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.

**Pshrink** (This story follows "Trace Elements") Walt Doherty


*
Introductions*, or Who Did You Say I Was Again?

- - - - -
I'd like to introduce myself; I'm a man of wealth and taste . . .
-- Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones .

- - - - -

Reese called Nick into his office where he was sitting apparently interviewing a young man.

"Nick," Captain Reese said, "This is Mike Everett from the 27th. He'll be filling in for the couple of months or so as your temporary partner."

"Hello, Detective Knight," Everett said.

"Hello. And, please, call me 'Nick'"

"Sure thing, Detec – ah, Nick."

Reese: "Detective Everett is on rotation around the precincts; he's supposed to writing "anecdotal" reports, but --"

" -- but the real reason is to get me out of my captain's hair. I tend to be somewhat of a hotshot," said Everett with a lopsided smile.

"Yeah," said Reese nodding in his direction, "what he said. Nick, why don't you take him, show him the ropes around here, and go over your cases?"

"Right, Cap. Come on, detective –"

"Call me 'Wade', Nick"

"I thought the Cap said your name was 'Mike'?"

"It is," he said, moving right along, "and, I'm pretty familiar with the ropes and the outstanding cases. I've got three piles for you . . . ", "Mike" (or "Wade") went on as they walked out of Reese's office. "The Murphy case – I've correlated the interviews with 3 other precincts' reports of similar cases, and Mr. Murphy lied to us. We should probably bring him in."

Wade went on about how he had reviewed the other outstanding cases and wrote notes for Nick on them ("Read 'em or toss 'em, 's up to you. If they help, fine; if not, that's o.k., too.") He also told Nick that he had gotten Nick's Personnel file and read through it – just to get familiar with his modus operandi, and just to be fair, he brought a copy of his own Personnel file for Nick to read. Wade let Nick know how impressed he was with his and his partner's solve rate ("You're the envy of the Department, Detective Kni -- , ah, Nick."). Oh, and he finished up almost all the outstanding paperwork.

"Thanks, Wade," said Nick who was a little irritated that Everett had gotten his Personnel file and a little amazed that he had been able to – the only way Nick ever got one was to whammy the clerk in the file room, "Did you find anything interesting or helpful?" he said with a minor bit of irritation, that he hoped he had kept hidden, in his voice.

" 'S alright. I didn't realize you have 'erythropoietic protoporphyria'." (.) I knew from your reputation that you avoid sunlight like the plague, but just how serious is it?"

"You know what I've got?" said Nick, incredulously.

"Well, that or you're a vampire and you'll implode in the daylight. Seeing as that's improbable, protoporphyria seems likely. Your doctor must have said something about it."

"Uh, yeah," Nick had mumbled at the word 'vampire' and quickly tried changing the subject: "Oh, Hi, Natalie."

"Hi, Nick. I've got the finals on Sullivan," she said dropping the files on Nick's desk. " It may seem unusual, but I'd have to say it really was suicide," said Natalie.

"Hm. Well, stranger things and all that. Nat, this is Mike Everett, he's a detective from the 27 th who'll be filling in for the time being while Tracy recuperates. Wade, this is Dr. Lambert, our Pathologist."

"Hi, Dr. Lambert. I don't know if you'll remember me, but I was at your office a few times years ago with Don Schanke. He took me around and got me started when I first joined the force. And, please, call me 'Wade'."

"Hello, ah, 'Wade'? I thought Nick said your name was 'Mike?

"He did." Quiet pause.

Natalie shrugged her shoulders; "Well, I'm in a rush, guys; we're short-handed tonight and I can't leave Grace alone too long. Well, nice to meet you, Wade. Nick, later," said Natalie on her way towards the door.

Nick: "Later, Nat." "Wade, how about we go over those reports. Finish up what's left of the paper work?"

"You got it; lead on oh 'master of my fate' and 'captain of my soul'."

"What?" Nick said, puzzled.

"Ah, you know, Invictus, William Ernest Henley?,"

. "It matters not how strait the gate,
. How charged with punishments the scroll,
. I am the master of my fate:
. I am the captain of my soul."
. -- .

"Well, as long as you're directing my work here with you, you might as well be 'master of my fate' and so on," Wade grinned at Nick. "Yeah, let's get the remainder of this paper work out of the way," he added, with enthusiasm.

*The Name Game*

- - - - -
Nicky, Nicky, Bo Bicky; Banana Bana Fo Ficky
Fee Fi Mo Micky, . . . Nicky!

-- The Name Game, Shirley Ellis
- - - - -

"And while we're talking, Wade," said Nick, "If your name is 'Mike', how come you use 'Wade'?"

"Ah, you know how it is. It's hard on a kid when he has an unusual name. 'Wade' 's my middle name. 'Mike' is my first name, but it's spelled M-I-J-K. Nobody ever gets it right, and I got tired of being called 'Midge', so I stick with 'Wade'; it's simpler.

"Mom tells me it's Flemish; her family goes way back to the middle ages from somewhere in Flanders or that area, I think she said. Supposedly we're descended from the 'Dukes' of the area, but I think that's just family wishful-thinking.

"It's a family name, and I got stuck with it. My brother got "Nicolas" – no "h" --, and my sister got "Fleur". There's been a Mijk, a Fleur, a Robert, a Nicolas, and a Lujkien in just about every generation for almost a thousand years. God help the child who wants to name his kid something different!

"But then you don't have any name problems. Nicholas Knight – the hardest thing about that is, is there an 'h' in 'Nicholas'? Other than that, a good, stable name.

"The "B' in your name stands for 'Brabant, Nick? That was my grandmother's maiden -- Nick? Nick, you're fading out on me again!"

Of course, Wade knew that Nick's middle name was de Brabant since he had read Nick's file.

__Flashback to Brabant, a Cathedral, early 12 th Century__.

Nick sees in his mind's eye a baptismal ceremony. The name read out was his:
"Nicholas Jean-Pierre Sigismund de Brabant et Flandres " A lot of name for such
a small thing, he thought. It was repeated in German, Italian, and Spanish for visiting dignitaries:
Nikholas Johann-Peter Zigismundt von Brabant und Flanders,
Nicholas Giacomo-Pietro Sigismundo della Brabant et Flanders, and
Nicolas Juan-Pedro Zigusmundo de Brabant Y Flandres.

__Back to the present__


This should be an interesting couple of weeks, thought Nick.

*Who, What, Where, Why, Huh?*

- - - - -
Who ya gonna call: Ghostbusters!
-- Ghostbusters, Ray Parker

- - - - -

Picking up in the middle of the interview:

"Uh . . . Okay, um . . . Ah, Hell, It was a ghost," he said almost apologetically, like he knew he wasn't going to be believed. "If I worked for that tabloid rag, it'd be a byline, but I'm trying to make a good name in journalism. I'm in the Journalism School at the U."

"A ghost. A ghost? You're sure of that?" Nick said rather skeptically.

The student sighed. "Oh, believe me or not, or make up your own story. It looked like a man about 5-9, not fat, a little on the older side, He looked European I can't say 'white' 'cause he was totally white, like a black and white picture, and seemed a bit transparent. He ran down that alley, right into the wall and it looked like he went right through it. Just like some of those special effects in the movies. He had a club or stick of some sort in his hand, and it looked like it had something on it. My guess would be blood."

"Well, except for the white, transparent, and going through the wall trick, he sounds pretty average," said Nick.

"Well, I can't think of any other explanation."

"I'm sure there must be something, sir," said Wade. "Did you see him attack the victim?"

"No, he was kneeling next to him, holding that club. He looked up, saw me, and took off, like I said, down that alley and through the wall. Weird."

"Yes, well . . ." mumbled Wade. "Sir, if you'll give your statement to the officer here, and could you come down to the station later for a few questions and a formal statement? Oh, by the way, what were you doing near that alley anyway? It's kind of late and this isn't the best area of town."

"Bachelor party over at O'Malley's. Had to park a couple of blocks away and I cut through here to get back to my car. I'll give the officer the name of the groom and my buddies, so you can check."

"Thank you, sir," Wade said, "Did you recognize either the victim or the man standing over him?"

"No and no. And, the 'apparition' for the lack of a better word, was kneeling next to the dead man when I saw him. And, I couldn't see the dead man's face."

"Oh, right, thank you, sir. If you'll just go with the officer here."

