Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of this work of fiction and no profit, monetary or otherwise, is being made through the writing, and online publication of this.
A/N: A re-post because someone asked. I had taken this down, due to lack of interest. Without reviews, I assume that what I've written is bad, or that people are uninterested in it, and I take it down.
It's the color red which sets him off, and, yeah, okay, Monroe has been pretty good at keeping himself under control these days, so this isn't exactly something that he or Nick is expecting to happen. And, the irony of red being his favorite color, as well as the trigger for his woge, isn't lost on him.
He's barely had any slipups. Save for when Angelina stopped by for a 'visit,' after the death of some friends, he hasn't eaten any meat. He sticks to his careful regimen of drugs, a vegetarian diet and exercise, and for very good reason – he likes and wants to maintain his life as a Wieder Blutbad, living among the humans as though he's one of them. It keeps him safe and alive, and gives him the semblance of normalcy.
Of course he's morphed into his Wesen form for Nick on occasion. Once, to protect the Grimm's aunt, he'd rent a man's arm from his body. But, he'd been in complete control of the transformation, and his actions afterwards. If he hadn't, that man would've been brisket for dinner. He wouldn't have had to eat for a week afterwards.
It had reminded him of when he'd been a teenager – the hunts he'd engaged in with Angelina and his family. He'd reveled in the bloodlust, the sheer carnality, and the thrill of the kill. It had been glorious and he'd never felt as alive as he did when he was closing in on their mutual prey.
Monroe's an expert at avoiding the color red. He takes great pains to do so. Stop-sign red isn't a problem, neither is the red of wine, which is more of a maroon or a subdued crimson. The red of his bloody nightmares, courtesy of his violent upbringing, is bright and fiery and could be described as plain, run-of-the-mill red, like the red of blood or Crayola Crayons.
It isn't so much the color itself–fire truck or maybe cherry red – which triggers the woge, but rather the suddenness of it. The unexpectedness of happening upon such a bright color in an environment rich in earthy browns and greens took him off-guard. That and talking to Nick – watching the man's reactions, the way Nick's eyes dilated and sparked with interest whenever he launched into a passionate description of a plant or a bird they saw as they walked along the isolated path in Forest Park.
The walk had been Monroe's idea, to get Nick's mind off of what was going on with Juliette, and to keep the Grimm from spending the whole day brooding or pouring over his ancestor's notes in the tiny, toaster-like trailer of Grimm artifacts he'd inherited from his Aunt Marie when she'd passed.
Monroe had invited the Grimm to stay at his place when he learned that Nick had been living in the trailer; just until this whole Juliette mess got straightened out. So far, things had been working out okay – it had been a month and neither of them had gone for the other's jugular, yet.
Nick slept in the guest room in the attic, or sometimes Monroe would find him sprawled out on the couch in the living room – that usually only happened when Nick came home from work at some ungodly hour of the morning. And maybe it was a habit that had been ingrained in the Grimm from when he'd been living with Juliette, coming home late and not wanting to wake her.
With some reluctance, and being plied with copious amounts of wine, Nick had confided in Monroe that he'd been camping out on the living room couch ever since Juliette had gotten back from the hospital, because she'd been uncomfortable around him. Though it made Monroe's heart go out to the Grimm, he could understand where Juliette was coming from.
To keep Nick's mind from veering toward thoughts of what he could be doing on his day off if Juliette hadn't asked him to leave, Monroe kept up a steady stream of an almost one-sided conversation, telling Nick about everything from the history of Forest Park to how industrialization had nearly been the death of the park to what kind of subspecies lived beneath the shrubbery.
Nick offered occasional, off-handed comments throughout Monroe's lecture, and Monroe paused to allow for questions that the Grimm might have, and he blushed when Nick said that he could be a tour guide for the park. It was a compliment, the way Nick said it, and it made Monroe feel warm, all the way down to his toes.
It's a red jacket, one of those thick, down-filled ones – lying abandoned on the trail right in front of them – that sets him off. Nick's detective instincts kick in immediately, and he kneels to examine the discarded winter garment, but Monroe isn't quick enough to turn away or shield his eyes from the red.
Monroe knows a moment of pure anger and terror and something like passion – all sparked by just the right shade of red – before he transforms into the Blutbad, and then his senses, which under normal, everyday circumstances are already supernaturally enhanced, become even sharper. He crouches and scents the air – something about the coat, the trees, the trail, is off.
