Note: Thanks go to those who have reviewed, favorited, and followed. I really was not expecting this story to get the attention it has received. I'm sincerely grateful that you guys take time out of your busy schedules to read this.
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the rights to Warehouse 13.
If there was anything to be desired at Leena's Bed and Breakfast it was not the coffee. Many a tenant learned not to mess with Claudia's many 'improvements' to Mr. Coffee; Pete having burned his hand thrice before getting the message, Artie and Leena being tea connoisseurs, and Myka always partial to the large Americano with an extra shot and room.
It was on her way out of the Univille diner toting a coffee in one hand and a bag of pastries in the other that the idea hit her. She arrived at the B&B that morning knowing exactly what was to be done. After a fleeting exchange with Leena she bounded up the stairs to her room which she promptly closed behind her, and locked.
It was hidden right where she left it. Just days before disappearing H.G. had left the item with her for safekeeping. She even went as far as offering Myka to read it. As instructed, it was kept safely tucked away until her return.
Myka pulled back the knob and reached in. There it remained deep within a drawer, collecting dust in the days since her dear friend abandoned her. The leather bound cover and its creamy pages within were a temptation Myka never allowed herself to indulge. It was more an unwanted reminder of the Victorian than a respect of privacy that it was never uncovered. Not until this extraordinary day.
Maybe just a peek.
It wouldn't necessarily betray the woman's trust as H.G. specified the book as a shared item that could be opened whenever Myka so pleased. She not only entrusted her faith in Myka but her deepest and darkest secrets as well. Flattery was not so easily bestowed upon the brunette agent, yet H.G. Wells did as if it was her mission in life.
The book lay closed on her lap. Clammy palms pressed to its front in an effort to keep the thing closed. She had her doubts, of course, which successfully kept it hidden from her mind the past few weeks. It wasn't until this morning that the worn cover with its heavily inked pages sprung to consciousness. Ultimately, it was her failure at solving the case of the missing Bellamy sphere that convinced her.
Myka did not have a plan and she greatly wished Artie were around. Dealing with this situation was taking its toll on the agent both physically and emotionally. She needed guidance, sleep, relevant information, anything that would help her get H.G. back to where she was supposed to be.
So here she was with the inventor's diary in hand. It would only take a flipping of pages to get to the appropriate date and read through what occurred the day H.G. disappeared, and more importantly the day she returned.
Mentally swatting away the doubts Myka took a deep breath and made her decision. Slipping a finger between the front cover and first page she opened it.
The soft knock from the other side of her bedroom door had other plans for the snooping Myka Bering.
There was some rustling around and then a slamming of probably a drawer. H.G. raised her hand to knock again.
"Ah, okay come in!"
H.G. stepped into the bedroom. Myka was standing beside the bed, cheeks flushed and hair sticking at odd angles as if she had been caught in the middle of something.
"I apologize if I startled you," the writer began while making a sweep of the room. She was instantly comforted at the sight of so many books cluttering the shelves. H.G. wondered what authors made up such a vast library, which ones the agent favored and if a particular scientific romance writer was among them. After a quick glance at some photographs on a dresser she focused back to Myka. "There is something I think we should talk about."
Myka nodded. "Okay, sure."
Absently twisting a ring round a delicate finger H.G. debated whether to sit or stand for this. She sat. The bed sagged agreeably under her, the bedspread soft to touch. Following a peek at a book (Turn of the Screw) sitting atop the nightstand H.G. boldly went where she never expected going.
"I can't help but sense unwillingness on your part to be truthful." She paused, closing eyes and shaking her head to the charge. "No, that is not right. What I mean is… you seem to hold yourself back in my presence. There is tension between us and I do not believe my future transgressions are the source. That time we talked in the study yesterday morning you let out quite a lot of anger and regret that I can't help but feel responsible for…" H.G. sighed and rushed out, "Myka, are you upset with me?"
"Upset? No, that's not it at all."
"Then why does it seem like I am unwelcome? Every time I try to get close you shut down. In fact, when you discharged that confession yesterday I remember you calling me a replacement. What does that mean? Whom do you suggest I am replacing?"
