The Witness
by StormyNite
circa July 1997

Part 1

Natalie stood in the women's locker room brushing out her tangled mass
of hair. She stared into the mirror and turned sideways admiring the
changes she saw. She had taken up aerobics and swimming 3 times a week
at the health club that opened up 4 blocks from her apartment. Some
days were harder than others to get it in, but all the work was starting
to pay off. She hadn't lost any weight, but the stomach and thighs were
finally tightening back up.

This getting 'old' sucked. She was 35 and some days when she looked in the
mirror she looked and felt 50. Of course, her job was not conducive to pretty
clothes, sexy shoes and low stress. Working nights didn't do much for her tan
either, so this was the only step that had any chance of holding back 'Father
Time' and the 'Sag Monster'. Maybe it was because she spent so much time
with Nick that it was beginning to bother her. Even on a bad day he looked
great, but of course his metabolism and eating habits left a lot to be desired in
order to stay that way. There was a trade off for everything, but for now she
was going to stay with the gym. It seemed less stressful than becoming a
vampire.

Wow! Where did that thought come from? She stood staring in the mirror
and instantly opened her mouth to check out her canines. What would
she look like as a vampire? Would she turn sultry like Janette and
become body beautiful with hair that was perfect no matter what? Ha!
That was a laugh! There was a lot of things she was in life, but 'Miss
Body Beautiful' was not one of them. Nick didn't seem to mind that she
didn't have legs to reach the States and boobs that pointed to the North
Star, but he noticed when she looked nice--especially lately.

They had become quite close after Vachon's death and Divia's demise. Actually
life had been peaceful around them and LaCroix seemed satisfied to just have
Nick spend a couple hours a week with him. It was almost like he accepted
Nick as he was. What was she thinking? This was just the lull before the
storm and Natalie knew it. LaCroix would never let Nick have a normal life.
It would have taken the fun out of it, but for now Nat was going to enjoy all the
little normal things that they were getting to do.

It was like they were almost a couple. He had taken her dancing last
week on their night off, and a carriage ride through the park at dusk
last night. He had brought flowers to the morgue to cheer her up when
the 'guest list' got her bogged down as one hour seemed to run into the
next. He cared a great deal for her, but she could never get him to say
it directly. Of course, if she had been honest, she had never told him
she loved him either. It seemed like a big step and she wasn't sure
either one of them was ready for it. She was in love with him, but she
didn't want it to be one sided...been there, done that, don't want to do
it again. It hurt too bad.

Nat finished combing out her hair and threw her gear into the purple gym
bag she bought just for working out. The noise in the hall caught her
attention because of all the shouting. It was way after midnight and
the Health Club was technically closed. They stopped letting anyone in
after 11pm. Pam had left just a little while ago and Nat was the last one out of
the pool.

Nat carefully stuck her head out the door and spied the cause of all the
yelling. John Fervor, the owner, was in a shouting match with a young
Latino man over, from what she could surmise....was money. She
stepped into the hall quietly hoping to slip out unnoticed when the
younger man pulled out a 9 mm and shot John point blank in the chest.

Stunned with what she saw, Natalie dropped her bag. The young man
turned to see her standing at the end of the hall. Automatically he
lifted the gun as Natalie dove for the locker room door. The wood
splintered on the frame above her head as she rolled into the locker
room. Quickly she pushed the door closed and hit the bar lock.

Unnerved and terrified she bolted for the pool side exit. Within seconds she
heard gunfire as he blasted at the bar bolt. She had a 2 minute head start at
best. Natalie pushed open the fire exit at a dead run setting off the fire alarms.
She heard him hit the door only seconds
behind her as she headed down the nearest alley. Risking a glance over
her shoulder she watched him round the corner and plant his feet for a
shot. She dove behind a dumpster as the shot ricocheted off the metal
just below shoulder height. The sirens could be heard a block away.
The fire department was responding. She was trapped. If she ran, she
was sure to be shot in the back. If she stayed, he would just simply
shoot her as she stood cowering behind the big green metal monster that
now protected her.

She spied the grate beside the dumpster and took the only option she had.
Pulling with all the strength her 5'5" body could muster, she removed the grate
and jumped into the sewer. Thoughts of Screed assailed her as a giant rat
skittered in front of her. She took the first right turn and the second left she
found at a dead run. She stopped to catch her breath and listen. She could hear
running down the corridor parallel to her. He had guessed wrong. Quickly she
ran and changed directions again. At the end of the tunnel she noticed the
streetlight shining through another grate. She climbed the ladder and
pushed with her shoulder. The grate gave way easily and she leveraged
herself up onto the street. She was now in the warehouse district on
the South side. Not the best neighborhood, but not the worst either.
She ran to the nearest phone booth and dialed Nick's cell phone.

----------

Tracy stood looking over the body of John Fervor as the fingerprint guys
continued to dust the walls. Jerry from Castle Rock was covering for
Nat since it was her night off. "What you got, Jerry?"

Jerry looked sheepishly through his wire rim glasses at Tracy. He hated close
range shots...really messy. "Why was it Lambert always seem to pick the right
night to be off?" he thought as he continued to stare at the perky little blonde
detective in front of him. God...he hated perky. There ought to be a law
against anyone like that working night shift.

"Well?" Tracy tried not to sound impatient. She knew Jerry ran by his
own agenda and couldn't be forced into anyone else's timetable.

"9mm point blank less than a hour ago. The body temp is only down 8-10
degrees. Less than 3 feet from muzzle to impact. I'd say the guy was
standing right in front of him when he pulled the trigger.

Nick walked up beside Tracy as Jerry finished his little rendition of
the murder. "Trace, a woman across the street called it in. She said she saw a
woman run out the side door followed by a man with a gun. Sounds like we
have a witness."

Nick stared only a moment at the body. The fresh blood assailed him as soon
as he entered the building. It had taken at least 15 minutes from him to feel in
control enough to check the body. For some reason, he had been nervous
walking into the building. He couldn't put his finger on it, then it hit him.

Nick turned immediately and almost ran to the women's locker room down the
hall. There, at the entrance was a purple bag. One of the officers had tagged it
for evidence.

"Let me see it, Jason." Nick almost grabbed the bag out of his hand.
Tracy had followed her partner down the hall at a dead run.

"What's got into you, Nick?" She glanced at the bag that Nick held in his
hands. He simply stared at the bag and then shoved it back into the
officer's hands. He pushed the door to the locker room open and stepped
in.

"Nat?" He ran through the room to the pool side exit and watched the
officers at the fire door dust for prints. Panic had set in. Nick
listened and stretch out his senses trying to hear her heartbeat.

"Nick, for God sake what's got into you?" Tracy grabbed his arm as he
stood motionless by the door.

Nick turned panic filled eyes to his partner. "It's Nat's bag. She was
here. She must be the woman, running out the back fire door." Fear
etched his face as he spoke. "I have to find her."

"Nick, how can you know it was Natalie? You didn't even look in the bag
and the fingerprints aren't even back. You're getting weird on me
again."

"Detective Knight?" The young officer said hesitantly. "They said I
was to tell you personally."

"Tell me what, officer?" Nick waited for what he knew was bad news. His
heart beat twice in his chest as he braced himself.

"They found Dr. Lambert's car in the parking lot. There were only two
left. One belonged to the deceased and the other is Dr. Lambert's. They
said you should know." The young man walked away quickly.

Nick turned to Tracy. "That's how I know."

Part 2

Tracy stared in amazement as her partner stepped over the fingerprint
crew and out into the alley. It was like he had a sixth sense.
Sometimes, he flat scared her with the stuff he did. She followed him
into the alley.

Nick's cell phone rang only once before he picked it up. "Knight!" His
voice sounded ragged even for him.

"Nick!" Natalie almost cried with relief.

"Nat! Are you okay? Where are you?" His heart lurched again when he
heard her voice. She was alive. Her voice flooded his body with warmth
and relief.

"I'm okay. I saw him shoot John. He's been chasing me through the
sewers. I'm at 4th and Clayton. I don't know how far behind me he is.
Come and get me. I'm scared he will show up any second." Tears streaked
her face as she spoke breathlessly. Just talking with Nick calmed her a
little but her eyes continued to check the street for any sign of
motion. "Hurry, Nick!"

Tracy watched her partner as he talked on the phone. It was Natalie.
At least she was alive. For how long was debatable. Those two were
going to have to break down and admit just exactly how they felt towards
each other pretty soon, or the whole precinct was going to go crazy.
Friends? Right? Who were they kidding?

Nick hung up the phone and started down the alley at a trot. Tracy ran
to keep up as he yelled instructions to her. "Trace, the killer's been
following Nat through the sewers. I'm going to go get her. Tell them
to send several squads down the nearest sewer grate and the nearest
squad card to 4th and Clayton."

"Okay, Nick. Is she all right?"

"For now, but I've got to get to her before he finds her." Tracy
stopped as she rounded the corner and turned toward the police cruiser
coming up the street. Nick watched her turn and took to the air. No
time for cars. Natalie was in danger.

--------

Natalie paced in front of the phone booth and watch the alley behind her
intently. With a rush of wind that blew leaves everywhere Nat turned to
Nick landing beside her. She was in his arms in an instant. Relief
washed over her as his arms pulled her close and he buried his head in
her hair. She finally gave into the fear and began to shake, followed
by sobs. Nick pulled her closer and enveloped her in his flowing black
coat as she shook violently. In one swift motion, he scooped her up and
took to the air. She wasn't safe here.

Natalie clung to his neck as they became airborne and let the warmth and
security that Nick always made her feel wash over her. Minutes later
they landed outside the loft. He placed her on her feet only long
enough to enter the security code, then flew her upstairs via the
stairwell. He sat down with her on the couch still ensconced in his
embrace. She was weeping openly now and was going into shock. Nick
just held her close and let his hands gently rub her back and up into
her hair as she cried. He hadn't realized how much he was shaking until
she stopped one hand and held it in both of hers before she whispered.

"I'm okay, Nick. I'm okay." She let her eyes meet his and tried to
smile.

