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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
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
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
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
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
"What the hell do you want?" he demanded, shoving the weapon into
"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
"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
"He was... attacked," I said. "Rather cruelly. I couldn't stop
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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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
: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.
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
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
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
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
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."
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