Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 12:18:26 -0600

THE SECOND CHANCE by StormyNite


[This sequence picks up from LAST KNIGHT as Nick takes Natalie's blood
for the first time]

As Nick pulled Natalie deep into his embrace with golden eyes tasting
her blood for the first time, each of her heartbeats drew him deeper
into her soul. In turn he let himself flow into her with the past
images and feelings of 800 years of pain, anger, grief and loneliness.
Her taste was sweet and warm. As he touched her, he felt what she felt
and responded to her in a way that both frightened and thrilled him at
the same time.

Natalie closed her eyes as Nick planted his fangs into her neck.
Strangely enough there was very little pain as she expected while she
felt her blood flow into Nick. Images appeared in her mind as Nick
slowly let her feel him through their blood. As the images became
faster and faster, she caught glimpses of his life. The pain of
crossing, the loss of Janette, Alyssa, the Crusades, Joan of Arc,
Schanke, Cohen, Tracy, Vachon, LaCroix and his abuse and his feelings
for her. The fear, yes fear of losing her to death, another mortal to
his own desires. All of them came to her as if she could feel them at
once. It was overwhelming, frightening, fascinating, consuming yet
there was a warmth that she felt that she could not explain. She wanted
more of it, craved it, surged into it until she felt Nick's feelings for
her. He held nothing back from her as she realized the warmth was his
love for her as she reached out with her blood to touch him. He began
to pull back. She could feel him drawing away . She felt desolate
begging him with her mind and soul no to stop. She would die if he
stopped. And he returned with her full force becoming totally embedded
in her blood and soul. She could not tell where she stopped and he
started. They were becoming one and their love for each other was the
answer to their survival. The joy she felt was so intense she collapsed
in Nick's arms.

As she collapsed in his arms, Nick realized what he had done. He could
not stop. He had tried but the warmth he felt, the love she possessed
for him even after she fully understood what he was and had done in his
life seemed unfathomable to him. She surged toward him and he could not
refuse her love anymore than he could her plea for him to make love to
her. She truly loved him in spite of what he was, disgusting vile
creature that he had become. He repaid her by losing control. Intense
pain racked his body and soul as he clutched her to his breast.

LaCroix appeared behind Nick as he cradled Natalie in his arms. "It
would appear Nicholas that there is nothing left but to turn out the
lights and lock the door." Nick was in agony over what he had done.

"I have gone to far! I have taken to much!

-------------

Natalie awoke to see Nick lying her body on the floor and listening to
LaCroix speak to him, yet she was somehow above them. Confused and
disoriented, she searched for an explanation. She could feel, hear, yet
not touch. What was this place? Yet she felt no fear only warmth and
peace as if it were coming from the bright light that appeared over her
right shoulder. Nick's pain was almost palatable and she wanted to
touch him and tell him she lived, but he could not hear as she spoke.
The words were in her mind yet when her mouth moved no words came out.
She tried touching him but it was no use. Tears began to flow unchecked
down her cheeks as she realized what LaCroix was doing to him. Fear
gripped her heart as she realized he had a choice to cross her, yet he
did not. She did not know what she wanted except to be with Nick as a
voice behind her spoke gently.

A vague image not clear, but definitely male, dressed in a white suite
appeared just behind Nat and spoke in a soothing voice that created a
feeling a love. "He must choose correctly!"

"What do you mean correctly? GOD forgives everyone? " Natalie
questioned the Angel. That was the only explanation. It was not
scientific but it was the only answer. He was an Angel!

"He must choose faith and love before all else to be forgiven. He has
been touched by the devil and must willingly come back to the light to
be forgiven. Your love for him has brought him toward the light but he
must make the final choice. You cannot do it for him" The Angel
stepped back further into the light behind him gesturing for Nat to
watch. "You must wait!

Natalie watched the scene unfold before her as Nick placed the stake in
LaCroix's hands and chose death with her instead of life with him. She
could feel the resolve in his heart as if they were one. She finally
new he loved her as much as she loved him. The stake came down piercing
Nick's heart and caused him to collapse the floor in agony. She could
feel the stake in her heart as if they were one. Nat turned her eyes to

the ANGEL with the question on her lips.

The ANGEL turned his head as if listening and then finally spoke. " He
has chosen love at all costs and his faith will bring you back to him.
Your work together here is not finished my child. You must return now
to complete the journey you and Nicholas have started together.
Remember Love is the answer and your Faith the key. With that the
ANGEL disappeared into the light as Natalie felt herself thrown forward
into her mortal body on the floor beside Nick. Nick lay next to her
suffering in pain silently on the floor.

LaCroix knelt down on the floor beside Nicholas and jerked the stake
from his heart. "Enough foolishness Nicholas! You are done with her
now. There is no light on the other side, no love for the unloved, and
no such thing as faith except in yourself." LaCroix turned to touch
Natalie's body and realized her heart beat . She hovered at the brink
yet not weakening. Such tenacity this woman has. For a moment- fear
crossed his face. He quickly covered his lapse. He turned to Nick
writhing in pain on the floor deciding to teach him yet again another
lesson in life.

" She still lives Nicholas but not for long. I shall remedy that
shortly or just let nature takes its course. You are in no condition to
help her if I don't help you. Maybe.... yes,....I shall just let you
suffer as you wanted and watch her die because of you!... Yes...
Nicholas you! You can live with that for an eternity now. Maybe the
pain you feel will make you appreciate me a little more when you come
back. And you will come back!" Laughing at Nick as he weakly tried to
rise. "You know only a vampire's blood can heal that wound in your
heart. Only vampire blood can keep you from going insane from the pain
as it increases throughout the day. Come and see me when your ready to
accept what you are!" With that he flew out of the loft into the night
leaving Nick beside Natalie writhing in pain both mentally and
physically.

"Damn you LaCroix!" Nick screamed as his master vanished through the
skylight.

Nick managed to crawl closer to Natalie touching her face as he felt the
tears on her cheek. " Forgive me Nat!.... Forgive Me!... I only wanted
to love you as you loved me. You are my light and I destroyed it in the
name of love." Nick placed his head next to hers softly speaking. "God
answered my prayer. He gave me the strength not to cross you. Now you
have to want to live for both of us." A spasm hit him as he doubled in
pain and passed out.

Awakening to Nick's touch on her cheek Natalie realized what had
happened. Weakly she rolled Nick over to find him unconscious beside
her with a gaping hole in his chest. Light headed from the loss of
blood, she gently touched his face as if by sheer will she could bring
him back to her. With tears rolling down her cheek , she held Nick next
to her warmth. "You cannot leave me Nick. It is not our time yet. I
have that from a higher source.---- Come back to me!--- Love me
Nick!--- I cannot live without you." She kissed him gently on the lips
at first and then more intensely as he began to respond. Nick opened his
eyes as they flicker from blue to golden from the pain.

"Nat your alive! Your alive!" He pulled her closer to him placing his
hand over her heart with a look of genuine disbelief in his eyes, then
he touched her face as the pain racked his body. "I will always love
you. Know that! FOREVER!"

"Tell me what to do Nick!" She placed her hand over his heart to stop
the bleeding, feeling it beat for the first time regularly. "Your heart
is beating Nick!" The Doctor in her took over as she tried to reach her
medical bag but collapsed with the effort.

"It will not help Nat. The vampire still flows in my veins and only
another vampire can stop it" Nick screamed as he doubled over on the
floor from the pain. The agony etched into his face while Nat held him
as best she could. Each breath he took caused more pain. Frantically
searching her mind for an answer. There had to be a way. I was not
sent back for it to end this way! "Nick! Nick! We have to think of a
way!"

Grabbing his shoulders, she forced him to look at her. " If I drink
your blood I will become vampire won't I Nick?" She looked deep into
his blue eyes with the golden hue on the edge.

He pulled sharply away from her in agony. " If I had wanted that I
could have crossed you earlier. You don't want this Natalie. Not the
darkness, the evil, the pain, the regret. You have enough regret in
your life. This is a form of HELL you don't willingly take on. No
one does if they have a choice."

"You did!"

Struggling to get to his feet and away from Nat he collapsed into the
endtable. " I did it without knowing what I was getting into. I did it
for Janette because I loved her. I did it because I thought eternity in
Hell with the ones you love was better than a short life on earth as a
mortal. I WAS WRONG NAT! WRONG! "He screamed as he collapsed back to
the floor. "Janette and I did not know what real love was. We were to
young, too naove to know. I was dying anyway. I thought I had
nothing to lose. You have everything to lose including your immortal
soul. Is that what you want?"

" I want to be with you!" She said calmly as she closed the distance
between them. "An ANGEL sent me back to you. He said we were not done
yet. WE!--- Nick not just me!--WE!!!!!" They sank to the floor
together-- Nick was in visible pain as the blood leaked over Natalie's
hand. She touched it and then his face. "The ANGEL said LOVE is the
answer and FAITH is the key. We have to have FAITH in our love Nick to
survive. We have a purpose to fulfill. Our love is the answer Nick!"

Taking her into his arms and holding her closely for a few minutes, Nick
tried to grasp what she was saying. Looking deep into her eyes and
letting her see into his soul , he finally spoke. " I do love you Nat!
I have Faith we can be together somehow." He raised his fingernail to
his neck and opened his jugular vein offering it to Natalie. She came
to him drawing his blood into her mouth slowly at first then more deeply
as they sank to the floor completely. Nick held her closely as she drank
his blood. With each swallow Natalie drew closer to his soul, becoming
one with his thoughts and body. She was becoming closer than she ever
thought possible. She stopped as she felt the spasm of pain rack his
body knowing he needed her blood to survive.

