The characters in Forever Knight were created by James Parriott and Barney Cohen and are the property of Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star. The stories here are fan fiction, in which Nick and Natalie survive "Last Knight", the series finale. Tracy and Vachon also survive. This story may be archived wherever by whomever.
Wade Everett, a new detective is temporarily assigned to the 96th and Nick; he's found out what Nick is.
TASK FORCE (Tasked Force #1)
Cause I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
-- Eric Burdon and the Animals, Don’t Let . . . .
"Hello, I'm glad you could all come today," Wade said. "I'd like to make some introductions, lay out some ground rules, and, well . . . I guess that would be about it, really." He smiled at the others seated in various spots around Nick's loft.
"I believe most of us know each other, but Fr. Pierre Rochefort may not.
"Pierre, you know Nick, of course, I'm not sure you've actually met Natalie?
"Dr. Natalie Lambert, I'd like to introduce you to Fr. Pierre Rochefort of St. John's parish. Pierre, Natalie is the city night coroner.
"Hi, Father, pleased to meet you," Natalie said offering her hand.
"Javier Vachon," (HAY vee er vash AWN), Father Pierre. Javier is a friend of Nicholas. And, I, of course, am Wade Everett, Nick's partner of the moment.
"I've invited you all here to address the question of forming a sort of 'task force' to help Nick in his quest and one other purpose. I'll go around the room and make comments about what we are trying to do and who is trying to do what, but first, we need to bring everyone up to speed.
"Nick, would you like to let the good Father in on your problem?"
"Ah, straight into it, huh? O.k. Hi, Father."
"You've assumed, I think, that I've had some problem that I would like to talk about but I've been afraid to bring up."
"Yes, Nick, that's true."
"Well, I'm glad you're sitting down. My problem, Father, is that I am a vampire, but I no longer want to be one."
Long pause. Everyone could see the wheels turning in Father Pierre's mind.
"Hmmm. I knew it was something. I assume, because of who and why we are all here, that this is not some psychological delusion or off-putting prank?"
Wade intervened, "Why don't you just 'vamp out' for him, Nick?"
Nick did just that. Father Pierre jumped a bit in his seat, and swallowed hard, but, for the most part, remained steadfast. Wade offered a rueful smile.
Father Pierre said with a nervous chuckle, "Oh, my, well, *that* removes any doubts I might have had."
Wade addressed everyone, "I got an introduction to Fr. Pierre from Monsignor Bennett – He's a friend of a friend of mine and he was one of Pierre's teachers in Seminary. That was one way I convinced him to come and help, but other than that, all this vampire stuff is new to him, so be kind.
"The main game plan, Pierre, is to help Nick either become a mortal human again or at least accept being a vampire and learning to live with it. You see, as Nick said, his problem is that he does not want to be a vampire anymore, and we're all here to help him in that.
"The second point is to help Nick either deal with or recover from, depending on your point of view, an abusive or bullying parent. I’ll talk about protections later, but basically they aren’t for dealing with the vampire community but with Nick’s sire.
"Now, Nick, you've been led to believe that you do not have soul. Pierre, I've asked you to join us and to work with Nick on the premise that Nick does, indeed, have one. The person who told you that you don't is misinformed [he directed this toward Nick]. In effect, Nick, I've asked him to be your spiritual advisor. I know this is presumptuous, but really, my intentions are good. ;-) "
Wade turned back to Fr. Rochefort, and continued talking.
"Dr. Lambert – Natalie -- is working on the physical, medical aspect of the problem. She's already discovered a number of things about vampirism, not all of which are clear, but in any case, she is trying, experimenting, researching for a 'cure'."
"We had," Natalie said, "a lot of dead ends, but each one gets us to a new starting place."
"Javier, I hate to do this, but could you vamp out for Pierre?" He does.
"How's that?" he said with that lop-sided grin of his. Father Pierre got this oh-God-what-have-I-got-myself-into look on his face.
