A/N – I'm fairly new to the Grimm scene and have been catching up with all the episodes and was so excited to find a new super-fun show. (I'd watch solely for David Giuntoli's beautiful mug and – as a knitter – Monroe's revolving sweater collection.) I started this story not long after Mr. Sandman and I'm posting it now, else I'll probably edit it to death.
"I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it."
"Don't worry about the story's goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler. "
- Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) to Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), The Maltese Falcon, 1941
The damned noise finally cut out.
With the disappearance of the constant trilling of the Jinnamuru Whatitsname, Nick shifts this new Daredevil thing that is both the coolest thing ever, while – at the same time – freaks him out more than nematodes hooking into his eyes ever could, to the heavy, prodding gaze of Monroe, Rosalee and… Hank…?
Hank isn't in the attic anymore.
Nick can no longer feel his presence, but he can hear his partner's voice drift up from the floor below, hears Hank take Casey away from the body and back down to her living room, hears Monroe's phone beep with an incoming text, can feel Rosalee's concern as a tangible thing long before she takes his hand in hers.
His back is thrumming with heat and pain from neck to tailbone from when he slammed into the floor and Nick knows he's going to be feeling the aftereffects of the fight for days. And his eyes… The burning in his eyes has only grown worse and worse till he has no words left to think except to rub and tear and get this stuff out.
"Nick, you can't," Rosalee pulls both of his hands away from the bandage, away from the paste. She smells like lavender and thyme, her heartbeat is a steady anchor against the ache in his skull. "Listen, we've got to leave it on. We have to let it work."
She pauses when Monroe pipes in, "We gotta go – Hank called it in and said the cops are on their way."
Hank has probably called Renard and Nick is unsure of how that makes him feel. It makes their lives easier, his and Hank's, that they have a superior who knows the inner workings of the wesen world. But it doesn't stop the boiling rage that burns through Nick's veins every time he thinks of the Captain touching (hugging, kissing…) Juliette.
Nick dodges Monroe's awkward shuffle, he can hear his friend's knee before it collides with his shoulder – and seriously, what's up with that? But he knows he's not going to make it down to the car on his own. He's wiped. His adrenaline check has been signed, cashed and every last penny spent taking the bug man down.
"So, uh –" Monroe continues. "How do we want to do this? Do you want me to…"
Hands pull Nick up, up and up until he's mostly on his feet – Monroe has Nick's arm hoisted around his neck and is hauling him by his belt. Nick tries to get his feet to move faster – he's aware of Rosalee hovering behind him – but the pain in his eyes has grown past the point of him caring about anything now. If he could get his hands on that spoon, he'd gladly rip his own eyes out of his head.
"Hey Nick, man, you okay?
Nick shakes his head. He is far from okay. He is tired and sore – his face from cheekbones to eyebrows feels tight and swollen so much so that it scares him. He needs a shower and clean clothes and hasn't eaten a decent meal all day. He's blind, pretty sure he nearly ripped a nail off his left index finger in the fight and oh yeah, has bug gunk in his eyes…
And now… Well, now things are just peachy.
Each and every step down the stairs thrums through his brain. His feet thud louder and louder, sending waves that travel up through his feet bones to his leg bones to his hip bones to his rib cage and up, up, up to his broken head bone till they ping and ricochet, leaving lighting and fireworks in their wake.
The cop sirens are getting closer – the sounds flash in his head and grow brighter and brighter – they're loud. Much too loud as Monroe continues to half-drag him out to the sidewalk. Keys jingle and Casey is hysterically crying on the front steps of her home. Nick uses his one free hand to cover an ear, but it does nothing to shield his senses from the steadily building wind and the rain he just knows in a way he never could before,is going to let lose at any moment.
Hank is there to open the car door and his odd crew is there to tuck him in the back seat. Rosalee slides in next to him and keeps a warm hand on the back of his neck. Nick never notices how he leans into her touch, how her arms grow downy fur, that her calm breaths sound nearly like purring.
It's not a long trip back to the spice shop and Rosalee keeps up a gentle patter of conversation – about Seattle and Portland and all the mountains and rivers in between – with a soothing voice that makes Nick miss Juliette fiercely.
