This has evolved from a very short collection of scenes to a short story. I started this before I heard about "Partners of the Month", "Be My Valentine" and "The Fix".

My Partner the Vampire
by Judith Freudenthal
1995

Schanke and Nick are chasing a crook. Schanke turns around and Nick's gone. "How does he do that?" Schanke says outloud to himself. Schanke chases the crook down an alley and looses sight of him as he turns the corner.

Nick lands in back of the crook. The crook turns and fires. Hitting Nick squarely in the middle of the chest. The crook is shocked when Nick doesn't drop to the ground dead. Nick's eyes glow yellow and his fangs drop. The crook looks like he just saw a ghost.

Schanke turns the corner and unknown to Nick, gets a quick glance at Nick's true nature. Schanke looks like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi. Total shock. Schanke quickly ducks back around the corner. A look of dawning spreads over Schanke. He now understands most of the things that confused/puzzled him about his partner. "Nick you around here?" Schanke says.

Nick gets himself under control. Nick's eyes are back to their normal sparkling blue. And his fangs have retracted. Schanke is determined not to let Nick know he knows until he's had time to think about it.

 

Nick and Schanke are patrolling the streets. Schanke is unusually quiet. Nick finds it odd when Schanke doesn't make any cracks about The Nightcrawler as Nick's listening.

"Schanke, anything wrong?"

"Why?"

"You're too quiet. Usually you're dying of hunger by now."

"Now that you mention it. I could use a snack."

Nick notices that Schanke is distracted and a bit jumpy most of the night.

 

Back in the squadroom Schanke is seated at his desk filling out paperwork. Nick approaches from behind like he's done a thousand times before.

"Schank, do you have the Wilson file?"

Schanke jumps. "What are you trying to do Nick, give me a heart attack?"

"Sorry."

Schanke looks around his desk and hands Nick the file.

"Thanks."

Nick's concerned when it seems he's the cause of it.

One thought keeps running through Nick's mind, does Schanke know? If so why hasn't he said anything?

 

They go back out on patrol.

"I'll buy breakfast," says Schanke. He's got a weird look on his face.

Nick notices that the sun will soon rise. "I'll take a raincheck. I'll drop you off at the station on my way home." Nick notices the look on Schanke's face and is a little concerned. "Is something wrong, Schanke?"

"No. I'm just tired and hungry." Schanke lies. He's unsure what Nick's reaction will be.

******

Nick approaches Schanke as he arrives for his shift. Schanke jumps. Nick notices that Schanke seems to be nervous.

"Something wrong?"

Nick notices that Schanke is wearing a small gold cross on a necklace. It is mildly upsetting to Nick.

"No. Why do you ask?" Schanke says trying to sound like nothing's wrong.

Nick's slightly nauseated by Schanke's garlic breath. He hides his reaction. Nick hasn't had that problem since they were first partners. Nick's growing more suspicious.

"New necklace?"

"Yes, Myra gave it to me. Does it bother you?"

"No. Why would it. I'll buy you dinner."

Schanke's surprised and a little concerned. He never turns down a free meal.

****

Nick and Schanke are alone. The knowledge is driving Schanke crazy. He has to find out for sure.

"Don't think I'm nuts for what I'm about to say. I finally figured it out."

"Figured what out?" Nick says trying to sound like nothing's wrong. Surpressing a bit of panic.

"You're a vampire."

Nick's surprised. "What are you talking about?" He is momentarily distracted and almost hits a car.

"It all adds up. The bottles of blood in your fridge, your allergy to the sun, your reaction to garlic. The way you disappear so quickly. The only thing that has me puzzled is the tanning bed and the mirrors. I've seen your reflection."

Nick is concerned. "What if I am? Does it matter?"

Schanke is concerned. "Of course not," Schanke says a bit nervously. Hoping that was the right answer. He does like Nick still even though he's quite spooked now.

"Relax. Have I hurt you, Nat or anyone?"

"Does she know? Is she one? Is Janette? That Nightcrawler you like so much?""

"I can't answer all your questions. Natalie does know. She's perfectly mortal just like you. Natalie found out when I came into her life as a body on the table. Imagine her surprise when I got up." Nick says with a hint of a grin. "The reflection thing is just a myth."

