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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."

Le Printemps Part 1, an after spec
by the Brat Queen

Immortality Awards:
Winner: Best Quote '95-'96

Reader's Choice:
Winner: Best Quote '95-'96


As written in the journal entries of Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt.

LOUIS' JOURNAL ENTRY:
[signs of the beginnings of an entry which has been crossed out]

It would appear that my evening last night was not as uneventful as I had originally thought it would be when I started writing that entry. Hopefully, I will be able to finish this one before something else happens. Not that I minded the company. But it was... distracting, to say the least.

Where was I? Oh yes, I had been writing about how it looked like it would be a calm night for once. Lestat would call that irony. Then he would scold me for scowling at him. Then we would fight about my right to scowl at him and then...

Well then we would end up about where we were when the night really started now wouldn't we?

I had been writing that last, soon to be aborted entry when Lestat came in. I Felt him, before other such sensory information as the sound of the front door closing or the faint vibrations he made as he walked through the hall to join me in the library, came to me. There was another thing as well. A smell. The soft perfume of freshly cut flowers. Roses to be precise.

Now roses are not my favorite type of flowers (I favor orchids, which Lestat knows) so I did not automatically assume that they were for me. Instead, I assumed that Lestat had gotten them from where he usually gets them. There is an elderly gentleman of perhaps 85 years who sets up a little stand near one of the bookstores that Lestat frequents. Lestat often stops by to visit with this man. Lestat likes to talk with him when he has a chance to. And, though he thinks I don't know this, he likes to do little favors for him as well while seemingly only buying a bouquet of roses. One night, when he thought I wasn't looking, he gave the man $500 so that he might take an airplane ride to visit with his family.

Lestat uses his telepathy to make sure that the man doesn't notice or question where the money comes from. Lestat never likes to be recognized for his acts of kindness. But rest assured, I give him his due rewards for it.

Usually, Lestat will deposit the flowers in a vase in his study so I was surprised when he instead came immediately to the library. He burst through the door in his characteristic fashion and did not say so much as a word to me before leaning over me on the couch and kissing me.

"No 'hello'?" I teased.

"Hello," he said, then kissed me again. His lips were warm from hunting and I could still taste the traces of blood on them. "Miss me?"

"Always," I said. I put my journal down and smiled at him, loving the sight of him as his eyes lit up and he returned my smile.

"For you," he said and he handed me the bright red roses. He shrugged off his jacket, then sat next to me on the couch.

"Thank you," I said. I did a quick count and found that there were 5 dozen roses in the bouquet. I felt Lestat begin to try to sneak his arm around my waist and, seeing the gleam in his eye, feigned indifference. "Shall I put them in water?"

"Oh no," he said, moving closer. "They aren't for decoration."

"What are they for?"

"Tonight," Lestat's eyes looked positively feline. "And for what I'm about to do."

"What's that?" I asked. I tried to move further away but I was pressed against the arm of the couch already. Lestat moved his other arm around me, effectively blocking me from getting up, and moved closer so that his lips, while not against my ear, were right behind it. I could feel his hot breath on my neck when he spoke.

"I'm going to make love to you on a bed of roses, Louis," he whispered. "I want to see those soft red petals in your dark black hair and against your pale white skin as my mouth travels over every inch of your body."

"Won't I get pricked with the thorns?" I asked, no longer sure if I was still teasing him with procrastination.

"If it frightens you, then I will remove each and every dangerous thorn myself," he replied. "I don't want anything to harm you."

"That will take too long," I said, now quite sure that I wasn't teasing him.

"I can do it quickly," he said. He put his hand against my cheek, turned my head, then kissed me on the lips. "At least, I can do *that* quickly. But once I'm done with the roses, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go very, very slow. Are you sure you won't mind?"

"Not at all," I said around the tightness in my chest. He moved closer still and I gave up. The roses slipped from my fingers as I wrapped my arms around him and lost myself in his kiss. His skilled hands were moving with damning slowness over my body and I soon found myself pressing eagerly against him in the hopes of making him do more, but with no luck. "Mon Dieu, Lestat!" I gasped. "Must you finally have willpower in *this*?"

He laughed. "Don't you like it, beautiful one?" He let his tongue glide up my neck, his fangs tracing along the delicate veins until I moaned. He laughed again, a playful chuckle. "I can stop, if you don't like it."

