Myka Bering leapt to her feet at the crash from upstairs, hand automatically reaching for the Tesla on the table before the shock registered. With a sigh, she looked across the table and exchanged a weary glance with the woman across from her.
“Go,” Leena said calmly, “before she brings the B&B down around our ears.” The sentence might have seemed like hyperbole, but both Myka and Leena knew it wasn’t at all far from accurate. That they could both be so unerringly calm about the prospect was just another sign that they had spent far too much time as employees of Warehouse 13. Of course, being a Warehouse agent meant Myka had rather become accustomed to the idea that she would die in some artifact related incident and she wasn’t sure what to think of the idea that perhaps that fated accident would never get the chance to happen because she would be killed, like the Wicked Witch of the East, by a house falling on her. Come to think of it, that sounded rather artifact-y after all.
Leaving the Tesla and the alarming sprawl of paperwork behind, Myka gave a short nod and turned towards the stairs which led to the bed and breakfast’s upper level. “She’s supposed to be sleeping,” she muttered, somewhat irritably as she headed for the bedroom at the end of the hall. What an excellent idea.
“You’re supposed to be sleeping,” she announced to the room at large as she opened the door without knocking and walked in, only to stop short as she caught sight of the utter mess that the room had turned into. “Oh my god Helena I left you alone for 30 minutes,” she breathed, trying to make sense of the chaos. It looked like some hellish tornado had come into the room, spitting out gears and coils and springs and pieces Myka was sure could only be found in some steampunk novel. Then again, the woman to whom this room belonged to was rather steampunk herself, or rather, steampunk was rather her.
“Why sleep when one can be inventing, Myka darling,” HG Wells said, not looking up from whatever it was she was doing with a screwdriver and a complicated looking piece of metal.
“Helena, you need sleep, and rest,” Myka exclaimed, finally coming all the way into the room and standing awkwardly by the foot of the bed as she looked for a clear place to sit.
“Tosh,” was the only response Myka got to that.
“Helena,” Myka said quietly, voice taking on a slight touch of reproach as she found the smallest corner of the bed untouched by the madness on which to perch. As her weight settled onto the edge of the bed (well, some of her weight anyway), HG finally looked up from her tinkering. Thankfully, Myka hadn't managed to grab her attention for very long because Myka very nearly burst into laughter at the sight of her.
The normally staid and stoic, though mischievous and impish, Victorian now had cheeks that closely resembled those of a chipmunk and the hilarity of that was far too much for Myka to fully cover up. Had HG been paying attention, she would have never gotten away with it. Myka knew the writer could be very sensitive when it came to appearance and she vowed right then and there not to let Helena catch on to the new state of her face. Besides, from what she remembered of the time that she had her wisdom teeth taken out, the swelling would subside soon enough.
While it wasn't uncommon for people to lose teeth, the team had come to learn that aside from losing teeth to rot and generally poor dental hygiene, that Victorian England had not really had very many remedies (and none of them effective) for what was now considered fairly standard dental problems, such as impacted wisdom teeth. They had covered up this fact by having some fairly decent painkillers. HG had been hard enough to convince to even set foot in the dentist’s office in the first place as it was, since so many things appeared to be torture devices and unlike doctors, the Brit couldn't quite see the point of having deviated from Victorian norm. When they had informed her she would need to have the teeth pulled –
It hadn't been the easiest thing in the world, but once it was all over and a barely conscious HG was tucked carefully into bed, Myka had actually let herself start to believe that things would be easier now that the stress and anxiety of pre-surgery was gone. Naturally, she had been hideously wrong, and it hadn't been long before sleepy HG had turned into mad inventor HG.
“I’m pretty sure that with the drugs you’re on right now, Helena,” Myka began, once her urge to laugh was under control. Her poor Victorian… “They tell you not to operate any heavy machinery.” The statement was meant to be rather pointed, but as was often the case, Helena missed the barb entirely.
“This is hardly what I’d call heavy, Myka,” she answered briskly, twisting the piece in her hands to fiddle with some other knob or screw or something. “It’s not as if I’m working to put together a tank or an airplane.” Myka loved how she said that, now, like the idea was ludicrous when it was entirely possible that next week’s project would in fact be a tank or an airplane. “Heavy machinery is so pedestrian,” she commented absently, as if to refute Myka’s thoughts on the matter. “And I never begrudged Orville and Wilbur their little projects.” Myka also loved how casually Helena could refer to some of the greater and more significant inventions of her time.
“Helena,” Myka said again, more fully reproachful now. “I think we all know what they meant, weight notwithstanding. If you aren't capable of driving a car you shouldn't be capable of tinkering around with goodness knows what. You’re on serious drugs,” she said, pointing out the obvious as if HG had maybe just forgotten.
“I've done serious drugs before and it’s all been fine,” HG just responded dismissively.
“Did you miss the small explosion you just caused up here? Leena and I thought the B&B would come down around our ears.” Well that was a slight exaggeration, but perhaps escalating things a bit would get Helena’s attention quicker.
Astonishingly enough, it worked. The screwdriver lowered and the chunk of metal was placed gently on the bedspread as Helena finally looked at the curly-haired woman still precariously perched on the corner of the bed. “Explosions are part of the creative process, darling,” she explained gently, as if Myka was a child or otherwise incapable of understanding such a complicated concept.
Myka flushed slightly with frustration. “Are they really?” she questioned archly.
