Thanks to Shirl for beta reading, and
to the usual gang for ideas and support.
This story takes place directly after
"Hunger". Rated R for sexual situations and violence. LaCroix, Methos,
Janette, Duncan and Nick belong to their creators. The rest belong to a
few others and me.
Addendum August 2006:
another of the older stories tweaked a bit to fix continuity errors.
Turning the Page
the Page - Part One
"But I don't understand. How could
this be?" Triona, distraught, paced
the length of LaCroix's Paris study in agitation, stopping to stare out
the window blankly.
"In all honesty, I don't know, my
dear. Neither Methos, or myself have
ever even heard even a whisper of such an occurrence."
She didn't reply. He wasn't even sure
she had even really heard him.
LaCroix watched his youngest child as
she tried to deal with the rather
unexpected results of her first quickening. First Hunger was an
overwhelming experience even when expected and prepared for. As totally
unforeseen as her sudden transformation was, no one, let alone Triona,
had had anyway to prepare for the onslaught of emotional chaos that had
He remembered the feelings that had
sung across their bond: the hunger,
the desire -- the rapture of Methos' blood coursing through every fiber
of her being. LaCroix had felt in that moment all that he had hoped for
her, and the others. All his plans and dreams to make them one with him
for eternity. Dreams that had been dashed that morning when Methos had
told him that all but one of his chosen family would be Immortals.
LaCroix sighed. For all his
disappointment, for all that he had reveled
in his fledgling finally attaining what he had thought she never would,
he regretted the actions that had made her as she was: a quirk, not
whole in any world -- Human, Immortal or Vampire -- always vulnerable
to all three. And that was his personal burden to bear.
He had dealt with Methos a few hours
before, the ancient Immortal as
bewildered as LaCroix had ever seen him. If Triona suddenly
transforming into a vampire had stunned him, it had shaken Methos as
few things had in five thousand years.
LaCroix had finally convinced him to
leave the chateau, to take the
other women out for the evening, so he could deal with the
repercussions when Triona finally awoke. He felt it best that the two
have a chance to gather their thoughts apart, to adjust to the new bond
they shared, before seeing each other again.
Triona had slept for almost
twenty-four hours after her first feeding,
awakening exactly as she had been before that fateful night -- still
not whole. LaCroix had been waiting for her when she woke up, waiting
till she was ready to talk.
Still, she stared out the window, not
seeing the twilight lit garden,
or the first stars peeping from the darkening sky. "Triona," his voice
called softly, yet still compelling her to respond. Sighing, she turned
to look at him.
He held out a hand. "Come, sit with
She walked to over to where he sat,
taking his hand, letting him draw
her down. Instead of placing her next to him as she expected, he pulled
her into his lap, cradling her against his chest as if she were a child.
"What will happen next time?" She was
stiff with worry against him, her
anxiety palpable through their bond.
"I'm not entirely sure," he admitted.
"One can only surmise the same
outcome will result. Whether it will be as intense as the first, I have
no idea." He stroked her hair soothingly, his fingers moving to her
neck, kneading at the knots of stress he found there. "If you follow
the same pattern as other fledglings, you should never again experience
the mindless need of first hunger. In time, you will gain more control."
"But I couldn't control it --
couldn't stop myself. Her voice broke.
"What if it had happened away from you? What if it does happen again,
and I'm alone? I could kill anyone, and not even know it till it was
too late. I'm a danger to you, to my family, to the Community." She was
almost sobbing now. "What if the Enforcers find out? They'll never let
me live. And they'd be right," she whispered.
"That isn't going to happen, do you understand me,
Triona?" He shook her lightly to punctuate his point. "You are not to
concern yourself with Enforcers. I am well able to deal with them. As
for what will happen next time, you must trust me, and Methos, to keep
you from harm." LaCroix turned her to face him, taking her face in his
hands. "I will protect you, always. I ask you to trust me in this."
She nodded shakily, one tear tracing
a silvery path down her cheek.
He leaned in, capturing the salty
droplet with his lips, his arms
pulling her to him in a tight embrace. He felt her heart speed up as he
caught her lips with his, kissing her gently, then with more intensity
as she returned his attentions with increasing fervor.
As he pushed her yielding body down
onto the sofa, he thought, I will protect you my
dearest, even if from
yourself. Already, a
plan of action was forming, one that
would require Janette's unique touch. In all likelihood, Triona would
hate him for what he planned, but it would ensure her safety, and the
family's – and in this he would not be thwarted.
Decision made, he turned his full
attention back to his
lover-child-companion. That was for later. Tonight, he had other, more
pleasing plans with which to occupy himself….
The place hadn't changed. Seventy
years and only the fashions were
different. Tonight, even the music was the same -- an "Early Days of
Methos leaned back in the booth,
sipping his single malt as the
familiar sounds of female conversation drifted over him, mingling with
the deep strains of jazz that filled the club. He smiled to himself,
remembering a brat with eyes like amethyst. He hadn't seen Lexie in
almost forty years and he wondered if she was well. She would breeze
back into his life for a few weeks, and then would be off again. They
had found that the years had not dulled the rather fiery aspects of
their relationship, and that they got along much better in small doses.
He pulled himself back to the present
and to his current companions.
Perhaps not brats, but a trial to him a great deal of the time
nonetheless. But more precious for all that -- the closest thing he'd
had to a family in a very long time. He noticed the surreptitious looks
the women gave him, trying to give him space, but concerned about the
last day's shock and how he was taking it.
They were having their own troubles
dealing with what had transpired.
Not far in the back of their minds was the thought: what if it had
happened when one of them had been the only source of blood? Would
Triona have turned on them in the mindlessness of first hunger? And
could it still happen?
"Not very cheery tonight, are we?"
Methos asked the four women.
"I'm worried about Triona," Lauren
admitted. "She has always been
sensitive to her… well, her odd nature. What will this do to her?"
The others nodded. Sarah commented,
"If this has upset us, how on earth
will she feel? We all have to reassure her, to make her less
self-conscious." All four nodded, then as one, turned to Methos.
"Hey!" he protested. "Why are you
looking at me? Do you think I would
do or say anything to upset her?"
They all looked at each other, using
that silent female language they
all seemed to understand. Even after five millennia, Methos had no idea
how they did it. Then they all turned to him again.
Sarah cleared her throat, giving
herself time to gather her thoughts.
Finally, deciding she just had to say it, she said, "Methos, it's not
exactly a secret that you are… well, uncomfortable with vampire nature."
Terese continued, "What do you think
it will do to her if she feels
that you are repulsed by her?"
"I know how it would make me feel,"
Lauren added. "I'd be devastated."
"And now you have a blood bond --
anything you feel will be amplified,
will hit her harder," Stephanie tried to explain. "This is new to you
-- now there's a first -- so you don't know what it's like." Her eyes
took on an unfocussed, dreamy quality, remembering.
Methos looked distinctly
uncomfortable. He shifted a bit in his seat,
an annoyed set to his face. "I have no intention of doing anything that
would hurt her. I would have thought you would all think better of me
than that," he told them reproachfully.
"It isn't that we think you would set
out purposely to hurt her,
Methos," Sarah tried to reassure him. "But you know as well as I do
that sometimes it's the unintentional that hurts the most. Please, just
"Ever since LaCroix tried to bring
her across," Terese said, flinching
a little at the cold look that appeared in his eyes at the mention of
that particular event, "and failed." She took a deep breath and plunged
ahead. "She has become much more dependent on you and LaCroix, partly
out of necessity and partly because you have given her no choice…."
"Duncan is the only one who doesn't
treat her like she's ill or a
child," Stephanie interjected darkly.
Methos looked ready to erupt at that,
and Terese hurried on, not
pausing for breath or for a chance for him to interrupt, "And I know
you both are trying to do what's best. But I don't think you realize
just what would happen if you were to leave -- leave her." She bit her
lip, dropping her eyes, not wanting to see just how mad he probably
"I wouldn't take the moral high
ground just yet, ladies," he bit out.
"Don't think that I didn't know exactly what passed through your minds
when you found out she would make you a snack without a moments
hesitation." He slid his chair back with a clatter, standing
abruptly. "I'd examine my own conscious before preaching to mine," he
told them witheringly. With one last glare, he turned away sharply and
headed to the bar.
The women looked at one another,
shoulders slumped in defeat. Lauren
sighed. "I guess we didn't handle that very well."
LaCroix eased Triona into a deep,
controlled sleep. It wouldn’t do for
her to stumble across tonight's business. As mentally exhausted as she
was, it had been easy to take her mind and lead it where he would.
Sure that she would sleep for hours,
he pulled the covers more firmly
around her, brushing her lips with his. Then, he silently left the
Once in his study, he made a brief
call, then sat back and waited.
the Page - Part Two
"So you see, my dear, " LaCroix said,
as he handed Janette a glass of
wine-laced blood, "why I called you." He sat down in the chair opposite
his 'daughter', raising his glass in a toast.
Janette eyed her Master
consideringly, sipping delicately from her
glass. She couldn't quite believe what he had told her. Triona, a
vampire, even an occasional one? "You're mad," was all she said.
He narrowed his eyes. 'I didn't ask
for your opinion, Janette. Merely
your compliance," he said quellingly, his voice sending a shiver down
She placed her glass carefully on the
end table. "I don't know that you
fully realize just how badly she will react to this… plan, of
yours." She felt the sting of his anger through their link, but
forced herself to continue, "However well intentioned it is -- and I do
understand why you feel the necessity of this action -- she will hate
you for it. Is it worth the risk? You could lose her. Maybe forever."
She tried to will every ounce of her concern into her words, only
hoping that he would listen.
It wasn't to be.
"Do you think I would embark on such
a venture without considering the
consequences? To her? To the others? Do you?" he rapped out, demanding
She sighed silently in defeat,
looking him squarely in the eyes. "No,
He forced himself to calm. He knew
she was concerned, because she
cared. In a more level voice, he explained, "I don't take this step
lightly and I am well aware that her reaction will more than likely be…
unpleasant. However, I see no other option. I am her Master. It is I
who have the ultimate responsibility for her actions." Standing, he
walked over to the fireplace, staring into the flames. "And if those
actions could be a danger to her, to this family, I require the
knowledge to be able to plan accordingly." He fell silent, deep in
She walked over to where he stood,
placing a cool hand on his shoulder.
