Subj:    DKFIC - Storm Clouds Gather 1/1
Date:    97-02-13 16:31:57 EST

Storm Clouds Gather 1/1

This is third in my "Storm" series - standard disclaimers apply. Morgaine, however, is my creation, so please ask before using her (personally, I think she'd be great for a round robin or a tag team, but I have so many ideas I can't seem to let go of her myself)! N&N Packers, this isn't the story for you if you can't stand thinking of Nick with anyone but Nat - you read at your own risk, and don't complain to me if that's why you don't like it!

Storm Clouds Gather 1/1
Amber Murray copyright 1997

If looks could kill, Nick would have been dead on the spot, vampire or no vampire. <Damn!> he cursed to himself. <This isn't how I wanted to do this!>
"Actually - no, Nat, I don't think I care to discuss this right now," he replied, more sharply than he intended.
"Well, that's just too damn bad, isn't it?" Nat gritted sarcastically. She waved in the direction of Morgaine's retreat. "Who was that? Your neck-of-the-week?"
She was baiting him, and he refused to rise to the lure. He had hurt her, he knew. He hadn't meant to, hadn't wanted to, to be had known for a while that it would eventually come to this. It pained him to know that he was the cause of her injury. He did love her, loved her greatly, but he had realized a long time ago that he wasn't in love with her. He had been in love with the idea of mortality, or ridding his shoulders of the yoke of guilt he had harnessed himself with for centuries.
"You're right, we do need to talk. But not here, not like this."
"Where then?"
"I'll book off early tonight and come by your place." Natalie nodded tightly, and spun on her heel. Her heels struck ringing noises from the tile floor as she retreated. Nick followed after her example, striding back into the squad room. He was aware of the interested glances of his fellow officers, but gave them no heed. Ignoring Tracy's attempts to catch his eye, he snatched the phone from its cradle. He dialed the loft, hoping Morgaine had returned by now - it was a short flight, after all.
"Hello?" Morgaine's silky voice poured like rich wine through the phone.
"It's Nick," he began. "Look, something's come up, and I may be late getting home." He didn't want to elaborate - too many ears, too many eyes.
"Would this something perchance be named Natalie?" she questioned.
"Yeah," was his only reply.
"Bon, cheri. Do what you must. I will be waiting for you."
Nick smiled in relief. "I'll be home as soon as I can. Good-bye."
"Au revoir, mon amour," and the line went dead.
Nick replaced the phone and stood, stuffing the unfinished reports into an inter-office envelope.
"I'm booking off the rest of the night," he said to Tracy in a tone that brooked no debate. "Don't worry - I'll finish these at home," he shot over his shoulder.
"Not with her there, you won't," Tracy muttered.
Nick maneuvered the caddy through the sparse traffic. He knew he had some time before Natalie made it home, and he had a stop to make.
The usual crowd thronged the Raven, several regulars raising their glasses in recognition as Nicholas made his way to the back of the club. Lacroix saw him through the broadcasting booth window, raising an eyebrow. He reached for a tape, popped it deftly into place, and gestured for Nick to take a seat across from him. He leaned back in his own chair, crossed his legs, and waited.
"To what do I owe the unexpected pleasure of this visit?" Lacroix asked when Nick had settled.
Nick toyed with the band of his watch, a telling movement not lost to the icy eyes of his master.
"I need some advice, Lacroix. And a favor."
"Indeed," Lacroix replied, leaning forward in interest. "Pray, do continue."