Nick cupped her face in both his hands, gently kissed her lips and
then rested his forehead on hers. The words lay unspoken between them
as they both tried to come to terms with their fears and feelings. Nick
pulled her back into his arms and buried his head in her hair. He
hadn't realized how terrified he was until he saw her standing there
all alone in the dark by that phone. She was his life, his hope, his
heart. If he lost her, there would be no tomorrow. When had he given
into this? It was always there, since the day he met her, but fear and
his conscience kept all that he felt for her at bay....It had to.
Falling in love with Natalie or letting her fall in love with him was
suicidal for both of them. He knew that.....She knew that, but it had
happened anyway.

His voice broke as he whispered into her ear and pulled her even
closer. "I...I thought I had lost you."

She wrapped her arms around him as he pulled her closer. She would
crawl in his skin with him if it was possible. She couldn't get close
enough, or have his hands on her enough. He was as scared as she was.
She felt it in his body and saw it in his face. He did love her. It
wasn't one sided on her part. That knowledge flooded her with relief as
they just sat there holding each other.

Nick's phone rang breaking the silence and the emotion that played
between them. Reluctantly he pulled out the phone and answered it.
"Knight!"

"Nick. It's Trace. Do you have Natalie?" Fear laced her voice as she
spoke. "The squad couldn't find anybody at 4th and Clayton. Tell me you have
her with you."

Nick smiled and winked at Natalie who listened to the conversation.
"I've got her Trace. I brought her to my place. I thought it was
safer."

"Is she okay?" Tracy was genuinely concerned. She and Nat had become
somewhat friends after her forced internship in body pathology
forensics. Natalie was the strongest person she knew and she was in love with
Nick. God only knew why, but sometimes she just wanted to smack him over
the head with a brick when they backed off from each other. She could not
figure out what their 'little problem' was, that Natalie mentioned several times
as an excuse.

"She's a little shaky, but okay. I'll bring her down later to look at
the mug books." Nick hung up the phone and laid Nat's head back on his
shoulder running his fingertips down her cheek as she rested there. He
loved to touch her. A sigh crossed her lips as she relaxed and almost
immediately drifted off to sleep. Shock was a strange thing for most
people. As she fell deeper into slumber, Nick lifted her off his lap
and stretched her out on the couch. Unable to tear himself away from
her yet, he grabbed a blanket from the back of the chair , covered her
and laid down beside her. It was cramped but she didn't seem to
mind as she molded her body into his and pulled his arm around her. Only
then did she drift back off to sleep. Nick snuggled closer, relaxed, and finally
drifted off to sleep wrapped around her.

---------

Nat had only spent 30 minutes looking at mug shots when the young Latino
man virtually jumped off the page. She would recognize him anywhere.
His good looks, coupled with those dead black eyes, were unforgettable.
It was as if life itself did not exist behind those dark pools. Reese
cringed when she pointed the photo out to him. There was no name under
the photo, just a number. That was rather unusual and usually meant
trouble. Nick returned from the fingerprint lab to find Reese yelling
over the phone at the top of his lungs.

"I don't care who you people are. You can't do that. She is a witness
not a hostage. She has rights." Reese's blood pressure must have
jumped 30 points and Nick was concerned as he listened to his heart.

"Captain, you have to calm down." Nick projected his hypnotic heart
beat in an effort to calm the Captain. Reese calmed slightly and
slammed the receiver into the cradle. He looked at Nick with something
between 'I can't believe this is happening' look to I have 'sympathy
for the condemned'.

"What is it, Captain?" Nick waited patiently.

Reese walked over to the door and called Natalie into the office with
them. He might as well tell them together, since it was going to affect
them both drastically. Reese had watched their relationship ever since
coming to Metro and marveled at their strength and their stupidity.
They were much closer than the 'friends' they professed to be, and this was
going to rip them apart. Life wasn't fair. He couldn't see another
alternative even with all the screaming he had done in the last hour.

The Provincial office was right. There was no alternative, if Natalie
intended to live to be 35. She had just been in the wrong place at the
wrong time, and now she was the only witness to a murder committed by
one of the biggest drug dealers in the Northern Continent. Her life.... as she
knew it.... was gone.

"Sit down, Natalie." Reese tried to sound calm. "I have some news about
your case that neither one of you are going to want to hear." He stared
at Nick and Natalie as they sat before him. He sat heavily down behind
his desk before he continued. "The man you identified, Natalie, is
non-other than Ramon Valvetti. He is the second largest drug dealer on
the Northern Continent, topped only by an American mobster by the name
of Yarborough. The Provincial office is coming to put you into
protective custody until he is caught and when the trial is over you are
to go into the Canadian Witness Protection Program." Reese waited for
the explosion which wasn't long in coming.

Nick jumped to his feet almost faster than Reese could follow, and
exploded as he expected. "They can't do that, Captain! Natalie is not
the criminal here. They can't rip her life apart in the name of justice
and expect her to thank them for it!" Gold flecks actually rimmed
Nick's eyes as he yelled at the Captain.

Reese had seen Nick angry, but this was not something he was prepared for.
There was more to Nick, than he ever let on, and Reese wasn't sure he wanted
to be around if he completely lost control. There was a violent side to Nick
Knight that scared most people, with good cause.

Natalie sat dumbfounded with her eyes as big as saucers. Finally, she
found her voice. Nick started cursing under his breath and pacing the
floor simultaneously. "They're wrong, Captain. I have no intention of
giving up my entire life because of what I saw." She locked eyes with
the Captain with a determined glare.

Reese had to admire this woman. She had been the youngest ME in the
history of Canada and a woman on top of it. She had fought and scraped
and worked unbelievable hours to achieve what she had. Asking her to
give it up was unfair, not to mention her relationship with Nick. He
should have known she wouldn't willingly do this even if it meant
saving her life. He needed Nick's support in this.

"Now listen to me, both of you. I know this isn't what you want to hear
but these are facts. Until he is caught, he is going to come after
you. You can send him to the gas chamber and he won't sit still for
that. He has money and power all across the continent. He will have
the best and most expensive hit men that money can buy. After you
testify, his organization will spend incredible amounts of money to have you
eliminated while the verdict is appealed. If you don't go to ground, you will be
dead inside a week no matter how good you are or how much cover we give you
from here."

Reese slammed his hand on the desk in frustration when he
finished. "I don't like this any better than you do. You are the best
ME in the city and I don't want to lose you. On the personal side, you
are one of the nicest people I have ever met." Reese turned his brown
eyed warmth on her before he spoke again. "I couldn't live with myself,
Natalie, if something were to happen to you because of this. You will survive
this and life will go on." He watched a single tear slide down her cheek as he
finished.

"Think about this before you react." Reese looked to Nick before he spoke.
"Both of you." Reese walked over to the door and left. He watched Natalie fall
into Nick's arms through the window.

"Damn!" He cursed as he walked away leaving them alone. He was not only
going to lose his ME but Nick as well. If the CWPP didn't let them go
together, Nick would find a way. He knew Nick. He was the best he'd
ever seen as a detective and a nice guy to boot. At least they would be
together. That gave him a little comfort, if only the CWPP would see it
that way.

Part 3

Nick held her until they both stopped shaking. He searched his mind for
possible alternatives, and for now there was none. The only choice was
to put Natalie in protective custody. She knew it and so did he. As he stood
there holding her and running his fingers through her hair, he realized that this
might be the last time he would ever get to do that. All this time, they had been
taking it slow, avoiding how they felt. Now, only to have what they both feared
most, happen before either one of them was ready.

It was usually Nick that left. Time had a way of catching up to mortals
and try as he did, it always ended the same way. Pain for him and pain
for them, so he avoided close relationships at all costs. Anger raged
through him with the circumstance before them, but there was no other
way to keep her safe. It no one knew where she was, then she had a shot
of surviving to testify, but could he let her go when the time came? He
knew the answer even as he let his mind ask the question. No, he loved
her and he was pretty sure she loved him even though neither of them had
said it. He thought if he didn't say it, she would be safer. Nat wasn't
one of those whinny women who had to hear all those pretty flowery
things to feel secure. She was happy with who she was, only now, who she was
had to change in order to survive.

"Nat." Nick's voice sounded shaky even to him. She needed him to be strong
now. They had decisions to make and he needed to know what she felt. Slowly
he made her meet his eyes. The pain and anguish behind her blue eyes almost
tore his heart out. God, he loved her. He had been a fool not to tell her.

"Tell me what you want to do, and I'll do it." He looked at her
hopefully. If she told him she wanted to do it alone, he would die as
certain as the sun would rise in the morning, but she had to decide.

She touched his face gently with her fingertips and saw fear. Was it
for her safety or for them? God she needed him to say it. She needed
him to tell her how he felt. She wasn't a mind reader, because if she
was she wouldn't be in this fix. She searched his face for answers.
"Nick...I....."

He never let her finish the sentence as he kissed her, first hesitantly
then with a fierce passion that curled her toes. She wrapped her arms
around his neck, gave into the passion and let the fire burn within the
pit of her stomach. When he broke the kiss, he whispered softly "I love
you, Natalie."

She pulled her head slightly away and stared into his beautiful blue
eye. God, she loved this man. Why hadn't she told him before. "I love
you too, Nick. I think I have since I opened that body bag. You
changed my life and I can't imagine living in this world without you."
She laid her head back on his shoulder and held him close as she
whispered in pain. "What are we going to do?"

Nick pulled her tighter as his mind search for answers. "You are going
to have to go with them until the trial. I'll see what the CWPP has in
mind. If they won't let us go together, I'll make us disappear. If
that's what you want?"

Natalie jerked her head off his shoulder. "Is that's what I want?
Nick, what do you want? I've already told you how I feel. Being with
me puts you in danger, not only from the drug people, but your own kind.
You know that and so do I. Mortals and vampires don't play house
together without a price!" Surely he understood what she wanted.

He searched her eyes and then smiled. "Do you want to play house,
Natalie?" He kissed her gently and then waited for her answer.

"Nick!"...She wanted to throttle him. "Tell me again and then answer
the question!"

He pulled her hard up against him as he spoke never taking his eyes off
hers. "I love you, Natalie Lambert, and I VERY much want to play house."

