She Came Around | Holiday Parade
She came around and cracked the code to my heart
She broke me at the seams, hell she tore the whole thing apart
When she came around with fireworks in her eyes
Shes got me going crazy heaven help me sleep at night
and she came around
She came around
Give me the heartbreak
Give me the pain
Give me your sweet taste and take it away
Cause I don't need nothing no oh the rest just burned away
when she came around
Myka Bering was accustomed to keeping her emotions in check. She was a good agent, and that was what good agents did. They distanced themselves from their feelings in order to focus on the task at hand without becoming embroiled in it on an emotional level. It was part of what made her good at her job. Former job. There wasn't much calling for emotional containment working in a bookshop, although there had been a few customers she'd had to refrain from violently shaking for one reason or another.
It had been quite the change of pace over the last few months, but she'd almost gotten used to the quiet life of a bookshop employee. Almost. Then Pete and the new guy, Agent Jinks, had come in with Teslas blazing, asking for information about potential artifacts and reminding her just what the 'good old days' had been like. Chasing artifacts, stopping the bad guys and talking down the misunderstood ones. Listening to Claudia and Artie bicker, Pete's exclamations of glee whenever any kind of cookie was in his vicinity; she missed it all. She missed the stupid things, like inventory. A job everyone else seemed to loathe with as much ferocity as one might hate the black plague or small pox, but Myka had always found the task oddly peaceful. Searching, finding, making sure things were in their proper place and if they weren't, returning them to their allotted space. She was kind of a nit-picker, had an eye for detail. Being the daughter of a bookshop owner, she supposed that kind of thing was in her blood. Whether it was artifacts she was dealing with or the great works of literature, it didn't matter. It was ironic really, how she so enjoyed the task but found herself without a place where she felt she herself belonged. Because the Warehouse was no longer that place to her, not anymore. There were too many bad memories and she'd made too many mistakes. She'd put people's lives in danger; put the entire world in danger, because she'd been blinded by someone she'd thought she could trust. Artie had been the only one to see through the rouse. She felt sick, thinking back on how he'd tried so hard to make her see but Myka had just brushed away his warnings with an annoyed dismissiveness. Because she known H.G. Or she'd thought she had.
She thought she'd known a lot of things, and had ended up letting a lot of people down. Emotion had ultimately been her undoing. H.G. had played her, used her, and Myka hadn't seen any of it coming. She wondered whether or not things could have turned out differently. If she'd perhaps just paid more attention, been a little less trusting, maybe she would have seen the signs. But looking back, as Myka found herself so often trying hard not to, she couldn't find them. Maybe there were little things that if she thought about hard enough she'd find a correlation, but nothing significant. Nothing at all that would have changed the outcome. But she tried not to dwell on the past. It was done, over. She took every emotional attachment she had to the world she no longer belonged in and stuffed them into a bottle, corking it tightly and then put it on a shelf to forget about. She’d been doing so well, too.
And then Mrs Frederic had shown up, in that frightening and unexpected way she did, with a smile and words of thanks, and the notion that she had someone she wanted Myka to speak with. And then, there was Helena. Only it wasn't Helena, because that name belonged to someone Myka suspected didn't exist. Had never existed. In an instant, that bottle had come uncorked and everything she’d tried to keep away came spilling out. She'd grown scared and angry, without consciously knowing why, demanding to know why the older woman would have brought H.G., of all people, to see her. Didn't she know how hard that would be for Myka? In a moment of quiet reflection, Myka had surmised that Mrs Frederic couldn't possibly have known just how deeply seeing the British former-agent would affect her; she herself hadn't known until the woman was standing in front of her. Or, she amended, being projected in front of her. And it wasn’t until long after H.G.’s projection had vanished that Myka conjured up the expression of disappointment and shame that had clouded the inventor’s face upon hearing Myka’s outburst. But what had H.G. expected?
