When Cosima comes back to her apartment, the door is hanging open. Her first thought is shit, and her second thought is to go walking right in anyways – look, she has a lot of skills, but her first instinct is to go poking things. She’s sure this is someday going to lead to her dead, but hey: what a way to go.
Today it doesn’t lead to her dead. Today it leads to the sight of Helena sitting on the floor of her apartment, surrounded by mounds of dirty clothes and old notes, holding Cosima’s tarantula on her fingers.
“Hello,” she says. “I like your spider. Very pretty.”
Okay, Cosima thinks, and rolls with it. “Yeah,” she says, dumping her bags on the ground by the door and plopping down next to Helena on the carpet, “his name’s Kumonga. He’s the best guy I know.”
“Ku-mon-ga,” Helena says carefully, putting each syllable delicately on her tongue. “What does this mean?”
Um. “You know Godzilla?” Cosima asks.
“No,” Helena says, grinning shyly as Kumonga skitters around her knuckles and starts climbing up her wrist.
“Uh,” Cosima says, “okay, so Godzilla’s like – it’s like –” she’s going to say a wicked-cool, enormous dinosaur and then she realizes Helena might not know what dinosaurs are and lizards definitely don’t have that sharp of teeth and oops, her hands are still kind of fluttering around but she’s trailed into silence. “You know what? Doesn’t matter. The point is that Kumonga is this really, really big spider. Goes around wrecking people’s shit, stomping on cities and stuff.” She pantomimes eight legs, hunches her shoulders, rawr.
Helena nods serenely. “This I like,” she says. “Your Kumonga is very small, though. Is stomping Kumonga a movie, like Cinderella.”
“Yeah,” says Cosima, “there’s, like, a whole bunch of ‘em.” (The question is: how hard will Sarah kill her if she introduces Helena to the Godzilla movies, and how much will it be totally worth it.) “You’re doing really well,” she says, deciding the risk is not – at this time – worth it and abruptly changing the subject. “You ever handled spiders before?”
“Not really,” Helena mutters, but there’s a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth as Kumonga goes meandering up into her hair. He looks a little lost in all the curls, but then again Cosima would be too. “I had a friend once who was almost a spider. Only with a stinger.” She purses her lips, frowns a little. “I like your friend better. He has nice hairs also.”
“It’s the good hairs club,” Cosima says, unashamedly wiggling her eyebrows, and she’s rewarded with the rusty sound of a giggle. It’s a good sound. She wonders how much she could make Helena giggle. It’s, you know, an experiment. For science.
“Oops, I think he’s lost,” she says when Kumonga doesn’t resurface for a minute or so.
“He crawled down my shirt,” Helena says peacefully. “He is on my back now.”
“Uh,” Cosima says. “You want me to, like…get him out for you?”
Helena shakes her head no. “I do not feel much, there,” she says. “It does not hurt, his little feet.” But she reaches a hand back and sure enough: Kumonga comes riding back on her palm, wiggling his front legs jauntily.
“I should probably get him back to his tank,” Cosima says, “or he’ll get cranky.” Wordlessly Helena offers up her hand, and Kumonga crawls onto Cosima’s palm. She stands up and passes him from hand to hand until he’s secured in his tank, at which point she turns around and considers the woman sitting shyly in the middle of her rug.
“I’m pretty sure I can find a Godzilla movie,” she says, “if you want to, like, hang.”
Helena visibly perks up. “Will there be popped corn,” she says excitedly.
“Yeah, sure,” Cosima says, “why not.”
“Yes,” says Helena, and she smiles.
“Okay,” Cosima says, and she smiles back.