“No! Pete! No!” Myka squealed, batting her hands in front of her face to knock Pete’s hand away from her. “I’m not licking something off your finger!” she exclaimed, her face twisting in disgust as she took another swipe at Pete’s hand.
“What?” Pete asked wounded. “My hands are clean. I don’t have cooties, man. This,” he said, waving his right hand down the length of his body, “is a cootie free zone. Federally approved for ages 18 and up,” he continued grinning.
“Ew,” Myka and Claudia exclaimed at the same time.
“Whoa!” Pete exclaimed holding his hands up. “I know I’m a super handsome dude, with an awesomely square jaw, and amazing guns,” Pete said flexing his arms, “but I have feelings.”
“I’m sorry, Pete,” Myka said in a conciliatory tone, even though Pete had brought it upon himself.
"Many pardons,” Claudia piped up just after Myka.
“But,” Myka continued a moment later, “cooties or no cooties, I never need to know what it’s like to have your finger in my mouth,” Myka declared, shuddering as a mental picture of what she had just described flashed inside her head.
“Well, fine,” Pete sighed shrugging his shoulders as he glanced around at the other occupants of the room. “More for me then,” he said popping his finger with the blob of peanut butter pudding on it in his mouth. “But I wasn’t being gross. You made it sound gross,” Pete declared pointing a finger at Myka. “But I wasn’t being gross. I was trying to be a good friend. This stuff is delicious,” Pete said popping the spoon into his mouth and licking it clean.
“Well, enjoy,” Myka said, watching him with fascination and horror.
“I will,” Pete muttered making a production out of scooping out some more pudding and then putting it into his mouth as he made “mmm’ sounds.
Myka smiled at him and then shook her head, helplessly charmed by Pete despite herself – just like always – and then she turned her head to the side to take in the large grandfather clock at the side of the living room.
“Well, I’m off to bed,” Myka declared after checking the time.
“What?” Claudia exclaimed gaping at Myka. “It’s like not even nine. Are you five? Should I warm some milk for you while you go change into your footy pajamas?”
“No,” Myka muttered, her back straightening defensively as she looked over at Claudia. “I’m not five. Obviously, I’m not five. I couldn’t be in the Secret Service if I was five. It was just a busy day, you know; lots of investigating and running and artifact finding and neutralizing and … stuff. So now I’m just a little tired, and … yeah.”
“Whatev Grandma,” Claudia said, completely unmoved by Myka’s rambling. “I’ll call the valet and have him bring your walker around. It’s the Party Pooper 2000, right? In the meantime the rest of us are gonna get our word nerd on.”
“Apples to Apples?” Myka asked with longing.
“Correctamundo,” Claudia said nodding before reaching underneath her seat on the couch to pull out the box where she had stashed it earlier. “So many words,” she cooed opening the box. “So many possibilities … but if you’re too tired I guess we’ll just have to partake of and enjoy -without you.”
“Why don’t we play that tomorrow night?” Myka asked hopefully. “There’s an idea, right? You could, I don’t know, play Scrabble, or Clue, or … or … or Pictionary tonight! Doesn’t Pictionary sound good? Everybody loves Pictionary.”
“Pictionary moves me not tonight,” Claudia replied, not backing down. It was Steve’s first night back with the living … since, well, not being so much with the living, and she wanted everyone there to make it the best ‘welcome back’ ever. Myka was part of everyone and therefore could not act like an 80 year old and go to bed before nine. “If you want Apples to Apples, you’ll just have to pop a Redbull and …”
“Hey, Clauds,” Pete interjected, shifting on the floor towards Claudia until he was sitting on the floor by her legs. “Whaddaya say we play something else tonight, huh? We’ll save Apples to Apples for when Mykes is feeling a little less elderly. It’s all good,” Pete said smiling up at Claudia encouragingly, hoping to convince her to let Myka go since he knew exactly why Myka really wanted to go up to her room so early.
“The game has been taken from the game room,” Claudia intoned seriously. “Once removed from that scared place, the game must be played. So sayth the Game Lords, and the Game Lords must be obeyed.”
“I know, I know,” Pete said before pausing to wave his hand at Claudia, encouraging her to bend down closer to him, “but it’s Monday,” he whispered to Claudia before glancing over at Myka to see if she had heard him.
