Disclaimer: Not mine in any shape or form. So don't get sue happy, K?
A/N: Perhaps it because I'm a writer (okay I try to be) but I got to thinking about those Grimm books. Everyone had their own style so why wouldn't the Grimms?
Love it or hate it, if you click on that little review button I'd appreciate it.
Lastly, I aim to be in some sort of canon. I use spellings from wiki and the Grimm Guide because not even the Grimm Guide is consistent (c'mon NBC). I am my own beta. So if there is some glaring grammar or spelling error that is assaulting your eyes please don't hesitate to let me know. I welcome any corrections but, if I don't agree with it, it won't be corrected. Email is in the profile.
**Many thanks to Guest for your helpful notes. It never ceases to amaze me what I miss.
Reversing the Grimm Guide
"Why aren't your books organized?"
It had begun as an off-hand comment from Monroe. One that made the tall man pull on the roots of his unruly head of brown curls and mutter curses in old German. Oh, how he regretted it, but nothing could take it back. Things once spoken aloud had a nasty tendency to run away. He had only let it slip out because he was tired of being Nick's personal Grimm-o-pedia. Every time the overly-curious, yet irritating naïve newbie Grimm, Nick came across something from the Wesen world there was a phone call to Monroe.
The dark haired detective would be wandering around Portland with his trusty partner, Hank, in tow when those damnable doe grey eyes would catch something. It didn't matter what. Once Nick viewed a Wesen in woge he memorized it. Then he jotted down a quick and often eerily detailed sketch of the Wesen in question. The final step in this particular pattern was to call Monroe. Never mind that the detective was bequeathed a trailer full of creepy Grimm books full of Grimm penned knowledge. The ancient texts bound in animal hide with well-preserved aged pages detailed all the gruesome facts of Wesen lives hunted and put to violent rest by Nick's ancestors.
All in Nick's trailer. It seemed to the reclusive clockmaker that Nick didn't even know how to open a book.
And why should Nick? All he had to do was call Monroe and Monroe stupidly responded. Regardless of the time of day or what the Blutbad had been doing up until the phone call was made. Every time without fail.
He was wondering about the sanity of this situation.
Still the question had been asked and Nick was suddenly struck with an expanding time gap as he fumbled for a response. If the end result hadn't been so miserable, Monroe would have been amused by the sight of the normally confident cop flabbergasted. Watching Nick's mouth opening then closing as his mind switched from one thought to another without producing any coherent response certainly fit the term. Nevertheless, when a fully assembled and organized thought finally came together, it left a ringing death knell to any free time the Blutbad had for the next month. "You're right. We should fix that."
Of course, it was a group project. Why would Nick bother doing this by himself? When did Nick ever do anything by himself; with the notable exception of possessing an amazingly, uncanny ability to find trouble at every turn. But it didn't matter now. Not when Monroe's Edwardian coffee table was buried under stacks of Grimm books. Not when Monroe's antique Black Forest clocks were in danger of being crushed to pieces because Nick had haphazardly stacked more Grimm books far too close to the displayed pieces.
The clockmaker's nervousness for his clocks had directed him to start on those piles. The coffee table would survive the indignity; the clocks might not. He picked up two more books and moved to sit beside Rosalee who had also been roped in under Nick's umbrella of "we". An unfortunate by-product of helping the detective once. Much like Monroe, Rosalee had made the mistake in showing Nick that she possessed unique knowledge of the Wesen world. Knowledge that filled in many of the gaps when Monroe's own understanding failed. Once Nick had seen this, it was all over for the petit Fuchsbau. Instead of spending her free time organizing and reassessing the stocking needs of her tea, oil, and herb shop, the woman was stuck on Monroe's well-loved couch with her pretty face obscured by revulsion and creasing her brow as she handled the tome delicately. It seemed as if she feared the sturdy, leather bound volume would shatter in her grasp, but Monroe knew her care wasn't out of fear of damaging the item.
Her expressive brown eyes met Monroe's and she tried to smile. The smile faltered in between sweet understanding and reviled exasperation. Monroe tried to be supportive, but nonverbal gestures often failed him. His intended nonchalant shrug was far too uncoordinated to be cool. Instead, it was goofy and a bit awkward and entirely Monroe. Rosalee's sweet smile of amusement at Monroe's failed attempt brightened the Blutbad's mood for another round of Grimm-ness.
Speaking of, he let his eyes wander away from the woman beside him to the Grimm hunched over his dining room table. Nick had set up an additional pile of books on the table which meant that the Blutbad would be eating his meals sitting on his couch like a slob until Nick's project was complete. The dark haired detective was completely consumed in his task never giving even the slightest clue that Monroe's stare was noticed. Monroe rolled his eyes and cracked open the leather bound book only to come face to face with a Hasslich. The ink drawing detailed the creature so well that it unnaturally appeared alive on the page. It made Blutbad carefully held beneath the surface rage at an enemy catching him off guard and his muscles involuntarily jerk.
Swallowing the sudden urge to woge at a drawing made Monroe want to sigh at his own folly. It was a drawing. A freakin' lifeless scrap of paper with ink lines on it.
He peered down at the page and felt a hint of fang.
Grimms were so creepy.
Another deep sigh, born from extensive practice in the art of yoga, settled his tired mind.
