Ergo Te Absolvo

Set in the episode "Last Knight". Nick forgives Lacroix for….everything.

With a mighty, anguished cry, Lacroix drove the spear down with all his strength. The point had barely driven home before he was on his knees beside his son's impaled body. He grasped his shoulders and turned him over gently; agonizingly conscious of the mortal wound his child bore. Nicholas' eyes, his ever bright eyes, were now glazed with shock and pain. A slow trickle of blood wended its way from his mouth to his chin. Lacroix's heart clenched painfully at the sight.

How could he bear to lose him?

Something must have betrayed his inner anguish, some small leak of emotion, for Nicholas' eyes suddenly caught a small spark and he looked up at him with a ghost of his old cocksure grin. He whispered in French, so low even Lacroix almost couldn't hear him, "Don't worry, father. It's OK."

Lacroix clutched him hard to his chest. How long had he waited to hear him acknowledge him once again in that way? Had often done everything in his power to force his errant and headstrong child to remember. No, no it would never be 'OK' again. However, he kept that thought to himself, intent now only upon one thing. He spoke softly, allowing the hypnotic power of his nature full sway.

"Shush, shush, mon fil. I know, everything will soon be alright."

He bent closer, held tighter as he felt the inevitable slipping away of his son's spirit. He tried to hold his heartbreak in check. Tried to keep the pain at bay but it loomed up over him. He choked on a sob as he struggled to maintain his unaffected façade.

Nicholas smiled faintly and reached up his hand. It wavered slightly and Lacroix quickly caught it with his own. His dying child looked at him, his eyes eloquent in their plea, "Please, mon pere, let me know. Just this once, let me know."

The dam burst with volcanic force within him and he could feel the tears begin to pour down his face. He no longer cared. All his pain, anguish, fear, hurt; it was all there for Nicholas to see. Why, why would his son ever have doubted him? Doubted that he loved him?

Why else would he have held on so hard, suffered through everything Nicholas had thrown at him and still come back for more if he hadn't loved him? Why couldn't Nicholas see that?

He didn't feel the touch at first, it was so light, but somehow, through the haze of tears, he saw movement as Nick reached up and gently swiped his father's tear-stained cheek. He was even more shocked when Nicolas feebly licked the blood tears from his finger. Lacroix tensed. Nicholas would know everything now, in his grief he had not thought to shield his mind or emotions. Everything would be in his blood.

He watched his son's face closely as tears began to seep from his once brilliant eyes. His hand dropped weakly onto his chest and Lacroix grasped it in his own. Nicholas looked at him and he felt his breath catch in his throat at his expression. The younger man looked up at the one who had for so long been master, father, brother, teacher, friend and nemesis to him. There was only one thing left to say.

"I understand and I forgive you. I loved you too, mon pere."

Nicolas eyes closed and he grew limp in his master's grasp. Lacroix pressed the hand that he held to his face, his face screwed into an anguished paroxysm of grief.

His child, his son, his closest friend…was gone.