DISCLAIMER: Warehouse 13 and the characters within are not mine- if they were subtext may have been converted very swiftly to main text!
SPOILERS: Spoilers for the season three finalie- for the majority of season two and three.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To flyleafwildkat[at]hotmail.co.uk
Tales of lives past
Expert fingers glided softly over ebony and ivory keys. Elizabeth's eyes were lightly closed and her expression rode the wave of music, swept up in the rising and falling notes the older woman lost herself in the Moonlight Sonata. The low pitch changed and the music evolved into something entirely new, the notes became higher but they only seemed to radiate the sorrow that haunted her. Helena. G. Wells stood at the door of her friend's study, her young eyes not knowing the burden she carried. The playing paused, "Can I help you Helena?"
Moving into the room Helena sat beside the older woman at the piano, "What were you playing?"
Brilliant green eyes opened and studied her, she could feel the weight of the other woman's knowledge, "You know the moonlight sonata, I have played it for you oft enough."
Shaking her head she asked, "I was referring to the piece you began to play before you paused."
"Little Helena, so full of questions." She gently stroked the younger woman's cheek, "It is your finest quality, love."
Helena closed her eyes in contentment when Elizabeth placed a kiss on her forehead, "Humour me then." Her dark eyes danced playfully, "You know when my curiosity is not satisfied then my imagination finds itself wandering all sorts of obscure paths."
The older woman gave the slightest hint of a chuckle, "Curiosity killed the cat dear one."
The knowing vulpine grin Elizabeth had come familiar with tugged at Helena's lips, "And it is killing me! Are you writing a piece?"
Her friend's face became solemn and she turned back to the piano, resting her fingers unpressured on their cool keys, "My music flows as my thoughts, they are one and the same."
Tilting her head Helena dropped her voice to a sombre tone, "And where do they wander this evening?"
Meeting the young woman's ebony gaze Elizabeth replied softly, brushing an errant hair from Helena's cheek, "Places too dark for one so young to fret about."
Elizabeth's head shot up when she heard the agonised cry tear from the lips of her young friend. Helena collapsed to the floor, she screamed her grief, her shoulders shaking violently. The older woman swooped down beside her, "Helena! What is it what is wrong?"
But Helena could not reply, she could not stop the grief filled cries that ripped up her throat. Wrapping her arms about herself she lay in the foetal position on the floor, eyes tightly closed and trembling. Her screams stopped replaced by soft whimpers.
"Helena." Elizabeth's voice was softer, seeing the letter crushed in her friend's fist she gently touched Helena's clenched fist.
Without a word Helena released the letter before curling tighter into a ball.
Brilliant green eyes scanned the copperplate writing. Reading the letter's contents the older woman closed her eyes and released a long breath, "Helena, I'm so sorry."
Carefully she guided Helena into a sitting position, wrapped her arms around her and pulled her shaking friend onto her lap.
Helena buried her face in Elizabeth's midnight black curls at her neck and began to weep. Stroking the inventor's soft hair Elizabeth rocked her gently.
"My baby." Helena's voice was cracked with tears when she finally spoke, "How... Why..." The rest was lost in another heavy sob.
It was days before Helena could last any amount of time without breaking down. Elizabeth had kept visitors at bay, guarding her friend like a lioness would her cub. Even Charles realised attempts to reach his sister would be futile until Helena wanted to be seen.
Elizabeth quietly entered Helena's room. The inventor's voice came from the arm chair, "How did you cope? How could you stand it?"
Blinking slowly Elizabeth lowered her head before approaching the back of the chair, "It is amazing what a stone cold exterior can hide." Rounding the crimson piece of furniture she knelt before Helena, "Darling, you cannot let this consume you." Taking the young woman's hands in hers she pleaded, "Helena, please, do not lose yourself in this grief."
But Elizabeth knew it was too late, when Helena's ebony eyes met her own she could see Helena's soul shattered.
Helena gave a startled breath as she was pulled out of oblivion. She found herself standing in the Warehouse, looking about she heard Pete, Artie and Myka speaking hurriedly. "What on earth?"
Myka looked up to her, "Helena! Don't, wait!"
