Eros/Thanatos (Love and Death)
Part One: Thanatos
Rating: mostly M
Spoilers: Up to 2x12, "Reset"
Summary: Response to a prompt in the 100 Members Comment-Fic Party at the LiveJournal community Meet at Gunpoint. HG didn't betray Myka and Pete in Warehouse 2 for the trident, but for something far more important to her…and far more dangerous.
AN: Heaven help me, but class is getting to me. Normally I don't put much – if any – stock in Freud, but this theory works perfectly for this fic: Freud suggests that the binary opposite of death is not life but love. It's the concept of Eros/Thanatos, which is Greek for Love/Death.
"Where was she standing exactly when you found her?" Mrs. Fredric asked, staring off into the distance as she went through the catalogue of Warehouse 2 embedded in her brain.
"Vases," Myka said absently, her mind only half on the task. "She was standing next to a shelf full of vases." The rest of her thoughts were of Helena. HG. She had to call her that now – the beautiful, smiling Helena she had grown to love was gone. Myka's original disbelief that she had actually fallen in love with the woman had given way to disbelief that she would betray them. Myka's heart had just about shattered when she realized what HG had done, but as furious and hurt as she had been upon awakening in Warehouse 2, her biggest regret was that she had never told her. The selfishness of it all made Myka want to kick herself; HG had betrayed them all, and Myka's regret was that she'd never told the raven-haired author that she loved her.
"If the Anubis is standing, it means the item is out of place," Mrs. Fredric was saying. "Ah – a shelf full of musical instruments. Something is missing."
"Can you tell what the label says?" Artie asked.
"It's fading…." Mrs. Fredric blinked and shook her head, out of her trance. "It's gone. I'm sorry, Arthur."
It was Claudia's idea to ask Leena, remembering Mrs. Fredric saying that the Pearl of Wisdom could leave images behind. Leena proved this quite true, producing pictures of a sort of horseshoe shape she couldn't get out of her head. Artie drew them on the board from all different perspectives, and his eyes widened when he looked at the simple "U." "Mrs. Fredric, do you see what I see?" he asked gravely, though there was a hint of awe in his voice.
"What?" Pete asked. "What do you see?"
Artie drew a line across the top of the U, just under the points, before drawing several long lines connecting the top line to the lower curve of the U.
"A harp?" Claudia asked, peering at the drawing.
"A lyre." Artie replied. "She's got Orpheus's Lyre."
Pete frowned in total confusion. "Orpheus's Lyre? What's that?" Nobody noticed Myka's suddenly stricken expression.
"In Greek mythology, Orpheus was a talented musician whose lover Eurydice died young," Artie began. "He went to the Underworld to get her back, and he played the lyre so well that the spirits let him through. Hades said that he could bring her back to life if he led her out of the Underworld while playing his harp, but he was not allowed to turn around and look at her until they were both out or she would be drawn back in. Once he was out he turned to look, not realizing Eurydice was still at the entrance, and she was drawn back to the Underworld."
"So the harp – lyre – brings people back to life?" Pete asked.
"Christina," Myka whispered. Everyone turned to see tears in the young woman's eyes. "She's trying to bring back Christina."
There was stunned silence as the realization sank in. "We've gotta stop her," Pete finally said unnecessarily.
"No, really?" Claudia shot back sourly.
"All right – Claudia, see if you can track her whereabouts," Artie said as he formulated a plan. "Myka, Pete, be ready to go after her. Mrs. Fredric –" The place where she'd been standing was empty. " – will be Mrs. Fredric," he finished with a sigh.
"Paris!" Claudia shouted triumphantly. When everyone looked at her, she pointed to one of the computer screens. "I put a trace on all withdrawals from Warehouse funds. She just bought two plane tickets to Paris."
"Let's go," Pete said, but Myka was already racing for the door.
Pete and Myka arrived just in time to save the French lawyer and send him fleeing. By the time they had, HG had pulled the handle from her daughter's coffin – the handle that was actually the Lyre – and had begun stringing it with what she'd stolen from Warehouse 2. She was turning the tuning pegs, and every time the string reached the correct pitch, it glittered gold – the un-tuned strings were dull bronze.
"Put it down, HG!" Myka shouted, leveling her Tesla at the dark-haired woman. When HG looked up at her, there were tears in her eyes.
"Why? Would you begrudge me one last chance to save my daughter? Would you?"
"Why the lies?" Myka countered. "Why betray us in Egypt?"
HG gave her a withering look. "Would you really have helped? Would you really have assisted me in retrieving an artifact that brings back the dead? The only reason McPherson agreed to was so he could use me to get the Minoan Trident!"
"The original weapon of mass destruction," HG replied, still messing with the tuning pegs. She was halfway done. "One handle of my daughter's coffin is the lyre – the other is the piece of the trident. Why do you think I killed McPherson when I had what I needed? I wasn't about to let him use me to destroy the world!"
"Ok, she has a fair argument there," Pete admitted to Myka with a sidelong glance. Myka wasn't paying attention.
