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Home / Fan Fiction / V(cough) C(cough) fic / The Love of the One

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."

The Love of the One, an after spec
by the Brat Queen

Immortality Awards:
Second Place: Best Normal '95-'96


THE LOVE OF THE ONE by Lestat de Lioncourt

Alright, so I'm not the gentleman that I pretend to be. I never said I was. That's one of the many labels that have been thrust upon me that I've yet to have any say over.

But you didn't expect me to let this opportunity pass me by, now did you? Surely not! Not even Louis could expect that of me. He knows my willpower can only take me so far.

And let me tell you, living with one Louis de Pointe du Lac can erode the remnants of even the strongest man's willpower. And my willpower has never been particularly strong.

This wasn't just idle curiosity though, although curiosity had some part in it. After all, it's not every day that I meet the man that Louis had an affair with. I'm bound to have a few questions that need answering.

But these were not the guiding force behind my decision to follow him that night. Something had happened in that week when Louis was with him and that something was not pleasant. He had come home to me fighting back tears and if this little fiend had been the cause of them I wanted to know! No one gets away with hurting my Louis. I might not be able to stop it from happening, but I certainly have my ways of discouraging future attempts.

I left the house early that night. Louis was still in bed and I waited until he was awake enough to hear me say good-bye before I left the house. It bothered Louis to wake up and find me gone. This was more than a lover's desire to wake up in his beloved's arms, although that is certainly part of it. Louis said that it was harder for him to get rid of the effects of his nightmares if he woke up to an empty house. Normally I don't mind, but that night I wanted to be gone before he could question me. I didn't want him to know where I was going and what I meant to do.

I was terrified that it would hurt him, but I couldn't stop myself from doing it anyway. I *had* to.

I hunted quickly then went back to the opera house that Louis and I had been at when we had seen him the night before. I didn't know if he would still be there, but it was the only lead I had.

He wasn't, but a few questions and the old vampire charm got me the information of what hotel he was staying at. From there, I was able to find out what cab he had taken and to what location he had taken it to.

I found the little mortal monster in the French Quarter, taking snapshots of the decaying old buildings. He was a handsome devil, I had to give him that much. A few inches taller than me with dark hair and eyes and a skin color that suggested a Mediterranean ancestry diluted with American marriages. He wore a long trench coat over a plain cotton shirt and denim jeans and he had several cameras slung over his shoulder.

God I hated him.

I followed him as he went about his work. He walked all over various parts of New Orleans, taking pictures wherever he went. He had a unique way of not being seen in a crowd so that when he lifted a camera up to his eyes, the other mortals around him would not part like the Red Sea and instead stayed in frame so that he could capture them forever on his film.

I stayed back in the shadows, watching him but not approaching. I didn't want to do that just yet. I wanted to see him as Louis must have, a total stranger picked out of a crowd of many.

What was it about him? What had drawn Louis close and then ultimately pushed him away? Who was this mortal that he thought he could have my Louis!

Oh don't frown at the page that way. I'm under no delusions that this mortal seduced Louis away from me. Louis, even back then, doesn't go anywhere or do anything that he doesn't want to do. He had the affair because he wanted to. Undoubtedly, if any seduction occurred, it was Louis who drew the mortal to him. Louis is an incredibly seductive creature and when he chooses to use those natural gifts of seduction, not even God Himself could resist him. I certainly can't.

Who and whatever this mortal was, he had a taste for darkness. He walked to some of the less cheerful parts of New Orleans and took pictures of burnt-out buildings decorated by piles of trash and passed-out junkies. I knew this part of town well. I hunted here often. Why this mortal would want to come here, I did not know.

I followed him as he moved down the dimly lit streets and quickened my pace when he suddenly ducked into a dark alley. I expected to find him some distance away but was surprised to find him waiting for me. With a gun.

"What the hell do you want?" he demanded, shoving the weapon into my chest.

"Put that thing away!" I said, pushing it aside. "You're attracting attention to us both!"

