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Nothing is Impossible
Rosemary Beard
1998
Sequel to "Now and Forever"
Standard Disclaimers Apply.

Nothing is impossible.



	Claire opened her eyes and looked out at the 
crowd. She could feel his eyes on her, see his look of 
pride. Rising to accept the applause of their 
audience, she and the other members of the chamber 
group filed silently from the stage. She could still 
feel the force of the music running through her. 
	She had always loved the cello and shortly 
after her marriage to James, she had been forced to 
give it up. Lucien had presented her with this 
magnificent Montagnana and her love of music had 
been reborn. After the first faltering notes, she had 
managed to recapture the joy she had always felt as 
she drew the bow gently across its strings. Now, a 
year later, here she was, part of a chamber society, 
playing her beloved instrument for the enjoyment of 
others. 
	She had become fast friends with the others 
in her group, much to the disdain of Lucien, who 
preferred to remain aloof and distant. None of them 
knew her secret and no one would. She could not 
expose them to the wrath of the enforcers. Making 
her usual excuses, she hurried to join Lucien as he 
waited for her by the stage door. 
	"Claire" a voice called out behind her, "Can 
I talk to you for a minute? I need a huge favor, if you 
could."
Claire turned around to find her friend Rachel 
hurrying towards her.
	"I hate to ask you this." Rachel said, "But I 
really have nowhere else to turn."
Claire looked over her shoulder to where Lucien 
stood impatiently. Willing him to wait a moment 
longer, she turned her attention back to her worried 
friend.
	They had been friends for many years. She 
and Rachel had been inseparable until Claire's 
marriage to James, and  the death of Rachel's parent 
had forced them apart. It was only when Claire had 
returned to Toronto after James'  tragic "accident" 
that they had found each other again. 
	"What is it you need?" she asked. "I'll help 
in whatever way I can."
	Lucien stood staring as his wife and her 
friend spoke in hushed tones. He could see Claire 
smile at this mortal. It was a smile he knew all to 
well. It meant she was planning something that 
would cost him, not in money perhaps, but in other 
ways. Claire was still as human as the day he had 
brought her across, and he loved that in her, yet 
while it was amusing, it could also be a bit annoying.
	The two women parted and Claire walked to 
where her husband waited. She smiled up at him, her 
eyes sparkling. Reaching out, she took his hand. 
	"Lucien." she giggled softly, "We are going 
to have a baby."

******************************************
*********

	Lucien stood looking down at her. Not 
knowing whether to laugh or be angry, he said 
nothing as she continued.
	"It's only for a couple weeks while Rachel 
and her husband are out of town. She says that Amy, 
that's the baby's name, is a sweet child. Hardly cries 
at all. She really needs me to do this. She and David 
have no family to turn to and I told her I would do 
this for her. Lucien, she's my oldest and dearest 
friend!"
	The initial shock of her announcement, 
having worn off, was replaced by a feeling of utter 
agitation.
	"I will not have my life or my house, 
disrupted by a mortal child." he said, anger flashing 
in his eyes. "No Claire, this time you will do as I say. 
Now you go back and tell her you cannot do it."
	"I won't do any such thing." Claire said, 
crossing her arms over her chest and looking up at 
him defiantly. "Its my house too, and I told her I 
would take care of Amy until they returned. Surely 
one small child can't be that much of a problem." 
Lucien stood scowling at her.
	"Children." he said, angrily, "are always a 
problem, no matter what their size. It's simply out of 
the question."
	"But she has no one else to look after Amy, 
and its their honeymoon. Rachel and David have 
been planning this for two years, ever since they 
married. Its taken them that long to save for it, and 
I'm not going to spoil it for them, and neither are 
you." she told him. Spinning on her heel, she walked 
away, leaving him staring at her back. "Now, lets go 
home."  she called out to him as she hurried out the 
door.
	 She knew he was angry with her, she could 
feel it, but she wasn't about change her mind and 
give him the satisfaction of  having his way yet 
again. It was true, he was her master, but he was 
wrong about this. She had made a promise and she 
would not let him talk her out of it.
	They flew home in silence. Claire tried to 
reach his mind, only to be shut out by a veil Lucien 
had put there to stop her. If she could just reach him 
across the bond that joined them, she knew she could 
make him change his mind. "The problem is," she 
said to herself, " he knows it too, that's why he was 
shielding himself from me."
	When they arrived home, Claire set about 
making preparations for the baby's arrival. She 
worked early into the next morning cleaning out the 
empty room that adjoined their bedroom, giving the 
walls a fresh coat of paint, and hanging heavy 
curtains on the windows. Stepping back she scanned 
the room for any minute details she might have 
missed. She would call and have a crib and some 
other furniture delivered in the morning. David 
would not be here until the afternoon to drop off the 
baby's things and Rachel would bring Amy later in 
the evening. Claire, satisfied with what she had 
accomplished, headed off for a shower and a well 
deserved rest.
	Lucien had been watching as she scurried 
around the room. Still agitated at having his wishes 
ignored, he did nothing to help her. "If she is 
determined to do this against my will." he thought, 
"she will do it without my assistance. It was she, and 
not I that made that ridiculous promise."  Turning 
quickly, he made his way into the Raven and 
consoled himself with a bottle of his finest vintage.



