A/N It's up to Natalie to bring Adrian, kicking and screaming into the twenty-first… or at least the late twentieth century. Will she manage? Is he ready and able to accept what she is trying to teach him? As always, I do not own any part of Monk, except my desire to see Natalie and Adrian end up together! This is mostly a rated T story, but there are some parts of this story that are VERY rated M!

Natalie had made a decision well over two months ago. They'd finally do it this weekend. Julie was 5,560 miles away in France studying abroad. It was going to be just Adrian and her for Thanksgiving. They had at least four, maybe as many as six days entirely to themselves. She had told a white lie to Leland and Randy, about them going to her parents for Thanksgiving weekend. Far enough away for the two to not bother them unless it was a true emergency or a completely unsolvable case. So Natalie had set her long-brewing plan in motion when she'd left Adrian at city hall early on Wednesday morning. She had prepared a feast in advance. Natalie, at this point in her life, was an old hand at the tasks required for Thanksgiving, and since there would just be the two of them, it was slightly easier this year. Last night she'd done Thanksgiving dinner prep. They'd have enough leftovers to feed them for days. Plus she'd made desserts, homemade soup, and a small lasagna… that and the rest of her completely full refrigerator should keep them.

Natalie thought through her plan to bring Adrian Monk up to speed on things he never "got" or that went over his head. As brilliant as he was at solving crime and his encyclopedic knowledge of the arcane and the esoteric, he was equally backward on pop culture. She was going to catch him up on half a century's worth in just a few days… if he allowed it. She also thought about the other things that sadly, he'd never experienced—certain rites of passage denied him by his own shyness and others' inability to see past his brain or his awkward social miscues to his sweet and easily bruised heart.

Natalie had piles of videos, old toys and games, candy, snack foods, and junk foods, fresh ones, of course, from every era she could lay her hands on, Natalie Teeger was prepared. She'd also been sneaking clothes from the dry cleaners and his closet into her guest room for two weeks. He had enough clothes to last at least a week at her house. She had a set of all the toiletries he preferred. All of his favorite cleaning supplies were already in her cabinets and under her kitchen sink from years of use and perseverance on her part.

This Thanksgiving weekend, Adrian Monk was going to get a remedial education in life, pop culture, and everything she could cram into him. She was going to tutor him the way he'd helped her develop her skill for detective work for the last eight years and she was going to do it thoroughly and with love. A lot of love. All the love she'd been hiding, suppressing, ignoring, and denying for at least the last four years, perhaps even longer.

He'd be there any moment, Leland and he had met that morning with the prosecutor, DA, and the judge in the plea phase of a recent case, a plea Adrian was vehemently protesting. Leland would be dropping him off, as she had begged off the meeting with a "headache" when she left him at the DA's office in order to set the scene she wanted to create. Oatmeal cookies were baking in the oven. A cherry pie was cooling on a rack on the counter. She'd stepped outside onto the porch just to clear her head and was greeted by the scents of her own baking when she stepped back inside. She knew how much her baking appealed to Adrian. That was something he was open about. He sincerely loved her cookies. As long as they were symmetrical. If she only knew what the scent of baking on her skin and in her hair did to rouse his long-dormant libido she wouldn't have worried about springing this on him. But that secret would unravel itself in time. Natalie heard a car door slam, and moments later she heard the key in the lock and the front door opened.

"Natalie? Hi, it's me, Adrian Monk. Where are… oh my God it smells good in here! Nat?" He could feel her presence nearby. It was weird. He always knew what room she was in, what floor of the house she was on when he walked in. The only other person he'd ever been able to do that with had been Trudy. He often found the similarities in the way he dealt with Natalie and she with him, and the ways in which he and Trudy had interacted were quite terrifying. He tried unsuccessfully to unthink and unknow what he thought he knew. He failed miserably now as he always did when thoughts about his feelings for Natalie came to the surface.

"Hi! Happy Thanksgiving weekend!" She came around the corner and reached out to hug him, and he was surrounded by the scents of his youth. Baking oatmeal cookies, and… Loves Baby Soft perfume? Both reminded him of his junior high school days and Sherry Judd. The baking was normal, but that certainly wasn't Natalie's usual feminine, sophisticated Damascus rose and peony scent. Something was up. She led him into the living room where games, books, and videos were piled on the coffee table. She also wasn't dressed in her usual attire.

"Welcome, Adrian! Welcome back to your tweenage slash teenage hood!"

