Chapter 60 - Forever and Always (5)
~~~~New York 1943~~~~
The walk in the sewer was quiet. The silence was awkward and tense, just twinging at the edges with something more. Helen's eyes kept darting over to Nikola, watching him as his brow scrunched with thought as they trudged along the narrow pathway to the river entrance.
They hadn't spoken a word since their brief snog just a few cliques back. Helen knew Nikola was feeling rather embarrassed about it. Or maybe she was, they weren't supposed to keep doing this. It frustrated her how easy it was to forget it all and just go back into his arms, she blamed Egypt for that, Egypt made her associate his arms with some place warm ad safe, and warm though they are, they were definitely not the safest. Those arms caused trouble, going into them would cause more.
A few more minutes of silent walking and she could here the water.
Nikola stopped, as if frozen.
"What is it, Nikola?" Helen asked.
He didn't look at her, nor did he answer her right away.
"This is it," he muttered. "We've reached the water."
Helen felt her heart sink a little at his tone.
"Yes, yes it is," she sighed.
"Come with me," he turned to her suddenly.
"What?" Helen blinked at his sudden change.
"This boat will take us to England…and maybe from there we could…we could…" the words fell out of his mouth and died in the air right in front of her.
"We can't," Helen shook her head. "We've tried this before, Nikola, what do you think will change?"
"Helen, I've been alone my entire life and this…this is condemning me to spending the rest of it just as lonely…I'm just making the choice…to not be lonely anymore," he sighed. "Come with me…just get on that boat with me, you said it yourself we're getting too old for this world. Helen Magnus and Nikola Tesla. Let's both go into hiding for a couple of years, travel the world, you know, not worry about everyone else for a change. Come with me."
His offer did sound awfully nice, but she knew that with the war going on that she couldn't, this dream was just that, a dream.
"Nikola, I know what you're trying to say, but this deal was not for the both of us, I can't just disappear out of the blue. There is a war and I have a duty to perform and going with you now…it'd be running away from it and that is something I refuse to do," Helen sighed. She put a hand to his chest to push him away from her slightly but he caught it in his tightly.
"No, Helen, you are running away from me, and that is something I can't let you do," he pulled her to him. "I've tried so hard not to want you anymore, tried so hard to move on but I keep coming back to you and how I carelessly threw you away out of fear," Nikola looked deeply into her eyes as he spoke.
"Well, its too late now," she sighed.
"Is it? Please Helen, I'm not the only one who feels this…pull…every time I'm near you," he squeezed her hand tightly. "I've felt it ever since we first met."
"Doesn't mean its love," Helen tried to yank her hand out of his.
"It doesn't have to be, I'm not saying that, just…come with me, Helen, let's figure this out…because if I have to spend the rest of my life apart from you, it better be for a damn good reason."
Helen finally released her hand from his grip and stepped away from him.
"What do you want from me, Nikola? You had your chance, you changed your mind, you can't all of the sudden claim that you want things to be different!" she cried. "I don't deny there has always been an attraction between us, but you have chosen your road and I've chosen mine. Just leave it at that!"
"Because I cannot shake the feeling that we are meant to be together…in some way Helen we're…you and I are going to be the last ones standing when everyone else is gone. It has always been us, before the five, before John, before Egypt. We were together in the beginning and we will be together in the end!"
Nikola sucked in a deep breath, the rant knocking most of the fight out of him.
Helen couldn't help but feel like her own oxygen had been taken out of her lungs.
The pause was tense, and their eyes never left each other as they panted.
"I want a child," Helen blurted out suddenly.
"What?" Nikola gasped.
"You know, one day in the future, when the world has calmed down and this war is over, I would like to have a child Nikola," she looked him straight in the eye and her heart fluttered at the confession.
"Well, I can do that for you, come with me Helen, I can protect you and the child," he pleaded.
"We froze John's embryo from all those years ago…"
"I don't care, have his child, I can still look after the pair of you, I can still be there for you," he took a step towards her.
"No. You are exactly the reason why I am staying on this island and you are getting on that boat!" Helen let a tear slip loose. "Dammit Nikola! You are on the run, you are going into hiding, what kind of place for a child is that?"
"You are going to war, you work with monsters and abnormals, what kind of place for a child is that?" he countered bitterly.
"That is not the point and you know it!" she barked. "The point is that you attract trouble, and you always will, and you will put more people in danger than you can ever protect them from."
"If you want me out of your life just say it!" he barked.
"Fine! I am tired of you Nikola Tesla, is that what you want to hear? I am tired of worrying and fretting over you, tired of having to clean up your mess, tired of looking out the window and hoping you're doing all right, I'm tired of your blasted pull!" she fumed.
"Then I guess it's best for both of us if I leave then," Nikola's eyes went downcast and he turned and kept walking.
His response knocked a bucket of ice deep into her gut.
She watched him walk ahead of her, head down and shoulder's slumped, his footsteps were angry sounding against the wet stone.
A feeling of guilt washed over her heavily. She hadn't meant to say that…she shouldn't have said that.
~~~~Triton Manor, 1944~~~~
Nikola stood at the window over looking the drive to the withered and dreary estate. The Novemeber weather was settling in and coating the grounds with a layer of frost and the grey sky just added to the bleakness of the entire view.
A painting of Rose hung just his left on the wall of the study he had come to call his own. He had never stayed here long but it was always there for him when he needed it. It was a safe haven, even though it's staff had cut down from 20 or so to barely five.
