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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 7
by the Brat Queen

Acts 14-15

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

Time: later the same night.

Louis made his way back to Nicolas's chambers. Nicolas was already there along with two men Louis had never seen before.

"I cannot believe you!" Nicolas was shouting. "I give you one simple task and you screw it up! How is this possible?"

"But--" one of the men said.

"Quiet!" Nicolas said. "I will not hear of your explanations. You've wasted enough of my time already! The two of you are going to go and do nothing else until you find them! I'd better not wake up at the next sunset and find them still missing, is this understood?"

"Yes, sir," the other man said as he lead the first man out of the room. Louis watched them pass by, but the did not return his gaze.

"Is something wrong, Nicki?" Louis asked.

"Nothing that you need to concern yourself with, Louis," Nicolas said. He sat down at his desk and stared at the piles of papers that were now on it. "I am constantly bogged down by trivialness, Louis. You have no idea how frustrating that is!"

Louis sat down on the couch. "What happened?"

"*They*," Nicolas said, indicating the men who had left, "failed to do their job and have now caused more trouble than they are worth. In addition to all this, Lasher has disappeared on some personal mission and I can't find him anywhere. There is no room for personal vendettas here, Louis, I won't abide them!"

"I didn't have any for you to abide," Louis said.

"What? Oh yes, yes, of course. I didn't mean you, Louis, forgive me." Nicolas got up from his chair and began to pace. "Have you fed? Good. Lasher at least got that right. That is, I assume he showed you where to go."

"He showed me the hospital," Louis said. "Nicki, from where do those people come?"

"From all over the world, Louis, it doesn't matter. Their backgrounds did nothing to stop them from becoming the living death that they are. It is their sad fate, we can only help them meet the end."

"I suppose," Louis said. "Though I wish it didn't have to be that way."

"Don't we all?" Nicolas said. He began to rub his hands. "Blast it! Will nothing stop this infernal pain?"

"Are you all right?" Louis asked. "Is there something I can do?"

"I'm not all right, but that's nothing for you to worry about," Nicolas said. "I've had this pain for years, I've gotten accustomed to it. And you don't have to worry about what you can do either. There is nothing here that requires your attention, Louis."

Louis frowned. "At all?"

"No, nothing at all."

"Then why am I here?"

"Because I needed to know you were with me in spirit, mon ami. It is your beliefs, not your actions that matter to me."

"There are those that would argue that my beliefs and my actions are one in the same."

"Only those who feel that you have to prove yourself to them," Nicolas said. "You don't have to prove anything to me, Louis."

"Thank you," Louis said.

"Besides, you still need to heal from your time with Juliano. That is more important for you to do right now. At least you are better than you were last night. The blood did help you in that respect."

"There are some things that even the blood cannot heal," Louis said softly.

"That you must leave to time," Nicolas said, laying a hand on Louis' shoulder. "Trust me, it does get better eventually."

"Eventually is so long a time," Louis said. "I don't know if I can bear it."

"You will, mon ami. You have survived much worse than this, you will survive worse still."

Louis laughed hesitantly. "A dubious comfort at best."

Nicolas smiled. "Don't worry, Louis. It will all work out, you'll see. I--dammit!" he swore and rubbed his hands again.

"Nicki, please, let me do something to help you," Louis said. "I'm not the only one who needs to take care of himself."

"I must concede," Nicolas said. "This has come to the point of riduculousness. Alright, you can take over for me here. It's nothing major, but I do need all of those papers destroyed. I was burning them in the fireplace when those two fools came in."

Louis walked over to the desk and looked at all of the papers. "What are they?"

"Legal documents, mostly," Nicolas said. "I had my associates take them from those who would oppose us."

Louis scanned the topmost sheets and saw the names of Mayfair, Ramsey and Malloy. "And me?" he asked. "Did you take anything that was mine as well?"

"No, why would I?" Nicolas said. "You are my friend. Louis, I had to know what they were doing so that I could better understand the situation we are in. You wouldn't want me to accuse people blindly now would you?"

