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by bleedtoblue
Rated PG-13


Jean~Claude in London:

London was gay and full of life. The aristocracy slept all day and spent the night attending the theater, the opera, an endless round of parties and balls. It made an excellent life for a vampire. The English accepted him as exiled French nobility and welcomed him into their homes. His eccentricities, his lack of interest in daytime activities were attributed simply to being French. The British had a charming naivete about foreigners.

He had wanted to get as far away from France as possible. As far away from Belle Morte, from Asher, from his memories, as he could. Someplace new, someplace different, someplace where he had a chance to start over. He wanted to leave all the pain behind. London was not nearly distant or different enough from France. But for now it was the best he could do.

London nights were damp; the air was choked with fog, smoke, and the foul stench of burning coal. . Human misery was thick in the air, hunger, want, deprivation. He hunted in the teeming slums where no one would miss his victims. No one would care or notice what happened to them. Sometimes he thought he was doing them a favor by ending their miserable existence. Maybe he would have been better off truly dead.

This was not the place he would have chosen for himself but it hadn’t been his choice. The Master of the City of London had not welcomed him, but he had allowed him into the Kiss. It was better than being alone, hiding and living on the fringe.

He was not alone but he was lonely. Even after all this time, even after Asher had denied him, banished him from his side, he still ached for Asher, for his touch, for his love. “Mon chardonneret,” the words fell from his lips like bloody tears, bitter and painful.




“Are you going? Will you take me? Please?” He waved the elegant invitation in the air. His voice was breathless, eager, excited. Jean~Claude was always invited to the best parties, the most exciting events. He was very sought after. “Please? I would be very grateful.” The last word was full of meaning, a tease.

“You want to go?” He raised one dark brow in question. “Truly?” He was teasing now. “It will be very boring, mon ami.” Two could play the game. Jean~Claude’s smile contradicted his words.

“Of course I want to go.” He dropped the heavy envelope back onto the tray. He crossed the room to stand directly in front of Jean~Claude, close enough to run his hands over the snowy shirt front. He moved his hands lightly over the smooth fabric, gently massaging the muscles underneath.

“You’ll be there, it could never be boring.” Jean~Claude laughed and placed his hands over the pair massaging his chest. Byron’s hands continued upwards, tracing nipples that hardened beneath his fingers. He pushed the length of his body closer, laying his head on Jean~Claude’s chest, head tilted up so that grey eyes peered through sooty dark lashes.

“May I go?” He fluttered his eyelashes in a dead on imitation of a debutant that had pursued Jean~Claude ceaselessly. Jean~Claude’s laughter was his reward.

“Please don’t do that, I find it unnerving. Of course you are much more tempting than Elspeth.” Jean~Claude ran his finger across Byron’s lips. They were much more enticing than Elspeth’s could ever be.

“Is that a yes? I’ll be very good." he crooned. " I could be your devoted servant.” Byron smiled slyly. “Then I could sleep in your room.” Jean~Claude thought about how high eyebrows would be raised if that scenario were played out.

“Non. I will introduce you as my ward. As such you are included in the invitation.” He wrapped his arms around his ‘ward.’ “You are the son of my dearest friend who was killed in a tragic accident. I am so very distressed that I can not discuss it.” His voice conveyed deep sadness and loss.

He smiled. Being very distressed kept questions to a minimum. “So very sad, they have much sympathy for you.” The smile grew more feral. “They are fascinated by your story. Especially after I let slip the information about the huge fortune you are heir to. They cannot wait to console you.”

Jean~Claude held Byron close and felt his arms slip up and lock around his neck to pull him down for a kiss. “So now I’m your ward, and you’ve set the lot of them on me by telling them I’m rich. You are in my debt now.”

“As my ward no one will question my deep affection for you.” He returned the kiss. “Or the time we spend together, after all you will be missing your father and need, ah, consolation.”

Byron laughed, spoiling the solemn tone of his speech. “I don’t think this is a display of paternal love. It seems quite improper.” He snuggled closer, locking his arms tighter around Jean~Claude. “Besides, I like the idea of being your devoted servant. Command me.” He punctuated his words with kisses. “Anything. Let me please you.”

