Burning It Clean
Copyright 2010, NoCleverSig

Disclaimer: I don't own Sanctuary or any of its characters. I just play with them.
Spoilers: Season 2, Haunted

Author's Note: This was written by request for SentientMist over at Sanctuary FanFiction. I hope you like it. May not be exactly what you were looking for, but could be a start...PS: Feedback is always craved and appreciated. Peace. NCS

"Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean."
Maya Angelou

"Will, could you come see me when you have a moment? I'm in the infirmary. I need your help, please." Magnus radioed him.

"Sure, I'll be down in 5," Will said. He was with Henry finishing a final sweep of the bio-lab. They were double-checking systems and triple checking that the toxin the energy creature had been creating had been completely neutralized.

"It's not urgent. Just when you're finished with what you're doing."

"Okay. I'll be down as soon as I can. Will out."

Magnus's voice sounded strained. A bit breathless even. And why shouldn't it? The last 12 hours had been….Horrible didn't even come close to touching it. John Druitt had helped them rescue a group of empaths then turned around and slaughtered one of them in cold blood. Except that it wasn't really Druitt but some energy creature inhabiting his body that was the cause of his bloodlust. And if that wasn't bad enough, the creature jumped from Druitt into the Sanctuary's computer systems until Druitt let the thing repossesses him so he could teleport away with it before it killed them all. Oh, and before leaving, Druitt proclaimed his eternal love for Magnus, just to add the final fucking cherry on top of the cake. Insane. That's what it was.

Will finished helping Henry with the lab check and 30 minutes later walked into the infirmary. He took a quick look at Musa, the empath, who'd been in critical condition during the lock down and up at Magnus, who was checking the woman's vitals.

"What is it? Is it Musa?" He made his way toward the two. Magnus's hair hung in tangles, loose strands trailing down her cheek and forehead. Her makeup was all but gone and she was sweating. Although smudged, she still wore the trousers, blouse, vest, and tie she'd worn that morning. She looked exhausted. No, Will thought, she looked beaten. It was a look he wasn't used to seeing.

"She's fine," Magnus said, answering Will's questions. "Stable for the moment. I need you to help me, please." She motioned for him to follow her.

They walked through the examination area into Magnus' medical office. She was moving slowly, gingerly, Will thought. Not her usual confident strides. Magnus went over to a cabinet and removed a package of white medical tape.

"Do you mind closing the door, Will?" She said, indicating her office door.

He did as she asked.

She took a pair of scissors from a drawer, rolled the tape out, and cut it into five long strips, hanging each one by an end on the edge of the counter. Then, without saying a word, she undid her tie and began to carefully unbutton her vest, her blouse.

"Magnus?" Will asked, unsure of what was happening.

"Help me out of this, Will, please" she said, tugging at her clothes.

"Okay," Will managed, perplexed.

He grabbed one sleeve, then another, and helped Magnus ease out of her vest and top. She winced, sucking in a breath. She stood leaning against the counter in her bra, dark hair spilling over her milky, white skin, her right side a mass of black, blue, and yellow bruises.

"Jesus, Magnus! What the hell happened?" Will asked, staring at her side and instinctively moving toward her.

"I was injured earlier. I didn't realize how bad it was until the adrenaline wore off," she said.

"Your ribs? Are they broken?" Will asked, leaning in to get a closer look.

"One is," she said touching it. "The other two are most likely bruised."

Hell of a bruise, Will thought. "How can you even move?"

"Delicately," she responded. "And with great difficulty. The pain is starting to set in now, which is why I need your help."

"What do you want me to do? Wrap them?"

She shook her head.

"No. That restricts breathing too much. It's why people with broken ribs get pneumonia. I need to be able to take deep breaths, as painful as that might be. The best course is just to take pain medication, which I've started, and work through it. But I want to take a bit of precaution with the fracture, just in case it's completely broken. For that I need your help."

"Shouldn't you have an X-ray?" he asked, concerned.

"I will. Tomorrow. But for now…." She closed her eyes, the exhaustion and pain evident on her face. "I just want to get through the night."

Will nodded. They all did.

"Okay, what do I do?"

She turned to grab a piece of tape and grimaced in pain. Will put a hand on her arm to stop her.

"Let me do that," he said, and took the tape. "Where does it go?"

"Start at the sternum and tape it across here," she said, pointing to where she felt the broken bone. "Then pull it across my back to my spine. That should help restrict any movement of the fracture but still allow me to breathe deeply."

He worked on her in silence, a strip of tape at a time, trying to be as gentle as possible. As he was placing the third strip around her back, he heard her suck in a breath and moan.

"Sorry," he said.

"It's fine," she answered tightly.

He knew it was anything but.

"Magnus, how did this happen?" he asked softly, not completely certain that he wanted to know the answer.

She was quiet a moment.

"John kicked me," she said.

Will stopped taping and looked up at her. She was miles away from him. Her blue eyes hazy and lost. Whether it was from the pain of the broken rib or the reality of who caused the injury, he wasn't sure. He didn't know what to say, so he said the obvious.

"It wasn't him, Magnus." He wasn't sure he believed it himself.

She let out a noise. It might have been an attempt at a laugh. "I know, Will. I've been telling myself that for over 130 years."

He looked at her. Her eyes were closed now. Her hair hung in dark tangles atop her naked, slumped shoulders. Her face was ghostly pale with lack of makeup and pain. Sweat beaded on her forehead and in the cleavage of her breasts. She was the most vulnerable he had ever seen her.

Suddenly the image of Druitt kicking Magnus like a dog underfoot came rushing into his mind. How would it feel? How could it possibly feel to have someone you loved (love?) brutally hurt you like that? And then have the gall to turn around and tell you how much he cared?

Fuck him, Will thought. Possessed or not. Fuck him to hell!

"Will?" Magnus said, staring at him.

Rage. It was written all over his face. He knew it. If Druitt were here, Will would kill him with his bare hands and enjoy every second of it. The man had been abusing Helen for over a century, physically, emotionally, mentally, every way one person could abuse another. And it was time for it to fucking stop!

Will looked down, grabbed the final piece of tape, and concentrated on tending her injury, hands shaking, doing his best to hide the hate that had suddenly welled up inside of him.

It was too late.

"Will," Helen said, putting her hand on his arm to cease his movements. He looked back at her. Their eyes locked. Helen tilted her head and lifted an unsteady hand to his cheek.

"Oh, Will…" she said, her eyes glistening now. She wrapped her arms around his waist, cautiously, sucking in a breath to do so. He returned the embrace, cradling her as gently as he could, determined not to inflict any more pain. Will could feel her soft skin warm against him. He wanted to hold her, protect her, shield her. Emotions he didn't realize he posessed battered against him like waves, powerful and unrelenting. So much so he could barely hold himself steady.

Helen turned her face toward him. He could feel the wet tears on his skin. Her warm breath on his neck.

"It's all right, Will," she said, stroking his hair gently. "I'm all right."

Will knew violence. Had lived it. From the monster that murdered his mother to the criminals he tracked down with the FBI to the abnormals he hunted with Magnus. But in all that time nothing had produced such hatred in him as the image of Helen being kicked to the floor, lying bruised and battered, by the man she loved. He couldn't explain it. Didn't really want to examine it too closely right now. All he knew was that his world had suddenly shifted beneath him, and he would do anything within his power to make things more than just "all right" for her.

He would make it better.