Chance Encounter At The Raven
Chance Encounter At The Raven

Crossover - Forever Knight / The Crow - Stairway To Heaven

Disclaimer: Forever Knight was created by James Parriott, copyright is with Sony Entertainment.

The Crow - Stairway To Heaven was created by Ed Pressman and Bryce Zabel, based on the comic book series by James O'Barr. Not sure where the copyright lies at this time (October 1999)

I'm only playing with the characters, and I promise to put them back unharmed. This is just for fun, no money made.

Archive permission: This little piece may be archived at and as well as my own sites (naturally). Anybody else, ask and ye shall receive.

Summary: Sequel to "Chance Encounter In The Morgue" - you really do need to read that one first, or this story will make no sense at all.

Eric Draven and Darryl Albrecht are on a visit to Toronto, and go to a club called Raven, where they meet some very interesting people.

Thank you all for the overwhelming response to "Chance Encounter In The Morgue"!

"I swear, Albrecht, that woman is nuts. I mean... vampires?"

Detective Darryl Albrecht chuckled.

"So you don't believe in vampires, Draven?"

Eric Draven let out a short, humorless laugh.

"Vampires don't exist", he stated categorically.

"Right." Albrecht nodded. "And people don't come back from the dead, either", he concluded.

"Hey, that was low!"

Albrecht grinned at the younger man. Draven tossed his head back to glare at Albrecht. The two friends had opted to walk the short distance from their hotel to the club, and a cool night breeze kept blowing Eric's tousled mane across his face.

"I don't know why I put up with you, Albrecht!"

"Because I put up with you?" Albrecht retorted, smug grin still spread on his face. "You know, Draven, for one of the undead..."

" impaired!..."

"...whatever, you're a skeptic to rival Dana Scully."

"Dana who?"

Albrecht rolled his eyes.

"X-Files? Fox Mulder, Dana Scully?" he prompted.

"Oh, TV." Draven waved his hand dismissively. "I don't have a TV set."

They walked on in silence until his curiosity got the better of Draven.

"So, you believe in vampires?"

"Didn't say that."

Draven shot Albrecht a questioning look. "All I'm saying is that I try to keep a more open mind since I met you."

"That's no answer."

"Yes, it is."

Draven sighed. Sometimes, Albrecht could try even the patience of a saint. He certainly tried his patience - something crows were not particularly known for.

"Just tell me. Do you, or do you not believe in vampires?"

"You really want to know, hmm? All right, I don't. Hell, Draven, I still have a hard time believing in you. And I've known you for a while now."

Draven nodded slowly.

"So, you agree with me that Dr. Lambert is crazy?"


"No? But you said..."

Albrecht held up his hand to silence his friend.

"I said I didn't believe in vampires. I never said anything about Dr. Lambert. Besides, I believe she simply mistook you for a med student playing a prank on her, and turned the tables."

Draven was struck speechless. When he found his voice again, he was less than coherent.


Chuckling, Albrecht draped his arm around Eric's shoulder and pulled the younger man closer.

"Draven, you don't know a lot about the medical profession, do you?"

Eric shook his head, puzzled by the question.

"I had a girlfriend once, long before I met Cordy. She was studying medicine", Albrecht continued. "I learned one thing from her: Once people get into med school, they either develop a morbid sense of humor, or they don't make it. It's a kind of defense mechanism. They're simply not ready for all the disease and death they see every day. And it gets worse during internship."

"Is that why you split up?"

"No. No, that was... different. Guess it was really my fault."

Albrecht fell silent for a moment.

"There came a point when she worked all the time. She only came home to eat and sleep. Sometimes not even that. There was no 'us' anymore because there was no time for it. Every med student goes through that phase. Looking back now, I know I should have supported her then. But I was too young and self centered to understand. I wanted to come first. In the end, we fought almost every day. I gave her an ultimatum. Medicine or me. She chose medicine."

Draven nodded his understanding.

"Shelly and I had a similar problem", he confessed. "I used to have gigs with the band almost every weekend."

"But you got it worked out."

Draven's eyes grew misty with the memory.

"Yeah, we did", he whispered. "One weekend, she kidnapped me. She showed me how much she really cared about me. About us."

Albrecht lightly squeezed his friends shoulder.

"Sorry. Didn't mean to stir up memories."

Eric smiled and looked up at his closest mortal friend.

"It's okay, Albrecht. It's a good memory."

Albrecht grinned back at him, releasing his shoulder.

"Come on, let's find this club and relax. And..." - he shook his index finger at Draven - "no more memories tonight."


The two rounded the corner of Duncan and Richmonds Street. Loud music greeted them, spilling from the Raven's entrance.

"Oh man, look at the people."

The line of people waiting to enter the club was at least half a block long. Two bouncers, both the size of pro wrestlers, but with an even meaner look about them, kept the waiting masses in line. Albrecht shook his head.

"No way we're getting in there tonight. Let's find another watering hole."


Draven turned to go when one of the bouncers, a leather clad individual with enough piercings that he couldn't go through a metal detector without setting off the alarm, called out to him.

"Hey, you!"

Draven stopped short.

"Who? Me?"


The bouncer looked Eric over closely and finally nodded.

"You can go in", he said, jerking his head in the general direction of the door.

Albrecht snickered.

"Told you it's your kind of place. You'll fit right in here."

Eric didn't quite get it. The bouncer had never seen him before, but treated him like a regular?

"Just like that?" he queried.

"Hey, you wanna go in, kid, you go in. Got it?"

"Sure. What about my friend?"

The bouncer shrugged.

"If he's with you, he can go in, too."

Eric nodded and stepped through the door tentatively, Albrecht in tow.

"Remind me to take you along the next time I want to go for a drink", the detective murmured into his ear.

A sharp glance from the second bouncer silenced the muttered curses from the waiting line.

Natalie Lambert placed the last file in her out box and leaned back in her chair to stretch luxuriously. It had been a quiet shift, no new customers except for the young man who decided he didn't want an autopsy performed on him after all and got up and left on his own feet. Shortly after that, she had called Nick at the precinct to tell him she was getting off early and had plans for the night. Luckily, her favorite vampire detective was on a short shift as well tonight, so all that was left to do was some paperwork while she waited for Nick to pick her up.

The door opened, and Nick Knight stuck his head in.

"Ready to call it a night, Nat?"

Natalie grinned.

