And here we are, finally… the first chapter of the Blutbau Cometh. It follows on a couple of weeks after Waifs and Strays, where we left our little gang of friends on Christmas Eve…

As it's been three months since I finished that story, I hope this first little chapter doesn't feel too re-cappy. I've tried not to make it too much like that! The chapters in this story will probably be a lot shorter than I've recently been doing just so that I can update reasonably quickly.

Anyway – I hope you enjoy! Be gentle, lol – had terrible writer's block for weeks…

Ps – still working on the concluding stories of 'A life less Grimm'… but this story just happened to win the muse battle after three weeks of mental fighting ;)

X x X

"Nick, I need you."

Nick groaned lowly into the phone and butted his head on his pillow a few times. Such a nice dream – totally ruined. He'd been on his front, not wearing a stitch, hands running up and down his back, and then snatched abruptly away from it all by the irritable buzzing of his phone. He sighed.

"The time for pre-parental solitude is over―"

"It's been over for days," Nick whined. "It's been over since New Year's Eve!"

"I'm sorry, Nick," Monroe spluttered, and Nick could hear him pacing up and down. "I need distraction. The waiting is driving us completely berserk! A week! A week overdue!"

"Okay," Nick croaked, pulling his hand down his face. He glanced over at his alarm clock with one eye, the other almost welded shut with sleep dust. "You know it's three after six in the morning, right?

"Five after."

"Monroe! We don't all get up at dawn to settle our inner wolf!"

"That's the problem ― I'm so stressed that there is nothing 'inner' about my wolf! My wolf is 'outer' all the way. If I stand within a couple of metres of the TV or Rosalee's super-static fleece, my face pretty much stands up."

Nick swung his legs out of bed. Alright ― fair enough. Monroe had bailed him out more times than he could possibly recall. "So, what d'you need me to do?"

"I need you round here. I need someone to yell at so that I don't keep wogeing. And someone for Rosalee to yell at so that she doesn't yell at me. Denny's coming round with Theo, but that doesn't count because Rosie doesn't yell at them."

Nick felt unenthused. He'd already had a few mornings of unjustified yelling — Monroe pulling in all his favours in one go, it felt like — and didn't particularly feel like another one, even if there were others around to spread the pain. "Well, I was going to meet you at the Winterfest anyway to help out with the stall, so… how much earlier do you want me?"

"Uh... how would 'in twenty minutes' do you?"


"Well it'll only take you seven and a half minutes to drive here—"

Nick chuckled dryly down the phone. "I'll see you in an hour. I want to go for a run, get some breakfast…"

"Oh, man..."

"Bye!" Nick hung up, took his anti-pheromone pills and dragged on sweats, then left a note for Livvy so she'd know he'd gotten home safe the previous night and gone out again.


Have not been murdered, have gone for run

N xx

He hadn't really expected to have to account for his movements in this flat-sharing arrangement, especially as Livvy was staying with him rent-free. In some ways, sharing his space again came as a hell of a shock: after three days of living together, they were already fighting over who'd chosen the best lock for the bathroom (and who was the most competent with a powerdrill to fit it.) And it had only taken five days and a furious pizza-flinging episode at 2am for him to work out that Livvy worried about him if he didn't check in. But in other ways, it was nice: nice to have someone to talk to after work about all things cop and Grimm; and great to find snacks left in the fridge for him, with his name on them.

Nick locked up quietly, trying not to wake her. Her leg was doing much better, but the inflammation was wiping her out a little. He still felt bad that she'd got sucked into his whole Grimm-Cop crossover problems within days of being partnered with him as his rookie, but the shooting incident created a proper new friendship: as an Andersen, she couldn't see the woge, but could see people's secrets and patterns of wesen behaviour within moments of speaking to them; as a Grimm, he could tell her if she was dealing with wesen or not, and to a degree, what to expect. Not that this would help Livvy for a few months. She wouldn't be coming off light duties until at least April so would need to stay with him until either she saved enough money for a deposit on her own place, or managed to extract her savings from her defunct Icelandic Bank with legal force. Either way, he'd miss her when she went.

