The End Is Where We Start From

He has been cooped up too long without his medication or anything to feed on. When his captors present him a broken body, he lunges at the chance to feed before he recognises who would be his last meal.

M for violence, sexual scenes, and some language.

Disclaimer: The angst-whore muse is all mine. Everything you recognise from Sanctuary is not. The title is a quote from the last episode of Torchwood season 2.

A/N: I'm really sorry about this. I didn't mean for my Teslen-day fic to be so mean. (Sorry for the pun.) Of course, as with all of my writing that handles difficult topics, I happen to like the way this turned out probably a little too much...

Happy Teslen Day, and I hope the rest of what you read to celebrate isn't so whumpy.

Chapter One (2484 words)

He hasn't had his medication in far too long.

He doesn't know how long it's been; when he gets like this, time loses much of its sense, its meaning, its importance. When he hasn't had his medication for this long, and he hasn't fed in even longer, it is all his rational mind can do to keep his body from taking the sustenance it needs from the first source it can find.

When a wall of his impenetrable prison slides away to reveal another such prison, the size of his own, his powerful nose picks up the delicious scent of his first meal in far, far too long. The scent is overwhelmingly wonderful, taunting his taste buds with the promise of ecstasy.

In a fluid movement, he crosses to the prey they have revealed to him. She is sitting on a chair, bruised, burned, and bloodied, completely unresponsive, and naked. She has a long gash up her left thigh, from which blood still drips, out around her wrongly-skewed kneecap, down the length of a well-toned calf, and pooling in the curve of her foot. Her right thigh is a series of shorter, horizontal, and no longer bleeding cuts. Judging by the rather small volume of blood pooling around each of them, they are not much deeper than superficial. Her arms are another matter entirely. She has a myriad of burns, ranging in size from the tip of a knife to what could be nothing other than a small cup of boiling wax poured down her right shoulder, which stopped dripping a bit less than halfway down her upper arm. The wax is still covering the area, though it has long since cooled and hardened. In addition, it seems she was struggling more with her arms: the ropes her captors used to restrain her have made much more noticeable red welts on her wrists and elbows than they did on her ankles. Her stomach and chest have been badly bruised; her lower abdomen is deeply black and blue, her breathing seems laboured as if her ribs have been damaged and have run into her lungs, and her breasts are the inhuman shade of bruises about to form and spotted with bright red welts. Her hair is matted and stringy and dangling in front of her face, hiding her from his view.

The only reaction he can have to this horrific scene is, Good, she'll be easy to take.

Rather than let perfectly reasonable blood go to waste, he kneels between her outstretched legs and slowly licks the blood from her right leg. It is, as the mere scent has promised, ecstasy in taste. She tastes like a fine wine and a hearty meal, and he savours every moment that he can of her blood on his lips and his tongue, satisfying his hunger like nothing else could or ever would. There is no reaction to his tongue sliding over the surface of her calf, or her knee, but when his tongue hits the open wound of her thigh, her breath hitches almost imperceptibly, even to him, and he finds himself privately remarking on the remarkably sexual nature of his stronger side – something he never noticed, he reasons with himself, because he made a silly vow never to feed on a human. Silly, rash, and, truth to be told, against his very nature – and he can't even remember what possessed him to do such a thing.

He turns his head to clean the pool of blood on her other leg, and as he passes her pussy, he gets a half-whiff of old fucks and remembers, suddenly, a long, long time ago in this prison, the half-muffled whisper of a woman screaming "No!" somewhere very far away. "Oh, my dear," he murmurs in the rough, deep voice of his stronger side, in between slow licks of his tongue across her thigh, "Someone has been very naughty, haven't we?"

She moves a little as he does and says this, mumbling something that even to his ears is indecipherable. He smirks at her skin – it's the mad rambling of someone nearly dead – and moves his head up to her neck, his fangs bared, her head already lolling to her right, and leans in for her blood.

Then, she manages to get out a single word: "Nikola..."

He freezes, and every moment of the last few minutes replays in his mind with agonising slowness before his mind is clear enough for him to see what's in front of him. The small amount of her blood and the reawakening of the very human part of him have returned him to his less threatening state: fangs and claws retreated, irises returned to their usual blue-grey, fear for her and disgust at himself rampant in his expression.

He brushes the dark, stringy strands of hair away from her face and nearly cries. It's her. It's his oldest friend, his closest ally, his would-be lover.

She was going to be his next meal.

Suddenly, the wounds which were nothing but good business to his darker side terrify him. The fear more than overtakes his bloodlust. Here she is, his Helen, and she is going to die. She is more than near enough to it.

"Helen," he whispers, brushing the hair out of her face and tucking it more securely behind her ears. "Please, Helen, look at me."

She opens her eyes, but he can see that it takes a great effort. She attempts a smile, and even if it hadn't turned into a grimace of pain, it would not have been a pretty sight: A jagged scar cuts along one cheekbone, down below her nose, and almost vertically across her lips. It is dripping blood into her mouth.

He wants to cry, but after so long denying himself the luxury, the tears won't come.

She looks into his eyes, the desperation and the pleading more than rampant in them, and croaks out two words that break his heart: "Fuck me."

He wants to say no. He wants to tell her she doesn't have the strength. He wants to promise to fuck her when she's better. He wants to tease her about it. He wants to say anything, but he can't, because he knows why she's saying it, and he doesn't want to admit the very real possibility of that.

So, instead of the rough-and-tumble half-teasing manner he wants to adopt, he is deathly serious and blinking away tears that won't even do him the justice of leaving his eyes. And he doesn't obey her. He doesn't fuck her.

He makes long and beautiful love to her.

