Tapestry of Shadows & Moonlight


MN Sci-fi Fan
Jun 3, 2001
Tapestry of Shadows and Moonlight

Disclaimers: The recognizable characters from Forever Knight are not mine. I’m just borrowing them for a while. The original characters in this story are mine. Please don’t borrow them without permission. Permission granted to archive this fic. FK was created by James Parriott. No infringement is intended.

This is the sequel to Shadow Fire, which can be found on my personal website and Fanfiction.net. I that know I said I wasn’t going to do another sequel, but my muse decided otherwise. It takes place within the Schanke’s Return series, an alternate fantasy universe where magic exists.

Although this story is in an alternate universe and contains original characters, it is not a crossover, just the product of my own overactive imagination.

By Emily M. Hanson

* * * * *

Part 1

Natalie Knight groaned as she felt another bout of morning sickness coming on. Being eight-and-a-half months pregnant was no fun. Not that she wasn’t looking forward to having the baby which she and Nick had wanted for so long. After many hours spent searching internet sites and looking through baby name books, she and Nick had finally agreed on the name Jeanne Lucille. Natalie couldn’t wait to have her baby so she could hold her little girl in her arms. But at the moment, she really wasn’t enjoying being pregnant.

Grace Balthazar, her best friend and assistant at the morgue, glanced over at her. “Everything okay, Nat?â€

“Yes,†she assured her friend. “I just wish there was a cure for morning sickness.â€

“Ah. I don’t blame you.â€

Natalie covered her mouth as she ran to the ladies’ room, hoping that she would make it in time. Suddenly, a bright flash of light blinded her. She was about to scream, but a gloved hand covered her mouth. She growled warningly. Whoever was attempting to abduct her was about to be very surprised.

She’d received a blood transfusion from Don Schanke about eight months ago, after nearly dying from smoke inhalation and other wounds that she’d gotten in a fire started by a mythical creature that she hadn’t known existed. It was the only alternative to bringing her across that Nick would accept, because if he’d brought her across, they would have lost the baby. Don Schanke was a werewolf, and that was a very long story. In any case, she was also a werewolf now.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the long, sharp silver point of a needle coming towards her. Natalie growled and wrenched herself away from her would-be abductor’s grip. She saw a tall, well-built man wearing a black sweatshirt, black gloves, a ski mask, and black jeans. He held a hypodermic needle. It was completely metal, so she couldn’t see what was inside it. He approached steadily, holding the needle up.

Natalie hated turning furry, but it was her only chance. With lightening speed, she transformed from a normal human into a werewolf with reddish-brown fur, sharp claws, and glowing red eyes. Her clothes fit very snugly and threatened to rip. She didn’t care. “You might want to reconsider that,†she told him.

Her transformation definitely got the man’s attention. He stopped in his tracks for a moment, hesitating. But then he rushed toward her with the needle. Even as pregnant as she was, Natalie moved fast in werewolf form. But it still wasn’t quick enough to escape her assailant, who charged at her and stuck the needle into her fur-covered arm. Natalie screamed and managed to scratch her opponent. Her sharp claws easily ripped through his shirt, but whatever drug he’d injected her with took effect.

“Natalie?†Grace heard her scream and opened the door just in time to see her friend vanish with a man dressed in black into a shimmering blue portal. Nick was not going to be happy, to say the least.

* * * * *

“Captain Knight, Paranormal Investigations Unit,†the blond vampire answered the phone.

“Nick, it’s me. I’ve got some bad news.â€

“Grace? What is it?†Please don’t let it be Natalie, he thought.

“I’m afraid Natalie’s been kidnapped, and whoever took her used magic. Her abductor took her through some sort of glowing door. God only knows where they are now. Nick, I’m so sorry. I wish I could have done something.â€

“It’s not your fault,†he assured Grace. “I’ll find her.â€

Captain Don Schanke looked up from his computer screen as a worried look appeared on his face. “Something happened to Nat?â€

Nick nodded slowly. “She was taken, but somehow, we’ll find her.â€

He looked around for Lt. Michelle Weaver and her partner, Det. Adam Ripley. The two of them should be there somewhere. They didn’t have any active cases at the moment. Finally, he glimpsed Lt. Weaver coming out of the break room with a steaming cup that, knowing her, contained coffee. The tall brunette had taken up the human habit of drinking coffee lately.

