Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
An unconscious smile spread across Myka’s face as she walked into the library to return the book she’d taken and unexpectedly found Helena there, sitting on her own. She’d expected H.G. to still be at Warehouse 12. Her expression turned to one of worry, however, when she realized how sad Helena looked.
“Helena?” she asked tentatively. “What’s wrong?”
H.G. whipped around and practically jumped to her feet. She stood still for just a moment, before taking large strides over to stand in front of Myka.
“You’re still here,” Helena whispered, a note of wonder in her voice. She reached out to cup Myka’s confused face in her hand. “Or did you leave, and have now already returned?” she continued. “It has never been that quick, before.”
“Um, I just came back from a walk, if that’s what you mean...” Myka responded. “Are you okay?”
Helena laughed, though the sound was somewhat pained. “I... Charles said you were in here, but I couldn’t find you. I thought you were gone,” she explained.
“Oh, Helena, I’m so sorry,” Myka said, reaching to tangle her hand in Helena’s. “I wasn’t thinking. I just felt like getting some fresh air, so-”
She was interrupted as Helena stepped forward and brought their lips together in a desperate kiss.
Although they hadn’t spoken about it, since returning to London they’d reflexively put the brakes on any progress in their relationship. It felt different, being back to their “normal” lives – even if nothing about Myka’s life, and very little about Helena’s, was normal – compared to the secluded solitude of the Sandgate cottage.
Regardless, Myka leaned into the kiss, her free hand instinctively moving around Helena’s waist. She suddenly had no idea why they didn’t do this more often.
They quickly stepped apart, though, when they heard the door to the library open. Myka blushed, but there was really no need, since Charles didn’t even look up from the newspaper he was reading as he announced, “Post arrived for you,” before tossing an envelope onto an end table and leaving the room once again.
Helena laughed, relieved, and reached to tilt Myka’s chin upward from where she’d been studying the floor in embarrassment. She placed a quick kiss to the corner of Myka’s mouth, before moving to take the letter.
Myka considered the back of H.G.’s head as the other woman went to her desk to retrieve a letter opener.
“Does Charles...” Myka began hesitantly, unsure how to finish her question. “Does he know that you...”
Helena chuckled. “Does he know that he and I share an appreciation for the fairer sex?” she guessed, briefly glancing back over her shoulder. “I imagine he has his suspicions, but we have always respected each others’ right to privacy. Besides, such a personal conversation would hardly do for polite society, and there is little that my brother enjoys more than polite society.”
Myka turned to stare absently out the window while Helena began to read her letter. Seeing Charles always reminded Myka of Pete, which in turn reminded her of everyone else she’d left behind. It wasn’t that the two men had anything in common. In fact, she had a strong feeling that the two of them wouldn’t get along at all, if they were to meet. But the more time she spent away from home, the stronger the ache for her own figurative brother.
She wondered what they were doing, back in the future. How they were doing.
Her musings were interrupted when H.G. spoke, “Oh, how lovely. The letter is from one of my cousins. It’s an invitation to spend time with the family in Paris this summer.”
Myka whirled around, but Helena was still facing the opposite direction, so didn’t see the look of horror that crossed her face.
“All of you?” she murmured quietly.
“Well, all of us for some amount of time,” H.G. continued, turning around to face Myka, “but Christina in particular. She hasn’t had a chance to travel all that much, and it would really be a wonderful opportunity for her.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Myka asked, trying not to sound desperate. She’d known that this moment was coming, but felt in no way prepared for it. “I mean, she’s still so young, and... I mean, Paris! I bet it’s not the safest place for young girls. And... And don’t the British hate the French? I’m sure Christina would be more than happy to stay in London.”
Helena laughed. “I’m sorry, have you actually met my daughter? Yes, she is young, but she’d gladly head off to explore the world tomorrow if I allowed it. She could do with some more friends her own age, as well. My cousin has four children, and it would be marvelous for Christina to spend an extended amount of time with them.”
Myka opened her mouth, but couldn’t think of what to say. Distracted and clearly beginning to already make plans in her head, Helena merely smiled as she crossed the room and took hold of Myka’s hand.
“Have you ever been to Paris?” she asked. Without waiting for an answer, she lifted Myka’s hand to her lips and left a light kiss just below her knuckles. “I’d love to take you there, darling.”
Myka clenched her jaw, smiling weakly.
She’d been so careful about trying not to change anything more than she already was simply by being there. It was time to figure out a new strategy, though. This was one case where she couldn’t just stand by and let the past happen.
