DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Season 3 set after the finale, assuming that they got HG Wells back.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ariadni.mou[at]gmail.com
Let it Snow
A fire crackled in the fireplace warming the living room and its single inhabitant. Helena Wells stood solemnly by the window, watching the snow fall silently outside. Dancing snowflakes dusted the ground in the first blanket of white of the season. Helena was lost in thought as she watched the hypnotic swirl of white outside the window, for once appreciating the quietness around her. An intense need for some comfort of the past had made her turn off the bright overhead lights in favor of lighting every candle in the room. The only evidence that Helena was in fact not in Victorian England was the soft music that played in the background. The jazzy sound of 'Let it Snow' echoed in the otherwise quiet room. Helena sighed as she thought of the past and the people so long gone by now.
" some corn for poopety poppin'. Let it snow, let it snow, LET IT SNOW!" Pete sang as he entered the room.
Helena groaned and closed her eyes. She slowly turned around and crossed her arms, shooting him a slightly annoyed look.
"What's with the lights?" he said and frowned.
"I was trying to create a feeling of the past, that's all," she said tiredly and ran her hand through her hair. "It's all right; you can turn on the lights. It was a fruitless endeavor anyway."
Pete, noticing her somber mode, walked over to her. As if sensing her need for comfort, he put his hands on her shoulders. She tensed under the touch and he sighed, gently rubbing her shoulders.
"I'm sorry Helena," he said, now serious. "Come, let's sit down."
Helena nodded and took comfort in the arm around her shoulders. She had discovered that Pete could be incredibly sweet at times. It appeared that this was one of those moments.
"I don't know exactly why this feeling came over me," she said and looked down at her hands, folded neatly in her lap. Like a proper Victorian lady, she noted silently. Unclasping her hands she looked up at him. "You are a good friend Pete. I do not think that I have told you that enough. As much as we argue and disagree on things, I find you truly loyal and someone I can depend on."
"Thanks," he said, surprised. "You're pretty awesome you know."
She chuckled and smiled fondly at him. "Why thank you Mr. Lattimer."
He grinned and relaxed further into the softness of the sofa. Helena leaned her head against his shoulder. Looking around the room Pete noted the many candles and smiled to himself.
"It is kind of nice in an old timey sort of way," he acknowledged.
"Sometimes I feel the need for a slower pace, and the gentle comforts of the past," she admitted with a sigh. A moment later she laughed and Pete looked questioningly at her. "I once mocked my friend and colleague for wanting those exact things. I had such hopes for the future and was in a rush to get here. Dear Woolly was comforted by the past, which was predictable and safe. At the time I had trouble understanding it, but now I feel the same longing."
"I guess we all want that feeling of safety and comfort at some point," Pete said and nodded. "That perfect moment when everything in the world was right and you felt completely happy."
She nodded and looked into the dancing flames for a moment. "Sometimes it feels like I am letting them down, as if I am giving up on the memories when I consider fully embracing the present."
He tilted his head trying to understand her cryptic comment. Noticing the faint blush on her cheeks it did not take long for him to figure it out. He tugged her closer, giving her a half hug.
"I don't think letting Myka into your life would make any of your past relationships any less important. If anything I think they would be happy that you found someone that makes you happy."
Helena just stared at him. "How?" she whispered.
"I feel vibes, remember?" he teased and wriggled his eyebrows. "I admit it was disappointing at first, a complete blow actually, that it wasn't me that you were lusting after, but hey, Myka is like my sister so I'm happy for her."
Helena huffed and elbowed him. Pete laughed and squeezed her shoulder.
"There really is nothing between us, you know."
Helena rolled her eyes. "I am almost afraid of encouraging her," she whispered.
"I don't blame ya," he said and winked. "I'd be a little scared to tumble into bed with Myka too."
Helena laughed and shook her head. "I think I can handle that part. I have had more than one feisty woman in my bed in the past."
Pete's eyes widened and he whistled, impressed. "Okay, that sounds like an interesting story that I probably should not hear."
"You're absolutely right about that," she said with a cheeky grin.
"So tell me!"
"No!" Helena laughed and playfully shoved him.
Myka stopped in the door when she heard Helena's laughter. She bit her lip as she watched Helena and Pete on the sofa laughing and touching each other. She swallowed hard, fighting the pain inside her.
"Hi," she said and smiled weakly at them.
"Myka, darling," Helena said and grinned. "Come here."
