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
Pausing her packing, she turned to see Helena at her door, "What is it, darling?"
Entering cautiously she asked, "You didn't answer us, how can you be the fountain?"
"Ah. I was rather hoping I had avoided that topic."
Shaking her head, Helena sat on the bed beside Elizabeth's case, "Please tell me."
Placing a kiss to the younger woman's forehead, Elizabeth sighed, "I will darling, I promise. But will you wait until I return from Greece? I only have an hour to get to the airport."
"Fine. As soon as you get back..."
Elizabeth pecked Helena's cheek, "Thank you darling."
Pulling a face at her friend, Helena's smile faded, "Are you sure it is safe to go, with that man chasing after you?"
Holding the tops of Helena's arms, Elizabeth made the younger woman look her in the eye, "I will be fine, darling." Pausing a moment, she studied Helena's eyes. "What is it? There is something troubling you."
Looking down, the Victorian shook her head, "I'm fine."
"You can't lie to me Helena, I know you too well, remember?"
Looking up, Helena hid her emotions behind a mask of irritation, "Fine. You are one of the people I hold dearest in the world, yet as time progresses I feel as if I know less and less about you! Are we acquainted at all Elizabeth?"
Helena's attempt to exude anger rather than hurt failed, and her voice failed. Elizabeth's emerald eyes softened, "Oh, Helena. I'm sorry, but there were are, things that I simply cannot tell you."
"If I had not been bronzed, would you have told me any of this? Or would you have allowed me to live with a false estimation of a woman I hold dearer than a mother."
For the first time, Helena saw uncertainty in her friend's eyes, "I don't know Helena. I truly do not know."
Sighing, Helena bit her lip to fight a tide of hurt rising within her, "Why couldn't you tell me? You know every secret I hold; you know me better than I know myself. Yet, you would only ever return a semblance of closeness. Why won't you let me know you?"
Pulling the smaller woman to her in a gentle embrace, Elizabeth whispered through Helena's ebony hair, "Because, Helena I love you more than a daughter, that is why I could not tell you. The information would not only put you in danger, but the knowledge would have damaged the bond between us; like it is doing now. I never wished to keep secrets from you, I swear, but it was the only way. Had you known; you would not have been bronzed- you would have been executed."
Helena felt her blood go cold, "Why?"
"Because the regents of Warehouse 12 and I were never the closest of friends, they had initially considered having you die on a mission. But I found the plan and threatened to destroy them. However, they hid the plan for your bronzing better and I didn't find out until it was too late."
Closing her eyes, Helena said softly, "While I was bronzed, I heard you. I don't know whether it was a dream or..."
"No, I broke into the Warehouse. I found you in the bronze sector, and broke down. But when I tried to debronze you, the agents were alerted to my presence and I was dragged before the regents in chains. I was told if I went near the bronze sector again, then they would destroy you."
Helena had not realised how tightly she held onto the other woman, until her wrist began to throb in protest. Ignoring the sensation, she buried her face further into the comforting black curls, "Why did they hate you so much?"
"They wanted to harness the power of the fountain, to make the Warehouse invulnerable through a legion of immortal regents; I refused. They tried to take the power by force and two agents along with three regents died as a result. It left a bitterness between us which was never resolved; until the warehouse moved."
Pulling back, Helena frowned, "Why didn't you leave?"
"And leave the Warehouse in their hands?"
The inventor nodded, "Ah, I see."
Glancing at her watch, Elizabeth closed her case, "When I get back we will continue this conversation. But until then, darling, take care."
Helena nodded, "You too. Try not to get into too much trouble."
"Nothing to do with me darling! I think it simply follows me wherever I go!"
Sitting on the plane, Claudia watched as Elizabeth poured through the notes Artie had managed to get them about the case. The older woman was muttering to herself beneath her breath, lower than the young techi could make out, but from the expressions she was pulling, Claudia guessed she was thinking of possible causes.
"So, have you been to Greece before?"
Woken from her thoughts, Elizabeth looked to her and smiled, "Yes, several times. A lovely country- I prefer the Greek islands, the towns are quieter, but the country itself is also stunning."
Glancing at the notes, Claudia asked, "Any ideas? You made a good call on the last ping, how bout this one?"
With a frown she shook her head, "Unfortunately no. I am uncertain what it could be. I am not sure whether it is a Grecian artefact, in which case there are hundreds of myths it could be from, it may even be modern. But if it is foreign, then there are no limits to the possibilities."
Claudia ran a hand through her hair, "So, what do the notes say?"
Handing over the file, Elizabeth opened it on Claudia's fold down table. "The news report told of a happily married woman who has, out of the blue, become a complete raging lesbian."
Having been taking a drink of her coke, Claudia inhaled quickly and began to choke. "Dude. Not Pc!"
Elizabeth pointed to the report, "Fifty women have filed sexual harassment charges against her; that is just in one week."
Claudia nodded, "Ah, yes, defiantly a raging... urm... one. Yes."
Chuckling, Elizabeth regarded the younger woman carefully, "Claudia? Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I thought you were being, well funny."
Elizabeth's eyebrows shot up and her voice fell to an almost hysterically amused, scandalised whisper, "You thought I was being homophobic?!"
