DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: 2 and 3, especially episode "3... 2... 1"
FEEDBACK: To ariadni.mou[at]gmail.com
Chapter 1: the Time Traveler Sphere / Sweet dreams Claudia
Claudia slipped into bed and pulled her laptop closer. Sitting up with two pillows behind her in the dark room she opened her special folder. She called it her 'Sweet dreams Claudia' folder, not that she would ever admit to it. Clicking on the most recent picture, she sank down a little deeper under the covers as HG's face filled her screen. Claudia swallowed as she looked into HG's dark eyes.
"Why did you have to leave?" she whispered softly into the engulfing darkness.
HG did not answer, just smiled her mysterious little smile as her dark eyes stared unseeingly at Claudia. Claudia swallowed and blinked fast, forcing the tears away. She hit the forward button and another picture of HG filled her screen. This time she was with Myka. Claudia remembered the day as if it had been yesterday. They had all been having breakfast outside on the terrace and afterwards Myka had asked HG to go for a walk with her. Claudia had taken this picture as HG stepped closer to Myka, smiling at her. Claudia sighed. No wonder Myka was hurting so much. To have something this intense and then have it ripped away from you. Claudia swallowed and sighed. Life truly was a bitch sometimes.
"It was so nice when you were here," Claudia whispered to the smiling HG. "We were all happy, Myka was happy. I was happy." She chuckled a little. "Well, Artie wasn't, but then again, when is he?"
Claudia closed her eyes for a moment. She shrieked when a warm hand touched her shoulder. Her eyes opened instantly.
"Mrs. F. for all things holy, do you have to do that?" Claudia hissed and tried to get her heart to stop beating like it wanted to escape its prison inside her chest.
"I'm sorry Ms. Donovan; I thought you were falling asleep."
Claudia shook her head. "Just thinking," she mumbled.
Mrs. Frederic took the laptop from her and smiled at the picture on the screen.
"You are a good photographer. That is a very nice picture of Myka and Helena."
"Yeah, whatever," Claudia muttered. "It didn't last, did it?"
"The universe moves in mysterious ways Claudia," Mrs. Frederic said and sat down at the foot of the bed. "Your brother was lost, but he returned."
Claudia nodded, unable to formulate words. Joshua was a topic she did not discuss with other people. It was personal. He was her sanity anchor when things crapped out around her. He was hers, and she did not want to share him.
"Tell me about Helena," Mrs. Frederic said gently.
Claudia's eyebrows shot up and she stared at Mrs. Frederic. "I don't know if there's anything I can tell you about her that you don't already know. Heck you must know more about her than I do."
Mrs. Frederic nodded. "I probably do. I'll make a deal with you. If you tell me about your Helena, I will share something about her that you don't know."
Claudia looked at her for a moment and finally nodded. She glanced at Helena's picture and smiled a little.
"HG was awesome. She never looked at me like I was weird or a child. She was cool." Claudia plucked at the sheet. "When I taught her to use the internet she was almost like a kid, she was so excited." She looked up at Mrs. Frederic. "And then she looked at me, really looked at me, you know, and said thank you. The way she said it, I could tell that she meant it," Claudia said and sighed. "People say thank you all the time, but it doesn't really mean anything. It's just the right thing to do, not to be rude. When HG thanked me she sounded like I had given her the most precious gift in the world."
"Perhaps you had," Mrs. Frederic said gently. "She is an inventor Claudia. She has a very curious mind. The wheels never stop turning, very much like with you."
Claudia looked up at her. "You think that I'm like HG?" she said and laughed. "I wish. Well not the crazy I want to end the world part," she said and winced. "The rest is pretty awesome though."
"It sure is," Mrs. Frederic said. "What would you say to her if she was here?"
"That I miss her," Claudia whispered. "It's okay, you can yell at me. I still do, no matter how many people yell at me for admitting it."
"I'm not going to yell at you for missing someone you care about." Mrs. Frederic said and smiled. "She misses you too."
"She does?" Claudia said in a small voice. "For reals?"
"Will you say hi to her from me?" Claudia whispered and looked at Mrs. Frederic with hope in her eyes.
"Perhaps you'd like to do it yourself?"
