Christmas Magic

EmilyH

MN Sci-fi Fan
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Jun 3, 2001
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Christmas Magic

Part 1/2

Standard Disclaimers apply. I don't own Forever Knight, and Nick, Natalie, and LaCroix are not my characters. I'm just borrowing them for a bit of good fun. Any characters not recognizable from the series are my own. Permission to archive is granted.

This is another story in the "Schanke's Return" series.

Many thanks to David for beta-reading.

By Emily M. Hanson

* * * * *

Nick and Natalie were relaxing on Nick's black leather sofa and watching a movie, when the doorbell rang. The vampire sighed and got up as Nat hit "pause" on the remote. There was a courier at the door, a teenage boy with red hair and freckles. "I have a package for Nicholas Knight."

"That would be me. Where do I sign?"

Jimmy looked at the recipient of his package with recognition and awe. Ever since the news about vampires living in the Los Angeles sewers had broken, Jimmy paid attention to the papers for perhaps the first time in his life. In the press, Nick Knight was acknowledged as not only a vampire, but as a hero who used his powers to save lives.

"Right here. I can't believe I'm actually talking to you. I mean, you're like a superhero or something. My friends are never gonna believe this." Examining the package more closely, Nicholas could find no clue as to who sent it. He heard the delivery boy speed off.

"Who was it?" Natalie asked.

"A delivery boy. I got a package."

"From who?"

"I don't know." He shut the door as he entered his new house. "I guess there's only one way to find out."

Nick set the package on the floor and opened it. Natalie came over to look. Inside was a smaller package, in Christmas gift wrap. Wrapped in newspapers were several vials of a greenish-yellow liquid, a bag of herbs, and a tea infuser. They were accompanied by a note that read: "The herbs, when properly infused, will provide you with a means of temporarily gaining that which you have sought for so long. Mix a pinch of them with but a drop of dragon's blood from one of the vials. May the magic of the season be yours."

Chinese characters on the note indicated that the package was from Xing Long and Xiao Xing, the dragons he and Schanke met while working on a case. Xing Long had given him Excalibur and a magic ring providing protection against fire, in order to stop Hei Long's rampage. Schanke was the one who'd actually slain Hei Long with the sword, after Nick transformed into mist by drinking a small amount of dragon's blood. The sword mysteriously vanished a few days later, but Knight still had the Ring of the Phoenix.

"Nick, this is incredible," Natalie exclaimed.

"Yes, it is," he agreed.

"Do you really think that it will work?"

"There's only one way to find out."

He scooped up the contents of the package and went into the kitchen. Excitedly, the vampire hunted for a clean coffee mug. Finally, he found one. Water went into the mug. The mug went into the microwave.

"Nick?" Natalie asked. She'd stopped the movie. The local news was on. The weatherman was rambling on about the recent cold snap.

"One minute and thirty seconds left, Nat," he replied with a grin. "Not even LaCroix can stop me this time."

Suddenly, the phone rang. The voice on the other end was all too familiar. "Hello, Nicholas."

"Hello, LaCroix. How is Rome?"

"Unseasonably warm. How are you?"

"I'm fine."

"I sense that you are not telling me everything."

"From so far away?"

LaCroix chuckled. "I am 2000 years old, Nicholas. While our bond has grown faint, it has not disappeared. What has happened?"

"Nothing for you to concern yourself with."

"Indeed. I picked up a tabloid this evening. Do you know what the headline was? 'Vampire cop engaged to mortal coroner.' Honestly, Nicholas, did you think that I wouldn't eventually find out?"

"Of course not."

"If I hadn't seen that magazine, I would have gotten the information some other way. I get the feeling you're still holding out on me. There's a sense of extreme happiness that I haven't felt from you in years."

"I'm content, LaCroix. I haven't lost my friends or my job, despite the fact that everyone knows I'm a vampire. I don't have to lie to them anymore. Not to mention, I don't have to worry about the Enforcers coming to destroy me for some slip-up, or them harming Nat or anyone else."

"And you are in love."

"Yes," Nick admitted after a thoughtful pause. Did LaCroix still mean to get his revenge? Surely not, with all the world watching the vampire community. LaCroix had been a general, and suicide missions were not normally part of strategy. But what if he had decided that he didn't want to be part of a world that knew about vampires and approved of Nick's quest for mortality? What then? LaCroix hadn't indicated as such, but he might just be desperate enough to make an attempt.

LaCroix chuckled. "Do you really think I want to get my revenge now? You are right, it would be a fool's errand. And, as you should know by now, I am no fool. There is something else you aren't telling me, Nicholas. You haven't been this happy since your last experiment with mortality - which, may I remind you, failed."

"The dragons may have found a temporary cure," Nick admitted.

"Whatever magic spell or potion those ancient creatures gave you, I am sure that it won't be what you're looking for."

"Maybe not, but at least, it'll be something."

"Will you never learn? Mortality is something we cannot regain, at least permanently."

"Good bye, LaCroix."

"I would wish you luck, but I don't believe in it. Nothing comes our way that is not gained by our own ambition. Good bye, Nicholas."

The microwave beeped just as Nick hung up the phone. He took out the mug. Carefully, he let a drop of blood fall from the vial. The hot water hissed. Greenish-yellow steam rose, nearly blinding him. He took the infuser and placed it in the mug. Natalie stared at the mug. The combined odor of the bittersweet herbs and the acrid smell of dragon's blood filled the kitchen.

"I don't know about this, Nick. Xing Long may have good intentions, but there's no proof this will work."

"Even if it's only a temporary cure, it's better than nothing at all. This is the best chance that I've had in a long time, Nat. I have to try it."

