Just summat silly, really... usual disclaimer, I do not own any of Grimm's characters, which is a crying shame. This is a planned part 1 of 2. Or maybe three. Depends on how long the queue of awkward wesen gets in the next chapter, and how Hilde the Nilpherdine behaves.
More than anything else, it was like a vicious hangover without the alcohol, which seemed monumentally unfair. Nick ached everywhere. His throat felt blocked, his eyes burned and coughing was little less than periodical torture: the equivalent of being tied up every ten minutes and kicked witless by a sadist with a passion for interval training. He gripped the edge of the sofa until the last splutters had died away and his head stopped ringing.
His head didn't stop ringing. And neither did the doorbell. He eased himself to his feet and trudged over to answer it because clearly nothing short of the sight of his dead body would stop Monroe dragging him out the house today. He pulled the door open and Monroe bounded through, all sarcastic energy and blonde beard.
"Leaflets are out, crowds are in and, ideally, we're taking a tonne of money today! I've been sponsored $600 alone for the beard and Rosie's absolutely stoked. She had about 200 emails from people saying they'd come along and leave a donation, even if they weren't really going to join in with …everything. Nick, you're not dressed. Where are your clothes?"
Nick pointed resignedly at a heap on the armchair.
"No way are you wearing those! They look like a Dirkhellig's rolled over them. You have another two minutes to lie down and moan while I gather appropriate apparel."
Nick took him up on his offer and cocooned himself in his quilt, a warm and safe pit of denial. He had no idea where Monroe had gone – he expected feet running around upstairs – but all was silent. He would get it together. He would. The wellness centre was important: outside, Rosie's place would be a shiny new apothecary with homeopathic remedies, ear candles – though he couldn't really see how they were a selling point – and massage. Downstairs, she was cleaning out her brother's godawful organstock to build a field hospital for wesen whose immune systems had prevented them from keeping their human form. He'd seen the effects of Rosalee's treatments – she'd saved Wu, and Hank, and the idea that wesen sufferers knew they could come to her in medical emergency was critically important. They wanted him there. He wanted to be there. He just didn't want it to be today.
Monroe took far less than the advertised two minutes to reappear, and Nick felt the big hand finding a gap in the quilt and ruffling his hair. He could've bitten it, quite frankly.
"Are you coming out, or must I unroll you by force?"
Nick climbed out of his pit, feeling like a rabid bat. At the sight of the oncoming vest, he flicked his arms up in surrender, stuck head and neck through the right holes, and succumbed to being sprayed and shirted. His jeans, he put on himself, but he needed Monroe's help for his boots as bending made him cough like a dervish.
Monroe beamed. "To the batmobile!"
Nick grabbed a can of Pepsi from the fridge for a much-needed energy boost and trailed Monroe out the door. "When did you get so….bouncy? And merciless?"
"Truth is," Monroe muttered, belting up and starting the engine, "I don't plan to look at you too closely. I mean, it's blatantly obvious you have flu , so I'm going to be merciless and bouncy, because there's no way on earth I'm taking responsibility for being the one to suggest you bow out today."
"Right. So you're on cheerleading duties."
"Something like that. But in view of the fact that Rosie doesn't actually know you're sick….. not really duties, as such, more tactics. Can you suck it up for me today, please?"
Nick smarted. Didn't he usually 'suck it up'? Jeez the guy was in a mood: usually he was ripping him a new asshole for hiding problems from him. Now, all of a sudden, he was being painted as the ultimate big girl's blouse. He opened the window a fraction and let some breeze in, which cooled his mood a little.
"Ok – so what do you need me to do?"
"Well, in view of the rather, ah... unique role you've played in bringing our various wesen communities together, we thought we'd go for an event that gives you a cameo role, and local donors a chance to say hi, and..."
"And express their welcome. And stuff."
Well, that didn't sound too much like torture. Nick closed his eyes and rested back in the shotgun seat. "Can I do whatever it is sitting down?"
"Oh yeah! It's part of the deal! In fact, we've got a special seat in just for you."
Nick had a horrible thought: expressed it: "It's not a ducking stool, is it?"
"No! What do you think we are? That'd be mean. We've gone for something nice and gentle. 'Give a Grimm a hug.'"
Nick sat bolt upright: coughing, gasping and incredulous, remembering the 200-people that Monroe had mentioned. "What? You said 'cameo', you hairy ass! That sounds kinda centrepiece to me!"