Chewing her lip the young woman simply nodded. What she didn't expect though was for Elizabeth to begin roaring with laughter. "What's so funny?"
Taking a moment to rein herself in, Elizabeth managed to say through chuckles, "I know I have a talent for hypocrisy, darling, but I'm not that bad!"
Finally calming down, Elizabeth looked at Claudia, "Now what was the phrase Helena used to use... Oh yes. Many of my lovers were men; the majority however were not."
The techi's jaw dropped, "Oh! OH!"
"If you thought the disposition was frowned upon in the nineteenth century, you should have seen them in my own. The Spanish inquisition actually burnt me at the stake once. Then bricked it when I rose from the ashes, I must say Torquemada's face was rather a picture."
Impressed, Claudia joked, "Many people try to kill ya through the centuries?"
"Yes actually." Claudia could have slapped herself, until Elizabeth smiled, "I don't mind, it's quite amusing actually. I've been hung, burned, stabbed, shot, smothered, drowned, tied between two horses, frozen, electrocuted, poisoned, beaten, beheaded... well, you get the idea."
"Jeez. It must have been tough, you know, with people wanting you dead and all."
Running a hand through her hair, Elizabeth put her head back in the guise of tiredness, "Not as much as one would think."
As it turned out the woman they were looking for had somehow acquired a ring, which had once belonged to the ancient Greek poet Sappho. The woman lived on a horse ranch a few miles outside of Athens. It was there she took a rather obsessive shining to Claudia- enough to smash a vase over Elizabeth's head, before tying the young woman's hands and throwing her onto the back of a horse, before galloping off. The junior agent, unable to let go of her captor, (while on the horse, the woman had tied Claudia's arms around her middle to keep her on the galloping steed) Claudia yelled her protest at the top of her lungs.
Shaking her head, Elizabeth picked herself up with a groan. Her eyes followed the trail of dust, to where she saw Claudia and the woman dashing off. Looking around, she clapped eyes on a stunning stallion. A stag-do had been at the ranch looking for a trail ride, so the stallion was tacked. With a wicked grin, Elizabeth took a run at the animal and vaulted onto it. The animal reared, but grabbing its reins she gripped with her legs and urged it forward. The powerful animal burst into a flat out gallop after the other horse.
Gaining on the other animal, Elizabeth saw the ropes tying Claudia to her captor. Cursing, she drew a knife from her boot.
Turning, Claudia saw Elizabeth hurtling up behind them on a huge black stallion, a knife in one hand. Despite her situation, Claudia released a whoop of, "Sick!" As Elizabeth drew level and slashed her bindings. Claudia's captor noticed Elizabeth, and delivered a heavy elbow strike to the back of older woman's head as she reached to cut the ropes.
"tha eímaste mazí! eseís Den boreí na mas stamatí na mia gynaíka, tha pései afón ton kósmo to andró" (we will be together! You cannot stop us! To a woman, will fall this world of men!)
Elizabeth fell from the force of the blow, only just hanging to the horse by the pommel of her saddle. As the woman raised her foot to knock Elizabeth completely from her steed, Elizabeth held up a hand and yelled, "Den adelfí na stamatí Eímai mazí sas, allá to paidí den den boreí na na gínei dikó sas!" (No sister, stop! I'm with you, but the child cannot be yours!)
The woman looked down in rage, "Poios eísai esý na apofasísei afó?" (who are you to decide this?)
Elizabeth's eyes flashed in victory, "The one who just cut your saddle strap."
Claudia looked down, the saddle on the horse slipped, as Elizabeth pulled the strap under the horse's belly. Elizabeth swung herself back into the saddle, and grabbed the young woman's, now free, arm and swung her onto the back of the stallion.
The Greek woman gave a cry as she fell to the other side from the other horse. Landing in the brush at the side of the road, her horse quickly came to a stop about twenty metres up the road. Drawing to a halt, Elizabeth dismounted, and went to the unconscious woman. Carefully removing the ring, she examined it, "That figures."
Approaching cautiously, Claudia asked, "What is it?"
Pointing to the ring, she explained, "Look, it has been reshaped. Sappho may have been a worshipper of beauty, but there are no reports of her trying to kidnap young women, or having severe feminist views."
"What did she say?"
"She said this world of men will fall to a woman." Running her finger over the newer metal, "I imagine when the ring was altered it damaged the artefact, causing it to go into overdrive."
The young techi looked, rather nervously, to the woman on the floor, "What about her?"
Elizabeth sighed, "She is going to be very sore for a few days, but I doubt she will remember what happened. When I saw her eyes, there was no human recognition- the lights were on, but no one was home. Help me with her." Taking an arm each, they began to carry her back to the ranch.
The woman's husband charged out of the house, yelling incoherently in Greek. Elizabeth placed herself between the unconscious woman and her husband, and fired back in fluent Greek.
Not understanding a word the two were saying, Claudia focussed on keeping the woman off the deck. Eventually the man was struck dumb. Staring at Elizabeth, he asked, "Alí" (really?)
Elizabeth nodded, before taking the woman off of Claudia's hands, and shifting her to her husband.
