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18 July 2004 @ 12:56 pm
Oh, Lord, another one.  
Here's that other Stottlemeyer/Monk fic I wrote
when I forgot that I'd written the first one.
Now I'm not sure which one to make a sequel
to. Probably the first one, right?

Title: "Moving Very Slowly"
Author: SFK
Fandom: Monk
Pairing: Stottlemeyer/Monk
Rating: PG
Archive: Sure, if you want it.
Feedback: Yes, please, if you feel so inclined.

Disclaimer: The characters used in this story belong to their
respective owners and are used here only for non-profit and
referential use. No ownership of material other than the words and
plot are inferred.

Notes: I wrote this when I'd forgotten that I ever posted “Single Button, Double Date” I’ve had it on my HD for a long time now, and I’m soooo ready to be rid of it. Originally posted to the Yahoo!Group AdrianMonkSlash, and to the LJ group RareSlash.

Moving Very Slowly

For nearly the sixth day in a row, Adrian Monk sat uncomfortably at his kitchen table as he diligently polished every piece of silver he owned. Head bowed and eyes downcast, he appeared utterly fixated. He’d just set down an aggressively shiny candlestick when a frantic knocking on his front door sounded, reverberating throughout the house. Adrian flinched, nearly falling off his chair.

He paused on his way to the door only long enough to grab a clean paper towel to wipe his hands with. As he reached his destination and turned the knob, Stottlemeyer burst through at an alarming speed.

Monk reeled, completely startled, paper towel falling to the ground as the captain took hold of him by his shoulders.

“We did it, Monk, we caught him!” Stottlemeyer shouted in a tone that was too loud in the otherwise silent house.

Adrian blinked, obviously distressed. He squirmed, freed himself from the larger man’s grasp, then quickly bent down to pick up the fallen paper towel. “I know,” he said, recovering his composure as turned to throw the paper away in a conveniently placed trashcan. “Sharona called me from the scene.”

The captain’s face fell. “Oh. Well, I came over to personally deliver the news and to send the rest of the guards home. You were right. We got him just a few blocks away from here with a rifle and plenty of evidence that he was on his way to find you.”

Monk nodded solemnly. “That’s good. I’d hate to be, you know…dead.”

Stottlemeyer, who had been eyeing the vast assortment of silverware set out on the table, let the frustration of the day show on his face, knowing well enough that Adrian chose not to see it. At a loss for words, he stood awkwardly in the impeccable kitchen for a moment.

“Yeah, well, as much as it pains me to say it, I’d hate for you to be dead, too.”

“I know,” Monk said confidently, going back to the table to polish a gleaming fork.

Stottlemeyer arched an eyebrow. “Really,” he said dryly.

“I know,” Adrian stated, not looking up from his task, “because Lt. Disher told me.”

“Randy told you what? When?,” the captain asked, suspicion creeping into his voice.

Monk shook his head. “It’s nothing. Never mind.” He gestured to a chair. “Sit down, but watch out for the sugar bowl; it has just enough sparkle on it.”

Stottlemeyer pulled out a chair and sat down wearily, careful not to disturb the many rows of perfectly aligned silver. “What’s nothing, Monk? Tell me what Randy said.”

The detective shrugged. “When he came by on his guard shift yesterday, he said that you were very worried that this man might succeed in killing me. He also mentioned that you fell apart when you thought I’d died in Mexico.”

“He said I fell apart?!” The captain asked incredulously.

Monk looked up, dark eyes earnest. “Not literally fell apart.”

“I didn’t think so.” Exasperated, Stottlemeyer pressed on. “What else did he tell you, huh?”

Monk clutched his polishing cloth and stayed silent for a moment, considering. Finally, hesitantly, he spoke.

“He said that you said you loved me--”

The captain looked away, feeling anger and embarrassment boiling over in equal measure. Briefly, he scowled, unsure of what to do. After a moment’s thought, he exploded.

“That kid is getting demoted!”

He growled and pushed his chair back abruptly. He was on his feet and ready for another outburst when Monk spoke again with a deliberate tone in his voice.

“—and it all fits, really.” He set the rag down and tilted his head at the captain.

Stottlemeyer’s features clouded. “What fits?”

“How you volunteered to work around the clock on this, how your clothes are rumpled all of the time, and how I caught you with that cup of hotel coffee again the day before last. And…there are other things.”

Adrian rose from his chair and busied himself by taking off the apron he’d been wearing. Stottlemeyer noted that Monk put it in the trashcan instead of the laundry basket, despite there being no discernable stain on the cloth. He shook his head in simultaneous disbelief and amazement.

“What other things? Damn it, Adrian, you’re really pissing me off.”

The detective shrugged again, somewhat dispassionately, as if he’d already grown tired of the conversation.

“Just some things I’ve noticed. When I was in your office last week, I saw that you took the picture of you and Karen down. I also saw that there was a tape in the garbage can. It was her documentary, wasn’t it?”

