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Blood and Bronze

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“Hey Mykes, get this!” Claudia said excitedly when the agent’s face appeared on her screen. “You are not the first agent to go looking for this thing!”

“Well I figured that,” Myka replied with a roll of her eyes.

“No, I mean, the Warehouse has sent people after this before, and I’m not talking just one or two agents. They called in the cavalry trying to find this thing!”

Myka frowned, staring at the excited hacker. “They did? When? How come – ”

“ – it’s not in the logs?” Claudia finished. She was in her hideout in the duplicate B&B, having not only tested the possibility of sending messages from within the artifact, but the possibility of using said artifact as signal security. Now, sitting in a sort of communicative Fort Knox, Claudia was rifling through another stack of files she’d pilfered from the Warehouse archives. “It was all very hush-hush,” she continued, flipping through some papers. “It happened back in the days of Warehouse 11, in Moscow. Every agent – and there were loads at the time – was sent after it, but they all came up empty. Apparently the higher-ups were going to use it to bring down Napoleon and his entire army.”

Myka actually winced. “I can’t see that going down in history too well.”

“No kidding,” Claudia agreed fervently. “The good part is, they didn’t find it, so the Doctor didn’t have to swoop down in the TARDIS and fix a catastrophe bigger than the actual Battle of Borodino. The bad part is the city governor at the time ordered Moscow burned – it was a sort of ‘scorched earth’ thing he did so Napoleon couldn’t have it – and thousands of artifacts were destroyed. Pete couldn’t have saved them with a snow globe, nor you with a letter opener,” she added, gesturing to her surroundings.

“Great hiding spot, by the way,” Myka commented.

“Thanks!” Claudia said with a quick glance and grin. “Anyway, the whole thing was bad enough that it prompted the Regents to start working on Warehouse 12. Hundreds of agents had died in that fire.”

“Wait, did you say hundreds of agents?”

“Yeah, why?” When Myka was silent, Claudia looked up from the pages in her lap with a frown, peering closely at the agent. What she saw made her stomach drop and her heart clench. Myka – confident, headstrong Myka – slumped where she sat, wearing an expression of utter, anguish-wrought defeat. Tears were welling in her eyes, and just the sight made Claudia begin to feel them prick at the edges of hers. “Mykes?” she asked tentatively.

“Claud…if hundreds of agents couldn’t find it, how do I even have any hope?”

Claudia’s stomach dropped further, and she shoved the files aside to clench her fists on her knees. “Because you’re not a hundred agents!” When Myka frowned at her, Claudia continued, “Come on, think of it like…like when you were in the Secret Service! There isn’t a huge army protecting the president – just a few covert individuals!”

“‘A few’ enough to compose an army…” Myka countered.

“Fine, but….” The hacker struggled for a better elaboration. “Look…how many times in history have one or a few succeeded where hundreds have failed? The Trojan War, David and Goliath, the Holy Grail – ”

“Those are mythology and stories, Claudia.”

“ – but every myth starts with a grain of truth, right?” Claudia was pleading by this point. “Look, if…if you want to retrieve a priceless diamond from the middle of the castle, do you send every troop to storm the gates, or do you send one person to sneak in and get it?”

Myka arched an eyebrow. “Spend a little too much time playing video games with Pete, do you?”

“No,” replied a very frustrated Claudia. “It’s…it’s….” She grasped at more straws. “You’re like the Little Engine That Could!” She blurted. When Myka’s other eyebrow joined the first at her hairline, Claudia sighed, her shoulders drooping to match the agent’s earlier posture.

“Look, Mykes,” the hacker began after a long, sad pause. “I’m not super-spiritual or anything, but if there’s one thing getting Joshua out of that artifact taught me, it’s this: if you really, really want something, and you really, really work for it, sometimes the world turns in your favor.” She lifted her head to see that Myka had lowered hers, biting her lip as she looked at her hands. “Those hundreds of agents Warehouse 11 sent? They were only looking for it ‘cause they were told to,” Claudia continued. “That’s why they didn’t find it. But you? You have a reason to find it, and a selfless reason at that.” When Myka glanced up at her with another eyebrow-raise, she amended, “Ok, maybe not completely selfless, but it’s not like you’re trying to affect the outcome of an entire revolution. Myka…they didn’t find it ‘cause they wanted it. You’re gonna find it ‘cause you need it.”

Myka thought on Claudia’s words for a moment, and when she lifted her head to look at the hacker again, the agent had slowly begun to smile. “Not ‘super-spiritual,’ huh?”