"How long have you been..."

"Over 800 years."

"It must be weird." Schanke says not sure what to think.

"It has its times. You must promise that you won't tell anyone."

"I promise. Besides no one would believe me."

"If you do both your and my lives will be in danger."

"Why?"

"All I can say is that mortals are not supposed to know. It is too dangerous."

Schanke has the shivers when the thought of Janette and her friends & Raven patrons as vampires. Especially the one who got a little close for comfort when he was hiding out there. "Is everyone at the Raven like you?"

"No. It's a nightclub. Anyone mortal or not who wants to party there can." Says Nick.

"How long have you known Janette?"

"How'd you find out? How long have you known?"

"I got a glimpse of it last night. At first I didn't want to believe my eyes. I thought I was nuts. Then the pieces fell into place." Schanke says. He's hesitant about the next question. "Do you turn into a bat when you fly?"

Nick can't believe what he just heard. "No I don't turn into a bat," Nick says unbelieving. "That's in the movies. I don't wear or own a cape. I'm just trying to lead a normal life."

****

Nick enters the Morgue and sees Natalie. Natalie is concerned by Nick's expression.

"What's wrong?"

"Somehow Schanke found out last night. He was distracted and a little jumpy last night, especially around me. I was suspicious when he came in, was wearing a cross. He garlic for breakfast. He just told me what I am. I tried to deny it but he had put the pieces together. He thought you might also be one. I reassured him that you're perfectly mortal."

"What are you going to do? Did he ask a lot of questions?"

"I don't know. I made him promise not to tell anyone. I told him I couldn't answer most of his questions. I only answered a few, mostly about myself to try and help him relax."

"Are you going to have to leave?" Natalie asks hoping that he won't.

"I hope not. I like it here with my friends." Nick smiles warmly at Natalie. "If it doesn't work I'll remove the information from his memory. It won't be easy."

"I know. I remember when you tried to do the same with me."

"He wanted to know if I turned into a bat." Nick says with mock anger.

Natalie laughs. She tries not to but can't help herself. "What did you tell him?"

"I told him no. I also told him I don't wear or own a cape. I'm glad you think its funny." Nick realizes it is. "You're right it sounds pretty funny." He laughs at Schanke's question.

*****

Schanke is standing in front of Cohen's desk.

"Can I help you, Schanke?"

"I want a new partner. For a while at least."

"I can't do that without a good reason."

Schanke is trying to think up something that Cohen and Nick will buy. Schanke knows that he can't tell the truth because she'd think he was nuts and because he promised Nick he wouldn't. "Personal differences."

"I haven't seen any evidence of problems. You'll have to come up with something better. Until then you're still partners."

*****

At the Raven. Nick's talking with Janette. Neither is happy, especially Janette.

"How could you have been so careless, Nicola? He is the worst possible person to know the truth." Janette says angrily.

"I wasn't careless. I don't know how he found out. I had my back to him the whole time. Don't worry, I'll take care of it."

"You'd better."

*******

At the precinct. Schanke is too nervous around Nick. Especially when Nick gets within snacking distance. Nick notices and decides that he has to do something about it. He can't afford to have the others get suspicious.

"Schank, I want to talk with you privately. In the conference room." Nick says calmly, casually being careful not to further spook Schanke.

"Why. Have I done something?" Schanke asks very nervously. His hand subconsciously goes up to his neck.

"I'll buy you a gyro."

Schanke is still not convinced to go alone with Nick. Nick notices. Nick leans over towards Schanke. Schanke nearly jumps out of his skin. Nick puts a hand on Schanke's shoulder and whispers "I haven't drank human blood in over two hundred years. If that makes you feel better. I promise I won't hurt you." near Schanke's ear.

It doesn't have the desired effect. Nick reluctantly reaches into his bag of tricks and hypnotizes Schanke. "You will come with me. You will not be nervous."

Schanke goes with Nick.

****

Nick's apartment. Schanke is eating his gyro seated on Nick's couch.

"Schanke, we need to talk about this. I was hoping this wouldn't change anything."

"I just found out that my partner who I trusted with my life is a bloodsucking creature of the night."

