A/N - All the usual - I don't own anything MONK - just the usual adoration of the series and the characters.

Chapter 1 - Worth the Price?

There was always a price to pay. She stood at the sink, completely missing the fiery display the setting sun created on the late June night right outside her kitchen window. Instead, she was lost in thought. Musing about the man she worked for, actively trying to squelch the feelings of desire that she'd been managing for well over four years, possibly longer. She'd known there would be a price; from the moment they'd met, she'd known he was different. Unusual. She'd gone to work for him all those years ago thinking the job would be interesting, full of new experiences, and certainly better than sitting behind a desk, making someone else's reservations or photocopies all day. Better than tending bar or dealing blackjack or any one of a million jobs she'd had since she was a teen. Definitely, infinitely better than joining her family's business —in any capacity.

In all the time she worked for him, she'd learned a lot about investigating crimes and about what made the man tick. She watched his mental health improve from a front-row seat. But regardless of the state of his mental health or lack thereof, she'd always felt close to him, cared for him, was proud of him. She'd watched him do things she'd coaxed him into and others she'd never have guessed he'd try. He'd been an ichthyologist, a contract hitman, a butler, a card counter, a foster dad, an accidental roofer, brave rescuer, brilliant detective, grieving widower, a friend. Her dearest friend, in truth. Eight, no, almost nine years later, she knew she'd been right about all of the experiences, many of which were real-life adventures. She'd also done some things she'd never imagined doing, like pretending to be a mobster's girlfriend, being an accomplice after the fact to a prison escape, or jumping into the back of a truck to find evidence and nearly dying in the process—he had rescued her then and many times since.

She also considered their serious arguments about her paycheck and expenses, the silly ones about him needing to be more daring. She thought about the feelings that surfaced that she forced down, ones of irritation or ones of attraction. She knew her oblivious boss would ignore the former, and the latter...well, if she wanted to keep her job, they would have to continue to be ignored—forever. That was the price she paid to be near him. Thinking of his obliviousness to her subtle overtures and her less than subtle overtures, blinded by his endless devotion to his late wife… gone now fourteen years. Natalie herself had been with Adrian longer than Trudy had in life. But she was "Nat, Nat-lee, one of the guys," according to her boss, and he'd never see her as anything other than that, no matter what she wore, no matter what she said, no matter how she behaved. There would always be the venerated, saintly Trudy. No matter how much of his former self he'd recovered since he'd solved Trudy's murder and discovered her daughter two years ago. She rinsed the last glass from the dinner they'd shared not an hour earlier and put it into the top rack of the dishwasher with anger and hurt. She either used too much force or maybe the glass was just weak after too many years of use. Either way, it cracked in her hand and sliced ribbons in her palm and across her fingers, and two deep gashes in her wrist.

"Agh!" she exclaimed, and in severe pain, she couldn't decide how to proceed. Confused and losing blood, Natalie lunged towards the kitchen island for her phone. Julie was already back in her dorm at Berkeley; it would take her more than an hour to get there. Blood pouring from her hand and wrist, Natalie started to feel lightheaded and faint. She pressed her most often used speed dial.

"Hello?" he answered on the second ring.

"Mr. Monk? I'm… I'm bleeding…" was all Natalie managed, and then she passed out.

"Natalie? Natalie?!" Adrian heard a thud and couldn't get Natalie to respond. For several seconds he panicked, and then the rational side of him, that part that still existed, mostly when the people around him least expected it, but needed it most, jumped into action. First, he called a cab. Next, he called Leland. He didn't call an ambulance because Adrian knew how fearful Natalie was of them after the whole voodoo incident three years previously. He wasn't anyone to make fun of a fear, certainly not after the S.I.U./elephant incident with Sharona all those years ago. People may have thought he was clueless about social situations and interpersonal interactions, but he did learn. He was intelligent, after all.

His heart was racing as the cab reached the house with the gingerbread trim and the flapping naval flag decorations that drove him to distraction. He used his key, one he'd had for many years and had used many times. He called out to her, "Natalie? Nat?" He usually only used the shortened version of her name in his mind and in his ultra-private fantasies. His emotions were in a tangle as he searched the living room and the dining room, and finally, he saw her lying in the kitchen, unconscious, with a pool of blood around her right hand.

"Natalie! Oh my god! What happened?" he asked worriedly of her unconscious face.

