nods her head and doesn’t pry any further as it wouldn’t be proper.

“Flynn is Irish name? How do you know little Croatian?”

“My husband is Croatian.”

“With Irish name?” He chuckles, unsure if he believes her. He glances down and sees no ring on her finger, but he doesn’t mention it.

“Yeah…” Lucy nods her head. “I actually don’t know how that happened.”

Jozef steps aside and gestures to Lucy to enter through a doorway ahead of them. He follows after, carrying with him his own single bag of luggage.

Lucy stops and looks around her. There’s an air of excitement among the third class passengers to be aboard this luxurious ship despite the onslaught of confusion as they try to figure out where their cabins are located.

Lucy smiles up at Jozef and points towards the stern of the ship. “Single ladies and families are this way. I think you’ll find your accommodations in the opposite direction,” Lucy tells him.

“Thank you… hvala. I bilo je lijepo razgovarati s vam, Lucy,” Jozef bows at the waist, telling Lucy that it has been nice conversing with her.

“Yes, it was,” she returns his smile with a nod then watches as he walks away from her.

She repeats his name over and over in her head: Jozef Draženović. Wanting to remember his name so she can look him up when she returns to 2017.

She knows his chances of survival are practically non-existent since single men, or men traveling alone, occupy rooms at the bow of the ship where the iceberg makes impact, and the rooms are among the first compartments of the ship to flood with water. Almost all of the men in that area will die because they won’t have time after the collision to escape. And those who do manage to escape were still doomed as the staircases they could have used to reach the upper decks were located quite a distance from their third class cabins.

A tear falls down Lucy’s cheek and she quickly wipes it away.

She forces herself to smile as she excuses her way through groups of passengers trying to figure out where to go. With each foreign word she hears, and with each sound of laughter from a child, she finds it harder to keep her emotions intact. So many of the people around her will perish four nights from now.

She stops and rests her hand against the white wall of the corridor.

She takes a deep breath.

Then she closes her eyes to say a prayer for those who will be lost when the Titanic sinks to the ocean floor.

What little she’s had to eat in the past several hours now threatens to come up. She’s going to be sick, but doesn’t know where the third class toilets are. She squeezes her eyes shut. She takes deep breaths: in through her nose and slowly exhaling through her mouth.

She opens her eyes and looks at the ticket in her hand, then continues making her way back towards the stern of the ship, looking for her room. She finds it and sees that she’ll be boarding with three other women, none of whom seem to speak or understand English. She figures this is for the best since she doesn’t think she’d be able to handle the emotional distress that would go hand-in-hand with making friends while on this ship.

Lucy exchanges polite smiles with her bunkmates and selects one of the lower bunks for herself. The bunk above her is too low for her to sit, so she lays down, resting her hands atop her abdomen. She wonders if she would be perceived as odd if she got up, asked for help untying her corset, and went to bed. This thing is incredibly uncomfortable to wear, and Maria didn’t even tie the laces as tight as women do in 1912.

She sighs.

If she’s thankful for anything about this mission, it’s that she has memorized the timeline of events of the Titanic disaster. She knows the approximate times when significant events happen.

11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14th, the ship hits the iceberg.

She knows that they can’t be aboard the ship as they near 2 A.M. because their chances of making it safely onto a lifeboat will have diminished, and they’d likely end up in the freezing water.

Unless Rittenhouse finds a way to alter the manner in which this ship sinks, its timeline is the one historical constant she can rely on to save herself, Garcia, and Karl.

She’s also thankful that Rittenhouse has no clue that she’s here, and that at least for tonight she should be able to rest – as comfortably as possible – in this bed.

One of the women approaches her and says something to her in a foreign language, “Vrei să mănânci?” She motions with her hands as if she’s eating. The young woman raises her eyebrows to indicate she’s trying to ask Lucy if she would like to go with her and the others to see if there’s anything to eat.

Lucy rises on her elbows; she looks at the woman.

“English?” Lucy asks.

The woman shakes her head, “Nu engleză.”

Lucy sits up. She mimes eating with her hands, and nods her head. She stands and decides to join her bunkmates in the search for food.

The four of them stick close together as they hurry through the passengers still crowding the corridors of the ship. She recalls that the third class general room is located a couple decks above the cabins at the stern of the ship, and the third class dining saloon is located somewhere in the middle of the ship. And even if they find it, she has no idea if they are still serving dinner as it’s going on nine o’clock at night, and it might be too late for a proper meal.

Eventually, they find themselves in the general room.

A man sits at the piano, and is playing – and singing – his rendition of John McCormack’s song I'm Falling in Love with Someone.

I’ve a very strange feeling I’ve ne’er felt before,
It’s a kind of grind of depression.
My heart’s acting strangely, it feels rather sore,
At least, it gives me that impression.

Lucy smiles and sits in the corner of one of the wooden benches. She closes her eyes and absorbs the energy which surrounds her.

The man singing seems to have a sense of humor, and changes the beat of the music from a soft, slow melancholy tempo to a humorous, upbeat rendition of the song.

My pulses beat madly without any cause,
Believe me, I’m telling you truly.
I’m gay without pause, then sad without cause,
My spirits are truly unruly.

The crowd which has gathered in the room applauds the ingenuity of altering one of McCormack’s most famous songs. Even Lucy can’t help but tap her feet to the music with a smile on her face.

For I’m falling in love with someone, some one girl.
I’m falling in love with someone head a-whirl,
Yes, I’m falling in love with someone plain to see,
I’m sure I could love someone madly,
If someone would only love me.

The man glides his hands from one end of the piano to the other to end the song. The room erupts in applause. He stands and bows, as one of his friends pushes him aside. Playing along, he pretends as if he’s about to fall down as his friend starts banging on the piano keys, giving intro to a popular ragtime tune that it seems only a few in the room recognize.

Lucy laughs at the show the two men are putting on to entertain their fellow third class passengers.

Couples in the room come together and start dancing to the music.

Lucy wishes that Garcia were here with her now as she reflects on the way he seemed to know how to dance when he sang Cheek to Cheek with her in 1941.

She closes her eyes and tries to remember how it felt to have Garcia’s hand on her lower back, his other hand in hers, and dance with her as he sang in front of a room full of Hollywood elites, but really, he was singing to her alone.

Heaven… I’m in heaven… and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak…

Lucy sighs.

That night in Hollywood – as flawed as it wound up being – was the closest the two of them have come to going out on a date. He once mentioned the idea of taking the time machine so he could take her to see Anna Pavlova dance, but the way things are going… she’s certain a ‘normal’ date night is far from happening anytime soon. But maybe if they can defeat Rittenhouse, and find a way to live normal lives again, maybe they can go out for dinner and a movie.

She’d do anything right now to be able to walk in downtown San Francisco and eat pizza at her favourite family-owned hole-in-the-wall pizzeria. She wants to take Garcia there and see the look on his face as the owner, Mia, brings out her usual drink, appetizers, and pizza without offering a menu because Lucy has been there so much that Mia has memorized her order.

Lucy smiles. She can see it now: walking into the pizzeria with Garcia and Mia wiggling her eyebrows up and down. Without knowing Garcia understands Italian, she would ask Lucy if they are lovers. Lucy, of course, hasn’t studied Italian, but she’s been to Mia’s pizzeria enough times to pick up a few phrases here and there.

And… she knows Garcia would say something to Mia in Italian, and then she'd be lost in the conversation, and he'd probably say something totally sweet and endearing, and then Mia would pinch his cheek, wink at her, and leave them alone.

Her heart longs for him.

It’s been four days since she last saw him.

Four days since he last held her in his arms.

She misses him.

She stands and looks toward the exit, then glances back at her three bunkmates who are holding hands and skipping around in a circle together to the music. It looks as if the search for food has come to an end for the night. Lucy smooths her hand over the front of her skirt and leaves the room.

She makes her way up to the Poop Deck – an area at the stern of the ship that served as a promenade for third class passengers – and is chilled by the cool evening air.

She rubs her hands up and down her arms as she makes her way to the railing of the ship. Of course, the weather when she and Maria arrived in Cherbourg wasn’t too cold, so in the rush to find clothing in 1912, get a ticket, and not miss boarding the Titanic, she forgot to steal herself a coat.

She rests her hands on the rail and stares out at the water.

The lights from Cherbourg are a waning glow behind the ship as it sails west toward Queenstown, Ireland. The ship is expected to drop anchor before noon tomorrow. She wonders if Garcia and Karl are already on board the ship, or if they will board at the final stop before sailing west towards the setting sun.

Of course, like herself, Garcia knows that Rittenhouse brought the Mothership to this date, so she has every reason to believe he boarded either at Southampton, or at Cherbourg. She looks to her left towards the front of the ship, wondering if he obtained a third, second, or first class ticket.

If he’s not third class, it will be difficult to find him since third class passengers are prohibited from the areas of the ship occupied by second and first class passengers. Well, except for this Sunday’s religious services which are open to all passengers in the first class dining saloon – on the morning of the ship’s sinking.

Lucy shivers as she looks at the water below.

The water temperature will be 28 Fahrenheit on the night the Titanic collides with the iceberg.

She wants to do what she can to save more lives, but to do that she would have to stay on board the ship longer than she – and Garcia – would like. She wishes that she remembered exactly the launch times of all twenty lifeboats, but she doesn’t. She only knows when the first lifeboat was launched and when the final collapsible lifeboat floated off the ship’s boat deck. If she knew the exact launch times, she’d be able to determine which lifeboat she would absolutely have to be on to avoid exposure to the freezing cold water.

She can’t worry herself about what Rittenhouse is here to do. Maria is right about that. She has to focus her efforts on finding Garcia, and making sure that he and Karl survive.

She’ll make sure that they board a lifeboat from the starboard side where First Officer William Murdoch will launch ten lifeboats, and allow men to board if no other women and children are present.

She shivers again and decides that she’s had enough fresh air for the night.

She glances once more down the length of the ship.

If Garcia is on board, is he also wandering on deck, wondering if she is here? Or is he trusting her to have listened to him, and to have stayed home with his mother in Houston? Could he be here, completely focused on the mission with no thought to her because he believes she’s safe at home?

Lucy sighs.

She knows him well enough by now to know that even if he’s working the mission, she’s constantly at the forefront of his mind, whether she was here or not.

She regrets hanging up on him so abruptly as they argued about how he didn’t want her to use his mother’s time machine to join him on this mission. But she said what she said, and he could only interpret her words one way: she was going to travel to 1912, and she was going to find him.

Lucy covers her mouth and yawns.

She’s tired, and has a busy day ahead of her searching for Garcia.

She turns around, wraps her arms across herself, and makes her way back to the third class entry.

-----

Garcia tilts his head back and laughs, flashing his most dashing smile at the couple he and Karl are conversing with in the Reception Room outside of the first class Dining Saloon. The ship’s band is playing Irving Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band, an upbeat piece of music which matches the atmosphere of the first class passengers who have just finished their dinner aboard this ‘unsinkable’ ship – a topic everyone on board seems fascinated with.

While Garcia looks stunning in his formal evening attire – at ease among some of the richest people in the world – Karl, on the other hand, looks uncomfortable and out-of-place. He picks at the black bowtie around his neck, and drifts his attention away from the conversation.

He would have preferred they boarded this damn ship as third class passengers. At least if they had, he’d be wearing clothes that fit him better, and weren’t so damn confining. His eyes scan the room, keeping an eye out for Emma and Wyatt. While he hates that their cover is first class, he understands that holding a first class ticket grants them access to more of the ship than if they had snuck their way on board with the steerage.

Karl rolls his eyes as someone requests the Music Hall March Medley again.

He’s going to get really annoyed with these fancy-prancy people really fast.

Hell, he’s already there.

“My wife was supposed to join us at Cherbourg, but I worry that she missed the train from Paris and didn’t make it,” Garcia says.

The woman he’s speaking to glances down at Garcia’s hand. She raises her eyebrow, noticing that he’s not wearing a wedding ring. “And where’s your ring, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Garcia looks at his hand. “My wife lost hers before I left France for England last week,” he explains. “Before I left, she asked if she could wear my ring on her necklace.”

“Oh.” The woman nods, finding his answer odd.

“And this runt of a man is your brother?” the man asks.

Garcia looks at Karl, whose mind is elsewhere. “I guess you could say that Karl is the runt of the family.” Garcia’s voice booms as he pats Karl on the back rather hard – an attempt to draw Karl back into the conversation.

“I just cannot see a familial resemblance,” the woman remarks, eyeing both Garcia and Karl.

Garcia laughs wholeheartedly and says, “Well, the joke is that he was either switched at birth, or adopted.”

Karl is the only one of the four not laughing.

This is stupid.

“And you say that you’re family friends of Mr. Morgan?” the woman’s husband asks. “Is it true that he fell ill and that is why he decided to stay in France?”

Karl speaks up so that Garcia will stop whacking him so hard on the back to make him participate. “Yeah, we were meant to accompany his fine art collection to New York, but got word after we left port that he had pulled the collection from the ship,” he says, remembering some historical tidbits that Tammy told them before they got in the Lifeboat to leave.

“We are fortunate that he’s allowed us to stay in his parlour suite,” Garcia adds. “You should see the private promenade deck. It’s magnificent.”

Karl side-eyes Garcia.

The truth is that they haven’t properly “checked in” to any first class suite or stateroom, and Karl isn’t exactly sure that they ever will. It’s not like they are actual ticket holders.

In order to board the ship back in Southampton, the two of them had to create a ruckus to distract White Star Line employees from preventing them from boarding. They snuck on board by the skin of their teeth, discreetly nabbing the smallest bags of luggage from first class passengers they passed. Once aboard the ship, they had to find a place to hide the stolen luggage – inside one of the lifeboats. At least before they left the bunker, they were able to change into clothing that passed well enough to convince passersby that the two of them were first class ticket holders – even if these suits were originally nabbed in Chicago in 1893.

And now Garcia is telling other passengers that they’re brothers – and that they’re staying in J.P. Morgan’s parlour ssuite? J.P. Morgan: a member of Rittenhouse.

Karl rolls his eyes.

Yeah, that’s a great idea.

What if Emma and Wyatt decide to do the same? Surely, they know that Morgan is a member of their cult, and that his room is currently unoccupied. Well, it is actually supposed to be occupied by J. Bruce Ismay, the chairman and managing director of White Star Line. How Garcia has – or intends to – bypass that, Karl doesn’t know.

But hey, Garcia is the boss and Karl is but his lowly sidekick.

Fuck that.

Karl Borsok won’t be a sidekick in this story.

He has his own plan.

Let Garcia play rich and famous – and if Lucy does show up, he fully expects Garcia to parade her around as his trophy wife – and while Garcia’s fucking around (hopefully not literally) with Lucy – he, Karl Borsok, will change out of these stuffy clothes, and replace them with the uniform of the Titanic’s deck crew. He’ll learn as much as he can about how to properly lower lifeboats in case of an emergency – and with his experience in crowd control, he very well could be a goddamn bloody hero the night the ship goes under. Regardless of what history dictates should happen that night, the bunker team has always held three things in priority. One, stop Rittenhouse. Two, keep the body count low. And lastly, return home with your life intact.

Hell, maybe he’ll even knock out the crow’s-nest crew that night and stop the ship from ever colliding with the iceberg in the first place. That’d be the best option to keep the body count low, that’s for sure.

Karl rubs his fingers on his chin.

He knows he should stop smoking since he promised Amy he would, but damn if he isn’t dying for a cigarette right about now. Working with this new, alternate Garcia Flynn – a fool smitten for Lucy Preston – is stressing him out. He’s not used to Garcia not being so grumpy, and Karl’s certain that Lucy is to blame for that.

Of course, he understands the attraction to Preston women. When his Garcia Flynn assigned him to follow Amy Preston around… it was love at first sight, well… for him anyway. He didn’t introduce himself immediately. And yes, he knows that sounds creepy, but after introductions were made, she told him about Rittenhouse, and he admitted he had been following her, it was all good. Anyway, Carol Preston might be a load of wank, but her daughters are her polar opposite. Intelligent, independent, stubborn, and fucking gorgeous. So yeah, he totally understands Garcia falling head-over-heels for Lucy. He just wishes that this new Garcia were more like the guy he’s used to working with.

And fuck.

Imagine if somehow, he and Garcia end up being the marrying types, they could end up being fucking brothers-in-law.

The thought of being related to that large jackass actually makes Karl’s stomach churn. It’s not that he would hate being related to Garcia Flynn, but c’mon… imagine actually being related to the definition of a human dumpster fire. If and when he ever meets Lucy, he will have to ask her what exactly she sees in Garcia. Unless, of course, Garcia is fucking phenomenal in bed. He could understand how a woman might want a man who knows where to find everything on her bod-

“C’mon, Karl,” Garcia says, placing his hand on Karl’s shoulder. “We should get settled in our room for the night.”

Karl nearly jumps out of his skin, and swats Garcia’s hand from his shoulder. Gross, he was actually thinking of how Garcia performs in bed, and then the man touches him. Karl sneers at Garcia, and offers no explanation for his reaction. No way is he telling him that he was thinking about that.

“What?” Garcia asks with a shake of his head.

“You aren’t serious about staying in Morgan’s suite, are you?” Karl asks, diverting his own train of thought from… that subject. “You do know that it’s supposed to be occupied by Ismay, right?”

“While you were finding a place to hide the stolen luggage, I made my way to Captain Smith and Ismay himself. I explained to them that there was a mix-up, and that while Morgan couldn’t make the ship’s maiden voyage, he did send us to accompany his fine art collection to New York.”

“You have a key?”

“No.”

“That’s stupid. How are we supposed to get in?”

“We jimmy the lock,” Garcia answers, wetting his lips.

“Can you not do that?” Karl grimaces.

“What?” Garcia is confused.

“That…” Karl winces. “The tongue thing.”

“The what?”

“Just… don’t,” Karl says.

Garcia huffs in amusement at his friend. This Karl might be from an alternate timeline, but he’s almost exactly the same grumpy person he was in the original timeline. Whenever he finally meets Amy, he’ll need to ask her what exactly she sees in Karl.

And God, imagine if both of them end up marrying the Preston sisters. They’d be brothers-in-law. Garcia chuckles to himself. Family Thanksgiving dinners would be hilarious. Him, Lucy, however many kids they end up having, Karl and Amy, and their kids… oh, the stories he could tell about Karl at dinner. For sure, Lucy would kick him underneath the table because most stories involving Karl and himself really are not appropriate for the dinner table – nor for young ears – but he’d be humored, so he’d try to clean up the stories for the kids.

Garcia smiles as he and Karl head toward the Grand Staircase.

They pass Benjamin Guggenheim and his mistress, the French singer Léontine Aubart. Garcia nods his head at the couple, recognizing them immediately. Karl, however, doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the celebrities aboard the ship, so he does nothing to acknowledge them.

Once they’re out of earshot, and the band’s rendition of Johann Strauss’s Emperor Waltz fades, Garcia leans towards Karl, and speaks quietly to him.

“Karl, will you stop behaving as if you’d prefer to be shoveling coal in the boiler room, and behave like a proper gentleman?”

“You know how I feel about getting dolled up all fancy-pants-like,” Karl pulls at his black tailcoat. “I hate these things, and they don’t fit me right or something-”

“Stop whining like your parents are making you go to your high school prom.”