Nick put his nanopod in his arm strap and set off at a pelting run with Garbage's 'Stupid Girl' pounding in his ears. He'd grown a little obsessed with that song since Denny let him play with the electronic drum kit Jan had bought him for Christmas. The kit was so addictive that it took both Jan and Denny, respectively woged as Koninglowen and Siegbarste, to haul him off the drumming stool and bundle him back into his car. The track shifted to Paradise City, which he didn't recall downloading at all, but sprinted through it anyway. As Guns 'n Roses faded into John Farnham's 'You're the Voice', Nick suspected Denny of tampering with his iTunes account and his theory was confirmed as he found himself wincing all the way home through a blast of 'Wuthering Heights'.

But still — trying to outrun cheesy music was good exercise. He reached the back steps of his apartment block, staggered up the steps and let himself back in. He was barely panting: his levels of fitness were back to the elevated state they'd been at just before siege night at Tennant's Bar. "Liv… Livvy?"

Silence. Nick squinted across to the kitchen table. She'd added to his note.


Really glad you're not murdered. Am not abducted, have gone to buy eggs.

Livvy xxxx

Nick grinned, stripped off, and headed for the shower.

It was weird to think that it had only been a couple of months since he, Monroe and Jan had been locked into Denny's club security office for protection. The beginning of that night, gossiping while they queued to get past Denny the doorman and into the wesen club, seemed to belong in a different lifetime now. He and Juliette were beginning to drift back from friends territory to something more; Monroe hadn't known that Rosalee was pregnant; his first partner Jan was still part of Nick's past after years of no contact; and Nick still had reason to believe, after Oleg Stark, that Siegbarstes were as evil as they were dumb…

The daydreaming wasn't getting him clean or dressed, so he rinsed his hair, grabbed his towel and darted back to his room to pull on clothes. He was just towel-drying his hair when Livvy stumbled in.

"You back, Nick?"


"Dressed and taken anti-man-magnet pills?"

"Both!" He darted into the front room and rescued the eggs before they lost sadly in the balance match between Livvy, her crutches and her rucksack. "I could've gotten those for you, you know."

"I ask a lot of you, Nick, but making you jog with eggs is going a little far. I need the exercise anyway. You're up early. On Monroe duty again?"

Nick snapped the kettle on. "Yep, until eleven, then it's time to set up at the Winterfest. You coming?"

"I dunno. I'm kind of tired. Is it going to be crammed with confusing wesen?"

"Yes, it's kind of the point of the whole event! Wesen, mingling. So long as you stay away from the woge-battling area and don't read the stall signs too closely, it'll just seem like a funfair."

"A funfair in the middle of the forest."

"In the middle of the forest, yeah." Nick had a bad feeling about this. "Not really the ideal place to be if mini-Monroe finally decides to show up."

"That's probably their plan," Livvy mused. "They've done the life-stops part of the waiting, and now they're doing stuff which would be massively non-labour-friendly if tiny were to show up all of a sudden. I think they're now daring him to appear."

"Makes sense," Nick muttered. "Egg on toast?"

"Yes please!"

Nick started making breakfast, musing on her very valid theory. It at least explained why Monroe ― previously Mr Hyperprotective ― had bullied everyone into going to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D with him and Rosalee, which seemed to Nick at the time like the worst idea ever, but it seemed that he was trying to scare Rosalee into contractions. All the way to the Brockman theatre, Monroe kept holding her hand and saying they could leave any time if it got too much for her, but no one had realised that Rosalee actually loved a good horror movie. Baby didn't appear, but she scared everyone else into contractions. Nick considered himself quite hardened to a shock these days, but at the first 'jump moment' of the movie, Rosalee screamed so alarmingly that she set off a male Mexican scream down the entire aisle, scattering them with their own snacks and making Hank fall out of his seat at the other end. Horror movies with Rosalee were quite high up on Nick's list of experiences not to repeat.

"Who's playing midwife in all this, by the way?" Livvy asked suddenly.

