John had known Nikola was in love with Helen for some time. The vampire had never said as much to him in the century they'd known each other, but John didn't need to hear the words. It was obvious, had been for half a century. Nikola was a terrible flirt, more so with Helen than any other woman, but there was a layer of seriousness behind the not so innocent touches and smiles. John saw the way he looked at her, with some reverence and a lot of lust, and while he was sure most men looked at Helen like that, there was something else in Nikola's eyes.
The vampire liked to think he was infallible, even before his dormant traits were woken up, but John knew Helen was his chink, as she was John's own leverage point, and while the source blood had made Nikola strong, formidable, John knew he had an edge with his own ability to teleport.
And with his own rage.
While Nikola didn't fear him, the vampire knew he had the edge. It was why he never made a move on Helen during the those first fifty years they were all together.
Though why he thought it was perfectly fine to do so now he was a former-vampire and a walking magnet, John had no idea.
The rage he felt, was doubled whenever he saw them together, whenever Nikola touched her. Hand on her arm to get her attention, hand on the small of her back to guide her through doors. Brushing up against her, smiling the entire time.
He snapped when Nikola kissed her hand.
It was a rather innocent gesture in reality, but in his mind it was warped and in moments he had his hand around Nikola's throat and was shoving him back into the bookshelves of Helen's office.
"John, what the hell do you think you're doing?" she cried.
Nikola was trying to pull his hand off his neck, his face turning red and John was positive he could actually, finally, kill the damn man.
He felt her hand on his arm, her grip hard, and she was trying to calm him, and pull him away, trying to convince him not to kill Nikola.
The former-vampire was going to lose consciousness soon, and Helen's voice finally penetrated the rage in his mind, in his heart and he let go. Nikola fell to the floor, gasping for air, curled up into the foetal position. Helen dropped down beside him, stroking a hand over his cheek, and John had to close his eyes before the rage consumed him once more.
"Go," she said, and he opened his eyes to see she was talking to him.
They stared at each other for a moment and he did as he asked, looking down at Nikola before he left.
"He needs another shock," Nikola said, his voice hoarse, sitting up and leaning back against the bookshelves. Helen wasn't sure another electric shock was the way to deal with John, or that he could take it right now.
"He can't always control it," she said, standing and helping him to his feet.
"Still defending him after all this time Helen?"
He sounded disappointed in her, and she wasn't sure if she agreed with him or not. While Nikola was hardly innocent, she wasn't sure even their life long friend deserved to be a victim of whatever it was that controlled John. And she couldn't forget all the innocent people he had killed.
"No," she said. "Are you going to be okay?"
"I may not be immortal but it'll take more than a little choke hold to kill me."
"Good to hear, sit down for a minute and I'll get you some water."
He did so, dropping down onto her sofa, smiling at her before she left the room, his eyes on her the whole time. When she came back she was glad to see he had a little colour back in his cheeks, not that he had much to start with, and she handed him a glass of water. He drank it down like it were the finest wine and she smiled, sitting down next to him.
"You know, I don't think that was just Johnny's rage, or whatever you want to call it," Nikola said, his voice a little smoother now.
"What do you mean?"
"He's jealous of course."
"There is no us, Nikola."
He put a hand on her knee, caressing her leg for a brief moment before she slapped his hand away. He grinned at her, sitting back and finishing the water.
"It's a valid point," he said. "He's always more aggressive after he's seen us spend some time together. He must finally see me as a threat."
Helen rolled her eyes. John didn't have any right to be jealous, hadn't for a long time. It didn't matter if he still loved her, she did not love him. She still cared deeply, but it wasn't the same, hadn't been for a long time. It was hard especially having him in the Sanctuary, but she managed.
Her feelings for Nikola were as complicated sometimes, but she didn't hate him, despite past deeds. He annoyed her, infuriated her, but she cared about him. She was attracted to him too, something that had increased since he'd shaved off his moustache. He was actually handsome without it.
She smiled then, at Nikola, and he grinned, moving a little closer to her.
"I'm going to talk to John," she said, standing.
"Very well, go chasing after the psychopath," he said, sitting back with a sigh.
She ignored him, and went looking for Druitt.
"You shouldn't get too close to him."
He was sitting on a cushioned bench in the corridor around the corner from her office, the murderous look gone from his face, and she sat down next to him.
"And you shouldn't let him get to you," she said.
"He's in love with you."
That surprised John, and she sighed, she didn't need to be dealing with this man's jealousy and another man's flirting. She was too tired.
"Do you love him?"
"Does it matter? It's none of your business, hasn't been for a long time."
"Do you?" he snapped, but she remained defiant under his growing anger.
"I care about Nikola, he's-" She didn't quite know how to end that sentence. "I care about him. Nothing more."
Nothing more that she was willing to share with him, and he seemed placated for the moment.
"If you can't control yourself I will have you locked up. You are a guest here John," she said, standing up to look down at him. He nodded, looking almost pitiful, and she regretted having to be so hard on him.