She smiled with relief and kissed him hard. As he kissed her back, she
let her tongue fence with his until she thought she would die from lack
of oxygen. Kissing a man that didn't need to breathe had some definite
disadvantages. She broke free to catch her breath.

"I take it that's a yes, to running away with me." She smiled for the first time
since this nightmare had started. It didn't matter what happened from here.
She and Nick would be together.

Reese popped his head in the door and smiled at the two of them in each
others arms, and cleared his throat before he spoke.

"Well, what do I tell CWPP?"

Natalie looked at Nick and then back to the Captain as she sighed in
resignation. "Tell them I'll go with them until the trial, after that
we'll have to see." Her eyes told Reese not to push it any further.

"They're downstairs waiting for you." He watched them tense and then pull
apart as he spoke. "Ah,... you both have to know they won't let you see each
other while this is going on. It would compromise security. Natalie will be kept
under lock and key until Valvetti is brought to trial." He wanted them to know
what was involved before they committed to this. "This may take months or
even years." They had to know what lay ahead of them. Life was not fair.
Damn he hated this part of the job.

"We know, Captain." Nick said quietly never taking his eyes of Nat.
"It's the only way she will be safe." He leaned forward and kissed her
forehead and pulled her back into his arms one last time. When he
released her, resignation was written on his face as well as pain. A
single tear slid down Natalie cheek and he gently wiped it away. "We'll
find a way, Captain."

Natalie reluctantly stepped out of Nick's arms and headed toward the
door and the Captain. Reese put an arm around her shoulder when she
reached him. Turning to Nick one last time she smiled and stiffened up,
bracing for what was to come. She was tough. She and Nick were tougher
together. They would find a way to be together. You can't play house
unless you're together.

Her eyes spoke more than her words. "You better get to work, Detective
Knight. The sooner you find that low-life slime-ball, the sooner I get
released from my cage."

Nick smiled and bowed from the waist. "Anything Milady commands."

Reese stood speechless at the two before him as Natalie slipped under
his arm and out the door.

--------

3 weeks later.

Nick and Tracy had been working 14 hour days (nights in their case), not
only tracking down leads on Valvetti, but handling their other cases as
well. Tracy watched Nick methodically eliminate possible locations on
Valvetti, as well as following any possible leads on 3 other cases they
were working on. He was stressed to the max. It was becoming more
evident every day. Sometimes as she watched him work, she could see the
pain behind his eyes. He was just so good at hiding what he felt.
Sometimes she just wished he would talk about it. She knew how much she
needed to talk to someone when Vachon left. Nick had been there for her
without even knowing it. He and Nat both helped her through it. It was
like they knew that she had lost someone important, and that only by being
around other people who cared would help her get through it.

She sat across from him going over the computer print out when he
finally threw the papers in the trash in frustration. Shoving his
chair back violently, he grabbed his coat and headed for the door.

"Nick!" Tracy yelled to his retreating form as he headed for the door.
She grabbed her coat and took off after him. "Wait up!" Tracy ran to
catch him as he pushed the door violently, almost throwing it off its
hinges.

He screamed loudly in frustration and fell back against the wall in
despair as his arms fell limply at his side. He stared helplessly at
the starlit sky above when she reached him.

"Nick, you have to talk about this." She waited and gently touched his
arm.

"I don't know where she's at, whether she's alive or dead, if she's
getting enough Chinese food, if Sidney's driving her crazy in a
hotel..." his voice trailed off and he let the pain grasp his soul.
"...I miss her so much, it physically hurts. Some days I get up and
pray that I could just hear her voice...anything. Am I going crazy?" He let his
eyes finally met hers.

The pain she saw in her partner tore at her heart. "No, Nick." She said
in whisper...."You love her."

The words hung in the air as Tracy waited for him to deny it and claim
them as just 'friends', but he didn't. He actually let her see the pain
without hiding it.

"I knew that a long time ago, Trace. It's just we've had some problems
to overcome and it's mostly me." Nick let his eyes return to the moon
above his head as he spoke. "I have to see her, Trace. I have to tell
her I love her one more time."

Finally he returned his gaze to Tracy. I can't do this. If we can't find Valvetti ,
I may never see her again. I may never get that chance.
I only told her once. I was a fool...."

Tracy grabbed his arm as he beat himself up. "At least you told her,
Nick...At least she knows you love her. That's more than a lot of us
ever have. To know you are loved by the person you love can keep you
strong... through even the worst nightmare. She loves you, Nick. She
told me so a long time ago." She waited for her words to sink in. Men
could be such idiots at times.

Nick pulled Tracy into his arms and hugged her gently. "Thanks, Trace.
I needed that." He released her and smiled. "I guess we better get
back to work, or I may never see her again. At least I know, if I
can't find her then neither can Valvetti. That's something anyway."

"That's right." She brightened, punched him in the arm and then pushed
him through the door.

------------

Natalie paced the floor until she had worn a track in the carpet. This
was her 10th hotel in 3 weeks. She had one of six men with her at all
times. The only time she was alone was when she went to the bathroom.
She had played cards, watched TV, and read till she thought she would
scream. They were nice guys, they just weren't Nick. They kept her
informed of the progress, which seemed very little in her opinion, and
every night she tossed and turned. She was stressed to her limit and
couldn't take anymore. She needed to see Nick. It was becoming an
obsession. She would ask one more time and then she was going to take
action.

Placing her hand on her hips, she approached Jenkins as he played poker
with Monroe. "Look, guys I've had enough. Either let me use the phone
or I'm going to become violent." Her blue eyes shot fire as she spoke.

Jenkins had come to admire this woman. She was bright, beautiful and
determined. She didn't whine like most of the people he had guarded
over the years, she just ask politely and wanted reasons for his
answers. If his answers were good enough, she left him be, if not she
came back at him. She had reached her limit. It was in her stance and
her eyes.

It was Detective Knight. The profile said they were close, but
obviously it was much more than that. She was in love with the guy.
That was a problem. Cops were not easy to control or relocate, but then
a ME was not going to be a picnic either when it came time to give her a
new identity. She was the youngest female ME in Canada. People had a
tendency to remember that. Coupled with her looks, putting her somewhere
where she would be happy and unnoticeable was going to be difficult. If
they had to relocate Knight with her, they were doomed. Simons was
certain putting distance between them would help neutralize the
situation. Captain Reese warned him they were closer than he thought.
Reese was not happy in the least. Not only was he losing the best ME in
the city but it looked like his best detective as well. Jenkins had to
admit Knight had found out more on Valvetti, with his partner, than the
whole CWPP could, but then again their specialty was new identities not
finding people.

Jenkins pulled himself out of his chair and used his placating tone as
if she were a child. "Look, Natalie, I know this is taking a bit longer
than expected, but you want to be safe about this. Phones are traceable
and cellulars can be overheard as well. Just be patient with us." He
reached his arm out to pat hers.

Natalie pulled her arm from his grasp quickly, doubled her fist and
belted him in the stomach. As Jenkins doubled over in pain and
surprise, she connected her left fist with his eye. She threw her
entire weight into the punch and Jenkins ended up on the floor. Monroe
was out of his chair in seconds and grabbed her from behind. She
shifted her weight slightly and turned in his arms. Staring him eye to
eye, she planted her knee firmly in his groin. He doubled over in pain as
Jenkins pulled himself off the floor.

Natalie stood back as they lay there groaning on the floor. She felt
better, oddly enough. At least she felt in control before she spoke.
"Look at you! You are supposed to be MY protection. You're both
pathetic. I've had enough. I've played your game long enough. I'm not asking
to go shopping in the mall. I just want to see Nick. That's
all! You can move me afterwards." A single tear escaped her eye. She
walked to the phone and dialed Captain Reese's desk. Even enraged she
thought Reese's number would be safer than Nick's. Jenkins helped
Monroe off the floor as his breathing came back to normal. He made no
move to stop her as she dialed.

Reese picked up the phone on the second ring. "Reese" He boomed over
the phone. He watched Nick and Tracy return after Nick's quick exit a
short time ago. He looked better.

"Captain, it's Natalie." Reese dropped in his chair at her voice and
stared at Nick across the room.

"Captain, Is Nick there? It's too dangerous for me to call Nick's
number in case he's being monitored." She was shaking as she spoke. If
Nick wasn't there, what would she do? What would they let her do?

"He's here, Natalie. Just a second I'll get him. Are you all right?"
Reese was concerned as well as surprised. How had she pulled this off.

"Please, Captain. I can't stay on the line long. Get Nick for me."

Reese laid down the phone and virtually ran out the door. "Nick, in my
office now!" It was a command, not a request.

Tracy and Nick stared at each other confused. What brought that on?
Nick simply shrugged his shoulders and walked into Reese's office.

Reese closed the door before he spoke. "Natalie is on the phone." He
pointed to the receiver laying on his desk and smiled.

Nick almost leaped across the desk in one motion, as Reese closed the
door behind himself. A trip to the water cooler was in order, maybe
even the vending machine could be coaxed into something edible.

"Nat?" Nick spoke hesitantly as his heart beat twice in succession.

"Nick, I can't talk long. I need to see you. I'm at the Hotel
Clarion. They won't keep me here long after this call. I told them I
wasn't leaving until I saw you." Unable to breathe, she waited.

"I'll be there in 5 minutes. Don't go anywhere. What room?" He
gripped the phone so tightly it almost snapped.

"809!" She hung up and finally remembered to breathe. Jenkins eyes her
carefully as he rubbed his jaw.

"I'll make the arrangements for the move while you talk. He can't come
with you. It's too dangerous and I hope he loses his tail because I'm
sure Valvetti has him covered."

Nat smiled at Jenkins knowingly. "There are a lot of things that I
worry about Sgt. Jenkins, but someone following Nick is not one of them.


Part 4

------

Less than 5 minutes from placing the receiver in the cradle Nick was in
front of room 809. He felt his heart beating repeatedly in the last 5
minutes. He had checked the halls, the garage, and the roof before he
knocked. No one had followed. He had made sure of that. He left the
car at the station and took to the air faster than the human eye could
see as he ran out the back door.

