Title: Towards the Light
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 6 December 2009
Fandom: Sanctuary / X Files
Pairing: Helen Magnus / Dana Scully
Word Count: 2,451
Summary: Kind of Sequel to "Straight out of Legend"
Spoilers: X Files – post series finale. Sanctuary: set during Pavor Nocturnus.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW09
Disclaimer: Sanctuary and the character of Helen Magnus belong to Martin Wood, Damien Kindler and Amanda Tapping. X Files and the character of Dana Scully belongs to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Gillian Anderson. Me, I just write stories.
Note: This one was written for the FSAC:DDOW 09
A 'what might have been' scene from Pavor Nocturnus
Scully: "All right. So how do I die?"
Clyde Bruckman: "You don't."
3X04 Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
Scully: You know, most people want to live forever.
Fellig: Most people are idiots. Which is one of the reasons I don't.
Scully: I think you're wrong. How can you have too much life? There's too much to learn, to experience.
Fellig: 75 years... is enough. Take my word for it. You live forever, sooner or later you start to think about the big thing you're missing and that everybody else gets to find out about but you.
Scully: What about love?
Fellig: What, does that last forever? 40 years ago I drove down to the city hall, down to the hall of records... record archives, whatever they call it. I wanted to look up my wife. It ... bothered me I couldn't remember her name. Love lasts... 75 years, if you're lucky. You don't want to be around when it's gone.
Fellig: (gentle) Do you see him? Do you see him? Don't look. Close your eyes.
TOWARDS THE LIGHT
The dead went unnumbered and largely unmourned these days. Yet Helen Magnus still felt each loss as a personal slight. She had once entertained the hope that this time death would not leave her behind but she seemed to be one of a scant handful immune to the contagion. So far she had not discovered what it was in her own genetic make-up that granted her immunity nor how to pass it on to others. Direct transfusion of her blood did not seem to be efficacious this time.
At least she was not alone at the end of the world. She had Will and Kate and John. And she had Dana.
Dana Scully and a small group of FBI staff had held out for months at Quantico studying the contagion before Druitt made contact with them and transported them to one of their safe zones. Helen had recognised Dana immediately following their encounter a few years previously when Dana and her then-partner Fox Mulder had been working a case involving an abnormal. The young woman's medical background and scientific expertise proved invaluable. Too many medical and scientific staff had fallen victim to the contagion in the early days before the methods of infection were properly understood.
It was whilst testing Dana and other so-far uninfected people for common immunity factors that Helen made the discovery that changed everything for her. Dana Scully was also an immortal. She had not been injected with the Source blood as the Five had been but she had been subjected to illicit experimentation to produce a hybrid lifeform by an offshoot of the Cabal that had infiltrated the FBI and other government agencies. Her immortality had been an incidental byproduct of that failed experiment.
Dana took the news with quiet equanimity. "I think… I knew," she said haltingly. "I was… told." She told Helen about her encounters with Clyde Bruckman, the insurance salesman who foresaw the deaths of his clients and with Alfred Fennig, the photographer who had cheated death. "But knowing and believing…"
"It took me years to come to terms with it," Helen said gently. "Your photographer was right. It becomes a burden watching those you love age and die, watching the world change without you. I came to hate my longevity, particularly after I lost… after Ashley was taken from me."
"I can only imagine what that felt like," Dana said softly. "I had barely got to know my daughter, Emily, before I lost her. And when I gave up William, I knew it was so that he could have a better life, so that he would be safe but there were days when I wished I could just… end it."
"Do you know where he is now?" Helen asked.
Dana shook her head. "I severed all contact to protect him. He would be… almost ten years old now. In the chaos… he could be anywhere. If I'm meant to find him again, I will, I know." Tears trickled down her cheeks.
Helen drew the smaller woman into what she intended to be a comforting embrace. Her arms wrapped around her, she pressed her cheek to the woman's hair and then turned her head to drop a light kiss on her brow. Dana's head was turning blindly towards her at that moment and their lips brushed lightly together and then after a stunned moment, Dana's lips were pressed against her, the smaller woman pressing her whole body against her as her tongue swept over her bottom lip seeking entrance.
