Helen was sitting on the couch in her library waiting for John. He should have been at her residence in London already, but he was still getting a handle on his powers. Still she wondered where he had gone this time. Shaking her head Helen focused back on her book and tried to read the words printed on the page. After she read the same paragraph for the fifth time Helen marked the page and set the book aside. Helen walked to the window of her Father's library and just stared out at the people passing by. 'John where are you?'
"Hello Helen." John whispered behind her.
"You certainly took your sweet time John Druitt." Helen tried to be mad at him, but he was John and she loved him.
"I was having a little fun," John leaned into her and some of his hair fell into his eyes.
Helen brushed his hair out of his eyes and found that all his silky had been pulled back into a brain. John barely ever braided his hair, "What kind of fun?"
John lightly grasped her waist and whispered, "Let me show you." Together they teleported away and appeared in Paris, France. They were on an upper level that was closed to the public but from their vantage point they could see someone swaying from the very tip of the Eiffel Tower.
Helen squinted and tried to see who was on there. And then it dawned on her, "John, tell me that is not Nikola." And yet, somehow she knew it was.
"I can't, because it is." John replied and barely restrained his dark laughter. "I told you I was having some fun."
"Get him down from there," Helen let John see the anger radiating in her eyes.
"I think he's quite useful up there actually." John chuckled.
Helen fisted her hand in his braid and tugged sharply, "Get him down or you're on the couch tonight."
"It's not like the fall will kill him. He's a vampire, well, half-vampire." John defended through clenched teeth. She had a strong grip on his hair.
"John, now," Helen commanded and tugged again.
John took her wrist and squeezed gently until her fingers untangled from his hair. "Take away all my fun," He pouted playfully. Helen flicked him on the shoulder and he was on his way.
LATER THAT NIGHT:
John lounged on the couch in the study reading one of Helen's various books left to her by her father. He dug his fingers between his braid and rubbed at his tingling scalp. His head still stung from Helen tugging on his braid earlier that day. Putting Nikola at the top of the Eiffel Tower had been a joke, mainly at Nikola's expense and a bit of justice. Just a few nights ago he had caught Nikola snooping around outside Helen's house. It irritated John to no end that Tesla kept hanging around; their days at Oxford were over and done with. Why couldn't the man just move on?
"You keep scowling like that and you'll get wrinkles."
John turned to see Helen lingering in the doorway. She was dressed for bed and he would have thought she would have been asleep hours ago. "I thought you would have been asleep by now?" He said setting his book aside so he could give her his full attention. He didn't know if she wanted to speak of today's events. John knew his reaction to Nikola had been extreme, but amusing at the same time.
Helen had been watching John for the last five minutes as he pretended to read. She knew he was thinking about that afternoon. It wasn't that she hadn't found it amusing, it just put them all at risk should someone else had actually seen Nikola up there. Flaunting their powers in public was not something Helen wanted to think about. "I tried, but sleep wouldn't…." Helen trailed off. She sat down next to John, angling her body so she could see him in profile. Reaching out Helen touched the ribbon that kept his braid in place. Helen untied it and let his hair fall out of the braid so it cascaded around his shoulders. She loved the way his hair fell around his face.
"I was wondering how long it was going to be before you did that." John muttered looking at her through the strands of his dark brown hair. He had just gotten used to Helen playing with his hair.
"Would you prefer it if I hadn't?" Helen asked. Sometimes John was particular about his hair.
John turned to her, "No, I love when you run your fingers through my hair. I was just thinking…" He reveled in every touch Helen gave him It was the one time his mind quieted. She was the only one to soothe his tormented mind.
"About today?" Helen inquired. She had sensed that something was bothering him but she hadn't had the nerve to ask him until now.
"No, about why I keep it long." John replied. Helen reached out to him and he let himself be pulled into her arms. The only peace he ever felt was in Helen's arms. All the torments of his youth never plagued him when he was with her.
"You never told me the reason, and you tell me everything." Helen kissed the top of his head. John wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her closer to him. She knew he hadn't had the best childhood as someone of his stature should have had. It amazed her how John stayed so strong.
"Mainly it was to spite the man who raised me. My father wasn't like yours. He believed suffering was good for the soul, so we suffered." John sat up, turned from Helen and tried to beat back the images of his tortured childhood. Helen wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his shoulder. He held up his left hand and flexed his fingers, "One time he broke my fingers by slamming them in a door."
Helen held John tighter as he spoke. She knew the demons he fought in his mind in regards to his father. It had only been made worse by his death. John said he felt nothing, no anger, no sadness, but Helen knew different. Even after all the terrible things that John's father had inflicted on him, that man was still John's father. After the funeral that was the first night John hadn't come back to her house. James told her the next day that John had stayed with him. Helen felt a pang of jealousy at that admission, but she knew John relied on James as well for emotional stability. Without thinking Helen kissed the side of John's neck in an effort to comfort him, but it only made him more agitated.
John bolted off the couch and touched the spot where Helen had kissed his neck. The one part of his body that he was sensitive about was his neck. John hated for anyone to touch his neck, to breathe on it, or anything. It all stemmed from his father, from where his father would grab the back of his neck and haul him around the house when he thought John had done something wrong according to his world views.
"John, I'm sorry…." Helen whispered from her seat on the couch. She made no move to follow him.
John dropped to his knees, "It's alright. You would think I would be over it by now. It has been at least twenty years since the last time since my father hauled me around by the scruff of my neck." Suddenly he could feel it all again. His father had come home drunk, John had been the first one he had seen. After that John started to grow his hair long to cover the back of his neck.
Helen moved off the couch to sit down in front of him, "John what can I do?" She wanted so badly to help him, to take away his pain and mental scars.
"Be patient with me." John replied. He held out his hand to her, she took it, and allowed him to pull her closer to him once again. "I'm sorry about today with Nikola. I know I was extreme." John whispered even though he wasn't really
"Liar, you enjoyed every moment of it." Helen smiled. She waited a few seconds before saying, "I'm sorry about tugging on your hair today."
"You can tug on it all you like; it's not my hair that I have the issues with." John smiled in return. He was feeling better now that Helen was smiling at him. He just wanted to be the man she deserved. He wanted to be a man with no mental scars or issues that kept him from getting closer to her. John loved her too much.