Nick knocked softly, only to have the door answered by Jenkins, now
sporting a swollen eye certain to turn black before the night was over.
Nick smiled when he realized who had given him his shiner. Nick
quickly entered the room and looked for Nat. Jenkins stepped
momentarily into the hall as Monroe stood quietly, gun drawn covering
both Nick and the open door. They were taking no chances. Jenkins
closed and locked the door. He shook his head at Monroe and he put
the gun away.

Jenkins eyed the blonde detective closely before he spoke. "She's in
the bedroom. You have 5 minutes together and then we're gone.
Understood?"

Nick nodded and quickly walked into the bedroom closing the door behind
him. Nat stood on the far side of the room where she had obviously been
pacing since she called. She flew into his arms as soon as he shut the
door. Relief and warmth flooded his soul as his arms captured her. His
lips found hers without hesitation. She ran her hands through his hair
and opened her mouth to his. She wanted to devour him, and he her, as
they let go of all restraints, all the bottled up emotions. He kissed her
lips, her neck, her eyes, her hair as his hands explored every inch of
her body. Natalie whimpered in need as she pulled his lips back to
hers. She wanted him here and now without any pretenses.

God, he missed her. Her touch, her warmth, her love rippled through him
as their lips met and their tongues dueled, but it was not to be
tonight. They had less than 5 minutes. Between kisses, he finally
pulled away. Somehow they had ended up on the bed with his body pressed
hard against hers. Odd, he couldn't remember anything but her warmth.
Her body arched into his touch as he ran his fingers over her flat
stomach to her breast. The silk of her blouse only made him ache even
more to feel her flesh under his touch. Natalie had ripped his shirt
open to feel his cool skin against her palm as his heart beat ever so
slowly against her warmth.

Jenkins knocked on the door softly before he spoke. "You guys have 3
minutes and the car is here...no more...understand?"

Nick released her lips with a groan before he responded. "We
understand." He couldn't take his eyes off hers. Gently he touched her
kiss-swollen lips as they lay in each other arms on the bed. "I love
you, Natalie. This is killing me by degrees....."

She stopped him with a kiss and then pulled his head to hers. "I love
you so much it hurts, Nick. What are we going to do? They will move me
and they may never let me see you again. I don't want to live without
you. There has to be a way." She looked to him hopefully filled with
love and faith.

There was only one way Nick knew that he could always find her. Were
they ready for this? Was she ready for repercussions if he couldn't....

"Tell me." She could read the fear and uncertainty in his eyes, then
she knew.

"There only one way, Natalie, and if I can't stop...." His love for her
and his fear of killing her caused him more pain than he could stand.
He began to pull away.

She held him tight. "No, Nick. You love me and that's what will make
you stop. It's our only chance, the only way you can always find me.
Please make me one with you. I don't want to die, but if it happens
promise me you will bring me across. I can live with anything as long
as we're together." She touched his face gently with both hands as the
tears flowed freely.

He kissed her softly. "With all that I am and all that I have ever
been, I promise you, Natalie, we shall be together. You are my heart
and my soul and I shall love you forever." His eyes turned golden and his
fangs descended.

It was the only answer. Just a taste and he would stop. Then they
would be connected. He could feel her no matter where she was. Natalie
offered her neck to him as he let her pulse radiate through him. Her
scent enveloped him, her warmth enticed him until he finally unleashed
the beast and planted his fangs into her soft neck. With the first
taste of her blood, he was lost. Her love for him exploded in his brain
as he sucked gently pulling her heart and soul with him. She caressed
him, wooed him, seduced him further into her heart until one taste would
not be enough. He pushed back with his love for her and their souls
bonded for all eternity. Her hopes, her desires, and his, all wrapped
into one, until the child appeared. She wanted their child beyond all
reason, beyond all rational thought and in one brief rational moment he
realized he did too.

With a power he did not know he possessed, the man controlled the beast
and he stopped. As he pulled back she begged him . "No.....Nick, don't
stop. Bring me with you." She pulled his head back to her neck and the
beast fought for control. The pain of not completing what he had
started weakened the beast and Nick threw himself across the room away from
her. In ragged breaths and physical pain, the man waged war with the
vampire.

Natalie slowly realized what she had done and automatically reached for
him. She stopped as she watched him labor to breathe and control the
raging monster within. Slowly she stood in front of him and raised a
hand to his cheek.

"No! Stay away, Nat!" His eyes glowed red as he spoke through his
fangs and pushed her hand away. "I..I can't...." Slowly he slipped down the
wall to the floor. The taste of her blood flooded his mind and body.
He wanted more. Just one more taste, one more little sip of this woman
who loved him unconditionally. The beast raged and demanded to be fed.
His body screamed at his mind's refusal to complete what he had started.

She stared in amazement as he fought for control. Only then did she
feel the connection between them. His love for her was the anchor to
the man. She fell to the floor on her knees in front of him and
clasped his hands within hers. She relaxed her mind and pushed forward
with her emotions. She let her love touch his heart and give the man
strength. When she opened her eyes, blue eyes stared back at her.

As her love flooded his mind, a warmth encased his cold heart that was
never before there, and the beast lost his battle. They had found the
doorway, forbidden between mortals and vampires, as they bonded through
a connection of blood and love. He pulled her into his arms until their
breathing became normal. When she lifted her eyes to his, she found
blue eyes filled with love staring back at her.

"They can never keep us apart. We are one, Natalie." He whispered
softly and brought his lips to hers. Jenkins knocked and opened the
door.

Nick and Natalie pulled themselves off the floor behind the door as
Jenkins stepped in. Jenkins quickly scanned the room in a panic until
he found them in the corner. The electricity in the room was almost
palpable. He could feel it as if he was attached to an electric wire.
What was between these two was something he had never witnessed or felt
before. They stood silently in each others arms as he watched.

"The car is here, Dr. Lambert." Jenkins felt like an intruder, but
there was no alternative. He knew, they knew and Valvetti knew it. This was
survival and nothing else mattered.

Natalie withdrew slowly from Nick, never releasing her gaze from his.
This time was different than the last. She could feel it. She could
feel him, and he, her. Before she stepped away she brushed her lips to
his. He pulled her back into his arms and let his lips brand her for
eternity. "I will always be close by... Know that."

She stepped away from him with a smile as Jenkins grabbed her bag on
the floor and ushered her out the door.


Part 5

-------------

Several nights later, Nick and Tracy sat in his car outside the
warehouse district. Nick's informant unwillingly came across with a name and
location. Carlotti was concluding the biggest deal in his career. Nick
had used his connections within the community and collected on every
debt owed by his people on the street. If they had a chance of ever
seeing Valvetti in this city again, it would be tonight.

Carlotti's limo drove silently into the warehouse on 9th. No lights, no
noise, only the gentle strum of the motor idling as they waited for the
door to rise. Within seconds the door slid up and the limo disappeared
within.

Nick took the back as Tracy called in the back up teams located
throughout the block. The surveillance van switched into the monitoring
mode with all the long distance listening equipment. Nick slid silently
through the rooftop entrance as Carlotti's men finished a sweep of the
warehouse and all the exits. When they finished , one of the men hit a
hidden switch on the wall and a section of the warehouse floor rose
quietly.

Carlotti's and his crew stood silently as 6 men with machine guns
walked up a ramp into the warehouse. Two of the men carried large
suitcases and sat them down by non-other than Valvetti himself. Ten
million in cocaine required personal attention. Carlotti approached him
cautiously as he eyed the black bags. No one trusted anyone present in
the room. Valvetti signaled for both bags to be opened as Carlotti
withdrew a knife and slit one bag in each case. After tasting both, he
motioned his man to bring the case from the car. Within seconds, the
money and drugs would be gone.

Nick pressed the silent signal and they closed in. Valvetti and his
men headed for the ramp, but not quick enough. Nick took out the guards
within seconds as Valvetti opened fired at the dark at a form he could
not identify. He threw the empty gun at the shadow and fled toward the
door. Nick appeared behind him in seconds. As Valvetti's hand reached
the door he felt himself thrown violently against the far wall. Nick
was on him in seconds, fighting hard to control the vampire and his
hatred for this man. He rolled him over and slapped handcuffs on his
wrists.

"I suppose I should read you your rights,..." Nick growled into his ear
as his forced him to his feet. "...but I don't want any questions about
you not being treated fairly so I will wait until I have witnesses."
Nick roughly pushed him up the ramp to the awaiting group of plain-
clothed DEA officers and Metro's Vice squad. Tracy smiled at Nick as
she watched him push Valvetti into the waiting arms of Ted Mason from Vice.
Ted smiled and started reading Valvetti his rights under the supervision
of two DEA men.

Step one was now complete. Valvetti was in custody and no amount of
money was going to buy him out of murder, and 10 million in cocaine.
Nick and Tracy finished up with Vice as Nick made his preliminary
statement of the proceedings.

Reese showed up at the scene 10 minutes after the announcement at
Metro. Cheers went through the building as Norma announced Valvetti's
capture over the speaker. A collective sigh of relief exuded from the
entire night shift.

"Congratulations, you two." Reese extended his hand to Nick and then
Tracy. "Vice and CWPP tells me they couldn't have done it without you.
It's a clean bust and there's no way he can walk."

"Thanks, Captain." Nick smiled only slightly. The stress over the past
few weeks was showing and Reese knew where Nick's mind was. Seeing
Natalie had calmed Nick a little, but they had a long way to go.

--------------

Jenkins informed Natalie of Valvetti's captured. She sat down heavily
on the couch when he went over the details. "Your friend Knight caught
him. It's a clean bust. They have him dead to rights with a 10
million cocaine deal and murder." He awaited her reaction.

Natalie simply stood, walked to the window, and peered out at the
Montreal skyline. They had moved her to Montreal the night after
seeing Nick. She overheard Jenkins telling Monroe there was no way
they could keep her in the same city with Knight. They were too close
and that was trouble. Distance was the only answer, so she was put her on a
private charter to Montreal.

