+ 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
About ten minutes after Myka had left the hotel, Helena finally rolled onto her back, stretched, and let out a soft, almost purr-like sound. "Mmm, now, whatever shall I do for the lovely, delicious Myka this morning?"
Contemplatively, she debated getting up to shower, but then decided to call room service first. Rolling over, she was about to reach for the phone when the soft, tinny jingle of a cell stopped her. With a perplexed frown, Helena got up, padded over to her pile of belongings and retrieved her phone. As she flipped it over, she saw that it was Claudia calling.
Smiling, she accepted the call and said, "Good morning, Claudia darling, what can I do for you?"
There was a soft, masculine chuckle, followed by, "Good morning, my dear."
That voice... Helena's heart began to triphammer as she recognized the voice. Memory twisted, pulsed and burst, dragging her back to a time just days ago.
The restaurant's atmosphere was very continental, and Helena liked that. It felt a bit like home. She'd just given her order to the waiter when someone walked up to her and held out a simple, plain white envelope. Glancing up, she found she was both surprised, and yet, completely relaxed. There was no impetus to speak; calmly, she accepted the envelope as Benedict Valda gave her a sly wink and a nod.
"Valda. You're alive." Helena's voice seethed with anger.
"Yes, my dear, and if you'd like for your little friend Miss Donovan to remain relatively unscathed, you will present yourself to me at the Millennium Garage in fifteen minutes."
"If you've hurt her in any way -" Helena growled even as she began gathering clothes.
"Don't you fret, Miss Wells. I assure you, Miss Donovan is still with us. Claudia," he called out, "do say hello to your friend for me, won't you dear?"
"Don't listen to him, H.G.! He wants to kill you!" Claudia shouted defiantly.
"Now, now, Miss Donovan, remember what I told you? You're being a bad girl," said Valda chidingly.
There was the slapping sound of a hand connecting with flesh, then a cry of pain.
"Valda, stop! I'm coming, just stop hurting her!" Frantic, Helena searched around the room until she located a pen and paper.
"Very good, my dear. See you soon." The phone went dead.
Hurriedly, Helena wrote out a note, pausing only once to close her eyes and control the trembling that was causing her hand to shake. Then, she signed it, pressed a kiss to the bottom, and folded it closed. Inscribing the letter M on an envelope, she slid the letter inside and then quickly got dressed.
In the lobby, she spotted the ever-so-helpful bellhop, Andy, and immediately went to him. Pressing the envelope and a one hundred dollar bill into his hand, she said, "You must see that Miss Burton gets this the moment she returns to the hotel. It is vitally important, do you understand?"
Noting the crazed look in Helena's eyes, Andy accepted the packet, but covered Helena's hand with his before she could let it go. "Are you all right, Miss Wesley?"
She smiled at him reassuringly and said "Of course; I've just been called away on a business meeting and I didn't want her to worry, that's all."
Nodding in understanding, Andy said, "Of course. Then I'll be happy to make sure she gets this as soon as possible."
"Thank you. Now, I'm afraid I really must run." Helena turned and headed outside, veering toward the nearest taxi. Getting in, she said, "Millennium Garage, please. All possible haste." A fifty dollar bill was pressed up against the cage separating the driver from the rear.
"Fifty bucks for a mile fare? You got it, lady!" said the driver as he floored the accelerator. Today was his lucky day.
Myka ambled along, stopping every so often to glance in windows or peruse the wares of street vendors. In one hand, she carried a cup holder bearing two lattes and a bag of pastries, and in the other, a bright bouquet of lilies. She felt like singing; like she should be dancing along the rooftops, caroling her joy for all to hear. Love had never felt so amazing before; truly, she was the most happy she'd ever been.
Just as she came in sight of the Four Seasons, though, her good mood evaporated. In complete shock, she was only able to gawp as Helena leaped into the backseat of a cab. As it began to weave in and out of rush hour traffic, Myka hastily dropped her burdens and started running after it. "Helena! Wait!"
Even at a full out run, Myka was only barely able to keep the cab's taillights in sight. Still, she kept up, aided a few times when the cab had to slow down for cars ahead of it to make a left turn. She dodged pedestrians and vendors alike until she saw the cab vanish into the entrance of a parking garage.
She was about two blocks back at that point, and, taking a breath, Myka poured as much energy as she could into a final burst of speed. Grabbing hold of the butt of the gun strapped under her jacket, she raced into the garage, drew her gun, and shouted, "Helena!"
