DISCLAIMER: I do not own, nor do I have any official association with Warehouse 13 or its characters. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To Racethewind10[at]gmail.com
What is Written
The brass bell tinkled softly above the bright blue door as two women stepped out of the blustery Colorado afternoon and into Bering and Sons bookstore.
The door shut with a soft click and the warm stillness of the bookshop enveloped the wool coat-clad agents. Helena took a slow, deep breath, inhaling the rich smell that only seemed to pervade the air of very good bookshops and libraries. Closing dark eyes the artificer indulged herself, taking the familiar, comforting scent of ink and paper and dust deep into her lungs until she was steeped in it, right through to her blood.
Charles had accused her once of having ink instead of claret in her veins. She had replied it was well one of them did or they'd be penniless.
The memory made her smile softly.
In an odd way it was a bit like coming home, for books had laid claim to her soul long before even the Warehouse.
Whatever slight misgivings (or, to be honest, doubts) she had about meeting Myka's family, the dark-haired woman allowed herself the warmth of gratitude for this small moment of timeless reprieve from the events of the past months. Gone were Sykes and chess locks, blood stains and fear, explosions and good byes: for a moment all that receded, banished by the simple magic of possibility that books imbued in the spaces around them.
Dust motes dancing in slanted rays of afternoon sun lit the cluttered stacks and their lure was as irresistible as ever.
As if drawn by a magnet, Helena moved from the entry way and toward the shelves, a sense of calm, of safety settling over her with each step.
It was an almost autonomic response to reach out and brush elegant, pale fingers over the waiting spines. A dozen different textures tempted her fingertips while bold titles called to her eyes. Such a simple thing, a touch, but Helena felt wonder yet again at the new truth of her existence, of her life. To be able to touch and hold and be a part of the world again instead of a collection of photons projected from a ball she'd never had time to imagine a future, let alone hope to be granted it.
Artie and the Regents didn't know why the pocket watch had brought Helena back with the Warehouse.
Once it would have driven her to distraction trying to figure out the watch's riddle.
Now, frankly, the artificer didn't give a damn.
H.G. Wells had learned that some knowledge was simply too dangerous for her to have.
But the shelves in front of her held no such peril and Helena gave in to their gentle lure and the silent promise of limitless worlds and ideas all contained within those delicate pages. Picking up a book utterly at random she opened it carefully, eyes skimming. The exploration lasted only a few moments, however, before the volume was replaced by another, then another. Like a child in a candy store she wanted to sample everything, and yet the heady rush of desire was tempered by the sweet knowledge that she now had time to read them all if she so wished. There was no rush, no need to take the knowledge kept safe between dusty covers, just the undiluted pleasure of transforming characters into words, words into sentences, sentences into new universes given form by her imagination and intellect.
Lost in her reverie it took several minutes before the prickling of the hairs on her neck that signaled she was being watched finally made themselves known.
Snapping the book shut, Helena looked up sharply, preparing in that split second to see Myka's father or mother standing there and trying to gather the last scattered parts of her mind still clinging to the author's vision in the book she reached to put back on the shelf.
Her hand stilled in the middle of its task.
It was neither of Myka's parents.
Instead, Myka herself leaned carefully against a shelf watching Helena and the expression on her face
Helena Wells considered herself a more than adequate writer (alright if she were being honest she considered herself a damned good writer). And where she fell short, she had the works of dozens, even hundreds of the world's finest minds and greatest poets to call on. The artificer had read countless descriptions of love in half a dozen languages, some not spoken for a thousand years.
And yet every time Myka looked at her like that, all those stories and sonnets seemed utterly inadequate. Indeed, human language itself seemed a pitiful construction; mere mortality grasping at the infinite reaches of human emotion and hoping to describe things that can only be lived.
So if Helena had only quaint phrases like 'it took her breath away,' she felt, in some part of her, that she could be forgiven. After all she was only human and it was nothing but the truth.
