"Nikola!" she held his face in her hands, his eyes changing back and forth between depthless black and grey blue. "You will not kill me." It was a command, a plea, a desperate hope all wrapped together.

She had only had a small seizure in reaction to the Source blood, Nigel had been violently nauseous, John had a high fever and chills, and James had a migraine that had him holed up in a dark room with ice packs for his brow. But her husband, her Nikola, he'd transformed utterly.

How could they have known that vampire genetics could lie dormant within an unsuspecting genius? That exposure to a the blood of a full-vampire could reawaken those talents and terrors that had been dead for centuries? She was equal parts fascinated, awed and terrified for the man she loved. She had forced her way into the rooms he'd locked himself in, this for the third time.

The first time, he'd begged her to leave, to not be repulsed by his shark-like teeth and razor claws. He'd begged her to go before he hurt her.

But he was still within, still her Nikola and still determined to fight. She would do not less than support him completely, and love him with everything she is.

Whatever the Source blood had gifted her with, her stamina had increased to where she had little need of sleep. She spent hours laboring over a medication to reduce the blood cravings that were driving him surely insane.

The second time she'd forced her way into his rooms, breaking a window and climbing in to see him sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth and muttering to himself in Serbian. She had a gun in her hands, but she'd prayed to whatever gods would listen that she wouldn't have to shoot her husband. He'd looked through her as though she was an apparition.

"Nikola, I need another sample of your blood. I'll have something to help soon, I swear."

At the sound of her voice, his eyes grew huge and black, and he looked at her with hunger and lust and an aching need for her that she knew was not only about the blood.

"You…you are my mate." His voice rippled with deep, ancient power, and she'd felt herself grow slick and wet with instant response to her lover.

"Yes." She'd whispered, and in an impossible moment he was on his feet, circling around her, not touching her but surrounding her with the sense of his power that gave her goose bumps. He moved like a big cat, circling her like she was prey and she shivered with what should have been fear, but wasn't completely.

"You desire me." His voice was next to her ear, and promised a slow, sweet death full of pleasures untold.

"Always." She did not think lying to him would change her fate. She was not sure if vampire thrall existed, if she could have denied him or lied to him if such a thought had entered her mind.

He was on his knees at her feet, his head buried into her skirts, his nose pressing into the parted lips of her quim. He inhaled deeply, his hands pinned her hips, sharp nails impaled through the layers of fabric and pricking her skin.

She knew she was aroused, and more than that, her monthly was due, the scent of blood strong on her. Before she could think to flee, to try to escape, his nails had sliced through the fabric of her skirts, and with impossible strength he tore away anything that separated him from her core, leaving red scratched against her skin and wrenching a shocked scream from her throat.

But his tongue snaked between her thighs, finding her nub and sucking hard. As she widened her stance, helpless against his actions, his fingers, nails once again short thrust deep inside her sheath. The growth of beard he'd grown in his isolation scratched against her thighs and she shivered with it. With all the knowledge of her body, he licked and thrust and pressed within her like a maestro, until she came shuddering, his name on her lips. He leaned back on his heels to stare into her face, his fingers in his mouth sucking on his ill-gotten gains, his eyes shifting between blue and black faster than she could imagine.

"Niko…"

He stood rapidly, his voice still that rippling weapon, "I'm not Niko. I'm not human."

"You are Nikola Tesla, my husband. And we will fix this so that you can live with it, learn from it." Her voice was shaky, but her will was not. "I need another sample, and I do not want to risk contaminating it with sedatives." She held up two glass vials, miraculously intact after their encounter.

Sneering, he let his nails grow, and just as she began to be truly afraid of him, he sliced his own wrist, watching her flinch but saying nothing, holding the deep red stream over the vials until they were beyond full, and then healing before her eyes, leaving no sign that his perfect pale skin had been damaged.

"Now go! Before I take more than the taste of your need!"

She'd escaped, caring nothing for her exposed state. She resented the need to change clothing, and hurried to the lab to start work. Another three agonizing days and she knew she was close. A mix of iron supplements, abnormal-derived nutrients, advanced antianxiolytics, it was a cocktail of desperation. She needed him to be better, or she'd never forgive herself.

This time, she'd not bothered with clothes. A filmy nightrail in Nikola's favorite shade of blue, like a bride on her wedding night. On her own wedding night, she'd never gotten to dress in night clothes, for Nikola had her out of her bridal gown and up against the door to their bedroom the moment they'd left the wedding nuncheon.

She walked through the hallways holding a full syringe and a look of determination.

This time, the door was lock and barred, as she'd suspected, but she navigated the back hall and passageway of the townhouse too many times in her youth to be stymied. She emerged into a darkened room with no idea where her husband could be hiding.

"Hello, Helen."

The voice was so close, she whipped around to confront Nikola, but was met with empty air.

"You should leave. Let me go. Let me die before I take a thousand others with me." That deep resonance echoed in her mind.

"I've found something to try, Nikola. It's not a solution, but it's a start. Stop tormenting yourself in this room and let me help you!"

Her normally fastidious husband appeared before her as though from thin air, his clothes in tatters, shredded from the sharpness of his claws. His eyes were solid black, his skin impossibly pale in the dim light that filtered through the curtains.

"I will not be able to control myself much longer Helen. I'm weakening though…you'll be able to send John in to kill me. I'm sure he'll enjoy the privilege."

"No!" she grabbed on to the remains of his shirt and pulled him forward, pulling him into a kiss despite the sharpness of those teeth. She tasted blood, but underneath it was still her Nikola, and he kissed her with a passion both familiar and foreign and exciting as it was terrifying. Somewhere, she had the presence of mind to jab the bloody syringe in his neck and depress the plunger with a vicious efficiency.