"Wade, if you'll canvass the patrol officers to see if there are any other witnesses, I'll check out that alley. It would be very nice to have some corroboration." Wade went off to see the officers; Nick looked over at the victim, then went over to the alley and walked down it using his very keen vampiric eyes to look for any traces of evidence.

He found some small patches of what looked like really bright paint, florescent, phosphorescent, really bright anyway – he'd have to let the crime scene people know. Doors and window all seemed to be locked, or if not obviously locked, in such a condition that it was also obvious that they hadn't been opened within recent memory. There was a fire escape ladder higher up, but it looked too high for anyone normal to have jumped up, caught, pulled down, and climbed. On the other hand, Nick thought, as he jumped up to grab the lowest rung, neither ghosts nor vampires are normal. He spotted more trace evidence: what might be drops of blood — hmmm, a ghost that bleeds; that would be new and different – as well as what might be more of that paint. It looks like the ghost might have used something with a bit of a hook at the end to reach the ladder. It would seem that our ghost is more flesh than spirit, Nick thought.

Nick neither heard nor saw Wade come around at the end of the alley. Wade watched as Nick flew up to catch the ladder's bottom rung. Wade looked, noted, and stepped back out of sight.

Hmmmm,he thought, neat trick, Detective. Did you just fly up to that thing or did you just jump real slow? Wade decided to keep his thoughts to himself. He started back to the front of the alley making a bit more noise than was absolutely necessary. As he started to round the corner, Nick came out and nearly ran into him.

"Oh, Wade! There's some trace evidence in the alley plus some on the fire escape ladder – the perp must have used a club to pull the ladder down. We'll get forensics on it, but it looks like our ghost had some very real characteristics. What did you find out?"

"No other witnesses, just our student journalist friend."

Nick saw Natalie crouched down next to the victim; he and Wade walked over to her.

"Anything?"

"Nothing more than the obvious, his skull was bashed in by a large cylindrical object, maybe a baseball bat? Nasty, but it probably killed him instantly." She stood up, "No i.d., wallet, or other identifiers. I'll have more after the autopsy, but I wouldn't expect anything else. Do you have any leads?" she asked and smiled at Nick, despite the location.

"Not really, a witness who claims to have seen a ghost next to the victim and who got up and ran away – the ghost not the victim," he replied. "If we see any ghosts in the vicinity, we'll bring them in for questioning." Nick grinned, and his eyes looked both amused and weary.

"Nick," Natalie asked, "what kind of cuffs do you use on a ghost?"

__Flashback: Brabant several years later. Same location__.

Nick is standing on the outside of the Cathedral this time.
A tall, somber featured man is standing in the shadows.
He thought it was his sire, LaCroix, for a moment, but then
the man stepped a little forward and asked Nick,
"Nichola', why do you not come in? Come, see my stone,
it is a fine carving in a prominent location."

"Rober'? How can you be here Rober'?"

"Ah, Nichola', and how can you be here? Does Maman know of your condition?
But no, if she did, she would be in there praying for you for all she was worth.
I am here, Nichola' because you called me."

"I miss you, Rober'. You should be managing the estates, taking care of Maman and Fleur."

"As should you, mon petit frère, in my place, but you cannot either, can you?"

"No, no", Nick said solemnly. "But Rober', you are here, how – why –"

"To say good-bye, Nichola'. And to tell you not to give up hope."

"Hope, there is hope for such as me?" he said dejectedly.

"Don't give in to despair. Despair is the thing that will surely damn you.
Good-bye, Nichola'; fare you well". Robert just faded away.

Nick stood in sad silence. He realized that he would see no one from his former 'life'.

__Back to the present__


*Car-Sin-Ogenic*

- - - - -
Baby, you can drive my car

-- Drive My Car, the Beatles
- - - - -

"Yeah, I know," Wade said, "you don't burn, you don't tan, you implode. You must be a ball at beach parties! You are seriously going to get into the trunk? Unreal."

"Uh-huh, and you drive the Caddy to my loft, let me off, and take the Caddy for the rest of the day. Pick me up on the way in to work. I won't even ask you to wash it while you have it."

"Oh, puh-leeze. I don't particularly want to waddle around all day with your Cadillac. I'm not used to driving a boat in public. How about I drop you off and you let me take your Harley?" said Wade sweetly. ;-)

"I don't think so. Uh, not insured for other drivers. Can we go please, it's getting lighter as we talk."

Wade opened up the trunk and held it up for Nick. "This is insane," he said as he shut the trunk's lid over Nick.

A thought occurred to him as he put the car in gear and drove off into traffic: Can Knight hear me up here? "Hey, Nick! What's the price of tea in China? Are you and Natalie really getting it on? Why do you have 6 bottles of blood in your fridge?"

No response. "Well, then, I guess you can't hear anything, so I might as well turn the Nightrcrawler off and find some good Polka music . . . ." Not hearing any screams of anguish from the trunk, Wade did just that.

Nick probably could have heard what Wade said if he'd wanted to, but the rumble of the tires on the road, car noises, and traffic noise made it not particularly worth it. He could, however, hear the Polkas exceedingly well since the base speakers were in the rear. I'm gonna kill him, I swear. He's doing that deliberately! thought Nick as he was swayed from side to side in the car. Uh, what's going on? The ride's getting a little rough.

Wade was really getting into the polkas, but he was also in a hurry, not only because the sun was coming up, but because he wanted to get home as well. But first, he had to take care of some business. He drove straight over to the nearest all-night Auto parts store, tore into the parking lot, and ran into the store.

"Hey, Nick," said Wade as he thumped the trunk, "Don't get out, we're in the middle of the Municipal Stadium parking lot." What does he know shut up in the trunk; give him something to speculate on.

Nick could only guess at what was happening. He knew they weren't at the Stadium; they hadn't been driving long enough to get there. What the heck is that kid doing?

Wade came out of the parts store, hit the ignition and peeled out.

I'm gonna kill that kid if he does anything stupid to my car! thought Nick. Oh, God! Please STOP the polka music!

With a few twists, turns, abrupt stops, quick starts – Wade was milking this for all it was worth – he pulled into a parking garage and stopped. He popped the trunk, startling Nick. Nick knew that they weren't at the loft, so he couldn't imagine why Wade would be stopping again and opening the trunk, especially with the sun rising. Fortunately, they were someplace inside.

Nick growled at Wade.

Wade offered Nick a hand and said, "O.K. Enough with trunk crap. Here, get into the back seat; you lie on the floor and cover yourself up with these." And with that he handed Nick a couple of extra-thick, heavy-duty tarps. "This way we can effing talk to each other while I'm driving. Why, you might even say, 'Wade, would you be so kind as to please change the station as I am not particularly fond of polka music', and I'd say, ''Why, surely, Detective Knight, no problem at all; I shall be pleased to do so.' ", in a sing-song-y voice dripping with honey. "Shall I put that Nightcrawler person on for you?' "

Nick glowered as he climbed into the back. "$2.85 per pound. None of your business. And for thickening my oil paints – I do a lot of painting. How'd you know about that, anyway? "

Oooh. So, he did hear me. Oops.

"Uh, Schanke had a big mouth."

"Now, can we go home, please?!" said Nick, a little exasperated. And added, ''Wade, 'would you be so kind as to please change the station as I am not particularly fond of polka music'.", spoken with all the sweetness of unadulterated aspartame, as well as very clinched teeth.

" 'Why surely, Detective Knight, no problem at all; I shall be pleased to do so.' " was Wade's word-for-word response; then he started laughing and changed the station.

Nick told Wade, "I have to admit these tarps are a good idea. We can talk -- at least a little -- plus, it could provide some protection if I get caught somewhere and really need some temp shelter. Good idea, detective."

"You're welcome, Nick. And, sorry about the Polkas. Does this mean I can borrow your Harley instead of taking the Caddy?!?!" Wade said brightly.

"What? Could you speak up a little, Wade. I can hardly hear you over the road noise."

"Yeah, " said Wade, "that's what I thought. I guess I can live with the pain-in-the-butt's Caddy."

"I heard that!"

"I'm sure you did. I said it deliberately."

"Yeah, right!"

And so on, and so on, all the way back to the loft. They were becoming friends.

