Notes: I've always felt they underplayed just how evil Billy Capra was in Lonelyhearts. The guy kept people in cages! Also, I don't think I've ever seen a TV in Monroe's house on the show but I gave him one anyway because this is the glory that is AU and Monroe strikes me as the type who would have his Programs.
Warnings: Long, heartfelt talks about feelings and stuff, contemplation of off-screen violence, drug use, imprisonment, and the possibility of off screen noncon/rape/impregnation.
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"Television," Monroe grumbled, "has given me a false belief that stakeouts are far more exciting than they are in real life."
Nick didn't bother to look up from whatever he was doodling in his notebook. "I warned you."
He had. Dammit. Monroe poked the Grimm in the side, making him jump. "It's your job to entertain me."
Nick slapped at his hand, glaring. "Why is it my job?"
"Dude, you're a guest in my car. Manners."
"You invited yourself along," Nick reminded him and focused on his work again. "And insisted on driving." After a moment he added, "We could play the Name Game."
"How about not."
"Tic Tac Toe?"
"Ha, I'd wipe the floor with you."
"Truth or Dare?"
"Yeah, because that would end well."
"I've got nothing to hide," Nick said, bringing out a smirk. "I Spy?" he asked and Monroe was sure he wasn't imagining the sly tone.
"I've been warned about you and question games," Monroe informed him. "Hank warned me!"
Nick smiled without looking up and dug a tissue out of his pocket. He'd been fighting a cold all week. "You win one or two or three or nine bets at work and they all think you're cheating. Wu just really sucks at I Spy. He always picks the first blue thing he sees. Always. I paid for the TV in the living room that way."
Monroe laughed and looked out at the street again. It had been misting for most of the day, leaving the blacktop wet and shiny in the light from the streetlamps. Nights like this cut down on visibility even for a blutbad. If they'd been in Nick's SUV he would have been having flashbacks to that night two weeks ago when they pulled him out of that cage. But they weren't in Nick's SUV and he was a grown man who did not have panic attacks because it was raining.
The steering wheel creaked and he realized he was gripping it so tight he'd left finger impressions in it.
Nick looked up at him, frowning a little, but he was tactful enough not to say anything. He gazed out the window for several long moments then he said, "In the letter my Aunt said someone was after her. Any guesses as to who it might be?"
Monroe pointed out, bluntly, "There are a lot of people out there who've lost family to Grimms."
Nick winced and looked away. It was hard to find out you came from a family of serial killers. After a moment he blew a breath out. "She said that they would come after me. You don't think it's a random wesen seeking revenge?"
"Maybe." Monroe tapped a finger on the steering wheel. "There is a group—an order—of wesen dedicated to…eradicating Grimms. They have some big fancy name but we mostly just call them Reapers. They carry these scythes so, yeah, um, Reapers. I think they were originally formed to police the Grimms and hunt down the occasional rogues but now…well, they, uh, live up to their name."
"Great," Nick said bitterly and sniffed hard. "Just when I think this can't get any worse."
"Word is spreading that there's a Grimm in Portland," Monroe said carefully. "And when I say spreading I mean all over the world."
Nick gave him a look of disbelief. "Why would the world care?"
"Because you're a Grimm," Monroe explained in a slow, even tone and didn't add DUH because he thought that might be a little rude. Also, he figured it was implied. "That makes you the Brittney Spears of the wesen world. They're either going to love you or hate you."
Nick gave him the stink eye. "I think I liked it better when you compared me to boy-band singers."
"It's an evolving insult," he explained happily. "Hey, it's also out there that you're not the kind to just behead everyone you come across."
Nick sighed then snuffled into his Kleenex. "Good to know. But eventually these Reapers are going to show up." He paused for a sip of coffee. "Is there someone I can talk to about that?"
"Well, I wouldn't suggest talking to the Reapers."
Nick gave him a no shit look.
"I guess if you could find the local Royal, he might be able to offer some advice on that." Perhaps even protection. Monroe knew a couple people he could ask, maybe get word out there that the Grimm was looking for a meeting.
