Edited for Television.

Posted with permission of the authors.

Better Left in Toronto, That, eh Mate?

This is a Forever Knight story, Usual disclaimers, I promise not to harm or infect the FK characters.

This is a BtK (Bridging the Knight) parody. If you don't want to be infected, wear a mask, and for Darkness sake, don't share drinks. No names have been changed in an attempt to control the contagions. (I have permission slips from all victims ... uhm ... participants in this story.) This is a Nighttime snickering, giggling, chuckling, laughing, silliness so we can rest story.

No celebrity guests of BtK have been included, per house rules.

Instant Messages (IM's) are a feature of AOL and allow buddies on line to talk back and forth instantly. [That's Suze] {That's Karies}

This is for SuzeCamp, as she begins her thirtieth year. It's a biggy, eh? [Yeah, it is.] {Suze, this is the introduction, do you mind waiting for me to begin tellin' the story before you interrupt me?} [k] {k}

*******************************************************

Better Left in Toronto, that, eh Mate?

By Gehirn Karies (MindDebris@aol.com) and Kathy Whelton (103045.2473@Compuserve.com)

Copyrights to the authors, 1997. ...............

"I hate cough syrup don't you?

I hate cough syrup it's true." ~~~ Butthole Surfers. ............

In a town somewhere outside San Francisco.....

Karies nearly tripped over the figure squatted by the elevator.

"I'm locked out of my room," Suze said, grinning as she lifted herself off the floor.

"Again? Why don't you just ask them for a spare key?" Karies moaned.

"I've asked them three times, I have eight keys out."

"I thought you merely asked them which room you were in a couple of times."

"Yeah, that too."

"Did you look in those bloody pockets? I mean, empty the damned jacket out?" Karies nudged, almost desperately.

"Hey, don't tease *me*" Suze whined, her voice piercing.

"Okay, right, where are all your roomies?"

"How should I know? What do I look like, a babysitter?" Suze was almost cranky from her rising fever, but caught herself. "Look, can I use your extra bed, just for a rest, please?" Suze smiled widely.

'Oh my Darkness, she's using the voice,' Karies thought, 'she's trying to control me with her sweetness. I must fight it......'

"I don't feel very well. I won't be any bother." Suze was bursting with sweetness and vulnerability, the voice was ... too much.

"Aaauuuuuugh, all right, come in. You don't look well, now that you mention it, how many of those little chocolate sheep did you eat?" Karies asked.

"Cows, they were cows." Suze rolled her eyes. Karies just didn't grasp the whole cow thing.

"You're all sweaty, gal, you better shower, here, you can wear these extra PJ's."

"The cow print PJ's? But you said they were uncomfortable." Suze pouted.

"Like you'll notice, sick as you are. Uhm ... where's the ah ... B-O-M-B?"

"It's safe."

"Cool."

"Speaking of safety, I'll leave a message on your room machine with your whereabouts for your bouncing buddies." Karies looked over at the bed. Suze was already asleep. "Hmmmn. Asleep the moment she hit the bed, seems I can effect men *and* women with my special powers."

There was a loud knock on the door, followed immediately by more knocking. The door nearly buckled from the pounding it was receiving. Karies yanked it open. The man on the other side burst into the room, ranting in broken English. "Where is He?"

"Aren't you The Inca?" Karies asked the man.

"He thinks he has invaded me!" he spat out.

"You're at the wrong convention if you're looking for a man."

"Don't try to deceive me, you foolish moral women!" The Inca hissed, all riled up.

"Hey, watch your typos."

"I'm ... I'm sorry, but I ... I feel so feverish."

"Yeah, well, so find a Natpacker who's taken a pill, and go with the cure, Dude."

"A Nickpicker? Where can I find such a person?"

"Natpacker! Really, Inca, can I call you Inca, cool, try to get the dialog right, whaddya need, a bouncing ball?"

"I saw such women, going to a large party, it is the Bouncing Ball?"

"Aaaaaaaugh!" Karies moaned, falling onto her bed. "Look, Inca, I'm beat, I've been trying to get to the bottom of all this talk about the Black Swan, and I haven't had a coffee in ... nearly an hour. Let's leave my feverish friend here be and go down stairs for some coffee and you can tell me all about whoever it is you're after."

They headed for the door, just as it came crashing open. "Not again!" she moaned. A man flashed by Karies and pinned the Inca to the wall. No, not a man, a VAMPIRE. A kinda cutish vampire. "Oh-" she sighed. "It's Nick Knight, this could be trouble."

