Five Months Ago...
Nick frowned as Hank pulled into the parking lot of Armin's Greenhouse and parked between Monroe's unmistakable yellow Volkswagen and a white delivery van. He stared at the Volkswagen, as if its sunny exterior would offer up some explanation for its – and by extension, Monroe's – presence. It didn't. He glanced at the interior as he got out of Hank's car, but that didn't offer any clues either.
"Something wrong?" Hank asked.
Nick glanced at Hank and then back at the Volkswagen. He shook his head. "Monroe's here."
"Monroe?" There was no recognition on Hank's face. It was probably better that he didn't remember. The less crossover between his life as a cop and his life as a Grimm, the better.
"The watchmaker consultant. From the Stark case."
"Oh, right." Hank squinted at the building. It looked like a normal enough shop. The front half was a large greenhouse with opaque blue glass. There was a large, sprawling house attached to the rear of the shop, presumably belonging to the owner. "Did you call him?"
"No. I didn't." That was the worrisome part. They had two dead women, no sign of how they died, and no connection between them aside from this shop. The shop was located on the outskirts of town, off of an easily-overlooked side road. There were no other businesses or residences within easy walking distance. The entire place was surrounded by thick forest. It seemed like the perfect setup for a Wesen front, which made him think Monroe's presence wasn't a coincidence.
He really hoped Monroe wasn't mixed up in this case. He didn't want to see Monroe become another victim, or worse, have him as a suspect. Again.
"Maybe he needed some tomatoes," Hank said with a shrug. The significance of Monroe being here was lost on him.
Nick wished he could tell Hank what was really going on. He hated keeping secrets and it was hard living a double life, keeping the whole truth away from the people closest to him. But there was no way Hank would understand. He'd say Nick was crazy, maybe try to have him locked up. Then who would stop the Wesen that got out of control? It was better to keep Hank – and everyone else – in the dark.
Nick kept his hand on his holster as he followed Hank into the shop. The chime above the door announced their presence, though they hardly needed it. The shop was empty save for a short, thin man stooped over a table full of exotic pink flowers. There were rows and rows of plants filling the greenhouse. Black plastic containers covered the makeshift tables, which were nothing more than long sheets of plywood held up by sawhorses. More plants hung from the rafters, their blossoms stretching down towards their brethren bellow. The air was full of a heady mix of fragrances, so many that the combination of them all made Nick's head ache. He wanted to step outside for fresh air but they'd only just arrived.
The man straightened and grinned at them. His head barely reached Nick's shoulder but there was something off about him, some quality that made him intimidating despite his stature. Nick didn't like the way the man smiled, like a shark about to attack its prey. Nick would bet good money that this man was a Wesen. "Good afternoon, detectives. How can I help you?"
Nick frowned. They hadn't told the man who they were, so how did he know they were detectives? "Have we met?"
The man – presumably the proprietor, Armin – shook his head. "No, but I've seen you before." Armin's eyes were on Nick as he spoke, subtly excluding Hank from the conversation. Nick was now certain that Armin was a Wesen, and he knew that Nick was a Grimm. "In the newspaper. There was an article about those poor kids who had their organs removed." Armin's tone held no pity for those 'poor kids'. His lips twitched as if he was trying to keep from grinning.
Nick kept his eyes on Armin as he moved further into the shop. There was definitely something off about this guy. If he was a Wesen, he wasn't showing it, at least not yet. Maybe he wasn't one. Sometimes creeps were just creeps. Usually when Nick was involved, it was more complicated than that.
Hank frowned in that peculiar way he did when he was on to something. He moved to the side, crossing down two rows to finger the green and orange leaves of a particular plant. They'd seen one just like it in the first victim's apartment. "We wanted to ask you a few questions," Hank said.
The ache in Nick's head was growing. Judging by the grimace on Hank's face, he was having similar problems with the smell.
"These plants..." Hank paused and shook his head, like he was trying to shake himself awake. "I saw one just like this at the house of a lady that was murdered."
Was it just Nick or was the smell getting stronger? And where was Monroe? Shouldn't he be in the greenhouse looking at the plants?
"Murder?" Armin couldn't hid his smile as he said the word. "How terrible."
A wave of dizziness washed over Nick. He reached out to steady himself on one of the tables. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Hank do the same.
"What..." It was hard to talk. His words came out slurred. "The flowers."
"Ah, yes." Armin took a step closer and waved his hands towards the baskets hanging from the rafters. "They're my own special breed." He paused and stared at Hank. A second later, as if on cue, Hank collapsed to the ground. Nick tried to pull his gun but his hand wouldn't work right. He fumbled with the catch to his holster. It wouldn't open. "Their effect is different depending on the species."
Nick's knees hit bare earth. He stared up at Armin.
"Unfortunately for your friend here, humans cannot withstand the smell." Armin grinned in Hank's direction. "I'm afraid he'll be unconscious for quite some time. Comes with a nasty headache afterwards. Poor thing."
Nick couldn't move. He tried but his body wouldn't respond. It was like he was stuck in invisible concrete, not able to even twitch a finger. Armin crouched in front of him, still smiling.
"For Grimms, it acts as a paralytic. Fortunately for your kind, you need quite a lot of the fragrance in a small space for it to be of any effect, so it's not really practical. At least, not usually." Armin gestured around the room again. "I happen to have been prepared." He tilted his head as he observed Nick. "Funny thing, biology. Grimms are so close to human, but there's just that little bit of difference that makes you special. Not quite human, not quite Wesen." Armin leaned back on his heels. "I know what you're thinking. You should have brought your Wesen friend." Armin stood with a bounce. "I took care of that for you." He turned towards the back of the greenhouse. "Oh, Mr. Monroe. Do come out and say hello."
The door at the back of the shop opened, giving Nick a brief glimpse of an office and a broken clock sitting on the desk. Monroe stepped out but there was something wrong with him. He moved like a zombie, his face blank and expressionless. He didn't even look at Nick. Instead, his attention was fixed on Armin, like he was the only thing in the world. The brief hope Nick had of rescue died.
Armin waved an arm expansively towards Monroe. "Now, Wesen are a different puzzle. Different breeds act differently. With my kind," his face shifted into an ant-like shape and then back to human, "it's sort of an upper. Makes us happy, complacent, full of well-being. Usually." Nick guessed that that complacent well-being didn't extend to Armin. "With his kind," Armin looked meaningfully at Monroe, "it kicks up their primal urges, sending them deep under the thrall of their basest urges. Which means it makes their natural instinct for violence that much stronger. It also makes them incredibly mindless and obedient, which works out just wonderful for me. Isn't that right, Mr. Monroe?"
Monroe stared blankly.
Armin frowned. "You're supposed to nod here."
Monroe obediently nodded. Nick wanted to yell at Monroe, to somehow make him snap out of it. The empty expression on Monroe's face made Nick's chest ache. He hated it, and in that instant he hated Armin for doing that to Monroe. His own situation he could almost forgive – he was a Grimm, it was his job to face off against guys like Armin – but he couldn't stand seeing Monroe being used like a puppet.
Armin's grin widened to maniacal proportions. "And now that I've gloated, kill him."
He didn't have time to blink, even if he'd been able to. Monroe's face rippled, changing from man to beast as he tackled Nick, sending them both sprawling to the ground. He couldn't fight back. His arms wouldn't move, no matter how hard he tried. Even with his gun still strapped to his hip, he was utterly defenseless. Monroe's sharp Blutbad teeth cut into his neck, but it didn't feel real. It felt like this was happening to someone else and he wasn't in danger, not really. At some point he'd foolishly stopped associating Monroe with danger. He'd connected with Monroe. They were friends. He felt safe around him, even now. That didn't change the reality of what was about to happen. He braced himself against the inevitable pain of having his throat ripped out.
It didn't come.
Monroe was a heavy weight on top of him, heavier now in this form than in his human form, not that Nick had much experience with Monroe being on top of him. Even without the paralysis, Nick wouldn't have been able to move. Monroe had him completely pinned. Monroe's breath was warm against Nick's face and neck. There was blood rolling down his throat in slow drops, like warm tears on his neck. Monroe sniffed twice and then his teeth relaxed just a fraction, still holding, but not tearing him apart.
For a second, he had hope that Monroe was fighting off the effects of the flowers. Then Monroe shifted, rubbing his body against Nick's with a low growl and pressing his very obvious erection between Nick's thighs.
If Nick's eyes could widen they would. This was not what he expected. Not from Monroe, not ever. Monroe's hips shifted again, distracting Nick from his thoughts as Monroe slowly built up a steady grinding rhythm. It might have been hot if Nick wasn't paralyzed. He wasn't sure if he wanted to crawl away or to press up into the heat of Monroe's body and wrap his legs around Monroe's waist. But it didn't matter what he wanted. He couldn't do or say anything to stop it. He was completely at Monroe's mercy.
"What are you doing?" Armin sounded confused. Nick didn't blame him. He was more than a little confused himself. "Kill him."
Monroe growled, low and menacing. The sound reverberated through Nick's skin like an almost-shiver. He felt warm and faintly aroused. Monroe's hips ground down harder. Nick could hear the dirt on either side of his head crumbling as Monroe dug his claws in.
Loud, stomping footsteps came closer, making the earth beneath Nick shake. He heard something metal drag on the ground. There was a pause. Something moved towards them with a loud whoosh of displaced air. The teeth on his neck were suddenly gone and Nick almost mourned their loss. Monroe twisted with a roar, moving too fast to see more than a blur of teeth and fur. His eyes flashed red as he caught the hoe Armin swung at them with one hand. Monroe squeezed his fist, snapping the hoe in half. Armin stared wide-eyed as Monroe lunged the short distance remaining between them and dug his claws into the front of Armin's shirt. Blood seeped into the fabric around Monroe's claws. Nick watched, helpless, as Monroe tossed Armin over Nick's head.
There was a loud crash and the sound of shattering glass. He heard a sickening thud as Armin impacted on something – likely the hood of a car, hopefully not Hank's – and then a second thud a few seconds later as Armin slid to the ground. Silence fell. Monroe stared past Nick, his eyes red and focused. It didn't sound like Armin was moving. Nick assumed Armin was dead. He had no idea how he was going to explain Armin's injuries to the Captain, assuming he lived long enough to need to explain.
He forgot about Armin and explanations as Monroe turned his blood red eyes back to Nick. There was hunger in his eyes, but Nick doubted Monroe had any intention of eating him. It was a different kind of hunger, made all the more obvious by the erection tenting Monroe's pants. Armin's death didn't even seem to faze Monroe. If anything, he looked even more turned on.
