|Letters To The Past
Author: chartreuseian PM
They were in totally different eras but they were closer than they'd been in a long time.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Helen M. & Nikola T. - Chapters: 30 - Words: 44,498 - Reviews: 182 - Favs: 33 - Follows: 48 - Updated: 02-13-12 - Published: 09-21-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7399908
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is me, once again, breaking my promise to myself when it comes to trying to fix the season three cliffhanger...
It was inspired by the song Jet Lag by Simple Plan and, as such, is totally for CK and her constant complaining about timezones which got me thinking about how much worse it would be if it were era's instead of a few measly hours :P And, a few hours of surreptitious writing later, here we go.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Adam was dead, the world was relatively safe and she wasn't at any risk of running into her past self yet Helen couldn't help but feel lost. As far as she could tell, Adam hadn't built anything to take himself back to the future and she certainly wasn't going to try and mess around with the ruined leftovers of his original device. Perhaps if she were able to recruit Nikola or one of the others, she could do it but that was out of the question. She knew how the timeline was supposed to play out and to the best of her knowledge; none of them had had any contact with her future self.
Which, unfortunately left her with only one option; she was going to have to live through the next century and a bit. Alone. She couldn't risk any new relationships and she certainly couldn't stay in England. As it was, she was hiding out in the garden shed of one of her father's properties, sneaking supplies from the larder whenever she was sure she wouldn't get caught. It was a lonely existence and one she couldn't sustain for much longer. Sure she missed her Sanctuary but more than that, she missed her family and friends who were really one in the same. She missed Will's dry humour, she missed Henry's childlike glee when it came to technology, she missed Kate's kick-ass attitude, she missed John's… well, that one was too hard to define. And she missed Nikola. Just plain old missed him. She didn't even both trying to figure out why she missed him because, secretly, she knew.
Then there was the question of what she was going to do with her life. Sure, she could hide but charity and thievery were only going to get her so far. She couldn't very well call on any of her contacts or even try and develop a new life for herself, lest she become too recognizable. She almost needed to become invisible.
One particularly cold evening, Helen was sitting, curled over the small fire she'd created, pondering just how she was going to make a living. Unfortunately, despite her skills, her only avenues were to be either a maid of sorts or a lady of the night. Even if she wasn't repulsed by the idea of the latter, with her not yet ex-fiancé/Jack the Ripper out terrorising the city, it most certainly was not a path she'd be pursuing. And that left her with domestic duties which would be something of a problem. Helen knew she'd never been particularly good at setting someone's hair or pressing dresses or even cleaning. And she had no references. She had nothing to rely on.
Again, she found herself missing her friends, missing the comfort and solace she wasn't allowed to find in their arms. She was well and truly alone, cut off from everyone and everything she ever knew. She couldn't even be herself, Helen Magnus was a young blonde scientist who spent her evenings in the company of four intelligent men who respected her. Helen Magnus wasn't the woman in this shed, sitting by a tiny fire pit, picking over the last of the food she'd been able to steal and she most certainly wasn't a woman who hadn't bathed in several days. As shallow as it was, her own filth was beginning to get the better of her.
Just as she let out a particularly heavy sigh, a bright white light flashed into the corner of the room. Without thinking, Helen grabbed her gun and the single bullet that still resided in it and aimed it at the corner. After a minute of no movement, Helen slowly began to creep forwards, her breathing heavy. Swallowing to try and steady her hands, she crouched down a metre away corner. Eyes wide, she shuffled a few steps closer, having trouble seeing much in the flickering light. Aha! There, a small white envelope with a cursive script she recognized as her own despite the dark evening was sitting on top of the broken machine she'd salvaged from Adam's lab.
Open with caution.
The second line was written by a different person but the writing was no less recognizable. That was Nikola's writing. The very same writing that had graced the note he had given her back in Rome. She was certain of that because, not that she'd ever admit it, she still had that small piece of paper. It was tucked into the bottom draw of her desk. Or it would be, once he gave it to her in 128 years time. Hand shaking, Helen discarded her gun and reached for the letter. The paper was warm to touch and she withdrew her fingertips almost immediately.
