Without You
by Gayle McCreedy


---------------------------
The characters of Forever Knight belong to their creators, as does the
snippets of dialogue from FK quoted within. The song, "Without You,"
was recorded by David Bowie on the "Let's Dance" album, words and
music by David Bowie, 1983. No infringement of copyright is intended
in either case; both are used expressly for the enjoyment of the fans
of Forever Knight.
-----------------------------


Nicholas stepped back into the spray of the shower until it covered
his ears, his eyes, shutting the world out. The water beat a pattern
atop his head, calling the day's tensions into his very scalp. He
sought relief in the water, but his mind refused him rest, replaying
the scenes of the night against the inside of his eyelids every time
he closed them. With a sigh, he turned the water off. Slipping into
a red robe after toweling off, Nicholas continued to dry his hair
with one end of the towel as he padded into the living room.

"Maybe there's nothing left *to* say." Nicholas winced as he
remembered Natalie's words.

"There *has* to be something left to say," Nicholas said aloud. "It
cannot end like this."

Nicholas reached into the refridgerator and withdrew a bottle of
LaCroix's special vintage. He uncorked it, then stood looking at the
bottle for a moment. Recorking it, Nick replaced it in the
refridgerator and withdrew a bottle of cow's blood. Taking a swig,
he flung himself into a chair by the fire. After a moment, he felt a
cool breeze touch his cheek.

"Sulking does not become you, Nicholas," LaCroix's familiar voice
intoned.

"Go away, LaCroix," Nicholas said, not bothering to look up.

"Such a reluctant host, Nicholas? Whatever could be the matter?
Could it be that our Dr. Lambert has finally given you the toss?"
LaCroix's tone slithered with sarcasm.

"How do you know about that?" Nicholas asked warily, scanning
LaCroix's face for any clue.

"Tsk, tsk, Nicholas - holding an argument in a public hallway is
hardly a guarantee of privacy, wouldn't you say?" LaCroix settled
comfortably into the chair opposite Nicholas. Nicholas was silent,
continuing to eye his master.

"This has nothing to do with you," he said finally.

"Au contraire, mes amiee, I would say this has everything to do with
me. With us, more precisely. After all, if your precious doctor
has given up on you, isn't it perhaps time that you yourself gave up
on this futile quest to be mortal?"

"I'm not giving up - on my quest or on Natalie." Nicholas said
harshly as he rose. LaCroix rose as well, crossing the room until he
stood behind Nicholas.

"And what, exactly, *are* you going to say to her, Nicholas? Do you
really think there are words adequate to the task of telling a mortal
about the joys of the hunt? The sweet, heady taste of blood as it
fills your mouth? The way it feels to take another inside of you, to
hold their lives inside of you while their blood flows through your
veins? You still have the hunger, Nicholas, don't try to deny it.
You will always have it. It is a part of *you.*"

"It is *one* part of me," Nicholas said in an exasperated tone. "But
only one part."

Nicholas turned to face LaCroix.

"Nothing has changed, LaCroix. I will win her back, if I can,"
Nicholas said resolutely.

"And if you can't?" LaCroix asked, one eyebrow arched.

"And if I can't," Nicholas said in an anguished voice, spinning away
from LaCroix. "If I can't, then ... "

Nicholas' words faded off as he contemplated the possibility.

"Without her, what would I do?" Nick asked miserably.

"Why, Nicholas, I'm touched by your devotion. Truly touched. And I
would certainly stay with you to explore your great love for our fair
doctor, but dawn approaches. Unless you would like me to spend the
day with you? I wouldn't want to leave you alone under these
circumstances if you desired company."

"Leave me alone, LaCroix," Nicholas spat the words over his shoulder.

"As you wish, Nicholas," LaCroix said as he left the loft. Nicholas
felt the rush of air which told him that his master was truly gone.

Picking up the bottle of cow's blood from the floor next to the
chair, Nicholas began to drink more heavily as he paced about the
loft. Thoughts of Natalie flooded his senses as her words rebounded
through his head.

"Everything that I do, what is it for if you won't work with me?"
"...what you're doing is hurting me."
"...what *is* your intention?"
"I'm going to have to give up on you, Nick."

"You *can't* give up on me, Natalie," Nicholas said to the air. "I
won't let you."

Nicholas swept into the tall-backed chair next to his writing table.
Setting the bottle down, he tweaked the remote for the shades so that
just the faintest hint of sunlight escaped. Taking a sheaf of
stationery from the drawer, Nicholas began to write.

"Dearest Natalie..," he began.

"Maybe I should say 'Dear Nat,'" he thought aloud. "Or just 'Nat?'"

Nick crumpled the first sheet on the stack and began again.

"Natalie," he wrote her name slowly, stalling for time.

"What *am* I going to say to you?" he asked himself aloud. "What do
you want to hear? What can I say to change your mind about me?"

Nicholas took another gulp from the bottle and began to write again.

"Just when I'm ready to throw in my hand," he wrote.

"But it's you that's throwing in your hand now, isn't it, Nat?" he
muttered. A second crumpled sheet joined the first on the floor.

"Just when the best things in life are gone, I look into your
eyes..."

"No, *you're* the best thing in my life. How can I look into your

eyes when you're gone? It makes no sense."

Another wad of paper fell to the floor.

"Roses are red, violets..."
"When I'm willing to call it a day..."
"Love you forever..."
"Just when I won't take another chance..."

The pile of paper was beginning to take on a shape of its own, an
amorphous testimony of Nick's frustrated affection.

"I hold your hand. I look into your eyes. You give me hope."

Nicholas held the sheet at arms length.

"Better," he said, setting that sheet to one side.
Nicholas began again.

Natalie -

Just when I'm willing to call it a day,
Just when I won't take another chance,
I hold your hand,
And regain my hope in a new dawn.

There's no smoke without fire.
You're *exactly* who I want to be with.
Without you, what would I do?

Give me another chance.
I promise to try to love you to death. (mine)

Love,

Nick

Nicholas copied the words into a notecard. Sealing the envelope, he
held it in his hands for a moment before setting it on the table. He
thought about saying a prayer for good luck, but decided against it
after a moment. Rising, he grabbed the cell phone from the top of
the stereo.

"Hello? Winterton Florist? Yes, I need something special..."


*********
The end.


*****
Without You
words and music by David Bowie

Just when I'm ready to throw in my hand
Just when the best things in life are gone
I look into your eyes

There's no smoke without fire
You're exactly who I want to be with
Without you, what would I do

And when I'm willing to call it a day
Just when I won't take another chance
I hold your hand

There's no smoke without fire
Woman, I love you
Without you, what would I do
*****