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. This story may be archived wherever by whomever .

This is part 3 of "Incident at Black Rock". Parts 1 and 2 ("Incident" and the flashback "Incident at Black Rock Crossing" were published under the name, "Incident" and were written for last May's FK Ficathon. "Incident" can be found at . .net/s/6196394/1/Incident)

.-.-.-.-.

Incidentally

I can't get no satisfaction
- Satisfaction, Rolling Stones

Nick sat at his desk deep in thought.

"A penny for your thoughts, Knight," asked Captain Cohen.

"Oh, nothing specific, Captain. More along the lines of what you mentioned before: this was too simple. I mean, how could those guys have planned a jewel robbery – that safe was not easy to break into, there had to be planning for that – but then to get lost in the downtown tunnels? They could've come up anywhere."

"True, but then they would have been rather suspicious in those jumpsuits and carrying all their equipment plus the gems and such."

"Yes," Nick agreed, "nevertheless, getting lost is one thing, breaking into the Raven is another." He stood up with some determination. "I'm going to give the crime scene another going over."

"Robbery won't be pleased if you show them up, Nick." Cohen said.

"I'll give whatever I come across directly to them, Captain," he said as he grabbed his jacket and turned to leave, "I just want to figure out what's going on. I don't need any extra credits."

.-.-.-.-.

"Janette! How are you?" Nick said as he leaned over her where she was sitting at one of the little tables away from the Raven's bar, and kissed her forehead.

"And to what do I owe this pleasure, mon cher?"

"I want to go down to the basement and take another look at where the men broke in."

"As you wish, Nicola', but I do not see the point." She was a bit put out that he had come to see the basement rather than her.

He smiled as he left her and walked off towards the door to downstairs.

.-.-.-.-.

Nick stood looking at the chalk outline where the one crook had been found. He walked over to the light switch and turned it off, leaving the basement almost totally dark. However, he tuned up his vampiric vision and looked carefully at the wall which had hastily been covered with a few large pieces of plywood. He pulled the wood away, being very careful to avoid anything that even thought of becoming a splinter. He looked at the wall intensely. Under his hyper-acute and practiced eye, he could see that, first, the alarm system had been a bit faulty: the wall space about six feet to the left of the hole was completely void of trip wires for the alarm. Then, he noticed that that space had once been a doorway which had subsequently been enclosed. No one else would have seen the slight difference in coloration of the somewhat newer brick. If the two, or at this point three, crooks had been just a few feet over, they may have gotten into the Raven without any trouble at all.

He turned the lights back on – no point in risking eyestrain - and took out the list of materials found with the two remaining thieves. Among other things were a couple of water bottles with spray handles, and, of all things, a meatball sandwich. Odd, Nick thought.

He stepped through the hole in the wall and took as discerning a look at the outside. He could tell, again with his vampiric vision, that there were a few light marks on the wall as if someone were carefully measuring from the nearest corner. It occurred to Nick that perhaps the men really weren't trying to get out of the tunnels, but rather into the Raven. He had a thought or two he wanted to check out about their tools and other 'odd' materials.

On the way out of the Raven, he stopped to tell Janette about the gap in the alarm wiring. He also asked her, "Janette, when did you re-do the alarm system? It's fairly new, isn't it?"

"Oui, Nicola'. Just a few weeks ago. I had some motion sensors installed as well in order to be warned if one of our less 'welcome' patrons decided to go wandering or got lost while looking for a bathroom."

.-.-.-.-.

Nick stopped off at the Robbery Division offices on his way back to the 96th. He was looking at the water bottle and held it up to his nose for a sniff. "Ow!" he shouted, and dropped the bottle.

"Something wrong," asked one of the robbery crew.

"No, no," Nick temporized, and picked the bottle up to set it back on the table. He looked at the sandwich and knew he didn't have to get close to know what was in it: highly spiced, garlic meatballs. And the water? It was so sharp, to him, because it had been blessed.

Now, what on earth were three crooks doing with holy water and garlic. It was looking more and more like the break-in to the Raven was not an accident.

