May I present to you the final instalment of 'A Very Teslen Christmas'. Or, as I like to call it, "How many times can I make Helen and Nikola get it on in a little over 17,000 words." The answer? Read on and find out :P

I did consider breaking this up into smaller chunks but that'd be teasing and this is meant to be a gift not torture :P

So, a big Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Joyous whatever you celebrate/Yay Tesla's back on Sanctuary (let's face it, that's the best gift any of us could ask for and worth celebrating regardless of your beliefs and Imma go watch it now :D :D) to LoveActuallyFan (a.k.a SB :P), Your Misanthropic Humanitarian, Chapa'ai-hi, Meegan, GrandEmpress13, Animiamy, moonchild94, leew1, Sailor's Wife, ZaraShade, sanctuaryrulse, TheImmortalNemesis, Whirlwind421, HelenTeslaKitty, Mellow girl, Samantha McKay, Colonel Beccah Carter-O'Neill , AzarOra, starrynight398, Emmy1512 and SanctuaryObsessed. I know there are others who read the story but everyone above took the time to leave a review so I felt I needed to give y'all a big cyber hug!



"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse," Nikola drawled from his place in the doorway. "Or an abnormal," he added with a grin. Twisting in her seat, Helen turned to face him, smiling before shaking her head at him. There he lounged in dark turtle neck sweater, hair not quite combed but not wild either, a large glass of brandy in his hand.

"Poetry? Really?" she scoffed as he sauntered towards her. "You've got less than three hours left with which to woo me and you're going to go with poetry?" She wrinkled her nose. "Really Nikola, I thought you knew me better than that."

Nikola chuckled before taking a sip of brandy, closing his eyes as he savoured the flavour.

"At least it's not Shakespeare," he said, wrinkling his nose. "And I know you much better than that," he agreed, sitting down next to her on the sofa, for once to a mote too close to her. In fact, if she didn't know better, she'd even go so far as to call it a respectable distance. "I only felt that, considering the circumstances in which we find ourselves, it was appropriate."

She smiled at his comment but said nothing, reaching forward instead to grab her own glass of brandy from the coffee table that sat between them and the roaring fire. In truth, the whole evening did have a rather Christmas-y feel to it. Her office, at some point during the previous night had been rearranged so that the largest sofa faced the fire and the entire room was decorated from top to bottom with tasteful green boughs. A great tree had been erected in the corner and it did not twinkle with electric lights, instead covered in almost ancient ornaments, some of which she recognized from her youth. There was minimal tinsel and, shockingly enough, only one skerrick of mistletoe and it wasn't even hidden, instead hanging proudly from a gold and silver thread to dangle just in front of the fire place, a few feet above her head.

The room was done just the way she would have done it herself, had she been so inclined, leaving it feeling warm and cosy. Plus the delicious candy canes nestled in amongst the softly scented leaves made the entire place seem like some kind of fantasy.

"Did you do this?" Helen asked conversationally, gesturing with her free hand to the lavish decorations.

"And if I did?" Nikola asked over the top of his glass.

"I merely wished to say thank you," she said with a sigh.

"Well, as much as I'd love to accept such thanks, I am not wholly responsible," he admitted with a small smile. "I managed to recruit your little hodgepodge team too."

"What did you threaten them with?" she joked, taking a sip of the amber liquid.

"Death. What else?" he replied with a wink and she laughed openly at that, leaning back against the sofa.

They sat quietly for a few moments, watching the crackling fire, sipping at their drinks.

"The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads," Nikola quoted absently, a small smile playing on his lips.

"Is that your way of telling me that the others have gone to bed?" she asked, arching a brow at him.

"They took Kate out clubbing," he corrected, looking over to her. "Something about showing her a good time before she went back to Hollow Earth. They asked me to tell you."

"Well now you've delivered your message..." she said with a tiny smirk, daring him to leave.

"I still have a poem to finish," he replied mockingly. "And... oh, two hours and fifty-seven minutes to kill until you dash all my hopes and dreams."

"Giving up then?" she asked with a victorious smile.

"Never," he said with a wide grin and she had to laugh.

"Something's never change," she said with a sigh and he chuckled.

"I'd like to think the fact that we're both sitting here is concrete proof of that."

"True," she allowed, raising her glass in mock toast of his words. He smiled at her before taking another sip, closing his eyes and relaxing into the chair. Putting down her glass, Helen watched this very relaxed version of her friend. These past few weeks had shown her a very different side to Nikola, one that she wasn't sure she'd ever known existed. As much as she'd begrudged his presence some days, it was nice to have someone around who didn't think twice about simply talking to her as an equal. Sure Will had come out his shell these past few years and they were most certainly close friends but their talks always ended up coming back to work. With Nikola it was all different. Well, with this version of Nikola it was all different.

Even after three straight weeks in his presence, this new Nikola was a little bit mind boggling. Oh, he was flirty and inappropriate and would take advantage of any situation but he also reminded her of the sweet young man she'd met all those years ago. Even back then he had his barriers but now, now he seemed to be genuinely at peace. Erratic, chaotic and hectic peace, the only kind of peace Nikola Tesla could ever know.

"Stop staring Helen," he said, eyes still closed, a smile quirking the corner of her mouth.

"Oh get your mind out of a gutter, I was only noting how at peace you look," Helen said, covering the fact that her eyes had, during her appraisal of his state of mind, drifted lower and lower and...

"Of course you were darling."

Growling at him, Helen reached over and hit his arm lightly. He recoiled, jumping away from her as his eyes opened. Scowling at her, he rubbed his arm and mumbled something under his breath.

"What was that?" she asked, her voice clipped as she sat up a little straighter.

"I only said that you're hot when you're angry," he said with a wide grin. Rolling her eyes, Helen swallowed the last of her drink before setting the glass down on the table. Then Helen muttered something under her breath.

"Speak up my sweet, or I'll be forced to ask you to whisper in my ear."

"I only said that I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning when I can tell you, once and for all to stop trying to hit on me," she said tartly and he chuckled. "Best Christmas present you'll ever give me."

"The more you say it the truer it is," he commented, lifting his glass in mock toast. She stared at him quizzically for a few moments, trying to place the all too familiar words, laughing lightly once she did.

"As much as I admire the quote," she said, eyes twinkling merrily at him, "I believe you're running short on time and, at this point in time, I feel distinctly disinclined to throw myself at you."

"The night is young," he said mysteriously.

"Yes, as young as you and I," she drawled, rolling her eyes.

Nikola laughed softly at her joke before he too finished his drink.

"You do realise Helen that with your advanced age, I'm going to become your boytoy," he said conversationally, waggling his eye brows at her.

"Please Nikola, I've had lovers who were barely a quarter of your age," Helen scoffed, twisting to face him properly.

"So then you admit you want to take me as your lover?" he said, leaning back, raising a hand to his heart as his eyes widened in mock surprise.

"Don't try and twist my words old man," she said, waving a finger at him. Laughing, Nikola darted forwards, grabbing her hand before she could complain and brushed his lips across the finger she had berated him with.

Helen opened her mouth to say something (though she wasn't sure what) but Nikola released her hand, leaning back into his seat with a smug grin.

"Have no fear Helen, before the night is through you'll be able to kiss me."

"You're awfully sure of yourself," she commented, trying to stem the blush in her cheeks. "Even after I've spent the past three weeks successfully avoiding your lips." She decided to leave out the fact that he'd given her next to no opportunity to come in close contact with those lips.

"I have a master plan," he said mysteriously.

"You realise that I've foiled all of your master plans so far, right?"

"Please," he scoffed, "I let you. After all, I am a gentleman."

"Oh yes, forcing yourself on me in Rome was a very gentlemanly thing to do."

"Come on Helen, I hadn't seen you in over 60 years! How could I resist?"

"You could have asked," she said with a decidedly saucy look. He stared at her for a second. "But we're getting off topic," she continued before he could protest. "I believe you were about to divulge your master plan." Nikola narrowed his eyes at her before sitting up a little straighter and, for the first time, Helen noticed that, while he hadn't moved, she was most certainly sitting closer to him than she'd been originally.

"Firstly, I did ask you to kiss me," he said, pointing a finger at her, "and secondly I was most certainly not. I was about to implement the final stage of my master plan," he countered with a proud smile.

"Do your worst," she challenged, throwing her arms wide and settling back with a confident smile. She knew all his tricks. Or at least she thought she did.

His eyes suddenly softened, his smile became more genuine and, as he edged closer to her tentatively, she, for once, didn't feel the need to shift away from him. There was no predatory leer, no teasing smirk, not even a hand wandering a little too close to her leg. Instead he was simply looking her straight in the eye, lips curled softly, an air of sweet, unbridled excitement surrounding him. She could see the apprehension in his eye but, as he shifted that little bit closer, she was impressed that, after all these years and all those rejections, he was still willing to bare everything to her.

"Helen." He said her name softly, as if caressing each syllable lovingly. His smiled grew a little.

"I love you." It was not a confession, it was not a plea, it was just a statement of fact. His words were light and gentle, holding no deeper meaning or hidden agenda.

He said nothing and she said nothing and they simply sat in silence, watching each other. Nikola seemed perfectly at ease, that faint smile still on his lips but Helen just knew her eyes would be wide with shock. Her heart was racing and it was getting harder to breath. Her fingertips were tingling and her entire body was starting to ache. She needed something but she couldn't quite figure out what. The room was silent except for the crackling fire and, despite the fact that she was wrapped in a woollen jumper, Helen felt too cold, like the fire in her bones was gone.

"Can I kiss you?" Nikola asked softly, breaking the silence yet somehow his words were not startling. His tone fitted the pleasant warmth of the room, suiting the pretty golden light that everything was bathed in.


She honestly couldn't remember thinking the word, let alone speaking it but there was no denying that it was the right one.

