Author: SentientMist PM
After a mission goes horribly wrong, Helen is left to make a choice her heart may not be ready for.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Helen M. & James W. - Words: 2,162 - Published: 10-09-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6385162
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: This is another snippet taken from my AU verse. Except, this time, I did a little pre-series redecorating of Helen's life. Therefore, not Helen/Will! *gasp* Much love to Msynergy for her advice and for providing a title! All mistakes are mine. Hope you enjoy!
xxx indicates a flashback
ooo is just an extra break where I felt the story needed it
Sorry, if that gets confusing. Formatting was being a pain.
Disclaimer: I still don't own them.
She slips out of the darkened bedroom, closing the door quickly but quietly, best not to wake her. Her boots echo, deafeningly loud, in the silence as she hurries through the corridors. He finally catches up to her in the entrance hall, fumbling with the zipper on a worn leather jacket.
"Where are you going?"
"You cannot simply leave her. It's not who you are, not who she is. She isn't John's."
"There is a reason I froze that embryo," she bites out, finally working the zipper and moving toward the door, flinging it open.
"Is that what you would have done with Abigail as well? Or would you have chosen a more…permanent solution? Had Mark not stopped you."
She turns on him, slamming the door back into its frame. "Do not call her that, and do not bring him into this. You know nothing."
Her voice is dangerously low, threatening, her warning clear.
He continues, undaunted.
"That would be quite impossible. It seems to have everything to do with him. And what will you do with her, Helen? Where will she go? Now that she's so much a part of this world. A part of you."
"I won't do this, James. Not without him," she whispers fiercely.
He sighs as the she yanks the door open and melts into the night.
"Helen, my dear, you cannot run forever," he murmurs into the silence.
He hears the blankets rustling long before he sees two piercing blue eyes flutter open, locking on his face. The fiery hair may have come from her father, but those eyes, those eyes were definitely her mother's. "Where's Mommy?"
"She's gone for a walk."
Moisture gathers against bright blue, tears threatening to fall, as she clutches a raggedy teddy bear tightly to her chest. "But she just got home."
"She'll be back. In the meantime, I'm afraid it's just the two of us. What shall we do while we wait. Perhaps you have a suggestion."
The red-head studies him quizzically, and for a moment, he thinks the tears will fall anyway. "Do you color?" she finally asks quietly, shyly.
"I believe I could start."
Tears forgotten, she offers him a brilliant smile. Her bare feet pad softly against the wood floor as she runs across the room, bear in tow. He smiles gently when she returns, standing in front of him, her arms full as she juggles an assortment of coloring books and a large box of crayons. Easing the books out of her grasp, he reaches for her, hauling her into his lap. Snatching a princess book from the top of the stack, she grabs a pink crayon, handing him the box as she begins filling in a dress, intently focused on staying in the lines. "You can have the one with the puppies."
Running a hand through her hair, he shakes his head in amazement. Incredible how easily a child's focus can be diverted. Opening a book to a picture of what appears to be a poodle, he grabs the black crayon, sighing as he begins coloring. There were worse things he could be doing.
"Helen, what do you have to prove by doing this?"
She throws her pack over the ledge, scrambling over the rocks to join it. "I'm not trying to prove anything. This creature, whatever it may be, cannot be allowed to continue terrorizing this village. I have my reasons for coming myself."
He follows, refusing to give in. "After I asked you not to? You should be at home! With our daughter! Abigail needs you. More than you seem to realize."
"No more than she needs you." She pins him with a glare and he knows he's already lost this argument. But he's never been one to back down from a fight, even a losing one. A fact she'd known when she hired him, allowed him into her life.
"I am there for her. Always. I do this for her! So that her life is safe! So she doesn't have to live every day wondering what she did wrong, where she belongs, who she is!"
A surge of anger washes over her and she forgets herself, facing him.
"Is that what you call it? You honestly believe you're helping her, protecting her? That you're there for her?" Her voice rises with each question before dropping to a hostile whisper. "I am the one she runs to when she wakes from a nightmare in the middle of the night. I am the one who takes care of her when she gets sick, comforts her when she's frightened. I am the one she talks to, the one she plays with. I am the one who is there for her. Don't you dare suggest otherwise. I never wanted this, Mark. I was never prepared for this. I'm not ready to give up my work, my life, for someone else. Not yet." Turning her back to him, she continues her trek, determination strengthening her stride as she puts more distance between them.
The chill seeps through Helen's jacket, the thin material of her top, leaving her numb. She relishes it. She doesn't want to feel tonight. She's not sure she ever wants to feel again. She's so tired. Exhausted, she allows her eyes to slide shut, but they immediately snap back open as images flit through her mind.
"Why were you so stubborn? Why did you have to follow me?" she mutters into the stillness.
She's walking aimlessly through the park, trying not to feel, trying not to think. There's no destination, no place to be, no place to go; she simply needs peace and silence, a place to gather her emotions, calm the chaos within her.
"Helen, would you just slow down?" he begs, hurrying after her, muttering a curse as he loses his footing on a loose rock.
"We need to reach the village before nightfall. It's not safe to be out here after dark." There's none of the warmth he's always associated with her. Her voice is dark, quiet. He can feel her shutting him out.
