Okay, was trying to do some of my other stuff first but things have been, yet again, crazy. So since I had this done a while ago, I decided to go ahead and update MBF and save my other stuff for later. Also, long chapter. Couldn't figure where to cut it. Hope you like!
Monroe slept on the couch at Rosalee's place that night, lulled by sleep by the buzz of the wine and the strange light feeling he got from accepting that yes, he was falling (or had fallen) for the resident Grimm of Portland. It made sense, he spent so much time with the guy. Lived with him technically, even if the other man didn't realize it. He and Nick spent their occasional off days relaxing on the couch, watching TV in companionable silence due mostly to being a "dog". But even when they had nothing to say he enjoyed the Grimm's company. The times he was himself they got along well too. Nick appreciated his knowledge and help, took Monroe's sarcasm in stride and even seemed to enjoy it, looked out for him as well as others… Hard not to be attracted to the guy. But understanding and accepting it didn't make it any better. It made it somehow worse actually, knowing he would never be able to act on the feelings.
Sleep was difficult to say the least but he finally managed to get his mind to relax after killing the rest of the wine bottle when Rosalee went to bed.
Waking up, he had the tiniest of hangovers that really just felt like a tension headache and disappeared after a cup of coffee. He then drove Rosalee back to the shop so she could finish up inventory and start getting it ready to sell.
"You think you'll tell him?" she asked as she looked over several jars of various herbs and spices.
"Tell who what?"
She gave him a knowing smirk. "The Grimm. That you like him. Like him like him. A lot."
Monroe blushed and pouted at her. "Are you in elementary school?"
"No. If I was, I'd be saying "Monroe and Nick, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G—"
"Stop that!" he snapped, blushing.
"Aww, your so cute, blushing like that," she grinned. "But seriously. You're already the first wesen I've heard of to team up with a Grimm, think you'll push to be the first to seduce one?"
The pout came back and he sighed, putting a few other jars away. "No…"
"Why not? He doesn't seem…bad, like you say. And you're a wieder, so-"
"He has a girlfriend for one thing." Rosalee's mouth snapped shut with a grimace, not having known that. "He's likely not even in to guys for another. Not that I usually was either. You would be more my type usually to be honest…but first time for everything. Also, the whole Grimm/Blutbad thing is probably a problem. On the off chance he ever agreed and didn't have a girlfriend just think of all the other problems. Other wessen would be pretty freaked out on principle, if my family ever found out they may go on a rampage, and if other Grimms found out…bad times, man. And let's not forget the fact he thinks I'm a dog most of the time."
"Then why don't you tell him you're not a dog?"
Monroe put the box with others and sighed again, turning to look at her with a somewhat miserable look. "I want to, but…what if he hates me for it?"
"I've been basically lying to him for months. I've invaded his privacy in a way…he might think I'm a spy or something."
Rosalee frowned and went over to pat his arm. "You also saved his life, several times, which wouldn't have happened if you weren't there as a dog. Plus, you don't make a very good spy considering all you do."
"You think he might see it that way?" he asked hopefully.
"If he's as compassionate and open minded as you say."
Monroe nodded slowly. "I guess…it could be worth it, if just so I can stop changing back and forth."
"I think you should let him help you with whatever got you running too."
"That's not a good idea," Monroe said quickly, tensing again.
"If it's a group of Blutbads, He might be able to at least intimidate them-"
"It's not blutbads," he said, gulping. "It's…valravens."
Rosalee sucked in a breath before gaping. "You…got on the bad side of a group of valravens?!" she whispered harshly.
"Yeah…it was ten years ago though! I was barely out of my teens and still pretty wild. I can blame a lot of it on the crowd I was hanging around with. I was never comfortable with some of the things we did and I always had different interests, but I wasn't an alpha. I was too scared to go and do my own thing. But then I went with a group over to England and…I did something stupid. Something…I do really regret and it happened to get me on the bad side of one Bennigan Gelson and his unkindness of valravens. I managed to get away, but I knew I never wanted to risk that happening again. It's what got me finally converting to the wieder way because I didn't want to be that person anymore. I'd considered it before then, but this is what pushed me over the edge."
Rosalee was quiet for a bit before putting a hand on his shoulder. "What about the rest of this group? The one you were with?"
"They started it but I finished it. Mob, or rather pack mentality. I was left holding the bag and I don't blame them. Benny blames me and he has every right to, even if I didn't want to do what I did. I hate going into blood rages or hunting mode, I can never…control myself. And when I come to…" he shuddered.
"What did you do, Monroe?" she asked quietly.
They both jumped when there was a knock at the door, but relaxed when one of the police officers walked in. Monroe thought he remembered Nick talking about him, Officer Wu he thought his name was.
"Hey Miss Calvert," he said. "Just coming to check up on you…Everything okay?"
"Yeah," she said, frowning a bit as she looked the officer over. Monroe looked closer as well, noting he was rather sweaty and breathing hard. "Are you alright, Officer?"
"Yeah, just…kind of…" he reeled and suddenly fell on the floor. Both wessen cursed and ran for him.
"Is he okay?" Rosalee asked.
"Probably just overworked or sick." The words died in his mouth as he watched boils and blisters rise on his skin in rapid succession. "Or maybe not…I'm calling Nick." He quickly ran for his phone and dialed the detective.
Wu was in bad shape, but luckily Rosalee had seen something like this when she was teenager and her father had treated it successfully. The cure was about as bad as the curse it seemed, with the officer freaking out on them with horrible visions. The fuchsbau eventually put a cloth over his eyes to help keep him calm until he fell into a deep sleep and the welts finally deflated into just slightly scared skin that would clear up later. Rosalee was fairly confident they had treated him successfully as they delivered him back home to sleep for a few hours.
"You sure he'll be okay?" Nick asked, helping to set Wu on his couch.
"Nothing is certain, but he won't die now."
"Not dying is pretty okay," Monroe said. "Good job by the way treating him. You're a natural." He grinned and Rosalee smiled a bit. They didn't notice Nick looking between them till he got their attention.
"What could've caused this?"
"It's a curse," she said. "Zaubertank 23. If it's given to the right person, usually in food, it's supposed to create a deep emotional infatuation. The wrong person has an…allergic reaction."
"One hell of an allergy," Monroe muttered.
"Could the break in have anything to do with this?" Nick asked.