"Hi Mykes," Pete said and grinned. "Perhaps you can convince Miss High and Mighty here to part with some of her stories."
"Stories?" Myka said and tilted her head as she sat down on the other end of the sofa from the two.
"Yeah, remember the 'many of my lovers were men' comment from Prudie MacPrude here?"
"I am not a prude!" Helena exclaimed.
Myka made a face and looked at Helena. "Then prove him wrong, and tell him the story," she said softly.
"What?" Helena gaped at Myka. "Not you too?"
Pete high fived Myka behind Helena's head and the two laughed.
"I think she's just too chicken to," Pete said and nodded to Myka.
"Perhaps she's lost her storytelling skills?" Myka said and made a thoughtful face as she nodded slowly to herself. "Yeah, I bet that's it."
"I have not lost any of my many skills, I'd like you to know," Helena huffed. "And I will not fall so low that I betray past promises by sharing details with you two. It's tacky!"
Myka laughed and glanced at Pete. "Perhaps it was all "
Helena launched herself at Myka, pushing her in the chest. Myka's arms came up to grab her as she fell down in the corner of the sofa with Helena in her arms. She laughed at the surprised look on Helena's face. Helena grinned cheekily.
"Well if you two are going to make out I'm just going to get some popcorn. Can you hold off that long?"
"Pete, out!" Helena muttered.
Pete laughed and left the room. Myka moved a little under Helena assuming that she would get up now when Pete had left. To her surprise Helena instead seemed to be settling in in her arms.
"This is ever so comfortable," Helena purred.
"Talking to Pete made me realize that I need to embrace my feelings instead of holding them back."
Myka just stared at her. "Feelings?" she whispered. "For me?"
Helena chuckled and nodded. "I guess I really did do a good job of just teasing, pretending that there was nothing more to it."
"Yeah," Myka said with a sigh.
Myka pushed a little and Helena sat up. She touched a lock of Myka's hair and twirled it around her finger.
"I felt conflicted, darling. I am truly sorry if I made you feel as if you were not important to me. You are. You are the most important person to me, Myka."
"But?" Myka asked and looked at Helena with so much sadness in her eyes.
"I constantly battle this feeling of guilt," Helena said and glanced at the dancing flames in the fireplace while gathering her thoughts. "Why am I alive and well when all of them are gone? What made me so special? I do not feel that I deserve to be happy. I have not earned it."
Myka sighed. "What about me?" she said in a gentle voice.
Helena tilted her head and smiled at her. "You are the woman I envisioned when writing about my Utopia."
The comment made Myka warm inside and she smiled. "Then doesn't my happiness matter to you?"
"Of course it does!" Helena said upset.
"Then allow yourself to be happy, Helena. Seeing you happy and hearing you laugh makes me happy."
Helena touched Myka's cheek, tracing her jaw line. Finally she nodded.
"Perhaps it is time to put the past to rest?"
"Yeah," Myka whispered. She took Helena's hand. "Did you really mean it? That you actually do have feelings for me."
Myka blushed and tugged at Helena's hand. "Come here," she said and grinned at Helena.
Helena laughed and moved closer. Myka wrapped her arms around her, holding her close.
"You seem comfortable with the thought that my feelings for you are true. Was your earlier uneasiness only related to you thinking me dishonest in my interest?"
Myka chewed on her lip and then sighed. "Helena, I've been in a relationship with a woman before. That doesn't bother me the slightest, but being close to you, hearing your compliments and being the recipient of your endearment terms and care, only to realize that it didn't seem to mean anything to you, that hurt. The realization that it was just your idea of charming your way to obtaining whatever it was you needed at the moment, access to the Warehouse, our trust Warehouse 2." Myka sighed again and looked away.
"I am so sorry, darling," Helena said with a sad smile. She leaned closer and brushed her lips against Myka's. "Will you permit me to try to woo you anew? With honest intent this time?"
Myka swallowed and nodded. She ran her fingers through Helena's silky hair and pulled her back for another kiss. She tasted her lips, nibbling on Helena's lower lip before gently stroking her tongue against Helena's. She sighed when Helena whimpered softly.
Myka leaned back and Helena rested her head on Myka's shoulder. They stayed like that, both lost in thought for a long moment. Myka absentmindedly ran her fingers through Helena's hair, enjoying the feel of it sliding through her fingers. When Helena turned her face up she smiled at her and kissed her. Helena laughed in delight and squirmed a little in her arms.
