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The first night he and Lucy brought home their newborn baby girls, Garcia had fallen asleep in their bedroom. The next day he told his wife that he had done this intentionally so he could protect them from the monsters.

Each time that Garcia hears one of his little girls cough in the middle of the night, his heart skips a beat. He used to sit up straight in bed and reach for the gun he places in the drawer of his nightstand at night before stumbling out of bed.

Some wounds never fully heal, but things are better now.

Lucy’s eyes open and take in the darkness around her as she feels her husband stir next to her in bed. She rolls onto her side and places a hand on his chest, telling him that everything is fine. She kisses his cheek to help ground him to the here-and-now, and to help take his mind off of the tragic events that unfolded in his and Lorena’s home nine years ago.

One of their daughters coughs again.

Lucy feels the muscles in her husband’s body tense.

Garcia takes a deep breath to remind himself that what happened to Lorena and Iris could not happen again with Lucy, Lily, and Jana.

“I’ll go check on them,” Lucy whispers before she gets out of bed.

“I’ll go with you.”

Garcia rubs his eyes as he sits on the edge of the bed. He turns on the lamp then instinctively reaches out to open the drawer of his nightstand. He looks at his weapon – which he only keeps in his nightstand at night, to allow himself easy access to it if something should happen.

To protect his girls.

In 2018, when he and Lucy were still deeply involved in the war with Rittenhouse, she came to him and told him that they were going to be parents. There was no argument about what to do. They didn’t want to risk time travel hurting their unborn children, and they didn’t want their babies to grow up living in a musty old military silo as mom and dad ran around in time chasing after the bad guys.

They left.

And with the help of Agent Christopher, they were placed into the Witness Protection program - WITSEC. They now live where neither one of them would have chosen for themselves and their family, and under assumed names. Agent Christopher assured them that the U.S. Marshall that helped place them was a friend, and that he was not a member of Rittenhouse.

As far as they know, Rittenhouse has not yet been defeated. With Wyatt, Rufus, and Jiya still chasing after them, he and Lucy understand – and are forced to accept the fact – that history has changed around them. All they know for sure is that no one has come to tell them that it’s safe for them to return to their real lives. That Rittenhouse has been defeated.

Garcia stands up, deciding not to take the gun with him.

He has to trust that they are safe here in South Carolina.

He has to trust that Rittenhouse will not show up and try to kill him and his family.

He walks out of the bedroom with Lucy as she finishes tying the sash of her burgundy robe. She places her hand on Garcia’s lower back before wrapping her arm around his waist.

Lucy had been two months pregnant when she and Garcia left the bunker. Their relationship was still only in its infancy. They hadn’t even been officially “dating” when they slept together and conceived their little girls. They were still getting to know each other. So, when they married before entering into Witness Protection, there was still much they had to learn about each other and their relationship.

When the girls were still babies, she used to argue with Garcia about being over-protective of them until one night he cracked. He had raised his voice at her, telling her that she couldn’t possibly understand how every time he hears either of their girls cough that he’s reminded of how he failed to protect Iris, and that is how he got her killed. The tone of his voice had sent chills down her spine, forcing her to really pause and to see her concerns from his perspective. Now, she understands that that trauma is always with him, and it is up to him when to let it go.

“Lily said she had a scratchy throat at school today,” Lucy reminds her husband. “Something’s probably going around. I’ll drop by the pharmacy tomorrow before work to pick up some medicine just in case.”

“I can go pick some up now if she’s still not feeling good,” Garcia offers.

Lucy smiles up at her husband, “I’m pretty sure we have Tylenol in the medicine cabinet. If Lily isn’t-”

“Shh,” Garcia raises his hand as he hears a creak behind them in the hallway.

This could be one of three things.

One: either Lily or Jana is up out of bed when they shouldn’t be and is trying to sneak back into the room without being caught. Two: their dog, Polka Dot (yes, the twins named her, and yes… she’s a Dalmatian puppy), has heard them walking around upstairs and has come to check things out. Or three… Rittenhouse has found them.