The moment when Nick has nearly calmed himself is when the rain storm starts suddenly and violently – Rosalee yips at a brilliant crack of thunder that shorts out his remaining senses. From that moment on its just rain, rainrainrain – every splash, every puddle, every roll of thunder pulls him under.
He's got to get away from here, he can feel it – it's La Llorona and she's back and going to pull him to the bottom of the river, hold him down and he's going to disappear, forever and always.
Nick pushes and tries to break free of the water – push, kick, push, kick – but something (the crying woman?) keeps holding him back, has his arms and won't let him go. There are sounds muffled by each and every rain drop that lands, but the relentless pounding on his back – his faceearseyeslegsarms – keep him from listening further.
His lungs ache for air – he's going to die here under the waves. It's all too much, too much.
"Oh God, Nick! Just breathe! Take a breath!"
"Rosalee, what? Don't hit him!"
"I can't get him to respond. Nick do you hear me? It's okay, it's going to be okay. Just take a breath."
Something, someone, slaps his face. He can feel a perfect handprint bloom across his cheek, can feel himself beginning to wheeze and gasp for sweet, sweet air.
Something squeals sharp and bright and Nick groans as he tries once again to use his hands to cover his ears. They have to let him go, he's not that kind of Grimm – just please stop hurting him, he cries.
"Nick, buddy, we know. We're not going to hurt you. We're here at Rosalee's. We've got something that will help…"
Something takes hold of his face that he can't shake free and the water just keeps coming down even harder and faster than before. Why won't they let him go?
"Nick, I need you to listen to me. Hear me out, okay? You're in my car. You ride in this car almost every day. Rosalee's sitting right next to you, she's the one holding your hands. It's raining pretty hard, but you're not drowning, okay? Just listen to me, you're fine. Monroe and I are going to get you into the shop…"
It's Hank, Hank is here and Hank won't let anything happen to him.
Nick tries to take a shaky breath and then another one. The water fades a little, taking back seat to Hank's calm voice. A cold sweat leaves him damp and achy – there are still too many prickles at his skin, too many sounds, so many things that his mind tries to suss out and find the end of. His head is so full, he can't hope to contain it all.
Nick takes another breath, tries to focus on the thread of conversation, on Hank's voice and not the million little things that vie for his attention.
"You with me, man?"
Nick nods, clearing his throat before he says a raspy, "yeah."
"Good," Hank pats his knee, his voice heavy with relief. "That's good. Glad to have you back with us."
Monroe and Hank all but carry him through the door of the shop and lay him out on the bed in the back room. One of them pulls off his jacket while the other takes care of his shoes. He's covered with a blanket and pulls it tightly around his shoulders, shuddering against the chill that's settled in his bones.
The sound of the rain is softer here. It's not invading his every sense. The ceiling is a good ten feet up from where he's laying and that space is almost like a cushion against the violent weather.
Rosalee brings him a tea that she promises will ease the sting and help him sleep. He struggles to sit up and does so long enough to swallow down what's in the mug.
The drink is warm and bitter – tastes like soot and that burnt paella that he and Juliette forgot on the stove one rainy afternoon. But it calms the radar that's setting his brain off like a pachinko machine.
Nick settles back down against the pillow and listens to Hank, Monroe and Rosalee bicker about ratios of something and something in a tisane and does it matter since coffee is so much better, damn it.
The conversation is familiar and beginning to sound like family and home in a way things haven't since he lost Juliette. It's comforting white noise that drowns out the rain and the cars that zip by and all the little things that have taken over his world in the last six hours.
And then, he sleeps.
"Well that's one way to spend an evening," Monroe proclaims as he collapses on a chair. He bends forward, resting his elbows on his knees as he scrubs his hands through his hair. He takes a deep, cleansing breath, taking care to properly exhale and pause before he inhales again.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
"Hey guys, let's agree to never that again. That was just…" Monroe has seen ugly wesen before (here's looking at you, Siegbarste and Bauerschwein) but this one was enough to make his skin crawl. Contacts and having eyelashes getting stuck in eyelids horrify him, let alone little worms that chew eyes right out of people's heads.
