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The Captain (Conversation I)

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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.


 Ride, captain, ride on your mystery ship
Be amazed at the friends you've got there on your trip.
Ride captain ride on your mystery ship,
Be aware of the world others just might have missed
-- Ride Captain Ride, Blues Image
. . . . .

      “I’m a Psychologist, Nick. I work in a special section of IA. My job is to go around to the various precincts and evaluate their procedures, morale, and any problem individuals."
. . . . .
      Wade cut in, “Be amazed – I'm pretty good at what I do. And, it's not personal; I was scheduled to come over here and do evaluations anyway, and the powers-that-be wanted me to see if there was anything in particular bothering you and/or how much stress you were under – could they do anything to relieve some of it. There are people in the department who care about you, Nick, and according to most stress resources, you should have cracked up three years ago.
.  . . . .
      "What I can say is that 'Detective knight manages his stress level more than adequately. Painting is his major outlet . . . etc., etc., etc. 

      -- "PSHRINK", W Doherty
. . . . .

Speaking quietly in Reese’s office:

Everybody's talkin' at me
Can't hear a word their sayin'
Only the echos of my mind
-- Everybody's Talkin' – Harry Nilsson

            “I’ll give you some general comments and suggestions, Captain, but I’ll not break confidence. I don’t care what IA thinks, does, has rules for, or what; it’s my license that’s on the line,” said Wade.

            “I understand that, Dr. Everett—“

            “No! Please. Don’t refer to me as 'doctor'. This whole exercise is a waste if anyone finds out who I am and what I’m doing.”

            “Uh, o.k., um—“

            “ ‘Wade’ will do fine, Cap.”

            “So, what can you tell me, Wade?”

            “First, no major problems, you’ll be happy to hear. There are a few men who could use sensitivity training: gender, native peoples, and so on, but you knew that already. Just make sure everyone signs up and takes the classes – that way, no one is singled out.

            “There are a couple of other officers who are going through some tough times, but, again, to your credit, you seem to have a handle on that. So, use your own best judgment as to how to handle them.”

            Reese added, “Well, thank you, but you know who we are interested in. What’s the story?”

            Wade smiled as he quoted himself, “What I can say is that 'Detective knight manages his stress level more than adequately'. You aren’t going to have any more trouble with Knight than you already do. He’s not going to blow. He does have a tendency towards depression, but that, too, is understandable; he has practically no family – and what he does is dysfunctional, and even though he's used to being alone, he's lonely, but we’re going to work on that. I’ve signed us both up for the Division Bowling League. It’ll get him a little out of himself,” said Wade smiling.

            “Captain, I like the guy," he added. "He’s honest and dependable, if a little flakey sometimes. He’s not going to open up, though. And, frankly, ‘opening up’ is not part of his job description, and as long as he’s—“

            “—doing his job . . . ,” Reese completed the thought,

            “What you need to do is,” Wade continued, “first, it ain’t broke, so don’t try to fix it. Next, let him know that if he should ever want to open up, you’re here for him. But also make sure he knows that it’s entirely up to him, no pressure. I’ll bet money he’ll never open up, but just knowing he could is a safety valve.

            “Oh, and by the way, you might just as well let him fill in on holidays, and take shorter vacation breaks than usual – work is the best tonic for what ails him. But, do insist that he attend Division parties and social gatherings – stress that he doesn’t have to stay, but he does have to make an appearance.”

            “Sounds easy enough, Wade,” Reese said. “You’re sure? I like the guy, too, but sometimes he seems so stressed . . . . “

            “Like I said, Cap, let him vent; he’ll be o.k. and will deal with whatever.”

Let’s go for a walk.

Walk on by, Walk on by
-- Walk On By - Bacharach & David

            Reese then opened his office door. “Come with me Detective; we’ll go over there right now and get it straightened out,” he said determinedly but rather vaguely as well, and loud enough to be overheard. Wade looked up at him and caught a look in the Captain’s eye that suggested that following his lead would be a very good thing to do.

            They walked out of the Division office, out of the building and strolled down the side street talking softly. Reese really didn’t want to be overheard.

            “Wade, I really don’t want to be overheard. I’d be fodder for the funny farm -- or dead -- if I were.”  

            “Dead? Isn’t that a little dramatic?” Wade asked.

            “No,” Reese stated frankly.   “How do I put this? Look, if I’m out of line here, just say so, and I butt out. Nick is rather ‘special’. I mean he has some special needs: can’t work days, can’t even come in during the day. He’s got so many food ‘allergies’ that he needs a full time nutritionist – or, maybe he never does eat?”

            “What are you trying to tell me, Captain?”

            “This has got to stay between you and me. Doctor patient privilege? You’re a doctor and you’re giving me some medical advice so I can keep my own blood pressure down, o.k.?”

            Wade frowned but said, “I'm not an M.D., Cap, but I get what you're saying.”

            “O.k. You’re not stupid, despite your boyish looks. Well, neither am I. O.k.: no daylight, can’t eat, nearly throws up at garlic, sometimes has to leave a crime scene if it’s particularly bloody. Am I painting a picture you can see, Detective?” Reese said a bit pointedly.

