Title: Row by Row
Fandom: Warehouse 13
Summary: Helena introduces Myka to the world of knitting
Notes: Because Sarah mentioned knitting and so my happy knitty brain took over
Helena entered the B&B with an air of self-satisfied purpose – something of which Myka had learnt to be appropriately wary. It was the air that came out whenever Helena had unearthed a particularly enjoyable surprise (like that book she knew Myka had been hunting for), or when she had arranged an especially charming outing the likes of which only she was capable. Unfortunately it was also the look that had appeared the time she had decided to master 'that book of faces' – she had been overly fond of the poke function and extraordinarily frustrated at the incessant invitations to enter into business ventures to purchase land ("I do not wish to grow my own crops in this 'Farmville', Myka, why do they insist on proposing it?"). Then there was the time that she had decided Pete ate entirely too many cookies than was healthy and had gone on a one-woman-mission to rid the Warehouse and B&B of all baked goods. It turned out that Pete had more hiding places than a squirrel and it had had disastrous repercussions for all involved. All in all, Myka had very good reasons to be wary of that look.
Noticing the shopping bag, practically bulging at her side, Myka gave it a hesitant nod. "Been shopping?"
Helena responded by flopping onto the lounge next to her, upsetting Myka's book as she, like always, sat just that little bit too close. Myka had just enough to time to marvel at how only Helena could slump gracefully before the shopping bag was hoisted up from the ground to sit on Myka's lap Unsure whether or not she truly wanted to know, Myka paused slightly. Never able to hold on her curiosity for too long, however, she peeked inside to see a mesh of colours, warm oranges and rich browns merging together in an autumnal haze. Reaching in, she felt her fingers collapse into the sheer softness of the yarn. Retrieving a pumpkin skein from the bag, she lifted it to her face to feel the pliant strands caressing her cheek, the faint halo of fuzz tickling gently against her skin.
Helena levelled an amused smirk at Myka as she fawned over the yarn. She doubted Myka knew the image she was presenting, hardly knew that she could not possibly look more adorable if she had tried. Rescuing the yarn from Myka's near hug, she slipped the label band from the skein and pulled out the needles that were sticking from the top of the bag. With movements telling of countless repetitions, muscle memory that no lapsing years could remove, Helena effortlessly found the end of the yarn hiding between the plied strands and, deftly rolling it over her fingertip, produced a loop from which to begin. Myka sat, mesmerised, as Helena's fingers blurred with the speed at which they moved, a solid existence of orange appearing within her hands as she worked. Myka had no experience of knitting, no kindly grandmother who had placed blunt plastic needles in pudgy child hands only to patiently unpick the ungodly knot she would inevitably produce, and so to watch Helena's obvious ease marvelled her in a way she had not expected.
Sensing the undivided attention Myka was sending her way, Helena spoke softly, giving answers to the unasked questions without taking her eyes of her knitting. "My mother taught me. She thought I needed some more ladylike pursuits to prevent me from following Charles up a tree… or more accurately to stop me from climbing taller than he could ever climb and have him sulk all the way home. He truly was an incorrigible bore when he put his mind to it."
Myka crawled closer to her, careful of the reach of Helena's needles. Helena so rarely shared memories of her life unprompted and she wished to enjoy them.
"I told her that I detested it," Helena continued. "That I would much rather be playing soldier with Charles, or reading with father in his study. In fact, I would have to say that I was a right terror to her at the time." She paused to give Myka a cheeky grin, and Myka felt a pang of sympathy for her mother. "But to be honest, I always secretly enjoyed it, I liked that I could create something with only my own two hands."
"Always the inventor, I see."
"But of course. Right now I am inventing you some new socks so you can stop putting your cold feet on mine all night long."
Myka tried to hide her laugh, knowing full well that it was a well-deserved statement. Helena gave her a gentle glare, knowing just as she did that it was warranted. Placing her knitting carefully on the table beside her, Helena moved closer to Myka, pulling her towards her gently so as to wrap her arms around her from behind. Upset the bag in the process, the watched as the skeins of yarn tumbled across the carpet like a bedding of fallen leaves. Reaching down, Helena scooped up a round ball of yarn and guided Myka's hands around it. It was a deep blue, the colour of the evening sky as it faded into the horizon, and thicker than the fine yarn that would become Myka's socks.
Myka gave her a quizzical look, to which Helena simply handed her a second pair of needles. Wordlessly she arranged Myka's hands around the needle, holding her own around them as she manipulated hers into casting on a number of stitches. Row by row they knit together, Helena allowing Myka to feel the movement of the needles and the creation of the stitches under her fingers. Reaching a solid stripe of ten or so rows, Myka relaxed, trusting Helena to direct her through the manoeuvre, and she found Helena's soft words reaching her ears.
"This is how I taught Christina," she said. "Looping the stitches together like this. But it wasn't long until she became quite accomplished on her own, knitting all manner of things for her dolls."
The image of mother and daughter filled Myka's mind but she said nothing, reluctant to shatter the same image she knew was floating in Helena's own mind. Instead, she simply snuggled back further into Helena's warmth, not mentioning that she noticed her arms tightening around her a little tighter as they continued knitting, row after row after row, soft words falling between them.