Looking tenderly at his wife, he nodded to Elizabeth, "sas efó" (thank you)
Inclining her head, the older agent turned and headed for the exit; Claudia in tow.
Back in the hotel, Claudia crashed on the spare bed in Elizabeth's room, "Well, that was... weird, even for our standards!"
Sitting on her own bed, opposite, Elizabeth nodded, "It was indeed unusual." Lying back, she sighed, "As fun as it was, I am glad it is over." With a slight chuckle she breathed, "Moments of calm, are simply bliss are they not?"
As if hearing them, Claudia's Farnsworth began buzzing; and at the same time Elizabeth's phone began to ring. Frowning, the older woman went out onto the balcony of the five star hotel suite Elizabeth had booked them to. "Liz! How is Kenya, darling?"
Her granddaughter's voice replied in a chuckle, "Stifling! I can barely breathe with the heat! But it is the most marvellous country; I am staying in the middle of the bush with a Massai tribe. What have you been up to, despite trying to make Irene blow a gasket?"
"Moi? Would I do such a thing to dear Irene?"
Liz answered bluntly, "Yes!"
Laughing, Elizabeth leant on the railings, "She did rattle my cage, darling. You know how easily set off I am when it comes to regents and the Warehouse."
Rolling her eyes Elizabeth huffed, "You are an exception, of course."
"Of course, I hear they sent you on a mission. You didn't get into any trouble did you?"
"Oh, no more than usual."
She heard Liz groan, "What did you do, and how much damage control am I looking at having to do?"
"Do you have no faith in me, darling? I handled everything. Including a cover story! I merely had an equestrian chase, after the victim decided she would take Miss Donovan for her own."
Liz chuckled, "Only you."
"Would you expect any less of me?"
Closing her eyes, she could practically see the small smile on Elizabeth's lips, "No, I suppose not."
Sighing inaudibly, Elizabeth felt the tug of absence in her chest, "When are you coming back?"
"I am leaving tomorrow; I have to drop into the house before I continue to the Warehouse. I should see you in about three days."
"Oh good. I will see you then, in that case."
Liz paused before saying softly, "I'll see you then."
"Till then darling, look after yourself, I love you."
"I will, Love you too."
Hanging up, Elizabeth took a long breath of the warm Greek air. Looking up at the darkening sky, Elizabeth turned back to the room, where Claudia was hanging up the Farnsworth, "I just checked in with Artie. Our flight is tomorrow at noon."
"Fantastic." Sitting next to Claudia, she asked, "Are you hungry?"
The younger woman nodded, "Sure."
Elizabeth grinned, "Fantastic! Do you want to go out? There are some fantastic restaurants around here."
The older woman rose lithely to her feet, "I'm going to pop in the shower. Do you want to go in before we go out?"
Still feeling a little grimy from the day's exertion Claudia nodded, "Yeah, if you don't mind."
"Not at all!"
Towel drying her hair, Claudia donned a clean pair of jeans, and her denim waist jacket. Claudia went to Elizabeth's room and stopped dead, "Woah."
Elizabeth turned around elegantly, the black dress she wore swishing along the floor as she did, "What do you think?"
Claudia gave her a thumbs up, "Awesome, but where are we going?"
The older woman grinned, "Off the tourist trail." She gestured to the case, "If you'd like there are dresses in my case... along with a dress suit if you do not want to wear a dress of course."
Claudia nodded, "Thanks... urm."
Laughing lightly, Elizabeth walked over to her, "I'll wait in the other room."
The suit was huge. It had two bedrooms, a luxury bathroom with Jacuzzi, along with a full lounge and mini bar. When Claudia came out of Elizabeth's room nervously, the older woman was making herself a martini. Seeing the younger agent, her face lit up, "Oh darling, you look simply marvellous! I dare say you will be fending off many a gentleman tonight!"
The emerald green dress complimented her red hair perfectly, and the length was just enough to prevent her tripping over the silk skirt. "Thanks." Claudia still looked sheepish.
Elizabeth frowned, "Are you alright, darling?"
"I'm not sure I'm going to fit in, in a high end restaurant that is."
Putting her glass down, Elizabeth walked behind Claudia and proceeded to comb her hair back into a small decorative bun, "The thing about these places is that one does not go to fit in. This is a case where the advice to be yourself is the best I can possibly give!"
Walking into a rather full restaurant, Elizabeth caught the eye of the head waiter. Claudia noticed the man seemed to sprint over to them, a wide smile on his face, "Miss Loewe! Always a pleasure!"
She smiled, "Ah, Alexio, how are you?"
"I am well madam, I am well! Do you wish to sit at your usual table?"
Elizabeth nodded, "Please."
"Very well, follow me please."
The waiter lead them out onto an open terrace overlooking the harbour. Sitting Elizabeth, looked up to the waiter, "A bottle of Petrus please. Claudia, what would you like?"
Looking at the menu, she muttered, "I'll have coke please."
"Fetch two glasses with the wine would you please Alexio."
He inclined his head, "As you wish madam."
Claudia frowned, "But I'm not twenty one."
"In England the legal drinking age is eighteen. You are sensible enough Claudia. If you do not want the wine, you do not need to drink it."
