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DISCLAIMER: The following stories are all non-profit, amateur efforts not intended to infringe on the rights of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, David Geffen, Warner Brothers, Geffen Pictures, Knopf, Randomhouse, the city of New Orleans, the U.S. Consititution, any copyright holders that I might not have thought of or even a certain author who shall remain nameless but who has a set of initials which are, coincidentally enough, just one letter off from spelling "B.S."

Closure. An After spec
by the Brat Queen


JOURNAL ENTRY---

It feels so strange to be doing this again. It's rather hard to believe that it's been over three years since I have written in this manner. But so many things have changed since then, haven't they?

I've missed it, though. Lestat must have realized this. Why else would he give this new journal to me? He knows me better than I do, I think.

But this is not the matter at hand. Not that Lestat isn't important to me. He is, he's more important than anything in my life. But right now I want to write about a particular incident and if this incident doesn't show how important he is to me, I don't know what would.

It started one day not so long ago....

I was having the dream again. One of many, actually, which had not left me since Juliano's death although now it was worse because in the place of storm clouds were visions of the actual events. I cried, in my dream, hurt beyond words and feeling more helpless than perhaps I had ever been. But my cries meant nothing and Juliano lived again, taunting me, dragging me out to be displayed before his minions and no matter how I struggled I could not keep them from lashing me to the alter or taking out their knives and...

:Louis.:

I awoke with a start. I was covered in bloodsweat and gasping for air. Lestat lay beside me, his grey eyes dark with worry. He stayed where he was, he knew better than to approach me when I was like this. We'd both learned that the hard way.

I raked a hand through my hair, took a few deep breaths, then faced him.

"Nightmares again?" he asked.

I nodded, mutely.

He let out a hiss of air and a spark of anger flickered in his eyes. He hated this, I knew. He hated my pain perhaps more than I did and it bothered him even more that he could do nothing about it. He would fight off these dreams himself, if he could.

"It's alright," I said. "It wasn't that bad this time."

"You're lying through your teeth, Louis," he said. He sat up and brushed a lock of hair out of my eyes. "I appreciate the sentiment but let's remember I'm supposed to be the one taking care of you, not the other way around."

I smiled, weakly. "It's so much easier the other way."

He returned the smile. "I know, beautiful one, I know." He kissed me then, a gentle kiss on my forehead and it was that which pushed me over the edge. I broke down into uncontrollable tears.

"There, there. I've got you," he said, pulling me into his arms. I accepted this, gratefully. He leaned back on the bed, taking me with him and we lay there for what seemed like hours as I wept. All the while he held me, caressed me and murmured the gentle, nonsensical things that somehow make it seem like everything will be OK.

"Feeling better?" he asked, long after the last tear had been shed.

"Somewhat," I said. I nestled deeper into his arms, pillowing my head on his chest so that I might hear the sound of his heart beat against my ear. I always slept like this, when I could.

"Which one was it this time?" he asked, continuing to stroke my hair. "The alter?"

I winced when he said this, but not out of hatred for him. I made him ask me this. I had told him long ago that I needed for him to do this, needed to talk about it after or I would fall back into the forgetfulness of before.

I feared the forgetting more than the remembering, if you can understand that. The remembering, at least, was true. I had spent too much of my life, immortal and otherwise, in lies.

"Yes," I said. "You woke me up before it came to the actual cutting though, thank you."

I felt him smile. He paused long enough to kiss the top of my head before letting his hand continue idly caress me again. "Did it help?" he asked.

"Yes," I lifted myself up enough so that he could see my face. "It does, Lestat. It reminds me that I'm not alone now. That means more to me than I can say."

He shrugged, a little embarrassed by my words. "You say that as though it's some sort of grand effort on my part. I do it out of instinct, you know. No big deal."

I kissed him then, passionately. Momentarily surprised, he tried to pull away. "Louis--"

"Shut up," I told him. "Lestat, you continually amaze me. You sit here and tell me that the thought of my happiness and protection comes instinctually to you and you actually think that I will think less of that then if you had to make a conscious effort?" I settled into his arms again, this time moving my body closer to his. "Mon Dieu, you have a lot to learn."

He laughed, a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "And whoever shall I get to teach me?"

"Who indeed?" I gave him one last kiss then lay my head on his heart again. He put his arms around me protectively and I fell asleep to dreams of Lestat in shining armor, battling away my demons.

He didn't look bad in the armor, I have to admit.

I didn't open my eyes again until the sun set. Lestat was watching me. His eyes were the first thing I saw. They were a light blue instead of his usual grey. I imagine that the sky is this blue when the sun rises, though of course I cannot be sure.