“They did.” Karl pauses for emphasis, “I hated that too.”

They arrive on B Deck and make their way down the first class corridor.

“When I excused myself from dinner-” Garcia starts, but Karl interrupts him.

“You should’ve seen the look on everyone’s faces when you did that,” Karl says, trying not to laugh. “After you left, they were whispering about how inappropriate it was for you to just up and leave.” Karl’s laughing now. “This one guy leaned over and told me that,” Karl straightens his bowtie and does his best impersonation of a high-class society voice, “’under no circumstances does one leave dinner to relieve the call of nature’.”

Garcia shakes his head at Karl.

“Oh, and just F.Y.I., there are toilet facilities behind the staircase.”

“I didn’t leave to go piss,” Garcia grimaces. “I left because I needed to figure out which suite was Morgan’s so we could-”

“I told them that you ate something bad before boarding, and that you might be awhile.”

Garcia’s lip curls as the wrinkles in his brow deepen, his expression defines: what the fuck?

Karl slaps his thigh, laughing hard. “You should see the look on your face!” He snorts. “They think you had to shit!”

They pass another couple who gives them disapproving looks.

“Shut up, Karl,” Garcia growls.

“Sorry, sorry,” Karl waves his hand to dismiss his half of the conversation. “You were saying?”

“Morgan’s suite – a deluxe suite – is on the port side, B-52/54/56,” Garcia says as he removes a lock-pick from the inside of his coat’s pocket.

Karl raises his brow and asks, “Is that the photocopy of the journal?”

“Hm?”

“In your coat pocket?”

“Yes,” Garcia is growing frustrated with his friend. He actually kind of wishes Lucy were here, at least she wouldn’t be making up embarrassing stories to tell about him to other passengers. “Will you focus, and cover me?”

Karl laughs quietly as he slides his hand inside his coat. He readies himself to draw his weapon if needed. He keeps watch as Garcia works the lock.

The door unlocks with a click and they quickly enter the room, closing the door behind them.

Karl flips the switch to turn on the light. He lets out a long, exaggerated whistle as he takes in the extravagant décor of this first class deluxe parlour suite. They walk into the suite’s white-walled sitting room. Karl goes to the white brick fireplace and runs his fingers over its golden corbel.

“I was expecting to see something like the room from that movie,” Karl says as he steps away and pulls the burgundy curtain away from the window. He looks out and sees nothing but black. “And you’re sure Morgan won’t be using the room? Rittenhouse did come to 1912, how do we know for sure that they didn’t make Morgan go back to New York?”

“I told you, I spoke with Ismay, and he assured me that he would move himself to another stateroom.”

“Maybe instead of using a pick-lock, you could find Ismay and ask him for the key?” Karl suggests.

“I plan on doing that as soon as possible. Probably later tonight,” Garcia says, not saying aloud that he intends on searching for Lucy once he ensures that this suite hasn’t been compromised by Rittenhouse.

Even though the room looks to be unoccupied, Garcia has his gun drawn, and is doing a thorough search of the quarters to make sure that Emma and Wyatt aren’t already there, perhaps waiting for him to show up.

He exits the sitting room, turning left into the first bedroom and looks to his right.

There’s a queen-size bed against the wall, next to it there’s a small writing desk, and there’s a dressing table straight ahead of him. He decides that on nights where he thinks it’s safe enough to sleep that he’ll take this room.

He continues, entering a small corridor in between the first bedroom and the second. To his left are the toilet and bathroom, and across the corridor are two wardrobe rooms. He enters each of the four small rooms with his gun drawn.

So far, so good.

He checks the second bedroom which is an exact replica of the first.

“All clear,” he says, wetting his lips.

He reaches behind himself, moves his coat aside, and places his gun back into his waistband holster.

He returns to Karl in the sitting room.

“So… how does our occupation of this suite help us find LaRoche?” Karl asks. “Tammy only told us that he is the only black passenger on the ship, and that he was leaving France due to discrimination to return home to Haiti with his pregnant wife and two daughters.”

“If you want a different room, we can find another one,” Garcia offers.

Karl raises an eyebrow, “No, no… this room is fine. I kinda like that there’s a private promenade deck too. Don’t think I could mingle much longer with the arrogant aboard the ship.” Karl takes a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. “But what I don’t like is how easily they could find us here. Are you sure staying in this suite is safe?”

“We’re armed,” Garcia answers. “We’re as safe here as we would be anywhere else on the ship.”

Karl raises a brow; he can’t argue that. He pats down his evening coat, searching for his lighter. “Anyway, Tammy did say that if we establish that we have a right to this room that we shouldn’t be bothered until we hit the ‘berg. Even then, they’ll just knock on the door, tell us to put on lifebelts, and to go up on deck.” Karl frantically opens his coat. “Shit. I think I lost my lighter.”

“I find it interesting-”

“What?” Karl asks. “That I lost my damn lighter?”

“No,” Garcia narrows his eyes at his friend. “In my timeline, I had been thinking about how I might be able to recruit Tammy on my team. I obviously didn’t know her name until I showed up at the bunker in Montana.” He pauses. “How did I recruit her to the team?”

“As you know, back in ’72, she went by her nickname, The Doc.”

“But Lucy didn’t mention The Doc, or her real name in the journal. How did we find her in this timeline?”

“Through Amy,” Karl says. “Tammy was a member of Rittenhouse from the day she was born until she came to Amy for help.”

“Amy should be careful about who finds out she’s working from the inside to take them down,” Garcia muses.

“I agree. You don’t know her well yet, but Amy is stubborn and confident in her belief that what she’s doing is right.”

Garcia smiles, thinking about how that description fits Lucy as well.

“Tammy told Amy that she wanted out, and she wanted to help destroy Rittenhouse. Tammy was the one to suggest we go back to ’72 and save her. So, after you, Rufus, and Jiya stole the Lifeboat from Mason Industries, our first trip was to Washington, D.C., 1972. We got to Tammy just as Rittenhouse was busting into her room at the hotel, and the Watergate Scandal turned into the Watergate Shootout.”

“What happened to Nixon?” Garcia asks.

“Rittenhouse didn’t have to create the story about burglars breaking into the DNC headquarters, and Nixon never resigned and served two terms because there was never any scandal that Rittenhouse could use to take him down. And from my understanding of it all, Nixon was Rittenhouse, but he was one fuck up after another, a liability. They wanted him out of the White House so much, but failed to find a way to force him out.”

Garcia shakes his head, wondering how much history has changed from his timeline to the alternate timeline he and Lucy returned to after 2003.

“After we saved her, we let her in on the fact that time travel exists. She asked if she could come to 2016 to help fight them, but only after we took a pitstop in China to pick up her husband and son, but…” Karl shakes his head. “It was too late. Rittenhouse got to them first, and killed them to punish her for disappearing. After that, Tammy had nothing left. She’s been a loyal soldier on our team ever since. But sometimes… if you catch her when she’s sitting alone… she’ll be looking at the only photograph she has of her boys, and…”

Garcia blinks away tears. He knows exactly what Tammy is going through. For the longest time, all he had to remember his girls was his wedding ring, not even a single photograph. He moves his thumb against his skin where he used to wear his ring. His finger is bare now that he’s given his ring to Lucy to wear around her neck.

“Anyway,” Karl continues. “She’s got a PhD in history, which has been very helpful, and she’s memorized the roster of all members of Rittenhouse from 1778 to 1972. She’s been invaluable in helping us plan where we need to target Rittenhouse, when they’re most vulnerable, in the past so we have a better chance at destroying them.”

“In my timeline…” Garcia’s voice is soft. “The Doc escaped Rittenhouse with the help of Lucy and Rufus. She was able to find her family, alive and well in China.” He looks away from Karl. He feels somewhat responsible for the death of Tammy’s husband and son in the new timeline. If he had only been able to save Lucy in 2003, the shockwave that her death caused wouldn’t have changed everything. Lucy surviving her car accident in 2003 would have saved Tammy’s husband and son’s lives. But because of his failure, they’re now dead.

Karl watches Garcia, unsettled by the way Garcia isn’t afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve, a trait the Garcia Flynn from Karl’s reality didn’t possess. He wonders what this alternate Garcia has been through to make it so he isn’t afraid to show even an inch of his vulnerability. Could it be because Lucy Preston was alive in his timeline? That he found her and was able to work with her? To be with her? And that they are in love?

Karl clears his throat and then redirects their conversation. “Anyway, I’ll help you with LaRoche if you need me, but I think I might do better if I was part of the deck crew. That way I’ll be able to help you get into a lifeboat, then offer my ability to row so I can join you. Might even be able to convince the officers to load more passengers into the lifeboats to save more people.”

Garcia nods his head. “That’s a good idea, Karl.” He stretches his arm out and checks the time on his Apple Watch. “It’s almost ten o’clock.” He nervously runs his hand through his hair.

Karl watches him carefully.

While this Garcia Flynn is from a different timeline, he’s not all that different from the Garcia Karl knew in this one. When he’s worried about someone he cares about, he becomes distracted. In this case, looking at Garcia now, Karl’s damn sure that Garcia is wondering if Lucy is on the ship, and if she is, if she’s safe.

“You want to go look for her, why don’t you just do it?” Karl asks. “Bring her back here if you find her. I’d love to meet this sister that Amy has told me so much about.”

Garcia looks at Karl, then back at his watch. He shakes his head. “I don’t know. It’s late, and if she is on the ship maybe she’s already retired for the night-”

“You’re full of excuses,” Karl tells him. “You’re afraid to find her because you were an asshole to her over the phone.”

Garcia raises his brow in agreement; Karl’s not wrong.

“I have to focus on the mission first, Karl.”

“No, you don’t,” Karl scowls at him. “We have four more nights on this damn ship before she sinks, and-”

“And it’s a safe bet that Emma and Wyatt are just as determined to find LaRoche as we are. I can’t… I can’t go off trying to find Lucy until we take care of Rittenhouse. I have to make the mission my priority.”

“So, you’re really ok with Lucy being on her own on this ship, probably out there somewhere right now, looking for you? Risking getting found by Emma or Wyatt. And if you’re so afraid that they’re going to find out she is alive, then why the fuck are you worried about LaRoche?” Karl asks. “Let me worry about LaRoche until you find her. It’s not like I’ve never taken lead on a mission before.”

Garcia looks at Karl, not breaking eye contact.

Karl rolls his eyes, frustrated with his stubborn friend. “If you don’t find her, you’ll just be distracted, and we both know that you slip up when that happens,” he pauses for dramatic effect. “Baku… Afsana, 2007, anyone?” Karl rolls his eyes at himself. “That happened in the timeline you’re from, right?”

Garcia nods his head, remembering how worried he had been about leaving Lorena alone in their hotel room as he jumped at the opportunity to gain more field experience as an asset for the NSA during a vacation in Azerbaijan. He sighs. He knows Karl is right. He can’t sustain focus on this mission while in the back of his mind, all he can think about is Lucy.

He hurt her, and as much as he doesn’t want to, he knows he needs to face whatever consequences come with finding her, and dealing with their problem.

Garcia gives Karl a stern look: don’t do anything stupid, and leaves the room.

He turns left into the corridor, and heads towards the Grand Staircase. He takes out a folded piece of paper, a brochure, that he was handed after he and Karl boarded the ship in Southampton. It’s a map of the Titanic. He slows his pace as he studies it, figuring out where he is, and what public areas he can access to search for Lucy.

If she’s on the ship, she isn’t on board as a first class passenger. If she had been, he’s certain he would’ve seen her by now. He considers that she might have boarded as second class. He puts the brochure back in his pocket and stops in front of the staircase.

Trust your instinct, Garcia, he tells himself.

Research.

Lucy is still a historian, and while she might know a lot about life as a first class passenger, or even as a second class passenger, he thinks that her academic curiosity would lead her to want to travel on the Titanic in third class. That, and the fact that she might not feel comfortable on her own trying to sneak into first class without a ticket.

He makes his way up to the A Deck open promenade, heading towards the stern of the ship where – if he remembers correctly – the cabins for single women and families are located for third class passengers.

The air is made more frigid by the wind created from the forward thrust of the ship now heading north towards Ireland. Garcia rubs his hands together to keep warm. He looks out at the ocean. He’s seen many of the movies made about this ship, so everything around him feels familiar. So familiar, that it doesn’t seem real for him to be walking on this deck. And because he’s seen the sinking of this ship played out by actors, with dramatic musical scores, he finds it difficult to wrap his mind around the fact that in four nights he’ll experience the disaster firsthand.

He hunches his shoulders toward his ears and shivers. He tucks his hands into the pockets of his coat.

Unsinkable.

He’s heard the word unsinkable uttered more times than he can count since arriving in Southampton. He’s dismayed by the arrogance of everyone in their belief that even God could not sink this ship.

The ship has watertight compartments – four of which could flood with water, and the ship would stay afloat, but the presumption from many of the passengers that that means the ship is unsinkable… well, their presumption is wrong, and he has held his tongue more than a few times since dinner began to keep himself from lecturing them on their arrogance and stupidity.

The fact is, when this ship hits the iceberg, the rivets holding the hull’s seams pop off. Six ‘watertight’ compartments flood, and even more water is allowed inside the ship accelerating the sinking.

Second officer Lightoller will order his men to open the D Deck gangway door with the intention of loading passengers onto lifeboats from inside the ship. That gangway door opens up to the first class Reception Room which is situated outside the Dining Saloon. And because the size of that door covers more area than the whole of the damage sustained by the iceberg, once water breaches the door, there is nothing standing in its way to slow the flow of water into the ship, thus accelerating the rate at which the ship sinks.

Garcia reaches the end of the first class promenade deck, and is about to enter the second class deck when he hears Emma Whitmore’s voice. He stops, pressing his back up against the wall. He peers around the corner and sure enough, there’s Emma.

Her hair is pulled up in a chignon, and she’s wearing a satin forest green evening gown. A black tailcoat hangs on her shoulders, and she’s speaking with Wyatt Logan – also dressed in formal evening attire.

“No, you didn’t see Lucy when we took on passengers at Cherbourg,” Emma scolds Wyatt. “And I don’t appreciate you running out of our room to try to find her on your own.” She pauses. “I feel like your goddamn babysitter.”

“I know I saw her, Emma. And I’m going to find her and make sure we get her back to Carol before this ship sinks. Can you even imagine what the reward would be for finding her? She’s been dead in that new timeline for years, and then suddenly she exists again?”

“You’re a plebeian in the whole scheme of things, Wyatt. They might give you a pat on the back for bringing her to them, but don’t expect high honors, or even a seat at the Table of Elders,” Emma tells him.

“What’s a plebeian?”

Even Garcia has to roll his eyes at Wyatt’s question.

Emma doesn’t answer him either.

She turns her head to look behind her. She stares at the entrance to the first class deck as if she knows someone is eavesdropping on their conversation. She turns back to Wyatt and places her arm in his, guiding him towards the second class deck entrance.

“Let’s go back to our cabin,” she tells him. She raises her voice to add, “It’s late and we have plenty of time to look for Flynn and his team before this ship sinks. I assure you that we won’t go back until we know for sure that Garcia Flynn is dead, or at least won’t survive the sinking.”

“We better find those classified documents quick too,” Wyatt says. “Even I know it was a stupid idea to land the Mothership in the cargo hold of this ship. If we take too long finding them, we risk losing the Mothership when this thing hits that iceberg.”

Garcia hears their footsteps fast approaching, and just as he turns so he can’t be identified, Emma and Wyatt round the corner. Emma takes a long, hard look at Garcia’s back. It’s dark so she can’t make out any of his features, but she still raises her brow.

There’s no mistaking the man’s height.

She’s certain it’s him.

“Of course, we do have orders to prevent the collision if it takes us too long and we can’t find the documents right away…” Wyatt muses.

Emma is no longer paying any attention to Wyatt as he continues relishing the sound of his own voice. She feigns a stumble and bends down to remove her gun from her ankle holster. She stands up, and touches Wyatt on his back.

“Go back to our room, Wyatt. You’ve given me a headache and I need to walk it off.”

“You sure? I thought women weren’t allowed to be without a man in these times.”

Emma rolls her eyes as she exhales in frustration.

“Ok, ok…” Wyatt raises both hands in the air. “I get it, you want to be alone.”

He turns and walks away.

Once he’s out of sight, Emma turns around to confront the man she senses has been following her and Wyatt since they left the second class deck.

“Flynn? I guess you’re here to find Charvet’s man too, huh?” She cocks the hammer of her gun.

Garcia steps out of the shadows, raising his hands in front of him so she can see that he hasn’t retrieved his weapon.

“Nothing gets past you, does it, Emma?” His eyes are fixed on her weapon. “I guess you haven’t yet found LaRoche either.”

Emma smirks.

It’s interesting that Garcia Flynn mentioned LaRoche without prompting. And unless someone is feeding Flynn and his team information from inside Rittenhouse, he shouldn’t know that’s who Emma is here to find. So, Rittenhouse has a mole, and Emma is damn sure she knows who it could be. Because who else would assume her dead sister’s role in the alternate timeline, and work to take down Rittenhouse from inside, just as Lucy had tried to do?

Emma smirks and neglects to inform Garcia of his slipup. “How’s your arm? Sorry I had to shoot you in Salem.” She smiles, amused that she’ll be able to bust Amy as a traitor when they get back.

Garcia doesn’t respond. If she left 2003 not knowing that he and Lucy were there, her question could be intended to trap him into admitting what went down between the two of them in Salem, in their original timeline. A question intended to find out if he’s alternate 2017’s Garcia Flynn or not.

“Arm’s fine. Not sure what you’re talking about,” he lies.

“Hm.”

Emma keeps her gun aimed at Garcia as she approaches him. As she gets closer, she glances down at his hand. She smirks when she sees that he is not wearing a wedding ring, and that he has no wedding ring tattoo on his finger.

Confirmation that he is from her original timeline.

Noted.

“How’s Lucy?” She asks.

“Dead.”

“I’m sure she is,” Emma says with an air of sarcasm.

“I have no reason to lie to you, Emma.”

“So, you wouldn’t be interested in knowing that I saw Lucy board the ship at Cherbourg? Looks as if she’s in steerage. That information means nothing to you?”

Garcia swallows hard and wets his lips. His arms remain raised in front of him, and he’s looking for an opportunity to retrieve his gun. “I guess you and I are from the same timeline then,” he says. “Which means that you have orders to kill me, so… why haven’t you?” He takes a step closer to her.

He lowers his hands to his side.

His fingers twitch.

Emma lowers her weapon, but keeps her finger near its trigger. She cautiously approaches Garcia. She speaks in a hushed tone. “Look, let me leave this ship with the documents I came here to retrieve, and I won’t tell Carol or anyone else at Rittenhouse about Lucy.”

Garcia shakes his head. He doesn’t believe her. “What’s your game, Emma?”

“No game,” she swallows. “I may not like Lucy, but I’m not going to allow them to take her to Byron Rittenhouse just so he can rape her so their damn founder can be born.”

“You’re a good liar, Emma.”

“Not lying,” Emma doesn’t break eye contact with him. “Wyatt thought he saw her board at Cherbourg. I saw her too, but I’ve been telling him that he saw someone who only looked like her.”

