By Judith Freudenthal

As the elevator door opened, he turned and smashed the stained glass against the wall. It was an empty, defiant action, but it was something. Empty, defiant actions were all he had left.

That and stone-cold sobriety.

Sobriety wasn't an option. There was a gaping emotional hole where his heart was.

Nick had seen his two best friends tortured, then executed right before his eyes. The worst part was that he was helpless to do anything.

The killer had somehow figured out what he was and how to immobilize him.

Natalie and Schanke had been brave. Nick watched in horror being careful to keep most of his feelings hidden from the psycho. Natalie saw through Nick's facade.

Nick was left to die in the morning sun. Janette rescued him with no time to spare.

The next night Nick heard that Janette was missing. Nick knew she wouldn't be coming back because he could no longer feel their bond. The gaping hole in Nick's heart grew much wider. He had lost the three people most important to him in the space of twenty-four hours.

The elevator door opened and LaCroix entered. Nick was in no mood to fight with him. He didn't care what games LaCroix played tonight, because nothing mattered to him anymore. A grin crossed LaCroix's face when he smelled the human blood and saw the mess Nick had made.

"Are you going to share?" LaCroix asked trying to be polite. He knew Janette was not coming back and came to be with his remaining child. The pain showed in his eyes despite his attempt to hide it.

Nick didn't care anymore. LaCroix was all he had left. It was almost enough to make one welcome death. A very small part of Nick was glad he had come. Nick handed LaCroix a glass and the bag. They split the contents between the two of them.

"I miss Janette as well. Why don't we go away somewhere, just the two of us? Maybe we'll find a companion."

Nick refused to be cheered up and was relieved when Cohen called to see how he was doing and to tell him to take a few days off.

Nick thought about Natalie and put down his glass.

"I can't. It would remind me of Janette too much." Nick was surprised LaCroix had not asked what happened and he was grateful because he did not know the answer.

LaCroix saw that Nick would be best left alone, besides he did not want company either. He thought he had. Maybe he would go home and remember the past or he might do a special broadcast. That appealed to him.

As soon as LaCroix left Nick headed for the fridge and took out the protein shake pitcher Nat had left for him before...He forced himself to choke down half a glass in her memory. He vowed to follow her program as a memorial to her.

He drank less and less cow blood over the next week. Natalie had requested in her will that her funeral be at sunset. Nick was touched. It was a beautiful ceremony.

Nick had agreed to host the reception. Nick tried to eat and drink praying it would stay down. Nick's heart had been shattered and it would be a long, long time before it would begin to heal.

Nick caught the two mortals responsible and came extremely close to killing them but couldn't betray Natalie and Schanke's memories like that. Then he resigned and fled. He couldn't stand it there any longer.

He made sure that Myra and Jenny would never worry about money.

The less blood Nick drank the more shake he could tolerate.

Ten years later Nick woke one morning and could not tell if the sun was up. He went to his fridge and was repulsed by the bottles inside.

Nick flew in to see Natalie. Nick was outside in the sun laying flowers on her and Schanke's graves.

"Nat, I have the perfect birthday present for you. I've followed your program religiously and it worked! I will be seeing you in thirty or forty years. Then we will be together forever."

Nick heard Natalie's voice in his mind. "I told you it could be done. Congratulations! I look forward to not seeing you before then."

Thirty-five years later Nick died in a car accident. The other driver was drunk.

LaCroix and Janette mourned Nick's death.

Nick was buried next to Natalie. They were reunited with each other on the other side. They finally achieved the happiness together that they had been denied for all those years.

The end.

Forever Knight Index