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Talk Is Cheap

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                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.      

TALK IS CHEAP (Tasked Force #4)



All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard
-- All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow

Nick and Wade were cruising in the Caddy. While Wade drove, he and Nick started a rather philosophical conversation:

            "You seem to be able to handle this 'big boat', I think you called it?" Nick said to Wade.

            "Well, ever since I raced at Le Mans—"

            "Oh, come on now, Le Mans?"

            "Did I say it was the one in France? Actually, I used to park cars at college events, made a little extra cash," Wade said as he flashed his winningest grin, “It wasn’t all that different.”

            "You're something else, Wade."

            "I try, Nick, I try. You're something else yourself, you know. How long have you been—"

            "Wade, stop. I really don't want to get into it; just leave it at it's been a long time. Being a vampire isn't all it's cracked up to be."

            Wade said with thinned lips and a deliberately flat tone, "I was about to ask about the Toronto Police Department. I've been here about five years, and you?"

            "Oh. Sorry, Wade, I tend to be a bit sensitive on the 'V' subject—"

            "—No kidding—and as to your being a vampire – hey, I had another partner who ate sushi. You know what sushi is?" he asked and answered without pausing for a reply, "What the rest of the world calls 'bait'! Given the choice I'd drink whole blood instead of eating raw, dead fish. Anyway, I don't care about your dietary habits."

            "You'd drink blood?"

            "Well, it wouldn't be my first choice, but you know the ancient Egyptians would go down to the butcher shop and get a fresh cup of blood as a bull was being drained. What can I say: different strokes for different folks. Now if I were to see you drain somebody – that would be a different situation. Ya haven't drained anybody lately, have ya?"

            "Uh, no. You really don't care?"

            "Do I look like I care?"

            "No, actually, you don't, do you? In fact, you seem to have the most curious reaction that I've ever seen from anybody. You truly are not afraid of me, Vachon, LaCroix, or any of the others of us. How is that?"

            "Hmmmm. Harmonal defect."

            Nick just looked at him.

            "Actually, it's not as silly as it sounds. My brain either lacks or doesn’t process fear, or not well at least. This is one of the reasons I have to be cautious; I have no judgment on things that normally would scare people.

            “But the main thing is that I don't see any of you as monsters as you are soooo fond of describing yourself. I see myself as a Homo Sapiens and you as a Home Sapiens Vampirensis. Slightly different but definitely related species."

            "Interesting, never thought about us being a companion species. That would take us out of the realm of the supernatural and make us more of a natural phenomenon."

            "Works for me, Nick," Wade said.


Monster Mash
it was a grave yard smash.
-- Monster Mash, Boris Karloff

            "I still feel like a monster – the number of people I've killed – I'm worse than the worst serial killer."

            "If you're looking for me to feed your angst, 's not gonna happen. Look, do you still kill people?"

            "No, I've tol—"

            "Are you sorry that you did in the past?"

            "Yes, of course, that goes without—"

            "Are you going to start killing people again?"

            "No. Of course not, my whole purpose for the last couple of hundred years has been to gain absolution for my sins, and part of that is not killing anymore."

            "You need absolution? 'Ego te absolvo'; there; you're absolved."

            "It's not that simple, Wade."

            Wade sighed, "You're Catholic, aren't you?"

            "Was. Yes, but what's that got to do with it?"

            "Nick, I was brought up in a totally different tradition from you. Protestants don't accept anything just because someone else tells them to. We don't need a priest to grant absolution, we can do it ourselves if we want."

            "But I can't accept that, Wade.—"

            "I know. More's the pity. Existence would be a lot simpler for you if you could. Well, talk to Fr. Pierre about it; he should be better prepared to discuss it."

            "Which brings back to where we started: I'm still a monster."

            "Oh, lord, fine," Wade said exasperated, "you're a blood-sucking, carnivorous, cannibalistic parasite with no socially redeeming values. Now, when you get home, I want you to drink a glass of holy water, eat a garlic pizza, and stab yourself in the heart with a sharp wooden cross."

            "You know, there have been times I've been tempted to"

            "Well, I can't see why. Holy water's just water that someone waved his hand over but for you it provides a kick, and garlic pizza is wonderf—"

            "Wade will you get serious?"

            "O.k.; remember, you asked for it. Here's an entirely different perspective:


Moving on to the loft to carry on their talk:

I never really wanted you to see
The screwed up side of me
that I keep Locked inside of me so deep
-- Cold, Crossfade

            You, and your kind, are soulless, manipulative, ego-centric, carnivorous, cannibalistic, parasitic killers and opportunists. You are monsters because you have intelligence but no consciences.

