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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 9
by the Brat Queen

Acts 18-19

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

Time: early evening.

Jesse looked up as Julie came back into the room.

"Where did you go?" the red-haired vampire asked.

"Not far," Julie said as she knelt by her friend. "Things were quiet so I thought it would be safe to look around a bit, see where we were."

"Did you find anything?" Jesse asked.

"Nothing that can help us escape," Julie replied. "But I did find a few places for us to avoid."

"It's better than nothing," Jesse said. She stood up and began pulling her hair back into a braid.

"How are you feeling?" Julie asked.

"A little stronger than I did yesterday," Jesse said. "But I'm starving. And I feel a little ill, but that might be the hunger. I've never gone this long without a kill before. You?"

Julie shrugged. "I'd be better with a little sunlight, but that can't be our main priority now."

"I know," Jesse said. "We can't stay here. The gods alone know how we stayed safe for this long. In fact," she paused and tilted her head, "Yes, I don't think our luck will hold out in that respect. I think I hear people. Although I can't tell you where they are or if I'm only hearing them in my head."

"Let's not chance it then," Julie said. "Come, I think I've found a place where you might be able to get some relief. This way."

They left the dark room and proceeded to retrace Julie's steps, occasionally stopping to hide in a corner or look like they belonged where they were when someone would pass by, until they came to a set of wooden doors.

"Here," Julie whispered. She opened one of the doors enough so that Jesse could look inside. "It looks like a hospital of some sort. Perhaps you could sneak in and drink from one of them?"

Jesse frowned when she saw the people inside. "There's something odd about this," she said. Checking to make sure that only the patients were inside, she entered and went to the bedside of one of the patients.

"They're all so young," Julie said sadly as she came in behind Jesse. "How tragic."

"It's more than that," Jesse said. She ran a hand along the brow of the patient beside her. "I know him. What happened here?"

They both jumped, startled, when another door opened and two nurses entered. One of the nurses looked at them uncertainly. "Are you supposed to be here?" she asked.

"Of course they are," the other nurse said. "Remember our instructions? Just leave them alone."

Jesse tried to look the first nurse in the eyes, straining for any glimpse of her thoughts. "Why shouldn't we be here?" she asked.

The nurse shook her head. "No," she said, stepping back as Jesse began to catch some of her thoughts. *They never mentioned.... women.... only.... the dark hair....*

"Who are you thinking of?" Jesse demanded, trying to force the link. "Tell me!"

"Get away!" the nurse cried. She ran behind a desk and hit a button on the wall.

"That's more than enough of that, witch daughter," a voice said as the figure of a male form appeared before her. "You've provided some amusement but it's time to go now."

"There's two of us," Julie pointed out. "You can't stop us all by yourself."

"How fortunate that I have help then," Lasher said.

"From them?" Jesse asked, motioning towards the nurses. "Sorry to disappoint you but they don't really frighten me. Let's go, Julie."

"You're not going anywhere, you useless witch," a new voice said. Jesse felt hands grabbing her and throwing her to the floor. A short, knarled figure stood above her. "Not until we're done with you."

"I'm inclined to disagree," Jesse said, but her threat became lost in a wave of nausea and dizzying blackness.

"Let her go!" Julie said.

"I don't think we will," Lasher said, taking hold of Julie. "But you can stay with her since you two seem so close, does that not sound fair?"

"That bitch deserves no fairness!" a third male voice said. "We should kill her now!"

"Calm yourself, Trevor," Aiken said. "You'll get your chance *after* our dear lady leader has her time with them."

Jesse tried to sit up and see who the third person was, but another wave of nausea overcame her.

Julie was not so hindered. She broke free of Lasher's grasp and attacked Aiken, knocking him away from Jesse. Lasher and Aiken quickly subdued her before she could do much more but Jesse was able to stand and inflect enough power into her voice to stop the fight.

"Trevor?" she said, focusing her attention on him and fighting off the sickness that she felt. "Don't you know who I am? How can you keep us here?"

"Remember?" Trevor spat. "Yes, I remember the time. Whore! You tried to take it all away from me! You make it all go away. You took him away!"

"Who?" Jesse asked, trying to catch Trevor's thoughts.

"I think she's coming out of it," Lasher said, he made a motion with his hand for one of the nurses to come over. "She needs a new dose."

