Author: anamatics PM
It's taken months for Myka to work up the courage to return to the place that ripped her heart out and what awaits her there.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Romance - Myka B. & Helena G. W. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 39,733 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 61 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 02-14-12 - Published: 12-21-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7660016
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Notes: About a week ago, I posted on tumblr asking for some fic prompts because I was bored out of my skull. There were a few run of the mill ones, and then this one rolled along:
A fic prompt. H.G. did not die and the Warehouse is still around and H.G. is all put back together but keeps the Emily Lake job/life. Maybe the regents 'suggest' she do this as a form of rehabilitation. So H.G.'s in Wyoming & not in that ugly apartment but a simple house with a porch where you can see the stars. When Myka gets time off, she goes there to visit. There is tension because of all they have & haven't done w/each other. There should totally be horse-riding at some point, too.
This is the most amazingly beautiful, wonderful, amazing prompt that anyone has ever written me. So thank you mhisadj/kleptosrbetterlovers, for this opportunity. There's no horse-riding, but uh... hopefully it's close enough?
As always, a huge huge amazing thank you to spockette for helping me with this, telling me not to smuttify it, and generally being the most amazing person ever.
What are you holding out for?
What's always in the way?
Why so damn absent-minded?
Why so scared of romance?
- Bloc Party - This Modern Love
It had taken months for Myka Bering to work up the courage to visit this place again. This place that housed the memory of one of the worst days of her life, one of the worst memories of her life.
It had been so hard to get in her car after begging off for a weekend and driving the five hours across back country roads and finally an Interstate that now served as the barrier between them. She'd made herself do it, schooling her features perfectly blank as she waved to Pete and Claudia, who'd come out of the B&B to see her off.
It had taken months of letters - beautiful words in sweeping cursive, carrying her heart off without so much as a word or protest, before Myka was able to work up the courage to visit. She'd fallen in love with the words in those letters, despite her best efforts not to, and she hated herself for letting that chance slip through her fingers.
She'd let Adwin Kosan pull her savior out of their desperate embrace upon saving the day and restoring all that they had lost with little protest. She'd been so full of jubilation at the idea of it all being okay - that Helena Wells vanishing into the night had meant very little until it was too late.
The secret wasn't so much where Helena was - just when she'd be coming back. Myka had asked and the letters had started soon after.
"Come and see me," they always ended - but she could not.
So she wrote back with updates - little stories and anecdotes and her own barely-contained longing.
"Go see her!" Claudia snapped her, staring forlornly out into the South Dakota spring. "At least you still have someone to see."
She'd pulled Claudia close then, and hadn't let her go for a long time afterwards. Myka couldn't let her go, couldn't string together the words to tell Claudia that it would someday, a long time from now, all be okay.
They'd sent Helena back to the place where they'd found Emily Lake. Back to that school and that identity. Helena had explained that it was part of some sort of vocational rehabilitation scheme. She'd expressed her distaste with her students in some letters, and her love of the youth of today in others.
Myka was so taken with the passion that flowed from Helena's pen then, her awe at the kids she taught.
It was that letter that had broken her silence. Claudia had found her a number in minutes and Myka had dialed it without hesitation.
"I've got a weekend off," Myka had trailed off, listening to the soft breathing on the other end of the line. She didn't know what else to say - was there anything really to say?
She bit her lip and stared off across the office in the Warehouse. There were little bits of H.G. Wells everywhere here, but where she wanted to go - H.G. Wells was not who Helena was any more.
"Did you want to...?" Helena had begun but did not finish. Myka had made an affirmative noise and they didn't say much else.
"I'll come Friday," she'd hung up then, and there wasn't much more that could be said.
She walked into the school where she'd felt her heart break for the second time in a year with a great deal of trepidation. The last time she'd been here, she'd seen this place as evil, as a house for the absolute cruelty of the regents, and she had hated it.
Now she looked around with curiosity. There were posters on the wall, the school's baseball team was playing big game on Monday night and there were school colors and calls to arms everywhere. A few students were in the hallways, heading for lockers and the bathroom, despite the lateness in the day.
The final bell for the day would ring in ten minutes, so Myka slowly made her way over to the office and handed over her badge and license. "I'm here to see Emily Lake," she said quietly to the secretary, trying to ignore the strange looks she was getting from the woman with a gun strapped to her waist and a Tesla in her shoulder holster.
