All disclaimers apply. The characters don't belong to me, I'm just borrowing
'em for this story. All characters not part of the FK world, or any other
known world, belong to me.
"Good evening gentle listeners. Yet another Valentine's Day...more heartbreak, utter despair. How many of you have loved and lost? Perhaps we are all losers in this grand scheme called 'life'...we must all part from our lovers eventually, as death and time emerge the eventual victors. Then where does our love take us then?
Nothing more than empty trinkets, meaningless souvenirs of an emotion that supposedly surpasses all words."
I looked at the single rose sitting in its vase. The only symbol of Fleur I had. Nothing more. But the memories! Of course, didn't I tell my listeners they were 'meaningless souvenirs'? Some would call me a hypocrite, but would they have such words to say, as I hold their lives in my hands? Nevertheless, the Nightcrawler in love? Impossible indeed.
This same moment last year, I felt complete despair and anger at a world that would separate lovers. Furious with my son, who forced us apart. I have learned so
much since then...and though I wouldn't care to admit it, much of my lessons came from Nicholas. His endless quest for humanity, his search for morality. I knew he loved her...his Natalie. Saw it in his eyes. But I remained silent. Let him pretend I had believed his ridiculous lie.
But did I *really* win that night? After all, wasn't it *my* fault things escalated to those heights? If I had let him pursue his mortal love, without guilt, without fear of endangering her life, perhaps things would have been different.
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
"Lucien?" A soft voice murmured behind me. I felt a hand on my shoulder.
She was there....wasn't she? It wasn't my imagination, or my
hope. It wasn't my need for resolution, my desire for closure.
"My dear, it's been so long." I said quietly. "You haven't forgotten about me?"
"No, my dear Lucien. You know *that's* impossible."
I put up a hand. "Wait a moment please...don't go anywhere." I repositioned myself in front of the microphone, to complete tonight's monologue and focus my complete attention on this unexpected visitor.
"Gentle listeners, it appears that the Nightcrawler has some urgent business to attend to. So for tonight, sleep well, and we shall be together again tomorrow."
She smiled at me. "How long has it been, that you've been broadcasting Nightwatch?"
"Seven years. Never a day off, unless you count that night we said our hellos and good-byes."
"Yes, I remember," she said uneasily. She coughed. Tended to do so, I noticed, when she was nervous. Still attached to her mortal ways of life, I mused. "I'm sorry we had to part like that."
"So am I." I said, with all sincerity.
"He still refuses to read my letters, doesn't he?'
"I'm afraid so." She sighed. "He still blames himself, but angst is just a way of life for Nicholas."
"Have you two...been happy?" I asked.
Her expression brightened. "Yes... quite happy. He's been taking me everywhere, to places I haven't seen, parts of the world I've never experienced. We've been to Paris, Madrid, London, Milan... We wandered the vast continent of Austrailia, and watched as the Chinese began preparations for the reclaiming >of Hong Kong. We've been enjoying ourselves, and learning >more about one another than we dared speak of before." Natalie's eyes shone with happiness.
"So, you don't regret my decision, to bring you across..."
I clasped her hand, and softly touched it with my lips. At least *she* thought I had made the right choice. There was nothing I could do to convince Nicholas of this. He would have to reach that conclusion on his own... hopefully, one day.
"So, my dear daughter, what brings you back to Toronto? Have you and Nicholas finally decided to return?" I asked hopefully.
She coughed again, altogether avoiding my question. She shifted her eyes away from mine, and suddenly found my chair the most intriguing object in the room.
"Lucien, there's something you should know."
"I think you should brace yourself for this."
I stared at her suspiciously. "Is Nicholas all right? Has something happened to him?" I asked instinctively.
"No. He's waiting for us back home. In France."
"Us?" I said, with surprise.
"I came here to tell you that Fleur is alive, Lucien. And she's waiting for you."
I remained silent, for ... I don't know how long. If it had
come from any other person, I would have ripped his or her
neck into shreds, for playing such a vile, cruel joke. But this was Natalie. Nicholas's lover. My long awaited daughter.
She would not lie.