"If there is no other way," she said quietly, "I will, of course, carry
out your instructions."
LaCroix turned, looking down on her.
"Pay Mr. Dawson a visit, use your
unique abilities to procure the information I require." He absently ran
one long finger down her cheek. "And then. And then…."
Methos downed his scotch, trying to
drown his worry, anger, and doubt
in an alcoholic haze. Suddenly, the buzz of another Immortal buffeted
his senses. Not now. I do not NEED
He quickly scanned the room: Sarah,
Lauren, and Stephanie were at the
table. Terese -- where was she? Damn! He began to ease away from the
bar, moving towards the door. If he could get just lure whoever it was
outside and away from the women….
"Running off so soon, old man?"
He whirled to the sounds of delighted
giggles, finding himself face to
face with the object of his earlier thoughts. "Lexie?"
"Your favourite pupil back to keep
you on your toes!"
“.... So, we took the car anyway and ended up, with the damned goat
still in tow, in a pension in Gascony!" Lexie finished with a flourish.
All but Terese laughed at Lexie's
hilarious story. She just sat in her
chair as expressionless as a stone. The others were too taken by the
vivacious Immortal to notice.
"She always was a brat," Methos told
the others. Lexie stuck her tongue
out playfully at him.
Methos had introduced them all, and
after catching up on the last forty
years with her former teacher, Lexie had proceeded to regale them with
tales of her and Methos when they had been together. Stephanie, Sarah,
and Lauren had been instantly charmed, liking the funny, personable
woman. Terese, on the other hand, had taken an instant dislike, and was
all the more annoyed because her family didn't share her distaste.
"You look wonderful, Alexandra,"
Methos said warmly, squeezing her
hand. "Would you believe I was just thinking about you not an hour ago?"
Lexie smiled fondly. "I'd believe it.
This is where it all started,
"And what a start it was."
She laughed, amethyst eyes twinkling.
"That it was." She took a sip of
her drink. "As for looking wonderful -- well I suppose you could say it
was my job. I'm my own best advertisement, don't you know?"
"Mmm, Lexandra Designs - Haute
Couture. That's me!"
"You? A fashion designer?" He shook
his head in amusement. "It suits
"Not just a fashion designer! One of
the hottest young artists in
today's fashion, I'll have you know," she informed them, grinning with
glee. "All the magazines say so!"
Methos looked at the others
knowingly. "Do we have someone who will
love to meet you!" They all nodded.
"Someone very special, who probably
spends most of her disposable
income on your clothes. A fan."
"I can't wait. So where do I meet
this wonderfully discerning person?"
Methos and the other women had taken
Lexie up to a guestroom, leaving
Terese with LaCroix in the sitting room.
"A delightful woman," LaCroix
commented, a speculative gleam in his
Terese snorted, downing her vodka.
He arched a brow. "Obviously you
would disagree, my dear."
She poured herself another drink.
"She's a vapid, self-absorbed brat!"
He chuckled. "The others seem to like
She snorted again. "No idea why."
He took the glass out of her hand,
placing it on the table next to her.
"I think we should change the subject to something more pleasant then.
Don't you?" he murmured, kissing her gently.
"Oh, yeah," Terese sighed, pulling
LaCroix's head closer. This was
definitely her idea of a more pleasant subject.
"I'd love to see your new line,"
Triona told Lexie, deftly sidestepping
the wash of sunlight that slanted in through the window. "I suppose
Methos has already told you I'm something of a clothes hound.” She
grinned, handing their guest a cup of tea.
"He did mention something." Lexie
"I just bet he did," she grumbled
"He's your teacher?" Lexie changed
the subject, admitting to herself
she was terribly curious about Methos' life here.
"Who, Methos? No," she laughed. "He's
most definitely not. Not that he
didn't want to be. But we are far too emotionally involved for him ever
to have the detachment needed to teach me properly."
"I see." She sipped at her tea.
Indeed she did see. Veiled, but a
warning nonetheless. Methos was hers -- hands off.
"Plus, we probably would have killed
each other." She smiled softly to
herself. "No. So he shipped me off to his friend Duncan MacLeod. In
fact, I've only been home a few months."
"Then you deserve a treat. How about
we go to my boutique here in
Paris? I'd really like you to try on some of my new stuff; it'll suit
you to a T."
Triona quickly calculated the hours
till it would be safe for her to
venture outside. Luckily, the waning year brought shorter days. "I have
some business I must get done today. Would four o'clock be too late for
"No, four would be perfect," Lexie
The two women sipped their tea in
companionable silence for a few
minutes, Lexie finally asking, "Where are the others? I haven't seen
them since breakfast."
"Stephanie is off test driving sports
cars. Sarah, Terese, and Lauren
are at a special exhibit of rare artifacts from the Roman Empire at a
museum that LaCroix is a benefactor of, and I have no idea where Methos
has gotten himself off to. I haven't seen him for quite awhile
actually." Lexie noted the worried look that flashed across the other
woman's eyes at mention of Methos.
"Well, I guess it'll just be us
then!" she said brightly.
"More clothes for me." Triona raised
her cup to Lexie in a toast,
Sarah, Lauren, and Terese made small
talk and sipped champagne with
other museum donors, and with the various and sundry VIP guests at the
They were bored out of their minds,
but this was part of their job:
keeping an eye on LaCroix’s various business interests and
philanthropic concerns. This special exhibition was one of them.
“How much longer?” Terese whispered
slightly too loudly to Sarah.
Sarah made a shushing sound,
gesturing the other two women to a nearby
corner, quickly looking around to make sure no one else had heard. “A
little longer. You know what LaCroix said!”
Terese muttered to herself, put out
at having to waste her afternoon
here, but not quite brave enough to actually defy LaCroix’s express
wishes. “I know, I know.”
“Well, if you know, then stop
griping!” Lauren glared, not enjoying
herself any more than Terese was.
“Triona should be here. She actually
likes this sort of thing,” Terese
“Oh, right. A barbecued
representative would really make an
impression,” Sarah replied sarcastically.
“She could have been smuggled in!”
Lauren rolled her eyes. “Geez,
Terese, what is with you? Ever since
last night you’ve been a grumpy old bear! And besides, Triona does more
than her share of these things, and you know darn well she doesn’t
enjoy them -- she just dislikes them less than you do.”
“Yeah, well, she’s LaCroix’s damn
business manager. It’s her job; not
mine! And she’s had almost two years off, so why I’m here and she’s
not....” Terese trailed off into inaudible mutters.
Sarah looked at Terese in amazement.
“Off? You call what she’s spent
the last months doing ‘off’’? I give up! You want to be bitchy and
obnoxious, then go right ahead, but I’m not going to stand around
listening to it! If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go look at some of
those exhibits a little closer.” With one last glare at Terese, Sarah
“Well it’s true! She finally comes
home, and now she’s some sort of
mutant and see if LaCroix pays any attention to any of us with him
fussing over her all the time! And now Methos’ little pet, Lexie, shows
up. We may as well join a convent!” Terese drained her champagne,
wishing it were something stronger.
Lauren was disgusted. “I’m with
Sarah. I don’t know what’s gotten into
you, but I’m not going to listen to it either!”
“Lauren....” But it was too late, she
had already left. Angry at
letting herself feel even the slightest twinge of guilt, Terese went
off in search of more champagne. Maybe they didn’t want to listen to
her now, but one day soon, she was going to get to say ‘I told you so.’
the Page - Part Three
She finished changing, smoothing down
the soft wool of her long
charcoal skirt and straightening her jacket. Looking at herself in the
mirror, she absently brushed aside one stray strand of hair, wondering
if she could see the difference -- the change. Looking for the creature
she had been.
Only familiar eyes looked back at
her, the same ones that had always
looked back at her. No overt sign of the vampire that had existed a few
nights before, the vampire that still dwelled somewhere deep within.
Only the same face, ageless now, trapped in one moment of time -- a
moment that had changed her more than she had ever thought possible.
The presence of another Immortal
startled her from her reverie. No, not
just any Immortal -- Methos. She knew it was him.
Turning slowly towards the door, her gaze captured his, standing there,
just watching her, like he wasn’t sure if she was really even there.
She dropped her eyes, suddenly shy.
She hadn’t seen him since... since
that night. Heat, hunger, need -- the feelings of that night washed
over her, leaving her momentarily breathless.
As she struggled for control, she
realized she felt him there with her.
Not as vital a presence as LaCroix, or as familiar as the other women,
but Methos’ essence was in her mind nonetheless. It was all so
confusing -- so unexpected. Nothing had prepared her for a bloodlink
with him. Did he feel it too?
“I’m sorry,” she finally whispered,
eyes still downcast.
“It isn’t your fault. None of it is
your fault.” She heard the pain in
his voice, and it surprised her.
“I... I.…” she stumbled over her
words. It was so hard. “I will
understand if you... if you don’t want to be with me anymore,” she
finally got out. Still, she didn’t look at him.
Don’t....” he began, only to be cut
off by her panicked voice.
“No, please; no platitudes. I can’t
bear it. I know how you feel about
vampires, how you must feel about me now, after what happened.” Her
voice cracked under the weight of emotion that bore down on her. She
could hear her own breath in her ears, labored and agitated. “I don’t
want to see the repulsion in your eyes, the distaste when you touch
me.” She couldn’t breathe, her heart beating so furiously it must
surely burst under the strain.
She turned away. Oh please, let him
leave now, she
Hands gripping her shoulders and
whirling her around left her too
stunned to react as hard, warm lips took hers in a bruising kiss. He
pushed her against the wall, crushing his lean body into her soft
curves as his hands slipped up under her jacket to find her breasts
with long, warm, fingers. His mouth traced over every inch of her face,
kissing and tasting the familiar lines and planes. Legs weak, she
leaned all her weight against him, letting him do what he would, only
wanting him to hold her like this forever.
He pulled back, looking down on her
with dark eyes. “I don’t ever want
to hear you say anything like that ever again.” He shook her for
emphasis. “Do you understand me?” he asked, voice rough with passion
and worry. “Do you?”
She curled her hands into the fabric
of his shirt, shaking her head.
“But you don’t have to do this, you...."
Methos gripped her chin, forcing her
head up to look at him. “Stop it!
