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Upwards A Downward Spiral

A post-Last Knight fic

By Shadowstar

Rating: PG-PG-13. Rating may be subject to change.

I'm not a member of *any* faction, but hey! I can be recruited. ;) These characters do not belong to me and I do not hold the rights to them. This first foray into Forever Knight fanfiction can be attributed to sleep deprivation, PEZ, chocolate, and Pixie Sticks. ;)

I blame NiteMar because she introduced me to Forever Knight fanfic (and she beta read this, too!) My thanks to Stacy for taking over beta reading. Archive? Sure, whatever, wherever ;) FTP archive, both FKfanfic archives and Jadfe if it becomes necessary.

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Chapter 1:
Aftermath
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LaCroix turned the stake in his hand and hesitated as he watched Nicholas bend over his mortal love, offering his back to his sire. His expression hardened as he brought the stake down on his son's head and then drove the point through Nicholas' shoulder. Nicholas fell over on top of Natalie and lay still.

"S'excuse, Nicolas," he murmured over his son's unconscious form. "Mais, comment j'abîme tu, mon fils, ma création?"* He picked up Nicholas and placed him on the couch; careful not to jostle the stake embedded in his shoulder.

He gathered Natalie up in his arms. He had been hearing faint heartbeats for some time; he knew that if she died, he would truly lose his son forever. He took off and flew out the skylight towards the nearest hospital. The good doctor would survive if he had to finish bringing her across himself. He knew that Nick would most likely be furious if that happened, but he would forgive him… in a century or two.

It would not be ideal for him to do so--if the good doctor were a vampire, then her search for a "cure" would continue forever. At least if she remained mortal, in fifty or sixty years, her search would stop, because she would be dead. Nicholas' flirtation with mortality would cease--eventually. Sooner or later, he would have his son back by his side. After all, they had all the time in the world.

LaCroix landed outside in the shadows outside of the Emergency Room, carried the unconscious woman inside and laid her on a gurney. He grabbed the nearest doctor, caught his heartbeat, and forced the man to look into his eyes. "You *will* care for this woman," he murmured, his voice strangely compelling. "You will make sure that she survives," he said. "She needs transfusions, and you will give them to her." He released the man and left quickly, intent on getting Nicholas to safety before he regained consciousness and hurt himself.

The doctor shook his head as if to clear it and looked at Natalie. "We've got a severe case of exsanguination," he called. "She needs blood and lots of it, stat! Get her started with a unit of O-, *now*." He rubbed his forehead absently. Fuzzy memories of a tall man dressed in black who had accosted him and ordered him to do… something. Without conscious thought, he dismissed it from his mind and concentrated on his new patient. With time and care, there was a great possibility that she could recover.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

LaCroix flew to the loft, retrieved Nicholas, and hurried back to his rooms over the Raven. Carefully, he laid his son face down in Nicholas' rarely-used bedroom and pulled out the titanium chains he kept for such occasions. His son would not have the chance to destroy himself; he would not allow Nicholas to walk into the sun. He undressed his son, pulled the stake out of his shoulder, and gently redressed him in a pair of silk pajamas. He attached the chains to the titanium loops in the wall before he cuffed his son's wrists and ankles with the manacles on the ends of the chains.

The loops in the walls were, in turn, attached to a titanium support structure that was embedded in the bedrock below The Raven. His Nicholas would not be stupidly committing suicide any time in the near future. He lifted Nicholas once more, slid his still unconscious form in between the sheets of the bed and pulled the blankets up around him. LaCroix pushed a stray curl away from his son's face and sighed.

"Mon fils, je n'ai pas permettre tu a mouri. Nicolas, tu a mon possession, tu a *mon*."** LaCroix left the room abruptly, and gathered several bottles of blood from his refrigerator.

He put them on the nightstand next to the bed in Nicholas' room and gathered his son close to him. Softly, he began caressing his son's hair before tipping Nicholas' head back and ripping his own wrist open. He pressed the bleeding limb to his son's mouth. "Bois, ma Nicolas, *bois.*"***

He smiled as he felt his son begin to suck weakly at his wrist and pull the life-giving essence into himself. "That's it, mon fils," he crooned softly before he resumed stroking his son's blond curls. Images of the past few hours flowed through their link.

Nick opened his eyes and pushed LaCroix's wrist away roughly. "Why didn't you kill me?" he asked, anguish written on his face. "I killed her--I deserve to *die*, and I want to *join* her."