I gripped onto the edge of the table. "No...it can't be," I said, staring at the flower. My flower...my Fleur, alive? I visited her grave. She dead," I said meekly.
Natalie took my hands in hers. She kneeled by my chair.
"She's waiting for you. You do want to see her, don't you?"
"More than I ever would allow myself to hope." I murmured, more to myself than to Natalie. "But.. please. I want to know..."
"Nicholas and I thought it would be the wisest decision if you heard if from Fleur. She could explain best, but we must hurry. They're waiting for our return." She
looked at my expectantly. "Are you ready to leave?"
"Wait." I gently took the rose out of its vase, and touched it to my lips. Clutching it in my other hand, I allowed my travel companion...my daughter...to lead me to the skies.
And we soared for Fleur. My dreams and my spirit lifted me as well. Fleur was alive!
After almost 800 years, we would connect, hearts and souls, again.
We reached the airport. "Natalie," I whispered. "What are you doing?"
"Relax Father," she said, holding a finger against my lips. "It'll take too long to get to the chateau. Flying.. by technological means, would be faster and more practical."
She took my hand, and we walked over to the gate.
"Tickets please? The flight attendant asked expectantly.
"We're co-pilots." Natalie explained calmly, staring straight into the young woman's eyes.
"Listen...I don't know who you are but..."
"We....are....co-pilots...." Nat repeated slowly, never taking her eyes off those of the attendant. "Kindly.... let...us...pass."
"Of course...I'm sorry." The flight attendant instantly stepped out of the way.
"You've learned well under Nicholas," I said appreciatively. She nodded. "Surprisingly. he taught me much more than you said he would. But I also learned a lot from you too, in your letters."
Natalie paused. "You're not put out with me, are you Lucien? For not staying with you? That Nicholas and I went away?"
"All is forgotten my dear. I know how badly I hurt Nicholas, but I do hope he understands that I could not let him make such a rash decision." I sighed. "I wouldn't be able to admit this to him, but I miss Nicholas... I miss you both. It's been quite lonely in Toronto since the two of you left."
She placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder. "Well now's the time to resolve all the hurt, the pain, the anger. To say all that was left unspoken."
I always believed Natalie to be an intelligent woman in her mortal life. But I never bothered to discover the sensitivity her soul held until now. Returning back to that fateful night, seeing a fire such as hers so unfairly put out seems incomprehensible to me now. Nicholas always had good taste, but the doctor was certainly a treasure.
And I preserved that fire within her. I saved the treasure from sinking. From disappearing into an unknown void.
And Nicholas hated me.
Maybe Fleur would hate me for *not* doing the same. I wondered if she remembered me... what we shared. I wondered what she remembered, and if her desire to see me was even remotely as great as mine was for her.
"Lucien?" Natalie said.
"Sorry, my dear. Shall we go?"
She laughed. "Like father, like son. What century were you in?"
"Thirteenth," I replied with all seriousness. "I was thinking of Fleur."
"Yes, well...we don't want to keep her waiting. Let's go."
And we embarked on the plane. A queasiness entered my stomach, and refused to leave.
"You look a little pale," a stewardess remarked to me. "Have you ever been air-sick before?"
"No," I answered. But for only the second time in my life, I was unsure of myself.
Shortly after, we arrived in front of a large stone house,
partly hidden from the rest of the world by the forests nearby, but seemingly populated by many. There were... children running around the property, playing in the grassy fields, laughing as they chased one another around.
"So, this is where you and Nicholas are remaining?"
"For the present, yes."
"And the children?"
"Nick and I chose to care for them. They have no homes, no parents to look after them. There's certainly enough space here. Our chateau is an ideal place for them and us
No worries, and plenty of privacy and beauty for us to enjoy." Natalie noticed the expression on my face. "What's
wrong?" she asked concerned. "Will the children be a problem for you?"
"Oh no," I said quickly. I shifted in awkwardness. "What should I say to Nicholas? Even more, what shall I say to Fleur?" I asked.
This was quite unusual for me, being tongue-tied and nervous all at once. Or, in fact, being nervous at all. I've spoken to kings and emperors, dealt with fiends and celebrities. Never had I questioned myself, or my ability to speak with others. In fact, it was *I* who usually made others uncomfortable.