Though she appeared human, she was in reality a dragon. Dragons could shape shift into humans. Most of them blended into society. Until a couple of years ago, no one had even known they’d existed.

Shortly after the vampires’ secret had been revealed, a dragon had tried to wreak havoc in Toronto. Nick and Schanke had defeated him with the legendary Excalibur, but soon after that, the sword had simply vanished as magical swords were known for doing.

Nick cleared his throat. “Michelle, could I see you and your partner for a minute?â€

“Sure, Captain. What is it?†She frowned. He smelled worried and frightened, but was doing a fairly good job of hiding it otherwise. Something terrible must have happened. Vampires were not frightened without a good reason.

Adam followed. He was a tall young man with reddish-brown hair and green eyes, and an extraordinary talent for seeing how smaller pieces fit into the larger picture.

“Natalie has been abducted. All we know so far is that her kidnapper used a magic portal to escape. Grace was a witness. It happened at the morgue.â€

Schanke glanced up. As a werewolf, he had excellent hearing. “Something happened to Natalie?â€

“She was kidnapped, Schank.â€

His jaw dropped. “No way!â€

The vampire nodded. “We’ll find her.†His eyes flickered gold as he let out a low growl. “And whoever took her will be sorry.â€

* * * * *

Natalie moaned as her abductor placed her on the bed, then took off his mask. Her metabolism was already rendering the drug ineffective. Sylvain Macalister frowned. She would need more of it. He’d underestimated her healing abilities as a werewolf. He left the room, locking the door behind him.

Meanwhile, Natalie awoke with a splitting headache to find herself in a strange bedroom. Her blurry vision didn’t help any, but she knew this was an unfamiliar place. Where was she and why had she been taken? What if she went into premature labor due to stress? Nick, I wish you were here, she thought desperately.

Sylvain searched through his lab until he found the vial he was looking for. It contained what looked like liquid silver, but was in reality a creation of his own. He’d started out with a normal sedative and mixed it with several extremely rare magical ingredients. It had worked on Ashley Blake, the unicorn Justice of Order and Peace, who was one of his guards while he was under house arrest. Fools. They’d seriously underestimated him.

It was true that his attempt to kill the vampire leader failed, but he’d learned from his mistakes. Now he wanted revenge, and Natalie’s unborn child was the best way to do that. The daughter of a vampire and werewolf was a rare occurrence in itself, but this particular child would be more powerful than anyone else knew. The magic of shadows and moonlight mingled within her blood. They were the key to the destruction of the vampires and werewolves. No one but him knew the secret of how to tap that power.

It lay within an ancient spell, one that he had discovered while reading his ancestor’s spell book one day. He no longer had the original book, but he’d written down a copy of it as a precaution. The unicorn Justices didn’t find the copy when they’d searched Sylvain’s home because it had been hidden within a temporal stasis field, leaving it outside time and their magical powers.

As the unicorn chanted, the book appeared, surrounded by a glowing blue sphere. When he touched it, the sphere vanished. Now all he needed were the proper ingredients for the spell that would hasten Natalie’s pregnancy and allow the child to be born.

* * * * *

To be continued.


MN Sci-fi Fan
Jun 3, 2001
Tapestry of Shadows and Moonlight

See part 1 for disclaimers.

By Emily M. Hanson

Part 2

* * * * *

A short time later, Nick, Schanke, Adam and Michelle stood in the hallway where Nat had disappeared. Schanke sniffed the air tentatively. The werewolf caught the telltale scent of powerful magic and someone other than human that was definitely not a vampire.

“They were definitely here, but how are we supposed to find out where they went?†he asked. “Is there some magical way of doing that or something?†He looked questioningly at Michelle.

“I can try to find out,†she replied. By concentrating, she learned which spell had been used. The unicorns had apparently rediscovered an ancient portal spell. It was, however, not possible to find out where the portal led. It had been too long after its use. The frustrated dragon let out a growl. “Sorry, but I can’t track them.â€

“Great,†Schanke remarked sarcastically. “Now what?â€

“We wait for a ransom note,†Nick said. “Or a clue will turn up. Something will happen. It has to.â€

* * * * *

Meanwhile, Sylvain gathered the ingredients he needed for his spell. Natalie was in a deep sleep and would not awaken until he wanted her to. Soon, he would make the werewolves and vampires suffer, and his kind would see that he was meant to be their leader. No one else took the initiative that was so desperately needed. No one else dared to destroy the creatures of darkness. How dare they call him a criminal, when instead he was a hero? He was only doing what needed to be done.

