tellitslant: Helen Magnus of Sanctuary, seen from the back pointing a gun (sanctuary - helen - waistcoat)
[personal profile] tellitslant
Title: one warm line
Author: [personal profile] tellitslant
Fandom: Warehouse 13
Characters/pairing: H.G. Wells/Myka Bering
Rating: Explicit
Word count: 7500
Disclaimer: Characters are property of SyFy etc. This is a transformative work; no infringement is intended.
Notes: Many thank-yous to [tumblr.com profile] thiswildernessismyhome for cheerleading and beta duties. This is a stand-alone fic, but shares an ethos with my fic "Zip It" (LJ version; AO3 version).
Warnings: None. Set after 2x09, Vendetta.
Summary: Trapped alone in the Warehouse with no prospect of immediate rescue, Myka and Helena examine the unexplored terrain of their relationship.



*


Myka tucks Robert Knox's stethoscope into the tooled leather case and fastens the clasp before she places it on the shelf. She ticks it off on her list, shivering.

The stethoscope just plain creeps her out. The woman who used it looked completely lifeless when Myka saw her. Myka checked her pulse, even tried CPR, before giving up... only to find her alive and well mere hours later. Her skin was cold and damp when she shook Myka's hand goodbye; Artie said she'd be battling the chill for days as a result of using the artifact to play dead. The thought leaves Myka's own skin crawling. It reminds her of H.G. in Russia, trembling and clutching the driftwood that nearly killed her.

Myka pushes the memory away. She can hear Pete whistling tunelessly in the next aisle, and further into the mountain H.G. and Claudia yell back and forth. The Warehouse hums around her, tranquil for a change and with no smell of fudge to worry her. Tucking her gloves in her back pocket, she flips the page on her clipboard, running her finger down the list of artifacts she still has to locate and re-shelve.

"Hey, Myka!" Pete sticks his head around the corner.

Myka feels the fragile peace she's cultivating fracture. "You can't be finished already," she says, refusing to look up.

"Sure am," Pete boasts. "What, you jealous? Don't be a poutyface, Mykes. Come on. High five for Awesome Pete."

Easier to give in than protest: eyes still on her list, Myka holds one hand up. Pete's palm meets hers, the move strangely uncoordinated. Icy fingers tangle through hers, memory and reality a horrible mix, and she looks up.

She's not holding Pete's hand; she's holding no-one's hand, an armless stump with the blackened flesh of a bogman. Pete laughs while Myka stares, frozen; then the fingers tighten on hers and she screams.

"Whoa, Mykes, take it easy," Pete says, but Myka barely registers his words. She screams again, startled into real terror, and drops her clipboard. Grabbing the thing below its wrist, she yanks it off and throws it to the floor. It wriggles as if trying to crawl away.

Myka scrubs her palm roughly against her jeans, trying to scour away the feel of the dead flesh. "Pete, what the fuck!"

Footfalls echo on the concrete floor as H.G. and Claudia rush into the aisle. "Myka, are you all right?" H.G. asks, placing a hand on Myka's shoulder. Myka leans into its warmth.

At the same time, Claudia yelps, dancing away from the thing on the floor in a way that would be funny were Myka less shaken. "Dude!" Claudia says, fascinated and disturbed. "What the heck is that?"

Pete stoops and picks it up in one gloved hand. The fingers wave slowly, like seaweed under water, and Myka can't stop the shudder that runs through her. H.G. rubs her arm reassuringly and glares at Pete.

"Sorry, Myka," Pete says. "I didn't think it'd weird you out so bad."

"It's – it's okay," Myka says. It's not Pete's fault she was in a morbid mood. Still, she doesn't move away from H.G.'s steadying presence.

"So what is it?" Claudia asks again. She's bobbing around Pete, trying to get a better look while staying out of reach.

"I think it's a Hand of Glory," Pete says.

"You think?" Myka and H.G. echo, almost in unison.

"Well, how many severed hands are there gonna be in the Warehouse? They're harmless, let you see in the dark and walk through walls, stuff like that," Pete says defensively.

"Uh, Pete?" Claudia taps him on the shoulder. "Is it supposed to do that?"

They all look down. Where the hand lay, a small patch of white mars the concrete. As they watch, it spreads incrementally, inching larger as if testing the waters. Then, with a crack that shakes the shelving, it breaks open and ice pours out, racing across the floor.

"Neutralizer!" Claudia yelps, yanking Pete one way.

"Run!" H.G. says urgently, dragging Myka another. Myka stumbles, but H.G.'s grip on her hand keeps her upright as they pound down the aisles.

The ice roars behind them, an avalanche on level ground. No matter how they dodge through the maze, it seems it's always right on their heels. Myka thinks they're getting close to the front of the Warehouse – the stacks are looking more familiar – until they round a corner and nearly smash into a solid sheet of ice.

