For The Love Of Pigeons
Hobbits Notes: SO I wrote this out while my internet was down. I had no refrences and I took a lot of liberties. I know Nikola Tesla claimed he was married to a white Pigeon and he credited his inventions to her. I also know she died a few years before him and Nikola himself died Circa 1943. WW2 (officially) started in 1939 and ended in than that I think I put some Gordian knots in the time line. My apologies to the history channel.
I dedicate this to my Brother and Sister in bond if not blood. Glitch and DG
I knew she was special the first time I saw her, the white pigeon.
The first day, she flew overhead as though she were unsure she had the right place. I watched her arc gracefully across the sky, stopping to look me over before darting away again.
I was pleased when she returned a week later and perched on my window. The pigeon watched me intently until I came over with a crust of bread. She didn t eat any, only surveyed as I fed the rest of the pigeons and flew away again.
The next time she came was only a matter of days.
It was a crisp Tuesday morning. I was conversing with a grey pigeon when a white blur darted through my window and landed with a soft thud on my bed.I turned back in time to see a large angry hawk swoop in, ready to hurt my beautiful white Pigeon. I closed the window hurriedly as the other pigeons flew away.
"You need to be more careful, my dear." I panted as the hawk disappeared over the horizon.
"Thank you Nikola."
I gasped in surprise and spun around. On my bed sat Helen Magnus, slowly transforming from pigeon to woman.
"Helen!" I smiled "Well aren t you a sight for sore eyes. You look beautiful." I smirked as I took in the sight of her. It had been almost 10 years since we had last seen each other, but she looked as radiant as ever. Her milk-white skin shone against the pale sheets of my unmade bed. Long golden ringlets cascaded down her back and shoulders. In fact, she looked exactly the same. It could very well have been hours since I had last seen her.
Except that the last time we saw each other, Helen wasn t naked.
"Are you going to stand there staring all day?" Helen asked, pulling me back to my senses. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing" I smirked and looked her over meaningfully. "Just enjoying the view."
Helen blushed and pulled the sheets around her slender frame. "Cheeky"
I pouted lightly "Way to ruin the fantasy. You do look wonderful though Helen. It's like you -"
"Stopped aging altogether." Helen finished with a tired nod. "I know. James and I ran some tests. Looks like we found out the sourcebloods effect on me."
"Longevity. Of course." I smiled crookedly. "Well we are immortal... and don t make that face Helen." She rolled her eyes whenever I mentioned my vampire heritage. "I m a vampire. I was before we met. I know you feel guilty, but you shouldn t. It was my choice to take the sourceblood and I don t regret it. I never have. And I m still me. Same Nikola Tesla."
Helen smiled "I can see that. If it wasn t for that tragic mustache, you would look exactly the same as the day we met." Helen smoothed down her makeshift toga and quirked an eyebrow at me. "I don t suppose you have a lady friend who might have left a suitable dress behind that I might borrow?"
I rummaged through my closet and pulled out my shirtsleeves. "I'm afraid not. We'll just have to improvise." I sighed apologetically. Helen flashed her radiant smile that always makes my heart melt.
"Remember that time we chased the Gregorioch all across County Mayo?" She laughed, slipping on the shirt and doing up the buttons. "I had that coat from Nigel and Jimmy s pants, and the shirt from you."
I laughed at the memory. "And your fathers boots. Remember Nigel got lost in the swamp and we thought he was just invisible..."
Helen laughed merrily. "And we finally found him again, he was covered in mud. He was so mad!"
"And we had to give him that dress of yours..."I smiled, watching Helen roll around with laughter. And your hair! It was so frizzy..."
"Oh no! The hat!" Helen blushed as we both fell silent at the mention of the bowler she borrowed from Druit.
"HELEN!" I leapt across the room, onto the bed beside her and gathered her into my arms. Tears filled her crystal blue eyes. She shook her head and mopped her face with the long sleeves of her shirt.
"I'm so sorry. I just... It was John! "
I nodded and pulled her close. "I know."
Druits identity as Jack The Ripper took the other three by surprise. Tore a hole in our little group, separated us. I couldn t bring myself to care that Johnny turned out to be a homicidal maniac. But I could never forgive him for hurting my Helen.