“The Game Lords care not,” Claudia replied.
Pete waved Claudia back down closer to him.
“It’s Mon-day,” Pete he repeated in a whisper, emphasizing the words.
“I heard you the first time,” Claudia said slowly, emphasizing the words even more than Pete had.
Pete waved Claudia back down again, and with a sigh she acquiesced once more.
“Dude, Monday means phone call night at the Regent Inn,” Pete whispered realizing that he was going to have to spell it out. “As in H.G’s first chance to phone home since being taken away from her fair lady so that the Regents can ponder the things they need to ponder,” Pete continued, seeing understanding register on Claudia’s face and then sympathy as she looked over at Myka.
In her excitement at getting Steve back, Claudia had forgotten that Myka was still waiting to find out the fate of her special someone.
“I will make an offering to the Game Lords to appease them,” Claudia said, looking at Myka as she spoke, her tone far gentler that it had been earlier. “We’ll play Apples to Apples another time … and say, ‘hey’ from me.”
Myka blushed as she realized what Pete had whispered to Claudia to get the young woman to change her mind, but despite her embarrassment at being found out she smiled at Claudia and said, “Thanks, and I’ll pass it on.”
A moment later Myka rose to her feet and moved over to where Steve was sitting. “It’s great to have you back,” she said warmly, leaning down so that she could give him a hug.
“Say, ‘cheerio’ to H.G. from me,” Pete said as Myka moved away from Steve and over to the door.
“And let her know, her room is ready for her return,” Leena added.
“Will do,” Myka said with a smile, and then with a little wave to them all she headed out of the room and headed for the stairs, where she forced herself to ascend them one at a time like an adult instead of racing up them two at a time to get to her room as fast as possible like she wanted to.
“You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had,” Myka sighed as she curled onto her side and stared at the laptop resting beside her where Helena’s smiling face greeted her in high definition.
“I think I might,” Helena drawled; her tone dryly and amused. “Besides, it’s certainly a more interesting story than how my day has progressed,” she sighed.
“Is it boring there?” Myka asked sympathetically.
“Boring doesn’t begin to describe it,” Helena said piteously. “Mind atrophying, would be closer. I bounced a tennis ball against a wall for two hours this afternoon. I was the most stimulating part of my day until now. All they’ve given me are magazines and crossword puzzles. I know who Robsten are,” she continued sounding absolutely bewildered. “Please, I beg of you darling, tell me your unbelievable story,” Helena said beseechingly, “save me from the monotony of my day.”
Myka made a soft commiserating sound in her throat and reached out for her laptop screen so that she could run her fingers over the image of Helena’s cheek. It was a poor substitute for actually being able to touch Helena, but she hoped that it conveyed how much she wished that she could be with Helena, or better yet that Helena could be with her, at the B&B, snuggled under the blankets with her … preferably naked.
“Really, it’s not so bad,” Helena said in a brighter tone as she reached out for her screen to touch it as Myka just had. “Certainly it’s better than last time. I have a body. That’s pleasant. And I can see you now, and hear your voice,” she continued smiling, though a sadness remained in her eyes that wouldn’t be erased until the distance between them had been. “Talk to me,” Helena breathed out softly, “let me close my eyes and imagine I’m in your room with you, wrapped up with you and Teddy, listening to your voice as I hold you in my arms.”
“Soon,” Myka breathed out, closing her eyes and letting herself imagine the picture Helena had just painted.
“Hopefully,” Helena murmured, smiling a bit wanly when Myka turned a pair of questioning eyes on her. “I know you said Artie did everything in his power to convince the Regents to give me a third chance, but … you must prepare yourself for the possibility that they may not be swayed by his words,” Helena finished softly.
“It’s a possibility, I know,” Myka said, meeting Helena’s eyes, “but it’s not one I like and I’m not prepared to come to terms with it on any level until I have to … which, for the record, I don’t want to … have to,” Myka continued, her brows creasing slightly at the poor construction of her last sentence. “So, as far as I’m concerned, you’re Agent Wells, you’re coming home, and …”
“When I do I will happily serve under you,” Helena interjected, smiling suggestively and enjoying the flush that came to Myka’s pale skin at the sound of her words.
