He knew he wasn't supposed to be there but he couldn't help it, the place and the man working there were fascinating to him. He loved it there; the lights, the sounds, the machines ... He found everything so cool that he kept giving his babysitter of the day, whoever had the task to watch him over the afternoon, the slip to go watch him work (except for his Nana, he always stayed with his Nana because she gave him cookies and let him take a little sip of her tea).
The door to the lab was, almost always, left open so it wasn't difficult for him to sneak in. Once inside, he crawled to the right corner of the lab to hide behind the small sofa where he thought he was safe from being seen. What he didn't know was that, thanks to his enhanced hearing, Nikola always knew he had gotten there as soon as little Ethan had stepped out of the elevator. He didn't mind the company.
Minutes went by while Nikola continued to work, in silence, while Ethan observed him from his hiding spot. When the device in front of him decided to malfunction, he got a shock to his hand that had him cursing. Ethan couldn't help the giggle that escaped his mouth at hearing Nikola, giving himself up in the process. Without looking at where the giggle had come from, Nikola spoke. "Come here, little cub." Ethan quickly got up and was about to move when Nikola stopped him. "No running in the lab unless something is about to explode, you know that."
Ethan laughed at that while he approached the lab table where Nikola was working. He stepped onto the little step-stool Nikola kept in the lab for him and tried to see what his friend was doing but he couldn't. Grabbing Nikola's pant leg, he tugged. "What are you doing, Niko?" He asked with his adorable little smile, the one that Nikola found hard to resist.
"Improving our walkies to encrypt our communications. I'm also trying to improve their working range." Nikola explained.
"Cool." Ethan replied, nodding, as if he understood what everything meant. "May I see?"
Feigning exasperation, because he really liked showing Ethan things, Nikola picked him up and sat him on the lab table. "Remember rule number one?"
"Don't touch anything unless you say it's okay." Ethan parroted.
"Good pup." Nikola told him, ruffling the boy's hair and earning a high-pitched squealed Niko! from him.
Nikola gathered his non-dangerous tools and carefully arranged them in front of Ethan. He continued working on the walkies while asking Ethan for a tool when he needed it, spending the time to tell him the name of the tool and what it was meant for. They worked together, the little boy blabbering about random things (or so Nikola thought). While he would had complained about the talking from anybody else, even Helen, he almost welcomed Ethan's voice and company (not that he would admit it out loud to anyone).
Once he was done, Nikola closed the two walkies with Ethan's help and raised his eyes to look at the boy. The grin on Ethan's face was contagious and Nikola found himself smiling too.
"Done, Niko?" Ethan asked, enthusiastically, raising his open hand.
"Yep, it's done." He replied, high-fiving him.
"I wanna try!" He exclaimed excited at the prospect of doing it with Nikola.
"We can't, not now." Nikola didn't like the look of disappointment on the little boy's face so he quickly proposed something else. "How about a boom?" He asked him.
"Big boom?" Ethan replied, eyes open with excitement.
"Small boom. I don't want to get in trouble with your grandmother." Nikola told him.
"Trouble is your middle name, my dear."
Startled, Nikola turned around to look at the door at the same time that Ethan let out an excited "NANA!". Looking at the boy again, he raised a finger and pointed at him. "Third rule, pup?"
"No yelling at the lab." Ethan said even if, at that moment, he didn't seem to care about the rule.
"What are you doing here?" Nikola asked Helen as she approached them. Thanks to her quick reflexes, she was able to pick Ethan up when he jumped into her arms.
"Looking for the most handsome man in this house." She said, peppering Ethan's cheeks with kisses making him giggle. "And for you too, of course." She told him, smirking.
"Of course." He replied, feigning annoyance. "What's the occasion?"
"It's Thursday." Helen said.
"Family dinner!" Ethan exclaimed clapping his hands.
Helen began to walk, Ethan still in her arms and perched at her hip. "Do I have to go?" Nikola asked her, pouting, just as she was about to leave the room.
"No." She stopped and quickly replied. "But you might find the door locked later." She told him, smirking, before continuing to walk.
It took him a couple of seconds to understand the meaning behind her words. Once he did, and thanks to his super-speed, he caught them at the elevator.
"I see you've decided to join us, after all." Helen said, nonchalantly, stepping inside the elevator.
"Just don't get used to it, my dear." He told her, eyes still totally black, while the doors closed and he pressed the button to the residential area.
"I wouldn't dare." She replied leaning towards him to peck his lips.
Giggling, and following his Nana's example, Ethan put his little arms around Nikola's neck and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Vampie!" He said, enjoying seeing Nikola's vampire side and more than used to it.
"See what my great race has been reduced to?" Nikola complained. "Doing tricks to amuse a five-years-old mini wolfie boy."
"And you love every second of it." Helen replied smiling at him.