Claudia just stared at her as Mrs. Frederic pulled out the dark sphere. Claudia knew what it was and it made her hurt inside. She put her hand on top of it and sighed.
"Is that all she is now? A hologram trapped inside a ball?"
"I can't answer that yet," Mrs. Frederic said and looked at Claudia. "I know that she misses you too. She speaks about you."
Claudia stared at her. "So she is still alive. I mean, she has a body," Claudia said and winced.
Claudia sighed relieved. "You know I was really worried about that," she mumbled. She wrapped her arms around herself as if trying to comfort herself. "Just the thought of her not having a body anymore really freaks me out."
Mrs. Frederic nodded. "It reminds you of your brother."
Claudia glared at her, but finally sighed and nodded. Her shoulders slumped. "Yeah."
"Talk to her Claudia." Mrs. Frederic said and got up.
Claudia heard the bed creak and looked up. Her head whipped around and she stared into the empty darkness. Mrs. Frederic was gone. Claudia sighed, annoyed. Had she just imagined this strange conversation? Her eyes landed on the black sphere sitting by her feet. She picked it up with shaking hands.
"Are you in there HG?" she whispered.
The dark ball had more substance than expected. It was not exactly heavy, but it definitely had weight. It would make a nice large croquet ball, Claudia mused.
"HG would have a cow if she knew that we'd played croquet with her," she said and grinned.
Claudia sat up and crossed her legs. She weighed the ball in her hand for a moment before twisting the top. As she pushed down, the air around her started to sizzle and she stared at a spot in the middle of the room where someone started to materialize. She held her breath as she watched HG take shape.
"Where..? What?" HG looked around in the darkness. She was clearly confused at the activation. When she finally spotted Claudia she smiled. "Claudia," she said in the softest voice.
Claudia bit her lip fighting the tears. "Hi," she whispered.
"Darling, are you all right?" HG asked concerned.
Claudia shook her head. HG stepped closer. She touched the bed and her hand went right through. She sighed in frustration. She smiled apologetically at Claudia.
"It appears darling that I cannot comfort you in any other way than with my words. Would you mind an awful lot if I sit down on the floor?"
Claudia shook her head. She watched HG sit down on the rug on the floor, her legs stretched out in front of her, leaning back a little on her arms. For some reason the sight of HG on the floor seemed so sad and Claudia started to cry.
"What's the matter, love?"
Claudia shook her head and wiped her eyes. "This is so wrong," she said and sniffled. "That the great HG Wells has to sit on the floor just feels so wrong."
"Oh," HG said and chuckled. "I've been through worse. Your floor is not that bad actually. I can't even feel if it is dirty or hard."
Claudia cried again. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the pillow.
"Darling, did you summon me?"
"Thank you," HG said.
Claudia opened her eyes and looked at her. HG was very serious where she sat on the floor, looking straight at Claudia.
"No one ever says thank you the way you do," Claudia mumbled. "When you say it you sound like you really mean it."
Claudia smiled a little. "I wish you were here HG," she said and sighed.
"So do I, darling."
Claudia looked at her. "Really?" HG nodded. "Then why did you leave? Why did you hurt us? You don't do that to family."
HG sighed and ran her hand through her hair. "I was hurting so much inside," she said and closed her eyes. "I never allowed myself to open my heart to fully let you in. I did for a moment when I tried to save your life. The pain I experienced almost tore me apart," HG said and looked sadly at Claudia.
"You did save my life," Claudia whispered. "I thought that meant something to you."
"It did, love. Trust me, it did."
"But not a whole lot," Claudia mumbled. She curled up in bed and traced the seam on the sheet with her fingernail. "In the end only Myka mattered to you."
HG jumped to her feet and was by Claudia's side in an instant. She crouched down so she was face to face with her. Her hand hovered for a moment over Claudia's cheek before she pulled it back with a sigh.
"As you so often say darling, this sucks," HG mumbled.
Claudia chuckled and then sighed. "Yeah it does."
"Sweetheart, I care a lot about you. More than I should. I let you into my heart, and no matter how much I've tried to purge you from there, I can't."
Claudia's lip trembled and she reached out to touch HG. Her hand passed through her and she gasped. As unsettling the experience was, it made her feel something. She sat up and closed her eyes as she put her hands on HG's shoulders until her hands were engulfed in bluish light.