His smile widened to almost dizzying lengths before slowly he leaned over, barely touching her lips before pulling back to smile at her. Well, he tried to pull away but Helen, after having come so close to tasting him, followed him as he moved away, chasing his lips with her own. Not that Nikola complained, of course. As her hands moved to secure his face, he shifted closer, pressing as much of his body to hers as he took her by the waist, pulling her closer as his lips moved softly against hers. She tried to deepen the kiss but he resisted, keeping it soft and sweet and romantic.

Until she tangled her hands in his hair, anyway and then his mouth was parting under hers, allowing their tongues to meet tentatively, exploring each other with an intimacy they'd never really achieved before. She moaned softly against his lips and tried her best to crush her body to his. Sensing what she wanted, Nikola broke the kiss, looking down at her for one lust filled second before he grabbed her and heaved her across his lap.

Helen made a small, startled noise but, as Nikola's lips captured hers again, it quickly turned into another moan. Threading his hands through her loose hair, he held her tight, tasting her with the utmost care. His fingers massaged her skull gently as if she were made of glass and, while the tender ministrations were nice, over a hundred years of foreplay had Helen ready for far more than romantic kisses.

Taking the lead, Helen moved her hands from his shoulder down over his chest, tracing the faint outlines of muscle before reaching the hem. She let a few of her fingertips wander under the thick fabric of his sweater, pushing aside his undershirt until she was able to feel his warm skin. Nikola moaned against her lips and deepened the kiss somewhat but it wasn't enough. Frustrated with his obvious disinterest in doing any more than making out, Helen slipped off his lap, leaving a rather stunned looking Nikola in her wake. His eyes were huge and glassy, begging her to come back to him. Just as his hands reached out to her, Helen moved back onto his lap, this time straddling his thighs and wrapping her arms around his neck.

Grinning madly, she leaned in and kissing him passionately. Nikola, whether thrown by her change in position or simply getting as frustrated as her, returned the kiss eagerly, wrapping his arms around her waist to secure her to his body.

This was what had been missing, she realised with a start. This is what her body had been craving. Being this close to Nikola was intoxicating, he brought back to life that fire within her but more than that, he fuelled it, making her burn even hotter than before. His lips were soft and pliant against hers but so commanding at the same time. Despite the fact she was on top of him, controlling the angle, he was, surprisingly enough in control of the whole situation. His hands on her back, while caressing her, told her how to move, how to act. She was putty in his oh so capable hands.

But still, it wasn't enough. Helen could feel the growing hardness beneath her and she knew, from the way he had to hold back a groan every time she pressed her crotch against his that he was just as keyed up as her but still he did nothing except kiss her tenderly. Sure there was teeth and tongue involved but he was being gentle with her and she could tell. Wanting to feel more of the soft skin she'd barely touched before, she ran her hands quickly down his chest, this time grabbing the edge of his sweater and yanking it up before shoving her hand under his undershirt too. She raked her nails across his abdomen and he shuddered under her touch, hands tightening around her.

Pulling back, Helen smirked down at him in satisfaction but, upon seeing the darkening of his eyes, swallowed heavily. He looked absolutely irresistible, hair mussed, lips glistening in the dim light but, more than that, there was something in his eyes that took her breath away.

With renewed urgency, she moved back in to kiss him, demanding that his hands become a little less polite. Nikola answered her silent demand with a growl before ripping his lips from hers.

"As romantic as the idea of making love in front of a fireplace is, I'd much rather retire to somewhere that doesn't have security cameras," he said, his voice a little rough as one hand rubbed soothing circles on her back. Briefly Helen toyed with the idea of worrying about the tapes tomorrow but, as Nikola began to ease her back off his lap, she sighed and decided to take his advice. As soon as they parted she regretted it, missing his warmth but, as he stood up, body flush against hers, she decided that, so long as he stayed this close, she'd happily compromise. She leaned in to kiss him but, with a small smile on his lips, he pushed her back a few steps, around the coffee table until she was standing before the fire.

"I've wanted to do this for some time," Nikola confessed but before Helen could think a single confused though his arms came around her, dipping her backwards before his lips came crashing down onto hers. With a soft, contented sigh, Helen wound her arms around his neck once more, holding herself to him with the aid of his strong arms as the small bunch of mistletoe twirled gently above them.

"I love you," he whispered between kisses before swinging her back up to a standing position. Her hands automatically went to his shoulders, holding herself steady and all she could do was grin.

"I'm glad," she whispered before leaning in to kiss him again but this time she could feel joy radiating from him. It was a joy she couldn't understand but one she hoped she was the source of.

All of a sudden, Nikola pulled away, beaming down at her as he took her hand, leading her slowly towards her office door.

"There's one more surprise," he said softly as, hand in hand they walked the abandoned corridors at a pace that was making Helen's skin crawl. She needed him, to be with him, on him, beside him, kissing him and the lazy way he swung their joined hands as they meandered down the corridor was too much. Seizing control she began to stride ahead, all but dragging Nikola to the elevators. He chuckled quietly before stopping suddenly and tugging on her hand until she spun around to face him.

"Just breathe Helen," he said softly, reaching forward to cup her cheek. Slowly, so as to heighten the anticipation he leaned in until their lips were only millimetres apart. "Just. Breathe." Then, as if his instructions weren't hard enough for her to follow, he kissed her gently, lips barely brushing against hers.

It wasn't enough, she decided when her brain function returned. Trying to deepen the kiss she raised herself up, threading her hands though his hair and pressing against him in a way that would make sure he was aware of what she wanted.

But, instead of reacting as she wanted him to (pushing her against the wall was the only suitable cause of action to her), he chuckled and pulled away once more. With a soft, unguarded smile he took her hand and began to stroll down the corridor again.

"Please," she whispered hoarsely, tugging on his hand. Nikola gave her a pitying smirk that would have been insulting if she wasn't so keyed up.

"We have all night and then some," he said softly, raising their joined hands to brush his lips against her hand. "There is no need to put on a show for the security cameras. Be patient"

"Please," she said, a little stronger this time.

"Helen Magnus, pleading," he mused thoughtfully as they began to walk again. "Get on your knees and we'll talk."

Stopping dead, Helen dropped his hand, shooting him a look that very clearly said challenge accepted as he turned around to chastise her. Understanding exactly what she intended to do, Nikola grabbed her only moments before she sank to the floor, rolling his eyes as he began to half push her down the corridor to the elevator.

"And you say I'm incorrigible," he muttered under his breath and she let out a low groan.

"You are. And you're a tease," she bit back angrily as the carriage doors slid open and they stepped inside. "I've half a mind to send you back to your room. Alone."

"Who is the tease now?" he joked, pulling her close so that he could bury his face in her hair. She tried to be strong, she really did but as his hands slid around her waist, holding her back to his front she could no more push him off than he could deny the arousal pushing at her back.

"Plus you couldn't," he whispered confidently. "You love me, remember?"

"Shut up," she whimpered, letting her head fall back against his shoulder. She didn't question how he knew such things, already half certain he was psychic as well as a genius.

"Told you so," he said softly, holding her tight as he let out a contented hum. Unable to control herself, Helen ground her hips back against him, pleased when he let out a low growl of approval.

"Wait, please," he muttered. "Just, wait."

His soft words were a plea but they were tinged with something that made her curious. Turning in his arms, Helen raised an eyebrow as she faced him.

"What's wrong with you Nikola?" she asked, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I would have expected you to throw me against the nearest available surface and have your way with me." She was vaguely surprised at the speed she'd accepted where they were heading but she shook it off. This wasn't going to be a one night thing and while that was terrifying, it was also Nikola and if the past few weeks had taught her anything it was that Nikola really, truly loved her.

"Trust me, that was plan B," he murmured, leaning down to give her a lazy kiss.

"So this is plan A?"

"Pretty much," he agreed with a small nod.

"Do I get to find anything more out about plan A?" she asked, pressing her lips against his jaw.

"Soon enough," he promised, stroking her back with one hand.

"Mmm, now please," she insisted, leaning in closer to nip at his pulse. Nikola groaned and his hands tightened on her for a second but then he managed to get some of his self control back.

"Helen," he reprimanded softly. With an irritated huff she tried to pull back but Nikola had other plans, holding her tightly.

"Let me go please," she said, squirming a little in his arms.

"Never," he whispered reverently and she froze, a somewhat foreign emotion flooding her body.


Instantly she hugged him tighter, burying her face in his chest as she tried to stop from smiling too much. Nikola chuckled silently but tightened his arms also, swaying with her slightly until the elevator came to a stop.

Gently he loosened his grip before taking her hand once more, pulling her towards her room but, as they neared it, he got more and more impatient until eventually he pinned her to bedroom door, silencing her laughter with a heated kiss. His hands, which until now had been polite, began to roam her body with obvious intent. As his mouth moved to her neck, biting and licking and sucking and marking she let out a strangled laugh.

"Nikola, we're here," she reminded him.

"Mhm," he replied as a hand moved around to cup her ass.

"Open the door and we can use a bed," she whispered, putting up absolutely no protest as his hand slipped under her jumper. While a bed sounded good, the door was where they were and she could be very compromising when the need arose.

Unfortunately it seemed those were the exact wrong words because, with a displeased groan, Nikola detangled them.

"Plan A," he said with a half hearted grin and, despite the fact that she was about ready to throw him to the floor and screw him into oblivion, a sense of smug satisfaction shot through her. She'd almost, almost been able to make him forget about his plans. This was costing him just as much as it was costing her.

Taking a deep breath as if to steady himself, Nikola reached around her and opened the door. She could see the gleam of excitement in his eye but, until she turned to face what she assumed was, at one point her bedroom, she didn't understand it.

