Claire propped herself up on an elbow and watched the sleeping form beside
her. A mischievous smile crossed her features. Reaching out, she ran
a finger softly down his cheek. He stirred slightly and continued sleeping.
Claire frowned. She'd have to try something else. Her eyes lit up as
a wicked grin crossed her face. She peeled back the blanket carefully,
exposing his bare chest. Her hand snaked slowly toward him. Reaching
out, she grasped a few of his chest hairs and pulled. Lucien's eyes
flew open and he glared at her. Claire giggled.
"Good Morning, or should I say evening? I keep forgetting."
Have you been reading de Sade?" He asked her, rubbing his still stinging
Oh come on now," she said, her eyes alight with laughter. "It didn't
hurt that much. Don't be such a baby."
Lucien looked at her."How beautiful she is." he thought, looking at
her small face. "She
has lost none of her joie de vivre." His mood became dark as he thought
back to that night many months ago, when he had been forced to bring her across.
had trusted him to protect her. He still
blamed himself for failing that task. Reaching out for her, he pulled her on
top of him and kissed her.
Claire looked down at him, her brown eyes tinged with
gold, and whispered."Lucien, love me."
He could feel the love she had for him. It ignited his own desire. He drew her
head down and kissed her, his tongue exploring her mouth. Claire gasped with
desire as his hands eased gently down her back, stopping only to caress her soft
flesh. He pulled her closer to him. Claire could feel his hardness as it strained
She reached down and took hold of him, guiding him inside her. Closing her eyes,
she savored the feel of him. She raised herself up, so that she sat straddled
atop him. Slowly she began to move up and down on his hardened shaft, her desire
growing. Claire opened her eyes and looked at him. Her eyes were fully golden.
She ached to taste his blood and have him take hers. Her movement became faster
and more determined. She was nearing her climax.
Lucien's golden eyes looked up at her. He needed to taste her, to drink in her
soul. Taking hold of her, he flipped them both over, so that Claire was now below
him. Leaning forward he sank his fangs into the flesh of her neck. Claire grasp
his arm as she came closer to her release. Moving her head, she managed to catch
hold of his shoulder and buried her fangs in it. Lucien gasped, he could taste
the passion that raced through her blood.
His movements became faster as he drove himself into her. Claire drank deeper
of his blood, willing him to do the same of her. She released her bite on Lucien's
shoulder. Arching herself up to meet his thrusts, she called out his name as
waves of pleasure exploded through her. Lucien could feel her climax and drank
deeper as wave after wave of her pleasure swept through him. Releasing her from
his grip, he drove deeper into her, a growl escaping his lips as his own release
Claire lay in his arms, her passion spent. She felt a sense of peace that she
had not known as a mortal.
"Lucien," she asked, "Will everyday be like this?"
I hope not." he said smiling, rubbing his chest.
Claire slapped his arm and laughed. She snuggled closer to him. Turning her face
up to him, she looked at her lover. She tried to imagine him as a Roman general,
cruel and zealous in his service to his emperor.
"I wonder what he looked like in a toga?" she thought. "He does
have cute knees."Claire giggled to herself.
Lucien gave her a curious look,
but said nothing. He enjoyed the sound of her laughter, her childlike joy in
the things around
her, her insatiable curiosity. She was eager to learn everything he tried to
teach her. At last he had found a companion to share eternity with him. Lucien
stretched his stiff muscles and took her arms from around him.
"It is time to rise, my love. The night awaits us."
Claire made a face at him and sat up on the bed. "I'd rather stay here,
with you." she pouted.
Modern women." he said, as he walked toward the chair that held his clothing. "There
was a time when women knew their place." He turned away from her and began
dressing. Claire stuck her tongue out at him.
" I know my place." she said, rising from the bed.
She walked across to where he stood and put her arms around his neck. Pressing
her naked body against him, she smiled and said, "It's with you, in your
Lucien looked down at her and laughed. He picked her up in his arms and carried
her back to the bed. Claire made a low sound, like a contented purr, as she snuggled
against his chest. Holding her out away from him, he dropped her onto the bed,
and stepped back out of her reach.
"No fair." she howled as she hit the bed.
Lucien looked at her. "All is fair in love and war my dear. Now get dressed,
there is still much I have to teach you." He turned and walked to the
door. Opening it, he stepped into the hallway. "
I'll wait for you outside." he said.