Nick was all vamped out and his voice was an octave lower than normal. He glared at The Inca, tightening his hold. "Where is she?"

"Look, Knight, hit the fast forward, willya? This guy just flew in on that tropical wind and his captions are fried. I need coffee."

"You," Knight warned Karies, "keep out of this, or you'll *be* espresso, French Vampire Roast!"

"Okay, okay, chill, Knight. It's only my room you're---"

"Wha... what's going on?" Suze sat up abruptly, stirred by the Dark Knightie moment.

"Suze, Knight here broke into the room, he's shoving around The Inca and being all toothy about it," Karies complained.

"Nick, what's going on?" Suze was trying the voice on Nick.

"Suze," Nick said, releasing the Inca. "All sorts of evidence and even a few of my personal belongings are missing from Toronto."

"Oh dear, no," Suze gasped, "and you think it is your fault?"

"Think? I know it's my fault. And that's not all, among them ... was ... something Nat was working on ... it ... it may be acting as a contagion!"

"A contagion? For the beaver?" The Inca asked.

"What *is* wrong with you, Inca?" Karies asked. "This ... whatever Nat was working on, it's what's spreading the fever, Knight?"

"No, of course not, this fever is merely a common cold that could have been avoided with the ingestion of mass quantities of alcohol." No one seemed to believe Nick Knight.

"What then?" Suze asked.

"Embarrassing teasers, hanging tags, flashbacks out of continuity and reused fillers."

"No," everyone gasped at once.

"What about the Black Swan?" Karies inquired.

"Have you seen her?" Nick asked.

"No, but it seems everybody who has the fever has." She looked at Knight suspiciously. "What is it, Knight? What's with this swan?"

"Nothing ... nothing I can't handle."

Karies knitted her brows. "Oh my Darkness! We're baked!"

"Karies!" Suze admonished. "Don't be rude. I saw the Black Swan, Nick, I was real close to her."

"You ... you touched her?" Nick grilled Suze. She nodded affirmative. Nick sat heavily upon the bed. Karies and The Inca crept backwards towards the door, trying not to breathe in the air. Just as they were about to slip out the door, whoooooosh, another vampire breezed in.

"Ey, you lot, I kin smell 'er, I kin." Screed sniffed around Suze like a dog on the scent. "You've seen 'er, ain't ya, miss?"

"Uhm, yeah, I just told Nick---"

"Well, Deflector Lights! Beat the ole Screed to the target muff, now `ave ya?"

"Uhm ... not really," Nick answered, snootily.

"Still spottin' me for bringing 'er in, eh?"

"Yeah, sure," Knight agreed.

"Where ought that a' been, that sighting you had of the old girl, then?" Screed asked Suze.

"Over by the pond, at the ... complex across the street." Screed was gone in a flash.

"What the hell was he on about?"

"Karrrriiiesssss! Don't say H-E-L-L in front of the D-A-M-N-E-D O-N-E!" Suze whispered through gritted teeth.

"You have a tiny bat shaped candy sprinkle right there," Karies said, pointing at Suze's front teeth. The Inca and Knight were at it again, posturing and growling. "I really don't think he is blond, ya know. Now LaCroix, there's a blond, if ya get my drift."

"Must you drift? We've got a major outbreak here," Suze sighed.

"What we've got is an outbreak of Dead Vampires."

"STOP!!!!!" Suze stomped her feet. "Nobody died, nobody ever dies!"

"Uhm, yeah right, and pigs can fly. Wha---" A man floated up to the open window, pushed it wider and dropped into the room. "Whoa--- a flying pi--- policeman!" Karies exclaimed. "Schanke! Donut F*****g Don Schanke!"

"You got him." Schanke grinned.

"But ... you're--" Karies stammered.

"Shush!" Schanke hushed. "Nobody ... you know, nobody ever ... you know." He waved his hand in front of Nick's eyes. "Earth to Knight, there's a real detective on the scene now, whadya got?"

Karies pulled Suze aside as the detectives compared notes. "Look, Suze, I don't know what's going on here, but Schanke is kinda hot in person, eh?"

"Shush!" Suze whispered.

"Shush? Why is everybody always shushing me in Fan Fiction?"

"Get real, it's not just in Fan Fiction. But I see what you mean, he is all warm and fuzzy," Suze grunted, her eyes roaming over the detective.

