thegeekgene: (Default)
([personal profile] thegeekgene May. 10th, 2009 12:09 am)
Title: Washable
Series: Helena and Shelby
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1022
Summary: The end of a bad day.
Notes: Second story written in this universe, and the companion to Something Bad.



Helena once told me that we were too cool for fantasies. That it was impossible for the full force of our awesome to be encompassed by something as pedestrian as a day dream.

Okay, said I. What if it's a daydream from somebody like Stephen Fry? Surely a mind as amazing as Stephen Fry's can handle the full force of our awesome.

Nope, sorry, said she. Not even Stephen Fry has the mental fortitude conjure up cool as complete as ours.

Really? And that would make us...?

As-yet unconceived by man, yes.

That was on one of our silly days, one of the days when we spend hours sitting on the floor of one of the few single bathrooms on campus, tossing a rubber ball, and talking about everything, sacred and most especially profane. It's not hiding, sayeth Helena. It's strategizing, because we're allegedly planning how best to tackle the next life-dependent crisis to be tossed our way, but really we're just dicking around. We're only nineteen and if our little corner of the world can't go without imploding for the time it takes us to reconnect with the shattered remnants of our young adulthood then maybe it just doesn't deserve saving. Or at least that's how it feels, sometimes. But only sometimes.

Most of the time we fight the temptation to run off a hide. Most of the time we stay in our room, lay around with the door cracked and try to get some actual school stuff done in the time it takes somebody to rush across campus and fetch us to the next catastrophe that awaits our attention, one that typically develops no less than a day and no more than a week after we've resolved the last one. Most of the time we're all ready to go by the time that first day has gone by, and everybody knows it.

It was telling that the guy who burst in on us today didn't find it remotely odd that we were dressed and playing Scrabble at six on a Saturday morning. Helena found it funny. I mostly just thought it was kinda sad.

Now it's sixteen hours later and the girl that guy wanted us to save is dead of the same man-made plague that almost got me. Helena's working herself into an angry, paranoid, guilt-ridden frenzy in our room and I'd feel bad for leaving her alone if I didn't know her rage was cathartic. I'd feel bad for leaving her if I was in any shape to feel much of anything.

Today was a bad day. We always said that we wouldn't let anybody die on our watch, but we never thought much about what would happen if the sentiment weren't pluralized. Today wasn't our watch; when I was down for the count, it became Helena's watch and while I wouldn't entrust my life to any other watch I'd much rather entrust any other life to our watch. She's not herself without me just like I'm not me without her and when we're not ourselves we fuck up. When we're not with one another, people die.

And that's what happened today. The girl we were rousted to protect died, I almost died, a half dozen other people almost died and now it's sixteen hours after the first symptom of the hell the day would bring was sighted, half an hour after that hell's resolution, and I'm in the shower, thinking about how Helena thinks that we're too cool for fantasies.

I've never seen fit to share this with Helena, but I have a fantasy. It's not that kind of fantasy – it's just a thought, and kind of stupid one at that, but one I like to keep close and carefully cradled, hiding it not in my heart, which would be too obvious, but in the tiny bones tucked away in my inner ear, where no one would ever think to look.

It involves a house.

What this house looks like varies by day and mood and where it is by time of year but there are a few things about it I know aren't likely to change. First, it's fairly small. One story, two bedrooms, one bath. A basement, maybe, with heavy locks on the doors. Second, it's secluded. The property extends forever in all directions, and it's accessible only by a gated drive at least a couple of miles long, which is itself accessible only by a complex collection of curving back roads, all sparsely populated when you get out that far. Third, Helena lives there. I do too, in whichever room she doesn't want, and maybe we have a dog. Or maybe a cat. Or maybe no pets at all and it's just me and her, hiding unashamedly from the world and from the catastrophes we can't avoid and won't be able to fix forever.

That's why I said it was a stupid thought, and why I haven't seen fit to share it with her – it's too silly and too unlikely and even if we tried something like that, it would never work. These bad things that happen to us are a part of us and we'll never be able to escape them. And if I ever told her I'd been thinking thoughts like this it's an even chance she'd cry or kill me and I'm not eager to experience either, and if I thought about it any more than I do I would say something to her. But sometimes, especially on days like today, I like to pull out this thought and unfold it, wrap myself up in it and just imagine; what would it be like if we could just be, like we are on those stolen days like the day Helena told me that fantasies are no good for us? What would we be if we were free of the things we do every day to keep the bad things at bay? What do we have if we don't have a problem to solve?

And that's when the fantasy loses it's luster and I turn the water off.
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