Authors Note's: Set immediately following the events of "Normandy" Thanks to NoCleverSig for her wonderful input and beta skills. This got a bit more argumentative/angsty than I'd originally planned, but hey! Hope you enjoy :)
"Among the Ruins"
(Copyright MajorSam, 2011)
The sounds of war echoed through the forest as Magnus helped James limp along through the broken trees. They had done their part in ensuring the armada would be able to land safely, but it was still no guarantee that the war was won. There was so much more that needed to be done, so much she wanted to do to help, but right now, she couldn't. As much as she wanted to catch the first car, the first flight, away from this place and back to London, she needed to attend to James first. He tried to elude her efforts to support him, but she knew he needed it. The bullet in his leg was cause enough for concern, but she worried more about the device on his chest. She'd watched him build it, monitored his vital signs when he'd first put it on, even helped develop the controls to keep it regulated. She had never seen it purposely misused, but theoretically knew what he must have suffered. Something along the lines of a heart attack, a stroke, and suffocation, all in one. And what again had Colonel Korba said?
"What button was it that Herr Druitt pushed?"
John had tortured him. Whatever his reasons, whatever his good intentions in the end, John had tortured James, the man who used to be his best friend. It made her sick. Seeing Druitt again had stirred up feelings, too many feelings. She'd almost convinced herself that he would remain uninvolved in this war. When she'd seen him in the bunker, her first feeling had been relief swiftly followed by hate. But then he'd been shot, and her instincts had been to go to him, to help him. She knew now that that gut reaction would never leave her. She would never be free of him.
Beside her, James suddenly stumbled. She flung her other arm around him to keep him steady as she helped lower him to the ground.
"James, are you alright?" she reached out her hand to cup his cheek, turning him to face her. His eyes were bloodshot but aware.
"I'm fine," he said, but his voice was breathy and strained.
"Hold your troops," Helen called out. A dozen or so meters ahead, the sergeant called a halt. He had agreed to escort Helen and James to the nearest possible safe zone before heading off to join the main battle. They hoped to arrive in the small town of Baupte by late morning, knowing they didn't have time to rest, but it looked like they had no choice.
"Helen, really," James protested as she pushed gently on his chest, guiding him to lie down. The change of angles and pressures made his body ache even more, but he didn't tell her.
"Don't argue, James. We have no idea what kind of damage could have been done to you. You can't keep pushing yourself or there may be lasting effects."
James sighed. He knew this was one argument he wouldn't win, like so many other arguments they'd had.
"Yes, dear," he acquiesced, with only the slightest trace of sarcasm. She gave him a look but didn't comment. The fact that he'd given in so quickly only served to confirm her fears. He was nowhere near ok.
The bulk of soldiers around them started to find flat spots on the ground to grab an hour's sleep while a few spread out to take up sentry. As she watched the sergeant take off his helmet for a moment and tiredly scratch his head, she felt a wave of fatigue wash over her. She couldn't remember the last time she'd slept, and the events of the day, combined with the emotional stress, were finally catching up with her. She quickly looked over the bandage around James' leg, calling to the nearest soldier to give her a wrap-bandage from his kit. She efficiently rebound the wound, and then gave James a sip of water. He nodded his thanks and lay still, exhausted. She made sure he was resting comfortably before she lay down beside him, burrowing into his side for a bit of warmth in the cold morning. She didn't see, but a few meters behind them, Jeanette settled in beside Nigel.
An hour later, Magnus was shaken awake by one of the soldiers.
"Sorry ma'am, but we gotta move out."
She nodded, tiredly, and he walked away. She turned onto her side and placed her hand on Watson's shoulder, gently rousing him.
"James," she whispered. He started, blinking heavily, not yet ready to wake up.
"I'm sorry, darling, but we have to keep moving. Do you think you can make it?"
"Not much of a choice," he replied, reaching for her arm to steady himself as he stood. He gritted his teeth against the fire in his leg, the tightness in his chest. The soldiers were already up and ready to go. Within moments the entire party was moving swiftly through the woods, away from the coast. The trip, just over 10 kilometers, took almost three hours thanks to James' injuries, but they managed it with little incident. Half a dozen soldiers had run ahead to make sure the small village was secured for their arrival. It was technically a resistance town, but one could never be too sure.
