This story is dedicated to my fellow Vals who, I know, can never get
enough Val fic (THIS IS A HINT, WRITERS).  It is also somewhat dedicated
to all those great writers on this list, who are not necessarily Vals - and
you know who you are! - who insist on making us wait months between bits or
whom I haven't managed to get something suitably 'Val' out of, despite my
constant pleas.  In their honour, this story will drop very, very slowly.

     For background on what follows, you may want to visit Mel's fic site and
read 'Unforeseen Occurrences,' 'Journey,' and 'Before the Dawn.'

     Thanks to superb beta readers Nancy Warlocke ('Mum'), Bonnie 'LaBons'
Rutledge, and fellow TE-Phile, Bobbie Williams!  I couldn't do this without
them! :)

The Terrible Twos (1/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     She lay in her lover's arms, absently listening to the hum of the
specially chartered plane's engines as it flew high above the Atlantic.  The
window shades were drawn, shutting out the gold of the sun and the clear blue
sky that always existed above the darkest clouds.  Turning over, she studied
the features of the face before her:  determined, exuding power even in
repose, capable of seducing or intimidating, as its owner saw fit.
     "Didn't your mother ever tell you it's not polite to stare?" Lacroix
asked without opening his eyes.
     "I'm not staring," she began, "just...studying."
     "And what have you learned?" he inquired as his eyes opened and took in
the chestnut curls which framed the cherubic face of Dr. Natalie Lambert.
     She paused a moment before she spoke.  Those eyes.  She might no longer
have the option of standing under a sky such as the one which lay just beyond
the shuttered windows, but those eyes far surpassed any sky for brilliance.
     "You probably already know, so why ask?"
     "Because," he began as he twisted one of the curls around a finger,
"being around you has somewhat curtailed my penchant for self-aggrandizing
     She smiled and snuggled closer.  "I suppose this will be the last of our
quiet time for the next ten days."
     "Well, don't blame me," said Lacroix.  "It was your idea to return to
Toronto for this little 'visit.'"
     "Aw, come on," Natalie said as she rolled over on top of her companion,
clasped her hands together on top of his chest, and rested her chin on them.
 "You're dying - no pun intended - to see Nick, too...*and* the baby."
     "The child is hardly a 'baby' anymore," Lacroix countered.  He was
feigning disinterest, but Nat wasn't fooled.
     "OK, OK - so she's nearly 2:  that's *still* a baby by anyone's
     "I wonder how Nicholas has been?" he asked nonchalantly as he dropped
the curl and raised himself to a seated position, making it easier for him to
reach the bottle secured to a nearby table.
     "You talked to him on the phone last night, the same as me.  I thought
he sounded fine."  Natalie tried to make light of the situation, but even she
was uncertain as to how seeing Nick again might affect her - or all of them
for that matter.  Many months had passed since she said her farewells to him
on the steps of her new home in Paris.
     Paris.  She was happy there, but, despite that happiness with her new
life, she couldn't help but continue to think of herself as some kind of
traitor, no matter how many ways she attempted to justify her current
situation.  All those years she had spent trying to help Nick regain his
mortality; all the dreams she had nurtured for them; their marriage; plans to
start a family:  all the working and dreaming had finally borne fruit.  Back
then, she had cried tears of joy, not realising how much of her hope had
evaporated before that divine moment when mortality returned.  But when Nick
vanished without a trace, it was as if the universe had played the cruelest
of tricks on them.   she had wondered.  She would have gladly sacrificed her own
happiness - even her own life - to ensure that Nick finally found his.  Her
struggle had been but a few short years, but Nick's...It had been centuries.
     And, so, that chapter of her life had ended - or so she had thought -
and a new one began with the one person in the world she thought she could
ever love or trust:  Lacroix.  Their mutual grief and loss, and their desire
for commiseration and comfort, had brought them together initially, but a
passion and an understanding neither had planned led them to a love they
hadn't thought possible.  For a brief time, they had found a measure of
contentment, though it was borne of a wound - their belief that Nick was lost
to them both forever - that would never quite heal.  Then came Nick's
reappearance, the intrusion of the rogue Enforcers, and a series of events
which left her more confused and frightened than ever.  It also forced her to
make the hardest decision of her life:  mortality with Nick or eternity with
Lacroix; and, in the final analysis, she realised that even life without the
sun was still life, and the thought of death did not hold any comfort for
her.  Death was her sworn enemy and the enemy of all whom she loved.  She
would cheat death as long as she could:  perhaps forever.  It was not
eternity that made the vampire's existence intolerable, after all, but the
loss and death of those for whom he or she had come to care - century upon
century of loss.  And for what purpose?
     So she had stayed with Lacroix, and let Nick return to a mortal
existence in Toronto, along with his beautiful baby daughter, knowing a part
of her still loved him.  It was like a haunting memory, replayed over and
over again in her mind.
     The touch of a hand running down the length of one thigh brought Natalie
out of her reverie.
     "Oooo," Nat purred.  "Didn't we just do this?"
     "Yes," answered Lacroix, "but as you so eloquently put it, our solitude
will soon be extremely *limited.*"
     "When do we land?"
     Lacroix looked at his watch.  "In approximately 30 minutes, I should
say.  That should be more than enough time."
     "Enough time for what?" she inquired innocently, though she knew exactly
what Lacroix had in mind.
     "For not being quiet," he replied, then stifled her fake cries of shock
with his kiss.

Appreciative comments always welcome!  Flamers need not apply...
Will work for chocolate...*and* Nunkies.

Subj:  The Terrible Twos (2/?)
Date:  Sat, Jul 5, 1997 3:43 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

     Thanks for betaing go out to Patt Elmore, yet another of my favourite
authors on this list!  And, of course, Bonnie, Bobbie and Nancy.  Long may
they write!!! :)

     Forgot to mention at the beginning that permission to archive is hereby
granted.  Thank you, Mel!!!!

The Terrible Twos
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

    Deplaning down the small stairway that had been wheeled out to the lone
airplane on a secluded section of Pearson's enormous airstrip, Natalie could
easily make out the child with the curley blonde locks in the back seat of
the car.
     "Nattie," as she had come to be called, eyed the strangers warily,
particularly the very tall one who reminded her of a giant from one of her
fairy stories.  She liked the looks of the shorter one, however - instinct
telling her that this was someone apt to be more 'on her side.'  She wasn't
sure why - perhaps it was the
     Natalie also happened to notice that Nick positively *glowed* -
fatherhood suited him, apparently.  He closed the distance between them, then
gave her a kiss on the cheek and wrapped her in a tight bear hug which she
returned.  Being back in his arms felt wonderful and sent a pleasant
electricity through her body.  Remembering Lacroix, she guiltily withdrew and
allowed the two men to greet one another.  Lacroix held out a hand in a
gesture of friendship - something unusual for him, even where Nick was
concerned - rather than something more formal.  Nick grasped his forearm and
drew him close.
     "It's good to have both of you here again," Nick said softly.  Natalie
didn't have to see his face to know that tears were coming to his eyes.
     "Nicholas," was all Lacroix could manage as he embraced his former 'son'
and fought with his own emotions.  He succeeded in not shedding tears, but,
Nat could tell - and probably Nick, too - only just.  Both of them, feeling
slightly awkward, turned their attentions to Nat who was already in the
backseat showing Nattie
the small, stuffed Babar(tm) the Elephant toy she had bought prior to
departing Paris.  The child giggled as Natalie used the toy to chuck her
under the chin.  She also spoke in baby talk, interspersed with a few
not-very-good elephant calls.  The two men turned to look at one another:
 Nick had a wide grin on his face, while Lacroix did his best to look bored
already.  Feeling the stares, Natalie turned to look at them, taking in their
     "Humour me, OK?" she pled.
     Nick merely smiled again and motioned Lacroix have a seat in the car.
  Lacroix complied, but wasn't at all looking forward to the journey.


     Nick pulled into the loft's garage about 30 minutes later.   he thought:  Lacroix looked about ready to fly out of the front seat -
literally - to escape the constant chatter from the back and make for more
serene parts.
     "Better get used to it," Nick told him, grinning yet again at Lacroix's
apparent discomfort.  "I've got to be in Montreal tomorrow, so there's no
turning back."
     "Nicholas, I am nearly 2,000 years old, and I have *never* gotten used
to it.  There's no reason to think I will now," Lacroix responded.
     "Aw, come on, Lacroix.  If you can survive flaming stakes, you can last
through ten days of babysitting."  Nick still had that disgustingly smug look
on his face, Lacroix noted.
     "I'm not so sure, Nicholas.  You know..."
     The sound of a throat clearing itself in the back seat interrupted him.
     "All I know is, it's getting way past the baby's bedtime," Natalie said.
 "Can we go inside or are we going to debate in this cavern all night?"
     Looking chastened, Nick climbed out of the front seat.  Natalie handed
the baby to him, and was helped out the other side by Lacroix's waiting hand.


    The elevator slowed to a halt, its door opening up to reveal a sight Nat
had not expected to see ever again.  The loft hadn't changed much, apart from
a scattering of children's toys on the hearth rug.  She wasn't sure what she
had been expecting, though, after so many continued months of mortality, she
had assumed the darkness of the loft would have given way somewhat to a
lighter atmosphere.  Now she realised that Nick would, to some extent, always
be the Nick she had known - dark, medieval, different from those around him
because, despite mortality, the memory of who he had been and what he had
done would never fade in his own mind.  It would set him apart in his own
eyes from his friends and neighbours -- forever.
     She turned and found Lacroix studying her, understanding.  He let out a
silent sigh.  It wasn't necessary for him to tell her what he was thinking,
how none of those feelings would have been an issue had Nicholas been able to
accept the gift Lacroix had given him.  But that was not to be.
     Nick felt the change in ambiance from the light banter of moments ago
and moved to direct their attention elsewhere.  He motioned to the wooden
crate atop the kitchen table.
     "A gift from Janette," he said.  "She thought it would save you a trip
on your first night."
     "Very generous of her," Lacroix replied.  "And you, as well, Nicholas."
     Nick studiously avoided replying to the comment.
      Lacroix's gaze and tone sounded appreciative, if fraught with tension.
He walked with determination to the table and broke open the case with,
perhaps, more force than he had hoped to exhibit.  Seemingly, but not
necessarily, oblivious, Nick turned his back and set Nattie down inside a
generously-sized  playpen, but the sense that Lacroix's self-control was in
danger of slipping was not lost on Natalie.  She joined him, placing a hand
on his arm.  Strange, that he should need her to shore up his resolve and not
the other way around.  Then again, it was Natalie who, for years, had urged
Nick to control his craving for blood, just as she had had to quell her
natural desire for a physical relationship with Nick.  Practised abstinence
was an ingrained habit.  Lacroix, conversely, had always been one to urge
Nick to not deny his natural instincts and had consistently set the example
for him.  Small wonder, then, that he found it difficult to keep his distance
from the blood he had always found the most tempting.
     "I hate to be a bad host," Nick interrupted as he returned to his
guests, "but I've got one or two things to take care of down at the precinct
before I leave town.  Do you mind if I leave you two on your own for a bit?"
     Lacroix turned to fix an intense look upon him while Nat spoke up.
     "No, not at all, Nick.  You do what you need to do.  We'll be fine."
     Her reassuring smile comforted him, and he gave her a quick peck on the
cheek before heading back out into the night.  They watched him go and, as
the elevator door slammed shut, a slat from the crate snapped in Lacroix's
right hand.
     Natalie looked for two goblets and found them in the place she
remembered keeping them.  Lacroix's gaze was still fixed upon the door as she
opened a bottle and poured the ruby liquid into the waiting glasses.
     Absently, Lacroix took the goblet she handed to him and downed its
contents, looking away from the direction of the lift for mere seconds only.
     "It's well that Nicholas is going away so soon," he said, finally
turning to face her.
     "I can see that," Natalie replied with a note of disappointment in her
voice.  She took the empty glass from Lacroix's hand and filled it once more.
     Again, he downed the contents immediately, an unusual thing for him.
     Natalie sighed, then went over to the playpen and picked Nattie up in
her arms.
     "Don't pretend you don't feel the same way, if, perhaps, for a different
reason," Lacroix said with more than a touch of sarcasm in his voice.  "This
was a mistake," he added bitterly as he disappeared up the stairs.
     Natalie bounced the little girl in her arms.  "Men," she whispered into
Nattie's ear.  "You can't live with them..."

Send all comments and really good Nunkies fantasies to...

