Infatuation with a Vampire

Chapter 3

Winnipeg 6 - Months Earlier

A mere two weeks after his first appearance, Nicholas de Brabant was coming forward more often and remaining in control for hours at a time. He was much more lively and adoring of his master than his counterpoint, Nick Knight. LaCroix found his company thoroughly enjoyable as they spent a good deal of their warm, summer evenings taking in plays, ballets and operas and mingling with high society. It was very much indeed like the good old days. Only two things were missing, and that was Janette and a good hunt. Nicholas had asked about contacting Janette, but LaCroix didn't feel that the time was right. Janette had been highly upset with Nick for bringing her back across when she'd had the chance to die as a mortal. Undoubtedly, she'd forgive him in time, but they should probably allow at least a decade for her to cool down. As far as a good hunt was concerned, LaCroix saw no reason to hold off any longer. He allowed Nicholas to choose the location and the victim.

The location chosen was a seedy side of town known for its lower class elements and prostitutes who strutted up and down the block. Nicholas strolled casually along the street, scoping out the ladies of the evening as though he were checking out the menu at an all you can eat buffet. They came in all sizes, colors and ages, and each one did their best to entice him into picking them. So many heartbeats, so much from which to choose. He continued along until coming to a young black female, who -- despite the heavy makeup and sexy clothing -- looked no older than fourteen or fifteen.

"You're kind of young to be out here, aren't you?" Nicholas asked.

"I'm old enough," came the saucy reply.

"And how old would that be?"


He could tell by the sudden spike in rhythm of her heartbeat that she was lying, but it didn't matter. She was quite beautiful, with light brown skin, almond-shaped eyes and thick, shoulder-length curly hair. She was probably fairly new to the business because she didn't have that drugged or haggard look that some of the others displayed. There was a sense of innocence about her. She even smelled cleaner than the other women.

Nicholas reached his hand out to stroke her cheek and received a shy smile in return. His fingers slid to the back of her left ear, then came forward holding a hundred dollar bill which he folded and tucked into one of the cups of her leather bra. The girl's smile broaden.

"So what'd you have in mind?" she asked.

"I was thinking of a late supper."

"Sure. Why not?"

He took her by the hand and walked her down to the end of the block where they turned the corner leading into a darkened alley. About midway down the alley, they stopped alongside a trash dumpster where Nicholas turned the girl and gently pressed her against the wall. He captured her eyes with his as he locked onto her heartbeat and rubbed the back of his fingers against her cheek.

"Listen to me," he spoke in a soft and soothing tone. "No matter what happens, you will remain silent and you will not struggle or fight me in any way. Understood?"

"I won't fight you," came the dazed but desired response.

"Good." He gave her a tiny peck on the lips, then embraced her tightly. "Relax," he told her. "We're going for a little ride. Nothing to be afraid of."

Taking a cautious glance all about him first to make sure there were no witnesses, Nicholas rose quickly off the ground with the girl securely in his grasp. A block away, they came to rest on top of the roof of a deserted factory building.

"LaCroix?" Nicholas called out excitedly. "LaCroix, look what I've got!" When the master vampire stepped forward from out of the shadows, Nicholas proudly showed off his catch. Holding her by one hand, he spun her in a circle as though they were dancing. "Look. What do you think? Beautiful, isn't she?"

"Yes. Quite beautiful," LaCroix replied with a slight nod. "However, she appears a bit young. Little more than a child."

"She says she's nineteen."

"Ah, well, if you can't trust a female to state her true age...."

"So what if she is young?" Nicholas questioned. "What does it matter? We've both tasted the blood of children before. Besides, she's just a whore. I'm doing my civic duty by cleaning the streets of unwanted trash like her. Don't you agree?"

"Yes, of course," LaCroix lied. Perhaps it was the fact that the teenage girl was about the age of his Divia at the time of her mortal death, that gave him second thoughts. Or perhaps it was knowing that the Nicholas he had grown accustomed to would never take the life of someone he felt was an innocent, an unfortunate victim of society. In fact, the only time Nicholas had taken the life of one so young was during the era of the Black Death when the bubonic plague had stricken so many, and a quick merciful death was deemed an act of charity. For those reasons, LaCroix found it hard to watch his son with this young girl; to watch his pale hands and lips roam lustfully over the dark skin of her still developing body and his hips press inward against her rear.

