Work Header

Wyatt, Out Of Time

Work Text:

The first telegram fails, so Wyatt tries another.

He slips away to find a telegraph office in 1952, while Flynn tries to prevent Earl Warren’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Flynn tries to convince Harvey Milk not to run for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and Wyatt finds a Western Union office to send another message to Jessica, begging her not to leave him that day. He finds a lawyer's office in New York, the day of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 1911, and leaves a bequest to be opened — a letter, to be sent the year of Jessica’s murder.

Each time they return, Wyatt checks his wall of news stories, the fading, sun-spotted fragments of newsprint that still hold him to Jessica's death.

The letter he sends from 1911 ends up on his wall, brown and fragmenting with age. From checking Jessica’s old Facebook posts, he can tell some of the other messages got through.

But while the details shift, it’s not enough. A day here; an autopsy result there. In one timeline he comes under suspicion for Jessica's death. Even without any memories of the day this timeline’s Wyatt spent at the police station, it eats away at him until the timeline shifts again.

No matter what he tries, no matter what he does in the past, it’s never enough to stop Jessica’s murder.

Wyatt reads Jessica’s old Facebook posts after they return from the launch of the Titanic and realizes that he’s doing this wrong. The posts she makes in the weeks before her death are getting more worried — panicked, even. He starts to wonder if his messages are making her more likely to leave him, not less.

They go back to 1958 and the launch of the Explorer 1, and Wyatt stops Flynn again before sending a message. A different message. This time, he sends the message to Jessica to be delivered before they even meet, telling her to avoid him. Telling her that Wyatt Logan is bad news, and she needs to stay away.

It's not like it's not true, he thinks, and he pays the Western Union clerk.

Wyatt tries not to think about what Lucy said about fate.

Fate — he’s always wanted to think that you make your own. But as he tries and tries and tries to shift the timeline, reaching into Jessica’s life with fragile sheets of paper, he wonders. Every time he tries to shift Jessica’s fate away from himself, something pulls her back. Somehow, they always fall in love.

Somehow, Jessica’s life always ends in murder.

They get back from Dallas, 1963.

The landing’s like any other: shaky, rough, their bodies straining against the seat belts. Rufus has a black eye, Lucy’s lost her hat, and Wyatt’s left part of his uniform in 1963. But they succeeded in keeping Garcia Flynn from preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which Lucy says is vitally important to protect the timeline.

Wyatt’s not convinced, but he’s set his sights on smaller goals now.

When the door opens, there’s a long moment before the command center explodes with noise. A guard shoves a pistol into Wyatt’s face, and he’s frog-marched into a holding cell before anyone explains anything.

The interrogation begins a few hours later. Who are you? How do you know about this program? Where is Master Sergeant Baumgardner and what did you do with him?

It’s several days later before anyone explains to Wyatt that as far as this timeline’s concerned, he doesn’t exist.

He sees the team three days later, in the briefing room, which he figures means Agent Christopher has cleared him, as much as she can clear a phantom from another timeline.

“They made us take polygraph tests,” Rufus says. “They really think you don’t exist. Like, you can’t.”

“We remember you,” Lucy says, fiercely, and she takes his hand like she thinks he’s worried he might not exist. Like she’s worried he’ll fade away.

The meeting’s tedious, apart from the thrill of getting out of the interrogation room and the shitty cell off of it, but there’s one upshot: since Wyatt doesn’t exist, and Master Sergeant Baumgardner, the soldier who filled Wyatt’s role in this timeline, is gone, they’re keeping Wyatt on, provisionally. And Agent Christopher will be sorting things out with the DOD, figuring out how to bring a ghost soldier from another timeline into the present.

“We recognize that the three of you take unusual risks,” Agent Christopher says to him, her voice clipped. “Our sympathies on the loss of your personal origins and timeline.”

Wyatt nods.

Wyatt doesn’t have an apartment in this timeline. No existence, no apartment. There’s no faded pages of murder clippings to look through.

He’s staying at the research lab for a few days, crashing on a cot in the back that the programmers keep around for overnight watches. The first thing he does is asks Jiya if he can borrow her computer.

Jessica Logan no longer exists on Facebook, and Wyatt can’t find the right Jessica Adams, but he finds Judy Adams, Jessica’s mom.

After Jessica’s murder, Judy blamed Wyatt. Wyatt didn’t blame her for that. He agreed with her, when he thought about it at all.

In the timelines Wyatt left behind, Judy shut down her Facebook after Jessica’s murder.

In this timeline, Judy’s an enthusiastic Facebooker. She’s made all her posts public, which is how Wyatt finds them. Picture after picture of her son and her grandkids and her daughter.

The Jessica who used to be Wyatt's Jessica is Jessica Palmieri, in this world. Two adorable kids. All alive, happy, healthy, and putting up with tons of Grandma Judy’s photo ops. Wyatt looks at them and smiles.

He gets the address from Jiya. The next day, he signs a car out of the motor pool and drives there.

Jessica's house faces a park, and Wyatt parks a few blocks away. There's a bench, set at an angle to her house, and he sits and watches while she hauls two toddlers out to a minivan.

This Jessica — she doesn't look like his Jessica, not quite. But she’s alive.

While Wyatt watches, one of the toddlers looks at him, light eyes under curly hair. He meets the little boy’s eyes and can’t look away until Jessica pops him down into his car seat and drives away.

Wyatt stays, staring at an empty house, uncomfortable on the cold bench but unable to leave, to let Jessica slip away from him into this new timeline.

“I thought I'd find you here.”

His hand goes for his weapon, automatically, and then he makes himself relax. It's not Jessica, and it’s not the police responding to a stalking call. Instead, it's Lucy, in a wool cloth coat and a hat she told him is called a tam o'shanter. She looks like she could belong in 1930 or 1960 or any time, really, but maybe not here, on this park bench, in 2016.

“Can I sit down?” she asks.

Wyatt nods.

They sit in silence. It’s a gray day, cold. Wyatt shifts on the bench but doesn’t look away from the house.

Lucy stays quiet, but Wyatt knows her well enough to know that her mind is clicking away, processing what happened and spitting out the answers.

“How did you do it?” she asks, finally.

He doesn’t ask her how she knew that he erased himself on purpose. Lucy’s too smart for that.

“My gramps used to tell me about that day,” he says, instead. “He was in Dallas.” Wyatt smiles, the weird half-smile that he knows only comes out when he’s talking about himself. “Said it was the Logan family’s brush with history.”

“So you —”

“Once you confirmed that Kennedy was still dead, I found Gramps,” Wyatt says. “Told him some stuff. Family stuff.”

“And now you’re gone in this timeline,” Lucy says. She reaches for her locket, rubs it between her fingers. “Except you’re here.”

“I didn’t know Baumgardner would disappear,” Wyatt says, heavily. “He was a good man.”

Lucy doesn’t answer that. She and Rufus didn’t know Baumgardner, not like the rest of the team did. Not like Wyatt did, even — he worked with Baumgardner. If there had been another way —

“We take risks every time we go back,” Lucy says, finally. She drops the locket and reaches out for Wyatt’s hand.

Her hand is cold. Wyatt rubs it between his, and then holds her hand while they stare at the house where Jessica lives. The house where Jessica is impossibly, improbably alive.

For Wyatt — for now — it’s enough.