Title: The Price of Discovery
Paring/characters: Nick, Helen.
Warnings: implied character near-death.
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 450
Summary: Nick has a crisis of faith, and Helen tries to help him.
AN: Written for Rodlox, who puts up with so much slash from the rest of us.
Nick watched the ambulance race away, its siren screaming. He was wet, cold, exhausted, and covered in blood. Most of it wasn’t his own.
“He’ll be alright,” a voice said behind him.
“I thought you’d have left by now, Helen.”
“Well, nobody seems to be trying to arrest me right now, so I thought I’d stick around for a while.” She stepped closer and stood beside him as the sound of the ambulance was finally lost in the distance.
Nick was not thanking her for hanging around, and they both knew it. She was the one who had distracted the creature long enough for Ryan and his men to shoot it down. She was the one who had stopped it killing a member of Nick's team. But only just.
“He’ll be alright, Nick” she said in a softer voice. “And by the way, merry Christmas.”
Nick shivered in the cold. Snow was beginning to settle, covering up the evidence of carnage. He was struggling to find anything merry about it right then. Three casualties, one of them critical, a massive predator corpse to deal with, and another bloody mess to clear up.
“Sometimes I wonder,” he said slowly. “Sometimes… is it worth it? All this? Are the anomalies really worth all this?”
Helen’s hand closed over his. “Discovery always has a price. You know that.” She hesitated. “But yes, I believe they are worth it. More than worth it. And he’ll tell you the same thing when he wakes up.”
If he wakes up.
Nick shook his head.
“I don’t know. Sometimes, I just don’t know any more.”
He closed his eyes, trying to quell the images seared into his memory from the last half hour. He sensed Helen moving, and for a moment he assumed she would vanish, the same way she always did these days. But then she gently laid a hand on his cheek and kissed him, a soft kiss that held none of her usual force or passion, merely offering a moment of comfort. Nick hesitated, and then because he was tired, because he was afraid, because he wanted to believe that it really could all be okay again, he found himself returning the kiss.
At last Helen pulled away, and again Nick almost expected her to simply turn and walk away. But she didn’t. She stayed, and watched him with an expression that, for once, held no lies or games.
“Believe me Nick, it is worth it.”
Nick wanted to believe that she was right, but sometimes the price just seemed too high. Sometimes the price was paid in blood. And sometimes the price was eight lost years, and all the things that might have been.
Sorry this is such a downbeat fic considering it's Christmas Eve, I'm just in a wierd mood right now. And I've given up on the drabble that I was writing because it was just *so* similar to the one that Fredbassett did, and Fred posted first and hers was better anyway. So I wrote this one instead.