There's no knock on the door, no sound of a struggle, nothing to tell Nick that he's no longer alone - nothing but that faint tingle he started to feel, earlier out in the woods when he was practicing with Monroe - some inkling of ancient instinct that's barely beginning to come to the surface in him.
He's not sure how he knows, exactly, but suddenly he just knows: he's not alone.
And whoever or whatever is outside his door right now... is not entirely human.
Nick has his gun drawn when he opens the door, but he immediately puts it away, forgetting all caution as he crouches on the ground beside the bleeding, battered form of his friend, crumpled on his front porch.
Monroe lifts his head weakly, the muted light from inside the house revealing an ugly mottle of bruises. His hand is trembling as he tries to pull himself up, only to collapse to the ground again with a groan of pain.
Monroe lets out a quiet whimper of protest as Nick places his arm over his own shoulder and manages to pull him up and into the house, shouldering the door closed behind them.
"Come on," Nick whispers. "I know... it's okay, I've got you, you're safe now..."
He gets Monroe to the sofa, and with some difficulty, manages to get the blood-stained, tattered remnants of his shirt off.
The mess of livid bruises and vicious cuts that mark his body make Nick's blood run cold... and then very, very hot.
"Who did this to you?" he demands, unaware of the cold, steely fury in his voice, until Monroe flinches a little, turning his face into the cushion beneath him with a little shiver. "It's okay," Nick says, more gently, brushing his hair back from his face. "It's not you I'm mad at." When his friend still doesn't respond, Nick pushes a little harder, his tone firm, quietly authoritative. "Monroe."
Hesitantly, the blutbad turns his face back up toward Nick, watching him closely with wary eyes, still hazy with pain.
"Who did this to you?" Nick repeats, his voice softer, but no less determined.
Monroe is quiet for a long time, and Nick can tell he's debating whether or not to tell him the truth, before he finally looks away, responding in a hoarse, breaking voice, "R-reapers. Two of them." He lets out a harsh, bitter laugh that's more like a sob as he adds, "Guess I'm lucky, right? I mean, usually when they wanna send a message… they send it in body parts."
Nick feels his chest tighten with something cold and vicious and almost as ugly as what's been done to his friend tonight.
"This was a message," he realizes slowly, a strange control in his words. "For me."
Monroe neither confirms nor denies his conclusion, just swallows hard and winces as another spasm of pain shudders through his body.
He looks up again, and Nick can tell that whatever darker instincts he's been trying to draw on in their practice sessions, whatever deep down senses and abilities he's been working to hone, are all singing just beneath the surface of his skin right now, forcing themselves out in his voice and his eyes - he can tell, because Monroe eyes are wide and fearful as they've never been before with him.
And that's the last thing Nick wants between them.
He forces himself to draw in and let out a deep breath, steadying himself as he runs a gentle hand down Monroe's shoulder.
"It's okay," he says softly again, as much to himself as to his friend. "I'm - I'm fine, all right? I just – I want to find the guys that did this and – but no. Not right now. I – I need to take care of you right now."
He spends the next hour gently cleaning the cuts and bruises and other injuries that cover Monroe's body, applying the soothing ointments that he keeps on hand all the time now, just in case, and bandaging his injuries as gently as possible. By the time he's done, Monroe is nearly asleep, from the combination of his sheer exhaustion, the effect of the potent Wesen herbs, and Nick's gentle, rhythmic touches.
Nick drags the soft blanket from the back of the sofa and lays it over Monroe's still, quiet form. He takes a moment to scrawl a quick note to Juliet, explaining as much as he can, and as little as possible. Then he grabs his keys and heads out into the night. He'll stop by the trailer for a few things – and then, he'll track down the monsters who did this to his friend.
They like their messages in body parts, huh? he thinks, allowing his protective rage to surge toward the surface again. Good. I'll start with a couple of heads.