Slowly she took several steps inside, mouth gaping as she looked around. There was a low fire roaring and more of the tasteful decorations she'd found in her office but the real centrepiece was her bed. The four poster bed was disguised almost beyond recognition, a thick curtain of mistletoe hanging down from the curtain rods. Each side was almost completely obscured by long strings of silver thread that tied together hundreds of small bunches of mistletoe, ending just before the floor. Gauzy gold fabric topped it off, the new canopy adding a decidedly magical feel to the dimly lit room.

"Oh my," she whispered as Nikola came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist as he began to pepper her neck with hot kisses.

"The kids didn't help with this one," he whispered before finding the sensitive spot behind her ear.

"You did this..." she trailed off softly, barely paying attention to his lips. "You did all this for me?"

Turning in her embrace she hoped her gratitude shone through in her eyes.

"Of course," he whispered between kisses. His hands once again began to wander, this time more frantically than before.

"I can't believe it," she murmured before he captured her lips hungrily, all but devouring her mouth as he pushed her towards the bed.

"As pleased as I am that you like it," he muttered, "can we maybe do the whole wide eyed wonder thing later?"

"What happened to that patience you were preaching before?" she asked as he kissed his way up her throat.

"I may be patient Helen, but I'm no saint," he growled, pulling back to stare down at her for a brief moment before attacking her throat once more with a quiet growl the resonated through his chest and into hers.

"Nikola," she breathed. "It's-."

He swallowed her words with a bruising kiss that made fire race through her veins. In a second she forgot about the room, the mistletoe, the gossamer, her entire world shrinking to one single point. Him. She didn't think to question it, simply grabbing his top and using it to drag him over to the bed. Blindly they stumbled towards the bed, his shirt and her shoes disappearing in the process. His hands only left her for long enough to part the make-shift curtain before he was pushing her back onto the bed. She landed with a slight bounce but before she could make out more than the new golden canopy above them, he was on her again, lips on hers as his hands sought out the gaps in her clothes.

With a frustrated growl, Nikola pulled back, hands flying to his belt urgently before yanking down his dress pants. Understanding where he was going, Helen grabbed the hem of her sweater, ripping the fabric over her head before starting on her own pants. She had just about shimmied out of them when his hands grabbed her hips, pulling her closer to him before one set of nails tore her pants until the ruined fabric simply fell from her legs. She thought briefly about complaining but then his lips were on hers once more and the combination of his mouth and hands working on her body was potent.

Moaning into his mouth she wrapped one leg around his waist as she tangled a hand in his hair. He responded in kind, grinding his hips against hers as one hand moved to grip her waist, the near skin to skin contact driving her insane.

"You're too perfect," he whispered against her lips as she gasped in a lungful of air. "Too perfect."

"Shut up and kiss me," she growled, pulling his lips back to hers urgently. He moaned into the kiss, his tongue duelling with hers in what seemed to be an unwinnable battle for both of them. Then, with alarming speed, Nikola pulled back, kneeling between her legs as his hands formed fists on either side of her hips. He started down at her for one long minute, eyes dark and chest heaving as he fought something.

"I can't slow down," he warned, his voice a throaty growl. "Not this time, I just... I need you to be mine."

"Please, do it," she whimpered in reply, his lack of control shooting straight to her core. He was one of the most principled and disciplined men she knew but for her, he was throwing it all away. Rolling his shoulders in an impressive show of restraint he lifted one hand, letting his nails grow before reaching over and trailing a line down her abdomen. The slight scratch was enough to make her shiver but not enough to break the skin and while Helen knew she was in a dangerous place, she also knew there was nothing to fear. Nikola would never be able to go too far, she knew he wouldn't hurt her because her pain would hurt him.

Confident in her assumption, Helen let herself relax, moaning softly as his nails moved back up to caress the tops of her breasts.

"Look at me," he ordered in a low grunt. Helen tried to make herself focus but it wasn't until he slid a nail under the front of her bra that she realised what he was doing. In one quick movement the cream satin and lace number fell apart, baring her chest to the cool night air. She shivered, trying to come up with a scolding but as his hand trailed down to her panties, she gave up on the idea.

All at once Nikola leant forwards, burying his face in the crook of her neck as a very human hand moved up to roughly cup her breast. He flicked the nipple with a blunt nail and she bucked against him, enjoying the way that his other hand then came into contact with her heated core. Gently he stroked her through her panties, fingertips just dancing over the silk in a way that made her arch beneath him, silently begging for more.

Chuckling once more, Nikola pulled back, gently grabbing the lace on her hips and tugging it slowly down her legs before tossing it aside. With the enthusiasm of a dying man he shuffled down, kissing a path from her breasts down to the tops of her thighs that had her panting in a second. Nipping gently at the soft skin of her inner thighs, Nikola held her hips steady.

"Nikola, please," she moaned, hands flying to his hair. With all the strength she could muster she hauled him up until she was able to look into his eyes. "No more teasing," she whispered. "I need you."

At her words his eyes darkened and a shiver passed through him. He lowered his head to her neck once more, licking and suckling her pulse point and she shifted her legs, wrapping them around his hips as she pulled him closer.

"Helen," he whispered reverently as she moved a hand down to guide his erection to her wet core. They both shuddered as the head brushed against her folds but as he sank into her, Helen was unable to stifle the moan that sprung to her lips at the pleasure of being so exquisitely filled. Once he was completely sheathed within her he paused, giving them both a chance to adjust but in a matter of seconds Helen was thrusting softly under him, spurring him into action.

With a groan he began to thrust, trying to keep a steady even pace but as Helen bucked and whimpered under him is was getting harder and harder. Sitting up he grabbed her hips and stared down at her as he thrust into her more and more forcefully.

"I'm sorry," he grunted. "I can't... I can't slow down... Not this time... I'm sorry."

"Faster," Helen urged, lifting her hips to meet his with each thrust. "Harder, please Niko, for the love of god just fuck me!"

Growling in approval Nikola dug his fingertips into her hips as he continued to slam into her as hard as he could.

In barely three thrusts Helen was fisting her hands in the bed sheets, mouth hanging open as she tried to fight the impending wave of her orgasm but when she looked up into his eyes it became a futile attempt. His features were completely human but he was staring down at her with something raw and unbridled in his eyes. As she flew apart beneath him, her entire body exploding under his expert touch, she identified the emotion. It was love. Not the sweet love she'd experience several times over. It was harsh and brash and possessive, something she'd only ever see once before in her very long life. She was his, whether she wanted to be or not and this new mark on her, this new sense of belonging finally, finally after all these years dissolved the last tie to the only other man who'd commanded her so fully. She was free, she was free to chose only she didn't have a choice because all those years ago she'd already chosen him.

Nikola roared his release, thrusting into her one last time before slumping over, his face pressed against her neck as he panted and Helen brought her arms up to hold him to her as a few rouge tears rolled down her cheeks. Pulling back slightly Nikola gave her a breathless smile before noticing the salty tracks down her cheeks. With infinite care he leant down, gently kissing each tear away before moving to kiss her softly. She could taste the salt of her sweat and tears on his lips as his tongue moved against hers, coaxing life into her sated body.

"What is it love?" he asked softly, reaching up with one hand to stroke her cheek gently. "Talk to me."

"It's nothing," she whispered back with a smile, leaning in to press her lips to his once more before seizing control, rolling them until she was settled atop him.

"I'm simply happy," she said with a wide smile before leaning down and kissing him more thoroughly. He responded eagerly and she felt him harden within her once more. Pulling back she grinned down at him.

"Now," she said, running her hands up and down his chest. "I'm going to make you pay."

"For what?" he asked with a chuckled, settling his hands on her hips.

"For teasing me these past three weeks without so much as a kiss to keep me going," she replied happily, grinding her hips softly against his.

"Helen," he choked out, "you made me wait for more than a life time in total, I think I win."

"Oh Niko," she said fondly, stroking his cheek. "You're still not getting it, are you?"

"Perhaps not," he replied with a cheeky grin. "But at least I get you."

Helen groaned, bowing her head at the truly terrible pun.

"You know what?" Nikola said, shifting his hips just enough that she shuddered above him. "I honestly can't believe I just said that."

"Well, that makes two of us," she agreed, rolling her hips in retaliation. He groaned in a manner completely different to her, eyes fluttering shut as he threw his head back.

"Let me make it up to you," he ground out, gripping her hips and pulling her down onto him more firmly. Helen shivered, biting her lip to keep from whimpering at the sensations. In less than a second he was sitting up, adjusting her on his lap before leaning forward to capture a nipple between teeth.

She moaned inarticulately at the sensation, gripping his head firmly as she started to ride him once more. She could feel him grinning against her breast as her whimpers got louder but she didn't care, all she wanted was for this moment to never end, to never have to give up the glorious sensation of his cock stretching her with every delicious thrust.

Pulling back from her now thoroughly ravished nipple, Nikola smiled up at her breathlessly, his hands pulling her closer to him as she continued to move. She leaned in to kiss him but shifted his head at the exact wrong moment, forcing her lips to land on his cheek. Helen moved back to glare down at his smirking bloody face but before she could utter a word he flipped them over.

Helen let out a yelp of surprise as she found herself on her back but Nikola silenced her, kissing her forcefully as he began to thrust slowly, the juxtaposition of the two sensations making her brain sluggish.

"I love you," he whispered in her ear as she trailed her hands down his back. "I will never, ever let you go."

"Never," she swore, arching her back as much as he'd allow, his body pressing hers to the blankets beneath them.

"Not even if you shoot me," he huffed and she laughed, a strange strangled noise as she held him closer. He chuckled against her lips, picking up the pace and she hitched a leg around his hip, pulling him deeper. Tossing her head back, Helen bit her lip as the first whispers of orgasm began to climb up her spine. As if sensing her imposing release, Nikola slowed down, taking both her wrists and pinning them above her head as he grinned down at her. Holding her arms with one hand, he moved the other back to her waist, skimming his hand up to cup her breast tenderly as he continued with his steady pace.

