A Stitch In Time Saves Knight
by Tammy J. Morrison
circa July 1997

This occurs during the Paul McGann "Doctor" and third season FK, but
before LK.
*********************************************************************

"Thank you for your timely assistance, Dr. Lambert", the odd looking
fellow with longish, curly blonde hair, wearing an rather archaic looking
outfit bowed curteously to her as he addressed her with a rich voice
thickly accented with an aristocratic british flavour. Natalie breathed
out sharply, good thing she was already entranced by Nick, otherwise she
had a feeling she'd be headed into another impossible love affair.

"No problem, Dr...?" Natalie stumbled a bit. The man's magnetism was akin
to a vampire's but there was no darkness, only the feeling that you'd been
swept into a hurricane and were being carried along for the ride like it
or not. The assistance she'd rendered was minor enough as far as she was
concerned, his 'TARDIS' had appeared in the middle of a murder scene. Or
as he put it 'materialized', Natalie had been the only one to see it and
when he emerged from the 'police call box' Nick had noticed him. He had
approached Nick amiably enough, introducing himself as 'the Doctor' and
offering his assistance. Nick over reacted and began to question the man
rather harshly, Natalie had a bad feeling about what would happen if Nick
tryed any more 'creative' interogation techniques and as such had stepped
in. After a few words, Nick had relented and released 'the Doctor' into
Natalie's custody as well as the blue box which unfortunately had already
been confiscated and taken to police lock-up. The Doctor had explained on
their way to reclaim the TARDIS from the lock-up, that the 'police call
box' was actually a Type 40 ('rather archaic but she's a good girl')
Gallifreyan TARDIS, an acronym which stood for Time And Relative
Dimensions In Space. In other words a time machine, who's Chameleon
circuit had been stuck in the form of an old British Police Call Box when
he had visited earth in his first 'regeneration'. Most of this was to
much for Natalie to digest easily but she had a gut feeling it was all the
truth and that she hadn't been cooped up in her car with a wacko.
Apparently the Doctor was a Gallifreyan Time Lord and once president of
the High Council of Gallifrey, what ever that was, however what interested
Natalie more was the prospect of time travel and the opportunity, however
bittersweet, it represented to her.

"John Smith, Dr. John Smith", the Doctor answered gaily, "but please call
me Doctor. And I shall call you, Natalie, truly a beautiful name. I have
never before had a companion named Natalie."

"A companion?" Natalie asked a little confused.

"Someone who travels time and space with me for a while", the Doctor
replied absently, "You are going to ask me for a favour to that end aren't
you my dear?"

"Well.. ahh.. I don't know if I even believe you yet, but yes if you
actually do have a time machine, I do have a favour to ask in that vein."
Natalie admitted relucatantly.

"Bad pun, considering what your friend.. love.. Yes, love is most
appropriate.. IS", the Doctor tapped his front tooth with an excellently
manicured finger nail, "Don't particularly like his type, in fact always
detested them, it's a racial thing. He seems a decent sort though, a bit
over enthusiastic and well a little dense, sort of like a cross between
Lethbridge Stewart and Benton."

"Who??" Natalie was completely lost in the Doctor's windstorm.

"Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge Stewart, decent sort if a little stiff, and
Sargent Benton, another decent one if a little.. well.. thick." Natalie
gazed at the Doctor still completely lost while they sat at an interchange
for the Gardner expressway, "You mean they still haven't finished this",
the Doctor looked out at the Toronto skyline and shook his head in
disgust, "Time to go, Natalie.. Light's green."

"Oh yeah", Natalie responded to no one in particular, she was still
stunned by the Doctor's diatribe.

"Now where was I", the Doctor continued, "Oh yes, Benton and Alistair. Of
course you wouldn't know them, but it's hard for me to keep things
straight sometimes, I've been alive longer than your vampire love has.
You know he's really not good for you, you'll either end up dead or as one
of his kind. Not much hope for anything else."

"That's what I want you're help with Dr.", Natalie admitted more to
herself than to him, she had a feeling he knew all along what she was
going to ask.

"You remind me of Sarah... No perhaps a bit more like Jo... Definitely not
Mel or Ace... Actually, yes, that's it like Sarah Jane Smith." The Doctor
reminiesed absently for a bit, "What was that Natalie?"

Natalie had a feeling that he had indeed heard her but was manipulating
her, making sure she knew what she was asking for, "I want you to help me
find ... no.. make a better future for Nick Knight."

"Well if you're going to ask me to disrupt the laws of time, you'd better
tell me the story and convince me he deserves it...."

*********************************************************************

"And that's his story.. As I understand it." Natalie finished awaiting the
Doctor's answer. They were nearly at the Police lock-up yard and Natalie
had a feeling that they'd be leaving straight from there if the Doctor
agreed.

"Normally, I try not to be moved by love and the like. Silly emotion
really, gets one into more trouble than it's worth as you've found out.
But he does sound as though he's repentant, and I can't stand by and let
anyone fall prey to becoming one of THEM. So we'll give him a second
chance." The Doctor smiled enigmatically at Natalie. Natalie nodded, now
that the choice was made she resigned herself to it.

"You must truly love him beyond the bounds of time", the Doctor looked at
Natalie as though trying to pierce her soul, "you surely know what the
outcome of this will be for you?"

Natalie nodded, "I can't watch him 'live' in torment if I can do something
to ease his pain." The Doctor opened his mouth to speak, "Please Doctor,
don't remind me.. I already feel as though I might be dying inside. Let
me just take this a day at a time.

