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Last call for Vodka

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Girl, I know you try, you fly straight into my heart, but here comes the fall

 

Six months after the Roundtable and nearly two years after Boone, HG found herself standing in Artie’s office once again.

With Mrs. Fredric in her sunset years as Caretaker Claudia was being pulled away more and more while the cases piled up.  They were stretched too thin, even with Artie and Abigail pitching in and none of the candidates in the Agent pipeline were quite ready. 

So why not call the most experienced Agent on the planet out of retirement?

 

“I know you’ve been snagging curiosities,” Irene arched an eyebrow.  “Trying to help out.”

Helena smirked as she recalled a much younger Irene Fredric’s first encounter with an artifact.  “That does not mean that I want to return to the Warehouse.”

“But it wants you back. Quite a bit actually.”

 

“Finally,” Artie actually seemed relieved that HG had returned.  “Claudia is off with The Regents this week and we’ve got quite a case load.  Here,” he handed over a file. “This one is yours and Myka’s.”

Helena didn’t look up from her perusal of the folder as a ripple of tension went through the room. She’d kept in her promise and had met Myka a few times since Boone. She’d learned about Paracelsus, the cancer scare, and the Warehouse’s almost departure from North America.

She’d also gotten an earful about “Pyka” from Claudia.

“Don’t,” Artie cut off any discussion on the matter. “HG has the connections and the skill set that is perfect for this mission. That’s if you and what’s her name ended on amiable terms.”

“Giselle,” Helena lowered the folder, “and yes.”

“Perfect.  You two will leave for Italy tomorrow.”

 

Helena took her pillow and sound dampening ear phones to the couch that evening. Her room was next to Pete’s at the Bed and Breakfast.

The sounds of Myka and Pete saying ‘goodbye’ were too much for her to take.

 

Helena had always cared for Myka. Some might even call it love and at one point she might have as well. But now those feelings were on low given the surprisingly easy return to their friendship and Myka’s current relationship status.  They quickly fell into their Wells and Bering/Bering and Wells routine as they tracked the artifact across the Mediterranean.

Italy had lead to Monaco that had led to a harrowing experience in Valencia then down to North Africa with another harrowing experience in Tunis and back up into Italy when finally in Palermo they captured the curiosity.

 

What was supposed to be a ‘few days, a week tops’ had turned into nearly a month spent nearly constantly in Myka’s company, including saving her life. (Though Myka had returned the favor later on.)

So as Helena sat next to Myka, watching the sun set over the city, it only felt right for their hands to join, for them to lean a little closer.

And for them to kiss for the first of many times that night.

 

 

You feel the sweet breath of time, it’s whispering its truth not mine, there’s no I in threesome

 

“Something happened,” Steve said quietly. “Something happened on that case.”

“What case,” Claudia looked up from her laptop.

“The one in Italy that HG and Myka were on,” Steve watched for the countless time as Myka and HG pulled away, just ever so slightly, from one another when Pete entered the room.

Pete seemed oblivious to the new closeness that the other two Agents shared. And he knew from the noises that came from Myka’s room at night that she and Pete were still getting along well.

“Do me a favor,” he said, getting up from the breakfast table. “Watch them today,” he nodded towards the other room. “And tell me you don’t see it.”

“See what?”

“You’ll know.”

 

Claudia watched as HG read a message on her phone for what must have been the tenth time in about 20 minutes. 

First of all, she had obviously hacked that phone because it looked way cooler that standard Android. Second of all, who did HG know that she could be exchanged that many text messages with?

“Hey HG you almost done with that row?” Claudia called out, read to move on to the next section of inventory.

“HG,” Claudia tried again. Finally, “Hey old lady you done yet?”

“I beg your pardon!” HG whirled around, clearly annoyed.

“Are you ready to move on to the next row? I’m done with my side.”

“Oh right,” HG calmed. “Sorry, I’m not quite done. I’ll see you over there in a bit?”