"Hell," H.G. gasps. They skid to a stop and reverse, only to see another ice wall several yards behind them, crackling as it grows towards the ceiling. A third is just forming down the only free corridor. They rush it, but it shoots up over their heads before they get there. A quiet rustling sound marks the ice closing in under their feet, and they are surrounded.

The air is very still. Myka thinks she can already feel it cooling.

"Can you see, does it go all the way up?" H.G. asks, craning her head back.

"Those two are still growing, but I think that one's reached – oh, my god." Myka squints upward. The roof is changing, becoming translucent where the ice touches it. The sun is almost visible, its glow fracturing through the crystals where the roof is turning to ice.

"Oh, Pete." Will he ever learn? Myka sighs and digs out her Farnsworth.

"Heyyy, Mykes." Pete flickers into view on the tiny screen.

"Did you neutralize it?" she demands without much hope.

"Ah, that'd be a no," Pete says. "We got trapped before we made it to a goo station. Did you guys get out?"

"Trapped too." Myka tilts the Farnsworth to show the ice hemming them in. She hears Claudia groan dramatically somewhere behind Pete.

"Right, well, I guess we better call Artie." Pete sounds as if he thinks Myka will volunteer.

"Let us know how that goes," Myka replies sweetly. She slaps the Farnsworth shut, rolling her eyes.

H.G. is prowling the confines of their icy prison, exploring the artifact shelves within their reach. Myka watches her absently.

"No luck with Pete, then," H.G. calls. She brings a digital tag to life and skims it.

"Shockingly, no." Myka leans against a shelf, stamping her feet. The chill seems to be reaching through the soles of her shoes. "No magical fire on any of those shelves?"

"Not yet. We could have been marooned somewhere more convenient." She turns, mimicking Myka's pose. "Does this happen often?"

"Pete being a jackass?" Myka snorts. "More often than you'd think. Not usually with such dramatic results, though." She grimaces, thinking of that cold, dead hand in hers.

"He frightened you badly, darling, didn't he?" H.G. asks. Myka shrugs jerkily and H.G.'s face softens. She steps closer to Myka, placing one hand on her hip. Myka holds her breath as H.G. reaches up to brush a curl out of Myka's eyes. She secures it behind Myka's ear and smiles up at her.

The blatting of the Farnsworth breaks the moment. Myka fumbles to open it as H.G. pulls back.

"Artie!" Myka feels a wave of relief at the sight of his face. "What's going on?"

"I'm going to drown Pete in neutralizer, that's what's going on," Artie growls.

"Wait your turn," H.G. says, on her tiptoes to see the screen over Myka's shoulder. Myka elbows her gently.

"Artie, what artifact did this? It's transformed the whole Warehouse!"

Artie huffs. "It's Franklin's hand," he says, as if that should explain everything.

"Franklin's hand?" Myka frowns. That sounds familiar.

"Yes, yes. Franklin? Lord John Franklin, arctic explorer? Ring any bells?" Myka hears H.G.'s soft gasp of recognition behind her as Artie continues. "He and his men were caught in the ice during an expedition, their ships becalmed. The artifact recreates the ice that trapped them."

"We noticed," H.G. says drily. "How do we fix it?"

"With Pete and Claudia stuck without neutralizer, we'll have to get creative about undoing its effects," Artie says as if she hasn't spoken. "Leena and I are working on it. We'll be in touch."

The screen goes dark. Myka stares at it, open-mouthed.

"Well, that's a fine how-do-you-do," H.G. mutters.

Myka hums agreement, then shivers. The sun still shows through the roof overhead, but its rays are diluted and it's starting to slide out of sight. Once it's gone, they'll be alone with the ice. "Great," she says. "Hurry up and wait."

"At least the company could be worse." H.G. returns to poking through the shelves. "Is there nothing here we can use? You look, Myka; your frame of reference is more current than mine."

They scour the shelves in the fading light. Their domain is larger than Myka thought, extending nearly the full length of one aisle and several feet into two others, but there doesn't seem to be any theme to its contents.

H.G. laughs from a nearby shelf, and Myka's head jerks up. "Did you find something?"

"D.I. Edmund Reid's parachutist's medal," H.G. replies. "It pinpoints wrongdoers in the area. Unfortunately we already know whose fault it is we're here. Any luck on your part?"

"Not unless you feel like holding a Black Mass," Myka mutters, carefully avoiding Francis Dashwood's chalice and censer.

"Fay ce que voudras. Tempting, but I don't think Pete would appreciate what I wish to do just now." H.G. pokes at the ice with one of Rocket Richard's hockey sticks before abandoning it in frustration.

Eventually, H.G. comes across a jar of fireflies that casts a dim light. Myka has somewhat better luck: she spots the coals from Lord Baden-Powell's first Scouts campfire. Those give off enough warmth to melt a small patch of ice off the floor, though not enough to tunnel through the thick walls.

Finally, just as dusk is setting in, she finds Tenzing Norgay's bedroll on a high shelf. "Ha! Look out below," she calls, dropping it into H.G.'s waiting hands and jumping the last few feet down herself. "If that survived Everest, it'll keep us warm for sure."