"Yes, Pierre, Javier is another vampire. He will be working with Nick on problems of control and psychic communication and blocking. Apparently, Nick can't do these things because his sire never taught him. Oh, yes, the control. You know how vampires survive by drinking blood; well, these days, this is usually from donated and bottled blood. Nevertheless, it should be possible to take a little blood from a lot of people rather than having to drain a body completely. Javier has some control doing this and will try to show Nick. Also, better that they practice on each other than on us, hmm?
"Now, me. I'm going to try to help Nick on self-image, self-esteem questions. Help you, Nick, to recognize the symptoms of depression and how to deal with them. Some of you know that I'm more than just a homicide detective. I'm on the payroll of the Internal Affairs Division as a resident psychologist. My job is to go around ostensibly as a 'fill-in' person, but actually to observe, report, predict, and assess different people and situations. It was in that role I met Nick and through circumstances found out that vampires are real and that he is one.
"As an aside, let me say you're taking all this rather coolly, Pierre."
"Wade,” Pierre paused for a few moments, “suffice it to say, you learn more in the confessional than you or the world wants to admit." He smiled ruefully.
Wade chuckled, "I'll take your word for that, my friend. As a psychologist, I am qualified to work with mental disorders, although that may be a bit heavy of a description just for depression.
"So, Pierre: spiritual
"Natalie: medical and physical
"Javier: vampire and social interactions
"Wade: mental and defensive strategies.
“And one more thing, Tracy wants to help, too. We’ll keep her in the loop, but until she’s ready to return to work, we’ll keep her activities to a minimum."
With a little bit...with a little bit...
With a little bit of bloomin luck!
-- A Little Bit o' Luck, "My Fair Lady
"Now, for some of the defensive strategies and protections. These are for all of us. This is because there are some who adamantly do NOT want Nick to become human again; most notably his sire, step-father, vampire mentor. He has already made threats against some of us, and he is a very old, very powerful, and very smart vampire.
"We do have some protections:
"Pierre, believe it or not, simply wearing your collar is of some value, but I have something else for you as well." Wade stopped and opened his briefcase; he took out a small package and handed it to Pierre. "It's a small but powerful cross. It's been washed in the water of Lourdes, and it's been blessed by the Holy Father himself, especially for this activity – don't ask --. Please wear it at all times. Press it to someone’s flesh if you have to.
"Natalie and Nick, I don't think either of you know or realize this: Natalie, you are well thought of in the vampire community; you helped a considerable number of vampires survive the 'Fever', you developed lytoveuterine B, which, if nothing else, will help a vampire make a daytime court appearance. And, as coroner, you can shunt disabled vampires out of the system, you've already taken bullets out without questions. If they don't know you or like that you are human, they respect the help you've given.
"Now also, understand this: not all the vampire community likes LaCroix. There are any number of them who wouldn't mind seeing him fall flat on his face if not disappear entirely. They won't come out and help overtly, but you can count on the fact that they won't help LaCroix, and if they can do it unobtrusively, they will help stop him.
"Javier, your protection is that you're already a vampire, but I realize that you wouldn't especially want to go up against LaCroix. Well, I have some helps there in a minute.
"My problem, as far as LaCroix, is concerned – well, I've already shot him, I've attacked him psychically, and threatened him. There's no love lost there.” (See previous stories, Hurt, and Complaint.)
Vachon shook his head still disbelieving it. Nick nodded knowingly, Father Pierre’s jaw dropped. Natalie looked envious.
“Now, however, as a result of several things none of you really want, or for that matter need, to know, we are all under the protection of one of the oldest, most powerful vampires in North America. I'm not entirely sure of her motives, but for the moment, if anything were to happen to any of us, she would have several things to say to M. LaCroix. The community knows this, and (individually at least) they want to avoid this person even more than they fear LaCroix.
"Furthermore, Nick, the community also knows that Pierre, Javier, Natalie, and even Tracy and I are under *your* protection. That means, folks, if anything happens to us, Nick will take some sort of action. Nick is fairly well respected within the vampire community. He's helped a number of vampires out much as he has some of his colleagues in the police department.
