Man, you guys...I'm so sorry for the long delay for this chapter! Finals have straight up descended on my part of the world and I've been crazy busy lately! But, all that aside, I happily present to you the next (final) chapter! Thank you all so much for reading my story, I'm so happy you guys liked it! Thanks! :D
Monroe is jostled awake shortly after 6 am by a news broadcast breaking over the television. He sits up slowly, wincing at the God-awful crick in his neck, and turns his attention to news story scrolling across the screen. The footage is dark and a little bit blurry but Monroe can see flames against the dark background and they're high and bright as the camera catches the inferno. The newscaster is speaking in the background and the words are scrolling across the bottom of the screen in subtitles but Monroe isn't really paying attention to that. He recognizes that building, the parking lot, and it all comes back to him at once. The circus is ablaze.
Flames have completely engulfed the warehouse Nick was being held in and thick, black smoke was pouring from the doors of the other building and it wouldn't be long before that one was up in flames as well. The footage is a bit shaky, probably taken from someone's cell phone, and the parking lots surrounding the buildings are filled with people fleeing the flames. Several fire trucks and ambulances can be seen in the background and hoses are being set on each of the burning buildings but the torrents of water don't seem to be doing much good. The reporter is still speaking and the death toll is currently up to twelve and the number of injuries is much more numerous than that. She says the fire looked as though it had been set intentionally but there was no way to determine that until the fires were under control. Monroe feels a cold shiver work its way down his spine as he thinks back to the look in the police captain's eye right before he left. That man had wanted blood and apparently he got it.
Monroe looks around suddenly, realizing for the first time that the kids are nowhere in the room. He's on his feet before he realizes it, swaying slightly at the sudden change in gravity, and makes his way to the door. He sees them across the lobby, standing in line in the cafeteria to get coffee, and lets out a sigh of relief. These past couple of days have been so crazy he doesn't really want to let them out of his sight until he's sure its completely safe and with the carnage scrolling across the screen at the circus he definitely doesn't want them around the police captain if he can help it. He finds the remote on a nearby table and changes the channel just as the kids start back toward the waiting room. He wants to avoid that kind of exposure if at all possible.
The kids return with their coffee and they all sit in comfortable silence as the morning slowly breaks outside. A few nurses and doctors filter in through the sliding doors outside the waiting room and a few other people who are obviously patients come wandering in after that. The hospital is beginning to look a little more alive than it had the night before and Monroe is a bit grateful for that; the silence and stillness when they had brought Nick in a few hours ago had felt uncomfortably similar to a morgue. He doesn't see Hank or Wu and figures they had been sent back to Portland already seeing as how they couldn't really hold down the precinct if all the officers were here. Monroe is relieved at that as well, it saves him some explaining with Hank.
Shortly after 8:30 he sees the police captain enter the hospital and nod in his direction to indicate he wants to speak with him. Monroe manages to hide the shudder before he stands up and walks out of the waiting room, ignoring the confused looks Barry and Roddy toss his way as he passes. He leaves them in the waiting room, once again trying to keep them as far away from the other man as possible, and approaches the captain.
The man is standing impassively, expression carefully neutral, and if Monroe didn't know any better he could have sworn the man was a wax statue. "How's Nick?" He asks as Monroe approaches, causing the blutbad to jump internally.
He shrugs one shoulder in what he hopes comes off as a nonchalant gesture. "Good, I think. He was sleeping the last time I stopped by his room."
The captain nods just enough to prove that he understands and glances back toward the door. "I need to get back to my office and file a few reports." The statement is purposefully vague and Monroe tries to ignore the fact that he can smell gasoline and soot on the other man's clothes, not matter how faint it may be. "Make sure Nick gets home safely." Its not a favor, it's a command, and all Monroe can do is nod mutely. The captain gives him a quick smile, one laced with finality and secrets, and walks back toward the door, disappearing outside once again.
Monroe stands silently for several minutes until he can feel a presence approach him from behind. Barry is standing behind his shoulder, looking out into the parking lot like Monroe is. "What was that all about?"
Monroe just shakes his head and turns to look back at him. "Nothing. Let's go check on Nick."
He lets the kids go in first and they're all trying to talk at once without overloading Nick with questions and information. Holly is sitting on the foot of Nick's bed, literally bubbling with energy, and Barry and Roddy are standing on either side of the bed. They're surrounding him protectively even now and Monroe is pretty sure they don't even realize it. All of them are telling him about how they tracked him down to the circus, how they rescued him from the cage, and Nick is just sitting there smiling, looking like he's only about half awake and could still topple over any second.
