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Turning back the hands
by Hannurdock

Rating : R/SLASH


Disclaimers: The characters from the Chronicles belong to Anne Rice. These stories are purely for pleasure and 'What if's'.  Nothing is meant to infringe upon the author's rights. I am doing this for fun and I love sharing my stories with others.
Summary: Lestat is given a second chance with Louis
Warnings: M/M Slash and Romance




PART 1

"Would you change one aspect of your past if you could?" Memnoch asked me gently as we walked through my savage garden, the young saplings flourishing under the gently swaying branches of their parents. A branch crackled under my foot. A bird a heartbreaking song.

I turned to Memnoch, my eyes moist with blood tears "Where do I begin? Claudia? Nicolas? My adventure with the Body Thief? I have made so many blunders".

Memnoch laughed easily and slung his large arm paternally around my shoulders. "Claudia and Nicolas are free Lestat. Freer than any of your immortal friends alive now. I meant someone who was suffering eternally, and craves death to be kind and find him each night".

I believe the breath left my body as he said those words. I knew only one such vampire.

"What are you saying, Memnoch?" I asked, horrified by the tremor in my voice. The sheer panic gripped me like a sledgehammer in my heart. Surely he wouldn't mean my beloved. My lover. My only real adored.

Suddenly the scene of the jungle, moist and naked, changed before my eyes. Changed to the very place I feared he would bring me. Here I was, standing above a crowded tavern watching the mortals drink beer and play cards before my eyes. Fearfully, I looked down to a table etched into my memory.

He was here.

"No ..." I backed away from the railing, almost colliding with Memnoch. "Why have you brought me here?"

"To help you do the right thing" Memnoch said authoritively. He looked sympathetically to the table where my adored sat slumped in an alcohol induced and restless sleep. Suddenly, he woke suddenly and rose to his feet. He looked up at me, and sighed in a characteristic manner and moved to the door.

I followed.

I knew the scene about to replay itself. Only this time, I did have a choice. The three options available to me were that I could leave him to die naturally, or kill him myself, or make him a vampire.

"Do the right thing" Memnoch murmered in my ear. "Don't let him suffer those long and endless nights. Be kind for once. Kill him quickly and in love. He will be reunited with his brother, and the doors of heaven shall open to him in a blazing celebration of the saved soul".

The tears in my eyes were flowing freely, and I looked at Memnoch with pleading eyes. "Why?"

Memnoch smiled with love "Which of the three options is right for him, Lestat?"

I glanced at him. He was staring at me, looking directly into my eyes. The scorching emerald eyes were amazingly clear, despite the recent binge of alcohol. Indeed, nothing could dim those beautiful eyes, those scorching gemstones. That hair too had me enthralled. Wavy and long and the colour of his grief and guilt.

It was as if I were seeing him for the first time.

"Do the right thing ....." Memnoch murmered again.

I walked up to the lonely and grief stricken figure, marvelling at his human beauty. I reached out boldly, and moved my fingers through the raven black curls. He stepped back in fear, his senses kicking into action, informing him that there was something unnatural about my movements and my bright preternatural eyes.

"Louis ...." I gasped.

"Who are you?" Louis asked, his voice breaking with the nights of bitter loneliness and grief he had been suffering.

The right thing. What was the right option? I had a chance to make things right for this one. This one who had suffered unrelentingly for the better part of two centuries. I could erase the mistake I had made. But could I bring myself to kill him? I doubted it, he was my adored. I couldn't imagine life without him. Yet, if I left him alive and grieving the way he was, soon he would be dead. The alcohol was eating his vital organs and the dare he played with the devil was a death wish. He glanced at me frowning, for I had yet to answer his question.

The right thing. Such a hard question. Such a difficult answer. I knew there was only one option for me to follow.

I couldn't not do it. I couldn't live my life knowing Louis had been lost to me in time as if he were a nameless victim that I hadn't given a damn about. I loved him.

That love was eternal.

Memnoch breathed a weary sigh beside me, resigned.

"My name is Lestat de Lioncourt" I replied. "I am your most devoted admirer. I have a gift for you, something which will ease your pain and suffering". I felt guilty myself saying this. It was all a lie. His grief would be forever. I knew this, and I still couldn't not have him.

But my love for him was like my betrayal. It was eternal. It was forever. It would withstand time and circumstance. It would hold him safe in my immortal arms.

No, I couldn't not do it.

As I leant to embrace him with my deathly kiss, I heard Memnoch utter four words which sent a chilling sensation through my veins into my heart. I shivered involuntarily. "Disaster my son. Disaster ....."



PART 2

The silence of the night surrounded us as I sucked at Louis' mortal neck, savouring the human scent for the last time.

"Give us your money or you die"

I turned and faced the pimp watching us, disgusted. He thought we were homosexual and engaging in some forbidden pleasure. I smiled at him, looking around momentarily for Memnoch. However, he had disappeared.

Louis shivered as I released him from my embrace, and he fell to the ground heavily. His breathing was raspy and uneven.

I gazed at Louis for a moment longer, and then turned my attention to the pathetic mortal before me. His blood smelt bad, as if it were dead, but I didn't care. I lunged towards the mortal quickly, sinking my teeth into the flesh of his neck. I drained him dry, and then let the white corpse drop to the ground.

I hastily moved back to Louis and knelt beside him. His eyes were closed, and he was still swooning from our intimate embrace earlier. Oh, this was going to be a fine pleasure. Being able to make right all the wrongs I had ever caused him. My love, my child. Things will be different this time.

I took off Louis' large fur lined coat, and wrapped his shivering body within it. Then I took to the air towards his plantation, and landed softly on his bedroom terrace. I walked into the room and lay Louis on the bed. Then, I carefully unwrapped the precious bundle, and gazed with satisfaction at the sight before me.

He looked so beautiful in the artificial light created by the tiny flame of a candle on the other side of the room. His eyes were closed still, and his breathing was softer now, more relaxed. His arms were folded on his chest and his black hair was slick with sweat. He moaned uncomfortably as his body began to fever and he became uncomfortably hot.

Moving beside him on the bed, I quickly undressed. Stripping out of all of my clothes I hastily unfastened his shirt and removed his trousers. Then I lay his naked frame on top of mine.

It seemed he tensed for a moment, then his beautiful eyes snapped open. My skin was cool, and he lay his face against my chest, sighing in contentment.

"What do you want with me?" Louis asked in a hoarse whisper.

"I want you" I said truthfully. "I've only ever wanted you".

"You don't even know me" Louis pouted, sitting up on the bed and gazing down at me. With interest, I was listening to his thoughts. It was amazing after all this time, to simply hear everything my love was thinking.

*Why am I naked? ..... Did we sleep together? Good Lord! I hope not. I'm not that way inclined .... at least I don't think so .... Why am I so unsure? Jesus! I'll burn in hell for thinking this way! Why doesn't he speak? Is he going to kill me? Rob me? Make love to me? I wish he would at least speak, those eyes are haunting ....*

I snapped out of listening to his mind, and allowed my tongue to answer some of his unspoken questions. "Louis my love, you and I will always be together. I knew you had problems regarding your sexuality when I first met you. I can clarify this for you if you want, but I think you know deep inside you are bisexual ..."

A small moan of fear passed Louis' lips, and I pulled him down beside me and continued "You are naked becuase you were hot and uncomfortable. I am cool, my skin is like ice".

Louis melted against me, and closed his eyes once more. "Are you going to kill me?"

I was shocked. Surely he didn't expect me to do that after all my tender words. "Of course not. I have something to give you, something very precious. Firstly, I must explain to you what this gift is, and why it is so important".

Louis glanced at me, his green eyes making me want to toss aside all reason and sink my teeth there and then. However, I loved him too much to be careless, so I continued with my dialogue. "The colour of my skin is different to yours. The transparant quality of my fingernails is unnatural and my eyes possess a certain lustre that draw's you deeply into them".

I felt Louis nod beneath me, and once again he closed his eyes. "I know you are not normal. I sensed that when I met you. Are you an angel?"

I laughed, but then I became serious immediately. "Sort of. A dark angel. I have been cast away from the Gates of Heaven because of what I have become. I am a vampire, my Louis. I prowl the mortal world in search of victims and I live by night".

Louis tensed beneath me. I felt his heartbeat become more rapid, and for an instant it frightened me beyond belief. I quickly rolled him off me, and moved on top of me, looking deeply into those emerald eyes. I felt him harden beneath me, his sexual organ brushing my leg. He blushed with shame.

I kissed him on the lips, unable to contain my love for a moment longer, and I felt the pressure from his own lips. Warm and moist and full of desire he seemed in this moment. His blood was heated from the need for sex.  "What we are, Louis ..." I breathed, breaking away abruptly from his eager kisses ".... was never meant to be. It all began thousands of years ago with two twin sisters and a possessive Queen and a undemanding King".

Louis moved to kiss me again, and I held him down on the pillows, watching his reaction as I told the story which had initially been a punishable offence. "A spirit named Amel entered both the King and the Queen. This spirit contained the blood lust we call vampirism today. Eternity, Louis. Think of it. Just love and endless delights. Just you and me".

Louis sighed in absolute happiness as he felt my lips once more against his own. "Is it really that good?"

I was touched by his seeming innocence. "Yes" I confirmed. "Would you let me love you forever? Would you come to me, and let me guide you through time eternal?"

Louis looked at me in simple shock. I suddenly saw his penis soften with the sudden shock which had overruled the pleasure. Disappointed, I pinned him down and kissed his softened cock with ernest until it became hard once more.

Louis was writhing in pleasure, his hands gripping the bed sheets tightly as I laid gentle kisses on his manhood. I rose up again to his face, kissing his hair, his eyelids and his soft and beautiful mouth.

"Yes" Louis breathed heavily "I want that. I want to be with you".

The words struck me with full force. All pleasure I had ever known was suddenly obliterated by his simple declaration of love. I turned away from him, ignoring his desperate pleas for fulfillment, and lay on my back on his head. "Come Louis ...." I tempted. "Let me feel you inside me before all feeling leaves that strong organ of yours". I spread my legs and gestured for him to approach me.

Louis gasped, the gentleman in him revolting at the thought. Temptation won, however. He edged towards me and sat between my legs. I was almost swooning in pleasure at this image. Louis, so beautiful in his manly physique about to come inside me.

Louis felt the crack between my legs, just under my balls with uncertain and shaking hands. Then he took his organ in his right hand, and guided it into my tight ass, edging further in and further in. Finally he was lying against me panting, his entire body covered with a sheen of sweat. Louis' sweat. Louis' perfect sweat. I licked this from his forehead and kissed his pretty cheek. He began to pump against me, and I held his quivering form in place. I closed my eyes, reveling in the heat of the moment. Louis inside me. Louis mine forever.

And then ....

Louis' organ went limp.

However, his orgasm hadn't happened, and I looked at him confused as I tightened my muscles against him, not allowing him to withdraw. "What's wrong, Louis?"

Louis was crying, his hand fondling my own organ. He tried to withdraw from me but I wouldn't allow it. His fragile body wracked with his sobs.

"Louis???" I shook his shoulders gently. Still he ignored the question, preferring to weep hysterically on my shoulder. Carefully, I probed his mind and found the exact reason for his sudden loss of arousal.

I felt like such a jerk. This was supposed to be perfect. Mortal pleasure for him, then a fine meal from the servants, then a slow dance in the fading moonlight, and just before dawn I would make him. So that when the death cramps seized his body, he would be safely in the death sleep. Under me. In this large double bed, beneath the covers, safely beneath the covers. As I didn't need to have covers anymore, I would sleep with him wrapped against me, tight and sweet and full of love. Before he should wake the next evening, I would quickly clean his wastes away from his body, and bathe him in the most luxurious and beautiful scented soaps. When he would awaken, he would gaze on me and tell me how happy he was to have chosen this life, and we would feed together on mortal villains. He would know everything about these trecherous fiends, and it would make his kill even more sweeter understanding he was putting to death a killer of the innocent.

I wanted to make things right between us, I had been given a second chance! And, I had blown it! I moved my fingers through his hair, allowing him to sob against my chest. However, I did not allow him to withdraw from me.  "Louis, please stop weeping. I have forgotton a vital detail, something you are unaware of. Let me explain ....."




PART 3

Louis tried again, in vain, to withdraw his flacid organ from my body, but I clenched my muscles hard against his manhood, and held him safely in my arms.

"Louis, I know you are troubled because my organ is not hard. This, unfortunately will not change. Vampires lose that particular ability when we are reborn into this darkness.

Louis gasped in horror. "There is no way then that I can satisfy your desires?"

I held his face steady as I gazed deeply into his eyes. "Mon amour, you satisfy me enough. I want to feel your semen fill me before I bring you across. Everything is amplified as a vampire. Including feeling your throbbing organ on the verge of orgasm. You satisfy my desires with every rich breath you take, every sigh you utter and every kiss we share".

Louis sighed in pleasure, the organ inside me hardening as I uttered these words. Encouraged, I continued to whisper my sweet exclamations of love. "Every glance I have of you increases my love indefinately. Every brush of your body makes me shiver with delight".

Louis groaned as he sat up, and began to thrust in ernest. All doubt and indecision cast aside as he gazed at me in love. I felt the throbbing organ move in and out of me, my anus slick with his essence. I closed my eyes, concentrating on the feeling of him inside me, wanting this moment to be forever etched in my memory. Suddenly he shuddered and I felt the organ twitching and throbbing and spilling his semen deep inside me. I opened my eyes, and watched the expression on his face, the total satisfaction flood his features. Then he collapsed on top of me, allowing me to enfold him in my arms.  He shuddered and wept with the ferocity of our lovemaking, and kissed my mouth over and over again.

"Louis ...." I groaned, kissing every inch of him as he lay, prone and satisfied in my arms. I drifted casually to his neck, leaving soft butterfly kisses along his abdomen, on his strong and taut chest, and on his shoulder. I breathed in the mortal fragrance of the one who would become my lover, my life ... forever.

I opened my mouth against his hot and satisfied flesh.  I nibbled the flesh gently, sucking his neck with my teeth. Indeed, I bruised the flesh I was so forceful. However, he moaned in delight as I rolled him over and burrowed into his eager flesh.  I sucked again, and licked the sweat slickened flesh. I smelt the familiar husky odour rising from his skin, so sensual and pleasurable. Then I nicked the flesh quickly with one fang, and heard him gasp in pleasure. He shuddered and wound his arms around me.  Then I slowly inserted both fangs into his waiting flesh, hearing him moan and become hard against me. The erotic sensation of feeling his length harden against me once again was too much, and I sought out the rich vein, grasping his manhood in my hand, and moving it safely into the crease of my ass for the second time. We rolled together on the bed, lost in our passions. He was pumping wildly inside me, whilst I obtained my pleasure through the blood kiss. So rich, so full of love and life.

He orgasmed violently, shuddering with the intensity of it. The organ softened only a little before hardening once more. I sucked in time to his rythmn, feeling him gasp and shudder and orgasm uncontrollably against me. Before he became too weak, I drew back, kissing at his wounds. His heart was beating fast and furiously, and I whispered soothing words to calm him down. Eventually his heart slowed to a regular pace and he closed his eyes and slept beside me.

Before I proceed with my tale, I want to explain a physical effect that we vampires have on the human body. As a vampire pleasures a mortal, the feeling is sustained and we can make mortal males and females orgasm indefinately. However, such pleasures are not for the male body, which is not designed to feel pleasure in waves. Therefore, it is dangerous to allow the male to keep orgasming. I listened to Louis' heartbeat as he slept, measuring the beats with a trained ear.

How long we remained here, I did not know. I was consumed with his thoughts, the fact he was in love with me. He wanted to be with me forever, at whatever cost. He had never known such unconditional and relentless love as mine. He was complete. He was free. He was mine.

Mine. I was doing things right for a change. He wanted me as I wanted him and he harboured no bitterness towards me for past mistakes and regrets. We loved each other, and there was no ugly past to make him want to leave me for Marius. I thought briefly to what he had suffered at Santiago's hand and I felt familiar anger clawing at my soul.

Finally, I left him spreadeagled on the bed and quickly moved down the lavish staircase to inform the servants about the feast I wanted prepared. The servants eyed me warily, but complied with my request. Soon, a lavish banquet was being prepared for my beloved. Taking a small pitcher of water upstairs with me, I lay this on the table beside him. Drawing him up into a sitting position, I kissed his parched mouth until he awoke. He was thirsting. The blood I had taken from him was taking his toll on his physical strength and endurance.

I poured a glass of water and helped him to drink it. Once the glass was empty, I helped him to dress in his finest garments and together we walked down the staircase, my arm supporting Louis in case he should fall. I watched Louis with interest as we walked down that long staircase. I saw his eyes light up when he smelt the food being prepared and together we walked into the dining area and waited.

I ran my fingers along his cheekbones and sat talking with him. "You will be the same for all time, beloved. Is there any physical aspect of yourself you wish changed?"

Louis thought about this for a moment, and then shook his head "No, well ...."

"Well what?" I laughed, kissing his forehead in pleasure.

"There is one thing ...." Louis stammered.

I listened attentively.

"When I was a young boy, I fell off my horse when I was learning to ride. I hit my head and an ugly scar remains to this day from the incident".