“Don’t you dare laugh,” Helena announced, startling Myka as she entered the room. She forced herself not to look closer when, out of the corner of her eye, she could see Myka sink lower into the bathtub with a blush. “I do apologize for barging in,” she continued, heading right for the wash stand, “but I simply could not stand to wait.”
Myka did refrain from any vocal expression of amusement, but when Helena turned to quickly glance back at her, the other woman had sufficiently recovered from the unexpected interruption to her bath and was smirking broadly, laughter dancing just behind her eyes.
“Rough day at the office, dear?” she asked innocently.
Helena chose not to dignify the question with a response. She was covered head to toe in mud, a condition which was most uncomfortable. Helena was just as, if not more, willing than anyone to go through whatever it took to recover an artifact, but really, it was far beneath her dignity to go traipsing after a rogue pig farmer. If only Wooly had bothered to not get himself punched unconscious, then her day would have been much simpler. Not to mention cleaner.
With only a slight touch of self-consciousness, she began to strip out of her most-likely-ruined clothes, using a wet cloth to regain some semblance of cleanliness.
By the time she had wrapped her robe around her body, she was finally beginning to feel like herself again. She sighed happily and turned back to face Myka, smirking when she quickly – too quickly to be anything but guilty – snapped her gaze in the opposite direction.
Biting her lip, Helena strode forward and allowed her fingers to trail over the surface of the water. She kept her eyes trained on Myka’s face, a wall of bubbles shielding any other potential sights from view.
“This water feels lovely. Maybe I could join you, darling?” she teasingly suggested.
Myka blushed even harder and ran a hand through her damp hair. “You know, I’m actually ready to get out. So. Um...”
She trailed off, eyes darting behind Helena, to where a towel was sitting. Helena remained still for several moments, before pulling back with a grin. “Spoilsport,” she muttered under her breath, but turned to retrieve the towel. She sighed dramatically as she held it out, making a big show of closing her eyes to allow Myka her privacy. She couldn’t quite stop herself from peeking at the last moment, though. Luckily, Myka didn’t catch her.
Myka shivered as her warmed body hit the cooler air. Smiling inwardly at the reversal in positions from that first kiss at the lake, now almost three weeks past, Helena rubbed her hands up and down Myka’s towel-covered body, before pulling the other woman in for a kiss.
Helena would have happily continued, but all too soon, Myka pulled away. “Well, I’ll leave you to it, then.” She grinned as she added, “Later you’ll have to tell me what happened.” And before Helena could protest, she was gone.
That night, after Christina had successfully convinced the two of them to each tell her a story before she went to bed, Helena was pleasantly surprised when Myka invited her to come to her bedroom.
“Just to talk,” she hastened to add.
“Of course, darling,” Helena replied. “I wouldn’t dare to suggest otherwise.”
Myka laughed lightly at that. “Yes you would,” she accused.
Helena grinned, but neither confirmed nor denied the charge. She followed Myka to her room, glad that the other woman appeared to finally be ready to share whatever had clearly been on her mind recently.
They both stood awkwardly in the middle of the room for a minute as Helena idly waited. Myka was either hesitant to begin, or unsure what to say, however.
“Darling, relax,” Helena urged. “Come, lie on the bed with me. Just to talk, yes, I know. Still, no harm in being comfortable, is there?”
Without waiting for an answer, she moved to the bed, sitting with her legs stretched out and her back against the headboard. Myka hesitated a moment longer, but then joined her, curling to lie at Helena’s side, with her head in Helena’s lap. Helena smiled, immediately raising one hand to begin gently stroking through Myka’s hair.
Whether because she had actually relaxed, she was no longer looking at Helena, or something else entirely, Myka finally began to speak. “I want... I need to try something. I have no idea if it’ll work. I don’t even really know what it would mean if it does work. But there are some things that... I just have to try to change them. And I’ve been thinking about how, when I first met you – in my time, I mean – you didn’t know me. I don’t think you were just pretending not to recognize me, either. Maybe it’s just some weird thing about time travel, but... But it worries me. I’m afraid that something is going to go wrong, and you’ll forget me.”
Myka paused, but Helena remained quiet, sensing that more was coming. One hand was still playing with Myka’s curls, but her other rested by her side; Myka reached over to grab it, bringing it to her lips for a quick, hard kiss.
She kept a firm grip on Helena’s hand as she continued, “And you already know how... How I didn’t... But maybe I can still save you.” The last words came out as a whisper. “There’s a man,” she went on, her voice stronger again. “His name is Walter Sykes. He’s a very bad man, and he’s going to do a lot of very bad things. If, by some miracle, this actually works... When you meet me, in the future...”