"Don't you dare!" I dug my fingers into his shoulders and pressed down firmly, reminding him of my strength.

"Planning on keeping me here against my will?" he asked. His mouth was barely away from mine. "Am I your prisoner?"

"My keeper," I replied. "And I'll never get away for I cannot resist you."

That made *him* moan and we were once again lost in a passionate embrace, barely aware of our movements or actions. My thoughts vanished in a blissful cloud where there was no danger, no pain, only love, only Lestat.

Suddenly, something broke through this. I bolted upright, panting, and tried to get my bearings. "Did you hear that?"

"What?" Lestat looked around. Whatever it was, he had felt it too.

I heard it again. "There! Do you hear it? Something... something pounding."

"Only my heart," he said. He smiled, but there was a trace of irritation in his voice. "I can Feel no danger, Louis."

Neither could I, and my sense of that has always been greater than Lestat's. But the pounding continued. I shook my head to clear it, and focused on the sound, trying to identify it. "It's the front door," I said. "Someone's knocking."

"Ignore them," Lestat said. "It's their own fault for not using the doorbell."

"It might be something important," I said. I scanned outside. "It's Daniel! He seems upset."

"Definitely ignore it then."

"Lestat!"

"Louis!" he mimicked my tone of voice. "I can scan too, you know. He's had another fight with Armand which makes the one hundredth this week alone. We're not his baby-sitter! Daniel's a big boy, let him take care of it himself and let us have a romantic evening at home."

I was sorely tempted to agree with him. My body was still flushed with heat from Lestat's kiss and as I sat there, feeling the warmth of Lestat lying beside me, I began to want nothing more than to lie back down and forget the rest of the world.

The pounding got louder.

"He knows we're here," I said. I thought quickly. "Let me go and speak with him. I'll tell him we're busy. Just so he knows we're not ignoring him. I don't think he'll go away otherwise."

It was the last point that did it. Lestat let go of me with obvious reluctance. "Alright, but get rid of him! Promise me!"

"Of course," I said. And I meant it. I wanted to spend the night with Lestat. I patted Lestat's shoulder reassuringly, then left to answer the door, fixing my clothes as I did so.

"Where were you, the roof?" Daniel walked past me as soon as I opened the door.

"Daniel, I--"

"Louis, what am I going to do? It's never been this bad before."

This concerned me. "You don't mean--"

He shook his head. "No, not with him. With *us*."

"Oh. Well then--"

"Sure we fight before, but this time it's different."

"Daniel, I know--"

"I really think he's going to leave me, Louis." Daniel had tears in his eyes as he looked at me. "What am I going to do?"

I bit my lip. I looked at Daniel, looked back towards the library, looked at Daniel again then decided. "Wait right here," I said.

"No," Lestat's response came the second I walked through the doorway. "No. No. No. No. No."

"Lestat!" I closed the door so Daniel wouldn't hear.

"No!"

"You're being selfish and cruel," I said.

"I never said I wasn't," he replied, then continued. "No."

"He's really hurting."

"So am I!"

"Don't be crude."

"Fine, if you tell him to leave!"

"No! Daniel is my friend and he needs me right now."

"Don't make me pull rank, Louis. I'm your lover *and* I'm older and he wouldn't even know you if it wasn't for me."

"How do you figure that? You weren't even around at the time!"

"Precisely! If I hadn't made you into a vampire, then disappeared, you would have had no reason to talk with Daniel at all."

I began to feel that pressure behind my eyes that I get whenever I try to have these conversations with Lestat. "You are past all patience! And stop looking at me that way! You're not goading me into something, we're actually arguing and I don't care if you like how my eyes spark when I yell at you like this! And stop grinning!"

"Aren't we in a mood?" Lestat made a face. "I wish I'd known that before I came home tonight. I would have known not to waste my time. You're clearly not interested in an evening with me tonight and nothing I can do will change your mind so that you give me the slightest bit of loving attention."

"If your attempts to change my mind are only further examples of how much of a whining, petulant child you can be, you're correct."

His eyes darkened. "You watch what you say or I'll turn that young friend of yours into a pile of ashes. What would you say to that, hmm?"