******************************************
****


	Claire awakened to what sounded like 
someone knocking down a wall. Opening her eyes 
slowly, she reached out for Lucien only to find his 
side of the bed empty. The banging continued and 
Claire reluctantly rose from the bed and grabbed her 
robe.
	Making her way toward the sound, she 
realized it was someone knocking at the rear delivery 
door and hurried to answer it. Opening the door and 
bracing herself against the brightness of the day, she 
saw David standing there, holding what appeared to 
be a baby bed.
	"I'm sorry, I must have overslept." she told 
him.
	"Overslept?" he asked. "Its 3 in the 
afternoon. Didn't Rachel tell you I was coming?"
	" Yes, of course." she mumbled, " I must 
have forgotten the time. Come in, come in." she said, 
motioning for him to enter.
	Claire wanted to close the door quickly, the 
sun was beginning to become uncomfortably warm, 
and she was still quite tired. "Can you manage with 
that?" she asked him. "My husband is not at home or 
I'm sure he would be only to happy to help you. " she 
lied. She wished she knew where Lucien was, he 
could have at least opened the door.
	Claire led the way to the empty room that 
the baby would occupy during her stay with them. 
David struggled with the bed as he hurried to follow 
her.
	"Amy is a bit fussy about sleeping in a 
strange bed." he said. "Rachel thought it would be 
easier for all of you if I brought her bed along."
	David set the bed down and Claire knelt on 
the floor and  began reassembling it. 
	"I think I can handle this if you want to go 
get the rest of Amy's thing." Claire told him. 
	"This is awfully heavy, maybe I should do 
it. " David said. "My car is just out back. You can 
bring in the things from the car while I put the bed 
back together."
	Claire looked at him. Not wanting to make 
excuses about the sun and allergies , she managed to 
"persuade"  him that it would a much better idea for 
him to retrieve the baby's things while she assembled 
the bed.
	"On second thought, " he told her, looking a 
bit glassy eyed, "That trunk lid does stick a bit. 
Perhaps it would be better if I got the things out of 
the car. The bed is really rather simple to put 
together, and if you need help, I won't be but a few 
minutes." , he said , repeating what she had told 
him.
	Claire smiled as he hurried from the room. 
Picking up the pieces of the bed, she began fitting 
them together as David scurried in and out, carrying 
in box after box of toys and clothing. Claire brought 
in a rocking chair from her bedroom and sent David 
into one of the adjoining rooms for the small dresser 
she had seen stored there.
	Together they worked arranging and 
rearranging the furniture until David was satisfied 
that Amy would be happy with the new 
surroundings. Claire was becoming increasingly 
nervous, she hadn't fed yet and could feel her hunger 
rising. Silently she reached out to Lucien, pleading 
with him to come and help her. She needed to feed 
and soon. She had tried to hurry things along, but 
David had insisted that things be just so. She 
struggled to keep herself under control.
	Hearing a slight noise, she looked up to find 
Lucien standing in the doorway,  a full wineglass in 
hand, smiling at her. She could smell the contents of 
the glass and it became more difficult to control the 
hunger gnawing at her. Turning to David, she said 
sweetly.
	"David, you remember my husband, Lucien, 
don't you?.  Perhaps the two of you could finish with 
the furniture. I really would like to get dressed before 
Rachel arrives with Amy."
	David had been too busy to notice that 
Claire was still dressed in a nightgown and robe. 
Turning a pale shade of red, he stammered, " Uh, of 
course. I *am* sorry. Please, I'm sure we can finish 
this."
	Claire walked to where Lucien stood. Her 
back turned to David, she glared at her husband. 
"Where have you been." she hissed at him through 
clenched teeth. "I'm starving."  Taking the glass 
from his hand, she hurried down the hall as she 
emptied its contents. Taking a detour into the club, 
she snatched a bottle from the bar and  headed to her 
bedroom. Once inside, she closed the door and 
refilled her glass. She hadn't been this hungry in a 
long time. She continued draining the bottle, a glass 
full at a time, until its contents were nearly gone.
	Satiated, she sat on the edge of the bed and 
thought about the baby. How nice it would have been 
to have one of her own. She could imagine it as 
surely as if it were a tangible thing. The child, a little 
girl of course, would have her mother's dark curls 
and her father's pale blue eyes. Her father....Claire 
wondered what kind of father Lucien would have 
made. She knew he had loved Divia, yet....  Claire 
shook herself out of her daydream. That wouldn't 
happen now, no matter how she wished for it.
	Sadly, Claire stood up and walked to the 
wardrobe. Taking out a few things, she hurriedly 
threw on some jeans and a sweater. Picking up the 
near empty bottle, she lifted it to her lips and drained 
it of its last remaining contents, then left the room to 
return the bottle to its place at the bar.
	Humming softly, she walked back to where 
she had left David and Lucien. She walked over to 
her husband and gently laid her hand on his arm. 
Smiling up at him, she asked, "Have you two been  
having fun while I was gone?"
	"I'm afraid your husband has some rather 
old-fashioned ideas about raising daughters, Claire. 
Someone should remind him this is the 90's,  we 
don't  "train" our children anymore." David said, 
rather gruffly.
	Claire could feel Lucien stiffen. She knew 
he did not like David and would not tolerate much 
more of his tone. Smiling, she laid her cheek against 
Lucien's shoulder. "He is of the "old school"  I'm 
afraid." she said to David, "But he means well. Amy 
will be fine in our care, I assure you." 
	"I certainly hope so. This was Rachel's idea, 
not mine. I would just as soon have taken Amy with 
us." he said quickly. "Now if you will excuse me, I 
have other things to attend to before we leave 
tomorrow. I'll show myself out."
David walked from the room, down the hall, and 
disappeared out of the rear door, slamming it behind 
him.
	"Imagine this mortal, " Lucien spat, 
"Telling ME how to raise children, as if he were the 
expert. He as much as told me himself, he's still new 
to this experience."  His eyes were ringed in gold. "I, 
on the other hand, have been a father for centuries. I 
could tell him much about fatherhood that would 
soon change his mind."
	"Lucien, " Claire said quietly, taking his 
face in her hands. "Do this for me, please? I'll not 
ask for a favor again."  She looked up at him, her 
eyes a warm, golden brown. Claire put her arms 
around his neck and drew his face down to hers. "Its 
only for two weeks. What is two weeks out of 
eternity.?"
	He looked down at his wife. She was right 
of course. In view of the centuries they would spend 
together, two weeks was merely the blink of an eye. 
Drawing her into his arms, he kissed her and held 
her to him. "Alright." he said, "but only for these 
two weeks. I am not running a child care center. And 
YOU are responsible for her care. Do not come to 
me if it doesn't go as easily as you've planned." he 
said, holding her close to him.
	Claire smiled and tightened her arms 
around him. Standing on her toes, she gave him a 
quick kiss and hurried off to answer the front door. 
"That will be Rachel and Amy. " she said happily as 
she exited the room. Lucien stood looking after her. 
His thoughts turned to his own child, "If Claire had 
been Divia's mother..........."