Knowing that he was being watched as well, the elder vampire forced himself not to look away. The last thing he wanted was to appear weak or softhearted in front of his son. He should have been dancing with joy to see his offspring behaving true to his nature. After all, it was what he had hoped and strived for all these years. Instead, the victory felt hollow because he knew that there was a part of Nicholas that was screaming out against such actions and that he was completely unable to control himself. It reminded LaCroix of the time Nicholas had become possessed by the devil, or at least what he perceived to be the devil. He behaved in a manner suitable for a vampire, but his soul -- and Nicholas did have one -- had become polluted. He had begged LaCroix to take him to an exorcist in order to rid himself of the unnatural demon within him. There was a definite parallel between the possessed Nicholas and this one, though this time, it would take far more than a man of God and a few holy words to deal with the problem.

After a moment more of groping and kissing, Nicholas was ready to consummate his new relationship. His eyes glowed golden as his fangs grew long and deadly. He tilted the girl's head to one side to expose her long, graceful neck and prepared to sink in his teeth. A split second before he was able to make contact with her jugular, Nick suddenly forced his mouth away from the girl and cried out, "Stop me, LaCroix! Don't let me do this. Please, stop me!"

Stunned at first by the plea, LaCroix hesitated only a second before taking action. In an instant he snatched the girl from Nicholas' embrace and pushed him forcefully away. Nick squeezed his eyes shut in obvious pain, then took in a few deep breaths, willing himself out of vampire mode and to take control over his own body. When he had calmed down enough, his eyes searched anxiously for the girl and saw that LaCroix stood protectively in front of her, with a firm hand on her wrist.

"Is she all right?" asked Nick.

"She is unharmed."

"You were going to let me.... No, you were going to let him kill her."

"Him?" LaCroix asked, feigning ignorance.

"You know who I'm talking about!" Nick shouted angrily. "I know about Nicholas de Brabant. He revealed himself to me tonight and taunted me all evening. He was going to kill that child, and you were going to just stand by and allow it to happen!"

"It is your nature to kill, Nicholas, and I was prepared to let nature run its course," LaCroix responded casually.

"You knew it was not me. You know I don't condone this sort of thing. Lie and tell me you didn't know."

"Nicholas, I do wish you would pick a personality and stick with it," LaCroix sounded off sardonically. "One instant, you're Nick Knight, all around do-gooder, and an eye blink later, out comes Nicholas de Brabant, the ultimate lady-killer. I admit it was rather intriguing in the beginning, but now it's all starting to wear rather thin."

"You'd like for him to take over fully, wouldn't you?"

"Nicholas, he and you are one in the same."

"No! He's not me, but you want him to be. You're doing everything you can to encourage him. But know this, LaCroix, I am not going to sit back and let him steal my life from me! I am going to fight him every step of the way. And if you are still my friend... if you still care for me, then you'll help me to win the battle against him."

LaCroix was at a momentary loss for words. It was a highly unusual situation and he was unsure of what actions to take. For now, he thought it best to simply appease the personality he was dealing with at the moment.

"All right, Nicholas," he spoke with sincerity to his voice, "I shall assist you in any manner you deem necessary."

"Do you swear?"

"Believe it or not, I have only your best interests in mind."

"Do... you... swear?" Nick reiterated insistently.

"Nicholas, either you place your trust in me or you don't. It doesn't appear that you have much of a choice."

He was right, of course. Nick had absolutely no one else to turn to for help. "You're right," he grimaced glumly, "my choices indeed are limited. I really don't understand what's happening to me, LaCroix. You probably think it's just the real me finally coming to the surface. But you knew right from day one that I was never truly comfortable with this gift of yours. You kept telling me that I would grow used to all the killing. But you failed to mention how many centuries it would take...." Nick cast his eyes downward and shrugged hopelessly. "Sometimes I wish I could be what you want me to be. I'd like for you to be proud of me for a change instead of...." Feeling embarrassment over the last couple of sentences spoken, he suddenly lost the need to continue the thought.

