Disclaimer - Nothing is mine but the monsters I make up and the plot. Don't sue me corporate whores!

In their Meadow All Starry With Flowers

Chapter 1.

"You know what Nikola? I DON'T CARE!"

Helen bellowed, her face inches from an equally irate Tesla who was leaning over her desk, claws scraping grooves in the varnish, vampiric rage barely held in check.

"I don't care how many visions you've had, I don't care how much sleep you're losing, I don't even care that you have stormed into my office every day this week raving about torture and slavery. I am NOT authorising a mad hunt into Georgia to try to find your fantasy woman!"

Tesla practically roared in frustration,

"I'm telling you Helen, she's not just some fantasy, she's real! REAL! She calls to me, I can feel her in my head even now and it's driving me mad! I'm not just some crack-pot who hears voices, I'm telling you, there..."

"...'s a Siren being held captive in the Caucasus Mountains. Yes you've said that before and you still don't realise how insane it sounds." Helen cut him off, "How many times do I have to tell you? There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. Sirens! They're a myth!"

"You work with BIGFOOT!" Screamed Tesla incredulously "You've got a mermaid in the basement, Jack the Ripper draining your brandy reserves and the wolfman is you head of IT! How hard is it to believe that there could be a species of abnormal that you've not come across?" He lurched away from the desk clutching at his hair as if he was about to tear it from his scalp. Normally he was obsessively neat but now in his rumpled shirtsleeves and cravat hanging limp and shredded from his collar he looked half mad.

"It's not Nikola! You know as well as I do that I'd love nothing more than for something like a Siren to be real, but there's simply no evidence. Apart from Homer's stories there's nothing, and how do you keep something as powerful and destructive as a Siren secret? There's not even any evidence of their island. You know you're talking nonsense."

Tesla whirled around, the hysteria in his face shocking Helen into taking a step back "The Rhinemaidens!" He spat back "Harpies, Kelpies, Nix, Pincoya, Melusine!"

Helen lowered her voice "All misreported sightings of Mer-people or bird-people. Nikola, please, stop this. You know it's a fantasy, it's all in your mind, if only you'd let me do a scan..."

"What so you can push and prod and quantify me? " He snarled, "Don't be ridiculous. I know what I see. Like I knew when I was a boy that I would harness Niagara, like I knew when my mother...I know, I just know."

"Ok, let's just imagine that for one second your, so called, visions are real." Helen's temper flared again, "What do you see? What evidence have you got? What facts? How do you know what she is? or even who she is? How do you know she's not being imprisoned because of her sheer destructive power? Where IS she Nikola? Come on, give me facts."

His face crumpled as he clutched at his head again, "I can't, I mean, I don't know. It's not like I've got a map. It's like a constant gnawing in my head and when I dream all I can see is her, and yet I don't see her, I see what her voice is and it makes my heart tremble and my blood feels like it's vibrating thought my veins. It's like something plucking on my soul. You don't understand Helen, I can't sleep, I can't concentrate, I can't work! I can't work, and I have to work." He sank into a chair, long fingers working at his temples, like he was trying to rub something away. Softening, Helen rose and crossing the room, knelt in front of him pulling his hands away from his face she gently said "Maybe you shouldn't be working, I think you're overstretched perhaps. You need to rest..."

"Rest?" He growled, his chin still to his chest. "Yes, rest would be good. But I need to work."

"No you don't," she whispered. In truth, Helen had been worrying about him recently, not just because he seemed to be slowly losing his grip on reality, but because since Ashley's disappearance he was becoming ever more obsessive about his work on localised radiation. Even she didn't know fully what he was doing in his lab, it seemed he was in there constantly, jealously guarding his secrets. He stalked between huge coils and magnets, everything lit with the stark blue light of his tame lightning. "You can't in this condition, you'll make yourself ill"

He let out a guttural chuckle, puzzled she pulled away, trying to see his face better. "Yes i do." He looked up, straight at her, his eyes massive black moons in his thin face, "Yes I do, because if I don't, all I can think about is how hungry I am."

Helen reeled away from him in horror, "Nikola! You've not, your medicine, please tell me you've not stopped taking your medication?" Her eyes searched his face, as he took deep breaths trying to force his vampiric self back within.

"No." He managed, his face less drained, his teeth less savage. His eyes were still black and bruised looking but there was a hint of the man underneath. "No, I still take it. I've been gorging myself all week, but I'm still starving. It's not that kind of hunger but it feels like it is, your pretty flesh is safe from me." He dropped his face into his hands again and moaned softly. Helen stayed quiet. She didn't know what to say, they'd never discussed the exact details of Nikola's diet. She trusted him completely when he said he was not feeding from humans, Nikola had never broken a promise in his life, which was probably why he made so few. She always made sure that there was animal blood available in the Sanctuary refrigerators and it always seemed to disappear. But she'd never asked him how, or when or how often. It somehow seemed too sensitive a subject, like she was deliberately pointing out the fact that he wasn't fully human any more.

She considered trying to comfort him, so obvious was his distress, but she knew from cruel experience that Nikola would scorn any platitudes and would in all likelihood take it as another example of her not taking him seriously, she decided to remain silent and let him talk to her if he could put into words what was quite obviously becoming some kind of breakdown. He was muttering to himself pressing hard on his eyes, his brow furrowed as she knelt there unable to help.

"Helen, I'm not going crazy." His whisper came from beneath his hands, "I'm not. Trust me, please. Please, like I trusted you in Oxford. I was the only one who would listen to you at the beginning. I was your only friend when everyone else shunned you. I believed you even when John would not listen to your theories on abnormals. Please...please... help me."

She could just see his exhausted grey eyes through his fingers, free from hysteria and the cold black that had consumed them just moments before. The uncharitable part of her, the part of her that suffered from every jibe Tesla threw at her, wanted to laugh. Wanted to make him suffer and beg for her help when he needed her like she knew he would have done. But the part that remembered her old friend. The young, fussy genius trying to look more mature with his thick moustache and faddy dress. The only man at Oxford who actually spoke to her about the lectures they attended. She had suspected at the time this was because he was incapable of talking about anything other than the subjects in which he excelled, but it had created a bond between them. A deep friendship where he had defended her against the mockery of her peers in lessons and outside the lecture hall, when at first even the Five had reacted with incredulity when she had put forward her research on abnormals. He hadn't cared how outlandish her claims were, he wanted to hear her ideas, Tesla always wanted to learn more as if he was in a consuming rush to find out everything the world hid from him. It was funny but she couldn't remember when he'd stopped being that excited young mind and became the snide cynic she knew now. Possibly the day she encouraged him to take part in her experiments. She owed him something for that she supposed, although the aggrieved pat of her felt that she'd already given enough to the ego-maniacal demands of the inventor. She put out her hand to his knee, "Nikola, I have been trying to help you. But you won't let me examine you, and without giving me any hard evidence that this woman is even real what am I supposed to do? I'm a scientist Nikola, you'd ask the same thing of me. We don't deal in dreams and visions, we need proof."

He leapt up, shoving her away, "What more can I give you?" he demanded, his voice cracked from the strain of holding in his despair. "I've told you everything I know, but I can't show you the inside of my head. I can't show you the visions that blind me to my work or the dreams that...oh." He broke off, his head cocked to one side like he was listening intently to something. "Oh, oh, oh by God, I am GOOD!" He leapt to his feet, grabbed her hand and yanked her to her feet. "Maybe I can!" he burst triumphantly, "Come along Doctor Magnus, we have work to do." and with that he dragged an astonished Helen behind him out of the door.