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©NiteRose 1998-2006

Nothing is Impossible

Sequel to "Now and Forever"

Standard Disclaimers Apply.

Rosemary Beard ©1998

Claire opened her eyes and looked out at the crowd. She could feel his eyes on her, see his look of
pride. Rising to accept the applause of their audience, she and the other members of the chamber
group filed silently from the stage. She could still feel the force of the music running through her.
She had always loved the cello and shortly after her marriage to James, she had been forced to
give it up. Lucien had presented her with this magnificent Montagnana and her love of music had
been reborn. After the first faltering notes, she had managed to recapture the joy she had always felt as
she drew the bow gently across its strings. Now, a year later, here she was, part of a chamber society,
playing her beloved instrument for the enjoyment of others.

She had become fast friends with the others in her group, much to the disdain of Lucien, who
preferred to remain aloof and distant. None of them knew her secret and no one would. She could not
expose them to the wrath of the enforcers. Making her usual excuses, she hurried to join Lucien as he
waited for her by the stage door.

" Claire" a voice called out behind her, "Can I talk to you for a minute? I need a huge favor, if you

Claire turned around to find her friend Rachel hurrying towards her.

" I hate to ask you this." Rachel said, "But I really have nowhere else to turn."

Claire looked over her shoulder to where Lucien stood impatiently. Willing him to wait a moment
longer, she turned her attention back to her worried friend.They had been friends for many years. She
and Rachel had been inseparable until Claire's marriage to James, and the death of Rachel's parent
had forced them apart. It was only when Claire had returned to Toronto after James' tragic "accident"
that they had found each other again.

" What is it you need?" she asked. "I'll help in whatever way I can."

Lucien stood staring as his wife and her friend spoke in hushed tones. He could see Claire
smile at this mortal. It was a smile he knew all to well. It meant she was planning something that
would cost him, not in money perhaps, but in other ways. Claire was still as human as the day he had
brought her across, and he loved that in her, yet while it was amusing, it could also be a bit annoying.

The two women parted and Claire walked to where her husband waited. She smiled up at him, her
eyes sparkling. Reaching out, she took his hand.

" Lucien." she giggled softly, "We are going to have a baby."


Lucien stood looking down at her. Not knowing whether to laugh or be angry, he said
nothing as she continued.

" It's only for a couple weeks while Rachel and her husband are out of town. She says that Amy,
that's the baby's name, is a sweet child. Hardly cries at all. She really needs me to do this. She and David
have no family to turn to and I told her I would do this for her. Lucien, she's my oldest and dearest

The initial shock of her announcement, having worn off, was replaced by a feeling of utter

" I will not have my life or my house, disrupted by a mortal child." he said, anger flashing
in his eyes. "No Claire, this time you will do as I say. Now you go back and tell her you cannot do it."

" I won't do any such thing." Claire said, crossing her arms over her chest and looking up at
him defiantly. "Its my house too, and I told her I would take care of Amy until they returned. Surely
one small child can't be that much of a problem."

Lucien stood scowling at her.

" Children." he said, angrily, "are always a problem, no matter what their size. It's simply out of
the question."

" But she has no one else to look after Amy, and its their honeymoon. Rachel and David have
been planning this for two years, ever since they married. Its taken them that long to save for it, and
I'm not going to spoil it for them, and neither are you." she told him. Spinning on her heel, she walked
away, leaving him staring at her back. "Now, lets go home." she called out to him as she hurried out the

She knew he was angry with her, she could feel it, but she wasn't about change her mind and
give him the satisfaction of having his way yet again. It was true, he was her master, but he was
wrong about this. She had made a promise and she would not let him talk her out of it.
They flew home in silence. Claire tried to reach his mind, only to be shut out by a veil Lucien
had put there to stop her. If she could just reach him across the bond that joined them, she knew she could make him change his mind.

" The problem is," she said to herself, " he knows it too, that's why he was shielding himself from me."

When they arrived home, Claire set about making preparations for the baby's arrival. She
worked early into the next morning cleaning out the empty room that adjoined their bedroom, giving the
walls a fresh coat of paint, and hanging heavy curtains on the windows. Stepping back she scanned
the room for any minute details she might have missed. She would call and have a crib and some
other furniture delivered in the morning. David would not be here until the afternoon to drop off the
baby's things and Rachel would bring Amy later in the evening. Claire, satisfied with what she had
accomplished, headed off for a shower and a well deserved rest.

Lucien had been watching as she scurried around the room. Still agitated at having his wishes
ignored, he did nothing to help her.

" If she is determined to do this against my will." he thought, " she will do it without my assistance. It was she, and not I that made that ridiculous promise."

Turning quickly, he made his way into the Raven and consoled himself with a bottle of his finest vintage.


Claire awakened to what sounded like someone knocking down a wall. Opening her eyes
slowly, she reached out for Lucien only to find his side of the bed empty. The banging continued and
Claire reluctantly rose from the bed and grabbed her robe.

Making her way toward the sound, she realized it was someone knocking at the rear delivery
door and hurried to answer it. Opening the door and bracing herself against the brightness of the day, she
saw David standing there, holding what appeared to be a baby bed.

" I'm sorry, I must have overslept." she told him.

" Overslept?" he asked. "Its 3 in the afternoon. Didn't Rachel tell you I was coming?"

" Yes, of course." she mumbled, " I must have forgotten the time. Come in, come in." she said,
motioning for him to enter.

Claire wanted to close the door quickly, the sun was beginning to become uncomfortably warm,
and she was still quite tired.

" Can you manage with that?" she asked him. "My husband is not at home or I'm sure he would be only to happy to help you. " she lied.

She wished she knew where Lucien was, he could have at least opened the door.

Claire led the way to the empty room that the baby would occupy during her stay with them.
David struggled with the bed as he hurried to follow her.