He crouched beside her and repeated her name. No response. When he lifted her limp hand, he did not even notice blood dripping down onto him as he looked more closely and examined the wounds. There were several superficial cuts on her fingers, but her palm and wrist had much deeper slices. "Natalie? What did you do?" he whispered worriedly. Impossible scenarios bounded through his head like unruly rabbits. He grabbed the drawer handle above him to his right and reached in blindly for the clean dishtowels he knew lived there. His eyes never left her face.

Leland burst through the front door moments later and called out, "Monk? Natalie?"

"Here. In the kitchen."

"What the…" Leland trailed off when he saw Adrian sitting on the floor with Natalie's head in his lap and her right arm wrapped in towels in a pool of blood. Adrian was also covered in blood, hands, clothes, but he seemed not to notice; he had stanched Natalie's bleeding—his only focus.

"I don't know what happened. She has cuts… all over her hand. Fingers, palm…" Adrian swallowed hard, "Wrist."

Leland shook his head. He was happy he'd called 911 on his way over. The ambulance pulled up just then. The men both turned to the sound of the sirens and the flash of lights.

"No, Leland, she hates ambulances. She's still afraid."

"Monk, look at the amount of blood she's lost," pointing to the floor, "She needs more help than either of us know how to give her." Monk glanced down to her hand, the dish towels were already soaking through, bright with Natalie's precious blood.

Monk nodded with resignation, knowing he would do anything to help her right now. He would apologize later. She was unconscious anyway. As the paramedics worked, he looked up toward Leland. "You don't think… She wouldn't, you know…." He couldn't form the words his brain was thinking.

"Monk, no! She wouldn't do that to Julie! Or to you. She wouldn't leave either of you. For God's sake, man, she lov…" he stopped himself from saying it that way. That was a secret Natalie had shared with TK, and in turn, TK had shared it with him – in complete confidence. However, Leland had already figured it out himself before that conversation, way back during the whole Sheriff Rollins fiasco. Natalie loved this complicated and broken man; despite everything that stood in their way, she loved him. He gathered his thoughts and continued, "Natalie loves you both. She wouldn't hurt herself. Certainly not on purpose." Monk nodded again, knowing Leland was right. Natalie wouldn't do this to Julie.

He stood and took a good look around the kitchen for the first time. He'd only left an hour or so before. Julie had dropped him off at home on her way back to her dorm. The three of them had eaten dinner together as they did on many Sundays when Julie was home from college. The meal was typical; everything seemed fine. He and Julie had a pleasant conversation on the short ride about the summer classes she was taking to get ahead in her double major of theater performance and psychology. He had gone into his apartment feeling proud of Julie and full from Natalie's excellent cooking, but lonely. Adrian always felt lonesome without Natalie. He could have stayed. He had clothing and other necessities in her house as she did at his apartment. So why hadn't he just stayed? He knew the reason. Because it would have required opening up his heart and his feelings to her scrutiny because he just didn't have a practical excuse to stay. All the other times they had stayed at each other's homes, it had been due to the lateness of the hour, the need to be somewhere very early the next day, or due to a very traumatic event or some other reasonable, uh, reason. Tonight he hadn't had one other than he'd just wanted to be with her. That had been happening more and more lately.

His eyes finally landed on the shattered glass in the open dishwasher. There was a lot of blood there, too. He suddenly understood what had happened. With profound relief, he could picture it, but the EMTs were ready to take Natalie to the hospital. Before he could say anything to Leland, one EMT invited Adrian to step up into the ambulance, and he sat carefully beside her.

He gazed at her face; if he hadn't known differently, he'd have thought she was asleep. He'd seen her sleep many times before, napping, on a stakeout, on the couch while they were watching TV together. But, with all the things he'd studied and understood, he'd never really considered what it meant to watch another person sleep. Or to be watched while one slept. The comfort and ease one had to feel to fall asleep in front of another person. The quiet intimacy of it. She had once said she felt safe from everything with him. He had to admit to feeling that same sense of safety and comfort when he was with her, or when she touched him, or when she smiled at him. When he had a panic attack or a dissociative episode, she was always there, drawing him back to himself, with her slim, strong arms wrapped around him. Warm and supportive.

