The Enlightenment of Nikola Tesla

Based on Sanctuary, created by Damian Kindler.

Set immediately following Episode 3.16, "Awakening." Tesla and Magnus are on their way back to the Sanctuary. No spoilers for that episode.

Spoilers only up to Episode 2.10 "Haunted."

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"You know, Helen, I do appreciate your valiant efforts to save my life. Your concern really does warm my heart," Nikola said, not looking over at her as they walked through the desert.

Helen scoffed. "Not so much concern for your life, as concern for life."

He grabbed his heart. "You wound me!"

She shook her head. Usually she had more patience with him, but this evening it was wearing thin. He had been excited about the vampires, and she couldn't blame him for that. He didn't give up on her. He trusted her.

Yet, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't shake the feeling that he would have sold her out had the vampire queen been different, had she offered him a better option.

"What?" he asked, exaggerating his trudging steps slightly, "No witty response? Have I finally exhausted the Great Helen Magnus?"

"Enough!" She stopped and faced him. For a brief second, she did realize that she was completely exhausted and had she not been exhausted she wouldn't have snapped. She also realized that if she had been speaking with any other person she wouldn't have snapped. "Could you, for one minute, just stop! Could you stop pretending!"

"Helen," he started with a great deal of tact.

"No! Don't you start! You are not some tragic hero in an arduous journey to win my affections! It's a game and you know it!"

He balked.

"Don't look at me like that. You know exactly what this relationship is," she hissed.

"What is it, Helen? Please tell me," his tone was getting short as well.

"Really? You really want to have this conversation? You want me to spell out why your adolescent behaviors annoys me so? Vexes me to no end?"

"You started it."

"I started it?" She laughed. "I started this?"

"You can't continue to deny your feelings, Helen. I know you love me."

She laughed again. "You really have no understanding human emotion, do you? Yes, I love you!"

He was about to make a triumphant "aha" but she stopped him.

"Do you want to understand? Do you really want to understand how I feel?"

"Enlighten me, Helen."

She shook her head. "Don't tell me I didn't warn you." She turned from him angrily, taking a breath, then turned back. "When I was young, my father was the greatest person in my life. He was everything to me. He was everything I wanted to be, absolutely everything. When I lost him, I clung to what I had left. What I had was four men. My four dearest friends, whom I loved dearly.

She was unaware of when tears had come to her eyes, but she was sure they were glistening. "Here we are, Nikola, a century and some later. Two of those men are dead, including my greatest friend. My fiancé" she almost choked on the word, it being too painful even after all these years.

She took a deep breath and tried again. "My fiancé is infected by an energy creature that turned him into notorious killer, as you so eloquently put it. I hated him for a hundred years. For what he had done to me, what he had done to James, and what he had done to our daughter, I hated him!

"Then I learned that he was as much a victim as the rest of us were, and it was my fault. I am responsible for locking him away inside himself and he watches his own hands commit atrocities! You don't know what that's like, Nikola.

"You don't know what's it like to lose something like that and be the cause. Twice! Twice I lost him to it. Three times I lost someone that meant more than the world to me and it was my fault.

"My daughter is dead, killed by my enemies because I couldn't -. After a one hundred sixty years of life I couldn't see the bigger picture and they took my daughter as payment for that failure! Everyone who is close to me now will eventually die! Whether they die in the work that I introduced them to, or I watch them grow old and die the way they were meant to!

"Now we come to you, Nikola Tesla! You are quite literally the only thing I have and I will likely not have to mourn!" She paused for a second, taking a deep breath. "So, yes, I love you, Nikola. But I know you better than you know yourself, and I'm tired of your games."

Without giving him the chance to respond, she turned and continued walking. She supposed she should have been stomping off, leaving him in the desert night, but she wasn't. She just continued walking and didn't look at him when he fell back in step with her.

It felt like hours that she fumed in silence before he finally responded softly. "I'm sorry it's me you're stuck with for eternity, Helen. You deserve better."

Her step faltered, and she looked at him in quiet surprise. "Perhaps I was wrong, Nikola, I may not know you as well as I thought."

He shrugged. "Actually, that surprised me more than it did you."

She offered him a tight smile and squeezed his hand, but immediately released it. They continued to walk.

Again, he spoke after a long silence, and in true Nikola Tesla fashion, he made her laugh. "Do you think I should regrow my mustache?"

- . - FIN - . -