She looked down to see the wires in her hands, ready to place a force field around the team.
Artie snatched up the bomb and placed it on the floor before shoving Pete and Myka away from it. He barked, "Now, put it around the bomb."
Nodding she did as instructed. When the conduits overloaded and she dropped the cables she looked up to Myka, "How?"
Tears were welling in the agent's eyes, ignoring Pete and Artie Myka ran the short distance between them and pulled Helena against her chest.
When a happy sob escaped her throat Helena realised she too was crying. Wrapping her arms around Myka she stroked the agent's hair. Myka pulled back slightly looking into the inventor's eyes she said, "Just in case it doesn't work." Myka placed a hand on the back of Helena's neck and kissed her.
The inventor felt as if her heart had exploded in her chest, tightening her grip on Myka she crushed her lips harder against the younger woman's. Behind them they heard the timer on the bomb beep as it erupted. But neither woman could give a toss about the bomb, they were lost in the feel of each other's touch and the taste of each other's lips. When their lips finally parted they stared into each other's eyes breathing heavily. Pete coughed, "I'd hate to interrupt the lady lovin' but... We did it."
Turning Myka looked to the blackened crater on the floor, then to the otherwise undamaged Warehouse. She released a laugh, "We did it!" Spinning back to Helena she hugged the inventor fiercely, "We did it!"
The inventor smiled warmly, "Yes we did."
Helena unwound one arm from Myka's waist and held it open, "I believe the phrase is 'group hug'."
Pete flashed a wide grin, "There's hope for you yet lady!" before running over and picking both women up in a bear hug.
Myka choked in Pete's grip, "Pete! A little tight there!"
He dropped them with a chuckle, "Wuss!"
Helena backed away slightly and looked towards Artie. Their eyes met in a moment of mutual respect, Helena inclined her head. Artie nodded, "You did good Wells."
Helena's vulpine grin spread over her features when her eyes caught sight of the pocket watch, "You didn't do so badly yourself Nielson."
As Pete's SUV skidded to a halt outside of the B&B, Helena released her death grip on the door handle, "Peter dear, I have only just avoided Hades' grasp I would pray you not to throw me back to him so soon!"
The Agent turned, "Huh?"
Artie opened his door, and dived out of the car with a cry of, "No time! Leena! Claudia!"
The door opened, and Claudia ran out, "What the frack happened? One minute there was an explosion and Mrs F..." The young woman's eyes were wide as she shook her head, "The next it was like it was like someone hit rewind! We were at the table like we were before the Warehouse went up!"
Myka wrapped her arms around the panicking younger woman, "It's okay Claud. Artie used the pocket watch, it rewound time by five minutes; the Warehouse is fine everything is going to be okay."
Mrs Fredericks and Leena came to the door. The Sage gave a sigh of relief, "Well done Arthur."
His expression fell a little, sadly, "Thank James."
Sitting at the dining room table, Claudia kept her hand resolutely over the metronome. Mrs Frederick's eyes flicking to it occasionally; causing the young woman's grip to tighten reflexively. Helena watched the way the young woman studied the caretaker, a silent tug of war going on between them. "The threat to the Warehouse has been neutralised, we must return to the task of finding and neutralising artefacts. Normal protocol must be re-established."
"How can we just go on as if nothing happened?" All eyes turned to Claudia, "The Warehouse was destroyed, Steve is dead, you died, HG died! How the hell can we just go on like that didn't happen?!"
Mrs Frederick's calm tone cut across the tension, "Claudia, if we grind to a shuddering halt then Sykes may as well have won. His aim was to destroy the Warehouse, if we stop because of his actions then he will have won."
Standing sharply, she banged a hand on the table, "We can't just act like nothing has happened!"
Grabbing the metronome she stormed out.
Myka made to stand, but found Helena's hand on her wrist. The Victorian slowly stood, "I'll talk to her."
Artie shook his head, "It should be one of us."
"I can understand better than anyone what she is going through. Please Arthur. Let me help her."
Their eyes met across the table, his face remained in a resolute frown. Until Mrs Fredericks spoke, "Miss Wells, would you go and speak with Miss Donovan?"