He softens his own voice in response. "Will you at least talk to me?"
Glancing over her shoulder, she releases a sigh. "We have nothing to discuss, Mark. I made my decision. Just as you made yours."
"Helen, we both know she's better off never knowing. It's too dangerous."
She finally pauses, offering him a sad smile.
"I love you, Mark, and I made a choice I never should have because of it. That is something I will have to live with."
She drops her gaze to the ground, worrying her bottom lip.
"Jenna will be provided everything she requires, but I can no longer allow myself to be emotionally involved. It's time I made a decision for myself." She meets his eye again, hating the hurt she sees there, knowing she's causing it.
"We should continue. Our time is running short," she murmurs, turning and continuing her previous path.
"Why isn't Mommy back yet?" Jenna sits curled in his lap, worn teddy bear held tightly to her, pleading blue eyes clouded with fear.
"She simply needed some time to think. I'm sure she'll return shortly." He circles an arm around her, somewhat awkwardly, pulling her closer.
Her lower lip trembles as fat tears start rolling down her cheeks. "I miss her."
Gently stroking her head, he murmurs into her hair, "Hush, little one. Helen will discover her place soon enough."
"Stay here," he whispers urgently, pushing her into the shadows.
"Mark, I'm not letting you-"
He places a finger to her lips, quieting her. "You know me. Always have to be the hero. I'll be fine."
Agitated, she fixes him with a look that clearly indicates she isn't happy, "You're going to get yourself killed. You icannot/i save them."
"But I can always try," he says, flashing her a boyish smile. "Kiss me for luck?"
She grasps his upper arms, as he tugs her against him, kissing her deeply. "Be careful," she whispers as he pulls away.
"I always am."
"Helen, you don't have a choice! Shoot, Goddammit!"
Tears prick behind her eyes, threatening to spill over and she shakes her head furiously.
"Mark, I," her voice is shaking, her vision blurring, "I can't," she finally whispers, pulling the trigger.
"Shh. It's okay. I've got you. You're okay," she whispers frantically, cradling his head in her lap, tenderly brushing damp hair back from his face.
"Take. Care. Of her. She still. Needs you," he gasps.
"No, no, no, no, no," she mutters. "Don't you dare. Dammit, Mark." Leaning forward, she places a gentle kiss to his forehead, pulling him further into her lap.
"I love you," she whispers into the night.
"What were you thinking?" she shouts into the darkness. "Why did you leave me? Why did you make me-" Choking on a sob, she collapses onto a metal park bench.
"Why did I let you go?" she whispers brokenly, curving her arms around her stomach as the tears overtake her.
Helen staggers into her room sometime early the next morning, nearly running into James. "I need to see her."
She looks stricken, "She's my daughter, you can't-"
"A daughter whom you left to worry about you while you were off God knows where for the past," he glances at his watch, "twenty-six hours. Look at yourself. You are her mother. She should not have to see you like this." His voice is low and scathing, startling her.
For the first time, she realizes she hasn't changed since the mission. Her clothing is rumpled, streaked with dirt and blood, her hair a tangled mess. Dried tears and smeared make-up still cling to her face. She must look terrible.
He softens, "Go. Get yourself cleaned up. She'll be happy to see you."
Nodding, she blindly crosses to a dresser, tugging out clothes.
Early morning sunlight is beginning to filter through the windows when she returns. She looks hollow, tired, but no longer deranged. She's dressed in a tank top and soft cotton pants, a testament to her exhaustion, her need for comfort. Coming up behind James where he stands at the entrance to Jenna's bedroom, she lays a hand on his shoulder. "Is she-"
"She's coloring," he says, glancing at her over his shoulder. "You should talk to her."
She nods, slipping past him, and he watches from the doorway as she settles on the floor next to Jenna's crouched form, whispering gently into the girl's ear. "Mommy!" she shrieks, throwing herself into Helen's arms.
Helen holds her close, meeting his eyes over her daughter's head, mouthing a silent 'thank you.'
Smiling, James closes the door, moving to the sitting room, giving them their privacy.
"I missed you!" Jenna exclaims hugging her tightly.
"I missed you too, darling," Helen whispers tiredly, pulling back slightly, sweeping hair out the little girl's eyes. Her father's hair. She feels a pang in her chest, but shoves it down, kissing Jenna's cheek. "What are we coloring?"
"A princess! See! I've been working really hard at staying in the lines." She nods seriously, and Helen feels a genuine smile creeping onto her face.
"You're doing very well. I'm very proud of you."
She beamed at the compliment, settling back against her mother. "Where's Uncle Mark? Did he come back with you?"
Helen closes her eyes, taking a calming breath before opening them again. "No. Uncle Mark, Uncle Mark had to go away."
"Is he coming back?"
"He can't," she whispers with a shuddering breath, giving Jenna a gentle squeeze.
"Oh. Will you color with me, Mommy."
Helen nods, tears spilling over. "Of course," she murmurs. "But first, let's just sit here for awhile, okay?"
"Why are you crying, Mommy?"
She shakes her head, wrapping her arms tightly around Jenna's tiny form.
"I love you so very, very much. Always remember that," she whispers, tucking the girl's head under her chin.