Monroe lowered himself back down to all fours and leaned close. His breath was warm on Nick's neck. Monroe inhaled deeply. Nick wondered if it was the flowers doing this to Monroe or if it was Nick. Maybe he was just a warm body in the wrong place at the wrong time. Monroe nosed Nick's head to the side and then lapped up the blood that had spilled down Nick's neck before nipping lightly at a spot just below Nick's ear. Monroe's hand caressed Nick's check. The touch would have felt gentle if it weren't for the wet smear of blood left behind. Monroe sniffed at Nick once more. His breath tickled Nick's ear.
Clawed hands flipped Nick over. He heard fabric tear, but that seemed inconsequential when Monroe was pressing himself against Nick's body like a Blutbad blanket. Monroe growled against the back of Nick's neck. It didn't come off as a threatening growl, but rather a possessive one – loudly proclaiming 'this is mine'. The sound went straight to Nick's groin. He knew he shouldn't be turned on by it, not when Monroe had probably just killed a man and Hank was lying unconscious a few feet away, but he couldn't help it. Monroe was hard as steel and grinding himself against Nick's ass. While it wasn't quite fantasy material, Nick had had more than a few wet dreams that started off in similar, though much less violent, situations.
Monroe's nose rubbed against the back of his neck. Monroe was panting like an animal in heat and Nick wondered if that was an unexpected side-effect of the flowers. Then Monroe's sharp teeth closed on his neck, gently this time, and all he could think about was the feel of Monroe's teeth on his skin.
Large hands closed on either side of his belt and snapped the leather in half before shoving down Nick's pants and underwear. The fabric scraped raw over his skin, making his hips burn. The cold air against his suddenly exposed flesh made him feel like he should be shivering but his body wouldn't move. Monroe growled again. Nick heard fabric rip and then Monroe was pressing against him again, his fur tickling Nick's bare ass. He gasped as Monroe's thick erection slid between his cheeks. The sound escaped as a bare whisper but it was more than he'd expected.
His eyes actually moved as he tried to look up. The front of the greenhouse was a mess of broken glass. There was a large hole where Armin had gone through it. Fresh air was slowly dissipating the strange fragrance. Hopefully that meant that its control over Monroe and Nick would be over soon.
Not soon enough though. Monroe's hands closed on Nick's hips, his claws digging in hard enough to draw blood. It hurt, pulling another small whisper of sound from his lips. His hips were pulled up and back with a sharp jerk. Pain pierced Nick. He screamed. It came out like a muffled groan. He felt like he was being ripped apart from the inside. He wanted to run, to flinch away from the pain, but his body still wouldn't move.
Then Monroe rolled his hips and Nick nearly blacked out. He was acutely aware of Monroe's presence inside of him, hot and thick and impossibly large. If he could talk, he would have told Monroe to stop. There was a small part of him that didn't want Monroe to stop, that relished in the feeling of Monroe inside of him, holding Nick down with his teeth and taking him. He definitely wished Monroe had used lube or at least waited until Nick's body relaxed enough for it not to hurt so much. But his wants were irrelevant. He couldn't ask and he couldn't pull away.
Monroe didn't wait. He started moving immediately, shoving his way deep into Nick in fast, hard thrusts. Monroe groaned against Nick's neck. His teeth held Nick tight, making sure he didn't go anywhere, even if he could. Nick would have an impressive collection of bruises later, possibly a few scars. He could feel small trickles of blood running down his necks and thighs. Every push of Monroe's hips overwhelmed Nick with emotions, pain and want and self-loathing twisting in his belly and making his skin burn from the inside out.
Monroe grunted on each thrust. He was fucking Nick like an animal in rut. Nick supposed that was as accurate a description as any. His hands slowly curled, balling into fists in the dirt, right over where Monroe's claws had torn it up earlier. He could feel tears forming on his face, not quite falling but lingering there, on the verge of shedding. His breath came out in heavy pants each time Monroe shoved into him, the force of his movement hard enough to inch Nick forward on the ground. Monroe's hard grip on his neck and hips kept him from going far and he really shouldn't like being held down as much as he did.
He was painfully aware of his own erection. He felt guilty and ashamed, like he shouldn't have one, but there was no stopping his body's reaction. The pain was fading with each thrust and beneath it was a strange want, boiling hot inside the core of him. He physically couldn't resist but the way Monroe held him, hard and fast and powerful, made Nick not want to resist. He wanted to give himself over to Monroe, though he would have preferred less pain involved.
At some point his eyes had closed and he'd tilted his head down. All thought of fighting had left him. He was done. He wanted... he wasn't sure what he wanted but this was what he was getting and it was so tantalizingly close to something he could see himself wanting. He was submitting automatically, the same instinctive way he did for Juliette when she was in a domineering mood, and he could tell by the way Monroe growled and thrust harder that Monroe liked it. He could feel his body opening up for Monroe, stretching to accommodate him.
Surprise and disappointment flashed through him as Monroe let go of his neck. Nick turned his head to the side, watching as Monroe arched his back, shoving deep into Nick with a howl. He felt hot, wet seed fill him and then something else. Nick's eyes widened as Monroe swelled inside of him, like a water balloon filling thick and hot in his ass. Monroe's seed continued to pour into him. He gasped and moaned, turning his face into the dirt as he was opened painfully wide.
Monroe sat back on his heels and that minute shift caused the hard knot inside of Nick to tug on his entrance. Pain sizzled up his spine, making him hiss, and it was a moment before he realized they were stuck. Monroe was stuck in him, pouring himself into Nick like he'd never stop. He turned, looking back over his shoulder at Monroe, still in full Blutbad form. Monroe was panting, eyes fixed on the ceiling in obvious ecstasy.
Nick was so hard it hurt but if he could move then Hank would be waking up soon, if he wasn't already. Nick peered under the tables. Hank's eyes were still closed. Good. That gave them a bit of time.
He turned back to Monroe. It hurt to move, every shift pulling against where they were joined, but at the same time Nick felt a small thrill of pleasure from it. "Monroe!" There was no response. "Monroe!"
On the fifth try, Monroe actually looked at him. His eyes were glassy and dazed. He stared at Nick uncomprehendingly for a minute and then shook his head. "Nick?"
Monroe shifted his weight on his knees and Nick felt his eyes roll back. He groaned, far too loud for his liking with a sleeping Hank nearby.
"Oh. Oh, god. Nick!" Monroe jerked back, pulling Nick with him. They both moaned that time. Horror flashed across Monroe's face, quickly replaced by a mix of panic and guilt, and Nick couldn't help but feel strangely hurt at the horrified way Monroe looked at him. "Shit. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I-"
"Monroe!" Nick cut Monroe's tirade off with a hiss. They had more pressing things to deal with than Monroe freaking out. If anyone should be freaking out, it was Nick. "We can talk about that later. Right now, you need to get out of me."
Monroe's face flushed red, but otherwise showed no sign of shifting back to human. "About that... that's gonna take a minute."
Nick groaned. He felt strangely full and yet Monroe's seed continued to pour into him. Monroe's cock twitched with each spurt of come. "How long?"
Monroe shifted again and Nick couldn't help the loud, wanton moan that escaped him. God, that felt good. He wondered what the odds of getting Monroe to do something like that again, with copious amounts of lube and no audience. Probably not good, judging by the terrified expression on Monroe's face every time Nick made any sort of noise.
"I'm really, really sorry."
"Later," Nick snapped. He fought back the urge to pant. He desperately wanted to take himself in hand but they didn't have time.
"Not long. It's almost over." Monroe's hand tentatively touched Nick's bare back and then pulled away. "Not long."
A groan sounded from across the room. Nick's blood went cold and he turned, wide-eyed, to stare at Hank. His eyes were still closed but he was definitely coming around.
"Monroe," he hissed.
As if on cue, the knot inside of him shrank. Nick ached at its loss but he wasn't too sad when Monroe pulled out. Come leaked out of him, running down his legs.
"Sorry. Sorry." Monroe grabbed a cloth out of his pocket and wiped off Nick's ass before Nick could tell him not to. Nick shivered and pulled away.
His legs shook as he used a table to rise up to his knees. "I think it'd be best if you got out of here before Hank wakes up."
Monroe paled but he didn't argue. He nodded once and then stood, pulling his pants up and holding them closed with one hand. He darted into the open house, grabbed a toolkit off of the desk, and scurried out the broken remains of the front of the greenhouse. Nick felt disappointed as he watched Monroe go.
He had his pants back in place by the time Hank woke up. They were torn in parts and his shirt was a mess but he could blame that on Armin. Nick had to use one of the tables to stay on his feet. He forced something close to a smile and waited as Hank slowly picked himself up off the ground with a groan. He looked at Nick curiously. "What the hell happened?"
Nick looked pointedly at the very large dent Armin had left in the hood of Hank's car. "You're not going to like it."
Hank wobbled as he stood and then followed Nick's gaze to his car. He swore.
Nick had never been so grateful for all the practice he'd had lately in lying. Hank didn't doubt a word of Nick's story, nor did he question Monroe's sudden disappearance. Nick almost wished he'd asked Monroe to stay.
Nick limped into the house. His shoulders sagged the instant the door shut behind him, cutting him off from the rest of the world. He let the mask he'd ruthlessly held in place all day at the police station fall away.
Juliette took one look at him and was up off the couch in seconds. "Nick, what happened?" Her hand landed on the back of his neck and he winced. Before he could even say anything, her fingers twisted in his hair, turning his head so she could get a better look. "Are those bite marks?"
She frowned and soothed a hand through his hair. "Who did that to you?"
He flushed and looked to the side. Her hand cupped his chin and brought his eyes back. "Monroe," he admitted reluctantly.
Her frown deepened. "He hurt you?"
He wanted to look away but knew she wouldn't let him. "It's complicated."
She stared into his eyes for a long minute before nodding. She released him to take his hands in hers and pulled him over to the couch. "Why don't you sit down and tell me all about it?"
Nick winced as he sat on the couch. Juliette's eyebrow rose but she said nothing, just held his hands in hers. It was strange how much stronger her tiny hands felt than his, at least in times like these. Nick could still see the horror on Monroe's face when he'd come to his senses. He felt awful about it, even though he'd had no control over the situation. Technically, neither had Monroe. They'd both been used.
"It started with a case..."
Monroe wouldn't answer the door. Nick pounded even harder and glared at the wood like it was a substitute for Monroe. He'd been avoiding Nick's calls for days and now he was avoiding Nick in person, even though the lights were on, Monroe's car was in the driveway, and he was obviously home.
"Monroe, I know you're in there so open this god-damned door before I break it down."
Those were the magic words. The lock clicked and then the door opened a crack, stopping as the chain pulled taut. Half of Monroe's face peeked through the crack. "Uh. Hi. Nick. Now's not really a good time."
Nick glared. He knew exactly why Monroe was avoiding him and he was having none of it. "Open the damn door."
