Flowers never Die- By Jubee
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Flowers never Die- By Jubee

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..."

"No."

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."

"Oh?"

"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.

"Oh?"

"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

possible.

"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,

but..."

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."

FLASHBACK

@--->---- @--->----

"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

guarded."

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."

"My son?"

"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

tonight."

"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

comfort.

"At first, I believed I dreamt the entire episode, but

then..."

"What? What happened?" he asked, encouraging me to

continue.

"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 will..."

I silenced him and tried to steady myself before

continuing.

"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."

FLASHBACK

@--->---

"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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