String Theory


Scene Title String Theory
Synopsis We begin at the end.

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I'd like to do

Is to save every day

'Til eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

vf_ruiz_icon4.gif bf_lynette_icon4.gif

lynette3_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

The island of Manhattan is an infinite number of miles long, containing an infinite number of people, buildings, and animals. From one end of the horizon to the other, it is just Manhattan. Every borough expands into another, expands into another, to the inverted curvature of a horizon that is like the inside of a sphere. The sky is yellow but also flecked with stars, and the sun is an arch of light that crosses one end of the horizon to the other.

If I could make days last forever

At the center of this, where cracked panes of glass the size of cities connect, is a single building. Set high above the streets of Manhattan, in view of the sprawling arc of Central Park. The Deveaux Building is a wound in time and space, where flat planes of Manhattan intersect like the optical illusion of multiple dressing room mirrors.

If words could make wishes come true

Pinehearst Tower rises up alongside the fire-eviscerated husk of the Empire State Building, and the Safe Zone both exists and doesn’t exist across the river. Slivers of the city are covered in sand and dust, while fish swim through the sunny air in others. At the four corners of the rooftop, by the greenhouse that is both destroyed and not destroyed depending on the angle it is viewed at, are four hearts that are two.

I'd save every day like a treasure and then

Mateo Ruiz and Lynette Ruiz stand across from one another in pairs. Resting on the edge of the roof between and ahead of them is a sculpture of two stone cherubs, one facing them, one facing away. One coming, and one going. Between the cherubs there is a simple ring of stone, a window by which the sun’s light shines perfectly through like a modern day Stonehenge.

Again, I would spend them with you

In this moment, where possibilities swim infinite on streamers of iridescent rainbow light, all roads converge into one. In the sky, Peter Petrelli and Sylar are rising up toward the sun, grappling one-another. Down below, the concrete walls of the Manhattan Exclusion Zone form a perimeter around the island if you squint just so.

But there never seems to be enough time

Each pane of glass, each crack, each fork leads here.

To do the things you want to do

And always has.

Once you find them

“We’re still here,” Ruiz whispers from where he holds onto his wife, weak from the draining electricity, weak from the overload that he can feel in his bones. He had felt it all unravel at the end, everything. And then… then they were somewhere, everywhere, all at once. Together. The small cut on his cheek burns, a small amount of blood dripping down from the relative scratch. “Do you think they made it?” he asks his wife, not quite seeing any of the infinite around them. All the lines lining up in a knot, tangled and mashed together insensibly.

I've looked around enough to know

It’s the same voice that answers him, though even more hoarse, like he’d been screaming for a while, or like someone who has had nothing to drink forever. “Some made it. Your daughter did, with Liz.” He knew there should have been more, but— he also knew that was the one answer they’d want the most. The one answer he’d want the most.

That you're the one I want to go

They were mirrors, the two Mateo Ruiz’s. With flaws here and there. One drenched in blood from his nose, still standing, grasping tight to a hand against his chest. Everything should hurt, in a way it did, but everything felt… light all at the same time. He could see the world around them, as he stood tall, watching the oddities lined up over oddities. He glanced up at the sky— this wasn’t the Garden he was used to, the small part he had been confined to for so long twisting around in endless circles.

Through time with

Maybe this was what had been beyond the hedges.

If I had a box just for wishes

Every breath hurt. His chest felt tight. He just wanted to lay down, forever. “My mom died, didn’t she?” he asks after a moment, this time to Lynette. There’s tears in his eyes. He had only known her moments, but it had felt like so much more than that.

And dreams that had never come true

And yet he knew he would give almost anything for a minute more. Maybe down one of those cracks in time, he had those moments, he couldn’t help but look out toward the fading edges.

The box would be empty

"She did," Lynette says, putting a hand on Mateo's arm, "but she saved everyone. Their daughter." She looks across from her, at her own double. It's a stranger feeling than she was expecting when they started trying to save the other otter. She's aware that compared to the Traveler, she's the more flawed. More scarred. Physically and not. She never believed there was a version of her who was good, only those who tried it on like an ill-fitting coat.

Except for the memory

"Where are we," she opts to ask, instead of voicing her more existential questions.

Of how they were answered by you

Reaching a hand up, Lynette wipes the blood and tears from her face. Her struggle to open the portal still weighs on her, as if she were still holding it open. "We were always coming here," she says, turning to Ruiz. "El Umbral picked where we landed, not me. But," she looks up at the kaleidoscope of cities around them, turning in place as if she might be able to find her home among them. Her words are lost, but obvious. Because they landed everywhere and nowhere.

This place felt both familiar and not, because it seemed to be made up of fractured pieces of the familiar with pieces of things he never witnessed. Either of him. Any of him. For a moment he could hear the faintest sound of music in the distance, familiar and well known. A once loved song. It seemed to be on a skipping record, but it overlapped with all the other sounds there. Mateo could also hear his heart beating, like a soft thump that resonated in the air, like what he’d heard when they first started, when he started to hear the sounds inside his head. Only this time he knew one of those hearts had been him.

The two others he did not know. And a fourth. And maybe a fifth. They could all almost hear the in the distance as people mulled about in the city below, infinite crowds melting into each other. “I wish I could have known her better,” Mateo whispers, not even bothering to wipe away the blood on his face. For a brief moment, one of eye seemed off, as if it were paler, glazed. The skin around it looked puffy, slightly scarred. It didn’t last.

The other Ruiz didn’t seem to fluctuate like that, though, as he pushed himself up, still holding onto his wife. Their daughter was safe. “We lost our sister. I tried to wait for her…” but she hadn’t come back. The reactor had been about to go. It might have gone moments later. “You two aren’t supposed to be here,” he adds after a moment. Why had they jumped into the portal? Because that’s the only option he could think of. He didn’t know well who this man’s mother was. Surely the worlds they lived in hadn’t been that different. His mother had died, on the day of the Bomb. He remembered it.

Just like he remembered not having a sister.

But those memories had seemed to unravel when put under certain tests.

“El Umbral was unstable. It broke apart. I think we got caught up in it.” He might have been fighting through pain and blood, but he was capable of comprehending that much. But one of those many heartbeats in the air sounded off. And that one was his.

"Maybe in another life," Lynette says, echoing words from a man she only knew for a moment, but has loved for years. They're solemn, though, because she knows there's little solace to be found in it. She also mourns what could have been with Mara. Another mother she only had a single memory of. Just a moment.

"I'm sorry about your mother," the traveler says to Mateo, her smile sad as she looks over at him. A streak of white appears in her hair as she talks, but she doesn't seem to notice. She nods when he explains what happened to the portal. "The same thing happened to us. We didn't enter the portal, it took us." She looks down at her feet, where drops of blood splash against the rooftop. Her nose is still bleeding. She looks up again, bringing a smile to her face. "It wanted us here."

Lynette reaches over to grip onto Mateo's hand; she's not sure she likes the notion that El Umbral wanted them anywhere. "That's… but how do we get home?"

And what even is home?

