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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 12
by the Brat Queen

Act 25

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

Time: immediately after sunset.

Nicolas's eyes opened the precise second that his body felt the last ray of the sun disappear from his corner of the earth. He immediately got out of bed and went into Louis' room. The other vampire was still asleep. Having no patience for this, Nicolas took him by the arm and dragged him into the other room, caring little whether Louis woke as he did so or not.

He did wake up and the green eyes stared at him silently from underneath his dark lashes. Louis looked much as he did the night Nicolas had first met him. His hair was undone, his clothes had been torn and his eyes seemed devoid of any human emotion. But those were Nicolas's clothes and it was Nicolas who had taken him in and offered him the safety of his Temple and Louis had taken and taken and then given his betrayal in return.

"Is that what you think it is?" Louis asked. "That *I* have betrayed *you*? You who have spoken nothing but lies to me from the very moment you saw me?"

"Stop reading my thoughts!" Nicolas snapped.

"They escape from you just like everything else you try to control," Louis said.

"Lestat certainly didn't escape from me," Nicolas said. Louis flinched at this and Nicolas took the opportunity to try to force his way into Louis' mind. He didn't get far before Louis shoved him out but he had gotten far enough to discover one thing.

"You *loved* him!" Nicolas gasped in shock. "How could you, Louis? After all that he has done to us how could you side with him!"

"I'm beginning to think that you'll never understand," Louis said.

"Understand? Understand? What am I to understand, Louis? That after all his selfish evil and all the words you have spoken to me of how you long for the truth that all this time you have been living this sick, incestous lie!" Nicolas rubbed his hands and began to pace. "It's no wonder that you've lived this long. All this time you've been slutting yourself to the strongest vampire around so that you'll get their protection. Armand, Lestat, now me."

"I never *slutted* myself anywhere!" Louis said. "And only someone as sick as you could look at my bonds of love, yes love, to Armand and Lestat and see it as something parasitic. I offered my friendship and trust to you and what do you do? Take the first chance you get to kill the one who made you, who made us both!" Louis made a dismissive gesture with his hand. "How sad you truly are, Nicolas. For all your talk of your precious 'new rule' all that it comes down to in the end is petty revenge. The Lover Scorned. I expected more from a man of your intelligence. I clearly overestimated you."

"How dare you!" Nicolas moved as though to attack Louis but Louis didn't even blink. He abandoned this and went back to absentmindedly rubbing his hands. "You have no idea of what I have done, of the work I have accomplished! Do you think that tricking you here was the be all and end all of my preparations? This is the work of centuries! It took *my* work for Cleopatra to come back from her near death, *my* efforts to break into the Talamasca, *my* research to discover that vampires could call spirits such as Lasher, *my* planning to render Ash infertile and *my* influence for Morrigan to even exist in the first place!"

"As I understand it," Louis said wryly, "Michael and Mona had more of a say in that then you did."

"Ha!" Nicolas said. "Do you think that goody-two shoes Michael would have laid a hand on his 13 year old niece if I hadn't been outside of the window pressuring him to do it? It was my presence Mona felt that night, not Lasher's."

Louis frowned. "What of Julian?"

Nicolas waved that off. "I care little for the ramblings of ghosts. All that mattered to me was that the female Taltos be made. Of course, after Michael destroyed Lasher's body, I had to rethink my plans but Aiken proved more than willing to help and, as you already know, Lasher was quite grateful when I brought his spirit form back from the void."

"All this effort so that you can kill us and create a legion of Taltos to turn the world to your 'new rule'?" Louis asked. "Armand was wrong. You're not an Akasha groupie, you're a Juliano groupie. You've mixed your ideas of revenge with an insane scheme of world conquest and you expect everyone else to follow you as though you were the Pied Piper. Well forgive me, Nicolas, but I've too much of a rational mind to go along for the journey."

"You went along with it when you thought it suited you," Nicolas said. "So long as you never had to lift a finger and expend a little effort you went along with it just fine. Your problem is that you are not a man of real action."

Louis' green eyes narrowed. "Do not tempt me into action, Nicolas, for I will give you your just reward for attacking Lestat!"

"I'll kill you first," Nicolas said.

"If I die," Louis said, "I'll drag you into Hell with me."

"I've been to Hell," Nicolas said. "I know more of Hell than you ever will. It is time, I think, for Hell to pay Earth a little visit."

A knock at the door startled them both. Cleopatra entered. "Nicolas," she said. "The Talamasca fledgling has arrived and he has brought the Taltos girl with him."

"No," Louis said. "I can't believe that. David would never do such a thing."

"The Talamasca does many things that would surprise you, Louis," Nicolas said. "I have found some of my best assistance from them."