He reared back, his eyes enraged and claws far too close to her jugular.

"I warn you Helen, I am very close to the edge. I could kill you…I don't…"

"Nikola!" she held his face in her hands, his eyes changing back and forth between depthless black and grey blue. "You will not kill me." It was a command, a plea, a desperate hope all wrapped together.

He nodded. His teeth and claws retracted and he captured her lips in a kiss gentle and loving and soft. She relaxed, relief flooding her system. But he began to collapse, the weight of his body falling on to her frame.

His lips pressed against her neck, but there was no force behind his actions. It was as though his hunger had been the only thing keeping him conscious, and she knew that he needed more that the serum to keep him alive.

He needed blood.

She dragged him toward the bed, thanking the Source blood for the noticeable increase in her strength, and sat down hard cradling him to her like she still hoped to cradle their child one day.

She pressed his lips against her throat, pushing one hand through his hair and tracing circles over his chest through the remains of his once perfectly starched shirt.

"Drink, Nikola. A little will not harm me. I trust you not to take too much."

"Helen…I can't." His voice seemed hollow, weak as she'd never heard him in all the years she'd known and loved him.

"Damn it, Nikola, you aren't going to die on me from your blasted squeamishness!" She raked her nails over the space between her neck and collarbone, hard enough that a red welt grew and thinnest trail of blood erupted on her skin.

His eyes flashed black again and he looked into her eyes looking for a trace of fear or repulsion. "You can't…you can't want…"

"I will have this, Nikola. You shall not deny me my curiosity. You never could."

He smiled, a shadow of his cocky smirk, but still a great comfort. Then he grew utterly still.

"Stop me. Any way you can, if I cannot stop myself."

He did not wait for her answer, but let his teeth elongate and plunge delicately into her neck. It hurt like nothing she could have known, but there was not only pain. Far from it…

He drew in a long gulp, and another and another, his strength returning with each swallow. She fell slowly down onto the mattress and he followed, running his hands over her body, silently shredding her gown with those sharp claws yet somehow so careful and precise. He released her and pushed above her, hovering over her and looking into her face, searching her eyes her blood stained his lips a brilliant crimson.

She was lost in a fog, where she would give him whatever he needed. She'd pushed past fear, and she had found that her trust for Nikola knew no bounds, no matter how reckless everyone else would think her to be.

He wouldn't kill her.

He kissed her lips, soft and quick, then his head darted to her breast, his teeth delicately outlining her nipple and he bit and released. She screamed, and he sucked away the pain of it, loving her nipple and taking her blood in long slow sucks that made her toes curl and her pleasure crest impossibly close.

The other breast, another bite, and more torturous pleasure. He used his knuckles to rub at her clit, unable to control his claws enough to stroke into her body. It was enough, and she came on a strangled moan.

He moved up again, latching onto her neck as he thrust his cock impossibly deep within her. She wrapped her legs around him and clung to him, hands scratching welts into his back as her nibbled and sucked at his bite on her neck, drinking deeply only when they were both so caught up in the luscious rhythm of thrust and withdraw that thought or caution was impossible.

She'd never reached such heights, and the world exploded in a torrent of wind and fire and Nikola's teeth at her neck and his cock driving inside of her. He came at her contractions, releasing her neck and growling so deep that the vibrations stretched her pleasure past the point of consciousness.

She awoke from the velvet blackness surrounded by warmth and the soft sound of water lapping in the bath. Her eyes blinked open to the soft light of her bathroom, the pale green ceiling obscured with curls of steam.

"Good morning, Helen. Although, it might be afternoon. I'm not entirely sure and I don't particularly care."

She laughed and felt Nikola kiss her throat with infinite gentleness. The events of the previous night flooded her mind and she felt his lips trace over the scar from his feeding, already mostly healed. He surrounded her, where she lay on his chest in the deep tub that he'd had installed after their wedding. His ankles wrapped around hers, her head lay on his shoulder, his arms crossed over her belly holding her as though he was afraid she would try to escape.

"I told you that you wouldn't kill me."

"Genius that I am, I should acknowledge that you may very well know me better than I know myself." He pressed a kiss to her temple and they lay in the comfortable silence.

"How are you…" they simultaneously started, and the room was filled with the soft ripple of tired laughter.

"I feel wonderful, ljubavi. Like I've been reborn and shall never die. My only sorrow is that I have yet to discover how to take you with me."

She spun around, slip-sliding over his naked body and feeling his arousal grow against her stomach. She looked into those brilliant eyes. "You may not have to…during my search for your treatment, which I have yet to perfect," he gripped her hips in his hands, claws gone, and she knew he was trying to distract her, "so you've months of poking and prodding left and do not try and wiggle out of it."

He wrinkled his nose and she kissed its impertinence. "My cells have been altered substantially by the Source blood. My stamina has increased, my need for sleep reduced dramatically. I think perhaps my rate of aging has been slowed, but I have no idea how much."

"Then I have that much longer to love you. Unless you are completely repulsed that I would feed…"

She blushed, not wanting to admit how very much she'd enjoyed every second of his "feeding". "If you promise feed only upon me and no other humans, I believe I can accustom myself to your occasional loss of your vaunted control."

He smirked at her. "In other words, it turned you into a quivering puddle of yearning and you can't wait for your blood cell count to reach the range in which we can indulge again?"

It was her turn to wrinkle her nose. Damn, the man knew her far too well.