The Last Tango

by C.T. Brennan


Archived May 2001 
------------------------------------------------
Warning: This story is rated R. If you are under 
18 years then  please do not read any further
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Natalie's dull headache woke her up. Damn Lacroix... and all his 
champagne. Natalie slowly turned her head to see Nick fast asleep and 
barely breathing. 

"Well, barely breathing is  normal for Nick. It must be nice to have 
lived the past 767 years without a hangover, or a cold or even the 
common flu." 

 She let a groan escape as she moved her legs. Next time I pull an 
all-nighter with Nick, I need to be in better shape. Although it was 
not TOO unpleasant making love all night with him, she thought with a 
sly smile on her face.

 Natalie's smile grew as the memories from last night flooded over 
her. Nick had been better in bed than she had ever imagined. And he 
seemed a little surprised to find his "sweet" Natalie was not the 
inexperienced virginal type he thought she would be. 

 "Men... they want their women to be a combination of Olga Korbet, 
Rachel Welch and Rin-tin-tin in bed, but they don't want to admit it 
to you or even to themselves," She said outloud.

As if on cue, Nick rolled over and opened his eyes, "Good Morning...
or is it afternoon?"

"It's evening, Nick,  and we both have to be at work in an hour. Do 
you want the shower first..." Natalie did  not finish her sentence as 
Nick drew her into his arms. He silenced her words with a teasing 
kiss. Natalie felt desire well up in her. Her libido began duel her 
aching legs, but the ever practical side of Natalie took over, "Nick, 
I can't be late for work. The Inspector General is coming by the 
office and I can't leave Grace to fend for herself. The man has an 
ego bigger than the CN tower."

Nick let his hold on her loosen, but he did not surrender her 
completely. "Natalie, you were incredible last night. I could feel 
the trust and faith flowing from you into me."

 Nick's eyes slightly teared up. He was not one to express strong 
emotion easily. "I love you, Natalie. I don't think you will ever 
know how much. You have given me my soul back. Humanity can not be 
far behind, can it?"

Natalie's own eyes began to water giving them a diamond like glow in 
the fading dusk sunlight. "Nick, you have always had your humanity. 
It's your mortality we need to recapture...and we will." She let 
herself lean back into his chest and she placed a kiss gently on his 
lips, "Or I'll die trying..." 

@-----(--(------


"Wow, girlfriend, I want the "juice" and I want it now. What happened 
to you last night?" Grace put the tray of specimens down on Natalie's 
desk. " You look like you swallowed the golden goose or was it a 
golden haired detective?"

Natalie felt as though her face was on fire as the blush rose quickly.
 "Grace, I have no idea what you're talking about. It was your 
typical evening, at your typical Charity Ball."

"Typical, huh? Did your typical Knight sweep you off your feet and 
take you back to his castle? You don't blush like that from a two 
minute Waltz and a glass of punch."

"Actually, Grace, it was the Tango." Natalie decided to let her 
friend off the hook, "And yes... there was a Knight involved, and 
before you ask, yes , it was wonderful." 

Grace exploded with, "It's about time." And then she pumped her fist 
in the air as she let out a "hoopla."

"Dr. Lambert, just what is going on here in Forensics!" The heavy set 
man, pushed his way past Grace and presented himself in front of 
Natalie with a huff. "I see nothing to be celebrating when you have 
at least 4 back logged autopsies to perform. That's one of the 
reasons I don't like women Medical examiners. They tend to be so over 
emotional !" 

Natalie felt about two inches tall, but she gathered her strength 
quickly. "Mr. Blythe, I have seen many  a man breakdown and cry in 
here so I fail to see where my sex has anything to do with my 
performance." Natalie spun on her heel and began to walk away when 
she turned back to the Inspector General, " And by the way, these 
four autopsies are from the 33rd street office. Seems the two MEN 
medical examiners could not handle their own workload tonight."

She walked away leaving a uncomfortable silence behind her. She had 
taken a lot of crap in her job, being not only the only female ME in 
Toronto, but also the youngest ME they had ever had.. Natalie had to 
work three times as hard as anyone else, just to be treated as an 
equal. "Damn, I left Grace with that pig." With a sigh she walked 
back into the autopsy theater to find Grace showing Mr. Blythe the 
log books and medical records for the past quarter.
 
(end of part one)


See Disclaimers in Part one.

The Last Tango
By: C.T. Brennan
2 of  8

"What happened to you last night, buddy? Thanks for leaving me high 
and dry having to baby sit the Mayor." Schanke watched Knight closely 
as he leaned against the side of his desk. "Oh, and next time, Knight,
 try taking one step closer to the razor when shaving. You look like 
hell."

Nick had forgotten all about Schanke and the mayor until just then, 
"Sorry Schank. I guess I went a little crazy when I saw Natalie with 
Lacroix last night."

"A little crazy? I'd call it more psychotic than crazy, Nick. I 
could've sworn I saw your eyes glow red. Who is this Lacroix person 
any way?"

"Lacroix is an old "friend" of mine. He is new in town and I was not 
expecting to see him."