"Everest?" H.G. looks down at the tattered fabric with some awe. "Has the mountain been conquered, then?"

"It's been summited," Myka says, taking the bundle from H.G. and spreading it out near the warm coals. "First in the Fifties, and I think several times since then. Conquered, though, I don't know. It's pretty fierce to people who try and climb it."

H.G. sinks down to sit on the sleeping roll. Myka drops down beside her. "Amazing," H.G. says, staring at the softly-glowing fireflies. "I've missed so much."

Myka isn't sure what to say. It's not like it isn't true. She wants to point out that H.G.'s fitting in to the twenty-first century seamlessly, but she remembers the pain on H.G.'s face in the alley and the cemetery and thinks better of it. She picks at the tattered fabric of the bedroll, letting the silence stretch.

"So Franklin was lost all along," H.G. says eventually.

Myka starts and looks at her curiously. Even with the fireflies it's almost too dark to tell, but Myka thinks H.G. looks lost herself. "Did you know him?" Myka asks hesitantly. She remembers what happened to Franklin's expedition, but not the dates.

"Really, darling, I know it's hard to believe, but some things were before even my time." H.G. sounds amused, and Myka is glad the shadows hide her blush. "No, Franklin sailed in the Forties – that is, the 1840s. Never to be heard from again.

"Oh, they followed him, of course; the Admiralty sent scouts. One claimed to have found rumours of his death amongst the Eskimos, but none could ever prove it. His wife funded several attempts to discover the truth. I was nine when she sent the last one, only to die before it returned. I thought it terribly romantic."

H.G.'s voice is bitter. Myka can't decide how to respond. Instead, she places her hand on H.G.'s, offering support if she wants to keep speaking. H.G. laces their fingers together and holds on. Her warmth surprises Myka in the cool air.

"As you know, I had rather a fascination with explorers later in life," H.G. continues. Her words fill the confined space and are swallowed by the thick ice. It reminds Myka of telling tales around the campfire as a child, though even the spookiest of ghost stories didn't disturb her as much as this dry recitation.

"I researched several like Franklin when I was planning my time machine. I thought I was beyond fancy, but I found myself hoping Franklin had merely disappeared, that he had found a new life and new happiness in some new land. But he died there, then?"

It takes Myka a moment to realize she's been asked a question. "Um, yes. I'm sorry," she adds. She bites her lip, trying to remember. "I think he died the first winter, after the ships got stuck. Most of his crew stayed with the ships for another year or two, but when they couldn't free them, they abandoned camp. Everyone died. They never found the Northwest Passage."

H.G. sighs thickly. Her hand trembles in Myka's. "And so the brave new world proves deadly once more. I ought to have known. Lady Franklin loved him so. Who would have left that much love behind voluntarily?"

Myka thinks H.G. has forgotten she's there.

H.G. laughs and the sound raises the hair on Myka's arms. "She traveled north, you know," H.G. says rapidly. "Even though she knew – she must have known he was either dead or had abandoned her. She traveled as far north as she could, north to be closer to him, and it was all for naught."

"Maybe it was worth it, to keep hope alive," Myka says quietly.

"Hope!" H.G. snarls. "What use is hope when a love like that is gone? Better to face the truth and know it will never return." This time, her bitter laughter catches in her throat, on the edge of turning into a sob.

"Is that why you hoped he'd found happiness somewhere else?" Myka asks. "To prove that he could love again?"

"Childish fantasy," H.G. says, so softly Myka can barely hear her. "It was a stupid, childish fantasy, no more."

"Not for everyone." Myka's not sure what the right thing is to say to help this viciously angry woman who's pouring her sorrows out to the icy dark. "Helena," she says, suddenly needing to step inside the barrier she senses being built. "Helena, not everyone gets lost in their new worlds. Some people make amazing discoveries." She presses closer to Helena's warmth.

"But is it enough?" Helena asks hollowly. She sighs and leans back against Myka. "Myka, you're shivering," she says suddenly.

As if the words make it real, Myka becomes aware that she is shivering in the cool air, constant fine tremors running through her whole body.

Helena lets go of her hand and turns to face her, cupping her cheeks. "You're so cold," she says.

Myka nods – she's been cold all day.

"I'm sorry. I should have noticed," Helena says. Her eyes trace the lines of Myka's face and she studies Myka's expression as if seeking an answer there.

Myka holds her breath, frozen by Helena's proximity. There's something electric in the way Helena's hands feel on her skin; more than the constant touches Helena seems driven to every day, this moment seems fraught, unbalanced. Myka's heart is pounding in her chest, but she's almost afraid to move. Finally, she sucks in a gasping breath.

Helena draws her hand down Myka's neck, brushing over the flutter of her pulse. She leans towards Myka slowly, deliberately, and kisses her.

