A World in a Grain of Sand
(A/N: This is a sequel to 'Every New Beginning Come From Some Other'- ah, screw it. This is the sequel to 'Every New Beginning'. As I write this first chapter, I am sick, so… No plot as of yet. It might be just one of those 'life's lessons learned' things. R/R/E, please!)
Disclaimer: Sydney is mine, as well as her family. So's the bartender…Carla…Anita… Kane…I do believe this is it for this chapter. The rest belong to…those people who own 'Forever Knight'. For some reason I have JJ Abrams stuck in my head, but that's 'Alias'. I think.
Vachon strummed a couple chords on his guitar, watching Tracy intently. She was far away, off in her own little world. He wondered what she was thinking about. Since he had brought her across, they had grown so much closer, in every way. Usually, when he started playing, she snapped out of it to listen intently to the beautiful music. But not this time.
Vachon put down his guitar and picked up a bottle of bloodwine, pouring a glass for each of them. He stood up, a glass in each hand, and walked over to her, setting one down in front of her. Whatever she was thinking about must be deep.
"Care to share?" he asked quietly, pushing a bit of love through their link. She looked up at him and smiled slightly.
"Sorry, Vachon. I was just thinking…I don't even know what I was thinking." She sent a jumble of emotions to him, so he would understand.
If Vachon had to sum it up, he would say that is had finally hit home that she would live forever and everyone else she knew (the mortals at least) wouldn't. He felt a brief pang of regret - he wanted her to be happy. But she was happy, merely a bit saddened by the realization.
He pulled her into his arms, hugging her tight. "I'm sorry, Trace. 'A vampire's heart must be cold'," he quoted to her. "At least, when it comes to mortals."
Tracy nodded. It's not that she wasn't happy, she was. It was just a bit…shocking. "I know. It will just take some getting used to."
"It happens quicker than you think." Vachon ran his fingers through her straight blonde hair. "You're going back to work tomorrow. Do you feel ready?" As her Master, he knew she was ready. But that didn't mean she felt like she was.
"I think I am. My father's getting antsy to have me back at work again." She had…'convince' him to stop trying to get her to change jobs because this one was 'too dangerous'. He had tried once before, for a different reason. It hadn't worked then, and it wouldn't work now.
Vachon kissed her lightly, and nuzzled her cheek. "It's almost dawn. Are you staying here the day?"
Tracy shook her head. "I'd never get to work tomorrow if I did." She laughed at his lecherous grin.
Vachon walked her down to her car. She was still the same old perky Tracy, even after being brought to the darkness. He kissed her once more before she got into her car and drove off.
Nick hummed happily as he sat at his desk in the precinct, doing paperwork for his latest finished case. He had many things to be happy about. The 'guardian angels' had been right about the blood. Natalie had moved in with him. Tracy was coming back to work today.
"Oh my God, it's one of the signs of the Apocalypse." Speak of the devil. "He's humming and smiling while he's doing paperwork."
"Tracy!" Nick quickly stood up, his smile growing, and hugged her. "How are you? You look great?" Nick didn't know how he had missed the rigmarole that must have started when she came in.
She rolled her eyes and dragged a chair over to sit with him. "I came back expecting to have piles of paperwork to do. What gives? What'd you do with the real Nick?" She took a closer look at his face. He was looking much healthier. For the past year, he had looked like he was slowly wasting away, but she hadn't wanted to ask him about it. After she had found out he was a vampire, she had asked Vachon. He had told her that if a vampire was stressed, or not feeling well, or anything like that, their faces reflected it, just like a mortal's.
"Eh," he said, waving his hand dismissively. "Just be thankful I've changed."
She laughed, as perky as ever. "So, are we on desk duty?" She had been doing good so far, blocking out the mortals' heartbeats. She was glad that Vachon had told her to fill herself going in.
Nick shook his head, putting down the form and standing up. "Nope. I was just waiting for you. Did you see Reese yet?"
Tracy nodded and laughed. "You've been off in your own little world for a while there, Nick."
"Sorry, Trace." He grinned sheepishly.
They drove through the streets of Toronto for a little more than an hour. They had talked many times since the night she was brought across and tonight. Nick had known that they needed to come to an understanding before she came back. Without that, they couldn't function as partners. He was sure that they had. How ironic was this? The only two vampires on the police force, partners.
"81 Kilo. Respond, 81 Kilo." The radio snapped him out of his daze.
Tracy got it. "This is 81 Kilo responding…"
"What've you got for us, Nat?" They were in a park, far off on the wayside.