"Why are you following me? I don't want anything to do with you!" He pointed the gun back at me, but moved it out of the reach of my hand. I wasn't worried, of course. Ever since I became a vampire, guns have had no effect on me. But the attention that the sound of a shot would draw was unwelcome. I decided to take an innocent approach.

"What makes you think I'm following you?" I asked.

He reached into his coat pocket with his free hand and drew out some Polaroids. "*These*," he said, handing them over to me. "I took them as test shots for pieces I plan on doing tomorrow and you can just imagine my surprise when I saw who was in them."

I flipped through the pictures and was shocked to see my handsome countenance in each of the shots. The mortals around me, if asked, would never remember seeing me there but I had no such control over the camera. I hadn't even been aware that I was in the frame. But I do get sloppy when I'm eager. The proof was in the picture, as it were.

"Alright," I said, handing the pictures back to him, "I was following you. But don't you think I have a right to some information? And please put that gun away! I'm not going to hurt you." *Yet* I added silently in my mind. I could still see Louis' face when he came back, the tears shimmering in his eyes. It was so tempting to put my hand around this mortal's neck and squeeze the truth out of him. I wanted him dead!

He looked at me, warily, then put the gun back into wherever he kept it inside of his coat. "Look, Lestat," he said. I'd forgotten that he knew my name. "I'm not here to get Louis. I didn't even know he lived here. I don't even know his fucking last name, ok! There's nothing between us so you don't have to worry."

He drew back and I was suddenly struck by how tired he looked. There was a weariness that showed in his dark brown eyes that did not come from a physical exhaustion. He seemed almost ready to give up. I had been ready for a fight, I did not know what to do with this. All my prepared threats and taunts left me. I plunged forward, uncertainly.

"That's not why I'm here, Jerome," I said. "I didn't think you were here for that."

"Why are you here?" he asked.

Why indeed? It had been so simple to think of finding the mortal who had hurt Louis and tearing him limb from limb. But the more I was in Jerome's presence, the more I began to feel that he had not been the one to hurt Louis. So why did I stay?

"Because I want to know..." I began and then trailed off. I wanted to take Jerome by the shoulders, shake him and demand to know what had happened. *Why did he choose you? What was it that made him come to you? Why you and not me?* "I want to know you," I said finally. "I want to know what he knew."

"There isn't much to know," Jerome said. "He never asked me about anything. We didn't talk much. Not about anything important anyway. He was just... *there*." He shrugged, uncertainty showing in his actions now.

"But something made him choose you," I said.

"He didn't choose me," Jerome said, somewhat harshly. He began to speak again but bit back his words. He looked away for a moment before continuing in a new tone of voice. "I thought you were the reason he left, you know. I thought he was running away from you."

"Me?" I asked. "Why?"

"He had these strange scars," he said. "Very faint, but I could still see them when we--when we were close. You don't get scars like that by accident."

"He was... attacked," I said. "Rather cruelly. I couldn't stop it."

Jerome nodded. "Yes, yes. That makes sense. Especially with the way he was acting. I had a sister who acted like that after she was raped."

"Had?"

"We--I don't have a family anymore," he said. He grew quiet. I reached out and searched his mind. The family was still alive, as was the sister. They did not wish to acknowledge that *he* was alive, however. I knew how that felt.

"Did you tell Louis this?" I asked.

"No," he said. "We didn't talk about anything, remember? It was kind of nice that way. It was like he understood."

"I know," I said. I wanted to continue with this but Jerome snapped out of this mood and went back to the way he was before.

"Anyway," he said, "as I was saying, I thought it was you. But I can see now it wasn't. You're not like that." He laughed, a quick chuckle. "Heck, if it wasn't for the fact that you're his lover, you're the kind of guy I'd take out for a beer."

"Thank you," I said. "But I'm not in the mood for a beer. I am in the mood for something else though, if you wouldn't mind."

"What?" he asked.