Brushing back Louis' black and beautiful hair, I observed the very scar he was referring to. To be truthful, I had never seen it. Louis had a habit of keeping his hair down and his forehead hidden. No wonder, if he felt self conscious about such a silly thing.

"No problems Louis" I murmered, using a sharp nail to cut around the flesh surrounding his scar. Louis gasped, and clutched my arm in pain. I removed the offending flesh from his forehead, scowling at the small scar. Then I cut my wrist and healed his flesh. Perfect. The scar was removed, and Louis was still conscious. To be truthful, I had expected the pain to knock him out cold. "Anything else?"

Shakily, Louis rose to his feet. I stayed behind him, steadying him with my two hands clamped on his shoulders. He walked over to an oval mirror and glanced at himself in it. He brushed the locks of his black hair this way and that, trying to identify the missing scar. Sighing with satisfaction he turned around and faced me, amazed.  "That's it, actually".

"Good" I rubbed my hands together. The servants walked into the room carrying the banquet I had ordered. Louis gasped at the amount of food on the table. "I won't be able to eat all this!"

I shook my head. "This isn't an eating contest, Louis. I want you to try all these dishes, savour the finest wines, before I bring you across".

I sat across from him, watching him as he consumed little morsels from each plate. He was indeed a picky eater. His nimble fingers moved across every plate for little tid bits, and he chewed his food about six or seven times before swallowing. Finally, he had had enough and he gestured for the servants to remove the unwanted food. "Enough" he said, patting his belly. "I am indeed full, mon amour".

I laughed. It was the first pet name I had heard him call me. 'Mon amour'. My beloved. Oh, how I loved him. How I wanted him.

I filled his glass with wine and watched him drink greedily the alcoholic beverage. He was drunk, his eyes half closed with the pleasure of the feeling spreading through his veins. I could smell the alcohol masking his odour. I didn't like it. I wanted the scent of him only. However, he was happy and drunk and in love with me. I refilled his glass repeatedly until he was in an alcoholic induced stupor.

Now was the time for him to come to me.

Now was the time he would die for me, and be reborn as my eternal companion.

Now, and forever.

I gestured for him to rise from the table, and he followed me upstairs into his bedroom.

"It is time, Louis" I said softly.

Louis nodded and said four words I had waited an eternity to hear "I'm ready, my love".




PART 4

I hastily undressed my drunken Louis, and lay him on the bed. He gazed up at me as I undressed slowly myself, and he reached out for me with a shaking hand.

I lay beside him, reveling in our nakedness. Louis kissed my mouth, but I turned away from his eager advances. I pushed his head into the pillow with my right hand and drove my teeth into his neck.

This time there would be no holding back. He was to be mine always.

I had played the seduction scene long enough. Now the eternal promise was about to be fulfilled.

Louis groaned as I drank of him deeply, drinking in all his memories. His guilt of his brother dying, and how our love had overcome that in just one night. His guilt was nothing to him now, just an excuse to be unhappy. After all we had shared, he only wanted love and eternity.


I pulled away. Louis gasped as my hand left his head and he turned and looked at me weakly. His green eyes bore into my soul as he wondered what I was up to.

I had other plans for my fledgling. Many other plans. This night was going to be the perfect night.

Grasping his hardened organ, I licked it and sucked it, taking some of his essence into my mouth. Then I bit my tongue viciously and allowed the two fluids to mix together. Then, bending down once more, I allowed the drops to fall in the slit on his penis, and rubbed the mixed fluid into the tiny crack. He arched back, orgasming immediately, a small gasp serving to increase the speed of my hand pumping his organ. He sighed and lay back, exhausted. Sweat covered his body, desire clouded his mind.

Again, I drove my fangs into that hot skin of his neck, through the same puncture wounds I had made earlier. Louis gasped, hardening instantly and coming again before I could move his throbbing organ into my ass. Swooning, in constant rapture and pleasure, it was all he could do not to cry out with the pleasure. Hardening again, I drove his manhood into my ass as I drank and felt the sensual movement of his organ against me. It was a blend of complete extasy, this feeling of him orgasming in my ass, and the feel of the blood hitting my tongue and sliding down my throat like a waterfall.

I pressed him further into the bed, feeling the organ spontaneously orgasm as I did, and pulled away from him again. He cried out in anguish as I released his organ from my ass, and dipped my head to his current source of human pleasure. I bit my tongue and allowed my mouth to fill with my own blood. Then I took the whole of him into my mouth, scraping my teeth along his manhood. The flesh instantly healed with my blood swirling around his organ, and I felt him shudder with orgasm over and over again.

Suddenly, his heart stopped.

Immediately, I stopped my sexual pleasures and looked at his calm and satisfied face. "Louis?"

No answer.

I rose up beside him on the bed and checked for a pulse. None.

I checked for a heartbeat, feeling the terror crest in me. None.

Panic seizing me, I shook his shoulders but he did not wake. Instantly I bent to his tender mouth and breathed into his lungs for him.

I checked for a pulse and heartbeat again. None.

I hit his chest, following the example I had seen on late night episodes of ER. Pumping his chest, I applied mouth-to-mouth, but still he was not responding.

I shook him by the shoulders to wake him up, sobbing in horror.

But there was nothing.



PART 5

I breathed into his mouth once again desperately and I heard a muffled choke beneath me. I heard his heart give tiny muffled beats as he sought to wake himself up.

I did not waste another moment. Not another precious moment.

Biting deeply into my wrist, I sealed the bleeding wound to his mouth. For a moment, I heard him panic and shout. Then a slight sucking, weak and almost nothing at all. Then suddenly, he clamped to me and I felt him draining every particle of my being.

It hurt of course. The pain however was nothing to the waves of emotion and love I felt holding him against my heart. I felt his own heartbeat become stronger with the blood he was consuming.

I closed my eyes.

The sounds around me were hollow and meant nothing to me. The only sound that mattered was the sound of Louis latched against me, feeding from me. His heart pounding like a drum. I glanced around myself frantically.

It was almost dawn. The night was softening to a shade of ugly grey, the light I knew would hurt his sensitive eyes as soon as he had crossed over.

I was becoming weaker, and panicking. Hastily, I concentrated all my power on closing the curtains with my mind. It was hard work, but slowly the curtains drew themselves together.

Suddenly the bedroom door opened and Louis' sister walked into the room. She stopped when she saw us lying on the bed naked together. Louis was still fastened to my wrist.

My eyes narrowed as I suggested some mental manipulation to her mind. *You saw nothing my dear, just fading shadows. Louis is asleep. Louis is fine. Louis needs to rest for a full twelve hours. Leave Louis in peace. Ensure the servants will not disturb him. Keep out of his room at all costs. Now go*

Louis' sister left the room and I quickly locked the door with my mind, lest some other mortal enter without knocking. I was becoming weaker and weaker. He was still locked against me, tucked under my arm. My eyes rolled back into my head and I fell against the soft pillows.

Suddenly the whole world became black.

_

Heartbeat.

The dark.

I forced my eyes open.

I glanced in a haze around myself only to find Louis gone from the bed.

Terrified, I sat up and listened for him. Then I leapt out of bed naked .... what did I care? .... and ran down the stairs. I hunted around the house for him, and still could not find him anywhere.

I moved outside, ignoring the murmer of amusement from the servants. I searched the grounds and found Louis sprawled against his brother's grave. I looked at the tomb in hatred, picking up my frying fledgling from the stone and hurrying back inside with him.

His face was slightly blackened from the coming sun. He stirred a little in my embrace, but he was fully in the death sleep now. I covered his slightly charred body with some sheets and covers, then lay atop him protectively.

I suddenly felt him lurch underneath me involuntarily.

My eyes closing, I murmered into the sheets and covers "Just the pain of death, my Louis ... then it will be gone .... I promise it will be gone ....."

My eyes were closing, so I ignored his thrashing body beneath me. I kept him as still as possible, marvelling at his newfound strength. I murmered gentle words to him, and kept him motionless. Eventually he stopped struggling.

My eyes were closing with the coming light. It was less than twenty minutes before dawn. I closed my eyes, and dreamt of Louis. Louis beside me forever.

Louis and I. Both in love. The way it should have been between us from the beginning. I wish it hadn't taken me two hundred years and a trip to hell to get things right.

But now, I could truly start again.

With him by my side.

Forever.




PART 6


I opened my eyes.

The sun had only just set and Louis was asleep still. I unwrapped his vulnerable form and held him to my chest studying the wounds inflicted by the sun the night before.

Was I ever going to stop being such an ass? Two hundred years, and a second chance and still I don't get it right. I sometimes wondered why Louis decided to stay with me after all I had done to wound him, some of it intentional, some not.

Hastily, I spilled some of my blood onto his burns and watched them heal with a sick fascination. He murmered and moved slightly, his weight shifting into my arms even more. I held him close, listening to his sweet wordless murmerings. At one point, I lay my ear close to his mouth, delighting in the feel of his lips moving against the lobe.

His eyes snapped open. He looked at me, his eyes masked with blood tears. "I'm sorry".

"Hush now" I said gently. "You have nothing to apologise for. I 'forgot' to mention that sunlight is a killer. I'm sorry, Louis. Can you forgive me?"

Louis looked as if he would break down and sob in my arms. "Of course. Why are you so good to me?"

An innocent question. I allowed him to sit up and then pulled him into a tight embrace. I kissed his vagabond hair, his dark eyebrows and his seductive small mouth. I probed inside this mouth with my tongue, moving the muscle against his fang teeth drawing blood. Louis gave a little cry of pleasure as my blood trickled down his throat, and pulled me closer to him. Demanding more from me.

I was only too happy to give him everything I was. I was realising how much of my strength Louis had obtained from his initial feeding. He was strong like David, but his emotions were vulnerable and easy to hurt. I would have to be so careful. I would have to treat him like silk and wine glasses - with the utmost care.

Louis growled as he gulped down the offering, and backed away suddenly, hunger in his eyes. He gazed deeply into my soul and then sank his fangs suddenly into my neck. I arched back in pain and desire, Louis dragging me to the ground beneath him.

He drank and drank and drank. Until I became dizzy once again, and passed out.

When I awoke, Louis was holding me in his arms, gazing anxiously down at me. I immediately jumped away from his caring arms, ashamed at such tenderness and glared at him with a sudden ferocity that made his body shudder.

"What the fuck do you think you are doing, Louis?" I demanded, the parlance of the future still staining me with words that belonged in a gutter.

"I ... I ... don't know" Louis stammered. "I ... lost control ... I apologise ..."

I glowered at him, feeling the anger absorb my very reason. "Watch it! Your not to take that much from me again, understand? I'll be too weak to rise if you continue that little game".

Louis gulped and nodded with a heartbreaking expression on his face. All my anger melted into concern and love immediately. "Louis .... I'm sorry about my anger. I didn't mean to make you cry".

Louis turned his back on me, and stalked away from me and out of our room. I slapped my head and sighed wearily. I had done it again.

A sharp scraping along the floor alerted me to the fact Louis was moving something out of the house. A lump came up into my throat as I raced out of the room and confronted Louis immediately.

"Where do you think you are going with that?" I demanded of the coffin he was dragging into the oratory.

"I'm sleeping on my own tomorrow" Louis informed me miserably. "I'm not going to wake up and be confronted with a temper tantrum like that again".

I sighed, exasperated. "There is no winning, is there? I treat you like a complete God and you bed down in the fucking oratory of all places!! Don't you know how many creeping things lurk in the shadows of that cursed place?"

"I will hear no more of this" Louis said with a finality which struck my heart. "I am sleeping out there and you cannot stop me".

"Oh but I can" I said, opening my mouth and revealing my fangs to him. He shrugged and continued to drag the heavy coffin into the oratory.

"Why a fucking coffin, anyway?" I yelled. "Where the hell did you get an idea like that?"

I would have laughed when Louis showed me the small book, but I was too incensed. "A vampire story!!!! You stupid, stupid fledgling! Have you got a clue about anything??!!?"

I grabbed Louis' hand and dragged him over to the oratory. The coffin thudded behind us as it unceremoniously slammed into the ground and shattered. I lifted him up high, and threw him into the large cross at the rear of his revered place. "Your not burning, you oaf!!! Vampires do NOT have to sleep in coffins, or be afraid of crosses, or any other piece of crap you read from that trash you call a novel!"

Louis got to his feet, and indignantly brushed himself down. He glared at me. "Temper, temper".

I growled and reached for the lapel of his suit. I brought him close so we were standing eye to eye "Don't taunt me, Louis".

"Grow up and act your age not your saddle size" Louis said, brushing my hands off his shoulder. "I'll sleep unprotected in the oratory if I have to. There is no way I will spend another night in bed with you".

I pulled him into my arms, refusing to let him go. "Watch it, Louis. My power is stronger than yours. I will sink my teeth and make you too weak to get away from me if you continue this".

Louis sighed, and in a sudden movement flung me away from him. I fell to the ground dazed. I looked at him in hatred.

Suddenly I was on my feet and running towards him with preternatural speed. I wrapped him in my arms and sank my fangs deeply into his throat. Painfully deep. He screamed in pain as I drank big greedy gulps of his blood. He shoved at me with his soft hands. His hair was wildly tangling as I drank of him.

Finally he went limp, and I had a chance to reflect on the horror of the situation.

One of our legendary fights had occured. I had worked so hard to make this perfect, and I threw him against a marble cross!! How could I have done that! He hadn't even fed yet, or really know what that entailed. Oh, I had misjudged this terribly. I had been so wrong, reacting in anger towards the one I loved the most! He had only been responding to his hunger when he attacked me, he had attacked the only source of food he knew!! I had betrayed him already! My eyes were filling with bitter tears.

Taking him back into the house, I lay him beside me on the bed. I waited for him to wake up, ready to utter a thousand apologies to him.

However, not one word passed my lips for a full five minutes when Louis struggled weakly to his feet and walked away from me. Such curses I had never heard on my Beautiful One's lips. I had royally fucked up. Louis was leaving me, Louis was going.

Already. Before I had a chance to prove myself.

He had no idea really of what he was, or what he had to do in order to survive.

I had to stop him now or I would lose him forever. Or worse, all my past mistakes would happen exactly like they did before.




PART 7


"Louis, I think we should talk" I said, running to keep up with him as he walked out of the house with long strides.
 
"We've talked enough" Louis said simply, "I want nothing more to do with you!"
 
"Louis, please! It was a mistake! I let my emotions get the better of me. Please stop and listen".
 
Louis stopped and glared at me. His pulsing green eyes filled with hatred. I turned away, feeling ashamed and humiliated. After all, letting one's temper go is a sign of weakness. I hated being weak, especially around Louis.
 
"Please come back to the house with me" I begged shamelessly. "I am so sorry for the pain I've caused you tonight.
 Please, don't leave like this. Let me explain what went wrong".
 
The anger slowly melted from Louis' expression, and his features softened as he gazed into my eyes. Love was replacing the hate, and I leant forward and kissed his mouth gently, letting him know how much I really did love him. He closed his eyes and sighed as a single tear rolled down his cheek. I brushed it away with trembling fingers and kissed his forehead.
 
"Come back inside my love" I whispered.
 
I could see Louis' determination ebbing, and took advantage of this by securely taking his arm and leading him back into the house. I sat him down on a comfy chair and knelt beside him, collecting my thoughts before saying a word. For Lestat de Lioncourt, brat prince and monster who had never before thought before he spoke, this proved extremely difficult.
 
Finally however, I began to explain. "Louis, I have the most dreadful temper. I hope you can forgive my outburst earlier. I never wanted to injure you, or cause you pain. But once my temper is unleashed, all hell breaks loose and I am unable to stop what happens" I looked downcast, and turned my eyes to the floor. "I want to learn to control this. I can't help it, this is a severe weakness of mine. To lash out at someone I love with every particle of my being suddenly seems so childish and mean. Forgive me".
 
Louis sighed and looked at me with acceptance in his expression. "Maybe its something we can work out together?"
 
I sighed in relief. "I can't do it on my own, Louis. I need you to help me".
 
Louis sighed and looked resigned. "Very well, Lestat. I shall stay with you for now. However, one more temper
 tantrum and fight and I shall leave. No drinking from me ever again, do you understand?".
 
 I nodded, gulping in despair. If only Louis knew how those words were torturing me, killing me. "I understand,
 beloved" I whispered.
 
"Good" Louis mumered seductively. "Then how about making things up to me?"
 
Startled, I looked into his fierce green eyes, now glazed with desire. "What do you have in mind, Louis?"
 
_

Louis smiled seductively and lazily sprawled over the comfy chair, regarding me with a passionate smile.

I shook my head in disbelief. Louis? Coming on to me? It would never have happened in a million years back then in the alternate time and place. Here, however was different. I could literally feel the affection pouring out of him.

All directed at me. Wonderful.

I moved forward, and lay my head between his legs, inhaling Louis' musky fragrance. The skin was hardening still and his human scent was still apparant, clinging to him like spirits of the dead. He had not been a vampire long, and I could smell the mortal scents from him! When I inhaled the sweet scent from his limp male organ I could smell the semen! I could smell the scented soap from his bathing yesterday! I could smell the pure heavenly smell of soft male flesh, still supple and warm, yet to harden and become alabaster. Indeed, I could have lay on his lap for hours, soaking up his scents so to speak. The night however had other plans for us.