"I can t help thinking. Helen sniffed into my shoulder "If I had been a better Fianc e, or if we never experimented with the sourceblood... I ruined John! It was me!" She wailed and cried anew. I pulled her closer and wished I had the courage to tell Helen I loved her.
"No you didn t. Johnny is just...well, Johnny. Nothing you did made him that way." I stroked her long silky tresses carefully. "None of this is your fault."
Eventually her sobs subsided and Helen, my strong independent goddess smiled sheepishly at me. "I m so sorry Nikola. I never meant to barge in here and cry all over you like this." she mopped her eyes carefully and smiled a little brighter. I kissed her forehead gently. "It s alright. We've known each other so long now. You saw me at my worst... the first time I vamped...that failed experiment with the pig mud." I grinned as she laughed lightly. I pushed her hair out of her face. "It does beg to question. Why are you here? And How can you turn into a pigeon?"
Helen sent me another radiant smile and I had to force my heart to beat normally.
"You sent a letter." She replied simply. "It was rather vague and hard to understand in places. Something about Niagara falls, alternating currents and your American friend...Edison."
I curled my lip in contempt. "Edison! Some friend!" I growled. Helen giggled and ruffled my hair.
"I suppose you had a falling out?" She prompted. When I didn t respond, she continued. "I m the only one you wrote to. Most of my mail is on hold but as soon as he saw it was from you, James sent me a telegraph-"
I jumped up and vamped. "What? Watson? He didn t read it, did he? It was for your eyes only Helen! Only you were supposed to-"
I fell silent at the look she gave me and sucked in my fangs. "Why did it go to Watson instead of you?"
"I was in Glasgow, tracking down a lead that my father had been seen there last month." she replied calmly. "I had hit another dead end when I got the telegraph. James is taking care of the London Sanctuary. When he saw the letter was from you he thought I would want to return and read it right away. We were surprised I was the only one you addressed it too though. Unless Nigel told you he was going to California before he left?"
I shook my head. The others were jealous of me because I was smarter and better looking. John Nigel and James had never actually liked me.
"Well the point I suppose is I did get your letter" Helen shrugged. "I didn't think much of it, but James said it gave a lot of information."
Well that s James for you.
"He said from the slant of the writing you were in a hurry. The spacing indicated you were upset, or frightened-"
"Sanguine Vampirus is never frightened Helen." I said coldly. Which isn t true.
"Well we figured out something was bothering you." Helen plowed on. "And thanks to the post mark we discovered you had left Budapest."
"Some years ago." I nodded, trying to remember if I had told her. "I'm glad you did come. It s always wonderful to see you. But that doesn t explain how" Helen Magnus had always been a remarkable woman. But I know back in Oxford she couldn t change into a pigeon.
Helen shrugged. "After that run in with the Titanic I didn t want to try a ship all the way across the Atlantic again. And a train is out of the question. James was trying to build a flying machine but. It wasn t working well. Jimmy was never the inventive type Nikola. If it weren t for you, he would never have gotten that body machine working. "
I nodded. As much as James and I contempt each other we were still on the fringe of respecting each other. I couldn t let him just die.
"So I was about ready to try the ship again when I acquired a sphinx." Helen smiled at my look of Shock. Sphinxes could be very dangerous if angered and it made me sick to think of my brave Helen in such a predicament.
"Of course she challenged me to a riddle at once. Luckily, it was a word puzzle, the sort Father used to give me when I was a child. It was more challenging work to control your bloodlust problem." she smiled somewhat proudly.
"And in answering the riddle you were turned into a pigeon? Really Helen? I would think a woman of your grace would be a swan-"
Helen shook her head. "I wanted something that would fit into your life. A way I could come see you whenever I wanted. Whenever you needed me."
I was slightly surprised and deeply touched. I never knew Helen- or indeed anyone- had cared that deeply for me. "Helen... I- thank-"
"Don t thank me, Nikola please don t." She interrupted. "We ve been friends so long now. And with Nigel gone and John... God only knows..." Her voice held a note of desperation now. "James is getting older. Fathers disappeared and Mother died long ago. Nikola I could very well live forever. But not alone." I thought for a moment she was going to cry again, but she blinked quickly and it was gone. "Now, are you going to tell me about the letter?"
I waved my hand dismissively. "That letter is a week old, Helen. It-" I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Helen tucked herself into a corner of the bed. aAs I opened the door. It was that damn gossipy bellhop.
