A New Life- Sequel to Everything Is Subject to Change
by StormyNite
circa April 1997

He alternated between pacing the floor and sitting at his desk drumming
his fingers as he awaited the arrival of his guest. To say that he was
nervous would have been an understatement. Jake Palove was not one to
fear anything or anyone, yet cold fear was the only word he could find
to describe how he felt about his expected guest. Jake, a member of the
oldest ruling family, was well aware of the outcome of displeasing his
guest. He had personally lost a sister and 2 brother-in-laws from uncooperative
behavior on the family's part. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

Jake stared at the clock as it struck midnight. He felt a presence enter the
room, though the doors remained closed. He turned to
greet his guest only to find his eyes locked to golden ones before he
spoke a word. Jake's guest stood before him in a black 2 piece Armani
suit made of fine wool and a flowing cape. His guest hated topcoats. They
were not his personality, he once told Jake. They were so ordinary...so passe'.

"Sit down, Jake!" It was a command, not an invitation, as his guest moved to
the nearby window and pulled open the drapes to view the Toronto skyline in
the clear, clean night air. It was still cold for April but Jake's guest didn't seem
to notice.

"I have a little job for you and your family," he continued as he
stared out the window.

"Sure, anything you or the community wants...you know that!" Jake
actually heard his voice crack as he spoke. He, the leader of the
largest crime family in Toronto, was terrified and his guest knew it.

"I want you to kill someone for us. I don't think that will be too tough for you.
As a matter of fact, I think you will find it quite beneficial to your
organization." He smiled coyly and let his eyes revert to an unusual shade of
gray, as he returned to the large overstuffed chair in the corner of the room.
Gracefully, he lowered himself into the chair flipping a folder onto Jake's desk
as he sat.

"We want him killed, but not the usual way. We want him tortured until
he begs for death and then you can kill him. It's worth 6 million to
you. Do you understand, Jake?" He locked eyes with Jake and let them
turn golden in front of him.

Jake was mesmerized as he watched his guest's eyes change right before
him. "I...I...understand. Torture him and then kill him...no problem.
I take it that the community finds him meddlesome and doesn't want to
dirty their hands..."

"Shut up, you fool! He is one of us and he cannot be eliminated by any
of the usual means....and he MUST be killed by a mortal. Do you understand
me?" Jake's guest lunged across the desk to place a hand around his throat in a
blink of an eye.

As the oxygen was shut off to his brain with the pressure on his throat,
Jake began to struggle against the lethal grip on his throat.
Finally he found himself released, abruptly causing him to collapse in
the chair. His guest quietly sat back into the chair once again
completely unruffled.

"Torture and kill a vampire?" Jake squeaked as the air began to return
to his oxygen deprived lungs. "How do you think....?"

His guest tossed another folder that miraculously appeared out from
under his cape just as the first one.

"Her name is Gillian Sizemore. Her father met with an unfortunate
accident while doing research on a special piece of equipment.
She has a burning desire to complete her father's work. Offer her money for her
research fund. If that doesn't work, I'm sure you can find a way to persuade her
into fulfilling our little arrangement. I'm told she has an 8 year son." He
smiled and removed himself from the chair heading for the door. "Children are
so beneficial at times. Don't you think, Jake?" He laughed and let his fangs
extend for effect more than anything else. "You have 2 weeks Jake.
Everything you need is in those files. Half the money will be deposited in your
private Swiss account tonight, the other half when the project is finished. No
connection to me or the community must exist and it must be a painful death.
One more thing.....He must die in front of this woman. Once again he tossed
another file onto his desk. If she doesn't witness his death, there will be serious
consequences. Do I make myself clear?" He appeared immediately at Jake's
side with his fingers gently wrapped around his windpipe.

Perspiration dotted Jake's forehead and his heart raced as he nodded in

"Good!" His guest whispered into his ear and then disappeared in a gust
of wind.

Jake absentmindedly rubbed his throat as he opened the second file on his desk.
Her name, address and pertinent information were listed. A brief summary of
her father's research was attached, as well as an obituary stating the
unexplained blood loss as the cause of death. It was ruled a homicide and still
under investigation. He was found dead in his laboratory in June of 1993 by his
only daughter and assistant. The research seemed harmless to Jake, but
obviously it meant more to his
guest. Jake was in no position to argue. If they wanted this woman to
kill one of their kind then so be it. The less he had to do with it the
better. He certainly wouldn't want to be in the guy's shoes, whoever he

Jake closed the file on Dr. Gillian Sizemore and flipped open the first
file his guest had tossed on his desk. An 8 x 10 glossy of Detective
Nick Knight stared back at him.

Chapter 2

Kyle had finished the lecture series at the University only to be
offered a permanent position at the hospital. It seemed that Toronto
was in dire need of psychiatrists, even those with a somewhat tainted
past. It suited his purposes anyway. He wasn't ready to leave Toronto
yet anyway. As long as he was here there was always hope. He would
find a way.

Kyle opened the apartment door to find her sitting calmly on the couch.
He hadn't seen her in over 5 years. She looked as beautiful as he
remembered. She sat staring out the window oblivious to him entering the
room. She was somewhere far away.

He cleared his throat in hopes of obtaining her attention and tossed his
keys on the counter. Her blue eyes turned to meet his before she spoke.

"Hello, Kyle." She whispered softly as she stood and walked toward him.

"Hello, Gillian. It's been a long time." He smiled and reached out to
take her hands in his.

She never let her eyes release his as she spoke. "I need your help,
Kyle." A single tear escaped her eye and rolled slowly down her cheek.
He reached to wipe it away only to have his hand stopped in mid air. "I
said your help, Kyle....nothing else." She turned and walked back to
the couch and sat down almost defeated before she started.

Whatever was bothering her was overwhelming. This wasn't the Gillian
he knew. She was bright, tough, beautiful and took garbage from no one.
"What kind of help, Gillian? " Kyle walked over to the chair and sat
down to face her.

She looked him directly in the eyes before she spoke. "I want you to
help me kill someone." She spoke the words with such conviction that
there was no doubt in her sincerity.

Kyle sat speechless staring at her. She was serious. He hadn't
misunderstood what she said. Finally recovering, a thousand questions
came to mind. "Gillian, you can't be serious? I can't do anything like
that. I'm a doctor for God sake. What has gotten into you? This isn't
the woman I knew 5 years ago."

"Right! I forgot, you're a doctor. Sworn to heal the sick no matter
what the cost...too busy for mundane little things like morals, justice
or love unless of course it's your beloved Natalie. That's why you're
still here isn't it Kyle? Natalie's here....isn't she? I'm surprised not to find you
wallowing in self-pity since she's found someone else. You do it so well." She
stood and walked toward the window agitated at the turn in the conversation.
She hadn't meant to get sidetracked with Natalie, but it just popped out. Maybe
this would solve all their problems after all. Just maybe this was her destiny.
She turned and walked over to his chair and knelt on the floor in front of him.

"I'm sorry Kyle. I....guess I never really got over it. I need your
help." She touched his knee gently and gazed into his eyes as she
spoke. "They have Jacob!" She couldn't stop the tears as they flowed
freely down her cheeks. "They will kill him if I don't do as they ask. They want
this guy dead and they want me to use my Father's machine to do it."

Kyle brushed the tears away with his fingertips and folded her hands
into his. "Gillian, we're not back to vampires again are we? Your
father was obsessed with them. Surely you're not continuing in his
footstep and falling into the lies. You don't really believe that
vampires exist and that some little contraption your father created
could harm them. That was all in his mind. I don't know what caused
his dementia but surely you....."

Gillian jerked her hands from his and shot angry eyes to his as she
stood. "It doesn't matter what you think, Kyle. My father was drained.
There was no other explanation. All his notes disappeared on the
night he died, but fortunately I had a copy. I rebuilt it and now
someone wants me to kill a vampire with it...and to make sure I do it,
they kidnapped Jacob. You owe me, Kyle, and you WILL help me do this."
She stood and grabbed her coat off the back of the couch on the way to
the door. With her hand on the doorknob she turned back to him. "I
have two weeks to find him, torture and kill him. If I don't, then they
ship Jacob back to me in pieces." She looked helplessly at him awaiting
his response.

"We can go to the police. Tell them what is going on...."

She laughed as he spoke. "The police! This is the mob, Kyle! They're
not afraid of the police, and I can just hear the police when I tell
them who they want me to kill." She opened the door and started out
into the hall.

"Who is it they want you to kill, Gillian?" He locked serious eyes to
hers as they stood a good 10 feet apart.

"Detective Nick Knight...Metro Homicide." She watched his face for the
reaction as his mouth dropped and the keys he had picked up off the
counter fell aimlessly to the floor.

"I thought you might be interested since he's so closely connected to
your beloved Natalie. Then again maybe you have grown really fond of
the man?" She smiled at his reaction as he stood speechless. "You will
help me with this, Kyle, because you owe me. I know more than enough to
get you relieved of that precious medical license you seem to value to
highly...and just maybe when it's done all our problems will be
solved." She turned and walked down the hall.


3 days later: Mayor's Awards Ceremony

Reese stood at the refreshment table refilling his plate again as his wife moved
to the dance floor with Daniel. Frankly he was relieved.
Denise had spent most of the evening giving him the 3rd degree on every
person in the room. Who was involved with who, who was getting
divorced....it never seemed to end. He needed some space and a little more
food, especially if he was going to have to put up with the Mayor's
psychiatrist this evening.

Who would the Mayor find for this little job. Reese couldn't imagine the
city springing for a psychiatrist to analyze city employees for potential suicides.
They couldn't get paint to spruce up the precinct, but they could get their own
shrink to keep them from all shooting themselves. Amazing what bureaucracy
could accomplish. Reese stood in astonishment as he recognized Dr. Kyle
Stephens walking toward him. It wasn't possible. The Mayor wouldn't really
do this, would he?

The man was dirty, despicable and guilty of a great many things that
could never be brought to trial. Just seeing him made Reese's blood
boil. Instantly he checked the room for Nick and Natalie. This was
trouble waiting to happen. Just when things had started to calm down a
little bit.

Kyle extended his hand to Reese as he stopped directly in front of him.
"Good evening, Captain Reese. It's a pleasure to see you again. I
suppose the Mayor informed you of my intentions of attending this
evening to evaluate your shift 'at play' so to speak." Kyle could
easily read the banked anger on Reese's face. It was apparent that the
Mayor had not informed him of just WHO was conducting the evaluation of
his personnel.

"Stephens, just how in the Hell did you get assigned to our precinct with our
not so distant past with you?" Reese stared at Kyle's outstretched hand and
ignored it intentionally.

Kyle smiled and casually surveyed the room before he spoke. "Trust me
Captain, when I say it was not my choice. I was told to handle the
entire Metro division, since it had the least amount of problems and I
was the youngest psychiatrist on staff. The Mayor was aware of our past
relationship and I assured him it would cause no problems on my part.
Am I to assume that you have a problem with this?" Kyle threw the
challenge like a pro, but Reese was not buying tonight.

Reese recognized manipulation when he saw it. He was not going down on
this one without a fight. The Mayor was going to have to tell him
personally that Kyle Stephens would be doing their psychiatric reviews
this year. "Look , Doctor?....and I do say Doctor lightly. I don't like you, nor
do I trust you. I would not take your opinion on any of my personnel if my life
depended on it. I will be having a personal chat with the Mayor about this.
Until that time you are not to speak to any of my people. Do you understand
me?" Reese placed both hands on his hips and faced him directly, daring him
to object.

"I understand your feelings, Captain, as I sure you understand mine. I'm not
really comfortable in this situation but I have a job to do, and
that's what I intend to do until I'm told otherwise from the Mayor
himself. I was sent to observe tonight and that's what I intend to do.
I don't think that will cause any irreparable harm....Do you?" Kyle
smiled and turned his attention toward the dance floor.

The ballroom was filled with over 500 people in various activities of
dancing, eating and general conversation. Kyle searched for her with
diligence. She was part of the medical division and was certain to be
here. This was his window of opportunity to straighten things out....once and
for all. He hated the way they left things.

He wondered how she would take his news. Would she be surprised? It
was doubtful after analyzing the past events closely. He was certain
Natalie was more than aware of Nick's condition. Allergy to sunlight?
That was a classic. What was so unbelievable was that he had managed to
pull it off for a very long time. Then again, it had taken Gillian 3
days to convince him that Nick Knight was more than a Metro Homicide
Cop. The information she gave him was by no means conclusive, but it
certainly gave credence to the suspicion of the undead. What was he
thinking? Was he just becoming paranoid like Gillian or was there
really something to this vampire thing? The bigger question was why did
the mob want Nick tortured. Dead....he could understand. After all Nick was
the prime witness to a drug bust costing the Palove family almost 2 million
dollars. If Nick disappeared, so would the case. That was a pretty big
incentive, but torture...that went out with the dark ages. Just how was a device
that produced high levels of ultrasound going to cause harm to a creature of
the night. It was sheer insanity.

Finally he spotted her in the middle of the dance floor. She wore a red
sequined gown cut high in the neck and very low in the back. The dress
had a cut in the side for movement all the way to her upper thigh. The
lights danced off the gown as she moved slowly with the music exposing
her creamy thigh frequently in time to the rhythm.

Kyle let his eyes trail to her beautiful blue eyes. They danced with
light and happiness as she laughed at something her partner said. She
favored him with a kiss and moved closer into his embrace. Instant
anger crossed Kyle's face as their lips met knowing full well that Nick
was her partner.

Reese watched the emotions play across Kyle's face as he followed his
gaze to the floor. He knew without looking what had caught the good
doctor's attention....Nick and Natalie. He was thrilled to see Natalie
kissing Nick in the middle of the dance floor. That should put any
thoughts of reconciliation out of the good doctor's head, then it hit

"You know, Dr. Stephens, that Knight and Lambert got married quite some
time ago?" Reese tried valiantly to hide the smile as Kyle dropped his glass.

Chapter 3

Nick pulled Natalie closer into his arms as they moved gracefully across
the dance floor. He never seemed to get enough of her smell, her warmth,and
the steady beat of her heart against his chest as he held her close. It never
ceased to amaze him how lucky he was to have found her. The fact that she
loved him unconditionally gave him a sense of peace he had never known in his
lifetime. They were 'soulmates' she told him once. He never really believed in
destiny before meeting Natalie. He had changed his mind since that fateful
night when LaCroix put that stake through his heart and left him to suffer
alone. His feelings for his wife were forever. He would never doubt it, nor her,
ever again.

Natalie pulled away from him slightly and studied his face as they
danced. He was away again....not far this time but definitely not here on the
dance floor with her. "Hey!" She gently pulled his arm bringing his attention
back to her once again. "You want to tell me where you were?" She smiled as
his eyes met hers.

Nick leaned over and gently kissed her soft lips, bringing her lower lip into his
mouth as he sucked gently. He released them reluctantly
and smiled before he answered. "I was just thinking how lucky I have
been....and just how grateful I am that you stuck with me through all my
guilt ridden stages....and my fits of stupidity.

Natalie smiled at his comments and leaned back into a close embrace as
she whispered softly before kissing him. "My pleasure 'Mr. Remorse'.
Besides I am finding you have numerous untapped talents that you hid from
me, and I think I want to discover them all....slowly...one at a time until I just
can't stand it anymore or you just beg for release." She slipped her tongue into
his mouth and deepened the kiss.

Nick returned the kiss with enthusiasm as they both moved in time to the
music, oblivious to everything and everyone around them. The rest of the
precinct was getting use to Nick and Nat kissing in public but others tended to
notice their display with great pleasure and more than
a few comments .