"No. The men who came in yesterday were looking for J, I heard them, and only an experienced potion maker would be able to make Zaubertank 23. I have no idea who could have gotten the ingredients for it I'm afraid…"
"Great," Nick muttered.
"But I might have an idea on the guys that broke into the shop."
"You do?" both men asked.
"Yeah. We fine a Trauminsel."
"A what?" Nick asked in confusion.
"An island of dreams?" Monroe clarified.
"Yes. It's where people get together to smoke J."
"Okay...If it's like human drug rings though it's not easy to find I'm thinking," the detective said.
"Yeah. You need an invitation. And…I know who to talk to." Both men were quiet and she shifted under their surprised gazes. "I was addicted for seven years. Its part of why I moved to Seattle, the trade there is tightly enforced. It's where a lot recovering addicts go."
"I see…" Nick said, nodding but not looking judgmental in the least. "Alright, you get the invitations. Get two. Monroe and I will go in."
"But I'm the one that got a look at them," she argued.
"You identified them at the station, I have their pictures on me."
"I'm with Nick on this one," he said. "He's a cop and a grimm, and I'm…well, I can handle myself."
"They've seen you too, so if they catch a glimpse they'll know something's up," the Grimm also reminded her.
The fuchsbau didn't look happy but finally nodded. "Alright. We'll need to head to the otherside of town though."
After a drive they let Rosalee out and drove another block around so they wouldn't tip them off. They watched as she talked to someone in a car and Monroe tapped the arm of the passenger side door agitatedly as he watched.
"She's doing fine," Nick said. "She would signal us if there was a problem."
"I know, but I don't like her talking to this guy…"
"…You're feeling pretty protective of her."
Monroe glanced at him then back towards Rosalee. "She's a great woman. I guess we hit it off."
"Yeah…" he said, and Monroe looked over to him again.
"No, of course not…"
"You sure? You sound-"
"I think she's got them," he interrupted, watching her walk away. "We better go meet her." He put the car in reverse and skillfully maneuvered it back around to the other street corner where Rosalee now waited. She showed them the invitations, which didn't look inviting at all in Monroe's opinion with those freaky glaring red clouds on them. They drove to the address and made sure Rosalee was secure in the car before heading into the abandoned warehouse.
The first thing that hit Monroe's sensitive Blutbad nose was the faint smell of smoke and spices. Red tents lit from the inside were set up to keep the precious J fumes among their burners, making the place look like a hellish circus, but the thin fabric didn't stop the residual smells milling about. Luckily the second hand smoke was too weak to cause any hallucinations or get them addicted.
"I'll go this way," Nick said. "You go that way."
"Should we really split up?" Monroe asked, catching his arm. "That's usually when bad stuff happens in the movies."
Nick smiled. "Luckily this isn't a movie. I'll call if I need you, just be careful."
"That's my line…" The separated and Monroe stalked through the isles between tents, glancing thorugh the gauzy material or pulling it back enough to see who was inside. The many people lounging on their sides among pillows, gazing back with glazed eyes and lucid smiles didn't resemble the pictures Nick had showed him or smell like the scents he'd picked up at the shop.
A gun shot rang through the warehouse and Monroe felt his heart clench. "Nick!" he yelled, just as everyone began screaming and running for the exit. He fought against the surge but was pushed out into the street. He moved to go back inside, yelling for Nick as more gunshots were heard. As he did though he noticed one of the perps looking around in confusion. "Hey, you!" Genius, Monroe, real genius.
The thug turned to him and as Monroe advanced, pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. Shit! He held up his hands, uncertain what to do. He was fast, but not faster than a speeding bullet or made of steel.
Before he had to think too much about what to do, Rosalee clocked him over the head with a brick. Monroe watched the thug go down and blinked at her before smirking. "Now why couldn't I fall for a nice girl like you?"
Rosalee smirked, tossing the brick aside. "I think you'd find me boring after a while, Grimm lover. Speaking of which, where is he?"
Monroe's eyes widened and he rushed back inside now that the crowd of drug users had scattered. Nick was inside, cuffing a very battered looking thug. He looked up as Monroe rushed over. "Monroe, you oka-"
"Are you hurt?!" Monroe asked urgently, quickly taking his face in his hands and looking him over.
Nick blinked in surprise before shaking his head, the hands following. "I'm alright. He shot at me but I was able to disarm him when he emptied his clip and get him down. He couldn't aim well lucky for me."
Monroe sighed, dropping his hands to the cop's shoulders. "Good…I thought I had a heart attack when I heard that first shot..."
The other man smiled, finishing securing the young man and hauling him up with a grunt. "Glad to know you care, Monroe."
"Of course I damn well care!" he snapped, eyes going red a moment. "I wouldn't be doing this crazy shit for you if I didn't!"
Nick stared in shock before nodding slowly. "I get it-"
"I don't think you do!" he growled.
"I do," he said more firmly. "I get it, Monroe, I know I'd be pretty lost without you. Thank you. Really, I know I can't say it enough or repay you for all you do, but thank you."
Monroe blushed, feeling the anger subside as he breathed in. "You're welcome. Um, we have the other guy outside. Rosalee knocked him out with a brick."
"Seriously?" Nick asked, frogmarching the other guy towards the door.
"Yep. Saved my life, he was sort of pointing a gun at me at the time."
"He what?" Nick asked, stopping and staring in shock and horror.
"Hey, I'm fine too. Like I said, Rosalee saved me.
"Yeah…that's good, she…I'll have to thank her somehow."
"You and me both. Flowers don't quite seem like enough…"
In the end, both thugs were booked at the police station following being "found" by detective Burkhardt. Their stories wouldn't quite match the detective's, but then again they weren't exactly known for telling the truth and no other witnesses would come forward since of course they'd been in a drug den. After that Monroe returned with Rosalee to her brother's home and they chatted for a bit, making the Blutbad feel a little more civilized, before he changed back to his wolf self. Rosalee then dropped "Theo" off, claiming that Monroe had to go off again.
"Hey there buddy," Nick said, rubbing over his head. "Were you a good boy for Rosalee and Monroe?"
Rosalee hid an amused smile behind her hand and Monroe bumped her thigh with his hip to try and tell her to shut up. "He was wonderful. Very well behaved."
"Monroe was okay too? After last night?" he asked seriously.