From here any perspective of the past feels blurred and indistinct. Even the separation of self feels dissolved, as if the boundaries between four people are more like two, or even one. Looking out over the infinite planes of time, where one choice refracts into another, into another, and another, it's easy to become lost in those details. It isn't the just moments themselves, either, but the emotions tied to them.

"In some of these possibilities, I don't exist. In some you don't. In one we might meet as enemies, in another as friends— that sort of thing." Mateo hears his own voice echoing back at him.

"Multiverse theory," Lynette says, in a much less poetic way. "I have to say I like a garden more than picturing time as a newspaper, with every page a possibility," she says, looking over at him with a crooked smile. "Much prettier."

But there is something else in that gaze, too. She knows that they do sometimes touch. Kids from the future, traveling to create a new one. And, of course, a man in a cell who knew her before she met him. Memories of the other Ruiz, the captive, leave her smile a little dim. "Well, I'm glad to be in this one, then," she notes, of all the options, "where we both exist and got to meet and seem to like one another well enough."

Well enough indeed.

"His stories make me wonder if Borges knew more than we thought. I mean, what are our lives but science fiction?"

"I always liked the idea that there's infinite worlds, with infinite possibilies," Mateo responds, looking down at the maze on his arm as he holds it up so they can both see it. The maze on his arm is, obviously, not infinite. There is a way to solve it. But the path only leads into an eclipsing sun.

"But for once this might be a better world than most." Because in this world, they have met. He grins, leaning his head down so he can kiss her hair for a moment.

Yes, for the moment, this might be the best possible reality.

What is home, when you are everywhere?

Home is where your friends are.


With a sigh, Kaylee opens her eyes and finds herself suddenly seeing double. Hands wipe at tear-filled eyes and she looks again. Nope. Still seeing double. There is a blink as she looks at one set and another blink before looking at the other. It had taken some effort, but she managed to find her way to them. This was definitely different, the telepath is still in her AEGIS armor and looking rather intimidating compared to the others. A hand goes to her neck, only to find it empty of the scaly coils. Everything had changed.

Kaylee’s mouth opens to say something to the others, but in that moment she becomes very aware of the surroundings.

“Whoa…” Kaylee breathes out in wonder.

Boots crunch gravel as the telepath turns slowly to look around them. Strands of hair escaped from her bun, tickle as they drifts with her movement. The scenery leaves her a little wide eyed as she comes back to the pairs. “Where—” the telepath doesn’t finish that sentence, she has no doubt they might be just as clueless.

Instead, she moves to make sure she friends are alright. “I thought we lost you for good,” Kaylee looks very tempted to hug them in sheer relief.

It was beautiful.

A place of endless possibilities, a place where everything might exist all at the same time, every moment, past, present and future all existing at the same time. A place where they could be together, forever. And maybe everyone they’d ever known was here. Maybe they were all here. The children they could have had or raised, their parents, his sister. It—

Maybe this was home. This Infinite Garden like the one he’d always imagined, with buildings and life and… and him and her and everything that made home, home.

And then home gets a frame spliced into a film reel. That sight alone was vaguely familiar to at least one of the two doubled Mateos. Double, but different.

The Mateo she knew she could tell easily from the other by his clothes, by the amount of stubble, by the blood that seemed to be drying there. And also that he was standing, but both sets of dark eyes move to her almost as soon as she splices into existence nearby. Their expressions aren’t mirrored. The one she knew actually looked a little disappointed, as if expecting, or hoping, for someone else. He had hoped it had been Mara, as that movement had been her signature. Maybe this place had been nice enough to answer that one request of his immediately. But maybe it still could.

The other, the one with a little thicker beard, a bleeding cut on his cheek, struggles to get to his feet. No longer looking at the world around them in wonder, and still trying to think of the question that Lynette had asked. Which Lynette he wasn’t even sure of, cause their voices were the same, because they were both Lynette. But this Mateo seemed much happier to see the telepath, his hands tightening on his Lynette. He’d honestly thought he’d never see Kaylee again.

“Kaylee,” he says in a voice that carries all of that really. Happiness at seeing her and a hint of hopefulness. A blink. No. She doesn’t have the scar. She’s… Another Kaylee. But still Kaylee.

“How did you get here?” That almost seemed to overlap on each other, cause both Mateos were asking it at the same time. The voices were the same, some different emotions mixed in overall.

Lynette looks over at Kaylee, a moment of confusion passing in favor of a deep sigh. "Are we all dead?" She can't deny some relief at seeing her friend there, but with how the portal collapsed, she can't help but think the worst. And who's to say what an afterlife would look like? A labyrinth of labyrinths.

Another Lynette, one will blood and tears staining her face and a white streak flickering in and out of her hair, lifts her hands to look at them. She looks surprised to see them— or rather, by what they look like. She already spent time wandering through Ruiz's mind and a maze where he existed over and over, it's easy to lose herself here. One hand touches her face, feeling a fresh scar there that she never had before. But when she reached over for Ruiz's hand, she seems to snap back to herself. So she clings onto him, her grip tight. Her anchor. He always has been.

Both Lynettes end up looking over at Kaylee, but this one seem to have a more hopeful outlook. A smile comes to her face and she chuckles at her comment. "We lost you ages ago," she says, "it's good to see you here." A bit of the world. For her, it's a sign that there's something beyond this shattered infinite.

The disappointment is ignored, but it is hard to dismiss the reaction of the other pair. Kaylee catches herself staring at them both with a touch of confusion, but then she reaches up and brushes the side of her face without the scar. “You two traveled with her.” It isn’t a question, but a stated revelation, openly curious though. Then it gives way to a gentle smile for them. “She’d be glad to know you —“ well….they are not exactly okay, but… “made it this far.”

As for how she got there, she turns back to her pair, “After you… exploded.” Only way to really explain it. Kaylee grimaces a bit, “I heard you both and; well, I followed.” Letting out a deep breath, she looks out over the world beyond the landing. “Or I think I did, this doesn’t seem like the mindscapes I’m used too.”

Stepping over the railing, hands dropping to rest on the cool stone, Kaylee didn’t exactly know how to explain it, but she was here. That was something at least. “Now, just have to figure out what exactly here is and how to get you out and to your kids.”

For a moment, like a stray frame in a movie, the bloody faced Mateo’s appearance seems to flicker. One eye is glazed over again, paler and that whole side of his face looks burnt and scarred, ugly pink still healing skin visible. It doesn’t last long, but for that moment he’s staring off. And then he blinks and shakes his head when he’s back to normal again. For a moment his depth perception had been gone, and he couldn’t see clearly. Cause for a moment he no longer had a left eye.

“We blew up?” he asks almost in a dreamy voice, still half staring off into something. This didn’t feel exactly like his mindscape, but it felt similar. Except it wasn’t at all similar. It was and wasn’t all at once. “I don’t know where we are, but I know the roof. It’s where we tried to bring you through.” That part was half said to the other Lynette, who his eyes move to. He had felt her most of all, like they had been reaching out across an vast distance, until their hands finally found each other.

He looks off into that distance again. Was his mother out there?

