Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Helen/the Sanctuary from an abnormal's perspective.
I'm new to this whole fanfic writing thing, so please R&R! :)
They found me when I was living on the streets in the Old City. It's been so many years since I've had a proper home, since my mother passed away when I was just a scared, 12 year old girl. Ever since then I've been sleeping in garbage dumpsters, where I could pull the trash over me to stay warm on cold days, and eating whatever food I could find or steal. When they came looking for me, I thought they were more of the same – more 'government officials' as they called themselves, who wanted to study me, who wanted to lock me in a windowless room and run all sorts of tests on me. My mother warned me. She told me that people wouldn't understand, so it'd be better to avoid everyone, to stay out of the public eye. That's why I never roam the streets in broad daylight. I sleep all day in my dumpster in an abandoned alleyway and go out at night, when other people, burdened with those same labels of 'strange' or 'monster', like me, are out and looking for their next meal or their next fix.
I was caught once. I let my guard down for just a moment to help a lost little kid that clearly did not belong in the area. Only later did I find out that he was their ploy. I had barely approached him when I was grabbed from behind, shoved into a van, and it would take me two months to get away and get back to my dumpster. By that time, someone else had claimed the territory and I left to find a new 'home'. But I don't like to think about those two months, I don't like to remember how they cut into me, how they took samples of my blood, my skin, my hair. They didn't care that I'm just like them – but different. They didn't care that I could feel, talk, think just like them. All they saw was a monster.
That's why when they came looking for me again, I ran. And when they caught up to me, when they found me, I wouldn't believe that they were different. I wouldn't believe that they wanted to help me. She gave me her business card, told me to call her or come to her home, her 'Sanctuary' as she called it, if I ever needed help, wanted a place to stay, or somebody to talk to. She seemed different, apart from the accent and apart from sensing that she had an old soul; she didn't cringe when she saw the 3 inch spikes that stick out along my spine and my knuckles. She didn't even flinch in disgust when I stuck out my snake-like tongue to taste the air. It's how I read people. I can tell what a person is feeling when I taste the air around them and she wasn't afraid. She was most definitely different.
Just three weeks later, I found myself at the gates to her mansion, her Sanctuary. Those 'officials' came around again and I only just got away. But one of them had stabbed me, deeply, in my side, and I had nowhere else to go. When I finally convinced myself to not run away, I rang the doorbell and Bigfoot answered the door. I guess this is the part where I'm supposed to express shock at seeing Bigfoot (who, I came to learn, is actually called 'Biggie'), but I've seen much stranger things in my 13 years on the streets. No, it wasn't shock at seeing him that had me falling to the floor – it was the loss of blood.
When I woke up, I was lying in a clean, white bed, in what I could only assume was an infirmary or a hospital. When my eyes began to clear from their dreary state, I saw that same woman I had met in the alleyway looking at a monitor I was connected to and jotting notes onto a clipboard. I panicked. I had willingly let myself get trapped and tested on. I started yanking out the IVs in my arm and started to move my weak legs off the bed, determined to make my escape. There was no way I could go through that torture again.
She rushed over to hold me in place.
"You're safe here. No one's going to hurt you. Just lie still, you've lost too much blood to be moving around."
I didn't want to believe her, but there was something in her voice – a quiet authority, but also warm and reassuring. So I let her guide me back to the pillows and reinsert the IVs. I hadn't let myself trust anyone in so long, but she reminded me so of my own mother that I just felt safe with her.
I spent the next three days in the infirmary. I learned her ways, as she told me about the Sanctuary network and the other 'abnormals', as she calls them (at least it's politer than 'monsters'). As she observed me and questioned me about my 'uniqueness', I in turn had been observing her. I sensed heartbreak, a lot of it, covered up by a strong exterior that she shows to the world. I sensed compassion. But more than that, I sensed a passion that is very strong in her, but that she has stamped down and overridden with the weight of responsibility and respectability that rules every decision and choice she makes in her life. And I sensed tiredness. Not just the type of tired that comes from a lack of sleep, though that's there too, but a type of weariness that comes from having seen too much of an ugly world and not having taken enough time to enjoy the beauty in it.
Over the ensuing days, I met other members of the Sanctuary network that were living in the building. An Indian woman, probably just a few years older than me, stormed into the infirmary one afternoon, gun in one hand and holding her bleeding head with the other. I observed her interaction with the Doctor and noticed a sort of strained mentor/mentoree-type relationship. The girl had all the appearances of a hard-shelled, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners attitude, but when I looked past that I could sense her desperation for a family and hunger to prove herself to the Doc. But what she didn't know was that it wasn't necessary. Sure the Doc was hard on her, hard on all her employees most likely, but when I tasted the air, I read respect and approval, and even love, but no condescension, no doubt, no dislike.
The next person to enter the infirmary unexpectedly was a nerdy tech guy, there to complain about budget cuts and computer viruses. Despite the Doc's obvious irritation over being interrupted to see to money issues, I could tell she cared deeply for the guy. She was mother-y, but not in an obvious way. When I read the air, I sensed a darker side to this guy – a side that reminded me of the first few scary nights I had spent on the streets after my mother passed away and I was kicked out of our tiny, dingy apartment. But I have long-since learned that just because a person has a darker side doesn't mean their better side isn't in control. We all have darker sides, some darker than others.
On my third night in the infirmary, when Doc had already gone to dinner, the resident psychiatrist came to meet me. He seemed very agitated, but I found it harder to read his scent, his emotions, than any of the others. There were too many emotions to sort out, they were all amassed together and it was like a sensory overload to me. As he started into a spiel about trusting the Sanctuary network and the opportunities and options I had there, I took the time to unravel his emotions one by one: frustration, compassion, worry, hurt, and love – unrequited love. I had an idea who for, but it wasn't my place. I often sense things, things that people put every ounce of energy they have into hiding what they feel, the whole while not realizing that they're only making it that much more obvious – especially to people, to abnormals, like me. Well, that is, assuming that there are other abnormals like me. I have yet to meet one.
It's been nearly three weeks since I first stood at the gates outside the Sanctuary, convincing my feet to stay where they were, to not run away. It's weird. I never thought I'd have anything to contribute, anything to increase the good in this world and decrease the darkness that I sense everywhere around me. Well, everywhere but here. Here, it's mostly good. I feel safe here, but more than that I feel wanted here. Wanted - that's something I've never felt before. I feel at home here.