Life Goes On

Chapter 11: The Only Difference between Suicide and Martyrdom is Press Coverage

Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with Forever Knight. Wish I did but hey.

A/N: This is an AU/ post-LK piece. For a more in-depth explanation see the first chapter.

The bar was in one of the seedier areas of London. The small clutch of vampire in at the bar glared at them fiercely. The older one at the bar quickly produced a bottle of better vintage than he was serving the rest of the patrons and set it along with two glasses on the bar.

"I think he's getting ready to burn the place down." He uncorked the bottle and poured it.

"Even Nicholas isn't that dramatic." Lacroix took the offered glass and raised it slightly to the older man.

Fleur snorted a laugh. "He was exactly that dramatic when he was mortal. And I somehow doubt the years have lessened his flair."

He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes, I know, go talk to him. Though I don't see how that is going to help anything." She flipped away from the bar and down the dark hall off to the side. Doors shot off here and there slivers of light illuminated the floor and snippets of conversation escaped. Light flickered out from under the door at then end of the hall. She could hear the heavy pacing footsteps and feel the vibrations of their shared connection resonating from it.

Nicholas stopped when she pushed open the door. His blue eyes narrowed on her and he went back to pacing.

"It's locked from this side." He sneered as she pushed the door closed.

"I imagine he'll come to get us eventually." She answered.

He grumbled and flung himself on the sofa that sat before the imposing hearth.

"I'm still your sister, Nicola, don't I even merit a hello."

"You died to me along time ago."

Fleur shook her head and rounded the sofa to sit on the small chair closer to the fire. She appraised her brother. He was pale. Paler than even he should have been. "And I was even thinking that I've missed you. But then I remember that you never gave a damn what I wanted."

"You didn't know what you wanted. He erased your memory then he went back. He broke his word."

"Oh Nicholas," Fleur shook her head, "you are such a dumb ass. I was a resister. You do know what those are, don't you? I begged him to ignore you. But he wouldn't. Yes, Lucien and I stayed in touch after you all left. But there was nothing going on. I was married, I had my children. We wrote letters. That's all. He only came to me after I sent Andre to you. I was dying. He came to me on my death bed, I begged him to take me and he did."

"Were you ever happy?" he sighed "With the life I wanted for you."

She stared into the dying fire. "I was… I was as happy as I could have been. I had a good husband, healthy children, well, two of them anyway and a nice place in society. It was all I was expected to want. But then I always wanted more."

"You were born in the wrong century." He lifted the corner of his mouth in a strange wistful half smile. "You always wanted more than any other girl."

She leaned back. "You're right. I would have made a great flapper." She thought for a moment. "Actually, I did make a great flapper. Bobbed hair and all."

"I wish I could have seen it."

"You can. We had cameras in the 1920's. I have pictures."

He smiled fully now. "I have missed you, Fleur."

"What's going on in your head, Nicola?"

"I assume you're talking about Natalie." He continued after she nodded. "I don't know. I…"

"Are you having second thoughts about turning her?"

"I never wanted to do it in the first place. It was an accident. I couldn't control myself. And then Lacroix…"

"He told me. Do you care about her?"

"I love her."

"Then why did you leave her there?"

"Because…" he stood and began pacing again. "I had so many things in my head that I needed to figure out. I just need to think."

"And how many years did it take to figure all this out? It's not about you anymore Nick. You need to think about her for a little while. Don't you remember how disorientating it was when you first woke up? Could you imagine all that if Lacroix, for all his faults, hadn't been there?" She watched him pacing. "Yes, you arranged deliveries to your little apartment. But she hasn't left that building since you left her. She was too afraid to go out in public."

"What did she have to be afraid of?" he spun on her.

"The rest of the community maybe? Or maybe the fact that you weren't there to teach her to control it? Or the enforcers? Do I need to go on? You abandoned her. She's never hunted, don't give me that look." She glared at his disgusted face. "She needs to know how at least in theory. She can't fly or mesmerize people or sense other vampire. We've been watching her for the last few days. She needs you Nick. Because God knows she won't listen to us. She's starting to hate herself, Nick."

"What do you mean?"

"She hates everything she is. Or at least she's starting to. Even you didn't at first. She's come to this conclusion without ever even living this life. You have to give her a chance. We've talked we all agree. If she keeps up like this she won't last the century."

"Is it really that bad?" he stopped pacing and focused off on space.

"I think it's worse than we know." She stood and walked closer to him. "I'm not going to be like him and tell you that you should give up your search for mortality. It's not something I would want but if you do then… But even as much as you want to be human again you still accept that there are things about what we are that you don't hate completely."

"Why do you love being a vampire so much?" he touched the side of her face gently.