With several of those comments greeting her ears, Natalie was the first to break
the kiss. Always reluctant to give up her husbands lips, she sighed as she laid
her head on his shoulder and they continued to dance.

Catching sight of Captain Reese's wife, Denise, dancing with Daniel she
instantly looked for the Captain only to find him standing at the
refreshment table talking with non-other than her ex-fiance', Kyle
Stephens. As Kyle turned to the dance floor and locked eyes with her
she tensed in Nick's arms. He stopped and followed her gaze.

Instant anger crossed his face as he recognized the reason for Natalie's
discomfort. Natalie tightened her embrace on Nick and continued to stare
at Kyle for what seemed like hours but in reality was only seconds.

"Nat?" Nick forced her to look at him instead of Kyle. "You don't have
to speak with him. He's probably been hired by the city to do the
psychiatric profiles this year. I'm sure he won't be doing Metro considering his
recent past with us." Nat gently touched Nick's face with her fingertips, trailing
them down his face to his lips. Gently she kissed him and then rested her head
on his shoulder. Moments later she sighed and whispered into his ear. "I need
to put him behind me, Nick. Maybe this is for the best."

Nick met her eyes before he spoke. "I won't let him hurt you again,
Natalie....know that."

She smiled at her husband and pulled his lips back to hers one more time
before she accepted what she felt inside. She recognized her need to
complete what she had started so many years ago. She needed an ending
and then she could go on with her life.

"I know that, Nick. We said TOGETHER and I wouldn't have it any
other way, but I need to finally put Kyle away. I didn't do that before. I just
walked away. I think he and I both need closure, if we are to ever be happy. I
know I do. Do you understand?" She looked hopefully into his eyes.

If there was one thing Nick understood, it was the need for ending one
life before starting another. If that's what Nat needed then he was behind her.
He released her as the music stopped and kissed her forehead with the genuine
warmth he felt for her. "I'll be here if you need me."

Nat smiled and let her hand trail down to Nick's and squeezed gently
before she walked toward the Captain and Kyle at the refreshment table.

Kyle watched the interchange between Nick and Natalie on the dance floor
as they danced, barely controlling the anger that pushed to the surface.
How could she love such a creature? Kyle had disliked Nick from the
beginning simply out of jealousy, but to think he was not even
human and living with his beloved Natalie virtually enraged him.
It would cease. He would see to it.

To watch Nick die seemed like the best reward he could imagine for all
his patience. Then Natalie would be his again. Kyle stared admiringly
as Natalie approached. She would see the errors of her ways and come to
realize that he was the only answer for her happiness.

Natalie brought a smile to her lips mechanically as she approached Kyle
and the Captain. She could at least find out what division Kyle would
be handling in the psychiatric review. When Kyle put his manipulative
side away he was a good doctor. At least that's what his patients said. He had
saved many a life from suicide and utter depression according to the documents
and bio-research Natalie did following their last encounter. She needed to be
sure that Kyle wasn't a total failure as a doctor as well as a person. The things
Kyle did to manipulated her and try to destroy Nick, made her shiver. She had
almost believed he had changed,....but not Kyle. She would always remember
that now.

"Hello, Kyle." Natalie extended her hand as she approached.

Kyle graciously grabbed her extended hand and placed a light kiss to the
top in a gallant manuever. "Natalie, you look wonderful." Kyle beamed at her
and continued to hold her hand.

Natalie removed her hand from his feeling quite uncomfortable with his
familiarity and blushed slightly. "Thank you, Kyle. You are looking
well. I take it you are here in a purely business sense for the Mayor's
psychiatric review?" Natalie looked to the Captain for confirmation.

Reese glared at Kyle before he spoke. "Doctor Stephens here claims to
have drawn Metro as his assignment. We are going to get that clarified
before any interviews are done. At least for you and Nick, anyway."

Reese's animosity toward Kyle was not lost on Nat. Since she and Nick
had gotten married, Reese was almost fatherly to both of them. She was
grateful, but there were a great many things the Captain was not aware
of and she was not going to enlighten him at this stage of the game. "I'm sure
that will be fine, Captain. Kyle is a good doctor and I'm sure he can do our
division some good if he puts his mind to it. Kyle, it's really stuffy in here.
Would you care to take a walk, I think we need to talk privately."

She gave her 'don't fight me on this look' to the Captain, looped her
arm through Kyle's and headed for the patio outside.

Nick watched as Natalie and Kyle left through the side door for the
patio and listened to Natalie's heart. He would stay close, yet give her the
space she needed to finish this. Her heart would alert him if she needed help.


Kyle escorted Nat to the far corner of the patio and let her sit
carefully on the short wall surrounding the whole facility before he spoke.
"How have you been, Natalie?" Kyle let his nervousness begin to show as
Natalie just sat staring at him.

Natalie sat quietly trying to analyze Kyle's hidden motives. She had
learned the hard way that underestimating him could be disastrous.
Finally she broke her silence with 5 words.

"What do you want, Kyle? Her eyes spoke of finality as well as the
harshness of her words. She waited patiently for him to answer. Not
that she really expected him to give her the truth, but Natalie had finally
learned to read through Kyle facade quite well.

Kyle studied her beautiful face and the lovely gown and reached gently
toward her face, only to have his hand stopped in mid-air by Natalie's. Only
then did he see the anger banked behind her blue eyes as she sat staring at him.

"Natalie....I just want us to be friends. Nothing more." Kyle took
extreme interest in his shoes and let his hands drop to his side and then began
to pace as he spoke. "We left so many things unsaid. I thought after all that
had happened you had forgiven me and we could at least become friends." He
let his eyes look hopefully into hers.

Natalie stood and gracefully walked over to Kyle before she spoke.
"Kyle, I don't want to be friends. What we had was a lifetime ago. The love
that I had for you died years ago when you decided that power and money were
worth more than anything else. I was willing to give you a chance because
some people change and correct their mistakes, but not you. Money and your
desires are all that interest you. The only reason you want me is because you
can't have me. I let myself believe a year ago that you were driven by a power
to succeed when in reality it was just control that you wanted, and money.
That's all it ever was. I was just a means to an end in Med School and again
last year. You wanted me back because I was successful and useful, not because
you loved me.

Well, Kyle, I don't love you nor have I loved you for a long, long time. For the
first time in my life I am happy...truly happy with Nick, my job and my
friends. I know who I am, and I am loved for just being me. My friends don't
use me or manipulate me in any way. I think that throws you out of the
running in that category." Natalie sighed and started to walk away as Kyle
reached for her hand and stopped her forcefully. Natalie stared at his hand
clamped tightly on her arm. With her heightened strength she could easily
remove it but she waited. What was his plan?

Kyle held her arm firmly and squeezed slightly as he spoke. "I won't
let you go back to him, Natalie. You belong with me. He will destroy you, just
as he has everything else that he has touched over the years. You don't belong
with him or his kind. I am going to make sure that you and the rest of Toronto
are safe...."

Natalie jerked her arm from his grasp easily and turned to meet his eyes
evenly. "You are insane, Kyle. YOU are the danger to Toronto and to
me, not Nick. I think you should take a closer look at the facts before you start
trying to attack Nick. He and Tracy were just awarded Partners of the Year
along with the highest arrest and conviction record in the city. You try to hurt
him or his career in any way and I will make you remember just how hard it is
to get a Medical License in Canada or the U.S. for that matter. Stay away from
us, Kyle....now and forever!" She let her eyes blaze with anger as gold flecks
hinted at the edge while she fought for control. Natalie turned for the door and
started walking, her eyes returned to normal as she let her anger cool.

"Natalie!" Kyle spoke louder than he intended but with enough force to
cause her to turn back to him. He needed to see her eyes. Was it his
imagination or did Gillian's lecture on vampires have him seeing things.
"I know what he is, Natalie!"

Natalie stared at Kyle not letting her fear show as she spoke calmly.
"He is my husband, the father of my child and I happen to love him very much.
I don't know what is going through your head or what you think you know, but
it's obvious that YOU are misinformed." Natalie locked eyes with his for what
seemed like minutes and then broke contact. Quickly she walked back into the
ballroom and Nick waiting silently by the door.

Chapter 4

Natalie walked directly into Nick's arms and laid her head on his
shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her and just held her close as she waged
war with her own emotions. They were expected at the head table to dine with
the Mayor, but it could wait.

The first pain hit so hard Natalie gasped and almost collapsed. If Nick had not
been holding her she would have ended up on the floor. The second was more
intense than the first as she clutched her abdomen in an futile effort to lessen
the torture without screaming.

"Nat, what is it?" Nick held onto her as the second cramp seized her
whole body. Nick could read the agony on her face as she clutched her

"Nick....I....I....need you." She whispered as she tried to hide the need now
visible in her eyes.

Nick almost carried her out the side door to his left, away from the
ballroom and the patio where she'd left Kyle standing speechless. Once outside
he swept her into his arms and they both disappeared into the immaculate
gardens behind the mansion. Alone among the hedges and the well-trimmed
rose garden, Nick sat down on a nearby bench still holding his wife as she
moaned in agony. Nick quickly opened his collar and offered her his neck.

"Nat, drink." Nick forced her golden eyes to his blue one. Quickly Natalie's
fangs extended and she gently planted them into her husband's willing neck.
His blood flooded her with relief as she drank. The spasms lessened as she was
surrounded by the warmth and taste of his life’s blood flowing freely down her
throat. Nick held her head to his throat and ran his fingers through her hair as
she drank quickly at first, then slower as the pain diminished. He felt her
turmoil and fear as he let her feel his love and faith in them as she fed.

As the pain finally disappeared, Natalie released her husband's neck
reluctantly. His love was the balm both she and the baby needed. She
knew Nick could not only hear most of the conversation with Kyle, but her
blood let him feel her fear for both him and the baby. Kyle was aware of
something. Just how much he knew and how far he would go, Natalie could
only guess.

"Nick, I don't..." Nick stopped her with his lips in a gentle kiss
meant to comfort her as well as himself.

"He's guessing, Nat.....but he has someone feeding him information and that
could cause us problems. How much I don't know, but with the problems inside
the vampire community and no real leadership, it makes me nervous. We will
have to watch him closely, then maybe we will find some answers. We don't
need a self-appointed hunter just when our kind is ready to accept certain
mortals." Nick pulled Nat into his embrace and ran his hands through her hair
as he spoke. "We need to get back inside. We're expected to eat with the
Mayor." He smiled and brushed the final tear from Nat's face and politely
offered her his arm. She accepted his arm and his support and they returned to
the dinner.


Theressa sat quietly at her desk going over the 14th century manuscripts
for the second time. The museum curator, Alan Stubeg, approached her as
she worked. As usual, Theressa was so absorbed in her work that she did
not notice him until he laid the envelope in front of her and sat down.

Alan was 55, chubby with white hair and a joyous smile that made
everyone love him at sight. Theressa loved working with him, as he
always found a positive side to everything and never seemed to be down...until
today. Alan was upset as he sat in the chair opposite her and quietly waited for
her to acknowledge his presence. Theressa finished transcribing the last line
on the page and looked up to find her usually happy co-worker utterly

"What's the problem, Alan? Has something happened?" Theressa was
immediately concerned.

Alan sat wringing his hands in his lap and motioned toward the envelope
with his eyes. "It's a wire from the National Museum in Paris. They
asked for you back...within the week. Some sort of 12th century dialect they
can't read. Since you did so well with ours they want you to work on it." Alan
met Theressa gaze with defeat written on his face. "I guess I was pipe
dreaming to think we could ever keep you here. You're far too talented to stay
in one place for long. I was just...."

"I didn't ask for this, Alan. You have to know that. I'm perfectly
happy here. Probably happier than I have ever been in my life."
Theressa opened the envelope and read the message in it's entirety
before she went any further. It was a tempting job offer. "They're offering me a
great deal of money. I don't know what to say? "

A thousand questioned popped into her head at once. For the first time
in a long time she had been happy....happy with her job, her relationship with
her sister and brother-in-law, and her new friends. She was just beginning to
make progress with Lucien. After finishing the archive books and the ordeal
with Divinia, LaCroix had opened up a little to her.

Smiling slightly, she thought about her progress with Lucien. He was an
extremely complex individual, and she truly loved fencing ideas about the past
with this 2000 year old vampire. Odd she had never felt threatened by him.
She knew many of the museum employees were frightened of him, as well as
members of his own community. Theressa had to admit LaCroix could be quite
intimidating if he wanted to be. He just treated her differently than the others.
Deep inside she felt he actually cared for her. It was not that he had ever stated
anything, but when they were together, sparks always seemed to fly. She was
attracted to him, but it was more than that.

Would he want her to stay, or go and get out of his hair? She had not spent
much time with him of late, due to all the changes within the vampire
community. They talked politics and weather last time they were together.
Lucien refused to bring any of the community problems into the conversation as
if he were protecting her. Was she willing to give up on this relationship and
her sister....for money? Or was there another alternative? Theressa shook her
head in an effort to put her thoughts in order.

"Just send them a fax for me, Alan, and tell them I will let them know at the
end of the week." Theressa smiled warmly as she handed the envelope back to
him with the return fax number.

Alan's faced beamed with joy . "You mean you may not accept it?" He
asked hopefully.

"I have a great deal to consider, Alan." She smiled back. "Money isn't

Alan took the letter from her outstretched hand and almost bounced out
the door. Theressa chuckled at his antics.


LaCroix sat quietly at his desk, sipping his bloodwine, deep in thought
when Alma approached cautiously. Her boss was under a great deal of
stress as different factions within the community fought for control after the
demise of the Tribunal and Divinia's rule. It was a given that LaCroix was to
be the new elder in the community, but he was changing. Rumor had it that it
was because he had lost his connection to Nick. As Nick became more mortal,
the connection as father and son grew weaker. Alma had worked for LaCroix
long enough to know that the love-hate relationship between Nick and his
father was the center of LaCroix's life. If that was gone, what would he do?
We all have a purpose in life. Alma had decided long ago that LaCroix's was
to control his wayward son. How would this affect his decisions about the

It appeared at least some of the younger ones trusted only LaCroix.
Although most of them freely admitted they feared him, most secretly admired
Nick for fighting him for 8 centuries. They considered LaCroix's council wise
for their kind, but for matters with mortals, they sought out Nick. Nick and
LaCroix together would make the perfect leadership for the community but
neither appeared interested. Others actively sought the role and saw both
Nick and LaCroix as an obstacles to overcome. She hoped he was aware. Of
course, LaCroix was always aware. What was she thinking?

"Boss?" She asked quietly.

LaCroix turned to greet her with a cold stare. He was brooding over
something as usual and another distraction was not welcome.

"I....I....know you didn't want to be disturbed but she insisted." Alma
prepared herself for his wrath only to be surprised yet again.

"Let her in, Alma." LaCroix listened to the now familiar heartbeat at
the doorway as he spoke, a small smile touching his lips.

Alma instantly locked eyes with her boss for confirmation and saw the
faint smile before he responded. So there was something to the rumor
after all. That in itself was a change she had been certain would never
come to pass. Alma opened the door to let the young mortal enter
LaCroix private's office.

Chapter 5

As Theressa sat in her car outside the Raven, she let her thoughts drift back to
the conversation with Tasha only hours before. She had called the Coroner's
Office only to discover that Tasha was not due in tonight. She called the loft to
find Natalie still sleeping. Nick informed her that it had been a late night last
night and Nat was exhausted, but he was sure she would be up by 8pm so just
stop by. He was off to work and was not due back until after 4am. She had the
security code if she needed to let herself in.