She nodded, "Yes Ma'am."
HG found the young woman sitting on the porch of the B&B. "Claudia?"
Looking up, she asked, "What do you want HG?"
Gesturing to the space beside the girl she asked, "May I?"
Reluctantly, Claudia nodded, "Sure."
Taking the space, Helena said softly, "Tell me about Steve."
She could feel Claudia tense, "Why?"
Resting a hand on the young woman's wrist, she said, "Because you have not been able to grieve the loss of your friend." Claudia made to turn away, but Helena tightened her grip momentarily, "Claudia, listen to me, I beg of you. Grief, if not let out, acts as a poison to the mind. It festers and grows until it destroys every ounce of happiness you once had..."
"Until what? I grab the Minoan trident and try to start a new ice age?" Claudia could see the sting her words had on impact, but she was too angry to care, "I'm not you HG. I'm not about to try and start an apocalypse; I know what I'm going to do, and not you or anyone else is going to stop me- least of all Mrs Fredericks. She claims that we can't use artefacts for personal purposes yet she uses them casually as if they were normal tools!" She tightened her grip on the metronome, and stood, "I'm bringing Steve back HG. I have the metronome and I'm going to use it on him..."
Helena tried to keep her tone level but there was a level of bitterness that she simply could not rein in, "So, that's it then? You are going to turn your back on the Warehouse, on your family? For what? A half hearted chance which more likely than not will fail or result in your own death or that of someone else close to you?"
The young woman spun and yelled, "You know NOTHING HG! Steve was like a brother to me! He's the closest friend I have ever had! I'd give my own life to bring him back! You of all people should understand that I have to do this! You couldn't bring back your daughter, but I might be able to bring back Steve."
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Helena stood, "Claudia..."
"Save it! I'll tell you the same as I told Mrs Fredericks, I'm sick of arbitrary rules. The Warehouse was brought back, Mrs Fredericks was brought back; you were brought back HG! So why the hell shouldn't Steve get another chance?"
The inventor locked eyes with the young woman, "Claudia, you can't use the metronome."
"I told you I'm sick...."
"Of arbitrary rules- yes I got that. You cannot use the metronome when you don't even know the side effects."
This caused Claudia to pause, "What do you mean?"
Helena gave a heavy sigh, "If you use the metronome, you will not be bringing Steve back. His body will regain function- but that is it. When Sykes resurrected Marcus, he didn't do it to regain a friend- he did it to gain a valuable asset. The metronome binds the person resurrected to the one possessing it. It restores the body's function but the person's soul is not brought back with it." Her voice softened, "It wouldn't be Steve. It would be a hollow shell; a pale imitation of the man you came to love as a brother."
The young woman shook her head, "You're lying."
Running a hand through her hair, Helena shook her head, "I wish I was darling." As Claudia's face fell, and tears began to flow freely over her cheeks, HG added carefully, "Steve is gone Claudia."
A heavy sob broke through, "I know."
"Oh darling. Come here."
Claudia had never really been one for hugs, but when Helena pulled her close, she found herself crying like a child into the Victorian's hair.
As it began to get dark, Myka rose from the sofa and said quietly, "I'm going to check on Helena and Claudia."
Opening the door quietly, she looked out to see Claudia lying on the bench, her head in Helena's lap. The older woman sat stroking the younger's hair as she listened to Claudia talk about Steve.
Myka smiled as a feeling of warmth enveloped her heart. HG looked all to the world as a mother bear protecting her cub. As if sensing the other woman was near, Helena wordlessly looked to Myka. The small smile gracing her lips said more than a thousand words; she's going to be alright. She just needs time and a willing ear. We will be in shortly.
Myka returned the smile and nodded, See you inside. Before closing the door and returning to the living room.
Both Pete and Myka had nodded off in their respective chairs when Helena came back in. Claudia, exhausted, had decided to go to bed. Entering the Living room she could not stop the warm smile gracing her features as she beheld the sleeping Myka. The only awake person in the room was Artie. His eyes narrowed, "What's your game Wells?" Her head turned and she was about to open her mouth, but he cut her off, his voice remaining at a whisper, "Why are you doing this to her? You have hurt and betrayed Myka in the worst ways possible. Your actions drove her away from the Warehouse, from the people who love her. I know you saved our lives, and I'm grateful for that. But I still don't trust you; I would be lying to say anything else."
