Forever Knight – the Continuing Story.

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. Also, Vachon survived Divia in "Ashes to Ashes". This story may be archived wherever by whomever.

Wade Everett is a good-looking, capable, smart-ass, and gay homicide detective who's sometimes full of himself. He's temporarily assigned to the 96th and Nick while Nick's partner, Tracy (who also survived LK) recuperates. He's found out what Nick is.

Trace Elements – Part 1 – Shorty After Walt Doherty

After Tracy had been shot, she received several visitors in hospital over the course of the next week to a couple of months.

Nick

Take these broken wings
And learn to fly again
And learn to live so free
-- Broken Wings, Journey

Nick opened the hospital room door with one hand, he had a plant in the other, and looked in. Tracy was sitting up so he figured it was alright to go in.

"Hi," he said as he approached her bed, and she looked up from it.

Her reaction was interesting: happy to see her partner, glad to see her friend, worried about seeing a creature she supposed she should be afraid of, disappointed to see the guy who didn't take her into his confidence, concerned because he looked like warmed over crap.

"You look like warmed over crap."

Nick gulped, maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

"Hey, Nick, hi. I'm glad you came, but you really don't look good; are you o.k.?'

"I'm fine, Trace, it's you we should be concerned about. How are you feeling?" Nick asked.

"Doing better. Itching to get up and out, itching to get up, just itching," she said with a smile. "I feel o.k.," she sighed, "except for the getting hit by a truck part, but they tell me it's fairly serious so I've got to be a good little girl and rest. It's not something I do well.

"Is that for me," she said pointing at the plant, "or some strange growth on your arm?"

"Oh, yeah, here," Nick said and he set the plant down on the nightstand next to Tracy's bed.

It was an amaryllis. A blood-red amaryllis.

Tracy looked at it, smiled, then winced. Nick, immediately concerned asked, "Tracy, what's the matter? Are you --"

"Nick, stop, I'm ok. It only hurts when I laugh. Unfortunately, with the injuries I've got, that's the literal truth. I was just thinking about your amaryllis-- you do realize it's blood-red, don't you?"

"Uh, o.k.," Nick replied, looking puzzled, "it's the only ones they had, but it you don't like the red--"

"Nick!" Tracy grinned and winced a little again. "It's o.k. My weird sense of humor. Don't you think it's a little funny that a vampire would give someone a blood-red plant? Oooo, I've got to stop finding these things funny."

"Uh, gee, Trace, uh, it never really occurred to me, and about--"

"It's alright, Nick. I love it. I appreciate you coming in, too."

The Vamp

What I really meant to say
Is I'm sorry for the way I am
I never meant to be so cold to you
-- Cold, Crossfade

"Nick, about the vampire thing -- we need to talk about it. I know. I saw you, and I can't be hypnotized. What do you want to do about it? If you don't want to be partners any more, I can understand," she said tentatively.

"Trace, I'm sorry." Tracy winced harder at this; she was assuming that Nick, indeed, did not want a knowledgeable partner. Nick immediately realized where this was going and quickly said, "Oh, no, no, Tracy, that's not it at all. I'm worried that you don't want me as a partner. I want to apologize to you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. But you know about the code -- I know you know about Vachon and I was afraid that if you knew about me too that it would put you into too much danger."

"It looks like not knowing put me into a bit too much danger," she said as neutrally as possible.

"Ooo. I guess I deserve that," Nick said shamefaced.

"Nick, it's o.k. It can't be easy being a vampire and doing the work you do. Let's just say that I'm not happy about being in hospital, nor the way I ended up here, but it's as much my fault as . . . um . . . anyone's, and I'll get over it.

"Besides, you're one of the good guys, a good partner, and we all have our handicaps. It seems I have a knack for attracting creatures from the dark side," she said with a small smile.

"Tracy, I'd be happy -- no, honored -- if I could remain your partner. I should have trusted you before. I know how you've kept Javier's secret. I'm just not used to dealing with people who can deal with me."

"Nick, if I can't stay your partner, I'll just stake you," Tracy said with a wicked grin on her face this time.

"I'd probably deserve it. Thanks, Tracy, I can't tell you what it means to me."

"That's o.k., Nick. Anyway, it looks like I'm going to be in rehab for quite a while -- the Cap will probably assign you a temporary partner -- but make sure it's temporary, I want to work with you when I finish this up.

