Windward

Janette entered the hotel room, closing the door silently behind her. Lacroix looked up from the papers he had spread out over the table. "I think I found him."

Lacroix stood, some of the scattered papers falling unnoticed. "Where? Are you sure?" His voice was thick, as if he dared not speak the words for fear of the answer he might not hear.

She nodded. "I am pretty sure. I could not get into the place, to see him- but everything says that it is him. I showed his picture to one of the men. He seemed to recognise it."

"Seemed to?" The hope in his voice sank away. "He wasn't sure?"

Janette shrugged. "As sure as he could be... Lacroix... they are all... you know..."

Lacroix nodded. "I suppose we must be grateful for whatever clues we can find. I just wish..."

"I know." She came forward and gripped his arm. "Do you want me to go with you?"

"No," he shook his head brusquely. "I had better do this on my own." He stared out at the infinite darkness that had surrounded the nights lately, and gently removed Janette's hand. "I will let you know, if... if it's he." She only nodded, as he left. She resigned herself to waiting, to hoping... she went to the table, and began sorting through the papers. If it was not Nicholas, they would have to look elsewhere, and she should try and find another hint as to where he might be.


They had been searching relentlessly for him, for months. Ever since he'd vanished- not through Merlin's magic, but simply going off without a word, without a trace. Ever since that night, when the terrorist bomb had gone off, and the policeman had come to his door to read to him the names of the dead.

Nick had blamed himself, to no surprise to his vampiric family. They hadn't been prepared for the extent of the self-blame, and when Lacroix discovered how much truth there might have been behind that blame, he'd gone to find him. He had been willing to let Nicholas mourn in private, wherever he had run to. But when they had learned what had happened, heard the reports from the officers involved, Lacroix decided they had to go after him. That was when they'd discovered Nicholas had disappeared into the darkness with only the barest trace.

And now Lacroix hoped they had found him. He hated not knowing where Nicholas was- something had blocked or destroyed the link between them, soon after the news of the explosion had reached Nicholas. Lacroix had noticed immediately, and gone to see him. At the time he'd blamed it on the shock of the deaths, and had spent the night with Nick, trying to talk to him, simply being nearby in case he needed someone.

Nick had spoken only once, to ask Lacroix to go find out what had happened. Nick wouldn't leave the loft, he didn't want to face the world and discover the news was true. Lacroix had gone, more than willing to do this favour for Nicholas- he could see the extent of his pain in his eyes, and knew no amount of the centuries and fighting could overcome the sympathy. Lacroix knew that kind of pain, and so he did as he was asked.

When he'd returned, with Janette, they'd found Nick gone. And it had taken all these months to track him down... if they'd indeed found him, now. Even with the help of the others, it had been nearly impossible. Lacroix wouldn't give up, wouldn't let go of Nicholas so easily.

He headed now for the place Janette believed he was. As a woman they had not let her in- a community of derelicts, homeless, society rejects. Lacroix knew he would get in, either with the roll of finns in his pocket, or by the vampire's stare. No mere mortals would keep him from finding Nicholas.


He found the fenced in area, a roundhouse abandoned when the trains stopped running. He walked swiftly to the gates, and requested entrance. His coat hid whatever wealth he might have shown, and they let him pass. He ignored the scent of unwashed humans and burning papers, and hunted for his child. While his mind was shut off, his other senses were not. As he entered an open space between the derelict cars, he found it. His head turned, following the whiff of the scent he would never mistake.

He walked through the huddled masses of shivering bodies, and finally crouched down beside the one sitting on the muddy ground, staring into a dying fire. He felt his heart lurch at the desolate expression, the emptiness in the eyes. He placed his hand on Nicholas' shoulder, and as he looked up at him, Lacroix realised why he had not felt that link between his mind and Nicholas'.

Insanity stared back at him, through Nicholas' golden eyes.

Lacroix felt the ache stab inside him- there was no recognition in Nicholas' eyes; there was barely awareness that someone stood before him. He crouched before him, ignoring how his coat trailed in the mud. He put one hand beneath Nicholas' chin, and searched for some clue... some hint that he was still there to be reached. Through the mental bond he felt only empty coldness.

