Note: This story was written in the week after I saw Last Knight. I place it out of the actual "cycle" of Michael stories, because, as far as I saw this episode, it ended the Forever Knight saga, and therefore Michael's interactions with those characters. I hope I am wrong, that Nick and Natalie are still alive, and that at least some Forever Knight movies are made. But I felt them die in Last Knight, and this story comes from that emotional response.
The boy crouched on Nick's roof, hands cupped around his face as he peered through the skylight. The last fading glow of the sunset painted the clouds red, reflecting on the glass with a gory tint. The covered furniture spoke of abandonment, and the dark stains on the floor spoke of death. Something ... he had felt something just before dawn that day, a burst of ... of ... he had no words for it. His familial link to Lacroix was extremely weak. To have received any sensations through it meant that Lacroix's emotions must have been ... intense. He had flown to Nick's loft as soon as the sun had dipped below the horizon. Nick would know what was going on. The loft was empty, however, at least he thought so until Lacroix walked across the floor to stand by the dark stain. Michael started, gasped. He could usually feel Lacroix's distinct presence from further away than this. Right now he could detect nothing of the man's tightly enshrouded essence from only twenty feet away. Lacroix looked up at him, his face a stony mask, white, the eye sockets shadowed pits. The man rose slowly toward the skylight. Michael, a cold dread knotting the pit of his stomach, edged back from the window as it swung open at Lacroix's touch. Stepping out onto the roof, Lacroix carefully closed it behind him. Wordlessly, he turned to stare at Michael. The boy could read nothing from him, nothing. He didn't dare speak. The cold ... deadness of Lacroix's pale eyes frightened him more than anything ever had done before. Lacroix drew in a breath, then stated flatly, "Nicholas is dead." Numbness suffused Michael's limbs, his mind. From a great distance he heard himself repeat, "Dead." "I killed him." Only that he felt muffled, unreal, gave him the coherence to ask, "Why?" "He asked it of me." "Why?" he managed to say again. The whining hum growing in his ears required that he strain to hear Lacroix's expressionless answer. "He had killed Natalie. He wished to join her in death." "....killed....?" "Mmmm." Lacroix's eyes dropped to watch as a sudden breeze gathered up a handful of gray dust and danced it playfully around his ankles. Ashes. Michael's heart clenched, twisted. Ashes. The numbness began to wear off. He began to believe. "Nat...?" he dared to ask. A tiny, icy smile quirked Lacroix's lips, then vanished into stony stillness. "Full fathom five the lady lies; of her bones are coral made," he paraphrased, malicious in his casual word-play. She was in the lake. He had put her in the lake. The cold, dark water dragged at her limbs; her hair flowing, eddying like seaweed. "No," Michael choked. "Yes," replied Lacroix, taking a gliding step toward him. The boy thought he was dead then, the first handy target of a grief-inspired killing frenzy. He was unable to move though, trapped in paralyzed shock. But the man only drew a light fingertip along the boy's jawline. "Nicholas was always looking for angels," he murmured. "How blind ... how blind he was. Heaven is where we make it, is it not? As is hell. Welcome to hell, Michael." With a blurring flash he disappeared into the night sky. Michael gaped after him a moment, then dropped his eyes to his feet. Ashes whirled, eddied in the strengthening breeze. He shuffled forward a step, then fell to his knees. Sweeping his palms across roof's surface, he collected a meager handful of fine dust. He stared at the ash he cradled, brought it to his nose, inhaling dry bitterness. He rubbed his hands together, washing them with the grit, trying to drive it under his skin. He found himself suddenly flying into the sky, peering out onto the empty blackness of the lake. Love rocked there in its cold embrace. He couldn't understand. These people had been a part of his life for a year, he had come to love them, entangling them in his thoughts and heart. This had been a new thing for him, opening himself in trust. True, mostly he had been a watcher, looking in through the dark glass he had erected to protect a heart that had never left childhood. Rarely did his life make an impact on theirs. But their heat, their lives, their love, their struggle had reached him through the glass, warming him, luring him in out of a contented isolation. Now, that had been ripped away; he found the glass had been shattered and the child in him screamed its betrayal. He arrowed straight up, the speed of his flight whipping tears from his eyes. Welcome to hell, Michael, welcome to hell. Drop your guard and love is a stake in your heart. Stars blurred into great white blotches of light, shattered by his weeping. He flew unheeding until the lack of pressure caused his eardrums to rupture, the sudden sharp pain bringing him back to his body. He hovered, chest heaving in the thin air. He looked down, Toronto a twinkling haze of lights. He let himself fall, twisting, tumbling in the cold emptiness. He could just not catch himself, he realized. One good smeary splat and his body would be too broken to fix itself before the sun rose. He could follow Nick, follow Nat. Death didn't frighten him, he had seen it in all its forms, it held no mysteries. Falling faster than he could fly now, spinning in a series of somersaults that whipped the earth and sky around him in a dizzying blur, the sensation of freedom filled him. Free to choose. Free to die. Free to live. The earth came up fast, drawing him into her fatal embrace, and he chose. Catching himself, he struggled to slow his speed. He'd left it close, the leaves of the trees slapping against his face and arms as he sharply angled his flight over a park. The glass was shattered; he was no longer on the outside of love looking in, a gift from Nick and Nat. The shards hurt, slicing into a tender heart. He tried to tell himself time would ease that, but it didn't help much, but his sense of freedom did. His choices were endless. Live ... die ... love. His choice. Hell is where we make it. As is heaven. Welcome to...?
This page was created by WebEdit, Friday, June 21, 1996
Most recent revision Friday, June 21, 1996