Ruiz couldn’t help but look out there as well, though he was thinking of his sister instead. But then he remembers. Evie. Manuel, who they have not seen in over a year now. “We do have to figure out how to get back. Do either of you still feel your ability at all?” he looks toward Lynette, then over at— himself.

But it’s as if that Mateo doesn’t quite hear him.

"The aurora, it's been hunting us since we crossed into the flood. It caught up," Lynette says. She's had nightmares about those rainbow lights. She should have known they would catch her eventually. "I know the roof, too. It was where we used to build the portals. Something about the walls being thinner there." She could feel it.

"Of course we have to get back," the other Lynette says, looking at Kaylee as if she might be the only one who understands, "we have to be able to get back." She looks over to Ruiz, shaking her head. She'd burnt out her ability even before the travelers came through. She turns to look at Mateo, blinking when he seems distant. "Mateo? My darling?" she says, coming over to put her hand on his arm. "We're going to be okay. We'll get home."

Lynette looks away from their doubles, to Ruiz. "I don't think I'll be able to make a portal for a while. I can try…"

“If I could get here, it means we can leave,” Kaylee says it with a false confidence, a part of her worried cause it was different. Did she also disappear from the world when she reached for them? Did she just doom her kids and husband to a life without her? That worry nagged at the back of her mind, which was strangely silent and completely devoid of commentary.

In fact, her mind was far too quiet for her liking, despite the minds humming nearby.

Distracted, Kaylee doesn’t really notice the shift in Mateo, her attention is turn outward. Closing her eyes, her ability flares to life again and pushing outward looking for something to help her figure out a plan. How do you bring back what went poof in a burst of rainbow lights?

“I really hope we are not in the mind of some interdimensional being,” Kaylee comments blandly, because that would be her luck.

Mateo’s not really listening at all, it would seem. Not until Lynette speaks to him and he looks over, frowning. It was as if he heard something in the distance, which could be possible cause there were things drifting on the wind. Whispered voices, broken music, like of a song on a piano. Like only the keys played by a single hand were being pushed when both hands needed to be used. “I don’t— “ The whole placed had him feeling stretched out, but at the same time everything felt light.

There was another flicker. For a moment his hair was shorter, his stubble longer. His warm clothes and characteristic sweater replaced with a simple t-shirt and drawstring pants. Shirt and pants were stained with blood, on his arm, stomach, leg. Someone they would both recognize. A man from over seven years ago, from a memory Lynette would never forget and a reading that Kaylee had done all that time ago. When he flickers back, something seems to be missing from the edges, almost like the edges that make up his solid image were blurring. He still felt solid, where Lynette touched him, but at the same time… he was hard to hold in their eyes.

And his mental signature seemed, to Kaylee, to be slipping away, like a sandcastle as the tide came in, each wave pulling away pieces.

“I don’t think that’s what this is,” Ruiz responds softly to Kaylee, but he sounds as if he’s not entirely sure. He did not know what it was, but he knew that whatever was happening to the other him… This one, the one with the scratch on his cheek, he had never started flickering, solid and whole. But he looks concerned at his wife, because he knows she held that portal open far, far too long. “Are you okay, mi vida?”

When she sees him, the very first Mateo she met, when she sees him bleeding, the shock of it makes Lynette pull back her hand. She regrets it the moment her touch leaves him, though, when he suddenly seems less there. "Mateo, no," she says, "Mateo, you have to stay. You can't go." Her voice shakes as she speaks, for all that she tries to sound firm. Her hand reaches for him again, just as her eyes try to fix on him.

"It isn't a mind," the traveler says as she stares somewhat blankly at the other pair, "it's a garden. There's a path that will get you home." You, because she is watching what happens to Mateo. And although she can't see how her own form flickers and fades, she can feel the disconnect growing.

Kaylee can, too. She's drifting off, leaves on a breeze, mind as well as body.

Ruiz's question brings her attention around, but when she turns, afterimages of her linger— each just a little different. "No," she says, and she reaches for him as she falls toward the ground. "Javi," she says, calling as if she doesn't know where he's gone, even though he's right there with her.

Eyes open and a breath is huffed out in pure frustration. Kaylee looks skyward as if the answers were there, not something she would have done in her youth. Not since meeting her husband. “I know,” she finally admits. “I just… “ don’t know what to do she doesn’t say. Unable to complete the sentence as something seems to change again.

Turning to look back over her shoulder, Kaylee has notices the change in her friend. “Mateo?” Concern is laced through her voice as she moves to approach the man. Unfocused eyes, don’t quite see the flicker, her attention is on his mind. Fingers works to remove protective gloves while she closes the distance between them. “Something’s wrong,” she states the obvious, it is much more obvious when the other Lynette flickers and falls. Hurrying, Kaylee reaches for Mateo to press fingers to his temple. Tendrils of telepath wind around his mind, as she says softly, “Stay with us.” The words laced with her power in an attempt to focus him in the moment.

Brows furrow as she examines his mental state, eyes closing so she can concentrate, what she sees makes her stomach twist with worry. She looks over at the other Lynette, eyes unfocused, looking into her.

Her hand drops away from Mateo, Kaylee’s attention fully on the other. What they don’t see is the panic and uncertainty that curls around her, more so without the snake in her head to drive her. Could she do this? “I—” the telepath hesitates, eyes refocusing to look at Lynette and Ruiz. “I might have an idea. It’s risky.” He looks t Ruiz, specifically. “Did Kaylee ever tell you about Tyler Case? The one in her head?” She taps her head for emphasis.

“I’m just— tired,” Mateo tries to say, shaking his head a little as if that will clear it. He doesn’t flicker again, but as he moves, taking a step closer to the falling Lynette out of instinct, his knees give way. The edges of him still seems fuzzy, but his wife will be able to catch him, feel him, help him down to the rooftop as he legs out a shuddered sound that isn’t quite a grunt or a gasp, but carries a hint of difficulty to it. Not pain, really, just…

Like another layer of sand was washing out to see.

But Ruiz understands immediately, nodding. “The man who had been helping us use the portal to get from Lynette’s world to the one my Kaylee stayed in. He swapped our abilities, but then he was dying. She tried to save him and…” He ended up in her head. Part of him, at least. They had found out about it in the year together in the Resistance because talking to yourself stood out a little. He looks over at the other Mateo, the one down on his knees, looking like someone had used a blur tool over his edges, like a bad attempt to add in special effects in an old film. Mateo was looking up at him too.

He might be in some kind of pain, he might be blurring at the edges, but he understood. Enough. “Help Lynette first, please.” As his hand tighten around the arm of his Lynette, he added, “I can hold it together a little longer.”

Lynette catches him and lowers to the rooftop with him, her arms wrapping around him like she might be able to hold him there. She looks over at Kaylee, not bothering to mask her desperation. Or to hold back the tears welling up in her eyes. She doesn't even know what to say, what to ask for, so she looks back to Mateo. She runs her fingers through his hair and brings her hand to his cheek. "I don't think I can do this without you," she says. She remembers how hard it was to lose Ruiz. How much worse would it be to lose her husband? "We were supposed to stay together." She tries to smile, as if it were only a playful admonishment, but her expression doesn't make it there.