Two bottles down, and Claudia was becoming slightly giggly, "Today was totally awesome! With you on the horse, like swinging under it. Were you falling, or were you faking?"
The older woman took a sip of her wine, "I needed to either get her off the horse or stop the thing. Cutting the saddle strap seemed the logical course of action in the situation."
The young agent nodded eagerly, "Where'd you learn to ride like that?"
"Centuries of practice; are you ready to go?"
She nodded, "Yeah."
Elizabeth stood, passing Alexio, she said smoothly, "You have my details."
With that they walked out of the restaurant and Elizabeth helped a somewhat unbalanced Claudia get back to the hotel.
The girl was asleep before she hit the pillow. Chuckling softly, Elizabeth went to her own room and changed into a pair of black jogging pants and a khaki green tank top. Wandering out onto the balcony, she sat staring up at the stars, willing their light to shine through the light pollution of the, albeit scenic, city.
The next morning Claudia woke with a groan. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut as the mother of all headaches set in. Managing to half open one, she saw a glass of water and ice, alongside a packet of paracetamol. Crawling up the bed, she took a grateful gulp of the water, before swallowing two tablets. Rolling on her back, she groaned again.
A soft knock came at the door. "Yeah?"
Elizabeth opened the door, "How are you feeling?"
Covering her eyes, the young agent mumbled, "Like I got hit in the head with a baseball bat." She looked down, and her eyes shot open, "Frack! Sorry Elizabeth, I slept in the dress!"
"Don't worry about it, darling." She glanced at the clock, "We need to head to the airport soon. I know you will want to do nothing more than to just curl beneath your covers, but we need to get back."
Nodding sleepily, Claudia swung her legs over the side of the bed and stretched. "How long have I got?"
Elizabeth paused, "It's eight now, you have about two hours before we need to check in."
"Okay. I'll go in the shower."
Stopping the younger woman, Elizabeth asked, "How is your stomach? Is it just your head that hurts?"
"Just my head."
Releasing a sigh of relief, Elizabeth stood, "Oh good. That we can fix before the flight!"
Wandering into the lounge, Claudia looked up as Elizabeth presented her with a glass of orange liquid, "It's Berroca, works miracles for hangovers; or so Liz tells me." She pointed to the coffee table, "I ordered room service, there is cereal or fruit; whatever you'd like. I am going to finish packing."
The older woman smiled and said sincerely, "Not a problem," before walking to her room.
In the taxi, Elizabeth chuckled, "I must say, you are holding up much better than Liz did, when she first went out; she went without me. The bloody fool tottered home at three in the morning completely hammered, then proceeded to be violently ill. So, as you can assume, I am so pleased you did not have a similar experience." A mischievous grin spread over her features, "And you certainly ended up better than me!"
Claudia's eyebrow curved, "I sense a story! Spill!"
Laughing, Elizabeth shook her head, "It is terrible. I couldn't."
Putting on her best puppy dog eyes, she pouted, "Aw, please!"
Covering her eyes in embarrassment Elizabeth muttered, "I may have drunk several jugs of wine before passing out in the dark vault, having caused chaos in several of the aisles of Warehouse 8. Oh, I was in so much trouble after that!"
Claudia raised an eyebrow, "Why do I suspect that isn't the end of the story?"
Elizabeth chuckled, "Because it isn't. However you are much too young to know the rest!"
"Aw man! Come on! Tell me!"
Grinning, Elizabeth shook her head, "No, shan't."
As Elizabeth was paying chocolate at the duty free, Claudia tugged at her sleeve, "Come on, tell me, please!"
Laughing, Elizabeth shook her head, "I told you no!" Picking up her bags, she thanked the cashier and wandered into the departure lounge, "It is going to be a very long flight unless you give up, darling. You can keep trying for the whole eleven and a half hours, but I assure you. Your patience will wear out before mine."
Claudia crossed her arms across her chest and declared proudly, "Challenge accepted!"
"Oh this is going to be a long flight."
Three hours later, Claudia's eyes began to droop, she tried again, "So, what was Warehouse eight like?"
Elizabeth sat sipping a whiskey and lemonade, "It was perfectly charming for what it was. Basically just an older version of Warehouse 13, after so many Warehouse moves they all tend to blend in together a little."
"And, urm, what happened with the dark vault?"
Rolling her eyes, Elizabeth chuckled, "Claudia, I have told you, I am not going to tell you what happened." Her eyes softened, "Now, if I return you to Artie all jet-lagged and grumpy, he will have my head. I suggest you try to sleep a few hours, or your headache this morning will seem like a walk in the park."
Her eyes drooping, Claudia grumbled sleepily, "Don't think this gets you off the hook. I'll get that story out of you, or my name isn't Claudia Donovan!"
Elizabeth's grip on the arm rests tightened as the plane's wheels touched tarmac. Claudia's head had fallen on her shoulder, the young agent slept on soundly. Releasing her death grip, Elizabeth gently nudged her, "Claudia darling, we've landed."
Screwing up her face, Claudia whinged incoherently, before burying her head further beneath Elizabeth's long ebony curls. Laughing softly, Elizabeth tapped her nose, "Claudia, time to take up."
With a mewl of, "Five more minutes." Claudia remained where she was.
