Disclaimer: Characters are the property of Buena Vista Entertainment, though they used to belong to MMPR Productions and Saban. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author’s Note: We blame Michael Copon’s surfacing in One Tree Hill and Erin Cahill’s Applebees commercial for this fic. Tigger finally getting a Trader Joe’s nearby in the next few weeks probably didn’t hurt.

30th Century Blues
by TpTigger and Estirose

“Hey there! Open the door!”

Jen glared at the door, ignoring the fervent knocks. She didn’t want to talk to anyone at the moment. Especially not any of her erstwhile teammates–the knocker in particular. She knew Katie would want to talk about Wes. Extensively. And she didn’t want to talk about Wes. Not then. Not ever.

“Jen, we know you’re in there.”

Lucas too? Great, just great. Just what she needed. A team intervention.

“Jen, please. You don’t really want to be alone right now, do you?” Trip wheedled.

“Are you guys ganging up on me?” she muttered, resisting the temptation to bury her head in the cushions of her couch. Couldn’t they at least have called before coming to her quarters and attempting to break down the door?

“Come on, Jen,” Trip pleaded, he sounded pathetic, but Jen was sure he was faking. “We know you’re in there.”

“You mean, you know she’s in there,” she heard Lucas mutter.

“And I’m telling you,” Trip muttered back.

So what if they knew she was home? She still didn’t want to talk to them about Wes. Or anything else for that matter. Jen preferred to just stay in her apartment and try to forget that she was never going to see Wes again.

“Jen, please, we’re worried,” Katie pleaded. “We don’t want you to be alone right now.”

“I’m fine,” Jen called, in an effort to ward her teammates away. Why wouldn’t they believe her?

“Bull,” Lucas said, being his usual direct–and annoying–self.

“C’mon,” Trip said in his best pleading voice. Which would have worked better had she been in a better mood. Sometimes she just had to not listen to the Xybrian. This was one of those times.

“We’re not going away until you let us in,” Lucas said.

“We out stubborned Eric, we can out stubborn you,” Katie added, giving the door a meaningful thump.

“We have 21st Century snacks,” Trip tried, his voice teasing–as if that would somehow get her to open the door.

There was only one way to get rid of them wasn’t there. “Guys….”

“Come on, Jen,” Lucas interrupted. “I brought movie discs.” Lucas had gone from directness to pleading? Great, just great.

“GUYS!” Jen shouted at them in her frustration.

“Yes?” Katie asked, her voice expectant.

“I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I’m fine.” Jen kept her voice firm, authoritative. She wanted to sound as if she were giving them a battle plan.

“Then open the door and let us see for ourselves,” Lucas said, willing to directly admit that he didn’t believe a word of what she’d just said.

Jen rolled her eyes, opened the door, and glared at her teammates, hoping the glare would scare them off.

“That would be more effective without the tear streaks,” Lucas said, giving her a strong hug.

“Lucas. I’m tired. It’s been a long day… a long week.” She felt like she was going to drop off to sleep at any minute, not that she’d tell her teammates that.

“I know,” he said, amazingly understandingly, “and we won’t be insulted if you fall asleep on us. We slept on the floor together in a clock tower for a year, what’s the big deal if you fall asleep on your couch?”

“We just want to be here for you right now,” Katie said, giving her a ‘I’m here for you’ look.

“Guys,” she complained, wondering if she could eject them all by force.

Lucas pulled her inside, making room for the three of them to come in. “What was it Wes said to Eric that one time? Resistance is futile?”

Trip grinned, clearly recognizing the reference. “From that TV series–what was it called?”

“Star something or other,” Katie said, biting her lip, trying to remember.

Jen just groaned.

“C’mon, I got one of that Aquatian comedy you were so hot to see last year,” Lucas said, holding out the cases. “Or there’s that movie Eric was so hot to see last week. Guess he was right about it being a classic.”

Jen sighed, was she going to have to reason with them again. “Guys….”

“I brought the latest drama from Xybria,” Trip volunteered. “It stars Detson Nerran! You liked that movie last year with him in it….”

Jen fell back on the couch. Obviously scare tactics weren’t going to work. “Whatever.”

“I snuck chocolate back from 2002,” Katie added, handing Jen a one pound chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s. “Here you go.”

“I brought popcorn!” Trip cheered, producing a bag from his backpack.

“You guys couldn’t have movie night at Katie’s place?” Jen asked, as if to ward them off again.

“Katie wasn’t depressed,” Trip said, patting Jen’s arm affectionately.

Jen shook her head, covering her eyes. “What makes you think I am?”

“You’re not going to see Wes again,” Lucas said, bluntly, though his tone was soft. “We knew we’d probably have occasion to go back. Now that it’s happened, chances are Time Force is never going to let any of the five of us into Wes and Eric’s lifetimes ever again.”

“I miss Wes,” Trip said sadly. “And I’m not the one in love with him.”

“I think we all do,” Lucas said, he was trying to remain stoic and almost succeeding.

“Eric too, even,” Katie added.