Normally, Lynette would protest being helped first, but she seems to be crumbling away faster. She never did reach Ruiz's level of control with the portals. Never his level of familiarity. And suddenly, the weight of opening gateways between worlds seems to be hitting her. All those sleepless nights. The loss of her son— truly lost to her now— and her daughter, too. "Javi," she says, her hand gripping onto his shirt, "you have to finish what we started. I'm sorry I can't… be there. Keep going."

Breath catches in Kaylee’s throat as Mateo falls and Lynette helps him to the ground. Even as Ruiz understands what she is proposing, she feels that growing uncertainty. There is a small nod of her head at her friends request. “I’m not her, but… I think I know what she did.” Dropping to her knees near the two pairs, the armor taps on the rooftop and joints creak. “I saw it happen and when she almost died, I ended up with Tyler.” A long story, her look says.

“I’m going to try…” Kaylee knows that they don’t have much to lose at this point. Without intervention there would be nothing left soon as this place devours them.

Fingers move to touch the temple of the fading woman, the telepath making the connection and her ability winding around the mind within. Only then does she hold out her hand to the woman she has knows for a very long time. “Trust me?” She asks Lynette, waiting as patiently as she can.

It is hard to watch them all. Kaylee knows the feeling. Witnessed in a time that never happened, when Joseph had been lost to her. Something that stuck with her and plagued her nightmares still. There were also times other her versions of herself almost lost their Luther. She even feels the loss of him in her world. But not them, she won’t let them lose their loves. Not completely.

“I’m going to try and save them both, but I need your help to save her.” It’s hard to talk around the emotions being involved there, the words thick with them and sticking in her throat. “I’m going to do my damnedest, Lynette to keep you all together the only way I know how.” This was the promise she was giving to her friend.

“You could. You could,” Mateo says as he looks up at his Lynette, the only one he had known, though he glances away for a moment toward the one that’s mirroring him not too far away. Both held by the person they loved the most, even if their positions were swapped. Just like the other’s abilities had been.

If that man Kaylee saved hadn’t swapped their abilities, would it be two Mateos lying there dying, leaving both of their wives alone? Their eyes meet for a moment, his and Ruiz’s. It’s as if they were both thinking it at once. “But you won’t have to. I’ll be there,” he says as he looks back. He might have felt differently if the situation had been reversed, but he didn’t know if there was any other way…

And he wanted her to live, above anything else. Even if the grains of sand washed away into the sea made him feel lighter. “I love you.”

His words were echoed on both sides, but said by different yet similar mouths, to different but similar women.

This was a place Ruiz had been before, and he was looking across at something the woman in his arms had had to go through. Which was when his eyes met with his doubles. It would have been him, too, likely. He had known there would be a price to what they were doing, but he had thought they could pay it together. Though he had always thought it would be his to pay alone. He had known since before he left his world. Edward Ray had predicted the odds of him making it.

The man may have missed some important variables. But he knew this could have looked different. Two beautiful pale haired women holding the man they loved, children left without a father. Two Point As without their Point B.

He would have wished that it had been, if it wasn’t for this hope offered by Kaylee.

Los encontraré,” he says in a desperate attempt to reassure her, cause it’s the only thing he can think to do. That she needs to know that he will find them, just as he will do what she told him. He won’t make Eve have to find him on a beach this time, whether this worked or not.

But he hoped it would.

"You better be," Lynette says, blinking through the tears, forcing them to leave tracks down her cheeks. She lets out a sob when he goes on. She hasn't hear those words from anyone else, not in a long time. She never let anyone else. Even the other, the first one, she knew it when she saw how he looked at her, but she denied it until she read poetry scribbled in the margins of a book. "I love you, too," she says, leaning over to press her forehead to his, trying to keep him closer to her, "I love you." She repeats her words, like she wants them to be the last thing he hears.

Across from them, Lynette looks up at Kaylee, giving her a nod. "I have always trusted you." It doesn't matter if this isn't the same Kaylee she knew. Kaylee was Kaylee.

Her gaze flicks back to Ruiz, giving him a sad smile. "I know you will. You're a good father. You're a good man." Her fingers tighten their hold and she pulls herself up toward him a little. "You are a good man." She needs him to know that.

In the distance, the strains of a song play across the city. A familiar song.

Taking a moment to gather herself, pushing down the emotions that threaten to choke her, Kaylee tries to shake of the uncertainty, but it continues to cling to her like static charged lint. Plaguing her even as she pulls them in on a desperate rescue mission.

The dual Mateos can see all emotion fall off the telepath’s and both Lynettes’ faces as everything turns inward, concentration total.

Within the mind of the fading woman, Kaylee can feel it slowly unraveling at the seams. At the edges of the mindscape shift and blur. Pieces falling off and drifting away. It all felt so fragile. Stiil, «We don’t have much time.» Not letting go of her friends hand, the telepath calls up a flickering and fading image of the dying Lynette. Normally she would be quicker, but this situation needed a gentle hand, a touch of caution. «She’s already feeling incomplete.» Everything that made this unfamiliar Lynette who she was starts coming together, piece by piece she seems to solidify in front of them.

Kaylee uses her ability to keep one Lynette together and bring the other one closer to them «Hold on to each other,» she encourages with a strained voice, already feeling a light pressure behind her eyes. Both can feel themselves constricting together, pulled in tight, encased in something they cannot see. Wrapped snug in a telepathic cocoon.

There is a soft gasp as Kaylee finishes her work, even though they are in a mindscape, she even brushes at her brow. «Okay. This—» She takes a deep breath, readying her next move. «“This might feel weird.»

Please let this work.

WIthout warning, both women feel themselves being shoved with a blinding mental force. The world upends for them as they are shoved from one mind into the other. The telepath doesn’t follow them in, but returns to her own.

Mateo will know it is done, when Kaylee’s eye blink open and she grimaces against the blossoming headache. Hands letting go to briefly press to each side of her head with a soft hiss. It was a lot of work. Worry flashes quick through her, distracting from her own pain, when her attention shifts to the other woman. “Lynette?” she asks hopeful.

Through all of it, the Mateos can only watch. One flickering again, this time to a version of himself with long sideburns, curly hair, cleaner shaven face. And a stab wound bleeding from where he pushes himself up weakly to watch, even though he’s not sure how much he’s capable of seeing, considering the situation. This flicker is longer, but when it ends he’s blurrier, when it ends, Kaylee is finished.

And the song, the oh so familiar song, seems to be sung by a different singer than any of the albums that had ever been released. The words are too soft to hear, but they all know the song. That familiar song.

Once Lynette’s favorite, and now tied to tragedies. And hope, all at once.

As Kaylee speaks, Ruiz almost holds his breath, almost too scared to look down, hands grasping.

Please let it work.

Both of him were thinking it together. This one especially had to work.

The Lynettes both fall silent as Kaylee works. The song plays, and a tear falls from the traveler's eye. She sees her husband flicker into view and the music skips with him. She takes in a breath…

And scatters across the rooftop, tumbling in unfelt wind until there's nothing left of her.

