Title: The Sooner the Better
Fandom: Warehouse 13
Pairing: Myka/Helena, Pete
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Summary: While working a case, Pete and Myka get a lead that brings them to the last person they expected to see.
Note: This is a post-season 3 finale story, so once the episode(s) have aired please ignore the fact that it will bear no relation to reality ;)
Pete sat on the hood of the car and closed his eyes, moaning softly as he brought the Jumbo Dog in his hands up to his mouth and took a huge bite. Myka pressed her hip up against the car slightly to Pete's right and tried not to roll her eyes out of her head as Pete made absolutely indecent sounds of pleasure as he eagerly consumed the street meat. It took a moment – because the sight of Pete eating was as fascinating as it was disturbing – but eventually Myka dropped her gaze down to her bag and began to dig through it in search of the Farnsworth.
"Mykes, you're missing out, buddy. This is sa-ho good! You totally should've gotten one," Pete said around a mouthful of food, already almost halfway through the huge hot dog. "Hell, I should have gotten another one," he continued, biting in with enough gusto to suggest he hadn't eaten for three days rather than three hours. "My stomach's like 'Arriba Arriba!' shooting off little pearl handled pistols of happiness."
Myka chuckled and shook her head as she opened up the Farnsworth.
"Artie," Myka began when his familiar grumpy face popped up on screen, but before she could say another word, Artie began to speak, launching into an update of what he and Claudia had been up to since the last time they had spoken.
The sudden barrage of words startled Myka somewhat, but she really didn't mind Artie going first, so Myka just shrugged and settled back against the car hood more comfortably, angling the Farnsworth to the side so that Pete could see it too.
"…what's going on at your end?" Artie asked a minute later, having finally finished his update.
"Well, we talked to the store manager and …"
"She was a hottie," Pete said whistling, his expression conveying his deep appreciation.
"Was not what I was going to say," Myka said, shooting Pete a look before she focused on the screen of the Farnsworth again. "As I was saying, we talked to the store manager and, though she was a bit hesitant to, she ended up giving us the name of a woman who meets the criteria you set out," Myka continued, glancing up as she spoke, a small frown touching her lips a second later as she noticed the clouds above her swirl and darken. "A school teacher," Myka went on, looking back at Artie and Claudia, "Pinedale High, name …" Myka paused as the first drop of rain hit her and then gasped as more droplets rapidly began to drop down on her. "Emily Lake," Myka continued a little breathlessly as she hurried around to the passenger side of the car while Pete unlocked the doors.
"Man, that came on fast," Pete exclaimed as he ran his hand vigorously through his hair, shaking his head like shaggy dog as he did.
"I know," Myka moaned, cutting herself off just before she complained about what it could have done to her hair. There were some subjects Pete just couldn't commiserate over with her.
"Hello? Down here! Boss speaking!" Artie grumbled, waving his hand in front of the Farnsworth screen as he tried to get Myka and Pete's attention.
His voice and image were flickering in and out, but Myka was still able to make out the irritation in his features when she returned her eyes to the screen, and unconsciously she straightened up in her seat.
"Sorry, the rain just …"
"Yes, yes, rain is bothersome," Artie said waving his hand dismissively. "Did you say Emily Lake?"
"Yeah," Myka responded as Pete finished off his Jumbo Dog, completely undeterred by the fact that it was quite a bit soggier than it had been when he had bought it. "Emily Lake, Pinedale High, she …"
"Listen," Artie said urgently, his image flickering precariously on the Farnsworth as he leaned forward until his face took up the whole view screen. "Before you go to the school you should know that Emily Lake is not Emily Lake. I mean she is Emily Lake, or at least she thinks she's Emily Lake, but the woman going by that name is actually …"
The Farnsworth beeped ominously, and then, before Artie could say another word, the screen went dark.
"For serious?" Pete exclaimed, turning his head from side to side and then around behind him suspiciously as if he expected a camera crew to pop out from behind some bushes and declare that he had been punk'd. "That did not just happen!"
Myka made a disgusted sound in her throat and closed the useless Farnsworth before dropping it into her lap.
