[Set after 4x15. Mandatory disclaimer where I don't own anything I just have feelings with the characters.]
Crazy, evil, or dead. Those seemed to be the only fates available to former Warehouse agents; something Helena knew far too well, as she had experience with two of them, and a century in bronze had, at times, seemed worse than death. As she stood in her driveway, watching Pete and Myka's car disappear into the darkness, she desperately wanted to believe that Pete was right, and that maybe she had escaped the inexorable pull of the Warehouse with this new life she had built for herself. But she knew, even if she refused to admit it to herself, that this life, this safe life in a safe town with a safe man, did not belong to her. It belonged to Emily Lake, and as much as she had tried over the past six months, she was not Emily Lake. She was Helena G. Wells. And Myka and Pete's visit only served to remind her that she couldn't escape the Warehouse's gravity, even with two states and six hundred miles between them.
Because the Warehouse attracted broken people. And Helena G. Wells was broken far beyond repair. For most people, if a mysterious woman in pink tweed appeared in their home one night and gave them instructions to be in South Dakota the next morning only to disappear just as quickly, they would think it odd, and perhaps report it to someone, but they would not drop everything to go to South Dakota on the promise of endless wonder. They would chalk it up to bad mushrooms or a friendly prank.
No. The Warehouse needed people who needed the Warehouse. And it provided for them in exchange for their service. For a time.
Broken people came to the Warehouse, and there they found a home, and a family, and love and support. And maybe they even thought themselves healed. Made whole once again. Helena herself had had the audacity to think that herself not so long ago, but she knew better than most that within the endless wonder there was darkness. Everything had a downside, and the Warehouse was no exception.
Because, sooner or later, usually sooner if she was being quite honest, the Warehouse would break their hearts. And people once broken, who thought themselves healed only to have that illusion ripped away, rarely recovered from such a blow. At least, Helena hadn't. And she refused to risk her sanity yet again. Not after Yellowstone and the Janus Coin, and all that she had been through since being unbronzed. Not again. Because of Adelaide, and Christina, and…and because of Myka.
Helena knew full well that she had been the darkness in Myka's endless wonder. She had nearly destroyed Myka once, ultimately driving her from her happiest place, from her truth. And she would be damned if she was going to do that again. In what felt like the first time in over a century, Helena truly cared about her sanity; she cared that she wasn't crazy or evil or dead, and it wasn't for her own sake. For months now she had told herself it was for Adelaide's sake, and Nate's, that she stayed as far away from endless wonder as she could, and she told herself that was what love felt like. Nice, normal, safe love.
But she knew almost viscerally, as she watched Pete and Myka drive away from her borrowed home with her borrowed family, that it had never been that simple. She didn't want to be crazy or evil or dead because she couldn't bear to break Myka again. Because Helena knew that Myka wouldn't recover from that. Not again. It was one thing to break her heart by letting her leave, but it was another thing by far to break her soul, as Helena feared she would if she returned with them to the Warehouse.
So Helena let her leave, with only a hug and a promise for coffee, or saving the world, in the future. And maybe, just maybe, she reflected as she turned away from the long receded taillights to return to her nice normal family, that's what love actually felt like.