"You'd never do that. Either to him or to me."

He sighed. "The bluff was that transparent?"

"Only to me, my love. You're still as threatening as you ever were to the population at large."

He laughed. "Fine. If it means that much to you, Daniel can stay."

"It does and thank you."

"I swear, there are times when I really hate the fact that you woke up one night twenty years ago, looked into the mirror and said 'You know, I feel chatty'." He picked up his coat and put it on. "I'll be back later."

"You don't have to leave," I said, holding him back.

He grimaced. "Trust me, I do."

I caressed his cheek with my hand. "I'll make it up to you later."

He took my hand, kissed it, then returned it to my side. "Don't make this worse, Louis. Even as vampires, it can't be healthy."

I laughed. "Now you're only trying to make me feel bad about your leaving."

"That transparent again?" He kissed me and then left. I heard Daniel greet him as he walked by and Lestat's quick grunt of a reply before the front door slammed shut behind him.

"What's with him?" Daniel asked when I rejoined him.

"Nothing," I said. "Now then, let's talk."

"Good," Daniel said. "Where to? The library?"

I took Daniel by the arm and gently pulled him back from going in that direction. "Ah, no. My study would be better, I think. Let's go there. It's more comfortable and I have a feeling that it's going to be a long night."

LESTAT'S JOURNAL ENTRY

I was *not* in a good mood. That much has to be obvious. Don't get me wrong. Daniel's a nice friend, especially to Louis, but there are times when I want to snap his neck in two for ever being so stupid as to fall in love with Armand! Asking for stability in a relationship with Armand is like asking for stability in a relationship with *me*, only worse. Let the buyer beware. You get what you pay for and you can't always get what you want.

The fact that I had nothing to do wasn't helping. I'd planned on spending the evening with Louis in various states of undress. I did *not* plan on being out in the cold... well, alright, hot and humid New Orleans streets, fending for myself. Hunting was out as I had fed more than I needed to earlier, thinking that I would be sharing that blood with Louis. It was too late for a show and most of the stores were closed. No, Lestat de Lioncourt was *not* a happy man.

I stuffed my hands in my pockets and settled into walking randomly about town. I didn't pay attention to where I was going as I tried to focus my energy on not finding out where Armand was and setting fire to everything in that immediate area, including him. I took some delight in seeing the mortals move out of my way as I passed by. Apparently my mood was obvious to them as well.

"Let's see.... That frown, that glare, that tightly clenched jaw.... It can only mean one thing: Lestat's not getting any."

I looked up. "Santino! What are you doing in America? What's the matter, Santy Claus? Run out of cheap, Italian whores to keep you busy?"

"Yes. So I decided to see a cheap, French one instead." He grinned. "And here I am with you. Coincidence? I don't think so."

I smiled and hugged him. "Have I told you how much I've missed you and your sense of humor?"

"No."

"Well there's a good reason for that," I said. "Try to take the hint next time."

"Charming as ever I see," he said. He flicked a stray black hair into place. "And we all wonder why Louis hasn't dumped you by now. How silly of us!" He grew sober. "How is he, by the way? I heard so many things--is he alright?"

I shrugged. "He's managing."

Santino nodded. "And how about you, my friend? These recent events could not have been easy on you either."

"I'm fine."

"I'll be the judge of that," he took me by the arm and steered me towards a nearby cafe. "Come along. We both clearly have time on our hands. We may as well spend it together if it kills us."

"What makes you think I have time on my hands?" I asked, but went along with him.

"Lestat, please," he said. "I may not have seen you for a few years, but give me some credit for knowing you and knowing that if you weren't doing something else, you'd be with Louis. You're walking around by yourself, you've got free time."

"Can't argue with that," I said. "I'm not *thrilled* with it, but I can't argue with it."

He laughed. "Come on, let's continue this inside."

The cafe was crowded when we entered. It was of a moderate size and was one of those ubiquitous coffee bars that I believe have become a state requirement for each city. Santino and I found a free table and laid claim to it before a group of young college-aged mortals beat us there. An energetic waitress, one who I'm guessing samples too much of her employer's product, took our order and supplied us with it almost immediately, then disappeared into the crowd.

"Would you stop that?" Santino asked, moving his coffee to the side.

