mysensitiveside: (wish you were here)
[personal profile] mysensitiveside
See Part 1 for header info

Part 1     |     Part 2     |     Part 3

Part 4

There were many things – many people – that Myka missed from the 21st century, but to her surprise, she had found that she generally enjoyed this slower pace of life.

Although the ride wasn’t nearly as smooth, or as quick, as it would have been in a car, traveling from London to Kent by horse-drawn carriage was proving to be a very pleasant journey. Myka spent most of the day-and-a-half trip looking out the window at the passing countryside, reading a book, or dozing off, only occasionally breaking the silence to talk with Helena. It was a comfortable silence between them; each woman was content with the simple presence of the other.

Helena spent the time reading mathematical theory to help work out a few issues with some new invention of hers. Myka was quite curious about it, but Helena had proven to be endearingly shy when it came to talking about her work before it was complete. Well, shy for H.G., at least. She was confident in her eventual success, of course, but she refused to share any details, and the usual boastful swagger was missing.

It had been Helena’s idea for the two of them to travel to the Wells’ cottage just outside the village of Sandgate for a few days. H.G. tended to do a lot of her writing there, and she wanted to show Myka around the area.

Upon their arrival, they were greeted by the caretaker, a woman who lived nearby and looked after the cottage when no one was there. It wasn’t long, however, before the carriage and driver were sent to stay in the village, and the caretaker had finished preparing a light mid-day meal for them and returned home.

Myka found herself suddenly feeling timid, as it sunk in that for the first time, it would be just the two of them, alone, for an extended period of time.

Helena, on the other hand, was clearly right at home. She was practically glowing, and a bright smile never left her face as she gave Myka a tour of the house.

They ended up standing on the back porch, looking out across the yard. There was an open stretch of grass sloping down a small hill, with a little vegetable garden off to the left. The rest of the property was mostly forest, H.G. had said, and it stretched almost as far as the English Channel.

H.G. breathed in deeply. “I do enjoy London, but I have found nothing quite so lovely as this place. The fresh air; the silence, but for the sounds of nature; the warm breeze coming off the sea... I am so pleased that you’ve come to share this with me, Myka.”

H.G. turned to the other woman, and her grin only widened when she discovered that Myka was already looking at her. Myka felt her cheeks flush slightly at being caught staring, but Helena’s smile was infectious.

“Come, darling,” she continued. “What do you say to making a picnic of the meal Mrs. Cooper has left for us?”

“Sounds great,” Myka agreed.

With yet another smile, H.G. grabbed Myka by the hand and pulled her back into the house, where they gathered up the food, some blankets, and a bottle of wine.

Chivalrous as always, Helena insisted on carrying the heavy basket, leaving only the blankets for Myka. As they walked along a small dirt path behind the cottage, Helena explained how Charles had been the one to first find and decide to purchase the property, but Helena used it the most. It served as a retreat from the craze of London, and she sometimes came alone but often took Christina along with her.

“Well, here we are, then.”

They’d only been walking for a little over five minutes, when the forest around them opened up to surround a small pond.

Myka smiled. “It’s beautiful,” she said.

They settled down right beside the edge of the water, finding a spot that was comfortably warm but still in the shade. It was a perfect picnic – the food was good, the wine was light and sweet, and Helena was just as charming as ever.

The trouble came once they reached dessert. Helena was clearly enjoying herself. A bit too much, Myka thought. Was it really necessary for Helena to bite into the juicy slices of fruit and buttery pastries with such obvious delight? Not to mention the soft, throaty moans of appreciation, which were just barely on the right side of obscene.

Myka was mesmerized.

Helena had been largely ignoring Myka since she’d begun eating dessert... But when a stray bit of jam slipped from the scone she was eating to the corner of her mouth, Helena turned just slightly to meet Myka’s gaze while she extended her tongue to lick the spot clean. Myka just couldn’t seem to stop staring, and Helena held her eyes as she sucked her bottom lip into her mouth.

After a moment, Myka was finally able to pull her gaze away when Helena broke the tension by shooting her a grin that could only be described as positively wicked. Myka laughed lightly and rolled her eyes, at last understanding that she was being teased.

“You’ve hardly touched any of this,” H.G. admonished. “Here, you simply must try one of these. Mrs. Cooper is an excellent baker, and her scones are so delicious it feels almost sinful.”

Myka leaned back and propped herself up by her elbows, studiously looking out over the pond. “No thanks, I’m pretty full.”

