Characters: Arthur Nielson and an OC, mentions of Claudia, Mrs. Frederic and MacPherson
Word Count: 1,368
Spoilers/Time-line: Spoilers for Time Will Tell (Season 2 Premiere)
Summary: Orders are orders, though some are given not to protect the world, but to protect one's self from harm. Dealing with the man who gave the order however, and dealing with the consequences of his latest actions, has Artie speechless.
Disclaimer: I do not own Warehouse 13 nor am I making a profit off of this piece of fiction.
Author Notes: This was written for a number of reasons. One was because I wanted to write a fic involving Artie and a certain OC of mine who has haunted my other Warehouse 13 fics. Another was to address the Season 2 Premiere, and some of the issues and ideas I had early on in it. My final reason was because luna_dove said she'd get more of her fic up in turn if I posted something of my own.
White laced through the cream colored hair on the man’s head, and wrinkles that looked far to unfamiliar on an all too familiar face stared back at Artie as he locked dark eyes with the man across the bed of Irene Frederic, whose unconscious form served as a wall of sorts, preventing the two men from leaping across the bed and killing each other. Or in Artie’s case, providing a five second head start in case the man wanted to kill him, as he was on the side closest to the door and was sure it would take that long to get around the bed. Artie sat with his bag set firmly in his lap, his eyes never leaving the blonde, and he took in the clenched jaw, tense shoulders narrowed eyes, and he leaned back in his seat. All was silent but for the beeping of medical equipment, and if Artie was at all honest with himself, he preferred that to the man actually talking to him. He could stew in his own guilt over the situation without someone else laying it even thicker.
“This shouldn’t have happened Arthur,” the blonde’s voice was rough, as if it hadn’t been used in a while, or had been used too much and was just now recovering. He couldn’t say exactly, though the way the blonde’s movements were, stiff and hinting at some sort of mistreatment, told him it was more than likely the latter.
“I know.” Artie barely recognized his own voice, as it came out soft, far softer than he had ever used before.
“Using the Phoenix was an act of sheer stupidity, it cost the life of one man and nearly the life of her,” A sharp movement of the man’s head indicated the woman in the middle of the room.
“Following MacPherson also was an act of sheer idiocy, you know you’re the only one of your team that can match wits with the man.” The man’s voice had started to increase in volume, and instead of the warm, friendly tones, Artie knew the man possessed and used most often, this volume, this tone of voice had him quaking in his boots.
“The only member of your team that as of right now everyone is certain is still loyal to the Warehouse,” he had cut Artie off before he could point out that Claudia could easily match wits with MacPherson. The fact that her loyalty was at all in question had briefly escaped his mind, until someone, namely the man right across from him, had brought it back.
“MacPherson is a threat to the entire world, putting your life at stake was sheer stupidity, and you should be punished accordingly,” the man paused as he glanced at Mrs. Frederic, his face softening. “Though I think the consequences of your use of the Phoenix should be punishment enough, I will leave final punishment up to her, she is your supervisor after all. The benefits outweigh the consequences of the use of the Phoenix, you are still alive after all and that should be taken into account.”
Artie knew the answer to his question before he asked, but that nagging voice in his head wanted him to ask, to confirm what he already knew would get him out of a murder trial. “What are the benefits of me living then?”
“That you’re still alive to hunt down MacPherson. That whatever plan he has, you will stop and that James MacPherson will no longer be a member of modern society.” The man responded, and Artie nodded in response, his suspicions confirmed.
“Which is why you won’t make good on your threat,” Artie supplied, and he cringed as his mind caught up with his mouth as he saw the man’s face harden once more into a mixture of anger, pain and grief at the situation.
“Exactly.” The man closed his eyes for a moment before letting out a sigh and opening them once more, and Artie saw the pain the man felt in his eyes, causing his grip on his bag to tighten even more. Mrs. Frederic was intimidating, this man was plain scary, as his emotions were on the surface and his thoughts were easy to guess when in a situation where pain ruled over thought, unlike Mrs. Frederic.
“Damn it all Nielson, I have given you one order, one , the entire time you’ve served at the Warehouse. And yet at the idea of chasing down a foe you could have waited on catching, you cause this,” the man’s voice had dropped to more of a hurt tone, and he waved a hand over Mrs. Frederic to indicate his point. “Completely disregarding my order. I should do something about it, you know that right? I gave you both permission to do as you wished, you’ve both been happy, and yet now.”
“Now I’ve caused her harm,” Artie let his shoulders sag and dropped his eyes to the bag in his lap. This was not a wholly unexpected conversation, nor would any sort of response, physical or otherwise, that would punish him. In fact, if he let his mind wander for a brief moment, he deserved the punishment, he had after all caused all of this. When he realized he had the Phoenix, he didn’t have to use it, he probably shouldn’t have used it, but he had. Now, he was sitting in a hospital room, praying his decision was correct and wouldn’t have lasting consequences.
“Yes you have, the one order I gave you, with that one little act you broke it. But for the greater good of the world and my ears, it was needed.” The shock Artie felt at that caused his head to snap up and his jaw to hang open, which caused the man to shake his head. “It was needed to save your sorry hide from getting killed in a hapless chase, because, to be frank, we need you. I cannot put the safety of the world in jeopardy because of my, familial feelings for someone and my murderous ones of another. I’ll let you off this time Arthur, don’t make me regret it.”
“Thank you, Mr. Teach, I really don’t know what to say, I mean I don’t deserve this after all but-”
“I said don’t make me regret it.”
“Right, sorry,” Artie mumbled in response as Teach got out of his seat and gently folded a black jacket over it before moving to the end of the bed.
“I don’t suppose you’ll tell me why you look different?” Artie asked, his curiosity over riding his concern for his safety at the moment, and Teach gave him a tired look, a sigh escaping him.
“I have my own MacPherson to face Arthur, and unexpected events can cause things to be out of, place, for a while. Eight weeks in a basement, but I need to be going,” Teach said quickly, and Artie caught a flash of pain cross his face as he twisted his body to indicate the jacket he had left on the chair he had vacated.
“That’s for her, it has some things in it she likes to keep around, but with the lack of a car, well the jacket is the only thing left for her to carry it in.” Another flash of pain as he twisted to face Artie, “I’m leaving now, but don’t do anything rash, just do as you’re told and you’ll be fine.”
As Teach moved to the door, Artie found his voice, and it came out in a tone he could only describe as caring, “I’m sorry. For everything.”
An unexpected smile crossed Teach’s face, and nodded his acceptance before exiting the room, his hands in the pockets of his black slacks and his light gray shirt almost blending in with the white walls of the hallway. The man’s final words though, before he had been out of Artie’s earshot, was either an odd bit of advice or just the ramblings of the man that Artie knew tended to spout crazy things from time to time.
“I suggest you get some sleep, you just may get to express yourself and learn something.”