"You mean, you did not expect to see him with Natalie, don't you?" 
Schanke had never been able to get a handle Nick and Nat's 
relationship. It was obvious that they cared for each other, but as 
far as he could tell, they had never been more than good friends. 
"Nick, why don't you just admit you like Natalie and ask her out? My 
heart can't handle any more scenes like the one last night. Just do 
it, man. What's the worst thing that can happen?"

I could kill her, thought Nick. "Schank, give me a break. I think I 
can handle things from here."

Schanke suddenly noticed  Nick was wearing the same clothes he came 
to work in last night. "Wait a minute there, Knight! You haven't been 
home yet. Which means you must have spent the night somewhere. Now 
where would that have been?"

Nick could not contain the smile  that crept out onto his face, 
"Schanke, it is none of your business."

"Whoa, Nick Knight is smiling...you're wearing old clothes... and if 
you weren't so pale, I'd swear you were blushing. Tell me you did not 
spend the night with your old friend? " Schanke reached for the phone.


"Schanke, if you breathe a word of this to any one, I will have to 
kill you." Nick had not thought how his relationship with Natalie may 
create a conflict of interest here at work. He wanted his 
relationship with Natalie to be private and not the latest fodder to 
feed the gossip mill.

"Sure Nick, no problem. I can keep a secret, mum's the word." Schanke 
turned back to the phone. "Myra, guess where good ol' Nickie spent 
the night with last night?"

Nick rolled his eyes in surrender and walked away. He could only hope 
for a major catastrophe to hit Toronto so the attention would shift 
away from his love life. Still, it felt good to realize he actually 
had a love life for the first time in eight centuries.

@----(----(----

Without thinking, Nick's steps took him to Natalie's office. Maybe, 
my mind  knows what my body needs,  he thought to himself. He saw he 
was lucky to catch her alone. Even with her hair pulled back and a 
magnifier on her head, he felt his groin tighten with desire. Last 
night seemed more like a dream to him than reality. He had managed to 
keep the beast at bay not just once, but countless times throughout 
the night. Natalie had been a very willing partner and she had 
reached for him everytime with the same passion as the first time. 

"Well, hi there." Natalie spoke as she saw him in the doorway. "Come 
on in, Nick. I won't bite, unless of course you want me too." She 
smiled as she saw how the comment made Nick uncomfortable. He really 
did need to break those old 13th century ideals. Last night probably 
had done wonders in that regard, but poor Nick had a ways to come.

Nick crossed the room and kissed Natalie letting his tongue brush 
across her lips. "I thought biting was my territory here." He let his 
mouth dropped down to the nape of her neck and he gently nibbled. 
Nick was rewarded with a husky sigh from Nat.

"Nick..." Natalie cleared her throat and pushed Nick away gently. " I 
already had one major career ending scene tonight. I don't think I 
can handle a second one." She kissed Nick lightly on the cheek. "On 
the otherhand, you may just be worth it."

Grace coughed as she entered the room out of common courtesy. Nick 
and Nat created a bit more space between them and they both blushed 
slightly. "How romantic you two look under the fluorescent light of 
the examining table. I just need to grab these clothing samples and 
then I'll be gone for at LEAST 30 minutes." 

Natalie shot Grace a "I'm going to kill you " look at Grace.

 "It sure didn't take you long to tell Grace about us did it, Nat?" 
Nick wrapped his arm around Nat's waist.

"Me?" Natalie punched Nick playfully in the arm. " I can't walk down 
the hall without a police officer giving me a "thumbs up" or a "way 
to go Natalie. So don't blame me for telling one person. Apparently 
you already told the whole 96th precinct."

Nick was a little concerned just how quick the information had been 
disseminated, "Ahhh, Nat. It wasn't me. Schank pried it out of me and 
you know him..."

"Oh, I know him... Telephone, Telegraph, Tell-a-Schanke. Nothing 
works faster." Natalie gave Nick's arm a squeeze.

A familiar whoosh sound filled the room and a very angered Lacroix 
stood before them. "I'll say. News does travel fast and now you have 
endangered all of us, Nicholas."


Lacroix moved closer to Nick and Natalie and whispered, " Nicholas, 
You simply could not adhere to the laws governing our kind could you? 
You had to take a mortal lover and expose this possibility to the 
community."

"Lacroix, I have done nothing to harm you are your precious community.
 Are you afraid that others will follow my steps now? Is that what 
has you so concerned?" Nick protectively moved in front of Natalie.

" That is exactly the problem, Nicholas, I have just come from the 
Raven where I was visited by the Enforcers. They have sent me to 
dispose of  you and dear Natalie here. If I do not honor their wishes,
 I will be disposed of myself, and I do so hate the thought of ending 
it all now. I was so looking forward to the new millennium." Lacroix 
took a closer look around the room. "What a revolting place to work, 
Natalie. I have no idea how you manage to tolerate it."

Natalie stepped from behind Nick, "Lacroix, is Nick right? Is our 
relationship some kind of threat to the Enforcers?"

Lacroix turned and face Nat, "Yes, my dear. That is exactly the 
problem. We can not have the purity of our race tainted by mortal 
indiscretions, as it were. Our community must remain a secret and if  
we decide to start pursuing an interest in mortals for something 
other than food, we will be exposed."