Claire watched as the door closed behind him. Picking up a pillow, she flung
it at the door. "Men!" she said, as she pounded her fist into the
blankets. Claire got up and padded her way into the bathroom. Quickly she showered
and dressed. Lucien was not one to be kept waiting. Claire hurried out of the
to find her master. She liked learning the things he taught her. She especially
liked it when they practiced finding each other. They seemed to share more
than a blood bond. They were one with each other. She could feel his mind as
out to touch hers. It was almost as if they shared even the most intimate of
thoughts. She was learning much from him. Even how to block her thoughts, so
she could shield herself from him. It annoyed him and she only did it as a
He was so much more experienced than she, and she worried that he would become
bored with her. She loved him so. He promised to be with her for eternity, but
what real hold did she have on him? He had released Nicholas when Claire became
his, but what if he found another? Would he release her too? Claire stood there
thinking for a moment. A smile crossed her face. She knew what she wanted, and
she would have it. Stretching out along the bond that joined them, she located
him and hurried to where he stood waiting. Running over to meet him, she threw
her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately.
Lucien," she said, looking into his eyes. "Let's get married. I want
a wedding. A big old-fashioned wedding, with a church and a minister and a long
white gown and flowers, lots of flowers, and a cake and all the trimmings. Please?
May we?" she pleaded.
Lucien stood there staring at her. Surprise was written all over his face.
He looked down at this smiling female wrapped in his arms. "You want what?" he
ask her, his face emotionless with astonishment.
Claire felt as if a cold hand had suddenly seized her heart. Blood tears began
to form in her eyes.
"Lucien." she whispered, taking her arms from around his neck. "Don't
you want to marry me?"
"Weddings are a mortal notion. We have no need of such things." LaCroix
said matter of factly. "I have promised you an eternity together. Is that
not enough?" He could see the hurt in her eyes.
"You must learn to let go of your humanity. You are no longer mortal."
Love is a mortal notion too. If we let go of our humanity, does that mean we
must deny our love as well?" Claire wiped the tears from her eyes and looked
up at him. "Don't you love me?"
"This not the same. What we share is deeper than the mortal idea of love.
We are bonded to each other, that is not possible for mortals."
" But I was mortal when you said you loved me. You are not mortal, yet you
feel love. We were not bonded when you promised me an eternity with you. Doesn't
prove that love is something more than just a mortal notion?"
It proves nothing." he said flatly. "Weddings are for mortals. We are
no longer mortal. We shall not speak of it again." Lucien turned and took
to the air. "Come." he called out to her.
Claire stood there, looking up into the sky. She watched as his image grew
fainter and more distant. Slowly she walked back into the house they shared.
into the sparsely furnished kitchen, she opened the refrigerator and took out
a bottle. She poured some of the contents into a goblet and took a long swallow. "He
just doesn't want to understand." she said sadly.
Claire drew back the heavy curtains and gazed out of the window as a tear fell
down her cheek. There were many things she still did not understand about him.
Lucien had proven to be a patient teacher and a passionate lover, yet there
was still a part of him that resisted her, a part she could not touch. She
there were memories he held back from her. She felt their shadowy presence,
hovering just out of her reach, names, like whispers, that flashed to the surface
and retreated as quickly. She had freely, willingly,
given herself to him, withholding nothing. Yet he gave her only promises, and
would not open himself completely to her. "Who are these faceless names?",
she wondered. "Are they why he
is so reluctant to share himself?"
She longed to wrap him in her love and protect him from them, if only he would
LaCroix stood looking at the progress that had been made in reconstructing the
Raven. Claire had expressed a desire to remain in Toronto and he had allowed
her to convince him that the Community required his presence there. His Nightcrawler
broadcasts had continued sporadically, many of which he taped in advance, so
that he could spend more time with Claire, teaching her, loving her, surrounding
himself with her love.
Walking through the skeleton-like structure of the new construction, he found
himself in what had once been his office. In his mind's eye he could see the
blast which had ended Claire's life as a mortal. Closing his eyes, the guilt
and anguish he had felt that night washed over him. He felt the anger sweep through
him, the desire for revenge, the desperation as he brought her across.
" You must learn to let go of your humanity." he had told her, yet now
he found himself struggling with his emotions as his own humanity tried to
He had always maintained a tight control on such things, held these feelings
in check, yet now he found himself powerless to contain them as they threatened
to consume him. The centuries of loneliness and pain had taken their toll on
him. He had dropped his guard for one instant and Claire had stolen into his
" Power comes with the absence of love. Love drains us of our strength." he
had once said and yet he now found himself enslaved by it. "No!" he
growled. " I am the master here." Turning quickly on his heel, he
left the building and took to the air.