The Doctor nodded as they arrived at the police lock-up yard, Natalie
rolled down her window and gave the sargent in the booth both her Medical
Examiner's Office ID card and the form that Nick had hastily filled out
releasing the TARDIS to her and John Smith. The sargent nodded and pointed
Natalie down the isle in the yard where the TARDIS had been left, quoting
a stall number as he did. The arm gate lifted and Natalie drove in,
following the directions past numerous cars, trucks and other various and
sundry vehicles of many makes, models, years and colours. They pulled up
in front of the TARDIS and got out of Natalie's little white coupe . "Not
quite Bessie, but quite admirable none the less." The Doctor observed as
he patted the car's hood. "Well here we go, Natalie.. Point of no return,
I'm afraid." He walked over to the TARDIS door and pulled a funny shaped
key from his front waist coat pocket, this he inserted into a lock and the
door swung open inwards. Natalie shivered in the darkness of the night
and then strode forward bravely into the white light inside the TARDIS.

The Doctor had entered in front of her, and was already bent over a huge
central octogonal console programming something into it's computer by
flipping multiple switches and rotating dials. He looked up at Natalie
expectantly and looked vaguely disappointed when she looked around her
surroundings without the least bit of wonder. "What no...'It's bigger on
the inside, than it is on the outside, Doctor'?"

"You expect me to be suprized by this", she gestured to the interior of
the TARDIS, "when I've spent the last six years of my life playing Dr. to
a vampire whom I'd much rather play Dr. with."

"A salient point, Natalie", the Doctor smiled gamely pressing more buttons
and pulling a lever when Natalie heard the TARDIS door whir mechanically
as it swung shut. "So where is it exactly that we are going?"

"Paris, France, 1228", Natalie replied gamely.

"Nothing more exact??" The Doctor sighed as Natalie shook her head, "Then
we'll have to trust the TARDIS to find the way." The Doctor flipped a few
more switches and then a strong rythmic whirring noise permeated the
TARDIS and a clear column in the center of the console began to move up
and down like a carosel horse.

"Do you have any period costumes, Doctor?" Natalie asked.

"Probably, they'd be in the wardrobe", he replied absently still bent over
the console of the TARDIS. Natalie sighed, she'd had the same feeling when
she'd spent the afternoon with Nick fixing the Caddie.. Seems it didn't
matter.. Aliens, vampires or mortals, it was still boys and their toys!
The Doctor realized Natalie was still standing to the side of him and
gestured somewhat apologetically, "Through there."

Natalie entered the room the Doctor had indicated and was overwhelmed by
the sheer volume of clothing. Even Nick, Janette and LaCroix's wardrobe
combined throughout the centuries had nothing on the TARDIS's wardrobe.
She shuffled her way through it, until she had found several very well
made, silk and linen T-tunic dresses of various bright shades of blue and
green which were in period and a heavy grey wool cloak with a hood. She
then rummaged until she found leather slippers which would suit as well as
several tablet woven belts. She thanked her lucky stars for her short,
but fun, run in with the SCA in college which gave her most of her
knowledge of what was in period and what wasn't. She also collected two
pouches, in one she secreted her futuristic ID, against some unforseen
need of it, and the other she reserved for whatever trinkets she might
obtain in 1228. One final item, she rescued from amongst the debrie in
the wardrobe, was a slender dagger in a sheath. Not much protection
against LaCroix nd his ilk but she had heard tales about the crusaders and
it might just serve against them. She dressed herself quickly in a green
silk dress, tied the tablet woven belt about her waist loosely, attached
both pouches to it as well as the dagger and admi ed herself in the
mirror. Her hair needant be covered with a veil as she was unmarried but
she did need something to hold it's unruly curls from her face. She
spotted a thin silver circlet hanging amoungst various other jewelry and
went over to inspect it. It had no upward peaks which was good as only
royalty were allowed to have points on their crowns or circlets and she
had no claim to even the noble title she was going to impersonate. It's
only decoration was a single white polished moonstone in it's center. As
an afterthought she also claimed a plain but beautiful silver cross which
she hung around her neck. She bundled the rest of 'her' clothing into a
leather bag and emerged from the wardrobe.

"Very nice", the Doctor observed approvingly, "I wonder why none of my
other companions ever thought to dress native.. Except
Romanadavratnalundar.. Romana for short."

"Maybe because they didn't have to blend in, like I will." Natalie
smoothed down the front of her dress.

"Quite possibly", the Doctor replied as Natalie grimaced in pain and held
her head, "What's the matter my dear?"

Natalie responded in fluid archaic french, "I don't know. I just got a
headache like when a vampire trys to whammie me."

"Funny, none of my other companions have noticed when the TARDIS
telepathically implants knowledge of the local language into their mind."
Natalie looked a little shocked, "Don't worry dear, it fades when you
return to your own time or without constant use. Besides what the devil is
a 'whammie'?"

"It's the slang term for vampiric mind control, I think the 'Wild Ones'
coined the phrase. I'm what they call a 'resistor', means I can't be
whammied or at least not for long." Natalie continued to primp a little,
if she was going to compete with Janette, she had to look her absolute
best.

"Are you meaning to imply that my TARDIS is some sort of vampire?" The
Doctor sounded deeply offended.

The headache was beginning to fade, but the language was not and Natalie
decided to apologize, "No, Doctor, that's not at all what I meant. It
probably only very slightly similar."

"Well of course, my dear. Can't expect you to understand everything about
the ol' girl now can I?" The Doctor patted the console affectionately,
"Now exactly what is your plan?"

"To restore Nick's .. I better get used to calling him Nicholas.. faith in
humanity before LaCroix and Janette have a chance to exploit that
weakness." Natalie replied becoming more animated with the talk of action.