Not one more word! I am not leaving. Do you understand? Damn you!” She
shrank back in his grip, he was as angry as she had ever seen him, but
the wall behind her made it pointless. Her continued silence seemed to
make him even angrier. “I asked you a question, and I expect an answer!”
“Yes, Methos. I understand,” she said
“Yes, Methos, I understand,” he
repeated angrily. “I have half a mind
to put you across my knee for even thinking such nonsense!” She looked
up with startled eyes at his threat. Sighing noisily, he continued in a
gentler tone, “But that will keep till later.” He drew her into his
arms, nestling her head against his chest, stroking her hair. “I know
we have things we will need to adjust to, sweet. But we will adjust,
you have to trust me.”
Her voice muffled against his chest,
she answered, “I do trust you; I
“I know that, love. And I pray I
never give you cause to ever regret
“You won’t,” she said simply, looking
up at him with eyes full of faith
-- faith in him. A faith he knew deep down he didn’t deserve.
He cupped her face in his hands,
gently touching her lips with his. Her
hands linked behind his neck, pulling him closer. “I think we should
move this to somewhere more comfortable,” he said against her lips.
“Oh!” she started. “I’m supposed to
be meeting Lexie....”
“I told her you were going to be
late.” He began moving her towards the
“You did did you?” She gasped a
little as his hands slid under the
waistband of her skirt, skimming the bare skin underneath. “Maybe I
don’t want to be late.”
He continued to back her towards her
bed. “I never considered that a
serious possibility,” he breathed.
“Oh? Well, maybe you should have.”
She lost her balance as he gave her
a little shove, falling back onto the bed.
He knelt next to her, fingers undoing
buttons and snaps. “Really? Well,
then that leaves us with an interesting quandary.” He unsnapped
the front of her bra, pushing the fabric away from her breasts. She
arched against him as he brushed his tongue across one nipple.
“A quandary?” she gasped.
“Mmm-hmm.” He looked at her with
gleaming eyes. “We do have that
unfinished business to take care of; if we aren’t going to make love,
that is.” He smiled a wicked little smile as he lifted her slightly off
the bed to remove her jacket and bra, tossing them aside.
Her mind raced, not liking the evil
look in his eyes. Before she could
respond, he flipped her over, his hands going to the zipper on her
skirt, pulling it down, and gently easing the fabric over her hips and
down her legs. He stroked her bottom, flicking at one garter, then
running his finger under the elastic leg of her panties.
“And no matter what you decide,
you’re in the perfect position.” She
could hear the smile in his voice.
Suddenly, his meaning became clear.
“Methos, you wouldn’t!”
“I did say it would keep till later.”
He swatted her bottom lightly. “I
didn’t specify when later would be, after all.”
“If you think I’m going to let you
bully me, you can think again!” She
tried to turn over, but his hand at the base of her spine kept her
immobile. “That isn’t fair!”
“No. But it’s very enjoyable from my
perspective,” he said smugly. He
kissed the crease between her thigh and buttocks while his free hand
delved deeper between her legs.
“Ohhhhhhhh,” she moaned as his
fingers worked deeper and harder.
“Was that a ‘yes’, or a ‘no’?”
“Damn it, you bastard! Ohh!” she
shrieked as he slapped her bottom
again, harder this time.
“Such language!” he tsked
reprovingly. “I can see you’ve picked up some
bad habits with MacLeod. I’m beginning to think that this spanking may
be needed more than I thought.”
“Bad habits aren’t the only thing I
learned!” Suddenly, she twisted
under his grip, freeing herself, and unbalancing him in the process.
Pressing her advantage, she quickly straddled him, pressing down on his
shoulders. “You were saying?” She quirked a brow, smiling smugly.
He grinned, cupping her bottom with
his hands as she combed his dark
hair through her fingers. “This.” In an eye blink, she found herself on
her back, with Methos pressed against every inch of her, kissing her
As his mouth moved to her breasts,
she sighed, “Late is good....”
“All of you! Against the wall! NOW!”
one of the heavily armed men
yelled in badly accented French.
Sarah did as she was told, while
anxiously scanning the crowd for
Lauren and Terese. She’d lost sight of them once the armed terrorists
had burst into the museum in a rain of bullets. They had killed at
least two guards. Even with the extra security, they had never stood a
chance against the heavily armed attackers.
She wasn’t sure what they wanted, but
they seemed jumpy and nervous,
ready to shoot anything or anyone that moved. The one in front of her
scanned the room, eyes darting here and there. They were acting like
men who had little to lose, and it terrified her.
Over on the other side of the room,
she could hear a woman crying
hysterically, and one of the thugs demanding she shut up in what seemed
to be an eastern European accent. Serbs maybe? Then she heard the sound
of a fist striking flesh, and the woman began to scream.
Then she saw her, the terrorist
dragging her into Sarah’s line of
sight. “Shut your mouth, or I’ll do it permanently!” he shouted,
waving his gun menacingly at the prone, sobbing woman. “I said to SHUT
UP!” The man raised the butt of his automatic weapon to strike
his terrified victim. That was when Sarah finally saw Lauren as she ran
to the aid of the woman.
“Leave her alone!” Lauren broke from
the crowd, attempting to protect
the woman at the terrorist’s feet.
“Lauren! No!” Terese yelled, trying
to stop her, running after her.
It all happened so fast after that.
Sarah saw it all in a blur: Lauren
running towards the woman, Terese following, the gunman thinking he was
being attacked, the gun coming up, a spray of bullets exploding from
the muzzle. Sarah heard a woman scream as the bodies of her sisters
fell in the now deathly silent room. As their presence in her
mind suddenly disappeared, she slid to the floor in shock -- and
realized she was the one that was screaming.
She covered her face with her hands,
not able to look anymore.
can’t be dead. Only LaCroix can kill them; he’ll be
so annoyed, she thought,
hysteria and shock seeping through
her stunned mind.
“Let that be a warning to you all!”
said the one who appeared to be the
leader. “They will only be the first to die this night if our demands
are not met!” Then he motioned to two of the male hostages. “Take
the bodies and dump them out front. Let your government see we are
The stunned men gently picked up the
two women’s bodies and carried
them to the entry, covered by two armed men. As the one carrying Lauren
placed her on the step, he suddenly bolted toward the police
surrounding the museum, hitting the ground rolling, the police laying
down a covering fire to aid his escape. The terrorists returned fire,
grabbing the remaining man and dragging him back into the museum with
“And now… we wait,” stated the
Sarah swore a blood oath to herself
in that moment: I’ll see
all of you dead, and if not me, then LaCroix and Methos will. I will
see them avenged!
Triona lay curled against Methos,
dozing contentedly, one of his hands
on her breast, the other warm between her thighs. As she hovered in
that place between dreams and sleep, she felt a tickle of unease, then
LaCroix in her mind, unsettled and worried. She opened her eyes, not
surprised to find his ice blue ones looking back at her.
“What’s wrong?” she whispered,
feeling a twinge of embarrassment, as
silly as that was at this point in their lives together. She had no
idea what would bring LaCroix here with Methos in her bed, only that it
must be bad whatever it was.
He didn’t answer immediately, his
hand brushing the tousled hair away
from her eyes, breathing her scent, his scent, the two of them as
intertwined as their bodies were. By all the gods he wanted to drink
from her at this moment! A moment he had waited years for. A moment
that he would never have, as he and Methos had agreed. The Immortal was
only willing to share up to a point.
The urge was almost overpowering,
wanting to taste him in her blood,
and her in his, the new blood link still strong from shared passion.
Still silent, she looked at him with eyes still dark from lovemaking,
waiting for him, letting him draw her into the spell that held him. He
leaned in, kissing her slightly swollen lips. Just a nip, opening her
lip, the blood welling onto his tongue.
She made a little noise, like a sigh,
as his fangs made their cut, as
her blood flowed. Then the spell was broken, her lip healed, LaCroix’s
eyes once more ensnaring hers.
“Something is wrong," he whispered.
"I don’t know what. You feel it as
well?” It was a statement more than a question.
“Yes. I felt it as I slept. Then you
were here.” Triona tried to
disentangle herself from Methos, LaCroix handing her her robe.
“What’s going on?” Methos asked,
“Trouble," Triona and LaCroix
answered in unison.
the Page - Part Four
After quickly dressing, Methos and
Triona made their way downstairs to
meet LaCroix in the study. They found Lexie with him, their faces grave
as they listened to a news report on the radio.
“What’s going on?” Triona looked at
LaCroix and then to Lexie.
“There's been a hostage taking at the
museum. It doesn’t sound good,”
Lexie told Methos and Triona.
“We need to get over there,” Methos
“I will meet you there,” LaCroix
agreed. A look passed between the
three that Lexie couldn’t fathom.
“NO!” Triona screamed in sudden pain,
collapsing to her knees, holding
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Methos
demanded, dropping to his knees next
to her. She just held her head, shoulders shaking. He looked to LaCroix
for an explanation, taken aback at the mask of pain on the ancient
“They’re dead,” LaCroix said, the
shock evident in his normally
“Lauren and Terese," she wept. "They
were ripped from my mind. Gone.”
Lexie looked around in confusion.
“How do you know they're dead?”
LaCroix’s eyes met Methos’, nodding
slightly. LaCroix took Lexie’s hand
in his, looking into her eyes. “It is nothing you need concern yourself
with, my dear. In fact, you’ve had a long day. You’re very tired and
you want to sleep.”
Lexie murmured, her eyelids dropping
as LaCroix’s seductive voice
ensorcelled her. “Tired,” she whispered.
“And when you wake up, you won’t
remember anything that has passed in
this study. Only that you fell asleep waiting for Triona,” he finished
softly, catching her easily as she collapsed into his arms.
“It’s vital we get to their bodies
before....” Methos began.
“I’ll take care of Alexandra and will
meet the two of you at the
“Are you going to be able to make it,
Triona?” Methos asked in concern.
“Yes! You are not leaving me here!”
She glared at him for even
He held up his hands in mock
surrender. "Okay, okay! Then let’s get
going. Before Lauren and Terese can get into even more trouble.”
They arrived at the museum, finding
Stephanie there before them.
“Stephanie!” Triona hugged her young
cousin, surprised at finding her
“I heard about it on the radio. Then
I felt them die.” She sounded like
she was going to cry.
“It’ll be okay.” She looked over
Stephanie’s head at Methos, a look
passing between them.