Claire walked out to the water's edge. The house felt so empty without him.
She stood there looking out on the lake, her mind miles away. She heard him
feet touched down lightly behind her. She heard the sound of dry grass and
leaves under his feet as he walked up to stand behind her. Lucien put his hands
shoulders and drew her closer to him. "
Lucien" she asked, turning her head to look up at him. "Who are Divia
and Fleur, and why does their memory cause you such pain? Are they why you
are so reluctant for a wedding?"
He gave her a shocked look."Who told you about them?" he asked her.
" Then they are real. I sensed them in your mind. You try to shut that part
of your mind out to me, but I can feel them lurking there. Who are they?"
"They are but shadows from the past." he said angrily, "Shadows
that will remain in the past. You wanted a wedding. Come we have preparations
to make." he said as he took Claire by the arm and pulled her along.
Claire struggled to release his grip. " Lucien, where are you taking me?"
LaCroix said nothing. He merely scooped her into his arms and took to flight.
Claire was puzzled by the change in him. He looked angry and said nothing to
her until they reached their destination. He landed silently and set her on her
feet. Looking down at Claire, he said quietly.
"You wanted a large church wedding. Will this do?"
Claire looked up at the building before her. It was a large cathedral, its spires
reaching toward the sky.
It's beautiful." she said. "Oh, Lucien, it's perfect."
Without thinking she ran up the stairs and flung open the door. The scent of
candles filled the air as she stepped inside. Claire stood in the foyer, peering
through the glass in the door at the stained glass windows that filled the sanctuary.
She closed her eyes and imagined herself walking down the long aisle toward the
altar. She could hear herself saying the words that would bind her to Lucien
Slowly she opened her eyes and reached out to open the second set of doors. The
door handle felt warm in her hands, but she dismissed this and pulled open one
of the large, heavy doors. Stepping quickly into the sanctuary, she was hit with
a sensation as real and as powerful as the explosion which had changed her life.
She felt her breath coming in short, quick gasps. The room began to swim before
her eyes and she could feel the walls closing in on her. A sudden fear gripped
her as pain, like a hot knife, seared through her chest. She struggled to reach
Lucien!" she screamed, as she stumbled toward the doorway. "What
is happening to me? Help me!"
Claire made her way to the door and threw herself against it. It flew open
and she found herself sprawled on the floor of the foyer. Claire crawled to
door and clawed at it, trying to open it by sheer force of will. "Lucien!" she
cried, tears rolling down her face.
The outer door opened slowly and she made her way out onto the steps. She could
sense him standing over her, but she felt so weak she could not raise her head
to look at him. "Why?" she sobbed.
His heart ached for her, her pain becoming his. Reaching down, he gathered her
in his arms. Claire turned her tear-stained face up to him.
"Why?" she asked again. "Why didn't you tell me this would happen."
Because my dear, some of life's lessons, no matter how painful, are best learned
by experience" he said. "If I had told you, would you have believed
me? You would have thought it an excuse not to give you what you wished. Now
you see why this wedding is impossible."
Claire laid her head on his shoulder and sobbed quietly as he helped her down
"Come." he said, "It is almost dawn. We must return home. You
need to rest."
Claire slept fitfully, calling out for Lucien several times. She opened her eyes
and looked at him.
"How tired and drawn he looks." she thought. "Lucien," she
whispered, "Have you slept?"
No." He said quietly. He had lain awake all day watching her sleep, not
daring to close his eyes for fear she might need him, drawing her into his
arms when she called out, to quiet
and comfort her fears. Lucien searched her face. He had knowingly caused her
pain. He was sure he would find anger in her eyes, yet there was none, only
a sadness that he could not understand.
Claire reached out for him, pulling him closer to her. Gently she laid his head
on her chest and began to stroke his hair. He could feel a sadness in her that
had not been there before.
"You must sleep." she said, "I will remain here until you do."
Lucien gave her a puzzled look. "
Are you not angry with me," he asked, "For causing you pain?"
Claire closed her eyes, trying to shut out the memories of the pain. "
No," she said bluntly, "Life is full of both pain and joy. In order
to appreciate the joy, you have to experience the pain as well."
Lowering her head, she kissed him. "You are my joy." she said as
she released his lips. "If this
is the price I must pay for an eternity with you, then I will pay it."
Lucien looked up at her. There were tears in her eyes, yet she said nothing.