"I suppose not," Louis said. "But these are precious documents, Nicki, I don't think they should be destroyed."

"They're only copies of documents," Nicolas said. "I never took the real thing. But they do contain valuable information which is exactly why they should be destroyed now."

"I'm sorry," Louis said. "I didn't realize--"

"Don't worry about it," Nicolas said. "Louis, I want you here for your common sense and practical nature. If you didn't raise questions like this, you wouldn't be doing your job. Don't ever censor yourself, thinking I won't want to hear what you have to say."

"I'll try not to," Louis said. He gathered up all of the papers and brought them to the fireplace which still had a fire in it from the papers Nicolas had already burned. He took a handful of files and threw them onto the flames, making them dim for a moment, then flare brightly as they devoured their new fuel.

Nicolas jumped at the flash of light and shielded his eyes. "Louis, please!" he said. "It took a great amount of effort to rebuild this temple. I'd like to keep it for a bit longer before you turn it back into ashes." he added with a grin.

"Well," Louis said. "I can't say that I share those sentiments, but I'll try to respect your wishes."

Nicolas laughed. "Ah, it's so good that you're here, mon ami. You've only been here for a day yet I cannot imagine how I lived without your company."

Louis was surprised to see that Nicolas actually meant this. "Thank you, Nicki," he said. "I don't hear such sentiments very often I'm afraid."

"Which only shows that you are wasted among those around you," Nicolas said. "That too, ends here. But I am digressing into the useless past when I should be taking advantage of this time you have given me to rest and let my hands recover. I shall be in my bedroom if you need me." Nicolas gave Louis one last smile before retreating into his own room.

Louis knelt down in front of the fireplace and fed more papers into the flames. The chambers were cool so the heat of the fire was not oppressive and he could actually enjoy the warmth that it gave. But he had always loved fires. Even here, in Juliano's old chambers, he could relax in front of the orange glow.

He tossed more papers onto the fire. Wondering what the rest of the papers were, he flipped through them. As Nicolas had said, they were mostly legal documents that detailed money arrangements or real estate projects.

A familiar scrawled signature caught his eye. He tried to pull the sheet of paper that it was on out of the pile, but it was attached to a whole set of papers that Louis had to free before he could see any of them. He did this, then looked at what had attracted his attention.

It was Lestat's signature. Louis felt a slight twinge when he saw this. He was holding a copy of a contract Lestat had signed to get some work done on an old house. Louis could remember when Lestat had done this. It was after Lestat had returned from his trouble with Raglan James and had gone back to the flat on Rue Royale to fix it up. Louis would have given anything, just then, to go back to that time. Back when they were starting over, before there had been any trouble, before...

Louis broke off from this memory. He didn't want to think of what had happened after. Instead he focused on the document in front of him, reading the legalese that even he found boring, but better than what his mind had conjured. He didn't pay attention to the words, but let his eyes travel down the pages in an effort to keep himself rooted in the present.

The contract was mostly a standard form with lots of legal phrases in it broken only by the occasional line that was filled in by a human hand which provided the information about addresses and names. It was the former that drew Louis' attention as he realized that the address written down was not the address of the Rue Royale flat. Skimming through the rest of the contract, he saw that nothing that had been filled in applied to the flat. Thinking that he had mistakenly read an old contract of Lestat's, he checked the date and was surprised to discover that the contract had been drawn up earlier that very week.

*What on earth?* Louis wondered. *Lestat didn't tell me anything about this.*

Louis looked at the papers that had been attached to the contract and found that they all applied to the same project, which had nothing to do with the flat that they lived in. All of which had Lestat's signature as Sebastian Melmoth on it, all of which had been drawn up earlier in the week.

