Magnus stared at the girl strapped to the bed through the glass with a grim expression. "The EM Shield is in place, Henry?"
"Yeah," he answered quietly, absently scratching his cheek. He winced but otherwise ignored the pain the ill-advised touch must have caused. "She's not going anywhere."
"Good." She nodded sharply. "No one goes in or out of that room without a direct order from me."
"Magnus!" Will protested, shaking his head. "I can't effectively deprogram her under those conditions. If she decides it's because I'm scared of her, there is going to be zero progress."
"Will, you can't go in there," Joe protested. "You're going to get killed. The chick is out of her fucking mind!"
"Hey!" Henry snapped, advancing on Joe with a murderous expression.
"Henry," Will sighed, stepping between the two men and grabbing both Henry's shoulders. The werewolf didn't even flinch at the hand on his bad shoulder. Will shook his head. "Take a walk; clear your head. This is not where you need to be right now, man."
He shook his head. "I'm not leaving her, Will."
"Henry, I don't even know how you're still capable of remaining upright after the beating you took and the procedure you just underwent. With those drugs, Ashley's going to be out for at least another nine or ten hours. Go get some rest."
"No. I'm staying."
"Henry Albert Foss!" Magnus snapped, shoving Will aside and positioning her nose about three centimeters from Henry's. "You. Will. Remember. Your. Place. In. This. Pack. And. Do. As. You. Are. Told!" she ground out in a rapid-fire staccato.
Henry took three stumbling steps backwards and then stood staring at her, looking for all the world like a man who had just taken a kneecap to the groin. For about two seconds, then his eyes darkened to that yellow and his face elongated into a more snout-like shape. And god those teeth looked even scarier in a human face.
His clothes were the next casualty as his body began to change in size and shape. Henry didn't even bother tearing at them, just waited for the seams to give, which looked incredibly painful but didn't even seem to register. He just seemed too busy glaring at her with anger and disgust.
Magnus stood firm, looking absolutely enraged, and Will was staring at the tableau in horror. She folded her arms over her chest and locked eyes with the wolf-creature, expression shifting seamlessly into a contemptuous sneer.
An alarmed yelp was followed by an agonized moan and then the wolf-creature fled the room at an awkward lope. How he managed it at all on a broken arm was beyond Joe.
"Magnus, that was pretty damned harsh," Will whispered, rubbing his hand over his mouth.
"Don't you dare question my parenting methods," she answered sharply. Then, in a voice that reminded Joe uncannily of his grandmother's lecture-voice, she informed the younger man, "Those were the only words that were going to get him to leave and we both know it."
"You could have at least tried saying please first."
"You don't want to test my patience right now," she warned, shaking her head. Then she sighed and her shoulders slumped, all the energy seeming to drain out of her. Not defeat, just fatigue. "My daughter is a slave to the ever-loving Cabal. John is in a coma. Henry is distraught, has three broken ribs, five broken bones in his face, and may never fully recover the use of his right hand. And you, Will, are not holding up nearly as well as you pretend, which is breaking my heart. So, if you would be so kind as to not push my buttons, I would appreciate it a great deal, Doctor Zimmerman."
"Magnus," he sighed, taking a step towards her and lifting his arms.
She took a long step back, shaking her head. "Not now. This isn't the time."
"Look, would you stop being all… Victorian on me? If a woman has ever needed a hug, it's you right now."
"Another time, Will."
He shook his head, looking equal parts annoyed, confused, and hurt. "You know as well as I do what hugging does to a person's brain-chemistry and how that impacts stress. Now you are either getting a hug or you're going to tell me what's going through that amazing mind of yours," he ordered.
She sighed, stepping past him and resting one hand against the glass looking into the Isolation cell.
"I could very much benefit from a hug, Will, I won't lie. But if I put my arms around you right now, I'm not sure I'd be able to let go again." Joe had no damned idea how the woman managed to keep her voice that steady. She was way the hell beyond being 'controlled' and 'measured' as Will claimed. It was absolutely inhuman, that level of composure. "Right now you're the only stable thing in this whole damned world and that has me feeling things I probably shouldn't."
Joe's eyes widened at that confession.
"Helen," Will whispered, resting his hands on her shoulders. "No one expects you to be the strong one right now. This is killing you. We understand that. And we want to help."
She lifted her other hand to the glass as well, closing her eyes and leaning forward until her forehead touched the Plexiglas, too. Will moved closer, wrapping his arms around her waist and leaning into her back. She let out a low whimper and Will kissed her hair.
"I'm here for you and I'm not going anywhere," he breathed.