"In the past, this public display of affection would have been quite scandalous when living in a house with other people," Helena said with a mischievous grin. "Only in my own bedroom could I indulge in this kind of behavior."
"Good thing for us that things have changed," Myka said.
Helena lost herself in thought once again and Myka caressed her cheek as she studied Helena's perfect features. She smiled when Helena kissed her finger when she traced Helena's lower lip.
"It's Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. In a few days it will be Christmas," Myka said and glanced at the Christmas tree in the corner. "What did you do on these days leading up to Christmas?"
Helena took a deep breath and smiled. "Charles and I would host parties, and when we did not host, we would attend them. December was such a joyous month, filled with laughter, music and dance."
"What about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?"
"Christmas Eve we would host a small dinner party at home for family and close friends. We would sing Christmas carols and after dinner Charles or I would read Dickens' A Christmas Carol."
Myka's eyes twinkled and she grinned as an idea took form. "Helena? Would you like to have a Victorian Christmas Eve? Here, at Leena's."
Helena sat up and looked at her. "I think I would enjoy that very much."
"Then let's do it," Myka said excitedly.
Helena smiled at Myka in the mirror. Myka was dressed in one of Helena's old dresses. Remembering seeing a trunk in the H.G. Wells section labeled 'clothes' and her name, Helena had finally taken time to open it. Inside she had found several of her old dresses, her favorite coat and some random shoes and boots.
Helena was dressed in a dark green silk dress with black velvet accents. She vaguely remembered wearing it for the gathering the day when they discovered Joshua's Horn. She smiled at the memory of Wolcott's embarrassment at entering her bedroom while she changed clothes. Pushing the thought aside she went back to her task at hand, buttoning Myka's dress.
"You look awesome," Claudia said and grinned at Myka.
Claudia was also in one of Helena's old dresses. It had required a little bit of altering. Eliminating one layer had shortened it enough for Claudia to be able to wear it. Helena smiled at her and the amusing sight of Claudia Donovan in curlers.
"Thanks Claud," Myka said and smiled at the girl in the mirror.
Helena's eyes met Myka's in the mirror and they shared a heated look. Even in curlers Myka looked stunning, Helena noted.
Helena's hair was rolled up on small strips of cloth to create smaller curls than the curlers. Myka had suggested that she buy some smaller curlers instead but Helena had brushed the idea away explaining that this had always worked in the past.
"My maid used to do my hair," Helena said as she closed the last button on Myka's dress and ran her hands over Myka's shoulders, smoothing out the fabric. "I will try to do my best helping you, but I cannot guarantee that I will do as good a job as she did."
Claudia shrugged. "You'll be better at it than me, that's for sure."
"Tea anyone?" Leena said with a smile.
"You read my mind, darling," Helena said and smiled at her.
Leena was also in one of Helena's old dresses. Helena noted how lovely it looked on her. Much better than it had ever looked on Helena actually, she thought for a moment. She gently took the offered cup of tea and sat down on the loveseat.
"Hey Leena, you're pretty good at doing hair, right?" Myka said and smiled at her.
"Pretty good, I guess," Leena said and smiled at her. "Do you want me to do your hair?"
"I was showing Myka and Claudia some pictures from past events," Helena said and gestured to the open photo album on the bed. "Unfortunately hair is not my forte," she added and made a face.
Leena glanced at the pictures and nodded. "I think I can do this. I did something like this a few years ago at the local amateur theater."
"You did?" Myka said surprised.
Leena nodded. "Do you want me to try?"
Pete turned around when he heard the rustling of a dress behind him. He gaped as he stared at Myka.
"Wow, Mykes, you're beautiful."
"Thank you kind sir," she said and curtsied. She looked at Pete and laughed. "Pete, it's just me."
"Hey dude, earth to Pete," Claudia said and stepped around Myka.
"Claud, you look cute as a button," he said and grinned at her.
"Not bad," Artie muttered.
Pete and Artie were each in a three piece suit. Pete had grumbled and argued with Helena about it, but finally gave in. He tugged a little at the collar on his shirt again wishing that he was in jeans and a t-shirt.
Myka accepted a glass of wine from Artie and sipped it while glancing around the room. Leena and Artie had dug out all the emergency kerosene lamps and the room was bathed in a softer light than usual thanks to the lamps and various candles. A fire crackled in the fireplace and over in the corner the Christmas tree glittered as if covered with little twinkling stars. It was the only electric light in the room. Myka knew that Helena's house had had gas light in the 1890s, but Helena still seemed to prefer the softer touch of candles and lamps.