            “I get you, Captain,” Wade sighed; he was hoping he wouldn’t have to get into this, “I get you.”

            “Good. Now, I--DO—NOT--WANT--TO--KNOW. I think everyone would be happier if I didn’t have any suspicions, so I’m certainly not going to voice any. Besides I don’t have actual proof. And, I’ve seen how much Knight does under the table for the guys in the Division. I know practically his whole salary goes to helping out this one's kid or that one’s wife, or the benevolent fund, or, well, you get the idea. He’s saved a lot of the officers’ lives, too, and if they aren’t grateful, their spouses are.”

            “Captain,” Wade said warily, “we know Knight is one of the good guys. Why the walk outside, the secrecy? What’s the problem?"

One of the good guys

Sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one,
You know that only the good die young
-- Only the Good Die Young - Billy Joel

            “No problem. I’ve seen your reactions to him and I think you know who he is, or maybe I should say 'what he is'; at least, more than anybody else around here.”

            Reese paused for a bit, trying to figure out how he could put what he wanted to say.

            "Look, I DO NOT want to have to come right out and say it; I'd feel like a fool if I was wrong, but I'm not, am I? And, I think you know it," he said looking at Wade intently.

            "Cap, either you're losin' it or you're right. And, I don't think you're losin' it. So, with that I think we understand each other?"

            "Sounds like it. You know, it's a relief to share this with somebody. Geez, what's Knight feel like I don't know. Anyway, if it’s appropriate, and you can, just let him know that I’ll try to work within his special ‘limitations’. That I really do understand something about what he’s going through. Hell, being an outsider is tough – try being the only Black man on the force – oh, not here, in a small town up north.

            “But, let him know in so many words that if he has to reveal himself in some way that I’ll cover for him as best I can. I like him, too, Wade, and he’s one of the best cops I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, even if he is a little bit weird. And, he’s a good, kind, decent human being.”

            “I know he’d appreciate that, Captain. But you tell him. Try this: ‘Nick, I know you’ve got some dangerous secrets in your life, I don’t know what they are, but if push comes to shove, just ask and I’ll cover for you. You’re a good, kind, decent, human being, and we appreciate you around here.’ The ‘human being’ line will get to him; he might even hug you!” Wade said with a chuckle. “It’d mean much more coming from you, and by the way, he’s not stupid either, he’ll read between the lines and know that you ‘know’. For what it’s worth, he might even get a tear in his eye, and, uh, please, don’t notice that it’s probably red.”

            “Red, huh? How come?" he said surprised.

            "Blood," was Wade's simple and direct reply.

            "Ah. Well, thanks, Wade. You’re a pretty good guy, too, for an IA spy-shrink!.” Reese smiled and winked at Wade.

            “You’re a pretty good judge of character, yourself, Joe. If you ever get tired of running the Division, you could try becoming a counselor. You’ve got a touch for it.”

When all is said and done

Neither you nor I'm to blame when all is said and done
-- When All Is Said and Done -- ABBA

            “What about IA, Wade?” Captain Reese said suddenly, with concern.

            “Oh, Captain. We’ve just been talking around a subject that no one wants to talk about outright; don't you think I can talk my way in, out, over, around, and through IA? Especially if you back me up? For one thing, I was hired to give them a professional opinion, and that’s exactly what they are going to get.”

            “Phew! Good point, son,” the Cap said – Wade smiled a bit at the 'son' -- ”and I can call in a few favors if I have to. Plus, given that Knight’s record makes him a golden boy with the powers-that-be, it should be alright.”

            “Yep, between the two of us, Cap; I think we've staked our claim.”

            The captain glared at Wade. "Ya know, detective, I could still transfer you out of here for remarks like that!," he said with an exasperated tone but with a wink.

But what’s your average?

Hey, look me over; lend me an ear, . . .
I figure whenever you’re down and out, the only way is up
-- Hey Look Me Over -- Wildcat (Broadway)

            Wade and Reese got back to the Division’s offices.

            “Thanks, Captain. I think it’ll be all right now; thanks for helping to get it straightened out.”

            “No problem, Detective,” said Reese.

            “Oh, Knight,” he continued, “I hear you’re joining the Bowling team. Good for you! What’s your average? Do you have your own ball?”

Please, I don't really want to know

How many, how many I wonder
But I really don't want to know
-- I Really Don't Want to Know – Dolly Parton

            "Nick, come into my office for a minute, would you? Close the door."

            "Uh, oh. Did I do something wrong, Captain? Cause if I did, I promise—"

            "Nick! You have got to lighten up. Sometimes it's not bad news when someone wants to talk with you.

            "I wanted to tell you something and give you something. First, I think you're a good cop; second, you're a good, kind, decent human being. We appreciate you around here."

            "Uh, why do I feel like there's another shoe about to drop?"

            "There you go, again. Nick, you are just too sensitive about some things; now if you'll let me finish. Thanks. Uh, oh, yeah, we appreciate you around here.

            "Look, I know you've got some unique health problems – don't interrupt me again, detective; or, I'll put you on traffic duty! – I want to let you know that I appreciate your good work, and I'm aware of your problems, and I want you to know that I'll do everything I can to work with them and accommodate them.