“Just a bite, then,” Helena purred. “I promise that you shan’t regret it.”

Myka turned her head back towards the other woman, but she was unprepared for the way Helena was looking at her. The ever-present playfulness was still there, but there was something else, too. Something deeper.

It was gone before Myka could fully interpret it, but she gave in and extended an open palm for the offered scone.

H.G. shook her head with a grin, biting the corner of her lip as she made it clear that she wanted to feed it to Myka herself.

Myka rolled her eyes. “I’m not a child,” she said, “I’m fully capable of feeding myself, you know.”

“Yes Myka,” Helena drawled, “I’m well aware that you are not a child.”

Myka could feel her heart pounding in her chest, and just to get it over with – just to get through this infernal teasing – she finally rolled her eyes once more but agreed.

Their eyes met and held, as Helena reached out to bring the pastry right in front of Myka’s face. Myka opened her mouth and closed her eyes, biting down when the scone hit her tongue and she could feel just the slightest hint of fingertips against her lips.

It did taste good, but Myka barely noticed.

“Did you like it?” H.G. whispered.

Myka swallowed hard and nodded, her eyes fluttering back open to find H.G. still staring at her.

With a deep breath, Myka lay back on the blanket. “Well, that’s quite enough for me,” she intoned, her voice coming out deeper than she’d meant it to. Thankfully, Helena decided to let her be. Closing her eyes against the sun streaming in through the leaves, Myka was gradually able to relax. Soon, she was feeling comfortable, warm, just a little bit tipsy, and completely content. She could hear Helena moving around, but didn’t pay any attention until she heard the light sound of something moving through the water.

As she glanced over in the direction of the sound, the bit of sleepiness she’d been feeling fled instantly at the sight that greeted Myka when she opened her eyes.

With her back to Myka, Helena was calmly striding, completely naked, into the water.

Myka couldn’t help but stare – gape, really – for several long seconds, before she remembered herself and jerked her gaze up towards the sky, bringing her hand up to cover her eyes.

She had occasionally wondered whether her growing feelings for Helena were a simple result of the ideas planted in her head by Claudia; whether this was really just some misguided form of grief. Those few seconds served to settle any doubts, however. There was no denying the pleasant flutter of butterflies at the sight of Helena’s bare form, visible from mid-calf upwards. No denying the hot wave of attraction.

Myka next heard a bigger splash, but was startled when a few drops of water landed on her feet.

H.G. laughed and called out, “It’s safe to look now, darling.”

Myka kept her hand near her eyes just in case, but twisted her neck once again to look in Helena’s direction. Thankfully, Helena had sunk in to the water up to her neck.

Clearing her throat, she pulled herself into an upright sitting position and was relieved that she sounded relatively calm when she asked, “Is this some British tradition I wasn’t aware of? Skinny dipping after dessert?”

“No,” Helena smirked, “but it does sound like a lovely tradition. Today you and I can start it. Won’t you join me?”

Myka swallowed, finding her mouth dryer than usual. “I’m not exactly sure how safe of an idea that is. We’ve been eating and drinking alcohol, and I don’t think you’re supposed to go swimming after that.”

“I rather think it would be quite difficult to drown in here, actually,” H.G. countered. “It’s fairly shallow. Gets a bit deeper in the center, but right here I have to bend my knees to stay under like this.”

To prove the shallowness of the pond, H.G. began to stand up further. Myka immediately brought her hand back up to cover her eyes, and Helena chuckled in response. “It’s okay, I believe you,” Myka protested quickly. Peeking out from between her fingers, she lowered her hand again when she saw that Helena was back to a decent depth.

“Well, it looks cold,” Myka tried arguing again. Though it felt nice out in the sun, it was only the end of March, and Myka couldn’t imagine the water being too comfortable at this time of year.

“Nonsense, it’s lovely,” declared H.G.

Myka raised her eyebrows disbelievingly. “Helena, you’re shivering,” she pointed out.

“Then I suppose you should come in,” H.G. reasoned, “and help warm up the water with your extra body heat.”

“I don’t think it works that way,” Myka smiled.

“Neither do I, darling, but we’ll never know for sure unless you join me.”

Myka chewed absently on her lip. She knew that she shouldn’t go in. But there was something infectious about H.G.’s playful energy. Myka sighed, giving in when the other woman reached to once again splash water in her direction.

“Fine,” she relented. “But don’t look!”

