mysensitiveside: (helena g. wells)
[personal profile] mysensitiveside
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Part 3

Myka was in a daze, her hand resting idly against her cheek as H.G.’s had just been as the welcome committee of Claudia and Pete came running around the corner.

“Mykes, you’re home!” Pete bellowed in excitement, wrapping her up in a tight hug and literally lifting her off her feet.

That was certainly enough to bring Myka out of her daze, and without meaning to, she let out a girlish little squeal.

“Pete! Put me down,” she protested, laughing out loud.

He spun her around a few times, before obligingly placing her back on solid ground.

He still kept his hands on her shoulders, though, and held her at arm’s length even as Claudia rushed forward and wrapped her arms around Myka’s waist from behind.

“I missed you, Myka-Bear,” Pete said seriously, though there was a bright smile on his face. Claudia squeezed a little tighter to echo the sentiment before releasing her hold on the agent.

Myka started to get choked up, but she managed a lighthearted tone as she asked, “You’re not getting all sappy on me, are you, Lattimer?”

Pete’s grin only widened. “Who, me? Never,” he replied, and reached out to ruffle Myka’s hair. “And oh hey, the curls are back!”

Myka chuckled. “Yeah, well, Helena hasn’t quite managed to invent a hair straightener for me yet.”

Though it was barely noticeable and gone in an instant, Myka saw that Pete frowned just slightly at the word ‘yet.’ Myka hadn’t even consciously thought about it, but now she realized that she’d already, on some level, started thinking about how at some point she’d inevitably get shuttled back in time once again.

That wasn’t supposed to be the idea, though, she knew. The plan was supposed to be that they’d find the artifact that was causing this, neutralize it, and everything would go back to normal.

But Myka was no longer sure how much she actually wanted ‘normal.’

It wasn’t really fair, though, to go on simply popping in and out of people’s lives on the whims of an artifact.

Myka sighed. Why couldn’t things just be simple, for once?

“Oh, so speaking of your time traveling trouble. Thanks to Pete the genius, here...” Claudia said after a moment as they all began walking back towards the office.

“Genius?” Myka mouthed silently, flashing a look of disbelief.

Claudia laughed. “I know, right? None of us could believe it either, at first. But we’ve actually had a breakthrough with figuring out what your artifact is,” Claudia explained.

“Oh,” Myka exhaled, ignoring the way her heart seemed to drop at the news, “you have?”

Myka could feel Pete watching her as Claudia continued to explain all they’d uncovered about known wish-related artifacts, but he simply smiled softly when she met his gaze, and she couldn’t figure out what he was thinking.

Artie looked up as they entered the office, and a small but genuine smile spread across his face. “Myka,” he began, with a simple nod of his head. “It’s good to have you back.” His bushy eyebrows furrowed as he added, “For now, at least. Without that artifact, we still have no idea how much time there is before you disappear again.”

Myka inhaled deeply, continuing to pay attention, but simultaneously walking slowly around the office, reaching out to softly run her fingers over the walls, the chairs, each random knickknack. She’d missed this, she realized. As wonderful as it was to see Helena again, to get to know Christina... This Warehouse was still her home; these people were still her family.

She clenched her jaw and closed her eyes briefly, trying to stave off the wave of emotion threatening to overwhelm her.

“So Myka,” Artie continued, “I know we’ve gone through this before, but I need you to really think. The first time this happened, what were you doing? Can you think of anything in particular that you were touching, or near to; anything you were thinking or doing? I know that’s vague, but just try. There’s got to be something.”

This was it, the moment when Myka had to choose. Keep pretending that she didn’t already know what the artifact was? Or give up the photograph and never see Helena again?

Myka ran a nervous hand through her hair, turning to look away from the others. She couldn’t bear to look at them while she tried to think.

She thought about Pete. Her best friend. Selfishly, she hadn’t thought much before about how all this might be affecting him. She knew he had abandonment issues, but she’d been perfectly happy to just skip off to the 19th century, leaving him again and again.

She thought about Christina. In the short time she’d known the girl, Myka had definitely come to care for her. But she wondered, now, if she was doing more harm than good. Christina didn’t need the unreliability that Myka added to her life. With her mother busy working more often than not, what Christina needed was a steady presence – not someone who might vanish at any moment without warning.

She thought about Claudia. A real sister in a way Tracy had never been. Claudia had been through so much already. She’d practically raised herself, and even with Joshua back, he still wasn’t a major part of Claudia’s life. And just when Claud had found another surrogate brother in Steve, he was taken away as well.