The wolf felt his tail wag slightly, somewhat happy that the Grimm was worried. Rosalee smiled. "He was fine. His kind aren't easily shaken, especially by guns."
He nodded. "Yeah. As expected from…what are they called again?"
Rosalee smirked. "He told me not to tell you. You have to figure it out for yourself, detective."
"Damn," Nick laughed. "Well, worth a shot. I guess I shouldn't keep you though if you have to finish things up to head back to Seattle."
"Actually…I've decided to hang around Portland. The shop meant a lot to my family, just closing it down doesn't seem right. So I'm gonna move back and take it over."
Nick grinned more and Monroe's tail waked more. "Great! I'm sure that made Monroe happy…"
"He approved. And if you ever need help, just let me know."
"Really?" Nick asked in surprise.
She shrugged and smiled. "Monroe trusts you and I can see why after what we went through. But I think he more than trusts you…" she said with a mischievous smile.
The tail stopped wagging and Monroe gave a small growl in warning, making Nick look down at him then back at her. "What do you mean?"
"Think on it and observe, Detective Grimm," she said, mock saluting. "I'll see you later." She headed down the porch steps and Nick watched her go.
"That was weird…"
Monroe sighed through his jowls and headed back inside.
There was another week or so of peace after the Island of Dreams incident. And it was putting Monroe on edge. There had been no sign of Benny in weeks and that was not sitting well with him. The man had tracked him down after ten years and journeyed half-way around the world to find him with a large group of followers. Monroe doubted he would just quit and leave, so the questions were where was he and when was he going to strike? It got to the point where in wolf form he would patrol around the house and property to ensure there was no valravens nearby. Nick noticed the agitation and often asked "What's the matter, boy?" a rub over his back. But of course he couldn't tell him and so just tried to relax.
Nick apparently was having his own difficulties, but on the other side of the spectrum from Grimm work. Nick was planning a romantic weekend apparently, showing Theo a brochure for a cabin to rent called Whispering Pines. "I hope she'll like it," Nick said, stroking over Theo's head. "We haven't had much time together lately with work and…stuff. So this will be good." Nick smiled conspiratorially. "And hopefully I'll be able to ask her something rather important." He patted his jacket where Monroe could picture a ring box fitting snuggly.
He felt his ears point down and sighed. Why do I feel disappointed and sad? It's not like I had a chance…
Nick frowned and rubbed over him again. "You okay, Theo?"
Monroe looked up at him, holding his gaze. Nick blinked then narrowed his eyes. "Theo…?"
Huffing, Monroe stood and padded to his bed, flopping down. Don't let it get to you…You can't change this. Unless you steal that ring and bury it-no! This is not some romantic comedy, no trying to break up the happy couple. No matter how tempting…
Nick frowned more but let him go. Juliette came home in the evening and they ordered in dinner, nick making a salad for Monroe.
"I can't wait for tomorrow," Juliette said, picking up some low mein with her chop sticks. She smiled as Nick tried to do the same but kept fumbling them and losing the noodles. "We can drop Theo at the clinic on the way to board him."
Monroe looked up at that, managing to look affronted even as a wolf. Board me?! Are you fucking serious?! Just leave me some pizza money and the remote and I'm fine! I can order online.
Nick swallowed a bite of chicken and broccoli and managed to look slightly sheepish. "Yeah, about that…"
"Yes?" she asked slowly.
"Well, I was thinking it might be nice to…take Theo with us."
Juliet set her chopsticks down, giving him a flat gaze. "Nick, I thought we agreed this was a weekend for us. I barely get to see you nowadays; I'd like to get some time alone."
"Juliet, its Theo. He can go outside, enjoy the woods and stuff. And the cabin is more than big enough for the two of us and our dog."
She sighed slightly. "Nothing. Nick, we agreed we'd board him since it's just for the weekend. That it was just going to be about us."
"Yeah, but he's seemed really…depressed or edgy lately. I don't want to just leave him. I think the fresh air would be good for him. We'll hardly notice he's there, I'm sure."
The red head looked at searchingly for a long time before grunting. "Okay, fine…"
"Yeah, why not," she said, eating again. The tone made it sound like it definitely wasn't okay, but Nick nodded.
Monroe sighed again, wondering if this was really the better option. Monroe knew what romantic weekends were supposed to be about, even if he hadn't one personally in a long time. When Nick had first brought him home he could tell when Juliet and Nick got "romantic", but usually managed to ignore it or go outside. Though now that he thought about it that hadn't happened in some time… No, don't think about that, he warned himself. Not the most pleasant road to go down when dealing with his own broken heart.
The next day bags were loaded into Nick's car and "Theo", in his leash and harness, was given his usual seat in the back. Juiliet was up front and Nick drove for more than an hour out of town into the woods.
And then a little the other way.
Then back the otherway.
Monroe was starting to get dizzy watching the trees go by with his head out the window. "You're lost," Juliet said, fighting a smile.
"No," Nick said. "I'm just…not sure where we turn off."
"Mmmmhmmm. Why don't you stop and ask for directions. Or do I need to make a men asking directions joke?"
Nick smirked back. "Very funny…ah, there's a place. Hold on." He pulled up to a red house settled in the woods. "Wait here, I'll be right back." He got out and headed for the house and Monroe sniffed the air when he caught an odd sense.
Cat…big cat…mountain lion? No, it's different…fuck, a klaustreich! Monroe growled low in his throat, looking at the house. Juliet looked back at him and frowned.
"Theo? What is it?"
Monroe continued growling, trying to figure out how to get out of the car. If the klaustriech realized Nick was a Grimm, he could do some serious damage before Nick could defend himself. After all he wasn't armed. Juliet looked to the house again and frowned, leaning in to look as well. "Who…?" Monroe looked at her then followed her gaze to see a sad looking woman peeking out at them from behind a window. When she noticed them looking she quickly retreated inside. A moment later his sensitive hearing could pick up from inside what sounded like glass breaking and Nick stood straighter as the man yelled inside. It was the same stance he took when he saw wesen transform suddenly. He must be the klaustreich… Without really thinking Monroe barked at him warningly, making the man look at him. He glared and said something to Nick that had the Grimm tensing more before heading back to the car, obviously upset.
"Nothing. We're really close, it's just up the hill there actually," he said, pulling out to head back up the road. "Some drunk took out the sign with his car apparently."
"Nick, what's wrong?" she asked again. "Just tell me."