Nick broke from his reverie, shovelling the eggs onto toast and sticking their plates on the kitchen table. "Huh?"

"It's a wesen birth, so it's going to be complicated, right? Presumably they can't just tootle off to some ante-natal unit ―what if mini turns up all furry?"

"Denny's on constant standby. Makes sense. He's starting his EMT re-training in a couple of weeks anyway."

Livvy looked doubtful. "Is that wise? The birth's going to be stressful enough for her. The last thing she needs is panicked ogre between her legs at the critical moment."

"They're not really spoiled for choice, Livvy. I think they're all hoping that Monroe will get chatting to folks at the Winterfest and find a doctor or nurse wesen who's prepared to help out. They've been looking since she found she was pregnant, but people can be weirdly sectarian about mixed-breed relationships." The attitude in some wesen made Nick mad, especially when they ran malicious anonymous tips on each other, knowing he was a Grimm, hoping that someone was either going to get life or get decapitated.

"Wesen are sectarian? Really? But they're all people on top!"

Nick hid his smile as he poured out the coffees. For someone who could see so deeply into people, Livvy could be incredibly innocent. "Exactly. Among humans, you get religious bigots, racists, sexists, homophobes… etc etc. Among wesen, you get all that, plus species hate. Remember I told you about the Verrat?"

Livvy pulled a face. "Vividly. Dog-like wesen Nazis. Nice."

"Well… the reason they've survived so long is that there are a lot of wesen out there that share their views ― only without the murdering aspect. No mingling. No mixing. Certainly no cross-breeding. It's why the Winterfest is such a big deal. You'll probably see some signs on various stalls and games saying 'No Siegbarstes', but a lot of people have said they'll show up. It's a start."

"Poor Denny. He's so not an ogre." Livvy stretched with exaggerated carelessness. "So… Denny's hanging around Rosalee a lot… right now?"

"She's seeing as much of him as Monroe."

"I'll just go freshen up." Livvy hobbled off like a shot, her raging crush on Denny as subtle as ever.

Nick rolled his eyes and finished his breakfast, feeling a little like the main point of his philosophical lecture had fallen on deaf ears. He sipped at his coffee while she did a whirlwind change ― her speed truly impressive for someone wearing an orthopaedic boot ― and reappeared in a glittery tank top and smart jeans, her hair tied back and lip-gloss on. She looked as buxom as she was ever going to without silicone intervention, and for Livvy, this was serious effort. He felt bad for her as she stamped back over, tinsel wrapped round her boot to make it prettier. He knew what being on the giving end of one-way love was like.

He took her hand lightly as she approached. "You look really nice, especially with ah… with the festive boot, but… you know that Denny's New Year's Eve kiss was just a mistletoe attack, right? To cheer you up?"

"I know." Livvy slumped back at the coffee table. "I thought it'd cure me, but…"

Nick reached over and lightly tugged her ponytail as she dropped her face down on her forearm, whining quietly to herself. "I'm sorry. It'll get better."

"What's the matter with me, Nick? It's such a completely, completely pointless crush."

"They often are."

"I'd mud-wrestle an octopus for that man!"

Nick winced away the mental image. "I didn't need to know that. Again." He glanced down at his watch and threw the rest of the coffee down his neck. "Right, we've got to go."

They got to the door and flung it open to find Hank on the other side of it, holding Matty and looking slightly traumatised by being up and about at just after seven on a non-working day. Trying to hide his surprise at Hank being on baby-sitting duty, Nick held his hands up for Matty, who flung his arms wide and plunged sideways for a hug.

"That's a good welcome for your favourite Grimm!"

"Favrit Grimm!" Matty agreed and bounded cheerfully on his forearm.

"Hope you don't mind, but I've come to do some load-spreading," Hank muttered, wiping his face. "I've had Matty since yesterday afternoon and we've had a great time, but… kind of running out of things to do. Hey, Livvy! Nice top."

"Thanks!" Livvy handed Hank her crutches to hold while she hobbled unevenly down the apartment steps.

