mysensitiveside: (helena g. wells)
[personal profile] mysensitiveside
See Part 1 for header info

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Part 8

Part 9

“I have been having the strangest of dreams.”

Claudia looked up from the comic she’d been reading and smiled. Every time H.G. woke up, she looked a little healthier than before. She looked tired, now, but better. Definitely better.

“What about?” Claudia asked.

“Myka,” was H.G.’s simple answer. Her eyes remained closed, like she was remembering her dream, or simply didn’t quite have the energy to open them.

“Ahh, I see,” Claudia grinned knowingly, waggling her eyebrows. “Nothing wrong with a few naughty dreams, H.G.,” she teased.

H.G. huffed out a small laugh. “No, not like that, darling,” she replied. She opened her eyes, then, sliding them over to look at Claudia. A sly smirk spread across her face, and Claudia felt the urge to actually clap, because yes, there was the H.G. that she knew – clever, and playful, and with a literal frakking twinkle in her eye. With a deep sigh, H.G. closed her eyes once again, but the smirk remained as she confessed, “That kind of dream would certainly not be ‘strange.’”

“Ha!” Claudia exclaimed, unable to stop herself. She’d only been joking when she brought it up, but to hear H.G. actually admit it? She grinned widely, waving her arms through the air in a wild expression of triumph. “I knew it!”

Then she remembered that they were basically talking about having sexy dreams about Claudia’s surrogate older sister... And that was just weird.

“Right, so,” she went on with a cough. “What were you dreaming about, then?”

H.G. frowned as she explained, “I’ve been having these dreams, where she was a part of my life, back then. Before I was bronzed, I mean. She went back in time, and she came to live with me. Christina absolutely adored her, and Wooly was half in love with her, and Chaturanga admired her, and I...” H.G. trailed off. “It’s the level of detail, that’s strange. That, and the fact that each dream seems to pick up where the last one left off. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that they felt more like memories than dreams.”

Claudia felt her jaw drop. Was H.G. actually remembering a past that she’d technically never experienced? Was that even possible? Time travel made Claudia’s head hurt.

Before she could think of what to say, H.G. continued. She sounded sad, almost afraid, as she asked, “Claudia, where is Myka? Why hasn’t she come to visit me?”

“Dude, has no one told you what happened?” Claudia asked in return.

H.G.’s eyes flew open and she attempted to sit up, an expression of wild panic on her face, only to fall back to the bed with a grimace of pain.

“Shit, no, don’t worry, Myka’s fine! I’m sorry, she’s totally fine!” Claudia hurried to add, standing up and stepping closer to H.G.’s bed to make sure she was okay. “Should I call a nurse?”

H.G. shook her head stiffly, gritting her teeth. “No. Just tell me, Claudia. What happened?”

“Well,” she began, scratching the back of her head. “It’s kind of a long story, but basically... Your dreams might actually be memories, because Myka did go back in time, and she’s currently hanging out with you in London in 1899.”

H.G. simply stared at her. “You’re joking,” she stated flatly.

“Nope!” Claudia smiled brightly. “Oh, and you know what’s even better-slash-worse-slash-ironic? The reason why she was able to go back in time is pretty much because she missed you really badly. And now you’re here. But she’s not. Dude, I hadn’t realized how much that sucks until I said it all out loud like that.”

“Well, get her to come back, then!” H.G. commanded.

“Yeah... She does that every once in a while on her own, but then she disappears again. Keeping her here for good is kind of a work in progress at the moment. Except without much progress,” Claudia conceded. “But we’re hoping that now that you’re here, somehow that’ll help?”

“So you’re saying that my dreams actually happened, to some other version of myself?” H.G. clarified.

Claudia shrugged. “I guess so. I mean, you’d probably have to, like, compare notes with Myka or whatever, but yeah, probably.” An idea struck her, and she added, “Wait, so if you can remember things... Then however this ends, it’s already happened for you, right? So can you remember what Myka’s going to do? Maybe we can figure out how to get Myka back because you’ll remember her doing it!”