"Nicholas?" There was no response, the golden eyes stared unblinking. Lacroix tried to remain calm, and spoke again. "Nicholas, mon petit, est-ce que tu m'entends?" <Nicholas, little one, can you hear me?> He paused, and when there was no reply, he asked, "Est-ce que tu comprends?" <Do you understand?>

Nicholas just looked at him. Lacroix took Nicholas' hand, and stood up. Nicholas stood with him; Lacroix was relieved to discover he was apparently willing to be led. "Nicholas, viens-t'en tout ed suite. On s'en va a la maison." <Come, now, Nicholas. We're going home.>

"Where are the trains, then?"

Lacroix frowned at the question. He wasn't sure if he should respond to the words, or try to understand what Nicholas thought he meant. He kept his growl of frustration silent- he hated being cut off from his child's mind. Calmly, he said, "The trains are gone." That much was true, the roundhouse had been abandoned for years.

Nicholas pulled his hand back. "I'm not going." He stepped away, then walked aimlessly away from Lacroix, as if his resolve had lasted only as long as the single step. Lacroix watched, feeling helpless and not liking it one bit. He went over to Nicholas' side, and walked with him.

"They had them, you know." Nicholas said, as they wandered through the trash can fires and sleeping men.

"Did they?" Lacroix asked. Perhaps if he could steer Nicholas away from the eyes of the humans, he could take him and leave. He wanted to grab him now, hold him and get him out of this place... away from this mindlessness. Instead he placed his hand in Nicholas', and followed him as he walked.

"Yeah," Nicholas nodded. "I wasn't sure they could do it, it really was heavy. But all of them picked it up and carried it away. I sure wouldn't want to do it." His voice seemed... younger, somehow. Lacroix was suddenly struck by the impression of a very young child, living half in a fantasy world of his own creation.

Lacroix smiled, and nodded. "Well I can understand that." His smile made it easier to hide the tears. He kept reaching out, with his mind, to find some sense of the Nicholas he'd known. He found only wisps of silent chills, formless, directionless, without content. He couldn't even find whatever mind it was that was creating the words he heard.

Nicholas didn't seem to notice the prying mind within his. He continued walking through the people, the heaps of scavenged trash, not realising whenever Lacroix would gently turn him away from one direction and lead him in another. Lacroix wondered if he should say something.

"Where did they take it?"

Nicholas looked at him. "Don't you remember? I saw them load it on the trains."

"Oh, yes..." Lacroix had no idea what Nicholas thought he was talking about. But soon it wouldn't matter- they were near the fence, a place where a gap would let them step through into the darkness and be gone. Nicholas followed him, as Lacroix headed for the opening.

He stopped, as Lacroix was about to step through. "Where are you going?" He seemed upset, he didn't want to lose his new friend.

Lacroix looked back at him. He smiled, as a thought came to him. "I told you the trains were gone. We're going after them."

Nicholas' face broke out into a joyful smile. "We are? Really? I didn't know we could..." He moved to follow Lacroix through the fence. Lacroix put his arm out, and let Nicholas go through first. Nicholas said, "I thought they were broken for good."

Lacroix stepped through the fence, and led Nicholas into the forest that surrounded this edge of town. "You can always repair trains, Nicholas."

Nicholas relaxed, and smiled at him. "I'm glad."

Lacroix returned his smile and wished he knew what the hell was going on... and what he was going to do, to fix Nicholas' broken mind. "I knew you would be." They walked together silently into the forest, still holding hands.

Lacroix and Nicholas walked silently, until Lacroix found a place which seemed far enough from chance encounters with mortals. He stepped over to a tree, and sat down, tugging at Nicholas' hand. Nicholas sat down beside him, looking at him curiously.

"Where are we?"

Lacroix smiled at him, leaning back against the tree trunk. "We're going to stay here a little while, Nicholas. Why don't you take a nap?" He let his eyes turn golden, and tugged at whatever link there remained between his mind and Nicholas', letting the whispered suggestion draw him into a hypnotic sleep.

Nicholas blinked once, then nodded, and yawned. Lacroix was taken by surprise- vampires didn't yawn, how... and why, had Nicholas picked up the habit? He left the question for now, and pulled Nicholas over to him. Nicholas leaned against him, Lacroix wrapped his arms around him as he fell asleep. For few moments, he simply looked down at his sleeping son, cradled in his arms. He had to find him. He had to bring him back- heal his mind, somehow...