“Quite. I seem to recall several quite spectacular ones when I was working on my time machine. Charles was rather cross with me about a few of them but you can’t deny that the device does work, although not 100% as I had hoped it would.”
“I can’t imagine why he would have been cross,” Myka muttered, but Helena was already off down memory lane and didn’t hear her.
“In fact, speaking of drugs, I do believe I was rather heavily under the influence of more than a few different types while I worked on those, and as the device does work fine, I really am forced to conclude that those doctors really don’t know what they’re talking about. Why shouldn’t I drive a car, anyway?”
“Because you’re a speed demon who should never be allowed behind the wheel,” Myka added, helpfully, as HG settled back into the pillows and really got into her argument.
“I’ve built a time machine!” she protested energetically, “which is much more than can be said of those Wright brothers, and I hardly think that all of their failed flight attempts can be considered less catastrophic than anything I could do behind the wheel of a car. It’s just a machine, and I can master any machine.”
“Yes dear,” Myka said, though HG didn’t really need her comments to continue her rant. Had she been in a more comfortable position, she would have settled back to watch, in amusement.
“Besides, what exactly, was the pull of flying through the air when one could have been flying through time?”
“Clearly, they were insufficiently motivated,” Myka said blandly, standing as she decided that she may as well add to the mess on the floor in favor of settling herself more firmly on the bed. “I’m gonna move some of these things okay?” she asked, even as she is already shifting a second pile of things indiscriminatly to other pieces of furniture.
“Insufficiently inspired is more like it,” HG replies darkly, in a tone that is one part pity and one part disgust. She doesn’t even appear to hear the second sentence, and says nothing as the Secret Service agent moves things across the room. Surely, Myka is messing up some secret and imperceptible organizational system. “I could come up with better things in my sleep!” she exclaims as Myka finally clears enough space to be able to see half of the bed. Space cleared, she gives up on her cleaning attempts and settles for laying down on the bed next to the raging inventor, propping her head up on one hand and laying a leg across those under the covers with a comfortable sense of familiarity.
“I’m sure you can, Helena,” she says softly, amused smile playing around the corners of her lips now that some of the mess has been cleared and she can comfortably sit and watch the other woman.
“Can?” Helena parrots, as if the idea is preposterous, although Myka notices that the fervor and energy in her voice is starting to lose the battle against exhaustion as the latter starts to seep into her voice. “I have done so! Why, in fact, I just did. I dreamed up this marvelous little thing only today,” she adds, indicating the metal thing that Myka still can’t identify, “even after surgery and battling mind-altering substances. And yet those two, and men like them across the world and across time, are getting recognition for their revolutionary devices when people like myself with true vision and inspiration are relegated to the sidelines.” Her tone makes it obvious what she thinks of both the idea and the fact that devices like the airplane are considered revolutionary.
“You just thought of this today?” Myka asks, pointing to the hunk of metal and screws in Helena’s lap, hoping to derail the other woman from her feminist rant.
“Yes, and it’s all I’ve been working on it ever since.” Myka knows that this can be no more than 30 minues, but Helena seems extraordinarily proud, considering Myka still can’t tell what the invention, to use the term loosely, even is. “Look at how far it’s coming already,” HG adds, actually beaming, causing Myka to hastily stifle another burst of laughter at the sight.
“Helena,” Myka ventures when she’s managed to quash the urge to laugh, tone lacking all of the reproach imbedded into her previous overtures, “What is it you’re building?” Knowing she has to tread carefully, she adds, “You know how hopeless I am with gadgets.”
“Myka, surely you know what this is,” HG responds instantly, looking at Myka as if she has never seen anything quite like her. Myka notes that HG never answered the question as she shakes her head in a solemn ‘no’. “I cannot believe you don’t even know what this is,” Helena says huffily, crossing her arms over her chest and making it clear that she is unwilling to elaborate further on the topic.
“Helena,” carefully again, “do you even know what it is?” Myka’s memory of how loopy the drugs made her is gloriously absent, so she has no real way of knowing if HG is truly out of her mind on drugs or if her brilliant mind is once more working on a frequency Myka can’t quite access.
“I – do I know what this is, Myka don’t be absurd,” HG splutters, and Myka smiles softly as she realizes that HG is well and truly drugged.
“My mistake,” she offers easily, and HG seems to lose all energy at the apology, sliding back fully under the covers and turning to face Myka, who gently reaches out to tuck a stray piece of hair behind the Victorian’s ear.
“I don’t think I’d quite anticipated how exhausting it could be to have one’s wisdom taken away,” Helena said, after quite a long silence had stretched on. Myka loves how Helena’s sense of drama ensures that she is always the victim in this story. She makes a small hum in question but otherwise doesn’t respond, shifting up the bed so that she is leaning up against the headboard, reversing hers and Helena’s earlier positions.
Helena’s arm slips out from under the covers to wrap around one of Myka’s thighs as she snuggles into the brunette’s lanky body and Myka’s fingers automatically start threading through silky raven tresses.
“Myka,” Helena says in a way that reminds Myka of the careful overtures from only a few minutes prior, “I think I should quite like to sleep now.” The announcement is half question, and Myka’s heart aches as it tries to handle the sudden swell of love and affection she feels.
“For someone who lost their wisdom,” she says softly, fingers still working gently and soothingly, “you’re still sounding pretty smart, chipmunk.”
The nickname goes entirely over Helena’s head as dark eyes slide shut in sleep. Myka allows herself a soft puff of laughter before she reins herself in and focuses only on maintaining the movement of her fingers through Helena’s hair.