Both Natalie and Javier murmured assent to this.
"Now, in addition to all that, there are some precautions to take, especially you, Nick, but for all of us: do NOT go out alone at night. Try to be among as large a number of people as you can. No one will try to do something with a lot of people around. Hey, if necessary, I can hire some body guards or companions for you. But do things like this: Natalie, don't walk out to your car alone; have the building guard accompany you. That sort of thing, folk.
"And, here, people, take these little spray cans. You, too, Nick and Vachon. These are like the cans of pepper spray, but they contain garlic powder. And, your last line of defense, a sharp pencil – always wear something with pockets and keep your pencil with you. Why? It's wood and can quite adequately stand in for a stake, should you need one. Really, I'm not kidding."
"Now as to working this out. Pierre, Nick's agreed to come to St. Stephen's twice a week for 'discussions' if not outright counseling, but you and he will need to work out a schedule for that.
"Natalie, since you and Nick are in constant communications because of your jobs, let's just leave it that way. "Right," she nodded.
"Javier, you and Nick need to work out a schedule for learning – well, learning whatever. Nick's said you can use the loft here, and I think this should be twice a week as well. You can keep Tracy in the loop for us too.
"For me, since Nick and I work together, getting together isn't really a problem, but Nick, I should schedule at least one formal session a week to go over things and make other plans.
Sing us a song you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feeling alright
-- Piano Man, Billy Joel
Finally, just so you know, this is not open-ended. It's for a six-seven month period. At the end of that time, some of us may continue – certainly Natalie will unless, of course, she's successful before then," Wade smiled at this, "but for others, we'll tie up loose ends and get on with our lives.
"Also, I thought it'd be nice just to get together once a month to catch each other up on things, compare notes, or just to say 'hi'. We might even invite some other people and make it a social event. I could bring a boyfriend; Javier, you could ask Tracy; Nat, you might want to ask Grace: Nick, ask the captain. Nick and I can let you know how the bowling team is going; we're both on it." Wade smiled broadly with that.
Nick said, "Thank you all for this. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all this. Father Pierre, Javier, this is more than I ever expected, thank you so, so much."
"Nick," Pierre said, "this is all very strange and new, but I believe it's important, so I want to help."
"Pierre," Wade said, "you might be interested in some of Javier's experiences; he was with Pissarro, and – oh, he lives in a church! Can you believe that? And Nat, why don't you tell Nick about Grace? Nick, Grace is a lot more observant than you've given her credit for."
Wade started them all in various directions and stages of small talk.
"Oh, and Nick," Wade said, "I want to talk with you about 'eating' – if anorexic-bulimic teenage girls can down tons of food, *you* can learn to fake it, at least to the point of having a hot dog at the Division picnic, or attending one of those god-awful Division Awards dinners."
Yada, yada, yada, natter, natter, natter, which went on for at least another 15 minutes or so.
As people were getting ready to leave, Wade spoke up, "Thank you everyone for helping with the 'Regain the Knight Task Force' project. Nick, we'll all do our darndest for you. Well, that said, good-bye for now – see you at work later."
WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID?
I live my life like theres no tomorrow
And all I've got I had to steal
Least I don't need to beg or borrow
Yes I'm living at a pace that kills
-- Runnin’ With the Devil, Van Halen
At the Raven
"Hello, Lucius," Wade said.
"I know what you are up to, detective, and I--do--not--like--it!"
"No, I expect you don't. And, we aren't asking you to.
"Here's the deal. These people are under Nick's protection, so he is going to be very upset if anything happens to any of us for any reason. Stop and think, he's already staked you twice, don't drive him to try a third time.
"They are also under the protection of Isidris. I know you are smart enough to want to avoid any confrontations with her.
“And, they are under *my* protection. I apologize for being repetitious, Lucius, but I’ve shot you before, I’ll do it again.
"Here, I've drawn some of my blood for you,” he gave LaCroix a vial, "so you can be convinced of my convictions. If you try anything or hurt any of these people, know that I will take you out." He handed LaCroix a small vial.
