Bering & Wells Late Night Feature: Chapter #1
Welcome, dear reader.
If you are well versed in the Warehouse 13 canon and the pairing of Myka/HG, proceed right away to the disclaimers.
If you haven’t really heard or seen anything of Warehouse 13 until now, but figured that you’d give the story a try anyway: thank you for your vote of confidence.
Since I am sticking rather closely to canon (at least up to episode 4×01) for this story, some knowledge of the show will most likely enhance your reading pleasure. In a nutshell, Warehouse 13, set in present day, is about a rag-tag group of geeks who are hunting down objects (“artifacts”) that have magical powers of some kind, with the aim of safely storing away said items at the ominous “warehouse”. Famous sci-fi pioneer HG Wells also forms part of this team (time travel. It’s complicated) and is, in the show, a woman called Helena whose works were published under her brother’s name.
For the background of this story’s main protagonists, HG and Myka, check out lysachan’s shipper mainfesto for a succinct outline of their history and important moments (eye candy included). For some shipper vibes and some glorious fandom artwork, follow the “Bering and Wells” tag on Tumblr (and, among many great Tumblrs, those of Race, Winged Mammal and ThreeOfEight). There are fan fiction sections dedicated to this pairing at P&P and AO3.
(Chapter #1 – beta-read by Beta Boop)
Disclaimer: “Warehouse 13” is property of SyFy and Jack Kenny. Also, Jane Espenson of Buffy is among the creators, which makes me feel infinitely better about pouring hours upon hours into this endeavor. I don’t own anything, not even the command of my sparse writing time (ask the plot bunnies). No copyright infringement is intended by writing this story; no pecuniary gain is attempted or achieved (story of my life – well, in life, I do at least try). All I own is my brain (most of the time), and my words.
Rating: This story deals with women. In love. With each other. Which is why we are here in the first place, right? If you made it this far and this is not your cup of tea, you’ve got me puzzled (though by all means, please read on, it might broaden your horizons and broad horizons are a beautiful thing). – Will there be sex? I dearly hope so. (Have you seen these characters look at each other? Of course there will be sex. Eventually) I call it romance, others may call it NC-17. Have your pick.
Timeframe & Spoilers: The plot bunnies showed up after the Season 4 premiere and I was still writing the storyboard by the time 4×02 rolled around, so despite this story picking up right after the 4×01 credits, there are some elements of 4×02 incorporated (Claudia not going evil (yet), Jinks coming back, Jane going kind of rogue). There may be gaps since I am still trying to catch up with earlier seasons, so if there are canon errors, feel free to point them out. The same applies to all other kinds of errors.
Updates: No regular posting date, the posting frequency will depend on my schedules. If you’ve ever read anything of mine, you know that I always finish my stories (even if it may take me a while sometimes) and that I have no particular talent for being brief.
Beta Notes: I write and post this story late at night. When very tired, my brain tends to mix up words or omit some of them altogether. In that state, it also loves to parade the fact that English is not my native language. I apologize on both counts because despite rereading before posting, I always miss things.
Archiving: Eye Bags only.
– – — And she threw up her hands to cover her face as she knelt, to see nothing more after this smile.
(after RM Rilke, “Alkestis”)
The tunnels around him faded to gray before he realized that the clamminess and the cold weren’t resonating off the walls, but coming from his own body. And only then did he realize that he was hit. Thoughts stumbled over one another in a flash: pain, fear, incredulity – this was not how it was supposed to end, and where was Myka, anyway? His mind needed another moment to connect the dead priest at his feet, a bloody knife clutched in his hand, with the nausea and the numbness spreading through him.
Was it supposed to hurt this much?
He staggered against the wall. It was slick with humidity, or perhaps his hands were. Tendrils of gray grasped at his consciousness as the pain drove him to his knees. Through a rush of pain and fear he saw his mother’s face and he called out to her, but no sound came from his throat.
He was trained not to be afraid of dying, but the last thing he knew, frozen by pain on a moldy floor, was the utter fright of dying alone.
