When Emily Lake goes to bed that night she can't fall asleep. She's bone tired, her body is aching, and her eyes dry and stinging, but she can't seem to shut her mind up. It flashes back and forth from the moment the strange woman showed up in her classroom, haphazardly jumping though the chaotic events of the day, being driven home in the dark, the man Steve dragging her away, strange people swarming all over the warehouse after they stormed it, physical exams and interrogations, the anger on Walter Sykes's face scaring her more than anything as Marcus told him something about a coin being destroyed, Agent Lattimer bursting into her classroom pointing a gun at her, Marcus smiling as he talked about hurting her, to finally being told she'd be better off forgetting this day ever happened. Right. Like anyone is ever likely to forget being kidnapped, fought over, tortured, and rescued by the strangest group of agents she's ever imagined, and besides, she's forgotten enough of her life as it is.
She considers this for a moment, reflects on how they kept referring to her as HG or Helena, and Agent Bering's face flashes through her mind. The way the woman kept looking at her as if she knew her, how she seemed to be holding back tears when she'd left. Agent Bering had squeezed her hand, told her to be happy.
It's strange, how she feels more connected to Agent Myka Bering after one day than she does to the family whose pictures hang on her walls and who she has supposedly spent her entire life with. Perhaps it's all the 'saving your life' business, she's heard that that's supposed to do strange things to you.
She wonders about this Helena, Helena "HG" Wells, what a wonderful ironic name, and she's been thinking about getting Dickens a little kitty sister or brother anyway, and wouldn't that be a wonderful tribute to her favorite author in such a subversive manner? Who could this woman be who looked so much like her that everyone and their damn uncle kept confusing them, and who is clearly a terribly important and/or dangerous person. She hopes they find her, everyone seemed so terribly upset and compelled to...
She turns over, and Dickens purrs in annoyance that she won't let him sleep in peace tonight.
Sleeping isn't in the cards for her tonight, though, and her thoughts go back to the Secret Service agents who tried to protect her, who seemed so worried, the fear on their faces as they stormed the warehouse, how they fought so hard to save her, how they grieved when they found Steve.
She never got to know Steve. When Marcus killed him – and his lifeless eyes will stay with her for as long as she lives (or until her next amnesia-causing accident, the little voice in her head adds grimly) – she'd assumed he was one of the bad guys but apparently not. Maybe that's why she doesn't sleep tonight, because if she does she knows she'll have nightmares.
And then the long long evening that followed, that her mind has mostly skipped over in favor of the more dramatic parts of the day. Check-ups and questions and strange looks and aborted conversations when she came too close. At least Dr. Calder had been kind and caring, and Agent Bering had never been far away, though never speaking to her directly until she was finally allowed to leave and Bering had insisted on taking her home personally, prompting Agent Lattimer to come as well.
Still, they both had refused to answer any of Emily's questions, claiming Emily was safer and better off not knowing. Emily had her own opinions about that, thank you very much, although she can't exactly deny being scared senseless by the whole experience.
Agent Bering had walked her up to her apartment, checked it for... whatever it was that was the danger they wouldn't tell her about, then made sure the plywood was securely fastened where her living room window used to be. After that she'd shone her light into every nook and cranny while asking questions about seemingly arbitrary objects scattered around Emily's apartment.
When Agent Bering was finally satisfied she had still seemed reluctant to leave, and squeezed Emily's hand for a moment too long, and then hesitated before grabbing a post-it pad off the dresser, quickly scribbled a number on it.
"I'm not supposed to do this. You're not supposed to ever have any contact with us again, but just in case... if you ever feel threatened, if something... strange happens, anything at all that seems wrong... call me, and I'll come."
Emily remembers nodding dumbly as she met Bering's eyes that seemed to be telling a story completely different from what Emily was experiencing, and then Agent Bering had whispered "be happy" and left abruptly.
Emily lifts her head to look at the note, affixed to her nightstand next to her phone, their outlines barely visible in the dark. The faintly glowing hands of her alarm clock read just past quarter to four. Her alarm goes off in little over 2 hours. She could call in a personal day tomorrow, goodness knows she could probably use one and if a day like today doesn't warrant one, nothing does, but she loves her job. She can function on little to no sleep, she'll be fine. Her seniors in the morning are reading "Macbeth" and may or may not wish to re-enact the witches' scenes, and the AP Lit class after lunch are continuing the discussions they started today, on "So Long a Letter" and it's an important discussion that she wants to be a part of, and then the Science Fiction Club is meeting after school.
She rolls over, causing Dickens to protest again, lets her thoughts turn to tomorrow's lesson plans instead, softly stroking Dickens's soft ears as the cat goes back to sleep again.