: Moments That You Never LivedFandom
: Warehouse 13Pairing
: GWord Count
: Warehouse 13, the world and the characters that inhabit it do not belong to me in any way, though sometimes I lie away at night wishing that they did and what I'd do with them if they did. And then I write those thoughts down.Summary
: When Artie is caught in his lies, H.G.'s sacrifice is finally revealed.A/N
: This one is for both Maiagaru and the anon who threw a message in my ask very nicely demanding I write this after I went off in a post on tumblr.
“That doesn't explain why you've been lying to us!” The control Myka usually governed over the volume of her voice had been lost some time ago. Artie, ashen faced as his pacing continued to wear a perfectly straight line in the floor of his office, finally stopped and spun to face her. To face all of them.
“I was trying to protect you!” He barked, his omnipresent gruffness replaced by an almost tangible black cloud of something that looked a lot like fear. He was angry, truly angry, and that wasn't something any of them were used to. “Do you think lying to you has been easy?” The ire rolled off of him in waves, pushing Myka back a few steps, and Artie shook his hands in front of his body as if he were trying to exorcise some deeply buried evil. “Do you think any
of this has been easy? Everything I have done, all the secrets and lies, and-and having The Brotherhood one step ahead of me at every turn, trying to undo what I did. Nothing
about this has been easy!” Glancing over her shoulder, Myka gave Pete a worrying look that she found mirrored in the faces of her fellow agents, and then turned back to face the man who had become their mentor with a frown.
“Artie,” her tone was gentle, but pressing, “what did you do?” He stopped then, all movements simply ceasing as he lifted his head to stare into bright green eyes. His gaze flicked over her shoulder and he took in each curious, anxious face in turn. The was nowhere left for him to run, no more half-believable lies for him to spin.
“There was... an artifact.” He said, his inner struggle written in lines across his face. “It let me go back in time. It let me change
“No.” The sharp voice captured both his and Myka's attention, and Artie's eyes met ones turned almost black as Myka turned to face the speaker. “Changing past events through time travel is impossible
.” H.G.'s gaze was piercing, an unsettling mix of desperation and something close to betrayal. Where had this artifact been when she
had needed it? Sensing the suddenly uneven ground he was treading, Artie moved carefully around his next words.
“It would appear that this artifact is the exception to that.” He ran his palm over wiry curls. “I couldn't go back to any point in time, it only reset the previous twenty-four hours. All of this, the missing artifacts, the seemingly random attempts on our lives, it's all happening because I used the astrolabe.” His explanation seemed enough to quell the rage he could practically see boiling beneath the surface of her skin, but he knew that that particular line of questioning was no over.
“Okay, but why
did you need to reset anything?” Pete asked, his concern moving quickly towards confusion. “We saved the warehouse, Artie. We stopped Sykes-”
“Except we didn't!” The words exploded from him with all the force of a tornado, its wild and untamed strength kept bottled too long. In the ensuing silence, he lifted his heavy gaze and shook his head. “We didn't.”
“The warehouse was destroyed.” Claudia's voice was almost hollow and there was a darkness in her eyes that was all too close to the kind he'd seen shadowing them in that 'other' reality. He didn't answer verbally, couldn't, and instead gave a curt nod of his head.
The quiet that followed, thick and weighted down by the implications of his words, was broken only by the sound of Pete collapsing into Artie's chair.
And while his agents were caught up in their imaginings, in the 'what if' scenarios that were assuredly running through their heads, Artie felt himself captured by the real memories. Gripped and held by them as he often was in his dreams, because simply setting right passed events that were undoubtedly wrong in his mind did not erase the moments he'd witnessed. Though there were artifacts that could accomplish that, any consideration he might have given them were brushed away to lie far beneath his sense of duty.
And then Myka, ever rational and problem-solving Myka, was the one to connect the dots.
“But you survived.” It wasn't a question. He blinked at her. “Otherwise, you wouldn't have been able to get to the, the-”
“Astrolabe.” H.G. offered from her place across the room and Myka nodded her thanks.
“Right. If you'd died in the explosion then you wouldn't have been able to use the astrolabe to,” she paused long enough to make a gesture with her hand and manipulate her features in a way that perfectly conveyed the fact hat she couldn't believe what she was about to say, “go back in time and stop it from happening.”
“I....” He tapered off and released a heavy sigh, finally giving in to the urge to mimic Pete's earlier motions by dropping into a nearby chair. “No. I didn't die.” Opposite him, Pete spoke up.
“Did I die?” His tone was sombre, curious but a little afraid. Behind Artie's eyes there was a flash of the younger man, lying face up on the ground in the bowels of the basilica, spitting blood as the life left twin orbs that would never again glint mischievously. Artie took a breath, then swallowed it.
“Not in the explosion.” The implications had their expected effect, and Pete dropped his head into his hands.
“And me?” Myka's voice was quiet, but not fearful, as she regarded Artie with wide, glassy eyes. And Artie didn't think he'd ever experienced that particular brand of heartache before.
“You lived.” He could feel the next question coming, before Myka had even opened her mouth again, he could see it in her eyes. Even before she shot a furtive glance in Helena's direction.