H.G. knit her brows in thought. “I don’t believe it works like that. Not yet, anyway. It’s not some instantaneous download of memories into my brain,” she explained. Claudia had to smile at that, since she’d been the one to teach H.G. what ‘downloading’ meant. “As I told you, it’s like a series of dreams, one after another. I might still be catching up with things, I suppose. In my latest dream, the last thing that happened was that I brought Myka to Warehouse 12 for the first time. She was helping with a case.”

Claudia nodded. “Yeah, you’re way behind. Come on H.G., catch up with your own life!” she chided with a wink.

H.G. smiled, but wistfully. “I wish I could truly remember,” she said. “It feels like I’m remembering someone else’s life, but I wish I’d actually been there. Now not only am I a stranger in this new time, but I’m also a stranger to my own life.”

Claudia shifted uncomfortably, unsure what to say.

After a moment, H.G. took a deep breath, and her expression subtly shifted until the sadness had dripped away and only a bright smile remained.

“I apologize, darling. There’s no need for me to trouble you with the silly musings of an old soul,” H.G. continued. “So tell me about you. What great new inventions have you dreamt up since last I saw you?”

Claudia still felt like she should have said something. Myka would’ve known what to say, but Claudia didn’t, so she went along with the subject change. “Well, there is this one thing,” she responded. “Most of the others don’t know about it, except for Myka. They can’t know about it. I think I’ve almost got it working, but there’s something I’m missing. Maybe when you’re well enough to get out of here, you could take a look?”

“Sounds intriguing,” H.G. smiled. “I’ll do what I can, darling.” She laughed lightly as she added, “As long as it doesn’t get me into even more trouble with the Regents, of course. I rather think that I’d better not give them any more of an excuse to lock me away again. Although it will probably happen again anyway, regardless of whether or not I’m on my best behavior.”

Claudia laughed along with H.G., but she gulped inwardly. She hadn’t thought about the Regents... Normally, H.G. probably would have picked up on Claudia’s awkwardness, but the recently-returned-from-being-deceased was growing noticeably tired.

“Don’t worry,” the young inventor said, with more conviction than she actually felt. “Now that we’ve got you back, there’s no way we’re giving you up again without a fight.”

***

Myka was getting antsy. She felt like they were settling into a rut, the grooves of their routine growing so habitual that soon they wouldn’t be able to get out of it. Helena, at least, was actively doing something, but Myka simply watched.

She itched for an actual, tangible enemy; something that she could fight, instead of this passive waiting for something to happen. Myka felt so utterly removed from her life as a Warehouse agent – the intricate planning, the hunt for artifacts, even the danger that used to be such a part of her daily life. She could feel it slipping further and further away from her.

On the bright side, Helena was doing a lot better. She was obviously far from happy, but she didn’t have to try quite so hard to pretend. Apparently things were going well with the time machine, and each new bit of progress boosted Helena’s spirits even more. She had a purpose, now, something to keep her focused. Myka, however, had no such thing.

“Do you have any swords?” she asked H.G. suddenly, causing the other woman to look up at her with an amused, if slightly puzzled, smile.

“Swords, darling? Why, are you planning on stabbing anyone?”

“No, of course not,” Myka scoffed. “I just thought I could go do some sparring, or something, while you work.”

Helena paused to think. “Right, well let’s see. I know that somewhere in here, we have the swords of both Marcus Aurelius and William Wallace. Though I imagine them to be quite heavy, and I am not certain as to what they actually do.” She trailed off before brightening as a thought occurred to her. “Oh, I know. How about Napoleon’s sword? That should suit your needs, I would think. Just be a dear and try not to take over the world while you use it,” she finished with a wink.

Myka frowned questioningly. “I thought Napoleon’s sword was passed down through the Bonaparte family for generations. I remember reading about it getting auctioned off a few years ago – in my time, I mean – for millions of dollars.”

