A New Beginning
by Liz Muller

Miami,Florida 1998

Dr. Natalie Lambert sat in the park, near her office trying to
eat her lunch.She'd lost alot of weight since sh'd left Toronto,
but food didn't interest her anymore. With a sigh, she wrapped up
her mostly uneaten sandwich, and got out her book.She tried to read
but, as always, her mind wandered back to Toronto and Nick.

Nick. Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered the last time
they had been together.She felt her old friend guilt rise as she
remembered how she had pushed Nick that night.He had told her that
he was afraid, that he didn't want to hurt her, but she hadn't
listened. All she heard was her own fear of being alone. So she'd
pushed him. To try Janette's cure. And look what she had to show
for it. Nick was gone, dead. All she could remember was the feeling
of his fangs piercing her neck, and the images from his blood.
The next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital,
3 days later.Joe reese was there and he had lots of questions
that she had no answers for. Then.She wiped her eyes as she remembered
when she had found out what had happened.


Toronto 1996

Natalie was dozing. She felt so weak and tired. Her doctors
had told her she was lucky to be alive. If it had been any
longer...... She had no memory of getting to the hospital,
and no one seemed to know who had brought her. She wondered
if Nick had, and where he was. Reese had told her that Nick
had disappeared.

"Doctor Lambert." A cold, familiar voice tinged with meance
said. Nat's eyes snapped open to find LaCroix standing next
to her bed.She stared at him, and he stared back, haterd
visable in his eyes." So, you still live" he said, his
voice soft and evil. " Are you happy, now Doctor?" he
asked. " LaCroix, I don't understand. Where's Nick?"
Natalie asked, her voice trembling. " Ah... thats right.
You don't know what you've done, do you?" She shook her
head, fear in her heart.

" Nicholas promised you that you would be together,
forever, did he not?" LaCroix asked, coldly. Natalie
just nodded. " He thought he had killed you, and then
he asked me to kill him, so that you and he might be
together." He paused, his rage growing and his eyes
begining to burn. " Nicholas was in such agony at
what he thought he'd done to you that I did as he
asked." Natalies eyes closed as grief swept over her.
And guilt. Such guilt! "Oh my god, what have I done?"
she whispered. " It was after that i realized that you
still lived." LaCroix moved closer to the bed, his
eyes blazing with hate. " I will have my revenge, Doctor.
I want you to live.To live knowing what you did.
And, someday, no matter where you go, I will find you.
And then, my dear Doctor, I will bring you across,so
you will have eternity to suffer for your crime."
With that, LaCroix left, and the pain crashed over
her in waves.


Miami 1998

Natalie wiped her eyes and put away her book. It
was time to go back to work. Sh'ed come here to
Miami to try to free herslef from her guilt. She
had a practice in a poorer section of town. She was
needed. Nat knew that LaCroix would find her someday.
She hoped thatmaybe she could do some good, something
to atone for what she did to Nick. It wasn't enough,
but it helped.And when LaCroix finally did come for her,
she'd be waiting.

Montreal 1998

Janette stood in the library of her townhouse, waiting for LaCroix
to return.In the two years since he had joined her here, much had changed.
Tonight she would try once more to get him to change the path he
was on. She sighed and sat down near the fire, wondering, not
for the first time how she had gotten into this mess. The only good
thing about her return to vampirism was her ablity to look after
Patrick as Robert had asked her to.At first, from a distance, then
after his aunt and uncle had died in a car crash as his mother.
The thought of Patrick brought a smile to her lips. He had accepted
what she was without blinking an eye, happy that she was there for
him. She owed Nichola for that. Now if she could just convince LaCroix...
Her thought was interupted, by LaCroixs arrrival.

"Good evening, Janette." LaCroix said as he went to the bar and
poured himself a drink. She said nothing, she could sense his turmoil.
LaCroix joined her by the fire, lost in his own thoughts. "LaCroix"
she started, steeling herself for his anger at what she was going to say.
" Do you not think it is time to let go of this? What good can come
from this?" LaCroix gazed levely at Janette. No one would move him
from his plan. "Janette, it is my buisness. I would advise you to
keep out of it." a slight edge in his voice. Janette opened her mouth
to reply, when she heard the sound of a mortal heatbeat approaching.
She looked quickly at LaCroix, but he looked calm. "His timing can
not be worse!" she thought as the library door opened.

Janette watched, concerned, as he stepped though the door and
stopped as he saw LaCroix. "Good evening, Nicholas." LaCroix
said. Nick said nothing, just nodded to Janette as he walked over
to the bar and poured himself a drink. Nick slumped down on the
couch, ignoring both Janette and LaCroix. As always, his thoughts
went to the night in Toronto, the night he killed Natalie.

Toronto 1996

Nick knelt next to Natalie, and took her hand. The last thing
he wanted to see was her face, as he joined her. Vaugely he heard
LaCroix's voice and then felt a searing pain in his back. His
last thought was that soon he would be with her, free to love her
as he wanted.