"You are awfully sure of yourself, Detective," Said LaCroix.
"Yes, I am. Here's my assessment for what it's worth and whatever it may mean to you: you are an old fashioned pater-familias (Latin for 'father-figure' or 'head of the family') control freak. This is 21 st century Canada, not 1 st century Rome. So, give it a rest. If you leave Nick alone and let him work on and pursue this quest for mortality, you can maintain a relationship with him. Besides, if, as you believe, there is no 'cure', then you aren’t losing anything. Otherwise, if you try to interfere, you'll drive him from you forever. Lucius, you need to learn to be a willow tree instead of an oak. Besides, wouldn't you really rather have Nick as a colleague and companion than as a mindless yea-saying lackey?
"And in addition, should this work out, I will actively consider letting you bring me across. You already know I'd love to have, uh, shall we say 'a mature relationship' with you" I'm not sure having you as my 'sire' is all that good an idea, but still we could have a lot of fun," Wade winked at La Croix salaciously.
"Detective," LaCroix said rather coolly, "do you not think Nicholas would be disheartened to know that you would offer, 'sell', yourself to me in order for him to be free of me?"
Wade laughed out loud, "Oh, Lucius, they all already know! They know I've got a thing for you: I'm gay and I like handsome, older, powerful men. You're handsome, you're older, and you're powerful. Q.E.D. [Q.E.D – Quod est disputandum, that which was disputed. In other words, "what was to be proved."] Plus I already know you're a son-of-bitch, and I'm prepared to deal with it."
"Hi, Nick. Look, I think I've got Lucius off our backs for a while – don't ask," Wade laughed. "I think it'll work out alright."
TALK TALK TALK
Go on now, go walk out the door
just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore
-- I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
Nick listened quietly to the music playing in the background in the loft. Chopin's Nocturnes always seemed to give him a quiet sense of ease. While he stared into the dregs in his 'wine', the day slowly crept over the horizon. He felt a rush of air behind him which told him he wasn’t alone.
"Nicholas," LaCroix said calmly, behind and out of immediate visual range, "So nice to find you at home."
Nick looked up and saw a reflection of LaCroix in the window. Without turning around he said to his ‘master’, “Ah, Lucien, if I ask you why you are here, I’ll get a runaround; if I ask you what you want, I’ll get another runaround”. Nick smiled, “Why should I bother even talking to you?”
“ ‘Lucien’? When did you become so informal, my child?”
“When I decided to grow up. Don’t be disingenuous. Lucien, I am no longer your child. You know our connection was broken in your warehouse; still, I'd like to keep a good relationship with you, but it will be one as equals, no longer father to son, master to fledgling, mentor to ‘mentee’. If you can accept that, good. If not, you might as well leave.”
“Nicholas, I will always be yo—“
“Sorry, Lucien, you won’t. We’ll talk about this some other time; I’m quite tired so I’m going to bed. You knew the way in, so you know the way out. And, the next time you wish to see me here, give me the courtesy of a call, please; otherwise you won’t be welcome and you won’t get in. Use the elevator, or the stairs, and the door as well.”
“Nicholas,” LaCroix started shout at Nick.
Nick held up his hand in front of LaCroix, and much to LaCroix’s surprise, he (LaCroix) shut up. <<What is going on here,>> LaCroix thought.
“Thank you,” Nick said, “we can talk tomorrow, say about 9 pm at the Azure? My treat. and good night, Lucien.” Nick turned, walked up the stairs while LaCroix was still tongue tied, went into his bedroom, and closed the door.
LaCroix, his anger building at this obvious defiance, flew up to the balcony to Nick’s bedroom door, but as he reached for the knob, he found he could not grasp it. He tried raising his hand against it, but it was like moving his arm through an arc in water. <<What’s going on?>> he thought again to himself. With that he turned to go back downstairs, but to his astonishment found himself outside the loft’s clerestory windows. He didn’t know how he got there. He turned to go back in but found his way blocked by force, weariness, inertia, something strange. He decided to stop risking exposure to the slowly rising sun, to go home, and to think about it.
