A/N: I have embellished and added a few details but other than that I remain true to what we are told. There might be some OOC-ness but keep in mind they are in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.
Summary: A look into John Druitt's last two weeks of life.
John Druitt had faced many things in his life but there were some things that even he had never counted on. He had not counted on what the Source Blood injections would do to him. He had not counted on being shocked into sanity by his once sworn enemy. He had not counted on out living his daughter, once he learned about her that is. He had not even counted on having a daughter in all honesty. More recently, he had not counted on being present at the end of the world. And he had most certainly not even imagined rekindling his love with Helen. Had hoped for it, yes. Had dreamed of it, of course. Had prayed for it, most assuredly. But he had not dared believe it would ever actually happen.
He did not enjoy the chaos and destruction that had led to their new romance but as he knew too well, one could not always dictate circumstances. The two of them had realized that with the world dying around them there was no time to hold on old grudges and scars. There was too little time and too much to be done.
Certainly Ashley's death had started the processed but it was the death of Nikola, ironically, that had fully brought them to one another. The wily vampire had gone down in a mob fight, not even his incredible powers being enough to stop the thousands that had attacked. When they realized that even the hardest to kill of them could still be brought down they knew that truly time was running out.
He had come back to the Sanctuary two weeks after Nikola's death to help where he could. Mostly by fighting and taking Helen to where she could do the most good. Though that was really a relative term these days. It was an exhausting lifestyle but it kept them from thinking too hard about the insanity of it all.
They had been forced to pull up roots and abandon the Sanctuary eventually. That night John had held his love while she grieved for her life's work and the dear friends that had refused evacuation. It had also been the first time they'd made love in over a century. Their shared grief and pain over all that had happened finally broke free. They had sought comfort in each other's arms once again. Three months later, Helen had informed him she was pregnant. John couldn't believe he could be so happy in the midst of such tragedy. She need to go to Argentina to help out but they would tell the news when she got back. Which was what led him to this point.
John had been dealing with a new out break in England for the past thirty six hours. Out of a city of 50,000, he'd found three uninfected. He dropped them off with those that were in charge of dealing with new arrivals while he went in search of food. Their little resistance band was currently inhabiting an old warehouse building and the alley outside of it. Kate and Declan were huddled around a makeshift fire in one corner. "Morning," Declan greeted.
"Is it?" John asked. "It's hard to tell these days."
"My watch says its morning," the other man informed him. He looked at John's haggard face. "There's not much food but it's over there." John gave him a stiff nod.
Declan was right. The thin gruel that was being served could not really be called food by any definition. Still John had found that when you were hungry enough you could eat anything. He took his bowl and rejoined the group. As he was about to sit down he reached into the folds of his jacket. "I managed to find a single orchard still hold fruit," he said. He handed the ripe apple to Kate. "That one needs all he can get," he added nodding to her rounded stomach.
"Thanks," she said with a quiet smile. She bit into the apple and a look of pure bliss came over her face.
John offered a second apple to Declan who shook his head. "No mate, you take it," he decided.
"There's a third," John told him. Declan shrugged and took the apple.
They heard footsteps and looked up to see Will approaching. "John," he greeted with a smiled. "Didn't see you get in."
"Just arrived," John stated. He tossed the final apple to Will. "Gifts from the Empire," he said. The boy caught it easily with one hand. It never failed to amaze John the ease with which Will had learned to adapt to life. Not long after the infection had gone wide scale the boy had been wounded in the fighting. Shrapnel had hit his right eye, effectively blinding him. Still it didn't slow him down one bit.
Will reached into his boot and came up with a knife. A few quick movements had the apple neatly sliced in half. "Friends shouldn't let friends go hungry in these times," he said as he handed John one half. John took it with a grateful nod. Will settled in next to Kate with a thin smile. "How are you doing?" he asked quietly.
"We're alright," she told him. "He kicked today." Will beamed like a proud father. John wished he knew what that felt like. He had been proud of Ashley, certainly. When she had gone up against him, continuing to fight no matter how futile the battle; when she had helped save her mother, even when she had given her life for theirs. But these were dim and distant feelings, those of an outsider that had no real place in the unit. It had been a long regret for him that he had not been there during Ashley's life to be a real father to her. Still, Helen was pregnant once again. This time he would be there for his child and keep him or her from harm as he hadn't been able to do with Ashley.
The two parents talked quietly while John observed them. They were not in love, not in the way that he and Helen were. They certainly loved each other dearly but it was not the true love of soul mates. Anyone with eyes could see that. Kate had been deeply in love with Henry and he with her. Unfortunately he had been killed about two years before the Sanctuary had been abandoned. For a long time the once freelance agent had been inconsolable. William, on the other hand was still in some ways grieving. Most certainly for Clara and quite possibly for Ashley though John had no proof of his suspicions. Grief had united the two lovers and created a child. John could not fault them for looking for comfort where they could find it. They all needed something to stay sane in these troubled times.
