Disclaimer: Warehouse 13 and its characters are the property of the SyFy Channel. No infringement intended.
Author’s Notes: Written for the IDF 2012 Big Bang. Massive thanks go to the wonderful theagonyofblank for beta-ing this monster, and to grumpybear1031 for her amazing complementary graphics!
Myka wandered aimlessly through the streets of London.
She needed some time away from Helena, in order to clear her head and just think. Every time she even tried to think about what she wanted, past or future, all she had to do was look at Helena, and any further thought along those lines was immediately impossible. Because how could she look at Helena and think about leaving her? She couldn’t, was the answer.
Even now, things weren’t much better. Inevitably, without meaning to, her feet kept taking her right by one thing or another that would immediately make her think of Helena. There was Helena’s favorite park, and there was the little restaurant where they’d had what Myka thought of as their first “date,” and there was the spot where they’d found their first artifact together... There were reminders of Helena everywhere.
At the same time, though, she still couldn’t get past the thought of never going home again. It was true that Helena’s London was the place where Myka had spent most of her time, lately, but it was still just that – Helena’s London, not Myka’s. It wasn’t “home” in the way that South Dakota was.
And that on its own had to mean something important, because really: middle-of-nowhere, South Dakota versus London? There should have been no contest. But being at the Warehouse 13 with the team... That was still what came to mind when Myka thought about “home.” If only Myka could take Helena with her, somehow. Damn paradoxes.
Myka had no idea what to do. She wondered if there was an artifact that could split her into two people.
That was the problem, really. As long as Myka remained indecisive, the past would win out. Because in order to wish her way back to the future, Myka knew that she would have to wish it with all of herself, not just half.
But she really didn’t know if that were possible.
She knew perfectly well that she had to let Helena go through the motions, even though she knew they would fail. It was like it had been with Christina; in order to avoid a paradox, Helena needed to end up getting bronzed, so everything that helped serve a causal role in leading up to that moment had to happen as well.
So Myka would have to just sit idly by as Helena built her time machine, tried and failed to use it to save Christina, tried and failed to save her two more times with artifacts, killed an agent in the process (would it be Wolcott? Myka really hoped it wouldn’t), lost her mind, and then ended up volunteering to get locked up in bronze for over a century.
The thought of simply watching all of that happen was enough to make Myka want to run for the hills – or run for the future, rather. But then she’d come back to the thought of abandoning Helena to go through it all by herself, and Myka would call herself a coward and change her mind yet again. It was impossible. She wished someone would just take the decision out of her hands and make the choice for her.
Myka sat at a café she’d never been to before, one that wouldn’t remind her of H.G. for any reason. She ordered some tea – having grown tired of the strange looks she got when ordering coffee, she’d found that she did actually like tea quite a bit – and pulled out the artifact. Although she knew she didn’t need to, she’d taken to carrying it around everywhere with her once again, like she had when she’d first found it.
It felt like such a long time ago, now. Since time seemed to move differently in either century, it was difficult to wrap her head around how long this had been going on, but at least from the earlier perspective, it had now been approximately ten months since that first day that she met Helena.
She wondered if there would be some kind of expiration date on how long she would still be able to wish herself back. Could she stick around in the past until Helena was bronzed, and then do it?
Myka sighed. She liked rules. She liked order. She liked rationality.
All of that was gone.
There appeared to be no rules, here, in this strange version of her life; she’d mostly given up on any real sense of order; and she’d never been good at being rational when it came to one Helena G. Wells. Not to mention the fact that she wasn’t even sure what the rational choice was, in this case.
Indecision meant that the past won, Myka knew. But she had no idea how to do anything else.
“Helena, what are we doing?” Wolcott asked as he kept pace beside her.
Helena ignored him, keeping her eyes on the curly-haired woman a fair bit ahead of them, as she meandered in a seemingly purposeless route.
Something was going on with Myka, Helena knew. She wanted to know what.
Ever since she’d returned from her latest brief jaunt into the future, Myka – who had spent the previous few months being nothing but attentive, comforting, and over-protective – had become quite distracted, flitting back and forth between a distant independence and a near-desperate craving to be near Helena.
It made her suspicious, and although it disconcerted her to think that she was essentially spying on her lover, Helena had found herself becoming paranoid. Better to see with her own eyes that there was no cause for alarm, and then Helena could put the issue behind her.
“Is that Miss Bering?” Wolcott now asked. He looked as though he was about to call out to her, but Helena managed to push him into a side-alley and shush him before he did anything foolish and got them caught.
