Something was wrong.
The glow of her screen lit up Claudia's face in an otherwise dark room. Her fingers hovered over the keys before covering her eyes. She rested her elbows on her knees and sighed. Myka would kill her if she found out. But something wasn't right, Myka wasn't sharing, and Claudia was worried. Almost scared.
She had first noticed a change shortly after everyone completed their physicals. Claudia and Steve had been teasing Pete over what Claudia called his "midlife man crisis" (Pete threatened to Tesla her if she ever used the words "midlife" in reference to him ever again) over a break between pings. Ever the worker, Artie sent them to do inventory, grumbling amidst the laughter and teasing, "Just try not to burn the place down". Pete had made a comment about toning down the push-ups, which cued further teasing and laughter… from everyone, but Myka. Myka wasn't even cracking a smile.
"Speakin' of physicals -" Pete whirled to face Myka, "Mykes, you haven't mentioned anything about yours". He waved Coco's hat in her face, "Sssoooo, how'd it go?"
Myka snatched the fez with a glare. "It went fine", she snapped. Glancing back at Pete's slightly wounded face and Claudia and Steve's worried ones, she smiled and placed the hat back on the shelf. "It went fine", she repeated, more gently this time, "Just need to cut back on my nervous eating".
Claudia instinctively looked at Jinksy. As annoying as his lie detector skill could be at times, she'd come to appreciate and even depend on it since she'd brought him back. He returned the look with an almost imperceptible shake of the head. Myka was lying and something was definitely wrong.
She tried bringing it up to Myka again a couple of days later after she and Pete got back from a retrieval.
"Hey M-Myka, wait up a sec" she hollered out while jogging up the B&B driveway. Myka slowed down and turned as the younger woman reached her.
"Hey Claud" she gave a small smile, "What's up?"
Claudia searched Myka's face carefully as she caught her breath. There were dark shadows under her guarded eyes. Her drawn face appeared even paler (was that possible?) in contrast to her dark curls whipping around in the wind. Something was wrong.
"Myka -" Claudia paused, trying to find the right way to say this without totally putting her off, "Myka, you look like shit". She cursed herself internally. Tact had never been her thing - but still. That certainly wasn't going on her top 10 list of ways to get people to open up.
Her inner abuse was cut off by a forced laugh from Myka. "Thanks Claud. This last assignment took a lot out of me. I don't know if Pete will ever learn to listen and read the signs" she shook her head and laughed softly, "I'm just ready for a hot shower and a good book".
Claudia gave a small chuckle as they resumed walking together, "If that ever happened, I'd bet my money that he was whammied!"
Myka laughed as she opened the door and motioned Claudia to go ahead of her. "That would be my first thought, too", the door clicked shut behind them as Myka started heading for the stairs, "The day Pete grows up is the day the world ends".
The young redhead smiled in agreement, "It's just part of his 'charm'" her fingers motioned in the air as she said it. Pete was always going on about his charm.
Myka gave another small smile, "That it is", she murmured as she started up the steps.
Claudia grabbed her elbow, "Myka," she turned and faced her friend, "Is everything okay? Are you okay, I mean".
Claudia swore Myka's eyes darkened for a split second before she quickly recovered and smiled. "Of course I'm okay, Claud. Like I said, just ready for a hot shower and a good book." she broke eye contact with Claudia and glanced off to the side.
Claudia ducked her head to meet her adoptive older sister's eyes again. "Okay… but you know if you ever need to talk, I'm here, right?" Myka's eyes grew misty as Claudia gently added, "We all are".
For another brief moment it looked like Myka might break. But the moment was gone after Myka cleared her throat and raised her head. "Right, I know. But like I said, I'm fine". She moved her elbow out from Claudia's grip, "Thank you though". And with that, she quickly moved her way up the stairs and to her room, leaving a speechless Claudia on the stairs. It was then she definitely knew.
Something was definitely wrong with Myka. Something had happened at her physical.
At first Claudia tried to reason with herself. It couldn't be too bad, otherwise Myka still wouldn't be in the field, right? It's not like she was dying. Myka was fine, she tried telling herself over and over. Myka was fine.
But Myka lied, her thoughts whispered, why would she lie if she truly is okay?
Claudia lasted less than 24 hours with her internal war before she finally broke down. Curiosity killed the cat, the old saying went, and damn it all if Claudia was anything but curious.
Which brought her to this moment, sighing in front of her computer screen in the dead of night.
Everyone had been asleep for hours; she'd decided she didn't want to be interrupted (or caught for that matter) when she did this. Her cursor hovered over the "log in" button on the hospitals welcome screen. One click and she'd have access to millions of medical records, personnel information, appointment calendars, hell, even the morgue's records if she felt like it. But she was only interested in one person's information. Myka would kill her if she ever found out. Maybe it was something like high cholesterol or her blood pressure was a little wonky. Maybe it was just something simple. Maybe the timing was a coincidence and it had nothing to do with her physical. Maybe it was nothing.
Maybe it was everything.
Another sigh escaped her lips and she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She closed her eyes and hit "log in". Quickly, before she could talk herself out of it, Claudia set her fingers to the keys. "MYKA O BERING" appeared on the screen, and with another two clicks, Myka's information illuminated the young genius' face. The self congratulatory smirk quickly faded as the words burned into her retinas; searing themselves permanently into her memory. Her heart crashed into her stomach as the blood drained from her face. An involuntary cry came from her throat.
Myka has Cancer.