ellymelly’s fanfiction

“The curiosity of unaccounted time is little more than a deep, creeping silence awaiting inevitable disturbance…”

THOUGHTS, PLOTS AND MISUSE OF A TAPERECORDER March 20, 2013

Title: Thoughts, Plots and Misuse of a Taperecorder
Category: TV Shows » Sanctuary
Author: ellymelly
Language: English, Rating: Rated: T
Genre: Humor/Romance
Published: 09-21-09, Updated: 10-17-09
Chapters: 4, Words: 5,771

Chapter 1: Nasty Little Test Subjects


Two – maybe three part story that could best be described as useless (um – suggestive?) fun. Nubbins are to blame.


I’ll admit it – this was a bad idea. From start to epic finish, probably the most unhelpful suggestion ever made by a member of humankind. Still, it’s hardly my fault that the suggestion was taken seriously. I lay the blame purely where it deserves to lie – with her.”

“Nikola!”

Nikola jumped, nearly dropping the small silver recording device cradled in his hands. He had been muttering into it for the better part of the morning, sneaking around the campsite. Now, he narrowed his eyes at the intrusion, glancing suspiciously at Helen Magnus as she approached from the tree line.

“How many times do I have to repeat myself,” she continued, with a displeased look. “That recording device is not a toy. It’s on loan from James’s Sanctuary so that you can properly document your research here. Your research on this case,” she stopped him from interrupting. “It is not for your personal thoughts, plots or opinions.”

He remained silent, turning the object over and over between his slender fingers.

“Why aren’t you giving me any indication that you understand me?” she prompted, taking another step toward him.

“Because,” he snarled slowly, raising an eyebrow at her intrusion into his personal space, “it is beneath me.”

Helen held up four fingers, indicating the number of days he had left before this expedition ran out of funds, and walked off.

As I was saying,” he hissed back into the recorder, pacing over to the far side of the camp where an endless screech was drowned by the encroaching forest, “capturing these creatures, whilst being a necessity for their productive study, is not good for our general welfare. Two of the three have attempted to dislodge my hand from my wrist and all of them have made significant progress in their attempts to chew through the cage bars and escape back into their godawful wilderness. Helen says that –”

“I can still hear you,” said a voice behind several layers of leaves.

“Fine…” Nikola slipped the recorder back into his silk-lined pocket. “How are we all today?” he grinned at the three furry creatures scampering about the cage on the large table in front of him. They looked innocent enough – mostly fur and ears, but Nikola knew that they head sharp sets of serrated teeth. “Positively sinister.”

Nikola procured a pair of leather gloves, making sure they fit snugly before he dared open the cage and extract one of his test subjects. The thing – wait – Nikola held the struggling creature in one hand as he located his recorder and clicked it on.

Have decided to name species, ‘Magnussius’ after a similarly tempered woman.”

Nikola was not aware that the species already boasted a pet name, designated by Ashley. It had been Helen’s idea for her and Nikola to capture Nubbins in their native habitat for study. His speed and resilience to injury meant that so far they had succeeded where her many other expeditions had failed. She also didn’t inform him of her previous dealings with Nubbins – or their special ability to interfere with human (and she presumed, Vampire) body chemistry. It was better that he didn’t know, reasoned Helen, as the last thing Nikola needed was an excuse to cause trouble.

Damnable creature bit me today,” went Nikola’s next instalment. “Sunk its teeth in and left several rows of puncture marks. Suspect venom of some kind is present. Horrible thing got away – haven’t told Helen yet.”

Nikola kept his sleeved pulled down over the bandage as he returned to the other two. Chromatphores had always entertained him – Nigel Griffin especially whenever he vanished into thin air. These things didn’t just mimic their background, they trained incoming light waves around them. Understanding this phenomenon required a genius – him, in particular.

With no choice, Nikola returned to the cage and captured another Nubbin, continuing his examination. He couldn’t believe it when the second Nubbin wriggled free from his grasp and promptly vanished.

He felt woozy and concluded the source of his condition to be the bite on his arm.