“Do be quiet, will you?” she said in frustration. “She doesn’t know that we are following her, and I would very much like to keep it that way.”
She looked back around the corner; she could still see Myka, but only just. They’d have to hurry in order to not lose sight of her.
Wolcott appeared puzzled, but continued walking along with her as she beckoned to him. “I did not know we were following her either,” he commented. “Why are we following Miss Bering?”
“No need to be concerned, Wooly,” she replied with a warm smile, hoping he wouldn’t question her any further. He looked as if he might, but then appeared to think better of it.
Myka eventually stopped at a small café. It was lucky that she chose to sit outside, for Helena and Wolcott were able to find a table at the neighboring restaurant’s outside terrace.
It didn’t appear as though Myka were waiting for anyone. She simply sat, drinking tea, staring at something in her hands. Unfortunately, Helena couldn’t see well enough to know what the item was.
They hadn’t waited very long before Helena began to feel disgusted with herself. What was she doing? Ever since she’d first shown up, Myka had been nothing but wonderful, and yet here Helena was, spying on her.
She stood up abruptly, almost not caring whether Myka noticed her or not, and quickly walked back in the direction from which they’d come. Flustered, Wooly quickly paid their bill and then hurried after her.
“Did we accomplish what we were aiming to?” he asked her calmly.
“Yes,” she said, even though she wasn’t fully sure what she’d been aiming for in the first place. “Now come along, Wolcott, we shall return to the Warehouse. My latest invention is nearing completion.”
She put Myka out of her mind. Soon it would be time for Helena to save her daughter. Nothing else mattered.
Something had gone wrong, but Pete was totally out of the loop. After becoming practically joined at the hip, H.G. and Claudia were now acting all weird around each other.
Helena kept looking at Claudia sadly, while the redhead had started acting almost manic, constantly needing something to do. Well, whenever she was even around, that is, because lately she’d been throwing herself into Caretaker stuff a lot more often. Apparently, she’d soon be ready to “graduate,” or whatever.
Other than that, Helena mostly moped around Artie’s office, poking her head in every nook and cranny until Artie got annoyed and snapped at her. Then she would go wander around the Warehouse floor, keeping to herself.
“Where does Myka show up when she comes back here?” she asked him out-of-the-blue one morning at breakfast.
“Uh... the aisle with all your stuff,” he replied.
She smiled at that.
When they got to the Warehouse, Pete settled in for a full day of paperwork after the latest snag, bag, and tag. Artie had been there too, but of course, he’d delegated all the busy work to Pete.
H.G. went directly out to the Warehouse floor without saying anything.
It was hours later when Pete started to wonder where Helena had disappeared to. Given her question that morning, he had a pretty decent guess, so went off in search of her. Sure enough, she was sitting on her own in the H.G. Wells aisle.
“How very ‘meta’ of you,” he called out with a smile as he approached.
She turned to look over her shoulder at him, wearing her I-don’t-know-what-that-means face. “I do wish you’d all just speak English more often,” she said with a sigh.
“But where’s the fun in that?” he asked. “Way better to speak modern American and actually feel smarter than you for once,” he concluded with a wink.
She explained that she’d re-worked her calculations and had determined that there was a chance Myka might still come back to them one more time. It would only be for a few moments, though, so she’d basically decided to camp out and wait.
Pete hurried back to the office to gather up his paperwork, then called everyone else to let them know the news.
One by one, they all came.
Artie was next, with Trailer at his side. He immediately left again to go get a chair when he saw that Helena had one, while Pete lay sprawled across the floor. Then it was Claudia. She smiled shyly at Helena, and it was like they communicated some truce with their eyes, because Helena wordlessly stood up and gave the junior agent a warm hug before re-settling into her chair. Claudia had also brought a quilt and a deck of cards with her, which made the gathering both more comfortable and more entertaining. Finally, Leena joined them as well. Pete and Claudia threw out a cheer when she turned the corner bearing two pizza boxes.
Now all they needed was Myka. It would never be complete without Myka.
Myka was in the middle of agonizing over her future yet again, when she was surprised to feel the tell-tale tingling. For one brief moment, she thought that maybe she’d actually done it and made the artifact change. She was still equally indecisive, though, so that didn’t make any sense. However, she quickly realized that it was probably just one more (one last?) time getting thrown back and forth.
When Myka first opened her eyes, she was totally taken aback by the unexpected sight in front of her. Usually there was no one there when she arrived, and it took her a second to even make any sense of the jumble of people before her. Trailer thumped his tail against the ground when he saw her, but everyone else appeared to be asleep.
