Disclaimer: Despite my best efforts, Sanctuary is not mine, and will never be.
Summary: They've been alive for a hundred fifty eight years. Why was a normal conversation so far beyond their abilities? Helen/Nikola.
Notes: NaNoWriMo is frying my brain with all things horror, and flooding it with all things Sanctuary. …why couldn't this happen another month? Well, Teslen goodness. Will trying to help. This was supposed to be humor, but morphed into five whole pages of angst…ahhh, I'll write something light someday.
This was a stupid idea, Helen thought. She and Nikola had no underlying problems that needed to be brought into the open. Why did Will think this was necessary? Establishing good relationships with the people she worked with weren't done by force, they were done through experience and trial.
Nikola, sitting across the table, stared up at the ceiling. He was chewing his lip and probably contemplating wine.
The egg timer sat between them. Remotely activated, once either of them said something Will deemed nice.
"Have I told you today that you look simply wonderful?" she heard the timer begin ticking.
"Several times Nikola."
The timer abruptly stopped.
"Magnus, you've got to respond positively." William said calmly from the intercom. "At least pretend to be interested!"
"Not helping, Doctor Expendable!" Nikola called. "She hasn't realized her true feelings yet!"
"There's no need to shout, Tesla. I can hear you just fine."
"You know Helen," Nikola said with a conspiratorial tone. "I can think of a few ways to spend three minutes. And none of them need talking."
He smirked in that annoyingly endearing way of his.
"I don't think that was what Doctor Zimmerman expected from us."
"Oh, so we can do that afterwards then?"
The clock was ticking, precious seconds passing toward freedom. As long as Nikola didn't say something stupid. Like that.
"Tesla, stop saying you want to…" Will trailed off. "You know! She doesn't appreciate it. Why don't you let her lead the conversation?"
"What are we supposed to talk about?" Helen asked.
"Anything that the two of you can discuss without arguing." Will said.
A minute of silence passed. Nikola looked up at the ceiling. Helen looked at him.
"What did we talk about at Oxford, Helen?" Nikola inquired.
Her brows furrowed as she tried to remember. It had been such a long time ago.
"Our work, I suppose. The Source blood. What it would do to us."
"Obviously. But that can't have been the only things we talked about."
They were, Helen reflected, the two most boring people to talk to when not discussing problems relating to abnormals or the Sanctuary or taking over the world.
"I suppose we discussed our professors."
He chuckled. "I do remember that idiot professor."
"Which one?" she recalled at least three.
"The physics one."
She rolled her eyes and remembered an unpleasant incident involving a dark alleyway, said professor, and a transformed Nikola.
"You certainly did scare him."
"Helen, if you hadn't developed that medication in time, I would have done a lot more than scare him."
"I'm sure you would've restrained your instincts. But I do want you to know Nikola; I believed it was…oh never mind."
She eyed the timer. Thirty seconds to go.
"I wanted to believe it was you killing those women. I didn't want to believe it was John."
Nikola looked down when he tried to recall something, and Helen had an awful flashback of Rome.
Did I? Huh. I don't think it's gonna to work out.
He blinked. And her world shattered.
"You think it was easy? Having to prove myself to you at your house to you and James and Nigel, tied down, while John prowled the streets 'looking' for the killer?"
The timer rang, but neither of them heard it.
"Never mind. I shouldn't have mentioned it." Three minutes was their time limit for pleasant conversation.
"No, you should have said this much earlier." Nikola snarled, his eyes deepening to black for a split second.
I just…I just got a little excited.
Even Will was silent from behind the door. Helen knew he could see them both. He was just…waiting.
"Helen, we were inseparable. Us! The two Oxford outcasts!"
"I know." her voice cracked.
He stood, pacing the room as quickly as he could.
"Until he came along. You can't even remember anything we talked about, unless it was about the blood, or its effects, or how to cure John!"
His blue eyes were level with hers as he stopped and bent in front of her.
"Because you could never bring yourself to talk about anything personal!" she nearly shouted into his face. "Do you think I appreciated having to read about you and your brother on the Internet?"
He groaned and stood straight, rubbing his eyes.
What she was doing was dangerous. She was provoking a vampire. She didn't care.
Helen stood and seized his arm. She glared into his eyes.
"I didn't want it to be either of you! I'd much rather it have been someone else, some abnormal, because then it might not have been like this!
"I loved him Nikola, something you can't seem to understand!"
"Of course you did. Because he was normal. Until he became Jack the Ripper, of course."
"Because he…I thought he…" Helen's voice caught in her throat. "He seemed so complete."
Nikola was silent, staring at a space just to the right of her head.
"I never wanted it to be like this Nikola. I wanted the Five to remain intact, not each of us running into each other every few decades!"
She realized she was crying.
"I wanted both of you in my life. But he framed you. You nearly killed him. And then…"
"You don't need to say it."
"I got pregnant! And turned to James to help me, because you were too busy trying to track John down and slaughter him!"
"Did you really want him showing up on your doorstep in a few decades time, asking to see your daughter when she was a teenager, and then gutting her like-" Nikola stopped in mid-sentence.
"But you didn't manage to keep him away for very long did you? And you even asked him to help you on your project to take over the world!"
"I knew you would have followed."
"What makes you think you can rule the world Nikola? You have barely passable people skills, absolutely no interest in politics, and can't even have a conversation with your oldest friend without turning it into an argument!" she was jumping from topic to topic.
"I would have thought of something."
"Just like you thought of a way to kill her."
"I warned you the thing would work."
Tears dripped down onto the floor. They had been standing for a long time by now.
She let go of his arm and seized his collar, pulling his face down to hers.
"You gave me the power to kill Ashley! Why couldn't you have done the impossible and made something that would have changed her?"
"It was quite impossible." His tone had dropped, becoming submissive. She could smell his breath. It smelled like wine and garlic.
"You've done the impossible before!"
"Helen, what are you angry at?"
"I'm angry at you, me, John, and whoever else had a hand in Ashley's death!" their noses were almost touching. Her hands were cramped from holding so tightly to his clothes.
"Then what can we do to fix this?"
Helen let go of his coat and wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing him closer. Her abrupt move startled Nikola.
"I want you to be here, and not leave again."
"This isn't fixing anything. In fact, I believe it's causing even more problems than before."
"I know." her voice was muffled against his neck. He felt her warm tears slide down his shirtfront.
"They're all gone," she mumbled. "John and Nigel and James…"
"We're all that's left."
"Yes. And I wish it wasn't true."
"So do I."