Her thoughts were of Nick. Could he feel her in Montreal? Did he know
how scared she was? When she slept, the images kept appearing in her
mind...pain, death, blood, Alyssa, Janette, LaCroix and strongest of all
his love for her. They were all images from Nick's life. At times
they overwhelmed her until she thought she would go insane, then the
warmth would overcome it all. She pushed into it and bathed in the feel
of it. She let it consume all the anger and pain and then she was in
control again. She needed Nick even more now than before. He could
explain it to her...help her understand it. Damn it, who was she
kidding. Only the feel of his arms around her again would let her
sleep peacefully .

"How soon?" Were the only words she spoke as she stared into the
night.

Jenkins could sense her fear and marveled at her ability to hide it.
Only with Knight had he witnessed her let down her guard. They were
connected, these two, in a way that Jenkins could not explain, but he
knew existed. She would never join the CWPP without Knight. He was certain
and CWPP would fight it all the way, but for now they had to keep her alive
through the trial.

"I was told they will set a hearing this week and rush the trial due to
extenuating circumstances." Jenkins watched her closely as she stared
out the window. How much more could she take. He had seen stronger
people already crack under this kind of isolation and pressure. The CWPP
was not giving her any choices. The decisions had already been made.
She would testify and then disappear...without Knight. He was too well-
known and, after all, they weren't married. His supervisor had repeated
it to him a dozen times since she and Nick had been together. Jenkins
was sure she knew or at least guessed what the outcome of all this would
be.

Natalie turned her attention back to him. "So now I'm classified as
extenuating circumstances. That's delightful to hear. Next I will
simply be a number. It's good to know you people like to keep
everything on a personal level. It certainly makes my decisions
easier." Anger blazed in her eyes as she spoke. She walked to her
bedroom. As her hand reached the door she turned back to him. "Don't
bother to check on me, Sgt. I don't intend to jump out a 17 story
window and I DON'T think anyone feels like scaling the wall in 20 degree
weather. Goodnight, gentlemen!" Natalie closed the door and threw the
bar bolt.

"Natalie, unlock the door. You can't lock us out. You know that!"
Jenkins rapped on the door as he spoke.

"I CAN, Sgt., and I HAVE! At least this part of my life is mine again
and NO ONE has access to my bedroom unless I wish it."

Jenkins shook his head in disgust. "Women?"


Part 6 adult:

---------------

Nat showered and slipped into a silver, silk, short negligee. At least
if she was going to be locked away from the world, she could at least feel
feminine when she went to bed. She ran her hand down the soft silky material
and wished Nick could see her in it. The thought of Nick's hands on her
warmed her heart as she crawled under the covers. Nick said they were
connected through their blood now. Nothing was
stronger. Maybe even at this distance if she concentrated, he could
feel her. Valvetti was behind bars and the night was clear and cold all
across Canada. If he could feel her, he could find her. She lay her
head back on the pillow, took several deep breathes and let her mind
relax. She thought of nothing but Nick. The nights they watched
videos, the ride in the park, dinner and dancing all flooded her mind at
once. His images started to surface and she pushed into them. Some of
them frightened her terribly but they were part of Nick and she needed
to feel him. So she went with the fear and the pain as if it were her own.

-------

Nick threw his keys and coat on the table and headed for the fridge.
His thoughts immediately were of Natalie. She was not in the city. He
knew that much. CWPP must have thought there was to much chance for a
reoccurrence of the other night, so they simply removed her. She was
all right. He could feel that, but where she was, was unknown to him.
If she would push through their link, he could find her but he was sure she
didn't know how. There hadn't been enough time. Every night since they
parted, he would relax and push his connection out to her, but there was no
response. The waiting was driving him crazy and now that Valvetti was in jail
he had to see her...touch her....hold her. Slowly he placed the bottled to his
lips and drank. As the blood ran down his throat he let himself remember
Natalie's taste, smell, her memories. It was a physical force that almost pushed
him back against the refrigerator.

First Nick thought it was only her memories touching his mind until he
heard her call his name. Natalie was reaching into their connection and
Nick almost screamed with pleasure. He relaxed and pulled through their
connection. He let his heart and his mind drift to hers through time
and space. He could see the bedroom, the lights through the window and
Natalie as she lay stretched out on the bed. She had thrown off the
covers as she let herself go to their connection. The lights sparkling
off her negligee causing him to smile and reach out with his mind. She
awoke and walked to the window. Her eyes went to the neon sign on the
bank, she smiled....and waited.

Forty-five minutes later, Nick appeared at the window. Quietly Natalie raised
the sash and he stepped into the room. Within seconds her lips were on his as
his hand ran down the smooth silk of her negligee. The feel of his hands on
her were like cold fire everywhere he touched. All her fantasies could not
compare to what she felt as his tongue explored her mouth and he pulled her
hard against his body. His hands caressed her back as his lips left a trail of
feathery kisses down her neck to her breast. She arched into his touch unable
to get close enough to him.

As if he read her mind, he swiftly removed the negligee in one movement
and she stood gloriously naked in the moonlight before him. He stepped
back to drink in the sight of her as she whimpered when he pulled away.

Her blue eyes locked with his as she whispered softly. "I want to see you, Nick.
All of you." Lust and desire burned with every word as she
walked forward and ran warm fingers under his shirt up the flat of his
stomach. He gasped at her touch and pulled her lips hard against his.
He then broke the kiss and stepped back into the moonlight of the window
and undressed before her.

Unable to take her eyes off him, she stared at his perfect body and his
state of arousal. He wanted her and nothing in her life had ever
pleased her more. He stepped forward and slowly ran his fingers from
her hips up her sides, letting his thumbs brush her nipples, followed by
the rest of his hands. Her quick intake of breath pleased him as he
bent to lift her into his arms and carry her to the bed. He lay her
down gently followed by his naked body on top of hers and found her lips
with his. Natalie's hands roamed the hard planes of his back down to
his firm butt, pulling him harder against her. The feel of his cool skin against
her only made her hotter for the feel of him. He sucked her lips gently and
nibbled her neck as she moaned and writhed against the onslaught of his hands
feeling, caressing, rubbing her to the point of insanity.

His erection rubbed her inner thigh and she wanted nothing more than to
have him inside her completely. Sensing her need, Nick slowly caressed
her mound with his hand and let his fingers slip inside her wet core.
She arched toward them with abandon as his fingers played in and out of
her wet sheath. With each stroke, she thought she would explode as he
drove her closer to her release.

This was not what she wanted. Not like this. She pulled his lips back
to hers with one hand and stopped the magic he weaved with the other.
Finally she laced her fingers in his and locked her blues to his golden
ones. "I want all of you, Nick,...body and soul." Acceptance, love and
need filled her eyes.

Nick held her hands and sheathed himself in her in one thrust. Her
warmth surrounded him, bathed him in a feeling he thought he lost long
ago. He watched her eyes as he retreated and then plunged himself again into
her very core. She gasped with pleasure as she arched to meet him
stroke for stroke. Pure love radiated from her as he increased the
tempo and plunged deeper with each stroke. She released his hands only
to run her hands down his groin and to his buttocks as she pulled
with each stroke. He let his lips find her breast and suck gently at
first until the nipple became a hard rock under his tongue and still he
could not get enough. Her body began to contract around him as her
release began and she cried out his name. He silenced her cry with his
lips on hers and thrust deeper within her as his own body cried out for
release. Her lips, her heat, the scent of her body drove him onward
until he was insane with need of her as she came to him.

Natalie arched toward him as she rode the crest of her orgasm. "Come
with me, Nick. Feel all of me." She offered her neck to him and
shuddered in pleasure as he thrust one final time within her and planted
his fangs in her neck. He released himself inside her and let her love
flood his soul. With each drink of her blood he let her feel his
release and his love. The hope and love she felt for him was in each
drop of her blood and she willingly offered it to him until he didn't
need anymore. He withdrew from her neck and licked the wound clean as
she ran her fingers through his hair.

Nick pushed up on his elbows and gently thrust his hips forward with a
smile. Nat smiled at his actions and tried pulling him back to her
lips. He refused and nipped her breast instead. Gently licking her
breast, she felt him begin to harden within her as he slowly withdrew
only to plunge back within her now tight core.

He released her lips and smiled that devilish smile that always melted
her heart. "Me thinks, milady, that once was not enough." He let his
hands surround her face as he pulled her lips next to his only a hairs
breathe apart while he pushed deep within her again.

She whispered as she opened her self to him again. "Once will never be
enough, my knight...So be prepared from here on out." She let her
tongue trace his lips and then plunge into his mouth stroke for stroke as they let
the fire start again.

--------

They made love till dawn and collapsed in each others arms. Natalie
didn't know that such peace ever existed or such love. Each time they
made love was more intense than the time before, and she could not get
enough of him. When he drank from her they became one. It intensified
everything and she felt all that he had been and all that he was. All
the secrets were gone, and she loved him more.

Jenkins rapped softly on the door. It was still locked as he tried the
handle to enter the room. He honestly thought she would unlock it for
her own safety. After all, she was a bright woman and locking out your
bodyguards was not an intelligent move. Natalie roused from her
peaceful sleep as she heard the lock jiggle. Nick slept peacefully
beside her with his arms wrapped around her waist as she snuggled
against him. She didn't think Jenkins had a key but she couldn't take
any chances with Nick stuck for the day. Not that she minded but she
had to get rid of Jenkins and close the drapes before the sun hit the
bed.

Quickly she unwrapped Nick's arms which caused him to wake and listen to
Jenkins at the door. Nat quickly shut the drapes and grabbed her
negligee and robe from the floor and chair. She motioned for Nick to
hit the bathroom as she headed for the door. She watched Nick slip into
the bath and close the door only slightly before she opened the door to
an angry Jenkins.

"Okay, Sgt! What's the problem now?" As she closed the robe in front
of him, his eyes trailed to her barely covered breast.

"I...I...just wanted to check on you. You were a little upset last night and I
wanted to make sure you were okay." He was genuinely concerned for her and
more than just a little bit smitten.

Natalie watched the emotions play across his face and his reaction to
her attire as she closed the robe. He was a sweet man, and she was touched with
his concern but the entire CWPP attitude stunk in her opinion. It was obvious
that they were not making any plans for her and Nick together, so they had to
take matters into their own hands. It had
taken her a lifetime to find Nick and several lifetimes for him to find
her. Nothing would keep them apart now...not the CWPP....not
Valvetti....nothing.