"As improbable as it seems, it most definitely did," she muttered, frowning thoughtfully as she gazed out of the windshield. "Listen, I don't know what Artie was going to say, but we've got a lead and I say that we follow it. We're not too far away from Pinedale High. It doesn't make sense to sit around here and do nothing. I say we go to the school and just … proceed with extreme caution now that we know there's more to Emily Lake than meets the eye."
"Right," Pete said, nodding as he leaned forward and popped the key into the ignition. "Sounds good to me. I mean, there's no use sitting around in a parked car unless there's going to be necking, right?" he asked – Myka hoped rhetorically – and then the engine roared to life and Pete set the car in motion and pointed them towards Emily Lake.
"Miss Lake's classroom is just down this way," the Principal of Pinedale High, Mrs. Williams, said as she led Myka and Pete through the green-locker hallways of the school. "She's a wonderful woman. The students just adore her. I really hope she's not in any trouble," Williams continued as she came to stop in front of a non-descript green trimmed classroom door with a shade pulled down over the window. "Class is in session. I'd prefer not to cause any alarm among the students, would it be alright if I simply went in and asked Miss Lake to join you out here?"
"That would be fine Ma'am, thank you," Myka said offering the woman a small smile before she stepped back to clear the doorway.
"Man, being in a school again is making me twitchy," Pete whispered once Williams had slipped into the classroom. "I feel like I should be apologizing for something. I keep expecting a hall monitor to chase me down like the T-1000. Every day was Judgment Day when I was in school."
"Our High School experiences were very different," Myka said smiling over at Pete, a wistful sort of expression entering her eyes as she did. "I loved school. Being here makes me feel kind of … peaceful, I guess. Actually," Myka said perking up a bit, "would you mind if we swung by the library after we're done with Lake? I know it's not my old school library, but I'd still love to take a look at it."
Pete stared at her incredulously for a second, and then he lifted his hand up to his mouth and coughed, "Nerd," into his hand.
Myka's eyes narrowed and her lips parted to tell Pete exactly how funny she found that, before she could respond, the classroom door opened and Principal Williams slipped back out into the hall, followed by a dark ponytail that Myka assumed belonged to Emily Lake as the raven-haired woman backed out of the room, still talking to her class.
"…so just remember, I trust you completely … and the stuffed bear on the desk is actually a nanny cam. Pens and paper making love, let's go."
"I'm so glad I went to school when yo-yo's were high tech," Pete muttered, knowing that he would have lived in the Principal's office if teacher's had been able to place cameras in the classroom when he was in school.
Myka chuckled softly as Emily Lake closed the door behind her. She lifted her hand to knock Pete in the arm, however, before she made contact with him, Emily Lake turned around and Myka's heart seized in her chest. Her stomach muscles contracted as if she had been punched in the gut and she gasped softly. Her hand twitched and her lips parted to speak, but no words came out, and that's how Myka found herself staring open mouthed and wide-eyed in the middle of a High School hallway, because Emily Lake was so not so much Emily Lake as she was Helena G. Wells.
When Williams finished the introductions and Pete and Myka proceeded to stare wordless at Emily Lake, her expression became concerned and Myka knew they were reacting weirdly. She knew that she should say something, that she should try to put the woman at ease, but she couldn't force herself to care about Williams confusion when for the first time in months she was gazing at Helena's beautiful face.
Myka turned to look at Pete and he looked back at her wearing a look of surprise and confusion that matched hers. They stared at each other in disbelief for a few seconds longer, and then, simultaneously, they turned their heads and their eyes locked on the woman called Emily Lake once again.
"What is up with today!" Pete exclaimed peevishly.
"Thank you so much for your help Principal Williams, but things have just become a bit more complicated. We're going to need to speak to Miss Lake for longer than I indicated before," Myka said drawing up to her full height and forcing herself to focus on the case instead of the whirlwind of emotions gusting and storming inside of her. "You should probably call someone up to take over Miss Lake's class. She's not going to make it back by the bell."
There was an empty classroom two rooms down from Emily Lake's and that's where Principal Williams nervously left her newest hire alone with the two bizarre Secret Service agents.
"Well?" Myka demanded, crossing her arms across her chest defensively when the three of them were finally alone.