"No!" Julie struggled to get away from Aiken. The small man hit her across the face and she sunk to the floor, only party conscious.

"Bastard!" Jesse yelled. She ran to Julie's side but Lasher shoved her to the floor again. The feeling of illness became worse and she felt as though her insides were being torn. Her chest heaved as she tried to breathe. She turned to Trevor again. "Why are you doing this? Tell me!"

"You know why! You dared to approach him, to take his things! You even have the formula that I made for him! Can't you see that the enemy here is you!" Trevor began to pace frantically.

"Stop that, Trevor!" Lasher glared at him. "I've warned you about it before!"

"You can't control me!" Trevor yelled. "Only he can. Oh yes, him. He's too good for me."

"Trevor!" Lasher's mental voice became painful to hear. Trevor winced at the sound of it and Jesse took advantage of this weakness to plunge into his thoughts. One image came to her clearly.

"Louis," she said. "He's here. Louis! Louis! Can you hear me? Louis!"

"Silence!" Aiken said, kicking her hard enough to make her cry out.

The nausea came upon her again and she curled into a ball, trying to keep from feeling it. "Louis will come," she gasped. "He has to."

"Your beloved Louis has better things to do with his time," Lasher said. "Even if he could hear you, he wouldn't come."

"Liar!" she said. "He'll come once he hears me. He--" a sickening wave of dizziness came over her and she began to retch violently. She felt bile begin to come into her mouth but before she could get rid of it Lasher took a bottle of red liquid from the nurse who had come forward and forced the contents of the bottle down Jesse's throat. She gagged, then could do nothing else but swallow the cold, dead blood.

"Ah, but he must hear you first, mustn't he?" Lasher said sweetly and Jesse once again passed out into blackness.

Time: Late night.

Louis stood before the great doorway, staring at it. It looked exactly the same as it had three years ago. Louis remembered it too well. And he remembered what lay beyond it. He shut his eyes and forced down the memories that came drifting to the surface of his mind.

"They aren't real," he whispered. "This, now, is real."

He had left Nicki's chambers with hardly a word and they both knew what he had meant to do, what he needed to do. If he did not, could not do this, the consequences were unthinkable. But so was this.

"Courage, Louis," he said to himself. It occurred to him that speaking to himself in that manner was a habit he'd picked up from Lestat. That, too, was a memory he forced down.

Finding the memories where he was too hard to bear, he stepped through the doorway, eyes still closed, and did not open them until he was fully inside.

Memnoch's Temple. Memnoch's Alter.

The feelings and memories flooded through him, filling him, crashing inside of him until all he could feel was a tingling numbness. He looked around him, searching through the shadows to make himself see it all, feel it all like one who cannot help but press their own bruised flesh to make themselves feel the pain once again.

But he felt nothing.

He had been tortured here. Beaten, cut, humiliated, nearly murdered and more that he did not want to even give words to, but he could feel nothing of the pain.

"Can't go home again, can you?" A lithe female figure stepped out of the shadows. She turned around slowly, her dark eyes taking in the full sight of the alter and all around it, before looking up to where Louis stood.

"Perhaps that's a comfort," Louis said. "Perhaps that's how it is meant to be."

"Perhaps," Cleopatra said. She shrugged one shoulder and the silk sleeve of her dress slid down her arm. "After all, what is the past to creatures such as we? We who live through all time and trial. What use have we for memories?"

"What indeed?" Louis said. He looked around him again, trying to find something, but he did not know what.

"Why are you here, green-eyed one?" Cleopatra asked.

"I wanted to see this place again," Louis said. "There are so many memories here."

She waved this off with one of her hands. "I was not speaking so specifically," she said. "I meant here, with us. What is your purpose in staying here?"

"Do you think I am your enemy?" Louis asked. "Have I done something to earn your mistrust?"

"No," she said. "But you have not spoken of your intent. Don't you have a reason for being here?"

"Isn't the reason the same for all of us?"

"Reasons are never the same for anyone," she said. "Not in any matter. Our goals cross paths so we work together, but our reasons are not the same. Not mine, not Nicki's, not yours. But you, have you even a goal at all?"

"I thought I did," he said.

"And now?"

"Now I don't know what I have."

"Not even to get the sunlight back?" she asked. "I heard Nicki tell you of his brief moment in the sun but you never came to me to ask of it. I'm surprised."