******************************************
**********


	Claire opened the door and admitted 
Rachel. The baby, wrapped up tightly to guard 
against the chill night air, was barely visible. 
	"She's fallen asleep." her friend whispered, 
"Poor dear, car rides always tire her out."
	Claire motioned quietly for Rachel to follow 
and led her to the room that she and David had 
prepared. Turning on the lamp, she pointed to the 
bed, which had been set up well away from the 
window. Rachel walked quietly across the room and 
gently laid Amy in the crib. Moving swiftly and with 
an efficiency borne of experience, she unwrapped the 
baby and removed her coat. Amy merely sighed, and 
continued sleeping.
	Claire watched as Rachel went about the 
room caring for her child. A stab of envy shot 
through her and she turned away momentarily. 
Steeling herself against such notions, she walked 
across to where the baby slept and looked into the 
crib. Rachel was just covering her with a blanket 
when the child stirred and opened her eyes. 
	Claire held her breath. Amy's small head 
was covered with a riot of dark curls, and Claire 
found herself looking into a pair of pale blue eyes. 
Claire stood there staring. "She's so beautiful." 
Claire said, looking up at her friend.  
	The child, as if aware that she was the 
object of their discussion, smiled up at Claire and 
made a cooing sound.
	"May I?" Claire asked her friend, motioning 
towards the baby.
	"She really should be sleeping now." Rachel 
answered, looking into Claire's pleading eyes, " oh, 
go ahead, I'm sure she won't mind."
	Claire flashed her friend a radiant smile and 
reached down to pick up the baby, and cradled her 
gently. Smiling, Amy reached out and touched 
Claire's face. Instinctively, Claire gently kissed the 
tiny fingers. The feel of the small, warm hand 
against her cold lips and the soft, sweet smell of the 
baby in her arms flooded Claire with emotions, 
anger at James for having robbed her of this most 
precious gift, regret that she would not know the 
feeling of a child growing inside her. Had she been 
able to remain mortal only a short while longer, 
perhaps she could have given Lucien a child. Claire 
fought to hold back the tears that had formed in her 
eyes.
	Rachel smiled. "Amy always seems to have 
that effect on people." She said, looking down at her 
daughter. "She really should be sleeping." 
	Drawing the child closer to her, Claire 
began softly humming as she walked across the room 
and seated herself in the well worn rocking chair. 
Laying the baby on her shoulder, she began to gently 
stroke Amy's back as she continued humming. Soon 
the child was sleeping peacefully. Rachel whispered. 
"She really is worn out, poor dear." 
	Claire looked up at her friend and smiled. 
Slowly rising from the chair, she carried the sleeping 
child across the room and put her back into the crib. 
Rachel covered Amy with a light blanket and 
snapped off the light. Quietly the two women made 
their way out of the room.
	"David was worried about leaving Amy 
with you. He doesn't like Lucien I'm afraid, but I told 
him everything would be fine. I guess first time 
fathers are always this way." Rachel said, as they 
walked back toward the club. Rachel reached out and 
put her hand on Claire's arm. "I can't thank you 
enough for doing this for us."
	Claire smiled at her friend. "It's no 
problem." she said, " I'm glad I could help, now 
relax and enjoy your trip."
The two women chatted as they walked toward the 
entrance. 
	"I really must be getting back." Rachel said, 
looking at her watch. " I still have packing to do."  
Claire opened the door and stood watching as her 
friend made her way to the cab. A quick wave and 
Rachel was on her way. Claire shut the door and 
hurried back to the room where Amy was sleeping.
	She walked quietly across the room and 
stood looking into the crib, listening to the baby's 
slow, steady breathing. Reaching down, Claire 
gently touched the small hand that curled lazily 
above Amy's head. She could not forget the feelings 
this child had stirred in her. Wiping the tears from 
her eyes, Claire turned and hurried from the room.
	"This is just silly." She said to herself as she 
walked down the hall. " I will never have a child of 
my own and the sooner I accept that the better."  She 
slowly made her way into the Raven and across to 
the booth were Lucien was recording his show. 
Claire pasted a smile on her face as she reached for 
the doorknob. 
	"The baby is sleeping peacefully." She told 
him, as she entered the room. "I told you she would 
be no problem." Claire walked over and stood behind 
him. Leaning down she kissed the top of his head 
and gave him a quick hug. "I really need to get about 
learning the new piece we are playing next month. 
Now where did I put it?" Claire made a show of 
rummaging around through the papers on a nearby 
table. "Here it is." she called out happily, holding up 
a packet of sheet music. "If you need me, I will be in 
the back." 
	Claire sailed from the room before Lucien 
could respond. Shutting the door behind her, she 
closed her eyes and leaned against the door. Taking 
a deep breath she opened her eyes and walked away. 
	Lucien sat staring at the door. Claire had 
entered and left so quickly he wondered what she 
was about. Her mood had been too happy, too 
pleasant. Stretching his mind out to her, he met with 
resistance. A puzzled look crossed his face. Reaching 
across the console in front of him, he went back to 
the recording he was making, his mind not on his 
work, but on Claire. 



******************************************
*****

	Claire sat staring at the music in front of 
her. Picking up her bow, she began to play. She 
knew this piece by heart, Mozart had always been 
her favorite. Lovingly she ran her fingers up and 
down the strings as the room filled with music. She 
poured her emotions, her rage, her regret, into this 
piece, letting the music cleanse and comfort her. Her 
mind raced as each emotion flooded through her, she 
could see herself as she had been, alive, mortal, 
human. She thought back to the night that had all 
changed and rage filled her as she remembered how 
quickly that life had left her. She relived the rage she 
had felt towards James as she had repaid him in kind 
by draining the last drop of his life. Only regret 
remained, regret that he had robbed her of the 
chance of having her own child.
	Perhaps Lucien had been right, perhaps she 
should have suggested that Rachel find someone else 
to care for Amy. This feeling of regret was new to 
her, she hadn't considered the effect this would have 
on her. She never imagined that she was still capable 
of such feelings. 
	Claire gently lifted her bow and placed it on 
the table in front of her. The walls in the room 
seemed to be closing in on her. She had to go out for 
a while, try to clear her head and shake off these 
feelings. She needed to talk to someone about what 
she was feeling, but who? Lucien? No, he would tell 
her she was being foolish, clinging to a life that no 
longer existed. Nick? No, she knew he would tell her 
that it was only her natural longings to be human 
again. But she didn't want to be human if it meant 
only a short life with Lucien. She wanted an eternity 
of nights with him. 
	Claire jumped up from her chair. "Of 
course!" she said to herself. Carefully placing her 
cello back into its case, she rested it against the chair 
and hurried off to find Lucien. Opening the door to 
his booth, she discovered it empty. She heard the 
sounds of voices and music and realized that he 
would be in the club. Moving quickly, she made her 
way into the Raven and over to where Lucien stood. 
	Claire stood on her tiptoes and kissed his 
cheek. 
	"I'm going out for a little while. Listen for 
the baby will you? She's sleeping peacefully and I'm 
sure she will be for the whole time I'm gone. I'll be 
back as soon as I can."  She said quickly, smiling up 
at him.
	Lucien shot her a look.  "We agreed that 
YOU would look after the child. . . ." he started 
angrily.
	Before he could finish what he was saying, 
Claire raced from the room and was out of the door, 
leaving Lucien standing at the bar looking after her.
	
