Myka was half-listening to the radio as she looked over some of the computer files Claudia had sent her. She never ceased to be amazed by how ridiculously clever the techie was, and how astutely observant. She had picked up on things in the paper files that Myka wouldn’t have dreamed of finding and found connections so remote and yet, once examined, so apparent that it sent the agent’s mind reeling. She was looking over some of the Warehouse 11 reports Claudia had been telling her about when a familiar tune reached her ears.
“A falling star fell from your heart
And landed in my eyes,”
Myka gave a little half-smile, even though there was no one there to see it. She had a bit of a fondness for Florence, having been roped into it quite by accident. She had passed Claudia’s room while the girl was belting “Kiss With a Fist” at the top of her lungs and had originally been appalled by the lyrics, bursting in and demanding to know what the hell she was listening to. Barely a week later, Claudia passed Myka’s room to hear the brunette singing along and poked her head in to find her dancing as well. So of course she promptly joined in.
Myka shook her head as the memory made her smile, trying to go back to concentrating even as she tapped her foot to the music.
“I screamed aloud as it tore through them
And now it’s left me blind.
“The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out,
You left me in the dark.”
Myka paused in her research, frowning a little. Somehow, for some reason, the song was affecting her in a way it hadn’t before; but then, so much had changed in the space of a month that it shouldn’t have been surprising that she would see and hear some things in a new light. But this was different: even as she felt “left in the dark” when the world had crashed down around her at Yellowstone, the image of Helena her mind conjured was not the one of the distraught woman fighting an army of inner demons as she held a revolver to Myka’s head. Instead, even though she had never seen it before, her mind brought her the image of Helena in Bronze.
“No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart.”
The brunette bit her lip as the lyrics took on a whole new meaning for her. As cliché and teenage as it may have sounded, she felt like, in a way, she and Helena were trapped in a sort of twilight – an in-between, where one wrong move could mean the end of everything they had, already held together by the most tenuous of threads. The analogy, as overdramatic as it was, made her shiver.
“And in the dark I can hear your heartbeat,
I tried to find the sound.
But then it stopped and I was in the darkness,
So darkness I became.”
Myka didn’t know where the images were coming from; all she knew was that it seemed like Helena’s pain was suddenly being unraveled for her to see, to fully understand. She could see it, she could feel it, how Helena had tried to get Christina back; how when she couldn’t, she looked for meaning in revenge; and how, in the end, the darkness was too much, and so darkness she became, wrapped in Bronze.
“The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out,
You left me in the dark.
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart.”
She was beginning to feel sick as realization and meaning and comprehension made her head spin. She began to wonder if this was a side effect of the lantern – if somehow prolonged contact with the person using its twin formed some mental connection between them that allowed them to sense each other’s innermost emotions; stranger things had happened. But something told Myka that it wasn’t, and that for some crazy reason or another, Florence’s lyrics had triggered something in her that she had been trying very hard to ignore, or at least suppress. But the clearer things became, the less control she had over her own mind. The multiple ironies were not lost on her.
“I took the stars from my eyes
And then I made a map.
And knew that somehow
I could find my way back.
“Then I heard your heart beating,
You were in the darkness too.
So I stayed in the darkness with you.”
Myka blindly hit the radio button, replacing Florence’s voice with a burst of static. It was all too close, too raw, too real, not just in its eerie parallel to Helena’s past, but in its parallel of how far Myka was willing to go to protect her now.
Exhaling slowly in an attempt to calm herself, Myka reached for the radio to tune to a new station. “ – Call my name and save me from the dark – ”
She tried again. “ – When you’ve only got a hundred years to live – ”
With a humorless laugh in acknowledgement of even more irony, she tried again. “ – I never made promises lightly, and there’ve been some that I’ve broken – ”
And again. “ – I’ll go wherever you will go… ”
With a growl of frustration, Myka turned off the radio with more force than necessary, grabbing the nearby remote and flicking on the TV to see if she had any better luck.
“How do you know when you’re in love?” Castle was asking Kate Beckett. “All the songs make sense,” the detective replied.
Myka immediately turned off the TV and threw the remote across the room. Refusing to acknowledge the message the cosmos seemed to be trying to send her, she decided she was perfectly fine with working in complete silence. Had Claudia been there, she would have told her she was “the Italian Job version of fine: Freaked-out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.” Myka tried not to think about that either.
* * *
The darkness that surrounded her was suffocating – an actual weight crushing her body into immobility. The silence was beyond deafening, as corporeal as the force holding her in place. All she could feel was the steady, emotionless beating of her heart, ensuring her existence, but not her life.