She planted her hands on her jean clad hips. Eyes darted anywhere but confused brown ones.
Myka had plenty to say, H.G. could sense it, but from the diverted gaze and lip biting it was clear how tiresome it was to keep all of it in. Whether it was for the Victorian's own good or for Myka's, H.G. did not know. For some unknown reason the pained hesitancy being displayed was unacceptable to H.G. They hadn't known each other for very long, yet this 21st century woman meant something to her. Whatever burden or regret she carried with her day after day was intended to be relieved and H.G. felt compelled to take on that duty. Only Myka could know why.
"You can confide in me," the writer pressed gently and believing every word. "After the exertion you and Mr. Jinks have suffered to solve this artifact mystery I have no reason to distrust you."
"Don't make it sound like helping you is a pain because that is not what this is. Every minute I have with you is nothing close to suffering."
"Then let me in," H.G. pleaded, taking her hand to pull her closer. "Tell me what has caused you such sadness."
Aimless green eyes finally attained the will to meet H.G.'s. "You," Myka answered barely above a whisper.
"I disappeared," H.G. conceded, remembering what was recounted about her other self, "I left the Warehouse without saying goodbye. More importantly, I left you."
Myka gave a contented sigh at how quickly the writer had caught on (and at not having to voice it herself). "Yep."
"And I can understand the betrayal one might feel when a colleague makes a mysterious departure." The Victorian narrowed her eyes. "But somehow I doubt that 'colleague' is the precise word to describe your relationship. If it was your hair would not stand on end whenever I touched you. " To prove a point she rubbed her thumbs tantalizingly slow over the hills of Myka's knuckles just as it was done at the beginning. She pulled Myka closer so her knees hit the agent's quivering thighs. "It stood as more than a simple work relationship, did it not?"
The tall brunette gripped those hands for fear of collapsing. Eyes watered but did not overflow just yet. "I don't know," Myka admitted with a shake of her head. "I'm afraid…"
H.G. witnessed the pause which the agent swallowed down over the lump. She also felt the tremor passing between their embracing hands. In an effort to preserve the connection and offer a bit of encouragement in return H.G. gave the trembling hands a squeeze.
Accepting the gift with a crushing grasp Myka choked out, "I'm afraid I'll never know. She says things and… it could just be her way of talking to everyone. I could be wrong, but I don't want to be. If it was anything more than work or friendship how can I know when she isn't here?"
"Myka, I do so wish I could supply the answers you are searching for. It troubles me to see you in such a state of hopelessness and that I caused it." H.G. wanted to be closer. Not just to comfort through touch but to ground this woman with her presence, to assure that she was solid and alive. No answers could be given, but a clear and present doppelganger was next best. She made room on the bed and urged Myka to sit beside her. Always following orders the agent complied. "I've come to know you the past three days, Myka, and I cannot imagine depriving you of the farewell you deserve. In fact, it pains me to even consider parting from such a cosmopolitan new acquaintance. A special acquaintance."
The brunette almost snorted at that, but settled for light scoffing. "I'm nothing special. I'm nobody's first choice. I'm not the pretty one. Just the loyal friend, the scrupulous co-worker, that girl who spends her time with books and swords." Myka let out a chuckle. "I turn my nose down at sugar, but find it impossible to turn down a Twizzler."
Though H.G. hadn't the slightest guess as to what a Twizzler was she smiled because Myka had a way of doing that. "There is much to be desired in those qualities and that you possess all of these is unique to Myka Bering. If I can see that then surely my future self has done similar."
Doubt still clouded her features. H.G. studied the face, its creamy smooth skin begging her hand's caress, the nose that spent countless hours between the pages of books, the lips so soft and inviting that left Victorian's own mouth tingling. If she were to touch this angel H.G. supposed some transfer of energy would occur, something warm and honest that filled a space, too stubborn to leave.
