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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."

Sins of the Past Post 10
by the Brat Queen

Acts 20-22

*word*=italics, used for emphasis, thoughts or dreams.
_word_=emphasis in thoughts or dreams.
:word or sentence:=something spoken telepathically.

Time: late night.

The Roman Talamasca Motherhouse loomed before them, its very mass a testament to the strength that lay inside. "What are you waiting for, the Church to proclaim it a miracle? Let's go in!" Lestat appeared by Ramses' side so suddenly that the immortal jumped back. "Where have you been?" he demanded. "Amsterdam," Lestat said. "They proved exceedingly unhelpful."

Ramses narrowed his eyes. "What did you do?"

"Try asking him what he *didn't* do," Daniel said. He dusted off his jacket. "Trust me, it's a shorter list.

"It's not my fault they built the Motherhouse so flammable," Lestat said.

"You didn't!" Ramses glared at him.

Lestat shrugged. "I showed up, one thing led to another. You know how it goes."

"Did you destroy it?" Michael asked.

"More importantly do you realize the trouble you have caused?" Ramses said. "It is undoubtedly because of you that we cannot get into this Motherhouse now! The members at Amsterdam must have used their powers to warn the members here that you would be coming!"

"Or a phone," Lestat said. "Be that as it may, I still don't see the problem."

"Do you take everything so flippantly?" Ramses asked.

"What's with him?" Lestat turned to Michael and Elliott.

"Julie was taken the same night you left," Elliott said.

"I see," Lestat said. "Out of curiosity, might I ask if saying 'I told you so' would be a wrong idea right now?"

"I'd say so," Michael said.

"They took Jesse too," Ramses said. "I wouldn't be so smug if I was you."

Lestat fixed Ramses with a steely grey gaze. "If you think I'm *smug* about--" "Guys!" Daniel stepped forward. "Do I have to remind you who we should be fighting? There's a Motherhouse full of people who have the information we need and we're wasting time out here."

"Blame him," Ramses said. "It's his fault the doors are barred against us."

"You're standing out here because of a *locked door*?" Lestat asked. "Mon Dieu, I'm surrounded by amateurs! Come, Daniel, you'll learn a thing or two."

Lestat made a direct line to the Motherhouse doors, the others following along in his wake.

"Good luck trying," Ramses said sarcastically.

Lestat put his hand on the doorknob, gave Ramses a quick smile then ripped the door off its hinges.

"It's all in the wrist," Lestat said. He threw the door to the side and stepped over the rubble that remained.

"Whatever happened to trying the doorbell first?" Daniel said as he came after him.

"Not dramatic enough," Lestat said. "You have to make a statement, let them know who they're dealing with."

"And who are *we* dealing with?" Michael asked as he entered. He surveyed the grand hallway around them. "They're not very welcoming, are they?"

Lestat folded his arms and looked around him. "Yes, I'd noticed a distinct lack of people. I must say I find this horrendously anticlimatic."

"They're here," Ramses said. "They wouldn't abandon one of their main branches, even knowing that we were coming."

"What shall we do?" Elliott asked. "It seems rather inefficient for us to have to search through every room."

Daniel spotted a small movement out of the corner of his eye. He pounced on it and dragged the cause of it out from behind a door. It was one of the more elderly members of the Talamasca.

"Good catch, Daniel!" Lestat said. "There's hope for you yet."

"Where are the others?" Ramses asked the old man.

"Please, let me go," the man said. "I know nothing, I swear!"

"He's lying," Lestat said. "He knows plenty, I can feel it."

"No, I am not what you want," the man said. "I can tell you nothing."

"Can't or *won't*?" Ramses asked. "Lestat, what are you reading from him?"

"He's not who we really need," Lestat said. "But he can lead us to that person. The problem is, he's being strongly shielded by someone."

"He isn't shielding himself?" Daniel asked.

Lestat shook his head. "He hasn't the strength. He's a minor member here at most. You see, Daniel, if he was shielding himself it would be a simple matter for me to knock that shield down and plunder his mind for all I needed. However, since it is someone else, it's harder to know where to attack."