"What?" I had been pouring cream into the dark liquid and watching the white clouds swirl inside the mug. "I'm simply sitting here. What on earth could I have done in these few minutes to require a lecture?"

"You were flirting with the waitress."

"So?"

"So, some of us haven't fed yet and might like a chance at the mortals before the sun rises, if you don't mind."

"First of all," I said, "around these parts we call what I did with her 'being nice'. Secondly, even if I was flirting, you can't blame me if you're unable to hold her attention. Seduce your own mortals."

"I'd love to," he said, "but certain French brats always make sure to grab all the attention for themselves before anyone else gets a chance."

"I'm doing no such thing, you're getting senile in your old age. It'll be the fire for you any day now."

"You're doing it as we speak!" he said.

"How?"

"You're giving the eye to that handsome young mortal over there. And, because he's looking at you, all his friends are as well. I was going to approach him myself but then you stepped in. The same with the waitress. I'm almost tempted to say you're doing it on purpose."

"Santino," I said. "Don't flatter yourself into thinking that if I needed a hobby, annoying you specifically would be it. I've better things to do then to search your mind to try and find out who you're going to seduce, then seduce them myself. And I still say I'm not attracting them."

"You are so!"

"I am not!"

"Yes, you are!"

"No, I'm not!"

"Oh for the love of God, Lestat. Yes you are!"

Santino and I both looked up in surprise when a female voice chimed in. Jesse had joined us at our table.

"Jessica," Santino said. "What are you doing here?"

Jesse sat down in the chair next to me. "Getting frustrated by the fact that the man I had nearly convinced to go back to his car with me was too distracted by the appearance of Mr. Tight Pants over here to be of any use. And, by the way, if you two are going to have a repeat of the great intellectual conversation that I just interrupted, can you please be sure to kill me first so I don't have to die of the embarrassment? And you wondered why we fledglings have no respect for our elders!" She rolled her eyes.

"He started it," I grinned.

"Oh shut up," Santino said.

"Yes, do shut up," Jesse said, but winked at me in such a way that Santino couldn't see.

:What are you doing in America, little sister?: I asked her as she made small talk with Santino.

:I was born here, what's your excuse?:

:I colonized it.: She laughed, mentally. :Besides, you grew up in New York. Why come to New Orleans if you're homesick?:

She gave a mental shrug. :No offense to you or Louis, but it was just a whim, really. Although I would have come to see you eventually, of course.:

:Of course.:

"Why are you here, Lestat?" she asked out loud. I realized that the spoken conversation had been about that topic.

"Yes," Santino said. "What force on earth could have pried you away from Louis?"

"Armand," I said. "And don't get me started."

LOUIS

"Where do I even begin to start?" Daniel had made himself comfortable in one of the overstuffed leather chairs in my study. I took the chair opposite from him and tried to be as sympathetic as I could.

"Was this something that occurred tonight?" I asked. "A particular incident?"

"Not exactly," Daniel sighed. "It wasn't that it was a particular thing. It's more that this has been going on forever."

"I see," I said. "The letting out of pent up frustrations."

"Exactly!" Daniel said. "Don't get me wrong. I'm crazy about him. When we're not fighting, things are great. Better than I've even known. He can be romantic, funny, nice to be around. And the sex is incredible. I mean really, really, *really*--"

"I believe I get the point, Daniel," I said, smiling gently to take the sting out of my words.

"Oh, right. Sorry," Daniel flashed a quick smile. "I got a little distracted there."

"I know the feeling. Please, continue."

"The problem is, when things aren't great, they're awful! There's no inbetween. Either we're ripping each other's clothes off or throwing each other off buildings."

"I know that feeling too," I said.

"How do you put up with it, Louis?" Daniel leaned forward. "You live with Lestat, of all people! How do you manage not to--"

"Take him by the throat and threaten him with mortal harm?" I asked.

"Precisely," Daniel said, then laughed. I was relieved to see it.

"I don't know," I said. I rubbed my finger against my lower lip and thought. "There is no formula, per se. I cannot tell you 'Oh, but if you only do *this*, it will all work out' for there is no *this*."

"There must be something," Daniel said.