Helena's mouth is impossibly warm against Myka's chilled skin. She gasps and Helena kisses her harder, her tongue flicking against Myka's lips. Myka groans and submits, winding her hands through Helena's hair, and then suddenly Helena is in her lap, all glorious heat pressing into Myka.

"Helena," Myka says, running her thumbs over the sharp curves of Helena's cheekbones. They are faintly damp. The cold seems to have crept into Myka's thoughts, leaving her struggling to articulate what she's feeling. She's torn between surprise and delight; Helena, here, in her arms, warm and alive and smiling against her mouth, is at once shocking and inevitable. "Helena," she says again, starting to smile herself.

"Hush," Helena says, her voice once more full of mischief. "I'm exploring." She suits actions to words, sliding her fingers under Myka's top to run over the bare skin of her stomach. Helena is still warm; Myka feels the touch of each finger send heat through her veins to pool low in her belly.

"I'm not much of a new world," Myka says, squirming.

"Nonsense," Helena says. She kisses Myka again and again, hands caressing the smooth skin of her sides but not venturing any higher. She's waiting for something, Myka realizes – to be certain Myka wants this, probably. As if she hasn't been wanting since that damn grappler swept her off her feet.

Myka kisses Helena back, hard and fast, then lets her hands trail down over Helena's collarbones to the buttons of her shirt. It's Helena's turn to shiver as Myka begins to undo them. "Myka, yes," she whispers, head tipping back, and Myka presses her mouth to Helena's neck, tongue mapping the beat of her pulse.

Myka finishes unbuttoning Helena's shirt and pushes it off her shoulders. The cool air raises gooseflesh across Helena's skin. Myka kisses it away, cupping Helena's breast in one hand. She rubs her thumb over the bra cup, across the hardened nipple, and Helena presses into the touch. Her breath hitches and her mouth slackens and she looks like that simple touch is almost too much.

Of course, Myka thinks, she was pretty much in sensory deprivation for over a century, so maybe it is.

Myka rests her hands on Helena's hips and kisses the corner of her mouth. Slowly, she thinks. She wants to soothe away the frantic energy Helena always radiates; she wants to show Helena that the twenty-first century has more to recommend it than just the Warehouse.

She wants Helena to know that she can be happy here, and maybe that needs to take precedence over how much she also wants to get Helena really naked and see if sex has changed much in the last hundred years. She pushes Helena's hair back from her face and kisses her cheekbone and, in a bout of tenderness, her nose.

Helena's eyes fly open and she rocks down into Myka's lap. "For god's sake, don't stop," she says, a little desperately.

"Helena." Myka tries to aim for reasonable, which is hard when she's got a half-naked woman in her arms. "Shouldn't we talk about this?"

Helena lets her head drop forward, resting her forehead against Myka's. Her fingers draw aimless patterns on Myka's back. "I'm so tired of talking. MacPherson wanted to talk. The Regents wanted to talk. I spent decades talking to myself. The last thing I want to do right now is talk," she spits, tensing under Myka's hands.

"Whoa, okay," Myka says, stroking Helena's hair soothingly. She can feel Helena trembling; her breath is coming in short gasps. "No talking. That's fine. We can just sit here and not talk." She dots kisses along Helena's jawline and across the tops of her shoulders. Her hands caress the smooth skin of Helena's back. Helena clutches at her, but her breathing begins, slowly, to even out.

Myka draws Helena's mouth back to hers and loses herself in deep, slow kisses. Helena bites at her lower lip and Myka groans, curving her hands around Helena's ass and pulling her closer. Helena whimpers and the sound nearly makes Myka forget her determination to take this – whatever this is – slowly.

And then her Farnsworth blares.

"Damn!" Myka thunks her head against the shelf behind her, then freezes, listening to the artifacts rattle. Helena catches her breath, scrambling backwards off Myka's lap. She bites her lip, avoiding Myka's gaze as she her shirt and slipping back into it.

The Farnsworth howls again and Myka snaps it open, running a hand over her hair and hoping she doesn't look too rumpled. "Yeah, Artie, hi," she says as his image coalesces. "Any news?" She isn't sure whether she wants to hear that their release is imminent or that they're going to be stuck for longer.

Artie squints at her. "Little dark over there, is it?"

Myka ponders sticking her tongue out at him, but isn't sure it's dark enough to hide that. "Strangely, electricity doesn't conduct well through solid ice," she says pointedly.

"Well, the good news is, we think we've found a way to get you out."

"You think." Myka's stomach drops.

"We haven't tested it yet, but yes."

Behind Artie, Myka hears the roar of heavy machinery starting up; she decides not to ask.

Artie continues, "The bad news is, if it works, it'll take several hours to break through to Pete and Claudia and neutralize the artifact's effects. Will you be all right?" His brows draw worriedly together. "No loss of feeling in your extremities? No tingling?"

Helena makes a noise that sounds suspiciously like a suppressed giggle. Myka glares at her, fighting a smile. "Ahh, nope, no, definitely no loss of feeling," she tells Artie. Tingling? Yeah, she's still tingling.

