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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."

Demons in the Dark Part 2, an After spec
by the Brat Queen (Louis) and Lady Black Death (Lestat)

Warning: This spec contains specific spoilers to Mick and Susie's version of Memnoch. It is *highly* recommended that you read it before reading this. This spec also contains language some may find offensive as well as sexual acts.

At first I thought I was safe, or at least armed with the knowledge of what was to come. This was a dream I knew - I had seen it before. Back in the dark chamber of horrors, Louis again chained to the wall. But almost at once I knew I was mistaken. This was a different Louis - no, a different dream. Unlike before, the Louis before me was well fed and had recently bathed. Only his eyes remained the same, filled with a numbed detachment which iced the very air around us.

When the white-robed priests entered the room Louis fought them. I cheered, leaping with vengeful glee. He was captured, of course, and as I attempted to lash out at them, to tear them away from him, I felt the lead weight descend upon me again, slowing my lightening fast reflexes to a crawl. They dragged him from the room and it was all I could do to follow.

Back to the altar for a token ceremony - Juliano lording above Louis, demanding his capitulation. I watched, again filled with wordless pride as Louis fought, this time with words. On his knees, facing the death of yet another child to the flames, Louis effectively told Juliano to go to hell. From my vantage point on the altar I jumped up and roared in triumph. And it suddenly occurred to me that I *could* jump and cheer. No one took any notice of me, but I was suddenly free to move! My limbs were light as they dragged him from the altar, the fear within me momentarily replaced by savage joy. Louis had won!

Then I saw the courtyard, and I suddenly understood, with sickening certainty, which event was being remembered. I tried to scream but found I could not, my throat and my limbs once more held tight in the dreadful fist.

Worshippers stood at a distance as Louis was tied to stakes in the courtyard, Juliano tearing the clothes from his body. Naked, facing certain death as dawn filled the sky, Louis still maintained an outer appearance of calm dignity. Watching him I felt tears begin to run down my cheeks, fierce pride filling me. What a magnificent creature is Louis de Pointe du Lac! Mon Louis.

I was startled to find I was able to move again. There seemed a correlation between the height of my fear and my inability to move, but I had little time to ponder this. As the sky became flame, Louis turned his head slowly, succumbing to the onset of sleep. Then, once again, his voice filled my mind, bringing me to my knees. :Lestat! Is it that you can't find me, or is it that you will not come?: His voice was agony to me, and yet I couldn't shut out his words. :I love you, Lestat, more than anything, don't you know that? I only wish I could tell you. I only wish I could see you. I would have that one wish, before I die, if I could have anything.:

The world dissolved in flame.

Even so, the worst was yet to come.

Louis got his wish. He saw me before what he thought was his death. I watched the vision unfold as though, well, in a dream. Dreaming of a dream within a dream - the focus of my thoughts grew hazy and I fought to pay attention to the events unfolding. As is often the case in dreams, the scene shifted without warning, to that of a cemetery. Louis knelt before the tomb of his brother, and I noted with dull surprise that it was, in fact, full day! How beautiful he appeared to me, the sunlight caressing his face and hair.

A blond haired, grey eyed apparition appeared before him. I will not call it by my name, though it looked like me and spoke with my voice. In hatred, this demon denied ever loving Louis, said that he had only used him for his own selfish ends. And then the devil, full of contempt in the face of Louis' love, turned his back and walked away.

I could not move, speak or breathe for the pain piercing through me. I watched the rest of the dream in numbed silence. Claudia, ah, yes. It would be, wouldn't it? Claudia appeared, malicious as the fiend who had preceded her, to lead Louis into the very pit of hell.

When I awoke it was to the sound of Louis' screams. And I suddenly understood what they meant. He cried out my name, yes. But he was not calling *me*. He screamed for the apparition from the dream, the one who wore my face, begging him to come back and to love him once more.

The blood in my veins was ice as we went through the ritual of calming him. One thing I knew for certain. There was no way in hell he was going out alone again. NIGHT FOUR --Louis--

It had already been my plan to stay at home. My latest nightmare had no influence on that decision. But Lestat's concern did. Despite our arguement the night before, there was no trace of anger or resentment in him as he comforted me from my dream Once again he was behaving selflessly and once again I was not giving that to him in return.