She pulled away from his neck only to have him hold her close and beg
her not to stop. Had he said it or thought it she could not tell
anymore. Yet she knew she was losing him. The loss of blood was
dramatic and the pain unbearable. " Nick take me know!" She tried to
get him to focus but he was almost gone. "Nick! Nick!" Frantically
she searched for something to cut her wrist. She found a piece of glass
from a broken vase Nick hit. She sliced her wrist and placed it over
his mouth as she began to bleed heavily through the gash. At first he
did not respond but shortly he started sucking gently as she felt him
draw her into his body. The warmth was there again unexplainable as
before and she passed out.

-------------------------------------

[In the temporary hospital morgue at the hospital downtown. A
circulating nurse wheeled another body into the cold room. Seeing an
arm fallen out below the white sheet she gently lifted the arm to place
it back under the sheet until the body was claimed. When she lifted the
sheet the body twitched and a distinct moan was heard. The attendant
dropped the pale arm, screamed and stepped back three paces. Not sure
what to do. She turned to run for help. ]

The ATTENDANT closing the temporary morgue door ran down the hall to the
nearest phone and dialed frantically . "Doctor Simms please!" She kept
her eyes constantly on the morgue door as she waited impatiently.

" Simms here. What is the problem?" came the impatient response on the
other end of the phone.

"Doctor this is Shirley Wells down in the basement. There-There-There
is a body moaning in the morgue. What should I do? Can you come down
here? I will not go back in there without someone!" She became more
hysterical as she spoke.

" Calm down Ms. Wells. I'll be right down." Shaking his head as he
slammed the receiver onto the cradle and walked down the hall toward
the elevator.

----------------------------

Back in Nick's loft the sun was rising and began to shine through the
unclosed windows. Nick and Natalie are unconscious on the floor in each
others arms. Natalie had passed out from loss of blood, while Nick's
wound over his heart appeared to be closed and the blood flow stopped.

The sun streaming across the room awoke Nick slowly. He touched
Natalie's face and throat realizing what they had done. Desperately he
felt her heart hoping for a miracle and feeling a faint heartbeat.
Shock and relief flooded his senses as he tried to move toward the
remote for the windows. With each movement, he experienced a stabbing
pain in his chest. Confused and hampered by the pain Nick managed to
lift Natalie off the floor and place her on the couch just as the sun
reached the corner. Nick quickly closed the windows and sank to the
floor beside her on the couch placing his head on her hand and slept.

-------------------------------

Dr. Simms stepped off the elevator in no particular hurry. (Nurses all
seem to get excited over the littlest things. So an arm moved. Bodies
twitch after death all the time. Wells must be new to the "stiff room".
Nurse Wells recognized Dr. Simms as he rounded the corner and she rushed
to meet him.)

"In here Doctor! It's the young blonde detective that died earlier this
morning."

The two opened the door to the temporary morgue and stepped into the
cold room inhaling sharply as Tracy pulled the white sheet off her face
cursing loudly.

"What the----. Where am I?" She tried to set up grasping her chest and
collapsed backwards moaning softly.

Dr. Simms grabbed her shoulder and gently placed her straight on the
gurney staring awestruck into Tracy Vetter's eyes.

"Nurse call radiology and ER. Get me a team down here right away"
Nurse Wells ran through the door, white as the sheet Tracy had thrown on
the floor. With each breath Tracy became more aware of the pain in her
chest and looked beseechingly at Dr. Simms.

"What has happened to me? I do not remember anything but a bright flash
of light. What is this place?" She looked around the room finally
recognizing the room as the morgue. With sheer terror in her eyes
she grabbed the doctor by his coat sleeve. "Am I dead?"

Dr. Simms calmly took her hand and checked her pulse. He was puzzled at
the fact that her heart beat quite regularly. "You-Young woman are a
miracle. You were pronounced dead 15 hours ago following several
gunshot wounds. Why you are alive is beyond my understanding!!" The
young doctor checked Tracy vitals while waiting for help, when he
noticed all her wounds were healed except a fresh one over the heart. He
listened to her labored breathing and the noticeable pain etched across
her face.

--------------------

Natalie awoke to find Nick asleep at her side sitting half on the floor
with his head on her hand. He looked so peaceful so human. The thought
of running her fingers through his blonde hair was too much to control.
She raised her hand and ran her fingers through his silky hair. She
loved to touch Nick, he just so seldom let her do it. She knew the
reason and had seen the immediate response in his eyes. They would
change from blue to golden in seconds and then he would pull away.
Could it be different now? Was she crossed? She did not feel
different, yet she ached everywhere and could feel the cold now. She
listened for her own heartbeat. It was there--slow--but there. Was she
vampire or mortal?

"Nick" she touched his cheek to awaken him "Nick can you hear me?"

He slowly raised his head from her hand as if the effort cost him a
great deal. Those blue eyes met hers and he reached up to gently touch
her cheek. She smiled warmly and swiftly got to his feet. He pulled her
into his arms and cradled her as if she were a small child cherished
beyond words as the sofa held them closer.

"I'm so cold!" she shivered and cuddled closer to him. This was
right. It all felt right, yet something felt different. She looked
into his eyes and could see the pain and sorrow etched across his face.
She did not understand. The doctor in her taking over once again. "Are
you hurt?" she started searching for the source of his pain.

Nick buried his head into her hair as the tears began to flow down his
cheeks. "I'm sorry Nat! So sorry! This is not what I wanted for you!
You don't deserve this! Forgive me! Oh Natalie what have I done to
you?" He pulled her closer to him.

She finally understood all the pain and control Nick possessed to keep
the vampire in check. She placed his hand over her heart. "Feel it
Nick! My heart still beats. I am not a vampire!" She touched the
tears running down his face realizing they were not blood tears but
clear. She tasted them and smiled. "And apparently neither are you!"
she turned her hand to his heart. "Nick your heart is beating. Really
beating. Not regular but still beating."

With confusion written on his face, he touched Natalie's throat to feel
her heartbeat getting stronger. "I don't understand. You drank my
blood after I drank yours." He jerked her upright to a standing
position as they stood nose to nose in front of the fireplace. "I can
still feel the vampire Nat!"

"Maybe its only temporary like Janette said. She said the vampire
lingered even after she and Robert---" she left the sentence incomplete
as Nick doubled in pain to his knees. As he turned to look at her, his
eyes went golden and his fangs dropped. In broken breathes as the pain
subsided, Nick grabbed Natalie by the shoulders but she would not pull
away. She leaned into him with the trust that he could control the
vampire within. She wrapped her arms around him forcing him to hold her
closer. They stood in each others arms until his breathing became
normal and his blue eyes returned.

"I guess the vampire still lingers" he said smiling weakly. Gently he
touched Natalie's throat looking at the wound he inflicted upon her late
last night. "How can you trust me after what I did to you. I let you
see what I really am yet---"

"I love you Nick!" she touched his face and made him look directly into
her eyes. "I saw what you have been and what you are Nick! All of what
you are! Not just the vampire, but the man as well. You let me touch
that part of you that cares about people, that part that hates the blood
lust and killing as well as the warmth and the love you have for me.
The man is stronger than the vampire and until you can believe in that
the vampire will be in control. I want to make love to the man but I am
in love with you Nick. You! Good and evil, man or vampire, cop or trash
collector. I don't care! And if you don't tell me what you feel right
here and right now, I am going to get that stake that LaCroix pulled out
of your heart and put it back again!!!"

Nick smiled that boyish smile she loved so much as pulled her back into
her arms slowly running his fingers through her hair. "Did I ever tell
you how much I love your hair? Your eyes? Your mouth?" He gently
kissed her lips and began to deepen the kiss as she responded
immediately. When the phone rang.

"Don't answer it!" came the plea from Natalie as she placed her arms
around his neck.

"Knight!!! This is Reese! Pick of the Damn phone if your there! I
need you at the hospital ASAP! Tracy s alive and asking for you. Where
the HELL is Natalie? I have been paging her. Don't you people ever
leave your phones on? Get over here!! Pronto!" the phone went dead as
Nick and Natalie simultaneously reached for it.

"Tracy's alive!" Nick looked at Natalie confused !

"They told me she was dead Nick! At 5:45am this morning"

Nick grabbed Natalie's coat and helped her put it on and then his own.
As they reached the lift in the loft he turned and stopped. Slowly he
traced Nat's cheek with his thumb and ran it gently to her mouth.

"I love you Natalie Lambert! Very much! And it scares the HELL out of
me!" He gently dropped a kiss to her lips. We had better go or I will
have to ride in the trunk again. It's almost dawn. He turned and
pulled Natalie speechless into the lift and hit the down button.

-----------------------

LaCroix stopped pacing long enough to drink yet another glass of blood
wine. He was on his fourth bottle in two days. He returned to the
Raven after leaving Nick screaming on the floor in the loft. He was
certain Nicholas would have returned to him by now. He had to be out of
his mind with pain by this time. He was no t dead. He could feel
that. But his connection was weaker than before. It was the good
Doctor again. Of that he was sure. Why couldn't that women die or
disappear. Ever since Nicholas met her his connection grew weaker. His
thoughts turned back to two nights ago when Nick placed the stake in his
hands and asked him to finish what he had started 800 years ago. He
truly was willing to die for the good Doctor. That was a problem.
Never before had he felt such resolve in his wayward son. Never before
had he felt the warmth that came from Nicholas as he talked of faith
and love. He would check on him before dawn just in case. With that
thought he flew out the window.

-------------------------

In the art history museum across town the curator stumbled into a brick
wall in the basement trying to move a crate, when the wall moved
slightly. The older curator pushed the bricks and felt them give way
and release as if they were on a hinges. The wall swung wide open.
Gazing into the darkness he lit a match to see a room filled with large
volumes. He cautiously entered the room turning over the first book in
the pile.---13 Century French History.--- He carefully opened the book
as not destroy the pages. He noticed the writing was in a form of
French he could not read. Beautiful artist's rendering of royal
families, their jewelry and family trees were included. What an
incredibly find. None of these books had ever been seen before. He
would have to find someone to translate them. He was excited as he
closed the door and hurried toward the steps.---13th Century French.
Surely someone either in France or Montreal could decipher the older
dialect of the French language written in the books. He would make some
calls.

