Finally LaCroix hauled Nicholas to his feet, gripping his jaw painfully, forcing his son to look him in the eyes. Perhaps for the last time.
"I can't help you," he whispered, his voice already reflecting the sorrow, and loss. And regret. "I cannot."
Nicholas returned the gaze of his teacher, his mentor, his father, realizing in that moment what this meant. To both of them. He raised his hand and covered LaCroix's, gripping it tightly, trying to express in that one brief, inadequate gesture all the centuries of feeling that existed between them.