"And what about those two miscreants? How do you plan to deal with them...
They're likely to just kill you if you get in their way", the Doctor
watched the facial gymnastics that Natalie went through as she thought
about it.

"Well if you have any ideas, Doctor, better tell me 'cause I'm fresh
out.." Natalie grimaced.

"I won't be able to help you with Lord DeBrabant but I may be able to help
you with them", the Doctor pulled a footlong slender, silver needle from
his frock coat and handed it to Natalie, who looked at him questioningly,
"Keep this with you and don't lose it." Natalie saw that no further
answer was forthcoming about the needle's use or purpose and decided to
continue the conversation about the others.

"I'd rather not kill them if I can Doctor, I know it might be safer that
way, but I've grown rather well... used to both of them and when I return
to my time it might help to know that two other people in the universe
remember Nicholas." Natalie stumbled a bit, steeling herself against
imminant tears, the Doctor began to argue that all vampires deserved death
but Natalie silenced him with, "Besides taking one vampire out of history
might not affect things to badly, three.. We don't know what kind of
damage might be done."

"Then lets find a less violent way of detering them... And we must work on
your mode of speech, my dear. Perfect accent and language are one thing
but you don't talk like a noble woman from 1228, you don't even talk like
a peasant woman from 1228.. And that will get you into trouble." The
Doctor motioned for Natalie to sit and they began their planning.

Natalie trembled as she stood in the announcement line for nobles in the
court. To her surprise, she was fairly close to the front. Apparently
lessor nobles were presented first to the Baron, so that more time could
be spent on the greater ones later on and so they could give proper
obesiences to them as they entered court. The Doctor had passed himself
off as her tutor, and escort and that she was the only daughter of a small
but fairly well positioned german family. (The Doctor had given her
another headache by insisting the TARDIS implant that language as well.)
The Doctor had chosen which family she would come from, by the fact that
the DeBrabant's had married a daughter into 'her family' a scant two years
ago and no cross marriage had yet to take place. He felt this would
ensure Natalie's introduction to Nicholas. Natalie's age was well hidden
by the fact that she was in much better health than a woman of her years
would normally be in this culture, she in fact looked only about sixteen.
She had begun to perk up at this but the Doctor had shattered her
illusions by explaining matter of factly, that at that age she was already
an old maid. The Doctor however assured her that while Crusader's were
well thought of, many rough truths had become known about them and many
families were not offering their daughter's in marriage to them. Natalie
would be practically thrown at Nicholas.

"Introducing Lady Nathalie DesJardins of the Family Van Ramselaar",
Natalie walked forward as tutored by the doctor and bowed appropriately.

"I bare a gift from my father to you, Baron", Natalie laid a small chest
which the Doctor had filled with all sorts of period jewellry, "As a token
of his esteem."

"You travelled so far, all alone Lady?" The baron smiled winningly.

"I am honoured by your concern Baron but I was not so alone, the Doctor,
my tutor made the journey with me", Natalie smiled.

"Still, still", the Baron smiled dismissively, "So pretty a girl, all
alone in these tulmultuous times. To tempting of a target for bandits. We
shall see that you shall not have to make such a journey again. Perhaps
one of the knight-crusaders who are here now will take up your banner. I
shall think on it."

"Thank you, my lord." Natalie felt as though she were some sort of prize
pony to be handed out, she only hoped they'd hand her off to the right
boy. She moved gracefully to the other side of the court, as people filed
in and were introduced she finally caught sight of Nicholas. He looked
haggard, worn, but still he was her Nick.

"Introducing Knight-Crusader Lord Nicholas DeBrabant, cousin to Baron
DeBrabant", the herald cried out.

"My lord, Baron", Nicholas kneeled before the Baron, "I am tired, and
needs must rest after my travels in the Holy Land. I, thereby, request a
boon of thee, as is every one of god's soldier's right."

"It is my honour to comply, Nicholas", the Baron reached down and took
Nicholas's hand bringing him to his feet again, "You have only to ask."

"Your hospitality for a time, to recoop my losses as it were", Nicholas
asked, there was still strength in his voice but it was coated with
weariness and a loss of hope.

"Easily granted, cousin", the Baron responded, "Come sit to my right and
tell me of your harrowing journey."

Nicholas sat not far from where Natalie had been seated with the
Baroness's ladies. The rest of the introductions passed quickly and
Natalie absently listened to the 'twitterings' of the other court ladies.
Nicholas, predictably was a 'hit' with them, they each wondered who would
be introduced to the knight in question. Natalie looked at them
critically and wondered if she even had a chance of introduction. If she
wasn't then all was lost.

As the evening and the feast wore on bards began to play and people began
to dance. Natalie noticed several interesting 'games' being played around
the court. One seemed to consist of a fruit, in most cases an apple,
which had what appeared to be whole cloves stuck into it which was taken
by one person to another you wished to 'flirt' with and if the person
accepted the fruit they would take a clove, bite it (to freshen ones
breath she supposed), and then would kiss the giver. The reciever than
took the fruit and continued. It certainly told you, who was popular at
court. Natalie had been taking a sip of wine when one of the girls beside
her recieved one, had kissed the gentleman rather prefunctorily, and then
rushed to where Nicholas sat. He smiled gamely, took the fruit, bit one
of the cloves, then kissed the girl's hand. The girl looked at him rather
dejectedly and then scampered off after the fellow who had given her the
fruit in the first place. Nicholas looked at the fruit and then smiled at
the Baron, setting the thing aside. The Baron scowled at Nicholas, picked
up the fruit, placed it back into Nicholas's hand and motioned towards the
ladies, apparently dismissing the knight. Nicholas sighed visably and
rose from the Baron's table and walked towards the area Natalie was
sitting in. He looked around quizzically and then his and Natalie's eyes
met, Natalie took a sharp intake of breath as a spark passed between them
and he walked over to her. He held out the fruit to her, she took it and
daintily pulled one of the cloves from it, and bit it. She grimaced a bit
at the taste, and opened her eyes to see a familiar boyish grin pass over
Nicholas's face. "A real girl then, I never liked the taste of cloves
either. I am Lord Nicholas DeBrabant." He took her hand and kissed the
top of it, then turned it over and kissed her palm. Without ever looking
up he moved on to kiss her wrist just above the pulse point.