A slight clatter brought him out of his ruminations.
"Your tea sir," said Walter Dunby. "We had some black stored in the pantry."
"Excellent Dunby," Nikola smiled at the old butler and caretaker of the estate.
"Is there anything else I can get you?" offered the old man.
"No, nothing," Nikola smiled warmly and returned his gaze back out the window.
"I'm sure she'll come, Mr. Tesla," said the old man encouragingly.
"I hope so," Nikola muttered.
"Well, holler if you need me, I'll be in the library…dusting," Dunby smiled and wearily hobbled on his ancient legs out of the study.
Nikola never understood why the man didn't just sit down and read. He was over eighty and still managed the entire manor. The groundskeeper took care of the grass and he dogs, but everything inside the walls of the once impressive home was under the feeble man's care.
Nikola went over to the tray and picked up the cup of tea, taking a generous sip and letting the warm liquid run down to his stomach warming his entire body.
In less than a minute he had chugged the entire cup down and had put the cup back on the tray and returned to his place in front of the window.
He was going to stand here until she…a car was coming up the drive. His heart leapt into his throat. It was her, she was here!
He tore out of the study and down the stairs to the front foyer and out the door just in time to meet the car as it came to a stop at the front steps.
She was barely out of the door when he caught her, his arms coming to her hips.
"You came," he said breathlessly.
Helen turned in his arms and smiled at him.
"I told you I would," she cupped his cheek.
"I just thought…"
"I had to take the long route…couldn't risk anyone following me. Eisenhower's been tearing up a storm looking for you," Helen pulled out of his embrace to retrieve her bag from the back of the car. "I never imagined you'd be in a place like this."
"I inherited it," he shrugged with a grin.
"Some familial story you haven't told me about?" she teased.
"A baroness actually, she was rather fond of me," he chuckled.
"I wonder why," Helen closed the car door and offered him her hand. He took it without hesitation and led her inside.
"Where's the staff?" she asked.
"It's just Dunby and the groundskeeper now," Nikola closed the front door behind them and offered to take her coat.
She handed it to him effortlessly and put her bag on the floor.
"I hope the trip wasn't too stressful," he continued.
"Oh no, traffic was good, not much to see, a little foggy but…"
She was cut off by him cupping her face and kissing her with all he had, as much passion as he could muster being poured into ever touch of his lips against hers. His arms wound around her waist and she easily jumped into his arms and wrapped her legs around his hips, relying on his strength to keep her upright.
He broke the kiss with a gasp, his face just barely a few millimeters from hers.
"Hi," he whispered haughtily.
"Hi," she smiled widely, bringing her lips down to slide over his again. Her hands slid to grasp the hair at the back of his head while one of his hands came down to grasp one of her thighs gently to keep her body from slipping. They smiled at each other for a good long moment before leaning down and kissing again.
Before she could comprehend he was walking them up the stairs, lip-locked and steady.
She had missed this, this tender, passionate side to Nikola. The lover, not the boy or the vampire, but the pure unadulterated lover whose only happiness was to have his arms around his beloved.
"Where are you taking me?" she pulled away with a husky whisper. He grinned down at her.
"I'll give you the tour later," he replied, carrying her up the stairs, past several doors, all the way down the corridor into a fairly well sized bedroom.
"You've been waiting for me, haven't you?" Helen smirked, seeing the evidence of all his meticulous preparation.
"Only a little bit," he chuckled, kicking the door closed.
A bullet whizzed past Nikola's ear as he followed Helen down the winding alleys and streets of downtown London.
"Have I told you how much I love this place," he called the her. Her arm sprung back with a loaded weapon in her hand. He ducked and she fired the weapon at their pursuers. He straightened up, sensing her indirect anger. "How was I supposed to know they'd follow me?"
Helen slowed and grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him into another alley.
"They think you work for Nikola Tesla, of course they'd follow you!" she growled, firing her weapon once again.
"Well the jokes on them isn't it," he sneered.
She fired her weapon again. "Move!"
Helen dragged him into an even narrower crevice, pushing him into the shadows and covering his mouth with her hand.
Several men ran past them, their footsteps sloshing against the wet cobblestone streets all the way into the distance.
When their trails faded she stepped out and back into the alley.
"For the record, you are an idiot," she muttered.
"So I didn't lose them as well as I thought I did, seriously, you can't blame me for this," he threw his hands up in defense.
"Well I do," she glared at him.
He sighed and opened the cloth bag that was slung over his shoulder.
"I did bring you a present," he sighed. "I was hoping I'd have a bit more time to show you, it's only a working prototype, but I think it will give us an advantage." He pulled a strange device out of the bag that looked like a glorified watch. "I have a friend, a good friend, a genius in their own right, helped me come up with this."
He slipped it on his wrist.
"What is it?" Helen asked him, her senses were still on high alert in case any of the agents were to turn around and come back.
"It's actually quite fascinating…"
"There they are!" a voice cried.
"Tell me later," Helen shushed him and began to try to push him out of the alley, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her to him tightly.
"Just a second," he muttered, adjusting a dial on the watch.
"Nikola, what are you doing?" she cried.
"Just a little bit longer…"
"They are going to catch us!" she writhed against him, trying to back him up. "This better work or so help me…"
The watch flashed and it was if the world froze around them.
"Who did you say your friend was?" Helen gasped.
"Ever heard of antimatter?" asked Nikola.
"Let's just say he and I figured out a way to stun time and space and shield ourselves enough to move around in it for approximately 3o seconds," Nikola grabbed her hand and began pulling her out of the alley.