"Can you get around it?" Elliott asked.

"Certainly," Lestat said. "A thourough scan of the area would show me who was protecting him and therefore who I should go after."

"Do it then," Ramses said.

"Of course," Lestat continued as though he hadn't heard, "that's not really any fun for me now is it? I'd much rather do it the quicker way."

"Which is...?"

"Observe," Lestat said. He reached out and grabbed the man from where he had been cowering behind Daniel. Shoving the man against a wall, Lestat bared his fang teeth and licked them, his face inches away from the man's. "Now then, shall you talk or shall I help commend your immortal soul into Hell?"

"Up-upstairs," the man whispered. He collapsed to the floor as Lestat let him go. "May God forgive me for my weakness...."

"I don't know about God, but I forgive you, Simon," a voice said from the staircase. The man it belonged to was younger than Simon and clearly more powerful. "After all, what chance did you stand against such immortals? Of course, what grand immortals these must be that they attack a helpless old man."

"Who are you that we should care what you think?" Ramses asked.

"I am the man you are looking for," he said as he walked down the stairs.. "At least, the man you are looking for here. My name is Angelo Pantaloni--" Lestat snickered "--and not only do I run this Motherhouse but I know the one who you truly hope to find. However, you will never get this information from me so you may as well leave now. You are clearly outmatched."

"By you?" Daniel asked. "Try not to take too much offense when I say I don't think so."

"Yes," Ramses said. "Our respective powers aside, there's a basic mathematical equation here that you're just not getting."

"You are outmatched in more ways than one," Angelo said. "It astounds me that you would even try. It is obvious that your enemy will win."

"And what makes it so obvious?" Lestat asked.

Angelo smiled. "Allow me to put it this way: nice tan, vampire."

Lestat's hand shot out and slapped Angelo to the floor. "Nice bruise, mortal. What's your point?"

Angelo spit out blood. "Go ahead, take your vengence out on me, kill me. You'll never get the information you want. It will die with me. Not even the other members here know of it. All they know is that you, the killer of David Talbot, are now attacking one of their members. The second they think you truly pose a threat to me they will descend on all of you with all of their Power. Everyone of this House. Is that enough of a basic mathematical equation for you?"

"He's right," Michael said. "We can't to anything to him here."

"Fine," Lestat said. He took Angelo by the collar and carried him outside. "Home it is. You keep everyone here distracted while I take him there."

"Wait!" Elliott said. "What can we do to keep them so occupied?"

Lestat rolled his eyes. "Must I think of everything? Here!" There was an explosion as the staircase went up in flames. Elliott and the others ran outside to safety whlie Lestat rose up into the air, Angelo in his grasp. :That should do it,: he said. :I'll see you back in New Orleans.:

Time: late night.

"I've said it before, I'll say it again: I won't tell you a thing." Angelo leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on the table.

Rowan took hold of one of his legs and lifted it so that Angelo became overbalanced and fell backwards onto the floor. "I'm sorry, but arrogance was the wrong emotional choice for this evening. Care to try again?"

Angelo climbed over the fallen chair, righted it and sat down again. "Frankly, no. There isn't a thing you could do to harm me. After all, it only takes one call from me for reinforcements to come crashing in to save me."

Armand reached out and tipped Angelo's chair over again. "I'm afraid it wouldn't. We've had you so strongly shielded that you couldn't call for help if, well, if your life depended on it really."

Angelo stood up again, started for the chair, thought better of it and remained standing. His eyes lost focus as he tried to send out telepathic feelers and met with the other's resistance. "So you have," he said. "But that still doesn't help you. You can't break down my shields and I'm the only one with the information you want. You have to deal with me on *my* terms."

Lestat laughed. "How endearing of you to think so! Look, Angel Trousers--"

"Angelo Pantaloni!"

"Whatever," Lestat shoved Angelo back into the chair. "It's been a long night, we're all in a bad mood and my estimations of the time you have left on this earth are decreasing exponentially with every passing minute. I suggest that you cooperate with us before I stop exercising restraint, take you by your hair and paint that wall over there an interesting color I like to call 'hint of brain'. Understood?"