With a satisfied smirk, Helena explained, “Well, whoever bought it, I imagine they would be incredibly disappointed to hear that they paid an inconceivable amount of money for an item which is really only a very well-made replica. That was an enjoyable mission. I do take pleasure in stealing from the French.”

Myka laughed and shook her head in amusement before sighing, “No, that’s no good. I can’t use an artifact. You don’t have, I don’t know, your own private sword or something?”

Helena smiled at her fondly. “I’m afraid not, darling. This is the turn of the century, you know. We don’t all go walking around with our own personal swords anymore.”

Leaning her head back against the top of her chair and looking up at the ceiling, Myka sighed and made a face of frustration. She rolled her head to the side so could look at the inventor as she responded, not quite managing to keep a sulk out of her voice or off her face, “Well, you should.”

Helena’s grin only widened. “I am ever so sorry, then. Is my poor Myka bored?” she teased lightly.

She walked over and leaned down to kiss Myka’s pouting lips. She caressed Myka’s cheek affectionately, before returning to her desk.

 “I don’t know. I guess so,” Myka sighed. She sat up straighter, continuing, “It’s just that, I’m an agent, H.G. I’m not used to being so... still. You know?”

Helena’s expression sobered, shifting from amusement to concern.

“I do, yes,” she replied. “I will speak with Chaturanga about the possibility of you becoming more directly involved with Warehouse affairs. Does that sound all right?”

Myka’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “Yeah, wow, thank you. Sounds great.” It was definitely more than she’d been expecting when the conversation started.

A spark appeared in Helena’s eyes as the corner of her mouth lifted into a half-smirk and she added, “Perhaps soon we could look into acquiring some swords, as well. You could teach me some of your fencing, and I could teach you some kempo. I’m sure we could find a spot in this drafty old building for some friendly sparring.”

“Are you serious?” Myka grinned goofily when Helena nodded. “That would be amazing. Let’s do it.”

Helena bowed her head in agreement.

“Well now that that’s settled.” Helena shot Myka a somewhat sheepish look. “Would you mind terribly if I...?” she asked, angling her head down towards the papers on her desk.

Myka smiled. “No, go on and get back to your brilliant inventor things. I’ll be fine, now that I have swords and the possibility of artifacts to look forward to.” She waggled her eyebrows up and down suggestively, earning a warm smile in return. Helena’s smiles weren’t nearly as bright as they used to be, but Myka was just grateful that she was smiling at all.

***

Christina was screaming.

Helena searched, increasingly frantic, but although the cries of fear and pain grew neither louder nor softer, each new door she opened led only to yet another empty room, another door on a different wall. It was maddening. Helena could feel her own panic and desperation mounting, her heart caught in her throat, and feared that she would hyperventilate and pass out before she could find her daughter.

She ran even faster, now. Never mind how difficult she was finding it to draw enough air into her lungs, because Christina needed her.

She could still hear her; hear her daughter’s pleas for help. It was tearing Helena apart from within.

Finally, she opened what felt like the millionth door, and she literally cried out in relief because there, finally, was her darling daughter. The sounds of pain stopped instantly. Helena’s expression turned to one of horror, however, as she realized that it wasn’t Christina at all. Not really. This pale figure in front of her was merely a ghost, her face an ashen gray.

Helena fell to her knees, unable to stop from reaching out with her hand, though she was unsure whether her outstretched palm would meet something solid or mere air.

The girl was solid, at least, her skin icy cold to the touch.

This shell of Christina barely moved, even as blood began to trickle down her face. She turned to look down on Helena, her eyes blank voids of black. The line of red reached Christina’s chin and then fell in fat drops onto Helena’s own upturned face.

“Christina,” Helena sobbed, her tears mixing with her daughter’s thick, warm blood. “I’m so sorry. My sweet baby girl, I-”

“Kill them,” the ghost interrupted blandly. “Kill them for me.”

Helena woke to find Myka shaking her gently, a deeply worried expression on her face.

“It was just a dream, you’re okay,” Myka softly whispered, tenderly caressing Helena’s hair and wiping at her cheeks. It was only then that Helena even realized that she was crying, even outside the nightmare.