As the plane drew to a halt, Elizabeth tried again, "Claudia, we need to go."
Opening her bleary eyes, she gave a large yawn. Looking around she groaned, "Oh man, did I fall asleep on you? I'm so sorry."
Standing to get their bags from the overhead lockers, Elizabeth smiled, "Don't worry about it, darling. Trust me, had you either snored or drooled, I would not have been so welcoming a pillow."
Walking into the office, with the static bag held up, Claudia announced proudly, "Presenting, the Ring of Sappho!"
Turning in his chair, Artie caught the bag as he young agent tossed it to him, "Careful with that!"
Placing it on his desk he nodded, "Good job, now, go home get unpacked. We have a tonne of work to do here."
"Aw, man, Artie. We just got back, can't we have a day off."
Raising an eyebrow, he began, "Well maybe just a day... NO! We still need to track this guy with the compass, and I need you on that Claudia."
Grumbling, she stalked back into the umbilicus. Elizabeth chuckled softly, "Youngsters these days, there wasn't any such thing as a day off when I was last an agent."
His lip quirking in a slight smile, Artie gestured to a file on his desk, "No kidding. I read up on your file."
Sitting with a smile, "I was very eager to please when I was younger."
Mrs Frederic's voice came from behind, "And does that still stand?"
Looking down, Elizabeth chuckled humourlessly, "I would not say, eager to please, per say."
"Then what would you say?"
The older woman's emerald eyes narrowed, and her mouth turned into a hard line, "You really don't trust me, do you, Irene?"
The Sage's eyes rested on Artie, who quickly made an exit. "I would be lying if I said I was completely sure of you. You're past is just too erratic."
Gritting her teeth, Elizabeth took a deep breath to steady her temper, "Are you talking about the incident with Warehouse 12?"
"It had crossed my mind, yes."
Standing slowly, Elizabeth kept her face turned away, "You're information on that subject is very limited Irene."
Approaching her, Mrs Frederic spoke steadily, "I have read all the reports we have, and the evidence shows that you murdered five Warehouse operatives, three of which were regents, in an unprovoked attack."
There was an almighty clatter as Elizabeth's fist slammed into the desk, cracking the wood, "Unprovoked! Irene, I knew they edited their reports, but for bloody hell's sake! They were trying to use the power of the fountain."
Mrs Frederic's face dropped, "What?"
Elizabeth's eyes widened, "You seriously did not know?"
The Sage's voice fell to a dangerous tone, "Elizabeth, be very careful what you say next, what you are suggesting..."
"I suggest nothing Irene!" Elizabeth's voice fell to a growl, matching Mrs Frederic's in ferocity, "I speak only the truth. The Regents of Warehouse 12 ordered me to make them immortal. I refused. It was then they tried to take the power of the fountain by force." Elizabeth's eyes ghosted over a moment and her hand floated to her neck, "I heal Irene. But I can still feel what they did...." Her eyes closed, as her hand lingered. "They cut my throat with the knife of Elizabeth Bathory, and tried to gain the power from my blood."
Shaking her head, Mrs Frederic turned her back, "No, that's impossible..."
"The Regents are human Irene. The lure of immortality is one few can resist." Her eyes darkened, "A common theme with Warehouse inhabitants."
Tilting her head, she frowned, "Do you still judge all humans by the stamp of your partner, Elizabeth?"
Spinning, Elizabeth asked incredulously, "Do not make this another argument about my failings Irene, I know they are large and many. We are talking about the faults in the functioning of the Warehouse, the same problems that just keep coming back to spit in our faces." Leaning on the spiral staircase to Artie's room, Elizabeth worried her bottom lip, "Lack of information being given to agents, incorrect assessing of agents, not enough investigation done into regents. The list is extensive."
"You can't hold the entire system at fault because of what happened between you and Gunter!"
At that Elizabeth froze, she seemed to begin to argue, but merely gritted her teeth, "I am not going to make this into an argument about the past. You and I both know the story too well, and repeating it will only serve to make me angry and you defensive, so why don't I just walk out now, and see you in another sixty years?"
"Please don't leave."
Elizabeth looked to the door of the office, "Helena..."
The Victorian shook her head, "No. What story are you talking about?"
Standing, Mrs Frederic waved the statement away, "It is none of your concern."
"You're right. It's mine."
All eyes turned to the door. Liz strode in, "Irene, right now we need her here. You are going to have to swallow your fears just until we get the compass back, and stop whoever this killer is." She looked between Elizabeth and Helena, "But there is no time right now. We need to unpack as I doubt we will have long before he strikes again."
In the spare room of the B&B, Liz opened her suitcase. Looking over, Elizabeth chuckled, "How the bloody hell did you get all that through security?"
The case was full to bursting with weaponry. Looking inside, Elizabeth ran her hand over the leather scabbard of a short, thin-bladed sword. "This should cover it. We need to get this lot administered to the rest of the team. I fear the guns they have will be somewhat ineffective."
Liz frowned, "You really think it is the same artefact?"
She nodded, "The guard shot him, yet he remained standing. I would bet my life it is the same artefact used to kill Beatrice and the others."