Nodding, she slowly approached his chair, "I understand. To say my record is marred would be a catastrophic understatement." In a gesture she was not soon to forget, HG dropped to one knee before Artie's chair and looked him straight in the eye, "But I swear to you here Arthur. Never again will I hurt anyone related to the Warehouse; least of all Myka. I would sooner throw myself into the fiery pits of the seven circle than cause her harm. I love her Arthur. I love her with every fibre of my being; I have known it since we met- despite it being at gunpoint." She sighed, "My rage and hate towards humanity in those early months blinded me to nearly everything else. Especially what my heart was screaming at me. I forced it away- but at Yellowstone... I think you know as well as I do that I could never have pulled the trigger; and I think a part of me knows that the third strike would not have come. I would not, could not, destroy a world with Myka in it."
Artie felt then something that he did not expect, the sincerity in Helena's eyes was unmistakable; he believed her. However, unwilling to release his fears quite yet he said, "Alright Wells. I'll tolerate this. But if you ever again cause harm to Myka or a member of this family; I'll kill you."
Her head bowed, "If that day ever comes Arthur; I'll let you."
Three weeks later
They were in London, searching for an artefact that made the victim think they were Oliver Cromwell. Helena found herself cornered by the gun wielding puritan in a back alley, at that moment she regretted insisting they split up. Neither Pete nor Myka were anywhere near her, and as she stared down the barrel of the crazed man's gun she was thankful for that. Gritting her teeth she glared at the man who snarled, "Your sins know no bounds! You conduct yourself in the manner of a man! A sinful man at that! You fraternise with another woman and dress in the manner of a whore! Evil such as you must be purged from this earth!"
A cool voice came from behind him, "I think not."
As the man turned he received a sharp blow to the head. He crumpled to the floor with a groan. Helena rushed over and pulling on her purple gloves she took the small bible from the man's pocket. Looking up she felt her heart seize in her chest as she took in the figure of her savoir.
The haunting green eyes, the pitch black curls and the impossibly perfect features were impossible to mistake. The name whistled out of her, "Elizabeth?"
The other woman straightened and frowned.
It was then Helena noticed the slight differences. The woman was slightly younger than Elizabeth, her eyes were a duller shade of green and they lacked the weight of experience of her friend's.
"I do apologise, I thought you were someone else."
The younger woman's frown deepened, "Are you Helena?"
The artificer stopped dead, "I beg your pardon."
It made Helena's head spin to see the same stoically sarcastic expression Elizabeth used to pull, spread over the young woman's features, "I asked whether or not you were Helena."
"Helena!?" Myka came racing around the corner; raising her Tesla she barked, "Turn around with your hands in the air!"
The young woman looked over her shoulder with disinterest, "You must be Agent Bering."
Myka's jaw dropped, her surprise mirrored on her partner's features, "How do you..."
"It is complicated. I should not be talking to you." Her eyes flitted over Helena, "Funny, I imagined you... differently." Her lips quirked slightly, "The way she described you, suggested that you were practically a deity."
Helena frowned, "Who are you? Who described me?"
The young woman looked solemn, "My grandmother."
She nodded, "My namesake." Seeing Helena pause uncomfortably the young woman said gently, "She confided in me. I know about the Warehouse and the Regents."
The older agent nodded, "Have you assumed her role?"
"I hold a similar position."
Helena inclined her head and began to walk to the alley mouth, "In which case, we must go."
Elizabeth sighed, "Helena wait."
Myka stepped closer to her lover, "What on earth is going on?"
Holding Myka's wrist reassuringly Helena said softly, "It is Warehouse business Myka, but very high up."
"Helena, Elizabeth yet lives."
The Victorian's jaw dropped, "What? How?"
The young woman paused, "She hasn't really aged..."
Myka exclaimed, "What?"
But Helena winced, "Oh, of course, I remember."