Nick woke slowly and in great pain. An annoying beep,beep, beep
filled his ears.He forced his eyes open to see he was in a hospital
room. He was confused. This couldn't be the afterlife, it hurt too much.
A cough form the side of his bed caused him to turn his head slightly.
He winced as pain shot through him.he had no idea what had happened
to him. His eyes rested on LaCroix, seated at his bedside. " Nicholas"
the soft voice said. Nick just looked at LaCroix in shock. "What happened?
where's Natalie?" He started to try to get up, but LaCroix gently
held him down. "I did as you asked, Nicholas. I staked you. I wanted
only to disable you for a moment, but discovered that your cure had
worked." Nick blinked and shook his head, trying to accept what LaCroix
told him. He was mortal!! " What about Natalie?" he whispered.
LaCroix looked at him, hard before answered. "Nicholas, don't you
remember? You took too much." Nick closed his eyes and shook his
head."Why, LaCroix? Why did you save me? I promised her we would be together.
Why did you save me?" he said brokenly as tears began to slide down his face.
"I tried to do as you asked, but found I could not.You are mine, Nicholas,
always. After you have gotten this phase out of your system, you
will rejoin me for eternity." Nick slowly shook his head. "I will never
allow you to bring be across. Someday I shall join Natalie" Nick closed his
eyes and turned his head away.


Montreal 1998

Nick felt LaCroixs eyes on him.In the last two years, they had
argued many times, but he was adamant.He would never let LaCroix
bring him arcoss again. He would join Natalie someday.

Janette could feel the tension growing, and desprate to prevent
another argument, she spoke, "Nichola, are you ready for our trip?
Patrick is looking foward to going to Miami and seeing spring-traing.
This will be a break for us all" Nick just nodded, happy he could
be of some help to Janette after all she had done for him. He
owed her for what he had done to her, and this trip was just a small
payment of that debt. LaCroix stood up abruptly, " This trip of
yours is a useless indulgence, Janette. I shall not go with you."
He walked over to Nick and placed a hand on his shoulder.He frowned
when Nicholas flinched. "When you return, Nicholas, you will join
me again. And this time, it will be forever." With that, LaCroix left.
Nick just shook his head and said to himself, never.

Montreal 1998

LaCroix quickly took to the air after leaving Janette and Nicholas.
The stubborness that Nicholas continued to show irritated him.He had
come to realize that as long as Nicholas belived he would be with Natalie
in the end, he would never come back to him. LaCroix growled at the thought
of Natalie. He knew she had left Toronto, but hadn't bothered
to keep track of her.Nicholas had been his only concern for the last two
years. As he lazily flew over the city, it occured to him that perhaps
he had made a mistake. If Nicholas would not join him of his own choice
then, perhaps, a little incentive was needed. Yes, it was time to visit
the good doctor. After all, he did tell her he would be back. LaCroix
smiled. When he brought Natalie across, he was sure Nicholas would return
to him. Now, it was time to find some dinner. A woman, walking alone
caught his eye, and he swooped in looking foward to an enjoyable meal.

Janette watched laCroix leave, her anger at him growing. She moved
towards Nick and lightly touched his arm.Nick started and gave
Janette a wan smile. "Nichola, I am so sorry. I had hoped he would
realize that you were serious, and would give up this plan of his."
Nick sadly shook his head. "Janette, he will never let me go, I know
that. I am just sorry that you and Patrick are caught in the middle."
He stopped and looked into her eyes. "You do know I will not come back?"
he asked quietly. Janette gave him a sad smile and said " I know that,
my love. And I do understand. You must go where your heart leads, and
I know that you will find peace in the end." She rose suddenly and
continued " Now, enough of this. We are both tired and the sun will be
up soon. We should rest, we have a plane to catch later." Gently she
took Nicks hand and pulled him up. "Off to bed with you." She gave him
a gentle push towards the door.She watched him go, wishing that she
could do something to stop what was to come.

Patrick had been listening to their conversation. It was something he
did often. When your mother was a vampire, it paid to listen. Listening
had given him the perfect way to repay Uncle Nick for saving his Mom.
He knew that LaCroix would be mad, but figured that it would be worth it.
He had figured out LaCroix's secret and made his plans. Now all he had to
do was wait.


Miami 1998

"NOOOOOOOOOO!" Natalie woke shouting, her heart pounding,sweat running
down her face.She looked wildly around for a moment, then realized where
she was. It was the dream again. The same one she had had ever since
LaCroix had told her about Nick.She shook her head, trying to clear
the image of Nicks accusing face from her mind.She glanced at the clock
and saw it was almost time to get up. Her office was due to open soon
and it was the only thing that kept her mind off Nick. She got up and
made her way to the bathroom, her eyes catching on the pile of tickets
on her desk. She sighed. How had she let Maria talk her in to chaperoning
a trip to a baseball game, she'd never figure out. And to see the Bluejays....
she shook her head again as the tears started again. Nick loved the BlueJays.
'Ah, well.' she thought. She had a couple of days before the game, maybe
she'd come up with someway to back out.


