"Dark Slayer"

By J. B. Tilton (a.k.a. Noazmale) and Teri Thibeault (a.k.a. Tessalynne)



Rating: K

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Disclaimer: "Forever Knight" and all related characters and events are the property of James D. Parriott and Barney Cohen, and "Angel" and all related characters and events are the property of Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, except for those characters specifically created for this story. This is a work of fan fiction and no infringement of copyright is intended.

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(Authors' note: This story takes place between season 2 episodes "The Shroud of Rahmon" and "The Trial" on "Angel" and approximately 5 years after the series finale of "Forever Knight".)

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Nick must protect an agreement that has protected humanity for a thousand years. But protecting that agreement may cost him his life.

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LaCroix stood over Nicholas holding the sharpened stake over his head. Nicholas knelt on the floor, cradling the near lifeless body of Natalie in his arms. LaCroix hesitated a moment, then brought the stake down with all his might, intent on granting his friend and protégé this one final request. Suddenly, at the last moment, LaCroix pulled the stake to one side, narrowly missing the younger vampire.

"No, Nicholas," LaCroix said, casting the stake aside. "It shall not end this way. All your existence you have turned from your troubles. Run to some far secluded place to avoid the repercussions of your actions.

"You came to me during the Crusades. Sick of the killing and hunting and bloodshed. I made you what you are. Freed you from the drudgery of a mere mortal existence. Gave you eternal life and the power over others.

"But not even that was enough. You turned from even that claiming you were no longer a killer. That you had to atone for your sins. Make up for the death and grief you had caused. Now, in your pathetic attempt to regain your mortality, you have once again turned from your responsibility."

"That's not the way it is," Nicholas cried, nearly in tears. "It wasn't supposed to be like this. I was only supposed to take enough to sate the hunger. But I couldn't stop myself. I've taken too much. Now she will die. Because of my weakness."

"All are weak," LaCroix said, pulling Nicholas to his feet. "Even we, the strongest of the creatures that walk the night, have our weaknesses. We must feed on the blood of others. We cannot walk the streets while the sun shines for fear of being consumed by it.

"Do you think you are the only vampire ever to have taken a life like this? To have destroyed that which was so dear to you? We are killers, Nicholas. We hunt mortals for their blood. And like it or not, you are one of us. You cannot simply throw away everything that has been given you because you are displeased with the results. We must each face our responsibilities no matter how painful they might be."

"But she doesn't deserve this," Nicholas said, looking down at the unmoving body of Natalie. "She's always only wanted to help. And I've repaid her with death. I can't even bring her across. I've taken too much blood for that. All I can do is stand by and watch her die. It is too much for me to bear."

LaCroix knelt down and put his fingers on Natalie's throat. He paused for a moment, and then stood up again. "Her pulse is weak, but steady," he said. "It is true that you have taken more than a human can afford to give. As she is, she will die very soon."

He paused for a moment.

"But all is not lost," he continued. "She can be saved. Take her to the nearest hospital. They will be able to treat her. Tell them any story you wish. But if you are to save her, you must hurry. Her time is short. If you tarry for long, she will die."

"Are you sure?" Nicholas asked hopefully. "Can she still be saved?"

"They will give her a transfusion," LaCroix said. "If she is strong, she may yet survive. Your vampire abilities will allow you to get her to help much quicker than any mortal could. But when this is done, Nicholas, you must return to the fold. I have saved your precious Natalie for you. Just one more on a long list of debts you owe me."

"Thank you," said Nicholas, gathering up Natalie. "I won't forget this. I promise."

"I shall hold you to that promise," LaCroix said, as Nicholas took flight, heading for the nearest hospital.

"Aw, Nicholas," LaCroix said after the younger vampire had left, "how can you be so naïve after eight hundred years? To think you can make up for all you've done in a few short years of saving the pathetic wretches of this society? You will save your Natalie. And I will bring you back into the fold. You must eventually see that you are what you are. A hunter. A killer. And nothing will change that."

Silently the ancient vampire turned and took flight behind Nicholas. He secretly admired Nicholas for his determination to become human again. But Jeannette had shown that even returning to mortality does not clean away all your sins. Everyone, even a vampire of two thousand years, must face the consequences of their actions. No matter how bitter or painful those consequences were.


Nick came into his apartment and dropped his keys on the table. The sun would be up shortly and he couldn't be caught outside when it did. The specially constructed windows would prevent the lethal UV rays from penetrating the glass while still allowing him to see outside when he chose to. Which wasn't often.

On this particular morning he stood looking out the window from his twentieth floor penthouse in Sacramento. As he took a drink of the cow's blood he kept in his refrigerator he thought about the events that had brought him here.

Things had fallen apart in Toronto very fast. First one then another of his friends had been killed. One by one Divia had killed them in an attempt to punish LaCroix for his betrayal of her. When they had been able to finally kill Divia for good too many of his friends had paid with their lives.