Wolfsbane. The pungent stench of it hangs heavily in the air – the red coat reeks of it, as does the trail leading away from it and the trees nearest the Blutbad and the Grimm. Aconite is not a plant native to the Forest Park. Someone had placed it there, deliberately.
Monroe reels at the scent which is almost overpowering, but above it, he can smell the Grimm, and his mind supplies the word, enemy. At the same time, he smells Nick, his friend. Enemy and friend, the thoughts dance around each other in his mind and he can't separate one from the other. Nick is both enemy and friend and Monroe is lost in agony. He's not in control of this woge; he's not in control of anything.
Just as he's about to charge Nick, because apparently the term, enemy, has a bigger impetus on him, something happens and he's in excruciating pain. His world becomes a series of bright colors and discordant scents and sounds and he can't separate one from the other. He can't make sense of a single thing other than an overwhelming pain – a burning sensation that runs from this lower back to the base of his skull. Whatever's happened is messing with his senses, and it's impossible for Monroe to revert to his human form.
Monroe's mind tells him that the Grimm must've hurt him, because, really, who else could it have been? They're alone, in the forest. Only he and Nick had known they were going to be there. They're natural enemies, and Monroe has a debt of deaths to repay on behalf of his family.
"Monroe?" Nick's voice is overly loud and Monroe tries to move away from the Grimm, but he can't.
He's trapped, and his back and neck are aflame. He can feel the arrows now, one between his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, rendering him, in effect, paralyzed. The other – the first to hit – is affixed in the area of his lumbar triangle. Neither hit was meant to kill, but rather to incapacitate, and Monroe has enough presence of mind to realize that this is a trap, he's just not sure who the trap is for – him or the Grimm or both.
"Monroe, can you hear me?"
Yes, yes, Monroe thinks impatiently, and he even opens his mouth to say just that, and to tell the Grimm to stop torturing him. Instead of the words he wants to say, a lone, pathetic whimper escapes past his lips; it's then, as the Grimm touches his shoulder that he realizes he can't see. He's essentially blind, dumb and paralyzed, and at the mercy of one of the greatest enemies of his people.
Nick shakes him, and Monroe tries to roll away from the Grimm, but he can't. He's too weak and his head's starting to hurt and he can't breathe properly and he really wants to bite Nick so that the Grimm can share in his pain. He wants to bring the anti-hero of the Wessen world down to the realm Hades with him so that they can grapple at each other's throats as they cross the River Styx. There, they'd be on even ground.
"God, Monroe, I don't know what to do, you've been shot with arrows..." Nick pauses and Monroe imagines the Grimm running a hand through his dark hair, disheveling it even more than the wind had during their walk along the ill-used trail.
"I don't know what was on the arrows. I don't know, and it's, it's smoking. Monroe the wounds are smoking. What do I do? How do I help you?"
Sorry buddy, you're going to have to figure this one out on your own, Monroe thinks and then he mentally snarls at himself for using the word, buddy, in regard to the Grimm. Grimms are monsters best left to nightmares and storybooks. They are not 'buddies.'
"I'm going to call Rosalee; maybe she'll know what to do." Nick's voice shakes and Monroe can feel the man trembling beside him.
"I think it's a trap, but I don't know how anyone could've known that we were going to be coming here today. Other than Hank, I didn't…" Nick's voice trails off, and Monroe tries to remember who Hank is.
Partner, the word flashes in Monroe's mind, Nick's partner, he further clarifies, and then, cop.
"Crap, there's no signal. Okay, don't panic Nick, there's got to be something around here that you can use to counteract whatever it is that Monroe's been shot with. Think like Monroe."
Had the situation been different, and maybe if he'd have been in less pain, Monroe might've found Nick's external monologue humorous. As it is though, Monroe feels like he's at Death's door and he wants to knock on the door and ask to be let inside so that he can end his suffering.
"What would Monroe do?"
Monroe can feel Nick's hands running along his side and across his back and he's too weak to make them stop. The Grimm's incessant chatter is setting his hackles on edge as well. He can't phase out of his current Blutbad state and it's difficult for him to make sense of what's going on, and why he hurts, why a Grimm is taking care of him instead of finishing him off like he should be.
Monroe can smell the other threat, danger, a Hexenbiest, well before he can hear her, and he growls a warning, low in his throat, surprised that he's actually capable of making the noise at all. It's all he can do, bereft of speech as he is.