Making an effort, she draws her mind firmly back to the professional. "I think we'll be fine," she says. "We raided the shelves and we won't freeze. We might get a bit hungry, but I'm sure we'll survive."

"Great," Artie says, distracted by a rhythmic beeping offscreen. "Well, get comfortable, take a nap or something, I'll let you know when we get to Pete." His eyes dart to the side. "No! Not in that gear!" he yells. The screen goes blank.

Myka closes the case and looks up. Helena is a pale blur in the dim lighting. She turns to face Myka. Before either of them can say anything, the Farnsworth sounds again. Myka sighs and opens it.

"Mykes, hey, Mykes," Pete says, before he's even visible. "I spy with my little eye something that is blue!"

"Is it ice, Pete?" Myka says dully.

"Yeah." He frowns, visibly disappointed. He and Claudia have clearly found a better source of light than she and Helena; she watches thoughts chase themselves across his face. "Okay, I've got another one –"

"Goodbye, Pete," Myka says. She closes the lid firmly on Claudia's agonized wail of "Noooo, don't abandon me with him!"

"Alone at last," Helena says from across the aisle. Myka spares a moment to wonder whether Helena found time to read up on modern culture or whether some clichés are just that timeworn.

Helena continues to hover just out of reach, and Myka finds she has no patience for the lengthy discussion she suspects they need to have. Instead, she holds out a hand. "Helena," she says. "Can we just – I'm cold."

Helena lets herself be pulled down to the ground. She curls into Myka; she is, surprisingly, still warm, and Myka turns towards her, drawing her close.

Helena keeps her head down and Myka doesn't try to engage her in conversation. She's dealing with enough internal debate: what does Helena want? Can someone who's basically been in solitary confinement for a hundred years make rational decisions? How could H.G. Wells possibly be interested in her? And even if she is, she's done the workplace romance thing before and look how that ended.

The thought of Sam brings a pang of loss, as always. She shakes it off but holds Helena tighter, protectively, as if in penance for failing to save Sam. Her weight against Myka is surprisingly reassuring; her arm sneaks around Myka's back, anchoring them together. Myka falls asleep between one breath and the next, and if she dreams, she doesn't remember it.

She wakes almost as easily.

With the ice surrounding them and the soft glow of the fireflies the only light, she can't tell how long she's been asleep. Her heart clenches and then starts pounding furiously as she realizes Helena is no longer lying next to her. For a moment she's back in Denver, just a moment too late to save Sam, and she jerks upright certain that Helena has somehow disappeared while Myka slept.

"Myka?"

There's movement in the dim light, and Myka exhales convulsively as she realizes it's Helena. "Don't do that," she says, reaching out blindly. She wraps her hands around Helena's, drawing her out of the dark. "I thought you'd gone..."

"Really, darling, trying to get rid of me already?" Helena's voice is light and unconcerned, but she blinks warily as she emerges from the shadows. She settles next to Myka without letting their hands part.

Myka knows that she's holding on too tightly, but she can't bring herself to relax her grip. The air around them is chilly and some of Helena's marvellous warmth has leached away. Still, she is unmistakably alive and present; her pulse bumps gently against Myka's fingers. Myka trembles a little with the too-recent knowledge of how close Helena came to being put back in the bronze.

"Besides, where would I go?" Helena asks softly. "And leave you behind? Surely not."

"It's not always up to you," Myka says, then winces. She's half-asleep, half-panicked, and she curses herself for letting her control slip.

"I – yes. Quite right," Helena says. She pulls her hand away, tearing from Myka's grip like ripping off a bandaid and leaving her bereft and confused.

"Helena, wait," she says, scrambling. "I didn't mean you – I didn't mean –" Didn't mean how precarious your place here is or how easy it would be for someone to take you away. I didn't mean I wouldn't fight for you, she wants to say, desperate. Instead she takes a deep breath. "I lost my partner," she says bluntly, because if the only thing she can give Helena is honesty then she will damn well give her honesty.

It works. Helena's eyes snap back to hers, and even in the dim light Myka can see the shock and distress written there. She can't stand it. She has to look away.

"Almost three years ago. He was shot dead in the line of duty. Because – because I was too slow. I couldn't save him." Myka tilts her head back, staring blankly at the invisible ceiling. Her hands feel too empty; she curls into herself, drumming her fingers against her collarbones. "We were – I loved him. I was supposed to be his backup. And I couldn't even catch the bastard who shot him."

Helena shifts next to her. "And what happened then?" she prompts when Myka falters.

"Then?" Myka snorts humourlessly. "Then I left Denver and moved to D.C., and – " And now she's here, and a world away from the person she was before Sam's death, and with Helena sitting next to her.

"No, I mean..." Helena's struggle for words is uncharacteristic; Myka has only seen her polish fall away once before, in the cemetery after Dickinson's funeral. "Have you not tried... anything else to find the culprit?"