Helena made it to the garage with only seconds to spare. Tossing the fifty at the driver, she quickly looked around and spotted Valda on the other side of the structure. He smiled in obvious pleasure as she began running toward him, but just as she got within ten feet of his position, he held up a pistol.
"That's far enough my dear," he said as he stepped out and motioned for her to stop. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to remove your jacket."
"Let Claudia go first."
Valda's face darkened and he laughed menacingly. "Surely you don't think I'm going to let her get away so she can tell everyone the incredible tale of my miraculous survival, do you?"
"If you don't want me to start screaming bloody murder, you will let her go." This was the one part of her hastily cobbled plan that Helena wasn't sure would work. She was stalling; buying time for Myka to catch up - she'd seen the agent chasing after her and had begun to hope that she could pull off a rescue without having to resort to plan B.
Valda shook his head and made tsking sounds. "Has no one ever taught you not to bargain with a man who has all the cards? Shame, shame, Miss Wells, you truly do prove yourself to be a relic from another time."
He made a swift gesture and suddenly two very burly men appeared at Helena's side. Each was armed with very deadly looking guns.
"Now stop stalling and get in the damn car."
One of the men shoved his weapon into Helena's back while the other went ahead and opened the door to the car. Helena had just enough time to make eye contact with Claudia and determine that the hacker was battered, but alive, before she was unceremoniously shoved into the vehicle.
As the door shut behind her, Helena quietly said, "Can you move?"
Groggily, Claudia nodded and replied, "But my hands are bound with duct tape. I can't use them to open the door."
"You let me worry about that," Helena whispered in reply. "Just be ready; and when you see Myka, tell her -" Whatever she was about to say was cut off when Valda opened the driver's door.
"Just do your jobs! Make sure we're not followed!" he shouted at the two armed men who each nodded once and then faded into the shadows. Settling into the driver's seat, Valda glanced back at Helena and said, "Do try and restrain any heroic impulses you might have, my dear. I'd hate to have to shoot you so soon."
Helena chose not to reply, but Claudia said, "You know, you've got to be the stupidest bad guy ever. Do you really think you're gonna get away with this? They're gonna find you, and when they do, Myka and Pete are gonna feed you to Artie for breakfast."
Valda chuckled delightedly. "All, but you see, Miss Donovan, they have to actually find me first, and that, my dear, simply won't happen."
As calm as could be, he threw the car in drive and headed for the exit. Just as they passed out of sight of the two lurking guards, Helena acted. Quickly, she leaned over Claudia, opened her door and shoved the startled hacker out, then she leaped forward and wrapped her good arm around Valda's throat, choking him.
Artie still had his head cradled in his hands, but now he looked determined and a bit less confused. "So, you're telling me that MacPherson was either corrupted by or somehow corrupted Mr. Valda, and then together, they plotted to rob the warehouse blind?"
"Yes. You see, when Claudia began finding odd traces in the accounts and records, I took it upon myself to examine those files available only to the regents and discovered something extremely interesting - before being approached to become a regent, Benedict Valda was involved in the import and export of, shall we say, items of questionable legality. Apparently, the council did not find adding a suspected smuggler to the board a troubling issue. This is something that will, I'm certain, change."
Mrs. Fredric went on to explain that she'd traced the partial user ID that was used to hack the financial accounts to one of Valda's original codes. The real kicker was, of course, telling them of Myka's discovery of the Pearl of Wisdom.
"So - H.G. is innocent?" said Pete with a frown. The vibes he'd been getting all along were starting to make an awful lot of sense. And, I was so right about Valda being dirty, too!
Artie snorted. "Right. If H.G. is innocent, then I'm the King of Pop."
Mrs. Fredric favored Artie with a single, raised eyebrow.
"Look, I know you both think I'm nuts, but honestly, if she were so innocent in this, then why is Claudia missing?" Artie was certain H.G. Wells was responsible for everything, including Claudia's abduction.
"Arthur, I'm not sure what facts you are using to base your assumptions upon, but I assure you that H.G. Wells had nothing to do with Claudia's disappearance. I would not have reinstated either agent had I not been absolutely certain of their innocence.”
Before she could go further, Artie interjected, “I didn't realize you had that kind of power. I was under the impression that Mr. Kosan was the one who made all decisions regarding warehouse agents. You only suggest candidates.”