The cloaked figure standing in the corner of the room, hidden in the
shadows, let his eyes begin to glow as a smile crossed his lips
revealing his fangs right before he disappeared into the wall.

----------------------------

Nick and Natalie raced into the hospital waiting room to see Captain
Reese standing with Dr. Simms outside surgery waiting. The Captain saw
both of them and motioned them over.

"You must be Detective Knight!" Dr. Simms extended his hand to shake
Nick's.

"Yes! Is Tracy alive? "

"Your partner is quite well actually Detective. They have her in
recovery. They closed a small opening in the upper ventricle of the
heart that was seeping blood. It, however, seemed to be healing itself.
All of her other bullet wounds have miraculously disappeared! And
before you ask I do not have an explanation." Natalie looked directly
at Nick with "you didn't do that look?" in her eyes.

"I did not Nat! You know I didn't!"

"All right Knight! What the HELL is going on!" The Captain obviously
distraught and confused. "And where have you two been for the last 2
days anyway. I have one Detective shot another disappears and takes the
ME with him. I get no phone call, no answers, no I am sick tonight
Captain! NADA! Nothing! Well-----let's hear it!" Joe Reese could not
wait to hear this one.

"CAP I do not honestly know. Nat and I were together and we just needed
some time alone---to talk the whole thing out about Tracy before I went
to talk to Internal Affairs." Nick looked at Natalie for
confirmation. "We just lost track of time. This is the second partner
I have lost in 2 years. I guess I was more upset than I thought!"

"I'm sorry too Captain---we just needed some time to come to grips with
all that has happened in the last week. With Laura and then Tracy I
guess I was pretty upset and Nick was not much better." Natalie looked
to the floor avoiding the Captains eyes so as not to read the expression
in them.

"Well, I guess I can understand that under the circumstances but turn
your phones back on will you? The department doesn't issue you those
toys without a reasons you know." Reese turned his attention back to
Dr. Simms. "When can we see her Doctor? Maybe she has some answers."

"I doubt she will be of much help she does not seem to remember anything
past being shot. But she has been asking for you Detective Knight since
she woke up in the morgue. I take it you too were close? " He took a
step toward Nick in an effort to size him up more closely. Nick did not
move as the Doctor came nose to nose with him. "I do not want her upset
Detective---Do you understand me?" Nick not certain why the Doctor was
so upset with him refused to move and visibly tightened until Natalie
placed her hand protectively on his arm.

"There partners Doctor. Of course they are close!" Natalie sized up Dr.
Simms quickly, a great deal due to his reputation for patient protection
and defender of helpless woman. He must think Nick responsible for
Tracy's condition. Not that he is alone in the thought, Nick himself
felt responsible for her getting shot. Men!---Always the ego involved
and never saying what they mean.

Dr. Simms backed off a little when Natalie virtually came between he and
Nick. "You may see here one at a time in about 15 minutes. Do not
upset her. I do not like losing my patients twice in one day." Simms
turned and briskly walked away.

"What was that all about?"

"The good Doctor is not known for his compassion toward relatives and
friends Captain. And I think he needs someone to blame for
misdiagnosing Tracy as dead earlier in the day.---Just a guess."
Natalie looked between Reese and Nick. Nick was reliving the shoot out
in his mind for the 100th time. She could see it in his eyes and his
expression. She new that look. He was somewhere in the past living it
all again. "Nick snap out of it!" Natalie gently touched his arm
bringing him back to the present. "You go see Trace, she needs you now,
I will go back to the lab while you visit. Call me when you get ready
to leave and I ll set with her till her parents get here. Okay?"

"Right sure. I ll call you in awhile." Nick started toward the
hospital door marked Intensive Care Recovery.

"Is he all right Natalie?" Reese obviously concerned over Nick's
reaction to Dr. Simms.

"He blames himself for her getting shot. She froze when she saw him
take a bullet!" realizing her mistake with the Captain she quickly
covered. " She didn't know he was wearing a vest!"

"That's crazy and he should know that by now! I read the report. IA
will clear him in a minute."

"But Nick won't for a long time. I know him. I better go get some work
done CAP. You staying for awhile?"

"I've been gone to long already. I figure Nick and Tracy need a little
time to work it out anyway. See you back at the office later!" He
waved as he walked down the hall out into the foyer.

------------------------------

Nick approached Tracy's beside quietly trying not to wake her. Most of
the tubes were removed and the monitors kept track of her breathing and
heartrate. All normal. Nick was becoming more puzzled by the moment.
15 hours ago Tracy Vetter was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot
wounds and now she suffered from only a small wound over her heart.
What was going on. Nick touched Tracy's hand as she moaned softly
calling his name and then Vachon's. What did she remember? What would
she remember? The bullet passed through him when it hit her. Then she
froze when she saw his eyes. He should have been the one pronounced
dead not Tracy. If he known she was there he would have done things
differently. In his mind he knew it was an accident but in his heart he
blamed himself because of what he was. A bulletproof vampire. "Trace,
can you hear me. It's Nick. I'm right here."

"Nick---Nick" Tracy could hear is voice and then her own. Was she
dead? Was Nick dead? The gun, he shot Nick. She froze. She could hear
the blast, the muzzle flash and then nothing. All nothing. She opened
her eyes to Nick's blue ones and she began to sob uncontrollably. He
moved closer and took her into his arms and let her cry. Consoling her
the best he could. "I froze. GOD forgive me--Nick I froze!!" and she
began to cry all over again.

-----------------------------

Natalie sat behind the microscope with her lab coat on and several tubes
of blood in the rack beside her. Her long hair fell forward as she
studied the cells under the microscope. Obviously agitated, she walked
to the blood refrigerator and removed two more vials. She placed samples
under the scope again and made notes followed by some quick
calculations. The more she studied the samples the more excited she
became. In a gust of air produced by vampire speed Nick appeared behind
her. "I wish you would not do that--or at least take me with you when
you do it once in awhile." She turned to greet him all smiles.

"For a person who has been studying blood samples all day and early into
the night you are pretty chipper! What is so interesting or should I
not ask?"

"How is Trace?"

"Her Dad showed up about 15minutes ago and then her Mom. Not a pleasant
reunion if you catch my meaning! I decided to split instead of calling
you. I did not think you wanted in the middle of that scene."

"Well? Does she remember?"

Nick looked troubled. "She remembers the gunshot and him shooting me.
She remembers freezing but not why. She's devastated. She thought I
was dead. She wants to quite the force. She blames herself for
everything. She cried for 2 hours in my arms." He moved away from Nat
and walked toward the blood refrigerator placing his hand on it. "I
cannot let her blame herself for what happened. She froze because she
did not know I could survive the bullet. If she had known, none of this
would have happened. I should have trusted her. I told you those were
her last words to me didn't I? Nick turned back to Natalie. "You could
have trusted me?" her very words.

"If you tell her, you will have to protect her. You know that!"

"I know but at least she will know what to expect. Isn't that better?"
He turned toward Nat as she rose from the stool and walked into his
arms. "Secrets have kept us apart as much as what I am Nat. No more.
If we are to have a chance with each other no more secrets!. Is that
what you want?" Nick made Natalie look him in the eyes before she
responded.

"No more secrets? A girl has to have a little mystery!" She smiled as
she laid her head on his shoulder.

"I am serious Natalie!"

"I know. You realize that you are going to have to tell me each one of
the little stories when you start spacing off on me. Don't You? That
is a big step for you I think. Can you keep this bargain Nick Knight?"
She looked into the blue eyes with the question still on her lips.

"My blood is yours and my memories as well as long as you do not take
off when you here the whole truth." His greatest fears just spoken as
he waited for an answer.

Realizing that he just put into words all that she had felt in his blood
early that day, relief crossed her face and she smiled. "Nothing you
can say or show me will ever change how I feel about you Nicholas de
Brabant. Nothing! ------Let me show you something." She grabbed his
hand and pulled him over to the microscope. " Look and tell me what you
see!" she motioned to the scope.

He leaned over and looked into the eyepiece adjusting the focus. "I see
red blood cells."

"How many kinds of cells do you see Nick?" she responded excitedly.

"Two it looks like. One type has an attachment on it of some sort. The
other are perfectly round. Most have the attachment though. They are
just setting there. What am I suppose to see?"

"Now look at these!" She slips another slide under the eyepiece and he
focused it.

"There the same types only this time there are more perfect round cells
and fewer attached cells." She slipped another slide under the scope
and he focused again. These cells all have the attachments on them."
Looking into her excited face.

"This slide is your blood from a week ago. This second slide is from
the sample you gave me this morning." She looked at him expectantly as
if he could understand.

Which he did. "And the first one is yours! Isn't it?" He knew the
answer before she spoke. "Your becoming a vampire by degrees!! That
not what I wanted for you Nat!" Nick arose from the stool to leave.
Natalie grabbed his arm and turned him around.

"You don't understand Nick! Your cells are not destroying the normal
cells in my blood or in yours. You are becoming mortal a little at a
time."

"And you are becoming a vampire a little at a time. Not a good trade.
I do not want my mortality at the price of yours!!! Can't you see
that?" He touched her face gently with his cool finger as if memorizing
it with his hand to take with him when he was gone.

"No, Nick ! I do not understand all of this! But anytime before that I
would introduce normal blood to your vampire cells, they would destroy
the normal cells in a matter of minutes. They are not doing that now.
It is as if the cells were coexisting together normally. Your part
mortal and I am part vampire. I do not know how and maybe I don't care
if I am right. Do this for me." She handed him a turkey sandwich on
rye. "Eat this." Nick looked at the sandwich in disgust, knowing what
the usual outcome from eating was. "Please just humor me and eat the
sandwich." Nick bit into the sandwich and managed to eat the whole
thing in a very short period of time. "Well??" She waited expectantly.
"Does it taste like anything?"

