The ink with which our lives are inscribed is indelible.
In the end, she leaves without saying goodbye (because she still hasn't quite figured out how) and without looking behind her (because if she does, she won't be able to stop herself from going back to the place that feels like home and the people that feel like family).
It is both the hardest and the easiest thing she has ever done and she wonders if she, the wayward time-traveler, is doomed to live her life wedded to such paradox. Difficult and effortless. Simple and complex. She appreciates it even as she loathes it and tries not to think about what it means to walk away in noble cowardice.
She tells herself that it is for the best, for the greater good, for Myka, and she expects that will stave off the demons that tell her she should have known more, seen more, done more. There is no hope for the devil that sits on her shoulder and points out the selfishness of her selfless act, that shows her the impurity of her own motivations and the pervasive wickedness that has stood side-by-side with her for a hundred years.
She will cause Myka pain if she stays.
She will cause herself pain either way.
So she leaves.
She leaves because it is easier.
She leaves because it is necessary.
She leaves because when Mrs. Frederic welcomed her back to the Warehouse with a tight smile and a confession that her reinstatement had come at Artie's insistence, that he had sworn she would give her life for the Warehouse if necessary, the pieces fell together.
She is a dead woman. It doesn't matter that she is not dead here or now; she knows better than anyone that time cannot be rewritten and that the where and when of death are irrelevant. She tries not to think about Christina and all of the times she lost her, over and over again, each time thinking she'd won, thinking that she'd been clever enough to outsmart time, only to have Christina ripped from her arms again. She lost count of how many times she got her back only to lose her again. She was so close. She was always so close.
She tries not to think about Egypt.
She tries not to think of the smell of Christina's hair, of her laugh, of the joy she felt before her daughter faded into dust and pain and anger.
Time cannot be rewritten. Things always return to the way they were.
Christina is always dead.
And now, Helena supposes, so is she.
So she leaves. Because it is easier. Because it is harder. Because it is right.
Because leaving means that Myka won't have to watch her die when time snaps back, when whatever Artie has done comes undone and its effects crumble around them. If she can spare Myka that pain, the pain of losing what you've only just found, she will.
The wind whispers around her and she thinks that maybe she can pretend to be noble, just for tonight. Maybe tonight she can believe that her motives are pure, borne of concern for Myka and not for herself. Tonight, she is selfless in her sacrifice.
Tomorrow, when she is far away and more resolute in her decision (because, even now, watching the headlights of the taxi approaching, she fights the desire to turn around and run back to Leena's), she can deal with the reality. She is leaving because she cannot cope with losing another person that she loves, with getting Myka back only to be torn away by time itself.
It would be her undoing.
She leaves because she cannot lose someone that she does not allow herself to have, because it will hurt less if she doesn't give herself the chance to remember Myka's smile, made hazy in her memory by their time apart, if she does not hear her laugh at one of Pete's jokes or see her sitting in the library, feet tucked up under her, book in hand. It is easier to walk away, she thinks, than to love on borrowed time.
But that is for another time. Tonight, she is noble. Tonight, she is making a sacrifice to save someone else her pain. Tonight, she is the Helena that Myka sees.
She will face the mirror tomorrow.
She gets in the cab, gives the driver instructions, and tries not to look back as she leaves the Warehouse behind her.