The agent's dark curls settled over relaxed shoulders, breathing grew steadier, and H.G. beheld it all. Myka had a strength she didn't know she possessed. H.G. wished that strength could be shared for the stars were growing so much brighter and home seemed to need a change in destination. Splayed out beside her, H.G.'s hand inched closer to another's.
She did not want to leave this woman. Not now and not ever.
Myka shivered under the writer's scrutiny. It wasn't the fear induced shiver experienced earlier, but one that warmed every extremity and elicited that overwhelming need to be touched. Myka felt wanted.
Though a familiar feeling it did not come with the doubts of past occurrences. H.G. was and always remained as a blur through her life, constantly on the move and barely staying long enough for a significant exchange. She didn't stay, so Myka didn't have a name for their relationship and couldn't know what would follow these quiet moments of beholding.
There was only one Helena G. Wells, but the one currently sharing her bed was different; she knew Myka's insecurities, her doubts, all because she was here, because she stayed. What was taking place there – the desire blazing in Helena's eyes, the half-parted lips, a hand creeping nearer – struck Myka as an opportunity, a chance that could last much longer if they craved it enough. It was what could be had in her future as well as H.G.'s.
"It seems as if my past, present, and future are converging all at once, to this very moment." As before H.G. took Myka's hand in hers but this time it felt different. "And for once in my life I am at a loss as to what course to take. That is what you do to me, Myka."
While the writer was at a loss for insight, the agent was without words. Myka just looked at their hands and the fingers that laced together, creating a bond as strong as cavorite. If by holding some part of her maybe she would stay a little longer. It wasn't supposed to happen, it could have upset the order of the universe, but Myka didn't care. She had done her duty long enough and deserved some recompense. Damn the rules, she wanted happiness. She wanted Helena.
"How do I know which road to take? How do I distinguish the path to destruction from the one of enlightenment?" H.G. shook her head sadly. "After learning of my future it seems so much more clouded. I do not know where I will end up and that frightens me, Myka."
"I know who you are Helena and I know who you want to be. You turn out to be this kind and adventurous and charming woman, but you had to go through so much to get there. All the pain and years of being kept away from humanity…" Myka hesitated, torn between emotion and duty, heart and head. Caught in the magnificence of eyes that hailed from another time, the words tumbled effortlessly. "But you don't have to go through that just to be the woman I fell in love with."
Helena's eyes softened. Her voice came out in a whisper. "You love me?"
"I- yes, I love you." Myka was sharing things she knew she shouldn't. It couldn't be explained; the way she felt around this H.G. made her want to reveal everything she had kept from the present H.G. It almost seemed like a second chance. Myka was thrilled and disappointed at the same time. She knew her feelings for the woman. She had known them for a long time, perhaps since the first gun was pointed. The emotions felt around the Victorian were overwhelming and passionate. It felt so good to get it all out in the open, but it was upsetting to share these things while the present H.G. was never made aware of them because Myka never had the chance to tell her.
"Myka! I've got good ne –"
Their hands broke apart as the two women looked to the open doorway.
"Sorry, I didn't realize… I thought you were alone."
"It's alright," Myka said, standing. "What was so urgent?"
"Trailer is the best dog ever."
With an arch of a brow H.G. replied, "I would have to agree, though I doubt that constitutes as urgent news."
"But does the average canine pick up the scent of an artifact that's been missing for over 100 years?"
H.G. and Myka looked to one another. The same dread clouding one pair of eyes was shared in another.
"He found the sphere." Steve explained. "I can't believe we didn't think of it before, but I had him sniff around the area it's cataloged in and he actually found it."
"That's… great," the brunette offered. She forced her mouth to a grin, examining H.G.'s reaction as she was her own. "That's really great."
"Yeah," Steve chimed in with more enthusiasm, "I'm beginning to think we didn't stumble upon Trailer by accident!"
Still fixated on Helena the agent murmured, "You will finally get home after all."
Parted lips opened wider but nothing surged from them. No acknowledgement, no contradiction.
When H.G. failed to make her thoughts known Steve interrupted with the remarkable suggestion to get the case officially solved. The time traveler agreed and went off to prepare while Myka and Steve remained.
