Unusual by WaltD (G, m/f, Pairing)
Beta-Reader: Will Steeves
Prompt: Nick/Natalie; Everything in life is unusual until you get accustomed to it;
Summary: Quiet evening at the loft, Nick opens up to N about J.
The characters in Forever Knight were created by James Parriott and Barney Cohen and are the property of Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star.
[Following the Season Two episode, A Fate Worse than Death, in which we find out a good deal about Janette's background.]
It's not unusual it happens every day no matter what you say
you find it happens all the time
love will never do what you want it to
- It's Not Unusual, Tom Jones
Nick and Natalie were sitting on the couch in Nick's loft. The blinds were up because it was still dark out. Nick was still somewhat formally dressed, although even in jeans and a work shirt, he would look fairly formal. Natalie is more comfortable wearing one of those wrap-around blankets with arms. She's got a bowl of popcorn in front of her.
"You mentioned some things about LaCroix; so, how long have you known Janette?" Natalie asked him.
Nick sat there looking more lost in thought than even he usually did.
"With Janette, it's a matter of where to begin."
"They say the beginning is usually good, but with you that could be more time than we have."
"Well," Nick continued, "it's a matter of context. Remember, I can sense your heart rate, so I know this is not as casual a question as you're trying to make me think. Right?"
Natalie grimaced but also nodded, "She seems very nice, but then, she is a vampire, isn't she. And, probably almost as old as you."
"Ha! I never tell a lady's age. But to answer your question, she's probably about 200 years older than I am."
Natalie just raised her eyebrows.
"LaCroix is the one who actually brought me over, but it was probably more at Janette's request than interest on his own part. I first saw her across the room at this little inn in Paris. I was relatively young, just coming home from the crusades, could have used a little female companionship, and she was as beautiful then as she is now". Nick sighed.
"Nick, I am curious, but you don't have to go into detail. You could have just said 'older than I am'."
"Thanks for the 'out', Nat, but like I said, it's the context. It's a really long story, but I wanted her, she wanted me, LaCroix wanted us both . . . . Anyway, we were together for a few centuries. We lived as husband and wife for almost a hundred years. Yeah, we've known each other well and for a long time. We were exclusive for a long period as well.
"And in answer to your unasked question, there have been other women, some were human, some vampires."
"My feelings for Janette are mixed. I've loved her intensely at times and hated her sincerely for just about as many. It's hard to comprehend but Janette is basically out for Janette. She goes along with LaCroix, and sometimes I'm not sure who's manipulating whom. Anyway, she's helped out a number of times, and thoroughly disgusted me on others.
"I guess what I'm getting at is that she's a friend, a very good friend, and a sometimes lover. We've been through a lot together.
"On the other hand, you remember young Daniel, the World War Two waif I told you about a couple of years ago? LaCroix brought him across – which is one of many things I hold against LaCroix – but it was at Janette's insistence. I think she wanted to play 'mother' for a while." Nick frowned deeply. "I didn't see or speak to her after that for, oh, 50 years or so. I was here in Toronto for three years before I went to see her at the Raven. We've never discussed it, but it drove a wedge between us. We'll never be an item again.
"Don't let her fool you. She's bright, intelligent, and no one's fool. She would drain you as soon as look at you but for me – which is why I don't like you going into the Raven; it's not safe for you there. But, having said that, yes, she is a vampire, but you already know that, don't you?
"Natalie, this is hard for me to say, but she is someone I have cared for very much at different times, and she understands what it is to be a vampire. Sometimes I just need to be around someone else who understands what it's like."
Natalie said, "I can understand that, Nick."
Nick smiled, "I'm not all that sure, Nat." He chuckled, "There are things about . . . well, TMI? Too much information?"
"Ummmm," Natalie murmured, "I think you may be right, good, sir Knight. But, except for the vampire thing, I think I do understand. It's rather like trying to tell your new girlfriend about your ex-wives. Trust me on this, many men may hate their ex-wives, but they also realize that their ex-wives may understand them all too well. Anyway, I've no desire to get overly chummy with vampires, you know."
"What?" Natalie said indignantly.
"Oh, 'chummy with vampires'. Please, you know what I am, Nat, and it fascinates you."
"Well, yes. The point is," she said determinedly, "I'm sure she's a nice person, and she carries herself beautifully and with dignity and grace, and she's certainly a looker. But, to get to the root of the matter, are you assuming that I might be jealous of her?"
"I'm beginning to think that you read me at least as well, and probably better, than I read you. Am I right?"
Natalie laughed lightly. "You know, Mr. Knight, as far as 'romantic' evenings go, this is really the pits. But, you know, all I actually asked you was how long you had known her."
"Ah, yes. In a nutshell, she's a friend, and one of long standing, even if we have our differences. You need to know that if you have any ideas of our having a relationship."
Natalie replied in a low sultry voice, "Oh, Mr. Knight, you say the sweetest things. What's a girl to do? Hee, hee, hee."
Nick picked up a sofa pillow and tossed it at Natalie. Actually he threw it, but those pillows are so soft and insubstantial that they barely move.
"Nick, I found you fascinating at first. Then I got to know you as a person, more than a thing to be studied. You're a nice guy: kind, considerate, consciences-wracked – you don't know how attractive that can be to a woman. And I do like you, but right now you're just a friend, a good one, a-n-d maybe possibly a bit more, but you are so reticent to commit yourself. I'm not going to try to force you.
"And you've gotten the point across: Janette is important to you. I can understand and deal with that; after all it's not like she and I are going to get together and become best buddies (here, she shuddered) and do each others' hair and stuff.
"And to answer your unasked question: I'd consider a relationship with you. I could certainly do worse," she said with a giggle in her voice. – "Gee, thanks, Nat!" – "but you need to work a few things out first; like, do you want a relationship and can you actually carry it out? I mean, Nick, it's a really bummer if your date ends with draining all her blood – especially for the date."
"What I really like about you, Ms. Lambert," Nick said with a smile in his voice this time, "is that I can actually talk to you, even if the conversation is more than a little on the weird side. I mean, it's certainly unusual to sit here and have a conversation with a vampire."
"Oh, you get accustomed to it," she replied lightly, "You can get accustomed to anything eventually.
"Now how about I make some more popcorn and we watch one of the DVDs I brought over. I've got 'Sleepless in Seattle', Bette Davis in 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?', or 'BloodSuckers from the planet Mongo'."
He threw another pillow at her.