Jean~Claude pulled away and stared at the grey eyes clouded over with lust. “Anything?” He laughed as Byron nodded with no hint of a smile. “Very well. Come along and I will tell you about your duties.”




He was reading poetry again; French poetry. Byron watched from the doorway and sighed. It was his fault. How could he have known the poems would cause so much unhappiness, his and Jean-Claude’s? He felt the familiar warm flicker of jealousy. He knew exactly where this would lead. He had certainly had plenty of opportunity to regret giving him the book. How could he have known?

He tried to ignore the heat rising in his blood, not lust; no, hot flames of jealousy. Jealousy was such a destructive emotion. And it was useless to be jealous of a ghost. Beautiful, golden Asher was the specter that haunted them both. It was impossible to compete with a ghost; of course Asher wasn’t really a ghost, he wasn’t dead. The fear that he would come to his senses, come to re-claim Jean-Claude fueled his nightmares. Jean-Claude didn’t really belong to him; Jean-Claude’s heart belonged to Asher.

He took a deep breath and arranged his features into a smile, pulled his emotions from the dark pit of his fears. “Good evening, my love. What are you reading?” He walked into the room, smile firmly in place, pushed the flames down before they could erupt into anger, and tried to maintain control. Jean-Claude would not tolerate an emotional outburst; besides, they’d been over it all before.

“Poetry, from the book you gave me, don’t you remember?” Jean-Claude answered. The blue eyes that he loved so were filled with inky darkness, the smile was a dark illusion, it couldn’t disguise the misery in his eyes tonight.

“Yes, I remember. One of the poems especially reminded me of you, of your eyes when I read it.” Byron hesitated, then continued. “I know it reminds you of Asher. Your eyes are filled with grief. It was supposed to make you happy.” There, now he’d ruined the evening irrevocably, and Asher’s name was out in the open, filling the air between them, separating them. He was tired of pretending Asher didn’t exist, didn’t matter.

The indigo blue eyes grew cold, distant. “I have tried for longer than you know to change my feelings. I cannot. We can sometimes control our actions but our hearts? Not so easily.” Jean-Claude replied in an icy voice. His smile was bitter, his voice heavy with irony. “Do you not find it so? Is your heart under your control? Does it listen to your commands?”

Jean-Claude continued, his words filled with sorrow. “Would you choose to be caught this way? To love someone who does not return your love, who hates you?”

Byron swallowed the angry retort he wanted to make and answered, as truthfully as he could. “Yes, no, I don’t know.” No, Byron thought, but at least you had Asher’s love once. I will never have yours, but you don’t hate me. “Would you be free of Asher?” he asked softly.

For a moment he thought he saw the glitter of tears, thought they might spill down the marble cheek. Watching the softness of the face he was caught off guard by the vehemence of the reply. “Yes, yes, I wish I had never set eyes on him. I would be free of him, of his hold on me.” No tears fell, but Jean-Claude’s eyes were very bright.

“I’m sorry, je suis desole. Forgive me?” Byron knelt by Jean-Claude, leaned against his legs, wrapped his arms around them, and laid his head against his thighs. Soft brown curls spilled down covering his face. “I was jealous, I’m sorry.” He felt a touch against his head; a hand stroked his hair, fingers slid through it, caressing his silky curls. He sighed and savored the closeness.

“Non, I was indulging in self pity.” Jean-Claude sighed in turn, cupped his hand around Byron’s jaw, rubbed his cheek with his fingers. “It is true I regret Asher’s loss, but it is wrong to burden you with it. I felt sorry for myself, sorrow for Asher. He is trapped by his anger, by his refusal to let go of his pain. He lives with the cruelty of Belle’s court and wallows in his hatred of me. He has nothing and no one.”

He wrenched his thoughts away from Asher and back to his companion. The book had been a gift from Byron. Byron had meant it as an expression of his love. A book of love poems in French; they were very beautiful and they filled him with sadness. “Would you like me to read these to you?” He lifted the book, gesturing with it.

