Nick was cold. Annoyed too, and embarrassed, absolutely, but mostly cold. October in Portland consisted of drizzle and greyness and general misery, and what Nick was wearing was decidedly not seasonally appropriate. It wasn’t, in fact, appropriate in any way.
“Looking hot, partner,” Hank’s amused voice came in his ear.
“Fuck you too,” Nick muttered, shifting from foot to foot in the street corner, trying not to wrap arms around himself in a pathetic effort to stay warm. The skin-tight t-shirt and painted-on jeans were doing nothing to keep the wind at bay.
Then again, the point of the outfit was not to repel but to invite, and judging by the number of cars that had slowed down when driving by, it was doing a decent job of it. Which was good, because sooner this ridiculous undercover gig was over, the better. Nick still wasn’t convinced that the plan would work but Hank, Wu and, disturbingly, the Captain had been adamant that out of the officers available Nick was the best choice for a bait in a sting operation to catch the bastard who had been putting the city’s male prostitutes in the hospital for the last couple of months.
So, here he was; shivering in too-thin clothes, trying to look seductive rather than freezing and pissed off, while Hank and three heavily-armed officers were keeping cosy and warm in a surveillance van nearby.
“Protect and serve, Nick. Protect and serve,” Hank was saying, mock solemn.
“Yeah, I don’t remember that including ‘and hustle your ass,’” Nick bit out through clenched teeth, eyes on the car that was crawling along the street, slowing, slowing and… “Oh, heads up,” he said, plastering on a fake smile, “Here we go.”
The BMW pulled to a full stop, the window rolling down soundlessly. Nick straightened up from his slouch, sauntering over with a little hip-roll of his own, and bending down to look in, one hand on the car roof.
“Hey there,” he said, taking in the sharp suit and sharper features of the man inside. He stank of expensive cologne and money, greying hair styled and gelled, cufflinks glinting like only the real thing would.
“Get in,” the man told him, his eyes raking over Nick in a way that made him shudder with revulsion.
“Oh hey, woah now,” Nick said, trying to buy time. “I’m not much for mobile working. Why don’t we—”
The man pulled out a wad of cash thick enough to make Nick’s eyebrows hike up in genuine surprise. “Get. In,” he said, “Now.”
Nick’s mind was racing. The plan had been to coax the perp – if this even was him – out to the alley and see if he could antagonise him enough to get him to pull out the serrated blade he’d used on the previous victims. Getting in a car with some entitled businessman who probably wanted to fuck him across a chintz sofa in his mansion was not part of it. Perhaps the best thing was to just…
“That’s mighty generous of you, but I don’t do home calls,” Nick said, starting to back away. He didn’t get far though because the guy’s hand shot out of the window, grabbing his collar and yanking him back down. Nick went rigid in an effort to suppress both his cop and Grimm instincts that were screaming at him to deck the man right on his aristocratic nose.
“You do as you’re told,” the man snapped, “slut.”
Suddenly, there was a third person crowding into the car window, blunt fingers closing around the john’s wrist. “I don’t think there’s any need for that kind of language, do you?”
“Monroe?” Nick gaped at his friend, seeing his yellow Beetle idling behind the BMW. How the hell hadn’t he noticed him driving up? And what the hell was he even doing at this part of the town?
“Hi Nick,” Monroe said, pleasantly. “Saw you from the way off. You looked cold so I thought I’d ask if you’d like a lift home.”
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Hank was chanting in Nick’s ear. “The fuck does he think he’s doing?”
Nick had no time to answer Hank or even Monroe because his would-be-customer chose that moment to pull out a knife, holding it to Nick’s jugular.
“Let go,” he said, “or I’ll cut this bitch like I did the others.” And, well, as confessions went that was pretty unambiguous.
Blutbads, however, in general were uninterested in things like following the police procedure for restraining an aggressive suspect. Monroe, in particular, also had no knowledge of armed back-up currently pouring out of the van a couple of streets over. Furthermore, Blutbads – Nick knew from his slightly obsessive research into this particular species of Wesen – took a rather dim view for being threatened, and even dimmer view if the threat was aimed at someone under their protection, someone they considered pack. And Nick… Well, he was pretty sure that for Monroe? Nick was included. Indeed, any doubts of being presumptuous in that regard were dispersed by what happened next.