When Theressa hit the intercom, Nat answered straight away and buzzed
her up. They hadn't chatted in several days and Nat couldn't wait to
catch up. Natalie offered her coffee and breakfast as she patiently waited for
Theressa to tell her what was on her mind.

"You look great, Tasha. The pregnancy must be agreeing with you."
Theressa admired her sister's rosy cheeks and obvious good health as she

Natalie almost choked on her coffee as her sister spoke. She had to be
joking. She felt like death most of the time and had absolutely no
energy, not to mention the pains that seem to come more frequently as
the pregnancy progressed. Fear was her constant companion.

Her husband's blood was the only thing that calmed her and made the pain
disappear. She knew the baby was growing at a rapid pace by her size
and her need for blood. She was only in her 3rd month, yet she was the
size most women were at 5 months. She had finally given in and put
on maternity clothes. Nick told her that she was beautiful and loved to
touch her stomach as he talked to the baby.

There were so many unknowns. Could she carry the baby to term?
What was term for a half mortal, half vampire? Could Nick keep up with
the blood demand? She doubted it. She was weakening him and he refused
to drink very much of hers for fear of hurting the baby. It was messing
up their chemistry. She was certain the changes they both were experiencing
were due to their exchanging blood regularly, and with him not taking the same
quantity of hers in return, his vampire traits became stronger, as did hers. They
had hoped they would both become half and half, but with the baby's growing
need for his father's blood, it was doubtful.

"I'm glad you think so, Theressa, but I'm afraid that's not what I feel...especially
lately." Nat's eyes returned to the dregs of coffee at the bottom of her cup as
she spoke. Fear was written on her face when she finally met her sister's gaze.

Tasha's tone of voice and the fear overwhelmed Theressa as she reached
to touch Nat's hand. "What is it, Tasha? The baby?" Theressa had never
witnessed true fear from her sister. She was always the tough one. The one
that held the family together, the one that put her through school, the one that
held her up when her fiance' attacked Natalie in an effort to control her. It was
Natalie, the strong one, that helped her finally start healing after all those years
of fear and torture from her gangster husband. She watched the tears form in
her sister's eyes finally fall. Theressa reached for her sister as Natalie gave in
to the emotion and began to sob on her shoulder.

Theressa just held her and let her cry. Something was radically wrong.
She had to find out what is was. As Natalie's sobs began to decrease,
Theressa went to the sink, got a wet towel, handed it to her and

"I'm sorry, Theressa. You must think me a complete fool." Natalie wiped her
tears away carefully. "It's nothing....really....pregnancy hormones and
jitters....that's all." Nat tried to convey the strong sister again.

"Don't kid the pro here! I know the difference between the
jitters and stark fear. Remember I've been there. Talk to me....tell
me...maybe I can help." Theressa lifted Nat's chin as she spoke...then she
would get the truth.

With a heavy sign, Natalie accepted her sister's offer. Maybe
just talking about it would help. Maybe she was missing something.
"I'm scared, Theressa....really scared. There is so much going on with me
physically that I can't keep up. The baby is growing so fast and
I...." Nat hesitated not knowing how to explain.

"You what, Tasha? Go on." Theressa waited for her to finish.

"The further along I get the more blood I need from Nick. His blood is
the only thing that stops the pain and calms the baby. I'm draining
his strength, Theressa, and I don't think he is going to be able to keep
up. He won't take mine because he's afraid he will hurt the baby, and
he won't drink any other human blood. I'm terrified something will
happen to him or the baby. We talk about it but this is all virgin
territory. Nobody knows the answers and to top it all off, Kyle is
back." Natalie locked eyes with her sister when she finished.

"Kyle? Tasha, are you sure?" Theressa knew the whole story with Kyle
and would gladly push him off a cliff if Nat asked. "What does he want,
besides you?"

"I honestly don't know, but I think he knows about Nick. He could cause
some real problems with the community in the state it's in now. He
wants to destroy Nick, that much is for certain. We know why; how he is
going to interfere is beyond me. Nick thinks he is getting inside information
from someone in the community, but why he hasn't gone public is a mystery."
Natalie got up to refill her coffee mug.

"Has Nick talked to Lucien about it?" Theressa asked already knowing
the answer. LaCroix had become vague and distant when she spoke
about Nick and Nat. Nick was distancing himself more everyday and
it hurt Lucien a great deal. Theressa knew their history was complicated, but
she knew Lucien. He loved Nick and the loss of their connection hurt him
deeply, even though he would never admit it. Surely Nick could see that, but
with everything else going on, Nick was stressed to the max. Of that much
Theressa was sure. They needed each other and the community needed them
both, as well as Natalie. Maybe it was time for someone to force the issue and
make the three of them come to terms with their relationships.

"Tasha, you have to get Nick to talk with Lucien about this. He can not
only help with Kyle, but with you. Nick is Lucien's son. His blood will
probably help the baby just as well as Nick's. The community should be aware
of Kyle and the threat...." Theressa stopped when she saw the changed
expression on her sister's face.

Disbelief registered on Natalie's face as Theressa spoke. She knew
Theressa didn't have any idea of Nick's or her past with LaCroix. To
think she would trust that monster with anything, let alone drink any of
his blood. She and LaCroix had finally come to terms with each other
and developed somewhat of a truce since she had became pregnant....but trust
was not to be used in the same sentence with Lucien LaCroix. She knew Nick
sometimes missed the connection with his father, but he was certain if he
concentrated the link would reappear. Nick wasn't ready for it and neither was

"I know you like LaCroix, Theressa, but there is a great deal you don't
understand and I pray you never do." She continued on after a deep
breathe. "I could never drink his blood. The anger and rage that I feel in
Nick's sometimes overwhelms me. I couldn't imagine 2,000 years of it, even if
he held a great deal of it back. Nick tries to keep most of it from me, but bits
and pieces of what LaCroix has done to him
terrify me not to mention what he has threatened to do to me." When
she finished she looked to Theressa for understanding.

"He's not like that, Tasha.....at least not with me. There is good in
him. I can feel it."

"Can you feel the evil, Theressa?" Natalie searched her face.
She prayed this fascination with LaCroix would diminish in time, but for
now she feared for her sister. LaCroix was unpredictable on a good day,
but with the loss of Nick's connection, Janette, and the changes in the
community anything could happen. She didn't want Theressa in the way
when it did.

"I feel the evil, Tasha, but there's more. He has buried his emotions for so long
that anytime you, Nick or anyone else makes him feel, he pushes it away. He's
afraid of being hurt again. I don't know who or how, but he was hurt badly and
Nick is connected to it. Do you know what happened?"

Natalie pushed her own fears aside as she analyzed her sister. She was
falling in love with LaCroix and looking for the good, but was there any
still there? Natalie didn't know. If there wasn't, Theressa would
pay the price. She couldn't bear to see her hurt again, but Natalie and
Nick learned a long time ago that if a mortal and vampire had any
chance of being together....honesty was the key. She gently touched Theressa's

"Talk to him, Theressa. If he can't be honest with you then you need to
know it. I have a good idea what caused the problem, but you need to
hear it from him. If he won't let you in, then run like Hell. He will
devour your love and everything you have, giving you nothing in return.
I don't want to see you hurt again. I would tell you to run like crazy
away from this but you won't. I know you....but don't try to make LaCroix into
Nick. They are not the same. Nick has something that LaCroix has always
wanted......love and honor. There's a goodness about Nick that he seeks and no
matter what LaCroix does, it won't go away or be corrupted. That's why he has
fought so hard to keep Nick at his side no matter what the price. That's why
you have to be careful. He sees some of that in you, just as I do." Natalie
squeezed her hand and then rose to clean up the dishes.

"Tell you what, I clean up and we can hit a movie. We haven't done that
is a long time." Natalie awaited her reply before she filled the sink
with water.

"No, Tasha....not tonight I think I need sometime to sort things out and you
need some rest. I'll stop by tomorrow and tell you about what the museum
wants me to translate.....and maybe I can decide on what I
want." She smiled and grabbed her coat heading for the door.

"Tomorrow, then!"


"Welcome, young one." LaCroix greeted Theressa as she entered his
office. She had never seen the inside of the 'devil's lair,' as Tasha
called it. She was intrigued by the contrasts between Roman gothic
statues to antique French provincial furniture. Some of the pieces on
display were priceless. She recognized DeVinci's style on the painting
on the wall, yet not the woman in the portrait. She was beautiful yet
ethereal at the same time. LaCroix followed her gaze to Janette's
portrait that hung to the side wall by his desk and smiled.

"She is Janette." He rose a walked closer to the painting and touched
it almost reverently as he admired DeVinci's work.

The action by LaCroix was not lost on Theressa. The woman was obviously
someone very important to him. A touch of jealousy nudged her heart
when she watched him touch the painting and then she recognized pain in
his eyes.

"She is no longer alive then, Lucien?" Theressa stopped next to him and
turned toward the painting to admire it closer.

"No.....she is very much alive. She just is no longer MY child. She
belongs to another." LaCroix was in complete control again when he let
his eyes meet hers. "She belongs to Nicholas." He stated flatly and
waited for her reaction.

Theressa was certain she misunderstood. "Nicholas? Tasha's Nick?" She
questioned him uncertain of his answer.

LaCroix guided her away from the painting and escorted her to the couch
on the far side of the room before he spoke. "Your ideas about your
brother-in-law are gravely mistaken, young one. Remember that the next
time you make him out to be the 'white knight' who's sole purpose is to save all
mortals....Remember that evil lurks beneath." He smiled as he raised one
eyebrow for effect. To destroy Nicholas' image would only be a minor irritation
to him but non the less fun. He so missed finding those little things to further
aggravate Nicholas and his little quest.

Theressa watched the emotions flicker across his face as he spoke. He
hid them quickly but not fast enough for one who had become adept a
reading his emotions. "Not good enough, Lucien. Nick would not have
brought her across unless...."

"Unless she wanted it....Wrong again young one. Janette specifically
begged him not too, but Nicholas could not bear to part with his 800
year old lover, friend and sister. So when the time came to make a
choice, he chose immortality for her. Not the same as he chose for your
sister when her time came I might add." LaCroix finished smugly.

Theressa stood speechless as she watched him calmly return to his desk.
There was more to the story and she would have it tonight.

Chapter 6 ADULT

"Okay, Lucien out with it. You are just dying to jerk my chain about
Nick and Tasha with this....Go ahead I'm listening. You've got that 'I want to
get even with Nick at any cost' look in your eye. So, go ahead and tell me just
how that beautiful woman who was your daughter, his lover, and sister became
Nick's child."

Theressa walked over to the couch and sat down beside him and waited.
How far would he go? She already knew the story about Nick and Tasha
and how they became as they are. She wasn't sure Lucien did though.
He put the stake through Nick and left, so there was no way he could
know the whole story or what transpired unless Nick or Tasha told him,
and that was unlikely.

Theressa had heard Tasha mention Janette only rarely, sensing that she
was something Nat didn't want to talk about, yet she didn't feel a sense
of jealousy from her sister when it came to this woman. If she had been
Nick's lover and now his child, one would think her sister would have
some sort of green-eyed monster syndrome about her. "Well?" She stared
LaCroix directly into the eyes awaiting the story.

LaCroix was taken aback. Of course, he did his best to recover under the
circumstances. Was there nothing this woman was afraid of? He saw no
hesitation in her face about something that should have shaken her
belief in Nicholas. Was her faith in him as strong as the good Doctor's? Was
she falling for him as well? It was entirely possible and somehow that bothered
him. Nicholas seem to have that effect on women. It was the boyish good
looks along with that 'I care' facade that exudes from him. Irritated with the
direction his thoughts had taken, he rose quickly from the couch, went to his
special reserve cabinet and removed a bottle.

She watched him intently and never spoke. He could
feel her eyes on his back as he poured a glass of blood. What was it
about this woman that unnerved him. No one had ever kept him at such
loose ends. Just when he was sure of his control, she turned on him. He turned
to face her holding the glass to his lips and slowly savoring the flavor as it slid
down his throat. Maybe a change of subject was in

"What brings you here, young one?" LaCroix tipped his glass and let
flecks of gold enter his eyes as he swallowed, allowing her to watch. It wasn't
his usual way of imbibing, but a reminder of her circumstances
were in order.

Theressa virtually jumped off the couch and stormed over to him.
Her eyes blazed as she reached for his glass. She pulled the goblet, half full,
away from him and pitched it into the fireplace by the desk before she spoke.
"Not this time, Lucien. That change of subject tactic might work on most
people, but you and I have spent too much time together for it to work on me.
You started the story. Now finish it! Or is it not as earth shaking as you
thought it would be for me. I know Nick no is angel, with a load of
frailties....and believe it or not I won't faint from the discover that he is no
'knight in shining armor' as you put it. So let's hear it!"

LaCroix grabbed her wrists and let his eyes glow. "He brought her
across because he couldn't stand the thought of losing her. She became
mortal when he could not, fell in love with another mortal and was
willing to die for him, yet Nicholas would not let her go. He was
willing to let your sister die when the time came. Willing to let her
feel the pain of death, the pain of all the deaths he had caused, and
not make her into what he was because he hated it so. That's not love,
it's Nicholas' idea of playing God....but then he has done that numerous
times that I recall....only this time....."

Theressa cut him off. "Only this time it WAS for love. This time he
followed his heart and what he felt in Natalie's blood. They could
never be happy in a world he hated and Natalie would hate the killing.
He knew that and loved her enough to take the only choice he had.
Faith....pure unadulterated faith in them
together.....someplace.....somewhere....somehow." She pulled her wrist free
from his and let the anger fade from her face when she finally realized what the
problem was.

"That's it, isn't it, Lucien. That's what Nick has that you have been seeking all
this time....faith. Faith in something greater than himself. He's willing to die
for it, love for it , and live for it. That's what you crave from him. That's why
you want to control him. If you can control it, you can possess it. Then maybe
the pain will go away, but you blame him for that too. Nothing is ever your

LaCroix gave into the anger. He grabbed both her wrists hard and pulled
her into him, as his eyes turned from gold to red and his fangs descended.
"What do you know of pain?" He growled into her face as he held her
completely immobile against his hard body. "You know nothing of pain or
possession until you have lived in my shoes. Until you have the one person you
cared for most in your life ripped from you in the name of love. Until you
watch your son throw his life away because he hates what he is enough to die
for it. To have a stake in your hand intent on killing the second thing in your
life that has ever meant anything to you.....then you will know what pain
is....then maybe you will understand what makes me the way I am." He ground
his lips into hers, intent on hurting her. His fangs grazed her lips and her
blood shot through him with electric fire. What was intended as pain soon
turned into passion as she opened her mouth to him and plunged her tongue
into his unafraid.

The few drops of blood that touched his lips screamed of desire and
need, for him. He pulled briefly away from her lips and looked into her
eyes. They were filled with lust and need. Something he hadn't felt from a
mortal in centuries. She was unafraid as his lips came back to hers and melted
her body to his. She let her hand run under his jacket and up the hard planes of
his back, as her tongue fenced with his around his canines. His hand caressed
her, kneaded and pulled her even closer to his now growing need. He let his
lips trail kisses down her neck
licking, circling , nipping and lapping the blood droplets as they
formed. Her heart thundered with excitement as she willingly submitted
his attention.