"Hey, Myka," the young man said. His ice blue eyes focused with concern over his friend and co-worker. "Are you doing okay?"
"Yeah, of course."
"No, I mean, are you okay?"
Fully aware of what was being asked her eyes held Steve's and then dropped. Swallowing over the growing disappointment and feeling the stab of having to accept abandonment all over again Myka walked passed him and out the door.
And with that, Steve Jinks received his answer.
Deep within the Warehouse three agents and their lucky mascot stood in a circle looking down at a foot long crack. How the crack went unseen for dozens of years no one knew. When Steve had the brilliant idea of using Trailer to search for the missing artifact he allowed the dog a whiff of the Bellamy index card which inevitably led them back not to the empty shelf, but to the concrete below it. After H.G. gave a brief recap of how she fell into the vortex it was deduced that the crack was a result of the sphere. The artifact connected with the floor creating a time-space vortex and – suspected to have powers of intangibility – sunk into the ground and out of sight. Once the Victorian passed through, the portal closed leaving behind an inconspicuous fissure that wouldn't be noticed until the year 2013. Though not present on the shelf the sphere was cataloged in the area because it was there, just a few feet below it.
Its method of opening a time portal still remained a mystery which may never be solved. Strangely enough the agents were okay with that. Since joining the Warehouse they had seen many odd things. Bellamy's artifact would just be another to add to the list of unexplainable events.
"So if the artifact is buried however many feet beneath the ground," Myka said, working through their predicament, "how are we going to get at it?"
"That's where this artifact comes into play." Steve held up a yellowing bundle of cloth which he unfurled before them.
H.G. frowned at the cloak decorated in beads and feathers. "What on earth is that?"
"The Lenape tribe cloak," gasped the other woman. "Pete and I snagged it in New York when we were investigating an art heist. However, unlike an ordinary theft it was done without disturbing the safe. This cloak has intangibility properties that allow its wearer to pass through any solid surface; a wall, a reinforced steal vault…" Myka gaped at Steve and they shared knowing grins, "… a floor. Steve you're a genius!"
"Wait," H.G. held up a hand, "so this material grants passage through any impermeable exterior…" her face grew hard with concentrations as the inventor in her measured the concerns, "… and what, you are simply going to throw the blasted thing on and fall through the floor? How can you perceive its depth? You don't even know what is under the Warehouse."
"It couldn't have gone far. Artie says this place is protected on all sides with super strong elements the world hasn't seen yet. The concrete under our feet should have slowed down even a powerful space-time generator like the sphere."
Though not entirely convinced H.G. folded her arms and urged him to continue with a nod.
He turned the coat over to reveal its string of feathers and indicated to one of them. "While holding just one of these feathers I can feel around just below the surface." Without preamble a feather was plucked from the cloak.
"I'll put it right back," he assured the brunette. Kneeling before the crack he wedged the quill up his sleeve, took a deep breath and lowered his hand to the ground.
Steve inhaled sharply and pulled back. He forced a smile at Myka. "I am being careful. Give me some space?"
The two women backed away and watched anxiously as the agent dipped his hand through the ground. A yellow light glowed around the feather along with the hand, allowing his whole arm to be drawn in up to his shoulder.
"Okay," Steve grunted. He moved the hand around, feeling for something round and solid. "There's a lot of concrete. It probably goes down for miles. Wait! There's a crevice… I think… I… got it!"
There was a flickering of light around his arm as he withdrew. The feather was still wedged unharmed in the cuff of his sleeve and in the palm of his hand rested a spherical orb. Ominous and flawlessly round the artifact had been uncovered after 112 years, earning a few awed expressions from its audience. At first glance it appeared as onyx, but if one were to look away it gave off a shimmering silver radiance. Look back and it was a seemingly ordinary black ball.
"Well done, Agent Jinks."
Returning H.G.'s nod he shrugged and confessed, "All in a day's work."
There was a gleeful bark as Trailer padded closer to his uncle Steve. The collie nudged his wet nose to his cheek and followed with a tongue and lots of drool.