"Happy to help," Nick said, "But we're off to the spice shop right now. Want to ride with us and leave your car here?"

"Sure. It's as safe here as anywhere, I guess."

It took them just a few minutes to wrestle the baby seat out of Nick's boot and fix it into the back seat. It took a little longer to wrestle Matty into it. His lowen strength was beginning to show at only 18 months, even when he was just playfully wriggling. Nick wondered how Bud was coping. He and Janie were nearly done with Matty's adoption process. He'd been a witness for their parenting skills. They all got strapped in, then Nick put the car into drive.

"So how did you wind up looking after Matty?"

"Zucchinis," Matty explained, obliquely.


"I found him re-stacking the cucumbers and zucchinis in whole foods while Bud was running around in a panic looking for him. While trying to hide from his mother in law. Well, I've hidden from four MILs, felt his pain, and offered to have Matty for the night so Bud could rest up a little."

Nick frowned. "He ok? I know he's been a little more frantic than usual since chairing the Winterfest organising committee, but…"

"Midlife crisis," Hank said quietly.

Livvy, bless her, caught the discreet tone and engaged Matty in a game of rock, paper and scissors to keep him busy.


"He doesn't like fridges anymore."

"Right… I can see how that could be a problem…" But it didn't come as a particular surprise to Nick. Bud hadn't exactly been fond of the particular model he and Juliette had used, and that was supposed to be close to the top of the range… "Does he know what he wants to do instead?"

"Climbing frames. Safe ones, designed for children."

"Ah… maybe I'm being dense, but… aren't they all?"

"Apparently they're all deadly and built with council budgets in mind, rather than children. Just don't get him started on the topic," Hank warned. "By the time he's gone through the average mismatch between step distance and slide length, it's quite a lot of the day gone."

Nick chuckled, wondering if Bud had subjected Jan and his vast wallet to his business idea yet. Most likely: Jan was also on the Winterfest organising committee…

"By the way," Hank added slowly, "You made a certain promise at the end of last year…"

"To tell Wu. I know."

"New Year, New Wu, you said, and he's still not filled in, so―"

Luckily Nick already had a plan. He'd texted Wu yesterday to invite him to the Winterfest and re-introduce him to quite a few wesen that he thought he already knew… as humans. "He's coming this afternoon."

"What?" Hank gaped. "I said we needed to fill him in! Not drop him neck-deep in weird!"

"I'm not dropping him neck-deep in anything!" Nick protested. "Look, he already knows Denny pretty well from his brief stint with the public disorder unit, and Monroe and Rosalee saved his butt when he had that weird, Zaubertrank-induced Pica―"

"Yeah, not the smoothest of introductions for the poor guy, waking up in his boxers on the couch with a seriously sore nose and having them looming over him."

Nick frowned. "How do you know about that?"

"Wu told me over a beer. He was freaked out. And I had sympathy because Monroe and Rosalee had the same effect on me when they randomly showed up in my bedroom. At least Wu was wearing a tee-shirt and boxers…." Hank shuddered. "Anyway, his information is really limited. He only knows about Jan being a Koninglowen because he ripped the door off his flaming car, and that's about it. He just about understands 'wesen'. He doesn't even know about Grimms."

"You're probably the best person to tell him―"

"No, Nick! I've had, what… a couple of months to get my head round this whole thing?"

"Exactly!" Nick turned off the freeway and turned back into central Portland. "You'll come at it with the perfect one-step-at-a-time perspective, whereas… well. I think I've got my mom's news-breaking gene."

"Yeah…I've noticed that," Hank muttered. "Why don't we get Jan to do it?"

"Because Jan's recruiting for the special constabulary. He'll be busy trying to round up big wesen and talk them into being unpaid part-time cops. His hands will be full."

"Oh man… we need to write some kind of induction course for Kerseite Slichkennen. 'Seen something scary and hairy? Call this number!'"

