kat_lair: (GRIMM - cometh the wolf)
[personal profile] kat_lair
***

Title: not your average lullaby
Author: Mistress Kat / [livejournal.com profile] kat_lair
Fandom: Grimm
Pairing: Nick/Monroe (heavy pre-slash)
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 2,472
Warnings/enticements: Erm, idk. There’s an implied d/s vibe but I think it’s so subtle it’s mostly in my head. Some blood and violence but less than you’d see in the show.
Disclaimer: Not mine, only playing.

Summary: Monroe learnt long ago that not acknowledging his weaknesses never ended well. For anyone.

Author notes: This is a sequel to sing no songs except of restless blood and will make more sense if you read that first. Note that I’ve only recently gotten to this fandom and just finishing season 2 so please not to be spoiling me in the comments. These fics are based on season 1 canon and dynamic. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] margaret_r for a wonderful beta read.




Contrary to all expectations, Monroe falls asleep the moment his head hits the pillow.

Back when he first went Wieder Monroe used to dream about the woods all the time. It was always the same: running through the forest surrounding his parents’ house, heart beating strong and fast as he hunted, scent of the prey edging him on. They always ended the same too, those dreams: with blood. The taste of it would linger long after he’d woken up, chest heaving and fangs out, dull ache of loss in every cell of his body.

He hasn’t had dreams like that in years, not even after Nick started showing up and dragging him out of his safe and ordered life.

Tonight Monroe dreams about the forest again. But while the context is familiar the content is anything but.

It’s spring. He can tell from the green-new-sap smell of the trees, the cool dark earth under his feet and the reckless rush of his own blood. He feels young and strong, not the middle-aged, out-of-shape joke of a Blutbad he knows he is, and when he drops onto all fours the woge comes easily, like he hasn’t spent years suppressing it.

Monroe catches the scent of his quarry immediately; clean and tantalizing, with a hint of metal and something almost joyous about it, and if he strains his ears he can hear the distant note of laughter. This is not prey to be hunted down and eaten, this is an invitation to play. With an excited yip Monroe accepts it, bounding through the forest without a care.

At first it’s fun; the day is warm and the sun filters through the treetops, making little pools of light that Monroe splashes into with glee. He noses around the bushes, always catching that enthralling smell that seems to say ‘I’m so close, come find me’ and Monroe goes, running deeper and deeper into the forest.

But the longer the chase goes on, the clearer it becomes that whoever he’s chasing is always going to stay just out of reach. Monroe gets tired; his legs grow heavy, brambles catching at his fur, and he seems to be tripping over every exposed root. He doesn’t want to give up though; the scent that spurred him on is still there, not growing any weaker, though not coming any closer either.

So Monroe runs. And when he can’t run anymore he walks, limping now like an old dog. Around him, the forest is changing. The day turns overcast and cool, shadows lengthening, and as the rain starts to fall Monroe notices the dead leaves. Spring has turned to autumn, in a blink of an eye, and where there once was life and breathless anticipation, there is only stillness now, and the certainty of never finding what he’s chasing.

Monroe stops, fur matted, body aching. He thinks about shifting back but the idea of lying curled on the wet ground as a man is even more pathetic, so he doesn’t.

“There you are,” a voice says and when Monroe turns around he’s oddly unsurprised to find Nick sitting cross-legged on the forest floor.

He smiles, bright and completely open like Monroe’s never seen him do in real life, without any underlying worry or agenda. “Finally stopped running?” he asks, holding out his hand.

Monroe wakes up.

Around him the house sighs and settles, empty of anyone except him.


***


He doesn’t see Nick for over a week. Monroe tells himself this is a good thing and while it probably is, it doesn’t feel like it. On Wednesday night, when he has ran out of distractions and the urge to move, to do something, becomes too strong to ignore, he finds himself in the woods behind Nick’s house.

Nick’s truck is in the drive and all the lights are out. Monroe wants to creep closer, to sit under the bedroom window and listen to him breathe, to count each exhale like a tick of his very own chronometer, but he doesn’t. Instead Monroe stays under the trees until the sky above them turns pearly grey, the blush of a new day spreading slow like the wings of a phoenix.

Only as the first rays of the sun hit the horizon does he leave. But not before pissing all along the edge of Nick’s lawn, right where the garden melts into the forest. He doesn’t even try lying to himself about why he’s doing it. There’s no point.

Monroe learnt long ago that not acknowledging his weaknesses never ended well. For anyone.

And right now, there is no bigger weakness he has than Nick Burkhardt.


***


The thing about clocks Monroe likes best is their predictability, the way two follows one follows twelve, minute hand and hour hand moving apart and back together, like lovers returning to kiss each other regularly, unable to stand the distance for too long. He loses himself in the turn of wheels and the precise click of hooks falling into place, feeling like he’s looking into the depths of time itself, rather than just humanity’s crude attempts to control it.

It’s calming and peaceful.

It’s a displacement activity and Monroe knows it.


***


On Saturday Nick is on his front steps again, hand raised awkwardly where he was about to knock but didn’t have the chance because Monroe has wrenched the door open and almost off its hinges. He could smell Nick as soon as he got out of the car and he’d smelled like blood.