Monroe hesitated. His face creased with worry. "Are you going to kill me?"
"Not if you open the door."
The door closed and then reopened, wider this time. Monroe looked at Nick and then sheepishly looked away. He rubbed the back of his head with one hand. Nick was tempted to make a joke about Monroe being a scolded puppy but he thought better of it. He crossed the room uninvited and sat down on the couch. His ass had finally stopped hurting every time he sat down. It'd only taken two days.
Monroe seemed lost for what to do with himself after he closed the door. Nick sighed. He didn't like being dominant – it felt wrong after the way Monroe had taken him, claimed him, really – but he could when he had to.
"Sit down. We need to talk."
"It's weird hearing a guy say that," Monroe said, but he at least came closer. "Usually it's soon-to-be-ex girlfriends."
"I'm not your girlfriend."
Monroe did look at him then, a sheepish grin appearing and then disappearing from his face. "You lack the requisite parts." The joke seemed to kill a tiny fraction of the tension between them, but Monroe still perched in the chair opposite Nick like he was ready to flee any second. "So... what's up? New case?"
Nick raised an eyebrow. "You know what's up."
Monroe flinched. He shrunk in on himself, folding back into his chair. It was odd seeing the normally large man seem so tiny against the floral pattern of his chair. "I'm really sorry about that. I mean, really. If there's anything-"
"Monroe." Nick really wasn't in the mood for more apologies. "It's... well it's not alright, but it's not not alright." He frowned. Even with a few days to think, he wasn't a hundred percent certain how he felt. "It's complicated."
Monroe stared at him. His shoulders relaxed slightly and he shifted, just a fraction, back towards his normal stature.
Nick sighed. He stared down at his hands. Unfortunately the keys to his feelings weren't written out on his palm like the cheat sheet for a test. "Look, it's... You didn't hurt me. Well, not much. Not that bad." That was the wrong thing to say, judging by the way Monroe flinched. He sighed and tried again. "I mean..." There really was no way to be delicate about this. Might as well just dive in. "Yeah, lube would have been nice, maybe some stretching, but aside from that I really didn't mind."
Monroe's head shot up so fast Nick was worried Monroe might break something. "What?"
Nick leaned forward. His eyes met Monroe's and held. "That was not my first time having sex with a guy. It won't be the last. You were rough and it hurt but I'm not entirely opposed to a bit of pain. Sometimes, I even like it. I..." He blushed and looked away. "I was turned on."
"Oh." Monroe straightened completely from his crouch.
"I can understand why it's awkward for you, and why you might want to avoid me because of... because of what happened, but... but I just wanted you to know, you don't have to. I'm okay. I'm not gonna kill you. I get how weird it must be for a straight guy-"
"I'm not straight." Monroe's eyes went wide, like he hadn't meant to blurt that out. But the words were there now, hanging in the air between them. Nick snapped his jaw closed from where it'd fallen open. A small kernel of want kindled in his stomach and he hesitated to quash it. He hadn't really considered Monroe an option, not until after they'd had sex, but now... now things were different.
Monroe didn't seem to want to continue so Nick spoke for him. "Neither am I."
Confusion wrinkled Monroe's face. Nick had a brief flash of the Blutbad version of Monroe's face, not a slip of Monroe's mask but rather a memory from the other night. "But what about Juliette?"
Nick smiled and leaned back on the couch. "We have an arrangement. I'm allowed to be with other men and she's allowed to be with other women."
"She knows. I had to explain the," he gestured to his neck, "marks."
"I'm really sorry."
Nick held Monroe's gaze as he enunciated each word. Monroe just wasn't getting it. "I. Liked. It."
Monroe flushed. "But the..." He gestured towards Nick.
"I. Liked. It." He said it slower, drawing each word out.
Monroe shifted in his seat. He looked at Nick uncertainly. "Really?"
"Oh." Monroe looked down at his hands, clenched into fists on his knees, and then back up at Nick. "Does that mean... you, er... you want to... sometime... again?"
Nick felt like a weight was lifted from him. He breathed a slow sigh of relief and smiled. "Yeah, I would. Sometime. Again."
The tension visibly eased from Monroe's frame and he hesitantly smiled back.
"There's just one condition. Well, technically two."
Monroe's smile died. He nodded quickly, his expression all seriousness. "Anything. You name it."
Nick didn't stop smiling. He held up a finger. "One, you have to come over for dinner with Juliette and me."
Monroe nodded. "Okay. I can do that. And?"
He grinned. "Next time, use lube."
Nick hated the couch. It made his body ache all over and compressed his spine so that it took all day to stretch it to the point where he felt human again. He also hated mornings and the inevitable nausea they brought with him. Juliette was already gone for the day by the time he got up, running for the downstairs toilet to vomit up the meager contents of his stomach. He really needed to stop eating so much fast food. He was pretty sure the grease was making him sick. That or he was developing an ulcer. Neither made him feel any better.
He rinsed his mouth out with the cup he'd been keeping in the bathroom just for that purpose and then brushed his teeth twice. He still felt like shit, but it was a manageable kind of shit.
The bedroom was empty, sheets made as if no one had even slept there. Nick cast a longing glance at the bed. He really missed the bed and he wanted to just curl up under the sheets and soak up any remaining trace of Juliette's lingering warmth from the covers. Unfortunately he had to go to work instead. He tossed yesterday's clothes in the hamper and briefly detoured for a shower before getting dressed again. His pants weren't fitting as well anymore. He pulled up his shirt and stared at the plump bulge of his belly. He definitely needed to stop eating out.
Maybe Monroe would cook for him. But being around Monroe made him want other things, and it didn't feel right sleeping with Monroe when Juliette didn't remember.
He desperately wanted things to go back to normal.
At least work hadn't changed. There was no shortage of bad people doing bad things. Today's case brought them to one of the rougher parts of the city. The houses were predominantly in disrepair, with thick chain fences separating each house from the others. Hank led the way into a dirty living room. Clothes were strewn everywhere. It looked like the house hadn't been cleaned since the fifties.
The kitchen was worse, if only for the presence of the dead woman lying in a pool of her own blood in the middle of the floor.
"They're calling it an animal attack," Hank said and shot Nick a knowing look.
Nick had to swallow back bile as he crouched down to take a closer look at the body. There were definite claw marks but the spread between the claws was too big to be an animal, at least not any who were native to Portland. It looked a lot like a Blutbad attack, but Blutbad didn't usually kill middle-aged women, especially not in their own home.
"Looks like the back door was broken in," Wu reported. He flipped through the papers in his notebook. "Mrs. Bentley is listed as having seven children. None of their bodies have been found."
Nick looked up at Wu. "Neighbors hear anything?"
Wu flipped pages again. "The neighbor next door said she heard someone fighting. The kids started shouting, which is pretty normal for them, and that's when she called the cops to report a noise violation. Their third one this month."
Nick nodded. He couldn't imagine having that many kids. He'd talked to Juliette about having kids, a long time ago, but at this point he didn't see that happening ever.
A faint noise caught Nick's attention and he turned to stare at the sink. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hank open his mouth and he held his hand up for silence. There was that noise again, a faint shuffling, like a mouse crawling around a cabinet but larger. He very slowly, very carefully edged his way towards the cabinet under the sink. He paused with his hands on the handles, took a deep breath, and then threw the doors open.
There was a kid in the cabinet. He was small, maybe two or three, and very, very scared. As soon as the doors opened, he cowered in the corner. Bottles of cleaners and disinfectants were littered around him. Nick prayed that the kid hadn't tried to eat any of them.
"Shh," Nick crooned. "It's okay." He held out one hand towards the kid, like one would towards a frightened animal. The kid's face shifted, showing a tiny pair of horns and a goat's muzzle, and then shifted back to human. Nick started, almost drew his hand back but he managed to keep his hand where it was. He smoothed his face back into a reassuring smile. "Shh. It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you."
Nick was ninety percent certain the kid was a Ziegevolk. His last run-in with a Ziegevolk had gone poorly but this one was just a child. Besides, Ziegevolk were supposed to be pretty peaceful. He resisted the urge to look over his shoulder at the dead mother, not wanting to draw the kid's attention to it. Hopefully there wasn't an angry daddy Ziegevolk running around, though that seemed unlikely.
The kid stared at Nick for a long time. He slowly reached out and touched Nick's hand. Nick didn't move, just let the kid's hand rest in his palm. That seemed to be the right move. The kid tentatively scooted forward, knocking a can of raid out of the cabinet. The sound startled the kid and he jerked back. Nick didn't move. After a minute, the kid resumed climbing out of the cabinet.
Nick's back protested as he picked up the kid. The little boy clung to him, his grip verging on painful but Nick let him. He shifted as he stood, turning his back so the boy was looking out the window instead of down at his dead mother. He glanced at Hank and then nodded towards the door. Hank nodded back and stepped in front of the dead woman, shielding her from view as best he could. Nick carefully sidled around the room, keeping his back to the wall. He backed out of the house, not turning until they were on the porch with the door closed behind them.
He waited on the lawn for Hank to emerge. The kid seemed disinclined to let Nick go any time soon. He looked down at the boy. "You have a name?"
The kid stared up at him with wide blue eyes.
Of course it wasn't going to be that easy. "My name's Nick. Detective Nick Burkhart. What's yours?"
"Did you see what happened to your brothers and sisters?"
The kid stared at him for a moment, then shook his head.
Well, that was some progress. "Did you see what happened to your mother?" Nick dreaded the response.
The kid thankfully shook his head.
Hank joined him on the lawn, his eyes lingering on the young boy for a long while. "I called Child Protective Services. They're going to meet us at the station."
A brief flash of anger washed through Nick and he stomped it down. He irrationally wanted to keep the kid, to protect him and never let him go. He wasn't sure where those feelings came from. Maybe it was part of the kid's Ziegevolk heritage. Maybe he was just upset because of Juliette's amnesia and his own dashed hopes for a family. That didn't matter. He didn't have a choice, and it was the right thing to do. There was no way Nick could take care of a kid right now. He already had way too much on his plate.
Nick's sour mood wasn't at all helped by watching the kid – Aaron Bentley, according to their files, the youngest of the Bentley children – being hauled off by CPS. The kid had wailed, his arms waving frantically towards Nick. Nick wanted to stop them, to take Aaron home with him and keep him safe but he couldn't. There was no way Juliette would go for that given their already strained relationship.
He felt drained and half dead by the time he dragged himself home at the end of day. He sank onto the couch with a sigh and closed his eyes, wishing for a bed. Monroe's guest room sorely tempted him.
He bit back a second sigh. Normally, after a long day, he wanted nothing more than to curl up with Juliette. They'd had a routine, a set order to things. Days like today only made him feel the loss of 'his' Juliette all the more keenly.