"You froze space and time?" Helen cried.
"In relative terms, it's hard to explain, and I don't really understand it myself I just built the electro-shield," he pulled her into another alley. "That's what happens when an electrical genius and an antimatter genius spend a weekend together in a lab."
Helen gaped as he led her around.
"He asked me to test it," Nikola concluded. "Surprise, it worked!"
Helen's awe burned away into anger.
"You didn't know if it was going to work!" she barked.
"There was a slight possibility…"
"I said slight!"
Suddenly like a wave time caught unfroze and both he and Helen felt it in their guts.
They stopped running and Helen clutched her stomach.
"Oh my," she groaned.
"That would be the effects of using such a device," Nikola doubled over, placing his head between his knees and began to breathe deeply.
"What the hell is this?" Helen groaned.
"He called them temporal adjustments, they're just our body's feeling the effects of moving unnaturally within space," he groaned as well, his back fell against the wall of the building.
"Will they feel it too?" asked Helen.
He shook his head.
"Nope, they will continue as normal, they were frozen just like the rest of them," Nikola lifted his head up.
"Then maybe we should get out of plain sight," Helen shakily grabbed him by the shoulder to lead him into another back alley, deep into the shadows. They stumbled clumsily and a bit drunkenly into a nook. Nikola inadvertently lost his balance and pinned her against the wall. Helen grunted and swatted him, but bit her lip to stay quiet as suddenly they could hear the fast approach of one of the agents.
Nikola straightened up to full height and looked down at her. She could just make him out in the dark, but she knew he was looking at her and for some reason could tell what he was thinking. It may have been his hands on her waist or his change in breathing that did it, but she grabbed his cravat and pulled him down to her, their lips meeting in a brief soft kiss.
"Helen," Nikola pulled back immediately.
His voice caught the ear of the oncoming agent and Helen acted quickly, pulling Nikola back to her in a furious kiss. She hoped against hope that the man would just think they were a promiscuous couple sharing a midnight embrace, but just in case, she slid her hands down to Nikola's belt where his gun was. It was his own design, using his electrical ability to create almost a kind of stun weapon, that immobilized but didn't kill. It wasn't as practical as bullets were, because it had to cool down between blasts, but it would work for now.
Nikola responded whole-heartedly, catching on pretty quickly that Helen had something other than him on her mind at the moment, but he relished in playing the part. Kissing her soundly, pressing his body closer to hers. The stonewall jabbed into her back, and one of her own hands came to grasp the back of his head as he continued his assault on her lips.
"Hey, you two," the agent turned down the alley.
They promptly ignored him.
"Hey!" he called again.
Nikola's hands slid up her waist, resting just over her ribs, hoisting her up slightly. One of her legs wrapped around his hip to keep her steady, a hand coming to her thigh to hold her there. If she didn't know better she would've guessed he was enjoying this by the way he minutely groaned in the back of his throat. She bit his lip gently with a smirk, enjoying the way the growl grew. He pulled away and immediately switched over to her neck. Giving Helen a good sight-line to the oncoming attacker.
He took out his weapon.
"FBI!" the man pulled out his badge, shining the flashlight on them. "Freeze!"
Nikola had his face well hid in the crook of her neck.
Helen looked up at the agent and smiled sweetly.
"Hello officer, problem?"
In the flash of an eye she fired the weapon, illuminating the alley with a brilliant blue flash. The man was unconscious instantly.
Nikola stepped back, releasing his hold on her and immediately picking up the man's gun and his badge, just in case.
"Good shot," he muttered.
"Luckily, someone had their weapon digging into my hip," she teased.
He chuckled and stood up, handing her the gun in exchange for his and tucking the badge into his vest pocket.
"Someone was bound to have heard that," he muttered, grasping her hand once again. "Come this way."
He led her to the back of the alley where there was a wall dividing the alley from another.
Nikola grabbed Helen by her hips and hoisted her high enough so she could grab the top of the wall and pull herself up.
"You got it?" he asked.
"Yeah," she grunted.
He backed up and transformed into his vampiric form before jumping against the side of the building and using the momentum to propel him up wards.
He reached down to her with a human hand to help her to her feet.
"Show off," she scoffed, taking his hand anyways.
"I'm trying to impress you, is it working?" he teased.
She glared at him.
With her hand in his he tugged her along the wall and onto one of the roofs. They hid themselves just in time as the rest of the agents ran into the alley and found their fallen comrade.
They were lying flat against the roof, feet stirruped into the eaves, his arm protectively sprawled across her chest to prevent her from slipping. Her hair was in his face, and her hand was tickling his knee, but he managed to ignore both sensation as shouting was heard from the alley.
"Where'd they go?"
Nikola suppressed a giggle as they ran out of the alley back into their car and drove away.
His head rested back as he sucked in a deep breath of air. Helen also let out a sigh of relief.
"This is the last time I help you, I swear," she growled.
He chuckled, rolling completely on his back to look at the stars.
Helen did the same, more or less to keep herself from slipping off the roof.
"What happened back there?" Nikola's voice cut through the silence.
"In simplest terms I saved your ass once again," Helen teased.
He laughed good-naturedly.
"I mean before that…when you kissed me," he looked over at her. The starlight twinkled in his eyes.
"I kissed you as a ruse…so that agent wouldn't think it was us," she hoped that was a good enough answer for him.
"No, before that, when you kissed me," he said carefully, his face absolutely serious.