"Thank you, Sgt. for your concern, but as you can see, I was still
sleeping. I have a terrible headache and I think I shall spend the
entire day in bed. If you could be so kind as to order me up some room
service, I will stay out of your hair all day today." She smiled and let one
shoulder of her robe slip off as she spoke. He was putty in her
hands.

"Do you need something? Aspirin? A doctor? Maybe a massage?" He
looked hopeful and let his eyes glance at her bare shoulder.

She watched his eyes and was flattered; however, she was sure Nick
wouldn't see it that way. She used her best professional glare when she
responded. Better to nip this in the bud, before Nick responded to it
in a less than gentlemanly way. "No thank you, Sgt. Jenkins. Just some
food would be nice. Make it steak and eggs this morning with a little
OJ on the side and no coffee. Okay?"

Jenkins smile faded with disappointment. Why had he let himself even
have those kind of thoughts. Business should never be mixed with
pleasure and he knew it. It was a good thing the Doc was smarter than
he was. "I'll order it straight away for you. Anything else?"

"No, thanks, Jenkins." Nat shut the door slowly in his face and locked
it again with the bar bolt. Nick walked out of the bath stark naked and
angry. Gold flecks edged his eyes.

She knew jealousy would rear it's ugly head over the massage
statement. She knew him well enough to predict that right on the
money. Well, to be perfectly honest, she knew everything about him. He
had let her feel it, see it and become one with it. It was strange but
all the fear she had felt before with the images were gone, replaced
with an understanding and a feeling of warmth that made her feel loved
completely. Was that part of the vampire myth or just Nick? At this
point she didn't care.

"Now, Nick, don't read anything into that. Jenkins was just trying to
live up to his macho bodyguard image that he has in his own mind...."
She smiled, walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his waist and
laid her head on his chest. "....but I'm flattered that you're jealous
anyway." She let her eyes twinkle as she smiled at him.

Nick's first impulse was to deny it, but he thought better of it when he
watched her smile devilishly. She knew him probably better than he did
himself. He let her see and feel things he hadn't dealt with in a long
time and she still loved him in spite of it all. He was a lucky man
...and yes, Damn it....jealous too when it came to Natalie. So he just
wrapped his arms back around her, buried his head in her hair and then
kissed her neck softly. "At least I know that you love me in spite of
the green-eyed monster."

She kissed his chest and pulled away slightly running her fingers down
the hard planes of his chest and abdomen ending just inches above his
groin and then smiled. "Yes, I love the whole package...green-eyed
monster and all." She grasped his manhood in one hand and his balls in
the other as he gasped and pulled her back into his arms.

"Maybe we don't need sleep at all." He said huskily as she massaged the
full length of him with her hand.

"No, maybe we don't."

He picked and they returned to bed.

Part 7

3 weeks later:

Jenkins watched the back window intently as the limo moved through the
heavy traffic toward the courthouse. The Doc had been incredibly calm
for the last 3 weeks. She locked herself in her hotel room at night for
privacy and slept till noon every day before she came out. He and
Monroe were becoming nervous about it, but she claimed nerves and cabin
fever as the cause. They had moved locations 6 times in 3 weeks, yet
she continued with the same ritual. She also had a ravenous appetite,
but she didn't seem to be gaining weight. If he hadn't known better, he
would have sworn she had company most nights.

Jenkins watched her sit quietly staring out the window. He didn't want
to be the one to tell her that CWPP wasn't going to relocate Knight with
her even though they both requested it. Somehow, Jenkins knew she
wouldn't leave without Knight, but she would have no choice after she
testified. Valvetti and his family had power all over the Northern
Continent, and as long as any of them were in power she was a dead
woman. Jenkins wasn't sure he would have the guts this woman had, let
alone throw away a career and lose the man she loved...and she definitely loved
Knight. Jenkins finally asked in order to put his own libido to rest. She was a
beautiful woman, one he admired beyond anyone he had ever met, but she'd
informed him kindly that her heart belonged to Nick.....no one else. They had
taken a lifetime to find each other and they would not throw it away no matter
what happened. Jenkins had tried to tell her not to get her hopes up, but she
simply tuned him out.

The trial had started at midnight for security reasons and access
was being restricted to only essential personnel. The court house was a
block away and she was being brought in the rear entrance less than
15 minutes before she was to testify. They were in communication with
the DA constantly. Fifteen minutes was to much time in Jenkins' opinion, but
that was as close as the DA could make it.

When the limo pulled up to the back entrance, they rushed Natalie in the
back door and up the stairs. Nick, Tracy and Reese stood at the door as she
entered. Natalie flew into Nick's arms the second she saw him. Nick kissed
her soundly until Reese cleared his throat. "You two are going to have to break
it up before we draw a crowd and it won't be because she's the star witness."
Reese chuckled as Natalie blushed to her toes and Nick smiled wickedly.

"We have to get you into the hold room until it's time for you to
testify." Reese said calmly and pointed to the room at the end of the
hall.

A crowd was beginning to gather around the corner as the last witness
walked out, escorted by 4 officers. Everyone in the building had been
screened 4 times getting to the 4th floor. Walk-through and hand-held
metal detectors were used on everyone. Unless you had a badge and were
known by one of six people in charge, guns were not allowed. Press was
restricted to a minimum and the remaining entourage clamored for info at
the front of the courthouse. This was biggest trial to hit Toronto in 25 years.
Pictures of Natalie had been held from the press, as well as her identity. CWPP
had seen to that, as well as Metro. They were
protecting their own. Rumors of hired assassins flooded Metro daily as
CWPP used their Interpol connection to verify their authenticity.

In the instant it takes to breathe, a smoke bomb was shot through the
4th floor window. The hallway was instantly filled with smoke as a shadow
caught Nick's eye. He pushed Natalie toward the stairwell door instead of the
holding room as another shadow appeared in the smoke.

Jenkins screamed "Get her out of here, Knight!"

Natalie threw her weight against the stairwell door only to find it locked. Nick
watched the shadow take aim with a small object. Nick fired his 9mm 3 times
as he shoved Nat to the floor and covered her body with his.

"Where are they, Nick? Can you see them? " Nat was shaken but still in
control. Now was not the time for panic.

"One's down and the other is in the holding room."

"Nick!" Tracy screamed from the far hallway. "We've got this one. Get
the one in the holding room."

Nick didn't want to leave Natalie and she sensed it. "Nick, if you
don't go get him, I'm never going to get out of here." She smiled and
kissed him quickly. "Now go get him!"

Nick, using vampire speed, crashed through the door, rolled and fired
blind into the room. Within seconds glass could be heard as Nick dodged
a crossbow arrow and appeared behind his assailant in full vampire
mode. Terrified at what he saw before him, the man jumped out the
window. Nick didn't bother to check as he raced back into the hall to
Natalie. She was already running toward him after hearing the breaking
glass. The smoke was beginning to clear as Tracy, Reese and Monroe had
one assailant cuffed up against the wall and Jenkins knelt beside a
second on the floor. Nick held Natalie and caught his breath.

The DA opened the side door and stuck his head in. "I see you have this
all in hand, Detective." He smiled at Nick. "It's her turn."

Natalie started for the door. Nick heard glass breaking and threw
himself toward Natalie at inhuman speed. The sickening thud of
something heavy hitting bone filled the air. Natalie screamed as Nick
hit her full force and pushed her to the floor. Tracy and Reese opened
fire through the window at the man on the rooftop next door.


Part 8


Nick rolled off Natalie as she screamed. Blood poured from his shoulder
as the fire burned through his body. The arrow entered through Nick's
back and protruded through his chest right above his heart. Gasping
for breath as the pain racked his body, he stood and threw his back
against the wall forcing the arrow almost completely through his body.

Natalie tried to steady him as he slid down the wall to the floor. They
were using crossbows with solid wooden arrows to evade the metal
detectors. Nick stared at the end of the arrow and then at Natalie as
terror gripped her heart. The pain that racked his body showed in his
face as his eyes began to change and his fangs dropped. "Nat?" His
voice was a ragged whisper.

Natalie instinctively grabbed the wood shaft and pulled it free as Nick
screamed in agony. Quickly she pulled him into her arms and buried his
head in her hair. "Breathe slow, Nick, and keep your face in my hair so
they can't see your eyes." She whispered as she held him tight against
her chest and prayed.

"Natalie, what have you done?" Reese was the first to get to the couple
on the floor.

Jenkins stood motionless as he watched the scene unfold before him.
Knight had thrown his body in the way of the arrow, and the Doc had just
ripped it out of him without blinking an eye. The scream from Knight
was almost animal-like in nature. What was she thinking? He would
bleed to death before the ambulance got here.

Nick's breathing was slowing and that ragged rattling sound from his chest was
gone. His kissed her neck through her hair and pulled himself
away. Blood covered her blouse as she met his now blue eyes. He raised
his hand to wipe the smudge of blood on her cheek away and managed a
weak smile.

"You okay?" The effort made him cough slightly as he fought for
control.

She grabbed his hand on her cheek. "I'm okay, my love." Her eyes were
filled with fear and love. Gently he touched her lips as he labored to
breath and pushed out with his mind through their connection. She felt
it instantly and gave him her strength in return. Her warmth flooded
him with strength and he relaxed into it. He would survive. They would
survive and she had to finish what was started. "Go...Nat....go and put
that bastard away. Don't leave them any room to doubt....then we are
out of here.....Understand?" This was all for nothing if she didn't
testify.

Tracy knelt beside Nick and placed pressure over the wound. The
paramedics were coming up the stairs. When the gunfire started the
building was sealed off and the elevators shut down. Police covered all
the exits.

"I'll go with him, Nat. You go finish this." Tracy touched her arm to
bring her back to the situation at hand.

Natalie turned to Trace as if noticing her for the first time. "Take
care of him, Trace, until I finish this." She leaned over and kissed
him gently. "I love you, Nick Knight....and a promise is a promise. I am
holding you to our arrangement." Jenkins offered her his hand and she stood
slowly never letting her eyes leave Nick's.