Nick looked at her and sighed as they headed up. "Just…not the nicest guy I've ever talked to. He said I'd better keep my mutt tied up because if he sees it around his property, he'll shoot him."
Monroe growled slightly and Nick turned to smile at him as he parked. "I know. Tempted to tell you to go give him a present on his lawn but I don't want to risk him being serious."
The wolf gave a wry smile at that.
"Nick," Juliet said, wrinkling her nose.
"Maybe we should've left Theo back home."
"He'll be fine," Nick said. "He's smart, he'll stay away from that guy."
Juliet didn't looked convinced but got her bag and headed in. She smiled as she walked around the elegant cabin, and started getting settled right away. Nick put the dog bed he'd brought near the glass door leading out to the deck and the forest beyond, ruffling Monroe's head as he padded over. "Hopefully you can relax out here too, buddy. You've seemed kind of antsy lately…"
Monroe couldn't stop himself from licking over Nick's cheek, trying not to enjoy his laugh and smile as he wiped his cheek. I got my reasons… Looking out a nearby window, he could see down to the red farmhouse and growled slightly. Doesn't help having a klaustreich nearby. Like I don't have enough of my past haunting me, just smelling that guy is putting my teeth on edge.
Nick rubbed over his back and leaned in to whisper, "I know, buddy. He's a wessen, but we can't go and get him. He hasn't done anything wrong."
That you know of. He sighed, knowing Nick was right. He was remembering his old girlfriend, Molly, from high school was all. She left him for a klaustreich and the bastard had knocked her up. Her parents had gotten the police involved, but he'd just scratched Molly's face enough to scar her forever and ran off. He hadn't gotten far though, since once again this had been Monroe's wilder days. That was one hunt he didn't regret.
When evening rolled around they relaxed in the living room, enjoying a fire in the fireplace and a quiet night. Nick got up to make some drinks for him and Juliet, who relaxed as she walked around a bit to admire the view out the windows. Monroe had been relaxing on a small love seat, when he realized he could hear yelling down the hill. Growling softly he padded over to the window and looked out next to Juliette. Outside the red farm house they watched as the klaustriech roughly pulled the woman from before out of his car and practically dragged her inside. Monroe growled more, pacing now as he tried to calm down and not have flashbacks to Molly and high school. He also tried not to equate himself to a dog trying to chase a cat.
"Nick?" Juliette said. "That guy-he just pulled her inside! He's a Neanderthal! We have to do something."
"Calm down," he said, putting his hands on her shoulders.
"How can I calm down, he might hurt her worse! You're a cop, go do something!"
I'm with her. Go Grimm on his ass.
"Juliette, I can't do that. For one, I don't have any power out here. For another, we're not sure what's going on-"
"I saw him!"
"And I don't doubt you," he said quickly, "but we don't know the whole story. Getting involved could make it worse. I see this a lot Juliette, we've got these procedures in place for a reason." Juliet glowered a bit and Nick finally sighed. "Okay, I can't do anything, but we can call it in to the local sheriff. If this has been reported before he might know what to do."
Juliette nodded. "Okay. Do that, please."
Nick nodded and went to his phone to get the sheriff. Monroe whined quietly, still looking out the window. He watched with Juliette as the sheriff arrived, went in, but then walked back out only a few moments later with no one in tow.
"He didn't arrest him!" Juliette huffed. "Why didn't he arrest him?"
"He might know the whole story," Nick said calmly.
"You were more upset when he threatened Theo," Juliette said accusingly. "Why don't you take this seriously?"
"Juliette, of course I take this seriously. But again, I can't do much and I can't just go up and threaten him when I have no evidence. Unless she comes forward and says she's being abused, there's pretty much nothing I can do since everything else is just heresay."
She glowered more before sighing. "Okay, I understand…but I don't like it." She looked out the window, her brow pinched in worry. "Seems like trouble seems to follow us everywhere…"
Monroe looked at her, then back at Nick, who also looked distressed for a different reason. "Yeah…" he said.
"Are we ever going to talk about that? About that man and…that woman? What happened?"
"I don't know," Nick lied. "I don't know why those things happened."
Monroe huffed a bit and looked at Juliette. She didn't seem convinced but nodded slowly. "Okay…"
That night, Monore slept outside to give the couple some privacy and try not to think about Nick. It was a losing battle he knew, but he had to try. The sooner he could move into his own house again the better he knew, but it was hard to figure out how to do that without coming out (nearly) completely to Nick. So he stayed outside. When he thought he heard the sound of a raven, then a howl in the distance he froze completely, holding his breath. He was trying desperately to keep quiet and still so that he wouldn't be noticed, an old instinct that he couldn't get rid of. When the sound passed with no repeat he got up and began smelling around the area, but nothing came to him that smelled like a threat. My imagination…I'm just freaking myself out. Gotta calm down. With nothing else to do, he ran through what exercises he could do in his current form before settling back down to try and sleep.
In the morning Nick seemed troubled by something as he made breakfast. Monroe whined a bit and brushed against him, making Nick look down and gave a smile as he rubbed over his back. "Hey buddy…don't suppose you have some kind of psychic link with Monroe do you?"
Well, in a manner of speaking…why? He glanced at his phone resting close to the counter and realized Nick likely tried to call him at some point. Shit, didn't think of that! Then again, didn't think a Klaustreich would be out here…what could I do?
He didn't have much time to think on that. Nick promised Juliet a day of shopping and then a romantic dinner, so it was off to town they went. Monroe trailed next to them on the leash, looking around to try and be sure there was no one about to attack them in broad daylight.
The final stop was the grocery store and Nick had to tie Monroe up outside while they headed inside. Monroe had gotten far too used to being treated like a dog and he just sat patiently as he mulled over all the various problems he felt were wearing him down.
He perked on when he scented cat on the air and tried not to growl as he watched the klaustreich and the woman from the window walk into the store. The klaustreich noticed him and sneered but kept going inside. That guy gives me a bad feeling…He watched the woman though and didn't feel the same. She was so timid, so anxious as she looked around, he somehow felt more worried for her than of her. He had a feeling Juliette was right about there being a big problem there.
He was surprised when Nick headed back out, quickly dialing on his phone and holding it to his ear. "C'mon, c'mon…Monroe, where are you?"
Closer than you think. Monroe whined and bumped against him, getting his attention. He motioned for the phone and Nick stared at him like he was crazy before kneeling next to him. Nosing the phone, he concentrated on how to do this. "…Ro!"
