Timeline: Post "Revelations, Part 2"
What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?
The city was beautiful at night. Magnus frequently found herself up on the roof after dark, just watching the lights. Frequently, she marveled at how far the world had come in her lifetime. At other times, her view on 'progress' was more cynical; in this new, advanced and 'accepting' age, abnormals were no better off than they had been in the Victorian Era. In some ways, given the current state of affairs, they were worse off now.
Tonight, her thoughts were not quite so far-reaching. She felt only one thing looking out over the city: aching loneliness.
"John," she greeted him with a sigh, not turning around or stepping down from the parapet. "The others asleep?"
"All but the two of us."
"They're taking this hard."
"So are we," he pointed out, ascending the battlement to stand beside her. "Your view is beautiful."
"You should see it in the good times."
He sighed. "How are you?"
"My heart is breaking, John."
He touched her cheek. "And your skin is rapidly becoming chilled. Come inside, Helen."
"I can't. It feels so claustrophobic in there. I can't abide feeling claustrophobic and alone at once."
"You aren't alone. You have the others. And you have me."
"Just not the way I used to. We can't go back to the way we used to be, John. You know that as well as I do."
"No, we can't take back what we had. But maybe we can still make a new beginning?"
"Do you honestly expect me to fall in love with you again? Now?"
"In light of everything that's happening? No. Of course not. But there's still the future to look to. Maybe, once everything is set right…"
"Maybe," she agreed weakly. "But it will never be the same."
"No. We're both older and wiser now. Naturally it will be different. Perhaps it might even be better the next time around. Hmm?"
"It would be nice," she admitted, resting her cheek against his shoulder. "But it hardly seems likely."
"We both have our gifts, Helen, but neither of us can see the future. Don't give up on us. I haven't."
"Nor have I," she admitted, biting back a smile.
"Yet you still feel alone?"
"How could I fail to?"
"A valid point." He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, drawing her close without forcing a hug on her.
"I'm frightened, John," she admitted.
"So am I. But I have faith in you and your little band. If anyone can make this right, it's you."
"Thank you, John."
"My pleasure, Helen. Now, come. I'll see you to your door."
"I don't want to sleep alone."
"Then you won't."
"John, I can't promise--"
"I understand. And if company is all you want, it is all I'll give you. Now, come," he repeated.
Grateful for his understanding, she let him guide her back inside and to her bedroom. "Are you sure you don't mind?"
"It's been a long time since I've shared your bed," he admitted slowly. "But I'll take my privileges each in turn as you see fit to award them to me. I'll be a perfect gentleman, I assure you."
"I know you will." She smiled. "You may have changed in many substantial ways, but not in the ones that really count."
"Let's go inside," he suggested. "If anyone were to see me at your bedroom door, it might give scandal."
Her smiled widened, her first genuine one in weeks. "You never used to mind giving scandal."
"Nor did you, as I recall, but times change," he answered, ushering her inside.
"Are you sure you're content with the fact that nothing will happen tonight?"
"I wouldn't go so far as to describe myself as content, but you have my word. I will be a gentleman."
"Of that I have no doubt, but I have no wish to add to your pain over other matters."
"If you want me here, it means you still care. How can that give me any pain?" He reached out and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "You'll come to me when you're ready. And, it goes without saying, I will be waiting."
She closed her eyes. "Thank you for understanding."
"When I feel precisely as you do, how could I help but understand?" he asked, helping her out of her robe. Helping her into bed and tucking her in just the way she liked, he told her, "We'll get through this, make things right. One way or another."
"I wish I could believe you," she sighed. "Come to bed, John."
He climbed under the blankets and drew her against his chest, just like old times. "Thank you for letting me be here at this time."
"I could hardly turn you away even if my love for you had died," she answered, wrapping her arms around him and cuddling close. She barely managed to stifle a sob. "Oh, John, I'm so sorry!"
"No, Helen. You have nothing to apologize for. We have only the Cabal to blame. Now cry, if that's what you need to do. I've shed my own share of tears over this nightmare."
"Thank you," she breathed as the first of the tears started.
Within moments, she was clinging to her former fiancée, sobbing into his chest. John held her close, at first rocking her and murmuring soothingly. Eventually his sobs and tears mingled with her own as the two gave vent to a hundred years of loneliness and to one, far more recent, heartbreak.
Eventually, exhaustion exerted itself and darkness claimed her.
When she woke up, the bed was empty save for herself. There was a sheaf of paper sitting on her nightstand.
Thank you, my dear Helen. I think we both needed that. But now, I think, we both need a few days alone, a little space. I won't be long and I won't stop searching. I love you with all my heart, and it is a relief to know that you still have a place in yours for me.
I am ever yours,
-- M J Druitt
Magnus sighed as she reread the letter, shaking her head and climbing to her feet. Hardly the first time she had woken up alone after a night in bed with John. As in those days, she knew that he would be back in his own good time. Whether he would be back for her was debatable, but he would be back. And that was comforting beyond words.