"Are you Myka?" The woman asked with a smile. "She left a note saying that you'd be coming sometime today and to just send you down - you remember where her classroom is?"
Myka nodded and the woman handed her a visitor's badge.
"Thank you for bringing her back to us after she vanished," The secretary held out her hand and Myka took it. "She told me that you were the one who pulled her back to this world when she remembered some things about her past."
That was... Myka frowned, putting it in a unique way. She had brought Helena back from the dead, but the price was still almost too great for her to bear. They'd been able to save two out of the three, the watch did not go back far enough to save Steve - and that had been the cost of using such a terrible artifact. Russian roulette with their lives and Myka hated having to force them all to make that choice.
"Nice to meet you Ms..." she began, trying to be friendly.
"Oh, it's just Janice, no one calls me Mrs. Hooper," The secretary grinned back at her. "And it's nice to meet you too."
Myka gave a small wave as she walked out of the school's office and towards the stairs. Helena's classroom was on the second floor, tucked away with the science labs towards the back of the building.
The last time she'd been in this room, her heart had broken. She took a deep breath and glanced at her watch. The final bell was at three, there were still a few minutes until the day ended.
Still the students inside the room were gathering their things, she could see Helena leaning against an overhead projector, talking to the students with an easy smile on her face. She looked so utterly at ease there, far more comfortable than she'd ever looked at the Warehouse.
Myka's hand clenched into a fist and she shook her head once to clear it. She would not let her own fears ruin this chance for them. Not this time.
She pulled the door open and slipped inside, lingering just near the entryway as the final bell rang. The students rose and gathered their things, a few coming up to Helena with questions and papers to hand in.
"I'm afraid I must leave you for today," Helena said to one girl in particular, who seemed adamant with her questions. Myka scowled at her when her back was turned. "I will answer your questions on Monday." She flashed Myka that brilliant smile that made Myka's knees weak and her heart flutter just a little bit.
The girl who was trying to get Helena's attention scowled at Myka as she walked out, bag shoved moodily over her shoulder.
"A fan?" Myka asked with a raised eyebrow as they found themselves alone.
She wanted to go to Helena, to pull her in by that stupid cardigan and hold her tightly, and never let her go again. She'd messed this up twice now. Helena'd done it the third time.
Her feet were rooted though, as Helena wiped the overhead projector clean of her spindly handwriting and turned to erase the board.
"She has something of a crush on me, yes," Helena turned and looked over her shoulder then, eyes glittering a small flirtatious smile on her face. "Is that a problem, Agent Bering?"
Myka laughed and set her overnight bag down on a desk and crossed the room in a few short steps. Her fingers reached out for Helena's hand, missed, and grasped an eraser. She began to help clean it off, biting back harsh retorts. Finally she settled on, "Hardly, Miss Wells. I know your affections lie elsewhere."
Helena's smile was easy then, and soon the chalkboard was as blank as Myka was trying to keep her features. She didn't know what to say, what to do. There was so much she desperately wanted to convey to Helena that was somehow getting lost in translation.
"I've missed you," Helena confessed, walking over to her desk and gathering her things. Myka watched with interest as she collected several large stacks of paper and tucked them into the waiting satchel, before disappearing under her desk and coming up with what had to have been her laptop power cord.
She didn't know how to respond to that. There were no words to truly describe the pang of longing in her chest when she'd even thought of Helena before.
Myka shifted awkwardly from foot to foot as Helena pulled on her jacket and scarf, turning the collar up with a quick glance towards the window. It had been threatening rain all day, and it looked as though the sky was finally ready to let loose its load.
"I'll just follow you back to uh..." She didn't want to say 'your apartment' because she didn't even know if Helena thought of it as home - or if home was somewhere completely different now.
Helena stood at the door, lingering, staring at her classroom with its clutter and posters and the 'ally' stamp on the wall that Myka had noticed in Emily's classroom as well. "I couldn't stay there," she explained. "The landlady understood, I'm living elsewhere now."
Myka wanted to ask where, but she supposed that she'd be seeing it in a few minutes anyway. She silently followed Helena back down the stairs and through the halls towards the school's front entrance.
Janice the office secretary waved at them and Helena turned to stick her head through the office door and say her good bye. "Have a good weekend," she smiled brightly at Janice, who was looking from Helena to Myka and back again with an expectant smile.