Her breath had been stolen by him and was only now coming back ragged but
she managed as he looked up at her, "Lady Nathalie Desjardins".

"You look like someone, I might be able to talk to. Unlike so many of the
pretty flowers around court. You may be of the garden, but I have a
feeling that you are a hardier rose than most. I'm afraid I would offend
and frighten many of the ladies herein." Nicholas looked at Natalie with
such sorrow in his eyes.

Natalie rejoiced, he hadn't yet been hardened by LaCroix. She had gotten
here early enough, "Nothing you could ever say or do could frighten me, my
lord. I would be honoured to be your confidant." She answered his plea.

"No, I wager I could not." Nicholas answered, "A stroll about the keep
then?"

Natalie nodded quickly, Nicholas took her arm and lead her away from
court.

********************************************************************

Natalie returned to her rooms to find that the Doctor had built a large
fire in the fireplace. "So Natalie, how did your first meeting with
Nicholas go?"

"Well, enough I suppose Doctor. He seems alot more responsive to my tricks
that I use to get him to talk than Nick at home does." Natalie settled
into a chair to the right of the fireplace.

The Doctor sat in a chair opposite her, "Of course he does. You must
remember you've known him for six years and he doesn't know you at all.
As well, he's not a vampire here and now, that would lend him alot of
resistance to your wiles in your own time.


"He's seen so much of the cruelty of humanity in the past years, Doctor.
No wonder he was easy pickings for LaCroix. I don't know how I'd handle
it, he doesn't have a very good outlook on humanity. He puts a brave face
on it, but he looks at everyone suspisciously." Natalie sighed and
stretched. She missed Sidney.

"Even you", the Doctor enquired.

"Yes, even me. It's not going to be easy, I have to earn his trust and
change his mind about humanity at the same time. I only hope I have
enough time to do it before LaCroix and Janette arrive. I think he's met
LaCroix at least once before." Natalie's eyes started to drift close.

"That could be trouble, my dear", the Doctor answered, too late though for
Natalie had already drifted to sleep in her chair. The Doctor walked
over, picking Natalie up, carrying her to her bed, quickly stripping her,
placing her under the heavy wool blankets and fur warmers before banking
the fire and leaving Natalie to her dreams.

"The gardens by the castle here are so beautiful", Natalie said as she
strode arm in arm with Nicholas, "And the sunlight so warm."

"Sunlight has failed to warm me for sometime, Lady Nathalie", Nicholas
replies, "You're presense does more to that end than it does." Nicholas
gestured towards the sun.

"But think of all the beauty in the daylight, you'd miss if you were
condemned to live only at night." Natalie countered, "Blooming flowers,
laughing children, warm green grass to roll in, glittering waves in a
lake." Natalie choked a bit on what she had to say next, "God has put so
much of beauty into the day, why would anyone want to forsake it?"

"I do not believe in god anymore", Nicholas stated matter of factly.

"Do not say that, Nicholas, if someone were to over hear you could be in
dire circumstances", Natalie responded in hushed tones, knowing her words
were true.

"What sort of god would allow the attrocities that are committed on the
field of 'honour'? What sort of god would allow what happened to me, a
good christian soldier in the filth ridden pits of the heathen Saracen?"
Nicholas grabbed Natalie's wrist and jerked her around to face him.

Natalie steeled herself, she knew this was coming, she had to win this
battle or all was lost, "A trusting god. A god who knows strength is only
tested through adversity. A god who like a good parent knows when his
children must stretch their wings and live with the consequences. A god
who trusts that hope and faith will help those who have lost their way
find their way again. A god who respects freedom..."

Nicholas looked at Natalie quizzically, "Not the normal view of god, in
these times. And just as heretical as my not believing", Nicholas smiled
wryly, "I knew there was a reason I chose you."

"Nicholas", Natalie spoke softly, sweetly, "You have a lot to be thankful
for. You are here, alive and well when many did not survive. You may have
undergone tortures I cannot even imagine but you are still alive and
mostly whole, at least of body if not of spirit. You have family don't you
who will be happy to see you alive?"

"My sister, Fluer", Nick smiled at her memory.

"Many of the men here, have no family to return to. You have that comfort.
As bad as things seem Nicholas, as long as there is life, there is hope.
What you must do to repay yourself, is to take comfort in what you do
have.. Live in the here and now, make every minute of your existance
count, try to be the best Nicholas DeBrabant you can be. You would not
wish to live with yourself if you become as bad or worse than those whom
you hate. My family have a saying, "Do not cut off your nose to spite your
face", I've never quite understood it but I think it might apply to you."
Natalie gazed at him lovingly.

"Why do I have the feeling that you know more than you speak, Nathalie?
Are you a witch or an angel? Which ever you are, your council is good, I
will think about what you have said." Nicholas bent and kissed her hand,
then smiled and kissed her forehead before taking his leave of her.