He knows that, really, he doesn't have the time to worship her body like he is. He needs to try even harder now to get them out of here, because she needs to live. If she doesn't live, there's no reason for him to live. But he can't think about that – he can only think about what he's doing, what he has to do. He is trying not to cry as he licks every last drop of spilled blood from her body so that she will be clean and loved, as he lightly presses his lips to every sore or cut or scrape or bruise or slight source of pain to her. His last stop is the cut across her cheek, the one that ends in her lips, which part willingly under his own. He kisses her, and the taste is the most perfect thing he has ever tasted: It is utterly and unmistakeably his Helen, her love and her tongue and her blood and the tears she is able to cry slipping down her cheeks and mixing with their mouths.

And when they break apart, gasping for air, she whispers, even more desperately than before, "Please, Nikola. Fuck me."

He doesn't want to, because he knows if nothing else, this will break her, but he cannot resist her incessant pleading. So he sheds the suit he is, out of habit, still wearing, and lays it as a slight comfort on the ground. He lifts her up, slowly, horrified to see the deep ruts of a hard whipping on her back, and, carefully as he can, lays her down on the makeshift bed. He slides into her slowly, one hand guiding his cock, the other supporting him without putting any unnecessary weight on her. She is tight, and he fills her well, the pleasure nearly filling his body to the bursting and, from her expression, certainly overriding her own pain. He takes it softly at first, wanting to keep her from additional pain for as long as possible, but with her hips responding so naturally to his and the way they fit with one another and how long he has waited for this moment, his body moves faster though his mind feebly tries to tell him not to and the climax is coming so soon, and then, finally, after waiting for so long, he is spilling himself into her.

He moves his arms to the side of her head and leans forward on them for a moment while he catches his breath. She has the most angelic smile on her scarred face, and she leans her head up slightly to press her lips to his. "Thank you," she whispers quietly, the hitch in her voice betraying her fear.

As he sits up, he pulls out of her and then lifts her up gently so that she can sit in his lap while he leans against the wall for support.

"Nikola," she murmurs, leaning against his shoulder.

"Helen," he answers as comfortingly as he can muster to the dying woman in his arms.

"When I–" her breath hitches, and she takes a moment to gather her courage. "When I die, please take my blood."

He frowns at her. "It doesn't work like that," he says softly. "That won't bring you back."

She nods slowly. "I know."

They exchange a long and meaningful look, and he understands. She wants him to make it out alive, even if she won't.

The tears are sliding down her face freely as she says, finally, "I love you, Nikola."

They return to his eyes, too, even if they still won't do him the justice of falling. "I love you, too, Helen. I always have, and I always will."

Her lower lip quivering, she nods, her heart finally at peace, and leans into his chest. With one arm around his neck for support, the fingers of her other hand intertwined with his, and she listens to the sound of his immortal heart beating. "Tell me a story," she whispers so softly it takes all of his vampiric awareness to pick up on it.

Closing his eyes, he plants one soft kiss on the crown of her head, leans his cheek against the spot, and speaks.

"One day, in the late 1800s," his story begins, mustering a half-teasing tone that tries to lighten the mood of what would otherwise be a deathly serious situation; "a young Serbian had come to greatest Britain there ever was, to learn things that would change his life at the posh Oxford University. So far, however, all he had learned was that the British were a little too fond of their tea and not all that interesting giving lectures. Then, someone changed that for him. She was pretty, but she was more importantly smart, and most importantly shared the view that no one at that silly university knew the first thing about giving a lecture. Lectures were supposed to be fun, and inventive, and informative – not that she would necessarily follow her own advice when she got around to being the one giving the lectures – but it was certainly a good point over which these two outsiders could bond. They shared a love of science, and the unusual, and though neither were smart enough to admit it at the time, each other.

"One day, they discovered a very rare, untainted sample of blood from the original vampires. What luck! What magical, unknown properties this rare substance could have! So, being the rash and headstrong youth that they were, they injected themselves with this substance, each taking a small portion of the whole. The young Serb became a vampire. His smart, pretty friend gained immortality, and a sudden inclination of something she had to do. So, once she had overcome the painful acclimation of her ability, as had he, she did that which she had always meant to do: She kissed him, and she told him she loved him, and he assured her his feelings were the same, and they took on the future, hand-in-hand, happy in the knowledge that, even without anything else, they would always have one another."

By the end of his tale, the tears have finally been released from their invisible prison and are pouring down his face in torrents and splashing unnoticed onto the relaxed and lifeless face of the woman in his arms. He knew the instant she died, but couldn't interrupt his story. The tears began to fall, but some part of his mind knew that she wanted him to finish his story, that some part of her soul lingered on to hear the ending.

He sits in this awful prison, sobbing his heart out, for longer than he wants to admit. He is thoroughly spent by the time his breathing subsides to normal. If there were ever a time for him to welcome the thought of sleep, this would be it. If there were ever a time for him to welcome the thought of death, even to try for it, this would be it. True, weak, cowardly, human death. He wants it more than he wanted anything before. More than he wanted to be turned back into a vampire. More than he wants Helen to be alive and well.

She has been lifeless in his arms for so long, and he remembers all too well the moment when that tiny spark of life left her, when the faint strength holding her muscles together relaxed, since when he has been left with a limp body cradled to his chest in the hopes that his love will somehow resuscitate her.

And he knows it's foolish. He knows it was her last request. He knows two more tiny pinpricks will hardly show up on the bruised and battered body he's clutching like a lifeline. But, no matter what he tells himself, he can't convince himself to feed on her. If he lasts too much longer, here, his darker self will certainly feed from her, but until that becomes a threat, he will sit here, clutching her to his heart, as the last dredges of life slip from her broken body and into the peace of oblivion.