“With regards to the addition of new agents, yes, my duty is to suggest, but when dealing with an agent in crisis – such as Agent Bering – my duty is clear. I must act to best serve the warehouse, and in this case, I held off in filing Agent Bering's resignation, leaving me free to reinstate her when it became evident that she wished to return to duty. As for Agent Wells, I was informed by Mr. Kosan that I had full authority to deal with the matter as best I saw fit. Once I was certain that the Pearl of Wisdom had truly been involved, I knew that only someone with access to the warehouse could have taken the Pearl; therefor, I could not trust anyone beyond those I had personally cleared of guilt.”
“Wait a minute – you thought we were the bad guys?” Pete blurted in shock.
“As ridiculous as it may seem to you, Agent Lattimer, it would not be the first time that trusted agents had gone rogue. However, I can assure you that I was highly doubtful of your guilt.”
Artie frowned. “Yet you still kept us in the dark, running around in circles, chasing after shadows until you were sure you could trust us.”
Mrs. Fredric turned her implacable gaze on Artie and said, “That is my job, Arthur. Now, are you willing to accept that I had the authority to make the decision regarding Agents Bering and Wells' reinstatement?”
Grumbling softly to himself, Artie rubbed his face and sighed wearily. “I'm sorry, Irene. This is just very difficult for me to accept. I guess I just got used to things the way they were. You're right – it is your job to protect the warehouse, and if you have evidence to support your actions, then who am I to question that?”
With a gentle smile, Mrs. Fredric said, “Arthur, you know that I respect your contentious nature; indeed, I rely upon it to keep you and the other agents focused on the task of finding and archiving artifacts, but in this instance, I hope you can put it aside and trust that I have done my job.”
He nodded. “Of course, of course. I'll do my job, Irene, you know I will.”
“Me too,” Pete said, his tone a bit subdued.
“Good. To get back to where we were, with regards to Miss Donovan's disappearance, I can personally verify that both Agents Bering and Wells have been here, in Chicago, for the last twenty-four hours, and that it's very likely that Agent Wells is in considerable danger.”
"Myka and H.G. are here?" Pete yelped, leaping to his feet. "I knew it!" He began to pace. “Man, I knew something was up when we sent those tapes from the depot to Claudia and she said she couldn't find them.” Myka and H.G had wanted them to believe that they'd taken the first bus out of the city, but Pete's vibes had had him wondering otherwise.
“A necessary omission, I'm afraid, Agent Lattimer,” said Mrs. Fredric solemnly. Pete shook his head, and sighed. His expression was one of supreme irritation, but before he could say anything, Artie interrupted.
“Wait, wait, what does it matter if Valda's original codes were used – he's dead. He died in Warehouse 2. No, no, I just don't buy that H.G. Wells isn't somehow involved. Maybe, maybe someone used the Pearl of Wisdom on her, or maybe she's the one who took it, to make it look like it had been used on her.” Directing a pointed glance at Mrs. Fredric, Artie added, “This wouldn't be the first time you've been wrong about a former agent. I know it would be easier if I just accepted your judgment, Irene, but like you said - you need my contentiousness.”
Pinning the older agent with her calm, but penetrating gaze, Mrs. Fredric said, “Calm down, Arthur. It's obvious that this has taken you by surprise. Clearly, the pain from your injury has made it difficult for you to think rationally, so I will take that into consideration and ignore your tone.”
The room's temperature suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Slowly, Artie looked away, his expression clearly showing his capitulation, though his posture betrayed his displeasure.
"Now, let me continue. In the course of our investigations, Claudia and I discovered many interesting things, but it was her most recent find that led me to come here. You see, she answered the question I had not dared voice: How could Benedict Valda have survived being burned alive?"
Both men turned the question over in their minds, and both of them seemed to come to the same conclusion as Pete whispered, "Oh no," and Artie just growled, "The Phoenix."
Gun drawn, Myka sidestepped along the wall of the garage, scanning in as many directions as she could. Slowly, she moved forward, jerking to a stop every time she heard something move. Distantly, she heard the sound of a car's engine and began running toward it.
At full speed, she shot around a corner and was nearly clipped by a wavering, slightly out-of-control dark sedan. Myka had just seconds to realize that it was Benedict Valda behind the wheel before she heard someone shout, "Myka, look out!"
