Awhile ago, I read the Twilight fanfic You Can Let Go Now, Daddy by HayleyBailey (though the author has since pulled their works and deleted their account), and liked the basic idea. I decided to take the concept — not an unfamiliar one by a longshot — and give it a distinctively Forever Knight feel.
Here, instead of flashing back like in the series, we’ll flash forward in time… to that future many fans likely hoped would be the true “endgame” for the series.
Summary: After attaining his long-held dream of a cure, Nick faces very human joys and heartbreak with his young daughter. Mostly fluff with a side of angst, because… well y’know, it’s Nick. Of course there’s angst.
* Year 1 *
Detective Nicholas Knight, Constable First Class, and Dr. Natalie Lambert, Chief Medical Examiner of Toronto welcomed their first child into the world. He had been battling a mysterious disease for years, until modern medicine had progressed to put the disease in remission.
The child, a little girl they named Nicole, was to be their only child. Natalie died in a car accident a few short months later, leaving Nick to raise their daughter alone.
She never got to see her little girl walk and talk for the first time. He would never remarry, as no one could take his loving wife’s place. Not after all they’d been through together.
It was hard to let go, but more immediate concerns for his daughter helped ease the pain.
*Year 2 *
Nicole’s first complete sentence was given with a bright smile and a chubby little finger pointing to the hardwood floor of their comfortable suburban home. “Kiki wan’ down. Leggo now, Daddy. Peas?”
Nick set her down, and watched her happily toddle along the floor on the tiny legs she was swiftly becoming adept at using.
* Year 5 *
Sergeant Major Knight was teaching his daughter how to ride a bicycle, sans training wheels. He jogged beside her, one hand on a handle bar and the other behind the seat, as she pedaled furiously. “You’re doing just fine, baby,” he encouraged.
“Don’t let me fall, Daddy!”
“I won’t. I promise. Just tell me when you’re ready.”
Confidence burst to life in the little girl’s heart when a deep intake of air filled her lungs. “You can let go now, Daddy.”
Nick beamed with pride as his little girl completed a large circuit on the bike, on the empty street in front of their house, unaided but for him running beside her. Beside her, but not holding on.
* Year 10 *
Inspector Knight was shot on an otherwise routine case. The bullet missed the vital organs, but nonetheless damaged his shoulder blade. The operation in the hospital gave him a steel joint so he could move his upper arm. Though modern medicine was quite miraculous these days, the joint didn’t give him the full movement and rotation that his own bone and ligaments had.
More than that, the consequences of mortality had hit him with that bullet; to him, his days as a police officer were over. He retired from active duty on the force, using his ample inheritance to provide for his daughter. He spent more time with her, teaching her things like how to hit a baseball and the difference between a true democracy and a democratic republic.
He knew a lot of things, and was happy to impart that knowledge on a young mind… but, for awhile, he forgot how to let go.
* Year 16 *
Nicole came home, her face flush with excitement and her blue eyes — so much like her father’s — seeming to almost sparkle. He had seen that look before on many a woman’s face; his little girl was in love.
For a time, he had to let go a little… though he did wrest a promise from her that she’d be home after the movie was over.
A few short weeks later, she came to him sobbing over her first broken heart. Though he wanted to shield her from anything in the world that could ever hurt her in any way, he had to let go a little there too. After all, everyone’s heart gets broken at least once in life–and it would only make her stronger, and help her figure out what she really wanted.
So he let go.
Senior year. College prep. Admissions. Deciding on a major. Getting the acceptance letter. Shopping for needed items for a college student’s dormitory.
His heart hurt a little at the realization that she’d be moving to Vancouver to further her education, even as he was near-bursting with pride. She had chosen to major in political science, with a minor in history. She wanted to be a politician or, failing that, an advisor to one.
Nick was convinced his daughter could be the Secretary General of the United Nations if she wanted. The world was hers now, and he had to let go for her to embrace it.
“Promise me you’ll call…” he began.
“Every day,” she replied dutifully.
“Well, not every day,” he admitted. “I’m sure your schedule will keep you busy. But remember to spare a moment for your old man, okay?”
“I will, dad.” She smiled, an expression that seemed to almost pucker rather than spread wide on her face. In that moment, she looked more like her mother than like him. “I’ll be home for the Christmas holiday. It’ll come quick, before you even know it.”
They hugged for a moment, then he let go, so she could get in her car. If there were a few tears in his eyes as she drove away, there was no one there to see it.
Her smile was beaming as she showed him two items that marked her as beginning to make it in the world: her college diploma (she had switched her major to music after her freshman year, as poly-sci had bored her out of her mind) and the new diamond solitaire ring on her finger (its glint in the light matched the shine of her joyous tears).
He smiled and cried a little with her. Nicole smiled fondly at her dad. He’d always been soft-hearted about her.
Nick had met her fiancé back when the two were still dating–she’d brought her new guy home to see if he’d pass her dad’s inspection… or inquisition, for that matter. The young couple had been dating for two years, and Nick knew that the official, legal acknowledgement of the relationship was only a matter of time.
That summer, he walked his little Kiki down the aisle so she would become someone’s wife.
When they reached the groom and the priest, she stood up onto her tiptoes and whispered in her father’s ear, “You can let go now, daddy. The only thing that’s changing is my name. Cross my heart.”
He smiled and let go, placing her hand in the groom’s.
Nicole lay back in the hospital bed, exhausted from her labor of love. She smiled as her father entered the room, her face flushed and glowing as her arms curled around a tiny pink bundle.
“We decided to call her Natalie Rose Miller.”
She passed the child to him (he had already been through the necessary germ removal that was required of hospital visitors) and he stared into the newborn’s eyes, seeing a spark of his late wife that had been indeed passed down to this small life.
He smiled, then placed the child back in her mother’s arms. Nick’s own little girl was a mom now. He knew he’d have to let go, sooner or later.
The cancer had spread; it was only a matter of time before he had to let go. Finally, completely.
The beeping of the monitor telegraphed every beat of his heart in a monotonous drone. There were tears in his little girl’s eyes as she watched him laying on the bed. His grip was surprisingly strong for one so frail.
“Daddy…” she sniffled, then continued. “I know the doctors told you it won’t be much longer… but you’ve already toughed it out for far longer than they’d predicted.”
She knew her father couldn’t answer because the cancer had spread to his throat, stealing his voice from him. She missed hearing that warm, comforting tone she’d always heard when he was patiently instructing her. Hell, she’d give anything to hear him scold her again.
“I know you’re a tough customer, dad. But you don’t have to be, anymore. You’ve always been there for me, and I’ll always love you for all that you’ve given me.” The tears coursed down her cheeks, but she didn’t bother to wipe them away. “I’ll miss you, but… you’re hurting too much by holding on to me. You can let go now, daddy. It’s time.”
He gave a light squeeze of her hand in acknowledgment, then the heart monitor’s tempo began to slow as his heart relinquished its tenuous hold on life…
Nick Knight passed away at 6:15 am on a beautiful Sunday morning. He enjoyed one last sunrise with his daughter before his hand slipped quietly from hers.