Myka frowns, confused, until she sees Helena's hand flutter tentatively towards the shelving, and then she remembers. I was working in a place where miracles happen. There had to be something. A sudden rush of anger heats her cheeks: after all that time, is this still Helena's first instinct?

It's not that Myka hasn't thought about it. She's woken from dreams of Leo's face glaring down the stairs at her while Sam's blood pumped through her fingers too many times to count; she's lain awake for hours after shelving W.V. Adams' handcuffs, Poirot's patent leather shoes, or Hammett's typewriter. But for every fantasy she has about finally facing Leo down, she sees five times as many ways it could go wrong. All she does every day is clean up after artifacts. She knows in her soul that the cost is too high.

And hasn't Helena seen even more – even worse – than Myka has? A century in bronze and she's still jumping for the easiest answers. Myka doesn't mean to shift away; only when the cool air rushes past her side does she realize the space she's put between them.

Helena reaches out, then lets her hand drop to her lap. "Of course not," she says, the same bitterness from earlier infusing her voice again. "Forgive me, Myka. I should not have assumed you would give in to such base impulses. No moral failure you."

The self-recrimination lies so heavily on Helena's shoulders that Myka thinks she can see it in the half-light, an almost-visible presence pressing the smaller woman down even further under its weight. Before she can say anything, Helena looks up at her again.

"I truly thought it was for the best," she says. "I thought – I knew the failure was mine, you see. I had failed to protect her, and I was failing each time I tried to bring her back. My Christina – my daughter – the one thing she demanded of me was my protection, and I was too enthralled with my inventions and my work at the Warehouse to give it her. I thought surely, surely there was some way. But I failed, again and again."

She trails off again, looking down at her lap. One hand twists her ring frantically; the rest of her stills, waiting for the blow.

Myka rests one hand on Helena's, slowing their motion. "It wasn't your fault," she says. She knows all too well how hollow those words can sound; she's dismissed them enough herself. Still, she tries to fill them with all the certainty she never heard when others mouthed platitudes at her.

Helena jerks away in instinctive denial and Myka kneels swiftly in front of her. "Helena, it wasn't your fault," she says again, gazing intently into Helena's eyes. "None of it. You didn't know. You couldn't know, Helena."

"I should have," Helena says stubbornly. Her fingers twine with Myka's, though, seeking – reassurance? Absolution? Or maybe just a connection. Myka will give her all of them, if she can.

"Now you do." Myka captures Helena's hands in hers and kisses her fingertips.

She's so close that she feels more than hears Helena's surprised exhalation. Looking up, she catches an expression flitting across Helena's face before being wiped away. For a moment, she thinks it's fear she sees, but it morphs so quickly into surprise that Myka's sure she's wrong before the thought fully registers.

Helena cups Myka's cheek, ruffling the unruly curls that frame her face. "You would forgive me that simply?" she asks, her touch tentative even as she steadies her voice.

"Until you can forgive yourself," Myka offers.

Helena shakes her head slightly, fighting a smile. "I hope you're a patient woman," she says.

"I can be." Myka blushes at her own earnestness. She covers her uncertainty by stretching, sitting back on her heels and rolling her shoulders to work out the aches of napping on the cold ground. In the soft darkness, she glimpses Helena's widening smirk; it's already a familiar-enough sight that it banishes her fears.

"You're not patient about everything, surely," Helena says, tugging at Myka's belt loop.

The pull is far too gentle, but Myka lets herself pretend it isn’t, lets herself fall forward until she's straddling Helena. She lets herself shiver as Helena's cool fingers sneak under her shirt and lets herself give in to the desire to wind her own fingers in Helena's hair. She lets herself hope that they've cleared the air between them far enough for this to mean something, and then she lets herself stop thinking at all.

"Are you sure?" Helena whispers eventually, toying with the button on Myka's jeans.

"I trust you," Myka replies, and lets herself pretend that the look on Helena's face isn't completely heartbreaking.

Helena's hands have warmed during their journey over Myka's body. The cold air bites into her skin wherever her clothes are rucked up or tugged away, but Helena's touch draws her blood hotly to the surface of her skin. When Helena eases her hand under the waistband of Myka's underwear, Myka almost forgets the chill entirely.

Helena may have been tentative earlier, but with Myka's surrender she takes the lead. She slips a finger into Myka's cunt slowly, watching Myka's face with such desire that Myka almost turns away. "Tell me, darling," she says, stroking her other hand across Myka's forehead and through her hair. "Tell me what you want."

Myka squirms, hampered by her jeans around her knees. What she wants? She wants to feel Helena everywhere – she wants them to be in a bed where they can be naked, skin to skin. But failing that, she'll settle for – "More," she says, grasping Helena's wrist lightly. "More – please, Helena."

More, and faster, and harder, because she's afraid Helena will change her mind.

She doesn't say that last, only asks for more with her voice and her body. Helena seems more than happy to oblige; her fingers drive into Myka with dizzying strength. It's almost too much, and Myka rushes towards the edge quickly, her own fingers on her clit as she trembles under Helena's touch.