"Your luncheon Sir..." The bellhop smiled and handed over a bottle of wine. "Were you talking to someone? Sir? He asked, trying to push his way in.
"Oh my uhh.. My wife." I bit my lip Helen was in my bed wearing nothing but my shirtsleeves. I had to say something to protect her reputation.
"I thought you took a vow of Celibacy?" The bellhop persisted, still trying to get inside.
"I did I do... I its because of my wife that I took the vow...She was in England, came in just today." I don t dare look at Helen, she s probably dying of laughter.
The bellhop scowled. "I didn t know you had a wife, Master Tesla." He said, finally slipping under my arm and entering the room.
With a rush of wind, a white pigeon flew from my bed and landed on my shoulder. "Ah Helen." I smiled and looked over at her. She s as smart as she is beautiful. I smiled crookedly the way I know Helen Secretly adores. "This is my wife. And my inventive Muse." I smiled wider as Helen nipped affectionately at my ear.
The bellhop looked shocked. "Now do you think we could get some tea? If your brothers in Boston haven t thrown another hissy fit and dropped it into the ocean.." I smirked and gave the Busboy a tip. He bowed and retreated, no doubt to tell the kitchen staff about my Pigeon Wife.
I shut the door and waited for Helen to resume her natural form before turning back to the bed.
"Your Wife Nikola?" she teased. "What would all your lady friends say?"
"I don t have 'Lady Friends' Helen." I scowled as she giggled and redid the buttons on her shirt. "I have admirers but none that hold my attention very long." Why was it so hard to tell Helen She was the reason I never married? "I'm trying to retain my dignity you know."
Helen laughed again. "I don t know Nikola. You ve garnered a rather strong reputation as eccentric. Even in London."
I curled my lip and poured out some wine. Helen smiled and curled up on my bed. "You cant deny it Nikola. This one is your fault."
"I- I was protecting your honor Helen. I may not be a proper Englishman but I am a gentleman! A dying breed."
Helen smiled and patted the bed beside her. I walked over but didn t sit down.
"Tell me about Niagara falls, Nikola."
I shrugged. "I drew out a sketch for a machine and Edison tried to build something like it and he got jealous when mine was better. Then I was snubbed for a Nobel Prize." I sighed dramatically .
Helen pulled me down to sit beside her I smiled and inhaled her scent.
"Poor Nikola." She teased and pulled me into a hug. Same old Helen. "Tell me about your invention? You haven t been using your vampire abilities again have you? " She sighed and pulled the Merlot from my hands, ignoring my whimper of protest. "Spill it Nikola."
"Well yeah, but come on Helen! James uses his powers all the time. I want to help the world."
"You want to take over the world!"
Okay, technically that was true. But not for anything bad.
"I'm trying to restore the natural order here Helen! We're supposed to be in control!"
Helen sighed wearily. "Nikola, you are Human."
I curled my lip. I hate when she calls me that. "But I'm not Helen. I never was. I'm so much more. We are so much more. Wasn t that the point? To be more than just another mundane average human? "
Helen looked sharply up at me and I instantly regretted saying it.
"No. That was never what our experiment was about. Not what we would become, but what humans could be. What our race could do with the right opportunity. What we could learn from other races if we studied them rather than destroyed them."
I nodded Helen is a true scientist. The rest of us were just out for our own gain. "Yes of course. I m sorry Helen."
She smiled again and kissed my cheek. Just a friendly kiss.
I sighed and poured another drink. "I didn t mean it that way. Meeting you, knowing you has changed my life in so many ways. Made it better. You make me better, Helen. I m grateful every day to have you in my life"
"And I you, Nikola." Helen replied and laid her head on my shoulder. "Its so hard. John is gone, Nigel left and I never get to see you and James. We used to be inseparable! What happened to us?"
"Life." I shrugged and wrapped Helen in my arms when she gave a light shiver. I pushed her hair aside and tried to kiss her ear. Before I built up the courage to tell her how I felt, there was a knock on the door. I growled softly as Helen-the-woman slipped away to become Helen-the-pigeon. As far as pigeons go, she was a beauty. Not surprising for Helen. She had a long graceful neck and sleek white feathers. I watched her bob her head for a minute before I answered the door.
"Your tea sir?" the nosy bellhop was back. "Its Earl Grey sir. An English tea. You spent time in England didn t you? Cambridge?"
