The Way It Really Was

Sequel to "What Might Have Been"

Two Months after Druitt's Death:

Weary. That was the only word Dr. Helen Magnus could use to describe herself these days. It wasn't just the swollen ankles, morning sickness, and overall exhaustion of her pregnancy, but it was also a spiritual weariness of life and her inability to find any semblance of a happily ever after. It was strange, she knew, for a woman of her age and experience to want a happily ever after, but there was still a small childish part of her that wanted the fairy tale where she could live with her loved ones and continue her life's mission. If she'd found herself desperate to find a cure for her longevity before, she was almost ten times more willing to do so now. But that expedition would need to wait until after she gave birth.

Again, she thought somewhat sadly.

Where was her daughter? She asked herself, sadly. Dead. Where was her lover? Also dead. And where did she wish to be every night when she went to sleep in the coldness of the night when loneliness was her only companion? With them.

The irony was that this physical weariness had led her to feel human for the first time in a long time.

That's what happened when one rarely contracted disease, she thought to herself as she sat down at her desk, preparing to return to her work.

Suddenly, she heard a silver tray touch the cherry desk beside her. She looked up to find the Sasquatch that Henry had affectionately nicknamed "Big Guy" bringing her a breakfast tray.

"You need to keep your strength up, Helen." He said in a paradoxically gruff, but tender, voice.

She sighed as she looked at the tray. A cup of tea and biscuits as well as a small bowl of fruit were all that it carried along with a few sprigs of lavender. Her favorite flower.

"Thank you." She said, looking back at him with a strained smile. "You've always taken such good care of me."

He nodded, modestly.

She sighed as she looked down at her burgeoning stomach. If Ashley had still been here, they'd have been able to shop together for her unexpected, yet necessary, maternity wardrobe. It wasn't something they did often with their many responsibilities, but her daughter, as tough as she'd tried to be on the outside, was as feminine on the inside as Helen was on the outside, and there were times when a carefree shopping trip had been the only cure for the loneliness experienced by both "modern" women.

It was as if someone had pierced her heart with a knife at the sudden memory of her daughter.

She would have to shop alone from now on. Unless she bore another daughter. She thought about the other women who had worked with the Sanctuary. Clara would never have been able to substitute for Ashley, but she'd been far more approachable than Kate. At least, that had been the case there at the end.

She sighed. Perhaps she would simply order the clothes on the internet to save herself the trouble and misery of shopping alone.

That was one of the many things that she'd never expected to say in her lifetime.

"Is there anything I can do to help you?" The "big guy" asked before he left.

"Not right now." She said, shaking her head. "But I appreciate the offer."

He nodded again as he left.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she sat alone in her study. Damn this accursed longevity and the loneliness it brought as a natural companion, she thought to herself.

There was a soft rap at the door, and she quickly wiped at her tears before she looked over to find Dr. Will Zimmerman. "How may I help you, Will?" She asked, forcing a smile to her lips.

"Henry said we got a call from the local police force about something strange. He said he tried to let you know about it, but that the line was busy."

Her brow furrowed before she remembered that she'd taken the phone off the hook earlier to preserve some semblance of solitude. "I'm sorry." She said, shaking her head. "I suppose I forgot to return the receiver to its cradle."

"Magnus, are you okay?" He asked, studying her closely as she quickly rectified the situation with a small sigh.

"I will be fine." She assured. "But perhaps you should take Kate and try to see what you can make of this situation."

"Sure." He said, nodding somewhat hesitantly.

"I assure you, Will." She began, noticing his hesitation. "I will be perfectly fine in your absence."

"Are you sure?"

"I have everyone finding excuses to come in, and determine how well I truly am." She reminded him. "I think I will be well-taken care of."

"All right." He said, nodding. "Then, I'm off to find out what abnormal the police force has found this time."

As he left, she allowed herself to release the small sigh she'd had trapped in her breast. She felt all alone with only a fraction of her work to keep her busy.