Byron smiled against Jean-Claude’s thigh, carefully arranged his delicate features, and lifted his head to gaze into the sapphire eyes. He could pretend, sometimes it almost felt real. “You are going to quote poetry before we go out?”

“If you would like it?.” Jean-Claude made no move to open the book.

“No.” Byron carefully reached out and took the book from the slender white fingers. He laid it carefully on the reading table. Tomorrow he was going to throw it on the fire. “No more poetry tonight.” He caught up the graceful hand, admired the long delicate fingers, the smooth white skin, then gently placed a kiss on the palm.

Jean-Claude smiled at the kiss. “Come, it is getting late, we should be on our way.” He rose gracefully to his feet and pulled Bryon from the floor. He was eager to leave, to be out of the house, and away from the ghost that haunted them.
The poem, the original French and then the English translation.

La Bouche

Marie Nizet

Ni sa pensee, en col vers moi par tant de lieues,
Ni le rayon qui court sur son front de lumiere,
Ni sa beaute de jeune dieu qui la premiere
Me tenta, ni ses yeux – ces deux caresses bleues;

Ne son cou ni ses bras, I rien de ce qu’on touché,
Ni rien de ce qu’on voit de lui ne vaut sa bouche
Ou l’on meurt de plaisir et qui s’acharne a mordre,

Sa bouche de fraicheur, de delices, de flame,
Fleur de volupte, de luxure et de desordre,
Qui vous vide le Coeur et vous boit jusqua’a l’ame……

The Mouth

Not his thought, on flight toward me over such a distance,
Nor the wrinkle that runs across his radiant forehead,
Nor his Greek-God beauty that was the first
To tempt me, nor his eyes – those two blue kisses;

Nor his neck, nor arms nor anything you can touch,
Not anything of him you see is worth his mouth
Where one dies of pleasure and which tries desperately to bite,

His fresh, delectable, flaming mouth,
Flower of voluptuousness, lust and disorder,
That empties your heart and drinks you up to your very soul…+




“An excellent performance. I enjoy Mr. Wilde’s work, he is very amusing.” His words were polite; his English flawless, and only slightly tinged by a delicious French accent. He didn’t regret accepting the invitation. Oscar was indeed entertaining. No one skewered the English so adeptly, so adroitly, and that they enjoyed it was a most delightful irony. He would have to send a note of congratulations to Mr. Wilde on this latest triumph. It was unfortunate that the principal actress had such a high-pitched voice; and that laugh. He shuddered at the memory.

“I am so pleased that you joined me. I have hardly seen you at all this season.” This lady’s voice was sweet, seductive, and made her words intimate, suggestive. He knew she was chiding him for his absence from her bed. He had no intention of returning but no reason to let her know. Spurned women could be vindictive and hopeful woman could be useful.

“I have been very busy.” He inclined his head to indicate the young man at his side, his ward. The lady smiled at his companion.

Byron returned the insincere smile with one of his own and batted his eyes. "Jean-Claude has done his best to distract me." The smile looked much more sincere now. Really he was incapable of behaving. The house lights had come up but it was still dim. He placed his hand on Byron's shoulder and squeezed until his eyes widened and the smile slipped from his lips.

"My ward is still mourning his family. It was so kind of you to include him in your invitation." His fingers tightened a bit more.

"Yes, thank you. You are very kind." Byron managed to force the words through clenched teeth. Jean-Claude relaxed his grip. They sat in the box waiting for the crowds to thin out and the carriages to be brought around.

“ I’m sorry if I have been remiss in my attentions. I understand your husband has been constantly at your side.” He smiled the pleasant social smile and watched her reaction. She stiffened at mention of her spouse; her husband was a jealous man and highly suspicious.

He could feel Byron twitch with contained laughter. Byron’s hand crept to his thigh. He took it in his own and held it firmly. Byron could be very wicked.

“I would see you home if you would like. Byron and I would be happy to accompany you.” He knew she would refuse, she had not been happy to see Byron. The feeling was mutual.

“No, I have my own carriage, but I hope to see you, very soon.” Her voice was inviting, intimate. She had so carefully excluded Byron from the invitation. Jean-Claude smiled but made no promises.

