Of course, I own nothing of Monk but my ever hopeful Monk and Natalie loving heart!

The four of them were sitting in Leland's office when it happened. They had just wrapped up a difficult case, and the relief made them all a little giddy and lighthearted. They were joking around and laughing, caught up in the comfort of friendship and the thought they were back on solid ground again. Literally. Earlier, Monk had rescued Natalie from a rooftop in the Castro where a murderous criminal had dragged her.

"Another one for the books, right, Monk?" Leland said in his deep bass voice.

"Absolutely, but it was one I'd rather never remember." He'd nearly lost Natalie–again. These things were too close sometimes; this one was really close, and it disturbed him when he thought about it. Her eyes met his at that moment, and that's when it happened. He'd probably looked into her aquamarine eyes thousands of times over the eight years they'd worked together. Sometimes with laughter, sometimes with tears. Sometimes with hope, sometimes with fear. Today, the emotion he felt was love. He was shocked and elated all at once because even now, after all of these years, he still felt a certain amount of loyalty and love towards Trudy.

Today, when he'd nearly lost Natalie, his heart became unbound from those old feelings, and suddenly, all he could feel was his bond with Natalie. The strength of the bond led him to her, and the power of it kept him brave when he went up to that roof to rescue her. He'd subdued the criminal with a power that rose from the past, from deep inside him, and fiercely held onto Natalie like he'd often dreamed but didn't understand why. Now Monk suddenly felt like he'd been sucker punched. Now his insides ached, and he couldn't tear his eyes from Natalie's. It was like the feelings, dammed for so long, were flowing out of him right into her, like a physical connection, and he couldn't stop looking at her, even when Leland said something else. It seemed she was equally locked onto him. It made Adrian wonder what she was feeling.

"Monk?" Leland repeated with a roar, and it caused Adrian to tear his gaze from Natalie's.

"What?" he asked with annoyance. Annoyed to be roused from those new and unsettling feelings before he could dissect them.

"I said, Randy and I are going home. Do you want me to drop you guys off?"

In as conciliatory a tone as he ever used, Monk replied, "That would be great. Thanks, Leland."

When Monk used his first name, Stottlemeyer looked at him with a raised eyebrow but remained silent. The drive to Natalie's was uneventful. They talked about weekend plans. TK and Leland were going away. Leland mentioned that Randy and Sharona were looking for a house. The pair had been in an apartment since their return to San Fransisco several months earlier. Natalie was silent in the backseat; Monk was silent in the passenger seat. So, Leland was essentially performing a monologue. When Leland stopped the car in Natalie's driveway, Adrian hopped out and opened the door for her. An event heretofore never witnessed by Stottlemeyer or Natalie. Adrian watched as she shrugged at the captain, thanked him, and slid out of the car. Monk closed the door firmly behind her, then he, too, thanked the captain and closed his door before Leland could question him. He hurried up the steps to help Natalie inside.

"Let me open the door, Natalie."


He plucked the keys from her hand. "Here we go," he swung the door wide and allowed her to enter first. He watched as she dropped her belongings on the entry table. He took her jacket and hung it with his in the hall closet. Then he found her sitting on the couch.

"Can I get you some water or tea? Maybe some wine?"

Natalie smiled at him, "No, thank you, I'm good. Sit." She patted the seat next to her on the couch.

He looked at her, and their eyes caught the same way they had earlier in Leland's office. She took his hand in hers, and a tremor went through him.

"Adrian." The sound of his first name on her lips startled him. He blinked twice.


"Thank you." The sincerity was rich in her voice, but he had no idea why she was thanking him.

"What for?"

"Well, for saving my life this morning."

"That was both my pleasure and a necessity. I can't live without you, Natalie." They stared at each other again.

"That was the other thing I wanted to thank you for."


"The look in your eyes just now. It told me something I've wanted to hear for a very long time."

"It did?" he asked, confused.

"It did," she confirmed with a wide smile.

"What did you…what did that look tell you?" He swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, knowing Natalie could always see into him. See through him.

"It told me you had a change of heart."

"I did?" He swallowed again, nodded, and said more firmly, "I did." Natalie smiled.

"Natalie, I suddenly realized that although I love…loved Trudy tremendously, there was a time and a place for that love. That time is over now, and I feel like I'm finally ready to move forward.

It struck me like I'd been poleaxed in Leland's office earlier. There was something about realizing I'd nearly lost you for about the millionth time that made me never want to feel that way again. That made me want to hold you and tell you that I can't ever lose you. I love you. I am in love with you"

Of course, tears threatened for both of them. Despite the horrific start to the day, Natalie hadn't cried at all. She had believed in Adrian. Knew he'd find her. Never gave up hope. Now, however, the tears came and spoke in eloquent ways that words never could. Her tears instigated his, and they both laughed as the tears fell. Adrian drew her into his arms and kissed her tears away, murmuring against her tear-salted cheeks and soft lips the words that had been held back for so long.

"I love you, Adrian, and I have for so long," Natalie whispered back to him. "I always will."

On a day that started horribly, Natalie and Adrian ended it by starting their happily ever after.