Chapter Ten

                Nick forced himself out of Natalie's sleeping embrace.  They had made sweet, beautiful love three or four times, and Natalie had fallen asleep in his arms, exhausted but happy, and wearing the top to his black silk pajamas.  Nick had to feed if he was going to continue being near Natalie.  And he had a feeling he would be very near Natalie for the rest of the day.  Nick smiled to himself.  She, by her own words, was attempting to make up for all the years they'd had to look but not touch.  She was quite the little vixen in bed.

                Nick drank straight from the bottle, gulping down the obscene nourishment.  He still felt guilty for taking her blood every time he came, like he had violated her somehow.  But Natalie assured him she didn't mind, and her blood had echoed the sentiments.  In fact, and Nick had to smile slightly at this, she even found it erotic.  Almost all people would be freaked out, or disgusted by it, but not Natalie.  She was one in a million, willing to go where even angels feared to tread.  Nick poured a tall glass of orange juice for Natalie and a mug of blood for him, and took them both upstairs, placing them on the dresser.  He stood, watching her for a long moment.  She was so peaceful when she slept, the lines erased from her face, a slight smile on her lips.  With his perfect memory, he would have this moment forever.  Content with his life for the first time in years, the vampire in him well fed for a while, Nick climbed back into bed next to Natalie, curling his body around hers.  He would watch her, bask in her beauty, until she awoke once more.

~~~~@

                Natalie opened her eyes again, knowing she was still in Nick's bed.  She glanced down to see his pale arm wrapped around her stomach.  Planning on pretending to be asleep, so she could have this moment for a while longer, she was disappointed when Nick said, "Good morning."

                She rolled over so they were face to face, literally.  "Is it morning already?"

                "More like 3am."  Nick smiled at her and kissed her gently.

                "You should do that more often," she told him.

                "What?  Smile?"  Natalie nodded to that, and Nick smiled again.  "I brought you up some orange juice, but it's probably warm by now.

                "That's okay."  Natalie sat up and got out of the bed, flashing Nick a bit of bare butt as she walked over to pick up the tall glass.  After a couple sips, she asked, "Do you mind if doctor mode kicks in for a bit?"  Nick shook his head.  "Okay.  How much blood are you taking each time we make love?"

                Nick winced at that, guilt building up.  "Less than a doctor would if he was drawing blood to run tests."

                Natalie smiled and downed the rest of her orange juice.  "Good."  She put the glass down and walked over, giving him a quick kiss, quite obviously sore.  "I'm going to take a quick shower, okay?"

                Nick returned the gentle caress.  "Of course.  You know where everything is?"

                Natalie nodded as she exited the room.  Nick listened to her heartbeat and her footsteps.  When she stopped, he judged she was standing in front of the mirror, and he heard her heartbeat speed up.  Slightly concerned, he grabbed the glass and the mug to take down to the kitchen and peeked in on her.  She was standing with her eyes closed, fingers on the marks of his fangs, and a slight smile on her face.

                "Regrets?" he asked softly, even though it was quite obvious that she had none.

                Natalie turned to his voice, opening her eyes and smiling brilliantly.  "None whatsoever.  Unless you count that it took us this long to do this.  You?"

                Nick smiled and shook his head.  "Of course not."  He continued on his way down to the kitchen.

~~~~@

                Lacroix concentrated on the emotions emanating from his child.  So, he and the Good Doctor had finally overcome the many barriers in their relationship.  At least, they had overcome most of them.  The two still had him to deal with.  And Nicholas still owed him a life for Fleur's.

                Lacroix had had years to come up with the best punishment for Nicholas when the time came.  He had figured out, from knowing his son, that nothing would be more painful to Nicholas than having to watch the Good Doctor grow old and die.  For there was no way that the reluctant vampire would even consider adding her to their family.  So Nicholas would spend his life with the Good Doctor worrying that Lacroix would do something, while the ancient would merely watch from afar and laugh.

~~~~@

                "Nick?"  Natalie walked down the stairs dressed in clean clothes, her hair still wet.

                "Yeah, Nat?"  Nick was sitting on the couch, flipping TV channels.

                "I've was doing some thinking while I was in the shower."  Nick's head snapped to attention.  In his experience, thinking was never good.  "How much do you love me?"

                That was a strange question, since she should know the answer.  "More than I have even loved another.  Why?"

                Natalie had felt, in his blood, the constant knowledge that one-day she would be dead, and he would be alone again.  He knew that the odds of finding someone else like her were slim, and he had already experienced life without her once, when he had been gone.  That was not a happy time for him, and he did not want to go through it again.  In his mind, there was only one option after she was dead, and it was not one that Natalie liked.

                "Then someday in the future, if we've actually worked out on a long term basis and I'm ready, would you consider bringing me across?"  She searched his face for acceptance.  "I know I wouldn't be you shining pillar of mortality anymore, but…"

                Nick stood up and took her hands in his.  "It's not your mortality that I love, but you.  I've considered asking that of you, but could you really stand never to see another sunrise?  To live in darkness for the rest of forever?"

                "As long as I'm with you, I'm not in darkness," she interrupted.

                "And is this what you would really want?" he asked quietly, searching her face for the truth.

                Natalie nodded.  "Yes.  Plus, if I'm a vampire, I'll be even more motivated to search for a cure, I'll have all the time in the world, and it'll be easier to get samples for testing."

                Nick wrapped his arms around her, his face in her hair.  "I love you, Nat," he groaned.  "I don't know how I managed to survive for eight centuries without you.  If your mind doesn't change, then yes, I'll bring you across when you ask me to."

                Natalie smiled contentedly as she hugged him back.  Now neither of them would ever be alone again.

*Fin*

(A/N:  Well, I wrote the last half of this in a marathon of writing and playing computer solitaire (I can beat the stupid game in 53 seconds now - it's not fun anymore).  That's a very long time to be sitting in front of a computer with no break.  I hope you all enjoyed this story.  Go read some of my other ones!  I've got a couple FK one's going, along with countless other ones from other things.  Please tell me how you liked this.  Remember, sending no review is a review in and of itself!)