She thought about Helena. Beautiful Helena. There hadn’t been enough time together in the present, but there hadn’t been enough time together in the past, either. Myka was only just starting to figure out – admit to herself – how she really felt about the other woman. But there was never enough time. They were always saying goodbye to each other.

Myka closed her eyes and took a deep, steadying breath. She thought back through the progression of their friendship: everything from that first meeting at gunpoint, to H.G.’s betrayal and subsequent redemption, to Helena’s fingers skimming lightly over her cheek only minutes earlier.

She wiped at the damp corners of her eyes, and then turned to face Artie, Claudia, and Pete. Myka couldn’t quite meet their eyes, but with a last few moments of hesitation, she reached for the photograph and wordlessly placed it on the table between them.

Goodbye, Helena.

***

Pete moved to look over Claudia’s shoulder once the redhead snatched up the photograph.

He frowned in confusion. “I don’t get it. Was this taken when you were back there just now?”

Myka shook her head stiffly, her whole body tense. “No, I... I found it. Here, before any of this happened. I was reading H.G.’s file, and it fell out.”

Pete was still trying to figure out the implications of that, when Artie spluttered, “Are you saying that you’ve known, this entire time?!”

Myka gritted her teeth, but said nothing.

“What were you thinking? Myka, we’ve been doing nothing but work on your case!” Artie fumed. “We haven’t gone after other artifacts. Claudia should be in training, but she’s been excused to come help you. We’ve wasted a lot of time and resources on figuring out this artifact, and all along, you’ve known!”

While Artie yelled at Myka, Pete could only watch his partner in confusion. She stood and took Artie’s words stoically, refusing to defend herself. When she blinked her eyes, though, a few stray tears escaped down her cheeks, which she clumsily wiped away.

Looking sympathetic, Claudia stepped forward and grabbed hold of Myka’s hand. Pete felt like there was something major he was missing, here.

If Myka had known that the photograph was an artifact, then why hadn’t she told them? There had to be a logical answer, because everything Myka did had a logical answer. The photograph brought her to H.G., he realized. And she’d given it up. For them.

His first thought was that well, of course she’d choose to give it up. Myka and H.G. were good pals, but this was home. They were Myka’s family. One look at Myka, though, and he knew it wasn’t nearly that simple.

He still felt like there was more that he didn’t understand, but she was his partner, and he supported her no matter what. Moving to Myka’s side, he reached out to place a comforting hand against her lower back, before turning to Artie, who was still gaining steam.

“Artie, back off, man,” he said, his tone respectful but firm. “We have the artifact now, and Myka is safe. That’s all that matters.”

Artie looked like he wanted to keep going, but after a moment, he lost all of his bluster with a sigh. “I’m sorry, Myka,” he apologized, rubbing his hand over his eyes. “You just surprised me, and none of us have been sleeping all that much, and... I’m sorry. Pete’s right.”

Myka still looked really tense, but she swallowed a few times and then quietly asked, “So what is it?”

Artie pushed his glasses up his nose and then retrieved the photograph, which Claudia had dropped back on the table. He frowned as he looked at it, flipping it over to see it from all angles.

“You just randomly found this in the Wells file?” he asked.

Myka nodded. “And it wasn’t there when I read the file the first time, after she was de-bronzed,” she added.

“Hm,” he murmured pensively. “What were you doing right before you were transported for the first time? Did it happen as soon as you touched it?”

“No.” Myka cast a brief sidelong glance towards Claudia before continuing, “I... I was wishing that I could speak to H.G. again.”

Artie didn’t respond right away, but scratched the back of his head thoughtfully. “Well, that supports Pete’s theory, at least. But as for what specific artifact this is, I-”

Artie stopped mid-sentence, as a thought seemed to occur to him. “It might be John Hinde’s postcard,” he offered. “That would certainly be interesting.”

“Who’s John Hinde?” Pete asked.

“He was an English photographer, known for his idealistic and nostalgic style,” Artie explained. “The whole idea of sending a picture with a message to friends and family when you’re on vacation? It was hugely popularized by Hinde’s work.”

“So I don’t get it,” Claudia spoke up. “What does it actually do? How does it work?”

Artie continued, “Well, if this is in fact John Hinde’s postcard, we don’t fully understand the mechanics of it. We’ve always known of the postcard, but we’ve never gotten our hands on it before. Somehow, it’s drawn to extreme emotion, extreme longing for something. If you wish hard enough to be somewhere, then the postcard can take you there. The actual content of the photograph changes, you see, depending on the wishes of its chosen target. It’s made it particularly difficult to track. But so, Myka wanted to see H.G. again? The postcard shows that happening, then makes it happen. The theory is that this is the last photograph that Hinde ever took, and that it gets its power from the collective nostalgic energy of the many people who ever looked at one of his images and wished they could be there. ”

No one spoke at first, as they all tried to digest that information.