Garcia takes a deep breath to calm himself and places a bet on number two until the sharp click of a gun’s hammer being drawn back indicates the latter.

The first gunshot rings out, piercing the silence with its deafening blow.

Garcia grabs Lucy as she screams, throwing her to the floor. He has no time to check that she hasn’t been hit before he spins around, charging forward in the dark – unarmed – toward the gunman.

The next two bullets rip through his gut and his chest. He grunts and pushes forward through the pain. He is willing to give his life to save his girls. All he can make out in the darkened hallway is the slim silhouette of the intruder. He clenches his fist and white-knuckle punches the son-of-a-bitch as hard as he can.

A soft, feminine grunt comes from the gunman as Garcia falls to his knees on the floor. The woman fixes her gun on him and pulls the trigger again. He falls backward, crying out in agony. None of her shots are immediately fatal, but Garcia knows that without medical assistance that he will bleed out in minutes. Refusing to give up, Garcia forces himself to stand, he grabs the woman’s gun and tries to pry it out of her hand so he might kill her before she can kill Lucy and the girls.

The woman keeps a strong hold on her weapon. She spins around, managing to release his hold on the gun. Then she kicks him hard in the gut and he falls to the floor.

He tastes blood in the back of his throat.

He’s cold.

So cold.

He struggles to stand again when he hears another gun cock behind him.

“Drop your weapon or I will kill you,” Lucy is calm and confident in her ability to gain the upper hand.

Garcia gasps for air, fighting against the inevitable to keep his eyes open. To make sure that his wife will get out of here safe without him. He groans as he rolls onto his side to look at her. It’s dark, but she’s silhouetted by the twins’ nightlight in the hallway. She holds her gun with both hands, and her feet hold sturdy, aligned with her shoulders – just as he taught her. Her eyes are fixed on the intruder, not daring to glance down at him for even a second.

He closes his eyes.

The pain dissipates and then his heart jolts when he realizes he hasn’t heard either of his daughters this entire time.

My God, has this woman killed them just as Iris was murdered? Have I failed to protect my family again?

“Lucy…” he groans. He wants to ask her if she checked on Lily and Jana before coming back to try to save him, but he is quickly fading and all he can do is lie on his back and stare up at the ceiling. He forces his eyes open again, and looks at the woman.

She peels off her black ski mask, revealing herself as Amy, Lucy’s long-lost sister.

The shock of seeing her sister again causes Lucy to drop her gun on the floor.

Lucy chokes back tears as she hoarsely whispers, “Amy?”

“Rittenhouse needs-” Amy attempts to explain why she’s here.

Lucy interrupts her, “where are our girls?”

“They’re where they should be,” Amy says. “I’m sure your father, Benjamin Cahill, explained it to you that one day your kids would become Rittenhouse. They’re outside, waiting for you in the car with Emma.”

Lucy’s not sure if she’s dreaming or awake, “Wait…” she shakes her head, “you’re with Rittenhouse?”

“Despite what you think of mom, she would never agree to simply erase me from existence, Lucy. You were only made to believe that had happened.”

Lucy’s mouth is agape. This is not how she ever imagined being reunited with her sister.

“How… how did you find us?” Lucy asks, glancing down at her husband who is still showing small signs of life. She really doesn’t have time to figure out this Amy thing now, not when she wants to see if she can save him and get her daughters away from Emma.

“Did you really think that Rittenhouse wouldn’t have the resources to track you two down inside WITSEC?” Amy notices the tears streaming down Lucy’s face and that she’s not really listening to her anymore. She follows her sister’s gaze to Garcia and gestures to him. “Go ahead. Be at his side. He’s almost gone and this conversation can wait.”

Lucy eyes her sister with suspicion, but determines that Amy is not here to kill her.