Stottlemeyer looked down guiltily and gripped the edge of the table tightly.

“That doesn’t mean anything and you know it.”

“I could be wrong…” Monk trailed off as he wandered into his living room. Stottlemeyer followed just in time to hear the last part. “…but I’m not. Why are you so defensive?”

“I’m not defensive! What do I have to be defensive about?”

Adrian turned and triumphantly put up his forefinger in a gesture he normally reserved for revealing the solution to a mystery.

“You’re defensive because you’re getting a divorce from Karen…and because you love me.”

Stottlemeyer’s mouth dropped open in shock. Speechless, he allowed Adrian to sit down on the couch and arrange a stack of magazines on the coffee table before he managed to gather himself enough to speak.

When he had figured out what to say, he began very slowly.

“Look, Adrian, you’re a brilliant detective, but I’m just not sure you understand.”

Monk chose not to look up from his seat on the couch. Seemingly deep in thought, he stared intently at the coffee table.

“Then why don’t you explain it to me?” he requested evenly.

“Damn it, Adrian, you’re not my therapist!”

Monk’s head snapped up in surprise.

“You have a therapist?”

Stottlemeyer gritted his teeth and threw up his hands.

“You’re insane, Monk! What do you want me to say?”

“Just admit that your marriage failed and that you love me.”

“You’re crazy!” The captain shouted, pointing his finger at Adrian accusingly. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“Tell me why, then,” Monk asked again from the safety of the couch. “Tell me why I’m crazy if all the clues fit?” He waited expectantly, his features clear in the rich evening light.

Stottlemeyer drew in a large breath, held it, and then put down his hand. Seemingly defeated, he slowly took a seat on the couch next to his friend, refusing to look at him. When he spoke, his gaze stayed firmly on the other side of the room.

“Even if I did admit to having some kind of feelings for you, what’s saying all that stuff going to accomplish?”

Adrian allowed a small smirk to settle on his face. “If you admit to what’s haunting you, you’ll probably feel better. You’ve been stressed lately, especially with this case. Everyone’s noticed. Dr. Kroger says that the best thing to do is get this out in the open.”

A dark cloud of fury suddenly settled over Stottlemeyer’s reddened features. He turned his head to glare at Adrian fiercely.

“Wait, you discussed me with your psychiatrist?”

Adrian glanced away, the guilt obvious on his face. “Yes?”

Stottlemeyer rubbed at his temples in aggravation.

“Yes or no, Adrian.”

Monk bit the inside of his cheek. “Yes,” he conceded.

“You’ve been planning this, haven’t you?”

“Talking about this? Yes, with Dr. Kroger’s help.”

“Argh! Even if I…did admit to…caring about you, uh, did he mention anything about your part in all of this? God knows you can’t do anything without Kroger or Sharona’s consent.”

Monk winced. “He said that it’s past time for me to move on with my life.”

“But?” The captain prompted.

“That I’m probably not ready to yet.”

Stottlemeyer rolled his eyes. “So you’re going to go by what the almighty Dr. Kroger says?”

“That’s the plan.” Adrian said decidedly, despite the captain’s unsettling glare.

“So you’re not quite ready to move past Trudy, but you still have feelings for me anyway, is that what you’re saying?”

Adrian’s mouth dropped open slightly and he found that he had to flex his jaw for a moment before being able to close it again.

“I…I thought we were talking about you.”

Stottlemeyer relaxed on the couch, satisfied at finally having the upper hand.

“We are, Adrian, we are. But now we’re talking about you, too. Us, in fact.” He gestured to the space between them. “You and me.”

Adrian’s dark eyes widened almost comically. “You and me?”

“Yes. Even if I did admit to having feelings for you, and you could admit to having feelings for me, how would it work? It couldn’t. I mean, I’m still married, even though—and this I admit--we’ve started the divorce proceedings.” Stottlemeyer paused to look down sadly at the wedding ring that once had meant so much to him but had come to only remind him of his failure as a husband. He was tired of feeling like a failure. He roughly shoved those emotions aside, however, and continued, “But besides all that, you’re so…you.”

“I admit to that,” Adrian said as he carefully watched the captain’s expressions.

“And what about our jobs, huh? And what about Sharona? I thought you really loved her,” Stottlemeyer asked, genuinely curious.

The answer came easily to the detective. "Actually, I think of her more as a portable wipe dispenser that talks back and mocks me."

"Ah," the captain breathed as his facial muscles finally relaxed.

Silence came over them both, seemingly at exactly the same time. Adrian, tense with anxiety and a newly discovered fear, rose from the couch and nearly scurried to stand next to the large window that looked out to where the last of his late wife’s flowers grew.

He swallowed. Nervously, he asked, "As long as we’re discussing other people, what about Karen?”