“What about-” The lightening-fast shake of his head cut her off before she could finish, and the rest of her question was lost in the sound of the gasp she couldn't quite catch before it leapt from between her parted lips. And then she was momentarily lost, envisioning all the ways she'd already almost lost the other woman and inventing all manner of new and unthinkable ones.
Off to her side and partway across the room, H.G. released a shaky sigh that went largely unheard by Myka.
“Well, I for one am quite pleased you saw fit to use your astrolabe, Arthur.” And her tone was that tell-tale jovial one, the one she adopted whenever the alternative was a little too much to handle. Because finding out you'd died in a previous timeline, Myka was sure, was enough to knock the wind out of a person and if H.G. didn't at least attempt to grasp for air, she might begin to deflate.
“Yes well, it would see that we are among the few who are applauding my choice.” He replied sombrely, his wiry eyebrows pulled down low over his eyes.
“How?” Myka's voice rang clearly through the office and Artie wasn't sure if he were thankful that it had come to this or not. “Why did the three of us survive but not Helena?” But he winced at the question nonetheless.
“Myka, perhaps now isn't the best time-” Myka snapped her head towards the other woman, green eyes glistening.
“I need to know.” Because Myka was all too aware of how things had been before the day Sykes had tried – and apparently succeeded – to destroy the Warehouse. She knew the level of resentment that Pete and Artie had harboured towards the inventor. She needed to know, in order to banish the sense of potential betrayal churning low in her stomach.
Artie's chest puffed out as he inhaled deeply, gaze flickering about the room to land on each curious face before settling upon Myka.
“We were trying to figure out a way to diffuse the bomb,” he started, once more running a hand nervously over his hair, “but there wasn't enough time. While we were doing that, Helena found a way to reroute the power of the forcefield in a way that...” he made a gesture with his hands, cupping them together and then drawing them apart and down, like he was drawing an arch in the air, “surrounded us. But it had to be initiated from outside of the protective bubble, and so....” His sentence faded.
“H.G. sacrificed herself.” And again, there was no question to Claudia's words. Just a firm kind of certainty, because Myka wasn't the only one who'd believed in Helena before Sykes had shown up. Artie nodded, then turned his head to meet Myka's gaze once more, only to find that she'd focused her attention on the woman who'd been their saviour.
“She said it was the only way she could think to save you.” He explained anyway, unsure of whether or not Myka was actually hearing his words. “To save us.” She gave no indication that she did as she began moving towards H.G., as if pulled by some invisible magnet that urged her forward until she was standing before the inventor, whose face had become deceptively blank at Artie's confession. A small frown creased Myka's forehead as she tried to understand, tried to make sense of the things she was being told and the emotions coursing through her body, but it was like oil and water, and nothing would mix properly. Nothing made sense.
“Why would you do that?” She whispered, voice tremulous despite the effort she'd put into her attempt at keeping it steady. And then all of that missing emotion suddenly flooded Helena's face as she lifted her hand to toy with the locket about her neck, and stole Myka's breath with the small, painfully uncertain smile that played across her lips.
“It became rather evident some time ago that there is little I would not
do for you.” And it was, as clichéd as it might sound, as though the rest of the office and its occupants, the entire world itself, fell away to leave just the two of them, gazes locked, standing less than a foot apart, hearts hammering to the same beat.
Myka felt the hair on the back of her neck rise, as if some part of her was sensing some impending danger or change or something
, but she paid it little mind. She was too caught by the emotions shimmering in the bottomless black orbs before her.
And she could see it, everything Artie had told them, she could picture it all with an ease that should have disturbed her – and perhaps would, later – but for now she allowed the images to come. Helena's face, bright and glittering beyond the barrier she'd set over them, smiling as though she'd finally accomplished exactly what she'd set out to do. Redeem herself, prove herself worthy, save Myka.
And it was as she envisioned Helena's face, a single tear-track marring otherwise unblemished features, smiling and whispering her thanks, that Myka felt her chest actually start to ache
It didn't take much after that, for Myka to finally follow in the wake of her gaze, and she flicked it up only once to meet dark eyes, to register the way the inventor was holding her breath, almost in anticipation, before she ducked her head and pressed her lips to Helena's.
It wasn't passionate, though there was passion in it, and privatively they both marvelled at the improbability of so much being able to be said by so little. It was brief, and it was chaste, but it was enough to convey everything Myka has been unable to say. There was no chance of misinterpreting the action, and as Myka broke the contact and pulled back, and H.G. blinked her eyes open, it was indeed love that swelled inside them both as they looked at one another through, not new, but slightly adjusted eyes.
“Thank you.” Myka whispered, her breath ghosting over Helena's lips. She stepped back, putting space between them, and felt existence start to trickle back in. But there was an instant in which H.G.'s gaze, intense and wondering, drifted over her face with something so very close to awe and her mouth worked but no words would leave her.
And Myka couldn't help but smile a little smugly, even in the face of such a defining moment.
Because it wasn't every day she rendered H.G. Wells speechless.</ljcut>