The characters in Forever Knight were created by James Parriott and Barney Cohen and are the property of Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star. The stories here are fan fiction. This story may be archived wherever by whomever.
SOULILOQUY, The One Thousand Nine Hundred Twenty-eighth by Walt Doherty
LaCroix was 'brought across' on the day that Mt. Vesuvius erupted. This was 24, Aug.., 79 CE.
Calendar Series - AUGUST
This assumes that FK is contemporary and on-going.
Two thousand eight years. One thousand nine hundred twenty-nine years. One thousand nine hundred twenty-nine years ago. One thousand nine hundred twenty-eight times. One thousand nine hundred twenty-eight anniversaries. The one thousand nine hundred twenty-eighth one!
Now the time has come (Time)
There's no place to run (Time)
I might get burned up by the sun (Time)
But I had my fun (Time)
Time has Come Today – Chambers Brothers
August brings both heat and memories.
Nicholas and LaCroix were sitting in the back at the Raven.
"How do you stand it, La Croix?"
"What, my dear boy?"
"You've been a vampire for almost two thousand years. Doesn't remembering this day that number of times get to you?
"Ah, Nicholas. I could play games with you and pretend I don't know what you are talking about just to irritate you. You are so susceptible to that sort of thing, but I really do not wish to play games today – or tonight, rather." The last said with a slight chuckle, who says the old guy doesn't have a sense of humour?
"Unlike you, Nicholas, it bothers me not, to be a vampire. But, come to think of it, it is not all that different from being a Roman soldier, a trifle more personal, perhaps. As a general, one doesn't get to slay an enemy on as personal basis as one did when a lower level centurion, but the thrill of the kill is still there. I quite enjoyed being a soldier, my boy; on all levels. Taking one of the kine is very similar. One in the "win" column.
"As to other remembrances, the people are all people who are long gone. So long gone, in fact, that the Lares and Penates have ceased to exist but for turning into the patron Saints 'Family' and 'Household'. Lares and Penates – Roman household gods. And having made my own family as well as having no permanent household, these things have nothing for me."
"But," said Nicholas, "what—"
"Nicholas, you know that I do not wish to dwell on this. What is the point? My old amici no longer exist, the circumstances that created them no longer exist, I might as well bemoan the fact that I can get no more Cosian or Cypriot wine, not that it was any better than a good Bordeaux anyway. No, the people are gone, the culture has changed out of all recognition. Better to deal with present day pleasantries; it will be more profitable as well as comforting in the long run."
"Nicholas! Must you? I did not think of her for centuries, then I did for a short time and now I do no longer. It is ended. Do I wish to think of her as she was so recently? Or, as a young, innocent child? Frankly, while being pretty for a child, other than that, one could see the seeds of greed, ambition, and selfishness, an innocence that was moribund at best. I prefer to think of her – if I bother to think of her at all – as perhaps a somewhat younger and thus a more innocent child. Much the way I prefer to think of you," he said looking intensely and meaningfully at Nick, "as an obedient, faithful child and companion."
"I still think—"
"You don't think and that's the problem. You have never considered that I do not 'miss' the persons of my past because you do miss those of yours. It makes no never-mind to me that they are gone, mine or yours, and I believe you bring it up as you do simply because of your own needs. Now, please be quiet and mention this no more."
"As you wish," said Nick, quietly and condescendingly and as if he didn't believe a word his master said, "Sire." At this LaCroix just rolled his eyes upward; there was no dealing with his child.
How and why did he, being the cynic he was, ever get involved with such an out-right romantic as his son. Ah, but who knows the nature of another's mind before he has been brought across. He had learned to love the boy despite his seeming faults; still if Janette had not had, what is the phrase, 'the hots' for him, he doubted he would ever have brought Nicholas over – drained him perhaps, a Christian knight's blood always had a certain sangfroid, a definite 'twang'.
He watched his 'protégé', or 'slave' as Nicholas liked to think of himself, trying to drown his sorrows at the table. He thought to himself, hmmm, almost two thousand anniversaries. The number of times I've bothered to think about it I can count on the fingers of one hand. Maybe the first time, then the second, after that they're all the same and just as meaningless.
It may have been important for Constantine to have crossed that bridge, but for my 'celebrating' the circumstances of my 'changed perspective'! By Constantine's time, the earth had continued around the sun some additional 200 or more times? Or, more correctly, Spring had come more than 200 times. At that time, who knew that the Earth went around the sun? Who cared? Even now, it makes scant difference –
"that bridge" - the Mulvian Bridge – site of Constantine's victory in 312 C.E, and, why as a result, he established Christianity as the state religion.