Pete Lattimer bolted upright in his bed, his hands trembling. Hurriedly, he reached for the hem of his t-shirt, feeling around his abdomen in reflex. No knife wound, no blood.
“Worst. Nightmare. Ever.” he muttered to himself, but it came out a lot less nonchalant than he had intended.
Sweat ran down his back and when he pulled back the sheets, their clammy feel immediately transported him back into his dreamscape, with the tunnel walls closing in around him.
“Creepy.” He swung his legs out of the bed and stood. Perhaps it was time for a late-night snack. Leena had been cooking up a storm earlier this evening – the innkeeper’s way of dealing with close calls – and it had been a really close call this time: his entire workplace and his team almost blown up by a bomb. And not all of them had made it through this mission.
The old floorboards creaked under his feet as he slid past the other rooms – no light in Myka’s room, none in Claudia’s and none in Artie’s. And none in Steve’s, of course. Pete shook his head, his expression grim. There would never be a light again in Steve’s room.
He just hoped that someone else was still awake. He really didn’t want to be alone right now.
The kitchen was quiet and clean and smelled of cookies and pie, as was the living room. Only at second glance, he saw that Myka was sitting on the couch, staring out into the night.
“Can’t sleep, either?” he asked around a mouthful of cookie.
Myka looked up at him and at the cookies in his hand. The smile she gave him was somewhere between fond and wry. Not for the first time, Pete found himself thinking that, while usually he liked to see himself as Myka’s older brother, it was actually Myka who was his older sister. Not that he would ever admit that to her.
He let himself fall onto the couch next to her, feeling his nightmare slowly fade away. “Cookie?” he asked, holding one out to her, although he knew she would say no.
Myka sounded weary. And there was something else Pete couldn’t quite put his finger on, but it was not good. He stopped chewing when he finally realized that Myka was still in her street clothes – booted feet primly set next to each other, her leather jacket drawn around her frame as if to ward off a chill.
She hadn’t even tried to catch some sleep, which, after a mission that included a trip to Hong Kong, being nearly killed by a chess game, and saving the day and the warehouse from a bomb at the last moment, was odd.
“Is Artie still at the warehouse?”
“Mhm.” Myka nodded, her glance flicking over to the door.
Pete wasn’t sure what in her eyes gave Myka away, but he suddenly remembered that before Hong Kong and stopping Sykes, something else had happened: they had gotten HG back. Or, well, they had pieced her back together, her mind that had been stored in a coin for a year, and her body. A body that had spent the last year running around with a personality implant of a school teacher with an American accent. Pete was comfortably certain that this had been creepier to see on HG than the holographic version of her that was only tied to her mind.
And now she was back and, yes, she had helped them, but she was probably still at the Warehouse being questioned by the Regents. They were the ones who had split HG up in the first place, and they hadn’t exactly given their permission to have her reunited again.
And now Myka was waiting up for HG.
The understanding must have registered on Pete’s face because Myka simply asked, “What do you think they’ll do to her? Will they force her back into the Janus coin?”
Quips about a newly holographic HG at least not having to worry about her wardrobe or wrinkles would not be appreciated, so Pete shrugged. “She did help us. That has to count, right?” It was better than pointing out that HG would probably be split in two again by now, if the Regents wanted to do so. Or that they had her put back into Bronze already, frozen for perhaps another hundred years, with that mind of hers running a mile a minute.
“We wouldn’t have made it without her.”
Myka was right, Pete had to concede, but HG had also gone evil twice and racked up a body count, so who knew how the Regents would see it. As far as Pete could tell, Hologram HG had done the trick and turned the woman mellow. At least he hadn’t gotten any bad vibes about her since, perhaps because most of what he had seen of HG since she showed up in holographic form had been a lot of long looks and quiet sighs.
“She saved my life, they have to take that into account,” Myka reasoned.
If it had been anyone else, Pete would have been teasing Myka – straight-laced, picture book agent Myka – about still having a soft spot for the bad girl, but when it came to HG, Myka couldn’t take a joke. Pete remembered all too well how Myka had been ready to walk away from everything – himself included – in the wake of HG crossing them in Egypt.
