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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 4, 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.


NIGHT FIVE

I jumped awake, my heart pounding. I looked around wildly, searching. Something was wrong. Something was supposed to happen, but I couldn't tell what.

And then I remembered. For the first night in too long a time, I had not woken up screaming. But what *was* I waking up to?

"Louis?" Lestat sat up in bed beside me. He was looking at me curiously. "Is everything alright?"

"Yes, I--I think," I said.

"You don't sound very sure," he said. "How did... did you have another nightmare?"

"No. Yes. I don't know." I ran a hand through my hair in frustration. Why couldn't I remember the dream? I needed to remember the dream, something inside of me said that this memory was important, but I could not reach it. I searched my mind desparately, mentally running after thoughts that felt right, but revealed nothing. And Lestat's strange behavior wasn't helping. It was almost as though he was the one waking from a nightmare. But why did that thought only remind me of my own dream? "Did you have another nightmare, Lestat?"

"Not exactly," he said. He looked extremely uncomfortable. "Don't you remember anything of your dream?"

"I'm not entirely positive that I had a dream," I said.

"Yes, you did!" Lestat said, then immediately looked as though he wished that he hadn't.

"Lestat, why...." And then it hit me. With full force the dream came back to me and I remembered it all. The sun, the wall, the chains.

And *Lestat*.

"BASTARD!!" I was on him in a flash. My body moved as though without my knowledge as I drove at him, beating him, thrashing him, *Hurting* him. The force of my blows pushed us both to the floor and we fell into a tangled heap of sheets and pillows and still I went at it.

"Son of a bitch, you raped me! You raped me! My body wasn't enough for you? You had to have my mind too! That was me in there! You raped *me*!" He lay on the floor underneath me, unmoving as the very bruises that I placed onto his body healed before I could strike the next blow. Infuriated, I slashed at him, cutting my nails across his face and chest. "Monster! You're a monster! You're not human, you never were! Do you hear me? MONSTER! You betrayed me! You raped me! How could you do it, Lestat? How could you?"

The smell of blood filled the air. I felt myself drawn to it, thinking that I had to feed. But then I remembered, that had been the dream too. I struck him on the face once more before exhaustion overwhelmed me. I pulled myself away from him and crawled to a chair, curling my body into the seat and burying my head against the arm rest.

"How could you do it? How could you? How could you?" I said it over and over, the words rebounding in my mind until I no longer knew if I said them aloud or only thought them. I felt physically ill.

I sat there, sobbing, until I couldn't do it any more. Somehow, I found it in myself to look at him again. He sat on the floor, his body supported by the bed and covered with marks and scratches. He did not look at me.

"Damn you," I whispered. "Say something to me!"

He did not reply. I sat higher in my chair, drawing what strength I had left in me to face him.

"I told you to speak!"

"What would you have me say?"

"Tell me how you could do this! How could you?"

He sighed, an action which was clearly painful for him to do. I thought he was going to remain silent again, but finally he spoke.

"I thought it was something you wanted me to do."

I slapped him.

"You go to Hell, Lestat! You go right to Hell! I will tolerate your callousness. I will tolerate your cruelties. But I will not tolerate you treating me with anything other than the respect I deserve for living with you! Don't you *dare* give me some mortal lie! You have raped me and you will explain yourself properly! Damn you, look at me!"

His grey eyes turned to watch me from where he sat.

"I couldn't let you live like that anymore," he said. "I had to stop it. Louis, I was *there*! I couldn't leave you like that!"

"I never wanted you there! I never--" A humiliating sob broke through my words. I covered my face with my hands so that he could not see my tears. "You weren't supposed to be there. You weren't supposed to see. I never wanted you to see me like that! I never wanted you to see...."

"But I've already seen it," he said. "I've seen your dreams before."

"No," I whispered.

"Yes!" He moved closer to me. "I saw it, Louis. I saw the Temple and the sabbat and the sunlight. I saw your vision of me!"

My heart pounded in my chest, a dull thud with each beat.

"You had no right," I said. "No right!"

"I was trying to protect you!"

"You were trying to abuse me! I can't believe that you, even you, would spy on me then take the first chance you had to do whatever you wanted to me! You're right, your true nature *is* evil! Monster!"

"I was trying to help you!"

"By trapping me in the Temple and--"

"You were there already!" He went to put his hands on the chair but I stopped him with a look. "Louis, don't you understand? The bad things, the Temple, the chains, those were just a dream. Your own mind made them up. But me, what we did, *that* was real! And you felt real pleasure! You don't have to have the nightmares, Louis, you can dream what you wish. We did it before, remember? You and me by the stream?"