There was a cot in the corner of the room. Helen steered them both towards it without losing contact with the other woman. Dana's lips were so soft, her red hair like silk under her fingers, Dana's hands were busy on the buttons of her blouse. Helen spared a moment to hope that the other woman wouldn't just rip it open. The end of the world had played havoc enough with her wardrobe without losing one of her favourite blouses. Then Dana's hand splayed across the bare skin of her abdomen and she remembered how long it was since anyone had touched her and she was sinking down onto the cot and pulling the other woman with her, Dana's lips whispering down the line of her jaw, the pulsepoint of her throat, down her sternum. Helen found the button and zip on Dana's jeans and pulled them down over the slip shapely hips and thighs, her hand brushing against the soaking heat of the younger woman's panties matching the heat she could feel between her own legs. This was mutual then, this was… wonderful.
And if they were careful and the gods smiled, it could be forever.
They had just over three years as the world fell apart around them. Helen and Dana went to Argentina in a last ditch attempt to stop a previously largely unaffected population falling victim to the contagion. The same pattern prevailed – nothing they tried worked. The best they could do was slow the progression of the virus but the treatment was far from palliative causing the victim such agony that euthanasia was a relief.
The communications system that Henry had lashed together before he died was still working. No one was certain how given the complete failure of every other infrastructure. Kate had posited that someone up there was looking out for them in this respect at least. Most of them held the quiet belief that the spirit of Henry Foss was their ghost in the machine somewhere up in geek heaven.
Helen finished updating her video log and sat back in the camp chair, reaching up to massage the aching tendons in her neck. Defeat weighed her down. The last series of tests she had run were no more promising than the ones she had done when the mutagenic contagion had first appeared seven years earlier.
She was missing something, she knew it. It nagged at her. There was something she should be seeing in the pattern, something… personal. She had reviewed her logs back to the notations concerning the first cases of the contagion. Now she went back further, six months, a year before the first cases had come to her attention, too late even then to locate a patient zero. The pain of Ashley's death had been so raw then. She had been so careless of everything, her own life most of all. The trip to Honduras in search of that insane legend, an elixir that was the opposite of the Fountain of Youth that would provide a cure for her longevity. The underground room in the temple, the strange sense of being watched… judged.
"… unfortunately the elixir from the vial had no effect on me except to spike my immunoglobulin levels. Repeated attempts to bring them back down to normal range have failed…"
Immunoglobulin… goddess, no! With a clarity worthy of James Watson at the height of his powers suddenly it all came together. One of the key indicators of infection was a highly elevated immunoglobulin response. She had been looking in the wrong place all this time. The clue was in her blood but not in the way she thought. She, Helen Magnus, was patient zero. She had done this.
A moment of frozen horror then her training took over. She switched on her video log and started a new entry trying to remain dispassionate as she detailed her latest findings. They would need to find a working facility with the equipment to follow this new lead. She tried to remain positive but as the clarity deserted again reality hit home. It was probably too late, the contagion had gone too far. "… all efforts to find a cure for this plague have failed. Our only hope is to find safe ground to protect what few of us remain…" She paused. "I'm sorry for everything." She ended the recording.
Helen had no idea how long she had just been sitting there when she felt rather than heard someone come up behind her. Small yet strong fingers began to massage out the kinks in her neck and shoulders. Helen sighed in appreciation at the relief only just realising how tense she had been. Well, she had just worked out that she was personally responsible for the end of the world. How was she going to break it to the others?
Would there be any point? Things had gone too far. These were the last days of what had been the human race.
"When did you last sleep?" Dana asked, her mouth very close to Helen's cheek. She began to place gentle kisses along Helen's jawline, her hands moving down from Helen's shoulders to smooth over Helen's breasts.
"Why does everyone ask me that?" Helen smiled, leaning back against her lover, feeling the press of Dana's breasts against her shoulder blades.
"Because it's a matter of concern for everyone," Dana said. "However you may deny it, Helen, you are the glue, the guiding spirit that holds all of this together. Without you…" Her hand stilled over Helen's heart.
