This takes place after the The End of the Beginning. The stories that contain some of the tale in flashbacks are Turning the Page and Blood Ties.
LaCroix does not belong to me, and neither does Methos, but Triona does.
Sleep would come easily to no one this night. Too much emotion and far too many regrets eddied in the dark - feelings so strong as to be an almost physical sensation -- to make that possible. But as useless as it was to try, it was also an excuse, and an escape, from what needed to be said and for what needed to be asked....
Triona lay still in her bed, trying to still her thoughts, her feelings. She had accepted the consequences of her choice to have LaCroix bring her across, but she had never envisioned what those consequences would truly be when everything had gone so horribly wrong. This morning, when she had walked into the sun, and had started to burn, the harsh reality of what the years ahead held for her became clear with a brutal finality. A memory of a voice, something she thought she had imagined when she had been in that place between life and death, came to her; "...the path you have chosen will not be what you envision. Only the twilight awaits you, an eternity of neither dark nor light."
She laughed in the darkness, a harsh, almost hysterical sound. Triona was no longer able to hold back the wave of emotion she'd been trying so hard to contain. Instinctively she felt for LaCroix, his presence always reassuring to her no matter his mood. Triona didn't want to be alone, couldn't be alone anymore in the dark -- a dark more of the soul than one of the night.
Now, as her mind sought his, she felt an almost intangible wisp of what she could only describe as sadness and regret, and maybe even a vestige of the same loneliness that she had felt overwhelming her. Then it was gone, like a mist blown away by the night breeze.
Rolling out of her bed, she pulled on her robe and made her way down the hall and up the stairs to the top floor where LaCroix's suite was. Not bothering to knock, she gently pushed open the door.
LaCroix stood looking out the window into the night. He felt her there behind him, the fear and grief he had felt earlier from her now coalescing into the need for reassurance. What she felt tore at him as surely as if he were feeling it himself. Even more so, because LaCroix knew he was the reason she suffered.
As she remained in the doorway, silent, LaCroix turned to her. She seemed somewhere very far away. He sighed. If only... but no. It was too late for those regrets, and unworthy of her loyalty and love.
She startled him, suddenly speaking into the silence of the night. "I'm sorry. I would have done anything to be with you truly. Not this pale reflection of what you envisioned for me, for us." Her lips curled in a grimace. "But now, I can never be anything but an accident, a freak of nature," she finished bitterly.
LaCroix was stunned. How could she have known his half-formed thought? The depth of her insight unsettled him. He never wanted her to feel as if this was in any way her failure. That she had, even in the slightest, disappointed him.
She was now standing next to him. "I wish I could have been what you wanted," she whispered. "That I could have been part of your true family."
LaCroix grabbed her shoulders hard enough to make her wince. "True family? How can you even say that?" he asked fiercely. "Do you think I value you any less because you aren't a vampire? You are still mine, as surely as Nicholas or Janette."
Triona shook her head, "I mean as much as they do? As much as Nicholas?" Her mood suddenly shifted, going from sadness to anger. "Is that why you have been here in your suite, avoiding the sight of me? Don't I at least deserve the truth of how much of a disappointment I am to you?" The last was practically shouted.
She was breathing hard, and he could feel her anger beating down on him, an anger that called his. LaCroix wrapped his hand in her hair, pulling her head back sharply, exposing her throat. So, she doubted her place in the family? Then it was time he reminded her of it. He ran his fangs down her throat, growling softly. As his face brushed hers, he felt the cool dampness of tears. Triona's body went limp in his grasp, her anger abruptly dissipating. LaCroix's anger fled as quickly as hers had. "Oh, my dearest child," he sighed against her throat, "some things never change."
He kissed the soft skin between her ear and jaw, as her breathing quieted. "It has been too long since we truly shared ourselves. It's time we remedied that."
Triona's hands went up around his shoulders as LaCroix ran the tips of his fangs down her throat. She shuddered a little as they slowly pierced her skin. Gathering her in his arms, still slowly sipping from her, he carried her to the large leather covered chair that sat in front of the fireplace. Gathering her closer, he sat, continuing to drink. This would be a true melding, with no overriding passion to muddy the joining. It was important that she knew fully his regard and love for her, as he wanted in turn to know the depths of her soul and heart. He sipped, ever so slowly, drawing each drop of her blood, savoring it, and cherishing her and all she was and ever would be.
She sighed a little, her hands relaxing their grip on his shoulders, then sliding down his chest as she lost all control of her body. This was a rare joining; their usual encounters ones of fiery emotions. He felt her anguish, believing she had disappointed him, and that Methos would never truly forgive her for the choice she’d made. Fear that she would lose them both, and herself. And there was also a deep-seated bitterness, realizing she was trapped forever between two worlds, never fully belonging in either.
LaCroix let her see to the depths of his soul. He truly did not regret that she wasn't a vampire. His only regret was at being the instrument of her pain. If he had not tried to bring her across, if he had listened to Methos’ warnings, she would be whole -- not torn and vulnerable to both other Immortals and the sun. He bore sole culpability for that, and would take responsibility for her well being for all time in repayment.
He tasted her tears as they rolled down her throat, mingling with her blood, feeling the full measure of her forgiveness, and her love. LaCroix withdrew his fangs from her throat, moving his lips to hers to kiss her gently. Triona sighed softly, before finally drifting into the embrace of healing sleep.