She nodded.

After the steam died down, Nick peered into the mug. The tea had infused faster than he'd expected. Cautiously, the vampire took a sip. A stinging, burning sensation filled his throat. That was the effect of dragon's blood. This tiny amount wouldn't give him the ability to gain mist form, but that wasn't his intention anyway. Nick took another sip, and another. He could feel the tea - potion would be more accurate, he supposed -- flowing through him. The vampire within him fed off the dragon's blood at first. But with each sip, it weakened.

Natalie stared at him in awe. Nick's formerly pale cheeks were a healthy-looking pink now. The more tea he drank, the more human he looked. She wondered how long the effect would last.

"Nat," Nick said, putting the empty mug down, "I think it's working."

She touched his face. It was warm. "I think so, too. Give me your wrist." Checking for the pulse that would prove beyond a doubt that the dragon's cure had worked, Nat felt until she found it. There was one heart beat, two, three . . . "Yes!" Nat exclaimed. "It worked, Nick. It worked!"

He laughed and spun her around, kissing her. "Oh, thank God. I can't believe this actually happened. Please tell me that I'm not dreaming." Natalie grinned mischievously and pinched him.

"Ouch! That hurt." Tears of joy welled up in Nick's eyes. "I guess I'm awake." Unexpectedly, his stomach growled.

"You're hungry?"

"For food. Isn't that great?"

"There's still some popcorn left."

Even though it was room temperature by now, the smell of the salty, buttery snack was enticing. Picking up the bowl, he sat down on the sofa and tried a piece of popcorn. "Nick, you're eating!"

"Yeah." He grinned and reached for more popcorn just as the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it this time," Nat said.

End of part 1

* * * * *

Christmas Magic

Part 2/2

* * * * *

It was Don Schanke and Jenny. The girl carried a gift-wrapped box, and Schanke carried a paper bag. "Hi. Myra's home sick with the flu, so we get to play Santa Claus," Don said.

"Come on in," Natalie said.

Schanke listened with growing confusion. As a werewolf, he had excellent hearing. Don heard four separate sets of heartbeats - his, Jenny's, Natalie's, and someone else's. Then he saw Nick eating popcorn. Now, Schanke had seen the vampire eat raw meat before, but his partner had barely gotten the solid food down. What was he doing, trying to eat popcorn? There was only one possible explanation.

"Nick, buddy, what happened to you?"

"So you noticed," Knight said. He had a big grin on his face, like a kid who'd gotten exactly what he wanted for Christmas.

"Great. Would you mind telling me what exactly I noticed?"

"I'm mortal, Schanke."

Don's eyes widened so far, Nick thought they might pop out of his head. Then he grinned. "How'd you do it?"

"I got a Christmas package. Inside were some herbs and some dragon's blood." Nick reached down and picked up the note. "There was also this recipe. The cure is only temporary. I don't know how long it lasts. This is the first time I've tried it."

"In that case, I hope it lasts long enough for you to enjoy some of this chocolate fudge Myra sent over for Nat."

"Oh, Schanke," Nat replied. "Thank you so much. Tell Myra we appreciate it."

"The other gift, which I know you both can enjoy no matter what, is this." Don took out a bottle of very good red wine.

"Dad, don't forget."

"Right. Jenny also has something for you."

"I made these in school." More shy than usual, the girl stepped forward and handed her gift to Nick. "Go ahead and open it."

Nick glanced up at Natalie, who nodded. He unwrapped the package. Inside was a clay pot, painted with alternating red and white strips. There was also a wooden picture frame. The gifts were obviously handmade, but they'd been made very well.

"Thank you, Jenny," Nick said.

"Yes, they're terrific," Nat added. "Okay, time for fudge," she said, taking the aluminum foil off the tray. The desert was already cut.

Nick ate his first piece of fudge, chewing slowly and savoring the flavor. It was incredibly sweet, much sweeter than anything that was available in the thirteenth century. "Mmmm . . ."

"Do you like it?" Jenny asked.

"Very much," he replied with a grin.

"Knight, you'll be eating Myra's souvlaki before you know it," Don remarked.

"You may be right," Nick answered. "Oh, I have a Christmas gift for you. It's upstairs. Wait here."

In the bedroom, next to the dresser, were two gifts wrapped in shiny red wrapping paper. He brought both downstairs.

"This one is for you and Myra, and this one is for Jenny. They're from both Nat and I."

Schanke took the larger package. "Thanks, pal. We'll put them under the tree for tonight."

"Thank you," Jenny said.

"Well, I guess we'd better get going. Myra wants us to pick up chicken noodle soup on the way home."

"I hope she feels better," Nick replied.

"Yes, definitely," Natalie agreed. "Tell her Merry Christmas from both of us."

"Will do. Come on, kiddo."

After Don and Jenny left, Nick and Nat snuggled on the sofa. Natalie couldn't believe how warm he was. Taking his wrist, she felt for a pulse . . . yep, it was there. She smiled. It was hard to believe that the day they'd finally waited for had arrived. Nat just wished it could last longer.

"Taking my pulse, doctor?" Nick asked.

"Yes."

"What's the diagnosis?"

Natalie looked up into his eyes and was amazed by the way they sparkled. "I would say one hundred percent human. Not for long, though. Any suggestions as to how you want to pass the time until it wears off?"

"I have an idea." He leaned over and kissed her passionately. "Merry Christmas, my love."

Breath taken, she returned his kiss. "Merry Christmas, Nick."

* * * * *

THE END

More FK fanfic to come eventually. This is the last of what I wrote in the year 2000.
 

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