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FANFIC: Blood and Bronze (8/?)

Blood and Bronze
Summary: Myka sets out to prove that Helena is truly a good person by finding the artifact of ultimate judgment.
Pairing: Myka/HG
Rating: M/NC-17
Disclaimer: Not mine. Wish they were.
AN: Major props to missm1897please for her insane amount of advice and beta-ing.

Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five / Chapter Six / Chapter Seven / Chapter Eight / Chapter Nine / Chapter Ten

Chapter Eight: Heart of Bronze

“Hey, Mykes, how’s it going?” Claudia asked, taking a bite out of her sandwich.

“Good, actually,” Myka replied, her voice cheerful, though she lacked a smile. “I’ve gotten a little further in my research, so I’m beginning to get an idea of what I’m up against.”

“Good,” the techie said, her voice a sigh of relief. “So, heading east?”

Myka blinked in surprise before a slow scowl crept across her face. “How did you know?” she growled.

Claudia nodded at her computer to indicate the scenery behind the agent. “It’s evening out your window, but it’s still afternoon over here. Therefore you must be an hour or two ahead, and thus going east,” she concluded with faux sophistication.

Myka gave her a long look, then sighed, shaking her head. “I dunno why I keep forgetting that you’re too smart for your own good,” she grumbled.

“Chillax, Mykes, I’ve no intention of blowing your cover. And even if I did, I couldn’t without blowing my own.” She wrinkled her nose. “Holy crap, that sentence ended in my head with ‘blowing myself.’ What the hell…?” she mused, provoking a snort of laughter from Myka.

“I don’t wanna know where your mind lives,” she decided, shaking her head again. She seemed to find herself doing a lot of that when she was talking with Claudia

“In the gutter, same as everyone else’s my age,” the hacker replied without hesitation.

Myka allowed herself another chuckle before getting down to business. “So, found anything new?”

“No, I was hopin’ you had,” Claudia fished, taking another bite of her early dinner.

Myka smirked. “Nice try, Claud; you know I can’t tell you anything. And you said yourself that you can’t blow my cover.”

It was Claudia’s turn to scowl. “You really can’t tell me anything?” she whined. “It’s not like I don’t already know what you’re doing and what you’re after….”

The agent shook her head. “Sorry, Claud. It’s already risky enough for me; I don’t want to put you in any more danger than you’re putting yourself in just by keeping in touch. All I can tell you is that I’m…expecting another call. From a friend.”

Claudia grinned in amused understanding. “You should see the look on your face,” she said, hoping Myka didn’t notice her taking a discreet screenshot.

Myka rolled her eyes, but Claudia caught the slight flush that came to her cheeks. “See you later, Claudia,” the agent said, firmly redirecting and ending the conversation. “And thank you again…for everything.” She smiled softly, and Claudia matched her expression in return.

“Anytime, Mykes.”

Claudia waited until Myka had hung up before letting out the sigh she’d been holding. She wondered for the umpty-ninth time how and why the hell she had gotten herself into this. But then she pulled up the screenshot she had taken and looked at Myka’s expression again. The agent’s smile was bright and relaxed, eyes momentarily free of everything that had been plaguing her – free of twice the weight Atlas ever carried on his shoulders.

“Don’t you dare break her heart, HG,” she murmured to the empty duplicate B&B before diving back into her research, finally having gone past scratching the surface.

* * *

“How do you do that?” Myka grumbled, glowering at an innocently smiling Helena. The dark-haired woman had not only spelled out “REASON” on the board, but attached it to one of Myka’s earlier-played words to make “REASONABLY” on a double-word score.

“Beginner’s luck, darling,” Helena said (again) with a negligent wave of her hand.

“It would be, except you don’t really qualify as a beginner anymore,” the agent remarked, prompting a grin from Helena.

“Yes, well, there is that.”

Having lost spectacularly, Myka settled under the covers of her hotel bed and asked, “So, what’s tonight’s story?”

Helena smiled mysteriously, picking up a book from her bedside table and opening it to the title page. “The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells.” She looked up to see that Myka’s puzzled frown had turned into a brilliant smile as she leaned closer to her lantern in eager anticipation. “‘One. The Time Traveler (for so it will be convenient to speak of him)’” Helena began, “‘was expounding a recondite matter to us.’…”

* * *

Helena was pacing when Mrs. Frederic opened the door to her cell. She stopped when the Caretaker entered, biting her lip as she met her gaze.

“How can I help you, Ms. Wells?” Mrs. Frederic asked, arching an eyebrow at Helena’s demeanor.

“I….” Helena wrung her hands, taking and releasing a deep breath. “I was wondering if I might be allowed a typewriter, or at least a pen and paper? I’d…there’s something I’d like to…I need to write.” Helena had finished reading The Time Machine to Myka the night before, and the smile on Myka’s face and the sound of her applause when the dark-haired woman closed the book were the catalyst to an idea that had been lurking in the back of Helena’s mind. Now Helena’s thoughts were racing, overflowing, tangling into an entire novel spinning through her head, pleading to be put to paper. If Helena thought she could, she’d have scratched the whole thing out on the walls of her room, she was so eager to write. Still, she knew it would be better – and less insane-looking – to wait until she could speak to Mrs. Frederic.