Lynette opens her eyes, staring at the spot her double once stood in, her own breathing more erratic. Her gaze snaps to Kaylee when she hears her name, though, which could be taken as a good sign. In her mind, two lives attempt to settle. And it is strange, but it's only the span of a shaky breath before she nods to Kaylee.

"I think it worked. I think she's here."

She isn't sure how to make room for her alternate self, but she can feel the memories settle into place, folding in among her own. All her own now, as the telepath's power made sure of. She settles onto her knees, sitting back on her feet as she turns toward Mateo. "It's going to be okay, my darling, I'm here. Kaylee can help."

A shaky sigh of relief escapes as Lynette speaks. Kaylee hadn’t even realized she had been holding it. An emotion hiccuped laugh is followed by tears. Until that moment she hadn’t realized how scared she was. A glance goes to trembling hands, flexing them a little, maybe even a little surprised at her own ability.

Without the overlaying memories, Kaylee wouldn’t have ever suspected what she was capable of this.

Looking up, Kaylee offers the two men a nervous smile and swipes at the tears on her cheeks. “Okay, it’s your turn.” A hand is offered to Ruiz, while fingertips lightly touch Mateo’s fuzzy temple. Kaylee doesn’t even ask if their ready, before the process starts all over again.

Time stretches on as the trio sit in silence, all of the action beyond the physical world and into something more mystical. This one takes a bit longer, more pieces to find and bring together; but, eventually, she awakens again with a satisfied sigh, only to be followed again with a grimace for the heightened pain. “I think I got him all.”

Not turning to her friend, but the one who holds him, Kaylee watches him for a moment… more mentally until she is satisfied. Only then does she let go of them both and shifts back giving the lovers room. Even taking time to climb to her feet with a bit of a sway, intent on offering them privacy…. Or as much as she can on the rooftop.

There were tears falling down Ruiz’s cheeks before Kaylee began, as is likely no surprise, he just watched her blow away, found his arms suddenly empty, grasping nothing. But the voice that he heard had given him hope, even if he still cried. It had worked. Part of it had. She wouldn’t be lost. Mateo also looks up with relief, even if he can’t help but watch the pieces that floated away, like leaves in autumn.

He inhales as the telepath touches him, and when she lets go his eyes are still open, still locked on Lynette— and much as her mirror had, he collapses in her hands, melting away into nothing.

Ruiz falls forward, hands stopping him from landing on his face, staring at the rooftop as… it felt strange, it felt…

When he looked up at Lynette. Only one Lynette, but as he looks he remembers something, a song that comes into his head. A song he never remembers learning, but one he remembers singing.

Singing to her. A moment later his breath shakes. “I— he’s here.” It’s the most he can manage right now. The music is back, though this time it’s acoustic guitar, it’s a soft voice.

It’s the first song that he ever sang for her down in the Benchmark in Mexico. When Silvia had brought them together. Silvia.

He didn’t even notice he was whispering the girl’s name under his breath.

Lynette covers her mouth as he melts away, the eroding shoreline. Tears were already falling, but they fall heavier now, with small gasps as she reaches to touch him one last time only to have nothing of him left to hold onto. She lets out a sob when Ruiz speaks, despair and hope mixing together in the sound.

She only looks up when she hears him whisper her daughter's name. Their daughter's name.

"Kaylee," she says, when she shifts away, "thank you." Her voice is tired, raw, but grateful. Because what she just did is nothing short of a miracle.

She closes the distance between her and Ruiz, her hands reaching to take his. It's a gesture of support for his loss, for what he had to watch happen, and also for her own comfort for her own loss. But, too, to prove that whatever happens, she will be there for him. She couldn't do anything less.

Pausing in her retreat, Kaylee twists to look back at the two and offers them a tired smile of her own. Melding minds were hard work after all. Head tipping down a bit, she offers a soft, “What are friends for?” is her way of saying your welcome.

Leaning against the wall, Kaylee looks over the edge, before turning to slide down and sit heavily with a heavy, tired sigh. Her head tips back to look at the cherubs just above her head. It felt a bit like a sacred spot. How many times had she seen it in memories or stood there herself.

As interesting as the place was, they needed to figure out how to get out of there…. But… Kaylee sighs out again and rests her head against the bricks, closing her eyes… maybe after a moment.

It feels like an eternity that Ruiz is drowning in that feeling of memories of memories. He’s trying to navigate it, figure it out, but some things definitely stick out more than others. Silvia. Lynette. Des. And… his mother. Odessa’s mother. And his. “We were brother and sister after all,” he says with a surprised sound, reaching down to touch the broken red banded watch he always wears on his wrist. It’s still there, in this place between and within all worlds.

He reaches to touch his shirt, the rings still sat there under his shirt, but it felt… different, so he pulls it out from under it, and a third and fourth ring sway on the dangling chain. It seemed impossible, but his wedding ring and her wedding ring, the Lynette that just vanished in his arms, had joined them.

And that’s when he realized the ring he wore wasn’t his. But it was.

It had been Mateo’s. The rest of him had vanished, even the sweaters, but that and the memories somehow got left behind. It seemed impossible. But maybe so was this place.

Taking in a slow breath, he rubs hands over his face to clear the tears. They had two daughters and a son to get back to. “We have to figure out a way to get back now. But I don’t— I don’t think I got his ability. My head’s still… quiet.” This place wasn’t quiet, though.

I might be able to help.


The voice first comes from around them, a disembodied and distorted woman’s voice echoing back on itself. But then there is a woman reflected in a fracture of space and time, a mirror of herself moving in pair to each other. One dressed in a doctor’s jacket with the sleeves rolled up, the other suspenders and slacks. One Mara, the other Joy.

“You're a snowflake caught in a storm. The ice is cracking, possibilities that were once together are dividing.” As she walks into the rooftop from the sky, the twinned reflections of Mara and Joy slowly meld with one another until they are a single divided image moving in perfect synchronization. “The way back is closed,” she says with a shake of her head, “but why go back… when you can go forward?”

Joy and Mara each raise a hand, offering a limb out to the two divided across both an impossible great distance between timelines and also no space at all here at the crux of all things. “One last spin around the drain…” she says, looking over briefly to Kaylee, then back to Mateo and Lynette. Mara and Joy have no hand to offer her.

Lynette reaches into her pocket, pulling out a small, drawstring bag. It opens flat in her palm and holds two rings. Hers and his. She didn't have them a moment before, but she knew right where to find them.

The sudden voice has her clutching her fingers around them— losing them would be too much. But she turns, looking toward Joy and Mara as they seem to merge into one as well. "Forward is the only direction available to us anymore, it would seem," she says with a slight, crooked smile. She reaches for her hand, but her grip is tight and her expression grows more serious. "Can you come with us?" Afraid that she already knows the answer, she looks away. To Ruiz. To Kaylee.

Her hand reaches out for her. "Come on, then. No one left behind."

The telepath isn’t paying attentions to the others, letting the light throb of her headache envelop her while thinking about what she had just done. Kaylee almost couldn’t believe it, she had been running on pure instinct and adrenaline.

