DISCLAIMER: The only thing that's mine is Charles Bering Wells. Everything
else is not.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: AU after 'Instinct'. This story came to mind partly because of an inside joke in the Bering and Wells fandom regarding Jo and Jaime. Somehow Jo became known as the "Great Joraffe" and Jaime as the "Unicorn Queen". I also was given a plush animal that looks very much what I described and couldn't help but think how it could be the love child of the stuffed animals the Great Joraffe and Unicorn Queen with a rainbow mane. Also, there is a book I mention at the very end titled "Unicorn Giraffe." This children's book actually exists. It's by Teddi Rutschman and Laura Botsford (whom I hope would be pleased at the free press they are getting right now). While I've never read it, from what I can tell, it looks beautiful with a lovely story perfect for a child of Helena and Myka's. The sentence Helena reads to her son is the actual sentence at the beginning of the book.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To slaymaster415[at]gmail.com
The Spawn Of The Great Joraffe And The Unicorn Queen
The big eyes of the little multi colored spotted plush animal with a little unicorn on top of its head stared at Helena with what could only be described as wonderment...if the bloody thing was alive.
Which it most definitely was not.
"Yes! I'm going to buy it. You can't tell me Choo Choo Charlie won't love this?!"
"While he may, Myka won't." Helena rolled her eyes. "And why on earth must you call Charles 'Choo Choo Charlie'? Is it just to aggravate me?"
Pete grinned. "While I do love to aggravate you, HG, it's an American thing from an old TV ad. Besides, it's your own fault; you bought him that train set to begin with." He elbowed Helena, teasing, "And don't act like you're all upset about it. You love to play it with him as much as I do."
Helena did her best to hide her smile. She really did enjoy it to the point of making her son an intricate train track, and buying him additional pieces and train cars. Sunday afternoons were often devoted to Thomas the Tank Engine, building model trains together, and playing with the train set in the basement.
The inventor's special surprise for Charles on Christmas Day: a brand new Steampunk train designed and built with the help of Claudia. There was also an even more detailed track that for one thing, required one to solve puzzles along the way.
"Oh my god! Squeal of delight!" Claudia rushed over, and seized the plush animal-thing out of Pete's hands.
"Hey! I wasn't done yet! Me and the spawn of the Great Joraffe and the Unicorn Queen are creating some awesome dance moves."
Shoving Pete out of the way, Claudia squeezed and hugged the garish toy. Closing her eyes, Claudia cooed, "Oh, you are so precious, aren't you, little...uh..." Claudia's eyes opened, and she regarded the plush animal thing. "I'm thinking we need a name here, H.G."
"Oooo, yeah!" Pete placed his hand under his chin, rubbing it as if contemplating some great universal question."Now, let's see: Joraffe Jr.?"
Claudia waved a hand, dismissing him. "Too easy, and too boring, Pete."
"Well, what do you have?" Pete snagged it out of her hand and held it high above Claudia, who kept jumping and swatting at it to no avail.
"Come on, Pete! Give it back!"
"Weeeee! Look what I can do!" Helena was surprised Pete could make his voice go that high pitched, and watched the man child make the plush animal thing do various jumps and impossible athletic endeavors.
Helena rubbed her temple. She knew her four month pregnant wife would likely show up any minute and feared Myka's reaction.
It was one week before Christmas. Helena and Myka were visiting Mr. and Mrs. Bering in Colorado Springs, and decided to revisit this charming store featuring all kinds of wonderful baby and nursery items. This was their second child, but now it was Myka's turn to carry the child, and she was not happy about it. Not one bit. Helena refused to give her a free pass stating, "I've already done this twice now. Besides, Dr. Calder doesn't think it would be safe for me to carry another."
When they were married, the idea of children was not on the list, but the Warehouse had other ideas. Helena did not come to the Warehouse often but Myka had needed some help with organizing and deciphering some of Warehouse 12 files, not to mention Caturanga's illegible writing. One thing led to another in the library...and now nine months later, Charles Christopher Peter Bering-Wells was born. ("That's what you get for being naughty in the Warehouse, Mykes," Pete had teased.)