“But Terese and Lauren are dead! How
can it be okay?” she sobbed.
“Shhh.” Methos stroked Stephanie’s
hair. “They won’t stay dead,” he
Stephanie looked up at Triona,
wanting her reassurance that what he
said was true. “It’s true, sweetie. They're like me, and Methos.”
“And now we need to find their bodies
before anyone else does,” he
“That,” said LaCroix suddenly, in the
dark, “has been taken care of.”
“Where are they?” Methos asked.
“In that ambulance, just beyond the
police line.” LaCroix turned to
Stephanie. “We require a diversion, my child. Perhaps the grieving,
hysterical relative?” She nodded eagerly. “And Triona, we need your
unique mental control abilities to take care of the police officer
standing guard. I will take care of the other.” He then looked to
Methos. “You can drive the ambulance to where Stephanie has parked her
new sports car,” LaCroix said in tone that promised an innocent looking
Stephanie he would want a full accounting later as to just why she had bought it, “and take Terese and
back to the chateau.”
As they all nodded understanding of
their parts, he continued, “Triona
and I shall remain here until Sarah is freed. Perhaps an opportunity
will arise that may enable us to secure her release.”
“Agreed. Once Stephanie and I get
them safely home, I’ll have Duncan
stay with them, and I’ll return here,” Methos added.
"Good. Shall we?” With that,
LaCroix was gone, like mist in the
Stephanie and Methos drove up to the
chateau. Duncan was already there,
having been called from Stephanie's cell phone in her new car.
"Two at once," Duncan observed in
exasperation. "Only your family,
"Shut up and help me get them into
the house!" he groused.
"You could try a 'please'."
"Will you two stop bickering like old
fishwives!" Stephanie snapped,
cutting off Methos' retort. Both men had the good grace to look abashed
at her scolding. "Let's move it!"
"Yes, ma'am!" Duncan made a mock
salute, leaning into the car and
lifting the still dead Lauren into his arms.
Soon, the two men had Terese and
Lauren lying on the sofas in the
"Now what?" she asked uncertainly,
looking back and forth between
Methos and Duncan.
"Now, we wait," said Duncan.
They didn't have to wait long. Within
minutes, Terese gasped, grasping
her chest, sitting up on the sofa and looking around wildly. Methos was
at her side instantly.
"That's it. Deep breaths. It's okay."
She gripped her head, the sudden
assault of double buzzes overwhelming
in their intensity.
"It'll get easier, just relax,"
Methos told her softly.
"Oh my god! I'm…. You're…. Damn it!
Why didn't you ever tell me?"
Terese cried angrily. "All of you!"
"Not me!" Stephanie protested.
"Well, she's no worse for the
experience," Duncan commented wryly.
Methos nodded, grinning as he
explained, "Sorry, love, it just doesn't
do for a pre-Immortal to know what the future holds."
Suddenly Terese remembered. "Lauren!
They shot her…. And we fought and
I'll never forgive myself." She began to cry, everything crashing down
"It's okay. Lauren is going to be
fine," Methos soothed.
As if on cue, Lauren repeated the
same process that her sister had just
completed. Methos reassured her as he had Terese before. At least
this was normal. Not like what had happened to Triona…. He pushed that
unpleasant memory firmly away.
"Hey you, welcome back." Methos
chucked her under the chin, smiling.
"You could have told me!" Terese
interrupted angrily. "Letting me think
Lauren had died!"
"I'm awfully surprised to be back,"
Lauren admitted, ignoring Terese's
tantrum, smiling. Then her face fell. "Sarah! What about Sarah?"
"It's okay. LaCroix and Triona are at
the museum, and I'm heading over
there now. Duncan and Stephanie will stay here with you."
"But what…?" Lauren trailed off,
unwilling to put her question into
"She won't," Duncan assured her.
"Uh huh, exactly like that. But, "
Methos warned, "if she gets out of
there alive, you can't say a word to her. Do you understand?" He
looked at each of them in turn, his expression leaving no doubt as to
how angry he would be if any of them told.
They all nodded mutely in agreement,
even Terese, who hadn't stopped
grumbling since she had come to.
Stephanie hurried over to Lauren's
side with a glass of soda. "Here you
go! It'll make you feel better!"
Lauren smiled, the familiar drink
reassuring her after the shock she'd
had. "Thanks, Steph."
"Hey, if you're passing out drinks,
how about one for me? And I want a real drink, thank you very
Stephanie glared at her. Obviously,
becoming Immortal had not improved
her recent temper. "Get it yourself. You're not dead anymore!"
Duncan warded off the impending
fight. "Ladies, ladies. Everyone has
had a shock. Terese, I think you and Lauren should go upstairs, shower
and get some undamaged clothes on."
The women followed Duncan's gaze,
suddenly realizing that they were
covered in their own blood.
"Good idea," Terese agreed.
"And when you're done, I'll be here
until the rest return."
"Good. If everything is in hand, I'm
heading back to the museum. Need
to make sure LaCroix doesn't try anything stupid," Methos informed
them. "Stephanie, Duncan, take care of them for me!" he tossed over his
shoulder as he headed out of the room.
LaCroix suddenly reappeared; putting
his hands on Triona's shoulders,
and leaning down to speak quietly in her ear. "The authorities have
decided to rush the building."
"What?" she asked in disbelief.
"They feel, that with the
intelligence they received from the man who
escaped, and the fact that the terrorists have already killed several
guards and two hostages, that they have no other option."
"And how many will die in the
attack?" She shook her head in disgust.
"They haven't even tried!" She looked up at LaCroix, seeing his
expression. "No, never mind. I know what you think, and I don't want to
His lips brushed her cheek. "I will
take care of getting Sarah out once
the police have assaulted the museum. When that happens, go to the car
and wait for me," he instructed.
She nodded in understanding. "I will.
How are you going to get her out?"
"I'm going to work as far into the
building as possible before the
assault. Perhaps I can dispatch a few of the terrorists before the
authorities arrive," he told her in a voice full of implacable menace
that made her shiver despite herself.
She turned around, leaning up on
tiptoe, kissing him hard. "Be careful,
please," she entreated, eyes worried.
"I shall, my dearest." He then
whispered in her ear, "And I shall
expect a suitable reward for my valor in battle when I return." He
kissed her throat, then she felt the air 'shift' and
he was gone.
the Page - Part Five
Sarah surveyed the terrorists
appraisingly. When her moment came, she
was going to be ready to take it. She was weaponless, but in the years
she had been around Methos, Duncan, and on occasion, Amanda, she had
learned more than a few self-defense tricks. And if she could use them,
she wouldn't be without a weapon for long. A part of her knew it was
suicidal, but the death of Lauren and Terese and the mental trauma it
had caused had left her slightly unbalanced.
She slowly worked her way into a dark
corner, trying to remain as
invisible as possible. It wasn't too hard, because all of a sudden the
gunmen seemed to have their attention drawn to the entrance of the
museum, talking to each other in a language Sarah didn't recognize. She
could tell from their tone that they were agitated.
Could something be happening? She
stiffened, waiting for her chance. It
came faster than she thought as the sound of explosions rocked the
exhibit room -- explosions that brought gas canisters and a rush of
bodies into the museum.
She tried not to breathe too deeply
as one of the terrorists backed
towards her; she'd at least take one of them out. When he was
close enough, Sarah burst out of her corner, slamming the edge of her
hand down on his neck, dropping him to his knees. Her knee connected to
his chin, knocking him to the floor. She realized, stunned, that this
was the one that had killed her sisters. Sarah pulled the knife from
his belt and without a second thought, plunged it into his chest.
She couldn't believe how calm she
was. She'd just killed someone. Maybe LaCroix is
rubbing off on me, she thought
absently. As the sounds of bullets and screams flowed across her, Sarah
realized the gas would get her soon, and that she wasn't going to make
it out of here. She had work to do.
As Sarah slid around the edge of the
room, something hit her hard from
behind. She fell to the ground, the knife flying from her hand.
Scrambling for the knife, Sarah just got her hands on it when a
blinding pain pierced her head and everything went black.
By the time the police stormed the
museum, LaCroix was almost to the
main exhibit room. Almost, but not quite. He neatly snagged one of the
terrorists as he fled past, ripping into his throat and draining him
within moments, then cracking his neck with one easy snap before
dropping his lifeless body to the ground. He hadn't enjoyed himself
this much in ages.
He entered the room just in time to
see one of the gunmen bring the
butt of his gun down on Sarah's head. He felt her presence in his mind,
though not as strong as the others, sputter briefly, before dying.
The thug raised his rifle once more,
but the blow never landed. He
never even had time to scream as a vision from his nightmares with gold
eyes and fangs spun him around, tearing into his throat.
He gently scooped up Sarah's lifeless
body, moving quicker than the
human eye could see, to the balcony above the room and out through an
exit. The policeman at the door only felt a rush of wind. By the time
he had turned, LaCroix and his precious burden had disappeared into the
Triona cradled Sarah's head in her
lap as Baker drove them back to the
house. Methos had arrived just as the police were storming the building
and was following them back in Stephanie's car.
"Do you think you could get Nick to
come see her before she goes away?"
Triona suddenly asked in the silence. LaCroix was surprised, knowing
how much she disliked his erstwhile son. "It would mean a lot to her,
if he would," she explained. "And she would never ask him herself."
"I'll see what I can arrange," he
Triona nodded, then stiffened, as if
listening to something. Sarah
arched almost off the seat, choking for breath. Triona supported her as
she struggled to sit up, clutching her temples.
"Oh goddess, I'm in hell," she
announced, her first sight LaCroix's
"Only of your own making," he said,
smirking. "Hell this may be -- but
you are quite alive."
"It's okay, Sarah. You're safe and so
are Lauren and Terese." Triona
reassured her, glaring at LaCroix in irritation.
"But, they were shot -- dead."
"Not all deaths are permanent, as
well you know, my dear," he reminded
"All of us? Damn…." Sarah shook her
head in disbelief, gingerly feeling
the back of her head, the flesh still tender, but healed. "Ain't that a
bitch?" she asked in wonder.
LaCroix smiled slightly, looking at
Triona over Sarah's shoulder.
"Indeed it is, child. Indeed it is."
"Are they still discussing?" Sarah
asked Triona as she entered the
"Discussing? More like arguing,"
Terese said in annoyance.