He closed his eyes and reached out with his thoughts. At first he felt nothing but the same empty coldness, the meaningless breezes of random impulses. He did not let the fear stall his search, he had to believe he would find something. Lacroix gently entered into deeper recesses of Nicholas' mind. Places which he should have considered so familiar were utterly empty and alien; places which he had never before had reason to probe gave him nothing. Just the constant wisps of silent breezes, brushing against his own thoughts, like clouds in the sky.

Lacroix searched everywhere for a thought he could call Nicholas'. Not even coherent thoughts about the trains he had seemed so interested in, could be found or deciphered. Lacroix gently retreated, and opened his eyes to the night. He leaned his head back, and felt the rough bark. Nicholas still slept soundly in his arms; Lacroix held back the tears that threatened. He was not yet ready to give up. It was four hours 'til sunrise- he had tile then to sit here in the solitude of the forest with Nicholas.

After tonight, though, he would have all of eternity. If it took him his entire immortal life to recapture Nicholas' sanity, then so be it. Lacroix looked back down at Nicholas. His face seemed so innocent, so peaceful. It was a face he hadn't seen in centuries. Lacroix softly kissed Nicholas' forehead, and closed his eyes to try again.

He found the same thing, as he entered Nicholas' mind. Lacroix let himself simply 'drift' among the wisps, considering what he might do. Something in here had to be Nicholas... he had to be somewhere. But when he searched there were only the wisps...


The wisps. The cold, formless, aimlessly wandering wisps that filled the empty mind were the only thing *in* Nicholas' mind. Lacroix tried to hold one, as it passed him by. It slipped through him, totally unnoticing his effort. But Lacroix felt a surge of hope- if Nicholas had to be somewhere in here, and the only thing in here were these wisps... If only he could catch them, and hold them together somehow. Perhaps he could save his son.

Lacroix tried reaching out; he tried calling them to him. He tried holding completely still so that he made no disturbance at all; he tried moving as randomly and quickly as the wisps. But nothing worked. He could not get ahold of one, he could not determine if his suspicions were correct. But at least he had something to try...

He rested, for a moment, and considered some more. He was not going to leave his son like this, and he felt frustrated at believing he'd found the key and yet unable to do anything with it. And he hurt, that Nicholas had preferred to go insane, than face the pain which had caused this. Hadn't he known his family would have been there for him, helped him through it all? They had always offered Nicholas a place to come, for support and comfort. Lacroix had told him they would always be his family. How could he have thought he had reached the end of his ability to cope?

They were questions Lacroix knew he would not get answered, unless... until he succeeded. Dimly he felt the sun drawing closer- another two hours, and it would be rising. He considered the empty mind he had placed himself in. All these aimless wisps, and he needed to take them... gather them up...

He let himself surround Nicholas' mind. Putting himself along the very edges, and covering the boundaries of the empty spaces. When he completely encompassed the area, with all the wisps now inside him, he began slowly, gently, to bring the circle of his thoughts closer together.

At first there was no noticeable change. Then, he saw that the wisps were wandering around in a much smaller area; they were slowing down. Lacroix felt a burst of emotion- joy, and a fierce sense of protection as he encircled his son. He continued going slowly, so as not to frighten or disturb Nicholas. If in fact, that was what he had captured.

Lacroix felt himself smile, as he brought his thoughts in tightly, until the wisps were packed together in almost one place. He held himself there, waiting. His arms held Nicholas' body, and his mind held what he hoped was Nicholas' spirit. He waited, until he heard the cry.

For the next hour, he simply held his sobbing son.


Finally the crying subsided. Lacroix looked down at Nicholas, but he didn't need to see his eyes to know. He was still wrapped around his child's mind, he could feel the sanity regain hold. He felt the pain return, as well... as was given a sudden vision of the depth of Nicholas' grief and guilt.

He didn't understand why Nicholas didn't just let it go- a vampire lived too long to carry the emotional baggage from any life he lived. Nicholas didn't understand that, apparently. Lacroix sighed- something else he would have to teach him. He said nothing, though, until Nicholas looked at him and whispered his name, in his thoughts.

"Why have you done this to me?" The accusation rung through the centuries, a line Nicholas had uttered time and again, never being satisfied with his master's replies.

Lacroix shook his head. "I had to, Nicholas. I could not let you go."

"You never!" He broke off, crying. "Why can't you let me go?" He finally wailed, his thoughts ringing off the circle of Lacroix's mind that still held him. Lacroix was still afraid to let him go; it might be too soon and he didn't want to lose him again.