Nick started at the sudden bark and stared at him more. "What?"
"Ro! Ro ro!" He kept trying, ignoring some odd looks from people passing by.
"Ro…? Monroe?" he asked hopefully.
He whined and pawed at the phone again, trying to whine out words like he'd seen dogs do on the internet. "Roree!"
"Ro…Rosalee!" he gasped.
He barked happily. Thank god, I can't form hard consonants like this.
Nick laughed and ruffled over his face. "Good idea! Geez, your so smart it's scary. If you could talk it would definitely make things easier."
Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.
Nick quickly sat on the bench next to him and dialed Rosalee's number instead.
"Spices and Teas, Rosalee speaking."
"Rosalee, its Nick. Um, hope I'm not bothering you…"
"No, I'm just working on inventory again. Aren't you like out in the woods though?"
"Yeah, but I've run into some…thing."
"Yeah. Um, the other day when we came down, I found out there's a wessen next to us I haven't seen before. A cat, but not like a wild cat, more like a…"
"An angry alley cat?" she supplied.
"Sounds like a klaustreich. Typically not the most peaceful wessen, they tend to be rather territorial, violent and greedy. At least that's my experience. Friend of mine dated one in high school, he was a total ass. When she dumped him and got with another guy, he tried to jump him and claw his face off."
"Yeesh…" Nick muttered.
"Yeah. I'd just stay away from him if I were you."
"He's kind of a close neighbor unfortunately…but there's something else. His wife isn't a…"
"Yeah, that. She's something else, a bird it looks like. With like bright yellow feathers-"
Forgetting he was a wolf for a moment, Monroe yelped in shock. Are you kidding?! That sounds like a Seltenvogel!
Nick jumped and looked at him in surprise. Rosalee chimed in as well. "Really? You're sure?"
"Nick, that sounds like a Seltenvogel. They are extremely rare, thought to have died out years ago!"
"Because they have this unique ability. They produce a golden "egg" of sorts."
"A what?" he asked, straightening.
"Just a sec, I have a book around here somewhere…" They could hear the sound of things being shifted around on the other side before she gave a triumphant "aha!" There was then the sound of flipping pages. "Found it. It's called an Unbezahlbar."
"Bless you," Nick said.
"Haha. But really, it's a golden nugget the size of an egg that grows in their throat once every few years."
Monroe whined again. Dude, if she's with a Klaustreich, he's probably going kill her to get that thing!
"What's wrong Theo?"
"Theo's with you?" Rosalee blurted out.
"Yeah, I didn't want to leave him alone."
"Good for you," Rosalee chuckled. "But in all seriousness, I think he's worried for the Seltenvogel. It's possible this klaustreich is cultivating the unbezahlbar in her, and if it's not removed carefully it could kill her. Likewise if it's left in it could kill her." Nick was quiet, thinking that over with a worried look. "Nick, you have to protect her. She could be the last of her kind," she pleaded, sounding worried as well now.
"Yeah…I'll do my best, I promise."
"Thanks. Good luck."
"Thanks. Oh, wait, do you know where Monroe is?" he asked quickly. "I tried to call him last night but I couldn't get ahold of him. I tried this morning too."
"Um…no, sorry, haven't heard from him since midweek. Sorry."
"Okay," Nick said, trying not to sound too disappointed. "Thanks again."
"No problem. See you later."
"See you." He clicked his phone off and sighed, looking worried. "Where are you…"
Monroe whined and licked his hand and Nick rubbed over his back.
Once they were back at the cabin, Nick made Monroe a small casserole of roasted vegetables and whole-wheat noodles, making the blutbad smile a wolf-like smile.
"You know, I'm starting to think you like him more than me," Juliet said as she watched him start to eat.
Nick looked at her and arched his eyebrows. "Am I turning into one of those dog owners that spoils their dogs?"
"Yes you are."
"I thought you'd find that cute," he pouted.
"Usually, yes…" she said hesitantly.
Nick frowned a bit more seriously. "But not with me?"
She frowned, looking awkward. "No…I just…I don't know. Ever since we took Theo in, something has felt…off."
Monroe paused and glanced up at Nick. The Grimm winced, glancing down at him as well. "Um…well…it's been a hectic few months. Theo, Marie, a big case load and…everything."
"I know…but I just feel like there's more to it than that. I also feel like there's…there's something off with him, Nick. He's not a normal dog. And I'm not saying he's a bad dog, but…there's just something I can't put my finger on. Something has felt wrong, and it started when we took him in."
Nick frowned. "Are you saying you want to get rid of him?"
Monroe whined slightly, trying not to feel too worried.
"No, but…" She sighed. "Look, let's not get into this right now. I don't want to bring us down when we're supposed to be on a romantic weekend…"
Juliette turned to look out the window again and straightened. "Nick, look. It's her." Monroe looked up as well and quickly walked over to watch as the Seltenvogel woman got out of her house and ran for the woods. "Nick, I don't know what you said but it looks like she's running. She's obviously scared. Can you please go and make sure she's alright?"
Nick looked at her and then nods. "Alright, but you stay here."
"Stay here," he said again, quickly going to get his gun. "I'll go and try to bring her back, but we don't know if her husband is dangerous or if she'll come back this way."
"…Okay, fine. But take Theo with you."
Like you gotta bring it up! Monroe thought, rushing to the door before Nick was there. Nick smiled and headed out with him and towards the woods.
Monroe took point as they headed down the hill towards the woods, his nose to the ground as he searched for a woman's scent. Finding it, he woofed softly to Nick and led him through the woods along her path. It took a bit, her trail winding here and there (likely to throw off the klaustreich) but finally they came out near the road. Monroe whined when he couldn't pick up her trail for a moment, pacing back and forth.
"Maybe she got in a car," Nick murmured.
Monroe whined again, lifting his head to scent the air instead and stilled when a familiar scent invaded his senses. He growled softly and headed back towards the edge of road, then further in till he found a truck covered in branches and leaves. Nick frowned, seeing it as well, and started moving the branches aside. Looking in, he recoiled with a grimace at what was inside. Monroe hopped up to peer inside and see a man with his face shredded lying across the front seats, more clawmarks over his body. Shit…definitely klaustreich.
