/-/- Late Spring, 1902
He would have missed the sight, had a sigh not caught his ear and his head turn to the left towards in response. Nikola stops and stands pointlessly in the hallway, his hands at his side and his attention aimed through the opened door to Helen's room.
She's standing on the far side of her room, just off to the right of the large window overlooking London. She'd been doing that a lot lately, Nikola's noticed, just staring out of windows, day dreaming in the lab. Thus far, he had left her alone.
He looks down the hall in front of him and briefly glances behind him, making sure that the area is emptied, before he steps inside of her room. He's never been in her room, any of her rooms, before. She doesn't seem to notice him; at least she doesn't scold him and ask him to leave. So he shuts the door, giving them privacy.
She still hasn't responded to his presence and he wonders if she's even noticed that he's there. He closes the distance between them, moving carefully to keep from startling her. He speaks quietly when he asks, "Do you want to talk?"
She doesn't say anything in reply; she doesn't even move in response to his presence. Nikola shifts his weight backwards and stuffs his hands into his pockets. He leans enough to the left to see part of her face. "Something's been on your mind for the past few days. You've been strangely quiet." He waits a beat, hoping she'll answer. When she doesn't, he adds, "Do you want to talk about it?"
"I've been thinking about the source blood."
His eyes dart down before returning to her. He tries to keep his tone light, "Are you interested in a jaunt to India? Not so sure James would approve."
"No, I'm not interested in getting it back. I'm- I've been thinking about when we used it."
Nikola steps closer, his head tilted to the side. "What of it?"
"I've been doing some research, comparing your cells to mine. I didn't want to believe it at first-" She turns to look at him finally. "Actually I'm still having trouble believing it, but... it appears that my gift is that of longevity."
Nikola's brows knit together, but slowly his eyes roam over her. Her eyes are just as young and vibrant as the first day they meet, blue and shining. Her skin is still smooth and pale, completely unaffected by time. No wrinkles, no lines, no hints of her true age. Nikola's eyes drift off to the side, mentally calculating her age. She should be a year shy of fifty; she didn't look a day over thirty, about her age when they injected the source blood. Had it really been twenty years already? Nikola hadn't noticed.
"Apparently." She shrugs and takes a step closer to him. "Well, I know that we don't share the same advanced healing, but old age, it seems, will not be a concern of mine."
For a moment, there's nothing left to say. Nikola just looks her over. She's quiet, standing with her arms crossed and her eyes back on the city outside her window. "So, do you want to talk about it?"
She doesn't turn to look at him immediately, but once she does she says, "About what?"
"You've just found out that you're never going to age, that you'll potentially live for hundreds, if not thousands of years." His voice grows softer, "You're realizing that all your family, all your friends, the man at the butchers, the people who walk passed you on the streets, the trolley driver- all of them, will die while you live on." His voice trails off and his gaze falls over the city. Helen doesn't say anything; she just watches, waiting for him to come back to the present. When he does, it's rather abrupt. He blinks and turns his head sharply to look at her. "Doesn't it terrify you?"
"Some days. I haven't been living with it for very long, honestly."
"Right." He looks back through the window. When he starts talking, his voice is low, almost whispery. "It was exciting at first, I have to admit, to think that I would live for life times. I can't even comprehend how much I'll be able to accomplish. The legacies I'll leave behind. But when my oldest sister died a few years ago, it started to sink in. My other two sisters will eventually fade away. As will Nigel and even James, despite his best efforts." He looks at her again. "And you, I thought."
There's a beauty about Nikola that Helen notices as she looks at him now. It might have something to do with the way his face softens as he looks at her, the way the lines around his eyes wrinkle upwards or how his lips relax into a half smile. But it's definitely his eyes, the way they look at her like nothing else matters, devotion at its purest.
Almost of its own accord, her hand reaches out to take his. He looks down to watch as their fingers intertwine and she smiles at him. "Maybe it is frightening me and maybe all that will sink in soon but... It's not so scary knowing that I'll always have my best friend with me."
Possible sequel if and when I have time to finish writing it. If I do, it will be titled "Volume 2: ... ". I hope you enjoyed this one though! Please let me know what you thought. Cheers, ~JD