" Amy is a bit fussy about sleeping in a strange bed." he said. "Rachel thought it would be easier for all of you if I brought her bed along."

David set the bed down and Claire knelt on the floor and began reassembling it.

" I think I can handle this if you want to go get the rest of Amy's thing." Claire told him.

" This is awfully heavy, maybe I should do it. " David said. "My car is just out back. You can
bring in the things from the car while I put the bed back together."

Claire looked at him. Not wanting to make excuses about the sun and allergies, she managed to
" persuade" him that it would a much better idea for him to retrieve the baby's things while she assembled
the bed.

" On second thought, " he told her, looking a bit glassy eyed, "That trunk lid does stick a bit.
Perhaps it would be better if I got the things out of the car. The bed is really rather simple to put
together, and if you need help, I won't be but a few minutes." , he said , repeating what she had told

Claire smiled as he hurried from the room.

Picking up the pieces of the bed, she began fitting them together as David scurried in and out, carrying
in box after box of toys and clothing. Claire brought in a rocking chair from her bedroom and sent David
into one of the adjoining rooms for the small dresser she had seen stored there.
Together they worked arranging and rearranging the furniture until David was satisfied that Amy would be happy with the new surroundings. Claire was becoming increasingly nervous, she hadn't fed yet and could feel her hunger rising. Silently she reached out to Lucien, pleading with him to come and help her. She needed to feed and soon. She had tried to hurry things along, but David had insisted that things be just so. She struggled to keep herself under control.

Hearing a slight noise, she looked up to find Lucien standing in the doorway, a full wineglass in
hand, smiling at her. She could smell the contents of the glass and it became more difficult to control the
hunger gnawing at her. Turning to David, she said sweetly.

" David, you remember my husband, Lucien, don't you? Perhaps the two of you could finish with
the furniture. I really would like to get dressed before Rachel arrives with Amy."

David had been too busy to notice that Claire was still dressed in a nightgown and robe.
Turning a pale shade of red, he stammered, " Uh, of course. I *am* sorry. Please, I'm sure we can finish

Claire walked to where Lucien stood. Her back turned to David, she glared at her husband.

" Where have you been." she hissed at him through clenched teeth. "I'm starving." Taking the glass
from his hand, she hurried down the hall as she emptied its contents. Taking a detour into the club,
she snatched a bottle from the bar and headed to her bedroom. Once inside, she closed the door and
refilled her glass. She hadn't been this hungry in a long time. She continued draining the bottle, a glass
full at a time, until its contents were nearly gone.

Satiated, she sat on the edge of the bed and thought about the baby. How nice it would have been
to have one of her own. She could imagine it as surely as if it were a tangible thing. The child, a little
girl of course, would have her mother's dark curls and her father's pale blue eyes. Her father....Claire
wondered what kind of father Lucien would have made. She knew he had loved Divia, yet.... Claire
shook herself out of her daydream. That wouldn't happen now, no matter how she wished for it.

Sadly, Claire stood up and walked to the wardrobe. Taking out a few things, she hurriedly
threw on some jeans and a sweater. Picking up the near empty bottle, she lifted it to her lips and drained
it of its last remaining contents, then left the room to return the bottle to its place at the bar.

Humming softly, she walked back to where she had left David and Lucien. She walked over to
her husband and gently laid her hand on his arm. Smiling up at him, she asked, "Have you two been
having fun while I was gone?"

" I'm afraid your husband has some rather old-fashioned ideas about raising daughters, Claire.
Someone should remind him this is the 90's, we don't "train" our children anymore." David said,
rather gruffly.

Claire could feel Lucien stiffen. She knew he did not like David and would not tolerate much
more of his tone. Smiling, she laid her cheek against Lucien's shoulder.

" He is of the "old school" I'm afraid." she said to David, "But he means well. Amy will be fine in our care, I assure you."

" I certainly hope so. This was Rachel's idea, not mine. I would just as soon have taken Amy with
us." he said quickly. "Now if you will excuse me, I have other things to attend to before we leave
tomorrow. I'll show myself out."

David walked from the room, down the hall, and disappeared out of the rear door, slamming it behind

" Imagine this mortal, " Lucien spat, " Telling ME how to raise children, as if he were the
expert. He as much as told me himself, he's still new to this experience." His eyes were ringed in gold. "I,
on the other hand, have been a father for centuries. I could tell him much about fatherhood that would
soon change his mind."

" Lucien, " Claire said quietly, taking his face in her hands. "Do this for me, please? I'll not ask for a favor again."

She looked up at him, her eyes a warm, golden brown. Claire put her arms around his neck and drew his face down to hers.

" Its only for two weeks. What is two weeks out of eternity?"

He looked down at his wife. She was right of course. In view of the centuries they would spend
together, two weeks was merely the blink of an eye. Drawing her into his arms, he kissed her and held
her to him.

" Alright." he said, "but only for these two weeks. I am not running a child care center. And YOU are responsible for her care. Do not come to me if it doesn't go as easily as you've planned." he said, holding her close to him.

Claire smiled and tightened her arms around him. Standing on her toes, she gave him a quick kiss and hurried off to answer the front door.

" That will be Rachel and Amy. " she said happily as she exited the room. Lucien stood looking after her.
His thoughts turned to his own child, "If Claire had been Divia's mother..........."


Claire opened the door and admitted Rachel. The baby, wrapped up tightly to guard
against the chill night air, was barely visible.

" She's fallen asleep." her friend whispered, " Poor dear, car rides always tire her out."

Claire motioned quietly for Rachel to follow and led her to the room that she and David had
prepared. Turning on the lamp, she pointed to the bed, which had been set up well away from the
window. Rachel walked quietly across the room and gently laid Amy in the crib. Moving swiftly and with
an efficiency borne of experience, she unwrapped the baby and removed her coat. Amy merely sighed, and
continued sleeping.