In the thirty seconds that it took Hank and the other officers to reach their location the following discrete events took place:
Nick took in a breath that seemed to go on forever as he simultaneously tried to figure out how to disarm the perp, protect his own neck as well as Monroe’s, swiftly followed by the realisation that neither him nor Monroe were the one in need of protection here and that yes, those glimpses of possessiveness and territoriality he’d occasionally caught in his friend were but a tip of a particularly dangerous iceberg.
Monroe took in the blade pressing against Nick’s neck and clearly disagreed with the state of affairs with extreme prejudice, having shifted to full woge by the time his now clawed hand wrapped itself around the knife and the weak human fingers holding it. The scent of blood in the car was thick and immediate but there was no sign of pain on Monroe’s face, only fury as the weapon clattered to the floor, the perp’s wrist snapping audibly, his scream full of agony and terror that told Nick that Monroe was not concerned about hiding his true nature.
“Enough!” Nick shouted, pulling at Monroe’s arm, trying to get him away from the car. “He’s down, it’s okay, let it go!”
Monroe, however, did not seem inclined to let it go. Instead, he shook Nick off, shoving him back – out of harm’s way, Nick realised, torn between annoyed and a warm, fuzzy feeling of affection and belonging – whilst reaching deeper into the car and hauling the guy out through the window and tossing him to the ground, still screaming.
By this time Hank and cavalry were rounding the corner, guns drawn, and Nick came to three concurrent realisation: One: that Monroe was genuinely about to go for the perp’s jugular, fangs extended and a low growl emitting from his throat. Two: that Nick found this not nearly as disturbing as he probably should and rather a turn-on in a way that likely said something unhealthy about his psyche. And three: that Monroe was still in full woge about to be imminently witnessed by a group of the city’s finest, which could result in all kinds of complications none of them needed.
The quickest way of dealing with One and Three was to grab Monroe around the waist and tackle him behind the car – number Two could wait until later Nick decided.
“Monroe, snap out of it!” Nick hissed urgently. “Cops!”
From the other side of the BMW came a cacophony of “Freeze!” and “Portland PD!” Hank was rounding the car with “Nick?! You okay?” and Monroe’s gaze shifted from Nick’s face to behind his shoulder, his growl rumbling between their chests as he rolled them around, crouching above Nick on all fours. And okay, this feral protective shit may be causing all sorts of havoc to Nick’s libido but enough was enough.
“It’s fine, it’s just Hank!” he shouted, shaking Monroe by the shoulders. “I’m okay, I’m not hurt, snap out of it!”
“Whoah, okay!” Hank was standing above them, doing his best to shield them from view though luckily the other officers were busy restraining the perp who was fighting and shouting incoherently about monsters – Nick would’ve felt bad about that but the guy had put three people in the hospital so he kind of had it coming. “Hey Monroe,” Hank was saying, hands held up in a universal ‘it’s cool, it’s cool’ move, “You’ve got a habit of getting in the way of danger, eh?” It was both a mild rebuke – Monroe helping out had never sat well with him, and this wasn’t even a Wesen-related case – and something to buy them a few more seconds.
Thankfully, it was enough for Monroe to regain control. With a violent full body shake his features settled back to familiar human ones, though the fierceness of eyes lingered. “Hey,” he said, and then had to clear his throat. “I was just in the neighbourhood.” He shrugged, getting to his feet, Nick following suit. The words were addressed at Hank but Monroe’s gaze never left Nick, instead trailing him from head to toe, first obviously looking for injuries but then seeming to take in what Nick was wearing for the first time, judging by the way Monroe’s eyes widened a fraction before narrowing dangerously.
“What are you…” he started, before checking himself and their location – surrounded by police officers – and changed the question to: “What the hell is going on here?”
Hank kept looking between them, gaze jumping back and forth like he was following a tennis match.
“You managed to stumble in the middle of a case,” he finally said. “Nick will explain. Good thing it seems there’s a very clear case of self-defence for the perp’s wrist,” he added drily. “Nick, I’ll see you both at the station, yeah?”
Nick nodded, feeling a tad shaky from the adrenaline rush, but enough with it to understand that his partner was giving him a few minutes to brief Monroe before the necessity of giving any official statements and for that he was grateful. They stood in silence watching Hank and the other officers pack the suspect into the van and drive off, presumably heading to ER first before the lock-up.
“So,” Monroe said after a few seconds. “That was… something.” He was holding himself rigidly, eyes still on the now empty street and his sluggishly bleeding hand cradled to his chest.