Everyone was in shock it was a boy. Myka kept babbling about how science is science and they both had no 'y' so why is there a 'y'...
Pete was ecstatic, declaring the Warehouse knew another male was needed, and swore there were days he felt like he was swimming in estrogen. Steve took exception to this, pointing out there was also him and Artie to help in the testosterone department. Pete came back with the rebuttal that if you add Abigail, all the guys were out numbered. Plus, there were days Pete could have sworn Myka multiplied just to torment him.
Myka on the other hand was pissed Pete made this all about him, but her eyes were full of happy tears when little Charles was born. For her part, Helena was just happy to have a healthy baby.
She was also in a way relieved. Helena didn't think she could have stood giving birth to another little girl. It would have been overwhelming, bringing back too many memories. It seemed strange to say, but somehow she felt the Warehouse sensed this, which would explain why she gave birth to a son.
Charles was now four, and the apple of everyone's eyes, and he knew it. Helena swore there were days she could see her brother in little Charles's mischievous expressions. It brought back happy memories of her and her brother Charles as children. Helena was usually the instigator, as most of the ideas were hers, but Charles was always a ready and willing comrade in arms. The days she saw that expression on her son's face were the days she missed her brother the most.
Adding to Charles was always open ended: they simply never discussed it. Helena suspected Myka knew having Charles was a blessing, but was well aware of the spark of darkness within Helena. If anything happened to Charles, Helena doubted even Myka could hold her back. To add another child...
Now a consultant to the Warehouse, Helena held a non related Warehouse job as well. She was still afraid of the lure, the temptation to use artifacts no matter how many times everyone else (including the Warehouse) knew she would not.
The Regents it seemed were in agreement with her as they disapproved of her returning as an agent (despite the protests of the rest of the Warehouse team). There was the discussion of Helena becoming a Regent, but she simply didn't want that sort of connection anymore.
However, Helena did enjoy acting in a consulting capacity, and the Regents gave their approval. Helena's expertise from situations relating to Warehouse 12 was invaluable, as well as her genius level intellect. And much to the delight of one Claudia Donovan, Helena was allowed a certain...leverage as well.
Or really, it was more of a plausible deniability on the part of the Regents. Claudia Donovan originals (or improvements for that matter) were never officially sanctioned. However, considering these inventions improved life in the Warehouse and the field (especially achieving a higher retrieval rate), Helena's role was overlooked.
Claudia had declared working with Helena as "the most awesome of awesome". Helena still did not understand the girl's use of language, but understood enough to know this was a good thing. Helena was simply pleased her version of the MicroRay had saved Claudia's pseudo father's heart.
Afterwards, Artie's attitude towards Helena as Claudia's mentor softened. His gruff paternal demeanor towards anything connected with Claudia was still there but the ire towards Helena for past misdeeds had disappeared with the cravat that Helena hurting Claudia in any way, shape, or form would carry serious consequences up to and including bronzing. Helena got the message loud and clear, and felt an odd kinship with Artie as a parent.
The need to invent, to discover, to imagine, had never really left. She found that out with Nate who seemed mystified, and while not the exact cause of their relationship ending, was at the least a symptom of the cause. Emily Lake was a mask, and after the jaw bone incident, Helena G Wells started to peel the rest of the torn mask away; and that person was not someone safe enough, not someone who could be the PTA soccer mother Nate and Adelaide needed.
When Helena and Myka finally admitted their feelings, the urge intensified. It was like rediscovering a part of her she'd buried for so long and she reveled in it.
Once Helena and Myka were married, they bought a house in Univille, and between consulting for the Warehouse and inventing, Helena worked part time at the local bookstore, much to Myka's delight. It gave Helena solace, being surrounded by literature. They were all like old friends; the smell and texture brought to mind her days in London with informal scintillating intellectual discourse in a group much like the Algonquin round table.