Nick pulled his phone out and quickly called the sheriff again while Monroe scented the car. He found the Seltenvogel's scent again and barked to get Nick's attention. He turned in circles a bit before turning to move back towards the red farmhouse. Nick was quick on the uptake and likely knew before he did what must've happened but followed quickly, both of them soon running. As they approached Monroe could hear sound coming from the back shack and quickly went to it. Inside he could see the Seltenvogel strapped to what he could only think was some sort of torture device, the klaustreich over her and stroking over a large bulge in her throat. Monroe growled viciously, letting his eyes go red as he felt his hackles rise and his body tense for attack. The cat creature tensed and backed away slightly, growling back.
Nick rushed in as well, gun drawn as he took in the scene. "Let her go," he said warningly.
The klaustreich glared at him before morphing and hissing at him.
"Yeah, klaustreich. I know."
He morphed back in surprise. "Grimm…"
"Yep. Now I'll say it again, let her go. Or me and my friend here are going to make things very painful for you."
The man looked between them before suddenly throwing the switch into high gear and running for the door. The horrible squelching sound of some sort of puree being forced through a tube and into the woman's mouth intensified and sent shivers down Monroe's spine. She screamed as best she could through the sound, struggling.
"Theo, get him!" Nick shouted, rushing for the machine. With a round of vicious barks Monroe rushed after the klaustreich before he can get too far. Tackling him to the ground, he grabbed him around the neck and held him there, growling low.
"Okay, okay, I'm not moving!"
He didn't let go until he heard Nick's footsteps. "Good boy. Let him go, I've got her, we'll take her back to the cabin."
Monroe growled again, digging his teeth in more and making the klaustreich yelp.
"Theo, no! Let him go, we aren't going to kill him."
With one last whining growl he released the man and turned to follow Nick and a very skittish looking woman back up to their own cabin. She looked at Monroe warily but Nick kept a steadying arm around her as the headed up. "Don't worry. Theo is just protective, and he'll protect you."
She looked at him again, as they made it to the door, Juliet opening it and quickly ushering them in. "Are you alright, Robin?" she asked.
"Y-yeah…this is your boyfriend, huh?"
"Yeah. I told you he could help."
Nick blinked as he watched the girls talk and Juliette help her to a chair. He looked at Monroe as if he could explain it and the wolf just gave him a flat look. Women. They're all in it together.
Nick shrugs it off as well and goes to sit with Robin while Juliette rushed to get her some water. Her throat was creaky and raw sounding when she spoke, but she was still on guard, her hand clutching the scarf around her neck. "Why are you helping me? You're a Grimm, aren't you?"
He glanced towards the kitchen before whispering back. "Lets not talk about that right now. But I promise, I'm here to help you. I have no desire to hurt you or see you hurt. And you don't have to worry, I've called the sheriff and he's on his way down."
Robin turned even paler and crumbled slightly into herself. "No, no no no…"
"What's wrong?" Juliette asked, coming back in with the water.
"Sheriff Munson is Tim's cousin!" she gasped as if nearing a panic attack. "He's a klaustreich too! He's been helping him!"
Juliette and Nick both gaped, though Juliette was sure to be confused more soon, and Monroe groaned. Seriously? Shit! Two klaustreichs! Hearing the sound of a car he ran to the window and yelped for Nick's attention when he saw the sheriff had pulled up. Tim met him outside and they talked quickly before turning and heading up towards the cabin on the hill. Robin jumped at the bark but then stood.
"They're coming!" Looking around desperately she dashed for the back door, Nick and Juliette yelling after her.
"I'll go after her, you stay here, lock the door and stay safe."
"You don't have to worry about me," she said, going to her purse and pulling her own gun out.
Red came prepared Monroe thought before rushing in front of Nick as they headed out into the woods to find Robin.
They didn't have to go too deep fortunately, as she seemed to have collapsed. Nick rushed over and helped her to sit up. "What is it, what's wrong?" The woman gasped for air, trying to claw at the scarf around her neck before Nick pulled it down and recoiled slightly. Monroe recoiled as well when he saw the large egg-like bulge stretching her skin to disturbing lengths over her windpipe.
"Take it out," she pleaded, her voice raspy and pained. "Please, take it out!"
"I-I don't know how!" He breathed deep, trying to calm down, before quickly propping her up against a tree. "Just hold on!" He grabbed his phone out of his pocket and quickly dialed. Monroe was relieved when he heard Rosalee's voice on the other end as Nick quickly explained what was going on. He then hit the FaceTime button so he could show her what was going on.
"Oh my…Nick, you have to get that out of her now."
"I figured," he said. "But how do I do that?!"
"Just a sec, I have the book right here…Okay, got it. Do you have something you can cut with?"
"Uh, pocket knife."
"That'll do. Now listen, you have to cut exactly over where the skin is stretched tightest. Then you should be able to reach in and just pop the unbezahlbar off."
"Reach in?" Nick asked, trying not to sound too freaked out.
"Nick, you have to do this right. If you cut anywhere but where it's stretched tightest, you could cut something vital, and if you pull at the wrong place it could break and you could damage her larynx. It's much more fragile than you might think."
"Right, got it…no pressure." He breathed deep and began work. Monroe watched, unable to look away, as he sliced through the thin layer of skin and gently parting it to push his fingers inside. Monroe held his breath along with Nick and they both released it at the same time as the gold nugget indeed popped off and was retracted from its womb. "I got it!"
"Yes!" Rosalee said, dancing a little on the other end. Monroe gave a bark and licked over Nick's face to congratulate him and in appreciation. He laughed and hugged him, rubbing over his back. "How's the seltenvogel?" the fuchsbau asked quickly.
Both blutbad and Grimm looked at Robin, who's throat was already mostly healed, and breathed out in relief when she smiled. "I think she's going to be okay."
"Great. Get her somewhere safe, I'll expect an update later."
"Will do. Thanks so much, Rosalee."
"Glad I could help."
Nick clicked the phone off and smiled at Robin before offering the nugget in his hand to her. "I believe this belongs to you."
The woman looked at him in surprise, then down at the golden egg. "I…you don't want it?"
Nick smiled. "It's not mine, I didn't do much aside from get it out of you, you had to go through a lot more to make it."
Monroe felt a further feeling of warmth and admiration for the Grimm. Robin looked at the egg again. "I…just want to get out of here. I don't want to see that thing again." Nick nodded quietly and helped her to stand when she was ready. As they did Monroe heard a twig snap and turned quickly, growling fiercely and low and ready to strike.