“I see.” The Caretaker gave Helena a long, calculating look, making the usually unflinching woman shift from foot to foot. Finally, she asked, “Did Claudia teach you how to use a computer?”

Helena nodded after a moment, but she didn’t allow herself any hope; the Caretaker’s question didn’t mean that her request was being considered. “She taught me the basics, yes, but, I much prefer a typewriter. It’s what I’m used to, and it feels…right…to me.” She shrugged, hoping she hadn’t just ruined her chances.

After another one of her long, intimidating pauses, Mrs. Frederic nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Helena nodded in return. “Thank you.”

It turned out that Helena did not have long to wait; barely two hours later, a typewriter sat on her desk next to a large sheaf of paper. She was a little suspicious about how accommodating the Regents were being – what with the lantern, the copy of her book, and now this – but she wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Instead, she faced the typewriter and a far more daunting task than she had originally thought.

This book would be the turning point – for everything. The moment she put her fingers to the keys, she would be pouring her soul into paper for Myka to hear, and what she could reveal…what she was about to reveal….

Helena took a deep, resolute breath, closing her eyes to center herself. It all needed to be written. Myka needed to hear it.

Once she had found a state of calm, she fed the first page into the typewriter and created the title page. Then she fed in the second, and her fingers began to dance so rapidly across the keys that they almost sounded like machinegun fire punctuated with the occasional “ding” that came with resetting the platen. It had to be done, and Myka had to have it…just in case the worst happened.

* * *

Myka was grinning when she turned the lantern on, Scrabble board ready. Truthfully, she was almost contemplating purposely losing or forgoing the game entirely for whatever story Helena had planned. When she had read her The Time Machine, the dark-haired woman had paused every so often to make a comment on passages she was particularly proud of or aspects of her life and the people in it that had inspired certain characters and events. Myka found that these hardly felt like interruptions, though; Helena somehow kept it all within the flow of the story, her rich voice entrancing and soothing and captivating all at once. Myka was hoping that her next story was another one of her books – maybe The War of the Worlds, or The Food of the Gods.

But when the agent saw Helena’s face, her smile faded. The dark-haired woman was giving Myka a tentative look, fiddling with a large pile of paper in her hands. It took the brunette a moment to realize that it was a manuscript of some kind, not even bound. Before Myka could ask, Helena took a deep, shaky breath. “H-Heart of Bronze,” she read from the title page, “by Helena Wells.”

Myka understood the significance of Helena’s use of her real name; she immediately leaned closer to the lantern, scattering the Scrabble board and pieces with her knee without caring where everything landed. Helena gave her a grateful look before flipping the first page aside and beginning to read.

“‘Her heart had died when she lost her Christina; had turned to a withered black shell that slowly began to poison the rest of her. Life no longer had meaning, and yet she still fought for it – still fought to bring it back, to make things right. And then, when she couldn’t, she was lost. She could not decide between life and death – whether to leave and be with her Christina, or to try and overcome the shroud of grief draped heavily across her shoulders. She knew – she hoped – that her daughter – her kind, sweet, beautiful daughter – would want her to smile – would want her mother to still be her mother, even separated by the boundary of life and death.

“‘So the woman wrapped her heart in bronze, hoping that the passing of time would ebb her grief, as so many people said time did. But even encased in bronze, her heart continued to beat – continued to pump poison through her veins. For over a hundred years, the grief was left to grow beneath its shell, slowly blossoming into anger and hatred. She had gotten the revenge she sought, but a seeming eternity of silence with only her thoughts to keep her company had brought the pain back anew. When she was freed, when she heard his plan, she was so wrought with anguish that it sounded perfect to her. She would find the relief she sought, and she would take the world with her.

“‘She knew people would try and stand in her way, but she never expected her – the one with the soft brown curls and the piercing blue-green eyes. She never expected that a hundred years after it all began, somehow, there would be someone who could crack her bronze shell’…”

Hours passed; neither woman cared. Helena continued to read, and Myka continued to listen, literally clinging to every word. She listened as everything they’d been through together was seen through Helena’s eyes, felt as Helena had felt. More than once her breath caught in her throat as the dark-haired woman’s feelings for her were finally revealed.

“…‘All she could think of as she slowly began to freeze – oh, the irony, considering her master plan – was that she would never see Myka again – never see the way her eyes sparkled when she smiled’…”

“…‘The devastated look that had been on Myka’s face was slowly replaced with a relieved, joyous smile, and the sight of it made the woman’s heart flutter. Not only had the agent broken through her bronze shell, she had made her heart start beating again’…”

“…‘Her heart stopped, but she tried not to show it. Her entire body screamed in terror, but it only crossed her face as growing uncertainty. Pain she had not felt since Christina’s death roared to life with a vengeance as Myka held the gun in the woman’s hand to her own head, demanding that she shoot her. The woman finally screamed and dropped the gun, the horror of her actions overwhelming her. The woman knew she should have abandoned her plans long ago, but had convinced herself that what she desired even more than Christina’s life returned to her was something she could never have. She realized then, as she dropped the gun, as she dropped to the ground, that she could destroy the world, she could destroy herself, but she could never, ever harm Myka’...”