*Tracking a Ghost*

- - - - -
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale.
-- A Whiter Shade of Pale, Zombies
- - - - -

"Why would anyone want to make it look like a ghost killed him? I mean, nobody on the force is gonna believe that, even if the public bought it, at least the portion that reads the National Expirer!"

"Well, unless it's someone who works with glowing paint –" he shrugged.

Nick got a far-away look in his eyes.

__Flashback – much more recent times__

"Erica, why are you here?" nick asked.

"You said you would follow me, Nicholas. Come join me,
be free of your mortal worries and cares."

Nick looked at Erica and thought hard and determinedly at her.
She faded. Nick said to himself, "Wishful thinking on my part.
That would be too easy, Erica. I follow you and blame the consequences on you.
No, I have more to give, more to learn; too much to lose by giving up,
because losing, that's what a walk into the sun would be for me.
I haven't come to my 'Last Act' yet".

But, you've given me an idea.

__End flashback__


*I Hear Music and There's No One There* [At least, not Nick.]

- - - - -
I hear music and there's no one there
-- You're Just in Love, from, 'Call Me Madam'
- - - - -

Wade and Nick were standing over the corpse, near Natalie who was crouched next to it, examining the wounds. She would give them some of her initial inferences . . . .

The two would be talking in the station-house about the case and Wade would hand Nick the forensics report and start to tell him about it . . . .

Reese or Dr. Lambert would give the detectives some additional information about the crime, and . . .

Nick would get this far away look in his eyes.

He looked spaced-out, he figured he needed to go talk to someone, check out some fact, or track down some detail to confirm a suspicion. Anyone who knew him knew he was about to disappear without saying anything to anyone about who, where, why, or what was going on.

This used to drive his old partner, Don Schanke, nuts, and it irritated the heck out of Tracy.

Wade was catching on to it.

1."Nick, I just got the report – Nick? Now, where the heck did he go? He was just standing here!"

"Wade–"

"JESUS! Nick. Will you stop sneaking up on people like that? You have a sadistic streak, don't you? You enjoy doing that," said Wade hotly.

"Wade, I'm sorry–"

"— Don't be sorry, just don't do it! AND, mister, where were you? I'm talking to you, I turn around, and you're not there. I feel like a fool talking to himself. You disappear on me again, fella, and I'll put a GPS device on you."

"Wade—"

"Oh, forget it. You don't have to tell me where, when, why, etc. Just let me know. Pleeeeeeeze!"

"Got it, Wade; got it." In spades, Nick thought to himself.

2. "Nick, the next time you disappear without a word, running around the corner, jumping out of the car, taking the friggin' A Train, will be the last time you do it because I'll hand-cuff myself to you. You got that?"

"Yeah, sorry, Wade, but circumstan—"

"Circumstances are irrelevant. Just give me a clue as to what you are up to. Be a 'partner', partner."

3. Nick was talking with Captain Reese, when one of those obnoxious pager beepers went off. Nick looked around for the beeping and discovered it was coming from his coat pocket. He reached in and pulled out a small, pager type of device. He looked at like he'd never seen it before.

At that moment, Wade walked into the room, saw Nick and the pager, and said, "Oh, there it is. I meant to put the GPS thing in there but I grabbed my pager instead. Sorry about that." He took out a GPS and put it into Nick's pocket while taking the pager out of Nick's hand, turned and left the room.

Reese looked at Nick, laughed out loud, and said, "You asked for it, Knight. You disappeared on him one too many times. Here, give it to me. I know Wade isn't serious about the GPS, but you ought to think about why he would try it, even in fun."

"Right, Cap. I'll work on it, here, thanks."

4. As Nick was getting some reports from Natalie at the Coroner's office, Wade walked up to him, stood toe-to-toe in front of him, and looked, with his own eye-brows furrowed in concentration, directly from his brown eyes into his partner's blue ones. He spoke directly at Nick in a low, deep, resonant, rumbling, and commanding voice.

"De-Tec-Tive-Knight-- May-I-Have-A-Word-With-You," said Wade sounding like a rather put-out grade school teacher.

"Uh, ye-e-e-es?" The admonishment in Wade's voice caught Nick's attention. Natalie's too, for that matter.

Wade continued, "Detective-Knight,-You-Will-Listen-And-Remember--You-Will-Tell-Me-When-You-Are-Leaving-For-Any-Reason--You-Will-Tap-My-Shoulder-And-Tell-Me-'Wade-I-Need-To-Go-Somewhere.'--Then-And-Only-Then-Will-You-Leave--Do-You-Understand?

"Respond-Please"

"Uh, yes?"

"You-Will-Not-Remember-This Conversation--Do-You-Understand?"

"Ye-e-e-s."

"Good—Now-Go" and with that Wade broke off and left the room to go check on the interviews.

Nick and Natalie looked at each other. Nick had this what-the-heck-was-that look on his face. Natalie was looking at Nick as if she couldn't decide to be amazed, dumbfounded, or laughing out loud.

"Nick," she said, not sure if she herself believed what she was saying, "did Detective Everett just try to whammy you?"

Nick replied, "Uh, I'm not sure, Nat. I-- Uh! I . . . think he did. I mean, try to."

"Nick," she said chuckling, "you look like it might be working. Are you sure Wade isn't part vampire?" She laughed out loud no longer being able to hold it in.

"Honestly, Nat," Nick said with a bit of wonder in his voice, "I'm not all that sure he's not."

5. At a crime scene, Wade looked at Nick and saw Nick's eyes start to glaze over with that I-got-a-hunch-so-I'm-gonna-disappear-and-check-it-out-myself look. Wade simply reached up and grabbed Nick's coat's collar firmly, and held it tightly, while bracing his legs on the icy ground. As he did this, he looked towards Natalie and continued asking her a few questions about what she had found on the body.

A sudden rush of wind, a surprised "ummph!', and a thump. Nick had started to go off unnoticed as he usually would do except that this time while his feet moved out, his upper torso stayed where it was. With his feet out from under him, Nick's body went down on the ice while Wade held firmly onto the coat collar.

Natalie, Reese, who was standing about 10 feet away, and most of the other officers at hand, looked over to see Detective Nick Knight sitting flat on his ass on the ice with Detective Everett holding him upright by the collar of his coat, while he [Everett] calmly answered a question Natalie had asked him.

When Wade saw that everyone else was looking at them, he turned to Nick and said with mock surprise, "Oh, I'm sorry, Nick, I forgot I was holding on. Did you need to get going somewhere?"

Natalie and Reese snickered. The other cops did their best to cover their mouths, hide their amusement, or not do anything that would indicate that they had any idea of what was going on, even though every one of them knew they were going to tell this story to each and every person they came across in the next couple of days. It would become legend.

A flash of irritation crossed Nick's face, but then he had the good grace to look acutely embarrassed as Wade extended a hand and helped Nick stand up straight.

"Sorry, Wade, um, I've got a hunch I need to check out. I'll meet you back at the station, o.k.?"

"O.k., Nick. Are you sure you don't want back-up? No? Well, see you back there then," Wade said neutrally, while he thought maybe this will get you to tell me you're taking off..

*Paperwork – Do the Write Thing*

- - - - -
Paper back writer (paperback writer)
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?

-- Paperbackwriter, The Beatles
- - - - -

"Can I help you with those reports, guys?" Wade said to Johnson and Rasmussen.

"Aw, c'mon, guys, I'm not a bad person, and I'd really like to help if I can"

"O.K., o.k. Here, you can start filling out the basic info on these forms," Johnson said. "How long do you expect to be here at the 96th, Detective?"

"Call me 'Wade'. Anywhere from six weeks to six months, I would guess. Can I tell you two something?" And Wade continued without waiting for an answer, "This job is just scutt work. I mean, the reports I'm supposed to write – Nobody here has to worry about them, and, yeah, I know everybody knows what I'm supposed to be working on.

"Consider: if I.A. was going to have somebody write up reports, do you think they'd let a rumor get out? Then, -- here, Johnson, this one's done – then, would they just shove some young, detective in and let him do it?

"Nah. This was a punishment," Wade said continuing to fill in the forms Johnson had handed him, "I pulled one too many tricks and then managed to royally p.o. one of the commissioners."

"What did you do?" asked Rasmussen, "knock one of the commissioners to the ground like you did Knight?" He and Johnson chuckled.