They arrived with little fanfare, the few hundred occupants much more concerned with the aerial bombs that littered the country with their echoing booms. Parts of the town had been destroyed in a recent raid, but compared to most of the outlying towns, they'd gotten off easy. Most of the fires had been contained, so the piles of rubble and ruin that used to be buildings no longer posed future threat. The mayor of the town conceded to let them use the small town hall, thankfully still standing, as a temporary headquarters where they could rest, clean up, and eat. A few families donated pillows, blankets, and other such sundries. The hall wasn't very grand, but the soldiers were more than happy to hole up in the lobby, while giving the two offices to Magnus, Watson, Griffin, and the French resistance leader. There was even a small kitchen. Magnus looked at Griffin, nodded, and led James into the main office. One of the soldiers, trained in basic emergency first aid, had taken over the position of medic when theirs had been killed, and tried to follow them into the room.
"Thank you, but your services won't be necessary," Magnus informed him. "I am his attending physician." The man's eyes widened, but he'd seen her in action enough today not to underestimate her, knowing that she was probably telling the truth. He respectfully bowed his head and went back into the lobby.
She quickly took off her trench coat and went about setting up a blanket and pillow for James to lie down on, not saying a word. He took off his own jacket and reclined on the makeshift bed without being prompted, knowing now that they were relatively "safe" he had no excuse not to rest. Magnus opened the medical kit one of the soldiers had given her, and removed the small scissors. She took off Watson's boots and socks before she carefully cut away his trouser leg, revealing the wound fully. It looked awful, not having been properly attended to for almost a day, but the bullet had exited cleanly. She wouldn't have to do any surgery, thank god. She removed the beret from her head, running her hands through her hair in an effort to de-flatten it, and keep it out of her face. He liked it red.
"I'll be right back," she said quietly, then stood and walked out the door.
James sighed and closed his eyes once the door had closed behind her.
It always came back to bloody John Druitt.
This war had begun taking its toll on Helen, Watson could tell, but he had hoped that this mission would have been the last of it. If the invasion went as planned, it would be the end of the war itself, but John's sudden arrival meant her troubles were far from over. Watson and she had been planning on going away for a while, after the war. They'd seen and done things in the last few years that would take a long time to mend, but they thought if they could just disappear for a time, they could start to heal, together. No matter how he wished it wasn't so, James knew the events of the last day had changed all that.
He'd tried so hard, for so long, to be what Helen needed. He'd been there for her after John had left her with a broken heart and a shriveled soul. He had helped her freeze the embryo, much as it pained him to know she was still keeping the child, after all John had done to her. He had been by her side through so many difficult times… When they had finally crossed the borders of friendship, he thought he had broken through her barriers for good. They were good together, extremely compatible, with more than just their unique bond as members of The Five to keep them going. From the beginning they had had a connection, their intelligence, passion, and curiosity making them fast friends. As lovers they were caring, attentive, and in synch. He knew some of the things John had done to her in the bedroom and tried his best to avoid letting his passion have full reign. He could never hurt her like that.
Helen suddenly opened the door, interrupting his thoughts. She knelt down beside him with a pot of hot water. Picking up a clean cloth, she began clearing the blood and dirt from around the wound. He hissed at the contact, but stayed still. Throughout the cleaning, sanitization and bandaging of his injury, Magnus remained silent. James didn't dare interrupt her thoughts. When she finished she moved quickly to his shirt, reaching out and unbuttoning it. He tossed the tattered cloth aside as she checked to make sure all the controls on his chest plate were properly set. She inspected it frantically with both hands, but when she was done she let them linger, splaying her fingers, resting her palms against the metal dials. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. Watson detected a faint tremble.
"Helen," he dared whisper. Her eyes snapped open, and she clenched her jaw.
"Do you want to change your shirt now, or can you wait a while longer? I'm not sure it would be wise to change it now," she said, not letting him speak. He hated the feel of the contraption against his bare skin and was thankful he could still take it off to change his undershirt. In a few years, he feared he wouldn't be able to take it off at all. Right now, the plate could be removed for brief stretches of time, most often to change, but sometimes for a full night. In this instance Magnus thought it should be left on as long as possible.
"The shirt is fine," he said, looking at her. She turned her head away and moved to pack up the medical kit but, he caught her arm, forcing her to look at him.