"Female, early thirties, dead for about a week. A jogger found her and called 911 from a cell phone. He's over there, being questioned. I'll know more once I get her back to the morgue." She watched sadly as the people zipped up the body bag and loaded the dead weight into the coroner's wagon.
Nick saw the look and quickly hugged her. "You okay?" Tracy headed over to question the jogger, knowing Nick would come join her.
Natalie shut her eyes for a moment, welcoming the comfort of his embrace. "Yeah. It's just been a long shift, and it's barely two hours old."
Nick kissed the side of her head. "Tracy's giving me the death look. I think I'm supposed to be over there, not cuddling with you. Don't let them make you stay late tonight, okay?"
Natalie nodded, then gave him a little push towards Tracy. "Go. I don't need my boyfriend to be staked by his partner."
Nick laughed as he went to join the questioning.
Natalie wearily rode the lift up to the loft. It was past dawn, and she was bone tired. Although Nick had told her not to let 'them' make her stay later, and she had left the crime scene with just those intentions, things just kept coming up.
When the door opened, tears sprang into Natalie's eyes. Nick had dimmed the lights throughout the loft, and candles flickered on the kitchen table. He had laid out a fine meal for her, immediately brightening up her day. She loved him so much!
Nick descended the stairs, a smile shining on his face. "Ah, milady graces me with her beautiful presence." It wasn't said with malice; rather his voice was filled with love.
He crossed the room and kissed her gently. Then he took her face in his hands, gently smoothing cut all the tension. "I made you some dinner. Hungry?"
She nodded silently, afraid that she would start to cry if she opened her mouth. To say it had been a long shift was like saying forever was a little while. Nick seemed to understand. He pulled out her chair for her and pushed it in as she sat down. Then he filled her glass with wine and sat down in his seat.
Natalie took a small bite of meat, not sure if it would stay down. But she savored the taste in her mouth, anyway. Nick had always claimed he couldn't cook, because he didn't need to. Of course, as she had recently found out, he could cook, and very well. If she was going to start puking, she at least wanted the memory of the taste.
Nick let her get halfway through her meal in silence; intuitively knowing she needed the silence. She felt quietly for keeping silent, but couldn't trust herself to open her mouth. She had woken up, feeling depressed and angry for no reason, and the day had progressively gotten worse from there.
Nick took a sip of his bloodwine, finishing off the glass. As he set it down, he covered her hand with his own, rubbing his thumb back and forth across the back of her hand.
"Are you okay, Nat?" he asked softly.
She nodded quickly, taking another bite and looking down at her plate. She was tired; she didn't want to burden Nick with her tiny troubles tonight.
Nick didn't buy it. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Natalie shook her head. "It was just a long day," she said quietly.
Nick still didn't believe her, but he didn't press it. She would talk with him when she was ready. He hoped. "What if I draw you up a bubble bath?" he asked quietly.
She nodded again. "Thank you, Nick."
Nick stood up and walked around the table to her, kissing the top of her head. "When you're done, just leave everything there and come up. I'll take care of everything later."
Once he saw Natalie nod, he went upstairs to the bathroom off the bedroom. He had learned how hot Natalie liked her bathwater, and what it would feel like on his skin, so he was able to get it quickly to the right temperature. As he waited for it to fill, he looked around the bathroom. It was so changed from when he lived alone. Instead of being relatively empty, Natalie's stuff lined the sink and medicine cabinet. He left and opened the linen closet, pulling out some ivory-colored candles. He set them around the bathroom, lighting each one. Judging the tub to be full enough, he turned off the water. Natalie appeared in the door just on time, as if by magic. She began undressing, unabashedly, in front of him. She grinned as she took note of the candles.
"Do you want me to stay and wash your back?" Nick asked, taking her clothes and drinking in the sight of her body.
Natalie nodded as she eased herself into the tub, happily sighing. Nick drew the best baths she had ever had. He somehow knew how to get the perfect temperature. The bubbles tickled her chin, already starting to slowly disappear. Nick knelt by the tub, crossing his arms on the edge and resting his chin on them. He smiled slightly, watching as Natalie closed her eyes to savor the relaxing heat. She was so beautiful, and he couldn't believe she was his. Or that he was hers.
After a time, he reached out with one hand, gently smoothing back her hair. "Are you okay, Nat?" he asked quietly.
"The Jane Doe in the park," she said equally as quiet. "Sydney Brookman, 32. A husband and two kids. Tortured, raped, and murdered… She was two months pregnant. Jesus, Nick! She was pregnant! Then, of course, there's the five car pileup that came in just before, and the leftovers from the dayshift…" She fell silent, choking back tears.