"Yes, detective. Let's go."

She stood and shrugged out of her lab coat. Nick leaned nonchalantly against the doorjamb, putting on a neutral face.

"So, you want to go to the club tonight?"

"Nick, it's not like I've never been to the Raven before. And like I told you on the phone, I want to check on something", Natalie replied.

Nick frowned and crossed his arms over his chest.

"You weren't exactly forthcoming with information, Nat. And you weren't supposed to be off that early tonight. It's not even midnight. That's not like you at all."

"I'm taking the rest of the shift off. I have more than enough overtime."

Grabbing her purse an jacket, Natalie sauntered past Nick.

"Are you coming, or what?"

Ever the gentleman, Nick held the passenger door open for Natalie before he climbed into the caddy on the driver's side.

"You don't want to tell me, do you?" he asked as he started the engine and pulled into traffic.

Natalie smacked him on the arm, grinning.

"Nicholas B. Knight, you are eight hundred years old, and still haven't learned patience", she teased.

He grinned back at her, his eyes twinkling.

"Nick! Watch where you're driving", Natalie admonished.

Obediently, he turned part of his attention back to the street.

"So? What made you skip work today?"

He wasn't going to let her get off the hook that easily.

"Deja vu", Natalie answered. "Remember how we first met?"

Of course he remembered; he had ended up in the morgue after trying to stop a gang robbery. The night shift coroner, one Dr. Natalie Lambert, refused to be hypnotized and her memory taken. Instead, she became his friend and searched for a cure to vampirism with him. His eyes grew wide in shock as he realized what Natalie was telling him.

"Nat! Did he...?"

"Hopped off my table, yes. You would think I've got used to it by now." she told him with a wry smile.

Suddenly, Nick reached over to her, pulling away the collar of her jacket and blouse, searching for bite marks. Natalie swatted his hand away. Neither one noticed the caddy swerving into the wrong lane.

"Will you stop that, Nick? He didn't bite me."

"He could have killed you..."

Nick was fuming. The caddy, the street, the traffic were forgotten in his rage and his need to protect Natalie. An oncoming car honked and brought him back to the reality of driving.

"Nick!" Natalie shrieked.

In the last moment, Nick managed to maneuver the caddy back into the right lane.

He gripped the steering wheel harder.

"He could have killed you", he repeated, calmer now.

"But he didn't. He was very polite. And he had incredible control."


"Yes. No fangs, no eyes, that kind of control. Didn't even accept a snack from the fridge. All he wanted was his clothes."

Nick shook his head.

"If he was injured badly enough to be thought dead..." he mused.

"Yes, I know. He should have been hungry enough to attack", Natalie finished in a quiet voice. "But he wasn't."

"An ancient?" Nick ventured. Another truly ancient vampire in town might spell trouble for the community.

"Not according to what he told me. He said he was less than two years across."

"A fledgling?"

"Nick, let's talk about this later. I avoided becoming a vampire victim tonight, I would like to avoid becoming a victim in a traffic accident."

Nat's tone was more than a little exasperated.

Eric Draven and Darryl Albrecht slowly pushed their way through the writhing bodies to the bar. The Raven was packed to capacity, and the dancers oblivious to anything but their own bodies and the beat driving them on. There were punks, rockers, goths. There were guys in suits and women in stiletto heels. Eric had never seen such a divers crowd in one place at the same time.

"What do you say, Eric?" Albrecht yelled over his shoulder. Draven was right behind him, banging his head in time to the music.

"I like it already", he yelled back.

The moment they reached the bar, a Greek looking man appeared at their elbows.

"I'm Miklos, your bartender. What'll it be, gentlemen?"

"Beer", Albrecht answered.

"Make that two", Eric chimed in. Miklos gave him a strange look.

"You sure?" he asked slowly.

Eric blinked. This had not happened to him in a couple years.

"What? You need to see some I.D.?" He started reaching for his driving license, but Miklos stopped him with a small gesture of his hand.

"No, that's okay. I can see you're old enough. Just thought your.. ah... taste ran in a different direction."

"Oh. No, I'd really like a beer now."

Miklos shook his head; try as he might, he could not hear the young man's heartbeat. Must be the music, he mused. Should really start wearing earplugs before my hearing is ruined for eternity.

Eric blinked, slightly puzzled, as the bartender retreated to get their orders.

"Now, what was that about?"

"I have no idea", Albrecht told him cheerfully. "But did you notice how many people here drink red wine? Especially the ones dressed in black like you."

"Ever the detective, huh?"

"You know, I might have been wrong earlier."

"About what?"

Albrecht just grinned and tapped a finger against his canines. Eric felt a cold shiver run down his spine. The grin on Albrecht's face grew even wider.

"Don't worry, I didn't change my mind. Seems we picked the local cult bar."

Eric nodded.

"That would explain why Dr. Lambert recommended this bar."

"She did?"

"Yeah. She told me to ask for the house special."

He shuddered slightly.

Albrecht could not contain his laughter anymore.

"I know, I know... you never drink... wine", he quipped in a terrible transsylvanian accent.

Eric groaned and rolled his eyes.

Draven and Albrecht were still sitting at the bar when Nick and Natalie arrived. Natalie immediately walked up to Eric, pulling Nick with her.

"Mr. Draven. I'm glad you found your way here", she greeted the young man.

Eric froze. Slowly, he turned around.

"Dr. Lambert", he managed, nearly choking on the words. Natalie seemed oblivious to his reaction, or she chose to ignore it.

"I'd like you to meet a friend of mine, Detective Knight." She indicated the tall blond man at her side. Nick stuck his hand out, and Eric shook it.

"Call me Nick", he said.

"I'm Eric."

"You're a detective?" Albrecht interjected.

Nick nodded.

"Uhmm... this is a friend of mine, Darryl Albrecht", Eric explained.

Nick and Albrecht exchanged a handshake as well.

"Detective Darryl Albrecht, Port Columbia Police, currently on vacation."

"Which department?" Nick asked.


"Me, too. That's a coincidence."

Natalie cleared her throat.

"Ah, Darryl, this is Dr. Lambert. I told you about her."

"Pleasure to meet you, Doctor. Eric here gave you quite a scare, didn't he?"

"He told you? Oh, and please call me Natalie."

Albrecht shrugged.

"No secrets between us", he replied.

