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Home / Fan Fiction / V(cough) C(cough) fic / Strong Enough

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."

Strong Enough, an after spec
by the Brat Queen


I hate nightmares. And how utterly pathetic those words seem when compared to the actual emotion that rages in my heart and soul at the thought of the visions that plague me when the sun rises and, like every vampire, I must submit to the light and go once again into the darkness in my mind.

Sometimes I almost wish myself mortal. A mortal man could force himself awake for days on end and perhaps even to the point that when he does sleep, he will have taxed himself so much that such visions cannot be conjured anymore.

I am a vampire. I can kill with a thought, bend metal in my hands and even fly if I so desired. Yet I am helpless to save myself from that which does not even exist, really.

Suffice it to say that last night I woke up from yet another dream-created memory of Juliano. I don' t even remember which one it was. I've had so many that they are no longer distinguishable from one another. Perhaps I was being cut. Perhaps I was chained to the wall. I may have even been in the sunlight again. I don't know.

Where ever I was, I woke up screaming. Again. And Lestat was by my side, trying to comfort me. Again.

I'm not sure what it was that made me snap, but I did.

"Get away from me! Just get away!" I shoved Lestat with all of my strength, not caring where he landed. Finding my pants draped over a chair, I quickly put them on so that I might address him with more dignity.

"Louis, what is it?" From the corner of my eye, I could see that he was looking at me with concern.

"For God's sake, get dressed!" I threw a shirt at him. "And stop looking at me that way!"

He stared at me for a moment before putting the shirt on with sharp, jabbing movements. "And in what way am I looking at you?"

"You know what way," I said. "That 'poor Louis' look of yours. I have to wake up to the sight of that every night of my life and I'm sick of it!"

"Oh are you?" Lestat asked. "Well forgive me, but I thought I was being caring. My mistake. Tell you what, the next time you have a nightmare, why don't I just let you lie there and suffer in it instead of waking you up like I have been doing? After all, if that's what you prefer--"

"I prefer you to stop treating me like an invalid!"

"I have *never*--"

"The Hell you haven't!"

"The Hell I have!" Lestat got up from the bed and pulled on his jeans. He looked at me for a moment before continuing. "You know, I was going to let you just have your little say but you know what? I'm not going to! You want to know why, Louis? Because *I* am sick of having to deal with your every little mood swing and demands!"

"My *demands*!"

"Yes! I have been living like your slave for these past three years and I'm not going to do it anymore! I quit!"

"My *slave*?" I was incredulous. "If you have been a *slave*, Lestat, it was to yourself! I never demanded anything of you!"

"Oh really?" Lestat asked. "Then what do you call leaving your victims out for me to hide? leaving it up to me to explain your strange behavior to the rest of the coven? leaving *me* for days on end and going off to God knows where to do God knows what while I'm stuck here wondering if maybe, just maybe you're still alive! I have been doing that and more ever since we came back from Rio and I have yet to get the slightest acknowledgment of my actions!"

"I knew it!"

"Knew *what*?"

"I knew that you were only doing this for yourself!" I folded my arms and began to pace. "It all makes sense to me now."

"Me too! You're insane! If I did all of this for myself, then I'm more of a masochist than I ever gave myself credit for."

"You did it so that everyone in the coven could look at you and think what a wonderful person you are for staying with a man like me!"

"So you admit that you're impossible to live with?" Lestat laughed, the sound grated against my nerves. "Now we're getting somewhere."

"How dare you make such judgments about me? You have no idea what it's been like for me, having to live with these memories, this pain. No idea at all!"

"That's right," Lestat said. "I forgot. I'm living with Louis de Pointe du Lac, patron saint of every pain and sorrow there is. However could a mere man like myself ever know what it's like to feel *real* misery? What a blasphemy to suggest it! No, no one on this earth has ever felt pain, only the pious, pompous Louis!"

I slapped him. Hard.

"You hit me!" he gasped, holding his hand against his reddened cheek. "I can't believe it, you actually hit me! Son of a bitch!"

"You deserved it," I told him. "Anyway, I seem to remember you striking me a few times in the past. I believe I'm owed a few."

"Of course," Lestat said. "We must be even after all. Let's see... In the past I have struck you a few times and I've given you eternal life. You have just struck me now and... what else? There's something else, I know there is. Oh yes, you've also tried to kill me! And on more than one occasion! Yes, you hitting me now seems more than fair."

"I never tried to kill you," I said. "I've attacked you, yes, but never tried to kill you outright!"

"You failed to help me when I was dying," he said. "And that is exactly the same thing. I seem to remember you chastising me for similar actions not long after I made you. Whatever happened to you and your 'respect for all life'?"

The last of which he said in such a way as to mimic me and my way of speaking. I was deadly tempted to strike him again.

"Don't imitate me," I said. "You know how I hate it."

"You only hate it because I speak the truth. You have failed me again and again and you know it!"

"And you have been such a success for me?" I asked. "You accuse me of strange behavior and of leaving you. Well that is exactly what you have done to me for the past two centuries! You're as selfish and self-centered as you've ever been!"