“Okay,” Claudia tried to catch a glimpse of HG’s cell screen but the older woman pocketed the phone just as she walked past.

 

“Done already?” Myka greeted them as they entered the office.

“We would be if someone wasn’t distracted,” Claudia teased as she plopped down at her desk.

“Distracted?” Myka smirked and looked up at HG.

“I’m a bit preoccupied today.”

Claudia’s eyes widened as she watched the exchange. She remembered those looks, try as hard as they did to hide them.

“Are you guy’s hungry? Pete and I were going back to the B&B for lunch.”

“Starving,” Claudia stood quickly. “Where’s Pete?”

“He went outside to return a call from his mom.”

Claudia practically sprinted down the Umbilicus. Steve was in Featherhead with Artie today and if there was ever a moment she needed to talk to her best friend this was it.

Pete was wrapping up his call a few minutes later when Bering and Wells finally made it outside.

And if HG’s shirt was now untucked, Claudia chose not to notice.

 

“How can he not know?” Claudia looked at Steve as they sat on the back porch.  “I mean they are not hiding in plain sight.”

“I don’t know what to tell you Claude.  It was harder to spot at first but now it’s so obvious.”

“Do we tell Pete? Should we tell him?”

“Tell me what?” Pete’s voice caused the pair to jump.  He leaned against the door frame with a plate of HG’s freshly baked cookies in his hand.

“Hey Pete,” Steve recovered first. “Are those fresh cookies?”

“They are,” he offered the plate. “HG took them out of the oven right before she and Myka headed into town to hook up.”

Claudia felt all of the color drain from her face.

“Hook up?” Steve squeaked.

“You know, hook up,” he waved the plate a little. “Do the nasty. Fuck behind my back.” He took another cookie from the plate. “They think I don’t know but I do.”

“And you’re okay?” Claudia found her voice.

“Are you kidding?” Pete scoffed. “I’ll let Myka get it out of her system but I don’t do open relationships. Not for the long haul.”

“But what if…”

“Myka will come around. One way or another.” Claudia felt herself shrinking back from the look in Pete’s eye.

 

Well, I made you and now I take you back. It’s too late but today I can define the lack

Myka hadn’t visited Japan in years.  That last time she’d been part of the President’s detail right after her transfer from Denver.  She wasn’t supposed to be on the list but one of the Secret Service Agent’s wife had suffered a stroke and he couldn’t go. So Dickenson pulled some strings and she’d found herself on Air Force One a cabin length away from the leader of the free world.

How naïve she’d been.

They’d been in the country for less than five days and everything that could have gone wrong had. HG had been detained at the airport for a day with questions about her passport. Steve had gotten ill from some bad sushi and was laid out for a full day and a half with food poisoning.  Pete had been pick pocketed somewhere on Takeshita Street, including the Farnsworth which had sent Artie into the largest fit she’d seen since her first year at the Warehouse.

Claudia had popped in Mrs. Fredric style not soon after and used her skills to track the device on the black market and get it back within 24 hours. (Pete’s cash and credit cards were a lost cause.)

Worst of all they still were at square one with the artifact from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.  

But the true icing on the cake was the now underlying tension between Pete, Helena and herself.  Myka felt sure that there was no way Pete could know about the new level of relationship she had with Helena.  (Well, relatively sure.)  She and Pete were still dating and doing other things and she really did love him.

Her feelings for Helena were a bit more nebulous.

It could be the case too. Everyone was on edge. Steve had recovered but was concerned because whatever Claudia used to teleport herself to Japan had laid her up in the hotel for the next few days. Pete was still pissed the theft and could be taking that frustration out by bickering with Helena.

And Helena, charming and beautiful Helena, had given her a cool shoulder most of this trip, especially after a vigorous night with Pete.  (Not that they hadn’t had their own moments during the trip.) But it wasn’t the same, never the same, and she knew that the Victorian wasn’t into playing the role of ‘the other woman’ for the long term.