"Don't you *dare*," I hissed. "Don't you dare destroy that memory more than you already have! I *trusted* that dream! I trusted it so much that I made love to you! I thought you came to me in love, that what I saw was purely you! And I thought, all this time, that we could do it again if only we could have our emotions as pure as we did then. But no, I was wrong. Because you came to me tonight and you used me for your own sick game!"

"I didn't use you, we made love," he said. "You felt pleasure, Louis. The fear was gone and you felt pleasure!"

"And how do I know you didn't make me feel that?" I asked. "How do I know you haven't been controlling me all this time? I wouldn't put it past you! I'm not your puppet!"

"No, you're Juliano's."

"Bastard! You take that back!"

"It's true!" he said. He leaned forward so that I could see nothing other than him. "He's the one controlling you all this time, Louis. He's the real man of your dreams, isn't he? After all, you can't stop thinking about him or dreaming about him."

"Shut up!" I said, my own voice unrecognizable to my ears. "Don't say another word!"

"And you're weak to him, aren't you, Louis? You don't even put up a fight when the dreams of him start. The only time you ever did fight is when I came into the picture. So that's what bothers you, is it? You'd rather have a dream of him than the reality of me."

I leapt off the chair with an inhuman roar, tackling Lestat and throwing him against the floor.

"Take it back! Take it back!" I tried to claw at his eyes, but he only laughed.

"How weak you truly are, Louis," he said. "Do you think this is a challenge for me?"

I felt the pain of my head hitting the dresser before I realized that he had shoved me against it. "Lestat--"

"Silence!" There was a sharp sting from his palm as he struck me across the face. "You haven't earned the right to speak to me."

I tried to hit him, but he grabbed my hand before I could reach him. Then, with a quick jerk, he had me on the floor, straddling me on my chest and holding my wrists firmly above my head. "Trapped again, are you?" he taunted. I thrashed madly, trying to free my hands. I couldn't stand the thought of being held in this manner.

"Let me go!"

"Why should I?"

"You said you loved me!"

"I can't love a cripple."

"Lestat," I was moaning now. "*Please*."

"No!" He dug his knee painfully into my side. "Weak little Louis can't fight to save himself. You just don't have it in you. You can't even fight off a dream. That's why Juliano got you, you know. That's probably why he picked you. Your very weakness begs for it!"

"And is that why you picked me too?" I asked. "Is that why you made me?"

"Precisely. I wanted a nothing and a no one exactly like you!"

"I am not a nothing!"

"Tell it to your lover, Juliano."

"I'll kill you!" I screamed. I grabbed onto his wrists and flung him against the wall. He hit the mirror and fell in a spray of shattering glass. He started to get up, but I shoved him down again. I forced him onto his back, pressing down to make sure the glass cut into him, then pinned him there, holding his hands tightly in mine in exactly the same way that he had held me. He struggled, but could not break free no matter how hard he tried. Finally, he gave up and lay placidly underneath me.

"Louis--" he whispered.

"Be quiet!" I was crying, I could feel the hot tears against my cheeks.

"Don't be afraid. This is your power, this is how strong you are, don't be afraid of it. Use it! Use it and never be afraid of your memories again."

"Quiet," I said again. But he was right, I was trembling with fear. I didn't know what to do.

He shifted under me and I could feel the movement of his muscles against my legs as I held him. When I looked at him, he smiled and turned his head to the side, stretching his neck out.

"I can't move, Louis, until you let me. I'm here, trapped, underneath you. The Vampire Lestat is completely helpless before you, no more able to fight you than a mortal man. I'm yours, Louis. Totally yours."

I was breathing hard now. I licked my dry lips and tasted the drops of his blood that had gotten on me in our fight. The scent of blood in the room was dizzying.

"Your victim, Louis...."

I swayed, lightheaded, before savagely biting into his neck. He jerked, reflexively, then became languid in my hold. His hot blood filled my mouth and I drank it down greedily, losing myself in the embrace and the images that came with it.