"By mortal indiscretions, do you mean offspring, Lacroix?" Natalie 
had not even thought of the possibility and after last night... she 
should have protected herself better. Some doctor...

Nick spoke first, "It is impossible for a male vampire to impregnate 
a mortal, Nat."

"But, Nicholas" Lacroix said, " You have forgotten that much of our 
community is female. And a female vampire can procreate. In fact, it 
is the only way a female vampire can become mortal again....by giving 
birth to a mortal child."

"What do you plan to do about the Enforcers, Lacroix?" Nick asked in 
a calming tone so not to alarm Natalie more than necessary.

"I thought I'd leave the choice up to you, Nicholas. These are the 
options as I see them." Lacroix ticked the choices off his fingers as 
he spoke. "One, you bring Natalie across and make her one of us. Two, 
I erase all memory of you and our community from her mind and we move 
on. Lastly, I kill you both as the Enforcers have instructed me to do.
"

Natalie felt panic rise, " I think all three of those options pretty 
much suck, Lacroix."

"Suck or not, Natalie, You will have to choose one." Lacroix looked 
sternly at his son, "Nicholas, I give you until this time tomorrow to 
let me know your answer." With a whoosh , Lacroix was gone.

Nick wrapped his arms around Natalie as she sobbed uncontrollably in 
his arms. He wished he could tell her something, anything , to make 
it better, but words had left him. He buried his face in her hair and 
began to cry too.

@--((------

Nick dropped Natalie off at the loft with a promise to return as soon 
as he could. He had to find out if what Lacroix had said was true. 
Only Janette would know the truth.

Natalie poured herself a glass of the wine she had brought with her. 
It was unfair. She and Nick had worked so hard to help him gain his 
mortality only to have the very community he was trying to escape, 
condemn him and draw him back in. She thought of her discussion with 
Nick in the car ,"The only way I can stay with you, Nick is to become 
what you are... To be what you despise." Nick had adamantly stated he 
would not allow her to be brought across. He could not bear to see in 
her what he so loathed in himself. 

She knew that Nick wanted Lacroix to wipe her memory clean. Then, he 
would not have to bear the guilt of destroying her life. The thought 
brought fresh tears to her eyes. How can I live without him? How can 
he choose to be apart from me? Natalie took a deep drink from her 
glass.

"Can it be so bad, my dear?" Lacroix's voice startled her causing her 
to drop her glass. It shattered on the hard wood floor. 

Natalie looked up at Lacroix and then down at the glass. "That is how 
I feel Lacroix. Shattered.... a piece of glass that you will pick up 
and toss in the trash without a second thought. " Natalie's eyes met 
his, "How can you do this to him? To us?"

Lacroix drew closer into the room. " That is where you are mistaken, 
Natalie. After 800 years of torturing poor Nicholas, I have grown to 
value his relationship as a friend." He reached out and touched her 
cheek with his hand. "And, you allow me to maintain and control this 
relationship over him. You see, he is far too concerned that I might 
harm you if he crosses me in any way."

Natalie pulled her face away with a jerk. "All this time, I thought 
you might be capable of caring for someone more than yourself. I see 
I was wrong."

"Watch your tongue, dear Natalie. I have come to assist you. Do not 
spurn me so quickly without a thought as to what I might offer." 
Lacroix sat down on Nick's leather couch and patted the space next to 
him. "Come here and join me."

Feeling much like the fly caught in the spider's web, Natalie took a 
seat on the chair beside the couch. Lacroix smiled at her. "I must 
say that I have always been fond of you, as you know. You are bold 
and beautiful, a combination I am quite attracted to in mortals. 
Nicholas has been a fool to have ignored you for so long. I would 
have brought you across quite sometime ago, if I were him."

Natalie faced Lacroix, "Now it seems you may get your wish. They only 
way I can stay with Nick, is to become what you are and I have no 
intention of leaving him."

"If  I know our Nicholas, this is an option he is not in agreement 
with is it?" Natalie nodded her head in agreement. "I was quite 
surprised to hear that you and Nicholas were able to, how should I 
say it, Consummate your love in a mortal manner. I would have thought 
you would have been dead within minutes. Nicholas has never  been 
strong in the stamina department, from what Janette tells me."

The very name, "Janette", sent a chill up Natalie's spine. "Believe 
it, Lacroix. It can be done or else you would not be here threatening 
our lives." Natalie stood up, "I think its time for you to leave."

Lacroix uncrossed his legs and  stared up at her. "But you have not 
heard my offer. I have a fourth solution to your problem." 

Natalie stood in silence so La croix continued. " I admit, I am 
intrigued by the idea of being with a mortal in that way. It has been 
2000 years since I've had the pleasure." Natalie continued to be 
still and did not even blink. " My proposition is this, Natalie. If 
you spend the night with me tonight, I will go to the Enforcers and 
tell them I have erased your memory. I will tell them you are no 
longer a threat."

At first Natalie did not think she heard him correctly. Then as the 
words sunk in and the meaning of what Lacroix wanted from her took 
hold, Natalie sunk to her knees. "You want me to be with you?" she 
whispered.