She swallowed, moving with some effort to sit up in bed. Myka moved with her, but Helena barely felt her lover’s soothing touch on her back. Myka continued to whisper soft words of comfort, pressing light kisses to her cheek, but she didn’t hear or feel them at all.

Her mind was stuck in a painful loop, replaying the images from her dream over and over again.

Kill them. Kill them for me.

Yes. She would continue to work on the time machine and look for any artifacts which might help; she would save her Christina. But she would also hunt down the vile creatures that were her child’s murderers. She would find them, and then make them wish they’d never been born.

***

Pete opened his car door and ran around to the other side, hovering as H.G. opened her own door and stepped out onto the driveway of Leena’s B&B. “Are you okay?” he asked, hovering barely an inch from her side.

Helena sighed. “Yes, Peter.”

“Are you sure? Want me to carry you?” Pete had kept close since she’d been released from the hospital, even though she’d continually refused his offers of help.

“If you make any attempt to carry me, then I will not be held accountable for the pain in which you will soon find yourself, you great oaf of a man,” H.G. grumbled, clearly frustrated with Pete’s over-protectiveness.

Pete grinned broadly in response, stopping where he stood and spreading his arms wide. “There she is!”

Helena turned back to face him, before looking to Claudia. “What is wrong with him now?” she asked.

Claudia just shrugged with a laugh. “Beats me.”

“Look, ever since I gave you my schmaltzy little ‘thanks for saving my life, man’ speech, you’ve been all polite and, I don’t know, overly British,” Pete explained, moving his body stiffly in demonstration. “I kept expecting you to ask me to join you for tea time or something. But that, what you just said? There is the feisty H.G. Wells I’ve been looking for!” He moved forward and dropped his shoulder to throw a few fake punches at H.G.’s upper arm. Helena simply rolled her eyes at him and kept walking.

Pete then ran ahead to pull open the front door, holding it open with one hand while he made a formal bow and gestured into the B&B with the other. “Centenarians-who-have-recently-returned-from-the-dead first,” he offered graciously. As Claudia went to enter next, he lightly shoved her aside and added, “Junior agents go last.”

“I’m gonna be the frickin’ Caretaker, dude!” Claudia retorted. “Show some respect!” She whacked him on the arm, he ruffled her hair, and it quickly devolved into playful roughhousing until Pete tripped over H.G. and found himself lying on the floor.

“Oh,” he said when he noticed the two people now looming over him. “Hi Mom. What are you doing here?”

His mother sighed. “Stand up, Peter.”

He scrambled back to his feet, only now noticing Leena standing in the corner, arms crossed. She looked none too pleased at having his mom and Adwin Kosan standing in her hallway.

Artie chose that moment to walk in from the dining room, his eyes focused on a file in his hands. He looked up, seemingly surprised to find them all there.

“Oh, you’re back,” he commented unnecessarily. Turning to H.G., who stared calmly forward with her head high and shoulders back, he added, “I’m sorry, Helena. I told them that now was not the right time for whatever they’re here for, but I couldn’t convince them to leave.”

“Wait a second, just what’s going on here?” Pete interrupted. He and Claudia both moved to stand protectively in front of H.G.

The Englishwoman hadn’t once taken her eyes off of Kosan.

“Peter, there is no need for you to be concerned,” his mom insisted.

“No need to be concerned?” Leena raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “No offense, but usually when you guys show up, it means bad news.”

Helena cleared her throat, immediately commanding everyone’s attention. “Pete, Claudia, Arthur, and Leena, I thank you for your support, but I believe I would like to hear what they have to say to me.”

Pete took a moment to just look at her, even as she continued to stare straight ahead, before nodding and taking a step backwards. Claudia followed his lead and did the same.

“Ms. Wells,” Kosan began, a charming smile crossing his face. Pete had never been a big fan of the guy, and felt like punching that smile right off, but he managed to restrain himself. “On behalf of the Regents, I would like to say that we were all happy to hear of your recent recovery.”