"Very well," he grunted.
Nikola was not keen on mortality.
John had always been able to beat him in a fight, Nikola was surprised he'd survived their last encounter. Surprised he'd survived an arm thrust through most of his internal organs.
The vampire race, how amazing they had been.
And now he was mortal, a magnet, but mortal and John could definitely kill him now. He'd felt the effect the lack of oxygen was having on his body, had felt himself slipping into unconsciousness under Druitt's hand and for the first time in a long, long time, he had been scared of something. Not very scared, but still, he'd felt the little tingle of fear across his skin, crawling down his spine.
He could shake it off though, and concentrate on his work. Concentrate on the hologram city. On wine. On flirting with Helen.
Which was what had gotten him into trouble in the first place, but it was too much fun to give up and the results were promising. Helen was cracking. He was sure of it, soon he would know the pleasure of her body and her love. Even if it cost him his life to do so.
He had no doubt it would be worth it and he was lost in those thoughts, staring unfocused at the hologram when he felt John's large cold hand grip the back of his neck.
He took a step forward, then turned around to smile at him.
"John," he said,cheerfully. "Get a spanking from Helen?" He put a hand up. "No don't tell me, I'll only get jealous and try to strangle you, oh, wait-"
"Nikola," John warned.
"Did she send you to apologise?"
"I didn't think so, but it was a nice thought."
"I want you to stay away from her."
"You don't always get what you want," he said.
John took a step closer to him, trying to give him his best menacing look but Nikola nearly frowned in reply.
"I'm sure she's already told you this, but you can't order me to stay away from her John. We're working together and she hasn't been in love with you for a long time."
John growled in a way that the vampire race would've been proud of. Nikola smiled.
"She isn't in love with you either Tesla," he told him.
Nikola shrugged, he knew that, he was pretty sure he could win Helen around given enough time, though he had less of that now, but he was still confident. Druitt's threats and attempts on his life weren't going to put a stop to his plans with Helen Magnus.
"So what now?" he said. "You try and kill me again?"
"Do I need to?" John asked.
John quickly raised his hand, but Nikola didn't flinch. He wasn't scared of Druitt, the fear that danced down his spine was of death itself, not of the man who would eventually kill him. And he was certain it would be John who killed him in the end.
The other man left, looking frustrated which amused Nikola no end, and he took a large drink of his wine.
"What do you want Nikola?"
"I would've thought that was obvious."
He grinned at her, encouraged when she smiled back, and he walked further into her bedroom, closing the door behind him. She put her book down, and crossed her arms, watching as he walked towards her. He kicked off his shoes and sat down on the bed next to her.
"Nikola," she warned.
So many people said his name in that tone, it was quite insulting.
"I just want to talk."
"I don't believe you."
"What did you tell Druitt?" he asked.
"To behave or I would lock him up."
"Is that all?"
"Now I don't believe you."
She frowned at him and he relaxed back against the cushions. Her bed was soft, comfortable, he would be happy to spend nights here, sleeping next to her.
"It worked, regardless of what you're not telling me," he told her. "He won't kill me just yet."
"He won't kill you at all," Helen said softly, and he turned to look at her, leaning on his elbow, his chin resting in his palm.
"Oh he will, I'm certain of it. Maybe not any time soon, but he will."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because neither of us will stop loving you, and I will not stop pursuing you."
She blushed, and she was stunning in the low light of the bedside lamp. He leaned forward to kiss her and she responded for one glorious second before pulling away.
That tone again, though a little huskier this time, and he moved to kiss her again. She put a hand up though, leaning away from him,.
"I don't love you Nikola," she said and he simply smiled at her. He knew that.
"Not today, but maybe tomorrow," he said. "Though, you don't have to love me to sleep with me."
"I'm not going to have sex with you."
"It would good," he said, running his hand up her bare arm, watching her reaction to his touch. It wads there, slight, but there.
"I don't doubt it," she said, with a smile that had him leaning over to kiss her again. A smile that went straight down his spine, the pleasure so much stronger than the tingle of fear and so much better.
She shifted and kissed him on the cheek.
"Goodnight Nikola," she said, and he signed, knowing he had to give up for the evening.
He climbed off the bed, and picked up his shoes, smiling at her.
"I won't give up. Or be deterred," he told her. "Not even by Druitt."
"You really love me?"
"How could anyone not?" he replied.
He turned to leave, his hand on the door handle when she spoke.
He turned around and waited for her to continue. She didn't right away, and she watched as she hesitated over her words. Agonised over them.
"Goodnight Nikola," she said, voice a low whisper.
"Goodnight Helen," he said.
He left her room, closing the door behind him, grinning to himself. Slowly he was getting through to her, getting through those walls and soon he would steal her away from John. It would be a wonderful victory, and he would sleep well tonight.
In her bedroom, Helen dropped her book on floor and flicked off her lamp, smiling to herself.