Montreal 1998

"Michael, Its LaCroix. I have a small job for you." Micheal hesitated before
answering. "Yes, LaCroix?" "I want you to find someone for me. Her name is
Natalie Lambert." LaCroix smiled.

Miami 1998

Nick sat on the balcony of his room, watching the sunrise. He always
watched the sunrise. It was a way of remembering Natalie. As always,
silent tears sliped down his face as he thought of her. His guilt at
what he had done to her overwhelmed him. The past 3 days had been busy.
Patrick had dragged him all over Miami during the day, and Janette had
insisted that he go with her at night. He had been so tired that even
his nightmares had stopped. He was looking foward to the game today,
not because he wanted to go, but because it would give him a chance to
relax. He had been thinking of their return to Montreal. He knew that
LaCroix would try to bring him across, but Nick knew he would not come
back. natalie's last gift to him had not been the sunrise, but her faith
that they would be together in the end. That faith had helped him
during the last 2 years.Soon, he knew he would join Natalie as he
had promised. Nick heard Partick moving around inside and quickly wiped
his face. He didn't want to spoil this week for him. Soon, it would all
be over.

Patrick woke and saw Nick outside, watching the sunrise. He smiled
to himself. He couldn't wait for the game. This was going to be great!


Natalie woke at sunrise as she always did, even though she was off
today. She went outside to watch the sunrise, her thoughts, as always,
of Nick. She had plenty of time before she had to meet the others at
the community center. She wondered again how she had let herself be
talked into helping take a group of high-risk kids to a baseball game.
The tickets had been anonymously donated to the center, and the director
had asked her to help. She was the only doctor that most of the kids
saw and they listened to her. The kids were so excited to be going,
seeing a professional ball game was something beyond the means of
their parents. She really hadn't wanted to go, the Toronto Bluejays
were playing, but she had agreed. She sighed and went inside, she had
a few things she could do before they left.

Natalie followed the bus full of kids and the other adults to the
park. She took her car, because she could never be sure when one of
her patients would beep her and she needed to be able to leave. She
was the only doctor these people had, and made sure she could be reached
at all times. They arrived a couple of hours before game time, to
allow the kids to watch the players warmup. Natalie watched the kids
runing from place to place, and smiled. She tought that maybe the day
would be fun after all.


Nick was getting irratated with Patrick. When they had gone out
this morning, Patrick was in a rush. Now, as gametime approached
he couldn't seem to get Patrick to move. "Patrick" Nick said impatiently,
We're gonna miss the start of the game if you don't hurry up!"
"Aw, but Uncle Nick...." Patrick started, but Nick cut him off.
"we have to go now!" Nick said and Patrick had sullenly followed him.
They got to their seats just as the national anthems finished up.
They watched as the Bluejays hammered the Yankees through the first
three innings. Nick found himself enjoying the relaxed atmosphere
of the game."uncle Nick?" Patrick said. "Yes?" Nick replied. "Uh, I
have to go to the bathroom, I'll be right back." and Nick watched as
Patrick headed off. Nick just shook his head and turned back to the
game. He got a kick out of watching a group of kids several rows in
front of them enjoy the game.

Patrick had enjoyed the game so far, but the best was yet to come.
He made his way to a phone and quickly dialed the number he had found
and then headed back to his uncle. He couldn't wait!


Natalie felt her beeper going off, and was dismayed. To her surprise
she had enjoyed the day. Watching the kids enjoying the trip was great!
She checked her beeper, but didn't recognize the number. She shook her
head, not really surprised. Some of her patients dodn't have phones so
she was used to strange numbers appearing on her beeper. She caught
the directors eye and held up her beeper. He nodded and motioned her
off. He understood that she might be called away, and had no problem
with it.

As Patrick made his way back to his seat, he made sure that Nick had to
step out onto the stairs.

Natalie wasn't watching where she was going and ran into the back of a tall
blonde-haired man. As he turned around to speak to her, she saw his face,
and her heart stopped. Nick turned around when he felt someone run into him.
The words on his lips died, as he looked into a face he thought he'd never
see again. They stared into each others eyes for what seemed like forever,
before Nick whispered her name "Nat?"

Natalie just stood there, stunned. She vaugely heard Nick
say her name, but the sight of him alive and mortal was more then she
could handle. natalie started to tremble and her eyes filled with tears.
Nick reached out and quickly pulled her into a fierce hug, revelling in
the feel of her in his arms. It was something he'd never thought he'd
feel again. As Nick held her, her tears started to fall. She still couldn't
speak, she just buried her head in his chest, totaly beyond words. The
sounds of the game faded as Nick gently tilted her face up and tentitvly
lowered his lips to hers. The kiss quickly grew heated as each of them
realized that there was nothing to hold them back anymore.