She lowers herself next to Garcia, placing her hand gently on his abdomen. He looks at her as he places his blood-soaked hand on her face. He opens his mouth wanting to tell her that he’s sorry he couldn’t protect her. That he couldn’t protect Lily and Jana. To tell her to always remind the girls just how much he loved them, and to tell Lucy how much he loves her, and how thankful he is that she saved him – both in São Paulo as well as in 2012 when he had resigned himself to dying from the side effects of traveling in his own timeline. And to tell her that the past five years have been the best years of his life.

But he’s lost his voice and all he can do is cough up blood.

With tears streaming down her face, Lucy leans down and kisses his lips, resting her forehead against his. She whispers, “I will save you.”

Garcia tries to smile to at least let her know that though he’s dying that he’s not in pain. That he believes in her and that she will find a way, but if she cannot save him that it’s ok to move on, to live her life, to be happy.

“Ja ću kontaktirati s njom i naći ću te u tom baru, ok? Opet ćemo biti zajedno. Obećajem.” She kisses his forehead. “I love you, Garcia.”

“What did you just say to him?” Amy asks.

If Garcia had the energy, he would laugh. Lucy has been learning Croatian the past couple years, well enough to tell him that she plans on contacting Agent Christopher and will go back to find him at that bar in São Paulo. And that she promises that they will be together again.

Lucy ignores her sister’s question.

She holds onto her husband’s hand and kisses him again as his breathing slows. His fingers weaken around her own… until finally he is gone.

Lucy’s heart shatters.

After everything they have been through, after finding a way to save Garcia’s life after he had sacrificed himself to save Rufus, she has lost him again.

She has lost him because of Rittenhouse.

Just as he lost Lorena and Iris.

She glares at her sister – the woman who murdered her husband. Amy, the only reason she would have ever considered returning to the war on Rittenhouse. To save her. To bring her back.

Perhaps Amy being a member of Rittenhouse was a change made to history after they left the bunker, but that doesn’t explain why she still remembers her being erased after the Hindenburg mission.

Despite what you think of mom, she would never agree to simply erase me from existence, Lucy. You were only made to believe that had happened.

Lucy repeats what Amy had said earlier. Her entire erasure had been a hoax, a lie made up by her mother, Carol Preston, to ensure Lucy’s participation in chasing Garcia through time to try to kill him.

They won’t stop until I’m dead.

He knew.

Garcia understood all this time that they were never really safe from Rittenhouse. They should have run from Witness Protection. They should have disappeared on their own.

Lucy gazes into her husband’s lifeless eyes and lets out a heartbroken cry. She places a kiss on his forehead as her tears fall onto his face. She rests her head against his chest one last time to confirm that he is, in fact, gone.

Garcia Flynn is dead.

Now, she has a promise to keep to Garcia – to save him, as well as a promise to herself that one day she would save Amy – and now she needs to be saved from Rittenhouse.

She understands that Emma is outside, waiting for her and Amy in a car, with her daughters. She knows if she can keep her promise to Garcia, that she can come back from São Paulo and they will be sleeping peacefully in their beds tonight.

Lucy closes her eyes and tries to visualize what she needs to do next.

“C’mon, Lucy,” Amy says. “Emma and your girls are waiting for us. It’s time for you to come home.”

Lucy runs her hand through Garcia’s hair. She removes his wedding ring from his finger and places it on her thumb. She takes a deep breath, and then lunges backward toward the gun she dropped on the floor. She takes aim at her sister and pulls the trigger.

“Amy!” Lucy cries out as her sister’s body hits the floor. “I’m so sorry.” Lucy stands up, and presses her hand against the wall to steady herself. She has no time to stand here and contemplate the consequences of her action. She steps over Garcia’s body and picks up Amy’s gun. If Emma decides to show up to see what is taking so long, she has to be prepared to kill her too – and please, please if that happens, please keep Lily and Jana in the car.