"I don't know," Helen heard herself whispering.
He rolled on to his side and all too soon his face was too close.
"Nikola," her hand met his shoulder. "We should…go…while there's time."
He hesitated, his mind mulling it over for a brief second before he pulled away.
"Of course," he shifted off the roof and back on to the wall, spreading his arms wide with a flourish, giving her a wink, before gracefully leaping off the wall and landing on the ground on the other side of the wall.
Helen gave him a look.
Now he was blatantly showing off.
He spread his arms palm up.
"Come on, I'll catch you," he said with a glint in his eyes. Something about that glint made it very hard to trust him.
She bit her lip and sighed jumping down into his arms.
He grinned widely at her as he held her.
"Look what I caught, can I keep her?" he teased.
"No," she wiggled out of his arms and back on to her feet. "Can we just get you back to America, back to all your toys, so that we can fix the mess you've put yourself in."
"Hey, I did not put myself in any mess," Helen shot him a look. "The mess just seemed to form itself around me," he finished sheepishly.
"Oh yah, because life works that way," Helen rolled her eyes.
"Yeesh you get grumpy when you're turned on," he muttered and she flew back and punched him in the face.
"It was a ruse!" she barked.
Nikola clutched his nose.
"Ow!" he cried.
"Now move!" she bellowed, turning on her heel and marching down the street.
Nikola cracked his nose back in place and pulled out his handkerchief to wipe it clean.
"You broke my nose," he whimpered.
"You had it coming," Helen seethed. The early morning dawn would be arriving soon and they needed to get to the harbor before then.
There was a car parked on the street. Helen pulled out a hairpin and unlocked it, scooting inside. Nikola followed suit.
"Start it," she ordered.
It was Nikola's turn to give her a look. Without a word he extended a finger and stuck the tip of it in the ignition, sending a spark straight down to the engine, the car roaring to life.
"Happy?" he said slyly.
"Only if it burnt your finger," Helen said snidely.
He pulled his finger out of the ignition and waggled it in front of her to show her it wasn't.
They arrived at the harbor and bribed themselves onto the boat using the fake FBI badge Nikola had stolen from the agent. Soon they were in the middle of the Atlantic looking out at a calm ocean under a moonlit sky.
Helen had her arms wrapped around her. No matter what season she always got chilled while on a boat. Nikola was off somewhere she supposed, probably looting or bribing the cook to let him get into the wine.
They were off to America without money, without extra clothes, and with very few bullets. Nikola promised to buy her a few more outfits once they arrived but that left her with a muddy skirt and torn nylons for the time being. She shivered once again, the wind going through her bones.
Suddenly a jacket was placed over her shoulder, and without looking at the generous donor she pulled it tighter around her, enveloping herself in the warmth.
"Where'd you run off to?" she didn't have to turn around to know it was Nikola. His jacket held that distinct smell.
"Just making sure no one followed us on board," Nikola came up to her side and rested his hands on the railing. "You looked cold."
"I've never been on a boat the same since…well you know," she shrugged.
"Yes, I do," he chuckled and looked down, not meeting her eye.
"Are you not cold?" she asked.
"Vampire, remember?" he looked up with a grin.
"Right," she chuckled. "Thanks."
"It's nothing," he shrugged, his eyes finally meeting hers. "I'm sorry for…for dragging you into this again."
"It's all right, Nikola," she sighed. "By the time they catch up you'll be dead and their investigation will be over. No more spies."
"You'd think with this war going on they'd have better things to do," he joked.
"On the off chance that you won't destroy the world with a laser…"
"It's not a laser…and if anyone had actually read the proposal instead of getting carried away with the whole "Death Ray" thing they would've seen that the plan was rather ingenious," he huffed stubbornly.
"I'm sure, but on the other hand do you really want the dolts in your government really having that much power," she teased, bumping him slightly.
"I guess you have a point," he sighed. "I had no idea they would come after me…they think I'm Tesla's gofer."
"Even gofer's know secrets," she sighed. "Maybe you should've let them catch you and interrogate instead of killing yourself."
"That probably would've been easier…but no…it's time. I'm tired of playing Tesla," he sighed. "The secrets, the covers…it's done."
Helen smiled at him.
"And what will you do with your new found freedom?" Helen turned to him coyly.
"I don't know, travel, spend some time in France maybe…before the German's destroy it, try to find someone to spend my time with," he looked over at her.
"Nikola," Helen warned.
"Don't worry Helen, I didn't mean you," he chuckled. "No…I'm too old for that."
Helen knew he meant it as a joke but the way it hit her made her heart sink into her gut.
"I thought you'd always be young at heart," Helen teased half-heartedly.
"And I am, just there's some things I haven't the stamina to pursue any more."
"Like me," Helen's heart sank a little more.
"Yes," he said softly, his eyes avoiding her gaze.
Helen pulled his jacket tighter around her, suddenly feeling a tad colder.
"Here," Nikola sighed, moving to stand behind her, his warm hands resting on her arms. He rubbed her arms up and down, creating warmth from the friction. "You should go inside."
Helen shook her head.
"The smell of tobacco makes me dizzy," she sighed.
"Then at least put the coat on," he chuckled softly, gently lifting one of her arms and directing it into the jacket sleeve.
"Thank you," she smiled warmly at him. She leaned against him as he did the same to her other arm. When he moved to stand away from her she grabbed his arms and pulled them around her, enveloping herself with his strong body.
"Shh, don't think too much on it, just enjoy it," she sighed.