I have begun to worry about the potency of the venom. Contemplating seeking a second opinion though this would require alerting Helen to the absence of two test subjects. Not sure how that will go down. She seems to be adamant that these creatures are a vital part of her research so I can only assume that losing one of them would expose me to the less pleasant side of her personality. Losing two… well, I guess I’ve done worse things over the years… Many years. All those lost ambitions – I wonder what ever happened to that black lace dress of Helen’s that she –” Nikola stopped himself with a deservedly confused frown. “What on Earth am I talking about?” he shook his head and deposited the recorder on the experiment table. “That’s quite enough of that.”

Oh, this was bad, he couldn’t help but think, as Helen folded her arms firmly across her chest, reclining awkwardly against the communications table later on in the evening. Nikola sighed, wishing he’d never come into the tent in the first place. Up until this point he’d done a good job of avoiding her.

“Nikola,” she started, in a tone he knew all too well.

“Evening…” he averted his eyes, heading straight for the coffee machine, hoping to spend as little time as possible in her presence – but she had other ideas.

The little silver tape recorder was still in his pocket, only just visible where it glinted in the low light of the tent. He was starving but had decided to replace food with caffeine.

“I really am going to have to confiscate it,” she began, straightening the closely woven jumper over her body. It was not cold of a night in the jungle, but the insects were fierce. Short of a blood transfusion, this was the easiest way to survive the night. Nikola though – well, he was always in that damn suit of his no matter what he was up to or into. She was beginning to suspect it was grown onto him.

“Really, Helen,” Nikola muttered in reply, carefully aiming the steaming liquid into his cup before adding two rather gracious teaspoons of sugar to the mix. “It’s not very polite to invite,” read ‘drag’, “me here, halfway across the world for my professional opinion and then tell me that I can’t express it.”

“Oh, no-” she pushed off the table, “your professional opinion interests me greatly,” there was only the slightest hint of mockery in her voice, “but the students at the sanctuary needn’t be subjected to your long, detailed opinion of my preference of hair colour.”

Nikola gulped. He hadn’t remembered saying that at all. Then again, his mind was a bit fuzzy of late, and it seemed to get worse whenever he was around those damn creatures. More than once he’d caught himself droning on with useless chatter into the voice recorder but Helen’s hair? He certainly could not recall discussing that.

Why oh WHY, he thought to himself, did the recorder have to be a live-feed back to the sanctuary? Couldn’t she have just given him a normal one? Was that too much to ask?

“Will that – be all?” he finally brought his eyes up to hers with a pause. Nikola flinched at their sharpness as they burrowed into him.

She was cross, very cross and ever so slightly amused.

“For now…” she said, strolling out of the tent and back into the night. Maybe she should tell him about the known effects of the creatures on human? Then again, Nikola was not a creature that needed excuses to act – well… behave in such a manner.

Before Nikola knew what he was doing, the recorder was back in his hand and he was muttering into it:

So far the most interesting wildlife has been the imposing figure of our project director. One is tempted to conduct a more detailed study of her except a general desire to live outweighs the risk of Magnus’s dark smile.”

Back at James Watson’s sanctuary, many thousands of miles away, a small group of students huddled around a speaker groaned. It was yet another useless entry by Tesla – seriously, ever since he recorded being bitten by one of the test subjects his documenting skills had slipped from their already low standard. Three more days – that was all they had to survive.


Chapter 2: Things That Go Missing


Thank you to all my wonderful reviewers! um… leave a note if you like what you read :D


“Where – are – they?” she asked darkly, pacing in circles around the conspicuously empty cage where the creatures had been with a cross look etched across her face.

It was early morning – the sun not yet able to reach over the lofty canopy of wet jungle into their camp so instead the world appeared a muted, mellowed out grey that he disliked intensely. Cocking his head to the side, Nikola led her gaze to the twisted line of metal where something had clearly chewed its way through. He need not inform her that this damage was the work of one – not all of the Nubbins.

“WHERE ARE THEY?” she repeated – returning her eyes to his. She took a few more steps, edging dangerously close to him. “And it better not be, ‘I have no idea?’