Triona poured herself a cup of tea
and joined the other women by the
large, open hearth. "Yep, still at it."
"You'd think, that since you've all
known for several years that this
would happen eventually, you'd have planned all this in advance."
Lauren looked at Triona.
"Hey, don't look at me! Do you
honestly think they would consult me?" She shook her head, irritated.
The women were gathered in the
kitchen. It was late in the afternoon
the day after the events at the museum. LaCroix, Methos, and Duncan
were in a sometimes-heated discussion in the study on just who should
undertake the women's training. The women, soon tiring of all the male
posturing, had retreated to the peace and coziness of the old kitchen
and its crackling hearth.
Lauren sighed. "No, I guess not.
"It's okay. Everyone is sorta
stressed out right now. Three of you at
once unsettled the apple cart." Triona sipped at her tea,
sighing. "Though it's not the anger that was there when...." She
stopped abruptly, taking a gulp of her tea, a look of sadness in her
"When LaCroix tried to bring you
across," Sarah finished for her.
She nodded, jumping to her feet and
making a production out of pouring
more tea, her back to the others so they couldn't see the tears in her
"I'm sorry, I didn't know it still
upset you," Sarah told her sadly.
"No one does," she whispered,
"especially not LaCroix. And I don't want
him to know." She put down the teapot with a clatter, abruptly turning.
"What was it like? Coming back, I mean?" she asked with an odd
The three women looked at each other,
rather bewildered by her
"It was, I don't know, like waking up
from a nightmare you can't
remember," Terese said quietly, making herself think about it.
Lauren nodded. "Yeah, that's a good
way to put it. I mean, when I
woke up, I was scared, but couldn't remember by what. It took a few
minutes to remember I'd been shot."
"Yeah, well at least you two didn't
come back to life with LaCroix
looking down on you!" Triona smiled a little at that, while the
others laughed. "But why do you want to know, Triona?" Sarah asked,
perplexed. "You've never talked about your own experience."
Shaking her head, she moved over to
the fire and slid to the floor,
sitting against the wall. "I guess I wanted to know just how much of a
freak I actually was." She shrugged, smiling grimly. "Morbid curiosity
I guess. And as for never talking about what happened to me, I don't
know, I guess I was always trying to hide how I felt, especially from
LaCroix. Talking about it would make it all that much harder to keep it
from him. Then I was sent away, and, well…." She leaned her cheek
against the warm stones of the hearth, gazing off into space. "I guess
it seemed like it didn't matter anymore."
Lauren sat down next to her sister.
"But it does matter! It matters to
us!" The others nodded in agreement. "I'm sorry I never asked now, but
I didn't want to pry into something so personal."
"It's okay, really."
"No, it's not okay," Terese said
forcefully. "It's been two years. I
think it's time you were allowed to talk about it."
"Terese's right. It's time. We'll be
apart for who knows how long --
alone for the first time in years." Sarah joined Lauren on the floor.
"And, honestly, we've always been curious about what happened. But like
Lauren said, we didn't want to pry."
While Sarah spoke, Terese went to the
cupboard, pulling out a bottle
and glasses and bringing them over to where everyone was sitting.
"She's right. But I think we need something stronger than tea." Terese
began pouring glasses of apricot brandy and handing them out.
"Thanks." Triona sipped gingerly at
the potent liquor, before closing
her eyes, remembering something that was always there in her mind, but
that she rarely acknowledged. "LaCroix had promised me that if I
desired it, he would bring me across. He asked only that I wait a few
weeks before I made a final decision. Of course, at that point, I had
no idea his hesitation was because Methos had warned him against even
trying. Even if I'd known, I don't think my decision would have been
any different. I wanted so much to be in one world -- to be whole. To
Triona paused at LaCroix's door, hand
on the knob. It was time. No more
doubts. Closing her eyes, she held her hand to her throat, feeling the
pulse that beat there. She wanted to remember all of it.
She had spent the day doing things
for the last time. Watching the
sunrise, eating raspberries and chocolate, laying on the lawn, soaking
in the autumn sun. She was glad it was fall, her favorite season. She
would have regretted not seeing the colored leaves, feeling the crisp
wind, and watching the season's sun – the light clear and sharp, like a
snow fed pool -- one last time.
She had watched the sun set over the
lake, its fire turning the water
red, like blood. A reminder of the irrevocable step she was about to
take. Resolutely she turned her back on the sun; it wasn't hers any
Saying a little prayer, she pushed
open the door, knowing he was
within. Methos and the other women had gone out for the evening -- none
of them having any idea of what she intended. If she had any regrets,
it was not telling Methos. But he would never understand, and this path
had been chosen for her long before he had ever entered her life. He
knew that. Whether he accepted it remained to be seen.
She entered the room slowly, her
heart beating far too loudly in her
ears and knowing LaCroix could hear it. Moving farther into the room,
she searched for him.
"So. You've decided then." She heard
his silky voice behind her; felt
his cool hand on her bare shoulder.
She turned towards him, his hand
running up her throat as she did so.
"Yes. I did as you asked. Now I want to be complete, to be with you
forever. Please don't deny me again," her voice broke despite her
resolve to be strong.
He shook his head. "That was never my
intention, child." His slim
fingers toyed with stray strands that had escaped the knot she had
gathered her hair in. "It means more to me than you know that you
choose to do this, with full knowledge," he told her in a warm, velvet
voice. "It is a truer gift than anything you could ever give me."
Still, she sensed hesitation as he
continued to toy with her hair, just
looking at her with a pensive look in his eyes. "What's wrong? Why are
you hesitating? Don't you want me anymore?" Her temper flared. The
stress from what she was about to do finally finding outlet in anger,
suddenly furious that he was doing this to her. Pulling away from him,
she wrapped her arms around her bare shoulders, suddenly feeling
chilled in the simple ivory silk gown she had chosen. "I won't be like
this, not anymore! I deserve to be whole again. You owe that to me,
Lucien!" she exploded. Her shoulders shook as she tried to reign in her
escalating temper. He didn't react -- merely let her rage. "You know
you do," she whispered, defeated.
Triona turned away, trying hard not
to fall apart. She went to the
fireplace, slamming her hand against the mantel; shoulders slumped in
utter weariness. Still, he said nothing.
"I'll go to Janette, have her bring
me across if you won't." It wasn't
a threat, merely the last remaining option for a mortal woman pushed
past all ability to bear anymore. She was exhausted. Her body, her
mind, no longer able to handle the stresses that came from the years as
the mortal lover of a vampire. There came a point when the frailty of
the flesh, the limits of the mind, finally came to bear. Even the
strongest reached a point where there was no continuing -- when
twilight became a burden, a place neither of the day or night.
Silently, LaCroix placed his hands on
her hips, turning her to face
him. He tipped her chin up with the edge of one knuckle, leaning down
to kiss her softly on the lips. The touch was gentle, sweet. No passion
or need, simply affection and love, almost as a parent would comfort a
child. He wiped away the tears that streaked her cheeks with his thumbs.
He stepped away, holding out a hand
to her. No words were necessary.
Taking the hand he proffered, she allowed him to lead her to his
bedchamber. LaCroix sat her on the edge of his large bed, removing his
jacket and placing it neatly on the trunk at the foot. He then sat next
to her, taking her hand, seeming to know she needed to speak.
"Wh…what happens now?" She swallowed,
looking up at him with wide eyes
that were trusting but frightened.
Smiling slightly, squeezing her hand
for reassurance, he replied, "Much
as what happens any time we are together. The only difference being
that when you reach the brink, I will take you past that point, to a
place near death." He drew her closer, placing an arm around her
shoulders. "Have no fear at whatever you may see or think you see. I
will be with you as I always am and always will be. Trust in that,
child…Triona," he amended, using her name as he rarely did.
She closed her eyes, taking a deep
breath. Placing her palm against his
cheek, she looked at him, no longer afraid. "If something goes wrong…."
She placed a finger over his lips, forestalling his protests. "No, I
know sometimes it doesn't work. If something goes wrong," she repeated,
"know that I love you, Lucien. I know you know that. But I wanted you
to hear me say the words. In the years since you came into my life,
I've desired you, hated you, needed you. We've fought, raged, hurt and
loved each other." She leaned against him, cupping his face with her
hands. "But I've always loved you, more than my life. Always and
forever, my love," she whispered, reaching up and kissing him tenderly.
"Always and forever," he breathed
against her lips, pulling her closer.
She slid her hands around the back of
his neck, letting him pull her
farther onto the bed as he deepened the kiss, their minds touching in
perfect accord. So attuned to his touch after all the years
between them, so in sync with what they both wanted from this night,
she needed no further preparation for what was to happen. Submitting
her will to his, she gave herself to him utterly.
Gently, he pushed her down, laying
her on the bed, stroking her ultra
sensitive throat with cool fingers, making her shiver with a hungry
longing. By the time he replaced fingers with fangs, she was past all
thought, driving need replacing conscience thought.
She arched hard against him, throat
extended till the muscles stood out
in relief against the alabaster skin of her neck. One last time for him
to feed from her mortal blood, and after this night to be forever
changed. LaCroix's fangs pierced her throat, and she screamed, not in
pain, but in long denied release.
Like so many times before, he drank
from her, but somehow it felt
different this time. There was a feeling of purpose, a resolve that she
felt enfolding her as he drew the blood from her body. She felt her
heart slowing, control of her body now gone. But there was no fear.
With the purpose that emanated from LaCroix also came utter confidence
and the assurance that she belonged to him. Nothing and no one would
ever hinder that.
All thought faded away -- only
feeling was left, then that too was soon
gone as a veil of blackness drifted across her mind's eye….
the Page - Part Six
Triona drained her glass. "And the
rest you know. Here I am." She
shrugged, refilling her glass from the bottle on the floor. "The freak.
Ironic when you think about it." Lauren shook her head, not
understanding. "That I begged to be brought across," she explained,
"because I needed to be whole again."
The other women made sympathetic
sounds, but really didn't know what
else to say.
"Ah." Lauren squeezed her hand. "But
was that it? I mean, everything
went black, and then you woke up?" Triona dropped her head, suddenly
seeming very uncomfortable. "It's okay, if you don't want to talk about
it…" she trailed off, uncertain.
The three women looked at each other.
