A/N: Set pre-finale. It's business as usual for Pete and Myka as they set off to recover another trinket. If I owned Warehouse 13, I'd pimp my house with those awesome steampunk gadgets.
"What do you mean, ow? How is that ow?"
"Don't you question my ows! I'll ow if I want to. That hurt!"
"Don't be a baby."
"Don't be a jerk."
"Claudia saw it. Claw, back me up here."
"Your airplanes are mighty and strong, Pete. She might be concussed."
"Concussed, my eye. You chicks and your wagon circling."
"We're not circling! You just happen to be a stupid boy."
"Children. Children? I need everybody to settle. Pete?" Artie dumped a huge pile of paperwork in front of his team and wagged a finger at his agent. "Quit teasing Myka or I'll separate you two."
It was a briefing like any other. Claudia, Pete and Myka gathered as per their leader's instructions and quickly became bored. It started with making facing and quickly escalated into paper balls and airplanes and creative name calling. Pete winked at Myka as she passed him a dossier. She smiled and rolled in eyes in response.
"Are you even going to bother reading this or should I just feed the fire with it?" she snarked.
"Hey," Pete poked a finger at her. "I told Artie that if these files started coming in pop-up formats, I'd be way more into doing my homework." He slouched into his chair and flipped open the file with exaggerated flair. "See? See Pete read?"
Claudia snorted. "Me see tool attempting to read."
Pete didn't even glance up. "Keep it up, Battlestar."
"A fine show!" Claudia defended. "Shut up, Sports Hour."
"The Broncos are due! There's every reason to watch Sports Hour when one of the suckiest teams alive is about to-,"
"People!" Artie raised in hand sharply for silence, his eyes closing with strained patience. "Fascinating, but eyes on your paper. We have an artifact."
Myka, who had been ravenously reading through her file from the moment Artie handed it over, looked up , giving him a wry expression.
"You've gotta be kidding me." She tapped the artifact description page with amusement. "Cupid's bow?"
Artie busseled into his chair and gazed at her evenly. "No, my dear. That's incorrect. Cupid's bow is safe with us here in the warehouse. No, this is far more important. We're dealing with a paired artifact, here. And now we've found the other, far more potent half down in Louisiana."
Myka quickly rechecked her reading, a single, dark curl falling against her cheek as she lowered her head. She looked up again and it fell back into place. "So the arrows," she amended.
Artie held up two fingers to the young people. "Two quivers, to be precise, ten arrows in each. We need both of them. Intact. You know the drill. Go fetch."
"Wait a minute," Pete drawled, propping his feet on the table and leaning back. "We're talking about the actual, honest to God Cupid? Little guy? Chubby? Wings? Archer? Shirley Temple do?" He pointed to his own hair.
Claudia chortled. "Dude, Jules Verne's submarine from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is downstairs next to Jesus' sandals. Are you new here?"
Artie's hand shot up before another snip fest ensued. "Yes!" he answered quickly. "Cupid, god of erotic love and beauty. All the stuff that Pete said, plus lots of historical stuff that I won't make him cranky with. Suffice it to say, his bow and arrows are very real and very, very dangerous." He gave a 'finito' gesture. "Hence they need to live here."
"Dangerous," Pete repeated mockingly. "Christ, you kill me, man. You need to get out more. I'm totally setting you up, get you outta here, meet a nice girl, fall in love, stop being so dead inside. C'mon, what's wrong with being crazy, mega, super in love?"
"I'm not 'dead' inside," Artie air-quoted in annoyance. "And Pete, not to bore you with those pesky details you hate so much, but if you'd bothered to pay attention in high school, you'd know that the stories of Cupid's love were more often cautionary tales than they were romantic happy endings."
"I remember," Myka agreed, still reading. "One quiver of gold arrows, one of lead. The gold arrows made people fall violently in love. The lead made them violently hate." She couldn't help herself as she stuck her tongue out a Pete, the pink tip darting out and in before Artie could see. "The love created by the golds was almost never returned. It drove the afflicted into misery and madness." She turned her dark green eyes back to Artie. "In the end, they were as emotionally unstable as those struck with a lead tip."
Artie nodded sagely. "A+ for Miss Bering and her excellent book smarts, however," his finger raised in point, "some clarifications for the reality. Number one, the gold arrows cannot actually create love. These arrows are not conjurers, they're a sort of amplifier or just perhaps even an eliminator of the emotional barriers that subdue amorous feelings. We're not sure, they've never been properly studied by experts. Second, the arrows do not need to be shot from their bow to work their spell. This is why it is imperative we get them out of cirrculation, people. An arrow need only draw blood to affect someone. A prick of the finger, a scratch on the arm, and boom. Lovey hatey mess. Third, the arrows can cancel out the work of the other. The gods were geniuses, really," he smiled in admiration. "They are the antidote for each other. Perfect symmetry." He gazed off absently until Claudia cleared her throat loudly.
"Ah," he started and came back to the moment. "Sorry. The point is that these arrows create an extremely powerful reaction in their victims. They become euphoric at first, but the nature of the arrow is to make someone want nothing less than total devotion...or destruction, depending on the arrow type. The person quickly becomes demanding, then enraged, then unstable, then acutely dangerous to all around them. They'll do anything to get what they want, and should they be lucky enough to obtain it, they'll do anything to keep it. Betrayal, treason, murder, they won't care. Questions? Fabulous," he didn't wait for hands. "Get out. Bring me back some shiny and pointy."
He rose quickly and left them. Meeting adjurned in it's usual rude and endearing Artie way. The other three gave each other knowing looks.
"So," Claudia dragged out as she flipped through her copy. "Thibodaux, Loooo-siana," she read with a deep Southern twang. "Sounds peachy. Ya'll come back now, ya hear? And bring me some of that alligator stew," her eyes sparkling as she drawled. "I hear it's powerful good."
She jumped up from her chair and skipped lightly out of the room. Pete could have sworn he heard "Swamp Thing" muttered softly as she passed him.
He turned back to Myka, nodding at her just as she nodded back with mischief twinkling in her eyes.
"Louisiana," he said through his smile.
"Louisiana," she agreed through hers.
"Mosquitoes," he said.
"100% humidity," she offered.
"Pickled pigs feet."
Pete jerked his head towards Claudia's exit. "Alligators."
She tsked Pete for not seeing the scarier prospect. "Alligator stew."
He gestured towards the door. "Shall we?"
She rose, her long legs unfolding from her seat as she stood. She didn't miss his surreptitious glance at them as she made her way across the room. She tucked her chin to hide her pleased smile. "Can't wait," she chirped sarcastically.