* * * * *

Within the sleeping woman, the baby awoke. She felt something stirring in the universe around her. She didn’t know how, but she could feel it. Something dark was coming. Something bad. The child was safe and she wanted to stay there, but soon, it would be her time to come into the world. She couldn’t stay where she was forever.

*Mama,* the baby thought desperately, clinging to the familiar presence. At least she was safe for now.

In her dream, Nat heard a strange voice calling out to her. She glanced around, but there was no apparent source. Not for the first time, she wished that Nick was there. She had no doubt that he was trying to find her. He was her knight in shining armor, even if he was a vampire. He would be there soon.

The voice cried out again. *Mama!*

Natalie was shocked. How could this be? It must be her dream. That had to be it. There was no logical reason otherwise.

Feeling rejected, the other presence started to fade. But she decided to make one last, desperate attempt. *Mama?*

In the bedroom, Natalie’s eyes flew open in surprise despite the drug her captor had given her. She tried to make sense of what she felt, that there was someone other in her mind besides her. But logic failed, and when logic failed, all that was left was emotion. Hope surged inside her. *Jeanne Lucille?* she thought hesitantly. *My baby, is that you?*

Thoughts of joy flooded her mind. They were followed by a happy, contented sigh. *Mama.*

A tear welled up in Natalie’s eye and started to flow down her cheek. “I will not let that madman hurt you. I swear it,†she whispered.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, Nick was worried. He paced the floor in his and Natalie’s house so many times he thought he was going to wear a rut into the wood. Feeling frustrated, he picked up one of his antique swords, which he kept in a display rack by the fireplace, and began going through the motions of his old routine. It was a very old routine, one that he had not done in years. But it was something to do.

As he practiced, the sword reflected the light in the room. Light streamed from its blade, flashing brilliantly. It was almost glowing, but it was not magical. Still, its workmanship was very good and he had kept it in excellent condition over the years. Nick slashed through air and pivoted, then slashed again. The exercise was cathartic, but not as much as biting Natalie’s abductor would have been. Then again, she wouldn’t want that, would she?

Nick frowned. He’d been a vampire for 800 years. True, he’d regained some of his lost humanity when he’d met Nat. Thanks to the dragons and their magical tea, he was even able to become human for a brief time. It was all too brief, though. His vampiric nature always asserted itself afterwards.

At least he and Natalie had finally been able to conceive a child. The name they had agreed upon, Jeanne Lucille, was in many ways ironic. That Jeanne meant “child of God†and Lucille meant “light†was not lost on him. Jeanne had also been Joan of Arc’s given name. It was one of the reasons he’d suggested it. Natalie had been surprised at first, but she’d agreed with his reasons. Their child was surely a miracle. Nick just hoped that he would be able to save both Natalie and his daughter from whatever their kidnapper had planned.

Suddenly his telephone rang, and at the same moment Nick’s heart beat. A vampire’s heart did not beat very often. He nearly dropped the sword. Slowly, he set it on the floor and raced to the phone.


The speaker’s voice had just a slight British accent. “I have your wife and your child, Captain Knight. If you do as I say, you just might be able to get them back alive.â€

“Who are you?â€

“Perhaps the question you should be asking is what am I?â€

“All right. What are you?â€

“I’m sure you’ll be able to figure that out soon enough. I want you to come to a certain bookstore. I’m sure you know where it is. It’s called Xing Long’s Books.â€

“How do you know Xing Long?â€

“That is for me to know and for you to find out. Meet me there at sunset, alone, and don’t try anything.†Then all Nick heard was a busy signal.

The vampire stared at the phone in disbelief. Xing Long? What did the dragon have to do with all of this? Nick sighed, then dialed a number he had memorized long ago.

