"The past is the beginning of the beginning and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn."
The smile on Myka's face when I enter is all I need to know that working my way back into the Warehouse was the right decision. The light in her eyes is enough to know that my words about wanting to be an agent were true, even though they were partially spoken for other reasons at the time. Despite the whirlwind of emotions and plans in my head, or perhaps because of it, I am in need of a tether to my past as I ponder how to approach this confusing new world. For that the Warehouse is right, and so are these people. And dear heavens, Myka is as right as they come. I am dazzled by that smile, by the presence that is Myka. I was close to many women back in my time, but in most cases I was the charmer, the pursuer, the player and never the plaything. But this woman challenges me, makes me pause with intrigue. In this future that is my new present I have found someone much more of an equal, the kind of person I have dreamed of meeting but never thought I would. Someone right. And in this moment, when she smiles, I am so afraid of destroying the rightness, the good that she has unknowingly brought out from deep within me where it has been hidden for so long. And yet I take the steps forward, plunging in. Because she is so right that my fear does not matter. She has me, with her beautiful smile, with her knowing look, soft curls and intelligent eyes. Fascinated, I shake her hand, a surge of fear and anticipation electrifying my body as she calmly looks into my eyes, searching for something as I speak.
"Thank you. Without you I wouldn't be here. Well, I would, but I'd be in bronze."
She laughs at that, breaking the tension, but as I turn from her to greet Pete I am left wondering what she saw in my eyes. Unsure if I am what she wants me to be. But in this moment I know with absolute certainty that I will do what it takes to be right for her. Pete is less welcoming than Myka, but nothing like Artie who flat out refuses to accept my being there. His distrust makes me doubt myself, though I take care not to let that show. Later Myka reminds me of her belief in me and I try to shake the doubt, grasping after rightness, staying with her truth.
I settle in at the Bed and Breakfast, slowly starting to find my place in this group of people that are more like a family than a group of colleagues. They warm to me, all but Artie. I find in Claudia a mind eager to take in what I can teach her, but also a teacher for myself. She has the kind of technological knowledge in this time as I had in mine. Tinkering with objects, drawing schematics over new inventions, I find it immensely refreshing to share this with someone who instinctively understands the finer tunes of building things. And a woman at that. Pete keeps a distance at first, ego bruised from my deception in London. I have a feeling that charming him into liking me will not work again, so I do not try. But after a while we find ourselves laughing together and plotting how to best tease Myka, and I know it will be all right. Leena and I discuss the best way to make tea, silently agreeing to let my aura be, for now.
Myka is different. With her I do not have to think about how to be, I simply am. We talk about literature, my time, her time, this time. Things we like, things we do not. Discovering how similar we are and how different we are. Eventually our discussions turn more personal. She tells me about her love for Sam and her guilt after he was killed. About her father's fear of not being enough, his crushed dreams and longing for a son that never came. How that translated into harshness towards his daughters and disapproval of Myka's choices. I tell her safe things, things I can touch without losing myself. Stories about Warehouse 12 and how I could be closer to myself there, about my agreement with Charles and the endless row of humiliating dinners and tea parties where I had to pretend to be someone I was not. I touch upon the subject of my lovers, and she coaxes story after story out of me to the point where I, horrified, actually colour. This keeps her smiling smugly for several days until she takes pity on me and share a particularly juicy story about her and a fellow college student, blushing accordingly. I take particular interest in that the student was female.
A few weeks later we are running through a dark and damp forest, lit by a moon tainted by the threat of a storm. My heart beats quickly, strongly; I am so alive it almost hurts. Her presence at my side is comforting, makes me move forward with a certainty that I would not have if alone. I was never good with solitude, perhaps uncharacteristic of a writer, and even though I enjoy silence it is preferably with someone at my side. I have never admitted to myself that I am afraid of the dark. And yet later in the night when we have lost our quarry in the mist and set up camp for the night, I tell her about that fear and about many other things that have never left the thoughts and words of the characters I crafted all those years ago. She listens without speaking, steady, warm and safe. We reach for the other's hand in almost the same moment, because it feels right. We curl up in the tent as the wind howls outside, close together under the pretence of keeping warm. The stroking of my back I am sure has the same purpose. As well as the kisses I plant on her collarbone and my hand that curls around her waist. Possibly, the removing of clothes does not counteract the chill but we are beyond such things, and there are only softness and small delicious sounds and touches and fire. There is no hesitation, because it is right.
"Sometimes, you have to step outside of the person you've been and remember the person you were meant to be. The person you want to be. The person you are."
A few months in that blissful state, and she gets to know me like no one ever has. Our eyes speak to each other, small gestures tell stories without words. Claudia says we are both telepathic, making a strange gesture with her hand for emphasis and speaking of something called 'Vulcans' that is lost on me, but I smile nonetheless. I dare to be loved and it is a glorious feeling. With Myka love comes easily, giving and taking are never forced. Next to my bed there is now another pile of books, indicative of the many evenings and nights she spends there. To my delight I find that she, too, enjoys early morning walks and we take it upon us to start most days greeting the Golden Eagles and deer that seem to have a similar penchant for the morning mist. The few times she goes away on missions without me, I try to occupy myself with inventing or writing and pretend not to think about every possible danger she might encounter. Naturally, Leena always knows how on edge I am and makes the afternoon tea extra strong, adding some delicious treat for comfort. When Myka comes back I stay even closer to her than usual, my body somehow touching hers even during dinner. She never minds.
Touches, glances, words, and whispers. Everything about Myka enthrals me, as I enthral her. Every touch feels like the first time another's hand touched my skin, every path I kiss down her body like a new journey of discovery, every mark she scratches on my back a new and sweet pain. We work well together, me, Myka, and Pete. Sometimes when Myka and I communicate with to many glances and too few words, he shouts at us while being silently amused. One evening in between the simultaneous chewing of a ridiculous amount of potato crisps, he tells me matter-of-factly that I make Myka happy. And if she is happy, so is he. I then accept his offer of tasting the crisps, and with that we have come to an understanding of sorts.
""We were making the future," he said, "and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is!""
But behind the love, behind my promises and full heart I keep from Myka the fear of destroying myself, destroying us. That is my greatest mistake. I fight alone for this new life, harder than ever before, because I also fight for her. Ever since I was de-bronzed I have dreaded the night-time for the hold it has on my mind. It draws out doubts, questions without answers. I sleep very little, and only when Myka is close. When she asks about it I say that I have never needed much sleep. This half-truth adds to another, and another, until there is a web of lies between us that only I can see but she feels the weight of. She understands that I am troubled, and does what she does best – staying at my side without asking too many questions and holding me close without demanding more or turning into less. Perhaps she understands my struggle more than I understand it myself. I want to put my thoughts into words to make them smaller, insignificant, but for the first time words fail me completely. Darker and darker the night becomes, tighter and tighter her embrace. A century of desperation and anger is embedded in my mind, and while I scratch at it fervently to make it go away, it is not enough. In every moment of weakness, the endgame I carefully planned during my imprisonment in bronze calls to me, begging to be uncovered, unleashed. It whispers of revenge. Revenge against a world so savage it kills innocent children, a world that in many respects has changed for the worse instead of becoming the wondrous utopia I imagined. Sometimes I cry when Myka holds me close. I tell her I cry because I feel so loved by her that my heart breaks and mends all at the same time, over and over again. It is true. But I also cry because I am ashamed of the raging war within me, from which thoughts of breaking the world and inevitably breaking her heart are slowly but steadily creeping out to strangle me, like ivy smothers an old tower.