"You've been using restraint?" Ramses asked.

"Hey, it's been hours and I've only made one joke about his name," Lestat said. "What would you call it?"

"He's got a point," Daniel said.

"I certainly do," Lestat said. "And Angel Trousers should try to get on my good side before I ram it through his skull."

"Go ahead," Angelo said. "You'll never hear of your precious Louis again. Nor of Julie and Jesse."

"So you do know where they are?" Mona asked.

Angelo shrugged. "I know a great many things. Maybe one of them is the location of your missing loved ones." He turned to Morrigan. "And maybe one of them is the answer to the question that's been plaguing you for the past year."

"What do you mean?" Ash asked.

"Nothing that would interest you my tall friend," Angelo said. "After all, there is only one Taltos in this room who can breed."

"You know of another Taltos male?" Morrigan asked.

"What does this have to do with Julie?" Ramses demanded.

"Or the rest of us for that matter?" Marius asked.

Angelo laughed. "And why should I tell you?"

"Besides the 'we can take your life with a single thought' thing?" Daniel asked. "Nothing else comes to mind really."

"Why shouldn't you tell us?" David asked.

"Yes," Lestat said. "I'd like to know why you *shouldn't* tell us what we want to know. Because if the answer is your fear of retribution from the one you are protecting let me assure you that any pain he can inflict on you will not compare to five minutes alone with me."

"You don't scare me, vampire."

"Really? That's too bad," Lestat smiled, took Angelo by the wrist and crushed it with an audible snap. "Because I should."

Angelo stifled his cry of pain. "Pain doesn't frighten me," he gasped.

"That's fine," Lestat said. He reached higher and crushed Angelo's forearm. "Because it amuses *me* and that's all it really needs to do."

"Forget it, Lestat," Michael said. "He can't know anything. He's useless to us."

"I know plenty," Angelo said, breathing hard against the agony of his broken arm. He faced Morrigan again. "You'd better stop them from killing me if you ever want your species to survive."

"So you do know where there is a male?" Ash asked.

"If there is one," Angelo said, "I'm the only way you'll find out."

"Now, you see, that *sounds* like a good idea," Lestat said, "except that you're not talking. Whatever can we do about that?"

"I think that depends on how many bones he has left in his body," Daniel said.

"Enough to make this night interesting," Rowan said.

"I won't tell you anything," Angelo said.

"So what's to stop me from killing you now?" Lestat asked.

"You'll loose all my knowledge with me," Angelo said.

"Ah, but if you won't talk, then we won't loose anything by killing you now will we?" Lestat grinned and wrapped his hand around Angelo's throat. "Don't you hate getting trapped by your own defenses?"

Angelo tried to respond but couldn't get air past the pressure of Lestat's hand. Lestat moved to give Angelo the final blow when the sound of the doorbell ringing interrupted him. Michael went to answer it.

"If there's one thing I hate it's getting interrupted in the middle of a kill," Lestat said as he let Angelo go. "Who the hell is it?"

"It's only a delivery man," Michael called back.

"What?" Rowan asked. "We didn't order anything." She frowned suddenly then called out "Michael! Bring him here!"

"Are you sure that's wise?" Elliott asked.

"You tell me," Rowan said, but she was looking at Angelo.

Michael came back into the room leading the delivery man behind him. The man was visibly taken aback by the sight of Angelo.

"Nigel," Angelo croaked, "Get out!"

"No, Nigel," Armand said, sliding up behind him. "Do stay."

"Why are you here?" Rowan asked.

"I'd say it was for this," Armand took a small package from Nigel and tore the brown wrapping paper from it.

"That's just like the package that arrived for Mother," Morrigan said.

"There was another package?" Michael asked.

"Yes," Morrigan said. "It was a monkey made out of gold."

"It wasn't for her," Nigel said.

"Quiet, Nigel!" Angelo tried to get up from the chair but Lestat shoved him back into it.

"Take your own advice," Lestat said. "Armand, what is it?"

Armand held up a small figurine. "It's a parrot made out of iron. Why?"