Nikola remained silent. At the end of five minutes, she finally spoke.

“You’ll be in more trouble if you don’t speak.”

As much as he would love to discover the full meaning of that statement, Nikola opened his mouth to reply.

“It truly is one of the worst habitats on the continent. The mud – it’s just not my thing. You seem to enjoy watching me trudge through it as though you have organised this second expedition to acquire more test subjects solely for my displeasure.”

A hand raised to the air stopped him.

“Don’t speak to me like an entry in your recorder,” she scorned. “Not if you want to live.”

His fingers traced their over the bars of the empty cage.

“As you can see,” he said, with a superior air that really made her want to hit him – or lock him in a spare cage – or something… “They have escaped all on their own.”

“Well, that is unfortunate,” Helen strode over and to his great shock and surprise, inspected a large smear of mud on his jacket. He had no idea how that had gotten there in the first place – urgh, it had to go. Helen had other ideas, smudging it further into the fabric by pressing her finger onto it and dragging it along his chest.

“Because this jacket of yours is going to get a lot dirtier…”

His eyes widened – or glossed over, he wasn’t sure because he was overcome with distraction.

“…now that we have to recapture at least one of them,” she concluded, lingering for a moment before removing her finger from the fabric of his jacket and stepping back. “Fifteen minutes…” she shot over her shoulder as she left, probably going for more tea.

Nikola blinked back the first flecks of sunlight, tessellated and re-arranged by the leaves above. He’d long ago given up dodging the occasional heavy drips of water from their dark leaves. That was the thing with rainforests – they were perpetually wet and full of things more dangerous than himself.

So now I am forced to metaphorically pay for Ms Magnus’s poor choice in containment. Also, beginning to suspect that I should get my arm looked at. The wound healed well enough – they usually do, benefits of being a superior creature, but there’s something very wrong with my ability to focus. What do you think?”

There was an extended silence from the taperecorder. Of course, it was a one-way transmission only and somewhere in England a few bored students were shrugging at each other and slamming their collective heads against the desk.

And now I’m asking a tape recorder for its opinion… We’re going to forget this conversation ever happened – so why is it still happening? I’m putting you away now. Oh, and I told you we should have fed the Magnussius more last night.”

“Nikola?” Helen was crouched down behind a fern with her knee buried in a layer of jungle mud. There was a tranquiliser gun clutched firmly in her gloved hands and several stray leaves tangled in her hair.

His reply was merely to glance in her direction from where he was hiding being a boulder.

“Do you think you could scowl or something? Your perpetual grin is starting to disturb the others. They think you’re going to bite them or something.”

He had been grinning? Since when did he grin?

Nikola’s form flickered slightly, causing his teeth to taper into a sinister row of fangs, his eyes to become almighty black orbs and his fingernails sharpen into claws.

“Better?” he hissed.

Helen rolled her eyes – the rest of the expedition looked more disturbed than ever.

“Uh – I guess…” She found it an improvement, but mainly because she preferred her men bad.

Helen paused. What. The. Hell. Kind. Of. Thought. Was. That.

“The Nubbins must be getting close…” she said, and raised her gun.

Nikola’s eyebrows rose several centimetres when he observed the distinct flush in her cheeks. “Whatever gets your attention I guess…” he whispered at the recorder, and slipped it back into his chest pocket.

It didn’t take long for them to spot them – the first brown balls of fur hopping through the undergrowth into the small clearing lined by Helen’s expedition members, all poised and ready to strike. The Nubbins hadn’t bothered with their invisibility reflex as they huddled around the bait of fresh meat – clearly unaware of the many sets of eyes watching them.

Nikola was pretty sure that if the need arose, he could catch several of the little buggers himself – except for the pro quo that Helen wanted them alive and without puncture marks. So instead, he held his breathing steady and waited for the serious of soft clicks from her weapon that sent several feather tipped darts sailing through the air.

Three of them missed – casually flying into the dense hem of leaves around the clearing without the creatures noticing, but the last one found its mark, stabbing the poor critter who blinked its golden eyes and then rolled over, sound asleep.

