Title: I Smell Apples
Characters: Pete, Myka, the whole post-season 3 crew
Summary/Note:Usually when words fail Pete, Myka can be counted on to supply them. Following the destruction of the Warehouse nobody is sure what to say. Spoilers through end of season 3. Ignoring the potential with the watch to focus on the emotional drama.
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.
"Myka?" Pete asked, tapping quietly on the door to her room. He waited for several moments before tapping again. "I'm out here if you need me Myka," he said, letting it drift through the wood. Sliding down the wall to seat himself next to her door he turned the events of the last couple of hours over in his head.
He, Myka, and Artie made their way back to Leena's in silence. All of them were distraught at the destruction, but he had to drag an almost catatonic Myka from the rubble before some autonomous function kicked in and she shuffled along behind Artie. All of the Warehouse vehicles were vaporized in the explosion, and the resulting electromagnetic pulse fried their Farnsworths, leaving them with but one option of how to go on. The seven miles back to Univille were mercifully made brief when a passing motorist noticed them walking along the road and offered them a lift. Although at that point they all would hardly have noticed if it was an axe murderer in the driver's seat, Myka and Artie left it to Pete to make the bare minimum of conversation required until they reached the B&B. He made some vague noise about their car breaking down on their way back from a funeral, explaining their dour expressions, which cut off any desire the driver had to chat with his temporary passengers.
Myka trooped right up the stairs when they entered, oblivious to the drama overrunning the front room. Pete was torn between following after her or Artie, who sprung into action the moment he caught sight of the scene. In the end he simply stood still. Despite the freakish scene downstairs, upstairs was possibly the harder scenario, yet he felt equipped to deal with neither. Almost tripping over the body, Artie began chattering away with Claudia and Leena. Pete only caught the odd word here and there. "Warehouse," "connection," and "life-force" chief among them. After a moment's reflection, during which her eyes flicked down to the desiccated body on the floor next to where she was kneeling, Leena recited what had happened at the B & B. Claudia jumped in with the occasional comment where her perspective was relevant, but let Leena take control.
"Pete?" Leena inquired with concern when she finished her recounting and looked up, seeing him still standing at the foot of the stairs.
"What happened to her?" he asked, moving and reaching towards her hesitantly, the scene too odd to describe. Any other situation he might have make a crack about mummies and the seeming obsession Regents had with the Egyptians.
"Very very very long story short," Artie replied sadly yet reverently, his eyes still on Mrs. Frederic, "Her vitality and the warehouse were inextricably linked. Even witnessing its demolition I had hoped there would be some...fragment of it remaining. Enough to fulfill the—" he trailed off with a helpless gesture. "If anything is still there, well the heart is gone."
"I'll say," Pete murmured.
Artie adjusted his glasses to take a moment to collect himself. "Now as for your mother," he continued, "She would have taken the first flight back here. Depending on what the schedules were like or if she had to to charter a flight—" he did some mental addition, "That would still give her several hours left on a plane. And as there is no doubt that she did not feel the explosion with the shackle, she is probably frightening some poor flight attendants somewhere with her nervous fidgeting wondering just what the hell happened here. Confused, but safe."
Pete nodded. Not to make her sound like some elaborate kitchen creation, but she would keep for the next several hours.
Claudia squinted at Pete for a moment, fully taking in the scene. "HG?" she asked.
Pete shook his head. "No," he stated simply.
"Oh Myka," she whispered, crumpling back into the armchair. "What happened? Other than the, um, explosion."
"Artie, I'm going to go check on Myka," Pete told him, feeling a little cowardly, but unwilling to be the one to tell the tale. "I don't want to lose her too. Maybe if I can at least be there for her to scream at or hit it might help." In his own experience with death and loss he had sure wanted to do both, but he had no idea how Myka would handle this with the other revelations of the day.
"Go, go," Artie replied, shooing him up the stairs with a wave of his hand.