"I hear that," Hank looks up from his phone where he is texting as quickly as a thirteen year old girl. "This is going to be the most creatively written report of my career. And that's really saying something these days." He tucks his phone back in his pocket and looks over to where Nick is sacked out on the day bed.
The Grimm is resting peacefully for the first time since his attack and currently isn't pulling out his creepy new "Blind Guy Senses All" parlor trick or freaking out over a thunderstorm in the backseat of Hank's car.
"Is the thing with Nick…" Hank motions to his ears, "Is it a bug thing or a Grimm thing? The way he took Andre down. That shouldn't even be possible. I wasn't expecting…"
Monroe shivers at what Hank doesn't say. The fight between the Grimm and the Jinnamuru Xunte had been violent and he is still shaky at the thought what the scene could have been – dead Grimm, Portland further terrorized and it's Wesen Community thrown into upheaval after all the progress Nick has made in establishing his kinder, gentler Grimm policy.
This is what Monroe's life has come to – not only would he have a mad momma Grimm to answer to if something ever happened to Nick, but a frickin' Eisbiber lodge as well. Shuddering, Monroe lifts his eyes to the ceiling and quietly apologizes to Blutbaden everywhere.
"I don't know, man. Grimms are faster and stronger than regular humans. But this? I have no idea what this is."
"It's freaky," Hank says.
"Keep Portland weird," Monroe replies.
Hank is doing well for someone who can't see even half of what's going on in the wesen world at any given moment. The faith he puts in Nick, Rosalee and Monroe, himself blows his mind. Well it does and it doesn't until Monroe remembers Hank's only other option for what he was seeing was the sign the detective was going cuckoo for Coco Puffs.
"Good job with," Monroe motions at Nick. "Getting him to…"
"Settle down?" Hank finishes.
Monroe doesn't ask – Hank has this faraway look on his face that practically screams nightmare city. He doesn't want to probe, but he wants to know. If Monroe was a betting man, he'd say Hank in Afghanistan with service buddies and a heaping helping of PTSD. But Monroe knows what it is to keep one's past on lockdown.
Monroe looks at Nick again, thinks maybe that they need to search the trailer for a journal on developing Grimm powers. Wonders if they could save themselves all this trouble if they just put their Grimm on a leash.
"Monroe," Rosalee says as she enters the main shop floor. She has two jars with faded labels with Freddy's neat script in her hands. "The Feverfew was in the back room, but I won't get the fresh shipment of ginger root until tomorrow afternoon."
"Will that be enough for the tea you wanted to make up?" Monroe asks as he walks over to join her at the counter.
There is a list of things they had started to assemble for Nick's treatment. The paste would do the bulk of the work with eliminating the worms. And the human eye itself is a self-healing marvel that could use a few good, solid nudges in the right direction.
And with Nick being a Grimm? Monroe is guessing he'll probably develop something ridiculous like x-ray vision to go along with his super-sonic ears.
He thinks that there could be a business or entertainment possibility somewhere in all this…
"I'm going to head out," Hank interrupts Monroe's nonsensical fantasies of a traveling wesen sideshow. "There are a few things I need to take care of at the station, but I'll be back in time to help you get him back to Monroe's."
Monroe and Rosalee wave him out the door, refocusing their attention back on the books.
"The first application should stay on his eyes for at least eight hours. That should be long enough for the antibodies to kill the worms. Then we're going to have to flush his eyes – probably for a good fifteen minutes if we're going to get all that gunk out of there," Rosalee sighs as she studies the eye diagram in front of her. "And then depending on how much comes out, we may want to re-apply…"
"Bug goo?" Monroe finishes.
Rosalee nods, "Bug goo."
She holds the conspicuous jar up with the grayish-pink paste, "I think we have enough for a second application, but I'm not sure how potent it's going to be after it's sat for so long." She shakes her head, "I hate guessing like this, but I've been calling around and no one has ever treated this before."
"Well, the tea seemed to do the trick tonight anyways," Monroe says. Rosalee is the professional when it comes to treating all wesen great and small and Monroe has no problem with deferring to his girlfriend's expertise. He does enjoy bouncing ideas off of her. Enjoys the quickness of her mind and wit as well as her compassion.