Without a second thought, Myka ducked and rolled toward the shout, narrowly avoiding being shot by a large man that had leaped from the shadows. She came up firing, hitting him twice in the chest and once in the shoulder as he went down. Before she had a chance to recover, shots came from a second direction, and she dove to the side, putting herself behind a parked car and the direction from where the gunfire was emerging. Anxiously, she glanced over toward where the wavering car was careening toward a bank of parked cars. She was just about to jump out and go after it, when it came to a sudden halt. There was a flash of light from within, and then, it took off once more, heading at full clip toward the garage exit. Cursing softly, Myka started to follow, when a familiar voice called out to her.
"Oh my God, you're a sight for sore eyes."
Startled, Myka glanced down and spotted Claudia huddled up under a car, her arms bound behind her back, and her face a bloody mess.
"Claudia! What are you doing here?"
"Long story - first, get the other guy and then I'll tell you all about it."
"You're okay, though?" Torn between the desire to go after Valda, look for Helena, and protect Claudia, Myka chewed on her lip and shifted from foot to foot.
"I'm better than H.G.'s gonna be if Valda gets to have his way with her," Claudia replied darkly.
"Valda's got Helena?" Myka felt like she'd been kicked in the gut by a mule. "But isn't he a regent? Won't he just take her to - wait, Valda's dead! What's going on here?" Myka's tone grew sharp as worry and confusion made her babble.
Another gunshot pushed aside all that, though, and Myka hastily returned her attention to locating the second gunman.
Slowly, she moved along behind the cars, silently ordering Claudia to stay put. Claudia grinned and shrugged as if to ask, "Where else am I going to go?"
Nodding once, Myka continued stalking the other guard. She could see him now; a portion of his right shoulder was just visible over the trunk of a parked Nissan.
Forcefully, Myka shouted, "Secret Service! Put down your weapon and surrender now!"
As soon as the man stood to shoot at her, she fired, clipping him in the shoulder, the arm, and finally, striking him square in the center of his chest. He fell with a heavy thud and only then, did she hear the sound of sirens approaching. Quickly, she raced over to Claudia, helped her get out from under the car and then pushed her toward the elevator. She was inside, pressing the button for the basement level when the first police car arrived on scene.
The minute the elevator doors closed, Myka holstered her weapon and started working on getting Claudia out of the duct tape binding. "Okay, talk, now," she said as she picked and pulled on the stubborn tape.
"Well, it started when Mrs. F told me to go home. I was just minding my own business, heading toward the Camino when, suddenly, everything went black -"
"So if Myka and H.G. have been working on this all along, how come you didn't let us in on it?" said Pete as they all sat, staring at untouched cups of coffee.
Mrs. Fredric sighed. "I truly am sorry about that, but once I knew you were innocent, I felt it best to keep you in the dark until I was absolutely certain you were not in any danger." She turned and addressed Artie, specifically. "Please, don't be too hard on Claudia - she was acting under my orders."
After the stunning revelation about the Phoenix, Artie had gone completely silent as whatever wheels that made his brain function worked overtime to assimilate the new information. Pete, on the other hand, had plenty of questions, which Mrs. Fredric seemed happy to answer.
He was heartened to learn that his partner was both innocent of any wrongdoing and back on the job, and even more surprised to discover that Claudia had known almost from the get-go that he and Artie were chasing shadows. I'm seriously going to make Myka pay for Cottonwood, though. That was just mean!
Artie cleared his throat. "All right - say I've been horribly wrong, and H.G. is not a threat, that the real villain is Valda. What does he want? What is his reason for causing all this havoc in the first place?"
"There are many motives for a man's actions, Arthur. Valda's happen to be one of the basest - money. My research uncovered a cleverly hidden trail that began with thefts of small artifacts from the warehouse and ended with large sums of untraceable money being deposited in an offshore account belonging to a shell corporation that was traced to Valda. From there, it was easy enough to match up the dates of when the artifacts went missing to dates when Valda had been in the warehouse."
“Okay, so Valda's behind it all – why all the stuff with H.G.? Why go all Day After Tomorrow with the trident if all he wants is to get rich?” Pete asked, having a difficult time wrapping his head around all this new information.
It was Artie who responded. "To distract us. Warehouse 2 must've been his goal all along. Imagine Pete - it would be a lifetime's supply of artifacts all at his beck and call.” He shook his head. “In fact, while you guys were off acting as bait for Warehouse 2's protections, he was probably lining his pockets with whatever he could grab.” Contemplatively, he added, “I imagine that H.G. was never meant to get as far as she did. In fact, I think he was counting on the fact that we'd kill her. I don't think he realized just how resourceful H.G. Wells is."