The entire thing clicked into place for Nick right then. He knew she had woken up late, the toaster had broken, there was no milk for her coffee, and she had run out of shampoo. So her day already started off bad, and when she got to work, she got the 'leftovers' that she hated. Major car accidents always stressed her out, and this newest case was indeed disturbing. He scooped up some water with his hands, letting it drip down her shoulders. Guilt struck him as he found a sponge he could gently massage her shoulders with. As long as she was with him, she could never have children of her own. Seeing the young lives lost that she could never have must be hard on her. Perhaps it would be better if…
"Whatever you're thinking, stop it." Natalie's voice snapped him out of his thoughts. She had opened her eyes at his silence, and could see what he was thinking clearly written across his face. As his hand paused in the air, she nuzzled it with her cheek. "I need you right now, Nick, okay? Not your unfounded guilt."
"Sorry Nat," he said quietly, shoving everything back inside of himself. He dunked the sponge in the water and began running it across her shoulders and the back of her neck. She sighed happily, closing her eyes once more.
When she was done relaxing, she got out and Nick wrapped her in a giant fluffy towel. Knowing she probably wanted to be alone for a bit, he dropped a couple kisses down her neck and said, "I'll be waiting for you in the bedroom."
Natalie turned around in his arms, brushing a lock of wet hair off her face. "I'm exhausted, Nick," she said quietly, sadly.
Nick smiled and dropped a kiss to the tip of her nose. "I know. The only thing I had planned was sleep. But that doesn't mean I won't be waiting for you to be in my arms before I can fall asleep."
His lips met hers for a soft kiss before he stepped away and existed into their bedroom. He took off his clothes and put them in the laundry pile, then stepped into his black silk pajamas. Then he laid out hers and turned down her side of the bed. Gazing around the room, wondering if there was anything else he could do for her, he finally decided just to get under the satin sheets and wait for Natalie.
When she finally appeared and put on her pajamas, she wearily climbed into bed next to him. Nick curled his body protectively around her, fitting like one spoon next to each other. He pulled up the covers to her chin, one arm going around and snuggling her close. Soon, they were both asleep.
When Nick woke up the next morning, Natalie's face was pressed against his chest. He could feel the heat of her forehead through the silky material. Apparently, on top of everything else, she had caught the flu bug that had been going around the precinct and the morgue. He gently eased himself out of the bed and her embrace, carefully covering her up again. Of course, as soon as his cool body left her side, her eyes blearily opened.
Nick bent over her, touching her forehead with his wrist. "Go back to sleep, Nat. You feel like you've got the flu that's been going around."
"Okay Nick," she rasped. Her head hurt, her throat hurt, her body hurt. "Call me in?"
He pressed cool lips to her forehead. "Sure. I'll bring you up some Tylenol and a glass of water too, okay?"
He didn't expect an answer, and didn't get one. Downstairs, he filled up a tall glass and grabbed the bottle of Tylenol, leaving them on the nightstand when he went back to the bedroom. He called her in sick as he got ready. She was already sound asleep. Less than half an hour later, he was at the precinct.
Tracy hit him with the bad news as soon as he sat down at his desk. They would be out in the car later. "They found two more, Nick. Same MO, similar-looking girls. We think we've got a serial."
"What? Use enough details to make sense, Trace." He felt a sinking sensation at the thought that it was probably the torture-rape-murder case she was talking about.
"The one in the park last night. Day shift found two more, similar places, today. Both were raped, mutilated, and murdered. Once again, early thirties, female, and no clues anywhere."
Nick sighed, actually glad Natalie was sick, so she did not have to deal with this. "So we're…"
Tracy tossed a paper down in front of him. "Going where the three were last seen. We already have the places right here."
"Pictures of the victims?" he asked. She dropped those in front of him. He riffled quickly through them. Tracy had been right about the similarity in the victims. All three were small, with curly brown hair and proportionally similar. His mind made an immediate connection, which he quickly shoved away and buried.
He looked over the list of places. There was nothing there that was related to any of the others. But perhaps if they worked backwards, tracing their movements… And they would have to check out people in common…
"Let's go, Trace."
Nick called Natalie from his cell phone as they drove to the last location - a bar. The previous places had been totally fruitless. One last chance for an easy solution.
His answering machine picked up. "Hey Nat. It's just me checking up on you. See you when my shift's over."
He hung up as he pulled into a semi-full parking lot. He glanced over at Tracy as they got out. She would circle the inside of the place, asking people. He'd ask the bartender. It was relatively nice inside, and the two vampires immediately split up.
Nick held out a picture of the woman associated with this place to the bartender. "Do you recognize her?"