Later in the carriage he let his thoughts wander. Byron leaned against him and seemed content.

The theater had been a pleasant diversion, especially when he had such a beautiful companion; two lovely companions, he amended his thoughts. How fortunate that the lady’s husband was away. He was surprised that she was willing to be seen in such a public venue with him, even though they were suitably chaperoned. He had been careful but still gossip ran through London society like wildfire. And being able to take Byron had made it doubly pleasant. Byron was pleased, he loved an opportunity to annoy Jean-Claude’s admirer’s and Byron’s presence had negated much of the gossip; if they had only known.

He had a certain reputation among Society, at least among the women, a very well deserved reputation. He smiled and then sighed. Being well known, being recognized would not serve him well in the long run. There were already rumors about his youth.* He had disappeared for many years and reappeared masquerading as a relative of the man he had been. But that sort of illusion would not work repeatedly.

He’d had a good life in London. His thoughts drifted to his companions and his days in England. Not the humans, the vampires. He would be sorry to be parted from them but he could not allow himself to become attached, to fall in love, again. Never again.

It was time to move on. Where, was the question? His latest paramour had presented an unexpected opportunity. He thought about the conversation as they rode home in the hansom. Byron snuggled against him, head resting contentedly against Jean-Claude’s chest, Jean-Claude’s arms around him. Byron’s hands caressed him in the darkness.

“Jean-Claude you must come back to America with me!” The young woman’s enthusiasm was exciting. She was enthusiastic about many things, her zest for living life to the fullest was invigorating, refreshing. He would be sorry when she had returned home. His eyes traveled down the outline of her curvaceous body covered only by the fine linen sheet.

“I’m sure I would find it enchanting, but I’m afraid I cannot leave England at this time.” Jean-Claude drew her closer, exposing her to the waist as the sheet fell back. He kissed her shoulder, nibbled across her collarbone, then his lips traveled up her slender white neck until he found the pulse point. “I find you enchanting.” He whispered against her skin. “Intoxicating.” His hands stroked her breasts as he kissed and sucked the skin over the throbbing beat. She moaned softly. He raised his head to stare into her eyes. He held her gaze and used his eyes to pull her under.” Delicious.” Bespelling her with his eyes was not necessary to the seduction but he could not afford to have her remember him biting, drinking her blood. She would only remember what came after. “Satisfying.”

As sharp white incisors sank into the sweet flesh Jean-Claude thought about what it might mean to leave London. His mouth filled with warm, sweet blood and he could only think about escape. Putting more distance between himself and the constant desire to return to France and see Asher. Maybe America would be a better place from him. He licked the blood from her neck and moved his mouth to hers.

“Jean-Claude!” Byron’s voice brought him back to reality. “You are a million miles away, it is not very nice when I am doing my best to distract you!” Byron was pouting.

Jean-Claude leaned down to catch the luscious mouth with his own lips. “Yes, it was very rude, my deepest apologies.” He whispered in a husky voice, their lips touching. Byron accepted his kiss and the apology, returned the kiss enthusiastically. For a little while thoughts of escape and Asher were forgotten.

“What were you thinking about in the carriage? That American woman?” Byron was jealous; he sensed Jean-Claude’s growing disenchantment with his life. Byron feared losing Jean-Claude; he knew he’d never really had him.

“Non, I was lost in old memories.” Byron wasn’t any happier about old memories, he knew about Asher. Jean-Claude smiled and lied, hoping to ease Byron’s fear, at least for a little while. He pulled Byron close, folded his arms around him, gazed into the soft gray eyes.

“You have nothing to worry about, not from the American, not from my memories. I am here, with you.” He could tell by the doubt in Byron’s eyes that he was not completely convinced. He wouldn’t be able to put off telling him much longer. But for now he could drive the doubt and fear away. He bent down and used his kisses to comfort and distract.





Leaving France had seemed the prudent course of action. He was free of Belle Morte and Asher. No, he could never be free of Asher. He felt the pain of loss rush through him even now. But Asher had refused him, had cast him out. Asher hated him because he had rescued him, because Juliana had died, because he’d failed them all. Leaving France had been the right thing to do, now it was time to leave London.