She smiled as she looked at everyone, tears immediately springing to catch in the corner of her eyes. Pete and Claudia were on the floor, slumped against each other. Artie snored softly, his head tilted back towards the ceiling. Leena was also on the floor, leaning back against another chair. And in that chair there was someone else, wrapped tightly up in a blanket and only slightly visible, since her head was angled down and to the side.
It almost looked like... But that was impossible.
Myka blinked, but when she opened her eyes again, she was suddenly back in London. There’d been no tingling this time. No invisible hand reaching inside her chest, nothing pulling her forward. There’d been nothing at all. It felt final, like the artifact was now done with her.
She didn’t move, even as busy Londoners continued to bustle about her. She couldn’t get her mind off that last person in the chair. It couldn’t have been... Helena had died; Myka had watched her die. There was simply no way that it had been her. Right?
But who could it have been? Had they actually recruited a new agent to replace her? The thought made Myka feel sick.
In any case, her mind was clearly taking an ambiguous situation and filling in the blanks with a leap of wishful thinking, no matter how impossible. That had to be it.
It hadn’t been Helena. Obviously. It simply couldn’t have been.
They hadn’t meant to all fall asleep like that. With a lump in her throat, Claudia ran to go get the durational spectrometer as soon as she’d woken up and realized what had happened.
H.G. and Leena were just waking up when she returned, even as the boys slept on.
Claudia didn’t say anything; just exchanged an anxious look with the other two as she turned the machine on and pointed it into the air in front of them.
There was nothing at all for a while. But then there she was. Myka suddenly appeared, clearly surprised to see them all there. Just before she disappeared again, a look of shocked confusion crossed her face. And then she was gone again. She’d been there for exactly 4.37 seconds. That was it.
Helena stood up from her chair, her face pale. She looked like she might be sick.
The writer didn’t say a single word; she simply turned around and walked away.
Claudia moved to follow after H.G., but Leena wrapped a hand around her arm to stop her.
“Give her some space,” Leena urged.
Claudia thought about going ahead anyway, but after a moment, she stepped back with a nod.
She did understand that H.G. would probably want to be alone right now. She might have just lost her last chance to see the woman she loved.
Tears were streaming unchecked down Helena’s face by the time she made it outside the Warehouse.
She was close to hyperventilating, so stood still a moment, bending at the waist to place her hands on her knees as she tried to regain control of her breathing. After a minute, she straightened and headed directly for Pete’s car.
Driving still made her somewhat nervous, though of course she’d never admit it to anyone, but right now she simply needed to get away. She also happened to know that Pete actually kept his keys inside the car, because otherwise he tended to lose track of them. Pete could get a ride with Arthur later.
With trembling hands, Helena started the ignition and then gunned the engine, driving away from the Warehouse as quickly as she dared.
She drove aimlessly at first. After nearly becoming quite lost, however, she simply returned to Leena’s. She parked the car crookedly, not bothering to care.
Helena quickly climbed the stairs, thinking to go directly to her own room. She stopped, however, outside Myka’s door. No one had changed anything, she knew, other than moving Pete-the-ferret’s cage into Leena’s room. Since Helena had returned from the dead, however, she hadn’t once gone inside. It was a combination of respect for Myka’s privacy and self-preservation – she did not want to pick at an open wound.
The wound would never fully heal now. So she saw no harm in making it hurt a little more.
Before she could second-guess herself, she pushed the door open, quickly closing it behind her. She leaned up against the door, eyes sweeping around the room. It was just as she’d remembered it from before.
Her eyes were instantly drawn to Myka’s nightstand. She gasped out loud and rushed over. Myka had managed to save her locket. Helena pressed her open hand to her chest, where the locket normally rested. She’d longed to have it with her again, but hadn’t dared to ask. She had simply assumed that it was destroyed.
She settled the locket around her neck, exhaling deeply in satisfaction. The cool touch of metal against her skin was oh so familiar; it was just a small thing, but she felt more like herself, now. More complete.
With that done, she stood up and walked slowly around the room, softly running her fingertips over everything. Helena rolled her eyes at herself, but it was actually the sight of a layer of dust covering the surface of Myka’s bookcase that set Helena off crying again.
One book stuck out slightly, as it wasn’t lined up flush with the others. Helena only cried harder when she saw what it was.
Carefully, she removed The Time Machine from its spot. She didn’t open it at first; simply went and lay down on Myka’s bed, hugging the book tightly to her chest as she stared up at the ceiling. Was this the last book Myka had read, then? It seemed likely.