"Oh yeah. I mean, I've never seen him, but I heard there was a Prince here when I moved in. It was one of the selling points. That and the coffee." Lord knows it wasn't the weather.
Nick looked up at him curiously. "Why?"
"I heard good things from the realtor." It hadn't been easy finding one who was willing to work with a blutbad. "Apparently he's less 'off with your head' and more of a 'don't fuck up and I won't kill you' type."
"And you think this guy would help the situation?"
"That sort of attitude is a huge step up, trust me. My great-grandparents immigrated to America to get away from the royal families and the whole rigmarole of death and destruction that went with them."
Nick stared at him, hair falling into his eyes.
"What? I'm just saying you should talk to this guy. You could use an ally with connections. And even if he's not willing to keep the Reaper's off your back, it wouldn't hurt to know who he is."
"How would I contact him?"
Monroe hummed thoughtfully. "With a Prince it's more like you put out word that you want a meeting and one of his minions will contact you."
Nick's frowny thinking line appeared on his forehead. "How do I put out word?"
"I can ask around. Your eisbiber friends might know. The masons have always been involved in the Families one way or another since before they were the Families." Aware that had come out a little bitter Monroe squinted out the window at a shadowy shape running across the street. It was raining harder now, pounding angrily down on the car, but in the way of weather in the Northwest it probably wouldn't last long.
"Green does not become you," Nick said, looking back down at his notebook, applying pen to paper again. "And they're not my friends. They're terrified of me." He jabbed the pen into the paper hard enough it tore. "Everyone's terrified of me." He paused for a heartbeat. "Or they try to kill me."
Monroe opened his mouth, endeavoring to think of some sort of helpful response to that and came up blank. It was true. Even the eichhörnchen who had approached Nick for help had been so fearful they'd barely been able to get a word out of the normally loquacious wesen. "Hey, the squirrels came to you for help with their neighborhood protection problem. That's a good start."
"You want to know why I really became a cop?" Nick asked softly. "The guy who came to tell me my parents were dead. Notifications are horrible no matter the reason but telling a sixteen year old kid his entire family is gone…." Nick stopped and took a slightly shaky breath. "Afterwards he stopped by occasionally to see how I was doing. Gave me a tour of the station. Took me on ride-alongs a couple times when he was still in patrol. It was interesting and he helped people."
"I knew it!" Monroe crowed triumphantly.
"Nothing. Just won a bet with myself. Sorry. Go on."
Nick had his Monroe is bug-fuck crazy look on but it was a fond more than exasperated look these days. "There's not much more to say."
"No, no I get it. You became a cop because you wanted to help people."
"Yeah, help people. Not scare them to death." One side of his mouth curled up. "Well, I do like scaring the bad guys a leeetle bit." He held up his fingers a gnat's width apart. "That's really useful sometimes. But the rest….. I don't like them looking at me like I would jump them if they breathed wrong."
"Nah, man, that's just because they don't know you yet."
Nick choked on a laugh. "Well, maybe I should throw a party."
Actually…. Monroe hummed thoughtfully. No. No, no, no, that would only end in bloodshed and tears. Unless…..
Silence fell over the car again. He stretched his legs into a more comfortable position and listened to the rain hammering on the roof and Nick's slightly congested breathing. If they sat here much longer they were going to steam up the windows.
"I almost forgot," Nick said abruptly. Digging into his pocket he came out with some sort of metal trinket. "Hank said that when you interviewed the eishexe she claimed she was after the keys."
Nick fiddled with the thing until it unfolded. "Are you sure she said 'keys' plural? Or was it…key?"
"Oh, wow. That is very cool." He took the thing when Nick offered and examined it, opening and closing it a few times. "Antique?"
"No idea," Nick admitted. "It showed up in the mail yesterday."
"Regular mail? From your Aunt."
"Postmarked two days ago."
"Mysterious. You're sure she's dead."
"I sent a sample of the ashes off to get DNA tested just in case."
Monroe fake-coughed, "Paranoid."
Nick shrugged and took the trinket back, folding it up and tucking it in his pocket. "There was a note that said to keep this safe and trust no one."
"Whoa, very X-Files."