"Hey, Nick," said another of the robbery detectives, "we found a bunch of papers in the guys' van. They pretty much had a handle on what was in the jewelry store, and they had a map with a way out, but it was years old. That's probably why they got lost."

Nick took the papers and looked closely at them. He made a pretense of lifting them close to see if there was any odor on them, but he was actually using his enhanced vision to study the notes carefully. There was little suspicious on them, but he detected a familiarity in a few of the erased pencil markings.

"Thanks, guys," Nick said, "nothing here really, but that smells like it was a really good sandwich!"

.-.-.-.-.

"Janette," Nick said solemnly.

"Nicola', I don't like it when you talk like that.

"Tell me the truth, have you heard or seen LaCroix lately?"

She looked at Nick in total surprise. "Mais, non, mon cher. He has been busy doing that radio thing. You, a policeman, He, a 'talk show host'. Is it just you two that I do not understand? Or, is it men in general. Tch!"

"Janette, the thieves who broke into your basement were trying to get into the Raven. They had holy water in spray bottles, as well as some garlic."

"Pshaw, Nicola, that wouldn't have stopped me."

"No, but it might have put off any of your, um, 'tenants' long enough for these men to have got up to the Raven's upper floors. Look, someone knew that they might encounter vampires and tried to prepare them for it.

"Well, it wouldn't have been LaCroix. Anything he wanted I would have given to him. Why would he want to steal any of my jewels?"

"I don't know. He wouldn't, would he? But if not him, then who?"

.-.-.-.-.

"A penny for your thoughts, Knight," asked Captain Cohen, . . . again.

Nick looked up, "What? Oh, sorry, Captain."

"Have you found anything else out about that break-in at the Raven?" she said.

Nick looked uncomfortable, but he said, "There may be more to it than Robbery thought, but there's no proof of anything. I did find a gap in the alarm security which I warned Ms. DuCharme about. The thieves could have broken in and not set the alarms off. But if you buy that theory, then –"

"We would be talking about some sort of conspiracy," the Captain said. "I don't like conspiracies, Nick. They get too complicated and too dirty. Now, unless you've got something concrete?"

"Not at all, m'am, not at all."

"In which case, you need to get on to some of your other cases. Just put a note in the files that something looks suspicious. Do we need to warn Ms. DuCharme?"

"Ah, no, Captain. I've pointed out the security gap, and there really isn't anything else I can point to."

"All right. Let me know what's up with the Wilber case."

"Right, Captain." Nick said.

.-.-.-.-.

"Oh, all right, Nicola," Janette said, exasperated. "But why, why would he? 'Cui bono' as all the detectives say."

Yes, 'to whose good'. I don't think it would have been to rob you. That would be pointless since he could just fly in and out himself; or, really, just ask you for the gems. I think it would have been to get me in trouble somehow."

"You are not the center of the universe, Nicola. You are not even the center of his universe, you know."

"Maybe he's trying to make me paranoid."

"Maybe one does not have to try to do that!"

"It was his handwriting on the sketchy map of the tunnels around the Raven."

"Ah, but you said that they were years out of date? Perhaps these thieves found the papers and decided to use them. Maybe they just like Italian hoagies, submarines, whatever they are called these days."

Nick said to her, "True, but the holy water?"

"Ah," Janette said, "I have no idea. Why not just ask him?"

"Um. The less said to him, the better. Maybe it's just a plan that didn't work out."

Janette lowered her eyelids at him and suggested, "Maybe I have a plan that might work out."

"Hmmm?"

"Oh, you men! You get all excited about nothing! Go on, get out, I have work to do!"

Nick laughed lightly, "I'm sorry, my sweet." but he left anyway.

.-.-.-.-.

"Knight," Captain Cohen said to the detective while walking over to his desk. "I just got word from downtown and the Robbery Division. Those two jewel robbers: the one who was singing had to be carted off to the psychiatric ward; he's doing nothing but gibbering. The brighter of the two was just found dead in his cell – no apparent cause of death, but the expression on his face was like he had just looked into the depths of hell.