“You’ve lost your touch…” Nikola sneered – Helen’s aim used to be better than that.

Her eyes cautioned him against continuing with that line of discussion. She was already shoving another set of darts down the barrel of her tranquiliser, prodding the red feathers until she clicked it closed and re-aimed. Several of the other Nubbins were hopping around their sound asleep comrade – wondering what on earth it was doing sleeping instead of eating.

This time, three arrows found their mark, with only one Nubbin escaping the carnage. It squeaked and became invisible, bounding out of sight into the undergrowth.

Helen flicked her long – luxurious hair over her shoulder. “As if you could claim any acquaintance with my touch,” she snarled, and stood up.

If she was trying to appear impressive, she dismally failed. The torrents of water and stains of mud peeling off her pants and jacket weren’t particularly attractive – neither was the hairy spider considering how to progress from her shoulder to the ground.

“You’ve got a –” Nikola started to say, pointing one of his claws at her, but she rolled her eyes and stormed off toward her catch leaving nothing for Nikola to do but shrug knowingly and take out his tape recorder.

People should listen to me more. I usually have their best interests at heart – when I’m not trying to exploit, bite or kill them. To tell you the truth, I’m not particularly looking forward to babysitting more of these horrid creatures. I was hoping that they might live up to their name and make themselves rare but no such luck. The pathetic little creatures can’t resist a good steak and Helen – Dr Magnus – Ms Magnus? – Scary Project Director knows it. I wonder what else she knows. Shall make a note to steal her private research folder later. I really need to know what I’m in for as far as this bite goes. Seriously, I could be dangerous – or maybe Helen wouldn’t miss one of those goons she’s hired? A quick snack…”

And then – and then he was splattered over the forest floor like a spent leaf.

“Very appealing…” a voice snapped, stepping purposefully over him. “Remember,” she said, retrieving the recorder which had flown from his grasp. It had been embedded in the mud like a lost relic of some ancient world. “You break it, you bou-ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Helen swiped wildly at her shoulder. Nikola reared his head just in time to catch a few dark, hairy legs disappear under her hair. A grin slipped over his lips. This should be fun, he mused, no longer the least bit concerned by the thick layer of mud under his chin.


Chapter 3: I’m Not Sure I Approve


Thank you for all the reviews – I think there’s one more part left. This is for all the Helen/Nikola shippers out there!


Helen’s eyes went wide as she forced herself to stay dead still instead of thrashing about like a maniac. If there was something deadly crawling around on her it was probably best not to piss it off – not unless she wanted to be the first immortal killed by a spider – that would look good on the headstone.

Meanwhile, Nikola pried himself from the mud with a wicked smirk.

“Now, now, Helen…” he did his best to wipe his hands on his ruined suit. “One must remain calm.”

“Oh trust me Nikola,” she snapped viciously, her teeth clenched together as she tried not to think about the eight legs wandering over her, “this is calm. You want to see the opposite – keep walking.”

“I – am – merely,” he stepped closer with each word as if approaching a wild, dangerous animal, “offering – my – assistance.”

“I don’t need it,” Helen flinched, certain she could feel the creature somewhere inside her coat. Truth was, she probably did need assistance but she didn’t trust Nikola anywhere near her clothes.

The rest of her team weren’t being particularly helpful either. They were busying themselves collecting up the sleeping Nubbins and locking them away in separate cages. Their loud snores filled the air as a passing raincloud decided to open up on top of them.

Helen frowned – that was the last thing she needed – to be totally drenched. Gods, her hair would be nothing but frizz.

“Nikola,” she scorned, “I thought I told you to stop inching closer to me.”

The rain poured down a little harder.

“Did you?” he stopped, but it was too late. He was barely a foot from her now, well within uncomfortable arm’s reach.

Her eyes rolled dramatically.

“In-sufferable,” she drawled.

“In-genius,” he corrected her.

Both Helen’s arms were held out from her body, frozen there. In one of her hands was clasped the little silver recorder and Nikola’s first order of business was its retrieval.

