YAY FOR NEW CHAPTERS!
Thank you all for being so patient! My chapter was held ransom by my beta for WEEKS and she finally gave me the finished version about an hour ago. Hope you all enjoy!
Once again, I own nothing here... blah blah blah... I promise to put the characters back when I'm finished playing with my Magnett. XD
One Month Later
Helen felt a small relief that the result of the pregnancy test was negative, but an even greater and surprising disappointment as she contemplated what could have been. She hadn't been certain that she wanted a child to begin with, but having Ashley had turned out to be the one thing that had made her whole life make sense.
Her mind strayed at the thought of Ashley and a pain filled her heart. Ashley would have been a wonderful big sister. Tears pricked her eyes as she glanced at the words again and she quickly wiped them away before crumpling the paper and tossing it into the trash. It would do her no good to cry over what might have been, or to let it distract her from finding a way to rid John of the creature without endangering his life again.
When Helen had returned from Ontario she didn't allot herself even a few hours to get settled in before throwing herself into her research. Will had followed her into her lab and enquired about her trip only to be given a short answer of 'I didn't find anything. Now if you would excuse me, I really do need to get back to work.' After Will had shut the door behind him she had immersed herself in her experiments until she had been a step away from exhaustion, only then did she allow herself a short break. Less than four hours later she was back in the lab to continue her work.
Science had allowed Helen to make a discovery that she had not been able to make back in the 1880's. She had taken a sample of John's blood both before and after they had shocked the creature out of him and the comparison was alarming. The blood taken before they had discovered the abnormal residing in him was charged with Electricity, reminiscent of Nikola's blood without the Vampire traits. The blood that was taken just minutes after the creature had jumped from John into the Sanctuary had no traces of electricity in it. Further tests had lead Helen to the conclusion that, rather than a single entity residing in John's brain like she had been theorizing, the creature integrated itself into each and every cell in John's body.
Unfortunately this discovery had been made two weeks ago and Helen had made no further progress.
Helen was about to peer through her microscope at her latest experiment when she was pulled from her observation by the sound of the door opening. The Big Guy entered the room with a fresh pot of tea and a plate of toast; refusing to meet her eye, he set the tray down and turned to leave. Helen quickly placed her hand on his arm and thanked him for bringing it to her, sadness filling her as he nodded and left the room. It had been a month and he still had not said anything to her since he had treated the wound on her hand.
She watched him shut the door behind him and turned to the tray, puzzled when she saw the telegram nestled between the teapot and her saucer. She picked up a piece of toast and nibbled on the corner as she flipped the paper over and perused the message. She stopped chewing as irritation filled her and she quickly set the toast back on her plate.
I find myself in need of your assistance. Meet me in Rome and I'll make it worth your while.
P.S. Wear something sexy, dinner is on me.
Helen crumpled the paper and dropped it into the waste bin. Nikola's gall never ceased to amaze her. After everything she had done for him over half a century ago, he was demanding that she drop everything to come to him. Again.
She finished her breakfast and drank her tea in silence, her mind going a hundred miles an hour in preparation for her flight to Rome. She glanced at the clock and grimaced. There was something to be said about getting up at four in the morning. If she left within the hour she could be there by dinnertime that night. She left her lab and ran into a bedraggled Will in the hall; he was clearly on his way to the kitchen for his morning coffee and had nearly knocked her over.
"Whoa, didn't expect to see you out of your lab." At the look on her face he quickly ran his hand through his hair, making it stand up at ridiculous angles. "Sorry Magnus, you know me when I haven't had my coffee yet." He said apologetically as he shuffled his weight from side to side. Helen had the strangest urge to ruffle his hair in an uncharacteristic show of affection. He really was adorable when he was trying to wake up in the morning.
"That's quite alright Will." She said with a smile. "I was actually on my way to see you. Something has come up with an old friend of mine and I need to leave for Rome immediately. I trust that you don't mind if I leave you in charge for a few days?"
Will smiled and shook his head. "Nope, not at all. Have a safe flight." He said with a smile before making an uneven beeline towards his morning caffeine. Helen smiled as she watched him walk away and shook her head.
When her plane landed hours later she made her way to the hotel that she knew Nikola would be staying at. The fact that there was a lecture about the life of Nikola Tesla and his contributions to society only solidified Helen's belief that he would be there. After running upstairs and quickly freshening up, Helen found herself walking through the lobby towards the private conference rooms in search of the arrogant vampire.
