"The Hard Way" by brightknightie (G)
Prompt: Nick/Natalie and Nick/Janette as a triangle, Nick having to make choices. A new day.
Nick stood in sunlight, willing a curtain to twitch, a door to open, his joy to pull her to him. But of course Janette could no longer sense him, and he knew better than to wake a sleeping vampire. He wanted to keep his new-won humanity. So it was evening when he faced her.
"Seeking another lab rat?"
"Then why aren't you celebrating with your doctor friend?" Janette sounded resigned.
Nick kissed her cold hand and held it over his warm heart. "Because you're the one I want."
"Oh, Nicolas." She closed her eyes. "You never make anything easy."
"Adrenaline Rush" by amilyn (PG)
Prompt: Nick/Natalie. Nick has to use his powers to rescue Nat. Despite her better judgement, Nat finds herself drawn towards Nick's darker side.
Nat closed her eyes, barely breathing. Height. Fear. She didn't know which was more dizzying.
The slip of a girl who held her millimetres from the edge of roof had a grip that was bruising her arm and waist. She knew her pounding heart was fanning the vampire's lust as the girl's lips kneaded her neck. Nat felt something sharp, tried not to whimper.
There was a whoosh, a snarl, then a scream. Hers. She was falling.
Then arms were around her again. Gentle, holding her close, and she was flying.
It was exhilarating. She wanted it never to end.
"Conditional Love" by brightknightie (G)
Prompt: Lacroix and his "children." Paterfamilias through the ages.
"Why would anyone choose to be a parent?" the Nightcrawler crooned. "Especially in this age of fractured families and affronted authority. 490 CERK: you're on the air."
"I wanted someone to carry on after me."
"Very good, gentle listener. Seize immortality by any means. But what if you could live forever? Would motivation for parenthood remain? Next caller."
"Love, of course, unconditional love--"
"Wrong," the Nightcrawler lingered over the vowel. "Religions expend vast efforts commanding children to love parents, but little the other direction. Do you imagine, therefore, that parental love is necessarily unconditional? Then you are fools indeed."
"Impending" by amilyn (PG)
Prompt: Nick/Natalie. After "Let No Man Tear Asunder," Natalie begins to change, and now she needs Nick's help.
"I've got to head home." Nat pushed herself up with both hands.
"You okay? It's awfully early."
Her half-smile was strained. "It's just...crutches are tiring."
"So I've heard."
"But...come by, when you get off? If you can?"
His answer was quick; she never asked anything. "Of course."
She didn't answer his knock, so he unlocked the door and found her curled up on the sofa, one hand resting on grey fur.
She opened red eyes, moving slowly, carefully not dislodging the cat.
"I have to put him to sleep." Tears spilled again as she petted gently. "Sit with me?"
"Full House" by brightknightie (G)
Prompt: Nick & Vachon. Poker night at Nick's loft.
"Tracy's at the church," Vachon said, as if that justified arriving at Nick's at sunrise with Screed, two strangers and a carton of bottles.
Nick had expected to spend his weekend quietly defending his leather furniture from Sydney's claws (Natalie claimed that catsitting was good for him, despite his cactus's fate). Instead, Nick found himself pinned between the wide eyes of the furry fanged monster licking his paws on Nick's piano keyboard, and those of the one counting out poker chips on Nick's dining table.
When he'd said Tracy was Vachon's responsibility, he hadn't meant…
Nick sighed. "Deal me in."
"Impossible" by amilyn (PG)
Prompt: Nick, Natalie, Janette. Six impossible things before breakfast.
She'd not thought it possible for Nick to surprise her anymore. Seven hundred years of mischief and madness was enough to see everything. She'd thought. But not this.
Nick walking in from full sunlight, barely remembering to close the door.
Gloating over his newfound, untested humanity.
Asking her to join him.
His mortal...girlfriend gloating with him.
Him giggling like after draining those...hippies. She shuddered.
Going back to frolic like the fool he was.
No, she'd not seen everything. But she'd seen the end of this before. Soon enough he'd be licking his wounds. Not apologizing, though.
That would be impossible.
"Old Scars" by brightknightie (PG)
Prompt: Nick/Natalie. Pre-DK. Natalie sees the scars from Nick's time in the Crusades.
"If you won't let me perform even an ordinary physical--"
Frowning, Nick slowly removed his blazer, rolled up his sleeve for the blood-pressure cuff, and unbuttoned his shirt for Doctor Lambert's stethoscope. He ignored her grin. He couldn't ignore her gasp when her fingers discovered the irregular, raised lump under his arm where a saif had thrust through his battered mail at Sharimshah.
Nick knew when she realized what it was; her touch and gaze changed from curious to caring. She dropped her hand. "Do you want to talk about it?"
He wanted so much more than he should.
"To Catch You When You Fall" by amilyn (PG)
Prompt: Natalie, Schanke, Tracy (…Tracy optional). The sidekicks get their moment of glory.
"Officer down!" Schanke bellowed.
"Not gonna happen, partner." Schanke pulled open Nick's shirt and pressed against the gaping wound, the other hand pressing speed dial.
"Get the perp--"
"The uniforms are on it. They'll take him down."
"I know. You're a big macho man. Yeah, Nat? Nick's been hit. Bloor and Spadina. Yeah. Bring blood. He's not healing, but he's in control--" He grinned at Nick's wide eyes and Natalie's gasp. "What? Did you two really think I didn't know?"