"Oxford." I replied curtly. "Yes Earl Grey will suffice. My wife is English. She likes a proper English tea. And I like to make her happy." I smirked as Helen landed on my shoulder. The bellhop looked at me strangely, which isn t all that uncommon around here. I have a bit of a reputation as ...unconventional.
"Your pigeon wife? An English pigeon? How did she get here, that s quite a long flight."
I shrugged. "She hasn t told me. Not yet anyway. If you ll excuse us" I nodded curtly and shut the door.
"Your pigeon wife?" Helen giggled after transforming back. "How quaint."
I scowled, not sharing her playful mood. "Mark my words Helen. It ll be tomorrows headline. Still not the strangest rumor going on about me. And no, my Vampire heritage is not one of them. I kept that mostly to myself." I poured Helen a cup of tea.
"I think that s best." she nodded and accepted the cup. "I ve been keeping out of the public eye as best I can. Nigel and James have been aging. Its almost scary Nikola. They re the same age as me, but they look so much older." Helen sighed and put down the cup as her hands shook. "Thank you for the tea Nikola. But its getting late. I really should go."
"No. You can stay here" I pulled her close playfully. "The bed is big enough ...if we stay close" I purred and pretend to nuzzle her neck.
Helen laughed and hit my arm lightly, making me vamp in surprise. "Ow Helen. That hurt." I pouted softly.
"I ll be back soon. Helen smiled and stood up.
"Tomorrow?" I asked hopefully
Helen gave me another chaste kiss and opened the window. "Save me a newspaper."
I nodded and smirked. "I ll find you a suitable dress. You still like crimson right?" I teased.
I watched Helen fly off into the evening with a sigh. Her graceful wings were level, riding the thermals. I finished my wine and set out to make some preparations for her return.
Much to my delight, Helen arrived early the next day, just after sunrise. Despite several new and fashionable dresses I was able to procure, Helen kept my shirt, claiming it was more comfortable. I wasn t about to try talking her out of it.
"I see we didn t make the front page." She grinned over her crumpet, scanning the New York paper. I pouted and sipped my wine.
"Really Helen, must you be such a tease? Anyway once I get my newest invention working, I'll be on the front page for something noteworthy."
Helen sighed and shook her head. "Have you given any thought to the future? How are you going to explain your youth and health in 40 years or so?"
I nodded soberly. "I have actually. Quite a lot. I thought maybe, in 40 years or so I would have taken my rightful place as the king of the world. Don t make that face Helen. Vampires are supposed to be in charge. For the humans own good." It was an old argument.
Helen shook her head. "I know you better than just about any one Nikola. You re sweet, idealistic and have a good heart."
I smiled smugly and straightened my jacket. "True. Go on."
"But I think you re getting a little ahead of yourself. Rightful place or not, the humans are not going to just let you take over the world. They rebelled once they will again. It isn t right Nikola. And I think deep down you know that." I frowned. I hate it when she talks like that. "I think the best thing you could do is sell off your patents and lay low for a bit."
"But what s the good of being the smartest man ever born if people don t know who you are? I want the world to remember my name a thousand years from now, and speak it with Reverence."
Helen sighed heavily. "Alright then have your way." she drifted over and began doodling on some schematics I was working on.
"I appreciate your concern Helen. I really do. "I smiled and walked up behind her, watching her smooth graceful writing cover the page. She looked up and blushed.
"Sorry. I was just... old habit." She murmured and dropped the pen.
"Don t be silly. You re my muse. Nothing you could do would be bad." I smiled and gently placed the pen back in her hand. "Whenever I m near you, my brain kicks into high gear. I rattle off ideas and inventions and everything makes sense."
Helen flushed with pleasure and I moved in closer to kiss her when there was a knock on the door. I growled softly as Helen changed again into her pigeon form.
"I don t suppose we could just ignore the knocking?" I whispered hopefully. In reply, Helen just flew over to the bed. "Yeah, thought not." I sighed and opened the door. Big surprise it was that uppity bus boy again.
"Sorry to disturb you and your wife sir." He leaned around me and looked to Helen. "I have your... I mean her tea." He held out the tea tray with an ingrating smile.