"So, o.k., you supernatural fiend, how long have you been a vampire; do you really drink people's blood; Natalie knows, doesn't she?" she said all at once.

Nick did the wincing at the mention of Natalie. Tracy looked at him with concerns and asked, "Nick?"

"Uh, one thing at a time, Trace. We'll talk later and I'll give you some of my history, but briefly, I'm almost 800 years old."

"Wow," was her only comment

Nick continued, "And, no, I don't drink people's blood. Vachon may have told you that most vampires these days drink bottled human blood -- from donors. I stick to cow's blood, I think it's wrong to drink human." He stopped talking and sat quietly.

"Nick? Is something wrong with Nat?"

Nick looked up as if he had just woke up, "Uh, oh, no, not really. Um, the night you were shot, Natalie and I were, um, mugged. She's o.k., a little sore, I healed pretty fast, of course, but it was still scary. It -- , uh, look Tracy, I want to be more open and honest with you, but I can't talk about this at all. It's too painful. Nat almost died and it was my fault. Please don't ask me any more about it." He had the saddest pleading look in his eyes, a red tear or two was forming in the corner of his eye.

"But she's alright now?" Nick nodded 'yes'. Tracy saw that this was something Nick really couldn't talk about. She, like most of the people at the station, knew Nick loved Natalie, even if Nick didn't know it. Tracy picked up on the idea that something more personal than a mugging had happened and was smart enough to know when to leave well enough alone. She said to Nick, "Look, as long as you're both all right. Say 'hi' to Natalie for me when you see her; tell her to stop by. I could use some 'girl talk', O.k.?"

"You got it, Tracy. And thanks for--"

"Nick! Shut up! If you apologize again for me getting shot, I'll throw this plant at you!"

Nick started to say something but then just laughed. Things went better with Tracy than he ever thought they could. He was grateful for that, and thought he had another human friend he could confide in; that meant a lot to him. And to her, too, he thought.

"Thanks, Trace. Well, see you later," he said as he got up to leave, "Rest as much as you can, o.k."

"Sure, Nick. We'll talk more later. G'night," she said as he left.

Natalie

Yeah, I think I'm gonna make it
'Cause God won't make a mountain I can't climb
It's getting better all the time
It's getting better all the time.
-- It's Getting Better All the Time, Brooks & Dunn

"Hi, Nat"

"Hi, Tracy, how are you doing?" Natalie asked.

""About as well as can be expected. Bored out of my mind, but not enough energy to change the TV channel."

"Well, yeah, I understand. You're looking good, though".

"I suppose. I know I can't get out of here for a while, and I'll be in rehab, too; but I'm trying to get the Captain to let me do some paperwork. Hah! Do you believe that? I'm actually asking for paperwork!"

Natalie smiled, "Ha, ha. That should be your worst problem. Tracy," Natalie asked carefully, "Nick said you wanted to talk to me. Was there anything in particular you wanted to ask about?"

Tracy thought Yeah, like what happened to you two that night, but she said breezily, "Oh, no, nothing in particular, I was just hoping for some company. I. Am. So. Bored. Here! I heard that you were mugged, are you o.k. now?"

"Oh, that. Just one of those unfortunate circumstances," she lied, "Nerve-wracking, but 'deal-with-able'. Is that a word?"

Tracy laughed, "I'll take your word for it. I'm just glad you two are o.k." Tracy knew she had slipped when she said 'you two', and Natalie had caught it as well, and they both proceeded to ignore it and move on. Sometimes a friend is someone who knows when and where 'not to go there.'

"I just wish my father was 'deal-with-able'," Tracy added quickly. "The real hassle being trapped in this bed is that when I get fed up with him, I can't walk out!"

"Well, that's true, Trace, but you could just 'fall asleep' in the middle of a sentence," Natalie added.

Vachon

I put a spell on you
and now you're mine.

-- I put a Spell on You, Nina Simone

Vachon poked his head into the room.

Tracy said, "Well, it's about time you got here."

"You're doing o.k, I take it?"

"It's tolerable. Better than death anyway. Javier, I saw Nick."

"Well, I expect he would come by, he's your partner after all."

"No, Javier. That day. I 'saw' him."