Monroe watches them from the doorway, smiling slightly as the kids poke and prod and question out of concern. He knows they're relieved, he is too, but he doubts Nick knew just how much they all went through to find him. Its not something he ever wants to experience again, that's for sure.
Juliette approaches him from behind and stands beside him, smiling tiredly at the kids in the room. She looks exhausted, just like the rest of them, but she looks happy too. "They really care about him, huh?"
Monroe nods slowly. "We all do."
Juliette smiles again and reaches out to squeeze his hand. "I know. I'm glad you guys are here."
Monroe squeezes back and returns her smile. "Wouldn't dream of being anywhere else."
Nick spends another full day in the hospital before the doctors determine its safe for him to go home. The kids had been sent home the night before, complaining and reluctant to leave with each step. Monroe had insisted though, the last thing he needed was the kids parents breathing down the back of his neck and accusing him of kidnapping their children. He promised them he would call the minute they got Nick home and some of the reluctance dissipated. Now it was just he and Juliette left in the hospital and they would be responsible for getting Nick home safely.
The doctors give a list of medications to Juliette, telling her what each one is for and how often Nick should be given each dose. They recommend a few follow up checkups over the next couple of weeks just to make sure everything is healing properly and give her a few phone numbers to call in case she has any questions. While she's busy with that, Monroe takes it upon himself to help Nick get semi-dressed and ready to leave.
The bruises are still dark and vivid against his skin and he's still much too pale for Monroe's liking but he definitely looks better than he did. As carefully as he can, Monroe trades the stiff hospital gown for a soft, well worn t-shirt and sleep pants that won't jostle Nick's injuries too much. He pays particular attention to the thick bandages wrapped around Nick's torso, covering the deep gash in his side. The cotton of the t-shirt drags just a bit over the top of the bandages and Nick almost manages to hide the wince that crosses his features. Almost.
"You okay?" Monroe asks, noticing the slight stiffening of the younger man's muscles as the wound is agitated.
Nick nods a bit stiffly and tries to laugh. "Yeah, just sore…all this padding, you'd think I was about to break…"
"Well, you kinda did break for a while," Monroe tells him, standing up straight when he finishes with Nick's shirt.
"Yeah," Nick says with a slight nodding, looking at the floor for a second. "I-uh...I wanted to thank you…you know, for saving me. I know you probably didn't want to at first but-"
"Dude, stop, alright?" Monroe says, cutting him off before he can continue. He drops down to his knees so he's eyelevel with Nick and forces him to look at him. "There was never a time I thought about not looking for you. No matter what happened between us before, there was no chance in hell I was going to leave you to fend for yourself. Yeah, I was pissed for a while but it was for a stupid reason and I shouldn't have taken it out on you. You drive me absolutely crazy, you're probably one of the most stubborn, hard-headed people I've ever met in my life, and you're also one of the best friends I've ever had. Nothing is going to change that, not now, not ever. Got it?"
Nick smiles faintly, his skin turning a light pink color as he blushes a bit beneath the bruises. "Sure you don't mind being friends with a Grimm?" He asks after a second teasingly.
Monroe smirks and shakes his head. "My family thinks I'm weird enough already, might as well give them another reason to question my sanity."
Nick laughs at this and winces almost instantly. His hand grips the bed sheets tightly and Monroe reaches out to cover his hand with his own, offering the strength that Nick doesn't have at the moment. A few seconds pass before the pain fades and Nick lets out a shaky breath, releasing his death grip on the sheets. "Thanks," he breathes after a second once the last wave of pain has passed.
Monroe just smiles. "Anytime."
A nurse enters the room a few minutes later with a wheelchair and Juliette is standing by the door. Between Monroe and the nurse, Nick manages to stand up and settle down into the wheelchair, sitting still while the nurse gathers what little items Nick had left on the bed. She turns around and walks back, taking hold of the chair and turning it toward the door. Monroe steps out, meeting Juliette in the hall, and they wait as the nurse rolls Nick out into the hallway. Monroe smiles a bit at the younger man and walks in stride with the nurse. "Let's go home, Nick."
Thanks again for reading guys! I hope you all liked it! :D