Around halfway through the book, Monroe decided that this particular Grimm could have spent a little less time drawing and a little more time organizing. All of Wesen depicted in their gruesome glory had eyes that just followed you around. It made his skin crawl and his nails itch to sharpen and rip the book to shreds. No amount of pranayama could save him. His problem was further complicated by the fact that there was no logical structure to the entries. The whole thing read like a diary. It bounced from one encounter to the next without the space or logical forethought for additional information on a particular creature.
There was no way Nick was ever going to get volumes of diaries in any logical order. Unless he ripped out the pages and reassembled them. It was a suggestion that Monroe was never going to utter because he feared the reply of 'sure' coming from the detective.
Was this how Grimms kept records? This was a confusing mess of information and tangents with a side of portraiture. No wonder Nick gave up on reading and resorted to calling Monroe. It would be faster if this is how all the books read. Moreover, if this was the organizational system handed down from generation to generation it would be frightening to see what Nick had written. If the way he kept his laundry organized from dirty to 'it's still wearable' was any indication, Monroe feared for the worst. Then again, Nick was so new at this he may not have even started one yet.
The resounding heavy thunk of a closing Grimm book on his dining room table startled Monroe into nearly dropping the book in his hands. Setting the book down on the arm of his couch he looked toward the source of the sound with irritation and a bit of worry for his table. Monroe's brother made that table. While they didn't speak anymore, Monroe loved the quality carpentry skills that his brother possessed. And if there was a single scratch from these damned books…
A loud yawn from Nick furthered the Blutbad's annoyance as Nick leaned back on table chair's rear legs making the wood creak from the angle. Apparently being a Grimm meant you could force perfectly pleasant Wesen into doing your bidding and not feel an inch of sympathy for their personal feelings, property or time. After all, both conscribed Wesen had to read through the books that graphically detailed the more disagreeable side to their nature. Followed by a gleeful description of the creature's untimely end; sometimes in well rendered ink drawings.
It was torture in a way.
The chair creaked again as it was settled back onto four legs firmly. It was also torture on his furniture. But there was no way Nick would feel anything. He wouldn't think to get them anything for their trouble and passive acceptance of reading through the awful, awful tomes. He would do as he always did. He'd take from Monroe and Rosalee all they offered in brilliant stupidity and dash off to the next thing without a word.
Monroe nearly snapped. If it hadn't been for the high level of control he worked so hard to possess, he would have killed the irritating thing by now. He let out a huff, "Yeah, well, I didn't exactly have time to plan dinner." He gestured to the room full of creepy books that Nick had put there.
The Grimm in the dining room stood up and wandered over to the couch completely unfazed. "I know. I was going to go get something."
A small hand lightly touched against Monroe's wrist catching his attention before the snarky comment could escape. Rosalee had read the situation quickly. While she knew that Nick was good at his job, she had long since learned that he only utilized his skills when he wanted to and that usually meant only while working as a Grimm or cop. Nick rarely made the effort around Monroe. Nick was far too comfortable poking the Blutbad with little regard to how dangerous it could be if Monroe's careful control slipped. A trust that was both admirable and exceedingly imprudent. She gave a forced, sweet smile, "Thanks, that would be great. I'll get a menu."
She set the book she had down and moved to look for one of the few takeout menus Monroe had. For all of Monroe's eccentricities, his bizarre fondness for sweaters in particular, she adored the fact that the man enjoyed cooking. Despite having a wealth of knowledge about herbs, spices, and other assorted items, Rosalee found that cooking was often a chore. She could perform the task well but would rather hand it off to someone else. Especially, when Monroe was such an excellent cook despite his Wieder penchant towards vegetarianism.
She listened to the boys bicker in the distance. While she could easily eavesdrop on the conversation, it was more amusing to listen without context. Monroe snapped out some biting comment as Nick, no doubt in wide-eyed wonder, asked 'What'? For a Wesen to befriend a Grimm was strange and outright unheard of. But if she took that out of the equation, the likelihood of Nick and Monroe becoming friends was still strange. They were polar opposite personalities. The inside of Monroe's tidy kitchen confirmed this belief. She located the only two takeout menus neatly stacked together in a small drawer near the telephone – cord included. She let the thought of how many takeout menus Nick possessed cross her mind. It was easy to picture a messy drawer full of pizza coupons and assorted take out menus ranging from Italian to Chinese. He might even have a few favorites programmed into his cell phone. The differences between the two were staggering and downright amusing. Another curiously loud exclamation of 'Why' was issued from the living room and followed closely by a deep growling answer.
Rosalee swallowed the laugh that threatened to appear as she reviewed the menus in hand. Monroe's carefully built tolerance as a Wieder was nearing a breaking point. She admired his commitment to such a difficult lifestyle; especially being Blutbaden. Rosalee agreed with the idea as far as restraining herself in situations that triggered her baser nature, but the rest? It was too hard, which was why she hadn't converted over to Wieder herself. She settled on the menu to Sabol, forced the smile onto her face and returned to the living room.
"Here," she handed over the menu to Nick, "I'll write down the orders."
