Author:  The Wanlorn

Title:  A World in a Grain of Sand 27/27

Summary:  This is a sequel to "Every New Beginning…"

Rating:  PG13

Spoilers:  I honestly don't know, so beware.

Distribution:  Ask, and ye shall receive.  Take without permission, then screw the Law of Three, I will cures you with the nefarious curse of…da da dum…WRITER'S BLOCK!!!!  BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Disclaimer:  Same as all of the last times, so far.

Thank Yous:  Thanks to Carla, my beta.  Thanks to Mike, April, Randy, and the guys at The Writer's Shack, who are the only people giving me good reviews.

Author's Note:  Yes!  I've reached 200 pages!  And 100,908 words!  Yay!  If anyone wants to know what Nire and Abel were doing those two nights they were off all alone, email me.  If enough people show interest, I might put the pen to paper.  Also, if you want to know what happened to him once Nire took him back to her home, email me about that, too.  For now, read this, the last chapter.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

            Nick had lost much of his momentum by the time he reached the Raven.  He purposely avoided the room where he felt Janette and Natalie to be, and he did his best to shield his presence from them.  Perhaps he should wait until Natalie was gone.  Perhaps not.  He paused outside the door to the room he could sense LaCroix in and knocked softly.

            When no answer, no stirrings within were forthcoming, he considered just walking away.  Instead, he cracked the door open and, upon hearing no protests, he opened it further.  The scene inside gave him pause, but he still went through the door, a spark of sympathy flaring within him.

            LaCroix slumped across his desk, clearly out cold, multiple empty bottles that used to hold bloodwine scattered around him.  It took a massive amount of bloodwine to render a vampire of LaCroix's age to such a state.  Nick would guess that the General had consumed perhaps twice that amount.

            Relatively sure of his safety, Nick advanced to stand beside the slumped over vampire.  He curiously noted shreds of white paper littering the floor.  A plain wooden box, the cover open, drew his attention.  Whether or not this would qualify under the category of snooping was up for debate - after all, it *was* left out in the open.  His curiosity getting the better of him, Nick picked up the box to examine its contents.  Apparently, it held a multitude of letters.

            Nick glanced at LaCroix once more to make sure he was still out.  Who could blame him for being curious?  Guiltily, he opened a few and checked the dates and who they were from.  There were mostly names he didn't recognize, a few from Janette, and they were dated from the present back to… Nick's eyes popped wide open.  Back to before he was born!  These were letters from fledglings of LaCroix, from Family.  Nick wasn't even aware that 'The Vampire Express', a sardonic name given to the mail system created by vampires, had been around that long.  With the evidence so firmly set before his face, he had to admit that he had once again assumed the worst of LaCroix and been shown wrong.  His Master did keep contact with his fledglings, he didn't just abandon them as Nick had assumed.

            He gently replaced the box, and stood, regarding LaCroix for a moment.  Right now, he could just leave, and his presence would never be known.  But… he did feel kind of bad for LaCroix.  He looked so unhappy, so uncomfortable, slumped across the desk like that.  With a sigh, Nick carefully cradled the insensible vampire in his arms and moved him to the bed.  LaCroix never stirred.