Vachon said nothing but rather just looked at her expectantly.

"Jeez, Vachon, do I have to spell it out for you? I saw Nick 'vamp out'. I know what he is."

"Oh," Vachon said.

"That's it? 'Oh?' "

"Uh, yeah, I guess so Tracy. Look, this is something you have to talk over with Nick. It's his choice on how to deal with it."

"But you knew he was a v—"

Vachon smiled and interrupted with, "Don't say that word!"

Tracy laughed, "Yeah, o.k."

"Yes, I did, of course, but it was up to Nick to deal with it. You understand?"

Tracy sighed, "Yes, I think I do. I'll have to ask him about brining me across."

Vachon looked at her in surprise, "You're kidding! You don't seriously want him to—"

"No! Javier! He was thinking of brining me across in hospital just after I had been shot. I don't think anybody else knows – I was 'unconscious' but somehow I knew. I'm glad he didn't though."

"Me, too," he said.

"Really?"

"Tracy, you know I have strong feelings for you. If you ever want to be brought across, please let me be the one to do it. And if you don't want to be, let me be to one to stop anyone else. O.k.?"

"Javier, you're sweet. I'm not up to talking about it with Nick yet, but I will. In the meantime, do me a favor. Let him know that this is something I don't want, at least not for right now."

"Sure, Trace. Anything else I can do for you? Move a mountain? Divert a river?"

"Javier, you're a sweetheart, don't ever change."

"Well, I haven't in 450 years, so I guess we're safe on that."

"I've got to close my eyes, Javier. I'm just too tired. Sit with me?"

"Sure, Trace." And, he sat there with till she fell deeply asleep, then quietly left. He had a strange, equivocal smile on his face as he had thoughts of Tracy that were more than fond.

Nick and Vachon

He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please
-- Come Together, The Beatles

"Knight," Vachon said.

"Vachon," Knight said.

"Well, now that the amenities are done. I saw Tracy in Hospital. She told me she knows you're a vampire."

"She saw me all vamped out when the perp shot at us and hit her. I'm ashamed to say that her reaction was just being hurt that I hadn't trusted her. She's a better partner than I deserve."

"She also said you were thinking of brining her across," said Vachon with a trace of irritability.

Nick was surprised Vachon knew this; he said, "She was dying, Vachon; it would have saved her life!"

"But you didn't do it," V said flatly.

"No, Natalie came in while I was thinking about it. And then I could never put this curse on her without her permission; we never talked about it 'cause I never came out to her."

"Knight, she knows you were thinking about it and doesn't want it." Vachon was getting visibly more tense.

"What? She knows?"

"She doesn't want it. She said she'd talk to you about it later, but she also wants you to know that she knows that you know, uh, know that she, ah, knows that, uh, and you –and – "Oh,Hell, Knight! She's aware that you were thinking about bringing her across. She's glad you didn't, but you're going to have to have a talk about trust."

"I've already talked with her some about it, and yeah, we'll have to talk more. But what's your stake in all this, Vachon?"

Vachon paused thoughtfully for a few moments; "Knight, you once told me that Tracy was my responsibility and if I let anything happen to her – Well, it's as much my fault that she didn't know you were a vampire as it was yours. I could have warned her. Anyway, maybe I'm growing up, or maybe I just took your warning too literally, but – look, Knight! If anyone is going to bring Tracy over, it's going to be me. I promised her I would if she wanted and that I'd protect her from it if she didn't. I know you're older and stronger than me, but –"

Nick interrupted, "Whoa — You're warning me?" Nick smiled at Vachon, "Javier, maybe you really are growing up."

At this, Vachon relaxed some saying, "Whew. Yes. I think we understand each other," he paused a bit. "You know that's the first time you've ever called me 'Javier'?'

"Hmmm. well, it seems that if we're going to know each other better, you should probably call me 'Nick'. My friends do."

Vachon looked at Nick and said simply, "Thanks. Nick"

"I'll get things straight with Tracy; I promise."

"Thanks again, um, Nick. And I'd appreciate it if you'd call me 'Javier'. 'My friends do', too," Vachon said with a glint in his eye while repeating Nick's words. "Hey, I've got an idea, why don't we go down to the Raven and we can "Nick' and 'Javier' each other all night and drive LaCroix nuts?"