Nick and Nat exchanged a knowing glance, which was lost on the other two. At this moment, Miklos appeared and placed two glasses in front of the newcomers, one Scotch, the other filled with a dark red liquid that looked like wine.

"I assume you're having the usual, Doc, Knight?"

"Yes, thank you, Miklos." Natalie gave the vampire bartender a brilliant smile. Over the years, Miklos had become a good friend with his ability to listen without passing judgment. Nat lifted her Scotch in a toast. The others followed suit, and Nat noticed that Eric was drinking beer.

"Beer?" she asked, slightly puzzled. "Isn't that a bit..."

Eric's eyebrows threatened to vanish into his hairline.

"What? Think I'm too young? Or that my tastes ran in a different direction?"

Natalie grinned; she liked Draven's style. The seemingly young man was so relaxed about his condition. Very unlike Nick's continuous angsting, or Lacroix's overbearing attitude, he reminded her a bit of Vachon.

"I just happen to like beer."

Draven shrugged.

"But if I hear one more vampire joke tonight", he added with a meaningful glance in Albrecht's direction, "I'm gonna climb the walls. Cheers!"

With that, he drained his glass in one long draught, immediately signaling Miklos for a refill.

Albrecht chuckled.

"You're getting as paranoid as Fox Mulder, Draven."

Draven gave him "the look" again.

"First Dana Scully, now Fox Mulder. Aren't you taking this X-File thing a bit too far?"

"Hey, I only started watching that show after I met you!"

"Oh, joy!"

Eric grimaced.

"Now I'm responsible for the ratings!"

Nick and Natalie joined in Albrecht's laughter.

"Why don't we find a table?" Nick suggested. He, too, was fascinated by Draven. At he least, he was curious to the extreme. Draven showed signs of being an ancient, being able to drink something other than blood and enjoying it, and to block Nick's sense of the vampire. The only way Nick could tell he was one of their kind was that his heart did not beat in the swift mortal pattern. And yet, he claimed to be a fledgling. Unlike most other vampires, he treated mortals as equals. He had spared Natalie's life when the code would have dictated his killing her. Nick could hardly wait to talk openly with him. He had a thousand questions.

"Nick? Nat? Gosh, I didn't know you guys frequented this place!"

Uh-oh, Nick thought as he heard his partner's voice. Sure enough, it was Tracy Vetter, and Javier Vachon was with her. Tracy was even perkier than usual, probably running on pure caffeine.

"Hey, Trace! Vachon," he greeted the pair.

"Friends of yours?" Tracy inquired, indicating Albrecht and Draven. "Hi, I'm Tracy Vetter, Nick's partner. This is my friend Vachon."

Nick shot Vachon a long-suffering glance; the younger vampire only shrugged and grinned.

"Whoa, Tracy, slow down! How much coffee did you have tonight?" Natalie inquired.

"Too much, Doc", Vachon replied in her place. He was trying hard - and failing - not to stare at Draven.

"We were.. uh.. just going to find a table", Eric said "Want to join us?"

"Sure! Let us get some drinks, we'll catch up to you."

Nick, Natalie, Draven and Albrecht made their way to a private booth in the back, while Tracy and Vachon picked up their drinks.

"Is she always like this?" Eric inquired.

"Tracy? Only if she had too much coffee. Which is about every night." Nick answered. "She's more of a day person."

At the bar, Vachon murmured into Tracy's ear: "I'm not so sure this is a good idea, Trace. This guy in black, with the long hair? He's... ah.."

He noticed a man in a suit lean closer to catch his conversation with Tracy and gave the mortal a dirty look.

"Do you mind, Mister?"

The man glared at him; sighing, Vachon took Tracy's elbow and steered her into a corner.

"He's one of you?"


Vachon looked around nervously.

"Not only that, I can't get a clear sense of him. That means he's old, Trace."

"Older than you?"

"Much older. Which means he's much stronger, too."

"Oh my gosh... Nick and Nat..."

"Are quite safe at the moment. None of our kind would try anything in here. But let me talk to him first, okay? I don't want anything to happen to you later."

"Javier Vachon, you're not my big brother!"

Tracy's temper flared, and Vachon knew he had to do some fast talking or he might find himself staring at the business end of a wooden stake. He had to talk to Nick and the strange vampire, find out if other man was privy to their secret, and warn them not to talk openly in front of Tracy.

"I know, Trace. I'm not trying to patronize you. Just trust me on this, okay?"

He was just about to start sweating blood. However did he get himself into this mess? Oh, yes, Knight and his damned chivalry.

"Okay, I trust you."

Vachon let out a breath he didn't remember holding.

While Vachon and Tracy stayed behind to wait for their drinks, the other four picked their way to one of the tables in the back of the club. They were lucky; although the Raven was packed, they were able to find a table far enough from the band so the music wasn't too loud to have a conversation while still giving them some privacy, and large enough to accommodate all six of them. It had just been vacated by a pair of vampires who decided to take their necking into one of the back rooms rather than giving the mortals in the club a free horror show. Nick gave the pair a cursory glance and a nod before slipping into one of the seats next to Natalie.

"So, what brings you to Toronto?" he asked Eric, more to start the conversation again than anything else.

Eric shrugged, indicating Albrecht with a jerk of his head.

"He won this trip for two and decided I needed a vacation. So he took me along", he said.

"You guys are partners?"

Both Albrecht and Draven grinned at Nick's question.

"Hardly. I'm his snitch", Eric answered.

Off Albrecht's puzzled look, Natalie asked if something was wrong.

"No. Just had the impression you told Nick how you and Eric... ah.. met", Albrecht offered.

"I did. He nearly ran the car off the road when he learned somebody stole his trick", Natalie laughed. Nick's self depreciatory smile elicited a round of laughter from Nat, Albrecht, and even Eric.

"What? Cops jump off the coroner's table here?" Albrecht could hardly believe his ears.

"Sometimes", Natalie confided. "It's how we first met." She grinned. "Scared me out of a year's growth."

Albrecht laughed even harder at that; he had to wipe tears of laughter from the corners of his eyes.

"Small wonder. You know, you had Eric here scared half to death. He thought you'd go after him with a wooden stake next."

Eric chose to contemplate his beer rather than reacting to Albrecht's bantering.

Nick smiled at the young man.

"She wouldn't. But she might stick some needles into him", he teased. Nick lowered his voice. "However, I would prefer it if you did not mention any of this to Tracy. She.. ah.. has enough to deal with as it is."

