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Chapter 1 Mistletoe & Wine
Myka leaned against the door frame watching the scene in the living room. Hands wrapped around a mug of steaming mulled wine she felt its warmth rejuvenate her cold body. It was December 21, Winter solstice night and surprisingly there had been no ping anywhere today. Pete and Claudia had pulled together this impromptu holiday party and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Myka smiled, trying to look happy, like the old Myka, if only for tonight. She glanced at Artie as he sat down by the piano and started playing. It had surprised her how good he was at Christmas Carols, since the Menorah on the mantle was his. Religion aside, he seemed to be very happy indulging his team, and together with Pete, Claudia and Joshua who was visiting, he did his best to get a little holiday spirit going. Myka sipped her mulled wine and sent a silent thanks to Joshua who had brought it with him from Switzerland.
A loud shriek and laughter shook her out of her silent musings. She saw Pete scoop up Mina and toss her in the air. The little girl shrieked with laughter as he caught her.
"Again," she said and laughed.
He happily obliged. Myka glanced over at Leena, little Mina's mother. It had been a huge surprise to them when Leena had revealed that she was pregnant. No one had dared to ask about the father who seemed to be ever distant. When little Mina was born a couple of months later everyone was amazed. She was a little beacon of light in the middle of all the recent darkness. Still there was something about the child that bothered Myka. Every time Mina looked at her, Myka felt like she could see into her soul. She'd never met a child so perceptive at such a young age. Tonight however, she did not show any creepy super-powers, as Myka referred to them, she was just a regular little girl who was playing with her uncle Pete.
Myka watched Mina run towards the beautiful Christmas tree in the corner with Pete in tow. They had put up the tree two weeks earlier, and the pile of presents had grown dramatically since then. She recognized a few of her own, one for everyone in the room, and a couple of extra ones for Mina. She thought about the other present, the one in her drawer upstairs. It had been sitting there for over two years now. She knew that she should just give it away, but she couldn't. She sipped her wine again and delighted in the burning warmth from the heat and spices. She needed this tonight. She only wished that the last person missing would come home.
About eighteen months after that awful day in Yellowstone Mrs. Frederic had informed them that HG Wells had been cleared of all charges. She had successfully completed the psych evaluations and was now completely deprogrammed. Myka had hoped that she would come home again, or that she would at least hear from her. But Helena had kept her distance, not once contacting her. Myka clenched her teeth, fighting the tears. She was not going to cry tonight.
She had asked Claudia to find out what HG was up to. She had made some lame excuse that they needed to make sure that she stayed on the right side of the law. Claudia had given her a look that told her she wasn't buying it. Well, why should she? She had been there in California when it had first started; when she and Helena had she closed her eyes. Damn it, she was not going to cry! Anyway, Claudia had found out that HG was in London. She was working with the British Secret Service, retrieving artifacts so dangerous not even Myka and Pete had clearance for it. She knew that Artie had received a couple of them. Every time there was a crate arriving from overseas she had held her breath hoping for Yeah, what was she hoping for? A sign? A letter? Anything. But there never was. She had thought for a moment to look HG up and confront her, but her god damn insecurity prevented her from doing that. She had got the message. HG didn't want to have anything to do with her. Whatever it was that had started during the mission in California and had slowly built over time until it reached its peak in Cairo, only to fall apart a day later, was over.
Myka hummed as Artie started playing another tune. It was one of her favorite carols. She watched as they gathered around the piano, singing along. She sipped her wine and was just about to walk over there when she felt this really odd feeling. Myka realized that she was no longer alone. She closed her eyes and tried to tune out the sounds of the singing. She was a secret service agent, damn it. She knew how to handle these things. She could feel the air move as someone moved up behind her. She was just about to strike when she recognized the scent. She put her hand over her mouth and turned around.
"Hello Myka," HG said and smiled at her.
"Oh my god," she whispered.
HG chuckled. Her eyes sparkled and she was as full of life as she had been that day when Myka had grabbed her and slammed her against the wall in the coach's office. She stood still as HG took a step closer. "Have you missed me darling?" she asked softly.
Myka nodded. She knew she should be angry with her that she should yell at her or at least slap her for hurting her, but the truth was that she was just so incredibly happy to see her again, none of the rest mattered.
"Good, because then you might not mind me doing this," HG said and kissed her.
Myka grabbed her shoulder to steady herself. She felt HG's arms circle her waist as she pulled her closer. She closed her eyes and melted into HG. When HG finally pulled away she took a deep ragged breath and looked at her. "What was that for?"
HG grinned and looked up. Myka looked up to see what she was looking at and saw the little green sprig hanging from the doorframe. "Mistletoe, darling."
Myka glared at her. "Where have you been? Why haven't " her questions were cut off by gentle fingers on her lips.
"Darling, I promise to answer all your questions, but for now let me just say this. I have been thinking about you every day since that god damn awful day when I was hauled away from the warehouse in shackles. Not a moment has gone by when I didn't wish that I was back with you, but I knew that if I was going to have any future with you, I had to prove that I was someone you could count on again. I had to prove that to myself too," she added softly at the end.
Myka took her hand and squeezed it. "I know what you've been doing these last months. I wish you'd told me why. I wish that you'd trusted me. It's been agony not knowing," she said, her voice raw with emotions. "I thought that you didn't care. That you'd just played me. That nothing that happened between us had mattered to you. That I never mattered to you. " The last words said so softly that it almost made HG cry. She pulled Myka against her and just held her.