"What?"

"We're going to spend the next few days catching you up on some fundamental stuff I think you missed out on. We're both going to get a chance to relive our youth, but we're going to do it together...right here. No crowds, no strangers, no new places. Just you and me and pop culture all weekend."

"But Natalie, my clothes…."

"Taken care of!"

"My toothbrush…."

"Taken care of!"

"My sheets…"

"On the guest bed upstairs!"

"My routines…."

"You'll do them here."

"Really?"

"I have everything you need. You're staying here until we make you as comfortable with the top ten songs of the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and the aughts as you are with the top ten ways to commit murder or the top ten ways to create untraceable poison. We're also going to look into current pop culture. You can't stay stuck in the past forever."

"It's worked for me so far."

"Do you really think so?" She simply lifted one eyebrow.

"Well, no. But it's safe and easy."

"You're safe with me. Everything between us is easy. I promise. It's Thanksgiving. You'll thank me later." She grinned at him as she spoke his hallmark words to him, and shot him a wink. So unlike the times she'd uttered those words when she was the Gold Rush Lotto girl. He could interpret neither the grin nor the wink but was willing to try to play along. Really, he'd do almost anything she asked of him. Plus they'd get to spend all of that time alone together. He liked that. Being alone with her. No work, just them. He had to admit she was right. As she often was when it came to things of this nature. He really loved that about her. How confident she was in her rightness. Amongst all the other things there were to, ah, love about Natalie Teeger, her confidence was simply… inspiring. The only time he felt that way was when he knew who "the guy" was; there was never another moment in his life when he was as confident as she was right then.

"Okay… where do we start?"

"First, go up to the guest room and change your clothes. I want you to be more comfortable." He looked down at his attire, he was comfortable in his work clothes. The normal Monk uniform - although these days he managed to wear colors other than brown or gray, even leaving his top button unbuttoned now and then. He'd even branched out into workout attire for when he ran. She read his thoughts loud and clear as if he'd spoken them through a megaphone. She grabbed his shoulders and turned him around, pointing him toward the staircase. "Just go. I laid clothes out on the bed. And don't take all day!"

Obediently, he walked up the stairs and turned into the guestroom. He found a pair of dark blue jeans and a long-sleeved three-quarter zip shirt awaiting him. The shirt was soft and deep blue, and there was a light blue t-shirt to put on beneath it. Natalie had raided his closet! Although she had shopped with him for these items, he hadn't worn them. She was trying to get him to make small changes, to get him to find comfort in relaxing. To find comfort in fitting in with their friends and colleagues.

He returned to the living room, stopping in the doorway to find her on the couch, her back to him. "Ready or not…" he whispered to himself. Is there a third option? He wondered silently. He fidgeted with his fingers nervously but calmed when he saw her turn and smile. Yes, I'm ready. He stood taller.

"You look great. Blue is really wonderful on you. Come sit." She patted the seat next to her on the couch. His mind went back to her unusual attire. What was she wearing? Pants that looked like they were made of parachute material in neon pink and leg warmers that ballerinas wore? He vaguely recalled this trend from his college years, she would have been in junior high school. Thus, he was reminded of their age difference. Eleven years. Remembering that number always irritated him, but for now, he let it go. He complied and settled into "his spot" on the couch. "First, we're doing a mini-marathon of Harry Potter movies. There are eight, so I don't think it's possible to do them all at once, maybe just two."

"Who is Harry Potter?"

Natalie rolled her eyes. "Exactly why we're doing this. He's a wizard who doesn't know he's a wizard, and how he goes to a special school to find friends and learn the skills that he needs to become a great wizard."

"Oh, Natalie, you know how I feel about magic and wizards and voodoo and …"

She cut him off. "Again, exactly why we're doing this. Let go, Adrian. Suspend your disbelief. Just let yourself be a kid full of wonder, and excitement. Not the kid you were—full of genius, curiosity, and worries…just a kid who didn't know witches and wizards weren't real. Or didn't care, at least. A kid who was willing to just be entertained. By the way, they are all rated PG, so we're okay with things you don't like to see on screen."

He shrugged and settled again, waiting to point out the errors in the filmmaking, the continuity, and the logic, but two films in, he couldn't find a thing to criticize. Natalie asked, "Would you like a BLT for lunch?" He nodded absently as he reached for the pile of Potter books that sat on the coffee table. He would read them of course; he began then and there and was quickly eight chapters deep in book one when Natalie came back with the sandwiches, chips, and bottles of water.