"Myra," Karies moaned.

"And Jenny."

"Forget him, Suze."

"Forgot him, Karies."

Karies turned towards the detectives. "Look, uhm ... Knight, Schanke, I don't want to tell you guys how to do your work or anything, but don't you think we could talk on our way over to the complex?"

"Why the complex?" Schanke asked. Knight looked befuddled.

Karies sighed.

"Because, sillies," Suze sang, "that's where I last saw the Black Swan."

"Oooooh!" Knight exclaimed.

Schanke headed for the window. "Hey, Schank, do you mind?" Nick asked, motioning at the mortals present.

Schanke almost blushed. "Yeah, yeah, sure, Knight."

The fivesome headed for the complex, avoiding the neighboring wild animal farm as much as possible. When they neared the pond, a gaggle of geese flew away and a duck ran up, quacking and chasing after Knight. Suze chased after the duck, yelling and The Inca chased after her. Schanke and Karies laughed so hard they were soon surrounded by a bunch of noisy goslings. "Hey, Schanke ... your laugh attracts baby geese," Karies teased Don.

"My laugh?" Don looked insulted. "Huh! I think not, you were cackling pretty good there!"

"Cackling? Why---"

"Do you two mind?" Nick interrupted. "What is this some kind of sign language?" he asked looking towards Suze with a baffled expression.

"Oh, shit, she needs her inhaler." Karies pushed through the goslings and started fishing through Suze's pockets, as Suze herself was now.

Nick and The Inca each grabbed a pocket. "I got it!" Nick announced just as Schanke slipped on some prime goose droppings and went flying onto the sand with less grace than you would expect a vampire to. Nick handed the thing to Suze, who was laughing too hard to inhale the medicine.

"She's dying here, Knight, make her into a vampire, g'on," Karies pushed.

"Shush!" Nick hissed.

"Again with the shushing? There, she's breathing. Damn. Ya should've died Suze, one of these guys would've done right by you."

"Oh yeah, right. Who? Nick?" she gasped. "No! Schanke? Donut Don is gonna know when to stop?" she rasped. "And The Inca? He's already infected, I'd be like a walking typo."

"Well, she's back to normal, guys, let's get this little posse hunting Swan, eh?" Karies chuckled

"Knight, Schanke! In my coffin, NOW!"

"Holy fucking shit!" Suze exclaimed. (Yeah SUZE exclaimed! I was dumbfounded, I swear.) [No, you're using selective memory, Karies.] {Oh, please, Suze, my memory of the past is not that easily twisted by my mood today.} [Try to remember it objectively, we were all standing around the pond.......]

"Knight, Schanke! In my coffin, NOW!"

"Oh Man, Oh Man, not now, I'm covered with goose shit!" Schanke whined.

"Oh my god! It's Amanda Cohen in a hearse!" Suze exclaimed. [You see?] {Whoa! Sooo ... maybe LaCroix wasn't really all that bad to Nick in the early 1800s, 1890, 1892, 1916, 1923, 1966--} [This isn't about LaCroix.] {It's always about LaCroix, Suze.} [Shush] {Hey, since when can we have these little Instant Message talks in the middle of Fan Fic anyway?} [Oh, for a while, I guess, you know me n' technology.] {Yeah, right.}

The little group approached the hearse. "Hey, you got coffee in there?" Karies asked.

"Coffee? Sure, we've got fresh coffee, we're cops!" a hyper young voice answered. Suze, The Inca and Karies peered slowly into the car.

"Tracy?" Karies asked, a stunned looked on her face.

"Yup, here ya go." Tracy handed Karies a Toronto police department travel mug full of hot steaming brew.

"Is this mug from---"

"Bullseye, six for five dollars!" Tracy chirped. "What's up? You three look like you've seen a ghost. Oh, did you want coffee too?"

"Uhm ... no, I don't drink coffee," Suze stammered, pulling a Diet Coke out of one of her pockets.

"What you need is a nurse," The Inca told Suze, standing tall and grinning madly at Karies.

Karies moaned grievously. "PURSE Inca, I said tell her she needs a PURSE. It's getting worse, guys, he can't handle all these lines."

"Well, how's the chase going?" Tracy asked, with an upbeat smile.

"Great!" Suze answered, grinning.

Karies groaned, "I can't stand this, somebody shoot me, please."