“And do whatever I say,” Myka breathed out a touch huskily, playing along despite her blush.
“Always, darling. You always have such wonderful ideas,” Helena drawled in response. “Now, tell me about your day.”
“Well, it started at a diner,” Myka began seriously, and Helena smiled. Myka’s earnestness was one of the things she loved most about the other woman. “It was, by all accounts, an unremarkable night in an unremarkable town until for seemingly no apparent reason a group of relative strangers …” Myka continued, and Helena sighed and snuggled into her pillow more, savouring the sound of Myka’s voice.
“One,” Helena began.
“Don’t,” Myka warned, pointing a warning finger at Helena through the screen.
“Wouldn’t have to work very hard to …”
“Don’t,” Myka warned again in a slightly more commanding tone.
“Develop a Freudian take on your fear of tentacles,” Helena continued grinning despite Myka’s warnings.
“I wish I could threaten to end this conversation but we both know I won’t,” Myka grumbled as Helena smiled at her. “And for the record, Freud can bite my ass. Everything isn’t about penises. I am not afraid of penises,” she added a second later which only made Helena laugh.
“Considering the, shall we say ‘generously’ sized dildos in the trunk under your bed, I didn’t think you were,” Helena purred, “and if I’d had any doubt, the skill with which you handled it when I, shall we say, ‘strapped in’, would have removed them.”
“Helena!” Myka exclaimed, blushing deeply as she jabbed her finger at the microphone on her laptop.
Helena’s face scrunched up in confusion.
“What is that? What are you pointing at?” Helena asked, leaning closer to the screen to try and get a better look at what Myka was gesturing to.
“The microphone,” Myka sighed, though she couldn’t help being a little charmed by the expression on Helena’s face. “There’s no way they’re not recording this.”
“Ah,” Helena breathed out. “Myka, darling,” she continued, “though everyone continues to speak about the matter in vagaries, I’m certain there isn’t a single person affiliated with the Warehouse who doesn’t realize our relationship has been romantic in nature as well as friendly.”
“I agree,” Myka said. She knew that the residents of the B&B had known about the romantic turn her relationship with Helena had taken within days of it happening, and when Mrs. Frederic brought Helena in hologram form to see her at her parent’s bookstore, Myka had suspected that Mrs. Frederic was aware of how close they had become too. And if Mrs. Frederic knew, it wasn’t taking too big of a leap of faith to assume that the Regents were aware as well. “But that doesn’t mean that they need to know exactly what we do when … we … you know … get romantic with each other,” Myka continued whispering the last few words.
“So, no ‘video-conference sex’ then?” Helena asked impishly and Myka glared at her.
“Keep this up and when I see you in person there’ll be no sex-sex either,” Myka grumbled.
Helena bit down on her bottom lip and looked up at Myka wickedly through her eyelashes.
“Well, we both know that’s a lie,” Helena breathed out and Myka blushed because, well, it was true. “In any case my darling, even though you bluff terribly, I shall bend myself to your desire and change the subject. How is, Agent Jinks? Does he seem to be adjusting to having come back from the dead?” she asked curiously.
Myka sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “He seems to be handling it well,” Myka said, shrugging her shoulders, “but it’s difficult to know for sure. It had to be quite a shock for him when he realized what happened, and the full ramifications of the use of the metronome remain unknown, which has be weighing on his mind. Claudia though … she’s walking on clouds.”
“I’m glad,” Helena said softly, “for one so young she’s already been burdened with too much sorrow.”
Myka stared at Helena longingly through the screen for a moment and then reached out to trace her features once more before she sighed softly.
Claudia wasn’t the only one who had been burdened with more sorrow than one person should have to bear.
“I wish I could touch you,” Myka breathed out. “Why couldn’t they let you stay here at the B&B while they deliberated?” she continued a bit petulantly.
At that moment she wanted desperately to hold Helena in her arms and she was deeply resenting the fact that she couldn’t.
“I imagine they feared that if I were to kiss your lips and hold you against me once more that nothing on this earth could tear me away from you again. They’re keeping me contained so that I can’t run if the decision they reach isn’t to my liking,” Helena responded with weary pragmatism.