"My foolish Nicholas; do you really think that I would let you go so easily? You are *mine* and I do not relinquish my possessions easily." He reached for a bottle and handed it to his son. "Drink, Nicholas and regain your strength."

Nick took the bottle, his chains rattling at the motion, and hurled it at the wall. It shattered upon impact and its contents ran down the surface. LaCroix raised a single eyebrow and regarded him with amusement. "Tantrums, Nicholas? My, how we have… regressed." He got up and tugged the bedclothes up around his son. "Rest and heal," he said quietly, starting towards the door.

Nick yanked on his chains halfheartedly attempting to break free. "Don't you get it, LaCroix? I don't *want* to heal. I *want* to be with Natalie--I *promised*."

LaCroix paused at the door and glanced back at Nicholas; pity flitted over his features. "Your mortal pet… lives," he said quietly.

"Take me to her," Nick demanded. "I want to see her!"

"And are you sure she wants to see you?" LaCroix inquired silkily. "You almost killed her; I doubt that draining her was what she wanted when she asked you to make love to her."

Nicholas scowled and crossed his arms and the chains rattled quietly under the blankets. "Let me see her," he demanded.

"Rest, Nicholas," LaCroix said, his tone brooking no argument. "It is too close to sunrise. I *will* *not* have you fry yourself over a mere *mortal*. Behave, and I will take you to her… tomorrow," he vowed as his eyes flashed, daring Nicholas to try and disobey him. "You should have brought her across," he chided gently.

"I couldn't condemn her to this existence," Nick mumbled.

LaCroix lifted an eyebrow. "And what she may now have will be better?" he inquired tauntingly. "She may become a hunter… or something else, and coming across would have been *her* choice," he pointed out. "*You* chose to come back, yet, you took that choice from her. *Rest* Nicholas. I grow weary of this argument. Feed and go to *sleep*." He turned, and left Nicholas to his own thoughts.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Natalie opened her eyes to the bright lights of the hospital and moaned softly. She turned her head to find LaCroix sitting next to her bed. She shrank back from him, remembering some of the things that Nick had said about him. At the same time, a fuzzy memory of a certain Valentine's Day flashed in her head. He was dangerous--especially to her, but at the same time, he was the only one at her bedside. "What happened?" she croaked, wanting, needing to know.

"Welcome back to the land of the living, Doctor," he said, steepling his fingers in front of his face.

"What happened?" she whispered again.

"You don't remember?" he said, raising one eyebrow.

"No," she answered.

LaCroix leaned forward to whisper in her ear. "Doctor, you should *never* ask a vampire who's been starving himself for over a century to make love to you if you wish to survive the experience," he said, as a large smile spread over his face. "You haven't--quite--been brought across, if that's what you mean."

"Does that make me a… hunter?" she asked.

LaCroix shook his head regretfully. "I'm afraid not; if you were a hunter, it would be my pleasure to destroy you, but you're not. You, my dear doctor, are something I have never seen before, neither hunter, nor fully mortal or fully vampire. I shall have to consult the Elders as to what you have become. Irregardless, you are now Family and thus I am responsible for you since Nicholas is… incapacitated."

"Is he hurt?" she asked anxiously.

LaCroix caught her eyes, focused on her heartbeat, and forced open the tenuous link between them to its fullest. "Sleep," he whispered, his voice compelling. "Sleep, my… granddaughter." Natalie's eyes drifted shut and she emitted a slight snore. He pushed some of her hair back from her face. "It seems that my bargain with Nicholas is now null and void," he said with a sigh.

LaCroix leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. "I always knew what my Nicholas saw in you," he told the sleeping woman. "Perhaps I should have brought you fully across so that you will be part of us forever, but I couldn't bear to have my son hate me for it--he hates me enough already." He grimaced, shook his head, and left the room to tell the mortal physicians that the good doctor had awakened.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Nick tugged restlessly at his chains, renewing his futile attempt to break free. His internal clock told him that the sun would soon fall, and then he would be able to see Natalie--if she could forgive him for almost killing her. He rubbed his arm across his face as guilt washed over him. If she became a dhampir, her life would be forfeit, and yet another person would have been sacrificed to feed his beast.

"Please," he whispered. "Not Natalie--*please*, not her." A pink-tinged tear rolled slowly down his face as he thought of her dead because he couldn't control the beast. If only he'd refused her, if only he hadn't been so selfish! Nick looked up as LaCroix entered the room. He held his chained hands out in front of him. "I won't walk into the sun," he promised softly.