Claudia scoffed. “Yeah, like death is the same thing as having the flu. Nice recovery, H.G.”

Kosan ignored Claudia’s statement as he continued, “Now, we certainly find ourselves in quite the unique position. You committed a very serious crime, the attempted assassination of billions of people, and were punished accordingly. That punishment was interrupted, not due to any behavior of your own or any decision of ours, but as a result of the actions of a madman, Walter Sykes.”

Suddenly, everyone except for H.G. and Pete’s mother began speaking at once.

“There’s no way you’re taking her back.”

“This is bullshit!”

“She saved our lives, and the Warehouse.”

“That ‘punishment’ was never humane in the first place!”

Kosan simply held up his hand, waiting for them all the quiet down again.

That said,” he went on loudly, talking over their continued protests, “you have proven yourself loyal to the Warehouse and especially to its agents, as you were willing to sacrifice your own life for theirs. Such a sacrifice has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated amongst the Regents.”

Pete’s mom took over, adding, “We have consulted with Arthur Nielsen, and with consideration of his recommendation, we have decided to grant you a reprieve.”

For the first time since she’d entered the B&B, Helena faltered in her impassive show of strength, turning her head to stare at Artie with a look of surprise and unguarded emotion. Artie offered a small, awkward smile, shrugging his shoulders.

“Consider yourself on parole,” Kosan concluded. “You’re on a very short leash, Agent Wells. Do be sure that you don’t stretch it too far, this time. There will be no more chances after this one,” he warned. With that, he nodded to them all and then strode out of the B&B.

Pete’s mom remained and gazed distrustfully at H.G. for a moment. “Welcome back to the land of the living,” she said, with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Don’t make me regret this.” She’d never forgiven H.G. for trying to kill him, Pete knew. Turning to Pete, she added, “I’ll call you soon.” She reached up to pat his cheek lovingly, before she too was gone, leaving everyone else in stunned silence.

“Is that really it?” H.G. finally asked with awe in her voice, breaking the spell that seemed to have fallen over everyone. “Am I free?”

Claudia erupted with a burst of happy laughter, rushing forward to hug H.G. tightly, and then around in a circle to hug all the rest of them as well.

“Arthur, you... you spoke for me?” H.G. asked quietly after a moment.

“Yeah, well.” Artie scratched his head uncomfortably. “Don’t let it get to your head, but a certain someone finally convinced me that she’d been right, and you weren’t the villain, after all.”

The atmosphere in the room dampened at the unnamed mention of Myka.

Silently acknowledging the sadness over his absent partner but refusing to let it take over, Pete reached one arm around Helena and the other around Artie, pulling them both in close to him. “Awww, are you two going to be BFFs, now?” he teased.

No,” Artie protested.

“I don’t know what that means,” countered H.G., which in turn caused Artie to add, “Right. I meant, I don’t either.”

Pete laughed, ruffling both of their hair and leading both of them to complain and move out of reach.

Claudia returned to H.G.’s side and wrapped her arm around the older woman’s waist, triggering H.G. to drape her own arm over Claudia’s shoulders. “Myka should be here for this,” she said, squeezing H.G. with a sad smile.

“Yes,” Helena nodded solemnly. “She should.”

Pete hadn’t noticed that Leena had left the room until she came back from the kitchen, handing a glass of non-alcoholic sparkling cider to him, and champagne to everyone else.

Claudia sniffed at the drink in her hand. “Is this the real stuff, or Pete stuff?” she whispered to Leena, loud enough for everyone else to hear as well.

Leena smiled and stage-whispered back, “The real stuff, but don’t tell Artie.”

“I may be old, but I’m not deaf,” Artie grumbled.

Pete cleared his throat, lifting his glass high. The others followed suit. “To H.G.’s freedom and to Myka’s safe and permanent return!”

They all clinked glasses, sharing a smile and a look of determination. They’d just achieved one of those things; now it was time to really get down to business with the second.