The Terrible Twos (3/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     Nick returned to the loft an hour later and found Natalie leafing
through a newspaper.  He joined her on the leather sofa in front of the
fireplace, keeping a companionable distance between them.  Age had not yet
begun to ravage his handsome features.  If she tried hard enough, Natalie
could pretend this was another time.  He had so much love for her in his
eyes, and she remembered Lacroix's words.  
     "Thank you for coming," he said, breaking the silence.  "I was almost
certain you'd say 'no.'"
     And there was *that* smile again - the charming, sunny, little boy smile
that had won her heart every time she saw it.
     "Nonsense," Nat replied, willing the past back into her internal box of
memories which she kept tucked away in a distant corner of her soul.  "You
made me an offer I couldn't refuse."  She smiled then, not thinking that it
might possibly evoke in Nick the same feelings that threatened to surface in
her.  "What?" she asked when he just kept staring at her.
     "I thought I'd always be able to picture you looking as beautiful as I
remembered, but," he continued as he rose and walked over to clear up a
handful of toys, "I can see my memory isn't what it was - not surprising, I
suppose.  Either that or you've become more beautiful, though I wouldn't have
thought it possible."  He said these words without a hint of pretense and
then deposited the toys into the playpen.
     "Nick, I..." Nat began to say, knowing the conversation was turning in a
less-than-safe direction.
     "I'm sorry," Nick interrupted.  "I didn't mean to..."
     "It's OK, Nick," she answered, then looked down at her hands for a
moment, and was suddenly struck by how her 'change of life' had transformed
them, erasing damage caused by the various chemicals she had come in contact
with over the years in the Coroner's Office.  "So," she continued, "you leave
tomorrow morning?"
     Nick nodded his head.  "I'll be in Montreal for several days, then in
     "Popular guy," Natalie said, grinning.  "No more 'Mr. Outsider', eh?"
     "Yeah, I seem to be in demand.  They're moving me more and more into the
training end of things, it seems."
     "And???" she queried, sensing there was more.
     "And I've been told unofficially that if I want to be the next director
of the Academy, the job's mine," he responded, a broad smile on his face.
     "Oh, Nick!" Natalie exclaimed as she threw her arms about him - after
all, training was definitely safer than roaming the streets in search of
criminals.  "That's *wonderful*!!"
     Nick returned her embrace, then finally let go, ignoring the proddings
of his heart.  They separated, but he reached out to brush a few stray
strands of hair from her face.  She tried hard to ignore the steady beating
of his now mortal heart.
     "Nat?" he asked.
     "I just wanted to say...Well, I mean, I know you've made your choice,
but, I just wanted to say, if you would ever consider it,..."
     Natalie placed two fingers over his mouth.  "Don't say it, Nick," she
told him, a sad look in her eyes.  "I won't be coming back across...ever."
     Nick would have continued, but a presence suddenly appeared before the
fireplace - a presence with a very unhappy visage.
     "Leave us, Natalie," Lacroix told her, his self-control looking as
though it was wearing even thinner than it had earlier in the evening.
     "Lacroix,..." Nick began as Natalie rose and began to clear the area
without argument.  He considered her submissiveness oddly out of character.
 Misunderstanding her reasons for leaving, Nick made a move to tell her she
could stay.  Surprisingly, she seemed resigned to Lacroix's command rather
than fearful of it.  From behind the couch, she laid a hand on his arm to let
him know everything would be alright, then shot a pleading look in Lacroix's
direction before going to check on the baby, leaving the two men in temporary
    "You must stop this, Nicholas," Lacroix told him simply when she had left
the room.
     "I can't stop reminding her - of all people - of her choices, Lacroix,"
he responded.
     "She *has* no choice in this matter, Nicholas," Lacroix said through
clenched teeth.
     "So *you* say," Nick replied, his own rage growing.
     Lacroix took in a breath and in a very controlled voice said, "It's bad
enough that I must be in such close quarters with you in your 'condition,'
Nicholas; that for the next ten days I must be back in the place that holds
far too many distressing memories even for one such as myself.  And, as you
may have realised, I am not the 'ideal' babysitter.  On top of all this, you
expect me to sit by and watch as you remind Natalie to look back, convince
her that she couldn't possibly be happy as she is...Tell me, Nicholas, is it
that you don't want her to be a vampire, or is it simply *my* company you
object to?"
     "Maybe it's just that I've never quite gotten over my wife leaving me
for my best friend."
     There.  He had said it.  Now he merely had to face the volcanic eruption
that was about to occur in his living room.  To Nick's surprise, Lacroix
didn't throw him across the kitchen, though, as he turned to face the
fireplace and rested both hands on the intricately carved mantle, Nick
thought he might hear the sound of splintering wood.
     "Dear, dear, Nicholas," he said.  "How very little you seem to recall
regarding that very singular and charming group within the Community known as
the Enforcers."
     "What do you mean, Lacroix?" Nick asked quickly.
     "I mean, apart from the fact that you're encouraging your 'wife' to do
the very thing that very nearly turned you into a pile of ash on several
occasions, you seem to forget that, where Enforcers are involved, there will
always be consequences to be dealt with."  Lacroix paused for a moment
without turning, then continued, "You remember what happened in Paris?"
     "Yes," Nick answered quietly, beginning to understand.
     "While we essentially rid the Community and mortals alike of a very
monumental problem with our rogue Enforcers, we should I
say it?  Rebelled?  A 'price' was exacted."
     "Price?" Nick asked with trepidation as his mind began to consider the
possibilities.  "What kind of price?"
     "Natalie was given a choice:  she could either have her knowledge of the
'cure' obliterated from her memory, or she could allow you to be obliterated
in a far more *literal* way.  They said, I believe, that this was to either
be something of an example to others who might follow you in your quest or an
example for those who chose to take the Community's 'problems' into their own
hands.  In any case, the point was made.  The fact that you are still here
does, I believe, tell you quite clearly the decision Natalie came to."
     "All those years.  All that work..."
     "Gone," Lacroix finished for him.  "Even her fellow researcher in Africa
is now devoid of his knowledge concerning the cure.  I'm afraid he had no say
in the matter once she decided."
     "They didn't..." Nick started to say.
     "Yes, they did, Nicholas," Lacroix told him bluntly.  "Of course, they
didn't tell Natalie that until after the deed was done."  He looked
thoughtfully at the upper level of the loft.  "She's been living with that
knowledge ever since."  A heavy silence sat between them for half a minute,
then Lacroix continued.  "Oh, and to make sure there weren't any stray notes
put into safekeeping, the flat received a rather charming new 'interior.'
 It's going to take an awful lot of money, I fear, to return it to normal,"
he said with disgust, then turned around to face Nick, taking in his stricken
     "She can never come back," he said to the air.  "Is that what you're
telling me?"
     "What do you think?" Lacroix asked as he came to stand before him.
     "I think that maybe you could help her to remember, and you're choosing
not to," Nick replied.
     "Natalie was always resistent to suggestion, you know that, Nicholas."
     "I've seen you overcome that 'problem' before," Nick countered.
     Lacroix paused before speaking, forcing himself to maintain control.
 "Whatever you may believe, Nicholas, not even I can restore memories which
have been removed from the deepest part of her subconscious!  The cure is
*gone*...Until someone is able to duplicate what Natalie did, there is *no*
going back."
      Nick began to feel a numbness spread through his soul at the words and
rose to face Lacroix, searching the eyes of the only father he had known down
through the centuries, seeing in them the truth of what Lacroix was telling
him.  Before Lacroix himself knew it, he was focusing on the beating heart of
his son, beginning to capture Nicholas' mind with his own.  Gods, but how he
wanted him back!  His eyes began to glow, golden, his arm reaching out to
grasp the neck of the one who would always be his.  His teeth threatened to
rip into the waiting flesh.
     Seconds later, Nick shook his head and found he was alone.

Feedback???  Why would anyone think I'd want feedback???

Subj:  The Terrible Twos (4/?)
Date:  Thu, Aug 14, 1997 8:10 AM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (KnightGal (Cousin Jules))
Sender: (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

     Please, please, please *whatever* you do, do *not* tell me how much you
like this story!  I work in the wonderful world of 'litigation' all day, and
I get so many terrific rewards that I just don't think I could stand any more

The Terrible Twos (4/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     When Nattie was tucked into her crib in Nick's room and had finally
drifted to sleep, Natalie went to the guest room and found Lacroix sitting at
the desk, no doubt jotting down ideas for the show back in Paris.  The bottle
he had taken from downstairs, and another from the stock he had brought with
them, sat close to hand, empty.  A worried look furrowed Natalie's brow.  She
and Lacroix had shared a good deal of blood before the plane had landed, and
now, only a few hours later, Lacroix had managed to down two more bottles.
 The last time she had seen him consume so much in such a short period of
time had been months earlier.  On that day she'd returned the Louvre to find
the body of a hunter in Lacroix's bedroom, and the vampire staked and dying
only a few feet away; the day she had finally realised how important Lacroix
had become to her.
     Natalie walked up behind Lacroix, and he closed the small black book
before she could get a good look.  Instead of asking about it - he wouldn't
have shut it if he'd wanted her to know what he was writing - she gently
began to massage his shoulders.  He said nothing, but soon relaxed against
her, allowing her gentle ministrations to relieve the obvious tension.
     "Want to talk about it?" she asked quietly.
     "I wish you would have allowed Nicholas to simply put the child on a
plane, Natalie," he said, almost wearily.
     "Well, I'm not sure about putting 2-year-olds on planes," she smiled
down, her breath gentle on his forehead.  "And, besides, despite the fact
that Nick isn't a vampire anymore, he still has to be careful.  I mean, a
simple homicide detective with a moderate income sending his baby girl to
Paris for a couple of weeks could invite some unwanted attention, and we both
know that none of us needs any of that right now."  She paused, allowing the
full import of the words to hit home.  Of course, she knew Lacroix was aware
of these things without having to be reminded.  Natalie looked at the clock
as the chimes announced 10 p.m.  Lacroix followed her gaze.
     "Dawn in Paris," he said, voicing her unspoken thoughts.
     "It's probably not possible for us," Nat began, "but I think I've got a
bad case of 'jet lag.'"
     Lacroix stood and turned to face her.  "You need to feed," he told her.
 "And," he continued as he unfastened the top most buttons of his black
shirt, "you're still very 'young' by our standards."  He bared his white
throat to her and, seconds later, almost without thinking, Natalie found
herself partaking of the most exquisite of all possible nourishment and felt
a calmness spreading throughout her body.  If Lacroix was feeling any turmoil
in his soul, he hid it well from her.  When she was sated, she gently
withdrew from him and licked the rapidly closing wound clean; Lacroix
silently helped her out of her traveling clothes and saw her to their bed.
 From under the covers, she reached out to grasp his hand within her own, but
he merely leaned over her, kissed her on the forehead, and said, "Rest."  She
tried unsuccessfully to fight off the heavy sleep settling over her, and the
last thing she saw was Lacroix shutting the bedroom door behind her.

     An hour later, Natalie awoke, alone still, and slipped into the silky
robe she'd laid at the foot of the bed earlier in the evening.  Walking out
of the room to stand on the upper walkway of the loft, she saw Lacroix's
back.  He was leaning against the door of Nick's bedroom, studying its
occupants.  She padded over, and she saw that he was watching Nick and the
baby sleeping, listening to their slow, even breathing.  He had a haunted
look to his eyes.
     "I told Nicholas about our little visit from the Enforcers," he told her
without wavering his gaze from the objects of his attention.
     Natalie temporarily froze.  She hadn't wanted Nick to know the sad
facts, hadn't wanted to think any more about what had become of that which
she had considered - up to that point anyway - her life's work.  It had been
been such a large part of her, defined her existence.
     "And???" she asked.
     "As you might expect - he did not take it well."
     "And how did you handle it?"
     "How?" he asked in return as he paced a few steps away from Nick's room.
 He met Natalie's eyes, his look hard, his emotions masked.  "Why, I nearly
brought him back across."
     "Lucien!  You didn't!" Natalie exclaimed as fear mixed with anger inside
of her.
     "Oh, yes," he hissed, "I *did.*  Why are you so surprised, my dear?  He
will *always* be my son, and despite what you or he may think, the Nicholas
we both know and love is, in great part, a product of my own creation."  When
she remained stony-faced, he continued his justification.  "Trust me:  you
wouldn't have been attracted to the dirty, disillusioned,
double-standard-ridden Nicolas de Brabant.
     "You were," she challenged.
     He shook his head.  "No.  *I* saw the possibilities..."

Paris, 1228

     A chill, dank air held the stony fortress in its unearthly grip.  It
whipped through the corridors and passages, everywhere except for the rooms
barred with wooden doors which were themselves draped in tapestries.  In a
single such room, a fire roared and crackled, providing atmosphere for the
occupants who would never need its warmth.
     Janette took a single wick and placed it into the fire.  When lit, she
carried it from one side of the room to the other, lighting at least a dozen
wide, wax candles.  Lacroix sat in a large chair beside the fire, a copy of
Ovid's "Ars amatoria" open on his lap and being dutifully ignored as he
watched the dance of the flames.  Janette knew he was somewhere else -
anywhere but that room.
     "You've been doing it again, haven't you?" she asked.
     "I beg your pardon?"
     "You've been looking back.  Something I thought you told me I should
learn *not* to do."
     "I'm not so sure that I was, you know," he replied, only partially
coming out of his ponderings.  "Oh, yes, I have been thinking of the
past...But not longing for it.  It's just that..."  His voice trailed off,
leaving Janette mystified:  It was rare for Lacroix to lapse into such a
melancholy mood.  She approached the chair and seated herself on the small
footstool beside it, careful to keep the burgundy velvet she wore from the
fire, then placed a hand on his arm.
     "Let me see," she began.  "We visited the aqueduct again.  We saw the
ancient road.  *Again.*  Now you are reading this," she continued, gesturing
to the tome.  "And you say you are not looking back??"
     Lacroix finally stirred enough to look at her.  She had thought her
challenge might cause trouble, but the words were out now.  Too late to
regret them.  A moment later, and she realised that there was nothing *to*
regret as she saw a look of sadness cross his features before he turned back
to staring at the fire.  He closed the book and examined its spine
     "Do you realise, Janette, that the men who built the aqueducts and the
roads, and that the man who composed this work long ago turned to mere dust?"
he asked.  She said nothing, so he continued.  "They are dust, but look what
they have left behind them.  The world will never forget them, and is,
indeed, reminded of them every day."
     "I also know," Janette joined in, "that we are the ones who still enjoy
life, Lacroix.  Whatever their accomplishments, they are gone and we remain."
     "And if was suddenly 'snuffed out', Janette, would anyone
remember that you had passed this way?  Would anyone care?" he queried in an
almost callous tone.
     She turned from him so that he wouldn't see the tears that had welled up
from nowhere, taking her by surprise.   she thought
to herself.
     "I've lived the lives of more than a dozen men, Janette; yet, if Lucien
Lacroix disappeared tomorrow, it would be as though he had never existed."
 He paused a moment, then added, "It makes me feel rather...insignificant
somehow."  Opening the book once more, he turned his attention to the words
before him.
     Without a moment's thought, Janette rose and flew from the dark, dank
fortress walls, coming to rest at an inn on the outskirts of the city.  She
had to do something other than sit there and be reminded that she was not
enough for her 'father.'  But what?  Her curiosity was piqued when the lute
of the troubadour inside the poor tavern began to play a lively air.  There
was much laughing from the inn's occupants who, she noticed with her keen
vision as she came to stand in a dark corner, seemed to be enjoying
themselves immensely.  All but one, that was.  He appeared well built, tall
and certainly handsome; occasionally, he would share in a round of drinking
and bawdy stories, but, always, his mood turned somber, away from his
drinking companions, and towards something darker.  What was it?  Regret?
 Grief?  Disillusionment?  She did not know.  The only thing she was sure of
was that she was drawn to him.  There was something about him, something that
told her that Lacroix would not be disappointed with her choice.
     She returned to the secluded castle and managed to talk Lacroix into
venturing out with her, promising him the sweetest of surprises.   He
acquiesced grudgingly and soon found himself at the place she had described
to him.
     "So, this is where you bring me?" he asked.  "To see yet another
gathering of uncivilised Crusaders?"
     Janette was hurt for the second time that evening, but defended her
actions.  "They do not know that, Lacroix."
     "No," he answered gruffly, "they could not.  *They* have never
experienced hot, *running* water, lighted streets or public libraries.  I'll
wager most of them don't even know how to read," he said cynically.
     Janette came to stand just behind his shoulder.  She rested one hand on
his back and took hold of his upper right arm with her other, giving it a
light squeeze as she motioned to the unnamed knight.  "Perhaps," she started
to say, "you could teach *that* one."
     In a moment, Lacroix took in the still, thoughtful form, the noble
bearing, the delicious look of weariness with the world that permeated his
features, and, like Janette, found himself drawn to this one.  An instant
later, and he surmised Janette's reason for bringing him here.  She saw
genuine thankfulness for her actions, then surprise, register in his eyes
before being replaced with a cold and calculating look.  Lacroix momentarily
looked at the knight, then back at his Janette, his eyes now gold and his
fangs quite visible.
     "I think," he began, "that he will make an excellent...son."


