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[personal profile] holdouttrout
Title: Five Lovers Helen Never Took
Fandom: Sanctuary
Rating:PG
Category: Five Things, UST
Pairings: Helen/OMC, Helen/OFC, Helen/John, Helen/James, Helen/Nikola
Summary: Five times that Helen didn't take an opportunity that presented itself.



1. Before John.

There was someone before John.

Well, there could have been someone before John. It had been tempting at the time. She was a young woman, and he was quite a bit older. Looking back, she can recognize the manipulation he employed, but at the time his attentions had been flattering. He wasn't one of her father's friends, which made him much more interesting, and he always seemed to be around--proximity, Helen knew, was essential for any interest to survive.

There had also been quite a bit of touching. Small brushes of his hand on hers, an adjustment of a strand of hair or two, and one memorable kiss.

It was a good thing she hadn't been any sillier, or she might have fallen in love with him. Considering that he left the country unexpectedly, for reasons no one would think to mention to her, it might have been disastrous.

As it was, however, she ended up a little more rational, a little less inclined to trust pretty words.



2. After John, before James.

It was weeks before Helen ventured out into society, and even then it was only because a corner of her mind was telling her she ought to talk to someone besides James. Between the two of them, they were quickly falling into a cycle of guilty blame.

It was no secret that she had been engaged, and no secret that it had been abruptly called off, but no one asked about it. Half the time, Helen felt like she was sleepwalking, and the other half was spent carefully not crying. and sometimes she thought she might like someone to notice.

Then, one evening, she thought she saw John.

Her heart thudded, the room sharpened, the sound of the conversation around her fell away. It was only a split-second of misperception. The man was tall, yes, and had the right color hair, but everything else about him was different.

He turned toward her and met her shocked stare. Instead of looking surprised himself, he gave her a small smile.

She recognized him, now. He was infamous for his string of lovers--and not much else. Needless to say, he was not someone in her circle of acquaintances. She had the wild thought that perhaps she wasn't so very different from him, now. She knew she could walk over to him, say a few meaningless words, and be in his bed by midnight.

The idea tempted her for a just a second, but something in his expression gave her pause--a predatory quirk of his lips, perhaps, or the way his fingers tightened around his wineglass.

Helen suppressed a shudder as she remembered other lips, other fingers, another hunter.

He raised his glass half an inch, and Helen looked away.



3. After James.

Things with James didn't end badly, they just… ended, and Helen spent much of her newly found free time with Nikola, who did his best to charm her straight into his bed.

Helen laughed it off, and Nikola kept right at it, saying that at least he made her laugh, which is more than he could say for James. Helen liked Nikola's sense of the absurd, and she liked laughing, but she never forgot he was much more dangerous than he looked.

There was only one moment she came close to letting herself forget, and that was when Nikola Tesla, brilliant scientist, died.

"It's going to be much easier, really," Nikola said, discarding the various elements of his costume. He looked more himself than he had in decades--all self-assurance and poise and impeccable taste--and he looked young, and a little forlorn.

"You're going to miss it," Helen said. Nikola was the one who had held on tightest to his life, which wasn't something she would have expected, had anyone known to ask.

Nikola snorted. "Am not. Just think, no more FBI, no more moronic sycophants, no more invasive questions about my personal life from virtual strangers--"

His facade cracked, just for a second, and Helen reached out, touched his shoulder.

There was just the slightest sensation of pressure as he leaned into her, turned his face toward her, and she almost leaned in to kiss him--

She pulled away instead, thinking about the cumulative weight of the past.

"Come on," she said, looking away. "Let's go to your funeral."



4. The Protege

The seventies were a rough time for Helen--Nikola was off doing who knew what, and she'd been losing people she'd known for decades at what seemed like an alarming rate but what she knew was really just coincidence and bad timing.

She hadn't been looking for a protege. She'd had a few, but as time went on, she worried about her own death less and less, a product of seeing the world move on no matter who died, she guessed.

She hadn't been looking, but Alice had been. Alice had been looking at the whole world, not shutting her eyes like most people. She'd stumbled onto a meeting between an abnormal crime lord, Bigfoot, and Helen Magnus, and instead of screaming at the big guy's face, she had gone wide-eyed.

"I knew it," the girl said, looking impossibly young in bell-bottoms and a hideously yellow shirt that billowed out at her waist, her short, dark hair a mess of curls.

Of course, the meeting went to hell right about then, but somehow in the confusion Alice tagged along, back to the Sanctuary, and then she just didn't seem to leave.

She was eighteen, intelligent, and had been bored beyond belief in mundane life. She flourished in the Sanctuary, learned the ropes and filled the labs with her laughter, and seven years later, she got Helen drunk and kissed her.

Helen considered it, much, much longer than she ever would have sober.

She broke away. "Alice," she said, gently. She wasn't sure what else to say. It wasn't that Alice was a woman, or that she was so young--time was taking care of that. It wasn't even that she wasn't interested, but Helen had so few friends that she wasn't willing to take the chance.

Alice looked more serious than Helen had ever seen her, and then she shrugged. "Worth a shot," she said.

Helen laughed.



5. John

Before she had used the source blood, Helen hadn't realized she had a dark side. Even after, when she was struggling to deal with the implications of what they had all gained and lost, she hadn't known that some of the moral ambiguity her friends had needed to embrace had creeped in to her own soul.

Now, she remembered the self-righteous feeling after discovering John's crimes, wrapped up in her own sense of betrayal, with the feeling that she hadn't known anything. She did things she never would have allowed herself to consider when she was young. She made decisions that cost people their lives, and she couldn't say she was always motivated by the greater good, or even simple altruism.

No, she had had time to see her own failings.

She presumed that dealing with John would be easier if she hadn't learned this about herself. It would be easier and maybe more moral to kill him, but she couldn't do it. Even before she knew about the energy being, it wasn't possible to condemn him completely.

She had very little room to judge him.

Still, she had a line. She wouldn't let herself forget that he was a killer, that he enjoyed it. He held back until he couldn't, but then he let himself loose and took pleasure in causing unspeakable pain.

It was still a close call when he caught her in the library one night, after Ashley died. He was just drunk enough to try to remind her of when they were lovers. He crowded her against the shelf, not quite touching her but so, so close.

She was just tired enough, weary enough that she almost, almost forgot enough to remember.

She moved away from him. "John," she said, "I--it can never be like that again."

He held her gaze and then sighed. "No."

He left.

Helen stared into the place he'd been. She couldn't help thinking that never was a long time.

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