Nick rolled his eyes and went back to his drawing. "Does that make you the guy who shows up when there's an X taped on Mulder's window?"
"Ha. I'm much more helpful. Plus you can just call me on my phone."
"Convenient," Nick agreed without looking up. "What I want to know is how the eishexe knew Marie had sent me anything at all. She—or someone—must have been watching her."
"Or got to someone she trusted," Monroe mused. "Maybe your aunt knew she was being watched. Maybe that's why she had this sent separately."
"Maybe." Nick's pen was still but he didn't lift his eyes from the paper. "I wish I could have talked to her."
Monroe tried several responses to that out in his head but none of them sounded right and silence fell again. He should have brought a book. Were books allowed on stakeouts? Nick had pulled out his notebook not long after they had parked and was now working on a fresh page.
Monroe tapped his fingers in a riff from the song he'd practiced yesterday. Maybe some music. He turned the radio on low. Just a little background noise. Yep, should have brought a book.
He took a breath to speak—
"If you're that bored," Nick said before he could open his mouth, "you suggest something then."
"What do you and Hank do when you're on a boring stakeout?"
"Mostly?" Nick glanced up at him. "We talk about work."
Work, huh. He could do that. "So how is the, uh, investigation into the cult going?"
Nick leaned over to grab his coffee out of the cup holder again. "Slow, but we're making progress. Besides the alleged human trafficking, the Feds are looking at him as a suspect in a cluster of serial kidnappings and rapes in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho."
"Wow, he's been…busy."
"Yeah." Nick scowled at his cup. "We're doing our best to keep the investigation circumspect so the guy doesn't rabbit on us. Or pull a Jonestown."
Monroe grimaced at the thought and picked up his own coffee for a long sip. "I'm surprised he didn't make you as a Grimm when you didn't fall at his feet in worshipful adoration." Most wesen would have been on the freeway out of town the minute Nick turned his back.
"Yeah, I've been wondering that too," Nick admitted. "This guy has a new identity in every state. Why hasn't he hit the road already? Even if he didn't realize I was a Grimm."
"Maybe he doesn't think he will get caught. Ziegevolk are used to getting their way."
Nick shook his head. "Maybe. His ego is big enough. But this guy has a history of abandoning ship when things get hot. Over the past six years seventeen women in four states have all turned up pregnant with little to no memory of how they got that way. When they ran DNA it came back identical in every case. They all had the same father." He dropped his own coffee back in the cup holder. "How could you look at your child every day knowing that?"
Monroe shook his head. He wondered if Capra had stuck with impregnating human women who wouldn't know what kind of baby it was. "You know you aren't going to be able to arrest him. Or well, you can, but he'll get out of it one way other another. Ziegevolk don't go to jail. The only way to deal with them is—" He mimed a cutting motion across his throat with the hand holding the coffee cup.
"I know," Nick muttered. He focused hard on the expanse of wet street. "I've known since that day Capra shook my hand. I guess it had to happen at some point."
"What had to happen?"
A muscle twitched in his jaw. "That the Grimm would win over the cop."
Damn, he had the big, angsty eyes going, like the world had personally stepped on his pet cricket or something.
"A couple years after graduation," Nick said softly, "one of my classmates from the academy was involved in an…altercation during a traffic stop. Pulled the guy over to tell him his headlight wasn't working and the guy got out of the truck with a hunting rifle in his hands."
"Well that's not smart."
Nick huffed a weak laugh. "Not so much no. Afterwards they found out the guy had no criminal record, no history of violence, no trouble in his family life, no drugs or alcohol in his system. No one knows why he wouldn't put the gun down. We went out for a beer a couple months ago. He said he still wakes up sweating over whether he did the right thing."
"I'm sure it will get easier after the first time," Monroe suggested then winced because…yeah, that probably wasn't particularly reassuring. "But at least you know it is the right thing to do. This guy has gone large scale. Imagine how many people he would hurt if you don't get rid of him…permanently."
Nick nodded but Monroe figured it was an acknowledgement that he'd heard not that he found Monroe's advice useful or comforting.
A new scent drifted through the crack he'd left in the window, distracting him from the conversation.
