"Helen! Come on darlin', don't give up on me now."
Maggie Brown was furiously trying to revive her friend, searching for any sign of life. She had stripped off the heavy layer of clothing Helen wore and covered her with her own fur coat attempting to get her warm. She had barely noticed the puff of air that came friend her friend's mouth as she drifted peacefully in the water. The young woman had managed to pull herself partway up onto what looked like a broken headboard. She had barked at the crewman to fish her out of the water immediately and said a prayer to the gods that the she was still alive.
Now Maggie was tasked with keeping Helen alive. She rubbed vigorously all over her trying to use friction to create some heat. After several minutes of this she let out a sigh of relief as Helen's eyes flickered open briefly before closing again.
"That's it Helen. Open your eyes."
Her voice stuttered and was a barely audible whisper.
"Yeah, it's me. I'm here. And I'm ordering you to stay alive. You hear that?"
Helen gave a weak laugh before a coughing fit hit her and she started shaking uncontrollably.
"Give me your jacket!"
Maggie barked the order at another woman who reluctantly obliged. She wrapped the second fur over Helen trying desperately to create some warmth in the cold night. Helen's eye's closed again but Maggie was relieved to notice her breathing get steadier even through the violent shivering.
It was when the sky started to lighten and Maggie saw the unmistakable silhouette of a ship that she truly thought they may yet survive this. Bending down to get closer to Helen she whispered;
"There's another ship, Helen. We're going to be ok."
The first thing Helen noticed as she regained consciousness was that it was light out. For one blissful moment she thought perhaps it had all been a dream. With a violent shudder, however, she realized it was far from a dream.
She tried to sit up but found her limbs heavy and weak. She looked about the best she could and concluded she was in a lifeboat. Memories flashed. A starry sky, screams that slowly turned to an unnerving silence, cold… so cold. Her body began to shake, the cold not yet gone.
The body next to her shifted and Maggie Brown's blurry face came into view.
It was all she could muster, a dull acknowledgement of her continued existence.
The next parts happened in a blur. They were hauled onto the deck of another ship. A blanket was wrapped around her as she struggled to walk. Maggie barking orders at someone to help her. Strong arms around her, lifting her off the ground. A young woman helping her change out of her wet clothes and putting on something warm and dry.
She still shook. Part from the cold and part from shock. She thought she might shatter her teeth from how violently she shook.
She sat on the edge of a makeshift cot, a cup of hot tea in her hands. She didn't drink but just held it, urging the warmth to leak into her frozen body. Her mind was still in shock, not quite processing the full trauma of what had happened. She looked around at her fellow survivors and felt more alone than she ever had before.
She longed for James.
But she had burned that bridge. He likely never wanted to see her face again after the way she treated him.
Emotion welled and she set the cup of tea on the floor, pulling the blanket tighter around herself. Laying down on the cot she let the tears fall from her eyes as she drifted off…
James had left for Scotland Yard. She didn't mind. She knew how important his current case was. Besides she was already asleep and he'd likely be back in time for breakfast. Maybe he'd stop and get her some of her favorite sweet buns. She couldn't help a soft smile at that. James had helped heal her heart just as much as she had healed his.
She had just fallen back to sleep when a crackle of electricity filled her bedroom and she woke with a start. She reached instinctively for the gun she had kept under her pillow only to remember she had put it away when James had started sharing her bed.
A match was struck illuminating his face in the otherwise darkness.
He lit a nearby candle, turning to face her. The wildness was in his eyes. The look of the Ripper. He stalked toward her as though hunting a wounded doe. Helen's heart was pounding as she watched him. She was frozen with fear. He sat down on the edge of her bed, a quizzical look on his face as he spoke to her.
"So you're with him now."
This was about James. Of course it was. Helen could not help the exasperated scoff that escaped her lips. It did not go unnoticed by John who grabbed her by the wrist before she had time to react and teleported them away. They ended up in alleyway and John painfully pulled her arm behind her back rendering her unable to move away from him.
"I saw you kiss him, Helen. I saw him hold you. And you liked it."
He spoke the words into her ear, a low growl cutting of each sentence. This was not the first time John had been threatened by her relationship with James. After it came out that he was the Ripper he had made frequent visits to taunt his beloved Helen. She who had tossed him aside in favor of his best friend. No matter the small fact that he was a cold blooded murderer. No, it was his jealousy that showed him in his true light.
He tightened his pull on her arm causing her to cry out in pain.
"I'm not done talking, Helen. I've seen you two together, the infatuation."
"There's nothing going on betw-"
"Don't lie to me!"
He had pulled his knife from his jacket, the cold steel pressed threateningly to her throat. The beast wanted her blood. It always wanted her blood. It would be so easy to oblige the beast. But no. That's not why he had brought her here.
"Listen to me, Helen. If I see you consorting with James again I will kill him. I will kill him and make you watch me do it."
Helen let out a small whimper and hated herself for it. She hated that he still had this power over her. She hated how much she still feared him. He pulled the knife from her neck and dragged her toward the end of the alley. It was then that she noticed they were right outside Scotland Yard.
"You see, I know you. I know you both. And if you don't believe I'll do it you haven't been paying attention. All those whores, I killed them all for you, Helen. So we can be together."
Helen bit her tongue before her response got herself into even more trouble. John was delusional. He had obviously spiraled deeper into his own psychosis. She and James had tried for years to find a way to help him and the only thing they knew for sure was how dangerous John truly was. She had no doubts that he meant what he said. That he'd kill James just for being with her.
"Promise me, Helen. Promise you'll keep away from James and I'll leave you alone"
She very much doubted that. It was increasingly clear that she would never be rid of him. But she loved James too much to risk his life. She was not sure how she would tell James she wished to remain only friends but she knew she would do what needed to be done to protect him. She always did what needed to be done.
The words were no sooner out of her lips when John teleported them back to her bedroom. He gently caressed his hand on her cheek as Helen fought the urge to recoil from the touch. In the next instant he was gone and Helen was alone.
Her mind raced as she went over John's visit in her head over and over again. Her eye caught site of an envelope on one of her tables. She picked it up and an idea started to take form. She had been gifted the ticket by the designer of the ship itself. She hadn't given any real thought to a trip to America. She and James had joked about going for the experience alone, to be a part of history, but his work was too important right now and she didn't want to go alone. But perhaps that was the solution. Putting an ocean between her and James should keep John's anger at bay.
She'd have to break his heart to save them both.
A/N: I'm a glutton for drama and love exploring the relationship between Helen, John, and James. Not a lot left to write on this one!