Once all was decided and Nick left to pick up the food, Rosalee sat back down on the couch frowning at the amount of work ahead of them. The task had started out intriguing. She would have a rare chance to see what the Grimms' recorded. But after the sixth text, the novelty wore off. The pattern was clear in all the writings. The Grimm sees a creature. The Grimm finds, or stalks she thought, the creature. The Grimm kills the creature. Pepper in some gory details, the occasional people/baby eating, and you could summarize every story. She could practically hear the townsfolk cheering at some poor Wesen's demise along with the chopping echo of an axe splintering bone.
She let out a heavy sigh before she noticed the wine glass.
"I thought you could use it." The sappy grin Monroe gave was too cute for words.
She accepted it easily and smiled, "It's white. I thought you preferred red." Not that she cared. The chilled glass felt good in her hands. The mild condensation washing away the feeling of the aged pages she had handled. It felt as if the grime from touching such dark tomes was being gently eased away from her.
He looked around the room and nudged away the book he had been reading, "It didn't seem right considering."
The look of distasted that crossed his features had her laughing. She couldn't help it. It was really absurd. She doubted that any other Wesen in the world could appreciate it.
They sat in quiet for a moment before Monroe asked, "Have you noticed something about these books?"
She took a long swallow of wine before she responded, "Do you mean the formula? Grimm sees creature, Grimm stalks creature, Grimm kills creature in a horribly violent way."
Monroe laughed, "Well, yeah, I noticed that. But I think that the books are meant to seen as Grimm sees threat, Grimm locates threat to the Grimm's horror and dispatches the horribly violent creature."
Rosalee joined in with a fit of giggles. The wine letting her frayed nerves and tired mind unwind in such a pleasant manner. Between the books and the bickering boys, she was ready to call it a night. "I'd bet you're right about that."
"But I was wondering if you noticed the style. You know, once you get past the… uhm, formula."
She looked at him curiously. She had failed to notice anything like that. Then again, the subject material wasn't really all that engrossing. Once she noticed the formula and subsequently proved its existence, the task became just that – a tiresome task to complete. She had long ago altered her thoughts to skimming the pages for how the books were organized rather than the content. The distance aiding to her tolerance of the text. "No."
He moved to pick up the book he had nudged away earlier. "Take this one, the drawings are spooky."
She hesitated before inquisitiveness won out. If Monroe had noticed something perhaps it was worth checking out. The thought that this task wasn't as fruitless at it seemed swam through her mind building her up for another attempt at stomaching the books. She carefully moved to open the tome to see what Monroe meant. Unwittingly, just as Monroe had, she recoiled at the image of a very life-like Hasslich. Her woged state itching just beneath the surface.
"See? Creepy huh?"
Creepy! That didn't begin to describe it. She looked back at the picture in wonder trying to find the source of Monroe's amusement. There was nothing to be interested in. The only thing Rosalee gleaned from the image was more revulsion and a bit of self-regret. "I don't get it."
"Wait, wait." The Blutbad moved over to a different pile of books. "Here, this one reads like a travel journal."
She flipped open the book.
The crossing has been difficult. The roads are paved with inconsistent stones. Some large and flat while others are small and easily covered by forest growth. I find myself stumbling often trying to keep pace with my guide. At night, my legs ache from tripping over errant stones and slipping on muddied paths. To say that this trip is worth the pain is difficult indeed. I am following a rumor that is too terrible to believe. So terrible that I pray it is only rumor.
Rosalee lifted her head with a blank unimpressed expression. Whatever Monroe's point was, she was feeling more and more certain that it wasn't germane.
"Or this one." He stacked an open book on top of the one on her lap pointing to a particular entry.
The Afferasch moves fast. I cannot react to its wild attacks. Every time I have fought this creature, I nearly died. I could only kill it after lying in wait with bait and shooting it. I used a small weighted crate with a camera inside as bait. The creature likes cameras. Only shooting it is fast enough to kill it. All the weapons handed down to me are too slow for this beast.
She tried to enliven her flat expression. She could see what he was indicating, she just didn't get the point of it. She looked up at him, "You mean the focus? Like how this one is more about hunting?"
Monroe started nodding vigorously. "So, you see it?"
"Well, I do now." She pouted a moment before removing the weight on her lap to search for something else. If Monroe wanted to compare Grimm writings then so be it. She had pursued a particular nasty tome earlier in the day and set it far from her in the hopes that it would somehow disappear. Or get kicked out the door into a garbage truck. "It was hard to see with something like this."
He looked over the offered book.
They always tremble in the end. No matter how great or terrible they always tremble. The Blutbad shook before the final blow severed the head from the neck. What was once a snarling and threating beast was little more than a pathetic heap. To think they sought me out.
Monroe wrinkled his brow, "Okay point taken. Did you have to make it so personal?"
She smiled with the satisfaction of point well made. As for Monroe's, who knew?
"But you see how the writing changes?"
"Yes," she let the word trail off inviting him to make to his point.
"It doesn't make you curious."
Her eyes widened with understanding. It was true that they were all friends in a sense of the word but there was a shadow that hung over it. It was an odd friendship between prey and predator. By all logical standards, either Rosalee or Monroe should have tried to kill Nick and vice versa. Either way, the three of them shouldn't be pouring over books in a now understandably futile attempt to organize the text and eat vegan take out.
She pressed her lips together for a moment. "Isn't that kinda personal?"
"They're all similar to diaries."
Monroe nodded slowly as if his actions hung on Rosalee's words. Since she had denied peek into Nick's writings Monroe let his head drop like a scolded puppy.
