Characters: The Middleman, Wendy, mentions of Ida
Disclaimer: Don't own The Middleman. Never will. Sad day, I know.
Summary: Wendy Watson will never see the end of the world.
A/N: No spoilers, no pairings in this universe. Maybe slightly angsty because I can't help myself. Title part of a quote by Roger Zelazny.
Wendy won't make it to the end of the world, but she'll try.
The first time it happens he doesn't call her in, takes care of it himself, and turns up half dead at Headquarters a week later. Ida stitches him up silently (He knows he's offended her by the disappearance, though she probably knew where he was the entire time. It's more that he didn't take the time he normally would to inform her of his intentions and receive a sarcastic remark or two before heading out to battle.) and skates out of the Med Bay when Wendy marches in, fuming and terrified.
He manages to smile after she smacks an open wound.
The next time he feels the Earth stop spinning, it's too late to keep her from knowing, so he takes his punches and ties her to the car, instructing it to take her home. His partner watches his movements with frustration and confusion and maybe she's a little hurt by this and then he sends them away and pulls out a sonic disruptor.
Running for his life, firing at rabbit eared aliens and trying to think of a way to escape, he spots his car and jumps in. It says a friendly hello and then Wendy's shouting at him over the intercom, cursing his chivalry and good manners, asking him if he knew how difficult it had been to get Lacey to untie her without making some kind of comment, and she's sure her friend's saving them up for when she goes home to sleep and if she hadn't asked the stupid (but amazing) car to go back for him he'd probably be dead and does he even realize that?
He says yes and expects to be slapped when he pulls into the garage and instead receives a lot of silence.
The third time, he doesn't exactly save the world and Dubby doesn't exactly help, because he's been sucked into some alternate reality and Wendy only answers to Dubby and Noser's dead and Lacey's dead and he's dead and Ida's dying, shutting down. Dubby cheerfully welcomes him and explains the situation. Which he can't remedy at all, it turns out, because he'd have to go back in time and, oh, it's a parallel universe, and that does explain a lot.
Dubby builds him a universe hopper, with Ida's blue prints, so he can get back. And they've just said goodbye when she kisses him and, god, he can't believe it so he jumps and returns to a panicking Wendy who hugs him, then leaps away as if burned.
He casually turns a red switch to OFF and feels that last bit of a terrible could-have-been die.
Someone finally threatens her with the end of the world (and the universe and all of existence, though she doubts that very much) and she tackles the issue to the ground, securing herself a place by his side in the fight before he even realizes what the conversation's about. Even Ida's impressed at that, but he's worried because the end of the world was always a just him thing, not a desire to take out his allies.
She does stand by him in the negotiations and fights for every square inch of their world. The inter-galactic judge rules in Earth's favor and the pouting blue child asks his parents about buying the moon.
He hands her a coffee as she admits that the whole thing was almost scary, then explains how she learned to argue like that, because he wonders sometimes.
She can't see any fires, but the streets are empty and it smells like the whole city's burning anyway. The building they're holed up in shudders as another bomb explodes and she touches the glass pane carefully, afraid to shatter it. The sky looks normal except for the pillars of smoke and dust.
"I never thought I'd see it."
"What?" The Middleman asks from his bed, not turning to look.
"The end of the world," she says quietly, but like it's the most obvious thing and if he'd been concerned with her and not how to get them away, it probably would have been.
"You aren't." He closes his eyes and lets the shock waves rattle through him.
"Then what is this?"
"It's not the end of anything." He doesn't sound like himself and mentally he winces, regretting bringing them here for the mission, regretting most of the words he can't help but say because his time in the Navy lingers and haunts every thing about this city.
"How can you say that?" She's furious and achingly sad, twisting to face him and warily he blinks at her. "Lives are ending, futures, families..."
She sits on the edge of the mattress, next to his feet. "Something better will take its place. Something smarter and more colorful and full of so much more love, Wendy, that this loss hurts, but it's okay, because it'll be better."
He hopes she knows that he means it.
Wendy Watson will never see the end of the world.
She ends up knowing a lot about it though.