"That does have a certain appeal, Javier, but let's not ask for trouble, shall we?" he said smiling.

The Commissioner

Whatever Lola wants
Lola gets
And little man, little Lola wants you
-- Whatever Lola Wants, "Damn Yankees"

"Tracy, sweetheart! How are you doing today?" asked the commissioner in a hearty voice, and with his arms filled with flowers, cards, candy – you'd think he was a-courting rather than visiting his sick daughter.

"Hi, Dad," Tracy said with a tired voice.

The Commissioner set all the gifts down, looked straight at her and asked, "What's the matter, Button?"

"Dad! Nothing's the matter," she simply stated.

"Tracy, sweetheart, you always call me 'Daddy' except when we're in company or you're mad at me, and then you call me 'Dad'. So, what's the problem?"

"Well, I guess you do know me pretty well. On the other hand, you only call me Button when you want to smooth or gloss over something. So, yeah, there is something."

"What can I do for you, sweetheart?"

"You can drop the investigation on Nick."

"Tracy! He's respons—"

"NO!" she said flatly, coldly, pointedly, "get this through your parental blinders: Nick is not responsible for my getting shot. *I* am. Nick did not know I was there; I shouldn't have been where I was."

The Commissioner, "No, Tracy, he was reckless in going after the man—"

"Commissioner Vetter! Good, that got your attention. Dad, if you pursue this, you'll get nothing but grief. Nick is innocent of anything involving me, I've already told I.A. that, and if you don't drop it, I'll tell them that you're trying to unfairly influence the outcome of an internal investigation."

"Tracy, you can't be ser—"

"Serious?" Tracy said angrily, "Oh, but I can. Try me, 'Daddy'. I'm not a little girl anymore, and I'm not a naïf, either. If you want to be mad at Nick, go ahead, but be clear about this. He's my partner, and a good one, and if you go up against him, I'll stand with him."

More calmly, she added, "Honestly, Daddy, he's a good guy. Please don't do anything, o.k.? Daddy, I'm about to pass out – I don't have the stamina I had a week ago. Let me rest here and close my eyes and tell me about all those cards and stuff."

"O.k., sweetheart, it's a deal," he said as he picked up a few of the cards that had come in. "This one, with some ducks on the front – god knows why – is from . . . ."

Captain

You've gotta accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
-- Accentuate the Positive, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen

"Tracy! You're looking lots better. I'm glad to see you sitting up."

Captain Reese, Tracy saw, had in his hand a somewhat sad, small potted plant that she figured his wife had picked out and that he had left in his office and almost forgotten about.

"Uh, this is for you," he said putting it with the growing collection of greenery.

"I understand both your father and I.A. have been by."

"Yes, Captain – and thanks for the plant -- I told them both the truth: I was where I shouldn't have been. I.A. implied it was your fault 'cause the perp grabbed someone's gun, but I can't see that."

"Don't worry about it, Tracy. The report is finished and all but written up. Nick is completely exonerated, I'm getting a minor reprimand that I should've had the guy in cuffs,

"Constable Miller is getting a reprimand for letting him get her gun, you are getting a reprimand for 'needlessly putting yourself in the line of fire'.

"It's balanced by a commendation for supporting your partner, showing bravery, and taking action immediately.

"So, all things considered, it's pretty favorable. Except your father is having fits—"

"I know he is, Captain. But not to worry, I've already talked to him about it and he won't say anything else about it." Tracy giggled a little.

Reese look at her and said, "Tracy?"

"Oh, Cap, I was just thinking about the 'Commissioner's Daughter' thing – you know what I mean, it's why you paired me up with Nick in the first place – well, I finally pulled rank and used it on somebody." Here she was laughing more openly, "and the person I pull it on is the 'Commissioner'. Don't you think there's a bit of irony there?"

Reese chuckled and added, "I think you're right, Detective Vetter, Miss Police Commissioner's daughter!"

"Captain, I'm going to be stuck here for quite a while and I'm getting bored out of my mind. Could I at least do some paperwork? Finish up reports, sort files, something?"

"Sure, Tracy, but let me talk to your doctor first, o.k.?"

"Sure, Captain. Thanks for considering it."

"Cap, do you have any idea what's up with Nick and Natalie?" she asked.