"A penny for your thoughts, LaCroix," chimed in Nicholas.
"Certainly none of your concern, my boy," he said, "but I do believe I need to check the wine cellar and the supply of our 'favorite' vintage." And with that he got up and left Nicholas to himself at their back table at the Raven. He thought: I do love my youngster, he thought, but he can be sooooooo tedious sometimes: what do you remember about; who did you know there; how many relatives did you lose; were you frightened; how close did you come to not getting away.
LaCroix thought to himself: I remember everything – I have a vampire's eidetic memory. I knew all of the politicians in Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capua, Neoplis, Cumae, Alba Longa – oh, don't dwell Lucius. I lost my wife and a few in-laws, I did not lose my life or my daughter, unfortunately as it turned out. Of course, I was frightened, you fool. I was facing eminent death! Anyone with a brain would have been frightened. And very close to not getting away. As it was, we got away only because we did not, as vampires, need to breath, or that foul air would have done us in as it did most everyone else in the town.
Once in a while LaCroix thought about what might have been had he stayed at his mountain villa to the north of Rome instead of going home to Pompeii. He would have enjoyed the fresh mountain breezes instead of the hot, burning, fatal gases, but where would Divia have been. If she had been there with him, both of them would be dust now, although she might have been recorded in history as another Messalina Messalina – Roman Empress, wife of Claudius, notoriously promiscuous and ultimately poisoned her husband If she hadn't been with him, would she still have been turned and would she then have come looking for him? And turned him?
That could make one shudder, he thought, but why worry about things that didn't happen. Make the best of it. Being a superior being has given him much more to taste, feel, enjoy, than a mere mortal can. He quite enjoyed being a vampire; he liked the bloodlust. And, ghosts of the past? He didn't believe in ghosts.
He thought Nicholas would never believe that since he, Nicholas, thought about nothing but ghosts. His Alyssa, his Stephane, his whoever. And Fleur, oh, Nicholas, she is gone and with her any value or interest I might have had in her; give her her rest. Her only value now is as a tool to restrain you, you idiot little boy, in your wild, inauspicious dreams.
Ah, yes, he thought to himself, this is the bottle.
He returned to the table where Nicholas still sat and proffered him the bottle he had brought up from the wine cellars. Nick stared at it in disbelief.
"You old reprobate! You do think about it. Yes, I will have a glass even if it is human," he said; he thought Natalie will just have to get over it, or better, just never even know about it.
Nick picked up the bottle and looked at the label. "Chateau Fleur de Lys". He thought of his sister. LaCroix didn't.
A cheap, little domestic with a fancy, fanciful made up name, but 'cute', LaCroix thought, and it should give Nicholas something to think about for a while and, hopefully, thank goodness, shut him up about this stupid anniversary. You know, he thought to himself, for my son's Conversion Day, I should make a card for each one of his 'loves' over the centuries – and, he chuckled to himself, make sure the delicious Ms. Lambert saw them. Now that would make Conversion day something worth trying to remember. He was going to have to look though his materials to make sure he had all the names. Ah, Nicholas, you have finally given me some comfort in recherché du temps perdue A la Recherché du temps perdue – Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust -- remembering conversions, he thought nastily. I wonder if I should deliver them all at once or individually over the course of a few days. A few days, I think, prolong the agony.
Nick looked at LaCroix and wondered whey he was laughing to himself. He thought maybe the old battle-ax really didn't think about Conversion day, he's had a lot of them, and who can tell if the seven hundred seventy-seventh is any different from seven hundred seventy-eighth, let alone one thousand seven hundred seventy-eighth plus, et cetera. Nick preferred to think about his salad days in the countryside of Brabant; to hell with the old goat. Nick got up to leave, he had had quite a bit to drink to the point that he was finally feeling it. He'd have to fly home, couldn't afford to get caught driving under the influence, they'd want blood samples, and he might not be able to whammy his way out of it. I'll keep my memories, old man, he thought, even if you don't keep yours, or at least, you say you don't. Nick left.
LaCroix shook his head looking after his son and thinking: Why did he have to be so caught up in his memories. Just go ahead, boy, --what is the current phrase? – 'go with the flow'. Ha, the only thing my boy knows about flows is how to go against them; he wouldn't be happy otherwise. Why had he come over here anyway? Oh, yes, Conversion day. Eh, what a waste of time; it has as much significance to us as Christmas does to a Shintoist.
He had better things to think about. He went to the bar's office. He had paperwork to do.