Elizabeth muttered sadly, "The fountain."
The American looked between the two, "Anyone fancy filling me in?"
Helena took a breath, "Elizabeth was involved in a serious incident. Before I joined the Warehouse she had been on a mission, to find the fountain of youth. She would not tell me the details but she hadn't aged since." Her teeth grazed her bottom lip, "It was always a sensitive subject. How is she?"
"The same." Elizabeth sighed, "Nothing I can really report, other than my own existence."
"May I contact her?"
The younger woman nodded, "The Regents never saw fit to keep you apart before. I cannot see how that will have changed."
Myka's eyes went to the Victorian, and she could see Helena visibly flinch as she muttered under her breath, "Unfortunately many things have changed since then."
Artie weaved about the chaos of his office- every file on Cromwell the Warehouse had was splayed over every surface- pulled his ringing Farnsworth from his pocket, "Myka. Did you get it?"
Myka tried to keep the confusion on the situation from her face, "Hey Artie. Yeah, we got it. Helena and I are going to spend an extra night in London. Pete's coming back with the bible."
From the other side they could hear him begin his flustered lecturing.
Helena held out her hand, "May I?"
Handing it to her, Myka nodded, "Be my guest."
"Arthur." Helena let him continue his grumbly barking a moment longer before saying sharply, "Arthur!" Their boss stopped. "Thank you. Now, I have been invited to stay the night with an old acquaintance here in England. We will be getting a flight tomorrow."
His eyebrows knitted, to form something akin to an angry furry caterpillar, "Acquaintances? Wells, have you hit your head or something? I know you're from England, but, that was a hundred years ago..."
Running a hand through her hair, Helena was doing her damndest to keep calm, "I know this is hard to believe. You needn't worry. My friend is from within the Warehouse."
With an exasperated sigh, he forced himself to use a civil tone, "I hate to be blunt, but Helena, the people you worked with are dead."
"Elizabeth Loewe, is an exception."
With a surprised caw, Artie dropped his Farnsworth. Scrabbling to pick it up he yelled, "Elizabeth Loewe? How the hell do you know about Elizabeth Loewe."
Helena rolled her eyes and sighed, "We were good friends while I was at Warehouse 12."
Pete wandered out of a small cafe looking slightly disgruntled, he looked over Helena's shoulder, "I'm coming back with the bible Artie. You can't get a decent donut over here!"
Artie rolled his eyes, "Yes Pete because that is the most pressing matter right now! Helena, what... how... just explain."
Nodding the Victorian calmly told him all she knew. "Arthur, I loath to ask a favour of you; but... Elizabeth was one of my closest friends. I would love to see her again."
With a low grumble he nodded, "Fine, but if the Regents decide to discipline you for it; not my problem."
She cast him a grin, "Deal!"
"Keep the Farnsworth with you."
Handing the Farnsworth back to Myka, Helena gave her a devilish wink. Chuckling slightly she signed off, "See you later Artie."
Myka's jaw dropped when they pulled up outside the modern mansion. The architecture was extraordinary. The building was the perfect marriage between modern, glass and metal, and Victorian, marble and white brick. "What on earth? HG, who is this woman?!"
Helena was equally awed by the building as they drove along the white stoned road leading up to the house, "She is a very old friend."
A black Porsche 911 GT sat in the driveway outside an impressive set of garages. Helena chuckled, "I imagine those garages to be brimming with automobiles- Elizabeth adored engines and especially motorcars."
Getting out of the car, the young Elizabeth came to greet them, "Helena, I thought it best not to tell her you were coming. The way she has been recently a pleasant surprise would do her some good."
The Agent grinned slightly, "I would often appear at her door unannounced, I do not think it would do to alter that tradition."
Walking through the vast halls, Helena's ears detected the familiar notes of piano music drifting through the halls. Closing her eyes she could almost imagine she was back in her own time. The music abruptly stopped; followed by a light, but rapid footsteps on the floor above them.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes, "I didn't think I would be able to keep this under wraps for long."
Her friend appeared at the end of the corridor. Helena could not stop a choking sob, "Elizabeth!"
The other woman let a soft smile tilt the corners of her lips, "Helena."