Myka stood and awkwardly turned her back to Helena, beginning to strip out of her clothes. She glanced back over her shoulder to find Helena blatantly peeking past the edge of her fingertips.

“Helena!”

“I apologize, darling,” Helena said, sounding completely unrepentant. “But do hurry up, it is bloody cold in here.”

Before she could change her mind, Myka removed the rest of her clothing and moved quickly into the pond with her arms crossed tightly in front of her chest. As soon as she could, she dove beneath the surface of the water, hiding her body below the reflections of the trees.

Helena was grinning at her when she resurfaced. “There now, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?”

Myka shivered as she pushed her wet hair out of her eyes. “What it is,” she responded, “is frickin’ freezing in here!”

H.G. simply laughed.

“So now what?” Myka asked.

Helena’s grin transformed into a smirk, and she looked almost proud when she replied, “I will admit that I had not thought ahead this far, as I never expected that you would actually join me. You have pleasantly surprised me, my dear.”

Myka chuckled. “It’s good to know that I can manage to surprise the great H.G. Wells.”

Helena had an intense and mischievous look in her eyes as she stared into Myka’s face. “Darling, I have no doubt at all...” She trailed off and took a deep breath before submerging completely underwater. Myka anxiously looked around, but couldn’t see where the other woman had gone. She almost jumped right out of her skin, when she felt a brush of fingertips against her thigh, and then Helena rose up directly behind her and continued in a husky whisper, “That there are a great many ways that you can surprise me.”

Goosebumps rose across Myka’s skin at the feel of Helena’s warm breath coasting over her ear. Her body tensed, trying to stay perfectly still, instead of leaning back into the woman behind her.

“Well,” Myka began, hopeful that H.G. couldn’t hear the rapid beating of her heart. “If you don’t have any doubts, then it’s not much of a surprise, now is it?”

H.G. chuckled, but before she could respond, Myka reached her arm back and quickly flicked a large splash of water right into H.G.’s face.

Laughing, Myka turned around and backed in towards the shore as she watched a sputtering, and completely surprised, H.G.

“You little brat!” Helena exclaimed, but she was laughing too, and she moved to chase Myka back towards land.

Helena was quite fast, and Myka had no time to feel self-conscious as she rose up out of the water and hurried back to the blankets, bending down to pick one up and wrap it tightly around her shoulders. She had expected Helena to be right at her heels, but turned around to find her still in the pond.

“Did you give up?” she called out, shivering.

“Not at all, darling.” H.G. leered at her. “Merely stopped to admire the view.”

Myka blushed. She turned around again, probably a bit slower than she should have, as Helena suddenly stood straight up and stalked in out of the water.

Once she could tell that Helena was out of the water and was covered in the other blanket, Myka turned back. She frowned when she saw how strongly Helena was shivering. “Are you okay?” she asked worriedly. “You were in there for longer than I was.”

Helena smiled, but couldn’t seem to stop shaking. “I’m fine, Myka, thank you. Just a bit chilled. ‘Tis nothing that a warm fire and a cup of tea back at the cottage won’t fix.”

Concerned nonetheless, Myka adjusted her blanket so that it still covered her, but her arms were free. She reached out to rub vigorously up and down H.G.’s blanket-covered skin and then pulled the cold woman into a tight embrace. Myka continued to rub her hands over Helena’s back, and the writer sighed contentedly as she pressed her body against Myka’s and her face into the crook of Myka’s neck.

“Thank you,” she whispered softly against the silky skin at the base of Myka’s neck. Her shivering had noticeably lessened, but Myka felt no urge to let go just yet. Her breath caught in her throat and her entire body stilled, however, when she felt a gentle press of lips against her bare shoulder.

Myka was sure that H.G. would be able to feel the sudden jump in the pulse now racing beneath her skin. The other woman stiffened as well, as if only just realizing what she’d done. “Myka, please forgive me,” she murmured, beginning to pull away.

Myka maintained her hold, however, and didn’t let Helena draw back very far at all. She didn’t say anything; simply turned her head to catch Helena’s gaze and search her eyes, although she didn’t quite know what she was looking for.

She wasn’t sure how long they stood there, pressed together, simply staring at one another. Finally, hesitant in a way that she normally wasn’t, Helena wet her lips with her tongue and then tilted her chin upwards to capture Myka’s lips with her own.

Myka sighed into the kiss, reaching one hand to gently cup Helena’s cheek. Helena quickly regained her confidence and pressed harder into Myka, opening her mouth to tease her tongue against Myka’s lips. Myka opened willingly and deepened their contact, releasing a breathy moan.