Sure enough he was leaning against a pillar just outside of the conference room with a smile on his face. Helen stopped about two feet away and tilted her head to the side expectantly as Nikola quickly straightened up and closed the distance between them.
"Helen Magnus." He greeted her, a full blow smile on his face. "Kiss me and I'll save your life."
Helen arched her eyebrow. "And if I don't?" she asked, intrigued by his words. She wasn't in any danger that she knew of. Nikola just smiled and pointed to his cheek.
"It's been over 60 years; just plant one on me already."
Helen watched him for a moment, past experience convincing her that he was up to something. Sure enough, just as she was about to kiss his cheek he turned his head and pressed his lips against hers.
Helen jolted as electricity tickled her lips and she quickly grabbed his arms to push him away. She took a sharp breath and attempted to bury her irritation.
"Nikola Tesla, you always did know how to get attention."
"And you're still as lovely as ever. Now, to business. Ex-Cabal agents are on their way here and if we don't leave now things are going to get rather bullet ridden." He quickly placed his hand on the small of her back to propel her away from the conference rooms. Helen took a few steps before she stopped and turned to face him.
"And why should I believe you?"
A loud crash sounded behind them and Helen turned to see heavily armed men make their way into the lecture. She quickly turned to Nikola and walked passed him.
"I assume you have a plan other than kissing me." She said as he opened a door for her. He smirked at her as they descended a set of stairs into the cellar of the Hotel.
He quickly pulled a key out of his pocket and opened an old wooden door, stepping back he gestured into the darkness beyond.
"Beauty before Brains."
Helen shot him a look before she quickly walked into the darkness and spun around to watch Nikola lock the door behind them. He flicked on the lights and Helen was able to see a rat scurry across the dirt.
"Charming." She said and made a face at it as she fought the impulse to take a few steps back. She would never live it down if Nikola knew she was afraid of the creatures.
"I know." He said with a smile, thinking she was talking about the escape route. "It's part of a two hundred year old system of catacombs underneath the city." They fell into step beside each other.
"I'm assuming there are other exits further on."
"Should be. My contact said that there would be." He assured her.
"The concierge in the hotel." Nikola said with a smirk as the two of them rounded a corner. "Don't you just love Rome?"
The sound of the door crashing open behind them cut Helen's retort before she had the chance to say anything. They both picked up the pace as silently as possible and ducked into an alcove as the agents gained on them. Helen pressed herself against the wall, pulling her gun from her waist and trying to ignore Nikola as he leaned into her personal space.
"My God, you look sexy with a gun." He purred into her ear. She shot him an exasperated look and turned back to their pursuers.
"Shut up and help me." She whispered, preparing herself to fight as two men approached their hiding spot. Using the element of surprise she quickly struck one of the men in the face and knocked him out. The other man rushed her and she tried to wrestle his gun out of his hands only to find herself pinned against the wall. She gave out a startled gasp as Nikola quickly grabbed the man's neck and lifted him in the air, snarling at him as he did so.
"Leave her alone." His voice had become deep and his eyes turned black as he fought the urge to snap the man's neck. Helen became frightened as he raised his clawed hand to slash the man's face and she quickly pointed her gun at him.
"Nikola that's enough!" She commanded, her gun following him as he dropped the agent. He gave a breathless chuckle as his features returned to normal and whipped out his handkerchief to wipe his hands.
"Well, that was exciting." He said as he took a few steps closer to Helen. She kept the gun pointed at him and backed up.
"A little too much so." She told him, her grip tightening on her gun. "You haven't stopped taking your medication have you?"
"No, no." He assured her. "I just got a little excited." His eyes flashed down to the gun still held at his chest. "Come on Helen, I don't feed on humans. I made that vow long ago and I intend to keep it."
Her mind flashed back to the first few months after he had changed and her grip faltered for a moment. Those first few weeks had been terrifying to say the least. He had savagely attacked James and Nigel and had almost sunk his teeth into her neck before John was able to subdue him. Helen still had nightmares about that day and had always wondered why he had decided to bite her instead of slashing her like he had the others. A quick flash of him pressing her up against the wall of her father's study with his lips on her neck shot through her mind and she tightened her grip on the gun in fear.
