Joshua Donovan spun slowly in his chair, frowning into space as he turned. For once he was not hyper focused on his work. Instead, his mind was miles away. About forty five hundred miles away to be exact. Somewhere in the badlands of North Dakota which was where he would be in about ninety six hours. It was a long trip and it brought with it a hellish cost in terms of jet lag. He would barely have time to adjust to his new time zone before flying back, but the pay off was worth both the physical and mental backlash.
It was too bad the whole teleportation thing he'd tried to make happen hadn't worked out. He could see the potential for commercial use right now. On the other hand, spending forty eight hours in various airplanes, terminals and shuttles was a small price to pay when balanced against the risk of losing another twelve years. Shaking off that thought Joshua forced himself to focus on what had been gnawing at him since Claudia had set the plans for this trip in motion.
He was looking forward to seeing Claudia and everyone else at Warehouse 13. He really was. However, something about getting a call out of the blue from his sister to say that she missed him and all the arrangements for him to come to North Dakota to see her made him nervous. No, actually, it made his teeth itch. The whole thing reeked of Claudia scheming with a capital S. He'd already been on the wrong side of that last Christmas with Artie and his dad and was really not looking forward to getting involved in another. Granted, it had turned out well in the end, but there had been some dicey moments along the way. Not as dicey as messing with unknown artifacts, but there weren't any purple gloves that could be used as protection against a very angry Artie Nielsen.
Despite Claudia's claims to the contrary Joshua was not antisocial, he just preferred to keep his social interactions relatively uncluttered. His research was complicated enough to take care of all the complexity in his life. He was friendly to his co-workers and attended all the staff parties. He'd even learned how to snowboard at Claudia's insistence. It was just that he had no interest in or time for romantic entanglements at this point in his life no matter how much she kept encouraging him in that direction.
The fact that Claudia wanted to drag him half way around the world on the spur of the moment did not bode well for his continued sense of emotional well being. The question was, was he being brought over as a co-conspirator or was he going to be the object of one of her misguided attempts to make the people she cared about happy? Both possibilities were fraught with equal yet different concerns. Even worst was the knowledge that either one carried the potential to blow up in his face. There were times when it seemed that being around his sister was more dangerous than dealing with antimatter. Or at the very least more volatile when mixed with real life.
Joshua had recently come to a place where seeing his sister bright eyed and happy caused simultaneous reactions of joy and deep abiding fear about what was to come. Part of him thought he should feel guilty about that, but he was too much of a scientist at heart to ignore what experience had shown to be true time and time again. Claudia was happiest when she was up to something. She was a bit like the warehouse in that you never quite knew what you were going to get. Coupled with the fact that she could be downright Machiavellian, though her intentions were almost always good, given the right set of circumstances was enough to set Joshua on edge.
Not that the threat of being caught up in whatever Claudia was plotting would dissuade him from going. The chance to spend time with his sister and poke around the warehouse a little was a siren call, undeniable even though it usually led to being shipwrecked somewhere extremely unpleasant. His experiences with artifacts had made him cautious and taken the edge off the impulsive behavior that he had been plagued with as a younger man. However, it had in no way dimmed his driving desire for knowledge. It just meant that these days he walked in where angels feared to tread instead of rushing.
This time, though, there was the added lure of meeting the new guy. Claudia had talked about him so much that Joshua was forced to admit to himself that he was just a little bit jealous. Maybe more than a little if he was being brutally honest. Between the current distance and the time lost in inter dimensional space he sometimes felt like he had missed out on so much of his sister's life. Technology such as skype and web cams helped, but it wasn't the same as being there to hold her when she cried or dance with her to celebrate her triumphs. On the other hand Jinksy could and was doing just that filling the void on Claudia's side a little bit. Joshua wasn't sure if he should feel envy or pity for the guy. A mixture of both seemed to be the safest route to take.
The strange thing was he hadn't felt this way about Todd or Fargo, but then neither one of them had overlapped the role Joshua played in Claudia's life. Pete did in some ways, but their relationship was different, more of a mentor and student than siblings. A cool uncle, maybe, but that was as close as it got in a familial sense. Even now Joshua could see their relationship shifting as Claudia gained a more equal footing in her role as a warehouse agent.
It was disconcerting on some level that he welcomed another person who would share in the responsibility of riding herd on Claudia. She had enough intelligence, street smarts and ability to think outside the box to keep a whole team of specially trained agents guessing. Maybe having one more person, properly vetted and approved by Artie and Mrs. Fredrick, wasn't such a bad thing. Still, Joshua had the final say, at least in his head, whether or not Claudia's new playmate was someone she should be trusted with. He planned to spend most of this visit finding out all there was to know about Steve Jinks.