Chapter 1: Stellar Drift
Natalie stared up at the domed starscape. She didn't move as a man joined her on the geometric bench.
"Knew you'd show up, so I set the stars for 1228," she said finally.
His non-breath caught.
"I'd never looked before. My skies were different. Yours are downright foreign."
He squeezed her shoulder. "You don't feel foreign."
"I am. You are too." Nat patted his hand. "Nick Knight's still there though, under all these centuries."
"I've got the Privilege Suite at the Hospitality Center." He kissed her. "Join me tonight?"
She leaned into him, pressing a kiss to his neck. "Always."
Written as a Party Favor for Deire in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "Nick/Natalie: Some bonds survive everything."
Nicholas was a fool.
Nothing in 800 years had altered that simple truth.
LaCroix hovered, guarding his presence. Nicholas would not sense him. The other vampire was more astute: knew to play penitent, to prey on Nicholas's foolish aspirations to humanity, to pretend to share them. Nicholas would never see through the charade.
Or LaCroix's role in laying a trap. He dialed.
An hour later, LaCroix yanked the interloper away from Dr. Lambert, drained him, then pried her from Nicholas's frantic grasp. She was intriguing, worth "saving" for Nicholas.
He bit Nicholas's wrist and held it to his granddaughter-to-be's mouth.
Written as a Party Favor for Foxy11814 in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "Nick has a new vampire friend. Lacroix’s not happy and is determined to do something about it."
Chapter 3: Dark Days
He'd seen this before, but his addled memory couldn't find when.
Natalie looked tired. Wouldn't make eye contact. The darkness that inhabited his soul seemed to hang about her.
A long summer day of documentaries brought it into sharp relief.
Michelangelo, who'd thrown him out in fury when Nick had complimented Sistine Chapel plans. Vincent van Gogh, his brightly-colored paintings masking his own darkness; Nick painted with him a year before he died. Jackson Pollock, with whom he'd thrown paint; later he learned of Pollock's drunken and deadly car accident.
He'd have to move on, before his darkness swallowed Natalie.
Written as a Party Favor for Hearts_blood in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "Nick/Natalie: After NiQ, Natalie begins to change, and now she needs Nick's help."
Chapter 4: Matchmaking
"What exactly are you giving me one last chance for?"
Grace removed fist from hip and pointed at him. "Don't you play dumb with me, Detective."
"No buts. You miss her birthday, she nearly gets killed. You send her roses for Valentine's Day, she comes in hung over and miserable. This time, you're going to do it right."
"We've made an outline since you can't get it together. What to wear, where to go, a schedule with her birthday and when to make calls."
Grace winked. "Just make sure I'm here when you ask her."
Written as a Party Favor for WaltD in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "Grace (and company) do what they can to promote Nick and Nat's relationship."
Chapter 5: Spinning Yarns
Natalie gasped for breath, saying through her hand, "They painted him blue?"
"It wasn't paint--"
"Nicolas is correct." Janette's eyes twinkled. "Woad is applied in more of a paste."
"Wait. Isn't that a hallucinogen?" Natalie giggled.
"If it is, it didn't affect Nicolas, but the paintings were, shall we say, suggestive." Janette quirked an eyebrow. Nick covered his face. Janette leaned toward Natalie, "He was practically naked by the time LaCroix and I got there."
Natalie choked on her wine.
"Oh, Nicolas, do not spoil a good story with details. There are so many to tell."
Written as a Party Favor for Malinaldarose in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "Janette, Nick, Natalie. Humor. We should never permit historical reality to get in the way of a good story."
Chapter 6: Home Fires
"Mrs. Schanke, I presume?"
Myra started. The woman suddenly next to her was the picture of sophisticated perfection. "Don mentioned this place." She heard the slur in her voice. Too many piña coladas. "Wouldn't give any details." She sniffed at the gyrating bodies. "I see why."
"So you had to...see it yourself?"
Myra picked at the drink's paper umbrella.
"Detective Schanke spoke of you and your...Janie?"
"He wanted you safe. To go home. He could not be still and played...basketball." The woman's lip curled.
Myra laughed. "I guess I'm lucky you didn't kill him yourself."
"More than you know."
Written as a Party Favor for Skieswideopen in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "Someone seeks help or advice from Janette."
Chapter 7: The Long Game
Natalie swam her way to consciousness, gasped for air.
But she didn't need it.
She reached for her neck. Her last memory was of sharp, burning pain then swirling euphoria.
She forced herself upright. Opposite her sat LaCroix, legs crossed, fingers interlaced. Natalie could...feel his smug triumph.
She sat straighter. "Where's Nick? Where are we?"
"How impolite, not even a greeting. I thought better of you, Dr. Lambert. Or may I call you Natalie?"
She clenched her jaw. Waited.
LaCroix smiled ferally. "Nick is in Toronto, and we are...elsewhere. It's time he chased me for a change, don't you agree?"
Written as a Party Favor for Twilight2000 in the 2012 FKFicFest for the prompt: "What if Lacroix killed no one at the end of season 3?"