"I would imagine that if Freud were still alive, he might make something of that statement. A son's desire to seek approval from his parent. That might explain things. Perhaps we should continue this discussion later at home. For now, what do you suggest we do with our lovely young friend here?" LaCroix asked as he brought the still entranced girl to stand in front of him. "That is, if you're sure you're not up for a little snack."

Nick moved to take the girl from him. Placing a finger beneath her chin, he lifted it so they could make eye contact. "Look at me," he spoke to her softly. "What's your name?"

"Wanda Daniels."

"Where's your family, Wanda?"

"All dead but my grandmama."

"Why aren't you home with her?"

"She's old and she's always trying to tell me what to do and how to live my life."

Nick glanced up at LaCroix, but managed to refrain from making any comparative remarks. "Wanda, you should go back home to your grandmother. You take care of her and let her take care of you. No more prostituting. Stay off the streets at night, go back to school and make something of yourself. Understood?"

Wanda nodded. "Yeah, I'll go back home and go back to school."

"Good girl." Nick looked to LaCroix next and said, "I'd like to see to it that she gets home safely. Would you mind coming with us? I don't think I can trust myself alone with her in case he comes back."

"Actually, Nicholas, I feel that you're fairly safe from his interference for a while. He tends to need a lot of rest after such a busy night. But... just in case, I will gladly accompany you on your mission."

"Thank you, LaCroix."

After finding out her address, Nick put Wanda to sleep so he could transport her home by air. He then made sure that she would have no memory of their meeting as he left her on the doorstep. He paused long enough in the shadows of a tree on the lawn to watch as the girl's not so old grandmother came to the door and welcomed her granddaughter with opened arms. He then rose into the sky to join LaCroix who had been hovering close by and diligently watching over him. They would go home now. There was a lot they needed to discuss. Nick was highly upset with his master for not telling him about Nicholas de Brabant. Tonight his alter ego had allowed him to witness his friendly relationship with the elder vampire. It was quite obvious that LaCroix found his company more agreeable. Here Nick was slowly losing control of his mind, and instead of helping him, the man he thought was his true friend was encouraging the madness. Unfortunately, he needed LaCroix's support because he realized he wouldn't be able to battle his growing alternate personality on his own. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.

Oct. 9 - Somewhere in the Mountains - 2:35 a.m.

There was the nauseating smell of garlic and a stinging itchiness to his skin that greeted Nick as he came to himself in the bathroom of his cabin. He found that his clothing was the source of the garlic smell and perhaps the itchiness as well. Not wasting time to figure out why he was in the condition he was, he hastily tore off his clothes and shoes and jumped into the shower under a spray of cold water. He spent only a few moments washing away the irritant from his hair and skin, then grabbed a towel and patted himself dry.

As he stepped out of the bathroom into the living room of the small cabin, Nick saw that the front door was standing wide open. Wrapping the towel about his waist, he moved towards the door, prepared to close it. Upon reaching it however, his nose detected the strong stench of garlic wafting in from outside. He cautiously stepped onto the porch and glanced about. On the weathered flooring of the porch, he spotted a dark, hooded jacket which reeked of garlic. He started to pick the coat up, but abruptly thought better of it. Instead, he broke off a piece of a low hanging branch and used the stick to lift the coat from the floor.

Reaching carefully into the left pocket of the woman's, thigh-length jacket. Nick pulled out the cellular phone that he found there. He tucked the phone under his arm, then searched the other pocket for some form of identification. His hand touched upon something blazing hot and he jerked out of the pocket quickly. Stinging red welts crisscrossing in an unmistakable pattern formed across his fingers and the palm of his hand. It would appear that someone knew what he was and had armed themselves with garlic powder and a good-sized cross to use against him. Naturally, he wondered what had become of the jacket's owner. There was no odor of human blood on the coat and there was no pleasant aftertaste in his mouth to indicate he had fed on a mortal that night.