Claudia shrugged, a little embarrassed. “That or I’ve read the first Harry Potter book a few times and…maybe watched the movie a few more.” She rubbed the back of her neck. “And hey, it’s not the first time an artifact has gone and had a personality on us.” She cleared her throat and straightened a little, trying to look, if not innocent, at least casual and nonchalant. But when Myka began to chuckle, Claudia couldn’t help but grin, relieved that she’d managed to restore at least a little bit of hope.

“Thanks, Claudia,” Myka said softly, obviously thinking the same thing. “I dunno what I’d do without you.”

“Kick the same ass you usually do,” Claudia quipped back without missing a beat, her own smile wry. Myka laughed outright, and Claudia couldn’t help but join her.

Despite the duplicate B&B’s protection, Claudia couldn’t keep a secure Skype connection forever, and was forced to say goodbye to Myka. She had just packed up everything when –

“Claudia?”

The hacker froze when she heard Pete’s voice, trying not to panic as she formulated an exit strategy. Shouldering her bag, she slunk out of the inn and immediately doubled-back several rows before coming back around from a completely different direction. When Pete found her as she headed back to the office, she was nowhere near anything that would implicate her presence at the B&B. “Hey, Pete!” Claudia said with fake cheer. “What’s up?”

“Are you ok?” Pete asked warily. “I thought I heard you talking to someone.”

Claudia gave a negligent flip of her hand. “I was testing the effect of artifact proximity on communicative signals,” she lied smoothly. “I was sending myself a voicemail to test phone receiving capabilities from an electronic source possibly affected by nearby, dormant artifacts.” She did a mental fist-pump as she saw Pete’s eyes glaze over slightly at the techno-babble. And it wasn’t really a lie – she had done signal testing to make sure she could contact Myka from within the B&B. Pete just didn’t need to know that.

“All right,” the agent in question replied. “Just…makin’ sure, y’know?” As much as he tried to hide it, Claudia could see the sadness in his eyes and the melancholy still weighing heavily on his shoulders.

“She’s coming back, Pete,” Claudia said softly, putting a comforting hand on his arm. When he met her gaze, she gave him a little half-smile, trying to encourage one in return. His only response was a forced shrug, making the weight of depression all the more visible.

“If you say so,” he mumbled, turning and walking away.

Claudia watched him go, heart twisting in her chest once again. Hurry up, Myka, she pleaded to herself, sending out a prayer to any higher power that was listening.

* * *

Myka sighed and set aside the paper she’d been looking over. She’d been reading the same paragraph for the past fifteen minutes and she couldn’t remember a single word of it. She was far too distracted to concentrate, even if her research was for the object of her distraction.

Helena.

The agent leaned back against the headboard and let her thoughts drift to the raven-haired woman, imagining the sensual curve of her lips as she smiled, dark eyes alight. Myka wondered, and not for the first time, what it would be like to touch those lips with hers – to run her tongue along their soft fullness and savor the taste of Helena. In turn, she imagined what those lips would feel like on her own skin, along the column of her throat, against her breasts, around her nipples….

It took Myka a moment to realize that, in the haze of her fantasy, she had actually reached under her shirt and begun to gently tweak said nipples with her fingertips, coaxing them into stiff peaks. She was so startled that she actually stopped for a moment, and was even more surprised when doing so provoked a deep sense of loss, Helena’s image almost seeming to fade in her mind. The brunette took a deep breath, trying to make sense of her subconscious actions, even though she knew full well what they meant.

Well…since she had gotten this far….

Myka stood up just long enough to strip herself naked before crawling back between the bedcovers, squirming a little at the delicious feeling of the cool sheets on her bare skin. Wasting no time, she brought her hands back to her nipples, gently tugging and tweaking. She traced her fingertips along the curves of her breasts, closing her eyes and imagining that they were Helena’s lips on her skin. In her mind’s eye, Helena lay poised above her breasts, gazing up at her with dark eyes that fairly smoldered with lust. Her tongue darted out to graze Myka’s nipple, and the agent moaned as she tugged harder on the aching bud.

The Helena in her imagination slid slowly down Myka’s body, and Myka immediately spread her legs to accommodate her. The brunette sucked on her own index finger for a moment before bringing the wet digit between her folds and rubbing her fingertip against her clit. She whimpered as it became Helena’s tongue, prodding and teasing her before circling her entrance. With a gasping cry, Myka slid her finger deep into her core, Helena’s sweet lips and tongue caressing her silken walls.