"Patience, I suppose." I thought some more. "A *lot* of patience. But this is for Lestat, you understand. He could make St. Francis throw up his hands in despair. I'm not sure if it would be accurate on my part to suggest that how I manage to live with Lestat is the way for everyone to manage to live with their lovers."

"Tell me anyway," Daniel leaned back against the chair again. "Give me some measure of hope!"

I laughed. "Surely it is not that bad? Alright, let me think. I must say, Daniel, this is the oddest question. I've never stopped to give this much thought. I simply live with him, I do not give the process much observation. Yes, there are moments when he drives me straight up a wall but I think that in the end what does it is knowing that those are not all that there is. We argue, we torment each other, yes. But we also support one another. No matter what he may do, I always know that he will be there for me when I need him. I think it is that which helps me not to strangle him."

"That's it?" Daniel asked. "No offense, Louis, but that's it?"

"Well," I said slowly, unable to stop myself from doing it, "as you say, the sex is really, really, *really* good."

"Ha!" Daniel let out a bark of laughter then took on a look of mock horror. "Surely this cannot be! Louis said the S word and it was not, how do you say? Bull-shit?"

"Quiet you," but I was laughing as well. "You've been around Lestat too long. I am not that horrible!"

"Oh come on, Louis, who are you trying to kid? I am that boy reporter after all. I know what you're like and, quite frankly, Lestat makes a good point about your--"

"Watch your choice of words, Daniel," I warned him playfully.

"Reserved?" He looked for my approval and continued after I nodded. "*Reserved* nature."

"I prefer to keep an air of dignity when I am speaking about things," I said. "There was no need to talk about anything else of an 'unreserved' nature during our interview. My feelings for Lestat were not the point so I chose not to bring them up."

"Of course," Daniel said. "And you hid it well too. I remember. 'The wine was working in him. He was horizontal--mellow! I meant to say mellow! Oh, sorry, was that your tape recorder? Never mind, I'll buy you a new one.'"

I was laughing in earnest now. "Alright," I said. "Perhaps I wasn't as subtle as I thought I was."

"There's an understatement if I've ever heard one," Daniel said. "But that's ok. Knowing you and how you were like then made it even better when I saw you and Lestat together now."

"Thank you, my friend," I said.

"I just wish Armand and I could find that kind of a balance." He grew quiet. "We weren't fighting tonight, you know. Not much. That's not why I came here. I don't really mind the fighting. What I hate is when he shuts me out. He pulls back sometimes and it's so far I have no idea how to reach him. And that's scarier than the fights."

"Do you really think he'd leave you?" I asked.

"No," Daniel admitted. "But I wish he'd let me *in*."

"I know how you feel," I said. "Truly, I do. Lestat was like this as well, when we first met. He and Armand are a lot alike, more alike then they both care to admit. They both grew up in very, to put it politely, uncaring environments and learned too well that shutting the world out makes it all less painful."

"You lived with Armand once, what did you do?"

"We traveled together for a time, yes," I said. "But we were not lovers. I was too grief-stricken over Claudia and even if I had known that Lestat was not dead, I had only just realized the true depth of my feelings for him. I sadly shut Armand out myself, back then. He tried to pull me out, but I could never rouse myself enough to give him what he needed.

"You are in a unique position. You are the first person that Armand has ever taken as a real lover, one that he wishes to make a commitment to. Armand cares for you very much and because of that you see sides of him that no one else, not even one of us, has ever seen. This is good for you because it shows his feelings for you but it is bad in that you are in what might be rightfully called uncharted territory."

"Tell me about it," Daniel sighed.

"What makes Armand different from Lestat," I continued, "is a rather tragic difference. Though they both started out badly, Lestat met me very early on in his life. He was still in his thirties and, while somewhat removed, was active enough in the world that being with me and knowing that he loved me had an effect on him. Armand had only the briefest time of happiness before he lost it for over five centuries. He's had more practice than Lestat at shutting the world out. There are so few people that know him. In fact, I would wonder if any of us really knows *him*. Except for you, that is."

"What about Marius?" Daniel asked.

"I don't know," I said. "I honestly don't. Marius did raise him and make him his child, but they have spent so much time apart. You have lived with Armand longer than Marius ever has. I cannot say if Marius can claim to know him as well as you. But then again, who knows Marius that well either?"

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