Rosalee smiles sadly as she studies Nick carefully, "Poor guy is going to sleep all night long. Hopefully most of the morning as well."
"You're going to flush his eyes when he's not even conscious!" Monroe accuses. "Is that even ethical?"
"Well, I'm not going to say that that didn't cross my mind, but no. I would like to give him something strong enough so that he won't remember much of it though."
Monroe shrugs, fair enough. "Anything I can help out with," he asks. They've got a moment to pause here – Hank won't be back for another hour and this is a good opportunity to make up a care kit for the coming days. His gift to Rosalee tells him it isn't even eight o'clock yet, even though it feels like they've been running around for days.
Rosalee shakes her head, "We're all set for now." She motions towards a small basket she has set on the back counter. "I've got the burdock root and willow bark tea, extra bandages, agrimony plantain balm and…"
"Bug goo." Monroe finishes.
Rosalee nods in agreement and then takes Monroe by surprise when she wraps her arms around him and buries her face in his chest. He carefully settles his arms around her because this? This is one of his favorite things, so he happily holds his love closely and rests his chin on her head and marvels at how well they fit together.
He owes Nick this – knows without the Grimm wrestling his way into Monroe's life, he would have never left his solitary house with his lonely living room work bench and his weekly support group meetings… Never would have tried to have a life outside of living day to day. Knows that he would have never been with Rosalee without Nick asking him to play guard dog.
He's not a guard dog, damn it! Now Nick has him thinking that too.
Stupid Grimm, he thinks fondly.
Monroe softly presses a kiss to Rosalee's head. They rock slowly back and forth, enjoying the silence of the shop. Rosalee woges, purring loudly, her fox-face drawing out the wolf. There is nothing that he would love more than to take off for a run through the woods with Rosalee in this moment – the freshness of the forest with the intoxicating freedom of running wild. Rosalee isn't a blutbad but she loves it nearly as much as Monroe.
Monroe chuffs, maybe after this next crisis of the week has passed…
It's warm here – there is a heaviness covering his body that, after several long minutes, he realizes are a couple of thick blankets covering him from toe to chin.
Taking stock, Nick feels both comfortably numb and achy. His head feels like a stretched out, cotton stuffed balloon. The skin around his eyes is still so swollen, itchy and awful like sunburn, road rash and maybe poison ivy thrown in for fun. If he can just… Ah, a little further. He pants and wrestles to pull a hand from under the covers and shakily lifts it to carefully knead his cheeks with the heel of his palm to relieve the itching.
Nick has no energy to put his hand back down by his side, so he leaves his arm to rest on his forehead. His mouth is dry and the nausea… It feels worse than that bout of sea sickness during that whale watching tour back in high school. It was awful. He spent the afternoon dry heaving into an empty bait bucket instead of making out with Britta Maris.
Before he can choke, big hands pick him up and he can feel something being shoved in front of his face.
A ramble-y voice says to him, "Aim, damn it. I can't believe that you still have something left in there. You've been puking all morning."
The hands place something cold and wet on his neck – water drips down his back and he shivers. He sits there forever, but nothing comes up. If only something would and he might feel better.
"Can I take this away now? Or are you good?"
Nick nods and collapses back against the pillows he just now realizes he had been laying on all this time. He takes short pants through his mouth, attempts to get the nausea under control.
He's going to die. That's all there is to it. Adios, au revoir and thanks for all the fish.
"I didn't take you to be a Douglas Adams fan, but here you go having unexpected depth."
"Movie," Nick slurs. "Jules 'n dinner."
"Well, here's a towel for you anyways. Cover… things… if you feel like you're going to puke again."
A hand rests on his forehead, moves down to feel his cheek and then back to his forehead again. The hand is marvelously cool and wonderful against the headache that is busy tearing apart his brain. The hand disappears but is replaced by the damp cloth that is nearly just as good.
It is mid-morning, this much he knows. He sniffs once, twice – something smells good. Waffles, probably. Nick smiles as coffee fights for his attention as well. His mind drifts: there are several clocks ticking, someone is humming… Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.