Desire mingled with his need for me. He reached down and indicated for me to lie beside him. Instantly I was lying with him, my arms around his body drawing him close. He gasped, for the embrace was hard and hurt him a little, but he did not ask nor want me to move away.

"You are not yet a vampire fully" I explained gently. "Your body will eventually leave behind all mortal ability. For now, you are in a midway point. The blood is slowly taking over from your own, replacing it with eternal need and hunger".

Louis nodded. He seemed enthralled with my words.

"You must learn to feed mon ange, you must also learn to control your overwhelming hunger. I will stay with you and teach you everything you need to know. I will tell you about our history, the vampire species, and answer all of your questions to the best of my ability".

Louis nodded and suddenly shivered. I drew him closer to myself, if that were possible. I wrapped him up in my large warm coat. His warm body pressed against my own. Pure heavenly Louis. Like raindrops in the sunshine. Refreshing, yet warm and full of promise. Soft and warm and full of life. My Louis. My beloved. The only real love I had ever known in my long immortal life. And he belonged to me. Now and forever. I sighed with contentment.

In fact, being this close to Louis resembled, or compared, to some of the most precious memories in my immortal lifetime. The warmth of the streetlight on a dark and cold night enveloping me with safety and heat. The sound of a child's laughter in a packed train station suddenly filling me with tenderness. The soft cry of a newborn bird as its mother feeds it for the first time. The soft refreshing feel of snow and the sparkle and light it brings to the darkness. Hmmm, Louis. You are all this to me ...

Suddenly he gave a small yelp and leapt across the room. I followed him with my eyes, fascinated. "What is it beloved?"

Louis pointed to the couch with a shaking finger.  

I glanced behind me and couldn't help but laugh uncontrollably. "Oh Louis!" I spluttered, unable to control my hysterics "What am I going to do with you?"

_

Louis pointed at me with fear blazing in his emerald green eyes.

Casually turning, I caught the tiny creature and let it run over my fingers. "Its only a spider, Louis".

Louis shuddered and turned away. "I absolutely hate them".

That was something new. I had never considered that Louis might have a phobia, especially over something so small and helpless. I cupped its body gently, taking special care not to damage its little legs and took it over to the window.

A lot of people don't even know this, but animals and insects do have thoughts. I was in possession of an ability, not only to read mortals minds but all creatures. Indeed, I could sense a panic rising from the little creature in my hand. Its legs were trembling in fear. Carefully I lowered the arachnid to the ground and watched it scamper away in relief.

Just to digress from the story at hand, I want to explain more about this ability to read creatures thoughts. With Mojo, I could see all manner of random images coming from his mind. Mainly involving bowls of dog food and bones. However, I was in his thoughts as well, and I could feel his joy associated with his memories of me every time he saw me.

With that little creature with the eight trembling legs, I had felt a subtle emotion which I could only describe as fear. Every little creature who is alive has a soul, a living presence. Even down to the humble ant. All creatures have a brain, no matter how small and communicate with each other in humble ways.

Louis was still standing with his back to me. I turned him around and embraced him gently. "Ah, Louis. It would never have hurt you. The poor little soul thought it was doomed".

"How do you know?" Louis said bitterly. "They always run towards me to frighten me senseless".

I tapped my temple and smiled "I could feel its thoughts. Oh, not sophisticated like human thoughts but I could still recognise the basic emotions".

Louis appeared to think this over and seemed fascinated by my gift, my ability to read minds of anything on earth. "What was that spider thinking?"

I shrugged "It was afraid it would be squashed like its parents were by a truck. I saw random images of its little life, always running, always afraid. It must be very stressful being so small and vulnerable".

Louis nodded, eyes wide with fascination.

"When it scampered away, it was relieved and thankful". I continued. "For it had survived another day. Beautiful little soul. So sweet and lost".

Louis looked ready to weep with emotion, so I held back on telling him about the big bird of prey that had killed the little creature up the garden path. Instead, I drew him close and whispered in hushed tones my love and devotion to him. Louis shuddered in delight, and gazed at me with red rimmed eyes. Tears were sliding down his face.

"What's wrong?" I asked him gently.

"I wish I could see the world the way you do" Louis said softly "I wish I could see beauty in even the smallest soul. I wish I could be fascinated with creatures that I abhor".

"Hush now" I said. "Let's go out and hunt together. It is something you must become accustomed to, and soon. For if I am not around, you will need to be able to survive on your own".

Louis nodded, and looked worried. Planting a reassuring kiss on his forehead, I walked with him briskly out of the house and took to the air with him closely pressed against me.




PART 8


We touched down outside a tavern full of drunken brawlers. Louis seemed a little nervous, and clung to my arm like a lost child.

I led him inside the poisened place and we sat together at the far end of the room, my arm casually around his shoulders. We looked like lazy lovers, enjoying each other's company.

As planned, the scene also worked to our advantage by yielding a homophobic victim.

A middle aged man, drunk and staggering, with a beard that smelt of rancid urine walked up to us and sat by our side.  Acting the part for Louis' benefit, I turned my beloved's face towards me and kissed him fully on the lips.

The man became incensed and lunged at Louis, his hands reaching for Louis' throat. At the last moment, I caught his hands and pulled him against Louis' chest. Louis gasped in surprise as he felt himself sanwiched between us both. I held the struggling man steady and leant close to Louis' ear.

"Use your sharp teeth to pierce his neck, my love" I whispered, kissing Louis' soft earlobe.

Louis shivered and his mouth moved to the dirty man's neck. He smelt the rancid flesh and looked back at me in disbelief.

"Go on" I smiled, nudging him with my elbow gently. "Take him now. Drink him into you my beloved. Take his memories and savour them as if they were your own".

Louis moaned and bit the man's neck without realising he was doing it. I nuzzled against his own pale neck and crooned sweet reassuring words to him "That's it my love .... you are doing wonderfully well ..... take all of it .... put him out of his misery ... just think of all the innocents you have saved tonight by killing this murderer".

Louis groaned in sweet agony. I released the man's limp arms and pulled them both to me - vampire and victim - in the deathly embrace. I kissed and held Louis so close, afraid he would simply vanish if I let go, and I drowned in his groans of pleasure. So sweet, so refreshing, so fulfilling.

Louis' soft groans had alerted another ruffian to our table. He watched the three of us, obviously thinking we were all making out in some obsene display. He bellowed at us, and rushed towards Louis.

I caught him and pulled him to my chest. Savouring the stink of his rotting flesh, I drank deeply from him. Taking him into myself. He was swooning, and I could feel his rising panic as he became limp and finally died in my arms.

Louis meanwhile was still sucking relentlessly from his victim's neck. I pulled him away and kissed his eager mouth. "No more, beloved. He is dead".

Louis moaned and tried to reach the dead victim but I held him tightly in my arms, whispering soft words of love and devotion.

Finally Louis softened against me. He looked at me in astonishment and I smiled. "It was good, no?"

Louis nodded.

Kissing him briefly, I showed him how to seal the wounds on his victim's neck using blood from my cut thumb. He watched in fascination as the wound healed almost immediately. I kissed Louis' wrist and bit savagely into the flesh, enjoying hearing the gasp of shock and encouragement. He arched against me, and I felt his desire.

"Let's get out of here before people notice these two are dead" I whispered, although I knew that no-one here would be interested or even care about two dead murderers and drug dealers.

Louis nodded, still swooning from my bite, and I led him outside with a smile on my face.

All of this was perfect.

I was so happy.

Nothing would ever part Louis and myself.

I was sure. I was so sure.

Then Louis asked "Who's that?"

I turned.

My heart turned to stone right there and then.

"No!" I gasped in horror. "Please, not yet. Not now".

It was useless.

I was powerless to stop him.

And he knew.

He knew.

And he took advantage of the situation.

Oh, Louis.

If only we had had more time.

I could have built the past we had always dreamed of.

Built the whole world around our love.

Built the passage for eternity.

Built our perfect life.

But, it was never meant to be.

I didn't really understand what was going to happen.

Or why this had happened now, when things were at last going right between us.

Oh Louis. Forgive me. I meant well. Yet, all my dreams crumble becuase I am damned.

Now, so are you. Now and forever.




PART 9


Oh, Louis.

Dearest reader, if you wish I can stop this story right here, right now. For destiny isn't measured by the love of two people, although we wish it was. I had a debt to pay to the Gods, and it was time to pay up.

Oh, Louis.

Forgive me.

Please ....

_

He stood there, watching us.

"Who is it?" Louis asked again, nudging me.

I stood trembling beside him. Louis became slightly afraid, and then angry. He let go of me, and I gasped in disbelief as he walked straight up to the devil.

"Who are you?" Louis asked fearlessly, directly.

"I am the devil" Memnoch replied gently, smiling at Louis' bravery and foolishness.

Louis snorted in derision, and looked back at me to see me cowering behind him. He looked back at Memnoch, and then the truth finally sank in. "It can't be ...."

Memnoch bowed. "At your service, Mr de Pointe du Lac. I see de Lioncourt has been taking good care of you. Although, not in the way I anticipated. That however is unimportant. I have come for your maker".

I walked up to Louis with trembling legs, and shoved him behind me. "Why have you come now? I thought it was too perfect to be true. You are a monster!"

Memnoch reddened with anger, his cheeks flushed with rage. "You call me a monster, de Lioncourt? I gave you a chance to save this one from the eternal fires of damnation and you used this chance to your own advantage. You took away every chance he would have of salvation, and you have the audacity to call it love".

I was literally fuming. He had no right to say these things to me. He could talk. He was the enemy of God after all. "You of all beings have no right to give me a lecture on what is love, Memnoch. Have you ever loved anything or anyone? Or is your entire existance one long excuse for getting even with Him!"

Memnoch sighed and turned away. "Hardly. I did once love someone. Someone I thought I could change for the better. But, he betrayed me in another man's arms".

Louis wrapped one arm around me, and in an instant Memnoch had struck him brutally. Louis flew for a moment, arms flailing and then hit a spiked railing fully in the chest.

"Louis!" I gasped, leaving Memnoch momentarily and tending to my injured fledgling. Louis groaned as I helped him off the vicious spikes and looked at me fearfully as I wrapped him securely in my arms and glared at Memnoch. "Why the fuck did you do that?"

Memnoch smiled viciously. "Why not? He has come between us in ways I would never have imagined. The lesson has been lost in this mockery of an emotion you call love. I should destroy him right now, to punish you for your insolence".

I gasped in fear "Please, Memnoch. Not that. Anything, but not that".

Sighing, Memnoch turned away and looked at the darkened sky. "If only you had taken that chance and saved his soul. Oh, Lestat. You cannot begin to imagine what you have done to this one, how the centuries will eat away his entire endurance".

"We shall face it together" I vowed, kissing Louis on his forehead, and lifting him into my arms. "You cannot seperate us".

"No?" Memnoch glared at me. "You think not?"

A swirling whirlwind caught me off guard, and I desperately sought to keep Louis close to me. However, the rage of the wind's were too strong and I lost him in a whirling haze of darkness. "Louis ...... !" I called desperately in the blackness. "Louis, Louis, Louis ...."

Suddenly, I was caught by my nemesis. I fought the bastard with every shred of my existance. My eyes filling with blood tears at my seperation from Louis. "I'll kill you, you bastard! Where is Louis? What have you done with him?"

Memnoch held me gently until I had stopped struggling in his arms. I lay against him, panting and breathless as I summoned my strength for yet another struggle. "Enough" Memnoch said softly. "That will do Lestat. Louis is safe and sound back in the past. I have erased the past you were trying to build. That's not in the rules, and I would be struck down by the Lord's Good Arm if I were to let you get away with that".

"No" I sobbed against him "No, not after all my effort to make things right between us. Its not fair, not fair at all".

Memnoch looked at me with loving eyes. My heart was breaking.

"Louis will be waiting for you no matter what your past" Memnoch said simply. "Do you not understand how deeply he feels for you? How fearless and ferocious his love is for you? Have you never known that? Why, even in your real time he is sitting by the telephone. He is weeping by the telephone, wondering if you will have the courtesy to call him. He had no idea that you have been taken by me. He only knows what the others tell him. He is alone and afraid and wondering why he loves someone who is so inconsiderate".

"No" I wept against Memnoch's shoulder. "No, I won't believe it!"

"Then see it for yourself" Memnoch said, sweeping me back into my own time, the present. I saw Louis crouched by the door, phone in hand. Blood tears streaked his face. His shoulders were wracked with sobs. I tried to reach him, but Memnoch kept me back.

His whole face was distorted with his sadness. I had never witnessed such pain. In his left hand, the one not holding the phone, he had a small piece of paper. "What does that say?" I asked Memnoch.

Memnoch shook his head and closed his eyes. "It is a message from David Talbot. He has informed Louis that something has happened to you, something which may spell your end. He has asked Louis if he would like to come and join Armand and himself watching over Dora".

"Will he?" I asked eagerly.

Memnoch shook his head. "He is in too much of a state to even contemplate joining the others. He is ashamed of his emotions. He also thinks you are still mad at him over not making him a vampire when you were mortal and turned to him".

I shook my head desperately. "I am not mad. Please Memnoch, let me go back home. I need to see him, speak with him".

Memnoch shook his head "You do realise you left him behind to re-create someone he would never be? Louis, your Louis, you would have let him die to create your version of the perfect Louis. Is that what you wanted?"

I shook my head, crying. "No, please let me go, he needs me".

Memnoch smiled tenderly. "As much as I detest your love for him, I have no choice Lestat. I would not have you regret your time spent with me. In the future, maybe we can start again when you decide you want that".

I nodded vigorously.

"Very well" Memnoch sighed. "Remember, the past is irreversible. What matters is here and now. Nothing will ever change that basic fact of life".

I sighed and waited, feeling the inevitable rush of wind sweep me away from Memnoch and into the present time, my present time. I fell roughly against a street lamp and walked briskly towards the hotel where I knew David and Armand were watching over Dora.

I walked into the door, ignoring the soft cries from David and Armand and my beautiful blood-filled mortal, Dora.  I walked over to the phone, and immediately dialed Louis' telephone number.

_

My hands were trembling as I held the phone securely in my grasp. I could sense the others staring at me, Armand scanning my thoughts, but I ignored them.

After about thirty rings, I put the receiver down, discouraged. It was almost morning now, the first rays of light were brightening the darkened sky, changing the morbid colours to lighter hints of grey and dark blue.

I looked finally at Armand, David and Dora. They were watching me with rapt expressions on their faces. "I have to go and see Louis" I said simply, and then vanished. I moved with preternatural speed down the darknened alleyways, the lightening of the sky beginning to make my flesh tingle with warning of the coming sunrise. I entered Louis' house and walked over to the slumped figure, holding the phone close to his breast. Tears had dried on his  face, making ugly streaks down his beautiful cheeks, and had finally rolled into his mouth. Soft and sad and full of hurt he seemed, even in the death sleep.

Gathering his soft body into my arms, I raced out of the house and back to the hotel. Without a word to my companions still gathered in the main room, I carried my precious bundle to the biggest room in the hotel, locking the door after me.

I quickly closed the curtains and lay on the bed, dragging Louis on top of me. I felt his soft breathing against my throat, felt a slight shiver and then a moan of distress before he settled fully into my arms. Then, I fell asleep.




PART 10


The next night, I awoke early. The sun had only just set, and the sky was reasonably light. Louis lay in my arms, dead to the world he seemed, no indication of life within him except for the slight breathing and a moan every now and again.

He was shivering. I slapped myself on the head for not realising how much Louis felt the cold. Wrapping him in a soft duvet, I carried him into the main room where David and Armand were already seated.

"You want to tell me why Louis is in such a state?" Armand asked simply.

I shrugged. "Memnoch showed me a vision of Louis. Filled with sadness and hurt. I had to get to him before the run rose".

I could see the fire in Armand's eye. I could see the anger and reproach in his gaze as he abruptly turned away from me and concentrated on the fire burning in the hearth. His displeasure was evident as he sighed and did not turn back to face me once.

David meanwhile was shaking his Talamascan finger at me in a way which was, quite frankly, rude. Coming from an Englishman, who's manners were supposed to be the nation's pride, he really was irking me off with his crass rudeness.

"What do you want? Why do you keep pointing at me?" I asked angrily.

David shook his head and let a long sigh escape his lips. He looked so beautiful, clothed in the light from the fire. Dressed in his familiar tweed suit and Armani shirt and tie. Hmm, damned irrisistable. Pity about his lack of manners tonight, but I could forgive him that.

Armand was still staring at the fire, his distress apparent. He was twiddling his fingers, the child wrapped in lace and velvet surely looking as lost as he ever did in mortal life. For an instant he looked so young I couldn't stand it. The trickery. This boy was a demon.

Dora sat on the leather chair at the far end of the room, watching me silently with her owl-like eyes. Her legs were curled under her, and she seemed at ease and waiting for me to begin. She was wearing a soft dress made of simple cotton which flowed around her beautiful figure like bee's to honey. She was breathtaking.

Louis stirred in my arms. I cuddled him closer, arranging the duvet around him better to make him even warmer, and then kissed his forehead as I saw his eyes open. Blearily, he gazed around the room and then finally looked at me.

