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Let Sleeping Vampires Lie

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LaCroix stood silently at the foot of the bed and gazed down on his sleeping child, tangled in the black satin sheets. Beautiful, even without the play of emotions and expressions that wakefulness brought to those features. He really shouldn't be here. Nicholas would be furious if he woke to discover his master in his home, in his bedroom no less.

The ancient moved to the head of the bed, wanting to see his son's face up close, regardless of the fact that his enhanced sight meant he could see it just as clearly from where he had been standing.

Nick lay unmoving, though the rumpled sheets were a testament to the fact that his sleep had been less than entirely restful. He was turned slightly onto his right side, his face turned away and his right arm extended out across the bed. Vampires had an almost compulsive tendency to fold their hands across their chests when they slept, protecting against a stake. As a vampire aged, and stakes became less of a threat, the compulsion lessened. LaCroix rarely ever slept like that, while Nick often fell asleep like that, but relaxed later.

LaCroix studied the peaceful face, the golden curls were in disarray and there was an innocence in his appearance that did not often show itself while he was awake. Cautiously, he reached out and gently brushed a stray curl away from his child's face, then let his fingertips lightly skim across the silky skin. Nick did not stir.

LaCroix smiled faintly in the dimness of the room. Proof, had he ever needed any, that Nicholas' hatred and fear of his father was not at all as strong as he often pretended it was.

A vampire's instincts were powerful things, they would wake him instantly were they to detect any threat, and they only became more acute with age. They connected directly to the deepest level of the psyche, that was what made vampires so very dangerous and why it was not unusual for a newly-made vampire to go berserk and have to be destroyed. At nearly 800 years old, Nicholas had good instincts and the strength of will to control them. Even asleep, he could easily identify his master's unique presence and obviously felt no threat in it. The fact was both gratifying and annoying to the ancient. Gratifying in that his son, regardless of what he might say, felt no fear in his presence, and annoying in that, being almost 2,000 years old, Lucien LaCroix was definitely a creature to be feared, an image he maintained without difficulty.

Slowly, LaCroix let his fingers trail down the side of his son's throat, exposed by the restless turning of earlier in the day. He closed his eyes and let his fingers follow the paths of memory, feather-light touches a prelude to more... intimate contact. His fangs began to ache and he carefully withdrew his hand, a vampire's instincts could be a powerful thing indeed. He swiftly moved away from his son and temptation. If Nicholas were to wake and find him here... Well, to start with, they'd probably end up demolishing Nicholas' home... again. Since his 'resurrection' they had managed to attain a fragile sort of peace and he was unwilling to risk that just yet.

Realising that Nicholas would likely be waking shortly, he moved to the door. He paused in the doorway and turned, drinking in the sight of his sleeping son as he had once drunk his blood - hungrily. He turned to leave, thinking that he really should curb these daytime visits, sooner or later Nicholas would catch him. He took a step and stopped, hearing a barely audible murmur of discontent. He looked at his son, knowing full well that he was still fast asleep. LaCroix's smile returned as he realised that, unconsciously at least, Nicholas objected to his father's absence. Perhaps, one day, when their relationship was less fragile, he would let Nicholas find him here. But, in all likelihood, his preferred outcome to that scenario would probably never occur until he could persuade Nicholas of the reality of Nick's own needs and desires.

He snorted softly at himself, recognising this contemplation as another excuse not to leave. He shook his head, Nicholas always managed to undermine his self-control. There was a faint rush of displaced air and Nicholas slept on alone.

****

Nick descended the stairs in his pyjamas, tousle-haired and still somewhat sleepy-eyed. He took a bottle from the fridge, wrinkling his nose at the awful smell of that Spam stuff Natalie had tried to get him to eat, why she thought he might want to was quite beyond him. He had already taken the first sip of his breakfast before he noticed the bottle sitting on the counter. He reached out at arm's length and turned it so he could read the label. The Raven's best stock. There was no indication of who had left it, not that it was necessary.

"LaCroix." He muttered, half in annoyance, half in amusement.

He picked up the bottle and moved to empty it down the sink. Then he stopped and looked at it. LaCroix had been 'visiting' again, he smiled faintly. He wasn't entirely sure when he'd first become aware of his sire's occasional visits. He'd just woken one evening, convinced that LaCroix had been nearby just a moment before. He'd thought he was imagining it until he'd found the bottle. That was a while ago now, and he'd since become better at knowing when it happened. Usually there was a bottle, but not always. There was the sense of his father just after he woke up, he would have noticed it this evening if he'd been more awake, and always he found he had slept better.

He looked at the bottle in his hands; he knew his father watched him sleep and he knew why. He also strongly suspected that his sire knew that he was aware of it. Neither of them would admit that they knew, however, that would force them to do something about it and Nick had to admit, to himself if no-one else, that actually, he rather liked it. For all LaCroix's faults, and he certainly had a few, he was one of the very few people Nick knew he could always rely on, no matter what. He felt safe when LaCroix was around, he felt something else too, but he wasn't going to start thinking about that, he had to go into work after all. He looked at the bottle in his hand and smiled faintly, then he carefully put it away in one of the cupboards out of Natalie's sight and went back upstairs to dress.