37 - Tired
Harry frowned as he watched their resident Grimm. Nick was usually a bright-eyed, energetic presence. Despite his job and, well, his other job, he had a positive outlook on life.
Right now, though, the man just looked tired.
"Are you alright, Nick?" he asked.
Monroe's face slid into a worried frown as well now that Harry had given voice to the problem. As worrisome as the current situation was – there was a murderous 'Endezeichen Grimm' on the loose, tainting Nick's reputation – it didn't explain the beaten-down atmosphere surrounding their friend.
Nick nodded, paused, and shook his head. "Things with Julliette have been… difficult lately. And I'm…" his face arranged itself into an unaccustomed scowl, "I'm just sick and tired of sleeping on the couch."
Moments later the anger retreated from his face, replaced by a kind of tired despair. "I know it's not her fault – it's mine. I'm the reason Adelind targeted her. And now Julliete just keeps asking questions about all of this and I can't tell her - which just makes things even harder."
Monroe grimaced, needing no further explanation than that. "Yeah, I told you she came to see me, right? She said she hated being left in the dark. I didn't tell her anything, of course, because, well, what could I tell her? But man…"
Harry sighed, now truly understanding what was bothering the man. Julliette had once sought him out with similar questions on her lips, and he remembered the desperate look in her eyes. The woman was clearly still trying to piece her memories and life back together, but was finding that the missing pieces made the whole not fit as comfortably as it once did.
It was painful to know, because Nick and Julliette had seemed so very happy together before Adelind's curse and everything that resulted from it.
After Julliette woke up from her coma, things couldn't possibly be the same. She'd forgotten about Nick entirely - in that all-encompassing way that spoke of malicious magic that went beyond a simple Oblivate, though Harry's personal opinion of the use of that spell wasn't flattering either.
"You need to tell her," the wizard finally said. It was hypocritical of him to say, considering the secrets he's been keeping himself. Still, he couldn't see a way that holding such a large part of yourself back could work for long in a romantic relationship.
Eventually the lies would end up tearing the two of them apart.
Hell, from the drawn look of his friend it already was.
"I tried to tell her once," the Grimm recounted in an empty voice, "She didn't believe me, and she ended up in that coma right after."
And that couldn't have been easy, Harry knew, but... "Do you remember why you wanted to tell her?" he pressed.
"Of course. She was in danger. I wanted her to understand that – and to understand me."
He kept his eyes firmly locked with Nick's own tired blue. "…do you still want that?"
The detective's mouth turned down, and Harry could practically feel the man's desperation to somehow fix this. "I want to tell her, but you know it won't make any sense to her right now. And she doesn't even remember me – doesn't remember us, as a couple. She thought I was crazy before when she had a reason to trust me, so why on earth would she even give me a chance now?"
"Well, we do have proof," Monroe pointed out, "I can, you know, do the thing and show her. Again. A full-on Woge. There's no denying that. Except that there is, of course, because some people do end up in denial after witnessing something like that – or in a mental institution, but I'm sure that with Julliette it will be… just fine?"
If things weren't so serious and Nick not so uncharacteristically down, the wizard would have snorted at how Monroe always managed to bring up the crux of the matter in a way that raced right past subtlety and left it baffled and blinking in the dust.
As it was, though, he just stood there, feeling entirely awkward.
"She'll get as far away from all of this – from me - as she can get," Nick said in response to Monroe's suggestion and hunched down, resting his head in his hands. The Grimm's frantic fingers were gripping his hair, turning those dark locks as wild and messy as Harry's own. "I can't exactly blame her."
The wizard licked his lips. He was hesitant to speak up, but couldn't leave it at this either - he needed to say this.
"It's not easy," he quietly agreed "More in the direction of terrifying – to lay yourself bare like that, inviting someone you care about to hurt you." The words were oddly difficult to get out, as if there was a heavy weight to them. Harry cleared his throat, trying to shake the feeling off. He ran a hand through his hair, unconsciously mimicking the detective.
"It's definitely easier not to risk it," he continued with a rather wobbly twist to his lips, "to delay the inevitable and stretch what you have right now because even if it's not perfect, it's still something. It's good and you want to have it for as long as you can."
He shrugged his shoulders defensively against the two pairs of eyes now fully focused on him. This was not about himself but about Nick. About Julliette.
About trust and keeping secrets from loved ones.
"I understand that desire, of course I do, but… it can't last. You do know that right?"
From the rather stricken look on the detective's face, he did. And Harry felt terrible for putting that look there, for pushing. He was trying to help, but was pretty sure he wasn't earning any gold stars for it.
It was the truth, though, and Harry was the kind of person who generally preferred to be told the truth, even if it hurt.
He was pretty sure that Nick Burkhardt was similar in that regard.
"Um, Harry…?" the Blutbad started hesitantly, "We're still talking about Juliette, right?"
The wizard dragged his gaze towards Monroe - the man's eyes were not filled with the red tint of his wolf side, but the human brown still made Harry feel strangely exposed. "Yes. Of course."
"It's just that you seem a bit off? But maybe that's just me," Monroe shot a glance at the silent detective next to him and grimaced, "I'm sure it's just me."
Harry shook his head, ignoring his own issues, and turned back to the matter at hand. "Nick…"
"I know," Nick replied shortly, cutting off whatever else Harry was going to say.
That was all the detective would discuss before resolutely returning to his files and the old books with information about Endezeichen Grimm.
When Monroe quietly followed suit, the misplaced wizard swallowed and did the same, shifting uncomfortable in the tense atmosphere.
He tried to focus, because it was important, because the Wesen in this city were scared, because two people had died.
And because there was a chance that with the murderous Grimm situation, Harry could actually manage to help.
(Word Count: 1200)