Obviously, there was something
else, something that she was keeping back. After their own recent
experiences, they were incredibly curious about hers, but they didn't
want to bring back painful memories either.
She seemed lost in some dark memory,
looking at the glass in her hands,
staring through it.
"Triona?" Sarah tentatively touched
"Hmm? Oh...." She jumped a little,
startled from her reverie. "I don't
know if it really happened," she began uncertainly. "It was… like a
dream. Or a hallucination is more like it. It was silly." Her haunted
eyes belied her matter-of-fact tone.
"It isn't silly if it's still
affecting you like this," Terese observed.
"Terese's right, but we understand if
you'd prefer not to talk about
it," Sarah told her, giving her an out if she wanted one.
She shook her head, trying to gather
her thoughts. "I… I don't know….
It was all black, but then there was a light…."
She opened her eyes, shielding them
from the sun that poured through
the canopy of autumn leaves above her. Triona realized she was lying on
a low dais, a swath of blood red velvet draped across her lower body.
Slowly, she sat up, hair tumbling over her shoulders as she took in her
She appeared to be in a forest
clearing. Towering trees surrounded the
clearing, with the foliage of fall a riot of color in the bright sun. A
single stone rose from the moss to her left, a bubbling spring flowing
into a deep blue pool at its base. The scent of unknown flowers
drifting in the crisp, cool breeze, tickled her nose as she swung her
legs over the side of the dais, standing barefoot in the dark green
She looked down at herself, holding
her arms out, staring at what she
was wearing. A wash of sheer black chiffon covered her -- and didn't.
The fabric, though abundant, was so sheer that there hardly seemed any
point to wearing it at all. It twined sensuously around her legs as she
walked over to the spring. Kneeling next to it, she cautiously dipped
her fingers in the water.
A voice behind her made her stiffen,
suddenly recalling LaCroix telling
her not to heed anything she saw, or thought she saw. Was he
"And so it comes at last."
She looked over her shoulder, for
some reason not really surprised. In
fact, she realized, she was taking all of this rather calmly. "Janette?
But how?" Standing up, she waved her hand towards the sun. "Why are we
here? And what has come at last?"
The woman smiled mysteriously. "Why
indeed?" she replied, ignoring her
last question. "But you mistake me. I am not Janette. I merely utilize
your memories of her for my present form." She held out a hand. "Walk
with me, petite."
Triona hesitated briefly before
taking the elegant hand in hers,
feeling suddenly vulnerable as she remembered what she was wearing. At
the thought, there was a subtle shift of weight. Looking down at
herself, she saw she was now clad in heavy black velvet edged with
satin, the floor-length skirt trailing behind her.
Janette, or whoever she was, arched
an eyebrow in amusement, but said
nothing, merely tugging gently on her hand as she began to walk. She
didn't speak, merely followed the path through the trees.
wasn't a path… She realized in
that the path was being created as they walked. Looking behind her she
saw the path disappeared as soon as they passed on. They seemed to walk
a very long way until finally reaching what appeared to be their
destination -- the edge of a cliff that overlooked a churning sea, the
waves attacking the cliffs with a raging fury. It was a startling
contrast to the tranquil forest they had just left.
Finally, the woman spoke, "A choice
must be made. A path your soul must
Triona looked out over the cliff's
edge to the maelstrom below, then at
'Janette', quirking a brow. "This is some sort of metaphor, I take it?"
The woman looked surprised. "Vampires, Immortals, this seems to go with
the territory. Unless you're about to send me on a quest?"
"No, only a choice: between darkness
and light, death and life. You are
at a crossroads -- where that road leads is up to you."
"I chose this the first night I met
him and I chose again tonight. I
have no doubts -- not anymore."
"And do you choose this path for him?
Or for yourself?"
"Does it matter?"
"That is for you to decide."
Becoming angry at this philosophical
double talk, Triona demanded, "Who
are you? What are you? You look like Janette, but you sound like
Nicholas." She began to pace. "Is that it? Is this him somehow
intruding on my link with LaCroix? Trying to sow doubt in my decision?"
She glared at the mysterious woman. "Answer me!"
"What I am is not important. Think of
me as a guide if you like; a
guide to your true destiny."
"I know what my true destiny is, damn
it! You say
you are offering me a choice. Why would I choose death? This may sound
cliché to you, but I'm too young to die."
"You know that's not true. Your body
may be young, but your soul is
old. In your heart you realize this. Death for your body would
mean rebirth for your soul."
"My soul is quite happy where it is,
thank you very much!" Triona
snapped at the Guide.
"A soul that may be forever trapped,
never given rebirth. Do you give
that up for the love of a being not even human?" the Guide asked in
Janette's familiar accented voice, disconcerting her. "Remaking
yourself in his image? To forever be beyond the light?"
"It isn't one-sided," Triona
protested. "He loves me. Enough to want to
make me like him."
"Loves you? Like he loved the one
whose form I wear?" the Guide asked
derisively. "How long did he love her before casting her aside in favor
of his golden child, his Nicholas." Her voice dripped scorn.
She shook her head in denial. "It
isn’t the same," she whispered, "it
isn't. He isn't the same man he was then. Our relationship isn't the
same," she added, the guilt she felt at that evident on her face.
"True. He obsesses over you in a way
that Janette could only dream of.
Ironic, no? She chooses you as hers, finally someone to ease her
loneliness, and not only does he take you from her, he places you above
her in all things." The Guide pointed an accusing finger at her. "And
you allowed it, welcomed it in fact. How can you justify that betrayal?"
Visibly angry, Triona struggled with
the guilt that the Guide had so
cleverly exposed to the bright light of day. "I don't need to justify
ANYTHING!" she shouted. "Especially not to you! My relationship with
LaCroix, with Janette, or with anyone else is not your concern. Nor is
my soul," she spat out.
Suddenly, she found herself back in
the clearing, the Guide perched
elegantly on top of the stone by the spring. She realized that someone
was lying on the dais. Moving closer, she realized in shock that she
was looking at herself, her naked body barely covered by crimson silk.
Then the mysterious woman was
standing next to the dais, tilting the
head of the other Triona to the side, exposing the line of bite marks
that ran across her throat. "Is this what you call love?" She lifted an
arm up, and Triona could see yet more. The silk fell away as the arm
was raised, exposing the side of her breast and the mass of wounds
along the vein. She knew without needing to see that the other side of
her body would be much the same.
"He humiliated you, used you up, and
cast you out. And you claim to
have his love? How far will you abase yourself for this creature --
She clenched her fists, shoulders
shaking, being forced to remember a
time she had tried hard to push to the darkest corners of her mind.
"Stop it!" she hissed. "I forgave him long ago -- for all of it. We
forgave each other." Tears ran unheeded down her face. "He needs me, my
family needs me, and I need them."
Triona turned her back on the Guide.
"It's over. I won't play your game
anymore. I choose the night -- I choose love. There was never any other
choice," she said quietly.
The woman sighed, the sound blending
with the wind that suddenly
whipped the trees. "Then I can do no more. But be warned -- the path
you have chosen will not be what you envision. Only the twilight awaits
you, an eternity of neither dark nor light." She paused, and Triona
felt a hand on her shoulder, a breath at her ear, "If you survive…."
Once more, the dark took her, and in
the distance, she could hear
LaCroix calling her. She felt herself drift towards his voice. As
always, its power to seduce and ensnare compelled her, even as she lay
near death. "I wait for you, my child. Do not let the glamours and
hallucinations of your unconscious take you from me."
Heat…. Fire… coursed through her
veins, the feeling so intense, it was
almost pain. On the edge of her awareness, she felt cool flesh against
her lips -- and the fire that emanated from it. And still his voice
entreated her, "Drink of my blood, my spirit -- as I have drunk from
you. Take from me the only gift worthy of you, my lover, my child, my
The trickle of blood wasn't enough;
not anymore. She clasped her hands
to his wrist, drinking with mindless need. LaCroix hissed in pleasure
mixed with pain, feeling their bond strengthen at each drop of his
blood that passed her lips. She drank until he finally pulled his wrist
away, stroking her hair, and murmuring soothingly.
She felt a wave of exultation, not
knowing if it was hers or his. The
fire that coursed through her became sharp and icy, exhilarating her.
Then a shock of incredible agony tore across her and she felt the stab
of fear that shook LaCroix. Something was wrong. The final words of the
Guide haunted her as another wave of pain tore across her and she was
driven back into blackness, 'if you survive, if you survive….'
"And you know the rest," Triona told
her rapt audience. "I remember
vague snatches: voices, Methos, LaCroix, Stephanie. Pain, fear,
confusion." She drained her glass. "Then there seemed to be a long time
of nothingness, and then I woke up."
"I remember you walking into the
sitting room -- and into the sun,"
Sarah said softly.
She shivered at the memory. "No one
realized. LaCroix thought our
stronger bond was the only result of what happened. I still remember
walking into the sun, and the agony…."
…. One minute she was greeting her
sisters happily, the next she lay
screaming on the floor, writhing where she had collapsed, still in the
She heard Sarah shouting, "It's the
sun! Get her out of the sun!" And
felt hands pulling her out of the flood of agonizing light. Then
someone closed the drapes, plunging the room into blessed darkness.
Stephanie screamed for LaCroix. Lauren kept telling her it was going to
be okay. Terese propped her head up, trying not to touch the badly
The pain went on and on, the panicked
voices of the other women a
senseless babble in her head. Then LaCroix was there, Sarah trying to
explain what happened. "She walked into the sun and she started to
burn. Goddess, what's happening to her?"
"Quiet!" LaCroix demanded. The women
fell silent. He turned his
attention to Triona, taking her hand in a reassuring grip. "Shhh, all
will be well. You are healing already." As he spoke, he wrapped her
mind with his, calming her, easing the panic and pain.
"What the hell is going on?" Methos
demanded as he burst into the room,
alerted by the shouts and screams he had heard.
LaCroix shot him a quelling look.
"Sarah will explain -- quietly." He
picked Triona up, laying her gently on the sofa as Sarah drew Methos to
one side, explaining.
"What's happening to me?" she asked
through cracked lips, barely able
to open her damaged eyes.
"I don't know yet, child. I'm sorry…
for everything," he whispered. "It
was nott supposed to be like this."
"And it wouldn't be if you hadn't….