Before she could protest further, he laid both of his elegant hands lightly on the shoulders of her leather jacket – just resting them their – testing the waters and her patience. Curiously, her glare worsened but she made no move to kill him – yet. Positive feedback. Next, he ran one of his hands down and then up her arm until it reached the her tightly clutched fist and inside that – his recorder.

“Come on Helen,” he softly hissed, “mustn’t steal…”

“Maybe we can negotiate for it?”

Nikola paused, interesting proposition but wait…the last men Helen ‘negotiated’ with had ended up tagged as one of the great ‘unsolved crimes’ of the century.

“If memory serves,” he finally continued, “you don’t negotiate particularly well.”

“Oh,” she caught herself looking a tad lower than his eyes and quickly fixed the situation, “but I have something you want that you can’t coax from me any other –”

Helen wasn’t sure when he’d gotten so close, or how she’d failed to notice that Nikola’s other hand had worked its way from her shoulder, trailing down the front of her coat to her waist where it pulled her slightly closer to him. Suddenly she could smell the damp wool of his blazer and the faint remains of that coffee she should have banned from the premises long ago. He dipped his head down towards her, diverting at the last moment to brush his lips lightly against the side of her face in an amused whisper.

Momentarily distracted, she loosened her grip of the recorder and immediately it was tugged out of her grasp by a thoroughly satisfied Nikola.

“Now, that’s sorted,” he grinned, stowing the recorder safely in his pocket and returning both his hands to her waist, “we can negotiate.”

“I’m not sure I approve of your method of negotiation,” Helen’s eyes flashed dangerously in his direction. “Kindly unhand me.”

“You’re snappy on occasion but I know you don’t mean it.” His fingers expertly unclasped the buttons on the front of her large leather trench coat ignoring her scowl.

Nikola,” she warned. Not only were they in a public place – well, forested place with a few stray personnel lingering in the distance, but it was raining. “Whatever it is you’re thinking of doing, I advise against it.”

Nikola wasn’t listening particularly closely as he grasped the edge of her jacket and began pushing it gently off her shoulders. If she hadn’t been paralysed by the fear of the giant spider hidden under her coat she would have stopped him with a firm slap.

“Your coat,” he strolled menacingly around behind her, removing her coat carefully, “m’lady.”

Ah, Nikola grinned through the freezing rain – there it was, the giant Amazonian-whatchamacallit-spider, all eight legs spread out across her back. Nikola, after carefully folding Helen’s coat, dropped it unceremoniously to the ground to the sound of a sharp, NIKOLA! from Helen.

“You have a stowaway,” he approached the spider, tilting his head as the eight beady eyes blinked.

Helen shivered unconsciously, “Get rid of it, Nikola.”

“You are in a bad mood today,” he commented, unfurling his clawed hand toward the spider. It reared up at him, displaying its sharp pair of fangs. Nikola grinned back at it with his own set on show. “I want my own lab.”

“What?” Helen thought about snapping her head around to look at him but restrained herself. “None of us have labs here.”

“Not here…” Nikola’s voice whispered softly, “at the sanctuary.”

The sanctuary – her sanctuary?

“Not a chance,” she shook her head carefully as the rain came down harder.

“You know, I don’t think this friend of your is very happy,” Nikola prodded the spider with his claw. The creature tried to strike him, but missed. “I wonder if it’s poisonous…”

“Stop it, Nikola… You can – you can have one room but you are not going to be connected to the mains power or our internal servers.”

“One room,” he repeated, “inside the mansion, you swear it?”

She knew she was going to regret this, “I swear it – now shut up and help me.”

It only took Nikola one quick swipe to displace the spider. It swung from his hand, dazed and agitated. Helen wasn’t sure if he’d done anything until she saw the horrible enormous black thing squirming in his grip when he strolled to parade it around in front of her.

“That is disgusting…” she scowled, searching for her coat.

“Aw – I thought you were fond of critters that hunt in the night?”

“This is day and that is a spider. Come on,” she wiped the rain off her face, blinking back the water and mascara that poured in streams down her cheeks like black tears, “stop playing around, we’ve work to do.”

