By Any Other Name
Forever Knight fanfiction
by Chelseagirl: Ravenette & Immortal Beloved, Now & Forever
Monday, February 16, 1996

"The Human Factor" fanfic, take 1.   I'm still working through my feelings about this episode, not to mention coping with a pile of Real Life writing deadlines, but I can already think of at least two other stories that I will need to tell . . .   And so will many of you, I'm sure!   I look forward to seeing your stories.


          "I can bring you across . . . "

          "No . . . no . . . "

          As the flames swept through the room, and Janette lay gasping, wounded — no, dying — in his arms, Nick threw his head back in a howl of anguish.  But the howl turned into something else as he felt his fangs descend and his eyes glowed like the fire that was sweeping through the room, and his heart filled with a desperation he hadn't known he could feel.

          A moment later, he had done it.  He had plunged his fangs into her throat, and was drinking, greedily, desperately, as though his heart would burst if he couldn't drink quickly enough . . . if he couldn't save her.

          A chaos of her thoughts and feelings came to him in her blood, but he was so overwhelmed by his own anguish that he did not recognize them for what they were, simply added them to the stock of conflicting images and emotions that swirled inside him.  He pulled away from her just in time — he had taken enough, and not too much, and she would come across.

          But before she awoke, he had to get her out of the place, or they would both go up in flames.

          The back seat of Nat's car was not the ideal place for a vampire to come to first consciousness, but he didn't have a better option at hand, and he didn't dare fly with her back to the loft while she was struggling to return from wherever it was that she had gone to.

          She awoke to find herself in a small, enclosed space.  She had the sense that there were windows all around, and outside them, darkness, and then — then she saw again as a vampire and she knew where she was.  But the only things that mattered now were her hunger, and the fact that Nicolas was with her.  He was holding her, bending close, with an expression of anguish and concern.  He held his wrist out to her, saying, "Drink."

          For a moment, she remembered a similar scene, nearly eight centuries before.  The mortal crusader Nicolas de Brabant had lain there, about to feed from the vampire who would soon be his master, Lucien LaCroix.  She, the dark lady, who had brought him here at the bidding of her master, but also bidden by her own heart, had stood nearby.  Only this time LaCroix was not here, and it was Nicolas who offered her the world of eternal night.

          She jerked his wrist away, angrily, and drew his head towards her, exposing his throat.  He made no move to stop her, inclining downward even as she tugged.  With a quick movement, more practised than a newly made vampire, her fangs pierced his throat.

          Well, at least I remember how, she thought, and then she was overwhelmed with the taste of him, of his blood, and all the feelings, and thoughts, and memories that came flooding with it . . . flesh of my flesh . . . blood of my blood . . . for all the days we both shall live . . . and those days shall be without number . . . endless . . . forever.

          She felt his anguish, that he hadn't been able to protect her.  A sense of overwhelming loss, and relief, and terror that he might have lost her.  An undertone of jealousy, that she had achieved so easily what he had sought in vain for centuries.  Another pang of guilt and resentment and confusion in connection with her feelings about Robert.  An anger, a passion, a sense of betrayal, and gratitude, and loyalty, and resentment, and hatred, and . . . most of all, love.  An intense love: sexual, fraternal . . . and something new, something she had never felt from him before and could not identify.

          Janette pulled away from him, suddenly, violently.

          "Janette, I . . . " he began to speak, but she silenced him.

          "No, Nicolas, you listen to me.  You have brought me back across, against my will, against my express wishes."

          "I . . ." he tried to speak, once more, and against she motioned for him to be silent.

          "Nicolas, do you have any idea what I feel now?  You have sometimes accused me of betraying you, but what is anything I have ever done, to the way you have betrayed me?  It was you who taught me the value of humanity, and you who took it away from me, again.  The vampire — the killer in me — was gone, but now it has returned.  And there is only one thing of which I am certain, and that is that you, Nicolas, may be my maker, but you will never be my master!"

          "Janette," he paused, expected her to cut him off, but this time there was no interruption.  "I do not wish to be your master.  But I couldn't bear to lose you.  I couldn't let you just . . . die . . . like that.  And perhaps we will find a cure, and we can cross back over together, and be mortal once again."

          Blue eyes met blue eyes, and then she softly kissed his forehead.  "I have no wish to become a laboratory rat for your Doctor Lambert.  You have lost me, Nicolas.  Someday I may forgive you for this.  Someday."

          She threw the car door open, and flew off into the night.

          When she found them — the hired killers, the ones who killed for money and not out of the driving need of the vampire — the men who deprived her of her humanity, revenge was sweet.

          "But we shot you," said the balding one.  "You shouldn't be alive, or —"

          "Or out of the hospital," finished the other.

          "I heal quickly," she said, and then she smiled her predator's smile, and though their bullets entered her, this time she kept coming.  They tried to run, but she caught them, first one and then the other; she drained them dry on the spot, savouring their blood and their fear as she drank it down with the savage joy that only the vampire can know.  They, or their kind, had taken Robert from her, taken her chance to be a mother to Patrick, taken her humanity as surely as Nicolas had when he had brought her back across.  But now she had her revenge, their brief, violent lives snuffed out.  La meilleure revanche, c'est la revanche.  The best revenge is revenge.

          Nothing can hurt me now, she thought.  Not my body, or my cold, cold heart.

          And wished she could believe that.

          When Natalie showed him the body, with the fang marks at its neck, she had said, "Your day has just gotten off to one hell of a lousy start."  With the look she shot at him, he knew that she knew, or at least guessed.  He wouldn't — couldn't — tell her.  Not now, at least.

          "You haven't told me everything," he had said to LaCroix.  "No, but then neither have you," had been the reply.

          But there was one secret he would hold close to his heart, not to be shared with Natalie, or LaCroix, or anyone except Tracy, who had given him the greatest hope, without knowing what it meant.  What Tracy had told him, had given him proof that even when she had fled Toronto, fled him and his quest for humanity, she had kept something of him close to her.  The name she had used in Montreal, used during her time with Robert.

          Janette de Brabant.


* The End *

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