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Disclaimers:  The characters of Nick, Schanke, Myra, Jenny and Cohen

are not mine.  I am just borrowing them for a little while.


Here we go... get your tissues ready <g>....



Hero 1/1

By Amanda Berendt

Copyright August 2003


    Detective Nick Knight sat at his desk watching his partner

talking animatedly on the telephone.  Detective Donald Schanke had

been on the phone for nearly twenty minutes.

    “What did it look like? Well, I know that, but how big was it?”

After several more minutes of similar questions, he hung up the

phone.  “Man, oh, man what we do for our kids.”

    When Nick gave him a questioning look, he continued. “Jenny’s

goldfish died this morning, and Myra wants me to replace it with one

the same size before she gets home from her sleepover tonight.”  Nick

laughed at his partner’s exasperation.

    Since they had just finished a major case, the two men got down

to business completing all the necessary forms and writing up their

reports.  Several times during the evening, some of their fellow

detectives and even a few uniforms came over to congratulate Nick on

catching the perp.  After each interruption, Nick found himself

looking over the desks at his partner to see his reaction.  If all

the attention Nick was getting was bothering Schanke, he wasn’t

showing it.


*It must have been cold there in my shadow

To never have sunlight on your face

You were content to let me shine

That’s your way

You always walked a step behind*


    As their shift dragged on, Nick began to straighten out the piles

of paperwork covering his desk.  He put what still needed to be done

into his IN box and the completed forms into an interoffice envelope

to be given to the captain.  He needed a break.

    A voice came from across the desks, “Hey Nick.  I know you’re

really into this paperwork and stuff, but would you be able to drive

me over to the pet store then drop me off at home?  My car’s in the

shop and Myra wants to be home in case Jenny calls.”

    Nick smiled.  “Sure, Schank.  I need a break.  This stuff is

almost done.  Why don’t we just book of early?”  he said, eager to

get away from the monotony of desk work.

    On the way down to the parking lot, they encountered a few more

of Nick’s ‘fans.’  They wanted to know how Nick had been able to get

there ahead of everyone else and how he had been able to subdue the

suspect by himself.  Embarrassed by this attention, Nick looked past

the officers and saw Schanke waiting for him, smiling sheepishly when

he met Nick’s gaze, as if he were sympathizing with Nick’s



*So I was the one with all the glory

And you were the one with all the strain

A beautiful face without a name

For so long

A beautiful smile to hide the pain*


    Finally reaching the parking lot, they climbed into the caddy.

As Nick pulled out onto the street, Schanke said "I hope the

department pays for all of your gas."  Nick laughed and they joked

back and forth until Nick pulled the car up outside the pet store.

    Schanke got out, closed the door and leaned back into the car

window. "I'll be right back.  Gotta get a fish with the right


    Nick watched him enter the store.  The issue of replacing Jenny's

dead goldfish with an identical one seemed to be such a trivial

problem, but Schanke was putting so much effort into it despite all

of his complaining.  That was something Nick envied about his


    He thought back to the praise he had gotten at the precinct.

Yes, he was a good cop and he had brought in the suspect single

handedly, but that was nothing compared to the joy Schanke would

experience from his family.  He would return home, saving the day by

averting the heartbreak Jenny would experience if she discovered her

dead pet.  Nick would gladly trade all of his commendations to be

able to protect a child from such a sadness.  Although he would never

admit it to anyone, the life Schanke had was what Nick was striving



*Did you ever know that you're my hero

You're everything that I'd like to be

And I can fly higher than an eagle

For you are the wind beneath my wings*


    Fifteen minutes later, Schanke came out of the pet store carrying

a clear plastic bag containing a bright orange goldfish.  "Man, all

of these things look alike to me."  He complained as he got into the

caddy. "But Jenny would notice if one of the fins was a millimeter


    Nick laughed again as he put the car in gear and pulled out into

the evening traffic.  They soon left downtown behind as the car moved

into the tree lined streets of the suburbs.  This is what Schanke

came home to every day.  *He has so much to lose,* Nick thought. *He

goes out every night, puts his life on the line and gets no

recognition.*  Nick wanted to say something to his partner, but it

was as if all the commendations didn't really matter.  When he looked

over, there was Schanke in the passenger seat poking at the plastic

bag and wondering out loud if there was enough air inside for the

fish.  Nick filed this moment with the others like it in his heart.

Schanke was stronger than anyone could see on the outside.


*It might have appeared to go unnoticed

But I've got it all here in my heart

I want you to know I know the truth

Of course I know it

I would be nothing without you*


    As they pulled up to the Schanke residence, Myra came down the

front steps in her pajamas and robe.  She waved a hello to Nick

through the car window and hugged Schanke as he got out of the car.

    "You're home early?" She said, then added in a whisper. "Did you

get it?"

    "Yeah," answered her husband. "We were just doing some paperwork,

so we booked off early when I asked Nick for a ride. What's with the


    Myra answered in a low voice. "Jenny came home about an hour ago.

 She got homesick so Katie's dad drove her home."

    "So how am I supposed to get this inside?" Schanke asked,

pointing to the baggie containing the fish.

    "She's in the living room.  I've been keeping her busy so she

wouldn't go upstairs."

    Myra and Schanke said good night to Nick and turned to go inside.

 Nick eased the caddy out of the driveway, pausing when he reached

the street to see the couple safely inside.  He could picture his

partner sneaking upstairs to replace the deceased pet.  The returning

to the living room to greet his young daughter.  She would be excited

her daddy had taken the evening off to be with her.

   Reluctantly, Nick pulled away from the curb and headed back

towards the city.  Gazing out at the green lawns littered with balls

and bikes and the other trappings of family life, the flickering glow

of televisions behind curtains, he thought how luck Schanke was to be

a part of this life.  This is what his partner risked everytime he

came into work.  That took more courage than anything Nick had done,

and his partner would never get a commendation for it.


*Did you ever know that you're my hero

You're everything I wish I could be

And I could fly higher than an eagle

For you are the wind beneath my wings*


    Several nights later Nick and Schanke were called into Captain

Amanda Cohen's office.

    "Detective Knight," she said with her usual stoicism. "The crown

is requesting that you and I escort Dollard to his hearing in


    Nick shook his head, "Captain, I can't go to that hearing.  My

condition..." Thinking a moment, he added "Schanke knows all about

the case.  He did all the legwork, all I did was actually grab the

guy. He should go with you."  He could see that this had grabbed his

partner's attention.

    Cohen nodded. "OK, Knight.  I'll put through the paperwork to get

the name changed on the plane tickets.  That is, if Detective Schanke

wants to go."

    Schanke beamed. "Yeah, sure.  How could I pass up an all-expense

paid trip to Alberta."

    "Detective, this is official police business."  Cohen admonished.

    "Yeah, I know, but we're going to have some free time after we

drop this guy off."

    Nick smiled as he watched the captain and his partner work out

exactly what a business trip was.  Finally, he thought, he would be

in the background as Schanke got the glory.