Then he had made a near fatal mistake. In an attempt to regain his mortality, he had attempted to use the same method Janette had used. Taking just enough blood from Natalie and reducing it each time until the vampire in him was finally forced out. But he had failed utterly. In only his first attempt he had taken more blood from Natalie than any human could afford to give and still live.

If not for LaCroix, Natalie would have died. But Nick had been able to get her to the hospital in time. Barely in time. They gave her a transfusion and after several long hours of her fighting for her life, she had finally pulled through. It was while she was still recuperating in the hospital that he had decided to finally leave Toronto forever.

It wasn't the first time he had moved on and left people he cared about behind. In his nearly 800 year existence he had often had to leave people behind. But it never got any easier. In fact, in some ways, each time was harder than the previous one. Knowing he would be forever moving while those he cared about remained behind, grew old, and eventually died.

In the five years since he had wandered around. For more than two years he had wandered trying to decide where to settle down next. Then he had come to Sacramento, California. He had been here before but it had been many decades. Anyone who would have known him back then would be long dead by now. And for the past three years he had lived here quietly working as a private investigator.

It was a suitable existence for the time being. It allowed him to work at night without having to make up any lies about being allergic to the sun. It also meant he could work alone. He wouldn't have to worry about anyone discovering his secret or having them put in harms way because of him. Schanke had died because of him. So had Captain Cohan. Tracy was dead because of him. And Natalie had nearly died.

He could no longer stay in Toronto. There were too many memories there. So was Natalie. He knew he couldn't stay there as long as she was there. Eventually he would decide he could control himself. And that would definitely be fatal to her. The best option was for him to leave her and Toronto forever and let her find happiness with someone else.

His work kept him busy. Tracking down missing persons, handling divorces, the occasional criminal retrieval of people who might be too dangerous for a mortal to handle; at least he was able to help people. Even if it wasn't the most exciting work in the world. But then he had had enough excitement for a while. And as a private investigator he could set his own hours. Continue to search for a way to regain his mortality without having to answer to anyone.

Nick turned and started to head to the kitchen to refill his cup. He had taken only a couple of steps when he stopped short. Sitting in one of the chairs in his living room was a figure. Half draped in darkness Nick wasn't sure who would be foolish enough to break into his penthouse.

"You've led me on quite the merry chase, Nicholas," said LaCroix. "After all I did for you – after saving the life of your precious Natalie – and you still disappear without even a word. I suppose I should come to expect it after all this time."

"LaCroix. How did you find me?"

"I'm an Elder, Nicholas. You should know by now there is no place you can hide where I cannot find you. I can follow you no matter where you go."

"But not right away. It takes you time to find me. Time that I don't have to worry about your incessant harassment to be what I detest."

"To be what you are, Nicholas. You cannot deny it. You are a killer. I've seen you kill countless mortals. Most without giving it a second thought. And you enjoyed it. What makes you think you can ever go back to what you were before?"

"Janette did," protested Nick.

"And now she's dead. Is that the fate you want for yourself? To be weak and inconsequential? To gradually grow old and feeble and then die without even the slightest indication that you were ever here? Is that the existence you truly want for yourself?"

"At least I wouldn't have to worry about killing innocent people. People who did nothing but be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"It is our nature. A nature you whole heartedly embraced nearly 800 years ago. A nature you reveled in for many centuries until your misguided attempt to become mortal again. An attempt that must ultimately fail."

"I'm not the first to want to regain my mortality. Janette also did. And she did become mortal again. Something which did not lead to her death, as I recall. It was her misguided need for vengeance that ultimately led to her death."

"Perhaps," said LaCroix. "Or perhaps it's just your jaded view of reality that leads you to believe that. But despite your rather tainted view of the world there is still the matter of your debt to me. A debt you yourself readily admitted you owed when I saved your precious Natalie."

"I won't dispute that," said Nick. "If not for you she would have died and I will be eternally grateful for your assistance. But you can't expect me to return to what I was because of that. I'm not what I was. I can never go back to that life."

"But you still owe me, Nicholas. You promised me that you would not forget the debt you owe to me. And as I told you, I am holding you to that promise. You above all people should know that I always collect on my debts."

"I'll give you that. You do have a long memory for the debts people owe you. And you always collect on those debts eventually. So how would you suggest we resolve my debt to you? I won't go back to the life I once had. I won't kill innocent people for the luxury of surviving another day. So what would you consider ample payment for the life you restored at my request?"

"Only your unconditional return to the fold, Nicholas. That is the only payment which will repay the debt in full. But I know that is not about to happen. At least not yet. You still need time to come to terms with who and what you are. But there is a matter you could assist me with. Call it a down payment on your outstanding debt."

"I won't kill a mortal for you. I don't care what they may have done. If you want a mortal dealt with I'll help but only within the confines of the law."

"Not a mortal. A Dhampir. A half human, half vampire hybrid who could conceivably end the peace that has existed for more than a thousand years. And cause a war that could decimate the humans you hold so dear."