Nick closed his eyes and stretched out with his senses. What came back was the sound of a slow and steady human heartbeat emanating from inside the cabin. He tossed the jacket over the porch banister and closed the door as he went back inside, then followed the sound of the heartbeat to his bedroom. He stood in the doorway and studied her from a distance. She laid face down and sideways across the black, silk sheets of his bed with both legs dangling off the side of the mattress. Nick placed the cell phone on the dresser near the door, then slowly approached and kneeled down at the side of the bed closest to where her head lay. Gently pushing back the spray of red hair that hid her face, he was pleasantly surprised by her beauty, although her looks wasn't his main concern. He moved the hair away from her neck and ran his fingers all along her throat searching for bite marks. He discovered a tiny scar at the back of her neck but luckily nothing recently inflicted by a vampire. He sighed in relief, then proceeded to search for some clue as to her identity.

Leery of finding more vampire deterrents, he patted her down first before sticking his hands into her pockets. Underneath her flannel shirt he came across a holstered gun attached to her belt at the small of her back. He removed the gun, unloaded the clip and set each aside, then reached for the square-shaped bulge in her left hip pocket. He wasn't as shocked finding the gun as he was finding out that she was an FBI agent. This was definitely not good. He had kidnapped an FBI agent who apparently knew that he was a vampire.

"Just great, de Brabant," he hissed. "What the hell were you thinking bringing her here?"

He had hoped for some kind of reply but his other personality was probably resting up after such a busy night. Nick considered picking up the petite Agent Scully and flying her to the closest populated area, which so happened to be more than fifty miles away. His isolated mountain retreat was a good ten hour long hike from the nearest road, but he had to wonder if he hadn't plucked her from a nearby campsite. Perhaps someone was already out searching for her, though it would be extremely dangerous for any mortal to be roaming around such treacherous terrain at night. He really needed to talk to her first, to find out exactly what all she knew about him and who else knew it too. Before waking her up to question, however, Nick thought it best to put some clothes on. He had no idea what to expect from her once fully alert, but he had a good idea that seeing him nearly naked might give her reason enough to make a try for her gun.

He went over to the closet and pulled a denim shirt and pair of jeans from a hanger. As he was about to lose the towel, he looked back at the sleeping form on his bed and thought how uncomfortable she looked in the way she lay haphazardly across the bed. It appeared that she had been dumped rather carelessly. Nick wouldn't leave a framed painting to hang crooked on a wall, so he was compelled to correct what he saw now. He removed the holster from her belt, then repositioned her lengthwise on her back in the middle of the bed with a pillow beneath her head and her hands resting across her chest. He noted a lack of warmth in her hands and figured that she could possibly use some warming up. There were no blankets available. He didn't have a use for them himself. That was one of the conveniences of being undead; the cold temperatures didn't affect him.

There was a potbellied stove in the corner of the room and a fireplace in the living room of the cabin, but Nick didn't feel like bothering with either one at the moment. He went back to the closet and pulled out a coat he had thought to bring with him. It was nearly ankle length on him and lined with plush artificial fur. He only wore it to blend in with the mortals who would think him strange if he walked around in freezing temperatures without one. He placed the coat over his guest, making sure she was tucked in around the edges. He'd read that a good deal of body heat escaped through the uncovered head, so he used a neck scarf that LaCroix had recently bought for him, to wrap about her head and the sides of her face. He had her looking like some kind of new-aged mummy, but at least she'd be warmer.

He took the items he had found on her and placed them on the dresser with the cell phone. He was tempted to hit redial on the phone to find out who she had last called, but decided to hold off. He might end up inadvertently waking up someone he should probably let sleep. Finally, he dressed himself, then turned his attention back to Agent Scully. He walked over to the bed and kneeled down next to it. Resting folded arms on the edge of the mattress, he simply stared at her as she slumbered. She looked so tiny, fragile almost. It was hard to imagine her passing the rigorous FBI Academy training. He also noted from her identification that she was a medical doctor. He didn't even know her but he was already impressed that she had achieved so much in her young life.

For some reason there seemed to be a familiar scent about her. She carried a noticeable but fairly faint odor of garlic where a few grains of the powder had touched upon her skin or clothing, but beneath that odor was something very distinctive. Nick leaned closer and sniffed at her. She had washed her hair with strawberry scented shampoo and lotioned her skin with a cocoa butter moisturizer. Beyond the artificial scents, however, there was something else he couldn't quite identify. Moving in even closer to put his nose to her ear, he inhaled deeply, seeking the minute molecules that still clung to the fine hairs located deep inside her ear canal. It took a few seconds for the information his keen senses picked up to be processed. It was formaldehyde; a scent which brought forth a once forgotten memory.