"It's all right, Nicholas. It's all right, this time..."

Nicholas didn't want to hear, but he couldn't run from the thoughts that were driven into his mind. Lacroix could see the turmoil that still swirled through him, and he realised how delicately balanced Nicholas was. He kept his mental hold carefully, not wanting to jostle anything.

He felt Nicholas' distress, the thoughts of his friends' deaths, the realisation that he had been partly to blame. A murder suspect he had let spent a night free to 'deal with some personal things', a tale of a family's strife had convinced Nicholas to be compassionate. In his attempts to act as a mortal, he had done what he thought his human instincts would tell him. Give the man a night, and let him turn himself in the next day.

Nicholas' kindness had been answered with a carefully planted pipe bomb which exploded at a scripted crime scene- arranged for the sole purpose of delivering its charge, killing six people. Lacroix had learned all this the night of the incident, and had seen it again in Nicholas' thoughts. It frustrated him- he *knew* that if Nicholas hadn't been on his 'quest' he would never have made the mistake. Nicholas knew it too, hence his desperate attempt to escape.

Lacroix had dragged him back, though, into the sure knowledge that he had killed his friends. Lacroix saw the accusation run through Nicholas' consciousness. He wondered if Nicholas would listen to him, now or ever.

"Nicholas..."

"Leave me alone," Nicholas half pleaded, half cried. His body still lay sleeping in Lacroix's arms, his mind rattled against the cage that was his master's mind. His wail filled both their thoughts.

"Nicholas! You don't understand-" Lacroix tried to push his thought in, grab the boy's attention.

"*You* don't understand! You never have... you never even tried..." Nicholas flung his sharp words back at Lacroix, and Lacroix was suddenly overcome with the meaning behind those words.

Ever since he had made Nicholas, Lacroix had kept careful watch over the surface of his mind, dwelling deeper only when it was absolutely necessary. But there were places he'd left uninvaded, to let his child maintain some semblance of autonomy, or at least creativity. But those hidden places came crashing at him now, as Nicholas flung them at him, showing him with more expression than words could ever tell.

For the first time, Lacroix began to realise the depth of Nicholas' fear... and his desire to get away from his vampiric nature, and his vampiric master. All the times Nicholas had tried to explain, all the excuses he'd alternately screamed, or offered in cold logic, he had never come close to communicating to his father *why* he needed to be free.

It wasn't his soul he had been trying to save. It was his psyche. It was everything that made him what he was... whatever it was that made him special, unique... precious. He had seen Lacroix rip that from him, in creating the vampire that now lay before them. Nicholas believed that he had been enslaved, more surely than any man in iron chains. Enslaved, and the attempted brainwashing, those were the accusations that flew at Lacroix now. Lacroix saw the fear beneath them- the fear that beneath the simple Vampire, there was no longer anything at all...

Lacroix pulled Nicholas closer to him, and tried to whisper 'no'. The banshee wail smothered his thought, and Lacroix was forced to wait for the chance that Nicholas might just hear him when his grief was gone with the exhaust of his energy.

Lacroix was quite prepared to wait forever. Unfortunately, by the sound and pressure of Nicholas' cries, he might just have to...


The night was silent around them. The woods lay still, even the nocturnal creatures kept away, peering at the two vampires from a safe distance and quickly creeping away without causing so much as a trickle of disturbance. The owls remained silent, and Lacroix was glad- he had somewhere picked up the natives' beliefs that the owl's call was a harbinger of death. But if they were silent, maybe he had a chance.

Nicholas lay limp in his arms. Within the cage of Lacroix's thoughts the wailing had diminished to a murmur, but it continued to sound. Lacroix waited patiently, no longer needing his strength to hold the trapped mind with delicacy. He watched the night around them, with only half a thought on his son's cries. Soon, now, he would fall silent and perhaps then Lacroix could speak to him. He knew that as long as he kept him bound within his will, he would not fly away into the mass of insanity.

The sun would be rising in another hour. Lacroix began to feel some urgency that they be able to leave in time to find safety. The roundhouse might offer shelter from the sun, but he wasn't so sure it was safe from prying eyes. It would be best to return to the hotel where the others waited, if only to assure them that Nicholas had been found.

Lacroix looked down, as he heard the wail die away. Nicholas' face was still so calm, so peaceful in sleep. It was an unnatural sleep, Lacroix knew, and it was only that which kept it calm. It didn't matter- only the mind mattered, now. He stroked with a thought, to bring some calmness inside.