"Earl grey I presume?" I asked pointedly. "My wife prefers it."
the bellhop nodded quickly. "Yes sir. I brewed it myself. For your wife specially. I heard you talking sir, you called her your muse?"
Helen cooed softly and I turned to look at her. No doubt she was laughing at me. I'd make her pay for that when she changed back "Yes. Everything I build is for her." I took the tea tray with a polite smile and shut the door. Helen resumed her seat as I placed the tea on the table.
"Thank you, Nikola. That means a lot to me." she smiled as I handed her a cup. I shrugged.
"Its nothing special Helen. Just tea. Its the least I can do after you give me access to your wine cellar in London." I smiled and handed her a cup. She took my hand and held it.
"No. I mean saying I inspire you. It means so much that you think so highly of me."
I smiled and kissed her hand. "But its true. Just having you here has made my life a thousand times better. My only regret of leaving England was leaving you behind. "
She blushed and pulled her hand away. "Thank you Nikola. I am grateful to you as well. For your friendship."
I smiled and watched her finish her tea. "So what are your plans? Not going back to England so soon? "
"Actually no. I thought I might set up a sanctuary here in the Americas."
"Wonderful idea! Then you can come and see me all the time." I grinned and tried to pull Helen into my lap. Unfortunately, she has the same vampire strength that I do.
"Nikola, a lot of work goes into running a Sanctuary." She laughed and pushed me off. "It takes responsibility and dedication. Part of why I never left you in charge of one before now."
"Mmm right." I pouted and let her go. Helen smiled and poured some wine for me. "Maybe I could come and see you?"
Helen nodded enthusiastically. "Id like that. We never get to see each other. We did so much great work together. As the five. I wish..." She trailed off with a sigh.
I nodded and put a comforting arm around her shoulder. Before Johnny showed himself to be a psychopathic nutball, we were inseparable.
"I know, Helen. Me too. But that s not how it works. Time carried us apart. Life got in the way, We were fools to ever think otherwise."
Helen nodded and tried not to cry. Anyone who didn t know her would think she had succeeded. I pulled her into my lap and comforted her as best I could. "Shhhh. Its alright. We re together now. And you still have Watson."
"But it isn t the same." Helen sniffed and buried her head in my shoulder, clinging tight to my vest. I tried not to enjoy it too much. "You re here in New York and James is always jetting off to Paris or Beijing or... somewhere else. And Nigel disappeared off the grid three months ago. As for John... I know its terrible but I miss him."
"We get by. We still see each other. We still write. Nigel will come back. And John. Well its John. He still loves you." Not as much as I love her, but that wasn t the best time to tell Helen that. "He'll come back eventually Helen. He loves you."
Helen dried her eyes and smiled. "Thank you Nikola. You re a good friend." She kissed me softly on the cheek. I considered turning my head at the last minute so she kissed my mouth instead, but I decided Id save that for next time.
"Its getting late. I better go. I need to find a place to sleep for the night and if I'm ever going to get a premise for a Sanctuary." Helen looked at me seriously. "Be careful Nikola. If John does come back...he has the sourceblood too, and he s a lot bigger than you."
I smirked and watched Helen change back to a pigeon. "I m not scared of Johnny Helen. Besides, I m bigger where it counts."
Pigeon-Helen glared at me fiercely before taking off again. I scowled. "For the record, I meant intelligence!" I called after her.
Helen came less and less frequently and I missed her more every day. She disappeared one afternoon and didn t return for a year and a half. I kept to my rooms, avoiding as many people as I could to keep the secret of my youth youthful appearance. I continued inventing in hopes that Helen would return soon. I wrote to her, and to James since I knew that would make her happy. It was a bleak winter s day when Helen finally did return. She looked as youthful as ever, with short black curls . But her eyes were weary War was coming.
"Its going to be a bad one too." She sighed.
"Didn t they just have a war?" I asked, pouring Helen a cup of tea. Pity. I'll have to invent something. A defense weapon. Something that will end war forever."
"I would never have pegged you for an optimist Nikola." Helen teased and pushed a crumpet into my mouth.
I chewed hurriedly and swallowed. "How bad can it be really?"
"I mean they have one of those petty squabbles over land-"
"Or religion. Or ideals... They set off a few bombs tell each other to go to hell and then its over and done. No reason to get all worked up."
"Serbia is gone, Nikola. Swallowed up by Germany. I'm so sorry."