            You're carnivorous: blood is an animal product, meat is from animals, you drink, or eat, the blood of animals and nothing else, therefore you're carnivorous.

            You're cannibalistic because you're human and you drink human blood. Of course, this gives you credit for being human.

            You're parasitic because you have to live off other people, you can't produce blood of your own. And, for the most part, you contribute nothing to society except thousands of untimely deaths. Plus, you have no way of reproducing except by using another life form.

            You're killers by definition, you take human life – and without permission, i.e., murder.

            That you are manipulative, ego-centric, and opportunistic goes with being soulless.

            You use that hypnotic power to get people to do what you want.

            Ego-centric? Your universe revolves around you and nothing else – you'd be perfect solipsists if solipsism were a valid worldview. Everything you do is to protect or further yourself with no regard to others.

            Opportunistic because you take whatever advantages are offered in order to advance your own agenda, take care of your own needs, meet your own goals.

            People are food to you. You treat people as people would treat hamburgers. And, because people have a modicum of intelligence, they can be entertainment as well. 'Pets' as it were.

            That you are soulless is evidenced by the fact that you have no conscience. You're perfect sociopaths.

            And here's why: you're nothing more than an advanced type of animal, a biological engine driven by needs and self-interest.

            When you first died, you went to that antechamber you've described, the soul that inhabited the body you're using went on to judgment. The body should have died, but it didn't. When the body revived, it revived without the soul but with the physical changes instigated by vampirism.

            This is why the 'first hunger' is so strong. The body is hungry, but the mind is confused, unclear as to what's happening. It takes a while to grasp the situation. While it's doing that, it feeds and damn the consequences.

            The situation is that since the body wasn't dead, it can still operate on its own, and as it continues it gets access to the memories that were stored prior to the soul's departure. And, it can, and will, act using those memories. It realizes, however, that these are just memories, of events, feelings, ways to act in social situations of the former owner-operator. It takes these and uses them just as a computer would. With about as much true feeling.

            This also acts to reinforce the killer aspect. With no conscience operating, the soulless but hungry body kills without compunction to feed itself.

            Some wiser vampires realize all this and that's why they are so cold; they know that for them when the body they are occupying dies or is destroyed that it's all over for them, too. That killing a vampire is no different that turning a switch off.

            Other vampires will act as if they are trying to redeem themselves. This is enlightened self-interest. They present themselves as sorrowful creatures that are to be pitied and therefore helped. You manipulate the soft-hearted into helping your cause, which is basically to be entertained and fed. And protected, those enthralled to you will protect you, hide you, feed you, keep you safe, and so on. But it's all an act.

            It's akin to a very intelligent animal—one that knows how to get its way, like a dog that cozies up to its master so it can get that steak that's marinating on the table. Or a computer, it operates because the materials and instructions are there, but it's rote memory; it's acting to keep itself going but there's no real thought there. This is evidenced by the fact that while a vampire stops aging when it's created, it also stops growing or developing further mentally.

            You in particular are more dangerous than LaCroix. LaCroix knows what it is and it operates on that level. You manipulate the 'people' you know into helping to care for you. You can get sex, food, entertainment, etc. Why do you strive to be 'cured'? Because it keeps Dr. Lambert dancing on your string.

            Then, if anybody does begin to catch on, you take them out or just move on.

            All this is why you need to be staked and eliminated: without consciences, you're too dangerous to real people, you're a detriment to society not a help. Even someone like you, because you help out only because it gains you more points than LaCroix's way.

            But still, you know that when your body ends, so do you.

            Furthermore, the whole 'vampire with a soul', you poor, angst driven thing, is all a publicity ploy by the elders of the vamp community. Vampires are vicious, hunger-driven murderers, the sad sack with a soul image is to deflect righteous anger, and turn vampires into something harmless if not cute.

            Look at all the cute, little red devil suits kids wear at Halloween. Does something like that reinforce or defuse the idea of real demons? Well, that's the publicity of Vamp, Inc. That and all the crap about enforcers, keeping the community hidden, and so on. It's all publicity to diminish the danger. The danger to vampires.


You can laugh,
you can cry
But, girl, I just can't buy
Those True Lies
-- True Lies, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

            "Wow," said Nick, sitting back in his seat and looking dumbfounded. "Wow."

            "O.k. Now this is the point where your eyes get golden, your fangs drop, and you take me out. You'll find some excuse for my disappearance later, but this knowledge of your true nature must be kept hidden.

