I am stuck on every project, and in an intellectual rut, so I am using a different part of my brain. Not enough brain cells left to continue any fic series, but just enough for a one-shot.

Probably confusing, thoroughly unbetaed. But I hope you like it. Reviews are bliss!



The gajasimha had managed to elude the searchers from the Mumbai Sanctuary for weeks after the rest of the solders from Hollow Earth had been subdued and returned home. Praxis would never be the same, but at least the radiation levels were tolerable now.

Helen Magnus took a deep breath of heavy, humid and looked out across the dry rice fields of Kerala. She and her team had done their work, lured the elephant-lion hybrid out of hiding and found accommodations in the Mumbai Sanctuary. She'd been back and forth across more than a century of time, broken from John completely, and killed Adam Worth. In all that time not a speck of a break. She'd made Will take the team back home, but she herself had stayed, flown south to the Western Ghats and found a small but luxurious houseboat to rent in the backwater canals. And she let the world pass her by for a few precious days as she waited for one season to end, and another to begin.

The clouds swirled in the distance, the wind already picking up and singing against the tin roof over the cabin behind her, moving the stale think air and promising sweet relief so very soon. There was something primal about this moment of suspense, when every soul for hundreds of miles waited breathlessly for the life giving rain. They waited for monsoon.

She rose from the deck chair on which she reclined, smoothing the light green cotton of her tunic and skirt. It was too hot for anything resembling formal attire, and she was alone except for the chef who brought her tiffin boxes several times a day with all the pungent curries and chutneys she most loved. Right now there was nothing except for the dry land and the low canal, waiting for the drenching rain.

Except she wasn't alone. Her boat rocked softly, indicating with all the sensitivity of a motion detector that someone or something had boarded her boat. With a studied air of calm, she stayed utterly still, with her hands gripping the bamboo rail of her temporary home, as soft footsteps sounded on the reed mats of the hallway. Once they got close enough, she yanked the gun out of her waistband and spun with masterful speed, aiming and cocking the weapon at her invader - who merely grinned.

"Nikola! I could have shot you." She let her hand drop and tried not to notice the thrill in her stomach at his invasion of her privacy. It was good to see him.

"Nothing you haven't done before. And I'm a vampire again, so it's not quite such a concern now, is it." He strode over to stand next to her, his eyes on the clouds. She took the half-second of his silence to look over his form, clothed for once in something other than a full suit – in fact he'd gone a bit native, in a cream tunic and pants in a similar style to her own garments.

"Why are you here, Nikola?"

He sighed, "Always straight to the point Helen. No nice small talk. 'How have you been, Nikola?', 'Enjoying your restored state, my brilliant genius?', 'Thank you for answering my note from the past and managing to pull me a century into the present with only a few week's notice, lbujav!'"

Her heart skipped a beat at the word lbujav – loved one. He would have her call him that, wouldn't he. She did own him her life, more than once, but especially this time. She'd been so angry with him when he'd run off after his revamping, disappearing after giving her a searing kiss in the jeep she'd rented and then running off…no doubt in search of antelope to eat rather than drinking her blood. But she'd sent him a note when she was in the past, a desperate attempt to return to the future, and someone he'd conquered Praxian technology far better than Worth ever could, bringing her back with not even a radiation singe on her clothing, just in time to battle the hoards that had come from Hollow Earth. He'd disappeared because she'd asked him to, in a letter he'd received the day after he'd been restored to his immortal state.

"I gave you a kiss, Nikola. Isn't that worth a thousand thanks?" She shifted nervously, not understanding what had possessed her to speak of that particular kiss. After everything had calmed down and the world was messier but not destroyed, she'd clutched at his wrinkled lapels and pulled him to her, kissing him thoroughly and not letting him go until they'd both been breathless with long, slow, wet kisses. Will had walked in on them and she's blushed and stammered, and Nikola had been gone from her Sanctuary within the hour, damn him. And now he knew she wanted him, he would be insufferable.

"Your kiss is priceless, my love." She gasped softly, and he turned, taking her hand in his along the rail. His touch was filled with electricity, but it had nothing to do with his particular talents…it was just her reaction to him. He smiled softly, not a smirk in sight, and his eyes held something that she'd never seen so open in them before – fear. In fact, he was terrified.

"Nikola, what's wrong? What's happened, is someone after you again? Are you…" he held his finger up to her lips, shushing her as he laughed ruefully.

"No, for once no one is attempting to kidnap or murder me, at least not actively. The world is not ending. You are not departing on some epic journey, and I believe you are not about to fall into John's arms if he should suddenly materialize here, with horrendous timing. So, I have an question to ask you, because you couldn't blame anything else for your acceptance or rejection than the state of your heart."

She was still trying to process his words when he knelt down on the deck, his eyes lifted up to her in supplication. Struck silent at the sight, she listened with an open mouth as he spoke, "I love you, Helen. What would you have me do?"

Was he some kind of paladin on a quest, her love his personal Holy Grail? She snorted. That was not what she wanted, not at all.

His face fell, and she could see his mask of calculated nonchalance begin to fall back into place. It occurred to her how much of himself he had risked, telling her once again that he loved her, and truly meaning it.

"Very well, Nikola. You want my heart, then you must earn it, with something almost impossible for you to accomplish."

His eyebrow quirked, and he gave her a half-smile. "What would milady ask of me? I can do anything you know, I'm a genius."

There's that smirk of his.

She pursed her lips, looked thoughtful, and spoke one word.