He was disrupted from his thoughts as his video phone went off. He didn't know how this small band of resistance managed to keep their electronics working but he wouldn't argue. He did know that it had something to do with some thing Henry had hooked up before he died. The grainy image on the screen was that of his beloved. "Hello, John," she greeted.
"Dearest," he returned. "How is Argentina?"
Helen sighed as she looked around. "About the same every where else, I'm afraid," she stated. "I just can't believe one virus could do this much damage."
"Believe it," Will called. "This ain't no fairy tale we're living."
"Pass me off," Helen instructed. John leaned over and handed the video phone to Will. "You're butchering of the Queen's English aside," she frowned, "trust me when I say I understand better than most what is going on here."
Will raised a hand in a gesture of surrender. "I didn't mean anything Magnus."
Helen let out a sigh. "I know Will," she assured him. "I'm just very tired at this moment. Kate, how are the two of you feeling today?"
Kate rested a hand on her womb and leaned over to be seen. "We're both doing just fine," she smiled.
"Remember to take your vitamins," Helen told her.
"Yes ma'am," Kate agreed.
"My boy kicked today," Will added, biting into his apple half.
Helen chuckled. "Babies tend to do that," she smiled. "Congratulations again to you both." She noticed the half an apple in Will's hand. "William, where did you manage to find ripe fruit?"
"I didn't, John did."
The phone was passed back to Druitt. "I was in England and found an orchard still bearing some fruit," he explained. "I've even got some for you."
"How many apples did you find John?"
"Enough," he said vaguely. "But for you I brought back a treat."
"A treat?" she teased.
John reached into his coat once gain and watched her eyes light up at the bright fruit he pulled out. "An orange," he replied. "Your favorite, if I recall right."
Helen's soft smile warmed every inch of his lonely soul. "You do, love, you do," she agreed quietly. John thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen even caked in grime and run down from exhaustion. "You couldn't have picked both of them from the same orchard though," she pointed out.
"I might have made a special trip," John shrugged dismissively. "I saw no harm in it."
"You wouldn't," she said ruefully, shaking her head. John just smiled at her. She blushed slightly at the love in it.
"You'd best be home soon, darling," he told her. "This won't keep well with out proper refrigeration."
"I'm doing all I can," she sighed. "How was England?"
"The mighty empire has fallen just like everywhere else," he sighed. "I found three who appeared uninfected. The others are caring for them."
"We do what we can," Helen murmured. It had become their mantra lately.
"Are you alright?" he questioned.
"No worse than anyone else," she shrugged. She rested a hand on her still mostly flat stomach and gave him a secret smile. "Though I believe I'll fare better."
John felt a sudden ache to pull her into his arms and hold her as tight as he could. "No doubt of it," he agreed.
"How long before you come back?" Declan wondered, leaning over.
"Soon I should think," Helen told him. "There is little left to do here. Most have already succumbed to the virus. I'll need a few hours to tie things up and then I shall give you another call."
"See you soon," Will called.
"Stay safe," Kate added.
"Good luck," Declan said.
"Be careful, my angel," John told her.
"You as well, my dearest," she nodded. "I love you."
"I love you too." Helen snapped off her end. John continued to stare at the blank screen for a moment. Then with a sigh he handed it off to Kate. "I haven't sleep in a quite a while," he murmured, "I believe I shall try to rest some. Let me know when Helen calls."
"Done," Kate agreed.
John passed off his bowl to one of those in the food line as he passed. There were no beds to be had any more and he wouldn't have taken one even if there were. Kate and others like her needed them more. There was a bit of their camp sectioned off for sleeping. Most others were on the cold floor or ground; some had managed to fix up a little shelter for themselves. John pulled together some scraps of cardboard and ragged cloths good for nothing but junk. He tightened his trench coat around his body as he laid down on the card board.
As he rested his head on the cloth, he reached under his shirt. He pulled out the gold locket Helen had given to him back in Oxford. The one side still held her picture, beautiful as ever, the other now held a photo of Ashley. John felt both love and loss when he looked at it. He had taken to wearing the locket because things in pockets could be lost in battle. He wondered how his daughter would react to the news of a new sibling. No doubt she would have been overjoyed for her mother. He smiled as he realized Ashley probably would have cornered him and told him all the things she would do if he didn't take care of Helen. "I promise you, I will look after her," he whispered to the picture. "Your mother shall want for nothing so long as I breathe." He shut the locket and willed his tired body to rest.
John was not unused to tossing and turning through the night. Between the appalling conditions and the heady nightmares it was a wonder he managed to get any sleep at all. But this nightmare was different from the others. It was not the fact that Helen was in it because she was in many of them. But rather than being blonde and angry she was now brunette and scared. "John!" she screamed. "John, please help me!" He ran to reach her but was too slow. She let out another scream and was gone in a flash of bright light.
John shot up and gasped for breath. The dream had seemed so real it worried him. He rested a hand on his heart. Something was wrong. Helen had some sort of problem. She needed him in some way, he just knew it.