She drummed her fingers against the glass trying to decide for herself. "But I'd bet he'd write like a police report. All formal and impersonal."
Monroe brightened and gave a conspiratorial grin, "Right."
"So… there wouldn't be any harm."
They sat on the couch for a fraction of a second more before bolting into the dining room. They starting flipping through the books searching for Nick's and grinning and giggling like children sneaking a peek at their Christmas presents on December 20th. Every creak of the floorboards or wind that rattled the windows had them perking up in attention to see if it was Nick's 4Runner returning. It seemed that both of them failed to utilize their Wesen sense of smell or superior hearing. Right now, they only knew that they were breaking some sort of unwritten rule with uncontainable glee. It was juvenile and stupid, but so much fun.
"Here," Monroe whispered.
He set down the book open to a page depicting a Klaustreich. Rosalee looked over the drawing then back at Monroe before replying in a similar hushed tone, "You sure it's his?"
"Oh yeah, you should remember this one."
The Klaustreich that I came in contact with was aggressive, predatory, sadistic, and treacherous. He kept a Seltenvogel as both his prisoner and "wife" in an effort to retrieve her unbezahlbar. Through this contact, I have learned that this Klaustreich is highly vindictive and cowardly in his attacks. He ambushed an unaware human male who was attempting to take the Seltenvogel. This human male was unaware of the unbezahlbar and most likely only wished to save her from domestic violence. The Klaustreich fled a fight with myself only to regroup with another Klaustreich and continue the fight.
They looked up from the book and back at each other before bursting out in a fit of giggles. It was exactly what they expected of Nick. Direct, informal, and like a police report. All it was missing was the standard opening line of 'At x hours, I was dispatched to a call at x location regarding x.' There was nothing detailed in Nick's writing that violated any personal boundary. Rosalee found relief that her expectations of Nick matched reality. Monroe was slightly disappointed. It is well known that writers often revealed more of themselves in their writing than they ever intend and a part of Monroe wished to glean some unspoken insight into his friend.
On the same day, I saw the Seltenvogel make an attempt to escape. She fled from the house as soon as the Klaustreich drove away. I followed her into the woods and discovered a human male, the victim, clawed to death in his truck. The victim's driver side window was rolled down completely and the victim's body was left slumped over the center console leaning towards the front passenger seat. The claw marks ran from the top of the victim's brow down into his neck on the left hand side of the face. The attack appears to be an ambush and punishment for attempting to take the Seltenvogel away from the Klaustreich.
I returned to the Klaustreich's house and discovered the Seltenvogel strapped to a wooden chair. The chair held her wrists, ankles, forehead and chin in place. The chair was designed to force feed the Seltenvogel an unknown mixture that is milky white in appearance. I confronted the Klaustreich and engaged in brief combat. He fled the scene and I took the Seltenvogel into my custody to await the local authorities.
Upon informing the Seltenvogel this, I was informed that the local authorities were in involved in permitting the abuse and attempted collection of the unbezahlbar. I could observe local authorities arriving at the house, meet the Klaustreich, and head towards me. It was at this point that I learned that the authorities were Klaustreichs as well. The Seltenvogel fled once again. I pursued her and discovered that the unbezahlbar was blocking her airway. She was gasping for breath and could only speak in short phrases. I contacted an expert by cell phone for her knowledge of the unbezahlbar and how to remove it. Following the expert's directions, I was able to successfully remove it.
It was certainly dry and void of names. Neither Rosalee nor Monroe doubted that Nick knew the names of everyone involved but purposefully left them out. Even Rosalee herself was noted as "expert". Something the Fuchsbau wasn't entirely sure of. She had only repeated to Nick what she read in her father's medical journals.
I was able to arrest both Klaustreichs and remand their custody over to State Police. The Seltenvogel was also given over to State Police to help with victim services. The unbezahlbar was destroyed. The only death that resulted from this encounter was the Klaustreich's attack on the human male.
That certainly broke the formula. No Wesen deaths after an encounter with a Grimm. Their strange Grimm who talked before the thought of killing his opponent crossed his mind. And even then, he tried to arrest them first. In so many ways it was cute and naïve. Not at all like the texts they had been reading. All of the past Grimms had no qualms about lobbing a head off. It was the go-to plan of action. Nick never did.
Perhaps that is what had intrigued them so greatly. The curiosity of when Nick's plan of action would change; if ever. What would break him so greatly that he would switch from the Portland Grimm that talked first to one that killed without asking questions?
It was a sobering thought that lingered in both of their minds.
They were watching Nick's world close in on him as he attempted to balance a double life. It seemed like it was only a matter of time. What would be the final straw for his girlfriend, Juliette? What lie or half-concocted story would end their tenuous relationship? And then there was Hank. After a rather disturbing conversation with Nick, Monroe knew that the man was getting unstable. He had seen into the Wesen world and his mind wasn't compensating. What about Portland PD? What about Nick's highly unusual hospitalization and injury rate? What would happen if he was suspended or investigated by his jokingly mentioned internal affairs? There was so much piling up on the side of 'this is going to go all wrong' that Monroe could see the tipping point ahead of them. It was close. Too damn close for his liking.
And then what?