Nick snorted. “Yeah, you could say that again. Let me see your hand.” He pried Monroe’s palm open, only to reveal a gash that was nowhere nearly as serious as it should’ve been.
“It’s fine,” Monroe said, pulling his hand back. “Blutbad skin is pretty tough.” He wiped his palm against his shirt, uncharacteristically indifferent to the stains left behind. “Should I apologise?” he asked.
“What?” Nick frowned, running a hand over his face in an effort to clear his thoughts that were insistently stuck on what it had felt like to have Monroe above him, all that power and barely restrained violence holding him down and… “You didn’t know I was undercover,” Nick said, “It was just bad luck, a stupid coincidence.”
“I should’ve guessed,” Monroe said, his posture relaxing minutely, “from the way you’re dressed.” His eyes flicked in Nick’s direction, away, then back again, like he couldn’t quite help himself.
There was something raw and wanting in that gaze, something that raked over Nick’s nerve-endings like a physical touch, making him shiver. “You like it,” he blurted out, the realisation hitting him in the stomach, low and hot and true. “You like the way I’m dressed.”
Monroe flushed, visible even in the dim light of the street lamps, and took a step back like he’d been slapped. “I…” he said, “That’s… I just saw you, like I said, and I thought…”
But Nick was onto something here, he knew it, all his instincts singing at him to keep at it because he’d caught hold of something important; a thread that, if pulled hard enough, would unravel a knot of secrets he hadn’t even known was there.
“You do. You like it,” Nick repeated, taking a step closer, refusing to let Monroe put any distance between them. “This stupid undercover… rent boy get up, you like—”
“Rent boy!” Monroe snapped. “They had you down here without protection trying to… What? Entice that slash-happy pervert to take a swing at you!?” He was shouting now, arms waving, something wild and dangerous in his eyes. “What kind of joke of a police operation were you running? Who the hell thinks—?”
“I was not without protection!” Nick shouted back, partly to cut through Monroe’s rant, which, if left unchecked, could go on for a while, and partly because he was getting a little tired of being treated like a damsel in distress. “Hank and the others were just there!” He pointed down the street. “And let’s not forget that I’m not exactly helpless here!”
Monroe did not seem pacified. If anything, his eyes got a distinctively red tint to them. “And yet you let that… that piece of scum almost cut your throat!”
“I would’ve taken care of it!” Nick yelled, edging toward genuine annoyance himself now. “And I had back-up!”
“You didn’t have me!” Monroe growled, taking a step closer. “You didn’t have… I wasn’t…”
Nick froze with surprise, something hot and heavy and urgent suddenly pressing at his chest, like a piece of burning coal lodged in his throat; painful and hard to swallow around. So that was the problem here.
Except ‘problem’ wasn’t really the right word for it, was it? Maybe something like ‘possibility’ came closer.
“You were though,” Nick said, not backing down. “You are. Hell, you’re always there for me, have been from the very start, and you’re still here when everyone else…” His voice broke then, without his permission, and Nick cleared his throat, shaking his head. “I don’t know why, sometimes,” he admitted, “but I do know I couldn’t, can’t, do this without you.” And right in that moment he didn’t just mean being Grimm, he meant everything, because somehow Monroe had become an integral part of Nick’s life, as essential to his continued existence as oxygen.
It was Monroe’s turn to stare. They were close enough that Nick could see the way Monroe’s eyes widened, the way his mouth dropped ever so slightly open. “Nick…” he said, voice rough and fading away before he could finish the sentence.
Nick laughed hoarsely, rubbing a hand over his face, suddenly tired of dancing around this. “So what I’m saying Monroe is… You like what you see?” he spread his arms wide, “Then fucking take it already.”
There were a few seconds of absolute silence as Nick watched Monroe’s gaze flick downwards from Nick's face and back again before turning red.
Nick had just enough time to grin, wicked and delighted, before Monroe was on him. He was crowded into the gathering shadows of the alley, the brick wall hitting his back hard as Monroe pushed him against it.
“You better fucking mean it, Burkhardt,” Monroe growled, one hand snaking to cup the back of Nick’s head, the other one skimming down his side, under the flimsy t-shirt, smearing blood on Nick’s skin as it went.
“Oh my god,” Nick said, frustrated and turned on and stupidly happy somewhere under all of that, “Just… Shut up, Monroe.” He closed what little distance remained and crashed their mouths together in a kiss that was all teeth and aggression, the leftover adrenaline making Nick’s fingers shake as he framed Monroe’s face.