:Take it all, take everything I have to give you....:

:I'm scared... I don't want to be like *him*.:

:You're not him. You're Louis. You could never be him, beautiful one. Never. You can be strong, but never be him.:

--Lestat--

He drank until my heart slowed dangerously. Eyes closed, I did not attempt to break free again. He had done it. He had fought me. If I died now, I died happy, in Louis' arms - his very strong arms. Slightly giddy, thoughts flitted through my mind rapidly. I could never allow Louis to know how much it had hurt me to do that to him. I would have gone through that and more if I thought it would bring Louis back to himself, and me. Though painful, the blows he inflicted upon me had been a blessed relief. I wanted him to strike harder, until his pain and my guilt were both washed away in a rain of tears and blood.

When his lips left my throat at long last they traveled across my cheek to claim my lips, allowing me to taste myself within the warmth of his mouth. Then finally, the kiss ended and Louis moved away, fractionally, releasing my wrists at last. I felt abandoned, suddenly, and my eyes fluttered open. His tear streaked face was partially turned away, his eyes dark with blood. At once I sat up, my heart sinking. "You're not still frightened?"

"No... I mean, yes, I am still, somewhat, but that's not it."

"What then?"

He looked at the ceiling, drawing a shuddering breath. "I wanted to kill you. I really did. In the temple. Even afterward. If I could have killed you, I would have. I had no idea..."

"Hush. It's over now." I tried to draw him into my arms, but he would not allow it.

"The pain..."

"It's not so bad now." I quickly assured him. "Except for the glass. We're going to have to dig a few pieces out, I think."

He looked at me in consternation. "Oh God, get up!" He immediately stood then pulled me to my feet. I rose gingerly, my naked back and legs still covered with glittering shards.

He stood silently for some time, simply looking at me, the tears trickling slowly down his face. Again I tried to take him into my arms, but he resisted. "You did that for me." he whispered at last. "You literally went into hell, for me."

I tried to make light of it. "You're being a bit dramatic, don't you think?"

"No." he said flatly.

It was a tone he used when repressing deep emotion. He was truly upset, but I couldn't pinpoint why. There were so many reasons - which one had he picked? Again, I tried to shrug it off. "I've done it before, Louis. I'll do it again if I have to. Even hell can't keep you from me." His expression was strained and I fought the impulse to draw him to me. "What is it?"

"You."

"Louis..." What could I say? "It was an impulse, going into the dream like that. I only just discovered I could. And I thought..."

"I saw your fear." he interrupted quietly. "Your pain. I felt it when I drank from you. You were terrified of hurting me that much. But you did it anyway."

My mind frantically searched for a denial. None came. "Yes. I did it anyway." My words were just slightly bitter. "Like the selfish bastard I am. Go ahead, Louis. Tell me again what a monster I am. Let's get this over with, please, so I can get the glass out."

He took another deep breath. "You truly believe I'd think that of you, now?" His soft voice was distant, as though he considered the question he had just asked. Then he raised his hand, finally allowing the physical contact I so wanted. He pushed a wayward strand of hair from my eyes then lingered, drawing the back of his hand down my cheek. "Just as you saw me, in the dream, I saw you in the blood. I heard your prayer. 'Please don't make me do this' you said." His voice dropped to a whisper. "You actually prayed."

"It was a selfish prayer. And it wasn't answered, I might add."

He met my eyes for a timeless moment, and I saw within his emerald gaze raging, conflicting emotions. "You're tired." he finally said. "I drained you. Come on." He led me to our brightly lit bathroom, and proceeded to remove the remaining glass from my back with a wickedly sharp razor. I said nothing, refusing to meet his eyes in the mirror. Finally, with deceptive calm, he asked "How long have you been in my dreams?"

I hesitated. "A few days."

"What did you see?"

"Why do we have to go into this?" I demanded, not wishing to remember them.

"I think I deserve to know. What did you see?"

I sighed. "I saw you chained to a wall. You were weak and thin and..." my voice caught and I went on. "Then I saw the sabbat ritual. And after that, the courtyard."

He considered. "When I told you about the little girl. You already knew, didn't you?"

"Yes. I saw it."

"Then why did you ask?"

"Because I wasn't sure if I was seeing your dreams, or having dreams of my own. I don't think I would have added something like that independently. As it turns out, it was your dream I saw." I sighed. "You should have told me about her."

"I couldn't."

"Are there any other dreams you can't tell me about?"

"Yes."

I waited, but no other explanation was forthcoming. When I met his eyes in the mirror, I received a shock. I expected a slightly fearful, rather apologetic expression. What I saw was steel. "Do you think we should discuss them?"

"No." Again, no hesitation, and no apology. "Is this the first time you've tried to influence my dreams?"

"Yes. Before I couldn't even move. No one could see me."

"How did you discover how to move?"