The wanton sound actually took her by surprise, and she pulled back with a gasp.

Both women breathed deeply. Helena cleared her throat, but her voice still came out sounding husky when she whispered, “Well, I’m feeling much warmer now, darling. Thank you.”

Myka laughed breathlessly, smiling as she leaned her forehead against Helena’s and closed her eyes.

***

It was their final night in the cottage, before they were to return to London. A part of Helena had thought about suggesting that they simply forget the earlier plan and stay longer. Or go somewhere else. She knew that they couldn’t, however. She had responsibilities to attend to, no matter how romantic the notion of running off with her agent from the future. More than that, however – really, more than anything – Helena missed Christina.

But before reality crowded in once more, they had one more night.

The crackle from the fire and the occasional flip of a turning page were the only sounds as the two of them sat along the settee. Myka was, as usual, engrossed in a book, but Helena had foregone her own reading in favor of studying Myka instead.

Helena was facing the fire but turned her head to the side to watch the other woman. Myka sat with her back against the arm of the settee, her feet resting just beside Helena’s thigh, and her legs bent at the knees. The light from the flames jumped playfully, appealingly, across Myka’s body, creating a soft glow around her.

“You’re staring at me again,” Myka murmured, her eyes still fixed on the page in front of her.

She smiled and lifted her gaze over the top of the book, however, when Helena replied, “Guilty as charged, I’m afraid. I would apologize, but that would be a lie. I’m not sorry, and you’re simply going to have to learn to deal with me. I rather enjoy staring at you.”

Myka laughed. “Oh is that so?”

“Quite so,” Helena agreed with a grin.

Deciding that, even sharing the settee, they were too far apart, Helena moved quickly to straighten out Myka’s legs and lay them across her lap as she shifted closer to the other woman, twisting her body to face Myka directly.

Myka softly squealed in surprise, dropping her book and reaching to grab onto Helena’s shoulders to maintain her balance.

Helena smirked. “And now I have your undivided attention, how lovely.”

“You’re incorrigible,” Myka chided. She made no attempt to move, however, leaving her arms draped over Helena’s shoulders as Helena began to lightly trail her hand up and down Myka’s legs. “That was your book, by the way,” Myka continued. “I was re-reading The Invisible Man.”

Helena glanced down to the floor, now recognizing the red cover. “Re-reading?” she asked with a smile. “How gratifying, darling, thank you. But in that case, it hardly matters that you are no longer reading it, as you already know what happens. I shall simply have to write something new for you.” She paused, tilting her head as a thought occurred to her. “Although I suppose that whatever I write next, odds are that you have previously read it as well. Or at least heard of it, I hope. It really is most unfair, your already knowing everything,” she pouted. “Puts you at a distinct advantage, I should say.”

Myka smiled warmly, in that way of hers that made Helena’s heart flutter. She reached to push a stray lock of hair behind Helena’s ear as she replied, “Well you’re a genius, so I should say that that evens things out pretty well.”

Before Helena could respond, the other woman leaned forward and brought their lips together. It was a gentle kiss, just a simple meeting of lips. Until, that is, Helena pushed further, moving in even closer as she wrapped one arm behind Myka’s back and reached with the other to grab hold of her companion’s hip. She nipped gently at Myka’s lower lip with her teeth, before soothing the spot with her tongue.

Myka’s hands had at some point found their way into Helena’s hair, but one moved to tilt Helena’s chin just slightly into a better angle for her tongue to slip into Helena’s mouth. Their pace was slow, languid.

Soon, though, Helena’s need to explore further took over. Myka’s head fell backwards with a contented sigh as Helena’s lips moved to trail along her jaw line and down to the graceful curve of her neck.

The writer’s strong hands slipped beneath the hem of Myka’s blouse, spreading to touch as much warm, smooth skin as possible and eliciting a responding gasp from Myka. Helena continued to suck lightly at that place where neck met shoulder, but Myka reached for her, forcibly moving her head until their mouths crushed together once again.

Myka Bering was a dangerous woman, Helena knew. Dangerous because it would be so easy to lose herself in the depths of the other woman; to run towards the precipice before them and jump. It wasn’t a luxury that Helena allowed herself very often, this sweet taste of infatuation. Especially with someone who quite literally might disappear at any moment.

She wasn’t yet ready for the metaphorical leap, but for the first time in over eight years, she decided to simply let go and embrace the emotions within her.