But traces of my nightmare lingered and I worried that Lestat would not let me walk away from it. I needed to find something that would give me time enough to think without troubling Lestat in the process. Finally, I found a comfortable median.

"I'm going to work on my computer," I told him. He nodded, looking as though he wanted to say more, but remained silent.

Though the computer Lestat had bought me was a laptop, I preferred to work on it while at home. It didn't take long for Lestat to make alterations to the room adjoining our grand library so that I had a computer room all of my own, complete with the privacy that came from having its only door lead directly to the library itself.

It was to this room that I went, intent on the purpose of writing more of my experience of the past three years. I hoped that it would give me the relief that it had given me before. It was the only work which I did on my computer and Lestat knew this, which is why he accepted my decision without complaint. We both knew that, while often traumatic, my writing helped me more than it hurt.

However, hours later, I found myself staring at a blank screen, the result of many aborted attempts to start. I could find no one time to focus on and certainly nothing which rivaled my current predicament in importance or urgency.

Tired, I lay my head in my hands. I could not put my nightmares out of my mind. Only now it was worse because Lestat was becoming affected as well, the very thing I had hoped to avoid. Sadly, my behavior had only succeeded in making him worry about me more.

More than anything I wanted to change that. I wanted Lestat to have a night of peace. More to the point, I wanted it for myself as well!

I laughed, suddenly, thinking of this for it only then occurred to me that there was nothing stopping us from doing so, only the fact that I had locked myself up in this room.

I closed my computer with a snap and walked over to the door. As I opened it, I caught a glimpse of Lestat lunging for the couch. He quickly grabbed a book and opened it, pretending to read the page that he was on. So he had been hovering outside the room all this time.

All the happier for having decided to be with him, I walked over to the side of the couch and lightly tapped him on the shoulder.

"Am I interrupting you?" I asked.

"Not at all," he replied. "Why would you think that?"

"Well, you seemed rather intently focused on that Table of Contents."

"Louis, I'm surprised at you. Don't you know that next to the chapters and the title page, the Table of Contents is the most important part of the book?" he grinned at me.

"You forgot the publisher's information," I said, returning his infectious grin as I sat down beside him.

"I'm not too fond of that," he said, putting the book down.

"I see," I said. "So, how long were you waiting out here?"

For a moment it looked as though he was going to continue with his bluff, but then he replied. "Not long."

I sighed. "Lestat, I wish you wouldn't worry about me."

"How can you say that?" he asked. "How can you know how I feel about you and still say that?" He grew sober. "Something's bothering you this much and I can't do anything to stop it. Of *course* I'm going to worry."

"Yes," I said, "but I don't like that it's bothering *you* this much."

"I want you to be happy, Louis," he said. His voice became soft, less than a whisper. "I couldn't walk away from you, even mentally, knowing that you were like this. You do know that, don't you, Louis? I could never leave you. I love you too much." "I know," I said reassuringly, curious as to why it was so important for him to tell me this right at this moment. I caressed his cheek with my fingers. "After all, you're here now, aren't you?"

"Now and forever and forever," he said. He settled back in the couch, making more room for me. I took the chance to nestle closer to him. "But first we must rid you of these terrible dreams."

"I don't know, Lestat," I said, resting my head on his shoulder. "I'm starting to wonder if I am supposed to be rid of the dreams at all. Perhaps they are something that cannot be conquered."

"I can't accept that," he said. He put his arm around me.

I smiled. "You never were very good at accepting defeat, were you?"

"Lucky for you," he said. "Or I'd have given up on this relationship *long* ago."

I laughed. "As would I, I imagine. And you are correct, I am lucky to have you."

"That's not exactly what I meant."

"That's alright, it's exactly what I meant," I said. I leaned forward to kiss him. I had intended to simply brush his lips with mine, but once having done so, I could not stop myself. As though moving with one mind, we pulled each other closer and lost ourselves in the sweet embrace.