********************************************************************

Days passed, with many similar conversations transpiring between the two
of them. With each passing day Nicholas seemed more alive, more hopeful,
more faithful than ever. It was pure joy for Natalie. They had gone out
riding in the woods, boating on a nearby lake, and walking in fields of
long grass all under a brilliant coloured sun. He had taught her to ride
(He had been very confused that she didn't know how. Natalie had lied and
said she'd always been afraid of horses and had been brought in a wagon.
Then she told him she would fear nothing with him by her side, not even a
horse.), to hunt with a small falcon, even the beginnings of archery. The
pain only came at night when dreams invaded her existance and reminded her
of the price for Nicholas's freedom. Then one day she noticed Nicholas
talking with Baron, who caught sight of her and positively beamed. He
nodded and kissed Nicholas on both cheeks. Natalie knew that things were
going to get rough now. She could only hope that Nicholas wouldn't
backslide to badly when she had to refuse him.

Nicholas caught her in the garden, sitting on a marble bench, fiddling
with some embroidery she'd been trying. Her grandmother had tryed to
teach her once, and for being a top notch doctor, she certainly was all
thumbs. "Nathalie, I would speak with you."

"Yes, Nicholas." Natalie tried to be pleasant but to remain distant.

"I have spoken with the Baron", Nicholas started.

"Please Nicholas, not just yet." Natalie cut him off.

Nicholas looked hurt and confused, "I thought you had feelings.."

"I do, but you don't understand. I love you beyond all thought of time,
but even that may not be enough. There are forces, will always be forces
pulling us apart unless something changes.. I can not answer you until I
know those forces are clear from our future." Natalie smiled at Nicholas,
hoping to hide the torrents tearing at her insides.

Nicholas smiled, "For you I could wait until the end of time."

"Not so long as that surely", Natalie said and Nicholas pulled her into a
sweet compulsive embrace and kissed her deeply and fully on the lips.

"As long as that and longer, my little seeress." He smiled and strode
away.

Natalie felt like a total cad. She had lied to Nicholas by omission. She
knew what her answer had to be to his forthcoming marriage proposal, but
she also knew if she told him that she could never marry him that he would
fall into the arms of Janette. Her only hope was to string him along
until Janette and LaCroix were gone... And then.. She collapsed on the
bench, crying until she felt her body would dry up like dust and blow away
on the wind.

********************************************************************

"Natalie, have you heard about the feast tonight? From Nicholas's
description of when he met with Janette, that he shared with you, it
sounds as though tonight would be a likely time." The doctor entered
Natalie's room without so much as a knock.

"I know Doctor", she replied sounding far older than her years, "I was
just thinking maybe... " Natalie shook her head and got up, forcing a
smile onto her face, "Here we go. Final hour and all that stuff. I'm not
looking forward to this duel with Janette, but it's what I came here to
do, right!"

"I have never met a braver soul, Natalie Lambert", the Doctor stood stalk
still and did a small half bow in salute of her.

"You mean you've never met a crazier soul", Natalie piped up not willing
to admit she knew what the doctor's comment actually refered to, "I'm
probably not going to survive this little confrontation, but I'll give it
a shot." With that Natalie picked up the silver needle pushed it through
the knot of hair at the back of her neck and went down to offer her
services as a serving girl for the knight's feast tonight.

The room was filled with men, bragging of past glories and battles. The
only women who were allowed were the serving girls. To Natalie's suprize,
Nicholas was not sitting at the head table with the Baron where she'd been
assigned to serve, but instead was further down one of the side tables,
amoungst some of the younger knights. Nicholas's eyes met hers and he
smiled broadly, and nodded in her direction. She couldn't help but smile
back at him. Then suddenly out of nowhere Janette appeared. She glided
over to Nicholas and refilled his emptying wine goblet, displaying ample
cleavage as she did. As Natalie was about to go over and distract the
vampress, Nicholas suprized her by brushing Janette aside when she tried
to whisper in her target's ear. Janette looked infuriated and Natalie
decided to make her way over anyhow to prevent any unnecessary
confrontations.

As Natalie neared, Janette tried to get Nicholas to look at her by
spilling a goblet of wine on him. It was obvious that Janette had orders
that willing or no, she was to bring him to LaCroix. However as luck
would have it, the sleave of Janette's gown was dangling in the spilt wine
and Natalie was close enough to knock a candle on the table into the spill
which caught fire, and spread directly to Janette's sleave. Natalie
immediately moved to Janette's side and quickly put out the fire,
"Madmoiselle, I am so sorry to have ruined such a fine dress", Natalie
began to pull Janette away from the table, acutely aware of the golden
flecks in the other woman's eyes, but Janette could not resist to strongly
for fear of her nature being discovered, "and putting your life into such
danger. People with such pale flesh as your's burn so easily. Even the
sun can cause much harm." Janette's eyes widened as she began to
understand that Natalie knew more than she should, and Natalie's leading
her suddenly changed to eing led.

Natalie was drug down a hallway and staircase until she was brought before
someone terribly familiar. "Hmmm, Janette. I thought you wanted a
'brother', not a sister? This one is pretty enough I suppose."

"Non, LaCroix. This one thwarted me from getting the crusader, Nicholas."
Janette dumped Natalie on the floor in front of LaCroix, "And she knows
what I am. What we are!"

"Really, such knowledge can be fatal, little one", LaCroix moved forward
quickly but Natalie had remembered the Doctor's gift of the silver needle
and she thrust it forward, stabbing LaCroix in the arm. Where the needle
touched LaCroix's arm the flesh exploded in a burst of steam and puss and
he pulled back abruptly, hissing dramatically.

"Please", Natalie spoke quickly, calmly and as forcefully as possible,
"Listen to me. If you must try to 'control my mind' get it over with
because it won't work. I'm a resistor." Natalie stood drawing herself up
as regally as possible, "I'm here to stop you from making a terrible
mistake, Lucius LaCroix."