            “Or, also, this is the point where I take out the stake I've kept concealed on my body to take you out. Your body disintegrates and an evil is taken out of the world."

            "So, kiddo, what do you think?"

            "You don't really believe all that do you? Are you that cynical?" Nick had the saddest look on his face that Wade had seen on anyone. He could almost see a tear forming in a corner of Nick's eye.

            Wade leaned over to Nick and took his hand in his and said sympathetically, "No, I don't, and no, I'm not."

            "Then why all this? What you've outlined is pretty damning. Even if I tried to defend myself, it would just be that 'enlightened self-interest'."

            "Nick, I'm sorry if it seemed so hard, but a/ you asked, and b/ it's just an interpretation – albeit, one that some people hold to.

            "I don't believe it because for one thing, you haven't taken me out. For another thing, you mentioned that in the near-death experience you have a few years ago, that you went back to that 'ante-chamber' place. If you had no soul you simply would have either died or been unconscious, you couldn't have got there. Of course, you could be lying about having been there a second time.


            "Look, for every argument pro there's another one that's con, and vice versa.

            "It's a matter of belief, faith, interpretation, Nick. I believe you're sincere and a good guy, but I can't see what's beyond the veil anymore than you can. Here's where faith comes in: I have faith that in the long run, you'll do the right thing.

            "And, you're right, what I presented is a pretty dismal worldview. So, I don't accept it. I'm going to try to live my life as if all the negatives I said weren't true and that you are a good, kind, decent human being who got a raw deal and who's trying to cope with it as best he can, and that I'm a caring, sympathetic human who's trying to help. It's better than LaCroix who's just given up.

            "Just as an aside, Nick, there are a lot of people who'd miss you if you disappeared. Who'd miss LaCroix? You know as well as I do that there are those who would sigh with relief, and even some who'd cheer!"

            "You really know how to bring a guy down, Wade."

            "Yes, I do. Professional knowledge. Now, you wanna keep at it, or try to see yourself as something better than a wart on the butt of humanity?"

            Nick laughed a little, "A wart on . . . . Now there's an image!"

            "Thank you," Wade said, "I try. Now, maybe we can get back to work? And, brother, if you brood on this, as an old friend of yours once said: 'I'll have to slap you up side of the hey-ead'. Capiche?"

            "How do you know about that, Wade?

            "Didn't I once say that he had a big mouth," the detective answered with a grin. "C'mon. Work."


I get knocked down,
But I get up again
You’re never going to Keep me down
-- Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

            "You want a positive slant? Try this on for size:

            It's impossible to tell if you have a soul or not. This puts you in the same category as the rest of humanity. Surely you've met some people whom you believe are so evil that they are without souls? It may very well be so.

            "What makes you human is that you strive to make yourself better. We all try. Whether you are a vampire or not has nothing to do with it.

            "Your curse is that you are a vampire, it's not that you don't have a soul. You know the difference between good and evil and you try to live a good life – good enough that when it does end (for whatever reason), you will have enough good deeds to your credit to weigh against your misdeeds.

            "[By the way, here is a difference between Protestants and Catholics: Protestants believe that you only get to heaven by asking. This is the 'Grace of God'. Good deeds are very nice, but in the long run, they don’t count for much.]

            "What you need to do is to forget about becoming human, you already are human, what you aren't is mortal. You wanna become mortal again? Well, there's your curse, you can't. So there, enyah, phhhhtttbb!

            "Another part of the curse is that you're going to outlive everyone you know and love. The saving grace is that you will meet other people whom you will come to know and love.

            "I know you loved your sister, but she's gone. But, living as long as you have has enabled you to meet people like Natalie, whom you never would have otherwise. The thing to do is love her as long as you can, and love her for that time.

            "Or: Seem what you want to be and you'll become what you seem to be. It's not what you are; it's what you do.

            "Being human is not a matter of genetics; it's a matter of keeping on trying even though you know you will never succeed. To keep going even though all hope is gone. The reward is in the trying not the finishing.

            "It's hard, I know. But also consider this: you are a hero to many people, and not just the humans you've helped via your police work. Vachon thinks you're amazing; he's never seen such strength in the face of opposition. That you have carried on and continue to carry on is an inspiration to him. You've made him think about his own life and status.

            "Others who know about your quest are in awe of your perseverance.

You get knocked down, But you get up again Nobody’s ever going to Keep you down -- Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

            "Still others, who don't know about that, but do know that you're a vampire, are amazed at your self control.

