I'm sorry. This one grabbed me and wouldn't let me go until I wrote it.

Vague spoilers for the Season 4 midseason finale, but at this point I think I misjudged the previews and this is nothing near what will happen.


She was running.

The rapid clap of hard-soled boots striking weathered cobblestone sounded distant, drowned out by the sound of the wind in her ears as she hurled herself forward, faster and faster, toward the museum. Moments before, several blocks away, she had been checking in after her own busted lead when his desaturated face had crumpled in a familiar grimace on the Farnsworth screen, and she recognized the pain immediately.

He had worn it only the day before, pedal to the metal and streaking across the Midwestern interstates, and the feeling that had accompanied it had forced him to bring their Highlander to a jarring and screeching halt.

"Pete?"

He had only been granted enough time to glance back down at the Farnsworth, his eyes filled with regret, before the picture had lurched and shaken as the Farnsworth at the other end of the line slipped from Pete's grasp. When it finally came still, she could see the ceiling, and the soles of Pete's feet as he struggled against some unseen force.

"Pete!"

The sound on the other end was horrific, and tears started streaming down her face even as her feet began to move, but everything – the world, her lungs, even her heart – seized and stopped when she recognized the desperately flailing figure suspended beside her partner.

"Helena…"

The name left on a breath, the weight of pain and regret and so many months of uncertainty clinging to it, and as if it had been that weight holding her still she shot forward like an arrow, unerringly racing toward her friends. Toward her...whatever they were now.

That was something else, something to be reasoned out when one of them wasn't choking to death. That was something to be considered carefully in the quiet of the Bed & Breakfast, when they were alone and could finally talk honestly with one another for the first time in perhaps ever. It was not something to reason out in seven blocks. But it had chased her, stalked her, and in recent months had nipped at her heels and invaded her dreams and worn her down with sleeplessness and exhaustion, and still she had tried to outpace it until she could face it on her own terms.

She was always running.

There were no attendants in the lobby of the museum, and no one could have stopped her anyway. She quickly navigated to the small antiquities hall near the back, Tesla drawn, ready to take down her friend and mentor if she needed to. It was another thing she didn't want to contemplate. She didn't need to remember that the man she chased now was a better father to her in three years than her own had been in thirty. She didn't need to know that, in the end, there was a very real probability that she would just continue to lose friends and family. Sam. Dickinson. Now Leena. The death toll was growing too high to bear.

But Artie was nowhere to be found, having apparently arrived and departed leaving destruction in his wake. The hall was destroyed – armor lay in fragments and shards, embedded in the walls and inside the wood frames of cabinets. Glass littered the ground and sparkled like iridescent glitter in a flickering light. People she didn't recognize stood groggily all around her, some clutching places where flying shrapnel had scraped by them, others just shaken and left confused by their supernatural experience.

At the rear of the room, behind the ruins of a display case, a familiar figure stood up.

"Pete!" The shard-strewn floor crunched beneath her boots as she scrambled to his side. He looked shaken, deeply rattled, but other than a few scrapes he seemed to be unharmed. "Are you okay?" she asked, anyway. He nodded slightly, eyes fixed on the floor in front of him, and though still alarmed she was grateful for that small relief. "What about-"

The rear of the display hall was in tatters, and there, at her partner's feet, was the still figure of H.G. Wells.

She fell to her knees at the other woman's side. Glass and twisted metal dug into her knees, cut them, bled them, but suddenly everything else in the world was insignificant, and the only pain she could feel was the pain reaching out from her soul and seizing her heart.

A twisted shaft of steel stuck out of Helena's torso, and from that place a dark red stain bloomed outward across her white shirt. Myka dragged her eyes toward her friend's face, past gasping, full lips, to open and glassy eyes.

"Helena…no…"

Helena's fingers lifted to her jaw and softly stroked the tears as they fell. At once, that dogged and determined feeling she had outpaced for so long caught up with her, slamming into her with the force of a supernova. She could see at once all the things they should have done, heard all the words they should have said, and felt all the things she had denied herself for so long. Before she could so much as articulate them, though, Helena's hand fell away, and her eyes rolled backward before closing forever.

"No…"

If that life she shouldn't live was a place of light and life, what was left behind was a place of darkness and pain.

"I love you," she finally whispered.

She was always running out of time.