Claire watched as Rachel went about the room caring for her child. A stab of envy shot through her and she turned away momentarily. Steeling herself against such notions, she walked across to where the baby slept and looked into the crib. Rachel was just covering her with a blanket
when the child stirred and opened her eyes.

Claire held her breath. Amy's small head was covered with a riot of dark curls, and Claire
found herself looking into a pair of pale blue eyes. Claire stood there staring.

" She's so beautiful." Claire said, looking up at her friend.

The child, as if aware that she was the object of their discussion, smiled up at Claire and
made a cooing sound.

" May I?" Claire asked her friend, motioning towards the baby.

" She really should be sleeping now." Rachel answered, looking into Claire's pleading eyes, " oh,
go ahead, I'm sure she won't mind."

Claire flashed her friend a radiant smile and reached down to pick up the baby, and cradled her
gently. Smiling, Amy reached out and touched Claire's face. Instinctively, Claire gently kissed the
tiny fingers. The feel of the small, warm hand against her cold lips and the soft, sweet smell of the
baby in her arms flooded Claire with emotions, anger at James for having robbed her of this most
precious gift, regret that she would not know the feeling of a child growing inside her. Had she been
able to remain mortal only a short while longer, perhaps she could have given Lucien a child. Claire
fought to hold back the tears that had formed in her eyes.

Rachel smiled. "Amy always seems to have that effect on people." She said, looking down at her
daughter. "She really should be sleeping."

Drawing the child closer to her, Claire began softly humming as she walked across the room
and seated herself in the well worn rocking chair. Laying the baby on her shoulder, she began to gently
stroke Amy's back as she continued humming. Soon the child was sleeping peacefully. Rachel whispered.

" She really is worn out, poor dear." Claire looked up at her friend and smiled.

Slowly rising from the chair, she carried the sleeping child across the room and put her back into the crib.
Rachel covered Amy with a light blanket and snapped off the light. Quietly the two women made
their way out of the room.

" David was worried about leaving Amy with you. He doesn't like Lucien I'm afraid, but I told him everything would be fine. I guess first time fathers are always this way." Rachel said, as they
walked back toward the club.

Rachel reached out and put her hand on Claire's arm. "I can't thank you enough for doing this for us."

Claire smiled at her friend. "It's no problem." she said, " I'm glad I could help, now relax and enjoy your trip."

The two women chatted as they walked toward the entrance.

" I really must be getting back." Rachel said, looking at her watch. " I still have packing to do."

Claire opened the door and stood watching as her friend made her way to the cab. A quick wave and
Rachel was on her way. Claire shut the door and hurried back to the room where Amy was sleeping.
She walked quietly across the room and stood looking into the crib, listening to the baby's
slow, steady breathing. Reaching down, Claire gently touched the small hand that curled lazily
above Amy's head. She could not forget the feelings this child had stirred in her. Wiping the tears from
her eyes, Claire turned and hurried from the room.

" This is just silly." She said to herself as she walked down the hall. " I will never have a child of
my own and the sooner I accept that the better."

She slowly made her way into the Raven and across to the booth were Lucien was recording his show.
Claire pasted a smile on her face as she reached for the doorknob.

" The baby is sleeping peacefully." She told him, as she entered the room. "I told you she would
be no problem."

Claire walked over and stood behind him. Leaning down she kissed the top of his head
and gave him a quick hug.

"I really need to get about learning the new piece we are playing next month. Now where did I put it?"

Claire made a show of rummaging around through the papers on a nearby table.

"Here it is." she called out happily, holding up a packet of sheet music. "If you need me, I will be in the back."

Claire sailed from the room before Lucien could respond. Shutting the door behind her, she
closed her eyes and leaned against the door. Taking a deep breath she opened her eyes and walked away.
Lucien sat staring at the door. Claire had entered and left so quickly he wondered what she was about. Her mood had been too happy, too pleasant. Stretching his mind out to her, he met with resistance. A puzzled look crossed his face. Reaching across the console in front of him, he went back to
the recording he was making, his mind not on his work, but on Claire



Claire sat staring at the music in front of her. Picking up her bow, she began to play. She knew this piece by heart, Mozart had always been her favorite. Lovingly she ran her fingers up and down the strings as the room filled with music. She poured her emotions, her rage, her regret, into this piece, letting the music cleanse and comfort her. Her mind raced as each emotion flooded through her, she
could see herself as she had been, alive, mortal, human. She thought back to the night that had all changed and rage filled her as she remembered how quickly that life had left her. She relived the rage she
had felt towards James as she had repaid him in kind by draining the last drop of his life. Only regret
remained, regret that he had robbed her of the chance of having her own child.

Perhaps Lucien had been right, perhaps she should have suggested that Rachel find someone else to care for Amy. This feeling of regret was new to her, she hadn't considered the effect this would have on her. She never imagined that she was still capable of such feelings. Claire gently lifted her bow and placed it on the table in front of her. The walls in the room seemed to be closing in on her. She had to go out for
a while, try to clear her head and shake off these feelings. She needed to talk to someone about what
she was feeling, but who? Lucien? No, he would tell her she was being foolish, clinging to a life that no
longer existed. Nick? No, she knew he would tell her that it was only her natural longings to be human
again. But she didn't want to be human if it meant only a short life with Lucien. She wanted an eternity
of nights with him.

Claire jumped up from her chair.

" Of course!" she said to herself.

Carefully placing her cello back into its case, she rested it against the chair and hurried off to find Lucien. Opening the door to his booth, she discovered it empty. She heard the sounds of voices and music and realized that he would be in the club. Moving quickly, she made her
way into the Raven and over to where Lucien stood. Claire stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.

" I'm going out for a little while. Listen for the baby will you? She's sleeping peacefully and I'm
sure she will be for the whole time I'm gone. I'll be back as soon as I can." She said quickly, smiling up
at him.

Lucien shot her a look.

" We agreed that YOU would look after the child. . . ." he started angrily.

