Infatuation with a Vampire

Chapter 4

Winnipeg - 16 Days Earlier

As LaCroix pulled his Lexus into the long, curved driveway of the two-story brick home that he shared with Nick, he had a strange feeling that something wasn't quite right. The house set back three hundred yards away from the quiet dead-end street, on a wooded acre of land which provided as much privacy as could be had in the well populated suburb. He didn't like leaving Nick alone and unguarded for any extended period of time since his behavior had become increasingly unpredictable, but he had business to attend to downtown. It was barely dusk when he left and Nick was still sleeping soundly. He left him a note as to when he would be returning and had expected that his offspring could manage on his own for a few hours. He regretted having to take the car because it was such a slow mode of transportation, but it had been much too light out for him to fly.

It was half past ten when LaCroix returned. As the garage door opened for him to enter, he was dismayed to find that the green Cadillac convertible that was usually parked on the right was now missing. It wasn't Nick's original green Caddy. That one had been left behind in Toronto. Several weeks ago Nick had spotted someone driving a blue, older model Cadillac, and immediately decided that he had to have it at any cost. Then, for some inexplicable reason he had it painted green. LaCroix could see that Nick's memories of his life in Toronto were subconsciously beginning to return. It would only be a matter of time before they surfaced completely. He only hoped that Nicholas de Brabant would take full control before that happened. Although LaCroix cared deeply for Nick Knight, he had to admit to himself that fun-loving and guilt-free de Brabant was much easier to live with.

As LaCroix emerged from the parked car, his senses were assaulted by the smell of human blood, lots of it. "Oh, Nicholas," he groaned softly. "What have you done now?"

Fearing that he might find a house full of sanguineous corpses, LaCroix warily entered through the garage entrance into the kitchen. Broken glass crunched beneath his shoe as he stepped through the door which had been left standing wide open. His hand automatically went to the light switch on the wall and his fingers came away with a slightly sticky substance. He knew instinctively that it was blood. The wall next to the door had been splashed with it, apparently as a result of a filled wine glass being hurled through the air. There was more of the red stuff to be found on the floor in front of the sink where an opened bottle of their food supply had fallen and its contents allowed to freely flow out.

LaCroix was careful to avoid the mess, not wanting to add to the set of naked, bloody footprints that seemed to wander aimlessly about in all directions. Moving next to the refrigerator where the door had been left ajar, he saw that the dozen bottles of human blood that had been there when he left were now all gone. He closed the refrigerator door and followed the footprints out of the kitchen into the parlor. More blood, this time splashed all over every canvass that Nick had painted.

In the foyer at the bottom of the staircase, a blood-smeared hand print was found on the wall, leading a trail upwards. LaCroix followed. He stopped by his own room and pushed the door open, amazed to see everything as it was when he left. Nick's room was quite a different story though. Furniture had been overturned, the dresser mirror had been smashed, a hole the size of a fist had been made in one wall, and blood stained the once pristine, gray carpet. LaCroix studied the drying, dark stain carefully. It appeared as though Nick had stood in one spot and actually drenched himself in blood, leaving behind a silhouette of his bare feet. On the floor near the closet, lay a black pair of blood-soaked, silk pajamas not far from a well used, damp towel. That was encouraging. At least the child had pulled himself together enough to clean up and not wander out into public looking like a victim from a bad slasher movie. But where had he gone?

LaCroix opened the closet door and discovered that a suitcase was missing along with a few clothes. He had to find him. He started to leave the house to go searching for him, but decided to take a look at one more thing first. In Nick's bathroom he found a clue that gave him some insight into what had happened. Written three times in blood across the large vanity mirror was the name Natalie. Obviously, his son's memory of that night had returned and he was definitely having some problems dealing with it. LaCroix scanned the room for the cordless telephone, picked it up from the floor and hit redial to see what number Nick had last called. When a male voice on the other end of the line announced that he had reached the Toronto Coroner's Office, he instantly hung up. He realized that Nick was probably on his way back to Toronto now, which wasn't a very good idea. It wouldn't do for him to be seen by any of the mortals who knew him and thought him to be already dead.

Also, this thing with the blood had the old vampire more than a bit worried. He could understand the split in personality, the good versus the bad, but practically bathing himself in blood was not something that his Nicholas had ever done before, no matter how guilt-ridden he had become. In his jumbled frame of mind it definitely wouldn't do for him to run into any other vampires while in Toronto. Mental illness in the vampire community wasn't well received, knowing that irrational actions by a deranged vampire could draw unwanted attention to the fact that they secretly existed. If the Enforcers were to find out, they would be apt to take quick steps to relieve Nick of his multiple personalities once and for all.