Opening her hand bag, Liz reached inside, "Oh, and don't forget the essentials!" Plucking a black and yellow box from within the black leather bag, she threw it to Elizabeth.
A wide grin spread over her features, "Oh darling you are a saint!" Zipping up the case, Elizabeth swung it on her shoulder, before placing the box of Twining's English Breakfast tea on the bedside table.
"Pete! Don't touch that!"
Myka's cry caused, the agent to swiftly drop the katana in his hand, letting it fall with a clatter to the ground. Elizabeth sighed, "Really Agent Lattimer?"
Sheepishly, he picked it back up, and placed it carefully back into the case of weaponry, "Sorry."
Artie entered the living room, "What is all this racket..... What on earth?!"
Turning with a smile, Elizabeth said, "Oh good, you're here. Now we just need Helena and..."
At that moment, the Victorian wandered through, "Present, miss."
"Excellent, all here and accounted for." Elizabeth gestured to Liz, "I shall had you over to Liz."
The younger woman nodded, "Right, Claudia has picked up on another ping. It is the same as before, a person has gone missing without a trace; all that has been left behind is ash."
The young woman's eyes were fixed to the screen, and her frown deepened.
Myka approached her, "Claud? Where is the ping?"
The young woman turned the screen, for the team to see, "It's two miles out of Univille."
Elizabeth ran a hand through her hair, and tousled her curls, "We need to act fast, before he discovers the warehouse. If he is after the fountain it is likely that he would be interested in going after the warehouse next. I cannot go near it or the B&B, I've rented a small cottage on the outskirts of Univille." Pulling out an area map, she pointed at it. "The sides are surrounded by mostly farmland, with woodland to the North East. The only road runs between two fields, and unless he takes fifteen miles on foot through the woods, there is no other way to get to the property. If he is going to strike, this will be the place." She gestured to the weaponry, "This is why I asked Liz to bring my trunk. The weaponry inside is somewhat more powerful than standard issue arms. This man has shown he is willing to kill innocents to get to the fountain." Her eyes swept over the room, "The Regents have put me in charge of this operation, with Liz to assist. So it whatever happens is on my head. No quarter is to be given, we will not be using teslas- they have proven useless against this artefact in the past. Shoot on sight, and shoot to kill."
The agents all appeared unsettled, Pete shook his head, "We capture artefacts, we don't kill people."
Elizabeth's tone was not unkind, when she said, "Peter, I know this is a hard thing to do, but it is unlikely that you will actually kill him. We saw him take several shots dead centre without breaking stride. I doubt this weaponry will do more than slow him down. In which case we need to disable him long enough to get both the compass and the other artefact away from him."
He nodded, "I still don't like it."
"I understand." Turning to them, she went back to the map, "The plan is this; Myka and Artie, you will be positioned south east of the cottage, you will be behind the hedgerow border, your job will be to monitor the road, and warn us of any approaching cars or people. Claudia, you are going to be positioned in the barn, you are going to act as our base, we'll setup your computer there so you can track any pings from the barn, and warn us of any other attacks. Helena and Pete, you will also be positioned in the barn, to monitor the North of the property, and to guard the base. Liz and I will be positioned inside and at the back door of the cottage. We will be in communication with each other at all times, and if he turns up; the plan is to lure him into the cottage, once inside I'll engage him. If that happens, Liz will give me covering fire. No one else is to get involved in the fire fight, unless you are engaged by him. If we all charge in all guns blazing, then it will only result in one of us ending up hurt or worse. If you are engaged with the suspect, you are not to face him alone, call for back up immediately, and we will converge on your position." Looking up, she scanned their faces, "All clear?"
There were nods and vague mumbles from around the room. Liz closed the case, and said, "Right, to it then!"
Finding Elizabeth checking and loading three assault rifles, Helena approached her, "I know this is a big operation, but you still haven't told me how you are the fountain."
Elizabeth nodded, "Pull up a chair, you can help me with the ammo." Picking up the next gun, she began to load the clip with bullets, as Helena sat, she began, "When I was assigned to the fountain case, I was sent with another agent called Günter Amsel. As soon as the mission had been announced Günter had been insistent upon being part of the team. I didn't trust him; and if I'm honest, I don't think the other agents did either. But as a precaution they partnered him with me. When we got into the fountain chamber, and fought of Ponce de Leon's men, he turned on me. When I was distracted he shot me in the chest with his pistol, at the same time one of Ponce's men charged, we hadn't seen him. Günter shot him too, but not before he knocked me backwards into the fountain itself."
Helena nodded, "You've told me this, the fountain healed you."
"Yes, it did. But what I didn't tell you, is that while I was underwater, it spoke to me. It asked me if I wanted to be saved, and to tell the truth I didn't. I refused its offer to save me, and it was because of that, the fountain deemed me worthy to become its guardian. The soul of the fountain passed into me, that is what restored me; and that is why I cannot be killed. Once I was out of the water, Günter, in a rage attacked me; I knocked him unconscious. I was stronger and faster than I was before, it was so unusual, my senses were also improved. Any weakness I had once had were cured. But then the fountain ordered me to destroy what was left of the water." She shrugged, "So I did. I piled the twenty barrels of gunpowder we had brought, beside the spring, and blew the whole place to holy hell. Since then, the fountain of youth has existed within me. "
Helena took a moment, "I see. So, the power of the fountain resides within you?"
