Chapter 24 – The End
Helen wandered through the halls of the sanctuary. They were dark and quiet, the only sound coming from the sleeping occupants behind closed doors.
Today had been so topsy-turvy; what started out as a simple rescue mission ended up being an incredibly difficult game of cat and mouse, getting her trapped in a dumbwaiter shaft, smooshed in a closet, making duct tape bandages, having her end up half naked on a souped-up gurney, and all the while Nikola was being Mr. Frank-and-honest! Then there was that dream world. It still sent shivers up her spine. But even in her dream she wanted Nikola to save her.
Helen sighed. They were home now; nothing could possibly go wrong. The team had gotten back about an hour ago from bagging the bad guys. Declan had called the authorities claiming they were doing illegal testing on humans, which wasn't a far shot from the truth. All of the people working on this project would be given a fair trial, with a sentence anywhere from 5-25 years with chance of parole. None would be allowed to work in science ever again. The Boss would be put away for longer depending on how much of his operations he is willing to sell out to cut down prison time. Hans would probably break and confess the whole thing. All in all, a successful mission in her books.
Her team had definitely earned their rest tonight, but she knew one person who was not sleeping. She walked quietly, careful not to make a sound.
She opened the door to his quarters. The fire still burned strong and hot, the bed was made, and he stood in front of the large windows, looking out at the night sky.
"You always did pick this room because of the view," she broke the silence.
He turned his head to acknowledge her.
"Well, you wouldn't let me have the room next to yours," he chuckled dryly.
"I was afraid I'd find holes in my wall, or unwanted guests in the middle of the night," she teased.
"And that didn't excite you, not even a little bit?" he teased back.
"How's the shoulder?" she asked, changing the subject.
"It hurts, but nothing I can't handle," he shrugged.
"Couldn't sleep?" he asked, changing the subject once again.
"No, every time I think about it…I don't want to get lost there again," Helen pulled her cardigan tighter around her. "You?"
"The same, I close my eyes and see all those faces; I was this close to killing them all, if you weren't there to stop me, I don't know wha-"
Helen put a hand on his chest.
"It's alright, Nikola, the thing is you didn't what does it matter if you could. You have always been capable of doing so much damage, it's why the government hunted you, and the Cabal, but what makes you a better person, a good man, is your ability to restrain yourself from that evil," she caressed his cheek.
"It's one of the reasons I love you," she smiled softly.
"Really?" he asked, his eyes widening like a young child.
"You are my hero, Nikola," she smirked at the cheesy line.
"And you couldn't even say it with a straight face," he joked, leaning down to kiss her. She let him. It was just a small kiss; neither of them was quite willing to lose control just yet.
Helen wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him close.
Nikola sighed, the heaviness in his heart slowly lifting because of her.
"I do love you," she said softly.
"You do?" he looked over his shoulder and saw something out of the corner of his eye. It was a small African boy, the boy he had tried to save in the summit. But that had been a dream, hadn't it? He never reached the summit, hadn't he?
He stepped back to look at Helen.
"Nikola, what's wrong?" Helen was surprised at his sudden retraction.
"I-I don't know," he felt behind him and the bandage and wound that had been on his shoulder was gone.
Helen changed suddenly flashing into the white-robed angel that he envisioned her.
"Nikola, you can't give up on yourself, you give up then you die," she said.
"You were giving up, so I tricked you, to keep you alive."
"I'm still on the summit, aren't I? I'm still lying there blind and alone!" he cried.
"No, not alone, alive!" she caressed his cheek.
Suddenly the window filled with light.
"See, that's them, wake up Nikola!"
"What if I don't want to wake up? What if I want to stay here with you?" he took her hands.
"You can't run away, Nikola, that's not in your nature," she looked at him gently. "Besides, you can never be truly happy here."
"But there's only misery for me out there, Helen will never feel the same way for me, at least here I can pretend…"
"Nikola! You wake up and you live!" she grabbed the sides of his head. "The real Helen is there, and if you give up she will be alone! You hear me!"
He nodded; a little scared by how angry she was.
"I do love you," she whispered before kissing him strongly and passionately, it sucked the air right out of his lungs.
"See you on the other side!" she smiled at him before pushing him through the window, the glass shattered and Nikola fell and kept falling; a single splash into a deep pool. He felt like he was drowning, and he struggled to swim to the surface, but he fought against the thick water. He could see the light of the surface and he moved towards it. Long shadows reached up from the depths to grab at his feet and drag him back down. He kicked them off, swimming hard, despite his lack of air, but he saw the lights, he heard the soft thrumping of the helicopter. He swam to it faster, using all his energy to get through.
Nikola opened his cracked his eyes open. He could see.
"Nikola!" he heard a voice. "It's ok we've got you!"
He groaned, a little disoriented.
He was in strapped to a medical stretcher, ready for transport in the massive helicopter.
Helen stood above him, her hair blowing like crazy.
"Ready! Lift!" she called and he felt himself be lifted off the ground and on to the floor of the helicopter cabin.
Helen climbed in beside him.
"Hey!" she said softly to him before switching into doctor mode. Nikola followed her with his eyes.
"Ho-How did you find me?" he gasped.
"It was all you Nikola, you were emitting a distress signal with your powers for nearly three days straight before we realized, we followed it here."
"I'm sorry," he groaned.
"What for?" she asked.
"I couldn't save them," he whimpered, he suddenly felt the aches and pains in his body.
Helen softly sighed and smiled at him.
"You saved a lot more than you think you did, Nikola," she gestured to the secondary helicopters filled with the tribes people splayed out across the valley. "You held off the army long enough for them to get away and hide in their underground network of caves."
Nikola grinned weakly.
"I did?" he gasped.
Helen nodded, leaning down and kissing his forehead.
"That is a thank you from them to you," she smiled then leaned down and captured his lips in a soft kiss. "That is from me, for being alive."
Nikola looked up at her, lifting his hand as far it could go and Helen took it.
"I knew you'd come for me," he smiled.
Helen placed a small kiss on the top of his hand and signaled the pilot of the helicopter to take off.
Nikola inhaled a deep breath; this was real, he knew as he closed his eyes and the sound still remained, the beating of the helicopter, the sounds of the wind blowing past them, Helen radioing the Kenya airport. It was all there, no room for silence.
She was right, he would've never been truly happy in that dream; he would've remained there, scared and lonely. He opened his eyes again, and looked at his hand still entwined with Helen's. He liked the sight of it and he smiled to himself.
"This is Dr. Magnus, to Sanctuary-1, we're coming home."
"Roger that. This is Sanctuary-1 to Dr. Magnus, we're awaiting your arrival with a bottle of wine on hand," came Henry over the radio.
"Good, decent lavations, you're learning," he joked.
"You've earned it this time," she teased.
"Have I earned any other favors?" he grinned slyly.
Helen chuckled and rolled her eyes.
"You're incorrigible," she sighed.
"No," glared Helen.
"Come on, I can't drink alone," he whined,
"Fine, one drink," she shook her head at him.
Nikola smiled and squeezed her hand gently.
"Helen, remember back in Oxford…" he started as the helicopter flew on into the horizon.
He had never been happier to hear so much noise.
Hello darkness my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left it's seed while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the Sounds of Silence.