"No, but as sure as I'm standing here, it's something. Things haven't been the same between them since that night," he replied.

"Do you know what it is?"

"No, and it's the oddest thing. I.A. and two other detectives have looked into the 'mugging'. They all agree that Nick and Natalie are alright and nothing serious happened. But, nobody can remember any details. It's like they go to find out and get sidelined or distracted.

"I can tell you this though, Natalie was seriously p.o.'d at Nick. She even banned him from her hospital room and from the whole morgue building. And, Nick! He looks liked a puppy whose master had just kicked him. So, you tell me nothing happened.'

"Ha, ha. Yeah, right."

"Look, Tracy, don't go poking around in it, but if you do find something out, let me know. So far they seem to be getting back to before, but I don't want any of my officers distracted by such personal business."

"I understand that, too, Captain, but you know Nick. He's so damned closed-mouthed that you wouldn't know he was blond if you couldn't see him," she said smiling.

- - - - -

Forever Knight – the Continuing Story.

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. Also, Vachon survived Divia in "Ashes to Ashes". This story may be archived wherever by whomever.

Wade Everett is a good-looking, capable, smart-ass, and gay homicide detective who's sometimes full of himself. He's temporarily assigned to the 96th and Nick while Nick's partner, Tracy (who also survived LK) recuperates. He's found out what Nick is.

Re-Trace Elements – T.E., Part II – Some Time Later

The events of Pshrink take place between P I and P II.

Nick, Tracy, and the Vamp

Office Gossip

Pick a little, talk a little, cheep, cheep, cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
-- The Music Man

"Nick! It's good to see you; I didn't expect you for a couple of days. What's new at the Division?" said Tracy.

"Oh, about the same, Trace. Some things never change. I brought some more paperwork over. And, I wanted to talk to you. Have you met Detective Everett yet?"

"No. What's he like?"

"Hard to put into words. A little strange, but smart. By the way, he knows, too."

" 'Knows'?" she asked.

"About , you know," he said looking sheepish.

Tracy was upset by this revelation and admonished Nick,

"You told him when you've only known him for a couple weeks, but – Wait a minute, that's what you want to talk about, isn't it?"

"Ah, no, not exactly."

"Well, what exactly." She waited for him to respond.

"Trace, I didn't tell him. He figured it out on his own. You would have liked this: he put me between a rock and a hard place and forced it out of me. He set it up so that I had to tell him – but he already knew. Bunch of little things."

"Like some of the things I should've caught on to," she said a little off her mark.

"No, Trace, no. Nothing like that. He's very observant; plus, god know why, but he was looking for signs. It all seems so obvious afterwards when it's pointed out to you, but at the time – well, I didn't know, and he did it."

"Sounds like a smart guy," she said.

"Yeah, Pushy, too," Nick smiled at this.

Bringing over

You can't always get what you want,
but sometimes you can get what you need.
-- You Can't Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones

"Tracy, about the bringing you over thing. Javier told me you don't want it."

"Right. Why did you even think it?" She was a little testy about it.

"It's not that I really thought about it, Tracy, but we thought you were dying – it would have saved you from that. But I'm glad I didn't; if you ever want that, you should make it a conscious choice. By the time I found out what it was like, it was too late."

"Are there ever any times when you don't regret it?"

"Not often, but once in a while. I'd never have met Nat otherwise, I'd've been dust 800 years ago. The flying part is nice.

"Mostly it's like that old mother-in-law joke: mixed emotions is seeing your mother-in-law drive over a cliff in your brand new car.

"It's nice to never – well, hardly ever -- get sick, healing almost instantly, flying. On the other hand, you outlive any humans you come to know and care for, we've often got to move on without notice, --"

"Will you ever up and disappear on us? You've been here, what, five years already."

"Not a chance this time," Nick smiled broadly.

"Why not?" Tracy said, intrigued.

"I told you a little about Detective Everett. You'll have to get to know him, he's full of . . . surprises . . . ," Nick paused.

"And that has to do with?" she prompted.

"Uh, yeah," Nick smiled, "the bugger not only figured out what I was without my knowing it, he's managed to blackmail me into staying whether I want to or not."

"Neat trick."

"I thought so. Good thing he's on our side. Anyway, the other side of it is that you're a creature of the darkness, quite possibly without a soul – that can be very depressing."

