PAIRING: Adrian Monk/Natalie Teeger

NOTES: Written for the LJ comm older_not_dead. Prompt: Pink Parka
DISCLAIMER: 'I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.

Natalie was getting ready to leave for the day, she had just finished making Mr. Monk dinner, and there would even be plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. As she approached the front door she doubled checked her purse to make sure she didn't forget anything. Natalie then grabbed her pink parka. It was a not exactly her style but Julie had given it to her as a gift so she wore it. Especially with the cold snap that San Francisco was going through right now.

"Natalie wait let me help you with that," Mr. Monk said hurrying to help her with her jacket. Taking it from her, he held it out and waited for her to slip her arms in.

Natalie stopped and stared at him for a minute, her boss could be a considerate man, when he thought about it. But she usually opened her own doors, pulled out her own chair, and put on her own jacket. Looking closely at her boss she saw Mr. Monk did seem to be a little nervous. He didn't quite make eye contact but he was determinedly holding her jacket out, patiently waiting. Shrugging her shoulders at the mystery, Natalie just decided to go with it.

She turned and slipped first one arm in and then the other. As he settled the jacket on her shoulders, she started to raise her arms to free her hair that was caught under the collar. She stopped when she felt Mr. Monk gently gather her hair in his hands and pulled it free. Now that was strange, he usually didn't touch her unless he had to.

Turning she was about to make a joke about the unusual gallantry he was displaying. The words died in her throat as he stepped forward and gathered up the ends of her jacket. She watched his hands in bewilderment as they fitted the ends of the zipper together, before slowly drawing it upwards. Looking up she met his gaze, there was an intensity in his eyes she usually only saw when he was working a case. No, that wasn't quite right. It was the look he got when he solved the case, when he knew an answer that no one else knew.

When the zipper reached her collarbone he stopped and placed his hands on her shoulders. Then he slowly slid them down her arms till they reached her hands, which he clasped in his own. Natalie wanted to look away because she was sure he was reading in her eyes all she had tried to keep hidden these last couple of years.

"Mr. Monk…," she started to say only to be interrupted.

"Natalie, I would like you to call me Adrian," Mr. Monk said with a twitch of his shoulders.

"But we tried that remember when Sharona was here, it didn't feel right." Natalie reminded him gently, looking away, and desperately looking for a way out of this conversation.

It had felt weird at the time, but it had also been a revelation for her. It had showed her how she was starting to feel towards her boss. Her obsessive compulsive boss, Adrian Monk. The man who was still in love with his wife Trudy and always would be. There was no room in his heart for anyone else, so she kept calling him Mr. Monk. It kept him and the feelings that she had for him at a distance.

She felt his hands tighten slightly on hers. "Natalie I now know why we decided at the time it didn't sound right, because we weren't ready." Mr. Monk said.

It was the emphasis he put on "we" that brought her eyes back to his. "What are you saying?" Natalie asked wanting clarification, unwilling to risk it if she was reading this situation wrong. It may already be to late though as she felt hope spread through her at the thought that her Boss…no Adrian may have feelings for her.

He let go of her hands and nervously straightened a picture in the hall that to her eyes was already perfect. Adrian was better now since solving Trudy's death and finding her daughter Molly. He still had traces of compulsive behavior, and probably always would have. Natalie knew they became more prominent when he was nervous.

"Back then my mind was so full, too full." Adrian said briefly glancing her way while fiddling with a button on his shirt collar, before continuing. "I was trying to solve Trudy's murder, while solving other people's murders. Trying to remember to touch all the light poles, to remember exactly how my routine went everyday, to remember exactly how many steps to take between my front door to the sidewalk. On and on it went when I wasn't thinking of one thing it was another. The chatter in my head was deafening. I had no room for anything else, for anyone else. But these last couple of years since solving Trudy's murder, it hasn't been nearly as bad. I have started to notice things outside of my head and outside of my routines."

Finally he straightened his shoulders and met her eyes once again. Natalie held her breath at the way he was looking at her.

He reached up and caressed the side of her face with the tips of his fingers. "I noticed how lovely you were inside and out. You have taken such good care of me, not just as an employee but as a friend. Then one day I noticed something else, I noticed that you loved me."

Natalie jerked back, shocked that she had unwittingly revealed so much. How had he known, when she barely acknowledge it herself?

"It wasn't anything overt, just little things here and there that caught my attention. After all I am a detective," he said with a little smile. "At first I wasn't sure what to do with that information, so I ignored it, downplayed it, told myself it was the love of a friend. You know me though once I know something, I can't stop thinking about it until I have it labeled and put in its proper place."

Natalie felt herself start to blush at the thought that she had been so transparent.

Adrian saw her embarrassment and hurriedly continued, "I soon stopped trying to downplay it and saw it for what it really was that you were in love with me. That made me stop and think about how I felt for you. I care about you deeply Natalie and I know a relationship with me won't be easy. Honestly I don't even know why you would want try, I am still pretty messed up inside." He turned away and started to pace back and forth.

Natalie felt the biggest smile stretch across her face. Adrian Monk one of the most amazing men she has ever met, wanted to be with her. Maybe he wasn't ready to say the "L" word but she had a feeling he was close. She watched his continue to pace back and forth ranting all the while about why she shouldn't want a relationship with him.

Shaking her head she simply said, "Adrian."

That made him stop pacing a look at her and a soft smile gently graced his face. He came towards her and asked, "Are you sure? I need you to be sure. Like really, really, sure."

"Adrian this is what I have wanted for awhile. It will take some adjusting on both are parts but I think together we can do it." Natalie said, taking a step closer.

"So what do we do now?" Natalie asked a little nervously, feeling a little silly as they stood there grinning at each other like idiots.

"We should have dinner. Together. Right Now." Adrian answered back just as nervously.

"Okay," Natalie laughed. "Let me take off my coat and we can eat."

"Allow me," Adrian stepped forward, only this time with a small smile on his face catching hold of the zipper and slowly pulling it downward. He helped her slip out of the coat and hang it up. Then he took her by the hand and slowly led her to the dining room.

The End.