"Nikola," she breathed, squirming as a thumb brushed over her nipple. He leaned back just enough to watch his handy work before brushing a knuckle over the already pebbled nub. Helen shivered as he continued to arouse her with tiny strokes here and there until she could stand it no more.

She began to thrust wildly beneath him, silently begging for more of anything. He chuckled at her insistence, brushing his lips briefly against hers in distraction as his other hand managed to find a way between them to brush against her clit. She gasped into his mouth as he grabbed one leg, pulling it up until her foot sat on his shoulder. The new angle brought her higher and higher but it still wasn't enough.

With a strangled moan she arched once more, working on of her hands free to grab his head roughly.

"Let go Niko," she whispered.

He pulled back, his thrusts picking up speed as he gave her a questioning look but she knew what she needed. He let her leg slip back down and she wrapped it around his hips.

"Do it," she urged with a distorted smile and he shivered before thrusting faster and faster, harder and harder until his eyes screwed shut, his head thrown back in pleasure as his jaw clenched and that was it. Watching him come, feeling him pounding into her harder and harder as he lost control sent her over the edge until she was screaming his name, holding him tightly as her lips latched onto the distended cords of his neck.

He collapsed on top of her and she welcomed his weight, enjoying the fine sheen of sweat that was cooling on his skin. Carefully she tugged him closer, letting her lips coast over his shoulder. In all the time they'd known each other, she'd never known him to sweat yet here he was, all but crushing her as he panted against her neck, body sticky with sweat and sex.

"Am I?" he asked breathlessly, unable to finish the question.

"No," she replied, wrapping a shaky leg around him to prevent him from shifting from her body just yet.


"Positive," she said, pressing a kiss to his shoulder. "Plus if you move I'll be cold."

"Who needs blankets?" he agreed throatily, still unable to pull up to look her in the eye. Chuckling lightly she ran her nails up his back, trying to ignore the cool air tickling her bare skin.


They were both silent for a few minutes, Helen continuing to caress his back before Nikola pressed a kiss to her neck.

"What do we do if your blanket gets cold?" he asked quietly, his warm breath tickling her skin but Helen sighed. Twisting her head she sought out the pillows, a little alarmed to see them by her feet.

"Just a second," she muttered, pressing her body against his one last time before shoving him to the side, making a frantic dash for the top of the bed. She managed to reef back the thick quilt and top sheet before his arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her back into his warm embrace.

"Nikola," she exclaimed, squirming to try and get free but he held her tightly. "Get off me!"

"I missed you," he said huskily, kissing her neck.

"Sap," she accused, tilting her head back as the cool air hit her exposed chest and thighs, his wiry arms doing very little to protect her. "Now let me go, it's cold."

"I'm fairly sure I can warm you up," he muttered, letting one hand move to cover her breast, the contrast of his warmer skin on her cooler skin making her whimper slightly. He chuckled smugly and loosened his grip but she was too quick, darting from his arms and under the thick blankets before he realised what had happened.

Giving him a saucy look, Helen shifted further under the blankets, pulling them up to her chin before stopping abruptly, confusion flashing over her face. Quickly she yanked the blankets up peering underneath before her brows knitted together in confusion.

"Did you change my sheets?"

Nikola simply grinned, lounging back with his legs outstretched.

"Why did you change my sheets?" she asked, kicking at him from under the blankets.

He chuckled, catching her ankle through the silvery gold quilt that topped the bed.

"These ones are nicer," he replied, grinning as he moved to be on hands and knees before her, grabbing the other ankle to secure her in place.

"What was wrong with my sheets?" she asked, trying to keep the tremor from her voice as he slowly began to move towards her.

"I intend to spend a lot of time using the sheets," he answered softly. "Your sheets were fine but these are our sheets."

And with that he launched himself on her, crushing her to the mattress as his lips sought out her neck. She scrambled away from him as he began to pull down the blankets once more but once he was ensconced beneath the thick blankets with her, she very quickly returned to him, tossing a leg over his hip as she snuggled into his chest.

"Next time you change the sheets," she muttered against his collar bone, "try not to spend enough money to fund a small village for a year."

Nikola just chuckled, running a hand over her back gently as Helen felt the familiar pull of sleep wash through her body. He pulled her closer as she sighed, pressing a kiss into her hair.

"Are we going to talk about this?" she asked softly.

"Are you planning on kicking me out at first light?" he retorted.

"Not really," she allowed, enjoying the feel of his slightly hair roughened thigh insinuating itself between her legs.

"Then you can tell me all about how I'm the best lover you've ever had in the morning," he said and she could hear the grin in his words.

"Never going to happen," she replied, nipping at his neck.

"Spoil sport."

"Oh Nikola, does your ego really need that much stroking?"

"No," he allowed quietly. "But tell me anyway."

"Make me," she replied, thrusting her hips gently against his, the need for sleep being overshadowed by the promise in his voice.

"If you insist," he growled, dragging her up to straddle his hips before threading his hand through her hair to pull her down for a heated kiss.

And make her he did. Again and again and again.

Three may have been his favourite number but it quickly became hers.

Sometime later, Helen woke from the rather peaceful slumber she'd been so enjoying with a start. It was still dark, moonlight streaming in through the mistletoe curtains but she felt more alert than she had in a while. Nikola's arm was draped across her belly, his face turned away from her as he 'slept'. Her breathing was a little heavier than normal and she couldn't calm her racing heart that sent blood and fear pounding through her veins. She tried to take solace in his peaceful figure but it wasn't enough. She had to know.

"Nikola," she whispered, running a hand gently down the soft curve of his back.

"Nikola," she tried again, poking him softly but he slept on.

"Nikola," she said, her voice stronger as she prodded him none to gently in the side. "Nikola I know you're not asleep so stop pretending."

"Not pretending," he muttered, turning his head to face her, blinking slowly at her before snuggling into her side, his lips against her neck. "You tired me out. Though I have to admit that's never happened before."

"Oh," she whispered softly. "Sorry, I didn't think... I mean..."

"Make it up to me," he whispered huskily, shifting to spread her knees with his thigh. She chuckled and allowed him the action but when she didn't respond he pulled back with a sigh.

"So?" he started. "What's so important that's not more mind-blowing sex that couldn't wait until the morning?"

She swallowed and gave him a weak smile, feeling suddenly foolish.

"Nothing," she said dismissively, giving him a quick peck before trying to roll over and out of his embrace.

"Helen," he said warningly, creeping up behind her until he could wrap his arms around her. "If you don't tell me I'll be forced to drag the answer from you."

"Really Nikola," she said, trying to stay strong. "It's nothing just go back to sleep."

"Not going to happen," he whispered, moving back from her before rolling her onto her back and pinning her to the bed. "Now either you can tell me exactly what's got you looking so terrified or I'll drive you insane."

"You've already done the second part on multiple occasions," she muttered, turning her head to the side to avoid his questioning gaze.

"I swear you say things like that just to provoke me," he said, ducking his head to place a kiss on the side of her neck.

"Nikola," she breathed as he released one of her hands. Instinctively she reached down and threaded her hand through his mussed hair, arching her back as he began to nibble at her throat.

"The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow," he whispered, tracing a finger tip over the tops of her breasts. "Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below."

"That made no sense," she mumbled, eyes flitting shut as he drew random patterns over her breast.

"Nor does waking me up in the middle of the night to not have sex," he replied, pulling back to smile down at her affectionately. She noticed how his gaze stuck on her chest for a few moments, her skin bleached by the moonlight.

Taking advantage of his obvious distraction, Helen tugged her hand free from his grip before sliding both her hands down his chest.

"When, what to my wondering eyes should appear," she quoted as one hand wrapped around the base of his cock and he chuckled.

"Poor Helen," he mocked. "Your sexual education is clearly lacking if you don't realise the implications of this." He punctuated his words with a gentle thrust into her hand and she smiled coyly up at him.

"With a little old driver, so lively and quick," she said with a twist of her hand that made him growl.

"I object to your use of the word little," he ground out but she ignored him.

"I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick."

"I've been called many things in my long life Helen," he whispered, his voice strained as he pressed a kiss to her lips, "mostly by you but saintly has never been one of those things."

Helen simply chuckled, continuing her ministrations until his hand found its way between them, grabbing her wrist to still her actions. Roughly he yanked her hand up, holding it and its counterpart above her head as he settled himself between her legs.

"Helen?" he asked softly and she cocked her head. "Tell me why you were so upset?"

It took her a second to figure out what he was asking after, her mind thoroughly put at ease by his supple body hovering just above hers but soon enough it clicked and she felt her heart began to pound once more. She tried to squirm from his grasp but he held her firm, his eyes trained on her face.

"I'm not letting you go until you tell me," he said casually but his voice was laced with concern.

"Just... just let me sit up," she asked quietly, unable to meet his eye. "Please?"

He sighed, pressing a kiss to her temple before sitting up and helping her to do the same. She stared down at the sheets for few moments, only meeting his gaze when his fingers slipped beneath her chin, gently forcing her to look at him.

"Did I..." she started quietly, focusing her attention on his lips. "Did I tell you I loved you?" she asked. "Because I woke up and just had this feeling that I hadn't which is ridiculous because I'm fairly certain I did but I just can't remember and if I haven't I'm sorry because I really ought to have because I love you, I really do and I know that it may not always seem like it but I really do Nikola, I-."

He clamped a hand over her mouth, silencing at her as his eyes danced with mirth.

"You did," he said, clearly trying not to laugh and she ripped his hand from her mouth. "But you can say it again if you'd like."

"I'm glad you find this so amusing," she muttered, shooting him a dark look and crossing her arms. He grinned a little more widely, his eyes trained on her chest which, she soon realised, was most certainly enhanced by the way she'd crossed her arms.