Monroe’s nose is not imagining things. “Oh my god, oh my god, what happened, do you need a doctor?” He’s breathless and babbling, sounding like some hysterical tottery uncle and hating himself for it, but it’s either that or pushing Nick to the hallway floor and licking-sniffing-owning all that blood until Nick is clean and whole.

“What?” Nick says, and his eyes are a little unfocused and a lot tired. “It’s nothing, just a gash.” His hand is clamped around his arm, shirt sticky-red and ripped. “I need... We have to go,” he says, moving his hand to Monroe’s shirt now, “He’s going to kill her!”

Monroe follows him out on autopilot, not really listening while Nick relates the details of the latest case of murderous Wesen because he’s too busy looking down at his own chest, at the rust coloured hand-print right in the middle of it.

“You have to drive,” Nick says, sounding apologetic but Monroe is grateful for the distraction, not sure he’d be able to stop himself just stripping off his shirt and rubbing his face against the stain.

He opens the window, scared of being overwhelmed by the smell of Nick’s blood and Nick’s sweat and NickNickNick that fills the Beetle, heavy and sweet like an August afternoon.

“Where are we going?” he asks, voice too gruff for Nick not to notice but if he does he says nothing, only giving directions.

They end up on the wrong side the tracks, behind some mostly abandoned strip mall that’s frequented only by women and men with nothing but their bodies to sell and the vermin with money to spare.

That and a Lowen with a dangerous obsession.

On some level Monroe can empathise.

“He’s been killing all her other johns,” Nick explains while they hide in the doorway of a pawnshop that’s probably nothing but a front for fencing stolen goods. “It wasn’t pretty.”

There’s a part of Monroe that wants to disagree, even after all these years.

They watch the hookers quietly for a while. Monroe shifts his weight from foot to foot, opening and closing his mouth several times. The urge to talk, to say something, anything, a complaint or an anecdote or maybe even a confession, is strong, but he bites on his tongue every time the words bubble up.

Finally it’s Nick who breaks the silence.

“Thanks,” he says, eyes trained on the street.

“For what?”

“For coming with me.” Nick breathes for a while, too fast, and Monroe wonders if he’s hurt somewhere else too because it sounds like he’s in pain. “And... The other night too,” Nick adds then.

Monroe could pretend not to know what night Nick is talking about but...

“It’s hardly the first time you’ve dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night,” he says and then gets flustered halfway through the sentence because ‘bed’ and ‘dragging’ are some of the things he should not be thinking in the current context. “I used to have an ordered timetable, you know,” he bitches, trying to cover with a familiar and by now completely meaningless litany, “I knew what I was doing and when. None of this ‘come stalk some murderers’ business and really, you should—”

“I’m sorry,” Nick interrupts. This time his gaze flicks to Monroe briefly, before returning to the group of ladies in the street corner, one of whom is the Lowen’s object of twisted affection.

Monroe feels unsettled. This is not how their late nights fighting the good fight normally go. “Well that’s a first,” he laughs. It sounds as fake as it is. “You don’t usually—”

“Yeah, well,” Nick says and apparently Monroe is not going to be able to finish a sentence any time soon. “I don’t usually show up drunk and needy. I don’t usually push for... I don’t usually push like that. So I’m sorry.” This time Nick is definitely not looking at Monroe and the line of his back is tense, practically vibrating, and Monroe’s hand is half-way across the space between them, reaching to touch, until the words actually penetrate.

He snatches his hand back like it’s burnt, which is ironic considering he feels like someone’s dumped a bucket of cold water on him. Nick is apologising for...

Nick is apologising because he didn’t mean it and Monroe was right. He was right not to let himself believe, right not to let himself touch, and right when he’d told himself it would only hurt worse because this is already bad and he can’t imagine what it would be like if Nick was apologising for something that actually happened instead of something that almost did.

Nick is still talking; some meaningless words that Monroe doesn’t want to hear. He certainly doesn’t want to be here any longer, is literally backing away toward the street.

“Monroe?” Nick frowns. “Where are you going?” He looks so genuinely confused like he really doesn’t know what he’s doing and that hurts in a whole new kind of way; the realisation that Nick has no idea about the effect he has on Monroe.

Nick holds out his hand in a gesture so eerily similar to the dream that Monroe almost expects him to smile despite the circumstances. He stops, right on the edge of shadow and the twitching light of the streetlamp, dream Nick’s question about running making him stand his ground even when the real life version is pulling his heart right out of him.

“I just... I’m sorry,” Nick repeats. He sounds miserable and his face is like a map of a land Monroe knows but still wants to travel. “Don’t go.” All his attention is on Monroe now, just like all of Monroe’s is on Nick.

Which is why neither of them notices the Lowen until he’s literally on top of them, taking Monroe down with a roar.


***


The attack is almost welcome in a way, and something in Monroe sighs in release at the first slash of claws over his chest. The physical pain is easy to deal with and it’s a relief to let his instincts take over like they’ve been clamouring to do for months. Granted, this isn’t quite what he’d like to do but the physicality of a fight is close enough to feel good anyway.