LaCroix wasn't quite sure what to do. Even after finding his troubled child, something would have to be done to help him emotionally. Obviously, his condition was getting worse instead of improving. Perhaps it would have been better if his aim with the stake that night had been true. No! He shook that thought out of his mind. Putting Nicholas to death was not an option to be considered. First he would find him, then he'd figure out a way to help him.

Nick's Cabin - 3:02 a.m.

Scully came out of her sleep slowly. She'd heard a far away voice but was unable to understand any of the words spoken. She opened her eyes lazily and found that her vision was partially obstructed by her hair having fallen in front of her face. The thought of doing something about it crossed her mind for a second, but she felt too comfortable to move at the moment. She closed her eyes again, ready to drift back off when an unfamiliar male's voice suddenly bellowed out from right above her head.

"You're not to touch her!"

Scully's eyes popped wide open. She awaited an answering reply from whomever the voice had barked his warning, but nothing else was said by anyone after that point. Scully tensed as a hand began to gently stroke her hair. Her mind raced trying to recall any events that might explain her present situation. She remembered being with Mulder in the hayloft, then following him down to the corral after he ran off, declaring that Detective Knight had arrived. Scully had made it to the gate, then someone grabbed her from behind. The voice she'd heard a moment ago now seemed familiar to her. She couldn't recall any of the words that was said to her back at the corral but she was sure this was the same person who had spoken them. And now that person was yelling at himself and petting her head as though she was a lapdog.

As Scully lay against the stranger's firm chest wondering what steps she should take next, the stroking of her hair suddenly stopped. She closed her eyes and feigned being asleep as the stranger slowly shifted his body from beneath her, leaving her resting on her side. He rose from the bed, taking a moment to tuck her arm back under the covering and place a pillow beneath her head. Scully assumed that he was still standing next to the bed until she heard a click as the light switch was turned off. She opened her eyes to total darkness and thought of reaching for her gun, but couldn't feel the weight of it against the small of her back. Undoubtedly, she had been disarmed. Soon came the sound of a striking match, then the room began to grow increasingly brighter as candles were being lit. Again Scully closed her eyes and waited.

After a few moments, a low voice spoke out from a few feet away. "You can stop pretending now," he said. "I know you're awake, Dana."

Scully opened her eyes and rose up on one elbow. She looked over her shoulder and focused on the pale, but handsome man who stood leaning against the closed door and staring back at her with a smug expression on his face. Scully sat up, swinging her legs off the bed and placing her feet on the floor. She glanced about the room casually, taking in all she could in a quick glimpse. The room was well illuminated with half a dozen burning candles situated in various locations. It was lightly furnished with a bed, nightstand, mirrored dresser and a chair near a boarded-up window. She noticed her gun, badge and phone lying on the dresser. Seeing her eyes rest on the gun, Nicholas casually went to grab it for himself. He loaded in the clip, then held the weapon in a threatening manner, though not pointing directly at her.

The room was rather cold, so Scully pulled the oversize coat that had acted as a blanket up around her shoulders. The thin, silk scarf that had been loosely draped over her head slipped off with the motion. "Where's Mulder?" were her first words.

"You mean your boyfriend?"

"My partner. What did you do to him?"

"Why worry about him? Have you no concerns about your own safety?"

"Did you hurt him?" Scully asked, thinking that it was quite possibly the only way that this man would have been allowed to abduct her.

"He'll probably wake up with a bit of a headache," Nicholas responded with a shrug. "That is if he wakes up. I suppose it depends on how thick a skull he has."

Scully considered her partner to be extremely hard-headed. Hopefully, that was enough to insure his good health. "Where are we? Why did you bring me here?"

"This is my little love nest. I bet you can probably figure out the rest."

"If you're trying to shock me, I'm afraid you're wasting your breath." Scully stood and faced him bravely, holding the long, overcoat securely about her. "I know who you are," she added.

"Do you?"

"Detective Nick Knight, formerly of the Toronto police department. Supposedly dead."

"Supposedly?" Nicholas snickered.

"You do look a little pale, but I have to admit, for a man thrown through a car window into a frigid lake, you appear to be in pretty good shape. How did you manage to survive?"