******************************************
************
	Claire's feet touched down lightly on the 
pavement outside the coroner's building. Moving at 
vampire speed, she managed to slip inside and make 
her way to Nat's office unnoticed. Grasping the 
doorknob, she pushed the door open as she tapped 
lightly with her free hand.
	"Nat?" she called out, "Are you busy? It's 
me, Claire. I really need to talk to you."
	"Claire?" Nat answered. "No, I'm not too 
busy, its been a slow night, thank goodness. I was 
just finishing up some paperwork. Never seems to be 
enough time for it, everything around here is a rush 
job. Come in." she said, looking at her visitor.
"What's wrong?"
	"Everything and nothing, I suppose." Claire 
sighed. "I just needed another woman to talk to I 
guess." She said, as she walked to an empty stool 
and brought it over to sit beside the desk.
	Seating herself, she looked over at her 
friend. "Have you ever regretted not having 
children?" she asked.
	"Yes, sometimes I suppose, but  what 
brought this on? You seem so happy with your life 
the way it is."
	"I was." Claire answered sadly, "until 
tonight."
Nat reached out and touched Claire's arm. "What 
happened to change that." She asked, a touch of 
concern in her voice.
	Claire sat staring at the wall as she told Nat 
about the events of the last two days. Tears came to 
her eyes as she described the feelings of anger and 
rage she felt. "If it were only possible to have a child 
of my own." Claire said wistfully, "but I know that 
will never happen now and I have James to thank for 
that."
	"Does LaCroix know what you are feeling?"  
Nat asked, wondering what he would say about 
Claire's urges toward motherhood.
	"How can I tell him? He doesn't understand 
why I can't let go of my mortal emotions. You know 
what happened with his child. Do you honestly think 
he could forget that?"
	"No, I don't imagine he could." Nat said, 
"But its not like you will ever have to worry about 
that, you can't have children, not as you are now."
	Claire stood and began pacing the room. "I 
know that." she said, regret filling her voice, "Why 
can't I just let these feelings go?"
	"Because they are natural, at least in a 
mortal woman, but you are not mortal. You have to 
accept that. I've been working with Nick towards a 
cure, but its not something that appears to be close. 
We've had a few  moments of success, but more 
setbacks than any real progress." Nat said, thinking 
back to the drug that had allowed Nick to experience 
the sunlight for the first time in centuries.
	"I don't want to be mortal again, not if it 
means I have to give up Lucien. I want all the time 
eternity has to offer with him." Claire said. "I'm not 
like Nick, mortality doesn't hold anything but pain 
for me."
	"Perhaps you could "adopt" a child?" Nat 
suggested.
	"I thought of that. Can you imagine an 
agency allowing US to adopt. Just think what the 
background check would uncover. No, that isn't an 
option for us. I'll just have to accept that.", Claire 
said sadly. 
	"I remember a case Nick worked on once. 
An old "acquaintance" of his, a female vampire. She 
had the same feelings you are experiencing." Nat 
said, half talking to herself. 
	"OH?" Claire asked, her interest peaked. 
"What did she do about it?"
	"There was some old legend that said 
something about a full moon and a special mortal. 
She believed that if she became pregnant she would 
also regain her mortality. She killed her mortal lover 
when it failed. She left Toronto, as far as we know."
	"What legend?" Claire asked excitedly.
	"Now wait, its only a legend. It wasn't true. 
A man died proving it. Surely YOU don't believe..." 
Nat started.
Claire bolted across the room and took hold of Nat's 
hand. 	"Legends are, more often than not, based in 
fact. Suppose it WAS possible?" Claire eyes sparkled 
at the thought. "Just think of it, it might even lead to 
a way to cure Nick."
	Nat stood there looking at Claire. Surely she 
didn't believe this, it was just a story, yet...... She had 
never actually done any tests on any vampire other 
than Nick, perhaps there was a difference with 
female vampires, something in their physical 
makeup.
	"I'd have to run some tests, some not very 
pleasant." She told Claire, "AND there is no 
guarantee I would find anything different than I have 
found with Nick."
	Claire looked at her beaming. Rolling up 
her sleeve, she offered her arm to Nat. "Test away 
Doc. I have lots of time."



******************************************
************


	Lucien tapped his fingers impatiently on the 
bar. "What mischief is she up to now?" he asked 
himself. Reaching out across the link that joined 
them, all he could sense was her presence in the city, 
she was blocking everything else from him. He could 
almost hear her giggling as he tried to reach her. 
"Damn!" he said outloud, slamming his fist on the 
bar. "What is she playing at?"  Alma, standing close 
by, sensed his anger and heard his outburst. Smiling 
to herself, she walked to where he stood.
	"Trouble?" she asked, coyly.
	"Nothing that need concern you." he told 
her icily. He didn't like having anyone pry into his 
personal life. "Go back to your friends. I have things 
to do."  
	Lucien stood, walked across to the radio 
booth and opened the door. A small sound caught his 
attention. It was a baby's cry. Looking back at Alma, 
he knew she heard it too. Smiling, she turned and 
walked back to where her friends stood. Soon they 
were laughing brightly.
	Anger rose in him. Turning sharply, he 
charged to the back of the building and opened the 
room where Amy, had only moments before, been 
sleeping peacefully.  "Where is Claire?" he asked, 
"This is HER responsibility, not mine."
	He walked over and peered into the crib. 
The child was crying loudly now, as if she were in 
great distress. His anger faded as he looked at this 
small, innocent face, wet with tears. Reaching 
clumsily into the crib, he was unable to find the 
cause of this outburst. Amy looked up, her bright 
blue eyes still glistening with tears. Unsure of what 
he should do, he picked her up carefully, 
	"What is this noise about?" he asked her, as 
if he expected her to answer him. 
	Amy smiled at him and reached out to 
touch his face. His first reaction was to pull away 
from her touch. The baby looked at him, puzzled, 
her lower lip quivering as if she were about to cry 
again. Lucien stood there looking at her. He hadn't 
had much experience with babies and wasn't quite 
sure what to do next. His mind flashed back to 
Divia's infancy. Her mother had always handled this. 
He saw very little of her when she was this young.  
Divia had been raised almost alone, as he was often 
away with his army.
	Lucien walked across the room, cradling the 
baby as if he were afraid she would break, and seated 
himself in the rocking chair. Amy yawned and 
looked up at him expectantly. "Well, little one. " he 
said, "what do we do now?"

