Vague spoilers for the season 4 midseason finale. It's more just a character study to pass the time before it airs.

She learned at an early age that, sometimes, her best effort wouldn't be enough.

It was a horrible lesson to learn, especially as a child, and even though experience taught her that she should be prepared for that possibility, that the day would come when there was an inevitable end even the best planning could not avoid, she still tried to succeed. She still drove herself past the points where mere mortals would stop. She still aimed for the impossible.

Because she learned at a very early age that, sometimes, her best effort wouldn't be enough, and on those days she needed to be sure she'd done everything she could.

Her father was a mountain of a figure as a child. His frame was pretty average, his build befitting someone that spent most of his time with his nose in a book, but parents are always larger than life to their children. Even little Myka, growing like a weed and the tallest in her class, thought her father was a presence she would never be able to fit into. The belief was aided by more than a height difference - she longed for nothing more in the world than his affection, his approval.

She had a habit, even then, of wishing for impossible things.

They had tracked Artie to a wooded area at the edge of Frankfurt. Pete made a few hand motions - two years ago, she had no idea what he was doing. Now, his hand signals were as native a language to her as English. She went right, he went left, and they would close on him and trap him in.

As she drew her sidearm, she had to fight a tremor back up her arm. She gripped the gun tighter and clenched her jaws. She hadn't felt this nervous, this defeated since she was a child.

Since she had proudly showed her father her report card in the fifth grade, the one with not only straight As but straight 100s. It was flawless, an impossible feat, but even at eleven Myka tried to achieve those grand heights, tried to be the best at everything. She tried and succeeded, and had the widest grin on her face when she arrived in the basement and found her father and gave him the card.

And he looked it over critically, his eyes darting from each score to his daughter's face, before handing it back to her with an understated "good job, Kiddo." She was disappointed then, the smile faded from her face just a little, but it wasn't until a few minutes later when Tracy brought her own report card in, and her father beamed at her for having straight As, and her sister crawled into his lap and was rewarded with a giant bear hug that Myka felt truly crushed.

The hand holding the pistol shook again. This time, she had to hold her arm still with her left hand.

She reached the edge of the clearing and found her target, then stretched her arm outward.

"Artie, stop!"

He was slow to turn around, and when he finally did she didn't recognize the man. Oh, his features were familiar enough, but his expression - his eyes - they were different. Cold. Aloof. Unkind.

Artie was many things, but those three words could never have been used to describe him before that moment. He had been gruff, yes. Secretive to a fault. Suspicious. But he wasn't completely ignorant of his agents' feelings. Despite their rocky start, he did care about them all. He did open up to them individually. All of them. Even Helena.

And what would her father have to say about that particular achievement, if he knew?

In three years, Artie had become more of a father to her than her own had been in 30. But the man before her was not Artie. He was...something else.

Tracy had always been her father's favorite. Her mother's, too. She had been left alone in her childhood, left to escape into her books. Now, so many years later, she mourned the loss of the man that had given her the approval she had always sought from her family - who had become her family - just as the rest of the team had.

"You can't stop me," the man yelled, menace laced within his tone. "It's impossible."

Myka Bering had a habit of wishing for impossible things.

She also had a habit of achieving them.

"Yes I can," she replied evenly.

Her hand shook only slightly as a familiar pang of fear washed over her.

Because sometimes, her best effort - even if she achieved the impossible - wasn't enough.