The brunette brought her other hand down to pinch and twist at her clit, Helena’s pale fingers manipulating the slick bundle of nerves throbbing for attention. Myka was unable to control her moans and whimpers as she slid a second finger inside, buried to the knuckle. She curled her fingers when she was deepest, throwing her head back with a scream and bucking her hips from the bed as she brushed her sweet spot. Helena hummed against her folds as she flicked the tip of her tongue against the inner treasure she’d found, sending Myka dizzyingly higher. The agent thrashed beneath the covers as her mind’s Helena brought her closer and closer to the edge, relentlessly assaulting her with pleasurable touch. It was a twist of Myka’s fingers, of Helena’s tongue, that sent the brunette arching off the bed, crying out Helena’s name as her climax slammed through her. Her body shook as the dark-haired woman never ceased with her fingers and tongue, riding out the agent’s orgasm. Only when Myka lay limp on the bed did Helena slow to a stop and withdraw, but not before placing a sweet, gentle kiss on Myka’s sex.

And then Myka opened her eyes to find herself alone, her own hands between her legs, her imaginary Helena fading away.

Tears filled Myka’s eyes as she curled up into a ball, turning on her side and hugging her pillow. The beautiful image of Helena between her legs was just that – an image conjured in passion. The thought made the brunette’s eyes widen with realization. She had just…and to thoughts of….

Myka threw back the covers with a sob and stumbled from the bed, face burning with shame. She all but sprinted to the bathroom and turned on the shower as fast as she could, determined to wash away the evidence of what she had just done. What would Helena think if she knew? How disgusted would she be to know that the brunette got off to thoughts of her?

Myka sank to the floor of the shower and cried, letting the hot water mingle with her tears and wash them away along with every glorious moment of her release as she hid a longing she could not name.

* * *

When Helena turned on her lantern that night, she had trouble holding back a gasp. Despite the fact that she was in nothing but a plain terrycloth robe (or perhaps because of it), Myka looked so astonishingly beautiful kneeling on the bed next to the Scrabble board, hair cascading over her shoulders in shower-damp tendrils as she smiled at the other woman. Caught, Helena waited until Myka had looked away for a moment before actually shaking her head to get her mind back on track. “So, back to English?” she asked quickly, nodding at the board.

“Not quite,” Myka replied with a quirk of her lips. She spelled out “DICO” on the board. “Et tu, Helena?” she asked. The moment the words left her lips, her eyes widened as she clasped her hand over her mouth. “Helena, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…I meant…I didn’t…I don’t…” she stumbled, overcome by panic at the implication – the implication that she still blamed her. That Helena had turned on her. That Helena was the Brutus to her Caesar and had betrayed her. It was everything but what Myka meant, and she couldn’t even attribute it to a Freudian slip – she had forgiven Helena with her entire heart.

Myka bit her lip and was about to try and stutter out more of an explanation, but Helena held up her hand. “Myka, Myka, I understand. I do. I know what you meant.” When the brunette looked at her pleadingly for confirmation, she found no resentment or anger or sorrow in Helena’s eyes – only understanding.

“Damn you, Shakespeare,” Myka muttered, shaking her head. Helena chuckled at this before spelling out “IANUA.”

As Myka had predicted, Helena once again won by a landslide, leaving the agent grumbling. “How do you do that?” she asked as she cast a literally defeated look at the board. Helena shrugged, a smile of utter innocence on her face.

“Beginner’s luck, darling.”

Myka made a noise of disbelief. “Pfft. Yeah right,” she shot back, though with a playful smile. With an exaggerated sigh, she put the board away and settled under the covers. “So I guess you get to pick the story again,” she continued with mock aggravation.

“Mm hm,” Helena replied, her mischievous tone obvious even in just two syllables. “I wonder what sort of trouble Myka the Cat could get into in the Warehouse?”

The real Myka cringed. “Ooooohhhhhhh no. She’s a cat – she’ll get into more trouble than little Pete. She’ll get into more trouble than big Pete – than the two Petes combined!”

“Don’t be silly – if she’s anything like you, which she obviously is, she’ll be perfectly well-behaved.”

“If you insist.” Myka’s smile became one of genuine fondness, and wistful look crossed her face.

Helena’s own smile faded. “I’m sorry, darling, I didn’t mean to make you sad.”

“It’s all right, Helena,” Myka replied, her turn to be reassuring. “I miss them, yeah, but I don’t regret leaving. I’ll be going back,” she said firmly, looking Helena in the eye, “and you’ll be going with me.”

The silence that passed between them for a moment was aching with a tenderness neither would admit to and thus masked by a deep sense of caring. It wasn’t long before what was left unsaid overwhelmed what had been shared in words, and Myka cleared her throat to break its hold. “So, gonna tell me that story?”

Helena grinned as Myka settled under the covers, pretending to be deep in thought. “We return to the tale – and tail – ” (Myka giggled) “–of Myka the Cat, who had unwittingly come across an artifact of the most mysterious origins. It was with some trepidation that she eyed the scratching post that radiated the smell of catnip….”