Albrecht and Draven exchanged a puzzled look, just as Natalie elbowed Nick.

"Here they come", she announced.

And indeed, Tracy and a slightly nervous looking Vachon had found their way to the table, both carrying drinks. Tracy sat hers down, while Vachon slid into the seat next to Nick.

"I'll be back in a minute, guys", she said. "Need to powder my nose." Off she went again, a little to hesitant. Hesitant to leave Vachon alone with the strange vampire he had all but admitted could easily break him in half. Damn, but when did she get so attached to him? She should be concerned for her partner, instead she found herself fearing for the safety of a nearly five hundred year old bloodsucking creature of the night.

Vachon watched her go. As soon as she was out of earshot, he turned his full attention on Eric Draven. Not only did he appear to be an ancient of their kind, he also seemed oddly familiar. Vachon was certain he had met the man before, but for the unlife of him, he could not remember when or where.

"Something wrong?" Draven inquired, getting uncomfortable under the Spaniard's unwavering stare. He was getting the strange feeling he had met this Vachon guy before. But he could not recall where or when.

"No." Vachon shifted in his seat. "I didn't catch your name before?"

"That's because I didn't tell it." Eric took a swallow from his beer. "It's Eric Draven, by the way."

"And this is Darryl Albrecht, a trusted friend of Eric's. They're here for a vacation", Nick piped in. Vachon noticed the slight emphasis on the word 'trusted'.

"I see", Vachon nodded. "Are you enjoying your stay here?"

"It's certainly... interesting", Albrecht answered. He did not miss the tension between the two men. This Vachon guy seemed nervous, as if he was treading on dangerous territory. And Eric looked like he was seeing a ghost. Or rather, like a mortal who was seeing a ghost, Albrecht silently amended. To his knowledge, Eric had met ghosts before and it had not fazed him.

Eric cocked his head, looking intently at Vachon.

"Have we met before?" he queried.

Vachon frowned. He was spared an answer since Tracy was returning that moment.

"Hey guys, I'm back. Anything interesting happening since I left?" she asked breathlessly.

"Oh, I learned our new friends' names", Vachon drawled, taking her hand, twining his fingers through hers. "Tracy, these are Darryl Albrecht and Eric Draven."

"Hi, nice to meet you."

Tracy sat down next to Vachon, squeezing his hand slightly.

"Eric Draven?" she repeated. "I've heard that name before. You're not the Eric Draven? Of Hangman's Joke? Only he's..."

Tracy realized her mistake too late. Draven cast his eyes down.

"Dead, you mean", Eric said quietly.

Nick stiffened, and so did Vachon.

"Uh-oh", Albrecht commented. "There goes a nice, normal evening."

Eric sighed.

"I did not expect to be recognized."

Albrecht noticed Nick fidgeting uncomfortable.

"Why not tell the truth?" Eric said mostly to himself, before addressing Tracy and the others again.

"My girl friend and I were murdered", he said in a quiet, detached voice, "but I did not stay dead. I was sent back. I don't know how or why. All I know is that I have to set things right. I don't need to sleep, or eat, and I cannot die until my job here is done. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?"

Nick, Natalie and Tracy regarded him with wide eyes. Vachon blinked. And then he burst out laughing.

"A Crow! He's a Spirit Crow!" he cried.

"A Spirit Crow? Like in the Native legends? Wow!" Tracy was impressed.

Albrecht put the glass he had half raised to his mouth down again.

"You know about these things?"

Vachon blinked again and shrugged.

"Yeah, well, I used to know this Native guy who got killed. He came back, too."

Albrecht raised his glass again to take a swallow

"His name was Blackfeather", Vachon continued, and Albrecht nearly choked on his beer.

Eric clapped the coughing and sputtering Albrecht on the back.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

Albrecht finally managed to get his breath back. He stared at Vachon, who was all but squirming in his seat.

"Did you say Blackfeather?"

Oh sh***, Vachon thought. Me and my big mouth... His relief at realizing that this was no ancient vampire turned into shock; that Draven was a Crow did not mean he knew anything about the community. But Vachon had just admitted to knowing someone who had been dead for more than a hundred years.

"Uhm.. yeah. That was the name", he answered, playing for time. Great, Javier, he thought, how are you gonna fix that one?

Draven just stared at the Spaniard. This strange feeling of deja vu he had got stronger with each passing moment. Like a half forgotten memory, it was tugging at the edge of his awareness. He was certain he had met Vachon before, but the man could not possibly have known him as Blackfeather. Blackfeather, his last incarnation, died at the end of a rope in 1892.

"Blackfeather has been dead for more than a century", Albrecht exclaimed. "Dead and departed!"

In this moment, something hard connected with his shin, causing him to wince in pain. He opened his mouth to complain to whomever was kicking him under the table when Albrecht caught Tracy Vetter's gaze. Tracy was staring at him with wide eyes, alternately shaking her head in minute movements and pointing her chin at Detective Knight. The message she tried to telegraph was clear to Albrecht: Drop the subject, this is not for Nick's ears.

What on earth was going on here?

"Oh, come on, you're not telling me people come back from the dead", Natalie interjected. "That's impossible!"

Yeah, Tracy thought, as impossible as vampires, and here I am sitting next to one.

Out loud, she said: "Do you believe in reincarnation?"

Vachon blinked, and grabbed the opportunity.

"Yeah, reincarnation. I... uhm... knew this guy in a former life."

Inwardly, he sighed a sigh of relief.

"Really", Albrecht replied sarcastically. This evening was getting weirder and weirder.

"This is ridiculous", Natalie huffed. "There is no scientific proof for.. ouch!"

She glared at Nick, who had just kicked her under the table and now silently mouthed "No" to her, rolling his eyes in Tracy's direction.

"Of course, there are quite a number of cases who.. ah.. seem to remember former lives under hypnosis", she continued without missing a beat. " It's not what I would call scientific, though. What do you say, Eric?"

Eric Draven did not answer. He was staring off into space.

Flashback - Oregon, 1892

Blackfeather reigned the horses in when he saw a dark figure standing in the middle of the road which led towards the reservation. Night had fallen; he should have gone back hours ago, but time always seemed to fly when he spent it with Rebecca. Blackfeather peered into the darkness, trying to make out the person's features.