A noise behind them made them all turn as Helena entered the room, followed by Leena. Helena smiled at their stunned faces.
"I can assure you that it is still me. An older me, but still me," she teased.
"You're gorgeous, Helena," Myka whispered and took a step closer to her.
Helena held out her hands to Myka who took them. She leaned forward and Helena kissed her cheek. Linking her arm with Myka's, Helena walked over to Pete and Artie.
"You look great Helena," Pete said, still staring at her.
She bowed her head a little accepting the praise, and the tight curls that framed her face bounced as she moved. Placing another kiss on Myka's cheek she let go of her. Artie poured her a glass of wine and nodded at her with a tiny smile on his lips. Sipping her wine she looked around the room noticing some changes since earlier in the day.
"Thank you, all of you. This is truly remarkable," she said and sighed. "It almost feels like home."
Myka smiled as she chimed in with the others. Words memorized long ago fell off of her lips like they did every year at this time. Her eyes met Helena's for a brief intimate moment. Helena's dark eyes sparkled with joy as she played, back straight, hands lifting high, as her fingers stroked the white and black keys. She flashed Claudia a smile as the girl flipped the page on the sheet music.
When the last chord echoed there was a moment of silence before the joyous laughter broke out. Helena's fingers skimmed over the keys again as she tried to make her mind up. Finally decided she hit the keys hard as she assertively started to play, grinning at them over her shoulder. The old tune was one she knew by heart and the words came to her as if it was only yesterday that she memorized them.
After a while Helena gave up her seat and Artie took over the playing. Claudia goaded him on to play one song after the other. Helena sidled up next to Myka and put her arm around Myka's waist. She smiled at her and kissed her cheek.
"Are you enjoying yourself?"
"Yeah," Myka whispered. "This was a really nice idea."
Eventually the singing ebbed out, the mulled wine cooled down and they gathered around the dining room table for a meal influenced by Helena. Claudia had rolled her eyes at the several knives and forks around her plate, muttering that she had no idea which one to use. Helena had leaned closer to her and whispered her advice. Claudia beamed at her and Myka hid her smile behind her hand. Claudia's little crush on Helena was really cute to watch.
When the highlight of the meal was served, Pete almost rubbed his hands together at the sight of the roast beef. Myka laughed at the look on his face as he gazed at his plate filled with meat, roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
"Are you going to propose to it?" she teased.
Pete made a face at her. "I appreciate food, Myka. And this, is the king of feasts," he said and picked up his knife and fork.
Helena chuckled and reached for her glass. She raised it and the light from the candles reflected in the fine crystal and its red contents.
"A toast," she said and smiled warmly at each of them. "To dear friends and loved ones, past and present."
Glasses were raised and mumbled agreements were made. Myka gently tapped her glass against Helena's and it chimed softly. Their eyes met as they sipped their drinks. Helena raised her glass to Myka again before putting it down.
"So, Helena," Claudia mumbled. "Being all prudish and Victorian and stuff, didn't you guys say grace before eating?"
"Yes, darling, we used to, though I must admit, after losing Christina my faith and interest in such things crumbled."
"Sorry," Claudia said softly.
Helena gently touched Claudia's arm. "My time here with all of you has started to restore my faith in both humanity and the universe," she said and smiled fondly at Claudia. "You have definitely played a role in that, Claudia dear."
Claudia blushed and nodded. "Cool."
Helena smiled at her again before picking up her silverware. She took a bite and looked at Leena.
"You have truly outdone yourself," she said and bowed her head.
"I'm glad you like it," Leena said, pleased that her efforts had paid off.
Dinner was normally not a very lengthy affair, but this evening none of them seemed to be in any hurry to leave the table. Myka had with Claudia's help cleared the table. She smiled to herself as she glanced at the chocolate cake on the counter in the kitchen. She had talked to Leena about the dessert and they had eventually narrowed it down to two choices based on Helena's affinity for chocolate and the fact that it was after all Christmas. After some additional weighing of pros and cons they finally agreed that the Christmas pudding would be best saved for the following day. Yet another surprise for Helena. Myka picked up the cake stand and with Claudia in tow, carrying plates, they returned to the dining room.
Helena gaped and laughed when she saw the cake. Her dessert choice had been cookies and chocolates so the cake was a pleasant surprise.
