A/N As usual, I own nothing except my love of Monk and the characters and my own wishes for the ending I wished for Natalie and Adrian! So here's another story that gets them there! (Post The END, A and N Shipper Fic)


The letter arrived without fanfare in the small pile of mail Natalie brought in with her on that Friday morning in mid-March.

"Good morning, Adrian," she chirped. "Happy Friday."

"Good morning, Natalie," he replied absently as he tried to reach a dust bunny on the top shelf of his kitchen cabinet without falling off the step ladder.

"Are you okay?"

"Yes. Fine." He stretched on his tiptoes and sighed with relief when his Swiffer captured the offensive thing.

Natalie hid a smile at his sigh, knowing his relief would make the day that much better for both of them. Although, lately, their days had been pretty good anyway.

"Can I make you breakfast?" He asked as he climbed down and put the step ladder away. "I was going to make pancakes for myself."

"That would be lovely. Thank you." He'd been much more relaxed, kind, and generous these last twenty months. Since the end of the nightmare he'd lived with for so long. Since Trudy's murder had been resolved, if not to his satisfaction, then to a conclusion with which he could live.

Natalie sorted the mail as she did daily. Finally, she tossed the advertisements into the recycling bin and took the bills to his desk to place in his "to be paid" folder.

When she returned to the kitchen, she had a single letter-sized envelope in her hand and a puzzled expression on her face. "Hmm."

"What?" Adrian asked as he turned to look over his shoulder, the pancakes cooking on the griddle in front of him. The snap of the butter caused him to turn back around.

"I'm not sure. It's a letter from a law firm. Steinberg, Douglas, Hazlet, & Furman. Do you know anyone there?"

Adrian shook his head and shrugged. "Maybe it's a solicitation for property tax reduction or something. I get those all the time. As if I own this building." He chuckled a little.

"I don't think so. It's pretty hefty," she balanced it in one hand.

"Okay, so open it."

"Are you sure? What if it's private?"

"Natalie, I don't have any secrets from you… go ahead… Just…just use the letter opener, please."

She smirked but returned to his desk to retrieve his letter opener and then carefully opened the envelope as she stood there. Once it was open, she returned the letter opener to its place and went back to the kitchen.

Adrian had set the plates of pancakes on the island, two glasses of pulp-free orange juice, and a mug of coffee for Natalie.

Natalie sat at her place, took a sip of her coffee, and removed the envelope's contents. She ate as she read the letter on top and just about choked to death when she got halfway through. She dropped the papers, and they scattered.

"Natalie!" Adrian said in alarm. Her face had turned red as a tomato, and he jumped up to help her as she struggled to breathe. She grasped his hand and grabbed her juice. She coughed and finally got the pancake and syrup swallowed, and Adrian righted the stool he'd overturned in his panic. Sitting down, he noted that the color had completely drained from her cheeks. He uncharacteristically, yet automatically, retook her hand.

When she could speak, she said, "Adrian, oh my God, you're not going to believe this." She gathered the papers as she spoke.

"What? What is it?"

"Dale Biederbeck. He's dead."

"We knew that. It was in the news a few weeks ago." His expression darkened to a scowl. "Why are they sending me a letter announcing that news?"

"Because… he left you…. he left you a huge chunk of his estate."

"He what?"

"Here." She handed him the letter and the other papers.

He read through them quickly with alarm and dismay. "Natalie, the lawyer wants to see me in his office at two this afternoon."

"Well, I guess we have a few hours to worry about what this means. Aside from you being a wealthy man."

"I don't want any of his ill-gotten fortune."

She patted his arm in understanding. "Stop and think for a moment, Adrian. Think about the good you could do with the money. I already have about ten ideas."

Adrian sighed dramatically. "Yes, you can have a raise… and a promotion, and I will pay off your mortgage."

"I wasn't thinking about myself, but thank you very much. I was thinking about a journalism scholarship at Berkeley in Trudy's name and a criminology scholarship in yours, too. Maybe an endowment to the police benevolent association for a scholarship to the police academy? But all those ideas can wait until we see what strings are attached to this… inheritance? Because, as you say, there is always a catch." She got up to start clearing up the breakfast dishes.