Garcia narrows his eyes. “What’s in this for you?” He asks. “You only ever cared about one person: you. So why are you really doing this?” Garcia sneers at her, moving his hand closer to where he’s concealed his weapon inside his coat.

Emma lowers her weapon, and steps closer to Garcia.

He quickly retrieves his weapon and aims it at her, his finger resting at the side of the trigger.

Emma brushes her hair away from her forehead, revealing a scar. “Last-second field goal. His team didn’t cover the spread,” She tilts her head back and points to a scar beneath her chin. “Dinner was cold.”

Garcia swallows hard, finding himself angered at the men who hurt her.

“But most of the time, it was just because Dad was angry,” Emma lowers her eyes and shakes her head. “I still don’t know how my mom found the courage. But we got in the car, and we headed west, and we started a new life.” Emma looks up into Garcia’s eyes, pleading with him to believe her. “Like I said, I may not like Lucy, but I know it’s no fault of her own that she was dragged into this mess. I’m sure she wants nothing more than to leave all this behind and start a new life of her own. And with Rittenhouse believing her dead, she has the opportunity to disappear. To start over. To do what me and my mom did. To just… run away.”

Garcia nods his head and puts his gun back inside his coat. “Then it sounds like you and I are on the same page.”

“Let’s just walk away and pretend we didn’t see each other,” Emma pauses, considering. Then she tells him, “You might want to get a ring tattooed on your finger.”

“Excuse me?”

“The Garcia Flynn in the alternate timeline, he and his wife tattooed their wedding rings. If anyone else sees you, and notices…” Emma looks at his hand. He’s not wearing his ring. She huffs, shaking her head. “How does it feel to give up on your family for the Princess?” She gestures to his bare finger.

Garcia glances down where he used to wear his ring, feeling no regret for giving it to Lucy, and feeling no animosity for Emma’s attempt at a cheap blow below the belt. “My reasons to not wear my ring are none of your business.”

“I’ve read her diary, Flynn. I know you love her, and she loves you. Honestly… the two of you should just walk away. I think as long as you’re both playing the time travel version of Romeo and Juliet that both your stories are going to end tragically.”

Garcia glares at her.

“Hey, I’m just trying to help,” she says sincerely. “All I’m saying is that I can tell them I killed you. I keep Lucy’s existence a secret, and you can walk away. Isn’t that what you both want?” She’s sincere. “To just… walk away from all this?” She pauses. “I wish I could, but you saw what happened to Jessica Logan, her own husband killed her, all because she wanted out, to expose them. To take them down.”

Garcia opens his mouth to respond to her, but stops as one of the ship’s officers passes them, nodding his head and uttering a polite greeting.

Emma waits until the officer is out of earshot before speaking. “Look, I just want you to know that if someone like Carol sees that you don’t have a ring tattooed on your finger, Rittenhouse will know that you’re not their timeline’s Flynn, and they’ll operate as if Lucy exists.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“That means that every agent in Rittenhouse will receive orders to bring her back. From there…” Emma considers her words. How much should she tell him? “Once Lucy is back at Rittenhouse headquarters, I’ll be ordered to take her back to February 1725, the twelfth, I believe. And if you know anything about her early eighteenth-century rape journal, I know you don’t want that to happen.”

“If you don’t want that for her then you could refuse to-”

“In this timeline… Rittenhouse has more than one pilot. If I refuse, they kill me, and someone else delivers her to Byron.” Emma locks eyes with Garcia. “And I’d be careful about knocking her up because if they get her, and she’s pregnant…” Emma shakes her head to conceal the emotion threatening to expose itself in her voice at the thought of what Rittenhouse – of what Carol Preston herself – would do to Lucy if they discovered she was pregnant.

Garcia nods his head.

He understands.

“And don’t give me any reason to hurt her,” Emma says. “Tell Lucy that if she sees me, to turn around and go back from where she came. The last thing we want is for Wyatt to see me let her go, because I can’t let that happen. If I see Lucy, and Wyatt’s there with me, then I’ll have to… do things that I don’t necessarily want to do,” Emma shakes her head. “I don’t want to take her back to Rittenhouse, but I can’t risk them finding out I’m keeping her from them. You need to understand that I don’t have much control over what they do. My influence in this new timeline is nothing compared to how things were before Carol killed Lucy in that hospital.”

Garcia eyes her carefully. He’s good at reading people, and can see bullshit from miles away.

Emma Whitmore is not lying to him.

But there’s still the mission. The reason why they’re even on this damn ship to begin with. He shakes his head. “I can’t let you get the documents.”

Emma smirks. “Then I guess that’s the game we’ll play,” she says. “See who finds LaRoche and gets the documents from him first.” She pauses. “May the best man, or woman, win.”

“And I can trust you to leave Lucy alone?” he asks for reassurance.

“I’ll do what I can to keep Wyatt from running into her. If he does, I can’t promise that he’ll not tell Rittenhouse, or try to kidnap her himself.” She reconsiders, “Well… I guess I could shoot him, or take the Mothership back, and leave him to die on the Titanic… but who really wants to kill that little weasel?”

“I’d do it in a heartbeat after what he did to my girls,” Garcia says, swallowing hard to keep his anger at bay.

“Right. I forgot you found out about that.”

“You made an obvious effort to point it out in Salem.”

“Thought you would want to know which son-of-a-bitch murdered your girls no matter how much that truth hurt you, and make you realize that knowing only made it worse.” Emma shrugs. “I guess I really don’t give a shit about you, huh?”

“I don’t believe that,” his voice is soft, spoken as he used to when he thought she was on his side. “If you didn’t care in some way, you wouldn’t be telling me any of this. I appreciate it.”

Emma stares at him, her eyes locked with his. And for just one moment, she feels like a little girl being told that she matters, that she’s seen. She opens her mouth to speak… to maybe test the waters to see if Flynn and Lucy would take her in if she ever decided to leave Rittenhouse, to fight them alongside the enemy standing before her now.

“Emma…?” Garcia says her name with concern, making her feel as if he’s reading her mind, and willing to listen to her. To help her if she were to ask for it.

She looks at him, allowing that vulnerability to reflect in her eyes for one more second.

She blinks and it’s gone.

It’s too risky.

If Rittenhouse discovered how she really feels, she wouldn’t live long enough to… to help them. She has to work independently, covertly, and keep her true intentions a secret from all sides of this war. If she has to shoot or maim Garcia, or Lucy, or anyone else on their team, she’ll do it. If she has to turn classified documents over to Rittenhouse to keep her secret safe, she’ll do it. If she has to hurt others to save herself-

“I heard you say something about making sure I die on this mission,” Garcia interrupts her thoughts. “Yet, here you are. A gun in your hand, talking to me. Willing to let me walk away, my life intact. Willing to look the other way if you see Lucy, to protect her from them.” He takes a breath, and wets his lips. He looks down at Emma, non-threatening. “What is it that you really want, Emma?”

Emma puts back on her mask of invulnerability, and ignores his question. “Maybe I’m confident you’ll die when this ship sinks,” Emma offers with a smile that Garcia doesn’t quite believe is sincere.

“No. I think there’s a part of you that knows what I’m doing is right. A part of you that also wants to destroy Rittenhouse, but you’re afraid of what they might do to you… to your mom… the threats they made when they first recruited you, they still hold to this day, don’t they?”

“You don’t know anything about what they’ve said or done to me,” Emma says, fighting away tears. “What I had to do to prove my loyalty to them. You speak as if they allowed my mother to live after I returned from the 1880s. I ran from them, they found out, and… and I had to…” Emma bites her lower lip and looks away, fighting back tears. “And then they refused to let me go to her funeral, instead instructing me to continue to pilot the Mothership for you, to whittle down your team until it was just you and me. Then they had Denise arrest you, and all I had to do then was kill the government agents sent to retrieve the ship, and take it back to Carol.”

Garcia looks at Emma, his heart aching for her at the suggestion that Rittenhouse instructed her to kill her mother to prove her loyalty to them. And he knows she had no other choice. Lucy told him about their loyalty tests. Either you follow through, or Rittenhouse kills you. Emma had no other choice if she wanted to live. Live to perhaps – he looks at her carefully – to destroy them from within.

Emma shakes her head and swallows hard. She stares up at him, hating that he’s figuring her out. Hating that somehow after everything that she’s done to him, and to his precious Lucy, that he can regard her with sympathy and understanding. “Go find your girlfriend,” she tells him. “Enjoy the last few nights you have with her because you’re not making it off this ship alive.”

Garcia watches as Emma bends over and puts her weapon back in her ankle holster.

She stands up again, looking at him. All vulnerability erased. “So… do we have a deal? I leave Lucy alone, keep her a secret from Wyatt and Rittenhouse. And you and I will see who can get to LaRoche and those documents first?”

Garcia nods his head. “Can I expect the same amount of lethal attempts on our lives if we get in your way?” He asks.

“Always,” Emma smiles smugly. “I may not want Lucy to endure what her mother hopes to subject her to, but I still despise Lucy, and I won’t hesitate to hurt her if she gets in my way. To kill her if I must.”

“But you won’t take her back to her mother?”

“No.”

Emma gives him one last look, turns, and walks away.

“Thank you, Emma,” he says to her.

She ignores him.

He watches her until she disappears into the second class entrance.

Well, that encounter was… unexpected.

Garcia glances back towards the stern of the ship.

He should find Lucy tonight.

He runs his hand through his hair and sighs.

No.

He won’t find her tonight.

She was so upset with him over the phone that he’s certain if he does find her, they would only end up fighting, and she needs her rest, and fighting will only drain them both.

Maybe he should figure out what second class stateroom Joseph LaRoche is in, and break in while he’s sleeping and find the documents Emma spoke about. Then he can see if they’re worth keeping, and if not, he can throw them overboard.

When he and Karl were rushing to prepare to come to 1912, Tammy had given them a brief history on Joseph LaRoche. He had worked in France and faced discrimination because of his race. His youngest daughter, Louise, had been born premature in 1910. He and his family had originally planned to travel back to Haiti for him to find a better-paying job, but a month ago, his wife discovered she was pregnant, so they decided to leave France before she was too far along.

They originally had a first class ticket on The France, but that liner wouldn’t allow he and his wife to dine with their two young daughters, so they transferred their ticket to second class on the Titanic.

Garcia stares at the second class entrance.

He sighs.

Maybe it would’ve been better if he and Karl had gotten second class tickets. At least if they had, they might be able to find LaRoche sooner than Emma.

He glances at his watch. It’s nearing eleven-thirty.

Four nights and ten minutes left until impact.

He sighs.

That’s plenty of time for him to take care of this mission, and find Lucy in time so that they can figure out how they’re going to survive.

He reaches into his coat pocket and retrieves a Ziploc bag which protects the photocopy of the original journal that Lucy wrote. He takes it out and leafs through its well-worn stapled pages.

The crack of the ship’s hull hitting the iceberg is ear-splitting. The next few hours are a blur, as Flynn and I race to save as many passengers as we can. The men lowering the lifeboats are getting ready to shove them off when we stop them. They can fit more people into those boats.

Garcia takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.

How many of the passengers he’s encountered, or crossed paths with while walking the corridors, will die? And is there really anything they can do to help? Could he knock out the men in the crow’s-nest and alert the men on the bridge of the iceberg sooner? Could he – and should he – prevent the disaster from ever happening? He needs to consult Lucy about this as she’s more likely to know what possible repercussions could come from saving everyone on board.

I sat wrapped in a blanket lost in thought, and then Flynn kissed me. And finally the pain I’ve felt for so long dissipated. So I kissed him back… again. And again.

His Lucy has suffered unimaginable pain. At her mother’s orders, she endured mental and physical torture at the hands of Rittenhouse. She’s been a target ever since she helped him break out of prison, which led to Rittenhouse sending Emma Whitmore back to make sure she died in her car accident in 2003 – and they succeeded because it was Carol, not Emma, who killed Lucy at the hospital.

He resigns himself not to tell Lucy about that, not unless she asks him if he knows anything more about how her 2003 counterpart died. The truth of finding out that her own mother killed her would just hurt her more.

He glances towards the stern of the ship. Somewhere below its deck, Lucy is probably lying in bed, alone. Without him. Still reeling from what has happened to her, but likely putting up a good show that she is impenetrable to the pain she suffers.

He cannot imagine what she’s going through.

He was with her the night they returned to the altered 2017, a reality where she’s been dead for fourteen years. He held her in his arms as she screamed into her pillow and cried. And all he could do was pray that he could take all her pain away. To suffer for her.

He knows she is strong, but he can’t imagine what it took for her to find the strength to get up each morning – alone – since he left her to find Karl in Baku. He admires her strength, but understands she needs him to let her be weak with him. She needs to trust him, and he broke that trust when he wrote his entry explaining he wouldn’t be back until he destroyed Rittenhouse, alone. Without her.

He looks back at the photocopied journal in his hands.

Whether we admit it or not – we needed each other that night. I could see it in the way Flynn looked at me. I felt it in the way he took me in his arms, the same arms I used to run from – but not anymore. That night, I felt safe, and protected and loved…

They need each other.

They are each other’s strength and weakness.

He can’t fight Rittenhouse alone.

He needs her.

They need each other.

To protect one another.

He fucked up when he left her at his mother’s while he went off to Baku to find Karl.

He knows this, and he needs to make things right.

He looks out at the ocean, into its absolute blackness.

His hand is unsteady as he looks down at the photocopy of the journal. A photocopy that he found in the bunker of his alternative 2017 counterpart. He knows that its contents are no longer relevant in the fight against Rittenhouse. He knows he should ball it up and throw it into the water.

But he can’t.

That damn journal still means so much to him.

That journal, and the Lucy who wrote it, saved his goddamn life.

He lowers his head.

Journal Lucy.

He fell in love with her, yes.

But she’s not the Lucy he loves. She’s not the Lucy he can wrap his arms around, or kiss. That woman is somewhere on this massive ship.

Alone, without him.

He needs to find her now.

He folds the photocopy and places it back in its protective Ziploc bag, putting it back into his coat pocket. He adjusts his top hat, determined to haul ass to steerage, and knock on every cabin door until he finds her.

He turns around and runs into Karl.

“I got a jump start on the LaRoche thing,” Karl says.

“I need to find Lucy,” Garcia tells him, pushing Karl aside as he starts towards the back of the ship.

“I have LaRoche-”

“If you aren’t going to help me find Lucy, then-”

“I kidnapped LaRoche!” Karl calls after him.

Garcia stops in his tracks, and slowly turns around.

“What?” He asks in disbelief.

“LaRoche,” Karl pauses. “He’s tied up in our room.”

-----

Garcia keeps several paces ahead of Karl as he walks down the first class corridor on B Deck, heading back towards J.P. Morgan’s parlour suite. For selfish reasons, he can’t fucking believe that Karl kidnapped Joseph LaRoche tonight, as he was on his way to find Lucy. And because of this, he now has to deal with what Karl has done instead of looking for Lucy.

“I can go find her for you,” Karl calls after him. “Look, I wasn’t planning on doing this. The opportunity presented itself, and I did what I did.”

“Shut up, Karl,” Garcia snarls as he enters their parlour suite.

And sure enough, Joseph LaRoche – in his white and navy blue pinstripe pajamas – is sitting, gagged with tape around his mouth, tied to a chair in the suite’s sitting room. Upon seeing Garcia enter the room, LaRoche tries to scream for help despite being gagged.

Garcia turns his head and glares at Karl.

Karl takes that as a signal to leave.

Karl shuts the door quietly as he steps out into the hallway.

Garcia turns his attention back to Joseph LaRoche, and holds his hands in front of him as he approaches. “Monsieur LaRoche… My name is Garcia Flynn, and I apologize for what my manservant has done…” Garcia reaches into his pocket and retrieves a Swiss Army knife. LaRoche squirms and tries to scream again. “Monsieur, please… I’m not going to hurt you. Ne bougez pas… don’t move.”

LaRoche keeps his eyes wide open as he holds still, allowing Garcia to cut him loose. Garcia offers him his hand to help him to his feet. LaRoche doesn’t take it. He stands on his own, smooths his hands over his pajamas, and heads towards the door.

“Now, if you don’t mind. I will be reporting you and your man to the Master-at-Arms,” LaRoche tells Garcia as he places his hand on the doorknob.

Garcia steps in front of him, stretching out his arm to block LaRoche from leaving. “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you go. Not yet. I need you to answer a few questions first.”

“Questions?”

Garcia remembers overhearing that Emma mentioned Charvet to Wyatt. He clears his throat. “Julian Charvet entrusted you with documents, yes?” He asks.

LaRoche looks at Garcia and waits before answering. “No one is to know about that,” he says with apprehension.

“But I do.”

“I’m supposed to deliver the papers to Mr. Keynes in New York,” LaRoche tells him.

“Did Charvet threaten you?”

LaRoche looks away, afraid to say more than he should.

“Do you know what Rittenhouse is?” Garcia asks.

“No.”

“Charvet is a member of Rittenhouse. They’re a secret group working to control the world by any means possible.” Garcia wets his lips. “Now, I don’t know what is in the documents he gave you, but I know that Rittenhouse, Mr. Keynes, wants to use them to hurt other people. To… change the world.”

LaRoche shakes his head and starts pacing the room. He lets out a heavy sigh. “I thought Monsieur Charvet was a friend. When he asked me to take the papers with me to New York, he told me that if Monsieur Keynes did not receive the papers that something bad would happen to my family.”

“Where are the papers now?”

“They are in my stateroom. I have kept them in my bag.”

Garcia nods his head. “I need you to give them to me, and I apologize, but you have no choice.”

“Are you threatening me too?”

“I don’t mean to, and despite how my words sound, I will not hurt you or your girls.” Garcia pauses, not saying that he is willing to coerce LaRoche into cooperating with him if he refuses to cooperate.

“I don’t think you understand, Monsieur Flynn,” LaRoche says. “My uncle is the President of Haiti, and I am the great-grandson of the first ruler of independent Haiti. I’m not a nobody. I have been entrusted to deliver the papers to Monsieur Keynes, and I am a man of my word.”

“And I promise you that you will not have those papers when you disembark this ship in New York.” It pains Garcia to say this, knowing that Joseph LaRoche does not survive the sinking – his body never recovered – leaving behind a wife, two daughters, and an unborn son.

-----

“LUCY!”

Karl shouts as he enters the third class cabin corridor, knocking on the first door to his right.

“LUCY!”

He rushes down the hallway, hoping that the ruckus he’s causing will make Lucy get up out of bed and see who’s calling for her.

“LUCY…” He wants to shout ‘Preston,’ but also doesn’t want to give away to any possible Rittenhouse sleeper agents that she’s here, so instead he shouts – and it’s not much better, “LUCY FLYNN!” but what else is he supposed to do?

He pounds his fist on another door, then another, and another.

No one is opening the doors despite the ruckus he’s making.

What the fuck?

He knows Garcia had every intention to find her on his own, but Karl feels like he needs to make up for forcing LaRoche to come with him to their parlour suite. When he and Garcia made their way back to the room, Garcia told him that Emma landed the goddamn Mothership in the cargo hold of this ship. Karl should be trying to figure out what to do about that, but instead, he’s trying to find his friend’s girlfriend.

