Carpe Noctem
a Forever Knight story
by April French
2003

Author's Note:   This story is based around the song "Carpe Noctem" from the musical Dance of the Vampires.  'Carpe noctem' is Latin for 'Seize the night.'  As far as plot goes, it's just a bit o' fun that never happened during the series but really should have.  Praise, comments, criticisms and kudos will be printed out and stuck on my wall to help me through my FK withdrawal.  Nasty flames will be used to boil soup. This story is archived with all the others.  Permission to archive is given to FKFIC, FKFIC2, the FTP site and Bright Knight.  Anyone else must first bribe me with the Forever Knight soundtracks...  I'll stop now.

Toronto: 1992

            Nick looked at the movie Natalie had handed him.  She watched his face screw up in an annoyed frown.  "Something wrong?"

            "No, not with the movie, I just..." Nick tossed the tape up and down a few times and finally tossed it over his shoulder.  "I don't think I'm in the mood for a movie tonight."

            Natalie raised an eyebrow.  "Oh?"

            "No."

            "You did say you wanted to--"

            "I know, I know I did."  Nick rubbed at his lips with worrying fingers and fixed his gaze on Natalie, and tried to resist the urge to look out the window.  It was his night off, so the steel blinds were open.  The night was flawless and clear, with a light, crisp breeze...

Come with me and bless the night
Let the darkness be your salvation
Curse the day, escape the light
Break the chains of imagination

            "All right, Nick," Natalie insisted, jumping up off the couch.  She padded up to him in her socks and oversized sweatshirt and looked him straight in the eye.  "What's the matter?"

            He twisted his tongue between his teeth, and when he finally met her eyes, his smile was one of chagrin.  "It's such a lovely night," he said wistfully.  "The nicest it's been in a while."

            "Yes, it is," Natalie agreed.  "And...?  Do continue."  Nick hung his head.  He was being... bashful?  Natalie had known Nick for two years; he could be decidedly boyish at times -- especially when he was smiling -- but bashful?  He was even scuffing his shoes against the floor.  "Nick, you're acting like a little boy who's trying to work up the nerve to ask for ice cream money.  What is it?"

            Nick looked up.  "I want to go flying," he blurted out.  "Now, I know what you're gonna say," he insisted, cutting Natalie off before she had opened her mouth.  "And I know if I ever want to be mortal, I have to... to wean myself of my vampire talents.  But it's so nice out, Nat.  And it's been a long time since I took a flight, just for the sake of it."

            He had this pathetic, pleading look on his face, and once again, the little boy aspect of his personality broke down Natalie's scientific scowl of disapproval.  She was pretty sure he was unaware of his schoolboy charm, but at times like this, she had to wonder.  Finally, "Oh, all right," she allowed.  Nick perked up brightly.  "On one condition," she added.

            Nick waited.

            "Take me with you?"

            It took some wrangling, but Nick finally gave in.  "All right, but just once around the block.  Put your shoes on," he instructed, opening a window.  "Now, put your arms around my neck -- lock your fingers together."  Nick wrapped one arm around Natalie's shoulders, slid the other behind her knees, and scooped her up in one easy motion.  She gulped; he grinned.  "Ready?"

Come with me and seize the night
Now's the time for some inspiration
Leave the day and lose the light
No taboos, only new sensations

            Natalie felt the moment Nick's feet left the ground, because her stomach was suddenly trying to exit through her mouth.  And they were still in the loft, hovering a few feet above the floor.  "Nat?  You okay?"

            "Yeah," Natalie nodded, laughing shakily.  "It's just the roller coaster reaction, you know?  I'm all right now."

            Nick grinned.  He gathered his friend closer to his chest, tilted his body forward, and flew out of the window.

In the shadows of the city
The hero's waiting for the call

            The city below suddenly became a maze of moving lights and colors and noises.  The chill wind buffeted at Natalie and the height and speed made her dizzy, but in Nick's arms she was safe and secure.  She could feel the unnatural power pounding just beneath his skin, the energy he normally had to keep tightly curbed and leashed so that he could move among mortals without arousing suspicions.  It made his embrace almost warm.

And all the devils are waking up
And all the angels start to fall

            Nick snorted suddenly.  "Son of a bitch," he said reminiscently.

            "I beg your pardon?"

            He shot her a brief grin.  "When I was new..."

            "Why does that sound like the beginning of Grimm's fairy tale?"

            "Very grim.  'Once upon a time, in medieval Paris...'"  He trailed off.  "'Once there was and once there was not.'  That was how LaCroix used to start a lot of his stories."

            "Yikes."

            "Huh?"

            "That's a frightening thought."

            "How LaCroix used to tell stories?  Well, the stories themselves were pretty gruesome; but what's wrong with the way he told them?"

            Natalie shrugged, her shoulder moving up and down against Nick's chest.  "That's how my grandmother used to start her stories.  Forget it.  What were you saying?"

            "When I was a new vampire, I couldn't wait for LaCroix to teach me how to fly.  So he picked me up -- just like you -- flew me out over Paris, and then dropped me."

            Natalie managed to do a double take. "He -- he dropped you?"