It was agreed that activating the portal would be best done in a more isolated part of the Warehouse (in case of explosion, implosion, or any unforeseen detonation). Steve and Myka did not want to tempt fate by ripping open a time-space vortex in the middle of their boss's office. Artie's eyebrows would have fused with his hairline if anything was out of place upon his return.
Changed back into her 19th century garb – pants, blouse, vest, decorative pocket watch and all – H.G. fiddled with the locket around her neck. It was losing the warmth given by her neck which seemed to be cooling in lieu of her imminent trip. She remembered the vertigo and unbearable nausea from before, and how she chilled to the bone from the after affects.
While Steve left to return the Lenape cloak to its rightful shelf the two women were left in the middle of a lonely, open area of the Warehouse. Myka was examining the Bellamy sphere with a keen eye, fingers tracing but not finding a seam. H.G. watched from afar as the woman turned the artifact over in her hands and shivered at the sight of two contradictory entities: Myka, her supposed future and a sphere, the catalyst for shattering that future.
"You really think it will work?"
Thoughts of paradoxes and how to avoid them were demolished when H.G. was brought back to the present. A small smile came to her lips. "I am afraid to say it is not an exact science. There is no telling what time I will be sent to." A hand abandoned its comforting grip from the locket to clasp her other. The Victorian cocked her head and candidly spoke, "If there is anything that I have learned from this wondrous experience it is that fate has a way of bringing peace when least expected."
"Helena, when you go back you go with the knowledge of the mistakes that will be made."
"Mistakes that I will not make. I promise you, Myka, that woman is not me, not since you have come into my life."
The agent took a deliberate step towards H.G. She did so with little hope in those brave green eyes. "But if you don't make those awful decisions – killing the men responsible for Christina's death, asking to be bronzed – we will never meet."
"You do sound a bit selfish, darling." The Victorian laughed despite the tears threatening to fill in her eyes.
Myka shook her head. "I'm thinking of you, Helena. Knowing that I was the person who made you see reason, the only one able to help you through Christina's…" She couldn't look H.G. in the eye so she diverted her gaze to the floor. "I just don't want you to be alone."
She reached out to cup Myka's cheek. The touch sparked vibrant warmth and hope. H.G. noticed the unmoving chest as Myka waited with baited breath.
"Do you know me so little, Myka Bering, to think that a time traveler such as myself could not find her soul mate?" The hand against Myka's cheek swept back a curly strand of hair tucking it behind the ear. Her hand stayed, tugging lightly to emphasize the urgency of the statement. "I would cross oceans of time and space to find you, scouring the years just to be with my love."
H.G. heard the echo of Steve's footfalls and knew they didn't have much time. Taking the agent's hands in her own, squeezing them with the comfort done before she stated with absolute certainty, "I do not simply disappear into space and time without an explanation or goodbye." Sniffling, Myka's blood shot eyes met H.G.'s. Taking a finger and turning the chin up the writer looked into those green eyes with fierce honesty and trust. "H.G. Wells does not disappear, darling; she just goes away for a little while. And she will always come back to you."
Her mouth formed a thin line, a throat bobbing to the sobs threatening to escape. Just as Steve walked in Myka gave the Victorian's hand one last embrace. It slipped away like light into a black hole.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye."
"It appears so, yes," H.G. commented wryly, turning to meet Steve's morose face. "If it were not for the corrupt beverage machine I would have no qualms about staying."
It didn't take long for the comment to be met with a hug. For some unspeakable reason the 21st century softened the otherwise hardened demeanor of H.G. She accepted her friend's hug wholeheartedly. Leaving a kiss on his scruffy cheek H.G. leaned back still grasping his muscular shoulders. "I intend to jabber on about you to good Wholly. He may not have met you but he will certainly appreciate the stories I shall recount about you, saving my arse and all."
"Feel free to leave out my more insufferable moments."
"Nonsense, I cannot think of a single one!"
By her side Trailer made a whining noise, perhaps a dog's way of pleading. Coming to eye level with him H.G. took his head in her hands pressed their noses together.