"Call of your dog, Grimm," Tim said, coming out from the trees with a shot gun pointed at Monroe. "Or I'll blow his brains all over the trees."
Nick glared, trying to keep Robin behind him as the Sheriff also came out with a gun ready. "Theo, stay." Monroe growled again but stayed close to Nick.
"We just want the stone," the sheriff said. "We'll cut you in for a percent if you hand it over."
Nick glared, looking at the stone and then glancing back at Robin. "You want it? Catch!" He suddenly tossed it up into the air and rushed the sheriff, knocking him to the ground. Tim meanwhile scrambled to get the unbezahlbar. Everyone froze for a moment however when a shot rang out. Juliet stood, gun pointed in the air, before focusing it on Munson. "Don't move!" she shouted.
Wow…don't want to get on her bad side.
Nick smiled and quickly got Munson subdued with his own handcuffs. Tim however found his courage and the gold chunk as he took off running through the woods again. With a bark Monroe took off after him. "Watch him!" Nick said to Juliette as he quickly followed.
Monroe howled as he chased down the klaustreich, feeling some satisfaction at the scent of panic and the fear in his eyes when he glanced back. Then, in a twist that had nothing to do with him, Tim tripped over a tree root. The unbezahlbar went flying into the air, struck a tree branch above their heads and burst into a shower of golden flecks and dust. Tim gaped before trying to search through the dead leaves and mud for what was left of the nugget. Monroe stepped in front of him and bared his teeth when he looked up. Nick, who had seen the whole thing, smiled as he walked up with another pair of handcuffs.
"Well, you know what they say. To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs."
Monroe stopped growling and groaned, hanging his head. Oh dude…that line was painful… Breathing in to sigh, he froze when a scent he knew invaded his nose. No…shit! He took off running from Nick, rushing back towards the where they left Juliet and Robin.
Monroe didn't listen, following the smell until he found the source. It was hard to see in the moonlight above leaking through the tree branches, but he could see the dark massive shape before him. About the same size as his wolf form, but the closer he got the more he could see black feathers mingled with black fur. A wolf-like muzzle turned towards him, red eyes staring at him. The muzzle opened and barked at him, but the bark sounded like a cross between a wolf and a raven's call. Just on the other side of some trees he could see Juliette and Robin standing together over the still prone sheriff, Robin holding his gun rather timidly but still a threat.
The valraven-it wasn't Benny, too small and too light colored- seemed to grin at him, then looked towards the girls. Monroe growled a warning but it didn't do anything to stop as he crouched and then leapt with super height and speed towards Juliet. The red head looked up for a moment in confusion, unable to react to the surprise attack. With his jaws snapping and loud barks, Monroe shot out after him and knocked him out of the air mere inches from her. If anything happened to her, Nick would never forgive himself and Monroe didn't want to see him mourn her. He loved Nick and if he ever thought it was possible and she was gone he…well, he wasn't sure what he would do. But he didn't want her out of the way like this.
Teeth sank into the valraven's rough and he screamed in a cry like a bird and wolf in pain at once. Monroe shook his head back and forth viciously, the instinct to break the animal's neck taking over. The valraven kicked out, scratching him deeply. He kept trying to get him to let go before managing to finally kick Monroe hard enough when his jaws relaxed a moment he was out of the grip. The valraven limped away, whimpering, before snapping back to try and get his own bite. Monroe ducked down to avoid it and then head butted him down once more, biting over his foreleg and shredding it again. When he let go this time the valraven was smart enough to get back into the woods quickly. Nick finally came running up with Tim in tow just in time to hear a flap of wings and looking up into the tree tops with wide eyes. Obviously he saw something that was not a small bird. Monroe growled, barked and snapped after the valraven for some time until Nick turned to look at them.
"Juliette, what are you doing?!" he snapped, making Monroe quiet and look at him. He then swung his head around to see a very frightened Juliette pointing her gun…at him. He froze, trying not to panic. "Theo? What happened, why are you bleeding?" he asked, pushing Tim to sit with his cousin before heading for him.
"Nick, don't!" Juliette yelled. "It's not his blood. There was…something, an animal of some kind. He attacked it."
I was protecting you! Monroe thought at her.
"He wouldn't have done it without a reason," Nick said calmly. "I saw…something big running off. It might've been threatening you."
You tell her! See if I protect you again, Xena…
"Nick, I know he protected you that one time, but this…he was intending to kill that animal! I've seen fighting dogs before and they can't fight the instinct. He could end up hurting us or someone else."
Monroe whined now. I wouldn't…I work hard against those instincts, it was just this one time…two okay, but I was just…
"He's not like that, Juliette," Nick said again, slowly going over to Monroe. "He was just protecting us. He's not vicsious, he's as smart as a human and in control."
"Put the gun down."
"Nick, I don't want to bring that dog home," she said seriously. "Not if he's going to be a danger."
Nick frowned more. "Juliette, I understand your upset and that was a bad thing to see, but think about it more. He's never given us cause for alarm before, and I'm not going to just abandon him out here, not when he's been nothing but a loyal friend. Now put the gun down and let's get these guys to jail, Robin somewhere safe, and go home."
"He's right," Robin suddenly chimed in, putting a hand on Juliette's arm. "That…thing was going to attack you, and he saved you. He's fine now, so…don't."
Monroe wanted to hug the seltenvogal and Nick also looked grateful. Juliette hesitated a moment more before sighing, lowering the gun and rubbing her face. "Your right…I'm sorry, I just…that was surprising and for a second, I just…You remember I nearly got attacked by a fighting dog once at the clinic, so I'm always a little on edge when I see them attack like that..."
"I understand," Nick said again. "But you can trust Theo."
"Yeah…" she said quietly. Monroe couldn't help but think that was a pretty reluctant agreement.
They got everything sorted out that night, though it took several hours. With Robin's statement of domestic abuse, as well as Nick and Juliette's stories of being threatened with weapons, the deputy gladly took his superior into custody as well as Tim. She also corroborated that Theo had defended them from some sort of wild animal and that's why he was so bloody. The sheriff had let Nick use a hose and an old towel to try and clean Monroe up a bit before they left. Robin had a little money and was able to get a hotel room for a few days while she planned out what to do now that she was free. Not feeling very cozy at the cabin anymore, Nick and Juliette decided to head back to Portland.
