Notes: This story is in the same universe as my previous story, "make your past your past," though I wouldn't necessarily call it a sequel, and it takes place between the pilot and "Resonance." The story's title comes from "Pride" by Syntax.
* * *
There's not a whole lot for Myka to do around the Warehouse on a daily basis. Artie takes care of the inventory and does random spot checks of the artifacts to make sure that everything's staying where it should, Leena comes by every now and again (but Myka's not exactly sure what the other woman does except make sure Artie doesn't run himself into the ground) and Pete plays.
Myka's still trying to get used to being away from the hustle and bustle of civilization, but Pete seems to have just fallen right into a comfortable routine. He goes for a run in the morning while Myka does yoga on the patio at Leena's and once they've both showered and dressed, they drive out to the Warehouse. Myka's the only one driving now because Pete has a lead foot and after being pulled over by the same sheriff's deputy three days in a row, Myka told him he was grounded until he learned to follow the rules and took away his car keys.
They haven't had a case since the mind-controlling comb-thing that Myka never learned the proper name of, and it's starting to drive her crazy. Not having a case, that is; she's okay with not knowing the proper name of the comb, although it is somewhat annoying. Pete tends to disappear into the bowels of the Warehouse once Artie confirms that there's nothing for them to investigate, leaving Myka with Artie and occasionally Leena and a sense of purposelessness that she's never felt before.
One day, when she's feeling particularly maudlin, she follows Pete onto the floor of the Warehouse. Part of her wants to worry about getting lost, but he seems to know where he's going, so she tries to push her worry to the back of her mind. If worse comes to worst, she's got the Farnsworth; she can always call Artie for directions if they get lost, as embarrassing as that might be for her.
Pete doesn't speak while they walk, and his silence isn't as rare as she once thought it was. Before, when she didn't know him as well, she wondered if he could ever shut up and and/or act his age. Now that she's spent some time with him, she's learned that he's quiet and thoughtful as often as he's rambling and immature.
Myka actually walks into Pete, making them both stumble a bit, when he stops in front of a large mirror. Half a ping pong table, minus the net, is pressed up against the glass. She opens her mouth to ask him about the table when she notices something weird about her reflection in the mirror.
"Pete, what is this thing?" she asks, standing very still, watching her 'reflection' walk forward and pick up a ping pong paddle from the edge of the 'table.'
"It's a mirror," Pete replies as both he and his reflection reach for their paddles.
"I can see that." She's annoyed, but she should have anticipated his response. Very, very rarely does she get a straight answer from Pete. "What kind of mirror?"
"You ever read Alice in Wonderland when you were a kid?" he asks and Myka begins to understand where this is going, though she wishes she didn't. It bothers her that she doesn't think it's as crazy as she would have thought it even a month ago.
"It's actually Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking. They're two different stories," she corrects. She can't help herself; it's automatic. She practically grew up in her father's book store and Pete knows that.
"Whatever you say, little Miss Barnes & Noble," Pete says, but there's no sting in his words. He's teasing her, which she's still getting used to. "Long story short, this is Lewis Carroll's mirror, or looking glass if you prefer the proper term. Plays a helluva game of ping pong."
"Excuse me, what?"
"Come on, it looks like it wants to play doubles," Pete says, using his paddle to point towards the mirror, where Myka's 'reflection' is standing, knees bent slightly, paddle poised and ready. "You know you wanna."
There's a refusal on the tip of her tongue when she realizes that she's got nothing better to do today and besides, it's not like it'll hurt anything, right? Pete's obviously played before and the world hasn't ended.
"I'm not very good," she warns, taking up position on Pete's left.
"That's okay," Pete says. "That means your reflection won't be great either. The mirror seems to be a pretty accurate reflection of abilities." And then he serves the ball and Myka gets lost in the game.
* * *
They lose to the mirror three times and manage to win once before they give up and trudge back towards what Pete has dubbed 'Artie's Lair.' Pete's got a date with a forward pass and Myka has a date with her lunch which, judging by her the growling of her stomach, shouldn't be postponed any longer.
Pete's only outside for a few minutes. Instead of eating his own lunch when he gets back, he filches food from Myka's plate including, but not limited to, the cherry tomatoes from her salad, half a chicken salad sandwich, and some of her Sun Chips. She retaliates by stealing his Doritos, the tomatoes from his BLT, and the last sip of his orange soda.
"But it's just a BL now!" he protests when she pulls the tomato slices right off his sandwich.
"You shouldn't have eaten my tomatoes," she tells him, licking her fingers. "Now you know better."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, you tomato thief, you."
Myka's only reply is to stick her tongue out at him, like a five year old, and she feels more relaxed now than she's felt since before Denver.
"Thanks, Pete," she tells him after a few minutes of silence. Artie's gone on one of his inspections and Leena's disappeared, leaving Myka and Pete alone in the Lair.
"For what?" he asks through a mouthful of BL.
"For making me relax," she answers, her honesty prompted by the fact that Pete's her partner and deserves the truth and the fact that they're alone and there's no one else to hear her speak it. She doesn't like to appear as anything less than perfectly poised and in control, but she's learning to show her flaws, and sometimes even accept them, when there's only Pete to see them.
"No problem," he says and steals her bottle of water and holds it over his head, out of her reach, when she makes a grab for it.
She could get used to this, she thinks: the camaraderie, the friendly ribbing, the feeling of belonging, even if she does sometimes feel like all she's doing is acting as a silent sounding board for Artie's mad ideas.
Life's all about change, right?