How would Nick recover? Would there still be nights spent traipsing through the woods with Nick hunting down a local baddie? Would Nick still come over to watch a game and eat dinner? Monroe wasn't sure. Would Nick retreat from his Wesen friends and begin to watch them with a suspicious eye?
He hated doubting his friend even if said friend grated on his last nerve on occasion. He'd get over it. Okay, so his home is being overrun by creepy Grimm books that made him shut his bedroom door at night. So, he received calls at two in the morning; calls that interrupted his morning regimen or careful repair of an antique clock. Knocks on his door that caused the risotto on his stove to shift from delightfully creamy into mush. It added up to a big 'whatever' because he liked the company. It had taken awhile to accept that but he did.
So what if it all ended.
Monroe didn't think Nick would snap and suddenly attack him or anything. It was the fear that he'd be ignored. That he would have to retreat back into his lonely world. He had built a whole social world around Nick that he worried about its collapse.
So he covered for Nick. Tried to push that tipping scale further into the horizon until it wouldn't budge further.
He looked over at Rosalee to see a look of concern crossing her face as well. She ran her hand over the drawing of a sad looking Seltenvogel. The drawing had more detail than the others. The creature depicted on the page wasn't cold or cruel. She was pitiable and all too "human" in appearance despite being a stupid bird. The Seltenvogel's eyes had that life-like quality that had unnerved her in other books but struck her as endearing now. All because Nick had cared.
While pictures like that Hasslich made Rosalee want to chuck the book across the room, this one made her want to help. To take some action that aided those wounded features. To somehow reach out and touch this life in some meaningful and helpful way. To see her as Nick had. Not as some creature with a valuable goiter growing in her throat, but as a woman in need of protection.
Rosalee's voice broke the strange quiet that hung over both of them. The hushed glee from moments ago lost. "Do you think he'll change? Do you think," she picked up the book she had searched before Monroe had located Nick's Grimm book, "he'll become like this?"
The heavy book was opened to a random page full of more text than pictures.
Easily moves through trees; more specifically tree tops
Perches like a bird and will drop onto its prey from above
Slashes prey with large clawed hands
Geiers harvest human organs and entrails for remedies. They take great care to ensure their victim's suffering. All victims are alive at the time for organ harvest. Afterwards, the organs are dried and sold onto a Wesen black market. The cost for such items is exorbitant.
Geiers appear to have adapted to modern times. After tracking a group through the Appalachians, I noted that they prey upon humans unnoticed by society. Mountain folk, runaways, people in isolation and other like types are the primary targets. This does not bring attention to the Geiers. It would go unnoticed by society and therefore law enforcement. Lamentably, I only noticed it when a local woman I contacted regularly turned up missing. A brief interview with others in the area made the Geiers' harvest grounds apparent. Their legendary cruelty even more so.
I staked out the grounds and located the leader of the group. An unassuming male that was revered by the group and clearly dictated the group's actions. I beheaded him quickly and quietly before I set to task on the rest of the group.
It is recommended that the leader is always dispatched when dealing with Geiers. They form around a central point and can reform quickly if the leader is not eliminated. Even if other lesser members of the group manage to escape, never allow the leader to live.
Once the leader was dead, the remainder of the group fell into chaos and were easily dispatched. I regret that I was not able to know their plans earlier. All of the victims taken were unsalvageable. Many were being operated on when I went to task. The only kindness was quick death and a decent burial. The others were already dead.
Their suffering was great.
The text was cold and calculating. It was frighteningly similar to Nick's style of report writing by deviating from a journalistic style that incorporated more private insights. All of the other writings held that personal note despite the varying focus of the entry.
Monroe hesitated looking at the neat and precise script. "Marie's?"
Rosalee gave a small nod of affirmation.
It was an easy and obvious line to draw. Why wouldn't the nephew become like his aunt? There was no secret that despite any Wesen's natural terror at the name Marie Kessler, Nick held only dear memories of his aunt. He loved her and could only see her as the devoted guardian that cared for him into adulthood. He would never see her at the cunningly adept Grimm that beheaded many Wesen. She would never be cruel, merciless, or a murderer in his eyes.
It was something that was unsettling at the surface but understandable. Even though Monroe never met his grandfather, he had always believed that the Grimm who killed him was a murderer. He disregarded the fact that dear ol' granddad had ripped to pieces a few adolescent girls before the Grimm arrived. To Monroe it was his grandfather.
And the Grimm was a killer.
Cut and dry.
Just like Nick. Sure Nick would say he was sorry that his aunt killed Monroe's grandfather. And Monroe in return would admit that granddad wasn't the nicest of Blutbaden. All pretty social niceties that belied the fact that it could have been lip service. Could have if it wasn't for the fact that Nick was a really weird Grimm. As time went on, Monroe had little doubt that Nick really was sorry. He didn't think that Nick regretted the death of a violent Blutbad that killed young girls. But Monroe did believe that Nick was sorry for his family's loss. After all, family was family no matter what family members did.
Perhaps that was why Monroe was able to guard the ailing Marie. By all rights he should have let the Grimm die but he didn't. Instead he protected her and even ripped a limb off her assailant. All because Nick was a really weird Grimm.
Rosalee turned from the table to walk back over to the couch and her temporarily disregarded wine glass. The chilled white wine was warming but still carried its pleasant numbing effect as she finished off the glass. It was suddenly too much – too real. The Fuchsbau didn't know how to feel. She wasn't even sure if she could eat the food she'd sent Nick to pick up.