With no pretense of civility, he ripped her blouse open to reveal her
perfect breasts bound by a white lace bra. He immediately brought his
lips to the top of one mound and sucked gently at first, through the lace, until
the nipple hardened in his mouth as his hand teased the other into a similar
state. He nipped with his fangs and licked the site until the healed. Each time
he drew her blood into his mouth the fire started again as she moaned softly in
his embrace.

Quickly he picked her up and took them to the couch. Laying her softly
down, following with his body he smothered her with kisses until she
begged breathlessly "Make love to me, Lucien." Her eyes locked with his
golden ones and she reached for his shirt. "I want to feel you against
me, inside me. Give me your pain, Lucien, and we can all heal." She
pulled his lips back to hers and ripped open his shirt.

As her fingertips grazed his chest, he gasped in pleasure. Pleasure he hadn't
felt in centuries. Lust, pure carnal lust was overtaking him. Not the
need for blood or the desire to kill, but the desire to be one with
someone both physically and mentally. LaCroix gave in to it as he ran
his hand down her inner thigh and placed kisses down her stomach. Her
quick intake of breath told him how much it pleased her as he unzipped
her jeans and pulled them over her hips. He let his lips blaze
a trail of wet kisses to the lace underwear as he kissed her mound
through them. She moaned and pushed into him as he let one hand caress
her inner thigh and the other her breast. He finally pulled the panties
away and separated her with his tongue as she rose to meet him.
She whimpered with need as his tongue plunged into her wet warmth and
his hands pulled her harder onto the onslaught of his tongue.

His fangs ached with need of her blood as she writhed beneath him close
to an orgasm. He sucked harder and plunged deeper as she screamed his
name in release. Her body poured into him and he was lost to the taste
and feel of her. The more she came to him, the more he wanted until the
beast raged with need. Quickly he pulled her to standing position and
prepared to sink his fangs in her lovely neck. He kissed her lips,
her cheeks, her neck, with adoration as his whole body shook with need.
He felt her near naked breasts against his chest like sharp knives cutting the
skin as tears touched his lips and he met her eyes. It was not fear that met his
eyes but something else....need.

"Not like this, Lucien. I want all of you. Not just the vampire but the man."
She ran her hand down his flat stomach into his pants and wrapped herself
around his enlarged member. She kneaded softly then more forcefully as he
groaned and grew under her careful ministrations. His body screamed for
release as she stroked his entire length and came back for more. He pulled her
neck to one side and held her head with one hand as she worked him faster. He
was lost to her touch and completely out of control as he sank his fangs into her
willing neck and exploded into her hand. With the first taste of her blood, her
body screamed in protest. She wanted him inside her completely, not like this.
She was not lost to the vampire, but to the man. Her blood screamed of pain,
hope, and love. A love she couldn't describe and didn't necessarily want, but
accepted non the less. The realization of what he had done caused him to stop.

She collapsed in his arms with a sigh of relief. "Theressa? My God
what have I done!" He buried his head in her hair and wept for the
first time in 8 centuries.

Chapter 7


Lucien sat holding Theressa in his arms as his breathing came back to
normal and she began to stir. Slowly, she opened her brown eyes and
moaned softly as she moved. He caressed her face and pulled her hair
away from her neck to inspect the damage he'd done. She watched him
intently and reached to brush the blood tear that remained on his
cheek. He placed his hand over hers and brought it to his lips, kissing
it gently. Only one word escaped his lips.


She smiled and then clasped both his hands in hers. "I had to know that
there was some good left in you, Lucien. I had to know if the man still
existed or just the vampire."

"I could have killed you, or worse." His sultry controlled voice cracked
with anger as he sat her upright and then stormed to his reserve
cabinet. Grabbing the closest bottle he forewent the glass and gulped
half the contents directly from the bottle before facing her.
He stared at her intently sitting on the couch virtually naked and
completely undaunted by her circumstances.

"You said it, Lucien....worse. What could be worse than death, Lucien?
You're happy with what you are...aren't you?" She let the question hang
in the air between them. She unwound from the couch and tried standing
only to find herself dizzy from the loss of blood. The world started to
spin as she found herself in his arms one more time before she hit the

"You little fool. You have no idea what your dealing with. This is not
a game and I am not one of the good guys." He picked her up and placed
her back on the couch. Swiftly he went to the fridge and returned with
a glass of orange juice. He propped her up and placed the glass in her

"You're wrong, Lucien. There is still good in you and you can be one of
the good guys if you want to be. It's in your blood. Remember the
memories go both ways. You can't hide from me like you do Nick and
Tasha. I won't let you. You love and you hurt, just like anyone else.
You're not the devil incarnate unless you want to be. The man still has
control of the vampire and I want him to love me....at least for awhile.
We all need time to heal from our wounds, Lucien. I, from my husband, you
from the loss of Fleur. You haven't lost Nick, at least not yet. The connection
is still there and your love for him, and his for you will bring it back if you let
it. You have to learn to let go like any
father and he will come back to you. He needs you and so does your
grandchild. They're in trouble and your hard-headed, possessive nature
is keeping him from coming to you. Be his friend and his father and he
will come back. Then maybe we can have a chance together." She gently
touched his face and then pulled his lips back to hers. "Talk to him,
make him see the man instead of the master. He needs you."


Nick walked into the precinct only to be greeted by Captain Reese at the

"In my office, Nick before you do anything else." Reese's voice was
tight and restrained as he motioned for his office door.

Nick searched his mind as to the possible cause. When none came
immediately to mind, he simply shook his head in agreement and walked
into his office. Reese followed and shut the door.

"What's the problem, Cap? I can't remember doing anything lately to
set you off." Nick smiled sheepishly as he watched Reese pull a file
from the desk drawer and sit down with a sigh.

"It's Stephens." He said flatly.

Nick immediately recalled Kyle's comments to Natalie two nights earlier. It
had started. How much damage and how fast Nick was going to have to move
was up in the air. So he waited for Joe Reese to hit him with the accusation
and see just how much he believed.

"Stephens has been personally assigned to Metro by the Mayor because of
a favor owed by the Mayor. I don't know why Stephens wanted us but he
did and I suspect it's because of you. He has some cock-a-mammy idea
that you are a danger to the city and he is out to have your head. We
know, and the Mayor does as well, that this is personal....but my hands are tied.
He does the psychiatric reviews and the board will evaluate the results. We
have the right to appeal of course, but that will take

He looked at Nick apologetically. "I know he's after your head, Nick,
but we have to play along until he hangs himself....and he will hang
himself. We both know he is too self-centered and greedy to stay clean
for long and we are going to be there to catch him with his fingers in
the till. Right?" Reese wanted Nick to know he wasn't hanging him out
on a limb alone. "The precinct is behind you, Nick. We know this for
what it is. He's already started with your sun allergy. He's trying to
convince the day shift you're a blood-sucking vampire and that you would
smoke in the daylight and vanish into thin air under direct sunlight.
He's even got Blevins on days wanting me to have you to stay over the
shift change to prove that he's a nutcase to the daywatch." Reese
waited for Nick's reaction and denial before he continued.

"If that's what you want, Captain. I'll talk with Kyle and see if I can put this to
rest. It's doubtful, considering our past differences, but at least I can put the
Commander's fears to rest about the undead if he really believes it. It will make
me sick for a week, but I guess if
that's what it takes then I do it." Nick turned for the door. "I'll
finish my shift with Tracy and then go for my psychiatric review with
the infamous Dr.Stephens before I leave. I'll make sure it's after
sunrise. You just make sure there's somebody around who can drive me
home when I start with the shakes and turning red. Hopefully, I can make it
home before I start praying to the porcelin goddess." Nick smiled and walked

As he shut the door, he heard Reese sigh with relief. At least the
Captain was behind him. Now to get the rest of the precinct to follow
without question. Hypnotizing both watches was out of the question, so
maybe this was the best answer after all. He had an hour window, but
maybe less with his decreased intake of Natalie's blood. He could burst
into flames now, for all he knew. With everything else that had happened
lately, he hadn't used his daylight window in over a month. He hoped, no, he
prayed, that Nat's blood had some long term effects or he was toast.

Nick and Tracy spent the entire shift going over testimony with three
additional witnesses in the drug case on which Nick was due to testify.
There was no room for doubt with the Palove investigation. Nick was
the prime witness, because he was undercover and a cop, but the other three
witnesses were willing to turn over with a promise of the witness
protection program in place. It was the final nail in the Palove family
demise. This would take down the family's favorite son and the uncle
as well. That left Jake Palove alone running the family business. It
wouldn't stop him but it would slow him down and weaken his organization
to the point others would turn and run. The department was counting heavily
on Nick to pull it off.

When they finished their shift, it looked like all the ends were tied
up. Nick was beat and so was Tracy. Sunrise was in a half-hour. He
had put off calling Nat because he didn't want her upset. If his luck
held, he would have discredited Kyle and be home before she was any

Tracy watched Nick sit down at his desk and pull out the last of the
paperwork. She glanced at her watch and stared at her partner as he
started filling out the form. "Just what are you doing, Nick? Not that
I'm upset with you finally doing your share of the paperwork, but it's
almost dawn. You planning on being toast today?"

Nick looked at Trace and sighed. He hadn't told her what was going on
because he didn't want the lecture. She knew about his little window,
but she also knew he and Nat were having problems with the baby as
well. She was supportive when asked and a real comfort to Nat when she
needed to talk. Natalie needed someone who understood vampire-mortal
relationships and the possible outcomes. Tracy had become incredibly
protective of both her partner and his wife, and though Nick was pleased, it put
her in greater danger than he liked.

"I have to have a little chat with Dr. Stephen's this morning in the
daylight to prove that I'm not a blood-sucking vampire." He met her
eyes straight on as her mouth dropped open.

"Why didn't you tell me? He's been causing trouble already? Why
doesn't anybody fill me in on this stuff?" She slammed her purse back
on the desk and sat down. "Nick, what are you going to do? It's
Blevins on daywatch right? He's always had a thing about nightshift.
He thinks were all blood-sucking vampires because we work nights."

Nick grabbed her hand across the desk and smiled. "Trace.....I AM as you call
it a blood-sucking vampire." He squeezed her hand and rose from his desk.
"Do me a favor, Trace hang around for a little bit. I may need a ride home and
I don't think many people would understand the need for me to ride in the
trunk." He walked toward the interrogation room where Kyle was holding his

Trace ran to his side and stopped him before he entered. "Be careful,
Nick, your window may not be as good as it used to be." She touched his arm
for a moment before she continued. "I'll be here if you need me."

Nick laid his hand over hers and patted it gently. "Thanks for being my
friend, Trace....and having a sense of humor about all this." He smiled
and then walked into the interrogation room. It was 10 minutes until

Chapter 8


Nick closed the door quietly and slipped into the room. Kyle sat
going over several files on his desk, mumbling to himself. Nick stood
watching silently, more to irritate Kyle than anything else. He could
have announced his arrival but why start on a good foot now? Kyle was
after his blood and Natalie's, and Nick was here to make certain neither
happened. He needed to know where Kyle was getting his information so
maybe a little discretion was in order even if Nick hated the idea.

Kyle kept glancing at his watch as he worked, then he had the distinct
feeling he was not alone. He glanced up to find Nick watching him
intently from the door. How long had he been there? Damn that man!
He never liked Nick before, but he at least respected his abilities as a
cop. No matter what Gillian thought, it was going to be extremely
difficult to discredit him in the eyes of the department. He had the
highest arrest record in the precinct, the highest conviction record in
the city and was just awarded Partners of the Year by the Mayor. As
much as Kyle hated to admit it, Nick was a good cop. All his records
were in order and there was no reason to question that he was exactly
what he said he was, but Kyle knew different, at least he thought he
did. After all, he had watched Nick break a stake off as it extended out of his
own shoulder, carry him out of a burning building and show up
for work 24 hours later. No normal human being could do that.

He had read several reports about Nick's so called good luck in apprehending
suspects under unusual circumstances that left no doubt in Kyle's mind that
Nick was something more than human. He just had to prove it and when he
did.....Nick would be finished as a cop and Natalie would see him for what he
is. All would be right with the world again and Toronto would be safe. How
Gillian intended to fulfill her end of the bargain both thrilled and terrified him
at the same time. He would deal with Natalie's psychological problems
afterwards. After all, it was his profession.

"Come in, Nick. You're running a little late or have you been standing
there watching me for a long time....just because you can do it." It was hard for
Kyle to keep the irritation out of his voice. If he had to
admit it, maybe a little fear. He wasn't quite sure he had believed
everything Gillian told him or that the undead actually existed, but if
they did, the power they must possess would be incredible. The power of
life and death at a whim. That was terrifying for any sane person, but
Nick had saved his life even when he hated him....and Kyle was very much
aware of Nick's dislike for him. They were rivals for Natalie's
affection. That didn't leave room for any sort of friendship.

Nick walked slowly into the room and walked over to the nearby window,
never once speaking until he reached the pullcord and twisted it open.
Kyle watched in amazement as Nick stared out the window watching the sun
start to crest the horizon. Slowly Nick returned his gaze back to
Kyle. "Let's get this over with, Kyle. You know and I know that you areon
witch hunt for my head. Why is beyond me but I'm guessing it has
to do with money and the Palove case, as well as Natalie." Nick walked
over and placed his palms flat on his desk as he leaned forward to shove
his face into Kyle's. "I'm here because the Captain asked me to be here.
I don't like you, nor do I trust your opinion and neither does he. So
ask your questions and be done with it." Nick walked back to the chair
in front of Kyle's desk and rested his hands on the back but never sat
down. "Or do you just want me to walk into the sun and see if I smoke
and burn right before your eyes?" Nick waited for his response as he
watched the sun's morning rays filter through the blinds.

Kyle watched Nick's eyes trace the sunlight to the corner of his desk
and smiled. Was that fear he saw in Nick's eyes or just wishful
thinking on his part. "Well, Nick I see that you heard the rumor going
on about you and your sun allergy. A rumor, I might add that is quite
justified, I'm sure you will admit. Now if you intend to dispel that
rumor then you will walk over here by my desk and prove them wrong."
Kyle smiled smugly certain that Nick would never walk into the sunlight

Nick walked casually over to the window and opened the blinds completely,
letting the room flood with sunlight. He squinted as the light hit his eyes and
winced before he gained control of the pain, then returned his eyes to Kyle's.
Slowly he walked over to his desk and sat on the corner placing both palms flat
on his desk in direct sunlight. Kyle stared at Nick's hands in the sunlight in
amazement and stuttered before he spoke. "This....that....this isn't possible."
Kyle met Nick's angry blue eyes with confusion on his face.

Nick removed himself from Kyle's desk and started for the door. Stopping
half-way there, Nick turned to complete what he started. He let his
anger radiate in his voice and projected his heartbeat to Kyle's. As
Kyle felt his confusion turn to a numbness, he felt compelled to Nick.

"I want to know who put you up to this, Kyle?" Nick pushed harder with
his will but felt the pain start behind his eyes and the burning
sensation on his skin. His exposure to the sun had taken it's toll and
he would not get the answers he sought, at least not today. He had to
get out of the sun now or pay the price.

Kyle shook his head to clear it as Nick pulled all his strength back to
himself in order to keep from screaming as the pain increased. Kyle
stared at Nick standing at the door trying to figure out why he felt so
weak. Nick stood completely in the morning sun as it flooded the entire
room now. Kyle stared intently awaiting some spectacular fire ball or
smoke, yet nothing happened.