Elizabeth stood about a head taller than Helena, and so wrapped the smaller woman easily into a protective embrace.
Stepping back, HG looked at her friend in wonder, "You haven't aged a day."
A small shadow of melancholy danced behind the older woman's eyes, "I'll explain later, I promise." Myka almost had to stop herself from staring; she had never seen eyes as vivid as the ones who had turned to study her. "You must be Agent Bering."
Nodding, she held out her hand, "Myka, it's a pleasure to meet you."
The other woman's eyes flicked for less than a second between the two agents and a look of knowing graced her features, "Excellent." She raised an eyebrow at her granddaughter, "Liz, you didn't tell me we had guests."
The young woman shrugged, "You seemed to need something to cheer you up."
Touching Liz's cheek Elizabeth smiled, "Darling you worry too much." Her tone lightened, "That is my job."
Having never left contact with Helena, Elizabeth gripped her wrist encouragingly, "It is so good to see you Helena."
Taking in her friend's manner of dress Helena was taken aback, "You really have embraced this century."
Looking down on her fitted jeans and designer shirt, Elizabeth shrugged elegantly, "I have learnt to embrace any century."
In the drawing room, Myka sat with Helena and Elizabeth, cradling a glass of brandy. Elizabeth's eyes turned to her, "So Myka, how has working for the Warehouse been for you?"
Taking a moment to consider Myka smiled softly, "The only word I can think of to describe it is mad. But in the most wonderful sense of the word; I never know what is coming around the corner, what new challenges I will face. But there that also brings its downsides. I've had more brushes with death than I can count, you can never know what to expect with this job. But I love it- I wouldn't trade it for the world."
The older woman's lip quirked into a ghost of a smile, "Well said."
Sipping her brandy, Helena sighed contentedly, "Thank the Gods this hasn't changed much."
Elizabeth chuckled, "Darling, where would I be without a decent tipple?"
"Probably giving some poor merchant a roasting, for selling you a sub-standard product."
Raising her glass, the older woman nodded, "Exactement, mon ami."
Myka leant forward, "You speak French?"
"I speak most known languages." Sipping her brandy, Elizabeth looked over the curved rim of the glass, "Taking the long path through the centuries does tend to leave one with more spare time than one knows what to do with."
"So what do you do in your spare time?"
Elizabeth's eyes came to Myka again, "Oh a multitude of things. Whatever I can get my hands on really. I have done most things, from kempo to cross-stitching."
Myka glanced to HG, "Helena does Kempo. Did you practice together?" It was still strange to the younger agent, to think she sat with a woman who by all accounts was older than Helena, and yet without the aid of bronze sat appearing not a day over thirty.
HG placed a hand on Myka's knee, "Elizabeth taught me Kempo."
"Yes, you were thirteen and wouldn't cease your constant badgering until I agreed to teach you."
Myka laughed, the image of the younger Helena pestering the older woman warmed her heart, "So, you've always had that talent then!"
The inventor curved an ebony eyebrow, "Talent? For what?"
The agent smiled, "Being able to bug your way into getting what you want."
"I am quite sure I have no idea to what you are referring darling."
It was then Elizabeth's turn to raise an eyebrow, "And that time I found you tinkering with the muskets in the armoury, and you somehow managed to talk me out of scolding you?"
A sweet innocent smile spread over HG's lips, "Well, I simply thought I could adapt them."
"To what ends? They were from the English civil war! I doubt they would be able to shoot at point blank range, unless thoroughly cleaned and prepped."
When the previous sentence caught up with Myka, she stammered, "You have an armoury?"
"On the estate yes. The old house was a Norman castle I converted." Looking slightly embarrassed, Elizabeth explained, "Money is something one accumulates over time, and by taking on projects I am able to throw my mind into it so as to avoid boredom."
Helena nodded, "My boredom can cause discord; yours is often nigh apocalyptic!"
"I don't think it is that bad darling!"
Myka looked around, "So where is Liz going, she mentioned that she was leaving?"
"She is being flown out to Kenya. When not working on Warehouse matters she is a professor of History at Cambridge. But she is currently doing a study of the history of the Massai."