By the time Myka and Claudia made it to the hotel, Myka was in no state to deal with the bellhop chasing after her, calling, "Miss Burton, please, hold up."
It was Claudia who hissed, "Hey, Myka, head's up, that's you he's talking to."
Shaking off the haze of grief and anger threatening to overwhelm her, Myka stopped and turned to face the winded bellhop. With an effort, she pasted a pleasant smile on her face and said, "Yes?"
"Sorry, ma'am, but, Miss Wesley instructed me to make certain you received this the moment you returned. Here," he said, thrusting a cream colored envelope toward her. "She's very sorry. I think she said something about having to attend a business meeting."
Numbly, Myka accepted the envelope and before she could even think to tip him, the bellhop was gone.
The outside of the envelope was inscribed with a single, gorgeously inked letter M.
Trembling, Myka clutched the envelope against her chest and bolted for the elevator. Claudia had to struggle to keep up, but eventually, they made it back to the Author's Suite, whereupon Myka staggered into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed. Claudia got as far as the couch before dropping and letting out a long held groan of pain.
On the bed, Myka lay curled in Helena's spot, breathing in her lover's distinctive, spicy scent and shaking as she fought back tears. Slowly, she forced herself to raise her arm, uncurl her fist, and open the letter.
My dearest Myka:
To say that this is the last way in which I wanted to put these words in your hands is perhaps the greatest understatement I've ever uttered. However, there is simply no other way for me to be certain that you have the opportunity to know them for the truth that they are. You are, without a doubt, the only person I have ever wished I could introduce to my daughter. I say this, not because I wish to wallow in my grief, but because I think of you as someone she would have adored; much as I adore you. I don't know if I can appropriately convey the depth to which you have sunk into my heart, so I must rely on the simplicity of my words. I love you, Myka Bering. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
Now, to business. Just shortly after you left this morning, I was contacted by Benedict Valda. He is not, as we had assumed, dead. In fact, as I write this, I realize that he must have taken the Phoenix from the warehouse. It is one of the only ways in which he could have survived the conflagration we saw consume him. As we have each handled the artifact, it is likely that its curse fell upon some poor soul residing near the dig site. It must have been he who implanted me with the Pearl of Wisdom for it was his directives I followed, though it seems unlikely that his ultimate goal was the destruction of the planet. I believe he sought to distract you all so that he could get his people in place at Warehouse 2. He has kidnapped Claudia and offered her in exchange for me.
"What? Oh, no, no, please tell me you weren't foolish enough to believe you'd be able to get away with the exchange," Myka muttered through the tears that were pouring down her face. As if Helena had expected her outburst, the letter continued.
I doubt his intentions are honorable, however, I cannot allow him to harm Claudia. If there is a chance I can save her, I must try. I know that you are near. It is my hope that you will see me, and follow, so that you can stop him. If you cannot, you must not - must not - blame yourself. Just find me, my love. I will wait for you, no matter what.
It was signed with an elegant letter H. Below that, Myka could just make out the impression of Helena's lips on the paper.
Over and over, Myka read the letter until the overwhelming grief balled up inside her, becoming an incandescent ball of white hot anger. Dashing away her tears, she got out of the bed and went out to find Claudia. Seeing the extent of the younger woman's injuries only made the anger that much worse, yet she allowed none of it to show. Quietly, she said, "I'm calling Mrs. Fredric, Claudia. Go start getting cleaned up and I'll be in to help you as soon as I can."
"So what's our first move?" said Pete once Mrs. Fredric had finished explaining everything.
Before she could form a reply, her phone rang. Answering it, she listened briefly before saying, "Just one moment please," and then, she put the phone on speaker and set it on the table. "Go ahead Agent Bering. We are listening."
"Benedict Valda is alive. He's taken Helena. I believe he intends to kill her." Myka's voice was so calm, she may as well have been reciting a grocery list.
"Myka, Claudia's missing," said Pete. "Do you think Valda has her, too?"
"He did, but she's with me now. Helena traded herself for Claudia's freedom." Now there was some inflection to her words - a level of grief that she quickly suppressed with her next statement. "I'm at the Four Seasons. The Author Suite. Please hurry. We've got to get Helena back."