Behold my second challenge fic, cause DZR demanded it.

Subconscious

Helen was only going to rest her eyes for a moment. These days rest came so infrequently that even she was beginning to feel the strain. At first she had welcomed the distraction. With everything she had been through in the last few months, she needed all the mind consuming activity she could find.

When she had shut her eyes for the smallest fraction of a second, it had been dark outside her office window. Now they opened to bright light streaming into her safe haven. She ventured over to stare out the glass. The day was lovely and all the more cruel for it. One year, Ashley had been gone and more recently John's disappearance marked the end of a era for Helen. She was alone now. What was worse, she was lonely. She wrapped her arms around herself, because there was nobody else to do it.

"Penny for your thoughts." A voice heavy with memory sounded behind her. Helen turned with a violence that was unexpected by the one who had intruded on her unhappiness. There he stood. Tall, strong, and handsome as ever.

"John. I thought you were dead." She gasped. Pain mixed briefly with relief. Maybe this wasn't another person she would have to let go of.

"Preposterous," He said in the way he used to. Before the source blood had ripped them apart. "You should know better than anybody that I can't be killed so easily."

"Maybe." Helen said, still suspicious. "Where have you been?"

"Here and there." His taciturn manner made her wary, but when he swept toward her and laid a hand on either side of her face, she made no move to stop him. "It's gone, Helen. I am free of the monster at last."

Helen knew her shock showed on her face. "How?"

"It isn't important. Just promise you will stay here with me." He pleaded. "Please, just promise you'll stay."

"John…I don't…" She began only to catch a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye. Spinning quickly, the sight she met made her heart break into another tiny piece.

"Mom…" Ashley said. She was smiling and she exuded light.

Helen turned back to John. "Our sleeping minds always try to give us what we want most." He said as he pressed a kiss to her lips.

That was when Helen awoke gasping and already in tears. It was the appearance of Ashley that made her realize she was asleep. The thought that she might get back one of the people she loved most, one day, was unrealistic at best. Getting them both back, well…it was a dream after all. It was dark outside her office window once more.

Our sleeping minds always try to give us what we want most. She thought. Her own mind was trying to punish her. Then again, maybe she wasn't punishing herself. Perhaps she was trying to say that it wasn't insane to want impossible things. Maybe she was trying to offer herself another option. Something that she needed above all, at the moment.

Hope.

She shed her tears for them. The meeting in her dream was one that she had longed for and dreaded. Eventually, she had known, she would have to wake up and they would be gone again. One who she had known and loved for all those years and the other who had come into and blinked out of existence so quickly. Her two lost loves.

Lost, for now, anyway. She could not help, but think.

Okay there it is. My attempt at a second challenge fic. It is short and poorly done, but it is there. It was written while I listened to River Flows In You by Yiruma. If you don't know the song, do yourself a favor and listen to it.