There was also a laboratory in the basement of their home. When she became pregnant with Charles, it was decided this must change. Helena simply bought one of the pieces of land nearby and built a laboratory, much to Claudia's excitement.
While Helena enjoyed the computer, her love for the physicality of the written word on parchment had never ended; the feel of crisp paper between her fingers, and the smell of the ink as it dried. To Myka's elation, the Victorian began to write again.
Eventually, Helena gained the nerve to submit a story to a science fiction magazine. Initially rejected (Myka threatened to fly to the company's headquarters and tell them off), Helena retooled a few things, realizing her style of writing came off a bit antiquated.
At last, she had a story published, and decided to focus on a novel next. Helena loved her wife, but Myka hovering around her as she wrote proved too much. Eventually, they came to an understanding; when Helena was writing she was not to be disturbed, barring an emergency.
With that understanding, things flowed easily enough. While Helena becoming pregnant with Charles was unexpected, she was determined to not make the same mistakes she made with Christina.
One or both of them were always with Charles. During those moments when they were unable to, Uncle Pete, Aunt Claudia, Uncle Jinks, or Grandpa Artie would keep careful watch. It took a long time before Helena would even allow this; there were continual flashbacks to Christina's death. Not just the fear, but the guilt at having left Christina with a young weak maid unable to fight off the huge men during the robbery.
At last, with time, patience, and convincing, Helena was assured her friends were capable of protecting Charles. Myka had pointed out they were all Agents, and were more than capable of shooting and fighting off intruders.
So, Helena relaxed. And with it, came the enjoyment of motherhood again; just simply the true joy of sharing things with her son.
There had been questions from Myka's relatives (especially her mother and Tracy) over when they would add to their family. They had been convinced Charles was the result of a experimental procedure allowing two women to procreate, and the insistence to add another child intensified.
Myka at first was annoyed, but as time went on, the thought to share things with a daughter as well grew.
Charles had a lot of Wells in him, and Myka was hoping to have a child with more Bering, even if she would never admit it. Their son was never keen on athletics, and while he loved to read, his love of trains and anything mechanical, took precedence. Helena knew Myka wanted to have a child that would someday fence with her, perhaps join the debate team, and read as if the books were the very essence of life itself.
Every so often, Myka brought it up. After many nights of talking and crying about Christina, Helena was ready to try for a girl. This time, they used an artifact. As Myka put it, "we are never, ever doing it in the warehouse again!"
As Charles was considered some sort of fluke, they expected a girl this time, as "science was still science" (as Myka put it). Once Myka was pregnant, they eventually discovered they were indeed having a girl.
Myka was taken off retrievals, and while she knew it was coming, it made Myka agitated. The inventor had faced certain restrictions while pregnant but she was still able to tinker, write, and work at the bookshop. Myka wasn't able to go out and do what she loved best: be a Warehouse Agent.
So here they were, joined by Pete and Claudia. It had just so happened there was a curiosity nearby Colorado Springs, which was snagged, bagged, and tagged in record time. Artie graciously granted Pete and Claudia an extra two days to spend in Colorado Springs. Pete was very happy to see Mrs. Bering and most especially, her cookies.
Helena's iPhone buzzed in her pocket. It was Myka, and she would be here any minute.
"Just stop!" Helena reached over and grabbed the plush animal thing, and predictably both fussed like two little children.
"Aw, come on, HG!"
"Yeah. We haven't settled on a name yet."
"I don't really care. Myka just finished at the bank, and will be here in a couple of minutes. You both know how she has reacted to your incessant teasing about that...animal...family...you seem to have created for Charles."
Helena dimly registered the tinkle of a bell but was focused on this ridiculous conversation involving the...offspring?...of two plush animals in Charles's room.
"I thought she liked it," Pete lamented.
Helena's eyes widened in disbelief. "Every time you mention it, she hits you!"
"She always hits me! How am I supposed to tell the difference?"