Bullets rang out all around the hearse, everybody ducked. Tracy was a little slow, trying valiantly to shield Suze. She fell to the ground with a thud, face down on the pavement. Knight and Schanke vamped out and fought the oncoming fire and overcame two orange clad hunters in the bushes.

"This is what you wanted!" Suze accused, looking down at Tracy, and then up at Karies.

"Oh, Man, no way! I told you all hell would break loose once I started using those damn emoticons. Oh ... Darkness! She's ... wearing a light blue ribbed knit sweater ... it's fashion death if nothing else, will the stylists never learn?"

"Tracy?" Knight was by her side. "Tracy, it's over, get up."

"I'm a good cop, I'm a good cop, I'm a good c-c-c-c-c-c-c---o-o-o-o-ppp." A metal upon metal grinding sound pierced through the air and Tracy stared blankly ahead.

"Where is that slacker when we need him?" Knight cursed.

"Slacker? Did somebody say Slacker?" Vachon dropped to the ground. His hair flying all about.

"Eeeeew, MAN! You got your hair in my coffee, jeeeeez," Karies complained.

"Sorry," Vachon apologized, like a gentleman. "Let me closer, Knight."

Nick moved aside and Vachon held Tracy's shoulders, and looked into her eyes. He blinked slowly, like a sandy camera shutter. A loud whirring noise started up, and Tracy snapped back to life. "Vachon! You're evil, I can feel it!" she spoke, perkily. Vachon chuckled.

"C'mon, Trace, I think we better get you back to the shop."

"Not so fast, Vachon!" The Inca hissed, his eyes glowing like coals.

"My Brother!" Vachon grinned.

"You have invaded me for long enough, it is time for you to goo as our Great Mother fished."

"Oh, golly, Bro, you're having trouble with you closed captioning?" Vachon purred sympathetically.

"Ever since you first invaded me!" The Inca spat out.

"Oh, no way? Man, I had no idea," Vachon said. "I thought you were hounding me all this time over that four hundred thousand pesos I bet you that I'd outlive you in our battle. Wow. You're still infected by the sap from the branch of the Great Mother's mulberry bush I speared you with. We can cure your problem with a small bit of blood sipped from the Black Swan of the Lake."

"I get first dibs at that baby!" a voice came from the parking lot.

"Dr. Lambert, my snarky Goddess, I would never interfere with your work." Vachon turned to Natalie, looking innocent.

"Can it, Slacker," Nat barked. "Where's Nick?"

"Oh Gawd, it's Nat!" Knight cowered behind the hearse. "Tell her ... tell her I'm gone, Schank."

"What do you want me to tell her, Knight? That you're hot on the trail, `cause you're not."

"I don't care, Schank, tell her I've gone off on a wild goose chase, just get rid of her!" Knight whooshed away.

"Hey, Natalie!" Schanke popped out from behind the hearse, his voice squeaking. "Boy, am I glad to see you. You know, I gotta tell you, working with Knight is sure a one man job. Heh. Uhm, he ran off, never said where to, same ole same ole."

could be--"

"I know, I know, Natalie, we're doing our best here. C'mon, let's call for some local back-up to pick up these morons and get a sketch artist down here. You can give us a description of the Black Swan, right, Suze?"

"Uhm ... sure ... but ..."

"No buts, this is Detective Don Schanke you're dealing with."

"Yeah ... but ... uhm, it's a Black Swan."

"Hey, Vera, long time no talk," Schanke spoke into the phone, ignoring Suze. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine, hey listen, we need somebody local down here to----" Schanke's voice trailed off as he and Nat walked away.

"Hey, where's Vachon and Tracy?" Suze asked.

"Blink and they're here. Blink and they're there," The Inca said.

"Will you pulllleeeeeese just shut up until we get you a cup of Goose?" Karies bitched.

"Swan, Karies."

"Suze, do I look like I care?'

"Uhm ... actually ... kinda." Suze grinned, evilly.

"Let's go inside, we are supposed to be at the party."

"Flashback Ball," Suze corrected.

"I'm catching it from Inca." Karies feigned choking. They giggled.

"Oooooh, everybody looks so nice!" Suze commented as they entered the Ball.

"Look, half the people are like, lining up over there," Karies said, a concerned expression marring her features. "It's the people with the Toronto cops, they're like ... well, look, they're grilling those folks about what they're wearing, and staring at them. Who do they think they are, Judge and Jury?"