Patrick watched them with a huge smile on his face. His plan had
worked! All he had to do now was get his uncles attention, so they could
get out of here. Nick and Natalie showed no signs of ending their kiss,
so he said "uh, Uncle Nick?" Nick heard his name, and then the sounds
of the game. he reluctantly pulled away from Natalie, and turned to Patrick.
He could see the wide smile on Patricks face, and blushed. Natalie didn't
want the kiss to end, but had heard someone call Nicks name. As Nick turned
towards the voice, she saw a teenager with a huge smile on his face watching them.

She was still daze, but the name was famillar. "Uncle Nick, maybe we should go,
I'm sure you and Dr.Lambert have better things to do then watch a baseball
game" Something clicked in Nicks brain and he said, "Patrick, how do you
know Natalie?" Nick was pretty sure he knew what the answer was. "Uncle Nick,
can we get something to eat? I'll explain, really I will." Nick frowned at
him and turned to Natalie. "Come with us?" Nick asked. Natalie smiled
and said "Just try and stop me, Nick." They made their way to the parking lot
in silence, Nick and Natalie walking arm and arm. Nick steared them to his
car,and as they got in, said, " We'd better go back to the hotel. I think
Janette should hear this, don't you, Patrick?" Natalie started at Janettes
name, and then Patricks identity hit her. " Do you think Mom will be mad
at me, Uncle Nick?" Patrick asked, worry in his voice. "No, Patrick,
Janette isn't the problem, but we'll talk about that later." Nick leaned
over and whispered into Natalie's ear. " I love you Natalie, and I always will.
No one will ever come between us again." She squeezed his hand and smiled.
" I love you too Nick, and I'm not going to lose you ever again."


Motreal 1998

It was late afternoon when LaCroixs phone rang. He let the machine
take it, untill he heard Michael's voice. " Yes Michael?" " LaCroix
I found Natalie Lambert for you, she has a small practice in Miami."
LaCroix heard Michael continue, but paid no attention. His hand crushed
the phone as his rage built. Miami, where Nicholas had gone. Somehow
he knew they were together. He trew the ruined phone down, and began to pace.
So, his son thought he'd escape, that he would allow him to join the
good doctor. LaCroix smiled. His eyes, glowed yellow and through his
fangs he said," Nicholas, one way or another, you shall come back to
me, and I will finally take my revenge on you doctor." LaCroix took
out his cellphone and dialed. " I need a reservation on your next flight
to Miami, tonight."

Nick drove through a buger joint and got lunch. As they headed back
to the hotel, he said, "okay, Patrick, spill it." Natalie smiled as
she watched Patrick wolf down his burger. " Um, okay. Well, Uncle Nick
Mom told me something bad had happened to you in Toronto so you were gonna
stay with us for awhile. She didn't tell me what went on." Patrick paused
to take a drink. "One night, I heard Mom and LaCroix arguing about you. He
said he was gonna make you a vampire even though you didn't want to be one.
He said something about Dr, Lambert, so I wondered what was up." Patrick looked
at Natalie and Nick. "I'd heard you talking to her in your sleep, and thought
maybe she could help you. I asked Mom about you, Dr Lambert, and she said LaCroix
had told her you had died. I decided to check that out, and dicovered that LaCroix
had lied." Nick and Natalie exchanged a glance at that. " Umm.... I thought
that if you found her, you wouldn't be so sad, so...umm... I kinda set you
up." Patrick looked anxiously at them. " Your not mad at me, are you?"

Natalie reached back and Lightly touched his arm. " No, Patrick, We could
never be angry at you. Thank you." She said with tears in her eyes. "Patrick,
Nats right. Thanks to you, I have my life back." Patrick smiled at them.
"Good!! " he said. "Uncle Nick?" Patrick asked. "Yes, Patrick?" "Will Mom
be mad at me?" Nick smiled and said, "I don't think so, and don't worry
about LaCroix, your Mom and I will handle him".

They Pulled into the hotel parking lot. "Patrick, I want you to go upstairs
tell your Mom whats up. Nat and I will be up in a bit, we have some things
to talk about." As Patrick started to go, Natalie gave him a big hug, and
"Thank you" to him. Patrick smiled and took off.

Nick put his arm around Nat's waist and headed to the beach. They walked in
silence for a bit, then sat down. Nat looked down at the sand and started to
speak. "Nick....I am so sorry. I pushed you too hard that night. I just..."
Nick put a finger to her lips. " Shhh, Nat. Its okay. What happened was my
fault. I almost killed you. I thought I had." Nick said quietly. Natalie
looked up into Nicks eyes and saw his guilt. It was the same guilt she saw
in her own eyes. She reached out and laid her hand on his cheek and smiled.
" We're doing it again." she said lightly. "Doing what?" Nick asked, puzzled.
"Arguing over who's guilty. Why don't we just drop it? We have a second
chance, Nick. Lets make the most of it."