"I don't understand," he whispered, tearing through the pages again in the hopes that something would make it all clear. A smaller sheet of paper fell onto the floor as he did this. He picked it up and read it:

"Ryan, Here's the last of the contracts you needed. There should be enough money to finish the whole thing but if you need more you can take it out of my private account. I'd like this done as quickly as possible and the sooner I can arrange the move out of this flat, the better. Remember that you are to tell Jean none of this! --Sebastian"

Louis gave a strangled cry and threw the papers onto the fire. He got up and tried to walk but a sickening wave of dizziness overcame him and he stumbled over to the couch. "No," he whispered. "Oh God please no. I'm so sorry. Oh God I ruined it. I didn't mean to. I'm so sorry. Oh God no, please, no, no!" But the note did not lie and Louis knew it. He collapsed onto the couch and buried his head in his hands, sobbing.

*Lestat, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to push you away like that. I thought I could do it, I thought I could be what you needed. God, I love him so much, please don't make him leave me!*

"Louis? Louis, what's wrong?" Nicolas was beside him, looking at him with concern.

"It's never going to be what I thought, is it?" Louis asked, hoarsely.

"What do you mean, Louis?"

Louis got up from the couch and wiped the tears away from his eyes. He walked a few paces away from Nicolas, folded his arms and stared at nothing in particular.

"Louis?" Nicolas asked again.

"When you were a child, did you ever dream about what your life would be like when you got older, about what you would be?" Louis asked softly.

"I wasn't allowed those dreams, Louis. I was the idiot son who took up the violin too late, remember? I was tolerated because I was the first born, but it ended there."

"But the violin, that was something of a dream," Louis said, his voice sounding far away. "It was something that you wanted and you got it. For whatever reason, it gave you pleasure."

"I guess so," Nicolas shrugged. He moved closer to Louis, but Louis did not look up at him.

"I had no such dreams," Louis said. "I never wanted anything very complex out of life. My family, they wanted me to marry and have children, but I didn't care. I never really cared about things like that. When my brother died, I knew that only one thing mattered to me."

"What is that?"

"I wanted," Louis stopped and wrapped his arms around himself before speaking again. "I wanted some... thing that was... *mine*. Something beyond all this pain. I wanted just one thing on this earth that made me... happy. I never asked for anything else. I never wanted anything else. If I could only have that one thing, I could bear it all, no matter what happened to me. I could stand the deepest pits of Hell.

"But I'm not going to have that one thing, am I? I thought I did, but I lost it. I ruined my chance to have it and now I'll never get it back and all that is left is the pain. That's all I'll ever have."

"There's life beyond the pain, Louis," Nicolas said.

Louis laughed, bitterly. "There's existence beyond the pain, but life? No. What a cruel world this would be if what I do now is called 'living'. And if I do not live, then perhaps I should die. It makes sense, don't you think?"

"No it doesn't!" Nicolas said. "Louis, if you die now then they will have won! You cannot let them have that victory.

"Louis, you are far better than any of them. They have no right to have this power over you. And that's what they have now, mon ami. They took you from the moment you were born and said 'If you wish to be happy, you must fulfill our dreams.' Your family said that you must love who they tell you to if you want to be happy. Vampires told you that you must act like they act if you want to be happy. But you cannot fulfill their dreams, Louis, you must fulfill yours!

"The world is full of lies and deceit. You cannot look to others to help you. If you want the truth, you will find it *here*," he said, stabbing his finger at his chest, "and nowhere else on this earth. You must look there or look nowhere at all."

"But I'm so tired..." Louis said.

"That's why you're here, mon ami," Nicolas said. He reached out and took Louis by the hand. Louis looked up, startled. "It's alright, I'm not going to hurt you. You must trust me, Louis, and trust yourself. You are tired because you've been in pain for so long and you never stopped to try to heal. But you can do that now. You can stay here, and rest, and be safe from all those who made you feel this pain. And perhaps, finally, you will be able to feel what you need to feel right here." He put Louis' hand on his chest and placed his own hand on top of it so that they could both feel the beat of Louis' heart.

Louis swallowed, looked down at the ground then up into Nicolas's brown eyes. "Thank you, mon ami," he said.

