The characters in Forever Knight were created by James Parriott and Barney Cohen and are the property of Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star. The story here is fan fiction, in which Nick and Natalie survive "Last Knight", the series finale.. This story may be archived wherever by whomever.

Heartfelt

Calendar Series – FEB by Walt Doherty

You've gotta have....Heart!
All you really need is heart!
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win,
that's when the grin should start!
-- You Gotta Have Heart, "Damn Yankees"

Valentine's Dinner Redux

"How long have you known?" he asked her.

"I think basically since that night," she replied, "but I wasn't conscious of it until I was recuperating from my recent misfortunate hospital stay (ahem), when I had time to think things out."

"That night was almost two years ago! You're pretty good at keeping a secret, you know that?"

"Yep. I've kept your secret, haven't I?"

"You're not upset with me by not telling you about it?"

Natalie sighed, "Well, no. Water under the bridge; you were really just doing what you always do. I'm not happy with how you handled it, but I understand it. And it explained a lot. It hasn't made knowing you any easier, but it explained some things."

"Like?"

"You're reluctance to commit for one thing. But big deal, you're a man. But also, you put the people you love on a pedestal, and then try to keep them there."

"And this is wrong?"

"Not by itself, no. But it keeps them from becoming, oh, I don't know, fully committed to you or fully alive on their own. I can appreciate your fears concerning me and LaCroix, but I've managed to deal with you on my own, I think I could manage to deal with him on my own."

"You forget, he's as cold-blooded a killer as any you've ever come across. He would take you out without a care if he thought he could get away with it."

"So, you want to keep me helpless in the face of this."

"No! I want to keep him away from you so it won't happen."

"Well, look, as I said, I've managed to deal with you—"

"But I don't want to kill you—"

"I know, but look, if I know who and what he is, I can be prepared for what he might do. If I didn't know, I'd just think he was a nasty, mean old man."

"But I don't want you to have to deal—"

"Knock – It – Off --, will you? I'm not a 13 th century damsel, incapable of taking care of herself. I've been to the shooting range—

"Bullets won't hurt him."

"—I know some defensive martial arts moves—"

"He's ten times stronger than you and can fly."

"I know his weaknesses."

"Yeah, which are?"

"He's extremely susceptible to flattery—"

"That's not a defense!"

"Yes, it is. While he's distracted by my heart-felt appreciation and fluttering eyelashes, I'll stab him in the chest with the miniature stake I've got in my purse. And, being a coroner, I know where his heart is."

'Miniature stake?" he said, and looked at what she pulled out of her purse. He started laughing, laughing hard.

"Is that – is that what – what you think –"

"Yes, Mr. Doubtful! Look at it, and tell me: what's it made of?"

"Uh, wood?"

"Yes. And, what's a stake made of?"

"Well, wood, but –"

"No buts. It's wood, it goes through his heart, what's going to happen? You tell me."

"Well, maybe, but he could just grab it and yank it out before it had any effect."

"Well, that's when I pull out my squirt-gun filled with holy water," she was laughing and smiling herself at this point, "and my small pistol here which I've loaded with silver bullets, and as a last resort, I'll just breathe on him," and she let a breath out into Nick's face.

"Gahhhh! Please, you can't 'garlic' him to death!"

"Oh, yeah? Well, I can try!" she said adamantly. "Look, the point is, I'm as prepared as I can be because I know what he is and how he's likely to act. If I didn't know what he was, that's when I'd be in real danger. Besides, you can't protect me every waking moment. And I am capable of handling myself.

"Is there danger? Of course, but I can't be a complete person unless I do this. Besides, I can't be the person you love if I have to be totally dependant on you for protection.

"Really, think about it. You fell for the person who took one look at you when you sat up on a gurney in my morgue with your face half blow off and who not only didn't react with fear, but out-right said she'd like to study you. If you wanted a china doll, my friend, you wouldn't have bothered to get to know me."

"O.k., o.k., I yield; but I can still worry, can't I?"

"Sure you can. You wouldn't be you if you didn't. One of your charms is that sweet stupidity about women that we women find so endearing." And she leaned over and kissed him.

"Oh, before I forget, thanks for the flowers and the candy. Do you know how hokey flowers and candy are?" she said sweetly.

"Yeah. Tried and true. And trite. But heart-felt! That's gotta count for something."

"It does. How did you figure out I knew what happened that night?"

"I don't think I ever really did. Just some suspicions: the look in your eye when I mentioned the restaurant, the way your back stiffens when his name is mentioned. I took a leap when I asked how long have you known."

"Oh, you're so clever, aren't you, Mr. Detective! Well, just for that, dinner's on you!"

"Dinner was already on me," he protested.

"But, NOT, I trust at the Azure, she replied.

"No," he said back to her, "not there. It's sort of not conducive to a Valentine celebration any more, now is it?"

"No, certainly not. Although . . . it might be fun to reserve the next table over for him and we go and bill and coo and get all lovey-dovey in front of him."

"That would certainly make him sick."

"I know," she paused. "That's the point," she said.

"You have a very dark sense of humor sometimes, Ms Dr Lambert."

"Oh, you! You say the sweetest things," Natalie said as she smiled at him, and fluttered her eyelashes.

Nick just grinned back her, "Shall we go?"

"Yes."

So they did.