She leaned in and kissed him softly on the lips. Nick passionatly returned
her kiss nad, for a time, they let the world disappear as they discovered
one another again. Nick broke the kiss, resting his forehead agaist hers.
"We have to decide what we're gonna do. When LaCroix finds out...."
He trailed off. "When LaCroix finds out, he's not going to be happy." Nat
finished. Nick just nodded and pulled her close. Natalie looked into
Nicks eyes and said, "Nick, I won't run. I have a practice here and
people who need me. I won't let him ruin that." Nick smiled, once again
marveling at her courage. " Then its settled. We stay here." Natalie
looked away and said, " Nick..." Nick gently turned her face towards him.
" Nat, don't even think it. I'm never leaving you again. I did promise
we'd be together and I meant it. I love you, Nat and I always will.But
we still have to deal with LaCroix..... he won't let me go." He
looked out over the water and said " We should go and talk to Janette,
she might have an idea."


Janette heard Patrick come in and wondered where Nick was. "Um, Mom,
I have something to tell you..." Janette listened to Patrick, growing
more and more upset. When he finished, she just stared at him. "Mom?
are you angry at me?" Patrick asked worried. She gave him a weak smile
"No, I'm not mad at you, Patrick. But LaCroix..., well don't worry about
that. Nick and I will work something out." She gave him a hug, and Patrick
went over and opened up his laptop. Janette sat there, her mind racing.
Just how was she going to keep LaCroix from killing all of them? She was
startled out of her thoughts by the sound of the door opening. She looked
up to see Nick, leading Natalie into the room. For the first time in years,
she could see the happiness in him.

"Janette, " Nick started. She cut him off. " Natalie, it is *good* to see
you again." Natalie smiled uncertinly at Janette. Janette got up and began
to pace, "At least we have a few days to figure out how to deal with LaCroix.
You both realize that he will be *most* displeased by this?" she said seriously.
Before either of them could respond, Patrick interupted. " Um, Mom? You
might want to hear this." They all looked at Patrick. "I kinda checked on
LaCroix.....he's gonna be here, tonight. His plane lands at 3:00am.

Natalie sat on the couch, listening to Nick and Janette argue over
how to deal with LaCroix. They'd sent Patrick out as soon as they
recovered from the shock of hearing that LaCroix was coming. She shifted
slightly as they went over everything again. Finally, she tuned them out
as she thought. It was simple, really. They had two options. Somehow
convince LaCroix not to kill them, or bring them across, or kill *him*.
A bitter smile crossed her lips at the thought of LaCroix agreeing to
let her and Nick live out their mortal lives free of him. Nat knew that
that Nick and Janette belived that it would be impossible to kill
LaCroix. Nick had tried to kill him and failed. Tuning them back in
and realizing that they had gone in circles yet again, Nat cleared her

Nick and Janette turned to look at her. " I haven't said anything
during this discusion, hoping you two could find a way out of this mess
for all of us. Somehow, I doubt LaCroix will agree to letting Nick
stay mortal. As for me, I think the best I can hope for would be a quick
death." She paused, realizing, from the look on Nick's face that she'd
been a little too blunt. "Nat..." Nick began. She cut him off with a
smile. "Nick, you know I'm right. He hates me and will never let you go."
Nick nodded, a sad look on his face.

Nick walked over and sat next to Nat on the couch. Reaching, he took
her hand in his. " Nat, I won't lose you now. Somehow we'll just have
to convince him to leave us alone." Nat smiled and shook her head. A
glance at Janette showed they shared the same thought. LaCroix would
never let Nick go. Gently, she touched his face. " Nick, he'll never
let you go without a fight. We need to convince him that we *can* stop
him." "Nat, I killed him before, and he came back. How can we convince
him of something that isn't true?"

Nat looked away. This was the hardest part of what she had to say.
"Nick... Janette..." She started slowly. " After LaCroixs visit to me,
I began to think of ways to defend myself. I didn't care if he killed me,
that way I would have been with you, but I couldn't stand the thought
of him bringing me across and seperating us forever. So, I..." Nat
stopped, overcome by emotion. Nick slid his arm around her and pulled
her close. "What did you do, Nat?" he asked softly. Without looking
at either of them Nat spoke. "When I got out of the hospital, before
I left Toronto, I... I modified the virus that causes the fever. I made
it stronger. I tested it on samples of your blood, and refined it further.
As far as I can tell, it *should*...should kill LaCroix. Permanently."

Total silence reigned. Nat nerviously looked up at Nick and Janette.
Janette had a look of.....something, Nat didn't know waht on her face,
but Nick wore a shocked look that quickly changed to one of hope. " Nat,
are you sure? I mean, will it work?" The hope in his voice was unmistakable.
Nat merely nodded. She *was* sure.

Janette snak down into a chair, staring at Nick and Natalie. This was
it then. She had to decide if she could do this. She owed her life to
LaCroix. He had saved her, made her a vampire, given her control of her
life and for centuries she had been content with that. A part of her
wished that Natalie had indeed died that night, that Nick would come
back to them, but, she admitted to herself, that was never a real
possibility. Now she had to choose between them. And there was Patrick
to think of. LaCroix would not be happy with Patrick. And she wasn't
strong enough, by herself to protect him from LaCroix. Feeling her
heart break she said softly, " So, where is this virus, and how do we
use it?"