Before he could finish what he was saying, Claire raced from the room and was out of the door, leaving Lucien standing at the bar looking after her.


Claire's feet touched down lightly on the pavement outside the coroner's building. Moving at vampire speed, she managed to slip inside and make her way to Nat's office unnoticed. Grasping the
doorknob, she pushed the door open as she tapped lightly with her free hand.

" Nat?" she called out, "Are you busy? It's me, Claire. I really need to talk to you."

" Claire?" Nat answered. "No, I'm not too busy, its been a slow night, thank goodness. I was just finishing up some paperwork. Never seems to be enough time for it, everything around here is a rush job. Come in." she said, looking at her visitor." What's wrong?"

" Everything and nothing, I suppose." Claire sighed. "I just needed another woman to talk to I guess." She said, as she walked to an empty stool and brought it over to sit beside the desk.

Seating herself, she looked over at her friend. "Have you ever regretted not having
children?" she asked.

" Yes, sometimes I suppose, but what brought this on? You seem so happy with your life the way it is."

" I was." Claire answered sadly, "until tonight."

Nat reached out and touched Claire's arm. "What happened to change that." She asked, a touch of concern in her voice.Claire sat staring at the wall as she told Nat about the events of the last two days. Tears came to her eyes as she described the feelings of anger and rage she felt.

" If it were only possible to have a child of my own." Claire said wistfully, "but I know that will never happen now and I have James to thank for that."

" Does LaCroix know what you are feeling?" Nat asked, wondering what he would say about Claire's urges toward motherhood.

" How can I tell him? He doesn't understand why I can't let go of my mortal emotions. You know what happened with his child. Do you honestly think he could forget that?"

" No, I don't imagine he could." Nat said, " But its not like you will ever have to worry about that, you can't have children, not as you are now."

Claire stood and began pacing the room. "I know that." she said, regret filling her voice, "Why can't I just let these feelings go?"

" Because they are natural, at least in a mortal woman, but you are not mortal. You have to accept that. I've been working with Nick towards a cure, but its not something that appears to be close. We've had a few moments of success, but more setbacks than any real progress." Nat said, thinking back to the drug that had allowed Nick to experience the sunlight for the first time in centuries.

" I don't want to be mortal again, not if it means I have to give up Lucien. I want all the time eternity has to offer with him." Claire said. "I'm not like Nick, mortality doesn't hold anything but pain for me."

" Perhaps you could "adopt" a child?" Nat suggested.

" I thought of that. Can you imagine an agency allowing US to adopt. Just think what the background check would uncover. No, that isn't an option for us. I'll just have to accept that.", Claire said sadly.

" I remember a case Nick worked on once. An old "acquaintance" of his, a female vampire. She
had the same feelings you are experiencing." Nat said, half talking to herself.

" OH?" Claire asked, her interest peaked. " What did she do about it?"

" There was some old legend that said something about a full moon and a special mortal. She believed that if she became pregnant she would also regain her mortality. She killed her mortal lover
when it failed. She left Toronto, as far as we know."

" What legend?" Claire asked excitedly.

" Now wait, its only a legend. It wasn't true. A man died proving it. Surely YOU don't believe..." Nat started.

Claire bolted across the room and took hold of Nat's hand. "Legends are, more often than not, based in
fact. Suppose it WAS possible?" Claire eyes sparkled at the thought. "Just think of it, it might even lead to
a way to cure Nick."

Nat stood there looking at Claire. Surely she didn't believe this, it was just a story, yet...... She had
never actually done any tests on any vampire other than Nick, perhaps there was a difference with
female vampires, something in their physical makeup.

" I'd have to run some tests, some not very pleasant." She told Claire, "AND there is no
guarantee I would find anything different than I have found with Nick."

Claire looked at her beaming. Rolling up her sleeve, she offered her arm to Nat. "Test away
Doc. I have lots of time.


Lucien tapped his fingers impatiently on the bar.

"What mischief is she up to now?" he asked himself.

Reaching out across the link that joined them, all he could sense was her presence in the city, she was blocking everything else from him. He could almost hear her giggling as he tried to reach her.

" Damn!" he said outloud, slamming his fist on the bar. "What is she playing at?"

Alma, standing close by, sensed his anger and heard his outburst. Smiling to herself, she walked to where he stood.

" Trouble?" she asked, coyly.

" Nothing that need concern you." he told her icily.

He didn't like having anyone pry into his personal life.

" Go back to your friends. I have things to do."

Lucien stood, walked across to the radio booth and opened the door. A small sound caught his attention. It was a baby's cry. Looking back at Alma, he knew she heard it too. Smiling, she turned and walked back to where her friends stood. Soon they were laughing brightly.

Anger rose in him. Turning sharply, he charged to the back of the building and opened the room where Amy, had only moments before, been sleeping peacefully.

" Where is Claire?" he asked, " This is HER responsibility, not mine."

He walked over and peered into the crib. The child was crying loudly now, as if she were in great distress. His anger faded as he looked at this small, innocent face, wet with tears. Reaching clumsily into the crib,he was unable to find the cause of this outburst. Amy looked up, her bright blue eyes still glistening with tears. Unsure of what he should do, he picked her up carefully,

" What is this noise about?" he asked her, as if he expected her to answer him.

Amy smiled at him and reached out to touch his face. His first reaction was to pull away
from her touch. The baby looked at him, puzzled, her lower lip quivering as if she were about to cry
again. Lucien stood there looking at her. He hadn't had much experience with babies and wasn't quite
sure what to do next. His mind flashed back to Divia's infancy. Her mother had always handled this. He saw very little of her when she was this young. Divia had been raised almost alone, as he was often away with his army.

Lucien walked across the room, cradling the baby as if he were afraid she would break, and seated
himself in the rocking chair. Amy yawned and looked up at him expectantly.