"Now you know why I never told you. If I had wanted to hurt you don't you think I would've done it by now?"

"I don't know what to think. I knew you were eccentric but this is just plain weird." Schanke says. "I try not to let it bother me but I can't help it. All the horror stories echo in my mind."

"Is there anything I can do to reassure you that I won't hurt you?"

"How do you do it?"

Nick's eyes glow yellow and he sorta smiles allowing his fangs to show. Schanke's a bit spooked but also interested.

"Can you be hurt by a bullet?"

"They can't kill me. Or do serious harm."

"How often do you have to eat/drink, whatever.?"

"I have a wine glass full before work."

"Do you....."

"Ever get the urge for human blood? No." It isn't totally the truth but it isn't a lie either.

Nick hears the elevator motor start.

"Was the vampire book by the author we protected accurate?"

"A little bit here and there." Nick says not wanting to lie but not wanting to overload Schanke.

The elevator stops. The door opens and Natalie enters. Schanke is a little surprised to see her. She is a little surprised to see him there.

"What's up guys?"

"We're talking about Nick's ....eccentricities." Schanke says delicately phrasing it. "Nick can I talk to Natalie alone for a few minutes?"

Nick looks at Natalie. She nods.

"Okay."

Nick leaves.

"Natalie, does what he is ever scare you?"

"The only time he scared me was when we first met. I heard that the guy on my table took a good hit from a pipe bomb. I turn around to answer the phone and when I turned back around he was standing there looking at me."

"You never feel scared around him?"

"No. He's got a good heart/soul. We've watched movies together here and I've never felt the least bit threatened."

"Are the two of you involved?"

"We're just good friends."

"Nick wouldn't tell me if Janette and that Nightcrawler guy are also vampires. What do you think of them. Janette is ... a little intense for me. I don't think she likes me much."

"Janette isn't so bad once you get to know her. I don't know the Nightcrawler. I've heard bits of a few shows but I've never met him."

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw his fangs and eyes. I had him show me earlier. It is quite something."

"Yes it is. How do you feel about it?"

"I don't know. I'm torn between acting like nothing's wrong and being scared around him."

"He's no different. It's just that you know his secret now. You two make a good team."

"Have you ever seen him eat?" Schanke asks.

"Yes. He fills his wine glass and sips it much like we do a glass of wine. Once in a while he gulps it down. Sometimes he mixes it with some wine."

 

Several days later Schanke is still a little nervous around Nick. It's a fraction of how bad it was but it is still there. Nick hates to see Schanke suffer like that. Trying to pretend that it doesn't matter. Nick's been careful not to eat in front of Schanke. Or to scare him by vamping out and growling.

Nick decides to put Schanke out of his misery. He gets Schanke alone at his loft.

"Schanke look at me." Nick says calmly. Schanke does. Nick uses his vampire powers to hypnotize Schanke.

"You will forget that I am a vampire. You will forget that Natalie knows what I am. You will forget everything about Janette and the Raven except that she and I are old friends, you know her and have been to the club. You will not put the pieces together again." Nick stops a moment to think. "You will stop wearing the cross and definitely stop eating garlic before and during our shifts together. We stopped here because I forgot something."

Schanke comes out of it. "Did you pick up what we came for?"

Nick pats his pocket. "Yes. You ready to get back to work?"

"Anything you say, partner." Schanke says. He's back to his usual self.

*****

Coroner's office. Nick enters looking happier. Natalie notices.

"I took care of it. I planted a few suggestions. I won't have to put up with him wearing crosses or eating garlic around me anymore. I also made it so that he won't figure it out again. Things should be back to normal."

"That's good. I'd miss you if you had to leave."

"So would I." Said Nick.

*****

The Raven. Nick is talking with Janette.

"I'm pleased, mon chere. Do you have time for a little...." She kisses him passionately for a vampire. Nick responds. He has to fight the urge to fully give in. He's on duty.

Janette pulls back a bit annoyed. "I know, you're on duty." Janette sighs, "you're always on duty."

*****

Back at the precinct. Schanke is seated at his desk working on his paperwork. The captain comes over to Schanke. "Do you still want to change partners?" "Why would I? Nick and I get along fine." The captain's a little confused but doesn't push it.

the end

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