"I thought you would want that. You spoke so often in your book of what you lost, the sun most of all."

"Are you saying you could give it back to me?"

She studied him. "I'm saying that it's interesting that you never even explored the option, for all that you said you wanted it."

"I say a great many things. I can never mean all of them."

"So you are a liar then?"

"No moreso than anyone else," Louis said. "Who of us really knows the truth, even of ourselves?"

"You sound like Nicki," Cleopatra said. "Such philosophy usually comes from his mouth."

"Perhaps he's right," Louis said.

"I prefer not to think of these things, they are not my way," she pulled her sleeve back up to her shoulder. "So I do not interest you at all?"

"As a person with whom I could talk and learn, yes you interest me very much," Louis said. "But as a source of blood, as a possibility that I could walk through the sun unharmed, no. My interest does not lie there."

"Why not? Surely I am not that horrid?" she grinned at him.

Louis smiled. "Quite the opposite. However, the idea that not even the sun could stop me is that horrid. To me anyway. Right now I cannot bear the thought that nothing on this earth could stop me. I need to know that an end exists, somehow."

"Are you seeking an end, Louis? Did you think to find it here?"

"I am seeking something," he said. "And it would seem that I have looked everywhere but here. Once I find it, perhaps then I shall seek my end. Or perhaps finding it will be my end. There is no way I can know until it happens."

"I shall leave you to it then," Cleopatra said. "Nicki has procured a present for me and only now can I enjoy it."

She turned and walked towards one of the many smaller side doorways.

"Cleopatra," Louis called after her. "May I ask you one more question?"

She looked back at him. "Yes?"

"What is 'your way'?"

"To never look back and to never look forward," she said. "I live from moment to moment. That is my way. But I think the more important question here is: what is yours?" Saying that, she left.

Louis stared out at the now empty Temple, turning her question over in his mind. The statues and pictures of Juliano stared back at him, silent, until it seemed that they were not there at all, only pieces of color upon his eyes that had no meaning or shape.

He blinked to clear his vision and the colors came together and he found himself looking into someone's study. But it was an old study. The furniture was styled and the books were bound in the way of the late 18th century. Candles provided the only light. The door to the study opened and a young man came in. He was dressed entirely in a black which matched his dark hair which was pulled back into a ponytail like any proper 18th century gentleman, though he had only just reached the age when he might be called so, and he carried stacks of ledgers in his arms. These he put down on the desk and he began searching through the desk drawers, trying to find something with which he could write.

"What are you doing?" Louis asked the young man.

"Please, monsieur," the young man said in the old French, "Forgive my rudeness but my father has just died. I cannot stop for idle chat." He looked at Louis briefly and Louis was momentarily stunned by how green the young man's eyes were.

But then Louis' eyes had always been so green. Even when he was this young mortal man.

"Not even for a moment?" Louis asked. "Please, I have so much that I would speak with you about."

"I cannot," the young Louis said. "There's no time. There is so much to take care of. My entire family is dependent upon me now. I have to concentrate on the running of this plantation or the whole family will go into ruin."

"Surely the plantation can take care of itself," Louis said. "That is what the foreman is for. You are a young man. You should go out, be with your friends. Fall in love."

"There's no time!" the young Louis snapped. "I need to stay here and take care of the family. I can't spend my energy on trivial things like love and friendship. I need to be here!"

"But your father just died," Louis said. "At least take the time to mourn him."

The young Louis rubbed his eyes frantically. "N-no, I need to work. I can't take the time for that, I need to take care of so many things. Do you expect me to selfishly take care of my needs when the family is dependent on me? I must take care of the family."

"To hell with 'em," a drunken voice said. Louis watched as a new, older version of himself entered the room. His hair was half bound, half falling into his unshaven face. His fine clothes were torn and stained and he carried a bottle of wine in his hand. He stumbled over to a chair and fell into it. "What does it matter anyway? Spend my whole life taking care of them and what does it get me? A fucking murder charge, that's what! Think I killed Paul. I loved him! He was the only one who understood me! Oh God, why did he have to die?" the drunken Louis began to sob, tears falling down his face. "Should've been me. Why wasn't it me? Why can't it be me? Fuck them all, I don't care anymore!" he took a deep swallow from the bottle of wine.