She nodded, "Yes."
"You can make people immortal?"
Elizabeth frowned, she seemed to puzzle a moment, "I have never tried. I can feel the potential to use the power of the fountain; but I have never risked it. The price of immortality is too high, for me to use my power."
Waiting for the group to gather in the barn, Claudia wandered over, "Hey!"
Looking up, Elizabeth smiled, "Hey."
"Don't think this mission has made me forget that I have some juicy gossip to get out of you!"
Rolling her eyes, Elizabeth laughed, "Have you not conceded defeat yet!"
Crossing her arms, Claudia stuck her chin in the air, "He-y-ll no! You'll have to really up your game if you think you can distract me that easily!"
Throwing her head back, Elizabeth raised an eyebrow, "In your own words Miss Donovan, Challenge accepted!"
Putting on her puppy dog eyes, Claudia decided to change tactic, "Aww, please! How come I'm too young? I'm nineteen! How old would I have to be for Pete's sake?!"
The Agent popped his head round the door, "Someone say my name?"
Claudia shook her head, "Nah, I'm just trying to get some gossip outta miss secretive here."
His eyes widened, "Goss? Boom! Count me in!"
Elizabeth raised a hand, "Oh no you don't! Claudia, I'm not telling you, and that's final! You are far to young to know!"
Pete dashed to Elizabeth's side, "Hey! Am I old enough?"
Her eyes narrowing, Elizabeth said dryly, "Not on your life. When you hit the century mark, then I'll consider it!" With a wicked smile she began to laugh.
It was soon cut off when Helena's voice came across the barn, "Oh, well, since I fit that criteria!"
Elizabeth groaned, "Oh bugger!"
"Shhh, soften your tone, we will be caught."
Elizabeth bit her lip to quieten her sniggers, "You worry too much!"
Elaine rolled her eyes, "If I don't no one will, certainly not you!"
The mischievous ebony haired girl ran ahead through the aisles of Warehouse 8. A small sack bag of fruit in her hand, she called in a loud whisper, "Come on! Before Siegfried realises his apples are gone!"
Shaking her head, the tall blonde jogged up to her friend, "You are going to be the end of me!"
Elizabeth shrugged, "That may be, but you will love every moment!"
Several hours later...
Laughing uncontrollably, Elaine fell back, next to her friend, onto the cushions of the cot in Elizabeth's loft. Calling the space a loft was a generous title, planks of wood in an alcove under the lower portion of the warehouse roof, made a small living space.
Turning, the blonde smiled, as their eyes locked their laughter faded. Replaced by something else. Elizabeth's emerald green eyes seemed to mist over a moment, as her hand rose unbidden to move a lock of Elaine's soft flaxen hair from her cheek. Closing her eyes at the contact, Elaine shuddered.
Drawing back, Elizabeth sat up, "Apologies."
Shaking her head, Elaine touched her wrist, "No, there is no need." She gave a nervous smile, as she gently pulled Elizabeth closer.
Leaning on her forearm, Elizabeth found herself leaning over Elaine, staring into the other girl's smoky blue eyes. Her breath caught, and Elizabeth found herself unable to think clearly. Following her gut feeling, she leant down and pressed her lips gently against Elaine's.
Her friend released a whimper, before wrapping her arms around her and pulling her down onto the cot. Parting, Elaine released a long sigh, before curling into Elizabeth's side. Feeling a deep warming glow in her chest, Elizabeth rested her head on top of Elaine's and quickly followed the girl she loved into the realm of Morpheus.
Elaine had the most bizarre feeling of déjà vu, or maybe that was just the wine. Her head buzzed, and her footing was unsteady, Elizabeth held a jug of wine in each hand, drinking out of one, she handed the other to Elaine. Her voice slurring slightly, she grinned at her lover, "We will be scolded beyond recognition."
Elizabeth placed her hands (Or rather a hand and a jug handle) on the tops of Elaine's arms and kissed her softly, stealing her breath, "Darling, I love you, but you do worry too much."
Feeling a wry smile light her features, Elaine laughed softly, "I do have a feeling we have had this conversation before, regarding Siegfried's apples."
Grinning, Elizabeth crushed their lips together, almost making Elaine drop her wine, as she pushed herself closer, "Then I will say the same now as then, come on, before Siegfried realises his wine is gone!"
Rolling her eyes, Elaine's sarcasm was cut off as the full effect of the wine already drunk crashed into her. Wobbling on her feet, she fell into Elizabeth's arms.
Holding her, she righted her easily, "Be careful Miss Williamson, one would almost think you were throwing yourself at me."
Turning her gaze on Elizabeth, Elaine's cool blue eyes burned ,"How do you know I am not?"
Elizabeth's eyebrows shot up, and she swiftly pulled Elaine flush against her. Their lips crashed together, the dizziness from the wine raising their passion to a near fever.
Unable to get to Elizabeth's loft, the two found the first secluded spot they could; the dark vault.