Nick smiled as he watched Kyle stare intently awaiting the worse.
"Satisfied....Doctor?....and I do say Doctor....lightly. As you can see, I don't
smoke or vanish in sunlight but I will be ill by nightfall if it makes you feel any
better." Nick reached for the door and pulled it open. "I hope this concludes
our little interview and by the way....I have no intention of committing suicide
anytime this year. You will pass that along in your report, as well as the fact
that I'm not one of the walking undead." Nick smiled smugly and walked out
the door.

Tracy watched Nick walk out the door and head straight for the
underground garage. His car was outside, but Nick was going directly to
ground. She tried to catch him but he was moving to fast. "Nick, wait
up!" She yelled as he pushed open the door and stumbled into the
garage. She watched him collapse against the wall and slide toward the
floor. She caught him before he hit.

"Nick....Nick? Are you all right?" She stared at the blisters forming
on his face and hands. "Jeez, Nick you ARE crazy."

"I think I'm going to be sick, Trace....really sick." Nick doubled over in pain
and started vomiting blood. Tracy simply held him as best she
could until he stopped heaving. That finished, he weakly smiled at
her. "Guess my window isn't what it used to be. You think maybe you
could give me a ride home....in the trunk preferably. More sun might be a real
problem and there are a couple of bottles in the trunk that I could really use
right about now." He laughed which caused him to start
coughing. He coughed up blood and spit it out before he spoke again.
"Actually those bottles are sounding better and better all the time."

Trace shook her head at her vampire partner in dismay. How he could
joke in his condition was beyond her. "I'll get your car. Don't move!
I'll be right back." She fished into his pocket for the keys and ran
to the outside lot. The last thing Nick needed was to be caught in the
garage in a pool of his own blood. That would do great to lessen the
rumors. Vampires? What had she gotten into?

Tracy returned minutes later with the Caddie. She popped the trunk and
spied the bottles in a bag in the corner. She pulled the cork and
headed for Nick on the floor. She shoved the bottle in his hand and
helped him bring it to his lips. As the first drink rolled down his
throat, the fire in his skin began to calm. Tracy stood and watched as
he drank and healed right before her eyes. It would never cease to
amaze her what he could do when he put his mind to it. She knew Nick
wasn't like most of the community, not only because of his age, but
because of who he was. He was different. That feeling of evil didn't
follow him around like most of the others. Not that she couldn't feel
it radiate from him when he was angry, but he was in control of the
beast, not the other way around.

Vachon had told her about some of the old ones and their control, but she didn't
realize he meant Nick at the time. She still missed Vachon, especially in those
wee hours of the morning when she could almost smell his cologne. Vachon
was one of a kind, just like Nick. The blisters were fading now and color was
returning to Nick's face. She could always tell when he’d fed now. He actually
had color in his cheeks after feeding. She never had the nerve to ask him if
only blood did that to him or if regular food did it too. She had watched him eat
eggs with great gusto and Natalie spent hours trying to figure out different ways
to prepare them.

Slowly Nick pushed himself off the floor and touched Tracy's shoulder.
She was doing a 'Nick in space' impersonation and he recognized it

"Hey....Earth to Trace....you with me, Trace?" He gently shook her arm to
bring her back.

She shook her head to clear it. "I'm with you, Nick. Sorry....I was
somewhere else." She smiled apologetically.

"You're spending entirely too much time around me and Nat. I'm beginning to
rub off on you. We have got to get you another pastime besides vampires." He
chuckled, grabbed her arm and headed for the car. "You drive, I'll take the


Tracy drove into the garage and hit the garage release before she popped
the trunk. Nick nimbly stepped out of the trunk as the garage door slid
silently closed. "Thanks, Trace." Nick leaned over and kissed her on
the cheek.

"I had better get upstairs before Nat goes crazy." He smiled that
boyish smile that could make anybody forgive him, including Trace.

"She could feel it, couldn't she, Nick?" Tracy looked at his face for
confirmation. They were so connected. Natalie knew when Nick was in
trouble, just as Nick knew when she was in pain from the baby and went
straight to the morgue. She had witnessed the connection many times in
the last few months. She envied them. She only wished she and Daniel could
be that close. Maybe in time. She and Daniel had become closer, but a part of
her heart still belonged to Vachon. Daniel understood and was taking it slow.
He had waited 90 years to meet someone who understood both sides of him,
another couple of years wasn't going to deter him now. She laughed with that
thought, as she read the confirmation on Nick's face about what Nat felt. She
had better leave them alone. She didn't want to be around for the lecture Nat
was about to give him on taking chances again.

"I'm going to split, because I don't want to be around to hear the
screaming." Tracy kissed Nick's cheek and headed for the side door.

"Coward!" Nick yelled as she shut the door with a smile on her face.

Nick jumped into the lift and pressed up, bracing himself for the


Natalie almost jumped when she felt Nick's presence in the garage. She
didn't need psychic abilities to know who was with him. It was after
sunrise and the pain she had felt earlier from Nick was gone now. Over
the distance, he had let his link to her draw strength to pull him
through. She was learning to control her fear when it happened and push
into the link between them. Nick had been teaching her over the last
couple of months and all the practice seemed to have paid off. She knew
he was all right and with Tracy, but that didn't mean she would be any
less hard on him when he walked through that door. Relief flooded her
senses as he reached out to her with his love as he stepped into the
lift. Try as she may, she could never be angry with him long because he
did everything out of love for her. She waited patiently as the lift
stopped and he stepped out. She looked him over from head to toe.
Finally satisfied he was in one piece, she threw herself into his arms.

Nick wrapped his arms around her and buried his head in her mass of
curls and breathed deeply. Nothing in his whole life ever felt as good
as holding her in his arms like this. Her warmth and love radiated
through him as he kissed her neck and ran his fingers through her hair.
Slowly, he let his kisses trail up her neck to her cheek and then her
lips. She rested in his arms and kissed him in return. When his lips
found hers, she opened to him like a flower. He let his tongue fence
with hers and pulled back to suck gently on her lips. She moaned softly
and forced his lips back to hers as her tongue sought his again. What
started as a simple embrace for comfort was quickly turning passionate.
She could never get enough of him. When he touched her, the fire burned
brightly until only he could put it out. She needed answers and Nick
was avoiding talking. Not that she minded his tactics, but not this
time. She pushed them gently apart and met his lust filled blue eyes.

"Nice try, buster! Now I want to know what happened."

He reached for her lips against and she held him off. "Answers now,
that later."

Nick groaned but accepted the inevitable. "Kyle tried convincing the
Captain and the daywatch that I was a creature of the night. I simply had to
prove him wrong and it cost me a little." He knew she had felt the pain,
because he had felt her strength through their link.

"A little? What I felt from you was more than a little, Nick." She
searched his face for the truth.

He pulled her back into his arms and buried his head in her hair one
more time. "Okay, my little window of suntime has been shortened and I
paid the price, but not until the good Doctor Stephens had seen me alive
and well in the sunshine." Nick released her and lightly kissed her
cheek. "I tried to find out who was feeding him the information, but
the sun sapped all my strength and I had to pull back in order to
maintain control. I think I put a great deal of doubt in his mind and
the daywatch was convinced by me just being there after sunrise. He has
no support now, but I may have to move on if he keeps at it. I won't be
able to pull that off repeatedly." He looked to her to see if she
understood the possible complications.

Natalie pulled back slightly, instantly hurt. "You would leave without
me?" She searched his face for an answer as her heart lurched in her

Nick listened to her heart and felt the fear scream across the link and
realized what she thought. Quickly he pulled her into his arms and held
her close. "Nat, I would never leave without you." He pushed back and
gently placed her face in his hands. "You are my life and my heart. I
would die without you. We said together....forever. I meant it. I just wanted
you to know that if things get out of control, we will have to move on. Until I
can find out who is feeding him the information, we
are in danger from him, and the community. There are those in the
community that feel that any mortal with that kind of knowledge is a
threat, and anyone exposed would have to be eliminated. I, for one, am not to
keen about having another stake put through my heart, especially because of he
good Dr. Stephens' stupidity." He gently kissed her lips and pulled her back
into his arms. Quickly she deepened the kiss and ran her hands under his
jacket up the hard planes of his back eliciting a moan from him. He let his
hands run down her sides and finally cup her rear end into the palms of his
hand and pull her hard against him. He broke the kiss to let her catch her
breath and stared into her blue eyes with love and trust for all eternity.

She lightly brushed her fingertips across his lips followed by a feather light
kiss. "Then take me upstairs and make love to me, Nick... in our bed one more
time. Know that I will go anywhere, anyplace, anytime with
you. You are my soul and my heart and I will love you forever."

He picked her up gently and carried her upstairs. She rested her head
on his shoulder and laid kisses on his neck as the fire began to build.

Chapter 9 ADULT


Natalie kissed his neck gently, letting her tongue trail down his
collarbone as he carried her up the stairs. She wanted her husband’s body
and soul tonight, in their bed, in their house, as if nothing had
changed. Nick kicked the bedroom door open with one foot and placed his
fully-clothed wife in front of him. He gently cupped her face between
his hands and brought his lips to hers. Softly at first, then harder
until she moaned into his mouth. He let his fingers work on the buttons
of her blouse as he trailed kisses down her neck. As he reached her
shoulder he slipped the blouse off over her finger tips and continued
down her arm. Natalie gave into the sensations rippling through her
body as his kisses ended at her fingertips and he sucked first one and
then another into his mouth. His tongue was like magic and her legs
gave way.

Nick caught her as she relaxed and carried her to the bed. Laying her
down on the bed, he crawled on top of her slowly dragging his now
throbbing body across her inner thigh. The feel of him through his
jeans and her slacks only amplified the sensations as Natalie whimpered
and squirmed beneath his touch.

Nick smiled at his wife’s reaction as she ran her hand down his flat
stomach to his engorged member. She ran her fingers slowly down one
side and then another, not fully holding him but teasing him mercilessly
until he begged her, "Touch me, Natalie….please. I want to feel your
hands on me."

He brought his lips back to hers and let his fingertips find her breast bound by
the satin bra she wore. Natalie fully cupped him in her hand and kneaded him
softly as he forced himself harder into her touch. He tore his lips from hers and
found her breast and freed it immediately. His lips were like cold fire on her
skin as she pulled and worked him into a more aroused state. The magic of his
tongue on her breast as his hands roamed her body was driving her insane. She
wanted his naked body next to her now. With her free hand she ripped
his buttons free on his shirt and then undid his belt. Nick continued
kissing her other breast and pulled her slacks off in one motion. He
wanted to be next to her, all of her.

Quickly, he pulled away and removed his jeans, shoes and socks and stood
gloriously naked in front of his wife. His erection stood out like a flag waiting
to be waved as Natalie drank in the sight of him. Nick let her gaze caress his
body and his hand encircled his manhood as he teased her with the
possibilities. Slowly Natalie ran her hand down her enlarged stomach to her
mound and let one hand massage her labia as her other hand reached for her
breast. Two could play this game as she arched into her own touch and
whispered breathlessly, "These hands could be yours."

Nick smiled and straddled his wife on his knees, being careful of the
baby, as she arched beneath him from her own touch. Watching her
intoxicated him until he pulled her hand to his penis and pushed hard
into her palm. Feeling his hard shaft in one hand she let her other
hand join the quest as she slowly trailed her fingers down to his
scrotum. She listened to the quick intake of breath as she kneaded and
pulled his shaft in both her hands. She wanted to taste him and pulled
her head toward him as he pushed into her hands. Nick pushed her back
down with both arms and kissed her hard, letting his tongue plunder her
mouth. With each stroke of her hand on his shaft he pushed toward her,
wanting and needing to be inside her completely. In short breaths as she
worked her magic on him, he spoke.

"Tell me I won’t hurt the baby, Natalie. Tell me because I can’t take much
more of this." His eyed glowed as he spoke and Natalie silently guided him
into her wet core. As his tip touched her, he was lost and he pushed full into
her. She gasped and arched toward him automatically.

"Deeper, Nick, I need you to touch me and the baby. I want to feel all
of you."

Nick pushed gently further into her as she moved hard against him until
he was lost. Slowly he retreated only to push harder back into her
again. Each stroke brought them closer and closer to what they both
sought. He would lift and grind his pelvis with each stroke until he
completely filled her and touched her core. Her warmth spread through
him like liquid fire as he increased the tempo and ached for release.
They both lost all thought of care and gave into the sensation of being
one with each other. Natalie pulled with each thrust unable to get
enough of him until she felt her body start to contract as she

"Come with me, Nick. Come with me." Nick could feel his wife
contract around him and he pushed harder into her. He wanted
desperately to feel her release and fill her with his love. As she
screamed his name he exploded within her and planted his fangs in her
neck. He drank as his body poured into hers and she pushed through their
link as he fed. He let her feel his orgasm cascade through him as he
devoured hers with each sip. As their bodies relaxed he felt her
warmth and love and was satisfied. He pulled his head from her neck and
offered his to her. He rolled over pulling her on top of him as she
planted her fangs into his neck and drank. His blood radiated love and
hope for both of them. She savored the feeling and drank for both
herself and the baby. She loved him beyond all words and was lost to
the feel of him.

He let her drink and bathed in her love, as she let him touch the baby
through their blood. Only a few times could he actually touch
Jonathan, but as the pregnancy advanced his link grew stronger and his
son would reach out to him. Natalie began to pull away but Nick held
her fast to his neck. He needed his son to know how much he loved him.
"No, Nat, let me touch him a little longer. Let me touch him and let him
feel me."

Natalie relaxed and pushed into their link. She let Nick feel Jonathan
and all that he felt in his tiny body. They were not three, but one,
bound by not only love but faith. Faith in each other and faith in a
life together. When Natalie released Nick’s neck, he pulled her up next
to him and buried his head and hands into her hair as he whispered,
"Thank you."

Natalie relaxed and kissed his cheek gently. "Your welcome, Daddy." She
smiled sweetly as exhaustion overtook them both.


Kyle stormed into the warehouse, slammed the door, and screamed her
name. "Gillian! Gillian! Where in the Hell are you?" He went from
the entry to the back where the lab was set up. Gillian had procured
the warehouse strictly because of its internal breakdown and space
requirements. She needed a big room that could be insulated just as her
Father’s lab had been. She chose the rear of the warehouse with the strongest
support and enclosed the area into three separate rooms. She had shipped all
her equipment and computers and set up shop. The generator and computer
were enclosed in a separate room with the control room having the only
keyboard access hidden behind a two way mirror overlooking the study lab.
The lab had very few amenities but tables equipped with titanium alloy
manacles for both arms and legs, as well as handcuffs for both beds at the
opposite end of the room. There was only one way in and one way out, with a
two way speaker system between the control room and the lab, or cell as Kyle
called it. She intended to survive this encounter at any cost.

Gillian sat adjusting the mobile unit when Kyle entered the warehouse.
He was not pleased. Anger radiated in his voice as he screamed her
name. If she thought she could have trapped Knight by herself, she
would never have approached him. He had proved to her on repeated
occasions just how unstable he was and how selfish he could be. That
was the reason for their split in the first place. That and his
obsession for Natalie.

In her heart she admired Natalie for putting Kyle behind her and going
on with her life. The fact that she would soon rip Natalie’s world
apart in order to save her own son didn’t set well with her. It was
obvious from the file and her observations that Nick and Natalie were
extremely close. Natalie had to know what he was, and yet she still
loved him. Vampires were killers and nothing in Gillian’s past
indicated that there was anything remotely human about them….but Nick
didn’t fit the profile.