"Right now we are!" A huge cop stalked across the floor towards the new arrivals.

"Oh, hell. Does my voice really carry that much?" Karies whispered.

"Shush," The Inca whispered. Karies glared at him.

The cop came closer, slow moving and ominous. "Oh, no! Uh-Uh! Don't do it, man." He reached Karies and engulfed her in a bear like hug. "Uhg, I asked ya not to do this, Stonetree. You don't hug a person, you surround 'em, it's like some kinda bloody ritual thing, gets me all goosebumpy."

Stonetree grinned, and backed away facing Suze and embraced her with a similar hug, Suze hugged him back. The Inca hid behind Karies. "It's good to see you, and Happy Birthday, Suze."

"Thanks for remembering."

"Hell, once you book a gal as sweet as you for reckless endangerment, you never forget her stats," he smiled warmly at Suze. Then turning towards Karies, his lips curled in a sarcastic grin. "Gehirn Karies, every time I see you, there is some puny fellah cowering behind you."

"It's just reflex, until they determine you're not related to me. Besides, this one's not mine."

"Oh, you have ID, fellah?" Stonetree asked The Inca.

"Uhm ... I meant he's with Knight."

"Don't go there, I'm not trying to figure Knight out anymore, he's no longer my responsibility."

"Well, uhm ... what do you do for fun now then, eh?" Suze inquired, all serious like.

"I do these things." Stonetree spread his arms to the room.

"Conventions?"

"No, plagues. I find the source." Stonetree looked pleased with his new career.

"Cool!" all three party newcomers nodded.

"Why the line-up, Stonetree?" Karies questioned.

"We're looking for the six most contagious people, then we chart their travels over the past few days, comings, goings, graphs, you know, all that pin-pointing type stuff, with the little colored tacks. I get a real kick outta those little colored tacks."

"Uhmmm. Sure, whatever. Why all the grilling about their costumes?"

"Some of them may have been smuggled into the country with the other contraband. The source could be anything, a person, an object, clothing. Right now we're focusing our hunt for a few items taken from private citizens, and some things from our police lock-up."

Karies tried to look innocent. [Yeah, right, like you could.] {CAN, totally} [Don't yell, Karies. Can not!] {Suze, do you mind?} [Oh, I'm sorry, just let us know who's talking without stretching the probability.} [Suze, we're just outside of San Francisco chasing around after a black swan with every fictional character we know, dead or alive, and you're in a huff over my trying to look innocent?} [It's just so ... unlikely.] {I did it with that highway patrolman, didn't I?} [ No, I whammied the patrolman with my sweetness.] {And, I kept my mouth shut, eh?} [Yeah, I guess so.] {Sighing.} [Okay, say what you like, I'm just trying to be helpful.] {I know.} [k] {k}

"Like, fer instance?" Karies quizzed. [Thanks] {*Do you mind?*} [Sorry] {}

Stonetree thought for a second, then answered. "Of course, there's still this mysterious Black Swan, and oh, let's see, a bomb, some virtual reality gear, a knife, and from the citizens, a vintage cape, an antique goblet and a pair of size 9 1/2 E black boots."

"Oh, I have seen the black Buddha in your hotel room, Karies," The Inca spoke up.

Karies elbowed him in the stomach. "Quit fooling around. Heh." She looked at Stonetree. "These friends of Knight, always so weird, eh?"

Stonetree looked suspicious, but shrugged it off.

"How, uhm, how soon before everybody's tested?" Suze asked, trying desperately to look calm.

"Soon. Mingle, enjoy. But don't leave without being tested." Stonetree wandered back into the fray.

The three stunned people flopped down at a table. Their friends began coming over and sitting down, once they had been looked over. When they were pretty much all there, Karies introduced The Inca. "Gals, this is Inca. And one of us is most likely the contagion."

"What?" They all gasped, looking at each other with searing eyes.

"It's true," Suze began. "The stuff they're looking for sounds a lot like stuff we have."

"Like, what?" Texas Jules asked, wringing her boa.

"Like, a woman's vintage cape."

"I have a woman's vintage cape," Kristine spoke.

"And a Bomb, like mine, and an antique goblet."

"I - I have an antique goblet," Texas Jules stammered.

"And a pair of black boots, like mine." Karies sighed.

"There has to be some kind of explanation," Gail tried to reason, even though she was feeling poorly.