Helena did have to concede a point there.
"The difference between what?" Her wife said evenly behind her.
Pete's eyes widened and he grabbed the stuffed animal thing from Helena's grip prompting a glare from the inventor. Pete whipped the garish animal thing around his back out of sight so fast Helena would have been impressed if she wasn't more worried about the situation at hand.
The situation called for her best charm. She sauntered over, and wrapped her arms around her wife. Whispering in her wife's ear, Helena intensified her British accent, knowing for some reason she had never been able to understand, her accent was a turn on for Myka.
"Now, come, come my darling. Just ignore Peter. Let's instead think about having a wonderful candlelight dinner at the Mediterranean restaurant we saw on the way into town. We can leave Charles with your parents overnight, and have a lovely dinner and return to the hotel where I can pamper and make love to you." She softly kissed Myka's ear. "Je vous adore, mon amour."
Myka's body however remained rigid, and when Helena pulled back, Myka's face was expressionless. Drat. Not even her best seduction method was working. Helena absently wondered if she was losing her touch.
It was obvious that not only would Myka not let this pass, she would most likely yell at Pete in the store when she learned the meaning behind Pete's statement.
But fortune smiled upon the group, as little Charles Bering-Wells and Mrs. Bering entered the store. The little boy ran to Helena, hugging her legs. His little arms reached up to be lifted into Helena's arms.
Helena's eyes lit up and she gave him the smile reserved only for her son. Charles was getting to the point where he was too heavy to hold for any long period of time, but Helena refused to acknowledge this. Her body however had other ideas, as she felt the strain in holding him for a length of time. Helena knew it wouldn't be long before she had to stop (most likely a month, if she were lucky) but she was determined to make the most of this cherished ritual other parents enjoy. Christina had reached the point of being beyond this stage when she was killed, but just holding her own child in her arms again returned that joy to her heart.
Helena adjusted her arms a bit, and said, "Hello, my little engineer. Have you been having fun with your grandmother?"
Charles nodded enthusiastically, his engineer cap bobbing slightly on his head.
"Where's your new hat, Charles?" Myka reached over to fuss with Charles's cap, and the young boy scrunched up his nose, and wiggled so much Helena was forced to set him back on the ground.
"I want to wear this hat, Momma. Mummy said I could wear it."
Helena cringed as Myka turned, giving her a hard look, and Helena knew she was in trouble.
"Well, Mummy seems to have forgotten that the temperature is thirty degrees outside-much too cold for wearing your engineer cap." This statement was more for Helena's chastisement rather than directed at their son.
"Darling, it is true I said Charles is allowed to wear it while we enjoy our time together with the trains..." she looked down at her son "I did not mean everywhere." Her son was wearing his puppy dog face which Helena had a hard time resisting, but Helena knew Myka was right; Charles would be sick with the lack of warmth on his head, and no covering of his little ears.
Kneeling down, Helena caressed her son's cheeks."You know, even engineers get cold, and need the extra warmth. Besides, it would be terribly difficult to enjoy Christmas in bed. You would miss grandpa Artie's cookies, going caroling, decorating the tree, opening your presents under the tree, and our Christmas feast with goose and Christmas crackers."
A small pout was almost Helena's undoing as she removed the engineer's cap, smoothing down his chestnut hair. "Now, darling, they have some lovely stocking caps right over there." Helena pointed to a display next to the cash register. "And you may pick whichever one you like."
Helena rose, and noticed a contrite expression on her mother-in-law's face.
"I'm sorry, Myka. I couldn't get him to put on a warmer hat before we left the house."
"Charles, is this true?" Helena looked down at her son, frowning. "You know to obey your grandmother."
The little boy bowed his head in shame, and then mumbled,"I'm sorry, Mummy."
Helena sighed. "All right, no punishment this time, I suppose." Charles looked back up at her, and smiled. "But next time this happens, young man, there will no Thomas the Tank Engine and playing with your train set for at least a week."