She was waiting for him to respond. He could feel her hovering at the edge of the room. He opened one eye and glanced towards her. "Yes?"
She shifted closer. He knew that stance. It meant she wanted to talk but was uncomfortable about the subject. He sighed and opened his other eye.
"Why don't you sit down?" Sitting always seemed to make talking easier. Or, at least, it used to.
She hesitated a second before perching on the edge of the couch opposite. He'd been hoping she'd choose to sit with him. He was hoping for a lot of things he didn't get lately.
Juliette opened her mouth and then closed it. She cast a sidelong glance at him. "This is going to sound really weird."
He laughed. "I'm a pro at weird."
She stared down at the carpet. He could see her visibly gathering the nerve to broach the subject. For a second he worried she was going to ask him to move out. In a way, he almost wanted that. Then he could write their relationship off and go slinking off to Monroe's to let his broken heart mend. At least Monroe would let him sleep in a bed, if not his then the one next door.
"Our relationship..." Nick's stomach clenched. Here it came. "How did it... I mean, how did we... work?"
His eyes widened. He sat up a bit straighter on the couch. That was not a direction he expected. "What do you mean?"
She avoided looking at him. "Well, I remember my past relationships... people I'd been with before and they were mostly... Well..."
Her head shot up and she stared at him for a long moment before nodding. "Yeah. It just seems weird, that I was... well, with you. I have-" She blushed and looked away before swallowing quickly. There was a strange tone in her voice. "I mean, I had feelings... for... for you, but it doesn't make sense." She tilted her head and squinted at him, like he was a strange puzzle she'd yet to piece together. "There are pictures, and people said... Well, I know you weren't lying, about us, but... I remember what I like, or liked, and I was never big on..."
"Penetrative sex?" He finished for her. The look of surprise on her face was strangely heartening.
"Yeah. You knew?"
"Of course. We've been... We were dating for three years. I know a lot about you, and vice versa."
She studied him like he was a strange new animal. He supposed in a way he was. When they'd first talked about it, all those years ago, she'd been ashamed and afraid it'd be a deal-breaker for him. She'd given him a similar look when he'd suggested alternative solutions.
"So how did we..." Juliette waved her hands in a vaguely suggestive manner. "How did it work? With us?"
He sat back. It was strange having to explain their relationship to Juliette, especially when Juliette had most often been the instigator. He was used to a dominant, take-charge Juliette and this shy, skittish version of the woman he loved just didn't feel right.
"Well..." Where to start? "As I'm sure you know, there are a lot of different ways people have sex. There's oral, and the ever-popular sixty-nine." That was one of their favorites. He loved it when Juliette grabbed his hair and forced him down. "Mutual masturbation. You have a variety of toys, and..." He hesitated. His face burned. It felt a little weird saying out loud but this was Juliette. "And more often than not, you're the one penetrating me."
"What?" Juliette stared at him wide-eyed, but there was no shock in her expression only curiosity and a faint bit of hope. Nick's stomach clenched and for the first time in a while he felt like maybe, just maybe, he had a chance of getting his Juliette back.
"We're both bisexual, and I like it when you, well, take me."
"Oh." Juliette sat back in her chair. She looked thoughtful. They stared at each other for a several minutes. Then Juliette nodded and stood. "Thank you. For clarifying." She looked for a minute like she was going to reach for him and then stopped herself. "Good night."
That night, he didn't hate the couch quite as much.
The look on Wu's face as he approached Nick and Hank's desks did not bode well. "We found one of the kids."
Nick frowned. It'd barely been two days since they'd learned the kids were missing. "Where?"
"Fished out of the river this morning." Wu dropped a folder on their desks. Hank reached for it first. "Looks like something chewed on him before we found the body. We won't know which kid it was until the ME is done, but it's likely one of the older ones."
Nick's stomach roiled and he was very glad he hadn't reached for the file first. He wasn't sure he wanted to look, but there might be some clues. At the very least, there could be some similarities to the mother's attack that would help narrow down who or what had done it.
Hank recoiled as he flipped the file open. "Damn." He scanned the folder briefly then handed it over to Nick.
The contents of the folder were just as bad as he expected. The kid's body had been bloated by the river. Nick tried not to think too hard about who the kid had been – most of the face was missing, so it was hard to tell – and rather on what had happened to him. His chest had been torn open, and not with surgical instruments but rather by brute force, judging by the raw edges to the wound. Nick really hoped the kid had been dead for that part. There were pieces missing. His heart, for one, and part of his lungs. He'd definitely been chewed on but Nick had a hunch it hadn't been by local wildlife.
Nick shot Hank a meaningful glance. "I think I need a consultation."
He could feel Wu's curious gaze following him as he left the station.
Monroe's expression shifted from confused to surprised as he opened the door to find Nick on the porch. "Hey, come in." Monroe took a step back and opened the door wide for Nick. He sniffed suddenly as Nick entered the house and narrowed his eyes. "Did you get new cologne?"
Nick shook his head. "No. Same old."
"Weird." Monroe frowned slightly and closed the door. "You smell different."
"I swear I showered this morning."
As soon as the door was shut, Monroe covered the distance between them in two quick steps. His arms folded around Nick, pulling him tight to Monroe's chest. Nick sighed automatically. He wanted to drop his head to Monroe's chest and stay there forever. He also wanted to lean up and claim Monroe's mouth in a hot, wet kiss. Neither of those were good options.
Monroe withdrew slowly, his reluctance obvious, but it meant a lot to Nick that he did. He wasn't sure what he'd do if Monroe tried for more than the occasional hug or touch. He'd let Monroe do anything to him – had plenty times before, and he missed it immensely – but it felt too much like cheating when Juliette didn't remember.
"So," Monroe swung his arms awkwardly at his side, "what's up?"
Nick held out the case folder. "A bunch of kids were taken from their home. At least one of them is a Ziegevolk, not sure about the others." Monroe flipped the folder open and then recoiled with a grimace. "Something ate one of them."
"I can see that." Monroe flipped through the pages. He looked about as appalled as Nick felt.
"Any guesses what would do that?"
Monroe handed back the file. "My first guess? Blutbad. But none of the locals would do that. We just met last week. No one's fallen off the wagon," he looked straight at Nick, "especially not me."
He took a step closer and laid a hand on Monroe's arm. "I know it wasn't you."
"I know." The tinge of worry in Monroe's expression said the opposite. "I know, it's just... well, Blutbad usually take the fall for these kind of things, whether we did them or not."
"Do you know of anything else that might want to eat a Ziegevolk?" Nick kept his tone neutral, questioning instead of accusing. He really didn't think Monroe had anything to do with it but Monroe seemed to think otherwise.
Monroe stared off in the distance. "A Drang-Zorn or Königschlange could do that kind of damage but they don't usually eat people. Geier and Wendigo only go after humans. Could be a Lausenschlange but I haven't heard of any in these parts since, well, since you killed the last one. Might be a Schakale passing through. Were all the kids young? The Schakale kind of have a thing for babies."
"The oldest was fifteen. Youngest was two."
"Might be a Schakale then."
"Okay." That was a start. "Let me know if you hear of any in town."
Silence fell between them. Monroe was watching him, desire evident in the tense way he held himself, hands close to being fists, shoulders hunched. Nick's hand hadn't moved from Monroe's arm. He could feel Monroe's tense muscles through the thin fabric of his shirt. He could also feel Monroe's warmth and he wanted to curl up into Monroe's embrace once more.
Monroe was waiting for Nick to make the first move, to give him permission to go back to the way they were. Nick wanted to. He felt like he was being selfish. Monroe wanted Nick just as much as Nick wanted Monroe. It wasn't right. They both knew that, but it didn't stop the wanting. He was surprised Monroe hadn't moved on yet. He kept simultaneously hoping and dreading that the thing between Monroe and Rosalee would grow stronger. He hated seeing Monroe with someone else. He wanted to be there with Monroe.
It wasn't fair to any of them.
Nick slowly lowered his hand. He couldn't betray Juliette, not when it felt like he was on the verge of getting her back.
"How's Juliette?" Monroe asked. It was like he'd been reading Nick's mind.
"Good." It wasn't quite a lie but it wasn't the full truth. "Better." That was more accurate. "Not herself yet but..." He hesitated. "We talked and I think she might be coming around a bit. We're getting there. Slowly."
"That's good." Monroe sounded genuinely happy for him. It eased a small part of Nick's guilt. "Good." Monroe shuffled his feet and stared down at the carpet. "So... do you want to stay for a beer?"
His mouth opened to say yes. He stopped himself just in time. "I'd love to," he said instead, "but I have to get back to the office."
"No problem. Some other time." Monroe stepped close for another hug and Nick couldn't help but think that he didn't deserve this. Monroe shouldn't care about him as much as he did, not when Nick kept holding on to Juliette. He couldn't give either one of them up and it was tearing him apart.
"Thanks." His voice came out a little too rough but if Monroe noticed, he didn't comment.
Monroe followed him to the door. "Hey." Nick paused with his hand on the knob. "Take care of yourself. You're looking a little worn down. Maybe consider taking a day off."
Nick forced himself to grin. "I will. Just as soon as I find these missing kids."
It was a lie. Once they found these kids, there'd be something else. Some days it seemed like Portland's streets were overflowing with monsters – both Wesen and human. A Grimm's work was never done. He just hoped eventually smoothing things over with Juliette would get him back to feeling more like normal and less like something the cat dragged in.
Nick was pleasantly surprised when he walked into his house, a bag of greasy McDonald's food in hand, only to freeze as the smell of pot roast and potatoes hit him. Juliette leaned out of the kitchen and smiled at him, and for a brief second he thought he'd gone back in time.
"You're not going to eat that, are you?" She looked pointedly at the McDonald's bag.
"Not anymore." As he moved further into the house, he saw the table was set for two, complete with candles and a small trio of roses. His eyebrow rose but he didn't comment on it. Juliette was wearing an apron and oven mitts as he stepped into the kitchen. He tossed the McDonald's bag in the fridge and tried not to drool as she pulled a small roast out of the oven. "What's the occasion?"
A faint blush crossed her face. She smiled and looked down at the roast instead of him. "I just thought it'd be nice to eat together for a change."
"You won't hear any complaints from me." She smiled at him then and his heart melted a little. "What can I help with?"
"Nothing. I'm almost done." She waved him away with one oven mitt. "Go sit down."
He didn't need to be told twice. His entire body ached. He stretched as he walked, raising his arms over his head and wincing as the muscles pulled tight. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Juliette darting a glance at the thin band of exposed skin where his shirt rode up. He smiled to himself as he sat at his usual spot at the table, leaving the head of the table open for Juliette.