"We need to talk about this," he said, pointedly. She didn't look into his eyes, gazing off somewhere behind his ear instead.
"Helen!" his tone was firm, uncompromising. She jumped slightly at his raised voice, but finally looked at him.
There were so many things running through her blue eyes that even he couldn't decipher them all. They stared at each other, silent, trying to figure out what the other was thinking.
"Please," he finally said, voice barely above a whisper.
Please let me in, please trust me, please let me be here for you.
Her eyes crinkled at the sides and became misty. Both of them were exhausted, physically and mentally, and emotions were running too close to the surface.
Dear god, he thought. Don't cry…
He opened his mouth to apologize, but was shocked when suddenly her lips were on his, her hands cupping his face. Her kiss was hard, desperate, seething with emotions. He wanted to push her away, knowing this was only a delay of the inevitable, an escape, but found he couldn't. For a time the day before, he'd thought he would never be able to kiss her again. Never hold her, touch her, love her. Her tongue swept across his lips, and he was powerless against her, opening his mouth to allow her entrance. Her hot breath filled his lungs as her tongue plunged fiercely in, battling with his own. She gripped his face, his neck, even harder, pushing against him, and he felt himself falling backwards. She fell on top of him, and he cringed as she jostled his chest plate. Her mouth froze against his, and then suddenly pulled back.
"Oh my god, James," she choked, breathing hard, her eyes watering, "I'm so sorry!"
He worked to recover his own breath, grabbing her hand and squeezing it. "It's fine," he assured her. "No harm done."
She bit her lip and nodded, but he knew she wasn't convinced. He moved his hand from hers to trail up her arm, wrapping his hand around her shoulder, and pulling her towards him. She resisted at first, but then gave in, lying down carefully beside him with his arm acting as a pillow to her head. She hesitantly reached out her arm to lie against his stomach. He kissed the top of her head. James felt himself drifting off to sleep when his mind registered something amiss. Helen was shaking. It was very slight, but small tremors were running through her body. She had tucked her head into his arm, and he couldn't see her face. He reached over with his free hand to touch her chin, turning her head to face him. She shook her head, waving off his hand and moving closer to his body.
"Don't hide from me, Helen," he pleaded. She stilled, and he heard a sniffling sound. Finally, she turned her head to look up at him. Her eyes were red and tear tracks marred her soft cheeks. The water in her wide eyes made them even bluer, more vivid, highlighted against her pale skin and deep red hair.
"I thought you would die," she whispered. Her small voice made his heart clench. "I thought I was going to sit there, stuck in that chair, helpless, and watch you die."
"But I didn't die," he reminded her. "I'm still here. We both are."
"I know," she said in a thick voice, "And I'm happy, so happy we were successful in our mission, but…" Her face tensed in the effort to find the right words. She was too tired; her mind unable to form the proper sentences.
"Is that all?" he pushed. He didn't know if this was the right time, but he had to know. She looked directly into his eyes, the tears gone, but leaving shadows in their wake.
His name hung heavy in the air, though neither dared speak it. James sighed, the twisting feeling in his heart growing.
"Tell me," he said. She winced, and shook her head. "Tell me," he commanded again.
"Not now, James, please," she asked.
"Then when?" he demanded, his voice loud.
"Later!" she hissed, her body growing tenser by the second.
"Damnit Helen, you can't push this away," he cried. "He was there!"
"Please, stop," she said, tears forming once again, making her even angrier, disgusted at her weakness.
"He was there, Helen, and he tortured me," stated James in a cold, blunt voice. She squeezed her eyes shut, but the tears still leaked out from the sides. She hated John, but he had let James go. He had been trying to help them in his own, twisted way.
"John, what have you done?" Her own words echoed through her mind.
"What I always do. What you can't."
He was right. There were some things she simply couldn't condone, much as she'd like to. Did he think he was helping them with his killings? Was he staying away for their own safety, choosing to channel his mad rage into not-so innocent victims but one's of actual consequence?
And then he'd told James to treat her well.