"Talk to me," she says at last, quietly, almost uncertainly. She thinks for a moment that it might be too much to ask, but Helena groans unselfconsciously.

"You've not caught me at my best," she says, her voice roughened by arousal. "If I had more time, I would have made you wait while I told you everything I wished to do to you. Perhaps I'll do that next time. Perhaps I'll see whether I can make you come without even a touch."

Myka gasps, her hips rising into Helena's touch. Helena's voice is practically hypnotic, and so self-assured that she sounds like an entirely different woman.

"You do like that, don't you, darling," Helena says smugly, feeling Myka's excitement build. "You look so beautiful like this, so close for me. I want to see you naked, and soon, so I can tell you what you look like with my fingers inside you, and where I wish to leave my marks. I shall spin you such stories – oh!"

Myka cries out; her cunt flutters and clenches around Helena's fingers and her head whips back. Every part of her body is electric, ablaze, because she forgot, she forgot that Helena and H.G. Wells are one and the same, and now H.G. Wells is worshipping her with words and it leaves her completely undone.

It takes her a moment to come back to herself; when Helena slips her fingers away, Myka whimpers, but barely twitches.

Helena laughs softly to herself. "Tell me," she says, painting damp lines on Myka's thighs and stomach. "Is it my voice or my words that have such an effect on you? It's quite gratifying either way, of course."

Myka smiles and pulls Helena fully on top of her, then rolls so she's straddling Helena's hips. She tugs her jeans up and buttons them, enjoying the way Helena sprawls beneath her. "It's just you," she says, leaning down to kiss her.

She takes her time unbuttoning Helena's blouse again. She can see the way Helena's skin prickles with cold; when she presses her hot mouth against the curve of Helena's breast, Helena gasps, her eyes flying open.

Myka moves slowly, using her lips and tongue to heat Helena's skin before letting it cool again. She leaves Helena's bra on, tweaking her nipples through the soft cotton, but pays more attention to her collarbones and the curve of her belly. Helena's hands tighten in Myka's hair, but she seems content to enjoy Myka's teasing. Only the shallowness of her breath gives away how affected she is.

It's not until Myka licks along the edge of Helena's pants that Helena gives in, curling towards Myka with a gasp. "Touch me," she demands.

Myka hums softly, tugging Helena's pants and underwear down. Instead of stopping, she moves back, pulling off Helena's shoes and sliding her pants off to tangle around one foot. She wiggles her way in between Helena's legs, urging them apart.

"Well," Helena says, crooking one leg and draping it over Myka's shoulder. She shivers, but Myka's not sure whether it's from anticipation or cold.

"Well," Myka says back. She hides her smile against Helena's thigh, biting softly.

Helena twitches, her heel digging into Myka's back. There's barely-restrained impatience in the hand she rests on Myka's head. And Myka doesn't want to wait any longer either.

Turning her head, she presses an open-mouthed kiss to Helena's cunt. Helena is slick and swollen; Myka drags the flat of her tongue between her lips and up, curling over Helena's clit. "You're so hot," she murmurs, trailing a finger over the path her tongue just took.

"Thank you, darling," Helena manages breathlessly. Myka glances up; Helena's twisting her nipples roughly, but her eyes are focused on Myka. Myka ducks her head back down. Helena's gaze is almost too intense.

Touch me, Helena said, so Myka does, easing two fingers inside Helena's heat. She fastens her mouth to Helena's clit, licking and sucking and stroking. She's surrounded by Helena, blind and only feeling the way she moves and thrusts and clenches at Myka's rough touch. Myka has to lay her arm over Helena's hips to hold her down.

Helena's moaning, high and wordless, and she's so wet and so beautiful under Myka's mouth. Myka wants to pin Helena down and take her from behind, wants to watch her squirm and arch. Instead she presses very gently at Helena's cunt until she can fit in a third finger.

Helena loses her voice entirely then. Myka curls her fingers up, letting Helena adjust to the stretch, and Helena pants brokenly, her chest heaving. "Is this good?" Myka asks, speeding her rhythm. Helena huffs a laugh and nods, tugging at Myka's hair, and Myka takes the hint. She bends again, curling her tongue around Helena's clit.

When Helena comes, she's almost silent. She shakes against Myka's hand, tight and hot and desperately beautiful as Myka gazes up her body. Her breath rushes out in a sigh as she relaxes back to the ground, pushing Myka away. "Well," she says eventually, dragging a hand through her hair. "That's one way to warm up."

Myka laughs awkwardly.

Now that they're not pressed together, the cold bites into her skin again; she fumbles her way back into her shirt, ignoring the rustle of Helena sliding her pants on. When she looks over, though, Helena is lounging back with her blouse still undone, and all Myka wants is to kiss her again.

Before Myka can move, Helena cocks her head, listening. "How long did Artie say it would take for them to rescue us?" she asks, fingers flying to her buttons.

"A few hours," Myka answers, slowly becoming aware of a mechanical rumble vibrating through the floor. "But that was..."