Nikola subsequently pursed his lips and nestled her closer to him.
"You really are cold aren't you," he whispered, his head resting close to her ear.
"Shhh, stop talking," she muttered, closing her eyes. This reminded her so much of their younger days before sex and lust complicated every thing. She imagined he was that young Serbian man she had met feeding breadcrumbs to the pigeons in the park; who made a slingshot for her out of sticks and a rubber strap. The one she used to playfully run around the great library with him in hot pursuit and let him catch her just so she could be close to him. The one she would read poetry by firelight to, with him all nestled amongst her petticoats, innocently just enjoying the feel of her hand caressing his scalp in lazy circles with her nails. It was impossible to recount who had changed first, or what the defining moment was that changed their relationship from the innocence of friends to this…whatever this was. Nikola, out of any man, knew her most intimately. John had been her first in many respects, but Nikola was her constant. The world would wither and he'd be there, she could change and he'd be there, and if she gave him any inclination he would always be there, right by her side…like this.
That's why she turned her head just slightly to the left and pressed her lips against the skin she found there.
Nikola's whole body went rigid at the contact.
She rested hers hand on his, gently soothing back to relaxing as she continued to kiss his neck. He couldn't have let go even if he wanted to. Helen felt him grab her hand and entwine it with his, his hand desperate to grasp on to something. He ducked his head down and captured her lips with hers. Her free hand slithered behind his head to keep him from escaping.
There was nothing behind this kiss, no abject lust or hidden desire. They were both caught up in a memory. No hands wandered, no advantages were pressed. The only caresses were from the wind.
The kisses were soft and sweet, and their gentility was enough to make Helen's heart finally break. The salty taste mingled on her tongue and lips and he subsequently kissed them away. He brought his free hand over to cup her cheek, his thumb gently rubbing the tears off her cheeks.
He made a heart wrenching sound as he broke the kiss, pulling away, resting his forehead against hers.
"I…I can't," he choked. "I can't do this anymore."
Helen nodded against him, not daring to open her eyes to look at him, knowing she would shatter.
"I know," she barely managed to whisper out.
"I'm not strong enough," he nuzzled his face against hers, his breath coming out in a shudder.
The pure earnestness in his voice made the simple statement seem almost like a confession.
Their hands were still intertwined against her waist. For the longest moment they just stood there holding each other. The early morning sun dawned on them, brightening the sky. At some point Helen closed her eyes and fell asleep against his cheek.
Nikola looked down and smiled, scooping her up into his arms. He carried her into the hold into the guest quarters and gently slipped her into the bottom cot, careful not to bonk her head on the steel fastenings or wooden frame.
He brought the blanket around her, tucking her in.
He sighed looking down at her. He sat on the edge of the bed, his shoulder's heavily slumped and his arms resting on his knees.
He would never be free of her this way, if she could easily bring him back to her with just a small look.
It didn't mean anything; it was just a moment where they both could pretend that life had turned out a bit different. He held her like she was his lover, and this was the last sunrise they would ever share. He let his mind wander back to the old days when it was just the two of them. He would give it all up to be there again.
He looked down at her sleeping soundly and fixed a stray curl, running a finger across her cheek. He tentatively leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to her lips, careful not to wake her. He just wanted to pretend for a few more minutes.
She stirred and he moved away, not wanting her to wake up with him looming over her. He went over to the small desk and picked up a small flask from it, unscrewing the lid.
Oh, the times he wished alcohol worked on him. He would like nothing better than to drink away the memories of what could've been.
It was times like this that he needed something stronger than him.
~~~~New York, 1943~~~~
Helen was string at the back of Nikola's skull. He hadn't spoken a word since their fight and the silence was eating her.
This was possibly the last time she was ever going to see him and she couldn't spend it with him hating her. She had been too harsh. They were constants. Both their gifts due to the source blood had made them two unique figures in the world. While John, James and Nigel would eventually wither she and Nikola would always be. Through everything, through all their disagreements and fights he was always there for better or worse.
They kept making the same mistakes that kept separating them. Their darn "pull" as he called it, something always kept dragging them back together after all their hardships and failed romances, she always wound up backing his arms somehow. But as strong as their pull was they couldn't help but repel each other when they got too close.
It was a give and take relationship. He'd give all he had and she'd take what she wanted, then they wouldn't speak to each other for a decade or so, then it would start all over again and it all began with her, every time. No wonder he was frustrated with he, she had done nothing but confuse him time and time again for the past 50 years.
She could just see the light of the exit at the end of the tunnel. This would be it, he would sail away to god knows where and she would always wonder if there was anything she could've done that would've changed this moment.
"Nikola, wait!" the words left her mouth before she could squelch them.
He stopped, not turning around.
Helen opened her mouth to say something, anything, but everything was paralyzed.
He kept waiting.
"I…" she choked on her words. "I don't want it to end like this."
He finally turned to her, his eyes red with anger and his fists clenched.
"Make up your damn mind, Helen," he growled menacingly.
"I am. I'm not going with you, but I don't want our last moment together to be one of hatred," Helen sighed. "We are still friends."
"We are anything but friends," he glared right into her very soul.
Before she could ask him to clarify he stepped up to her and kissed her so demandingly it paralyzed her all over again.
He held her firmly as he pulled away.
"This is what we are," he shook her slightly; his violence nearly frightened her.
"And that is?" she asked, not leaving his gaze.
