A GIFT FOR HELEN
Summary: John believes he has the cure for Helen's loneliness, but he needs Tesla's help.
Chapter 1: Love or Hubris
Nikola Tesla sat sullenly at the heavy mahogany desk he'd somehow salvaged from his previous existence. Around that antique piece of furniture, he'd built a close approximation of a state of the art genetics lab. Dark, dreary, but definitely functional, the workings of his brilliant but twisted mind found life in this room. It was his newest hideaway, his "go to ground", or at least it had been.
Yes, all of that was in the past. He'd been certain no one would find him here. Built as it was under an obscure pyramid in the far reaches of the Egyptian desert, he'd planned to remain anonymous until his newest designs for the future of humanity were ready to debut. Even the great Helen Magnus would be unable to find him here, if indeed she ever wished to find him. Secretly, he wished she would want to find him. But, no, her heart had always been given to the other.
Ah… the other… that sorry excuse for a scientist… that Druitt! The bane of his existence he was! In one lifetime the man had stolen Helen's heart away from him and broken it to pieces in the next. And now… well now that same man, the personification of the devil himself wanted another bite of the apple. How dare he? Worse yet, to ask for his help was incomprehensible.
Nikola ceased his inner rant long enough to consider another permutation of reality. It was far-fetched, but possible he supposed. Perhaps his old nemesis truly loved Helen. Perhaps, in an uncharacteristic bout of selflessness, he'd decided to offer her what could be her only chance at true and lasting happiness. Though Nikola would prefer to believe that chance lay with him, Druitt could be right. He was, after all, the one she had chosen so very long ago.
His hackles bristled at the thought. Worse yet, he could feel the homicidal vampire aspects of his physiology rise to the occasion, his fingers literally itching in their desire to transform. Yet something held those baser instincts in check. In his heart of hearts he knew what had to be done. John had asked for his help. As her friend, a man who loved her in his own right, Nikola sensed this might be what Helen needed. And as the one who loved her from afar, he had to give her another chance at happiness.
But if Druitt thought he wouldn't be watching…
As if on cue, the air throughout the laboratory rushed at him; his skin tingled with the charge of static electricity. Druitt had returned. His timing, as always, was impeccable. His bearing, once again as always, was insufferable.
"Will you help me?" John Druitt demanded, seemingly unfazed by his recent bout of teleportation.
"You didn't give me a great deal of time to consider the proposition," Nikola countered obstinately.
"I gave you more than you should need, old man," John said. "If you care for Helen as you have so long implied, you've had more than enough time."
Nikola stood up slowly, stretching his sinewy form as though he had all the time in the world. He thoroughly enjoyed toying with Druitt. They were a match; even driven to the edge, John Druitt could do little to seriously hurt him and he knew it. With that thought in mind Tesla pressed his advantage, careful to observe every last twitch of discomfort in his old rival's visage. Ever so slowly, the erstwhile vampire walked across the room towards John, stopping to caress this implement and the other, staring meaningfully into his own reflection in the glassware.
"Don't be so impatient," Tesla said. "After all these years, you'd think we would have learned more of the social graces. Come, have a cup of tea…"
"I will damned well wring your bloodthirsty, pathetic little neck," Druitt sputtered.
"Stop playing with me, Tesla."
"Alright, my murderous companion in crime," Nikola spat, "I'll get on with it then. Still I'd think you'd treat me with a bit more respect, seeing as you come begging for my assistance." Nikola postured, stretching his back and cracking his neck as he did so. "Now you would have me create a new and improved John Druitt, would you not?"
John's face hardened. He pulled himself up to his full imposing height and slowly, deliberately moved to stand directly in front of his shorter, wiry, less than cowed partner.
"You are quite aware of what I am asking you to do," John hissed menacingly. "Can you do it or not?"
Tesla sputtered in annoyance.
"Of course I can make a copy," he said indignantly. "Do you think me an incompetent government lackey? Cloning is simple; one needs only the stomach for it. It's the fine points that take a bit more finesse, my friend."
"Such as … how to take the ripper out of the rogue shall we say," Tesla responded. "After all, you tell me your intent is to offer Helen a gift, not murder her."
"Watch your tongue," John cautioned flatly, his voice a fine veil for his distaste of the present situation. "I've come to you for assistance, not insult. Do you not think I know exactly what and who I have become? I promised to care for Helen, to make her happy and all I've done is bring her pain. I regret that more than you will ever imagine. And I want to make it up to her. If you can't or won't help me, just say so and I'll be gone."
Tesla stared at the man he'd known for so many eventful years. He was right; he'd changed dramatically from the young upstart researcher he'd known at University. That bloke had been polished, respectable and a bit innocent. All of that and he'd stolen the prize right from under Nikola's nose. And that nose was still severely out of joint.
"What makes you think she'd want the new and improved you?" Tesla queried.
"What gives you the audacity to suggest she wouldn't?"
"Touché," Nikola replied. "You were her choice, were you not, old boy? Who am I to argue with Helen's choice of a lover?"
"Who, indeed?" John agreed. "Helen made her choice. I simply want to give her the opportunity to make it again, free of the source blood's curse. Once more I ask, can you?
"Create a clone with your original characteristics, with your memories of Helen and all she's been through, but no personal knowledge or experience of your murderous past… I'm not sure I can. Moreover, I'm not certain I want to. She's seen enough John, how do you think this would help her?"
"I could have made her happy, Nikola," John insisted. "I want one more chance."
Tesla began to pace, shaking his head as he did so.
"Assuming I am successful, what is to say you will not kill this creation of mine in a jealous fit of rage?"
"Only my word," he replied sadly, "something which understandably means little to anyone at this point. Once Helen has accepted my replacement, I intend to vanish permanently." John hung his head for a moment and then fixed Tesla was an unabashed gaze. "Do it for Helen."
He had him. Tesla thought he'd lost the sensitive, self effacing part of his nature long ago, but sure enough Helen was his soft spot. John was right, she was painfully alone and condemned to a long, solitary life. Immortality was a burden. Nikola knew that more than most. He understood Helen's loneliness. Perhaps, this wasn't such a bad idea.
"Ashley's gone," John stated as a matter of fact. "Our daughter gave Helen a reason to continue, a balm for her soul, the love of a child. I can't give that back to her. But I can do this. In a way, it could be a new start for both of us. If it fails, it fails, but I'll have tried one last time to make Helen happy.
"I thought wiping out the Cabal would help," he snorted. "Oh, it gave me satisfaction … but none of that gave Helen any true joy. Even the goodness of wringing the life from Dana Whitcomb, delicious at it was at the moment, did nothing for me or Helen, not in the way I'd hoped. Yes, I have my revenge, but for Helen, I want more. Then I can take my leave.
"Help me, Nikola."
Tesla nodded silently. It would be done.
A/N: Never say never. I promised myself and you no ongoing sagas for Sanctuary as I just couldn't see it. This is the outcome of my thinking about how life must be extremely lonely for Magnus with no one who could truly understand her, partner with her.
Not sure John's idea would be the way to go, but stay tuned and see what Helen has to say.
Reviews are much appreciated. Thoughts, suggestions, corrections based on the canon of the show also welcome.