"No kidding. You're not sure about the soul part?"

"I used to be, but I've had a few conversations the last couple of weeks, months, whatever, or so . . . I'm not so certain anymore that I don't."

"Well, I guess that's progress of some kind."
"Yeah, and I promise I won't bring you over; don't even think of it."

"I wasn't." she said dryly.

"Uh, yeah," he said.

Making love

Where did [they] go wrong
I thought that [they] were supposed to make it
Where did [they] go wrong
-- Where Did We Go Wrong, Diana Ross

"Nick, what happened between you and Natalie?" asked Tracy.

"Uh, Trace, I told you I really don't want to get into that, Nick said.

"Okay, then I'll tell you about it."

His ears perked up at that. How could Tracy know anything. He looked at her as she talked.

"Nick, I've had nothing to do here but fill out and finish up reports, and think about things. I've got some deductions to share with you:

"You and Nat weren't mugged or attacked.

"It took place at your loft, therefore:

-- Nobody but someone you know could have gotten in.

-- But even if someone had, there's no evidence of any sort of struggle.

-- Nobody who's looked into it – including I.A. -- can remember anything about it except that everything is o.k. In other words, they've been whammied.

"So, it's something between you and Nat.

"It's also something intimate:

-- you're embarrassed as all get-out to even mention it,

-- and Natalie was royally p.o.'d at you.

"So, it's clear something happened between the two of you. Now, nobody wants to know, really. What they do want to know is that one/ you're both really o.k., and two/ it's not going to affect your work."

Nick was quiet for a while. When Tracy started to ask something else, he held up a hand indicating for her to stop.

"Has Javier told you anything about how vampires make love and have sex?"

"Only that the biting and drinking of the blood of your partner is even better than the sexual part."

"Yes." He paused again for a quiet a while.

Tracy said, "Ah, I see. You want me to spell it out for you, don't you: you and Nat tried to make love, and it failed miserably."

The expression on Nick's face was the definition of "dejected".

"Yeah, miserably. How did you know?"
"If you had been successful, we wouldn't be talking about it now, now would we?"

"Well, miserably doesn't begin to cover it. Did Vachon tell you about control issues?" he asked her.

"He briefly mentioned it."

"I have control issues. I nearly killed Nat and I love her so much."

"I know."

Nick looked up at her with surprise on his face.

"That you love her, silly. Everybody at the station -- everybody in the Division! -- knows that. It seems like you're the only one who doesn't. Do you know they sometimes call you 'Nick the Brick' 'cause you're as dense as one when it comes to this?"

"Well, we're working on it, and Wade's helping."

Working on it

You hear them moanin' their lives away
Then you hear somebody sa-ay
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
-- Chain Gang, Sam Cook

"Wade, you mean Detective Everett?"

"Um, yeah."

"Nick, you're not 'Bi' or something and getting kinky –"

"Hahahaahaaa," Nick laughed himself silly for about 3 minutes. It was grand release of tension. All Tracy could do was sit there and wait. When he finally calmed down enough to talk again, he said, "No, that's not it at all. Among other things, and you'll have to ask him about it – oh, how do I say this? – He's a registered therapist, a counselor, Tracy, he's giving me counseling. Oh, a man of many and sundry talents! Yes, our Detective Everett is something else and something else again."

"You say that like he's a Martian, or something."

"Maybe. He's very talented, Trace, and has a number of different talents, and he's quite smart, but he's a good guy, you can trust him if you ever need someone around you can trust.

"But please keep this to yourself, Tracy. For Natalie's sake, if not for mine."

"Don't worry, Nick. I won't share this with anyone except to tell them that you're o.k. Beyond that it's Natalie's and your business."

"Thanks, Tracy. You're another 'one-in-a-million' I've met. This makes about ten of you so far.

"Look, you need your rest, I need to get going. Take a nap or something. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Fine, and Nick, thanks for being so open and not shutting down on me. Bye."

"Bye," he said.

LaCroixHere a Vamp, There a Vamp, Everywhere a Vamp

I said who do you think you are?
(I said who) Some kind of superstar,
-- Who Do You Think You Are, Spic Girls

"Hello, my dear," he said in a very calming voice. "Are you awake? Because I'd like to talk with you a bit," he continued with his very easy to listen to voice. It slowly and inexorably sucked you in deeper and deeper until – well, mphh, you get the idea.