******************************************
************
	"It may be a few days, possibly a week, 
before I know what we have to work with." Nat told 
Claire. "I have to do this on my own time or risk 
being discovered."
	Claire finished buttoning her shirt and 
walked across the room to where her friend stood. 
Putting her arms around her, she hugged Nat tightly. 
	"Thanks for listening." she said, "and 
thanks especially for trying to help."
	"There are no guarantees." Nat said 
seriously, "This may just be another setback, another 
dead end. You do understand that, don't you?"
	"Yes, I understand, and if turns out that 
way, then I'll accept it, but for now, at least I have 
hope." Claire's eyes filled with tears. "At least I will 
know for sure, one way or another."
Nat looked at her, she wanted this to work not only 
for her friend's sake, but for Nick as well. Claire had 
been right, this could lead to a cure for him, or it 
could lead to nothing, but it was a new direction, a 
new lead to follow."
	Claire looked at the clock on the office wall. 
"Oh my!" she said, "Lucien! He's gonna be furious 
with me. I've been gone so long,"  Waving to Nat, 
she made for the door and hurried out onto the street. 
Taking flight, she made her way back to the Raven 
and what she thought would be akin to judgment 
day.
	Standing outside the door to the club, she 
pulled herself up to her full height, and walked in 
smiling. Looking around the room she didn't see 
Lucien anywhere. Closing her eyes, she sensed him 
in another part of the building. "The baby's room." 
she said under her breath, and hurried off to find 
him.
	As she walked quickly across the club, she 
heard his voice faintly, he was speaking in French. A 
puzzled look crossed her face. She recognized a few 
of the words, but what on earth was he talking about, 
and to who? 
	Claire turned the corner and started down 
the hall toward Amy's room, she stopped. Of course 
she recognized the words! It was "Goldilocks" only 
in French! Making her way quietly to the doorway, 
she leaned against the frame, smiling. Sitting in the 
rocking chair, was Lucien. Amy was cradled 
securely in his arms, her eyes on his face, as he 
stumbled through the fairy tale he was telling her. 
	Claire backed up and raced off down the 
hall. She didn't want to disturb this scene. This, 
combined with the hope Nat had given her, made her 
still heart sing. She made her way back into the club, 
walked to the bar, and ordered a glass of Lucien's 
finest vintage. Seating herself on a stool at the corner 
of the bar, she settled back, sipping from the glass, 
and waited for him to appear.
	Moments later, Lucien made his way into 
the club and walked to where Claire was seated.  
Looking down at her, he took the glass from her 
hand. His eyes met her and he said quietly.
	"We will not discuss this. The child was in 
distress and you were not here to see to her needs. 
This changes nothing." 
	 Raising the glass to his lips, he took a long 
drink, turned and walked away. 



******************************************
************


	The next week went by slowly. Claire 
listened anxiously for the phone, hoping each time it 
rang that Nat would be on the other end with good 
news. Amy had settled into a routine and Lucien, 
although he went out of his way to avoid her, seemed 
to mind Amy's presence less as each new day passed. 
Rachel and David would be back in a few days, and 
the baby would be on her way out of their lives. 
	Claire fed and bathed the child and had just 
put her down to sleep when the phone rang. 
	"It's probably someone wanting to sell 
Lucien aluminum siding for the club." she told 
herself as she covered Amy with a light blanket. Not 
wanting to get her hopes up, she moved slowly as 
she gave Amy a favorite toy and snapped out the 
light. Slipping out of the room, she closed the door 
and made her way to Lucien's office. 
	"Ah. Dr. Lambert, to what do I owe this 
honor?" she heard Lucien croon into the phone as 
she neared the door. "Yes, she's here." he said, 
looking up at Claire as she entered the room. 
	Lucien gave her a suspicious look and 
handed her the phone.
	"Nat? Hi, how are you?" she asked, wishing 
that she were alone. Exchanging pleasantries, she 
gave Lucien a pleading look. He sat there smiling at 
her, yet making no attempt to provide her with the 
privacy she wanted.
	"No, I'm not busy." she said, flashing a 
pasted smile at her husband. "Sure, I'll be right 
there. See you in a few minutes. Bye." she quickly 
replaced the receiver and turned to leave.
	"You are NOT going out and leaving me 
with the child again." he said coldly.
	Claire walked over to stand by his chair. 
Smiling sweetly at him, she bent down and kissed 
him. 
	"Its important." she said, as she settled 
herself in his lap. "Besides", she said, planting light 
kisses slowly up and down the side of his neck. 
"Amy is sleeping, I won't be gone long, and I think 
she likes you." 
	Claire could feel him stiffen at the thought 
of being alone with the child. She reached out and 
unbuttoned his shirt. Leaning forward, she kissed the 
base of his throat, her hands moving up and down 
his bare chest. 
	Lucien put his arms around her and drew 
her to him. Lifting her chin with his hand, he looked 
into her eyes. Claire could see the gold rimming his 
eyes. Leaning down, he kissed her. 
	Claire could feel the passion running 
through her. She loved him so much. If this worked, 
she would be able to give him a child. Putting her 
arms around his neck, she whispered in his ear. 
	"I'll make it up to you when I get back."
Lucien sighed and released her from his arms. 
	"Your determined to go out, no matter what 
I say?"
	"Yes" she said, looking into his eyes.
	"Then go, but I WILL hold you to your 
promise." he said. 
	"Please do." she giggled, as she stood up 
and planted a kiss on his forehead. "I'll be as quick 
as I can."
	
