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Hour of the Wolf
By Athena


Chapter 2 - In the Darkness of the Night, the Wolf Lurks

Myka stared out into the dark night. It never ceased to amaze her how quiet and dark it was in South Dakota at night. She was a city girl, used to the never ending buzz of the city and lights that flickered in the night. She had learned to treasure the quiet here at Leena's. But in this dark hour it gave her no solace. She sighed and bent her head. No answers came to her. They never did. Tonight was not any different than the night before, or the night before that.

Myka glanced at the alarm clock, 3:15 AM. Four hours until she had to get up. She was flying to Albuquerque with Pete in the morning. Artie had got a ping, late last night. As much as it pained him, it wasn't possible to get his agents to the South West any earlier than the following morning. Myka smiled a lopsided smile as she remembered his rant. Unlike in the past she just shrugged it off. Tomorrow she would do her duty. She always did. She was a good agent. But her heart wasn't in it any more. Her thoughts returned to the main reason why she was up, why she was holding vigil during the hour of the wolf. Helena.

This was the only time she allowed herself to think of the woman who had so changed her life. At this darkest hour of the night, Helena returned to her in all her glory. She allowed herself a brief moment when she could again feel the love, the comfort, and perhaps even hope. In the end it always shattered. Helena had been ripped from her heart. She sobbed silently and, irritated, wiped a lone tear away from her cheek. She curled up on the bed and hugged a pillow for comfort.

She had been such a mess the day they took Helena away. As much as she had tried to hate her, to change her feelings to accept that Helena had played her, her heart refused. She couldn't look at her when they hauled her away in the dark Hummer. It didn't matter. She had memorized Helena's face on the drive back from Yellowstone. It had been the longest drive of her life. Helena had looked her deep in the eyes, but not said a word. Myka wanted to scream at her to say something, anything to make sense of all this. Helena had remained silent.

So she left. A part of her understood the complexity of Helena in that moment when she was alone in the car driving like a crazy person through the barren landscape of South Dakota. The need for inner peace, to withdraw to lick her wounds. And the intense pain; a deep, raw pain inside of her that she knew would never go away, that she would not allow anyone make go away. To do so would mean wiping away the memory of the love. Myka knew she didn't deserve their love, and that they did not deserve to carry her pain. So, she left. She drove away that afternoon with no plan in mind. She had stopped in town and withdrawn as much cash as she could from her account. She didn't want to leave any trace behind.

Her thoughts returned to the woman she still carried in her heart. For a brief moment she thought she could smell the faint scent of her perfume in the room. She looked around, but there was nothing there but shadows. She got out of bed and lit the Tahitian Vanilla candle on the dresser. It had been Helena's favorite. She watched the dancing flame as the wax started to pool around the wick. She wondered for a brief moment if Helena was allowed any personal pleasures like this. Probably not. She returned to her spot on the bed. If she closed her eyes she could almost hear the wolf panting by the door. She hugged the pillow closer.

From that first night when she had held Helena in her arms, protecting her against the demons in her dreams, they had moved towards something so intense, it had at times scared her. She had never had feelings like this for another person. It was ironic really that this woman had had to cross time and space to find her. Sometimes when they were out in public she would just watch Helena and the people she interacted with, wondering what they would think if they knew. Like the mother whose child Helena had saved that day at the Agricultural Fair. It had been a crisp fall day when they had decided to go to the local Ag fair. Claudia wasn't too thrilled, but Pete made up for it by his enthusiasm for all the delicious fair junk food. There were funnel cakes, fried dough, corndogs and god knows what else on his list. She smiled at the memory. Pete had always been great at diffusing almost any difficult situation.

Helena had dragged her off to see the horses. She was so full of life. Myka realized that this might actually be closer to her old life than anything else she had encountered. As they approached the building where the competitions were held, they noticed a couple of horses and riders outside. Helena pulled her behind her as she quickly walked over. Then suddenly there was a lot of commotion in the middle of all the people. A horse was neighing, and even Myka realized that it was not a normal sound. It was the sound of a frightened animal. Helena let go of her arm and rushed forward. Myka ran after her. She almost ran into Helena as she stopped a few feet away from the horse.

"Stay back," she had warned.

Helena slowly approached the wild-eyed animal. A plastic bag on one of its ears explained what had scared him. The child on his back was crying and holding on for dear life as the horse danced around. Helena spoke softly to it as she slowly inched closer, her hands held up in front of her. The horse tossed its head and for a moment it looked like it was going to rear.

"Hold on tight, and if he rears, lean forward," she said softly to the child. She hiccupped, but nodded. "Good girl," Helena said and smiled. "He's just scared. He doesn't want to hurt you."

She inched closer and finally her fingers closed around the reins. She wrapped her arm around the horse's head and pulled the bag off. She spoke softly to him as she held his head down. Finally he stopped shaking.

"I'm going to help you down now," Helena said softly. "Give me the reins," she instructed. The girl let go and held on to the saddle. She watched as Helena slowly moved them over his head. "Now, just move slowly." She held the reins in one hand as she reached up and wrapped her arm around the girl's waist. She clung to Helena as she slid off the horse. Helena quickly put her down and pushed her behind her. "See, that wasn't so bad now, was it?" she said and smiled.

