Notes & Disclaimers: Upon reading
over stories in the series, I realized that the aftermath of LaCroix's
failed attempt to bring Triona across had been done only in flashback
form. I'd never actually written anything specifically dealing with it
as a story unto itself. Well, now I have! I'm doing this a little
differently, envisioning a set of vignettes bound together with one
theme. This is the first one. The second one, 'Acceptance', will follow
This takes place after the The End of the
Beginning. The stories that
contain some of the tale in flashbacks are Turning the Page and Blood Ties.
LaCroix does not belong to me, and
neither does Methos, but Triona does.
Sleep would come easily to no one
this night. Too much emotion and far too many regrets eddied in the
dark - feelings so strong as to be an almost physical sensation -- to
make that possible. But as useless as it was to try, it was also an
excuse, and an escape, from what needed to be said and for what needed
to be asked....
Triona lay still in her bed, trying
to still her thoughts, her feelings. She had accepted the consequences
of her choice to have LaCroix bring her across, but she had never
envisioned what those consequences would truly be when everything had
gone so horribly wrong. This morning, when she had walked into the sun,
and had started to burn, the harsh reality of what the years ahead held
for her became clear with a brutal finality. A memory of a voice,
something she thought she had imagined when she had been in that place
between life and death, came to her; "...the path you have chosen will
not be what you envision. Only the twilight awaits you, an eternity of
neither dark nor light."
She laughed in the darkness, a harsh,
almost hysterical sound. Triona was no longer able to hold back the
wave of emotion she'd been trying so hard to contain. Instinctively she
felt for LaCroix, his presence always reassuring to her no matter his
mood. Triona didn't want to be alone, couldn't be alone anymore in the
dark -- a dark more of the soul than one of the night.
Now, as her mind sought his, she felt
an almost intangible wisp of what she could only describe as sadness
and regret, and maybe even a vestige of the same loneliness that she
had felt overwhelming her. Then it was gone, like a mist blown away by
the night breeze.
Rolling out of her bed, she pulled on
her robe and made her way down the hall and up the stairs to the top
floor where LaCroix's suite was. Not bothering to knock, she gently
pushed open the door.
LaCroix stood looking out the window
into the night. He felt her there behind him, the fear and grief he had
felt earlier from her now coalescing into the need for reassurance.
What she felt tore at him as surely as if he were feeling it himself.
Even more so, because LaCroix knew he was the reason she suffered.
As she remained in the doorway,
silent, LaCroix turned to her. She seemed somewhere very far away. He
sighed. If only... but no. It was too late for those regrets, and
unworthy of her loyalty and love.
She startled him, suddenly speaking
into the silence of the night. "I'm sorry. I would have done anything
to be with you truly. Not this pale reflection of what you envisioned
for me, for us." Her lips curled in a grimace. "But now, I can never be
anything but an accident, a freak of nature," she finished bitterly.
LaCroix was stunned. How could she
have known his half-formed thought? The depth of her insight unsettled
him. He never wanted her to feel as if this was in any way her failure.
That she had, even in the slightest, disappointed him.
She was now standing next to him. "I
wish I could have been what you wanted," she whispered. "That I could
have been part of your true family."
LaCroix grabbed her shoulders hard
enough to make her wince. "True family? How can you even say that?" he
asked fiercely. "Do you think I value you any less because you aren't a
vampire? You are still mine, as surely as Nicholas or Janette."
Triona shook her head, "I mean as
much as they do? As much as Nicholas?" Her mood suddenly shifted, going
from sadness to anger. "Is that why you have been here in your suite,
avoiding the sight of me? Don't I at least deserve the truth of how
much of a disappointment I am to you?" The last was practically
She was breathing hard, and he could
feel her anger beating down on him, an anger that called his. LaCroix
wrapped his hand in her hair, pulling her head back sharply, exposing
her throat. So, she doubted her place in the family? Then it was time
he reminded her of it. He ran his fangs down her throat, growling
softly. As his face brushed hers, he felt the cool dampness of tears.
Triona's body went limp in his grasp, her anger abruptly dissipating.
LaCroix's anger fled as quickly as hers had. "Oh, my dearest child," he
sighed against her throat, "some things never change."
He kissed the soft skin between her
ear and jaw, as her breathing quieted. "It has been too long since we
truly shared ourselves. It's time we remedied that."
Triona's hands went up around his
shoulders as LaCroix ran the tips of his fangs down her throat. She
shuddered a little as they slowly pierced her skin. Gathering her in
his arms, still slowly sipping from her, he carried her to the large
leather covered chair that sat in front of the fireplace. Gathering her
closer, he sat, continuing to drink. This would be a true melding, with
no overriding passion to muddy the joining. It was important that she
knew fully his regard and love for her, as he wanted in turn to know
the depths of her soul and heart. He sipped, ever so slowly, drawing
each drop of her blood, savoring it, and cherishing her and all she was
and ever would be.
She sighed a little, her hands
relaxing their grip on his shoulders, then sliding down his chest as
she lost all control of her body. This was a rare joining; their usual
encounters ones of fiery emotions. He felt her anguish, believing she
had disappointed him, and that Methos would never truly forgive her for
the choice she’d made. Fear that she would lose them both, and
herself. And there was also a deep-seated bitterness, realizing
she was trapped forever between two worlds, never fully belonging in
LaCroix let her see to the depths of
his soul. He truly did not regret that she wasn't a vampire. His only
regret was at being the instrument of her pain. If he had not tried to
bring her across, if he had listened to Methos’ warnings, she would be
whole -- not torn and vulnerable to both other Immortals and the sun.
He bore sole culpability for that, and would take responsibility for
her well being for all time in repayment.
He tasted her tears as they rolled
down her throat, mingling with her blood, feeling the full measure of
her forgiveness, and her love. LaCroix withdrew his fangs from her
throat, moving his lips to hers to kiss her gently. Triona sighed
softly, before finally drifting into the embrace of healing sleep.