Nigel looked nervously over to Angelo. "I was told to deliver it to her, the tall one. I--"

"Don't tell them any more!" Angelo said. "So help me if another word comes from your mouth--" He stood up and began to walk towards Nigel but collapsed to the floor, clutching his chest.

"That was more than enough from him," Rowan said as she glanced at the dead body. "Care to join him, Nigel?"

"N-no," Nigel said. "I won't tell you anymore."

"I'd reconsider that if I were you," Lestat said. "Rowan kills them by stopping the heart with her mind. I prefer to do it by tearing open the rib cage and stopping the heart with my bare hands. Which do you prefer?" He tapped Nigel's chest with his finger making Nigel jump back, alarmed.

"No!" Nigel said. "Please!"

"Then talk, mortal," Armand said. "Who is sending these packages?"

"I don't know," Nigel flinched as Lestat stepped forward. "No! I swear it! They never told me the name. All they told me was that I had to deliver the packages here."

"Why?" Rowan asked.

"They said it was so she would know where to go," he said, indicating Morrigan. "They wanted her for some reason, but I don't know why."

"And where should she go?" Marius asked. "Is it where the others are?"

"Your friends?" Nigel asked. "Yes. It's the same place. I overheard Angelo talking about it. It's a temple of some sort. He mentioned the name but I can't remember it."

"Where is this temple?" Ramses asked.

"South America," Mona said.

Michael looked at her, surprised. "How can you be sure?"

"The clues," Mona said. "Gold, iron, a monkey and a parrot all have South America in common. Isn't that right? Isn't that what Morrigan was supposed to figure out so you could capture her too?"

"Yes," Nigel said. "Angelo thought the natural curiousity of the Taltos would make it impossible for her to stay away. It was all his idea."

"But where in South America?" Ash asked. "It is a large continent. Where is there a single temple that would house an enemy of ours?"

"Nowhere that I can think of," David said. He thought for a moment, then froze, his eyes locked on Lestat. "Except... Rio."

"Son of a bitch!" Lestat said. He grabbed Nigel and threw him against a wall. "Is that it? Is it Memnoch's Temple? Is that the name?"

"Yes," Nigel said.

Lestat cried out and threw Nigel to the floor, killing him instantly. He turned his rage on Armand. "I thought Juliano was dead!"

"Don't blame me!" Armand said. "You're the one who killed him. It's not my fault if you failed to finish the job!"

"Stop it, both of you!" Marius said. "This is neither the time nor the place."

"I'll tell you the time and place," Lestat said. "Now and Rio, I'm leaving!"

"Lestat, for once I agree with you," Marius said. "Whether our enemy is Juliano or not, he's bound to know that we've come this far. We need to act now before we loose any more advantages we might have."

"I'm going with you," Ramses said. "I won't let Julie be held there for one more minute."

"Fine," Marius said. "Ash, Rowan and Armand, I'd like you with us as well. That way we will have covered every possible encounter."

"I'm not staying here," Michael said.

"You have to, my friend," Ash said. "If anything Angelo said is correct, the idea of breeding Taltos is important to them. Since you can still carry on those genes your being there could give our enemy what he needs. Rowan and I do not pose that threat."

"Alright," Michael said. "But if there's even the hint of trouble--"

"--we shall expect you to come riding in to help us," Rowan said.

"All of you," Marius said as he and the others left. "But until then, stay here."

Time: nearly morning.

Louis walked through the corridors of the temple, leaving the vision of himself behind him. He needed to speak with Nicolas now, that he knew. But a feeling of hunger came over him and he knew he would have to feed first. He would need the strength both for his talk with Nicolas, and for his trip home.

The hospital was not close to Nicolas's quarters but Louis was grateful for that. Walking the added distance both ways would give him the time he needed to compose his thoughts. How could he explain it to him? The past meant so little to Nicolas, but it meant everything to Louis. He needed to go back and put closure on it before he could continue on with his future.