"Well, what?" Emily asked, glancing behind herself at the closed classroom door, a shiver of nervousness passing through her as the government agents stared at her with increasing hostility and suspicion. "I honestly have no idea what it is you think I can help you with. I'm just a …"
"Save it lady! We're not interested in hearing any more of your lies. I'm sick and tired of being jerked around by you!" Pete exclaimed, angrily jabbing his finger in H.G.'s direction. "You know, at the end there last time, you actually managed to make me wonder if maybe I was wrong about you being a creature of pure darkness and evil, but not this time, Sauron! So just save us the necklace clutching routine and tell us what the hell you're doing here and how big we can expect the body count to be!"
Pete paused for a moment.
"And stop speaking in that ridiculous American accent!"
"Ridiculous …" Emily exclaimed incredulously, brows narrowing in anger as she glared at Pete. "I am American, you idiot! The only thing that's ridiculous around here is you, and the insane ravings coming out of your mouth. I know you have very shiny badges – though I'm beginning to wonder if they're made out of chocolate – but I've barely said a word to you, let alone had time to lie. Not that I would," she added quickly. "I have absolutely no desire to jerk anyone around, especially you. So if you're actually interested in solving whatever case it is you claim to be working on, you should know that you're barking up the wrong tree with me. We've never met before," Emily said gesturing between herself and Myka and Pete. "I don't know who Sauron is, and I don't even have a necklace on! So can you please try to make some sense?"
Emily's voice was tight and high with frustration, and after she finished speaking she released an audible huff and then spread her arms irritably; inviting Pete and Myka to respond.
"Man, you're scary good. They shoulda put you in bronze again," Pete declared shaking his head at H.G., a look of disdain twisting his features. "It's like pathological with you, isn't …" Myka placed her hand on his arm, halting his words. "What?" Pete asked looking at her.
"I think she's telling the truth," Myka said, biting down on her bottom lip as she glanced over Hel … Em … Hemily. "Remember what Artie was saying before the storm fried the Farnsworth? 'You should know that Emily Lake is not Emily Lake. I mean she is Emily Lake, or at least she thinks she's Emily Lake, but the woman going by that name is actually …'" Myka fired off, repeating Artie's words from earlier verbatim back to Pete.
"Myka," Pete said slowly. "I know she looks confused and is acting all innocently indignant and whatever, but H.G.'s a good liar. We know that. She's the puppet-master and we're just these dancing little marionette's who's strings she pulls," Pete said, not wanting to harsh, but needing Myka to see the facts for what they were. "We can't believe her."
"I know H.G.'s a liar, but … she's not wearing the locket," Myka said softly, staring at the part in He … Em … Hemily's shirt.
The raven-haired woman's hand was worrying the skin there as if she was used to something hanging there, but the necklace Helena had always worn was missing.
"Christina's hair was in that locket," Myka said, turning to face Pete. "When H.G. broke into the Warehouse that locket was the only thing she took. Pete, she wouldn't have escaped from the Regents without it. That locket … that locket was her heart. If this woman," Myka said gesturing to Emily, "if she knew that she was H.G., if she remembered who she was, she wouldn't be standing there without it."
"Myka," Pete said softly, a look of pity coming into his eyes as he gazed at her that made Myka look away from him. "She obviously saw a 'get out of jail free' card and took it. After living in some Regent Poké Ball for god knows who long, she just booked. I get it alright? I know she wore that locket a lot, but …"
"Not a lot, Pete … always. She always wore it. Believe me when I tell you she never took it off," Myka said, unable to help herself from remembering the feel of the cool locket pressing between her breasts as Helena kissed her, their bodies arching anxiously, desperate to feel each other. "H.G. wouldn't have left without the locket, and if she'd been forced to run quickly, she would have gone back for it. This woman doesn't remember, Pete," Myka said, her stomach turn anxiously as she glanced over at Emily. "I know it. I can feel it. This time I'm the one who's vibe-ing, and I need you to trust me. She doesn't remember."
Pete's face took on a pained expression, and he looked over at Emily like he wanted to lay into her again, but instead of launching into another tirade, he took a deep breath and then exhaled, 'Okay, fine, whatever,' in a frustrated and resigned rush of breath.