He blinked up at her, uncomprehending. "Stay…stay where, stay with what?"

She bent down to look him in the eyes, her lips hovering close to his. "Stay with me. Don't run – you always run. You ran after John proposed, and after he was shown to be the Ripper. You ran after the Titanic and after the war you disappeared for decades. You always, always run." She was crying, and his arms wrapped around her upper arms, pulling her to her knees with him. Hope shone in his eyes.

"Do you love me, Helen?"

"Will you stay?"

He pressed a kiss - soft, sweet, and ethereal - to her lips, and she felt the first drop of rain against her cheek. She thought it was a tear, but when another fell and another, they both looked up to the swirling, dark gray sky overhead, and the heavens opened.

Their mouths met again, this time in hot, opened-mouthed kisses that promised as much as the rain promised new life to the parched earth. Her hands ran through his impossible hair, and he gripped her hips, pulling her close so she could feel the heat of his body, warm despite the cool of the rain soaking them both. She pressed her body against his, stroked her tongue against his and lost herself to the moment, praying that her heart wouldn't be broken.

He tore his mouth away from hers, losing himself to the vampire for a moment as his eyes went black and his teeth sharp, but this was part of him, beautiful and alluring and bloody sexy. She could feel herself respond, and what had been loving and desperate turned hot and needy. She ran her lips over the cords of his neck, wetting her lips with the rain and the salt of his skin. He groaned and she smiled into his skin before reaching his ear. "Volim te," she whispered over the deafening noise of the rain. "I love you."

His hands tightened on her hips and he responded, "Zauvek." He pressed a kiss to her temple. "Forever, lbujavi." He claimed her mouth again, and his hands moved up her back, claw shredding the fabric until the tunic hung forward. He pulled away, sweeping his hands over her skin, his claws safely stowed away as he looked at her rain-slicked breasts.

"No brassiere? Your assets are far too generous to go without. It's a scandal, Miss Magnus."

Still her Nikola. "Doctor Magnus. And it was hot. And I was alone until you showed up to pester me. Would you like me to put them away?"

He didn't answer in words, but his eyes danced as he bent swiftly to capture a nipple in his mouth. She moaned softly in response, the contrast between the warmth of his mouth and the cool of the rain purely pleasurable. She blinked away the water as it ran down her face, unable to stop looking at Nikola as he nipped and sucked and worshiped his way from one nipple to the other, his eyes smiling up at her, his hair plastered to his head in the downpour. She pulled on his arms, yanking him back up for another kiss, her hands yanking on the unyielding wet fabric of his shirt where it clung to his pale skin. He chuckled into their kiss, relishing her frustration for a sweet moment before he helped. He sliced into the fabric with a single nail and shrugged out of the remnants, growling softly as she ran her hands over his skin, tracing the outline of firm, wiry muscles.

His hands slid down her back, sliding under the waistband of her skirt and panties to cup her rear and pull her up against his thigh. She ground her sex against his leg, needed the pressure where she throbbed with slick wetness for him. She could feel him hot and hard through the near transparent fabric of his wet trousers and she slid a hand over his abdomen and without shame thrust her hand into his pants, stroking over the length of him. He tore his mouth from hers, his eyes swirling with black as he smirked at her, looking adorably ridiculous, soaking wet and unendingly sexy all at the same time. She pumped him several times and his nails sliced the waistband of her skirt and knickers in retaliation, and he unwrapped her with what was no doubt supposed to be a dramatic twist of his wrist, but turned into the slapping of wet cotton across their thighs. She laughed, gleeful and careful, and after an impressive pout he joined her with a full throated laugh that was louder than the pummeling of the rain on the deck.

She let go of his cock and pushed at the waistband of his pants for once wishing that she too had claws and could rip the barriers between them away rather than struggle with recalcitrant soggy cotton. He refused to let go of her ass now that he had it in his hands and she wriggled away from him, pulling on his pants until he finally let go and she plopped backward on her rear. He grinned in victory and sliced his pants and boxers to ribbons with inhuman speed and he climbed over her, pinning her to the slick reed mats on the deck, his hips caught between her splayed thighs, his lips devouring hers.

She let him think he'd won, wrapping one long leg around his thigh and her arms around his back to pull him closer, bringing their bodies so close – his chest to her breasts – so that not even the rain could wriggle between. He ground his hips into hers as his tongue traced her teeth, his cock sliding easily between her labia between her juices and the omnipresent rain.

Then, she spun him over, climbing astride him when he was still in a state of minor shock at her actions. She waiting, poised above him, her hand gripping his cock, until his steel blue eyes met hers and he smiled a smile of wonder. Then she slid down, taking him inside of her and feeling every delicious thick inch of him fill her up. She threw her head back and laughed to the rain plummeting from the sky, rising up once again on strong thighs and then falling, taking him within her like the thirsty ground drinks up the rain. His hands slid over her stomach, cupping her breasts, stroking her neck, worshipping her as his eyes never left her. When she looked back to him, love shining from her like a miner's lamp, he arched his back and slammed into her, driving her over the edge and making her scream her happiness and his name to the rain gods.

He followed a moment later, her tight grip on his cock too much to fight, even for a vampire. She collapsed against his chest and he held her, pressing kisses into the beautiful mess of her tangled hair and whispering words of love in his native tongue.

She'd come to experience the coming of the monsoon, the bringing of life to a land in waiting.

It had been more profound than she ever could have guessed.