The Terrible Twos (05/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     Nat stared at Lacroix, almost in disbelief.
     "So, what you're telling me is that Nick was originally a tasty morsel
thrown your way by Janette as a means to show you she cared about you?  A way
for her to get more fatherly affection from you??"
     He looked down momentarily, then away, not answering her.
     "Funny," she began, "but I'd always gotten the impression that it was
the other way around, or that is was some mutual kind of decision you'd come
to after a lot more thought; that in your own ways you had actually come to
care about Nick before you both approached him that night."  She went silent,
then added, "I didn't realise *so* little thought had gone into it."
 Disappointment was evident in her voice - she intended that it should be.
     Lacroix's mouth curled slightly at one corner.  "Oh, I assure you, my
dear," he said in a low whisper, "quite a lot of thought had gone into it on
both our parts.  Actually, Janette was a bit slower at catching on as to my
train of thought - not that I had intended her to 'do the work' as it were.
 I'd considered the idea for some time, but prospects were, as you might say,
somewhat disappointing."
     "Until Nick," she prompted.
     "Yes," he replied wholeheartedly.  "Until Nicholas."  Lacroix went
silent then, and idly ran a finger along the railing of the loft's upper
floor as he walked away from her.  He turned to face her, noting that her
features hadn't softened in the least.
     "You had Janette," Nat countered.  "I know you loved her like a
daughter.  Wasn't that enough?"
     Lacroix looked at her as though she was the child in the house.
 "Dearest Natalie, I do realise you are a product of the latter 20th century
and that it will pain you to hear this, but I must tell you that, no matter
who he is, a man *always* wants a son, even if he has a dozen daughters.
 Anyone who tells you differently is fooling himself or herself."
     Natalie didn't move.  She couldn't.  Had she really heard Lacroix
say...?  No.  Surely this was some bad dream from which she'd soon awake.  On
the other hand...
     "Well, now I suppose I know the real reason you didn't want to return to
Toronto," she said as she approached to stand directly in front of him.  She
felt numb rather than angry.  "Nattie just isn't worth it, is she?" He looked
about to respond when she turned and took a few steps away from him.  "She's
just a girl, after all, and I suppose," she continued from over her shoulder,
"that I'm 'just' a woman.  Well, well," she said as she turned to face him
once more.  "Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised you feel this way."
     Lacroix maintained a calm exterior, though he felt anything but.  Where
did she get these ideas?
     "Aren't you overreacting a bit, my dear?  I never said..."
     "You didn't have to," Nat cut him off, then, looking directly at him,
added, "Funny, but I'd forgotten the 'age' that produced you.  I'd even
forgotten how popular infanticide had been just in case you managed to get
stuck with another daughter.  It's amazing that Divia ever made it out of
     She regretted the words the second she had spoken them.  For the first
time since their 'marriage,' she felt a vise-like grip encircle her upper arm
in anger as Lacroix pulled her into their room.  He forced her up against a
wall and held her there.  She looked up to see amber, red-rimmed eyes boring
into her soul.
     "What would *you* know of life then?" he asked accusingly.  "What would
you know of Divia?"  He bowed his head and loosed his hold on her.  Raising
his eyes to hers once more, the brilliant blue having returned, she saw pain
- deep pain.  She'd never pushed Lacroix to tell her about Divia, though he
was well aware she knew what had transpired on the last fateful night of his
daughter's immortal life, as well as being familiar with her origins.  She'd
even gleaned a glimpse or two from Lacroix's blood of what things had been
like before any 'evil' inclinations had appeared in Divia:  a small, blonde
and pretty little girl with bright blue eyes who worshipped her father; a
father whose one true joy had been his daughter - the only 'innocent' he
believed still existed in his world.
     It was Lacroix's last question which hurt the most, however, even though
it was said silently across their link.
      He disappeared then from the loft by means of the ever-present
skylight, leaving Natalie alone with her own tears.

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Subj:        The Terrible Twos (06/?)
Date:  Sat, Nov 22, 1997 8:08 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (KnightGal (Cousin Jules))
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.

The Terrible Twos (06/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     In a dark alley in another part of town, a petty criminal slid from his
captor's grasp to collapse onto the concrete at his feet, drained.  Lacroix
wiped an errant drop of blood from the corner of his mouth, momentarily
reveling once more in the vampire's thrill of the hunt and kill.  As the
moments ticked by, however, an uncomfortable feeling passed through him.
 What was it?  Guilt over what he'd done?    He'd done his bit, ridding the world of another, more insidious
predator, as well as a leech on the resources of society.  Well, actually,
two 'leeches,' the other laying scant feet away.  No, he didn't regret what
he'd done to them, but he knew it would eventually cause more problems
between him and Natalie - just what they didn't need.
     Leaning against the cool, brick wall of the building behind him, he
glanced up at the stars.  As he did every time he lost himself in their
beauty, his thoughts turned to Fleur.  He wondered what she would have made
of this time and place, and what might have been, she who had no fear of what
was or what would be; the one who implicitly trusted him, even when she
hadn't fully been aware of all the minor details.  Only she would have
understood without the need for words.  But, no:  that wasn't fair.  Natalie
didn't fear the future, and, he knew, she was thrilled by the knowledge that
she could now be witness to the passing of history, the understanding and
discoveries of science, the endless possibilities.  Further, she was content
at this point in her new life to learn from him, and she had clearly
expressed her to devotion to him as her teacher on many occasions, a thought
which caused him to smile inwardly.
     What had happened tonight had been a minor setback, but he had now
surely compounded it with these kills, the first he had made since...Since
when?  Since Divia had returned to find him.  Still, he had felt the need to
release the tension caused by the anger and regret he'd never seemed to
managed to rid himself of after two millenia - the feelings that this little
'argument' of theirs had caused to resurface.  What he should have done was
to focus on the pledge that Natalie had made to him nearly a year before, the
one that spoke to whatever remained of the mortal, ancient Roman, Lucius,
buried somewhere within; the flame-coloured veil, the ritual that descended
back beyond all memory, and the vows that brought comfort, familiarity.  Such
things he hadn't expected, and his first thought was that in her mortal
state, she still found it necessary to commit herself by means of some formal
ceremony.  He hadn't anticipated that the old ways would have affected him so
deeply, and wondered if Natalie didn't, in some ways, have more insight into
his kind than he did.
      he speculated, but accepted it as what
was.  There was no point in worrying about it.  Which reminded him...
     The dawn was approaching.  It was time to attend to business at hand.
 Picking up a body in each arm, he rose from the ground and made his way over
Lake Ontario, disposing of the remnants of his meal, then turned towards the
east, shelter from the rising sun...and Nicholas.


The Terrible Twos (07/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     Natalie had heard Nick awake from sleep and set about making breakfast,
something she still enjoyed doing for those who could eat it.  He had a long
day ahead, and after the events of the previous night, it was the least she
could do.  For herself, she uncorked a bottle and poured her breakfast into a
ceramic mug - at least it gave the appearance of something one might have in
the morning - and sat at the kitchen table, silently rehashing her argument
with Lucien.
     He was right:  she didn't have a clue about being a parent.  Oh, she'd
had a niece, a godchild and, now, Nattie, but no children of her own; and
she'd willingly given up that ability when she'd committed to life with
Lacroix.  It had not done her any good to spend endless hours hoping for what
couldn't be, and, she realised with growing disappointment, that she'd
managed to avoid applying her own 'deal with it' advice to herself.  In other
words, she'd been acting pathetically, not to mention probably driving
Lacroix crazy.
     Lacroix.  Where was he anyway?  And what was he thinking?  Immediately
after his departure, he'd effectively shut her out of his thoughts and
feelings.  That hurt more than the accusation of ignorance she'd seen in his
eyes.  She rose from where she was sitting and moved to stand near a
half-shuttered window.  She couldn't feel him anywhere...It was almost
frightening to feel this alone again, having taken for granted the constant
hum of connection that existed between her and her 'creator.'  And not only
was the silence bothersome, but so was the absence of the support she'd taken
for granted, the tether that had helped her control her desires as she
maneuvered her way through her 'infancy' as a vampire: the craving to kill
and to feed, and, when she wasn't thinking of those particular 'indulgences,'
the craving to share blood - and other things - with her...master.  Even now,
the thought of tasting his blood, of joining with him, brought an almost
physical ache.  Lacroix had told her that, in time, each of these feelings
would subside somewhat, but they would always lurk just below the surface,
the vampire not straying very far from home.   she thought as she repressed a giggle.
     Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard Nick coming downstairs.  He
was smiling as he looked at the table.
     "Breakfast," he said, turning the grin on her.  "Haven't had a
home-cooked meal in...Well, a long time."  He looked under the covered plates
to find bacon, eggs and toast.  A thermal carafe filled with coffee sat
beside his cup, and he helped himself to it.
     "Too bad you can't stick around for my Western Omelet," Natalie said as
she joined him at the table.
     "Maybe when I come back," he replied, still maintaining a cheerful
     "Should I get Nattie up?" Natalie asked, not sure about how Nick handled
his domestic affairs.
     "No, it's okay," he said before taking a bite of toast.  "Bobbie should
be here any minute."
     "Bobbie???" Nat queried, somewhat confused.
     "My housekeeper...and sometime babysitter," he answered.  "Come on," he
continued, "you didn't think I'd expect you and Lacroix to have to spend
every waking moment looking after Nattie, did you?"
     "Well, yeah, that was what I had planned on doing.  You know, Nick,
you're looking awfully secretive about something."
     "Truth is," he began, "she needs the money.  I hired her when she came
back across..."
     "You mean, she used to...?"
     "Uh, yeah.  Anyway," he continued, "she's gone back to school, and I've
given her a part-time job to help her out.  Tried to get her to take her
paycheque and give her some time off, but she refused; said she didn't want
the money if she hadn't earned it."
     "Very commendable," Natalie said.
     "Well, it's not just that.  She really wants to meet you.  You're the
one who gave her life back to her."
     If Natalie could still blush, she had to be doing so at this particular
moment.  "Didn't know I had so many admirers."
     "Better get used to it," Nick said, grinning.  "They're everywhere."
     The two of them sat in silence for a minute before Nick spoke.
     "So...where's Lacroix?"
     For a reply, Natalie let out a sigh and absently drew invisible shapes
on the table top.
     "Yeah, precisely.  We, um, had a little argument."
     "About?" he asked.
     "Trust me:  you don't want to go there."
     Nick suddenly lost his sunny disposition.
     "Don't be so hard on him, Nick.  I'm the one who brought it on myself."
     "You don't have to defend him, Nat."
     "I think I do...Especially when I'm talking to you, Nick."    "Sorry, Nick.  It's just that you know he isn't the
Lacroix of even a few years ago.  You know that, and you're the one most
responsible for it."
     He thought for a moment, some of the hostility draining from his
features.  "Because I disappeared?" he asked her.
     "No.  What I was referring to was this," she said, placing her hand over
his human heart.  "Your heart, your soul, your goodness.  Nick, you saw the
changes yourself that last year before you became mortal again, what happened
after the entire 'Divia episode.'  It changed him, so much so that you even
admitted to him that he was your closest friend.  You'll never know what that
meant to him, but I do.  In spite of everything that had passed between the
two of you over the centuries, you'd finally managed to put all that
'baggage' behind you and admit your care - your love and frienship for one
another.  You, Nick, lost the need to blame Lacroix for what you were, and he
wasn't concerned any longer with trying to force his will on you.  You did
this in spite of what it might have cost your pride.  And that's what love
is, Nick - it's selfless; it looks for and cherishes what's best in the other
person; it wants what's best for the other person, despite the fact that it
will sometimes cause you more pain than pleasure.  Didn't you see how far
you'd come?"
     Nick nodded his head in silence.  "Yes.  I knew, and it
felt...incredible.  I wanted to cry, Nat.  I did cry.  It's ironic, isn't it,
that we should have reached such a point only when I was ready to bring an
end to everything?"
     "And Lacroix was ready to give you up..."
     "Even though it would have hurt him as much as it hurt me to think that
I had killed you," he finished for her.  "Thank god that he realised there
was still hope for you.  I was wrong in asking what I did of him."
     Natalie said nothing, only looked at him.
     "I have to let you go," he said.  "I need to give you - both of you - a
     "No, Nick," she told him as she reached across and gave his hand a
gentle squeeze.  "We just need to stop looking back.  The rest will take care
of itself."


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Subj:        The Terrible Twos (08/?)
Date:  Sun, Dec 7, 1997 5:37 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.