Helena leant forward, "How fascinating, does she plan to publish."
"Among her other works, yes." Elizabeth placed her empty glass down, "I am so proud of the girl."
Helena asked carefully, "When did you have another child?"
"1959, a girl my Grace." Looking at the clock, she sighed, "Well ladies, I hate be a poor hostess, but I must away to bed."
Myka looked at her watch, the dial read 3.30am. Her eyes widened, "I didn't realise it was so late!"
"You needn't worry darling, our flight is not until eleven thirty tomorrow... well this evening."
It was still dark outside when the haunting notes of Elizabeth's quiet playing roused her from her sleep. Myka was curled into her side, one arm draped protectively over the inventor's torso. As Helena tried to untangle herself as gently as possible, Myka stirred, "What time is it?"
"Half four darling, go back to sleep." Helena kissed her forehead, "I need to go and speak to Elizabeth."
Looking up Myka seemed hesitant, "Helena..." She paused, looking uncomfortable she cautiously asked, "Were you two...?"
Leaving the rest of the question unasked she saw Helena register the meaning, "No darling. We were never lovers, Elizabeth was... is a dear friend. I do love her, but not in that context, she was my protector. More like a mother figure than a lover." She held Myka closer a moment, "Elizabeth was with me when I first learned of Christina's death and in the weeks that followed- when I was at my most vulnerable- she protected me from the world with such ferocity..." Helena sighed, "She knew my pain, and she did not want me to suffer as she had."
Myka frowned, "She lost a child?"
Helena nodded, "Her daughter Mellissa. She never did tell me what happened, but Elizabeth has always played her cards impossibly close to her chest." Planting kiss on Myka's cheek she stood, "Hopefully she will tip her hand this evening."
"I have the strangest feeling of déjà vu." Elizabeth looked around to Helena, "Well, are you coming in?"
Nodding Helena took the seat beside Elizabeth. "You said you would explain."
Sighing, the older woman replied, "That I did." Standing Elizabeth wandered over to the cabinet in the corner, opening it she withdrew a decanter of whiskey and two tumblers, "You may need this by the time we are finished."
"Where would you like to begin?"
Swirling the whiskey in her tumbler, the inventor paused a moment, "I suppose, the beginning would be the wisest place to start."
Elizabeth nodded, "Very well then. I was born Elsebeth Amala Loewe, in Prague. My parents were Bardulf and Amala Loewe, and the year was 1481."
Helena's eyes widened, "1481?!"
Elizabeth nodded, "My parents died in an outbreak of cholera when I was eight, and that was when the Warehouse found me. Like a call in the dark, I was irresistibly drawn to Warehouse 8. I became a full agent in 1496 at the age of fifteen." She looked to her friend, "Are you alright?"
The inventor rubbed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, "Yes, I'm fine, I had just assumed you were an earlier Warehouse 12 agent. 1481... that makes you..."
"Five hundred and thirty one next month." She rolled her eyes, "God, saying it like that makes me feel old."
"So, how did you end up like this?"
A hint of bitterness snuck into her friend's tone, "Not voluntarily I assure you." Sighing, she made herself more comfortable, "When I worked for Warehouse 8 we were sent to get to the fountain of youth before Ponce De Leon in 1513. Myself and another Agent, Günter Amsel, were ordered to infiltrate his ship and put him off course before finding the fountain and neutralising it.
"But naturally everything went absolutely to hell and we ended up in a fire fight in the fountain chamber. We managed to put Ponce De Leon off the trail but unfortunately ten of his men followed us. We managed to fight them off, but both Günter and I were injured. One final soldier ran into the chamber and launched himself at me. Günter turned on me and shot me in the chest. His second shot hit the solider in the head, and man's momentum caused him to barrel into me- sending me crashing into the fountain of youth. I had suspected that Günter intended to use the fountain for his own gain, but I did not realise how desperate he was to gain its power.
"Bleeding from several slash wounds and at least four bullet holes, I sank like a stone. My foot became trapped in the rocks at the bottom of the fountain. The chamber was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. An open roofed chamber in the middle of a mountain, it is like a secret glade, lush with plant life. From an opening in the sheer rock face tumbled a roaring waterfall- which poured into the deep pool of the fountain.
