Fandom: Forever Knight
Characters: Nick & Nat
Disclaimer: Forever Knight and its characters were created by Barney Cohen and James D. Parriott and are copyright to Sony/Tristar. None of the characters in this story belongs to me. I'm just borrowing them temporarily. No infringement intended. No profit is being made.
Acknowledgements: Special thanks to foxy11814 for beta reading. Written for brightknightie on behalf of fandom_stocking.
Timeline: Season 1, first winter after “I will repay”
“Hi Nat,” Nick called as the elevator door slid aside. He quickly discarded an empty bottle into the disposal container before turning to face his visitor. Surprise registered on his face when he took in Natalie’s appearance. Clad in her winter jacket, a woollen cap, thick scarf, boots and mittens, she looked like she wanted to tackle the fiercest snow storm.
“Is it that cold?” he asked with a smile.
“It’s beautiful outside, Nick,” Nat beamed. “It finally stopped snowing. The night is wonderfully clear, and I thought we might spend some time outside.”
Nick regarded her slightly astonished. He couldn’t imagine that mortals would want to go out voluntarily on a night like this. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather cuddle in front of the fireplace and watch a video?”
“Sounds tempting, but let’s do that afterwards,” Nat declined, knowing perfectly well that Nick’s definition of cuddling involved her bundled up comfortably in blankets before the fireplace while he kept himself at a safe distance on the couch.
“What do you have in mind?”
“Have you ever gone sledding?” Nat asked.
“Uh, I recall that Janette insisted on taking a sleigh when we travelled from St. Petersburg to Moscow back in 1785,” Nick stated with a blank expression.
“Not a horse drawn sleigh,” Nat said, rolling her eyes. “I mean a wooden sled you use to slide down a hill.”
“Isn’t that something reserved for kids?” Nick asked.
“Trust me, you’re never too old for that kind of fun,” Nat told him. “Richie and I used to go sledding in the Don Valley every night after the first snow of the year.”
“You did that at night?” Nick asked astonished.
“It’s much more fun at night,” Nat elaborated. “We always had the hill to ourselves, and there were no kids we needed to circumnavigate.”
“I see,” Nick remarked. “And now you want to take me?” He still felt responsible for Richard’s death. After all, it was him who had killed Richard in the end, right in front of Nat’s eyes. The fact that Nat asked him to accompany her on something she had done traditionally with her brother gave him hope that she had forgiven him.
“If you’re up to it,” Nat insisted.
In reply Nick picked his leather coat from the rack and followed her into the elevator.
* * *
After parking her car in the car park of the Don Valley, Natalie opened the trunk to reveal two wooden sleds. Pulling one out, she handed it to Nick, “You take Richie’s.”
She pulled out the second one and set it on the ground. After locking the car and adjusting her gloves, Natalie grabbed the rope that was attached to the sled and started towards the hill.
Nick followed her example, still not sure of what he had gotten himself into.
When Nat had reached the edge of the hill, she sat down on her sled and turned to Nick, “Watch out for the pond ahead. The surface might not be stable yet, but I doubt we come that far anyway.”
Without waiting for a reply, she pushed herself down the hill, squealing loudly as her sled bounced over several bumps. She came to a stop about ten meters in front of the pond. Turning around, she waved at Nick who still stood at the top of the hill.
He sat down on the sled and rushed downhill. When the first bump propelled him in the air, he skilfully navigated himself to the right where he landed smoothly on less-paved snow. However, the deep snow stopped the sled from moving farther. The abrupt stop caused Nick to fall straight ahead facedown into the snow. Slightly dizzy from the impact, he shook his head and heard Natalie’s suppressed laughter.
“Are you all right?” she managed between giggles.
Nick stood and brushed the snow from his jeans. “Thank you. Looks like you had fun,” he remarked, slightly embarrassed.
“I’m sorry. It just looked too funny. Why did you not just stay on the paved track?”
“It looked rather uncomfortable when you rushed over the bumps,” Nick observed with a sheepish smile.
“The bumps are part of the fun, Nick,” Natalie explained and preceded him up the hill. The last part was very steep and her shoes kept slipping on the icy ground. Slightly startled, yet grateful for the assistance, she grabbed the gloved hand that pulled her up the remaining way.
“Thanks,” she smiled. “I thought you were behind me.”
“I was,” Nick stated and mirrored her smile.
Nat turned her sled around and sat down, leaving room behind her. “Leave the sled and sit down on mine,” she instructed. “I’ll show you how to do this.”
Obediently, Nick sat down behind her.
“Hold on,” Nat called before pushing over the edge. They rushed down, coming to a stop about five meters before the pond. Turning around, Nat asked, “Well? Look how far we’ve come! Let’s do it again.”
Nick took the rope in one hand and reached for Natalie’s hand with the other, leading her back up the hill. When they came to the steep icy part, he laid his arm around her and pushed her gently upwards.
“Nick, you’re cheating,” Nat complained when they arrived effortlessly on the top. “Staggering up the hill is all part of the experience.”
“I’m sorry,” Nick replied, subdued by her reproof. “I was merely trying to be ---“
“I know, I know,” Nat interrupted him. “You were just being your usual chivalrous self.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Nick wondered.
Natalie sighed. She wondered if Nick was even aware how often he relied on his vampiric strength in every day issues like climbing up a hill. If he ever became mortal, there’d be a lot of adjusting for him. She had once asked him to use his powers as little as possible, but she had learned over time that a lot of his actions seemed to be driven by instinct.
Giving him a frustrated glare, she straddled her sled, pushed herself over the edge and lay down on her belly to minimize the resistance. Her mind was still on Nick and the lecture she was about to give him once they were back at the loft when she realized that she had reached the pond. She continued to slide over the icy surface, but the crackling sounds around her told her that she surface was giving way and that she would soon be immersed in ice cold water.
Before she could even call for help, she was pulled by strong arms from the breaking surface. She still grabbed her sled tightly when Nick set her down on solid ground.
“Are you okay?” he asked concerned.
Natalie turned in his arms and hugged him tightly. “Thanks,” she mumbled.
When he regarded her expectantly, she added after a while, “Okay, I admit, this chivalrous attitude of yours does come in handy on occasion.”
He grinned in satisfaction and reached for the rope to pull her up the hill.