"You are just a peach, Emily, you take good care of her alright?"
Helena raised a hand in goodbye then and promised a full report upon arriving at work on Monday.
"Bloody nosy," Helena muttered to Myka as they walked out the school's main entrance. They were standing too close together, Helena's hand brushing up against Myka's, the scent of her shampoo filling Myka's nose and driving her to almost distraction.
"She's sweet," Myka shrugged.
Helena heaved an exasperated sigh and stepped away from Myka. There were still students milling about in the parking lot, waiting for the bus. A few of them waved at Helena as she set off towards a small and beat-up looking Subaru (Myka privately shook her head, it somewhat figured). "Emily had terrible taste in vehicles," Helena announced, setting her bag on the mud splattered hood of the car and rummaging for her keys. "This car is terrible, too."
"It is rather..." Myka trailed off, wanting to be polite, and yet not really wanting to say anything at all. Her heart had swelled up deep within her chest, and had settled at the base of her throat, consuming all the words she had yet to say before she could even find the right way to say them.
Her key slid into the lock with a satisfied click, and Helena looked up, grinning at Myka. "It is isn't it?"
Myka gave a small laugh and pointed over to where her car was parked. "I'll follow you?" She half-suggested, half asked.
She had to get away from Helena, even if only for a minute. The emotions that she had gotten so good at hiding from were surfacing and all she wanted to do was hide from them. She wasn't brave like Helena had told her on that horrible day, no, she was a coward.
She had to run, had to hide.
"Alright," Helena closed her bag and set it on the passenger seat. She leaned against the car door, a window and metal frame the only real separation between them.
Myka's fingers played across the glass, rubbing away the stains of rock salt and mud, unable to look away from Helena's eyes.
"I was going to cook dinner, but we could go out, if you'd like." Helena said quietly, biting her lip and looking for the world as though she was not H.G. Wells who laughed in the face of danger and death. No, she looked more like Emily Lake in that moment than in any time she had since Sykes had shoved the Janus coin into her hand and effectively killed Emily Lake.
She bit her tongue, counted to three, before shoving her best smile onto her face. "That sounds lovely. I'd love to try your cooking, Helena."
Helena gave a short bark of laughter, "I'll warn you now I'm not very good."
She wanted to kiss her then. She swallowed that emotion and shoved it back where it would never be found again. Myka stepped back and shrugged, "Well if it's that bad we can get Chinese or something."
"Oriental food is terrible on my stomach." Helena retorted.
"And the term oriental is considered racist in modern parlance, H.G.," Myka said, rolling her eyes and turning to head towards her car. "I'll follow you."
Helena seemed to bite back a retort, getting into her car and jamming her keys into the ignition. The car groaned loudly as she turned it over and Myka hitched her bag further up her shoulder and headed back towards her car.
She could see the girl that had glared at her in Helena's classroom watching her with narrowed eyes from the bus stop. Myka gave a little wave, trying not to feel vindictive. At least she knew where she stood with Helena - with Ms. Lake, Myka corrected herself - Myka did not have that luxury.
Their relationship was an enigma, their friendship easy and strained all at once. Helena had died to save her, Myka had had her heart broken again and again all in the name of Helena Wells.
There was too much that was left unsaid.
Claudia called her a lovesick idiot.
Myka had told her that such things did not come simply to her. That she could not fall in love with someone like Helena Wells. It wasn't acceptable, wasn't kosher, certainly wasn't what she wanted.
(In her moments of darkest despair, when she stared at the two doors, side by side, that no longer housed their former occupants, Myka knew that it was entirely what she wanted.)
"Go get 'em, tiger," Myka muttered, echoing Claudia's earlier words - with the same fake smile and false bravado.
Maybe Helena had someone now.
Maybe she was too late.
Her hands shook as she jabbed her keys into the lock and got into the car. The remnants of her lunch (half a pack of Twizzlers) lay on the seat next to her and Myka exhaled. Twizzlers sounded good right now. A comfort and an old friend.
One she could not indulge in right now.
She let her hands rest steady on the wheel, watching through the side mirror as Helena pulled out of her spot.
It was easy to follow Helena, she drove her age, as the expression went. Slowly making her way through the tangled streets of this town, moving through traffic with the sedate ease of one who was not living on borrowed time - Myka's borrowed time.