"I do not need your thanks, Louis," Nicolas said. "I do not do this for your gratitude but because you are my friend and that it what friends should do. To abandon you now, when you most need this care, is a cruelty that is beyond words."

"I know," Louis said, softly.

"But tell me, Louis. What brought this on in the first place?"

"Nothing," Louis said, looking over at the fireplace. "At least, nothing that matters anymore."

Time: hours after sunset.

They found him, finally, lying on a beach in Japan. What instinct or force had propelled him the many miles to shore, they did not know. All they knew was the sound of his pain-filled cry deafening their minds as the sun hit him, and then, more alarming, the only faint trace of life that emanated from him now and served as their guide in finding him.

David had heard nothing, of course. But Marius, Armand and Daniel had heard it all and it was that, along with the telepathic assistance from Khayman who had also heard the cry, but could not leave the side of Maharet who feared the loss of Jesse, which led them to him. Finding him along the shoreline proved to be an almost more difficult task than finding out the proper shoreline of all the continents and islands on Earth on which to search. They patrolled up and down the beach, trying to lock on to the fading signal of his mind when Marius spied a form half-buried in the sand.

:By the gods!: Marius's shock projected the thought into David and Daniel's minds. Armand looked at Daniel in surprise when he saw him and David begin to run to join Marius.

"Daniel, what are you doing?" Armand called.

"He's found him!" Daniel shouted back. He continued to run until he saw Marius digging through a pile of seaweed. Armand was beside him suddenly and together they watched as Marius pulled the unconscious form of Lestat out of the sand. Marius brushed the sand and hair away from Lestat's face and gently shook him. Daniel saw Lestat move a little, look up at Marius with half-opened eyes and say something that he could not hear over the roar of the waves. Armand had heard it, though, and he stiffened and clenched his fists once the words were spoken. David looked at Armand's reaction curiously, but said nothing, nor did he tell Daniel what had been said.

Whatever it was, Marius was shaking his head in response to it. Lestat closed his eyes and his head lolled to the side. Marius picked up the younger vampire and carried him back to the others. Daniel could see him better now and he looked a perfect horror. His luxurious golden hair was now matted and sparse, his skin was burnt to a dark brown and had shrunken around him so that he looked skeletal. He lay still in Marius's arms. So still that, if he breathed, Daniel could see no proof of it.

"I have a home near this area," Marius said. "I'm going to take him there. David, you know where it is, you can show Armand and Daniel."

"Of course," David said. "We'll be there as soon as we can."

Marius gave a quick nod at this then ascended into the air and disappeared from sight, Lestat with him.

Trying to locate Lestat had taken so long that the four of them had been able to use conventional means of transport to get to Japan and even to the beach in question. Neither Armand nor Daniel could fly and, since David could not carry two, they relied on the limo that had driven them there to take them to Marius's home.

"How did you know of this place?" Armand asked David once they were safely in the car and on their way.

David looked away from the window, distracted. "Pardon? Oh yes. He told me about it years ago."


"I believe it was not long after we returned from South America."

There was no need to specify further. They all knew which time that was. They passed the rest of the trip in silence. Daniel caught Armand staring at him and David occasionally, but he could never catch Armand's eye long enough to ask him why.

They soon arrived at Marius's dwelling. Hardly waiting for the car to come to a complete stop, they immediately went inside. Marius emerged from a back room and joined them in the living room as soon as they came in.

"How is he?" Daniel asked.

Marius sighed. "Not good I'm afraid. I was able to get him to drink some of my blood but I don't know if it will help. He was hurt pretty badly."

"No, that's not so," David said. "I saw him after the last time he was in the sun and, even though it was a few days after the exposure, he looked much worse than he does now. I think this is the vampiric equivalent of a flesh wound."

"David," Marius said, "I don't believe it is the sun that is the problem."

"What do you mean?" David asked.

"Physically, this is nothing for Lestat," Marius said. "He's lived through much worse than this brief exposure to sunlight. His body is very strong. Physically, I don't think anything could really hurt him."

