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 .

"Oh, good grief," Nick complained to everyone around him. "Very well, if I must, I must, but it's amazingly inconvenient!" Nick collected a few of his things, left the loft and went to the Caddy, where he dumped them in the back and drove out. He left the contractors, workers, dry-wallers, plumbers and cops without a further word.

Driving aimlessly, he thought, of all the things to happen - Maybe Nat will have a suggestion, so he turned the Caddy towards downtown and the Morgue where he knew Natalie was working.

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"Hi," she said brightly. When she noticed his forlorn face, she immediately added, "Oh, what's the matter, Nick?"

He sighed heavily. He didn't really want to impose on her, but he was at a loss as to what to do. "The loft. It's been invaded by the police as well as all the different contractors. I just had to go and plan on renovating it!"

Natalie smiled a little smile. "I think you may have bit off more than you can chew. You could have done it in stages, you know. But what's this about uniformed officers showing up? It couldn't have been the noise; you don't have any neighbors to complain."

"The construction workers were repairing the fireplace chimney and they found a body inside one of the walls next to it."

"Get out of town! A body?" she said with much surprise. "This whole thing has really turned into quite a project for you, hasn't it? Do you have any information on the body yet?"

"Yes, more project than I need, and No, just the bare fact. And now the police are roping part of the room off, the contractors are still all over the place and can't get to half of what I want them to do, Reese has already let me have a lot of time off . . . . Ah, the best-laid plans, I suppose. I know it's not realistic, but I feel very put-upon at the moment. But, I have a question for you: can I stay at your place today?"

"You know you can. Sydney likes you, and I had the curtains lined to keep the sun completely out," she said. "Use the key I gave you. They don't suspect you had anything to do with it, do they? It's been almost two years since they thought you might be a serial killer."

"No. They'll get Dr. Zang to go over and collect forensics, but it'll take a day or two at least to get everything out of there and cleared up, and goodness only knows how the contractors are going to deal with it. I've already had to deal with some significant cost overruns. You simply would not believe how much it cost to replace the motors on the window covers."

"Oh, I can imagine. Remember, we did a bit of renovation to the Morgue's labs last year and the costs of everything were, well, maybe not outrageous, but still."

.

Nick met with Detective Wilkerson in the squad room; he wanted to question Nick about the body in the fireplace.

"Well, it wasn't really in the fireplace, John; it was in the wall next to the fireplace. Dr. Zang says it's at least 50 years old; some papers in the guy's wallet dates it to over half a century or so," he said, but you know all this, right"

"I know Nick. I'm grasping at straws here. Do you have any idea at all where he might have come from?"

"Actually, John, I think I might. While making the renovation plans and doing some prep for it, I found some old records. The building went through some sort of redesign about then; updating wiring and phone lines. Maybe it was one of the workers?"

"Possibly. I will see what I can find out," Wilkerson said.

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Natalie came into the squad room with a pile of papers and folders in her arms.

"Here, let me help you with that, Nat," said Nick.

"Thanks. These all have places to go, but take the top one. It's Dr. Zang's report. You'll find it fascinating. It wasn't an accident; the man's head was bashed in – cause of death. And, he wasn't in your wall all that time. He has been dead for at least 50 years, but the body was moved and placed there maybe two years ago."

"Good grief! I can think of a couple of people who might want to embarrass me, if nothing else, but this seems extreme."

"Well, I can think of one in particular, but still, it seems extreme. You never noticed anything?"

"No. If someone hid the body there, it could have been done just about any time."

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Two tough-looking types stood in the nearly empty warehouse arguing over their recent grocery store haul. This armed robbery wasn't enough. The tall one looked disgustedly at his junior partner and then equally disgustedly at the small quantity of ill-gotten cash. When his "partner" turned aside, he swung his gun at the other man's head and connected with a vile, resonating crunch. He looked at the crumpled body before him . . . but not for long. He scooped up their loot, dumped the body in a nearby barrel, and, since there was a cover conveniently next to it, put it on. "Might as well put off discovery as long as possible," he thought. He rolled the barrel next to some others. A funny look crossed his face. He picked up a short piece of iron and scratched a skull on the barrel's side. Laughing, he left.

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Wilkerson came into the squad room, spotted Nick, and walked over to him. "Missing Persons had nothing on the guy, but Fingerprints did. He was a small-time crook who disappeared shortly after a store robbery. I'm thinking he and partner had a falling out. He disappeared shortly after the heist"

"The partner?"