The owner of the bookstore, who was a dragon but looked like an Asian man in human form, answered. “Xing Long.â€

“Nick Knight. Got a few minutes?â€

“Of course. How are you and Natalie? Has the baby been born yet?â€

“Actually, they’re the reason I’m calling. I’m afraid I have bad news. Nat’s been kidnapped, and the baby hasn’t been born yet.â€

“No! That is horrible! Nick, I am so sorry to hear that. What can I do?â€

“I just had a call from a man who wanted to meet me at your store tonight at sunset -- probably her abductor. Do you know anything about this at all?â€

“If I did, I would certainly tell you. I don’t know why he would want to meet at my store. Unless…†Xing was silent for a moment, lost in thought. “I also carry magical supplies, but very few know about that. I have only several customers who buy them from me, and they are all non-humans, mostly dragons. Perhaps whoever kidnapped Natalie is planning to cast a spell and he needs magical supplies.â€

“What sort of spell would that be?â€

“I can’t think of any spells that would require the presence of a pregnant mortal…werewolf, that is. Perhaps it is an obscure one. If so, that is not a good sign. I will do some research and let you know if I find anything.â€

“Okay. You know how to reach me?â€

“Yes. Goodbye, Nick. And good luck.â€

Nick sighed as he disconnected, then picked up his sword again. He knew that he needed to sleep, but he needed to work off his nervous energy first. He began the old routine again. As the blade sliced through air, light reflected off it and danced in the shadows beyond.

* * * * *

To be continued.


MN Sci-fi Fan
Jun 3, 2001
Tapestry of Shadows and Moonlight

See part 1 for disclaimers.

By Emily M. Hanson

Part 3

* * * * *

Natalie drifted off, but the sleep was natural. The drug that her abductor had given her had worn off. As the woman slept, she dreamt of the time when she, Nick, and their child could be together.

* * * Dream Sequence * * *

The infant girl lay comfortably in Nat’s arms as Nick beamed down at them. “I can’t believe how beautiful she is, Nat. How lovely you both are. It’s a miracle.â€

“We wouldn’t be here without you, Nick.â€

“Yeah, well…†his voice trailed off. He looked at them, and there was nothing but love in his eyes. There was no trace of the vampire. “I’m glad they finally found a cure. I love being in the sunlight with you, Nat.â€

“So do I,†she answered.

Nick looked at the baby and grinned with pride.

“Would you like to hold our daughter?†she asked him.

“I would love to.â€

Natalie smiled as he took the baby in his arms. Father and daughter gazed at each other. Both pairs of blue eyes showed nothing but love. The baby gurgled happily. As Nick smiled, a tear welled up in his eye. It was perfectly clear.

*Daddy!* The sudden thought sounded like a note ringing out. It was enough to wake up Nat.

* * * End Dream Sequence * * *

Startled, she glanced around the empty bedroom. Where was her kidnapper? Had he left? She sat up and swung her legs over the bed. There was a glass of water on the dresser nearby. It looked and smelled normal. Her sense of smell as a werewolf was much better now. It would have picked up anything unusual.
She took the water and sipped it, then wandered over to the door. As Nat reached for the doorknob, instinct told her not to. Perhaps it was trapped. She withdrew her hand. As she did so, Natalie saw a small, thin strand of air that was darker than night reach out like a tentacle from the wood near the doorknob. It moved as though it had a mind of its own, searching for her hand that wasn’t there anymore. Then it vanished back into the wood and the door appeared perfectly normal.

With a sigh, Nat took the glass of water and sat on the bed again. How was Nick ever going to find her? She didn’t know if he would be able to rescue her. How could he hope to defeat these magical defenses? He was a vampire, not a wizard. But knowing her husband, he would find a way through. He had to.

* * * * *


Nick woke up with a start, not knowing where the strange voice in his mind had come from. He looked around, and seeing no one, attributed it to a dream. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. It was just about sunset. He figured he had better get moving. He’d called Schanke earlier to tell him what was going to happen. Don hadn’t liked it, but he’d agreed to let the vampire go alone.

It was about a quarter past seven when Nick pulled up in front of the bookstore. He gave the Caddy’s hood a pat. A few people on the street recognized him from the newspapers and stared for a moment or two. While vampires had become common knowledge, most people had never met one. Nick was still a celebrity as a reformed-vampire-turned-cop, and even more so since the news of Natalie’s pregnancy had hit the tabloids. He gave the onlookers a smile and went into the store.

Xing Long appeared to be a middle-aged, inconspicuous-looking Asian man in his human form. Most people would never have guessed that he was a dragon. When Nick and Schanke slew the black dragon, the news of their existance had become an instant media sensation. But most dragons preferred not to come out of the closet and remained unknown, even to their closest human friends, for fear that they’d be chased out of their jobs and homes.