He smiled. Full of love and forgiveness. Even though I had no right to deserve forgiveness for the misery I had left my oldest and most beautiful child to suffer. His green eyes tortured me in their beauty, and I began to realise that half his beauty was connected to the suffering and torment he had suffered. To think, I had almost given him up. I did not deserve this one. Not at all.

Louis reached out, and brushed a blonde strand of hair from my face with his finger. I caught this finger and kissed it reverently. He smiled and relaxed completely. Then his voice, no more than a whisper, cut into my mind as if it were a laser beam. "I thought you were still mad at me".

"Mad at you?" I choked in disbelief. "Why would you believe something as crazy as that? Louis, I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. You are the sun and the moon to me, my most beloved, my most treasured companion. I would never be mad at you, never stay mad at you. Don't you know this?"

Louis nodded, but still looked unsure and afraid.

I couldn't help myself.

I had to do it.

Even though Armand and David looked for a moment like they would kill me with their bare hands.

I leant forward and kissed Louis fully on the lips.

Time stood still.

Until I scraped my fang neatly across my upper lip drawing blood for him, feeling him gasp with pleasure and start to suck the wound.

I sighed in contentment.

Then I felt four arms drag me away from Louis. I cried out for Louis, wanting to give him all of me, the one gift I hadn't shared with him.

They didn't give us enough time.

And, it wasn't David and Armand who dragged me away. It was two of our more powerful allies and I hated them both the instant they dragged us apart. I cried desperately for Louis again and again until the whole world became black around me.

"I want Louis here with me" I moaned, my head turning from side to side as if in a fever.

Maharet merely gazed at me, loyal Khayman at her side. "Lestat, I don't think its wise under the circumstances for you to be anywhere around Louis".

"Why?" I moaned. The floor was hard and cold, the ceiling musty and dank. This was a cellar of some sorts, a cellar of an old, old building. Here I was, wrapped in chains beneath a crumbling old wreck.

"You are not in a fit state to care for his needs" Maharet replied simply. "David and Armand will care for him from here on".

"No" I groaned, trying to free myself from the heavy chains. "I was so close to making amends with him".

Maharet shook her head. Khayman remained impassive. "You have caused him enough pain, Lestat. You are slowly killing him. Let him be for a while, under the care of the others, and when you come to your senses, I shall free you".

Tears slid down my pale cheeks, and my eyes were blood red in pain and anguish. "Don't you do this, Maharet".

Maharet slipped away into the shadows, loyal Khayman by her side.

They were gone.

Time passed so quickly in this half-conscious state of semi-awareness. I was sure I had visitors sometimes, but the voices would fade and disappear as soon as they had arrived. What was eternity to someone held as a prisoner? What was the use of endless years to one who could never see the moon reflecting its pure light on the waters of the ocean? What was forever to one who could never know how much time passed?

"Lestat ...."

I jolted. I knew that voice. "Louis ..." My voice was weak because I hadn't talked in well over a month. My speech organs had closed up almost completely.

"Are you alright?"

I let a small laugh escape me. I looked up, blinking a few times to clear my vision. Louis sitting beside me. Resigned. Hand idly playing with my shirt cuff. Eyes dropped to the ground, away from me. In pain.

"I'm fine, I'm so glad you are here" I choked out, tears sliding down my face even as I looked at him. So beautiful in this musty cellar. A fireball in the darkness.

"Lestat, Maharet says you can go free soon" Louis said softly. Hand still playing with my cuff, then reaching out a little more, and he bravely took my hand within his own.

Unobtrusive warmth.

It made me so happy, I laughed aloud. Something so small can bring so much pleasure. Louis' fingers were warm, he had obviously hunted earlier.

Suddenly, he leant forward and bared his neck to me "Take what you need Lestat. I know they haven't fed you here. I can always replenish what you take".

I smiled and kissed the offered neck. "No Louis. You suffer more than I do. I am fine my love".

Louis' eyes softened with the last two words and his expression became warm and tender. I had never called him 'My Love', never been able to say the words as much as I wished I could, except through my books. Love is a difficult word for me to say.

I sighed and turned away.

I was surprised at what next happened. Louis' teeth grazed my neck. I turned back to look at him astonished. "Do you want my blood, Louis? Its yours if you ask for it".

Louis looked uncertain. "I think so, Lestat. I tasted its power earlier. Although I normally would never dream of taking your more powerful blood something inside me snapped at the taste of it".

I nodded. I understood what he meant. When I had tasted Akasha I had developed a hunger I had never felt before or since. Only her blood would take it away.

"I'm all yours beloved" I said, baring my neck fully.

Louis leant forward, his lips brushing my neck briefly before he sank his fangs. He was gentle, being as loving as he could under the circumstances. I felt his thoughts wash through me like a tidal wave. Thoughts that had been so cruelly taken from me by the veil of silence. I groaned in pleasure.

Louis. Mine at last.

We were connected in a way I had only ever dreamed of.

Then his thoughts darkened and I was reliving the past through his mind.

What horrors I saw.

What unrelenting suffering.

And, I was the cause of it all.

I cried out as Louis continued to drink, and he shrank back confused. He was glaring at me with those amazingly green eyes, his mouth twisted in fury.

"Louis ..." I began, but he had walked out in a temper.

I was alone.

Suddenly, I began to realise the extent of the damage I had caused Louis over the past two centuries. I had seen darkness which reminded me of one person I truly wished to forget.

Nicolas ...




PART 11


I waited in the darkness. My anxiety was causing me pain and frustration.
 
Louis didn't come back.
 
Not just that night, but the nights that followed.
 
Weeks went by. Armand and David would visit me sparodically, each suffering turmoil beyond my control. I finally lapsed into a constant dreamstate. Why had Maharet done this to me? Why had she interfered?
 
The only conclusion I could draw came back to the old rules that had been brought forward after Akasha's demise. There were only a few rules now, but to breach them would mean instant imprisonment. I must have disobeyed one of the rules.
 
Let us see. Rule number one is no evidence of the kill. I never leave a body intact. Most often I burn the carcass because its revolting to me, the bodies of the dead. So it couldn't be that rule I had broken. Rule number two is never to disrupt the fragile reality of our planet. In otherwords no more books and rock concerts. That was long gone and of no interest to me anymore. Finally, the third rule is never to kill your own kind. As in vampires. I had
 hurt Louis in some unfathomable way, maybe that was the reason for Maharet's interference. Maybe Louis' dark perspective had been made even worse by my potent blood.
 
I could only guess. And wait.
 
Months went by.
 
A year .....
 
How long can you stare at the same damp ceiling anyway?
 
Another four months speeding by in the blink of an eye.
 
Then, one day, I felt the chains removed and I felt my limbs move of their own accord, aching to stretch and become mobile again.
 
I walked out of the cellar, my legs feeling quite weak and wobbly, and immediately searched out Maharet who was sitting in a composed manner on the couch with Khayman beside her.
 
"Why ...?" I asked. All anger was gone. The betrayal and hurt was all that remained and I clung to the emotions.
 
Maharet gazed at me, emotionless. "You were putting your own kind in danger".
 

"How ...?" I opened my arms desperately.
 
Maharet glanced at the floor. "Louis was almost destroyed by what you did to him that night. The blood exchange was far from warranted, and I'm surprised you went through with it. Louis has disappeared, and we haven't seen him since you two rowed".
 
"Disappeared?" I gasped in shock. "Where has he gone?"
 
"Armand is also missing. David has no idea where either of them are" Maharet continued.
 
I sat down on a leather armchair against the back wall. It was comfortable to me, even though I was dressed in rags and smelt of damp and mould. "Where do I begin to find him?" I wondered aloud.
 
Maharet sighed and turned away. "You may think of abandoning any attempt of finding Louis".
 
"Why ...?" I asked, my mouth open in disbelief. "As long as he is on this earth, I must bring him back to me. Tell him how sorry I am, how much I wanted to love him".
 
Khayman held up a hand for silence "You don't understand Lestat. Louis is gone".
 
I stood up angrily, towering above the impassive and indifferent Khayman. He merely looked thoughtful and pitying. That made me furious. "I know he's gone, Khayman. Where is what I want to know. Where, where, where!!!!"
 
"Calm down" Maharet instructed, indicating for Khayman to be quiet. "Louis went into the sun a while ago. He suffered terrible burnings and begged Marius to finish him".
 
The whole world turned upside down.
 
Not again.
 
Not my Louis.
 
Oh, Jesus!
 
How do I survive now?
 
Without him, life is unbearable .....
 
How could he do this?
 
Did he realise his actions would destroy me?
 
Khayman was studying me carefully and walked towards me and embraced me gently yet firmly. "Louis is gone, Lestat. And it was his wish to die. Let him be".
 
I wept unashamadly in Khayman's arms.
 
My life was over.
 
Immediately I started to plan my own demise, so that we could be together.
 
I just wanted to die.
 
Nothing was real to me anymore.
 
The world was spinning out of control and I was lost.
 
So lost.
 
There was no reason for any of it.
 
I was dead inside.
 



PART 12


Two years past.

I wandered aimlessly around New Orleans, often stopping by Louis' original gravestone to lay flowers.

Yet, something kept me from moving on.

A sixth sense. Or maybe it was Khayman's ill chosen words to me. He had said 'Louis is gone, Lestat. And it was his wish to die. Let him be'.

Let him be.

Not exactly past tense. As I said, they could have been ill chosen words said in emotion. However, Khayman was about as emotionless as they come. The words gave me a reason to exist, knowing somewhere Louis was alive, maybe.

I wandered to Louis' little shack, the one I had burned down in a rage that fateful night I had let my emotions rule my heart. I walked up to the door, now blackened from the rage of the fire and let myself in silently.

Ruins.

Old fireplace blackened, destroyed. Books utterly gone, only a few pages remained of his secret treasure. Paintings fallen off the walls, burned up, gone.

I sighed.

This place was a tomb to my Louis. The stench of burned paper and clothing stung my eyes, and I realised I was crying. A soft wail of horror, and then a full blown cry. Weeping, I discovered a painting of us together, a time when events had not left us bitter and cold. We were young vampires, in love. Claudia was there, child of light in between her evil parents. This had been painted by a young man called Le Mansleigh, an inspirational painter who had died without recognition. Amazing, how this painting survived the fire. This alone.

Then I heard it.

A soft noise, like a drum being hit slowly.

This was no drum.

It was a heartbeat.

I pricked up my ears, and glanced around myself, wondering where this noise was coming from. I walked around the little house, through the ruins, and finally came to a stop by the front door.

The noise was coming from under the ruins of this house.

A faint heartbeat.

So soft, I could have easily missed it.

Kneeling, I tore at the dirt with my hands, and felt underneath. My hands dove deeper, finally connecting with something warm and moist beneath the ground.

With all my strength I lifted this 'thing' out of the ground. I stared blankly at it.

An arm. Not a human arm. One of us.

I recognised the ring on his finger immediately.

Although the arm was blackened and obviously been burned, the hand was still pale and beautiful.

I pressed my ear against the earth and listened to the heartbeat again, my heart dancing with joy.

I had no idea why Khayman and Maharet had felt the need to lie to me. The truth became clear instantly. Louis had been burned, but Marius couldn't destroy him. He had sent him underground, to experience the first death. He was still living. Still going. And, Khayman's cryptic words to me were suddenly so apparant. 'Let him be'.

I held the hand to my heart as I pressed my ear even closer to the earth. I heard a faint moan of pain and fear. Tearing at the earth in ernest, I reached into the ground and pulled him out.

I gasped in shock at what I saw.

_

Dear Lord!

I had expected a burnt figure but nothing as remotely hideous as what I unearthed and held in my arms. I was almost too horrified to gaze upon him, so broken and hideous he was.

Instead of my beautiful Louis, I held a burnt wreck of a vampire, one eye hanging on entrails, his lower lip completely destroyed and the skeleton showing beneath. The eye particularly horrified me. It was Louis' beautiful emerald eye, now dull and seemingly lifeless.

I gasped and held him far away from me, unable to hold him against my heart. My conscience was screaming at me for not embracing him close. My heart was bursting with my fear and pain.

Good God!

He opened his other eye and gazed upon me with a look of pure misery at my reaction to him. Forcing myself to look upon him I shuddered once and then composed myself.

"Louis, what the hell has happened?" I said stunned. "Where is my beautiful one? What am I holding in my arms? Is it a monster?".

Through the cracked and loathesome lips he answered "I am still your Louis. I am injured and hurting. I did not expect to see you so horrified". He turned away, or tried to. Instead of managing this, his head flopped back and his eye lashed back with him causing him to scream in agony. The words could be barely heard, but the scream caused me to lose myself and I hugged him to me.

I felt him sob on my shoulder, felt the small shoulders quiver with pain and fear. Carefully, I lay him on the ground and forced his mouth to my throat. He moaned a little, but did not object to what he knew was coming. I tore the skin of my own neck with the sharp nail of my thumb. I felt him shudder against me, and relax as the sound of desperate sucking made me feel violently ill.

I lay atop him, my strength fading as he clung to me and drank me almost dry.

The whole world was fading with darkness. Before I passed out with sheer weakness, I reached for his eye and put it back into the socket, holding it firmly in place until the flesh around it healed. Then I relaxed totally, and let myself slip into complete oblivion.




PART 13


I awoke in a soft bed, covered with a snug duvet.

Louis lay beside me, completely restored, his eyes wide with wonder. He was glancing around himself, looking at every little thing with different eyes, all seeing eyes. He hadn't noticed me wake beside him, he was too caught up in the sheer beauty of all things. The tiny fly buzzing around in the room, the soft beating of its little wings, the soft drum of its heart. Amazing. I knew what he was feeling. I felt the same thing every night.

Finally, his gaze rested upon me.

He smiled.

Relief washed over me in torrents. I had expected anger and reproach. I had expected tears and threats of throwing himself into the sun. I got neither. He was looking at me so tenderly it made me want to weep with joy.

I did.

Red tears ran down my face, drenching the duvet and pooling at the bottom of my neck.

His arms wound around me, pulling me close to him. Soft and gentle arms. Arms I knew so well. Now strengthened with my potent blood.

I was crying like a lost child.

Yet, I was the maker and he were the child.

Or had our roles reversed when he gained the strength he'd always been afraid of?

However, my amazed thoughts could wait. I had to make sense of why he had tried to kill himself. I gazed into his eyes and uttered one word.

"Why ....?"

_

He turned away.

It was a simple question, yet such pain burned in his emerald eyes.

"Why, Louis?" I asked again, turning him to face me.

Louis sighed and smiled vaguely. The smile was full of sadness, a miserable smile.

"I guess I should tell you" Louis said in a small voice.

A feeling of foreboding came over me.

I suddenly had the feeling this was extremely bad.

A bad situation.

For him and me both.

"When I drank from you ..." Louis began, and then paused.

I made a small desperate noise. I wanted him to continue, but I was afraid of what he would say. Catch 22.

"... Your thoughts flooded through me" Louis continued, his voice becoming smaller with his fear, his very unsure state of mind. "I saw where you had been, and .... what you had done".

Oh no! Had he seen me making love to the other Louis? Had he seen my very betrayal of his faith in me? The look in his eye told me he had.

"I lost my mind" Louis confessed sadly. "I lost every rational thought I had ever had when I realised you had left me for another, and would have stayed if given the opportunity. I was overwhelmed with pure sadness and horror. I thought I would have to die, because I could not live with all this pain".

I drew closer to him, as his eyes were red with blood tears. I leaned into his body, and felt him sigh against my chest. "I am a fool, Louis" I said bitterly. "I always hurt the ones I love. I should have tried to make things right between us instead of changing a past you would never see".

Louis sobbed against my shoulder, his hair covering his tearful face. How afraid and vulnerable he looked, even with my more powerful blood. "I couldn't face you" He confessed through his floods of tears. "I thought you didn't love me, or worse still, blamed me for the past we had never had".

"Shhhh" I said softly "Blame you? That would be stupid indeed. How can the mother blame the child for setting the lounge on fire? How can the fly blame the spider for its very nature? I was wrong. I knew what I was doing back then. I deliberately kept the truth from your eager ears. I was wrong".

Louis was weeping fully, giving vent to two centuries of grief and fragile emotion. Finally, he sobbed himself to sleep. I still kept him wrapped tightly in my arms, still held him to my breast. Still kept him safe and sound and warm.

I couldn't believe what I had subjected Louis to.

Such horror! Such betrayal! All because I was weak and shallow. I had wanted to replace him! Oh, the shame of knowing how weak I really am made depression fall over my raw emotions like a tidal wave.

Knowing I had betrayed him was bad.

But, he knew that I had done this to him. That I could never forgive myself for.

He had needed me, and I had pushed him away. Pushed away the real Louis, who needed me in the present time more than he had ever needed me in the past.

My, Louis.

I could never forgive myself.

And that being the case, how was Louis ever going to forgive me?

I was a bad maker, a bad companion and a bad lover.

Now, I had to face that fact for the rest of my days.

For eternity.

Floods of thoughts came to me, of how I could make things up, patch up the distance between us.

Everything I thought of seemed trivial and stupid.

I had lost him, oh not in the literal sense, but I had lost his unquestionable faith and devotion in me.

Truly, he would never look at me the same way again.