He gently, tenderly pushed her unruly bangs away from her eyes—frowning at the oxygen mask which covered her nose and mouth. Her pretty aquamarine eyes were closed; she was still unconscious, not just sleeping. Oh, how badly he wanted those changeable green eyes to open and look at him. With laughter, they sparkled like peridots; with sadness, they were lakes of misty misery. With compassion, they were gentle like the gray-green fog that rolled over San Francisco most summer evenings. They were fierce and hard and sharp like the tip of a sword edged in an emerald green fire with protective anger. He loved those eyes. He loved every single thing about the woman lying in front of him, and he probably had for almost as long as he'd known her. Well, at least at first, he'd admired her, which had slowly turned to the love he felt now. Yet, bizarrely, a strange swell of desire also welled inside of him, not the sexual kind, although amazingly, that lived inside of him too, but the type of desire that made him want to protect and comfort another person, an emotion Monk had reserved only for Trudy.

Although he'd never fully admitted it to himself before now, he'd never been able to face the feelings of love and desire he had for his assistant. Despite the feelings that bubbled up now and then, his all-consuming obsession with Trudy and her murder kept him from Natalie. That had changed in the last twelve months or so of the twenty-four since he'd closed Trudy's case and gotten some peace. He just hadn't known what to do about them. What if confessing it made Natalie run from him, hate him, leave him? His mind had always flown to Natalie in times of stress or fear, but now it flew there in times of joy and happiness, too. Or, more accurately, it was the joy and happiness she created in him that caused his thoughts to turn to her more often than they previously had.

She'd put up with his moods, his eccentricities, his phobias, his obsession with Trudy's case, his demands, his bounced checks, his neediness, and his OCD—for nearly a decade. A decade! He'd known almost from the second they'd met—in the inimitable way that he just knew things, that she would be someone different. She had asked for his help, and he'd been reluctant to oblige, but it was what he did after all, so he finally agreed. He was never one to leave a woman or a child—in this case, both, in distress. A deep-seated chivalrous streak, the same one that made him jump to help Trudy the day he'd met her in the library at Berkeley, took him over. Something about the spark in Natalie's eyes, the way she took the fire extinguisher from his hands – so capable, the way she'd handled both him and her boss at the bar, her no-nonsense demeanor – it all added up for him. He knew she'd be a great asset to him professionally, maybe personally as well. He was able to resolve her case, but his feelings about her, for her, never resolved; they'd only grown as they became closer over the years.

Lately, he couldn't stop thinking about her, about them, about the future. The thoughts kept him up at night and greeted him in the morning. He was left sweating after certain dreams, self-conscious when caught during certain daydreams, feeling surrounded by her in the best possible way. He was in uncharted territory — confounded and ungrounded. And now he was worried he'd never be able to tell her what he should have told her ages ago. He thought of the only times he'd lost his heart in the past—Trudy Ellison, Tommy Grazer, and Shelby the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. The hurt of losing someone you love, be they animal or human, is just unbearable. He couldn't lose Natalie, that's why he'd never even dreamed of letting her in any further than he already had, but he also knew, deep down, that he was kidding himself if he thought he could stop what had been happening between them for years.

He could do nothing for her right now except hold her left hand in both of his. Her small graceful fingers wrapped carefully in his. He'd known she had strong hands but never noticed how small they were compared to his. He thought about how many times those small hands had cooked for him, caressed his back, taken his arm as they walked. What had his larger, stronger hands ever done for her? He couldn't make up for the past, but he could do better. There was still time. There had to be more time.

Before long—his internal clock told him it had been a scant seven minutes —they were at San Francisco General Hospital. She was brought into the trauma room to be examined. Then, with his permission as her health care proxy, to the surgical suite to have her hand repaired. He hated being separated from her. He hated it when it happened during the day as it sometimes did; he especially hated it at night, he hated it—period. Leland came in just as they were taking her to surgery and stood behind him.

"I called Randy and TK. TK is going to Berkeley. She will get Julie for Natalie—and you." Adrian slumped in relief. He didn't have to call Julie and tell her that her mother was in the hospital. Leland knew Monk needed Julie as much as Julie would need him tonight. "Randy is on his way over here. He called Sharona, she'll be here after her shift, and he also called Dr. Bell to be on standby."

"Thanks, Cap—Leland." He'd been making a concerted effort to call him by his first name when they were "off duty" as they were now. He thought about his state of mind. Did he need Dr. Bell? Not at the moment. He was holding on, at least for the time being.