“Hello, Nick.â€

“Have you been able to find anything?â€

The dragon nodded. “I have been researching all day. Xiao Xing has been helping me.â€

Perched on the end of the counter, the black feline meowed. She was, in reality, a fairy dragon who chose to take the form of a cat.

“We found a reference to an ancient spell. If it were actually cast, it could be catastrophic. It would unleash a cataclysmic force upon the world.â€


“Essentially. Only those with the most powerful magic protection would be able to survive the tragedy. It would most likely wipe out the entire human race, as well as werewolves and vampires.â€

Nick shuddered. “Do you know how to stop it?â€

“There is no way to stop it. We must prevent Natalie’s abductor from casting it at all. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever attempted to cast this spell. They would need the blood of a child who was born of a vampire and a werewolf. Such a child has never existed before.â€

The vampire’s eyes widened. “The baby’s not due for another two weeks.â€

“There are ways to hasten a pregnancy.â€

“Well then, we’ll have to do everything we can to keep him from casting that spell.â€

Xing nodded.

Suddenly the door opened and a tall man with silvery-gray hair and cold blue eyes stared at them. He wore a long trench coat that could have concealed any number of weapons. There were several suspicious bulges. “Hello, Knight.â€

The vampire turned and snarled, letting his fangs drop. He’d recognized the voice of the man who’d called him. It was Natalie’s abductor. He recognized him as Sylvain Macalister from Tracy’s description in the file from the last time they’d dealt with him. “You! What have you done to my wife?â€

The unicon’s piercing eyes shot daggers at him, then took the crossbow out from under his coat and aimed it. “Your wife is fine, vampire. But you will not be for long.â€

* * * * *

To be continued.


MN Sci-fi Fan
Jun 3, 2001
Tapestry of Shadows and Moonlight

See part 1 for disclaimers.

By Emily M. Hanson

Part 4

* * * * *

Nick hissed and moved in a blur as Sylvain spun around looking for him. Suddenly he felt the vampire’s hands gripping his neck.

“Drop the crossbow.â€

“I don’t think so,†the unicorn replied.

The air suddenly rippled like water, and then Nick felt himself losing his grip. Sylvain slipped away and turned, loading the crossbow again. When he solidifed, Nick gaped. Sylvain fired. Nick dodged with lightning reflexes, but it was too late. The wooden arrow pierced his shoulder, causing him excruciating pain.

The vampire groaned. How was he supposed to rescue Nat now? Suddenly, he heard Xiao Xing’s exotically accented female voice in his head. *You must not give up. Your will is strong. You will find a way.*

He nodded and ripped the arrow out of his shoulder, being careful not to break it, then faced the unicorn again. His eyes were glowing blood red. “You’ll pay for that.â€

Ignoring him, the unicorn reloaded the crossbow. Suddenly Nick was no longer there and Sylvain felt the weapon being torn out of his hands. The vampire flung it across the room and snarled.

“Where is Natalie? Why did you come here?â€

“Your precious Natalie is safely locked away where you will not find her. As for why I’m here,†he glanced at the dragons, “I needed to pick up a few things.â€

“For the spell?â€


Nick moved in a blur and gripped Sylvain by the neck again. He didn’t know if unicorns could be whammied, but it didn’t hurt to try. Matching his heartbeat with Slyvain’s, Nick concentrated. “Tell me where Natalie is.â€

The unicorn laughed. “Your mind games won’t work on me, vampire.â€

Well, it was a long shot, but it had been worth a try. Nick opened his mouth, displaying a set of gleaming white fangs. “Tell me,†he growled. “Or else.â€

“You wouldn’t kill me,†Sylvain replied.

Nick’s eyes blazed red as he responded, “First you kidnapped my pregnant wife, then I found out that you plan on using my baby girl in some diabolical plot, and then you tried to kill me. You think I won’t kill you? Think again. I’m a vampire, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had fresh blood. Yours will probably taste even sweeter than human blood. If I have to, I will drain every drop from your body to find out where Natalie is.â€

The unicorn blanched. He knew that Nick was not bluffing. He couldn’t be. Pearls of sweat beaded up on Sylvain’s forehead as the vampire leaned even closer. Nick’s fangs looked incredibly sharp. “All right. I’ll tell you. You’ll find your wife here.â€

Nick memorized the address Sylvain gave him. As he did, he heard the sound of another vehicle pulling up in front of the store. Schanke walked in. His jaw nearly hit the floor as he saw what was going on.