"Trying to be a mother hen again?" I teased him. This was allowed, we'd had this conversation before and I knew it didn't hurt him. It was my way for getting back at him for watching me this way. He knows that it embarrasses me.

"That's a mother *rooster* thank you very much," he said.

I looked at him quizzically.

"Shut up, I just woke up myself."

I laughed and kissed him for that. "I'll be in the shower," I told him.

Though Lestat had bought this house for me, I was convinced he had designed the bathroom for himself. The shower alone was a testament to commercialism as the fixtures in it could have easily paid for a small house. The shower itself was what I estimated to be the size of a studio apartment in Upper Manhattan. Knowing Lestat, that was undoubtedly the dimensions he'd given the builder.

I turned the water on full blast and stepped inside. Living with Lestat these past few years had eliminated the need to undress first. It didn't save that much time, but I didn't feel the need to complain. Nearly three minutes had passed when the shower door opened and Lestat stepped in behind me.

"What took you so long?" I asked.

"Traffic," he replied as he began kissing me on the neck. "Word got out that you were here without a stitch of clothing on and I had to fight the crowd off with a stick."

I couldn't resist. "Which one?"

"Vulgar child," he said, laughing. "It's no wonder that I love you."

It may be noticed by now that, unlike Lestat, I refrain from speaking of our more intimate times together. Many things may have changed since my interview with Daniel and I cannot deny that I am more open about things than I was then but I still feel that certain things should be kept private. I've noticed that Lestat has begun to follow a similar practice in his writing as well. I feel that I should make it clear that this is only because he and I have been enjoying keeping certain things between ourselves and not because he and I are in any way apart. Lestat insists that it is only my "old-fashioned prudish ways" rubbing off on him, but I know that he's doing it out of respect for me.

I didn't even ask him to. It pleases me beyond measure that he does it anyway.

To continue with my point, in answer to the question of whether or not Lestat and I were living together as lovers in the true vampiric sense, yes we were, though you will find scant mention of the details here. There are some things that I believe are simply no one's business.

But I do think it would do Lestat injustice if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed those times with him. Or if I neglected to mention that he was, in fact, quite good at it.

Provide him with soap and water, and he's lethal.

Perhaps one day I will write of those intimate times. It would please Lestat to no end, I know. His actual mortal birthday is not long in coming, it would make an interesting gift.

But I'm digressing from my story, forgive me. Back to the night in question:

After our time in the shower we immediately got dressed. I mention this fact because it is admittedly unusual for us to do so. On this particular night, however, I had plans as will be seen and therefore little time for our usual relaxation and play.

I dressed in a new silk shirt of dark blue and matched it with pants, boots and a frock coat which were of a matching black color. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail at the nape of my neck and secured it with a clip Lestat had given me. I knew he gave it to me to replace the one I had lost when Juliano took me. This clip, like the old one, was silver and had emeralds. Unlike the old one, it had sapphires as well. The symbolism was not lost on me.

It will be noticed, I'm sure, that I was wearing new clothes. Those who knew me during my three years after Juliano's death will undoubtedly wonder if this is part of my old habit to which I will answer no. I no longer obsessively buy new clothing every night no more than I wear my old clothing out into rags. Both habits, I know now, were symptoms of a larger disease in my life which is now cured (or, at least, on that path). I don't anticipate repeating either of them.

Once dressed I walked over to Lestat's closet to see how far he had progressed. Both Lestat and I have spacious walk-in closets though Lestat's looks more like the proverbial disaster area.

"It's no wonder it takes you so long to dress," I said as I leaned against the doorway. "You can't find anything."

"For your information I happen to know where everything in this closet is," Lestat said. He put his hands on his hips and surveyed the shirts in front of him. "I just don't know what I'm in the mood to wear tonight."

"Have you ever considered a suit of armor?" I asked.

"Louis, I've explained this to you before. We're vampires, we don't have to practice safe sex. Besides, you're thinking of latex. Unless you're thinking of someone like Armand or Daniel in which case armor isn't strong enough."

I laughed. "How cruel!"

"The truth hurts," he said, his voice muffled as he dug through his sweaters.

"If you want to go out with me tonight, wear a white shirt, paisley vest and the grey pants and jacket," I said.

"The first part, my love, is a given," he said, pulling a white shirt out of many and putting it on. "As for the second: why?"

"Two reasons," I said. "One, you look good in them, which is a given I know."

"Thank you. And two?"