Giving her heart a moment to slow, Helen sat back on her heels, moving to the side to shed literally more light on the letter. The paper, even from this distance, she could tell was far more refined than anything made in the century she was currently enduring. With another breath, Helen crept forwards again, stroking the now cool white paper. Fingers still shaking, she picked up the letter, holding it away from her body as she scampered back to the fire.
Gently, she laid it down in front of her, careful to not jostle it too much. Shrinking back from the mystery envelope, Helen curled up on her makeshift pillow, tucking her legs underneath herself. Her breathing now calmed, the only noise in the small room was the crackling of the pitiful fire. Taking a deep breath, Helen reached out again and picked up the envelope. When nothing happened, she slowly began to examine it and was a little shocked when nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.
Still dubious as to its origins, Helen flipped over the letter and quickly ripped it open, taking out the single sheet of folded paper within. Discarding the envelope, Helen let her eyes flick over the contents of what was a very brief letter.
Write to him. You know who I mean. Just write to him.
Helen was a little disturbed by the words she had written to herself. She knew exactly who she'd meant and the fact her mind had gotten there, would get there, was comforting and confronting.
And make sure you keep the remnants of that device with you.
Nikola always did have to have his two cents, she thought fondly as her eyes flicked to the small pile that was Adam's disastrous machine. Maybe it wasn't as non-functional as she'd originally thought.
Helen stared at the string of numbers for a few minutes, unsure of what they meant. They were scribbled in both sets of handwriting, some scratched only to be replaced by the same numbers while others were left cut out completely. She had no idea what they were but given the fact that they'd clearly been proofread, she had the feeling they'd be important.
Putting the letter down, she rubbed her eyes before grabbing the envelope again, crushing it in her fist but it didn't give as easily as she'd hoped. Once again confused, Helen uncurled to paper only to find a decent wad of money in it alongside another slip of paper.
Paris. Then Budapest. Then back again.
Budapest. Helen let out a gasp as she dove for the original piece of paper. Budapest. 80. 1880 perhaps? Write to him. She was telling herself to write to him. As the pieces all fell into place, Helen let out the laughter that was building up inside her. Then a sobering thought hit her. How? How would she get her letters to him? How would she get responses? Would she even get a response? How did the original letter get here? How was she supposed to trek around the world with barely enough money to get to Budapest and back? How was she going to stay hidden from him?
What was she going to write?
Something about that last question was more mind boggling than all the others put together. This was a man she'd known for the better part of her life and despite her frequent attempts to kill him, she cared for him deeply. Probably more than she should considering the frequency with which he did something stupid that endangered her life. Probably more than she should considering his own, self proclaimed, feelings.
But strangely enough, when Helen put aside her longing for her Sanctuaries, he came next on the list. She could argue that it was because she was lonely or that she just wanted someone to make her smile but it was more than that. She missed him in a way she'd never thought possible. While John left a hole in her heart, Nikola's absence was like a constant throb that made her entire body tingle with apprehension. All she wanted to do was breathe in that delightful scent that was well and truly his, that slightly husky aroma that reminded her of electricity while making the very same substance run through her veins. He was her closest friend and, whatever the others may think of him, there were very few people she'd trust more with her life than the last of the Vampires.
And that was half the problem. She knew how she felt, knew how he made her feel but she didn't know how she really felt. In truth, she didn't always want to know, it would be too complicated but this note said something had changed between them. Or would change. These tenses were giving her a headache.
Helen shook her head, trying to think all this through would make her crazy and that was not something she needed. She'd do it. She'd write to him and at least make an attempt at this ridiculous game. Despite a lifetime of understanding via inquiry and intense scrutiny of her options, here she was, on a whim, deciding to throw all that to the wind. Maybe she was a little closer to crazy than she'd first thought.
It might not be much but now she had something to look forward to, something to take her mind off the fact that life would no longer hold much of a surprise for her. It would keep her busy, at the very least. Quickly she flicked through the numbers again, trying to remember where Nikola would have been at the time. As she ran a finger over her own handiwork, she noted the gaps, comparing them to her own memories. They were the times he'd spent with her. Past her. They would be a long few years to watch from afar.
She didn't quite understand how it would all work but by God was she willing to try.
Grabbing her note book and a pen, some of the last vestiges of modernity she had, Helen sat down and started to write. She may have to wait for 132 years to actually see him again but in the mean time, she had a plan.