"Yes." Lacroix stood and walked over pulling Natalie back to her feet.
 "Nicholas has given up his very existence to be with you...to be 
with you as a man and not as an immortal. It's quite simple. I want 
to see what I have been missing these past two millennium."

Natalie stumbled away from him and into the kitchen. "There is no way,
 I would ever consider being with you."

"Think about it carefully, Natalie. One night with me and you can 
have Nicholas back. He doesl not want you as a vampire, you will lose 
him. If I wipe your mind clean, you will lose him. This way I get 
what I want... and so do you ... and so does Nicholas."

This is madness, Natalie thought. However, with little time left and 
all the options unbearable. This seemed the only way out. "Okay, 
Lacroix. I will do it."

A wicked smile crossed his face as he opened the elevator door. 
"Let's go, my dear. Time is of the essence." Natalie pulled her coat 
around her. "Nick, please forgive me," she said to the now empty loft.


(end of  3 )

Usual Disclaimers found in Part One.

The Last Tango
By: C.T. Brennan
(4 of 8 )

Lacroix and Natalie entered his apartment above the Raven through a 
back door that Natalie did not know even existed. The apartment was 
dark and sterile, a combination of leather and glass furniture with a 
few Picasso's and Rembrandt's decorating the walls. It seemed to fit 
Lacroix quite nicely.

"May I fix you a drink? I have brought a particularly nice Chardonnay 
up from the bar." Natalie nodded her head. She still could not 
believe she agreed to this evening with him and was still a little 
speechless. Lacroix placed the glass in to her hand. She saw he 
brought his own "wine" glass with him.

"Tell me. What was it like making love to Nicholas? Was is exciting 
waiting for his fangs to pierce your neck? Please tell me, I'd like 
to know."

Natalie fixed a blank stare on her face. " It was exciting and 
terrifying at the same time. I was lost in a sea of color and 
sensation as he held me and touched me and caressed me. Still, I was 
waiting for the pain of his fangs on my neck ... for my life to drain 
out of me into him. Strangely, it made it more exciting for me. 
Towards the end, he did take a little blood from me, but just enough 
to keep the vampire back."

"Such trust in each other. This devotion is, indeed, quite rare." 
Natalie turned to him at the sound of his voice. His eyes were quite 
golden and his fangs had dropped. "What will poor Nicholas think of 
your betrayal tonight?"

Natalie's breath caught in her throat as she realized she had not 
thought how she would tell Nick about tonight, or even if she should 
tell him at all. She felt Lacroix's hands slide over her shoulders 
and back. She gasped as his lips touched her neck. His fangs slightly 
scratched her skin as he moved his mouth down her back. With a yank 
he ripped her shirt from her back. The tears flowed freely down her 
face as she pictured Nick in her mind. "I love you, Nick."

@----(((------

Nick returned to the loft with a heavy heart. Janette had confirmed 
that the Enforcers had visited Lacroix, but she had not been allowed 
to stay to hear what they had said to Lacroix. Nick had thought of 
trying to run from the Enforcers and Lacroix. but he knew it would 
only be a matter of time before they were caught and killed. He had 
to convince Natalie to willingly allow Lacroix to erase her memory. 
It was the only thing that kept her alive. She would have a life, a 
good life after it was done.  He would move on and maybe over time he 
would learn to think of her without too much pain in his heart. He 
opened the door to the loft and found it empty. Nick could not hear 
Natalie's heart beat and he knew he was alone. Damn, where had she 
gone?

He heard the elevator kick in and he breathed a sigh of relief. She 
must have gone out and now she's back. Nick turned towards the door, 
but was taken aback when he saw Natalie with Lacroix. He panicked 
until he heard her heartbeat and discovered she was still mortal. 
"Where the hell have you been?"

"She's been with me Nicholas. We had some last minute business to 
attend to, right Natalie?" Lacroix seemed very smug to Nick. What had 
happened?

Natalie was dreading this moment, "Nick, Lacroix has agreed to help 
us with the Enforcers."

"Yes, Nicholas. I have taken care of everything. You need not fear 
from them again or from me." Lacroix picked up Natalie's hand and 
kissed the smooth skin. "I thank you Natalie. Good luck with the rest 
of your evening." With a slight laugh he left.


Nick reached out to Nat, but she avoided his touch and walked around 
him. "What the hell was that, Natalie? And what is this about Lacroix 
taking care of the Enforcers ?" 

Natalie looked back at Nick over her shoulder. He looked angry... 
very angry. How could she hurt him?

 "Nick, we have to talk." Natalie opened Nick's refrigerator and 
looked at her wine bottle. With a second thought, she shrugged her 
shoulders causing her to wince. Then, she placed the bottle back into 
the refrigerator. No, she would have to do this sober. There would be 
plenty of time to drown her sorrows later.

Nick had never seen Nat like this. She was hiding something, and he 
knew she would have to get the courage up to tell him. "Nat, I love 
you. Whatever it is, I trust you. I have faith in us...that we can 
get through this together." He had hoped the words would be 
comforting to her, but they seemed to have the opposite effect. 
Natalie drew herself further away from him and a mental wall went up 
between them.