Myka scrambled to sit up straight, turning so that she could look Helena in the eyes. There was a desperation there that nearly took Helena’s breath away. “Please, Helena, try to remember this. Remember what I’m telling you, and tell it back to me. Tell everyone. He was always one step ahead of us, but if you told us about him earlier... Maybe we could stop him before it’s too late. Do you promise? Do you promise to try to remember this? To remember me?”
Helena swallowed. She didn’t fully understand, but she didn’t really want to. Maybe it made her a coward, but she didn’t think she wanted to know what this “bad man” was going to do. Still, she met Myka’s gaze without flinching. “I promise, Myka. I promise.”
Claudia stilled outside the door between the Warehouse floor and Artie’s office. She’d been about to go through it, when voices on the other side stopped her. It wasn’t too easy to hear them, but it was just enough.
“I know. I’m worried about her too,” Pete’s voice said. “I’ve been getting... not a bad vibe, but I don’t know. A weird one. I don’t know what it means.”
“Her aura’s been changing a lot. It had gotten quite a bit closer to her normal shade when she started working with the group again. Now, though...” Leena paused, and Claudia rolled her eyes at the expression of concern she could easily picture on Leena’s face. “There’s a darkness around the edges. And it’s spreading.”
“Oh come on. I don’t care what happens, Claud would never go to the dark side,” Pete protested. There was the sound of heavy breathing, and then Pete continued in a deep voice, “‘Pete. I am your sister.’ Nah. Darth Claudia would never happen.”
Leena explained, “No, I don’t mean ‘dark’ as in evil. I mean angry. She’s full of rage, and if we don’t do something about it, it’s going to consume her.”
Claudia had heard enough. She loudly banged the door open, clearly startling Pete and Leena. “Awkward cough,” she intoned dully.
They both had obvious ‘oh shit, how much did she hear’ faces, but Claudia just ignored them as she went over to her computer.
“Claudia...” Leena began.
Claudia shook her head. She didn’t want to hear whatever else the innkeeper might have to say.
And really, there were better things that Pete and Leena should have been paying attention to, instead of fussing over her; like, for example, the flashing alert on Claudia’s computer screen.
“Myka’s back,” she announced, turning to walk right back out of the office. She stopped on the balcony and looked out across the floor. At first she couldn’t see anyone, but then Myka appeared from around a corner, and Claudia raised her hand in greeting.
Pete and Leena came out and joined her then. Leena stayed quiet, standing further back, but Pete came up and leaned his forearms against the railing as he bumped his shoulder into hers. “So that’s something to be happy about, right?” he asked. “Myka’s back, and now maybe we can turn things around again.”
“And how are we gonna do that, huh?” Her eyes followed Myka’s progress, as the curly-haired agent made her way towards them. “We still have no way of actually keeping her here. With each jump, she’s been spending more time there and less time here. So yeah, she’s back. Great. She’ll be gone again within the week.”
There was a weird tension in the air when Myka reached the balcony. Everyone came forward to give her happy hugs, but there was definitely an undercurrent of stress. She couldn’t worry about it too much, though. Her mind was too busy worrying about her little experiment in trying to change things.
Had it worked? Other than the possibility of Helena walking calmly through the door – a possibility which Myka had tried very hard not to think about – she had no idea how she’d even know if it had worked. She had wondered before if maybe her memories would simply change as soon as she transported back. But no; as much as she wished it weren’t true, she still remembered everything.
The door swung open, and Myka literally felt her heart stop beating for a moment.
“Where is everyone?” came Artie’s gruff voice, and Myka’s heart switched on once again, but it suddenly felt heavier.
She had tried so hard not to get her hopes up... Had told herself so many times that the past – well, future – could not be re-written. But as Artie emerged from the other side of the door and no one else came with him, Myka understood immediately that she’d been fooling herself. She had gotten her hopes up, but somehow she knew in that moment that it was all for nothing.
“Oh. Myka,” Artie exclaimed in surprise, adjusting his glasses, as if he weren’t sure whether she was really there or not. “Welcome back.”
Myka could just barely hold herself together well enough to offer him a weak smile.
Artie continued fondly, “Well I have to say that it’s a sight for sore eyes, seeing you all here together again.”
And with that one word – all here – any lingering doubts Myka may have had were crushed. She couldn’t help it, then; her eyes filled with tears. Why hadn’t it worked? It should have worked. If Helena had just told them to even simply keep their eyes on Sykes when she’d first been de-bronzed, then they could have been the ones constantly one step ahead. They could have stopped Sykes, and there would be no bomb, and Helena would still be alive. Why hadn’t it worked?
