"Is there a reason I shouldn’t be?" Jay asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Fucking hell, what is it with you lot. You tell me."
"There are some bank statements, some letters of a, let’s say, private nature. Look, its a bunch of evidence my client wants to keep safe. I don’t really know much more than that. Just help me out, please? I’ll do anything. I just need this box safe for a few days while I’m working, and I didn’t know who else to turn to.”
"I’m not putting my arse out on the line over bank statements. Fuck off and deal with it yourself - that’s your job.”
"Nothing to be worried about. Some papers…"
"Clearly something to worry about, or you wouldn’t be so determined to get them off your hands. Tell me what’s in them or I’m not doing a thing for you."
Helena looked at him for a long moment, wishing that fact was enough to make her feel safe again.
"Okay," Sebastian echoed, nodding once in that precise manner of his.
"Don’t make promises to me," Helena said quietly.
"It’s not a promise," Sebastian said. "It’s a fact."
Helena’s chest tightened. It was a show of protectiveness from him that had come far too late, but she leaned into him.
"It’s true," she said. "I’m just getting by. Today is a good day, some days I can’t get out bed. Some days I can’t eat, most nights I don’t sleep all the way through. I used to wish he’d killed me. I’m happy I survived him, but I’m doing only that. Surviving. I couldn’t live through it again.”
"You won’t have to," Sebastian said automatically.
"Barry is a bodyguard," Helena said, looking across the room rather than back at Sebastian. "He does crowd control, sets up security detail, makes me dinner and double checks the locks before bed. He doesn’t deal with your sort, he doesn’t come from that world." She sighed. "If it ever happened again, I’d rather Jim just kill me."
Your sort. That stung. He wasn’t the same as Jim, he wasn’t like that.
"Don’t say that," Sebastian said quietly, his arm tightening instinctively around her.
Helena rolled her eyes. “Please. I’m going to worry about that man until the day I die,” she said dryly.
Sebastian couldn’t help laughing, genuinely this time, although he only just smothered the urge to glance over his shoulder, half expecting Jim to take that as his cue to enter.
"Well, that makes one of us," he said, his laughter turning hollow all too soon. He sobered, turning slightly towards Helena. "You are safe though, yeah? Barry knows what he’s up against if…?" He swallowed. "I don’t ever want to get there too late again, but…"
"It doesn’t sound like you have any intention to," Helena said before she could stop herself. She drew a deep breath and exhaled slowly through her mouth. Her voice was softer now, her chest aching. "You learn to live without. It’s what I’ve done."
Sebastian breathed a humourless laugh, not looking at her. “It would solve everything,” he said, as though he hadn’t heard her last comment. “I wouldn’t have to, he’d stop being pissed off, you wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore.”
Helena hesitated for only a moment before moving to sit next to him, leaning into him with her head resting against his shoulder.
"What can I do?"
Sebastian tensed instinctively before relaxing slightly. He pulled a hand away from his face to wrap his arm around her shoulders, pressing the fingertips of his free hand against closed eyes.
"I don’t know." His hand fell from his face to rest in his lap, fingers restlessly tugging at a loose thread. Jim had killed for less. "How can I want him back now I know what he did to you?" He paused, struggling to keep his breathing steady, his voice calm. "How can I live without him?"