***

“Do you plan on abandoning me, darling?”

“What?” Myka stumbled, caught off guard by the question, and H.G. pressed her advantage by knocking Myka’s sword free from her hand. Helena had proven to be a very quick study with a sword – of course she had – but usually Myka’s skill was enough for her to end up as the winner during their occasional sparring sessions. Helena could also tell when Myka wasn’t trying her hardest, and her pride made her refuse to accept any wins that were handed to her.

She certainly wasn’t above using a few tricks, however.

This time, Myka could only stare at H.G., leaving her weapon on the ground. She could sense that the question hadn’t merely been a ruse to distract her; it was a real question, and the tenseness in Helena’s body belied her casual tone.

“What are you talking about?” Myka asked.

Helena sighed, turning her back on Myka. “Well you said that it’s an artifact that brought you here, yes?”

Myka nodded, even though Helena couldn’t see her. They hadn’t talked about it all that much, but Myka shouldn’t have been surprised, she knew, that Helena was thinking about it.

“It has been causing you to spend exponentially more time with me, and correspondingly less time in your own time,” Helena continued. “If things carry on along their current course, then sooner rather than later, I imagine that the artifact will stop taking you back there entirely, and you’ll simply remain here.”

Myka grit her teeth. The same thing had occurred to her as well, of course, and she really didn’t know what to think about it. The thought of never seeing Pete, Claudia, Artie, and Leena again, not to mention her parents, was heartbreaking. But then the thought of abandoning Helena, especially at a time when the artificer was most vulnerable, was no better.

Helena began slowly pacing, twirling her sword in her hand. “Your friends will have realized this as well, I am sure. They will become increasingly desperate to bring you ‘home,’ back to them and away from me.”

She turned back to stare deeply into Myka’s eyes. “So what do you think, Myka?” she asked, assuming the beginning fencing stance and still twirling her sword, now in tight circles with the tip mere inches from Myka’s chest. “One day will you be gone, and I shall simply never see you again?”

Myka swallowed, her heart beating rapidly. She knew that Helena would never hurt her, but there was an element of danger in Helena’s dark eyes that was as threatening as it was attractive.

“Whatever happens,” Myka began, resisting the urge to step back and away from the sharp blade before her, “we still have a future, with you. You haven’t met me in the 21st century, yet. All of that is still ahead of you.” Never mind the fact that a good amount of that future was spent plotting the end of the world, or existing as a hologram.

Helena considered Myka’s words. “You still won’t tell me how I manage to accomplish that?” she asked quietly.

Myka shook her head. “No, I won’t.”

“I could make you,” Helena countered. She moved her weapon forward just slightly, displaying excellent control as Myka could feel the slight pressure of the sword’s tip pushing against a button on her shirt. There was a new dark side to Helena’s playfulness, one which had started emerging with increasing frequency, since Christina’s death.

“You could, but you won’t.” Myka stated firmly, remaining otherwise immobile. She knew that taking a step back would only encourage Helena to go further.

Helena maintained her position for about 10 seconds longer, before stepping back with a sigh and allowing the sword to droop down towards the floor. Myka exhaled deeply as H.G. moved to the side of the room and slid the sword back inside its sheath.

“I suppose I’ll find out on my own, eventually,” Helena conceded. “And it’s always better to make your own discoveries than to have them explained to you.”

Myka found that she had nothing to say. There was a part of her that hated this. She knew that Helena assumed she would eventually make some alterations on her time machine, or use an artifact, and that would be how she ended up in the future.

The truth would be much more painful.

***

Claudia simply watched as H.G. strode slowly around the Claudia-cave. The inventor stopped to examine each corner of the alcove. Other than taking some time to glance through some of Claudia’s notes, she didn’t touch anything, respecting the work space.

“All right, then,” she said once she’d come full circle and stood staring down at the metronome. “Tell me everything. Walk me through what you’ve done, and what it’s supposed to do, and why you think it is not working.”