Montreal 1998

With 2 hours till sundown, and 3 more after that before his plane
left, LaCroix sat in his library deciding what to do. Nicholas would come
back across. He would see to that. He smiled in antcipation of tasting
Nicholas's mortal blood. The good doctor would provide some entertainment
before he killed her. And Janette.... well, Janette would learn that
betrayal carried a heavy price. Yes, all in all, he was looking forward
to a most pleasant evening.

The drive to Nat's offcie was a quiet one. Both Nick and Natalie
were still trying to deal with the fact that the other was alive, and
that the future they'd longed for was within their grasp. If only
they could be free of LaCroix. Nat shut the car off and turned to
look at Nick. He was staring out the window, lost in thought. She smiled
and shook her head. " Nick, we're here." She said as she leaned over and
lightly touched his arm. He started slighty and grinned sheepishly
at her. "Sorry Nat, I was thinking." Laughing she replied, "Uh-huh, sure.
Lets go. We can get the virus and then go get something to eat." Still
chuckling she got out of the car.

Nick grinned at the sound of her laughter. God! How he'd missed her!
As he got out and began to follow her, he looked around. Nat's office
was in a poor area. there were lots of small stores and apartments. The
street was bustling with people, most of whom were chattering in spanish.
Quite a few called greetings to Nat, and she answered them in rather
good spanish. He realized then just what she'd ment when she said she
couldn't leave these people. They needed her, and he suspected she needed
them as well. Following Nat inside, he saw her office was neat but had
that look of hard use about it. "I'll just be a minute Nick, then we
can go." She said as she disappeared into the back.

Glancing around, he stopped suddenly at the sight of a picture
of him and Nat on her desk. Staring at it, he didnt hear her untill she
slipped her arms around him. Turning in her embrace, he put his arms
around her and hugged her hard. "Oh God, Nat, I love you so much!" he
whispered as he tilted her head up and caught her lips in a passionate
kiss. Nat responded eagerly, fire coursing through her at the feel of
his warm lips on hers. Their hands began to explore each other as they
allowed the years of repressed desire to explode. So caught up in their
passion, neither heard the door open until a stream of hysterical
spanish got their attention.

Breaking their embrace, Nat hurried over to the sobbing woman
standing by the door.after a few minutes, Nat was able to make out
that one of her regulat paitents had fallen in his home and needed
medical attention. "Nick, I have to go and see him, why dont you wait
here?" Nat said as she retreived her medical bag. "Nat, if its ok,
can I come along? I just don't want to leave you." he said. "Okay"
she said ,pointing to a large orange box in the corner, " you can carry
that." "Yes, Ma'am." he grinned and grabbed the box. They quickly
followed the old woman and reached a neatly kept house. Several people
were milling about crying and talking.

Nat sighed as she saw them. Dealing with Mr.Ramirz was tough
enough, but with all the family... Putting on her best "Dr. Lambert"
look she headed up the steps, Nick right behind her. Following
the old woman into the house, she saw her paitent laying on the couch,
a bloody towel pressed to his forehead. Unable to stop herself, Nat
shoot a glance at Nick. He was slightly pale, but otherwise fine.
Chiding herself for her thoughts she turned back to her patient.

Mr Ramirz was a nice old man, a diabetic, who often didn't take
his medicine. With a praticed glance she saw his color was good, but
he showed signs of not having taken his insulin. 5 voices all talking
at once was more then enough. In rapid fire spanish, in her firmest
voice she got them all to leave the room, except for Nick, and Mrs

Nick watched amazed as Nat cleared the room and got down to work.
Gently she cleaned and stitched the nasty gash on the old mans
forehead. After making sure that he suffered no other injuries, he
listened in awe as she read the old man the riot act.Seeing that he
took his medicine, she began to gather up her supplies. Swiftly helping
her, they were ready to go shortly. Saying goodbye to the family,
they walked down the street.

"Nick, I need to go to my place and change. And I should check on
Sydney." Sliding his arm around her waist, he nodded. Nat began to head
away from her office. "Where are we going, Nat?" Pointing to a small
house she said "Thats mine Nick. We can go back for the car later."
Following Nat in the door he heard a famillar meaow and saw Sydney
come running. Smiling at the cat, Nat reached down and picked him up.
"Say hello to Nick, Syd." Nick reached over and was pleased when Sydney
allowed him to pet him. "Let me grab some clean clothes and we can
be off.

As Nat went to change, Nick looked around dismayed. This was not
the kind of place he imagined Nat living in. It was neat and clean
and devoid of any of the touches he'd seen in Nat's apartment in Toronto.
Tears welled up as he realized just how much his "death" had hurt her.
When she came out of the bathroom, dressed in a clean pair of sweats,
he knew he couldn't wait any longer. They'd waited long enough.