"I can feel you," she said and her eyes flew open. "It's not like really touching you of course, but I can feel the HGness that's you," she said and gaped.
HG chuckled and nodded. "I can feel you too. It's an odd feeling really."
Claudia nodded. "I miss talking to you," she said and sighed. "You are a really good listener, you know."
"I quite miss our little chats too," HG said and grinned. "Even though I at times had no idea what you were talking about."
"Hey!" Claudia objected and then laughed.
"Claudia, the way you and Myka accepted me almost made me abandon my quest," HG said and sat down on the floor next to Claudia.
"I know you loved her," Claudia mumbled.
"I do. I love her more than I should be allowed to." HG looked at Claudia. "You can never tell her that. Promise me that you will not."
Claudia made a face. "Why? She's hurting. She thinks that nothing you said or did meant anything. That's her fear, you know," Claudia said and sighed again. "That she doesn't matter, that no one really loves her. Myka was invisible for so long, and no matter what she did, she was never good enough, she always failed when it mattered the most. I don't know if you realize how much you hurt her."
HG whimpered. Claudia stared at her. This was a sound she had never heard from HG before.
"I try to tell myself that she is better off like this. That you are better off like this. I can no longer corrupt your minds and poison your lives."
Claudia stared horrified at her. "You don't. You never did. You poisoned your own mind, or someone else did, but you didn't do that to us."
HG shook her head and looked away.
"HG, you made me feel like I mattered. Like I was someone. Myka made me apply to college, but you made me actually get excited about the courses. I picked some courses because I knew that I might be allowed to work with you once I had the knowledge. I was excited about those courses because of you. Now they just feel painful and like a joke," Claudia said and sank down in the bed again.
"Claudia, I am so proud of you," HG said and smiled at her. "Sometimes when I look at you I wonder if Christina would have been like you when she if she had grown up. When you asked for my opinion about your college courses I felt such joy inside. That my opinion mattered to you, and that you valued my thoughts on the matter."
Claudia blushed and sat up. "For reals?" she whispered.
"Yes darling." She smirked. "I also carried hope that a college education would make your language improve."
"Funny," Claudia muttered and made a face at her.
HG laughed and winked at her. "I am a writer too, you have to remember. Words carry a lot of power and they mean a lot to me."
"I know," Claudia whispered.
"Three little words whispered softly to a lover can ease away pain and bring forth unending happiness. One word in answer to the most important question holds the key to happiness or sorrow in the heart of a lover. A child's whispered words of safety in your arms will calm your fear. The knowledge that your words can ease her pain away and a kiss can cure almost anything has a profound impact on the psyche. So yes, darling, words are important to me and I choose them carefully before they roll off my tongue."
Claudia just stared at her. "I never thought of it like that."
"I tease and I deceive," HG said seriously. "But I never throw words haphazardly at someone I care about. I will never scoff at your feelings, love. You are precious Claudia. I am truly fortunate to have known you, even for a short period of time." She smiled at Claudia who was chewing on her lip, her eyes filled with unshed tears. "I wish your parents were able to see what a remarkable young woman you have become. I know they would be so very proud of you my dear. I know I am."
Claudia sniffled and wiped her tears away. "Thanks. Hearing you saying that means just as much."
Claudia looked at HG for a long moment. "You are family to me."
Her words startled HG who had slipped into her own thoughts for a moment. "As you are to me."
Claudia beamed. "I was so close," she whispered. She looked away and tilted her head back, again fighting tears.
"So close to what?" HG asked curious.
"To having a real family again."
"You do," HG said confused.
"You and Myka," Claudia whispered.
"I see," HG said and made a face. She sighed and got up. "You still have Myka."
"I only have half of her. And that half is shared," Claudia mumbled.
HG frowned not fully understanding. "Please explain. Is something wrong with Myka?"
Claudia shook her head. "Is something wrong with her?" she said and laughed before glaring at HG. "Yeah, you could say that. She's heartbroken. We only have half of her because you took the other half with you."
HG gasped and her hand instinctively went to her neck, caressing, easing her pain. She looked at Claudia for a moment and then took a step back.
"Do not touch the orb Claudia or I will be very cross with you," she said and walked right through the door.