Tracy pulled herself up into a sitting position and said, "Oh, hello, I hope you haven't been standing there long."

"Not at all, my dear," he said slowly.

"Well, anyway, I'm glad you're here—"

"Do you know who I am, young lady?"

Tracy yawned widely, "Oh, dear, I'm sorry, my apologies—"

"Tut. No need, my dear."

"I—about that. Must be more tired that I thought. Yes, you're M. LaCroix, aren't you? 'Cause I've been expecting you."

"Really, my dear. How quaint."

"Please. Yes, of course I've been expecting you. Everybody else has been in to see me. EVERYbody else has been in to see me. Except you, you're the last one – well, next to the last one. I'm beginning to feel like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol with all the 'visitations'."

"Were you expecting anything specific from me, my dear?"

"Oh, yeah, you're going to warn me about getting to close to your 'son', be afraid of the enforcers, don't stick my nose in your business. Am I right?"

"Yes, curiously. How did you ever know?"

:"Logic, and Nick mentioned you and that you might come. Look, M. LaCroix, I work with Nick so I can't avoid being close to him; if the enforcers show up at my doorstep, I'll just have to deal with it, and – trust me – I have no intentions of sticking my nose anywhere near your business. Is that o.k.?"

"We understand each other perfectly, my dear. Now, you go back to sleep and you won't remember this conversation at all, is that clear?"

Yeah, right, 'Pops', she thought, but she said, "Yes, that's right," and immediately yawned, turned over, and closed her eyes. She did fall asleep, but she was aware of LaCroix being there and then not being there as she drifted off. What a strange conversation; why does he care? Oh, well,

"I know you are there, young man," LaCroix said.

Vachon stepped out from the shadows.

"Not to worry about your lady friend, my interest in her is only because of her connexion with Nicholas. I can see that she is discreet and that you will keep her so. Now as long as you are discreet as well . . . ."

"Yes, sir," Vachon said. He had no intention of saying anything to the senior vampire, but it just came out. He was especially chagrined by the 'sir'. He was also puzzled as to why LaCroix would bother with Tracy.
There was a slight stir in the air, and LaCroix disappeared. Vachon was surprised, then figured that he really shouldn't be, and went back into the woodwork and shadows, looking out for Tracy.

Wade -- Did I Say It Was a Visit from the Fuzz?

C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
-- Let's Get Together, the Youngbloods

"Tracy?" Detective Everett stuck his head in the door of Tracy's room.

"Umph," Tracy mumble. "Oh, hello. Are you the ghost of Christmas-yet-to-come?"

"Sorry?"

"You're Detective Everett, right? Right. Everybody else has been to see me, like the ghosts in A Christmas Carol, so I just figured you're Detective Everett since you're the last one to come. I've seen everyone else." Tracy stretched, yawed, and sat up. "Now, that's better. Would you like a cup of coffee, Detective?"
"Oh, that's not necessary—"

"Yes, it is. There's a machine in the visitor's lounge down the hall. Go get two cups. Your treat," she smiled.

Wade mentally shrugged, then got up and went for the coffee.

When he got back, Tracy had combed her hair, put on a little make-up; primped herself a little.

"Thanks, Detective, I needed this," she said taking the coffee.

"Anytime, Tracy, and, yes, I am Detective Mijk Wade Everett, and please call me 'Wade'."

"Sure, Wade. Let's get to the point, why are you here?"

"Whew! Right to it. O.k. 1/ you're Nick's partner, he's concerned for you, 2/ you're responsible for my having met all these people, and I want to thank you, and 3/ if we're going to help these guys get their act together, it'd be nice if we could work together, right?"

"Wow. Nice. Got it in one – or three it looks like."

"O.k. You know Nick's a va—"

""Shhh! We don't say the word."

"Really?"

"It's kind of an in joke."

"O.k, but you know about him, and you know that he and Natalie are quite fond of each other, and your father would like him dead."

"That's it in a nutshell. How can we help each other, Wade?"

