Disclaimer: Characters within and the world they inhabit don't belong to me, sadly. I'm just borrowing them to do my bidding for a while but don't worry, I'll put them back once I'm done.
A/N: So I've recently started watching this show (mid-season 3, no spoilers please!), thanks in large part to lj user=boomwizard, and apparently these two have worked their way right into my subconscious because I dreamt this the other night. And I woke up and the whole thing just seemed too cute not to write down. So I got my dream bits down and then fleshed it out a little, and this is what I ended up with. Be gentle. This is my first time writing for this fandom, so I'm kinda nervous about posting.
Also, please don't be shy about leaving a review! I'd really love to hear anything you have to say about the story. :)
The Egyptian section of the warehouse wasn't the most obvious place to play Scrabble, but that had been part of the reason that it had been chosen. Artie was throwing a fit in the office, over what nobody had been able to deduce because the older man had been practically foaming at the mouth and only capable of sputtering various vowel sounds, before sending them out with a pointed finger. After a quick discussion during which Pete had confessed that he hated it when Artie got angry because he was sure that the hair on those caterpillars above his eyes started to stand on end and look menacing, they'd sought refuge beneath a dusty canopy and set up an antique-looking Scrabble board. Only after Claudia had checked and triple checked to make sure it wasn't some kind of long lost artifact that was going to make them kill people so they could spell out words they couldn't stop seeing with their blood.
Pete sat hunched towards the board on a small, upturned packing crate and stared at his letters like they were a lineup of criminals. Claudia had grabbed a plush, red velvet cushion before anyone else had the chance to and then victory danced her down onto it, folding a leg beneath her. H.G., under the guise of not actually intending on playing the game, took a spot on a low set, dusty armchair that she dragged closer to the game players. This left Myka sitting on the floor, her back to H.G.'s knees and close enough to lean against them, if she'd chosen to. However she found herself making a conscious effort not to.
Claudia had offered Pete the bag of tiles, but he'd just pouted at her and made no move to grab his allotted seven. She'd stared at him with confusion for a second before raising an eyebrow and prompting him to explain that he usually got to divvy out the tiles. She'd rolled her eyes and tossed the bag at him, taking her seven with an insincere glare when he grinned like an idiot and when his first word down was 'butt', she realised exactly what kind of game he was used to playing. Still, it allowed her to play 'byte'.
The battle of words had been raging for a while and they had a nice collection of words scattered across the board, ranging in levels of eloquence - 'butt' to 'barrister' - when Myka felt H.G. stir behind her again. For someone who had no interest in playing, the inventor seemed to have a vested interest in what words were being placed. Myka ran her fingers through her hair and tucked it behind her ears, then bit down on the tip of her thumb as she stared at her letters.
"Sand's a-wasting, Mykes." Pete reminded her far too cheerily, indicating the tiny hourglass he'd also been put in charge of and she shot him a perturbed glare.
"I'll think faster if you stop yapping." She said, pointing a threatening finger in his direction but he just pulled a face at her in retaliation.
"Children," Claudia interjected with raised hands and placating looks sent in both directions. "This is a family game. Its purpose is fun, not strife."
"Tell that to my cousins." Pete huffed, running a hand over his short hair. "They think 'game' is just another word for 'all out verbal warfare' and a reason to see how many monopoly houses they can shove up my nose."
"Yeah, well, we here at Warehouse 13 are less degenerate." The redhead reminded him, reaching out to rearrange the letters on her block before looking over at Myka. Whose upper form was partially obscured by H.G. leaning over her. Her arm was stretched out, the inside touching Myka's bare shoulder, and she was pointing at the other woman's tiles. She'd moved forward in her seat and bent over to whisper something into a smiling Myka's ear.
"Cheating!" Pete shouted, throwing his own accusatory finger into the mix as the agent across from him started laying her tiles out on the board. "Oh, so much cheating, you big cheater!" Myka only grinned at his sour look of outrage, but Claudia too was gazing at her with a look of mild annoyance and slight betrayal.
"You should be ashamed of yourself." The redhead admonished with a shake of her head. "The daughter of a book shop owner, needing help with Scrabble? That's appalling."
"Hey!" Myka kind of half squealed, looking affronted, and jerked her head back to blink at them with wide eyes. "I didn't cheat!" She paused and glanced at H.G., who she could just about see in her periphery, then shrugged. "She just helped me see a better option, that's all."