The new voices startle her out of this reflection, bringing her head up only to be struck with a sense of… deja vu.

A pale, feminine face, a tangle of blonde hair. No blood. Cold hands lift, and grip the sides of Kaylee's face, and steers her to look towards the water.

There is a blink of surprise as Kaylee feels that first tickle of recognition. “Who are you?” she asks without thought, climbing to her feet. Unlike the others, the telepath had never seen the true form of Mara and Joy.

“What do you mean the way back is closed?” Visions and prophecies were not always an exact science, but…

"You have to go backwards," says a voice. Kaylee sees, behind her, the figure who had taken Luther's place. "If you want to move forward."

It couldn't be completely closed could it? Her brother’s life might depend on it.

It hasn’t occurred to her yet what was happening. The option offered the other two. The telepath was more interested in the strange woman herself. At least until, Lynette offers a hand out. Looking down at it, Kaylee’s brows furrow. “I’m not here in the same way, you two are. I can just…” Eyes unfocus as the telepath tries to reach for her body…only…
“Oh no…” Kaylee breathes out with dread.

“… it’s not there.” Eyes refocus on the others, widened in panic. This has worried never happened to her before. “I don’t know if I can go back.” Kaylee says with uncertainty as she reaches for Lynette’s hand, uncertain what else to do.

“Todo es posible si tú lo crees.” Mateo Ruiz repeats words he half remembers, words that were said to another set of ears what felt like a lifetime and a half ago. But he remembered them clearly, as he moves forward, half of him still confused by the emotion that raised to the surface, that made him want to throw his arms around the woman in front of him, or drop to his knees and just hold onto her. She was taller than him, he noticed. Completely different in every way possible.

“She is Odessa’s mother,” he explains softly to Kaylee, so she understands. “And… mine.” That bit carried the confusion he felt. He didn’t understand how he knew, when all evidence pointed that it couldn’t be possible. “She never stopped trying to find you, to get you back. She loved you. And I know you know this, because you were there, when Odessa had to leave us. You know what she wanted me to tell you, what she wanted me to do. Whatever happened to her, she did it for us. For her family.” Her brother, her niece, her sister who loved her despite everything. “And… and I know what you both did, for us, too.” All of them. He blinked, tried to push back the tears. “I wish I could have known you, but what I know tells me enough.” It’s the things he had wanted to say.

With Lynette’s offer, he nods, looking back at Kaylee to add, “If you can’t find your way, then hold onto us and we’ll figure out how to get you home. You saved us, we can save you.”

Creo en ti, mamá,” he adds, reaching out to take the offered hand.

Mara and Joy’s linked expressions are gentle and at the same time bittersweet. “I wish I could have known me too,” she says with a hint of black humor. But as she looks back to Kaylee, there's a furrow of her brows and a thoughtfulness in her split presence.

“I can't help you,” Mara says with a slow shake of her head, but Kaylee feels a hand on her shoulder, sees the pale fingers out of the corner of her eyes. As she turns, Kaylee finds a familiar and pale figure dressed in a carnation red dress standing behind her, eyes of catlike yellow and a smile as impish as a child’s.


Hokuto Ichihara doesn't see Mateo or Lynette, doesn't see Mara or Joy. “Kaylee,” Hokuto says urgently, and the hand on her shoulder is fist-right, “you're reaching too far. Whatever you thought you found… let it go. Let the past die.”

When Hokuto pulls Kaylee into an embrace, Mateo and Lynette see her fold into a crack in space and time, disappearing from sight entirely. Mara and Joy look back to Mateo and Lynette, and pulls them forward into the fissure that divides her from head to toe. As they are pulled toward the fissure and then, into the shearing and splitting sounds of cracking glass.

And then…

The Deveaux Building

February 28th


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“You planning on being up here all night?”

Glass broken years ago crunches under soft bootfalls. Coming up across the rooftop, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, Miles Dylan looks up at the sky with brows furrowed together and an uncertainty in his eyes. The target of his biting sarcasm turns slowly, offering a look over her shoulder from where she leans through the iconic loop of the masonry on the edge of the building.

“I want to watch the sun rise,” she says with a small smile, offering a hand out to Miles. He approaches, taking her hand and drawing her away from the masonry to her side. Her fingertips brush up along his stubbled jawline, then into his long hair. “Stay with me?

Miles smiles, nodding in silent affirmation as he pulls her into the warm embrace of his wool coat. “At least bring gloves next time, Chess.” Closing his eyes, Miles looks through the stone loop to where the ruins of Central Park are green and vibrant against the gray of old concrete. She presses her nose to his shoulder, then follows his eyes to the green.

“It's hard to imagine this was almost the end of the world…” Chess says softly, turning with a brush of her chin across coarse wool to look up at Miles. “But we’re alive.” Miles nods in agreement, cupping her cheek with one gloved hand.

“Humanity will bounce back,” is something Miles had said to her many times.

“With each sunrise,” Chess finishes the phrase as she has many times before.

And many more after.

The Deveaux Building

February 28th


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“You planning on being up here all night?”

Glass broken years ago crunches under soft bootfalls. Coming up across the rooftop, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, Edward Ray cuts a narrow silhouette against the dark. “You know, secret service is going to be shitting entire golden geese if they realize you're not at your suite.”

Hunched over with his hands on the top of the iconic stone ring at the roof of the building, the leader of the free world — President Allen Rickham — turns to look over his shoulder at Edward. Rickham smiles, then steps away from the sculpture. “I've got less than a year left,” he says with a shrug of his shoulders and a dry laugh.

Edward’s brows raise and he shakes his head. “They still have a job to do. You still have a job to do.” Coming up to stand beside Rickham, Edward lets his pale eyes settle on his old friend. “Why here?” He asks, expecting that will have more of a response.

“This is where it all started,” Rickham says with a thoughtful look through the loop. “The Company, Arthur, everything. It's like there's something… about this place.” The way Rickham looks at Edward, it's like he expects an explanation.

“Sometimes a roof is a roof.” Edward doesn't have one. “Sometimes things are just coincidences…” The answer elicits a crease of Rickham’s brows.

“Do you of all people really believe that?”

“I've seen enough possibilities to know that the universe is chaos.” Edward looks through the loop, following Rickham’s view of Unity Park. “You can mistake coincidence for design. But if everything… all the chaos, if that's something intentional?”

Rickham’s eyes narrow, silently. “What would that be?”

Edward looks away from the park and up to Rickham.


The Deveaux Building

February 28th


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“You planning on being up here all night?”

Glass broken years ago crunches under soft bootfalls. Coming up across the rooftop, hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans, Peter Petrelli looks like he'd rather be anywhere than here. But that's not how tonight went, that’s usually not how these nights go. “We crossed this sniper perch off our list a long time ago.”

“I don't have a gun,” the young man leaning through the loop says, “I'm waiting for something.” Rhys Bluthner is tired, he's been tired for years. Peter comes up to stand beside him, forearm resting on the loop and eyes turned down to the cherub with the pockmark of a bullet impact on its chest. He remembers a day long ago, for one brief and bittersweet moment, then looks over to the young man.