Nikola tossed the frightened spider over his shoulder and followed Helen back to the camp.

Back at the camp – it wasn’t until Nikola and Helen stepped into the warmth of the main tent that they realised just how wet and cold they were. The rest of her staff were already seated around the scattered tables, most of which had been dragged in front of the large heaters that glowed in the centre of the room like lonely stars.

Her personnel sat there, sipping tea and coffee until they heard the tent flap open. They craned around to watch Magnus and Tesla enter – looking rather bedraggled and ever so slightly unprofessional.

The pair couldn’t avoid the accusing looks shot in their direction. They’d been gone a long time, and the last anyone had seen of them hadn’t been in a particularly innocent position.

“Urgh,” Helen dodged a smirk from her senior mission personal leader who had known her far too long to doubt the worst of her, “this is just what I don’t need.” She rung her hair out on the floor and headed straight for the tea.

Nikola stood there in the doorway – wiping the mud from his hands with a serviette he’d snatched from a nearby table.

“This is exactly what it looks like,” he said wickedly, loud enough for everyone to hear, before finding a seat.


Chapter 4: The Danger of Live Feeds


Helen was scowling loudly from her corner of the tent – following Nikola’s every move despite herself. He was doing it again – muttering into that infernal recorder. Goodness knows what he was saying now – nothing to her benefit.

She was cold – wet and the talk of the room – as was he. That was it, after ten minutes she’d had enough.

Helen set her cup of tea down on the table with a crash and paced through the crowd.

Nikola, meanwhile, was keeping himself amused in the corner of the tent.

Ah yes, did I tell you of the spring of 1889?” he mused. “It was a beautiful afternoon and I had just completed one of my MANY earth-changing projects when she turned up at my door – unannounced as usual. She was there – golden hair wafting gently in the wind, when –”

“Nikola, I’m going to find a way to kill you!” Helen swore into his ear. She had come up behind him and, without giving him the opportunity to react, grabbed onto his arm sharply and pulled the recorder away from his mouth.

“Ms Magnus,” Nikola greeted her with amusement. “I was just talking about you.”

“So I feared,” she retorted, tugging firmly on his arm.

Nikola tried to remain rooted to the spot, but Helen was much stronger than she looked and succeeded in pulling him forcefully out of the tent and back into the heavy rain. He glared at her when she refused to release him.

Fury really brings out the Brit in you,” he complained.

“And a good shower of rain really dampens your dashing looks.”

“My…?” he tried to think of a response, but she merely proceeded to drag him further away from the main tent.

Living in such proximity to Nubbins was really starting to make the air thick and heavy – the tropical humidity didn’t help either.

Nikola had no choice but to follow her as she haul him along the muddy paths that trailed through brief sections of forest back to his temporary lab. Once they reached the small clearing with his white tent, they stopped.

“If you wanted to get better acquainted,” Nikola spoke before he could stop his thoughts from slithering out, “you should have just asked.”

Helen ignored him. She was staring oddly at his sleeve where she was clutching his arm.

“And – what did you do to your arm?” Helen asked in frustration. She started randomly squeezing her away along his forearm until he grimaced and she pulled up his sleeve to reveal it wrapped in layers of blood soaked cloth.

“Nothing that will kill me,” he assured her.

Nikola…” she met his amusement with a firm glare.

“One of the Ma – Nubbins bit me. Disagreeable little test subjects,” he frowned. “Are you certain you wouldn’t rather they be turned into stew?”

Helen’s eyes widened with something a little more than concern. Bit him? Oh – that was bad – it also explained – things…

“Nikola, listen carefully to me – you’re – you’re already not listening!” she complained, as he daringly reached forward to play with her hair, tucking one of the wild strands back behind her ear.

It was impossible for them to get any wetter as the rain continued around them, thundering through the forest canopy.

“What makes you think I’m not listening?”

“You’re staring at my neck like you’re going to bite me – you’re not – are you?” she didn’t flinch from his touch, or attempt to bat his hand away. Helen simply let him continue tucking her hair back into place.