He hurriedly got up and began to search out Will and the others. He was pointed to the doors near the street where they had apparently been seen heading out. He nearly ran over but slowed as he came nearer. He could hear them talking in lowered voices, most likely about him. "Someone needs to tell him," Will said quietly.
"He needs rest," Declan argued. "The man hasn't slept in nearly two days."
"But this is important," Will pointed out. "Someone should say something."
"I'm not going in there," Kate objected.
"You're pregnant, he won't attack you," Declan stated.
John finally gathered his courage and walked out. "William," he called. "Has Helen called yet?"
Will couldn't meet his eyes. "No, not yet," he said quietly.
"Is she in trouble of some sort?" John demanded. "Where is she? What does she need?"
"She's not in trouble," Declan said. "Dr. Helen Magnus, as of 8:20 eastern time, is…is dead. I'm so sorry."
John felt a knife pierce his heart at the news. There had to be a mistake, they had to be lying. His reason for living could not be gone. For god's sake, she was pregnant! They were going to be a true family! This could not be right. In a flash the shock was replaced with rage. He grabbed Declan by the throat and threw him against the wall. "You're lying!" he yelled, squeezing tightly, "Tell me you're lying!"
"Druitt! Put him down !" Will yelled. John whipped around with rage in his eyes. He would take the boy down as well if he had to. "Put him down," Will repeated. His voice was quieter but no less hard.
John wanted to hold on to the rage. It was clear and pure. It let him think without pain. Sill as he looked at Will's eyes he could feel it slipping. The anger was slowly being replaced with deep sorrow. With a cry he threw Declan away from him. The pity and sorrow in all their eyes was too much. John had to get away. He was gone in a flash of light.
"Should we go after him?" Kate wondered.
"Nah, he'll be back," Will said quietly. He moved to help Declan to his feet. "You alright?"
"I will be," Declan assured him. He looked to the empty air where John had stood. "How do you know he'll be back? He's been known to go rogue before."
"And he might again," Will agreed, "but not before coming back one last time. He wants answers and he knows he can't get them anywhere else. Give him some time to come to grips with it. He'll be back."
John wandered the city for most of the day. He didn't want to go back to those looks of pity. He wanted Helen to be alive again. He wanted the world to not be going to shit. He wanted Ashley to be to sharing in their joy of new life. He wanted everything to just stop. He wanted to world to realize what treasures it had lost in the deaths of his love and their children.
He took himself to the Sanctuary and walked each floor. He remembered when it was clean and bright. His happy memories of this place were not many but he could feel Helen in every little detail. He ran his hand over the walls, ignoring the tangles of plants and dirt that lingered there. Helen would have been devastated to see her lovely home in such a state.
He started down in the SHU and proceeded to work his way up. As he walked the barren halls he could almost feel the ghosts of this place dogging his footsteps. He could so easily imagine Ashley running down the halls with Henry close on her heels as children would. He could see Helen smiling as she looked in on her residents before she went to bed at night. He imagined Will strolling the same path he took now, talking to Helen about some mystery. He couldn't bear to look in the library for the destruction he would surely see there. He continued walking all the way up to the top of the north tower where Helen would stand and contemplate the world around her. He stood for a few moments in the place where she had stood, looking over the city.
Though the pain was almost too much to bear, he forced himself to go where he dreaded most. He closed his eyes as he let the light take him. When he opened them again he was in Helen's study. For a moment he had prayed his powers would take him somewhere else despite the fact that he had honed on this spot. He ran his hand over the layers of dust that covered Helen's desk. It had been in this room that the two of them were reunited when John had come looking for her blood.
He remembered teleporting into the room, intent on getting what he wanted. For a single moment before the madness had taken hold he had looked at Helen. The world melted down to just the two of them once again. He hadn't time to tell her so because Jack had reared his ugly head and pushed the boundary between them once again. It was in this study that John had left her when their paths diverged yet again. Her path was to deal with Ashley's memory; his was to deal with Ashley's killer. And it was here that he had seen her again when he returned with news of Nikola's death. Each time he thought the memory of her lovely. Each time reality proved to be even more so. So much of their relationship had been tied up in this study. Almost every important moment they'd had, had occurred in this room.
John slowly let the memories take him as he reached under his shirt yet again. He pulled the golden locket from where it rested against his skin. He opened the locket once more and looked at the two pictures in it. The pair of blond women smiled back at him, neither one realizing what the future held when they had looked in the camera. The two faces were so similar it made his heart ache. The more he looked at Ashley, the more of himself he could see. And not just the monster he had become either. He could see ghosts of the man that had fathered her years ago.
As he snapped the locket shut, he felt the memories rush out of the room. For the first time he saw it as it really was. Dust covered and in shambles, looking like a worthless abandoned wreck rather than the study of the greatest woman in history. John felt the fury, pain, and sorrow well up in him all at once. With a howl, he fell to his knees. There, on the dirt covered floor of the study that held so much, John Druitt let himself cry for the first time since Jack had taken over.