“Who knows what the Regents take into account?” Pete was dubious. The Regents had let Steve Jinks die, too. “Besides, would they really reinstate her as an agent – again?”
That hadn’t been the right thing to say because Myka looked even more worried now. “She is a good agent.”
“On a good day,” Pete agreed. On a bad day, she had tried to end the world, just that one time, the time that Myka still didn’t talk about. “And even if they let her go, do you think they’ll let her come back here?” Pete’s gesture encompassed their boarding house, their team and the warehouse.
“Where else would she go?” HG not coming back was clearly not an option in Myka’s mind. “She knows too much about the warehouse to go anywhere else, so either they let her come back, or…”
“No need to get worked up over that.” And no need for Myka to finish that particular phrase because now, she looked downright fretful. “I just meant that the Regents probably have more hotels than just this one.” Pete waited for Myka to nod at that. “And, you know, perhaps they just want to wait a little while to make sure she doesn’t go evil again, now that she is back in one piece.” He saw Myka relax a little at that argument, and he could only hope that he was right.
“Yeah, it’ll probably be a while,” Myka agreed with a smile that would have needed several notches more to be convincing. “Her room isn’t even here any longer, and all her things are confiscated or in storage…”
But even as she said it, Myka remembered the small wooden box sitting on the top shelf in her closet.
There was one thing of Helena’s right here, in this house.
Helena had often worn those shawls, tucked underneath her shirt collars, right against her skin, elegant scraps of cool silk. And one, a dark violet one, she had forgotten in Myka’s room that one evening where they —
Myka didn’t even know why she had kept it.
It made her remember the way Helena always leaned in too closely, the scent of her skin in the air like it was clinging to the fabric of that shawl now. It made Myka remember the playful glances, the little touches, and the sensation of being swept off her feet. Literally, even.
It made her remember the time they had kissed, and how subsequently that shawl had ended up in her possession, and it made her remember the other time they had kissed, evening light filtering through the tent flap and sand in their hair, and Helena’s hands, and then Helena had stopped.
Because Helena already had what she needed.
And then Helena had stomped all over their bond, in her relentless search for revenge, trampling it deliberately into pieces. Or that was what it held felt like to Myka.
Perhaps Myka had only imagined that bond in the first place? It had made her feel like a failure, and it had made her cancel everything and run – and if there was one thing that Myka didn’t do, it was run – because it just hurt, it hurt so much—
Seated on the couch next to Pete, another sensation of hurt suddenly trickled down Myka’s spine, an echo of something, a mix of despair and desolation that seemed to reach right into her chest and twist her heart in its grip, until all that Myka could sense was fire and fear.
She swallowed a gasp and looked over at Pete, trying to gauge whether he had felt it, too, but Pete was munching on another cookie.
The familiar creak of the front door tore Myka out of her musings.
She willed herself to remain seated, not to think about what she would feel if Artie walked in, alone. Or why she would feel it. They had just lost Steve, Claudia was devastated by his death, and Myka simply didn’t get to be happy about Helena being herself again, not now, if she even was back in the first place, and that wouldn’t resolve anything between them, either.
But when Myka finally looked up towards the door, her heart skipped a beat, and she couldn’t have stopped it if her life had depended on it.
In the door, half blocked out by Artie’s burly form, stood Helena.
To access further chapters, use the password “Moses”
Additional note, Sept. 2015: since I am seeing a new influx in readers for this story, let me add: Welcome! Also, for easier access to subsequent chapters, you can now call up chapters via the Writing Desk; just scroll down to the story entry.
Entry Quote (gender adapted) taken from RM Rilke, “Alkestis” (1907), final lines. This is the original (translation is my own, apologies to any Rilke scholars out there):But once more he saw the face of the maiden, who turned with a smile, bright as hope and almost a promise: To return, grown, from the pit of Death, to him, the living – And he threw up his hands to cover his face as he knelt, to see nothing more after this smile.