******************************************
************
	Claire touched down lightly outside the 
coroner's building, and made her way to Nat's office. 
Tapping lightly on the door, she entered the room 
and found both Nick and Nat there. 
	"Nick!" Claire exclaimed, "How are you?" 
She moved quickly across the room to wrap her arms 
around him. "Its been ages! What are you doing 
here? Nat didn't tell me you were here." 
	Claire released him and made her way to a 
chair. Seating  herself comfortably, she looked at 
Nat. 
	"Well? " she asked, her heart racing as she 
waited for a response. "Since Nick is here, I imagine 
its good news?"
	Nat looked at Nick and then back at Claire. 
	"Claire......." she started.
Claire's heart sank. She could tell by the look on her 
friends face that the tests hadn't turned out as she 
expected. Tears began to gather in her eyes.
	"Tell me." she said softly. "I have to know 
for sure."
Nat walked to where Claire was seated. Nick stood 
behind her. 
	"Claire," Nat began again. "I can't help you. 
The tests showed that you don't need my help. You 
are already pregnant." 
	Claire looked up at her. Had she heard 
correctly? 
	"What?" she murmured, not quite sure how 
to react. 
Nat was smiling.
	"I don't know how it happened, but you are 
pregnant. As far as I can tell, the baby is due in 
seven months." 
	"But, you said it was impossible. You 
said...." Claire stammered, looking from Nat to Nick 
and back again.
	"I know what I said, but I ran the tests 
several times to be sure. Its true. I can't explain it, 
but it is true. The tests also show that your blood is 
changing. The "virus", if you will, that made you a 
vampire is mutating, you are becoming human 
again."
	"NO!" Claire said, jumping up from her 
chair. "I don't WANT to be mortal!"
	Claire began pacing the room. 
	"How is this possible? I only wanted a child, 
Lucien's child. I never wanted to be mortal again. I 
want to stay with Lucien. If I become mortal again, I 
can't do that."
	"You aren't completely mortal." Nick said, 
putting his arm around her shoulders. 
	"No, that's true. You may never be 
completely mortal, we just don't know." Nat said, 
looking at Claire's distressed face. "But this should 
be a happy time for you. You've gotten what you 
wanted. You're going to have a baby."
	"But not like this!" Claire sobbed, putting 
her head on Nick's shoulder. "How did this happen?"
	Nick led Claire to a chair and sat her down. 
	"There is something I think I should tell 
you." he said. "It might help to explain some of this."
Claire turned her tear-stained face up to Nick. She 
sat quietly as he told her of Janette and her "cure". 
	"So, you think that's what happened to me? 
That it was my love for Lucien and his for me, that 
made this possible?"  she asked.
	"I don't know." Nick said solemnly, "but I 
don't have any other explanation to offer."
	Claire looked at Nat. "So what do we do 
now?" she asked quietly.




******************************************
************



	Claire stood looking down at herself. She 
didn't see any changes, but she knew they would 
come. Picking up a pillow, she put it in front of her 
and tried to imagine what she would look like in a 
few months time. Would Lucien still love her when 
she grew larger? 
	"Lucien!" she whispered. "How am I ever 
gonna tell him?"
Claire tossed the pillow back on the bed and walked 
over to sit down.  He had noticed a difference in her 
right away. It was becoming harder to shield herself 
from him so she had filled her mind with thoughts of 
Amy. 
	She'd have to tell him though, and soon. 
Rachel and David came and took Amy home last 
night. There was nothing left now to fill her mind 
against his probing. When she was a little girl, she 
had always imagined how she would tell her 
husband that they would have a child, but this was 
certainly not the way she imagined it would happen.
	 She was so lost in her own thoughts that 
she didn't hear him enter the room.
	"Claire?" he said softly, crossing the room 
to where she sat. 
Claire looked up at him with a start. Smiling, she 
stood and walked to the window. Pulling back the 
curtain, she gazed out into the night. 
	"I'm sorry Lucien, I was thinking of Amy." 
she lied. 
Lucien walked to her and put his arms around her. 
She stiffened, and pulled away slightly. A concerned 
look crossed his face as he turned her to look at him.
	"Have I done something to make you angry 
with me?" he asked, lifting her face to him. "It's 
because I didn't want Amy here, isn't it?" 
	"No," she said quietly, wrapping her arms 
around her neck, and pulling him close to her.
	"Then what is it? Things have changed 
between us, and I want to know why." 
	Claire took a deep breath and looked up at 
him. Gathering up her courage, she whispered, "We 
are going to have a baby."
Lucien stood looking at her in stunned silence. "Not 
again." he said coldly, "You promised me you would 
not ask again. I will NOT be seduced into looking 
after another of your friends children." 
	He pulled her arms from around his neck 
and paced across the room. "We agreed that Amy 
would be the last. You assured me that you would 
not allow yourself to be talked into such a scheme 
again. Am I constantly to be bombarded with a 
parade of small children?" He raged at her.
	Claire stood quietly as his anger spent itself. 
"You don't understand." she said sadly, "Its not 
someone else's child."  Seating herself on the edge of 
the bed, she put her hands to her face and whispered. 
"I'm pregnant." 
	Lucien stood looking at his wife. "That's 
impossible." he said simply, "You're a vampire."
	"Not anymore, at least not completely." she 
said, looking up at him through tears. Claire told 
him about the visit to Natalie and the tests she had 
run. She explained the results of those tests to him.
	"I know about Janette and her cure too." she 
told him. "Nick told me. Its possible that it worked 
for me also, but I never wanted to be mortal. I only 
wanted to have your child. Nat thinks that it is 
possible that my desire for a child, combined with 
our love has brought this about. I wanted you to be 
happy, but I've failed, you don't want this child." 
Claire sobbed softly.
	Lucien looked down at her. He could feel 
her pain. He wanted to take her in his arms and 
make that pain stop, but he wasn't sure how he felt 
about all of this. Turning sharply on his heel, he left 
the room and closed the door behind him.

******************************************
************

	Lucien walked by the lake thinking about 
the events of the past. His life had been so settled 
before Claire entered it. She had brought something 
into it that added an excitement to each day. He 
loved her as he had loved only once before, but a 
child was not something he had expected even in his 
wildest dreams. True, he had always thought of 
Nicholas as his son, but now he was to have a child 
of his own.
	A child of his own. Those words haunted 
him. Was it Divia's memory that kept him from 
accepting the news with anything more than a 
feeling of dread? And Claire? What of her?
She was becoming mortal again, would she be 
willing to give that up for him again? She had been 
willing once, but he couldn't be sure that motherhood 
wouldn't change that.
	It didn't matter. Suddenly he realized it just 
didn't matter. Claire was part of his life now and he 
wanted her to continue to be,  no matter what the 
future held. He was going to be a father, a REAL 
father this time. This child would not be a repeat of 
Divia. This child would have a father who would be 
there for all the events of its life. This child would 
have two parents that loved it and each other.
	Taking flight, he returned to the Raven.

******************************************
************

	Claire sat sobbing as if her heart would 
break. If this is what it meant to be mortal, she 
wanted no part of it. She had pushed Lucien from 
her with her wild schemes. He had been right all the 
time. She had accepted what she had become and 
should have shed the mortal feelings she had so 
desperately clung to.
	And now she was going to have a baby, a 
baby he didn't want. How could she bring this child 
into a world that had just fallen apart around her?  
The baby, she had to think of the baby now. What 
happened to her was no longer important she had to 
take care of the child. 
	Drying her tears, she hurried to the 
wardrobe and began throwing clothes onto the bed. 
She'd get away for a while, put some distance 
between Lucien and herself. Then when the child 
was born, he wouldn't have to deal with it.
	She had thought of leaving once before, 
when James was after her. It had been for his 
protection, before she knew what Lucien was, now it 
was for his own good. He didn't want this child and 
she loved him too much to be a burden on him.
	Claire busied herself finding suitcases and 
trunks and packing her things. 

