Here's a clever crossover with a twist. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, Forever Knight first appeared on CBS in 1992. Filmed in Toronto, it chronicled the story of Nick Knight, a vampire who wished to regain his humanity. For more information, visit the The First Unofficial Forever Knight Website.
By Shelly Johnson
"Argh!" Natalie Lambert screamed as she hit the pristine white wall and slowly sank onto the floor in a heap. "Why do I even try to compete with you?"
"Because you like the workout and love the girl talk," Claire Kincaid replied.
Natalie eyed the slim young woman who stood over her. In her opinion, playing racquetball with Claire was more than a workout, it was torture. "Believe me, it's the girl talk that brings me back," Nat laughed.
"Give yourself some credit, Nat. Remember the days when you couldn't score a point?" Claire joked as she sat next to her exhausted friend.
"I'm grateful for that little concession from you. There's one thing I've learned about you, Claire. You hate to lose."
Nat noticed the wistful look on Claire's face after she made her comment. "Hey, I meant that in a good way," Nat quickly stated.
"Huh? Oh, don't mind me. I just remembered another friend telling me the same thing once. Another friend, another time," Claire sighed.
"No, it was a friend I went to law school with. And that definitely isn't Jack," Claire chuckled.
Nat smiled at that statement. "What is it about these older guys, that they can capture our undivided attention?"
"Experience?" Claire said with a smirk.
"And we're talking about a lot of experience when it comes to Nick!" Nat replied.
During Natalie and Claire's long friendship, they had both discussed their, for lack of a better word, significant others. Nat told Claire of her sometimes frustrating relationship with Nick Knight, a not quite 800-year-old vampire. A vampire who just happened to come alive during her shift at the Toronto Coroner's Office.
While Claire spoke about her more than professional partnership with someone at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. That someone was Jack McCoy, her boss, and a man who was at least two decades older than herself.
"You have to admit, Nat, wasn't it the friendship and camaraderie that led to, as they say, something more?" Claire asked.
"Yeah, more headaches, more sleepless nights, more cold showers!" Nat declared.
"I think you meant sleepless days, Nat, since you worked the graveyard shift."
"Oh, you know what I mean. But what about you? A twenty-year gap is pretty minute compared to seven centuries!"
"But you forget that Nick has the benefit of not showing his true age. He'll never look a day over 40."
"And can you imagine when I'm 60? It'll look like I'm robbing the cradle!"
"Nah, people will just want your secret for snatching such a young stud!"
"You don't have it that bad, Claire. Society is a little more accepting of the older man/younger woman scenario. And, if you want my opinion, Jack's still a looker. I'll bet women of all ages will still be drooling after him when he's in his 80s."
"I don't doubt that. That man must have good genes."
"And he looks good in jeans, too!" both women exclaimed with a laugh. Claire had the tendency to make this comment so often that Nat took to mimicking her friend's pronouncement every time.
"Well, he does look good in them! I told you of the time Jack changed his pants right in front of me, didn't I? One second we're discussing a case, and the next thing I know, he's taking his pants off."
"And you didn't call him on it?" Nat asked.
"How could I? He kept talking about the case all the while. Okay, he did pull open a door and use it as a screen, but still. If I hadn't moved to the other side of his desk, I would've had an eyeful."
"Another smooth maneuver by our favorite EADA."
"Very smooth. Let me tell you, I definitely wasn't looking for a romance with a man who had affairs with every one of his female assistants!"
"I was attracted to Nick that first night he jumped off the examination table," Natalie said. "Of course, I had to get over my initial disbelief that I was standing next to a vampire."
"You're a cool cookie, Lambert. Some people would've either taken off screaming or fainted dead away."
"I don't know. There was something about Nick that called to me. Sort of like a drowning man who was signaling for help."
"And you threw him a life preserver. The beginnings of a wonderful and deep friendship."
"And you, Ms. Kincaid, realized you liked 'smoothies' so much that you added it to your daily nutritional requirement?"
Claire chuckled. "I guess you could say that."
"At least you and Jack acted upon your feelings for each other. With Nick, it was the fear of the vampire that kept us apart. And the one time he decides to take a chance, I end up here!" Nat declared with a sweep of her arm.
They both took stock of their surroundings and sighed. Both remembered the year. 1996. The year life stopped for Natalie Lambert and Claire Kincaid. The year they each supposedly died.
It was May 1996. After the suicide of a close friend, Natalie began to reevaluate her time on this planet. She was ready to move on in her life, with Nick. Little did she know that Nick was thinking along the same lines but without her. They had confronted each other that night. And after a very heated discussion, Natalie had finally convinced Nick to take their relationship to the next level, to "make love to her." Whether they both gave in to the inevitable or to the desperation of the moment, it didn't matter now. Nick took too much of Natalie's blood. Her lifeless body lay on the floor when everything went black.
That same month, but in another city, Claire was doing some soul searching herself. She was contemplating leaving the law profession behind. Then she had witnessed a state execution along with Jack, and detectives Briscoe and Curtis. She was opposed to the death penalty. Jack wasn't. This was one subject that neither one would waver on. And after arguing about it all night, Jack let her have the day off, to take her mind off work and such. Claire wasn't aware that the execution had also affected Jack, Lennie, and Rey.