From the pavement and phone, "Are you...?"
"You're my partner, Knight. That's all that matters."
"Mnemonic" by brightknightie (PG)
Prompt: Nick/Natalie. A fledgling female vampire shows up in Toronto and reminds Nick how fun life can be. Natalie gets jealous!
Nick hadn't been seeking companionship, Natalie knew. The "convert," as Nick called her, had needed help. Nick had provided it. But as he supported his new friend in her adjustment to vampirism, Natalie began seeing a tender expression that she suddenly remembered had once been turned on her.
Natalie was leaning against Nick's piano when he came home. "I remembered Valentine's Day." She slapped him with all the fury buried under the whammy. Then she kissed him with all the desire pent up since realizing she wanted more than the puzzle. "Don't settle for her. Don't give up on us."
"Outside is Frightful" by amilyn (PG)
Prompt: Nick, Don or Tracy, Nat. Prompt: a day (er, night) in the life.
February's bitterness still got to him, though fifteen-hour winter nights were a welcome trade-off for the piercing wind.
Schanke looked set to explore the arctic: a cap Myra had knitted, a parka over his wool coat, a scarf wrapped around it all, gloves under mittens clipped to the parka.
Nat, kneeling over the body, was bulked by layers. The scarves wrapped around her head and neck gave her an exotic eastern look.
Nick unobtrusively hurried things along, watching cheeks redden. As soon as possible, body loaded, he announced, "We're done here. First round of coffee and hot chocolate's on me."
"If You Love, Let Go" by brightknightie (PG-13)
Prompt: Erica/Fleur. Erica brought Fleur across and they began a relationship with each other.
Meeting the two men had shocked Erica no less than Fleur. Erica thanked heaven that she'd made none of the mistakes with her Fleur that Lacroix had made with his Nicholas -- that her heart had told her when to let go and when to hold on.
Now was a time to hold on.
"Stay with me." Erica pulled Fleur's hands away from her nearly-fastened bodice and unlaced it again, caressing and convincing. Fleur sighed. Erica whispered against Fleur's throat, "Not just until dusk. Tomorrow and tomorrows."
Fleur arched her neck, pulling Erica closer. "I'm not going anywhere this time."
"Appreciation in Instants" by amilyn (G)
Prompt: Nick/Janette. "If life were only moments, then you'd never know you had one."
The stars shimmered and the half moon glowed high above them. The ethereal beauty was magnificent, majestic. Whenever Nick mourned the loss of sunlight, she wondered at his inability to appreciate the delicacy of the reflections from the moon, framed against a velvet sky.
They had flown against that sky this perfect night. Her gowns were flattering, stylish. The servant girl earlier was exhilarating. The opera was sublime. LaCroix was already three months in Calais and Nick's heart was as gay as Vienna itself.
Janette found these moments quite pleasant, even if this life, as with any, was but borrowed.
"Just Desserts" by brightknightie (G)
Prompt: Urs/Vachon, Tracy/Vachon. That two-timing cad deserves everything he gets.
Vachon plodded along the road, his thumb out. He would've flown, but his eyes were swollen from the garlic soup Tracy had thrown in his face. And he would've ridden, but even if he could see, Urs had taken his bike, Tracy up behind her in the spare helmet. How a little dinner theater had ended with the two blondes in indignant harmony was beyond him.
Finally, a car stopped. "Trouble, sir? Hitchhiking isn't the best choice. May I see your license?"
The little camera on the patrol car's dashboard ensured that Vachon had to take it like a human.
"Statement of Faith, 1974" by amilyn (PG)
Prompt: Nick and one of his one-episode mortal friends. So often, we come in at the tragic end of Nick's friendships. I would love to read an incident from the beginning or middle of one of them.
"Mr. Chevalier? If I stay after, will you tutor me in Church history?"
"It's...I make my Confirmation soon, sir."
"You're my history teacher, sir."
"My godparents are in Dublin. We moved to Perth six years ago."
"Child, I made Confirmation...long before Vatican II. I'm afraid my--"
"So you'll help?" She worried at the satchel strap across her grey uniform sweater.
"Come tomorrow with a doctrinal history outline, an explanation of the Nicene Creed, and your catechism."
"Thank you, sir!" She practically skipped out.
She'd placed her innocent faith in his hands. He'd prove worthy.
For: havocthecat, this game's one Pinch-Hit Writer
"The Dying of the Light" by leela_cat (G)
Prompt: Natalie, Janette and Tracy. Post-LK. On the theme of "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas.
Nick was a bastard and Lacroix even worse. He'd taken Nick and left Nat to die -- alone. Not even a 911 call.
She'd have to do it herself, as usual, because she wasn't going to just lie there and die.
Inch by inch, she dragged herself towards the phone. She'd managed too few when the loft door slammed open.
"See, ma chérie," Janette said. "Natalie doesn't give in, not even to death."
Her eyes golden, Tracy knelt and drew Nat into her arms.
Janette's lips were cool, her teeth sharp, and her blood sweet with the fire of life.
For those players who arrived a little late on any count -- yes, even those with completely legitimate extensions -- we're afraid that the lydovuterine wore off and your drabble spontaneously combusted. Oops! But we have had a marvelous time celebrating FK with you, too.
Our thanks to everyone. It's been a joy. We hope you all keep on writing and reading and discussing Forever Knight!