"You got something?" Nick asked, straightening.
"Maybe." He took a couple deep sniffs. The rain had eased up and the heavy smell of wet pavement permeated the air. "Nah, just another eichhörnchen. The whole neighborhood is probably full of them."
Nick sighed and slumped back into the seat. "Tell me about them."
"Yes. They came to me for help." Snuffle. "I want to know more about them."
"Well, they've very squirrel…like. They flit around and do…squirrel things."
"Thorough, Monroe, very thorough."
"I don't exactly hang out with them," Monroe grumped. "Eichhörnchen and blutbad? That's just a snack waiting to happen."
Monroe chuckled. He was so easy. "They're territorial. Easily startled, but you don't want to corner them. Man, one of the guys from group got into a spat with one at the bar." Monroe chuckled at the memory. "He looked like he'd been scratched up by an angriff-katze. And they like the upper floors of buildings. You usually find them living next to parks. Usually in groups."
Nick nodded. "So. Squirrel-like."
"That's what I'm saying." Thinking about squirrels made him hungry. He dug into his snack bag and pulled out a can of peanuts.
Nick blew out a heavy breath. "Half an hour and I'm calling it."
"The weather's horrible. Maybe they're not out tonight."
"I doubt their boss will accept rain as an excuse not collecting this month's protection money." He shook his head when Monroe offered the peanuts, which Monroe was grateful for because Nick probably would put up a fuss about Monroe pouring them into his hand. No way was he letting those germ infested digits near his nuts.
Silence settled in. Again. Broken by an occasional sniffle and, very faintly, someone's car alarm from two streets over.
Monroe broke first. "Alright fine. I Spy with my little eye—"
"Bad guys," Nick interrupted. He pointed.
"Actually I was going to say the mailbox but I like that better. Is that them?"
Nick grabbed the photos off the dash, angling them into the light from the street lamp just down the street. They were grainy and angled too high for a good look at the faces but…. "That's them," Nick said confidently.
Monroe got a whiff through the open window. "They certainly smell like gekautvicious."
Nick tucked the photos into his coat pocket. "I'm going to talk to them. You—" he stabbed a demanding finger in Monroe's direction, "—stay in the car."
"Oh sure." Monroe held up both hands to declare his intent to never get out of the car again. "Bystander here. You go," he waved a hand, "go…get your Grimm on."
Nick stared at him, one leg out the door. "Get your Grimm on? Really?"
"Just go threaten them so we can wrap this up and I can go home." He gave Nick a helpful little push to get him going.
The Grimm stumbled and grabbed for the door to keep from face planting onto the cement. Leaning down he glared at Monroe who made a little GO gesture with his fingers.
The two gekautvicious had stopped and were watching them half wary, half amused and not at all suspecting they were about to be confronted by a monster straight out of their worst nightmare.
Nick sneezed. He reached in to retrieve his tissue where it had fallen, glared at Monroe again, and slammed the door far harder than was necessary, and stalked off towards the two wesen. He started talking to them, using that calm, quiet voice he brought out for small children and people who really pissed him of and Monroe couldn't make out what he was saying over the hiss of rain and rumbled of a passing delivery truck but he could guess as he watched Nick show them his badge.
That was where things began to go wrong.
It wasn't surprising really. Things tended to go wrong when a Grimm and two law-breaking wesen were brought together on a dark and stormy night. So, so wrong. In this case it involved the two wesen bolting into the nearest alley while Nick yelled at them to stop and halt and freeze and pulled his gun.
Monroe sighed and got out of the car, hurrying after them. This was going to end badly, he just knew it. The sound of a gunshot had him stepping up the pace. Yep, going to end badly.
He rounded the corner expecting blood and guts and multiple gunshot wounds.
And found both suspects on their bellies on the ground. Nick had one handcuffed already and was kneeling on the other one, hauling his hands behind his back.
Okay, that he was not expecting. "Whoa, dude." The handcuffed one was babbling something about how he should have listened to his mama and stayed in Pensacola. "I'm impressed."
"Again with the getting out of the car," Nick said mildly, pulling out a zip tie to secure the second perp.
