Once again Helen stood on the North Tower; but this time she wasn't looking out over the city. She was waiting for John. Just after dawn he teleported in, and she walked into his arms.
"Helen," he whispered against her hair.
"I've missed you, John."
"And I've missed you," he replied, still holding her close against him.
"Why? Why did you leave without seeing me?"
He knew she was referring to Hollow Earth. "Adam set his creatures on me. They were going to kill me. It was self defense against them. But to defeat them… I had to let the elemental have free reign. And then seeing Adam, after he taunted me with your death… I have to admit that fight I enjoyed. I wasn't in a fit state to see you. I wasn't in control. It was too dangerous to be near you – near anyone. I wanted to see you, Helen. I wanted to see for myself that you were alive… But… Not when I was like that."
Helen thought about what he'd said. He'd once again separated his actions from the elemental's; and accepted responsibility for his own. She didn't like what she was sure he'd done to Adam, but all things considered, she wouldn't condemn him for it. Not after all Adam had done and planned to do.
"Do you want me to leave?" he asked softly.
She tightened her arms around his waist. "No. Stay. I won't lose this day with you. I may not like what you did to Adam, but I do understand it."
"Thank you, Helen," he said, his voice soft. He was glad that she seemed to truly understand and accept the line he'd drawn between himself and the elemental. She was holding him accountable for his actions toward Adam, but not what he'd had to let the elemental do to save himself from the creatures.
John started to move, and Helen was about to protest until she realized he was simply turning her in his arms, and moving them to the edge so they could watch the city. She rested back against him, her hands resting on his in front of her. Half an hour later they went back into Sanctuary together and had a quiet breakfast together, the others having already eaten. As they were about to leave to visit Ashley's grave, Henry approached.
"Henry?" Helen asked, since it was clear he had something on his mind.
"I have something. I've been working on it for a while… I didn't tell you because I didn't want to get your hopes up if it didn't work out," Henry said.
"Can this wait until tomorrow?"
"No. It has to be today. It's for John," Henry explained.
"For me?" John asked.
"Yeah. Your visit last year gave me an idea. You said the creature was 'sleeping' and letting you have control. I realized we'd been going about this the wrong way. We can't find a way to drive the elemental out of you and contain it, but we don't have to. You're the best one to control it. So I was thinking… What if we could make it stay 'asleep', and you be in control like you are today, all the time?"
"You're talking about essentially putting the elemental into a medically induced coma?" Helen said.
"Sort-of. But not drugs – that would just knock out John. So I've had this idea, but no way to make it work – until Hollow Earth. Some of the tech I saw there gave me the answer. I've had it for a couple weeks now, but figured it would have the best chance of working today, when the creature is already 'asleep', and John in control," Henry explained.
John was shocked speechless. A way to be like this all the time? To be with Helen? To have the peace he felt today, instead of the constant struggle to control the elemental? But the elemental had been part of him for so long… Did he really want to lose that? Did he want to lose the edge in a fight that the elemental gave him when he let it have some freedom? He met Helen's eyes and found his answer. He'd lose the edge the elemental gave him if it meant he could be with Helen.
For her part, Helen saw the flicker of doubt in John's eyes. The hesitation. "Henry, we'll join you in a minute. We need to talk."
"I'll be in the lab making sure everything is ready," he said, hurrying away.
John and Helen went to her private sitting room to talk.
"John? I saw the hesitation. The doubt. Please tell me you don't want to… keep things as they are."
"Of course I don't, Helen. I don't want to be a danger to you, and other innocents. But the elemental is why I survived the fight with Adam's creatures. And I've had this in me for so long… I want to be with you, Helen. More than anything else. I want us. But I also need to be able to fight and protect you."