"The waterfall, however beautiful only abetted my attempts to swim. After a few minutes I had no choice other than to try and draw breath. The waters of the fountain flooded my lungs and I thought myself dead. Closing my eyes I resigned myself to the fact that I was to die."
Helena was watching her friend intently, "But you didn't die, here you are."
"Here I am indeed. The fountain revived me. The stones trapping me moved, and when I broke through the surface, my wounds were healed. Though I had drowned, my lungs were clear, I felt more alive than I ever had before." Her eyes became unreadable for a moment, "It was then I was ordered to destroy the fountain. The regents had commanded that the fountain be neutralised, the fountain asked that it be destroyed; to prevent its powers from tainting the minds of men."
Helena frowned, "But what is the issue with eternal youth?"
Elizabeth sighed, "As with all things the Fountain's blessings come with their equal share of curses. If a person of an 'impure' soul steals water of the fountain; then they can only gain youth by drawing it out of others."
Helena frowned, "Is that what you need to do in order to remain young?"
Her friend's tone dropped to a dangerous tone, "If that were the case Helena, I would not be sitting here with you. Though to some it may seem a blessing; I cannot age. I did not take the waters of the fountain of my own free will; and because of this the rules are slightly altered. However, this does not leave my soul without scarring from its blessing."
"What mark did it leave on you?"
Running a hand through her hair, Elizabeth said slowly, "The worst of the fountain's curses is not placed upon me; but my offspring. Any child of mine is doomed to live a life riddled with tragedy and will die young; often in seemingly freak accidents."
The inventor's face fell, her chest aching as her own memories of Christina surfaced, "Oh Elizabeth I am sorry. What about Liz?"
"It appears that the curse only applies to my children; perhaps their children will be spared the fate. Though her life has been an unusual and eventful one; her luck appears to be tilted in an opposite angle to her mother's."
"What happened to Grace?"
Standing, Elizabeth refilled her tumbler, "She was killed in a car accident." Dropping a cube of ice into the glass with a quiet 'plink', Elizabeth gave a humourless chuckle, "The ironic thing is, being so paranoid about her safety; I would insist she always wear a seatbelt. The coroner said that she would have survived the accident had she not been wearing it; the damned thing snapped her neck." With a steadying breath she continued, "Liz was only six months old at the time. Her father had been unstable at the best of times, he suffered from terrible depressions, and just a few months after Grace was killed; he hung himself. I've raised Liz, pretty much, as my own from her mother's death."
Putting an arm around Elizabeth's waist, she pulled her friend closer- having suddenly felt the need for human contact, "I'm so sorry Elizabeth."
Running a hand over Helena's silken ebony hair, she rested her cheek atop the Inventor's head, "Alas it is in the past, and there is nothing we can do to change it."
Helena nodded, "I know."
Taking Helena's hands, her brilliant eyes studied her with quiet concern, "I read the files about what happened after..." Her head lowered in shame, "I tried to learn of your movements but I was denied any information; I pleaded your case with the regents- but I was too late- by the time they began to listen, they had already encased you in bronze."
Artie jumped, almost dropping the ill gotten file from his hands, "Mrs Fredericks!"
The sage regarded him, over the rim of her glasses, "Why do you have the file on Elizabeth Loewe in your hand? That file is for regents eyes only."
Gingerly handing it to her, he tentatively admitted, "I was curious, I had only heard the name in whispered passings." His courage began to return as a justifiable reason came to mind, "I needed to know what my agents were getting themselves into."
The slightest hint of a frown crossed the woman's face, "Explain your meaning."
"Myka and HG are spending some extra time in England for HG to see Elizabeth."
"She has resurfaced?"
Artie tilted his head, "She fell off the radar?"
Mrs Fredericks seemed to be working a puzzle in her head as she said distractedly, "For some time yes." Her attention snapped back to him, "Call her in Arthur."
Looking to his Farnsworth a moment he nodded, "Ye..." The woman was gone, "HG Wells what have you dug up?"
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