"No!----But---it is not making me sick either! That's a first!" They
waited a little longer and still Nick did not get sick and take a fast
trip to the sink. A smile crossed Natalie's face after 5 minutes when
he still had not thrown up.

"I think we have definite improvement here!" she smiled and touched
Nick's cool hand. "One more test!----Kiss me!"

"Nat I'm not sure that is such a good idea."

"Positive attitude! Remember!" Nick pulled Natalie out of the chair
and into his arms. Gently kissing her cheek then her ears, her neck and
finally her lips. Softly at first as if she were a flower to fragile to
crush, then more passionately then second time. He deepened the kiss as
Natalie molded her body into his and a moan escaped her throat. It was
like her hands had minds of their own. He explored her mouth with his
tongue as she wound her hands around his neck and into his hair. God
she loved his hair, the feel of his body against her. The heat within
her began to build as his cool hands began to explore her body through
her clothes. The lab door was closed but Nick picked Natalie up as if
she weighed nothing carrying her into the storage room where she kept a
small cot for late nights. He laid her down gently on the bed and
followed her there. She gazed into his bright blue eyes filled with
lust and love. "Nick---she managed to get out between kisses. The door
is not locked!"

He continued the onslaught of her senses while he removed her lab coat
followed by his jacket "Do you care? Do you want me to stop?" He
breathed heavily as he touched her leg with his cool fingers and ran it
up her thigh until she thought her heart had stopped completely in her
chest.

"If you stop now I think I will burst into flames around you" as she
unbuttoned his shirt and pulled his body completely onto her bare chest
feeling his erection against her thigh. She wanted him body and soul.
She wanted him inside her both physically and mentally when he started
to pull away.

Desire, he was consumed by, engulfed in it. He wanted her so badly it
hurt. He wanted to love her the way a man should love a woman. The way
God intended them to be together. When his chest felt her breast he was
beyond stopping. She felt so warm, so wet. He needed to be inside her
to love her the way she needed to be loved when he felt his fangs drop
and the blood lust overcome him. Not this time--He knew what she tasted
like, he knew she would come to him. He could drink and she would give
herself completely to him through her blood. Her blood tasted like
sweet wine and she smelled like roses. Perfume roses like his Mother
use to grow. He wanted her, she wanted him. He continued to kiss her
mouth , her neck each kiss bringing him closer to the edge. He started
to take her when he looked into her eyes. There was no fear only love
there. He couldn't do this. He started to pull away and she stopped
him.

She felt the change come over him, felt him struggle with himself, his
desires, his lust for her and the need for her blood. She should have
been frightened but she wasn't. This was Nick--Her Nick and she loved
him all of him. Together, they would conquer this together the way the
ANGEL said they would. They would finish what they had started
TOGETHER. She pulled him back to her and made him look at her as she
kissed him gently fangs and all. With no fear and only love in her
eyes. "I know what you feel Nick --It's all right!. We can beat this
one step at a time. Together. You are not alone anymore. One step at a
time." He laid his head on her shoulder and held her closely until the
man had control over the vampire one more time.

As his breathing became normal and she held him closely, she realized
for the first time just how much control he possessed and the pain it
caused him no to take her. Nick raised up on his elbows and gently
touched her face. His beautiful blue eyes had returned as well as his
dry humor. "I guess this test needs a little more work?" he smiled as
he ran his fingers through her rumpled hair. "You look like someone
just had his way with you Dr. Lambert!" he smiled boyishly.

"I would say yes to both---Detective Knight. But we never have gotten
this far before!" She playfully pushed him off and jumped up from the
cot straightening her cloths and hair. "But I think next time I get to
chose the bed!---And you" she walked back to the cot he was laying on
and placed a soft kiss on his lips "can check the clothes and the fangs
at the door."

LaCroix gracefully glided through the air in no particular hurry to
Nick's loft, enjoying the night air as he flew. True it was close to
dawn, but if he found what he expected at Nicholas' place he would be
needed all day. Children could be such a trials a times. Nicholas more
so than anyone else. He landed outside the warehouse by the entrance
trying to decide whether to use the lift to drag out his son's torture
or just materialize inside. Odd, he still could not feel his wayward
son. So he opted to use the more expedient form of materialization
within the confines of the loft. Realizing instantly he was alone in
the loft confusion crossed his face.

There is no way Nicholas could have removed himself in his condition.
He should be here in an agonized state wasting away to nothing, yet
still alive. It was almost dawn. Nicholas could not be dead. He would
feel it. The good Doctor again not doubt. Then he felt something, a
force weak yet distinctively vampire and he turned toward it.

Natalie rode up the lift to the loft feeling the hairs on the back of
her neck rise. LaCroix was here. She always had the same reaction when
he was close. Strange almost as if his energy and evil were reaching
out to her. She must be prepared as she looked into her bag before
opening the lift door. She opened the door and stepped into the loft
face to face with LaCroix who seemed startled that SHE was on the lift.
Could it be?

LaCroix taken by surprise to see Natalie disembark from the lift quickly
covered his look of confusion. Unexpected, disarming, confusion all
hidden behind his stoic face as he extended his arms to take Natalie's
bag of groceries. "Good morning Doctor! I see that you are well" He
could feel her heartbeat yet he could feel Nicholas as well. What was
this before him. Vampire or mortal? She handed him the bag analyzing
his face the whole time. "Not only are you well, but you have changed
somewhat!" He lunged toward her at vampire speed forcing her back
against the wall holding her throat as his eyes turned golden yet his
fangs in check. Fury in his eyes at the deception and betrayal of his
son and this woman. "What have you done to Nicholas---Doctor? Where is
my son?" He continued to hold her solidly against the wall with his
hand on her throat yet she showed no fear! Why no fear!

"You are not frightened of me Doctor? That is a mistake you realize."
His eyes return to normal as he gained control of the vampire. When he
felt a sharp piecing pain just below his heart. He looked down to see
her hand implanted into his chest.

"In case your wondering--that is a 6 inch stainless steel surgical blade
planted exactly = inch below your heart. Now I realize it will not kill
you, but if I pull it through you heart it will incapacitate you long
enough for me to find a wooden stake to put through you miserable heart
before you recover. Do I make myself clear on this point?" She lift
the blade slightly, pulling it next to LaCroix's heart causing him to
freeze in place.

"Perfectly Doctor!" LaCroix released his grip on Natalie's throat as
she returned both feet to the floor. Not being a foolish man he tried
to retreat from the good Doctor's fatal hold. Natalie mistakenly
taking the action as aggressive pulled the knife through his chest and
then out. LaCroix screamed in pain as he backed off from the knife
collapsing to the floor clutching his chest as the blood flowed freely
from the wound. Natalie calmly walked to the fireplace and picked up
the wooden stake he removed from Nick's heart 2 days prior. She stood
holding it over LaCroix prepared to deliver the final blow. Acceptance
of his final demise was written on his face.

"It would appear Doctor I have underestimated you again. Much to pity,
you would have made a lovely addition to my entourage if I had known you
possessed such cruelty." He grimaced in pain awaiting the final thrust.

Natalie poised to deliver the final blow, seethed in anger over this
creature. She could not call him a man. He was not human. Nothing
about LaCroix was human except maybe his love for Nick. Nick, a part
of him loved LaCroix, she could not explain it and neither could he,
but it existed. What would this do to him? As much as she hated to
admit it, LaCroix was right there was a cruel streak in her but she
would not let it control her. She lowered the staff and knelt down
beside LaCroix and forced him to look into her eyes. ----"You owe me
your life now! I will not kill you for Nick's sake. A part of him
loves you, GOD only knows why because I do not. You have tortured him,
abused him, belittle and controlled him for 800 years. IT STOPS
HERE!--- Do you understand me?" Her voice in complete control. "You
must let go now for all our sakes. If you don't--- he will kill you
or--I will!" She rose up calmly and returned the staff to the
fireplace. LaCroix recovered rapidly and managed to stand still
clutching his heart. Dismay as well as pain written on his face.

"How is this possible?" he managed to get out between labored breathes.

"You were almost dead and Nicholas should be beyond sanity by now. You
were both----"

Natalie turned toward him slowly "Since you don't believe in faith---
try love!" She met him eye to eye. "I drank his blood to become
vampire to save him-- only it has saved us both! I am not vampire nor
mortal---I am both. More mortal than vampire but vampire non the less."

"And Nicholas?"

"He is more vampire than mortal! If it makes you feel any better, I
don't think either one of us will become completely mortal again." She
turned her back to him and walked back to the fireplace placing her hand
on the wooden stake she had earlier. "I owe you my thanks for what you
did." She turned back to him and placed the stake into his hands.
"Without you Nick would not have had the chance to still be alive. He
would have killed himself for me, for US if you had not staked him."
Looking into his eyes "If you had not left us the way you did, he would
have never let me drink his blood....We have a chance now. Not exactly

as we planned but a chance to be together. Call it fate, faith, destiny

or prophecy. I don't care. I love him and he loves me---truly loves me

and I won't EVER throw that away for you or anything else." She turned
and picked up her coat heading for the lift door when she paused
momentarily. "Nick's at the hospital with Tracy. She is alive. I will
tell him you are here waiting for him." She smiled. "He will not be
here before dusk as you know." She left closing the lift door in
LaCroix's stoic face.

---------------------------------------------

The curator place the ancient books in the safe under lock and key.
Royal history and vampire legend, he understood that much of the
ancient French dialect. There was a woman in France that specialized in
dead French dialects. He would call the National Museum office in the
morning and get her name. She could help with these books. There were
so many. At least 300 books found in the old crypt. He sorted as best
he could and chose three. Actually he chose the only ones he could pick
out the words to. He estimated that some of those books were over 2000
years old. Was that possible? He saw a date or what he thought was a
date on the book about the un-dead. If he read it correctly, it was
written prior to the destruction of Pompeii. What an incredible find.
He had wired the National Museum earlier this morning and still waited
for a reply. It was almost dusk and the museum would close in another
30 minutes. Then he could go done to the crypt and try to decipher more
of the volumes until the National Museum told him what to do. He began
the trip down to the crypt with a lighter step than he had felt in
years.

