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A Twist in Time, A Sip of Wine, A Kiss Divine.

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I wait in the darkness.
Frozen winds surround my face.
In the cover of darkness I can make believe
it's you.
I feel you like the rain, I feel you like a storm cloud
building in my heart.
I wonder if you know the pain,
to want the one thing that you haven't got.

Nick curled his arm around his knees, hugging them to him, as he perched precariously on the window sill. One side of his face moon-shadowed and slightly damp, the other bathed in the golden glow of the many candles spaced around the room below, guttering in the occasional gust of cool wind that breathed through the open windows.

He had called in sick tonight; he hadn't felt like work. Natalie had phoned to check that he was actually okay, but he had managed to allay her curiosity and prevent her from visiting.

The air was cool and fresh now, unlike the oppressive stillness of earlier. The night had been warm and still until, perhaps an hour before dawn, the heavens had opened and heavy, drenching rain had soaked the city.

He was in a strange mood tonight, a quiet, contemplative mood. He had spent much of the night playing the piano, slow, often sad, pieces, reflecting his state of mind. He'd opened a bottle of the Raven's House Special because he felt like it, not because he was hurt or feeling disillusioned, but just because.

When the rain had started, he had opened all the windows to the loft, allowing the night access to his home. Now he sat, high above the room, watching the rain as it glinted in the moonlight. His vampirically enhanced sight showing him a thousand, thousand colours the mortal eye could never perceive. He had let the mask slip too, losing any semblance of the humanity, of the mortality, he was forced to pretend when he was around his friends. He felt detached, untouchable by any of the concerns of the mortal world. There was only himself and his thoughts and the rain.

It wasn't true, he realised. As quiet as he was now, he could easily sense the threads that bound him to his family, to his father. Their link, usually buried under the emotional chaos that frequently characterised his state of mind, was absolutely crystal clear. It shone in his mind like the raindrops outside, reflecting, refracting, beautiful, forceful or gentle, life-giving or devastating.

Dispassionately, he regarded it, knowing that it represented everything he had spent the last century escaping, everything he'd spent the last eight centuries needing.

With perfect clarity, he recalled the feel of his father's cool fingers upon his face, gently reassuring his child during their first night together. The cool breeze caressed his skin, adding a tangible aspect to the memory. It was not unpleasant.

Nick opened his eyes and stared, once more, out at the rain-shrouded city. He was conscious of a knot of emotion deep within himself. Like the storm clouds of earlier, the feelings were gathering, slowly, threatening, waiting to release a torrent that would engulf him entirely. But not yet. Not just yet.

He watched the moon set, wanting to see the sun. His father had never, would never comprehend that desire, that need. LaCroix had refused to understand; taken Nick's wish as a personal affront and that had been the turning point, the wedge that had driven them apart. From that point on, it had become easier and easier to hurt each other. Nick's quest had led him further and further afield, even to a partial reclamation of the faith he had abandoned years before. LaCroix had followed him, thrown obstacles in his path, watched him fail again and again, and in turn Nick had moved away, deliberately, to spite the man he had once thought of with affection and more. Centuries later, the quest no longer bore much in the way of resemblance to the desire that had given it birth.

Only now, in the silence of his soul, under the cover of darkness and the pouring rain, could he see it, removed from the centuries of hurt. A desire to see the sun had become a quest, a quest for light, a quest for redemption, a quest for mortality. The inevitable next step would be a quest for death, to end the pain he had felt for so long that he no longer questioned its cause.

The pain of alienation, of losing everyone and everything he truly cared about. He stared, unseeing, at the rain as memories made themselves felt. LaCroix hadn't listened, hadn't even tried to understand. Nick hadn't reacted well, hadn't stayed to change his father's mind.

It had taken less than half an hour for the seeds of their separation to take root. A half-hour that had changed the course of a relationship that was meant to last an eternity. It would take more than a half-hour to put it back on track, a place where he knew with a certainty, they both wanted it to be. A half-hour or a hundred years, however long it took, he knew what that first step had to be. The question was... did he want to take it?

Just a twist in time ... you could be mine
Just a sip of wine ... and you could be mine
Just a kiss divine.

He took a sip from the blood/wine mixture in his glass and let his head fall back against the wall, drifting into the earliest memories of LaCroix, the ones without pain. In his mind's eye, he remembered the surprising tenderness with which his father had sometimes treated him. He stared out at the rain and took another sip.

**********

A hand brushes by my love.
A smile fuels a steel inferno.
You don't have to die to leave my world,
Stand still and you've departed.
It seems I'm not on your mind, and I'm just wasting my time.
I'm just a fool to believe
In the death of the night, can you feel me inside?
I wish that you could conceive...