"I'm going to the opera tonight and you need to look respectable to get in."

Lestat winced. "I'm afraid to ask this but is it Mozart?"

"No."

"Louis!" Lestat pouted. He doesn't like to admit that he pouts, but he does. "Do we have to?"

"You like opera," I said. "And this is one of my favorites."

"Yes. But, Louis, as much as I adore everything about you, you have to admit that if there is anything more incompatible than you and I it is our taste in what makes a good opera."

"You never give my operas a chance," I said. "You'd like them if you tried staying awake through them."

"Louis," Lestat put on his jacket--the last item of clothing--and walked out into the bedroom. He took out a comb and began running it through his hair. "How do you expect me to stay awake through an opera wherein it is painfully common for the lead singer to spend upwards of a half hour singing about the sunset? I'm fond of sunsets too but I still manage to get on with my life!"

I rolled my eyes. "*Once*, *once* I take you to an opera where they sang about a sunset for *ten* minutes and you never let me live it down."

"You'd better believe it. Those ten minutes were the longest years of my life," Lestat pulled his thick blond hair back and secured it with a clip I had given him. This clip was gold with sapphires and amethysts. The symbolism wasn't lost on Lestat.

"I'm not letting you bait me into this argument again," I said, walking towards the door. "Besides, we should hunt before we go."

I was halfway to the stairs when I realized Lestat wasn't with me. I walked back to the bedroom and rapped on the door frame to get his attention. "Are you coming with me or not?"

He smiled brilliantly and joined me as I left.

Our hunting together was still a new thing for both of us so it didn't really surprise me that Lestat had assumed I'd wanted to go out alone. Sometimes we do go out alone, there is a need, you must understand, for us to do this in private sometimes. However, sometimes it is enjoyable for our kind to hunt with those we love and Lestat and I had those times quite often.

It had been my idea to start with. I had known for years that Lestat would occasionally follow me when I hunted and I took a guilty pleasure out of it (guilty in the sense that I was extremely flattered that he cared so much). It took some time for me to discover that I wanted to watch him and for Lestat to find out that I had known about his shadowing me all along (Actually, I had to tell him myself. I was ashamed to discover that he'd been feeling horrendously guilty all these years, thinking that I would be angry with him when all he needed was a nod from me to show that he had my approval.). To hunt together was a natural extension of this.

Our hunting together took many forms. On some occasions we would seek the victims, finding the kind that either he or I liked and watching as the other fed. On other occasions, such as this night, we let the victims find us.

We walked by the riverfront, much as we had done in the old days, talking about whatever came to our minds. It didn't take long for two young men to step out of the shadows and growl a threat.

"What was that?" I asked Lestat, unable to discern their street accents.

"I'm guessing here," he said. "But I believe it was 'your money or you die'."

I sighed. "Not terribly original is it?"

"Pride in workmanship has gone down everywhere, Louis," Lestat said, a smile twitching at his lips. "Don't you read the papers?"

The two thugs did not appreciate our nonchalant approach to their threat and took this opportunity to attack. The scuffle was over quickly as neither of them were of any sort of match for us. Lestat did me the courtesy of hiding the bodies in an alley way as I recovered from my blood swoon. When he returned he grabbed me and kissed me hungrily, his mouth eagerly devouring what little blood remained in mine.

"Oh God," he moaned. "Are you sure you don't want to go home?"

Still dizzy from his kiss I stepped away. "Not yet, mon coeur," I said, caressing his cheek with my hand. "This opera is important to me. Please, for me?"

He made a slight growling noise in the back of his throat, but did not persue it further. "Only for you, beautiful one," he said. "But you'd better not ever doubt the depth of my feelings for you ever again."

"Never," I swore. I leaned closer so that I might whisper in his ear. "Besides, think of how much more you will enjoy it later if you have to wait for it now."

"Don't push it," he muttered, but his eyes twinkled with amusement and he slid his arm around my waist as we continued along our way.

Lestat had completely returned to his usual playful spirits by the time we reached the opera house. There was a large crowd outside and he made a small show for my benefit of protecting me from the "rabid mob" which, of course, I knew to be an excuse for him to get his arms around me in a public space. I let him get away with it though I normally wouldn't have. After all, who was there to see us now?

"Louis?"

My heart stopped. It wasn't Lestat who had spoken. I knew the voice and it wasn't one I had expected to hear at that time or, in fact, ever again. I was afraid, suddenly, of what Lestat would do. There was no way I could predict his reaction on meeting the speaker and I wanted nothing more than to pretend I hadn't heard. But I had. And so had Lestat.