"Typical," she hissed, uncrossing her arms and making to move across the bed and away from him but he caught her arms easily, dragging her back to sit against the headboard.

"Helen," he began, silencing her complaint with a tender kiss. "I love you. I love each and every inch of you. Right from you painfully compassionate head all the way down to your rather chilly toes."

He shifted further down her body, kissing a line across her collarbone.

"I love that you are here with me despite all the things I've done. I love that you trust me when you probably shouldn't. I love that you bite off more than you can chew every chance you get."

He moved again, pressing hot, open-mouthed kisses to the tops of her breasts.

"And I love your breasts which is odd because while I've always admired them, they weren't the first things I fell for when we first met."

"Nikola," she breathed, unable to form a more coherent response to his words.

Flashing her a quick grin he shifted once more before sucking one nipple into his mouth as his hand came up to cup her other breast.

Helen arched her back, moaning loudly as she began to grind her hips restlessly under him.

"Shh," he whispered, pulling back. "We don't want the children to wake up and come in search of Santa."

She opened her mouth to chastise him but then his lips closed around the other nipple and it was all she could do to bite her lip. Gently he took the nub between his teeth, making her thrust against him as her hands flew to grab the headboard.

"God Nikola," she growled, her voice far closer to a baritone than usual.

He released her with a wet pop, grinning as she mewled in displeasure.

"Do you want to know what I love most of all?" he whispered, kissing a line down her stomach.

"It's not your stunning blue eyes or superhuman intelligence or the fact that you don't need a gun to kill a man."

He pressed a kiss on each of her hip bones before sliding between her legs. Resting his head against her thigh, he looked up and gave her another of those disarmingly genuine smiles but she couldn't help but think she must look ridiculous. Her hands were clamped tight to the headboard, her breathing heavy and her nipples standing erect in the cool air.

"I love that you love me," he said quietly before ducking forwards to press a kiss to her wet heat.

"Nikola," she cried, bucking her hips as his tongue began to trace faint patterns around her clit. Sucking the bud into his mouth, he thrust two fingers into her and Helen cried out once more. She was close, so close and the fact that he was showing no inclination to tease this out made her happier than anything else.

He pulled his fingers out, making her whimper before thrusting three back in. The stretch was delicious and she squeezed her eyes shut at the sensation, thrusting her hips as she begged him to move faster. Picking up on her message he crooked his fingers, rubbing frantically against that spot within her just as he bit down lightly on her clit and that was it. A bright scream of pleasure was ripped from her throat as he brought her higher and higher, her body shaking and trembling uncontrollably from the frighteningly powerful release.

Slowly he pulled away from her, each tiny action causing a fresh wave of near painful pleasure to shoot through her body. Somehow, without her noticing he moved up her body, pressing a brief yet passionate kiss to her lips. She could taste herself on his lips but as he began to pull away, she used what little strength she had to grab his neck, pulling him back for more. Their tongues met lazily, her sated body like putty under his caring kiss. For a few long minutes she simply enjoyed the feeling of his tongue mapping out her mouth but she very quickly became aware of his erection brushing against her thigh.

With effort she pushed him off her until she had enough room to sit up and turn around. Carefully she raised herself up onto her knees, grabbing the headboard before glancing over her shoulder at his lust filled eyes.

"Come on then," she ordered with a grin, pleased when it took him a few moments to realise what she was asking. Scrambling to his knees he moved behind her, taking her hips in his hands as she arched her back in invitation. He growled quietly, hand tightening as the other guided him to her opening. Helen moaned at the brief contact but before she could beg for him to enter her, he did just that, thrusting into her with one smooth movement.

He paused as if giving her a chance to get used to it but she needed him now. Grinding her hips back against him, she let her head fall forwards, groaning at the sensation of being so full with him. Breathing heavily, he began to thrust slowly, each artful stroke making her body clench in need.

"Touch me," she whispered, throwing her head back to peer over her shoulder at him. As she'd expected, he was magnificent, eyes black and fangs bared as he snarled at her. He was losing control, she could see it so she redoubled her efforts, picking up the pace as she urged him to take her properly.

One hand slid around her body to toy with her nipple as a knuckle drifted to her clit, brushing against it erratically as his movements picked up speed. Soon enough he was slamming into her, making her twist and whimper beneath him.

He growled, hands moving frantically as he brought her higher and higher.

"Niko," she breathed, feeling the sweat dripping from her body. She wanted to come, to scream his name but in the same breath she never wanted this to end. She tried to hold on, to hold back but when he started to whisper the sweetest nonsense in her ear, she fell apart, her body clamping down on him as she moaned her pleasure, lights bursting behind her eyelids as he thrust one last time, roaring his release behind her.

Breathing heavily, he collapsed to the side, dragging her with him. Neither said anything, simply holding each other tight as they fell once more into a deep sleep.

When Nikola woke in the morning, he found himself to be in what he gathered was a fair approximation of a sexual death grip. The sun was high in the sky and Helen was wrapped tightly around him, her body plastered against his and while it wasn't essentially unpleasant, he very much wanted to watch her sleep if only to remind himself that the previous evening had actually happened.

Carefully he tried to pull back but even in sleep, her grip was fierce and she ended up following, only a little sigh escaping her lips as they moved. Rolling his eyes, Nikola relaxed back into the bed, settling for holding her a little tighter. Her hair fanned across his shoulder, tickling his chin as the other dark brown curls cascaded down her delightfully bare back. Shifting slightly, Nikola moved so he could trail a hand up and down her back, revelling in the tiny shivers that wracked her body as he mapped out the sensitive spots along her spine.

When his hand dipped below the sheet that hung off her hips, a low hum slipped through her lips, the reverberation flowing through her body and into his. Feeling his body react to the shared sensation, Nikola removed his hand. It would do no good for him to be completely 'awake' if she was going to continue playing sleeping beauty.

Sighing he stared up at the golden gossamer above them, pleased that, despite the fact he'd sort of rushed the mistletoe that it had stayed up during their rather vigorous activities last night. Then Helen sighed once more and his attention was drawn back to the sleeping woman in his arms. Despite the fact that they were almost the same height and the presence she usually commanded, right now she seemed to Nikola the smallest thing he'd ever seen, positively fragile. The sun streaming through their mistletoe curtain cast strange shadows on her creamy skin, creating a stark contrast that made her seem as pale as a ghost. The shimmering silver of the sheets added to the illusion and Nikola couldn't help but feel proud of his choice. As much as she may have said otherwise, the sheets were an excellent decision on his part.

Reaching up with the one arm that wasn't held firmly by his sleeping lover, Nikola gently brushed a lock of hair from her cheek. He couldn't see much with her head on his shoulder but he smiled, watching the muscle of her cheek twitch under his fingertips. And then, as if by some miracle, she sighed and released him, shifting to lie on her back, one hand draped across her stomach, the other resting by his shoulder.

Her hair was fanned out around her, her face more relaxed than he'd seen in a good long while and suddenly a bolt of inspiration struck. Slipping away from her, he shuffled to the edge of the bed, grabbing a handful of mistletoe and yanking on it harshly. With a loud snap, the curtain of mistletoe on that side of the bed fell. He looked guiltily at Helen for a moment, worried that he'd awoken her but when she let slip another of the adorable little noises he'd come to associate with her sleeping he grinned, crawling back to her slowly and dragging some of the mistletoe with him.

Sitting by her hip he quickly separated the bunches into smaller and smaller sections before learning forwards and re-arranging Helen's hair. Then, as gently as he could, he proceeded to nestle the green and white bunches amongst the dark brown curls.

He'd just about run out of places to put the mistletoe when Helen began to stir, a low groan slipping through her lips as she frowned.

"Nikola," she asked, her voice gravelly with sleep. "What are you doing?"

"Oh nothing," he replied with a grin, continuing with his previous actions. "Just decorating you."

She blinked blearily at him for a few seconds, her incomprehension of the situation making her even more adorable.

"I'm not a tree."

"No," he agreed indulgently, "you're an angel."

She groaned at his words, swatting away his hands before arching her back. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss to her cheek.

"I don't suppose you'd allow me to take a picture of you right now, would you love?" he murmured and she groaned once more, pushing him off her.

He pulled back with a smile, brushing an errant lock of hair from her forehead before cupping her cheek tenderly. She smiled up at him but in an instant he knew something was wrong. Sighing, he shifted to lie next to her, one hand tracing circles across her abdomen.

"Shh," he whispered in her ear after a moment.

"What?" Helen asked quietly, turning her head to look at him.

"I believe 'shh' is a common version of 'please be quiet my dear'," he mumbled, pressing a kiss to her neck.

"I didn't say anything," she replied, squirming a little but he simply wrapped an arm around her waist.

"You're thinking," he said, mock scold in his voice.

"What?" she asked incredulously, trying once more to turn but he held her firm.

"You need to stop thinking," he explained patiently before nibbling at her neck.

There was a pause and he could practically hear her puzzling over his words.


Groaning Nikola rolled over, pinning her to the bed.

"Stop. Thinking," he said punctuating his words with kisses along her jaw.

"You're thinking too," she retorted before an uncharacteristic giggle slipped out. Nikola pulled back, eyeing her with disbelief for a moment.

"I think quieter," he replied before swooping back down to his previous spot by her side

"Quieter?" she asked sceptically, still squirming against him.

"Quieter," he readily agreed.

"Well," she whispered, "I bet I can make you stop being quieter."

"I bet you can."