Stottlemeyer snorted bitterly from his place on the slip-covered couch.

“Please,” he said as he discreetly pulled the wedding ring off his finger. “I’m pretty sure she has something going on with her film instructor; her female film instructor.”

Adrian nodded tersely and stared out at the landscape. As he did so, his focus shifted from the bright greens and blues of the yard to the yellow of the evening light as it filtered in, highlighting the dust and lint that swirled through the air.

“And what about Disher?" he asked almost teasingly.

The captain smiled slightly, directing the look at Monk’s back. "You know how he is. He acts like a little girl around me. You’d think I’m on the cover of Tiger Beat."

Adrian smiled tentatively as well, though he still looked out onto the yard.

"If it turns out we really do…have feelings for each other, he'll be heartbroken."

"Yeah, but Randy'll get over it." The captain seemed apprehensive again. He stared at the deep brown of his friend’s suit coat and said seriously, “What about Trudy, Adrian? I’m sure you must have thought of her before ambushing me like this.”

Adrian’s smile collapsed. The actual mention of his late wife’s name was nearly more than he could take.

Careful not to make contact with the clear glass, Adrian rested his head on the warm window sill. With agonizing deliberateness, he forced the words out.

"I’ve thought about it for the past week, and…I don't think Trudy would be too angry if we started...something," Monk said weakly as he closed his eyes and tried to shut out how dirty and coarse the window sill felt against his cheek; how dirty and coarse his mind felt when thinking about his wife’s death.

Stottlemeyer looked away briefly, his eyes straining to find a smudge--any marking at all--on the shiny surface of his friend's perfectly polished coffee table. He didn't find one. He could only see himself, looking slightly worn around the edges.

"She was a beautiful and understanding woman. I think she'd be happy for you; for us."

The silence, not uncomfortable this time, stretched for a minute, as Monk considered his reply.

"Yes," he said as he opened his eyes. "She was wonderful. And...I think she'd be happy." Monk said carefully. "She always liked you."

Stottlemeyer smiled broadly.

"That's because I looked out for you when you were on the force."

Adrian turned back to look at his friend, his slight smile tinged with a touch of sadness.

"You still do."

The intensity of the captain’s cool blue gaze startled Adrian, and the detective hastily shifted his attention to the couch. Timidly, he took a few steps toward it and rubbed his hands together nervously. Stottlemeyer looked up, unable to read the expression in Adrian’s dark eyes. Silently, he moved over on the couch, allowing his friend ample room to return to his seat. Invitation accepted, Adrian made his way past the crooked coffee table to sit back down. He did so heavily, his eyes fixed forward on the one piece of furniture he associated the most with Trudy.

"But I don't want to forget her," Monk said, the strain evident in the plaintive tone of his voice.

Stottlemeyer wanted to hug the man. He reached out his arm but, at the last moment, blinked rapidly and instead laid his outstretched hand on a hunched shoulder.

"I don't want you to forget her, Adrian. I don’t think you could, even if you tried.”

Monk smiled slightly, his eyes bright. He stayed silent.

“I think you’re ready for this.”

Adrian turned his head and looked his friend in the eyes. “Am I?”

The captain chuckled softly and squeezed the shoulder under his hand. “I am. You could be, too. But I’ll wait as long as I have to since I, you know,” the captain paused, “…do care about you.”

A nervous laugh escaped Monk before he could stop himself. He blinked back the tears that had previously threatened to spill, then slowly gave his former captain a look of appraisal.

“If you’re ready, then I guess I can try to be ready.” Adrian sat up straighter in his seat. “But I don’t think I want you to kiss me,” he stated, the set of his mouth indicating extreme disgust.

Stottlemeyer sighed and took his hand off Monk’s shoulder.

“We can work on it. We’ll go slowly…very slowly, knowing you.”

Monk grimaced and reached up to jab a finger at the air near Stottlemeyer’s mouth.

“I think it’d go much faster if you shaved your moustache. Do you know how many germs are probably living in there?”

Stottlemeyer clenched his jaw in annoyance, but made sure his eyes conveyed the warmth he felt towards the odd and brilliant man before him. “You really are the most annoying person on the planet.”

Adrian grinned, not insulted in the least.


saintmaverick on July 19th, 2004 02:43 am (UTC)
kelli.. this slash stuff is scaring me..

no..just kidding! i love the story! once again you have done the impossible! you have made a monk slash story, which alone takes a lot of courage and fantasy! god only knows what your mind will come up with next.. but i'm sure you'll master it as wonderfully as you did with this idea.. ^ ^
fearless_jones on July 19th, 2004 01:44 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks for the compliments! :D *hugs*
saintmaverick on July 19th, 2004 01:53 pm (UTC)
*hugs back* that's what friends are for ^ ^
greensery on July 19th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC)
This is very, very good. Just like the previous one. :)
fearless_jones on July 19th, 2004 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!