He knew about them. He knew, and he'd still left. He loved her so much he was willing to give her up, leave her with the man he thought could guarantee her safety, her happiness. And James did make her happy, he did, but… Damnit! No matter what she did, how many times she thought she'd gotten over him, she would always love John. That didn't mean she didn't love James too, it was just…
Looking at the man in front of her, the sweet, caring man, she hated herself. She wished she could have fallen in love with him first. So much tragedy could have been avoided. Gazing intently at her face, James thought he could finally tell what she was thinking. His heart sank into the depths, knowing he was about to be ruined, and he prepared himself for what she was about to say.
The words never came.
Instead, he found himself with her lips against his once again. He opened his eyes in confusion, and she pulled back.
"We will talk about it, I promise," she told him. "But for now, please, just let me touch you."
She had the sudden, overwhelming need to be as close to him as possible. She didn't want to think about John, didn't want to think about the war raging on the shores that were still so close. She'd been running around for years, one mission inevitably leading to another, and she needed to stop. Even if it was for just one night, she needed to celebrate a victory, remind herself what she was fighting for. She needed to cement in her mind the fact that James was here and alive. They both were. She didn't voice these sentiments, but James understood.
He brought his hand up to her face and gently caressed her cheekbone under the gash she'd sustained during one of the many firefights. With a relieved smile she leaned down and kissed him. The kiss was as far removed from their earlier embrace as possible. It was soft, gentle, and loving. They spent minutes simply relearning the other's unique taste, testing the silkiness of lips with nibbles, a gentle stroke of a tongue. After a time Helen opened her mouth to allow James further in, and he pulled her closer, easing her onto her back and rolling onto his side, looming on top of her. His hands moved slowly down to her vest, unbuttoning it and pulling it open before starting on the blouse underneath. She wrapped her arms around his back and shoulders, pulling him to her. He held her tight as he rolled them over again so that Helen sat astride him, and he could easily push off her vest and blouse.
Her bra was a simple black thing, but he still liked it, leaving it on as his hands ventured to the fastenings on her trousers. She helped him, a quick scuffle ensuing to remove her boots and socks before the trousers came off. Her nimble fingers then moved to his zipper, and with the gentle ease of a surgeon she managed to get the trousers and his boxers off without disturbing his leg too much. She wished she could take his plate and shirt off, but knew she couldn't. She missed the days of seeing him completely bare, feeling his slick skin next to hers. He moved to flip them over again but she resisted.
"You can't exert yourself too much," she told him. He sputtered, but she shook her head. "No, James. Let me take care of you."
She slid her body down his, coming to rest between his legs. Her long fingers took him in her grasp, and he stopped protesting. Hands that had hours ago been shooting a gun stroked him gently for a few minutes, coaxing him to hardness despite his fatigue. He let his mind relax, allowing the pleasure of her touch to override the burning in his leg, the clamp on his chest, the strain his entire body had felt when the device had been turned off.
With the first touch of her hot mouth, he groaned. She gently worked him over, alighting every nerve between his legs as she smoothed her tongue around and up and over. She moved back to his tip, kissing it softly before enveloping him in her mouth. She sucked on him slowly, but surely, her touch meant to be more comforting than arousing. She didn't need to impress him with her skills right now, she just wanted to taste him, feel him, experience the ease and safety that always surrounded her when she was with him.
He threaded his hands through her thick hair, soft grunts and groans hitting the air. When he felt himself growing close, he pulled her off of him.
"I don't want to finish like that," he told her. "I need you, Helen."
She nodded, and reached behind her back to unfasten her bra, tossing it aside. She quickly shed her underwear before moving up his body, leaning forward, offering her chest to him, knowing he liked her breasts. Not as much as John had, but still. She winced at the thought.
Don't you dare think about him!
James was frowning at her as he kneaded her breasts, playing with her nipples. She leaned further down and kissed him. She tangled her tongue with his, her breasts pressing into cold metal as he moved his hands to grip her backside. She reached down between them, grasping his shaft in her hand, guiding it to her entrance. She slid easily down onto him, both sighing at the familiar, tight heat. They hadn't had made love in quite a while. He waited patiently for her to start moving, and her heart swelled with affection. He was too good to her.
She moved slowly, but with purpose, rising above him so that he almost slipped out before moving heavily down again, impaling herself on his hardness. He gripped her hips firmly, his eyes closed and teeth gritted. She wondered if they should be doing this at all, if it would hurt him, but then his hips bucked upward, and she knew she couldn't stop. She moved faster, swiveling her hips every few thrusts. Sweat started to glisten on their foreheads, and moans grew more frequent. That insatiable urge to be close to him sprung up again, and she moved harder, running her hands up his sides, down his strong arms. He ran his hands over the soft, warm skin of her back.
