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.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Title comes from the name of a constellation, Lyra. Story makes sense if you read the myth. Or not.
SPOILERS: This is set after Series Two, Episode Two, "Shit Happens".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
When Helen was a child, she had loved to slip outside the chilling warmth of her father's house and sit, staring up at the northern sky, that curved above her like a dome. A vaulted cathedral, its ceiling was so deep a blue that along the frayed edges made by the jagged mountaintops, it appeared black. Sprinkled across it, glittering like diamonds cast away by a careless god, the stars pattered the heavens.
She used to know all their names, each individual star, each constellation. She had always loved the stories, stories told by men who had sat under these same stars thousands of years ago. They were stories of hunters and maidens, of heroes and monsters, of lovers, torn apart by the Fates, yet reunited somehow, along the diaphanous clouds of the Milky Way.
Twenty years had passed, and she no longer remembered the names of those points of light, or the stories that they told of honor and betrayal, of death and love. From the back garden of her house, she could barely make out even a few of them. The lights of London lit the sky like a thousand tiny suns, turning the heavens to an eerie shade of pink, and blotting out those paler lights, hidden somewhere behind the haze of streetlights and pollution.
The glass in her hand was cold against her palm. Funny, that the clear liquid it held should send a river of lava down her throat, one that, despite its heat, had failed to warm her. She had walked away from Larkhall tonight a free woman. Well, free of her job anyway.
She smiled to herself at the irony of it all. She had left the confines of the prison with the feelings of relief that a hardened con would feel, and yet, the only things within the walls of that prison that had ever contained her, were the hands and eyes and love of Nikki Wade. And from those, Helen knew she would never be free.
Tomorrow she needed to start looking for a job. Her head told her to move on, to find something as far away from Larkhall as she could get. Her heart had other plans. For the first time in her life, Helen knew which one she would listen to. Turning, she walked slowly back into the house. She picked up a card, one she had bought on her way home, and sitting at the kitchen table, began to write.
She would post it in the morning, and she knew that soon, a visitor's order would arrive for her. She would write to Nikki. She would go against all the accepted norms of behavior for prison officers and visit her. She would fight for her appeal, do all that she could to get Nikki released. She would do everything in her power to find a way back to where she knew she belonged. With Nikki.
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