Once her tears had dried enough for her to actually see, she finally sat up and opened the book. She didn’t read it, she practically knew the words by heart; instead, she looked for any markings Myka may have made, a gateway into this amazing woman’s mind. Did she underline any sections that she particularly liked? Did she make any comments in the margins?
Helena heard the rest of “the gang” enter the Bed & Breakfast, but she paid them no mind. She concentrated her entire being on Myka. All she wanted in that moment was Myka.
As she continued to flip reverently through the pages, something fell from within the book and down onto Helena’s lap. She picked it up to look at it. She didn’t give it all that much attention, but something managed to squeeze into her subconscious, and she did a quick double take, before continuing to stare at it, bewildered. It had certainly gained her attention now.
It was a photograph. A photograph of her and Myka. One she’d never seen before; more than that, it was one that had never been taken, so far as she knew.
They were smiling, happy, and together. It was everything Helena wanted – for them to simply be together, permanently this time. No more time travel or death getting in the way.
At first, all she could do was stare at the photograph, as if doing so would make the image come into being. Then a bit of memory sparked – Myka’s artifact had also been a photograph, had it not? Was this the same artifact? What could it mean, especially now that Helena suddenly found it in her possession?
The questions flew by quickly, but no answers were immediately forthcoming.
Suddenly, Helena’s concentration was broken by a loud commotion coming from the floor below.
Claudia’s voice rang out.
Myka was almost back to the Wells’ residence when she noticed that it was gone. The artifact. She kept it in the inside pocket of her jacket, now, always. But now it wasn’t there.
She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, searching frantically through all of her pockets. Nothing. Where could it have gone?
She ran into the house, taking the stairs two at a time as she rushed to her bedroom. She searched through her drawers. She flipped through the pages of her books. She glanced around her closet, checked other pockets, checked under the bed. Still nothing.
Had she lost it? Had it simply disappeared when it brought her back this last time? No, she refused to accept that it was gone. If there was going to be any chance at all of her ever wishing her way back home, then she needed to actually have the artifact! Didn’t she?
Myka could feel herself beginning to panic. She wasn’t at all ready to make a choice, but it felt incredibly important that she at least have a choice.
“Myka, what is going on?”
She whirled around to face the doorway, where Helena now stood, a concerned expression on her face.
“I can’t find my artifact,” she answered quickly. “Have you seen it?”
Helena frowned, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, no.”
Myka turned back, continuing to rummage around, even searching again through places she’d already looked.
She stood up straight and stiffened, though, when she felt something, like a low voltage shock, run through her body. She turned around again, looking at Helena in confusion.
“What is it?” the other woman asked.
“I... I don’t know. It was-” She paused, going motionless again. Her skin was tingling again, but it felt different. There were short bursts of it, localized in small spots all over her body. There would be one on her arm, then her leg, then her shoulder... They sped up, until soon her whole body was tingling. It wasn’t painful; just strange.
Myka looked up and met Helena’s worried expression, fear now starting to spread through her.
“Something’s happening to me. I... I don’t know what’s happening,” she said.
Helena stepped forward and reached to cup Myka’s cheek in her palm. Myka leaned into the touch, even as the tingling grew more intense. It definitely had never been like this before. Whatever was happening, it was new.
She held tightly onto Helena’s shirt, with no idea what to expect. She instantly calmed, however, as Helena leaned forward and kissed her. It was possibly the softest, gentlest kiss they’d shared since the very first one, and Myka unconsciously relaxed, leaning into Helena’s body for support.
Then, with no additional warning, Myka disappeared.
When Myka opened her eyes, she could only blink several times in confusion. She was standing in front of Leena’s Bed & Breakfast.
She simply stood there at first, waiting to see if something else would happen. Nothing did.
She could hear voices coming from within the building, so with a shrug, she simply went and let herself inside.
Claudia saw her first. “Holy shit!” she called out, before laughing out loud and running to swing Myka around in a tight hug.
“Watch your language, young l-” Artie began chiding Claudia but stopped short as soon as he saw Myka.
Leena peered around at them next, a shocked but happy smile covering her face after a moment of pure surprise. “Myka,” she exclaimed warmly, “How did you get here?”
Myka shrugged, laughing. Claudia still hadn’t let go of her. “I have no idea,” she answered. A part of her already ached for Helena, but there was no denying how wonderful it felt to be here.
Tears sprang to Myka’s eyes as Pete appeared. He rushed forward, pulling Artie and Leena with him, and soon all five of them were wrapped up in a big group hug, everyone laughing and crying in equal measure. They had all thought that they’d never see each other again, but against the odds, here they were. And although Myka couldn’t explain it, it felt permanent, somehow, like this was it.