He stood on the rooftop of Toronto's highest tower, possibly the best vantage point the city had to offer, and surveyed the rain-soaked streets. His long coat did little to keep out the weather, but Lucien LaCroix was impervious to the cold rain that dripped down his neck and plastered his clothing to him. The city was almost deserted, most of its residents tucked away in bed, the rest staying indoors out of the rain. LaCroix barely noticed the downpour, all his thoughts were turned inward. It had been nearly a month since he had last done this.

Nicholas was strangely quiet tonight. His child was unusually calm and, without the strong emotions that so often eroded them, his mental barriers were formidable, backed, as they were, by a stubborn will that had both delighted and frustrated the master vampire.

Knowing he had time to wait, LaCroix allowed himself the luxury of remembrance. As clear as if it were only yesterday, he recalled a time when he and Nicholas had spent a night such as this in each other's company. He could almost feel his son's silky skin beneath his fingertips, see the smile on those tempting lips... He clamped down hard on his own desires, flames of lust and even love, that had refused to die even after so long, threatened his iron control.

As it often did, his anger at his own feelings became anger at his son for putting them in this intolerable situation. Nicholas had evaded him, disobeyed him at every turn, pulling further and further away. This latest foolishness, this quest for mortality, was the worst yet. Already, Nicholas had stayed longer than he should, become more involved with the mortal world than was acceptable, distanced himself from the Community and his family. The latter was by far the most difficult to bear, the most painful to the ancient. Even if Nicholas never regained his mortality, which was, of course, impossible anyway, he was losing touch, slowly but surely, and there was only one eventual outcome to that. But that was a long way in the future, if at all, and LaCroix fully intended that it would be never.

His mind returned from its contemplation and he looked out again over the city at the slowly lightening sky. He would not have long to wait now.

Again, he reached out with his mind to check on his son, as he often did. Nicholas was still as closed to his thoughts as before. If he hadn't known better, he would have thought Nicholas knew and was deliberately trying to keep him out. But such knowledge often provoked anger in his son, which, in turn, made it easier to break the mental barriers, self-defeating. No, Nicholas was not trying to keep him out; he was simply oblivious to his father's attempts, too involved in whatever it was that he was doing.

The ancient vampire felt a strange pang, a sadness, that his child did not acknowledge him, was not even aware of him. In one moment of pure folly, he almost called out to his child, to tell him all would be forgiven if he would only return, to let him know how badly he was missed, how much he was needed.

But he didn't.

Just a twist in time... and you could be mine
Just a sip of wine... and you could be mine
Just a kiss divine... and you could be mine

The sky was much brighter now and LaCroix determinedly brought his mind to bear on the task at hand.

**********

Won't you leave me in the darkness.
Take away the pride, all the dignity that's burning inside.
Can't you see I'm standing naked.
I'll bear all the crosses and the crucifixes you can provide,
If you could decide.

As the sun began to peer over the horizon, the ancient's thoughts returned to his wayward son. It hurt more than he cared to admit, that Nicholas sought a way to leave him. He had hurt and been hurt a lot over their centuries of conflict. Nicholas had an unparalleled ability to hurt him, more so than any other, simply because he was so cherished, and LaCroix had always struck back, his pride allowing no other option. But he was no fool - much as he raged at his child, blamed him entirely for any situations that arose from their conflict - he knew with a sick certainty that he was as much to blame as Nicholas. Pride would not let him admit it out loud, would never let him apologise, no matter what happened.

In the privacy of their link and the warmth of his child's affection, he had once been able to say it. But not now. A vicious circle indeed. He could not admit he had been wrong until he was secure in his son's affection, but he could never hope to regain that affection until he admitted he was wrong. The irony made him want to laugh... or cry.

His skin was steaming now in the light of the rising sun, uncomfortable, but still insufficient to cause real harm to one of his age. He watched the glowing orb light the sky, challenging the black clouds that still hung over the city. Reds and golds lit the undersides of the clouds and turned the lessening rain into a myriad crystal firedrops. Even to one as jaded as he, it was a beautiful sight.

He continued to watch the dawn, ignoring the rapidly increasing pain, intent on observing every subtle shade, every detail, etching it into his memory as the light burned it into his body. He had done this every so often for years now, in the hopes that sooner or later it could be taken as the gift it was meant to be. Memories in the blood of a hundred sunrises, summer and winter, good weather and bad. An offering and apology to the one creature who meant more to him than any other, whose absence from his life had hurt him far more than blessed objects, stakes or even sunlight ever could. Once again he reached the conclusion that he could endure almost anything for the sake of his Nicholas, anything, but the severing of those ties he held so dear.

When the sun finally cleared the horizon, LaCroix took one last, long look before turning and walking, slowly and steadily, for the shelter of the building. A limousine was waiting in the street below, its windows blacked out, inside were a number of bottles of special stock from the Raven, and as he was driven home, LaCroix consumed them. When he stepped out of the limousine in the shade of his townhouse, he looked no different than he had when he had left earlier.