"Ha!" Wade laughed, "I didn't knock him down – nobody I know could get away with that. No, he just slipped on the ice. And with the commissioner? Who knows. Just remember: don't piss off a commissioner. Jeez, I coulda wet my pants that day. I got into work, and was called into the Captain's office. One of the Assistant Commissioners was there and one of the men from Internal Affairs. I thought, 'Oh, god, my goose is cooked; I'm getting fired'. Well, it wasn't quite that bad. I've been given this make-work job which was created to give me something to do that I'd hate so much that I'd quit. Apparently they don't have enough on me to outright fire me."

"So, why are you staying on?" Rasmussen said.

"I like my work? Anyway, you know what's it's like: I need the job. And this isn't so bad. I know nobody's ever gonna read these things so I can be almost honest. I like getting to know all you different guys at the different stations, divisions, et cetera. I like people, I like police people – we're the 'good guys'. I figure in the long run, I can make some lemonade outta this lemon. I figure, guys, that if I help you out, don't step on any toes, and so on, that if a permanent position opens up in one of the divisions, you'll all like me enough to let me know about it. You know, it doesn't hurt to have 50 or 60 other cops think you're a good guy. Ya know what I mean?" He winked at them.

"Anyway, I've got the time, I don't mind the paperwork, so if I can help out, just let me know. Here, these are all filled out, I can do some more later, but I gotta meet Nick in a few minutes. Thanks for puttin' up with me, guys.

"Sure, no prob. Thanks for the help, Wade," Johnson said, and, "You really didn't knock Knight down?"

"No, I didn't. Really. But he did look so silly sitting there on the ground like that, that I almost wish I had," Wade replied with a silly, little grin on his face.

"Wish I'd seen it. Don't get me wrong, I like Nick, but sometimes, he can be a bit, well . . . . Anyway, don't let everybody know you'll fill out paperwork for 'em," Rasmussen joked, "You won't have any time left for our paperwork,"

Wade chuckled as he walked away, "Yeah, right, guys".

The Captain walked up to Wade. "Nice move, Detective. You know how to make friends. That's good. I might even offer you that position if it ever opens up. You do good work, and you'd be better than a pig in a poke."

"Aw, thanks, Captain, but don't gush over me."

"Besides, you get along with and tolerate Knight. That's two thirds of the hiring process right there!" The Captain smiled.

"Well, thanks, Cap. I'll let Nick know you think I'm worth hiring to keep him occupied, o.k.?"

"You do like to live dangerously, Detective Everett. Don't press your luck."

"I won't, Captain, I won't. Thank you, 'preciate it."


__Dreams__

- - - - -
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me
-- Dream a Little Dream, Mama Cass Eliot
- - - - -

"You're not really here, are you Aunt Fleur? I'm sound asleep and having a weird dream."

"Mijkie, honey, you believe whatever you want. I know you're enough of a psychiatrist—

"-- Psychologist, Aunt Fleur, I earned my doctorate, but —

"-- Psychologist, then; now hush, baby — enough of a psychologist to know
that you're using this dream sequencing to verbalize your own thought-processes.
Now you know this is true, honey, 'cause when I was alive I never talked like this,
now did I, sweetie?"

"No, Aunt Fleur. But it really seems like we're taking."

"Well, don't you worry, baby, it's gonna work out. These other policemen
know that you're really going to help them. Now you believe that sweetie,

and take it to heart, you hear?"

"Yes, Aunt Fleur. And, thank you."

*The Down Side of Police Work*

(Wade and Natalie at the Loft; Nick is unconscious - asleep.)

- - - - -
I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.
-- Eric Clapton
- - - - -

"We were shot at."

"Yeah, well, I guessed that. Details, man, details", said Natalie.

Wade told her, "We were following one of the suspects—we got a tip -- and just thought we'd see where he was going. I thought we were being discrete, but apparently he and whoever his friends are were on to us. We rounded a blind corner and there they were waiting for us. They started shooting; we shot back.

"Well, you know our hero, here. He's either got a deathwish or he's a gloryhound. I started shooting back with my arm out the side window; I thought Nick would back the car out, but no, he jumps out of the car starts firing at them while running TOWARDS them. I jump out after him to cover his back. I might not have been as concerned except I knew his Kevlar vest was in the back seat.

"Bang! While I ran around the back of the car and up behind Nick, he gets it right in the chest! There were a bunch of shots and one must have been an explosive shell.

"In any case, I put two and two together. I was thinking he was being reckless (and I was right!). No matter how invulnerable you are, a shot straight to the heart has gotta hurt. I don't know why he passed out—they weren't wooden bullets, were they?"

"No, are you sure the bullets didn't just go past him? Why would you think wooden bullets? ' " she asked, uncertain and quizzical.

"Dr. Lambert, I *know*. With those injuries, and just sticking the blood line in him? And you saw my wrist. I'm a detective and a good one, I figured out what Nick is. I also figured Nick would be a bit more careful. This has happened to him before, hasn't it?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so, but as you can see, it didn't kill him and he'll be healed by morning. And you might as well call me Natalie"

"Gee, thanks," Wade said a little peaked.

"Oh, Wade, you know I didn't mean it that way."

"Yeah, I'm sorry too, getting shot, even second hand, tends to make me a little 'testy'. Anyway, I won't be healed by morning, although for wounds, these surprisingly don't hurt much and they do seem to be healing faster than normal."

Natalie checked on Nick to make sure he was doing o.k.

"Finish the story."

"Ah, yeah. The bullets went right through Nick—that's amazing to see, Dr. – ah, Natalie. Hurts, too. Well, they hit me and I hurt. Nick fell, I thought he might be dead except to a certain extent, he already is."

"Wade . . . ."

"You know what I mean. He dropped to the ground; I sat on the ground right there somewhat stunned. The guys started to come over to us, but I wasn't out yet, so I aimed and shot. I'm sure I got one of the guys, but they all turned and took off. I didn't know whether to call it in or not, but it was in a warehouse district, I doubt there were any witnesses, no help would be nearby, and I wanted to take care of Nick. So, I called you." Wade smiled weakly at Natalie. - - - - -

*In Medias Res – Bang, Bang, He Shot Me Down*

- - - - -
Bang bang, you shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
-- Cher
- - - - -

"Oh, Grace, I need to speak to Dr. Lambert! There's been a shooting. We've both been hurt. Is she there?"

"Ohmigod! No, she isn't, what can I do, and who is this?"

"Oh, Grace, I'm sorry, Wade Everett, Nick's temp partner!

Oh, god, what can I . . . Grace, can you drive?"

"Yes, Detective," Grace said patiently. Grace Balthazar was a large, Black women who carried herself with an eponymous grace and dignity, but who also looked liked she could, and would, beat the crap out of you if you got out of line. A staunch friend, a formidable opponent, a credit to the Coroner's office, and a great help when you desperately needed it.

"Oh, Grace, I can't tell you how important this is. Listen: grab all the blood you can – doesn't matter what type, some syringes, tubing, transfusion equipment, throw it in a box and bring it over to Nick's loft. I may need the transfusion. Do you know the address?"

"Yes, Detective, Dr. Lambert has it in her files and I'm familiar with the area. But—"

"No 'buts', Grace, Nick's life depends on this," Wade said speaking faster and faster. "And I need all the blood you can get, don't worry about any authorization, I'll take care of that later. It's for Nick, Grace, if he doesn't get it, I'm-afraid-he'?" Wade was talking faster and faster.

Sensing the rising panic in Wade's voice, Grace said, "Calm down, Detective. I know you can't bring Nick here. I can be there in less than 15. Take a couple of deep breaths. Tell me you've done that, Detective, and that you're o.k."

"Yes, Ma'm, I'm doing it. I'm o.k. Thank you, now, please hurry, call me 'Wade', grab Dr. Lambert if you see her. Don't explain, just bring 'er."

"You're at Nick's place?"

"Almost. Thanks, Grace, you're 'da bomb'! Meet you there in 15."

"You can count on it, Wade. And breathe in and out slowly, don't hyperventilate, you hear? 'Bye."

Both hung up their phones.

Uph, common Nick. Geez, you're heavier than you look. Damn, I'm not carrying you in the trunk. Ah, let me get the door. Here, unh, put you in the passenger seat, lucky the keys are still in the ignition. I'm glad you got automatic, kiddo. Yeah, that's it, lie on your side. Here, let me close your eyes, that dead stare is disconcerting.