Just as she was beginning to panic, unable to even scream, she realized that her heartbeat was not the only one she could feel. Another heart kept rhythm with hers. Another body pressed flush against hers. She registered sensation along her skin and realized that she was embracing the other, and the other, her. It was only after this realization that she recognized the gentleness of a soft mouth on hers, and she knew who it was, even though she had never kissed the other before, never tasted the sweetness of her lips.
Myka and Helena stood frozen in an eternal embrace of Bronze.
Myka woke with a gasp: the remnants of the scream that had caught in her throat. She had thought that sitting bolt upright after a nightmare was an over-exaggerated myth, except that she had just done so, drenched in a cold sweat. Hyperventilating, scrambling for air as her heart stuttered against her ribcage, Myka desperately willed herself to calm down, trying all the tricks she knew for dispelling nightmares. Every effort was in vain.
Shivering, suddenly feeling very alone, Myka reached for her nightstand.
* * *
Helena woke to a soft glow and the distinct feeling that something was wrong. Propping herself up on her elbow and looking over at her bedside table, she saw that, though her lantern was off, it still burned with golden light. Surmising that it was the lantern’s signal that its twin was activated (though she had never seen it do this before when Myka was already waiting by her lantern), Helena frowned, glancing at the clock. It was 2:38 am; why was Myka trying to contact her at this hour? She was instantly overwhelmed with dread, and she all but dove for her lamp. Myka’s face appeared, fraught with anxiety, but the moment she saw Helena, she began to calm.
“Helena,” the curly-haired woman breathed, sounding as if a mountain of terror had just dissolved and been released in that one exhale. This did not do anything to calm Helena’s own worry.
“Myka, darling, what’s wrong? Are you all right?” Helena asked, wrought with worry bordering on distress.
I am now, Myka thought, but kept that to herself. “I’m fine, I just…had a nightmare…” she replied, forcing herself to calm down. Now that she was thinking clearly, she winced at the late/early hour. “Sorry to have bothered you,” she mumbled, reaching for her lamp.
“No, wait!” Helena said, and Myka paused, trying to hide the glimmer of hope in her eyes as she met the dark-haired woman’s gaze. “Myka, you can talk to me whenever you need me, at any hour.” She gave her a gentle, if wistful, smile. “I only wish I could be there for you more.”
It was Myka’s turn to smile, fighting tears. “Just being able to see your face and hear your voice is plenty for me…for now,” she added with a wink.
Helena desperately tried to pretend that she was imagining the double meaning, and that Myka was only alluding to when she would (somehow) be freed. Shoving her inward desires aside, she brushed her fingertips against the lantern globe, reaching out to her as best she could. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Myka bit her lip, shaking her head. “No…I just want to talk to you.”
“What about, darling?”
Oh, call me that again, Myka’s heart screamed, but she tried to ignore it, shrugging instead. After a moment, she replied, “I’m going to grandma’s and I’m bringing an apparatus.” When Helena slowly arched an eyebrow, Myka smiled sheepishly and explained, “It’s another word game. Each person says what’s already on the list, then adds one of their own in alphabetical order.”
There was a long, long pause, and just when Myka thought Helena was going to shake her head and call her a fool, the dark-haired woman said with a completely straight face, “I’m going to grandma’s and I’m bringing an apparatus and beryllium.” Her lips curved into a smile. “In my time we called this game ‘I love my love with’.”
Myka grinned in response, and Helena thought she’d play the alphabet game forever if it meant seeing the brunette smile like that. “I’m going to grandma’s and I’m bringing an apparatus, beryllium, and…Charles Dickens,” the agent continued.
Helena chuckled. “I do hope you mean one of his books, because I can’t exactly see him fitting in your suitcase.”
Myka shrugged. “I played a game once where we brought a bridge, a garage, and Zeus, so anything’s possible.”
This time Helena did shake her head, but with an affectionate grin. “I’m going to grandma’s and I’m bringing an apparatus, beryllium, Charles Dickens, and a dactyl.”
Myka wrinkled her nose. “Is that bringable?”
Helena smirked. “It is now.”
They played through once, then, still awake, they followed their Scrabble pattern by starting a new game in French. They were in the middle of their Latin round when the realization hidden within the nearly-forgotten song hit Myka full-force.
I stayed in the darkness with you.
And Myka knew with perfect clarity that she would. If Helena’s fate was darkness once again, Myka would go with her. No matter what, Helena would never be alone again, and somehow, the thought made Myka feel…complete.