She didn't know that this one event, this sanctioned killing, would be the final nail in her coffin. Later that night, Jack had paged Claire from a bar. He had drunk way too much above the legal limit and needed a ride home. She didn't leave to pick up Jack right away, and therefore was surprised to find an inebriated Lennie there instead. The two of them had a very pleasant conversation as she drove the detective home. He went as far as saying he wished Claire was his daughter. Then, it happened. Claire saw the headlights coming at them. Impact. And everything going black.
"Death is a curious thing, don't you think?" Natalie mused.
"With us, it was someone else's death that somehow caused our demise! How curious is that?" Claire quipped.
"You know, there are a lot of people who just won't believe we're gone," Nat said quietly.
"I can understand that logic. I mean, it's not like anyone saw us with a tag on our toes."
"But we haven't been seen since, either."
"I know. With me, I could either be in a coma or in some Federal Witness Program," Claire replied.
"In my case, everything that happened that night was all a bad dream."
"I don't know what's worse. To be gone and have life continue on without you or to have everything stop existing, period."
"You have a slight chance of going back, Claire. I mean, how long has Law & Order been on the airwaves? Jeez, Forever Knight ended that night in May. No Bobby Ewing jumping out of any showers for us."
"Yeah, but we're talking about real life issues on Law & Order. Do you think 'the powers that be' want to bring me back from the dead? Besides, the premise of the show is always on the case. There's hardly any personal story lines to speak of."
"Too bad we weren't on a soap. We would've been resurrected within months! Can't you see it? One Law to Live or The Days of Our Knight!"
"How about The Old and the Lifeless?" Claire joked.
A round of silence followed their bout of the giggles. Both women sat there, quietly contemplating their futures. Or more like their serious lack of one.
"Thank goodness for fan fiction. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably be playing a never ending game of racquetball with you," Nat said, breaking the depressing silence.
'Yeah, good old fanfic. Think of all the fun we've had with our significant others," Claire responded with a wink.
Natalie groaned. "Think of the times we've ended up with others!"
Both women turned sharply at the sound of the door bursting open. They couldn't suppress their laughter when a brightly colored, Hawaiian shirt-clad individual tumbled inside.
"Schank, I didn't know you liked racquetball!" Natalie exclaimed to Nick's former partner from the 96th Precinct.
"I don't!" Don Schanke answered breathlessly. "Nat, I've been looking for you everywhere. We're being paged. Sorry, Claire, but duty calls."
"No problem, Don. I know the drill. Fanfic awaits!" Claire replied as she started to lift herself off the floor.
"Nat, we have to be at Destination Gate B. I'll meet you there in 15 minutes. I have a few things to take care of first. Later, Claire!" the detective said with a wave.
"I hope Schank gets to spend some time with Myra and Jenny. Being secondary characters, the fans sometimes forget about his family," Natalie sighed. "I wonder what my chances are of spending any quality time with Nick will be this time."
"I know how you feel. It's the same question every time I get the call. Being sent to this 'Dead Character Zone' can be limiting. I mean, only the dead are here. Dead characters and dead shows," Claire said.
"Thank goodness for the people with fertile imaginations and the gift of words. It's one way to keep us alive," Natalie replied as they left the court.
As both women traveled the long halls of this pseudo-TV Character Heaven, they noticed a cluster of people congregating up ahead.
Natalie observed the small group. "Hmm, new arrivals. It must be season finale time. That looks like the 3rd Rock From The Sun cast over there."
"Oh, look. One of them must've dropped this," Claire said as she bent down to pick up a crumpled newspaper. "Yep, you're right, Nat. It is season's end. This article is about the new fall lineup."
"Anything interesting, like a Forever Knight movie?" Nat inquired jokingly.
"Nat, do you believe in reincarnation?" Claire asked somewhat seriously.
"What? Is that the new trend in television today?"
"No, but get a load of this," Claire exclaimed as she pointed to a photo of a very familiar face.
"Claire, that's you?"
"You think that's a shocker, it says here that she's starring in a new fall show about a feisty medical examiner!"
"No way! You mean, your twin is dabbling in my field of expertise?"
"Eerie coincidence, don't you think?"
"It sounds like ADA Kincaid meets Dr. Lambert M.E.! It makes you wonder if someone in the TV industry really misses us."
Both women looked at each other and laughed.
"I think we're giving 'the powers that be' too much credit here," Claire stated incredulously.
"Hey, Claire! Claire!" came a shout behind the two friends.
"Hey, Don!" Claire responded. "Did you lose something when you stumbled onto the court?"
"Ha, Ha! Very funny, Counselor," Schanke replied.
"What's up, Schank?" Nat chuckled. "We still have a few minutes."
"I just wanted to tell Claire to get ready too. She's joining us on this little safari," Schanke said rather jovially.
"Really? Hey, Nat, a crossover!"
"What are we waiting for? C'mon, let's get ready," Natalie excitedly replied.
"Thanks, Don! See you in a few!" Claire said as both women turned and ran down the hall.
"This is so exciting. What kind of predicament do you think we could possibly be in?" Claire inquired.
"I don't know, but I hope we're not playing racquetball!" Nat declared.