He answered with another kiss, softer than the first one, his grip on her arms loosening as his lips slipped over hers. She felt him about to pull away again and she instinctively shot her hands to grasp her head and hold him to her tightly as she kissed him back. For a few moments they lost each other in the feel of kissing each other.
Nikola left her lips to kiss her neck, sweetly, affectionately, possessively, and she clutched the back of hid head wantonly, wanting him closer. Helen pressed a kiss to the back of his ear and he groaned, his whole body stilling.
"Run away with me," was his almost silent whispered plea.
A tear slipped down her cheek at the pure desperation in his entire body. His voice, his lips, his hands clutching her sides.
"No," she answered him and he sighed defeatedly.
He pulled away.
"Then this is it," stepped away, reigning himself back in. "Go!"
She sucked back her tears to seem stronger than she felt.
"You go your way and I'll go mine and don't you dare look back or I'll know you made a mistake," he said harshly.
"Just go!" he barked. "And don't come looking for me until you have a damned good reason to," he growled.
Helen grabbed his flailing arm and pulled him into a rough hug.
"You are a pestilent, idiotic, child!" she cried holding him tightly despite how he thrashed to get out of her embrace. "And you are my closest friend," she added softly.
He relaxed into her at that.
"And no matter what happens to us nothing will ever change that," she whispered to him, pressing a soft kiss into the side of his head. "Remember that."
He sighed, resting his head on her shoulder as she gently soothed him.
"I'll write," she said playfully and he choked a laugh into the fabric of her jacket.
"I'll be there if you ever need me," he whispered back. "But you won't need me."
Helen backed away, looking into his eyes. He'd said something like that before to her, she felt it. He smiled softly, caressed her cheek, then kissed her one last time before turning and heading to the tunnel exit.
"This won't be the last time," Helen called to him. "We'll meet again."
"Sure it is," he muttered and kept walking, not meeting her gaze.
That made her heart sink a little.
Helen sucked all her determination and turned, marching out of the sewer with all the strength left in her, daring herself not to look back.
Nikola climbed down the small ladder from the tunnel to the awaiting boat.
"You must be Nikola," muttered the sailor.
"Yes," Nikola pulled out an envelope from his vest pocket, handing it to him. "That's from Helen."
"Much obliged," the sailor moved to pick up the oars for the boat but Nikola stalled him.
"Wait, that won't be necessary," Nikola shook his head. "I won't be coming with you."
"Helen decided I was getting on this boat but I have other plans," Nikola said calmly. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I slipped an extra thousand in that envelope to buy your silence."
"What about Helen?"
"I think it's best she thought I carried out her plan, don't you think?" Nikola checked his watch. "That should be enough time, unless she's really heartsick over me, which I doubt."
He smiled and picked up his bags again.
"Goodbye, and remember I sailed with you to England, kept pretty much to myself, annoyed the captain, drank too much wine, and left without saying a word, she'll believe it," Nikola began climbing up the ladder again.
"Where are you going?" the man asked.
"I have extended living arrangements at an old estate, I only came here so I could lose Helen," Nikola smirked.
"Isn't she the one who is supposed to be helping you?" the man looked even more puzzled than before.
"Yes, but sometimes it's the ones who care about you the most you have to hide from," Nikola sighed. "I don't want her to find me, whether or not you tell her I came on this boat."
With that Nikola waved at the sailor and climbed back in the tunnel. He retraced his steps leading back to the manhole they had entered, carefully making sure Helen was not there waiting for him. The street was empty, save for an empty car sitting across the street.
Nikola smiled and climbed out of the sewer entrance. He replaced the lid and went over to the car. He dropped his bags and dipped his hand under the fender until he found what he was looking for. An envelope. Inside was a key and a small message.
Tea will be ready for you when you arrive,
Nikola grinned, unlocking the trunk of the car and sticking his bags inside. Helen may have planned his death to a T, but Nikola had planned his afterlife all by himself.
~~~~Triton Manor, 1944~~~~
Nikola reached down lazily for the half glass of wine sitting beside his bed. With an expert hand he grabbed it by the bowl and carefully lifted it up, not spilling a drop. He almost had it to his lips when a long slender, feminine hand grabbed it for herself and took a generous sip from it.
"Thank you darling, I was parched," Helen sighed teasingly, licking her lips and handing the empty wine glass back to him.
He scowled at her from over his shoulder.
"That was mine," he mumbled, putting the glass back down on the floor.
Nikola was laying belly down on the bed, his head smooshed into the pillows and lying directly on top of him, draped over him like a blanket was a sated and incredibly naked Helen Magnus.
His arms shifted so he could rest his hand underneath the pillows, supporting his head while Helen lazily dropped a kiss on his shoulder blade.
"I've forgotten how nice it is just to lay in bed," Helen muttered against his skin.
"It be nicer if the wine bottle wasn't just out of reach," Nikola grumbled.
Helen chuckled, taking the opportunity to sink her teeth into the meatier flesh of his back that made him hiss slightly.
"I've been wanting to do this since…since Paris," he muttered.
"What the first time or the last time?" she asked jokingly.
"The last time," he eyed her out of his peripheral vision. "Jeannette got me into a bad habit of staying in bed for days, literally, she'd tie me and feed me by hand every few hours."
Helen rolled her eyes.
"Are you going to recount all your exploits with the French floozy, because if you are I can find another room."
"Oh come on, Helen. You were always the better shag," he teased, reaching his hand from under his head to grab hers and bring it to his lips to lavish it with kisses. "She was just a little more experimental."