"Thank you for finding my ticket home, Agent Trailer." Trailer yipped and struck his front paws simultaneously to the floor. H.G. laughed at this new display of authority. "After putting those excellent nose skills to work I think you have earned the title."
Rubbing under his chin she leaned in close to his flopping ear and whispered, "Take care of these two, my friend." With a final pat and a kiss to his head H.G. released Trailer. His tail hung dejectedly low as he backed up a step and commenced with a dog's manner of mourning complete with lethargic eyes and a high pitched whine.
Knowing who was last in line for goodbye H.G. took in a breath that rocked her very soul. It wasn't time. The case was solved much too soon. H.G. was not ready to depart such pleasing company. She wasn't ready to leave Myka.
Before her courage could seep away through the cracks the Victorian whirled to meet Myka, but it was too late. All that was left was a fast retreating blur of brunette curls. It was the last she saw of her. H.G. finally understood true abandonment.
I couldn't do it. It was just too much.
Boots tracked heavily against the floor, their pacing wearing away at the wood. Myka's breathing was coming in fast and rushing out in quick sequence while tears fell of their own accord. Her body as well as her emotions couldn't remain in a constant state. Decisions couldn't be made, not without rash thoughts, thoughts that spurred her to leave without saying goodbye. She couldn't function without the Victorian, so she left just like H.G. did her. Maybe that was it. Has the mystery been solved? Did her H.G. leave without telling her because she couldn't function without Myka?
Was it really this painful to say goodbye?
It was because a thousand and one knives were attacking the agent's chest, bearing down on an already broken heart. They pierced and tore in, scraping out the good stuff, the stuff that made her smile, laugh, shiver, gasp, and cry. She was being hollowed out and left with an empty cavity, lying open and bear for the world to see. Like an empty locket, Myka's heart was two barely connected pieces waiting for someone to fill it with sentiment.
She won't come back.
Boots halted their incessant pacing. Myka stood before her bed and felt the odd sensation of being watched. She looked around her, at the piles of books some open others closed and begging to be read. These books were imploring her to read. Some more than others and one in particular.
The hand clutching her chest dove for the handle and pulled. The antique nightstand gave a dull scraping as its old wooden drawer was opened. Fingers fluttered until they hit worn leather. Unlike its owner the diary showed its age in the form of frayed and bent corners, darkened page edges, and a few signs of stains. Myka inhaled deeply.
Tea, ink, and coal gas.
The 19th century tome cracked at its opening. Pages were flipped. A finger passed over a date. July 6, 1899 never before held such significance. Myka whipped away at her eyes, her cheeks, and the last of her indecision, and read.
July 6, 1899
What a peculiar day worthy of these pages! There was a most significant artifact I was hunting for today. The designs for my time machine are nearly complete and so scouring the time travel section for some expert motivation was in order. But, alas, the Warehouse had others plans. Reaching for a particular Babylonian ritual vase I must have lost my footing and hit my head because by the time I awoke I was on the floor (I will have to bother Chaturanga about installing ladders throughout various sections of the Warehouse).
Wholly informed me that when he got to my collapsed form he was able to revive me instantly. Strange, it almost seemed as if I was unconscious longer than accounted. That absurdity perhaps had more to do with my dream than anything else.
As most dreams are this one was vague and clouded with uncertainty. Events jumped from one point to another, bleeding together and not having a fixed location in time. One element of my reverie, however, stayed frighteningly genuine than the rest. It was a person, a woman to be precise. I hardly know what her purpose was in haunting my wakeless state or where I was in the dream (haunting may be too strong a word. How about taking up residence in the mind?).
She was a clear picture, though, beautiful like a spring morning and standing with grace and confidence. I am jealous of any suitor who keeps the attentions of this angel. Perhaps in another life we shall meet, or if my calculations are anything to brag about I may use my machine to bend the fabric of time and space to search for this mirage.
Oh, what am I jabbering on about? It was just a silly dream. These days grow so long and arduous. I think I shall escape the Warehouse for a spell and enjoy the streets of London!