The Terrible Twos (08/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     Nick had been gone only a few minutes when she felt his approach through
the skylight.  Looking up from her medical journal, she saw him.  He stood
momentarily, looking at nothing in particular, a wisp of smoke issuing forth
from his clothing.  Hearing but one tiny, mortal heartbeat, he made his way
to the crate of bottles stowed to one side of the kitchen sink.  He chose a
glass from the cupboard and poured the blood almost to the brim as she turned
her attention back to her journal, wanting to say something, but unable to
find any words.  Walking towards her from the kitchen, he placed the glass
and the bottle on the table in front of him, and took a seat across from her.
     "Nicholas is gone, then," he stated flatly.
      she sighed inwardly.  "Yes, you just missed him,"
she answered.
     "Perhaps it's just as well."
     They sat in silence for some time - Natalie wondering what to say first,
and Lacroix staring off into the distance, doing a 'Nick' on her.  When he
had downed the contents of the glass, he picked up the bottle and announced
he was going upstairs for a shower.  After about 15 minutes, she heard the
water shut off and determinedly made her way up to the loft's second level.
 Entering their room, she found Lacroix in his familiar black silk robe,
removing things from his suitcase.  He watched as she entered, but remained
silent.  Sitting down on the edge of the bed near to where he stood, she
began tracing out one of the patterns on the black damask comforter.
     "I'm sorry, Lucien," she began.  "I was wrong to say what I did."
     Lacroix paused from his unpacking but still avoided her gaze.
 "Perhaps," he told her, "but, to a degree, you spoke the truth.  I may not
have committed infanticide, but I certainly killed my daughter."  Lacroix sat
down next to her, eyes focused on the wall in front of them.  Natalie reached
up to place a hand on his shoulder.
     "You know and I know that what you're referring to would never have
happened had Divia never been brought across."
     "How do you know that?"
     "She was...changed."
     "And what of me?" Lacroix asked her.  "If the blood of her master flowed
through her and twisted her mind, and she is the one who brought me across,
then wouldn't it affect me, as well?  If you don't believe me, perhaps I can
give you the lurid details of my night."  He stood, then, and returned to his
       She could be angry with him, if only she
refused to admit to herself that by her words she had exacerbated the pain
that was always with him.  Standing to move behind him, she placed a hand on
his back, and he stilled his movements.
     "No, that's OK," she replied.  "I just wanted you to know that you were
right, too.  I can't even begin to imagine what life was like 2,000 years
ago, not to mention what it was like for you."  She paused for a moment, then
continued, "That's why I want you to show me."
     Abruptly, he turned to face her, and she saw a look of delight and then
fear in his eyes.  He smiled, then became serious once again.
     "Trust me," he began. "You don't want to know any of it.  There's no way
I can prepare you for such visions, and they may affect you in ways even I
can't imagine."
     "One night in May of 1996, the last thing I needed was to see the things
I saw in Nick's blood...but, I did.  And, I'm still here," Natalie said,
holding her arms out from her sides.
     "You saw him killing as a vampire," Lacroix told her.
     "Blood drinking aside, I can tell you it's a much more humane way to end
life than many dreamt up by mortals," he said in a deprecating tone.  "And,
of course, there are many things done by mortals which leave the body intact
but the spirit destroyed.  Is that what you want to see?" he challenged her.
     "What I want is understanding," she countered.
     "Of my time or my own experience?"
     "Both," Nat answered.  "I want both.  For as much as we've shared since
we've known each other, you have to admit that you know far more about me
than I do about you.  I haven't held anything back from you.  For some
reason, though, you haven't been so forthcoming."
     "You haven't learned anything about me?" he asked, suddenly sounding
nearly all of his 2,000 some odd years of age.
     Nat bowed her head for a moment, then looked up at him.  "Yes.  I know
you love me...and that's no little thing."
     "Then why don't you believe me when I tell you that there are some
things you're better off not knowing?"
     "I do believe you, Lucien; however, believing that you're right and
still wanting to know are two different animals.  Those 'things' are a part
of you.  For good or bad, all our experiences shape us into what we become.
 I don't know - perhaps a part of that wanting to know is because of the
scientist in me.  I can't say.  What I do know is that this relationsihp of
ours is going to suffer if I'm continually crossing a minefield of past
experiences I don't know is there.  I find myself hurting you, and I don't
want to do that anymore.  Can't you trust me on this?"
     "I trust you, Natalie," he said as he drew her to him.  "Things never
would have progressed very far if I had not."
     "Then show me," she whispered.  "Show me the things you've kept from
Nick, from Janette, from everyone.  If you can't show me everything right
now, just show me the what you can."
     "Isn't there some dark corner of your soul you'd rather keep hidden?"
     "Well, there certainly *was* - but you had to drain my blood to make me
a vampire.  You had to make me a vampire before you could teach me how to
shield my thoughts and memories, so..."
     "Point taken," he interrupted.  He moved one hand to her face to caress
her cheek.  "You're a very brave woman, Miss Lambert; but, then, I already
knew that."  He bent to kiss her then, slowly and deeply as his one hand kept
her close and the other caressed the soft curls of her hair.  Shortly, the
transformation began, her eyes glowing, her teeth aching for his blood.  She
was readying herself to drink him in, when the hum of a moving elevator so
rudely interrupted.

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The Terrible Twos (09/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

     "You growled."
     "No, I didn't."  Nat sighed.  "Look, that's probably the babysitter.
 I'll go down and meet her, and you can get Nattie."
     "Why me?" Lacroix asked, feigning annoyance.
     "Oh, I don't know.  Because I'm fully dressed and you're, um, not?"
     "Prude," Lacroix said accusingly.
     "Old Roman," she retorted on her way out the door.
      he told her through their link.
      she replied, smiling to herself.
     Descending the stairs, Natalie found a beautiful woman who looked about
26 years of age and stood about five feet six inches tall.  She was slim with
short, flaxen blonde hair and was simply dressed in jeans, a white Oxford
shirt and tweedy jacket.  Nat thought of how much she reminded her of Tracy
and wondered if Nick's subconscious had played a part in his decision
regarding a babysitter.  The woman had just placed a stack of books on the
kitchen table and thrown her coat over one of its chairs when she spied
Natalie across the room.  Beaming, she approached her and stretched out a
hand in greeting.
     "You must be Dr. Lambert," she stated.  "I'm Bobbie Aldrich, Nattie's
     "'Natalie,' please," Nat told her, returning the handshake.
     "Natalie it is," Bobbie agreed.  Still smiling, her eyes began to well
with unbidden tears.  "You have no idea how I've been wanting to meet you.  I
laid awake all last night, planning what I wanted to say to you.  Now that
the moment's finally arrived, all the words have left me...except, 'thank
you,' and that doesn't seem terribly adequate.  Still, I do want to thank
you, Natalie, and tell you how grateful I am for what you've made possible
for me and others.  I wish there was some way I could repay you."
     At that moment, Nat caught sight of Lacroix coming downstairs, Nattie in
his arms.  She was relieved to see he had donned his pyjamas under his
dressing gown, and noticed, too, that he had dressed Nattie in the latest
Paris baby-chic which he'd thought to bring with them.
     "There is something you can do for me, you know," Nat told her, never
taking her eyes from the pair.  "Help Nick take good care of Nattie...Take
care of him, too."  She was going to say something else when she suddenly
noticed that an uncomfortable silence had descended upon the room.  Bobbie
and Lacroix eyed one another, and Bobbie had gone suddenly pale.
     "Hello, General," Bobbie said, very respectfully.
     "Roberta," he greeted her as he handed the child into her waiting arms.
 Bobbie visibly cringed at the use of her given name.
     "You two know each other?" Nat asked.
     "Yes."  It was Lacroix who answered first.  "Roberta worked for a time
at the Raven.  Didn't you, Roberta?"
     Bobbie nodded in agreement, then looked at Natalie.  "Urs helped me to
get the job.  She and I were very good friends.   That is, until...until
somebody killed her."
      Nat thought, and would have steered the conversation away from
the subject of Divia if Lacroix hadn't gotten the next word out.
     "Roberta blames me for Urs' death.  Don't you, Roberta?" he asked the
blonde woman, then turned to look at Nat.  "Many of the younger ones do.
 They thought I could have stopped Divia before she killed so many."
     "That's not true," Bobbie told him.  "The fact that we were scared
witless and didn't know all there was to know at the time unnerved us, is
all.  It wasn't till after you left that we slowly learned you'd done all you
could to protect us."
     Lacroix did not answer her, only looked from her to Nat and said
tiredly, "I'll be upstairs when you've finished."
     When he was gone, Nat changed the subject slightly.  "Was it Urs who
brought you across?"
     "Oh, no," Bobbie replied as she pulled a highchair close to the kitchen
table and settled Nattie in it.  "But Urs was the first vampire I befriended
here, or, perhaps I should say that she was the first one to truly befriend
me.  The one who brought me across, well," she continued as she filled a
kettle with water and turned on the stove, "he was young and irresponsible,
and I was too ignorant to notice that at the time I asked him to bring me
across.  I didn't realise how important it was to have a good 'teacher,' and,
when he died, I didn't have anyone to turn to for help.  That is, until Urs
noticed me one evening and took me under her wing."
     "You said that the one who brought you across died.  What happened?
 Hunters?" Nat asked.
     "No, idiocy.  He just wasn't very bright, and he cut it a bit too close
one morning."
     "Got it," Nat said, nodding her head.
     "Yeah, fiction writers would lead you to believe that all vampires are
more sophisticated and brighter than the average person, but we all know
better.  Anyway, I digress.  I met Urs shortly after my sire's death.  She
seemed to be the only vampire I found who was willing to talk about the
truth."  Bobbie heard the kettle begin to whistle and jumped up to turn off
the stove.  She poured some of the water into a teabag-containing mug and
used the rest to make a bowlful of hot cereal for Nattie.
     "What truth?" Natalie asked her when she'd returned to the kitchen
     Bobbie continued to stir the cereal, helping it to cool, then looked
directly at Nat and said, "Haven't you ever noticed, Natalie, how many of
those who are brought across are people who have felt betrayed?  By life?  By
love?  By the things they put their faith in?"
     Nat looked away from her for a moment, knowing that had certainly been
the case with Nick, wondering if it had been the case for her.  "Yes," she
answered softly, "I have."
     "If you could walk into the Raven on any given night," Bobbie began as
she started to feed small spoonfuls of cereal to Nattie, "you'd find a group
of people who, for the most part, had been pushed to the limit emotionally.
 Even him," she said, looking to the loft's upper floor.  "They didn't start
off life with a desire for vampirism - that just doesn't happen.  Only after
they'd been drained emotionally, spiritually, or whatever else you'd like to
call it, did the darkness become attractive.  And, when they're brought
across, a vampire drains a mortal just as the world emptied the vampire of
his love, faith and hope.  They crave the blood, not just to quell the
physical hunger, but the emotional hunger as well, as though, by drinking it,
they can erase the void that's been left there since their mortal days."
     "Just how old are you anyway?" Natalie asked her.  "I thought you were
too young  to be so introspective."
     "In total years, 43," Bobbie answered, smiling and helping Nattie to
finish the remainder of her breakfast, "but I feel as though I've lived ten
lifetimes.  That's what the vampire 'lifestyle' did for me."  Suddenly
noticing the time on her wristwatch, she added, "I'd better get going.
 Nattie's late for her walk, you must be tired, and I don't even want to get
close to being on the General's bad side."
     The two women rose from the table, Natalie taking her namesake from her
highchair as Bobbie huddled back into her heavy coat.
     "We'll probably stop somewhere for a snack, and then I'll pick up some
groceries.  I'd guess we'll be back about one o'clock this afternoon," Bobbie
said as she took the little girl from Nat and placed her in her stroller."
 Oh, and in case you're wondering," she spoke after she had pushed the
stroller into the loft's elevator and turned to face Nat, "Lacroix was good
for us 'younger' ones.  He could be quite intimidating, whether he needed to
be or not, but he always took good care of us as long as we obeyed the rules.
 Toronto hasn't been the same without him...Well, I suppose Toronto has been
the same, but the Community certainly hasn't."  Smiling, she allowed the
elevator door to slide shut, as Natalie waved good-bye.
     When they were gone, Nat stretched, then walked slowly up the stairs.
 She'd started wondering if Bobbie's commentary on the emotional life of a
vampire had anything to do with Lacroix's reticence when it came to being
more forthcoming regarding his past, especially his mortal past.  She
supposed that she'd find out soon enough.
     Upon entering the bedroom, she found him, divested of his dressing gown
and sitting up in bed, his left knee raised and his left forearm resting upon
it.  In his right hand was a book, the title not easily readable from where
she stood.  She joined him, resting her back against the headboard and
closing her eyes.
     "Well," he began, never looking up from his book, "what did you make of
     "I think that woman needs a job at CERK as your successor," Nat replied.
 She was serious, but there was a hint of amusement in her voice.  Lacroix
said nothing, so she continued.  "She really doesn't blame you, you know,"
she said earnestly as she opened her eyes and turned her face in his
direction.  He still didn't look up, so she bent forward to see what he was
reading.  "Poetry?"
     "Yes," he said, then tossed the tome aside.  "Just a little something
for one of my monologues when we return."  He took one of her arms and gently
guided her to his side until her back rested against his chest.
     A silent minute passed before she spoke.  "Are you sure you want to do
this?" Natalie asked, for she suddenly felt as though she was, perhaps,
prying into something that was too private to share, even with her, despite
her earlier pleadings.
     "Want to do this?  No, Natalie, I do not want to do this, but sometimes
what we want and what we must do are two different things, non?" he said
resignedly.  Seconds later, she felt rather than saw the change in him, and
it aroused her own vampiric nature.  With fangs bared, Lacroix raised his
wrist to his mouth and, opening it, offered her a taste of his long gone,
mortal past.

Comments, please, to

Subj:        The Terrible Twos (10/?)
Date:  Sun, Dec 14, 1997 7:51 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.

Mucho thanks to Bonnie R. for her flashback advice! :)

The Terrible Twos (10/?)
by Cousin Jules
Copyright 1997

Pompeii, 43 A.D.