"I believe there has been some conspiring taking place behind my back," she teased.
"We thought you wouldn't mind too much," Leena said and grinned at her.
"That you made my favorite cake? Absolutely not! I would be very foolish to object to that," Helena said with a laugh.
After dinner they gathered in the living room. The fire was yet again crackling in the fireplace when Helena placed her hand on top of the small book in her lap. She looked up and smiled at them.
"I acquired this book when I was back in my house in London. It is the shortened version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. He edited this himself in order to read it to an audience," she explained with a sad smile. "This is the book Charles and I used to read from on Christmas Eve."
"Wow," Claudia whispered and stared at the old book.
"It must be worth a fortune. It's a first edition, isn't it?" Myka said.
"Yes darling. Dickens gave it to my brother only a few short months before he passed away. I don't really remember it. I was too young at the time."
"Dickens autographed it?" Pete exclaimed.
Helena nodded and opened the cover to show them the inscription. "To my namesake, young master Wells. Merry Christmas, C. Dickens," Helena read from memory.
Myka gaped as she stared at the elaborate inscription in thin black ink. "Incredible."
Helena sipped her port before getting comfortable in her chair. With a smile she started to read.
Sweets and chocolates slowly disappeared from the plates on the coffee table as the group listened to Helena read. The fire crackled anew when Pete put another log on the glowing embers. Claudia sat by Myka's feet, leaning against her legs. Myka watched Helena who seemed to be in her element, reading the old story with eagerness and passion.
"And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us " Helena said slowly.
"Every One!" they all chimed in.
Helena grinned and bowed her head. She slowly closed the book and rested her hand on top.
"Thank you so much, Helena," Myka said, still in awe at the thought of having H.G. Wells read an original Dickens to her.
"My pleasure, darling."
"It's getting late," Pete said and glanced at the clock on the mantle. "Perhaps we should open the first gift of Christmas?"
"Great idea!" Claudia agreed.
Helena looked at Myka and they shared an amused smile at the others' eagerness at opening presents. Turning her head, Helena gently touched Pete's arm as he walked by her.
"Pete, perhaps the gifts I brought back from London would do?"
"What do you mean?" he asked with a frown.
"I grabbed a few odds and ends from my house before I left. Thinking that you might enjoy them I boxed some of them up as presents. I of course bought you real presents too," she said and laughed. "These are more for fun."
Pete looked at Myka and she nodded eagerly. "Okay, so which ones are they?"
"The ones wrapped in white fabric with red ribbons," Helena said quickly and gestured over to the left side of the tree.
Pete quickly found the five gifts and pulled them out. Reading the label tied to the first one he looked up and smiled at Claudia. "To Claudia. May this inspire you as much as it did me. Merry Christmas from your friend H.G. Wells."
Claudia grinned and took the present from Pete. She pulled the bow open and placed the card on the table before unwrapping the present. She gaped at the mechanical device inside.
"Oh my freaking God, HG. This is awesome!"
Helena smiled at her and nodded. "I thought it might intrigue you."
"What is it?" Pete asked.
Claudia held up the device and his eyebrows shot up at the sight of cogs, knobs and brass wiring.
"It is a puzzle box of sorts," Helena explained. "I originally planned on giving it to Christina, but changed my mind. Her interest leaned more towards romantic types of gifts, such as dolls, ribbons and pretty things. I designed the lock with the help of my teacher, Caturanga. With the right combination you can unlock the secret chamber inside. If making a mistake, it will snap your fingers," she said and grinned.
"So keep your meat hooks off my stuff," Claudia growled at Pete. He made a face at her and her eyes narrowed. "On the other hand, bring it. Getting your fingers snapped should teach you to keep your paws away from my things."
Myka chuckled and shook her head. "Pete, why don't you open your gift?"
Pete nodded and grabbed the long narrow box. It was heavier than he thought and he looked at Helena with a puzzled look on his face. She just smiled and leaned forward.
"Read the card," Claudia said impatiently.
Forgetting the note in his eagerness to open the gift, Pete now fumbled around to find it. "Pete, I hope this will help you reach the stars and realize all your dreams, while never letting go of your inner child. Merry Christmas, from your friend H.G. Wells."
"Oh Helena," Myka whispered.
Helena got up and sat down next to Myka, taking her hand. "Perhaps these were not such bad gifts at all," she mumbled.