"Mmm," I said when our lips finally separated, however barely. "I've missed that."

"Have you?" he asked. He threaded his hand through my hair and stroked it gently.

"Yes," I said. "It's been too long since we've been together like this."

"It's only been a few nights," he said, so that I would not feel as badly as I did.

"That's still too long," I told him. I closed my eyes and quick visions of my nightmares flashed before me, but only as reminders of what had kept us apart. Determined not to dwell on this, I turned my attention back to Lestat. He had stretched his legs out so that he could rest his feet on the coffee table. I moved closer to him and ran my hand down his stomach, hip and thigh, enjoying the feel of his well-sculpted body underneath my fingertips.

"Interesting," I said.

"What is?" he asked.

"The things that still matter to us, even though they shouldn't," I said.

"For instance?"

"Right now, for example. I am sitting here, admiring your muscular build, even though that no longer has anything to do with your actual makeup. Besides, it is your blood that I will ultimately want so it would follow that the only muscle I *should* be interested in would be your heart. Why would I, as a vampire, care about anything else?"

"Well," Lestat said, "my form does suggest that of a healthy, young mortal man. And that is everything that should attract you as a vampire, don't you think?"

"Perhaps," I said. "But that isn't what I think when I look at you this way."

"And what do you think?" he asked, a smile playing about his mouth.

"I think about how strong you are, even though your shape has nothing to do with it," I said. I got up from my position on the couch and moved over so that I was sitting on his lap. I undid the buttons of his shirt and ran my hands down his chest. "I like to look at you and imagine your strong arms around me, holding me tight."

"Oh, Louis," he whispered. He kissed me then, even more deeply than before. "I've missed you so much."

"Make love to me," I said, my voice as soft as his. "Take me upstairs and make love to me. I want you to kiss me and touch me and drink from me and I want to feel your mind and mine together until the sun rises and tears us apart."

"It won't do that, beautiful one," Lestat said as he lifted me from the couch. "The sun will not take you away from me."

*Mon coeur,* I thought. *If only that were true....* --Lestat--

I lifted him in my arms and held him to me for a long moment, immersing myself in the simple feel of him. His happiness seemed complete when we finally made love. My emotions got the better of me, and we lingered much longer than usual, until we were both begging for release. It was the first time in days I had seen that expression on his face - that of serene contentment.

Finally, sated, Louis drowsed in my embrace. I stroked his hair, watching his lashes flutter against his cheek. Never before had I felt so close to him, so willing to lay everything on the line for the man I held in my arms. If only I could! If only there was something I could do! If only I could change the dreams, somehow, so that he would look as he did now. To take the terror away from him forever, and replace it with that blissful expression...

I froze. Then my hand clenched reflexively, causing Louis to stir in his sleep. Immediately I forced myself to relax, lest he wake. But even as my body calmed, my mind raced at a fever pitch. The solution - there before me. I had been traveling in Louis' dreams constantly of late. What if I *could*, in fact, change them? Replace the nightmare visions with those of love and contentment? Could I really do such a thing? Did I dare?

I felt a nauseating mixture of weariness and exhilaration. At long last, I had a battle plan. I had an enemy to fight... or rather, I now understood who my enemy was. Not Juliano. Juliano was very dead. My enemy lay in my arms, sleeping peacefully. For him, because of him, the fight was at long last joined.

Even as I thought this, some small part of my mind recoiled in horror. To change the dreams from pain into pleasure, from terror to ecstacy, I would have to be subtle (I could be subtle when I had to, but I didn't enjoy it). Even worse, it would be necessary to use everything I knew about Louis against him. It would be painful for both of us. Did I have the strength to actually do this? To hurt Louis so badly that he'd actually start to fight again? Fight for himself finally?

I was frightened. *That* was the nauseating feeling, lurking within my heart like a treacherous beast. I was selfish. I didn't want to go through with this. I didn't want to even think it. But what if it worked? Desperate, I felt the deathsleep creeping upon me, and sent a furtive, foolish plea to whomever might be listening. "Please don't make me do this! Or at least give me strength... Please let this work..."

I drifted to sleep.

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