"So, what do we do?" Pete asked.
Myka sighed. She knew he wasn't going to like her response.
"We wait out the storm and hope that the Farnsworth isn't fried. If it is, we find a landline, call into the Secret Service and keep giving codes and getting transferred until we're finally passed onto the Warehouse."
"Dude," Pete moaned. "The last time I had to do that I was literally on the phone for six hours," he whined, making a face and then flinging his head back pitifully before he actually stomped his foot.
"I know, that's why didn't suggest it in the car," Myka sighed.
The truth was, she wasn't exactly thrilled with the situation herself.
She'd been longing to see Helena again in the flesh, and having her there so close – and yet so incredibly far away – was torturous. All she wanted to do was go to Helena, but Helena wasn't Helena, she was Emily Lake – at least for the time being – and Myka did not relish having to sit around with a stranger who was wearing her lover's face.
"Okay …" Emily began after the two nutters had been silent for a minute. "Can I go back to class, then?"
Pete glared at her in response and Myka gave her head a short, terse shake.
"Right," Emily sighed wearily, because sitting around in silence for no reason made about as much sense as anything that she had witnessed since meeting Agents Oddball and Basket Case.
"So," Emily sighed as she plopped herself down onto a nearby chair, "What's a Farnsworth, and who's H.G.?"
Myka sighed and dropped her head down to her chest looking absolutely exhausted, so Pete stepped forward to deal with "H.G."
"Let's not talk, okay," he said, offering "H.G." an overly bright smile. "No speak," he whispered, still smiling, before he offered her a patronizing 'thumbs up' and then turned his back to her.
Emily sighed and focused her eyes on one of the motivational posters on the wall. Needless to say, she'd had better days. However, as her mind drifted back to the last staff social, she had to admit that she'd had worse too.
When the storm passed, Myka and Pete (and Emily) were relieved when the Farnsworth (fancy pants walky-talky thing) beeped back to life and the agents ("agents") were able to make contact with Artie (crotchety-disembodied-voice-man).
They were using words that individually Emily understood, but they kept putting them together in ways that made absolutely no sense, and so, Emily tuned them out and thought about whether she'd rather have Indian or Thai for dinner until she heard her name mentioned.
"… (something) (something) Emily (something) …" the crotchety-disembodied-voice-man was saying as Emily turned her head towards the two weirdos holding her hostage.
"An artifact," Myka breathed out looking over at Emily.
Emily tensed and looked back over at the door. She was really and truly beginning to feel unsafe, but she knew that she wouldn't run because she had seen the big-ass guns Coo Coo and Coco Puffs were carrying, and she didn't feel like being shot and having crack sprinkled over her corpse so that they could cover up their crime.
"Jane Austen's stockings," Artie said in response.
"What is it with British writers?" Pete muttered to himself. "Also what's up with all of the evil stockings?" he asked remembering the trouble Artie got into with the Mata Hari's the year before. "Seriously ladies, what is going on between you and your hosiery?"
Artie was silent for a moment in aftermath of Pete's interjection, and then he muttered, "Moving on," before shaking his head and focusing his attention on Myka once again. "Apparently when Jane Austen was creating her characters – recording names, personality traits, background information, family histories and such – she found it helpful to write in a particular pair of black stockings, and now if someone …"
"Writes a character profile while wearing the stockings," Myka cut in, following Artie's words to their natural conclusion, "then whoever wears the stockings next will become the character that was sketched out, rich in personality quirks and detail, just like Austen's characters."
Pete whistled, "Talk about falling into a good book."
Myka looked away from Artie and over to Emily who was looking at them as if they were completely mad.
"So …" Myka began looking back down at Artie.
"Get the stockings off of her and H.G.'s personality will surface," Artie replied. "Put the stockings back on H.G. – or anyone else for that matter – and Emily Lake will re-emerge."
"Got it," Myka said.
"Good," Artie declared. "Call me when you've got H.G. back. Though it pains me to say it, we could use her brain. We're being toyed with and I want to get down to the bottom of it, even if it means working with … her."
"If …" Myka started.