The girl didn't answer, she just ran to her mother. Helena continued to talk to the horse and finally he was completely calm. She turned and started to walk towards the barn, the reins held loosely in her hand as the horse happily trailed behind her. Myka smiled as she looked around and saw the flabbergasted faces of the audience. Helena handed the horse over to the owner and returned to Myka's side.

"That was fun," she said excitedly.

Myka just shook her head. "You're insane," she muttered. Helena just laughed.

"Excuse me," a woman's voice said behind them. They turned. It was the girl's mother. "I just wanted to say thank you for saving Jillian," she said and smiled.

Helena shook the offered hand and smiled. "My pleasure. I don't think she was ever in any real danger. He's not a dangerous animal, just scared."

The woman nodded. She nudged the girl over. "What do you say?"

"Thank you," she said softly.

Helena kneeled so she was at eyelevel with her. She took her hands and smiled. "Jillian, you were very, very brave. You did everything right. You helped me calm him down. I think you will be a great horse person some day."

"Really?" the girl said with a shy smile.

"Really. I know you were scared, but you didn't let it prevent you from doing what you needed to do. And you cared for the horse. I know you did."

The girl nodded. "He's always been so sweet. I don't know why he suddenly got all crazy."

Helena smiled. "It happens sometime. The important thing is that you know that you can handle it, should it happen again."

The girl suddenly threw her arms around Helena's neck and hugged her. Helena slowly wrapped her arms around her skinny frame and hugged her back. Myka could see the mixed feelings on Helena's face.

"Thank you again…" the girl frowned. "What's your name?"

Helena laughed. "Helena Wells. You may call me Helena."

"Thank you Helena. I hope I'll be as good with horses when I grow up as you are."

Myka smiled. She took Helena's hand and gently squeezed it as they watched them walk away.

Myka didn't know when she had decided that she couldn't do it alone. Finally she picked up the phone and called the only person she knew who would understand. When she heard his voice on the other end she laughed, but it turned into a sob.

"Pete, I need you. Will you…?"

"Where are you?" he asked.

She told him. Two hours later there was a soft knock on the door to her room. She opened and there he was. She let him in and they just stared at each other for a moment. She knew she looked a mess. She had lost weight and her clothes didn't fit well anymore. When the first tear fell he pulled her into a tight hug. She grabbed his jacket and laughed and cried at the same time. She didn't protest when he picked her up and put her down on the bed. He held her as she cried.

They talked and talked. She told him about Helena. He had talked about Kelly. Six months ago if someone had told her that she would have a girl talk moment with Pete she would've laughed out loud. But here they were, sharing their pain and sorrow with the only other person who could really understand. She told Pete how Helena's touch made her feel like the most special person in the world. She tried to describe that special smile that Helena saved only for Myka. It had felt so good to just lean against him, feeling his strength and warmth give life to her numb body.

She cried when he told her how he had found Claudia sleeping in her bed one morning, her tear streaked face burrowed in Myka's pillow. She missed this little sister who had managed to find her way to Myka's heart. It hurt to hear that she had caused her pain.

Myka closed her eyes and inhaled the scent from the candle. Tahitian Vanilla would forever remind her of Helena. She walked over and blew it out. She remembered when she had bought Helena this amazing soap that smelled exactly like her precious candle. She knew Helena had used it, she could smell its scent in the bathroom, but where was she?

Myka had gone looking for her and found Helena sitting in front of the roaring fireplace, slowly brushing her hair. The sight was so beautiful Myka just froze in place, trying to memorize it. Helena had looked up at her and smiled, a little embarrassed. Myka had sat down next to her. She could smell the faint scent of vanilla on her lover's body as she kissed her.

"Is the hair dryer not working?" she asked confused as she realized that Helena was actually drying her hair.

Helena smiled. "No, it's working fine," she said softly and continued to slowly brush her hair.

Myka finally understood. Helena had at one point told her how noisy she found this world. Too loud, too bright and too fast she had said. This quiet exercise brought her lover more comfort than she would ever have imagined. She smiled softly at her and made herself comfortable, watching her beautiful woman.

The wolf was growling. She made a strangled sound. It never failed. The dark, impenetrable shroud of sorrow and despair always descended on her. She felt like she couldn't breathe, like there would never be happiness again. She tried to make the visions go away, but as always they didn't. She saw Helena's face, her eyes dark and filled with pain, her body broken. Was she still alive? Had they killed her? Or worse? She tried to rationalize her frantic thoughts. The Regents weren't monsters. They would not torture Helena. If they wanted her dead, they would do it fast and be done with it. Sometimes she wanted them to, but there was always a small part of her that still carried hope that Helena could be saved. Still, Myka knew that a life confined to eternal isolation from everyone she knew and loved would be worse to Helena than death. That's when she would hear the wolf howl. She curled into a fetal position and just cried.

Eventually Myka fell into a restless sleep. A few hours later the alarm went off. She struggled to get up. Gone was the darkness of the night. The sun came through the sheer curtains and she could hear sounds in the house. She dragged her feet into the bathroom and turned on the shower. As the water washed away the remnants of her meeting with the wolf, Myka the woman was pushed into the darkness of her mind and Agent Myka Bering was yet again ready to take on the dangers of the world.

Part 3

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