It was late night/early morning when they finally pulled back up to the house and tiredly made their way inside. The drive home had been quiet, everyone lost in their own thoughts. Monroe's mostly concerned the fact the valraven had been in the woods. How had he known he was there? Or that the large "dog" was him? And most pressingly, did he attack Juliette randomly just to get a rise out of him, or did he know who she-and therefore Nick-was?
When they got inside, Nick tiredly dragged the dog bed back over to its usual spot and watched Monroe flop down on it. He knelt and rubbed over his head. "Rough night, I know…" He glanced back as Juliette sat heavily on the couch and walked back over to her, sitting next to her. "I…had this big plan for this weekend. I wanted to do this right, but it all…" he sighed and pulled out the ring box. Opening it to show her. "Juliette…will you marry me?"
Monroe stared at the scene unfolding and tried not to feel the crushing heartbreak and disappointment. He needed to be happy for Nick, he told himself. And for Juliette.
The woman looked at the ring a long moment before taking it and then closing the box. "No…"
Monroe's ears ticked up and he straightened to stare at her. No? No?! You're turning him down, are you serious?! It was like a soap opera before him, but one he was more personally invested in. He looked to Nick who looked like the rejection had hurt quite a bit as he bowed his head and tried to breathe deeply. Juliette looked as well and then cupped his cheek to get him to look at her. "Nick, I love you so much…I do. But I'm not sure anymore if…if we're right for each other."
"What?" Nick asked, straightening.
Juliette sighed and looked down. "You've always been so kind and considerate and…more than I could ask for in a man. I always thought that. But lately, I've just…realized how hard this has become. Your hours are rough and I'm always worrying about you, and lately it…it feels like your hardly here."
"I can take more time off," Nick began. "We can do more things together-"
"That's not what I mean," she said quietly. "Not completely. Even when you're here, you're not here. It's like you have your own world I'm not a part of…"
Nick winced, the comment obviously hitting close to home. "…What if I want you to be a part of that world too? Give me a bit and I can work something out."
Juliette smiled but it was more sad than encouraged. "If you have to work to make me a part of that world, maybe I'm not meant to be. I know there's something you're not telling me, but I also know you well enough that if you aren't telling me there's a reason. And I don't want to force you to. At the same time I just can't handle always being in the dark. I know I can't expect complete honesty but I somehow feel this is huge and if you're so scared to tell me, I don't think it's fair to me..."
"Juliette, please, I-"
"Nick, I can't handle this," she said, her voice breaking. "In the last few months we've had our home broken into, you beaten up several times, me kidnapped, and tonight…I didn't think being in a relationship with a detective would be this hard! I had people warn me when we started dated that it would be hard, how much danger you could be in and that you might not come home, but I never thought you'd bring your work home like that! And I want to say that love conquers all and I'll be strong enough to handle anything, but…I don't think I can. No matter how well I shoot, I don't have the same spidey-sense cop instincts you do. Something almost attacked me tonight and I didn't even know it! And Theo did save my life and I'm grateful despite what I said. But…I get jealous of him sometimes."
"Of Theo?" he asked incredulously.
Of me? Monroe agreed.
"Yeah. Because call me crazy but it's like he is part of that world of yours. A bit part. A part I can't replace or even come close to. I don't know why I feel that way but I do. I know he's a good dog, even if he does frighten me sometimes, but I still…sometimes wonder who you need more." She shook her head. "And I'm not going to be that girl that asks you to give up your dog or your career or whatever it is you're doing for me because I know all this is important to you, or you wouldn't do it."
"But I would!" he said desperately. Monroe tried not to feel the brief flash of pain at that and Nick looked at him remorsefully after he said that.
Juliette smiled, seeing the look. "You look like you didn't mean to say that…"
"Juliette…" he said. "I love-"
"Nick. Please. I know you love me, and I love you but…I don't think I'm strong or tough enough for you. It was hard when you were a cop, then you made detective and…I don't know what this is now, but I don't think I can help you at all."
He pulled her into a hug, breathing deeply. "You help me everyday. Just coming home to you, just knowing you're here."
Juliette hugged back, rubbing over his spine through his jacket. "And the days you don't come home? Or never come home? I thought I was lucky when my friend married a soldier, that at least you're here in this country, but it's almost as bad as she described. Except your work seems to bleed through into everyday life now and I don't know how to deal with that. I'm honestly scared, terrified maybe, of what will happen next. As much as I love you, Nick, I need to think of me too because I don't want to be that person down the line that's just here because I don't know where else to go and I can't imagine having a family in this…" she broke off and breathed deep as she tried to swallow her emotions enough to talk. "As much as I would love to spend the rest of my life with you, I just…can't. Not if life is going to be like this."
Nick was quiet for a long moment before looking whispering. "You…want to break up?"
She pulled back and placed a hand over his. "I don't want to…but right now I think it might be best. At least to take a break and see if maybe we are better off on our own."
"…Okay," he said quietly. "If that's what you want, I'll…respect that. It won't keep me from praying we'll find a way to make this work, but I don't want to trap you in anything you're not happy with…I don't want to be like that guy," he said bitterly, thinking of the klaustreich.
Juliette breathed deep through her nose, a few tears slipping down her cheek, but finally did smile and kiss his cheek. "You could never be like him, Nick. You're the best guy I know. That's part of what makes this so hard, but…thank you for understanding."
Nick nodded. "I…I'll sleep down here tonight. We can talk about what to do exactly with all this in the morning…"
Juliette nodded slowly and hugged him again. "Alright. Goodnight…" She stood and made her way upstairs, her footfalls heavy and mood somber.
Monroe stared after her, then at Nick who was sitting with his eyes focusing on the ring box. Standing, he gingerly walked over till he was a few feet away, whining softly. Nick looked at him, looking tired and drained of all emotion. Lifting a hand, he beckoned him over. Monroe padded the rest of the way over hesitantly, unsure what Nick might do. Nick lifted a hand and gently rested it on his head, rubbing slow circles between his eyes with his thumb and messaging his . After a moment he leaned over and hugged Monroe tightly, burying his face in his neck as his shoulders shook and quiet sobs were lost in his fur. Monroe felt his own heart ache for the man and laid his head across his shoulders, trying to comfort him somehow.
I'm so sorry, Nick…