It was Lestat who stopped and looked to see who had called me. Knowing no genteel way of forcing him on his way again I stopped too and came face to face with the man who had unknowingly made a great leap of courage by speaking my name.

"Hello, Jerome," I said. I felt Lestat tense beside me, though I couldn't tell if it was out of anger. It would have been his right to if he had. He knew me well enough to know who this man was even if I had never told him his name.

"Hi, Louis, I thought it was you," Jerome smiled and shouldered one of his many cameras. "Wow, you look... different."

I shrugged, still trying to gauge Lestat's mood. "I'm more myself these days."

"That's good," he said. He turned to Lestat then and held out his hand. "Hi, I'm Jerome. You must be Lestat. It's nice to meet you."

Lestat stared at him for a moment before returning the handshake. "Nice to meet you too."

"Lestat, would you mind giving Jerome and me a minute by ourselves?" I asked. "There are a few things we need to talk about."

"Of course, Louis," Lestat said. "I'll wait for you over there."

He let his hand lightly brush my back before moving off to the staircase that led to our box. He flipped through one of the programs as he waited and I knew that, for some reason, he had decided not to eavesdrop on us.

"So you went back to him?" Jerome asked.

"Yes," I said. "I had to. I love him."

"I know," he sighed. "Can't fault me for dreaming though, can you?"

"No," I said. "Jerome, about that last night--"

"Forget it, it doesn't matter."

"No, I want to explain this," it was my turn to sigh. "Jerome, it wasn't your fault. You were right when you thought I was running away from something but what I was trying to run away from was myself. I was very confused back then and you unfortunately got caught in the middle of it. I'm sorry I hurt you."

"You didn't," he said. "Well, maybe you did, a little. But I understand now. You needed to be with him." He looked over to where Lestat was standing. Lestat didn't even notice. "This might sound odd, but it feels right watching the two of you together."

"That doesn't sound odd to me at all," I said.

Jerome checked his watch. "Look," he said, "I'd better go. I'm supposed to be taking pictures of the performers before they get out on stage. It was... nice seeing you again, Louis."

"It was nice seeing you too, Jerome," I said. Unsure of what to do, he offered his hand to me. I ignored it so that I might kiss him on both cheeks. "Thank you for being there when I needed a friend." I took one last look at him before turning away and joining Lestat by the stairs.

It was then my turn to be unsure of what to do as I approached him. I could think of no words to say. Lestat broke the silence himself.

"He's cute, Louis. You have good taste."

"Lestat, I--"

"Hush," he said, taking me by the arm and leading me upstairs. "It's alright."

"Really?" I stopped so that I might face him.

He smiled, kindly. "Really. Come on now, you dragged me to this thing. Do you want to see it or not?"

Speechless, I nodded and followed him to our box.

True to his form, Lestat was asleep by the end of the first scene. This is something of a record for him as he usually never makes it that far during one of "my operas." I hardly noticed, however, so lost was I in my own thoughts.

Seeing Jerome again had not been the shock that I had thought it would be. Instead, I found that I was rather glad it had happened. I'd always regretted leaving him with hardly a word. He'd deserved better.

The shock of that evening, if it may be called that, was Lestat's reaction.

Many was the night when I'd wondered what Lestat would do if he saw Jerome. This was Lestat after all. He can become extremely possessive and moreover easily wounded in situations far less meaningful than meeting the man with whom I, his lover, had had an affair. For him to react so calmly, so rationally.... I didn't know what to make of it.

As this thought ran through my mind I couldn't help but think back on all the other things he had done that evening. Wearing my clip, hiding the bodies of our victims, even going to the opera in the first place. All had been done for my benefit, to please me.

I felt such a feeling of intense love for him at that moment that I could stand it no longer. Caring little now for the opera, I stood and bent over so that I might press my lips to his.

"Wake up, Sleeping Beauty," I whispered.

His eyes flickered open. He looked momentarily confused. "Is it over?" he asked.

"No," I said. I took his hand and tugged on it to indicate that I wanted him to get out of his chair and follow me. "I want to leave now."

"Louis, it's ok. I don't mind," he said. "We can stay for the whole thing. Don't leave on my account."

"No, I don't want to stay anymore," I said. "Anyway, I know how it ends. Everyone dies, it's quite depressing. Come, walk with me."

He looked puzzled, but did as I said. I linked my arm with his and led him out into the night.

"Are we going anywhere in particular, beautiful one?"