“It wasn’t my first thought,” Nikola confessed, his voice lower and softer than before.

The people on the other end of the live-feed looked worriedly at each other. This certainly wasn’t conversation pertaining to research – at least, not any kind of research they were trying to study.

“How am I supposed to account for your welfare,” her speech may have faltered slightly as his hand moved from her hair to her cheek, tracing down her face and along her jaw bone. “If you never tell me anything?”

“I’ve told you plenty,” he complained, thinking back to that I love you that he swore he’d never confess.

Was her hand actually working its way up his forearm, pulling him a little closer?

“Despite what you may think,” she scorned, “you are not indestructible.”

“We shall see,” he mused, listing toward her.

There were at least a dozen Nubbins hiding in the nearby ferns. They had come in search of their stolen kin and had now found the creatures, locked in a cage near the white tent. As a group, their pheromones were infinitely stronger – a fact intensified when they plotted en masse.

Helen noticed Nikola leaning closer as he invaded her vision, eventually blocking all else from her view. She wasn’t sure how she’d managed it, but one of her hands was on his shoulder – heading for his collar while her other caught the soaked front of his jacket, trailing over its smooth surface. It felt expensive and sadly ruined as she flattened her palm and let two of her fingers play with the button on his pocket.

“This is a bad idea,” she whispered in half-protest, after Nikola’s finger brushed over her lips.

“All the best things in life are,” he replied, tilting her chin up so that he could look into her dark brown eyes.

Helen knew that it was the Nubbins talking. She recognised their intoxicating effect from the last time yet she simple could not stop herself from rising on tip-toes, suddenly closing the gap on Nikola – crashing their lips together in a surge of passion.

Nikola was briefly stunned by her brazen move but caught on quick, parting his lips against hers. He felt her warm breath and her tongue gently graze his bottom lip. Her hand tightened, clutching to his jacket, keeping him close. Nikola couldn’t help the soft moan he gave as they both deepened the kiss. His hand roamed into her hair while a tiny shudder escaped across his skin when he felt her begin exploring his mouth.

It was a heated moment and even Nikola’s famously cold skin flushed and warmed to Helen. Not even the rain streaming over their skin could distract them as they demanded more of each other.

In a turn of events that would prove disastrous, they failed to see the cage of re-captured Nubbins teeter and fall. It was only the sudden crash that startled the pair, snapping them apart.

Nikola and Helen, still mostly entangled in one another, turned in the direction of sound just in time to see a herd of Nubbins squeaking and scampering off into the forest with their rescued company in tow.

“Oh no…” whispered Helen in despair, quite out of breath.

“Not again,” Nikola echoed her sentiment with an equally irregular voice. “Devious little critters,” he added, “I can see why you wanted my help.”

With the Nubbins retreating, Helen and Nikola felt their senses slowly returning. Hands were slipping away from places they really shouldn’t have been and eyes averting – avoiding each other.

“Much good you are,” she accused softly. So far all he’d done was manage to get himself into trouble and divulge her life secrets to the – oh… “Tell me,” she demanded, eyeing the tape recorder peaking out of his pocket, “tell me you didn’t leave that on…”

“Live feed,” he shrugged in the affirmative. “Isn’t that what you’ve been chastising me about since you gave it to me?”

Helen gave him an embarrassed, scathing look. “Yes, but it still has an ‘off’ switch.”

He untangled himself from her to reach retrieve the item from his pocket. He quickly spied the prominent, clearly labelled ‘power’ button.

“So it does…” he drawled.

Helen rolled her eyes and paced over to the empty cage. With her hands on her hips, she circled the table in distress, splashing about in the deepening puddles. Damnable Nubbins! She ranted in the privacy of her thoughts. That was a pretty big lapse in judgment, she scorned herself, and he will never let you forget it. Helen suddenly came to a stop, realising that she had been biting her lip, and that he was staring at her.

Nikola brought the recorder to his lips dramatically, cradling it like a microphone. He enjoyed the incredulous look breaking over Helen’s face and the way she bit her lip as she realised that he was about to make another entry.