     The six year old ran as fast as his legs would carry him, through the
olive groves and up the hill toward the family villa.  It was growing darker
by the minute, and it wouldn't do to anger his father, who always seemed to
be a hair's breadth from a fit of rage.  For as long as he could remember, no
one could keep him happy, regardless of how hard they tried, and everyone
eventually fell into disfavour with him whether it be for a day or a
lifetime.  Even where his son was concerned, in one moment, he might sing
Lucius' praises, and the next there would be nothing good he could find in
him.  Lucius watched helplessly, too, as his father's opinion of his mother
swung between one of almost worshipful and one of disdain.  She was either a
gift from the gods or a simpleminded country girl whom he could easily shame
in public for every imagined shortcoming or offense.  It always hurt to watch
her cry.
     He loved his father - at least, he thought he did - but more often than
not found himself in fear of him, and always lived in hope that he could get
through a fortnight in peace.  It seemed an unlikely prospect.  If he was
late to table, he received a verbal raking over the coals.  If he asked what
his father thought a silly question, he was derided.
     And then there were the beatings...for dirtying his clothes, for
shedding tears, for receiving anything but perfect or near perfect marks from
his tutor, for not being able to stomach a particular food, for an accident
of any kind.  Lucius had no friends, for no 'friend' he brought home was ever
good enough for his father, and his father never managed to find him a friend
who was.
     And always, no matter how good he was at anything, his father always
ended any praise with, 'but you could have done *better.*'
     As home loomed in front of him, he could hear the yelling and crying
again.  A knot formed in his stomach as he wondered if he was the cause of
this particular upset.
     Running across the tiled patio, he made his way to the cool, marble
interior of the villa's main gathering room.  The first thing he noticed was
the way the servants stood in the shadows, still as statues before he found
himself in the midst of his parents.  They gasped silently, looking at him
briefly before turning back to the scene in front them.  Mother and Father
were arguing again, as he had thought.  Well, it wasn't exactly an argument -
more like a tirade on the part of his father, his mother merely pleading with
him for mercy.  But for what?
     "Gaius, you can't do this!" she cried.  She was kneeling as she clasped
his right hand between her own.
     "I can do as I like, you little fool, especially when you have brought
shame on this entire household!" he yelled at her.  "How dare you invite that
wandering scum of the Empire into my home!"
     "But he seemed a good man," she tried to tell him.  "A holy man.  I just
wanted to hear..."
     "What?!" he asked in a fury as he shoved her to the ground.  "That it's
better to give than to receive?  That you should give up everything you have
for the sake of some filthy Judean criminal who's been dead for 10 years
now???  Well," he continued, "I've had enough of your pious leanings.  If
that's what you want, then you're welcome to it!  You've got an hour to pack
up what you want, and then you can get out of my sight forever!"
     "No, Gaius!  Please," she sobbed as she attempted to get up.  He easily
backhanded her so that she fell once more.
     "Mama!" Lucius said as he began to cry.  He tried to run to her, but was
stopped by   his father who grabbed an upper arm in one hand and delivered a
hard slap across his face with the other.
     "Who do you think you are, you little wretch?!" came the question.  "How
dare you interfere!"  He shoved the little boy hard, causing him to fall near
the servants.
     "Lucius!" his mother cried out.  He wished she hadn't, for it only
served to anger his father more.  The older man picked her up and threw her
against one of the rooms many columns, then watched as she crumpled in pain.
 "I said, 'get out'!!" he screamed in a fury.  "And you," he continued as he
pointed to one of the slaves, "you can take *him*," indicating Lucius as
though he were a piece of refuse, "and stand him in the atrium until he stops
     "But, master, a heavy rain has begun to fall," the female slave noted.
     "Are you going to argue with me, too, slave?" Gaius asked threatingly.
 He looked to the slave standing beside her.  "You," he commanded, "take him
outside and watch him.  You," he said as he leered at the woman who had dared
to question his order, "come with me."  She looked at him in fear, knowing
what was to come, knowing there was no hope of escape.
     Crying and looking wretched, Lucius was escorted forcefully to the
atrium, to stand beneath the heavens which had opened and now poured rain.
 The thunder was monstrous, and his own tears still heavy, but neither could
drown out the sobbing he heard coming from the prone figure of his mother,
nor the screams of the slavegirl.
     It was nearly an hour before he had calmed enough so that the slave
brought him back into the house and wrapped a warm blanket around him.  He'd
stopped crying, and, he thought, must have stopped feeling as well.  A
numbness had crept over him, but it was more than the numbness of cold.  He
was put to bed, but he didn't sleep,  merely stared out at the stars that
hung outside his window.  At dawn's first light, he walked through the house
as quietly as possible, frightened of making any sound.  He came to his
mother's room, tormented by the unthinkable.  There was no one there, and
several pieces of clothing were missing, along with the small beaded bracelet
he had given her only days before.  Crawling into her bed, he buried his face
in her pillow, still sweet with the scent she always wore, and finally slept.

Feedback and Roman sewing patterns, please, to

The Terrible Twos (11/?)
by Cousin Jules

     The memories stopped then, and Nat opened her eyes to find them heavy
with tears.  Moving from Lacroix's side, she grabbed a few tissues from the
box beside the bed and pressed them to her face before turning around to see
Lacroix regarding the quickly closing wounds on his forearm without interest.
 He answered her question before it had barely formed in her mind.
     "I never saw her again," he said almost too softly for even another
vampire to hear.
     "What happened?  Where did she go?" Nat asked.
     "No one was every really sure," Lacroix told her.  "There was some talk
amongst the servants that she had returned to her family in Rome.  The only
thing I ever felt certain of was that she could not have lived past middle
     "Why do you say that?"
     Lacroix shrugged.  "She couldn't have had many options.  As head of the
household, my father would have been well within his rights if he'd decided
to have her killed, even though public feeling towards such action might have
been against him.  The pater familias could sell his children into slavery -
at any time during his life - and order the death of anyone within the
     "But what if he wasn't in his right mind?  Wouldn't that have made a
difference?" Nat queried.
     "Unfortunately, no," Lacroix answered.
     "Sounds like the 'Godfather,'" she quipped, trying to lighten the mood
somewhat, knowing it wasn't likely to happen.
     "Yes, well...Perhaps that's where the original model was taken from."
 Lacroix fell silent again, prompting Natalie to push him further.
     "If your father didn't kill your mother, what do you think might have
     "There is only one other scenario I can imagine:  she returned to Rome.
 It was, after all, her home.  She could not have remained in the area around
Pompeii for she certainly would have been noticed, and that would have
brought my father's wrath down on those unfortunate enough to have taken her
     Nat continued, "But didn't you ever hear from her family?"
     "I visited them once after entering the army.  That was a dozen years
later.  They told me that the last letter they had had from her had arrived a
fortnight prior to the night of her disappearance."
     "So, why do you think she had returned to Rome?"
     "There was a fairly large community of...Christians there," he said
disdainfully.  "Well, 'large' in comparison to communities in lesser cities.
 I suspect she was taken in by them, if, in fact, she was sympathetic to
their beliefs.  Their 'movement,' however - which is all we thought it was -
was an underground one for the most part."
     "Which would have made it that much more difficult to find her in such a
large city," Nat finished.  Lacroix didn't answer.  He'd fallen into silence
once more.  "Lucien?" she finally asked in an attempt to rouse him.  He sat
up abruptly and all but jumped from the bed, pacing to the opposite side of
the room where he leaned forward, fists against the wall, head bowed.
     "I always searched for her face, but sometimes there were so many," he
said, Nat feeling that it took no little effort for him to tell her these
things, "and it was impossible for me to be everywhere at once.  At least,
when I was called on to do my...duty."
     A cold feeling began to creep through her body.  She rose from the bed
as she asked, "Your 'duty'?"
     "Surely you know enough about ancient Rome to know about the persecution
of the Christians?  The 'entertainment' in the Colisseum?  Well," he
continued as he turned his eyes back to her, "how do you think they got
     Nat remained still and silent, considering the implications of this
remark.  To lose your mother at such an early age was traumatic enough, but
to add to that the idea that she had survived, only to die due to your
considered efforts...No, it didn't bear thinking about.
     "It always used to amuse my fellow soldiers," he added, "to see how
thorough I was with my prisoners, to see the way I never missed the
spectacles in the arena, watching as men, women and infants were torn apart
by wild animals.  They thought I enjoyed it," he finished with a sneer.
     "But you were looking for her," Natalie stated.
     "Yes.  All that time I spent watching a stubborn group of people go to
their deaths, all because they wouldn't burn a pinch of incense for the
emperor.  Silly, really.  It would have been so easy to save themselves and
cost them nothing.  We did it all the time.  It was a mere formality for most
of us, nothing more."
     "It must have meant something to the Empire, though, or a refusal to
participate wouldn't have carried the death penalty."
     "Only because this kind of refusal was seen as a challenge to the
emperor's right to rule.  He couldn't exempt a superstitious cult like
Christianity, one that not only forbade its followers to sacrifice to the
emperor's genius but also to take up arms.  Of course, we didn't realise at
that point that our precious Empire was already dying from other causes."
 Lacroix leaned back against the wall and crossed his arms, looking out
across the room.
     "You don't know, then, that that's where she died," Nat prompted.
     "No, not for a certainty, but there was something that happened that
leads me to believe that she did."
     "One day after my twenty-second birthday, I returned home to find a
small package had been left for me anonymously.  When I first saw the it, I
assumed it must have been a late present, that the giver had simply forgotten
to include a message, or that the servants hadn't bothered to get a name."
     "What was it?"
     He hesitated, then answered, his voice going quiet again.  "It was the
bracelet - the one I'd made for her all those years ago."
     "Perhaps she was trying to get in touch with you.  Perhaps it didn't
mean that she had died," Natalie urged.
     "No," Lacroix said without looking at her.  "I tried to track down the
sender, as well as the person who delivered it, without success.  I waited
months to hear something, but the 'something' never arrived.  And then I was
sent off to Britain where it was quite impossible for me to do anything, and
life went on much as it always had.  You see, whether one was in Rome or in
the provinces, the rules were the same:  submit to the ways of Rome or be
     Natalie moved closer to Lacroix and whispered, "She obviously cherished
that bracelet.  At least, in a way, you've been able to carry a small part of
her with you."
     Lacroix shook his head sadly, still refusing to look her way.  "No.  It
was lost when Vesuvius erupted.  I'm sure it still lays buried in the
volcanic rock somewhere.  I have nothing of her."
     Nat took one of Lacroix's hands and studied it briefly, then looked up
at him.  "That's not true, you know," she said.  He looked at her, one
eyebrow raised in question, as if to say, 'Oh, really?'  "Now I know where
you get it from."
     "What?" he asked her.
     "Well, going by what you've told me, your mother obviously was fiercely
loyal to a cause once she had committed herself, no matter the cost."
     Lacroix only continued to look at her.
     Nat looked up once towards the ceiling and then back at Lacroix.  "It's
one of things I've always admired about you, liked about you, even when..."
her voice trailed off momentarily, then she grinned.  "Even when I hated you.
 I knew that, in spite of everything, you would never, ultimately, let Nick
come to any harm if you could help it.  You'd given him your word that you'd
look after him, and you always kept that word."  Leaning towards him, she
gave him a gentle kiss.  "I know you'll do the same for me.  Now," she
continued as she dropped his hand and began to undress, "I think it's time to
get some sleep.  In a few more hours, we'll be on babysitting duty again, and
to say we've had a rough night would be a gross understatement."
     He nodded and returned to bed.  Donning her nightdress, she climbed in
beside him.  Lacroix drew her close and, as he kissed her and she returned
the favour, tried to put the ancient memories from his mind.   Moments later,
they slept quietly in one another's arms.

Comments to

Subj:        The Terrible Twos (12/?)
Date:  Mon, Feb 2, 1998 10:40 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.  Special thanks to Bonnie Rutledge for help with
beta-ing and important Barbarian details! :)


The Terrible Twos (12/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     Natalie awoke to the pressure of hungry lips against her own, and she
instinctively wrapped her arms around Lacroix's back, as though it would be
possible to draw him any closer than he already was.  She was only coming
awake, but it was clear to her by his movements that he had passed that stage
some time ago.  Noticing the responsiveness of her own body, she wondered
dejectedly what she had missed and how.  A low moan emanated from Lacroix's
throat, and Natalie echoed the sentiment as she felt the tip of one canine
define a trail from just behind her left ear to her jugular, all without
drawing blood.  She came fully awake as he pushed himself into her and the
sweet elixir of her blood filled his mouth.  Involuntarily, but
wholeheartedly arching against him, she felt the pleasant warmth - familiar
yet always different each time they made love - spread from someplace
unidentifiable within her to her furthest extremities.  It was only after
their bodies began to calm that she was aware of the unmistakeable scent of
newly fallen rain...


     A clear, blue sky and the fragrance of juniper greeted him as Ethne, one
of the household slaves, took him by the hand and led him outside and into
the small cart they would take to the market.  Ethne had her errands to run
in town and had decided that Lucius should accompany her.  He allowed himself
to be taken, not caring, in truth, what happened at this moment, though he
found that it did please him to get as far from his father as possible.
     Reaching the outskirts of his father's estates, they turned onto the
well-worn road - the Way of Abundance it was called - and towards Pompeii's
city centre.  The wildflowers pushed up from the newly-softened soil, arrayed
in their full glory.  Even the birds sounded joyful as their varied songs
filled the air.  But there was not joy, nor sun, nor blue sky for the son of
Gaius this day.  There never would be again, he decided.
     In a short time, they reached the marketplace, and Lucius jumped down
behind Ethne.  She took him by the hand as they visited the baker, butcher
and, finally, fuller.  At this last stop, Lucius could tell instinctively
that Ethne would remain here arguing for some little while.  He looked up the
road a block, noticing what looked like a rather rich building.  In its
doorway stood a woman with raven black hair, and a colour of dress he had
never seen at home.  Was this what Diana or Venus might look like?  Once
again, he looked up at Ethne, now clearly absorbed in a dispute of some kind.
 Now would be the time to escape.
     He walked slowly at first, then, once he was a safe distance from her,
picked up his pace until he found himself directly across the street from the
building's interesting facade.  The woman seemed even more beautiful to him
now.  Her hair fairly shone and was held up by pearl combs.  Fine chains of
gold encircled her wrists and hung from her neck.  The perfume that wafted
across the divide between them was different than his mother's, but no less
sweet.  Standing in the shadows of a doorway, idly twisting his cloak in his
hands, he found himself unprepared to have her look up and notice him.
     "Well, hello, little man," she said, a kind smile lighting up her face.
     Lucius remained silent for a moment, then gave her a very proper
salutation which, for some reason, seemed to take her aback.  He didn't sense
he'd said anything wrong, only unexpected.
     "My," she finally responded, "it's rare to meet a gentleman these days,
and one of your age, no less."
     "Mother always said that was how I should talk to a lady," he found
himself blurting out, then fought the urge to inch back further into the
darkness of the doorway.  He thought he heard her say, 'If only I were such,'
but, perhaps it was only his imagination.
     "And she was right," the goddess-like being answered him, the past tense
of his words not having been lost on her.  "Where do you live?  In town?  I
haven't seen you before."
     Lucius shook his head in reply, still fingering his cloak.
     She looked at him for what seemed like several minutes, then asked, "Why
don't you cross the street?  It's much easier to talk if we're closer, and we
won't have to  shout."
     He considered her request from his vantage point.  She was a stranger -
but she was nice, wasn't she, as well as beautiful?  She was also right:  it
was hard to talk over the people and animals as they passed in the street.
 Making his decision, he looked both ways then, and jumped from the curb,
then ran to avoid a cart full of slaves as it lumbered past.  When he was on
the other side, he slowed his pace as he continued to approach the woman.
     "My name is Faustina," she said as she knelt down to his level.
     "Lucius," he informed her simply.  He couldn't say anymore.  She was
even more radiant, if that were possible.  She *must* be a goddess - or, at
least, a relation.
     "Well, Lucius, now that we've been properly introduced, how would you
like to join me for something nice, hmm?  Pancakes and milk? I believe we
even have honey and poppy seeds for them."
     He nodded eagerly - he hadn't expected anything so wonderful.  What had
he expected?  Truthfully, he didn't know.  He'd never eaten with anyone other
than his parents.  It simply hadn't been allowed.
     Following her into the gaily-adorned structure, he found himself awed by
the colours inside - both on the murals and on the other women who seemed to
take up residence here.  There were quite a few of the latter, and most of
them seemed pretty, too, though none as pretty as Faustina.  They hadn't
gotten very far when they were noticed by the others and, suddenly, he was
even more the centre of attention.  And, he liked it.
     "Faustina, wherever did you find him?  You haven't been holding out on
us, have you?"
     "Certainly not, Cinna.  I found the waif studying me."
     "'Waif,' eh?  I'll wager my night's earnings he's no waif.  Most such
children are not dressed as he.  Look at the linen and the scarlet band.  No,
Faustina.  He's no waif," Cinna said as she now knelt down to inspect the
     "Even so," said Faustina, "he looked so...forlorn, somehow - not the way
a child should look when so young in years."  Turning back to Lucius, she was
about to ask him something - hopefully, something to do with the sweets she
had offered - when a stark cry could be heard from the streets.  He
recognised it as Ethne and, unhappily, knew what he had to do.
     "What on earth is that noise?" Cinna asked.
     "It's Ethne," Lucius informed her, resigned to his fate.  "I have to
     He had made it to the doorway at the exact time the slave was passing.
 She was clearly at her wit's end, having thought him lost or worse.  Taking
him roughly by the hand, she began chiding him.
     "Be quiet, Ethne," he implored.  Sometimes she could act like such a
Barbarian -  which, of course, she was.
     He looked back apologetically at his goddess who looked sorry to see him
go.  As the tirade continued, he thought he heard Faustina say, "Another
time, little man.  Another time."