The man took it. "Sure. Carla. A regular until about a week or two ago, when she pretty much disappeared."
This was a first - the other places appeared to be just random stops by the other two women. "How about this one?"
"And that would be Anita. She stopped coming in a month ago."
This looked to be a good one. Carla had died last, Anita first. Now the bartender just had to put Sydney in the middle. "And her?"
"Sydney. Regular until two and a half weeks ago. Why?"
"And you were never suspicious when these people just stopped coming?"
"A new club opened up down the street. I figured that's where they went. Why?"
"They're dead," Nick said bluntly, scanning for Tracy.
"Ah, Jesus. They were sweet people." The man seemed genuinely saddened by their deaths.
"All right. Was there any other regular they were seen with? Or anyone else? Who were they last seen with here? Do you remember?"
"Of course I do. Kane. All the women hang around Kane. But, he hasn't been in for a couple days."
Nick nodded. "Do you know where Kane lives? Or a last name?"
The bartender looked thoughtful. "Address, no. But last name… it started with a 'b'… 'b'…buh…beh…behl…Belasarius! That's it. Kane Belasarius. You think he might be dead, too?"
"Maybe," Nick said cautiously, signaling for Tracy. More likely, it was he who was doing the killings, if he had disappeared too. "Thanks for the info."
When he and Tracy were back in the Caddy, he turned to her, asking, "How'd they ID the latest two victims?"
"Missing persons, and had the families come in to make sure. Why?"
"Let me guess - a month, two and a half weeks, and a week or two that they've been missing."
Tracy nodded. "Yep."
"Well, now we're looking of a Kane Belasarius." Nick put the Caddy in drive and began to head back to the precinct.
Nick dropped his coat on the back of a chair at the kitchen table. He could see Natalie, curled up on the couch with an afghan across her legs, watching the early morning news. He sat down next to her, pulling her into his arms.
"How are you feeling?" he asked her quietly. She still felt hot in his arms.
"How do you think?" she snapped in a hoarse voice, even though she was glad he was home. Immediately regretful, she apologized, "Sorry Nick. The flu sucks. Be glad you can't get it."
Nick lay his cool cheek on her hot forehead as she cuddled in his side. "That's okay. Do you need anything?"
"No. Yes. No. No," she finally said decisively.
"Are you sure?" Nick smiled slightly. "What was the yes going to be?"
Nick got up, kissing her forehead. "Coming right up, love." He filled one of her glasses in the sink and brought it back over to her.
She sipped the cold liquid slowly. "Thanks."
"How long have you been up?" Nick asked as she yawned.
"Not long enough to be this tired," she said dryly.
Nick scooped her up in his arms, ignoring her weak protests. "To bed with you then," he said, laughing as he carried her up the stairs. She rested her head on his chest after minimal resistance. When Nick came in, she had already been falling asleep on the couch, now she was falling asleep in his arms. He deposited her gently on the bed, seeing that she was already half asleep. He debated for a second whether he wanted to sleep right then, too. Natalie had pulled the blankets up high around herself, and was already asleep.
He went back downstairs to feed, downing almost an entire bottle. Then he quickly picked up the loft as the shutters kicked in. As soon as that was done, he went back upstairs to their bedroom. As he changed into his black silk pajamas, he watched his Natalie. She was tossing and turning in the bed, beads of sweat on her face.
If he took off the sheets, he knew she would be freezing within minutes. That was the nature of the flu. So, he got under the covers with her, curling his body around hers. She immediately rolled over to face him, still sound asleep. Carefully, he smoothed back her hair, trying not to wake her. He hated seeing her sick, but knew that there was nothing he could do to help her other than let nature run its course.
(A/N: Well, in the course of writing this, I've got the main events of pretty much the entire thing planned out, I just have to hope I remember them long enough to write them down… So, you people want some cruel (that is, cruel if you actually enjoyed the chapter) for the rest of it? Though, be warned, it takes me a while to write cuz I've got about six tales going on from at least as many fandoms…Oh yeah! And the title is from a poem by William Blake - 'Auguries of Innocence'. I highly recommend you peoples read it, it is wicked awesome! It's even better than 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came' and 'Jabberwocky' (and a different style), which is saying a lot, coming from me. Thanks for reading, I hope you review, and I pray you enjoyed. Hey, people, please tell me if you do actually want the next chapter? I'm not going to waste my time on something no one will read…)
(P/A/N: Did I mention how I had this awesome idea for a type of vampire, and then I read this fic, and someone else had already come up with the exact same thing and called them Aberrants, or something like that?? Can you say annoying?? Grrr…)