Time passed. Slowly. Monk tried to prevent himself from staring at the clock on the wall. He also tried to prevent himself from going to the nurses' station to inquire about the surgical progress every quarter of an hour. Finally, after exactly two hours and two minutes, the doctor came out; his blue operating scrubs had Natalie's bright blood on the front of them. Monk's knees almost buckled, but he stood firm. "Natalie Teeger's family?"

The sight of Natalie's blood on the doctor's scrubs transfixed Monk. He couldn't speak. Leland spoke for them. "Yes, we're her family. I'm… her uncle… uh, this is her...her… significant other." Monk shot him a look of shock. The doctor nodded and then directed most of his comments to Adrian.

"I'm Dr. Daniels. She lost a lot of blood; she was in shock—nearly to hypovolemic shock. She lost about eighteen percent of her total blood volume—the cuts on her wrist were deep and severe. We transfused almost three units—that's 900 milliliters. She's still unconscious; we're not certain how long she was out..."

Monk interrupted, "At this point, well over two hours. From the time she called to the time, I found her 19 minutes, from the time she called me to the ambulance 23 minutes. From the time she was out to get here, 30 minutes. From when we got here to now, it's over two and a half hours."

The recitation left the doctor nonplussed. "Okay. Well, we will watch and wait. Internally, I repaired the ulnar and radial arteries in her wrist. I had a plastics guy come in to do the cosmetic sutures to minimize the scarring. I'd say overall, she's lucky she made it to the phone. Otherwise, our discussion might have been much less hopeful." Monk shuddered at the thought of losing her. "Are you her health care proxy?"

"I am." She'd put him in that position many years ago, just in case. They often faced dangerous situations together, so they named the other and Leland the next in line. They had no one else they'd want to name. Her parents almost didn't exist in her life. Her brother was "finding himself" in Europe. His brother, Ambrose, was really not suited for emergencies. Monk had no idea that when Julie was still a minor, Natalie had named him Julie's guardian as well. Only Leland knew that. She'd be better off with Adrian than with her parents; Leland knew that for sure. Monk would, well, "Monk-out" if he knew in advance. If it had come to it, he'd step up; Leland had held no doubts. Now that Julie was over eighteen, it wouldn't be necessary, but they'd still need each other now—at least emotionally.

"We'll need you to fill out and sign some forms please, Nurse Francis here will help you when you get up to the ICU floor."

"ICU?" Adrian and Leland said simultaneously.

"Yes, well, she's been unconscious for a long time now, and we want to monitor her brain function. The blood loss may have affected the level of oxygen to her brain. So we're giving her supplemental oxygen. We will have to wait and see." Leland and Monk exchanged worried glances and followed the nurse to the elevator and then to the couches in the ICU waiting area. After filling out the forms, the two men sat in silence, each thinking similar thoughts. Leland's were along the lines of he won't survive another loss. Adrian's were along the lines of, I can't lose her now. Not when we're closer than ever. I can't live without her.

Monk put his elbows on his knees and his face in his clean hands. He had washed them at some point earlier while Natalie was in surgery and watched Natalie's blood wash off and run down the drain. The symbolism didn't escape him, and he trembled at the memory. Images of the years with Natalie by his side floated through his indelible, impeccable memory.

The day they met. The fear, worry, and anger etched on her pretty face. Julie – eleven years old. Her huge little girl eyes looked at him like he was a hero when he rescued her beloved fish, Mr. Henry. The day they'd had their first Christmas dinner together, and Julie saw her first snowfall. He'd received his first kiss – on the cheek – from Natalie. Neither of the Teeger women ever treated him as an oddity or a sideshow freak. Instead, they treated him kindly, with respect initially, and gradually, with honor and love. How kind she'd been to Ambrose over the years, not patronizing like so many.

Adrian thought about how he'd been included in all of her favorite activities, family events, and even her personal time. The holidays, the birthdays, the regular dinners. Adrian had spent more time in the Teeger house some weeks than he did in his own apartment. Sleeping there in the guest room sometimes, which had been christened "his room" somewhere along the way through the years, as no one else ever slept in it.