"Which isn't always better, but it leads to a lot of nostalgic memories," he continued to his her fingers.
"But I was better," Helen smirked.
"Pure talent wise, yes," he smirked against her.
"You're not so bad yourself…I mean James was a bit more robust, but…"
"Oh please don't tell me you and he…" Nikola groaned and Helen laughed and shook her head.
"Never, I'm only kidding," she teased. She pressed a wet kiss to his neck. "I didn't sleep with all of the members of the five, thank you."
"You never know, I was gone for a few decades, maybe you got lonely," he turned slightly to look at her better.
"Oh I wasn't chaste all those years," Helen teased with a sinful glint in her eyes. "I just went elsewhere for my pleasures then turning to the men closest to me."
Nikola growled possessively.
"You should've called, I would've been happy to quell the urges," he grinned.
"More often than not it was you who caused them," Helen teased.
Nikola groaned and turned over completely grabbing her in his arms and kissing her soundly.
She took the hint and straddled his waist, still keeping their lips connected.
"I love the thought of you getting hot and bothered by me," he teased, his lips sliding down to her neck.
"I'm sure it never stopped you," she licked the shell of his ear slightly
"Oh, I would not waste a fantasy of you on some other woman," he grinned. "I like to keep you all to myself."
Helen grinned and cupped his face, pulling his head to look at her.
His eyes were aflame with unbridled lust mixed with love and adoration that just made her heart melt. She pressed a tender kiss to his lips, sharing a piece of the love she had for him in the sweet connection of their lips. It was all he could not to pull her to him and deepen the embrace.
The kiss steadily built in intensity as her hands began clawing for him, raking down his chest.
In a quick move he flipped them over so her was looming over top of her. He pulled back and smiled.
"As much as I'd love to go another round with you," he sighed, kissing the tip of her nose. "I have a train to catch."
His body left hers, leaving her bereft and rather chilled.
Helen sat up, watching him pick up the wine bottle from the floor and take a swig from as he searched for his clothes.
"You're leaving so soon," she asked, hating herself for sounding so childish.
"I have to," he sighed. "I'm on the run as it were, and the new owners of Triton Manor will be here tomorrow to hand the money off to good old Mr. Dunby so that he can retire."
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"Into hiding," he answered cryptically, slipping on his shorts.
"Will you write?" she asked again.
"I believe you know the answer to that one Helen," he smiled sadly.
She laughed weakly.
"Yes," she averted gaze.
"I had arranged this so that I could see you one last time before I disappeared," he stepped to her. "I could never leave without it."
He leant down and kissed her again.
"What was that you said to me once?" he chuckled. "Ah, yes, we'll meet again."
Helen smiled up at him and reached up to grasp his head and pulled him down for another soul-searing kiss. If he wasn't strong in his resolve he would've blown his plans to the winds and made love to her till dawn broke but he was on a schedule.
He pulled back, however reluctantly.
"Really, Helen, I must go," he grabbed his pants off the floor and threw them on.
"Are you sure we don't have just a little more time," she slithered on to her stomach seductively.
"Helen, do you think I'd be rushing around like this if we did," he teased. "I would stay in bed with you for a week if I could, unfortunately I did not make a timeline for this kind of circumstance."
"Why not?" Helen teased.
"Because, honestly…I didn't know you'd be this…horny," he smirked. "It's like you haven't had it in over a decade."
Helen smirked slightly and a hint of red tinged her cheeks.
"I just miss you is all," she sighed.
"Well maybe when I am settled down and the world has calmed down a bit I'll send you a message," he was almost fully clothed at this point. "Maybe we can meet…maybe in Rome."
Helen seemed to smile inwardly at that.
"That sounds lovely."
"Now, I've got to go, Dunby will see you out when you're ready. By tomorrow this whole estate will be upturned," he sighed pulling up his two full suitcases.
"My train leaves in an hour," he looked at her, still in her naked state and groaned.
He trotted back to her and wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her briefly on the lips. "This is goodbye." He leaned down and pressed a kiss to each of her breasts. "And this is I'll miss you."
Helen brought his head back up to give him a proper good bye kiss which he leaned into wholeheartedly.
"I'll miss you too," she whispered and he grinned once again before leaving her embrace and rushing out of the room. Any longer and he'd never leave.
Helen sighed, looking at the space he just vacated for a long time, feeling the emptiness of not having him with her instantly.
She was chilled all of the sudden and she looked around for something to cover herself up with. She smiled when she saw one of his shirts lying abandoned on the floor. She picked it up and sniffed it…it still smelt like him. She deeply inhaled the sent and felt a bit of warmth return to her. She slipped it one and walked to the window, just catching the car as it drove into the foggy night. He was gone.
She sighed again, pulling her wild and unruly hair back into a ponytail. The shirt enveloped her like a hug and she wrapped her arms around herself happily. At least she had a memento…well truthfully she had more than just this shirt.
She pulled her purse open and fished around until she found what she was looking for. She clenched it in her fist as she went over to the abandoned wine glass and poured herself another glass of wine as well as finding her underwear and slipping it on. Once she was comfortable enough she returned to the window and placed her glass down on the ledge as she admired the object in her hand.