“LUCY!!!” He pounds his fist on another door.

If he continues doing this for much longer, he’s positive that someone is going to show up and throw him in the brig.

Where the fuck could she be?

-----

Every thought in Lucy’s mind is louder than the hum of the ship’s engines and propeller blades.

She can’t sleep.

Not knowing where Garcia is, and if he’s ok… knowing that, four nights from now, this ship will be well on its way to sinking to its final resting place on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean… both of these things make Lucy conclude that she won’t be getting any sleep at all.

She squeezes her eyes, trying to stop herself from thinking. To focus on the hum of the ship. But she can’t. Ever since she and Maria made their way to the dock where passengers were waiting to be ferried to the Titanic, she’s been surrounded by people whose lives will be lost when this ship collides with an iceberg.

Does she say anything to warn them? Does she tell them they should all go outside on Sunday night near eleven-thirty at night to see the stars, to try to ensure that as many third class passengers will be on deck when the ship collides with the iceberg?

Does she have the right to interfere with history? History that – to her knowledge – happened originally without any influence from Rittenhouse. Would it be ok to try to save everyone on board? Could she find Captain Smith and have a heart-to-heart with him – and possibly Bruce Ismay and Thomas Andrews – to let him know they shouldn’t believe their own hype about this ship, and that she isn’t unsinkable?

She pulls a thin flannel blanket up to cover her nose.

She’s freezing.

And as exhausted as she is, perhaps she should just get up, try to get her corset tied on her own, and go look for Garcia. She knows him. He’s not one to board the Titanic and then be ok with getting a little shut-eye. He’s probably wandering the corridors and decks of this ship right now, trying to figure out what Rittenhouse has sent Emma and Wyatt to do.

She feels stabbing pain in her heart when she thinks about the way they spoke to each other over the phone as Rittenhouse was on their way to 1912. It hurts, and it still upsets her so much that he not only told her he didn’t need her to help him on this mission, but also that he is willing to leave her behind to fight them alone.

“Trezește-te...”

Lucy feels a hand on her shoulder as she’s gently rocked.

“Lucy, cineva strigă după tine.”

Lucy groans as she rolls onto her back. She rests her arm on her forehead and looks up at all three of her bunkmates who are hovering above her.

“Cineva strigă după tine.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t understand,” Lucy says as she rises onto her elbows.

One of the three women points towards the door, and tightens her robe around her, as if in fear of some drunk man barging into their room, and seeing her in this state of undress.

Then she hears it.

A man calling out to her in the corridor.

“LUCY!”

Lucy sits up quickly, hitting the top of her head on the bunk above her. Her heart nearly stops. That isn’t Garcia calling out for her. She doesn’t know whose voice that is, and that terrifies her.

“Oh my God,” she says as she bolts out of bed. She grabs her bag, rummages through it, and remembers that she didn’t pack a weapon. She stands up straight, and turns to look at her three equally terrified, non-English speaking, roommates. She holds her hand out to them and tells them, “Stay here.”

She goes to the door, pulling her hair back into a ponytail, and presses her ear against it.

She hears the man call out her name again, this time as ‘Lucy Flynn.’ Her heart is racing. If whoever this is, is Rittenhouse, she is so screwed.

She jumps when there are two loud bangs on the cabin door.

She lets out a heavy breath.

Whoever this is, and whatever they want… she needs to get this over with.

She balls her hand into a fist.

Opens the door.

And punches Karl in the face.

He hunches over as she kicks his shin, and stomps on his foot.

He stumbles backward into the wall, holding his face.

Barefoot, and in her not-exactly-of-the-era pajamas, she takes off running.

She doesn’t look behind her.

“LUCY!”

She hears him running after her, gaining on her, and she cries out as he grabs onto her arm. She swings her fist at him again, but he catches it.

“You must be Lucy,” Karl says, using his free arm to wipe blood from his nose. “You’re exactly the way I imagine a Flynn chick would be.”

Lucy pauses, catching her breath.

“You scared the shit out of me, Karl,” she says, now recognizing him as the jerk who manhandled her in Paris. “And I’m not sorry that I punched you because, well…” She trails off, knowing that the Karl of the alternate timeline wouldn’t know anything about Paris 1927, so instead she says, “If anyone was going to find me on this ship, I expected it to be Garcia.”

“He’s dealing with the Rittenhouse thing,” Karl tells her.

Lucy’s heart sinks. Hearing that Garcia is going about his ‘job,’ taking care of Rittenhouse without her, instead of looking for – or even worrying about – her.

It hurts.

Karl lets go of her arm, noticing the change in her demeanor. He shakes his head to himself. He knows what she’s thinking. She and Garcia are so effing similar. It’s best to put her mind at ease.

“He was trying to find you,” he says, “and I got a jump start on the mission, and I guess that pissed him off. Anyway… he’s interrogating LaRoche in our suite, and…” He trails off, stepping back to look at Lucy from head to toe. “Those pajamas aren’t exactly right for this era, are they?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.

Lucy looks down at her black satin camisole, and their matching bottoms. She wraps her arms around herself, suddenly feeling self-conscious. “Yeah, I um… I’m pretty sure that my bunkmates think I’m some kind of expensive – has serviced royalty, and been paid well – prostitute.”

Karl checks her out, and nods his head in agreement. He wants to comment on the physical similarities she shares with her sister, but he knows that Amy wouldn’t want Lucy knowing that she’s involved in this Rittenhouse mess, so… “Me and Garcia broke into J.P. Morgan’s first class suite. I know third class passengers are forbidden in areas outside of third class, but I can get you to Garcia.”

“Does he know I’m here?” she asks as she turns to go back towards her cabin.

“I’m pretty sure he does,” Karl answers, tucking his hands into his pants pockets.

Lucy looks back at him. “You look… awkward in that suit, you know.”

“It’s not mine. We stole luggage after we snuck on board. I actually need to get the bags out from one of the lifeboats on our way back. I think the one I snatched had some dresses in it, so you might actually get some appropriate attire for tomorrow.”

Lucy reaches her cabin door and knocks quietly as she opens it. “It’s just me… it’s Lucy,” she says. Then she turns to Karl and asks, “Do you speak other languages?”

“German, French, Spanish, and Arabic.”

“I don’t know what language my roommates speak and I would love to assure them that everything is ok. I speak French, and can recognize German, Spanish, and Arabic, so I don’t think that’s what they speak, but um… maybe I’m wrong?”

“I’ll see if I can manage,” Karl says, shrugging his shoulders. “Hang out with Garcia long enough in random countries, you pick up a word or two from the absurd amount of languages he speaks.”

Lucy raises her brow. “How many does he speak? Three? Four?”

“I don’t know the exact number, but it’s over a dozen,” Karl answers.

Lucy is impressed.

More than impressed.

Lucy opens the door and stands in front of Karl.

Her three roommates stand, huddled together, their eyes on Karl, not Lucy.

Lucy’s asked, “Cine este el?” by one of the women.

Lucy looks at Karl.

“Maybe Portuguese?” Karl looks at the women and asks, “As senhoras são portuguesas?“

Lucy leans to him and whispers, “You know Portuguese too?”

“Caught a few phrases from Garcia when I went with him and his girls to Portugal one summer,” Karl whispers back. “He was teaching Iris how to ask people where they were from.”

Lucy’s heart aches at the mention of Iris.

The three women look at Karl, not understanding. The talkative one shakes her head and answers, “Nu suntem portugheze.”

Karl looks at Lucy. “They’re not Portuguese, but the word for that language is similar enough that I think they understood my question.”

Lucy goes to her bag, and takes out the brown skirt and high-collared white blouse she wore earlier this evening when she boarded the Titanic. She removes her corset from a hook on the wall next to her bed.

She looks at her roommates, then at Karl. She points at him and explains, knowing they won’t understand her. “He’s my friend… umm… my amigo… ami…moj prijatelj…”

At her use of the Croatian word for ‘friend,’ the eyes of the women light up, and one smiles and says, “El este prietenul tău? Bine.” The woman nods her head with a smile.

Lucy looks at Karl, and shrugs. “I guess maybe Croatian is close to whatever language they speak?”

“Looks like.”

“I uh… I should probably get changed into my dress before you accompany me to first class… do you mind?” She gestures to the door.

“Need help tying that corset?” He asks.

Lucy’s face contorts, she opens her mouth about to reject his offer, but Karl stops her.

“I’m kidding,” he says with a chuckle. “I’ll be outside.”

-----

Joseph LaRoche does his best to ignore the disapproving looks he’s receiving from the first class passengers as he and Garcia walk with urgency down a first class corridor, heading towards the stern of the ship. Being paraded around in his pajamas, among men and women he feels should be his equals, is quite the embarrassment.

“My stateroom is on E Deck,” LaRoche tells Garcia as they make their way down to D Deck on the main staircase.

He slows his pace as he gets his first view of the first class Reception Room at the foot of the Grand Staircase. It’s a large, open room with white-painted walls. Tables and chairs are perfectly placed all over the room. The ship’s band is positioned in front of the foot of the staircase, and they are playing Saint-Saëns’s Mon Coeur S'Ouvre à Ta Voix.

Garcia places his hand on LaRoche’s shoulder and leads him to where the staircase continues downward to E Deck. 

“My room is this way,” LaRoche says, guiding Garcia to the left, and then down another long corridor. “But it’s all the way towards the back of the ship. Are you familiar with where the second class barber shop is located?”

“Unfortunately, no. I’m not very well acquainted with the ship,” Garcia answers.

“I wasn’t either, but I followed my curiosity once I got my family settled. I’m a mechanical engineer, so this ship is of great interest to me.”

“Did you board at Cherbourg?”

“We did. We are making the journey back to my homeland, Haiti.”

“What kind of work did you do in France?” Garcia asks.

“I worked for a short time with Les Enterprises Nord-Sud in Paris. It is a company that has contracts to construct an underground electric railway system in the city. I, along with other engineers, was assigned to design line A, which is to run from Porte de la Chapelle to Porte de Versailles from Montmartre and Montparnasse.”

“Sounds like interesting work.”

“Difficult work. Subsoil like chalk in many places.” LaRoche looks at Garcia to see if he really has an interest in what he’s saying. Garcia is paying attention, so he continues. “That kind of subsoil made it difficult to run the line straight. And we had to dig underneath la Seine between the Chambres de Députés and Concorde stations. I would bring the blueprints home with me and work long into the night to try to figure out the best way to do my job. Men’s lives were at stake. Too many of them died working this project. Some from digging kilometers of tunnels, some electrocuted, and…” LaRoche closes his eyes and takes a breath, “… some were cut in half on accident because of engines.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Garcia says quietly.

“My contract ended after, and it was difficult to find work. Only small jobs here and there. I was mistreated, and miserable until the birth of my first daughter, Simone, of course.”

LaRoche looks up at Garcia with a twinkle in his eye.

Garcia understands.

Iris’s birth remains, to this day, one of the best – happiest, most joyful – events in his life. He smiles, but cannot conceal the sadness that will forever haunt him when he thinks of his little girl. He takes a breath and closes his eyes, remembering how it felt the first time he held Iris in his arms, and she curled her entire hand around his finger.

“Do you have children?” LaRoche asks.

“I had a daughter, but she… she died a few years ago, along with her mother.”

“I’m sorry to hear of this.”

“Thank you.”

The two men walk in comfortable silence down the long corridor for several more minutes.

“My room is here,” LaRoche says, stopping in front of a door on the right side of the hallway. “I pray that my family is still asleep, and that your manservant did not wake them when he forced me out of the room.”

The door opens, and Emma Whitmore steps out with a small brown satchel slung over her shoulder. She stops dead in her tracks, face-to-face with Joseph LaRoche.

Her eyes dart upward to Garcia.

Despite their agreement that she would protect Lucy from Rittenhouse discovering her existence, they did not agree to play nicely when it comes to the documents inside this satchel.

She pushes LaRoche so that he falls backward into Garcia, and she takes off running towards the stern of the ship.

Garcia quickly checks that LaRoche is not injured.

He takes his gun out of his coat pocket, and takes off after Emma.

But he doesn’t know this ship well.

He can’t lose her.

Not when she has landed the Mothership in the cargo hold.

Not when she has the documents and can easily go back to 2017.

-----

Emma bursts through another door and takes a hard right, running two steps at a time up a stairwell to D Deck. She pauses, and tries to figure out where she is. She makes her way to the right. She peers into a room and sees that she’s at the second class Dining Saloon.

She looks towards the front of the ship.

She needs to get back to Wyatt so they can get the fuck off this ship before Garcia or anyone else from his team finds her, threatening her acquisition of these documents. She bursts through a door, then she’s running past another door that says ‘pantry,’ and she runs past stewards who are coming in and out of rooms with silverware, drinking glasses, and plates.

She pushes through another set of doors and runs by the confused kitchen staff. She keeps running and running until she finds herself bodychecking her way through the doors leading into the first class Dining Saloon.

She nearly trips over her own feet, coming to a sudden halt. The satchel falls off her shoulder and onto the floor, when she sees Lucy Preston standing in the middle of the darkened, empty room, surrounded only by dining tables, chairs, and the pristine white walls.

Fuck.

The two women stare at each other, hearing only the distant sound of the band playing Oh, You Beautiful Doll, a popular ragtime love song.

“I should’ve known you’d show up, Princess. What? With your boyfriend on board?” Emma feigns that she’s pleased to see Lucy, but really, she hates that she’s face-to-face with her. Especially since Lucy has no idea how much she is doing to try to save her from Rittenhouse. She assures herself that it’s ok that she runs into Lucy as long as Wyatt doesn’t show up and see her too.

Lucy looks at the satchel beside Emma’s feet.

“What’s in the bag, Emma?”

“Nothing of interest to you,” Emma answers, eyeing the satchel. She knows if she doesn’t hurry that Garcia will find them, and the last thing she wants is to be stuck in a room with the two people who could help her, that is… if she ever became the asking-for-help type. “Look, Princess… I’m willing to walk out of here if-”

Lucy lunges towards the satchel and grabs it. She turns to run, but stops when she hears Emma cock back the hammer of her gun. Lucy slowly turns around, her hands up. “I’m sorry, I was just going to take this to see if there are any clothes I could wear tomorrow,” Lucy lies.

“You’re a bad liar,” Emma says as she aims the barrel of the gun at Lucy’s face. She smirks. “Now, give me the bag, and we go our separate ways, or… I shoot you.”

Lucy wets her lips.

Thinking.

Whatever is in this bag is probably what Rittenhouse sent her to retrieve. Whatever is in it was probably lost, buried forever at the bottom of the ocean in the original timeline.

“You can’t shoot me, Emma. Imagine the consequences you’d face for killing me when my mother wants me back so badly,” Lucy says. She looks at the satchel in her hand. “I can’t let you have it. Not if whatever’s in it is something Rittenhouse risked sending you to the Titanic to retrieve.”

Emma cocks back the hammer of her gun, staring down Lucy, praying that the Princess gets scared of her hollow threat enough to just give her back the damn bag.

Lucy swiftly kicks Emma in the shin, and takes off running.

“Bitch,” Emma sneers, watching Lucy run towards the doors leading out to the Reception Room. She chases after her.

Lucy looks behind her as she runs, trying her best not to trip over her own feet as she gets closer to the door to the Reception Room. If she makes it there, Emma wouldn’t possibly shoot at her, or fight with her with the band still playing upbeat ragtime tunes, right?

Lucy screams as Emma pulls her ponytail. She covers Lucy’s mouth as they fall to the floor. They’re only a few steps away from the Reception Room door. The band is now playing the upbeat, and cheerful Wedding Dance – originally known as Hochzeitsreigen Walzer, by German composer Paul Lincke.

Lucy bites Emma’s hand to break free from her grasp, and it works.

She turns around, breathing hard. She stares at Emma.

Her eyes fall to the floor where Emma’s gun has been thrown a few feet away from them. She knows she can’t let Emma regain possession of her weapon, so she drops the satchel and makes a mad dash for the gun. But Emma isn’t far behind, and she slams her foot down on Lucy’s skirt. Lucy falls face-first onto the floor.

Lucy can’t let this stop her. With Emma’s foot still on her skirt, she tries to crawl towards the gun. She hears the fabric of her skirt tear, and she quickens her pace.

She grabs the gun.

She aims it up at Emma as she rolls onto her back.

But this doesn’t stop Emma, so Lucy has to kick her ankle. Emma falls, and Lucy scrambles to her feet, the torn fabric of her brown skirt dragging on the ground. She looks at Emma as she blows a loose strand of hair from her forehead. She looks back at the satchel, knowing she needs to get it as far away from Emma as possible. Perhaps even throw the damn thing overboard. That is… if she can get upstairs to the A Deck promenade. Or… if she could run to the gangway door next to the Reception Room, and if she can get it open, then she could toss it from there. It’s closer, but might be hard to open.

“I can’t let you have that, Lucy,” Emma warns, wiping blood from her lip, an injury sustained from her fall.

But Lucy doesn’t hear her.

Her mind is flooding with memories of her life before all this… before time travel. Playing softball in the backyard with her sister, rolling around in their mother’s flower garden, ice skating on Christmas Eve with Amy at San Francisco’s Union Square, dance classes and coming home to practice what they had learned while their mother played the piano in the living room… How badly she wanted to be a dancer, or a novelist before her mother convinced her to follow in her footsteps, to study and teach history.

How she was taking care of her mother who was only a week into at-home hospice when Agent Kondo knocked on the door, and brought her to Mason Industries.

How she felt stabbed in the heart when she discovered her own mother is a member of Rittenhouse. How betrayed she felt when she learned that Denise Christopher and Wyatt Logan – two people she had come to trust – were also members of Rittenhouse. How it felt returning to a 2017 where she no longer exists because of something Emma did in 2003 to ensure her death.

How she’s lost everything.

How Emma took her life in 2003, changing the world so drastically that even the history she always believed she could count on, is gone.

Lucy stops.

Her eyes closed.

She turns and points the gun at Emma.

“What do you do to someone who has taken everything that you love?” Lucy gasps for air as the tears stream down her face. Though she is alive, the loss in her life is devastating.

Emma eyes the gun in Lucy’s hand. She calmly tells her, “You still have Flynn,” hoping that Lucy can hear that she’s not quite the enemy that she’s pretended to be this whole time.

Lucy cries out, then turns around choking on air as she tries to calm herself. She shakes her head, turns around, and with the gun fixed on Emma, she approaches her.

“Lucy… please…”

Tears sting Lucy’s eyes and she doesn’t care.

Emma glances behind Lucy, and sees Wyatt slowly making his way to them.

Fuck.

Now he has confirmation that he did, in fact, see Lucy board this damn ship at Cherbourg. And Emma has to put up appearances so Wyatt doesn’t rat her out when they return.

Emma’s eyes are wide as Lucy presses the cool steel of her gun against her forehead.

Lucy pulls the trigger, but nothing happens.

It jammed.

Emma huffs with a smirk.

She’s impressed that the Princess actually pulled the trigger.

She grabs Lucy’s wrist, and kicks her.

Lucy falls backward, giving the upper-hand to Emma.

BAM!

