Vachon watched Tracy sleep on the ragged couch next to him. Her blonde hair was spread across the red cushion, and her bare feet pressed against his thigh. Her breathing was deep and even, and for several minutes, he imitated it, enjoying the feel of it, even though he didn't need the air that filled his lungs.

She looked peaceful like this. Otherwise, she was always moving, worried, working. Even tonight, when she was just hanging out, she was trying to poke around for information on Toronto's vampires. He'd played stupid to her questions, but she never stopped. Only after he had started playing his guitar had the cop in her finally shut up and just let her relax.

Vachon knew what she wanted of him; why she came to see him. He wasn't as clueless as he acted. He was more responsible than she or Screed or Urs gave him credit for. For one thing, he wasn't letting himself get involved with Tracy. He wanted to. Oh, did he. There were times when it took nearly all of his strength not to kiss her, even if just to shut her up for a few seconds.

He knew that if he did, though, it would only be a matter of time before it eneded badly. This was one topic on which he and Nick Knight, Tracy's vampire partner agreed. It was a bad idea to fall in love -- or even lust -- with a mortal. Vachon hadn't for two centuries now, though Nick hadn't been so lucky.

Vachon shook his head at himself. Yeah, lucky. Vachon knew all that kept him from Tracy was an act of will and, to be honest with himself, fear. He knew, though, only in these darkest hours before dawn would he admit that to himself. He feared losing a mortal he loved, either to death or bringing across. He had only brought one woman across -- Urs. And she had changed the moment she awoke. No more the sweet temptress, she was bitter and sad. The lightness he had seen in her was gone, replaced by the hunger for blood.

He wouldn't see that happen to Tracy. If he thought he could, he would stop seeing her at all, but he knew that he couldn't give her up. There was something about her that he needed. She made him feel human again. As a vampire, he lived on the fringes, only really friends with his crew, rarely truly involved with the mortal world around him.
Tracy, though, forced him to get involved. She dragged him to restaurants, to parks, into her cases. She made him live *in* the world, rather than outside it. She had taken a three week holiday a month ago, and Vachon had found himself slipping back into his old habits again: stalking the streets, looking into coffeeshop windows without going inside, holing up in his church alone.

And he had missed her. Missed her so much that he refused to see her at first, when she came back. He was almost angry at her, for having reintroduced him to a world that her really couldn't be in without her. Yes, he could have sat down in those coffeehouses, but he still would have been outside without her there.