"How do you know of me, mortal? And how do you know of our kind?", LaCroix
asked, his angry stance changing to one of curiousity. Natalie had met
LaCroix enough to know that for now she was safe, having peaked LaCroix's
curiousity.

"You won't believe this, but I come from the future, where I know you,
Janette DuCharme and Nicholas De Brabant and you will know me as Natalie
Lambert." Natalie took a deep breath much to her suprize while Janette
looked dubious, LaCroix looked as though he might believe. "You don't want
to make Nick.. Nicholas, a vampire. When I know him, he rejects your
'gift', he rejects you. He's trying to find a cure.. with my help."

"Prove to me you come from the future, girl", LaCroix demanded.

Natalie had known this point would come and fished into the bag where she
kept her futuristic ID and wallet. She sorted through the small leather
folder until she found what she was after. A picture of her and Nicholas
at his last birthday. "Here." She said as she handed the small photo to
LaCroix who inspected it minutely and then nodded in satisfaction, yet he
did not return it to her.

"So this is a self serving request then", LaCroix looked into Natalie's
eyes, "How do I know that you do not lie?"

Tears of pain began to well up in Natalie's eyes. Tears that had been
being repressed since she had gotten here, that it was somehow right to
share with this man who for so long had been her direst enemy. "Because I
stand to loose as much as you", Natalie's voice trembled and tears made
streaks down her face, "I can not stay in this time and Nicholas must
stay. Without you to unite us, Nicholas De Brabant and I will never meet
and yet I will always remember my love for him." She bravely met LaCroix's
gaze , "Please Lucius, I could expose you to all, have you destroyed, but
I won't. Not out of any great love for you, but for a reason you can
understand. When I return to my home, no one will remember Nicholas,
except three people. Myself, Janette and you. It's cold comfort but it
will help to know there are others in the universe who remember him."

"Perhaps, I should make you pay a price for his freedom. Would you become
one of us to set him free?" LaCroix walked towards Natalie, appraising
the brave woman with steely eyes.

"I would pay that, if you demand it of me, but isn't the pain I feel
enough Lucius? Why demand that I live this way throughout eternity. He
can't mean so much to you yet." Natalie's sorrow penetrated LaCroix's
hardened exterior.

"He is free. You are a remarkable woman Natalie Lambert. Perhaps I shall
come to visit you in the future." LaCroix stepped back and half bowed at
Natalie.

"It would be a welcome visit believe it or not", Natalie responded.

"But father, you -promised- me a companion, and I want Nicholas." Janette
complained glaring at Natalie.

"You shall have one, Janette. But not that one", LaCroix spoke in a tone
that brooked no arguement.

"Janette", Natalie responded, "I don't know how much Nicholas not being
with you will change things, but I know you too. You'll find true love,
but it's not Nicholas. His name is Robert. I wish you better luck than
I. I found true love out of time. When you find it hang on to it with
dear life."

Janette's glare softened a bit and she shook her head, "Let us leave here,
father. The witch disturbs me."

She watched the two vampires leave quickly, and she was left alone in the
darkened cellar crying. She wiped up her tears and moved towards the
doorway when out of nowhere the Doctor stepped. "Where were you", Natalie
demanded, "You promised to help."

"I was here all along, Natalie", the Doctor responded, "I would have
stepped in had there been a need. You however handled it beautifully."
The Doctor began to escort Natalie up the stairs, "I had wondered whatever
happened to Lucius." The Doctor commented.

"YOU KNOW LACROIX?" Natalie stopped and demanded.

"Oh yes, we used to play pente quite alot. I suppose he never got my note
warning him about Divia and Vesuvius. Seems to happen quite alot with
notes I leave." The Doctor led Natalie; quite stunned; from the darkness.

********************************************************************

It was time. Two weeks had passed since LaCroix and Janette had moved on
without Nicholas. Natalie had dreaded this day, her leave taking from
Nicholas. She sat in the garden, waiting for Nicholas's arrival
committing everything to memory. Then he appeared, striding down the path
towards her. She strove to memorize everything about him, the way the sun
glinted in his golden hair, the twinkle in his blue eyes, the merry smile
on his lips, the way every muscle in his body moved with grace as he came
towards her. Tears began to flow down her cheeks and over her chin and he
knelt in front of her concern showing in his beautiful face.

"What is the matter my dearest angel?" Nicholas asked her, tenderly wiping
the tears away.

"You know that I love you?" She asked. He nodded solumnly, "Remember it
always, my handsome one. I shall never forget you but I must go now."

"NO!" He grabbed her arm, then realizing he must be causing her pain his
grip relaxed, "I have lost too much, you can not go from me. The baron
ascented to our marriage. It is all but arranged."

"I must go home, Nicholas", Natalie wept openly, "I can not stay. I do not
belong here."

"If you mean that you are not of family Van Ramselaar, I have known that
for sometime, sweetling. It does not matter." Nicholas swept Natalie off
the bench into his arms. Natalie wanted to stay in them forever.

"No, Nicholas. It is not that. Remember, how I told you that love is
sometimes not enough. This is one of those times." Natalie gazed into
his eyes, "I must go."

"Then I will follow, for I shall never love again", Nicholas vowed.

"You can not." Natalie said forcefully, "Do not be silly, Nicholas De
Brabant. You will love again, you will have a family and with luck we
shall meet again in another time, under happier circumstances." Natalie
drew herself out of Nicholas's grasp and walked out of the garden, she was
only vaguely aware of Nicholas following her, her own mind knew what she
planned when she returned to Toronto. She would seek out the Raven, and
find someone to rid her of a life that no longer had any meaning for her.
Perhaps, LaCroix would be waiting for her, she would give him the gift of
her memories and he would give her the gift of peace at last.