The smile dimmed, and Charles grew serious. "Yes, Mummy. I will listen to Grandmother from now on."
"Good." Helena nodded approvingly.
"Mom, we can take it from here."
"What time will you be coming over for dinner?"
"Soon. I'll give you a call," Myka replied.
"Okay." Mrs. Bering kissed Myka on the cheek, and glanced at Helena. "I'll see you two later. Make sure Myka gets to the house all right, Helena."
"Mom! I'm not an invalid. I can get myself over there just fine, thank you very much." Myka crossed her arms, and pouted, looking very much like Charles at the moment. Helena bit her lip not to smile; Myka was adorable.
Mrs. Bering rolled her eyes. "Goodbye, Charles."
"Goodbye, Grandmother!" Charles hugged her and then Mrs. Bering walked out the door.
"Mykes, I'm still invited to dinner, right?" Pete was wearing his best puppy dog face.
Myka sighed, relaxing her posture. "Yes, you and Claudia are both invited, like I told you."
"Yay!" Pete cried happily, as he and Charles gave each other high fives.
"I don't think I can deal with going over there tonight, Helena." Myka whispered.
Helena kissed her wife's hair. "It's only for tonight, love. And we will most definitely be returning to the hotel later."
At that moment, Pete demonstrated his bull in a China shop tendency, and knocked down the display of stuffed animals behind him which just happened to have more of that god awful multi colored plush animal...thing.
Various forms of Pete's name were cried all at once.
"Whoops." He bent over to pick up the animals while Claudia began to reorganize the display.
"Don't worry, Mykes and HG, we got it. No problemo." Claudia said, waving off the clerk who was set to come over. "Sorry about that!" She called, and smiled at the clerk, who seemed to hesitate, but was interrupted by a customer ready to pay.
A quick glance at her wife revealed Myka with closed eyes trying to regulate her breathing. Helena placed her hand on Myka's back, rubbing soothing circles through her coat, and was very thankful Myka didn't push her away.
Opening her eyes, Myka leaned into Helena, who just wrapped her arm around her wife. It was time to go home. Just as Helena was about to open up her mouth and relay just that, her son exclaimed, "Mummy, look! This animal looks like both you and momma!"
The little boy grinned as he held up the prized ghastly thing.
Myka didn't answer. Helena saw a mix of confusion and incredulousness on her face.
"Charles, darling-" Helena began.
"Told ya!" Pete smiled wide at Helena as he pranced a bit in place and Helena feared another accident.
Helena felt Myka's back grow rigid again, and she withdrew from Helena's touch. Helena internally sighed. Why must Pete be so...Pete?!
"What the hell are you talking about, Pete? That-that thing does not look like us."
Undeterred, their son informed, "It looks like the Great Joraffe and the Unicorn Queen mixed up together."
Helena feared Myka would blow a gasket, but then Charles continued, "It's like me being a mix of you and Mummy!"
Helena immediately sensed Myka's body relax and thought she heard sniffles.
"Myka, darling, are you coming down with a cold?"
Myka turned, causing Helena to only hear a muffled answer. Her wife drew out of her pocket a Kleenex, and blew her nose while still sniffling.
Charles tugged on Myka's coat. "Are you sick, Momma?"
He sounded so concerned and sweet it was no wonder Myka turned back and bending down slightly to hug him close to her legs, kissing his dark hair.
"No, no, baby, I'm fine. Momma is just a little...out of sorts today."
Charles raised his head to stare at Myka with worried wide eyes. "Why are you out of sorts?"
"Um...it's just sometimes when women are pregnant, it gets hard to control their emotions."
"Does this mean you won't be able to have Christmas with us?"
Helena decided to take control of the situation as Myka appeared to be on the verge of losing it again.
Leaning down, Helena looked her son in the eyes. "Momma will be just fine, Charles. Now, be a good boy, and go find which hat you would like to wear. After that, we will all go back to Grandmother Bering's house, and have hot chocolate."