I sat down quite suddenly. Smiljan? Helen it cant just be gone. I mean it... cant"
"And Holland too. " Helen sighed and took my hand. "I m sorry Nikola."
"Thank you Helen. It means a lot to me." I smiled and squeezed her hand reassuringly. "But what about you? Will you be safe in England?"
She nodded hesitantly. "I think so. England hasn t been conquered in over a thousand years." she replied, and began examining some schematics. "Nikola? What is this?"
I shrugged and examined the notes over her shoulder. "Just some scribbling. Nothing really I just thought..." I picked the blueprints up and examined them more closely. "Actually I think I can use these. Look, with a trajectory and the right voltage I can... Why are you looking at me like that?"
Helen smiled radiantly making her eyes sparkle. "I love watching you work. Its amazing to see your mind whirl and the way your face lights up. I ve never seen anyone with so much passion for what they do."
I flashed my signature smile, the one I know secretly makes Helens heart melt. "It's just what I like I guess." Helen shifted over so I could sit beside her I picked up a pen and went to work. I tried to move closer to Helen, who crossed her legs and looked at me expectantly. I smiled and went back to my blueprints. "If I can create a strong enough charge, no one would be able to attack within the perimeter. Not unlike the EM shield I built you Helen."
"Which works wonderfully. Thank you Nikola" Helen smiled warmly and placed a hand on my knee. Be still my heart.
"Of course it does, I invented it." I smirked, which caused her to slap me.
"Arrogant Bastard." Helen tried to look angry, but she was laughing too hard. "But this... protection ray, it could also be used as a weapon, if it had an electrical charge." Helen sighed, reading over my shoulder.
"I thought of that. But if I sell the patent to every country, no one would have the advantage. No one could use it as an Ace in the hole if everyone else is holding the same Ace. Or is it Jacks? I was never one for card games." I grinned crookedly. "What could go wrong?"
"You always did dream big, didn t you?" She sighed wistfully.
"Isn t that why you recruited me for the Five?" I Smirked. "Or was that just for my genius and good looks?"
That made Helen laugh, even though it hadn t been my intention. Still it was nice to see the worry leave her face.
"That was part of it, the genius." Helen replied between laughs. "Another was that you always had the ability to do the impossible." I returned her smile she gave me and decided to attempt to kiss her. Just as I wrapped my arms around her, Helen stood up. I pouted.
"I had better go." She said. "Good luck with your invention."
"You ll be back? Soon?"
"I don t know Nikola. I hope I can. But England is getting bad. I need to stay with my
I watched sadly, as she returned to her Pigeon form and slipped gracefully away from me. I poured another glass of wine and looked at the setting sun. My world was dimmer without Helen Magnus in it. I wish I had told her that. Maybe if she had known sooner it would have been different.
The war picked up steadily and Helen wasn t able to come again until I sent an urgent letter to her and James begging for help. She arrived within the week and she was furious.
"Tell me the rumors aren t true!" Helen yelled the moment she was human again. "You built a death ray?"
"You look hot when your mad." I smirked.
"For gods sakes Nikola be serious." She growled and held up my letter.
"It wasn t supposed to be a death ray. It was supposed to be for defense. It was supposed to end the war. All wars. But military jarheads don t think like we do. They saw a weapon and they want a weapon. I cant build that thing now. And a lot of people are after me for it. I need your help Helen, please."
Her expression softened considerably and I took a step closer. "Please Helen? I m in a lot of trouble." I took her hand in mine pleadingly.
"Alright I don t want to see you beg." Helen smiled mischievously. "Actually I do. But not now." She squeezed my hand reassuringly. "Ill help you Nikola. But you have to be more careful in the future."
"Thank you Helen." I smiled in relief and covered her hand with mine. "So what should we do?"
Helen sat down thoughtfully. I poured us each a glass of wine. Good wine always helped me think. Not that this stuff was worth even calling Grape juice.
"I hope they wrap this war up soon" I grumbled and sniffed the swill the hotel had recently stocked the wine cellar with. "Cant even get a decent bottle of Charidnee."
"France is being occupied. The German Reich taking over." Helen replied. "You really should get out more."
I took a sip and spit it back out. " I heard California has some good wineries. I wonder if I can get them to-"
"Nikola focus." Helen said sharply. "I think the best stratagem is to tell the world you stopped inventing. If your not building or creating anything then there would be no reason to expect your death ray..."