She had checked and rechecked every piece of information in his file. His
computer records prior to coming to Toronto were fiction, but the last 7 years
appeared to be legit and that bothered her. She understood why Palove wanted
him dead...but why this way? A stake through the heart would have been much
simpler and cleaner. Somehow Gillian knew that Palove wasn’t the one
directing this show, which made it even worse. There were reasons for
everything, but she was running out of time and the questions were piling up
faster than the answers.

Kyle found her adjusting the mobile unit with a small wrench. "Gillian, you
are wrong about Knight!" He let his anger and disappointment wash over
him as he spoke. He had wanted to believe that he was doing the right
thing…that Nick was not human but a killing machine. He was a danger to
the whole city, a menace to society and not only would this free Natalie
from his spell, but make the world a safer place. Now he had doubts.
"He stood directly in the sunlight and talked with me. Taunted me
actually, and then walked out. He didn’t smoke or burn in any way shape
or form. That’s not possible if he is a vampire unless all your father's
work is wrong." Kyle paced the floor as he talked and finally stopped
when she didn’t respond.

"Are you listening, Gillian? Knight is not a vampire! Your information is
wrong! Palove wants him dead so he won’t testify against his family in the big
trial coming up next week. That’s what this is all about. It’s not some big
conspiracy over the undead. It’s money and power, just like it has always been."
He stopped to catch his breath and waited for her to accept the truth. He hated
Knight and would love to see him dead, but doing the mob’s dirty work
was risky at best and suicidal if not done correctly. He should know.
He had personal knowledge and had manage to escape unscathed on several

Gillian placed the mobile unit on the counter and rose to face Kyle nose
to nose. "You’re a complete fool, Kyle. Palove isn’t pulling the strings
here. Someone else wants Knight dead because he’s different. How
different I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. My son’s life is at
stake here. Either Knight dies or Jacob….." She turned to pick up
the mobile unit as she spoke. "…I won’t let that happen… and you are
going to help me." She placed the mobile unit in his hand before she
spoke. "I can’t explain how he can walk in the sunshine, but Knight IS
a vampire…albeit an unusual vampire, but a member of the walking undead.
When he dies only Natalie will mourn his passing, but then again maybe
she is under his spell."

She walked over to the computer and sat down."We go to plan B now.
Whether you like it or not, your precious Natalie is going to be the bait."
She flipped on the switch and low hum flooded the room in front of her. A
single tear escaped her eye as she watched the dial climb. She had never killed
anyone before and the thought frightened her.

Chapter 10



Natalie sat at her desk typing the last of the Reilly autopsy report.
It was not what Nick and Tracy wanted to hear, but as far as she could
see it was not murder. Tracy was certain the wife poisoned him, Nick
just couldn’t see it. Too much true grief. Of course, Nick was
listening to her heartbeat as Trace listened to the words. It wasn't
often they disagreed anymore. Nat smiled as she thought about the
changes Nick and Tracy had undergone when she discovered he was a
vampire. Actually they all had undergone some radical changes. It was
a release for both women to have someone who actually understood the
problems with being involved emotionally and physically with one of the
walking undead. Of course, at the rate things were progressing, she
seriously doubted it would be long before she classified herself in
that same category.

A soft knock tore Nat’s attention away from her thoughts as she watched
her sister gracefully walk through the door. It didn’t matter what
Theressa looked like, what she wore, or how upset she was, she was
always graceful. Nat had always admired her sister’s superior height and
beauty. In fact, Theressa was always looked beautiful in Natalie’s opinion.
Over the years, she understood why men were always attracted to her and
never really glanced at the older frumpy sister. That’s what she always
felt like around Theressa when men were involved….frumpy, except for
Nick. Nick always made Natalie feel beautiful, treasured and loved.
Never once had she caught him undressing Theressa with his eyes, and she
loved him even more for it. She knew he found Theressa attractive, but
that was it. With the exception of the one incident in the loft when
Theressa first returned, she had at no time felt the jealous green-eyed
monster rear it’s ugly head. That had helped heal a great deal of the
old hurt feelings between the sisters. They had once again become good
friends. She smiled as Theressa sat down opposite her desk with a stern
look on her face.

"We have to talk, Tasha." She needed Tasha's help and understanding…..
which would be doubtful at this point when it came to Natalie’s feelings
toward Lucien.

"Okay! You want to give me a clue about what or do I need to guess?"
Natalie waited for Theressa to enlighten her, although she was certain
it involved LaCroix.

"It’s about Nick and Lucien." She waited for the explosion.

Nat slowly stood and walked across the room to the fridge. She opened
the door and pulled out a blood sample and started toward the
microscope. Theressa followed and sat down across from her as she placed
a slide under the scope.

"You’re not going to talk about this...are you?"

Natalie pulled her head from the scope to stare at her sister. "No,
Theressa, I am not going to talk about Nick and LaCroix." She waited for
her sister to accept the answer.

"Natalie, Lucien loves Nicholas. This lack of communication and their
loss of connection is hurting him."

Anger flashed behind her blue eyes as she spoke. "Good! Maybe...it's
time he felt what it’s like to want something so badly that it physically
hurts. Maybe....it's time he felt the isolation that comes from being
alone and no one understanding or caring what you feel. Maybe...it’s
time he felt betrayed by the one person that could have changed it all.
Maybe...." She was incensed and pacing behind the lab bench when
she finally stopped and got control. "You couldn’t possibly know how
badly he has hurt Nick, how many times Nick needed him and he walked away,
what Nick has lived with for 800 years." She let some of Nick’s
memories surface and his fear for her. He lived with it daily. The
fear that LaCroix would harm her, simply because he loved her.
LaCroix’s revenge for Fleur. Sometimes that fear stopped them both
cold. Theressa could never understand what that felt like.

Theressa felt the rage within her sister as she spoke….and now finally
she understood. "I can understand, Tasha. He let me see parts of it,
….and the anger for Fleur, and the promise of revenge. I know what it is Nick
fears most and so does Lucien, but he WON’T hurt you." Theressa moved
off the stool and walked over to her sister. "He would lose Nicholas
forever…..and that would destroy him. Don’t you understand? He is
Nicholas’ father and he sees Nick’s pursuit of being mortal as a childish
form of rebellion. He doesn’t understand that Nick truly doesn’t want
to live forever...and that he doesn’t need him to survive. Coupled with
the fact that Nick doesn’t think like him, only makes him more
determined to prove to Nick that he is wrong. Don’t you see, Natalie,
they are just like any strong-willed father and son. Nick fights for
independence, and Lucien fights for control. It’s what he is supposed to
do. Sort of like YOU always trying to protect me from everything. He
sees it as protecting Nick." Theressa needed her to understand.

"This isolation is hurting them both. You have to feel it in Nick’s
blood as I feel it in Lucien’s"

Natalie stared at her sister in shock. Then she grabbed Theressa's collar
and ripped it open, only to find healing fang marks on her neck. Fear
gripped her heart. "No, Theressa you didn’t?….." Natalie stared in disbelief.

Theressa gently removed her hand. "I wanted to know if there was any
good left inside the man or if the vampire was all there was. I wanted
to feel him the way you feel Nick....and Tasha there is good left in
him. He feels pain, love and despair, just like you and I. He could
have killed me but he didn’t. He let me live instead. The world is
changing, the community is changing, and Lucien is changing. He loves
Nick more than anything. We all have a chance if we are willing to
try. Vampires and mortals can live with one another without killing.
You and Nick are proof of that.... and the baby. The baby is a whole
new life that needs all three of you. Nick and Lucien have to accept what
they are to each other so all the wounds can heal. Only then can we all
move on."

"Theressa I don’t….." The morgue door flew open as a woman and man
dressed in black leather with ski masks burst in carrying two 9 mm handguns.
Both women froze as the guns were pointed at their heads.

"Put your hands against the wall, Dr. Lambert." The woman’s voice was
both clear and concise. "Do it or I will blow your sister’s head off."

Natalie turned and placed her hands over her head flat on the wall.
Theressa followed suit. Natalie felt the needle in her neck and jerked
slightly as the darkness engulfed her. The last thing she heard was
Theressa’s scream echoing in her ears.


Natalie awoke to an insistent pounding behind both eyes, followed by the shock
of finding herself handcuffed to a bed in the far corner of a nearly obscenely
stark room painted all white. The fluorescent lights glared off the walls
to the point it hurt her eyes, or maybe it was just the throbbing in her head
that made it hurt so much. At this point she didn’t care. She searched the
room for Theressa, hearing a groan from the bed fastened to the wall on the
other side of the room.

"Theressa, can you hear me?" Natalie spoke softly as not to draw
attention to her captors, and to prevent the throbbing in her head from

Theressa sat up bleary eyed and grabbed her temples instantly. Whatever
drug they injected them with certainly had some nasty side
effects. "Right here, Tasha. My head is killing me. Is yours?" She
searched for the sound of her sister’s voice through the glare and pain
behind her eyes.

"I feel like I been on a 3 day wine bender with no food….and the light
actually hurts my eyes. It should wear off after awhile." Natalie
winced in pain as she felt the baby move. At least it hadn’t affected
Jonathan or at least it had worn off if it had. He was as active as
ever and would soon demand to be fed. Fear gripped her as she
realized that without Nick, there was no way to stop the contractions
and she would in all likelihood abort the baby. Frantically, she
pulled on the cuffs. With her increased strength, she managed to break
the manacle easily and tossed it across the room in anger. Within
seconds, she was working on Theressa’s.

Theressa watched her sister grab the cuff attached to the bed and pull.
With what appeared to be very little effort, it snapped and Theressa was
free. She stared in amazement. "I see there are a few advantages to
having some of your husband’s blood in you." She smiled and began
rubbing her wrist after Natalie broke the final manacle.

"It does have it’s advantages, but….." Nat dropped to the floor
clutching her stomach. Pain seized her entire body and she gasped for
breath. "We…we....have to get out of here. This is a trap for Nick!"

"Very good, Natalie. I’m pleased to see you at least understand who we
are after…..and if you lose the baby in the process…...well….no loss
of another monster there." He laughed through the intercom as it flooded
the room with the voice of insanity.

"Kyle!!! You Bastard!!!" Natalie screamed and lunged at the window on
the far side of the room only to collapse as another contraction brought
her to her knees.

Chapter 11


Kyle continued laughing as Natalie doubled in pain and collapsed to the
floor. Gillian turned in anger as he switched off the mic. "You told me
the baby was somebody else's! The baby's his!" She screamed and hit
the off switch controlling the ultrasound within the sealed room. Kyle
turned in anger and slapped her viciously upside the face knocking her
out of her chair. Gillian jumped immediately to her feet and attacked
him. Kyle easily subdued her by grasping both hands. He laughed in her

"You honestly thought she was a whore? You are so foolish, Gillian.
Natalie would never betray her lover. I had to think of some way to get
rid of him and that bastard child....and now I'm going to get paid for it and
YOU are going to take the blame. You're such a perfect patsy.
That's why Palove chose you.....naīve'....easy to manipulate and vulnerable. The
perfect pawn for them and for me." His smile bordered on insanity as she
watched his eyes become dead pools of light.

Anger raged through her as she hissed in his face. "I'm not the fool
here, Kyle....YOU ARE! Palove isn't calling the shots, someone else is"

He abruptly released her arms. She pulled away from him slightly and
laughed. "You're an idiot, Kyle! You didn't watch her break those
handcuffs, did you? A normal HUMAN woman can't break handcuffs, Kyle
but she did! She's not mortal nor vampire yet she carries the child of a
vampire. What do you suppose that makes the child? What kind of powers do
you think it will have? The child is what this is all about....not money.....not
drugs....but power." She leaned over and switched the ultrasound machine to 6
and walked towards the door.


Tracy had left, claiming illness, when in reality Nick knew she and
Daniel had made plans for a late night/early breakfast rendezvous. Nick
smiled at the thought. They were making slow progress and Daniel was
coming to terms with both sides of his nature. With Nick's guidance he
was learning how to control the beast and use his powers for good
instead of evil. Nick only hoped his son would show as much good sense
as Daniel had under the circumstances.

Since he was on his own, a quick trip to see Nat and pick up the Reilly
report seemed in order.

Nick carefully listened for Nat's heartbeat, yet could pick up nothing.
Odd....she had to work later than he did tonight. She should have been
there. He pushed open the door and the pain seized him full force. It
was so intense at first, he lost his breath and had to steady himself
against the wall.

"Natalie, where?" The pain washed over him in waves. Finally he
noticed the room's disorder and a note stuck on the computer addressed to him.

Come alone or she dies and so does your child!

There was no address and no signature. Whoever took her knew he could
find Natalie without help. Nick sat down in Nat's chair and pushed into
their connection. He let her pain cascade through his blood and his mind, as he
reached through their link for a location. In the instant it takes to breathe, he
was gone.


A crash could be heard as the warehouse main door exploded inward and
Nick stepped through.

Kyle looked startled as Gillian turned back to him. "That would be your
Detective Nick Knight that you want to kill so badly for MONEY!" She
leaned over and picked up the portable unit she had been fine tuning
earlier in the day and pitched it at him. "There! Kill the father and
you kill the child....but that.s what you had in mind all along, isn't
it? You don't want that child born anymore than they do. My only
consolation in this mess is that I'm a murderer ONLY to save my son.
YOU can't say that." She sat down at the keyboard disgusted with
herself. "Get him in the room and lock the door. The machine will do
the rest." She ignored him as he rushed out into the darkness
of the warehouse.

Nick scanned the warehouse with his night vision and listened. Multiple
heartbeats could be heard coming from the back side of the building.
He used vampire speed checking every nook and cranny as he went.

The waves of pain were constant now, but no conscious thoughts of
Natalie's were present. She was unconscious. Nick knew it as certain as
he knew that the sun would rise in the morning. He stopped short of the
encased cubicle they covered the larger portion of the back of the warehouse
and let himself reach out to her.

The heartbeats were all so fast, he could not differentiate between them. Kyle
stepped from behind the pillar, pointed the gun directly at his head and fired.

Nick felt the wave immediately. He had experienced it one time before
and recognized it for what it was. There was no time for thoughts or
plans. He launched himself at Kyle as he prepared to fire the second

They hit the floor together as Nick gracefully rolled to his feet and
kicked the gun away from Kyle's grasp. Nick gave into the anger as his
eyes began to glow and his fangs descended. Swiftly he grabbed Kyle off
the floor and hauled him against the wall by his shirt collar. "Is
this what you wanted to see, Kyle?" He hissed next to his face. "Is
this the proof you wanted that I'm a cold-hearted monster?" Nick
slammed him hard against the wall. He wanted to kill him here and now
to keep this piece of filth from ever hurting Natalie again, but
Natalie would never forgive him. He couldn't commit cold-blooded
murder....not anymore. The ultrasound wave had affected his strength.
The buzz within his head became louder after the wave faded away. His
system could not clear it like most vampires. The normal human cells in
his blood stream kept the vampire cells from being effected as quickly,
but they inhibited the healing process as well. Natalie's scream echoed
through the warehouse.

Nick growled into Kyle's face. "If she dies,...NOTHING will save you!"
Nick pitched Kyle across the room into the stack of 50 gallon drums. He
watched the drums collapse onto him as he picked up the mobile unit
and broke it into pieces. "You are the only monster here now, Kyle." He
tossed the pieces at the drums.

Tracing the scream with his sensitive hearing, he located the darkened
room at the rear of the building hidden within the encased cubicle.
He jerked the door from the hinges in one swift motion, greeted by
bright fluorescent lights. Using vampire speed, he body rolled into the room,
only to be bombarded by the ultrasound flooding the room.

