Helen was surprised to find that Nikola hadn't taken one of the larvae from the nest the creatures had made in the Cabal's laboratory. Once they were on the surface, in the sunlight and the adrenaline from surviving another mission and the relief of not loosing Nikola, had dissipated through her system, she asked him whether he had taken anything from the lab.
He had said no, looking her in the eye as he said it, looking a little ashamed of himself, and she believed him. She wouldn't even have searched him, but Will, the sensible and suspicious young man he was, suggested and insisted it on it, and she watched on as he and Henry checked the man's pockets and patted him down.
"Strip search?" he said to her, with a grin, once he was vindicated, and she frowned at him, adjusted her pack, and started across the Columbian planes, the men following.
She didn't speak, as the relief turned back into the anger she'd first felt when she'd discovered what Nikola had really been doing, she blanked all three men, hiking in silence. No one even tried to talk to her, she could could hear Will and Henry chatting quietly behind her, and Nikola was as silent as she, as they made their way to the little town they'd left the rented Jeep in.
By time they reached the Sanctuary again, she was furious, aching on the inside more than her muscles did, blinded with tears almost and headed straight to her room to wash off the dirt and betrayal.
Except Nikola came knocking on her door before she could even get her boots off. She let him in then sat down on her bed, unlacing the heavy shoes while he paced about the room, eyes always on her as she glanced up to see what he was doing. She waited for him to talk though, because she wasn't sure what she wanted to say to him, and if she could say anything at all without injuring him.
"I'm sorry," he said, looking away from her finally, down at her worn rug, kicking his toes against it, hands in his pockets.
She didn't think she'd ever seen him so sincere in an apology, and her anger lessened a little, the hurt increasing instead.
"I never meant for you to find out," he added.
She huffed, standing up again to face him, and without her boots they were the same height and she wished for a pair of heels because he deserved to be looked down upon. More so now, than she'd ever felt it before.
"After everything, everything we went through, with Cabal, after mending our relationship between us after you tried to kill me."
"I explained that, I hadn't-"
"You did, " she said, cutting him off, "and we discussed it and moved on from it,"she said. "But this, this is..."
She didn't know what it was, it was crossing a line she didn't think Nikola would ever cross, mischief and mayhem, maybe, but she had been sure he was a better man than to betray her like this. It hurt her to discover he wasn't after all. It was disappointing.
"Helen," he said, "I was desperate. I am desperate."
"After what happened to Ashley, you were there, standing over me moments after she transported into death, you must've known how I would feel."
"I did, I knew," he said, defeated. "I knew the moment I found the information in the Cabal's computers that you'd feel-"
"Hurt? Betrayed? Angry?"
"Devastated," he said, "I'm not usually one for denial, but in my desperation to regain vampiric form I convinced myself that you wouldn't be. As that awful cliché goes, 'what you don't know can't hurt you'."
"Ignorance is bliss?"
"Not in this case," he told her. "And I am hurting as much as you."
That tipped her over the edge, and she swung her arm, her hand connecting with his cheek hard, the sound shockingly loud to the both of them.
"How dare you!" She cried, as Nikola cradled his cheek. "How dare you even assume you feel a fraction of the hurt I do right now!"
"What about you?" he said, raising his voice, puffing himself out a little, moving closer to her, but Helen wasn't one to be intimidated by anyone, let alone Nikola Tesla. "You assume that loosing the very thing that made me marvellous doesn't mean anything to me? Doesn't cause me any pain?"
"For heavens sake, Nikola, you are such an idiot," she said with a sigh, anger draining back out as quickly as it had risen. She sat back down on her bed, and looked up at him. "You were an amazing man, even before we injected ourselves with the source blood and still are."
"Perhaps," he said, "but, this made me something else, something beyond amazing."
She shook her head.
"Your ego really is amazing, if nothing else," she told him, making him smile, and she managed a small one herself. "When you have children Nikola, come back and tell me that loosing your vampiric powers is the same as loosing a child."