"Follow your heart Lucien," Natalie said to me with a smile. "Just trust that the words will come to you, when you need them."
She held my hand protectively as we went inside. Nicholas stood up from his chair and walked over to us, carefully managing to avoid making eye contact with me. So, this is what we have come to, my son and I.
'Nat. Are you all right?" He asked concerned.
"I'm fine Nick. Where is Fleur?"
"Resting. I think we should give her some time. She's been through a lot." He looked at me. "I think you will be good for her."
"What happened?" I asked. "What do you mean by, 'she's been through a lot'?"
They remained silent, but their exchange of looks did
not go past me. I tried to search their faces for some answers, but they revealed none.
Natalie came forward to clasp my hand. "Lucien, please trust us," she whispered.
I nodded reluctantly.
Nicholas disappeared for a moment, then reemerged with a filled glass. He handed it to me. "You must be hungry."
I stared at the liquid in distaste. "Bovine blood is not >exactly suitable to my appetite."
"It's human." Nicholas said softly.
"I can't stomach cow either," Natalie explained.
My dear daughter. She managed to bring Nicholas back to his true nature, somehow. Maybe I did make the right decision after all.
"Nichola?" A voice whispered faintly.
I couldn't bring myself to look... the voice! It lingered in my heart for eight hundred years, never forgetting its sweet sound. A sound I never thought I would hear again The voice of my beloved flower. The voice of my beloved Fleur.
I heard her sharp intake of breath, as she slowly descended down the stairs. Nicholas hurried to help her. I felt a hand on my arm.
"Lucien?" Natalie whispered. "Aren't you going to look >at her?"
I didn't answer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Nicholas motion to Natalie, and she left my side. They disappeared from the room, leaving us alone.
She walked over to me hesitantly. "Lucien?" She
murmured. She put a hand against my cheek and caressed it softly. I let out a small gasp at her touch. I felt my face turning to face hers.
She was still the same, my flower. But even more beautiful than before. She was a bit older, but age only heightened her loveliness. Eight hundred years of holding back; eight hundred years with a cold empty heart. I wept.
She gathered me in her arms, soothing me with her
gentle touch, calming me with her voice.
I struggled to speak. "I...I thought you were dead," I
said against her hair. "How, why?"
She sighed, and led me to the couch. Holding my hand
in hers, she slowly tried to explain.
@~~>>~~~ @~~>>~~~ @~~>>~~~
It was so strange, seeing Lucien again. It stirred
awake a feeling long dormant in my heart. I could see in
his eyes that he too, had never forgotten, nor
extinguished the love between us. The love that had been
postponed for nearly eight hundred years, but strong still.
He wanted answers, naturally. But where to start?
"It's alright," he said gently. "There's no need to rush."
I began my story, slowly and carefully, telling Lucien of
how, and why I have returned. Eight hundred years was a
long time to catch up on, so I tried to be as brief as
"I remembered all from that night. How you wanted to bring
me across...be together forever. But it would not be. I
remember Nicholas trying to make me forget. I did for awhile,
I could tell that he remembered that night as I did. Every
detail. Every touch. Every emotion. Every sensation.
He had placed something into my hand, and I had forgotten
the words that were upon my lips, as I saw what it was.
A white rose.
Yes, he did remember. The night in the garden, when he
expressed his feelings for me for the first time.
"I keep one with me every Valentine's Day," he said
softly. "It made everything...a little more bearable,
knowing that I had a part of that night, that neither
Nicholas, nor anyone else, could take away."
"After you and Nicholas left, life went on as it did
before my dear brother ever came home. I was eventually
married. Anthony was a decent man, a hard worker. He
came from a prominent family ....a suitable partner,
according to Mother."
"We were happy, but I wanted so much more out of life, to
be known as more than a mere nobleman's wife. Anthony
couldn't understand my needs, my desires to travel
abroad, to explore other worlds, other cultures. When I
expressed a yearning to step outside the cage constructed
for me by `civilized' French society, he would make me
feel guilty...not purposefully, of course," I quickly added.