"Take it easy, man," the voice says. "I'll get you some water."
Nick can hear footsteps and a steady stream of dialogue drift away from him to the… kitchen. There's the cabinet opening, closing. The water faucet comes on, runs for a bit before getting shut off. The footsteps then make their way closer and closer until Nick knows he's being loomed over.
His brain clicks on for a second – Monroe, it provides.
Using one hand to map out his location, Nick finds himself on Monroe's living room couch. He keeps the other arm close to his chest. It aches from shoulder to elbow and no one can ever make him move it ever again if he has any choice in all of this. Nick must have wrenched it last night, but hasn't felt it until now. His back is a solid bruise that keeps him from trying to sit up further – if he stays semi-reclined; it keeps the pressure off and the pain in check.
So he'll have to beg for coffee then.
Nick makes the mistake of taking a deep breath and lets out a long, low hiss when he realizes that he must have taken a hit to his sternum as well.
"Easy, take it easy, man. You're black and blue all over, so don't try any sudden moves."
Monroe's enormous paws ease him somewhat upright and he thrusts the glass of water into Nick's hand. It's on the cooler side of lukewarm, but it tastes good going down and washes out some of the grossness in his mouth.
"Better?" Monroe asks, stealing the glass away from Nick.
Nick pauses, considers and takes inventory. "Think so," he answers hesitantly. "More water?"
Monroe chuckles, "No sirree, dude. We're gonna wait and see if what you had stays down. We've done this routine twice already this morning."
The hand is back, takes the cloth off his forehead and Monroe says, "So are you actually with me this time? You seem coherent but it's oftentimes hard to tell with you."
"Ha ha," Nick responds. He tries to come up with something more, but his brain isn't quite all on-line yet.
"It speaks!" Monroe crows.
Nick shudders at the loudness of his friend's voice but it makes him wonder how out of it he must have been. The last twenty-four hours are not much more than a jumbled blur to him.
He remembers visiting the morgue, seeing the meal the worms made of Kelly's eyes, the chase through the high school, remembers every excruciating second of the drive from the high school to Rosalee's shop. It's muddled after that.
He sort of remembers zoning in on the buzz – that sound the bug guy made – but after? He's not even sure he was driving the bus when he, with Rosalee trailing reluctantly after him, tracked Andre down and fought him in the attic. The conclusion of the fight? Nick remembers the aftereffects vividly, every bruise forming, every brush against his over-sensitized skin.
This Grimmness scares him, leaves him uncertain about his future, his friends and what he might become. That Monroe is willing to let him bunk at his home leaves Nick profoundly relieved that not every person and wesen is terrified of his presence. That he's somehow still human.
He's not stupid, knows any therapist or psychologist worth their salt would have a heyday with his parents' deaths, his odd childhood with Marie and now Juliette's coerced desertion of him. Nick wonders if 'abandon me' is blinking off him in neon lettering. Thinks about nature versus nurture and if this madness is what happens to all Grimms, no wonder they snap and go on murderous rampages.
"Are you hungry, man? Things seem to be stable." Monroe continues a few minutes later, "I've got toast, quinoa blackberry smoothies, eggs, waffles, lemon scones…"
At the mention of food, Nick realizes how empty his stomach is. He's ravenously hungry and, aside from the eggs (that feels like something he can't quite handle yet), he'll take a little bit of everything.
Monroe must read something off Nick's face, pats him on the shoulder and says, "We'll start with the smoothie, man, and move on from there. Sound good?"
Nick's throat is suddenly very tight at his friend's thoughtfulness and grabs onto Monroe's hand before he moves away, "Yeah, sounds good."
The hand lingers on his shoulder, there is the sound of Monroe clearing his throat, "It's gonna be okay, Nick. Your eyes were already looking better this morning and Rosalee's already coming up with a whole bunch of other things we can try. One day at a time, man. We've got this handled."
Nick swallows heavily and nods, his voice sounding hoarse and broken, "Thanks, Monroe."
There is another pat and then Monroe is gone. Nick can hear the freezer open and close and a few moments later, the blender starts up.
Nick slumps back on the sofa and buries himself in the blankets.
One day at a time…