" Well, little one. " he said, "what do we do now?"


" It may be a few days, possibly a week, before I know what we have to work with." Nat told
Claire. "I have to do this on my own time or risk being discovered."

Claire finished buttoning her shirt and walked across the room to where her friend stood.
Putting her arms around her, she hugged Nat tightly.

" Thanks for listening." she said, "and thanks especially for trying to help."

" There are no guarantees." Nat said seriously, "This may just be another setback, another dead end. You do understand that, don't you?"

" Yes, I understand, and if turns out that way, then I'll accept it, but for now, at least I have
hope." Claire's eyes filled with tears. "At least I will know for sure, one way or another."

Nat looked at her, she wanted this to work not only for her friend's sake, but for Nick as well. Claire had
been right, this could lead to a cure for him, or it could lead to nothing, but it was a new direction, a
new lead to follow.

Claire looked at the clock on the office wall.

" Oh my!" she said, "Lucien! He's gonna be furious with me. I've been gone so long,"

Waving to Nat, she made for the door and hurried out onto the street.

Taking flight, she made her way back to the Raven and what she thought would be akin to judgment day.
Standing outside the door to the club, she pulled herself up to her full height, and walked in smiling. Looking around the room she didn't see Lucien anywhere. Closing her eyes, she sensed him in another part of the building.

"The baby's room." she said under her breath, and hurried off to find him.

As she walked quickly across the club, she heard his voice faintly, he was speaking in French. A puzzled look crossed her face. She recognized a few of the words, but what on earth was he talking about, and to who?

Claire turned the corner and started down the hall toward Amy's room, she stopped. Of course she recognized the words! It was "Goldilocks" only in French! Making her way quietly to the doorway, she leaned against the frame, smiling. Sitting in the rocking chair, was Lucien. Amy was cradled securely in his arms, her eyes on his face, as he stumbled through the fairy tale he was telling her.

Claire backed up and raced off down the hall. She didn't want to disturb this scene. This, combined with the hope Nat had given her, made her still heart sing. She made her way back into the club, walked to the bar, and ordered a glass of Lucien's finest vintage. Seating herself on a stool at the corner of the bar, she settled back, sipping from the glass, and waited for him to appear. Moments later, Lucien made his way into the club and walked to where Claire was seated.

Looking down at her, he took the glass from her hand. His eyes met her and he said quietly.

" We will not discuss this. The child was in distress and you were not here to see to her needs. This changes nothing."

Raising the glass to his lips, he took a long drink, turned and walked away.


The next week went by slowly. Claire listened anxiously for the phone, hoping each time it rang that Nat would be on the other end with good news. Amy had settled into a routine and Lucien, although he went out of his way to avoid her, seemed to mind Amy's presence less as each new day passed. Rachel and David would be back in a few days, and the baby would be on her way out of their lives.

Claire fed and bathed the child and had just put her down to sleep when the phone rang.

" It's probably someone wanting to sell Lucien aluminum siding for the club." she told herself as she covered Amy with a light blanket.

Not wanting to get her hopes up, she moved slowly as she gave Amy a favorite toy and snapped out the
light. Slipping out of the room, she closed the door and made her way to Lucien's office.

" Ah. Dr. Lambert, to what do I owe this honor?" she heard Lucien croon into the phone as
she neared the door. "Yes, she's here." he said, looking up at Claire as she entered the room.

Lucien gave her a suspicious look and handed her the phone.

" Nat? Hi, how are you?" she asked, wishing that she were alone.

Exchanging pleasantries, she gave Lucien a pleading look. He sat there smiling at her, yet making no attempt to provide her with the privacy she wanted.

" No, I'm not busy." she said, flashing a pasted smile at her husband. "Sure, I'll be right there. See you in a few minutes. Bye." she quickly replaced the receiver and turned to leave.

" You are NOT going out and leaving me with the child again." he said coldly.

Claire walked over to stand by his chair. Smiling sweetly at him, she bent down and kissed him.

" Its important." she said, as she settled herself in his lap. "Besides", she said, planting light kisses slowly up and down the side of his neck. " Amy is sleeping, I won't be gone long, and I think she likes you."

Claire could feel him stiffen at the thought of being alone with the child. She reached out and
unbuttoned his shirt. Leaning forward, she kissed the base of his throat, her hands moving up and down
his bare chest.

Lucien put his arms around her and drew her to him. Lifting her chin with his hand, he looked into her eyes. Claire could see the gold rimming his eyes. Leaning down, he kissed her. Claire could feel the passion running through her. She loved him so much. If this worked, she would be able to give him a child.

Putting her arms around his neck, she whispered in his ear. " I'll make it up to you when I get back."

Lucien sighed and released her from his arms.

" You're determined to go out, no matter what I say?"

" Yes" she said, looking into his eyes.

" Then go, but I WILL hold you to your promise." he said.

" Please do." she giggled, as she stood up and planted a kiss on his forehead. "I'll be as quick
as I can."


Claire touched down lightly outside the coroner's building, and made her way to Nat's office. Tapping lightly on the door, she entered the room and found both Nick and Nat there.

" Nick!" Claire exclaimed, "How are you?"

She moved quickly across the room to wrap her arms around him.

" Its been ages! What are you doing here? Nat didn't tell me you were here."

Claire released him and made her way to a chair. Seating herself comfortably, she looked at Nat.

" Well? " she asked, her heart racing as she waited for a response. "Since Nick is here, I imagine
its good news?"

Nat looked at Nick and then back at Claire.

" Claire......." she started.

Claire's heart sank. She could tell by the look on her friends face that the tests hadn't turned out as she
expected. Tears began to gather in her eyes.

" Tell me." she said softly. "I have to know for sure."

Nat walked to where Claire was seated. Nick stood behind her.

" Claire," Nat began again. "I can't help you. The tests showed that you don't need my help. You
are already pregnant."

Claire looked up at her. Had she heard correctly?