"He did have a guy he hung out with, but he died in prison about ten years ago."

"So, it looks like murder, but there's little to go on, and being so long ago," Nick said.

"Yeah, except for the body turning up in your loft. Did Zang tell you –"

"—that the body was put there just a few years ago? Yeah. That's a mystery. Who would even want to do something like that?" Nick looked puzzled. He thought to himself that it had been a while since he tried something like that.

"Dunno, kiddo," replied Wilkerson.

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Lucien Lacroix looked at the barrels on the upper floor of the storeroom of the building in which he and Nick had fought a few days before. If Nick hadn't thought to make a cross with those sticks, I'd have had him, he thought. He had come back there because he spotted something odd about one of the containers. It had a peculiar, but somewhat familiar, smell – well, for a vampire anyway. No human would have caught the whiff that was faint even to him. He explored the floor and the barrels and checked the one that had a skull scratched on it. Hmmm, how long has this been here? he said to himself as he pried it open.

"Phewwww!" The odor was strong, and particularly for someone with a vampire's sense of smell.

Lacroix looked at the corpse and smiled.

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Nick sat on Natalie's couch, pondering what all could have happened. It seemed unlikely that the body had ended up in one of his walls by accident. Someone had to have put it there.

"Someone had to have put it there," Natalie said.

Nick looked up at her standing the doorway to the kitchen. "I was just thinking that myself."

"Dr. Zang's forensic report puts the body in your wall about two years ago. You know what else was going on about two years ago."

He looked at her.

"You were in jail suspected of murdering a few drug dealers."

Nick nodded, "Right, I remember. I wonder . . . ."

"What?" she asked.

"I told you that Lacroix had tried to frame me for those murders. HE could have put that body there as another plot to entrap me. I wouldn't put it past him."

"Yes, he could" Natalie stated with conviction.

"Well, I'll confront Lacroix about it the next time I see him, but he probably won't say anything; certainly not admit anything."

.

And I *will* confront him, Nick said to himself. Monsieur Lacroix could use a little character renovation himself. He should be ashamed of such a low trick – but then he should be ashamed of a lot of things. Oh, why do I think I can reform him?

.

Natalie shuddered, "Oooo, that's creepy – the guy was there in your wall every time I watched a movie and ate popcorn at your place."

Nick smiled and said, with a chuckle, "Well, he was dead, Nat, so it couldn't have bothered him."

"Oh, sure!" she said, "Bother him. What about me, buster?! Ooooo, just thinking about it being there gives me the shivers."

"Natalie! You work with dead people all the time; why should this bother you?"

"It's out of context. You expect corpses in morgues; that's what they're for. Not in walls, though."

.

"How will this affect your renovation?" asked Natalie.

"Just delay things a little more. It's already a couple of weeks past the original finish date. The police tape will be gone tomorrow, and since the man has been dead at least 50 years, no one is going to look into it. Apparently there's no family; he seems to have been a loner. And even though the body had been moved there, it's clear *I* had nothing to do with it, and they've got too many other things to worry about."

"Oh, and here I get to say my favorite thing," Natalie said, "You planned for too much in too short a time. [Ahem] I told you so!" She laughed.

"Yeah, you did. Still, when it's all done, I'll have the place wired for computers, the window motors will all be automatic, new plumbing, and so on. A new guest room on the main floor won't hurt anything either. If you stay over, you won't have to sleep on the couch."

"Your couch is actually quite comfortable. You don't need a guest room as far as I'm concerned."

"Oh, I beg to differ, milady! Courtesy demands that I supply you with the comforts to which you are accustomed," he said with as much gallantry in his voice as a medieval knight could muster. "Besides, unless you really want to get closer, it's safer."

"Hmmmm, there's something to be said for safety, Nick, but there's also something to be said for living dangerously." She looked over at him, then leaned over to give him a kiss. She moved from just in front of his mouth to his forehead, and kissed him there, chastely.

"Aw, gee whiz, Nat." Nick said while giving her his best innocent little boy smile.

He cleared his throat and said, "Your couch is quite comfortable, too. How about finishing up whatever you were doing, and coming over here and sitting. We can watch that movie you were talking about and not think about corpses and renovation and evil generals and things that go bump in the night."

"Let me get the popcorn," she said smiling.

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(The reference to Nick's being thought a serial killer is from FK, Season Two, episode one, "Killer Instinct".)