DISCLAIMER: Bad Girls and its characters are the property of Shed Productions. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Timeline of S3 has been shifted around a bit: Helen and Thomas are together before the riot, and Nikki knows about the two of them. And Helen was on the cellblock when the riot started and got grabbed by the Peckham Gang. We join the riot, now in progress. Song choice: “Something I can never have,” by Nine Inch Nails.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
All Go Away
1. I just want something
I still recall the taste of your tears
Echoing your voice just like
The ringing in my ears
My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore
Scraping through my head til I don't wanna sleep
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I just want something
I just want something
I can never have
Nikki fought to keep her voice calm as she leaned against the ugly green metal door. The screws were being held at bay by the other rampaging prisoners, leaving Helen in the clutches of Maxi Purvis and her gang. If Nikki had been the betting sort, she might have bet that Fenner had something to do with that, but she didn't have the time to waste on idle speculation; Helen was behind that door.
"Look," she pleaded, "you can't harm her." Laughter greeted her assertion, but no sound from Helen. Was she being held, gagged? The images in her head made Nikki swallow against her fear. "If you harm her, that's just bloody it for you, isn't it? You have the power, right now, and you can do whatever you want. And you'll be big shots among the prisoners." The shouts of congratulations behind the door scared her, and she hoped she hadn't provoked them. "But every screw will have it out for you, and once you are out of that cell, they have all the power." It was quiet in the cell, and she hoped that meant they were listening. "They'll make your life a living hell, if you even make it through the night. Think about it, a moment of notoriety for a lifetime of prison and beatings. Because you know they'll make sure you get banged up, right proper, for hurting one of their own."
"It's not worth it." She paused, giving them a few minutes to think about what she said, praying it was enough, because she didn't know how else to reason with them. So when Helen was thrust roughly into her arms, she could feel tears welling in her eyes. "Helen," her name came out as a sigh of relief, but she resisted squeezing the shorter woman in a hug. Helen was no longer hers to console. "Let's get you out of here." Wordlessly, Helen allowed herself to be pulled through the melee until Nikki pushed her through the barred doors and to the waiting screws.
The capitulation by the Peckham Gang seemed to take the fight out of their supporters, and Nikki was able to get the riot under control shortly after. But she had only been banged up in her cell for a few minutes before a guard came to escort her to Helen's office. As they wound their way through the twisted halls, Nikki wondered why Helen couldn't wait to yell at her; it wasn't like there wasn't plenty of time to yell once she banged her up on the block.
As they turned the last corner, Nikki caught a glimpse of what looked like the retreating back of the doctor, but she had no time to ponder that as she was escorted into Helen's office and placed, rather unceremoniously, into a chair. When the door snicked closed behind the guard, the room was silent.
Nikki studied the silent Scot standing before her. Helen was leaning on the desk, her hands gripping the edge so hard her knuckles were white, but her eyes were studiously trained on the carpet a few inches from her feet. The quiet seemed ominous, and Nikki waited the other woman to say something and braced herself for the inevitable explosion.
2. Down to just one thing
You always were the one to show me how
Back then I couldn't do the things
That I can do now
This thing is slowly taking me apart
Grey would be the color
If I had a heart
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I'm down to just one thing
And I'm starting to scare myself
Helen finally lifted her head, meeting Nikki's eyes for a brief second before sliding to the right, as though she were unable to keep any kind of contact between them, as though it hurt too much. And as she watched Helen's face crumble and break and the tears start, Nikki put names to the emotions she had seen in the proud Scot's eyes in that moment: helplessness, shame, fear. She understood, then, why she was here as she stood to catch the slighter woman in her arms. Helen's tears raged, and Nikki understood that Helen had, for the first time, seen what it was like to be a prisoner, with her fate, her very life, in another's hands. While before she had emphasized with the women in her care, Helen had never had to confront the feelings they lived with daily, those feelings of helplessness and despair that came when basic freedoms had been stripped away.
Helen's arms circled Nikki's waist, and she clung to the taller woman as she sobbed, her tears soaking the front of Nikki's sweatshirt. Nikki found her hands in Helen's hair, holding her tight against her. Almost unconsciously, she kissed the top of Helen's head, whispering words of encouragement, and when Helen's sobs lessened, Nikki did not stop kissing her or lessen her grip on the shorter woman. All the love she wasn't supposed to have for the other woman poured out of her, until Helen pulled back to meet her eyes. The emotions had receded somewhat, and her gaze was red-rimmed yet clear.
"I, I'm sorry," Nikki's tongue stumbled over the words, a feeling of déjà vu washing over her, "I shouldn't have "
Helen's finger on her lips stopped her from rambling more of an apology. "Thank you," she said quietly, her voice rough and her accent deep. Her head dropped to Nikki's shoulder again, and they stood for timeless moments locked in the embrace. Nikki pressed her lips to Helen's forehead again and Helen nuzzled her throat before lifting her head to brush her lips over Nikki's cheek, over her lips. Helen's hands slid up and tangled in Nikki's short hair as she opened her mouth and deepened the kiss. Nikki let her, even though the voice of self-preservation was screaming in the back of her brain: this is just temporary, she'll be over you as soon as she's able, and it'll hurt even worse in the morning.
"Oh, Nikki," Helen breathed as she broke the kiss, her head dropping back to Nikki's shoulder, her breath soft but excruciating against Nikki's skin. And while she didn't heed the voice of self-preservation, her jealousy was another matter as Nikki remembered the fleeting glimpse of tousled dark hair and a tan blazer on her way in.
