|Walking in Your Footsteps
Author: setivalen PM
Nick struggles with his depression as another tragedy reminds him of his inescapable vampire nature. For LJ Scifi Muses prompt: shuffling your feet. Nick, Janette. Slightly AU. Some sexual content; strong T.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Words: 1,580 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 10-04-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4574516
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Fandom: Forever Knight
Characters: Nick, Janette
Prompt: Scifi Muses, Shuffling Your Feet (music title), vol1.week8
Rating: Strong T (some sexual content)
Summary: Nick struggles with his depression as another tragedy reminds him of his inescapable vampire nature.
Walking in Your Footsteps
Nick was sitting on the couch in his apartment, attempting to ply music to wash away the grime clinging to his sense of self. It had been a terrible day. Martin Warren, a man on death row, had been executed by lethal injection.
A friend, Tom Costanza, had asked Nick about a month ago to conduct an investigation on the QT regarding the case that had put Warren in prison. Tom had known Warren in high school; they'd been close friends. He'd been astounded when Martin Warren was arrested, anguished when he was convicted, and horrified at the final sentencing. As Tom had explained to Nick, he simply didn't think Warren was capable of committing such a violent crime. Interviewing him several times during the trial, Tom was convinced someone else was responsible. Tom hoped additional evidence, something missed over the past twenty-five years, would exonerate his old friend.
Nick was initially reluctant to accept the work; it wasn't a crime his division had covered back then, and he certainly wasn't a "cold case" expert. Nevertheless, Tom was a good friend—he provided tips Nick often found useful—so he finally offered to spend a few hours of time looking over the files, scanning for an investigative opening.
Where it had led him…Nick's stomach tightened again at the memories. Emotion stormed behind his closed eyes as the despair and shame he felt for his vampirism, for the predators all vampires were, overwhelmed him again. The depression was getting worse; it seemed like the harder he tried to act human, be human, the further the goal slipped from his grasp.
The victim—the man Martin Warren had been convicted of murdering—had actually died at mouth of a vampire. Nick knew who it had been, one known as Malont. He was a vampire who'd crossed over in the year 1520, originally from Spain, and he had been an acquaintance of Janette's. They'd been sometime archery partners in the royal court of Charles V; Janette had always appreciated Malont's sense of humor.
Malont, of course, had no remorse regarding the killing of humans to keep his own existence intact. Nick was bound, by the code of all vampires, to never take advantage of another of his kind; no one could turn in a fellow vampire to authorities for the "crime" of murder, since feeding was a necessary act. He also couldn't afford to draw attention to their kind; danger for one was danger for everyone in the same vicinity.
Hands tied, Nick wished he'd never been drawn into the situation. The weight of responsibility and helplessness pulled him deeper into the dark mental fog he'd been struggling to manage for the past two months. He was no closer to becoming mortal again, to feeling more removed from the vampires around him, to stopping the guilt that plagued him. He felt accountable, responsible for all of them, all the vampires who erased human lives through the people they fed on—yes, killed—and the innocents who were forced to pay for these crimes of the undead.
So Nick had attended the execution as penance. He was haunted by the sound of Warren's feet shuffling awkwardly along the floor, the steps of a man clearly loathe to see the table and apparatus designed to end his life. It had been a drawn-out scratching noise, paper slippers rubbing against linoleum, each sliding footstep slower than the one preceding. Nick couldn't get it out of his mind, regardless of what music he tried as white noise against the memory.
A knock on the door startled Nick from his pensive reverie. Rubbing his eyes to somehow wipe the sadness from them, he moved across the floor and peered through the keyhole. Janette. Of all his demons…
Hello, Nikolai." She stood still, expectant; her face was inscrutable, as always. Then, in exasperation: "Do you expect to air our particular dirty laundry in your entryway? It hardly seems your style these days."
Nick shrugged his shoulders, more in defeat than indifference. "You obviously expected to be let in, no matter what I might want at the moment." He walked away, the door open. She shut it behind her quietly.