******************************************
************

	Lucien touched down outside the Raven and 
hurried inside. He had to talk to Claire, tell her what 
was in his mind. Opening the door, he caught sight 
of her half filled suitcases and the look of 
determination on her face.
	"What do you think you are doing?" he 
asked her, a touch of agitation in his voice.
	"Leaving." she said simply. "You don't want 
this child and I won't burden you with it."
	"You are not taking MY child anywhere." 
he said, moving toward her, his eyes becoming 
golden.
	She looked up at him, puzzled. "but, you 
said......." she started.
	"Forget what I said." he told her, taking her 
in his arms.  "The child is mine and I will NOT give 
up another of my children, nor will I let you walk out 
of my life. I love you Claire, you belong to me."
	Claire looked up at him, her eyes shining. 
"Oh, Lucien. I love you too."

******************************************
************

	Claire woke the next day as waves of nausea 
swept over her. Pulling herself up to a sitting 
position, she looked around. The bed beside her 
contained only the impression of her missing 
husband.
	"Lucien!" she called out, as she got out of 
bed. Fighting the feeling of sickness that threatened 
to engulf her, she made her way unsteadily across 
the room and opened the door.
	"Lucien!" she called again.
	Hearing no reply, she walked slowly down 
the hall and into the club. It too was empty. Claire 
felt as if her insides were at war. Slowly, she walked 
to the bar and leaned against a stool. 
	"I just need to feed." she told herself, and 
made her way to the small fridge that was kept 
stocked with Lucien's special vintage. 
Taking out a bottle and placing it on the bar, she 
turned to retrieve a glass.
	A small bowl of pretzels caught her eye, so 
she picked it up and placed it, along with the glass, 
on the bar. She remembered hearing somewhere that 
crackers or pretzels were often used by mortal 
women to combat morning sickness and she was 
willing to try anything to relieve the uneasy feeling 
in her stomach.
	Gingerly, using her thumb and forefinger, 
she picked up a pretzel and brought it to her mouth. 
The salty taste on her tongue  did nothing to 
alleviate the rocking in her stomach. Reaching for 
her bottle, she poured the red liquid into the glass 
and downed its  contents in one long swallow. 
	This only made her nausea worse and 
Claire jumped up from the stool and dashed to the 
bathroom, as quickly as her feet would carry her. 
Half way down the hall, she encountered her 
husband. Holding her hand tightly over her mouth, 
she looked at him pleadingly and resumed her race.
	Moments later, she walked back into the 
club, a cold cloth pressed to her forehead. Wearily 
she seated herself on a stool and leaned over the bar. 
Lucien walked over to stand behind her. 
	"Are you alright?" he asked, a concerned 
look on his face. 
	"I'm just fine." she said sarcastically, 
looking up at him.
	"I always do the hundred yard dash first 
thing after waking up. That's how I keep my trim 
figure."  Claire absent-mindedly picked up a pretzel 
and dipped it into the glass before her. Popping the 
pretzel into her mouth, she smiled. Grabbing a 
handful of the small snacks, she dropped them into 
the glass. She sat there grinning as she watched  
them float to the top.
	Reaching into the glass with her fingers, 
she popped them one at a time into her mouth. 
Lucien shuddered.
	"Such a waste of a fine vintange." he 
thought. 
Claire sat there happily spearing the soggy pretzels 
as the nausea passed and she once again felt like her 
old self. Looking up at him, she held out the glass.
	"Want one?", she asked.
	"Uh, no thank you." he said, looking a bit ill 
himself.
Shrugging, she went back to dropping pretzels into 
the glass. "You don't know what you're missing." she 
said, munching happily. "Tastes rather good really."
	Sighing loudly, Lucien turned and left the 
club. He had the feeling the next few months would 
be interesting, to say the least.



******************************************
************

	
	"I keep having these strange cravings." 
Claire told Nat, as she pushed herself out of the 
chair. 
	"Most pregnant woman crave things they 
wouldn't eat otherwise." Nat said, matter-of -factly, 
writing on a small pad in front of her. 
	"But raw liver covered in chocolate ice 
cream?" Claire asked. "Lucien refuses to even sit 
with me during dinner." she giggled, picturing his 
look of horror at her cuisine. 
	Nat looked at her friend. "Well, I agree that 
is a bit extreme, but in your case....." she started.
	"What's going to happen when the baby 
comes? Will it be mortal? Will I? " Claire asked, a 
worried look crossing her features.
	"That I can't say. I just don't know. As far 
as I can determine, the child is mortal, but you, on 
the other hand are neither." Nat flipped through 
some papers on the desk in front of her. "Your latest 
blood tests show that the mutation has remained 
constant since you passed the 4th month, but there is 
no way to tell, we just have to wait. In the mean time 
I suggest you keep taking your vitamins and eating 
as sensibly as possible." 
 	"Uh, about the vitamins." Claire said, 
wrinkling her nose. "I keep forgetting to take them."
	Nat looked at Claire and smiled. "You and 
Nick." she thought.
	"You still have 4 months, have you started 
looking for a name for the baby yet?"
	"No, we can't seem to agree whether it will 
be a boy or girl." she said. "Lucien is sure it will be a 
son. We haven't even gotten around to shopping for 
the baby yet. Lucien wants to order everything by 
phone." she sighed.
	"Tell him your doctor ordered you to go out 
and get some exercise." she told her, "If he doesn't 
agree, you send him to see me."
	Claire laughed. "I'll be sure to tell him 
that." she said, imagining Natalie and Lucien nose to 
nose. "Thanks. If you and Nick aren't busy, could 
you join us for dinner some evening?"
	"I'd like that." Nat said, then remembered 
the liver and ice cream. "But I'll have to talk to Nick 
first." she added quickly.
Claire walked over and hugged Nat. 
	"I really should get back now, its getting 
late, and I'm sure you have work to do. I can't thank 
you enough for your help, I don't know what I'd do 
without you."
	"I can't very well recomend another doctor, 
now can I? I'm afraid I don't know any who are 
prepared to deal with cases like yours." Nat said, 
smiling. "I'll see you in a month, and don't forget 
your vitamins!"
	"Yes ma'am." Claire said, as she slipped out 
of the door.