Comments and virtual empires to:

The Terrible Twos (13/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     Natalie awoke once more.  How long had it been since she had seen the
ancient thoughts and drifted back to sleep?  She couldn't tell.  Looking to
her left, she found she was alone this time.  Oh, well...Pulling the covers
up to the tip of her nose, she grinned secretly, thinking how she'd like to
wake up every day in exactly the same way she had only hours earlier, then
sighed.  She stretched her arms above her head, but rather than rise, decided
she might just lay there a few minutes more and think...wicked thoughts.
 That wasn't to be, however, as a sound from the loft's lower floor brought
her quickly to her senses.
     "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" came the deafening scream, and Nat
flew out of the bed, barely managing to get into her robe before she reached
the railing of the second floor.
     "What on...???!!" she began to ask as she looked down, then stopped.
 Lacroix was seated in one of the chairs near Nick's entertainment centre,
remote in hand, looking innocent, while Nattie sat across from him in another
chair, gearing up for a second high-pitched wail.
     "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  Another fit was
upon the child, and Lacroix looked as though he might be in danger of losing
an eardrum at any moment.
     "What did you do?" Nat asked accusingly.
     "I assure you," Lacroix replied, "I have done *nothing.*  I was merely
sitting here, attending to my own affairs, when..."
     Nat couldn't take anymore and, as Lacroix appeared firmly ensconced in
his chair, she descended the stairs quickly and picked up Nattie from where
she now sat crying.
     "Shhhhhhhhhhh," Nat said as she tried to calm the upset child, bouncing
her on her hip.  It didn't seem to help.  She looked to Lacroix for some kind
of assistance, but all he would do was spread his hands before her in a
gesture of confusion at the commotion.  Natalie thought for a moment, then,
noticing scream number four was coming up, said, "Get up."
     "I beg your pardon?" Lacroix retorted, clearly not in the mood to be
     "Will you *please* get up out of that chair?  Just don't ask me why!"
     Lacroix sighed and rose from his seat, strolling to the other side of
the carpet which decorated this particular area of the loft.  As he did,
Natalie settled Nattie into the now empty chair.  The change seemed to
improve the child's mood, but she still appeared upset about something.  Just
then, Natalie's vision focussed on a pink piece of material that seemed to be
barely visible between the chair's cushions.  She pulled on it.  In seconds
she retrieved a small, pink bunny which had, evidently, become trapped.
 Nattie grabbed the toy from her and hugged it to her chest, appearing happy
once more.  Only the rumbling of her small stomach indicated there was
another problem.
     Natalie walked over to where Lacroix now stood.  He was giving her his,
'So, you think you're very clever?' look when she brushed by him and said,
"Got milk?"


     They sat at Nick's kitchen table:  Nat and Lacroix with their 'adult'
beverage and Nattie with her peas, carrots and slightly charred chicken leg.
 Natalie realised just how quickly her cooking skills had deteriorated since
being brought across.  No wonder poor Nick had had such a hard time of it
when he attempted to play chef for her.  She watched Nattie, who, though she
had grown quite adept at using her spoon, at one point managed to send one
green pea - coated in butter, of course - flying against the silk of
Lacroix's black shirt.  He sighed, hoping Natalie was getting her fill of
human parenthood, steadfastly denying to himself that he had any interest in
coddling this child.
     "We're going where??" Natalie asked as he told her of his plans and
removed three tickets from his coat pocket, putting them on the table in
front of her.
     "The opera," he said plainly.
     "You're taking a two-year old to the opera?"
     "Is there anything wrong with that?" Lacroix asked indignantly.  Natalie
was being very...obstreperous tonight.
     "Yeah.  For starters, Nattie is two.  *Two,*" she repeated for emphasis.
     "It's never too early to begin an education," he retorted in an
imperious tone.
     Nat reached over and felt his forehead.  "Well, you haven't become
mortal, so you couldn't, I don't think, have developed any degenerative brain
disease."  Lacroix gave her a look that could have frozen an experienced
     "My dear, the opera, besides being full of lovely music, is also filled
with colour, sure to keep the attention of even a two-year old, especially
one who has been so underexposed to the finer things."
     "You don't know that," Natalie said defensively.
     "Oh, *don't* I?" he asked in response.  "Have you visited the Nicholas
Knight lending library of late?"  He began naming the contents of Nick's
formerly exquisite music and video collection - for Lacroix, it was not an
easy task.  In fact, if she didn't know better, she would have said he
actually looked as if he was in pain as he ticked off the list of titles.
 The Barney CD was the last straw.  "And that," he said, brooking no
argument, "is *why* we are escaping from this den of barbarian horrors this
     "Tonight?  We're going tonight?  But, that only gives us an hour to get
ready," Nat complained.
     "Correction," Lacroix replied smugly.  "It gives *you* an hour to get
     Natalie looked over at her namesake, speaking to her loudly enough so
that someone else could hear.  "I want you to know that it's only out of
respect for you that I don't stake him where he stands."  Looking at Lacroix
through slitted eyes, she picked up the child and headed upstairs.


     An hour and a half later found them seated in a private box at the
Hummingbird Centre, prepared for the opening night performance of Mozart's
"Die Zauberflote."  It wasn't exactly Lacroix's style.  Clearly, Natalie
mused, he wanted to do something nice for Nattie.  And she had to admire the
dress he'd bought for her.  Apparently, Lacroix believed in putting every
woman into velvet at as young an age as possible.  Natalie was inwardly
pleased by his actions, even if she did think it was a mistake to bring such
a young child to such a cultural event.
     "Just remember," Natalie said as she leaned over Nattie and whispered to
Lacroix.  "If anything happens, *you* get to take care of it."
     "What could possibly happen?" he asked, brushing off her concern.
     "Okay," Nat responded, "but don't say I didn't warn you."


     Natalie found herself lost in the opera when she suddenly realised that
the evening was passing without a hitch.  She'd have to eat her words later,
she supposed.   she thought,   She began to grin evilly again, then fought to
regain her composure when she found him looking at her oddly.  Settling back
into her formal pose, she was intent on enjoying the rest of the second act
when it happened.
     The two vampires groaned inwardly as the small shoe went flying over the
edge of the box into the orchestra section below, where a matronly voice
cried out, 'OH!'  Natalie and Lacroix looked over the railing to find said
matron complaining bitterly to her husband.  Natalie merely turned to Lacroix
with an innocent face and said, "Oops!"
     Lacroix left the box, a murderous look in his eyes, as Natalie made a
detailed study of the ceiling and began to silently whistle.   she thought to herself.
     A moment of silence descended upon the concert hall as the audience
returned its attention to the soprano who was about to begin her aria.  Nat,
too, was ready to go back to enjoying herself when a tiny voice took
advantage of the good acoustics and yelled out, "Gotta go poddy!"

Comments, if any, to

Subj:        The Terrible Twos (14/?)
Date:  Sun, Mar 1, 1998 3:55 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.
The Terrible Twos (14/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     Natalie flung herself onto the sofa next to Lacroix.  She felt
     "Is she better now?" Lacroix asked, trying not to sound too concerned.
     "Yes," sighed Natalie.  "She's much better, and she even managed to fall
asleep already."  A moment of silence passed before she added, "I warned you
about that hot fudge sundae."
     At first, Lacroix said nothing in response, only rolled his eyes a bit,
then asked, "How many more days until Nicholas returns?"
     "Only eight," Natalie answered him.  "Why?"  She eyed him suspiciously -
and she didn't like his question.
     "I think that if other arrangements can be made, we should return to
Paris as soon as possible."
     "But why?" Nat asked.  "Everything seems to be..."
     "Surely it's becoming clearer and clearer to you, my dear, that we
simply don't belong here."
     "What are you trying to say?"
     "I'm trying to say," Lacroix continued as he stood and turned to face
her, "that neither of us is suited for the roles you would have us play.
 Nicholas..." Lacroix paused, as though it was difficult for him to say the
words.  "Nicholas may have 're-entered' the mortal world, but I have not.
 You left it behind months ago.  At least, I thought you had."
     Natalie stood then and looked him squarely in the eye.  "This has
nothing to do with mortality and immortality, and you know it," she said,
emotions building. "On the other hand, it has everything to do with your
unwillingness to face your past."
     The cold, hard stare he gave her nearly caused her to take a step back,
but she knew she had to say her peace.
     "I know you well enough to know that, every time you look at Nattie,
you're reminded of the childhood you lost and the child who was stolen from
you.  I think you want to give her the things you never had, the things you
would have liked to have given your own daughter, and you're frustrated
because you don't quite know how to go about doing that."
     "Really," Lacroix said flatly.
     "Yes, really," she answered him.
     "And what good would it do me to look back?  To review two thousand
years of atrocities?  What good has it done you to see any of my past, hmmm?"
he said in an interrogating manner.
     "Oh, it's explained quite a lot, I think," Natalie replied.  She turned
and walked behind the sofa before turning back to him.  "For starters, it
finally clued me in on why you were so possessive of Nick."  Lacroix turned
away from her quickly, as though she'd struck him.  "You were bereft of one
parent and emotionally abandoned and abused by the other.  Whenever you found
people you could love, you were desperate for them to love you in return.
 When it looked as though they might leave you, you'd do anything to keep
that from happening.  What's so hard to understand about that?"
     For a minute, Lacroix maintained his silence.  "Then you know why I must
leave," he finally said.  Turning to face her, she saw his eyes betray an
internal struggle.
     "You mean..." Natalie began, but Lacroix cut her off.
     "Exactly.  We both know how this will end if I do not put distance
between myself and Nicholas."
     "But there hasn't been a problem..."
     "Au contraire, my dear," he interrupted.  "There has *always* been a
'problem.'  It's simply that you refused to see it."
     "And you chose not to say anything," she countered.
     He looked as though he was trying to choose his words carefully, then
spoke.  "Would it have done any good if I had?"
     He left her then, and Natalie watched as he ascended the stairway.
 Fifteen minutes later, he was gone.

Comments to

The Terrible Twos (15/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     A quarter of an hour later, the phone rang, rousing Natalie from her
thoughts.  She jumped to grab it, afraid the noise might wake her charge.
     "Nat?" Nick's voice asked cheerfully across the distance between them.
     "Nick!" she replied with more energy than she actually felt.  "How are
you?  Isn't it a bit past your bedtime?"
     Nick chuckled.  "Well, you know these intradepartment affairs:  it's not
all fun and games.  Sometimes, we have to actually socialise outside the
auditorium.  In other words,..."
     "Politics," Nat finished for him.  "So, who is it tonight?  Some
important diplomat?  The Prime Minister?"
     "Not quite that exciting, I'm afraid.  Just the Montreal Chief of Police.
How are you and Lacroix holding up?"
     Natalie hestitated.  What should she say?  "Oh, fine.  We're
     "No mystery illnesses?  Temper tantrums?  Major catastrophes?" Nick asked
in disbelief.  "Lacroix hasn't gone on a Beanie Baby buying tear, has he?
He has a bad habit of spoiling that child."
      she briefly thought.  "Uh, no," Natalie
answered, trying to sound lighthearted.  "Everything's great.  Why?  Don't you
trust our parenting skills?  Wait.  Don't answer that."
     "Of course, I trust you.  It's just that *I* know what can happen with
kids now."
     Natalie could feel his ear-to-ear grin even though she couldn't see it.
"Well, things are fine, and Bobbie has been a big help."
     "I'm glad to hear that.  Say, uh, could you put Lacroix on for a minute."
     Now this she hadn't expected.
     "Um, he's not here right now, Nick."  
     "Well, then, will you have him call me when he gets back?" Nick queried.
     "Sure.  No problem.  I'll, um, tell him to get in touch," Natalie agreed
     "You're positive everything is alright, Nat?  If you're having second
     "Positive," Nat lied, interrupting him.  She'd given Nick her word that
she would be happy and able to help out with Nattie, and she was determined
not to let him down, no matter how tempted she was to make a run for it at
this very moment.  "Was there anything in particular you needed from Lacroix?"
she asked, curious as to what, if anything, was happening in Montreal.
     "It's probably nothing," he responded.
     "Nothing?  What do you mean?"
     "I don't know, Nat.  I just seem to have this...feeling."
     "Feeling?" Natalie inquired.  "What kind of feeling?"
     Nick sighed, then continued, "It's strange, I know, but I just get the
feeling that someone is...watching me."
     Nat sat down heavily on the sofa.  "Wa...watching you, Nick?  Why would
someone be watching you?"
     "I'm not sure," he answered, sounding as if, in his thoughts, he was
miles away - a tone of voice she'd heard hundreds of times since first meeting
him.  "Ah, it's probably nothing," he concluded dismissively.  "Nothing,
anyway, that a little more sleep and a little less hotel food wouldn't cure."
     "Nick, look," she began, briefly considering telling him what Lacroix had
confided in her only an hour before.
     "Tell you what, Nat," Nick interrupted.  "Don't bother Lacroix with this.
I'm sure it's just my imagination."
     "But, Nick," she tried to say before he broke in again.
     "No, really, Nat.  It's okay," he explained, sounding cheerful once more.
"Besides, you have your hands full as it is.  I don't want Lacroix to get
carried away and come flying up to Montreal - and you know that's just what
he'll do - on what's probably a wild goose chase."
     Natalie relaxed a little then, glad she could sidestep the issue of
Lacroix for the time being.  Perhaps Nick was right, in any case - perhaps it
was only his imagination.  "Sleep well, Nick," she told him.
     "And you," he said.  "Give Nattie a kiss for me."
     "I will.  Take care of yourself."  Fervently praying he was truly safe,
Nat switched off the phone and settled back against the sofa cushions.  Damn,
Lacroix, anyway!  Where was the man?  For the second time in as many days,
he'd effectively run away from her in a moment of crisis, rather than
confronting and working through it with her.  Maybe he was right, though.
Maybe there was nothing to work through.  It was clear that he felt out of
place in this overly-domestic 'world' that his son now inhabited, and his
emotions were in a turmoil - over his mixed feelings for Nattie; a long, gone
past he couldn't change; and the incessant desire to make his family complete
      her conscience
condemned her.    "You've got no one to blame but yourself, Lambert.  No one at all,"
she said aloud to no one in particular, thinking that, when temptation was too
much to bear, perhaps the best thing one could do *was* to run away.  After
all, some habits were too hard to break.