"I didn't. It just happened. A little willpower, and you could suddenly see me. It's just a question of controlling the fear."

"Control the fear, and you control the dream." he said thoughtfully, placing the bloody razor on the counter.

I had to smile. "That's the whole point, isn't it? Controlling the fear."

It was as though he looked at me with new eyes. His entire expression was that of a man reborn. I could only guess what he was going through his mind. "I need to think about this. Go hunt." I opened my mouth to protest, but he silenced me with a very thorough, almost brutal kiss. "I'll be here when you return." he whispered against my lips. There was something in his voice I didn't like. I looked at him uncertainly. "Go on."

"We do need to talk, you realize."

"I quite agree." Again, the strange inflection in his voice. Almost as though he were angry, but not quite. "You tend to get distracted when you're hungry. Hurry."

I needed no further encouragement. I dressed and sped into the night, my victims dying almost before they were aware of my presence. I returned in record time to find Louis in our bedroom. He, too, had dressed, and was clearing away the last of the glass.

"That was quick." he commented, sweeping the glittering remains into a dustpan.

"You told me to hurry."

"So I did. Why don't you wait for me downstairs? I won't be long."

"Louis, I..."

"Lestat, wait for me downstairs."

He was serious, and his tone of voice jangled my nerves. "Alright." I finally agreed. Satisfied, he returned to his cleaning.

Louis' behavior had me on edge. Was he mad or not? I couldn't tell, which was a rare thing for me. If he was mad, he was about to explode. The calm before the storm. If he *wasn't* mad, however, he was so badly hurt that he seemed to be going into some sort of mental shock. Either way, it was possible I had pushed him too far.

I chose the comfort of our den and waited. As promised, he did join me shortly. I took one look at his face and understood at once that this would not be the calm conversation I had hoped for.

He started in at once. "Why didn't you tell me what you were planning to do?"

"As I said before," I replied, striving to keep my voice even, "it was an impulse. I really didn't think it through."

"You obviously thought it through enough to understand how much pain you would cause."

"But that was the whole point!" I protested.

"Causing me pain?"

"Yes." His expression at once turned coldly furious and I hastened to explain. "Pleasure and pain, in a controlled circumstance. Pleasure in the dream, and pain out here." I gestured in frustration. "You had to fight, Louis! You had to understand that you have the power to fight! There is no need for anyone to rescue you in the dreams. You can do it yourself! But you've convinced yourself that you're helpless. And as long as you believe it, it's true."

"I am *not* helpless." He advanced on me and I instinctively backed up.

"No, you're not. I know that. But you didn't."

"I know it now." Again he advanced and I retreated.

"Good. That's what I was hoping for."

"Well, then. That's all that's important, isn't it?" he sneered, the expression marring his beautiful face. "You're satisfied. The experiment was a success. Never mind what I wanted. Never mind that you left me chained to a wall. We'll just forget all about the fact that you took me against my will." Again he advanced, and I was rapidly running out of room. His voice dropped to a dangerous hiss. "That you physically attacked me afterwards isn't even worth mentioning."

"Louis..."

"Shut up." He was suddenly in front of me. At once he grasped the front of my shirt, dragging me forward. "I'm not finished speaking." He shook me for emphasis. "Your pathetic prayer isn't all I got from the blood." He bared his teeth in a grim parody of a smile. "You *wanted* me to attack you, didn't you? You enjoyed it! A few shouted words, a couple of bruises, some shattered glass, and you're guilt free. Isn't that it?" Without warning he slapped me, full across the face. It was hard enough to cause my vision to dim momentarily, though I could still hear him clearly. "After what you did tonight, I hardly think one little brawl would make much of a dent in the guilt you must carry. After what you did to me, I think I'd have to beat you for *years* to wash away the guilt!"

I was flying through the air, crashing through one of the antique tables before I was even aware he had shoved me. Again he was on me. "How is that, Lestat?" he cried, dragging me forward again. "Are you starting to feel better?"

Guilt or no, enough was enough. I tore away from him, sending him sprawling against the sofa, hearing the wooden frame split with a loud *crack* as he hit. "Damnit, Louis, I'm sorry! I only thought to..."

I never got a chance to finish. In a blur he hurled himself at me again, and we both crashed to the floor, more furniture reduced to rubble in our path. "You're sorry?" he roared. "How many times have you said that in your life?" He emphasized his point with a swift punch, and I felt my newly-healed ribs cave once more. "Each time you do something thoughtless, it's 'I'm sorry' and that fixes everything, doesn't it?" Another fist into my midsection. "Did you ever stop, just for one moment, to consider what I wanted? To perhaps think about discussing this with me beforehand?" Another fist in the gut and I tasted blood.