Theressa screamed "No, Nick!" but it was to late.

The level of intensity within the room was 100 fold that of the mobile
unit. Pain instantly screamed through his body bringing him to his
knees. Theressa sat clutching Natalie as she moaned in agony on the
floor. Nick could feel her pain as well as his own.

"Get out, Nick!" Theressa cried as she tried to pull Nat to her feet.
"It's a trap!"

Nick half crawled, half dragged himself to his wife's side. Tears streaked
Theressa face as she screamed. "Turn it off, please turn it off." She clutched
her sister and wept.

Every movement he made was like fire inside his brain. His body was
beginning to convulse, but he fought it. Grabbing Theressa's hand, he
managed between labored breaths to get her to help him. With Nick's
strength all but gone, he and Theressa dragged Natalie out of the room.
He collapsed beside her coughing blood from the effort.

Theressa stared at him in amazement as his fangs descended and he ripped
open his wrist. Quickly he placed it over Natalie's mouth.

"Drink, Nat!" His words were laced with agony as his body began to go
into convulsions, yet he still held his wrist to her lips. She
responded slowly at first, then her fangs descended into her
husband's sweet flesh and she drank deeply. As his body flowed into hers, Nick
gave into the pain and passed out.

His warmth touched her throat and she drank. She drank for her survival
and their son's. The lack of blood and the ultrasound had put Jonathan
into shock. His little body fought for life with each breath his mother
took , then Nick's strength flooded them both with love and warmth... and
something else. She reached into their link and Nick's pain screamed back in
response. He was sapping his strength to save her and the baby. There was
nothing left as he spiraled down into the abyss of darkness, yet his mind called
out with love for her. Natalie released his wrist with tears in her eyes.

"NO! Nick don't leave us!" She wrapped her arms around him as he
fought the darkness and clung to her voice. "Fight this, Nick, fight
it." She pulled him into her lap as a strong hand touched her shoulder.

Chapter 12


Natalie gazed into the ice blue eyes of Lucien LaCroix as she cradled
her husband in her lap. "He doesn’t have any strength left to fight
it. He gave it to Jonathan and me." For the first time since she’d met
LaCroix, she let her fear show.

Anger flashed behind his eyes as he watched his son dying before him,
yet the warmth that passed between Nicholas and the good doctor was
still there. It was as if there was something beyond here and now. He
stared at her with something he had not felt in centuries….pity.

In his last visage of consciousness, Nicholas had cried out to him. Out
of love for him or for his unborn son, LaCroix did not know. They were
blood… and no mere mortal would take Nicholas away from him. Not like
this! LaCroix knelt beside them and pulled Nicholas’ limp body away from
his wife into his own arms. Exposing his beloved son’s neck, he gently planted
his fangs and drank.

Nicholas’ life force barely clung to the world. LaCroix drank slowly
pulling the pain and agony his son felt throughout his body. He would
remove it and return Nicholas to the total darkness. The only life
possible. The way it should have always been…..and then love flooded his
mind, it overshadowed everything else and washed through him as he
drank….love for Natalie, love for his unborn son, love for him.
Nicholas’ emotions poured through him like water. Finally he broke away
in shock.

His son loved him in spite of all that had transpired between them over
the centuries. He stared at his son in disbelief and then at the woman
before him. She had truly taught him to love unconditionally.

LaCroix grabbed Natalie’s wrist as she sat beside them, and sliced it with
his fangs causing the blood to flow freely. Her eyes never left his as he
placed her bleeding wrist over his son’s mouth. As the first drops of his
wife’s blood hit his throat, Nick began to suck gently. She let her life-force
feed him and strengthen him, hers and their son’s, with love and faith and then
she pulled free.

LaCroix watched with regret until Natalie pulled his now healed wrist to her.
"He needs his father too." She let her fangs descend and slit his wrist.
Completing the circle, she placed father and son together again for all eternity.

Theressa knelt beside them and gave her warmth to Lucien as his son
drank deeply from his strength and immortal soul.

Kyle jammed a new clip into the magazine and loaded the gun. Blood
from the head wound blurred his eyes as he stood before them. His fight
with Nicholas had left him bleeding and battered, but he was still alive and
he was going to make sure he kept it that way. Bullets may not kill them,
but it would slow them down enough for him to put a stake through their evil

"Thought you got rid of me that easily, did you?" Kyle staggered
slightly and then let the evil light shine through his eyes.
"Monsters!….I’m going to make this city clean again."

LaCroix growled and pulled free from his son. He lunged in a blink of
an eye as Kyle fired. Weakened from the loss of blood to Nicholas, the
bullets knocked him to the floor. Kyle laughed with glee as Theressa
screamed and threw her body over LaCroix. Kyle kicked her off of him
violently and watched LaCroix writhe in pain before him, ready to
unload the rest of the magazine. Deciding against it, he pointed the
gun at Nick’s unconscious body on the floor.

Kyle stared into Natalie’s eyes as he spoke. "I told you that you
belonged to me. " Natalie threw her body over Nick’s when a shot
echoed through the nearly vacant building. Theressa screamed!

Blood pooled on the front of Kyle’s shirt as he collapsed to his knees.
Gillian walked into the dim light in front of him and grabbed the gun
from his grasp as he fell forward to the floor. "You’re the only
monster here, Kyle!" She pointed the gun at his head.

He smiled wickedly. "You can’t kill the father of your child, Gillian.
It’s not in you." He began to laugh.

"Wrong again, Kyle." She pulled the trigger without remorse.

Theressa steadied Lucien as he got to his feet.

Gillian walked calmly to Natalie and Nick’s side in the dimly lit
warehouse and knelt down beside them on the floor. She handed the gun to
Natalie and smiled weakly. "I always admired you because you did what’s right
in turning him in….and NOW I finally did the right thing, too." She turned
back to LaCroix and watched him slowly regain his strength and heal right
before her eyes, then she touched Nick gently feeling for a pulse. She found

"He is the key to all this…..and the baby. Kill the father, you kl
the child or…." She turned back to LaCroix. "Kill the child and you kill
the father."

Slowly she stood and approached LaCroix. "This is about power, nothing
else. The baby symbolizes hope for a peaceful existence between two
worlds. Kill Nick and the child dies because he needs his blood to
survive. A mortal kills your son and you take revenge on the whole
human race." She turned back to Natalie.

She turned to Natalie. "You watch your husband tortured to death and
lose it so you are no longer a threat to either side. They think you’re weak, just
like me…..but THEY’RE wrong.!"


Nick slowly opened his eyes to find a beautiful blonde sitting by his
bed. Natalie lay peacefully sleeping in his arms in the same bed she
had been handcuffed to earlier. He wrapped his arm around her gently to
assure himself she was okay as her steady heartbeat greeted his hand rubbing
gently on her back. He pushed lightly into their link and felt peace in her heart
and no pain.

Gillian watched him intently when she heard him stir. His first
thoughts were of her. Gillian envied Natalie that. No matter what Nick was,
he loved her body and soul and that WAS human. He was an incredibly
handsome man and what radiated from him was not evil. She had been
wrong. Her father had been wrong. All vampires were not evil.

She found him staring at her with clear blue eyes that made you feel
incomplete. "Why?" He whispered hoarsely. His hand never stopped
caressing his wife.

Gillian became almost mesmerized by his action as
the sadness and despair of what she had done overwhelmed her.

"They have my son!" The truth in her words touched Nick’s heart. This
woman was yet another pawn in the power struggle between two worlds.

"Get me a phone." Nick reached to touch her face as she wept openly.
"We’ll find a way to save your son, as you have saved mine"

Gillian grabbed the cellular phone she had removed from his jacket earlier
they put him to bed, and handed it to him.

Nick dialed Tracy’s number. It was almost 2 in the afternoon. Tracy
answered on the 4th ring.

"This had better be life and death." She answered coming out of the
heavy fog of sleep.

"Trace, it’s Nick. I need a favor." He waited for the blast, holding
the phone away from his ear. He smiled at Gillian while Tracy ranted
loudly on the other end of the phone. When Nick heard silence, he
returned it to his ear.

"Have you finished now?"

As the cobwebs of sleeps disappeared, Tracy realized Nick had never
called her during the day. She listened closely and could almost
feel the fatigue in his voice and something else. "Are you okay, Nick?"
Fear edged her voice.

"I’m okay, Trace….. and Nat’s okay, too, before you ask. However, there’s a
little boy who needs your help badly Do you think you and Daniel could
that …….before sunset if you catch my drift?

Pull out the file on Jake Palove that I gave you from Felix Twist.
Palove owns several vacant buildings on Heron Street. If the child is
anywhere, he’s there. Get in an out without a fight. Tell Daniel to
reach out with his senses and feel the child. His guards will be older
and their heartbeats slower. You guard his back and let him use his new
found talents, but both of you wear vests. Neither one of you are
bulletproof. You have to find him before dark or he’s dead.
Understand?" Nick gave her several more instructions and then hung up
the phone.

Gillian listened and watched. She had made the right decision. Nick
cared about people, not just his own kind. Daniel and Tracy were
obviously important to him and he feared for their safety as well as her

Nick misinterpreted her expression as fear for her child. "Don’t worry.
Tracy and Daniel will find him. They’ll bring him back to you." He let
his hand cover hers in comfort.

She gave him a brave smile as she let her other hand cover his and
noticed the fatigue and pain in his eyes. "Your pain is not completely
gone is it?"

Nick gently kissed the top of Nat’s head and gazed at her as she slept
in his arms. "The REAL pain is gone." He let his eyes return to
Gillian’s. "Only the minor physical aches of making the right decision
still linger." He smiled. "I don’t heal as quickly as most of my kind
as you noticed. It’s the ‘mortal impurities’ that contaminate my blood
to quote my LaCroix."

His sense of humor and outlook on life astounded Gillian. He was not at
all what she expected. The more she learned, the better she felt about
her decision. He was not the monster.

Gold flecks edged his eyes as he spoke. Gillian excused herself and
went to the lab. Quickly she opened the fridge and removed one of the
blood bags she’d purchased earlier in case of an emergency and then returned
to his side..

She helped him rise up enough to drink it, when she noticed him tense
suddenly and check the door.

"What is it?"

"LaCroix is awake." The words were laced with hesitation ….and if she
hadn’t known better, fear.

Chapter 13


Theressa sat watching LaCroix as he rested on the bed in a storage room
outside the lab. He had moved Kylešs body to the North end of the
warehouse with great effort. He would remove it permanently after
sunset. The loss of blood to Nicholas for his recovery, and the energy
it required to heal his own bullet wounds had taken their toll. He
refused the bed in the same room with Nick and Natalie, and sought
out the refuge of the storage room alone.

Theressa followed, expecting him to object, but as she sat down in the
chair beside him, he simply placed her hand in his and fell into a deep
sleep. He would need blood when he awoke. She would search for some
later or make a trip to the Raven. For now she was content to just
stay with him while he recovered.

Several hours later, he awoke to find her still holding his hand.
Her gaze never left his ice-blue eyes as he rose from the bed. Her
heartbeat echoed into his mind as he pulled her willingly into his arms.
His eyes turned golden with hunger and need as he let himself feel her blood
racing through the veins at the base of her neck. The desire to feed
was intense.

"Take me if that’s what you need, Lucien, but the warmth will soon be
gone. Decide what you want before you let your beast have control."
She offered her neck to him as he ran his fingertips down her throat

Slowly he brought his hands to her face and held it firmly between
them. She was his if he desired it, willingly, unconditionally and for
the first time….it frightened him. What was this power she had over
him? What was it he felt and wanted from her that he couldn’t attain
from killing her and drinking her blood. Her eyes locked to his and he
knew the answer.

Gently he kissed her lips and pulled her into his embrace. She wrapped
her arms around his neck and let her warmth and trust in him radiate
through his soul….and he gave into feelings he thought long dead. She
trusted him beyond rational thought as she deepened the kiss and
let her hands freely explore is body.

He tensed and broke the kiss. Searching his eyes for answers she pulled
him back to her. "What is it, Lucien?"

"Nicholas is awake." He released her and quickly disappeared.


Gillian watched Nicholas gently remove Natalie from his embrace, rise
from the bed, and cover her with a blanket. He was unsteady on his feet
and weak but determined.

"Keep watch over her for me, Gillian. There are things left unsettled
that I need to take care of." Nick slowly walked out of the room as
LaCroix waited patiently in the dark confines of the warehouse.

Nick let himself feel the connection between them and followed.

"Well, Nicholas, I see you are relatively well under the circumstances."
LaCroix stepped out of the shadows to greet his son. "I’m glad, really,
that your little quest gave the impurities you needed to survive…..I doubt you
would have otherwise. It would have been a pity to have to bring your wife
across after all this time and not have you present to enjoy the consequences.
That would not suffice as the revenge I had in mind."

Nick walked slowly to LaCroix and then violently grabbed his coat and
threw him against the wall. "Enough!" Nick hissed in his face. "You’re
not doing this to me anymore. You made the mistake of letting me take
Natalie’s blood first and then yours. You can’t hide from me now! Her
love has taken away your power over me. I feel what you feel, I know
all that you know! I feel the hate, the anger, the bitterness and the
death...but most of all I feel what you’ve hidden from me all these years!
Hidden from yourself as well....remorse, loneliness and fear. Fear that
if you ever love again, they will be ripped away from you. Fear
that you’ll be left alone to live in this permanent Hell without love or
trust from anyone that has ever meant anything to you. That’s why
you’ve fought to keep me at your side. You LOVE me! I’m the one thing
you couldn’t have because of what you are. The one thing that has meant
anything to you. I know the fact that I don’t want to live forever hurts you.
So you try to make me hate you, because hate in your mind is as close to
love as you will get."

Nick released him and walked away to Kyle’s covered body lying on the floor.
He knelt and pulled the tarp off the body.

"You’re wrong, LaCroix. Hate is not a replacement for love. Hate is
obsession without conscience, killing without remorse, power without
control. That’s the monster! It’s the beast within us all. That’s
what love can conquer and control." Nick threw the tarp back over the
body in disgust. "We all have beasts just as Kyle did---vampires and
mortals. It’s how we learn to control them that makes us different,
makes us human…. not what’s in our blood. You have control of your
beast, LaCroix...no one else. To love or to hate, the decision is yours."
Nick stood and grabbed his head as the dizziness washed
over him.

LaCroix caught him before he hit the floor. Nick opened his eyes to his
father holding him as they sat on the floor . Doubt and pain were etched in his
face .

"Tell me you won't hurt her. Tell me you won’t kill my son... That you won’t
destroy the only good things in my life that keep it from being a permanent
Hell. Tell me this and I’ll know the man still has control over the beast."

Theressa watched from the shadows and prayed for Lucien to make the
right choice.

Nick was losing his battle with fatigue as the after-effects of the
utlrasound played havoc with his nervous system. The dizziness
continued followed by the incessant desire to sleep, but he waited for
an answer. He needed to know. Only if Natalie was safe could he rest.

"I will not harm her Nicholas…not now or ever. She is of your blood
and therefore mine. I will protect her and your son with my life."
LaCroix stood and lifted Nicholas into his arms.

Giving into darkness and LaCroix’s care, Nick whispered "I believe you
…...father" before slipping into a healing sleep.


Theressa watched him carry Nick back to Natalie and place him beside her
where he belonged. He stood watching them briefly, then turned and walked
out of the room. She handed him the glass of blood retrieved from Gillian and
he downed it in one swallow. Only then did she notice the anger banked
behind his ice blue eyes.