----------------------------------------------

Under the museum in the catacombs beneath the city a lone female figure
watched. Dark flowing hair over porcelain skin with long red nails
peaking out of the sleeves of her gown did nothing to conceal the lithe
form beneath the flowing black dress. She listened intently with not
only her ears but her senses. Age had its advantages. Her two
associates approached from the rear both dressed in black moving at
vampire speed stopping next to the woman. Her eyes glowed golden as
they continued to speak in hushed tones below the museum floor. Her
associates nodded in unison and she disappeared through the wall.

The two vampires waited patiently as the old curator entered the crypt
for the third time that day. Excitement written all over his face as he
began to pour over the volumes of books before him. In the instant it
takes to breathe, the vampires attacked from the rear disemboweling him
and slicing his throat viciously until they dumped him motionless in a
heap. Unrestrained and out of control, they pounced on the old man's
dead body and drank their fill before the blood turned cold. When they
finished, blood dripped down their mouths. Simultaneously they started
collecting the volumes of books placing them on a cart one level down in
the catacombs. 20 minutes after closing, the room was vacant except for
the still corpse of the curator laying in a small pool of blood in the
middle of the room.

----------------------------------------------

Closing all the blinds, Nick spent the entire day at the hospital with
Trace taking turns with her Mother and Father as she dozed on and off.
She was healed completely from her wounds and only the psychological
trauma remained. Her escape was sleep. All of them agreed , she should
not be left alone. Nick realized that it was hard for her to see him
over her Mother and Father because she felt such guilt, so he limited
his visits to when she was dozing. He had come to a decision on what to
tell her after things calmed down. The truth! He would tell her about
himself. Anything she wished to know, he would tell her within reason.
This would not happen again. He had seen the cardiac work-up on Tracy
after her miraculous recovery. The wound over her heart was in the
exact location of the scare left by the stake LaCroix put into him.
Somehow they were connected But how? He had been staked three times in
his 800 years, each one leaving a scare to remind him. The only scars
his body possessed. Why this time did Tracy bear it too?

Natalie walked through the door in the waiting room and motioned for
Nick to come out into the hall.

"How is she?"

"Physically she fine. Mentally is another question!"

"Well, I hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but LaCroix is at the loft
waiting on you. I dropped off some groceries before I went home and we
had a little talk!" She tried her best to hide her emotions from him
but it was of no use.

Tilting her head up so she looked directly into his eyes. "What
happened?"

"Oh, nothing!" She shrugged "I sliced his heart open, tried staking him
and restrained myself at the last minute and told him if he ever hurt
you again I would finish the job. Then I left." She smiled coyly. "I
finally realize how much restraint you have when you don't rip
somebody's head off when your angry. My strength must be 10 times what
is was before. I cannot imagine what it would be like if----?

"Did he hurt you?" Nick began looking her over closely afraid she would
not tell him if he had. Concern showed in his eyes as he continued his
perusal of her body.

Knowing she could never lie to him, she decided the truth would hurt him
less. "He came looking for you. He expected to find you near death in
pain and wanted to gloat and use it against you. When you were not
there he became angry and tried to take it out on me." She touched his
face gently and smiled. "I was just a little more prepared for him than
usual.---I know a part of you loves him Nick but he scares me and I am
not afraid to admit it. But I realized something tonight after I left.
He could not feel you like he has before. Your connection is getting
weaker. Can you feel him as before?"

Not distracted by her change in subject. Anger flared in Nick's eyes as
he started for the door. Natalie grabbed Nick's arm and turned him back
to her. "Listen to me Nick! I am all right! He did not hurt me and I
do not need you two going after each other over me. You have to come to
terms with what you want from LaCroix and make him accept them. YOU
Nick not LaCroix! This is your decision. I have already made mine. He
and I have already come to terms! Now you have to decide what kind of
relationship you want with him." Nick pulled her into his arms and ran
his fingers through her hair.

"I know what I want Natalie, I just do not know if he can ever let go of
me? Most of my life with the man has been spent trying to make him
understand that I am me not him. It has driven me crazy for centuries.
He cannot understand why I would willing die when I have immortality.
In his eyes that makes me a child." Nick let go of Natalie and stared
out the window with great sadness in his eyes. "He believes life no
matter what kind is better than death." Nick returned to Nat and pulled
her back into his arms which she willing went. "He will never
understand the way I feel about you. I would gladly trade my
immortality for any time with you whether it be a day, a month, or
eternity. I don't think he will ever understand that. He cannot let
himself love unconditionally. He is afraid of it." Nick realizing what
he just said made Nat face him. "He is AFRAID Natalie! AFRAID. That
is the answer. He is afraid to let go of me because he would lose me
forever!"

"I know you're right Nick!. Make HIM see it and maybe just maybe you
can be friends!"

Nick's mobile phone rang and he flipped it open. "Knight! Yes CAP!
I'm on my way. Yes, Nat is her with me. I will bring her along." Nick
held Nat's hand as he spoke into the receiver.---There has been a murder
at the museum. We need to get over there as soon as possible!"

-------------------------

At the museum the police line had already been set when Nick and Nat
arrive at the scene. Natalie grabbed her bag and started gloving up as
Nick approached Sgt. Dalton giving orders to the other uniforms at the
scene.

"Get this section completely closed up Morgan. I want nothing messed up
for the print guys. Do you understand me." He turned to see Nick
approach . "Glad to see you guys from homicide here so quick. This is
the worse I've ever scene. Looks like that guy from the movie
"BraveHeart" when they cut his guts out and sliced him up."

Nick stopped suddenly sensing the presence of other vampires. Not in
the room, but close. Then he looked at the room more closely as Nat
examined the body. It is not other vampires, it's the room itself. The
room had a presence all its own. It was old very old and it held
something decidedly evil for a long time. Nat noticed Nick's
expression.

"What is it? Do you feel something?"

"This room has to be the room of the ARCHIVES! That's the only
answer." He turned to Natalie with apprehension in his blue eyes.

"The ARCHIVES! What is that? Or should I ask?"

"Feel the room Natalie! Reach out with your mind not just your senses.
Tell me what you see. What you feel.!"

She tried. She took a deep breath and let her mind go. She could see
books, very old books in the room and death. She was bombarded with
emotions, she was unable to handle as she got dizzy and wavered as Nick
caught her before she fell. "Books, I see books, very old books and I
feel cold, like you would if you were in a freezer---And death!" She
looked into his eyes to see fear. "What is this place Nick?"

"Was he drained?"

"You mean by a vampire? I don't know. He was disemboweled and his
throat slashed. He was dead after they cut his throat. There is
definitely not enough blood in the body or on the floor to account for
the violence of the death. If vampires did it they hid the fang marks
well. I won't know till I get the body back to the lab to look more
closely." She looked at Nick. He was slowly circling the room now
touching the walls as if they were alive. He was extremely edgy. "What
are the ARCHIVES Nick?"

"The ancient writings of the community. Supposedly they contain the
history of every vampire dead or alive back to the beginning. Their
location has only been known to the elders for centuries. They are said
to be guarded by the ANGELS of DEATH. No one but the Community Elder
has passage rights to the ARCHIVE under penalty of death." Natalie
could see as well as feel his apprehension as he told her.

Natalie walked over to Nick by the wall touching his arm gently. "Could
these ARCHIVES hold the secret of how to regain your mortality? Or are
these just family trees or something?"

"No one but the elders know. But---if they do---I am in deep trouble
because I will be the prime suspect for violating the community law of
no access. We need to get out of here. I need some answers quickly
or---?"

"Enforcers?" She had her answer as she looked into his eyes.

-----------------------------------

The tall dark vampire paced the cavern quietly as he waited for the
elders to call him before the tribunal. His cloak flowed elegantly
behind him as he paced. Calm is what he needed before he approached the
tribunal. If this was to work he must appear calm. Eric reached his
900th birthday last week. He celebrated it alone without her. She was
constantly on his mind. During the day his dreams were of her. At
night he was obsessed with the thought of possessing her. This was the
only way. Her cure. Nicholas de Brabant must die if she were ever to
become his. The guard appeared at the cavern entrance motioning him to
follow. "Your audience time has arrive Monsieur Chavelier!" Eric
followed him into the tribunal chamber to present his findings!.

The tall dark vampire entered the ancient catacomb chamber with his cloak flowing elegantly behind him. His name this time was Eric Chavelier. Of course Eric had been many things in the last 900 years, but now he was partial to this life and wanted it to continue only with one change. He would make that change as soon as Nicholas de Brabant was dead. This was the only way. The tribal elders would do his dirty work and then he would not have to deal with LaCroix. He had been warned of LaCroix's power due to his age. Eric felt discretion and deceit would serve him well. He approached the bench where the ancient ones sat. They were the three oldest vampires known to exist within the community either here or in Europe. Divinia raised her glowing eyes to meet Eric's. At her age, the eyes never returned to normal unless of course she chose it. You could feel her age and power as you came closer. Any normal vampire would have run screaming in fear from the chamber because of what radiated from the eldest vampire. Rage, Anger and Violence. She was over 4000 years old last told, and no one interfered with here decisions, not even her fellow elders which where both approaching 3000 years of age. Eric felt his chance for success was improved with Divinia's anger so visible. Eric bowed appropriately in front of the bench. "Most exalted ones! I am here with my report on the ARCHIVES" Eric stepped back and lowered his eyes in respect awaiting their reply.

Divinia'anger almost palatable leaned forward to respond, her blood red nails scratching the podium and her fangs becoming evident as she spoke. "You were highly recommended Monsieur Chavelier. I presume you have found the perpetrator who has broken the seal on the ARCHIVES!"