As all that passed through her, she cautiously lowered the gun. He had apologized so many times for what had happened back then and had quickly adapted to a steady diet of Animal blood to keep it from happening again. Nikola shot her a quick smile and walked out into the darkness of the adjacent tunnel, flicking his thumb into a hanging light socket and sending a wave of electricity down the line. There was a sharp crack and then light flooded the area, illuminating Nikola's self-satisfied smirk as he wiped his hand.
"Your favorite parlor trick." Helen stated as she stepped towards him. Nikola winked at her and waved her in front of him.
"This way my lady."
"You haven't lost your touch, I'll give you that." She remarked as she walked passed him. She could feel his eyes on her back as she made her way further into the labyrinth beneath the city.
Several minutes of silence later she felt Nikola's hand on her arm and she stopped to look back at him. He held his finger to his lips and held up two fingers before pointing to the opening ahead. Helen nodded and let him take the lead.
As they got closer to the opening she could hear the static from the men's radios giving away their position and she winced as Nikola darted into the darkness. She followed as quickly as she could and saw the two men lying unconscious against the wall with Nikola staring down at them. Ignoring the urge to scold him, she quickly crouched down beside the bodies and grabbed one of their flashlights.
"Come on, there will be more where they came from." She said as she got to her feet and turned to face her companion. Nikola smirked at her and tucked the handkerchief he had just wiped his hand with back into his pocket.
"This is fun isn't it?" he said with a smirk as he led the way further into the tunnel. "Just like old times back in London, when was that? '42, '43?"
"I prefer not to think about it." Helen admitted.
"Come on Helen, every major spy agency in the world was looking for me. I needed your help. And besides, what's a faked death among friends?"
Noise from around the corner drew their attention and they pressed themselves against the wall.
"Whose hare-brained notion was it to supply every allied government with plans for your death ray weapon?" She whispered, annoyed with his enthusiasm.
"Well, I thought they'd all share and that peace would break out. I did. I had my Nobel speech all memorized." He said, a small smirk lifting the corner of his mouth. They listened to the men searching for a moment before the sounds of their clearing the area echoed back to them and a question rose up in Helen's mind.
"How did you know that the Cabal was after me?" she asked, turning to look at him. Frustration filled Helen as she watched him flick his fingernails together, the tell-tale sign he was about to lie to her.
"I watch them and they watch me. We've had a few entanglements over the years."
"I've had my contacts keeping an ear to the ground for any Cabal movements since they attacked the sanctuary network. I would have known beforehand if they were going to make a move on me here. In fact, they didn't show up until after you arrived… They're not after me at all, are they Nikola?" She asked as realization dawned on her. "They want you."
Nikola grinned. "You haven't lost your touch, either."
Footsteps echoed around them and they pressed themselves back against the wall again, pulling back slightly when laser sights lit up the wall in front of them with tiny green dots. Moments later the men were gone and Helen felt safe enough to voice her displeasure.
"You've always been reckless, but contacting me when the Cabal was following you-"
"Oh I know. It's not one of my best ideas but I had no choice, I needed to see you."
"Then use the proper channels." She whispered as they continued down the dark passageway. "Contact one of my facilities and have them arrange a secure location."
Nikola shot her a flirty smile.
"Would you rather I endanger one of your Sanctuaries, or just you?"
"How about neither?" Helen was completely exasperated. "Nikola, you dropped out of sight before the end of World War II-"
"Well, I did die a lonely, impoverished, pitiful old man. Thanks for the funeral, by the way. I heard it was quite nice."
"I faked your death to save your life so that your work could continue. I think I'm owed an explanation as to your whereabouts since then."
"Hey, perfecting the use of electricity and radio waves? Hard acts to follow, okay? But I have kept busy. At Oxford, all those years ago, what we did was more than just pushing boundaries. For me, it was personal." He defended himself.
"As it was for all of us." She reminded him, a flashback to the burning pain after the injection of the source blood hit her and she took a moment to shake it away. Nikola sensed her distress and turned to face her.
"You all changed, whereas I found out who I really am. And the more I embrace that, the more I realize just how little I've accomplished." There was a strange sincerity in his voice as he gazed at Helen, some deeper meaning in his eyes that escaped her.
"Your gifts to the world will live on long after you die... whenever you actually die."
Nikola's voice became flat and emotionless.
"You think you can call this existence 'living?' The Cabal hunt me at every turn."
"But why? You've been underground for decades. We both know the Cabal only go after what they perceive to be of value." Helen searched his eyes for the answer and shivered when Nikola's eyes flashed black for an instant.