With a soft grunt, Helena wrapped her arms more forcefully around Myka, squeezing the other woman tightly. She then placed her hands on either side of Myka’s hips and gently urged her to move, until Myka’s legs straddled her own. Myka moaned at the new position, sinking down into Helena’s lap.

Their tongues continued to duel, and both women whimpered into each other’s mouths when Helena’s questing hands reached down to settle on Myka’s rear end. She knew right away, however, that she had pushed things just a little too far.

She moved her hands northward once again, this time curling into fists around Myka’s blouse. They remained pressed together, but the urgency of their kissing slowly lessened, until Myka pulled back minutely with one last, lingering press of her lips to Helena’s.

Helena could feel Myka just barely begin to stiffen, as she had the other few times they had started to test this new thing between them. But before any awkwardness could settle in, Helena leaned up to kiss Myka on the cheek, her embrace easing from one of desire to one of comfort.

Myka noticeably relaxed at the wordless apology, and upon unspoken agreement, they resettled themselves, with both of them lounging across the settee, and Helena holding Myka within her arms.

There was something holding Myka back, and though Helena did not know precisely what it was, she was willing to wait until Myka was ready.

“It’s embarrassing,” Myka muttered softly. “I mean, I want to... I really like you a lot, Helena.”

Helena chuckled. “Well that is a relief, darling.”

“I’m...” Myka continued as if Helena hadn’t spoken. “I’m sorry that I-”

“Hush, there is nothing you need to explain,” Helena interrupted, lightly kissing the top of Myka’s shoulder.

“But there is,” Myka insisted, twisting until she could look Helena in the eyes. “It’s stupid, though,” she added, turning back around. “It doesn’t even make any sense.”

Helena started to feel confused. She had assumed that this was merely something about being with a woman for the first time or not knowing when she would next be transported back to her own time... It was sounding like there was something else that Helena was missing, however.

With a deep breath, Myka finally admitted, “It’s so weird, but I can’t help the feeling that... Well, that I’m cheating on you with you. Not that there was ever anything between us. I don’t know. I told you it doesn’t make sense.”

Helena frowned, and it took a moment for Myka’s meaning to sink in. Once it did, an irrational swell of jealousy crashed over her. “Ah yes,” she said, feigning nonchalance. “My future self, the one lucky enough to have met you first.”

Deciding to test a theory, Helena asked, “I imagine you’ve talked to her about me?”

Myka burrowed deeper into her arms, reaching to link their hands together and holding on tightly. “No,” she whispered simply; sadly.

A heavy silence enveloped them. Helena felt her throat tighten, but she managed to squeeze out one more question after several long moments.

“Because I’ve died, yes?”

Myka stiffened instantly, and she scrambled to sit up and stare at Helena, surprise and grief warring for dominance over her face.

“What? How...” she asked helplessly.

Myka hadn’t answered the question, but with a reaction like that, she didn’t need to.

Helena closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath. She sat upright as well and, smiling sadly, she quipped, “Genius, remember? I figured it out. And I understand, I do. She was the one for whom you first felt something. Now here we are, but I’m not her. Not yet, anyway. She is the one you long for, but I am all that’s left.”

“No!” Myka exclaimed, reaching to earnestly grab hold of Helena’s shoulders. Helena couldn’t quite meet Myka’s gaze, but she slowly obeyed when Myka continued, “Look at me, Helena! Listen to me. There are differences between you, but you’re both her. Both of you are my Helena. But I couldn’t save you.” Myka’s voice broke just a little, but she cleared her throat and went on, “You saved the world, but I couldn’t save you. And I miss her. A lot. I can’t deny that. But you...” Myka smiled tremulously, but though her eyes were wet with tears, Helena could see the grief begin to give way. “You are so wonderful, and beautiful, and I love being here with you, so much. Oh Helena.”

Myka lunged forward, wrapping her arms desperately around the other woman. Myka’s shoulders shook with silent tears, but Helena held her close, softly soothing the best she could. “Shh, darling, it’s all right. I’m right here, it’s all right. I’m so sorry, my darling.”

Helena pressed a soft kiss to Myka’s temple before leaning her cheek against the same spot. It took all of her strength to resist the part of her that wanted to panic; that wanted to shut down, in denial of her own demise. Instead, she focused every ounce of her soul on the beautiful woman in her arms.

They would have to make the most of however much time they had together, now. Their future had already ended.

***

Pete jerked his head up from where it was lying on the desk in his room. He looked around blearily. Something had woken him up, but he didn’t know what.