Had it not been so weird, Claudia would have grinned at the awesomeness of being able to walk through walls and doors. Instead she just sighed and closed her eyes.
HG stepped out into the hallway. She glanced around. Everything was quiet. She crossed the hall in long silent strides. Her hand hovered for a moment against Myka's door. She battled her fear before stepping through the door. She looked around and smiled when she saw Myka stretched out on the bed, reading.
Myka jumped and shrieked. She stared wild-eyed at HG.
"Don't do that! You scared the crap out of me."
"I am terribly sorry about that," HG said and ran her hand through her hair. She smiled apologetically at Myka. "I honestly do not know how to get your attention any other way. My only power now seems to be my voice."
"Your words have always been powerful Helena," Myka said darkly. "They twisted my mind to believing you."
"I meant every loving word I ever said to you as a friend and lover," HG said and looked at Myka.
"Don't," Myka said and winced. "I can't handle thinking of you as a lover right now. It hurts too much."
"It is hurting me too," HG exclaimed.
"Well, you caused it, so forgive me if I'm not all that concerned about your feelings at the moment," Myka muttered.
HG sighed and hung her head. "I want to make amends. I want to ease your pain. I know I caused it. I just wish that I could also take it away."
"There's only one way you can do that," Myka whispered.
"Tell me. I will do anything," Helena exclaimed and threw out her arms in a desperate gesture.
"Heal Helena. Prove that you can be trusted," she whispered. "And come back to me." She looked away and closed her eyes. "If you still love me," she whispered.
HG bit her lip as she watched the pain on Myka's face. Claudia had been right. Myka had given half her heart away. She stepped closer.
"Darling, I have never stopped loving you. I did not plan on, or even want to fall in love in this time. I wanted to complete my mission and then close my eyes for the last time before seeing my daughter again." She smiled fondly at Myka. "But then I never counted on you, Myka Bering. I had not anticipated how enchanting you are and how you embody the very essence I had dreamt about. You are the woman I always wanted to be, the one I strived to be, before everything went so terribly wrong."
Myka gaped. She looked warily at HG, searching for deception in her dark eyes. For once HG's face was completely honest and open. Myka saw only sadness and love in her eyes. She sighed.
"As I said to you the other day, I wish that you'd realized that sooner. Now our chance of happiness has come and gone. I hurt like I've never hurt before in my life, Helena."
"I will keep your heart safe, darling," HG whispered. "And I will return it to you. In the meantime I need you to do something for me."
Myka tensed and looked suspiciously at HG. "What?"
"I need you to go to Claudia. She needs you," she said.
Myka jumped out of bed. "What's wrong with Claudia?" she all but shouted. She reached out as if to shake HG, but her hands fell before she could touch her.
"She's hurting and she needs someone to comfort her," HG said and ran her hand through her hair. "I cannot tell you how frustrating and painful it is not to be able to touch any of you. To just have to stand there and watch as you are clearly in pain, knowing that I cannot even hold you to ease your pain."
Myka nodded. "I know. I wish I could touch you too, though I should warn you. I might slap you."
HG laughed and smirked. "The thought has crossed my mind. I would gladly take the abuse if it meant that I could hold you. After all, I have earned it."
"You know I would never hit you Helena," Myka said and sighed. "As much as I want to scream and shake you, I could never, ever hurt you."
HG nodded. "It appears that I could not hurt you either. I thought that I could, but I was wrong. You truly do bring out the best in me."
Myka smiled. She opened the door and held it for HG. "Come, let's go and talk to Claudia."
HG nodded and walked through the open door. "It makes me feel more human than walking through the door," she mumbled a little embarrassed.
Myka nodded. "I thought it might."
Claudia jumped at the gentle knock on her door.
Myka opened the door and held it for HG. She closed it behind her and smiled at Claudia. "Your messenger found me," she joked.
Claudia nodded and bit her lip as she watched the two standing so close together. She closed her eyes and fought the tears again. "HG looks so real. I can almost pretend that all of this never happened and that you're together and happy again."
Myka blushed and glanced at HG. HG smiled at her and the look in her eyes made Myka's heart beat a little faster.
"I wish that too Claudia, but it's not up to us. It's Helena who must make a choice. After that it's in the hands of the Regents."
