Nick woke suddenly, his heart beating faster than normal. He sat up quickly, the sheet that had been covering him flowed down his chest to pool on his lap. The dream was intense, and one he had not experienced in a long while. He leaned forward, closed his slate blue eyes, and pushed the palms of his hands against his eyelids in the vain attempt to stop the all too familiar images that continued to flicker past him.
He saw the flow in the blood vessels just under the skin surface. The thin barrier needed only to be easily pierced through ….
With a snarl, Nick quickly launched out of bed and headed down to the fridge. He nearly ripped the door off the hinge in his drive to get to his bottles of bovine blood within. Reaching past Natalie’s protein shakes, he captured one cold green bottle, pulled the cork out with his fang and spat the object away, and emptied out the animal blood before he felt himself begin to calm down. Holding the drained bottle loosely by its neck, Nick let that arm dangle by his side while he put his other arm against the open fridge door and dropped his forehead on the limb. The weight of his body upon the door finally swung it closed, and he staggered forward so he could continue to lean on the black appliance, its low steady hum comforting. The sound was something constant he could concentrate on while his heart rate finally returned back to normal.
With LaCroix settled in Toronto, and therefore in relatively constant close proximity, it was inevitable he would react to his maker’s presence, bringing up to the surface so many thoughts, and finally, these suppressed images and desires. He needed to get back in control and re-bury this; it was something he couldn’t have anymore, Nick reminded himself. Though it hurt, he pushed his need back down again. When he felt more in control, he propelled himself off the refrigerator, rinsed out the bottle in the sink, then headed off to take a shower and begin his night.
Nick meticulously dressed, put on his gun holster and jacket, got in the Cadillac, and left for work. As he drove, he dismissed the idea of just quitting and leaving his life to run from his maker again. He liked it here, and he liked the people here, who accepted him. Well, various parts of him. And then there was Natalie, who knew more of him than many mortals ever did, even those he considered very close friends. She was more than his doctor and more than his friend; she was special to him - not that he had told her exactly how special she was. Natalie was someone who knew first what he was, then who he was, and offered to help him. Nick knew his time in each moral life would be short, had to be short, but he did not need to make the transitory life shorter than necessary. He didn’t want to make his time with Natalie any briefer than necessary. As he waited at a red light he resolved to simply keep his sire away from him and his life as much as possible, despite their complicated relationships in the past.
LaCroix was already awake, his evening having started when the sun was still high above. He had already completed a number of activities and was currently going through some mind-numbing paperwork for the radio station, though his attention was not really on the forms. He was concentrating on the much more important thread-like connection he had with his favorite child. Nicholas had been hurting lately. Not that this, in and of itself was unusual, it was simply stronger than usual. LaCroix could always sense the accumulated weight of Nicholas’ feelings of guilt, stress, and hunger. LaCroix shook his head; Nicholas continued to deny his most basic need and attempted to subsist on low quantities of inferior diet, believing that would help. The truth his son refused to accept was that the choice simply made Nicholas weaker and less able to properly control and manage the other concerns he deliberately surrounded himself with. When would his son ever learn and stop such useless deprivation, LaCroix wondered. He had tried so many times in the past to tell Nicholas the folly of that action, but it had been a very long time since his son had heeded his words. LaCroix doubted his son would listen now if he went over to talk to him, though he knew Nicholas at least listened to his broadcasts. Perhaps he would make his next lesson about not denying and suppressing dietary needs and the consequences when control would inevitably be lost.
To delay himself from returning to the paperwork in his hands, LaCroix closed his ice blue eyes. Using one of the innate abilities all his kind had, he sensed the light outside and felt the sun beginning to finally set. He knew if he went to the shuttered windows and looked out he would see a sky showing the almost imperceptible color transformation as the bright day began its conversion into the darker night. Unbidden, an old memory surfaced: the image of Helios driving across the sky his four winged fire-horses harnessed to the chariot of the sun, to finally enter the ocean world at the day’s end. LaCroix would welcome the moment when the chariot would finally dip beyond the western horizon and he could safely go out into the darkened world. Mortals could have their day, he preferred the night.
Without warning, LaCroix experienced a burst of strong desire resonating through his link with his son. He opened his eyes when the emotion finally receded. LaCroix laid the papers and pencil down next to him on the leather couch he was sitting on, and focused on what he just learned. He had not been aware that Nicholas, after all this time, still had that particular desire, and so intensely. He needed to think about what he had picked up, and how to proceed with this opportunity he did not think he could have again. LaCroix was surprised, and he was not often surprised, that Nicholas had been able to hide this so completely from him for so long. But then, LaCroix mused, Nicholas tended to be the only constant source of surprises for him. He leaned back into the black leather cushion, staring at the painting above his fireplace; he would need to carefully consider his options and approach this time.