Pete considered himself lucky. Through all that had happened, even with the loss of the Warehouse, he had really lost nothing. To be sure, he viewed Steve with the utmost respect for his sacrifice, and in the end he considered HG a friend as well, but he had nothing on the others. Artie seemed to be taking it well, all things considered. Perhaps it was because he'd had more time as a Warehouse agent and knew something like this could happen. They were Warehouse 13 for a reason. He knocked his head lightly against the wall. Times like these flashed him back to his father's funeral, not just for the morose atmosphere, but also the overwhelming desire for his protective nature to burst out and strike down everything that was hurting people he cared about. Seeing someone like Myka come unraveled would be jarring to anyone who knew her, no less someone close to her.
The sounds of conversation downstairs filtering upwards had subsided when the sound of shuffling feet came from behind him. The dull thud of a lock turning resounded in the void of the hallway before the shuffling retreated away.
Alone in his mind he almost missed the slight sound. He sprang up and whipped around so fast he nearly crashed headlong into the wall. He centered himself both physically and mentally before gently turning the knob, entering the room, and gingerly shutting the door behind him. As the day wore on more people would be coming in and generating noise downstairs as they went about damage control, though privately Pete thought that "damage" was understating it, and "control" was impossible. "Hey Myka," he said, coming around to the other side of the bed on which she was curled, facing the wall. He pulled over an armchair, trying not to wince at its scrape against the floor.
Myka lay there staring at a piece of jewelry, tracing its edges, but determinedly avoiding looking anywhere else, including directly at Pete.
"Hey," Pete said suddenly, noticing the object in her hands. "Isn't that HG's locket?" A few minutes passed without a response. Pete's anxiety began to mount, worried that he had provoked Myka into deeper despair.
"I think I understand her now," Myka blurted out. "Christina. The trident. Trying to destroy the world even if it wouldn't do any good. Like the world should feel the full brunt of what you're feeling. To cause chaos because you're not in control."
"Myka..." Pete started, growing concerned. Emotional trauma or not, Myka was not the type to consider something like that, even if most of the artifacts she could have used were gone.
"It's funny," she barreled on, "That I came down so hard on her at first. That I would end up becoming so like her. Maybe that's why I had such a reaction to her, like twin poles of magnets pushing each other away."
"There are worse people to take after," Pete pointed out kindly. "And sure you've got similarities, but there's nothing wrong with that."
"I wouldn't do anything like she did," Myka said, more as a matter of fact than with the intention of reassuring Pete. "But it does make me wonder. What if anything actually had...happened?" Her reluctance to definitively describe whatever was between her and HG seemed equal parts inability to comprehend it as unwillingness to think about it. "Even if I didn't do something so potentially catastrophic, would I have hurt you, Claudia, Artie, Leena, Mrs. Frederic?"
Now was definitely not the time to inform her about the shriveled corpse on the living room floor.
Myka moved up to sit against the headboard of the bed, reassured by its solid presence. "It's different with parents," she continued, her thoughts gathering momentum. "As soon as a child's old enough to understand death, part of that understanding comes with the notion that those older than you will go first. That your parents, your grandparents, they'll be gone long before you. Though you love them it's an almost primal understanding. Does it make it any easier? I don't know. But with others, how can you accept it?" She exhaled harshly and shook her head, her expression growing more mournful. "I can't imagine what losing a child is like. Especially like that. Oh Helena."
The raw compassion in Myka's voice forcefully buffeted Pete's composure. "I've been there Myka," he told her. "But I can't pretend that it's anything like what you're feeling. I can promise you though that I'll help you any way I can."
"You know," Myka said, changing tracks, "I admired her for a long time, even considering her desire to wreak vengeance on the world. Her genius, her confidence, her strength. Not that trying to destroy everything is a very strong and confident reaction, but you get what I mean."
Pete didn't completely follow her, but he nodded all the same.
"I can even admit to a bit of infatuation," Myka confessed with a bit of a blush. "But beyond that, higher than that, I don't even know where it started. Or when. I mean there clearly was a time before my reluctant approval, a time when I considered her to be nothing but an enemy, but somewhere it changed. I'm not even sure I consciously realized it until we came back from the Regent's Sanctum. It was a part of me. An invisible, integral part of us. But the moment it was put in jeopardy...that's when it became real. At some point it stopped being a joke." She smiled wistfully and added, "Wells and Bering. Bering and Wells."