"I thought you might need help." He walked a few steps closer, taking care to stay out of the way.
Nick yanked the zip tie tight and looked up with a smile. "Thanks, but I've got it."
"I see that." Monroe felt an unfamiliar welling in his chest; his little Grimm was growing up.
"You don't need to sound so surprised," Nick said, leaning towards aggravated but it was ruined by a sniffle. "I actually do this for a living you know."
"But your arrests before," Monroe objected, "didn't include people who were stronger and faster than you. Or, okay, I suppose they did, you just didn't know it."
Nick stood, wiping uselessly at the wet patches on his jeans. "Yeah, the good old days when we just assumed everyone weird was on drugs and had an excuse for not stopping when the guy with the gun and the badge told them to." The last part he directed towards the two men on the ground.
"Does that ever actually work?" Monroe asked.
"Sometimes." He added mockingly, "I thought about telling them to stop or I would release the dog but I figured you wouldn't appreciate it."
"Do you suppose I could become a K9 officer now?" Nick asked grinning broad enough Monroe could see his teeth in the faint light. "I've heard they make more money."
Monroe huffed. "Maybe then you could buy the beer once in a while."
"Ha. Do me a favor and watch these guys while I call it in. Unless you want to haul them down to the station in your car."
Monroe moved closer. "Ha, like I'd let a gekautvicious anywhere near my upholstery. I'd never get the stink out."
The handcuffed wesen hissed at him, showing sharp teeth and a long forked tongue. Monroe growled back, flashing red eyes.
"Hey! Both of you! Stop it!" Nick stood, deliberately bumping into Monroe hard enough to knock him back half a step. "Just watch them." He pulled out his cell phone and moved down the alley a bit to make the call.
It turned out that there was a lot of paperwork involved when a police officer fired his weapon even if no one was shot. He's missed out on that during the eishexe case.
When Nick's boss showed up, Monroe retreated to his car, determined to stay there unless someone came and made him get out. There was something about that man that made Monroe's hackles stand at attention. It didn't help that every time Renard saw him there was a little pause in whatever he was doing as if he was surprised all over again that Monroe existed. It gave him the heebie-jeebies.
Eventually Nick came over and knocked on the window until he rolled it down. "You might as well head on home." They're falling all over themselves to be the first to roll over on their boss so Renard is calling in an ADA and getting the paperwork started. We'll be serving warrants on at least two more people before morning."
"You want me to stick around and give you a lift?" Monroe asked because it was the polite thing to do not because he wanted to hang around with a dozen cops and Nick's scary boss staring at him.
"Nah, I'll catch a ride. Come down tomorrow morning. We'll need a statement."
"Sure, man. What time?"
"Whenever you're up." He leaned a little closer. "Thanks for the backup."
"Next time it's Hank's turn," Monroe told him. He wouldn't have been there at all if Hank called to say he was down with the Hantavirus or stomach flu or something equally horrible that he had undoubtedly passed on to Nick and would Monroe take over for him.
Nick got a look on his face that usually meant he was going to say something stupid about being a grownup and not needing a babysitter which was, well, stupid because gekautvicious were mean bastards who had been known to cannibalize their own dead. The last time they'd let Nick go out on his own he'd ended up with a sprained finger, a mild concussion, and a pathetically thin cover story about an attempted mugging while he was jogging. Alone. At night. In a park across town from his house.
"Don't give me that look, Monroe," he said instead. He thumped the car door once and pushed off. "Thanks again."
"Hey." Monroe handed him the travel pack of Kleenex he kept in the car. "And take this." He grabbed a scarf from the back seat. "Don't stay out in the cold too long," he ordered and rolled up the window, wiping at the door where the rain had gotten in.
When he got home he couldn't sit still. He'd gone into the alley expecting a fight and ended up standing around while Nick did all the work. Adrenaline made his hands shaky as he poured a glass of water and drank it straight down. There was no way he was going to sleep like this. With a sigh he gave in and changed into clothes he didn't mind ruining and headed for the park across the street.
It wasn't the first time he'd ended up needing a run to settle his nerves after one of his extracurricular activities. He sincerely doubted it would be the last.