"I'll be waiting. Go on! The DA can't do it without you." Nick smiled
and watched Jenkins usher her into the court room.

-------------

Tracy watched the emotion and pain play across Nick's face as Natalie
walked through the door. He had to be in incredible pain yet his
breathing was getting stronger each minute. The bleeding seemed to have
slowed as she kept pressure applied to his chest. The paramedics came
and placed a pressure bandage over the wound and loaded him on the
gurney. Tracy stayed with him the whole time. Maybe it wasn't as bad
as they thought. Nick seemed to be in control until the paramedic
bumped his shoulder. They tried to take his blood pressure, but Nick
pushed them away telling them he was okay. The paramedic tried to make
him be reasonable, but he threatened to take him out if he pushed it.
That was her partner, 'Do it my way or we don't do it at all'. As the
paramedics started to load him into the ambulance he grabbed her hand.
He was so cold, yet his strength was incredible.

"Ride with me, Trace?" He held her hand tightly as he spoke.

Tracy recognized fear when she saw it. She had only witnessed it once
from Nick and it wasn't for himself. This time it was different. He was
paler than normal, if that was possible, and his lips were almost gray.
Why hadn't she noticed that before. His blue eyes were flecked with
gold and screamed pain as he spoke. Without hesitation she jumped into
the ambulance beside him.

The paramedic moved to the side as the blonde sat down beside him. He
was obviously not too badly hurt, but he needed to monitor him closely. It was
his job. "You're going to have to let me hook up these monitors, Miss."

Tracy moved over as he started to hook up all the equipment. Nick grabbed the
young man's sleeve and locked onto his heartbeat.

"You don't need any of this equipment, William. I am fine. You're just
taking me to the hospital to be checked out. Nothing to worry about."

"Nothing to worry about." William repeated the words and disconnected
the monitors.

Tracy stared at Nick. He had just whammied the paramedic. She had
watched Vachon do it enough times to recognize it. Her eyes locked with
Nick's as the gold edged closer to the surface. He was fighting the
pain and losing. Tracy went from shock to anger and finally fear, all
in a matter of seconds. Her partner was a vampire and he just took a
10 inch wooden arrow through the heart. That was why Natalie ripped it
out. Natalie.....Natalie knew he was a vampire. That was their little problem!

Nick was a vampire. Of course he was a vampire...sun allergy, pale, never eats
solid food. She was an idiot. Why hadn't she seen it before? The questions
kept forming in her mind and her anger returned.

"Why, Nick? Why wouldn't you trust me?" She touched his shoulder to
check the wound. Pain screamed through his body as she removed the
bandage. He needed blood and he needed it soon or his fight was over.
Tracy watched his eyes turn gold and his fangs drop. He was losing
control. He needed blood, that much she knew, but how much before he
could control the beast again. The attendant sat facing the front of
the ambulance totally oblivious to anything going on behind him. Tracy
spied the blood cooler across from Nick. He was coughing blood now.
She had to hurry and she had better be right or Nat was going to kill
her.

Quickly she reached across Nick's stretcher and pulled a unit of blood
from the cooler. She found scissors in one of the drawers by her side.
Slitting the top of the blood bag she placed the unit to Nick's lips.
As the first drops of blood ran down the back of his throat, he grabbed
it from her. Wasting no time he planted both fangs in the bag and
drained it completely. Trace reached for another and handed it to him.
He drained the second bag as they pulled into Emergency and the back
doors of the ambulance were thrown open. Tracy grabbed the empty bags
as they pulled him out of the back. The movement was causing pain, but
the blue color had returned to his eyes. He searched her eyes for understanding
and found acceptance. He had misjudged her again.

Part 9


Tracy scurried out of the ambulance and planted herself by Nick's side.
He was going to need some interference if he was going to pull this
off. He was still so pale. Vachon had told her a long time ago that a
wound to the heart took longer to heal and was extremely painful.
Without vampire blood to speed the healing process, it could take a long
time to heal to the point that you felt you weren't going to die. He spoke from
personal experience of course, having been staked twice in his lifetime.

Since Trace didn't know any other vampires personally, she knew Nick was
in for a long painful time. With Natalie out of the loop, blood was
going to be a little more difficult to attain as well. A nurse rushed
the gurney as they entered emergency.

"Miss, you're going to have to wait over there while we work on him."
She pointed toward the waiting room and the information desk.

Tracy stared straight into the nurses eyes and spoke with as much
authority she could muster under the circumstances. "Look, nurse...'this' man
is a police detective and my partner. Someone is trying to kill him and until
some uniformed officers get here, I'm his only protection. I'll stay out of the
way but I'm with him no matter where he goes. Got that?" Tracy planted her
arms across her chest.

The nurse eyed Tracy suspiciously. "Do you have any proof of that?"

Tracy flashed her badge and the nurse shook her head in acceptance as
they moved Nick into Emergency Room 3 and shut the door. The nurses, in
tandem, moved Nick from the gurney to the table. As his shoulder
touched the table he groaned in agony. The nurses attached monitors and
cables with the efficiency only accomplished with enormous amounts of
practice. Dr. Helen Morris entered the room and grabbed the chart on
the door.

"Fill me in, Eileen." She looked to the head nurse connecting the heart
cable monitor.

"Stab wound to upper left shoulder by what I'm told was a wooden crossbow
arrow. He's a police detective and that's his partner back there." She motioned
with her eyes toward Tracy standing quietly at the
door. "She won't leave him. Says he's in danger, and she's his
protection until the uniforms get here. We got no vitals or stat's .
William was playing doctor again, and claimed the wound wasn't serious.
He said the guy refused to have him check him out. Frankly, he looks
like crap to me and he's lost enough blood for two from the looks of the
stretcher and the table."

Nick finally lost the battle when they moved him to the ER table and
blacked out from the pain. Dr. Morris moved the nurses aside and began
checking the patient. When she checked his pulse, and found none, she
immediately panicked. Respiration was almost non-existent and
no heartbeat could be felt. She immediately pulled the bandage from the
wound to stare at a gaping hole over his heart and then she looked at
his face. She gasped quickly and pushed the bandage back over the
wound to avoid prying eyes. Immediately she turned to Eileen and Carol
as they scurried to complete the triage set-up for a serious wound.

"That's okay, ladies. This time William was right. It's a minor
wound. You go help Jake in number 4. He has a kid on a bike accident.
He's a mess. I can handle this one by myself." Helen Morris gazed at Tracy
who stared intently at her.

"Okay, Helen if you say so." Carol and Eileen stared momentarily at
each other in confusion but left as they were directed.

Helen Morris pulled all the monitors from Nick immediately and grabbed
the blood bag on the IV stand hurriedly. Quickly she attached a 16
gauge needle to the IV set-up and placed it into Nick's abdomen. Tracy
walked to Nick's side as she watched in amazement. Dr. Morris opened
the release valve and let the blood flow freely into Nick's stomach and
then met Tracy's gaze. "I assume you realize that this is a lot more
serious than I just told them." She waited for Tracy's reaction before
she continued.


Part 10

-----------

"You know what he is?"

"I know he saved my life and my daughter's 3 years ago because of what
he is." She looked to the young woman in front of her for
understanding. "I also know that if people had any idea that he or
others of his kind existed, our society would return to the 13th
century. I don't know who would survive this time, since I have no idea
how many of his kind exist.... and believe me I DONšT want to know."

She turned back to Nick and pulled the bandage off his shoulder. She
and Tracy watched his wound start to close right before their eyes. "Imagine
what you could learn from studying him closely. His metabolism is
incredible." She turned back to Tracy before she continued. "I don't
know what else to do for him. I just assumed the blood would help him
because it did before. Aside from that little piece of information, I
am at a loss as what to do for a wounded full-fledged vampire." She
looked hopefully at the young blonde before her.

"He's really a police detective or was that a line?"

"He's really a police detective, and a very good one as a matter of
fact...and I am his partner. My knowledge about vampires is quite
limited as well. I'm afraid the one person who could help us just pulled that
stake out of his heart and will be put in protective custody for God
knows how long."

Nick began to moan on the table and tried to move. He kept repeating
Natalie's name over and over again as he struggled to consciousness.
Helen Morris held the needle in place as he struggled while both women
tried to keep him from thrashing around to much.

"Nat?.....Nat?" Nick could hear her calling to him through their link,
but the fire in his shoulder hurt to much for him to concentrate. He
could see her, almost touch hear when the blood flooded his system.
Someone was giving him blood directly into his stomach and his body was
responding. He relaxed to the soothing feeling it caused throughout his
body and let himself heal. Slowly he began to fight his way through the
fog and he heard Tracy calling his name.

"Nick....Come on. You have to help us here. Nick? Can you hear me?"

Nick slowly opened his eyes. Gold tinged the edge of his baby blues as
he came fully awake. His body screamed for blood and both heartbeats in
the room beckoned to him. His fangs dropped automatically and Helen
Morris backed up quickly as he sat upright on the table and jerked the needle
from his stomach. Nick stared at Tracy, then Helen, and tried to remember
what happened and where Natalie was.

"Nick?" Tracy whispered hesitantly. She was on the verge of fear. She
had seen Vachon vamp out and it terrified her, but for some reason
seeing Nick like this after all they had been through together
frightened her more. He radiated age and bloodlust. How could he have
controlled it for so long without her ever having known? How old was
he? Could he control it now in this kind of pain? Were they dead
women? Questions flooded her mind as she stared at her partner and
friend.

Nick eased off the table still in visible pain as he grabbed his injured
arm and cradled it in his good one. Searching the room he spotted the
additional blood bags on the far table. In less than a minute he had
drained all 4 bags. Tracy approached him cautiously as he sat down
heavily on the floor and leaned his head against the wall. Nick closed
his eyes and let the blood heal his body. With each breath he took,
his strength slowly returned and the fire lessened in his shoulder. He
needed vampire blood, but human blood would have to do for now. The
next question was what kind of damage control was needed to keep
everyone alive.