"...for not showering enough attention on Andre, for
being a neglectful mother."
I sighed, and leaned my head wearily against his shoulder.
"I loved my family. I would have died for them. And I did."
He turned to me, confusion crossing quickly over his face.
Then, he returned back to the same stoic mode he had been
in, listening to my story carefully.
"A gentleman came to me one night," I explained.
"He was young. Handsome. Naturally, I was frightened. Anthony
was away, on business, but the manor was extremely
well-protected. There was no way he could have gained access
through all those guards."
"Who are you??? What do you want?" I cried, backing
into a corner. "How did you get inside?"
He took off his hat, and bowed down in greeting. He was a
handsome man, not so much older than I. I remember
distinctly, his eyes. They were like none I have ever seen
before. They were not green, or red... like yours, as you
were in the state of the vampire, but strikingly grey, and
frighteningly empty. I feared he was a ghost, an evil
spirit come to wreck havoc upon a god-fearing house.
"Which question would you like for me to answer first,
Madame Flauvier?" He said, with a slight turn of a smile.
I remained silent and speechless.
"My name is Girard. Only Girard. I could tell you the other
names I have added to that, over the years, but that was the
name I was born with, and have always known myself as.
I feel our acquaintance should begin on an honest note."
"Now for your second question. What do I want? The
answer is quite simple, really. It's you."
He said it so logically, so matter-of-factly.
What moral code did such a man live by, if he
announced such a thing? Surely not a gentleman.
but there was something else that scared me. It
was a feeling...a sense I had about him.
I rarely find myself ever truly *afraid* of anyone,
even when I encountered you and Nicholas in your
dark state. But somehow I know that he...this Girard,
did not have benevolent motives.
I shrunk back, until I was safely out of
range from him. "Guards! Guards!" I cried.
"Madame Flauvier, there's no point to that. I'm afraid
they're all out of commission." He stepped towards me
once again. "Which brings us to the answer to your last
question...how I managed to get inside. I suppose the
guards were especially sleepy tonight. I really must
commend your husband. He really is awfully protective
of you, and cautious of the safety of his family. Then, of
course...you are a treasure that should rightfully be
He sat himself down, and brushed the hair away from his
eyes. He had long, jet black hair that cascaded down, and
reached his shoulders. He sat there, staring at me intently.
"You're the most beautiful creature I have ever seen," he
finally said. "I've been waiting for you...biding my time."
I stared at him in surprise.
"Don't look so shocked, Madame Flauvier...or shall I
say, Madamoiselle deBrabant."
"How do you know my name?" I whispered.
"Haven't you been listening?" He shook his head at me,
amused. "I've been keeping an eye on you these past few
years...waiting for the right moment."
"Right moment?" I asked. "The right moment for what?"
He smiled at me. "To bring you across."
"What? I'm sorry...Monsieur, I don't quite understand
you. Across to where?"
"Ah...I forgot. It's been awhile, you know. Since I've
done this sort of thing."
I stood there still, confused...and very much afraid. "I
don't know what you're here for, but my husband will
be returning very soon... and..." my voice faltered,
as I saw a grin spread across his face.
"Don't try to lie to me, Madame Flauvier. Perhaps you
weren't taking me seriously when I said I've been
watching you. I know Monsieur Anthony is away. Quite
far away, actually. It's no use screaming," he added,
"If you intended on doing so. No one will hear you."
"What do you want from me?" I whispered.
He rose, and walked towards me. As I tried to back
away, he grasped my hand, and brushed his lips against
it. "Your company. Eternally."
"You.. you know that I'm married, Monsieur. It would
be shameful... disgraceful. I love my husband," I said,
with less confidence in my voice than I hoped.
"Love, or obey?" He asked me mockingly. "What I have
seen gives evidence to the latter. Your fool for a
husband...he tries to hide you from the world. I, on the
other hand, want to show you the world. Everything you
have ever wanted, all the knowledge you had ever desired,
will be at your fingertips. All you must do is say you
want all of this....And I shall give it to you."
"It sounds too good to be true," I said, narrowing my
eyes at him suspiciously.