"You're a photographer, correct?" I said. "Let me see your portfolio then. I want to see what you see. That is how I want to know you."

He studied me for a moment. "Alright," he said. "If that's what you want. It's back at my hotel room, though."

"That's fine," I said and motioned for him to lead the way.

We walked back to his hotel in silence. I watched him as we made our way through the streets and I wondered what he was thinking. The few thoughts that escaped from his mind were of Louis, but there was no happiness to them. He didn't know anything about Louis. He didn't even know that Louis was a vampire. Our autobiographies had never crossed his path. All he knew was that one week they had spent together two long years ago. He had thought he would forget it, but he couldn't. He didn't know why.

And how had Louis seen him? Did he look at this mortal as a toy, one of many that had crossed his fancy in those three miserable years? Or as a child perhaps? Did he fantasize about draining Jerome of his blood then filling him with his own? What *was* it?

We reached his hotel room and Jerome let me in. It was cheap and sparsely furnished. Not the sort of thing I would acquire but then, I'm allowed to have expensive tastes. When you're richer than sin you can get whatever you want.

Jerome motioned for me to take a chair then went into the closet to take out a leather portfolio for me to look through. I did so and was impressed by what I saw. I did not know much about photography, but it was obvious that Jerome had talent.

"You don't take pictures of models," I said, noticing that trend in what I saw. "Why?"

"They're not real," he said. "I like to take pictures of what's natural, what's true."

"Did you ever think of having a show?" I asked.

"Maybe," he said. "Right now I like freelancing for magazines more. I see more of life that way."

"And I suppose that, in a way, a show in a gallery is not real either," I said. "The pictures are removed from the reason why they were taken."

"Yes," he said, brightening a little. "That's exactly how I feel."

I closed the leather case and handed it back to him. "These are very good," I said. "But I can't help but feel that they are not entirely *you*. These are the pictures of your professional eye. Are there others I might see that are not that way?"

"I have a book," he said. "It's only a photo album, nothing like the portfolio. But if you wanted to see that, I wouldn't mind."

"I would like that," I said. He pulled a suitcase out from under the bed and from it took out a large binder. This was older and more careworn than the leather portfolio had been. It was clear that these pictures were of a more personal nature to him.

I took the binder from him respectfully and flipped through the pages, starting from the back. The pictures were interesting, but it was the time I was looking for. Somewhere near the middle, I found what I wanted.

There was a picture of a black leather jacket that had been tossed casually onto a bed. A skull of vitreous green glowed on the back. It was Louis'.

I turned back a few pages more. Each of these pages had a picture of something of Louis'. One had his bandanna, another was his bag, a third was the bed which had the imprint of two forms on it.

It was eerie, looking at these. I felt as though I was looking at pictures of a ghost or of a figure in a dream that cannot be seen because it remains just out of eyesight. The final picture sent a chill down my spine. It was of Louis' shadow. He was standing somewhere behind the camera and his shadow fell onto the floor carelessly. Trapped forever in this one piece of paper.

"Why?" I asked, shutting the book.

"He asked me not to take pictures of him," Jerome said. He sank down onto the bed. "That was all I could do."

I couldn't imagine the torture that must have been. Louis' is the kind of beauty that artists cry over. Many was the time that I wished I had the vision to capture him in a picture or a painting. The ability, yes. I can mimic any activity I choose. But the talent? No. The Dark Gift does not give that. For Jerome who had both ability and talent, to not take a picture of Louis must have been a living agony.

I understood then, why Louis choose him. It was for Jerome's nature. Louis had needed a man that caring to be by his side when he was away. And he had come back to me when the agony of his memories had been too much. There had been no cruel mortal, no new attack. Louis' pain was the same as it had always been. Jerome had had nothing to do with it.

"Thank you for showing me this," I said. I gave the book back to him and it was only then that I noticed the sadness in his eyes. He'd been sitting on the bed listlessly the whole time. I felt, not quite pity for him, but sorrow.