"What?" Angie barked. "Suddenly convenient plot devices and cheesy rationalizations don't cut it with you?"

"You're just jealous over my new job in Texas," Gail jibed back.

"Oh, I think not," Angie growled.

"We'll see when I'm soon immortalized in print, won't we?" Gail snipped.

"Hey, this is not productive," Kira said breathlessly. Obviously she too was fighting off the fever. She jumped to her feet, pulling The Inca up with her. "Let's do what we came here for, let's party!"

"Wait, Kira, before you disappear, if you see the Black Swan again, call one of us," Suze called out after her friend.

"I don't even feel sick," Bobbie moaned.

"We're probably all invaded ... *infected* by the contagions, it's only a matter of time. We have to find that darn Swan. And we're not gonna get that done sitting here," April spoke up.

"Can we just leave?" Gail wondered.

"Once we've been tested, sure, they know where to find us."

The others had cleared out and taken The Inca with them when Suze and Karies stepped off the elevator into the lobby and headed for the door.

"What's the ruckus?" Karies asked, as she joined Stonetree and his team.

"They won't let Schanke in, he doesn't know where his badge is." Stonetree grinned. "Oh, there now, he got in with that `would anybody but a cop wear a suit like this' line."

"You know, Donut, what is it with you?" Karies chided. "You don't know where your badge is, you never have any money, always with the 'gimmie a loony,' lend me the caddy---"

"Hey, hey, what did I say `Give me a loony' like once, and you're obsessed with it," Schanke postured.

"I do not obsess." Karies tried her best LaCroix impersonation.

"Yes, you do, I think so, and so does your little Knightie friend. Oh, excuse me, Dark Knightie."

"Why are you always so testy, Schanke?"

"Testy? Now I'm testy?"

"Well, does it say you're testy in the script?"

"This is Fan Fiction! There is no script!" Schanke pulled at his hair and growled.

"See, you're testy," Karies snickered.

"Because you're writing me testy," Don said, trying to keep his cool.

"Oh sure, blame me, Donut. Or now that you're a vampire maybe I have to call you Night Cruller," Karies chuckled.

"Yeah, well, if you weren't writing this, I wouldn't call you anything at all!" Don lost his cool.

"Listen, Donut

Karies spotted Nick. "There's Knight, let's see what he's got."

"I'd love to see what he's got." Suze smiled.

"Suze, and you, a Knightie," Karies joked.

"A Dark Knightie," Schanke corrected.

"Right ... Knight! Whatcha got?" Karies furrowed her brows. "Earth to Knight!"

"Wha-- oh, hi, sorry, all these costumes, they're so ... authentic ... I'm flashing back all over the place," Nick stammered.

Just then Karies set her eyes on a beautiful creature gliding into the lobby. "I'm having a flash all my own. Oh baby, Oh baby, Oh baby, Oh."

"Huh?" Knight asked, whirling. "LaCroix!"

"Nicholas ... Don ... Ladies," LaCroix drawled

"What are you doing here, LaCroix?" Knight whined.

"Oh, just ... loitering." LaCroix grinned.

"This isn't going to turn into a buffet, LaCroix, these people merely have a common cold, complicated by exhaustion and ... stuff like that."

"A pity, really," LaCroix snickered.

"You spread gloom like an unopposed politician, LaCroix," Nick complained.

"And so, in your eyes I am the contagion?"

"No, not the contagion, LaCroix."

"What then?"

"You are ... annoying my friends."

"No ... uhm ... really, Knight, he's not annoying me." "But, uhm ... we have to go."

"Very well, run off after your ... birds of a feather," LaCroix teased.

{Oh, my Dark Goddess, Suze did you hear how he said that?} [Uhm ... No ... did you?] {Oh ... uhm, of course not, heh, just ... just seeing how your fever is.} [I don't have a fever anymore, I have bronchitis.] {Yeah, whatever.} [Your mission, should you choose to get on with it.] {k} [k] {Quit IMing me, Suze, there's something happening.} [What?]

"It's Screed, trying to get in the complex with ... with a bomb!" Karies giggled.

"Hey! That's my bomb!" The cops all turned towards Suze. "Uhm ... just kidding, go back to ... whatever you were doing."

Nick pushed Screed into a corner and brow beat him into quieting down, promising him extra cash and dispatching the bomb to the squad.

Suze eyed Screed suspiciously.

"Wha? I told ya I could smell her on ya, lolly!"

