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Letter Writing

Billets Doux

Winter 1996
last modified March 16, 2003

by Amy R.

G.  Please see the endnote for disclaimers, credits, and all that good stuff.  This fanfiction is a tribute to the television series Forever Knight.


        It was over her that he first defied me.  And because I loved her, I let him.

        That was the mistake, the one mistake that has been multiplied a thousandfold over the centuries, into a defiance so high and a disgust so deep that not only do I not know how to broach it, I am not entirely certain that I wish to any longer.  And yet, the habit remains.  He is what is left to me of her, and his hatred is what is left to me of himself.

To my most noble brother, Sir Nicolas of Brabant, greetings.

        The threat might have been enough to keep him mine, had I carried it out at the first opportunity; our agreement might have kept him bound to me, had I taken from him the first mortal on whom his gaze lingered with more tenderness than hunger.  But it never occurred to me to consider his petty distractions in her class, and his true loves . . . neither his simple Alyssa nor his common Sylvaine nor his passionless Natalie can compare with the sister I let him let time take from us all.  For whether it is the deficits in these women, or a deficit in Nicholas himself, his feelings have never emerged far enough to make the severing of them adequate repayment.  Quid pro quo, Nicholas.  Quid pro quo.

        It was the letters.

        I do not doubt it any longer; it was the quiet defiance of the letters which bred up his rebellion and encouraged it to fester in unhealthy portions of his mind.  At the time, he was happier than I in what we were, and I had no suspicion but that he always would be.  That is an excuse, perhaps, but it is, nevertheless, true.  He was happier than I in what we were, for I envied mortality its possession of her, and jealousy has never but led to mistakes, even in the greatest of men.

He has a library of fifteen books, Nicolas.  Fifteen!  With six quite new to me!  And he seems kind.  For what more can one ask in a husband?  My maid Renee says there is much more; but Renee, as Mother says, is only as good as she should be, and that kind of thing is for songs and serfs.

        I allowed him to receive the letters.

        Across a continent and more, I allowed him to leave a trail behind us that those few, precious missives might be slipped into his hand in the most dangerous moments of dawn and dusk.  Across two decades, I allowed him to construct his painstakingly ill-lettered responses in place of all the words that burned and breathed in me.  And across this cold, still heart, I inscribed each one of her letters, rescued thus from the fire in which he tried to hide them.

Did you see it where you are?  Please, Nicolas, if you had any view of the eclipse, if any learned men in your vicinity took measurements, will you describe it for me?  If you receive this within the year, you will be unable to mistake the date.

        I allowed him to believe I did not know of the correspondence.

        I lived through those infrequent letters more than through the blood of a legion, but allowed none to perceive it -- least of all Nicholas.  Every man has an adolescence; perhaps vampires have two, and my feelings then can be explained by a hormonal imbalance in a developing system.  That is what I will say, should I ever feel inclined to explain it.  Belief is another matter entirely.

Though we could not lay her beside Father, opposite his first wife, Mother is close enough as to make no difference but in Henry's stiff pride.  There is room there for you and me, Nicolas, or you and your family.  Truly, you should marry.  The lands and title have gone to Henry, but the blood is as strong through us.

        Once her Marie was born, I felt anew that it was right to have left her mortal.  I recognized the joy she poured into every line, for I had once loved my Divia with the same helpless fervor.  Even so, once she had her first child, it floated continually on the edge of my thoughts that I should give her one more time the choice Nicholas and I had made for her.  Then, suddenly, Marie, almost the age her mother had been when I left her, died.  And I knew, as surely as I had known anything, that stealing the choice had itself been the mistake, and we turned back toward Brabant.

My dear Nicolas, the illness which took Marie will soon take her father as well.  It has swept through the servants, and is beyond my means to cure.  I have sent Andre away until it passes.  However, my healer's instinct urges me to beg your swift return; I fear that though I may yet see Easter, I will not see your next letter.

        I led him to believe there was a petty northern noble in my service who required attention, and added to the illusion by casually permitting Janette to stay in her beloved Paris.  I allowed him to think that we traveled toward Brabant, toward the place of his mortal birth and my heart's rebirth, only by coincidence, only by the intervention of the God he never quite gave up.  I allowed him to believe that, and fostering the illusion of my own obliviousness perpetuated the first love-born folly of the letters; he was smug and superior in a success he never knew I had engineered.

        We traveled with all speed toward her husband's estate outside Lille, faster than any horse, and yet, still, more quickly worn.  Unable to make my recalcitrant vassal stand as a reason to brave the daylight, I acquiesced to Nicholas's desire to spend the day in a village still south of Lille.  We tarried there, fed well and slept well, and these facts are worth noting, for I would give the last remnants of my soul that we had not.

You will find a way to take Andre, I know.  Henry will make him a squire, but will never call him nephew, and I do not want him to grow up alone.  Oh, Nicolas, all my love, always, and may God bless you!  Your sister, Fleur.

        When night finally erased the lingering threat of twilight, Nicholas followed after me, for I had wrapped myself in a cloak and pressed north impatiently at the first signs of dusk.  No doubt he saw from the air precisely what I had seen, for he touched down silently beside me at the edge of the graveyard, and we left each other to the mercy of our thoughts as the grave-diggers completed the very last of the last rites mortals grant themselves, interring her with the speed of their fear for the murderous fever that had blighted that most precious flower.

        When at last we spoke, I should have made clear how it had been through those too-mortal years, but the facade that had brought me her letters made him smug in his conviction that his love for her eclipsed mine, and my wounded heart was then too raw to throw on the white coals of Nicholas's nascent rebellion.  Then and now, then and always: the letters were the second mistake, after leaving her behind.  It was over her that he first defied me.

        Because I loved her, I let him.

        And thus I lost them both.  Forever.





  • Disclaimers

    • James Parriot and Barney Cohen created the fantasy television program Forever Knight.  The Sony Corporation owns it.  It sometimes airs on the SciFi Channel in the USA and the SPACE Channel in Canada.  I intend no infringement Please support Sony, SciFi and SPACE in all their Forever Knight endeavors!

    • All characters and situations in this fantasy-fiction vignette are entirely fictional.  Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

  • Citations

    • Nick's sister Fleur appears solely in the episode "Be My Valentine," clips from which reappear in "Last Knight."  Her later life and death emerge only in the vague hints of "Fallen Idol," where Nick asserts that Fleur wrote him before she died.

    • "Thoughts, that breath, and words, that burn" -- Thomas Gray, The Progress of Poesy, 1757

  • Credits

    • "Billets Doux" originally appeared in the 1999 charity fanzine Tojours LaCroix, edited and published by Lisa P.  I wrote "Billets Doux" in the winter of 1996, and, with Lisa's permission, added it to my website in March 2003.

    • Please do not archive, post or otherwise distribute this piece; you're welcome to link to it here on my site, and of course sometimes the Tojours LaCroix zine becomes available second-hand.

    • Thank you for readingI always appreciate comments and constructive criticismPlease email me or comment on my LiveJournal or Dreamwidth.

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