"Yes," Artie agreed, making Pete stare down at the Farnsworth screen peevishly.
Not everyone knew the Nerd short-hand that Myka and Artie sometimes spoke in. Some people, like one handsome devil named Mr. Peter Lattimer, liked complete sentences, but he was currently outnumbered and knew that this was not a battle he could win.
Pete sighed and furrowed his brow.
He really missed Poopy Pants at times like this.
"Either way," Artie continued, "the Regents have lied and we can't inform them that we've discovered H.G. until we know why she's there … and how."
"Now, hold on a minute," Pete began.
Myka touched his arm lightly.
"I know you want to defend your mom, but Emily Lake has been working at this school for months," Myka said gently. "If Sykes broke her out of wherever the Regents were holding her and used the artifact on her, it means that the Regents have known about H.G. being gone for a long time and deliberately failed to mention. And, if Sykes has nothing to do with her being out in the world again, then …"
"The Regents have been using the artifact to control H.G. for months and deliberately failed to mention it," Pete sighed.
"Yeah," Myka confirmed softly.
"This sucks!" Pete declared. "I want that on the record."
He'd just gotten over his mom lying to him for his entire life, and now he had to deal with knowing that she was still lying to him after all of her other lies and shifty-shifty omissions had finally been exposed.
"You know what, I can't even …" Pete said throwing up his hands in defeat. "I'll wait outside while you ladies … do what you gotta do," he waved his hand vaguely in the general direction of H.G.'s legs, and then he turned and started to move towards the door.
Myka sighed when Pete closed the door to the classroom and turned to face Emily.
"You can't be serious," Emily exclaimed.
She didn't understand 2/3rds of what had been coming out of their mouths, but she'd picked up enough to know that they thought she was some sort of artificial personality and that they wanted her to take off her stockings.
"I'm afraid I am," Myka said wearily. "I just need the stockings, okay? I'll turn my back when you undress for privacy. But remember, Agent Lattimer is just outside the door so running when my back is turned won't help. I want to do this the easy way, but if you try anything … well, the hard way will do."
"Your partner was right," Emily declared, standing up. "This sucks!"
Myka nodded silently and then turned her back towards Emily.
"I'm watching you," Emily called out warningly when Myka's back was fully to her.
Myka smiled sadly.
Helena would have sounded playful when she said that.
For Emily Lake, the situation she found herself in truly did suck, but Emily Lake wasn't real. Emily Lake was a fraud. She was a sham, a deception, a lie being used to keep Helena contained. Emily Lake was just another prison for H.G. Wells and Myka couldn't wait until she disappeared. Helena had been used and caged too much already, and – though she knew she shouldn't have been – Myka had been waiting for far too long to feel Helena in her arms again.
It was time for Emily Lake to go.
Emily Lake was in the middle of pulling up her skirt when she suddenly became light-headed and had to brace her hand on the top of the desk beside to stay upright.
Her vision began to blink in and out and a rush of noise, like the crashing of waves, filled her mind.
The sudden changes coming over her body scared her, and even though she thought the Secret Service agent standing with her back to her was a complete freak-show, Emily opened her mouth to call out to her for help.
However, before she could speak, before she could utter a sound, Emily Lake was blinded by an explosion of white light, and then … Emily Lake was gone.
A hand touched Myka's shoulder lightly, and Myka breathed in deeply before slowly turning around to face the other occupant of the room, uncertain whether she would still be looking at Emily Lake when she turned around or whether Helena had come back.
The moment Myka's eyes found the other woman's, she had her answer.
The eyes that looked back at her were full of sadness, regret, longing, tenderness, weariness and love, and Myka bit down on her bottom lip and began to blink rapidly as her eyes started to fill with tears.
"Myka," Helena breathed out, reaching up to catch the first tear that escaped Myka's eyes with her finger. "How lovely it is to see you again … in the flesh," she sighed, her eyes fluttering in pleasure as she brushed her thumb reverently across Myka's cheek. "Though I must admit, I preferred it when the sight of me brought a smile to your lips instead of tears to your eyes."
Myka smiled weakly at that, and Helena's lips twitched up though her eyes remained serious and sad.