"The Bomb? You were talking about the bomb?" Suze asked.

"She's a ringer for them others what we chased down back then, eh Knightly?"

"Yeah, yeah sure." Knight sighed, rubbing his temples and handing Screed a roll of cash.

"Better left in Toronto, that, eh mate?" Screed grinned.

Just then, all hell broke loose. Captain Cohen and Schanke ran through the lobby hot on the heels of a man in a uniform. Natalie was heard shouting over the squawks of a very unhappy female Black Swan that Alora was carrying into the complex, and Janette seemed to come from nowhere and was arguing over an antique black goblet with Serena who seemed to almost seep into the lobby. Knight waltzed up to the two women and grabbed the goblet out of their hands before they even noticed him.

LaCroix who was outside perched high above it all, on a satellite dish, swooped down to more closely watch the fun.

Natalie, Schanke, Captain Cohen, Knight, Janette, and Serena all converged on Captain Stonetree and the cops all at once said. "Here's your Black Swan." Captain Cohen shoved some papers rather unceremoniously into Stonetree's hands.

Stonetree stoically looked at the bird, the goblet, the hand cuffed man and the cops. He looked at the papers in his hand, shook his head grievously, passed them to Knight.

"He had those on him," Captain Cohen said flatly, jerking the hand cuffed man to his knees. "Another threat to the board of health, signed Black Swan, as well as a rejection letter from the Toronto Vampire Academy. This is one disgruntled Immortal Wannabe."

"He does match the description on the file composite, Amanda," Stonetree said, walking towards Suze. He led her over to the fray. "I'm sorry to have to tell you this Suze, I know how much this will upset you ... but the test indicates you ... are most likely our source. You may have been first to come into contact with the contagion." Suze nearly fainted. "Now, help me out with this one. Which one of these damn Black Swans did you come into contact with?" Stonetree smiled his smug, this is gonna be simple smile.

"Huh?" Suze asked.

"This ... trooper is a small time terrorist goes by the name a' The Black Swan," Stonetree said, glancing momentarily at the trooper. "This goblet is an antique art glass piece, titled `The Black Swan of The Lake,' and this ... well, this is a rather lonely widowed Black Swan." Stonetree grinned sinister, looking from the swan to LaCroix, who didn't seem to notice the birds affectionous ministrations to his leg.

"Uhm ..." Suze smiled her most crowd pleasing smile, the terminator. "I ate chocolates from the goblet, I pet the bird for ... like a long time and I ... well, I got pulled over by the trooper on Route 5."

Stonetree nearly fainted himself now. Suze had managed to come in contact with all three of the suspected contagions.

"The trooper had to have been hiding behind a mountain of steers at a stockyard that was so nasty and disgusting, we nearly died of eeeeeeeeew!" Suze said, scrunching up her face.

"Steers?" Nat asked.

"Cows?" Cohen croaked.

Nick started sweating and looked uneasy.

"It was vile guys, so vile we needed a thesaurus to find new words for nasty, disgusting ... for eeeeew," Karies added.

"Really?" LaCroix asked. "I shouldn't think it would be so hard. You need synonyms. Offensive nauseating, vile---"

"LaCroix," Nick interrupted, "we are trying to solve a case here."

"Oh, very sorry, Nicholas." LaCroix curled his lips impishly. "Do carry on."

Schanke wrestled the trooper back onto his feet. The angry trooper looked Suze and Knight over. "Yeah, I pulled her over, but that one was driving, over there." he motioned towards Karies, who slithered behind Stonetree. "And him," he motioned towards Knight with his head. "I seen him poking around down there a few nights ago too."

Nat mouthed a silent, "Nick, really!" Janette and Serena snickered loudly.

LaCroix looked at Nick with distaste. "Revolting, sickening, repugnant."

"Can it, Pops!" Schanke hushed LaCroix. "Knight, you went out for a late nighter without your ole buddy Don? What is it with you anyway?"

Nick looked like a little boy about to cry. Nearly every woman and a few men in the lobby licked their lips, moaning softly. Nick continued shifting uneasily.

A med tech who had been running some on the spot tests stood up from the floor. "The goose is clean."

"Swan," corrected the crowd.

"Yeah, like I care, and the goblet too."

"That leaves you!" Stonetree said to the trooper. "Your collar, Amanda."

"Put him away, Schanke." Cohen beamed.