And with that, he rolled on top of her, silencing her with a kiss. Helen reacted instantly, throwing her arms around his neck as she kissed him eagerly. Together they shuffled until the sheet on her hips slipped away, leaving bare skin against bare skin. Moaning, Nikola let his lips slip down her neck to her collar bone, sucking on the supple flesh happily as she threaded a hand through his hair, something he'd found she rather enjoyed. Pulling back, he glanced down at the fresh mark on her neck smugly before continuing down to her breasts. He felt her breath hitch as he pressed a kiss in the valley between her breasts and couldn't help but grin.

He always knew he'd be good at bring her pleasure and now he had proof. Gently he bit one nipple, revelling in the way her back arched before sliding one hand down to dip between her legs. She moaned wantonly at that, spreading her legs for him and he chuckled.

"Why Helen," he began huskily, enjoying the way her eyes flashed dangerously. She opened her mouth to scold him, no doubt but then, with a well thought out move, he brushed his thumb ever so slightly against one of the more sensitive spots he'd found last night and she practically whimpered, biting her lip as she glared down at him.

"You're evil," she breathed, locking one leg around his thigh as if she thought he was about to leave.

"Don't tell me your surprised," he chastised, switching to another equally sensitive spot. Helen let out a shuddering breath and he could see her struggling to control herself. Leaning in, he slowly sucked a nipple into his mouth, tenderly caressing the bud with his tongue before nipping gently.

A strangled moan slipped through her lips but still she kept her body still.

"So wet," he whispered against her breast. "You're magnificent Helen, you know that?"

"Please Niko," she finally cried, thrusting her hips in the hopes of eliciting a little more friction. With a muffled groan he obliged, dipping his fingers into her already fluttering sheath with alarming accuracy. In a second he'd located the one spot that could make her scream and was rubbing it gently, crooking his fingers just so.

Nikola shifted, shuffling up until he could capture her lips with his own. She moaned into him, grabbing onto his shoulders as her hips moved insistently against his hand. He felt her body tightening, the slight change in pitch to her cries and he pulled away, leaving her panting and shaking. She glared at him, eyes sparkling with anger but before he could tease her for needing him that badly, her hand flew to between her legs, working efficiently to finish what he'd started. Nikola watched, enraptured as a finger circled her clit, brushing over it at an angle he'd never thought of before she flew apart, her eyes locked on his as she began to shiver, biting her lip to keep from crying out.

When finally her body could take no more, her eyes fluttered shut and she sighed.

Growling, Nikola all but launched himself on her, lips attacking her neck.

"That wasn't very nice," he ground out, worming his way between her thighs. Helen gasped at his new found closeness but he silenced her with a kiss, tongue plundering her lips as his hands roamed greedily over her body.

"You deserved it," she muttered when he finally gave her room to breathe. "Though if you roll over, I'm more than willing to return the favour."

He chuckled roughly at her words before rolling onto his back but bringing her with him. The mistletoe that was still in her hair cascaded down around them and her eyes widened in shock before she grinned down at him.

Plucking a green leaf from where it landed on his cheek, she chuckled.

"You don't need to cover me in mistletoe to get a kiss," she murmured, leaning down to press a chaste kiss to his lips before shuffling down his body with her goal obvious in her eyes.

Before she could get too far though, Nikola grabbed her hips, using all his enhanced strength to pick her up and rub her soaking wet heat against his much neglected erection. She gasped at the sensation, nails digging into his shoulder as she rocked against him and it was all he could do to keep from rolling them and pinning her to the bed.

"God, Helen," he ground out, hands tightening on her hips as he tried to manoeuvre her to where he wanted her most. Helen went willingly, shifting until she could kneel over his hips. With a gentle hand she guided him to her entrance, shuddering as he brushed against one of the sensitive spots he'd already used and abused. Then, slowly enough to make Nikola lose the remaining control he had, she sank down onto him, her eyes locked on his as her mouth hung open slightly. When finally he was sheathed within her, she leant down, brushing her lips against his as his hands drifted to the small of her back, stroking gentle circles in an attempt to keep from thrusting harshly up into her.

She deepened the kiss somewhat but there was a tender note to it and he felt his heart melt. For all she pretended to be Miss Independent, he could see that she wanted companionship as much as the next person and the fact that she was so much more guarded than most people made Nikola feel uniquely privileged. Not only had she chosen to share her bed and body with him but her heart too. They'd barely spoken about the change in their relationship but they didn't need to. She'd admitted she loved him but no more yet that was enough. Those words coming from her meant more than a thousand sweet murmurings of adoration. That and her distress last night told him more than he needed. Things were not going to be smooth and easy for them but she wanted him as he wanted her and somehow, they'd make it work.

Overcome with the urge to roll her over and make love to her until she wept with pleasure, Nikola pulled his lips from hers but she was too quick, sitting up and placing her hands on his chest as she slowly began to ride him. His eyes slid shut as he grabbed her hips, hoping that by not watching her move oh so slowly atop him that he'd hang on for just a little longer but the image of her glorious body was forever ingrained in his body and he most certainly didn't need to see her to know exactly what she looked like.

"Nikola," she whispered, her voice tight as she picked up the pace a little. "Look at me."

Growling, he forced his eyes open, gritting his teeth as he took in the image that far surpassed him imagination. Never again would he close his eyes with this goddess, the look of utter pleasure on her face too much for him to resist. Smiling, she picked up the pace again until she was practically slamming herself down onto him. Nikola tightened his grip on her hips, thrusting up in counterpoint to her movements and, soon enough breathy little pants were slipping from her lips. Her head fell back as she rode him faster and faster and he could feel her body tightening around him, spurring him on.

She bit her lip, trying and failing to stifle a moan as her manicured finger nails dug into his abdomen.

"Oh God," she cried, eyes squeezed tight as she began to flutter around him.

"Oh GOD!" another voice cried out in alarm.

"Oh my God," another wailed in distress.

"Oh god," Nikola groaned, throwing his head back as he reached for the sheet.

"Oh God," Helen cried once more, eyes flying open as she rolled to the side, instantly scrambling for the sheets which she yanked up to her chin, holding it tight as she stared at the door way.

Pulling the sheet higher on his hips as he sat up, Nikola cursed himself. If only he hadn't pulled down the curtain of mistletoe that separated them from the door to her room and her now gaping team.

Kate, somehow, managed to regain her composure first, smirking slightly as she diverted her eyes. Henry, on the other hand, looked rather green around the gills and Will was still staring at them, a blush rising in his cheeks.







"Agreed," Nikola said with a sardonic smile for his young protégé. Henry made a face, staring at his feet as Helen buried her head in Nikola's neck.

"We made you breakfast," Will said faintly before clearing his throat as he gestured to the large tray Kate carried. "We didn't know what to get you for Christmas so we... we made you breakfast in bed."

"That's... that's very nice of you," Helen choked out, peering around Nikola to give the others a small smile.

"I was wondering where all the mistletoe went," Henry muttered and Kate chuckled, shifting as she eyed them with a grin.

"Pardon?" Helen said, shifting closer to Nikola as if he'd be able to shield her from her team's embarrassed gaze. It was odd, he mused that someone so put together and confident in both her body and sexuality should act like a young girl caught with a boy in her bed by her overly conservative parents. Helen had always been discreet but surely this couldn't be the first time they'd caught her getting up to no good.

"Well we ordered a ton of it but apart from the bit in your office, we couldn't find any," he explained, risking a quick glance up at them before looking away once more.

"We went to your office first," Kate explained, still grinning. "I mean, it's almost 8am and you're hardly in bed past 5 most days."

"Right," Helen said faintly.

There was a tense pause as they all tried to find a way to fill the silence. Finally Nikola sighed, sitting up a little straighter and looking at the team before them.

"Now dash away, dash away, dash away all," he said sarcastically but they made no move to leave them be. "Leave?" he suggested patiently.

"Yeah, no, of course," Henry rushed, taking an uncertain step back only to bump into Kate.

"Ms. Freelander, if you wouldn't mind," he said, gesturing with one hand to the dazed men on either side of her as his other held the sheets firmly in place. Given his current state it did very little to hide him from the other woman's obviously curious gaze but he didn't think Helen would appreciate giving them the full show.

"Of course," she replied solemnly, winking at him before turning on her heel and striding from the room. "Hank, Will, let's go. I've got a sudden craving to eat Magnus' Christmas present."

Henry and Will hovered for a few moments before turning on their heel and following her from the room.

"Merry Christmas!" Nikola called out jubilantly as the door swung shut, chuckling until Helen hit him. "Not that I'm against a little violence in the bedroom," he said with a glare, "but do you think you could at least give me some warning."

She said nothing, pulling a face as she fell back against the pillows, reaching beneath her head to pull out a few stray bunches of mistletoe and tossing them at him in annoyance.

"Oh God," she muttered, flinging an arm across her eyes and Nikola chuckled.

"Right, that's where we were," he said before tossing back the sheet and leaning over to kiss her cheek. "Though I do believe our positions were reversed."

"Nikola, not now," she grumbled, shoving him off her. Nikola chuckled again before moving to hover over her, his legs draped over hers as he pinned her hands to the mattress.

"Come on Helen," he whispered just below her ear. "It's not as if they'll be coming back anytime soon."

Helen scoffed at that squirming beneath him but he could tell it was half hearted.

"Plus," he said, ghosting his lips up and over her cheek to graze her lips teasingly. "I can just tell how hot and bothered you already are."

"Right," she said, rolling her eyes. He grinned the one grin that he knew would make her even more frustrated before burying his face in the crook of her neck.

"I can smell you," he whispered before running the very tip of his tongue up her neck until he could nibble on her ear lobe. "I can smell you Helen and it's delicious," he repeated into her ear, gratified when she whimpered beneath him, spreading her legs just a little in invitation.

In an instant, Nikola settled between her legs, pulling back just enough to grab one leg and hike it up around his hip.

"So," he said conversationally, trying not to react as she bucked her hips against his erection, her wet folds brushing against him. "Would you like to go chase down your team and apologise for not locking the door or-."