And, it was all my fault.

_

The night was rapidly paling and Louis had not awakened as yet. Dawn was maybe an hour away by the time I realised Louis would not awaken until the next night. Settling even closer to him, snuggled next to his lean figure, I closed my eyes and felt the death sleep wash over me.

My thoughts were filled with sadness. Sadness that threatened to eat away at my soul until there was nothing left but a shell of the person I used to be. I closed the curtains with the powers of my mind and lay on top of Louis a little more, covering him lest some mortal stumble upon our lair and unknowingly open the curtains.

Soft dreams came to me as I drifted between consciousness and the death sleep. Finally, I felt the death sleep overtake me and I willingly let myself slip into oblivion.




PART 14


The next night, I awoke early as was my custom.

Louis stirred beside me but did not wake. I could see the changes in him due to my more powerful blood. He was whiter, his finger nails more glossy. Carefully, I undressed him and carried him over to the bath where I ran the water and dipped him in. I let him soak in the tub whilst I returned to the bedroom and arranged his clothes for the evening. As his wardrobe had been destroyed after I had heard Louis had committed suicide, I chose some tasteful clothes of my own for him to wear.

Comfortable, yet tasteful.

A frock coat with real gold buttons and a shirt of silk. Trousers soft and comfortable and startlingly black. Jet black. Underwear was comfortable and socks had an almost velvet feel to them. Quite a handsome outfit for my beautiful one.

I walked back into the bathroom and found Louis awake and staring at me with unconditional love. Such an expression of gentleness and love I had never seen. Not that I deserved it, but I did appreciate it.

He was turning into a prune, the water soaking his white skin and crinkling it. I laughed despite myself. So utterly ravishing and gorgeous.

He looked into my eyes.

I backed away at the sight of his eyes, so bright and powerful they were. The green had become more luminous and he looked amused by my sudden doubt as I backed carefully away from him. Checking myself, I walked over to him and gave him a long and deep his on his lips.

He moaned and sighed against me. His hand, wet from the water, snaked around my back and pulled me closer. Backing away, I undressed with preternatural speed and slipped into the water with him. I drew him into a firm embrace - wet vampire skin against wet vampire skin, and nuzzled in against his neck. He was still moaning in pleasure. I rocked him against me, feeling his skin slide against my own. So perfect. Our bodies completely in tune with each other.

"I wish we could stay here together forever" Louis sighed dreamily, his startling green eyes half closed.

"It would get rather cold in here" I joked, holding him to me tightly, to emphasise the point that the water was already cooling.

I felt him sigh and reach for the soap. He lathered it into his hands and washed my chest slowly. I leant back and allowed him to bathe me, loving the feel of his silky wet hands. Each tiny rub made the hair on the back of my neck rise. Louis groaned as he washed me, concentrating on every little crevice in my skin until I was a clean vampire.

I pushed him down and proceded to furiously wash him all over, growling with pleasure whilst I did this pleasurable little task. Louis moaned and allowed my rough handling, his breath sounding laboured.

Suddenly, I grabbed him and swept him out of the bath and ran into the bedroom. I flung him on the bed and jumped on top of him.

"Lestat!" Louis moaned indignantly.

"What?" I asked, huskily. "You don't like a little rough 'n tumble?"

Louis shook his head. "Not when you hurt my back, Lestat".

I rolled off him, and pulled him into my arms, examining his back for any trace of a bruise or cut. Sure enough, there was a nasty bruise in the small of his back, roughly the size and shape of my powerful fingers. "Sorry, Louis". I apologised.

Louis smiled and wrapped his arms around me. "Its alright, Lestat. If I didn't make you 'lose yourself' in the throw's of passion, then I wouldn't be doing a very good job, would I?"

"That's very true" I agreed, nuzzling in more against his throat. "Oh, how I want to take you. Take you as if you were a victim of my hunger, knowing you wouldn't die in my arms".

"Why don't you?" Louis said with a tempting husky voice. "I would like to play victim every now and again. I would feel a little more understanding when taking blood from my mortal victims".

"Liar" I growled huskily "You just want me to bite you because your feeling a little hot and heavy".


"Lestat!" Louis complained, trying to squirm out of my grasp.

No good.

He couldn't budge me an inch.

Then, he did the most unexpected thing.

_

The most unexpected thing.

I had never anticipated he would even attempt such a thing!

Let me just explain one character trait of my beloved Louis. He is a shy gentleman, never the first to jump into romantic gestures and affection. However, at this moment he seemed lost in erotic pleasure.

He reached up for me suddenly with preternatural speed, tickling me under the arms ferociously.

I doubled over, and rolled away from him. He followed, determined to make me suffer. Still tickling like a mad thing, he seemed triumphant as I rolled helplessly around on the bed, laughing until I couldn't breathe.

Louis smirked and continued to harrass my hairy armpits with glee. He leant down and nuzzled against the soft hair, his fangs grazing the skin.

I arched away, giggling helplessly. I couldn't escape his gentle loving however, his teeth punctured the skin and he began to feed from my armpit!

For a rule, any part of my body Louis wants, Louis gets. But this was not very tasteful, and I could think of some better places for him to make love to me. Drawing him off me gently, right in the swoon, I settled his face against my neck and felt him tear the skin like a wild animal. I gasped as I felt myself weaken.

Grasping his wrist, I bit into the tender flesh and the circle was complete.

Louis and I. We became one.

Such a tender union.

Mortal sex is a pale shadow of this, the ultimate in oneness. I felt connected to him, as if we were one being, our thoughts fusing together.

Oneness.

How can I describe what this felt like? The blood circle. It was more than that. It was a sudden awareness of everything about your partner. Every thought he or she has ever had, every joy or pain they experienced is suddenly flashing before your eyes. A tidal wave of images and thoughts, love and pain, betrayal and desire. I felt everything about him, and I knew he was seeing my soul as I peered into his.

Such a majestic union. We were snugly fit together, both our naked wet bodies pressed close. legs wound around each other. Arms around each other's waists. Louis' head pressed into my neck as he fed from me. My mouth buried in Louis' wrist as I fed from him.

A circle of contentment. That was the right phrase to describe the feeling of complete satisfaction and devotion.

Blood circle.

The ultimate in unions. The kind of union only a vampire can truly appreciate.

We were sealed against each other .... for what seemed an eternity.

He moaned against my neck and I shivered in pleasure. Wrapped around each other, I pulled away from his wrist, forcing him away from my throat. I kissed his body from head to toe, concentrating on the more sensitive areas of his body, feeling him groan and writhe beneath me.

Sensitive zones for vampires differ from sensitive zones for mortals. A mortal man's most sensitive zones are connected with the monstrous organ between his legs. With vampires, sex is a definate no-go-zone, so the sensitive areas differ immensely.

For example, a vampires toes are extremely sensitive. Louis shivered and lost himself as I sucked each little toe, gently scratching each in turn. His nipples, sharply pointed, quivered as I kissed and sucked and scratched every inch of them both. His soft belly, covered in a little forest of black curls became my next obsession. My mouth trailing every inch of his taut stomach, and my tongue probing his small belly button. For a man, Louis has a surprisingly small belly button. It was almost invisible under his mountain of curls, and I flicked them aside to gain access to the tight little hole.

Louis arched beneath me.

He called my name aloud.

I almost died in pleasure.

Then I kissed his genitals, moving around the balls and nuzzling against his limp cock. Limp didn't do the thing justice in the slightest. It may be as dead as a doornail, but it was as big as I'd ever seen. A huge, fat cock. Pride of the male species, that was my Louis. That was why I had chosen him. Everything about him exuded male firmness and perfection.

I sank my teeth into his balls and felt him gasp and arch back.

"Lestat ....." He was begging. So I sucked harder, drawing what little blood I could from his useless genitals. "Lestat, please .... too much ...."

I stopped and moved up beside him, smiling. "Too much, Louis?"

"Yes" Louis gasped. "I need you now".

So husky that voice. He needed me bad.

"Want to play vampire and victim now?" I asked in a dark voice full of desire.

"Yes" Louis stuttered, his voice failing him as his hands roamed my body.

"Very well" I smiled. "But we'll do this right".

"Lestat ...." Louis moaned. "Please ...."

"Do you want to play this game with me or not?" I asked sharply.

Louis nodded vigorously, wondering what I was up to.

"Then get dressed" I commanded.

Louis groaned.

"Get dressed and go for a walk in the back garden" I said, placing a finger on his lips.

"Why?" Louis moaned.

"Because I think this game has definate potential and I want to play properly" I grinned. The thought of following Louis like he were a victim, pouncing on him and draining him dry like a fine kill was almost unbearable in its beauty.

Louis groaned and sat up, reaching for my "fine" attire I had chosen for him earlier, eyeing the gold buttons with slight amusement. He quickly dressed and looked at me with uncertain eyes.  "What now?"

"What now!?" I asked, carelessly. "Go outside and act mortal. I will track you down in a moment and take you as a victim".

Louis shivered in pleasure. I could tell the idea was beginning to interest him.

Eagerly moving down the stairs and out of the house, I listened to his eager heartbeat. Hmmm, this was going to be splendid. I dressed quickly, and then my worst nightmare happened. As Louis reached the door and pulled it open, he gave a little cry of shock and pleasure.

"Armand!" He said happily.

I groaned. What a time for that imp to visit. Right when Louis and I would be playing our new game of Vampire and Victim.

"What do you want?" I growled down the stairs, refusing to come down and greet my 'old friend and enemy'.

"I want to play too" Armand said innocently. "I have been wondering whether to disturb you both this night, after having made such a long journey here to see you both. Quite frankly, the idea of tracking Louis as a victim is rather appealing".

I stormed down the stairs and towered over that damned immortal teenager.

"You've been spying on us!" I accused.

Armand shrugged. However, I could see the spark in his eye and I was immediately fascinated. After all, don't vampires hunt in pairs sometimes? I had the feeling this would actually be fun. Tracking Louis with Armand might be more pleasurable than I had initially thought.

Turning to Louis I growled in a low voice "Better make haste, beloved one. I intend to come after you within five minutes".

Louis practically ran out of the house. His heart hammering with expectation.

I looked at Armand and finally smiled.

I held out my arm and he took it and grinned at me.

"Want to hunt with me tonight?" I asked huskily.

Armand smiled at me, his face lighting up at the thought of what was to come. "You only needed to ask, Lestat".




PART 15


I watched Armand as we waited for Louis to hide himself in the neighborhood.

"How long are you going to stay here, Armand?" I asked.

Armand shrugged. "Well, you know what happened between Daniel and myself. I felt like I needed a break from all the hassles of having your own fledgling".

I nodded. Daniel. He who almost destroyed Armand in a single night. Armand's love had left him open to neglect and betrayal. Of course, Marius had then disowned the kid too, leaving Daniel alone.

"Explain to me exactly what happened" I asked Armand. "Right down to the last tiny detail".

Armand sighed heavily. He looked uncomfortable suddenly, like he was about to drown in unpleasant memories. Then he began his tale. "It was in 1996 that the arguaments started. Not terrible arguaments we had had when he was a mortal man begging for the dark gift, but downright nasty and petty rows. I was lost in my hatred and I utterly despised him. Even now, I shudder in regret when I think of him. Finally, that evening when we seperated, I was particularly mean to him. I said some things I shouldn't have said. Like how disappointed I was and how I wished I hadn't rushed into giving him The Gift" Armand stopped and breathed in deeply "I said I wished I had never met him".

He looked like he was about to weep. I drew him to me, the small waif of a a vampire, and held him against my heart in comfort. I asked him silently to continue, silent voice directly into his confused and lonely heart.

"He turned around and slapped me hard in the face, pouncing on me like a wild animal. He beat me repeatedly, saying how much he hated me over and over again. Then he bit me savagely in the neck and drained me almost completely dry".

Armand was in floods of tears. I walked into the livingroom with him and sat him beside me. I held his hand.

"I was weak and he left me alone in a terrible state. Marius came to me and helped me through the worst days of my life yet. So bad were they that I almost went into the sun".

"Hush now" I said softly. "Let's hear no more talk of you going into the sun. It would be foolish. Daniel has his limits too, you know. He won't stand idly by and take insult after insult after insult and not respond to your agression. On the other hand, Daniel had no right to lay a finger on you".

"I feel like a battered wife" Armand sobbed, relaxing into my shoulder.

"Well thank goodness you don't look like one" I remarked, trying to install a little humour into the situation "At least we heal remarkably fast".

"You think?" Armand said, gulping a little as he took off his shirt.

I was shocked and taken aback at the gaping wound on his chest. "Daniel did this?"

Armand nodded.

"How long has this been open?" I asked, trailing a finger along the injured chest.

"A week, maybe a week and a half". Armand said, red tears rolling down his face.

"Marius didn't fix this?" I asked, anger mounting in my voice.

"Marius didn't know" Armand said softly.

"What!!??" I erupted, shaking him by his small shoulders "Why on earth not???"

"He was so angry over the whole affair, threatening to destroy Daniel, I was afraid to show him it. He was literally blowing his top, Lestat. What could I have done?"

I sighed. "Come and sit on my lap, ange".

Armand obeyed. His small hands and arms snaking around my waist as he held himself steady.

Picking him up as easily as if he were a rag doll, I moved him upstairs to the bedroom. Placing him on the expensive sheets I bit savagely into my own wrist, drawing a fountain of blood which fell directly onto Armand's wound. Armand arched and gasped in shock, but closed his eyes and let me complete what I had started.

The wound healed instantly.

"You should have told Marius" I said softly, indicating for him to sit up beside me. "I can't believe you've been suffering for over a week with something as easily curable. You are a fool, little imp".

Armand smiled sadly. He ran his hands through his auburn mane and shook his head. "It took all my effort to come here tonight".

"Why?" I asked gently. "I hold no grudges of our dark past. I don't despise you and I love your company".

"I know ... its just ... hard, after everything we've been through" Armand said simply.

I kissed him on the forehead and took his hand. We stood up and walked over to the door of the room. "Forget Daniel" I said softly. "Tonight is ours. Let us go hunt together and have a good time".

Armand smiled and nodded. "And what a prey. Louis will not be easily hunted or easily taken".

I grinned "Yes, but we still have one trick up our sleeve".

"What's that?" Armand asked, interested. I was glad I had managed to get Daniel out of his thoughts. At least for now.

"You can alter his reality with your advanced psychic abilities. Let's have some real fun tonight, at Louis' expense".

Armand smirked and took my arm "I can hardly wait".

_

I could all but smell his fear and desire as Armand and I surrounded him in the street.

I snarled at him, allowing him a glimpse of my fangs before my face became expressionless.

Hunger.

Desire.

The two blended together as one.

Louis froze and edged away from me, his face a mix of fear and pleasure.

Armand rose up from behind him and held him still as I advanced upon him.

Louis was entranced as I leant my body against his, and kissed the soft flesh of his neck. He shivered.

"My victim" I said huskily, hearing a satisfied moan. "There will be no escape from me. No place you can hide from my kiss".

Louis groaned.

I continued, my voice low and dark and full of feeling "Your time has come. Surrender to me, now!"

I instantly tore into his neck, and found the rich and throbbing vein in an insant.

Louis' blood.

Armand's soft hair against mine.

I was drinking from Louis.

Armand was waiting patiently, smelling the blood from Louis' wound with desire and need flooding his features.

Finally, Louis became limp. Smiling towards Armand I picked him up into my arms, and together the three of us went back to our house.

I was lost in the sensation of being caught between my two lovers.

Louis and Armand.

However, when we reached the house I caught the scent of another immortal. An immortal in tears and waiting for us to return.

Passing Louis into Armand's arms, I stalked into the house and confronted him.

Armand hadn't registered that another immortal was in the house.

Too bad.

Fire from my eyes licked at the vampire in front of me, and immediately he burst into flames.

"Daniel!!!!" Armand roared, dropping Louis to the floor and throwing himself over the smoking figure.

"After what he did?" I yelled. "You would save him?"

Armand glared at me.

Suddenly, I had the feeling there was something to this Armand wasn't telling me.

Something I had been consciously kept from for fear of discovery.

Locking my arms around Armand's neck, without another moment of hesitation, I sunk my fangs into his slender throat.

Memories. Of Marius, then Bianca (an immortal I had never met but was indeed curious about) and finally Daniel. Ah, Daniel. A sickening feeling overcame me as I realised the horrible things Armand was talking about had actually happened. Terrible arguaments, that I had never seen between creatures of our kind. The beatings. The drainings. Not done in pleasure, but with a vicious animal-like ferocity.

Then finally, the icing on the cake.

The last words of 'I hate you, I never want to see you again, you weak bastard'.

Only, Daniel had never once laid a less than loving finger on his maker. He had never once said a less than loving word about Armand.

Daniel was blind with love.

It was Armand who had beaten and drained Daniel dry. Not in passion and love, but with hate and resentment. For years, Daniel had tried to make things right between them, and Armand had put him down at every opportunity. Making his self esteem shrivel into nothingness.

What a farce!

And he'd tried to convince me, Lestat de Lioncourt, that Daniel was the one who had viciously and intentionally hurt him!


Him!  


I was as mad as I could possibly be. Draining Armand I hopped angrily from one foot to the other. Armand was trying to push me off, afraid I'd see the truth.