"Indeed I have Eldest of the Tribunal!" Eric forbidden to use Divinia name unless told too. "It is Lucien LaCroix's wayward son Nicholas de Brabant who broke the seal. I saw him in the chamber myself with the mortal that is his pet. I am told he seeks a cure to what he is. He must assume the ARCHIVES hold the key to his desires!" In a quick movement at vampire speed he came directly in front of Divinia with his eyes glowing and fangs extended. "This is sacrilege! He must die and so must the mortal with him. The ARCHIVES are to be touched by no one except you exalted one." He backed away getting control again.

She smiled pulling her fangs back into their normal position. She liked this young one. He had evil thoughts about everyone. No wonder he had reached 900. He would make a fine addition to the counsel some day, but he must learn control. "If what you say it true, then it shall be done! What proof do you have that de Brabant was in the ARCHIVE room?"

"Demetrie was with me at the time exalted one!" He motioned toward the door. "If you will but ask, he will verify what we saw." Eric bowed one more time in respect, as well as to hide the smile that crossed his lips. "May I bring him to you?"

"Do so quickly! I want this issue cleared up." She motioned to the guard at the door to let Demetrie enter the chamber. Demetrie most trusted minion of Divinia's Death Squad enter the room and approached Divinia and the other elders.

"What have you to say Demetrie? Was de Brabant in the ARCHIVE room?"

"He wa--along with the mortal called Dr. Lambert?" He bowed after delivering the message. "He was in the room after the ARCHIVES were removed and he seemed upset that they were gone. I presume he did not get the information he needed before we removed the books!"

"You, Francois, Stephen and Miguel go and bring de Brabant to me. The woman as well. We will handle this in one setting." She turned to the guard at the door. "Send a message to LaCroix, I want him present at this preceding." With that, she summarily dismissed the gathering and left at vampire speed.

-----------------------------------

Nick did not want to leave Natalie with the coroners crew working at the scene. He was uneasy about leaving her under the circumstances. "Nat, I would feel better if you were with me tonight. I don't have a good feeling about this. I have to see LaCroix!" concern written on his face as he ushered her to his car.

"Nick, I can't leave here yet! I have work to do!"

"Natalie if the enforcers come you will not stand a chance without me or LaCroix! I am not even sure we can stop them if they send enough of them." He was frightened for her. She could see it in his blue eyes.

"I know!---And I do not want you hurt trying to save me." She touched his cheek and smiled. He pulled her into his arms and held her for a few minutes trying to get control of his warring emotions.

"We said together did we not? That means with me-- not here were you are in danger. Do this for me! Please Nat! That will make one less thing for me to worry about while I find some answers."

"You win but remember, we do this together! Understood?" He agreed and opened the Caddie's door for her to get in. Nick walked over to the uniform and told him to page the ME that was on call because Natalie was leaving.

----------------------------------

LaCroix sat in the back room quietly drinking this 4th glass of blood wine thinking of Dr. Lambert and her comments after placing the knife in his heart. He smiled as he thought of her. She was a definite challenge. Not the usual mortal. Strong, tenacious, vibrant, and fearless. He had underestimated her and it almost cost him his life. He had the upper hand though. He knew she truly loved Nicholas and that could be used against her. Of course Nicholas' feelings were immaterial at this point. He would probably chase the good Doctor himself if he thought Nicholas would not put a stake through his heart as he slept. He heard the noise only seconds before the Enforcer appeared in his doorway.

"Monsieur LaCroix, your presence is requested by the High Council tonight at the Chamber of Death immediately." The messenger handed the note to LaCroix and left as quickly as he came.

This could only mean trouble. What had Nicholas got them into now. Resigned to his fate, LaCroix used vampire speed to catch the messenger.

----------------------------------

Its 3 am and the Raven appeared dark as Nat and Nick pulled up and parked. His senses going crazy, Nick approached the entrance carefully.

"You should wait in the car, Nat!"

"Does "in your dreams" mean anything to you Nick! No way am I waiting out her to be ripped to shreds. I prefer to go down fighting!" Nick smiled and grabbed her hand. "Together! I remember." They burst into the Raven with Nick in front with his gun drawn. His vampire senses going crazy. "We are not alone!" skirting the bar, Nick approached LaCroix's office in the rear. Natalie sensed the Enforcer behind her and lunged backward to throw him off balance.

"Nick! Behind me!" Nick threw his whole body into the Enforcer in full vampire mode. The second Enforcer lunged from behind the bar with a knife to plant in Nick side. Nick went for the first Enforcer's throat ripping a large gash with his nails as the knife was embedded into his side and pulled upward. He rolls sideways to take on the new threat tossing him over his head and into the mirror behind the bar. The third Enforcer lunged toward Natalie. She grabbed the first thing available, a large sword above the bar. The Enforcer used vampire speed to get behind her and grab her wrist. She twisted and pulled the sword sideways at the same time, freeing herself and slicing through the Enforcer arm clear to his waist. He doubled in pain and astonishment. Nick bleeding freely from the knife wound and the exertion, struggled with his opponent who ripped further into his bleeding neck and arm. Nick pulled a table leg free in the struggle planting one final blow into th!
e Vampire's heart. As he dropped
to the floor on top of Nick, Natalie screamed.

"You will stop this struggle de Brabant or I will finish the woman!" The fourth Enforcer held Natalie in his grasps. Blood flowed freely from the gash across her shoulder. He held his elongated nail next to her throat. Nick froze in place.

With labored breathing from the blood loss and exertion, Nick approached Demetrie. "What do you want Demetrie? You came for me not her. Let her go and I will come peacefully." Grasping his side and looking at his wounds for the first time, he realized they were not healing as fast as they should. Demetrie looked at the wounds and the blood and realized for the first time that Nick's heart was beating. Confusion crossed his face. It was not possible. He saw what Nick did to his companion, the speed, the strength, it all screamed vampire down to his fangs, yet his heart beat and the woman had dispatched Miguel with ease. What were they dealing with here?

"The High Council---specifically Divinia wants you tonight! Will you come or must I kill the woman?"

Nick looked at Natalie obviously in pain from her arm, but not struggling. "Let her go! And I will come with you."

"Do I look stupid Nick? I let her go and you rip me to shreds. I do not know what has happened to you and this woman, but I personally am fond of living so she goes with us. You twitch the wrong way and I will slice her throat." He pulled Natalie closer to him and gradually scratched her throat to make a point.

"Let's go then!" Nick started toward the door and collapsed to one knee before regaining control and preceding out the door.

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In the High Council Chamber Divinia paced the floor. Black gown flowing around he lithe legs while her jet black hair caressed her face and body like a fine mist on a foggy night. She was beautiful. No man or vampire would turn her down, but she created such fear in the hearts around her. It was like pure anger caged in a human-like form. Rage controlled her most of the time and LaCroix knew the answer why. He stood quietly at the back of the room awaiting Nicholas' arrival. He knew his wayward son would put up a struggle. It was not in his nature to go down without fight and Doctor Lambert had proven to be quite a scrapper as well, but the odds were against them. The inevitable was that they would end up here. So he waited, watched and remembered Divinia and her loss.

Within a matter of minutes Demetrie entered the chamber with Natalie in front of him with a nail still at her throat. Nicholas followed close behind with Stephen fully healed from Natalie's handiwork, pushing him into the chamber. The loss of blood from his side, and the slow healing process appeared to be taking its toll on Nick. He was in a great deal of pain visible in his eyes and his stance as Divinia approached him and motioned for Demetrie to release Natalie. She fell to the floor in a heap when Demetrie released her grip. LaCroix appeared behind her and helped her up. The loss of blood from her arm made her light headed, so LaCroix sensing her dilemma steadied her. Looking Nick directly in the eyes, Divinia could see and feel his pain. She lunged toward him with fangs out and nails poised. She ripped into his side opening the slowly closing wound when she heard his heartbeat. Rage filled her as she sought a stake to ram through his heart. She returned with a stake ready to plant it in Nick
when Natalie threw her body onto his. Nick in incredible pain tried pushing her off him.

"No Natalie. Not this time!" He was dying before her eyes and she could not stop it.

"Together Nick. We said TOGETHER!" She buried her head in his shoulder ready to die with him.

Divinia confused-lowered the stake and pulled Natalie off Nick. "You would die for this vampire?" Expecting a negative answer she turned back toward Nick.

"I have already died for Nick, and he for me once in this life. If I must-- I will die for him a 100 times more if it will keep us together." Natalie stared deep into Divinia glowing eyes. Much calmer than she felt. "Of what are WE accused and by whom?" She asked in almost a whisper.

"Your lover her has broken into the ARCHIVES and removed some of the books of the ancients. The penalty is death. And since you were with him your sentence is death as well." Some of the anger in her eyes had diminished as she analyzed Natalie and listened to Nick's heartbeat.

"Why would we break into the ARCHIVES?" Nick weakly got out as he tried to sit up. Natalie went to his side and placed pressure on his side to slow the bleeding. Both she and Nick looked to Divinia for and explanation.

"You seek the cure to what you are de Brabant---and it would appear you have found what you seek in the books.---Your heart beats again." She became visibly angry again as her eyes glowed brighter. "Yet I can still feel you and the woman as well.---What are you? Vampire or Mortal?"

"We were in the ARCHIVES room that is correct but only after your Angels of Death killed the curator. I am a homicide cop. It's my job to investigate the murder. Natalie in the coroner. It's her job as well. We were never in that room prior to that night. " He gasped in pain as his wound began to bleed freely again. "Drink my blood and you will see that I don't lie!" Nick leaned into Natalie almost unconscious but struggling to stay with it.

"Divinia looked at the couple before her and remember the past where she too was willing to give up everything for the one she loved, but he was not. Maybe de Brabant was different than Jeremiah.