"Lucien?" She grabbed his arm as he reached for the blood bag she held
in her other hand.

He pulled the bag free and drained it as well. Slowly he wiped the drops of
blood from his lips with his finger and licked them clean. His eyes turned gold
momentarily, then returned to an angry ice blue. Theressa stood confused as
she watched mesmerized by his actions.

LaCroix glanced back at the room in which Nicholas lay sleeping and the
decision was made.

"No one..." he growled, "hurts MY family!" and he was gone.


Jake paced the room nervously. He had lied to Markel about Knight He
had heard nothing from Gillian Sizemore since the kidnapping of her son.
Kyle Stephens had assured him that everything was going according to plan.
Knight would be dead no later than today, yet there was still no word.
Something was wrong; he could feel it.

He left word to kill the kid before sunrise, if he didn’t call. If he
didn’t call…that was funny. He was a dead man if this didn’t work out.
If he lived through the night after Markel took his revenge, then he
would still have to deal with Knight and his testimony. Vampire or not,
he was a respected member of the police force and the star witness
against his family in the largest drug bust ever in Toronto. Could he put
enough doubt in the Commissioneršs mind about Knight? Enough to cause
the department to question his origins? He could just see himself
convincing Police Commissioner Vetter and the newspapers that Detective
Tracy Vetter’s partner, bonafide hero, and Partner of the Year was a member
of the walking undead. Vampires? The papers would call him insane.
Maybe that was it? Insanity? A smile crossed his lips when he realized
he was not alone.

Glancing at the window, he could see it was almost dusk, that meant his
visitor was very old. Only the old ones could tolerate any sunlight at
all. Odd he had never seen Markel before total darkness. He thought him
ancient when actuality, he did not really know his age. He turned with
his practiced smile to find a tall man hidden in the shadows. This
was not Markel. Everything in Jake’s body told him that. He was tall,
well built and dressed completely in black. His face was concealed in
the shadows. Fear gripped Jakešs heart which caused his guest to laugh.

"Your fear is justified my friend." The silk controlled voice of the
Nightcrawler radiated through the room.

Jake recognized it instantly, as Lucien LaCroix stepped into the light.
No longer disguising the anger, he let his eyes glow red before his
quarry. Fear was such a palpable thing and LaCroix perfected terror
before a kill for his own sheer enjoyment.

Jake backed up against the wall as LaCroix flew instantly to his throat.
In one swift motion his neck was exposed as LaCroix toyed with his food.
"I need a name…..just one name and I will be merciful." He hissed and
then released him.

Jake’s heart was in his throat. "A name...? I don’t know what...?"

LaCroix grabbed him by the lapels and tossed him across the room,
following quickly , snapping his arm in the process. Jake started the scream,
only to be silenced by LaCroix’s hands on his throat. "My patience is
gone… Mr. Palove."

LaCroix planted his fangs into his throat and drank deeply. The name he
sought was his....with or without consent. The answers he sought cost
Jake his life without regret on LaCroix’s part. He dumped the body
unceremoniously on the floor and then kicked it across the room. "That
was for Nicholas, Jake.....the rest was for me." He disappeared through
the window to prepare.

Chapter 14


A New Life
Part 14/14

Gillian paced the floor in front of Theressa as they waited. It was
well after dusk. Natalie sat with Nick as he drank the last of the
blood Gillian had in her refrigerator. He looked better and the
dizziness was slowly dissipating, but he was a long way from a hundred
percent. The outer door to the warehouse banged open. Gillian lunged
for the door, her forward motion stopped by Nick’s hand on
her shoulder..

"I’ll check it out, Gillian!" He held her firmly until she agreed.

"If it's Palove’s men, you’re not well enough to….."

Nick smiled and relaxed. "It’s not….it’s Trace and Daniel."

"You can tell from here?" Disbelief was written on her face.

"They have very distinct heartbeats." He laughed as Gillian ran for the
outer door searching for her son.

"Mommy!" A small voice echoed across the warehouse with running feet.

"Jacob!" Gillian swept the small bundle into arms and wept for joy.

Tracy and Daniel followed close behind. They were both exhausted and
relieved to see Nick and Natalie standing arm in arm behind Jacob’s

Gillian released her son with a tear streaked face and offered her hand
to Tracy. "Thank you." Her voice broke with emotion. "Thank you both."
She picked Jacob up from the floor and cuddled him close.

"I owe all of you." Gillian kissed her son and held him close as the
fear slowly faded.

Nick smiled. "Your welcome, but I think Daniel and Trace did the hard

"You can say that again, but all those flying lessons helped. I think
I’m finally getting the hang of it." Daniel’s face beamed with pride.

"And I managed not to get shot, so I think we’re BOTH getting better!"
Trace chuckled and wrapped her arm through Daniel’s.

Gillian was confused as she turned back to Nick. "I thought you said
you could here their heartbeat…..that’s how you knew they were not….."

"Daniel’s not completely mortal, Gillian. He’s like my son will be….of
both worlds, part vampire and part mortal." Nick held Nat closer to him
and ran his hand over Natalie slightly swelled stomach.

She leaned into his touch and then kissed him lightly. "Only he will
have both his parents to teach him," she whispered as she caressed
Nick’s face.

Gillian recognized true love when she saw it, yet somehow it saddened
her for what she missed. Despair was evident in her voice as she spoke.
"Created in love and treasured by both parents. That’s the way is
should be for all children." Her eyes expressed pain as she met Nick’s
gaze and stood Jacob on the floor.

"What will happen to me now, Nick? I just killed the father of my

Nick released Nat, gently pulled Gillian into his arms, and rested his
head on top of hers as he held her. "Kyle was never a father to Jacob,
Gillian. Just because he sired him, it doesn’t mean he was his father.
Being a father requires love, patience, forgiveness and sacrifice. Kyle
had none of those qualities…...and the last time I checked, it was still illegal to
try and kill a Metro Homicide police detective." He released her and
wiped the tears from her cheek and smiled. "Believe it or not I am
still employed by the city of Toronto in that capacity."


Alma watched LaCroix finish the 4th bottle from his special reserve as
she cleared away all the glassware. He had not spoken since his
return, but his anger could be felt everywhere in the bar. The young
ones were nervous as a shadow of fear engulfed the Raven. Rumors were
flying that Nick was dead. Killed by a mortal after being tortured in
front of his wife. Most of the community knew Dr. Lambert. She had
saved the majority of them in the fever, but she was still mortal. At
least thatšs what everyone thought, yet she was different. There had
been rumors neither acknowledged or denied by LaCroix or Nick.

Dealings with the mortal world had increased since the demise of
Divinia and the Tribunal, but there were those who thought it would
bring nothing but disaster. They made their feelings well known. Others
feared for their mortal friend’s safety from these groups, yet rejoiced
in being able to finally open doors to profitable business ventures
without fear of being targeted by the enforcers.

If LaCroix came out against mortals, this would cease. With a snap
of his fingers, more than half of the community would follow out of
respect….and fear. One did not want Lucien LaCroix as an enemy. On a
good day he was virtually unstoppable as an adversary, when angry he
was always lethal. Nick alone had been known to survive his wrath…and
the room now radiated with his anger. The whole building pulsed with a
red rage emanating from behind LaCroix’s door.

Alma, as well as the others, watched and waited. Those that had human
friends present sent them on their way quickly and returned. Tonight,
sides would be chosen and the community would either join humanity or
stay outcasts for all eternity.

Markel and his friends entered silently through the back door. The
crowd was enormous, fear and doubt surged through them, like waves
crashing on the shore. Markel let it strengthen him as he passed quietly
among them. This was his time. All he needed was LaCroix on his side
and they were his. He would settle for 2nd place in the community for
now….until he could find a way to eliminate LaCroix forever. For now,
he would be patient and finish the game. Knight was dead by a mortal
according to Palove. LaCroix would be enraged and the old ways would
return. Mortals were never to be trusted. It was his mantra that he
repeated continuously in his head. Mortals were the
hunted….the prey…..nothing more.

The band stopped as Markel and his followers made their way to the
stage. The crowd seemed to part as they walked. Markel bathed in the
excitement and electricity. This was what being a vampire was
about…..power….control…..fear. He loved the feel of it. It made him
whole. It was his destiny.

Markel took the stage, followed by 15 members of his entourage and waited for
the voices to die down.

"It is time that the community makes a decision. Can we trust the
mortals with our secrets, our very lives? There are those among us
that think mortals can be trusted . In the past, only a select few
have been protected by blood oath of their sponsor….payable only by
death. Now there are those among you who think we can live peacefully
and safely among humanity without any consequences. That the mortals
will just sit back and accept our nature, our superior strength, our
bloodlust and let us live among them.”

“I say they are wrong! Mortals can never be trusted with our secrets.
They will see us as monsters, or beasts to be killed in anyway
possible. They will destroy us with less thought than an animal. How
can we trust creatures that kill their own kind? We cannot live with
them day in and day out without succumbing to our nature and then they
will destroy us." Markel watched as heads nodded in agreement.

"What about Nick? He has lived among them, he’s even married to one."
A young vampire in the back interjected. Murmurs flooded through the

"Yeah! What about Nick?" Markel was prepared. What would they do
when they found out?

"Yes, Markel. What about Nicholas?" LaCroix’s voice oozed with cold
rage as he appeared magically in front of his office door. The crowd
in unison watched him slowly cross the room stopping half way to the

"Yes, Markel why don’t you tell them about MY SON!" Gold flecks edged
his eyes. "Tell them why my son is not here. Tell them how his trust
in his mortal wife, and friends made him weak. Tell them how they
turned on him and destroyed him." His eyes were flame red as anger
seethed from every pour as he slowly approached the stage.

Markel was enthralled with LaCroix’s rage. One push and this ancient
vampire would destroy every human in sight, and maybe in that fight, a
mysterious stake would appear. Joy filled his soul as he pushed on.

"Then it is true….Nicholas is dead by a mortal’s hand as his wife
watched.?" A gasp went through the crowd. "You WILL seek revenge
then?" He asked expectantly.

LaCroix let the anger and hatred pour through him. It was his friend
tonight, his lover, his strength and he would need it all tonight.

"Yes, Markel…..I WILL have my revenge against ALL that have hurt my
family." He growled as his fangs descended. "All those who plotted
against my family, all those that willingly sought to destroy their own
kind. Know now Markel that this is MY family!" LaCroix swept the room
with his arm including all that stood before him as he stepped onto the

"You were right when you said that mortals couldnšt be trusted…Not ALL
mortals can be trusted! Just as not ALL vampires can be trusted! Only
an animal kills his own kind. Isn’t that what you said? Only an
animal cannot control his beast and we ALL carry our beasts! Have you
controlled your beast lately, Markel? Or... has the thought of power
let your beast run rampant?" LaCroix hissed.

"You made one mistake, Markel....Nicholas lives....because of mortals.
His son…still lives. You spent your money poorly."

Markel lunged at LaCroix in full vampire mode. Lucien sidestepped him
quickly and threw him across the room. The crowd moved clear as the
two vampires circled each other. Markel signaled for help from his
friends, who encircled LaCroix. The crowd moved closer grabbing each of
them from behind. They were outnumbered, leaving only Markel to deal
with LaCroix. The rage within LaCroix gave him the advantage. He tossed
Markel around like a rag doll, finally shattering a table and removing
a leg. This was for his family….all his family. He drove the stake
downward.... a familiar strong arm stopped him in mid-swing.

LaCroix turned to his son in rage. "NICHOLAS!"

"Who is in control now, LaCroix? The man or the beast? Is this what
you want….to let him be a martyr? It’s over! They see him for what he
is." Nick pushed through his blood link with his father. He let him
feel his strength and his calm as he spoke.

LaCroix looked at Markel on the floor in disgust and finally tossed the
stake aside. His ice blue eyes locked with those of his son’s with a
new understanding. It was a time of change…a new beginning….a new life
for everyone.



Theressa walked into the hospital carrying a small blue teddy bear with
blue balloons attached. Pure happiness beamed across her face. She
stopped at the nurses station to check on Jonathanšs whereabouts and
was directed to Natalie’s room at the end of the hall. It was almost

She had been up all last night with Natalie as she struggled with labor
contractions. Tasha insisted Theressa be allowed to stay along with Nick.
Somehow Theressa was certain Nick influenced the nurses. He was a rock, her
foundation through it all. He never left her side, even when she
threatened to cut him off from sex for all eternity. At 5:24 am
Jonathan made his appearance into the world. Natalie’s doctor was
skeptical and overly concerned since Tasha was barely 7 months into the
pregnancy. They tried to rush the baby to intensive care directly from
delivery, but with a little persuasion, vampire style, they pronounced
Jonathan healthy and released him to his parents.

When Theressa entered the room she found Natalie asleep on her side
with Jonathan cuddled in her arms. Nick lay stretched along side her,
holding both of them in his embrace. With his arm draped across his wife
and his hand on his son, they presented the perfect picture of love and
unity as they slept.

Theressa quietly lifted Nick’s arm to remove the baby. He awoke

"I’ve got him, Nick. You two sleep for awhile." Theressa cuddled
Jonathan in her arms. Nick nodded , wrapped his arms tighter around his
wife and drifted back to sleep.

Theressa took Jonathan to the nursery, singing a lullaby as she walked.
He was so beautiful. Blonde curly hair like his father’s and blue
eyes. Of course, all baby’s have blue eyes when they’re born but since
both Nick and Tasha had blues eyes, it was a given.

Jonathan was small but perfect and his teeth were almost visible below
the gumline. The nurses were calling him the miracle baby, because
they could find absolutely nothing wrong with him except his size. The
nurses told Theressa earlier most preemies had lung and heart problems,
but not Jonathan. Theressa chose not to enlighten them about his
bloodlines. The abnormalities in his blood were somehow never reported
on his chart. Theressa suspected Lucien’s handiwork.

A nurse handed her a bottle as she sat down in the chair to feed her
nephew. When she looked up, Lucien stood at the outside glass entry to
the nursery. Theressa motioned for him to enter. At first he was
hesitant and then finally he slipped quietly through the door. One of
the nurses attempted to stop him when Theressa responded.

"It's okay, Nurse Frye. This is Jonathan’s grandfather." Theressa
smiled at the reaction on his face and the raised eyebrow.

Theressa stood and placed Jonathan immediately into his arms. She saw
hesitation and then acceptance as she placed the small bundle into his
strong hands. A smile crossed his lips as he looked the child over
closely. He was a miniature Nicholas.

"Do you know what they named him?" Theressa smiled and played with the
baby’s tiny fingers.

"Jonathan, I would assume, after your father." His smooth silky voice
caused the child’s eyes to focus on the sound. The reaction pleased
him immensely.

“We named him Jonathan Lucien de Brabant Knight" Nick stated calmly. He
and Natalie stood holding each other at the nursery entrance. Nat broke her
husband's embrace and slowly walked into the nursery.

With the pride of a new mother and an unusual form of serenity she never
thought possible, she spoke from her heart. "He has two grandfathers…and
ONE is very much alive." She gently ran her fingers through her son’s silky
soft hair and gently kissed his forehead as LaCroix held him. When Natalie’s
eyes finally met his, something new was there….finally they both were willing
to accept it.

Nat smiled , took the bottle from her sister, glanced at Nick for his approval,
and gave it to LaCroix. "You see…..Lucien…...LOVE is the only thing that
lasts forever!"

The End