Tracy knelt on the floor in front of him and touched his cool hands.
She was no longer afraid. No matter what he was, Nick was still her
partner and all of a sudden a thousand little mysterious pieces fell
into place. In a way she was relieved. At least it all made sense now.

Nick slowly opened his now blue eyes to her touch. He watched the
emotions play across her face as she conquered her fear. "I guess since
you didn't put that stake back in my heart, that I owe you an
explanation." He smiled that boyish smile that even Tracy couldn't
resist. There was just something about him. It was his incessant need
to help people and do the right thing. He was the proverbial boy
scout. That's why she never suspected he was a vampire. Up until a few
minutes ago, she had never felt the evil around Nick, like she had
Vachon and the others she'd met.

"You owe me a bit more than a little explanation, partner...and we are
not going anywhere until I get all the answers." Tracy glared at Nick,
but relaxed as well.

Helen Morris slowly walked over to them as they sat on the floor. Nick
watched her cross the room and he remembered her instantly. When his blue
eyes met hers, she realized the man who saved her 3 years ago was back
in control. She knelt down beside them and smiled. "We seemed to meet in
the worst of circumstances, Mr. Knight, or should I say Detective Knight?"

"It would appear so, Helen. How is your daughter?"

"Better than you at the moment... May I make a suggestion? Why don't we
put you in a room for awhile, so as not to draw attention to your injuries.
Some of my staff would start questioning my abilities if I let you walk out of
here after what they saw." She smiled, hoping he would agree.

"I don't think Jenkins and Captain Reese would believe you are capable
of going home right away either, Nick." Tracy chimed in. In actuality,
she really was worried about him. She knew he had to be in a great deal of
pain.

Nick smiled and nodded in agreement. "You're the doctor. I'll play
patient for 24 hours if you can keep my room dark enough." Nick started
to get off the floor and became immediately dizzy. Helen and Tracy
caught him before he passed out. They guided him back to the bed he'd left
only minutes before. He winced in pain as they lowered him back to the bed.
Gold flecks touched the edge of his eyes when he opened them again. "I
guess maybe I need a little more blood as well."

"I'll send it up when we get you in a room. You're going to have to let
the nurses hang the bags or it will look at little strange." She forced
a smile but was genuinely worried.

Nick had played the game long enough to know how to do damage control.
He was just relieved that the good Dr. Morris was as concerned as he.
She walked to the door and called Eileen in the hall.

"Eileen, could you get the good Detective here a room for the night? I
put quite a few stitches in him and I want to keep him for observation.
His partner here is going to stay with him until the uniformed officers
arrive. He will need a room in the North wing with no window due to his
sun allergy. Can you see to it?"

"Right away, Dr. Morris." Eileen took the chart and went to set up the
room.

"That's done. Now I'm going to go find you some extra high hemoglobin
plasma for dinner." She breezed out the door with a smile.

Tracy finally turned back to her partner. "Well, partner? You want to
start with the explanation now or later?" Tracy was not going to cut him
any slack. She wanted the whole story, about him and Natalie.

"Where would you like me to start?" Nick raised one eyebrow and smiled.

"How about how old you are first....and then we can jump really quick to
you and Natalie and just what you have in mind for her." Tracy wanted
straight answers with no cat and mouse games. For some reason, she still
trusted Nick and she wanted to believe he was still trying to do the right thing.

"I'm a little over 800 years old. I was brought across in the year 1228
after returning from the crusades for the second time. I was tired,
disheartened and I made the mistake of trusting a beautiful woman.
Little did I know that I would pay for that poor decision for centuries."
Nick stopped to watch her reaction.

Tracy sat down dumbfounded. "You're 800 years old? Vachon was only
450." Then the pieces all started coming together. "You and Natalie
knew about Vachon. That's why you were so close for awhile. I was
beginning to think you had second sight. You were helping Vachon
weren't you, Nick? I mean helping protect me from the enforcers."

"I see Vachon was more than a little informative about the
community....but the answer is yes. You were my partner, so it seemed
like the right thing to do."

"What about Natalie, Nick? You love her....don't you? How long has she
known?" The questions kept coming and Nick patiently answered each one.

-----------------

Natalie finished on the witness stand and was led into the private
chambers of the judge. She waited patiently for the DA to return, with
Jenkins at her side and Monroe outside the door. She had been on the
witness stand for most of the day when the defense finally gave up trying
to break her story. The DA smiled and gave her the thumbs up on her
testimony. She overheard the DA tell Jenkins that all they had to do
was keep her alive until the appeal was finished. Valvetti would
appeal. It was a given, especially when the only possible outcome was
death row. The judge's chambers were chosen at the last minute for
security reasons and location. It was the least accessible and the
fewest entrances. CWPP was taking no chances. The DA arrived bearing
good news.

"We nailed him, Natalie. His guys are squirming. He will appeal, so we
are going to have to ...."

"Don't even let it cross your lips! I am NOT going anywhere but to the
hospital! I don't care what the risks, or the problems, or what anyone
says! I have been more than congenial about this whole situation, but I
am NOT going to be locked away from life! I will NOT let that piece of slime
in there have more of a life than I can! So get OUT of my way!" She
stormed past him and Jenkins and headed for the door. Jenkins grabbed
her arm to stop her.

"The last time you tried stopping me, Sgt. I believe you sported a
black eye for a week." She had all she was going to take. The CWPP didn't
care about her as a person. She was just a convenience and a means to an
end. She had never been a number on some file and she had no intention
of starting now. If they wanted her testimony, then it would be on her
terms. She had done her job and now it was time for them to do
theirs. "I believe my job is done here, for now." She pulled her arm
free and pushed out the door.

"Natalie, he will kill you." Jenkins cared but he couldn't blame her.

Natalie turned and walked back to him. "Tell me your boss was going to
let Nick and I stay together....tell me." She waited and his eyes told
her the answer. "That's what I thought. I told you the terms of my
confinement. I have lived up to mine. The trial is over, not my
life." She turned and walked out the door.


Part 11

-------------

Tracy sat by Nick's bedside all day. He answered every question she
asked. He had pushed himself beyond his limits. His shoulder was
healing, but slowly and the blood supply was limited. Dr. Morris could
only arrange so much without suspicion. He was still in pain and it
showed in his eyes. After awhile he gave into it and slept. Each
time he woke, he called for Natalie. He said they were connected and
they would find a way to be together. He told her why he became a cop,
and his desire to be mortal, but Natalie was his heart. Tracy only
hoped he was right. The CWPP had other plans.

Natalie slipped into the room just after dusk. Tracy stepped out of the
shadows with her gun drawn until she recognized Nat. Natalie rushed to
Nick's side. He was in a deep sleep bordering on unconsciousness. She
brushed his hair from his face and gently kissed his lips as he slept.

"He's been in an out most of the day. We can't get enough blood to him
at once. It starts to heal and then reverts after a short period of time." Trace
looked to Natalie for answers.

"He needs vampire blood to heal a wound to the heart and rest." Nat started
searching the night stand for something. Coming up with a pair of surgical
scissors she quickly sliced her wrist.

Trace grabbed her arm as she started to place it over Nick's mouth.
"What are you doing, Natalie. Your blood can't cure him! You're not a
vampire!" Trace was terrified at what Nick might do if he tasted her.

"Trace, I have Nick's blood in me. We're connected by blood... and in
case you hadn't noticed he IS a full-blooded vampire. Surely his own
blood will work. It's diluted, but it may be enough for us to get out
of here...together." Desperation was written on her face as Tracy
finally saw the marks on her neck.

Tracy slowly pulled her collar away to look at the two clean healed puncture
marks. "You love him that much? Enough to die for him?"

"I love him beyond death, Trace. He is my heart and my soul and I shall
love him for all eternity. If he killed me tonight, we would still be
together."

Tracy released her wrist and Natalie placed her bleeding wrist over his
lips. Slowly her blood ran down his throat. She reached out with her
blood and their link to give him her strength. Within seconds, he
sucked gently on her wrist and finally opened his eyes. As his blue
eyes locked with hers a smile crossed his lips. "Can we leave now?" It was not
a question that needed answering as he brought her lips to his.

When he released her, she ran both hands up the side of his face into
his silky hair, then placed her forehead on hers. "Whenever, and
where ever you want to go, Detective Knight, but I think you need a
little more energy for the road. She opened her collar and offered him
her neck. Nick gently planted his fangs in her neck and drank slowly.

Tracy watched mesmerized as Dr. Morris entered the room. Startled by
what she saw, she started toward them only to be stopped by Trace. "No,
Doctor. Leave them be. They know what they're doing. He won't hurt
her. He loves her. She's the only one that can cure him and together
they are leaving here tonight. It's the only way.

Nick released Natalie moments later and held her close as he listened to
her familiar heartbeat. Within minutes his strength had returned and
the wound over his heart began to close. It would still be a few days
before he was back to normal but with rest and a good supply of blood,
he would be fine. Nick reached for the orange juice on the food tray
next to his bedside and handed it to Nat. Trace had been eating all the
food brought to avoid suspicion. He was glad she hated orange juice.

Nat drank it in one gulp and looked for more. She looked at Trace
questionably.

"Sorry, Nat. I was hungry." Trace looked apologetically at her. Then
they all turned to the commotion in the hallway. It was Jenkins, Monroe
and his boss from the CWPP. They were coming for Natalie.

Nick jumped out of bed, grabbed his clothes from the closet and dressed
in front of them at vampire speed. Finished, he stared at the two women
in front of him guarding the door, then glanced back at Nat by the
window. She pulled open the sash, then came to stand by Nick.

"We owe you both." He looked from Trace to Helen Morris. "Thanks, Doc.
We'll call it even now." Nick turned to Trace. A single tear escaped
her right eye and she brushed it away quickly causing Nick to smile.

"Always the tough guy right, partner?" Nick pulled Trace into his
arms, kissed her gently on the lips, and then released her. "We'll be
fine, Trace...." He stepped back to Nat and she wrapped her arms around
his waist. "....because we're together."

"Go, and I'll cover you one more time partner....and you better let me
know you're both okay." Tracy pushed open the door to take on the CWPP.

Several minutes later Jenkins barged past Dr. Morris and Tracy to find
only an empty room.

The End