"Blackfeather! It's good to see you, my friend!" a familiar voice called out to him.


A smile lit up Blackfeather's usually solemn features as he recognized his friend's voice.

"When did you return?"

"Late last night. I spent the day in town."

The Spaniard stepped closer and climbed onto the wagon.

"Give me a lift?"

Blackfeather grinned and grabbed Vachon's forearm in greeting.

"It's been too long, my friend. You have news to share?"

Vachon laughed.

"From what I heard in town, you have some news, boy."

Blackfeather looked at him questioningly.

"You and the preacher's daughter?" Vachon prompted.

Blackfeather averted his eyes.

"Her father does not approve", he said.

"Hah! Her father is a bigoted pig."

Vachon waved his hand in a dismissive gesture.

The answer made Blackfeather smile.

"That is true, my friend."

"Eric? Hey, Eric?"

Albrecht waved his hand in front of Eric's eyes.

"Paging Eric Draven. You in there, Eric?"

Eric blinked. It took him a moment to remember where he was. These short episodes when his memories overtook conscious thought always left him disoriented.

"What? Sorry, I was thinking."

"Took a stroll down memory lane? I thought we agreed on no more memories tonight."

"Yeah, well." Eric gave him one of his lopsided grins. "It's not like I can control this." He turned his gaze on Vachon who studied him intently, his right hand resting on the table between his and Nick's glass.

"But I remember you now", Eric said. He cocked his head.

"You do?" Vachon asked. He lifted Nick's glass to his lips, staring at Eric over the rim.

"Yes. It's really strange..." Eric started. He remembered the face. The very same face, a hundred years ago. The same name. Impossible. Nobody lived that long. Was his memory playing tricks on him?

Meanwhile, at the bar, Lucien LaCroix enjoyed a glass of the house special as well as his favorite pass time, people watching. Tonight's entertainment promised to be special indeed. The interaction between Nicholas, his mortal partner, and the young Spaniard was always entertaining, but the newcomers added an unknown quality to the mix which the ancient vampire found quite refreshing. Miklos had pointed young Mr. Draven out to him, and now hovered near LaCroix. A vampire who drank beer was a curious thing, to say the least.

Knight started to nervously play with Vachon's glass, lifting it, setting it down again. The action drew Tracy's attention, and her eyes widened when she saw which glass her partner was holding. She had noticed a tiny crack in the rim of Vachon's glass, and she recognized it now in Nick's hand.

Draven blinked again. "I don't understand it", he began again, fumbling for words. How could he explain that he remembered Vachon having the same face, even the same name?

Vachon's face lost what little color it had. Damn. How much did Draven recall? Did he remember his true nature? As Blackfeather, he had known, and he had also known to keep his mouth shut.

The tension level at the table was growing by the second, and finally, Knight lifted Vachon's glass, knocking the contents back, while Vachon sipped from Nick's glass and grimaced at the putrid taste of the cow's blood. Too late, Tracy called out: "Nick! Don't! That's Vachon's..."

Vachon nearly dropped the glass.

Oh no, he thought, the shit's going to hit the fan... Nick, too, had turned deathly pale. He looked at Vachon. Vachon looked at Nick. Both looked at Tracy. Tracy gaped at the two of them. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. Nick's sun allergy. His strange diet. The occasional slips, when he hinted at knowing things he could not possibly know. Nick was a vampire.

"You", she hissed, "you bastard!" White with rage, Tracy got to her feet, clenched her fist, drew back her arm, and delivered a right cross. Blood shot from Nick's nose.

Vachon, too, got up.

"Tracy...", he began, hands raised in a submissive gesture, but Tracy shoved him down onto the seat again.

"I'll talk to you later", she snarled. With that, she turned and stormed towards the back rooms.

At the bar, LaCroix set his glass down with deliberate slowness.

"I believe, Miklos, that young Miss Vetter has just found out her partner's secret."

"What are you going to do, boss?"

"Do?" LaCroix smiled a sardonic smile. "Nothing, of course. But, I will talk to her."

With that, he followed Tracy.

Tracy was fuming. She repeatedly hit her fist on the wall to keep herself from crying. It was no use; tears of rage and frustration were streaming down her face. She'd been so stupid. The signs were all there, and she did not see them. All this must have been very amusing to Nick and Vachon. The commissioners gullible little daughter. How they must have laughed behind her back! Damn vampires. Damn them all!

Suddenly, a voice behind her spoke up.

"Detective Vetter, I presume?"

Tracy whirled around to face the owner of the cultured voice.

"What?" she hissed.

Lucien LaCroix raised an eyebrow.

"My, my, are we in a mood tonight, detective."

"That's none of your business, Mister!"

"Ah, but there you are wrong, Tracy. You see, I am the owner of this club, and that makes it my business when one of my patrons causes a... shall we say... scene."

He stepped closer, smiling like a shark.

Tracy looked up at him.

"You're one of them too, aren't you?" she whispered.

LaCroix cocked his head. This was getting good.

"One of what?"

"Don't bother to deny it. I know what you are."

"My dear, if that is the case, then you know... too much."

He stepped even closer, until he was pushing her against the wall with his body.

"My people... my children... have only survived through the centuries because we did not allow mortals to know about us. You do realize what that means for you, don't you, my dear?" he whispered sharply into her ear.

At the table, Natalie was pressing a handkerchief under Nick's nose to stem the bloodflow.

"You're lucky she didn't break your nose", she muttered.

"Alright. What is going on here?" Albrecht demanded.

Vachon and Nick both looked at him and shook their heads.

"You don't want to know", Vachon said. His voice took on a hypnotic quality. "Nothing unusual happened here."

"Nothing unusual? You must be kidding!" Albrecht snorted.

Vachon groaned. Another resistor. Great. Just great.

"What is it with you cops?" he asked no one in particular.

Eric, curious, pulled Nick's glass closer and sniffed at it. Blood. Oh my god, he thought.

"Albrecht?" he muttered. "You remember what we talked about on the way here?"

"What? Yeah, of course."

Eric held out the glass to Albrecht.

"We might have been wrong", he stated.

Albrecht took the glass and sniffed. He recognized the scent of blood. His face turned ashen.

"You people are sick", he said.

"Uh... Albrecht..."


"I knew Vachon when I was Blackfeather. He looked the same back then. And he had the same name."


Albrecht looked at Vachon; the Spaniard nodded at the unspoken question.

