A/N: So, this is my first Helen/John fic. Hope you like it. Feedback (good or bad) is greatly appreciated.
Helen stood on the North Tower of Sanctuary watching the sunrise. One year ago her daughter, her beautiful, strong daughter, had died. Feeling a presence behind her, she turned and saw John, just as she knew she would. Even before the Source Blood John's presence had been unmistakable.
"The EM shield is down," he noted.
"Yes. Something told me that today, of all days, it was safe to turn it off. Was I wrong?"
"No. Today… I am myself. The energy elemental was… pleased, that I let it have so much freedom against the Cabal last year. As a show of gratitude, this one day a year it will sleep, and let me be myself, while it dreams of what Jack did in London, and what I did to the Cabal."
Helen was a curious at the distinction John made between himself and The Ripper. He saw the look in her eyes and explained. "What happened in London, I didn't want or enjoy. It wasn't my choice. What happened to the Cabal… I chose that. I wanted it, and I… enjoyed it. As you once told me, it would be too easy to blame everything on the Elemental. I will take the blame for things I choose, and want. But not for things I didn't want or choose."
Helen nodded, accepting his explanation.
"You were able to communicate with it?" she asked.
"Not in the usual way. I simply… understood. It's something that has begun happening since I learned it was a separate entity, and tried to communicate with it. I feel, and understand, its intent and emotions – as it does mine. Can I stay with you for the day?" he asked.
"Yes," Helen agreed, smiling, and holding out her hand. Today, she needed John. She could see in his eyes, and hear in his voice, that he was John, not Jack. Her John. Her love. The man she'd given her heart to more than a century past.
He took her hand, and gently pulled her close. She rested her head on his chest, and wrapped her arms around his waist. He held her close, and placed a kiss on the top of her head as her tears began to fall. Despite the sadness of the day, John was glad to have Helen in his arms again. It felt to perfectly right – as it always had. Her soft warmth felt like heaven to him – a heaven he didn't deserve, but couldn't refuse. Helen felt like she would fall apart if John released her. His strong arms supported and protected her; offered her shelter, and a comfort that could be found no where else.
Neither was sure how long they'd been up there when the sound of the door opening drew their attention.
"Will," Magnus greeted, not moving from John's arms.
"Magnus… Druitt," Will said, his tone cautious.
"It's fine, Will. Was there something you needed?"
"Just wanted to see if you were okay. Big Guy got worried when he took you some tea and you weren't in your room."
"I'm sorry I worried you. I'll speak to Big Guy," Helen said, reluctantly stepping away from John. But she did take his hand in hers, and they followed Will down to join the others for breakfast.
"I'm sorry I worried you, old friend," Helen told Big Guy, resting her free hand on his arm.
"Glad you were not alone," he said, glancing at Druitt.
"So am I," she replied, glancing back as John.
Within moments, they were all sitting and eating.
"Magnus and I have been working on a way to confine the energy elemental once it's out of you," Henry said. "I think we're getting close."
"I've even considered asking Tesla to help, but he's out of touch right now. I'm sure you'll be able to find him when it's time for him to drive that thing out of you," Helen added.
"Thank you, Henry. Helen," Druitt said. "I'd just as soon Tesla's involvement be as limited as possible."
"So… I know why you're here, and I'm sorry about Ashley, but… how?" Kate asked; bringing up the subject they'd all been avoiding.
"I teleported," John replied, deadpan.
Kate gave him a dirty look. "I mean, how is it you, not Jack."
"The energy elemental was pleased that I let it have so much freedom against the Cabal last year. As a show of gratitude, this one day a year it will sleep, and let me be myself, while it dreams of what Jack did in London, and what I did to the Cabal."
Like Helen, Will caught the distinction between 'Jack' and 'I'. His training in psychology let him accurately guess what John had explained to Helen.
Kate fell silent. She'd seen and done a lot of strange things, but sitting down to a nice breakfast with Jack the Ripper…
Thinking about it, Kate felt bad for Helen and John. They got one day a year together, and it was the day their daughter died.
Helen had cleared her schedule for the day, knowing she wouldn't be able to focus on work. Once they had finished eating she turned to Will. "Please take care of things here. John and I are… going out for the day."
"Of course," Will agreed.
"I'll be back in a few minutes," John said, before teleporting away. He returned several minutes later with a large bouquet of peach/pink roses. Helen got the flowers she'd bought the day before, and they went to Ashley's grave.
They placed the flowers; then Helen stood in front of John, his arms around her, her hands resting on his arms.
Helen talked for a while, telling Ashley about the last year. How much she'd missed her and thought of her.