I vamped in annoyance. "Helen! You cant possibly be serious!" I knew I sounded whiny but I didn t care. "I cant just stop inventing! That s like asking me to stop breathing... or drinking! Although with the sewage they have in this place I might have to give up the latter..."
"You could still invent machines Nikola, just don t let anyone know. Sell off your patents and let others take credit. At least for a little while. I talked it over with James. He said its best to fake your death and hide out somewhere but that seems a bit drastic. Even for you."
I curled my lip in disgust. "How can I stop inventing when my muse is sitting right in front of me. Looking as amazing as always I might add." I smiled and pulled her into a hug.
"Helen nodded softly "Well if that s the case, your pigeon wife will have to die."
I let go and looked seriously into her eyes. "But... you ll still come to see me? Wont you? Helen, please."
"Nikola. If this doesn t work we will have to fake your death." She replied shaking my arm. That always meant she wanted me to be serious. "Watson and I thought this all out. He s going to set up a reservation for me. I'll check in tomorrow and check out after a week. In the meantime, your Pigeon wife" She smiled at me apologetically. "Will have to die. Cancel the tea service you take in for her. Tell anyone and everyone who asks. And say you lost you innovative spirit or something like that."
"But I don t want you to leave." I pouted.
"Make sure you get word out. The newspapers the radio. Anything Spread the word. You ve stopped inventing." Helen continued as though I hadn t said anything.
I stood and crossed the room. "You cant be serious. Helen please don t leave me. I hate the thought of you dying. In any sense."
Helen looked at me dangerously and narrowed her eyes. "Do you have a better idea?"
"Run away with me. Well live in Poland." It was an old joke. I half expected her to roll her eyes and laugh. I didn t expect her shoulders to drop.
"Poland is gone. Germany invaded last month." I sat suddenly as my legs turned to Jelly "It s really happening isn t it? Another world war?" I ran a hand through my hair, only stopping when Helens fingers joined in.
"I m sorry Nikola." she said and ruffled my hair.
"It seems unreal." I sighed. "To think the whole world is going to war. Everyone..." I picked up a pen and began sketching, the machine taking shape almost before I could draw it.
"Nikola what are you doing? You cant..."
"Cant invent things for the general public. But this isn t for them Helen. Its for you." I cut her off without looking up. "I don t know when we ll see each other again, we live in a very precarious time and I want a secure way=y we can communicate." I held up the sketch and examined it carefully. "Knowing you, you ll be in the thick of the fight."
Helen smiled and looked over the sketch carefully. I watched the sunset play across her youthful features, bringing out the red in her auburn hair.
"Its late " Helen stood and stretched. "We should get some sleep."
"We?" I repeated faintly.
"Well I cant fly off if your pigeon wife is supposed to have died." Helen replied matter of factly. "And I- I mean Irene isn t supposed to check in until tomorrow afternoon. You said yourself, the bed is big enough for us both."
I felt myself blush and stepped out of the light until I could compose myself.
"I hope you plan to take full advantage of me Helen." I smiled as smugly as I could. Helen tried to look annoyed but I could see a gleam of amusement in her eyes.
"Honestly. 84 years old and you have the impulses of a teenager."
"You make me feel young Helen. I grinned. She rolled her eyes.
"Good night Nikola."
"Alright, but if you change your mind... Wake me up so I can enjoy it."
"In your dreams." Helen tried to growl, but I heard her suppress a laugh.
"Every night and you know it." I replied smoothly. She laughed for real at that.
For all my teasing and Flirty banter, I was courteous enough to respect Helens space. She on the other hand curled up beside me. I smiled and stroked her hair.
"I knew you couldn t resist me forever."
Helen purred and tucked herself into my chest. I breathed in her scent and stayed awake, just watching her sleep peacefully. I dreaded the morning, when Helen would leave indefinitely. The day my beautiful White pigeon would never return.
"You ll miss me at least?" I asked over breakfast. I tried to hide my desperation, but from Helens understanding smile I don t think I succeeded. She knows me all too well.
"Of course. We re still friends Nikola. I always missed you." she replied softly. "I hope we can see each other again."
"Soon?" I asked, not trying to disguise my hope of a yes. Helen laughed and shook her head.