*I can't run away from it anymore. I have to return and face it. Even--even if I'm not wanted there ever again.*

An image of Lestat appeared in Louis' mind and, for the first time, Louis did not push it away. "Oh, Lestat," he whispered. "However will I explain this to you? Do you still care enough to listen to me this one last time?"

Louis' thoughts were interrupted by a crash as the doors to the hospital room flew open. Two attendants appeared, dragging two women behind them. One of the women turned her head and Louis saw her face clearly.

"Jessica!" The shock of it hit him like a bolt to his chest. He ran over to her side and pulled her out of the attendant's arms. "Let go of her, now! What in Hell do you think you're doing?"

"What I've been told to," the attendant said.

"By whom? Who told you to do this to her?" Louis asked, but he wasn't listening. He cradled Jesse in his arms, gently nudging her awake. "Jesse? Jessica, can you speak?"

"Oh come now, Louis, this is melodramatic even for you," Lasher appeared beside him. "After all--what is that mortal phrase? Oh yes: you can't have an omlette without breaking some eggs."

"What is going on here, spirit?" Louis said, glancing over at Julie's prone form. "Why are they here?"

"You mean to say you honestly don't know?"

Jesse moaned and stirred in Louis' arms. Louis turned his attention back to her. He moved her into the light and was sickened by how weak she looked. "Jesse? Cherie? Can you hear me?"

She opened her eyes and looked up at him. "Louis? What--where's Julie?"

"Julie is right here," Louis said. "Jesse, what happened to you?"

"I'm so hungry," she whispered. "I haven't fed... in so long."

"Of course," Louis said. "Here, let me take you to this room nearby. You can take a victim there."

Jesse took hold of his arm and shook her head. "No, I can't," she said. She winced as a spasm of pain rocked through her. "I.... They.... They're.... Talamasca."

"What!" Louis stood and faced Lasher. "Is that true?"

"Well if the great Jessica Reeves said it, it must be true," Lasher said.

"What's going on here?" Nicolas came through the doorway of the hospital room.

"I might ask you the same question, Nicolas," Louis said.

"Louis, what are you saying?" Nicolas looked at him in surprise. "I've never heard you speak in that tone before."

"Where do those patients come from, Nicolas? Are they from the Talamasca?"

"Some of them, yes," Nicolas said. "Forget them, Louis. They're not important. They're just people who tried to stand in my way--*our* way. I had to act in our defense, didn't I?"

"What about Jessica and Julie?" Louis asked. "Did they stand in our way too? Is their condition from you acting in our defense?"

"How can you ask that, Louis?" Nicolas asked. "Look at who they are! She is Ramses' cohort and *she* is Maharet's child! Think of the secrets they have kept! They must be stopped, you know that."

"Stopped? How do you mean 'stopped'? You explain this to me and you explain it to me *now* because if it means what I think it means then you can count on me no longer!"

"It has to end, Louis. We must replace the old with the new. I told you that."

Louis pulled back. "Mon Dieu, you mean to kill them! All of them! That's what it is, isn't it? That's what it has always been. Dear God, you've been lying to me all this time, haven't you? Tell me it isn't true!"

"My words have been true from the start, Louis. As for the rest of it," Nicolas shrugged, "you believed what you wanted to."

"Oh God," Louis whispered. "What have I done?"

"Helped me start the new rule, Louis!" Nicolas took him by the shoulders. "Where we will end all that pain. Yours and everyone else's. Can't you see?"

"As much as I am loath to interrupt this," Lasher said. "We have visitors. An old flame of yours, I believe."

Nicolas let out a bark of laughter. "Yes! He always did have good timing. Come, Louis, shall we begin the end?"

"No!" Louis pushed Nicolas away. "I won't let you do this. You cannot!"

"You plan on stopping us then?" Lasher asked. "Becoming the betrayer once again?"

Louis looked at them with cold, green eyes. "If I have to," he said and disappeared down the corridor.

"Blast it!" Nicolas said. "Lasher, go after him! Stop him!"

Lasher faded into the air and raced after Louis' form but Louis' vampiric agility was faster than the spirit's. Louis followed the telepathic signal of his friends back through the very path he had come down into the Temple where they had gathered. He ran out onto the alter before Lasher caught up with him and tried to pull him back.