Sweeping her into his arms, he rained passionate kisses on her face
and ran his hands across her back. Matching him kiss for kiss, she
reveled in the feel of his body next to hers. Knowing that this
might be their only chance to be together, Nick picked her up and
gently laid her on her bed, and slowly and passionatly they finally
became one.

Nat slowly became aware of a warm pressure draped
across her chest. She smiled slightly as she felt a warm
breath tickle her shoulder. Suddenly her eyes snapped
open. Shifting she gazed into Nicks peaceful, sleeping

Gently, she reached over and lightly traced the
puckered, angry-looking scar on his left shoulder.
She had no idea what happened that night after Nick
drank her blood. But judging from the new lines in
his face, and how she had felt, she could guess.
Looking at his face, Nat realized Nick was awake
and watching her.

Waking to a soft touch on his shoulder, Nick stared
at the face of the woman he loved. He saw the far
away look in her eyes and wondered what she was thinking.
Tightening his arms around her, he felt her thinness.

It was his fault she had suffered so the last few
years. Burying his face in her soft hair, Nick
whispered, "Nat, Im so sorry." Returning his embrace,
Nat said softly, " For what, Nick? I pushed you,
remember? You tried to warn me, but I wouldn't listen.
What happened was my fault not yours."

Nick smiled. There she went again. Forgiving him for
hurting her, and taking the blame for what he had done.
Pulling back, he stared into her blue eyes, eyes he had
missed so these two long years. Running his fingers gently
over her cheek, "Nat, its over. We both made mistakes,
and as you said, we have another chance. I, for one, don't
intend to blow it. I love you, and want to spend the rest
of my life with you."

A smile of joy lit Nat's face, and tears filled
her eyes, as she whispered, "Oh Nick, I want the
same... I have loved you from the moment we met.
All I ever wanted was you."

Nat pulled him to her and caught his lips in a
passionate kiss. Regretfully releasing his lips,
she smiled. "As much as I'm enjoying this, we have
to stop..." She trailed off. He nodded. "Your right."
he sighed.

Nick glanced over to the clock, by the bed. "We
should get going, its late." Nat twisted and looked
herself. " Almost 1 a.m. Janette must be wondering
what happened to us." Nat pulled free of Nick's arms
and started to get up.

Nick lay back and watched her with a smile. "Somehow,
Nat, I think Janette wasn't expecting us back too soon."
Nat grinned at him as she headed for the bathroom.
Nick's smile faded as he got up and gathered his clothes.
They still had to deal with LaCroix and there were no

Nat came out of the bathroom a few minutes later
to find Nick, dressed, sitting on the couch deep in
thought. Walking over to him, she ran her hand lightly
over his shoulder. "Penny for your thoughts?" Nick
glanced up at her, and smiled.

"Just thinking how lucky I am." He said softly.
He rose and pulled Nat into his arms. "Lets go.
the sooner we get finished, the sooner we can
get on with our lives." Nodding, she grabbed
her bag and they left.


Janette poured herself another glass and sipped.
Patrick was safe. She sent him to stay with
friends. She had made her calls, and done all
she could. Glancing at the clock, she knew they
would be back soon. She hoped they had made the
most of their time together. If this plan didn't
work, they probably wouldn't have another chance.

A short time later, Janette heard a key in the
lock. Looking up, she watched as Nick and Natalie
came in. She smiled slightly as she realized they
had indeed made the most of their time.

"So we are set, correct?" Janette asked. Nat
nodded and held up her bag. "I have the virus
here... Now all we need is LaCroix." Checking
her watch, Janette replied " I'm sure we
won't have long to wait."

Lucian LaCroix exited the plane and strode through
the airport. As he stepped outside, he paused. It was
a beautiful, moonlight night. The moon was almost full
and the night felt alive. He smiled. What a perfect night
to reclaim his Nicholas.

Swiftly taking to the air, he allowed himself a moment
of indulgence as he imagined how sweet Nicholas would taste.
A shadow intruded as he remembered the last 2 years. Since
that night he had tried to teach Nicholas the folly of a
mortal life. He had never succeeded. *She* was always there.
In his thoughts, in his heart. It was time to deal with
the good doctor and end this foolishness, forever.


Nat was pacing, she just couldn't help it. The closer
it got to 3 am, the harder it was to sit still. She'd filled
and shown Nick and Janette how to use the injectors, but after
that, conversation trailed off. Each of them had too much
on their minds. She wondered if it came down to it, she could
kill LaCroix. She wondered if any of them could.

Janette and Nick exchanged a glance as they watched
Nat pace. They both knew what was bothering her. The
quiet beep of the clock announced the hour. 3 am.
Nick rose and went over to Nat, who had stopped pacing.
He slid his arms around her from behind and leaned down,
dropping a kiss on her cheek.