"Sure, you'll be popular, but there's loads of stuff going on!"
"Like what? Stroke a Siegbarste? Guess the weight of the hexenbiest –get your own free lifetime curse if you overestimate?"
Monroe's knuckles tightened on the wheel. "I think we've established that you're not feeling yourself, but you'll need to lighten up before we arrive. Rosie's put a lot of work into this and it really will be as much for you as everyone else, so….don't waste it all for her, ok?"
"Fine." Nick slumped back, hating himself for letting flu turn him into a brat. And slightly hating Monroe for making it patently obvious that he was acting like a brat. He took a deep breath, trying to welcome his more optimistic side back in (it sort of got booted out the first day the flu did its home invasion) and felt a lancing pain halfway up his ribs on his right side that made him squeeze his eyes shut and clench seat leather in his hands.
This was new. The reigning sensation up to this point had been a deep, bruising ache in his right side that kind of sat there like an unwanted houseguest until he coughed, at which point the ache developed an overstayer's conscience and leapt up to sandpaper the walls to make his chest nice and clean for new pain and interesting pains to move in. The idea of 200 hugs... he moaned quietly to himself. "I'll make it through today, but I think this might actually be a chest infection."
Monroe broke wind: deliberately, energetically... and as it transpired... thoroughly.
"Sorry, don't mind me, I'm just trying to cover up the smell of burning martyr!"
"I was just thinking about the hug element! What if there's a big group of Jagerbar?"
"Nothing wrong with a bearhug. Now quit whining, you're making me nervous."
"How about 'Give a Grimm a break'?" Nick tried to lighten the tone and just... got the pitch horribly wrong. He could see Monroe's knuckles furring over.
"I'm considering 'Give a Grimm a slap', right now..."
"How about... LEAVE A GRIMM ALONE?" Nick knew as soon as it was out of his mouth, ten times louder than he'd ever intended, that he'd hit his foot on a friendship boundary wire and the bomb was about to blow up in his face. Monroe did a handbrake turn into a sideroad and snapped the engine off, his face full of thunder. Nick had his hands up in supplication and apology before Monroe even opened his mouth, but the guy clearly had things to say.
"You really want to be left alone? You're feeling like we're high-maintenance?"
"No-" Oh shit...
"Well let's look at you – calls at unearthly hours, half-dead friends that need fixing at a moment's notice, living out of my pocket without so much as a 'good evening' before you barge in going 'so, what's a hippo wesen?' or whatever the query of the day may be, long evenings in your terrible, terrible caravan with lighting that would disappoint a hominid, let alone a normal guy... and you... you... never hang the towels up when you've finished using them!"
Nick still had his hands up and waited for Monroe to shift back. "I'm sorry about the towels."
"Screw the towels!"
"I was working backwards. Do I really not say 'good evening', ever?"
Monroe looked grudging. "You say 'hey' when you come in. But I wish you would say 'bye' before you hang up, or at least let me get to say stuff. It's very Fox Mulder to just snap the phone shut when you've said what you need to say, and I'm not Scully, right? Her busy schedule might have hardened her to half information and hang-ups, but I do not want to hear 'beware the cologne-wearing Coyotl – CLICK' and find myself talking to my cell like a lemon when I might have questions to ask, like 'what type?'. Sort that out, please. It would mean a lot to me."
"Ok..." Nick summarised. "Remember towels, enter house with more ceremony, do not leave Monroe looking like a lemon."
"Feeling like a lemon."
Nick's lips twitched. Monroe had reached the point where he was trying to stay mad and wasn't doing a fantastic job of it. But he apologised, sincerely. Seemed he hadn't been as gracious about his friend's help as he could've been. He hoped Rosie didn't feel the same way.
Monroe re-started the engine, confused a chevy by reversing left into the road doing forty-from-nothing, and hurtled off to the spice shop. He drove like a dervish for a few minutes, bent over the steering wheel like he was trying to negotiate tiny traffic on the bonnet rather than reasonable traffic on the road, where it belonged. Eventually, he seemed to cool off. "To tell you the truth, I need company for this beard.
"I draw the line at growing a yellow beard, however good the cause."
"No! I mean I need someone else to look as much an ass as I will."
Nick felt that this was less than noble. "It's 'just for one day', isn't it?"
"For you, yeah. Unfortunately part of my deal is that I don't get to shave it off. It's got to grow out." Monroe mumbled unhappily to himself. "I'm going to look like goddamn bee."