"No, Nick. I have betrayed your trust and your faith." Her voice 
shook with emotion, "I hope one day you will forgive me. Please 
remember I did it to save your life...our lives."

"What have you done, Nat? It can not be that bad, can it?"

"Nick, I made a deal with Lacroix in order to save our lives from the 
Enforcers." Natalie leaned up against the counter. She had never felt 
so exhausted in her life. " I could not bear the thought of having my 
memory erased and you would not bring me across." How can I say this 
to him?

"Natalie, what deal did you make with Lacroix? You know better than  
to trust him." Nick moved closer to Natalie, but kept some distance 
so not to discourage her from talking.

"Lacroix was very interested in how we were able to make love. He 
asked several questions as a part of our agreement, I answered them 
all." Natalie's heart was breaking as she spoke. "Nick, I agreed to 
have sex with him in exchange for our lives."

Nick only saw her mouth forming the words. He did not actually fully 
comprehend them until moments later. He stumbled back into the 
elevator door. He felt as though he had been staked repeatedly in the 
heart. "You what?" Nick must have misheard her.

"Nick, I didn't want to lose you. It was only one time..." Natalie 
realized how weak her words sounded even to her. 

His Natalie. His Natalie in the arms of that creature. It was 
unbearable to picture, but his imagination kept flashing it in front 
of his eyes. Lacroix's lips on hers. His mouth on her neck, her 
shoulders, her breasts. Lacroix laughing at him as he took her over 
and over. The scream from Nick was unlike anything Natalie had ever 
heard. It was an animal's roar but painted with streaks of agony. It 
sounded like a rabbit's howl as it lay mortally wounded in a hunter's 
trap.  "Nick?" She instinctively moved towards him to comfort him, 
when he spun around.

"You bitch!" The words stung and took the breath from Natalie's lungs.
 Nick's eyes grew red, " I trusted you, I gave you all I had...eight 
hundred years of life. I gave it to you  and you spat on it. You 
betrayed me. You took my love and jumped in bed with my most mortal 
enemy. Get out of here, you whore." Nick grabbed Natalie by the arm. 
As soon as he touched her, Natalie screamed. It stunned Nick for a 
minute. He was not using enough force to hurt her, but the scream was 
one definitely from  pain.

The pain brought Natalie back to reality. "You are right, Nick. I am 
those things, but do not think for a minute that I do not love you 
with all of my soul and light. I did this to save us, but now I 
realize, it just destroyed us. Please let go of my arm and I will 
leave and never bother you again."

 Natalie wrenched her arm free from his hand. Nick saw the expression 
on her face. It was one of physical pain. As Natalie brushed by him, 
Nick noticed a small blood stain along the side of her shirt. Nick's 
keen sense of smell had picked up a fresh blood smell when Lacroix 
and Natalie had stepped from the elevator but he had assumed it was 
from Lacroix.

"Nat..." Nick used his vampire speed to stop her before she reached 
the door. "What did he do to you?" Nick reached for the top button to 
Nat's shirt, but she quickly caught his hand.

"Nick, you do not want to see this." She pulled his hand down and 
away, but did not turn it loose. "Please trust me this one last time, 
you do not want to know..."

Nick felt anger rising again, but this time it was aimed at Lacroix. 
"Nat, I have to know what happened. I will kill him if he hurt you."

Natalie dropped his hand and retreated several feet away from him. 
"What did you  expect, Nick? The man was a Roman General who raped 
and pillaged his way across Europe. How many women do you think he 
had who were willing partners? Don't tell me you picture him and me 
together in a lusty, passionate romp between the sheets? It was not 
like you and Janette, Nick. I do not salivate over  Lacroix like you 
drool over her. How do you think I felt walking in on you and Janette 
over the years? Her lipstick smeared all over your neck and fresh 
fang marks on her shoulders and back..." Natalie stopped to take a 
deep breath. This was not where she had meant the discussion to go. 
"Nick, that was unfair of me to say. I'm sorry." She walked back 
towards him and looked into his eyes, "Please... let me go."

(end of 5)

The usual Disclaimers are at the beginning of part one.

The Last Tango
By: C.T. Brennan
( 6 of 8 )

Nick could not believe the roller coaster of emotion he was on. He 
had gone from total love for Natalie, to complete and utter contempt, 
back to concern and caring for her, all in the course of 20 minutes. 
"I do not know what to think right now, Nat. I do not know if we will 
ever be able to go back to the relationship we had. I do not know 
even know if I want to go back. The only thing I am certain of is I 
can not let you walk out that door. Please let me help you now." Nick 
placed a hand on her face, "Trust me once more..."

Natalie closed her eyes and nodded her head in acceptance. Nick 
gently unbuttoned her shirt and slid it down off her shoulders. He 
kissed her closed eye lids delicately before looking down. Nick was 
glad Nat's eyes were closed so she did not see her reaction to what 
he saw. Natalie's once silky smooth back was now covered with eight 
inch long scratches which ran the length of her back disappearing 
into her jeans. Droplets of blood still drained from the deeper of 
the gouges. It looked like she had been mauled by a wild animal, 
which Nick realized was close to the truth. "Natalie, I am so sorry," 
Nick whispered into her hair as he took her into his arms, careful 
not to touch her back. With a fluid motion, he swept her into his 
arms and took her upstairs.