Who knew when she would get another weekend off?
The road turned steep as they headed up and out of town, around a hill and finally to a small white house with a sweeping front porch. There were two rocking chairs there, paint peeling and weathered looking.
The whole place had character, a unique character that as Myka gathered her things (and pocketed her Twizzlers) she couldn't help but be taken with. It was not the house that Helena had had in London, or Leena's - but this place held a charm that Myka could not help but find lovely.
"It's not much," Helena explained, picking her way across the muddy gravel towards where Myka had parked. "but it's far nicer than Emily's horrible apartment. Dickens can hunt out here too. I don't have to keep him cooped up all day anymore."
"I hadn't realized that you'd kept him," Myka whispered - recalling Helena's reaction to discovering that Emily had kept a cat.
Helena rolled her eyes, "He grew on me."
The door that Helena unlocked opened into a small kitchen and Myka set her bag down on the floor by the door and took off her boots, mindful of how odd they looked next to Helena's - so similar and yet so different.
She had not intentionally done that.
(She was lying to herself again).
Dickens came running into the room, circling their ankles and trying to kill them in the manner in which only cats can. Myka bent down to scratch his ears as Helena rummaged in the refrigerator for a moment and eventually came up with a tin of cat food inside of a small ziplock bag. She wrinkled her nose as she took it out and turned it over into Dickens' bowl.
"I loathe the way it smells," she explained upon noticing the amused smile on Myka's face. "Like chamber pot but with no maid to clean it out."
"I really never pictured you as a cat person, Helena," Myka said with a grin, looking around the kitchen.
There were a few pots on the dish drain, a box of off-brand cereal on the counter top and a bowl in the sink. The kitchen looked lived in - the stove was clean and the appliances all bore the signs that Myka was so accustomed to in Leena's kitchen from Claudia's constant tinkering.
"I am hardly a cat person," Helena retorted, sticking out her lower lip and pouting just a little bit. Myka laughed, it was so easy then, to forget why this was supposed to be so hard. They could just smile at each other and it'd all be okay.
And the silence took them. The weight of everything that she'd wanted to say crashed down around her and Myka swallowed, struggling to breathe, let alone find the words to say what it was that she wanted to say.
Helena broke the silence, she always did. She whose brain thought up such fantastic things as time machines could always figure out something to say. "Would you like to see the rest of the house?"
Myka nodded, she would like that very much.
"Come on then," Helena held out her hand and Myka reached forward, afraid, wondering if this was some sort of test. Helena's hand was warm and solid in her own, a little bit dry from the season. Their fingers linked and Myka felt her body relax, her mind suddenly far more at ease than it had been for weeks now.
She let Helena lead her from room to room. The downstairs consisted of a sitting room and then a study that looked every bit like the front office of the Warehouse. Myka had asked if Helena was trying to usurp Artie in terms of champion of general clutter and Helena had shaken her head no. This was just how she worked.
"I'm trying to write again," Helena explained, picking up a hand-written sheet and staring at it for a minute before setting it down. "It's hard, when you can see everything you imagined gone horribly wrong on a daily basis."
Myka didn't let go of Helena's hand. "Maybe you're over-thinking it?" She suggested with a shrug. She desperately wanted to read what Helena was writing, but knew better than to ask. Helena had always been very private about her writing process, even when boasting about it in front of Pete or Artie. There was just something so intimate and so private about the act of it for her that Myka did not want to force the issue any further than it had to be.
"Let's go upstairs?" Helena asked, pulling Myka towards the stairs and up them, their feet a quiet cacophony of squeaking boards and a few giggles as Myka nearly slipped and Helena caught her. Their bodies were pressed together then, and Myka hurriedly stepped back, not wanting to overstep - desperately wanting to get closer.
This is why she loved Helena - loved the letters and loved the woman herself. She couldn't react to such feelings, couldn't allow herself to get lost in that enigma that was Helena Wells for a second (third, fourth) time.
Helena looked hurt, wounded for the barest of moments before she turned, never letting go of Myka's hand. They had reached the second floor.
It was one large open room, a bed shoved in the far corner the entire opposite wall housed a library that made Myka's breath catch. She turned, watched as Helena leaned on the railing that surrounded the stairs, and then headed towards the bookshelves.