“Schanke, what the hell are you doing here?†Nick asked without turning his head.

“I figured you might need some backup.â€

The vampire nodded. “Good call.†Slowly, his fangs receeded and his eyes went back to normal. He shoved Sylvain in Schanke’s general direction. “Cuff him.â€

The werewolf was quicker than the unicorn, who attempted to escape through the door. Schanke grabbed his arm and put the silver cuffs around his wrists.

“What if he, uh, casts a spell or something?†Schanke asked.

“If you’ll allow me,†Xing Long said, “I can make sure that doesn’t happen.â€

Nick nodded.

“Fine by me,†Don said.

Xing chanted in the dragon toungue. Then the handcuffs around Sylvain’s wrists shimmered blue for a heartbeat and returned to their normal appearance.

“Those handcuffs are magically enhanced. He will not be able to get out of them without the magic word to release the spell. If you follow me into the back room, Nick, I will tell you the phrase so that he won’t be able to hear it.â€

They went into the back room. Xing said something that Nick wasn’t able to catch because it wasn’t in English.

“Could you repeat that?â€

After several tries, Nick was able to pronounce the word in the dragon language. “What does that mean?â€

“Key,†Xing told him.

“Interesting. I don’t suppose you’d be willing to teach me a bit more later on.â€

“Perhaps. You would be the first vampire to learn any word in our language, as far as I know.â€

“Thank you. For everything.â€

“Of course.â€

Nick returned to find Schanke hauling Sylvain into his car. “Be careful,†he told the werewolf. “He might still have a few tricks up his sleeve.â€

“I will. Thanks. Good luck finding Nat.â€

Nick nodded. Watching Schanke drive away, he wondered how Natalie was. He hoped that she and the baby were all right. At the thought of the baby, Nick was startled to hear the strange female voice in his head.


Could it be possible for their child to have a link similar to the one he shared with LaCroix and Jeanette? She was half vampire. Perhaps he wasn’t going insane after all. *It’ll be all right,* he sent back, just in case. *I’m coming. Tell Natalie I’ll be there soon.* He got the impression she’d understood. That would have to be enough for now.

* * * * *

To be continued.


MN Sci-fi Fan
Jun 3, 2001
Tapestry of Shadows and Moonlight

See part 1 for disclaimers.

By Emily M. Hanson

Part 5

* * * * *

In the bedroom, Natalie awoke to the sound of the door opening. She couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw who was there. “Nick,†Nat exclaimed while struggling to sit up.

“Hey,†he said. “I’m here.â€

*Daddy,* Jeanne shouted in his mind, sending out waves of joy.

A tear slid down Natalie’s cheek. They were safe, they were together, and nothing was ever going to tear them apart again. Nick helped her sit up, a task that was difficult when she was over 8 months pregnant.

“It’s okay, you’re all right,†he said.

They embraced, and for a few moments, everything was perfect.

“Nick, there’s something you need to know about Jeanne. I think she can communicate with me somehow.â€

He nodded. “Me, too.â€

“It’s amazing,†Nat breathed.

Nick smiled. “You’re even more amazing, you know.†He helped her up. “Shall we get out of here?â€

She nodded. “What happened to the man who abducted me?â€

“Sylvain Macalister is with Schanke. He’s really a unicorn. Xing Long cast a spell on the handcuffs so he can’t get out of them.â€

“Good. I hope he stays behind bars forever.â€

“No arguments there,†Nick replied, assisting his lovely wife outside to the Caddy. She looked exhausted. They would have to see the doctor tomorrow.

* * * * *
Two weeks later…

“Congratulations, you have a very healthy baby girl,†the doctor exclaimed.

Nick beamed. Natalie sat up and gingerly held the baby wrapped in a soft pink blanket in her arms. She had Nick’s eyes and a few auburn-colored strands of hair. She was absolutely adorable.

“Do you folks have a name picked out?â€

Nick nodded. “Jeanne Lucille.â€

“That’s beautiful,†said a nearby nurse as she wrote the baby’s name on a plastic wristband. “Jeanne Lucille Knight.†She smiled. “She’s a perfect baby.â€

The baby girl gurgled happily and gazed into Nat’s eyes. *Mama.*

“Yes, she is absoltely perfect,†Natalie replied with a smile. She looked at Nick, who was grinning from ear to ear, and knew they would be a great family.

* * * * *

The End

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