Summary: A look at the relationship between Nikola Tesla and Helen Magnus, from 1875 until 1902. Teslen.
Volume 1: The Source Blood
/-/- Fall, 1875
He checks his pocket watch again; he still has almost twenty minutes before lecture. Nikola sighs and slouches farther into his chair. He's much too awake for a nine o'clock lecture; his brain is still programmed for home.
This is why he's sitting in the very last chair, one seat right of the centre, twenty minutes before lecture. The desk in front of him is empty; he doesn't plan on taking notes. He doesn't actually plan on paying attention, but he thought showing up for the first day was simply good manners.
It's during his brief rumination about what he'll eat for lunch that the door opens and he turns his head in time to watch a woman, of all things, walk inside. She's quite lovely, in a very polished, British sort of way. She wears her hair loose around her face, curled, with a hat pinned slightly skewed to the left. Her skin is charmingly pale, what little of it he can see of course. She takes a seat in the very first row, dead centre, and pulls from her bag the textbook Nikola has already read and a few leafs of paper.
Nikola glances around himself at the empty room before looking back at the woman. She's young; he thinks perhaps twenty, maybe a year or two older. He's not really sure what to make of her, which is why he leans over his desk and calls to her, "Excuse me, Miss." The young woman shifts in her seat, turning around just enough to spy Nikola in the very back of the hall. "I think you're in the wrong room."
"This is Doctor Smith's physics lecture, is it not?"
Nikola glances to the side and then back to the woman. "Yes."
"Then I think I am in exactly the right place." With that, she turns back around, dismissing him.
Annoyance tugs at the edges of his lips and, with a small huff, Nikola pulls himself out of the desk chair and skips down the few stairs separating him from the woman. "I hope that means you're his secretary or something?" She turns her head to glare up at him. He just smirks a little and gestures towards the paper and pen she's laid out. "Plan on writing the lecture notes for absent students? I hope so, that will come in handy when I start sleeping in late."
"I shall be taking notes, but not for your benefit, mister...?"
He straightens. "Tesla. Nikola Tesla."
"The university may not be allowing me to enrol properly, but I am here to learn, which is more than I can say for you." There's something about her tone that strikes him. He's never heard a woman speak with such clarity and strength, nor has he ever seen a woman hold his gaze so firmly, completely unwilling to back down from the fight. He smirks at the challenge.
"Oh I am here to learn. I just don't expect Dr. Smith or whatever his name is to say anything more interesting than that dry old book had to say."
"So you've read a book and now you know everything?"
"Memorized the book, and dozens like it."
"Good for you," she says and then, once again, she turns her head away from him, ignoring him.
The muscles in his cheeks flex and he turns his face to the side, mind spinning as he tries to think of what to say. Then, without knowing what else to do, Nikola drops himself into the seat next to her. He watches as she glances sidelong at him. Her fingers fiddle with her pen and she stares at her hands, refusing to look at him.
"You never mentioned your name."
"You never asked."
"Ok." He sighs and turns his back completely towards her. "Hello, I'm Nikola Tesla. What's your name?"
Slowly, she turns around to look at him. He smiles a little when he notices that her gaze is not quite as icy as it had been before. "Helen Magnus."
He shifts his books to his other hand, freeing his right to dig through his pocket to find his key. The bolt clicks and he opens the door to his dorm room. It's traditionally small and bland, which to an extent doesn't really suit Nikola Tesla, but he supposed that it's suitable for its intended purpose- sleeping and studying.
He hears the door next to him clicking open and pauses to meet his new neighbour. He expects the average British gentleman, the typical medical student or potential lawyer or perhaps even a fellow, albeit less intelligent, scientist. Who he finds, instead, leaves him smirking.
"Helen Magnus? You do realize that this is a MEN's dormitory?"
"Yes, I had noticed that. It sort of comes with the "men's college" theme?" Nikola shrugs. "You'll just have to learn to control yourself."
A slight chuckle escapes him and he steps closer to her. "I will do my best to be the honourable man that I can occasionally be."
"Good for you. Please excuse me." She moves around him and hugs her books to her chest.
"Wait." He speaks out of desperation to keep her there, but once she turns around he has no idea what to say to her. "Um... I just finished reading that paper for Dr. Williams' lecture. Would you... would you like to come in," he gestures to his door, "and discuss it with me?"
Her eyes widen slightly and she lets her mouth hang open slightly. She looks to the far wall for a moment before looking back at Nikola. "Em, yes. Of course. But in your room?"
Nikola shrugs. "It's quiet, mildly well lit, and I promise I'll be a gentleman."