"I also want us, John. And you will still be dangerous; but only to your enemies, not your friends – not me. When I shot at you that night in White Chapel… I didn't want to kill you. I wanted to save those girls. I hated that the only way to do that was to kill you. But now, it doesn't have to be that way. Even without the elemental you are one of the best fighters I've seen in over a century of living, and add to that your ability to teleport… You won't lose any of that. You'll be yourself again, John. The man I still love. Please…"
"I had a moment of doubt. But only a moment. I think I'm entitled to that moment, given what a drastic change this will be."
"Of course you are, John," she said, then leaned in and kissed him.
As they walked down to the lab, John told Helen, "After you had left, Adam accused me of being your lap dog."
Helen chuckled. "You are no one's lap dog, least of all mine. And you know I've always hated lap dogs."
"Yes. Noisy, useless, and always underfoot you called them," John replied.
"You tend to be quiet, and far from useless, and I like having you at my side," Helen replied. She was somehow unsurprised that John still remembered that trivial conversation after more than a century.
"I like being at your side," John replied.
Henry and the others were waiting when they walked in. He held out a pendent.
John took it, and examined it. The chain was silver, and the pendent appeared to be a black stone.
"At least it'll match your clothes," Kate joked.
He put it on, and noticed no difference. The real test would come at dawn. "Thank you, Henry. I appreciate the time and work you put into this." He held out his hand, and Henry shook it.
Helen and John took flowers to Ashley's grave. Helen told Ashley about the past year. "I still miss you so much. I still love you," Helen finished.
"Now, with this pendent, I wish more than ever that you were still here, and we've have a chance to know each other," John said. "Now, when I could perhaps be the father you deserve. I love you, Ashley."
They visited James' grave, then John teleported them to Oxford. After a couple hours of strolling the grounds and enjoying being back there John took them to Rome, where they had lunch as a small outdoor café – though in Rome it was dinner time.
The afternoon was spent in Sanctuary, watching home movies of Ashley as she grew up. Helen was curled up against John, his arms loosely wrapped around her.
"Where would you like to go to dinner," he eventually asked.
"New York. After we eat, I got us tickets to 12th Night."
Both enjoyed dinner and the play, then John took them home. "Have I mentioned how stunning you look in that dress, my dear," John said, admiring the sapphire blue dress Helen wore, and the way it hugged her body and brought out her eyes.
"You did, but I don't mind hearing it again." She knew he loved her in that shade of blue, and bought the dress specifically for this evening.
"Much as I like the dress…"
"You'd rather see me out of it," she finished, giving him an inviting smile. "Then what are you waiting for, John Druitt?" She turned her back so he could unzip her, which he happily did.
"And you look dashing tonight," she told him once she'd turned back around and was undoing the buttons of his shirt.
Hours later Helen was dozing light when John moving slightly away disturbed her. "John?" she asked, reaching out to him.
He took her hand, and kissed it. "I must leave for a short time. I can't be here if the pendent doesn't work. The creature's anger would be… intense. I won't have it near you. If it works, I'll be back within the hour, and would like nothing more than to find you exactly as you are now, my love." He leaned back in to kiss her deeply before leaving the bed.
"Hurry back, Love," she said, leaning back into the pillows.
Once he was gone, Helen got up, put on a nightgown and robe, and went to get breakfast for them.
As the sun rose, John waited for the rage to return. Waited to feel the elemental 'awake'. But it didn't. Making a mental note to find some thank you gift for Henry, John teleported back to Helen's room.
Helen was sitting in the room's bay window, sipping tea. She smiled at John and poured him a cup. "I got us breakfast," she said, handing him the cup.
"Thank you," he said, accepting it and sitting down facing her.
She raised a hand, and placed it on his cheek. "Welcome home, John."
Three months later John was in the Sanctuary library reading, when Helen came in and plucked the book from his hands, before sitting down in his lap. "Was there something you wanted, my dear?"
"Yes. I wanted to know if the offer still stands?"
"Which offer was that?" he asked.
"The offer of marriage."
"Ah, that offer. Yes, Helen, it still stands. Are you accepting it? Is our engagement back on?"
"Yes," she replied, then kissed him.