"I had them brought over - it was the least that Mr. Kosan could do after making me come back to this place," Helena explained as Myka trailed a finger along the spines of these old books - books she'd read, books she knew so well.
Her eyes widened, her finger resting on a copy of The Importance of Being Earnest. She pulled it down from the shelf and flipped it open, staring at the publishing date and the inscription written in faded black ink. "Helena this is amazing..." she whispered.
"Oscar did not appreciate my advances, that's what that note was about," Helena explained as Myka chuckled a bit upon reading it.
For H.G. - With great exasperation. O.W.
Myka stared down at the inscription, the distance between herself and Helena suddenly seemed insurmountable. Helena had lived in a world that Myka had only ever dreamed of, she'd thrived there. And now, trapped out of time in Myka's world, Myka had never felt further away from the woman who had penned the stories that had taken Myka through her childhood.
"I guess I'm sleeping on the couch?" Myka asked, glancing over to room's lone bed. She closed the book and tucked it back into its place and turned to see a faint flush cover Helena's cheeks.
"I honestly had not thought about it," Helena confessed, shoving her hands into her cardigan pockets and doing a passing impression of Claudia when she wasn't getting her way about something.
And then Helena's expression changed, from a little put out and embarrassed at her lack of forethought, to coy and flirty. Myka swallowed, not knowing how to respond or how to react, as she was out of practice in dealing with the Many Moods of H.G. Wells and the Sudden Winds that Changed Them. "The bed is plenty big enough, if you want to stay with me."
They both knew that Myka couldn't do that.
She couldn't find the words, they were trapped within her. She did want to say that yes, that it would be nice, that sleeping curled up next to another person would be a welcome reprieve from the solitary nightmares that now haunted her every fleeting dream.
Myka swallowed, fingers shaking ever so slightly as she reached forward, pulling at the hem of her shirt, fingering her shoulder holster and her Tesla. She was a ball of nervous energy, biting at her lip, afraid to say what was one her mind, what she needed to say.
She'd almost resolved to now say anything, when her mouth got ahead of her brain and she blurted out, "What are we doing, Helena?"
Helena's hand was at her neck, at her locket, worrying it with her thumb. Myka watched in silent contemplation as Helena parsed out her words carefully. "I was showing you around...?" Her brow furrowed, thinking hard, and suddenly her face fell and she looked as uncomfortable as Myka felt. They couldn't do this, not again. "Oh... I have no idea Myka."
Now, at least, Myka could be honest. "I can't do this, not again."
Helena's hand was shaking, but it left the locket at her neck, falling to rest on her hip, cocking at an angle that would almost seem provocative, if it was not so stand-offish. "I never said you had to." She said, eyes flashing dangerously.
Myka stepped back, the words caught up in her throat. She couldn't respond to that. Couldn't show weakness or defeat.
"But you want to don't you?" The question came unbidden, in quick words that Myka hoped Helena had meant before she said them. There was so much implied there, a harkening back to what they had not yet had the chance to have.
Myka wanted that chance so desperately. "More than anything else in my life." It was nice to be honest for a change, to not be choked by the half-truths that she was stuck on as she tried desperately to not say the full truth.
Helena gave her a wry smile, and stepped forward, crossing the mostly empty room to stand very much in Myka's personal space. Her fingers, hesitant as always, reached out and brushed a lock of hair away from Myka's cheek. "Then do not let your strange sense of obligation to the Warehouse that has systematically destroyed your life stop you."
Her hand shot out, grabbing Helena's before Helena could steal it away from her. "Would you stop me?" she asked, lost in the warmth of Helena's hand against her cheek, against her hand.
The urge to kiss her was so strong, and Myka could see her hesitation vanish into nothingness.
She couldn't do it though. Not yet.
Helena leaned, in lips warm against Myka's cheeks as she whispered, "Never."
Myka's breath caught, her heart was in her throat and she swallowed, trying to force her head to turn to face Helena, to finally do what she'd wanted to do for months now.
Just as fleetingly, the moment was over. Helena leaned back on her heels and smiled that bewitching smile at Myka. "I can't resist you and you know it, Myka."
That was comforting, at least. To know that they were stuck in the same boat despite all that had passed between them.
Myka never wanted to see Helena die again.
She swallowed, eyeing the lone door off to her right. "Can I take a shower?" She ran a hand through her hair and bit her lip. It felt like she'd been driving for days, not hours. She was sweaty and gross and completely and utterly terrified of what she might do should she remain in this room full of wonder any longer.
