A/N: Just my musing after Into the Black. I left the time and place very vague, so it could be when Helen is back in the past, or when she's returned to Sanctuary, if she managed to.
When I was young everything was black and white, good and evil. Then I grew up and discovered there were only shades of gray. ~ Highlander, 'The Valkyrie'
Helen sat staring out the window, tears falling down her cheeks. John was gone. He was really and truly gone.
"I never want to see you again."
Her words echoed in her mind. When she'd said that, she'd meant it. But now, when she really never would see him again… She'd been angry, furious, and rightly so. She often said things in a temper. But John had always understood and forgiven. He'd always been there for her, when she truly needed him, and now he was gone.
It was a very different pain from when she'd lost Ashley. To lose a child… nothing compared to that. But John had been a part of her life for well over 100 years. For better or worse, through sickness and health, he'd been there. Her friend, her lover, her enemy, her ally. In whatever role, he'd always been there. The hole in her heart – her life – that he left was larger and deeper than she could have imagined. The emptiness was crushing. A black hole.
"That isn't love."
Again her own words haunted her. He'd proven his love by sacrificing himself to give her what she wanted – what she needed: a chance at stopping Adam. He'd always given her whatever she most needed, with one exception. He hadn't killed Adam. Twice; he'd let Adam live. Once out of mercy, and then out of his love for her. Perhaps twisted in its expression, but still love. She'd accused him of simply wanted to bed her. She'd refused to hear the real reason, when he'd told her. He'd wanted to have a life and children with her. He'd wanted to go back and do it right; to be with her, and help raise Ashley – and maybe other children. Was that really so evil? No… But the price. The price had been far too high… and John had been willing to pay it anyway. Why?
As the tears continued to flow she considered what his reasons might be. She'd at least had years with Ashley. Happy years. He hadn't. He long life had been filled with friends, the Sanctuary, and other good things. His had been filled with death, pain, and rage. With loneliness. For over 100 years he'd been alone. Was it really so surprising he'd want to go back and change that? And while his way would have caused may deaths, it would have saved the ones he'd killed. Their blood wouldn't be on his hands. He might, indirectly, be responsible for many more deaths by changing time, but it would be indirectly. He wouldn't be the one cutting their throat, as he did as Jack. Helen knew that would matter to John.
And her own pain would have mattered to him. He knew she'd suffered over the years – especially the loss of Ashley, but also losing James, and so many other friends. There had been happiness, and good times, but also much pain and loss. John would have seen his plan as a way to spare her that pain.
She thought about him calling her a hypocrite. He said she'd condemned his blood lust, until he wanted him to kill for her. She'd argued that if she'd been there, she would have killed Adam. And she would have. But she hadn't been the one facing Adam. John had ensured that. She'd wanted the Cabal to pay for Ashley, and John had made them pay a brutal price. She'd been glad to know that he was dealing with them – killing them. No, this wasn't a black and white area. Like so many things with John, it was shades of gray. So many shades of gray.
White and black. John and Jack. Pleasure and pain. Love and heartbreak. Lover and enemy. All mixed together into shades of gray. All part of their complicated relationship.
A sob escaped Helen and she buried her face in her hands.