The loud, insistent pounding on his front door drew Nick from an unintended nap on the sofa, where he'd apparently drifted off after arriving home from his shift that night. He grimaced, rolling his neck to try to get rid of the crick that had formed there during the – huh, two whole hours! – he'd been sleeping there, as he rose and headed toward the door.
As a second round of impatient knocking began, just as he neared it, Nick hesitated, opening the closet and taking out the small pistol he kept on the shelf inside. Juliette had moved out a week earlier, and he certainly wasn't expecting her anytime soon; Hank was out of town visiting family. Rosalee had just arrived back in town that day, so it was unlikely that Nick would be seeing either her or Monroe anytime that night.
So who was so aggressively – almost angrily – pounding on his door?
He kept the weapon low and almost out of sight as he cautiously opened the door – and was immediately pushed back by the sheer force of the glare of the furious fuchsbau who stormed into his entryway. Monroe was right behind her, an apologetic grimace on his lips as he met Nick's gaze.
"Hey, guys. What's up? I thought you two would be… you know, catching up and all…"
"You used my boyfriend as bait for a pack of hundjager!" Rosalee stated without preface, pointing a slim, graceful finger into Nick's chest.
"Oh." Nick blinked, still a little sleepy and having trouble keeping up. "So… all caught up then, I see. And – boyfriend? Finally. Took you two long…"
"So not the point!" Rosalee snapped. She glanced down then, noting the weapon in Nick's hand, and raised a single eyebrow as she looked up to meet his gaze. "Planning on doing something with that?"
Nick glanced down at it blankly for a moment before his eye widened. "Oh. Oh. Sorry. Didn't expect to see you guys – I mean, I thought it might be someone…" He hesitated, swallowing hard as he pocketed the weapon and concluded weakly, "… dangerous."
"Oh, Nick. Sweetie." Rosalee's eyes flashed with a scary sort of amusement. "You have no idea."
Nick closed his eyes for a moment, frowning, wishing his head was a little clearer for this conversation. He shook his head, pressing thumb and forefinger against his eyes. "Rosalee… what…?"
"You sent him into a room full of hundjager, alone and unarmed, hoping that they'd follow him out of there! And I don't know, probably also hoping that they'd wait to try to kill him until you were there to help? At least I hope you had that much consideration for his safety!"
"I did!" Nick insisted, the pieces finally beginning to fall into place in his mind. "I mean – it wasn't even my…"
His words fell off as he caught Monroe's suddenly panicked gaze over Rosalee's head. Monroe was shaking his head emphatically and drawing a single finger across his own throat in an unmistakable gesture. Nick swallowed hard, looking down at Rosalee again as he concluded.
"I mean… I guess I didn't think… Monroe's fast, and strong, and I thought he could get to me before the hundjagers could get to him…"
"Hundjager is singular and plural," Rosalee corrected him, rolling her eyes with a sigh, some of her anger seeming to fade with Nick's attempt at explanation. "And no, I guess you didn't think, Nick…"
"Rosalee, you know I'd never deliberately put Monroe in danger…"
"And yet, danger always seems to find him when he's with you." Rosalee was still glaring, her pretty lips in a sullen pout, but some of her fury seemed to have deflated. She paused for a moment before adding, "This must be what it'd feel like being with you, too, huh?"
Nick ventured a small, sad smile, lips parted to respond, though he couldn't seem to find the words. The ache in his chest at the thought of Juliette seemed to silence him. Monroe's eyes were knowing as he finally seemed to feel that it was safe to get between them, moving in to place a supportive hand on Nick's shoulder.
"I think he's learned his lesson," he assured Rosalee. "And we'll be more careful in the future. Promise. But… I think Nick's had a really long day, and… we still have some more catching up to do, clearly, and… I think we should get out of here and leave him alone, okay?"
Rosalee frowned, glancing between them with obvious confusion, and Nick realized that Monroe must not have gotten around to telling her about Juliette yet. Finally, she sighed. "Okay," she conceded quietly. "Just… next time you get the brilliant idea to use my boyfriend as bait… don't."
"I won't," Nick assured her. "I'm sorry, Rosalee."
She headed out the door, Monroe behind her, but once he was sure she wasn't looking, Monroe turned around to face Nick, walking backward as he mouthed with exaggerated gratitude and folded hands in front of his chest, "Thank you," and "I'm so sorry!" before turning before Rosalee could notice to join her at the car.
As he returned to the couch and his aborted nap, Nick couldn't help but smile despite the sadness.
His life might be a bit lonelier at the moment… but it would clearly never be boring.