"Who said I did?"

"Oh, so you're the walking dead? You should have grabbed my partner in that case. He believes in such things."

"And you don't?"

Before Scully could answer the question, a shrill, chirping sound startled them both. It was her cell phone ringing and she wanted to go and snatch it up, knowing that Mulder would be on the other end. She looked to Nicholas and saw an expression on his face that dared her to even think about it.

"It's probably, Mulder," she told her captor. "He'll be worried. I wouldn't want him to think I'm dead or anything."

Nicholas allowed the phone to ring twice more before deciding to answer it himself. He picked it up, flipped it open and pushed the connect button. Holding the phone to his ear, he heard a panicky voice on the other end calling out to Scully.

"Don't worry," Nicholas spoke coolly into the receiver. "She's not dead yet," he informed the irate caller. Afterwards, he had to hold the phone away from his ear to protect himself from the bellowing voice on the other end. Even standing a few feet away, Scully could hear the vehemence in her partner's voice as he yelled into the phone.

"What have you done to her, you bastard? Where have you taken her?"

"Mulder, I'm all right!" Scully was able to reassure him before Nicholas disconnected the call.

"You were right. He was worried. Now that we've allayed his fears..." With an insignificant gesture, he crushed the phone in his hand and let the pieces crumble to the floor. "No more interruptions," he smiled devilishly at his guest and slowly began to close the space between them.

"It's pretty obvious to everyone that you need professional help," Scully blurted out, trying to gain control of the situation.

"Obvious, huh?"

"Yes. You surviving the accident while your friend Natalie Lambert -- or was she your lover?"

Nick froze in his tracks at the mention of Natalie's name. Scully watched intently as the man in front of her had a sudden change in demeanor. His gaze shifted quickly from her to some more interesting spot on the floor, and the gun in his hand dangled loosely in his grasp.

"Did you drive off that bridge on purpose that night?" Scully continued to push. "Or was it really an accident?"

"I... I didn't want to live anymore," said Nick in a childlike tone.

"Did Natalie want to live?"

"She wanted to be with me, forever."

"But it didn't work out that way, did it? You two made a suicide pack, didn't you? Only she died that night, and you lived."

"I killed her," Nick sadly confessed. "She trusted me so and I let her down."

"Why did you dig up her grave?"

"I had to see if it was true. I didn't remember at first. And then it all came back. I tasted her blood and I couldn't stop myself. I killed her and I can never be with her because my soul is damned." His eyes filled with pain as he somberly added, "I am forever cursed."

"No," said Scully, daring to take a few steps forward. "No, you're not cursed. You've had some bad experiences and you need someone to help you work your way through them. I can see that you get the help you need. Just let me have the gun."

As quickly as the heartbroken and vulnerable Nick Knight had appeared, he was instantly replaced by his evil twin. The sorrowful, blue eyes which had been ready to rain tears a mere second ago, abruptly turned dark and ominous. Noticing that he was now within arms length, Nicholas quickly reached out his left hand and gently but firmly grabbed Scully by the back of the neck.

"Has anyone told you lately how beautiful you are?"

"We were discussing getting you some help," said Scully, trying hard to remain cool in his grasp.

"Were we? Sorry, but I seem to have a short attention span these days." He stashed the gun he held in his right hand in the back pocket of his jeans, then pulled Scully a bit closer and picked up her left hand. Holding it tenderly as though they were lovers, he looked it over carefully. "No ring," he noted aloud before he brought her hand to his lips and kissed the back of it delicately. Like his hands, his lips were cold against her skin and Scully flinched at their touch. She could tell he noticed but didn't appear to mind the tiny sign of aversion.

"No special someone back home pining away for you, Dana?" Nicholas asked while using the back of her hand to caress his lightly bearded cheek.

"Most of the men I meet turn out to be deranged killers," came the calm reply.

"Like me?"

"They usually don't kill cows. Why do you?"

"Remember? I'm deranged."

"Which is why you should let me help you. You were an officer of the law. You know how serious a kidnapping charge can be. If you're willing to cooperate, I can --"

"Shhh," Nicholas stopped her from talking by pressing a finger to her lips. "When's the last time you've been deeply kissed, Dana?"

