Eyes on the Road (Atlantis - Helga)
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Atlantis: The Lost Empire belongs to Disney.
Prompt: No pairing or Helga/OC. Redemption fic for Helga, after the end of Atlantis.
There is never really a moment of expecting to die. That’s just not how she thinks.
Even lying on her back after just being thrown from a hot air balloon, Helga calmly lines up an impossible shot with a flare gun that will most likely start a volcano. But that isn’t what she’s thinking about. She’s not thinking about death – well that’s not exactly true. She’s not thinking about the possible death of everyone around her as well as herself, but she is
thinking about one person’s death. The one person she had thought she could depend on in this place. Maybe not trust, but count on
in that sort of agreement of mercenaries way they had worked out through years of companionship.
She collects all of those thoughts in her mind – all of those memories of companionship
(a word that feels sour and cold now. But that chill might just be the blood she can distantly feel pooling in her lungs). Of the way she used to feel so proud of the trust he placed making her his second in command –a woman
. The way the hard lines of Rourke's face would soften and become teasing when it was just the two of them (the way she would soften).
Helga pulls all her memories of him together until they are a tight, sharp, bright point in her. Crystaline.
It seems fitting.
Helga makes the shot and smiles when the world around her explodes.
Consciousness comes back to her slowly. Dreams evaporating with her wakefulness - memories of times past technically.
First of family back in Frankfurt (joyfully tussling with her five younger brothers while utterly ignoring her mother's pleas for her to go off to her dance lesson) then the military training camps. The similarity, and therefore comfort
, the two always held for her forming a warm cocoon in her mind that she finds herself reluctant to leave even as her eyes open and she starts to forget. The way hard expectations would morph into jostling comradary once she met them (and oh, Helga always
could, always would).
Of simplicity and happiness.
Those are times she has made herself now classify as dreams. It's less painful that way.
There is simplicity to her life now too though. Helga pushes her body up out of her needlessly lavish bed, throws back the curtains, and takes a moment to just stand there utterly nude beside the thing (and it is a thing in her mind)and study it before she dresses for the day.
She has no need for a bed with a canopy, curtains, down comforter, and high thread count sheets. Helga would have been just as comfortable to sleep on a cot - perhaps more so (she still often debates within herself the fact that she seems suited to such high class lushness. Something she has, in turns, embraced and violently turned away from throughout her life - sometimes simultaneously). She is also almost positive that her current employer outfitted her room in such a way because it amused him to do so.
And Helga has found that although she is often
exasperated at Whitmore she can't actually be mad at the crazy old man for his eccentricities.
After all, he took her in.
True second chances, she has found, are rare and precious things. There are usually rules attached - stipulations that utterly negate any actual altruism. And there was no reason for Whitmore to re-hire her as his driver and bodyguard - and really every
reason for him to turn her away or, more realistically in her line of work, attempt to take her out, through quietly hired private contactors, for her betrayal.
Helga doesn't even know why she
really did it. Showing up at the mansion with an application like nothing had happened, like there was no history between them now, like she didn't have to still remember to go gently with her workouts every morning until her collapsed lung healed properly, felt more like stupidity then bravery when she looks back at it. And although Helga has never thought of herself as a brave woman she never liked to think of herself as stupid either.
Perhaps at that point she had lost the ability to care. Or maybe the act of survival is so ingrained into her being that although she wasn't consciously aware that this is what she really needed, a part of her did.
And that part of her made her do this.
Because she did
need this. The quiet routine of her life since she sat across from Whitmore as he stared at her while holding a resume that he already had on file until she stopped staring straight ahead and finally (finally
) met his eyes (the first time she really looked at someone, let them look at her
, since making it back above ground) has healed her much more then physically.
While in the morning she will exercise and train she is usually at his side all through the afternoon and evening. They get along quite well actually. His meddlesome sense of humor is something she recognized before but it blends with a gentleness that she has rarely experienced in anyone.
They will talk and play chess. Whenever he wishes or has
to go out she stays with him at all times (she has already prevented multiple attempts on his life). He even asks (making a great show of it every time) that she join him to the black tie events his presence is requested at and introduces her to people as his bodyguard. Helga always is sure to smile then in a way she knows men find both alluring and terrifying. Their reactions are always sure to tickle Whitmore to the point of giggling and shaking his head to himself as she drives them home.
He catches her eye in the rear view mirror and she smiles and rolls her eyes, finding herself amused by his amusement - and setting off another round of guffaws in Whitmore.
Helga feels cautious warmth inside her and simply sets her gaze back on the road.