"James," she breathed, and he opened his eyes. He saw the need in her own and started to move his hips in unison, pushing himself deeper into her. Her eyelids fluttered shut briefly, and when they opened, her blue eyes were dark with passion. She fell forward, planting her hands on either side of James' head, pressing as much of her body against him as she could. She crushed her mouth against his, tongues and teeth clashing against each other.
"Helen," he groaned between fevered kisses.
"Oh god, James," she moaned. "More!"
Before she knew what was happening she was on her back with James pounding into her from above. She grabbed his shoulders, crying out as he took her.
They both knew he shouldn't be working this hard, shouldn't be exerting himself at all, but neither cared. She spread her legs further, raising her knees up and wrapping them around him, digging her heels into his back to bring him in. The weight of his tall, hard body on top of her, his slightly hairy legs rubbing against her thighs, was everything she needed right now. They clung to each other, knowing this would be over quickly now that the floodgates of emotion had been let loose. This was their final act before the crash. James had always tried to reign in his passion, afraid of hurting her. She had often asked, even begged him, to let go, but he was always staunchly in control. Right now, mere hours after they'd thought he would die, he had no control. He finally let go.
"I love you, James," she choked out after a particularly spectacular thrust. He cried out at her words, tears springing to his eyes and his member swelling even further inside of her.
"I love you so much," she said again, grateful for the pillow beneath her head, shielding at least part of her upper body from the cold, hard floor he was grinding her into.
"I love you too," he breathed, diving down to lay an open mouthed kiss on her neck. She let her head fall to the side, giving him as much skin as possible, and he bit down, eliciting a keening wail. The angle he needed to attack her neck caused his hips to grind against her on every thrust. Small bursts of fireworks travelled through her core, up her body, the combination of pleasure below, and the bites from above overwhelming her senses.
She felt her orgasm approaching and clenched her muscles, squeezing him. His whole body convulsed.
"Oh god Helen!" he cried out, shaking his head, trying to prolong his release.
"Let go, James," she urged. "Come. Come inside me, please, make me yours."
He opened his eyes, his face contorted and sweating, focused entirely on bringing her pleasure. She held his eyes as she reached down to grab one of his hands, wrenching it from her waist and guiding it between her legs. She placed his fingers on her clit and used her own hand to push them against her. Her mouth fell open and she tried to repress the sounds she made, knowing there were people just beyond the wall of their little room. Their eyes stayed locked on one another's as their hands worked in unison, ever the perfect team, to bring Helen to climax.
Within seconds she was there, her back arching as hot spikes of pleasure raced up her spine. Seeing her fall apart in his arms was enough for James to reach the end, and he fell with her, crying out, bursting forth to fill her. For one, perfect moment they were both suspended in time, lost in one another, crying out each other's names.
Then James pulled out of her and collapsed.
"James!" she gasped, "Are you alright?"
He lay beside her, chest heaving and shaking, face purple from exertion, and she feared the worst. Panic bubbled up, Helen finding herself unable to deal with the possibility that he might really leave her today after all. Then an unexpected sound broke through her hazy mind.
He was laughing. She was still too high, body shaking from the gentle waves of pleasure still coursing through her, and she didn't understand. He saw her, sweaty bangs plastered against her forehead, face flushed, and looking adorably confused.
"We're alive, Helen!" he exclaimed. She looked down at his joyful face and felt herself begin to grin, soon joining in his laughter. They were no closer to resolving their issues, and she knew that some very difficult times were ahead, but for right now, in this moment, it was enough. The building suddenly shook as a bomb landed a few scant kilometers away, but she barely felt it. She lay down next to James as he started to fall rapidly into sleep. She smiled against his chest plate, hearing the whirring that indicated a strong heart, one that would last for many years to come.
So, my first Helen/James. What did you all think? Was this how you saw them thinking after the events of Normandy, or did you have a completely different idea? Feel free to argue away via "review" button :p
Also, any desire for me to write some more of this pairing? I have one in mind already, of a much happier sort, so please let me know if you'd be interested :) MSam