"Niko, I swear..." she started before throwing her head back and thrusting her hips more forcefully against his.

"Mind blowing sex it is," he growled huskily before thrusting forward to meet her. She whimpered as he filled her and he could tell how close she was. Apparently being interrupted by her surrogate children wasn't enough to dampen her enthusiasm.

He thrust as slowly as he could, wanting to possess her as sweetly as he could manage but as she began to gasp and shiver beneath him, it was all he could do to hang on. Their pace grew, her hips thrusting up to meet his as she clung to his shoulders.

"Nikola," she breathed, running a hand up into his hair so that she could tug him down for a kiss. He groaned into her lips, picking up the pace as she tightened her legs around him. Her chest was brushing against his with every thrust, deliciously hard nipples making him want to taste them but he held back, she was close and while teasing her had been fun, he suddenly had a burning desire to see her come in broad daylight.

All it took was three well placed thrusts and he got his wish, Helen flying apart under him as he continued to thrust. Her eyes were screwed shut, her bottom lip trembling as a guttural cry was ripped from her chest. She arched her back, nails digging into his shoulders before collapsing back against the bed. Nikola slowed his pace for a moment, giving her a chance to breathe.

"We're going to have to establish some ground rules," Helen choked out, her body shuddering with each of Nikola's gentle thrusts.

"Mm," he allowed, leaning down to kiss her tenderly. "About what?"

"About the number of times you're allowed to do that to me in a set period of time," she muttered, sheath still fluttering around him. "I don't know how much more I'll survive."

"Well," Nikola said, sitting up to change the angle slightly. "I am very fond of mouth to mouth."

"Nikola," she whimpered. "I'm serious. I can- ohgod –not..."

"Would you like me to stop?"

"God no," she ground out, wrapping her legs around his waist. "More, please."

"I've half a mind to make you beg," he muttered, voice rough as he tried to hold back but it was futile, Helen's soft gasps of pleasure making his will-power dissolve. In a matter of moments they were both groaning, hips moving frantically as they came within seconds of each other. Nikola tried to collapse to the side of her but she held him tight, rolling with him so that she was half on top of him as they tried to catch their breath.

"Why did we wait so long to do that?" he muttered, flicking away a few strands of her hair that stuck to his cheek.

"You were too much of an arse," she replied dreamily and he snorted.

"I'd ask what's changed but I don't think I'd like the answer."

"Probably not," she agreed, tightening her hold on him. They were both sweaty despite the cool air but Nikola couldn't bring himself to move just yet. Her breath fanned across his chest and her hand was curled into a loose fist on his stomach and she just seemed too comfortable to move.

"I don't think my legs are ever going to work again," she muttered. "And I'm too tired to move for at least a week."

"Well that might be a problem," he said stroking her hair softly.

"No," she replied absently. "I'll just make you go get me food."

"As willing as I am to be your slave," he said with a chuckle, "I'm more concerned with the fact that you won't be able to get your Christmas present."

She laughed quietly but said nothing.

"Seriously," he said before taking her gently and rolling her over. Carefully he helped her sit up against the headboard before tugging the blankets up for her. She took the gratefully, giving him a small smile before pecking him on the cheek.

"You shouldn't have gotten me a gift, Nikola," she chastised. "These past few weeks were... were more than I ever expected."

"I've been dating you these past three weeks," he clarified with a grin. "And while my presence is a gift in itself, I'm hardly likely to let another Christmas pass us by uncelebrated."

"Well, your present is down stairs," she tried. "So couldn't we at least wait until later?"

"Are you trying to lure me into another round?" he asked, waggling his eye brows as she groaned.

"Not just yet," she said, reaching out to squeeze his shoulder. Nikola rolled his eyes and shuffled away from her, lying flat on his stomach as he leant over the end of the bed. He spent a few seconds rummaging before he heard a strange little giggle from back up on the bed.

"Laugh at my arse again and I'll make you pay," he called over his shoulder as she snorted. Sighing, he returned to his task, gathering the things he needed before rolling over and sitting up, present in his lap.

"Nikola," she started softly, her eyes growing misty. "I barely got you anything, you shouldn't have."

"Nonsense," he retorted, shuffling forward to sit beside her. With a goofy grin he grabbed the giant red bow that sat by the other gift, leaning forward to stick it to her head. Pulling back he chuckled, admiring his handy work.

"You got me the best gift ever," he declared but she simply stared at him, not understanding what he was on about. Then comprehension dawned in her eyes and she reached over to slap his shoulder, ripping the bow from her hair and tossing it at him.

"But it suits you!" he argued, trying to stifle a grin as she rolled her eyes. "Pretty please?"

"Not even if you get on your knees and beg," she replied with a grin. "That has got to be the worst joke you've ever made."

"I wasn't kidding," he cried, sounding affronted as he shuffled closer to her on the bed, feeling that inexplicable need to touch her once more. "But I'll forgive you if you wear it."

"I am not wearing a gaudy red bow that belongs under the tree," she replied tartly, crossing her arms. He knew it was stupid and immature and if he hadn't hidden the three guns he'd found in and around the bed he'd be shot for it but he couldn't resist grabbing the bow and sticking it to her chest, the last of the glue managing to hold onto her skin as she glared at him.

She narrowed her eyes at him before ripping the offending decoration from her cleavage, leaning forward to stick it to his cheek.

"Cheeky," he quipped and she rolled her eyes once more as he yanked it off.

"Since when did you decide to take up bad jokes?" she asked, adjusting the sheet so it covered a little more of her chest.

"I'm simply too happy to resist them," he declared with a grin.

"Well if this is the result of having sex with you, I might not be inclined to do so again," she said warily, obviously hoping to provoke him but he refused to take the bait.

"While the sex is truly extraordinary," he said with a salacious grin, "it's not why I feel the need to express myself in bad humour. You Helen, have made me happy. Ever since I've known you, being around you in any way shape or form has made my heart soar but I'll admit, these last few weeks have been something more than I ever dared dream for."

By the time he'd finished speaking, her mouth was hanging open a little in shock but he just chuckled, reaching out to cup her cheek gently before leaning in and pressing his lips against hers gently.

"Though the sex certainly makes things far more fun."

"Don't do that," she reprimanded quietly, pulling back to frown at him.

"Kiss you?" he asked, confused. "To be honest Helen, I was planning on kissing you quite a bit from now on."

"No, bringing it all back to sex," she explained, still upset over his words. "It cheapens this, it cheapens us."

He pulled back at that, his heart throbbing painfully as he watched her eyes dart away from his.

"I... I love you Nikola and just because we're sitting her naked in bed doesn't mean that you need to pretend that sex is all that matters to you."

"You matter to me Helen," he said softly, taking her chin in two fingers as he forced her to look at him.

"You matter Helen," he repeated slowly, making sure it sunk in. "I love you in a way that is unchanging and I will never, ever feel any different."

"Don't say that either," she whispered sadly, raising a hand to stroke his cheek. "With our extended life spans you really shouldn't make grand statements like that."

"Do you really think that after all these years the way I feel about you is going to change?" he asked, searching her eyes. "If anything, I expect my love for you to deepen in a way I can't quite explain."

"Nikki," she whispered, shaking her head.

"No," he said firmly. "I will always love you Helen, you know that, don't you pretend otherwise."

She sighed but gave him a small smile.

"Plus, it doesn't matter," he continued, giving her a quick peck before pulling back to smile at her. "We may have the future ahead of us but we also have now and after spending all those years loving you from afar, I fully intend to love you from every conceivable angle for... well, if you won't let me say forever, then I'll simply have to settle for 'until the day I die'."

She smiled warmly at him, chuckling and shaking her head once more.

"I must say, I think you're going soft in your old age," she quipped with a grin.

"Actually," he said, trailing off before raising his eyebrows suggestively until her gaze dropped to his sheet covered lap.

"And I was going to say I enjoyed the more sentimental side of you," she replied, smacking his shoulder playfully.

"A sentimental boy toy," he mused, ducking her swatting hands. "It is novel but I think it'll work."

Helen sighed, rolling her eyes but he could see the smirk forming.

"But I almost forgot," he continued, shuffling closer again before presenting her with the package he'd collected from under the bed. "Merry Christmas, ljubav."

She smiled at the endearment, her cheeks pinking slightly as she accepted the gift from him.

"You really shouldn't have," she began, fingering the blood red ribbon that held closed the plain white box.

"Just hurry up and open it," he encouraged and she chuckled before heeding his words.

Carefully she pulled the ribbon off, placing it gently beside her before slowly lifting up the lid. Putting that to the side too she began to pull apart the tissue paper that lay beneath.

He made a face at her pace but remained silent, wanting to hear her-

"Nikola," she gasped, finger tips brushing gently against the soft red fabric that was nestled in the snowy tissue paper. "What did you do?"

"I had to guess the size," he began. "And I know it's not Autumn but you can't wear black all the time Helen and I was in London last month and I saw it and-."

"The neckline," she breathed, holding part of the dress up to inspect.

"Exactly," he said proudly. "It's got that same little... hole thing."

Helen chuckled at his words but he could tell she was lost in the memory of a long gone Autumn. It wasn't the first time they'd met by any means but it had been the first time they'd made arrangements to spend time together outside of normal classes. She, of course, had turned up in a crimson dress but not just any crimson dress. Its style hadn't been particularly cutting edge or daring but the high collar had a small loop in it that allowed him a clear view at the creamy skin just below her neck the entire day and it had fascinated him.

"It's magnificent," she said eventually, fingering the fabric. "But really, you shouldn't have bought it! What if I'd kicked you out at first light?"

"Then I'd have left it sitting under the tree, you'd have opened it and instantly felt remorse for being so cruel and then invited me up to your bedroom for- Hey! That hurts!"