“It's not coming back,” Peter says with a look to the sky, then back to Rhys. “They're not coming back.”

Exhaling a sigh, Rhys nods and leans out of the loop and looks back to Peter. “Have you ever been so absolutely certain that you were meant to do something? But… it was all a lie?”

That question elicits a snorted laugh from Peter. “Christ, that's my whole life.” He smiles, ruefully, and hooks an arm around Rhys’ shoulders and leans him away from the masonry. “The war’s over, the fallout is dying down, we might be able to move back to Staten Island eventually.”

Rhys rolls his eyes. “Don't know why anyone would want to do that,” he says with a laugh joined by Peter’s. “I just… when I was younger, I just thought— people told me I'd help change history.”

Peter nods, sympathetically and slaps a hand on Rhys’ back. “Kid, if I had a nickel for every precog that thought they knew how my life'd turn out… I wouldn't be bumming money for food off of the Bellamys.”

Rhys smiles, relieved in part. “That's not reassuring…” he admits reluctantly.

“Life's not reassuring, is it?”

The Deveaux Building

February 28th



“You planning on being up here all night?”

Sloshing waves lap against the hull of a rowboat languidly drifting across the surface of choppy tides. Arms dangling out of the sides of the boat, a woman shrouded in gauzy white clothes stares up at the moon high overhead. She smiles, even though there's no one else around.

“I am…” Else Kjelstrom answers her own question, one brow rising slowly. “I'll be staying up here… up here… so high up here, where the waves crash on the shore. Where we’ll swim n’seas of red, before the hands can hold us back.”

Closing her blind white eyes, Else’s lyrical tone carries softly as she continues to drift in her canoe. “Am I staying up here all night? Yes I am… Yes I am. Because one day… one day they'll be back.”

Her smile spreads slowly. “One day, they'll get their happy ending…”

“We all will.”

The Deveaux Building

February 28th


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“You planning on being up here all night?”

Glass broken years ago crunches under soft bootfalls. Coming up across the rooftop, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, Corbin Ayers approaches a blonde woman hunched at the loop of masonry on the edge of the rooftop. As he approaches, Kaylee Sumter turns, threading a lock of hair behind one ear.

“Pretty much,” the telepath says brightly, offering the agent a bit of a crooked smile as she straightens.

“And as often as you can pull strings to get me out here.” She runs a hand over the top of the loop, feeling the rough texture of if under her palm, before looking back at the man. “I don’t know if I said it yet, but appreciate you agreeing to help me. I know it seems a little Twilight Zone, but… “ Kaylee takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, “This is where we were. So I just know they will come out here.” Blue eyes drift to the last place she remembered the couple standing, brows tipping down slightly in worry.

“They have to,” Kaylee adds softly. “Or else, everything I did was for nothing.”

It wasn’t easy, getting access to this building, even for a SESA agent. Corbin had done it because of many reasons. He liked the girl, one, and because it was right. Hokuto probably approved too. “Once an Ichihara Bookstore employee, always one,” he replied with a wry grin, before looking around the roof again. No sign of anyone too recent, and they had cleaned it up since the failed Looking Glass test and the disaster with the robot that had come through.

And there was no sign of the Ruizes. He only knew them from watching Eve a little, the incident in New Mexico, and all that paperwork. And there had been a lot of forms to fill out. Good thing he’d had Agent Lin to help with it. “You tried to help. That counts for something.” He did not know if what she experienced was real, or not. But he he knew that only she could decide if it was time to stop.

Shoes crunch glass as he moved, reaching to pull out a book that had been folded into his back pocket. “You any good at crosswords? I thought we should have something to pass the time.”

The mention of the bookstore gets an amused huff from Kaylee. “God… that feels like a lifetime ago. I was such a kid then and now I have them.” There had been a lot of growing up done, but it wasn’t even a decade since she worked for Hokuto. “So much has happened since then.” So much.

Casting a look out over the Exclusion Zone, Kaylee is lost in thought when he offers a source of entertainment. Manicured nails tap on the loop, her head ducking down to look through it again before stepping away. “Joseph likes to mess with them on our less hectic days with the kids.” Something says there are not many of those. “I suck at it, but I’m always willing to give it a go.” Corbin gets a familiar bright smile, something people don’t see often, but it also fades a little too quick. “Better than sitting here worrying.”

Thankfully for Kaylee, the time for worrying had come to a close. There is a sound in the air, like glass straining under tremendous pressure and then cracking, but no sound of a shatter. Instead, there is just a brief distortion in the air like a heat mirage rippling around a pair of figures holding hands. The low, crescent moon hanging in the sky between them.

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What the… Corbin Ayers crushes glass under his foot and drops the folded crossword puzzle book on the rooftop, the sound catching in his throat. Part of him hadn’t expected that Kaylee would be right, that her hope would be met with anything other than the need to eventually move on and give up. But no, apparently something else had happened here tonight.

And it was going to cause even. More. Paperwork. But paperwork he was happy to help do, considering.

An eternity in an instant. That might be what it felt like, but Mateo Javier Ruiz lets out a breath he didn’t remember holding. The dark sky above them tells him time has passed, the cold against his skin, the quiet. The roof was too far from the hustle and bustle of the city, but there’s the creaking of surprised feet cold air on clothes that were not at all appropriate. The Ark hadn’t required thick coats, after all, and he’s not dressed in what the Mateo in New Mexico had been garbed in. The hand not holding Lynette’s holds nothing but air, which he squeezes as if to make sure, then lets his empty hand drop.

While not quite noticing the crunch of feet on glass or the falling crossword puzzle book, or the woman perched on the edge of the roof immediately, he does notice Lynette and pulls her into a hug of relief, sadness, comfort, love, joy, many emotions wrapped in one. They were alive. On the all too familiar rooftop.


Lynette falls into that hug, clinging to him as tears fall from her eyes. They started before they left, but they continue here. She takes in deep breaths, because she feels like she hasn't been able to catch it since they started opening the portal all the way in New Mexico. It doesn't surprise her that they landed on this particular rooftop, but finding anyone else here does.

She pulls back from the hug, one hand holding Ruiz, the other wiping at her face. Looking over at Kaylee, she looks at her, long and silent. There's too much to say. But she also knows that Kaylee understands how grateful she is, even if their situation is complicated.

She blinks, and looks at Corbin. And then, out at the view. Part of her worried she wouldn't recognize it when— if— they made it out of El Umbral. But she does.

"We made it," she says, moving to rest her hand on one of the stone figures holding a circle. She will never be able to see this statue the same way. Or think of it the same way. But that is a matter for another day, because there's only one thing that matters right now. "We made it."

The sudden and unusual sound startles the telepath, it shatters the silence they were so used to on these visits. There was no knowing what would happen when the pair would arrived; but her first thought goes to a potential ambush or wayward predator. So Kaylee tenses as the sound of crack glass surrounds them, waiting until the very people she was waiting for appear just as suddenly as they left.