Monroe watched her carefully still holding Marie's book.
"Sorry, all of this," she gestured widely to the room of Grimm books, "it's just… it's getting to me."
Monroe set the book down and returned to sitting beside her on the couch. "Sorry."
"I couldn't help but be curious. I shouldn't have…"
Rosalee held up her hand to cut him off. "It was a good question. I know we don't ask it aloud but 'what if' is always on both of our minds." She watched the flicker of doubt cross Monroe's deep brown eyes. For a moment she was stunned. How could the Blutbad not consider it? How could the thought not creep into his mind on the rougher days?
Like the day he'd lost a good friend Larry, a Wildermann. The unfortunate events surrounding that day was not too long ago and all too clear in Rosalee's memory. That loss had shaken Monroe's faith in his Wieder lifestyle and his ability to stick with it. Rosalee knew because he'd come to her to vent his fears. They'd spent the evening drinking far too much wine as she consoled Monroe's uncertainties about himself. How could he doubt himself and not the Grimm?
They sat in silence for a moment before Monroe spoke up, "He won't. Just so you know." There he had said it. True, he wasn't as absolutely sure as he sounded, but he had said it. He had to believe in Nick and Nick's weird Grimm ways. Because Nick was his friend.
Because if he didn't, the other side was too scary. Sure there were bad days… but the good ones made up for it.
All because the strangest Grimm ever had tackled him in his front entry way.
Rosalee placed a smile on her face. It was forced and tight, but she knew it needed to be there. Not only for herself but for Monroe's conviction in Nick. "He won't."
The two agreed on a mutual unspoken pact of ignorance. While Rosalee's doubts lingered closer to the surface than Monroe's she would give him the benefit of having faith. There were many things about Monroe that left Rosalee hesitant. This overwhelming conviction was one of them. She had learned to put a measure of trust into Nick, but only so much. Her experience with Ian had tested the boundaries of Nick's involvement and left her wanting. Nick had helped but it was reluctant. Rosalee held no illusion that the only reason Nick had acted on her behalf was because Monroe had asked.
And for that gift she let Monroe believe.
Nick would never know and would never see the panic-inducing amount of trust that Monroe had placed in him. It was blind faith.
"Enough of this," Rosalee couldn't let the silence continue on. Thoughts gnawed at her gut and she wanted to believe in Monroe's fragile vow. Holding up the glass, "How about a refill?"
Monroe's face shifted from furrowed worry into that goofy grin Rosalee loved. "Sounds good." He began to reach for her glass when he remembered the specific texts pulled from the teetering piles of books still lying out on his dining room table. "Umm, how about you get the refills and I'll…" He motioned to the table with a quick jerk of the head.
Rosalee's lips split into a warm smile. "Thank you," she picked up his glass before adding, "really thanks." She wanted nothing more of this Grimm business for today.
"No problem." It had been his idea from the start. It was his fault that they had travelled down this road and opened up the proverbial can of worms. Monroe could have left it alone. He could have gone into the other room to find some show on TV, anything to remove the memories and impressions that the volumes of Grimm text had given birth to, but he hadn't. He couldn't leave it alone and he had dragged Rosalee into it as well.
He didn't think he deserved her 'thanks'.
He picked up Marie's book and buried it deep under the pile. Nick had placed it there probably because he had known it was his aunt's book. A small part of Monroe's mind reminded him that Nick had technically hidden it from the two conscribed Wesen. But that was okay. Nick had probably hidden it from Monroe and Rosalee to spare them those details. Especially Monroe. He eyed Marie's book warily and slammed it shut when his curious fingers began to flip the pages. Somewhere inside this book was the Grimm record of his grandfather.
Stacking the books on top of Marie's so that her book was at the bottom of the pile at the back of the dining room table, he told himself he didn't want to know. What 'facts' the book contained were things he never needed to know. How Marie saw his grandfather, how Monroe saw him, and how understandably different the two views were never needed to be compared. The stories his grandmother wove around their fire pit as he and his siblings roasted dinner under a starry night didn't need to be tainted.
He held Nick's book next. In a weird way it was telling. Monroe's naïve Grimm was growing up. He was fighting Reapers, practicing Wesen combat techniques, and slowly learning about detecting Wesen. Now he was also keeping a record just like every Grimm before him. He let out a small sigh and reminded himself that Nick was his friend. No doubts. This simple fact chased away the gaping uncertainty that tore at his mind. He placed one large hand over the cover as if imbuing it with his hopeful spirit as his palm caressed over the old leather.
Rosalee popped back into the dining room with both glasses in hand. "Aren't you done yet?" Her voice was high with an inquisitive note to it. In truth, she had wanted to ask why in all blessed deities was Monroe still playing with those nasty books.
Monroe had lost himself in replacing the books. He hadn't been aware of anything else as his mind had wandered over thoughts of Marie, his grandfather, his grandmother and Nick. Somewhere along that train of thought Monroe had willingly shut the world away and forgotten about it. The sudden question from Rosalee had brought it all rushing back. He jumped nervously. The book he had loving held in his hands tipped and, in a mad scramble to regain control over the item, it fell to the floor with a heavy thud.