"For what it's worth," I said, "he loved you."

"No he didn't," he said, looking at me. "He loved *you*. I was never part of it. I just.... I don't understand. I thought we had something! I felt it, so strongly. It felt so right, being with him. But then I saw him with you and, I don't know, it felt *more* right, somehow. I don't understand! We were only together for a week, I hardly knew him. Why do I feel this way?" He turned away and I could see tears forming in his eyes.

"Jerome," I said, "look at me." He did and I held his head with one hand and probed his mind deeply. I was flooded with his emotions and memories. I saw what had happened to him in the past two years and what had happened was not much. He had his career and he traveled with his camera, but he had had no companionship. There had been no one to compare with his one week with Louis.

I let go of him and tried to compose my thoughts but I was lost in a memory of my own.

It was a dream that I'd had, years ago. I'd had it not long after Juliano's death, when Louis had been acting "not himself," and it had felt so real that I still wonder if it was not entirely a dream.

*I was sitting in an amphitheater and there was a woman sitting next to me with long, red hair. At first, I thought it was Maharet but when she turned to face me, I knew it was Mekare. Onstage, there were the performers and they were acting out a play or dance of some sort and I could not see it clearly enough save that it seemed the performance followed the words that Mekare's mind whispered to my own.

:My child, there is the One who is not of us but who made us. The One knows us and loves us all for we are all the children of the One. The One watches over us and protects us as much as is allowed without interfering with our own wishes and desires for the One knows that we would not be controlled and does not want us to be.

:The love of the One is the greatest love that there can be and the One wants, more than anything, for us children to know something of that love. So, when the One makes us, the One makes not one but two. The One creates two souls that are matched so perfectly in everyway that when they come together they connect and form a bond so strong that no one, not even the One, can break it. And when these two souls meet each other, they feel a love that is so great and so strong that they know what it means to have the love of the One for they have the love of the One who made them within the love of the One who was made for them.

:If all was right, all of the Ones would come together, but the One knows that we children do not live in a universe that is right. All too often things interfere and too many of us children do not find our Ones.

:So the One gave us another gift. In addition to the One who is made for us and us for them, the One creates Others who, if it should come to pass that we never meet our Ones, will make us feel a love like no other and the love of the Others is great enough so that we can live without being in the loss of never knowing our One. These Others have Ones of their own, and we are part of the Others to love them if they do not find their Ones.

:You and I are vampires, my child, and you must understand that we live many mortal lifetimes. In these lifetimes, it is inevitable that, even if we never meet our Ones, we will meet those of our Others. And, because of our nature, it is possible for us to feel the love of the One and the love of the Others at the same time. This is not wrong. The One made us this way. The One would never punish us for loving this way, so we must never punish ourselves. Never, ever forget this, Lestat, for you are living in the Love of the One.:*

I'd been quiet for too long, I realized. Jerome was looking at me strangely and I knew it was because I'd been standing, almost catatonic, for the past few minutes.

I looked at him and tried to think of how I could explain it all. Finally, I couldn't. I knew of no way to help him understand. Instead, I cupped his head in my hand and kissed him on the forehead.

"May you find the Love of the One," I whispered.

A little telepathic razzle-dazzle to make him forget that my leaving had been so strange and, perhaps, to help him understand how Louis could love him and yet feel "more right" with me, and I was gone.

I went directly home. There was an hour left until sunrise but I wanted to be with Louis.

The house was quiet when I got back. I could Feel that Louis was home so I locked the house up behind me. As I walked through the front hall, I noticed that there was a small stack of papers on top of one of the tables that had not been there when I left. I went over to examine them and found a note for me: "It would seem that this was a story that needed to be told.

--Louis"

The title of the piece was, simply, "Jerome". Louis had apparently written it while I was out.

So he had known all along what I had meant to do. I wasn't surprised. Not much, anyway. He has an annoying habit of doing that.