Then there was the time he'd been "killed" by the man sitting to his left. Natalie had risked everything she had, first financially, to give him the funeral she believed he deserved. Then physically, when she came to find him in Nevada, and threw herself into his arms, kissing him, hugging him, crying—going on the run with him to clear his name. She put everything on the line for him more than once, including her life, and how had he reciprocated? By taking out his anguish and frustration over every little thing, and every big thing, on her. Blaming his being shot on her, blaming so many of his own mistakes or problems on her—all the while knowing he wasn't angry at her… he was denying his burgeoning feelings and trying to drive her away from him. But she wouldn't go. She stuck around. She was loyal, brave, loving, warm, tender, and true. Her eyes saw him so clearly and never looked away from him. The years floated past, he got his badge back and promptly returned it—a happily retired Detective Monk, faithful Natalie always by his side. He finally got a resolution and justice of a sort for Trudy. He'd found her daughter Molly. As happy as all of those things made him, none of it would have meant anything without her. Natalie. His Natalie. He wanted to be able to claim her and make her his. If she wanted to be claimed. If she could ever want him with the same fervor that he suddenly realized he wanted her.

After another thirty minutes that he alternated between sitting hunched over and pacing, TK walked in with Julie. Julie flung herself into his arms.

"Where is she? How is she? What happened?" She cried as she went to the man who was the only father-figure she'd had for the last nine years. Adrian automatically folded her into his embrace. Slightly bewildered, slightly uncomfortable, slightly paternal, he stroked her hair.

"She's in the ICU recovery room. They weren't able to completely care for her in the ER. They took her to surgery to repair the damage to her hand and wrist. She's still unconscious, and she lost a lot of blood. We're just… waiting. I think she broke a glass putting it into the dishwasher. It shattered and cut her palm, her fingers, and her wrist. She lost a lot of blood," he repeated worriedly. "She came close to hypovolemic shock. That means she may have had a lapse in the oxygen reaching her brain. I don't really know more than that right now, Julie. I'm sorry."

She pulled away and looked at him closely, knowing he was a terrible liar. "Thank you for telling me the truth."

"Of course. You know I would never lie to you. Your mother and I will never lie to you."

Julie nodded and drew herself up to her full height. At nineteen, quite nearly twenty, a college sophomore, she was almost as tall as him. She was much taller than Natalie; her height gleaned from the late Mitch Teeger's genes. Her beauty, however, was a blend of them both. She took in a deep breath and swiped at her eyes with the sleeves of her denim jacket. Adrian hitched a shoulder at that but remained calm as he too drew in a deep breath—willing himself to hold it together for Julie and for Natalie. He looked at Julie and felt his heart swell with love and pride as it always did, despite his underlying worry for Natalie. Monk had also loved Julie almost since the moment they met – maybe even before he loved Natalie. She was the child he'd never had, and he considered her his daughter.

Losing a father before you were even old enough to appreciate what a father was or what it meant to lose him was their unspoken bond. The years had bound Adrian and Julie together in so many ways, from that shared loss of a father to their shared love of baking and cooking, which they did together when Natalie would leave them alone to pursue her own interests, a date, or a yoga class. Julie had taught him about using the Internet, which had ended disastrously, but she had managed to finally convince him to get a simple cell phone. Then there had been the birds and the bees talk when she was fifteen or so. He had told her to wait for her "Trudy." She had taken him literally and was still looking for the kind of love he'd described during that talk.

At the time, Monk didn't realize that he'd found his next "Trudy" in Natalie. Not that the two women were alike in any tangible way, really. Except for the fact that he loved them each ferociously and endlessly for the unique individuals they were. Natalie would never replace Trudy, but now, no one could replace Natalie for him either. Not in a million years. Every breath he took was with her. It was interesting to everyone around the greatest detective in the universe that he couldn't see the truth for so long: his love for Trudy was a beacon shining his way toward Natalie—leading him to the next steps in his life, leading him back to life.

TK and Leland quietly observed Julie and Adrian. They looked at the pair, bound together by worry, and by love for Natalie, by love for each other. Although Monk may never have said it aloud, the Stottlemeyers had previously discussed it at length and wondered when their friends would ever realize what they meant to each other. With Julie, how much of a family they were. Adrian's demeanor with Julie was paternal and calm, loving and kind. TK and Leland knew he didn't even realize how he'd filled that fatherly role for Julie all these years, just as he was doing now when he put his arm around her shoulders and led her to sit down across from them. Adrian Monk was a thousand times the father his own had ever been.

"Thank you, TK, for going to get Julie and bringing her here to me. To us." Again, speaking in the fatherly, head of the family role, Leland thought and smiled slightly at the pair.

