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14K Illustration, Roses and Guitar

Guitars and Roses

for Bonnie, May 1996
last modified April 18, 1999

by Amy R.

G.  I wrote this fanfiction in the aftermath of the initial airing of the Forever Knight episode "Ashes to Ashes."  Further disclaimers, citations and credits are in the endnote.

    She had come to the Raven a handful of times, looking for Vachon.

    This, Lacroix knew, was the first time Tracy had come not expecting to find him.

    That did not mean she was not looking for him, but she was looking in a different way.  Here, even if she did not know them, even if she could not speak to them, there were others who had known Vachon, others who were missing him.

    Lacroix read that all from her painfully open expression in the time it took the tired young woman to make her way to the bar.  The Raven was still emptier than he had become accustomed to, and the pounding music echoed harshly with so few bodies to absorb the sound.  Lacroix let his eyes slide back down to his drink and then stood, sighing.  At least the noise would provide a slightly less suspicious pretext to approach one of the officers who had so recently taken him into custody, and he could hardly let such an opportunity pass without an approach.  He had promised Nicholas, after all.

    But when he had promised, he had not known she was in love.

    It was a simple matter to tell, for someone with his experience observing people.  Although after what he had been through in the last week even he might have doubted his perceptions, this was a state he knew from more than mere observation.  Her loss was there in the way she sat, in what drink she ordered, in the way she wore the Spaniard's leather jacket over an old floral-print dress.  Her loss was there, and it was more than the loss of a friend.

    "Detective Vetter?" he asked, startling her by appearing at her shoulder more suddenly than her tired senses could process.  Her whole demeanor suggested that she had hardly slept since that night.  "I apologize for the volume.  It can . . . grate . . . so, when too many of my patrons . . . stay home."

    "Mister Lacroix," she acknowledged, managing not to mangle the name too badly.  "The media's coverage was a tad on the sensational side, wasn't it?  I'm sure your customers will come back soon."  Lacroix smiled politely, the right side of his mouth twitching slightly.  "Most of them, anyway," Tracy corrected herself.  She twirled the little umbrella from her cocktail between her fingers.  Lacroix took the seat beside her.

    "There are a few regulars whom I have not seen since that night," he said, leaving the direction of the conversation to her discretion.  But she pounced on the opening, as he knew she would.  He could see why Nicholas felt compelled to protect her; she was just so . . . honest.

    "Really?  Who?" she asked, her blue eyes as wide as the brown ones he knew haunted her dreams.  There was a hint of desperation in her voice, and it forcefully recalled for him another pair of pleading blue eyes which were never too far from his heart, cold and still as it remained.  "I mean, it would be interesting to know what kind of people would stay away from a place like this after an incident like that."

    "I rather suspect that it was not the incident, in this case."  He sipped his drink.  He knew now what had fascinated Vachon about her; there is a power in such stubborn wholesomeness, the magnetic pull of the diametrically opposed.  And he knew why Nicholas had requested what he did.  His son's amazing self-absorption had once again blinded him to the obvious; Nicholas honestly did not realize his partner had lost more than a good friend.  Lacroix thought pityingly of Doctor Lambert and the score of mortal women who had preceded her; however did they deal with a man so dense that even vampiric love sometimes failed to make him understand his partner?  "One of the individuals to whom I refer had been a steady patron ever since I took over this establishment almost a year ago.  I am actually a bit worried about the young man."

    "Young man?"  Her voice was strained.  It was so simple to give her this, and she needed it so much.  Why had not Nicholas . . . ?  But the question had long since been asked and answered.  Nicholas had not understood when Lacroix mourned Fleur; it had taken the most painful revelation of his existence to make his son comprehend his mourning of Divia.  From Alyssa to Schanke, Nicholas had gotten loss entangled with guilt, and he could not comprehend the pain of losses that entailed no blame.

    "Javier Vachon.  An itinerant musician, I believe."

    "You knew him!"  She clapped her hand to her mouth immediately, but whether to hold in words or sobs, he didn't know.  Either way, it came down to the same old hellish alchemy.  He could read her every emotion as they flitted across her face.  He pondered briefly letting her break down and cry, but that would inevitably lead to fulfilling Nicholas's request, and of that he had no intention.  Not that way.  Not tonight.  Urs and Screed were both gone now, in deaths that should never have happened.  If he took away Tracy's memory of her love, who would remember Vachon?  It was the only immortality one could provide to those lost . . . .  If Nicholas needed this done, he should have done it himself -- he could, actually, if he could ever bring himself to it.

    Oh, why had not Fleur been a resister?

    "He was a friend of mine," she was saying.  "He died around the time of the incident here.  In an accident."  Lacroix nodded sagely, not at all tempted to press for details he knew did not exist.  The detective continued, "It was such a shock.  I'd only known him about a year, too; I don't think he had been in Toronto much longer than that.  Actually, I remember taking him to some of the touristy places last fall; he was always so amused at me for that.  He was a musician, you know.  He left me his guitar . . . ."

    Lacroix murmured sympathetically at the appropriate points, as the words came gushing from her.  Some part of his mind whispered that there was clearly something wrong with him, wasting his time with this foolish mortal; it was probably some lingering weakness from his encounter with Divia, enhanced by a dangerous familiarity with this time and place.  He smothered the thought, however, and allowed her tender description of a guitar to evoke memories of a white rose.  Forever fading, and yet forever new: forever remembered, because forever loved.





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