******************************************
************
	"Stop here!" Claire said excitedly, pointing 
to the small shop on the corner ahead. "Oh Lucien, 
isn't it sweet." 
Looking in the direction she was pointing, he 
shuddered. In the shop window was a small, frilly, 
pink baby dress.
	"Wouldn't our daughter look so cute in 
that?" Claire squealed.
	"Our SON would look a little out of place, 
don't you think." he said solemnly.
	Claire ignored him and opened the car door.  
"Lets go inside." she said, taking hold of his hand. 
	Lucien sighed and got out of the car. 
Walking around to the other side, he helped Claire 
exit the vehicle. Leaning back into the car, he told 
the chauffer, "Wait here, we won't be long."
	Claire, hearing this, stuck her tongue out at 
him and shook her head. "Yes we will." she said to 
herself. Taking hold of his hand, she pulled him 
toward the shop.
	Once inside they were greeted by a 
saleswoman who, seeing the expensive car from 
which they exited, smelled a big sale. 
	"Can I help you?" she gushed.
	"We'd like to see your selection of infants 
wear." Claire said, looking around the brightly lit 
shop.
	"Is this your first?" the woman asked, 
looking at Claire's abundant waistline.
	"Yes." Claire said proudly.
	"No." Lucien said, "I have a son."
	"Oh, second marriage, I understand." she 
said, putting her arm around Claire's shoulder. "And 
how old is your son?" she asked, looking back at 
Lucien.
	"Eight hundred, give or take a year." he 
said, smiling at her shocked look.
	Claire flashed him a look. "He's such a 
joker." she told the saleswoman. "His son is grown."
	"Ah, starting a second family. Isn't that 
nice? Well, then you'll need a complete wardrobe for 
the child won't you? We have some really nice 
things." she said, leading them across the shop.
 	Several hours later, they exited the shop 
carrying several large bags and boxes. Lucien 
motioned for the chauffer, who opened the car door 
and helped Claire inside, then turned to help Lucien 
stow the packages.
	"I'll see to the furniture delivery myself." 
the saleswoman assured LaCroix. "It should arrive 
late tomorrow afternoon." She waved at Claire and 
returned to the shop smiling.



******************************************
************


	Claire's expanding figure made even the 
simplest movements difficult. Standing from a seated 
position became an ordeal, lying down was 
impossible. 
	Tossing and turning in bed, she found it 
difficult to sleep. The child was due in two days, but 
Claire was growing impatient. Lucien slept 
peacefully beside her, oblivious to her discomfort. 
Struggling to turn over in bed, she soon managed to 
shift her weight only to find herself looking at the 
back of Lucien's head. Sighing, she laid her hand on 
her swollen belly just as the baby began to kick. 
	"It's not fair." she said to herself, "He sleeps 
like the dead while I'm awake all day." Grinning 
wickedly, an idea came to her mind. Shifting her 
weight slowly, she pressed her belly against Lucien's 
back. The baby kicked. 
	A soft growl came from Lucien's side of the 
bed. The baby kicked again. Claire giggled as Lucien 
mumbled something unintelligible. This time the 
baby kicked harder as it turned inside her, trying to 
make itself more comfortable.
	"What?" Lucien growled.
	"It wasn't me." Claire said innocently, "Its 
your child. She just wants to make her presence 
known."
	"HE will be interrupting my sleep soon 
enough." Lucien said, turning to face her. Talking 
her in his arms, he kissed her forehead and held her 
until she finally fell into a much needed sleep.
Lucien lay there looking down at her. He marveled 
at the new life growing inside her. Soon he would be 
a father again, after all these centuries it was so hard 
to imagine, yet here it was. Closing his eyes, he fell 
into a dreamless sleep.
	Day turned into evening and he was 
awakened by Claire, shaking him. Opening his eyes, 
he saw tears streaming down her face, a grimace of 
pain distorting her features.
	"Lucien!" she said loudly, shaking him as 
hard as she could. "Call Nat, its time! The baby is 
coming!"
******************************************
************
	Lucien paced back and forth in the dimly lit 
hallway. Nick sat quietly looking at his father. 
	"She'll be fine." he said, trying to reassure 
him. "Nat is taking good care of her."
	"I want to see her!" he growled.
	"Everything will be fine, don't worry." Nick 
told him softly.
	"I WILL see her!" he said, his eyes turning 
golden, as he walked toward the door. 
	"LaCroix, sit down." Nick growled, 
"Everything is under control."
	Lucien turned to face him, but before either 
could utter another word, the door swung open and 
Natalie, dressed in scrubs and carrying something 
with her, entered the room. Throwing the clothing, 
at LaCroix, she looked up at him.
	"Put these on and come with me." she said, 
"Your child is about to make its entrance into this 
world."
Lucien looked from Nat to Nick and back again.
	"Do what you're told." Nat barked.
Growling quietly, Lucien made his way to the men's 
room and hurriedly changed into the scrubs provided 
him. Some minutes later, he returned to where Nat 
was waiting. The two disappeared  through the door 
as Nick watched, shocked but amused at LaCroix's 
compliance.

******************************************
***********
	"Push!" Nat told her, "I can see the head."
Claire was covered in sweat, and she was so tired. 
Reaching up, she took hold of Lucien's hand and 
squeezed it. Another contraction hit her and she 
gasped.
	"Push!" Nat repeated.
Claire did as she was told and was rewarded with the 
loud cry of her child entering the world. Collapsing 
back onto the delivery table, she looked up at Nat. 
	"Is the baby alright? Can I see it?" 
Nat looked at Lucien and then at Claire. Smiling, 
she told them, "She's your daughter, I don't see why 
not."
	"A girl? Oh, Lucien, its a girl!" she said 
excitedly, looking up at her husband. 
	Lucien leaned down and kissed Claire. "A 
daughter." he told himself. He had been given a 
chance to correct the mistakes he had made so long 
ago. Claire lay there exhausted, tears streaming 
down her face. Nat handed the child to its mother 
and stood back, wiping a tear from her eye as she 
looked at the new family.
	Claire stroked the child's face as it cried 
mournfully. 
	"Lucien," she said, smiling brightly, "I'd 
like you to meet Miss Laura Natalie LaCroix, your 
daughter."  
	Lucien reached down and touched Claire's 
cheek. His heart had long ago ceased to be cold and 
empty. She had filled it and given him a most 
precious gift, the warmth of her love, and now, this 
child. Nothing in his past had prepared him for this, 
doubts surfaced, only to be tucked away in his mind. 
Cautiously he reached out to touch the child, and 
found his finger encircled in a small, warm hand. 
The path his life had taken would be a difficult one, 
but with Claire in his life, it would not be an 
uneventful one, of that he was sure. 	


End