"...A few hours ago?" Helena finishes, tucking her shirt in and looking around for her other shoe.

"Um, yeah." Myka scrubs her fingers on a corner of Norgay's sleeping roll. It's probably seen worse. A crash echoes through the Warehouse, shaking the ice-encrusted rafters, and she pats helplessly at her hair.

For all their haste, it's still a good three-quarters of an hour before the walls start to melt. By then the two of them are clinging to each other out of necessity; they're both thoroughly chilled. Though most of the ice vanishes, they're both damp as well when Artie appears behind a slowly-shrinking ice wall.

"Thank god," Myka says, helping a shivering Helena up from the ground.

"You're all right?" Artie asks. The wall is still chest-high; a few more moments and they can jump it safely.

"Cold and hungry," Myka says. "We slept a bit," she adds, just in case the Farnsworth went off while they were... otherwise occupied. "We'll be fine once we warm up."

"And get some tea," Helena adds, sounding slightly desperate.

Artie glares at her. "Wait, you slept?" he asks, switching the glare to Myka. "Both of you?"

"Yes?" Myka says uncertainly.

"You," Artie says with a scowl. "Empty your pockets." He's looking at Helena.

"Artie!" Myka protests at the same time as Helena snarls, "How dare you."

"Empty your pockets," he demands again. The wall is low enough to jump now, but Artie is standing in the way, arms crossed.

Myka spares an insane moment to wonder just what Helena is supposed to have hidden in her tight outfit. Then Helena huffs. She peels her arms away from herself and yanks one, then the other pocket inside out. They're both empty.

"Happy?" she asks. "Or did you want to search me?"

Artie steps aside and gestures her forward. She steps over the wall – now knee-high – and marches past him with her head high. Myka follows.

"Better safe than sorry," Artie says quietly. Myka frowns at him incredulously.

Back at the B&B, Pete and Claudia are already in the kitchen, wrapped in enormous bathrobes and drinking hot chocolate. Myka wrinkles her nose at all the sugar. She and Helena make for separate bathrooms; it takes half an hour under the shower before Myka feels anywhere near warm again.

When she emerges from her room in sweats, hoodie, and thick socks, the water is still running in the other bathroom; she can hear Helena splashing slightly in the tub. Myka can't blame her for wanting to hide. They could both use that tea that Helena mentioned, though; Myka decides to save her from braving the kitchen.

"So, did you have fun in the great freeze-in, Mykes?" Pete asks as soon as she walks through the door. "Claudia and I learned how to curl!"

"Shut it, Pete!" Claudia smacks him in the arm. "I was totally gonna spring that on them and like, win a massive bet or something!"

"Oh sor-ry, and when were you going to just stealthily get us all to go curling?"

Myka rolls her eyes and ignores them both.

When she heads back up the stairs, the bathroom door is open and the one to Helena's room is shut. Myka shifts both mugs to one hand and knocks.

"Go away," Helena says through the closed door.

"I brought tea," Myka calls back.

The door opens immediately. "Myka?" Helena says softly.

"Yeah?" Myka gestures with the mugs of tea. "Can I come in?"

"I – of course." Helena steps back, clutching her towel to her.

"You're still not dressed? Jesus, and you're so pale. Get in bed," Myka orders, kicking the door shut behind her.

"But my tea," Helena protests, looking confused.

"We'll drink it in bed, come on. You've got to get warmed up, and I'm still chilly too." Myka plunks the mugs down on Helena's bedside table, pulling the duvet back invitingly.

When she turns, Helena is still standing in the middle of the room. Myka crosses to her, worried now. "Are you all right?" she asks, pressing her hand to Helena's cheek. Cool, but at least not feverish.

"I am, I just..." Helena trails off and shakes her head. She straightens her spine and forces a smile onto her face. Grabbing a long shirt out of her dresser, she slips into it before crawling obediently into her bed.

Myka tugs off her hoodie, leaving her in a tank top and sweats, and follows Helena in. She plumps up the pillows and wiggles into a comfortable position before grabbing their tea. It's cooled just enough to be drinkable.

She sighs in contentment and turns to check on Helena, and then she sees it. That look. The same fear that had Helena it its grip in the Warehouse, overlaid with a deeper longing that leaves Myka wanting to protect Helena from whatever had left her so hurt. She gives in to the urge and curls an arm around Helena's shoulders.

Helena stiffens at first, then sighs and relaxes visibly. "Thank you, Myka," she says softly.

"For the tea? It's no problem," Myka says.

"For believing in me," Helena whispers.

Myka feels her cheeks heat as she blushes. She hides it by pressing a kiss to the top of Helena's head. "Of course," she says roughly, then clears her throat. "Any time."

*

Oh for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea
Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage
And make a northwest passage to the sea
- "Northwest Passage," Stan Rogers

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-20 02:05 pm (UTC)
jae: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jae
I don't know the show, but I adore the summary. :)

-J

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