"So what's up?" Ryan asked, stepping out of the travellator.
"We think we figured out why the paradox alarm went off," Liam began.
"It has to do with either Ethan or his brother or both. It's highly likely that either or both of them weren't supposed to come here, at least at this point in time."
"But they did. I had to explain everything to them to convince them that they're not going crazy. The problem is now that they've been here, there's no way I can think of to undo it. since they've been here and know about the travellators, what do we do?"
"There's only one thing we can do," Duncan replied in a strange tone of voice; his face wearing an unreadable expression. "You have to go back again and erase all memory of us. How and when I'm not exactly sure yet."
"What's the timeline status?" I don't want Ethan to be made to forget me any more than I'll be able to forget him. Ryan's thoughts were all over the place as he tried to figure out a solution to their current situation. I knew I'd end up in this kind of situation eventually.
"Well," Liam began, not sure exactly where to start. "We're a little better off than we were just before the alarm, but not much."
Duncan got out his comp-com and hit a couple of buttons. "Anne, have you found out anything about the Evans' yet?"
"Nothing conclusive from that time period yet, boss, but I'm still digging," Anne reassured him.
"Good. Keep on digging and let me know as soon as you have anything," he told her.
Disconnecting call, he turned his attention back to Liam and Ryan. "Well, we did resolve the causality loop. Those can be a real bitch."
"Tell me about it," Ryan agreed. "I would have no problem with never having to deal with those again."
"Amen!" Liam replied. When it came to dealing with temporal causality loops, he had the hardest job of anyone.
"So what are we going to do?" Ryan asked, pretty sure he already knew the answer.
"Like I said, we have to erase their memories of us."
"No," Ryan replied quietly.
"Did you just say no to me?" Duncan challenged.
"Yes I did. I can't just callously go back and erase their memories, especially Ethan's. We love each other. I'd rather go back to his time permanently."
"You know you can't do that, and they can't come here without causing a paradox. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again."
"Then we find a way to bring him into this time without causing a paradox."
"If you and Liam can find a way, Ryan, without causing timeline problems, I'll consider it."
"Okay, that's it!" Chris exclaimed, setting his fork down and shooting Ethan a concerned glance. "You haven't said two words since we sat down and all you've done is pick at your dinner. What's going on? Wait a minute. Don't tell me, let me guess. It has to do with what's-his-name," he paused for a moment then snapped his fingers. "Ryan; doesn't it?"
"What do you want me to say? I'm in love with him; more in love with him than anyone else ever. I want a life with him."
"Ethan, he's from the future. Is that even possible?"
I don't know. Is it? "In the present or in the future I don't care. I just want to be with him."
"I know. I can tell you have it bad, but think about this. If he came back here, there's too great a risk of him messing things up in the future. His people wouldn’t allow that to happen. If you went into the future, what would you do? You wouldn't know about anything that happens between now and then; nor would you know anybody." I feel like the ultimate bastard saying this but it has to be said.
Ethan stared at his brother for a moment. I know he's right, but what do I do about it? I don’t want to lose him, but I don’t see any way for us to be together. I wonder what he’s thinking right now. He hung his head. "I know. I just don't know what to do about it. I know it's cliché, but I love him so much it hurts."
Chris got up, walked around the table and pulled Ethan up and into a gentle embrace. "I know little brother, I know. You'll figure it out." Chris held him tighter as he broke down and cried tears of anguish.
Dammit! What the hell am I going to do? There’s no way in hell Duncan would allow me to go back and stay in his time. There’s to great a risk of altering the timeline, no matter how careful I am. Can’t bring him into my time. He would be at a severe disadvantage. Ryan took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Quietly he whispered, “It’s a six of one, half dozen of the other situation; I guess.” He turned to Liam. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t lose him. I love him too much, but there doesn’t seem to be any way out of this. If I go back to his time, there’s too much risk of timeline alteration. If I brought him forward, what would he do? What about his family, his friends, his workshop? That plus there’s too much history he wouldn’t know.” He sat and put his head in his hands, tears starting to flow.
“Speaking of history, he’d make a great historian; first-hand eye witness to the events of the past. As far as the other concerns, I have no answers. I really wish I did,” Liam said softly, putting his hand on Ryan’s shoulder. It hurt him to see his friend in so much pain.
“I think I may have found something,” Anne said.