Dawn to Dusk
by Judith Freudenthal
1995

This story was part of the Dawn to Dusk challenge presented years ago. If you're interested in the original challenge story check out FKFanfic and the ftp site.

As the elevator dor 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.

And he could not handle sobriety right now.

The elevator door opened admitting Natalie. She took in the scene quickly. She did not get angry with him because of recent events.

"Nick, it's not your fault."

"Yes it is. We were partners. I wasn't there for him." Nick said. His emotions were mixed, in the mixture was anger, guilt, and feeling sorry for himself.

"If you had been I'd be mourning both of you."

"Maybe it would be ....."

"Better that way. I don't buy that and neither would Schanke. I don't want to lose you as well. How could you have known he'd run off on a hunch in the middle of the day without telling anyone?"

"But they suspect me because I wasn't there."

"Why don't you give me the bag and we'll talk." Natalie said trying to get the bag of human blood away from Nick.

"No. I need it."

"No. You don't. It's not the answer."

The phone rang and Nick grabbed it to stop the lecture he'd heard before.

"Nick Knight." Nick said. He listened to the voice on the other end of the phone. "Tell her thanks very much. I'll be there."

Nick hung up the phone and faced Natalie. "The funeral's tomorrow at sunset. Myra insisted so I could be there."

"That was nice of her." Natalie said.

"Yes. It was. It seems that at least she's stopped blaming me."

Nick looked at the bag in his hand and at Natalie, considered turning over the bag but didn't.

"She was just upset." Natalie said.

"I know but parts of it were true."

"How many times did you save his life?"

"Many times. A few he didn't even know about."

Nick slowly handed Natalie the bag.

"Stay with me." Nick asked quietly.

"Sure. I didn't want to be alone myself." Natalie responded quietly.

"Nat, what happened? I've heard bits and pieces."

"I thought you might be interested and brought you the report."

"Thanks, Nat."

Nick read the report and was relieved to see that Schanke had died quickly from a single bullet to the head. Only the sunlight prevented Nick from dashing out to apprehend the scum.

"What happened?" Natalie asked.

"I spent most of my shift answering questions for IA. I've been assigned to desk duty. I hate it! I hear there is talk of suspension."

"They have to have something solid to suspend you."

"I may be forced to leave. I don't want to." Nick said with a new sadness creeping into his voice.

"I know. I don't want you to have to either." Natalie said with the same sadness in her voice.

They sat together on the couch. She snuggled against his chest and he wrapped his strong arms around her. She was the only thing left for him here.

The next evening was the funeral. Nick, Natalie, Myra, Jenny, Cohen, and Janette were there along with many other officers. Schanke was there because you can't have a funeral without the 'guest of honor'. Nick and Natalie were surprized to see Janette there. Strangely Myra didn't seem threatened by her presence.

The funeral was as pleasant as they can be. There was a reception afterwards. Nick even tried to eat to please Myra (and Natalie) who kept trying to get him to eat. Nick made a toast "to the best partner a guy could ever have. I'll miss you, Schank."

Late that night Nick hunted down Schanke's killer. Nick was ready to kill but then he realized that it would be too easy on the killer.

Nick set up a trust fund for Jenny so she would have college money and a good start in life. He had money for Myra in the form of an insurance policy paying off.

Natalie thought it was a very nice gesture when she learned about it. It helped Nick feel better knowing they would never worry about money.

Natalie made him drink protein shakes to make up for his slip.

The end.

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