"Sure, I'll start dinner," Disappointment flooded across Helena's face and Myka sighed.
"Helena..." she began, her fingers opening and closing. Myka couldn't look at her then. "I wasn't saying no," she decided on eventually. "To sharing."
"Right," Helena grinned and pointed towards the bathroom door. "I set you out a towel."
"Thank you," Myka replied.
"Don't thank me until after you've eaten dinner. I could still kill you," Helena said as she headed back down the stairs.
Myka shrugged, "My belief in you never wavered, but please make sure that it's fully cooked!"
Helena waved her hand over her head and disappeared, plunging Myka's heart back into silence once more.
A shower did wonders for Myka's nerves, and she emerged feeling more relaxed and far less appalled at herself for acting the lovesick fool she knew she was. This was all so new and different; she was so unused to being the one who had to make the first move. Helena was usually there, to take the reins, to make Myka feel as though she was being swept off her feet. And now, with Myka being the outside influence disturbing the perfect (fake) existence of one Helena Wells, it felt all backwards. She felt like an intruder for wanting to steal Helena away from the place and bring her back to where she belonged, with Pete, with Claudia, with the Warehouse.
"How long do they intend to keep you here?" Myka asked after Helena had handed her a wine bottle and a corkscrew upon coming downstairs. "I mean, Mr. Kosan must have given you some sort of timeframe..."
Helena looked up from the stove where she was prodding listlessly at some broccoli with a spoon. The water wasn't boiling yet, Myka had no idea why she'd put it in already. Maybe it was a British thing? Or an I-learned-how-to-cook-a-century-ago thing? Myka didn't ask and resolved to intervene before the broccoli turned to mush, should things get to that point. "I think they want me to finish out my therapy - so the school year."
Myka frowned. "And then what will you do?"
A shrug. "Petition to have my old job back so I can go back to driving poor Arthur mad."
The wine cork was proving exceptionally challenging to get out and Myka grit her teeth and wedged the corkscrew further into the cork. "You want to come back?"
Helena prodded the broccoli one last time and put the cover on the saucepan. "If you'd have me."
The cork came out and Myka set it on the table, still caught up in the corkscrew. "I'd love to have you," she whispered, handing Helena the wine bottle.
"Can't say no to a pretty face," Helena stretched her hands up above her head and stared up at the ceiling before bringing her gaze resolutely down to the wine that she'd set on the counter top. "That needs time to breathe."
Myka knew next-to-nothing about wine. Only what she'd picked up when Sam had tried to teach her about the finer things in life. That, in particular, had lasted only about as long as Myka's very impatient nature had allowed one afternoon that was followed by an evening that Myka still remembered fondly.
It was getting easier to think about him now. Finally figuring out what had happened to him - that an artifact had been involved, had done wonders for Myka's sense of closure. The wound had been ripped open anew a few short weeks later, in the woods just outside of this god-forsaken town.
She didn't know what it meant to be normal any more.
Helena was bustling about in the kitchen, moving things around, taking down two plates and collecting silverware from a drawer that she pushed shut with her hip as she made her way back over to the table, her hands full.
It was so domestic, so normal. Myka swallowed, and moved to take the glasses from her, arranging them where Helena pointed, setting the table like she'd always done as a kid.
"What's it like – being normal after seeing everything you've seen?" Myka asked, pushing her hair out of her eyes and turning to gin at Helena.
Helena laughed, leaning over the back of the chair that Myka assumed she'd be sitting in when their dinner was finally done. She fiddled with her nail for a moment before looking up and meeting Myka's eyes. "Boring, frankly." She admitted, "My students find new and interesting ways to cheat on their exams and I have to find even more creative ways of getting back at them. Apparently having them stand in the corner is frowned upon these days."
The very idea of it brought a smile to Myka's face. She gave an exaggerated shrug that she usually just reserved for Pete and raised her eyebrows, "Who knew?"
"Tell me about it." Helena grinned back at her, probably fully aware she was getting the Pete treatment. It was strange how easily this all came back to them, to be able to talk and then not talk and have the silence be what was causing all the problems in the first place. It was when Myka didn't know how to find the words to say what she needed to say that things got awkward.
"It's hard, sometimes," Helena continued. "I was teaching about me the other day – well, Charles, but me."