Damn you, Lucius!" Methos forced
himself to stop, Sarah’s hand on his arm, urgently trying to keep him
from upsetting Triona. He took a deep breath, dropping to his knees
next to her. "It'll be all right, love. I'll see to that." He shot
LaCroix a look that spoke volumes.
"We'll see to that," LaCroix corrected sharply.
"I know you will," she whispered,
attempting a smile. "I know you both
"And they have -- they've smothered
me, truth be told. Only the fear of
me losing my head motivated them to send me to Duncan. It was the only
fear that would pry me out of their sight." She grimaced, suddenly
jumping to her feet. "Maybe now they have you to worry about, they'll
leave me alone." From her voice, it didn't sound like she held out much
Terese reinforced that opinion. "But
we don't turn into toast, in
addition to everything else. I'm afraid it's going to take a long time
for them to give you a break."
Stephanie bounded into the kitchen at
that moment, forestalling
"They've finally decided," she
The three new Immortals looked at
each other nervously, the reason they
had been camped out in the kitchen back in their minds. So, they'd
decided -- but what?
the Page - Part Seven
In the end it was decided that Terese
would go with Amanda, Lauren with
Duncan, and Sarah with the only talked about Connor MacLeod.
Sarah packed her suitcase,
distracted. All three men had assured her
that Connor was an excellent choice, and she knew deep down it was
true. Neither Methos nor LaCroix would allow anyone but the best to
teach her. But the thought of being sent away to a man she had never
met was enough to unsettle her -- on top of all the changes in her
life, this was just one more.
Cool hands suddenly covering her eyes
brought her back to reality; and
a very familiar voice drove all thoughts of packing from her mind.
"Leaving so soon? And I just got here."
"Nick!" Sarah whirled around, totally
surprised, but thrilled that Nick
was standing here in her room. "But when? How? Why…."
His lips on hers cut off her
questions quite handily. Deciding that
questions could wait, she pressed herself against Nick's familiar, but
long absent body.
He scooped her into his arms,
carrying her to the bed and depositing
her there gently. "You've had a busy week I hear," he told her, sitting
on the bed next to her.
"I don't want to talk about it now,
Nick." She reached up, pulling his
head down to her. "In fact, I don't want to talk at all," she said
huskily, kissing him hard. Nick was familiar, known. She couldn't
believe he was here, when she most needed him. And she intended
to make the most of it.
Nick's hands started working on
removing her clothes while returning
her kiss with equal fervor. She smiled to herself; obviously he had no
objections to getting right down to brass tacks.
Soon, his hands were running over her
bare flesh, and she let his
familiar touch take her to where she had no worries, a place of only
joy and pleasure.
Sarah hugged Nick, his body still
damp from the shower, not caring he
was getting her clothes wet. "So. Was I your first?" she asked,
quirking a brow.
"First?" Nick looked confused.
"Immortal, silly!" She punched him
lightly on the arm.
"Ah!" he kissed her gently on the
cheek "Actually, yes, you were." He
grinned, picking up a robe and putting it on.
"Good," she replied, a smug smile on
her face. Changing gears, she
suddenly asked, "So are you going to tell me what brought you here? How
"LaCroix, acting for Triona,
actually. They seemed to think that you
might like to see me."
"And they were right! But I'm still
"Apparently, Triona likes you more
than she dislikes me." Nick grinned
impishly. "I owe her one, and she's going to really hate that!"
"Nick," she said, suddenly serious,
"please don't antagonize her this
"I was only teasing. I really do
appreciate that she had LaCroix
contact me." He hugged her, rubbing her back soothingly. "Is something
going on that I should know about? Why are you so concerned?"
She shook her head. "It's just been a
very… upsetting week for her.
Some things have changed. Major, life altering type stuff. And I just
would rather you didn't indulge in your usual baiting is all, okay?"
"Okay," he agreed. "And I suppose you
aren't going to give me any
details are you?"
"That's what I thought."
Sarah pulled out of his arms
regretfully. "And as wonderful as this has
been, I need to finish packing. Methos and I have a plane to catch this
Nick took her hand. "I wanted to talk
to you about that, actually."
"I don't want you to go."
"Nick, I have to! I need a teacher
and that means going away. I'm still
not used to the idea, but I trust LaCroix and Methos to do what's best
for me and all of us in this case."
Nick shook his head in exasperation.
"Do you hear what you are saying?
'Trust LaCroix'? And what ulterior motives does Methos have? You don't
even know this man they are sending you off to!"
"He's Duncan's cousin -- he trained
him. Duncan trained Triona and she
trusts him. He's an old friend of both Methos and LaCroix. What more do
you want?" She shook her head in irritation at his set expression.
"Why buy into this at all, Sarah?" he
protested. "Let me take care of
you. There has to be somewhere you will be safe until we can figure a
way out of this."
"There is no way out, Nick! I'm
Immortal! You need to deal with that. I
have, and I have no intention of denying my nature."
"Even if that means killing? I don't
want blood on your hands," he
entreated, needing her to see. "You deserve better."
"Blood on my hands? It's already too
late for that. Didn't LaCroix tell
you? I killed one of the bastards in the museum," she told him, her
voice like flint.
"But you had no choice! You were
defending yourself. You don't need to
kill ever again." He fought to keep his voice calm, trying to reason
"No, I wasn't! I was after revenge,
pure and simple. He deserved to
die, and I'd do it again if I had to. My only regret is that I didn't
get the other one. LaCroix did though, " she said with some relish.
"This is all LaCroix's fault! He’s
changed you, hardened you."
"You're so wrong, Nick." She sighed,
turning away. "This has nothing to
do with him. You need to either accept me and my choices, or leave --
for good. I won't have you judging me!"
"Sarah…" he began, only to be
interrupted by LaCroix's unexpected
"Am I interrupting? I can come back."
LaCroix looked at Sarah.
"Yes, you are!" Nick exploded.
"I don't believe my question was
directed at you, Nicholas. This is
Sarah Elizabeth's room after all."
Sarah Elizabeth? she thought. It must be
serious. "No, please stay,
LaCroix. What can I do for
LaCroix smiled a little at his son's
obvious annoyance before answering
her question. "I have a small going away gift for you, my dear." He
handed her the long leather box he had been holding.
"For me?" He nodded as Sarah set the
box on the bed and gently lifted
the lid, gasping at what lay inside. "Goddess, it's beautiful!"
"Though we have had our differences
in the past, you have been a loyal
and much cared for member of my family. I thought it only appropriate
that I gift you with what will be an extension of yourself for the ages
Sarah hefted the sword, the light
glinting off the blade like fire. It
was so exquisite; it already felt like it was hers. "Oh, LaCroix, I
don't know what to say." She looked at him, then back at her beautiful
sword. "No one has ever given me anything so precious."
"I am pleased that you like it,
child. May it serve you well. A
warrior's blade is his soul -- may this sword become yours"
"It already has." She leaned up,
kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you,"
she whispered. She turned to Nick. "Nick?"
Nick shook his head in defeat. "I
don't like it, Sarah, but I have to
accept it I guess. If you ever need me…."
"I know," she said softly. "I know."
Before they knew it, the women were
off to their new lives. Duncan had
taken Lauren directly, and, much to Terese's annoyance, Lexie had taken
her to Amanda. And before she knew it, Triona was closing up the Paris
chateau and making preparations to finally go home. It had been a long
time since she had been at the manor, and she couldn't wait to finally
She checked one final item off of
Stephanie's exhaustive list. There, that should do it. "Steph?"
"What?" the only remaining mortal in
LaCroix's family responded.
"What exactly are you supposed to be
doing in South America for
LaCroix?" she asked, puzzled at his sudden decision to send Stephanie
"Something about mining interests --
emeralds!" Her eyes gleamed in
"It's just so sudden." She picked up
Stephanie's itinerary from the
desk. "And looking at property in Costa Rica?"
She shrugged. "I dunno, Triona. He
seems to think we need another
bolthole I guess, and no one has actually checked out the mine he owns
in several years."
She shook her head. "Maybe. It just
seems…. I don't know."
"What? You think something is up?"
she asked, concerned.
"Don't mind me," she attempted
brightly. "I just see shadows behind
everything these days. I'm sure it's just what it appears -- LaCroix
being the General, dispersing the troops on his latest mission. Ours is
not to question why and all that."
Triona just nodded. Sure I'm sure, she tired to
reassure herself. I am.
the Page - Part Eight
Baker set the tea tray down on the
coffee table in LaCroix's suite.
"Thank you, Baker. That will be all for now."
"Very well, madam." He turned to
"Nothing more right now," LaCroix
told his butler. "You may go."
"Sir, madam." He made a slight bow,
leaving the room as quietly as he
Triona smiled to herself as she
poured her tea. LaCroix, noticing,
commented, "You seem very happy today, my dear."
Still smiling, she looked up at him.
"I am. It's so good to be home.
Even if it's much quieter than I remember."
"It will be noisier once Stephanie
returns. Much noisier." He rolled
his eyes a little.
Triona laughed. "You know you love
it. And speaking of Stephanie," she
began, watching him carefully, "I was wondering when she would be
returning? Her trip was unexpected."
"Perhaps it was, but the opportunity
arose, and I thought it a fine
time to give her more responsibility." She noticed that he didn't quite
look her in the eye. "Fear not, she will return soon to turn our lives
topsy-turvy once more."
She sipped at her tea, more sure than
ever that he was hiding something
from her. But what?
"But, in the meantime, I suggest we
take advantage of the quiet. It's
been a very long time since we have had time alone together." LaCroix
took her hand, kissing the inside of her palm. Drawing her to him, he
settled her in his lap, moving his lips from her palm to her mouth,
kissing her softly….
Triona came to, gasping for breath.
He'd almost killed her! He had been
kissing her, then he had pierced her throat, sipping. In that moment
she had felt regret and implacable purpose. She had panicked, trying to
pull away. 'I'm sorry, child,' she heard whispered in
her mind, then utter blackness.
She realized she was in one of the
dungeon rooms, her wrist shackled to
the wall. "Why are you doing this?" she asked, voice full of anguish.
Now she knew why Stephanie had been sent away -- he had wanted her
"Because I have no choice," he said
quietly, brushing the hair from her
face. "I regret this necessity more than you can know."
"If you regretted it, you wouldn't be
doing this!" she shouted, pulling
back from him.