The Doctor saw Natalie coming towards the TARDIS, Nicholas hot on her
heels. The doors opened as she reached them and she swept through. They
closed before Nicholas could reach them, and he pounded on the outside of
the TARDIS. There was no noise from is futile attempts to break in, but
Natalie turned towards the door focusing her eyes on it as though she
could hear the pounding of his fists. Her eyes haunted the Doctor, they
had once been so full of life and hope but now they were empty, devoid of
all that had given Natalie Lambert her spark, her will, her life. The
Doctor sighed as he made a choice that would have him in hot water with
the Timelords.

"You made the right decision of course", he started as he randomly flipped
switches in the console room.

Natalie turned those devoid eyes to him, "What decision?"

"To leave of course. You'd hate living here, being his wife, having him
make all the decisions, being a broodmare for the herd of children he'd
want to have. And with how healthy you are, and all of your
immunizations, Rassalon only knows how long you'd live, and how many of
the little ones you'd have given birth too. Not to mention the mess you'd
make of the time stream." The Doctor rambled on about the state of
hygeine and other such matters of import to a doctor of her caliber,
watching out of the corner of his eye waiting to see the spark relight.

It did. "Doctor", Natalie piped up.

"Yes, dear", The Doctor asked.

"It's not to late to change my mind is it... I'd like to stay", Natalie's
voice was querilous.

"I shouldn't allow it. I can't imagine how many time wrinkles I'll have
to undo." The Doctor tried to look disapproving and failed, "If you're
sure you want to, Lady Nathalie De Brabant."

Natalie nodded, and the Doctor pushed the lever to open the doors. He
watched on the monitor as she rushed out into Nicholas's open arms. There
was a muted mew behind the Doctor, and he picked up Sidney. "Good thing I
picked you up before I 'accidentally' found my way to that murder scene,
eh' old boy?" The Doctor carried Sidney to the door and carefully placed
him outside where he meandered over to twine himself around Natalie's
legs. "Good luck, children."

Sherwood Forest
Fall, 1228

Janette and LaCroix rode like bats out of hell through the english forest
on their way to Nottingham. They had spent the day in a cavern in one of
the hillsides and were in desperate need of feeding. As they crested one
hill along the wooded path, Janette's horse reared and nearly threw the
vampress from her saddle. Swearing
loudly in french, she spotted the problem lying in the road. A young
man's body face down clad in brown leather armour with patches of chain
mail attached at various vital points.
At his side was a bow of yew wood and a beautiful broadsword. She
dismounted quickly hoping his heart had not yet stopped and that she could
garner a quick meal from his misfortune. She rolled him over and drew an
unnecessary breath. He was the most appealing mortal she had seen since
the crusader Nicholas. He had long blonde
hair, an oval face with a strong chin and cheekbones, a distinguished
nose, long eyelashes and a definite aristocratic look to him. She knew
she had to have him.

"Looking a gift horse or meal in the mouth is not your reason d'etre,
Janette", LaCroix quipped as he dismounted and joined her beside the body.

"I want him father", Janette demanded quickly, "Him to replace Nicholas."

"You know nothing about him, except for his pretty face, my daughter",
LaCroix sounded annoyed.

"Please, father", Janette's tone became pleading.

"Whatever my Janette wants, my Janette gets", LaCroix sighed heavily and
distastefully bit the young man's throat. He dared not take much as the
boy was close to death as it was. The blood sang the reason, poison
ripped through the lad's veins. He pulled himself away and tore open his
own wrist, forcing it into the lad's mouth. The young man began to drink
deeply and LaCroix pulled his wrist away. "He's yours, my daughter.
You'd better find him something suitable to slake his hunger with, and
ignore your own."

Janette nodded, remounting her steed and riding up the side path where the
young man seemed to have came from as LaCroix pulled the boy over to the
side of the main path.

A few minutes later, Janette returned with a woman hung over the bow of
her saddle. "I found this, up the path there", Janette growled, "She
reeks of the poison, I smelt as you drank his blood."

"Very good", LaCroix smiled, "Revenge is the best revenge, after all."
They waited a few minutes and the boy began to wake, his eyes glowing
yellow they threw the woman, who was dressed like a nun to him and he
ripped into her throat gulpping back her hot blood. As he finished, he
looked at LaCroix and Janette questioningly.

"Who are you?" He asked curiously.

"I am your master, boy. Lucius LaCroix and this is your.. 'sister'
Janette DuCharme. We are your family now. You are a vampire." LaCroix
watched the lad closely as he digested this. The lad scowled for a moment
then grimaced, "It makes no difference to my cause I suppose in the long
run. It may even be helpful, and some of the company is quite
attractive." He eyed Janette appreciatively.

"Your name", LaCroix inquired, his blood had been so tainted by the poison
that the memories were blurred.

"Most know me as the Hooded Man, or Robin of the Hood", he smiled
winningly at Janette, "But you my lady, may call me Robert of Loxley."

*******************************************************************
Epilogue Two
*******************************************************************

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 1990
Toronto Metro Coroner's Office

The coroner pushed the errant strand of reddish brown wavy hair out of her
eyes as she moved from the recently filled autopsy table to her desk where
the phone was ringing off the hook. The body in the bag hadn't been as
bad as she expected when they had told her that the fellow inside had
caught a pipe bomb in an attempt to stop a robbery. 'What a way to spend
your birthday, Lambert', she scolded herself for accepting the nightshift
on her birthday. She picked up the phone, it was Captain Stonetree and he
was wondering if she'd done a puliminary exam on the body. "Not yet, sir",
she responded as politely as possible. Then he wanted to know if his
detectives had arrived yet. "Not yet either, sir", was her hurried
response. She swung her legs as she sat on her desk, impatient to get on
with things. He told her to have them call her as soon as they arrived
and hung up. She sighed and hopped off the desk when she heard a noise
behind her that made her jump in shock.