Juliette followed him in a minute later with the roast on a platter, surrounded by a spread of potatoes and carrots. She deposited the platter in the center of the table and then disappeared back into the kitchen momentarily to retrieve a bottle.
He nodded. He wasn't going to turn down a drink after the week he'd been having. She smiled and filled his glass with deep red liquid. "Thank you." She smiled even wider as she moved to fill her own glass. "For everything. Really. This is very nice."
"I'm glad you like it." She took her place at the table and it felt like they were back to normal, almost.
They talked mostly about the past over dinner. Neutral things, not so much about them, but more filling in the gaps where Juliette's memory was a little fuzzy. Did they both go to this party? What does he think of her friend Diane and her partner Lizbet? What's Nick's favorite movie? Small things.
Nick was feeling pleasantly buzzed by the time the plates were cleared. Judging from the rosy shade of Juliette's cheeks, she was as well. He assumed the night was over. Pleasant dinner, good conversation, all and all a good start to getting them back on their feet, together. But Juliette didn't immediately retreat upstairs. Instead, she lingered, her hand on the banister, and watched him.
"Do you want to come upstairs?"
Nick stared at her. Was that a trick question? He nodded slowly. "Yeah."
Juliette didn't wait for him to follow, but he did, trailing after her like an obedient puppy. It felt weird, like he was encroaching on her domain. Ever since she'd lost her memory, the upstairs bedroom had been hers but he wasn't going to turn down the offer to share. Even if it was just to sleep – though he hoped for something more – that would be more than enough.
The bed was absent of the usual throw pillows, though still neatly made. Juliette cast a glance over her shoulder as she walked over to the bed, as if to check that he was following. She slid onto the bed, her back against the headboard, and patted the space next to her. Nick tentatively climbed onto the bed and sat next to her, mirroring her position. It felt good. Better than he remembered, but weeks spent on the couch had made him long for a bed to sleep in.
He let his head fall back against the headboard and closed his eyes. He could feel Juliette watching him. He'd always been keenly aware of her attention. When they'd first met, she'd been the one to approach him. At the time he'd pictured her like a lioness, stalking her prey. Reality wasn't far off from that.
A soft hand touched his cheek and he tilted his face into the touch. His head was turned towards Juliette. Lips covered his, just a gentle kiss at first, tentative. He kept his eyes closed and let Juliette control the situation. That was the way she preferred, even if she couldn't remember it. The instinct was still there, judging by the way her hand shifted to hold his chin, to keep his head in place as she leaned in for a deeper kiss.
Her tongue pushed into his mouth and he opened up for it, greeting it with a swipe of his own. She shifted, pushing closer. He relaxed against the headboard. He'd almost forgotten how good it felt to let someone else take control. Lucky for him, he'd found a partner who liked control, who relished in it. Their kiss turned wet and messy, lips moving, tongues claiming. He could feel Juliette's body tense beside him and he waited, knowing exactly what was to come.
The hand on his chin slid back over his cheek to tangle in his hair. Her fingers tightened, not hard. She was experimenting, seeing how far she could push him. He stretched forward, leaning into their kiss and letting his hair go taunt in her fingers. She shivered. All of a sudden it was like a switch had been flipped. She moved, shifting to the side to straddle his legs and pin him down with her weight while her hand tightened in his hair, pulling his head back just short of painful.
Their lips came apart and he finally opened his eyes to look up at her. There was a surprised smile on her face, like he'd given her something she hadn't expected. They looked at each other for a long moment, neither moving, neither daring to break the fragile truce between them. Then Juliette shifted, pushing her hips down to grind against his and he knew his Juliette was coming back.
"What are your boundaries?" Juliette asked, her voice bordering on breathless.
He licked his lips. Her eyes followed the movement of his tongue. "Our safe word is 'Romeo'."
The smile that spread across her face was the best thing he'd seen all week. She grinned, eager and just a touch wicked. Her eyes sparkled as she leaned down to kiss him before pulling back. His head was trapped in her grip and she shifted him, pointing him exactly where she wanted him to look as her free hand began slowly unbuttoning her shirt. He could feel himself hardening as the pale flesh of her chest was exposed and then the lacy trim of her favorite black bra.
She shrugged her shirt off, switching hands once to free her sleeves, never losing grip on his hair. Then she reached behind her back and unclasped her bra one-handed. The fabric fell away, revealing plump, perky breasts. He wet his lips in anticipation of what was to come. Juliette tossed her bra to the side and then leaned forward, sticking her right breast in his face.
He obediently closed his mouth around her nipple, sucking gently at first, then harder, encouraged by her low moan. Just a little teeth, not biting, just scraping them softly over her nipple, just the way she liked it. She pulled his head back and switched sides. Her hips pushed down against his. She had to feel his erection, but she didn't seem to mind. She never had before but he wasn't sure with this new Juliette and the last thing he wanted to do was to do something wrong and make her end things early.
"Nick." He shivered at the sound of his name. He loved it when she got like that, breathless and needy, because of him. She pulled his head back and stared down at him. Her eyes were wide and a little glazed. "I want to fuck you."
She looked surprised when he answered, like she hadn't really expected him to agree. It'd been like that the first time, though she hadn't really asked, but instead had just started playing with his ass and kept going when he didn't tell her to stop. He preferred it that way. He'd always been a fan of giving his consent implicitly rather than explicitly, as Monroe had learned the hard way. He still missed Monroe, but maybe there was a chance, once things got better with Juliette, he could start up what he'd had with Monroe.
"So, how do we do this?"
Nick looked up at Juliette. He forced himself not to frown. She was new at this. It had taken her a bit to get her bearings the first time around. He shifted on the bed, spreading his legs slightly beneath her.
"Well, the, um, kit is in a box under the bed. I'm good with anything, really. However you want me."
She narrowed her eyes slightly and sat back on her heals. "Really? Whatever I want?"
He nodded. "Seriously. There's nothing you can do that will offend me."
"Alright." She still didn't look entirely convinced but she slid off the bed and bent down to peer under the bed. There was only one box under there. He was surprised she hadn't checked it out earlier. Maybe she had. She hefted the whole thing onto the bed.
It was a thick, wooden box made long before either of them had been born. A shop he'd found in Seattle had customized it, lining the interior with thick, red velvet. It had an assortment of straps and pockets along the top. There was a set of cuffs belted to one side and a coil of rope on the other. The bottom half was the more relevant portion for this evening. Juliette's harness was laid out on top of six dildos of varying sizes and shapes, along with a large tube of lube.
She set the lube and the harness aside and stared down at the dildos. "Which one?"
"Whichever one you want."
Her fingers glided over the velvet, skimming just below the base of each of the dildos, then back again. He could guess which ones she wouldn't pick. They didn't really use the pink one anymore. It was too small, but they still kept it. It'd been their first. At the opposite end of the row was a thick, black dildo made out of flexible rubber. That one was reserved for special occasions or when Juliette really wanted to make Nick hurt.
That left the middle four, all relatively similar in size but varying in shape. Her fingers closed around the third from the right. It was slightly bigger than its neighbors, sparkly green in color with small round nubs along the length of it.
"Is this okay?" She held it up for him somewhat awkwardly.
She closed the box after one last lingering glance at its contents and slid it back under the bed. "What next?"
"You put that on," he pointed to the harness, "and then there's lots of lube."
She nodded. "Do you... or do I..."
She stared at him for a moment, biting her lip as she thought it over. "I want to watch you."
"Okay." Part of him wished she'd be more forceful, telling instead of asking, but he'd take what he could get.
Nick pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it to the floor, then lifted his hips to slide his pants off. Juliette was watching him disrobe, interest and curiosity on her face. For her, this was the first time either of them had seen them naked. He watched through lowered eyes as she dropped her pants and underwear. She remembered how to fit the harness without prompting, sliding the dildo through the hole in the leather and then buckling it around her hips. He grabbed the lube and relaxed against the pillows, his back flat against the bed. He spread his knees wide, giving Juliette a full view of his erect cock. He wet his fingers with lube, more than was really necessary, but it'd been a while and too much was better than not enough.
Juliette moved to the foot of the bed and crawled onto the covers. Nick's eyes were drawn to the dildo between her legs. He shivered with anticipation. It bobbed each time she moved and he spread his legs wider in open invitation. He lifted his hips, just enough to get his hand underneath himself. He moaned as he pushed two wet fingers inside. God, it'd been far, far too long. He worked his hand in for a few pumps before inserting a third finger, then a fourth. It burned, just a little, just enough that he could feel it all the way down his spine.
When he looked down at Juliette again, she had her hand on the dildo, stroking it like it was her cock. The green plastic glistened with lube and he could tell from Juliette's face that she was more than ready to go.
He pulled his hand out and crossed his wrists above his head. Juliette's eyes flashed with want and she crawled forward on the bed, not stopping until the dildo was pressed against his ass. She reached over him, putting her hand on top of where his wrists met and holding him down. She wasn't strong enough to actually keep him there if he wanted to resist – that's what the cuffs were for – but the mere act of it was enough for him.
He moaned as the dildo slid against his entrance, circling lightly, teasing him. That wicked smile was back on Juliette's face and he loved it. He watched her face as her smile shifted, edging towards smug a second before she adjusted her hips and pushed forward. The dildo penetrated him. Its blunt head stretched his muscles wide and he was reminded, in that moment, of Monroe and the first time he'd taken Nick, raw and hard. Juliette kept pushing in, filling him up until her hips were pressed tight against his.
The question barely even registered. He had to think for a moment before nodding, too far gone in that instant to even try and form words. Then she moved, pulling out slowly and dragging those wicked nubs over his insides. He groaned, loud and low, and arched his head back into the pillows.
"You like that don't you?" Juliette had always been one for dirty talk, and it was nice to see that some things hadn't changed.
He nodded. She chuckled softly and then jerked her hips hard, spiking the dildo up into him, making him groan again. "Do you like that?"
"Yes," he gasped. She did it again, harder. "God, yes." She rolled her hips and then started to thrust again, building up a sharp rhythm of push and pull inside of him. Every movement sent sparks burning through him. He couldn't be quiet if he tried but Juliette didn't like quiet. She liked rough and hard and sweaty and that's what she gave him.
He could feel release building inside of him. His cock bounced between their bodies. There wasn't much friction there but he didn't need it, not with the way Juliette was fucking him. Any previous hesitation she'd had was forgotten once she was inside of him. Her breath came in loud pants, each exhale matching with a thrust of her hips.
His hand twitched in Juliette's grip and her nails dug in, keeping him from reaching for his cock. She pulled out and he groaned. His mouth worked soundlessly, his lips not quite working to form his protest.
Juliette sat back on her heels and stared at him like a hungry wolf. "Roll over."