The evil excesses of Belle’s Court; how hard it was to remember when he had been dazzled by her beauty, seduced by her claims of love, sucked under by the fire that burned inside him, in his very soul. His soul. Surely if he still had a soul, if he’d ever had one, it had been crushed, killed by Asher’s rejection.

The pain was always there but it was the dull ache of old loss now, not the sharp stabbing pain of new wounds; different, not better. It had been so many years and his love for Asher was as deep and strong as when it was new. He could close his eyes and remember his first glimpse of Asher. His golden beauty was like watching the sun in all its glory.

At their last meeting Asher had glowed with anger and hatred, not love. He lit up from inside with it. Once his love and desire for Jean~Claude had made his eyes shimmer to molten blue fire. That final time his eyes were incandescent with hatred, his voice had been low and rough with anger.

Nothing Jean~Claude could say or do had moved him; nothing could soften Asher’s hatred, his rage. They had planned to spend eternity together celebrating their love and passion for each other. Now they couldn’t be in the same country, on the same continent. The distance wasn’t enough yet, he would put an ocean between them.

New Orleans sounded intriguing. London was too crowded with his kind.* Too many vampires fleeing Europe. He had not been discrete, his face and accent made him stand out. There was no place for his power to grow; no territories open, nothing to be had with out fighting. He had no desire for that, for fighting and killing. He wasn’t strong enough, yet. In America there was room for a new Master, new ideas.


“You are leaving? I’ll go with you, take me with you.” Large grey eyes took on a darker coloring with emotion. His voice was distraught.

“I thought you were happy, I thought I made you happy? Why would you leave?” The voice was softer now, sad, hurt. Jean~Claude had known this would be hard, unpleasant. He felt cruel remembering his own devastation at the hands of someone he had loved.

“You knew I didn’t plan to stay in London. I am only tolerated here. It is time for me to move on, to find my own place.” He smiled and stroked the smooth, soft cheek. He caressed the full lips with his fingers.

“Requiem will be your protector; he will take care of you.” Jean~Claude knew how much it hurt Byron that he needed others.

“He can’t replace you. I love you. He doesn’t even like men. I don't want to be given away like I was a thing.” Byron was angry, hurt. Jean~Claude didn’t blame him.

“Non, he doesn't like men, but he is my friend and he is your friend, as well. He will take care of you.” Jean~Claude repeated it, hoping Byron would accept it. Requiem understood loss and pain, too. He wore his sorrow for Ligea wrapped around him like the everpresent black cloak; a heavy dark presence settled on his shoulders.

“I have been honest with you. I never pretended to love you.” He saw bitter knowledge fill the grey eyes with pain. “We are friends, nothing more.” Tears tinged with blood, slid out of the sad eyes, and rolled unchecked down the pale skin. Jean~Claude reached up to brush them away. He was sorry to cause so much distress to someone he cared about.

“Our master would not release you; he would never allow you to go with me. I can’t protect you where I am going. You will be safe here.” Jean~Claude wanted to reach out and hold him but he knew it would only make the betrayal more painful.

“Someday, if I can, I will send for you.” It was all he could offer. He knew it wasn’t enough.

“You will send for me? Like a dog, called to heel?” Byron was bitter, angry, sad. He had known this would come, as hard as he'd tried to pretend.

“I knew you didn’t love me, but sometimes, sometimes I hoped that you might.” He could only be angry with himself. Jean~Claude had always been honest.


Reality was so often disappointing. He found New Orleans depressingly European. The air was heavy and rank. It smelled of decadence and decay. Society was stilted and insular, as much as any vampire court or European monarchy he had ever seen.

Becoming part of it was not the problem, enduring it, that was the difficulty. It was boring. He had not meant to stay here. It was only a port of entry, a place to begin.

+Translated by Lisa Neal
Treasury of French Love Poems
Volume 2

*Oscar Wilde wrote The Portrait of Dorian Grey in 1891. I’ve always felt he based it on acquaintance with a vampire/vampires.

**Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. He also wrote a collection of eerie Fairy Tales titled Under the Sunset, where people sleep all day, and are alive only at night.


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