Myka laughed, "Oh I'll bet that was fun."
She knew that Helena's confidence was only over shrouded slightly by her ego. It wasn't a fatal flaw, but Helena knew her worth and knew how valuable she was to the people around her. She knew how Myka was on pins and needles just being here, and she reveled in it.
The idea of Helena teaching about herself, of being forced to deny her own genius in the eyes of the disenchanted youth of America, was the crème de grace of the regent's already harsh punishment for Helena.
Myka's smile faded as Helena's face drew up and became somber. "It wasn't. I had to mince words and explain my own failures as a writer."
"What failures would those be?" The question was reasonable, and Myka followed Helena as she wandered around the kitchen, getting wine glasses down from a high shelf (outside of Dickens' reach) and filling them.
Helena pressed the glass of red wine into Myka's hand, a sad smile on her face. "I was apparently exceptionally boring, according to my students. Also they did not understand the point I was trying to make in War of the Worlds."
She sipped her wine, the opportunity was too good to pass up. "To be fair, the getting sick thing was something of a deus ex machina."
If she were Claudia, before all this had happened, she probably would have accompanied it with 'a virus? Really?', but instead Myka simply watched as Helena's lips pursed and she exhaled slowly, trying to calm herself down before she exploded completely into a rant.
"It was original and unique at the time," Helena finally muttered, sipping her wine and shaking her head ruefully.
Instantly, Myka wondered if she'd done the right thing in gently teasing. Obviously the idea of it upset Helena. She stepped forward, feeling braver now that they were in each other's personal space again. It was where Myka felt the safest.
It was where she had first let Helena go.
She reached out, wineglass cradled in one hand, her fingers closing around the edge of Helena's cardigan in the other. Helena was warm under her fingers, a comfort that kept Myka grounded.
Myka exhaled, "Helena, I know. Your stories were the ones I loved as a child – but for kids these days, growing up on movies like Transformers with more action than actual substance, your books aren't as relatable."
Her bangs fell into her eyes as Helena muttered, "It's an awful shame."
The pungent smell of freshly steamed broccoli hit Myka's nose then, and she glanced over to the rattling saucepan cap and raised an eyebrow at Helena, "I think the broccoli's done."
Helena moved to take it off of the stove, draining out the water and spooning the stems out onto their waiting plates. Myka watched her move, her body was quick and still full of the tightly honed muscles that always betrayed her strength before. Helena Wells was a deadly weapon - if only the kids at that school knew who their teacher really was.
"Thank you…" She whispered, before she could regret it.
"Mn?" Helena glanced over her shoulder from where she was getting the rest of their food off of the stove.
"Thank you for being there for me. I never got to say it before. You saved us, Helena." She looked down at her plate, suddenly not hungry, or even curious to try the food that Helena had made for them. "In that brief moment, when you weren't there and I was..." Her hands were shaking as she spoke, she couldn't look at Helena, couldn't let Helena know how powerful her emotions really were. "The world wasn't worth saving if you weren't in it."
Helena smiled, "But you fixed it, Myka."
She shook her head. Helena would probably never understand, as she was caught on the other end of that situation, dead and unaffected by the worst feeling of loss that Myka had ever felt in her life. "The cost was still too high. Steve's gone. Claudia will probably never be the same."
"I could try and talk to her… I've learned that grief should not be allowed to fester."
Myka swallowed, but nodded. It would probably be for the best. Claudia needed what Helena could provide more than what Myka or Pete could give her. Claudia needed a mother more than a sibling.
"You should call her," Myka suggested. "I think that she'd like that."
They ate in relative silence. Helena was actually a pretty good cook despite her self-deprecating smile when Myka complimented her culinary skills. It was not her forte, Helena explained quietly. She had never really been given much of an opportunity when she was a child.
Myka inclined her head. It made sense, after all.
It was strange, to not talk. They'd been filling their moments with as much as conversation as they could manage, but the silence came so easily.
The wine was good, a '98 that Helena said the local co-op had on sale the previous week. She'd been intending to keep it for herself, but Myka was far better company than Dickens apparently. She felt a swell of pride at that, that Helena actually wanted Myka there.