His cock twitched at the command. He quickly complied, rolling over onto all fours. She pulled his hips back. The dildo rubbed against his cock and he pressed his head into the pillow as he moaned. A firm hand on his shoulders pushed him down until his chest was pressed against the bed, his ass in the air. She gripped his hips tight, fingernails digging in just below the scars from Monroe's claws.
Juliette pulled her hips back and then pushed in in one long thrust. Once she was buried in him again, she let go of his hips in favor of twisting his hair in one hand and pulling his head back. He gasped as she started to thrust again. There was no warm-up this time. She knew now that he could take it and she used that to her advantage. She took him hard and fast, no hesitation in her movements. Each thrust hit home faster than the previous, building rapidly into a pounding pace. His ass ached from the abuse but it was the right kind of ache, the kind that made him weak in the knees and made him want to beg for more.
He really did beg when Juliette closed a hand around his cock. He screamed and jerked against her hold on his hair. He wanted to curl in on himself, to bury his face in the pillow but she wouldn't let him. She kept him arched backwards, pulling even harder every time he tried to curl into the pillows. The hand on his cock was gentle in comparison as she stroked him, but even that had a rough edge to it. She gripped him tightly, just shy of too tight and stroked him with fast, hard tugs.
He came sooner than he would have liked, but Juliette didn't even slow down. She milked his release from him, her hand not stopping its sure rhythm even as his come spilled over her fingers. Each thrust of her hips pushed him into her hand. He whimpered as she kept stroking him past his release, her fingers teasing his over-sensitized skin to the point of pain.
Tears formed at the corner of his eyes. He trembled in Juliette's grip and moaned. They'd done this before. It was part of Juliette's control kink. She loved seeing him come apart like this, quivering beneath her as she fucked him.
"Please," he moaned. She liked that too, liked it when he begged and pleaded. Half the time he wasn't sure if he was pleading her to stop or to keep going. He wasn't sure which he wanted now.
"Say it again." Juliette's voice was rough. She was nearing the end. He could tell from the way her hips jerked against him, slowly falling out of rhythm and into wanton rut.
"Please." He wasn't ashamed of the way his voice broke on the word. He was Juliette's to break.
"Again." She pounded into him hard, then again, the time between thrusts growing longer. She rolled her hips, pushing up into him and rocking him forward on the bed.
"Please." Her hands clenched in his hair and around his cock. He moaned loud. She thrust once more and then stilled with a deep sigh.
Juliette released his hair and let her body fall forward over his back. Her breasts pressed against his back. They felt nice but his attention was fixed instead on the burning ache of his ass and the thick presence still inside of him.
Minutes passed before Juliette stirred. She pressed a hand to the small of his back as she sat up. "That was amazing."
Nick turned his head to the side. His breathing was erratic, his heart pounding from exertion, but he forced out a weak smile. Juliette smiled back at him and brushed her fingers through his hair.
"Are you going to be alright?"
Nick nodded. He didn't think he could manage words right now, at least not ones that would be understood.
She leaned down to press a kiss to his cheek and he groaned as the dildo shifted inside of him. Juliette didn't look sorry in the slightest. She was still grinning as she slowly slid the dildo out and slipped off the bed. Nick collapsed against the covers, boneless and spent.
Juliette cast a backwards glance at him as she headed towards the bathroom. "You sure you're alright?"
He nodded again.
She chuckled and disappeared into the bathroom. He heard water running. When she returned, the harness was separated. She put everything back into its box and slid it under the bed.
"Come on, you, under the sheets."
He grumbled in mock protest as Juliette pulled the covers out from under him. At least she was letting him stay. He didn't think he could make it downstairs right now. His legs felt like jelly.
He sighed as she slid into bed behind him, her body a warm weight against his back.
"Go to sleep," Juliette said, and he did.
Nick's good mood was short lived. He woke up puking, again, then came into work to no leads on what happened to the missing children and another dead body. He'd had worse days, but most of those involved getting shot.
Nick glanced up at the woman next to his desk. She looked vaguely familiar. "Yes?"
"I'm Amelia Renning from Child Protective Services." Hank raised an eyebrow and shot Nick a questioning look. "Can we speak somewhere privately?"
"Yeah. Sure." Nick stood slowly. His legs ached. He'd been having more and more trouble getting around lately. "Right this way."
He resisted the urge to groan as he took a seat in the conference room. His pants weren't fitting right. He'd had to pull some old dress pants out of the closet to wear and they were almost too tight around his waist. If he gained any more weight, he was going to have to start buying some new clothes. It was definitely time for a diet.
"What can I do for you?"
Amelia folded her hands on top of the conference table and watched him. "There's two things, actually. Our office was broken into last night." Nick sat up straight. Who would want to break into CPS? "Someone went through our files. They only took one – Aaron Bentley's."
Nick frowned. That definitely wasn't good news. The case had been getting a lot of play on the local news stations, including the fact that the youngest was with child services. "You think someone's after him?" Nick would bet good money that whoever had kidnapped the Bentley kids had also broken into CPS.
Amelia nodded. "It certainly looks that way. We're preparing to move him from his current foster home, which is where the other thing comes in." She frowned and glanced down at her folded hands. "Aaron... well, he's not adjusting well. He's not eating and he's crying a lot, which isn't too surprising since he lost his mother and his family was taken but... Well, he's shown a rather strong connection to you, actually. He keeps saying your name, and that's the only thing we can get him to say. I know this is a very unusual request but we were wondering if you'd consider watching over him for a little bit. I'd feel much safer if he was with someone who could protect him."
He didn't even hesitate. "Yes. Of course. I'd be glad to."
The smile on Amelia's face told him he'd made the right choice. He just hoped Juliette saw it the same way.
Nick felt like he was being watched the minute he parked outside Aaron's foster home. Amelia met him at the door and introduced him to Mrs. Abernathy, Aaron's current foster mother. She seemed like a nice older lady, but obviously a bit frazzled and worn down. He couldn't blame her for looking relieved when Nick showed up to take Aaron away. The second he walked into the living room, the boy's crying stopped and he looked up at Nick with wide eyes. Aaron stood quickly and toddled over to grab Nick's leg tight enough that Nick wondered if he'd have to pry the boy off.
He didn't. Aaron let himself be picked up without any fuss. He kept looking up at Nick with wide, wet eyes, but he didn't cry. He didn't make any noise at all, which Nick supposed was an improvement.
"Thank you for looking after him," Nick said on his way out, earning him a smile from Mrs. Abernathy. She handed him a bag and waved as he walked off to his car.
On the way home, Nick took every back road and roundabout route that he could think of. He was being paranoid, probably, but he didn't want to take a chance that the kidnapper might be after Aaron.
Juliette wasn't home, which wasn't surprising. She'd mentioned the possibility of needing to work late tonight. He tried calling her but her phone went straight to voicemail. Aaron seemed content to wander the house, looking but not really touching. After about ten minutes of wandering, he hauled himself up on the couch Nick had been sleeping on and passed out against the armrest.
Nick stared at him with a smile. "Well, that was easy."
He started towards the kitchen to inspect their food situation, but the doorbell interrupted him. Nick frowned and put his hand on his holster. He wasn't expecting company, though that didn't mean Hank or Monroe hadn't decided to stop by. He opened the door and was assaulted with a painfully familiar scent. His body froze. On the other side of the open door, the Schakale tilted its jackal-face at him. The Schakale reached forward with one hand and pushed, sending Nick falling to the floor like a log. His head banged against the wood flooring and he blacked out for a brief second.
The Schakale stepped inside and towered over him. He seemed to be regarding Nick strangely. "How lucky that a Grimm happened to pick up the kid I missed." The Schakale grinned towards where Aaron was sleeping on the couch. "And I just happened to have a bottle of Starrheit that Armin was working on." The Schakale shook the small spray bottle in his hand. "This stuff works better than expected. Too bad he died before he could try it."
Fear coursed through Nick as he stared at the bottle. There was only a small amount of liquid in the bottle, but the fact that it existed at all was terrifying. He was suddenly glad Monroe had killed Armin. Hopefully the secret of how to distill those cursed flowers had died with him.
The Schakale squatted down over Nick's legs and sniffed. He stared at Nick's stomach and grinned. "I'm doubly lucky today, it seems. Not only do I get a Grimm but a pregnant one at that. This is going to be quite the feast."
If Nick's eyes could widen, they would have. He also would have been screaming, shouting that he couldn't be pregnant, that that was absurd. At the same time, the small part of his brain that wasn't freaked out and over-reacting was putting together all the oddities from the last few weeks – his growing waistline, his morning sickness, his protectiveness towards Aaron – and realizing just how much sense that made, even when it made no sense at all. He was male, but Armin had said that Grimm weren't entirely human. There was very little normal about him and this might be one other secret Aunt Marie had failed to tell him.
It didn't matter. If the Schakale was right, he wasn't about to be pregnant for long and there was nothing Nick could do to stop it, not while the Schakale had that spray bottle. He watched helpless as the Schakale threw Nick over his shoulder and scooped up Aaron with his free hand. The boy screamed when Nick couldn't and didn't stop screaming, even as they were stuffed in the Schakale's white van.
There was no Monroe to rescue him this time.
The van came to a stop. Nick wasn't sure how long they'd been driving. All he could see was darkness. His phone had gone off a few times, but the Schakale either didn't care or hadn't heard it vibrate in Nick's pocket. Maybe, if he was lucky, Juliette had come home early and found the house broken into. Maybe she'd called Hank and they were tracking his phone. Or maybe it was just telemarketers trying to get him to refinance his house or buy a new dishwasher.
The driver-side door opened and shut. Light poured in on him as the rear doors opened. His hand twitched towards his gun. The Schakale hadn't taken his holster off so there was a chance he could get out of this. Or not. The Schakale sprayed him in the face with another squirt from that cursed bottle and his body froze up again.
The Schakale grinned and tossed Nick over his shoulder again. He heard another van door open. Aaron didn't scream. He didn't make any noise at all. Nick wanted to twist in the Schakale's hold, to make sure Aaron was alright. The silence was disturbing and he prayed that Aaron wasn't already dead.
Glass crunched under foot. There was something strangely familiar about it. Nick would have frowned. The putrid smell of rotting plants assaulted his nose. All he could see was the Schakale's back but he suspected they'd just walked into the remains of Armin's greenhouse. Two doors opened and closed in short succession and then they were walking down stairs into a dark basement. He heard crying children. This, then, must be where the Schakale was keeping the rest of the children.
Nick was shifted from off the Schakale's shoulder and on to a table. It stank and something wet seeped into his shirt. There were shackles attached to the table. Chains rattled as the Schakale lifted them. Cold metal closed around his wrists and ankles, securing him to the table. He tried not to think about what the table had obviously been used for, but it was hard to avoid it when all he could smell was blood.