"I understand that his attorney had just visited him, but there's no attorney of record yet. And, the clerk can't give a description of him, or even that it is a 'him'. Nick, do you have any idea of what might have happened?"

"Not a clue, Captain. I told you before I didn't find any evidence of anything. You told me he had lawyered up. Maybe the clerk just wasn't paying attention.

"Well, it's not our jurisdiction actually. But I don't like loose ends like this."

"I agree, but there's nothing to look at," Nick shrugged.

.-.-.-.-.

Nick sat on his couch in front of the fireplace at his loft. He sipped a very nice sauvignon with a little something extra added. He thought about what had happened at the Raven. There certainly wasn't enough to indicate LaCroix in anything. Or any other vampire either actually.

What had gone on there? Why did they break in there? Would he have been called in if there hadn't been any killings at the club? They were thieves, not killers though. Ah, he'd probably never know.

He almost missed what little he had come up with because of the dead body. The dead thief had thoroughly distracted him (and everyone else) from looking into things further. It would, indeed, have to be a conspiracy of LaCroix's making, and neither he (Nick), nor Janette, nor anyone in the vampire community would want it looked into further.

He did wonder if his sire was trying to pull some other trick to get him to move on, like he tried earlier this year in framing him for some drug dealer murders. Ah, what the devil! he thought, he'd just have to put it down to 'unlikely co-incidence'. After all, it hadn't worked, and it looked too clumsy to be LaCroix. He'd better tell Janette to keep her eyes open though; maybe there was some other vampire or vampire hunter around? Who knew?

Nick closed the loft's blinds to the rising sun, rinsed his glass out in the kitchen sink, and headed up to his bedroom. Another unsolved mystery, he thought, but one that he also thought he had better not forget about lest it come back to bite him. He went upstairs for bed.

.-.-.-.-.

An older vampire seated himself in a comfortable Queen Anne style chair and poured himself a large wineglass of . . . wine, yes, that's it, of wine. He sat back in contemplation of his early evening activities: one unexpectedly down (he chortled), and the other gone in mind if not body.

Well, that's that, he thought to himself. Working with humans . . . bah! That hothead just had to shoot his partner! That death slowed things up just enough so both Nicholas and Janette had time to regroup. Why this death had delayed the police long enough for the other two to get away was unknown to him, and why they then still did not manage to get away was unfathomable. A sudden, unexpected death does not always give one additional time to think.

He was surprised Janette thought to call the police. Well, too many questions, he thought, if they were all found dead just outside her establishment.

Honestly, why had the fool measured from the West end of the wall and not the East end? They'd have been into the place with no alarms . . . . Humans!

Nicholas, why cannot you understand that they are unreliable? Oh, for pity's sake, why cannot *I* understand that they are not reliable. I nearly put my foot in it, as they say, this time. What a shame it didn't work out: policemen, and vampires, and monsters, oh my! It would have been a nine-day wonder, embarrassed the devil out of Nicholas, taught Janette to retain a bit more respect for her elders, and that buffoon spoils it all by shooting his partner.

Oh, well, you work with what you have. Although it was amusing to watch him die of fright. I thought that was a myth; certainly I've seen humans totally disoriented and incapacitated by fear, but to actually die? You would think that I'd have come across that in two millennia. Illa vita est, I suppose. The survivor, on the other hand, will spend the rest of his life . . . . oh, I ought to have drained him; still, if he ever sees Nicholas, he'll start screaming that Nick was behind it all – post-hypnotic suggestions can be so entertaining. No proof, of course, but it should still discomfit mon fils, if nothing else.

He got up from his chair and put his long, leather, greatcoat on – he didn't need it for the warmth, but it did protect him from the elements – one does so hate to get rained on – and it would have looked odd had he shown up at the radio station with no outerwear at this time of year. One must keep up appearances, he thought as he headed off to the station and disappeared into the darkness.

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