With the appearance, relief hits Kaylee and it instantly brings tears to the telepath’s eyes. Hands clasp in front of her mouth as she just takes in this small victory. But then she lightly swats Corbin’s arm with the back of her hand and gives a choked laugh. “See! I told you,” she says with emotions threatening to strangle her, making the words sound thick with them. “Just needed to have faith.”

Mateo and Lynette get a bright tearful smile, when she turns back to them. Closing the distance in a few steps, Kaylee makes she their real, lightly grasping their arms. “Took you two long enough,” she chided without even meaning it, sounding happy to see them more then anything. “Didn’t expect you’d be gone this long. Tomorrow is March!”

They had been gone for almost two months.

At the punch to his arm, Corbin just grins, rubbing where she hit him in that cartoonish like fashion that over-exaggerates how it might have felt. She didn’t really hit him that hard. “Good thing I didn’t put money down on it.” He would have lost. Bending down, the blue eyed SESA Agent picks up his fallen book, putting it back in his coat pocket as he retrieves something else that had been inside. A sat phone.

The hug breaks and Mateo Ruiz laughs with relief, his hands going up to her face as if he’s making sure he’s seeing her correctly, before he realizes that they aren’t alone and he continues to smile, breaking his hold enough to hug her back. “You saved us. Thank you.” And by us, he meant more than just the two people standing there. He knew that the other him wouldn’t have held it together long enough for his mother to help them. They would have been lost in the winds of whatever that place had been.

Wait. There was a blink. “March?” He had lost track of the time in the Ark, it had been hard to tell the days, but he knew how many days had passed since Christmas because he had plotted out when they would make the second attempt, even if he had chosen the number at random.

“We’ve been gone for over a month?”

Lynette hugs Kaylee, too, tight like she isn't entirely sure this isn't about to disappear around her. "I'm so glad to see you," she says, since it wasn't totally clear what happened to the telepath.

"That's weeks after New Mexico," she states, as if the timing weren't obvious. "We— " Her words halt and her hand grips onto Mateo. "Our children. Kaylee, our children," she says, doing her best to keep the urge to panic under control. The children were the entire reason they came through the infinite in the first place. To have left them stranded for almost two months sends a series of worst-case scenarios running through Lynette's mind.

Both hugged properly, Kaylee looks like a huge weight was lifted off of her. “I wasn’t about to give up on you, two.” Stepping back, she studies them both. “I woke up as they were loading me up to transport me to a facility, so… as you can imagine it’s been a wait.”

Lynette’s panic is completely understandable, a hand grips her arm in reassurance. “Their with your father. Joseph and I made sure of it. It’s sucked not being able to tell them much of anything. But I told them you’d be home as soon as you could and that you had things left to do to help the government.” Kaylee’s head turns slightly, to cast a look Corbin’s way. “We’ve all been required to sign paperwork agreeing to not talk about what happened.” Hence why she couldn’t say much.

‘You’ll get to see them soon, I promise.” Kaylee adds turning back to the pair with a soft smile. She is a mom, she gets it. “Just gotta jump those government hoops first.” Which is amusing to her, maybe it was all those years not trusting them still talking.

But there never seems to be enough time

Corbin’s mind is already reeling at the questions regarding this particular event. Unlike the other Travelers who were found scattered across the United States, Mateo and Lynette returned without a clear line of definition between one reality and another. Which Mateo and Lynette Ruiz stands on the rooftop of the Deveaux Building? Is there a clear definition? Is there a clear delineation?

To do the things you want to do

For the sake of the children involved, for the sake of not being able to explain what happened, no death certificate for Mateo Ruiz will be filed. No evidence exists that his counterpart well and truly made it to this timeline. Just as no proof exists that the Mateo of this world died. Science has no answers for them, perhaps faith doesn't either.

Once you find them

Mateo and Lynette existed in a place beyond the understanding of science, a place beyond time and space where all moments in history were happening simultaneously. A singularity of the past, present, and future. Their physical bodies reconstructed from thin air out of a acausal event that will rewrite physics books.

I've looked around enough to know

As the sun rises on the last day in February, as the first rays of morning light stretch across the horizon, the world awakens to a new future. A future neither foreseen by oracles and prophets, nor understood by those living in the moment.

That you're the one I want to go

Like the iconic statues on the roof of the Deveaux Building, Mateo and Lynette Ruiz are emblematic of a monumental moment in history. Kaylee and Corbin witness to something unexplainable. Before the sun rose, it was the twilight of an age of heroes. Now they feel the warmth of the sun in the dawning of a new age…

Through time with

…an age of miracles.

Thirty-Five Years Earlier

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“You planning on being up here all night?”

Walter Renautas slowly turns to look over his shoulder, the bare edge of the Deveaux Building roof at his back. He's been nursing the same martini most of the night, and it's still cradled in one hand like a cross when he regards the tall silhouette of Charles Deveaux standing in the greenhouse doorway in a tuxedo. "I had considered it," Walter says with a distant smile, turning fully from the edge of the roof to close the distance between he and Charles. "Your greenhouse is lovely, this patio is divine. However, I'm finding myself ill at ease celebrating when the end of the world is at hand."

Charles' brow furrows when Walter makes that assertion. "We've had this fundraiser planned for months. One more day won't change anything." He looks out to the glittering city lights, the way the moon hangs heavy in the air, and turns to look back to the lights and noises of the party through the penthouse windows. "Jon's been filling up space in your absence," Charles says with a fond smile, looking back to Walter. "Really, you should come back with us. You need to meet Ms. Brauer and her daughter anyway."

Walter looks down when that name is mentioned, searching the slate tiles underfoot with a thoughtful expression. "I suppose I do," he says with a sense of finality. But when he lifts his attention up, there is a silhouette of another man in a tuxedo in the doorway and Charles makes a dismissive motion, sending the man back inside. With a sigh of resignation, Walter nods and takes a sip from his long-ignored martini and moves to follow Charles back into the penthouse. The two pass through the verdant greenhouse, avoiding the doorway to the party proper and instead entering into Charles' dimly-lit office where a blonde woman sits cradling a vodka and tonic with a twist of lime in one hand. She regards Charles through the fringe of her bangs, smiling fondly. At her side, there is a young girl seated in a chair with wide blue eyes upturned to the two founders.

There is also a young boy sitting in a chair beside the girl, looking nervous. She turns to him, smiling, and the young girl reaches out to take the boy's hand as if to say it will be alright.

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Walter stops in the doorway, pressing a hand to the door frame and looking at Charles with a wordless criticism. Charles walks across the room, coming to stand by the older woman's side, letting a hand come to her shoulder. "This is Karin Brauer, Simon found her for us. More importantly, Simon found her daughter who will help us with our power concerns." But all of Charles' words fall on deaf ears, a thread of worry moving up through Walter's chest as he looks to the other man in the far back of the room, standing by the window, cradling a baby in his arms.

"Arthur," Walter says with tension in his jaw, stepping forward. "Who's baby is that?"


Arthur turns, smiling, unfolding the cloth by the baby's face to show Walter. "Our little miracle, she's going to help make this all possible," he says with a growing smile.


"They're going to help us save the world."

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