The Schakale pulled a cord and a small light bulb flared to life. It hung on a thin chain right over the table. Nick was able to make out more of the room. There was a row of cages against the far wall. Nick wondered what Armin had used them for. They were too big for a full-grown human, but they worked well enough to hold the remaining Bentley children. The Schakale deposited Aaron into an empty cage.
Aaron didn't even try to fight. He just stared vacantly into the room, much like Monroe had when he'd been under the flower's effects. There were three children in the other cages, the youngest of them. The Schakale had been going through them from eldest to youngest and now he had a full set.
Nick watched the Schakale move around the room. The basement was fairly bare save for the cages and two tables. There was blood on the floor. The Schakale had obviously tried to wash most of it down the drain in the floor but large red splotches remained on the concrete. The other table was pushed against the wall. There were papers pinned up near it – formulae and plant diagrams. It must have been Armin's work table, but all the beakers and bottles had been shoved back against the wall to make room for the Schakale's tools.
At first, all Nick saw was a faint gleam of something metallic on the table. Then the Schakale lifted a wicked looking knife and twisted it side to side, inspecting its edge. He put that knife down and chose another before turning back to Nick with a feral grin. The Schakale took two steps towards Nick and then paused and stared up at a corner of the ceiling. A second later, Nick heard what had made the Schakale pause – gravel crunched as a car pulled into the driveway. The engine died. A door opened and shut.
The Schakale turned back to the table and picked up the spray bottle. The ceiling creaked as someone entered the house. They moved slowly, obviously trying to be sneaky but it hardly helped when they were beneath the floor. Nick hoped that it was Monroe and not Hank. At least Monroe had a faint chance of defeating the Schakale. Hank would just be dinner part two.
His phone started going off again. The Schakale frowned and turned to stare at him. That answered Nick's earlier question. The Schakale hadn't realized Nick still had his phone on him. He'd probably been too distracted by the prospect of another meal to think to check.
The basement door opened. The wooden stairs creaked comically loud in the still silence as they waited. The children were quiet now. Nick could almost see them out of the corner of his eye as they cowered in their cages. The footsteps reached the bottom of the stairs. Monroe took one step into the basement and then froze as the Schakale sprayed him in the face.
Monroe shifted instantly and growled. The Schakale jerked back. He obviously hadn't been expecting that result but Nick was. Monroe sniffed the air and then growled again. He was across the room in the blink of an eye, putting himself between the Schakale and Nick. The Schakale moved, though Nick could only tell what he was doing by the way Monroe responded. Every move was met with a counter, each step closer came with a growl. The Schakale lunged. Monroe swept his claws through the air with a roar. They went down.
Nick tried to turn his head to follow the fight. Glass broke. Monroe howled in pain. His neck felt stiff. By the time he grudgingly got his body to move, the fight was over. Two fur-covered bodies lay in a heap on the floor.
"Mon...roe!" His lips resisted speech. The chains rattled as he shifted minutely on the table. "Monroe!"
A groan came from the pile. Nick held his breath. The Schakale rose slightly and then fell to the side as Monroe pushed him off. There was a knife embedded deep in the Schakale's chest and blood on Monroe's shirt. Monroe slowly rose to his feet. He looked a little banged up but otherwise unhurt. His blood-red eyes were fixed on Nick and he growled, low in his throat as he took a step towards Nick.
"Shit." Nick glanced overhead towards the cages. The children were cowering away from Monroe. They were all awake, and if Monroe reacted like the last time he'd been hit with the flower's fragrance, they really needed to get away from the children. "Monroe!"
Monroe tilted his head. Okay. He was listening at least. The distilled version of the flowers didn't seem to work as well. It wore off after a little bit.
Another car pulled into the parking lot. Monroe's ears perked up as he stared towards the ceiling. Nick wasn't sure if it was a good or bad thing that more people had shown up. Hopefully the Schakale didn't have partners.
"Monroe, you need to get these chains off me." He shifted as best he could, making the chains rattle again. Monroe glanced at him and then back at the ceiling. "Monroe, please!"
Monroe crept forward slowly, his eyes still on the ceiling as a car door slammed shut. He took the chains in his hand and snapped them with a quick tug. Footsteps sounded in the house. They moved around the first floor. Nick could almost picture the way the person – likely Hank – was moving, methodically clearing each room one by one. Monroe snapped the last of the chains and turned towards the basement door with a growl.
The door opened. Monroe started to lunge towards the stairs but Nick caught him by the sleeve. He held on as tight as he could. Monroe tugged against Nick's hold but didn't leave Nick's side. If Monroe wanted to, he could have easily broken Nick's hold. The fact that he hadn't gave Nick hope that they could get out of this without more bloodshed or unnecessary trauma for the children.
Hank stepped into the basement with his gun drawn. Monroe growled and Hank swung the gun to point towards them. His brow creased as he took in the two of them.
"What the hell?"
"Don't ask." Nick shifted his legs towards the edge of the table. He tugged on Monroe's shirt. "Help me up."
Monroe gave Hank one last piercing stare before wrapping his arm around Nick's waist and pulling him off the table. He swayed on his feet and sagged against Monroe. His legs threatened to collapse beneath him. Monroe's arm tightened, holding him up.
"It's a long story," Nick said. He fumbled with the catch on the shackles. It took him two tries to get the first one off. "That's our kidnapper." Nick nodded towards the Schakale.
"Yeah, I know." Hank slowly lowered his gun. "We got his ID off the CPS security tapes. Ryan Kesterholt. Spent a lot of time in foster care, which is how he knew where to look for Aaron."
Nick nodded. Monroe shifted against his side, rubbing his erection against Nick's thigh. Nick blushed and took a small step forward. His legs held. The second shackle dropped to the floor.
"I've got to get Monroe out of here. Can you handle the kids without me?"
Hank nodded. His eyes stayed fixed on Monroe. "He alright."
"Not really." Nick pulled Monroe with him as he shuffled towards the stairs. "I'll explain later."
He could feel Hank's eyes on them. Nick wondered what Hank was seeing. Could he see Monroe's Blutbad form or was he noticing the way Monroe kept rubbing himself on Nick at every opportunity?
His legs finally started working once they were up the stairs. He'd had to pause twice to shove Monroe's hands out of his pants. He'd had enough exhibitionist sex with Monroe for a while, he definitely didn't need a repeat when there were children nearby and likely a bunch of cops en route. He shoved Monroe in the back of his Volkswagen and fished the keys out of Monroe's pocket. Monroe tried to pull Nick down on top of him in the backseat but Nick wriggled out of the way.
Monroe's hands were back on him the instant he sat down in the driver's seat but he could deal with that. He started the car and backed out of the parking spot faster than was reasonably safe.
"Cool it, Monroe. We need to get you out of here."
"Nick," Monroe whined. He was talking. That was a good sign.
Nick drove faster than he should down the winding back road out of there. He saw flashing lights as he turned onto the main road. Thankfully they turned towards Armin's and didn't follow him. In the backseat Monroe whined with piteous need. One of his hands snaked down towards Nick's groin and pressed against Nick's crotch.
He gasped and hit the acceleration harder. They were still a few miles out of town. It was late, which meant Nick thankfully didn't have to contend with other traffic. He'd probably kill them both if he had to. Monroe's hand was thoroughly distracting and he was pretty sure Monroe was grinding against the back of the seat.
"Nick. You need to stop the car."
Nick glanced into the rearview mirror and caught Monroe's glowing red eyes. "Just a second."
Monroe panted. His breath ghosted over Nick's shoulder. "I don't think I can stop myself if you don't let me out." He whined again. "Dammit, Nick, I need you."
He pulled off onto the side of the road. Monroe's claws snagged in his shirt. He should just kick Monroe out and keep driving but he couldn't do that. Not when Monroe needed him. He cursed as he yanked open the driver door and slammed it a bit too hard. Monroe opened the door to the back for him and pulled Nick in with both hands. The door swung shut behind them but Nick didn't really care, not when he had Monroe's mouth on his. He could feel the Blutbad's sharp teeth prick against his lips, not hard enough to draw blood but close. He pressed tighter against Monroe and ground his hips down.
"Nick." Monroe gasped as he pulled away. His eyes seemed so bright close up. "I want to fuck you Nick. Please."
Nick groaned. He pushed Monroe back towards the opposite end of the seat and then bent down. His hands fumbled with Monroe's belt for a second before he slipped it free. He pulled Monroe's zipper down and reached inside. Monroe's cock was hot and thick, already fully engorged. Nick bent down and took Monroe into his mouth, moaning as Monroe's warm flesh filled his mouth.
He'd missed this. He'd missed it so much. Strong fingers closed in his hair, holding his head down as Monroe rolled his hips up into Nick's mouth. He groaned again. He sucked as hard as he could, pulling a low growl from Monroe and a sharp thrust of Monroe's hips. He could taste the bitter salt of precome. Then Monroe tugged at his hair, pulling his mouth away.
Monroe's claws dug in as he tried to turn Nick. It was hard to maneuver. The back of the Volkswagen didn't offer them much room but Nick definitely wasn't getting out and risking someone driving by seeing them. He managed to get his pants down before Monroe ripped them. Monroe's claws scraped against Nick's hips as he pulled Nick down on top of him. He felt Monroe's cock slide between his cheeks, then Monroe shifted, sliding his hips forward before shoving up and in. Nick's hands clenched on the back of the front seats.
"Wait." This time Monroe did. He whined but his hips stilled for a moment. Nick shifted, carefully maneuvering his legs up onto the backseat on either side of Monroe's thighs. Once he was positioned properly, he lowered himself slowly down onto Monroe's cock. Monroe's hands clenched on Nick's hips, pricking Nick's skin lightly, only enough to draw a tiny drop of blood from each claw.
Nick panted. His hands felt like they were fused to the front seats, one on either side while his head hung in the air between them. His ass ached but it was bearable. He could feel himself stretching to accommodate Monroe's girth. Monroe shifted restlessly beneath him, making Nick moan with every movement. He waited a few more seconds and then slowly lifted himself up.
Monroe grunted and lifted Nick by the hips, taking over control of their rhythm. He started off surprisingly slow, pulling Nick down onto his lap with even strokes. Each pull down came faster than the last. Nick moaned. He'd missed feeling Monroe inside of him, missed this heat and the feeling of claws on his skin. Monroe growled in response and bucked his hips up, hard and fast, completely destroying the rhythm they'd been working towards.
Nick gasped and rocked back, pushing down on Monroe's lap. Monroe pulled him up quick and then back down. Nick's legs were going to hurt tomorrow, but he didn't care. It felt good, so incredibly good. He'd almost forgotten how great sex with Monroe felt. He couldn't think, could only feel as he rocked against Monroe.