Myka bit her lip, but she couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down her face. She covered her mouth with her hand to stifle a sob, and she could see that Helena was having similar trouble keeping her composure.

“…‘Myka’s declaration made the woman’s heart hurt, but not the way it had before. This was not the pain of loss, of anger, of hatred; this was the pain of longing – the soft ache that somehow makes you smile nonetheless. She wanted to tell her, then, how she felt, and almost felt like she was deceiving her by not doing so. But she wanted more than anything to be free – to prove she was a good person, and to try and earn Myka’s affection. She was so afraid that if she told her then, she would scare the agent away, and the woman would be trapped forever. Her decision to say nothing haunted her that night, but she vowed that, if…when she got out, she would tell her – no matter what the price, no matter what the reaction’…”

Myka managed to hold back her gasp, but her heart still leapt, understanding exactly what Helena was trying to say and wanting so much to say it back. But there was more to the story, so Myka kept silent as Helena’s words slowly brought her closer to the present.

“…‘Myka applauded as the woman closed the book and bowed a little in response. “I feel honored to have had it read to me by the author herself,” Myka said, only half-teasing. The woman felt herself blushing, though she was not entirely sure why. “Tomorrow I’ll have to find a really special one for you,” she replied. Myka chuckled. “With you reading it to me, I know I’ll like it.” The woman blushed further, the agent’s words warming her – making her feel cared for, almost needed.’”

I do need you, Helena, Myka thought.

“‘It was after they had said their goodnights that the woman knew. She admitted then, to herself how much she’…” Helena took a deep breath, “… ‘how much she loved her. She had been convinced that she would never find love again – that Christina would be the only person in her heart. But she had found in this new, strange time that there was room for another – someone she loved just as deeply. She knew it was foolish to think anything would come of it, she knew it was improbable, but she hoped that maybe, just maybe, this incredible, beautiful angel could love her back.’”

Helena let out a long sigh as she flipped over the last page, as if she’d been holding her breath even as she read. Keeping her gaze averted from Myka’s, she reached over to turn off the lamp.

“Wait!” Myka choked, reaching for the globe of her own lantern and pressing her fingertips against the glass. Helena stayed her hand, and when she finally did meet Myka’s gaze, it was with fearful hesitance as she braced herself for the agent’s reaction. “I do,” Myka gasped. “I do, Helena, I do love you, so very much,” Every word she’d been holding back for what felt like an eternity left her in a rush. “I knew when I saw you walk into the office after I’d been so afraid you’d been Bronzed again. I saw that you were ok, and you were smiling and I knew then that I loved you. I love you more than anything, Helena.” Her tears flowed with her words, but she could have cared less; Helena needed to hear the words as much as Myka needed to say them.

Helena sobbed once and pressed her fingers against her own lamp to meet Myka’s, both imagining they could feel the other’s touch across the miles. “I love you too,” Helena replied, her voice strong even as her tears made her tremble. “Oh God, Myka, I love you too.”

Neither of them knew how long they sat there, crying, each wishing they could hold the other. Instead they whispered words of love over and over, as if making up for every other time they should have said them before. Eventually they calmed, both having cried themselves to exhaustion and nearly through morning for both of them.

“You should sleep, darling,” Helena murmured, still stroking the glass of the lantern. She was thankful that it didn’t give off actual heat, but even if it did, she would have let her fingerprints burn off before she broke what little contact she had with Myka.

“I don’t wanna leave you,” Myka mumbled back. Her eyes would have filled with tears, if she’d had any left.

“I’ll always be there,” Helena said with a tender smile. Myka couldn’t help but smile back. “Sleep, darling. Know that I love you so much.”

“I dream of you,” Myka blurted as Helena was about to turn off her lamp. “I touch myself and dream of you.” She had no idea what possessed her to say it, and she could feel herself blushing. Helena paused, and when Myka saw the smoldering look she gave her, all embarrassment fled.

“Oh, Myka…” she whispered, voice husky. “Oh, how I have dreamed of you.”

The brunette’s eyes sparkled, her shyness giving way to daring. The grin she gave Helena was positively lecherous. “Well then…I’ll be sure to have very good dreams tonight.”

Myka’s words ignited the desire in the dark-haired woman’s veins as it pooled between her legs, and the flush on her face was far from one of embarrassment this time. “As mine will certainly be.” On impulse, she pressed her lips against the lantern, and her heart sang when Myka did the same. “Goodnight, Myka. I love you.”

“I love you too, Helena. Goodnight.”

And oh, did they dream, each crying out the other’s name without restraint as they sent themselves soaring.