Nick moaned loudly. Wade ran around to the driver's side after getting Nick onto the front seat.

Wade looked at his new partner and thought Hah, fangs! I knew it. Little, red, riding hood, what lovely fangs you have. Shit, all the better to eat me with, huh?

"Uuuuuhhhh. Wa—Wade, . . . need blood, . . . call Natalie," Nick managed to groan out.

"Already done, Partner, we're on our way to meet her," Wade said.

Nick tried to sit up, but doubled over with the dry heaves.

God, his car's gonna be a mess. I wonder, does being a cop explain blood stains easier than if you're not a cop?

Nick managed to get semi-upright and looked straight at Wade with his golden eyes. That'd be pretty if it weren't so terrifying thought Wade.

"Need blood real bad, Wade. Real . . . bad. Hurt in . . . wrong place. Look at me, Wa—Wade. You will . . . forget."

"Nick, you're out of it, Nick. Lie down and be quiet, Nick." Oh, god, Natalie, be there! be there! "You gotta take it easy, kiddo. We're getting there."

Nick reached out for Wade, but fell sideways onto Wade as he tried and passed out again.

You don't look good, my friend, Dracula would look tanned compared to you. Nick started shaking. Ohgodohgodohgod, don't die on me Nick. I'm just getting to know you.

Hell, even Nick shouldn't be that pale. Wade thought and he pulled to the curb.

Damn, I gotta be effing crazy. No way in hell are you getting my neck, boyo, but here, take my wrist, I gotta be able to spare some.

"Nick, Nick!"

Moan.

"Here take my wrist." Shit, his fangs aren't out; well, I'll just shove my wrist in there; they'll drop, I'm sure. Ouch, hey, they're sharp! Oh, jeez, that hurts!

"Hey, Nick! Those damn things are sharp!" said Wade as Nick grabbed hold with his mouth and started to suck, then reached his hand over to grab Wade's wrist. After a couple of good gulps, Wade pulled his wrist from Nick, figuring that that would at least allow him time to get the both of them to the loft. Fortunately for Wade, Nick was weak enough for Wade to push him off. Nick curled up on the front seat, now totally out of it.

"We're almost there, Nick. Just a block to go . . . "

Oh, thank god, the garage door's open and Wade drove the car right in. He jumped out of his side and ran around to Nick's and opened the door.

"Dr. Lambert, thank god! Grace, I think I love you. Doctor, can you give him something right now, he's in bad shape.

"God, Wade. Let me see. He, he doesn't really look all that bad actually. Let's get him upstairs first."

Wade reached under Nick and lifted his body off the car seat. Grace helped him carry Nick, while Natalie punched in the security codes and hit the elevator button.

Upstairs in the loft with Nick on the couch, Natalie ran an IV line directly to Nick's stomach.

"He looks like he's already had a bit of blood. Wade, there wasn't any in the car with . . ."

Wade stuck out his right arm showing Natalie his wrist with two small holes a small distance apart.

"Oh," she said.

"Yeah," Wade said, " 'Oh.'

"Uh, Grace?" Wade looked at Natalie with his eye-brows lifted.

"You called her 'the bomb'? She is, she's good, she's competent, she's smart, she can –"

"She's here and can speak for herself, thank you."

"-- keep her mouth shut." Natalie looked over at her, smiled and gave her a wink. Besides, Nick can probably "whammy" her if necessary. Natalie thought.

"Is he going to be o.k.?" Wade asked her.

"Yes, it'll take a little while, but the 'special blood' you gave him should, just by itself, do the trick.

Grace cut in with, " 'Human' is the best for repairing . . . uhm, things." She looked at Natalie and Wade, "In addition to keeping her mouth shut, she keeps her eyes and ears open. And I know that there are some things I'm not supposed to know, Sweetie," she said looking straight at Natalie. "So, if you and Detective Everett here are o.k., I'll get back to the lab and start 'cleaning' up the records and reports that I don't know anything about." Grace winked, "unless you still need me here?"

"Grace," Natalie said, "No, thanks, I love you, and . . . we'll talk."

Seeing their relief, Grace said, "I'm out of here, kids. Call me when you can. To get our stories straight, if nothing else." And with that Grace left the loft.

Natalie said to herself, "How about that!", and smiling weakly, aloud, "He'll rest quietly here. Now, let me take a look at you."

(Back to Natalie and Wade talking in the loft.)

. . . . . "Natalie, why don't I hurt much and how come these bullets didn't even slow me down? I mean, I felt them, but they were like bee stings not bullet wounds."

Natalie said, "They went through Nick, didn't they."

"Yeah, what . . . ." Wade replied.

"Well, it's the vampire blood as far as I can tell. Going through Nick, the bullets picked up a tiny bit of his blood. This – and this is just a guess – gave you enough protection and energy to keep going and not feel them, but I'll bet you're going to be really stiff tomorrow. The blood anesthetized your skin where the bullets entered; then they encapsulated themselves, so all I had to do really was just pop them out."

"Well, doc, I'd rather be real stiff than be a real stiff"

"Gawd! Wade, you're worse than Schanke was."

"Never met a pun I didn't like, sweetie!" Wade leered in her direction while doing his best, terrible, Groucho Marx imitation.

*Getting to Know You*

- - - - -
Getting to know you; getting to know and like you
-- The King and I
- - - - -

"Wade, how did you know?" Natalie asked.

"Well, as I said, it's because I'm a detective and I'm good at my job. But, basically, it's because . . . uh, I'm a detective, and . . . um . . . I'm good at my job," Wade said smiling. "Seriously, that's more or less it. I'm bright, observant, not married to any particular pre-conceived notions, etc., and I put two and two together, although I wasn't positively certain until Nick fell down in front of me and wasn't dead, really dead, I mean. I didn't tell you this, but I told Nick that I read his Personnel file – he was kinda p.o'd that I could get a personnel file out of the clerk's office when he couldn't – plus I read Schanke's old file. You know I worked with Donut Don on and off my first year on the force and I thought I could get a good picture of Detective Knight from Schanke's dealings with him and his own personnel file.

"I did not want to get off on the wrong foot with 'the Knightmare'. Nick's temper is legendary.

"Then I just paid attention: The alley he ran down on Third St. to get to the back of the building doesn't have an outlet. You can't get there from here. He's moved a little too fast sometimes – barely within human standards. Then, we're on our way to a crime scene, he tosses me his keys to drive his car while he disappears down a corridor. So, how does he get to the scene before I do and I have the ride?. Plus the standard other things, sunlight, aversion to crosses, cold hands, etc. And, someone has to talk to him about this: I saw him take off flying, not because he was careless in letting me see him, he wasn't, it's just that I knew where and what to look for. Fortunately for Mr. Detective Knight, I also saw where the video camera was, so I disabled it.

"And a bunch of other little things which while they don't show that he's a vampire, they're indicative. For example, I've overheard him talking with M. LaCroix, the owner of the Raven in French – medieval French. C'mon, medieval French? Give me a break."

"And how did you know to call me?"

Wade just looked at her as if to say, you gotta be kidding. "Like the whole department doesn't know you two are as thick as thieves? C'mon, give me a little credit."

"Ah, yes. Well, it doesn't bother you? That he really is a . . . vampire."

"Other than the fact that you're trying to help him not be one, does it bother you? No, I don't care. I figure this is Nick's business. It's really more complicated than that, of course, but I understand being an outsider, being a gay officer, and being shunted form station to station. Having read his personnel file, and riding around with him for three or four days, I could tell he was a 'good guy'. He may be a vampire, and I don't know whether he's just very big on self control or what, but I was quickly convinced that none of his police buddies were at risk for anything. Nobody's disappeared in the precinct, have they?" Wade said with a small smile. "So, no, it doesn't bother me. I've got secrets of my own, too, you know, Natalie.

"And, now, I have a question: will he remember any of this, or what?"

"Probably not well, at least unless someone reminds him, why?"

"I'd like to keep it that I don't know his 'special' nature. If he knew I knew then he'd start acting differently, maybe more recklessly. If he knew I knew, he may figure he doesn't have to be as careful around me; or, he may not want me as a partner."

"Well, Wade, unless you tell him, it'll be very foggy; he shouldn't remember much. Just tell him that he drove over here with you because you were injured, you didn't see anything 'cause you were unconscious. He called me, I gave him some blood, and took the bullets out of you."