"Blackfeather and I were friends. I trusted him, and he knew what I am." Vachon took a deep breath. "The question now is: Can I trust Eric Draven?"

"You drink blood."

Vachon shrugged.

"It's donated."

"Blood donations are supposed to save lives", Albrecht interjected.

Vachon gave him a slight smile.

"You think starvation is such a nice way to go?" he asked.

"Ah, well, if you put it that way."

Albrecht was starting to feel like he was in a cheap horror movie. Vampires! How did he ever get involved in these things? Oh, yes, Eric. Make friends with one of the undead, and your life will suddenly be filled with ghosts and goblins. Great.

"Besides, not all vampires drink human. The blood in Nick's glass is cow", Natalie said.

"Whoa! Hold it... are you saying he is one, too?" Albrecht exclaimed.

Natalie grinned and nodded.

"But... but you're a cop!" Eric stared at Nick with wide eyes.

"A vampire cop." Albrecht chuckled. "Let me guess. You're partner didn't know, right? But she knew about Vachon here. When you guys switched glasses, she realized the truth."

"Yeah. And now I'm in trouble." Nick`s nose had stopped bleeding; he wiped the last of the blood off his face and stuffed the handkerchief into his pocket.

"You think you're in trouble?" Vachon made a rude noise. "She's going to stake my ass to the church portal at dawn, man!"

"You didn't trust your own partner. No wonder she's upset."

"Sounds like someone I know", Eric muttered under his breath.

"Oh, come on, Eric. You want to explain life after death to Capshaw?" Albrecht snorted. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life someplace where the walls are padded."

"Good answer, detective."

"Guys? Don't you think you should go apologize to Tracy? Before she comes back with wooden stakes and holy water?" Natalie suggested.

"You have a point there, Doc. At least now she's not armed with anything lethal to us."

Vachon stood and turned to Nick.


The older vampire got up, too, and together the two of them made their way to the back rooms, leaving Natalie with Albrecht and Draven.

Once the two vampires had left, Eric turned his attention to Natalie. He was still shaken. Vampires! In the twentieth century! It was unbelievable.

"You're ... ah... very calm about this", he observed with a vague gesture at his teeth.

Natalie just smiled and shrugged.

"Tracy is going to be mad at them for a while, but it's not like they don't deserve it. They both have this tendency to be overprotective towards us poor mortals. It's a really bad habit."

She chuckled.

"It makes Tracy mad as hell when Nick treats her like a kid."

"No, I mean... they're..." Eric let the sentence trail off unfinished.

"Vampires? Yes, they are. So what?"

Natalie arched her eyebrows.

"You have to forgive him, Doctor. Natalie. He's not used to not being the only supernatural being around", Albrecht commented.

Eric gave him a sidelong glance.

Natalie sipped at her Whiskey.

"There is nothing supernatural about vampires", she replied. "Vampirism is an acquired aberration in the human DNA, caused by a retrovirus."

"Uh.. could you repeat that in English?" Eric asked.

"It's a disease. A causative organism that changes the human DNA into something different once it has taken hold."

"A-ha!" Eric wasn't quite sure what that meant, but he sure as hell wasn't going to admit it. Instead, he sipped at his third beer of the evening.

A worried look crossed Albrecht's features.

"You mean it's contagious?"

"Basically yes, but you cannot catch vampirism like the common cold. For the vampire factor to be successfully transmitted, there has to be an exchange of large amounts of body fluids."

"Body fluids?" Eric echoed.

"Blood", Albrecht translated for his living impaired friend. Sometimes it paid to listen to the med babble in the morgue.

Natalie smiled and nodded.

"Correct. In addition, the recipient's system must be close to or in the process of complete breakdown for the factor to take hold."

Eric shook his head in bewilderment.

"Now you lost me, doc."

"She said the person must be dying, or they won't turn vampire."


Eric wasn't sure what he liked less, the topic of conversation or Albrecht understanding what Dr. Lambert said in those professional, clinical, utterly sterile words.

"Indeed", Natalie continued. "Even prolonged exposure to the vampire factor will do no permanent damage to a healthy mortal human being. You can, in fact, inject someone with vampire blood, and it will only give them some of the characteristics of the vampire for a short time before it wears out."

"Like turning into bats?" Eric asked, shuddering. He was not particularly fond of bats.

Natalie laughed at that.

"Vampires don't turn into bats", she told him. "And before you ask, they do have a shadow and a reflection."

"What about crosses?"

"I always thought that any reaction to a cross or other holy symbol is purely psychosomatic. Some vampires, like Nick, get burns when they touch a cross. Vachon, on the other hand, lives in a church. He's got crosses and statues of saints all over the place, and they don't bother him at all."

Eric blinked. This was way beyond weird. Surreal. Yes, surreal was the word he was looking for. Here they were, a cop, a spirit crow, and a coroner, sitting in a night club and discussing vampires in clinical detail while all around them vampires were drinking donated blood and dancing with unsuspecting mortals. Time to change the subject before he started to scream.

"You think they will take much longer?" he asked with a jerk of his head in the direction of the back rooms.

Natalie grinned, the calm professional was replaced by a mischievous woman.

"Let's go and find out, shall we?"

The three got up and followed the vampires, Natalie leading, Albrecht and Draven close on her heels.

"You do realize what that means for you, don't you, my dear?" LaCroix whispered sharply into Tracy's ear. He was standing close enough for her to feel the coldness of his flesh, his hands placed against the wall on both her sides, effectively blocking her escape. But Tracy refused to be intimidated.

"What? That you won't take me out to dinner and a movie?" she retorted. "You're too old for me, anyway."

A low chuckle escaped LaCroix's throat. That one had spunk. He found he liked it.

"You have courage, young one. Maybe more so than is good for you. Do you even know who I am?"

Tracy looked him up and down.

"Well, you don't look like Bela Lugosi to me, even though you try your best to act like him. Drop the cheap vampire flick act, will you? You're not impressing anyone."

Her words sounded hollow even in her own ears.

"Such bravado, young one."

LaCroix traced a finger along Tracy's jawline and down her throat.

"Do not bother to deny it. You are afraid. Your heart is beating like a drum", he purred.

"LaCroix! Release her!"

Tracy had never been so glad to hear her partner's voice. The ancient vampire straightened and turned to face the interruption.

"Nicholas. And young Javier. Coming to protect your mortal charge, I see."