"Yeah, that's cheating! There's no way you would have come up with-" Pete scooted forward on his crate and looked down at the board. "Nunatak. What is that anyway? Some kind of ancient ninja practise for holy people?" H.G.'s laughter was tinkling and right beside Myka's ear, making the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.
"It's not a form of Congregational Jujitsu, Pete." She explained with a smile. "It's a word for the exposed peak of a mountain that has been completely encircled be a glacier."
"What it is is cheating!" He insisted, hands held in a praying formation in front of him. Claudia shook her head again, marvelling at how often she felt like the only adult in the warehouse, and turned her head got to address Myka. She watched as H.G. shifted, straightening her upper body so that she wasn't leaning over the woman seated before her and saw that the fingers of her left hand were absently playing with the tips of Myka's tightly curled hair. Anything she had been about to say got caught in her throat and she found herself transfixed by the simple motion, even as the argument raged on around her. H.G. was grinning at Pete, apparently completely oblivious as to what she was doing, while Myka, who also didn't seem to notice or care, and continued to insist that it wasn't really cheating.
"It's not like I used an extra tile or something!" She pointed out, leaning back against the legs behind her with an exaggerated eye roll.
"No, but it is like you have your own personal Scrabble dictionary whispering into your ear at all times." Pete, pouting once more and giving off the air of a stroppy toddler, folded his arms across his chest and looked to Claudia for backup. When she wasn't immediately forthcoming, he followed her gaze and felt his eyebrows hit his hairline. Seeming to sense this, Claudia slid her attention towards him and they glanced at each other from the corners of their eyes. H.G.'s fingers continued their stroking and Myka stared at her teammates like they'd been transfixed by artifact again.
"Um, hey? Guys? We're in the middle of a fairly important Scrabble debate." She reminded them, pushing off of the other woman's legs and sitting up straight.
"Looks like you're in the middle of some heavy petting." The words leapt from Pete's mouth with about as much care as a suicidal person gives to proper positioning when leaping from a bridge.
"Pete." Claudia admonished in a hushed shout, eyes widening as Myka suddenly seemed to realise what was going on and blushed a violent shade of red. For her part, H.G. laughed and stalled her ministrations but didn't let her hand stray far, instead keeping her fingers resting at the base of Myka's neck. And the blushing woman made no attempt to move away from the touch, even as it burned her skin. Claudia arched an eyebrow in their direction. "Do you guys... need some space?" She asked and even supplied air quotes as a thoroughly amused smile teased the edges of her lips.
"What?" And it was somewhere between as gasp and a warbling breath, the kind a person takes just before they're about to pass out from lack of oxygen. "No! Why would you- No. No, no. Space is- this space is good. Space. Here." She laughed nervously, already large eyes growing wider. "No, we don't need... space." Pete's head rolled to the side and he gave Claudia a knowing look.
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Myka's cheeks continued to burn even as H.G. chuckled, or maybe it was because of that, somewhere behind her, tips of her fingers dancing across the base of her neck. The redhead regarded him approvingly.
"Quoting Shakespeare? Have you been riffling through the literature vault again?" She wagged a finger at him and he smiled, sheepishly.
"I keep hoping I'll find ol' Bill's quill so I can write an awesome summit to impress the ladies, but I think Artie's hidden it on me."
"Sonnet, Pete." H.G. corrected with another tinkling laugh. "It's a sonnet, not a summit."
"Oh, I'm H.G. Wells and I know all the words in the world." He said in a high falsetto and with a flail of his arms that made him look a little bit like a drowning manatee. He suddenly sobered and waved a hand in their direction, gesturing between them. "What's going on here anyway?"
"Well we were playing Scrabble-" Myka said, exasperated, but Pete held up his hand and shook his head, annunciating his next words very carefully.
"No, no, no. You. And Inspector Gadget over there." That awarded him a raise of both eyebrows from H.G. and Claudia held her breath on the opposite side of the board. It was similar to anticipating a train wreck. Horrific but with an underlying need to see what happens. "You've been gallivanting around together and looking and each other since the second she got back here." Myka visibly stiffened, bearing a striking resemblance to a doe-eyed deer caught in the headlights of a car about to mow her down, and H.G. was still chuckling quietly in the background.