"Don't we have any say at all?" Claudia exclaimed and tears streaked her pale cheeks.
Myka sat down on the bed and took her hand. "I don't know."
Claudia nodded. "Thanks for being honest. Artie said the same thing earlier." She looked at HG. "I just want you to come back. For real. Not like this. I want to be able to touch you."
"So do I darling," HG said and smiled at her. "If I had been my real self I think you would be sleeping right now and I would be sleeping next to you, holding you."
Claudia chewed on her lip and nodded. "I'm kind of too old for that, but it sounds really nice."
"You're never too old to be held when you're in pain, love," HG said and smiled at her. "Perhaps since I cannot be here for you, that Myka can."
Myka caressed Claudia's hair and smiled at her. "Will you let me Claud? I know I'm not HG, but I still care about you. A lot."
Claudia moved over and Myka slipped under the covers next to her. They lay facing each other for a moment before Claudia turned over. Myka wrapped her arm around Claudia's waist and pulled her closer. She smiled when Claudia took her hand holding it tightly.
"I won't leave again. I promise," Myka whispered and kissed Claudia's cheek.
HG smiled as she watched the two. When Myka's eyes closed she realized that they had forgotten to 'turn her off'. She reached out to touch Myka and opened her mouth to remind them when she noticed that Myka's breathing had changed. She was asleep.
"Helena," Myka whispered and a tiny smile played on her lips.
HG covered her mouth and a tear fell from her dark eyes at the sight. She sat down, watching the two as they slept.
Regents' Stronghold, Secret Location
Mrs. Frederic watched the computer screen carefully, now and then looking over at the unconscious woman on the bed. HG Wells was smiling and her heartbeat was slowing to a calm steady beat.
"Excellent work Helena," Mrs. Frederic said and smiled at her sleeping Agent. "It's only a matter of time now."
"Your instincts were right, Irene," a deep voice said behind her.
Mrs. Frederic turned and faced Mr. Kosan. "Adwin. I am the Warehouse. My agents are part of who I am and Helena is as much a part of me as the others. She has been damaged, but not beyond repair. We owe it to her to try. We did her an incredible injustice a long time ago. It is time to make things right. Not just for her but for the Warehouse. Things are starting to change. I can feel it and it worries me."
He looked seriously at her for a long moment. "Warehouse 14 is not ready yet. If Warehouse 13 dies before we are finished, things will become very difficult."
Mrs. Frederic nodded. "I know."
They faced the woman on the bed again. HG Wells seemed oblivious to the important conversation taking place only feet away from where she lay deep in slumber.
Mr. Kosan turned and headed for the door. "Wake her."
Chapter 2: Some Days It Sucks to be Claudia Donovan
Claudia sighed and typed her message. She was on Twitter which had become a daily habit of late.
Today it sucked to be me #worstdayever
She hit send and started to read her twitter feed. Some messages made her laugh out loud, others made her grit her teeth. She clicked on the '1 new tweet' bar when it popped up and read the comment.
@Nerdgirl "What happened girl?
Claudia smiled and typed her response.
@DrummerDude My BFF at work got fired #sucketesucksuck
@Nerdgirl totally sucks!
Claudia sighed and nodded.
@DrummerDude Yeah. Going off the grid for a while.
She pushed the laptop away and looked up at the ceiling while chewing on her lip.
"And it sucks that HG isn't here," she muttered.
The dark sphere had disappeared the day after Mrs. Frederic had left it with Claudia and Myka. Claudia had frantically searched for it the next day when she and Myka had realized that neither of them had "turned HG off".
"Why wasn't she still here?" Claudia mumbled as the wheels started turning. She sat up with her legs crossed. "HG should still have been here," she thought out loud. "What happened? Did they turn her off remotely?"
Claudia got up and headed over to Myka's room. She stopped with her hand raised to knock when she heard the music. She made a face. It was Myka's "sad music".
"Crap," she mumbled and lowered her hand.
Myka had started to play really sad and heartbreaking songs from time to time after her return. Pete and Claudia had learned to stay away from her when she was in that funky mood. Claudia had a pretty good idea what had brought it on this time.
"Oh, HG," she whispered. "You just have to come back."
"Why do you say that?"