"Shouldn't your " she found that she couldn't say the word 'boyfriend,' so she settled on another, "doctor be here?" Nikki wanted to kick herself when Helen pulled back from the embrace, but she had to know, if she was just a stand-in, an available body, or if it was more, even though she knew it really didn't matter. She would be here, regardless, if Helen needed her. She couldn't not be, and that fact damned her to this purgatory.
"I sent him away," Helen answered simply, and Nikki tried to caution herself against the hope singing in her blood. Her hands caressed Nikki's cheek and drew her eyes. "I needed you." Tears glistened anew in her eyes. "Oh, Nikki, I've been so stupid "
"Shhh, it's okay," Nikki whispered against her hair, almost afraid of the words that might be spoken in this emotional moment.
"No, it's not." Helen searched Nikki's eyes. "Don'tcha see? I from the moment those girls grabbed me, you were all I was thinking about. An' when I heard your voice, I knew you would keep me safe, and you did. Then I came back here, and he was here but he wasn't the person I needed to see."
The kiss, when it came, was bittersweet; after the emotional rollercoaster Nikki had been through, their first night together resulting in their breakup and then watching Helen moving on while she was stuck in a holding pattern, to know that it had been as difficult for the Scot was a revelation and an exasperation. All the anguish had been for nothing, after all. But just like she forgave Helen a million trifles before, this too could be forgiven, especially when the Scot was in her arms.
"I was so scared." Nikki saw in her eyes that the fear had only receded, not dissipated. "Make it all go away, Nikki, please." This last was said in a desperate whisper as Helen moved to kiss her again. This time there was passion as well as comfort in the kiss, and Nikki let herself be consumed by the fire burning through her veins. Helen moaned into the kiss as Nikki bent her back over the desk.
In some rational recess of her mind, Nikki wondered if this was the best idea after the emotional day they had both had, but the pleading sighs and near desperation in Helen's movements as she directed Nikki's hands down her body would have been impossible to resist even if she had wanted to. As she rocked her hips into Helen's and slid the skirt Helen had fortuitously worn that day up, Helen wrapped her arms around Nikki's neck and hung on, at last letting go of the day in the smooth ministrations of Nikki's sure hands.
Nikki could feel Helen's heartbeat slow in her chest and her breathing even out as she curled into the taller woman. The sweat was slowly chilling on Nikki's body, and the realization of how compromising their position looked slowly dawned, and she began to extricate herself from the embrace. The lost look returned to Helen's eyes for a moment, until she too took stock of their surroundings. "I've been gone too long already," Nikki explained, apologetically.
"I know." Helen ran her hands up through Nikki's hair and down along her face, looking at her intently. "Thank you." The final kiss was sweet and soft, a promise more than anything else, and then they broke apart, Nikki straightening her clothes and Helen rubbing at her smeared makeup with a tissue. When they were settled into their respective chairs, Helen dialed a number and barked, "Send someone to take Wade back to her cell!" Nikki grinned and her eyebrow lifted at the subterfuge and Helen schooled her answering grin into an angry visage just as the officer came in.
3. Come on, tell me
In this place it seems like such a shame
Though it all looks different now
I know it's still the same
Everywhere I look you are all I see
Just a fading fucking reminder
Of the way things used to be
Come on, tell me
You make this all go away
Nikki watched as Helen came into the cellblock the next morning; her skirt moved against her legs as she greeted a few inmates and exchanged pleasantries but Nikki knew why she had come. Her path through the post-breakfast throng might have looked random, but she made her way through to the stairs with a minimum of delays and walked determinedly up to where Nikki was leaning over the rails, watching.
"Nikki, can I have a word?"
Nikki sigh, inclined her head, and ushered the Scot into her cell, shutting the door behind. She knew, with a feeling of resignation, what Helen wanted to see her about.
"Nikki, I "
"Oh, wait, let's let me have a go, shall we?" Nikki interrupted. "In the harsh light of day, you've realized that you've made a mistake, that what we feel is too strong, and that you are going to walk away before it goes any further. Have I just about summed it up for you, Miss? Was that what you were going to say? Because really, you needn't bother; I've heard it all before."
Nikki spun away to face the window, her hands fumbling with a pack of fags. She had spent an exhausting night dreading the morn, running through all the possible conversations in her head and always, always, coming back to this one.
"Well " Helen began, and Nikki squeezed her eyes shut to forestall the tears that already threatened, "pretty much except for the part where I tell you I love you and the part where I explain that I tried walking away and getting on with my life but it wasn't working."
She sighed and stepped close enough to lay her hand on Nikki's arm. "I don't know how to make this work, not with us on different sides of the battle, so to speak, but I can't deny how I feel about you and I can't go on without you."
The world tilted on its axis for a split second. "What?"
Tears choked Nikki's throat, making speech difficult. "Do you mean that? This isn't just some dream I'm having?"
"I want this, I want you." Helen slid an arm around Nikki's waist and stood on tiptoe to press a kiss to her neck. "But I want you outside of these walls. I want to fall asleep making love to you at night and wake beside you in the morning."
Nikki shuddered at the images in her mind's eye. "What if I don't get out? What if my appeal " she couldn't even speak the words aloud.
"Then I'll wait, years if I have to."
Nikki turned in the embrace. "Really?" She was the throwaway kid, whose parents hadn't wanted anything to do with her once she had discovered her sexual orientation and whose lover had set her aside once the years had begun to rack up.
"Really. You know how stubborn I can be," Helen joked before turning serious again. "You make all the bad stuff go away. I can't be without you."
Nikki leaned into Helen's hand. "You won't be, I promise."
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