Too late you lying fucked up imp.

I drained him dry as he had done with Daniel. Drained him to the last drop and then locked him away in a broom cupboard.

I saw Louis lying dazed on the floor, wondering what was happening, and I lifted him gently and placed him on the couch. Loving Louis. Gentle Louis. My Louis. Louis who would die if he betrayed my trust.  How I loved him.

I turned away from his scorching and questioning emerald eyes.

I knelt beside Daniel, his face blackened. He was badly burned but not crying in pain.

He had experienced so much pain at the hands of Armand that this was nothing to him.

Lifting him up, I whispered reassuring words into his ear. Soft words. Its alright Daniel. I'm sorry Daniel. Everything will be fine Daniel. Then I bit my wrist and let the blood flow into his mouth.

He clamped onto me like a savage animal. The blood literally pouring into his mouth and down his throat.

I could hear Armand pounding on the broom cupboard door, too weak to open it. "Don't Lestat ..... you don't understand ....."

Don't understand? The insult was like rubbing salt into the wound.

Armand had betrayed me with a lie. A lie that had almost led me to betraying another of our kind. Lie I would never forgive for the rest of eternity.

Armand had a habit of getting on my bad side.

Daniel was drinking steadily, and I caught a stream of images that exactly matched the images I had read from Armand's mind.

Blind with love.

Oh, Daniel. Forgive me.

Daniel was sitting up now, his skin healing but the pain still made him flinch.

I grasped him closer, and allowed him to tear at my throat.  Gushing blood. Filling his mouth. Down his throat. Making him strong. Strong enough to hold Armand at bay should he try to beat on him again.

Armand had now broken out of the closet, and limped over to Daniel and myself.

Panicking. Stricken with grief, he walked over to the fireplace, lighting the end of a roll of newspaper. Walking over to Louis, lying on the couch, he set fire to his clothes.

Smell of burning.

I looked up.

"Armand!" I cried out in disbelief as I forced Daniel away from me and lunged at Louis. Dousing the flames quickly, I barrelled into Armand, sending him into the fire.

Armand screamed as the fire licked at his skin, burnt up his beautiful auburn hair. I watched this with agony, knowing if I intervened it could be worse for Daniel and Louis in the long run.

He had threatened my most beloved fledgling.

No-one does that. Not even Armand.

He was paying for his mistake with every piece of skin that burnt and frizzled.

Finally, when he had fallen over I put out the flames and let him roll around in agony on the floor.

"Not nice is it?" I yelled at Armand. "You ever so much as TOUCH Louis again, I will not put the flames out next time. Do you understand?"

Armand was sobbing. His auburn hair was completely burned away.

Lifting him up, I took him to the cellar, and dumped him in the cold brick room. Sealing the door shut, I then went to tend to both the fledglings.

Daniel was sitting up, staring at me in horror.

Louis was lying on the couch, still in shock.

I sat by Louis' side and indicated for Daniel to come and sit with me.

He didn't move.

I beckoned to him.

Still, he didn't move.

"Please, Daniel" I whispered.  He was used and bitter and cold. I wanted to warm him in my arms, tell him that fledglings could be treated right. So withdrawn. So miserable.

"Daniel?" Louis whispered, turning to gaze at him.

"You killed Armand" Daniel whispered.

I shook my head. "Oh no, I would never do that, Daniel. Armand will be fine. I just gave him a lesson. One that he will never forget. He shouldn't have lied to me. He led me to believe it was YOU who had caused the pain and misery. He led me to believe you had beaten him, and abused him at every opportunity".

"He beat me becuase I was weak" Daniel said, tears running down his face.

"No, Daniel" I said softly, yet firmly. "You didn't join Armand in immortality to be beaten by him day in and day out. That is not how its supposed to be. Armand has taken advantage of your love for him and hurt you without compassion. I will not allow that".

Daniel cast his eyes down to the floor. He was shamed.

My blood was enflaming him. Giving him strength.

Strength.

So much strength he could kill Armand if he tried to hurt him again.

Finally, Daniel rose and walked over to Louis and myself. Louis sat up instantly, giving Daniel the seat between us and Daniel sat down heavily.

I wrapped my arms around him. So cold. So lost. Without anything to live for. Without anyone who would love him in return.

"Daniel" I whispered "I want you to remain here, with us, while we sort out Armand. Is this alright with you?"

Daniel started. The poor boy had never had anyone ask his permission to do anything "I guess so".

"Good" I whispered, nuzzling against his hair and pulling Louis against him also. Sandwiched between us, I heard him sigh in contentment.

Then he closed his eyes and went to sleep.

It was so sweet.

Right there and then I knew I could fall in love with this one.

When I saw the expression on Louis' face, I knew he already had.

Our child. Child of our affections.

Daniel would not be abused again.

And, if anyone else tried? Well, let's just say they'd suffer for it.

So, we were three once again. Louis and Lestat .... and Daniel.

Child of our affections.

He would never be alone or lost again.

I vowed that.

I promised him.

Deep within his subconscious mind, he understood this.

He was safe.

And nothing and no-one would ever hurt him again.




PART 16


The next evening I was awakened by a faint knocking on the cellar door.

Rubbing my eyes I walked down the stairs and opened the door. He was sitting at the far end, looking miserable and resigned.

"I'm not letting you out" I confirmed, still angry from the night before.

"It hurts" Armand said, tears running down his face. "Let me at least go into the sun, Lestat. I can't stay down here and suffer".

"Like you made Daniel suffer?" I countered, evilly.

Armand sighed and began to weep. His shoulders shaking.

Just then the doorbell rang.

Cursing, I left Armand in the cellar and walked over to the front door, fully expecting to see our courier, who delivered his parcels at night. More fan letters, most probably.

As I opened the door, my gaze fell on the waiting man. I sighed. "Marius, what on earth are you doing here?"

Marius breezed into the front room, looking suspiciously at me. "Where is he?"

"Who?" I asked innocently.

"Armand. My Armand. Where are you keeping him?"

I sighed and turned away "Do you know what he's done?"

Marius nodded grimly. "I think you are right, keeping Daniel out of his reach for now. But Armand needs guidance, not suffering. You'll never truly understand how lost and alone he really is. I want to take him home".

I smiled. The smile however, was full of malice. "Your lucky I haven't destroyed him for what he did".

Marius sighed and walked over to the window. He looked out at the night, still light with the fading day. "If you ever hurt Armand, both David and Louis will pay. You have no right to threaten my own".

I snarled. "Armand tried to burn up Louis!"

Marius looked startled. "He did what?"

"You heard me!" I yelled. "So take him away, yes! But don't expect a pretty imp when you head down into the cellar. He's in bad shape from last night".

"Calm down" Marius advised. "Let me go and retrieve him. Then we'll talk".

I paced the livingroom as Marius went to the cellar and brought Armand out of the dank and smelly room.  When he returned to the room, Armand was wrapped in his strong arms, his eyes closed and head resting against his maker's breast. Marius seated himself on the couch, Armand still wrapped against him, and gestured for me to sit beside him.

I sat nervously, fidgeting as Marius assessed Armand. What's worse? Hurting an ancient vampire's prize fledgling? I could be in a lot of trouble if Marius decided this was my fault.

"Armand ...?" Marius whispered.

Armand looked up into Marius' eyes, and tears rolled down his face. "I'm sorry. I've lost everything. I've lost myself".

"Hush now" Marius said kindly. Soothing. Soft. Gentle. "We are going away together. You and I. Daniel will remain here with Louis and Lestat .... and David".

My ears pricked up "David? I thought he was translating some ancient Jewish scrolls for Maharet".

Marius shook his head, "No, Lestat. He is coming back within a few days. He is concerned for all of you".

I sighed. Too many fledgling's too deal with.

Marius picked up on my thoughts immediately "I can stay Lestat. I know how stretched you are, how much you need some support from an elder. Or I can call on one of the other's and ask them to come and help you ..."

I shook my head "Non. Thank you Marius, but no. I have enough to deal with. Not some pompous shits from the coven"

Marius sighed. Disapproval of my language. "I see. Well, think about my offer. I can always send someone ...."

I shook my head. What the hell did he think I was? Some five year old fledgling with no knowledge? I'd been stretched before, had been in a lot of worse situations than this. But I was fine, wasn't I?

Marius rose to leave.

"Goodbye Marius" I whispered as he walked towards the door. Pain in my heart. Saying goodbye to him had always destroyed my spirit.

Suddenly, he turned and embraced me. His arms wonderful and strong. I felt the overwhelming desire to weep.

"Think about my offer" He re-iterated.

I nodded, and allowed him to leave. Then I sat on my own, before my two burden's rose from their daily stupor and held my head in my hands.

He was right.

I felt in over my head.

I did need help.

But, when has The Vampire Lestat ever asked for help?

I could hear Daniel waking, his thoughts screaming suicide.

I could hear Louis' coffin open and he emerged weak from the evening before.

Without thinking, I walked out of the house and went for a brief stroll around the block. The night air was cool, and helped me to clear my thoughts. Confused thoughts.

Finally, after about an hour of wandering the city streets, I returned to the house refreshed.

I walked into the house and saw Louis in a panic, running around the house.

"What's wrong?" I asked gently, seating my panicked fledgling in a chair and kneeling beside him.

"Daniel is gone!" Louis said angrily. "He just disappeared! I don't know where he has gone!"

"Hush" I said softly. "I'll find him".

With that, I ran outside and took to the air.

_

Daniel was sitting on a park bench.

I walked up to him and wrapped him in my arms. "Time to feed, Daniel".

"Where's Armand?" Daniel asked dully.

"Marius came for him tonight. He's in safe hands now" I assured him.

Daniel looked weary and sullen as I took to the air with him, and tracked a male victim for him. A drunkard, lying in a stupor by the road. Daniel fed without saying a word, then allowed me to carry him back to the house.

By the time we reached the house, I sensed another immortal inside. Cursing, I walked inside still carrying Daniel.

"What do you want?" I growled at the vampire sitting next to my Louis.

"David has just called" The intruding vampire informed me. "He'll be here within the next thirty minutes".

I lay Daniel down, who scooted to the door immediately. Determined to run away from me, out of the house. The intruding vampire stopped Daniel and seated him back down.

"You need help" He informed me gently. "I have been requested by Marius to assist you in any way I can. I intend to do that, Lestat. With or without your consent".

I sighed.

It was going to be a long and hard night.




PART 17

"I didn't realise you and Marius were so close" I snarled.

Santino smiled. "Let's just say, we know each other inside out".

"Great" I moaned, sitting down on the chair furthest from the couch.

Daniel made a move to leave again, Santino put a paternal hand on his shoulder.

"Daniel" Santino said softly "Stop this. We are not going to allow you to leave in this frame of mind. So quit it"

"Is all the coven aware of how Lestat, The Vampire Lestat, is in over his head" I said bitterly.

Santino grinned "We all know each other quite well Lestat. Everyone knows what Armand tried to do to Louis, and we all felt for you when you pushed him into the fire. But, he does belong to Marius. Marius therefore must be the decision maker when it comes to Armand's life".

"I didn't want him to die" I said softly. "It was a lesson. He had no idea how much pain he would inflict on Louis when he tried to set fire to him. I've been in the sun. I know how much it hurts for your skin to tingle with pain, night after night". I stopped. my voice was breaking.

Santino crossed the small distance between us, and lay a hand on my shoulder. I felt a little uncomfortable about this. It was not Santino's style to indulge in affection. However, I allowed it, this small gesture of understanding.

Then Santino retreated back to the couch and sat beside Louis and Daniel once more. He smiled affectionately at Louis. "What about you Louis? What do you think of all this? Do you think Lestat is taking on too much?"

Louis shrugged "I can take care of myself".

Santino nodded "But could you have last night? When Armand set fire to you, you were powerless to protect yourself or Lestat".

Louis looked downcast. He hated his weaknesses being brought to public attention. I was about to say something more when David walked in, smiling at the four of us.

"Wow, I'd say this is quite a reunion" David smiled, walking over to Santino. He politely shook his hand, then Louis' and then offered his hand to Daniel who stared at it blankly, before turning away. Shrugging, David sat himself on the chair between myself and the three vampires.

"Welcome back, David" I said smiling.

British humour in his voice as he said "Well these scrolls can get quite monotonous, Lestat. They were written by some unknown prophets of the late Jesus Christ. Lots of bizarre visions".


"Ah, I'm sure you found them extremely entertaining" I smiled.

David nodded "Oh yes. We've found out some amazing information and history about those times Lestat. Its truly sensational".

Santino smiled. "I think you have a visitor Lestat".

Just then I heard the doorbell ring. I shot a daggered look at Santino. I hated being reminded of how old he was compared to me, and how much he could hear.

David got up, politely, and walked over to the door.

"Eric!" David said in pleasant surprise.

"Eric!" I groaned. "Who next? Maharet? Why, we'll soon have the gang all here".

"If you remember Lestat" Santino informed me quietly "You blamed the coven for not aiding you when you needed it. You said we used your weaknesses against you, but we enjoyed your strength. Well, here we are Lestat. In force. To help. Whether you like it or not".

"You've read my book!" I said delightedly. Coven Master Santino had read The Tale of the Body Thief. Excellent.

Santino smiled "It was quite a story, Lestat. Not exactly the most wisest experiment, but interesting nonetheless. I caught sight of it in a bookshop four months ago and read it cover to cover in one night".

I sat back, smiling. Santino was trying to get on my good side.

It was working.

David was chattering with Eric as they entered the livingroom. He gestured to his own chair, for Santino to sit down, and then came and sat by my side. On the floor. Sign of respect, sitting next to your maker.

"How are you Eric?" I asked.

Eric grinned as I hefted David onto my lap, much to his horror. In front of Santino and Eric no less!

"Lestat!" David reproached.

"David!" I grinned, kissing his soft brown hair, and his long neck, and his silky eyelids. David allowed the affection, and relaxed into my arms, knowing I wouldn't let go until I had had my evil way with him.

"I am fine, Lestat. Been travelling for the last few years" Eric explained "To Australia, a country I am forever fascinated with. Sydney! Modern miracle, surely! The outback is so wild and amazing. Honestly Lestat, I thoroughly recommend it".

I grinned "Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt".

Eric laughed in pleasure "Then I visited South Africa, wandering through the jungles. It was truly stunning. Finally, I went to Europe".

"Where in Europe, Eric?" Santino asked, leaning forward.

"England of course" Santino shot me a smile "I must be qualified as a British Citizen after spending so much time over there, surely".

David laughed. "Everyone qualifies as a British Citizen. Trust me, Eric. Its easy to get in".

Eric smiled "True. I was expecting immigration to come visit me after five months of living there, but no! Beautiful country".

David acknowledged this comment with a smile.

"So much happening. So small and intimate. Like a mini America, surely. Just imagine everyone squashed into a small country. The most amazing thing is that there is still plenty of countryside. Such beautiful countryside. I must have spent most of my time over there in either London or Birmingham. Or just on the outskirts of the major cities, in the stunning countryside".

"Stop it" David smiled "You are making me homesick".

Eric laughed. "Then I visited Wales. A mistake surely, for I did not want to ever leave that place. Just imagine the fairytale, where the land is cursed with a magical spell. I was driving through the most scenic roots which looked like they had been touched by a magical spell. Around a mountain I went, marvelling at the way on one side during the day, the sun had melted the ice and it was like a summer night and within seconds reaching the other side it became like the dead of winter. Marvellous. Stunning. As I said, I never wanted to leave".

"Why did you?" I asked. "Sounds good to me, I probably would have stayed".

Eric tapped his temple "I missed Marius".

"Everyone misses Marius" Santino commented, smiling.

Eric nodded.

"I hope I can find enough space to house everyone during the day" I grumbled.

"You have five bedrooms" Santino answered. "Louis and you can sleep in your room, David in the next biggest room of the house. Daniel and I will sleep in the smaller room together, and Eric whichever remaining room he wishes".

"Surely Louis will want to sleep in a room by himself" I said softly.

"We need to keep a room free for Marius and Armand" Santino answered "He'll be dropping by often to see how we are doing".

"Ah, I see" I smiled at Louis "We shall behave ourselves".

Louis blushed and turned away.

"Well, Louis will" I winked at Santino who laughed.

"Your making me uncomfortable, Lestat" Louis said softly.

"Ah, I'm only playing with you. Come here, Louis". I said, gesturing for him to come to me.

Louis immediately rose, crossed the distance between us and sat on my lap next to David.

Snuggled between two beloved fledgling's, it was all I could do not to sigh in complete happiness. "This is the life".

Santino and Eric laughed. "Such a tender scene, surely" Eric commented to Santino.

"You know Lestat" Santino said, as if I were not in the room. "He falls in love so deeply, he is completely satisfied when he is near his own".

"Hey, I am still here you know" I complained.

"Lestat" Santino said suddenly. He glanced at his watch. Two hours before dawn. Good thing he was keeping a track on the time. Louis had to feed yet.

"How about we three take a walk" I said, nuzzling against both David and Louis.

Santino nodded his approval and we left him with Daniel and Eric.

I walked in the middle, my right hand grasping Louis' hand, my left hand grasping David's hand. I could almost die of happiness. Such a burden relieved knowing Daniel was being cared for in my absence. Allowing me to feed with my most precious two without concern.