He nodded towards the younger vampires, utterly calm and in control.

Nick growled low in his throat, his eyes glowing gold.

"If you've so much as touched her, LaCroix, I swear..."

"What? To kill me? It seems to me, Nicholas, that you are quite selective in your protection of young Miss Vetter here."

"I don't know what you're talking about!"

"More's the pity, my son. Has it never even occurred to you that your continuing silence placed her in more danger than her knowledge of you being a vampire ever could? Or are partners not supposed to protect each other anymore?"

A thoughtful look crossed Vachon's face. LaCroix was right; by following the code, they had placed Tracy in unnecessary danger.

LaCroix closed the distance to Nicholas, meeting his son's angry gaze with his own.

"How long before she would catch a bullet for you, not knowing it could not kill you? How many years, months, before she would die for you, Nicholas?"

"Don't!" Nick hissed between clenched teeth. "Don't try to play games with me, LaCroix. You know the code. You know I had no choice in the matter."

"Ah, but there you are wrong, my son. She already knows about Vachon and the carouche. One more vampire makes little difference at this point."

He smiled. It was not a pretty smile.

"It was easier for you that way, was it not? To play at being mortal. To try and fit into their pitiful little world. And so, you deceived yourself again, Nicholas."

"Enough!" a new voice interrupted LaCroix's musings.

Behind Draven, Albrecht covered his eyes with one hand. He should have known Eric would do something foolish like step into a fight between two vampires. Immortality obviously didn't do anything for his judgement.

"Tell me I'm not seeing this", he moaned.

"You're not", Natalie quipped. "You're covering your eyes."

The ancient vampire turned to see himself standing face to face with the young-looking vampire Miklos had pointed out to him. Strange that the other was still masking his presence. LaCroix arched an eyebrow.

"I was wondering when you would introduce yourself. Do you not know how to show the proper respect to an elder of the community?" he said in a flat voice.

"Elder?" Albrecht mouthed in Natalie's direction.

Nat leaned closer to him, whispering in his ear: "He's probably the oldest vampire in Ontario. Close to two thousand years."

Albrecht swallowed, hard.

Eric had to crane his neck to look into LaCroix's eyes, but he refused to be put at a disadvantage by the other's more impressive build.

"Why should I?" Eric shot back. "I'm not one of your community."

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Vachon desperately trying to get LaCroix's attention. The vampire, however, was too focused on Eric to be distracted by the Spaniard's antics.

"An interesting claim. Pray tell me what you are, then." LaCroix made it sound like 'Prey, tell me what you are.'

"Or let me tell you", he continued. "You are a little upstart who comes into my club, insults me, and dares to mask his presence even now."

He circled the smaller man like a hungry shark.

"I should stake you and leave your body out in the sun to burn."

"That you're idea of a threat, old man?" Eric gave the vampire a feral grin. "Maybe you want to meet my friend?" He could feel the Crow surge inside him.

LaCroix snorted.

"Your mortal? Do not be ridiculous. How is he going to protect you, little one? With a toothpick?"

"Leave Albrecht out of this!" Eric shouted angrily. "I was talking about the Crow!"

LaCroix was taken aback by the sudden outburst; what did a bird have to do with this?

"Young man, I have you know that I do not allow pets in my establishment!" he huffed.

"Uh-oh", Albrecht muttered. "That's it. Now he's pissed off."

And he was right. With the sickening wet sound of ripping flesh, the Crow emerged. LaCroix took an involuntary step backwards as he suddenly stared into a pair of dead eyes in a white painted face.

"Hey, fang-face", the Crow sang. "I'm hee-eere!"

LaCroix stared into the apparition's paper white face.

"What are you?" he demanded in a cold voice.

"He's a spirit crow", Vachon told him meekly.

Draven bowed before the ancient vampire, mocking him.

"An avenging angel, come back from the dead, black bird always at my side. I protect the innocent, fight those who are bad, my job it is to put things right", he rhymed.

"Indeed", LaCroix remarked. This was fascinating, to say the least. He felt his anger dissipate in the light of this new development. This held... potential.

"Uhm.. LaCroix... there is an old native legend." Vachon tried once more to capture the ancient's attention. "People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens..."

"... that a great sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can carry the soul back to put things right", LaCroix concluded, sounding bored. "Yes, yes, I know the legend."

He circled Draven once more. Eric stood perfectly still, not turning his head, not blinking, not even breathing.

"How quaint", LaCroix purred. "A fairy tale come to life. Or unlife, as the case may be."

"Look who's talking, Mr. Big Bad Vampire."

Eric smirked. His brown eyes locked with LaCroix's icy blue ones.

"Ah, yes. Myths and legends. Now, what do I do with you, boy? I should kill you right here and now."

"You might have a problem with that, Count Dracula. You see - I'm already dead, so I can't die."

Eric cocked his head like a bird and gave LaCroix his best insane grin.

"You can try", he continued, "but I'll just keep coming back like a bad meal."

"Funny you should put it like that."

LaCroix studied his perfectly manicured fingernails.

"But I suppose it would be a waste of time. I am not in the habit of wasting my time. Even for my kind, life is too short for that."

Eric changed back into his mortal form.

"I agree", he said softly. "I will keep your secret, and you will keep mine."

The vampire inclined his head.

"Your mortal friend is your responsibility, of course. Now, my young friends, you will excuse me. I have a club to run."

With that, Lucien LaCroix made his exit.

No sooner was he out of sight that Vachon leaned heavily against the wall and let out a sigh of relief.

"¡Madre de Dios! I thought the old dragon would rip us all into pieces."

"Not in his best mood tonight, huh?" Albrecht asked.

"On the contrary."

"You mean...?" Albrecht let the rest of the sentence trail away. "I thought you guys didn't kill anymore."

Vachon shook his head.

"Oh, he wouldn't have drained you. I think. But he can be quite... intense. Just ask Knight."

Nick nodded.

"Vachon's right. LaCroix's tongue is even sharper than his fangs. And about the killing part - I'm not sure he doesn't still hunt, occasionally. But if he does, he cleans up after himself. No one will ever be able to link him to a dead body."

Vachon turned to Tracy, who was still leaning against the wall beside him, and took her hand into his. Her hand felt colder than his own.

"Trace, are you okay?"

There was concern in his voice, and something more.