"Of course, Adrian. Anything for you and for Natalie." TK replied, and Adrian smiled with weary, reddened eyes. His eyes reddened from the tears he didn't even realize he'd shed on and off for the past four hours. Tears that still filled his eyes and lingered there.

Finally, a nurse came in and said, "You can see Ms. Teeger now. One at a time. Briefly."

Adrian pushed Julie to follow the nurse, "Go to her, Julie. I'll go after you." Again, a selfless act, despite how desperate he was to lay eyes on Natalie again.

In just five minutes, Julie came in with a frown and said," She looks like she's just asleep. I talked to her a bit. She didn't move a muscle. Your turn," she said despondently and went into TK's waiting arms. Adrian nodded and rose to take his turn by Natalie's bedside.

When he approached the glass-enclosed room, his breath hitched, and he tried not to start weeping when he saw her lying there like a blonde Snow White in her transparent coffin. He shook his head to dislodge that thought immediately and entered quietly. He sat and picked up her left hand. She was so very still. She looked vulnerable and small and pale in the gigantic bed, her color almost that of the institutionally bleached sheets. He looked over to her right arm and saw it swathed in a multitude of bandages, but saw no blood, so that had to be a good sign. There were machines, a few tubes that snaked under the blankets, and one that was dripping several things from different bags into her arm. Please don't go away from me, Natalie, when all I can do is watch over you right now. None of my skills work in this situation.

There was always a price to pay. When you love, you can get hurt. When you love, you can suffer loss. He, more than most others, knew this for the truth it was. In the rational part of his brain, he knew that's why he'd closed himself off for so long—why he had allowed himself to behave like a semi-functioning man-child at times. If he came back to the land of the living, he'd have had to feel everything every day, instead of only when he was alone at night or only when he allowed himself to hope. Could he open himself up to the chance that he might have to pay that ultimate price again? He quickly determined that if it meant Natalie would be his, then it would be worth the anguish to see those green eyes look at him with love and desire, with want and with joy.

The tears he'd held back in deference to Julie began to silently course down his cheeks. He released Natalie's hand momentarily from one of his to swipe mercilessly at them as they fell. He would not give in to the anguish. He would be strong and resolved to be calm, even as the tears stopped falling, but remained welled in his eyes. He was staring at her, willing her to wake. His eyes skimmed the shape of her perfectly arched eyebrows, ones that would raise in surprise or laughter. Her lush and full eyelashes that she often lamented weren't lush or full enough, and that he knew she spent outrageous sums of money on different cosmetics to enhance. Now, as they lay fanned out above her cheekbones, he thought they were perfect and made a mental note to tell her that when she woke. He looked at her nose, tiny and flawless; he loved how it crinkled when she laughed. Her lips were always, even now, naturally curved upward in a smile. Warm, tender, never reproachful or mean. Her mouth was pouty and pretty, and now that he dared admit it to himself, he'd known he'd wanted to kiss it for ages. To feel her lips against his, to see what magic they'd make together.

He looked down as he rubbed his thumb gently across the back of her hand. Suddenly her hand jerked out of his. His eyes flew back to her face.

"Natalie! You're awake!"

"What are you doi—who are you?" Natalie cried in alarm.

"Natalie... It's me. Adrian. Monk." She looked confused and still alarmed as she tried to back away as far away as she could get.

"I don't. I don't know you. Please. Where am I?"

"Natalie. You're in the hospital. You had an accident at home. You broke a glass. It hurt your hand very badly. You needed some surgery."

"What do you mean?" Then she caught sight of her right hand, yelped and curled up even further away from Monk, and began to cry in earnest. Alarmed, he ran to the nurse's station calling for help. Two nurses came on the run. In the ICU, they didn't dawdle. He watched from outside the room as they calmed Natalie verbally, while one put a syringe of something in her IV bag, which he saw had an agreeable effect on her almost immediately, he walked back towards the doorway, and the nurse stopped him.

"Dr. Daniels is on his way."


"Mr. Monk, he will speak to you after he examines Ms. Teeger."

Adrian stumbled back to his seat in the waiting room, exhausted, defeated, upset, and scared.

"Monk?" Leland asked immediately.

"She woke up. She didn't know me, Leland. She was afraid of me."

"Oh no. That's probably just temporary Monk. Let's wait and see what the doctor says."

By this time, Randy and Sharona had joined them in the waiting room. TK walked in with Julie from the cafeteria, where they'd gotten a flotilla of coffees. It was going to be a long night.