"David isn't Talamasca," Louis said. "He's a vampire now. He left them for Lestat."

"And yet he's acting in his own self-interest," Nicolas said. "How unusual for someone who agreed with Lestat to act selfishly."

Louis looked away.

"What do you want me to do with the girl?" Cleopatra asked. "Leave her alone with Aiken?"

"What indeed?" Nicolas said. "This is truly the beginning, we must do something to mark it." He turned to Louis. "What do you think we should do, Louis? How shall we ring in the new order? Come, tell me and redeem yourself."

Louis stared at him icily. "If you think that my redemption lies with you," he said, "you're more insane than I thought."

The pain in his hands was all the kept Nicolas from lashing out at Louis. "You go too far!" he said. "You have pushed me past the point of any forgiveness. I sever all ties with you as of right now, Louis. You are as *nothing* to me. I only regret that I ever gave you my blood."

"Well," Louis said as he bit into his palm, "Allow me to rectify that." He slapped his bloody hand across Nicolas's face, leaving a bright red smear over it.

Nicolas screamed in rage. He grabbed Louis by the hand and threw him against the wall. He held him there with his weight, twisting Louis' arm painfully. "Is this what you like?" he asked. "The pain? Is that what you want? Do you miss Juliano that much? Fine! You shall have him!"

He released Louis and turned to Cleopatra. "We shall ring in the new order as is befitting this Temple and have a Memnoch Sabbat. Aiken will start the birth of the new Taltos right after we end the death of the old vampires. Starting with Louis. He shall die just as his beloved Lestat did. The scythe then the fire! In fact, let's have a grand sacrifice. Gather all our prisoners together, including those two girls that we got earlier. They shall all die tonight."

"No!" Cleopatra said. "Ramses and Julie are *mine*! You promised that I could do with them as I pleased."

"So?" Nicolas asked. "You were going to kill them anyway. What does it matter if I do it now?" Nicolas brushed past Cleopatra as he left the room. "Do what you must to prepare but we will have this ceremony before the night is over. And, Louis," he said, pausing at the door, "You should be nice to me or I might not scatter your ashes. Imagine living the rest of eternity in that monstrous shape. I don't think you'd like it."

Nicolas left then, his mind swimming in the idea of the Sabbat. As he closed the door to his chambers behind him, he heard Louis say "Cleopatra, please listen to me." but he ignored it. *Let Louis try to get away,* he thought. *He won't get anywhere and his failure will make his death all the sweeter.*

As he stepped out onto the alter hours later, Nicolas could not help but think that Juliano had known what he was doing when he created this. The feeling of Power that he got as he walked to the center of the alter was like nothing he had ever felt before.

To his left was Morrigan, tied spread-eagled to the large wooden table in the middle of the alter. To his right was Louis. He had not been tied down though a steel bar had been bent around his wrists which were held together behind his back. His long, dark hair spilled forward, hiding his eyes from view. Nicolas ignored him and turned his attention to the others.

When he'd rebuilt the Temple he designed the alter so that it could be raised from the ground whenever he desired and as he looked down at the supernatural beings beneath him, he was glad that he'd thought of it. The vampires had all been given Trevor's formula and the others had been bled but Trevor's formula had a nasty habit of wearing off and who knew how effective bleeding was in disabling the others? The last thing he needed was for one of them to attack the alter at the wrong moment. From the looks of the Temple, they'd put up quite a fight. Nicolas was glad that he had not had to deal with it. The alter was now high enough that they could not even reach it if they jumped. Mortal guards were lined up along the sides of the Temple in case they tried. Cleopatra, Lasher and Aiken stood at the far end of the Temple, waiting for his signal as well.

He then checked to make sure that all his enemies were there. Marius, Armand, Rowan and Ash stood together in one group. Ramses and Julie were slightly apart from the others as Ramses cradled the weak Julie on the floor. Jesse stood next to them, supported by another vampire. Though Nicolas had never seen this vampire before, he knew who it was.

"David," he said. "You've changed since I saw you last. In more ways than one. Though, ironically, age is not one of them."

"You *know* him, David?" Marius looked stunned.

"We met, briefly," David said. "Decades ago. I had only just joined the Order when he approached me and asked if I wanted to help him. I turned him down. I knew he was a vampire but I didn't know who he was. I reported it to my superior, though strangely nothing came of it."

"That's because your superior was already working for me," Nicolas said. "Too bad you didn't do the same. You might have been able to live past this night. You do understand, don't you, why I have to kill you. I do appreciate that you brought Morrigan to me but if you think that it would appease me and keep you alive, you were mistaken."