Tears had welled in Adrian's eyes when Natalie, in her naturally unselfish and clear-eyed way, made him see there was something good that he could do with the monster's bequest. He could have kicked himself when he thought of how he'd automatically assigned selfish motivation to her ideas. He often forgot how truly good Natalie was and how warm and kind. She didn't even expect an apology or wait for him to take back his derisive words. She was a treasure, and he was a merciless beast sometimes. He had to do better. Be better. He also knew he had to find some way to get over his feelings toward her or tell her how he felt, but that would have to wait until they figured out this bizarre situation he'd gotten into, thanks to Dale the Whale.

𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ

At two pm sharp, they were ushered into the posh office of Martin Douglas, Esq. His secretary, a lovely Latina woman named Polly, offered them coffee, which Natalie accepted appreciatively; Adrian requested a bottle of water.

They sat quietly on a sofa in the impressive office, nestled in a stunning suite inside a luxurious building. Polly returned with their beverages on a silver tray with a plate of fancy bakery cookies. Just as Polly was leaving, a tall man in an expensive gray suit came breezing in the door.

"Mr. Monk, Ms. Teeger, so nice to meet you. I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting. I'm Martin Douglas." He stretched his hand out to Natalie and waved to Monk. He clearly had foreknowledge of Monk's eccentricities.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Douglas," Natalie replied, always remembering her manners and never without charm, Monk thought.

"I see you have refreshments, so let's get started." He walked to his desk, picked up some files, and returned to the seating area. "Did you both bring your letters?"

Adrian and Natalie looked at each other and then at Mr. Douglas, puzzled.

"I have the letter I received," Monk replied.

"What about you, Ms. Teeger?"

"I haven't received a letter."

"You were supposed to get it today."

"I haven't been home since the mail was delivered."

"Ah. Well, no matter, it is very much the same as Mr. Monk's."

"Excuse me?"

"Mr. Biederbeck left you a bequest as well."

"Oh my." She turned her aquamarine eyes to Adrian's, and his were filled with the same worry in hers. "Why would he…" she trailed off, confused but willing to listen.

Mr. Douglas opened the file on his lap. He went through several pages, got to the spot he wanted, and looked up at Adrian and Natalie. "Alright, well, here are the conditions of your inheritance."

"Conditions?" Adrian asked.

"Yes," Douglas looked over the frames of his glasses and said, "I'll enumerate them now, but you will get a copy. Someone from this office will check in to ensure you're following the rules so you don't lose the bequest."

Douglas began to read before either of them could interrupt. "I, Dale J Beiderbeck III, being of sound mind, devise and bequeath the bulk of the property owned by me at my death, real and personal and wherever situate, to my greatest adversary and most worthwhile opponent, Adrian Monk. This includes…," and the man read lists of properties and buildings, bank accounts, and cars for at least forty minutes. The recitation was almost endless. Although all of his fortune was frozen and out of Biederbeck's reach while he'd been imprisoned, it was still technically his and, upon his death, could go wherever he wished it to go.

"The rest, or approximately fifteen percent, shall go to Natalie Teeger. A brave and fearsome adversary herself. Mostly because I admire her pluck and the stamina she has had to put up with Adrian Monk for so long." Natalie's face formed a sour expression. She didn't like people thinking she "put up" with Adrian. The idea of it infuriated her. She didn't tolerate it from anyone—be they family, friends, but most especially not enemies.

"This will be enforceable but only on the condition that the following criteria are met:

"A: Mr. Monk and Ms. Teeger shall live together in one place for the duration of one year starting the fourteenth day after this will is read.

"B: They shall reside at 544 Briarcliff Terrace in a certain little house that I think Adrian knows well." Adrian had to swallow around the massive lump in his throat. Not only was he forcing them to live together, but he was forcing them to move into his and Trudy's first home. The one they'd had to sell to pay their legal bills after Biederbeck sued Trudy for libel and nearly bankrupted them just as they were getting started. Biederbeck subsequently purchased the lovely house and used it as a warehouse for his extensive pornography collection. The thought of all of that made Adrian's skin crawl, and his heart hurt.