Fleur smiled and got a far off look in her eyes. "Because it's an adventure. Every century, every decade, there's something new. There are so many things I still need to do. And every year a dozen new things pop up. 800 years ago I was just the unfortunate girl child born into a vaguely noble family. I was nothing but what father and then you said I could be. I wasn't worth anything. Now I can do anything I want to."

"Girl power and all that."

"More than that. So much more. All of these new age feminists have no concept of oppression. They never faced the idea that they shouldn't even be taught to read because they were female. I wouldn't have had mother not been insistent and father indulgent. They could have never been executed or sold away because they didn't give their husband a son. I saw all that."

"You were a better student that I was."

"I'm smarter and better looking than you to. But we won't get into that."

"Also much more egotistic." He studied her face and a sad look came over him. "I've made so many mistakes. You aren't the least of them."

"Don't beat yourself up over me. God knows you have done worse. And I don't blame you for the life I lived. I loved my family. And I don't think I would appreciate what I have now as much if I hadn't lived the life I did. But this mess you're in now… This you need to worry about. The enforcers have been looking for you, Nick. Lacroix has put them off. He's glossed things over for awhile but… I don't know. They're going to be watching you."

"When aren't they?" he turned away and began pacing again.

"You need to make things right with Natalie."

"I know. I will. I plan to. She's getting closer isn't she? She's on her way here?"

"You must be weak if you can't sense her by now. Have you been eating?"

"Don't start nagging me, please."

"I'm your sister; I'm supposed to nag you. We're going to have to…" her pronouncement was cut off when the door opened and Lacroix strode in.

"Fleur, would you go back to the house and make sure Natalie settles in. Nicholas and I will join you shortly." His eyes never left Nick as he addressed her.

She nodded and crossed the distance between herself and Nick placing a sisterly kiss on his cheek. "Please don't start a fight?" she whispered before taking a step back and disappearing from the room.

The car pulled into the long drive a few moments after Fleur retuned. She had taken a seat on the stairs to the veranda and waited thinking and rethinking her first conversation with her brother in almost 800 years. Sadness seemed to pervade his very being. Her Nicola had never been so sad. She had never even conceived that their vampiric life could be a prison or a punishment. She still hoped that with their family reunited it might help him. At least a little. She would have to talk to Lacroix about maybe ignoring his yearning for mortality for a bit. Maybe the thought that it didn't piss off his master could make him lessen his fervor.

"If I didn't know you so well I would almost believe you were thinking." Jeanette stepped out of the car and cast an unfriendly glare at Fleur.

Fleur had hardly even registered the car pulling up in front of the house. She made an unfriendly gesture toward Jeanette and stepped down from her perch. "How was the ride?"

"Long." She answered and breezed past Fleur into the manor.

Fleur watched her retreating form a moment before turning to Natalie as she exited the vehicle.

"I loathe her." Natalie said plainly.

"Most do, once they've gotten to know her. Come on, I'll show you your room." She turned back to the house and began walking once she was sure Nat would follow.

"This place must be ancient." Natalie said as the entered the foyer and began up the grand staircase.

"The yard was once part of a roman fortress. Of course, Lacroix has owned it since only a little after that so… Actually I think he was stationed here as a young man."

"Lacroix was young?"

"Actually he was, strange as it seems. I still have trouble imagining him as a child but…" she stopped outside a tall door. "This will be your room." She pushed open the door.

The room was opulent. Draped in pale blue damasks and silks with heave mahogany furniture suited the obvious time period of the last major renovation the room was at the same time light and imposing.

"We can redecorate if you want. Actually, I need to get Lacroix to let me redo the master suite."

"No, it's beautiful but… ok, two things. Get his permission? And aren't you allowed to call him by his name?" She sat on one of the two sofas before the small marble fireplace.

Fleur slowly walked aver and joined her. "With regards to one. Like many wives, getting him to let me involves me saying 'Darling, I'm redecorating give me more money.' Two is more complicated. You may have noticed he is a very private man. And I truth I am one of the few people in the world who has permission to call him by his birth name. However, some things are best left for… private moments."

"I don't understand." She shook her head.

"I don't expect you to. Not now, anyway."

Natalie was silent for a moment. "I'm sorry about… earlier. I was…"


"That's one way of saying it."

"Don't worry about it. All I want is for you to keep an open mind to all the things around you. You haven't even begun to live yet."

"I'm trying. It's just…" she trailed off and her eyes turned to the front window.

A smile spread across Fleur's lips. "Looks like they're home."

Comments, criticisms, etc?

A/N: The title is a song by the band Panic! at the Disco. I just thought the title worked well for my first chapter with Nicholas more than a hazy figure in Natalie's dreams.