His childhood tomato allergy long having abated, his sandwiches were more enjoyable these days because of the endless bounty of square tomatoes supplied by an eternally grateful Dean Berry. He'd given Natalie a small greenhouse of her own and the seeds to grow her own plants. It was a good thing she had a green thumb. They ate happily and after he'd finished one half of his sandwich, Adrian bashfully asked, "Can we watch the next one?"

Natalie fist-pumped mentally, but calmly replied, "Sure, whatever you want." They spent the rest of the afternoon in the magical world of Hogwarts and its environs. Finally, hours later, surrounded by the swelling music of the fourth film's credits, Natalie stood and stretched, Adrian looked away as he glimpsed a piece of her skin that wasn't usually exposed to him as her shirt rode up on her taut midriff. Then he surreptitiously peeked back. He had the sudden urgent need to touch her, but as he almost always did when those unusual urges came to him, he quashed it mercilessly.

"I'll go make dinner, why don't you read?"

They ate a quiet dinner of baked salmon in garlic and dijon sauce with steamed vegetables. At least they were eating like adults, Adrian mused as he savored Natalie's delicious food. For dessert, Natalie brought the cookies she'd baked earlier to the coffee table, with mugs of tea. "Ready for your next lesson?"

He nodded and smiled around a cookie. "Okay," he mumbled, caught with his mouth full, like a kid. The last thing had been bearable, he was looking forward to what she had in store.

The sight of him like that made her heart skip a beat for reasons she didn't want to explore at the moment. "First, you need to sit on the floor."

"Ugh, Nataaaaalieeee…"

"Here's a blanket."

"Alright," he said grudgingly as he sat on the blanket. He sat and Natalie reached behind herself and pulled out a square box. It was mostly white with four colors of dots radiating out from the word "Twister." He looked at it curiously, but not fearfully. "What is that?"

"A game you should have played when you were a teenager. At parties. With girls." He felt himself flush and shyly looked at the floor. "Okay, I know you like rules, so here we go." Adrian sipped his tea as he listened carefully to Natalie's recitation. "If we had a third person they would be the referee, we're going on the honor system. I think we can handle that." Natalie spread the mat out on the floor. "Now, take off your shoes." Adrian thought about arguing, but did as he was told. "Players face each other from opposite ends of the mat, near the word Twister. Place one foot on the yellow circle and the other foot on the blue circle closest to your end of the mat. Your opponent does the same on his or her end." Natalie read from the inner box top. "The first person spins the spinner, then calls out the body part and the color that the arrow points to, we will take turns with this, or we could leave out the spinner, but since this is your first time, I think we'll just go with taking turns. The only problem is you have to keep your hands on the mat at all times… so that will be tricky! Anyway, the spinner may say: 'Right hand, red.' All players, at the same time, must then try to get their right hand to a red circle. If your called-out hand or foot is already on a circle of the called-out color, you must try to move it to another circle of the same color. There can never be more than one hand or foot on any one circle." Natalie left out the rules that wouldn't apply to a two-player game.

"How do you win?" Adrian, always a keen competitor, despite having never played, asked anxiously.

"Any player who falls, or touches the mat with an elbow or knee, is immediately out of the game. If you feel that a new position is impossible, or will cause you to fall, you may eliminate yourself. In a 2-player game like ours, the game ends and the remaining player wins!"

"Alright," Adrian replied, steeling himself for all the accidental touching sure to be involved in this new activity. Not that he really minded touching Natalie anymore, in fact, he often craved it, but he liked to be prepared or for it to be his choice. They stood at the edges of the mat as prescribed in the instructions and Adrian spun. "Right-hand, green," he read seriously and handed the spinner to Natalie.

Strategically, Natalie placed her right hand as far from Adrian's as it could get, not wanting to start off making him immediately uncomfortable. The game progressed.

After several turns, Natalie spun, "Left foot, yellow." Their sock-covered feet came perilously close together. But they hadn't had to place a second hand on the mat yet.

Then Adrian spun."Left hand, yellow." They both reached for the same circle and his hand skittered away as her left hand covered his momentarily. She smiled her most comforting smile at him and he returned it with a small smile of his own.

They were both bent in half now, and Natalie flicked the spinner with one finger, keeping the rest of her left hand on her circle. "Right hand, blue."