Monroe winced at the sound as his heartbeat pounded in his ears. He hated that he was startled. Even more he hated that the book just left a deep, crescent shaped indent in his wood floor.
He couldn't even blame Nick.
Rosalee's eyes widen at the sight, "Oh, sorry. I didn't mean…"
Monroe waved her off as she set the glasses on the table and knelt down in an offer to help. It was his fault that he let his memories get the better of him. "S'okay." He huffed and shook his head in self-disappointment. He picked up the book and viewed the dent. There was no way he could work that out. It was at the end of a board where the wood is the most vulnerable. No amount of sanding or slight wood shaving would remove that dent. The book had been too heavy. He'd either have to fill it with wood putty or replace the board.
The book had tumbled open during its descent and managed to survive the fall without damage. Not that Nick would notice. Monroe could have dog-eared pages and Nick wouldn't have cared. Figures that the book was fine and its owner didn't care. His floor, however, wasn't fine and its owner cared.
A lot in fact.
Monroe viewed the book angrily when something he hadn't noticed before caught his attention. The book was open to the back fourth of the pages. These pages were written upside down. If Monroe flipped the book from its opening pages to the back, the text and illustrations flipped. He turned the book around and opened its back cover. Leafing through the pages orientated completely backwards Monroe discovered a whole new system of entries. This was still Nick's Grimm journal only this one wasn't cold and impersonal. This one wasn't some half-formed police report.
This was personal.
Monroe bit his lip as he looked at the drawing on first page on the last page of this book. He wanted to read this. To see what Nick had written down himself. Not as a stringent recalling of facts, but as something more. That intangible insight that his mind needed to know about Nick.
Rosalee peered over Monroe's shoulder trying to see what was so interesting. She only wanted to pry the Blutbad away from the accursed thing and feared asking. Against her better judgment, she wandered back into Monroe's world that was not only interested in Grimm books but marveled at them. "What is it?"
"This is Nick's Grimm book."
"We know that. Why the renewed interest?"
"This," Monroe trailed off before standing up straight and placing the book on the table so Rosalee could see the page before him, "this is something more."
The page held a meticulous drawing of Monroe at his work bench. The "grandpa" glasses framed in thick, black plastic with extra magnification lens perched on his face as he was deeply engrossed in placing a tiny gear in just the right place.
It showed Monroe not in his woged state.
Rosalee gasped. It was just like the drawing of the Seltenvogel. The life-like quality of the image before her jumped off the page. The detail it held showed careful observation but the soft quality of the lines showed care. Despite being something drawn in a Grimm's book, Rosalee could only see this as a lovingly rendered sketch. It wasn't a picture, illustration or image recorded in a book. It was art.
Monroe's hand was perched to turn the page but held its place. The picture was startling. While Nick spent a good deal of time with Monroe, it was mostly over some meal or a discussion of the latest creature Nick encountered. Nick rarely saw Monroe at work. The few times Monroe could recall Nick interrupting his work were brief encounters and even then Nick was usually too impatient to wait. Monroe often had to forgo his work in favor of settling the detective's curiosity.
But this… this changed everything.
It may have happened only once and Nick was able to pull from his memory something this intricate – this intimate.
How much more had Monroe missed?
Rosalee's hand covered Monroe's softly. The warmth of the contact bringing his eyes away from the page to look at the woman beside him. A silent, gentle push told him that it was okay.
The page turned to reveal text.
Blutbaden are well documented. To summarize, they are violent, react to the color red, dangerous in packs, have a weak point on located on the lower back and their sense of smell can be lessened with wolfsbane. If I had known only this, I would have missed much.
The very first creature Wesen I encountered was a Blutbad named Monroe. He doesn't match the description at all. After our first encounter, where my actions were misguided, he invited me into his home to talk over a beer. From this, I learned that Wesen have a church called Wieder. In Monroe's case, he controls his behavior with "diet, drugs and exercise". The diet is vegetarian. The exercise is a careful regiment of morning Pilates and afternoon yoga. We've never discussed drugs, but, knowing him, it's a daily dose of vitamins and supplements.
He's a clockmaker. He has a strange fondness for knit sweaters and clothing that only the elderly would wear. He adores Christmas and toy trains to a point of geeky weirdness. He makes really good food paired with good wine and keeps beer that always comes in a bottle (no cans).
He's my friend.
He's taught me more about the Wesen world than any book. The books are detailed, but are lacking information because Grimms only write half the story.
Expansive silence reigned over Monroe's small home as only the faint hum of electrical appliances could be heard and the ice maker dispensing. But within Monroe's mind was the declaration of absolute faith he held in his friend. Nick wouldn't turn. No matter how bad or desperate things got Nick will not change.
He'd forever be the weird Portland Grimm.
Monroe's fingers released the page's top corner to brush over the text written in Nick's sloppy bold lettering. The gnawing doubts he'd always feared to give voice to shattered so beautifully that he couldn't stop smiling. His belief in his friend wasn't blind optimism; it was hard won trust. Not because Monroe had conviction in Nick, but because Nick had believed in Monroe as well. Nick may not have liked either Monroe or Rosalee reading these personal thoughts, but it was desperately needed.
And joyously welcomed.