"Hey 'ya Kid", Detective Schanke quipped, "Still jumpy down here at night
all by yourself, huh?"

"The name's Natalie, Schank", Natalie retorted, "And you know it. Why does
Stonetree darken my doorstep with you all the time?!"

"Cause he know's how much you like me", Schanke smiled, "Why they put a
pretty little thing like you on night shift, I'll never get.." Natalie was
about to make some rude retort when Schank followed it up with, "But I'm
glad they did. You're a hell of a doctor. So you see the body yet?"

"It's over here", Natalie smiled and led the detective over to the table.

"Gah, the smell is what always gets to me", Schanke commented.

"Oh right, Stonetree wants you to call him", Natalie remembered and
informed Schanke.

"Probably checking up on the new partner, he doesn't like nightshift but
hey it's a rotational thing right?" Schanke smiled, "Wonder where 'wonder
boy' is anyhow.." Schanke picked up the phone and dialed his home
precinct as a young man with incredible blue eyes and golden hair walked
in. "Yeah, I'll hold. Natalie Lambert, this is Nick De Brabant, my -new-
partner. Nick that's Natalie, she's the best damn rookie coroner I've ever
met. And it's her birthday so play nice!"

"You're the coroner?" Nick asked querilously.

"Yup", Natalie answered smiling, her heart was in her throat as she looked
at him. It was as though they'd known each other forever.

"Sorry for the bad manners, it just..", Nick started.

"I know, I don't look like the coroner type", Natalie finished for him
still smiling.

Nick got a little boyish grin on his face and nodded, "I'm Nicholas De
Brabant, but everyone calls me Nick."

"De Brabant, huh?" Natalie sat on the edge of her desk, "I've got De
Brabants on my mother's side. In fact straight down the female line,
daughter to daughter. Right back to Nathalie De Brabant, wife of .. hey ..
Nicholas De Brabant." Natalie smiled widely. "I was named for her, you
weren't.."

"Named for him.." Nick's smile was as wide as hers, "Yeah, I was. Eldest
son to eldest son for more generations than I care to think about." 'This
is her', Nick thought to himself as he gazed at Natalie's beautiful smile,
'She's the girl, I'm gonna marry!'

"This is too weird", Natalie shook her head, she had found herself
drowning in those too blue eyes too many times since he had found his way
to the morgue. Her feelings were sudden and almost too intense.

"It's horrible you're spending your birthday in a morgue", Nick piped up,
"Too late to do anything about that now, but can I pick you up for
breakfast in the morning? I make a really great three cheese and bacon
omelette. Fresh ground coffee, too."

"Sounds great", Natalie responded, knowing this was all too sudden but
wanting it anyway.

"Hey kid, it's proper ettiquette to invite your partner along for a spread
like that, but in this case I'll forgive yah and pass!" Schanke patted
Nick on the back, "Come on, we've got a lead. We'll be back for the
report later." Natalie could here Schank teasing Nick about being a
morgue casanova as they walked down the hallway outside her lab.

********************************************************************

LaCroix watched as the vaguely familiar blonde man, walked Natalie Lambert
to his car and opened the door for her just before sunrise that morning.
He listened carefully to the conversation they were having.

"So did you know that Nathalie helped Nicholas institute alot of changes
in his lands before they could understand why", Natalie asked Nick.

"I know a lot of people considered her a witch, but they loved her and her
lord to well to turn her in." Nick commented.

"I know, apparently she had him lower taxes and help people to change
sanitation habits and systems, food preparation and so many other things."
Natalie slid into the front passanger seat.

"She kept a cat in the manor", Nick smiled, "That went a long way to
proving to the commoners that she was a witch." He closed the door but
remained near the open window.

"Well, that old superstition aside, alot of historians think she was a
commoner. Apparently she often went out to help women in the surrounding
villages give birth and the like." Natalie responded, "No noble woman
would have had that kind of training."

"And whenever she went out, she was protected by a spectral white knight
on a white charger." Nick smiled, "Three guesses who that was and the
first two don't count." They both laughed as Nick moved to get into the
driver's side of the car. "There's a legend that she was actually a
faerie, who travelled from the isle to protect him from a great evil and
restore his faith in man. And that when her people called her back, she
wouldn't go. She accepted mortality to be with him."

"That's so romantic", Natalie smiled, "If it's true, good thing she did or
we wouldn't be here. She had fourteen children by him. Frightening thing
was they were all single births." Nick nodded.

"Seven boys and seven girls", Nick added, "You know I'm from the first
son, what about you?"

"First daughter", Natalie responded, "All the way down the line."

Nick nodded gazing into Natalie's eyes, "So you ready for that breakfast I
promised you."

"Sure thing, I love a man that cooks", was the last that LaCroix heard as
the engine flared to life and they pulled out of the garage.

He smiled, and turned away from watching the mortals and flew quickly back
to the Raven where he met with his beloved son and daughter. His son was
annoying sometimes, continuing his own fight against injustice by only
feeding on criminals and 'evil doers', but he was satisified.

Something fluttered down from the elder vampire's hand as he flew off into
the night, a very old photograph of a vampire and his true love, Toronto
Metro Coroner Natalie Lambert.

The End