He placed her on his bed, as he went into the bathroom to start the 
bath. With the running water to cover the noise, Nick put his head 
into his hands and cried. This was all his fault. If only he had not 
been so obvious about his love for Natalie, she never would have been 
hurt. He would kill Lacroix as soon as he had the chance. Nick wiped 
his face clear of the bloody tears he had shed and went to check on 
Natalie.

@---((-------

Natalie woke up in Nick's bed. She had always wanted to make love to 
him on these silk sheets. A lump caught in her throat when she 
thought of how much Nick must despise her now. Sure, he had been 
caring last night. Nick had run a bath and then, carried her into the 
bathroom, placing her in the warm water. At first it had stung her  
raw back. Nick had carefully washed her back. Afterward, he let her 
borrow his silk pajama top and given her his bed. Today,however, she 
wore the face of a whore in his eyes. She turned to look at the clock 
and realized it was early evening. She had slept through the day. 

Her back stung a little when she pulled one of Nick's shirts on, but 
she soon discovered the pain was bearable. It was the emotional scars 
from last night that still ran quick. She felt humiliated and ashamed.
 As she walked down stairs she could see Nick had left her alone. 
"Who could blame him?" Natalie said to the empty room. Natalie picked 
her car keys off the table and spotted a note taped to the 
refrigerator door.

"Nat, I've gone to the Raven. Wait here, please. Love, Nick"  it read.


Her eyes stayed fixed on the Last line, "Love, Nick." Was it still 
possible? Could he still love her? It took a minute or two before 
Natalie reread the first sentence and then she screamed, "No Nick! 
Not the Raven. You can't win!"


@----(((------

Nick entered the Raven with eyes already glowing red. The sea of 
mortals and immortals alike parted so he could pass. Miklos put a 
restraining hand on Nick's chest, "Where are you going like that, 
Knight?"

"Where's Lacroix? I have business with him that will not wait." Nick 
scanned the room and saw Lacroix as the Nightcrawler behind the mike 
in his studio.

The red, do not enter light did not stop Nick as he ripped the door 
open.

"Good evening, Nicholas. My you are in such a state tonight aren't 
you." Lacroix put a long playing record on and potted down the 
microphone. No reason to broadcast this dirty laundry to the greater 
Toronto area tonight. "Let me guess, you and Natalie had a fight?" He 
chuckled up at Nick.

Nick grabbed Lacroix by the collar and yanked him out of his chair. 
"What did you do to her? You bastard!" He threw Lacroix to the floor.


Lacroix's fangs dropped and he growled at Nick, " Get out of here 
Nicholas while you have the chance. I will not tolerate this behavior 
in MY house." Nick could not match Lacroix's speed as he leapt to his 
feet and pinned Nick to the wall of the studio. "I will say this for 
Natalie, Nicholas, she responds awfully well when you touch her 
doesn't she? She reviles some of the great enchantresses in history, 
I think."

Nick let out a canine wail and reached for Lacroix's throat, but 
missed and embedded his nails in his shoulder instead. "I saw her 
Lacroix, I want to know what you did to her and then I will kill you.
"

Lacroix grabbed Nick by the throat and hissed, "No one will die 
tonight unless it is you, my son. As far as my fling with the fair 
Natalie...I don't kiss and tell. I will tell you this much so you can 
picture it in your dreams. When she came, and she did come, Nicholas..
. she screamed your name." Lacroix tightened his grip and Nick began 
to choke. 

"Lacroix, let him go!" Natalie screamed as she pushed her way past 
Miklos into the booth. "Have both of you lost your minds? There are a 
lot of people who can see you and I don't think you want to spend the 
rest of your night hypnotizing this crowd."

Lacroix released Nick who fell hard to the floor. Nick was still in 
shock over Lacroix's words to fully comprehend how close he came to 
dying at Lacroix's hands. Natalie glared at Nick, "Nick, if you are 
done with your testosterone filled need to defend my virtue, I'd like 
a word with you." The words were still echoing as Natalie exited.

"You are a fool if you let such a prize slip through your fingers, 
Nicholas. Of course, there are those who would gladly relish the 
chance to capture her when she fell."

Nick could only stare at him as he spoke. He had nothing left to say 
to his master. Nick pulled himself  up and followed Natalie out into 
the bar.


Natalie stepped up to the bar "Miklos, can I get a drink? Scotch , 
Glenfiddish if you have it." Great, Nat thought to herself, now I'm 
stepping up to the hard stuff. She could understand Nick wanting to 
confront Lacroix after seeing the scratches on her back, but damnit, 
she was a big girl. If some guy mauled her during sex, it was her 
fault not Nick's. Leave it to Nick to feel guilty about HER betrayal. 
She cheats and he feels the guilt. Typical, Nick.

"Nat, can we go somewhere else to talk?" Nick said as he pulled up 
the stool beside her. He noticed her with a drink and was a little 
surprised. Nat very rarely drank and when she did it was not hard 
liquor. 