"You keep the pressure on your father to back off. I'm working on a plan to get Nick some help. Nick said that you were surprised that I was helping him and Natalie work things out. Well, to allay your fears, let me give you a run down of my credentials. And, by the way, no one else knows about this except Nick and the Captain, I'm a psychologist with my doctorate, and certifications in family therapy, couples counseling, and a few other counseling certificates. I work for I.A. evaluating divisions and their officers – it's all confidential, I'm not quite and I.A. spy," this last he added with a twinkle, "The Captain knows what I'm up to; in fact, he's the one who called I.A. for help. I'm doing some extra counseling with Nick, but I really am a homicide detective, too." And, Wade filled her in n a lot of what was going on and gave some more background.

Tracy told him, "LaCroix stopped by to see me. You know who he is?" Wade nodded. She continued, "I'm not really sure what he wanted. Oh, he said that he wanted me to stay out of Nick's life, but he wouldn't have had to come to me personally for that."

"Hmmm. Probably just intelligence gathering. Did he warn you about the enforcers? Good, but you don't have to worry about them – within reason, of course." He told her of several other incidents, not everything, but salient points.

"Two sets of enforcers? Are you serious, or are you bragging?"

"Both actually. Yes, it was two sets, and the senior North American vam—I mean 'personage'. So, we are under her protection as far as LaCroix is concerned. Don't let it make you complacent, though. These are still dangerous creatures."

"Yeah, you bring the point home."

"I'm putting together a group to help Nick, and I'd like you to be part of it when you can. Javier is already a part of the team. He'll keep you informed. I know you can't get about much for a while. So, you 'in'?"

"You betcha! Now. Tell: you really shot LaCroix the first time you met him? And, you're maybe related to Nick? Gee, I think I've got more questions for you than for Nick!"

"Hey, Trace, I've got the whole afternoon? And, you can give me the dish on your Dad, too.

"But let's take a break. I've got a few chores to do, I'll come back in a hour. In the meantime, the nurse told me there's someone named Jody who wants to visit you."

- - - - -

No I'm not crossing over; it's just that my teeth itch.

That it's strange, so strange . . .
Must be the season of the witch, yeah,
Must be the season of the witch.
-- Season of the Witch, Donovan

Wade briefly outlined his ideas for Nick's "therapy". Tracy indicated that she'd be glad to help when she could.

"There's something else, Tracy."

"Um."

"I was shot much the same way you were; that is, the bullets went through Nick and hit me, although I wasn't hit nearly as hard as you were.

'Look, besides rehabilitation, there's going to be some other side effects. Has anyone ever talked to you about how someone becomes a vampire?"

"Well, no actually. Vachon's the only – oops!"

"It's o.k., I know about Vachon."

"Well, he's about the only vampire I've known, well, except for poor Screed."

"Yeah, well. Of course, there's the classic bite in the neck, but the mechanism of the transfer of the virus is still not understood. Some people need to be bitten several times. Others, it seems, suffer a small bite and then the next day or so . . . ."

"You aren't suggesting that I'm going to convert because a little of his blood hit me with the bullets?"

"No, nothing that drastic. What you'll find is that you may have a heightened sensibility for identifying vampires. Oh, it won't be anything like Nick's ability to sense another vampire, just that a nerve may tingle, or you'll feel slightly unsettled and not know why. It'll be subtle, but you will be able to discern it."

"Is this what happened to you, Wade?"

"Yes. The bullets went right through Nick and lodged in my arm and my side – didn't hit anything important and then encapsulated themselves till Natalie could pop them out. The long and the short of it, though, is that I got a bit more of Nick's vampire blood than you did. And, then, in the emergency, I let him suck some blood from my wrist."

"Does this mean that you might convert?"

"It's a very remote possibility. Most likely not, but if my eyes ever start to turn gold, let me know, o.k.?" They smiled at this.

"Anyway, I've had a few other things happen that would have a more direct bearing on crossing over."

"You're not thinking of doing it, are you?"

"Oh, maybe someday, in the far, far, future. No, it's that M. LaCroix very nearly brought me over already. It was nerve-wracking and touch-and-go there for a while. In any case, I got close enough that I could have become a 'hunter' under different circumstances.

"You won't convert, and you aren't anywhere near being a 'hunter', but because of the blood and that you've been in some contact with vampires, -- it's just that you'll be a little more aware of them, that's all. Just don't get upset or freak out about it."

"I wasn't planning to, but thanks for the 'heads up'. It'll help, I guess."

- - - - -