Surprised by the question, Scully was unprepared to answer, even if she could recall the last time such an event had occurred. She regretted that she couldn't keep her expression neutral. She also regretted the effects he was beginning to have on her. She could tell he was doing his best to seduce her by the way his icy fingers gently massaged the nape of her neck and played with her hair. His other hand still held hers, but he had freed an index finger in order to stroke her chin and lift it upwards. Scully didn't want to look into his eyes, but was powerless to prevent herself from falling into their deep, hypnotic depths.

Nicholas had locked onto her heartbeat. The steady thrum as her blood pumped through her veins was like a symphony to his ears. "You shouldn't go so long without having a man make love to you, to feel his kiss upon your lips, his caress on your skin, his body moving in rhythm to yours."

The words flowed like warm honey and emotionally, Scully lapped it up. When a pair of cool lips pressed gingerly against hers, she was startled enough to pull back on contact. But a velvety voice told her to relax, and she found herself complying without a second thought. Her eyes closed and her lips parted to allow his tongue to plunge inside and have its way. As he kissed her masterfully, deeply, Scully felt an electrifying tingle race through her body. She was vaguely aware of losing the warmth of the coat that had been wrapped about her shoulders. Then a pair of strong arms encircled her, chilled hands roamed over her back and hips, and a muscled chest all but crushed her breasts. In the back of her mind, she was thinking that she shouldn't let this happen. This was a dangerous madman touching her in ways and places no one had done in a long time. For a brief moment she was able to think clearly and attempted to pull away from his grasp.

"You want me. You want this to happen," Nicholas whispered sensually into her ear. Her struggling ceased instantly and she began to ardently return his amorous advances, her moans increasing with her passion. Nicholas spun her around so that her back was flush against his body. Tilting her head to the left and brushing her hair out of the way, he exposed her neck for nibbling. As he kissed and tongued his way from the base of her neck up to her ear, he felt the change coming over him. His fangs began to drop and his eyes turned golden. Her blood was calling to him. He had to have her, had to drink in her goodness. He could hear Nick Knight screaming at him to stop, to spare her life, but it was a voice he was strong enough to ignore. No LaCroix around to snatch this tasty morsel from him and whiny little Nick wasn't powerful enough to stop him. This was going to be so good.

As he kissed her cheek, his hand went to her chin and lifted it, giving him greater access to her creamy, smooth throat. His fingers glided downward and grabbed the collar of her shirt, yanking it hard enough to pop open the top button. His fingers reached inside the soft cotton and splayed open against her chest. Just as he was on the verge of sinking his fangs into her neck, something stung his hand. He snatched it back instantly and glared at the tiny, cross-shaped burn mark on his palm. Then something seared his eyes and as he looked up, he saw a reflection in the mirror. The small, golden cross that Scully wore around her neck glittered brightly as light from the candles bounced off it and reflected back into the vampire's eyes from the mirror. He shielded his eyes and pushed his intended victim away.

Scully teetered unsteadily once he let go of her. It took a few seconds for her to shake off the effects of the hypnotic spell and react to her freedom. She turned and looked back at him curiously, finding him slumping against the wall, eyes shut and holding his head with both hands as though he was in great pain.

"Are you--" Scully started towards him but stopped abruptly when she heard a deep, animal-like growl.

"Get out!" Nick yelled at her, battling that part of himself that wanted to drain her blood. "I don't know how long I can hold him," he spoke in a gruff voice. "Run! Now!" he shouted, following up the verbal warning with another growl.

Scully surmised that Nick was having an attack of some kind, and her first instinct was to try to assist him medically. But with his final warning, it was as if Mulder had shown up, grabbed her hand and said, "Let's get the hell out of here!" That was the voice she listened to. Scully spun about, and without pausing to make a grab for her personal belongings, ran for her life. Luckily, the doors presented no problems. The bedroom door was unlocked and the main door to the cabin was a simple latch.

The agent found herself outside in the cool night air surrounded by total darkness, barely able to make out the edge of the porch. Reaching for the banister, her hand landed on something padded. When she smelled garlic, she realized that she had found her coat. She grabbed it as she stumbled down the three steps of the porch, then ran blindly away from the cabin. She managed to slip into the jacket before tripping over a fallen tree and landing, luckily in a pile of dead leaves. She thought it best to lie still and give her eyes an opportunity to adjust to the dim moonlight and to check on the progress of her pursuer. Candles had been lit in the living room as well and Scully stared intently at the door she had left wide open. A moment later, she saw a dark figure appear in the doorway. He stood still, turning and lifting his head to the left and right as though sniffing the air for something. Scully gasped softly when it appeared that he had somehow pinpointed her location in the darkness and was looking in her exact direction.