Nick got ready for bed and could hear LaCroix outside his bedroom and then leaving the loft. <<By god,>> he thought, <<it worked. I’m going to have to thank Wade’s wizard friend. Not only did the repellant work, but the ‘repellee’ didn’t even know he’d been repelled.>>
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
-- I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
The next night at Azure, Nick greeted LaCroix warmly (for the first time in about 150 years), and offered LaCroix a seat at a table towards the back.
“What happened last night, Nicholas?” LaCroix asked with some genuine concern.
“Lucien. It was a repellant spell a wizard cast for me. Truly, I never expected it to work, but I find I’m delighted that it did. No more surprises, Lucien. I would like to continue to see you and have you see me, but from now on any visits will be announced. I’ll respect your privacy, and I expect you to respect mine as well. There’s no debating this, by the way; I’m sorry, but it has to be that way.”
“Yes, it seems that way, doesn’t it? But that’s the way it is. Lucien, I do respect you and will honor you as a parent, but not as your puppet. I'll listen to your advice, in fact, I'll even ask for it, but in the end, I'll make decisions for myself. Lucien, better you should accept it now. Friends, mon père?” Nick asked as he extended his hand to LaCroix.
The wheels were turning in LaCroix's head, he was going to have to carefully consider what was going on. He took Nick's hand, and thought <<well, at least for now.>>
NOT MOVING ON
I love to cry at weddings
Any time, anywhere, anyplace . . .
Just as long as it's not mine!
-- I love to Cry at Weddings, "Sweet Charity"
Nick and Natalie were watching movies in the loft and Wade was invited to join them.
"God, I don't know. With Nat poking me for blood all the time, Vachon trying to suck my neck and get me to suck his, you telling me all the things I have to do, Lucien telling me all the things I can't do, philosophical discussions with Father Pierre that just lead in theological circles . . . . I ought to just up and leave, take off, move on," Nick complained – loudly.
Wade said, "Responsibility's a bitch, ain't it?"
"Whadaya mean 'responsibility'? You say that like I'm not responsible! I do good work, I've got a great solve rate, I'm helping people, I'm—What are you laughing at?" Nick said crossly as both Wade and Natalie started laughing.
Wade, laughing, "You know, only a couple of weeks ago, you would have taken the exact opposite tack: you weren't doing any good, you weren't helping anyone, just endangering them, not calling your sire by his first name. Jeez, man, what do you want? Progress reports engraved in sterling silver and witnessed and authenticated?"
"Oh. Well. Lighten up a little, huh? This is all new to me," Nick complained.
"HAhahahahahaaa! Nick, do you realize how absurd this is: you're telling us to lighten up?" Natalie said.
"Yeah, Nick, maybe there's hope for you yet," added Wade.
"Yeah, well, maybe. Shut up and eat your popcorn, the both of you," Nick said grumpily and sat down on the couch and deliberately concentrated on the movie. On the other hand, he thought to himself, things had changed a lot for him in the last couple of weeks, and – much as he might not want to admit it – for the better. He sighed heavily.
Natalie and Wade turned to him and just smiled knowingly.
"Ah, jeez, you two look like you swallowed the canary. Wade, will you be the best man at Natalie's and my wedding?"
Natalie dropped her soda on the floor, "W- Wha--?"
Wade choked on his popcorn!
"HAH!" Nick said, "That grabbed your attention, didn't it? And, now that I do have your attention, let's please get off my back and get back to the movie, shall we?"
Natalie threw her couch pillow at him as hard as she could. It might have been effective, if it hadn't been full of light foam and as a result wouldn't go four feet.
Wade got up and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, laughing to himself. He thought <<god in heaven, all this crap seems to be working, who'd'a'thunk it?>>
Nick smiled to himself <<Ha! Got them good and serves them right.>> He settled back to finish watching the movie.
On his way back from the Kitchen, Wade leaned over to Nick and whispered, "In answer to your question: yes! I Will. Anytime, anywhere, anyplace."