"Of course, there are sacrifices to be made. You must
give up your life here. Your name. Your family."
"Yes. Your son. It would be a small sacrifice comapared
to an eternity of sensation."
"Then I cannot. Andre needs me."
He narrowed his eyes at me, eyes flickering with anger.
"'No' wasn't the answer I was waiting for."
"That is the only answer you shall hear from me
"Perhaps you will change your mind then..."
I heard a rustling...then nothing. There was no sign
of the strange man. He had disappeared.
I held onto Lucien's arm, partly for support, mostly for
"At first, I believed I dreamt the entire episode, but
"What? What happened?" he asked, encouraging me to
"Disaster," I whispered. "Disaster."
@--->---- @--->---- @--->----
Lucien implored me to continue my story. I did so, his
hand grasping mine.
"That night, I laid awake in bed, trying to forget what had
happened earlier in the evening. Maybe it was a nightmara,
I rationalized. Or maybe just the loneliness I felt--
without Anthony, with nothing more to do each day but to
sit and dream of the wonderful things that were happening
out there in the world. Things I wasn't permitted to
see, to experience."
"The next morning, not one of the guards could remember
the previous evening's events. Naturally, this only
confirmed my belief that I was most surely going mad."
I covered my face in my hands... "But horror!" I cried
out. "Oh horror! It was true...all of it was true!!!"
"What is it? he asked, taking my hands in his again.
"Where is the bastard? I will tear out his throat...
I silenced him and tried to steady myself before
"A week went by, and I gradually put away from my mind,
the episode with the strange gentleman. Then one morning,
Andre's governess came to me."
"Madame Flauvier! Madame Flauvier!" the governess cried,
running to the sitting room where I had been entertaining
a family friend.
"Marguerite!" I chided, taking her aside. "Can't you see
my attentions are occupied now? Elise Bouvet is an
important figure in these circles. It not only appears
distasteful upon our family, but we can't risk upsetting
an influential family such as the Bouvets, and you
*know* how easily she grows irritated. It would be
trouble for us."
"But Madame!" she said, clutching my arm, eyes
wide open with fear. "Monsieur Anthony is DEAD!"
I shook my head. Impossible.
I tried looking away from the young governess, to
undergo my own logical reasoning. But
her terror was obviously real. Anthony, my husband,
He was dead.
I felt my knees crumble beneath me. I reached out and held
on to Marguerite's arm as well...clutching it for balance,
trying to regain my composure. "Oh God... NO..." I whis-
pered faintly. "Dead? H...How?"
"A strange beast...ravaged him as he was traveling on
horse, returning to see you. That is what was assumed,
that he was coming back to the manor, since he was
headed in this direction." Marguerite continued her
story in whispers, glancing fearfully at Madame
Bouvet, who was subtly straining to hear the
conversation. She sat looking non-plussed, and
obviously irritated at being so.
"Beast? What beast? I asked.
"No one knows, Madame. There is not...much left of
the Monsieur to tell. Only the head was intact, but there
were sharp teeth marks and scratches upon his face."
"This morning, a few of the men gone hunting
spotted the remains in the woods nearby. The horse
still remained tied to a tree, and there was a fire
nearby. Apparently, he had stopped briefly to rest
before coming home. They were the ones who told me
the story, and discovered him. They asked me not to
tell you of the details...that they would only upset you,
but Madame, I couldn't do that!"
I nodded in agreement. "Thank you Marguerite." How I
hated that sort of chivalry! I did not need to be protected,
and it was especially important that I knew what had
occured, in light of the episode of last night.
"Has something happened?" Madame Bouvet called out,
not wanting to be left out of something that seemed
so newsworthy. Or worthy for the gossips, for that matter.
I wasn't quite ready to reveal the news to anyone just
yet. I was unwilling to believe it myself. It still seemed
a horrific dream, concocted from too little sleep, and
too much time.
But somehow, I knew. The dread that crept up in my soul
was real. This was his way of showing me. Him. The man
known to me only as Girard.
What was I to do? I knew he was coming for me, and
there was no way to hide from him.
End Part IV
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