Natalie turned to Nick, "I don't know what else there is I can say 
Nick, except I'm sorry I hurt you." She drained her glass, "And that 
I love you, but nothing will change what happened."

"Nat...please." He stood and put a hand on her arm "Let's leave."  
Nick pulled a bill from his wallet and left it on the bar. "I know of 
a cat out there who is pretty ticked at his owner."

@-----(((------

They rode in complete silence to Nat's apartment. There was a flash 
of fur the minute Natalie made her way into the living room. "There, 
there Sidney. I've got some meow mix with tuna just for you." Natalie 
took Sidney into the kitchen and when she returned Nick was sitting 
on her couch. He looked as miserable as she felt, and she felt pretty 
damn bad.

"Well, here we are Nick. " She sat down at the table across from the 
couch. "Thank you for taking care of me last night, by the way. It 
was..." Natalie paused, "difficult and embarrassing for you to see me 
like that."

"I have to know what happened, Nat." It was a statement, not a 
question. Nick needed to know so he could put it behind him. It would 
be hard but he had to try. "I don't want to lose you. I don't want 
Lacroix to win."

Natalie rubbed her eyes, "I don't know what good it will do to hear 
about it Nick. It was terrible...worse than any nightmare."

"Was it?" Nick could not hide his bitterness. He remembered Lacroix's 
words from the Raven, '...she did come, Nicholas and she screamed 
your name.'  

Natalie looked at Nick with a shocked look on her face. "What did 
that bastard say to you? Did he tell you I was writhing in delight 
and that I was begging for more?" Nick could not meet her eyes and 
dropped them to the floor. "That's it isn't it? And you believed him 
over me! Perfect, Nick... just perfect."

"I don't believe him Nat." It came out as a whisper. "What I do know, 
is that I need to hear it from you. What happened last night?"

Natalie fixed her eyes to a place on the wall and started, " Lacroix 
took me to his apartment and we had a glass of wine. He asked me to 
refill his glass so I walked into the kitchen. I could not believe 
that I was there and what I had promised to do. Nick, I was so sure 
he was going to kill me. Anyway, Lacroix asked me about what it was 
like making love to you and I was describing it when he came up 
behind me. His eyes were burning gold and his fangs had dropped. He 
began kissing my neck then he tore my shirt off." She could not 
continue as the memory came to the forefront of her mind.

"Then what did he do, Nat" She looked at Nick and he seemed oddly 
calm. "Tell me everything."

She looked away, "He reached around and began stroking my breasts. 
His hands moved down my stomach to my, my...." She took a deep breath,
 "...to my crotch. He rubbed and squeezed while he was licking the 
back of my neck. He pulled my jeans down and ,I guess, at the same 
time , he took his pants off, I don't remember. I felt him enter me 
from behind. It surprised me. He forced my head down to the counter 
in front of me and held me down. He pumped a few times then I felt a 
searing pain down my back. I screamed the second time when I felt his 
nails scratch down the length of my back. He began licking the blood 
from the gouges he had made. The blood must have brought the vampire 
forth. He began to pump furiously into me, harder and harder. His 
nails scraped up and down my back , all the while,he was licking up 
blood from each mark he made. I know I screamed for you Nick... to 
help me... but it only made him laugh."

Tears were running full force down Natalie's cheeks as she faced Nick 
once more, "He stopped then. I don't know why. He said, 'You are mine 
now. Give my love to Nick.' Then, he went into the bedroom and came 
out with a shirt for me to wear. And now you know..." Silence filled 
the room, then, Natalie got up and went into her bedroom closing the 
door behind her.

Nick stared at the door for a very long time before leaving.

(end of 7)

Usual Disclaimers in Part one.

The Last Tango
By: C.T. Brennan
( 8 of 8 ) 

"Hey Lambert. Where have you been keeping yourself lately?" Natalie 
smiled as she saw Schanke enter the morgue door way. 

"Hi, Schanke. I miss you guys on the night shift, but I've been 
pulling the day shift the past three weeks." Natalie stood up from 
her desk," And you know, it is pretty boring around here in the day. 
How have you been? How is Nick?" Her words choked on Nick's name and 
came out as a squeak. Damn, she was trying to act casual but her 
emotions gave her away.

Schanke, put an hand on her arm, "Well, I have seen many a love sick 
cowboys, but my buddy takes the cake. What ever happened between you 
two can be worked out. Please talk to him, Nat."

"I would Schanke, but unfortunately it is Nick who doesn't want to 
see me. I have to honor his space." Natalie felt the tears again. "He 
has to come to me this time, Schank. Sorry."

"That is a load of cow paddy, Nat. It doesn't matter who comes to 
whom first. After you finally talk to each other, no will remember 
whose turn it was to make the first move." Schanke gave Nat a hug, 
"He loves you, Lambert. I may be biased, but I think he's and worth 
the ten minute drive from here to his loft."

He gave Natalie another encouraging hug, then left. Natalie looked in 
the mirror above her desk. "Okay Nick. You're getting one last shot 
at us." 