"I wish we'd had more time, and that you could have known me as I am. I wish I could have been the father you deserved. I treasure the moments we had together. I love you, daughter," John said, his voice soft and full of emotion.
"Please take me somewhere, John. I don't care where. Just… away."
"I just want to say good bye to James."
John stepped away, over to James' grave. "I miss you, old friend. I hope that, in whatever after life you're in, you've found peace… and that I can one day join you – no matter how little I deserve it."
"John, you do deserve it. I was… harsh with you that day. I can see better now that it was the elemental, not you. By hosting and controlling it, you've saved countless lives. You deserve peace. You deserve happiness. I'm only sorry we didn't know the problem sooner, so that we could have been working to solve it. James would have been a great help," she added, glancing back at the grave.
"Yes, he would," John agreed.
John teleported them to a secluded corner of the Oxford campus. He was determined that they honor and mourn their daughter, but also have some good memories of the day. The memories would have to last them a year. They walked around for over an hour, sometimes stopping to sit on a bench. Talking about their times there. Happy times with the Five.
Next John teleported them to the Coast. They sat watching the waves and talking for a few hours, then ate lunch at a little café.
"Take me home," Helen requested.
He teleported them to the North Tower. "There's something I want to show you," Helen said, leading him to her private sitting room. She pulled out a box, and opened it. Inside were pictures and a number of small items. John picked up the picture of an adorable blonde baby.
"Even then, she had your eyes. It was the first thing James and I noticed," Helen said. They spent the rest of the afternoon looking through the box, as Helen told John about Ashley's life.
John teleported them to Paris for dinner. The restraint had a small dance floor, and once they'd finished eating, John held out his hand. "Dance with, Love?"
Helen smiled, and rested her hand in his. Others watched the couple dancing; unable to miss how graceful they were, and how perfectly they moved together. Helen closed her eyes, and remembered dancing with John over a century before. It made her pulse race now, just as it had then.
After several dances, Helen looked up at John. "Let's go home," she requested, her voice and eyes telling him what would happen once they were alone.
Minutes later John teleported them into her sitting room. Without fully breaking contact, Helen led him into her bedroom.
"Helen, are you sure? I don't want the memory of this night to make things worse for you tomorrow."
"I'm sure, John. I've never stopped loving you. And if one day a year – one night – is all we can have, I refuse to waste it."
Once they'd made love Helen fell into a light doze. John was tired, but stayed awake, enjoying the feeling of having Helen with him again, her soft warmth curled against him.
A short time later, Helen opened her eyes to find John watching her. "You didn't sleep?"
"No. I won't lose a minute of this day," he said, then kissed her bare shoulder.
"No one else has shared my bed," she admitted.
"Helen…" John said, gentle reproach in his tone. He had no doubt she'd been with other men in the more-than-a-century since he'd left her.
"I've had lovers, but it was always their bed, or a hotel. And I always left. I never actually slept with them, as in falling asleep. I never… trusted anyone enough to let them into my bed, or let myself be vulnerable enough to fall asleep in their arms," she explained.
"I'm sorry. That lack of trust was no doubt because of me."
"You misunderstand. I wasn't saying that to make you feel guilty. I was saying it so that you'd know I trust you. This one day a year, I can trust you, as I once did. That is precious to me."
"And me," he replied before capturing her lips. Her trust had always been precious to him, and he was pleased to have some measure of it back. After they'd made love again, Helen was still tired, but fought sleep, not wanting to lose the few hours she had left with John.
"Sleep, Helen. You need it," John encouraged, rubbing his hand in soothing motions on her back.
"I need you. I can sleep tomorrow," she replied. One of her hands was entwined with one of his, and she brought his hand to her lips and kissed it.
"I've missed this… us," he said.
"So have I. No one else has ever compared," she admitted.
"Well, my male ego is very happy to hear that," John admitted, his tone smug.
Half an hour before dawn, John moved away from Helen.
"Yes. I need to be away from here before dawn. I love you, Helen. Always. Even when you see Jack, the part of me deep inside, that is still John, loves you."
"I love you, John. For eternity."
She moved to get up and dress, but he put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I'd rather remember you as you look now," he said, taking in the image of her; barely covered by a sheet, hair in disarray, and lips still swollen from his kisses.
"We'll keep working on a way to contain that thing, so you can be free of it," she promised.
"I'll see you next year, Love."
"Next year," she sighed.
He teleported away – to the graves. He stood in front of them until he felt the rage returning. He refused to let the rage consume him in that place, and teleported far away. "Thank you," he whispered, as the sun broke over the horizon.