“No!”

The angry voice that called out was unmistakably Claudia’s, and without thinking, Pete scrambled out of his chair and ran down the hall, a sense of dread – not quite a vibe – already spreading through him.

Her room was already crowded, with Artie standing in one corner pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration while Leena tried to calm an agitated Claudia.

The redhead turned to glare at him when he appeared in the doorway. “Did you know about this?” she demanded. “Did you know that your mother and the other Regents want to make me go back to their stupid training?”

“What?” He frowned and shook his head. “No, Claud, I didn’t know.” His mother never told him anything. The sting was familiar by now, but it still hurt a little.

Claudia wheeled back on Artie. “They let me out of training to help save Myka. We haven’t saved Myka, so I don’t need to go back yet! Why are they doing this?”

Artie sighed. “This is not some kind of punishment, Claudia. The Regents have simply decided that the best use of your time would-”

“What the hell do they know about the best use of my time?” she demanded. “They don’t care about me! They don’t care about Myka! Steve had to die because they had no problem with throwing him to the wolves, so screw them! I won’t do it. I won’t go do their bidding just because they’re tired of waiting; because abandoning Myka is no big deal to them. Well it’s a big fucking deal to me!”

More than anything, it was the swearing that showed how shaken Claudia was. The worst Pete had ever heard from her had been the occasional use of “frak.”

“Claud, none of us are abandoning Myka,” he said, stepping further into the room. “You know that.”

Leena reached out to touch Claudia on the shoulder. She jumped at the contact, but then visibly deflated, all of the angry tension leaving her in a rush.

“It feels like giving up,” she whispered. “It feels like they want me to give up. I thought I was ready for this Caretaker gig, I really did, but... I was spending so much time trying to be Mrs. F, that I forgot how to be me. But being back here, working with all of you? This is where I belong. And this is where Myka belongs, so we have to get her back.”

“First it’s just me going back to training,” Claudia continued. “Then it’ll be you guys going out to get more artifacts again. Then maybe they’ll actually recruit a new agent or two. Don’t you all get it? The Regents want us to move on because they’re already thinking about the one thing we haven’t dared to talk about. What if we fail? She’s been gone for longer and longer stretches of time. What if we never get her back?”

No one had anything to say to that.

Pete turned away. It was his biggest fear, of course. They’d made absolutely zero progress lately, too afraid to really try anything in case it backfired and Myka was lost forever.

At least Myka had H.G., Pete reasoned, and a pre-crazy H.G., at that. He hated to think it, but hell, maybe Myka would actually want to stay lost. He’d started to wonder if that was what he’d been missing; if Myka and H.G. were more than just good friends.

But there was no happily ever after waiting. H.G. would still lose her marbles and get herself bronzed, and then what? Then Myka would be left behind, alone.

Unless...

No, Pete dismissed the thought before it was even fully formed. He wouldn’t want Myka to go through that; couldn’t ask her to spend over a century trapped inside her own mind in the bronzer.

“Well screw them,” Claudia repeated quietly, an edge to her voice that was almost frightening. Pete turned back to look at her again and was taken aback by the intensity in her eyes. Gone was the lighthearted and carefree kid that Pete knew. In her place stood a cold fighter, with a hot anger simmering just below the surface. “My brother, Steve, Mrs. F, H.G., and now Myka... All of them just taken away, and the Regents don’t lift a finger over any of it. Yeah, we got Joshua back, but that was because of us, not them. Hell, H.G. spends 100 years locked inside her head, and when she understandably goes a little insane, their idea of a fair solution is to do the same thing. Strip her mind from her body and leave her suspended in limbo, while they create some new stranger and implant her into H.G.’s head.”

Claudia’s eyes slid over to Pete. “No offense to your mom, but if rising up the totem pole means being closer to all of them, then I want nothing to do with it.” Looking back towards Artie, she sneered, “So tell your bosses that they can take their training and shove it.”

Claudia turned to walk out of the room, and she had almost passed by him before Pete recovered enough to reach out and grab onto her wrist.

“Whatever you decide to do, we’ve all got your back,” he told her earnestly. “Just don’t rush anything, okay? We all want you working in the Warehouse with us, but remember – you’ve got all the power here. They’re the ones who need you, so you’re the one who gets to set the rules.”

Claudia stood looking at him for several moments, but she didn’t say anything. Simply pulled free from his grasp and walked away.


Click for Part 5

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