 

It was late or very early depending on how you looked at things. They had been up for nearly 24 hours chasing a lead (finally) that had lead to another that had almost gotten them the artifact.  They were waiting on word from Claudia who was working some magic on her laptop.  Pete and Steve had headed out to grab some snacks for the team, leaving her alone with Helena for the first time in nearly a week.

Normally a time like this would mean more than them just sitting quietly in the hotel room.  Normally a time like this during the past six weeks would have seen them tumbling into bed, or onto a chair, or against the wall, or on the desk, or on the…

“I can’t do this anymore,” Helena’s somber voice broke Myka trip down memory lane.

“Do what?”

“This.”

 

Now I’ve tried the brakes, I tried but you know it’s a lonely ride

Helena knew she was no more than one more glass of vodka from being drunk. It was just past 10pm on a Thursday night and normally she’d be reading in her room or working on a project.

But the very loud and very disturbing sounds of Myka and Pete in the room next door had driven her downstairs and into her hidden stash of spirits.  She now sat in a dark sunroom brooding.

It was nights like this when she questioned her resolve to remain platonic friends with Myka. When she fought against a jealous rage that seemed to lurk underneath the surface more and more.  It had been a month since Japan and ever since it seemed as if Myka threw her relationship in her face.  More dates, more inside jokes, more….

Helena reached for the bottle as Pete’s shouts broke her concentration.

“Bloody hell,” she grunted as she poured.

“They seem especially loud tonight,” Abigail’s voice caused HG’s head to snap up. The B&B’s owner held out her empty glass.

HG smirked. “One wonders where they get the energy after a long day at the Warehouse.”

“To be honest,” Abigail sat down across from HG at the table. “I thought this level of intensity would have burned itself out.”

“Do tell.”

The former therapist sipped her drink. “Given what I’d heard about you I thought she’d broken it off by now.”

“And what have you heard Miss Cho?”

“Your dark past, your path to redemption, it’s all in your file,” she paused. “But the energy between you and Myka? I thought Claudia had made that part up.”

HG couldn’t help herself when she burst into laughter.

“It wasn’t enough,” Helena spoke as she calmed, feeling the full affects of the alcohol. “It wasn’t quite enough.”

“Well Myka’s loss is someone else’s gain then.”

HG’s blood hummed. She knew this dance and well.

 

And to the destruction in men, And to all the corruption in my hand

Artie stood on the top of the stairs watching his team in the office below.  And this was his team, without a doubt for the first time during his career as an Agent.

When he’d started at Warehouse 13, Nixon had just left office in disgrace and Charlie Martin headed a team of just over 30 Agents. But the 70s had been a rough time and by the time he had been handed the reins (unofficially) in the late 80s, the team had been cut in half.

There had even been a time when it was only he, Leena and an occasional Regent who would go out on retrievals, they had been so few and so benign.

But those times were a distant memory and this team had been the one he’d worked so hard to develop.  And for a time they had been one of the best at 13. He watched as Claudia and HG discussed one of their many side projects for ‘Warehouse improvement’ while Myka worked on case files.  He could here Pete and Steve talking about reorganizing one of the aisles that kept acting up just out of view.

On the surface, the best.

He also saw Myka cast another longing glance at HG which caused Pete’s voice to falter. He could see the tension increase in Claudia’s shoulders. He watched Pete come into view along with Steve. Pete perching close to Myka on the edge of her desk which caused HG to frown and Steve to send a worried look towards Claudia.

Abigail came into view just then having entered the office and exchanged a heated glance with HG who had turned away from Claudia. Myka stood suddenly and headed towards the small break just out of sight.  Pete managed to complete his sentence and with a dark glare at HG headed off to purse Myka.

HG’s pained eye’s met his briefly before she returned her full attention to her conversation with Claudia.

“The best of times, the worst of times,” he said softly as he headed down the stairs.