LaCroix nodded curtly and dropped a pile of clean clothing on the bed before unlocking the handcuffs. "Wash and dress," he ordered. "I contacted the Council, and they wish to see us both about Natalie--this will determine if she will be allowed to live."

"And if they decide she must die?" Nick asked, his voice cracking on the last word.

"Then I will make sure you have a chance to bid her farewell," LaCroix crossed his arms over his chest and stared at his son. "Well? What are you waiting for?"

Nick sighed, gathered up the fresh clothes, and headed towards the shower. "I'm sorry, my son, but it must be this way--the Council will see us before anything else." LaCroix whispered before leaving the room to complete his own toilette.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Two hours later they stood in a large, musty house facing the Council. Dust lay everywhere as a testament to how long it had been since the building was in use. Old fashioned radiators stood along the walls and the plaster medallions that adorned the ceiling were obscured by years of dust, dirt, and cobwebs. The paintings that surrounded the medallions were similarly covered in layers of grime while other pieces of art hanging around the room were mired in a sticky film of the dust of years.

The majority of the furniture was swathed in dustcloths, on which stood five inches of dust. The only exceptions were the brocade and velvet-covered chairs that ensconced three of the members of the Council. A large, ornately-carved mahogany table stood in front of the council. It, too, was dusty, and the whole building had a general air of disuse.

"Nicholas de Brabant." The slender, auburn-haired woman at one end of the table began in a lilting voice. "Your sire has contacted us about a mess you left last night, and that it concerns Dr. Lambert."

Nicholas bowed low at the sound of his name. "Yes, Madam." Guilt sufficed his features. "She asked me to make love to her and I--took too much."

"Does the doctor yet live?" the man next to her asked.

LaCroix inclined his head. "Yes, she does, Iolus," he confirmed. "She is recovering, but she is no longer… mortal. Neither is she a vampire, nor a hunter. In 2000 years, I have never seen anything like what she has become."

The other woman spoke up. "de Brabant," she said in a low, musical voice, "I am known as Diana, and I must know--was she completely willing, and was she willing to be brought across if you failed?"

"I couldn't do it," Nick said softly.

"*Couldn't*, de Brabant?" Iolus questioned.

"You took her blood, de Brabant," Diana reminded him. "What did *she* want?"

"*Nicholas*," LaCroix growled warningly.

Nick closed his eyes and swallowed. "Me," he whispered. "She wanted *me*, and if she had to be brought across, she was willing."

The other woman spoke up. "Does she love the man or the vampire?" she asked.

Nick closed his eyes. "Both," he answered softly.

"Ah," she said, nodding wisely, as if that meant something.

"You, Nicholas, have created something we have not seen in over a thousand years--a creature so rare that it is barely mentioned in our Chronicles." Diana said.

"And what precisely is that, Diana?" LaCroix asked silkily.

"The mention of them in the Chronicles is brief," she said. "We don't have a name for her--she is caught in between. She cannot cross fully over, but she's no longer mortal either."

"What do you mean?" Nick demanded. "LaCroix said that she still lives."

"She does," Iolus answered. "Her heart still beats, her skin is still warm, but she will not age, nor die--with proper treatment."

"Her senses will be enhanced, and she will crave blood--but only yours, de Brabant," the unidentified woman said.

"She will only have vestigial fangs," Diana added. "And she is *your* responsibility--*you* created her, and she will die without your blood, though your sire's might do in an emergency. If she dies from your mistreatment, we shall be very… displeased. This Natalie Lambert is unique, and we wish her to see how things develop. In two or three centuries, something might change."

"You *will* take care of her." Iolus growled. "You have one week before she starts to sicken and we become angry for your disobedience."

Nicholas bowed. "Will she--will sunlight destroy her?" he asked hesitantly.

"We don't know," the auburn-haired woman answered. "*Go* de Brabant. If you fail, even your sire cannot protect you."

Nick bowed again and left the dusty room. LaCroix inclined his head to the Elders before following his son outside. "Come, Nicholas. We must go to your Natalie--she needs you."

"What of the bargain, LaCroix?" Nick said.

LaCroix sighed. "You are becoming tiresome, Nicholas. The bargain does not pertain to… Family. Come." He took off, heading in the direction of the hospital.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Translations:

*"Forgive me, Nicholas, but how could I destroy you, my son, my creation?"

**"My son, I could not allow you to die. You are my possession, you are *mine*."

***"Drink, Nicholas, *drink*."