Comments to

Ask me about the NA Cookbook for charity, benefitting the White Ribbon
Campaign and the Toronto Metro PD Widows & Orphans Fund! :)

Subj:        The Terrible Twos (16/?)
Date:  Wed, Mar 25, 1998 9:30 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (KnightGal)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM (KnightGal)

Usual disclaimers apply.  Apologies in advance for any mistakes I make in my
descriptions of Montreal!

The Terrible Twos (16/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     Nick hung up the phone and turned around.  He looked about the hotel
lobby, taking in the faces and movements of his fellow guests and the hotel
staff.  Although he no longer had the vampire's preternatural senses, he'd
been a predator so long that he could usually spot someone of like intent.
Similarly, he'd been hunted often enough and seen enough in his long existence
to know that his intuition was something he ought not to ignore.
     Walking slowly through the milling people, he thought he saw someone from
the corner of his eye - someone who returned the attention - but, when he
turned fully in that direction, he found only a plant sitting atop a marble-
like column.  If there had been anyone there, they'd departed with lightning
quick speed.
     A sickening dread began to overtake him.  What if...?  No, Lacroix had
told him of the 'truce' with the Enforcers.   Of course, that wouldn't stop a
rogue - vampire or mortal - from carrying out any private agenda, perhaps one
that involved retribution, not so much against him, but against his former
vampire 'father.'  And then there was the question of Lacroix himself.  Where
was he?  Why had Natalie sounded so disconcerted, worried almost, when he'd
ask to speak to the ancient?  Nick had sensed Lacroix's discomfort that first
night in the loft.  Had it been a mistake to ask for their help?  He had
thought it was a way to keep whatever relationship he had with them together -
perhaps make it better.  Had he merely been tempting fate, instead?
     Nick walked quickly towards the front of the hotel and hailed one of the
bevy of waiting cabmen.
     "The basilica of Notre Dame, please," he told the driver in French.  The
man gave Nick a curious look, but money was money, and this passenger paid in
    The driver took a fairly direct route to old Montreal, from Sherbrooke
Street to University, then south on University, east on Ste. Catherine, south
again on St. Laurent, then a short distance west on the rue St.-Jacques where
he asked to be let off just behind the Place d'Armes.  Perhaps, considering
the circumstances, it was foolishness on his part to walk the short distance
to the basilica - his ability to protect himself from the superhuman severely
limited now - but he suddenly felt a need to burn off the nervous energy that
had been building in him for the last half hour.
     Finally, he stood before the towering edifice, the twin bell towers
rising up to meet the night sky.  The structure looked older than it actually
was, but, being situated here in the oldest part of Montreal, it had the air,
at least, of the familiar.  Climbing the steps to the heavy wooden doors, Nick
had no guarantee he'd gain admittance at such a late hour.   Fortunately for
him, he met a young priest, apparently just departing the basilica, probably
on his way to the seminary of St.-Sulpice next door.
     "Is there something I can help you with, my son?" the priest inquired.
     "I'd just like to spend some time inside, if that wouldn't be a problem,
Father," Nick answered.
     "No, no.  Do come in," the cleric responded, opening the door wider so
that Nick could pass.  "I'm glad we could be of assistance to someone.   The
church seems to get little use these days, apart from weddings, funerals and
holidays.  Uh," he continued, turning back to Nick and stopping him with a
gaze, "were you in need of confession this night?"
     Nick smiled, albeit briefly.  "No, Father. Not confession."  
     "But, something must be troubling you for you to appear on our doorstep
at such a late hour.  Oh.  Forgive me.  I'm prying, aren't I?" the priest
asked, genuinely sorry for his presumed intrusion.
     "I know you're just concerned, Father.  Maybe..."
     "Yes?" the man asked, hoping to be of some use to the troubled stranger.
     Nick hesitated.  "No.  Never mind.  It's nothing."
     "Whatever it is, my son, I hope you know that you can trust me to keep a
     "It's not so much a matter of your trust as it is your safety, Father.
Well, that and the very good possibility that you wouldn't believe what I
would tell you."
     The clergyman merely looked at him as though he'd had his share of
experience with the unusual.
     Debating how far he should confide in this man, Nick walked to one of the
pews at the back of the church, the young man following him closely.  He knelt
down there, but not to pray.  Sighing once, he looked up, and the priest could
see the worry and indecision in his eyes.  When the visitor finally spoke,
there was something else, too:  a feeling - as though he'd been suddenly
transported with this man to another time.  At last, Nick managed to utter the
only words he could think of.
     "I claim the right of sanctuary."

Comments, please, to

The Terrible Twos (17/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     The priest blinked once before speaking, seeming to wonder if he'd heard
     "Sanctuary?  I don't think anyone has asked for sanctuary in at least 150
years," he said, then looked up momentarily at the cathedral's ceiling, as if
to run through the historical records in his mind.  "And then, of course, we'd
have to go to the bishop, and then..."
     A small smile flitted across Nick's face.  "Perhaps I _was_ being a bit
melodramatic, Father."
     The priest sat down in the pew in front of Nick and turned to face him.
"What crime have you committed that you need to ask for sanctuary?" he asked
     A thousand possibilities flashed through Nick's mind, but he quickly
reminded himself that the priest was asking about the here and now.  Still, in
some eyes, he had committed a kind of crime in recent times - that of turning
his back on the gift of immortality.
     "No crime, Father, but please:  don't ask me to go into too many details.
All I really need is a place to spend the night.  The one who's out to do me
harm won't venture out in public in the daytime, and I don't think he'd dare
to set foot in here after dark."
     The young man studied Nick once more and rubbed his chin thoughtfully,
saying nothing.
     "It would only be for a few nights, Father.  I'm here in town on
business, and I'll be returning home soon," he added when no response was
forthcoming.  "I realise it's highly unusual to ask such a thing, but I assure
you, it's not a joke."
     As the churchman continued to consider his request, Nick found himself
shifting uncomfortably under his gaze.  Finally, the priest began to slowly
nod his head.  "It is unusual," he agreed as he studied the man before him,
"but I believe you to be  sincere."  He looked about then, and, noticing the
church appeared empty, said, "The bishop is away right now so I am, for all
intents and purposes, 'in charge.'  I suppose that, since what you're asking
for isn't _technically_ sanctuary, it would be within my limited authority to
grant your request."
     Nick sighed, feeling great relief at the priest's words.
     "What is your name, my son?"
     "Nicholas, Father."
     "Well, Nicholas," the cleric continued, "can you promise me that no harm
will come to any of my parishoners?"
     Nick paused in thought before speaking.  "I can't promise that, Father,"
he answered truthfully.  "All I can say is that it would be highly unlikely
that anything would happen to them - unless, of course, they tried to aid me
in any way, and I would do all that I could to ensure that would not happen."
     Again the priest began to nod his head.  "I believe you would, Nicholas."
He fell silent once more, then said, "All my instincts are telling me there is
much more here than what you have volunteered to tell me, but, at the same
time, I do not believe you would ask this of me if your life were not danger."  The younger man rose then, leaving the pew.  He came to
stand beside Nick but didn't look down when he spoke to him.  "Are you sure
there's nothing else you'd like to confide in me?" he asked.
     Nick stood then, and the two men locked gazes.  Yes, he felt there were a
million things he would have liked to have confessed to the man before him.  A
thousand crushing weights he'd collected through the centuries still sat on
his figurative shoulders, his regained mortality notwithstanding.  Even so,
with his past only recently put behind him, his desire to unburdern himself
would only likely bring death to one more innocent.  No, he had nothing to
say.  Looking away, he shook his head then, remaining silent.
     The young man nodded once more and spoke, "Stay as long as you need then.
But, remember:  if you need to talk..."
     "Thank you, Father," Nick replied earnestly, then watched the retreating
form of the cleric as he made his way back out into the night.

Comments, eggings on, etc., to

Subj:        The Terrible Twos (18/?)
Date:  Sun, May 31, 1998 10:34 AM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.

Note:  For anyone who hasn't heard, NA is doing a charity cookbook to benefit
the White Ribbon Campaign (one of Nigel Bennett's designated charities) and
the Metro Toronto PD fund which supports the families of slain officers.  If
you'd like to know more, please e-mail me privately, and I'll happily provide
the details.  :)

The Terrible Twos (18/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     Natalie paced the floor of the loft.  It was nearly dawn, and she hadn't
heard back from Nick, despite the fact that she'd called and left two messages
with the hotel.  She couldn't help it - ever since he'd told her of his
suspicions that he was being watched, her mind wouldn't shut off.  What was
worse, it seemed as if her world was falling apart before her eyes, and she
wondered if she wasn't, at the end of the day, the root cause of all of it.
     She ascended the stairs and peeked in on Nattie who, of course, was sound
asleep, as any self-respecting two-year-old would be at this time of the
morning.  Closing the door to Nick's room, Natalie headed for the upstairs
bath.  She turned on the tap at the sink and leaned over the basin to splash a
few handfuls of cold water on her face.  Reaching for a nearby towel, she
dried her skin and looked into the mirror.   she thought 
Nat felt more than unhappy at this moment - it was more like a great
disappointment in herself for not being able to make everything work, for not
being able to make everything...right, again.  She'd wanted to believe that
she could maintain her close friendship with Nick; she'd wanted to believe she
could play a part in his daughter's life - perhaps a selfish thing, born of
her own inability to conceive; she'd wanted Lacroix to find another way to
love his 'son'; she'd wanted him to trust her with his soul.  And, now, it
seemed, reality was stepping in to tell her than none of these things would
ever be possible.  That what she wanted was, as Lacroix had told her on
occasions too numerous to count, better left behind; there could never be any
'happy medium' to the vampire's existence.  It would forever be either all or


     Nick woke from a fitful and short night's rest, realising - without a
trace of surprise - that wooden pews simply weren't meant for sleeping.  The
church was quiet, and devoid of people, save himself.  Sitting up, he
stretched his tired and unhappy muscles and ran fingers through his short hair
in an attempt to rouse himself for the day ahead.   he
thought to himself.    God help him.  In some obscure
corner of his mind, a part of him was beginning to pray that, if it came down
to one or the other, he'd be offered his immortality again rather than death.
How was this possible?  Surely, it could only be his anxious and tired
subconscious talking - not his rational mind.  Elbows resting on his knees
where he sat, Nick placed his head in his hands and began to pray for the
first time in a very long while - not for protection from whoever or whatever
was following him, but from the treachery of his own heart.


     The first rays of the sun had begun to drift above the eastern sky in a
mosaic of yellow and red which gave the old city an unearthly glow.  A figure
in black stood still and silent across the road from Notre-Dame, where it had
done since the object of its interest had managed to take refuge in the old
building, before disappearing in the blink of an eye for the safety of the


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Subj:        The Terrible Twos (19/?)
Date:  Sun, May 31, 1998 11:45 AM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.

The Terrible Twos (19/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     "Tell me you have a good reason for wanting to come back, Knight," Joe
Reese sighed into the phone.  He opened his desk drawer, hoping he had
something for the headache that he just knew was coming.
     "I have a good reason for wanting to come back, Captain," Nick said.
     Reese sighed again.
     "It's emergency, Cap," Nick told him more seriously this time.
     "You know how important it was for you to get to this function, right,
Nick?  A lot of important people were expecting you to see this through,"
Reese said forcefully, hoping the pleading tone in his voice was getting
through to his star detective.  It was clear, however, that Knight's mind was
made up.
     "I know I'm letting down a lot of people, Captain, but I wouldn't be
asking you this unless it were absolutely necessary.  Besides," he added, "I'm
not sure I want the position anymore."
     "Nick..." Reese began before being cut off.
     "I'd really like to talk about it after I get back, though."
     Rubbing his tired eyes, the police captain replied, "OK, Nick.  You gotta
do what you gotta do.  Just do me one favour, though, will you?"
    "What's that?"
    "Stick around for the Mayor's little cocktail party this evening before
you catch a flight back."
     The silence on the other end of the phone didn't go unnoticed.
     "Nick?  You there?" Reese inquired.
     "Uh, yeah.  Captain, I'd really like to get out of here before sunset..."
     "Look, Nick, an hour or two isn't going to make a bit of difference, is
it?  Just do this one thing to make me happy.  Please?"
     All his instincts screamed at him, telling him this was a favour that
would cost him too much.  Instead, he replied, "Sure, Cap.  I'll stay."
     "Thanks, Nick.  Call me when you get back, OK?" Hanging up the phone, the
captain stood, holding the two aspirin he'd found lurking at the back of the
drawer.  "Now, if only I can get some water," he told the walls around him.


     Twelve hours, one nap, and two glasses of whiskey later, Nick tossed his
bags into a waiting cab and headed for the Montreal airport.  It was well past
dusk and, but for the alcohol in his system, he might have found himself
jumping into the driver's seat and breaking laws he was duty-bound to uphold.
     The cab ride ended without incident, though, and Nick made his way to the
gate without difficulty.  Soon, he'd be home - and, perhaps, he'd get some
answers.  He'd phoned ahead to let Lacroix and Nat know he'd be returning much
sooner than expected.  Again, he was surprised to learn that Lacroix wasn't
there - well before the sun had set.  And, although Nat had left messages for
him, when he finally did contact her, there was nothing of importance that she
had to tell him.  It seemed that, the more he sought answers and the closer he
got to home, the more things became obscured.
     When the plane finally landed at Pearson, a driving rain greeted the
passengers and crew.  Normally, Nick wouldn't have given the weather much
notice, but in light of everything he'd been feeling the last day or so, it
seemed an ominous portent of things to come.
     He walked across the skyway and into the parking garage, and his mind was
on opening the Caddy's trunk, when a blow to his back sent him reeling into
the concrete pillar beside him.

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The Terrible Twos (20/?)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     Natalie busied herself about the loft.  Well, she didn't really have
anything to keep her busy, everything having been kept fairly spic and span.
However, she _was_ pacing, puttering, gnawing at her fingernails, worrying
about Nick's safety and wondering why Lacroix hadn't tried contacting her, if
only to give her the satisfaction of hanging up on him.  She'd wanted to wait
at the airport to meet Nick's flight, just as an extra precaution, but he'd
pleaded with her to stay with Nattie.  And there was nothing to do now but
hope for his safe return - and, of course, beat herself up for not acting on
her instincts.