"C:" Mr. Douglas continued, oblivious to Adrian's discomfort and Natalie's shock. "Every meal you eat must be together. Whether at home or out. Together." How would anyone know if they did that? Natalie wondered silently.

"D: Neither of you may sleep in a different location from the other. Ever. Meaning you must live together, and you must travel together.

"E: Neither of you may form a romantic relationship outside your home.

"F: You may not explain this sudden arrangement to anyone. If one of my trustees finds that someone else knows, you lose the inheritance.

"G: Spend half a million, each, on things that are not charity within a month. You may not give it away. An accountant will look at your receipts. After that, you will each have a generous monthly stipend. The only stipulation, it must be gone by the end of each month.

"H: If at the end of one year, you have managed to maintain your residence, the secret, and all of the other requirements, you will retain my entire estate to do with as you wish."

Douglas looked up and removed his glasses. "So there you have it."

"There we have… it," parroted Adrian. "But…what if we don't want it?"

"Mr. Biederbeck anticipated some pushback. He said that unless you accepted his generosity, he would have the story of Natalie's unheroic husband made public. The tale of Trudy's illegitimate love child would be on the front cover of every newspaper in town by the end of day tomorrow - including the one Trudy used to work for."

Neither prone to gasping, they both gasped at the lawyer's awful pronouncements. Then, subconsciously, Natalie took Adrian's hand. She squeezed it now with concern and fear. He squeezed back. How did Dale the Whale find out about Mitch?

"I'll give you some time to process," Douglas said as he left them alone.

Natalie released Adrian's hand as she stood to pace the length of the room.

"What do you think?" she asked on her fourth return trip. Without thought, she'd paced an even number of times, calming him naturally.

"I don't know what to think," Adrian replied helplessly.

"What kind of conditions are those?" she murmured.

"Strange ones. Cruel ones. Uncomfortable ones."

"If we don't do it, he will ruin Trudy's and Mitch's reputations. By extension, he's hurting us, Julie, and Trudy's parents, not to mention Molly. But what he's forcing us into…."

Unusually staunch, Adrian said, "We can handle it, Natalie."

"First, we have to live in your old house. Together. That's going to be painful for you, isn't it?"

"Probably. At least at the beginning. Not the living together part. We're together all the time anyway, and we practically live in each other's houses, so that part won't be awful," Monk smiled hopefully. Natalie looked at him with shock. Adrian Monk was a man who valued his privacy and his routines above all else.

"But what are we going to do about all the … porn?" he whispered the last word as if the word itself were filthy and offensive.

Still pondering his previous comments, Natalie was unconcerned with that issue at the moment, for her heart had filled with happiness when he said it wouldn't be awful. Then she had a sudden inspiration. "How about we sell it and use the money to build or buy a house for battered women and children?" We could hire someone to run it. We wouldn't be giving it to charity. Plus, he didn't specifically mention his…uh… disgusting collection. We need to get it out of the house if we're to live in it, so it's ours to sell if we want, aside from the half million we each have to spend… and think of the good we could do!"

Adrian, despite the circumstances, just gave her a mischievous smile that she'd never seen before. "You, Natalie Teeger, are brilliant, sneaky, and kind," he said. "I love it!"

She returned his smile and replied, "This is going to be an adventure, Adrian. One the likes of which we've never had to experience before, but if we're cautious and fortunate, we will be very wealthy and have done a lot of good before it's over!"

Secretly, Adrian hoped their adventure would never end, but he silently nodded in agreement.

Mr. Douglas re-entered the office with papers for them to sign, the keys to the house, and two cashier's checks for one-half million dollars each. One made out to each of them.

They stopped at the bank in the late sunlight of Friday afternoon to open up two new joint accounts. Each was the primary account holder on one account, and the other was the secondary account holder on the other. This puzzled the bank manager, but the money that had to be spent also needed to be accessible to both. So they'd keep their old accounts as they were for the time being.

𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ

A dark-haired figure in dark clothes stood behind the tall ficus that had stood there for years. At least fifteen years, in fact. The person watched Natalie and sneered a little when the blonde laid her hand on Adrian Monk's arm. Understanding the detective's dynamic with his assistant would help complete their formulated plan. That was a certainty.

𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ

The following day, the new housemates decided that their first order of business would be to stop by their new abode. Natalie had never been there, never driven by it, and in fact, took pains to avoid it at all costs. Adrian hadn't been back in over seventeen years since he and Trudy had moved out and closed the door for the last time. It had been too fraught and dangerous for his mental health after Trudy's murder. But now, with Natalie by his side, and so much riding on it, he steeled himself for what lay in front of them.

It needed new siding and shutters desperately. Adrian was dismayed at the condition of the poor house. Once so cheerful and bright, with flowers in the window boxes and an American flag flapping from the holder on the front porch column. They'd set that to rights quickly. Adrian felt Natalie capable of that same thing Trudy had been, making a house into a home. He should know because Natalie's current house was a cozy, welcoming den, while his apartment was sterile and lifeless since Trudy's death. His present home looked more like a model house than a place someone actually resided.

They stepped in, and the overwhelming smell of "old library" mustiness hit them immediately. It looked as though no one had been inside in very many years. Almost every closet, crevice, and surface was filled with or covered in boxes labeled with the contents. At least it would be easier to get rid of that way. It was dusty, and there were cobwebs in the corners, but nothing blatantly offensive was lying about. Natalie noted the contents of some of the boxes and blanched herself but kept it together for Adrian's sake. Adrian noted years and years of Sapphire magazines in one area of boxes. It made him think thoughts he definitely did not want in his mind, and he struggled to redirect his gray matter to more practical pursuits. Such as the condition of the kitchen cabinets and the floors.

Natalie knew she'd be in charge of the disposition of all the crap in the house; she knew just where she'd start. She made three phone calls, and soon enough, two green trucks were in front of the house with young men around Julie's age ready to haul the boxes to a nearby storage facility. To Monk's astonishment, they emptied the house in less than four hours. Natalie signed the contract for storage, and off Biederbeck's porn collection went. She made life so easy for him, Adrian realized. He never had to touch or, God forbid, look at a thing.

Next, a delivery from a nearby big box store with all his favorite cleaning supplies … a lot of them … showed up just as the "Boys Who Lug Boxes" trucks were leaving. At this happy surprise, he was in his element. He understood that she must have placed this order last night after they parted. No matter how tired, upset or confused she was, she knew what he'd need and figured out how to get it. How marvelous to be so perfectly understood. To be so well cared for by a person who was so incredible. He simply smiled another beatific smile at his new roommate, and off he went, room by room, rapturously cleaning, banishing the scent of old paper and musty cardboard to memory. The smell of bleach and Lysol, however, were front and center.

The doorbell rang, and a local locksmith came and installed the most expensive new lock he had in stock on the front door. It was a combination deadbolt and an electronic keypad. They had him toss the old lock and keys in the growing pile of trash bags. They wanted to be sure no one else had a way into their new home. He also added a new door lock to the kitchen sliders and the garage door into the house. They had him install a new garage door opener as well, although it was well-known that those frequencies were both finite in number and easily duplicated. The Steve Wagoner case had taught them that fact.

Natalie left mid-way through Adrian's cleaning frenzy, purportedly to pick up some dinner for them. On the way there, she got another idea and diverted to a store she had not entered since she was a child. Gump's on Post Street. Her life didn't allow her to shop there regularly. The store had been serving the elite of San Francisco since 1861, and her mother adored it. What better place to plunk down some of her half a million than here? Dishes, bedding, decorative pillows. Things with names like Limoges, Frette, Pratesi, Amalia, Courgette, and other famous-name home goods filled her senses and her cart. A crystal vase for the mantle. Fancy soaps on a whim. Dish towels in a rainbow of colors. A new set of high-end cookware that she'd coveted forever. As if it would magically make her a gourmet chef. She giggled at her own foolishness.