Again, Myka was the first to break the silence. “So that’s it, then?” she asked, her shoulders sagging slightly. “Now you can neutralize it, and I’ll stay here for good?”

“Well... Like I said, all of our knowledge about the postcard is theoretical.” Artie paused, looking again at the photograph. “This image, has it happened?”

“What do you mean?” Myka asked.

“I mean, when you were back in time, did someone take this photograph of the two of you? Has this actually happened?”

Myka furrowed her brow. “No,” she replied simply.

Artie sighed, frowning down at the image in his hand. “Well, that complicates things, unfortunately.”

“Artie, what is it?” Pete prompted, feeling Myka stiffen under his hand, which still rested against her back.

“Well,” he sighed, “it’s possible that neutralizing the artifact could work just like you said. You’d stay here, and that would be that. But, I’m worried that’s not what would happen. Given that the moment in this photograph has not yet occurred, from your perspective, neutralizing this may actually serve to send you back in time once again. This time, permanently.”

***

The Warehouse was burning.

It was burning, but there was nothing that Myka could do, and Helena just stood there, smiling through the blaze. Then Steve and Mrs. Frederic slowly became visible at Helena’s sides, staring blankly ahead. Then more, too – Pete, Claudia, Artie, Leena; Myka’s parents, her sister Tracy. One by one, they all joined Helena’s ranks, as the flames began to lick at their feet.

Myka tried to scream, but though she opened her mouth, no sound came. She tried to move, but it was like her feet were nailed to the floor.

Helena was trying to tell her something, but Myka just couldn’t seem to understand. But even as the flames rose higher and higher, Helena simply smiled.

And the Warehouse continued to burn.

Myka gasped for breath, her body twitching forcefully as she struggled in the transition from dream-state to consciousness.

No sooner had she regained a sense of vague stability than her equilibrium was upset once again, when she was yanked forward into the past. The rapid relocation was extremely disorienting, and Myka only barely managed to remain on her feet as a wave of dizziness and nausea ran through her.

She bent at the waist to place her hands on her knees, shutting her eyes and breathing deeply while she waited for the queasiness in her stomach to pass.

It could have been a minute, or it could have been ten, Myka had no idea. Eventually, though, she exhaled heavily and straightened back up.

She was grateful to see that it was night here, too, which meant that no one was around to witness her fitful arrival. She only realized how cold it was, though, when she noticed that she was shivering. A t-shirt, loose cotton pants, and bare feet were definitely not enough for being outdoors.

Trying very hard not to think about how dirty the streets of London were, Myka hurried back to the Wells’ house. She didn’t want to wake everyone up, so went around to the side where she knew H.G.’s window was. She smiled softly to herself as she gathered a few small stones and threw them up towards the window. She’d always thought it was cute when characters did this in movies, and now here she was, doing it to H.G. Wells.

It took a few tries, but it wasn’t long before Helena’s sleepily confused face appeared at the window. Myka wrapped her arms tightly around herself, but raised one hand to wave.

H.G. stepped back into her room, and Myka moved over to the front door, hoping that the author was now coming down to let her in.

When the door opened, Myka was embarrassed to find that at the mere sight of H.G., her eyes quickly filled with tears.

“Myka,” H.G. began, but she never got a chance to finish whatever she’d meant to say.

Without thinking, Myka lurched forward and pulled Helena towards her into a tight, desperate embrace. She buried her face in the crook of H.G.’s neck, and though the other woman was clearly startled by the suddenness of her behavior, Myka simply couldn’t let go.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled quietly into the soft skin where Helena’s neck met her shoulder.

Myka didn’t even know what she was apologizing for. For hugging her; for wetting her shoulder with tears; for showing up in the middle of the night; for trying to do the right thing by giving her up; for not figuring out a way to save her Helena in the present; for not realizing how she felt sooner.

For all of those reasons, she could only hold on tighter and repeat, “I’m sorry.”

H.G. eventually seemed to recover from her surprise and reached up to tentatively return the hug, rubbing one hand soothingly up and down as the other rested lightly at the small of Myka’s back.

“It’s all right,” Helena murmured back, leaning her cheek against the top of Myka’s head. “Whatever it is, it’s all right.”

***

As Helena walked down the hallway the next morning, she was surprised to hear a soft murmur of voices coming from Myka’s room. Pausing outside her door, she smiled knowingly as she was able to recognize two voices, one young and one older.