Nick brightened as he hit the inner lane on the roundabout and peeled off towards the Pearl. He felt delegation victory looming. "That's a great idea. I'm sure Jan could come up with funds for a Freephone line―"

"Just you be quiet and drive, man…"

Nick watched Hank roll his eyes and sigh heavily, and pursed his lips against an open grin. The big guy was so bad at pretending to be mad.

X x X

"Alright, I'm coming!" Rosalee called at the sound of banging at the back door, hoping her voice would carry across the living area, down the little corridor and through the rear fire door. Monroe's head popped round the corner of the storefront double doors.

"Shall I go?"

"It's fine honey, I got it..."

She made her way from the couch at a waddle, holding the small of her back and feeling about as energetic and graceful as a drunk elephant. Though she did feel much more her normal self and less of a walking hormone than she had done the last couple of days, which was a really welcome progression. She missed sharing the bed with Monroe, though. The curly couch was the best place to sleep, right now: as much as she loved cuddling up to him, his mid-dream fur explosions were less than restful and the stress-moulting was making the bed itchy.

The hammering ceased before she got to the back door, and she pulled it open, expecting a slightly glazed Grimm after hearing Monroe's dawn SOS call. It was Denny, looking just as bleary, one hand pinning a wriggly Carianne against his shoulder, his other hand gripped by a thigh-high Jedi from the dark side of the force.

Theo had evidently abandoned his 'Tiny Tycoon' trend of dressing, during which he wore smart trousers, shirt, tie and waistcoat for all occasions― including football. The current 'look' involved a dark cloak (with a good swish), a beige judo suit and brown belt, and sandals. Apart from the little hand wrapped round Denny's fingers, Theo was completely obscured by his cloak. Rosalee bit back a chuckle: the effect would've been so much more fearsome if Theo had been perhaps another three feet taller.

"Good morning, Lord Vergeer," she greeted smoothly, and Theo gave her a silent and solemn nod.

"Morning darlin'. Coffeeeeee..." Denny bent way down to peck her on the cheek and she returned it, also trying to land a kiss on the tiny, fidgety girl trying to climb up his face.

"C'mon in, hon."

"You alright? Braxton Hicks getting any closer together?"

She nodded breathlessly. "A little. The worst thing is the bloating. Horrible. I feel like an over-inflated balloon."

Denny shot her a lopsided smile. "You're one of the better-looking balloons I've seen."

She blushed and followed Theo down the passageway, who held open the inner shop door for her and leant on it to keep it open.

"After you," he intoned from inside his cloak.

Rosie paused to have a silent sentimental fit. At only three, Theo was already showing all the signs of either absorbing or inheriting Jan's sense of chivalry, depending on which side of the nature-nurture debate one stood on. She couldn't help herself and reached a hand into the huge hood, ruffling the soft hair in there. "You are so sweet."

"Hmmm. Thank you," said the Sith Lord.

"Don't ever stop being such a little gentleman, alright?" She felt a little misty as Theo gestured her firmly through the doorway. "You are so much like your daddy."

"Yes, alright Aunt Rosie! Shake a leg, this door's heavy!"

She sighed. "And really quite a lot like your... Denny, too."

Awkward finish, she realised, and bustled her way to the kitchenette out back to make sure that the percolator was still warm. It was: almost as warm as her cheeks. Thank god for late pregnancy - it explained away the most ferocious of blushes. She'd so nearly said 'step father', again, even though Jan and Denny had made it overtly clear to everyone in their little social group that, for the forseeable future, they were housemates, and the closest of friends. Rosalee couldn't help feeling that, for all their concerns about not confusing Jan's kids, they were so clearly a couple in every way… except for actually being a couple. She needed to learn to stick her inner romantic cheerleader in a quiet room and lock the door.

"Ow - bugger!" Denny muttered from behind her, and she heard clattering as things dropped from the table onto the floor.

She turned to see him trying to peel Carianne off his face so he could see where he was going. She now had her arms wrapped possessively round his head.

"Oi Pickle, could you not do that? I might be half ogre but there are parts of me that are still going to really smart if I catch them on something pointy!"

Rosalee giggled. "Need help?"