"You are the only thing that matters to me anymore darling," she said. She pulled away and looked Myka in the eyes. "I think we're very overdue for a long talk, but now is not the time. Let's spend some time with our friends and tomorrow we can talk."
Myka nodded. "So you will be staying then?"
HG nodded. "Artie promised to take me back, on one condition," she looked at Myka. "Your approval. If it will be too painful for you, then I'm out of here."
Myka saw the sadness and pain that passed by so quickly in her eyes. Had she not known this woman so well, she might have missed it. "No, Helena," she said seriously. "I don't want that power over you. If you want to come back, you should. I'll be able to handle it."
HG nodded and caressed her hand. "Thank you. The truth is, I don't know if I could stand to be here, if I knew that my presence caused you pain. And honestly, if you don't want me in your life, there's no reason for me to be here. So like it or not, Myka Bering, you do have that power over me."
Myka gaped at her honesty. Then a huge grin spread over her face. "You really mean that, don't you? You came back for me," she whispered.
HG nodded. "The one and only reason."
HG took a step into the room and pulled Myka along with her, refusing to let go of her hand. "Merry Christmas everyone," she said cheerfully. The playing stopped and they turned and looked at her.
"HG," Claudia squealed and ran over to hug her. "Dude, where've you been?" she asked with an unhappy face. "You've been seriously uncool not even checking in to say hi."
HG chuckled and caressed her cheek. "I'm sorry dear. I had my reasons."
Pete smiled at her and gave her a half hug since he was still holding Mina. "Glad to have you back," he said and grinned. HG smiled at him.
Myka didn't know who was the most surprised, Helena or the rest of them, when little Mina reached out her arms to HG. HG gently took the little girl from Pete. She cradled her in her arms as she placed a kiss on her soft curls. Myka met her eyes and saw tears there. She smiled at her and put her hand on Helena's arm.
"And who are you little one?" Helena said and smiled at Mina.
Mina put her little hands on HG's cheeks and smiled at her. "Mina," she said and laughed.
"What a pretty name."
Mina moved her hand and caught a stray tear on HG's cheek. "No crying Helena," she said sadly.
"You know who I am?" Helena said surprised.
Mina giggled and put her little hand on Myka's which was still on Helena's arm. "Myka's Helena," she said as if that was all the explanation needed.
Helena made a strangled sound and looked at Myka. When Mina squirmed in her arms she gently put her down on the floor all while looking at Myka. She held out her hand to her and Myka threw herself against her. They clung to each other fighting the tears. Myka didn't care that there were people around them. All that mattered was this woman whose arms held her in a fierce embrace. She pulled away and kissed Helena. "I want you to stay Helena," she said softly. "No, I need you to stay," she clarified.
HG laughed while tears streamed down her cheeks.
"Alright everyone," Pete said. "Let's have some more merry over here. Can't have tears on Winter Solstice."
HG let go of Myka, but held her hand protectively in hers. She happily accepted some wine from Joshua and sipped it. Her eyes found Artie's over the rim of the cup. For the first time she saw only warmth there. She smiled at him. "Artie," she said softly.
"Welcome home Helena. About time," he huffed, but the smile on his face took the sting away.
HG looked down as she felt a tug on her pants. Mina was looking up at her. She kneeled down so she was at eye level with the child. "What is it darling?" she said softly to her.
"Play ch'mas song?" Mina said, trying to say the words right.
"You want me to play a Christmas carol for you?" HG asked surprised. Mina nodded enthusiastically. "I don't know sweetheart. It's been a while. Maybe Artie can play for you," she suggested.
Mina pursed her lips. "No, you."
HG looked up at Myka and then at Leena. "How does she even know that I play the piano?"
Myka shrugged. Leena just smiled. "I've stopped questioning why my daughter knows these things. She just does. Please, if she says you can play, you can."
HG gracefully got up from her kneeling position and picked Mina up. "Well young lady, if you want me to play, you have to help me."
Mina clapped her hands and smiled.
HG sat down by the piano with the girl on her lap. She let her hands skim over the keys trying it out. It felt like it used to. She leaned down and whispered in Mina's ear. "Let's play Myka's favorite, shall we?"
HG looked at Myka as she started playing. She watched her eyes fill with tears, but she was still smiling. She walked closer and joined in the singing.
Myka sighed and buried her face against HG's neck. Her hand rested on HG's stomach where her fingers were drawing intricate little patterns. HG basked in the aftermath of some of the sweetest lovemaking she had ever experienced. She gently tilted Myka's head up and brushed her lips against hers.
"I have dreamt about holding you like this again," she confessed softly.
Myka's lip trembled and she nodded. "Me too."
HG pulled her against her. "I'm home now Myka. As long as you want me. I'm never leaving again," she promised.
Myka sniffled. "I didn't dare believe that I would ever see you. Then when we were told that you'd been released I thought you might come back, but you didn't. That's when I really knew that I'd lost you."
HG kissed her forehead. "I'm so sorry. I promise you that I'll tell you the whole story, but I rather do it when we're both rested. I'll answer all your questions, even the hard ones."
Myka gave her a soft kiss. "Thank you. And thank you for coming back to me."
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