"No, we're just walking," I said. I led him to a nearby park and from that chose our path at random. After some time had passed with neither of us saying a word, I found courage enough to ask him what I had been wondering for quite some time. "You never asked me about him, why?"

"I don't know," he said. He was thoughtful for a moment. "I can't explain it. Part of me didn't want to know, part of me was afraid to ask and find out the answer. On the other hand, why did I need to ask when I already knew the most important answer?"

"And what was that?"

"Me. You chose me."

"I made that choice a long time ago, Lestat. My answer to that question will never change." I saw an empty park bench and sat down on it. He took the seat beside me. "I thought the more important question would be: why?"

He stretched his legs out before him and crossed them at the ankle. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was curious about why, but you don't have to explain it to me. You had your reasons."

"Such as?"

He shrugged. "You weren't yourself. You needed some space. You needed time away from me. And I'm sure Gretchen figured in there somewhere."

"I didn't do it to hurt you, Lestat," I said. "At least, that was not my stated intent. However I must tell you that a small part of me wished that it would push you away for good."

He grew still. "Oh?"

"Yes," I said. I lay my hand on his shoulder. "You were so kind to me back then when I didn't really deserve any of it. I was so scared that your kindness would wear me down and I would start remembering it all again. I was so terrified of that."

"I always wondered if I made it worse for you that way," he said. "Letting you forget it all. Maybe if I hadn't, you wouldn't be having those nightmares now."

"There was nothing you could do, Lestat," I said. "David tried to make me face it and you saw how far he got. No, only I could make myself do that and, as much as I hate to bruise your ego, it took a far greater power than you to make me realize my mistake. What you did for me was far more important."

"And what was that?"

"You stayed by me through it all. You let me know that you'd be there for me, no matter what. I trust you as much as I do now because of the way you were with me then."

"Really?"

"Really," I smiled. "Lestat, what you did wasn't important it was why you did it. And I know that everything you did for me was out of love." I let my hand stroke his hair in much the same manner as he had stroked mine earlier in the day. "Mon Dieu, do you know how much I love you?"

I saw a light go off in his eyes. "Yes, but tell it to me often anyway," he said. He tried to smile but something prevented it.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing, it's silly. Forget it, Louis."

"Tell me."

"No," he said. "Please, I don't want to ruin this. It's a stupid, selfish idea and I'd like to forget it ever happened."

"Well I cannot," I said. "Lestat, if something is bothering you, tell me. I want you to be honest with me, you know how much I hate lies."

"It's not a lie. I just don't want to talk about it."

"If something is bothering you and you tell me it isn't, you're lying." I put my hand on his jaw and turned his head so that he faced me. "Please, tell me. I don't like the thought of you unhappy."

He sighed. "It's just that.... Louis, I feel like Jerome got a part of you that I can't have anymore."

"How so?"

"Back then, when you 'weren't yourself' you did so many things that you don't do now. Crazy things, fun things. Like riding off on my Harley for example. When you were with Jerome, you did things that you don't do with me." He put his hand over mine. "Louis, don't misunderstand me. I love you. I worship everything about you. I don't want you to change who you are for anything in the world. But I feel like there was a side to you that I never got a chance to have, to love."

"Oh, Lestat--"

"It's selfish, I know, forget it." He pulled away and stuffed his hands in his pockets.

"No, no. It's nothing of the sort." I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help myself. "Lestat, no, I'm not laughing at you. It's just that, well, I only do those 'crazy' things when I'm around you! Jerome never saw that. No one sees that side of me, only you do. Hell, Lestat, you bring it out in me!"

"I do?" He looked genuinely surprised.

"Yes, you do." I took his hand again and slid my fingers through his. "There was a reason why I rode off on *your* Harley you know. I needed to have some part of you with me. As for the rest, I told you, I only do these things when you're around."

"I thought... Really?"

I laughed. "Yes, really!" I kissed him. "Lestat, I adore you. I'd only do these things for a man I adored."

"But, forgive me for saying this, Louis, you haven't been doing these things. Not in a long while anyway."

"What sort of things do you mean?" I asked.

"I don't know. Riding my Harley, listening to rock music. Doing wild things with me."

"Well," I said. "For the first, it's been too cold to go out on your bike. For the second, there simply haven't been any new albums that I enjoy. And for the third..." I leaned in close and let my lips tickle his ear. "Ever make love on a park bench before?"

His eyes danced with fire. "Can't say that I have, no. Whyever do you ask?"

"No reason," I said with mock innocence as I began to undo the buttons of his vest. "No reason whatsoever."

---END OF JOURNAL ENTRY

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