Wyatt takes a shot at Lucy, with intent to maim, not kill her.

She barely has time to register that Wyatt just shot at her before Emma lunges at her again.

Lucy rolls onto her hands and knees, trying to crawl away. But Emma grabs her, turns her around, and throws a punch straight into her face.

Lucy grabs onto Emma, and pushes her backward, through the door, and they tumble into the Reception Room –interrupting an otherwise pleasant evening for first class passengers who lingered in the area to mingle amongst each other. They gasp and stare at the two women as they fall through the Dining Saloon’s door.

Lucy eyes the doors to the first class entrance to the ship on their right.

She sees the D Deck gangway door.

If she can get to it, and open it, she might have a chance to throw Emma overboard. Lucy runs past several first class passengers as she hurries towards the first class entrance. It’s only feet away from her now.

Wyatt rushes into the Reception Room, with his gun drawn, causing women to shriek in terror.

“CALL THE MASTER-AT-ARMS!” a man shouts to whomever is listening.

Lucy reaches the entryway, just as Emma grabs onto her elbow. Lucy screams as Emma throws her hard onto the floor.

Emma straddles her, and punches her in the face again.

Lucy might be an option out of Rittenhouse if that’s ever what Emma decides to do, but regardless… Lucy is her enemy, and if she must kill her enemy to survive – or even to protect the damn Princess from what Rittenhouse wants to do to her – she will do it. But she at least needs to try to let Lucy know that every pre-conceived opinion she has of her is not necessarily true.

She curls her hand around Lucy’s neck, squeezing until Lucy is coughing and gasping for air.

“Poor Princess Lucy… everything handed to you, but it still wasn’t enough,” Emma says, seething with jealousy that Lucy can fight Rittenhouse, betray them, and her mother refuses to order any of them to kill her because she and Rittenhouse would rather Lucy be raped to conceive the damn founder of their organization in the early eighteenth century. “I didn’t take anything away from you. Your mother was brainwashed by Rittenhouse, not me. And your sister, well, I’m certain you know by now that she’s alive in 2017.” Emma lowers her voice, “When will you open your eyes and see that not everything is as you’ve been conditioned to see? I’m not the bad guy here, Princess.”

Struggling to breathe, Lucy blinks her eyes, wondering if she heard her right. Not the bad guy? How? She’s straddling her, trying to strangle her to death. What about this isn’t being a bad guy? Lucy gasps for air, trying to call for help – even though she knows Karl trusted her to go straight to their parlour suite when they parted ways on the first class promenade.

“Emma…” Wyatt warns, standing behind her. “Carol would want us to bring her back immediately.”

Emma ignores him.

Instead, she addresses Lucy, speaking softly enough so Wyatt can’t hear her.

“Do you really believe that your mother forgot who Amy was when you returned from the Hindenburg? That bitch knew Rittenhouse commissioned Mason to build them a time machine. She knew it was only a matter of time before Rittenhouse could go back and change history. Before she was on her deathbed, she had written instructions for Rittenhouse to disappear Amy.” Emma pauses, looking now into Lucy’s eyes, seeing that she’s listening to her.

Lucy grasps again at Emma’s fingers, trying hard to breathe.

But Emma lets up.

If she killed Lucy, that alone would save her from the horrible fate her mother so badly desires for her.

“When you came back from 1937… Rittenhouse had only locked Amy away in the same holding cells your own mother locked you away in when she had you kidnapped last month. Techs at Rittenhouse digitally erased your sister, leaving behind no trace so that you’d believe she had been erased from existence. They put Amy’s friends and their families – anyone you might reach out to – into a program similar to witness protection. And anyone who refused… they killed.”

Lucy swallows hard, wincing as Emma adjusts her grip on her neck. She opens her mouth to speak, but nothing comes out.

“And why do you think your mother encouraged you to study instead of developing close friendships?” Emma pauses. “You don’t have friends, right? Why do you think that is? The closest friends you had were the people assigned to help you chase after Flynn, and who do you think funded Connor Mason so that he could pay their paychecks?”

Lucy looks into Emma’s eyes, begging her to let her gasp for air. She’s feeling light-headed, as if she might pass out.

“And even then… of Rufus, and Jiya, Wyatt and Agent Christopher… two of them are members of Rittenhouse. And anyone else who knew you, like that boyfriend, Jake… you’ve been dead to everyone for fourteen years, and not even Rufus or Jiya know who you are.

Emma loosens her grip just enough so Lucy can catch a breath of air.

Lucy coughs, and then Emma grips her tight again.

Emma shakes her head. “What was it like being raised by your mother to be her – to be Rittenhouse’s – most prized possession? She raised you in the hope that you’d be easy to manipulate. So, don’t blame me for your upbringing. It was your mom who ordered your sister taken away from you. It was your mother who agreed with the orders to go back to ensure your death in 2003. It’s your mother you’re fighting, not me.”

Lucy curls her finger beneath one of Emma’s, giving herself temporary relief from her grip. But it doesn’t last long. Emma is too strong and has the upper hand. She squeezes Lucy’s neck again.

“Emma, get her up off the floor and let’s get out of here,” Wyatt says.

Emma ignores him and continues to speak only to Lucy, “I’m just a pawn in their game, Princess. And like you, I want to take them-”

“Emma…” Wyatt says her name again, not wanting to physically pull her off of Lucy.

“I can’t imagine what it was like for you to find out that your own mother wants you to be raped.” Emma tightens her hold on Lucy’s neck. “I didn’t want that for you, Princess. And I guess the only decent thing I can do is repeat what I tried to do… what your own mother succeeded in doing in 2003…” She pauses for dramatic effect. “To make sure you don’t make it back home.” She smirks as Lucy tries to pry her hand from her neck. “It’d be the nice thing to do, don’t you think? Save you from being raped by your ancestor?” Lucy gasps for air and tries to say something incoherent to Emma. Emma raises her brow. “Killing you would destroy Rittenhouse, you know.”

“LUCY!”

Emma’s eyes go wide.

She looks up and sees Garcia Flynn running toward them.

His gun drawn.

And the goddamn satchel is slung over his shoulder.

Emma quickly stands up, and grabs her gun. She knows it is jammed, so she has to take cover behind Wyatt as he takes several shots in Garcia’s direction.

Garcia shelters himself behind the wall of the first class entryway. He peers out and sees that Lucy is still laying on the ground. She’s holding her own hands to her neck, coughing, struggling to breathe.

Fuck Emma and Wyatt.

He has the documents, and Lucy needs him.

He emerges from behind the wall, his gun on Wyatt. “Leave!” He shouts at them, waving his gun in the direction of the Reception Room behind him. He should kill them both, but he needs to make this look like he was protecting Lucy since he heard the calls for someone to fetch the Master-at-Arms.

Garcia looks down at Lucy as he makes his way to the gangway door.

Emma watches him with narrow eyes, what the fuck is he doing?

Keeping an eye on both Emma and Wyatt, he struggles, but manages, to open the large gangway door.

He tosses the satchel overboard into the freezing water below.

“You stupid son-of-a-bitch,” Emma seethes.

“I couldn’t let you off this ship with it,” he tells her, then says, “You’re welcome to dive in after it. I won’t stop you.” He gives her a look, letting her know that he doesn’t want to hurt her since their previous conversation revealed to him more about herself than Emma intended.

She glares at him, and does her best to signal to him that she’s sorry Wyatt showed up, and now whatever happens is out of her control. She takes one last look at Lucy – sprawled out on the floor, bruised, and still gasping for air. She touches Wyatt’s arm and guides him out of the entryway and into the Reception Room. And all Garcia hears as they run away is Wyatt whining about how they can’t leave without Lucy.

Garcia tucks his weapon back into his pocket as he makes his way to Lucy. She’s struggling to lift herself up so that she can stand, so he kneels at her side.

“Lucy…” he whispers as he places his hand gently on her shoulder. And a part of his soul shatters when Lucy lets out a cry. Tears sting his eyes, “Hey…” He runs his hand over the top of her head. “They’re gone…” his voice is raw; broken.

“Garcia…” she cries.

He picks her up, and pulls her against his chest as both her arms wrap around his neck. He adjusts so that she rests comfortably in his arms. He presses his lips to the top of her head, and whispers, “I’m here, Lucy…” He kisses her forehead. “She’s gone…”

Lucy pulls back, looking up into his eyes.

She caresses his face.

She found him.

No.

He found her.

They found each other.

She presses her lips together to try to stop crying, but it doesn’t work. She holds onto the back of his head, her fingers weaving through his hair.

She’s scared.

Hurt.

Relieved that she’s no longer alone.

“You threw the bag overboard…” she whispers, cupping her hand around his ear. She knows he didn’t want her to come on this mission. She’s still upset with him for leaving her behind and telling her he doesn’t need her here, but dammit… he just saved her life. She closes her eyes and rubs her cheek against the rough stubble on his face. She wets her lips, then opens her mouth, takes a breath, and pulls his mouth towards hers.

“BACK AWAY FROM THE WOMAN!” A man shouts.

Lucy trembles as Garcia pulls away from her.

He raises his hands in the air as he sees a man aiming a gun at him.

He remains on his knees next to Lucy.

Lucy turns her head to see who is speaking to them. The man approaching them is Thomas King, the ship’s Master-at-Arms – the man in charge of law enforcement and security on board the ship.

“It’s ok…” Lucy says, struggling to get to her feet. “He’s… I’m… we’re here together…” She has no idea what their cover story is going to be.

Garcia slowly rises to his feet.

He takes hold of Lucy’s hand, and helps her.

She stands next to him.

“My wife was assaulted, sir,” Garcia explains, turning to Lucy, cradling her bloodied and bruised face in his hand. He gently caresses her cheekbone with his thumb. He looks into her eyes, silently apologizing that she’s been hurt by Emma, and for not reaching her sooner.

Thomas King takes in the scene before him.

Garcia is dressed as a first class ticket holder, and Lucy is dressed in a dull brown dress in a style common among the ship’s third class passengers. He takes notice of the torn fabric of her skirt.

“This woman is your wife?” he asks, glancing down, noticing that neither one of them is wearing a ring. “I don’t believe that lie for one second.” He looks at Lucy, and orders her. “Come with me, ma’am.” He turns to the men who accompanied him. “Arrest him. I’ll deal with him as soon as I return from escorting her back to her third class cabin.”

Lucy shakes her head and glances at Garcia.

The last thing they need is for Garcia to get locked up somewhere in the lower decks of this ship when it’s on a collision course for an iceberg. She just found him, and there’s no way in Hell that she’s going to let King separate them.

She pulls her necklace from beneath her bloodied blouse, and holds up Garcia’s wedding ring. “No. I… I lost my ring in France, and I thought that I’d wear my husband’s. As you can see, it doesn’t fit me properly, so I put it around my neck instead.”

King eyes her, not believing her story.

Lucy shakes her head, and reaches behind her neck. She takes off her necklace, removing Garcia’s ring. She takes his hand, and places it back on his finger.

Garcia watches her.

He swallows hard, worrying that she may have intended to return his ring to him after he upset her when he left for Baku. He wets his lips nervously, and says, “I can prove that the ring is mine, sir.”

“How so?”

Garcia removes the ring, not once breaking eye contact with King to look at it.

“It’s engraved, and I can tell you exactly what it says.”

Lucy looks up at Garcia. She places her hand on his arm as King inspects the ring.

“Garcia… ampersand… Lorena… ampersand… Iris,” Garcia tells him.

King inspects the ring, nods his head. He gives Garcia his ring back, but speaks to Lucy. “Lorena, I do suggest wearing class-appropriate clothing.” He eyes her as if he still doesn’t believe their story. “This is first class, and there are standards that are expected to be met.” He pauses to look at Garcia. “You might do better to control the way your wife comports herself in public.” King gives them both stern looks. “Good evening, sir…” he nods his head, then looks at Lucy. “Lorena,” he says the name with an air of doubt.

He bows at the waist, turns, and walks away. He speaks to the men surrounding him about talking to witnesses to get an idea of who the perpetrators of tonight’s violence are, so that they can be found and arrested.

Lucy closes her eyes. She sighs heavily. That’s just what she needs; people thinking her name is Lorena. She prays that King doesn’t speak of this incident to many people, especially anyone who might search them out to talk about what happened here tonight. She does not want people to call her Lorena.

She feels Garcia’s eyes on her as the Master-at-Arms disappears up the Grand Staircase.

She doesn’t know what to say, so she remains quiet. It makes her nervous that Garcia is silent too. Time seems to slow down. An eternity passing in their silence. And the entire time, Lucy wonders if Garcia will give his ring back to her. Or maybe after the way she had hung up on him, that somehow, he’s changed his mind about wanting her to wear it on her necklace.

Garcia watches Lucy, unsure of what is running through her mind. Does she expect him to give her back his ring? Did she place it on his finger to give it back to him in order to avoid fighting with him about it later? He watches her, trying to figure out what to do, or what to say. She’s not looking at him. She’s quiet. He swallows, and then reluctantly places the ring back on his finger.

He clears his throat.

Lucy turns to him.

She’s upset.

She’s angry with him for saying he would fight Rittenhouse without her. And she’s telling herself to resist every instinct she has to just take him in her arms, kiss him, and tell him how much she loves him, but… she is hurt. Her skirt is unraveling, her head is throbbing, and… she knows she should be upset with him, but all she wants to do is kiss his stupid face.

But she can’t.

She won’t.

Not until they fight this out.

She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

When her eyes open, she storms toward him, and pokes him hard in the chest with her index finger. She wants to give him an earful about how he cannot make decisions for her, and to yell at him about how much it hurt that he told her he doesn’t need her here.

Her eyes are on fire.

Her lips quiver as she scrambles to find the words she needs to say.

She’s angry.

Afraid.

She shakes her head, and her voice is weak as she tries to speak, “I…” Her eyes fill with tears. She squeezes her eyes shut, shaking her head. When she speaks again, the anger has taken over. “I am so angry with y-”

Garcia grabs her wrist.

He shakes his head.

His jaw is tight.

His eyes pleading with her not to fight.

Not now.

Not while she’s hurt from her encounter with Emma. He’s terrified that she followed him to the Titanic. And that it’s too late; Wyatt saw her fighting with Emma. That guarantees that word will get back to Lucy’s mother – and to Rittenhouse – that Lucy is alive again in 2017.

The threat of Rittenhouse capturing Lucy, and taking her back to Byron Rittenhouse in 1725 so he can rape her, so that she can conceive David Rittenhouse – the organization’s founder – is once again a very real threat to her.

He looks into her eyes, and he can see the pain he caused her.

He can see the fear as she too understands that she’s no longer safe from Rittenhouse.

Garcia has never been more terrified for Lucy in his life.

Lucy tries to stifle a cry. She can’t be angry with him when he saved her life. She opens her mouth to speak, but he speaks to her first. And in his words, she hears his heart breaking.

“I told you not to come here, Lucy…” His voice cracks. “I told you I would fight this war for you…” He pulls her into him gently, without letting go of her wrist. “And now they know you’re alive, and…” his voice cracks, “… and what about your theory? What if time travel hurts our chances at having a family? If there’s any reason for you to stay off these missions, it’s for the children we want to have together…”

Lucy shakes her head, her mouth open, but she doesn’t know what to say. She wasn’t expecting him to be so worried about their chances at having a family so early in their relationship.

“I love you so damn much, Lucy,” he whispers, gently circling the delicate skin of her wrist with his thumb. He slides his hand up along the long-sleeve of her blouse to hold onto her elbow. He looks into her eyes, trying to understand what she was thinking when she decided to come here. What could be more important to her than her ability to conceive a child?

He knows.

While having children is not guaranteed, he is.

He’s here.

She can touch him, talk to him, be with him.

Whether they have children or not, right now, he is the only constant in her life. And she cannot lose him. She came here to be with him. To work with him. To protect him. To ensure that he survives the sinking of this damn ship.

Lucy averts her eyes, feeling guilty for defying him. She uses the sleeve of her free arm to wipe blood from the corner of her mouth.

Garcia lets go of her wrist. He tilts her chin up with his fingertips, so that she is looking into his eyes. He towers above her, and she strains her neck to keep her eyes locked with his. And then, he places his hands delicately on both sides of her face, using his thumb to wipe blood from her cheekbone. He leans down, and without another thought, he kisses her.

Garcia closes his eyes, savoring the way her lips feel against his – soft.

Fragile.

She whimpers as she opens her mouth, and her arms wrap around his neck.

His hands fall to her waist, pulling her closer against him. “Očajna sam zbog tebe,” he murmurs, running his hand slowly up her back.

Lucy doesn’t understand what he said, but she can feel their meaning in the way Garcia presses his lips more desperately against hers. She whispers his name as she opens her mouth to him, and his tongue curls gently around hers. She moves her hand to the nape of his neck, then to his collarbone.

He moans into her mouth as her fingertips lightly trace the outline of his ear. He moves his hand to her hip and is deliberate as he moves towards her chest.

Their lips part and Lucy gasps audibly as his hand covers the fabric of her bloodied blouse above her breast. She lowers her hands to his chest and pushes him ever so slightly away.

Their breathing is heavy.

He looks down into her brown eyes. He’s searching for her to give him a reason to stop. But her eyes reflect the same desperation of his own. He shakes his head and wets his lips.

He needs her.

He rests his hand on her lower back, and leads her backward toward the wall.

Lucy winces as Garcia presses her bruised back against the wall. But it doesn’t matter that she’s hurt. She needs him. She tilts her head back, and holds onto the back of his neck as he lowers himself to her, nuzzling his face into the crook of her neck, kissing her. His name is an anguished cry on her lips, “Garcia…” as he nibbles on her earlobe, and places soft kisses along her jawline.

He stops to look at her.

Tears are streaming down her face.

“It’s ok…” he whispers, “… draga… it’s ok…”

“I know,” she murmurs. “I’m just so upset with you… and I’m relieved that you’re here…” she sniffles before rising on her toes to kiss his cheek. “And that you’re safe… and that they didn’t hurt you…” She looks into his eyes as she runs the back of her hand across his jaw, caressing his stubble.

“Can I kiss you again?” he asks, unsure if this is what she really wants right now. But she nods her head, granting him permission.

He first leans down and kisses her forehead, pulling back to run his thumb over her lips. He looks into her eyes, and she blinks slowly, lowering her eyes to gaze at his lips. He leans in again, kissing her.

Lucy cries out again as his mouth envelops her own. She needs him. After everything she has been through since she was brought to Mason Industries and told time travel is real. Losing her sister, finding that her mother was no longer in at-home hospice care, being engaged to Noah, falling for Wyatt, being kidnapped by Rittenhouse, being betrayed by her own mother.

The torture she endured as their prisoner.

How she had to pretend to be one of them in order to find her way to Garcia.

How she used to call him Flynn.

Fighting with him in bed at the prison visitation house.

Wanting him then just as much as she wants him now, but different.

Before she wanted him to take her rough, to hurt her, to squeeze her neck harder so that maybe the fear, and the pain of being handled in such a manner would be better than facing the reality that the life she thought she knew had been a lie.

But she no longer wants him to hurt her.

She wants him.

Needs him.

She pulls away, gasping for air.

Then her lips press hopelessly against his.

She opens her mouth so that he can truly and completely devour her.