She walks quickly into hers and Garcia’s room.

She opens the closet door and grabs a duffle bag, unzips it and checks that her journal – their journal – is still inside. It is. She throws in a few articles of clothing, cash, and goes to retrieve Garcia’s gun from his nightstand as well as his wallet which contains photographs of them as a family. She grabs a shoebox of extra ammunition from the top shelf of the closet and throws it into the bag. She quickly slips on her running shoes, steps out into the hallway, and pauses only for a moment to give one last look at Garcia.

“Obećavam, ljubavi moja.” Lucy whispers as she makes her way downstairs, her gun drawn, ready to fight to the death to defeat Emma if she has entered her home.

Before they were placed in Witness Protection, they discussed what they would do in this “unlikely scenario” if Rittenhouse were to track them down. Duffle bag, journal, extra ammo, and cash. Those things, along with their daughters, was all they planned to escape with.

She walks to the window in the living room and peers out to check on her girls. She needs to bring them with her. If she fails to keep her promise to Garcia, or if she dies trying, she in no way wants her daughters to be raised in Rittenhouse. But… there’s no car outside. There’s no sign of her girls or of Emma Whitmore. Lucy has to assume that Emma heard the gunshots and got out of there. Lucy has no way of knowing what her exact orders were, and how important Rittenhouse views Lily and Jana to be.

All she can do now is run.

Run as far as she can until she feels she cannot be found.

And then she will make contact with Agent Christopher, and she will demand that she be allowed to use the Lifeboat to go back to Christmas Eve, 2014 to try to save her family.

-----

“Feliz Natal!”

Lucy nods her head and smiles politely at a passing stranger who has wished her a Merry Christmas, as she picks at her white t-shirt to try to keep it from sticking to her skin. The scent of rain lingers in the air as she makes her way down a quiet street in São Paulo. It’s Christmas Eve, 2014, and though they had talked about this night before his death, Garcia never actually told her the name of the bar she found him in when she came back to give him her journal.

“Com licença, Você fala inglês?” Lucy stops to ask a woman if she speaks English.

“Yes. A little.”

Lucy smiles in relief and holds out a photo of Garcia.

“Have you seen this man? He’s my husband and I think he’s lost.”

“Um… I see him in bar across the street.” The woman smiles, hoping that her broken English is understood. She lets out a joyful cry as Lucy – beside herself – wraps her arms around the woman.

“Obrigada,” Lucy says. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome.”

Lucy looks both ways before crossing the street and stops short of entering the Salão Bar when she sees Garcia through the window. He sits alone with his head lowered. He looks broken. Lost. She knows that he feels undeserving of life itself. Two weeks ago, he lost Lorena and Iris because of Rittenhouse, and she is here now because they have done the same to her.

She takes her journal out of her handbag and clutches it against her chest. She watches him for a long time. Long enough for him to have finished five drinks. She knows that he said she came to him when he was on his third drink, but she has no idea what to say to him now that she is here.

He never told her the exact words she said that convinced him to take the journal, steal the Mothership, and wreak havoc throughout history. He only told her that she told him her name, that she knew everything about how his family died, and that Rittenhouse was behind it all. That to stop them he would need her help, and that she handed him the journal.

Lucy’s heart skips a beat as she watches Garcia stand. He hands a large wad of cash – probably all the money he has – to the bartender. He also told her that he had been contemplating suicide, but the thought of stopping Rittenhouse is all he had to hold onto that kept him from doing it. But she’s waited outside too long. She’s changed how this originally had gone down. Is it possible that he’s decided to give up? Is he leaving to go end his life? She can’t let that happen.

Garcia exits the bar, bumping into her. He excuses himself in Portuguese and staggers away.

“Garcia!” She calls out, walking fast to catch up to him. She calls out again when he doesn’t respond, “Flynn!”