" What?" she murmured, not quite sure how to react.

Nat was smiling.

" I don't know how it happened, but you are pregnant. As far as I can tell, the baby is due in seven months."

" But, you said it was impossible. You said...." Claire stammered, looking from Nat to Nick
and back again.

" I know what I said, but I ran the tests several times to be sure. Its true. I can't explain it, but it is true. The tests also show that your blood is changing. The "virus", if you will, that made you a vampire is mutating, you are becoming human again."

" NO!" Claire said, jumping up from her chair. "I don't WANT to be mortal!"

Claire began pacing the room.

" How is this possible? I only wanted a child, Lucien's child. I never wanted to be mortal again. I want to stay with Lucien. If I become mortal again, I can't do that."

" You aren't completely mortal." Nick said, putting his arm around her shoulders.

" No, that's true. You may never be completely mortal, we just don't know." Nat said, looking at Claire's distressed face. "But this should be a happy time for you. You've gotten what you wanted. You're going to have a baby."

" But not like this!" Claire sobbed, putting her head on Nick's shoulder. "How did this happen?"

Nick led Claire to a chair and sat her down.

" There is something I think I should tell you." he said. "It might help to explain some of this."

Claire turned her tear-stained face up to Nick. She sat quietly as he told her of Janette and her "cure".

" So, you think that's what happened to me? That it was my love for Lucien and his for me, that made this possible?" she asked.

" I don't know." Nick said solemnly, "but I don't have any other explanation to offer."

Claire looked at Nat. "So what do we do now?" she asked quietly.


Claire stood looking down at herself. She didn't see any changes, but she knew they would come. Picking up a pillow, she put it in front of her and tried to imagine what she would look like in a few months time. Would Lucien still love her when she grew larger?

" Lucien!" she whispered. "How am I ever gonna tell him?"

Claire tossed the pillow back on the bed and walked over to sit down. He had noticed a difference in her
right away. It was becoming harder to shield herself from him so she had filled her mind with thoughts of
Amy. She'd have to tell him though, and soon. Rachel and David came and took Amy home last night.There was nothing left now to fill her mind against his probing. When she was a little girl, she had always imagined how she would tell her husband that they would have a child, but this was certainly not the way she imagined it would happen.

She was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't hear him enter the room.

" Claire?" he said softly, crossing the room to where she sat.

Claire looked up at him with a start. Smiling, she stood and walked to the window. Pulling back the curtain, she gazed out into the night.

" I'm sorry Lucien, I was thinking of Amy." she lied.

Lucien walked to her and put his arms around her. She stiffened, and pulled away slightly. A concerned
look crossed his face as he turned her to look at him.

" Have I done something to make you angry with me?" he asked, lifting her face to him. "It's
because I didn't want Amy here, isn't it?"

" No," she said quietly, wrapping her arms around her neck, and pulling him close to her.

" Then what is it? Things have changed between us, and I want to know why."

Claire took a deep breath and looked up at him. Gathering up her courage, she whispered, "We
are going to have a baby."

Lucien stood looking at her in stunned silence. "Not again." he said coldly, "You promised me you would
not ask again. I will NOT be seduced into looking after another of your friends children."

He pulled her arms from around his neck and paced across the room.

" We agreed that Amy would be the last. You assured me that you would not allow yourself to be talked into such a scheme again. Am I constantly to be bombarded with a parade of small children?" He raged at her.

Claire stood quietly as his anger spent itself.

" You don't understand." she said sadly, "Its not someone else's child."

Seating herself on the edge of the bed, she put her hands to her face and whispered.

" I'm pregnant."

Lucien stood looking at his wife.

"That's impossible." he said simply, "You're a vampire."

" Not anymore, at least not completely." she said, looking up at him through tears.

Claire told him about the visit to Natalie and the tests she had run. She explained the results of those tests to him.

" I know about Janette and her cure too." she told him. "Nick told me. Its possible that it worked for me also, but I never wanted to be mortal. I only wanted to have your child. Nat thinks that it is possible that my desire for a child, combined with our love has brought this about. I wanted you to be happy, but I've failed, you don't want this child." Claire sobbed softly.

Lucien looked down at her. He could feel her pain. He wanted to take her in his arms and make that pain stop, but he wasn't sure how he felt about all of this.

Turning sharply on his heel, he left the room and closed the door behind him.


Lucien walked by the lake thinking about the events of the past. His life had been so settled before Claire entered it. She had brought something into it that added an excitement to each day. He loved her as he had loved only once before, but a child was not something he had expected even in his wildest dreams. True, he had always thought of Nicholas as his son, but now he was to have a child of his own.

A child of his own. Those words haunted him. Was it Divia's memory that kept him from accepting the news with anything more than a feeling of dread? And Claire? What of her? She was becoming mortal again, would she be willing to give that up for him again? She had been willing once, but he couldn't be sure that motherhood wouldn't change that.

It didn't matter. Suddenly he realized it just didn't matter. Claire was part of his life now and he wanted her to continue to be, no matter what the future held. He was going to be a father, a REAL father this time. This child would not be a repeat of Divia. This child would have a father who would be there for all the events of its life. This child would have two parents that loved it and each other.

Taking flight, he returned to the Raven.


Claire sat sobbing as if her heart would break. If this is what it meant to be mortal, she wanted no part of it. She had pushed Lucien from her with her wild schemes. He had been right all the time. She had accepted what she had become and should have shed the mortal feelings she had so desperately clung to.
And now she was going to have a baby, a baby he didn't want. How could she bring this child into a world that had just fallen apart around her?
The baby, she had to think of the baby now. What happened to her was no longer important she had to
take care of the child.

Drying her tears, she hurried to the wardrobe and began throwing clothes onto the bed. She'd get away for a while, put some distance between Lucien and herself. Then when the child was born, he wouldn't have to deal with it.