"So he's fine," Armand said.

"I didn't say that," Marius said. "I said that physically, he is fine. But the problem is, his real wounds are not physical."

"But he's gone through that sort of thing before," Armand said. "He always lives through it."

"Yes," Marius said. "But that's because he wanted to."

"What are you saying?" asked David.

"I'm saying," Marius sighed again. "I'm saying I had to force my blood on him. I'm saying that I don't think Lestat wants to live through this."

"I don't believe that," David said, but he looked unsure.

Marius walked over to David and placed his hands on his shoulders. "David," he said. "He pushed me away. Even with his mouth full of my blood he pushed me away and tried to stop me from making him drink. That's not right. The blood is our life, you know this. Even if you do not feel like hunting, the blood will make you. For Lestat to be able to push me away with so much blood present, David, you know what that means."

"What *does* it mean?" Daniel asked.

"It means that he's trying to imply that I wasn't attacked, but that I once again tried to kill myself," Lestat said. He walked into the room and leaned against the fireplace. He looked somewhat better than he had on the beach. His skin was lighter and Marius had washed him and given him new clothes. But his sunken cheeks and shaking hands belied this appearance of health.

"Did you?" David asked.

"No," Lestat said. "Lasher was the kind soul who brought me into the light. But perhaps soon I can thank him for that. Who knows? You're the expert on this, David. Do you think I would become a spirit like he is or will I vanish into nothingness as I've always thought?"

"Lestat, what are you saying?" David demanded.

Lestat laughed. "Honestly, David, have you ever been so repetitive in your life? Or has my appearance changed so much that I now look like Marius?"


"My you're touchy," Lestat said. "Fine, in answer to your question of the evening I'm saying that Marius had the right idea about me, but he's off in his timing. I didn't try to kill myself earlier today, however I will be doing it later this night. Is that better?"

"The hell you will!" David said. "I might not have been able to stop you before but I'll be damned if I let you do it now!"

"I don't recall asking you this time, David" Lestat said. "And how dare you try to keep me from this! You don't know what I saw today, you don't know what I feel! You. Don't. Know."

"Then tell us, Lestat," Marius said. "What is it?"

Lestat folded his arms behind his back and walked towards the middle of the room. Once there, he turned on his heel and faced them all. He spread his arms then, as if to show off the whole world. "It's pointless!" he cried, like a sideshow barker. "Completely and utterly useless!"

"What is?"

"My life!" Lestat laughed. "Don't you get it? It's all a big joke! Come watch Lestat as he leaps over hurdles, trying to grab that golden ring! Nevermind that he's never going to get it, it doesn't exist! It's all a big, fat joke and that's all it will ever be. The truly pathetic thing is that it took me over 200 years to realize this. But, I guess that's just part of the joke. Oh well, at least now I know to stop trying. Yes, I'm tired of playing by their rules. I'm going to quit now, maybe try a new playing field, see what that's like."

"Lestat, that's insanity," Marius said.

"Yeah, what about Louis?" asked Daniel.

Lestat faced Daniel and bowed. "Thank you my friend, I thought no one was going to ask," he came over to Daniel and put his arm around him and continued speaking in a stage whisper. "You see, that's the punchline. Here I was, thinking all this time that if I tried hard enough, I could have my beautiful Louis by my side. That was my golden ring, Daniel. Nice one too, don't you think? Certainly caught my attention and that's quite an accomplishment. But--and get this, this is the funny part--instead of never letting me near him, I was able to get close enough to him and then--this is the good part--they took him away! Isn't that wild? What a great practical joke!"

Marius came forward. "We'll get him back, Lestat. The two of you will be together again."

"No we won't," Lestat said. He laughed again, a clownish chuckle. "He's not ever coming back to me. Nope, not ever. Ha! This is so good. Isn't this good, Daniel? If you were going to play a practical joke on someone, isn't this the sort of thing you would do?"

"I think he's coming back, Lestat," Daniel said.

"Well that's because you don't know what I know," Lestat said.

