Summary: Some twelve weeks after Ashley's death, Helen struggles to come to terms with her loss. When she insists on struggling alone, Will decides to take matters into his own hands.
"It's a good thing I was here to patch you up," he said. "I'm not certain how you would have explained these injuries to the doctors at the emergency room."
"Neither am I," she said flatly. Then, almost as an afterthought, "Thank you, Dr. Lee. I'm glad you were here."
Bracing her well bandaged side with her arm, Helen slid off the infirmary table where she'd been the subject of Dr. Lee's ministrations. Her body hurt from the vicious assault of a recently captured abnormal, a creature that could have killed her without half exerting itself. She'd known that when she went after it alone.
For better or worse, she'd had unexpected backup from Will and Henry armed with the stun guns she'd absent mindedly left behind. To hear Dr. Lee tell it, they'd arrived in the nick of time; one more contact with the creature's razor sharp claws might have been the end of her.
Helen wasn't sure their timing had been such a good thing.
She'd been in her private quarters no more than ten minutes when she heard an insistent knocking on the outer door.
"Open up, Magnus!" Will's voice demanded.
It wasn't long before Helen realized her young protégé was not going away. He was worried about her. Everyone was worried about her. She had a hard time caring one way or the other right now. But Will wasn't about to go away.
She opened the door and immediately walked away from the man she found standing there. She could feel his eyes boring into her back. She barely reached the other side of the room before he started.
"You think I don't know what's going on here?"
Helen scoffed and turned back to face her challenger.
"Tell me then, what is going on here?" she spat.
Will crossed the distance between them. Once he was standing directly in front of Helen he took a deep breath. As angry as he was right now, he was still more than a little intimidated by this woman. But that wasn't about to stop him saying what needed to be said.
"You're trying to get yourself killed," Will said emphatically. "You won't do it yourself, but you're looking to get it done."
Helen drew herself up to her full height and flashed that look of utter British superiority that always froze Will in his tracks.
"And if I am?"
"Stop it," Will answered without hesitation. Then seeing a need for more, he added, "You need help."
"Ha!" Helen sneered. "What kind of help would you suggest, Dr. Zimmerman?"
Will shook his head and looked at her. When Helen Magnus called him Dr. Zimmerman, she was on the warpath. But he was not to be denied.
"I want you to talk to someone, work this out," he said. "It's been three months since Ashley's death. You need to deal."
"Why do I have to deal?" Helen asked. "And what the bloody hell do you know about losing a child?"
Will didn't blink.
"I've never had a child," he admitted. "But losing one must be the worst thing that can happen to a parent."
"Did they teach you that in school?"
"Stop it," he railed. "I'm trying to help you."
"So perhaps I should lie on the davenport while you probe my psyche," she suggested. "Will that make it all better? Haven't I told you I don't believe in your hocus pocus?"
"Right, that's why you hired me," Will countered. "And I suppose that's why you had tea with Dr. Freud on all those lazy afternoons."
Helen closed her eyes and nearly chuckled. When she opened them, she glanced upward and took a quick breath. Then she looked at Will.
When she did, her expression was softer.
She sat down and gestured for him to take the seat next to her.
"It's gone on long enough," she said. "I'm sorry."
Will sat quietly watching the woman he admired more than most people he knew. She was falling apart before his eyes and he wasn't sure what to do about it. More accurately, he wasn't sure she'd let him do anything to help her.
"Magnus," he began, "talk to me. It's been weeks. You've kept to yourself when you aren't working with one of us. This isolation can't help anything."
She hung her head. The irritability she used to defend her damaged heart had been defeated by his persistence. Will was right of course. But Helen didn't believe she deserved help. She deserved to be as miserable as she felt right now. She didn't want anyone to make it better. As far as she was concerned, she deserved to do penance for her sins.
As if reading her mind Will latched on and plowed ahead.
"It's like you're punishing yourself for her death," he observed astutely. "It wasn't your fault."
"That's where you're wrong, Will," she answered, her voice little more than a whisper. "It was all my fault. From the beginning, it was my fault."
"Her life, her death, yes," Helen said. "I'm responsible. My arrogance, self absorption, I'm responsible. I gave her no choice, no chance at a normal life."
"I don't see that," Will said clearly. "You loved Ashley. She grew into a beautiful, strong young woman because of you."
Helen took in Will's words and ran them over in her head. How she wanted them to be true. She had thought they were. Before all this happened, she believed she was a good mother. But now, everything had changed.
"My actions led to her death. I kept her in this world, this world of darkness," Helen said. "My choices distanced her from everyone, from schoolmates, from those who would be her friends. I kept her close, too close to me. This life of mine became hers."
Will listened intently.
"I gave my beautiful daughter no choice, and that led to a horrific death. I could have saved her. Even at the end Dana gave me a choice, my work or my daughter. I chose my work and Ashley died."
"You had no choice," Will said. "You couldn't abandon thousands of lives that depended on you. You wouldn't. Ashley wouldn't expect you to do it, for her or anyone."
"Perhaps," Helen muttered. By now tears were falling silently and she struggled to avoid the surge of pain she felt overwhelming her normal controls. She never cried in front of those who worked for her. It had been three months and she hadn't lost control. She didn't relish starting now.
Will was no stranger to Helen's desire to hide her feelings. He'd been on the receiving end of her endless defensive strategies before and had no intention of letting her get away with it today.
"Let it out, Magnus," he said gently. "Let it go, it's the only way you'll start to move on."
Silently, she looked up and met his eyes. The tears falling in earnest now, she was unable to speak. Her thoughts were a jumble. The pain of two lifetimes came crashing in on her. Loneliness, loss and disappointment, each incident seemed to coalesce in her grief over Ashley's death.
"It's too much," she finally admitted.
Will nodded. It was a start.
A/N: I'm loving this second season of Sanctuary and AT's portrayal of Helen. This was my first Sanctuary fanfic. I'd love to hear what you think. Please review.