Rosalee angled the book towards herself and began flipping through the back pages. She quickly passed by more sketches of Monroe until she saw herself. There wasn't as much recorded about her as Monroe, but it was there. Small, thumb sized sketches of her in her shop searching for something on a shelf, or reading through a book – once more with her human face. Her woged Fuchsbau appearance noticeably lacking from the pages. Each sketch lacked the extreme detail of Monroe's or even the Seltenvogel but carried that soft quality.
I was warned about trusting Fuchsbau. They are the swindlers of the Wesen world.
Rosalee has extensive knowledge of herbs and medicine. She has proven to be very helpful when a situation involves a zaubertrank or spell. Considering the amount of trouble I've had with a particular Hexenbiest, this knowledge has saved the lives of two people close to me. However, her double nature is apparent. She took in another Fuchsbau that is a freedom fighter (terrorist?) among the Wesen world. This Fuchsbau's presence brought a lot of trouble and ended poorly. The outcome with undesirable but necessary.
She can be trusted but only to a certain extent. Finding those boundaries is important.
Rosalee wished for Monroe's reaction. Nick had inadvertently displayed such trust in the Blutbad that she could almost see the wolf's chest swell with pride. As for herself, she knew she should have expected it. She had only just met Nick and they both were learning where each other stood. She didn't trust him fully either.
When Monroe made his absolute faith in Nick known, she had doubted it. She knew that Monroe worked hard to put off the inevitable for Nick and that entry would only strengthen his belief that it could be delayed. Rosalee wasn't as sure. In her eyes, there would come a day when Nick was no longer a friend. A day when his duties as a Grimm superseded all else.
Still a small part of her was wounded.
The heavy thunk of car door brought their attention to the front door. Nick had returned.
Panic held the two Wesen holding open the Grimm's book still. Their limbs held stiff as their eyes dared to look at one another in wide-eyed alarm. The sound of a second door forced their frozen minds into action. Monroe fumbled to hide Nick's book in the deconstructed library of Grimm books on the table. His nervous moments causing the volumes to slam roughly against the table top he'd normally revere. Rosalee moved back to the couch near a window to watch Nick balance the bags of food and shut the car door closed with his elbow. She waved her hand frantically trying to get Monroe to move back into the living room with her. Her plan was to make it look like they were waiting for Nick to arrive. They had spent all that time conversing on the couch far from the Grimm books in a well-deserved break.
Monroe caught onto the plan quickly. He jostled the teetered stacks of books in an anxious effort to make the table look exactly as it had before Nick left. Monroe was often taken by surprise how observant the Grimm was with the strangest things. Some things like dog-eared pages were overlooked but move a guy's cell phone two inches to the right and he looks at you sideways. Not entirely satisfied, but seeing Rosalee's small panic attack next to the window, Monroe hastily walked into the living room with his moments just shy of running.
Finding their previous spots on the couch, they turned to each other and assumed relaxed positions. The stiff ridged posturing belying their intentions as they desperately tried to make the slapped together plan work. Time stretched as they awaited Nick's arrival at the front door. Monroe was clearly engaged in deep breathing as he tried to calm his nerves. When that failed he took a healthy gulp of wine. Rosalee fought off the urge to giggle. For some odd reason, whenever she knew she was doing wrong it brought a wild sense of glee over her. She forced down the grin that threatened to appear and sipped on the wine letting the alcohol disguise the color in her cheeks.
The sounds of Nick fumbling through the front door seemed to take forever to hear and yet it came all too soon. The door's sturdy latch rattled before he was able to manipulate the door knob open. The awkward attempt to balance his keys and food threatened dinner.
Monroe jumped off the couch to help and took the food bags from Nick before they wound up on the floor. Monroe's floor had already paid the price for today.
"You're in a better mood." Nick let the Blutbad carry the bags away empting his arms completely.
Monroe fought the urge to say a quick reply to Nick's thoughtless comment. Sometimes he wondered if Nick's brain filtered any thoughts prior to speech. 'He's my friend.' That simple line popped into Monroe's head and he regained his upbeat mood. "It's nice to see you buying." Monroe paused before muttering 'finally' under his breath.
Nick huffed and kicked the door shut making the Blutbad wince and fear for the state of his stained glass. An act that earned a lop-sided grin from the Grimm responsible. "Anytime buddy."
Monroe made his way back into the kitchen because take out or not, he didn't eat out of cartons – even environmentally friendly recycled cartons. He passed by Rosalee on his way to portion out the food onto proper plates.
Nick went into the living room and watched Rosalee finish off her glass of wine. "That bad?"
The Fuchsbau's eyes widen at being caught and she let a soft smile form on her lips, "Just a little bit."
Nick nodded before sitting down in nearby chair, "I've thought about it and we're done here. It's not going to work after all." The pout forming his lips an indication of his frustration.
Rosalee was shocked. Granted, that was exactly what she wanted, but to hear Nick give up so quickly was a bit disheartening. She knew that her distaste for the books wasn't held by Nick. For him, these accursed books contained valuable information just as her father's medical journals held for her. Only her father knew how to catalog. "Whatever you think is best."
Nick nodded in agreement before that dopey grin returned to his face. "Yeah, they're a mess. So, I was thinking about scanning it into a PDF or something. You know, something searchable."
In the kitchen, Monroe let out a quiet swear in German that only Rosalee could hear over the clatter of silverware.