"Or a threat." He said with a slight smile. He stepped around her and walked away, leaving Helen with a growing suspicion that Nikola's reappearance was more than it seemed.
"Why would the Cabal see you as a threat?" Helen asked as they ducked into another tunnel.
"I'm a Vampire; some people are threatened by that."
"Only part Nikola, pure blood vampires were wiped out centuries ago. Besides, you alone are not enough to make the cabal this angry." She watched him for any sort of hint about what he was planning. "What's really going on?"
"The ancient ones, they were intelligent, gifted, powerful… until a bunch of church folk decided that our race was impure…" He grabbed Helen's hand as she nearly tripped over a rotted corpse and dropped it just as soon as she was stable. Helen fluttered her fingers in an attempt to get rid of the tingling feeling his electricity always generated. She suspected he did it on purpose.
"…Evil." He continued undeterred. "And not only did they hunt them down and kill them off, but they turned our species into cultural joke."
"Ancient Vampires were the Caesars, the Pharaohs of civilization." She protested. "Humans were enslaved; they rose up with good reason! If the world knew the truth-"
"Humans were conquered because we were smarter and stronger, and when Vampires ruled the world it was a golden age. Science, art, architecture all advanced and after they killed them off what happened?"
"The dark ages."
"And now people think we're allergic to garlic and can turn into bats at will. It's beyond insulting."
"Don't forget sparkling in sunlight." Helen added. She couldn't help it; it was Ashley's fault for insisting she read those ridiculous books. And she had. All four of them. Nikola shot her a dark look before motioning her into another passage.
"As though a vial of stale water blessed by some priest would have any other effect than a bad taste in my-" Nikola stopped short as the ground started to shake beneath them.
"Earthquake?" Helen asked, spreading her feet a little to increase her balance.
"Worse." Nikola said, grabbing her arms and pushing her back into the passage they had just come from as a shockwave blasted him into the wall of the tunnel.
Helen had to wait for the dust to settle before she was able to see the damage the Cabal agents had done to Nikola. She clicked on her flashlight and started to scan the debris until she saw a pair of legs dangling two feet off the ground. Taking a sharp breath she hurried over to Nikola, flashing the light up to see a sharp piece of wood sticking out of his chest.
"Nikola." She gasped, her grip on the light trembling for a split second as she stepped closer to his body.
She felt a tremor in her heart as she tried to process the fact that he was dead. She was about to raise her hand to touch him when his body jerked to life.
"I vant to suck your blood." He drawled in his best Dracula impression, eyeing her as if she were a delicious morsel he couldn't wait to devour. Helen felt all sympathy drain from her body.
"Get down from there." She hissed in exasperation, completely failing to hide the relief she felt at his survival. Nikola groaned as he shoved himself off of the stake and landed gracefully in front of her. Not bothering to fight her instincts as a doctor, she reached forward and quickly unbuttoned his jacket to see the damage only to watch the hole in his chest start to knit together before her eyes. She quickly dropped her hands as Nikola picked a splinter out of the wound.
"Irony is," He said conversationally as he wiped the blood off his fingers. "I once owned the patent for that weapon. I never should have sold it to Edison, cheapskate that he was."
Helen was furious at his lack of consideration to her feelings.
"Do you think this is funny?" She raged. "Tricking me into helping you with whatever games you are playing with the Cabal? I don't appreciate being put in the line of fire!"
"You've always been like this, haven't you? Selfish, arrogant, putting your own desires before everyone else's."
Nikola smiled at her, he loved it when she was passionate.
"I brought you here for two reasons: Because only you can help me with what I'm working on and because I love you."
"Yes, so you keep… what?" Helen paused as her brain caught up with what he had said. White hot panic flooded her as the implications of his admission started to hit.
"I always have." He admitted. He slowly raised his hand and reached forward to caress her neck. "More than that lunatic Druitt ever did."
Helen's eyes widened as she took in his serious gaze and she couldn't help but lean away from his touch, discomfort filling every fiber of her being at his claim. Nikola dropped his hand as she shifted but didn't back away.
"I mislead you and I deeply apologize for that, but I had to see you." He said, his voice low and filled with something Helen didn't want to name.
"You…you're serious aren't you?"
Nikola could only smile at her as his eyes flicked to her exposed throat.
Dun Dun Dun!
Ominous isn't it? ;)
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