He was going to hate her for this, but she just couldn't live with the consequences of risking her other counterpart coming here. It didn't happen before, and honestly when she received the letter it all made perfect sense. She had been sneaking around, subtly helping the war effort, like she was when she helped him escape, but she was mistaken for…well, herself actually and the letter wound up in her hands, from him, beckoning her to come and see him. Well, that was it. She was screwing their relationship for the near future, but in the long haul she knew this would lead to their happy eternity. It wouldn't be easy…pretending that nothing had changed…but when her plan came completely into action that's when she'd tell him, everything, he'd just have to wait.
She smiled at the thought of that moment. It made every thing worthwhile.
With a loving gaze she slipped the ring on her finger and admired it in the starlight.
"Forever and Always."
The army truck pulled into the American War Headquarters with a noisy screech.
Helen groaned and stepped out of the back of the vehicle, an equally as tired and worn James crawling out behind her.
"I hate war," she muttered.
Their plane had to make an emergency landing due to damage sustained by enemy fire. With the skies clouded by Germans they had to crawl, camp, and run to the next safe point where they took a car and then a boat to finally reach the British Isles, and only know were making it home after the most exhausting back roads trip through most of northern Europe. Helen was exhausted, tired, a little motion sick, and she smelt. She wanted, tea, a bath, and to sleep for a week.
James was kind enough to carry their luggage, which was no more than Nikola's autotype machine and James' weather machine. He and Nikola could play with those while she got started on that tea.
"Madam Magnus," a soldier ran up to her.
"Doctor," she corrected.
"Eisenhower demands to see you immediately," the soldier continued.
"What now? Can't it wait?"
"Unfortunately not sir, it's about the Professor," said the soldier.
"What has he done now? Did he blow something up?" Helen rolled her eyes.
"No Ma'am, he's escaped," said the soldier.
"What?" Helen's eyes snapped to attention. "When?"
"About a week ago, Ma'am."
"And I'm just hearing about this now?" she cried.
"There was no way to get a message to you, plus Eisenhower was half-sure you helped him with it."
"I will kill him! I will honestly kill him this time," she barked.
"Eisenhower only suspected you because of the note."
"What note?" Helen looked at him with a sharp scrutiny.
"The note he left for you Ma'am."
Without another word she tore past the soldier into the building, pas all the other soldiers and pencil pushers roaming through the halls to his lab. There on his desk was a wine glass with a message inside labeled "Helen".
She marched over to it and picked the note out and flipped it open.
We'll meet again.
That's all it said?!
She flipped if over, checking every last inch. That was seriously all he had left for her. Three simple, meaningless words and a shitload of trouble she'd have to clean up after.
In her anger she picked up the wineglass and flung it against the wall, the shattering glass making a satisfying sound.
She would never forgive him for this. EVER!
It was dawn now, the sun was just peaking overtop the mountains casting a pinky hue across the world.
Walter Dunby led her out to her car, carrying one of her totes in his elderly arm, she had told him he needn't bother but he had persisted, hearing none of it.
It was sad that she would have to say goodbye to this place, only just having become acquainted with it, but it would always bear pleasant memories of the brief time she shared inside it's walls.
She caught herself looking up at it and admiring its architecture.
"You coming, Miss," Dunby called her back to reality.
"Yes," she nodded. "Dunby…you've worked here all your adult life?"
"Mostly, I've been with the Triton's since I was a boy," he shrugged.
"What will you do now that it's gone?" she asked.
"I don't know…probably what I've always done, keep going on," he gave her a wry smile. "With the money I can certainly do a little bit of good before my lord takes me."
Helen smiled warmly at him.
"No wonder Nikola likes you," she chuckled. "You're just the sort of person he admires."
"And I admire him. He is certainly generous. Without him I would've lost this place years ago. "But if you don't mind me asking…I happened to notice the ring you're wearing."
Helen grinned. Nothing could get past this man.
"Yes," she looked at him with soft eyes.
"Are you Mr. Tesla's wife, or…"
She had to laugh at that.
"I'm not his wife. I'm just the woman that likes to come into his life and cause trouble for him," she smirked.
"Oh," he shrugged. "Sounds like you are his wife to me."
Another smiled tugged at her lips at his words.
"Yes, I suppose I am."
She looked down at her ring and smiled at it.
One day…and wouldn't that be just the most trouble of them all.
Whew. It feels so good to put The End on the end of this fic, I was so excited I almost forgot it. I hope you guys like this. It's hard to finish a fic like this, because it certainly is not the end of their story as we all well know. A lot of you asked to see them in the future with the ring, but I wasn't all to keen on doing that, but I gave a little possibility that say, if there was a season 4, Helen would show it to him, they'd have a very steamy make out session, then start their relationship anew...at least that's what i'd like to pretend. Did you see that twist coming?
Sweet Dunby, Rose's little old butler returns, and for you guys i put as much feels between Nikola and Helen as I possibly could. The idea of it came from the thought of why Helen seemed so distrustful of him in Rome, even when he confessed he was in love with her. So, thought sneaky Timewarp!Helen gets her Nikola lovings. Real time Helen gets royally pissed that he has deserted her once again. And they will meet again, in Here We Meet Again, where she's still pissed at him, but still wants to jump his bones.
I hope to finish that one soon as well, though I'm not sure if I will complete Within Me Burning as it's not attracting much attention.
i'd like to thank everyone who has stuck around to finish this fic with me. You all are great and I hope this is the ending you were hoping for...okay so they're not entwined in a lover's embrace shouting to the high heavens and promising to be together forever...but this was a close second right?
Love, hugs, and Niko cookies to all who helped to make this fic what it is. 60 chapters, and a whopping 270,000 words. I pray I'll never rite this much again.
Thank you all again,