"Enlighten me."

Lestat's face fell and he let go of Daniel. He faced David when he spoke. "I can't feel him anymore. It's-it's gone."

"No," David said softly.

Lestat nodded. "I tried to, at least I think I tried, when I was under the water but I couldn't feel him. I couldn't feel my beautiful Louis! He wasn't there, not even the tiniest, little--" a sob broke from Lestat's throat.

"He's your child, you're not supposed to feel him," Daniel said.

"No," Lestat said. "It wasn't that way between me and Louis. We broke through it somehow. After Memnoch, I could feel him, but now it's gone. And if it's gone then he--"

"We would have felt it, Lestat," Marius said. "If Louis was dead all of us would have felt it, you know that."

"So he's alive, and that is supposed to make me feel better?" Lestat asked. "After the visions I had under the water, no, no it won't. You didn't see what I saw, Marius. I've lost him. Doesn't matter if he's dead or alive, I've lost him and I'll never get him back."

"Lestat, you were sick, what you saw, no matter what it was, that is not reality," Marius said. He took Lestat's face in his hands. "You are too weak to think clearly right now, Lestat. You cannot rely on sun-induced visions."

"But they felt so real," Lestat whispered. Tears streamed down his cheeks onto Marius's palms.

"Oh you selfish bastard!" Armand said. "All of this drama over a dream? This is too much even for you!"

"Armand!" Marius shouted.

"No," Lestat said. He moved out of Marius's hold and stood in front of Armand. "Let him speak. I'd like to hear what the little devil has to say."

"If there is any devil here, it is you," Armand said. "God I hate you! You come in here with your little problems, whining about how your world is over. You have it so easy! You have everything you ever wanted, Lestat. All you have to do is snap your fingers and the world falls to your feet. Well what about the rest of us? Louis is gone and all you can think about is how it affects you! Nevermind how we feel about it, nevermind how he feels!

"The rest of us must scrape and crawl for the merest scrap of happiness. While you, you feast on the glory that should be ours! You can't feel your child anymore? Well too bad! Neither can the rest of us, get used to it! Poor little brat prince. The world stops revolving around you so it has to come to an end. How horrible your life must be!"

"You like my life?" Lestat asked. "You want it so much? You can have it! Yes, Armand, my life is perfect, that's why I'm just so damn happy all the time!"

"At least you have what you want!"

"Where? Where is what I want, care to tell me, Armand? I have *nothing* of what I want! There is only one thing on this earth that I want and he's gone so I'd like to know where this mythical fountain of happiness is in my life!

"Or maybe I should be like you? How does that sound? I'll go around a bitter old vampire, too miserable to do anything about his own damn life so he goes out and tries to ruin everyone else's! Hey, maybe I can even dig up one of my old lovers to take Daniel away!"

"Oh you'll never let me live that down, will you?" Armand said. "It's not my fault that Louis was taken and you damn well know it! I'll tell you what is my fault though: assuming that you would ever understand *anything* that required a little sensitivity! No, forget it. I give up. You'll never change, Lestat, so I'm not even going to bother to try. You go ahead and blame me for your every little problem and I'll just sit here and take it like I always do because God forbid you're ever unhappy."

"I'll do you one better," Lestat said. "I'll make sure you never have to deal with me and my every little problem ever again. I'm through with you, Armand, and with everyone else in this room! And I'm through with this life! I wash my hands of the whole damn thing!"

Lestat stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

"Armand, what the hell is wrong with you?" Marius demanded. "I've never seen you act so cruelly in your whole life!"

"If you have to ask, then you'll never know," Armand said.

"I'd better go after Lestat," David said.

"No, I'll do it," Marius said. "He needs someone who can read his thoughts. You stay here, I'll take care of it."

"That's it, Marius, go after him," Armand said. "After all, it's not like you're needed *here*."

"Armand, for the first time in my life I wonder if I really know you at all," Marius said as he left them.

"Then I guess you never did," Armand whispered.

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