Misinterpreting her reaction, Pete teased, “Hey, now who’s being a mushy sap?” He grinned and poked her in the shoulder.
Grateful for the distraction, Myka managed a real smile back at him as she turned to punch his arm in return. “Artie, that’s who,” she replied.
The tension in the air eased somewhat, and Artie and Pete both began speaking over each other as they turned to head back into the office.
Claudia was noticeably quiet, but Myka didn’t think too much of it, until the redhead reached out and stopped her with a light touch to her elbow. Turning back to face her, Myka frowned in concern at the expression of angst written clearly across Claudia’s face.
“What is it, Claud? You okay?” she asked.
“I... I just...” Claudia hesitated, and there was a vulnerability there that Claudia normally kept hidden. “I missed you. I’m really glad you’re back.”
With that, Claudia lurched forward and practically threw herself at Myka, wrapping her arms tightly around the older agent. Myka immediately hugged her back, and tears once again sprang to her eyes – and seriously, she’d never been a big crier before all this time traveling started – this time for the exact reason that Pete had suspected earlier.
She was reminded again of how hard this must be for everyone else. She got to jump back and forth between the various important people in her life, but she simultaneously created abandonment issues at both ends. And the more time she spent in the past, the more complicated everything got. She found herself longing equally for her Warehouse family, 21st-century Helena, and 19th-century Helena, all at the same time.
That was the problem with living in two worlds at once; she couldn’t fully live in either of them.
Leena smiled to herself, silently watching the three occupants of the living room.
“Hells yes! Take that, suckas!” Claudia crowed triumphantly, doing a victory dance along with her video game character.
Myka pouted. “I can’t believe you did that. I was winning the whole time, until you hit me with that stupid shell.”
“Sorry, Mykes,” Pete shrugged, “but you snooze, you lose.” He and Claudia both raised their hands, bringing them together in an exploding fist bump.
“But I wasn’t snoozing!” Myka protested. “Mario Kart is the only one of your games that I actually like, but it’s not fair when the two of you gang up on me!”
“Awww, is wittle Myka being a sore loser?” Claudia teased, pushing out her bottom lip in an exaggerated pout.
Myka sat up straighter at the accusation, lifting her chin high. “Of course not,” she replied. “But I demand a re-match.”
“Before you get to that,” Leena interrupted, causing the three of them to turn and look at her, “I thought one of you in particular might like to know that the first batch of cookies just made it out of the oven.”
“Cookies!” Pete bellowed, abandoning his Wii controller and launching himself over the back of the couch. He flashed a bright smile as he hurried by on his way to the kitchen.
“Don’t eat them all!” Claudia called after him. “Bring them in here!”
He returned quickly with a plate of cookies, wiping crumbs off his shirt.
“Leena, you’re a goddess,” he pronounced, leaning over to give her a loud peck on the cheek. “When I die, I want to go out while eating one of your cookies. I’ll die a happy man.”
“Come join us,” Myka called over her shoulder.
“Yeah, ‘cause I’m about to beat Myka’s ass again!” Claudia added, earning a light shove from the brunette agent.
Leena smiled, moving to sit in the armchair as Pete returned to his spot on the couch between Claudia and Myka.
It was good to have her family back together again.
Claudia’s prediction that Myka would disappear again within a week turned out to be, if anything, an over-estimation. None of them actually saw her leave, but it was only the third day since Myka had returned when Artie contacted Pete over the Farnsworth to let him know that she was gone again.
There had been an emergency ping that they couldn’t ignore – people were dying in Salt Lake City – so he and Claudia were in the field when they found out.
The news put a damper on what was already proving to be a frustrating case.
They were lounging in Pete’s hotel room after ordering a pizza, having decided to give things a break for the rest of the night and come at the case fresh in the morning. The television was on, but neither of them paid much attention.
“We’ll get her back, you know,” he finally spoke, giving voice to the elephant in the room.
Claudia remained silent.
Pete was just starting to doze off when Claudia began speaking. “I figured it out,” she said.
“Huh? Figured what out?” he asked distractedly.
There was a long pause before she continued, “How to keep Myka here.”
Pete sat up so fast he gave himself a bit of a head rush. “Say what now? Claudia, what are you waiting for? If you figured it out, then let’s do it!”
She turned to look at him, but obviously didn’t share his excitement.