A few hours later, as Natalie walked back into the art and crafts style house, she nearly choked on the scent of the combined cleaning products. It was definitely more than she'd want to handle regularly. They'd have to compromise. Natalie half expected to find Adrian passed out on the floor somewhere in the house. Instead, she called for him, and he popped his head out of what would be her bathroom, masked, gloved, aproned, and said, "Hi!" Clearly, he was happy as a clam. Memories hadn't yet overwhelmed him.

She coughed as she closed the front door and carried some of her new purchases and their dinner into the kitchen. The rest would wait. "Adrian, I'm begging you, you will have to ease up on the bleach and Lysol combination. We're going to suffocate!"

He removed his mask. "That was just for this time, Natalie. Don't worry. Everything will be back to my normal level of super clean soon. This was an ultra-super cleaning." He smiled angelically, and she couldn't help a strangled laugh that escaped when his dimples appeared, and she coughed again. She looked around, and the place seemed brighter, but tomorrow she'd have to hire some painters and have a floor refinisher in as well. The place needed some interior re-doing after all the years of neglect. Perhaps the cabinets could use some updating too. She already knew who she would hire if he were available. She went over and opened the large window over the sink. She pictured growing some herbs there. Natalie sighed and turned back to the kitchen. Adrian had disappeared back down the hall. She pulled her purchases over to the center island in the kitchen and began unpacking the bags. She'd purchased eight white place settings that featured square dishes, square cereal bowls, and square mugs with an arts and crafts pattern embossed on them, as well as pretty utensils with a matching design on the handles and square drinking glasses, too. She'd also purchased contact paper to line the shelves and the drawers. Adrian came back in just as she was flattening the boxes for recycling, and he picked up one of the square white plates with wonder.

"Natalie, you are amazing."

She smiled. "Thank you. Why do you say that?"

"Because you know just what to do to make a house a home. But not only that, to make this sad place a home I can deal with and possibly find happiness in again."

"No, I think we are an amazing team, Adrian. Let's eat dinner. Then we can wash and put these things away. Then we can go home and collapse."

That is precisely what they did, and for the next thirteen days, the modest house on Briarcliff was transformed. The outside was resided and reroofed while the inside was painted, the floors refinished, and some furniture was selected, purchased, and delivered, each thing done for an extra rush fee, of course. It didn't seem that awful when you had a million dollars to spend. Finally, the house began to look like a place both Adrian and Natalie could be comfortable calling home. At least for fifty-two weeks.

Natalie and Adrian took a trip to Berkeley on the twelfth day to have lunch with Julie.

"You're what?!" Julie sputtered and nearly spat out the iced tea she'd just sipped when they told her they'd decided that, to make life easier, they were moving in together. Monk cowered from her line of ice tea projection and watched uncomfortably as she mopped some from her chin and the table. Adrian, ever the terrible liar, let Natalie do the talking. After all, it was her daughter with whom they were speaking.

"Yes honey, we figured it would save us loads of time, not to mention money if we gave up our places and became housemates." Natalie confidently spun the tale they agreed upon. "We're already together almost sixteen hours a day anyway. So what's eight more?"

Intelligent and suspicious, Julie just stared at them, slit-eyed, as if two strangers were sitting across from her in the booth at the restaurant. "What about privacy? What about… dating?" Both Natalie and Adrian blushed furiously.

Julie was already living away from Natalie's home in her own apartment with friends, so she wasn't worried about herself. Instead, she was concerned about her mother. Julie knew the lack of privacy would make it difficult for her mom to ever develop a relationship or…get busy…ew... with a man. She certainly wasn't going to have that with Mr. Monk, no matter how each of them may have secretly felt. Julie had figured out long ago that her mother and Mr. Monk loved one another, as in "loved-loved," but would never do anything to act on those feelings or even acknowledge them. So what was the deal? Where did this new need for togetherness come from suddenly?