And he does.

Oh God, he takes her. Kissing her rough, teeth scraping against each other. Groaning… exhaling breaths of desire into each other with each fervent kiss.

Lucy weaves her arms through his, feeling his muscles move beneath his black evening coat as her hands grasp onto his broad shoulders.

With every stroke of their tongues, every stolen breath, their desire for each other grows.

Forgetting where they are, Garcia uses one hand to unbutton the top three buttons of her blouse. And… if he were to remove it completely, exposing her corset and chemise to any passersby, she wouldn’t care.

He uses his chin to move the fabric aside to gently suck on the skin of her collarbone, his scruff prickling at her pale skin. Lucy moans his name as she grabs his coat by its lapels, pulling herself against him as he trails kisses along the side of her neck. He nibbles on her earlobe, shooting waves of indescribable pleasure from her head to her toes. Then he cups her jaw in the palm of his hand, turning her head so they are once again face-to-face. He presses his lips hard against hers, his tongue tracing the outline of her lips, begging for her to open up to him again.

“Lucy… moje srce... moj život...” he murmurs.

“Garcia…” she murmurs.

He takes a deep breath, inhaling her. Memorizing the way she feels, the way she smells, and the way she strokes the side of his neck with her fingers.

“Draga…” He kisses a tear that has fallen down her cheek. He looks her in the eyes, and knows that he is hers, and she is his, and that there is nothing in this world that can tear them apart. Not Rittenhouse. Not Emma, or Wyatt. Not even if his wife and daughter were brought back on this Earth.

He loves Lucy so goddamn much it hurts.

And she’s in his arms.

His lips against hers, and he needs to be closer to her.

He aches for her.

Her fingers are in his hair, and she’s crying into his mouth as they kiss each other with abandon.

Blood rushes through him as he imagines taking her, turning her around, and pressing the front of her body up against this wall, so he can properly unbutton her blouse and skirt, and rip the laces from her corset.

He groans as Lucy’s hand slowly drifts from his shoulder, down the side of his torso, resting on his hip. She’s moaning his name as if begging him to give in to every desire imaginable. Her hand slides across his belt, hesitating at the buckle. And my God, he wants her to take him. To feel her hand close around him, to stroke him, and to take him as her own.

He moves his hand carefully to her breast, and gives her a gentle squeeze.

She breathes his name into his mouth as her lips press against his. She gently bites his lower lip, and looks up at him with the Devil sparkling in her eyes. She kisses him again. Hard and rough. Wanting to surrender herself to him as their kiss grows ever more desperate.

His voice is a low rumble as he exhales her name, “Lucy…”

Chills run all over her body when she feels Garcia nuzzle his face into the crook of her neck, his stubble gently prickling against her skin.

He pulls back and looks at her. How can he be so lucky that she should love him too? Then once again, his lips are on hers. His kisses are soft and hard, rough and delicate.

She tilts her head backward and moans as his hand covers the entirety of her breast.

Garcia groans in frustration as his thumb searches for her nipple, but she’s wearing too many layers of clothing to find it. His breathing is labored, and he feels nothing but a full sensation throbbing between his legs. He knows they should stop. They’re in the goddamn first class entrance, right next to the Reception Room where passengers are likely to notice what is going on between them.

He pulls away from her, lowering his head into the crook of her neck. He closes his eyes, enjoying the way her fingers feel in his hair.

Out-of-breath, Lucy purrs his name, “Garcia…” She turns her head and kisses the top of his head. She wants nothing more than to give herself to him. To forget how angry and upset she is with him so that she can surrender to him tonight.

But she can’t.

They can’t.

Not here.

Lucy redirects her gaze and sees curious passengers – some looking awfully offended – peering in at them, curious about two of the four passengers who were caught up in tonight’s firearms drama.

They should go back to their room.

But not to make love.

They need to talk – or fight – about what happened after he left for Baku.

And she’s afraid.

Afraid to fight with him about things that matter.

Before, she avoided conflict in relationships. She didn’t like to fight because she believed it meant that the man she was with, no longer loved her. She thought a fight meant that she had done something wrong because she was raised to believe she could never be good enough. That she has to be the one to bend over backwards to please everyone in her life.

Even if she and Garcia fight, she knows that he will still love her. But that fear of being rejected, or being treated like shit because the man must ‘always be right,’ is attached to her. Her heart knows that there is nothing in this world that could tear them apart, but her mind is telling her to just agree with whatever he says to keep the peace. To agree with him so that he will still love her.

To agree with him that she should’ve stayed in Houston.

With tears threatening to fall, and her heart in her throat, Lucy slowly runs her hand up the back of his neck, wanting to remember how he looks, and how he feels before… Lucy lowers her head and closes her eyes… before he might leave her for disobeying him.

She takes a deep breath.

She’s so afraid to lose him.

Fear.

Fear isn’t what’s actually happening. It’s just your reaction to it… So, I clear my head, think one single thought… escape.

But if she tries to escape from this, that would mean leaving him. Walking away from him forever. Not dealing with how much he hurt her, and how she felt betrayed – lied to – by his decisions.

She cups his jaw in her hand and looks into his eyes.

Neither of them moves.

Neither of them says anything.

Silence.

Garcia closes his eyes and takes a breath, and then mumbles to himself something in Croatian.

“Garcia…?” She gently runs her hand over his head, going up on her toes to kiss his cheek. She doesn’t know what he’s saying, but he is focused on the words fumbling out of his mouth. Words not directed at her, but to himself.

With his eyes still closed, he tells her, “I’m taking care of…” He nods his head, gesturing below his belt.

“Oh,” she utters, realizing.

Lucy takes a deep breath, and relaxes against the wall of the first class entrance. She watches Garcia as his lips move silently.

His eyes are closed, and he squeezes them even tighter. “Pod njim sjedi, djevojčica, bratac pokraj nje…” he murmurs aloud the Croatian nursery rhyme he’s repeating to himself in his head. The guilt he feels for the way he spoke to her on the phone flushes his face red with embarrassment.

He looks at Lucy, and quickly averts his eyes.

Before she said that she was still angry with him, and he feels guilty for everything he said to her over the phone before she hung up on him.

He feels her watching him. “I’m sorry, Lucy… For everything.” He looks at her with regret. “I was wrong to agree that I’d only be gone for a week, and that I’d come back for you, only to change my mind as you slept. I… didn’t have the courage to wake you, to discuss it with you. I didn’t mean to make a decision for you, I was just thinking about how I could protect you. How I could protect the family we want to have one day.” His eyes lock with hers as he waits for her response. “I know that I hurt you, and… I’m sorry.”

Lucy closes her eyes, allowing herself to feel the anger, the fear of abandonment, and the heart ache she felt when she read his journal entry, and when he told her over the phone that he doesn’t need her on this mission.

I’m so afraid to fight with him… what if he leaves me? She has to stop listening to her inner voice that has taught itself that if she stands up for herself, if she speaks what’s on her mind, that she will lose people she loves. He’s Garcia Flynn. The only man who has ever cared about you. It’s ok to let him know how you feel. He loves you.

She opens her eyes and shoots daggers into his. “I cannot believe you did that to me,” her voice cracks with renewed anger. “After everything I told you I’ve been through. What I went through at Rittenhouse because of my mother, and…” Lucy pauses. “You’re not supposed to betray the ones you love, Garcia.” She steps away from him, rebuttoning her blouse. “My sister was my best friend, and after I lost her, I thought my mother was all I had left. I don’t have many friends, and the ones that I do have, I’m not close to. And it hurt… an unimaginable pain… when I found out my mom is a member of Rittenhouse. It killed me when I thought everyone died in the explosion at Mason Industries because they were the only people I had left. My only friends.”

“Lucy, I would never-”

“And when I turned to you… I didn’t know what to expect. I thought you’d hate me, that you’d blame me for you not being able to save your family. That though we both want to destroy Rittenhouse, that somehow you might reject me. We struggled, and we fought when I visited you in prison. But we both understood that we only had each other, and if we didn’t work together that meant Rittenhouse would win. It shouldn’t have been as easy as it was to get where we are now, but maybe we are meant to do this; to be together. And to destroy Rittenhouse. But when you wrote that you weren’t coming back until you destroyed them without me…” She shakes her head, still in disbelief that he would even think of doing that without her.

Garcia’s jaw is tight, listening to the pain in her voice.

Pain he caused her.

Lucy steps away from him, crossing her arms. “And Emma said something about how Amy had never been erased, that my mother locked her away, and… But the Amy in that alternate 2017… she doesn’t know me, Garcia. She only knew another me, from another timeline, for only thirteen years of her life. I’ve been dead to her longer than the amount of life she’s lived since the day I was killed. I can’t rely on her being…” Lucy hesitates. “I can’t rely on Amy being there for me when it’s finally safe to go to her. She doesn’t know time travel is real. For her, it’s a thing that only exists in books or movies. There’s no guarantee that she won’t think that I’m some imposter, or…” She shakes her head. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that…” She breaks eye contact with Garcia, wiping a tear from her cheek. “You are all I have left, Garcia. You’re my family. The only person that I trust, and when I read your letter, and when you told me that you didn’t need me here…” She trails off, not trusting that she won’t break down and cry.

“How can I make this right?” he asks quietly.

Lucy walks towards the other side of the entrance room. She stops and turns to face him. “You need to understand that what you did, leaving me with every intention not to return until you defeated them, has planted doubt in my mind. I doubt your trust in me to help you fight this war. You can say that you’ll never do it again, and I might nod my head and tell you I believe you, but I won’t. You broke my trust, Garcia.” She looks at him, wiping a tear from her face. “You broke my heart.”

“I’m so sorry, Lucy…”

He sees another passenger pausing to try to listen in to their conversation, so he takes a step towards Lucy, wanting to tell her that maybe they should retire for the evening, go back to the parlour suite to continue this conversation in private.

Lucy extends her arm out to stop him. “You need to know that if you were anyone else that I would end this relationship right now,” she tells him sternly.

He swallows hard.

“But I’m not because I want us to work this out.” She walks towards him, and takes his hand in hers. “I believe in us, Garcia. What you did hurt me, but when you’ve apologized, you’ve been sincere. You’re the only person who has ever truly felt bad for hurting me, and I’m not going to let that… let you, go.”

Garcia raises her hand to his lips and kisses her knuckles.

“Thank you,” he whispers. “And I’ll do whatever I can to help you restore your trust in me, draga. But can I ask you why, if you say I’m the only one you trust, did you come to 1912?” He pauses, watching her bite onto her lower lip nervously. “I don’t mean to cause a fight, or to make it seem I don’t understand what you said, because I do. I just… this mission is so dangerous, and I would never forgive myself if you get hurt,” he reaches out and caresses her brow where a bruise is forming from where Emma punched her. “You mean more to me than anything else in this world, Lucy.” He takes a breath. “I wrote what I wrote, and said what I said because I thought it was the only way I could protect you from them… from this. I know that I hurt you, but that was never my intention.”

“I know…” she murmurs. “I know I can trust you, but dammit, Garcia. Can you blame me for worrying about how you would approach this mission? You rampaged through time, not caring about what history you changed, or… or even telling people that you were from the future. I trust that you would find a way to survive this mission, but God, Garcia… sometimes you act before you think, and on this ship… you need me here. I came here to protect you. I didn’t come here to stop Rittenhouse.”

Garcia nods his head.

“I studied the Titanic, and I am better qualified than either you or Karl to know when, and if history has been changed that could alter what happens to this ship. That could alter how we get off this ship when…” Lucy catches another passenger trying to eavesdrop in her peripheral vision. She stops, knowing that Garcia knows what she’s talking about.

He nods his head. “I’ll let Karl know that you’re taking lead on this mission,” Garcia says. “We should find him, and then sit down and have you go over what you think is necessary for us to know. Karl mentioned something about joining the deck crew, which I think will be for the best since he doesn’t fit in very well in first class. We are first class, which gives us access to many areas of the ship. I think Emma and Wyatt are in second class, and first thing tomorrow I think we should figure out what to do about them-”

“Unless they’re leaving in the Mothership right now. And if they’ve not changed anything else, we could disembark at Queenstown tomorrow morning, and avoid…” She huffs, shaking her head. There’s no way Rittenhouse would make it that easy for them to get off this ship days before it sinks.

He understands what she was going to say, “And even if we did get off this ship in Ireland…” He looks at Lucy, shaking his head. “Jiya has the Lifeboat in New York on the 18th.”

“Your mom went to the 18th too, waiting for us to arrive.” Lucy yawns.

“You said things are better between you two?” he asks.

“I still think she has a preference for Journal Lucy, but… yeah, I saw a few glimpses of the Maria that I met in our timeline.”

“Hopefully she didn’t show you naked baby pictures of me again.”

Lucy smiles, but doesn’t confirm or deny.

“So, she did, huh?”

She doesn’t answer him. Instead, Lucy caresses his arm and asks, “The bag you threw overboard… any idea what was in it?”

“Julian Charvet gave it to Joseph LaRoche to deliver to a Rittenhouse representative in New York. The uh… guy we have inside Rittenhouse, he told Karl that he thought the documents Emma was after was early research Rittenhouse has done towards time travel.” He hates that he’s calling Amy their Rittenhouse ‘guy’ on the inside.

“When I was held captive, my… Carol told me that my great-grand-father, Nicholas Keynes, had written a manifesto filled with ambitious ideas about what Rittenhouse could accomplish if they could identify weak targets through time, and manipulate key players so that they could change history, to create a world where it would be easier for Rittenhouse to control.”

Garcia runs his hand through his hair as Lucy tries to look him in the eyes.

She sees it.

Something’s wrong.

Lucy narrows her eyes, concerned. “Garcia? What is it?”

“It’s nothing. I uh… I think we should make our way back to the room. It’s late, and Emma and Wyatt are still on board the ship, and we can’t let fatigue get in the way of-”

“What aren’t you telling me?” she asks, worried that between saving her life from Emma, destroying documents Rittenhouse was trying to obtain, and dealing with their personal drama, there’s something important that he hasn’t had the chance to tell her.

“What do you mean?” he asks, making sure to maintain eye contact with her as a show of honesty. He knows exactly what he’s keeping from her, and he has no intention of telling her that Amy is involved in the war, and that she is a member of Rittenhouse who is their ‘guy’ – their mole – on the inside until he knows for sure that Amy can be trusted, and that she will pose no threat to Lucy.

He knows this could further destroy her trust in him if she finds out, but the last thing he wants is for her to go running after her sister in that alternative 2017, and getting caught by Rittenhouse. Or worse, Amy betraying her and turning her over to Carol herself.

Garcia’s not lying.

He’s temporarily concealing what he knows to keep Lucy safe.

“I know you, Garcia. You’re keeping something from me.” She looks at him, shaking her head in disbelief. “What is it?” She’s concerned. She wants to believe that after their discussion that he wouldn’t keep something from her, but if he is then… well, whatever it is, it must be very serious.

“I have nothing to keep from you, Lucy,” he lies straight-faced to her, hating every tainted word that comes out of his mouth.

Lucy watches him closely as he turns away from her to go close the gangway door which he had opened when he threw Emma’s satchel into the water.

He turns to face her.

She sees that there’s something important that he’s not telling her, but the look in his eyes isn’t of mal-intent.

She has to trust him.

To trust his judgment.

And maybe it’s not the time or place to tell her whatever it is that he’s keeping from her.

She lowers her gaze.

She won’t push the issue with him.

The last thing she wants is another argument.

“Lucy…” Garcia sees her disappointment. He rests his hands on her waist. “There is something, but… I need time before I feel I can talk to you about it. I still have some things that need to be sorted out. That I need to make sense of.” He looks at her with soft eyes. “I’ll tell you when the time is right. I promise.”

Lucy nods her head. She covers her mouth as she yawns again. Since coming back from 2003, she hasn’t had much sleep at all. It’s catching up to her. She looks at Garcia.

He offers her his arm.

She takes it and they make their way through the Reception Room towards the Grand Staircase. With one hand, Lucy lifts the front of her skirt so she doesn’t trip on it as they make their way up to B Deck.

Lucy turns to go up the next flight of stairs, but Garcia stops her in front of the clock.

“I’m glad that you’re here, Lucy,” he says, pulling her toward him and running his hand through her hair. He kisses her forehead. “I know I said I didn’t want you here, and I said that because I’m afraid of losing you. But now that you’re here… I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Lucy rests her hands against his chest. She nods her head.

“In the journal…”

Lucy lets out a heavy sigh as he leans down to her. She’s so sick of hearing about that journal.

“In the journal… you wondered if it was preordained that you and I were brought together,” he whispers in her ear. He swallows, closing his eyes and letting out a soft sigh. It’s not often that he speaks of God. “I hope you know that I believe He brought you to me.”

Lucy turns her head to look away from him. She doesn’t like that he’s referring to Journal Lucy when speaking about her, the Lucy he holds in his arms.

Garcia kisses her cheek, and turns her head so he can look into her eyes.

He caresses her cheek with his thumb.

“Garcia…” her voice is weak. She wants to tell him how she feels about the journal, and the Lucy that wrote it. But she’s afraid that if she does, they will only get into another fight. She looks at the ground, hoping that doing so magically changes the subject.

“I want to make love to you, Lucy…” his voice is a soft growl, raw with emotion. “I know from the journal that we survive, and I have no reason to doubt that that won’t happen again, but… in case something happens, and we don’t… I… I want you to feel how much I love you, draga…”

Lucy looks away from him. Her heart in her throat. If only he had stopped after he said he wants to make love to her. But he didn’t. He mentioned the journal again.

Her heart sinks.

And once again she wonders if it’s really her that he loves, or if he’s more in love with the Lucy who wrote that journal.

“Draga…?”

Lucy looks up at him, wiping a tear from her face.

She shakes her head, and tells him, “I… I can’t…”

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” he asks, wiping another tear from her face.

She really does not want to talk about how she feels about the journal right now, or how she feels about Journal Lucy. But after how incessant his mother had been about those two things, to hear Garcia talk about them… Lucy opens her mouth to speak, but nothing comes out, so she takes his hand in hers and kisses it, hoping that derails his questioning.

“Is it my ring?” he asks, confused.

“No, it’s… if you still want to wear it, I don’t mind, it’s…”

Garcia’s heart is in his throat.

She hasn’t said it aloud, but he knows that she loves him. And he would hope that not knowing for sure if they’ll survive might allow them to properly express their feelings for each other now that they’re together. But… he looks at her, and she refuses to look at him.

Does she not want that too?

Lucy looks away from him, taking a deep, unsteady breath. She nods her head as one of the ship’s officers passes them on the staircase landing. He eyes her clothing and looks at her as if she does not belong.

The officer stops to address them.

“Excuse me, sir… no passengers from steerage are allowed in first class areas of the ship. It’s late, and I suggest you see to it that she returns to her own room.”

Garcia looks at Lucy. In his eyes she’s beautiful, but in the eyes of this officer she looks beaten, bruised, skirt unraveling, and her hair is a mess. She does not look like she belongs on the landing of the Grand Staircase of the Titanic.

“Sir, this is my wife, and she’s been through quite an ordeal this evening. Perhaps you’ve been informed of the two passengers who assaulted her. Who shot a firearm at her?”