"He'll think he did it and just doesn't remember?"

"Basically," Natalie said, "that's it. He'll assume he drove 'cause we told him he did. And he doesn't remember because of shock and the loss of his own blood. But don't dwell on it. He's a good detective, too, Mr. Detective Everett."

"I'll go for it. Keeps us all safe—the fewer people who 'know' about him, the better; and I know nothing, nothing!" said Wade with a broad smile.

*Talk is Cheep*

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

A quiet conversation in the Coroner's office. Surprisingly not Nat and Nick, but Nat and Wade.

"You need to tell him," said Natalie.

"He needs to tell me, Natalie," said Wade, "It really needs to come from him. He needs to know he can trust me."

"Well, Wade, he knows something's up. He is a good detective, you know. He's not comfortable with the idea that he drove you both back to the loft – first, he doesn't think he was driving; if he were, then he wouldn't have driven you there, he'd have come straight to my office or a hospital. And once you start talking about it, he'll worm the rest of it out of you if you don't give it up freely."

"Yeah, we're gonna have to talk and it'll come out. Oh, let me think on it, Natalie."

"By the way, Wade, I was impressed with your handling the emergency. You've had medical training of some sort, haven't you?

"Uh, yes."

"Well, it shows. If you ever decide to stop being a cop, you could go for med-tech."

"Hmmm," Wade said smiling, "now there's an idea."

*Ghostwriter*

- - - - -
Paperback writer, I'm a paperback writer.
-- The Beatles, Paperback Writer
- - - - -

"Do you have anything else on our Ghost victim?" Wade asked.

"No," said Natalie, "It's as I suspected. He was dead from the blow before he hit the ground. Other than that there are no marks, no skin under the nails, no foreign saliva for DNA . . ."

Wade gave her a rueful smile, "Yeah, that's pretty much what we've got – nothing. Any success on identity?"

"Grace is checking clothing labels, a ticket stub in his pocket -- maybe you can find out where he's from. His clothes are local, so he was from around here somewhere. It'll be in the report, but it looks pretty pro forma."

"Uh, Natalie. About Grace—"

Natalie looked up at Detective Everett, she raised her eye-brows, tilted her head to the right, looked intently with her eyes almost bugging out. Wade quickly got the idea: don't talk about it, it's been taken care of, you don't need to know, change the subject, and get going.

Wade said, "Uh, yeah. Later, Doctor"

"It turned out to be a lot simpler than we thought," Nick said. "Our 'witness' claimed he was a journalism student who was walking back to his car from a bachelor party at a bar. Well, he could have been, but there was parking at the bar, and his buddies couldn't alibi him for all of the time in question.

"Then we investigated a little deeper; Wade checked student records and, he is a student in the journalism program at the U, but he's also involved in the theater program. He's working on the 'Godspell' production at the 'Little Community Theater' a couple of blocks over from the murder site. I interviewed the other actors and it turns out our witness knew the victim because the vic was in the cast. His motive was the vic put the make on the leading lady who had been our student's girlfriend. Or, he thought she was until she announced that she and the vic were 'engaged'.

"They were apparently walking over to his bachelor party when our friend here conked the guy on the head, then left him in the alley. On his way back from the party, he 'discovered' the corpse and called it in. He didn't recognize anything 'cause he was across the street and didn't want to get too close. Supposedly.

"And the 'ghost' part?" The Captain asked.

"Well, there was some of the bright greasepaint, but mostly it was just the kid's imagination. He did try leaving a false trail by running into the alley and back out. Basically, he's taken a few journalism courses and a couple of criminology courses, and thought he could get away with it." Nick shrugged.

"All our homicides should be this easy."


__Flash back - Brabant – 1228/9__

"Nicholas, when will you believe me that there are no such things as ghosts?" LaCroix said.

"A little less than two months ago, I would have said that there were
no such things as vampires. I know what I saw," he said stubbornly.

"You saw what your imagination wanted you to see."

"Perhaps," Nicholas said, not that he believed LaCroix. If he had learned
anything in the preceding two months, it was that his master, LaCroix, had
his own agenda for everything. Nicholas preferred to think that he had seen
Robert, and what Robert said had given him a small bit of comfort as well as
laid a few seeds of rebellion against LaCroix.

Was Nicholas to believe everything LaCroix said to him without question?
Apparently, according to LaCroix, yes. If Nicholas had learned anything
from the crusade, it was that if a priest said it was raining out, that Nicholas
would go check it out for himself. Why should LaCroix be any different?

Nick thought to himself, What have I gotten myself into?

__End flashback__


*
It's My Life – Nick's Turn*

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – uh, later at the loft – Nick was sitting on the couch looking at Nat with a very concerned look on his face.

"What's going on, Nat? Something happened; I feel left out of the loop."

"I never was good at keeping secrets from you, never mind the whole vampire thing. Yes, something did happen, but it's not that serious, and I can't tell y--."

"Nat!"

"Nick! It's not my place. Detective Everett has to tell you. This is really between him and you, but you've got know: he's a good guy, Nick. I think you can trust him. Give him a call." And with that, Natalie got up, kissed Nick on the forehead, and left the loft.

- - - - -
It's my life
And it's now or never
Even if I live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's – my – life)
-- Bon Jovi
- - - - -

"Quiteaplace,;,Ilove,don'tyou?Ofcourseyoudo;'sagoodthingyou'vegotthatliftoryou',what'swiththemotorcycle?Here'sagoodbottleofwine,NataliesaidyoulikedBurgundy.I'mtalkingtoomuchandtoofast,aren'tI?I'mnervous,I'llshutup."

"Whew," replied Nick, "yeah, take a breath, Wade. You do seem a bit wired." Nick put on his "serious" face, but said, "Have a seat. But don't worry, it's not a big thing, I just need a few answers to some questions nagging at the back of my mind. I know the story that you and Natalie put together for me, but some of it doesn't ring true."

"Um, yeah . . . . ha! This is just like one of your interrogations: just a few questions, sir, and we can get this all cleared up and you can go home, sir. Ask away, Nick, my cover's blown, I'll tell you anything and everything."

"Well, what happened?" Nick asked.

Wade, cautiously: "In 25 words or less, you were hurt and unconscious. I called Natalie and asked her for help and I brought you back here. She showed up with all the medicine and supplies she needed, treated you, treated me, and was done. You woke up a few hours later."

"But why did you try to tell me that *I* drove here and *you* were* unconscious? That's what doesn't play."

"O.K. Look, for all practical purposes that is what happened. I wanted you to be the driver so I could keep my nose clean and out of your business. I saw just how injured you were, and I though that if you thought you had driven and that it was me who was unconscious, then I wouldn't have noticed how bad your injuries were," Wade said. "I didn't think about it that if you had been driving and I was unconscious, you'd have gone straight to a hospital to get me taken care of."

"But here's the thing," Nick asked, "if my injuries were bad enough that I was out of it, why wouldn't you have taken me to a hospital.

"And, if they weren't that bad why would you try to cover it up. Natalie wouldn't have gone along with that, so there's more to it," said Nick, waiting patiently.

"And 'Natalie wouldn't have gone along with that' – you're right. So, why did she? Doesn't that tell you something? That it might be for your own good? -- Hmmph, you're not used to having someone else decide what's for 'your own good,' are you? But, more to the point, it was for MY own good, mon ami."

Nick arched his eyebrows, "We've all got our secrets, Wade."

Wade got up from the couch and went over to the sink, got a coffee cup, filled it with water, put it in the microwave, then got the instant coffee -- why does he keep under the sink? Weird, thought Wade. Then uncharacteristically, he got a wine glass from the cupboard and opened the Burgundy he had brought.

"Some are more significant and/or dangerous than others," Nick continued, "but I need to know exactly what and how much you know – for your own protection, if nothing else."

"Can't leave it alone?" Wade said, "No, you wouldn't do that, you need to have all the data and make your own decisions, no matter what. This is why you're such a good detective and such a pain at the same time."

"You want to know? I'll be brutally honest with you, but you've got to be brutally honest with me. I'll trust you, but it's got to be reciprocal. You tell me what's your big secret and I'll tell you what's mine," If you show me yours, I'll show you mine, thought Wade, with a sneaky kind of half grin on his face that just worried Nick even more.

