"I can't even begin to thank you for all the help you've been to us." Myka said sincerely to the older couple as the agents got ready to leave later that afternoon.
"…and for saving our asses from becoming icicles." Pete joked as he passed by with the luggage.
Myrna gave each of them a little farewell hug and Bill shook both of their hands warmly.
"If you are ever in the area again, please look us up." He solicited kindly.
"Yes, and if you two ever really do have a wedding anniversary to celebrate we'd be more than happy to put you up, free of charge." Myrna promised broadly.
It was all Pete could do to keep the smug grin on the inside of his face. Myka's eyes had done that thing again, the widening thing they always did when a joke or a touch became more than platonic. Pete now thought he might know what it meant; he'd read somewhere that pupil dilation could be a reaction to sexual attraction. He grinned to himself. So she was attracted to him; even when she wasn't undercover, now that was good to know. She might not like his personality yet, but Pete was all right with physical attraction as a stepping stone, as well as the fact that it was more than a little flattering that this gorgeous woman thought him nice to look at. He headed out onto the porch, the bags bumping against each other and his shoulder as he walked down the steps. He heard Myka's last goodbyes as he settled the two black duffel bags and the shoulder bag onto the grass and sat down on one of the paving stone steps that followed the curve of the hill.
Pete sat with his elbows on his knees and his knuckles underneath his strong jaw. He stared out over the lake; the view that this town was so proud of, and he couldn't see the beauty: all he saw was the cold, dark water that nearly took him away from all this; nearly took him from his strange and exciting new life and especially his new partner.
A few minutes later, the sound of her footsteps approached his position, then stopped as she sat down next to him. Myka rested her forearms along her thighs, her gracefully folded hands hanging just in front of her knees. She looked to her partner and saw his troubled expression. She leaned to the side, knocking her knees against his; breaking the hold of his bleak thoughts.
"Hey." she said softly. "Stop vibing, Pete. We're all right, and we got thorough this one just like we will the next one. We're a good team. "
His jaw pivoted on top of his fists as he turned, regarding her doubtfully. "You really think so? Even after our stupid arguing and the whole nearly dying thing?"
Her voice was as sure as his was unsure. "I do." She met his eyes seriously. "Pete, as childish and annoying as you can be, you still make a good partner. I'm as much responsible for that argument as you are; and, like my father used to say 'that which does not kill you makes you stronger."
He smiled; then laughed. "Watch out Andre the Giant—here come Pete and Myka."
She rolled her eyes.
Pete looked at her, still smiling, and had a completely different vibe. "You know what Myka, you're right. I think we're just getting started with this crazy Warehouse assignment."
She grinned. "What was that Pete? I didn't catch the part right after my name."
He narrowed his brown eyes, knowing what she was after. He sighed. "I said that you were right…" He stuck his tongue out at her. "…as usual."
"Thanks Pete -and you were right about a lot of stuff on this case as well, I guess."
"Ooh, what a concession from her highness- I am honored."
He didn't even flinch when she punched him in the shoulder.
A vintage horn sounded from the street, and when Pete saw the car Myka was worried she'd be wiping drool off of her shoes very soon. All he could do was stare. She cocked her head to the side as she considered both the car and the man currently obsessing over it.
"It's not a naked woman Pete. It's just a Mustang."
Pete finally regained his voice, still fixated on the shiny, gorgeous red machine down the hill. "Same difference."
Myka bit her lip, amused. "Excuse me?"
Pete tore his gaze from the car and looked at his partner. "…Well, almost."
She laughed and began walking down the steps to the street, not noticing the once-over Pete gave her before following.
They took turns on the long drive, turns behind the wheel and turns singing badly along with whatever radio stations they could tune into, signals being quite rare in the Badlands; it was nearing dusk when Pete pulled the car over in what looked, to the two younger passengers, like the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Laura's head popped out of the backseat and look around suspiciously. "Why'd you stop?"
Myka rubbed her tired eyes and took a glance around her, then smirked at Pete. She turned to Laura, who was obviously awaiting an explanation. "This is where we get out, Lar." She hopped out of the car and opened the trunk.
Pete explained. "You can't really drop us off at the front door or anything because we can't let you know exactly where the place we work is. It's kind of top secret."
Zag, who had been dozing in the front seat, was wide-awake now. "Coohool." He exclaimed, drawing out his expression of amazement with an extra syllable.
Pete grinned, suddenly realizing how cool his job really was. "Yea, our boss will get us from here. We have to report in with him and put this…" He held up the box Myka had handed to him out of the trunk "…somewhere very safe."
Laura and Zag nodded, clearly impressed.
Myka smiled. "About 10 miles down the road is a charming B&B. It's big and white, you can't miss it. Our friend Leena runs it. Tell her that Pete and Myka sent you, and you'll get the best dinner you've ever had."
They all exchanged hugs, emphatic thank-yous and goodbyes; Pete and Myka watched them drive away. Then they turned, shouldered their bags and headed up over the bluff behind them. He shifted his eyes to look at her.
"Think they bought it?"
She turned with a slight smile. "What Pete, that this is the middle of nowhere? Look around. It's not exactly un-true."
As they reached the precipice of the bluff, where the long waving yellow grasses brushed at their knees, swishing and bending back into place as they passed, the familiar valley and the Warehouse itself came into view. They stopped, having forgotten what it was to stand there and stare down at the paradox of plain rusted iron that encompassed unfathomable complexity. Pete turned to look at Myka, and saw his own feelings mirrored exactly on her face.
He grinned. "Home sweet Warehouse, huh?"
Several reactions warred on Myka's face, but the expression that survived was a hopeful smile. "Yea, Pete. Home." She assented softly; finally and audibly committing this place: this wonderful, miraculous, enigmatic, dangerous place, as home. Committing herself as a trusted partner to the man-child at her side, and committing herself to surviving this madness that Artie called a job. She sighed, surprisingly content with her decisions.
Pete's satisfied expression matched her own as he swung an arm good-naturedly over her shoulder and they headed down the hill together, matching step for step; to face whatever endless wonder held in store for them next.
Hey, if you got this far, thank you SO MUCH for reading and especially for sticking with me despite my busy schedule and LONG stretches without giving you guys a chapter... I really enjoy writing chapter fics, even though my schedule demands that I usually stick to one-shots. This story was INCREDIBLY fun to write, and I hope to do more, but school this semester is especially busy (why did I decide to take 20 credits?) so I will just be confining my sporadic writings to my hard drive until then... I should be back with a vengeance over winter break- again, immense thanks for even reading this stuff!
P.s. A review wouldn't go amiss right now!