"Louis ...?" I nudged him. A staggering old man was approaching us. Louis stepped forward and embraced the old man with the speed of a puma. He sank his fangs immediately, draining the man in a matter of minutes. David and I shielded him as he fed, looking at each other. In love.

This was so perfect. I had all I needed to survive the lonely nights ahead. I had them.

The man dropped at Louis feet. Dead. I knelt quickly and sealed the puncture wounds on the man's neck whilst Louis shook himself out of the swoon.

"Your turn" I said softly to David.

"I want to play it out a little first" David said.

My kind of vampire.

I gave my arm to him "Then let's go hunting. Louis ...?"

Louis took my other arm as we suddenly rose into the air. Louis and David gasped, surprised.

We touched down in front of a bar. Rowdy. Full of men trying to cause mischief. David walked into the bar alone, and emerged talking with a man.

My heart froze.

David turned him around, and was about to sink his fangs into the young man's neck.

"NO! David!" I ran over to them, and knocked David away. David glared at me.

"What the hell?" David glanced at Louis who shrugged.

I held the unconscious man in my arms. Drunk. Dear Lord.

The very image of him.

It couldn't be? Could it?

I lay him on the ground and forced him from his unconsciousness. Probing his thoughts I found what I wanted.

Repressed memories of reincarnation.

Dear God, it was him.

"David" I said softly "Go choose another. This one is protected by myself".

David still looked angry and indignant, but did as he was told.

"This is impossible" I said softly.

Louis moved over to us, kneeling beside us. He glanced at me "Who is he, Lestat?"

"Someone I lost many, many years ago" I was almost in tears. "He is my precious one. Before your time".

"Nicolas" Louis guessed.

"How could it be?" My tears were flowing freely. "He died .... Yet, he is here".

"Ask Pandora" Louis said smartly. "She is a reincarnated vampire. It does happen, Lestat".

I nodded, lifting the limp body into my arms. He was awake now, just staring at me. He knew that I was familiar with him. He felt familiar with me, even though he couldn't place how he knew me.

I nuzzled against his warm mortal body, waited for David to finish his feeding, then took to air with the three of them, dreading what Santino would say when he saw this mortal in my arms.

_

Landing outside the house I instructed both David and Louis to be quiet whilst I approached Santino and Eric, the elders, and told them about this amazing occurance.

No doubt they would demand I destroy him immediately. One of the prime rules is not to make any new vampires unless the whole coven agrees. Yet, I was not going to give him up.

I walked bravely into the livingroom to find both Eric and Santino fussing over Daniel. They seemed entranced with him. They were playing with his long and slender fingers. Santino embraced him hungrily.

After a moment, I coughed politely.

"Ah, Lestat!" Santino said brightly. "Welcome home"

"I have something to tell you" I said softly, after Santino's gaze had fallen on the mortal man in my arms.

Santino looked at me. His eyes narrowed. Then he sighed. "No need, Lestat. I already know".

Suddenly, I blew up. How could he know? Was he a fucking oracle? "How on earth do you know that??" I yelled.

Santino held up a finger for silence. Most times, I would have laughed and stuck my middle finger up in response. To his soft command I relented immediately. "Lestat, if I found one of my dead fledgling's reincarnated, do you know what I would do?"

That struck me. Santino had fledglings? He had never seemed the type to love and nurture his own, but that was a terrible thing to say really. After all, he was nursing Daniel as if he were his maker. He was nursing me as if I were his fledgling. He had an abundance of patience which was calming and soothing.

"Go on ..." I said, interested to know his answer.

"I would remake them" Santino said sincerely. "I would give them back eternity, and try to make things different".

Tears were building in my eyes. Blood red. Santino understood. He backed away at once. "Take that one to your room and do what you want with him. He is under your protection". By that, Santino meant that this mortal man was under his protection as well.

Once alone, I shook the man awake. He moaned a little and tried to fight me. However, after a moment he settled down and looked into my eyes. "Why do you look so familiar....?"

"We knew each other" I answered "A long time ago".

"Ah, that explains it then" He relaxed into the bed and watched me with a curious and innocent expression.

Suddenly, Louis walked into the bedroom, blushed bright red and turned and walked out again. I laughed heartily.

"Louis!" I smiled. "Come back, its alright. We are not doing anything except talking".

Louis peeked around the door. Satisfied he wasn't intruding on an intimate moment between us he sat next to my Nicolas and held out his hand.

"My name is Louis. It is a pleasure to meet you".

The young man shook Louis' hand, and smiled "Pleasure is all mine".

Oh that voice! Mixed with modern words and soft cultured tones. Perfect. How similar they looked to me. Both Louis and Nicolas. So perfect. So in tune with their physical perfection.

I left Nicolas in the room, whilst I walked downstairs with Louis into the main room. Daniel was still looking lost and resigned. Santino was still throwing heaps of affection upon the poor boy. Eric was merely soaking in the scene, looking happy and contented.

Finally Daniel turned and registered Santino was kissing him and cuddling him. He leant into the elder's embrace and Santino immediately responded with more affection, kissing Daniel's brow, his lips. Letting him know it was alright to touch him back.

Daniel responded, his eyes lighting up as he trailed a finger along Santino's cheekbones, and then smiled.

The first smile I had seen on his face since this sorry mess had started.

I was elated.

Santino was victorious.

But, dawn was approaching and I had a problem. Calling an agent of mine, who lived less than twenty minutes away, I instructed him quickly on what I wanted him to do. Within twenty minutes he had arrived at the house, and took Nicolas into his care during the daylight hours. He would be bathed, fed and loved until nightfall.

Meanwhile, I was undressing and slipping into bed. Dawn was too close, and Louis had still not emerged. I quickly slipped down the stairs and found Louis fast asleep in the livingroom. I gathered him into my arms and then took him to bed.

Then I closed my eyes and fell to sleep, dreaming of my long lost love.

Now found.

Nicolas.

Oh, Nicolas ......




PART 18


The next evening I awoke with an extremely precious burden wrapped safely in my arms.

I think I actually sighed in pleasure, feeling the soft and warm body pressed against my own.

Bathing him and dressing him quickly, before he woke, I carried him downstairs to the livingroom where Santino had done exactly the same thing with Daniel.

A clean smelling bundle of fledgling lay dozing in his arms. Eric was watching the early evening television.

"Good evening to you both" I greeted them "I guess that David has not yet made an appearance?"

"Still sleeping" Santino said, reassuringly. "I checked on him earlier on".

"Thank you" I said softly. Funnily enough, I meant it. I had never known Santino so caring and gentle in all our immortal years. This side of Santino, I was warming up to at an amazing rate. Very soon, he'd have me nesting in his arms.

"Actually, you would be on my right side" Santino winked "Daniel would be on my left".

I laughed in pleasure. "Anyone told you your getting soft in your old age?"

Santino smiled. "Soft, Lestat? No. More like finally seeing the truth".

"What truth?" I asked, sitting across from him. My clean smelling precious bundle held close against my chest.

"Love is the only way to find happiness for our kind" Eric said softly, before turning his attention back to the television.

Santino snapped his fingers. "Eric has .... hmmm, modern parlance escapes me .... hit the nail right on the head!".

I laughed aloud.

"Its true" Santino said, winking at Eric. A mischevious smile playing on his lips. "We have nothing if not each other".

I sighed.

He was right.

My warm and clean bundle of vampiric beauty was beginning to stir in my arms. I shifted him even closer to me, so we were pressed like tuna in a can, and waited for him to wake.

"Lestat ..." Louis murmered sleepily against my mane of golden hair. "Where am I?"

"Where you belong, beloved" I confirmed "You are with me".

"Hmmmmm" Louis sighed and relaxed. "I smell like fruits of the forest. My hair smells like mint. Have you been bathing me whilst asleep?"

"Yes" I confessed, my eyes half closed. "You smell good, no?"

"Yes, thank you" Louis squirmed in my arms. Enough affection for the moment. Too much and Louis would be literally climbing the walls and complaining I was smothering him.

I didn't want to ruin such a perfect moment. So I did the only thing I could do.

I let him slip from my grasp.

I let him go.

Louis looked at me surprised. Then faintly amused. Then sincerely thankful.

"I will retire to my room for some late night reading before we feed, Lestat" Louis said, smiling at me.

Louis? Wanting me to feed with him? We were going out hunting together.

As modern teenagers say .... Cooo-el!

Santino laughed with an easy grace as his sweet smelling bundle moved in his arms, and Daniel opened his eyes.

"Good evening, clean one" Santino said softly, leaning in to kiss Daniel's forehead.

Daniel tiled his head at the last moment, capturing Santino's lips with his own. Santino seemed faintly surprised, and touched. He drove his tongue eagerly into the fledgling's mouth, scraping his tongue against Daniel's sharp canine's and letting the blood flow down Daniel's eager throat.

The kiss deepened. I turned away, out of respect.

Eric coughed and glared at the television, fighting himself not to look at the entrancing scene of Daniel and Santino locked in the most intimate of vampire kisses.

Finally, Santino drew back and looked affectionately at Daniel. Daniel looked back at Santino, in love.

I smiled. Almost laughing.

Eric grinned. He looked at me with a smile. Our eyes met. He blushed.

Eric turned away.

Walking over to Eric, I lay a hand on his shoulder "No need to be a stranger here".

Eric nodded, gulping. He understood. There was no misunderstanding. He knew he had but to ask, and he would be sleeping next to Louis and myself tomorrow.

"No offence" Eric chuckled. "But I tend to go for darker haired beauties".

I laughed and kissed Eric on the forehead. He winced and drew back a little, afraid. I held onto him and when he finally relaxed, I whispered in his ear "Ah, but blondes do have more fun, Eric".

Eric blushed a deep red and excused himself from the room.

Santino shot me an extremely amused look.

Daniel laughed.

Sweet sound. Especially coming from such a sweet smelling body. What did Santino wash him with anyway? I would have to get some for Louis and myself to share.

Santino held up a finger "Ah, an elder such as myself needs to have some secrets, Lestat".

"Like what?" I asked, interested.

Santino laughed and pulled Daniel closer. "Did you know I owned a beauty brand, Lestat?"

"You mean like perfume?" I asked disbelievingly.

"Oh not just perfume" Santino winked "Soaps, shampoo, bath bombs, all sorts. Its called 'Sexy Santo'".

"You own 'Sexy Santo'?" I asked in disbelief.

Santino grinned and sat back. "We have factories and designer shops all over the world".

"I know" I chuckled "I've visited them a couple of times".

"Don't tell Eric though" Santino smirked "This is our secret".

I laughed. I loved secrets. They invariably ended up in my next book.

"What was that?" Eric called from upstairs. "Are you talking about 'SSS', Santino?"

"SSS .... "I asked, lost as a fart in the wind.

"Sexy Santo Studios. How did you know that, Eric?"

Eric looked a little embarrassed as he rejoined us in the livingroom. "Well, I do keep up on current vampiric affairs".

"Oh yeah, you know all the gossip then?" I asked. Major hint. Nothing more thrilling than gossip to a conversationalist like myself.

"Oh yes" Eric said, pleased to be the center of attention.

"Anything about my Louis I need to know?" I asked cruelly.

"Lestat!" Eric said uncomfortably.

"Well ....?" I winked.

"Well, did you know about his new business venture?" Eric asked.

This was news to me.

Although Louis rarely discussed business with me anyway. Matters of the bedroom and matters of the office were completely seperate for him.

Eric leaned a little closer to me "He's marketing a new brand of condom, Lestat"

"Louis???!!" I asked. I couldn't believe it! Shy Louis! Never.

"Its true" Eric smirked. "Called 'Lou's Luxuries'. There's also some sexual toys in the range".

"Eric!" I said, unable to refrain myself.

"Ask him yourself" Eric said smugly.

I walked to the foot of the stairs immediately and called Louis down from his late night reading.

When Louis did not emerge, I walked up quietly and surprised him in the study. Late night reading my foot. He was pouring over paper's.  The title of the document before him made me break down into helpless fits of laughter. "Lou's Luxuries".

"Lestat" Louis said, shielding his papers immediately. "What do you mean, barging into the study like this!".

"Lou's Luxuries" I panted, tears rolling down my eyes, my arms tightly wound around my own waist in pure laughter. "Whatever next? 'Lac Lover, the ultimate vampire blow up doll?"

Louis sighed and put the papers away. "Calm down, Lestat. Its a business venture, and a very lucrative one at that".

"What .... flavours do the ...... condoms come in, Louis?" I asked, rolling around the floor helplessly.

Louis looked at the paper's briefly, and then sighed "Blood tears and banoffi pie. I'm glad you find this highly amusing, but I do have work to do. Papers to read".

"Enough" I panted, finally regaining myself. "Lets go hunt first". I held out my hand.

Louis looked at me suspiciously, and then rose and took the offered hand. I dragged him down the stairs with me and shouted out to the other's; "Lou and I are off to feed".

I heard restrained laughter from the others' before Louis and myself disappeared into the evening to hunt together.




PART 19

After Louis and I had hunted together, which was an extremely pleasurable experience. However, as Louis is very private about his kills he persuaded me not to write about this kill at all. Fledglings! I have written so much about his 'personal life' anyway, that to me it makes little difference. But that is Louis.

We reached the house well before 12 midnight, and settled beside the others. Santino as usual was playing with Daniel. Eric as usual was watching television. David was now in the room, reading comfortably in the fake light of the room. I sat down with Louis on my lap, smiling at everyone.

Suddenly the doorbell rang. I jumped, despite myself. All eyes turned on me.

"Is anyone going to open the door?" Eric asked.

Lazy buggers. I got up, brushing past the idle vampires lounging in my front room.

"Hello Peter" I greeted my agent. "Thanks for tending to Nicky during the daylight hours for me".

"My pleasure. A very pleasant young man" Peter said, with a smile towards Nicky.

Nicolas did look much better than yesterday. His eyes were brighter, he had obviously been cleaned and fed well during the day. His smile was genuine, something I had only dreamed of in our previous life together.

"Please come in ..." I gestured for Nicky to enter my house.

Nicky froze. "I think you have me confused with someone else. My name isn't Nicky".

I shook my head amiably. "Not a problem. I do know who you are, but more importantly, who you once were".

"Who I once was ...?" Nicky asked, confused.

"Let me explain" I said as I led him over to the couch and sat him down beside Louis. I grasped his hands with both of mine, and knelt before him. "Once upon a time, there was a beautiful and tortured young man called Nicolas le Enfent. He lived near Paris. He and a close friend moved into Paris to become actors, and the friend was captured by an old vampire named Magnus. Magnus turned this friend into a vampire himself, and he in turn made this beautiful man into a vampire as well. The beautiful man was dellusional and guilt ridden, and died at the hands of a vampire coven". I turned away, blushing. "This friend was devestated by the loss of his friend, and lover. He only knew pain until he met another who seemed, in his cynicism and self despair the very twin of this dead man who had been loved so much".

I glanced at Nicky. His eyes were large and expressive. He was obviously thinking deeply about all that I was saying. "You are that man, Nicky. You are the reincarnated vampire who died by fire those many years ago".

"I can't be ....." Nicky gasped.

"I am that friend and lover who lost you so many years ago" I continued.


"But you aren't a vampire ...." Nicky said, obviously distressed.

"You think not?" I sat beside him now, Louis budging aside to allow me to sit on the sofa. I smiled widely at Nicolas, allowing him to catch a glimpse of my small and sharp teeth.

Nicky gasped in fear. "It can't be ...."

"Don't be afraid" I said softly. "I would never, ever hurt you".

Nicky gulped in fear. I could see his distress, his pain. He wasn't sure if I was playing with him or being serious.

Leaning forward, I looked into his dark eyes. Softening, I deliberately calmed him down, made some small suggestions which immediately had the desired effect. He completely relaxed against me.

So tender.

I could smell his blood.

It was rich and sweet and so enticing.

Moving even closer, I nuzzled against his neck, feeling his male organ harden instantly. I licked the vein, making it red and stick out, ready for my fangs to be driven in. I felt the sofa evacuated by Louis and David. I lay him down and straddled him, still kissing his beautiful long neck. He shuddered, and I felt him eagerly rubbing his lower body against me in passion. Allowing him this sexual satisfaction, I waited until he shuddered with the last of his pleasure and then drove my fangs into the soft skin.

He cried out as the explosive orgasm made him shudder in extasy, mingled with the feel of my teeth in his neck making him instantly harden once more.

Ah, Nicky.

Mine again.

This time in love and not in hate.

I could feel the sensual satisfaction and pleasure literally pouring from him. Such affection.

I pulled away. Nicky looked at me weakly.

"My love, do you remember now?" I asked softly.

Nicky nodded. During the blood loss, my memories had entwined with his. He knew exactly what relationship we had shared, how in love we had been. He entwined my fingers within his own.

"You know what I have to give" I said smiling "You know what I offer you now and you know how much I love you. Do you want the Gift once again, or not?"


Nicky glanced at me, his cheeks flaming with embarrassment. Slowly he looked up at me and smiled, relaxing totally. ""Yes, I want it".

"Then you shall have eternity, my love" I said, leaning back against his soft neck, rubbing my fangs along his skin, lightly scratching the surface. "This time, you will never have to fear death again".