Not wanting to disturb them, she very quietly opened Myka’s door and peered around the edge.  Both occupants of the room were sitting up in Myka’s bed, with Christina curled into the agent’s side and the dog, Darwin, lying asleep at their feet. Neither of them appeared to notice Helena, who felt a little guilty for eavesdropping... but not really.

“The runaway carriage was coming straight towards us, and it seemed like there was no possible way to escape!” Myka exclaimed dramatically to an enraptured Christina. “Just as we were about to be trampled beneath the wild horses’ hooves, I suddenly found myself flying up into the air!”

Christina gasped out loud. “You can fly?” Though Christina’s back was to her, Helena could perfectly imagine the look of awestruck wonder that she was sure had crossed her daughter’s face.

Myka laughed. “No, unfortunately, I can’t fly. But, your mother...” And at that, Myka glanced over the top of Christina’s head and met Helena’s gaze with a soft smile. “Your mother is an incredible woman. Can you guess what she did?”

Christina shook her head.

“Still totally calm,” Myka went on, “your mother reached into her jacket pocket, pulled out a grappler gun – which she invented, by the way – shot it over a nearby wall, grabbed me ‘round the waist, and like magic, we were lifted right up into the air and out of danger!”

Smiling, Helena stepped into the room and commented, “Sounds like quite an adventure.”

Twisting around to look at her, Christina responded, “Good morning, Mummy. Cook told me that Miss Bering was back again, so I simply had to come see her. She was just telling me the most exciting stories!”

“And here I thought that was my job,” Helena teased. With a nod of her head towards the door, she continued, “Now go on. I’m sure Miss Bering will allow you to bother her later, but for now I do believe Mrs. Jones should be waiting for you for your studies.”

After hugging Myka tightly, Christina crawled out of bed, hugged Helena as well, and then scampered off down the stairs, humming to herself, with Darwin following right behind.

“You’re very good with her,” Helena said, turning back to Myka after watching her daughter go.

Myka smiled, but there was something else, something unreadable, in her eyes as she replied, “It’s easy. She’s a great kid.”

“Well I’m sure you must be hungry, but given your late arrival last night, I thought it would be best to let you sleep. I hope Christina didn’t wake you too early?” Myka shook her head. “Good. I will have someone bring you some breakfast up here, if you’d like. But before that, I wished to ask if you would do me the honor of accompanying me on a walk later today.”

Myka looked up at her with a smile, before a worried expression took over her features. “Are you sure that would be okay?” she asked. “I mean, last time I was gone back to my time, Pete and Claudia gave me this whole elaborate speech about how I have to be really careful about not changing anything; about how if I even just step on a bug, somehow that could eventually result in some kind of paradox or creating World War III or something.”

Though she didn’t exactly follow everything that Myka said, Helena had actually already considered the issue. The complexities of time travel were obviously a topic about which she had thought a great deal.

“Well,” she replied, “last time you were here for over three weeks, and you didn’t leave the house much, but you also didn’t simply stay in your room and make sure to not interact with anyone, either. Now, when you returned, had you created... ‘world war three,’ whatever that is?”

“No...”

“And do you wish to play it safe by spending all of the rest of your time here alone in this room?”

“No.”

“Brilliant.” Helena smiled. “Then it’s sorted. Though I do try to avoid recklessness as much as possible, I am a firm believer in discovery through experimentation. We won’t know what you can change and what you cannot until you actually do something. Besides,” she added with a sly smile, “I thought that you might like to take a look at Warehouse 12.”

That certainly caught Myka’s interest. “Could I?” she asked, reminding Helena of Christina whenever she was first given permission to play with a new toy.

Helena grinned. “I’ve told the others about you. Poor Wooly appeared a bit terrified at the thought of what a 21st century woman might be like, but Chaturanga in particular would very much like to make your acquaintance.”

Myka’s delighted smile was infectious. Helena was once again struck by the displaced-in-time agent’s beauty, and she thought back to how surprisingly comfortable it had been to find herself clasped within the other woman’s embrace the previous night.

She rolled her eyes, though, as with an obviously put-on British accent, Myka exclaimed, “Well, then. Righty ho!”

***

Artie was doing inventory in the Vetruvius Sector when Claudia found him. “Artie, hey, I want to run an idea by you. So I was thinking...” she began.

“Usually that means you’ve been tinkering with things that shouldn’t be tinkered with. Should I be worried?” Artie asked dryly, still continuing the task in front of him.

“Well what do you know, he makes jokes!” Claudia teased. “That was a joke, right? But yes, worrying though it may be, I was thinking. And it occurred to me that there must be records of Myka somewhere, right?”