They’d been alone then. There’d been a smile that came nowhere close to reaching dark eyes and Myka had been quietly struck at the vision before her. She didn't know this person, this reflection, who stood as tall as her chagrin and shame would allow. While she bore a resemblance to the striking woman who'd sought Myka out and confessed hard truths about her past, and also the villainess who'd stood at Yellowstone and tried to end the world, she was neither. Myka had deduced that the closest likeness would have to be to the woman who'd fallen to her knees and wept when she'd been unable to complete her task. The woman who'd been unable to pull the trigger, unable to kill Myka. There was a thread of that woman in the vision before her, a thread of all three versions of that person, but there was so much that Myka did not recognise. Until she spoke. And then she'd been Helena, speaking Myka’s name, and the wounds were still far too raw for that. So she’d allowed her bitterness to grip her, spill its venom past her lips.
She'd meant it when she'd said that she wasn't angry at the Warehouse. She hadn't left because of what it had turned her life into; she'd left because of what she'd allowed to happen. She'd put people she cared dearly for in danger; she'd risked the life of her partner. Again. This time, the outcome had been different, but the other possible endings sometimes kept her awake at night. Myka may have been accustomed to keeping her emotions in check, but when Sam had been killed, she'd lost it. She'd become obsessed with hunting down his killer and it had driven her to more than distraction. Grief and anger had consumed her, and she'd let it. Because that was easier to deal with, to focus on, than the realisation that he was gone. And he was never coming back.
But she wouldn't do that with H.G. While it was true that Myka was angry and confused, while she felt a sense of betrayal that was almost as powerful as her grief over losing Sam had been, she didn't hate H.G. Myka didn't think she possessed that particular ability, though it had taken seeing the other woman to really come to terms with that. Because Myka had every right to hate her. But the vision that had disappeared before her very eyes? She couldn't hate that person. Not when it was obvious that she was in so much pain.
Because it came down to one thing, when the dust settled and the gauntlets had been picked back up. Grief. Unmatched and uncontrollable.
Mrs Frederic was an incredibly intelligent lady. She knew things, could see things that others could not. But as Myka ambled through the stacks to the far end of the shop, a battered book held tightly in the hand that swung gently at her side, she wondered how Mrs Frederic had known that H.G. would be the key. Artie had tried, Claudia too, and Pete had begged her to come back, but she’d remained with her feet firmly planted in the world of second hand books. Until today. Helena's words had penetrated on a level no one else's had. Because with Helena, everything meant more. Words of advice and encouragement, acts of betrayal. Everything.
She slumped into the armchair in the corner of the alcove and curled her legs beneath her. Dropping her eyes to the book in her lap, she traced the cover with her fingertips, outlining the letters that made up the title. She'd been avoiding it, Myka wasn't dense enough to not realise that sad fact, but after the events of the day, after what H.G. had said, she was resigned to ending the marathon it felt like she'd been running.
The book had been given to her by her father and she’d read it more times than she could count, though only a few since meeting its author and not once since the last time Myka had seen her. The hardback cover of ‘The Time Machine’ rested against her thighs, gazing up at her like an old friend she’d lost contact with and was no longer quite sure how to interact with. But things long practised are often easily remembered, and Myka flipped the book open to its title page with the pad of her index finger, taking a breath as she did and holding it.
Take heed; time waits for no one. We are but pawns being forced to move alongside it, allowing time to lead us where it sees fit, though there are precious moments where we are able to choose certain paths. I wish to thank you for allowing ours to cross.
H. G. Wells.
She released the breath and it shook its release. Myka had been quite outwardly content with her life over the past few months, hiding from her feelings among the stacks and dusty old books, content to keep her emotions locked tightly away; as she’d been trained to do. And then, Helena. And all codes had been cracked, the seams of her heart pulled apart, loosing emotion into her world once more.
Sighing with a quiet finality, Myka carefully turned the pages of the book until she arrived at the first chapter. And felt it new all over again.