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Feint of Heart

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In the Division’s detectives’ bullpen, in the aisle near Nick’s and Schanke’s desks.

 

            “Oh, my god!  Out of the way,” Natalie shouted as she crouched over Nick who was prone on the floor of the detectives’ bullpen.

            “What happened?” she asked pulling some strange-looking equipment from this large portmanteau she had brought with her and looking up at the police officers standing around Nick.

            Schanke, looking down at Natalie, said, “Nobody knows."  He picked up this envelope, which he waved at her, “made a choking sound and fainted”.

            “Hi, Dr. Lambert,” said Jeff Morris, one of the lab techs, “I’d just brought up some reports for Grace, and I was right here when the detective fell over.  I grabbed his wrist; he didn’t have a pulse, Doctor, his skin was clammy.  I was about to try CPR, when this other detective (indicating Schanke) stopped me.  He said you’d be right here to take care of it.  Although I don’t see how you can fix dead.”

            Nick’s body bucked, he drew in a sharp breath, a gasp. 

            Schanke said, “Thank goodness!  Hey, Nick!”

            Natalie said, under her breath. “It’s about time.”

            Jeff said, “What the heck happened here?”

 

            Natalie stood while Nick slowly sat up. Schanke tried to give him a hand, but Nick wasn’t ready to stand up yet.  Natalie addressed the now a crowd of onlookers.

            “It’s fine.  He’ll be o.k.  It’s just part of his skin problem allergy.  It happens once in a great while, his heart stops, he falls to the floor – mostly his mind protecting his body.  His heart slowly starts up again, but it looks a whole lot worse than it is.”

            Jeff, the lab tech added, “I’ve seen this happen before when someone’s forgotten to take their vitamins for a couple of days.  And, uh, under stress.”

            Natalie looked at the tech with a puzzled but grateful look for the support.

            She turned to Schanke and asked, “What was that card?  Was there something in it?”  She also started to pick up her equipment.  It all vaguely looked like blood pressure monitors, different types of sensors, little discs with wires attached that looked like she could electrocute anybody with it who might disagree with her strong and determined look.

            “Dunno, Nat,” he said, holding out the card, “It looks like a simple birthday card – Hey, isn’t his birthday in January?”

            “Yes,” she said, “and drop that immediately,” reaching up she knocked it out of his hand.  “There may be something on it, we’ll have to send it to forensics.”

            Schanke gulped, “Ulp, *I*’m not in any trouble, am I?” he said nervously.

            “No,” Natalie replied, rather sarcastically, “You’re still standing.”  Schanke gave her a sharp look that was both hurt and annoyed.

 

            Nick finally stood and started to say something, but Natalie interrupted.

            “Quiet, buster.  C’mon, let’s get you down to my lab so I can check you out.”

            She said a little louder to the folks standing around, “Make sure you’re alright.”  She smiled confidently.  “Schanke, put that card in a plastic baggie and bring it down to me in a little while?”

            “Uh, sure, Natalie,” Schanke said, just a little puzzled about what was going on.

            Jeff, the lab tech, said, “O.K. Folks.  All over, excitement for the day is done,” while Natalie led Nick towards the exit, presumably to take him downstairs to her lab to “make sure you’re alright”.

 

 

Shortly later in Natalie Lambert’s pathology lab. 

 

            Natalie was examining Nick, looking intently into his eye, holding his arm by his wrist, trying to look as doctor-ish as possible.

            “What do you mean you fainted?  You can’t faint,” Natalie said.

            “Maybe he ‘feinted’,” said Schanke making a kung fu chopping like move with his hands.

            “Oh,” said Natalie, somewhat startled.  “I didn’t hear you come in.”

            “Hah, obviously,” he said, handing the baggie with the card to her.

            Nick said, “Hey, am I just a spectator here?  I didn’t faint and I didn’t feint.  The last time I passed out was at that church a couple of years ago, and I don’t need to fake it, especially in the bullpen.”  There was a tone of resentment in his voice.

            “Really!”  “Really!”  Both Schanke and Natalie said.

            “So,” pause, “Well? . . . .”

            Nick tried to look as boyishly innocent as he could – he usually did quite well with it, but both Natalie and Schanke were familiar with the trick.

            “Oh, no, kiddo,” Schanke said, “None of that innocent look crap – we *know* you, remember?”

            This time, Nick looked honestly embarrassed.  “It’s not the card; it’s the signature.  It’s from my, well, ‘step-father’, for the lack of a better term.”

            “I thought you said he was dead,” said Schanke.

            “He is,” replied Nick.

 

Things were beginning to get complicated. 

 

Schanke knew that Nick wouldn’t just faint at a sudden surprise like that and he knew that Nick and Nat were trying to talk around something that they didn’t want him to know.  He figured that it was about the growing closeness of their relationship, maybe, but something else. 

 

Natalie dearly wanted to know what was going on because she knew that Nick being a vampire couldn’t actually faint, but she couldn’t come right out and say anything like that in front of Schanke.  Then she considered Jeff, the oh-so-helpful lab tech who supported her thinly veiled attempts at medical misdirection.  What was his story.

 

 

Again at the morgue.

 

            “You have got to be more careful, Nick.  If that Jeff hadn’t been there agreeing with your vital signs, your time in Toronto could have been up.  You’d have been declared dead probably from a stroke or heart attack, and you would have been forced to move on.”

            “And the card?” he asked.

            “Oh, just a coincidence,” she said, “people get cards all the time.  They don’t kill you though.

            “You know, you should really put a bag of this equipment in your car, in one of your desk drawers, oh, lots of close by places.  It’s usually easy to fool a lot of people if you know the right jargon and you have a piece of equipment that looks right.  Lord knows you don’t want to move on, and certainly not from a voice from your past!

            “What I want to know is why did Jeff, knowing it was gobbledygook, go along with it?”

            “Well, you *are* his boss, Nick offered, “Maybe he was just trying to show you some support.”  He smiled, “Or earn some brownie points.”

            “Seriously,” Natalie said, “You’ve got to be more careful.  What are you going to do if I’m not around?  Oh, for pete’s sake!  What time is it?”

            Nick looked at his wrist but his watch was missing.  “Natalie, you’ve got a clock right up there on the wall.  What’s up?”

            “Reports.  Due.  This morning!  Now, shoo, I’ve got too much work to do.”

            Nick smiled at her and turned to leave to room.

 

 

In some undisclosed apartment.

 

Two men are standing near each other, neither can be seen distinctly, but the young man is wearing what appears to be a white lab coat, the other is dressed all in black in what appears to be a long mackintosh.

 

            The young man, with a dazed expression, turned to an older, very confident looking man his senior. 

            “Here you are, sir!”  He handed his superior a small watch.

            The older man smiled, and chuckled, “Very good, my young man.  This will do nicely.”

 

Fade to black.

 

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