It had been the pungent odor of formaldehyde which he had awaken to over six years ago when an exploding pipe bomb sent him to the city morgue. He came to on a steel coroner's table, his body mending itself of its seemingly fatal injuries. He awoke ravenous, and lucky for the coroner on duty, there was bagged blood in the refrigerator. Nick closed his eyes and rested his forehead in a nest of silky, red hair as the memory of that first meeting with Natalie came back in vivid detail. She had not been frightened of him despite his golden eyes, bared fangs and warning growl. One would think she had come across vampires every other day the way she took his appearance with such nonchalant ease. He told himself that it was merely her clinical nature which allowed her to view him without fear, but he knew the truth right from the start. He looked into her eyes and listened to the racing of her heartbeat and he knew.

Over the past eight hundred years, it wasn't exactly the first time a woman had fallen for him despite knowing what he was. Unfortunately, their infatuation with him usually ended rather abruptly. He felt the attraction towards Natalie during their first meeting and he knew what the outcome of their relationship would be if he allowed it to progress. He should have left Toronto that very night and saved them both a lot of heartache, but beautiful women had always been his weakness. He'd always had a problem saying no and walking away from potential love. So, as with many others before her, Natalie Lambert had paid the ultimate price for falling in love with a vampire.

Nick breathed in the scent of the woman before him again. Now that he remembered, she smelled even more like his Natalie. He reached under the coat and placed his hand over hers, relishing the softness and warmth. He could pretend she was Natalie, at least for a little while. It was nearly a month ago when his memories of her had begun to return. He dreamt about her daily; pleasant dreams of them watching movies together, sharing laughs and warm hugs, and even dining out. He had asked LaCroix about the dreams, wondering if they'd had any base in reality. His master would only advise him to ignore the dreams, otherwise he might find himself splitting his mind three ways instead of just the two. But the dreams persisted until one day when he bolted awake and came to realize that the nightmare which had shaken him to his bones, was much more than a bad dream. The memory of what he had done that night so many months ago came back to haunt him in a blinding flurry. He'd killed her.

Nick wiped a tear away with his sleeve as he lifted his head and looked down at the sleeping woman on his bed. He really should wake her and see about getting her back to wherever he had taken her from. Others could already be on the way to rescue her, or Nicholas de Brabant could return at any moment and finish whatever he'd had in mind when he took her. His secret was at stake and her life was in danger, and yet Nick couldn't bring himself to act. It seemed as though a hundred years had past since he'd last held a woman in his arms. Under the coat, he laced his fingers with hers, noticing how similar to Natalie's her hand felt. He rose from his knees and climbed onto the bed, stretching himself out alongside her, then carefully eased her into an embrace so that her head rested upon his chest and his left arm encircled her as he still held her hand with his right.

Yes, this felt so much better than the last time he had held her. There was no deterioration of flesh or stench of decay. This time, she was soft, warm and breathing. Nick applied a tender kiss to the top of her head, then laid back against the pillow, closed his eyes and tuned into the soothing beating of her heart.

You are one sick puppy," a familiar voice taunted him from inside his own brain.

"Go to hell," he replied out loud.

"Why don't you take her? I brought her for you."

"You brought her for yourself."

"I'm willing to share."

"You're not to touch her!" Nick warned sternly.

"And who's going to stop me? Daddy's not here to interfere this time. It's just you and me, Nicky boy. Besides, you want her as much as I do and you know it."

Nick didn't bother to respond. There had to be some truth to the statement, otherwise he wouldn't be lying there with his arms wrapped about a total stranger, dreading the moment he'd be forced to let her go. He didn't want to ravage her body or drink her blood, but he did want to touch her and simply drink in her presence. Silence from the peanut gallery allowed Nick to relax again, but only for a moment. As he began to lightly stroke the auburn hair that fanned across his chest, he eventually noticed something different about the woman in his arms. Her breathing pattern had changed and her heartbeat had quickened its pace. Her body stiffened slightly in fear at the realization of her predicament. Agent Dana Scully had awakened.


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