“I can’t believe you did that for me,” said Helena. She stood in Myka’s bedroom, looking around with wide eyes. She was alive again, whole and herself.
“I had to,” said Myka. She sat on the edge of her bed. She was quite certain that if she stood up, her legs would start shaking and she would just fall down again.
“I thought…” Helena seemed to reach towards her for a moment, then let her hands drop. “When we looked at each other through that bubble, I thought you were saying goodbye.”
“I was,” said Myka. She sniffed and wiped at her cheek. “But then I… I found it and… I couldn’t say goodbye to you, Helena. Not forever.” She took a deep breath. “And I wasn’t just saying goodbye. I was saying… I was saying I love you. And I couldn’t stand not knowing whether you’d heard that or not. Even if you don’t…”
“Oh, my darling.” In one fluid movement, Helena was on her knees beside Myka, clasping her hands. “I was saying that too. I always have been.”
“Really?” Myka stared down at the other woman. With her hands away from her cheeks now, the tears ran unchecked, but she wasn’t sure she minded anymore. “I never thought…”
Helena shook her head and smiled, a softer version of that mocking smile that Myka had long adored. “You never pay attention, do you, my love?”
Myka gasped a laugh through her tears, which were in fact drying up. “I guess I don’t. I’m not so good with feelings. Ask Pete, he’ll tell you.”
“I don’t want to ask Pete.” Helena laid her head against Myka’s legs. “I don’t want anything, not even a conversation with someone else, to be between us ever again. Now that you’ve brought me back—and you have brought me back, haven’t you? It is permanent?”
Myka extricated one of her hands and used it to stroke Helena’s silky hair. “It’s permanent. I couldn’t reverse it even if I wanted to. The artifact broke—I guess it was one-time-use.” Yes, the tears had definitely ended.
“Good. I admit it’s… strange, and if it were another situation, I would tell you to put things back the way they were, but if that’s it, that’s it. It’s just that I was resigned to death, and now that gets to change.”
“I wasn’t resigned to you dying.”
“I know, darling, and I’m so sorry. I wish I could have taken the time to explain what I was doing before I did it, but I knew if I did, you wouldn’t let me.”
“I would have figured out another way.” Myka felt the tears spring to her eyes again.
“And so you did. You see, it worked out. We’re both alive, and so are Pete and Artie.”
Myka nodded shakily. “You get to be a hero without the inconvenience of being dead afterward.”
They both laughed. Helena lifted her head and smiled up at Myka. “I never wanted to be a hero. I just had to find some way to save you. You know that I’m very selfish, and I would have been very disappointed if I had lived and you had died.”
Myka shook her head, finally smiling properly. “You are not selfish. You are one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known.”
“Oh? Then why did I try to destroy the entire world with the Minoan Trident?”
“I talked you out of that.”
“And why do you suppose that is?”
“My irrefutable logic skills?”
Helena shook her head slowly. “It was you, Myka. I realized that I just couldn’t kill you, no matter how much I’ve damned the rest of the world by letting it keep on going.”
Myka took a deep, shaky breath. She couldn’t think of anything to say to that. After a moment of quiet she realized just how oddly unequal their positions were, and she tugged with the hand that Helena was still holding. “Get up, please. Sit with me.”
Helena did so willingly, though she didn’t relinquish Myka’s hand. Once she was seated, Myka leaned in and rested her head against Helena’s shoulder. She wished she’d discovered earlier how comfortable this was. Well, they still had plenty of time to discover each other’s bodies. She blushed at the thought, though she hadn’t said a thing, and was relieved when Helena asked, “Does anyone else know?”
“That I’m alive, love. Did you tell them about the artifact?” Helena slipped an arm around her shoulders.
“No.” Myka supposed she should be worried about Artie’s reaction when he heard she’d used an artifact for selfish reasons, but she was too comfortable here. “I decided it was better to ask forgiveness than permission.”
Helena laughed. “Look at you, breaking the rules. I’m so proud.”
Myka snorted. “Pete will be, too. I suppose he’d like to know that you’re alive again.”
“Sure. Probably. Claudia will. Artie will be a supernova of fury, but I knew that going in.”
“I’m not afraid of him.”
“No. Neither am I.” Myka sat up reluctantly. “Well, Leena will probably have dinner ready for us soon. Do you want to go down and surprise them?”
Helena grinned. “In a moment.” Then she seized Myka’s face in her hands and kissed her fiercely.
They were, as it transpired, late for dinner.