"Yeah. I am, now", she said quietly. "Thanks for coming after me. Both of you."

She took Nick's hand and squeezed it; the vampire cop gave her his patented puppy dog look.

"Still partners?" he asked.

"Still partners", Tracy answered. "But - no more secrets!" she continued in a stern voice.

Without another word, Vachon gathered her into his arms. Sighing, she leaned her head on his shoulder. Vachon could feel her slender body start to shake. It took him a few moments to realize that Tracy was trying hard to suppress a fit of giggles.

"You sure you're okay?"

Tracy was laughing even harder.

"I - I'm sorry", she gasped. "But when LaCroix started talking about fairy tales, all I could think of was Little Red Riding Hood."

Vachon blinked. Albrecht grinned; the mental image of Eric in a red hood, skipping along a path in the woods, basket with wine and cake in hand, was more than weird.

"And I always thought I looked like Snow White", Eric commented in a dry voice.

That was too much. The others all cracked up, laughing.

"Just.. just as long as you don't sing this song", Albrecht finally managed to gasp.

"What song?"

"Hi ho, Hi ho...."

This elicited a new round of laughter; this time, Eric joined in. Tracy hid her face on Vachon's shoulder again.

"Still mad at me?" he whispered into her hair when their laughter subsided.

A deep chuckle escaped her throat.

"I'll have to think about it. Maybe I should start eating garlic pizza for a while?"

She straightened. This night had been an emotional roller coaster for her. She had learned her partner's secret, stood up against an ancient vampire, and she was still among the living. Not dead, not undead, but alive. And life was good.

"Come on, guys! Let's get some drinks and party!"

"That's the spirit!" Natalie cheered.

"I could use something stronger than beer now", Draven said to no one in particular.

Back at the bar, LaCroix mused about this strange creature, the Crow. Indeed he knew the legend. The complete legend, including the Crow's single, and singular, weakness. Smiling evilly to himself, the ancient vampire gathered a few supplies and climbed up to the Raven's roof.

"Ah, there you are, my friend. I'm afraid your counterpart is still inside. I wonder if you would care for a drink?"

The large black crow cawed at him as he stepped closer.

Later that night, Albrecht took the glass out of Draven's hand.

"I don't want to break up the party, but it's time to go back to the hotel", he stated.

"It's early... I don't wanna go back", Eric protested. His speech was decidedly slurred by now.

"You're drunk", Albrecht told him.

"Am not."

Eric pouted.

"Yes, you are."

"I'm dead. I can't get drunk."

It sounded logical, but reality beat logic. Every time.

"Can I give you a lift back to your hotel?" Nick offered. "My car is parked outside."

"That would be great, Knight. Thanks."

Outside, Albrecht whistled when he saw the caddie.

"Nice car!" he commented. Eric leaned heavily against him, totally unaware of his surroundings. His head was swimming.

Nick grinned. "A 1962 convertible. I bought it when it was new."

Together, they maneuvered Eric into the back seat. By now Draven was nearly dead to the world. In a manner of speaking. He never remembered the ride back to the hotel.

At the same time, a lone vampire passing over the Raven on his way home might have seen the Raven's owner still on the roof, talking to a very inebriated looking bird. An empty bottle of bloodwine and an equally empty pitcher also stood on the roof. The bird gently tapped its beak against the pitcher and promptly keeled over.

Smiling, LaCroix gathered up his supplies, and returned to the club.



Albrecht stuck his head through the door connecting his room with Eric's. He could not suppress a grin at the sight before him. Eric Draven, the Crow, the supernatural being that never slept, was sprawled face down on the bed, sound asleep. "Damn, I hate to wake him", Albrecht muttered to himself. He silently walked over to the bed and touched Eric's shoulder.


Draven did not respond.

"Eric", Albrecht said the name a little louder this time, gently shaking his friend until he finally stirred.

"Time to wake up."

Eric groaned and tried to pull the pillow over his aching head.

"Go 'way", he mumbled. "Lemme sleep."

"Sorry, pal", Albrecht answered. "We have to get back. Vacation's over."

Eric turned over and looked at Albrecht with bleary, slightly unfocused eyes.


"New case", Albrecht replied. "Vincennes faxed me everything they've got so far."

Eric pushed himself up into a sitting position, ignoring the urgent message from his stomach that moving was not a good idea. Albrecht noticed the decidedly greenish hue on his friends face.

"I take it breakfast is out of the question for you, hm?"

Eric gulped.

"Not if breakfast is two Aspirins and a large coffee", he replied in a miserable voice. "Remind me to never drink with a vampire again."

Albrecht laughed.

"Where is that famous instant crow healing?"

Draven gingerly touched his head; he fully expected it to be swollen to three times it's normal size.

"I don't think it applies to hangovers", he moaned. "Did I really sleep?"

"More like you passed out soon as we got here. Good thing Knight drove us back. Go on, take a shower. I'll be back with something for that headache."

Eric got to his feet and stumbled into the bathroom.

True to his word, Albrecht returned a few minutes later. Eric stepped out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his narrow waist. Already he looked much more like himself.

Wordlessly, Albrecht handed him the Aspirin. Eric swallowed them dry. Then he started to dress.

"What was that about a new case?" he queried.

"I'm not supposed to..."

"Oh, stuff it, Albrecht. Don't you trust me?"

"Funny you should ask..."

Eric gave Albrecht his best hurt puppy dog look. The other man chuckled.

"Two murders, Eric. Both victims were beheaded with a single stroke with a very sharp weapon, probably a sword. In both cases swords were found at the crime scene. But there was no blood from the victims on the blades, which means they weren't the murder weapons."

"Duels?" Eric suggested. Sitting down on the bed, he pulled his boots on and laced them.

Albrecht snorted.

"Come on, Draven. Join the twentieth century. Duels in our time and age?"

Eric blinked.

"What then? Role playing game got out of hand? Renegade AD&D- players going at it with real blades instead of dice?"

He stuffed his few belongings into a duffel bag, all the while looking at Albrecht.

"We'll find out. Correction: I'll find out. But I can promise you one thing."

He smiled.

"What's that?"

"It can't be any weirder than meeting vampires."

With that, he turned and left to get his suitcase.

Eric slung his duffelbag over his shoulder.

"Why do I always get a bad feeling when you start making predictions?" he muttered under his breath.

The End

Please use your browser's back button to go back to the fanfiction page.