Time and time again since her resurrection these small moments between them caught her unprepared yet each was more joyous and wondrous than the last. Rarely did Myka speak out loud. She didn't need to. What was between them was written in their own language of loss and hope, longing and desire, trust and triumph. It was inked not in words on paper or even the scars on their skin, but in the beating of their hearts, perhaps even the entwining of their souls. It was a language that had the power to make Helena unaware of anything around her and forget that Time still moved forward. But most of all, in those moments, Helena understood completely, irrevocably, that she was loved; wholly and without reservation. It was not a guess or a theory. It was a certainty like a universal constant as implacable and inexorable as gravity.
For someone who viewed her own soul as irreparably tarnished, it was the most precious gift; one she would gladly spend a thousand lifetimes trying to repay.
Before she could think too much on just how she would like to repay Myka, however, the gentle clearing of a throat startled both of them.
Jumping like teenagers caught necking, the two agents turned. Standing behind Myka was a short, slender woman with a welcoming, no-nonsense look, greying hair and Myka's eyes.
"Mom!" Myka beamed and hugged the diminutive woman tightly while Helena tried to ignore the inevitable feeling of awkwardness.
She needn't have worried.
With easy grace, Jeannie Bering stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Helena, who was as surprised by the gesture as she was to feel tall. Clearly Myka gained her height from her father.
Moving back, Jeannie held on to Helena's shoulders and the agent blinked as that gentle, welcoming smile turned downright devilish.
"Well, I can certainly see the appeal Myka, she's positively dashing." And then she winked and unaccountably, Helena blushed. It drew another soft laugh from Myka's mother who hugged the taller woman again, this time holding her long enough to say quietly, "I haven't seen Myka this happy since she was a little girl. Thank you for that."
Helena stepped back and looked at familiar eyes offset by unfamiliar smile lines.
"It is my honor," she replied simply. Out of the corner of her eye Helena caught the slight coloring of Myka's cheeks before the younger woman looked away. The artificer smiled inwardly.
With a mother's instinct, though, Jeannie caught it too and beamed wider.
"Come on you two," she said briskly, turning to tuck an arm under both her daughter's and Helena's. "I just made cookies and if we hurry, her father won't even have eaten all of them."
Myka made a noise that might have made Helena's mouth go dry in another setting. Now she just raised one dark brow, which Myka pointedly ignored and practically dragged them into the kitchen.
"Welcome to the family," Jeannie said softly, letting Myka go through the back door of the shop to claim her 'share' of the cookies.
Once again Helena found words failing her, but love has many languages, and it was clear that the small woman in front of her was fluent in them all. Gently patting the taller woman's cheek, Jeannie tucked her hand back into Helena's elbow and steered her from the book store and into a bright, warm kitchen where Myka and a lean older man were already arguing over who got what cookies.
Helena had only a fraction of second to marvel at the simple joy of belonging, and then Myka's father put down his milk and held out his hand.
"Myka tells us your name is H.G. Wells, your parents must have had good taste in literature."
Helena nearly bit her lip and only barely resisted the urge to glare at Myka. I had always been bound to happen anyway.
"Yes they were, and had a rather unusual sense of humor as well "
"Oh Warren, at least let her eat something first."
"What? You can't expect me not to be curious about someone with the name H.G. Wells."
As her parents bickered mildly, Myka slipped onto the stool next to Helena, nudging her shoulder. Echoing her mother's words, the younger woman grinned wryly. "Well, now you're really a part of the family."
"Yes," Helena replied softly, heart full. "I do believe I am."
Wrapped up in each other, they missed the fond looks of Myka's parents until a pointed cough drew them back.
The afternoon passed in laughter and stories and heated debates about the greatest writers of all time and when Myka and Helena stepped back out of the shop and into a cold, still Colorado night, it was with warm hearts and hands linked.
"So, ready to head home?" Myka asked, breath frosting on the crisp air.
"I am home," Helena said softly, squeezing the hand she held.
Myka grinned and pretended to huff. "Writer."
"Oh always darling. Always."
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