"Whoa! Mrs. F," Claudia said as she turned after having jumped a foot at the sudden interruption to her musings.
"I'm sorry. It was not my intention to scare you."
"Sure," Claudia muttered and walked towards the stairs.
Mrs. Frederic followed her quietly down the stairs. They entered the living room and Claudia curled up on the couch, looking up at Mrs. Frederic with sad eyes.
"Why did you take HG back?"
"I had to."
"Why? Myka needs her."
"We woke her up. She needed her consciousness in order to be able to."
"You woke her?" Claudia exclaimed and grinned. "For reals?"
"And now what?"
Mrs. Frederic smiled at the young woman's impatience. She sat down across from Claudia and folded her hands in her lap.
"Claudia, you are the future of the Warehouse. There are many things you need to know in regards to that responsibility."
Claudia nodded as she stared at Mrs. Frederic with almost fear in her eyes.
"The Warehouse and I are one. All the agents are part of the whole too."
"HG too?" Claudia whispered.
Mrs. Frederic nodded. "You understand this bond very naturally," Mrs. Frederic said with a pleased smile.
"So if HG disappears," Claudia whispered, almost afraid to voice her thoughts. "You will feel it, won't you?"
"What does that mean for HG?"
"It means that we will do whatever we have to do to make her heal and return to full duty as an agent."
"For reals?" Claudia squealed. She grinned and bit her lip.
"Her rehabilitation has already started. These last actions on her part have showed us that she wants to change and that she is ready to. It also appears that this recent interaction with you and Agent Bering has had a very positive impact on HG Wells. It seems to have put things in a new perspective for her and that she truly feels that she is needed here and maybe even more so, that she's wanted."
"She has changed. I just know it," Claudia said and nodded her head vigorously. She looked at Mrs. Frederic for a long moment. "Can we see her? To tell her that we really, really want her back."
"That is actually why I came here today. To bring you back."
Claudia sat up straight on the sofa. "What?"
"Consider it one step forward in your training as a future Warehouse caretaker. Much like how the Warehouse keeps its secrets, some of the knowledge is for your eyes and ears only."
Mrs. Frederic rose and held out her hand to Claudia. Claudia jumped to her feet and silently took it.
"This is one of those things that you cannot share," Mrs. Frederic said and made a gesture in the air.
Claudia watched in fascination as Mrs. Frederic drew a rectangular outline in the air and then gently pushed in the middle. Claudia gaped when light came through as the air solidified and opened a doorway to another place. She followed Mrs. Frederic on slightly shaking legs.
As they stepped through the opening in space and time it closed behind them and Claudia found herself in a long corridor. She looked around, but Leena's was no longer there, only this long, never ending hallway. She jumped as Mrs. Frederic let go of her hand.
Claudia made a face but followed silently behind Mrs. Frederic. That lasted for all but thirty seconds.
"Did we just..? How..?"
"Not now," Mrs. Frederic cut her off. "I will explain everything in time."
Claudia made a face behind her back.
"That is unbecoming of a young lady."
Mrs. Frederic turned and raised an amused eyebrow. Claudia shrugged and made a face again. She almost bumped into Mrs. Frederic when the regal woman stopped short in front of an unmarked white door.
"Follow me, but stay quiet."
Claudia pulled at her shirt and vest and followed on silent sneaker-clad feet. She looked around the room in awe. There were computers and monitors everywhere.
"Claudia, now," Mrs. Frederic said sternly.
"Sure thing, Mrs. F.," Claudia said quickly and hurried after her into the next room.
Claudia froze when she spotted the tall slender figure by the window. She clapped a hand over her mouth as she gasped. HG Wells was standing there, calm and serene as ever. She slowly turned around and her serious face broke into a wide smile as she spotted Claudia. She held out her arms and Claudia rushed over.
"Claudia," she whispered and held the young woman close.
"I can't believe it's really you," Claudia said with a little sob.
"It's me all right," HG said chipper. "A better me actually."
Claudia pulled away and looked at HG. She gently touched HG's cheek and looked her in the eyes.
"Your eyes are different," she mumbled. "Not as sad."
HG smiled a little crocked smile and nodded. "I am slowly coming to terms with the things I cannot change. Dr. Calder has convinced me that I need to love and accept love."
To Be Continued
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