Claire slid herself down the bed and hid her face against his shoulder. Placing
his hand beneath her chin, Lucien gently turned her face up to his, his lips
taking possession of hers, his desire for her rising. Slowly she opened her
lips to him and his tongue snaked into her waiting mouth. His hand drifted
down her neck, his fingertips gently brushing her skin as they
trailed down to her chest. Claire moaned softly as Lucien's hand lazily made
its way down her side. Releasing her lips, he began scattering kisses down
her throat and beyond, his hungry mouth making its way ever closer to her breasts.
Capturing a nipple between his lips he suckled her, enjoying the feel of the
hardened tip in his mouth. He heard her draw in a breath as he gently nipped
at her, his hand kneading the soft flesh of its partner.
Lucien raised his head and looked at her. Claire lay lost in the feelings he
evoked in her, her eyes tightly shut. Slowly his hand began to move downward
on her body until it rested just above the dark curls of her womanhood. Sliding
his hand past it, he began to trace his fingertips lightly down her inner thigh.
Claire shuddered with each new sensation. Lowering his head, he buried his tongue
between her legs and tasted her. She arched herself up in response and opened
her legs to him.
Smiling at the need he could create in her, he continued his assault on her senses.
Lightly flicking his tongue back and forth across her flesh, he parted her lips
and slowly inserted a finger into her. Claire's eyes opened. They were wide and
golden with desire as she reached down and pushed away his hand. Sitting up,
she grasped his arms and pulled him up to where she sat. Silently, she gazed
into his now golden eyes. Lucien gave her a questioning look and opened his mouth
to speak. Placing her finger on his lips she silenced him.
Claire pushed him down on the bed and captured his mouth with hers. The taste
and smell of her own moisture on his lips excited her further as her tongue gained
entrance to his mouth. Her hands began moving over his body. She traced a finger
down his strong, solid chest, stopping momentarily to brush one of his nipples,
and move on. Claire lifted her head and began planting light kisses on his face.
Slowly she made her way to his ear. Taking it between her teeth, she lightly
nibbled at it. Claire's hands continued to work their way down his body until
she reached his abdomen. She heard him gasp her name as her hand closed around
his erection. Holding it gently in her small hand, she ran her thumb slowly and
deliberately across its tip as her tongue made its way down his chest.
Claire slid her way down his body, kissing him and nipping at his flesh. When
she reached his hardened shaft, she licked its tip, making swirling movements
with her tongue. Taking it into her mouth, she began a gentle sucking motion.
A growl escaped Lucien's lips as the sensations of pleasure rippled through him.
Reaching down, he took her head in his hands and turned her to face him.
" Claire", he growled, as he pulled her up to him.
Slowly he turned her onto her back. Raising her legs, so that her knees were
bent, he buried himself into her. Claire grabbed at his shoulders, pulling him
down on top of her. Baring her fangs, she sunk them into his neck. Lucien quickened
his thrusts. They were both nearing climax and he, in turn bit into the soft
flesh of her neck. The sting of his fangs in her neck, combined with his urgent
thrust brought Claire quickly to her peak and she drank deeper as waves of pleasure
seared through her. Lucien could feel her pleasure and it added to his own. Harder
and deeper he pumped himself into her, until at last he reached his release.
Lucien woke to find himself alone. He had slept soundly for the rest of the night
and all the next day. It was just after sunset when he woke. Throwing off the
blanket, he called out her name, only to be greeted with silence. Walking to
the window, he pulled back the heavy curtains and looked out. Claire was standing
by the water, staring out over the lake. Quickly he dressed and went out to join
her. Claire stood silent and unmoving as he approached her. She gave no sign
of recognition as he came up behind her and gathered her into his arms. The same
sadness he had felt earlier, still hung over her like a cloud.
What is it?" he wondered. "Is she mourning the loss of her humanity?"
The spark of life had left her eyes, her childlike laughter gone, replaced with
a sad resignation that he could not understand, nor dispel. Claire sensed his
uncertainty. She could not explain to him what she felt, there were no words.
She loved him achingly, and she knew he loved her, but for how long. He had told
her they were bonded. What did that mean? He still would not open himself to
her completely. How could she tell him about the doubt and fear that were in
her heart. Lucien pulled her closer. Claire tipped her head backward and rested
it on his shoulder. Looking up, she could see the stars, shining like diamonds
against the black velvet of night.