Artie frowned thoughtfully. “What do you mean? There are files on all of us, yes.”

“No, not modern records. Old records,” Claudia elaborated. “We know that Mykes told H.G. who she really was. And think about it. If, for example, dreams came true and the Doctor were to just show up here one day, don’t you think we’d make note of it somewhere, that a man was here claiming to be an alien from the future?”

Artie stopped his work long enough to turn and stare at Claudia, his face a perfect picture of confusion. “Is Myka telling them that she’s an alien?” he asked. “Why would she ever do that?”

Claudia laughed. “No, dude, that was just my example. Doctor Who? It started airing about a billion years ago, so, you know, back when you were a little boy. How do you not know Doctor Who?” Artie continued to just stare at her as though she were speaking a different language. “Oh, right, it’s British. Well whatever. The point is, whatever Myka’s getting up to back there, at this point, it’s all already happened! Right?”

“Well, not necessarily... There are quite a few theories as to how time itself actually works,” Artie replied.

Claudia could smell the beginnings of a long and boring lecture, and interrupted, “Yeah, yeah. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey. I know. But still. Isn’t it possible that somewhere in this Warehouse, there are notes or records or something written by the agents of Warehouse 12, talking about how today they hung out with that super cool chick from the future?”

Finally, what Claudia was saying seemed to click. “Well, it’s certainly possible,” Artie acknowledged. “I suppose there could be something in the archives. They’re not in the office; they’re-”

Claudia snapped both fingers excitedly and pointed at Artie. “Perfect! I know where they are. Just needed you to tell me I’m not crazy, slash let me know that you weren’t way ahead of me.” Without waiting for a reply, Claudia took off running down the aisle, calling back, “Don’t worry, I’m on it, Mister Boss Man!”

Over an hour later, Claudia was starting to regret not asking for Artie’s help. The archives weren’t exactly organized, and so even with knowing the general time frame that she was looking for, Claudia had yet to find anything useful.

Her eyes were beginning to glaze over, and she almost set yet another page aside when a few words caught her attention. Suddenly feeling much more alert, Claudia sat up and read more carefully through the entry in her hands.

After hearing much about her, I was finally able to meet MB today. Though I am quite happy in my own time, MB obliged my curiosity with a few tidbits about hers – mass amounts of information available simply and easily right at one’s fingertips; the widespread use of air travel; tiny devices which serve as storage for many hours’ worth of music. It all sounds quite fascinating, I must admit.

“Ha!” Claudia called out triumphantly. “I told Artie there would be something!”

MB’s skills as an agent were also of great use, as she was able to help move us one important step forward in HW & WW’s latest case. Children have been wandering away from home, apparently completely forgetting about their own loving families, but we had no idea as to why.  It appears that Dickens’ badminton racket is to blame, and although I had not heard of such an artifact, MB seems quite sure, and I am inclined to believe her. Its exact location continues to elude us, but at least now HW & WW know the object for which they are looking.

It has been most interesting to view both of their reactions to MB’s arrival. WW appears unsure whether he is in love or intimidated. A bit of both, I imagine. But I am afraid the poor boy is no match for the team that is HW and MB. HW is clearly quite taken with her, more so than I have seen with anyone in quite some time. MB undoubtedly cares greatly for HW as well, but I remain uncertain as to whether or not she is aware that she is being courted. That HW is engaging in the rituals of courtship is of course undeniable, but these rituals will be unfamiliar to one such as MB. HW has never been particularly subtle in the art of flirtation, however, and of that at least, MB is certainly conscious. I hope for the best, but cannot help being concerned for HW, for a union such as theirs has quite a few obstacles in its way.

Claudia laughed. So, everything was just like normal – H.G. wanting to date Myka, and Myka being totally oblivious. She tried to think who this “WW” might be, before remembering when H.G. told them all about her partner; Wally, or Willy, or whatever his name was. That must be him.

She wasn’t sure how any of this might help them figure out how to actually get Myka back home, but still, it felt good to at least see that she seemed to be doing okay.

“Hey, there you are.” Claudia looked up to see Pete standing in the doorway. “I’m starving, you up for ordering some pizza and having it delivered back to Leena’s?”

Claudia glanced down at her watch, surprised to see how late it was. At the mention of food, her own stomach rumbled. Come to think of it, she wasn’t sure if she’d had lunch that day.

“Sounds good, dude,” she replied. “I could die for some cheesy goodness right about now.”

For now, looking for more information about the grand adventures of “MB” and “HW” would just have to wait.


Click for Part 4

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