By Ceridwyn2 (previously listed under own RL name)
"That's it!" Natalie said with frustration. Nick had just left her office, oblivious that this was supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. He had not said a word about it. Frankly at times like these, she wanted to hit him over the head with something, anything.
She took her journal on Nick, put it in the bottom drawer of her desk and locked it. Despite the red hearts that adorned her filing cabinet, her good mood had dwindled. She was going to do something about it, even if she ended up spending Valentine's Day on her own.
Her shift ended at 8:00am, but she remained in her office, fiddling about. The sun had risen at 7:30, and she knew that Nick usually got home about an hour before. She needed to talk to Tracy. Sure Natalie and Nick's relationship was beginning to get back on track, but they still had a way to go yet. Perhaps Tracy could give her some insight that she wasn't picking up on. She picked up the phone and called the precint.
"Tracy Vetter, please." She waited a moment for the desk seargent to transfer the call.
"Vetter. Can I help you with anything?"
"Tracy, it's Natalie. Could you come over to the morgue?"
"Sure," she replied unsure. "I'll be right over." Tracy hung up the phone, and headed to check in with Captain Reece.
"Aren't you gone yet?" Resse asked, surprised, since her shift had supposedly ended at 6:30.
"I was just finishing up some reports. Anyway, I'm headed over to the Coroner's Office to see Natalie about something."
"See you later," Reese responded.
Tracy left and headed for her car. She wondered what Natalie wanted, since she had sounded rather cryptic on the phone. At 8:30, Tracy entered Natalie's office, and spotted her writing some notes on a sheet of paper.
"What's up?" Tracy asked. "Anything show up on Harper?"
"Harper? Oh, yeah. The strangling. I got a skin sample from under the fingernails, and we're running a PCR Boost. The results should be ready tomorrow." Natalie put the sheet of paper into her top drawer then looked up at Tracy. "However, that is not why I called you down here. Has Nick mentioned anything about Valentine's Day to you?"
"Not really. Why? What's going on?"
"Nothing. That's the problem."
"I thought you two were working things out."
"We are, and we aren't. Confusing isn't it?"
"I guess. All I know is that for the past week, he's had this ridiculous grin on his face. It's like he's a kid at a circus. Especially anytime your name is brought up. Even if I was a total stranger, you could tell that he's very much in love with you." Tracy stopped when she noticed Natalie fluster and her fair complexion turn an embarrassing shade of red. "Sorry."
"Don't worry about it. I never really thought about it like that." Suddenly, the wheels were turning in Natalie's head - a plan. A mischievious smile spread across her face, a smile which did not go unnoticed.
"What?" Tracy asked, curiously.
"I've got an idea what to get Nick for Valentine's."
The two women left Natalie's office once Natalie ensured that everything was locked up and the lights turned out. Tracy headed for one direction, and Natalie in another. This being February and Toronto, Natalie was well bundled up against the frigid temperatures, when she went out to get into her car. She only hoped that it would start. Twice already that night, the car refused to start on a first try. Once inside the car, with the engine running, Natalie rubbed her gloved hands together to warm them up.
Natalie arrived at her apartment and unlocked her door. The moment the door opened, Sydney, Natalie's grey cat, brushed up against her legs.
"Hello, Sydney," Natalie said as she picked him up. "How's my boy today?" She got a loud 'meow' in response.
"Lonely? Well Mommy's home now. Let's go see what food we've got for you." Another loud 'meow'. Natalie checked the small pantry in the kitchen and took out a small can of tuna flakes, which she added to some dry cat food. She placed the remainder of the fish in the fridge.
While Sydney quietly ate, Natalie headed to her bedroom, and began to remove her clothing which she quickly replaced with a blue silk robe. She went into the bathroom, and pouring some fragranced bubble bath liquid in with the water, she began to feel herself relax. On an impulse, Natalie went into her living room and picked up an oil lamp that had been on the mantle. Once she found a packet of matches she returned to the bathroom and placed the oil lamp on the sink counter. Gently, she removed the open-ended glass lid, lit the wick, and then replaced the lid. She turned off the harsh halogen lights that hung from above the wall mirror, and watched the diffused glow of the candle light. She tied her hair up, removed the bathrobe, and stepped into the tub. Sliding herself down into the bubbles and water, she sighed. Pretty soon her thoughts began to drift. To Nick, where they usually ended up. She closed her eyes and relaxed.
Before she knew it, she arrived at the studio for at television show. She smiled to herself - a show about vampires in Toronto. If only the writers knew how close they were to pissing off the local vampire Community. After all, the Community had been less than pleased with the vampire novelist, Emily Weiss when she had been in Toronto the previous year for a book signing. Certainly a television show revealing a vampire population in Toronto was bound to draw some undue and unwanted attention to the Community. Anyway, one of the reasons she ended up there, was that she knew one of the actors from the show, and he had promised to give her a tour of the sets.
On a whim, she asked the guys in the props department to fit her with a set of fangs and golden eye contacts. When they queried her, thinking that she was just a bit nuts, she responded that she was a fan of the show, and that she wanted to surprise a friend with them. It was going to be a surprise all right, but she also wanted to know, or get some idea of how Nick might feel when he was "vamped" out. Her friend, the actor, just stood back and smiled.
It was still early enough in the evening, that she went to a boutique down in the Beaches area of the city. She tried on a couple dresses that she liked. Finally she picked out the one she wanted: a deep red short dress, that came to mid-thigh, and a low neckline. Slim straps rested on her fair shoulders. The sales lady folded it tidely into a decorative bag, and then Natalie left the store.