But that wasn't the worst of it. His words cut into me far worse than his fists ever could. He was right, and I knew it. I stopped fighting, for the second time that night lying passively under his blows. It seemed to infuriate him all the more. "Get up!" he raged, lashing out with feet and fists. "Fight me! I will not be responsible for the absolution of your guilt! Get Up!" But I didn't move, and after a few moments he retreated in frustration.

I groaned softly where I lay. I healed rapidly, true, but this attack was much worse than the first. Broken bones take time to knit and it hurts like the devil until they heal. Just breathing at that moment was painful. Even so, I couldn't resist. "If it makes you... feel any better... Louis," I gasped, "*I* don't feel... any better... at all."

"Good."

I lay without moving for some time, just concentrating on breathing. At last I heard him stand and walk over to me. I tensed against another blow, flinching slightly when I felt his hand on my head. But rather than strike, he ran his fingers through my hair. "Are you badly hurt?"

I cracked my eye open and looked hazily at him. "Bad enough."

"Can you sit up?"

"I'd rather not."

He let out a rapid breath. Then suddenly his fingers tightened into a fist, dragging my head several inches from the floor. "Are you listening to me?" he asked quietly.

"Yes." Did I have a choice?

"Don't *ever* do anything like that again." He shook my head slightly, causing my teeth to rattle.

"I won't." I assured him. Satisfied, he let go of my hair and my head dropped back to the floor with a dull thud. Then, to my astonishment, he gathered me in his arms and carried me upstairs. I didn't protest. In fact, I moved just enough to turn my head into his chest. My position was nearly identical to his the first night I carried him down to the living room, three long years ago. It was fitting somehow.

Between the fights, the healing, and the emotional strain of the night, I was totally exhausted. Louis stripped off my clothes, then his own, and bundled us both into bed. I could barely keep my eyes open. "Today, when I go to sleep, stay out of my dreams." he commanded softly.

"I will if I can." I agreed sleepily. "I don't seem to have much choice in the matter."

"Try." I mumbled an agreement, more asleep than awake. I felt his lips in my hair, barely heard his whispered "I love you." I don't know if it was a conscious effort on my part or not, but that day I slept without dreaming.

NIGHT SIX

I bolted awake. "Lestat! Lestat! Help Me!" And finally "LESTAT!!"

I groaned softly. "Not again." Once more we went through the ritual of calming Louis, drawing him away from the nightmares. When he finally lay panting in my arms I asked "What happened?"

"Juliano... he..." Louis shuddered violently. Then he suddenly looked up at me. "You weren't there? You didn't see it?"

"No. Which one was it?"

"I thought I could do it. I thought I could face him alone. But I just can't." Once again a deep shudder racked his body. Then he suddenly pushed away from me, sitting with his knees drawn to his chest, resting his head on his hands. "Perhaps if you were there, the two of us could fight him together."

His voice was weary and defeated. The fight I had worked so hard to awaken within him seemed to have vanished without a trace. I couldn't believe it.

I gritted my teeth, then rallied for one final effort. "Why should I help you? The last time I tried you beat the shit out of me."

His head snapped up, eyes flashing. "The last time you did it without my permission."

"But now that I have it, just what do you expect me to do? Charge in like a white knight and banish Juliano back into the netherworld where he belongs?"

"Well, no... I..."

"Think about it." I said. "If it was that easy I would have done it long ago."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't conquer your dreams. Only you can." I glared at him. "We're not fighting Juliano. We're fighting *you*."

He considered this, then nodded slightly. "I understand." His expression hardened. "You're right, of course. I must do it myself. But if you were there, perhaps you could keep me focused." Another shiver. "I tend to get... distracted when you're not there."

I smiled suddenly. "That I could do. We could try today, if you wish."

"I do. I wish it very much."

It was one of the longest, most unpleasant nights of my life. Still stiff and sore from the night before, I felt snappish and out of sorts. Louis too, was tense and edgy. I was almost looking forward to the dream, just so we could end the suspense.

That morning we got ready for bed earlier than usual. "I can't control which dream we'll be in." Louis warned.

"I can't control if I'll be there or not, so that makes us even."

"You'll try to be there, won't you?"

I circled my arms around him, holding him tightly. "I'll try." We lay, tense and unmoving, until the dawn brought sleep.

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