Myka nodded as she watched Pete open his gift. They all stared at the beautiful brass telescope resting in what appeared to be its original travel case.
"HG," Pete whispered as he picked up the beautiful object. "Wow. This is amazing. Thank you."
"It once belonged to a friend of mine. I remember looking at the stars through it while shivering in the cold of the Egyptian desert."
"I wish I could thank your friend for giving it to you," Pete said and grinned.
"I am sure that Carter would approve of me giving it to you. You see, even though I, as you well know, wanted to send a man to the stars, I found gazing at them a fruitless endeavor. I much preferred to leap into action, inventing something, rather than daydreaming about it."
"Carter," Myka said and tilted her head. "Not Howard Carter?"
Helena nodded. "Yes. Have you heard of him?"
"Helena, he is probably the most famous Egyptologist in the world!" Myka exclaimed. "He found the untouched tomb of Tutankhamen."
Helena just stared at her. "He did? Oh dear, I feel that I have indeed been lacking in keeping up with my friends' accomplishments. He would have been most annoyed with me." She smiled and her eyes sparkled with mischief. "He did have grand dreams. I often teased him about it, as a sister would with a younger brother. I was perhaps even fonder of him than of Charles."
Myka laughed and nodded. "I can see that you would've had many things in common. I'm sure he loved you too."
Helena smiled and nodded. "We were very close, but never lovers. Some relationships are just too close for it to actually feel right to add romance to the mix."
Myka glanced at Pete and their eyes met for a brief moment before they both nodded.
"Next one, Pete," Claudia said and made a "get on with it" gesture.
"To Leena. Your compassion and love is such a comfort to all of us. May your heart and spirit continue to shine. Merry Christmas from your friend H.G. Wells."
"Thank you Helena," Leena said and smiled at her.
"Be careful," Helena warned. "It is a bit fragile."
Leena nodded and gently unwrapped the gift. She sighed and held up the small alabaster statue. "She's gorgeous."
"What is it?" Claudia asked.
"It's the Goddess Artemis, the Moon Goddess from Greek Mythology," Helena explained. "It was given to me as a gift on my twenty first birthday. I feel that she needs a better home with someone who would truly understand her gift and power."
"She has always fascinated me," Leena confessed.
"Perhaps you will give her a new home now? She was homeless when she was given to me since her temple was destroyed two millennia ago."
"Where was she found?" Myka was curious to know.
"In Ephesus in Turkey. She was supposed to have been on the ship with treasures bound for England and the British Museum that unfortunately sank, but lucky for her and us, my brother bought her."
"These are very valuable gifts," Artie said seriously.
Helena shrugged. "To me they only have sentimental value, if even that. If they can bring joy to someone else I am very pleased."
"To Artie, such a grumpy old man needs some hot stuff in "
"Pete!" Helena exclaimed and her face turned red. "That is not what it says on the card."
Pete laughed so hard he almost fell over. "Sorry, couldn't help it," he wheezed.
Helena made a face and folded her arms. "Will you please read it properly? If not, give it to me so I can do it."
Pete gasped for air and tried to stop laughing. "I'm good," he finally said. "To Artie, who shares my love for art and music. Please accept this gift of holiday cheer. H.G. Wells."
Artie nodded and took the gift from Pete. "You know I'm Jewish right?" he muttered.
"Of course," she said and grinned. "Consider it a Hanukkah present."
Artie huffed but a small smile played at the corner of his mouth. Unwrapping the gift he slipped the card into his pocket. A soft chuckle told him that Myka had noticed. He shot her a dark look but she just grinned at him.
"Come on Artie, we haven't got all night," Pete said and rolled his eyes.
Artie opened the medium sized box and put the lid aside. Inside was a brown folder. He picked it up and slowly opened it. He gaped as he stared at the contents.
"What is it?" Pete asked.
"Balakirev, Могучая кучка, The Five," Artie whispered. He looked up and stared at Helena. "Is this real?"
She nodded. "We were introduced through friends that I stayed with while visiting Saint Petersburg. He was a charming old man, and so very talented. He played this for me before giving me the sheet music."
"Helena," Artie whispered. "I can't accept this. It's too valuable. It was given to you. You shouldn't give it away."
"Pish tosh," she said and flicked her wrist in an impatient hand gesture. "He loved his music as do you. I cannot see anyone I know who would be more fit to have this, Artie. Enjoy it. Perhaps you will even play it some time. Balakirev would have liked that."
