DISCLAIMER: If only the gods would smile upon me and make Ms. Jones and Ms. Lahbib all mine, but alas, Nikki Wade and Helen Stewart belong to Shed Productions. I have merely offered them candy, and brought them safely home.
SPOILERS: None to speak of anyway. Christmas in Larkhall, after the beginning of series two.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Where the Love-Light Gleams
By Fewthistle


The walls are damp to the touch and smell more than vaguely of mildew. In fact, the whole bloody place reeks of mold, of bad plumbing, of lousy food, and of that scent that seems to linger around those who never really had any dreams to lose. Nikki has christened it, Eau de Larkhall. "What all the really bad girls are wearing this Christmas."

Lying in her bunk, she can hear all the disparate sounds, the clanking of radiators, the harsh clang of boots on the metal grating as the screws make their rounds, the half-whispered conversations, and the half-moaned, far less articulate ones.

Nikki wonders what Helen is doing tonight, wonders if her house smells of evergreen and spice. Wonders what sounds plague her sleep, pulling her from dreams rich and thick as clotted cream. She wonders if she is in them, Helen's slumbering visions, and if she will ever know the state of grace to be found in waking beside the beautiful Scot.

In the common room, a slightly stunted fir tree sits, decorated by the Julies, meant to add some Christmas cheer to the starkness of holiday time in prison. To Nikki, it seems all the more cruel, a shiv-to-the-gut reminder of all that they have lost. Of all that they may never have again. Sighing deeply, Nikki rolls over, trying to get her shoulder comfortably settled against the hard, lumpy layer of mattress.

Forcing herself to relax, she wills sleep on. Her mind, as ever, focuses on one thing. Helen. Helen smiling at her, hazel-green eyes lit from within, her tongue pressing against the back of her teeth in that way that Nikki loves. Tonight, in Nikki's vision, Helen stands before a gorgeous, full spruce tree, dazzling with tiny white lights, and the flicker of flames from the fireplace. She can almost smell the evergreen and spice.

Finally, on her hard bunk, in this nightmarish place, Nikki sleeps, dreaming of Helen, and Christmas.

I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams

The End

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