            "I appreciate—"

            "Quiet, Nick; I'm not done. I got you a little present in honor of your being here for your fellow officers just about every holiday." Reese bent over and opened his desk drawer and pulled out a tall, square box which obviously held a bottle of something. "I've been trying to find a good time to give this to you and now seems as good as any," and he handed Nick the box.

            "Go on, I want you to open it."

            As he was opening the box, Nick said, "You didn't have to do anything like this, Cap. You know – ," and he stopped.

            Nick stared at the bottle: It was a bottle of Hungarian Bull's Blood Wine. He looked up at the Captain with surprise, fear, wonder, and amazement all trying to control his expression at the same time. He tried to psych out what the Captain's expression meant.

            Before he could say anything, the Captain said, "Nick, I meant what I said about you being a good human being. Even noble sometimes when you're not being a depressed, sad, non-communicative son-of-a – but, that's a different story. Look, you're one of the few people I know that I would even trust with Tammy [Reese's daughter], so you know I mean it. You need any help with that sun allergy, night schedules, let me know, and I'll do what I can."

            "Cap, this is really unexpected. Do you really know what this wine means to me?"

            "Nick, I've got a pretty good idea of exactly what it means. Don't ever mention it again. You got that? You're a good cop, my cop, and a good person. Now," he said as he walked over to the door, "say 'thank you' and get out of here."

            Nick quietly said, "Thank you," and Reese could see a red tear in the corner of Nick's eye. "Here's a hanky; keep it," Reese said softly, and kindly. It was red.

            Nick swallowed hard, looked at it, nodded and went back to his desk.

            Wade looked up questioning, "Everything o.k.?"

            "Yeah, everything's fine. Everything's really fine," he said with a small, slightly wistful, but real smile.

- - - - -

And that's special, too!

Baby, ev'rything is all right, uptight, out of sight.
Baby, ev'rything is all right, uptight, out of sight.
-- Uptight – Stevie Wonder

            "Hi, Nick. What's up? Are you being a good boy and drinking your supplements?" Natalie said.

            Nick made a face. "Couldn't you at least color them red?"

            "Well, for that, I'd have to be dealing with someone I liked," she commented brightly and lightly.

            "Nat, please, I feel bad enough about what—"

            "Nick, I'm sorry,” she said quickly. “I shouldn't poke fun at you, especially about – well, let's just keep going one day at a time. And, to blatantly change the subject, what've you got with you there?"

            "Umm. Maybe we could have a small celebration," he said holding up his box from the Captain. "Would you like to come over to loft for dinner after we get off work? I promise I won't heat up TV dinners." He gave Natalie one of his best, boyish grins.

            "Oh, you," and she hit him with some of the papers from her desk. "That sounds nice. I'd like that, and I can bring over the latest 'Harry Potter' flick. Now, what is it you have there?"

            Nick's look and face took on a more serious tone. "A bottle of wine from Captain Reese," he said with some small surprise in his voice. He showed it to Natalie.

            "Oh. Interesting," she said with her eye-brows raised in query to Nick. "Blood wine?"

            "Yeah, but no actual blood -- he also told me I was a good cop, a decent human being, and if," here Nick made some of the 'quote' gestures with his fingers, " 'you need any help with that sun allergy, night schedules, let me know, and I'll do what I can'."

            Natalie inhaled, "He didn't. He did! He did, didn't he?"

            "Yeah. He knows, Nat. And, he went out of his way to let me know that he knew and that it didn't bother him. He even said he'd trust me with Tammy!"

            Nick sat down hard on Natalie's desk. He gulped.

            "And that 'officially' he doesn't know anything. I guess I had a tear in my eye. Look at the hanky he gave me. Now, tell me he doesn't know." He held out the dark red hanky to Natalie.

            Natalie took it and looked at it and then over at Nick.

            "You, Wade, and Grace all helped when I got shot so bad. And now the Cap tells me in so many words that he knows, he's going to keep quiet, and he'll even help."

            Natalie felt the emotion coming from him and started to hand the red hanky back to him. Nick felt his eyes welling up again and said, "Let me have the – Oh," at Natalie's anticipation. "Thanks, Nat."

            Nick shook his head from side to side; visibly moved, he said to Natalie, "What have I done to deserve such friends as you all."

            Natalie said very quietly, "Well, maybe, Nick, we just believe that you are a good, nice human being, and just maybe, you should give yourself a break." And with that she stood up from her chair and walked around to him, bent down a little, put her arms around him, and hugged him tightly for a few seconds.

            They broke apart. Nick spoke: "Hey did I tell you Wade signed him and me up for the Division bowling league?"


            "Nick.   Why don't you invite Wade and his friend to dinner, too? We could all watch the movie, have a little fun."

            "Um, Nat. I'm not sure that would be a good idea. I like Wade, but considering his boyfriend . . . "

            "Oh, Nick, surely that doesn't bother you."

            "No, no. That's quite all right. It's not what he is, it's who he is. Could you guess if I told you his initials were 'L. L.'? "

            "Get out of town!" she said.