"You are a hopeless dreamer Nikola. You know that right?"
I smiled smugly and pulled her close. "We re all prisoners of our dreams and delusions, my dear." I purred softly. To my surprise, Helen didn t pull away, but leaned in closer.
"Then why do we hold on to them so tightly?" She whispered back.
"Because they are ours. They belong to us alone." I replied. "It s our dreams and delusions that set us free."
"That s a contradiction."
"Most things are." I grinned and leaned forward to kiss her. "So you re checking in under the name Irene?
"Irene Adler." Helen laughed. "Jimmy s idea. Well his concept of an inside Joke I suppose."
I stiffened. Watson? "You re seeing Watson?" I accused. "Really Helen? I released her and strode across the room. Of course, she would move on. I couldn t expect a woman like Helen Magnus to stay available forever. I was too late. Again. Steely cold blue eyes turned to face me.
"And so what if I am?" She shot back. "You don t expect me to moon over John for the rest of my-extensive- life did you?"
Her voice was acidly sharp, but I knew her too well to know it was anything but pain.
She wasn t over John.
I sighed. This was my last day with the only woman I could ever love. I wasn t about to spend it fighting.
"No of course Not Helen." I backpedaled. "You re a fine woman and any man would be fortunate to catch your eye. But James is well... James. He s petty arrogant, backward thinking.
"...Self centered, insolent, full of himself, smug
"And you re none of those things." Helen teased and swatted at my arm. I took advantage of her good humor and held her soft milk white hands in mine.
"Come with me Helen. I promise Ill do everything I can to make you happy." I smiled at her, searching her blue eyes. I couldn t believe I was about to lose her again. And to Watson of all people.
"Nikola, it would never work." Helen sighed wistfully. "You need to disappear and I need to stay with my sanctuary network."
"So its goodbye?" I asked, rubbing her soft hands gently
"I wish it wasn t." She sighed.
"If you need anything." I dropped her hands, unsure how to finish.
"I ll find a way to contact you. Helen smiled. "If you need me for anything, don t hesitate to contact me. Send word to the London Sanctuary. They ll know where I am. "
I kissed her knuckles softly. "Helen, I want you to know, if I ever said anything to upset you, I truly apologize"
"You have nothing to be sorry for." Helen smiled and cupped my cheek.
I opened my mouth to respond when there was a knock on the door.
"Damn bellhop." I growled. Helen smiled and pushed me toward the door.
"Yeah yeah I m coming!" I grumbled and opened the door. "Can I help you?"
The bellhop looked at me quizzically. "I have your tea sir. For your wife? The Pigeon?"
"My Wife died." I replied mournfully. "Last night. I need to cancel that. I m sorry if you went t out of your way today. And I ll be cancelling my weekly order of sketch papers.
The bellhop looked at me uncertainly. I sighed, "She was my muse. Without her, I can t invent."
"You re quitting?" The bellhop asked in surprise.
"Retiring." I corrected tensely. "Thank you for your service. And My wife would be grateful too." I handed him a hefty tip and closed the door.
Helen returned from the bathroom in a fashionable blue dress. I smiled and looked her over.
"You look magnificent." I smiled and waited for my breath to return. She smiled and extended her hand.
"Thank you, Nikola." She smiled then gasped when, instead of kissing her hand like she expected, I pulled her into a strong hug. She resisted briefly, but settled in after a minute and rested her head on my shoulder.
"Do you think, in another life we could have been... more?"
"More?" Helen laughed. "More than an insane Vampire inventor and a pigeon wife?"
"I'm serious Helen."
"I don t know. Another time, another place?"
"Another life. We could have been better friends or..." The word 'married' died on my lips at the expectant look in her eyes.
"Nikola. We have several lifetimes. We may yet be more one day. We'll see each other again, I ve no doubt." Helen ruffled my hair and leaned in close. I don t know if it was intentional, but She kissed me on the lips. I was temporarily stunned. When I recovered, I pulled Helen close and returned the kiss, savoring her taste.
It was almost too good to be true. Helen, my beautiful, illustrious, perfect Helen Magnus was kissing me!
"Nikola." Helen whispered when we finally pulled apart. I opened my eyes, not realizing I had closed them in the first place. I smiled and leaned in for another kiss.
"Until our next life." Helen smiled blissfully.
And she was gone.