"Dana!" Nicholas called out. "Why don't you come back inside? We were about to have some fun. I can make it so good for you." He took an unhurried step off the porch, actually looking forward to a prolonged chase. "I suppose you don't want me to think you're easy. After all, we've just met. I like a woman who plays hard to get. I enjoy a good pursuit." He took another step and stopped. "Might I suggest that if you don't want this over before it's barely begun, then you should seek another hiding place. I'll give you a five-minute head start. How's that?" He sat down on the second step and leaned back, resting his elbows comfortably on the top step and looking up towards the stars.

Scully cautiously rose from the ground and moved gingerly backwards, deeper into the woods. Checking her pockets, she was dismayed not to find her trusty flashlight. She must have lost it at the time of her abduction, and no telling what had become of her gloves. She had to step carefully while waving her arms out in front of her to keep from bumping into trees or low hanging branches. She had five minutes to come up with a line of defense, to find something to use as a weapon and position herself well enough to create an ambush or counter attack. Thinking about how he could have pinpointed her location earlier, she had to wonder if he hadn't detected the aroma her coat was giving off. Granted, he'd have to have a mighty keen sense of smell, but it wasn't too implausible.

"Thanks a lot, Mulder," she mumbled to herself thinking that now she should probably ditch the coat to put Knight off her trail. She stopped to pull off the coat, hissed and shivered from a blast of cold air, then decided on an alternative. She turned the jacket inside out and put it back on again. At least that would keep the scent from traveling and it would also keep her from freezing her ass off. Trudging onward, Scully thought about what had happened back at the cabin. She couldn't believe that she had actually allowed a total stranger -- a cow-killing stranger at that -- to kiss and fondle her as though they were lovers. What's more, she couldn't believe how much she had thoroughly enjoyed the feel and taste of him, and had actually craved more. Maybe he had drugged her; given her something to make her lose her inhibitions. Undoubtedly, he had used something to put her to sleep in order to transport her from the ranch to wherever the heck they were now.

Not concentrating as carefully as she should on her movements in the dark, Scully tripped over something again, but only part of her body felt land come up to greet her this time. There was nothing for her hands to grasp, nothing to support her from the chest up. As her arms and hands dangled into space, she realized that she had come to the edge of a cliff. Lying at a downward angle, her left foot was caught within the "V" of a fallen branch, which appeared to be the only thing that kept her from plunging over the side. In trying to locate a perch for her hands so she could push herself away from the edge, she knocked loose a rock which tumbled downward into the abyss for several long seconds before it finally made contact with the rocky bottom far below.

"Oh, great," she breathed in harsh, rapid breaths. She could either fall at least a hundred feet to her death or face an amorous and very handsome psycho whose only threat so far was his desire to make it good for her. Thinking of it in those terms almost made her wonder why she had been running away. He hadn't actually been violent towards her; just the opposite, in fact. Of course, now was not the time to be contemplating intimacy with her abductor, especially when she felt her anchor beginning to slip. Her weight was pulling the branch from its resting place. The more she struggled to force herself backwards, the more her body shifted downwards. She used one hand to claw into the hard earth at her side while the other tried desperately to locate something she could grab on to.

Where was Mulder when she needed him? It was extremely doubtful that he was anywhere within hearing distance, so Scully settled for the only other alternative. She took in a careful breath, then called out warily. "Mr. Knight, I need your help! I'm in danger of falling off a cliff here. Please, will you help me?"

There was no answer to her plea. Perhaps he wasn't close enough to hear. She wasn't even sure that the five minutes were up. Could be that he was still lounging about on the front steps back at the cabin or perhaps he thought she was attempting to lure him into a trap. She tried again a little louder, hoping that her sense of fear and urgency carried through. Still there was no response. Either he wasn't within earshot or he simply wasn't going to help her. Perhaps this had been part of his plan all along. Of course, he knew the area, and he knew what dangers were awaiting her out in the blackness. Knowing that she couldn't depend on a psychopath to save her, and that Mulder wasn't likely to show up within the next two seconds, Scully decided to try to rescue herself. Gingerly, she moved her left leg. The branch that had held her in position, suddenly snapped in two, and she felt herself skid downward.

"Oh, God!"


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