"…I would have helped you, HG," the agent said, dropping her arm and letting her Tesla hang loosely in her hand. "I would have. If you'd have just told me, I would have."
HG was so stunned that she actually stopped tuning the lyre so she could stare at the woman. Pete did the same. "…Myka?" he asked, suddenly looking at her like she was a dangerous animal.
"Why?" HG asked, her voice barely audible. "Why would you have helped me?"
Myka opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Tears sprang to her eyes to match HG's, a sort of helpless look on her face. After swallowing several times, she asked hoarsely, "What do you need me to do?"
HG bit her lip, a single tear sliding down her cheek. "Help me…open the coffin? I…don't think I can do it…."
Myka nodded, sheathing her Tesla and moving to take the lid off the small wooden box. Her heart twisted in her chest when she looked at the well-preserved yet still-decaying body of Christina Wells. She slowly stepped back as HG finished tuning the lyre, looking to the dark-haired woman for instructions.
"You're actually going along with this, Myka?" Pete shouted, looking at her like she'd lost it.
"Pete, you don't understand, and I can't explain," Myka pleaded, tears escaping and rolling down her cheeks. "I have to do this!" Pete was about to protest when he saw the look in Myka's eyes and stopped. He knew that look, even if he hadn't really seen it on anyone. But he knew it was the look he had in his eyes whenever he thought of Kelly. He slowly nodded, and Myka gave him a watery smile of thanks.
When Myka looked back at HG, the dark haired woman was gazing into the coffin, her face even more tearstained than Myka's. Myka rubbed her arm soothingly, and HG took a deep breath before stepping backwards so she wouldn't have to look at her daughter's lifeless visage. Lifting the lyre to her shoulder, she began to play.
Myka and Pete held their breath as the most beautiful music they'd ever heard filled the air, nullifying every other sound. Myka closed her eyes as she felt the soft tones wash over her. Each note spoke of unconditional, undying love, and she let herself bask in it, warming in its melodic embrace. It almost felt like HG – like Helena – was holding her close, stroking her hair, whispering in her ear that everything was going to be all right.
A creaking sound came from the coffin, and Myka's eyes snapped open as she and Pete looked from Helena to the casket. What the agent saw made her clap her hand over her mouth in wonder and horror. But HG didn't stop playing – not until a high but gravelly voice said, "Mama."
HG looked up and gasped, the lyre clattering to the floor. Christina stood in her coffin, but she was not the Christina any of the agents had been expecting. Her body was still decaying, her face gray and sunken, her skin hanging loosely from her bones. Her eyes were still a clear, dark brown, much as her mother's were, but there was no life in them – only an overwhelming sense of malice. Myka was strongly reminded of Alice trapped in Lewis Carroll's mirror, only this mimic of Christina was far more disturbing.
"C-C-Christina?" HG's voice cracked as she spoke, and her whole body trembled.
"Aren't you happy to see me, Mama?" the Christina-thing asked, hopping to the floor. The three of them flinched when they heard its bones grind and creak as it landed.
"You…I…" HG swayed on her feet, and Myka was at her side in an instant, clutching her arm to hold her steady.
"Helena, that's not your Christina," Myka hissed, never taking her eyes off the creature. "I'm so sorry, but – "
"I know," HG cut her off. Myka turned her head in surprise to see the dark-haired woman smiling sadly back at her, even as she fought to maintain her composure. "I know." She turned back to the thing. "I'm so sorry, Christina."
"But why, Mama?" the thing asked, advancing on them. Hunger and bloodlust burned in its eyes, and its voice dripped with taunting malevolence. "Aren't you going to stay and play with me?"
HG shook her head, close to sobbing now as she fought to keep herself from running and embracing the cruel mockery of her daughter.
"Pete, now would be a good time to – " Myka began, but Pete was already on it. He had donned a set of purple gloves and reached for the lyre on the floor. The Christina-creature roared and lunged for him, but Pete rolled out of the way, tearing the strings from the body of the lyre as he did. The instant the strings separated, the creature slumped to the ground, just as HG slumped in Myka's arms. Pete quickly put the strings and lyre in separate containment bags as Myka guided HG over to the wall where they both slid to the floor.
"Helena?" Myka whispered, stroking her hair. The woman was sobbing into her shoulder as she clung to her.
"I can never bring her back, can I? My Christina is gone. My poor, poor Christina…."
"Shh, shh, oh, Helena," Myka cooed softly, rocking her back and forth as her own tears flowed anew. "Shh, I'm here. I've got you." She wrapped her arms tightly around the woman and held her close. She was determined never to let go – to keep Helena safe from her own past. To keep her safe from herself.
"Myka…" HG gasped in between sobs, and the agent tightened her embrace.
"Shh, I'm right here. You're safe with me." Without realizing it, she began to hum softly – a lullaby that had often calmed her as a child. Though it seemed like an eternity, HG began to calm too, surrendering to Myka's harmonic embrace as Myka had to hers.