            "Some people – and even some vampires – think of you as 'noble'. Humph. Go figure!"

W         "There, is that cheerier?"

N          "Hmmpphh! Yeah, I guess I have to be happy with my misery. Did you major in philosophy as well as psychology?"

W         "No, but it's all related"

N          "But in other words, I'm doomed to live out this long life—"

W         "And it's your duty to do the best you can with it. Oh, and by the way, you aren't required to be perfect."

N          "Gee, Thanks—"

W         "Don't mention it."

N          "I wasn't going to. But I should stop looking for a 'cure' and accept what I've become?"

W         "Ah, here's the trick: No, you must also keep looking. The thing is that you can never give up. Hope is all you've got. Go for it."

N          "What you seem to be saying is just keep doing what I've been doing."

W         "Basically, yeah. Just try not to be such a downer about it. Lighten up. Enjoy the little things: maybe not the warmth of the sun on your skin, but the warmth of having a cup of, um, blood with a friend."


But you got to have friends.
The feelings oh so strong.
You got to have friends
To make that day last long.
-- Friends, Bette Midler

            "You can also try this on for size: me and my hang-ups. You know Nick, I'm not entirely guiltless or totally without a point of view. I'm supposed to be neutral, and I try, but total even-handedness is not, I think, possible.

            "On the good side, I really am talented and capable, but there is a lot of that going around.

            "On the down side, I'm egotistical – I think a lot of myself, but I also genuinely like me – and, it seems," he said leering suggestively towards Nick, "this is not an easy task for a great many people, 'hint', 'hint'. – liking themselves, I mean. I tend to puff myself and accomplishments. Sometimes, I'm more braggadocio than reality.

            "I'm also a preachy bastard. I've known you for what? a couple of weeks or so now? and I've got the rest of your life plotted out for you. All you have to do is whatever I say. Hell, if you need that, fella, you could just pay more attention to your step-father. My saving grace here is that once I've had my say, well, it's your karma. *I*'m not going to lose any sleep over it.

            "Did I also mention that I tend to be obsessive-compulsive?

            "Did I also mention that I tend to be obsessive-compulsive?

            "Did I also mention that I tend to be obsessive-compulsive?”

            "Did I also men—"

            “I get the idea!” Nick interjected, or tried to.

            "You get the idea," Wade grinned.

            "Here's the thing: I'm sorry that you are a vampire and are unhappy about it; now, please, can we get on with *my* life?"

            "What does all this mean to you, then? You're not just doing it for an 'enlightened self-interest' of your own, are you?" Nick said a little suspiciously.

            "Naw, sometimes I think it's to hear myself talk. I have to remember not to take myself too seriously. Something that *you* might try, by the way. I don't know, Nick. You've got the desire, you've got the talent, you've got the helping people you need. And a determination that puts everything else to shame.

            "So, I hope you make it, and if you don't, I hope you become reconciled to yourself. Think on this every once in a while: I liked you and cared about you, and I believed that someday you would make it. Might take 3000 years – Gawd, I hope not – and, I'll hope to meet you again someday in front of our maker – and I do NOT mean LC. Now, beyond that, I've got a life to live. Ours have intersected, I believe, so that I could tell you a few things, and so you could broaden my horizons. We'll stay friends for a while, but eventually we will drift apart and I'll die. But whenever I think of you, it'll be with fondness and awe – the fondness is that despite your screwed-upped-ness, you're a sweet guy, and the 'awe' because of your sheer determination – God, if all it took to be human was determination, you'd’ve made it 500 years ago!

            “I hope that once in a while in the coming thousands of years, if you don't make it, that you'll think of me with a bit of fondness if only for believing in you wholeheartedly. That's my contribution: I believe without reservation that you can accomplish whatever it is you want to. No doubts. Period.

            "There does that cheer you up?"

            "You are one strange person, Detective Everett, and I thank you for whatever it is that you've done or are doing for me, and I will think about you from time to time, that's a promise."

            "Thanks, Nick. See: I told you, you were a sweetheart – And so did my Aunt Fleur, by the way, in that dream where she appeared to me."


He feels tired and he lays on his bed
Hopes the men will find courage in the words that he said
S ky Pilot
How high can you fly
-- Sky Pilot – Eric Burden & the Animals

            "That's another thing about you, Wade," said Nick.

"Besides having no fear, you have absolute certainty about believing in me, don't you?"

            "I believe that that is what I said before. Why is that so unusual to you?"