"Hello, Helena," Myka finally exhaled, tilting her head slightly into the warmth of Helena's hand as she gazed into chocolate brown eyes that had always been able to take her breath away.
Helena watched her with shining eyes and a shaky smile for a moment, and then her gaze flickered down to Myka's lips.
She swayed towards Myka and then she paused, her lips hovering a hairsbreadth away from Myka's mouth.
She held still for a few seconds, waiting to see if Myka would pull back, but when Myka did not retreat Helena closed the scant distance that remained between them and softly pressed her lips against Myka's.
"I know I'm not forgiven and that nothing's changed," Helena breathed out against Myka's lips as she cupped Myka's face in her hands, "but I had to kiss you one more time."
A shiver ran through Myka's body and she pulled back slightly so that she could see Helena's face, her eyes roving over the pale, aristocratic features she had spent so many nights gazing at under the pale light of the moon.
"Then kiss me like you mean it," Myka whispered, meeting Helena's eyes longingly.
Helena smiled at her then, a real smile that reached her eyes, and Myka's lips curved up as well.
And then Helena was in motion again, drawing their mouth back together, kissing Myka with an urgency that soon had them both breathless.
"Pete won't stay out there forever," Myka whispered against Helena lips, though once she was finished speaking, she licked at Helena wantonly and tangled her hand in Helena's hair, unwilling to part from her.
She knew that Pete had a bag of Pretzel M&Ms in his pocket that was probably keeping him busy, but considering how long it had been since he left the room Myka knew that the bag of treats had to be running low, which meant Pete would soon come marching back into the classroom.
Helena sighed softly, kissed Myka one last time, and then she took a step back, reluctantly placing some distance between their bodies.
"There are so many things I want to say to you," Helena breathed out, "but it's going to have to wait, isn't it?" she asked as she glanced around the classroom and then down at herself and the strange clothes she was wearing.
She had no idea where she was, how she'd gotten there, or why she was there. Clearly, she'd somehow wound up embroiled in another case, and she knew that they would have to solve the caper before she had any hope of enticing Myka into meaningful conversation.
"Yeah," Myka said softly as her eyes scanned Helena's face covetously. "But," she added, looking away from Helena a bit shyly before she bit down on her bottom lip and worried it for a few seconds. "I … I mean, I'd like to hear it. What you have to say," she breathed out eventually, looking back over at Helena as the words fell from her lips. "I'm ready now," she added softly, holding Helena's eyes for a moment longer before she looked away.
Helena nodded slowly, and then, her voice cracking just the tiniest bit, she whispered,
"Thank you," gratefully.
Myka nodded and then a rapid series of knocks sounded at the door.
A few seconds later Pete barged into the classroom, and after pausing momentarily to toss the empty bag of M&Ms into the trash can, he made his way over to where Myka and H.G. were standing.
"Professor Moriarty, is it you?" Pete asked, narrowing his eyes as he leaned in towards H.G., studying her suspiciously.
Helena sighed and then forced a strained smile onto her lips.
"It's so nice to see you again too, Pete."
"It remembers!" Pete declared dramatically, pointing at H.G. as he looked over at Myka. "Ickquay, idehay ethay identstray," he continued, making a completely unsubtle stabbing motion with his arm.
"Pete," Myka sighed.
In response, Pete released an irritated huff of air and then rolled his head around like disgruntled four year old before finally throwing his hands up in the air and walking over to the other side of Myka, where he plunked himself down on the desk beside her.
"Fine, let's call Artie," he said gesturing at Myka's bag impatiently. "The sooner we get this done the better."
Helena rested her hip against the desk Myka was perched on, resting close enough to her that Myka could feel the heat of her body though they were not actually touching, and it took all of Myka's willpower not to close her eyes and turn towards Helena and wrap herself around her.
Myka reached into her bag and pulled out the Farnsworth.
Beyond finding Sykes and getting rid of him, Myka had no idea what the future had in store for her. However, as she felt Helena's fingers lightly brush against her own – surreptitiously connecting them together – she knew what and who she wanted it to hold.
So, Pete was right, because the sooner they solved the case, the sooner she could talk to Helena and that, she knew, was the first step to making things better.