"It's not- I have no idea what you're talking about." Pete narrowed his eyes at her.
"Nu uh. You're a lying liar." He said, biting his lip as he continued to wave a finger in their direction. "You're both gaga and googly-eyed around each other and Claude made me promise not to say anything-"
"Don't drag me into this!" The tech-wiz interjected, throwing her hands up in acquiescence.
"I rather think that neither of you should be involved in this at all. It-" Pete shot to his feet, sending the pouch of Scrabble tiles everywhere.
"Ah ha! So there is something!" Claudia looked up at him and rolled her eyes in blatant disbelief.
"Of course there's something, you gigantic man-child. That's why I specifically told you not to talk about it." With a groan, she dropped her head into her hands.
"You guys are being really inconsiderate right now." Dragging her fingers across her face, Claudia lifted her head again.
"Hey, no. Not guys." She said, putting emphasis on that final 's'. "I told him not to-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Pete interrupted, glancing back and forth between Claudia and the two women before setting his now concerned gaze firmly on Myka, keeping H.G. on the edge of his vision. "Mykes... we're besties. We talk about stuff." And his voice had abruptly lowered, becoming soft. "I just want you to let me in." He gave a wide-eyed almost jesting bob of his head. "Maybe I could give you babe advice." And with an irritation that was obvious, Myka clumsily got to her feet, causing H.G.'s hand to fall away and flop limply against her lap.
"If we were such good friends Pete, you might have considered that the reason I wasn't talking about anything was because I didn't know what exactly there was to talk about!" Pete took a slight step back, not sure he'd ever had this level of ire directed at him by his teammate before. "God! We-" she gestured somewhere vaguely behind her. "Haven't even talked about it! No one's talking, Pete! You can't be let into something that doesn't have a door yet!" He suddenly looked like he didn't know what to do with himself and, resting his hands on his hips, he at least had the decency to look chagrined. But he didn't say anything and as they stared each other down, and Claudia looked on with eyes the size of saucers, H.G. cleared her throat and half pushed, half pulled the chair she was in to the side so she was able to make eye contact with both agents around Myka's tense form.
"Alright." She announced, voice startling the others who had apparently forgotten she was there. "Since no one else is talking about it, I will." Myka shot a look over her shoulder but didn't utter a word. "Pete, Claudia, if you must know-" The redhead raised her hand.
"For the record, there's nothing I must know." H.G. gave her a placating smile and continued.
"Noted. However, I fear someone need say something for fear the poor boy's head might explode." Pete appeared mildly affronted, but thought twice about commenting. "I had been planning on asking Myka for permission to court her when I felt the correcting timing and location had aligned."
"Court her?" Claudia asked with a wry smirk and she risked a glance at Myka who spun so quickly to face the English agent that the redhead was momentarily afraid for the taller woman's life.
"Yes." H.G. replied, furrowing her brow. "Is that not the way one should go about such things?" Claudia harrumphed and swept the now forgotten Scrabble tiles into a pile in the centre of the board and began dropping them into Pete's Pouch by the handful.
"Not in this century." But, as it so happened on occasion, no one was listening to her anymore.
"Wait." She said slowly, staring down at the still seated woman and trying desperately to comprehend what had just been said. She was smart, really smart. She could figure this out. "You were going to ask? For my permission to..." H.G. smiled at her, brilliant and amused, and pushed herself into a standing position.
"Court you. Yes." The shorter woman reminded her. "I had rather thought you wouldn't take too terrible offence to the idea." And Pete just watched, dumb struck, as Claudia felt every molecule of air shift around the and suddenly shoved tile bag and game board haphazardly into the box and slapped the lid on. Myka's lips shifted into a half smile and she laughed the kind of laugh that announced to everyone within earshot that she was currently being taken completely off guard, but wasn't at all put off by that.
"Oh, god." She mumbled, managing to catch Pete's attention. "Let's go before she swoons all over us." He glanced surreptitiously towards the two women standing opposite him and gave Claudia a look that distinctly said 'nah thanks but I'll stay'.
"I kinda wanna see how this plays out." She gritted her teeth, allowing her jaw bones to flex
"Pete." She ground out, pointedly jerking her head in a direction that was away, far far away, from their current location. "Did your Farnsworth just go off?"
