The fourth month the corner was turned. The frequency and magnitude of Tesla's bursts began to decrease. He gained strength.
The fifth month brought more improvements and the whole Sanctuary felt the darkness begin to lift and hope to return.
The sixth month, Tesla's condition had improved to the point that he described it as "a five hundred milliamps of direct current case of the hiccups". Still giving off enough power during these "hiccups" to kill a man with a touch, he remained in his cell in spite of his increasing agitation and panic over the confined space.
On day two hundred and three, just shy of seven months from the day he entered it, Nikola emerged from his cell. He was paler, thinner, and somewhat quieter, but none of this lasted very long.
Will tapped on the doorframe of Helen Magnus's office. "Am I interrupting?" He asked her. She looked up from the medical journal she was reading and smiled.
"Not at all, come in." She said.
"The medication you made for Prisca seems to be working." Will said heavily.
"Well, that's excellent news isn't it?" Helen said brightly.
"Sort of." Will said with a wince. "It seems her infertility was a result of her body's absorption of any pregnancy's life energy. So now that the absorption has been blocked…"
Helen's eyes widened. "Good God." She said.
"Yup." Will shrugged. "We'll be hearing the pitter patter of little paws sometime in July, she thinks."
"Who's going to tell Nikola?" Helen said with a somewhat desperate laugh.
"Prisca was completely prepared to tell him herself, but you know she can be pretty…er, aggressive?...and I told her it would probably be best if you told him." Will said. "After all, he…really loves you." Will smiled. Then he pulled a face. "He may still murder Henry, but you're their best bet."
Helen laughed breathlessly. "Good Lord, a baby." She murmured, her face blooming into a smile. Then she said sternly. "Tell Henry and Prisca to lay low for a few days and that Henry should by no means ask Nikola for his permission to marry Prisca. I know Henry's old fashioned, but trust me, it'll just give Nikola an opportunity to be awful."
"Got it." Will rose and turned to go.
"So you've made up your mind about Nikola?" Helen said casually, stopping him with the question.
Will turned back and smiled wryly at Helen. "Several times." He replied. "But the guy keeps surprising me."
Helen cocked her head and frowned slightly.
"He's not exactly Prince Charming, but if you love him then you should be with him." Will said. "He loves you, Helen. It may be the only thing I know for sure about him."
"Thank you, Will." Helen smiled softly.
Two days later, Tesla had cooled to a simmer and Prisca and Henry emerged from hiding. It seemed to placate Tesla that the two intended to marry. He was, it seemed, an old-fashioned man himself.
The wedding was small. Kate acted horrified to find herself enlisted as the Maid of Honor. It was clear to see that she loved it. Will was Henry's Best Man. Nikola snarled at the groom when he gave the bride away. The groom growled back. Helen privately laughed at the oddity that she was, for all intents and purposes, the mother of the groom in a relationship with the many times great grandson of the young pregnant bride.
Bigfoot officiated the ceremony.
After the wedding, Helen sat in the last light of the day holding Nikola's hand. "It'll be nice to have a baby around." She said with a soft smile.
Nikola looked aghast.
"You don't want children?" Helen teased.
Nikola narrowed his eyes at her and did what any man would do if asked the same question. He hedged. "Do you?"
She sighed, thinking of Ashley. "Maybe one day."
Nikola considered this and nodded. "Maybe one day." He agreed. "Think of the brilliant children we would have. You'll have to marry me first of course."
"You'll have to ask me one day." Helen returned.
"I'll be sure to do that." Nikola smirked at her. She grinned and his eyes took on a familiar gleam. "We could leave the reception early." He suggested in a silky tone.
Helen gave him a censuring look, but her cheeks flushed and her eyes darkened. She glanced at the rest of the group, celebrating in the Sanctuary gardens. Every Sanctuary resident, except the dangerous ones, had attended the event and all were dancing on the small dance floor Bigfoot had set up for that purpose.
At the center of the group stood Helen's dearest friends, her family. Kate and Will danced together, somewhat awkwardly since Kate kept trying to lead. Prisca and Henry swayed together, wrapped in their own bliss, without hearing the notes of the music. Bigfoot fretted happily over the sound system. Helen squeezed Nikola's hand and said. "Let's stay a few more minutes."
Nikola looked at her face and saw the joy there. He felt his heart swell at the sight and frowned in irritation. "If we stay will you wear the red thing later?" He said, his self-serving nature still utter and complete.
Helen rolled her eyes. "Nikola," she said with affectionate exasperation, "you are outrageous."
"Ohw, but would you have me any other way?" He said with a grin.
"There are times when I would have you any other way." She replied, smothering a smile. He gave her an incensed look. "Now, come and dance with me." She said.
Nikola rose gracefully and took her hand with a slight bow and a smirk. She stood and followed him to the dance floor. "I have a question for you." He said, pulling her into his arms.
"Don't you dare propose now." Helen warned. Nikola looked miffed.
"I wasn't going to." He protested virtuously. "I merely wanted to know what that clear material is you used in the cells of the Shoe. You promised to tell me."
Helen laughed. "Oh, it's something I compounded about a dozen years ago. Very strong, self-healing, practically impenetrable except under certain conditions, one of which is sustained electromagnetic charges combined with shattering force, which is why I couldn't tell you before."
"Fascinating." Nikola said.
"I call it Teslon because I can see right through it." Helen added with a twinkle in her eye.
Nikola groaned in disgust at the name, but his lips twitched with the beginnings of an arrogant smirk. He gracefully spun Helen around the dance floor.
The last rays of the setting sun painted a rainbow of colors across the sky. In the gardens, and the massive stone edifice they surrounded, there was happiness, friendship, love, and peace. A haven. Sanctuary for those fortunate enough to find it.