"That's it," Lestat said. He held out his hands as though to stop an onslaught of some sort. "That is absolutely it! I'm not going to take this from you."

"Really now?"

"Yes," he hissed. He took his boots and put them on. "I've had it. If I hear any more of your whining, I'm going to kill you. I can't be here anymore. I'm going."

"Go then!"

"For good." He looked at me, challenging me with what he had said. "I can't live with you anymore."

"And where are you planning on going, pray tell?"

"Anywhere but here," he picked up his jacket on the way to the door. "It's early enough. If I start now, I can be halfway around the world by sunset. That should be far enough away from you for now."

I don't know why I didn't stop him. It did occur to me that I should say something, but I didn't. I simply listened to the sound of him walking downstairs and out the front door to where there was no sound of him at all.

Perhaps it was my anger that silenced me. I had been so infuriated by his words that his leaving was a blessing.

Whatever it was, anger was the emotion that stayed with me for hours after he left. I stayed in the bedroom for a while, picking out all of the examples of things that he did that I detested. And when that pastime lost its amusement, I finished dressing and wandered around the house, doing much the same thing.

I wanted to destroy something. Preferably of his.

Finally, I could not stand being in the house by myself any longer. I walked the dark New Orleans streets with a new purpose in mind.

I found him sitting in the back booth of some bar. I got a drink to put in front of myself so that we would be left alone, then sat down across from him.

"I hate that house," I told him. When he did not reply, I continued. "There is nothing in it that I can ruin without fear that it will break your heart. *Everything* has sentimental value."

"They're just things," he said. "Do what you want with them. I can always find others."

"But still, there is meaning. That was the whole point."

"Right now, I'm not terribly fond of you so what you choose to do with the things I give you will hardly change my mind."

I did not know what to say. We sat there in silence until I finally had the courage to speak.

"Lestat, if you don't--"

"Spare me!"

"Excuse me?" I said, taken aback by his outburst.

"I know exactly what you're going to say," he said. "So spare me your false sentimentalities. I don't want to hear them anymore."

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said.

"Yes you do," he said. "'Lestat, if you don't want to stay with me, I understand. You can go if you want to.' Lying little bastard."

"I told you not to imitate me."

"Sorry."

"And I'm not lying! Lestat, if you really want to--"

"I told you to spare me."

I ran a hand through my hair, irritably. "I don't know how to explain how I feel unless I repeat that. But I do mean it, Lestat. I'm not lying."

"Yes, you are," he leaned forward on the table. "You're here now, aren't you?"

"I don't follow you."

"You tell me that if I'm unhappy, if I want to go, that I can. Yet the very moment I do so you can't come after me fast enough!"

"This is completely different," I said.

"No it isn't," he said. "Didn't I tell you I was leaving for good? Didn't you believe it of me?"

"Yes, but--"

"But nothing!"

"It isn't the same thing," I said. "Not the same at all! You obviously *didn't* mean it or we wouldn't be talking now. You said you were going around the world, not to a bar in New Orleans."

"Maybe I had to hunt first," he said. "Maybe I'm taking my time. Hell, maybe I just wanted to see what you would do."

"I don't want you to stay with me if you're unhappy, Lestat," I said. "Not if you're truly unhappy."

"Bull shit, Louis! You are so full of it!" Lestat sighed. "I'm not staying if you won't be truthful with me."

"I am!"

"Then I'm gone," he said. He got up from the table. "And, just for the record, I am really going and I am really unhappy." He waited to see if I understood this, then began to walk away.

"Lestat!"

He turned to look at me. "What?"

I couldn't respond.

He shrugged and walked away again.

I stayed at the table, struggling with myself, before I gabbed him and pulled him back. He didn't come peacefully. I could feel his strength under my hand, he could break free at any moment.

"Let me go," he said.

"No."

"Why?"

"Because..."

"*Why*?"

"Because if you leave me I shall hate you forever, Lestat! I will!"

Lestat smiled and sat back down. "Well then, now we're getting somewhere."

"And what was the point of forcing me through that?" I asked.

"Because I was just as sick of you playing the poor little invalid as you were of me treating you that way," he said. "I wanted you to admit to what you really wanted."

"Well I have," I said. "And now I can't stand the sight of you."

"That's fine. As I said, I'm none too fond of you myself," he said. "This is a nice, nostalgic turn in our relationship."

"Oh God, Lestat," I put my head in my hands. "When I wanted us to go back in time, this was not the time I had in mind."

"Which did you have in mind?" he asked.

"The night when I woke up beside you," I said. "When we made love in front of the fireplace. Everything felt so right then, so balanced."

"And now we're unbalanced?" he asked with genuine interest.

"I didn't mean that we were balanced," I said, trying to find the words to explain it. "We were, but that's not what I had in mind. It was like--it was as though that was the first moment when everything felt *real*, when I was truly myself for the first time. And then, I don't know what happened, but that stopped. Somehow I became detached and went farther and farther away while everything else, including you, stayed in the same place and all I could do was watch from a distance while my own life was lived without me."