Or maybe it was something else entirely that made him shiver and moan around Monroe’s tongue, hips stuttering forward helplessly as Monroe rubbed himself against Nick, the hard line of his cock riding the length of Nick’s thigh. He pulled back enough to lick a long, hot trail along Nick’s neck, teeth worrying at the exact spot the perp’s knife had made contact with, gentle but with an edge of sharpness that had Nick baring his throat and pressing closer, desperate for Monroe to replace any marks left with his own.
“Don’t tempt me,” Monroe gritted out between nips and kisses. “You’ve no fucking idea what you’re offering.”
As it happened, Nick did, but a dirty back alley where anyone could interrupt them was neither the time nor the place. He pulled Monroe back into a kiss instead, letting his own hands do some exploring, greedy and frantic as he trailed down Monroe’s shoulders and back, curling fingers under his waistband and bringing their erections together.
“C’mon,” he panted into the scant space between their lips, “Give me this then.”
Monroe nodded jerkily, fumbling at their flies one-handed and with Nick’s help managed to pull their cocks out. The first touch of bare flesh to bare flesh made them groan, and Monroe wrapped a loose fist around both of them… Only to hiss in pain immediately, cursing softly and quickly switching hands.
“Wha—?” Nick gasped, understanding dawning as Monroe pressed his wounded palm against the curve of Nick’s jaw instead. “Fuck, oh fuck,” he moaned, turning his head enough to lick at the dried blood at the base of Monroe’s thumb. There was something about it, about the taste of iron, harsh and elemental, about knowing that Monroe had bled for Nick, and not for the first time, that made Nick feel raw and open and absolutely defenceless against the onslaught of emotion that followed.
“Oh god, you… Nick.” Monroe was watching him, eyes the dark, deep red of spilled blood and shared secrets. Slowly, deliberately, he pressed his hand over Nick’s mouth, muffling his choked-off cries.
Nick could feel the ragged, rust-tanged edges of the knife-wound against his lips, and he arched off the wall, fucking desperately into the hot grip of Monroe’s other hand, slippery with their joined pre-come. Monroe buried his face into Nick’s shoulder, mouth open and teeth – fangs – tearing at the fabric of his t-shirt in an attempt to stay away from skin.
That did it; knowing that he had the power to push Monroe this close to losing control, and past it if he really wanted, had Nick spilling into Monroe’s fist, screaming his release into Monroe’s bloody palm that held him in place like a bullet through the heart.
Monroe wrenched his hand off Nick’s mouth before he’d really stopped, replacing it with his own; the kiss desperate and sloppy as he followed Nick over the edge, coming in long, hot spurts over Nick’s stomach, his softening dick.
They stayed like that for a while, panting into each other’s mouths, exchanging short, clumsy kisses as they waited to catch their breath. Finally, Monroe pulled away, giving Nick’s lips one last swipe of his tongue.
“Ow,” he said, curling and straightening the fingers of his wounded hand slowly. “Hurts like hell,” he complained, though clearly not with any great seriousness.
“Poor baby,” Nick said, rolling his eyes. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll just agree that I’ll owe you one,” he added, tilting his head back and deliberately exposing his throat for a few seconds. “Maybe later?”
Monroe’s eyes flashed red briefly again, but then his expression morphed into one of unbridled horror instead.
“What?” Nick asked, instantly on alert and looking around for danger, or witnesses to their… uh, encounter. There was no one about though. “What is it?”
“This!” Monroe said, waving a hand between them. “How… Oh my god, look at us!”
“What?” Nick repeated, anxiety curling in his stomach now. “You’re not regretting this already, are you?”
“What? No!” Monroe snapped. “But I am deeply, deeply regretting having to go to the police station to give statements looking like… Well, looking exactly like we just had sex in some filthy alleyway!”
Nick could feel his eyes widening in realisation as he took in the state of their clothes: rumpled and stained with blood and come. He was never, never going to live this down. Wu would have material for years.
Meanwhile, Monroe had taken out an honest-to-god handkerchief, polka dots and all, and was ineffectually dapping at his trousers with it, his cock still hanging in the breeze. Nick could feel a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth, the ridiculousness of the situation overtaking any the potential embarrassment.
“Worth it,” he told Monroe. “Totally, totally worth it.” His laughter, when it finally broke free, was loud and full of joy and Nick pressed it into the curve of Monroe’s neck, hugging the two of them together tightly; dirty and perfect and absolutely worth it.