DISCLAIMER: Much to my chagrin, I don't own any of these characters. Property of SHED Productions.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written as part of the Alphabet Soup Challenge.
SPOILERS: For the end of Series Three. Helen's point of view.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Grains of Sand
By coolbyrne


Walking into the dim club was like walking into a different world. I suppose I could take a moment to note the choice of words- a different world. Stepping from the world I know into a world I've never been, quite literally. Stepping away from the world where I am the straight and narrow, the straight shooter, the straight as an arrow, the straight Helen Stewart. But I'm not looking for introspection right now. I'm looking only for you.

Your black suit and dark hair doesn't make my task any easier in the shadows of the place, but my gaze finds you just as sure as if you were sitting under a spotlight. I have to admit it's a bit odd to see you here, out of Larkhall, free. I wonder how you feel about it. There's an air of celebration all round, but even from a distance I can see a certain stiffness in your body language, a slight coil in your frame as if you half expect to need to run at any moment. Then I think of how odd it is for me to be standing here; my presence bringing all the parts of your life together in one place –your past, your present and your future. I glance over at Trish, who is sitting by your side and I wonder if she will be part of that future.

Your gaze is nudged in my direction and I'm quick to paste on a happy smile and wave as your eyes widen in recognition. I'm glad you decide to come my way because quite suddenly, my feet feel rooted to the floor. Your smile brightens my heart even as it freezes my tongue. You ask me how I found you and I playfully banter in return; anything to keep me from blurting out the epiphany I've felt from the moment I saw your image on the telly after your trial. From the moment we spent that night together. From the moment we kissed. From the moment we met.

Naturally, it is you who doesn't shy away from the emotional honesty of things and the expression on your face, the vulnerability in your voice is enough to make me curse my stubborn head and open my heart. My lips part to speak and all I can do is say your name. The reverence rings loudly in my ears and I think maybe it's just me, until I see your brown eyes soften and silently beg me to continue. I take another breath to speak, but my eyes are faster than my words, because I catch a glimpse of the blue blouse Trisha is wearing and the image holds my tongue captive. Have I lost you? Am I too late?

I don't want to hear the answer because I'm so afraid it is 'yes'.

So I do what I've always done; I carefully fold away my heart and make sure none of the feelings have spilled out. I'll gently unwrap them later when I am alone and can let them out without your caring eyes watching me. For now, I use the well-worn smile that keeps me away from concerned overtures, say my goodbyes, and leave with as much strength as my legs will allow.

How odd that I thought I would feel so much better outside in the light, away, back in the world I recognize. When the fact of the matter is, I somehow feel much worse. The air I thought would fill my constricted lungs seems heavy and dull. There is a taxi nearby with promises of escape, but I wouldn't know where to go anyway. My feet begin to move, but the path is aimless and circular.

I've always had life planned out, you know? Or at least I thought I did. School, career, marriage, a house, children. My idea of chaos was a junk drawer at home. But you came along and turned those plans upside down just as sure as toppling over a sand castle. You told me I could use that sand, my life, to build something else. I didn't have the courage to believe you. I want to build with you now.

I see your long lean frame jog out of the club and look down the street, away from me. I want to yell out, "I love you!" but somehow settle for a more reserved line that gets your attention. When you spin round to look at me, I know then that I will tell you everything, admit to everything, chaos be damned. I owe you that much. I owe myself that much.

We start with pleasantries and end up with a kiss, right there on the street, for the world to see. It's a start.

The End

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