            "Mmmhmm.  I plummeted like a stone.  But he shot down and he caught me.  Dangerous madman; someone on the ground might have seen me, seen both of us."

            "But why would he do that in the first place?"

            "He'd been telling me for weeks that I would have to wait to learn.  I found out later that it takes a new vampire anywhere from six months to a year to mature enough to begin flying.  But I wouldn't listen to him."

            "Pretty brutal lesson, if you ask me."

            "He was a brutal man," said Nick shortly.  Natalie let the subject go.  Nick straightened his body vertically and set them down on a rooftop.

            "What are we stopping here for?"

            "Hey, I said only once around the block," he pointed out.  Natalie realized they were on the roof of his warehouse.  "You take the fire escape and go inside, I'll be back in an hour or so."

In the shadows of the city
They're dying for a thrill

            "Oh, no.  No way."  Natalie refused to loosen her grip on Nick's neck.

            "Nat--"

            "Nicholas B. Knight, that was a tease!"

They're going out over the edge
They're moving in for the kill

            Nick sighed.  Then he smiled wanly.  "It is kind of intoxicating, isn't it?"

You've gotta curse the day
It's nothing but a merciless light

            "That's an understatement."

You open up your arms
And then you get down on your knees
You suck up all the darkness
And you're ready now to seize--

            Nick picked her back up.  "So.  Where should we go?"

            "Everywhere."

Seize the night...
Seize the night!

            They shared a grin, and Nick shot back up into the night.

Seize the night
Before it has the chance to pass
Seize the night
You do what it takes to make it last
Seize the night
Before it has the chance to pass
Seize the night
You do what it takes to make it last

            Nick had known that his mortal friend had a fiery spirit, but it made him smile wide enough to hurt when she turned it on him.  In eight hundred years, one met a lot of women, both small-minded and high-spirited.  But he had never met anyone quite like Natalie Lambert.

Let your dreams out of their cages
Every passion and desire

            He had been in love once or twice, too.  In hindsight, he always knew where and when it had started, and what it was about the woman that had captured his attention.  Once he figured it out, he made sure to leave, and quickly.  But Natalie was...  Why was he thinking about love and Natalie in the same train of thought?

Let your visions be outrageous
Set your fantasies on fire

            Nick swung himself and his passenger in a wide arc, as he silently cursed.  No, no, no, no!  This was bad.  This was very, very bad.  Worse, he couldn't leave Toronto, not now.  If he tried to leave, Natalie would demand an explanation.  He might leave without telling her, but that would hurt her beyond his ability to comprehend.  And she was working on his cure.  If he left now, before she was finished with her research, he might never find someone as intelligent, as motivated and as discreet, as Natalie Lambert.

Everything will be permitted
There'll be nothing left to fear
I've got the magic in your body
Your inhibitions disappear

            He stopped briefly next to the CN Tower -- very briefly, to allow Natalie to catch her breath.  "I'm the one doing all the work," he complained good-naturedly.  But he understood.  The first time he had flown, all those centuries ago...

            There was nothing that could compare to the sensation, the near-drunken dizziness in his hair and his eyes and his teeth, the freedom from gravity, the feeling that nothing in the world could ever hurt you or stop you or stand in your way.  Nothing like it, except...

You've gotta curse the day
It's nothing but a merciless light

            "Come on," he whispered into Natalie's hair.  "We've got to be getting back."

            "Already?" she asked, disappointed.

            "Yes, greedy.  It's almost sunrise."

You open up your arms
And then you get down on your knees
You suck up all the darkness
And you're ready now to seize

            "Already?" repeated Natalie, surprised this time.  "We've been out that long?"

            "We've been out all night," he pointed out.  The scent of her hair and the feeling of her in his arms were beginning to cloud his senses.  It had been a beautiful night... but now that Nick had full awareness of his own feelings, he could think of many other ways to have increased that beauty.  He couldn't, of course.  Not tonight, not as he was.  But someday...

Seize the night...
Seize the night...

            Skillfully, Nick maneuvered them back in through his living room window, and placed Natalie gently on the fireplace couch.  "How did you like it?" he asked, kneeling on the floor and grinning up at her.

Seize the night
Before it has the chance to pass

            "That was incredible," Natalie said.  A bubble of laughter, part nervous relief, part joy, burst from her throat.  Then she sobered up.  "Powerful inducement," she said seriously.

Seize the night
You do what it takes to make it last

            Nick nodded.  "One of them," he said quietly.  "I'll miss it."  He hesitated, and then took her hand.  "But there will be other compensations."  Lightly, he rubbed her knuckles with the ball of his thumb.

            "I should go," Natalie finally said.

            "You're welcome to spend the day."

Seize the night
Before it has the chance to pass

            "Thank you."

            "No problem.  Sleep well, Nat."

            "You, too."

Seize the night
You do what it takes to make it last...

      

     

~Finis~
March 31st, 2003


"And we shall exist by amusing ourselves, by dreaming of monstrous loves and fantastic universes, by complaining and quarreling with the pretenses of the world..."

-- "The Flash of Lightning" by Arthur Rimbaud


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