“Oh. I’m so sorry,” the officer says, looking at Lucy. “You must be Lorena.”

Garcia looks at Lucy, not liking that word has spread that she is his wife, whose name the Master-at-Arms read from his wedding ring, Lorena.

Lucy lowers her eyes and stares at the floor.

“Yes, that’s… that’s us,” Garcia says. “Mr. and Mrs. Garcia Flynn.”

“I’m so sorry for bothering you,” he nods his head at them. “Good night.”

He leaves, heading down into the Reception Room.

Garcia looks at Lucy, she looks up and shakes her head.

“That’ll be fun,” she says sarcastically. “Having to use Lorena’s name as my own.”

“We can’t help it. King read the inscription on my ring, and we’re masquerading as husband and wife.”

“Maybe I should’ve left the ring back in 2017,” Lucy says, picking up the front of her skirt and quickly heading up the next flight of stairs until she reaches B Deck. She hopes that storming away as fast as she can up the stairs will keep her from crying.

She’s tired, and frustrated, and absolutely hates that she’s been called Lorena. By morning, for sure, everyone in first class will be approaching her, calling her Lorena. And it’s not that she hates Lorena, no. It’s her own damn insecurity with being compared to his first wife.

Garcia follows her.

She spins on her heel to look up at him. Her face is flushed red, and tears are welling in her eyes. “How do we get to Morgan’s suite?” She’s trying so hard to not lash out at him. To not cry.

“Lucy…”

He reaches out to touch her arm, but she jerks it away from him.

“No,” she tells him. “The last few days have been so difficult with the way your mother goes on about Journal Lucy, or about how much you love Lorena. And I get it, ok? I get that we’re not from her timeline, and that the Garcia she knows loved his wife. And I get that you will always love her too, but what bothers me is that I feel like I’m living in her shadow. And that I will never make it out into the light where I can stand on my own. Where you or your mother won’t look at me and think of Lorena, and how I’ve replaced her.” Lucy shakes her head and starts walking, not caring if she’s going in the wrong direction.

“Lucy… draga… please, stop,” his voice cracks.

She spins around again, her voice raised, “And we’re not going to make love on this goddamn ship!” She storms towards him, and punches her index finger into his chest – her eyes plead: please take me in your arms and hold me... but she says, “How could you even think of doing that when we’re on this ship?” She huffs. “You need to get your head back in the mission, Flynn.”

Lucy knows that she’s trying to push him away. And she used his last name to let him know that she wants a clear distance – no she doesn’t – between them.

Garcia is stunned at her use of his surname.

He watches her carefully, trying to figure out what he can say, or what he can do to make things right. To help her calm down. To let her know that he has never viewed her in Lorena’s shadow.

There’s fear in her eyes as they look at each other.

She turns, and walks away from him again.

He watches her as she makes her way to the corridor that leads to J.P. Morgan’s suite.

Garcia follows her.

She’s heading in the right direction.

He watches as she passes a couple of men, still dressed in their evening suits and top hats. They whisper to each other, pointing at her as she passes them. Garcia isn’t too far behind her, and overhears them say “I think her name is Lorena,” and “She was the one that was assaulted in the Reception Room.”

Garcia hates that that happened to her for more reasons than one.

Apparently, gossip – among the first class passengers – spreads like wildfire on this ship.

Lucy stops, letting out a frustrated sigh.

She doesn’t want to have to turn around to ask Garcia what the room numbers are for the parlour suite. She thinks back to James Cameron’s 1997 film, Titanic. In that movie the character played by Billy Zane said the numbers right at the beginning of the movie… and she’s seen that movie so many times over the years. It’s only… a matter of… remembering… the dialog…

B-52/54/56

Lucy opens her eyes, and walks through the door separating the main hallway from the first class stateroom corridor.

B-52 is the first door on her right.

She doesn’t know if it’s locked, or if Garcia managed to talk his way into obtaining a key. She turns to look down the hallway as he approaches.

Earlier, when he left to find her, he had run into Bruce Ismay and asked him for the key to J.P. Morgan’s parlour suite. The two men shared a laugh at his forgetfulness to ask for it when he spoke with Ismay and Captain Smith earlier, explaining that he and Karl were on board to accompany Mr. Morgan’s fine art collection to New York.

Garcia reaches into his pocket and retrieves the suite’s key.

 He takes a key from his pocket.

Lucy wishes he would hurry up and unlock the door.

All she wants is to get out of this dress, wash up, and go to sleep.

He stands next to her. And without a word, he unlocks the door, holding it open for her as she steps inside.

He turns on the lights as he closes the door behind them.

Lucy stands in the middle of the suite’s sitting room, staring in awe at its décor. This suite was also referred to as a Millionaire Suite, and is decorated in the Empire style. She feels as if she’s just walked into a room at the Versailles palace in France. The room is so much more ornate than she expected.

She looks up at the ceiling as she walks towards the fireplace. She steps on the fabric that continues to unravel from her skirt, and has to place her hand on the back of a couch to stop herself from falling.

“I…” she starts, momentarily forgetting that she was upset about the journal and being called Lorena. “This is…” She shakes her head. “It’s so much more than… just… this is amazing,” she says, turning to look at Garcia, her eyes wide in awe of the room. “I mean… I’ve seen so many photographs of Titanic’s sister ship, The Olympic, that I thought that seeing this wouldn’t be so…” She walks towards the sliding doors that lead out to the fifty-foot private promenade deck. She opens them, and the frigid night air floods the room.

She shivers, running her hands up and down her arms to keep warm.

She steps out onto the deck, and walks to the rail.

She stares out at the water.

“I can’t believe how black it is… the night,” she says.

“Makes the stars shine brighter.”

He places his hand on top of hers. She’s freezing. He folds his hand over hers and draws it towards his chest, massaging her skin with his fingers to help keep her warm. “Your hands are cold,” he whispers.

Lucy turns and looks up at him, her eyes sparkling as if they were the stars themselves.

Garcia raises her hand to his mouth and exhales his warm breath onto her skin. All his attention is on her. She allows his eyes to meet hers, and he regards her with complete adoration.

“I’m such a mess,” she says quietly. “I’m sorry I got upset about the journal, it’s just… after you left for Baku, I felt – and acted – out of control. It didn’t help that I was PMSing either.” She shakes her head. “I haven’t had much time to really process what it means for me to exist in a world where I’m dead. And Garcia…” She looks up into his eyes. “You have no idea how… unsettling it is to return to a timeline where you’ve been dead for so long.” She raises her shoulders as a chill runs through her body. “And then I felt like you took away my choice to fight in this war. And that made me feel like you didn’t want to be with me.”

“I am so sorry, Lucy…”

“I needed you, and you left me wondering if I’d ever see you again. I… I can’t face that world alone, Garcia. And your mom and I weren’t getting along because she was so fixated on that journal and the woman who wrote it. And now it looks like I’m going to have to answer to the name Lorena for the next four nights, and… it’s no secret that I feel inadequate compared to her.” She takes a breath as Garcia shakes his head. “She was your wife. You love her, and will always love her. And I accept that, but-”

“I love you more,” Garcia’s voice breaks.

Lucy’s features soften as she looks at him.

She’s never heard him say anything more sincere than the words he just said to her.

He raises her hand to his lips, and kisses her knuckles.

He rests their hands against his heart.

“I know we haven’t been together long, Lucy. And that loving someone shouldn’t happen this fast, but… I don’t know.” He shakes his head. “I knew I loved you the moment you walked into that prison visitation unit, and every hour. Every minute… every second since then, I’ve fallen even more in love with you. And I… I haven’t wanted to say that I love you more than I feel I loved Lorena because even thinking it makes me feel guilty. Makes me feel that loving you means that I didn’t love her enough, and maybe that’s why Fate took them from me.” He takes a step toward her. “I will always love Lorena. She was the first woman I loved. She was my best friend. The mother of my child. But she’s gone, and I’ve… I’ve let her go.”

Garcia looks at Lucy for her reaction, and the moment his eyes meet hers, she looks away.

“What if I can’t give you children?” She whispers. “What if I’m damaged because of time travel? How could you love me if I wasn’t able to give you everything you want in life?”

“Draga…” He places his hand on the back of her head, and pulls her to him. She rests her head on his chest. “With or without children of our own, I will still love you.” He rests his cheek on top of her head. “I never want you to think, or feel, that I could ever stop loving you.”

Lucy takes a deep breath, and wraps her arms around him. “I don’t know what to say.”

He pulls away and looks down at her. He takes her hand in his again, and tells her, “You don’t have to say anything.” Lucy runs her finger over the ring on his finger. “And as soon as we get home, I want you to wear the ring on your necklace again. But I think as long as we’re on this ship, posing as husband and wife, that I should wear it.”

“I don’t have a ring.”

“You told them that you lost yours, remember?” He smiles.

Lucy nods her head and then flinches as he gently caresses the skin underneath the bruise on her cheekbone. She takes a deep breath as she closes her eyes, allowing him to touch her though she is hurt. His hand fully engulfs her jaw, and she nestles into the warmth of his palm.

Garcia presses his lips carefully above her brow. “Let’s go inside and I’ll help you get washed up…” he whispers.

Lucy nods her head. And even though she knows where the bathroom is inside the suite, she lets him hold her hand, guiding her back into the sitting room as they make their way towards the suite’s hallway.

He opens the door and they enter the first bedroom. She looks longingly at the bed to her right.

“The second bedroom is through the hallway over there,” he tells her. “There are two Wardrobe Rooms to the right, across from the toilet and bath.”

He continues to hold her hand as they turn left, entering the bathroom.

There’s an elegant, porcelain, clawfoot tub near the wall.

“I’ll start the water,” he says as he steps away from her, letting go of her hand.

Lucy nods, and turns to look at her reflection in the mirror.

She runs her fingertips over the bruise that has formed on her cheekbone, and then across the bruised cut on her eyebrow. Her hair is a mess, loose strands stick out from where she’s used an elastic band to pull her hair up in a ponytail.

Her hands tremble as she unbuttons her blood-stained blouse.

She removes the blouse, folds it, and sets it on the side of the washbasin.

She shivers as she rubs her hands on her arms. She turns to look at Garcia. He’s hunched over the tub, testing the temperature of the water as it comes out of its faucet.

“Garcia…” her voice is so weak that he doesn’t hear her. She bites down on her lower lip. “I need your help…”

He hears her, and is on his feet, making his way to her in a heartbeat.

He picks up a white face towel from the table, and wets it in the sink. He holds her chin in his hand as he carefully wipes away dried blood from her face. He says nothing, but can’t stop from blaming himself for what Emma did to her.

He turns and rinses the towel in the sink.

A tear falls down Lucy’s face as she watches him. She doesn’t wipe it away. “Please, don’t blame yourself,” she whispers. Without a word, he looks into her eyes, and nods. But she knows that he still feels guilty for what happened.

She reaches behind herself and starts unbuttoning her skirt. She bends over to lower it to her ankles so she can step out of it. She wraps her arms across herself, feeling more vulnerable than usual in a state of undress in front of Garcia.

He turns around and looks at her. He smiles as he approaches her. “Didn’t think a historian would mix and match undergarments from different eras.” He says referring to her 1900s era chemise and corset, and her modern-era white cotton panties. He places his hand on her lower back, leans down and kisses her shoulder. “Here… let me help you…”

Lucy’s heart pounds in her chest as Garcia takes the hem of her chemise in both his hands, and raises it up above her head. He lets it fall to the floor next to their feet. She feels herself blush as he looks down at her, taking in the sight of her breasts which are dangerously close to spilling over the edge of her corset.

“Turn around.” His voice is hoarse.

She turns around and has no idea what to do with her arms as she feels him work at the bow at her lower back. So, she keeps them at her side. He’s seen her in various stages of undress before. He’s even seen her naked, but somehow… Lucy closes her eyes and trembles as she exhales, feeling the strength of his hands working to loosen the laces of her corset. Somehow… this is different.

More intimate.

More… erotic.

She gasps as he tugs harder at the laces at her middle back.

She loses her footing and has to step back towards him so she doesn’t fall.

He loosens the top laces, then trails his hand alongside her body. Starting again from the bottom laces, ensuring that the corset is loose against her body.

Lucy looks into the mirror and watches him. She rests her hands on the front of the corset, just below her breasts, to hold it up as he pulls on the side of the garment to loosen it further. He looks up, making eye contact with her in the mirror. He steps toward her, and wraps his arms around her, placing his hands on top of hers. Lucy sighs, closing her eyes as he kisses her temple.

She turns to face him, reaching up to caress his jaw.

He steps closer to her, gazing down at her, towering over her. He lowers his hand and caresses the outside of her thigh with his fingertips, slowly moving his hand over the elastic waistband of her panties before he starts to unhook the bottom pins of her corset.

As he works his way up, undoing the remaining pins, Lucy slowly runs her hands up and down the fabric of his evening coat.

She loves him so much.

She sighs, closing her eyes, trying to control her breathing as she feels the pressure of his hands between her breasts, undoing the final pins of the corset. And then… he opens the garment, exposing her bare chest. The corset drops to the floor. And almost immediately, his hand is on her breast, and his mouth on hers.

Then… desperation.

Lucy tugs at the lapels of his evening coat, pulling it off his body, and dropping it to the floor. She cups his face with both her hands and kisses him with vigor. Biting and pulling gently at his bottom lip with her teeth. She pulls back and carelessly unbuttons his white dress shirt, as he reaches behind her, running his hand down to her ass, cupping it in his hand.

Lucy groans when she feels him hook his thumb around the rim of her panties, gently pulling them down. She steps out of them, and kicks them across the room. She relaxes at his touch as his fingers tease, playing at the edge of her pubic hair, before sliding between her legs, caressing alongside her outer lips.

Buttons pop off his dress shirt as she hastily tears the garment from him. She leans into him, kissing his chest, groping him, and gently scratching her fingernails against his erect nipples.

“Hoću najzad da te osetim,” he growls. “I want to feel you, Lucy…”

He uses his free hand to hold the back of her head, weaving his fingers to gently pull her hair. With her neck exposed, he dips into her, opening his mouth wide to devour her neck with his lips. He moves to cover her centre with the palm of his hand – gently and slowly applying pressure, then releasing it. Using her arousal for him as lubricant to rub his palm against her clit.

“Garcia…” she pants.

He moves his hand to her hip, not wanting to bring her to climax yet. Then he slides it up her lower back where he holds her against him.

Lucy looks up into his eyes.

They’re both panting.

She’s naked, and he’s well on his way.

She rises on her toes, smiling as his chest hair tickles her breasts.

She kisses him gently on the lips.

He runs his hand through her hair, and looks down at her. His eyes taking in the cuts and bruises on her face. He carefully touches the bruise on her cheekbone, and she winces. Carefully, he takes her in his arms and pulls her into him, hugging her, and kissing the top of her head.

The decision is as unspoken as it is mutual.

Not tonight.

Lucy looks up at him, and whispers, “I should…” She gestures towards the bathtub. “And then I really need sleep. I’m so tired.”

“I know.” He walks behind her, with his hands on her shoulders, as she goes to the tub. He holds her hand to assist her as she lowers herself into the warm water. “And I promise I’ll protect you as you sleep.” He pauses.

Lucy settles back into the tub.

She closes her eyes and tries to pretend that she’s anywhere else but on this ship.

“There’s no bubble bath soap, but here’s a uh… bar of soap,” Garcia tells her.

Lucy opens her eyes and leans forward in the tub, wrapping her arms around her knees. “Could you… my back?”

He smiles, and lowers himself to his knees beside the tub. He dips the soap into the warm water and then runs it up and down her back, being careful not to apply too much pressure on the bruises she sustained from her fight with Emma.

“I forgot my bag in my third class cabin,” she tells him. “It has everything I brought with me to help survive the sinking.”

“You brought a survival pack?” he asks, thankful that they’re talking about something completely unrelated to corsets, white cotton panties, and the way her lips felt kissing his chest. He runs the bar of soap over her shoulder. He should be back to normal soon without needing to recite anymore Croatian nursery rhymes in his head.

She nods her head. “The men’s clothing I’m going to wear Sunday night so I’m not running around trying to save people in a dress. My toothbrush, toothpaste… duct tape, socks… even the modern era pajamas I was wearing when Karl found me. Jammies that I think made my bunkmates think I was some expensive whore.”

Garcia raises his brow. “I hope you don’t mind my saying I wouldn’t mind seeing you in them.” Ok, so maybe a few more lines of a nursery rhyme would be in order.

Lucy smiles. “Are you suggesting that seeing me in sexy clothing is more sexy to you than seeing me naked right now? Naked, and wet, as you rub a bar of soap all over my body?”

“Lucy, draga… I find you sexy even when you’re wearing my clothes, without makeup, and your hair a mess.” He pauses to rub the bar of soap along her arm. “You can’t tell me that you don’t have a clothing preference for what you think makes a man look more attractive.”

“Point taken.”

Garcia regards her, a smirk on his face. “So, which outfit did it for you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You were attracted to me long before you came to me when I was locked up in prison, right?” Lucy rolls her eyes. He laughs. “I’m serious, Lucy. I know you like my scruff, so…? Suits? Turtlenecks? T-shirts?”

“All of the above?” Lucy turns her head and smiles at him. “With a leaning preference to turtlenecks, and pinstripe suits. T-shirts for lounging around… shirtless when we’re in bed…” She leans back in the tub as Garcia lifts her leg out of the water, and rubs the bar of soap over her skin, to her ankle, then her foot and her toes. She sighs contentedly. “What about you? Other than undressing me, or my white panties… what outfit did it for you?”

“São Paulo.”

“That means nothing to me,” she tells him, trying not to be annoyed that Journal Lucy’s outfit did it for him, instead of something she’s worn since she met him at the Hindenburg.

“You… sorry… she came into that bar wearing this tight, black turtleneck sweater. Black slacks… black high heels… and her hair pulled up into a high ponytail. Mauve lipstick… silver stud earrings… and of course your locket.”

“You just described what I wore on the mission to 2003. Clothes, might I add, that you helped pick out.” She smiles, feeling a bit better that he liked her in the same outfit.

Garcia smiles and shrugs his shoulders. “I guess I have a thing for the mysterious, secret operative look.” He lowers his arm into the water to run the bar of soap over her abdomen. “You’re beautiful no matter what you wear, Lucy.”

She turns onto her side in the tub, resting her arms on its edge.

“I’ve never really thought of myself that way before,” she tells him. “I always saw myself as more of a nerd.”

“No doubt,” Garcia agrees, teasingly.

“No, I’m serious. I skipped my prom to attend a speech and debate tournament.”

“I refused to date until, well… basically until I met Lorena.” He pauses, thinking, then asks. “That’s nerdy, right?”

Lucy laughs quietly at his question then says, “I bet the girls were all over you in high school, begging you to take them to prom.”

Garcia lowers his eyes. He shakes his head. “I uh… I actually was in Croatia in my high school years, and lied about my age to join the Croatian Army at age fifteen.” He looks into her eyes. “I didn’t go to any proms.”

“I’m sorry, I forgot.”

“No need to apologize. I joined to honor my father who died in the Angolan Civil War when I was thirteen. I told the guys that I joined to protect and serve my country. I didn’t want to be ridiculed by other soldiers for joining because I loved my father, and wanted to live up to the man he had been.”