"Uh, no." He said, drawing out the last word and attempting to go back to ignoring her, but the redhead crossed the short distance between them and clamped her hand around his wrist tightly enough to elicit a whine from him.
"Yeah, neither did mine. Maybe we should go check and make sure they're working." And with as much strength as her small frame could muster, Claudia dragged him out from under the canopy and around the nearest aisle, disappearing into the warehouse.
"Well that was just... fantastic." Myka sighed, staring at after them while running her fingers into her hair and gently gripping a handful.
"Could be worse." H.G. tilted her head to catch the other woman's now enquiring gaze. "They could still be here and we'd be forced to finish this conversation in front of them." Myka chuckled, freeing her hair and dropping her arm to her side. Everything was abruptly quieter, the only sounds being supplied by the crackling of the torches on the walls and their breathing in their silence.
"So..." Myka began, teeth flashing across her lower lip. "How is this conversation going to end?" H.G. grinned at her again.
"Ah, it appears as though you confused my chosen genre for fact." She teased, reaching out and casually tucking an errant strand of Myka's hair behind her ear. "I write fiction, Myka." The silent woman's eyes drifted closed for a few heartbeats longer than a blink and they opened again when she felt the inventor rest the flat of her palm against her cheek. "I feel I've made my intentions perfectly clear. The end of this conversation rests at the tips of your fingers." She let her had drop and then stood quietly, waiting. Myka felt her stomach flutter wildly as the mere prospect of what could potentially happen over the course of the next few moments and quite frankly it hurt her head far too much to think about what would actually transpire within her when it actually came to be. Because there was never any questioning it, not really. So, she took a couple of seconds to attempt to slow her breathing and with trembling hands she reached for H.G.'s, holding it between them and staring down at it as the fingers of one hand traversed its surface. As if it were an artifact she was trying to discover the secret to.
"Where were you going to ask? For my permission?" The taller woman asked after a moment and while she felt completely out of sorts, and totally disconnected from the last fifty years or so, she also felt giddy. Like a love drunk school girl. In the back of her mind, she vaguely acknowledged that the whole thing was sickening, but then she locked that away in her own dark vault.
"I was thinking perhaps during a leisurely stroll through The Gardens of Babylon. I know how much you enjoyed reading about them as a child and I feel it may be your favourite place in the entire warehouse." And she seemed almost shy as she confessed and Myka ducked her head, a smile parting her lips to show teeth.
"That would have been nice." She admitted with a squeeze of H.G.'s hand. "But I'm pretty sure that this place right here is going to be rocketing to the top of my favourites list any second now. So..." Myka let the sentence hang and watched as ever ounce of shyness melted away from the other woman to reveal a more familiar air of certainty.
"Myka Bering," H.G. began and Myka, god help her, wondered whether Claudia might have been right about the swooning. "Would you do me the honour of allowing me to court you?" It wasn't something Myka had ever anticipated being asked and so she wasn't all that surprised when she found she didn't actually have the words to reply. It wasn't very eloquent, having to resort to a kind of half manic nod of her head, but it seemed to go over well. And she felt herself being slowly pulled into a hug, but her brain didn't really register it until H.G.'s arms were around her and her cheek was resting against the shorter woman's head. There was an explosion of scent and touch as H.G.'s forehead resting in the crook of her neck and a shudder ran through her as the inventor's hands flattened against the small of her back, and Myka heard a rumble of appreciation emanate from somewhere low in her throat.
The stood like that for a moment. H.G.'s fingers trailing short lines of fire where they moved against Myka's back, and Myka's hands finally finding purchase on the inventor's shoulders.
"I have a rule..." H.G. began, halting her ministrations and causing the woman in her arms to pull back in order to look at her. "Against kissing prior to the first date." Automatically Myka's gaze dropped to the lips that, she realised, were about as close as they'd ever been to her own. Her stomach flipped and she forced her eyes up to meet the brown ones swimming before her, the owner of which looked all at once quite serious. "However I fear that I may break it presently." A burst of nervous giggles, actual giggles, leapt from Myka and she had to concentrate in order to school her features back into some semblance of control.
"Well, I'm usually a stickler for rules." She said, finding an unexpected confidence surging through her and winding an arm around H.G.'s hips. "But I have a feeling I'd probably let that one go." And that was all the convincing H.G. needed.