"Yes you do, it's your family," Louis said. "Think of your mother, your sister. You need them now more than ever."

"I don't need anybody," the drunken Louis said. "All I need I got right here," he held up the bottle, "Gimme this an' a gun an' I'm set for life." He giggled. "Well, death anyway. Just end it all. Yeah, that's what I need."

"That's a sin," the young Louis said.

"Who cares about sin?" a new voice said. A fourth Louis entered the room. This one was a vampire. He was dressed in the finest of fashions and his clothes were so new that they practically gleamed. This was the Louis of the past three years. "If it's fun do it! Why should I have to go through any pain? I want pleasure and if I have to get it through sin, all the better. I'll even make love to a man if I have to." He leered at the younger Louis and clearly enjoyed watching the younger man squirm.

"But you love that man," Louis said. "Your feelings are real."

"Love doesn't matter," the pleasure-seeking Louis said. "I don't care about that. I just want distractions. No pain!"

"You shouldn't be making love to a man at all," the young Louis said. "You'll go to Hell. It says so in the Bible."

"I'm in Hell!" the drunken Louis said.

"Get yourself a good, cheap whore," the pleasure-seeking Louis said. "That will surely make you feel better."

"And get him killed," Louis said.

The pleasure-seeking Louis shrugged. "Hey, if that's what he wants. It's not my concern."

"Isn't anything your concern?" Louis asked.

"Nope," the pleasure-seeking Louis grinned. "You see, that's the fun of it. I do whatever the hell I want and I don't have to feel any pain."

"How can you say that?" Louis asked. "Your friends are right by your side, Lestat is willing to give his life for you and all you care about is yourself?"

"That's not my problem," the pleasure-seeking Louis said.

"Amen," the drunken Louis said. "I don't need that. Too much pressure. If I got involved with someone now, I'd just screw it up anyway so why bother?"

"Don't you have anything to say about this?" Louis asked his younger self. "What of your plans for the future? Don't you want to find someone to share your life with?"

"Of course," the young Louis said. "I have to find someone to marry and have children with, it's expected of me."

"I'm not talking about what's expected of you," Louis said. "I'm talking about passion, love. Don't you want those things?"

"I'll take passion," the pleasure-seeking Louis said.

"That's all a myth," the young Louis said. "It makes for a good story but that doesn't happen in real life. I'm sure my mother will find someone to for me to arrange a marriage with. Then I can settle down."

"Why do you want to settle down?" Louis asked. "Don't you want to see the world? Go exploring? There's an entire planet out there that you only have the faintest idea of."

"That's too much of a bother," the young Louis said. "Too chaotic."

"What's wrong with a little chaos?" Louis asked.

"I'll take his side in this," the pleasure-seeking Louis said. "The last thing I need is for the universe to throw me another screwball. I'm taking charge of my life, thank you."

"But what kind of life do you have?" Louis asked. "You're throwing away everything that ever meant something to you."

"Better to do it yourself before life does it to you," the drunken Louis said. "Nothing matters, nothing has any meaning. Why hold on to what you don't need?"

"And what do you need?" Louis asked. "All of you, what do you need?"

"Order," the young Louis said.

"Escape," the drunken Louis said.

"Control," the pleasure-seeking Louis said.

"You think that if you have those things that you will have a life?" Louis asked. "That's not living! You've completely missed the point!"

He turned to the young Louis. "You. You spend your whole time locked up in the house, never seeing anything beyond those doors but that won't give you a happy life. You're not interacting with people or with anything real. You keep trying to see the world in black and white and you miss all the beautiful colors in between."

He faced the drunken Louis. "You spend your whole time lost inside of that bottle, thinking that it will keep you from feeling the pain but that's what's causing it! You think that if you keep from taking care of yourself you will do your Penance and no one will blame you anymore. But you were never to blame! If you never fight for your rightful place you will always be doomed to failure."

He looked at the pleasure-seeking Louis. "And you. You have absolved yourself of all responsibility, thinking that if you ignore everything, it will all go away. Well it does! You succeed at pushing things away so much that you're left with nothing at all."

"Where do you get off saying this to us?" the drunken Louis said.

"You made us what we are," the young Louis said.

"If there is any blame for all of this," the pleasure-seeking Louis said, "it lies with you."

"I know," Louis said and he watched as the vision disappeared. He looked around him at the empty Temple. "I know."

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