Serena and Janette cringed as Natalie grabbed the goblet. "Evidence," she stated, clutching it to her bosom. The three vampires stared at her, and then narrowed their eyes at each other.

"That goblet is important to all of us, Natalie," Janette reasoned. "It may hold the key to many of our ... minor ailments."

"I'll take that," LaCroix said, reaching to swipe the goblet from Natalie in a flash and unknowingly shaking the swan off his leg. He held the goblet gingerly and looked down at his leg.

"Hey! That's evidence-- Eeeew, LaCroix, your leg is covered with ... feathers." Natalie snortled.

"What in hell?" LaCroix's fine silk trousers were ruined by tiny sharp feathers. He scowled.

"LaCroix! Why are you dressed like that?" Janette asked.

LaCroix looked around. Janette wore jeans and a smart cotton sweater, Serena wore jeans with an oversized sweatshirt, Schanke, Stonetree and his crew all seemed to sport navy chinos with casual shirts, Amanda had on a rather severe business suit, and Nicholas sported black linen. "I knew I should have worn jeans to this circus!" There was nothing LaCroix hated more than being over-dressed. He did have on a nice casual rayon shirt. He drew his clenched fists up even with his ears, shaking mildly. "It's the wrong trousers, Nicho-laaaasss!"

"Knight is tied up right now, LaCroix," Karies grinned. "And ... I think I might have just picked up a pair of trousers that'd fit you. Thirty six ... l-l-l-long. I'd love to ... loan them to you, if ..."

"If?" LaCroix raised a brow.

"IF you let The Inca have a sip of the old crimson bounty outta that mug. C'mon, he's really in a bad way, and he might be good for some Special Magic if his closed captioning worked better, eh?" She nudged LaCroix in the ribs.

LaCroix looked down at his leg. The swan was back. He hissed like a rattler in the midday sun, scaring the lonely creature away, then looked at Karies. "Very well, lead the way." When they had cleared the goose glen LaCroix spoke in a bothered tone. "I must tell you, I'm not accustomed to ... people ... giving me ultimatums."

"Like?" Karies asked, oblivious to anything but the lighting of a smoke.

"Ifs, ands or buts."

"Maybes, perhaps--" Karies added.

"Conceivably, perchance, possibly," LaCroix continued.

"Say that word, LaCroix, like words are..." Karies screwed up her face.

"Synonyms?"

"Yeah, I can't say that, cinnamons?" Karies stammered.

No, listen! Synonyms," LaCroix hissed.

"Cimnomins?" Karies shrugged.

"No, watch my lips, synonyms, syn-o-nyms, syn-o-nyms." LaCroix spoke slowly, his lips curling around the word, over and over. Karies stared, mesmerized. "Are you all right?"

"Uhmnnn ... wha?"

******************

Knight stayed and helped Suze fill out the witness reports and sign the duplicates. When they stood to leave, Suze nearly fainted. "You're not well," Nick cooed.

"I -- I just need a little TLC," Suze assured him. "And a Diet Coke. Oh no, I still don't have a key to my room, and ... I can't remember which room is mine."

"That's okay, Suze, it's almost sunrise. The others got a suite for the day, we can stay there."

"The *others*? You mean vampires? You mean Schanke, Serena, *Janette*?" Suze asked.

"Yeah, s'okay?" Nick looked puzzled.

"No ... Nick ... I know she means a lot to you ... but Janette scares me." Suze looked relieved of her confession.

"*Janette*? Really? Well, not to bother, we'll get a new room, eh?" Nick swept her into his arms and carried her to the hotel.

******************

The hand gripped Suze firmly and shook her. "Suze, Suze, wake up."

"Oh, Nick---"

"*Nick*?" Karies backed away from her sick friend. "Eeeeew, gal, don't tell me you dream about the Nick guy?"

"Karies?" Suze sat up. "What are you doing here?"

"Uhm ... you're in my room, remember, you needed a nap."

"A nap?"

"Yeah, you feeling any better? Your friends want you at their party. Man, Suze, it's a bummer to be sick when it's your birthday."

"Yeah ... sick ... birthday ... uhm ... can I use your shower?"

End.

Additional Disclaimer: Suze is not actually under suspicion for being the contagion source at BtK. {k?} [k]

Gehirn Karies (MindDebris@aol.com)

Kathy Whelton (103045.2473@Compuserve.com)

Thanks to Leslie GS for formatting.

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