+ Authors: grumpybear1031 and shaych_03
+ Fandom: Warehouse 13
+ Pairing: H.G./Myka
+ Notes: Ladies lovin’ ladies ahead… and angst, and action, and well, just read it – we promise you a happy ending. Takes place where 2X12 Reset leaves off, possible spoilers for both seasons. Some liberties taken with certain events, as we don't have actual dates for H.G.'s bronzing etc... We are finally finished and doing a second round of edits...whooo hooo.
+ Rating: We'll play it safe and say R throughout NC-17 Chapters will be clearly marked.
+ Disclaimer: Warehouse 13 and it's characters belongs to Syfy. We're just borrowing them for a while and promise to give them back.
Thanks to taterc for help with a quick beta.
Author's Note: Shay, I hope you can forgive me for dragging you into this mess. My obsession with H.G. Wells blinded me, and a need to correct the total mess that was “Reset” kind of made me crazy. I'm not much of a writer so your help in getting this from inside my head to down on paper is very much appreciated. I'd also like to say a big thanks todarandkerry for being an amazing beta. Your suggestions and punctuation help are invaluable.
Author's Note: Jen, you may have dragged me into watching Warehouse 13 kicking and screaming, but I've had more fun working on this story with you than I have in a long time. Your ideas are great; you have a natural ability to kick start my muse and keep her chugging along happily. Should I even bother to mention how good you are at calling me on BS characterizations or reinterpreting the sometimes cornball melodrama that my muse creates? Anyway, I'm glad you got me into this. I would also like to add my thanks todarandkerry , for her spot on beta skills. I hope we didn't kill you with all the missing commas.
CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 & 4 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6 CHAPTER 7 CHAPTER 8 CHAPTER 9 CHAPTER 10 CHAPTER 11 CHAPTER 12 CHAPTER 13 CHAPTER 14 CHAPTER 15 CHAPTER 16 CHAPTER 17 CHAPTER 18 CHAPTER 19 CHAPTER 20
"Now that's interesting," Claudia mumbled to herself as she chewed on the end of a pencil.
She made another notation on the pad of paper next to her and then continued scrolling through the files, coming to a stop when she spotted several files that had been tagged by her "footprint sniffer".
Contemplating the data, Claudia softly muttered, “Hmm, some Italian dude's box, a fancy pistol and what's this I see here?” The artifact was a fairy recent acquisition, and in fact, Claudia could clearly recall the circumstances surrounding its retrieval.
"Now that's just a little bit more than interesting." Laying the pencil aside, she dug deeper into the file, scrolling through the access history until she came across some information that made her run cold all over.
The automatically recorded data of the last person accessing the artifact had been erased. Grabbing both her cell and the Farnsworth, she raced out into the warehouse. Tucked away on a slightly dusty shelf, she found the place where Artie had stored the artifact. Pulling on a pair of purple latex gloves, Claudia carefully opened the box and gasped when it was revealed to be empty.
Flipping open the Farnsworth, she depressed the button for Mrs. Fredric, and was quite surprised when the caretaker's slightly disheveled visage appeared in the screen.
"Whoa, Mrs. F, you look like hell," Claudia exclaimed.
Mrs. Fredric sighed softly. "It may come as a surprise to you, Miss Donovan, but I actually do get tired. Now, you had something to report?"
"Oh, right, um, I found another missing artifact."
Nodding, Mrs. Fredric said, "I'm not surprised. Which one is it?"
Turning so that the caretaker could see the shelf and the empty box, Claudia said, "It's the Phoenix. Also, the identity of last person accessing it was deleted from the system."
Mrs. Fredric actually closed her eyes and let her head fall forward at the news. So softly that the Farnsworth's microphone didn't pick it up, she muttered, “Damn him.” A moment later, she took a deep breath and said, "Good work, Claudia. Go home and get some sleep. I will inform Pete and Artie of this development. I think it's time to bring them up to speed on the full situation."
"Okay. If I can help, just give me a call and I'll be there."
"Thank you, Claudia. Good night."
Wearily, Claudia trudged back to the office, gathered her things and started to head over to the access tunnel that led to the outside world. Feeling just a little left out of the events that her information would most likely help to unfold, she shouldered her bag and tried to put on a brave face. "Well, I can always try to rope Leena into an all night Legend of the Seeker marathon."
Cheerfully planning out the order of episodes, amount of junk food for munching, and pouty-face needed to wheedle Leena out of bed, Claudia closed the warehouse door behind her and ambled over to her car. She never registered the sting of the dart as it struck her arm, nor did she notice the man dressed all in black who suddenly appeared to catch her before she hit the ground.
"I'm sorry, but you've become too much of a liability, little girl. Now, I'm afraid, you're a piece of bait."
The soft, golden fingers of dawn stretched across the bedspread, warming Myka's toes and filling the room with morning light. She was lying on her back with Helena's head pillowed on her chest. Having awakened this way, she'd stayed put, too entranced with the experience to let it fade just yet. She didn't want to move, to break the sweet tableau, but soon, she would have to stir, as nature and duty called her to action.
Still, there was one more thing she wanted to share with Helena before they let go of this moment. Slowly sliding from the bed, she paused only to press a kiss to Helena's sleepy brow. "Shh," she murmured softly. "I'll be right back. Just rest."