            "Ah, that's it. It is unusual – that amount and that certainty."

            "You've seen that before, I think. You said you knew a real saint," Wade replied, "not that I'm a saint, mind you."

            Nick looked at Wade oddly. "I did know a real saint and her faith was clear and absolute. That's the similarity between you two, your belief is clear and absolute. I know you're not a saint."


Quick cuts of scenes with Nick and Jean D’Arc from season one.

End Flashback

            "Good, 'cause I don't do hope and charity, just faith."

            "Ha, come off it, you have faith, you're trying to give me hope, and you do it with charity."

            "Very good, Detective Knight. You're beginning to use language effect—"

            "Knock it off, Wade. You're as bad at accepting a compliment as you say I am at forgiving myself."

            "Jeez, Nick, I don't think I'm that bad . . . ." He gave a fake grimace to Nick.

            "Yes, you –" he stopped having just realized what Wade had said. He smiled, "O.k. Nobody could be that bad, smart ass."

            "But that certainty thing. It's scary. That's the sort of determination you showed with LaCroix in his warehouse. You had no doubts about succeeding. It's almost like it was history for you. How do you do it?"

            "I'm not sure you want to know, actually. You know the biblical saying that faith can move mountains? Well, it's beyond that, actually, it's beyond 'faith'. I know I can move mountains, I have no doubt of that. I believe that I could 'cure' you."

            "Then why don't you?"

            "There are consequences. If I did that I'd have to confront myself about what I had just done. I don't know, become a priest, save the world, something like that. I don't want to be the modern savior of the world, and as long as I don't do things like move mountains, I can persuade myself that I'm not and that I'm wrong."

            "Hmmm. You are either the biggest emotional coward I've ever met, or are the biggest egotistical jerk I've ever come across. Neither of these is really a good thing, you know."

            "Thus proving for a certainty that I'm not a saint!" said Wade with a grin. "And you know, I don't always feel that way or believe it. It's a variable depending on how I feel. Very nebulous and uncertain sometimes. A certain uncertain certainty?"

            "You know, you make another play on words like that, and I will bite you and drain you! Anyway," Nick added, "is that how you overcame being brought over?"

            "No. The only thing that even approaches that is that I was so angry that I didn't think about what I was doing, I just did it. You saw when I walked out into the parking lot and didn't burn?"

            "Sure did."

            "Well, it's not that I didn't allow it to happen – I wish I could take credit for that, but it's that I never even thought about it. You know, if I had looked down and saw even a wisp of smoke, I'd have probably gone up in flames right there on the spot. Basically, I was so busy being pissed that I didn't give it a second thought. Ah, there we are: I'm not egotistical, I have a monomania. I can concentrate on something to the exclusion of everything else."


            "But, you know, that can be a negative, too. You can lose track of some things you need to keep track of. The miracle is being able to strike a balance and to carry it off. 'S too bad you can't eat."

            "What?!" Nick almost shouted at this non-sequitur.

            "Yeah, this is one of those college-boy conversations that you have in the dorms with pizza and beer. You pig out, get at least a buzz on, and then, after you've solved all the world's problems and if you haven't passed out yet, you go over to the girls dorm and shout up at them to throw their panties down. There are always a few who do, you know."


Oh, God, Pride of Man!
Broken in the dust, again!
-- Pride of Man, Quicksilver Messenger Service

[If a felony is committed by a felon, and gluttony is committed by a glutton, then if irony is committed by God, then God's . . . .]
[With thanks to Spider Robinson.]

            Wade was saying, "It really is ironic. Lordy, what have I gotten myself into. You know, YOU might be free of LaCroix's bullying – for the next quarter century, anyway – but I seemed to have transferred his interest in you on to me. That wasn't my plan.

            "Everyone seems to be getting into some sort of relationship -- you and Natalie, Tracy and Vachon – except me. And LC doesn't count. That's not a relationship, it's a penance. Hmmppphhh. I seem to have gotten your life on track and mine off. What happened here? You didn't whammy me after all, did you?"

            Nick laughed. "Physician, heal thyself!"

            "Oh, thanks," Wade replied, "That does help soooo much."

            "Well, you asked."

            <<Sigh>> "I did, didn't I. Oh, well . . . . It seems, thanks to my own ministrations, that I've become LaCroix's bête noir for the next twenty-five years or so. You damn well better be happy, Knight! or I'll beat your brains out! You got that?"

            Nick laughed out loud, "What was it you were saying earlier: be careful what you ask for; you may get it? Take note, Wade, take note."