He spins around with a gun trained on her. He cocks back its hammer. His finger is on the trigger which means he’s prepared to shoot to kill. His hand is steady, indicative that perhaps he isn’t as drunk as he should be after how many drinks he’s had.

“How do you know my name?” He asks.

“I know everything about you.” Lucy cautiously takes one step closer to him. “Your wife and daughter are dead, killed by Rittenhouse. You think you’ve got nothing left to live for, and I know that you have been thinking of killing yourself tonight, but... you don’t really want to because the idea of stopping them is all you think you have left worth living for.” Lucy looks down at the journal in her hand. “Do you want to know how I know?”

She opens the journal, flipping to an entry which Garcia made in it when they were still living in the bunker.

Garcia lowers his weapon, and stares at the journal. His eyes are wide. “That’s... that’s my handwriting, but I didn’t write that.”

Lucy smiles. This conversation feels like an old friend. “Not yet… but you will.” She echoes his words to her almost two years from now.

Garcia stares at her, unsure what to make of what is being said. He places his gun securely back into the holster inside his pants.

Sensing that he’s no longer a threat, Lucy steps toward him, gently taking hold of his wrist.

“I know what you’re really meant to do, Garcia, and it isn’t suffering alone. And it isn’t fighting Rittenhouse alone. There’s a way to stop them, and to do it, you’re going to need my help.”

She hands him the journal.

He takes it, curious about who this woman is. He flips through its pages.

“Did… did you write in this too?” He asks. “Are you… one of them?”

“I’m not, but it’s complicated.” She answers. “Everything you need to know is in that journal.” Lucy rubs her forehead as her head begins to throb. She’s been here too long. Traveling within her own timeline is finally catching up to her.

“The Salem Witch Trials? Harriet Tubman…? Moon landing…?” Garcia shakes his head. “How do those things have anything to do with Rittenhouse?” He asks. “Why are you showing me this?”

“I’m not showing it to you, Garcia. I’m giving it to you.” Though the journal is in his hands, she closes it before he can flip to its final entries. The ones she wrote before leaving the bunker to come here to Brazil. She doesn’t want to be with him as he reads about his fate, and that Rittenhouse kidnapped their daughters.

She knows that Garcia will do as she asks because he wants to save his family. And she hopes that her entry about how they fell in love with each other, how happy they are with their little girls, and how Rittenhouse murdered him will somehow convince him to do everything he can to save himself in 2023.

“You’re giving it to me?” He asks, looking for confirmation.

“I am.”

Lucy doesn’t feel right.

She needs to end this conversation and get back to the Lifeboat. She needs to return home to her husband and daughters (please let Garcia fix everything that went wrong). “Look, my name is Lucy Preston. I’m from the year 2023, and I need you to-” She squeezes her eyes as a wave of burning pain sears through her head. She winces and places her hand on Garcia’s arm to keep herself from falling.

“Oh my God…” she winces.

“Hey…” his voice is soft.

She shakes her head and looks up at him wide-eyed. “I have to go.”

“What am I supposed to-?”

Lucy rises on her toes and kisses his cheek. She wipes a tear from her eye, and tries to give him an assuring smile through her pain. Then, without another word, she turns and runs away.

She doesn’t dare look back, but she can feel him watching her.

She turns a corner and enters an alley. She stumbles, losing her footing.

She has to stop now to catch her breath.

She looks around, disoriented. She has no idea where she is or how she got here. She leans against the damp brick wall and tries to remember who she is. What is her own name? She looks down at her t-shirt and closes her hand around the necklace she’s wearing.

A locket and a ring.

She opens the locket and stares at the small photos inside. On the left, two young women. On the right, a man and woman with two young girls. But… who are they?

Frustrated and scared, she lowers herself to the ground.

Her head is pounding.

Then she sees flashes from her life.