"Nicholas..." He whispered, gently, and tried to let his emotions of caring, and father's love carry his thought to Nicholas' mind.

"Go away!" Nicholas wasn't having any.

"Nicholas... listen to me." Lacroix said it sternly, pushing his way inside where Nicholas would have to hear him. "Nicholas... you do not have to blame yourself! Do you understand? This guilt... it is not yours to take!"

"But I killed..." the thought died away, too painful to contemplate. Lacroix felt the swirling wisps begin to form as Nicholas' mind tried to dissipate. With a firm mental grip, Lacroix kept him sane.

"No, you did not kill. That mortal man killed them. It was not you. Don't you see, Nicholas? I have been trying to tell you... mortals kill their own kind. It *happens*. It is in their nature..."

"Not all of them..." Nicholas' thought was quiet, but it was there. Lacroix felt a burst of joy, that Nicholas was trying to argue with him... trying to reason.

"That's right, Nicholas. Not all of them. But some, yes. And one of them was responsible for the bomb's explosion. You cannot take the blame for it, Nicholas. Otherwise you can't survive..." Lacroix knew he had to go on, even if Nicholas was not ready to hear it. "If you accept the guilt for everything that goes wrong around you, you will be dragged down and you cannot live. You must learn to let go, Nicholas. You will outlive them all, you body is immortal. You must let your mind be so, as well."

Nicholas was silent for awhile. Lacroix waited, letting the thoughts sink in. At least there was no sign that he might let go his mind, again. Finally, in a small voice Nicholas said, "But my friends are dead."

"Nicholas... come home with me. Janette is waiting for us. You do not have to live alone, you know. Your family waits for you."

Nicholas began to cry, but it was not the terrified wailing of mind crushing pain. It was, rather, the pain of having lost something more precious than anything else in the world. His friends, gone, and his dream of becoming mortal seemed gone as well.

Lacroix tried to comfort him. "Nicholas... I know you don't want to hear me say it, but I said this search would bring you grief. Instead of trying to become something you are not, you should be what you are."

Nicholas cried, without resolve, "But I don't want to be what I am..."

With a short sigh of impatience, Lacroix asked, "What are you, Nicholas?"

"I'm a killer." The answer was quick, and certain.

"You have not killed in a hundred years... how can you call yourself a killer?"

"But... I have..." Nicholas' thoughts reflected a minutiae of unsurety. Lacroix hid his smile.

"In the line of duty? Mortals call such men heroes." Lacroix said it simply, letting Nicholas make the next argument.

"I'm not a hero..."

"Then what are you?" He said in a straightforward thought, as if he was asking for the first time.

"I... I'm a vampire. I'm evil..."

"A vampire, I'll grant. Evil? I doubt it... What have you done that makes you evil?"

"I've been a vampire!!" The shout rang through both their minds.

Lacroix sighed. It was an ancient argument, one which he had debated before both with Nicholas, and other philosophically minded persons, both vampire and not.

"Nicholas... I have told you, that by vampire standards you are *not* evil. Shall I go through this again?"

"I don't want to hear it." Nicholas complained.

"I know you don't," Lacroix sounded like an indulgent professor. "But there remains the point that you are not evil simply by being a vampire. Nicholas... even by human standards you haven't done anything evil. And by nature, you are not evil- though I concede you don't accept that point at the moment. But you should... because it's true. Ask anyone, if you don't believe me."

"Anyone? I could ask lots of people, and they'd say I was..." Nicholas flung the thought at him, petulantly.

"Well obviously I meant any vampire..."

"Of course. Because if I asked a human they'd say I was!"

"Nicholas... I've told you before that you aren't human, therefore you needn't live by their rules, their morality. Why do you insist on doing so?"

"Because I want to be human." Nicholas thought it, and Lacroix could feel him beginning to cry again.

"Nicholas... has this desire brought you anything but pain? Isn't it time you gave it up?" Lacroix laid the thoughts in carefully, gently, knowing they might spark a renewed cry of pain and threats of insanity.

Instead he heard mental equivalent of a sniffle, and the reply, "I don't want to."

"Will you come home with me?"

The reply came again, quieter and even less forceful. "I don't want to." His thoughts faded away near the end, as if Nicholas knew he might not get his wish.