She had thought of leaving once before, when James was after her. It had been for his protection, before she knew what Lucien was, now it was for his own good. He didn't want this child and she loved him too much to be a burden on him.

Claire busied herself finding suitcases and trunks and packing her things.


Lucien touched down outside the Raven and hurried inside. He had to talk to Claire, tell her what was in his mind. Opening the door, he caught sight of her half filled suitcases and the look of determination on her face.

" What do you think you are doing?" he asked her, a touch of agitation in his voice.

" Leaving." she said simply. "You don't want this child and I won't burden you with it."

" You are not taking MY child anywhere." he said, moving toward her, his eyes becoming

She looked up at him, puzzled. "but, you said......." she started.

" Forget what I said." he told her, taking her in his arms. "The child is mine and I will NOT give up another of my children, nor will I let you walk out of my life. I love you Claire, you belong to me."

Claire looked up at him, her eyes shining.

" Oh, Lucien. I love you too."


Claire woke the next day as waves of nausea swept over her. Pulling herself up to a sitting position, she looked around. The bed beside her contained only the impression of her missing husband.

" Lucien!" she called out, as she got out of bed.

Fighting the feeling of sickness that threatened to engulf her, she made her way unsteadily across
the room and opened the door.

" Lucien!" she called again.

Hearing no reply, she walked slowly down the hall and into the club. It too was empty. Claire felt as if her insides were at war. Slowly, she walked to the bar and leaned against a stool.

" I just need to feed." she told herself, and made her way to the small fridge that was kept stocked with Lucien's special vintage.

Taking out a bottle and placing it on the bar, she turned to retrieve a glass.A small bowl of pretzels caught her eye, so she picked it up and placed it, along with the glass, on the bar. She remembered hearing somewhere that crackers or pretzels were often used by mortal women to combat morning sickness and she was willing to try anything to relieve the uneasy feeling in her stomach.

Gingerly, using her thumb and forefinger, she picked up a pretzel and brought it to her mouth. The salty taste on her tongue did nothing to alleviate the rocking in her stomach. Reaching for her bottle, she poured the red liquid into the glass and downed its contents in one long swallow. This only made her nausea worse and Claire jumped up from the stool and dashed to the bathroom, as quickly as her feet would carry her.

Half way down the hall, she encountered her husband. Holding her hand tightly over her mouth, she looked at him pleadingly and resumed her race. Moments later, she walked back into the club, a cold cloth pressed to her forehead. Wearily she seated herself on a stool and leaned over the bar. Lucien walked over to stand behind her.

" Are you alright?" he asked, a concerned look on his face.

" I'm just fine." she said sarcastically, looking up at him."I always do the hundred yard dash first thing after waking up. That's how I keep my trim figure."

Claire absent-mindedly picked up a pretzel and dipped it into the glass before her. Popping the pretzel into her mouth, she smiled. Grabbing a handful of the small snacks, she dropped them into the glass. She sat there grinning as she watched them float to the top.

Reaching into the glass with her fingers, she popped them one at a time into her mouth. Lucien shuddered.

" Such a waste of a fine vintange." he thought.

Claire sat there happily spearing the soggy pretzels as the nausea passed and she once again felt like her
old self. Looking up at him, she held out the glass.

" Want one?", she asked.

" Uh, no thank you." he said, looking a bit ill himself.

Shrugging, she went back to dropping pretzels into the glass. "You don't know what you're missing." she
said, munching happily. "Tastes rather good really."

Sighing loudly, Lucien turned and left the club. He had the feeling the next few months would
be interesting, to say the least.


"I keep having these strange cravings." Claire told Nat, as she pushed herself out of the chair.

" Most pregnant woman crave things they wouldn't eat otherwise." Nat said, matter-of -factly,
writing on a small pad in front of her.

" But raw liver covered in chocolate ice cream?" Claire asked. "Lucien refuses to even sit with me during dinner." she giggled, picturing his look of horror at her cuisine.
Nat looked at her friend.

" Well, I agree that is a bit extreme, but in your case....." she started.

" What's going to happen when the baby comes? Will it be mortal? Will I? " Claire asked, a
worried look crossing her features.

" That I can't say. I just don't know. As far as I can determine, the child is mortal, but you, on the other hand are neither." Nat flipped through some papers on the desk in front of her. "Your latest
blood tests show that the mutation has remained constant since you passed the 4th month, but there is
no way to tell, we just have to wait. In the mean time I suggest you keep taking your vitamins and eating
as sensibly as possible."

" Uh, about the vitamins." Claire said, wrinkling her nose. "I keep forgetting to take them."

Nat looked at Claire and smiled.
" You and Nick." she thought. "You still have 4 months, have you started looking for a name for the baby yet?"

" No, we can't seem to agree whether it will be a boy or girl." she said. "Lucien is sure it will be a son. We haven't even gotten around to shopping for the baby yet. Lucien wants to order everything by phone." she sighed.

" Tell him your doctor ordered you to go out and get some exercise." she told her, "If he doesn't agree, you send him to see me."

Claire laughed.

" I'll be sure to tell him that." she said, imagining Natalie and Lucien nose to nose. "Thanks. If you and Nick aren't busy, could you join us for dinner some evening?"

" I'd like that." Nat said, then remembered the liver and ice cream. "But I'll have to talk to Nick first." she added quickly.

Claire walked over and hugged Nat.

" I really should get back now, its getting late, and I'm sure you have work to do. I can't thank you enough for your help, I don't know what I'd do without you."

" I can't very well recomend another doctor, now can I? I'm afraid I don't know any who are prepared to deal with cases like yours." Nat said, smiling. "I'll see you in a month, and don't forget your vitamins!"

" Yes ma'am." Claire said, as she slipped out of the door.


"Stop here!" Claire said excitedly, pointing to the small shop on the corner ahead. "Oh Lucien,
isn't it sweet."