Playing baseball in the backyard with Amy (her name is Amy! And she’s my sister!) as schoolgirls… slow-dancing to the sound of summer rain with Garcia on their back deck… hearing the first cries of her baby girls as they were born… watching Garcia hold his newborn daughters for the first time, his eyes filled with tears of joy… teaching history in a large lecture hall… almost drowning in a car accident… her first kiss with her high school sweetheart, John… the Lifeboat…

Her heart jolts when she feels someone touch her face.

She opens her eyes.

It’s Garcia.

“You’re not well,” he tells her.

He kneels in front of her, placing both arms underneath her shoulders. He helps her to her feet. “If time travel is real, and you’re really from 2023 then… where’s your machine?”

“I don’t remember,” Lucy says, frustrated with her waning memory. “I’ve been in my own timeline too long, Garcia.”

“I’ll help you.”

Blood trickle down to her upper lip from her nose. She grabs onto Garcia as her knees give out. He helps lower her back to the ground.

“Here,” he removes the journal from a pocket of his cargo pants. He opens it to the back cover. He points at a photograph of himself, Lucy, and their girls. “Are they your daughters?” He asks.

Tears sting Lucy’s eyes.

She nods her head.

Seeing the picture of them is helping her memory.

“Then you have to get back to them.”

Lucy bites down on her lower lip and shakes her head, trying not to cry, “but Rittenhouse has them. If you don’t… and if I go back then… I don’t think I can find them on my own.”

Garcia is not stupid. He hasn’t read the journal, but this photograph tells him – it confirms beyond doubt – that in the future, he will love and be loved again. That he will marry Lucy, and together they will have two beautiful little girls.

His blood runs cold at the revelation that once again, in the future, Rittenhouse will destroy his family. First, they took Lorena and Iris from him, and in the future, they will take away Lucy and their daughters.

Lucy’s body trembles.

She wipes blood from her eyes.

Garcia understands that she’s not going to make it back. Although he doesn’t know her, he sets the journal down next to her, and then sits at her side. He takes her into his arms, cradling her head against his chest. He remains silent to hide his tears from Lucy. Her arm wraps around his waist.

“Please…” she cries, “change it, change everything… make sure that….” She trails off, not remembering what she wanted to say.

“I will,” Garcia tells her. “I promise you. I will.” He kisses the top of her head, tightening his hold on her. He’s overwhelmed with grief, not just from losing his family, but from sitting here with the woman he’s meant to fall in love with. And even though he doesn’t know her, he whispers, “I love you, Lucy.”

He feels those three words in his soul.

Her body curls into his.

It doesn’t take him long to realize that her shivers are seizures, and he pulls her hard against him. Hoping that somehow, some way, that his touch is taking away any pain she may be feeling. She trembles again and her grip around him weakens. Then, almost peacefully, she takes a final breath and slips away.

He can’t bring himself to let her go.

Not with her body still warm in his arms.

So, he holds her.

He doesn’t know for how long, just that gradually the sounds of people cheerfully wishing each other a Merry Christmas, and the sound of cars hurling through deep puddles on the street, finally start breaking through the silence.

Lucy Preston is dead.

If she really is from the future and somehow there’s a younger Lucy alive and well somewhere else in the world right now then… then that means that he’ll need to destroy her body. It wouldn’t be responsible of him to just leave her here to be discovered by some stranger. If her body would still be identifiable, then word could get back to Rittenhouse that a future Lucy Preston had been here. And whatever the consequences of that might be, he doesn’t know, but they wouldn’t be good.

He sighs.

He’ll need to find her time machine, and destroy it too.

Or…

He could find it and use it to fulfill his promise to her that he will change everything.

That he will save Lucy, and that he will find a way to save Lorena and Iris.

And that he will stop Rittenhouse.

Garcia carefully lowers Lucy’s body to the ground. He runs his hand through her hair and places a kiss on the top of her head. He stands, picking up her journal and tucking it back into his pocket. He takes out his phone, holds it to his ear, and waits for it to be picked up on the other end.

“Stiv. It’s me… I need your help.”