"You're spoiling the mood," she chastised, unable to keep from smiling at him, her eyes growing misty as she carefully laid it back in the box.

"Well then kitten," he said, prying the box from her grip and placing it somewhere behind them. "Let me make it up to you."

She grinned at him expectantly as he moved closer, taking her in his arms before kissing her firmly, tracing her lips with his tongue as she sighed under him. Her mouth was warm and soft against his and she tasted even sweeter than he remembered. They kissed for several long minutes, the sheets slowly working their way down until they were pressed skin against skin.

It wasn't until Helen pulled back, gasping for breath that Nikola thought about oxygen.

"We have to head downstairs," she said, voice strained. "The others. And your present."

"You mean to say that the giant chest beneath your bed isn't my present?" he asked innocently, pleased to see her blush furiously.

"That's private," she muttered, squirming in his arms in a way that told Nikola he didn't really need to ask about its contents.

"You mean to say that instead of a bedside drawer, you've got a box?" he asked, eyebrows shooting up as her blush deepened.

Then she did something he didn't expect, looking him straight in the eye and smiling coyly.

"I have both."

Nikola groaned, burying his head in her neck as he scratched lightly at her back while his hips thrust dimly against hers. Then he pulled back, another typically genius idea jumping to mind.

"Can I see?"

She blushed again, holding him tight as he tried to head to the edge of the bed. He fought her for a few moments, enjoying her laughter as he ticked her relentlessly but soon enough she had him pinned.

"Let's get dressed," she suggested.

"But the box," he began, grinning as she rolled her eyes, scoffing at him as she got up.

"We need to leave this room Nikola," she admonished from the side of the bed as she stretched out her shoulders. "Now come on, I need help picking out shoes," she said, grabbing the box with her dress as she strolled unashamedly towards her wardrobe. "And if you peek in my draw I'll insist on spending the better part of the evening with the others."

"Fine," he groused, standing up and following her. "Just tell me this, do you have a whip?"

He honestly wasn't that shocked when the wardrobe door slammed shut in his face.

"Now I understand why you chose the dress," Helen mumbled in Nikola's ear, her hand clamping down on the wrist that was edging its way up her stocking clad thigh. While his reaction when she'd stepped out of the wardrobe that morning had been gratifying to say the least, the stunning yet conservative dress had elicited such secret caresses all day and fighting him was getting harder. She'd studiously ignored his whispered comments of what he'd like to do to her (the least of which involved some very creative uses of candy canes) all day but finally her body was begging to find out just how serious he was about his promise of keeping her up all night.

"Mmm?" he murmured, his hand once more slipping to her knee.

"It makes seducing me easier."

"Firstly," he commented, leaning back as Henry, Kate, Will and the Big Guy came back into the room, "your seduction by me requires no such thing and secondly, I prefer to think of it as an added bonus."

"Are you two done flirting for the evening?" Kate chirped, flopping down onto the sofa next to Nikola.

"It's a good thing you're only here on holiday," Nikola said, turning to face her. "Otherwise I'd tell you to get used to it."

"Ah Hollow Earth sweet Hollow Earth," she replied with a grin before leaning over to grab the book on Hollow Earth abnormals Nikola had complied and given her for Christmas. Most of the book was blank with space for her to fill in but he'd managed to compile a rather impressive amount of information and the book was startlingly detailed.

Helen had been shocked when they all sat around the tree in her office to find gifts from Nikola to her team. She'd almost expected him to declare that their gift this year was continued existence but no, the gifts had actually been rather thoughtful. Kate had gotten her book though she'd eyed it suspiciously at first. Henry on the other hand had been overjoyed as he flicked through the collection of scrappy notebooks he'd been given. Nikola had looked unexpectedly proud when the younger man identified the notes as Nikola's own work. The Big Guy had received a very shiny cookbook which he'd grunted at once before burying his head in while Will and Abby (who'd mysteriously appeared much to Will's surprise) had received a voucher for a week in a B&B just outside of town, Nikola saying that if he had to stomach another moment of their nauseating snuggling he'd no doubt kill someone.

Of course, there'd been another present for Helen under the tree which he'd insisted she open straight away. She'd peeled the gold paper away as slowly as she dared but he soon grabbed it from her, ripping away the last of it before handing her a small, leather bound book. She'd shot him a cautious look before gingerly opening it, her mouth falling open in shock as she did. He'd managed somehow to find more pictures of their life starting at Oxford than she had ever possessed in her entire life. There were close to a hundred old shots from their life, some of the Five, a few of her father but mostly of him and her. They were candid shots, taken on a few dinky little machines they'd managed to create but each one held a story that warmed her heart.

The others had naturally peered over her shoulder, forcing her to relinquish the book but she'd been happy to, turning to Nikola and pressing a quick yet passionate kiss to his lips while the others were otherwise engaged. He'd looked shocked but before he could think to speak, they'd gone back to opening presents.

He'd laughed good-naturedly at the vampire dress up set Kate gave him (complete with fangs) and treasured Henry's small slip of paper that promised he'd stop complaining about the minor explosions. Helen knew such a thing would never last but the gesture was sweet. Will had somehow found a great big text book on the failings of Edison that had had Nikola grinning like a Cheshire cat for the better part of an hour but it was his reaction to her gifts that made her smile the most.

Firstly there was the old radio from the kitchen, almost completely disassembled with a note saying he needed to fix it before the end of the week if he ever wanted to get into the cellar again. He rolled his eyes at that but she saw his mind whirring away as he surreptitiously studied the contraption. He shook his head the box of freshly made moustache cookies, telling her off for making fun of him once more (he refused to hold one up so that Kate could take a picture) but when he unwrapped the Premier Cru Supérieur his mouth had dropped open. He'd spent a good few minutes staring at it before carefully placing the bottle on the table and turning to face her. Before she'd even thought of what that glint in his eye meant, he'd grabbed her head, kissing her full on the mouth for a good few seconds before she'd managed to pull back.

The rest of her team had swapped uncomfortable looks but Kate had broken the tension, kindly asking that if they intended to go at it like a pair of Nubbins again that they find a room and lock the door this time.

After they'd finished with the tree, they all meandered their way towards the kitchen for a late breakfast. From there the day had evolved pleasantly, spent with many of the residents whose Christmas cheer was infectious. Nikola, surprisingly enough kept a safe distance most of the time, not touching or stroking her as she almost hoped unless there was no one else around. In fact, she was the one who had to, on more than one occasion seek out his hand to hold as they chattered to someone.

The impromptu Christmas party had continued long into the evening, food and drink continually appearing until finally Henry and the Big Guy had declared the day over. Helen, Nikola and her team had retreated to her office, too keyed up for bed but still glad that the party was finally over.

"Perhaps you could go read yourself a bed time story?" Nikola suggested, yanking Kate's book from her grasp and breaking Helen from her revere. "Or at the very least go make a start on the clean up job."

"Not likely vlad," she bit back, grabbing at her book. "Just because we caught you getting kinky with the boss doesn't mean you get to boss us around."

"Kate," Helen said warningly but the girl simply shot her a mischievous grin before bouncing up to her feet.

"C'mon boys. Time for bed. Unless you want a repeat of their earlier performance," she said enthusiastically as Nikola glared at her, shifting closer to Helen on the couch. Their thighs were pressed together now and, as much as she was aware of the audience, Helen couldn't help but inch her fingers towards his thigh.

Henry and Will looked alarmed by the idea, springing out of their chairs and heading to the door, 'Merry Christmas'es and 'Good night's hastily thrown over their shoulders.

"Night Doc," Kate sang merrily from her place in the door way. "Night Nikki." And with that she was gone, door sliding shut gently behind her.

Nikola grumbled a little under his breath but quickly turned back to Helen.

"How dare she call us kinky," he muttered. "We haven't even gotten anywhere close to kink yet."

"She's simply trying to rile you up," Helen said soothingly, placing a hand on his chest only to be distracted by the memory of how smooth his skin was under all the layers.

"Still," he grumbled, sighing before freezing for a second. His face lit up suddenly and he sat up straighter, grinning broadly at Helen.

"We're back to where we began," he said, gesturing to the fire they sat before.

"That we are," she allowed, shifting closer to him. "Are you going to tell me you love me again?"

"Only if you say it too," he teased, capturing her hands with his.

"So this is how this is going to work," she replied, threading her fingers through his.

"If you'd like. Or we could do... this?" he offered, leaning in to brush his lips against hers. She chuckled before closing the distance between their lips again and kissing him more firmly. But then she pulled back, determined to say her bit before getting completely swept away in his gentle caresses.

"Nikola," she started. "I just wanted to say... thank-you. For everything. Really, thank you for today. For all of this, you've bee-."

"Appreciation later," he whispered huskily, smirking at her before moving closer, his breath ghosting across her lips. "I want to christen those terrifying black heels and this rather comfy couch."

In a second he was kissing her roughly, hands grabbing at her waist as she moaned into his lips. When finally he shifted his focus, giving her a chance to breath, Helen threaded a hand through his hair, holding him to that spot beneath her ear.

"Nikola," she began breathlessly. "Back on the topic of kink..."

He pulled back at that, eyes wide with arousal and shock.

"There's something I want to try," she continued, moving a hand to tug at his neatly knotted tie.

"Anything," he replied throatily.

"Bite me?"

He growled at that, darting forwards to recapture that spot on her neck as his fingers worked the small eyelet that held together the neck of her dress.

Smiling, Helen felt the fabric give way as she tilted her head back, holding him as tightly as she could. Slowly his fangs sank into her neck and wave after wave of pure pleasure rolled through her body, making her moan and whimper.

"Oh merry Christmas Niko," she breathed, eyes sliding shut as she melted against him.

And it was a very merry Christmas indeed.

May you and your families stay safe and (let's face it) sane this holiday season!