LaCroix stepped forward to Divinia. "His blood can not lie to you Divinia. You know that. Nicholas troublesome though he may be has saved the community countless times from prying eyes and the good Doctor here saved all our lives during the Fever! Surely that warrants you hearing them out."

Divinia looked at Nick. "He may not survive it! They part of him that is mortal is dying and the vampire has become weak by the mortal blood."

"Then take mine!" Natalie extended her wrist to Divinia. "I am of his blood, we were together!"

"No, it must be his! I must know what is in his heart not yours only then will the truth be known. He must decide."

"Take my blood! Nick opened his collar and offered his neck to Divinia. She took him immediately laying in Natalie's arms. Abruptly Divinia broke away from Nick with his blood dripping from her lips.

"Release them! He tells the truth. They have no need of the ARCHIVES, they have already found what they seek!" She looked at Natalie with pain in her eyes. Her eyes were a dark shade of green for the first time in centuries. "I envy you. Take care of him. His love for you goes beyond the grave. Remember that in the hard times!" She turned to Demetrie. "Bring me Chavelier NOW!" She turned to LaCroix extending her hand for him to kiss. "I take it you will see that they get home.---You should visit more often Lucien!" with that she was gone.

--------------------------------

LaCroix picked Nicholas up in his arms and flew out the window toward his loft. It was nearly sunrise and they must hurry if Nick was to survive. In his condition he would not be able to survive the ancient images from Divinia's blood transfer with even his blood if they did not hurry. Natalie looked to Stephen whom she almost cut his head off earlier. "I have not learned how to do that yet? Do you think maybe you could show me how to get out of here!" He walked over to her and smiled. Natalie realized then, that he was a very handsome man.

"If you will trust me, I would be honored to fly you anywhere you wish to go!" She raised her arms and he flew off after LaCroix.

--------------------------------

LaCroix had just placed Nick in his bed like a sick child when Natalie entered the room. They eyed each other suspiciously. "Can you help him?" She was willing to give up everything they had together to keep him alive and LaCroix knew it.

It was his chance to regain his son. "I can help him only if you leave and never return Doctor!!!" He waited for her answer.

She went to Nick side. He was so pale almost gray. "It is always a contest with you isn't it? A game! Only this time you could lose him forever. If I leave you will lose him forever. He will never forgive you. So if you don't help him, you lose him, if you send me away you lose him. That is what this is all about isn't it. There is only one thing that is FOREVER. It is not life, nor death, not even being a vampire can keep him with you FOREVER. Only LOVE is FOREVER LaCroix, only LOVE!" She sat down gently on the bed and brushed her hand along Nick's cheek. "I love him. We promised each other that we would do this TOGETHER. Our LOVE is FOREVER and you nor anyone else can change that. So if you will not help him then leave, because I will not leave his side." She reached into her bag bringing out a scalpel and sliced her wrist deeply then placed it over Nick's lips until he started to suck gently pulling her into his arms.

"Your blood is not strong enough to still the images of Divinia, Natalie!" It was the first time he had ever used her first name. She stared at him for a few seconds looking for a sign in his stoic face that he finally understood what she and Nick were to each other. It was the last thing she remembered as she passed out from loss of blood from her shoulder and Nick.

--------------------------------

It was 3 in the afternoon when she woke in Nick's arms. LaCroix was gone. She could not feel him near them. Nick breathing was almost normal and his wounds were finally healing. She needed food. She turned and there was a plate of fruit and cheese by the bed along with a bottle of blood wine. Nick heartbeat was only faint now. The ordeal had set him back. She checked her own. Still there but weaker. At this point, the fact that they were both alive was a miracle. She grabbed the cheese and stroked Nick's face as he slept until she could not keep her eyes open any longer and lay down beside him.

------------------------------------------


He woke in his own bed yet the images kept flashing through his mind. Natalie was asleep by his side. He pulled her closer to feel her warmth. The last thing he remembered was giving himself to Divinia and then Natalie crying. He could taste her on his lips and some of the images were from her. Divinia was in such pain from Jeremiah's betrayal. She had become embittered and obsessed with his unwillingness to die for her. She did not understand, probably would not ever understand what that took, but Natalie had. The pain he had caused her with Janette, the not crossing her on Valentine's Day, his unwillingness to make certain changes to become mortal again. They all hurt her especially Janette. Yet, she willingly gave herself to him on that fateful night 1 week ago and again to keep him alive tonight. He had been a fool at times trying to hide things from her when it wasn't necessary. He thought if she knew, she would leave and then he would surely die. LaCroix had been here. He could feel his blood in his veins and control over the images from Divinia, but he had no control of the images from Natalie. Why was that? She only wanted honesty and love from him. He had to believe that her love for him would forgive him one last time if he told her the truth. It was there only chance, he realized that now.

"Nat! Are you awake?" He gently rubbed his fingers through her silky hair. He loved the feel of it in his fingers. She was like a cat when he played with her hair wanting more and nestling closer to him as he spoke. "You need to wake up and eat something!" He kissed her gently on the forehead as his fingers caressed her face waking her slowly in his arm.

As she slowly awoke to Nick's blue eyes caressing her "If you do not stop that, I may not leave this bed until dawn you know."

"It is dawn!" He smiled and pulled her deeper into his arms. "And I do not want you to leave ever! I will bring you food and clean sheets, no clothes of course, and keep you chained to this bed for eternity."

She laughed. He loved to her laugh. They had so few occasions to laugh lately. It was good to know they still could. "Are you all right after Divinia?" She caressed his face and held him close burying her head on his shoulder. "You were in such pain from your side and what you saw in her blood. My blood was not strong enough to stop the images!"

"I know--LaCroix gave me his as well. They were lovers once, I guess he knew exactly what bothered her. She was hurt badly when she was young. She loved and lost and then lost again. She does not believe in anything anymore. She wishes for death but she is to strong not to survive. She craves what we all crave!" Nick gently kissed Natalie. "Love, unconditional love---and faith that it can survive anything."

"We can survive anything TOGETHER Nick! I am a part of you and you are a part of me---but I will not be second to Janette---ever. It hurts to much! Can you understand that! I know you still love her. It is still in your blood and maybe it always will be there. 800 years is a long time to be that close to someone and--"

Nick forced Natalie to look into his eyes. "I did not let her die Nat! I couldn't! When it came time to let her go, I could not let her go! I crossed her that night!" a single tear fell from Natalie's eye as she began to pull away and Nick held her tight. "You must listened to me Nat!"

"There is nothing to explain Nick! I can never take her place in your heart. There is no hope for us even after all when been through. Don't ask me to share you with her. I can't! I will not!" Natalie jerked out of the bed heading for the door. Nick used vampire speed to stop her at the lift door.

"Natalie, I told you because I love you, not Janette! We said no more secrets! I know I hurt you when I was with Janette. I am not stupid. I went to her because I could not have you. It was you I wanted in my bed not her. You that I wanted to make love to--but when I get close to you I lose it!" He held her head in his hands gently.

"I asked you to cross me and you wouldn't. She asked you not to cross her and you do! That is not love Nick--that selfish!. I know you love me Nick, but you love Janette too and you have to choose. You can't have both of us.--I--I have to go. I need some time to sort this out." She pushed out of his arms into the lift.

"Natalie--I chose 4 years ago. It has just taken me this long to realize, that you could love me as I am. I would never intentionally hurt you---You have to know that!"

"I know Nick! But you have hurt me and I can't live through you breaking my heart again." She lowered her eyes to the floor and then back into his blue eyes. "When I see you with her it rips me apart! I can't get the scene of you making love to her out of my head. I don't know if I ever can!" She hit the down button as Nick held the door looking for the right words to say only nothing came to mind. His eyes not wanting to let her go.

"I will talk to you later Nick!" and the lift door closed in his face.

--------------------------------

Eric had been pacing the floor for 2 hours awaiting dusk. He had formulated a back up plan when word reached him to stay clear of Divinia and the Death Squad. De Brabant still lived. He needed a wedge, an angle. Some way to get De Brabant to come to him alone. He could use LaCroix but it would be risky. The man was evil to the core and very unpredictable especially when it came to his wayward son. The mortal woman was the only viable alternative. If rumors were true and what he felt in his lovers blood were true, this woman Natalie was the key to Nicholas de Brabant's downfall. The sun had set and Eric left through the skylight of the vacant warehouse.

--------------------------------

Natalie set behind the wheel of her car stunned, numb. She didn't want to think, but the tears came anyway. She could not let him break her heart again. The thought of Nick with Janette made her weep even more, yet she knew in her heart that he loved her. Could she live with his love for Janette or would it destroy her. What is past is past, what is now is now. Why couldn't she get her heart to go along with that philosophy. She had loved Kyle when they were in MED School and a part of her loved him still, but not anything like what she felt for Nick. Why could he not bring her across when he could so easily bring Janette across? Why deny her his physical love when bringing her across would solve all their problems? The more she thought, the louder her heart beat and her head began to throb along with it. She needed rest. Maybe with some sleep she could sort this out. She started the car when Eric materialized in the rider's seat. Startled she slammed on the breaks throwing him through the windshield. Throwing the car in reverse she accelerated in an attempt to escape as he lunged through the driver's window causing the car to swerve into a tree. The last thought she had was of Nick realizing what he had risked tonight. She voiced it loud enough for Eric to hear. "At least he told me the truth!" Eric picked up Natalie's body and flew off into the night.

-------------------------------------

Hearing the disturbance below Nick reached Nat's car just as Eric disappeared into the night. In frustration Nick disappeared into the night after them only to be hit in mid-air by Eric's co-heart in this masquerad,e Demetrie. As they hit the ground rolling Nick attacked Demetrie with a vengeance. Unprepared for such rage Demetrie stumbled and fell. Nick was on him in full vampire form going directly for his throat. Demetrie pushes Nick off him in an attempt to free himself from his predicament. Nick pulled a tree limb from the ground by sheer will and came after Demetrie. As he readied the final blow his arm is caught in mid-air by LaCroix.