And, I drove my fangs into his sweet, bubbling fount.

Nicky.

Ah, Nicky.

How beautiful.

How delicious.

All mine.

_

Suddenly Nicky began to thrash in my arms wildly. It took all of my strength to let his neck go, and hush him.

He was weeping. His face was crumpled with crying. Louis and the others turned away, as if embarrassed they were witnessing this weakness.

"What is it, Nicky?" I asked, gently.  I deliberately turned away for a moment, until the blood lust had subsided a little.

"Will I have to kill people like before?" Nicky asked fearfully.

I sighed.

Talk about spoiling a moment.

I sat up, pulling him up with me and enfolded him in my arms. I looked at Louis. So impassive, even though I was technically making love to another man. So trusting, so open. I smiled, and wanted him sitting next to me suddenly. I gestured to the seat on the sofa beside me, and Louis sat down rather heavily.

"Nick" I said softly. "Things are different now. Its no longer necessary to kill every night. But, to answer your question, yes you would have to take lives".

I heard a faint sob as Nicky buried his head into my chest.

"You think you will not be able to manage this?" I said softly, kissing his forehead.

Nicky shook his head. He was weeping, his shoulders shaking in his misery.

I felt like a complete jerk.

Louis smiled at me, and pulled Nicky gently from me. "Let me take him hunting with me. Maybe I can explain things a little better if we are alone".

We had already hunted this evening.

I eyed Louis suspiciously. "You won't hurt him?"

Louis closed his eyes and I felt the pain in his expression flood my heart. I cursed myself for being so crass with my words, not thinking before I spoke. Would Louis ever hurt Nicky? Not likely.

I was being a fool, and hurting the ones who meant the most to me.

I gestured for them to leave and watched them go with a slight fear.

I know it was stupid to fear for Nicky, in Louis' superb care, but I felt a sudden stab of fear.

Something wasn't right.

I turned to say something to the others, but they were concentrating on other things. David and Eric were now playing chess together. Santino and Daniel were cuddling on a large chair together.

Something wasn't right.

It was too perfect. Why hadn't I seen this before?

Had I been completely blind with my desires for things to be perfect between us all, to notice how bizarrely perfect everything suddenly was?

I ran outside.

"Memnoch!" I screamed.

He appeared at my side.

"Yes, Lestat?"

"Where am I? Where are my children, my real children?" I said angrily.

Memnoch looked slightly alarmed "They are your real children".

I was ready to punch him "Yeah, right. Louis isn't that dependant on me, no matter what others say. He is very strong. Something wasn't right from the start of all of this. Then, Nicky turns up! Ahhh, I did not see this coming. I have been a complete fool"

Memnoch smiled. His expression was full of admiration.

"You asked me once whether I would swap my Louis for my idea of perfection ...?"

Memnoch nodded.

I shook my head "No. I want the arguments back. I want the tantrums, the horror, the misunderstandings between us! For all I have ever wished I wanted Louis to be different, I know I was wrong! Louis, my Louis, is a being full of misunderstandings. He sees the world in a black way, but he joined me when I needed him. He became something he could never have explained because he was in love with me. I fell in love with the despair, the heartbreak, the utter sadness of his soul!"

Memnoch coughed and rose. "You have been away from your real world for a very long time, Lestat. I have tried to show you how things could have been, if only you had been more loving to those around you".

"I want my Louis back" I said softly "If only to apologise for every single word and action I have ever done wrong".

Memnoch nodded. "Then the lesson has been successful".

I shook my head angrily "I never want to see you or your visions again"

"I understand" Memnoch said softly. "You will never see me or my visions again"

The whole world seemed to shift and change. The swirling winds once again caught me up and spun me around. Finally, I landed heavily by a streetlight. I got up from the dirty ground, brushed myself off and quickly ran to the hotel I knew David, Armand ad Dora would be waiting for me.

"Its been nine months Lestat" David said reproachingly, as I drifted into the room. "Dora is preaching in the church you can see outside the window".

"Nine months is nothing to we who have forever" I said cryptically.

Armand glared at me from his seat. "Do you know what we have suffered in your absence, Lestat? Louis has come by night after night, wondering if you are back".

Stab of pain in my heart. Louis.

"Has he come around tonight?" I asked eagerly.

"Not yet" David said softly, shaking his head.

"Good" I said softly.

"So where did you go, what did you do?" Armand asked softly.

I thought about this for a moment.

"I went to hell and heaven" I answered. "I was shown perfection and I turned it down".

"Really?" Armand seemed amazed by this "Why?"

"Because perfection is not my reality. All I can do is try to make my reality into the perfection I seek".

"Hmmm" Armand sat back, thinking deeply about this.

Suddenly the doorbell rang.

David got up and walked to the door. He gave a cry of delight when he saw who was standing there, waiting patiently. "Louis!"

I gasped.

The words meant so much. My Louis. Louis I had not seen for months. Here.

I rose and walked over to the door.

Louis looked relieved, and angry. He walked up to me and seemed for a moment he would explode in anger.

Instead, his features softened and he asked in a small voice "Why ....?"

I knelt beside him, and wound my arms around his firm legs. I nuzzled against him, my Louis. "Why is not important. What is important is that I am home. Home for good".

Louis sighed, his eyes moist with blood tears. "Do you know what I have been through, what we have been through?"

I rose and looked into his eyes. So alive. So stunning. Emerald perfection. I was trembling.

But, I could not find the words to describe to him what I had seen and what I had done.

In reality, the words don't often come when you really need them.

I had lost my voice, and all I could do was look at him.

I needed to feel his warmth in my arms, but I was afraid he would pull away if I tried to hold him.

So, in the end I merely contented myself by looking at him, at his beauty. Knowing I could not hold him as I had before, or talk with him like I had before.

And ...

... it was complete agony.




PART 20

We were walking in my garden, back at the townhouse.

Savage garden.

Just the two of us.

Trying to find the right words to communicate with each other.

And, failing miserably.

I glanced at Louis, he glanced back.

I turned away, fire flooding my cheeks.

"So, did you learn anything from your lessons?" Louis asked me softly.

I breathed in deeply, and turned to look at him.

Suddenly, I moved closer. I touched his face with my fingers.

"Perfection isn't really perfection" I said as softly. "Its just a cowardly way of copping out from reality".

"Was I there?" Louis asked, slight panic in his voice.

"Yes, sort of. It wasn't really you, but then again it was" I looked into his eyes.

"Did you love this other Louis" Louis asked.

My heart pounded. "In a way, yes. But I came back because of you".

"You did?"

"Oh, yes. I love you, Louis. I may not always say or do things which confirm this. But I love you so very much" There, I had actually said it.

A warm blush flooded Louis' cheeks, and he trembled slightly as I continued to touch his face with my fingers.

Suddenly, I grinned at him. "Want to go on a little adventure, Louis?"

Louis looked at me suspiciously. "What!!???"

"I promise this time, I have no designs on shaking the world before me with my rock music, waking age old vampires, swapping bodies with thieves or even interrupting the idyllic beauty of a talamascan's mortal life".

"I don't know" Louis said nervously, raking his fingers through his dark hair. Ahh, that hair ....

"Oh come on" I said pouting. "I need to do this".

Louis sighed, resigned. "Very well".

I lifted him up, and flew into the dark sky with him pressed against me. Ahhh, I could fly all night with him so soft and tender against me. But, I did have other plans for us this evening.

I had a promise to fulfill. A promise I had made to Louis and never delivered.

I did love him, yes. I needed him, wanted him, loved him more than anyone I had ever met and loved in my life. But had I ever really told him how much I needed him, how much I really loved him. (Apart from in my books of course) But, never to his face. Never did I tell him how much he meant to me, how much each night with him made me wish to continue forever.

It was only fair, only right. To tell him of this feeling, this warmth.

Now I was upto something. He was nervous, but the nerves would die away. I needed to give him something. Something to start again.

I would turn back the hands with us, once and for all. Giving him something of myself I had never given to anyone in my life. Something I would never give to anyone else again. Something which was reserved for us only.

We could start again.

We always had the opportunity to do that.

Now it was time to give him everything.  

And you know what?

I had never felt so sure of anything in my entire life.




PART 21


He had fallen asleep a long while ago. He awoke beside me.

We were both naked, stuffed into a huge double bed with silken sheets around us.

He struggled a little beside me, until his eyes opened and realised where we were.

Blinding emerald eyes settling on me.

Smiling.

"I have something to give you, Louis"  I said softly, a slight smile playing on my lips.

Louis looked a little worried, but settled against me. He was wondering why we were both naked in bed together. He was wondering what was on my mind.

I brushed back a stray hair from his face and caught sight of the scar. I leant forward and kissed this scar.

"Everything is beautiful about you Louis" I confirmed. "Including this"

I kissed the scar reverently, feeling him gasp.

He arched against me with his naked body, now slick with blood sweat.

Ahhh, Louis.

"Louis, I have a question for you ...." I asked softly.

He concentrated on me now, ignoring his body wanting pleasure "Yes".

"I know I have asked you this before, but would you take my more powerful blood?" I saw him about to object point blank and quickly added "Even if I knew this was right for you, that you would not suffer. You would be stronger for it".

Louis sighed. "What if I hated it, and wanted nothing but death".

"I would cover you in my arms forever, and never let you go" I said with a smile. "Just try a little bit".

Louis sighed, anger marking his emerald eyes with a dark flame "You will never quit, will you".

I shook my head. "This is important, Louis".

I scratched my wrist, allowing a few drops of blood to flow. He reluctantly took this wrist to his mouth and lapped a few drops.

I could see his expression change. From reluctant to predatory in a matter of seconds.

I tore open my neck and gestured for him to take the blood that was flowing freely.

He hesitated.

Mind strong. Willpower strong.

"Trust me" I begged shamelessly. "I love you. Do you honestly think if my blood would do you harm, I would let you anywhere near it?"

His gaze softened, and he bent forward, closing his mouth over my neck and beginning to suck.

Ahhh, Louis. I had never felt such pleasure. Never felt such devotion. Each tiny and gentle suck brought waves of pleasure flooding through my entire body. I put my hand behind his head, pushing him closer.

He growled, and tore at the flesh. All indecision cast aside.

Phase one was complete.

He drank in the powerful blood hungrily, finally resting against me with, panting. He had a huge smile on his face.

"Like making love, no?" I asked him softly.

Louis nodded. "I could get used to that".

I laughed. "In time, we shall complete a circle of love, you and I. I promise that. But now, I have yet another surprise for you".

Louis sat up, resting his head on his hands "Yes?"

I grinned "I am not making this easy for you, my love. I have brought you to a house I own, and the surprise is somewhere in this house waiting for you".

"Its not a puppy, is it?" Louis asked suspiciously.

I shook my head.

Slowly, he rose and dressed himself. He wandered down the stairs and walked into the livingroom. Scent of fresh flowers. His eyes widened in surprise.

A small gold table in the centre of literally hundreds of red roses. A soft light was shining on the table, on the two small centrepieces.

Louis stepped through the roses, his eyes falling on the small objects. Tears entering his eyes.

I pressed my body against his, from behind him. I reached out and took the two small objects, so meaningful. I took his hand, and slid the ring onto his wedding finger.

"Now and always" I promised "A union. Not with a priest, or a church, or any other superstitious nonsense we do not believe in. Just you and me. I promise, Louis. I will make things right".

White gold band. Sparkled in the light. Louis slender finger clothed with this promise.

At last.

He turned around and slipped the other wedding band onto my wedding finger, kissing the hand before I withdrew it. His eyes were wet. I kissed them, drinking in his tears.

"I promise" He muttered softly. "To always love you. To give you everything I can give you. Everything that is mine to give".

I swept him into my arms, and lay him onto the bed of roses beneath us. I offered him my wrist as I bent towards his neck and broke into the tender, young flesh.

Louis.

My Louis.

Circle of light, invading our nightly darkness and illuminating everything. I saw every thought in his mind, and he saw evey thought in my own.

Our union.

Our circle.

I had finally done what I had only dreamed about for centuries.

I had turned back the hands of time. We were in love. We had a past, yes. But that did not matter anymore.

All that mattered now was 'us'.

Us.

Eternity belonged to us ......




PART 22


A couple of years later, we stood hand in hand watching the small bar.

"Why are we here?" Louis asked softly.

"To see someone for the last time" I said, squeezing his hand tighter.

He emerged from the bar, and I watched him drunkenly move to his car. Driving whilst drunk. Likely get himself killed.

"Goodbye, Nicky" I whispered softly, moving into the air with my Louis.

We touched down near the townhouse, and we sat on a park bench together. Louis was humming softly, contentedly.

I was looking up at the townhouse.

"What's wrong?" Louis finally asked.

"I wonder how they are getting on in there ...." I muttered.

"Santino won't appreciate you spying on him" Louis said darkly. "He's not the type. Why did you invite them around anyway, and then run off with me. Left them both alone. Armand will not appreciate this at all".

"Daniel can look after himself" I confirmed, smiling.

"But, you didn't answer the question ... why?" Louis asked, looking at me with those brilliant green eyes.

I smiled. "I don't know. Gut feeling, perhaps? I get the feeling if they got to know each other, they may enjoy each other's company".

Louis smiled. "Becoming quite the matchmaker, aren't you Lestat?"

"What do you mean?" I asked innocently, idly playing with his slender hand, pushing the ring a little on his marriage finger.

"First Armand and Marius, now Daniel and Santino. What next? Eric and David?"

My mind wandered back to that unreal world where I had caught David and Eric playing chess, moments before Memnoch had returned to take me home.

"Perhaps ....."

Louis gasped in shock and tried not to smile. But it was difficult. A small smile was playing on his lips, threatening to turn into a big grin.

"Well, we'll see what happens" Louis said, laughing a little.

I pulled him even closer against my chest and kissed his forehead. "We all deserve the chance, Louis".

Louis looked confused. "Chance? To do what?"

I grinned. "Start again, begin anew. Turn back the hands and make things right. Everyone has the ability to do this".

Louis moaned in pleasure as I played with his hair and closed his eyes against my chest "You are right, Lestat".

I grinned.

If only he knew.

But, maybe he did?

Louis had experienced my thoughts firsthand as he drank from me in our pleasurable kiss.

Maybe he did know.

Which was why he was trying not to laugh, instead of being angry.

I could only hope what I had witnessed in the alternate world could become a reality. I think it could, given time and a little push in the right direction.

I was a married man.

I had someone beside me who I had dreamed of for centuries. Now and forever.

If I could make that happen between us, who knows how far I could spread this happiness? I had been given a gift. I had seen how things could be.

I had been shown how to turn back the hands. Not just for myself, but for others.

I grinned and murmered "Thank you, Memnoch".

"What was that?" Louis asked, straining his ears to catch what I had said.

"Nothing" I stood up and laughed as the lights went out in my townhouse. Time to leave and let them have their intimacy. "Lets go and hunt together, Louis".

Louis smiled as I wrapped my arm around his face and nodded eagerly. "Yes lets".

Together we vanished around the corner as quickly as we had arrived.

We did literally turn back the hands of time. But, what does that really mean. I had the opportunity to actually go back in history, and clean away my mistakes of the past. Truly, turning back the hands means starting again. Cleaning out the old mistakes, brooding on them, and finally correcting them.

I had done this with Louis. After all our hard times together, I had given him a part of myself I would never give to anyone else. A union. A marriage. This was my way of telling him I wanted to turn back the hands, start again.

Santino had always been alone. He had never had a single fledlging who had wished to remain with him. Yet, he was driven by his independance and a need for others. Daniel needed someone. A coven master. Someone who understood his reluctance with Armand. The misunderstandings between them had blown to a conclusion that neither would have been able to live with. Santino would offer Daniel love and devotion he had never offered to any vampire or mortal before. They were right together.

Armand needed guidance from his maker, Marius. He needed the artist he had once known intimately hundreds of years ago loving him, touching him, making him feel life wasn't so empty. He needed a maker who would nurture and rebuild a past which was so cruelly taken from him by the Children of Darkness. I made sure Marius knew this. Once Marius was aware of how lonely and lost Armand was, he had leapt into action. Calling Armand home.

Eric .... how misunderstood he really was. Humorous and lonely Eric, who had never before had someone really close to him. How he loved David. David, the British talasmascan who had stolen Eric's heart months before now with his simple logic and love. They would make a fine couple.

Finally, I thought of Nicky.

My Nicky.

I had been about to make another ghastly mistake with him the night Memnoch had brought me home. The truth was, Nicky wasn't suited to the Dark Gift. And, no matter how much you love someone, sometimes you have to show that love in the most hardest way possible.

You have to let them go.

He could at any time remember his past, and decide he wanted what I had to offer. But, the truth was he would never ask for the Gift again.


He had lost his life once because of the mistake I had made.

I would not make that same mistake again.

I loved Nicky so completely.

So, I let him go.

Tears are in my eyes as I write the end of this tale.  Louis is sitting worried, by the computer, brushing the tears aside with his white, slender hand. But, I know I have turned back the hands for the better. I could never have understood the impact of my actions if Memnoch hadn't showed me everything which could have been.

Turning back the hands ...... for the better.

What a future we all had to look forward to! However, I only had one goal before me now.

To love Louis forever.



THE END.
29468 words


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