Dear God! He'd have to either reach over Natalie's rear end or between her legs. Either way that would be frightening, but exciting too. When Natalie realized she had a clear shot to blue with her right hand, but Adrian did not she silently thanked whoever was watching over them, this was going better than she could have planned. When Adrian reached over her for the blue circle, having decided that was the safer route, his body slid over hers, and in his machinations to avoid touching her, he touched her even more and he flailed around nervously. His flailing, just like a nervous fifteen-year-old boy, caused them to collapse in a mound of tangled body parts. Natalie was laughing, Adrian was sputtering apologies. Neither was moving. Adrian marveled at how soft Natalie felt beneath him. Natalie was enjoying his weight on top of her, despite the fact that she was having trouble moving or breathing as she laughed. Finally, he shifted his weight and she was able to turn over, causing them to wind up in a position that could only be called missionary. His hands were squarely next to her head, his arms holding him shakily above her, while Natalie smiled an ironic, sexy smile at him, "That was fun, right? She was breathing a little too heavily than the situation required, he thought. He looked into the depths of her gorgeous green eyes. He could see something stirring in them that he'd never seen there before. His heart was pounding as he felt his body begin to respond to Natalie's lower half pressed against his in very intimate ways. His mind floundered for the correct thing to say, as he continued to look into her eyes, his hands and arms holding his previous position, his torso slightly away from hers so he wasn't lying flat on top of her.

Finally, he found his voice. "Natalie, I'm..." he rasped. He tried again. "Natalie, I'm so sorry."

"Don't be. That's the way the game works. We're supposed to fall all over each other. Now imagine you're fifteen and I'm fifteen and there were a few more fifteen-year-olds on this mat with us." She wiggled under him slightly to get herself free and he felt himself grow further aroused and he jumped away from her, hoping she hadn't noticed. "Want to play another round?"

"Uh…what? No. No! I'm good. Thanks for the uh… the uh… experience." Natalie looked at him carefully. His cheeks were flushed. His breathing was shallow and rapid. She was no nurse, but if she didn't know better, she'd have thought they'd started something there on the floor, something she would definitely like to continue… and finish, but something to which she knew straight-laced Adrian Monk would never agree.

Dazed, he went back to the couch, a safe distance from her, and watched silently as she folded up the mat, grabbed the spinner, and put them away in their box. She placed the box on the end table. "Next up… early childhood!" Natalie proclaimed.

"Does this one require me to make a fool of myself on the floor?"

"Well, no, but you didn't look like a fool, I thought it was fun. I saw you smile a couple of times."

He had to concede, at least to himself, it was fun, and it was … stimulating for sure. He could only imagine how fifteen-year-old boys felt if he, at 52, was having this sort of, uh, reaction and lack of control during a game. Moreover, it was too bad he had missed out on that as a kid… it might have changed his life a little. Leave it to Natalie to show him how to change for the better. Adrian laughed one of his simple quiet laughs. It was a true and honest laugh. It really had been fun; until it was frightening.

Natalie grinned and said, "Come on cookie monster, let's watch some Sesame Street and have the rest of our cookies." He really did love cookies, especially her homemade ones.

So they watched an hour and a half of Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and then Zoom, and Adrian came to understand why there was more to life than Channel 10. PBS was a wonder. "All this was on when we were kids?" Now he knew who Cookie Monster was, for real.

"Well, you were ten when Sesame Street started, and eleven for Electric Company and possibly around twelve for ZOOM, But yep. Most people I know learned to read because of Sesame Street and learned a lot of life lessons because of these shows." For the first time all day, Natalie sensed sadness in Adrian. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No, no, Natalie. It's just I'm starting to realize that as deep and wide as my book knowledge is, I missed a lot of great things that helped shape you and others, and now their children too, and it probably is part of why my childhood and adolescence were so traumatic. I mean aside from the parenting that was absent. I just couldn't fit in because I didn't know what the hell anyone was talking about. Even when I was eleven. Or now." He sighed sadly and glanced at the clock. "I think I'll turn in, tomorrow I will allow you to teach me and torture me some more. Good night, Natalie."

She didn't say a thing as he moved off the couch and away from her. Maybe she'd been wrong to do this. Maybe she'd hurt him rather than helped him. She straightened up a little and turned the dishwasher on, then ascended the stairs. At the landing, she placed her hand on the guest room door and said softly, "Sleep well, Adrian," because she was sure her night would be wakeful with guilt and worry.

𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