Glancing one more time at his momma, Charles withdrew slowly from Myka's grasp. "Okay, Mummy."
Helena smiled and then instructed, "Hand Claudia the plush toy to return to the display before you leave."
Claudia jumped in, and held her hand out, saying,"Come on, Charlie. Let's put this animal back on the shelf, and go over to the hats. I bet we can find one you will totally rock."
When Claudia and Charles were over perusing the hats, Pete tried to make his escape. "You know, there is this new restaurant I saw open in the next town over. I'm gonna go get the car, and then Claud can meet me outside when her and Charlie are done."
Myka laid her hand on his arm. "Pete, it's okay. I'm sorry. I'm just tired."
"It's okay, Mykes." He grinned sheepishly.
"I know you meant the best...in your own way." Then she added, "But that animal thing-" she pointed at the garish toy "does not look like-like-"
Pete grinned widely."The Spawn of the Great Joraffe and the Unicorn Queen?"
Helena scoffed, while Myka pinched her nose. He grabbed the plush animal again, and once more did a (admittedly more subtle) dance with the thing.
"Pete! Fine! You can give it to him for Christmas." Myka gave in.
"Just put it back, and come in later to buy it please." Myka glanced at Helena who was rolling her eyes.
Helena sucked in a breath, and conceded, mumbling, "Righty ho, then."
Pete grinned widely at Helena. She shook her head at his enthusiasm, knowing he really did have a good heart.
"Now, if you will excuse me, I think it's time to buy Charles's hat, so we can leave."
"Agreed," Myka responded, and Helena was pleased to see the smile on Myka's face.
Walking towards Charles, Helena called, "Have you found a hat, my little man?"
Holding up a hat with the craziest, most obnoxious design Helena had ever seen, he exclaimed happily, "Yes, Mummy!"
Helena closed her eyes, and wondered if this day would ever end.
It was the beginning of February with Christmas long since over.
The snow softly fell in the chilly dark night, while inside Charles's bedroom, Helena tucked her son into his warm bed with Thomas the Tank Engine sheets and comforter.
"Mummy, read the story to me again."
"Which story, darling?" Helena asked.
"The one about the giraffe unicorn."
"You mean Unicorn Giraffe?"
"Yes. That one."
"Alright." She walked over to the windowseat where the book rested next to the Great Joraffe, the Unicorn Queen with a rainbow mane, and a garish plush toy sporting a tiny engineer cap fashioned by Claudia.
"Mummy, can you bring Choo Choo Joraffe Jr. too?" Charles asked in a sleepy voice.
Helena rolled her eyes, but did as asked. Bringing it over with the book, she commented, "Have you considered a nickname, Charles? 'Choo Choo Joraffe Jr.' is rather a mouth full."
Charles happily accepted the offered toy, and hugged it fiercely to his chest.
"No, Mummy. Choo Choo Joraffe Jr. is his name."
Helena internally sighed, but looking at her son so happy with the little plush animal thing softened her feelings.
"All right, my darling. Choo Choo Joraffe Jr. it is then."
"Now scoot over, so I can come onto your bed and read the story."
Charles happily complied, and Helena crawled up to lean against the headboard, book in hand. As Charles snuggled into her side, she opened the book, and began.
"It was in a land called Lemony a place faraway from where we are now where only friends of the Aftertime could visit."
As Helena read the story, she felt at peace, full of happiness and love, emotions she never expected to find again.
The story finished and Charles fast asleep, Helena gently extricated herself from her son's grip and rose from the bed.
She kissed his tiny head, whispering, "Sweet dreams, my little lamb."
Helena replaced the book 'Unicorn Giraffe' on the windowseat, and as she closed the bedroom door, she mused, wondering how such a little garish plush animal thing could bring so much so much happiness.
Maybe she should listen to Uncle Pete more often.
And this is the tale of how the family of the Great Joraffe and the Unicorn Queen with the rainbow mane became three, adorning the treasured window seat of Charles Christopher Peter Bering Wells's bedroom.
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