"Okay, neat but boring," Pete said and rolled his eyes. He reached for the last gift wrapped in white. Turning the tag he grinned and read. "To Myka my darling, with all my love "
"Peter!" Helena snapped. She held out her hand for the gift and he gave it to her. She turned to Myka and smiled at her. "Myka, you have been my guide and friend during this difficult time. I do not know if you fully understand the place you have staked out in my heart, but know this, I give you this gift with all my heart. I hope it will give you as much joy as it once did me, when I first held it in my hands."
Myka nodded, speechless. She carefully unwrapped the gift and opened the box. Inside was a thin leather-bound book that appeared to be very old. She gently picked it up.
"The Time Machine," she whispered. She looked at Helena for an explanation.
"This is the very first one ever printed. It was the prototype that they sent to me for approval."
"Oh God," Myka whispered. "This is priceless, Helena." She looked at Helena with tears in her eyes. "Thank you so much."
"My pleasure, darling."
"Let me look at it, Claud," Pete said and reached for her gift.
"You'll just hurt yourself," she said and pulled it away. "Why don't you go and set that up outside so we can see if it works?"
"It's cold and there's two feet of snow out there!" Pete said and rolled his eyes.
"Perhaps you can set it up in the sun room and open a window?" Leena suggested.
Pete grinned and nodded. "That is an excellent idea. Come on Claud."
"Hmm perhaps we should change out of these clothes first?" Claudia mumbled and shot Helena a look.
"I'll come with you and help you," Leena offered.
Claudia looked at Helena and grinned. "HG. Best. Regifting. Ever!"
Myka laughed and nodded. Helena looked at Claudia and shook her head as she laughed.
"If you say so, darling. Now hurry along, don't keep Leena and Pete waiting."
Artie glanced at his watch. "Speaking of waiting, I need to go," he muttered.
"Where?" Myka said and frowned.
"I'm picking up Dr. Calder at the airport," he mumbled and looked away.
"Aww," Pete said and laughed. "Doc is coming here to spend Christmas with you."
"Of course not," Artie said gruffly. "She didn't have anyone to spend the holiday with so I invited her to come here. End of story."
Myka grinned at him and rubbed his arm. "Go Artie, don't let Vanessa wait."
"Yes, exactly," he nodded pleased that she understood. Starting to leave the room he suddenly stopped and walked up to Helena. "Thank you very much for your gift. It was very unexpected, but much appreciated."
Helena nodded. "You are very welcome. I look forward to hearing you play it."
He smiled at her and held out his left hand. She took it and squeezed it as she laughed.
"Hurry up Claud," Pete shouted over his shoulder.
Myka shook her head at Pete. He had changed out of his three piece suit and was now in pajama pants and a t-shirt under his open jacket. He was wearing slippers and looked pretty much ridiculous.
Claudia darted into the room dressed much in the same way except that her outfit was a bit more stylish and better color coordinated. She tugged her snowboarder hat over her head and ears, the braided straps dangling as she let go of them. She grinned at Myka and Helena on the couch.
"Are you two coming?"
Helena shook her head. "You two have fun. We will watch you from here."
"Suit yourself," she muttered and trotted after Pete with Trailer in tow.
Finally alone, Helena turned to Myka. She took her hands and smiled at her. "Did you really like the book?"
"Helena, I love the book!" Myka said and laughed.
"I was bursting with excitement and pride when I first held it in my hands. I remember thinking how the leather was so soft and cool at first, but then quickly warmed between my fingers, almost as if it was alive. It cracked as I opened it, the pages crisp and filled with my words. The feeling that came over me," Helena's voice broke as she relived the emotional moment. She sighed. "Well, it was a long time ago, but it is still one of the most memorable moments for me as an author."
Myka caressed Helena's cheek and leaned forward to kiss her. "It's the awesomest gift I've ever gotten."
Helena laughed at her answer and pulled her closer. "Come; let's see how they are doing setting up the telescope."
Myka got up and held out her hand to Helena who eagerly wrapped her fingers around Myka's. Myka walked over to the window with Helena in tow. Helena watched and frowned as Pete seemed to struggle a little with the setup.
"Wait here where it's warm, darling. I will be back shortly."
Myka nodded and watched her leave. Helena talked to Pete and pointed at a small button on the side. He pressed it and the telescope extended properly. Smiling and nodding, Helena returned to the living room.