“If you ran we’d be separated,” Myka pointed out, though if the Regents decided to keep Helena locked up they’d be separated anyway.
“True, but at least then we could ‘video-conference sex’,” Helena replied and Myka couldn’t help but smile.
Myka shifted slightly on her bed, and then hugged her pillow against her chest more tightly as she gazed into her monitor, watching Helena’s hands move around as she talked animatedly about a case she had worked on in the 19th century while at Warehouse 12.
“No way!” Myka exclaimed suddenly, narrowing her eyes suspiciously at Helena as she pointed her finger at her through the screen.
“Way,” Helena responded indignantly, and Myka stared at her for a second before making a face.
“I think the 21st century is beginning negatively affect your manner of speech,” Myka said, shaking her head to try and rid herself of the image that had popped into her head of Helena with blonde hair playing volleyball on a Californian beach.
"When in America … talk, you know, like Americans … or whatever,” Helena drawled in a passable American accent making Myka smile at her and chuckle. “Not cool, man. Way to suck at being a bro,” she continued making Myka laugh more. “Shut your face! Who do you think you are? You don’t know me!” Helena went on making Myka laugh so hard she buried her face in her pillow.
“I’m laughing,” Myka began when she had gained enough control of her body to speak intelligently, “but hearing you speak like that broke something inside of me,” she continued and Helena grinned. “Rage, Helena. Rage against the dying of proper grammatical structure. Stay classy and Victorian.”
“If you insist,” Helena replied, smiling tenderly at Myka.
“I most definitely insist,” Myka responded. “I strenuously, emphatically, vigorously insist.”
“Are we still talking about the English language, darling? Because when you use words like ‘strenuously’ and ‘vigorously’ in the same sentence my mind refuses to stay focused on grammar,” Helena purred.
“You’re like a thirteen year old boy sometimes,” Myka replied rolling her eyes at the other woman, but after a couple of seconds she couldn’t keep the annoyed expression on her face and her lips curved up in an affectionate smile.
“So be it. The important thing is that I don’t fu …” Helena’s response was halted when the door to her room opened. “…like one,” Helena sighed as Adwin Kosan strutted further into her room. “Is it bedtime?” Helena asked; her voice now crisp and lofty as she focused her attention on Mr. Kosan.
“You’re a grown woman Ms. Wells, I’ll leave it up to you to decide when you go to sleep. It is however, time for your conversation with Agent Bering to come to an end,” Kosan said, coming to a stop a meter and a half away from where Helena was lying.
Helena parted her lips to issue a protest, to request more time, to complain about being in holding at all, but she stopped herself before she could speak. The truth was that she had earned the Regents suspicion, and she was lucky to have gotten this time alone to speak with Myka – even if it was over a computer. Besides that, her fate still lay in the hands of this man and she would do herself no favors by antagonizing him.
“I am afraid the time has come,” Helena said, her voice gentling as she turned her attention to Myka once more.
Myka breathed in sharply and blinked a few times, then nodded her head.
“Well then,” Helena sighed, “I suppose this is adieu … until we meet again,” she continued smiling, though her eyes were sad with the inevitability of their parting.
Helena took a deep breath as if preparing to say more, but no sound escaped from her lips. Instead she used that deep, fortifying breath to work up the courage to mouth, “I love you,” to Myka.
She wasn’t sure how the words would be received given all that had happened between them, so Helena’s heart soared when her gamble paid off and Myka mouthed, “I love you too,” back to her as she gazed at Helena with eyes that shimmered with unshed tears.
“Goodnight, Myka,” Helena whispered.
“Goodnight, Helena,” Myka breathed out.
And then Helena was gone.
Myka stared at the blank screen for a moment, and then she closed the top of her laptop and pushed it away from her, before flopping onto her back and tightening her arms around her pillow.
It had only been a minute but she already missed Helena intensely.
Myka rolled her eyes at herself before releasing a soft sigh and curling up on her side. She hugged her pillow closer to her and closed her eyes, preparing herself for another restless night. It was okay though, because while she only had her pillow to hold that night, soon Helena would be back at the Warehouse and in her arms, and finally all would be right with her world again.