" Aren't they beautiful." she said. "Their light is so reassuring,
Lucien felt a stab of longing and loneliness. Claire seemed to be slipping away
from him. She had begun to close off parts of her mind to him. The thought of
losing her haunted him. Stretching out along the bond between them, he tried
to touch her mind with his own, only to be shut out. She had become so strong
in such a short time. Placing a hand beside her head, he drew her to him and
sank his fangs into her neck. Claire made no effort to resist him.
Once again her memories flooded his mind. The sense of doubt and fear rose to
the surface as he struggled to understand what she felt. Suddenly he knew what
he must do, how he could dispel the cloud that surrounded her. Releasing her
from his bite, he turned her around to face him. Claire sensed what he wanted
her to do. Holding him close to her, she buried her fangs into his throat.
Lucien opened his mind to her, and the bittersweet memories of Fluer flooded
her mind. Drinking deeper, she sensed a foreboding evil that had been long buried.
Images of Divia floated to the surface. Frightening, sinister images of an evil
stronger than she had ever known. Claire cried out as she released her grip on
" Lucien," she sobbed, placing her hands on either side of his face.
He pulled her into his arms and placed his cheek against her hair.
"I wanted to sheild you from these memories, this guilt," he said softly.
They stood holding each other for a long time. Lucien released her from his
arms and they walked back to the house in silence.
It had taken much time and effort, but at last the day arrived. Lucien had gone
on ahead to make last minute preperations for the grand re-opening of the Raven.
Claire had remaind behind at the little house to take care of the rest of the
packing. They would spend tonight at their new home. She was going to miss this
house, but she would be glad to be back at the Raven, where they had met and
fell in love. Claire moved quickly about the house, gathering up the last of
their possessions and placing them carefully into the empty boxes by the door.
Walking into the bedroom, she was suprised to find a large white box lying on
the bed. Attached to the lid was a handwritten note. Picking up the paper, she
looked at the signature.
It was from Lucien.
" What is he playing at?" she asked out loud.
Carefully she read the note.
"I would like to see you wearing this tonight, for the opening. It holds many
Claire smiled. She had never known him to be so sentimental. Opening the box,
she gasped as a flash of blue caught her eye. Pushing away the tissue paper,
she found herself staring at the dress she had worn that night, so many months
ago, when Lucien had realized he loved her. Inside the box were the shoes and
the purse that matched the dress. Lying beside them was a single, perfect rose.
Claire could feel the tears gather in her eyes. How had he managed to save this,
and why had he kept it? Hurriedly she finished the packing and dressed to meet
Lucien at the club.
Picking up the rose, she raced out the door and literally flew to the Raven.
Entering the front door, she was met by Lucien, who offered her his arm. Claire
laid her hand on it, and he drew her into the darkened club. Looking around her,
she saw masses of flowers, of every size and color. Candles cast a soft glow
around the room.
Members of the Community were seated on either side of a center aisle spread
with a golden carpet. She saw Nick and Nat seated together, near the front. At
the head of room, in front of the bar, stood a solitary figure. Lucien led her
down the aisle to stand before this man. He turned to Claire and took her hand
in his. Gently he raised it to his lips and gazed into her eyes.
"Welcome to our wedding my love." he told her.
Claire could hardly believe what she was hearing. She looked up at him, her eyes
wide with suprise. Nick walked up and stood beside LaCroix.
It's true." he whispered, smiling.
Nat went to stand beside her. Placing her hand on Claire's shoulder, she leaned
over and kissed the bride's cheek.
" We are here to witness the joining of these two in love." the man
started. "They have come to pledge themselves, before this community,
to each other throughout eternity.
Lucien, still holding Claire's hand, turned to her, his eyes looking deeply
into hers. "
You have brought something into my life I never hoped to find again." he
began. "The pain of endless centuries has been wiped away by your presence.
This heart of mine, too long cold and unfeeling, quickens with a passion inspired
by you. In you I have found a companion, a lover, a kindred soul. My life is
yours, for all eternity." he vowed, as he slipped a ring of gold onto
Claire's eyes were filled with tears as she looked up at him. "Lucien," she
said, her voice full of emotion. "I pledge myself
to you for all time. You are my life, my joy, my peace. In you I have found
a teacher, a lover, a friend. All that I am, and all that I shall become is yours."
Be it known, from now through all time, that these two are pledged and bonded
to each other." the man told them, "Let none stand between them."
Lucien looked down at her, the spark of life and laughter had returned to her
eyes, the fear and doubt were gone. He pulled Claire to him and kissed her. Claire
was so happy, she poured her joy into that kiss, willing it to last forever.