"Nat...I'm not going to tell you not to worry, you wouldn't
listen anyway, but somehow..." He stopped and turned her
around. Gazing deep into her eyes, he whispered, "Somehow Nat,
we will defeat LaCroix and we will be together." She didn't
reply. She just wrapped her arms around him, and leaned her
head against his chest.

"How touching." said a very familiar voice, dripping
sarcasm. 3 heads turned sharply to watch as LaCroix stepped
into the room from the balcony. Nat moved to step away
from Nick but he just held her firmly to his side.

LaCroix watched as Nicholas held that woman. He could
hear her fear. He smiled. "Did you really think you could
escape me Nicholas?" LaCroix drawled as he strolled
deeper into the room. Janette rose and stepped between
them . "LaCroix... it is time to let them go. He was
never truly ours. Let him be."

LaCroix stopped infront of Janette. " Janette... I cannot.
He is mine and I *will* have him." Brushing past Janette,
he moved closer to Nick and Natalie. He looked into
the face of his beloved son. He could see the determination
in his face.

Nick released Nat and stepped forward a step. "LaCroix,
don't do this. I will never return as a vampire. I will not
come back." Janette moved quietly to stand next to Nat.
Together they watched as Nick attempted to reach LaCroix.
He could see the truth of Nicholas's words in his eyes.
Anger flared. "Nicholas, you are mine! You will join
me again... If you will not do so willingly, perhaps this
will motivate you."

Moving faster then the eye could see, LaCroix was past
Nick and had Nat by the throat. Nat gasped and frantically
tried to get the injector out of her pocket. Nick grabbed
at LaCroix's arm, but with an absent shrug, sent him flying.
"I should have done this that night, Doctor. I will bring you
across, then Nicholas. I will enjoy making you pay."

He began to draw he closer, his fangs descending.
"LaCroix!" Snarling LaCroix looked around. Standing in
the room was a short balding man. He didn't look like much,
but he radiated power. "You are not welcome here." LaCroix

The strange vampire moved closer to LaCroix. "Release
her LaCroix. She is protected." Enraged at the enforcers
words, LaCroix threw Natalie from him. She landed in a
heap on the floor, gasping. Nick was quickly at her side,
and they watched as LaCroix faced the enforcer.

"You have a choice LaCroix, DeBrabant and Lambert are
protected. If you touch them, you will pay the price."
the enforcer stated coldly. Janette laid her hand on LaCroix's
arm. "Let them go, LaCroix...please." LaCroix looked from the
enforcer to Janette to Nick, who was holding Natalie.

Watching them, LaCroix conceded defeat. He would never
have Nicholas back. Closing his eyes against the pain in
his heart he whispered, "You...win, Nicholas. You are
free of me." He shook off Janette's hand. Looking back, for
one last time at the man he called son. Grief encased his
heart as he turned away and launched into the sky.

Nick watched, stunned as his father/enemy left. For a
moment, he felt a sense of loss, but then Nat moved in his
embrace, and he hugged her close. "Its over, Nat. Its finally
over." Natalie pulled him into a sweet kiss, full of promise.

Startled by a cough, they broke apart and looked at the
enforcer. He smiled slightly. " There is a price for our
protection, DeBrabant." At his words, Nick felt his stomach
drop. He wondered how high the price might be. "What is it?"
He asked. The enforcer chuckled. "Do not worry so, DeBrabant.
It's not so high a price to pay for your freedom."

"Its quite simple really. Dr. Lambert has, on occasion,
proved useful to the community. We would like that to
continue." Nick began to stand, his anger flaring. Nat gently
restrained him. " I'm not an M.E. anymore. I can't cover
for you." she said softly. The enforcer smiled. "Thats not
what we need from you.There are occasions when we need
medical assistance... we would like you to provide it."

Nick and Natalie exchanged glances. "There have to be a
few ground rules set. I won't have my life and my practice
upset by this." Nat replied cautiously. "I'm sure we can come
to some mutually satisfactory arrangement, Doctor.
As for now, I shall leave you. We will be intouch"
In a blink, he was gone.


9 months later

Nick sat, gently running his fingers through the hair
of his sleeping wife. He could see the exhaustion on her
face. It had been a long night. He looked up as the door
quietly opened to see Janette enter the room.

"Hello, Nichola. How is Natalie?" She asked as she
approached the bed. Nick smiled. "She's doing ok, Janette.
It was a long night." He looked down as Nat stirred, opening
bloodshot eyes. "Hi." he said softly.

Nat smiled up at him "Hi yourself." The door opened
and a nurse walked in caring a small bundle. "You're awake,
good. I have someone here who wants to meet her Mom." Nick
pressed the button to raise the bed up as the nurse approached.
Carefully she handled the bundle to Natalie.

With tears in her eyes, Natalie looked down into the
face of her sleeping daughter. Nick sat on the edge of
the bed and put his arm around Nat. She looked up
into his tear filled eyes. "She's beautiful Nick." He
smiled and kissed her temple. "Just like her mom." he

The End