            Nick hadn't thought it was possible for a vampire to become so inebriated.  It never crossed his mind that sheer mental and physical exhaustion could render him thus.  Ever so carefully, Nick eased off his boots and arranged him so he at least looked comfortable.  Then Nick left, his purpose for coming entirely forgotten.

~~~~{@

            Later that day, Natalie snuggled deeper into Nick's sleeping embrace.  He murmured sleepily and closed his arms tighter around her.  A happy sigh escaped her lips as she smiled complacently.  Oh how her life had changed in the past couple days!

            The bastard who had kidnapped and hurt her was dead and she was well on her way to healing.  Nick was there to support her when she needed it.  Her home - her Nick's home - was finally empty again.  Possibly too empty, but empty none-the-less.

            More importantly, she and Nick were engaged.  They were going to be wedded.  The ring would be on her finger, and everything would be official.  She was certain that it would last for a long while, if not forever.  And she would be brought across.  While some aspects of becoming a vampire were not something she would enjoy, such as having to drink human blood, there were definitely some benefits.  One of them being she now had eternity to find a cure.  She wasn't hampered by her mortal lifetime.

            Nick still loved her, in spite of it all, and she was going to become Mrs. de Brabant Knight.  Yes, life was good.

*Fin*

(A/N:  Well, it's done.  This is finally done.  I can't believe it.  203 pages, 101,616 words, size twelve Times New Roman font.  This is certainly the longest thing I've written so far.  Definitely good.  I hope you enjoyed it!  Thanks for coming along for the ride.  While it may not have been enjoyable for all of you, it certainly was for me.  Let me remind you once more, if you liked Nire and Jander, they're featured in more fics of mine.  Check out "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and "All the World Before Me Passing By".  And keep an eye out for a possible sequel to this.)

~~May 27, 2003~~

Answers

And here, I answer/comment on whatever reviews I've gotten at ff.net.  It goes in alphabetical order, so, look for your name.

Ayana - I figure vampires and elves and werewolves all go together, and if vamps are unknown to the mortal world, why not other stuff?  I hope the subplots didn't get too confusing.  And (SPOILER AHEAD), I think I might have come up with a way to bring Schanke back (SPOILER FINISHED).  Thanks for the review!

Cj - I hope you continued reading after chapter 8.  ;-)  Thanks for the review!

Dana - Well, Nire's an original character, and her attitude is meant to rankle, most of the time.  ::shrugs:: What can I say?  Thanks for the review!

Elyssalyn - I'm sorry that you lost track of the story.  I guess that just shows my failings as a writer - I tried to make Jander and Nire as (relatively) self-explanatory as possible, so people wouldn't get lost.  Thanks for the review!

Knightmuzic - I'm glad you enjoyed the first couple chapters.  And I hope the rest of it was relatively okay.  Thanks for the reviews!

Lia - Well, I hate to say, but there really was no basis to my plot.  It kind of fell apart after the first couple chapters, so I abandoned it.  And, yeah, Nire pretty much is an omniscient, shameless girl.  But, yeah!  Morbid curiosity!  That's the first time I've gotten anything like that!  And, while I know it wasn't meant as a compliment, thanks!

Love Of My Life - Yes, I am a mind-reader, what can I say.  And eventually, in 'For the World', you'll find out what happens to Abel once Nire takes him home.  Thanks for the reviews!

Mindy - Aha!  Another Farscape fan!  If I hear anything about a movie/the series being picked up by another network, I'll be sure to tell you, along with FK DVDs, which I heard were coming out later this year.  Thanks for the reviews!

Nisa - Sorry, about not giving you guys a heads up.  They took over the loft for complicated reasons that I don't have enough room to explain here.  Suffice to say, this story's really part of a bigger set of stuff I'm writing, and it would make more sense if everyone had read the Mother Fic and was into that one.

Randy - Silence, young boy!  I will get around to making up names for the chapters when I get around to it!  Feel free to email me any ideas you have…  And, yes, you do give good reviews, your name just didn't pop into my mind when I was typing.  My apologies.  ;-)

Rouen French - Hmmm… I think I've replied to everything you've said… All I can say is that I'm not sending you the chapters early anymore, cuz then I don't get any reviews.  ;-P  And hurry up and update Eidolon!

Splinter - ::bows down to the god of informative reviews::  Thank you lots for your reviews!  Hmm… I betcha Elminster would have a handy cure for vampirism… Interesting…  And thanks for the translation for Nire's cruddy Spanish.  :-P

Tracey - cross my heart, Nat will at some point become a vamp.  Nick accepts Tracy as a vamp cuz he doesn't have to worry about her hating him as much as he has to worry about Nat hating him.  And the height discrepancy is because all those other fanfics have brainwashed all of us.  ;-P  And about 16-year-olds not being able to play concert piano, I seriously suggest you don't talk about things you don't know.  I'm 16, and I've played the original Moonlight Sonata score in concerts before, so that is certainly within reason.  Yes, Nire is a MarySue, I'm sorry that I forgot to warn you guys before.  :-( I coulda sworn I had…

Once more, thanks for all the reviews, guys!