Night Long Torment

Helen sighed as she looked at the spot Nikola had just vacated.

She was frustrated, he was frustrating; there once was a time when she used to enjoy his company, in fact she was enthralled by it.

Now all that he brought was painful memories and witty jabs, and a big stupid grin that hid everything from her.

She sat down, rifling through the photo album she had slammed on the desk.

In all her life she couldn't remember who had taken all these photos, or when she'd had the time, it's not like she's had a vacation in the last 10 years, yet her photo albums keep filling up with all these pictures, all these memories.

She had originally started looking at Ashley's pictures, from baby to graduation, every birthday, every Christmas, every trip they had taken together. But she had passed those albums at least an hour ago.

She had moved on, earlier times, she had an album for every decade it seemed.

The late 60's when she had dyed her hair to the brunette she now wore, the early forties where her hair was cut shorter, and had been pinned up more times than a voodoo doll, the late 1800's when her hair cascaded down her back to just above her hips in long bouncing curls.

All the people she had met and had grown fond of, Winston, Albert, Dalai, Theresa; all the places she had visited, memories she had made.

But this particular album bore a significant batch of memories. Oxford, circa 1870 something, photography was just beginning then, all the pictures were old and preserved, and homemade as she recalled Nikola's experiments with the camera.

There were so many pictures of her, candid photos, that voyeuristic heartsick Nikola Tesla, in his thickly accented mustached glory, building the definition of stalker.

It made her laugh slightly. She never had found a picture of her and John together in this collection of photos, she figured on purpose.

But there were some great photos of them all together, or of her and James and Nigel goofing around while John watched in the background. There was one of her and Nikola that she personally enjoyed; he had her slung of one shoulder and he was obviously trying to nap her away from the others and trying to book it across the park.

They were such kids back then, ridiculous and happy to be together, but she was the only woman in a group with four men, all had there certain affections for her. With James it was on elderly brother type affection, he had kept her in line and was good company. Nigel was like a younger brother, teasing and playful, but still afraid of her cooties; he had his eyes on much less intelligent women. John held his affection masked as respect, subtly, like a lion stalking a beautiful gazelle. Then there was Nikola, he loved her, that much was obvious, as Will would possibly describe it, a hopeless high school crush, of course he was much too proud to admit it at the time.

Now, centuries later, he seemed to have lost that boyish crush, that innocent desire to be around her, it got weighed down and crushed by lust and countless disappointment.

She missed it, the boyish innocence that had, at one time, flattered her to the point of blushing. But there were complications, and his name was John.

Helen shook her head and closed the album.

Is that what got him all upset? That she had chosen John over him? It was a century long grudge between the two of them, a competition that never ended.

Of course, John had not just stolen her away, he had marked her for life, permanently blocking Nikola's chances at having what his young heart had wanted at the time. His eyes said so much in the catacombs in Rome.

Did he resent Ashley in that same way? Did he resent all of this? Did he resent her?

Helen got up and walked out of her office.

She wasn't going to sit here and ponder why, she was going to go straight to the source and ask.

He was in his lab, no doubt, distracting himself from whatever wall of self-pity he had built around him this time.

She marched in, and sure enough he was there, tinkering with something silently, not even bothering to acknowledge her presence.

"Nikola!" she barked, demanding his attention. "What is it you want to say to me?"

He looked at her sharply, but didn't answer her.

"You are so stubborn! I am listening now, out with it!" she ordered, but he just eyed her coldly.

"It doesn't matter, just forget about it," he dismissed her, which just made her growl.

"No, I won't, obviously there's something you want to say to me so let me have it!" he turned away from her. "Look at me Nikola!"

He growled and turned to her sharply.

"Why does it matter? You don't remember! You'll never remember! You don't want to!" he said harshly.

"Remember what?" she snarled in response.

"I said it doesn't matter! None of this matters! Go back to mourning your daughter, Helen, leave me be!" he pointed to the door, and turned his back to her again.

"You arrogant bastard! You bloody arrogant bastard! You've never lost a child, you don't care for anything but yourself Nikola, and this little tirade is nothing but a selfish boy's cry for attention!" she shouted.

"What do you want from me?" he shouted back.

"The truth Nikola! For once!"

"The truth? The truth is that I loved you, for over a century, blindly, and you knew it! But because of your own selfishness you denied it, ignored it, and I let you, figuring one day…one day you would forget about him, but you didn't and you never will, and nothing I do, or say will ever change that! So why does it matter?" he shouted sending papers flying across the room.

"Why is this an issue right now? Why do you bring it up now?" she stepped up to him.

"Because you still love him! After all he's done to you, and to Ashley, and to everyone, you still love him, but you've forgotten!" he tried to push past her but she pushed him back, her hands resting on his chest.

"Forgotten what?" she looked into his eyes, and without a moments hesitation his lips came crashing into hers, stealing her breath away momentarily. Before she realized it, her hands were in his hair, her body pressed up against his and her feet were moving against her will, until her back came hard against a wall and his lips broke away.