Languorously drawing her scarf from her shoulders, she ran it through her hand as she stepped down into the lower section of his living room.
"Mmmm. Chopin. More melancholy than usual, Nikolai? You used to play his music whenever you were in one of your blacker moods." She fearlessly moved behind him, placing her fingers along his forearm, sliding into a gentle handhold. Moments later, Nick was back on the couch, Janette sitting close beside him. He raised an eye as she tucked her toes under his legs.
"Why are you here?" he queried, his tone more curious than sardonic.
"I heard what happened today. To that man, Warren. You did tell me about Malont's involvement, remember?" She placed a hand lightly on his shoulder.
"Sympathy isn't normally your strong suite, Janette. What's different about this incident in the long chronicle of Nicholas de Brabant?"
"Oh, Nikolai. Must you be so harsh with me? With yourself? I came to offer company. No more, no less. We can sit here and drown in all of Chopin's works in minor keys, if that's what you want." Nick heard the hurt in her voice, and decided he could be more solicitous, if nothing else.
Placing a hand on her knee, Nick looking directly into Janette's eyes. Something stirred within; no matter how many centuries passed, her beauty, the depth of her eyes, still took his breath away. "I'm sorry, mon cherie, truly. You…it's been some time since you showed your caring more openly." He paused, looking down momentarily. "It's been missed." The words were soft, nearly swallowed by his breathing.
Janette's next move unnerved him and aroused him all at once. He felt her breath against his neck, sighed as her hand stroked his chest in long, feathery circles. His nipples became taut; She had to notice.
"Nikolai…" she whispered in a half-moan. He became hard immediately. Janette knew—she always knew. She stroked his erection through the cloth of his pants, and he moved his legs wider, his body eager for more.
"God, my Janne, I do thirst for you. That never changes." A cry escaped as his zipper was undone, fingers urging him to thrust his shaft into the warmth of her touch. He sensed the iron bands around his heart release momentarily. "It's been too long—"
"Shhhh, Nikolai. Shhhh." Her other hand began running through his hair, massaging his neck. The strokes fell into the same rhythm; his began moaning in earnest. "It's the same with me."
Her lips claimed his, and he let himself fall into the sensations of desire and deep connection he'd been holding at arm's length for nearly a year. I still love you. I can never break with you.
And then she pulled away, holding his face, studying his vulnerability—at least, that's how it felt. "I want…" her own defenses were dissolving, he realized now. "I want to soothe that tortured soul of yours, Nikolai. I swear, I want so much to pull you away from the sadness that's possessed you for so many years—" she choked on the tears now spilling, unbidden.
Nick couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her so emotionally untethered. It had been one hundred fifty years or more. His heart shattered.
Hands enveloping her sculpted cheeks, he met her gaze. He wasn't going to be able to say what should be said in words…there was too much history, and no language adequate to the task. "I thought—believed you didn't feel this way any more about us."
Janette remained silent. Her face told him everything. There was no need for other forms of communication.
Except for Nick. The tears he hadn't been able to let fall all day let forth their fury at last. Head buried into Janette's neck, arms draped around her tightly, his body shook with unleashed energy. Somehow, in ways Nick couldn't fathom, Janette seemed to absorb that negative current, let it pass through her and dissipate into the air.
When their lips met once more, a new conduit was opened. This energy was lighter in form, more intense in content. As Nick began making love to Janette, he found himself unable to look away, eyes locked. Sliding deep inside her, he gasped at the pleasure, his thrusts reaching a fever pitch almost as soon as his body fully registered the acuteness of the sensations. "I love you, Janne." She gripped his arms, matching his movements, fear and acceptance flickering in her eyes. "Yes, my Nikolai, yes. Never forget who we are together." His look shifted to one of agony. "That's what makes me so sad, Janne," he cried out softly, climaxing as the words left his lips.