"I didn't say it was the same," he said. "I just don't think you realise how hard this has been for me."
"I do Nikola, I honestly do," she said.
He nodded, taking the information in, and she could tell he truly believed her.
"Perhaps I just hoped you didn't," he said. "Then it gives me a good excuse to betray you."
He sat down on the bed beside her, but she didn't feel comfortable that close to him, their hips touching as innocently as it was, was too much contact. She stood, and turned to stare at him.
"I'm going to shower," she told him, heading into her bathroom.
"Do you forgive me?" he asked, getting up and following her, standing in the doorway.
"No, not that easily," she told him.
The look on his face, the defeat that seemed to deflate his entire body, made her believe that he might now feel some of the hurt she did. Which shocked her a little, but she wouldn't relent, couldn't just yet.
She didn't quite believe that sentence, but didn't call him on it, she just closed the bathroom door in his face, and listened for him leaving her bedroom.
She found him in the garden the next day, sitting at the metal table, sipping some lemonade, like it was summer at Cambridge, not her Sanctuary in Old City. Surrounded by the plants and flowers of her well kept garden, watching him relax, she could almost forget the world on the other side of the wall, and the past hundred years.
She was still angry with him, and still hurting, old wounds poked, older wounds reopened. All betrayals reminded her of John eventually, and she couldn't bare to lose anyone else like she had lost him. Because that still hurt.
She sat down at the table with him, taking a sip of his drink, wondering where exactly he'd gotten lemonade from, she hadn't had it in a long while.
"Nice," she said.
He didn't speak, and she relaxed back in the chair, tempted to close her eyes and listen to the sounds of her garden. The Old City could be surprisingly quiet sometimes, and she could pick out the birds and insects, she had lived long enough to identify each species, and the same with the scent of the flowers she and the Big Guy had planted over the years, she knew what each one was, and where it was in the garden, just by it's scent.
She couldn't relax that much though, not with Nikola staring at her from the other side of the table.
"Say something," she told him, "or stop staring."
"I can't lose you," he said, after a moments hesitation.
"Lose me?" she asked, "Nikola you're not going to lose me."
"I couldn't bear that," he said. "That would hurt the most," he added, "more than losing my vampiric abilities."
She sighed, he continued to surprise and upset her in various ways, even after a hundred years or so of knowing each other. She stood up, and moved to sit in the chair next to him, pulling it closer to him so she could take his hand.
"I'll always be here for you," she said. "But sometimes, sometimes you're going to have to be there for me too, by not betraying me like that again."
"Or trying to to kill you."
"It's all I ask," she said, with a smile, and he grinned back at her, clasping her hand in between his.
"Do you forgive me?" he asked.
She went to pull away, but he held onto her, pulling her closer to him, that desperate look on his face that she had seen a few times recently, but was more familiar with from their past, when he was desperate for blood. For her blood.
"I will, eventually," she said.
"What if I go down on you?" he asked, with that salacious grin that suited him far better than any other expression.
She didn't answer, she just rolled her eyes at him and he chuckled letting go of her hand. Standing up, stretching out his thin frame, he walked across the grass towards her flower beds. She watched him inspect them for a few minutes, then sat back in her chair once more, closing her eyes finally the slight sounds of Nikola on her lawn added to the other creatures in her garden. The sun was warm, and she thought maybe today was a good day to take off, to sit and do nothing for while.
Nikola Tesla wasn't a man who could do nothing, he was too much like her, his shadow fell over her after a few quiet minutes, and she felt him tugging gently on the side of her jacket. She opened her eyes to see him tucking a flower, a rose, into a button hole, thorns and all.
She smiled at him, and he bent down and kissed her chastely, surprisingly, on the lips. He pulled back, standing up straight and heading back inside.
"Will you stay?" She called out to him, "for a little while?"
"I'd would be delighted to," he told her, before disappearing from sight.