"There's no one else is there?" Myka asked after her third glass of wine. Her eyes were narrowed at the effort of concentrating on what she was trying to say, as she dried the dishes that Helena handed her. "Because I would-"
"There isn't anyone," Helena shook her head violently. "There never was anyone other than..." she trailed off, brown eyes wide and shocked, as though she could not believe that she had actually put it into words.
The water ran in the sink, the bubbling the only sound in the room. Myka wanted to turn the water off, but she found herself unable to move, paralyzed by the feeling of utter terror that suddenly had filled her body. She couldn't, not now. It would be so easy to confess, to spill her guts and tell Helena everything.
She chose humor, deflecting as Pete had taught her best. "What about that girl at school?" she asked, grinning. It was easier to tease Helena than it was to speak of what actually mattered.
"She's nothing," Helena muttered. She reached forward and cut off the faucet, her hands resting evenly on the sink for a moment before turning, grabbing Myka's hand and jerking her forwards.
Their bodies crashed together and Myka stopped her head just short of ramming into Helena's. They were so close together now, so painfully and utterly close. Myka bit her lip.
"Why is it that we can never be straight with each other?" Helena demanded, her brow furrowing as her hands cupped Myka's cheeks, smoothing at the skin there, brushing away nonexistent hairs.
Myka wanted to look away, but Helena's grasp on her was firm. "I-I don't know," she whispered, trying to wrench her eyes away from Helena's and finding herself quite unable to.
Helena leaned forward then, her fingertips the barest of touches against Myka's cheeks as her lips brushed Myka's, innocent, hesitant. Everything that their first kiss was not supposed to be.
It was supposed to be a revelation, a dawning of a new age that Myka so desperately longed for. Instead it felt as bittersweet as this day – a bitter reminder of the fact that Myka had to leave this awful place in three days and Helena had to stay. It was supposed to have come when Helena had just swept Myka off her feet and up into the sky, or in Egypt under the stars there. Or when Helena saved Myka by changing the rules of the game, or right before Helena died – or even right after she came back.
Not here, not in Wyoming, in the middle of nowhere, in a teacher's house with a cat that the teacher clearly (really didn't) hated.
Myka sighed, her hands resting on Helena's hips hesitantly, the wine making her thought process sluggish. This was what she had wanted, she could not deny herself that.
Helena pulled away, her eyes twinkling. "I have always preferred direct resolutions to beating around the bush."
"Why didn't you do that sooner?" Myka asked, grinning herself. "It would have saved a lot of worry and heartbreak."
"Darling you weren't ready, we both still are not ready. But the idea of it is so intoxicating that I find I cannot resist it." Helena let her hands rest on Myka's shoulders, letting them linger there, pulling at the collar of Myka's shirt, straightening it, smoothing it down.
Myka kissed her then, and all the fear was gone. They were alone in Emily Lake's kitchen, Dickens had abandoned them to sleep on the couch in the living room, and Myka was happy for what felt like the first time in months.
The stairs seemed somewhat insurmountable, when they were clutching at each other's hands and pulling at each other's clothing. They were both a little drunk, and Myka prayed to whatever entity was cruel enough to subject her to her life thus far, that she would not regret this in the morning.
She could see the stars through the large bay window by Helena's bed, the sky had cleared to reveal a near-full moon. Helena's skin glowed a pale alabaster in the moonlight and Myka could not help herself, despite the realization that yes, they were not ready for this.
They probably would never be. They were living two separate lives, trapped worlds away from each other, despite the threads of their lives that the fates had clearly intertwined together. Their fates were bound together, like their bodies and their minds.
Everything that she could not say, Myka said that night with actions, with gestures and hesitant touches that turned into wet and reverent kisses. She told Helena how it had hurt her to see her die, to know that living in the world without her would have been the worst torture imaginable. She told Helena of her longing, and of how she had fallen in love with H.G. Wells all over again though those letters. About how hard it was to be here, in this place that destroyed her soul once already.
Myka had been in love with Helena Wells for a long time, and as she pushed her tongue and fingers forward, exploring barely chartered territory for the first time, Myka knew that she had made the right decision.
Later, sweaty and exhausted, Myka turned onto her stomach as was her customary sleeping position and felt Helena curl up next to her. "I want you to come back," Myka said quietly. "I don't think we're destined to be apart like this."
Helena kissed her shoulder. "Some would call this fate," she mused.
"Some would call it a Warehouse full of wonder," Myka sleepily responded. "Don't leave me, not ever again."