Lacroix smiled. Nicholas' mind had stabilised during the conversation, during the debate and now gave no sign that he might dissolve again into the insanity. Lacroix whispered the suggestion that Nicholas might wake, and was rewarded with seeing his son's eyes open. They were a brilliant blue. Lacroix smiled at him. "Let's go home, Nicholas."

Nicholas looked back at him, still locked inside Lacroix's mind. He looked away, at the sky... and nodded. Lacroix helped him stand, and as he faced him, slowly wound his thoughts away from Nicholas'. Nicholas gave him a quick, frightened glance as the security of his father's mind- though unwanted, left him. But Lacroix gripped his hand firmly, and motioned toward the sky. "Come, Nicholas. Let's go..."

They flew into the sky, and Lacroix headed for the town. In a tiny voice, as they approached, Nicholas asked out loud, "Where are we?"

Lacroix just laughed. It was good to hear his voice again.


They landed on the balcony, still hand in hand. The windows flew open, and Janette stood there, fear on her face as she saw Nicholas. Hiding the tremble in her voice, she asked Lacroix with an expression.

Lacroix nodded. "He's all right... for now. His mind has returned."

Nicholas glanced at him, as if making it quite clear who he blamed for the return. Lacroix ignored him. He walked forward, entering the large suite, bringing Nicholas in with him. Once inside Janette quickly closed the windows, as if sealing off any escape. Lacroix let go of Nicholas' hand and walked over to the bar. Two bottles of imported blood sat there, and he poured himself a drink. The night had taken a lot out of him.

He raised his glass to Nicholas. "Would you care for a drink?"

"No." Nicholas shook his head. He wasn't ready to give everything up, yet. He wasn't going to at all, if he could help it. He had no idea what he was supposed to do, now. He still didn't know where he was. He looked at Janette, then Lacroix. "You still haven't told me..."

Lacroix took a swallow, and answered, "It hardly matters, Nicholas. We'll be leaving soon enough... unless," He looked to Janette. "You'd rather stay here? It's a pleasant enough city, large enough for all of us. Merlin could arrange things..."

Janette shrugged, and crossed the room to Nicholas. He had been trying to avoid standing beside her, and she'd decided enough was enough. She put her arm around his shoulders. "Nicola, it's going to be all right. You'll see. There's nothing to be afraid of."

"I'm not afraid." For the first time all night, his voice had regained some semblance of intelligence, not simply sanity. The tiny warble and childlike tone had faded, and he almost sounded like himself. "I just don't..." He looked at Lacroix. "I want to return to Toronto. I have... things I need to do there."

"If you mean catching the bomber, that won't be necessary." Lacroix's voice had regained *its* former nonchalance, and nefarious delight. "It's been dealt with. As for Toronto... I think you'll find everything you need, is already here." The delight in his eyes sparkled.

Nicholas looked at him with a sudden fear. "What do you mean? What have you done?"

"Done? Only what needed to be done- for you, I might add. You were the one who disappeared, went mad, because of a few simple deaths." Lacroix ignored Nicholas' expression of rage, at his apparent disregard for his grief. "I did what had to be done. I think you'll agree..." He smiled in anticipation. In the midst of Nicholas' shock, that first night, Lacroix had had the chance to make everything all right again. He waited eagerly to present it to Nicholas, knowing that finally his family would be intact again. Nicholas would have no more reason to roam away.

"You killed the man, didn't you? The who set the--" his voice choked on the word 'bomb', but otherwise in accusing Lacroix he had regained not only his voice, but his resolve to never, ever follow this vampire again. Lacroix heard the resolution form, and kept his sigh silent. His son would not be learning tonight, it seemed. But it didn't matter- he'd won him back from the brink of madness. No mere disagreement about killing mortals would separate their family now.

Lacroix looked at him in surprise. "Of course... but that's not what I was talking about." He had thought that would be obvious- wouldn't Nicholas want revenge? Well, he had provided it.

Nicholas looked at him in confusion. "Then what...?"

Lacroix set the glass down, and walked towards the other door. "Your friends, Nicholas. The ones for whom you grieved so much... you need not grieve anymore."

Nicholas looked at the open door, and watched as Natalie and Don walked through. He saw the gleam of gold in their eyes, and felt the echo of their blood hunger. His scream was entirely silent. Lacroix spun around, staring, reaching out as he felt Nicholas' mind ripped away.

This time, there weren't even wisps.