Claudia jumped in, rambling on about Johann Maelzel, his metronome, Steve... Interspersed with all the technical details of the progress she’d made. She probably wasn’t making much sense, she realized, but she didn’t know how to stop rambling.

“Claudia,” H.G. interrupted, “are you trying to create an artifact?”

“No, of course not,” Claudia scoffed. “I’m not totally insane. Anymore. Just, you know, trying to fix one that’s lost its mojo.”

H.G. nodded thoughtfully. “I don’t know what that last word means, but I believe I’ve got the gist of it. Now, what does this metronome do, and what does it have to do with your Agent Jinks?”

Claudia tilted her head to the side. “Didn’t I say that already?” she asked.

H.G. shook her head with an amused smile. “Afraid not, darling.”

“Right, well.” Claudia scratched the back of her head. “He’s dead, and I want to use the metronome to bring him back. That’s what it does.”

H.G. froze. “Claudia, no. You can’t.”

Claudia had never heard H.G. sound so serious before.

“What do you mean, I can’t?” Claudia asked, almost offended at the idea. “Of course I can,” she added. “I just, you know, could use a little help from my fellow genius here.”

H.G. moved back towards the entrance, as if she wanted to get as far away from the metronome as possible. “It never works, Claudia,” she insisted. “This kind of thing... It draws you in, and you’re always ever so close, but you can never get it right.”

“Yeah, so help me, and then I will get it right!” Claudia insisted. She was confused. This wasn’t how this conversation had been supposed to go. H.G. was supposed to be the one who would understand. “H.G., out of everyone, you should know why I have to do this! You can help me, I know you can!”

H.G. would only shake her head. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, regaining a sense of calm as she slowly exhaled.

She opened her eyes and stared straight at Claudia, reaching to place her hands on Claudia’s shoulders. “Yes,” she said, “I am the one who understands you. But Claudia, you must listen to me. I understand better than anyone else that along this path, there lies only madness and pain.”

“I’ll go mad, if I just give up!” Claudia protested, pulling away and out of H.G.’s grasp.

There was a long stretch of silence, before H.G. murmured, her face angled towards the floor, “I am sorry, Claudia. I know this isn’t what you were expecting from me. But I cannot help you. For your own sake, I can only urge you to let this go. Learn from my mistakes, my dear Claudia. You don’t want to grow up into me.”

H.G. then turned and walked back out of the alcove. Claudia kicked a leg of her workbench in frustration, watching passively as a few stray screws and springs fell down to the floor.

Fine, then. She’d do it all herself.

***

It was yet another strange new life that Helena now led. In fact, she was now in the midst of living two lives.

There was her daytime life, spent either at Leena’s Bed & Breakfast or the Warehouse, as she recovered from her death. Her burns were mostly healed, but she had not yet fully returned to full strength and health.

Then there was her nighttime life, spent dreaming of – remembering – a life only truly experienced by a past version of herself. A life spent with Myka. She was jealous of this past self, there was no use denying it.

Some days, Helena woke up only to wish she could immediately dive back into her world of dreams. There was the morning after their first kiss, for instance. She’d laid in bed, ever so softly running her fingers over her lips, as though she could almost feel the phantom touch of Myka’s mouth on her own.

There were other days, however, when Helena wanted absolutely nothing to do with these horrid memories. Some days were pure torture.

Helena stalked through Artie’s office, ignoring Pete as he mumbled something incomprehensible around the donut in his mouth, heading immediately down to the Warehouse floor, and striding purposefully down the aisles.

She threw open the curtain that covered the entrance to Claudia’s work room, causing the girl inside to yelp in surprise at the intrusion.

Helena made no apologies for barging in.

“I just had to experience the death of my daughter,” she said, her voice low and full of steel. “Again. And not even the same death. Now I have to remember Christina dying twice.” Helena turned her head away, willing herself not to cry. Her voice cracked slightly as she turned back to a wide-eyed Claudia and said, “I will do absolutely everything in my power to help achieve the return of your Agent Jinks. Tell me what you need.”


Click for Part 10

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