Her head fell back and Joe saw tears. She turned her face until her cheek touched Will's, which Joe decided was his cue to leave. The psychiatrist swore blind that they weren't involved but Joe had seen sexual encounters that didn't convey half the intimacy and devotion of that simple embrace. Involved or not, their actions spoke to something deep, profound, almost spiritual in nature: simple, complete, unquestioning love…
Shaking his head, Joe went to see how poor Henry was holding up.
They stood locked in that pose for better than five minutes in complete silence, Will's tears mingling with her own where their faces touched. He couldn't have known what he was doing, but he was leaning into her with enough pressure to remind her of John. Of the way, after lovemaking, she would lay on her stomach and he would sprawl across her back, just stroking her cheek with one long finger while he nuzzled the back of her neck.
"This is completely inappropriate," she whispered.
"It's what you need."
"You don't understand. I can't stop thinking about John."
"He used to hold you like this?"
"Something similar," she admitted. "You don't seem remotely surprised."
"It doesn't matter. It's what you need," he repeated. "If you need a surrogate for Druitt, I'm comfortable filling that role for you."
"It's manipulative and more than a little dishonest," she sighed.
"How is it dishonest when we both know exactly what's actually going on?"
"I'm using you."
"And I'm letting myself be used." He tightened his hold on her and leaned a little harder. "Maybe I need the excuse to be close, too."
She lifted one hand to his face, staring straight ahead at Ashley as she lightly stroked his cheek. "Tell me what her treatment will involve."
"Deprogramming can be iffy but, basically, I do everything in my power to show her how mistaken her beliefs are. It helps that we already have a personal relationship. If you can find a way to break the grip of the drugs on her, that'll make it easier. After that, it's mostly just helping her cope with the things she did while the Cabal had her. For that, we'll utilize techniques similar to what you might for a kidnapping victim or a war survivor. She's going to be experiencing a tremendous amount of guilt over all this."
"Now that I can relate to," she sighed.
Will tightened his hold on her. "This isn't your fault."
"It most certainly is, Will. Like the Whitechapel murders. Like John breaking James' heart. Like Nikola's crimes. Like Nigel's. I have a lot to answer for. Let's not pretend otherwise."
"Magnus, you couldn't have seen where things with the Source were going. Not even James Watson was able to see that coming. I know you'll never be able to let it go entirely, but you can't keep blaming yourself for it, either. Just like you can't blame yourself for this."
"I gave them permission to go, Will. They walked into a trap because I allowed them to."
"It's Ashley. You really think a lack of permission would have stopped her?"
She sighed and shook her head. "I don't know what I believe right now."
"It doesn't help that you've been sleeping even less than normal since all of this started. Let's get you to bed."
She stepped out of his arms, turning to face him and admitting. "Any scenario right now involving the two of us and a bed would destroy everything we've built in the past year. I'm in incredibly severe need of… solace."
He colored and looked away but, being Will, his mind kept right on working. "Is there anyone you can maybe call?"
"A few people spring to mind, yes, but I don't want casual right now, Will. Which is the problem."
"Oh. Uh… how much of it's about sex and how much of it's about just needing someone to hold you?" he asked, looking incredibly uncomfortable, bless his heart.
"I want to be held, badly, but I'm afraid my hands might wander," she explained, stepping past him. "Good night, Will."
He grabbed her shoulder. "You can…" He cleared his throat. "You can take a few minutes alone first, then, get that part of it cleared up. I'll wait outside."
She stared at him. He was blushing furiously, but he looked entirely serious.
"There's no way you could be comfortable waiting outside knowing what I was doing on the other side of that door."
"I didn't say it would be comfortable. I said, for you, I'd be willing to deal with a little embarrassment."
His expression said it all about how uncomfortable he was with the idea. It also said it all about his resolve in the matter. He wanted to hold her close for as long as she needed. And, for that, she was duly grateful.
"You're a good man, Will."
"That's because I have a good teacher," he answered, offering his hand.
She hesitated for a moment, then slipped her hand into his with a whispered, "My hands won't wander."
His fingers tightened around hers as he accepted her words for what they were, the words of a woman who never had and who never would break her promises to him…
Author's Note: I can't believe I actually finished this before season 2 started given how often and how badly I let myself be sidetracked. I hope you enjoyed it :)
I had a sequel planned (over 10,000 words of it are already written, lol) but that may never happen depending on how season 2 plays out. If it doesn't the scenes I've already written will probably be reworked and find their ways into other fics. I can't resist a healthy dose of hurt/comfort and that's almost all those scenes are (except for the occasional Will/Magnus shouting match and some scenes in which Ashley makes Will feel like a complete amateur at psychology, lol).