"If you wouldn't mind!" he muffled from behind Carrie's front, and Rosalee reached up to peel the adventurous baby away as gently as possible.

"What's Carrie doing?" Monroe asked suddenly, emerging from front of shop.

"Being clingy - ow, ow, ow... hair! - she's had a whole golden week of dad-dad-dad, so now Jan's finally taken a morning out to help Bud set up the Winterfest, she's come over a bit insecure."

Monroe cast her a wild expression of panic as she tried detaching Carrie from Denny's head, having to almost bend him double so she could reach properly. Eventually she got Carrie free and handed her back to Denny. Monroe remained wide-eyed. Poor honey: so worried about everything, and probably now panicking about how he'd fit little bursts of infant insecurity into his rigid schedule, which had been re-designed five times to accommodate different schools of feeding practice. She gave him a reassuring smile and squeezed his fingers as he wandered over to her.

"Ah... is that... typical behaviour? Y'know... for her age?"

"Oh yeah! She's two months, give or take. A bit of a tantrum when dad goes AWOL is part of the typical package, really. What's slightly less typical is her fierce bloody grip." Denny wedged her between his forearm and chest and formed a barrier between her fists and his chin with his spare palm. "Flaming Koninglowen. Don't know your own strength, do you?"

"Have you seen any Klaustreich in her yet?"

"Nah. Not physically at least. But she's only quarter Klaustreich anyway. And Koninglowen tend to be a dominant breed, so… that part of her may never show up. It hasn't with Theo, at least, and he's coming up to the right sort of age for his first woge."

Theo tugged on Monroe's hand and beamed cheesily from the depths of his hood. "Where's the lego?"

"Bottom shelf of the book-case, next to the stuffed lemur."

Rosalee frowned. "I thought we got rid of that?"

"'We' didn't get rid of it at all," Monroe said mildly, "Though I noticed you gave it a very good try. On a number of occasions."

"It's a flea farm!" she protested, but really it was just the evil stare that lived on the creature's face that creeped her out.

"It is not a flea farm. It's a beautiful thing that took me hours to do at taxidermy class."

"It's bloody horrible!" Denny observed.

Theo didn't care: he just moved the ghastly creature out of the way and lifted the heavy box up over his head onto the counter, scrambling up onto the high stool. Apart from Monroe's coffee cup, the counter was absolutely impeccably neat and Rosalee had to purse her lips as Theo upended the box of Lego all over it, making Monroe gasp as half of it scattered across the floor as well. Theo started building something at the speed of light, making him catch his elbow on a pot of pens and scatter those across the floor just for variety.

Rosalee wrapped her arms around Monroe and rubbed his back. His OCD was getting so bad. They had to have this baby: meet the little guy at last and get on with the next phase of their lives. He would be fine, then. It was just short-term uncertainty that he didn't cope well with.

Even Denny noted him paling and put a steadying hand out. "You alright, mate?"

Monroe gulped and his voice went into a squeak. "That's my tidying he's… untidying!"

"Mate… You're about to enter a world of miniature but comprehensive bodily functions. You'll get to a point where your idea of tidying up before leaving the house is wiping the carrot off your face and sleeve. It's really, really time to let go of the 'tidy' thing."

Rosalee watched Monroe release his pent breath and try to smile and was proud of him.

"It's ok. I'm fine. Got a grip. Just need my coffee, and I'll be absolutely ok… all over again. I'm just not so great at sudden obstacles right now." He reached for his coffee and it was nowhere to be seen. "Uh, Theo? Where's my cup?"

Theo pointed at the little lego house, enclosed on all sides. "In there."

"Dude! Highly inconvenient!"

"It's keeping warm!"

"Of course it is." Monroe straightened and headed for the percolator. "No trouble… I'll just make another. Anyone for more?"

"Yep! Coffee needed here, urgently."

Rosalee met Denny's eye and grinned. Much, much later, when tiny man finally arrived, she and Denny would finally confess that the big guy was sticking around to keep him calm. Not her. But for the time being, she was relieved to have him around.

That ache in her pelvis was just getting heavier and heavier.