He’s distantly aware of Nick’s ‘Freeze! Portland PD!’ but it has no effect on either him or the Lowen, both of them on their feet again, circling each other. Monroe has woged without a conscious thought and he’s farther gone than he’s been in a long time, certainly much beyond what Nick has ever seen. There’s a spike of apprehension about that at the back of his mind, but then Monroe is too busy evading evisceration to worry about it further.

The Lowen is clearly surprised, unused to anyone fighting back, and Monroe capitalises on that slim advantage. He steps back, pretend cowering, and when the Lowen goes for it, he surges forward, low and fast.

The fight is ugly and brutal, no finesse in it, just a desperate need to kill before being killed. Monroe takes a vicious blow to his side, sacrificing his ribs in order to protect that vulnerable bundle of nerves at the small of his back that the Lowen clearly knows about. He goes down but takes his opponent with him, legs kicking instinctively to keep him from getting too close, teeth – fangs now, longer, sharper, nowhere near human – biting down on something soft. The burst of warm blood on his tongue makes something wild inside him howl in victory, just as the Lowen roars in pain.

Monroe wrenches his head back, feeling the flesh tear, and he comes up in a crouch, ready to finish this. The Lowen is already moving though, slower because of the injury, but still dangerous, its formidable claws heading straight for Monroe’s throat.

They never meet their target. Before Monroe has a chance to react, there’s a deafening sound of a gun being fired and the Lowen drops to the ground mid-attack. Monroe whirls around, growling, the part of him that’s angry at being denied his kill momentarily overriding commonsense.

“Whoah, whoah,” Nick says, holding up his hands and the gun, “It’s me,” like he thinks Monroe doesn’t recognise him.

But that’s never been the problem. Monroe takes two steps forward and stumbles, weaker than he expected. When he presses his hand to his side it comes back sticky, the blood dirty brown in the flickering lights, the shadows leaping at the two of them like hungry rats.

Monroe feels his features melting back to human, bone and muscle rearranging themselves with a quiet, familiar ache. Nick is talking again, but the words are muffled, as if coming from somewhere far away even though he’s right there. Monroe takes another step, trying to get closer, but his legs give up under him and with a sigh he crashes to his knees in front of the Grimm.

The last thing he sees is his own hand, futilely trying to grasp hold but only smearing Nick’s jacket with blood, streaks the colour of rust on his skin as Monroe’s fingers slip over Nick’s wrist before falling away.

It’s not the mark he would have chosen to leave but it will have to do.



***

on 2014-06-01 08:44 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] hackey-mcslashy.livejournal.com
This needs a third installment reallysoonnowplease!

Great story :)

on 2014-06-02 10:05 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
Thank you very much. It definitely will get a third and final installment but can't promise that it will be verysoonnow :D

on 2014-06-01 11:11 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] freaky-nea.livejournal.com
I really really like this a lot!

on 2014-06-02 10:06 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
I'm glad to hear that, thank you!

on 2014-06-02 12:57 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] akira17.livejournal.com
sooo sad
I hope monroes ok and that they get together
great story

on 2014-06-02 10:08 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
But angst is so delicious to write! ;) Don't worry, there will be a third installment eventually and a happy ending. Thank you for your comment.

on 2014-06-02 01:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mulder200.livejournal.com
Poor boys! THey certainly never do anything easy.

on 2014-06-02 10:10 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
They really don't but that's half the fun for the readers isn't it?

on 2014-06-02 05:06 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] margaret-r.livejournal.com
Yay, it's posted:D

on 2014-06-02 10:11 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
Yay,indeed. Thank you again for your beta services, much appreciated.

on 2014-06-02 05:57 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] verdande-mi.livejournal.com
:D I love how you write these two (I know, I know, I don't know canon yet - details). In any case I really like the dynamic between them (and I recognize it from some of the stories you recced as well) and I'm looking forward to seeing how the show lives up to it.

on 2014-06-03 08:00 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! It's difficult to say how much my characterisation is canon-accurate and how much of it is just filtered through my slashy d/s goggles :D And hee yeah, large part why I wrote these was because I ran out of fics to read that gave me the characterisation I wanted! Needs must!

on 2014-06-02 06:20 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dreamsofspike.livejournal.com
Okay, really enjoyed this :) Poor Monroe, he's so conflicted, and they keep misunderstanding each other, and the angst is so painful and delicious at the same time ;) Love it!

on 2014-06-03 08:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
Excellent, thank you muchly! Angst and misunderstandings are so delicious indeed to write that who can resist them? Not me for sure :D

on 2014-06-02 07:34 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pushkin666.livejournal.com
I love all of this - the dream sequence, the blood, the obsessiveness. And Monroe marking Nick, even if it's not how he wants just yet :D

on 2014-06-03 08:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kat-lair.livejournal.com
Thank you very much. Well, there needs to be some blood and possessiveness. I'm sure Monroe will get to leave the kind of mark he wants to eventually... :D

on 2014-06-03 08:21 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pushkin666.livejournal.com
Oh I do hope so :) Marking is always good.

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