|Plus ca Change
Author: Javanyet PM
Even for vampires moving on can be unexpected and unwelcome. Spun from Human Factor, this happens just after New Blood.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Angst - Words: 670 - Published: 01-26-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4036387
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"What the hell? How are you suddenly le patron?" Maura repeated LaCroix's announcement to the staff, now that the others had gone.
He shrugged. "Janette has transferred the lease to me."
Maura was divided between outrage and injury. "What? With no warning? With no notice?"
Her reaction would have invited disdain, had not some years of familiarity bred grudging understanding in him. "She knew it was time. She shared her reasons with me, as someone who has known her for centuries." No further explanation.
The fact that her immortal friends and colleagues weren't here to support her protest suddenly informed Maura of its mostly mortal nature. But how could Nick not have told her?
"So… I guess I'm sacked, then?" Given their hostile history she expected it.
LaCroix offered the familiar, somewhat forced smile that indicated he was trapped by circumstances. "You are Janette's most trusted associate to manage the operations of this establishment. Being inexperienced in such matters, who am I to question her judgment?"
Ah, shit. The idea of working for LaCroix was the closest thing to hell Maura could imagine… though Janette's endorsement seemed to offer an edge. And by god LaCroix's implicit admission of inadequacy was sweet beyond measure. "Okay…" she responded with the merest whiff of sarcasm, "if Janette trusts you enough to hand over this joint, who am I to question her judgment?"
The deal was done.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Maura demanded of Nick when he arrived some hours after her cab delivered her home.
"Hey, nice to see you too," he answered drily as he gave her a kiss. "Tell you what?"
Oh, how she hated that innocent look. "That Janette left town. What, you figured I wouldn't notice?"
Nick's stunned expression changed Maura's attitude. "Janette left town? What are you talking about?" True, he hadn't been to see her for so long, but she'd never…
Maura approached him questioningly. "You mean you didn't know? I figured she must have told you."
An unfamiliar sense of panic flooded Nick. Surely if Janette had moved on, he would have sensed it. Surely he'd have known. "Tell me." He gripped her shoulders roughly, "Tell me!"
"LaCroix said she told him it was time, she gave him the lease for Raven. Jesus, Nick, are you telling me you didn't know?" It was unimaginable. The look on his face erased any need for an answer.
He let her go. "She told me nothing. LaCroix told me nothing." He'd been so absorbed in their travels to Scotland and their return to the life he'd believed would continue as usual, then so shattered by the loss of Schanke, and the adjustment to a new partner and captain… to a new life. He'd simply assumed Janette was included in it all.
They stared at one another, their gut-level feelings of abandonment mutual, though far from equal.
"Oh, Nick," Maura knew, she knew his pain immeasurably dwarfed hers, and she reached out to hold him wondering what more she could say that would make sense.
Nick howled silently, painfully, from the heart he still refused to believe existed, Why? She'd left him before, but those reasons were long past. This time she couldn't tell him why?
"Nicolas please, she loves you, you have to know she believes you'd understand," Maura whispered, desperate to comfort him.
"Then she's the only one who does." He stepped out of her embrace. "I need to be alone for a while."
"Okay." Maura kissed him and brushed his face with light fingers. "I love you." She left him to his pain and candlelight.
After she'd gone Nick lit the candelabrum and sat at his piano. He tried to summon some ancient shared melody to play, but could think of nothing adequate to the occasion. Giving up, he laid his head on the keyboard and cried.
le patron: the boss (French)