Nick then said, "If you saw my injuries – and, of course, you did -- you know something 'not normal' is going on, right?"

"Works for me, Nick."

"Then you call Nat and bring me to the loft. If everything were on the up-and-up, Wade, you would have rushed me off to a hospital. Natalie made some hints. . . . I've made some guesses. . . . You've made some comments. I can't ignore that you saw just how bad my injuries were."

Wade finished stirring the instant coffee -- and poured Nick half a glass of the Burgundy, and then just stood there, holding it, looking at it and waiting for Nick to continue.

He tilted his head a little, looking at Nick, and after a long pause, raised his eyebrows at Nick.

"O.K., o.k., Wade. We can do this a couple of ways: I can tell you, you can tell me, or we can pussyfoot around it for a while longer. I think you already know, but you want me to come out with it. Right?" Wade nodded gently. "It's really dangerous, Wade. I mean, mere knowledge of this could get you killed . . . ." Nick paused to give Wade a chance to realize the seriousness of what was about to come and to back out of it first if he wanted.

Wade gave him a keep-going look.

Nick took a deep breath, "Wade. I'm . . . I'm a vamp – I'm a vampire, Wade. Blood sucking, soul draining, creature of the night."

Nick said this with such a straight face and soulful intensity that anyone would have to believe him, and know he wasn't joking.

Wade titled his head a little the other way while looking at Nick. He nodded his head and said, "Yep, I know."

"What? You really know, knew? Wanna tell me how? I mean my quick recovery is indicative but not conclusive. How do you know?" Nick asked.

Wade handed Nick the wine.

"Drink your wine. Don't worry, it's a vintage Natalie recommended, and with a touch of something else that should explain a lot."

Nick took it, lifted up to his nose to smell the "bouquet", and looked at Wade with a slightly puzzled look. "There's blood in this," Nick commented quietly, raising an eye-brow and looking straight at Wade.

"Drink it."

Nick did.

*Anything You Can Say*

- - - - -

Anything you can say, I can say louder
I can say anything louder than you
-- Annie Get Your Gun
- - - - -

"Ah, yes. I've had this before, haven't I? It was you who gave me fresh blood, wasn't it?" Nick said as he savored the taste.

"Yes, it was," Wade said, rubbing his wrist. And how I found out? Basically by paying attention, Nick. I'm a detective and I'm a good one. Little details mostly: I've seen you take off into the air (– you thought no one was looking – you've got to be more careful, Nick, especially in this day and age), you can move faster than is humanly possible, allergies to sunlight and garlic – can we say classic "vampire" here?

"Look, even though I gave you my wrist, and you sunk your teeth into it – they're sharp! by the way – which ought to be a pretty good clue that this is real, the human mind being what it is can easily ignore reality . . . .

"Anyway, I knew what you were, even gave you my own blood already, but I guess my mind just didn't quite want to deal with. Naively, I supposed we could just ignore it – like the elephant in the room, but I guess not. I just didn't, uh, don't, want this to affect our relationship."

"But I wouldn't leave it alone," said Nick.

"Right," said Wade.

"Your attitude indicates that you're comfortable with what I am. I don't understand how you can not mind, but I'm grateful for it. But why? I'm a monster," he said dejectedly.

"No, you're not. Geez, I'm not quite sure what to think, but you're not a monster. I'd heard about you – as a police officer -- for a while, worked with you a little. I'm positive you aren't the 'blood sucking, soul draining, creature of the night' you might think you are. My first thought was I was a little nervous. A real blood sucker? A mite disconcerting. But when I thought about it; well, you haven't drained any of your fellow officers have you? I know you're one of the 'good guys' so I thought, 'what's the problem? And why is it so 'dangerous'."

"Have you heard anything about 'the Code'?, Nick asked him.

"Code?"

"Ah, yeah," Nick said, and proceeded to give him the short, five minute, condensed version. "Understand?" Nick said.

"Uh. Yeah," Wade replied, going a little white.

"You look a little green around the gills," Nick said.

"Ah, yeah," Wade said with a weak smile. "I guess I'm not quite as sophisticated and 'cool' as I'd like to think I am. I've seen you 'float up' into the air, I've seen you heal incredibly fast, I've seen blood fed directly into your stomach . . . . Hell, I freakin' let you suck from my wrist! So, I know what you are and that it's true, but . . . well, . . . the reality of you is, well, wow! I think my reality just turned upside down.

"Surely you're not having any second thoughts?"

"Uh, no, no. Um. Intellectually, I can deal with it. Emotionally, well, sheesh! There really are vampires. Who'd da thunk it?" Wade said with a sheepish grin. "There really, really are vampires!

"Yes, Wade, I know," Nick said indulgently with a slight grin.

"Yeah. I know it's true. I must be around the bend! On the other hand, why can't we just consider you as one more minority? Oh, hell, Nick! I'm sorry, dealing with it is my problem, isn't it?"

*Flowers on the Wall*

- - - - -
Countin' flowers on the wall
That don't bother me at all
Playin' solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothin' to do
-- Statler Bros.
- - - - -

Nick asked Wade, "Are you sure you're going to be alright with this? You still look green around the edges."

"I will, Nick. It's just dealing with the certainty and facing up to the reality rather than just suspicions.

"Anyway, now that it's out in the open, at least between us, I guess I need to tell you a couple of my secrets" Wade said to Nick.

Nick smiled, "— get on with it, Wade. You're worse than I am. So, what is it that you want to keep secret?"

"Well, Nick, you've gotta keep this quiet, too, although it's not life threatening. I knew if we talked that it would come out. I'm a psychologist, Nick. I work in a special section of IA. My job is to go around to the various Divisions and evaluate their procedures, morale, and any problem individuals."

Nick's jaw dropped. He sat looking at Wade in a state of disbelief and violation.

"But even including that, I am a homicide detective, too. I work out of the 27th, and don't let my young appearance fool you, I've got a good deal of experience and I've trained hard to get where I am."

Wade may have had suspicions about Nick, but apparently Nick had harboured none about Wade: "I don't know whether to be amazed, hurt, or insulted --"

Wade cut in, "Be amazed – I'm pretty good at what I do. And, it's not personal; I was scheduled to come over here and do evaluations anyway, and the powers-that-be wanted me to see if there was anything in particular bothering you and/or how much stress you were under – could they do anything to relieve some of it. There are people in the department who care about you, Nick, and according to most stress resources, you should have cracked up three years ago.

"Keeping secret what you are explains the stress levels. Having been that for several hundred years explains how you can control it. You've got to have had a lot of practice."

"Uh, yeah, you could say that."

"So, my friend, it's obvious I can't turn in a report saying that 'despite the difficulties of being a vampire in a position that exposes him to excessive blood and stress, Detective Knight manages to maintain control to an acceptable extent . . . . Yada, yada, yada.

"What I can say is that 'Detective knight manages his stress level more than adequately. Painting is his major outlet . . . etc., etc., etc.

*I Can See Clearly Now*

- - - - -
I can see clearly now, the rain has gone
-- Johnny Nash
- - - - -

"That's what my report'll say. My private report for and to you is that you're prone to acute depression. You should join in a few of the department activities. Poker night, bowling. And bring a thermos of your 'diet special' and at least sit down with the crew in the lunch room.

"The people you work with like and respect you, Nick, but they don't feel they 'know' you at all. And, I think you could use a few more 'friends'.

"In the course of 800 years – yeah, I found that out, too – you can still afford to get to know a few of us 'short-timers'. It doesn't matter if you forget us after a while. WE forget each other after a while." Wade shrugged his shoulders

Nick was quiet for a while and then said, "Wade, don't you feel like a snitch sometimes? A spy? What happens when people find out that you're actually observing them?"

"They don't. If it looks like someone is guessing, I get pulled out. Results wouldn't be valid otherwise. And, no, I don't feel like I'm spying on everyone. I am a 'shrink', this is my job, and I believe in it. I'm helping.

"Look, I'm telling you about this because of your unique situation – I think you need to know.

"So, in that spirit," he said with a broad grin on his face, "I've signed us both up for the Division's Thursday Night Bowling League – "

"Wade, I know you mean well, but I can't Thursdays, I'm already committed – "

"—No, you're not. I checked. I can make it an 'official' request, through channels, if need be. Really, Nick, you'd enjoy it, you get to know a few people – if only superficially – and it can help dispel the image of Nick, 'the Knightmare', Knight," Wade finished up saying with another grin.