"You cannot get information from a dead man Nicholas!" He pulled the stake out of Nick's hand forcing him get control of his rage.

"WHERE DID HE TAKE HER?" Nick grabbed Demetrie and pulled him against Natalie's car with such force it knocked the breath out of him. Fear was written on his face. Loyalty was now thrown aside. No way was he going to cover for Eric between Nick and LaCroix.

"Really Nicholas, you should at least let him catch his breath before you kill him. You are planning on killing him are you not? I do so enjoy a good fight that ends in bloodshed!" LaCroix smiled turning away from Nicholas and Demetrie.

"Tell me where he took her Demetrie! Tell me!"

"The old mining tunnel down from the wharf.! He is baiting you! He's insane!"

"Tell me why!" Nick pitched Demetrie harder against the tree. His eyes became golden and his fangs extended but his voice was controlled. "Why does he want me dead?"

"Because of his lover! She still loves you! You are his rival for her affections! She wants you not him! It has driven him mad for 6 months. He will see you dead or die trying to kill you."

LaCroix immediately pounced on Demetrie barely in control pushing Nicholas away. "Who is this lover?"

" She calls herself--Janette de Brabant!"

Tossing Demetrie into the bushes as if he were a rag doll LaCroix turned on Nicholas. "You crossed her!" He threw Nicholas to the ground. "So she calls you master now, not me!" LaCroix was enraged. Looking at his son laying beneath him as he was about to rip his throat out, he realized there was no fear only resignation on his face. The color returned to his eyes and he gained control.

"When it came time to let her go, I couldn't do it. She liked what she was. I was the one who sought mortality and death not her. The part of me that loved her once could not let her go. She thought it was because I still loved her. It was because of what we once shared I could not let her die. My heart belongs to Natalie and no one else--in this life and the next if she will have me." Nick got up off the ground slowly. "I am no one's master as you are no longer mine. She needs you as a friend and so do I! My Father died in 1126, you are my oldest friend and I would like to keep it that way."

LaCroix turned toward Nick, his face as unreadable as usual as he brushed the dirt off his jacket. " Damn you Nicholas--I shall miss you when you are gone!" He turned to look at Demetrie trying to escape. "I shall return him to Divinia--I assume you do not need my help in this matter with the good Doctor?"

"I will take care of it!" Nick smiled as LaCroix picked Demetrie up by the collar and flew off into the night. Anger flared again as Nick's eyes turned from gold to red and he pitched himself into the night toward Eric and his beloved Natalie.

---------------------------

Natalie awoke slowly not moving until she was certain of being alone. The cavern was small and dank with a candle burning slowly on the north wall. Water trickled in the back of the cave giving off an eerie sound as a shadow appeared on the adjacent wall. Her arms and legs were not tied which she found strange, when the memories of the dark vampire came crashing back. He stood before her now as she tried to focus in the dim light.

"You carry his blood, yet your heart still beats! What are you?" He bent down to look into Natalie's eyes. "You are exactly as Janette described you! No wonder she hates you so."

"Well, the feelings are mutual I assure you Mr. ----?"

"Chavelier! But you can call me Eric!" He circled the room inspecting the candle and the cavern as if the first time almost nervous around Natalie.

Puzzled by his actions "Your nervous! Why?"

Eric turned to her. "I--I expected to hate you immediately until I tasted your blood." Natalie looked at the cut on her wrist from the car accident. "But you have your doubts as much as I. We are two of a kind you and I. I could feel your love for him and the doubts, but they do not consume you! How is this possible?"

Natalie rose to her feet and stood in front of him "Because deep in my heart, I know he loves me!" She looked into Eric troubled heart. "He has risked everything to be with me, even losing me. I called him selfish earlier this evening. I was wrong. I realize that now. He saved Janette because he once loved her and could not bear to see her suffer that which she feared most. He would not cross me because he loved me enough not to condemn me to life he hated and I could not stand. He was willing to die to be with me if that is what it took and he did. We have been given a second chance at loving each other and maybe you and Janette can too if your honest with each other." Natalie touched Eric's arm and looked in his eyes as a single blood tear escaped it. She touched it and brought it to her lips letting herself feel what he was and his emotion. She offered him her wrist. "Feel what it is I am talking about Eric and you will know what I say is true!"

He touched her wrists gently "You would trust me not to drain you after all that I have done!" He looked incredulously at her.

"It will ease you pain. But I think only Nick's blood will soothe your soul!"

Nick appeared in the doorway in full vampire mode watching Natalie offer herself to Eric. Pain as if she had put a stake through his heart stopped him cold in his tracks. She had offered herself to him, a stranger, a man bent on killing her and himself. He felt betrayed. He would have rather been dead than watch this but the part that trusted her made him listen. He finally understood what she felt about Janette and how he had hurt her. His eyes returned to normal and he stood silently waiting for Eric's decision.

"You offer me a gift I cannot accept, but you have given me hope that there can be a future for Janette and myself. I thank you for that." He sensed Nick behind him. Odd he could not feel him any sooner than that, then he realized why. He was like her! He turned to face Nick expecting him to attack when he only stood quietly waiting. "How long have you been standing there?"

Nick walked into the cavern never taking his eyes off Natalie. He came to her side and placed his arm around her waist waiting to see her response. She turned to him and folded her body into his and welcomed his embrace. He held her closely burying his head in her hair and then released her. Pulling a knife from his pocket, Nick held out his wrist and sliced it deeply offering it to Eric. "It's time to put your soul at ease, so you can go on with your life and Janette too!" Eric took Nick's wrist and drank slowly for a few minutes and then stopped.

"A part of her will always love you and I think you as well. But it's not the kind of love you and Natalie share. I see that now and possibly I can learn to live with it. I envy you de Brabant because you have found what all men seek. A soulmate for all eternity. I wish you well." And he was gone into the night leaving Nick and Nat standing side by side in the cavern.

"I now know how you felt when you saw Janette and I together that day. When you offered yourself to him, I thought you had put a stake through my heart. I will never do that to you again. I swear it!" He whispered gently in her ear as he feathered kisses down her neck. He stopped long enough to look into her eyes for acceptance which he found readily. She kissed him passionately wrapping her arms around his neck and running her fingers into his hair.

****** ADULT CONTENT WARNING******
The following paragraph contains adult material. Please skip this paragraph if this material offends you.
====================================
"I want you Nick, right here, right now! So you had better tell me now if you can't finish what we're about to start here." He responded by picking her up and carrying her back to the entrance of the cave where a blanket lay. He placed her carefully onto it followed by himself. He kissed her deeply know holding back nothing as he ran his hand up her thigh touching her gently through the pantyhose. He let his hand roam her belly as he mouth assaulted hers with such passion she wanted it to never stop. A groan escaped her lips as her removed her bra and panties placing kisses down her neck to her nipples. He sucked gently until she thought she would go insane with need. His hand never stopped caressing her thighs until he found her sweet wet spot gently easing his finger inside her. She grabbed his shirt ripping it off to feel his cool skin against her breast as he moved inside her. He took his lips away from her long enough for her to see his blue eyes start to fleck with gold. She took her hands and placed them on his face to make him look at her. "We can do this TOGETHER Nick! Let the man love me first and then the vampire. I need both." She reached her hands down to unzip his pants and encircled his erect manhood as he groaned with pleasure. He arose from her as she whimpered "No Nick don't leave me like this!" He jerked her to her feet and completely undressed her and then himself. Slowly he picked her up and slid her down his naked hard body. She straddled him putting her legs around his thighs while he eased himself into her welcome core capturing her lips with his. Slowly his tongue began to caress her mouth with a sensual onslaught while he began to slowly move inside here. Each stroke bringing her closer to insanity. He laid them both back on the blanket in one swift movement as he began to move deeper inside her. Each stroke penetrating her deeper and deeper until they were completely one. The more he gave, the more she wanted. Natalie ran her hand down his back to his buttock unable to get enough of him. She moved with him bringing them both closer and closer to what they both sought. He wanted her--all of her---her warmth, her soul. He wanted to bury himself in her forever until he felt her start to come to him. He thought he would go insane with pleasure, she arched toward him offering her body and neck to him as both man and vampire. He plunged into taking her all to the core until she screamed his name over and over again. He felt himself lose control as his fang dropped and he continued to plunge into her. He needed her beyond all reason as he exploded inside her screaming her name at his release.
============================
Natalie held him close as they both tried to regain control. She forced him to look at her. When he met her gaze those blue pools gazed back at her and she smiled. He traced her face with his fingertips lightly touching her lips and she drew his fingers into her mouth and sucked gently. "No let me taste you and feel everything you feel." Her fangs dropped for the first time as he offered her his neck and she drank slowly savoring the warmth and love she felt from him. As she pulled away her eyes returned to normal and she offered herself to him. His kissed her lips and then her neck and then drank slowly until they were both satisfied. Raising up on his elbows he played with her hair as she smiled back at him running her hands over his naked body.

"You had better stop that or we won't leave this cave all day!" He touched her cheek then gently kissed her.

"A promise I will hold you to--Nick Knight when the bed is a little softer?" Her laughter reached her eyes and his heart.

"I will never hurt you again Natalie! You have my heart and my soul for as long as you want them. My body to if it interests you?" He ran his cool fingers down her naked thigh with a wicked grin.

"I will take them all Nicholas de Brabant--for all eternity--and I will hold you to that promise for as long as their is a breath of life in me and thereafter." She looked at the entrance to the mine trying to judge the time before sunrise. "We had better hurry if you don't want to ride in the trunk again!" He got up and dressed her and himself with vampire speed.

"You want to fly or ride?" He looked into her eyes looking for more than a simple answer. She wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled.

"You fly, I'll ride!" She jumped into his arms and they flew off into the night.

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The End

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