“Has anyone looked them up?” Trip mused absently. “You know, see what happened to them. If they ever…”

Jen hugged her knees to her chest. She didn’t want to know what happened to Wes. If he was happy, she wasn’t sure she could stand that knowledge. And if he died prematurely… she wasn’t sure she could handle that, either.

“Not a good idea,” Lucas said to his green-haired teammate.

“Not right away,” Katie said gently. “No matter how much…”

“Guys, it’s okay. Really,” Jen said as Trip set the movie into the player.

“Jen, how long have we known each other?” Lucas asked suddenly.

“A while,” Jen answered, feeling like she hadn’t slept for a thousand years.

“You do know this is the first time I’ve ever even seen evidence that you’d been crying,” Lucas said observantly.

“I’m tired, It’s been a very very long week, what do you expect?” Jen snapped as Trip loaded the movie.

Katie moved to Jen’s side. “If anyone knows, it’s us.” Katie tried to wrap an arm around Jen, but Jen squirmed away.

“Knows what?” Jen snapped irritably..

“What it’s like to leave what you love behind, for the good of the universe,” Trip said softly.

Jen stared. “What could you know about that?” None of her teammates had fallen in love in the past. Lust, certainly (most especially Lucas), but not love.

“There’s other kinds of love besides romantic love, Jen.” Lucas squeezed her shoulder.

“I never was in love in the 21st century,” Katie said softly, clearly remembering something good. “But I loved the century itself.”

“He was our friend, too,” Trip added gently. “A good friend.

“Why are we talking about Wes like he’s dead?” Jen asked, feeling overwhelmed.

“Do you see High Command letting us back anytime soon?” Lucas pointed out.

Jen shook her head. “No, but we left him and Eric this evening.” She wasn’t ready to believe Wes was no longer with her. Not yet.

“And a thousand years ago,” Katie pointed out, her voice wistful. “The human life span is around 100 years. Wes was, what? Twenty three? You do the math, Jen.”

Jen sighed. Intellectually, she knew what Katie said had to be true. Emotionally, however, she couldn’t shake the feeling that Wes was out there somewhere.

Lucas took the chocolate bar from her hands, opened it, and gave her a large chunk. “Eat,” he wheedled. “You could use it.”

Jen chewed on the chocolate, only sort of tasting it. “You realize there’s a reason Junk Food was banned,” she mused.

“Yeah,” Lucas shrugged, as if it didn’t matter, “but this is our last chance at it ever, might as well enjoy it.”

Jen sighed, not wanting to deal with that at the moment.

Lucas sat next to her on the couch, draping an arm around her shoulders.

“Does Nadira know you’re here?” Jen asked conversationally, trying to put a buffer between herself and her teammate.

“Yeah,” Lucas said, blushing a bit but not letting go.

“We figured it should just be the team tonight,” Katie said, somewhat distracted by the movie.

“What’s left of it,” Jen muttered. Yes, Trip, Katie, and Lucas where there, but so what?

“Just because Wes and Eric aren’t here physically, doesn’t mean they’re not here in spirit,” Lucas argued. His grip on Jen’s shoulders tightened a little–whether he was trying to reassure her or himself, Jen wasn’t quite sure.

Jen nodded. “I guess.” She was tempted to lean into Lucas’s embrace, but it felt as wrong as it did natural.

“I wish I’d thought to bring pizza,” Trip muttered at random.

Katie turned, making a face at Trip. “Where were you going to get pizza?”

“There was a pizza place right near the Trader Joe’s,” Trip reminded her.

“I think they would’ve smelled it and confiscated it,” Lucas pointed out logically. “And probably found the chocolate too.”

“Not if it wasn’t baked,” Trip said, a small smile lighting up his face.

“Baked,” Lucas said thoughtfully, looking at Trip as if he’d said something mystical.

“What?” Trip asked, looking confused.

“We have cheese in this century right? And bread and tomato sauce,” Lucas pointed out. “We could make our own pizza.”

Katie grinned. “Yes!” she exclaimed.

“No,” Jen said firmly. “You guys aren’t making pizza here tonight.” The last thing she wanted was the mess of the team baking–especially given the last time such endeavors had been undertaken.

“Not tonight,” Trip agreed. “I was thinking… some other night.”

“When the stuff we bought in 2002 was gone,” Katie added. “You know, a little taste of the 21st Century.”

Jen sighed, deeply.

“This help?” Lucas asked. He pulled a Polaroid picture out of his jacket pocket.

“Where’d you get this?” Jen asked, taking it from him and holding it like a treasure map.

“Alyssa was taking them at the picnic, remember? I asked her for this one,” Lucas said.

Katie walked around the couch to look, careful not to pry the picture out of Jen’s hands. “That’s pretty good picture of the team.”

Jen wiped away a tear, not wanting them to see her cry.

Lucas squeezed her against him. “I miss them too.”

“Me three,” Katie said softly, wiping away a tear of her own.

“Me four,” Trip said, also moving to look at the picture, his movie forgotten.

“Me five,” Jen managed, the floodgates finally breaking.

Katie and Trip joined in the hug, wanting to comfort her.

Jen hugged back, drawing strength from her teammates.

-The End

Time Force fanfics