"Someone would step in to take my place, keep it going. You or Declan or Will…" She did not include John Druitt. One might have thought that a man of the temperament and calibre of Montague John Druitt would have been in his element at the end of the world but he had come into his own as never before. He took no pleasure in the ending of the old world and the chaos and destruction of the new order. He did what he could to help, his quiet courtesy a rock for those around him, rescuing the unaffected from hot zones and spiriting them away to one of their enclaves. Whatever Helen asked of him, he would do. But if she wasn't there…
She was his salvation, his light in the darkness. He would not survive her loss.
She had been concerned for a while as to his reaction to Dana, to the change in their relationship but he had been all courteous delight declaring that the two of them were good for each other.
"Helen, I couldn't be happier. Really. She makes you happy and that means… everything to me. You have nothing to fear. Either of you," he told her. In his dark eyes she could read only sincerity and good will.
"Helen?" Dana's soft voice brought her out of her reverie. "See, you're almost asleep at your desk. Come on, lie down with me, just for a little while."
"With you," Helen smiled. Dana looked almost as tired as she felt. "To be honest love, you look more in need of sleep than I do. But you are right, a short rest would be beneficial. I think I have some new insight into our dilemma. I believe…"
Dana laid a finger over her lips. "It can wait." She held out her hand and Helen allowed herself to be pulled to her feet. Dana slid her arm around her and together they walked out of the lab and into the sleeping area beyond. Helen slipped out of her shoes and lab coat and got into the narrow bed, moving as close to the wall as she could so that there was room for Dana to curl up beside her. Dana pulled her arm across her, snuggling into her body. She quickly fell into a deep sleep. Helen allowed the sound of her lover's soft breathing to lull her into her own sleep.
It seemed like only a few moments had passed when there was the sound of terrified screaming outside. Dana was awake and on her feet in an instant. "Is it an attack?" she asked. Helen reached under the cot for a weapon and got to her feet. The 'palefaces' had been steadily massing since the previous day; perhaps they had grown bold enough for a full scale attack.
"Magnus… Magnus…!" It was Phillipe, one of her aides. "You must come at once, we have to leave. The government they are sending a plane. They have given up; they are going to bomb the city."
"It's too late," Dana said, her voice thick with dread. She was staring up into the cloudless blue sky at something glinting silver in the sunlight. "Helen, it's too late."
Numb, Helen realised that she had fallen to her knees. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'm so sorry. I caused this. I caused all this. Dear God." Dana was kneeling beside her now, the fingers of one hand clutched around the small silver crucifix she habitually wore, the other clinging to Helen's hand painfully hard.
At least it would be quick. And then it was as if a sun had ignited around them.
Helen Magnus sat down at her desk and basked in the early morning sunlight. It was three days since Honduras, since the encounter with the future, a possible future, she reminded herself. It would not, could not happen now. The elixir was safely hidden, the future secure at least from that particular apocalypse. She still had not fully processed the experience.
She closed her eyes, visions playing out, Will's desperate scarred face as he faced his own dissolution, water dripping in candlelight, Jessica's trembling body as the first seizures wracked her, turning into someone's touch, the terror she had felt when she had been seized and stripped by the masked men, the shock of the cold water hitting her skin, then the memory of a sponge gently washing the dirt and blood from the skin on her shoulder and back, soft lips tracking across the newly clean skin. A name on the tip of her tongue. Red hair in an untidy braid skeining across a pillow, the sound of a heartbeat as she pillowed her head on pale freckled skin.
She picked up the telephone and rang Henry's extension. He answered on the second ring. "Hey boss, how was voodoo country?"
"That's Haiti. I was in Honduras," Helen reminded him, knowing that he was just teasing her. It thrilled her to hear his voice, banishing from her mind the picture of his dead face in the morgue photograph from the future. "Henry, I need some up to date information on someone on the Watch list. Dana Katherine Scully. She was an FBI agent when I first encountered her. Could you bring me the latest intel on her?"
If Dana was indeed immortal as her vision had indicated, if they could have even a portion of the intensity they had shared in those three short years together before the end and the gods did indeed smile on them then that would be a gift indeed.