A/N: ahhh it's been a long time since my last update. here you are, duckies. chapter fourteen:)
I dreamt of Nikola Tesla.
It began with me looking up at him. He was carrying me in his arms, running through woods, tree branches slicing through the moon in the dark sky. The scene flashed to him hovering over me, gently stroking back my hair.
"It'll all be okay," he whispered. "The doctor is almost finished with your leg. You're okay."
Then I was in my apartment, seeing his face in the shadows, watching over me. I'd see him everywhere, ever since I was little. My mind flashed through every memory I had of the man, and then it slipped into dreams of him. I imagined he was holding me; the moment with the Cabal had never happened. The room was dimly lit, and we were lying together, his arms warmly around me. His breath tickled my ear and somehow, inexplicably, I knew he was smiling.
"Bell," he whispered.
I sighed contentedly, leaning my head against his shoulder. "I've been meaning to ask why you call me that."
His grip tightened slightly as he said, "Term of endearment," and kissed my temple.
Then, with a gasp, I woke up.
Nikola had spent the better part of an hour in a scalding hot shower. He stepped out, steam flooding the room, and used his hand to swipe a section of the mirror clean. He peered into it, leaning both hands against the sink. In the small visible section of mirror, the muscles in his arms flexed, a beautiful girl behind him, her own hands trailing across his back.
"The glass didn't scar," Rosabel said with a smile. "I was worried about that. Didn't want your flawless skin to be marred because of me." She was teasing him, as usual.
"I'm a vampire, Bell," said Nikola. His voice was low, a growling tone. "A little bit of faith would be nice."
"I have faith in you, Nikola." She planted a soft kiss on his cheek, her hair tickling the back of his neck. "I have faith that you'll find me. You'll bring me back."
Slowly, his hand crept up to where hers lay on his shoulder, but when he placed his fingers over hers, he felt nothing besides his own skin.
"Of course I will," he murmured, staring at the space over his shoulder where she had been. "I'm bringing you back, Bell."
Rose Page was not awake. She was suspended in a thick blue gel, limbs out and away from her, hair around her head like tinted fire and eyes closed. Wires and probes went from her body, everywhere, connected to computers outside her cylindrical glass prison.
"How is she doing?" asked Jane Proctor, observing the young woman in the vat.
A thin, mousy man in a lab coat adjusted his glasses nervously and said, "She's not reacting very well, I'm afraid, Miss Proctor. If we try to siphon out any of her blood she goes into cardiac arrest. We've just now stabilized her for the fourth time, but we can't chance it again until we figure out a way to continuously circulate her blood to somehow trick her body into thinking she's not losing any--"
"Just get it done," Miss Proctor said. "I have a phone call to make."
Nikola had just finished dressing, preparing in his head what he was going to tell Helen about where he was going. She would know the truth, she always knew, but he would make a valiant effort to lie anyway. The cell phone on the bedside table rang, and he picked it up with an emotionless, "Hello?"
"Why Nikola, you sound well."
He tensed immediately.
"I'm glad my five little pets didn't injure you too severely."
"Who is this?" he demanded.
"Such a mundane question, I'm surprised." The woman's voice paused. "I thought for sure your first question would be what I've done with your Bell. Isn't that what you called her? Your Bell?"
Nikola's grip tightened on the phone until he thought it would simply break. "Now listen to me, I know you're Cabal. Release her or so help me, I will find you and rip you to shreds--"
"While I'm sure the wrath of Nikola Tesla is terrifying, you're in no position to threaten. We have what you cannot possibly bother denying you want. And we'd be willing to give her back."
For a moment, he didn't answer. "What's the catch?" he asked finally.
"The Cabal requires a service from you, involving the betrayal of your colleagues...and Helen Magnus."
Nikola's eyes went to the small, wallet-sized picture on his dresser; Rosabel, age sixteen, smiled from a park bench, a daisy in her hair and the sunlight glinting brightly off her eyes.
"You perform this service, and you will get her back," came the voice through the receiver.
The lullaby trickled into his head, and he bit the inside of his cheek.
"What kind of service?"
Miss Proctor hung up the phone, smiling. As was expected, Nikola had agreed to their terms. She wasn't, of course, actually going to give the girl back. The part-Abnormal was much too valuable, and they weren't even close to through with her. Once Tesla gave the necessary information and performed his task, he would be lured into an ambush and properly disposed of. Perhaps she would even get the girl to do it, once control had been asserted. The delicious irony of it, so very cliche.
The woman folded her hands together. Everything was--and would continue to be--perfect. She would make sure of that.
"I can't believe you actually accepted the deal," she said, pacing behind him incessantly while he worked. "I thought you of all people would be smarter than that!"
"Calm down," Nikola replied. "I don't like it much either--"
"Oh, you like it plenty, don't think I don't know about your adrenaline kick, you just love the thrill of doing something dangerous and not following rules or common sense--"
"--but you should know me well enough to know I have a plan."
"Your plan had better be good." He heard her scuff her foot on the floor and cross her arms. "You're risking the entire Sanctuary network to save me--"
"I'm aware of the risks, Rosabel."
"Then why? I don't understand," she sighed.
"Because it's you." He gripped the edges of the table. He wanted to turn around, to look at her directly, but knew she'd only vanish the moment he did. "I can't keep losing you."
She leaned close to him, the smell of apples banishing thought from his head. "The only thing you're losing is your mind."
"I am still quite sane, thank you."
"Sane?" She barked out a laugh. "I'm stuck in some Cabal Cell-Block-of-Doom or something, and you're having hallucinations about me."
"They're not hallucinations."
"Then what are they?" she asked. "I am a hallucination, Nikola. You're arguing with yourself."
"I'm not--" He spun the chair and abruptly stopped. There was no one in the room with him, and the only sound was the whirring of the computer's hard-drive. She was gone.
Nikola put his head in his hands and breathed deep. "Damn."
"Did you say something?"
He looked up. Helen stood in the doorway, a concerned expression on her face.
"No," he said. "Nothing."
She paused before replying, "We'll get her back, Nikola."
"I know." He nodded curtly and she walked off. "I know I will."
A/N: review review review review.