     Cold.  That was the first thought that rattled through Nick's sluggish
brain as he began to regain consciousness, to be followed quickly by a
shooting pain down the back of his head the moment he tried to raise himself
from the hard floor on which he now lay.  He reached out one hand to steady
himself and felt, rather than saw, a wall, equally as cold as the floor.  He
leaned his back against it and hugged his legs close to his body in an effort
to keep warm, then opened his eyes to the darkness around him.  There were no
windows, but he thought he noticed a weak shaft of light to his right, just
barely discernable under what must, he thought, be a small door.  He
considered investigating, but the pain only increased with any movement, so he
temporarily resigned himself to his imprisoned state.  Reaching behind him, he
felt the sticky remnants of drying blood.  At one time, it would have aroused
him.  Now, the feel of it only caused a slight case of nausea and made him
wonder if any serious damage had been done or was yet to occur.  He hadn't
become mortal just to die so soon.

     But hadn't that seemed to be a familiar thread in his existence since
regaining mortality?  His brief marriage to Natalie, his kidnapping and return
to his vampire existence, then his reversion back to being a mortal?  In other
words, where was the dull complacency of mortal life he had so longed for?
All these things had brought him close to the precipice, the other side of
which loomed eternity of one form or another.  Even with everything that had
transpired within the last two years, the vampire community still, in some
sense, seemed to have a dangerous hold over his life.  While he'd been a part
of them, his age, at least, had given him some protection from elements both
mortal and otherwise.  Now, however, he existed in a considerably weakened
state, easy prey for both humans and mortals, really.  In the end, he wondered
if there was an 'ideal' life at all.  Perhaps, in the one to come - but who
had ever really returned to tell him it was so?  He'd had his experience with
'the light,' but couldn't that have been the product of his dying mind,
influenced by the theology of his day?  It was a strange moment to ponder the
workings of the universe, to doubt everything he'd believed for most of the
last 800 years, but there it was, anyway.  There were no guarantees, no
certainties.  One simply did the best one could and hoped that all would work
out in the end.  Didn't one?

     Nick made an effort to shift his weight on the uncomfortable surface of
his 'prison,' when he heard a sound, familiar, yet different, from what he
assumed to be the room next door.  He crawled slowly to the door and, with his
cheek resting against the hard, cold floor, attempted to look beneath the door
and out into the dimly lit corridor.  He heard the sound again, a strangled
cry, but with the ring of a hungry vampire.  A hand was just barely visible,
along with a rather unique piece of ancient jewelry.


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Subj:        The Terrible Twos (21/21)
Date:  Sat, Jul 18, 1998 11:43 PM EDT
From:  KnightGal@AOL.COM
X-From: KnightGal@AOL.COM (Cousin Jules)
Sender: FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU (Forever Knight TV show stories)
Reply-to: KnightGal@AOL.COM

Usual disclaimers apply.

The NA cookbook for charity will *finally* be going to the publishers this
week!  Be sure to contact me if you'd like to order.  Proceeds from your
contribution will help out two charitable organisations:  the Metro Toronto PD
association that looks after the families of slain officers, and the White
Ribbon Campaign, the men's organisation which is trying to make a difference
in stemming the tide of violence against women!

Yes, it's the end!!  Can you believe it??!  It only took me 15 months to get

The Terrible Twos (21/21)
by Cousin Jules
c. 1998

     "Lacroix!!" Nick called out with a loud whisper.  "Lacroix!" he cried
once more when he received no response.
     "Yesssss?" the ancient responded slowly.
     "What's happened?  Where are we?" Nicked asked, again in a whisper.
     "I don't know what's happened to you, Nicholas, but I was drugged and
nearly drained some days ago, then thrown in this hell hole in the middle of
nowhere.  Oh, and, by the way, feel free to yell if you want.  We've been
completely alone for several hours now.  I don't think..." Lacroix's voice
ceased then, as Nick heard him gasp as if in pain.
     "Lacroix?!  What's wrong?"  He asked the question, though he was sure he
already knew at least part of the answer.
     "Apart from incessant hunger, I'm not quite sure, Nicholas.  I should be
able to see my dingy surroundings better than I can, but, for some reason, I'm
having difficulty."
     "A latent side effect?  Of the drug perhaps?" Nick asked him, but
received no answer. "Lacroix, do you recall how you got here?"
     "I was minding my own business, watching you, when it happened," Lacroix
     "Watching _me_?  Why were you watching me?  Is that why you weren't at
the loft?"
     A moment of silence passed before Lacroix answered.  "Ah.  So you know of
my absence, then?  Did Natalie...?"
     "She didn't tell me a thing, only that you 'weren't there.'  I had called
because, oddly enough, I had a suspicion I was being watched.  When she told
me you were gone, I have to admit I had imagined the worst, Lacroix.  I hoped
I was wrong.  So, you intended to bring me back across, then."  The
disappointment was evident in his voice, but not as much as the hurt he could
hear in Lacroix's own.
     "No, Nicholas.  I wanted to, have wanted to, for some time, but I was on
my way back to Paris and decided on a detour by way of Montreal.  I simply
desired to see you one last time."
     It was Nick's turn to remain silent for some seconds before replying.
"You mean, one last time before you left Canada?"
     "No, Nicholas," answered his former Master.  "One last time.  Forever."
     The implication of his words affected Nick in a way he hadn't expected,
it never having occurred to him that Lacroix could be capable of such a
severing of ties.
     "But..." he began to say, briefly forgetting the situation they found
themselves in as something akin to grief began to well up inside him.
     "Forever, Nicholas," Lacroix interrupted.  Nick's silence prompted him to
continue.  "Does that surprise you?  When have you ever known me to spend my
hours looking to the past?  Perhaps I should rephrase that:  when have you
known me to look to the past without sadness?  Without regret?  What happiness
is there in seeing the faces of the loved ones you left behind, the passing
moments when you found a fleeting joy?  Such things only serve to decrease
one's pleasure in the present and make it impossible to imagine a future.  You
will soon be a part of my 'past,' Nicholas.  You shall grow old and sick and
eventually die.  You asked for these things, wanted them, nearly since the
moment I brought you across.  I finally let you go, Nicholas.  Isn't that
enough?  Must I also stay and watch you suffer?"
     As he continued to lean against the wall of the tiny room that held him,
Nick closed his eyes, and two unbidden tears fell from them.  He wanted to say
something, but, truth was, he was speechless.
     "We have to get out of here, Lacroix," he stated, avoiding Lacroix's
     "Perhaps not in the way you think, Nicholas."
     "What do you mean?"
     "That my senses tell me we are, quite literally, in the middle of
nowhere.  There isn't a trace of civilisation for miles."
     "You must find a way out.  Alone.  You must leave me."
     "I can't leave you, Lacroix!  You're hurt..."
     "I'm _starving_, Nicholas.  I told you:  I was almost drained, and
haven't fed in two days.  You know what that means.  Even I have my limits."
     Nick shook his head.  "But none of this is making any sense, Lacroix.
Are you trying to tell me another vampire is involved?"
     "One who wanted revenge.  What a cliched little world we live in.  Do you
remember the scientest I told you of?  The one the Enforcers took in place of
Natalie, you and I?  Well, he had his friends, too, and one of them found the
perfect way to repay all of us."
     "He left you here to starve," Nick continued for him as the truth dawned,
"in a room next to me, in a place where he felt the outcome would be
     "Precisely," Lacroix told him.  "Natalie will, of course, not go
unaffected by said outcome."  His words were cut short as another pang of
hunger caused him to double into himself on the floor.
     "Then that probably means..." Nick stood slowly, never finishing his
thought.  He traced the outline of the door, finding hinges to his right.
Reaching down the left side of the door, he found an old, rusty knob.  He
turned it, and loose flakes of rust fell to the floor.  The bolt drew back
and, with one pull, the door opened onto the small corridor lit by a single
bulb.  Walking out, he looked to his left and found another door.  He
approached it, and, again, reached out for a rusty doorknob.  It was the exit
to the outside world, filled with miles of barren tundra and stars and the
sound of the few creatures of the night who could survive in such a wasteland.
He climbed back down in to the shelter and looked straight at the door of the
'cell' which held Lacroix, his eyes taking in the heavy wooden bars across a
metal door.  In his normal state, Lacroix could have easily ripped such a
barrier to pieces.  Starved and injured, however, his powers would have been
severely depleted.  There was something else he noticed.  It hung to the right
of the door.  A tremor ran through him as he saw the key.  The options were
clear:  make a run for it, hoping to find help, and, perhaps, finding only
starvation and dehydration, death from exposure, himself; or, getting Lacroix
out, offering him the opportunity to take his blood with the very likely
result that he would be brought across, and getting home for a certainty.
     "Lacroix, can't you reach Nat?" he asked through the door.
     "Normally, yes.  Sadly, we've had a bit of a tiff, and I taught her far
too well.  I'm afraid she's not accepting any 'incoming calls.'  Go,
Nicholas," Lacroix commanded weakly from the other side.  "If you stay, this
can only end one way."
     A thousand thoughts passed through Nick's conscious mind, but he knew the
answer before he spoke.  "And if I leave you, you'll die.  _I_ may die out
     Though he felt weakened himself, Nick managed to lift the heavy bars,
tossing them, with difficulty, away from him.  Slowly, his right hand reached
up to take the key.  He held it in his hands for half a minute, memorising
every detail and nuance of its ragged features.  It almost seemed laughable
and odd, how using such a small tool could bring such serious consequences.
He pressed it into the lock and turned it.  The door did not move inward, so
he pulled it towards him.  As the weak light shone on the interior of the
room, he saw that Lacroix had moved away from the door and now sat upon a
small bench in a far corner, head in his hands, elbows propped upon his knees.
Nick moved towards him and, when he'd drawn near, Lacroix looked up.  Nick was
taken aback by the blueness of the ancient eyes, having firmly expected to be
faced with a mix of red and yellow.
     "I told you to go, Nicholas," Lacroix said wearily.  He tried to stand,
but collapsed halfway there, forcing Nick to catch him.
     "What's wrong with you, Lacroix?" Nick queried as he helped him back to a
seated position.  The last time he remembered Lacroix's physical health being
this strongly affected by an outside influence, it had involved a run-in with
Jack the Ripper.
     "I don't know, Nicholas, but perhaps there's a way to find some light in
this dungeon?"
     Stunned, Nick slowly thought to wave a hand before his face.  Lacroix
could sense the shape and the movement, but not see it with his eyes.  He
swallowed once, almost imperceptively, though the action was not lost on Nick.
He left Lacroix momentarily and ran for the exit to what, he surmised by now,
had been a bomb shelter in days gone by.  He re-ascended the steps to the
level of the land.  Nothing, just as Lacroix had said.  The myriads of visible
stars supported Lacroix's conjecture that they were far from any well-
populated area, perhaps any populated area at all.  He returned to the room
which held Lacroix and found him slumped against the wall.  Nick considered
the options once more.  There really seemed to be only one way out.
     Several minutes passed.  Finally, Nick kneeled down beside him and said,
"Do it now, Lacroix."  His tone was commanding, not sentimental.  The ancient
regarded him with hooded eyes, again being able to sense shape and distance,
but not able to see the man before him.
     "A strange turnabout of circumstances, is it not?" he asked.
     Nick, however, would not be distracted.  He looked directly at Lacroix,
placed a hand on his shoulder, and began to speak in a low, slow voice.  "You
can hear it, can't you?  The beat of my heart?  The pounding of the blood in
my veins?  You must hear it."  He thought he could discern the stirrings in
the vampire, and, taking Lacroix's hand with his free one added, "Take my
blood, Lacroix.  Take _me_.  It's what you have to do.  It's the only way."
     There it was.  Consent freely given.  Unable to resist any longer,
Lacroix relented, giving in to the beast.  As his eyes took on the familiar
yellow cast and fangs emerged, Nick turned his back to him and closed his
eyes.  He dreaded what he was allowing to happen, yet what truly disturbed him
at this juncture was that a part of him - what he could only imagine was a
dark, masochistic part - anticipated it with relish.  Nick felt Lacroix gently
wrap his right arm around his mid-section while his left hand, with equal
gentleness, grasped and held his head to one side, allowing him easy access to
sustenance.  Lacroix hesitated for some seconds, surprising Nick in the
process, before his teeth found flesh and life.


     Natalie had just woken Nattie when the sound of the skylight swiftly
opening and closing reached her ears.  She moved cautiously towards the open
hallway above the loft, not knowing what she would find.  Looking out the door
of Nattie's room, she saw Lacroix standing near the fireplace.  But there was
another presence here, too.  She slowly descended the stairs and, when she had
stepped off the last one onto the loft's floor, felt the second presence more
strongly.  Behind her.
     Turning, she was brought face-to-face with her worst nightmare.
     "Nooooooo," she cried as she covered her mouth with both hands, shook her
head and began to cry.
     "Natalie..." Nick began to say as he moved toward her.  She stepped back
from him, running into the sofa table in the process, and turned to face
     "How could you????!!" she fairly screamed at him as tears of blood poured
from her eyes.  "Oh, Nick...I'm so sorry," she said between sobs, without
looking at him.  "So very, _very_ sorry."  A kind of numbness overtook her,
then, as she looked at Lacroix and stammered, "I...I hate you."  She looked
back to Nick, then, and reached a hand towards him, caressing one cheek, and,
with a great sadness evident on her face, once more mouthed the words, 'I'm
sorry.'  In the instant that followed, she looked up and then was gone.
     Lacroix made an effort to move and nearly tripped on one of Nick's
leather chairs.  Nick was at his side in an instant.
     "Let me go," Lacroix demanded.
     "No, Lacroix!!" Nick yelled as he grabbed him by the arm.  "You're not in
any shape to follow her."
     "If I do not go now, Nicholas, there may be no reason for me to do so in
future," Lacroix retorted through gritted teeth.
     Nick kept his hand in place and added softly, "She didn't know, Lacroix.
Once she knows..."
     "I don't want her back out of pity, Nicholas."
     Nick studied his master, knowing how utterly humiliated he had to be
feeling at this moment.  "Once she knows _why_ you brought me back across," he
said softly,  "she'll understand, Lacroix.  Right now, she needs some time.
We all do."
     A look of resignation crossed his features as he felt his way to the
chair seat.  "Very well, Nicholas," he said tiredly.  "I can't fight you both.
Not like this."
     Nick stood behind him and placed both hands on Lacroix's shoulders, and,
as he bowed his head, told him, "We'll get through this, Lacroix.  I promise."
     His words were greeted with only silence, followed by the cries of a
hungry child.

The end