Noticing Helena rub her arms as if she were cold, Myka wrapped her arms around her and pulled her close for a hug. Helena laughed and nuzzled her cheek.
"Thank you, love."
"Warmer?" Myka teased.
"Much," Helena purred.
"Well, perhaps I can talk you into letting me warm you overnight?"
"Myka?" Helena said and her eyebrow inched up.
"I wrote a letter to Santa Claus this year. Did you know that?" Myka said with a teasing smirk.
"Did you now?" Helena drawled. "And what exactly did you ask Father Christmas for, dearest?"
"The beautiful Helena Wells in my bed on Christmas morning," Myka mumbled against Helena's lips.
Helena laughed and wrapped her arms around Myka's neck. "Then my darling, you shall have your gift."
Myka's eyes misted at Helena's words and she pulled her close for a smoldering kiss. She touched Helena's hair, only faintly noticing that she was messing up Helena's elaborate hairdo. As the locks came loose around Myka's fingers, Helena gently pulled away and grinned at her.
"Perhaps it would be best for everyone if we continued this upstairs?"
"You truly are a genius," Myka said and winked. She took Helena's hand and together they hurried out of the room and upstairs.
"Are they gone?" Pete mumbled.
"Yep. Lots of lip sucking and hair touching. Almost thought that Myka would do HG right there, but yeah, they went upstairs," Claudia said with a grin. She pushed at Pete's shoulder. "When is it going to be my turn?"
"It's my gift. Chill," he muttered.
"I am chilling. A lot actually," she said and shivered. "Just find something cool and let me have a peek before I crawl into bed under fifteen blankets."
Pete sighed and focused on the task at hand. "Got it!" He got up and stepped aside. "Take a look."
Claudia squinted and closed her left eye as she peered into the almost two-century-old device. Seeing the clear combination of stars she gasped. "Wow! They're so clear."
"It's a perfect night for this," Pete agreed. "Now that it's stopped snowing."
"I think I see Santa," she said and laughed.
"Really?" Pete muttered and rolled his eyes.
"There's something moving up there."
"Probably a shooting star or a comet or something."
"Maybe, but since it's Christmas I'm going to just go with that it's Santa," she said and got up. "Okies, dude. I'm off to bed."
"Night, Claud," Pete mumbled as he bent down to take a look at what she had seen.
Claudia pet Trailer on the head before continuing upstairs. She grinned when she heard laughter from Myka's room.
"Merry Christmas my lovelies," she whispered and touched her palm to the door. Then another sound came through the door and it made her blush. Removing her hand, Claudia hurried down the hall to the safety of her own room.
Helena watched Myka's face as her lover slept peacefully next to her. The moon cast a gentle light on Myka's fine features. Helena traced Myka's eyebrow and her jaw line before placing a soft kiss on her lips. She grinned when the taste of Myka's lips ignited the fire that had burned only minutes prior.
"Good night, love, and Merry Christmas," she whispered.
Helena closed her eyes and wrapped her arm around Myka, sighing happily as Myka snuggled closer to her.
Outside the snow started to fall again, silent flakes dancing in the cool midwinter night, adding light to darkness. Downstairs the last glowing embers died in the fireplace as a sleeping canine whimpered in his sleep, his paws twitched in an imaginary chase. The dog's eyes opened and he lifted his head at the crackling and popping behind him.
"Hush, friend and trusted guardian," the bearded man said and smiled at the dog. "We are after all old friends."
Trailer whined and thumped his tail as he watched the secret visitor place gifts under the tree. Once done, the visitor glanced around the room, spotting the plate of cookies. He picked up one and his eyes closed as he smelled it.
"Oh Leena, your cookies are truly made with love and perhaps just a little bit of magic."
The dog watched him grab the remaining cookies and slip them into his pocket. Trailer made an unhappy sound and put his head down, looking pathetically sad.
"Don't think that I wouldn't share with you, old friend. This is after all the magical night when animals and humans are closest. How could I forget you, my boy?"
Trailer's head shot up and he caught the cookie that came towards him in the air like an expert, his jaws snapping shut around it.
"Merry Christmas, Trailer, my friend."
The dog barked softly as there were more sparks and crackles in the room. A moment later the room was yet again quiet and Trailer settled in. Sighing once, the dog fell asleep, dreaming about summer and chasing squirrels, and the temptation of chewing on Myka's sneakers.
Return to Warehouse 13 Fiction
Return to Main Page