"You know as well as I that sometimes
we have to take actions that are
unpleasant, but necessary for the greater good."
"After everything, you're going to
lock me up? Like some sort of
madwoman? How can you do this to me?"
Suddenly, he realized what she was
saying, why she thought she was
here. Horrified, he dropped down to look at her. "No! You think I
intend to keep you here indefinitely? Nothing is further from the
truth," he assured her.
She shook her head. "Then what? Why
am I here?"
"We need to determine how much
control you are able to exert over the
bloodlust after a quickening -- and if that control, if any, is
progressive." He gently wiped her tearstained face with his fingers. "A
few days, and it will all be over. I give you my word."
"What will be over? What are you
going to do to me?" She clenched her
hands around his arms, eyes full of fear.
LaCroix steeled himself for what was
to come. He could not let himself
be swayed by her fear or his love for her. "Janette," he called.
"No," she whispered, refusing to
believe. "She wouldn't be a part of
"Janette, like you, does what is best
for this family," he reminded her.
"What you order, you mean," she shot
As the door opened, Triona felt the
buzz of another Immortal and her
familial bond to Janette all at once. She pressed herself against the
cold stone wall, looking past LaCroix to the large iron bound door and
the two figures framed there.
"They are one and the same," he told
her, seemingly unperturbed. "Bring
him closer, Janette," he commanded.
Janette pushed the bound man closer
and to his knees. Triona could now
make him out in the dim light. His hands were behind his back, and he
had the drugged, faraway look of someone in a vampire's mental grip.
"Is there no other way, LaCroix?"
Janette asked without much hope.
"You know there is not," he snapped.
"It is an unfortunate necessity."
He turned his attention back to his youngest fledgling. "You said
yourself that your nature could prove a danger to the family, to
you. This," he said, waving a hand towards the captive Immortal, "is
the only path I see open to us."
"WHAT?" Triona screamed, the tension
getting the best of her. "What are
you going to do?"
LaCroix stood, walking behind the
kneeling man. "The only way to
trigger your vampire nature is, as far as we know, through a
quickening. It is my intention to provide the means." He nodded towards
Triona shook her head violently. "You
can't make me kill him. You
"I have no intention of making you the instrument of
his death." He raised a hand forestalling her enraged outburst. "Listen
to me, Triona. We were very careful in our choices."
She mouthed 'choices' to herself,
shaking her head numbly.
"They are all men who would
cheerfully take your head if given the
chance. Men that your ever so honorable teacher, MacLeod, would see as
his duty to rid the world of. Men that you would gladly kill if given
"Given the chance! This isn't a
fight; it's an execution. This isn't
right!" she raged at her Master.
"I am not about to enter into a
debate over the nature of right and
wrong. I have made my decision," he told her firmly. "I only regret
that it will be unpleasant for you." He took the sword that Janette
handed him. "No more discussion." The sword arced up in a ribbon of
light, the downward sweep slicing through the neck with an economy of
motion that bore witness to LaCroix's experience with a sword.
She buried herself in the cot as if
trying to ward off the tendrils of
misty light that sought her, even though she knew there was no escape.
The same burning pain that had taken
her before once more raged through
her body. Every sense was hypersensitive and hungered for just one
thing. But he wouldn't let her. He was holding her
back, denying her the blood she could taste in the air.
His mind sought to control hers, to
mellow the animal need that
consumed her. "Try and control it. Try. Control the hunger -- don't let
it control you!"
For a moment, his will pierced
through and she grabbed at his calm like
a drowning woman. "I can't… it hurts." She tried to twist away from the
hands that held her. "Stop it from hurting," she whispered plaintively.
Then the bloodlust overcame the tenuous hold LaCroix held over her,
slamming him back with a fury that stunned him.
Whatever her physical limitations,
mentally she was as strong as many
much older vampires, and used that strength to her advantage. No longer
able to bear her pain, and realizing that he was unable to temper her
bloodlust, he released the shackle that held her wrist and carried her
to where another of Janette's *aquisitions* had been bound in the cell
across from the one that held Triona.
She threw herself out of his arms
towards the heartbeat that was like a
siren call to her starved body. She was still feeding when LaCroix
pulled her away, eliciting a violent response. She kicked and screamed
as he lifted her away from her prey.
"Janette. The door." Janette hurried
to open the door so he could
remove her from the enticing scent and sound of her victim. "I do not
want her to gorge," he explained. "Perhaps control can be gained
somehow if her feeding is restricted." LaCroix didn't sound as if he
held out much hope for that plan. Still, Triona struggled against his
He carried her into the sommelier's
office off the wine cellar,
attempting to hold her immobile. Abruptly, she stopped struggling, and
instead started kissing him. The totally new sensation of her fangs grazing his mouth made him lose his
concentration and all thoughts of control to temporarily leave his
As he returned her kiss, he felt a
wave of exultation from her… just as
he was about to release her arms. The realization of what was happening
finally struck him. She was mentally manipulating him! Since she
couldn't physically control her prey, she used mental control instead
-- and to good effect. She had almost managed to draw him in, so
unexpected was her delicate assault.
He retightened his grip, both on her
body and her mind and pulled away
from her hungry lips. He felt the anger, saw the rage in eyes almost
red. Thwarted, exhausted, she collapsed in his hold, her hunger gnawing
at him unfulfilled. He heard Janette come to the door.
"How can you bear it?" she asked
softly, a note of pain in her voice.
"You feel a hundred fold of what I can feel of her torment."
Looking up at his eldest child, he
replied, "I only bear what she does.
My gift, my burden." He looked back down to the woman he held in his
arms. She was still struggling against him, but those struggles grew
ever weaker. "Leave us." Unable to follow through with his intentions
this time, he snatched a knife from the small table next to him,
slicing open his wrist. Placing it against her lips, he felt her begin
to drink. Slowly at first, but with increasing fervor as her strength
returned. He heard the door close quietly as Janette obeyed him.
This time, when she moved to his
throat, he didn't stop her. It was a
feeling he had never dared hope to experience -- her fangs sinking into
his flesh, drinking his blood. The ecstasy of it lit every cell of his
being. For a few moments they were one and it was a sharing he wanted
to relish and savor. Then it was over, as finally sated, she pulled
away from him, already drifting into unconsciousness. A few
tendrils of their joining remained and he drew them deeper into
himself, twining them around the part of his soul that would always be
hers -- never to be forgotten.
As she slept nestled against his
chest, LaCroix steeled himself for
what tomorrow must bring.
the Page - Part Nine
LaCroix leaned against the cell door
for a moment, hardening his heart
against the agony that was to follow. It had to be done -- there was no
other choice. Straightening, he indicated with a wave of his hand that
Janette should follow with her captive Immortal. He shoved open the
heavy oak door, striding into the room.
Triona didn't look at him when he
entered. She turned her head away,
burying herself under the quilts that were piled on her cot. He sat on
the edge of the bed, pulling the coverings away from her face. She
flinched as his hand stroked her cheek. "Don't do this," she whispered.
"I'm sorry. Sorrier that you will
ever know, my love."
She looked at him with eyes that knew
far too much. "You're wrong,
Lucien. I do know."
He shook his head. There was no
answer he could give that was worthy of
her. Stupid of him to have underestimated her, not to have realized she
would have learned of his intentions from his blood. He opened his link
to her fully, no longer shielding anything from her. There was no
longer any point.
Standing, he took the sword that
Janette held out to him. Once more he
took on the role of executioner, neatly severing the head from his
prisoner. This time, however, once the fireworks had ended, Triona
still seemed to have some awareness.
"Don't leave me," she entreated,
holding out a hand to him. Her eyes
were rapidly turning gold, but they were still aware.
He took the proffered hand. "I won't;
I promise you." Her fear was
palpable as she gripped his hand. Sitting against the wall, he drew her
to him, wrapping his arms around her. "Try and control the hunger.
You're doing so well, child. Fight it. I know you can -- you're strong."
Her fingers clenched at his arms.
"I'm trying…. The pain…." She gasped,
throwing her head back against his chest.
He tightened his hold on her, feeling
the bloodlust once more taking
full reign. But she had maintained control this time. It was only for a
moment, but it had been there.
Janette finally realized what was
happening as LaCroix made no move to
relieve the hunger that was ravaging the woman he held. "You're going
to let her starve to death!" she accused, shocked.
The look he shot her made her step
back a little in fear. "I do what is
necessary," he snarled. "She knew what I intended -- and understood
"How can you let her suffer so
horribly, LaCroix?" she demanded, aghast
at what was happening.
"Do you think I take any pleasure in
this? It is because of me that she
suffers. I never forget that." He glared. "If you have no stomach for
what must be done, Janette, then leave!" he snapped.
"No. I will stay." She walked over to
the cot, sitting next to her
Master and taking one of Triona's hands in hers.
Together, they waited.
This time, she woke in her own bed,
the moonlight pouring in through
the windows. Disoriented for a moment, she tried to recall the
nightmare that had woken her. Then it all came rushing back. It hadn't
been a dream -- it was all horrifyingly real.
As she began to tremble in
aftershock, a cool hand gently stroked her
brow. "Shhh. It's all over."
"I am here, cherie. Nothing will harm
Trying to remember, she asked, "What
happened? In the end, I mean. It's
all so blurry."
"That is for the best. Don't try and
remember," she soothed.
"But LaCroix…. He was… was going to
let me die. I don't remember dying
and I should. Shouldn't I?" More of what had happened filtered into her
mind. Feelings mostly. Details still seemed elusive.
Janette sighed. "Yes, he was. But in
the end, he couldn't bring himself
to do it. After hours of watching -- feeling -- you suffer, he couldn't
bear any more." She closed her eyes. "I never want to relive these last
few days. Can you forgive me my part in your torment?"
"Of course I can, Janette. I know you
had no real choice," she said
softly. Suddenly, she yawned. "I'm sorry. I'm so tired still."
"You should sleep. I will leave you
"No. Wait, please. Where is LaCroix?"
"He thought you wouldn't want to see
him after what happened," she
explained. "He wants to give you some space for now."
"I understand. Maybe he's right at
that," she said sadly, not really
sure how she felt about him after everything that had happened.
Janette stroked her cheek. "Give it
time, cherie. Sleep now. Tomorrow
is another day, hmm?"
"Mmm-hmm," she murmured, already
almost asleep. "We have time…."