"I had my reasons," David said. "A conversion to your beliefs was not one of them."

"Indeed," Nicolas said. He turned to Louis then. He took Louis by the chin and pulled his head up so that he faced him. "And you? Now that your final death is upon you, do you feel a need to convert, my Lady Jane?"

"Your comparision is an apt one, Nicolas," Louis said. "For I will not join you."

"And so you shall die," Nicolas said. "But, unlike the others, your death will not be a sacrifice. For your betrayal to me and the new order, you shall be executed."

"Is that your executioner?" Louis asked as he looked over Nicolas's shoulder towards something behind him.

Nicolas followed Louis' gaze and saw a figure standing at the back of the alter. He was dressed in a monk's habit with the cowl pulled far enough forward so that, like the executioners of old, his face could not be seen. He held the scythe in his hand and Nicolas could see that the blade was still red from Lestat's blood. Nicolas smiled. Cleopatra had done well.

"Yes he is," Nicolas said. He left Louis and walked over to Morrigan. She squirmed in her bonds. Nicolas laid a hand on her leg to calm her. "Easy my dear. I know that the scent of Aiken must be driving you insane but you will have him soon. There is only this business to attend to and then he can come forward and fill you with his child. But first, the unpleasent details."

Nicolas stepped back and addressed everyone in the Temple. "The vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac has been charged and found guilty of multiple crimes of deceit and betrayal. For this he has been sentenced unto death. Has the condemned anything to say on his behalf?"

Louis squared his shoulders and remained silent.

"Fine," Nicolas said. "The Executioner shall now do his duty. May the Devil take no mercy on your soul."

A silence descended upon the Temple. Those below the alter watched as though paralyzed. Only Jesse made an attempt to move but David held her back, shaking his head as he did so.

Nicolas watched this with delight. His every nerve was on fire as he thought of the scythe slicing through the neck of the beautiful bastard Louis. In fact, he could almost feel the scythe against his own neck. It wasn't until he moved back slightly that he realized that it was.

"Ever get the feeling oh, right about here--" the point of the scythe rubbed up against the base of his skull "--that you've forgotten something?"

Nicolas whirled around in shock. His executioner was right there. The hand that was not holding the scythe reached up and removed the cowl.

"Hello, lover," Lestat said. "Miss me?"

"You're dead!" Nicolas cried. He tried to move away but found himself backed up against the table. "I saw you die! *He* said you were dead!" Nicolas jerked his head towards Louis, Louis who had ripped the steel bar apart easily and was now standing freely.

"I believe you are mistaken," Louis said. "I said *if* Lestat was dead then I would want to die too. As you can see, my words were true from the start. As for the rest of it," Louis shrugged, an evil grin shaping his lips, "you believed what you wanted to."

"Then die now!" Nicolas cried. "Guards--"

"Stay right were you are unless you want to see your fearless leader's head detached from his shoulders," Lestat said, holding the full blade of the scythe against Nicolas's neck. The guards halted.

"How?" Nicolas asked. "I saw you die!"

"It was a *trick*," Lestat said. He shook his head in amazement. "Honestly, Nicki, you need to get out more. That has to be the most basic disappearing act in the book. A bright flash of light then poof! Hell, watch David Copperfield or Penn and Teller for goodness sake! I didn't even do it well! Even Louis knew I wasn't dead. Although, I'll admit, he had it easy. He knew it because I let him know beforehand. You know, Louis, that little bond of ours really comes in handy."

"No argument there," Louis said with a smile.

"What about the ashes?" Nicolas demanded. "If that wasn't you then what was it?"

"Are you still harping on this?" Lestat asked. "Gods, even Doubting Thomas needed less proof than you. The ashes weren't even part of it, that happened by accident."


Lestat rolled his eyes. "Does it look like I'm wearing the same outfit? Here's a quick scientific fact for you: when you set clothes on fire, they burn! That sun wasn't gentle on my blood-drained skin you know."

"So long as something hurt you," Nicolas said. "I'm satisfied."

"I'll give you satisfaction," Lestat said. He drew the scythe back then sliced forward. Nicolas dove out of the way and the blade cut through the bonds around Morrigan's legs. Lestat then reached up and cut the ones around her hands. "Get up, cherie. Oncle Lestat and Oncle Nicolas have some work to do. Louis, I'm sure you can take care of things here."

"Of course," Louis said as he helped Morrigan get up from the table. He fixed a cold stare on the Temple. "I can more than take care of it."

"Perfect," Lestat said. He took off the rest of the robe so that he was dressed only in the shirt, pants and boots beneath it. "Now then--" he grabbed Nicolas by the throat and bared his fangs. "Shall we have a vampire's duel?"

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