"You say how much you value my friendship
But I want you addicted to my perfume"
- Amber, Sexual (Li Da Di)

Nick's senses became sharply focused as he entered the Toronto Coroner's Office. His nostrils caught the scent of death, blood and floor cleaner. Cleanly medical scents warred with the smell of decay. The faux pine scent of the disinfectant would have been more than sufficient to conceal the acrid smell of decomposition from a mortal's olfactory senses, but it was not enough to hide it from him.

As he slowly strolled down the halls, hands jammed into the pockets of his blue jeans, he sniffed attentively at the air for a sign that she was present. She was. The familiar scent of her wafted to him; vanilla skin mixed with apple shampoo, and a faint hint of cinnamon and camomile from her more intimate areas.

His cobalt blue eyes briefly snapped golden sparks. Her familiar scent never failed to arouse him, bringing with it thoughts that burned with a deadly desire. It awoke in him fantasies of what he would like to do: immerse himself in her warmth, pound into her mercilessly as she'd release cries of startled pleasure. To take within himself the precious elixir flowing through her veins while pumping his cold lifeless seed into her. To love her the way no mere mortal man ever could.

The man pined away for her as much as the beast craved the sweetness of her blood. There was no distinction between either when it came to Natalie. Both parts engendered the whole, and both parts wanted her, lusted after her, longed for her. Both parts loved her for their own reasons... but the love of the beast would only mean her death. Unless...

How many times had he pondered making her his by bringing her over into his world of darkness? He would be able to possess every part of her. He would be able to claim her body, blood, mind and soul as his own; to give into and demonstrate the depths of his passion for her regularly. And all it would cost is her humanity.

He stopped in front of the heavy metallic double doors that led to the examination room. She was behind those doors. He breathed in her scent again before moving one of the doors aside and stepping in. She, wearing her work scrubs and with her hair pulled back in a scrunchie, never looked so gorgeous to him. The ambrosia circulating through her body called him far more seductively than anything Janette could conjure up.

Janette. In the past, she had been the one he had come to in order to satisfy his needs. She had once been the one to make his head swim with heady daydreams. But, in all honesty, he had never really loved her. He had been enticed by her, yes - but never loved. He had never known love.

Until he met Natalie. The light of her smile banished the darkness within his tormented soul, even if only for a brief moment in time. Her joyous laughter was the music of angels, and the salt of her tears stung him to the quick more surely than holy water.

She smiled at him. "Hey, you." Such a simple unobtrusive greeting, yet her eyes sparkled with delight upon his presence; a break in a boring working "day".

Her heart filled with love and longing at the sight of him. She wanted so badly to rush into his arms and smother him with kisses; as if she were greeting a long-lost love. She wanted to enfold herself in his embrace, clinging to his strong body tightly, secure in the knowledge that nothing could touch her.

Nick gave her a tight-lipped smile. "Hey." He paused. "I got shot again today. Mind removing the evidence?"

Her breath caught at the notion of him getting shot. Silly as it was, her fear was validated by the notion that one day the bullet might be a wooden one tipped with garlic. Or perhaps it would be an arrow from a crossbow instead.

"Where'd they hit you?" she asked him, giving him more than a cursory glance. In fact, her examination of him was more than just professional interest even through her concern.

His silent response was to shrug off his leather jacket and remove his shirt with the mechanical ease of long practice. She saw the scars on his chest where they had healed over the recently entered bullets. On his lower torso, however, she caught a glimpse of an old war wound from his mortal days; the slash from a sword that trailed parallel to his pelvic bone, but started farther up on his side from where it slashed downward.

To see his pale skin so battle-scarred gave her a brief lump in her throat that she swallowed hastily. Had he not survived such an unfortunate encounter with the sharp weaponry involved on the battlefield, she would never have met the man she so loved and had so dramatically changed her life. Had Janette not seduced that same disillusioned crusader and brought him to the attention of her ancient Roman master, this moment would never have occured. The entire sequence of seemingly coincidental incidents that brought them together led her to believe that it wasn't coincidence at all, but that fate had engineered the events that resulted in them being together in the same time period. After all, what were the odds of meeting a real medieval knight in modern day Toronto, on the bridge of years leading to the 21st century?

Brushing her hand lightly against the light blond sprinkling of soft hair on his chest, she made a clean incision into one bullet scar after the other with a scapel, removing the offending metallic object from the muscle tissue underneath each time with a specially designed pair of tweezers. Nick grimaced as each bullet was removed, but allowed himself a small amount of pleasure in the skin to skin contact. The tender touch of her hands seemed to mitigate the brief stings that pulling the bullets out caused. It almost made him look forward to getting shot again the next time he had to apprehend a perp. Almost.

Interestingly enough, Natalie seemed to enjoy playing doctor to him as well. He had long ago noticed that the brief run of her fingers against his chest or shoulders and the lingering gaze at any bared part of his body hadn't been with professional detachment. Of course, hearing her heart briefly race every time he had to strip down for an examination was the clincher. She had also dropped the occasional hint during times he was well-clothed that she had a more personal interest in him. While he had noticed, he didn't want to carry it too far out of fear he'd either lose control over the vampire or that she would fear him once he revealed the vampire's lust to her. It was the vampire that, time and again, stood in the way of him genuinely courting her as a suitor.

The silence between them was comfortable, yet paradoxically fraught with the tension of their own desires to consummate a relationship that spelled danger out in big neon lettering for Natalie, and had no hope of lasting beyond the singular moment of their union. He had deliberately pretended ignorance of her feelings to discourage her, which for the most part, only backfired. Not acknowledging their mutual longing to be in each other's arms and loving each other intimately was as maddening for him as it was for her.

In the time it took for her to remove the last bullet, he had come to a decision. Natalie dropped the newly acquired evidence into a tray and placed the scapel and tweezers on the empty slab behind him. She then picked up his shirt and handed it to him. He took the shirt from her and smoothly put it back on with the same robotic efficiency he had observed removing it. Natalie sighed softly in regret that he was again fully clothed.

Nick smiled gently at her, his eyes alight with a boyish humour at her sigh. "Nat," he told her in a tone that never failed to make her weak in the knees, "what time are you getting off of work?"

"In another hour," she replied, raising an eyebrow. She was wondering why he was curious and didn't dare to hope on the reason behind his question.

"And you're going home after that?"

"Well, I have to pick up some kitty litter for Sidney but, after that, I'm going straight home. Why?"

"I was just thinking that, since we both have tomorrow off, that" - he briefly hesitated - "that... well, I was hoping you wouldn't mind if I spent the day."

Natalie blinked, surprised that the request. That was more than she had hoped for. "I'd... I'd love for you to spend the day with me."

"I'll have to get some supplies though," he told her, hinting that he needed to be well-fed to spend the time with her in such close quarters.

"Not at all," she protested lightly. "My 'fridge is stocked. You know. 'Just in case'."

He grinned. "Yeah. I know what you mean." Picking up his jacket and shrugging it back on his shoulders, he added "I'll just need to pack some clothes, in that case. See you in an hour." The smile still on his face, he planted a kiss firmly on her lips and brushed his hand against her backside. Slipping away from her before she could recover, he vanished out the door. He was looking forward to the morning.