Sitting at the table of the cottage, Elizabeth rubbed her eyes. Not being able to sleep, did not mean that she did not have vivid day dreams. Old memories would surface in quiet moments, and plague her like personal demons. Biting the inside of her cheek, she tasted the sweet tang of blood. But the pain did not distract her, and soon burning tears were running from her eyes. Hearing the back door open, she swiftly wiped away her tears, standing she turned, "Liz I..." Seeing the look on the young woman's face, she stood, "What is it?"
Liz's eyes were a slightly darker shade of green than her own, but sometimes looking at the younger woman was like looking in a mirror. This was one of those disconcerting moments. "someone's coming."
Looking out into the black of the night, Elizabeth could see a car slowly making its way up the road towards the cottage. Activating her radio she said, "Alright, this is it. We will maintain radio silence unless there is an emergency. But first, confirm positions."
Helena's voice came over the radio, "Blue Team check."
Claudia was next, "Green base, check."
Lastly was Artie, "Red team check."
Nodding to Liz, Elizabeth signed off, "Violet team check. Over and out." Attaching the radio to her belt, Elizabeth pointed to the back door, "Wait just outside the door, if there is any trouble you will hear me shout."
Sitting in silence, Elizabeth's ears pricked as she heard the sound of footsteps on the porch steps. Her left hand tightened on the sawn off shotgun resting on her lap, while her right rested on the hilt of the short sword at her hip. But before she could put them to use, the glass of the kitchen door was smashed, as a grenade sailed through it like paper. Cursing, Elizabeth yelled, "Away from the door!" As everything seemed to go white.
Ears ringing, Elizabeth could barely make out the sounds of a shot gun being fired. A figure dressed in black was retreating as bullets ripped into his arms and torso. Liz walked steadily forward, reloading and firing without so much as a hint of mercy.
Unable to reach Elizabeth for the bombardment, the figure fell back, his mask pulling down just far enough to allow Elizabeth to identify him. Unable to move, her eyes widened in disbelief, "Günter?!"
The ex-warehouse 8 agent, flashed her a cruel grin, before bolting out of the open back door, past Liz.
With a leonine roar, the young woman took off after him "You're mine, you bastard! Your mine!" Elizabeth cried after her, "Liz! No! Don't go, wait for the others! He's dangerous!"
The young woman took no heed and continued to tear off into the night.
Fumbling with her radio, Elizabeth dragged her half dead body into a sitting position, "Liz! Where are you?!"
The young woman's breathing was heavy, "I'm in the forest, I'm gaining, I'm..." She was cut off as the sound of four shots blasted down the radio.
unable to move her lower body, Elizabeth yelled, "Liz? Liz? LIZ?!" Her voice was a hoarse scream, "Liz, come in! For the love of God please come in!"
Feeling the sensation return to her legs, Elizabeth roared down all frequencies, "Liz is in the woods we need to find her!"
Crashing clumsily through the dense undergrowth, Elizabeth yelled until she could feel her throat tearing, "Liz? Liz? Where are you?!!"
Helena burst through the tree line, "Elizabeth? What happened?"
"He ran, she gave chase... LIZ?! WHERE ARE YOU?! LIZ!"
Eyes darting around, Elizabeth's heart skipped a beat when the radio crackled into life, "I'm sorry."
Grabbing the small piece of technology, Elizabeth spoke carefully, "Where are you?"
The young woman's voice was faint, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
"Here." Helena took the radio, and with a moment's fiddling with it, she began to turn in a circle, until it began to beep, "She's that way."
Like a cheetah, Elizabeth took off through the woods, appearing to all the world as a nothing more than a shadow as her feet barely brushed the floor. As she hit a clearing, she ground to a halt. Propped against a tree, holding a pulsing wound just to the right of her heart, Liz drifted in and out of consciousness. Dropping to her knees, Elizabeth took the young woman's face between her hands, "Liz, Liz, darling, come on now; hold on. You are going to be fine, please hold on."
The young woman winced, "God that was stupid." Her breathing was becoming sharper and shallower, "I had him, I bloody well had him."
Elizabeth's voice was barely a whisper, "I told you to stay put."
Raising her hand to touch the blood pouring down her grandmother's face, Liz's eyes filled, "He hurt you. I couldn't just let him go." She gave a low moan of pain.
As the young woman's head began to roll, Elizabeth made her look at her, "Liz, now, don't do that darling. You need to stay awake..." Even as she spoke, the young woman's eyes began to drift shut.
"Liz, Liz, Liz please. Please stay with me, don't do this. LIZZIE PLEASE!" But her cries died as she felt Liz slacken in her arms and felt her last breath caress her hand.
"Elizabeth!" Helena had just caught up, when she saw Elizabeth begin to shake. Approaching carefully, she said softly, "Elizabeth?"
The tremors increased, and Helena realised it came from how tense her friend's muscles were. As they twitched they appeared near breaking point. Looking to her friend's arms, she saw Liz. Covering her mouth, Helena closed her eyes tightly and swallowed the cry of grief that threatened to escape her. Crouching, she spoke again, "Elizabeth, I'm so sorry."
When Elizabeth's eyes opened, Helena did not see the woman she knew; for the first time, Helena could see the scars of Elizabeth's years. Her eyes were broken, but mended; but more than anything else- they were filled with an immortal's fury.
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