I sat down on the staircase and read the piece thoroughly. Oddly enough, he'd written it from Jerome's point of view, not his own, but I could see his thoughts and feelings as clearly as if he were standing over me, telling me what they were.

There are no words to explain what I felt.

There is no way that I can describe the anger so complete and so pure that it surely must have radiated from my body like the light of the sun. No terms will give life to the rage that I knew as I read of Louis trying to lose himself in the back room of some Hell's Angels dive and of the mortals who were there who saw him who touched him who put their hands and God knows what else on him those mother fucking bastards I'd kill them all!

Can you have any idea how I felt? The mind cannot encompass the frustration so painful it is beyond agony as I sat there, shaking in inhuman fury wanting to tear up the story yet knowing I couldn't. Wanting to find the mortals who did it yet knowing it was impossible. I couldn't do a damned thing about it! It never should have happened!

But none of it should have happened. There should have been no Juliano, no nightmares, no Louis who was not Louis, no bar. There should have been none of it, but there was.

There comes a moment when all you are able to do is sit down and realize that you can't do everything after all. I had not been able to stop it. I had not been able to stop him. All I could do was, ultimately, exist. Louis had needed Jerome to remind him that he was not lost entirely. He had needed me to remind him that he's allowed not to be perfect.

My poor Louis. My poor, beautiful Louis.

I put the piece back on the table then returned to the staircase and went upstairs to our bedroom. Louis was lying on the bed, apparently having fallen asleep in the middle of reading a book. It would seem that he'd been waiting up for me.

I closed the bedroom door behind me and set all the locks and safety devices that make our bedroom the little fortress that it is during the daylight, then sat down on the bed next to him. He woke up when I moved the book out of his hands.

"Do you hate me?" I asked.

He blinked, sleepily, and raked his hand through his hair. "No," he said. "I expected you to do something like this. And it certainly could have been worse."

"How so?" I asked.

"I had this overwhelming fear that you would make him your child," Louis said. He looked worried, suddenly, as though he wasn't sure if he had offended me, or worse, put an idea in my head.

"No," I said. "I had no interest in that. We talked, no more."

Louis nodded, taking this bit of information in. "Did you see the story downstairs?"

"Yes."

He was quiet for a moment. "Do you hate me?"

"No." I nudged him aside then lay down in bed next to him. "I understand," I said, kissing him gently.

He put his arms around me but still seemed unsure. "I loved him, you understand," he said.

"I know," I said. "And if you had never met me or we had never become lovers, you would be with him right now."

"Yes," he said. A slight crease formed on his brow as he tried to understand how I knew all of this. I kissed him there then on each eye.

"It's alright, Louis," I said. "There is no fight here. You can relax."

He laughed. "I'm sorry," he said. He let his hand slide under my shirt and rest against my back. "It's been an odd few nights for me."

I tilted his head back and nibbled behind his ear where he is most sensitive until he made a small sound of pleasure. "Mm, beautiful one."

"Beautiful *one*," he said. "I like that."

"I'm glad."

He pushed me back against the bed and held me there, a slight gleam in his eye. "And perhaps some day you will tell me that story?"

"How did you--?"

He put his hand over my mouth. "I didn't say *now*."

"But how did you know?" I asked around his fingers.

"How short your memory is," he teased. "I was asleep when you walked in, remember?"

"Oh yes," I said. I'd forgotten that our bond had gotten strong enough that it now only needed one of us to be asleep to feel the full effects of it. "But if you know that much, then you know the story."

"Only parts of it," he said. "And I'd like to hear you tell it. I'd like that very much."

"If you wish," I said. "It would seem that--"

He put his hand over my mouth again. "You and your bad memory. Again, I didn't say *now*." He moved his other hand under my shirt and raked my chest with his fingernails. "I assure you, Lestat, right now I'm not interested in your conversation. Besides, even though you did the right thing in the end, you still misbehaved today and you're going to have to make it up to me. And *that*, my handsome one, you may start now."

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