Monroe knows what he needs, an antidote that can probably be whipped together, easily enough, with herbs from Rosalee's shop. He has no way of communicating that to the Grimm, his only hope of survival at this point. Provided that the Grimm is able to handle the Hexenbiest on his own.
"Shit," Nick whispers, and Monroe adds a silent, Duh, and an imaginary eye roll to the Grimm's statement.
The Grimm's just a little too late on the uptake. Monroe wonders who the hell was responsible for the man's training. Little bits and pieces of his life, intertwined with the Grimm's, filter through his subconscious and Monroe realizes that he needs to take on some of the details of training Nick on his own, and that he'll need to seriously up that training so that the man has a hope in Hölle of survival.
"Hexenbiest," Monroe manages, somehow, to push the word past his lips. Though he isn't certain that Nick's heard the quietly spoken word, he feels the Grimm tense beside him.
"Hexenbiest," Nick spits the word out, and Monroe feels the hackles on the back of his neck rise when Nick pats him on the back and whispers, "be right back," in his ear.
Worry beats an arrhythmic pattern in his chest as Monroe feels Nick's hand leave him, and Monroe silently curses himself and the Grimm. He curses his own weakness, felled by some unknown poison that has left him blind and useless. He curses Nick's loyalty to him, and the Grimm's infallible sense of right and wrong that often leaves him vulnerable to attack. Wily beasts, like himself and the Hexenbiest, use such human weaknesses to their advantage.
There is no sense of right and wrong, not as humans view it anyway, amongst the Wesen. There is no black and white, and the shades of gray that do exist are extremely grainy, at best. Survival of the fittest is the rule of thumb, and Nick, at least as far as Monroe can recall about the Grimm in his current state of injury, lives by a different creed altogether – one which includes fairness and ideals that are laughed at or largely ignored by Wesen. In short, the Grimm needs to wise up, and big time, if he's going to live to a ripe old age like many of his predecessors.
Even in his weakened state, Monroe can remember Nick's aunt, Marie, and what a deadly foe she had been to his kind. What he can't wrap his head around is why he'd protected the much hated Grimm when she'd been on her deathbed. He recalls Nick asking him to protect her while he was unable to do so, and maiming someone, a fellow Wesen, to keep his promise to the fledgling Grimm.
Such and act goes against everything that he and his family believe in, and Monroe shudders. His skin ripples, and his teeth lengthen, and he wants nothing more than to throw off this poisoned lethargy and fight the Grimm, gain back his freedom. He feels like a beast, a mere dog, on a leash.
He can practically hear his grandfather's voice as the man chastises him for taking up with a Grimm, of all creatures. He can sense his grandmother looking down on him with disgust, spitting out words as venomous as whatever poison had felled him for taking up with a Grimm like one would partner with a life mate.
Verräterin! The viciously spoken word hovers at the edge of his consciousness, and Monroe can feel the eyes of every one of his ancestors on him, condemning him as a traitor to his own kind and his heritage. Ethereal hands reach for him, and he's helpless to fend them off. They grasp and pull at him. Cold, lifeless fingers wrap themselves around his still beating heart, causing him to gasp in shock and pain.
Monroe's life flashes before his eyes: the hunts of his youth; running alongside his friends; zoning in on a kill – the frenetic beating of the heart of his prey as it begged in vain to be set free; the rush of blood thirst – spurred on by the incomparable joy of rendering pain to a weaker species; the heady aroma of fresh blood – a tangy bouquet not unlike that of some of the heavier wines Monroe's had the pleasure of imbibing in; the intoxicating taste of blood slick and thick as it ran down the back of his throat, still warm and throbbing with life. Monroe remembers how he could feel the heartbeat of his kill as it faded into an eternal silence; much like his own heart is doing now.
It isn't fair. Life isn't fair.
As his heartbeat slows, the chants of his ancestors, Tod zum blutsverräter, clang loudly in his ears, and their fingers, so many icicles, clench vise like around his heart, cinching tighter with each faltering beat.
If he was in his right mind, Monroe might realize that are were no ghostly beings at work, that it's just the slow acting poison breaking down his bodily functions, killing him with each beat of his heart as it pumps the infected blood through his veins. The poison is a living being, worming its way through his veins, leaving fire in its wake. It makes his skin crawl and his bones creak and his heart grow sluggish with each abating pump. His own blood is killing him.
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