Looking in the direction she was pointing, he shuddered. In the shop window was a small, frilly,
pink baby dress.

" Wouldn't our daughter look so cute in that?" Claire squealed.

" Our SON would look a little out of place, don't you think." he said solemnly.

Claire ignored him and opened the car door.

" Lets go inside." she said, taking hold of his hand.

Lucien sighed and got out of the car. Walking around to the other side, he helped Claire exit the vehicle. Leaning back into the car, he told the chauffer, "Wait here, we won't be long."

Claire, hearing this, stuck her tongue out at him and shook her head.

" Yes we will." she said to herself.

Taking hold of his hand, she pulled him toward the shop.

Once inside they were greeted by a saleswoman who, seeing the expensive car from which they exited, smelled a big sale.

" Can I help you?" she gushed.

" We'd like to see your selection of infants wear." Claire said, looking around the brightly lit

" Is this your first?" the woman asked, looking at Claire's abundant waistline.

" Yes." Claire said proudly.

" No." Lucien said, "I have a son."

" Oh, second marriage, I understand." she said, putting her arm around Claire's shoulder. "And
how old is your son?" she asked, looking back at Lucien.

" Eight hundred, give or take a year." he said, smiling at her shocked look.

Claire flashed him a look.

"He's such a joker." she told the saleswoman. "His son is grown."

"Ah, starting a second family. Isn't that nice? Well, then you'll need a complete wardrobe for the child won't you? We have some really nice things." she said, leading them across the shop.

Several hours later, they exited the shop carrying several large bags and boxes. Lucien motioned for the chauffer, who opened the car door and helped Claire inside, then turned to help Lucien stow the packages.

" I'll see to the furniture delivery myself." the saleswoman assured LaCroix. "It should arrive late tomorrow afternoon."

She waved at Claire and returned to the shop smiling.


Claire's expanding figure made even the simplest movements difficult. Standing from a seated position became an ordeal, lying down was impossible. Tossing and turning in bed, she found it difficult to sleep. The child was due in two days, but Claire was growing impatient. Lucien slept peacefully beside her, oblivious to her discomfort.

Struggling to turn over in bed, she soon managed to shift her weight only to find herself looking at the
back of Lucien's head. Sighing, she laid her hand on her swollen belly just as the baby began to kick.

" It's not fair." she said to herself, "He sleeps like the dead while I'm awake all day."

Grinning wickedly, an idea came to her mind. Shifting her weight slowly, she pressed her belly against Lucien's back. The baby kicked. A soft growl came from Lucien's side of the bed. The baby kicked again. Claire giggled as Lucien mumbled something unintelligible. This time the baby kicked harder as it turned inside her, trying to make itself more comfortable.

" What?" Lucien growled.

" It wasn't me." Claire said innocently, "Its your child. She just wants to make her presence known."

" HE will be interrupting my sleep soon enough." Lucien said, turning to face her.

Taking her in his arms, he kissed her forehead and held her until she finally fell into a much needed sleep.
Lucien lay there looking down at her. He marveled at the new life growing inside her. Soon he would be a father again, after all these centuries it was so hard to imagine, yet here it was. Closing his eyes, he fell
into a dreamless sleep.

Day turned into evening and he was awakened by Claire, shaking him. Opening his eyes, he saw tears streaming down her face, a grimace of pain distorting her features.

" Lucien!" she said loudly, shaking him as hard as she could. "Call Nat, its time! The baby is coming!"


Lucien paced back and forth in the dimly lit hallway. Nick sat quietly looking at his father.

" She'll be fine." he said, trying to reassure him. "Nat is taking good care of her."

" I want to see her!" he growled.

" Everything will be fine, don't worry." Nick told him softly.

" I WILL see her!" he said, his eyes turning golden, as he walked toward the door.

" LaCroix, sit down." Nick growled, " Everything is under control."

Lucien turned to face him, but before either could utter another word, the door swung open and
Natalie, dressed in scrubs and carrying something with her, entered the room. Throwing the clothing,
at LaCroix, she looked up at him.

" Put these on and come with me." she said, " Your child is about to make its entrance into this

Lucien looked from Nat to Nick and back again.

" Do what you're told." Nat barked.

Growling quietly, Lucien made his way to the men's room and hurriedly changed into the scrubs provided
him. Some minutes later, he returned to where Nat was waiting. The two disappeared through the door
as Nick watched, shocked but amused at LaCroix's compliance.


" Push!" Nat told her, "I can see the head."

Claire was covered in sweat, and she was so tired. Reaching up, she took hold of Lucien's hand and squeezed it. Another contraction hit her and she gasped.

" Push!" Nat repeated.

Claire did as she was told and was rewarded with the loud cry of her child entering the world. Collapsing
back onto the delivery table, she looked up at Nat.

" Is the baby alright? Can I see it?"

Nat looked at Lucien and then at Claire. Smiling, she told them, "She's your daughter, I don't see why

" A girl? Oh, Lucien, its a girl!" she said excitedly, looking up at her husband.

Lucien leaned down and kissed Claire.

" A daughter." he told himself.

He had been given a chance to correct the mistakes he had made so long ago. Claire lay there exhausted, tears streaming down her face. Nat handed the child to its mother and stood back, wiping a tear from her eye as she looked at the new family. Claire stroked the child's face as it cried mournfully.

" Lucien," she said, smiling brightly, "I'd like you to meet Miss Laura Natalie LaCroix, your daughter."

Lucien reached down and touched Claire's cheek. His heart had long ago ceased to be cold and empty. She had filled it and given him a most precious gift, the warmth of her love, and now, this child. Nothing in his past had prepared him for this, doubts surfaced, only to be tucked away in his mind. Cautiously he reached out to touch the child, and found his finger encircled in a small, warm hand. The path his life had taken would be a difficult one, but with Claire in his life, it would not be an uneventful one, of that he was sure.





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