“So, you’ve never really had a quote-unquote normal life then?”

“Grew up traveling all over the world. Living out of suitcases, in hotels. The closest thing I ever had to having a home was my grandma’s home in Mostar. I think I spent every summer of my childhood there.”

Lucy watches as Garcia’s eyes shimmer with tears. “Hey…” She reaches out to him, touching his arm.

“I was very close with her, Lucy. She died when I was eighteen, in the Siege of Mostar. I uh… I never got to say goodbye.”

“What was her name?”

“Jana Tomić.”

“Not Flynn?”

He laughs. “My father changed his last name from Tomić to Flynn. I was just a kid when he was alive, but the story he told me about why he did that was,” he shakes his head, “and I’m not sure I believe it, but fact remains that he did legally change his name… He uh, said he got caught up with some Czechoslovakian mobster, and apparently was being interrogated. Being told that once they broke him, that they’d get all the information they’d need to hunt down his family to kill everyone. So… my dad said that on the spot, he gave them a false name, and once he escaped, he renamed himself as Asher Flynn.”

“Was Asher his birthname?”

“Honestly… I don’t know.” He shrugs his shoulders. “Sometimes I wish I knew his real full name because when I was with the NSA, I used their database to try to find out more about him, but nothing more than a photo and basic stats came up under the name Asher Flynn. I tried searching Asher Tomić, but nothing came up.”

“And your grandma had already passed by the time you got curious about him? So, you couldn’t ask her for more information?”

Garcia nods his head.

“Do you have any other living relatives in Croatia?”

“No. It was just my grandma. My grandfather died during World War Two. They only had one child; my dad.”

“Then I guess one day you’ll have to tell our children about their grandfather who had to change his name because of a Czech mobster, huh?”

Garcia smiles as he sets the bar of soap on the side of the tub. He runs his fingers over the surface of the water. “Water’s losing some of its warmth.” He places his hand on her, massaging the skin of her inner knee with his fingers. “I should find Karl. Get the luggage we stole, and find out if there’s clothes you can wear. If not, then I’ll do what I do, and find something for you to wear tonight and tomorrow.”

Lucy nods her head.

“And I can drop by your third class cabin and pick up your bag too, if you’d like.” He stands.

“My bunkmates don’t speak a word of English.”

“Do you know what language they speak?”

“Sounds like a cross between a romance language and some Slavic language. Karl tried speaking Portuguese with them, but that didn’t work.”

“Might be Romanian,” Garcia offers.

“Maybe… I don’t think I’ve ever heard that language, so I don’t know.”

Garcia nods. “In case the water gets cold before I get back, I don’t want you putting on those dirty clothes, so I’ll get you a blanket from our bed and you can wrap yourself up in it until I return.”

“Ok,” she smiles. “Thank you.”

Lucy watches as Garcia steps out of the bathroom.

She closes her eyes and thinks of the three women she barely got to know since she boarded the ship tonight. They don’t speak the same language, but somehow found a way to communicate. She didn’t stay long in the third class common area with them, but she will never forget the laughter that rose up out of them as they danced with the music other passengers were playing. Or how she had to figure out how to ask them to help her out of her corset when they were getting ready for bed, and how they tried to teach her how to sing a song in their language as they took turns brushing their hair in front of the small mirror in their cabin.

Garcia reenters the bathroom, with a blanket draped over his arm. He sees Lucy wipe a tear away. He sets the blanket down next to the bathtub, and asks, “Are you ok?”

“It’s just… the chances of them surviving…” she trails off, trying not to cry. “I told myself I wouldn’t get close to any of the passengers, but… I learned their names, and spent time with them, and… Claudia spoke to me the most. I think Mara and Irina were her younger sisters.” She pauses, wiping another tear from her face. “The chances of them surviving are so slim. And I’m torn because there’s a part of me that wants to save everyone on this ship… but as a historian, I still feel like I should be preserving history, even though I know damn well that it doesn’t matter anymore.” She looks into his eyes, then quickly looks away. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t want people to die.”

“And that’s precisely why you, me, and Karl are going to save as many people as we can.”

She wipes a tear from her face again, and tries to force a smile. “Earlier, I was thinking if I didn’t find you by Sunday night, that I’d want to take all three of them up on deck close to the time of collision, to make sure they would see it happen, so that they know to go back and put on their lifebelts, and to get back on deck so they had a better chance at getting onto a lifeboat.” Lucy places her hands on Garcia’s chest and asks him, “How do you say iceberg, deck, warm clothes, and blankets, in Romanian?”

“Aisberg. Punte. Haine călduroase. Pături,” he says seriously. “If you want me to, Lucy, I can tell them that I’m a psychic and that I have a vision of a collision, or that what Morgan Robertson wrote in his novella, The Wreck of the Titan, was a premonition of what will happen to this ship, and that on Sunday night they need to be on deck with lifebelts on before eleven-thirty.”

“I don’t know…” Lucy lowers her head.

But in his heart, he knows when he goes to retrieve her bag, that he’ll let the women know. Lucy’s already lost so much, and there’s going to be so much death four nights from now, the least he can do is try to give Lucy’s new friends a fighting chance.

Lucy takes the bar of soap, and slides underneath the bath water to wash her hair.

She comes back up for air.

“You have no idea how good this feels,” she says.

“Maybe tomorrow night we can take a bath together,” he suggests, a twinkle in his eye.

“And call it a date?” Lucy smiles.

He chuckles, “I promise, before we bathe together, I’ll treat you to a real date. Even if it’s here on the Titanic.”

He winks at her, checks that he has the keys to the room in his pocket.

He starts rebuttoning his dress shirt.

He stops, and looks at her.

“Lucy… my shirt… it’s missing some buttons?” He grins at her.

Lucy raises her brow, looks guilty, then giggles as she sinks back underneath the water.

-----

Karl is quiet as he opens the door to the crew quarters he snuck into.

He’s since ditched his stingy upper-class suit and tie for the stolen clothing of one of the members of the Titanic’s deck crew. It’s not exactly a proper uniform because that’s just not Karl’s style. He’s wearing comfortable black trousers, a grey turtleneck sweater, and well… it’s bloody cold outside, as well as inside the ship’s corridors, so sue him, he’s wearing a White Star Line issued crew coat. The clothes aren’t the most comfortable, but they’re better than the stick-up-your-ass clothes Garcia had him wearing earlier.

He comes to the stairwell and is faced with two options.

The first, which Garcia would approve of: go back on deck and retrieve the luggage they stole when they boarded at Southampton, and take it back to the J.P. Morgan parlour suite. The second, which Garcia would not approve of without discussing it thoroughly: search for the Mothership, and when he finds it, disable it.

He looks up the stairwell.

He doesn’t need Garcia’s approval to work this mission.

He’s taken lead on missions before without issue.

And before they left, Amy texted him that Rittenhouse had instructed Emma to land the Mothership in the cargo hold of the ship. A stupid thing to do considering everyone knows about this ship’s fate, but still. Emma and Wyatt are here, and he has a chance to strand them on this motherfucker and take them out of the equation. Sure, Rittenhouse has other pilots, and apparently are working on getting five more time machines operational, but Amy said that could be weeks away.

And it’s possible that his and Garcia’s team could take out Rittenhouse in that time if Emma, Wyatt, and the original Mothership were eliminated.

Karl can’t pass up this opportunity.

He rubs his hands together, and heads down the stairwell towards the crew entrance to the cargo hold.

When he and Lucy parted ways on the enclosed first class promenade deck, he had told her that he was going to retrieve the luggage they hid inside one of the lifeboats. He hasn’t exactly gotten to that yet, and he figures when Garcia finds Lucy back at their suite, without a change of clothing, that he’ll retrieve the bags himself. Karl’s pretty sure that he told him which one it is: fifth from the stern, on the starboard side of the ship.

His first impression of Lucy is that she doesn’t like him. And that’s not an unusual reaction that most people have when they meet him. He likes her. She’s feisty. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. And he’s damn sure that Garcia is going to get an earful from her whenever they’re reunited. And the fucker has it coming after the way he spoke to Lucy over the phone back in Montana.

He wonders if his friend is getting his head ripped off right now – he chuckles at the thought of his six-foot-four friend having no option than to admit what he did was wrong, and groveling at the feet of a tiny historian.

He saw similarities between Amy and her sister almost immediately. But there was one significant difference that he made note of: the Lucy Preston that he met tonight, she doesn’t seem like the person Amy described as desperate to please her mother. No. The Lucy Preston he met tonight is a little spitfire with a very strong mind of her own. Now, Garcia did explain that Lucy was from a timeline where she didn’t get killed in 2003, and maybe living an extra fourteen years helped her grow into the woman he met tonight.

He cannot wait until Amy can reunite with her sister.

Amy’s been working as a fucking double agent pretty much since the night Lucy died – betraying and playing Rittenhouse all in the name of trying to find a way to bring her sister back to life. Turns out, that Garcia and Lucy – of another timeline, no less – took all the right steps to ensure Lucy could come back to 2017 whether she died in 2003 or not.

Time travel, what a mind fuck – without the corresponding orgasm.

Totally not worth trying out if you don’t have to.

To his right is a steel door with a nameplate titled Cargo and Motor Cars. That seems like the perfect place to park a fucking time machine.

He checks the handle of the door.

It’s locked.

He huffs, rolling his eyes.

He digs into his pocket and takes out a couple of large paperclips. His motto, well one of them: never leave home without a good set of paperclips. You never know what trouble you’ll find yourself in where you can use them to get yourself out.

He starts working the lock.

One… two… three… four seconds and he’s in.

He feels for a light switch on the steel wall, and flips it.

He shuts the door behind him.

The room is stuffed full of wooden crates and cars covered with tarp. Karl shakes his head. Tarp won’t be able to save any of these antique beauts when the ship goes down.

He could take out the guys who spot the iceberg and replace them in the crow’s-nest, and alert the crew about the ‘berg so they have time to dodge the fucker this Sunday night. He could be the bloody hero of this story. Well, not that the Titanic would be a huge story if it doesn’t sink, but still. He could save the life of every man, woman, and child on this ship.

But before making history-altering decisions like that, he must first take out Emma and Wyatt’s transport off this ship, and he should probably discuss possible consequences of saving everyone on board with this mission’s tactical historian: Lucy Preston.

He walks around.

The cargo hold is much larger than he expected.

And fuck.

There’s that burgundy Renault automobile made famous in that late-90s romance flick. Seriously, the hand swiping the condensation from the back window is one of the silliest moments in movie history. He’s still embarrassed to admit that he saw that movie in theatres seven times. But hey, can you blame him? Seven women cuddling against him as they sobbed at the end of the movie translated into seven times the trim. Totally worth it.

He touches the hood of the Renault. It’s supposed to be covered, but it looks as if someone else who has an interest in antique cars had uncovered it for a look-see.

Karl snorts loudly when he spots the unmistakable cylinder shape of the Mothership, poorly hidden underneath what could only be the tarp that had previously been covering the Renault.

The tarp is too small to fully conceal the Mothership.

Whoever made that call is a definite asshat.

He tears the cover off the time machine, and digs into his pocket to retrieve his Swiss Army knife. Perhaps with a little poking around he can figure out how to blow this motherfucker up. Then again… perhaps blowing up a time machine powered with a nuclear core would be a bad idea on an already doomed ocean liner.

He pokes the tip of his knife at one of the panels.

But if he could just pry off the right panel, he might gain access to its control panels, and then he could do some serious damage that would force Emma and Wyatt to try to fight for their lives when this ship makes its final plunge to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Karl raises his brow, and gets to work.

He sneers as he tries to pry open a panel. His hands are freezing cold which makes this a bit harder to do. Fuck. He thinks this is cold. The water temperature on the night this ship sinks will be below freezing.

He’ll be working as deck crew that night.

His goal is to try to get as many passengers into lifeboats as he can.

To save more people than were saved originally, and to make sure that Garcia and Lucy get their asses in a lifeboat so neither of them dies. His plan is to hop into one of the lifeboats at the very end – once he sees men trying to release the collapsible lifeboats which are stationed on the roof of the officers’ quarters, near the wheelhouse.

But what if he is refused entry?

What if he can’t get off this ship?

He’s not a big guy, doesn’t have much body fat.

He’d die within minutes if exposed to the freezing water.

Well… he could consume as much alcohol as possible before the ship hits the iceberg. He’s pretty sure he saw some movie once – black and white – where the ship’s chef, or whatever, got smashed and wound up in the water, and survived. Of course, that guy was a rather large man.

He's a fucking twig.

He wonders if all three of them ought to get smashed on Sunday night. If they do that, they’d all have a better shot at surviving if they find themselves in the water. Karl shakes his head. He can’t imagine a scenario where Garcia doesn’t pick Lucy off her feet and forcibly place her into a lifeboat if he thinks it’s too close to the end for her to still be on the ship.

Hell, Karl would do the same thing to Amy if she were here, only he’d have Amy in the first lifeboat before all Hell broke loose.

He smirks.

He stops what he’s doing and stands up.

Or… he could go get Garcia and Lucy right now, and leave on the Mothership themselves.

He had Joseph LaRoche tied up in their room. Surely, Garcia has finished interrogating him by now, and has figured out what it was Rittenhouse wanted from him. If Garcia has taken care of Rittenhouse’s reasons to be here, and Lucy has found her way to him, all three of them could steal the Mothership from Emma and Wyatt, and leave.

The only regret he’d have if they do that is that he wouldn’t be able to see the look on Emma’s face when she realizes she’s not only stuck on this ship until it goes under, but also that she has no way back to 2017.

He turns his head when he hears the metal door clank open.

“… you kill him, and that slows down the loading of the lifeboats…”

Karl sees Emma Whitmore enter the cargo hold. He quickly dodges out of sight, pulling his gun from his shoulder holster. He backs up against a large wooden crate. He strains his neck, peering out to see who she’s talking to, but the Mothership is blocking his view.

“… makes everything more chaotic, more… dangerous. And depending how the crew reacts, they may not have time to launch all the lifeboats. That makes things more difficult for Flynn and Karl to survive, and knowing Lucy… she won’t board a lifeboat without them.” Emma pauses, then adds, “Their chances of survival will be worse if he dies, than if we let everything – if you’ll pardon my pun – go down as it was supposed to.”

“And that’s it?” The man asks. “That’s the time machine?”

“It is.” Emma huffs in frustration, “And I told Wyatt that the damn Renault cover wouldn’t stay on it. It’s too small. At least no one will come down here before the collision and see it.”

“And you’re from the year 2017?”

“That’s what I said. And I was sent here by the head of the Table of Elders, by the granddaughter of Nicholas Keynes-”

“Looks like Keynes was right after all. He brought his manifesto to the Table last year, and was laughed out of the room.” The man huffs. “Time travel. It was supposed to be impossible. Something that could only come from the imaginations of men such as Edward Page Mitchell, H.G. Wells, or Thomas Baty – sometimes known as… Irene Clyde.”

“Before you get into a fit over transgender people,” Emma disapproves of his tone when he mentioned Irene Clyde, “you do understand that Rittenhouse expects you to do as I’ve instructed, and if you don’t, well… as you can see, Rittenhouse has a time machine, and we can go back and make life a living Hell for your wife and daughter. And I’m sure you would like them to continue to enjoy a life of luxury after your passing, or am I wrong?”

“You said that I don’t survive?”

“Correct.”

“Then I will live out the final days of my life in service to Rittenhouse. I understand the importance of the mission you have given me.”

Karl tries to peer out from the cargo to see who the fuck Emma is speaking to, but the man’s identity is still concealed.

“Use this,” Emma says. “And once it’s done, toss it overboard.”

“And if I get caught?”

“You get caught,” Emma tells him bluntly. “As long as you ensure that he dies, you will have successfully completed your mission.”

There’s a long silence.

“Wyatt should be here shortly, and then we’ll leave.” Emma pauses. “And… I don’t want Wyatt knowing that I spoke with you. So, I think you shouldn’t be here when he arrives. Go back, spend time with your girls while you still can.”

Karl shakes his head. He can’t let this mystery man leave the cargo hold without either seeing who the fuck he is, or figuring out his name. He checks that the safety on his gun is off, then steps out of the shadows.

“I wouldn’t go any further if I was you,” he says, aiming his weapon at the back of the man Emma was talking to.

The man doesn’t turn around, and will refuse to turn around if ordered to do so.

“Oh, fuck this!” Emma exclaims.

She draws her weapon and shoots at Karl.

And she’s a good shot, he flinches as the bullet grazes his shoulder, recoiling backward into a large crate. Karl curses under his breath and steps out, shooting in Emma’s direction.

He grazes her arm.

And the man she was talking to is running towards the door.

Shit.

He’s getting away.

He starts to take off after him, but Emma steps in front of him, her gun in his face.

“Nice to see you again, Karl.” She smirks. “Not sure if you know me or not since we’re from different timelines, but where I come from, I talked you out of sticking around to help Flynn. Think I might be able to do that again?”

“Over my dead body.”

“That’s the idea.”

BAM! BAM! BAM!

Emma ducks, not knowing who the fuck is shooting in their direction.

She looks behind her and sees Wyatt Logan.

He has a handgun in each of his hands and is shooting off as if he thinks he’s some goddamn cowboy. Emma lets out an angry sigh as she watches Wyatt continue to miss Karl.

Wyatt passes her as Karl takes cover behind the wooden crate. He goes to the Mothership and punches in the code to open the hatch. He climbs up, and calls for Emma as he powers up the machine.

Emma runs to the Mothership, shooting behind her at Karl as he steps out, chasing her.

“Where’s Lucy?!” Wyatt screeches at her as she climbs up into the Mothership. “You said you were going to get her so we could take her back!”

“Is that really what you’re worried about?” Emma sneers. “We’ll get her another time. Flynn won’t let her die on this ship, and you know it.”

Emma slams her hand on the button to close the hatch.

Karl continues to shoot at the Mothership, aiming for the keypad, hoping that somehow, it’s connected to the heart and soul of the machine. A bullet ricochets off the white panel, missing the keypad.

The large round magnets begin circling around the Mothership, the blue lights blur as the Mothership blasts back to 2017.

Karl squints to protect his eyes from the dust that kicks up in its wake.

He stands there.

Blood is soaking the sleeve of his stolen turtleneck sweater.

He and Garcia talked about the possibility that Emma and Wyatt might leave the Titanic before it ever hit the iceberg, and they assumed if that happened that they would be safe aboard the ship until the night of the collision.

In this scenario, if they left before the ship reaches or leaves Queenstown, the plan was to disembark at Queenstown and send a message to Jiya to bring the Lifeboat to Queenstown on April 11th. But after what he overheard Emma telling that man, it sounds like Emma and Rittenhouse has someone else aboard this ship to try to ensure that they don’t make it back. And that whoever that man has been ordered to kill, that death will most certainly make what happens to the people on this ship much, much worse.

He needs to tell Garcia and Lucy what’s happened.

They need to figure out who Emma was talking to, and who the next target is. And it didn’t exactly sound like Garcia, Lucy, or himself were the direct targets – just collateral.

Fuck.

He places his weapon back into his shoulder holster, and takes off running.