"Lestat, get out!" Louis cried, struggling in Lasher's hold. "It's Nicolas!"

"Hello, lover," Nicolas walked out onto the center of the alter. He gave Lestat a sweet smile. "Miss me?"

Marius watched as Lestat froze in place, staring first at Nicolas, then locking his gaze on Louis. He moved towards the younger vampire but Lestat waved him back. Lestat remained that way, his eyes locked on Louis', for what seemed like an eternity. Louis stopped fighting Lasher's hold, the shaking of his head his only movement as he watched Lestat slowly walk towards the alter.

"How could you do it, Louis?" Lestat asked. "After all I have done for you, how could you turn on me like this?"

"Lestat, no--"

"Quiet!" Lestat's shout rang through the Temple. He turned to Nicolas. "And you? Have you turned on me now as well?"

"That assumes that I was ever on your side in the first place," Nicolas said. "I'd have to have liked you at some point to have turned on you now."

"I gave you *everything*!" Lestat said. "You owe your entire life to me! You'd be *dead* now if it wasn't for me!"

Nicolas laughed. "Well then, how ironic it is that you will be dead now because of me!"

A small figure stepped out of the shadows and, before Marius could give warning, lifted a scythe and sliced Lestat's leg. Lestat fell to the floor, turned to attack the figure and the scythe carved through his abdomen. Lestat screamed in pain and curled into a ball, pressing his hands against his stomach to try to hold back the tide of blood that poured out around him on the floor. "Bastard!" Louis yelled. He tried to break free of Lasher's hold, but couldn't. "Stop it, Nicolas! Stop it now!" "Stop what?" Nicolas asked. "His heart? Thank you, Louis, I think I will. Aiken, give me that weapon. I want to finish the job myself."

"You think we'll let you?" Marius asked. "I'll stop you myself, you fledgling upstart!"

Nicolas laughed again. "No, no I don't think you will."

"And what will stop us?" Armand asked.

"You're welcome to try," Nicolas said. "In fact, I'm surprised you haven't yet. What's stopping you? Come, come forward. Here, I'll even put my weapon down. See? I'm defenseless. Try and get me. I have to warn you though, this Temple isn't the same one that Juliano had. You might find a few new obstacles in your path."

"What are you talking about?" Armand asked. "I see nothing!"

"Then stop cowering where you are and come forward!" Nicolas said, letting his hands caress one of the idols on the alter. "Or has the powerful Armand become frightened of a fledgling upstart like me?"

"I'll show you fear!" Armand snarled, stepping forward. He was about to reach Lestat's side when Nicolas pushed the idol forward. There was a grinding sound as the ceiling of the Temple opened and the rising sun created a wall of light, barring the way.

"Do you like the change?" Nicolas asked, grinning as Armand fell back in pain from the light. "I find it helpful."

"That light won't stop us, vampire," Ramses said. "It certainly won't stop me."

"No," a female voice said. Cleopatra walked through one of the side doors, carrying two oil lanterns in each hand. "But these will!" She flung them at the immortal, trapping Ramses, Ash and Rowan behind the spreading flames.

"Nicolas, please," Louis said, unable to stop his trembling at the sight of the sunlight. "Don't do this."

"I have to, Louis," Nicolas said. "There's no other way." He picked up the scythe and placed the blade of it against Lestat's neck. He pressed down lightly and blood escaped from where it cut skin. He lifted the scythe, then stopped it in midair. "Your time has come, Lestat. Your life ends now. Have you any last words before I take you?"

Lestat spat a mouthful of blood at Nicolas. Nicolas sighed and let the scythe begin its decent. "Have it your way." "I wouldn't give you the satisfaction!" Lestat cried. He rolled away just as the blade hit the ground and threw himself into the wall of sunlight. The sunlight tore at him, turning his body into a living torch. The flames covered him, burning so brightly that the entire Temple became filled with light, then plunged it suddenly into blackness as Lestat vanished. A pile of ashes was all that remained.

"Dear Lord," Louis whispered. "No...."

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