“She has to do it,” Claudia explained.
Except it really wasn’t much of an explanation at all. Pete gesticulated vaguely at her, indicating that she should go on.
Claudia sighed and rubbed the back of her neck. “She has to make the photograph change. She has to make it bring her back here,” she finally added. “Which means, that as strongly as she wanted to see H.G. again, she now has to want to give all that up and come back to us. And that’s just not going to happen.”
Pete frowned in thought. “So... next time she’s back, then we’ll just tell her that,” he reasoned. “Right? She wants to come back, so what’s the problem? She just has to... I don’t know, focus that ‘wanting’ energy or something.”
Claudia scoffed. “Pete, if you had to choose between hanging out with me, Artie, and Leena, and living happily ever after with Kelly, and you could only have one, which would you pick?”
Pete’s frown deepened. “But...”
“And don’t even try saying you wouldn’t pick Kelly,” Claudia continued, “because you know you would. I wouldn’t even blame you for it.”
“But that’s totally different!” Pete protested.
Claudia raised a knowing eyebrow. “No, dude, it’s really not. H.G. and Myka? They’re, like, the stuff that fairy tales are made of. The heroine gets the arch-villain to renounce her evil ways and join the light, finding redemption in true love. I mean, they’ve both travelled through time in order to be together. Plus, on a less virtuous level, H.G. totally always had the hots for Myka, and now Myka totally has the hots for old-timey H.G. too.”
The redhead sighed, running a hand through her hair. Pete just continued to stare at her.
“So tell me, Pete,” she concluded. “Do you want to be the one to let Myka know that she has to choose between us and her soul mate?”
Myka stood at the ferry’s railing, looking out across the Channel. The sunrise was beautiful, but Myka found that she couldn’t fully concentrate on it. They would be arriving at the port of Calais soon, and then traveling on to Paris.
This was it. Time to put her plan into action.
It wasn’t all that much of a plan, really. ‘Save Christina,’ was the basic gist of it. Not letting Helena know that her daughter was in need of saving was the other part.
By the time Myka had arrived back in London, Christina was already on her way to Helena’s cousin in Paris.
Still, even though telling Helena about Sykes had apparently done absolutely nothing, Myka refused to give up on trying to change things.
With Christina already gone, it limited the kinds of things Myka could try to do. She had quickly decided against the most direct approach; she didn’t really know how Helena would react if Myka told her what was going to happen, but she decided that finding out should be a last resort. If she could figure out a way to save Christina without Helena ever knowing about the tragedy that was going to happen, then that was all the better.
In the end, Myka realized that her best bet was actually quite simple. Christina had died because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, Myka would just have to make sure that Christina wasn’t where she was “supposed” to be.
Convincing Helena that the two of them should go on their own little vacation to visit Paris and Christina had been quite easy.
So now here she was. Just waiting for her chance to change the future.
“There you are.”
Myka turned to look behind her, as H.G. tiredly made her way to Myka’s side.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Myka explained.
“Hm,” the other woman murmured, leaning her head against Myka’s shoulder. After making sure they were the only two people on deck, Myka wrapped her arm around Helena’s waist and placed a soft kiss on the top of her head.
Myka’s mind flitted about, once again going over all the details she could remember, both from what Helena herself had said about Christina’s death and what Myka had read in the Wells file. In the back of her mind, she also worried that she’d get pulled back to the present before the day arrived.
She’d prepared for the possibility, of course. Helena had once let slip that whenever Myka disappeared, she found some level of comfort in reading the book in which Myka had most recently been immersed. In the absence of Myka herself, their mutual love of literature would have to do as lingering connection.
So, placed just inside the cover of the book currently lying in their shared room, was a letter addressed to Helena.
In it, as gently as she could, Myka explained the basics of what was going to happen. She had to hope that it would be enough, and that Helena would be able to make sure that Christina was as far away from that robbery as possible.
“Look,” Helena said quietly, straightening to stand upright and look out across the water.
Myka turned to simply stare at Helena’s profile for a moment, eyes running over the writer’s beautiful features, before looking back to follow H.G.’s gaze.
She hadn’t even noticed before, as her mind raced about, but there in the distance, land was just coming into view.
Helena turned to her, her face split into a wide smile of excitement. Myka did her best to match the expression, but she couldn’t maintain the façade for long. Luckily, Helena appeared too tired to really notice.
Taking in a deep breath, Myka grit her teeth and closed her eyes, flexing the arm still wrapped around Helena’s waist.The date was July 11th, 1899. They had three days to change everything.
Click for Part 6