"Oh, Louis," Lestat whispered.

"I wanted to die," I said softly.

"Then?"

"No," I said. I could feel myself begin to cry and I tried desperately to hold the tears back so that I could speak. "In the Temple. With Juliano. So many things happened to me, Lestat. So many horrible things that no man is meant to live through and yet I did, again and again and again. And I was just so *tired*. Everything I did was a fight, a fight for survival and I didn't want to fight anymore. But my body lived on so I had to as well. Then, finally, *your* fight came and I was dying. I could feel myself slipping away and I didn't care anymore. I could rest, that was all I cared about.

"Then something pulled me back. *You* pulled me back. You were with me once more so I had to fight again. I had to fight because I wanted to be with you. And you were giving me your blood so I thought everything would be better.

"But it's not better, Lestat. I'm still fighting. I've been fighting for three years and I can't stand it anymore."

He grew still. "Do you want to die? Is that what you are saying to me?"

"No!" I shook my head vehemently. "Mon Dieu, no, Lestat. No, thanks to you, I am not as bad as I was then. I don't want to die so my fighting can stop. I want my fighting to stop so that I can *live*."

"Oh," he said, simply, but I could see the happiness in his eyes.

"It's just so tiring," I said. "Have you any idea what it's like to fear sleep as much as I do? I swear, Lestat, if it wasn't for you lying beside me every night I don't think I'd have the courage to go on.

"And you're right. I haven't given you proper credit for it. You've done everything for me and my treatment of you these past three years has been unforgivable."

"I wouldn't say unforgivable--"

"Dammit, Lestat, don't start!" I slammed my hand down on the table. "You were doing so well until just then."

"'Well'? You consider this night an example of 'well'?" he asked.

"For us, yes," I said. "Think about it, Lestat. When was the last time we fought like this? I want you to fight with me. It shows me that you're not treating me like some sort of emotional cripple."

"I can understand that," he said. "I always liked fighting with you because you fought back. I have great fondness for any man who can tell *me* to go to Hell."

"Lestat?"

"Yes?"

"Go to Hell."

"Oooh!" he faked a swoon. I laughed and he joined in.

"I see your point," I said. "I'd better be careful anytime you get around anyone with some self-confidence."

"It takes more than self-confidence to deal with me," Lestat said. He took my hand in his. "It takes a certain, special, Louisness."

"Ah, so I am a quality now?" I teased.

"You always were of quality, Louis," he smiled. I took a moment to study its handsomeness and relaxed knowing that our terrible fight was over.

"Do you love me, Lestat?"

"Of course I do."

"No," I said. "I want to hear you say the words. Not because we are making love or because you are trying to comfort me but simply because you mean it and you know that words are important to me."

"Well then, I love you M. Louis de Pointe du Lac. I always have and I always will." He raised my hand higher and exposed my wrist. For a moment I thought he was going to bite into it and turn this into a moment of love making to protect his declaration, but he only kissed the tender veins and let our hands fall back to the table. Something which I found more erotic than the actual bite would have been.

"Oh, Lestat," I said. I leaned across the table and kissed him on the mouth, in full view of everyone in the bar.

"What was that for?" he asked when I was done.

"Because I know how much actions mean to you."

He smiled. "So we have fought and made up. Were do we go from here?"

"Hopefully nowhere we've been before," I said. "I don't want things to go back to the way they were. I'm not saying that I don't need your help anymore, but it shouldn't be as one-sided as it was. I should be taking care of you as much as you take care of me."

"I don't need taking care of," Lestat said. "I'm fine."

"How can you say that?" I asked. But I knew the answer. After all that had happened in the past three years, it had been too easy for everyone, including Lestat, to forget that Lestat had been hurt too. No one had really comforted him after his suicide attempt or his time with Raglan James or after both affairs within Memnoch's Temple. There had been too much else to do.

And I was the worst offender of all. I was supposed to be Lestat's lover. It should have been me helping him all along, not demanding his constant attention.

Well Lestat would be ignored no more. I would make sure of that. Of course, knowing Lestat as well as I do, I knew that he would not let me do this outright. Fortunately, the past three years have taught me much about subterfuge. It's more than about time for me to put that to *good* use.

"Really, I'm fine," Lestat said.

I got up from the table and slid into the spot next to him.

"Be that as it may," I said, running my hand along his waist, "can't I take care of you anyway? Just so that I don't feel that I'm taking advantage of you?"

He was about to answer when I silenced him with a kiss.

"If you insist," he said breathlessly. He moved so that his arm was around me with his hand under my seat. It was a more public display of affection than I normally would have allowed in such a crowded place, but I let him do it anyway. "But do you think you can handle me? I'm told on good authority that I'm the most obnoxious, self-centered, greedy, vain, arrogant and generally evil creature on this earth. Do you think you'll be able to take all of that?"

I kissed him again then pulled him out of the booth so we could go home. "Yes, Lestat, I think I can. After all, if you can be strong enough for me, then I can be strong enough for you. And it's past time for me to prove it."

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