"Another thing though. I know what you are; it doesn't bother me; and if nothing else you'll have somebody else to talk to about it, complain about it, let off steam about it. And, there's the doctor-patient privilege.

"Ah, thanks, Wade, but even knowing, you can't understand what it's like to be a monster passing myself off –"

"Nick, knock it off. You're not a monster. Nobody sees you as a monster. What they see is a good cop, a nice guy, and a lonely one. You keep to yourself too much. Look, whether I understand or not is beside the point – look at me and talk to me as if I did understand; it's a safety valve, and one that'll work for you.

"There are good many people out there who know, like, respect, and care for you. Give us half a chance, and we'll even be your friends."

"And another thing that we haven't gotten to yet: I'm gay, too. Hope that doesn't make any difference.

"Oh, that, yeah, I know ." said Nick, nonchalantly, "None of the other stuff, but that I knew."

__Dreams__

- - - - -
Whenever I want you, all I have to do, is
Dream dream dream dream.

-- The Everly Brothers
- - - - -

"But it really seems like we're talking, Aunt Fleur."

"That's because it's a dream, sweetie, and all sorts of things can happen in dreams. Now, don't you worry, everything will work out with that nice Detective Knight, you'll see.

"Maybe you'll even—"

"He's straight, Auntie—"

"Wade, honey, now you hush and listen to your Auntie. He might know some very nice young men, now you just be nice to him and get to know each other."

Knowing that there was no getting around his Aunt, Wade sighed, thought 'I gotta cut down on pepperoni pizza before bed' and said to her, "I will, Auntie. Like I said, he seems like a nice guy."

"He is, honey, and more, I know. Being dead I can tell these things."

"Aunt Fleur, how can you know just because you're dead?"

"Honey, dead people get around a lot more than you think. Besides, your great, great, great, great Aunt Fleur would never let me forget it if you got off on the wrong foot with her brother.

"Her brother? Do you mean—"

"Oh, sweetie, gotta go, time for you to wake up. Now, don't you worry, Auntie Fleur will be right there by you."

Somehow, Wade thought, that really wasn't all that much of a comfort.

__End flashback.__

*It's My Life – Wade's Turn*

- - - - -
It's my life
And it's now or never
*I ain't* gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
-- Bon Jovi
- - - - -

"You knew? Oh, yeah, the blood."

"No, Wade. As good a detective – and 'shrink' or whatever -- as you are, you were about as good at keeping that a secret about yourself as I seem to be about what I am," sighed Nick as he flopped down in the armchair next to the couch. "And, by the way, you know I'm not –"

"Oh, yeah, yeah, I do. Don't worry about that. I'll be frank:; you are attractive, but you're involved, and, I know, not interested. And, as a 'shrink', it'd be unethical of me to ah, uh . . . ."

Nick chuckled, "Yeah, I don't suck your blood; you don't s-- . . . um, put the make on me."

"I try to be fairly open, Nick; but if the topic doesn't come up, I don't bring it up. But won't it be nice to know you have a few people around where you can be yourself without worrying? You realize, don't you, that Natalie and I are already your friends. She doesn't even think about it anymore whenever she comes over for popcorn and a movie – see, that's not much of a secret either. I have no compunction about getting into a cruiser with you. I've no fear you'll sink your fangs into me – I doubt I'd taste very good anyway. Working with you for the past couple of weeks has shown me that. That and the fact that no cops have shown up either bloodless or missing in the past few years," he said with a wink and a grin."

"Don't carry on so much, Everett. It's not like we're tying to find a fourth for bridge. I need to know from you now that you know how serious it is to keep this quiet."

"I do, Nick, I do. You, me, Natalie could just disappear, couldn't we?"

"Yeah. Not a nice thought, is it? You are absolutely sure? I don't have to whammy you?"

"No, you don't have to 'whammy' me – I don't think you can anyway, Nick; I'm what you call a 'resister', and I'm a pretty good actor," smiled Wade. He stared past Nick off into the distance and continued in a monotone, "I—did—not—see—you—fly—I—will—forget—all—about—this—I—know—nothing—nothing—.

"I've suspected about you since about three days after I started working with you, and you, it seems from your initial reaction, didn't have a clue. So, yeah, I think you can see that I can keep my mouth shut. No, you won't have any problems with me or from me."

"Now, tell me a little more about these 'enforcers'. Just what the heck have I gotten myself into?"

*Just Call Out My Name*

"Nick, I think I can help you smooth over a few other things – other than the 'shrink' stuff. I've got a few suggestions for you on how to avoid getting caught and on modifying some of your behaviors. You've really got to be more aware of CCTV, Nick!" Wade winked. [Closed Circuit Television.]

"And, you," said Nick, "if you're not involved with anyone, I know some real nice male vampires at the Raven who share your preference —"

Wade threw his empty coffee cup at Nick, while laughing out loud. Nick caught it in one hand.

- - - - -
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend

-- Carol King
- - - - -


*We Are Family*

- - - - -
We are family, my brothers and my sisters and me!
-- Pointer Sisters
- - - - -

"By the way, Nat, his family is from the Brabant area, and supposedly descended from the Dukes. And, 'Fleur' is a family name and has been in every generation for almost 1000 years. Do you think . . . ," he said with his eyebrows raised questioningly.

"Get outa town! Are you saying Wade could be your great, great, great, whatever nephew? Oh, that's too much!"

"You know, Nick. We could do a DNA test; if you're really related, you should have some alleles in common."

"Nat, don't add fuel to the fire. Please?!"

"My family was from Brabant and my sister's name was 'Fleur". It's possible we're related somewhere way back in time," Nick said.

"Ah, ha! I knew it! YOU'RE my long, lost Uncle Nick!!" Wade jumped up, put his arms around his partner. He almost giggled.

Nick, accepted the hug and then pushed Wade back, "No! -- God help us all – but if we were related. . . ", Nick paused, opened his arms wide and said, "Nephew!" ;-)

"Ah, drink your 'wine', 'Unca Nick'."

*Meanwhile Back at the Morgue*

- - - - -
That's because [he's] a good old-fashioned fashioned lover boy
-- Queen
- - - - -

"Yes, Wade, we can talk here. My 'patients' aren't going to complain. What is it?"

"Natalie, I need to tell you some things, sort of 'true confessions', although there's more to it than that. To begin: while I am a homicide detective, Natalie, I'm also IA's 'Shrink'. I've been evaluating the precinct and its personnel – not you, by the way – but Nicholas. I think you've noticed he is prone to depression. Well, one of the things that keeps him going is you. I don't think I'm betraying any confidences to say that he cares deeply for you. I can't give you any details, but I can encourage you to keep doing whatever it is you're doing for him.

"And, one other thing, in dealing with him, he's not just like a medieval knight; he is a medieval knight; his mores are those of a medieval knight. He is so very Catholic sometimes.

"And, now that I've said that, I'll take my nose out of your business and not interrupt again." He gave Natalie his best, most sincere, and winning smile.

Natalie sighed, "Yes, I know. He tends to put anyone he's really interested in on a pedestal."

She looked askance at Wade. "You know," she said, "you have that same puppy-dog face that Nick uses. Is this some male characteristic that I've missed? No, don't answer that. 'Dr. Everett' – and it is 'doctor', yes? – what you know is beyond that of a med-tech, thank you."

"My doctorate is in psychology, Nat, but I thought of becoming a medical doctor at one time, so I have a number of med prep, first aid, anatomy etc. courses under my belt. But let's just keep that between us? Thanks. And, as to puppy-dog faces: I don't know what you are talking about, doctor," he said while giving her his best one.

Natalie asked Wade, "By the way, were you trying to whammy Nick the other day?"

Wade laughed, "You caught that? Yeah, I know I can't really, but I'll bet I left Nick wondering, didn't I? It looked good, didn't it? Real? I figured if I looked as intently as Nick does when he interviews someone and if I could copy that intensity that I could sort of fake it and maybe get him to effing let me know when he decides to disappear! I don't mind his going off, but, let me know so I'm not talking to thin air. Besides, I supposedly didn't 'know' what he was at the time, so I thought it might unsettle him a bit and that he deserved it for disappearing!"

"I think it may have actually worked, Wade," she said smiling.

Fade to black.