@---(((----


Nick stared at the ceiling. He had not slept in days. Everytime he 
closed his eyes his dreams filled up with Natalie.  They all had the 
same theme to them. She was in trouble but he could not reach her in 
time. "Just like that night with Lacroix. You called out for me, but 
I did not save you. I let you down." Nick said aloud as he finally 
realized what his dreams meant. He heard his elevator engage 
downstairs and he immediately jumped up  and flew to the stairs. It 
was her! He could recognize her heartbeat in his sleep.

The elevator stopped and the door pushed open. Natalie stepped off 
and was about to call out to him when she spied him at the top of the 
stairs. "Hi, Nick." That was the best she could come up with. He 
looked terrible as though he had not fed in days. Nick was very pale 
and  he seemed like a shadow against his black silk shirt. The 
silence was fast becoming uncomfortable. "Okay, Nick. You obviously 
aren't going to make this easy for me." She walked to the foot of the 
stairs and peered up at him.

"Nick, I am in love with you and I need to know if you are still in 
love with me." Her eyes locked on his to see is she could see his 
answer there.

Nick could not believe his ears. She still loved him after everything 
he had said to her. "Natalie, I love you more than life. When I said 
I'd love you  forever, I meant it. And forever is a very long time to 
someone like me." 

Natalie closed her eyes. Thank God he still loves me. When she opened 
them again Nick was beside her. He looked scared to touch her as 
though she was a delicate piece of crystal. " Will we ever be able to 
go back to what we were, Nick?"

Nick shook his head, "No, we can't go back, Nat." He lifted her chin 
and held  it tenderly in his hands. "We have to start over again. 
This time, Nat, I'm not going to wait 3 years before I kiss you." He 
carefully kissed her lips.

"How long are you going to wait before you make love to me this time?
" Natalie whispered up at him.

"How does five minutes sound?" He answered huskily. Natalie let her 
hands circle his waist and she pulled herself closer. "Sounds way too 
long to wait, Nick." She nuzzled her mouth against his neck and began 
a trail of kisses from his neck which led up his chin. She nibbled on 
his lobe and darted her tongue in and out of his ear with a pumping 
action. 

"God, Nat... you have no idea what that does to me." Nick's arousal 
was quite noticeable against her thigh.

"I think I have a general idea, Nick." Natalie dropped one hand down 
to the bulge in Nick's pants and gently massaged and caressed while 
Nick let out an responsive moan. She used her free hand to unbutton 
his shirt and pull it away from his chest. Natalie led her trail of 
kisses downward this time, stopping at his left nipple. It became 
hard as she slowly sucked and licked it. Nick's head dropped back in 
concentration as he battled the beast within. 

Natalie continued her journey south by smoothly undoing the buttons 
on Nick's 501 jeans. Her hands wrapped around his waist again as she 
drew him closer. Nick let out a half moan, half growl when Natalie's 
lips engulfed his shaft. Slowly, she pulled him into her mouth and 
sucked ever so harder with each thrusting motion she simulated with 
her mouth. One hand clung to his waist while the other massaged the 
area just below her mouth. Nick's breathing was becoming very rapid 
and Natalie knew he was almost there.

"Nat....No" Nick pleaded as he stepped away and pulled her to her 
feet. "I want to do this together."

Nick stopped her protesting look with a kiss. He pushed his tongue 
past her lips and began to explore her mouth with his. Natalie 
groaned slightly when Nick's hands found their way into her blouse 
and he began to stroke her breast. With vampire agility, he managed 
to remove her shirt and jeans without neglecting the duties his mouth 
was performing. It was Natalie's turn to let a desirable moan escape 
as Nick's finger entered her and began to pump in and out.

"You are so wet, Nat." Nick whispered appreciably into her ear. "I 
want you so much it hurts."

Natalie was lost in the sensations her body was being rocked by, " 
Nick, I'm yours...now and forever."

He looked down at Natalie and saw her eyes closed and her face 
flushed with arousal. He kissed each eye lid carefully. "I never want 
to be without you again, Natalie." She opened her eyes to see Nick's 
ever so blue eyes staring back. "Now, Nick..."

It was all the encouragement he needed. Nick wrapped Natalie's legs 
around his waist. He pushed both their bodies against the wall behind 
her. Natalie screamed Nick's name almost immediately after he entered 
her. Nick thrust deeply into her repeatedly, each time hearing 
Natalie's cries ringing in his ears. He felt himself delight in the 
sensation of the wetness and warmth of her.  Natalie's felt the waves 
hit her one after another as her body began shaking with orgasm. She 
was crying his name over and over when Nick heard his own voice 
screaming her name. His legs, racked from the sheer force of his 
release, weakened beneath him as they slid down the wall to the wood 
floor of his loft. 

Protectively, Nick slipped an arm underneath Nat's head and held her 
tight against him. He looked down at the still visible scars on her 
back. "Nat?"

Natalie murmured a barely comprehensible, "Hmmmm?"

" Will you marry me?" The words came out easily for him. Nick was 
never more certain of anything in his 800 year life.

Natalie lifted her head, "Yes, I'll marry you, but Nick there's 
something you should know."

"Whatever it is, it won't change my mind, Nat."

She pulled herself upright and leaned on his chest, "I think I'm 
pregnant."

The End