She arrived home shortly after in order to get 'dressed'. She put on the dress, brushed her hair, then applied some make-up. She packed the remainder of the gifts and surprises into a tote-bag, grabbed the cloak, draping it over her shoulders, and she headed to her car. She headed for Nick's loft.
Once there, the car was turned off. Natalie looked into the mirror, and put in the fangs and contacts. Looking at her reflection, she smiled. *This ought to make Nick look twice.* She removed the keys, gathered her things, headed to the entrance, then she keyed in the security code, entered the elevator and proceeded up to Nick's loft. Ensuring that the cloak and hood covered most of her, she exited the elevator and stepped into the loft. He was not downstairs as far as she could see, so she ventured in further. She placed her things on the couch. She called out his name, and he emerged from the bedroom, just as Natalie tossed the hood back, removed the sunglasses (even though the sun had long since set, the glasses were more for effect - which workedperfectly), looked up at him and bared her 'new' fangs. The look on Nick's face was almost pure mortification. Within the space of a mortal heartbeat, he stood in front of her, demanding what the hell had happened. He'd run through every possibly scenario he could think of: LaCroix, Vachon, the Enforcers... She was touched that he cared so much, but her only response was to laugh, which only seemed to make Nick more anxious.
With almost vampiric speed, Natalie moved and placed one of the handcuffs on Nick's wrist, and the other on her own. A throaty laugh emerged from her, and she swore she could see Nick go paler than his already immortal, undead pallor was. She ventured over to the bag that she had placed on the couch and removed a wine bottle with seemingly crimson liquid. She pulled out the cork and took several swallows before removing it from her lips. Nick just stood in complete shock. She placed the bottle on the coffee table and pushed Nick onto the couch. She removed the cloak and tossed it over an adjacent chair, returned to Nick and straddled his legs, then began to kiss him with a passion she had never fully felt before. To her surprise, Nick repsonded equally.
Natalie decided to up the stakes a bit. She moved her trail of kisses up his jawline and down his neck, resting above his jugular, and playfully nibbled. She could hear Nick calling her name, but it seemed to come from far off.
By this time, Nick had fully vamped out himself and was beginning to lose control. He stopped and pulled away, and met her eyes, and all he could see was the golden hue of the contacts. She laughed.
"What's the matter, Knight? Scared?" She took another nibble at his neck before he pushed her back. He shook his head. The vampire within retreated.
"Nat, this isn't you. What's wrong?"
"Nick, we can be together, can't you understand that? We just need to control ourselves." She hesitated. "Don't you want that?"
"More than anything. But..."
"But what, Monsieur du Brabant?" she asked teasingly, then became serious at Nick's expression. "You are scared. Nick, look at me." He did so after a moments hesitation. He watched as she removed the fangs and placed them into a plastic container, and the contacts into another container. She turned back to face him. "Nick, I love you. We *can* be together. We just have to trust each other, know our limits. Who knows, maybe one day we might even be able to break out of those limits. But we have to at least try."
"I love you, too, Nat. And yes, I am scared. I don't want to risk hurting you."
Natalie turned her head away, furious. Then she looked back at him. "Nick, I'm a big girl. I'll decide what risks I want to take. This has to work both ways. Do you think I would have come here tonight like this if I didn't want to take any risks? I know you want to be the chivalrous knight, Nick. But sometimes the maiden needs to take her own risks. You have to let me find out for myself what these limits can be. Like you, I don't want either of us to be hurt, but there's got to be some sort of middle ground - for both our sakes."
"You are right."
"And don't you forget it," she said with a smile. She kissed him - but this time, not as the 'vampire' Natalie, but as Natalie Lambert, M.E.. After a brief moment, she pulled away, the chimes of midnight rang. she left the loft with Nick calling after her....
"Natalie! Natalie, it's Nick, where are you? Nat?" There was no response. He ventured into her apartment further. He knocked on her bedroom door, calling out again.
"Meow," Sydney replied to Nick's calling. He rubbed against Nick's legs then sauntered over to the bathroom. He called her name again, but still no response. Nick entered the unlocked bathroom door, to see Natalie asleep against the back of the tub. Gently he touched her shoulder, and called her name.
Natalie awoke with a yelp, then she yelled at Nick. "Don't scare me like that! Geez. Why didn't you just knock and call out to me?"
"I did that, and got no response. Sorry. I've got something for you out in the living room. I'll go out and wait for you."
Nick left her to pull on her black silk and lace teddy - the one that Grace and the other Coroner's Office attendants had given her for her 30th birthday. Then she let her hair down, and pulled the silk dressing gown on over the teddy, A few minutes later, she emerged, and just laughed.
There standing next to Nick, was a three-and-a-half foot, white, plush teddy bear. It had a t-shirt on, with a red heart in the centre and the words "Be My Valentine" surrounding it. Nick himself had a ridiculous grin on his face, the same one Tracy had described him as having. There was also a questioning look on his face.
"Always and forever, I'll be your valentine, Nick. And you, mine." She kissed him lightly, but he responded with such passion, it took her breath away. Natalie's robe fell away, which revealed the black teddy she wore. Nick's jaw dropped, and Natalie smiled nervously. "Happy Valentine's Day," she said.
A beeper went off and Natalie's phone rang. They looked at each other and just smiled. They rested their heads together, before responding to the pages. When Natalie replaced the phone back on the base, and Nick folded up his cell phone, they simultaneously spoke: "Work, argh."
At the scene, Tracy and Captain Reese were already there. Nick headed towards Captain Reese to get information on the case, and Tracy made a beeline for Natalie.
"So, how did it go?"
"Wonderful," was all Natalie said. She took a cursory glance at Nick, smiled, and then went on to do her job.