"That doesn't mean anything to you," he said defeated, his forehead rested against hers.

"You're wrong," she whispered back, her hands snaked from his hair to wrap around his lithe torso and she pulled his ear to her lips. "I'm sorry."

His body slumped against hers, his head resting in the crook of her neck, and she kiss jaw, right next to his ear.

"I'm tired," he sighed, pulling away from her, "I'm tired of waiting, Helen, I'm tired of this game we're playing."

He scrubbed a hand over his face.

"I'm just tired," his whole posture was defeated.

"What are you talking about, Nikola?" she grabbed his hand gently.

"Don't you remember, even a little?"

"No, help me," she said, pleading with him.

"It was a very big mistake, I didn't mean to let it happen, but…I was so lovesick back then…it was like a dream, and I didn't wake up till it was over and I had realized what I had done, and I was afraid that if you ever found out…well, you wouldn't want me in your life ever again, and then James told me you were pregnant, and I panicked…"

"What do you mean?" she looked at him, confusion clouding her eyes.

"You, Helen…and me, you were drunk I don't expect you to remember it," he sighed running a hand through his hair.

"You mean when I seduced you?" she looked at him and he stared back incredulously.

"You remember?" he asked, slightly shocked.

"Vaguely, I was drunk, and very upset, I came to you because I knew you would give me what I want, something I had suspected you wanted, I used you…I'm sorry…"

He stared at her blankly.

"I've been blaming myself for a century, convinced you would hate me if you found out, it's why I escaped back to New York, it's why I didn't come back till I needed you, and all this time it was you!" he growled, his blank stare slowly turning cold and angry.

"Yes, I am sorry," Helen felt a tear escape down her cheek.

"You toyed with my heart for over a century Helen!" he grabbed her by the neck and slammed her against the wall, fortunately his de-vamping prevented from him hurting her.

It didn't stop Helen from being slightly frightened.

"IT WAS YOU!" he snarled viciously, almost heart-breaking, his eyes brimmed with moisture as his face burned red.

Helen put a hand on his arm.

"It was the biggest mistake of my life Nikola, I had never realized, never even thought of what that night had done to you, I was young and desperate, I never meant to hurt you."

He released her neck and backed away from her.

"Well, the perfect Helen Magnus finally reveals her flaws! The world is right again!" he raised his hands and laughed bitterly.

"Don't be like this Nikola," Helen stayed still, biting her lip to keep her tears in.

"Or what?" he shouted at her, his eyes glaring.

He came back to her, pressing his body against hers, pinning her arms above her head roughly.

"Would you let me take you, right here, against this wall?" he whispered to her, his tone sharp. "Would you scream for me you conniving vixen?"

Helen looked at him calmly.

"If that's what you want," she said softly.

"It's not," he spat releasing her. "I'm not your play thing anymore, Helen!"

"You never were-" Helen started but was interrupted by his sardonic laughter.

"That's a lie and you know it Helen, everything you say is a lie!" he turned away from her and went over to his lab table, resting his hand on the cool metal surface.

Helen stayed frozen, watching him, broken and defeated, collapsing in on himself; this is what she had reduced the once great Nikola Tesla to, bitterness and heartbreak.

She wanted to reach out to him, take him in her arms, kiss him senselessly, let him beat at her until he was all run out, but she stayed still, watching him crumple.

She took a hesitant step towards him and placed her hand on his shoulder gently, expecting him to shrug it off or for another stream of bitter remarks to spew forth but he didn't.

He let her turn him around to face her, his face was full of the sadness a child would have, that destroyed and confused face.

She ran her hands gently over his cheeks and he leant into their touch, craving the warmth they provided.

His eyes closed as she caressed him, her hands disappearing into his hair, pulling his lips down to hers in a soft kiss. She broke the kiss quickly, but kept his face just millimeters from hers. His mouth opened to say something but she shushed him.

"Don't speak, please, just let me do this," she whispered.

Her hands left his face and traveled down, trailing over his torso to his hips and she leant in and kissed him again, he kissed back with equal fervor.

Her hands slipped to his belt and he grabbed her hands abruptly, his lips never leaving hers.

She slipped her hand from his grip and they relaxed back down to his sides as she continued fiddling with his belt till it was undone and ripped away, causing a grunt from him.

Her hands then slipped beneath the pants line, and the kiss became an all consuming fire, and Helen found herself sprawled out on the lab table, Nikola tangled to her, his heart pressing against hers, her mind completely lost on his lips, and his touch, and his raw emotion, more truth than she has ever gotten from him in the whole century they knew each other.

Nikola succumbed to his night long torment, allowed himself to be vulnerable.

A brief moment he thought about Ashley, about the truth only he himself knows, that moment of weakness a century ago, but now Helen had given in to him, like he had for her.

Maybe she would never know the truth of her daughter, maybe he would never tell her, maybe he wouldn't have to because it didn't matter.

She was going to spend the rest of her life making up to him for ruining his.

It wasn't love, but it was good enough for him.

Maybe a century of torture had made his heart grow cold.