**********

Just a twist in time
Just a sip of wine
Just a kiss divine

LaCroix deposited his long coat in the hallway, intent on a hot shower and the questionable comfort of a lonely bed. He paused, his foot on the first stair. Nicholas? He moved deeper into the house, curious to discover the source of the sensation. His mind worked as he walked. There had been no sign of his son's beloved Cadillac outside so he must have flown, which meant he was now trapped for the day. Thought ceased as he stepped into the doorway of the sitting room.

The heavy velvet curtains were drawn against the encroaching sun and the room was lit solely by the soft glow of perhaps a half-dozen candles. Nicholas stood on the far side of the room, half-shadowed, his golden curls gleaming in the candlelight. He was heart-stoppingly beautiful, dressed in a loose, white silk shirt, open at the neck, and black slacks. The clothes he often wore when there was no-one around to see. It had been a long time since LaCroix had last been privileged to see beneath the image his son presented to the world. He broke his gaze as Nicholas moved, suddenly becoming conscious of the glass his son held. The aroma of bloodwine was clearly discernible in the warm air of the room.

He finally found his voice when Nicholas poured a second glass from the single bottle on the table and handed it to him at arm's length.

"Nicholas, what are you doing here?" He asked as he took the offered glass. His voice was soft, holding none of the sting it might normally have had. His bitterness had deserted him tonight.

Just a twist in time... and you could be mine
Just a sip of wine... and you could be mine
Just a kiss divine... and you could be mine

Nick made no immediate answer as he retreated back across the room, choosing his words carefully.

"I felt it, LaCroix. You called to me."

LaCroix's face did not betray the startlement he felt. He had not called out to his son. Nicholas must have been so open tonight that he had been able to sense his father's thoughts; something that had not happened in well over a century. His first instinct was to deny it, to deny any such need, but he couldn't.

"I assure you, it was not my intent. I was merely thinking."

Nick shifted and shadows fell across his face as he considered.

"Did you mean it?" His voice was soft, barely more than a whisper.

"I do not say things I don't mean, Nicholas." His voice was just a little sharper than he had intended and he carefully softened his tone. "Yes, Nicholas. I meant it."

LaCroix took a long swallow of his drink, unwilling to witness his child's reaction. When he looked up, Nicholas was still regarding him with those steady, blue eyes. Then he looked away, gazing into the bright candle flames.

"I was thinking earlier about how quickly things can change." LaCroix recognised the faraway look on his son's face.

"Just half an hour." Nick murmured, half to himself.

Just a twist in time... and you could be mine
Just a sip of wine... and you could be mine
Just a kiss divine... and you could be mine

LaCroix moved closer to Nicholas, sensing a change in his son, but unwilling to disturb the balance of the strangely charged atmosphere. Nick looked up at his approach and took a sip from his glass, then, very carefully, placed it on the shelf behind him and raised his eyes to meet his father's.

LaCroix found himself unable to tear his gaze away from his son's eyes and the feelings clear in those blue pools. He watched, almost in awe, as Nicholas slowly closed the gap LaCroix had left between them. His hand moved of its own volition to lightly, almost fearfully, touch his son's face, and when that touch was not rejected, he felt his heart clench with the almost painful hope that surged within him. The touch became a gentle caress and Nick leaned into it, appreciating.

'I missed you... needed you too, father.' He whispered in the warm quiet of their shared bond.

LaCroix felt his heart break for the second time in his long life, his golden child the culprit once again. He watched as, with a gentleness that surprised him, Nicholas' hands moved to his throat, sliding the sword pin free and pushing back the black silk. He met his son's eyes again, seeing in them all their history together, good and bad. His eyes dropped to the open neck of the white shirt and the pale column of his son's throat.

Aware of his father's gaze, Nick tilted his head slightly upwards and to the right, further exposing his neck. LaCroix did not hesitate and leaned in toward the proffered throat. To Nick's considerable surprise though, he did not bite, but merely placed a tender, almost reverent kiss over the great vein there. Then he straightened to meet his son's wondering gaze and with an almost sly smile he raised his chin in a movement almost the mirror of his son's.

Nick hesitated at the unexpected offer, but his fangs ached to descend and his eyes burned, and to be honest, he had neither the will nor the inclination to resist. Razor sharp fangs slowly, almost gently, sheared through the cool flesh and the dark elixir that was his master, filled his mouth. Moments later he felt the white heat of his sire's bite and the fierce ecstasy of the blood exchange engulfed him.

There were no memories, not yet, just emotions, feelings that had been suppressed and buried for years, and through it all, one overwhelming need to end the separation that had caused them so much pain for so long.

Outside, unnoticed by either vampire, the once fierce rainstorm finally ceased and the dark clouds began to dissolve in the light of the newly risen sun.

Just a twist in time... and you could be mine
Just a sip of wine... you could be mine
Just a kiss divine.