"I'm not sure that this is going to help," Pete told her, "And I'm not sure how much you can depend on me for deep emotional proclamations, but I think it was the real deal. Just at that last moment, as she looked at you, she believed that she was doing the right thing, doing the only thing to save the only person who meant that much to her anymore. I mean sure I'd like to think we were cool, but you, you could see you were her...her..."
"Life," Myka supplied plainly.
"Yeah," Pete said. He hadn't wanted to make the obvious contrast, but he really couldn't think of another way to put it.
Myka's shoulders sagged, all her energy for the conversation gone as suddenly as it had come.
Pete noticing this, told her, "You should take a nap or something Myka. I can't imagine much of anything's going to happen for the next several hours."
"Could you stay here Pete?" she asked, her voice wavering slightly. "I just—"
"Of course," he replied, not needing a reason. Not like he had anywhere to go himself, other than perhaps his own bed, but understanding Myka's unspoken need to remain physically close to others at such a time. He relaxed in the chair as Myka turned into the pillows.
Pete's shoulder jolted him awake. Someone was shaking him, and none too gently. He opened his eyes. "Oww Claudia," he whispered sharply. He straightened up in his seat, wincing for a moment as he straightened out parts of his body that were just not meant to be squashed into a space like that for any amount of time.
"Sorry man," she said. "Your mom's here. I told her you were asleep since I didn't know if you two were done talking or whatever." She tilted her head in sullen amusement. "Seems I was right."
"How long was I asleep?" Pete asked, shocked.
"Almost three hours," she replied.
"How did she even...never mind," Pete muttered as he quickly tried to brush the wrinkles from his clothes. He still hadn't gotten used to notion of his mom being a Regent. Or that a Regent was his mom. "Right," he said, satisfied. "Can you stay here? Not that I think anything's going to happen, but I promised her. And I don't want her to be alone." He gave Claudia a gentle one-armed hug as he passed. "Or you," he added pointedly.
Pete quickly but quietly made his way down the stairs. In the preceding hours someone had covered Mrs. Frederic's remains with a sheet and moved them off to rest on a side table. "Pete?" his mom asked, unable to completely mask the worry in her voice.
Pete's stance relaxed. This was his mother, not "The Regent." He smiled warmly. "I'm here mom," he stated, holding his arms out. "I'm fine."
She rushed over to him as quickly as her sense of dignity would allow and clutched at him as if to prove by touch that he was still alive. "When I felt the shackle," she explained, "I didn't know what that meant. What that meant for you." She chuckled darkly. "They didn't really have time to explain it to me when they put it on."
"How did you get here so fast?" Pete wondered.
"Oh just a Concorde from Hong Kong and a car from Ellsworth," she replied, waving it off as if it were nothing.
For all the intriguing artifacts and tragic events Pete had encountered as an agent, one of the biggest impressions made on him so far was that there were certain things you just did not question when it came to the life of the Warehouse. Such as why it was so easy for a Regent, in case of emergency, to hop on a plane that hadn't been flying for years.
She moved back to sit next to Artie, as Leena came in with refreshments and sat down as well. Her business face came back as she gestured for him to sit. "Artie's already told me what he knows, both of the shackle and the Warehouse. Is there anything you can add?"
Pete cocked his head, visibly working the events over in his mind. "The only thing I can recall that Artie might not have picked up was what HG said right before the explosion," he told her. "Something about apples."
"'I smell apples,'" a quiet voice called from the stairs. Myka walked into the room, the locket clinking quietly against her, and leaned against the post of the entryway. She looked down at her hands for a moment, before repeating more firmly, "She said, 'I smell apples.'"
"Apples?" Artie questioned, perking up, his face lightening as he turned to Pete's mom.
"Apples," she echoed, glee in her eyes.
"What does that mean?" Pete asked, completely confused.
"That it's not over yet," Artie declared.