Disclaimer: I don't own Angel or Forever Knight. Angel belongs to Whedon, and Forever Knight belongs to Columbia Tristar and its creators (ie, not me). No money made.
A/N: I love Forever Knight. It's one of the older fandoms I follow, but I really didn't have any stories—save for this one—planned for Fic-a-Day for it. Though, now that I think about it, I might have only done one with it last year. Oh well. I hope everyone likes this. Anyhow, please enjoy!
A story that had always stuck with Lucien Lacroix was that of Pandora's box. The box was infamous now, where it was just a story to be shared around a fire when he was human. But now, professors studied it, squawking it at their students over and over. About how Pandora, out of the weakness of curiosity, opened the box, and all the evils of the world poured out. By the time the woman had closed the box, all that had remained inside was the Spirit of Hope, Elpis.
Lacroix had heard many interpretations on this matter. The most popular one was the easiest: that this was a great tragedy. That Pandora should have left the box open, so that the people of the world could have Hope to help them battle the other evils of the box. But Lacroix, in his gaining of age through his vampiric immortality, had adopted an entirely different view. In his mind, Pandora had done the world a favor.
Hope was a cruel mistress, lifting your spirits only to crush them lower than before. And Lacroix had never felt the crush so much as he did now, standing in the pouring rain just on the outskirts of a great horde of demons. Nick, his vampiric son, had taught him that demons existed to be fought, to be conquered. So when Lacroix had gained the knowledge that a man, who slept by day and seemed abnormally strong, was fighting against such monsters in the town of L.A., he had rushed there. He had been sure it would be his Nicolas, returned from the dust that Lacroix—on Nick's own request—had made him.
The horde seemed unreal, demons of all sizes and shapes roaring into the torrential downpour, their gaze all focused on one spot. Lacroix had followed that evil glare, hoping—oddly, hilariously—that Nick would be the cause of it. After all, Nick had caused that look from Lacroix several times before. Instead, however, he spotted not one, but two of his own kind. One man with his hair dyed platinum blond in a black duster coat, standing alongside a dark-haired vampire, whose forehead really did not seem to compliment his hairstyle. They were both drenched, and two others stood by them—a man who was bleeding profusely, and a woman whose body moved like she was not entirely used to it, and was blue, mostly.
"Let's go to work," the dark haired vampire proclaimed the second before he charged into the fray of demons. His comrades followed without hesitation.
Lacroix, for all his preternatural, lost them from his sight almost instantly. The horde turned in on itself from the front, aiming for the intruders, the interlopers. Lacroix fell back a step, leaning on the damp bricks of the unnamable building behind him. His eyes flew skyward, searching the clouds. They were too thick. L.A. would not see the sun today. A miracle for vampires… but he seriously doubted if these two vampires—the ones who had just freed themselves from the horde, sending demon heads flying over the crowd—would think as much.
No, this was not his Nick. Hope had beaten him again. When he had heard of this vampire, this private detective, helping the helpless, Hope had made his heart soar like it had not in many years. Not since he had watched his Nicolas perish on the floor beside the woman his son had loved. Had it been too much to Hope? To dare think that Nick could be alive, somehow? Brought back to fight against the demons he had picked out of a crowd, and named for what they truly were?
The vampires were visible again, and the dark haired one had the bleeding man draped about his shoulders.
"Spike, we have to get Gunn to safety!" he sounded, authority in his voice.
A leader. And, most probably, the blond's sire. Lacroix would know that voice anywhere. It was one he had often used with Nick.
"Kinda busy," the one called Spike called back.
It was easy enough to hear them, for Lacroix, even over the noise.
"He is dying," said the blue woman.
The dark haired one looked around, his eyes calculating. Quickly, he made a decision. He shoved Gunn into the blue woman's hands.
"Illyria, please get him safe," he said.
"I will do so, Angel," Illyria replied, picking Gunn up as if he weighed no more than a single sheet of paper.
She cleared the group of demons easily, running away from Lacroix's side of the road, to the one directly opposite. The old vampire laughed. Angel. With an odd name for a creature of the night. He fought like one, though, holding back the demons with all the conviction of Heaven—or at least, all that Heaven represented in the world. The battle raged on for hours, and Lacroix simply looked on, the silent observer. It was a favored role of his as of late. Finally, the street was all but clear of demons, and the two vampires were fairly none the worse for wear. It was then that the one named Angel noticed him.
"Who are you?" he said, making his way over.
Lacroix leaned off the wall.
"A poor old man who came seeking Hope."
Angel arched a brow. "Well, did you find it here?"
Lacroix looked away. "I'm afraid not."
Angel laughed, the breathless laugh of disbelief.
"We won. Maybe not the war, but we definitely won this battle," he said, sweeping his arm out to indicate the street. "How can you say that Hope isn't here?"
Lacroix had no reply to that. He turned away from Angel, looking again to the night sky.
"I came seeking my son. But he's gone. I see that now," Lacroix said.
"A vampire you made?"
Lacroix nodded. "I killed him, and when I heard of you, I had Hope."
Angel stared at him for a long moment. He seemed to be sizing him up, deciding whether or not he was telling the truth or not. Finally, though, he seemed satisfied and nodded.
"I'm sorry," Angel said.
"Don't be. I knew it was foolish. Hope is a thing with feathers, after all."
Lacroix turned, intending on his departure, when Angel stopped him.
"Why me? Why did you think I might be your son?"
"You fight like he does. For the… helpless… the innocent. You fight for your humanity."
Angel didn't answer, drinking in the words as Lacroix sighed. Finally, Angel shook his head.
"You should be happy, then. If you miss him so much, that there are others of our kind like him. Like me."
Lacroix grinned, not turning to meet Angel's eye. "Perhaps."
With that, he was gone, but much to his great surprise, his heart was not as heavy as he thought it should be. There was some truth in Angel's words. He could take comfort that Nick had a legacy, even if he didn't directly affect it. Others fought for what they did not have to, fought for those who could not. Nick would have been happy to hear this.
Hope was many things. A cruel mistress. A foul trickster. But it was also a thing with feathers.
"And sweetest in the gale is heard; / And sore must be the storm / That could abash the little bird / That kept so many warm," Lacroix muttered, as he put L.A.—and Angel—behind him.
End Notes: Just some musing from Lacroix. I really hope this wasn't a jumbled mess, and I also hope that no one was too OOC. I'm having a drugged up sort of night—allergy meds—so I'm fighting some serious fatigue writing this. Also, for proper credit, the whole "Hope is a thing with feathers" and Lacroix's final dialogue is from the Emily Dickenson poem.