He forced his hand to unclench from the driver's side chair and reached down to stroke himself. He nearly came the minute he touched himself. He could feel Monroe nearing the end. His hips jerked up into Nick in quick, hard thrusts. A trail of wet come rolled down Nick's thigh and then he shouted, gripping the passenger side hard as Monroe swelled inside of him. He came into his hand and kept stroking for a few more seconds. Nick groaned as Monroe knotted in him. He could feel Monroe's seed filling him.
Monroe's hand twisted in Nick's hair and pulled him back until he was flush against Monroe's chest. Warm breath washed over his neck, followed by soft fur. Monroe nuzzled Nick's throat, nipping lightly each time his hips jerked up into Nick. Nick let himself go limp against Monroe. He stared up at the Volkswagen's ceiling and panted.
"Nick." He turned his head towards Monroe, who frowned back at him. "We need to tell Juliette."
Nick's hand went to his bare stomach. His shirt had slid up, exposing his round belly. He stared down at it. "Yeah, there's a lot we need to talk about."
Juliette was waiting up for him when they got home. She started to rise from the couch and then hesitated when she noticed Monroe following Nick into the house. "Nick, are you alright?"
Alright was relative in his case but he nodded. His ass ached and his legs were sore but he managed to keep from obviously limping as he made his way over to the couch. "We need to talk."
Juliette frowned and sank back onto the couch. Nick took a seat opposite her and tugged at Monroe's hand until he sat next to Nick. Even after they were seated, Nick didn't let go. Juliette stared at their joined hands and then raised an eyebrow. She didn't look upset, more confused. "What's wrong?"
Nick shook his head. He didn't want to start things off like that. "Nothing's wrong, it's just... we have a lot to talk about." Monroe shifted nervously next to Nick but he didn't seem inclined to talk.
Juliette's forehead wrinkled, like she was remembering. "This has to do with the time Monroe was over for dinner, doesn't it?"
Hope swelled inside Nick. He leaned forward. "You remember?"
She shook her head, but a tiny bit of that hope remained. "No, not entirely. It's just... I remember Monroe being... being a part of something, and I couldn't figure it out because there was this gap there. That gap was you, wasn't it?"
He nodded. "Yeah."
"How long?" She leaned back against the couch and looked between them.
Nick licked his lips. Two sets of eyes fixed on his mouth and then looked away. He blushed and stammered slightly as he spoke. "Five months. Well, not fully, but that was the first time Monroe and I..."
"And I knew?"
Nick nodded. "We have... had an arrangement. You with girls, me with guys."
Her posture relaxed slightly, as if she'd just connected a piece of the puzzle. No doubt she remembered having relationships with other women while they'd been dating. She probably thought she'd been cheating on Nick. Now, she looked relieved.
"We stopped," Nick said, "when you lost your memory, but then..." He blushed and looked down at where his hand held Monroe's. Monroe squeezed his hand. "Something happened earlier, and we, well..."
Nick's head shot up and he saw Monroe do the same out of the corner of his eye. They both stared at Juliette. She smiled back at them.
"I understand. It's okay. I can see you two have feelings for each other and that doesn't have to jeopardize whatever we have or had between us." She blushed and looked away. "I understand how you could have feelings for someone else and still love me. I get that."
Nick swallowed. He wanted to end the conversation there, to just let them be at that much and hope they could be happy but he knew that wasn't fair. "There's more."
Both Juliette and Monroe looked at him.
He stared at the coffee table. "What I need to say... It needs some preface. When you asked why we fought that night you lost your memory and why we went over to Monroe's, I didn't want to tell you because I didn't think you'd understand. You... well, you didn't react well the first time I told you."
Juliette shifted. "I know you're not breaking up with me. You wouldn't have stayed if that was the case, so what is it?"
Monroe's hand tightened on his. "Nick, I don't think-"
"No." He looked straight at Monroe and held his gaze. "She needs to know. You both need to know." He sighed and looked up at Juliette. "We're... I'm... we're different, Monroe and I. Not... not human."
Juliette frowned. Just like the first time, she didn't understand what he was talking about.
He held a hand to his chest. "I'm a Grimm. Like the Brothers Grimm and the fairy tales. Only those fairy tales are real and they're out there in the night."
Juliette's frown deepened but she didn't move. "That's what the handyman called you. He said it meant you were a good cop."
Nick nodded slowly. "Sort of. It's more than that. I'm supposed to, well, fight monsters. Keep the streets safe from them. Protect people. I can see what other people can't. There are monsters, called Wesen, and they hide in society. A lot of them are nice but some of them... some of them want to hurt people."
"That sounds insane." Despite her protests, Juliette wasn't moving. Nick hoped that this time around, she was a bit more willing to believe.
"I can prove it." Nick turned to Monroe. "Monroe's what's called a Blutbad, kind of like the big, bad wolf without the bad part."
Monroe raised an eyebrow at him. "You sure about this?"
Nick nodded. Monroe sighed and turned towards Juliette. "Please don't scream." He shook himself once and then shifted.
Juliette jerked backwards, her eyes wide. She stared at Monroe but didn't scream. Nick squeezed Monroe's furry hand.
After a minute of silence, Monroe shifted back to human. He looked away from Juliette and rubbed the back of his head. "So, that was it."
Juliette kept staring.
"I know it seems weird," Nick said, "but that's what I deal with. There's a lot more Wesen out there, and magic of varying forms. When you blacked out and lost your memories... we think that had to do with the cat that scratched you. Someone put a spell on it."
Juliette slowly shifted back to a normal sitting position. "So I was under a spell?"
"Okay." Juliette stared down at the floor. "Okay." She looked over at him and Nick could see something strange in her eyes, like a mix of relief and understanding. "That... it kind of makes sense, in a weird way. So that's what you were hiding from me? That you're a... a Grimm?"
He nodded again.
"That was it?"
His stomach rolled with fear and he squeezed Monroe's hand too hard. "That's not all." Monroe's thumb rubbed against the back of Nick's hand. He didn't know what Nick was going to say. It seemed too weird to even conceive of. "I... Apparently Grimm can... male Grimm can..." Monroe squeezed his hand again and he blurted it out. "I'm pregnant."
He was aware of both their eyes on him but he couldn't look. He stared down at his stomach and rested his free hand against it.
"Are you sure?" Monroe asked.
Nick hesitated. "Mostly. I mean, I haven't seen it but... it makes too much sense with the way I've been sick and gaining weight and the Schakale said... he smelled it on me."
"Whose is it?" Nick's head shot up as Juliette spoke. She blushed and looked at Monroe then back at Nick. "I'm sorry, I should have guessed. It's Monroe's?"
Nick turned towards Monroe and nodded. He wasn't sure what he expected to see on Monroe's face. Apprehension maybe or denial. Instead, a wide grin spread across Monroe's face. "Really?" Monroe sounded so happy, like he couldn't contain all of it. Nick nodded and slowly smiled back. "Oh my god." Before Nick could say anything else, Monroe was pulling him into a tight, warm hug. "We're going to have a baby."
Nick glanced over at Juliette. Surprisingly, she was smiling at him, a soft warm smile that filled him with hope. "We're going to have a baby," Juliette echoed, her voice soft.
Finally, everything was back the way it should be. Not normal, not entirely the same, but close enough. They were going to have a baby.
Nick shifted in his chair, trying unsuccessfully to get comfortable on the unforgiving wood. The chairs in the captain's office had never bothered him before. Captain Renard seemed slightly uneasy but he smiled at Nick. "How can I help you, Nick?"
"I need some time off."
Renard didn't seem entirely surprised. His eyes darted towards Nick's growing belly and then quickly turned away. Nick wondered if the captain knew, or at least suspected. But how would he?
"May I ask why?"
Nick swallowed hard. He'd had a hard enough time explaining things to Monroe and Juliette. He wasn't sure he could handle trying to explain to the captain. "Personal reasons."
Renard nodded easily. "No problem. Take as much time as you need." Nick let out the breath he'd been unconsciously holding. Renard opened one of his desk drawers and pulled out a piece of paper. He slid it across the table. It was a FMLA form. "Do you know when you'll be back?"
Monroe had taken him to a Wesen doctor that had been able to estimate how far along he'd been. The baby was in its sixth month now. "About three months. Maybe a bit longer."
"Okay. You have my number if you need anything." There was a strange sincerity in Renard's voice. Nick was almost tempted to tell Renard the truth right there.
"Thank you." Nick levered himself out of the chair with a bit of effort. "Really. This means a lot to me."
Renard smiled at him. "Let's just say I owe you one."
Nick hesitated. He wanted to ask but he was supposed to meet Juliette and Monroe at the spice shop soon. He smiled back at Renard and let it go.
5 months later...
Nick woke to the sound of a crying baby. Two bodies shifted on either side of him and started to get up at the same time he did. "I've got it." He crawled awkwardly over Monroe and slipped out of bed. Monroe's hand grasped for him but Nick ducked out of the way with a chuckle. "In a minute."
He was still getting used to their new, bigger house. The bedroom was huge, but it had to be to fit a King bed for the three of them. He walked down the hallway as quietly as he could while still being quick. Marie's door was the second on the left, just past their new spare bedroom. He smiled as he opened the nursery door.
"Hey," he whispered. "What's wrong, baby?"
Her crying hushed to a whimper as soon as he walked in. She was definitely turning into a daddy's girl. Or was it momma's girl? He'd yet to figure out which term would be more accurate but he preferred daddy. That left Juliette as the momma and Monroe as papa.
He picked up Marie and cradled her in his arms. A quick diaper check showed that wasn't the problem. He bounced slightly as he walked. He'd been surprised how quick he'd taken to being a parent, and how easily Monroe and Juliette had gone along with it. His was a strange, strange life and he was lucky to have not one but two loving partners to help him with it.
Marie burbled and sucked on his thumb. "Hungry, huh?" She gummed his thumb in response.
Nick almost took a wrong turn at the bottom of the stairs. He was so used to the kitchen being on his left. Instead he turned to the right and pulled a pre-made bottle of milk out of the fridge. Marie settled down once she had her bottle. Nick wandered into the living room with her and flopped down on Monroe's old couch. He let his head fall back against the afghan Monroe's grandmother had made and inhaled deeply.
He must have fallen asleep, because the next thing he knew, Marie was being lifted out of his arms. He grasped for her, only to have his hands caught in soft, small hands. Juliette smiled down at him and tugged at his arms. He obediently stood and let himself be dragged back to bed. Monroe grinned over his shoulder at them both as he took a sleeping Marie back to bed.
Juliette led Nick back to bed and snuggled against his chest. A few seconds later, Monroe followed, crawling in behind Nick to form a warm wall at his back. They drifted back to sleep, all three of them intertwined and Nick couldn't think of anything more perfect than his life right now.
Everything was exactly how it was supposed to be.