"Mr. Monk? You really want to live with my mom?"

Monk looked like a cornered animal at that moment but rallied. "Yes, sure. Who wouldn't? She's neat and clean. She's a great cook. We already spend a lot of time together, and it just makes sense economically."

"Mmmmhmmm," Julie murmured a non-committal sound. The rest of the meal went the same way. General conversation, and every once in a while, Julie tried a "gotcha" type question.

"Do you think you two will eventually get married?" She asked as she sipped the last of her iced tea.

This time it was Adrian who choke-spit his drink. "What? No! Wha-I am married, Julie! We're doing this out of convenience!" He mopped at his chin then, aghast.

"Julie, why would you even ask that?" Natalie asked almost angrily. What was going on in Julie's mind? Moreover, could she and Adrian pull this off for the next year? Fool their friends and their families? "You know Adrian and I are friends."

"Well, you two have gotten much closer lately, and you started calling him by his first name last year, so I thought maybe there was something you weren't telling me!" Julie exclaimed.

If you only knew, Adrian thought. Thoughts going in two directions.

If you only knew, Natalie thought. Thoughts going in two directions.

The three sat silently, contemplating their inner turmoil and confused feelings for a few moments, and then Natalie signaled the waitress for their check.

Two booths away, a person in a black hoodie had heard the whole conversation and grimaced. This would make things in the timeline more difficult.

Julie, Natalie, and Adrian left the restaurant and walked towards Natalie's car without the two conspirators thinking about it. When they stopped at a sedan painted a trendy flat gray color, Julie said, "Where's your car, Mom?"

Natalie gave Adrian a worried look and said, "Surprise, I splurged. Adrian and I got a nice bonus from a happy client last week, so I got a new car."

"Splurge? This must have cost like the rest of my tuition!" Julie clamped her hand over her mouth after the words had flown out. Of course, she was mortified, knowing her mother's purchases were none of her business. However, the new BMW was fancy and way outside her mother's usual down-to-earth attitude about such things. "I'm sorry, Mom! It's none of my business how you spend your money! Truly, it's beautiful, just so …uh…unexpected for you!"

"I know, I got a good deal, and I love the color so much."

"Well, best of luck with it!" Confused and upset, without understanding why, Julie said, "I have to run." They parted ways with Julie, promising to have her over when they got situated.

Adrian shook his head, "That was uncomfortable and awkward. I mean, even more than my usual…." He tilted his head to his shoulder, echoing ticks he'd long lost.

"I'll say." Natalie nodded in agreement. "But it's over. I wonder how it will go with Molly, Leland, TK, Randy, and Sharona."

"Sharona can smell a lie from 500 feet away," Adrian warned needlessly.

"I know."

Grimly, they got into the car and drove over to their "new home." They'd each packed and brought some clothes and many more personal things. The movers were to bring the rest tomorrow. Natalie had her bedroom painted a pale lilac with white trim. Adrian had his done in sage green with white trim. Unconsciously, he made the room echo the color of Natalie's eyes when they looked at him with that expression somewhere between amusement and understanding. They were having his bedroom furniture brought over from his apartment, and Natalie's new furniture was arriving later that day. She was definitely taking the edict "spend a-million-in-a-month" seriously. But Adrian knew she deserved it, and he really wouldn't know where to begin spending without her help. She'd gone without many luxuries for Julie's sake for a very long time. Not to mention the meager salary he paid her because of his formerly miserly ways. Ironically, all due to the man gifting them all this money now. Now, if they could hold on to their sanity and each other for 365 days, they would never have money worries again.

Adrian washed the new linens for their beds and bathrooms in their new washer and dryer, while Natalie dealt with the phone and cable installation teams. Once those tasks were accomplished, they returned to their individual homes for the last time.

𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ𝕸ɳ

The black hooded figure followed Natalie and Adrian to Adrian's building and sat in their car, contemplating options. Then, a knock on the car window startled them. Cautiously rolling down the window, they heard, "Want to make some money?"