"Mmkay," Helena drowsily replied, and promptly fell back to sleep.
Quietly, Myka made her way out into the main room of the suite, pulled on some clothes and then headed out to run her errand.
Artie was rarely an early riser, except for when he was injured. Pain usually sent him seeking whatever prescription he required some time before dawn. Today was no different, and by the time the throbbing in his shoulder had subsided, it was far too late to think about getting any more sleep. Instead, he tried calling Claudia, to see if the young agent had come up with any more leads on Bering and Wells.
When he didn't get an answer on either her Farnsworth or her cell, he began to feel a twinge of concern. Indecisively, he hesitated, wondering if maybe she was just sleeping, and if so, should he just let her sleep? After all, she'd been just as dedicated to finding their fugitives as he and Pete, and had probably worked later, too. In the end, though, the desire to get an early start overcame his nascent fatherly instinct, and he dialed the number for Leena.
Her sleepy voice was more than a little disgruntled as she said, "Artie do you know what time it is?"
"Of course I do. Is Claudia there? I can't get her to answer her phone or the Farnsworth."
"Oh, hang on, let me go check." He heard the sounds Leena made as she slid out of bed, padded upstairs and knocked on Claudia's door. "Claudia? Are you in there? Artie's on the phone for you."
"Come on, come on," Artie muttered softly, as anxiety began to make his fingers dance nervously over the surface of the hotel room's table.
Leena said, "I don't hear anything. I'm going inside. Maybe she's just really asleep."
The sound of a door opening came over the line, then more footsteps, and then, Leena sighed. "She's not here, Artie. Maybe she slept at the warehouse?"
"Could you go check? I hate to say it, but I've got a very bad feeling about this."
"Sure, just let me get dressed and I'll call you when I get there."
"No, stay on the line. I'll wait."
Leena made a small noise of disapproval, but didn't disconnect.
Shortly, Artie could hear the sound of her exiting the bed and breakfast, getting into her car, and speeding off to the warehouse. In a matter of minutes, she said, "I can see the El Camino. Oh my God, the door's wide open."
"Leena, be careful! They might still be there!" Artie shouted as he jumped up and started shaking Pete awake. "Pete, come on Pete, wake up, we have to get back to the warehouse!"
"Huh? Artie, what's going on?" Pete said groggily as he came awake, blinking and rubbing at his face.
"Leena? I'm putting you on speaker; tell us what you see." Artie fumbled with the phone until Leena's voice emerged with a crackling hiss.
"… the door's ajar, there's some scuff marks, and oh! Claudia's bag. I just found it half kicked under the car. This doesn't look good, you guys."
Artie grimaced and made a fist. "I knew it. I knew it was just a wild goose chase. They've circled around on us. Bering and Wells have kidnapped Claudia!"
"What?" Pete squawked. "You can't be serious? Artie, come on, Myka would never do anything to hurt Claudia and I'm pretty damn sure even H.G. wouldn't stoop that low."
Concern for Claudia overriding his better judgment, he snidely added, "Your doubts have no place in this investigation anymore! Either you give up your silly notions of the bonds of partnership and step up and act like a proper warehouse agent, or I'll go it alone from here."
"Whoa, wait just a minute, Artie! What the hell are you saying? Are you implying that I'm not doing my job? What exactly is it that you think I was doing when I searched through that van? Or drove you halfway across the country on this crazy chase? Just because I still want to give Myka the benefit of the doubt doesn't mean I'm not willing to change my opinion the moment I have evidence of her guilt. This is still the country where people are innocent until proven guilty, right? We don't just decide to lock someone up and throw away the key just because they aren't acting in a way that we think they should!"
Pete was up now, pacing around the room, pulling on his clothes as Artie shoved things into his bag.
Agitation and worry shoved aside any rational thought as Artie replied, "Yes, Pete, that's exactly what we do at the warehouse. There is no guilt or innocence - there is only us and them. We collect and house the artifacts; they steal, abuse, and cause havoc with them. This cannot be tolerated. I don't know how to tell you any plainer how easy it is for me to see that Bering and Wells are dangerous individuals who should not be allowed to walk free!" Stuffing the last of his belongings into his bag, Artie jammed his hat onto his head and yanked open the door.
"Agents Bering and Wells are not the problem."
Artie stumbled to a halt as he nearly ran right over Mrs. Fredric.
"Mrs. Fredric, what are you doing here?" Pete said as he quickly grabbed his pants and held them up to cover his yellow ducky boxers.
Seemingly unaware of both Pete's state of undress and Artie's gape-mouthed confusion, Mrs. Fredric breezed into the room and said, "Have a seat, gentlemen; we have a lot to discuss."
Pete hopped into his pants so fast he left scorch marks on his ankles and then dropped into a nearby chair. He tried not to laugh as Artie's jaw continued to move, though no sound emerged.
"Agent Nielsen, please, do sit down," said Mrs. Fredric pleasantly. "I think you'll find that I have many of the answers you seek."
"Bu-but, Agents Bering and Wells?" Dazedly, Artie staggered to a chair and sank into it with a groan. "Am I really that useless that I'm now the last to know anything around here?"
Gently, Mrs. Fredric said, "No, Arthur, that is not the case. I am sorry that I've had to keep both of you in the dark, but for quite some time, I've been afraid that someone on the regent's council was betraying the warehouse. Today, I was proven correct."