Unsung Hero
by Shannon Blum


Timeline: Sometime after Last Knight (I didn't feel the need to write a
story based on Last Knight because I don't like to admit LK happened)

Natalie still couldn't believe it. It had happened. Again.

Another fight with Nick; another fight about the same thing, faith. Or his
lack of faith; in her, in them, and in himself. This was
something that he needed to get past if their relationship were to continue.

"Yeah, like we HAVE a relationship," Nat muttered while walking through the
mall.

As she stared aimlessly at the passing windows, her mind started to drift
back to last night.
********************
They had just finished watching her favorite movie, An Affair to Remember.
That movie always made her cry. Nick made sure there were plenty of tissues
on hand whenever they watched it. While Nick reached for the remote, Nat
dried the tears that were streaming down her face.

"You've seen this movie hundreds of times, and it still makes you cry," Nick
said in amazement.

"So, what's you point?" Nat sniffed into the tissue.

"My point is that the movie ended on an uplifting note. Why all the
waterworks?"

"You just don't understand," she muttered in that tone of
voice that he hated.

"Well, then me understand."

Nat turned on the couch to face Nick. "They went through so much to be
together. They had so much love for each other. So much in each
other. Then, in one fell swoop, something happened to challenge that faith."

No longer able to sit still, she got up from the couch and started to pace
in front of the fireplace.

"Cary Grant would have done anything for Deborah Kerr. He was willing to
give up his friends, his loved ones, even his livelihood for her. He was
willing to accept her faults and not ask for anything in return," Nat
continued, her voice rising in anger with each passing thought. "Deborah
Kerr made him feel things for her that he had never felt for anyone else.
She made him love her. She made him have faith in that love. But did she
have faith in his love? No. You just assumed that my love for you died that
night on the floor."

Nick couldn't believe what he had just heard. "Uh....Nat....we're not
talking about the movie anymore, are we?" He started toward her, but
realized that she wasn't even paying attention to him anymore.

"Did you ever once tell me you love me? No! You know that I love you, but
you still don't say anything. I know, I know...you do it for my own good.
If LaCroix ever found out how you feel about me, how would kill me. But do
you have any idea how it feels to love someone, have faith in that love, and
then realize that that person doesn't have any faith in you?"

"Nat, please....," he pleaded.

She went on as if he hadn't even spoken.

"I can't believe that you have so little faith in me, in my love for you!"
Nat raged at Nick. "After all we've been through, after we've
been through, you should that my love is unconditional."

"Nat, this doesn't have anything to do with you.....," Nick began.

"It has to do with me," she broke in. "Anything that affects
you, affects me....Haven't you figured that out yet?"

"It's not my faith in you, in your love for me, that I doubt, Nat. It's my
ability to control the beast," he whispered.

Natalie flopped down onto the couch next to Nick, hoping that he would look
at her. When he continued to stare at the fire, she turned his face toward
her.

"Nick, we've talked about this." Nat sighed. "Do you trust me?"

Nick just stared at her. "You know I do."

"Why can't you trust my faith in you then?"

"You know the answer to that, Nat," he practically screamed at her. "It
wasn't that long ago that I almost killed you. I can't go through that
again, Nat. I just can't."

Nat pulled her hands away from his face as if she'd been burned. While she
struggled for composure, she gracefully rose from the couch.

"When are you going to accept that I'm just as much to blame for that night
as you are?" Nat threw at him. "I'm a big girl, Nick. I can make my own
decisions. Until you realize this, there's not much of a chance for us, is
there?"

She stalked over to the counter to pick up her purse. When she turned back
to face him, Nick saw the tears in her eyes.

"I think we both have some thinking to do," she replied quietly as she walked
to the lift. "You need to find some faith. Faith in us and in yourself."

Nat stepped into the lift and pressed the button. "And I need to find the
strength to hang on," she choked out. She barely made it to her car before
she collapsed and let the tears fall.
********************
Natalie was brought out of her daydream by the sound of giggles. A group of
teenage girls were laughing about a song that they had just recorded at the
new "Sing-A-Long" recording studio in the mall. Never having seen this
particular store before, she decided to take a closer look. She picked up a
song list and started glancing through it. There was a wide variety of music
available. One song in particular caught her attention. As an idea began to
take shape in her mind, a smile slowly started to spread across her face.

Nick stumbled into the precinct and grunted in response to the greetings he
received.

Tracy looked up from the paperwork she was completing when she heard the deep
sigh that came from the other desk.

"Well, don't you look like hell," Tracy observed.

"Thanks, Trace. I knew I could count on you to cheer me up," Nick replied
sarcastically.

"Bad night?" She inquired politely.

"I've had better," he answered.

"Detective Knight? This was just delivered for you."

Jerry, the desk sergeant on duty, handed Nick a large Manila envelope with
his name printed on the front.

"Who delivered it?" Nick asked.

"Don't know," Jerry replied. "One of the traffic cops said they found it on
the windshield of the caddy."

That said, Jerry turned and walked away. Nick was too interested in tearing
the envelope open to see Jerry wink as he passed Natalie.

"Thanks, Jer," she whispered.

Nick ripped open the envelope and stared at the contents.

"What is it?" Tracy asked as she tried to peer inside the envelope.

Nick reached in and pulled out a cassette tape and a smaller envelope.
Printed on the tape were the words "Play Me."

By this time, a group had gathered around Nick and Tracy's desks. No one
seemed to notice Natalie leaning against the wall across the room.

"Anyone have a tape player?" asked Reese, who had come out of his office to
see what all of the commotion was about.

"Right here, captain," replied one of the rookies.

Nick took the tape out of the holder, put it in the player, and pressed play.

Music filled the precinct.

After about ten seconds of intro music, Nick heard Natalie's sultry voice
start to sing.

There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

Nick couldn't believe his ears. He had heard Natalie sing along with the
radio, but never with this much passion and intensity.

It's a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

One of the rookies started to say something, but was quickly silenced with
just a look from Nick.

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You'll find the way

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

As the song came to an end, Nick grabbed the smaller envelope and quickly
scanned the card that lay inside.

Natalie pushed away from the wall and started to make her way across the room
to Nick. He looked up at that moment and caught her gaze.

The group that had gathered around Nick understood the unspoken messages
passing between the detective and his favorite coroner, and started to fade
away.

When Natalie reached Nick, he dropped the card and pulled her into his arms.
Leaning down, he whispered into her ear the three little words that she had
been waiting a lifetime to hear.

"I Love You."

Tracy leaned down to pick the card up off the floor before someone could step
on it. As she put it on Nick's desk, she saw what it said.

"In Love and Faith, There is Forever"


The End