A small, choked noise came from somewhere behind Myka’s right shoulder. Without thinking much of it, she twisted around to look.
It felt like all of the air left her lungs in an instant.
Helena stood at the top of the stairs.
The two women stared at each other, twin expressions of disbelief on their faces.
The other four released her, squeezing her hand or shoulder in comfort, but Myka barely noticed. She couldn’t take her eyes off of Helena.
Myka found that she couldn’t seem to move, but ever-so-slowly, Helena walked down the stairs, until they stood face to face. Myka’s hand twitched, wanting to reach out, but she was too afraid.
“Are... Are you really here?” she asked in a hushed whisper.
Helena smiled, tears sparkling in her eyes. “Yes,” she nodded. “Are you?”
Myka choked out a laugh. “Yeah, I think so,” she replied. “How...?”
Helena’s smile grew even wider. “Not even death can kill me, apparently.”
It made no sense, but Myka didn’t care. There would be time later for detailed explanations. Now, there was only one thing that she wanted to do, and nothing else was important.
So with only the briefest hesitation, Myka surged forward, bringing her hands up to cradle Helena’s face as their lips crashed together. This kiss wasn’t about soft gentleness; she poured everything she felt – all the longing, and relief, and love, and bewilderment, and heartache – into that kiss. Helena returned the kiss with the same intensity, a soft whimper falling from her mouth at first contact.
Claudia cheered in the background, even as Artie grumbled at her to not look.
“Seriously, dude? I’m their number one fan! Pete’s the one who shouldn’t look, that perv.”
In a lot of ways, this was like a first kiss all over again. Kissing Helena, this version of her, wasn’t quite like it had been in the past. It was familiar, yes, but noticeably different. Because this Helena was different. She wasn’t all smirking confidence, un-tinged by darkness, like she had been when Myka first went back in time. But neither was she lost in bitter grief and anger, as she’d been after Christina’s death.
This Helena had been through hell, but she’d emerged from the other side. She still had the scars, but she was whole.
This Helena tasted like home.
Then Myka pulled back and slugged Helena on the arm. Helena’s mouth fell open in surprise at her quick turn in fortune.
“Don’t you ever die for me again, you hear me?!” Myka exclaimed.
Helena rolled her eyes. “Right. Ever so sorry for saving your life,” she grumbled peevishly.
Then, of course, there was nothing else that Myka could do but lean forward and bring their lips together once more. Helena probably felt like she was experiencing whiplash, but Myka couldn’t help it.
“How about, none of us should be watching this,” Myka heard Leena say. “Come on, guys, let’s give them some privacy.”
Pete scoffed. “Yeah right,” he said. “The time traveling lovebirds can make out later. Group hug attack!”
Myka had barely registered what anyone was saying, as she was focused solely on Helena – the feel of her arms, wrapped tightly around Myka, the taste of her lips, the sound of the soft sighs that Helena released... There was nothing else in the world, as far as Myka was concerned.
Until, that is, two more bodies came running into them. Pete managed to hold them all upright after impact, his long arms extending around all of them. Helena pulled back from the kiss with a laugh of pure joy, settling for kissing Myka on the cheek. Pete then kissed her on the other cheek, as did Claudia.
Everyone was talking over each other in excitement, but amidst it all, Myka and Helena locked eyes on each other.
“Welcome home, Myka.”
More than hearing the actual words, Myka read Helena’s lips. It was just like that last horrible moment, when the bomb had been about to go off. Myka closed her eyes a moment, needing a second to collect herself.
When she opened them, Helena was still staring directly at her. Her warm smile was so happy and beautiful... It took Myka’s breath away, just looking at it. Myka forgot everything else, then, and reached across the small circle they’d settled into. Bunching the front of Helena’s shirt in both of her hands, Myka pulled the other woman to her, ignoring the others. Helena smiled even brighter, just before their lips crashed together once again.
Leena must have managed to usher everyone else out of the room, this time, because when Myka opened her eyes again, it was only the two of them. Sounds of laughter came from the direction of the kitchen.
Neither one of them said anything.
Helena took Myka’s hand in her own and tangled their fingers together, as Myka reached to caress Helena’s cheek. She couldn’t stop touching Helena; making sure she was still really there. Helena kept her eyes on Myka, but turned slightly so she could kiss the heel of Myka’s open palm.
It was crazy, when Myka thought about it, how far they’d both come just to make it to this spot. Right here, right now.
Myka smiled. She wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
Continued in Epilogue