juniperberry: (newest grimm)
[personal profile] juniperberry


When the reaper came to town looking for Marie Kessler--or, barring that, the killer of his brother--Sean found it difficult, at first, to keep his temper. Self-control was one of the things he was best at; protection, of individuals and groups and cities and territories, those were all fed by his self-control.

Adalind had noticed his preoccupation, and after work one night he found her sitting in the shadows on his front porch.

"My lord," she said, with a nod of her head. "May we speak?"

"If it's short," he said, as he opened his door. "I have an appointment later. I need to prepare for it."

Adalind shut the door behind them. "This has to do with that Grimm, doesn't it, sir?"

Sean dropped his briefcase on the couch and shed his coat. "Perhaps."

Adalind frowned. "I don't like him."

"You don't like him because he doesn't like you," Sean answered. "Besides, it's my fault he gave you so much trouble last time. I shouldn't have sent you personally to kill Kessler."

"I was happy to do it," Adalind argued. "Sir, if I may be blunt?"

He paused and glanced at her. "Of course."

Adalind studied her shoes. "Why are you so protective of this Grimm, my lord? You had Kessler killed, and Miyamoto when he came through three years ago. Grimms know they're not welcome here. Why are you protecting this one?"

Sean loosened his tie and turned to face her. Hexenbiests were not known for questioning those they gave their loyalty to; they might be curious or confused, but outright questions were considered to be something of a faux pas. Adalind had always adherred to those social rules in the past; she was truly disturbed if she was questioning him, even in the privacy of his own living room. She had always, on reflection, been disturbed by Burkhardt.

"A few reasons," he said. "Some are personal. The ones that are political are very simple--Burkhardt has no previous training as a Grimm. He was ignorant of it until Kessler arrived and gave him a very brief crash course. He associates with a weider blutbad, because the blutbad has sworn off causing harm to humans for fun or sport or culture. Burkhardt only kills when he thinks it's necessary, and if a creature does not harm humans, he has no interest in it." He tugged his tie off. "He's already building a reputation for co-operation with and tolerance of the creatures I govern. I see no reason to discourage that. Kessler killed indiscriminantly, and Miyamoto was called the bloody scourge of the east. Neither of them would have listened to reason, but Burkhardt has a good chance of becoming what the Grimms once were--and I feel we will need that in the coming days."

Adalind glanced up, uncertain. "I don't trust him," she said. "He's a Grimm, and they're all killers."

"They are stewards who lost sight of their purpose," Sean said, and she dropped her eyes. "Not unlike a few of my own relatives in the past. Those with responsibility will always find it heavy on their shoulders, Adalind, and it's always tempting to do what is easy rather than what is needed or right."

"Of course, my lord," she said, and took her leave.

~~~

The first time Nicolai kissed him, they were winding their way through the dark grey corridors of an abandoned hospital, looking for a reinigen that wasn't sticking to the straight and narrow. Nicolai had squeezed past him, waving his torch around the room to check for their suspect, and then he'd whirled around and kissed Sean hard and brief on the mouth.

Sean could have punched him. "What did you do that for?" he hissed. There was no point in trying to act the offended heterosexual man; Nicolai had apparently never bought it. Annoyed and angry, however, he could do those.

Nicolai gave him a dim, quick smile in the dark. "For luck," he said, and darted away into the shadows, his torch bobbing ahead of him like a beacon, and a snatch of humming melody--"Love Me Do." Sean wondered who he had offended to get stuck with such an obstinante, degenerate Grimm. Perhaps his Great-Aunt Martina, who still hadn't forgiven him for not courting the girl she had picked out for him. The old woman was not above a curse or two.

He jogged after Nicolai in the dark, and tried not to think about the way Nicolai had tasted.

~~~

Sean sent the Reaper packing, and things fell into a sort of easy pattern after that. Burkhardt--he had to forcibly think of the detective by his surname, it made things easier--was doing a fine job as a Grimm with a conscience. Sean was half-afraid he'd have to step in in the case of Holly Clark, but Burkhardt was willing to let two guilty victims go without justice, given the circumstances, and Sean found himself agreeing. He had one of his agents slip a few newsletters and books to the girl, both about what she was and how exactly she could continue to live as a protected creature in his lands.

And so things went on. Griffen dated Adalind, which Sean found alternately gratifying and horrifying; Burkhardt continued consulting the blutbad, and since he never came in with bite marks, scars, or bloody wounds, Sean allowed it. He monitored his spy network and connected with his city, his lands, the forests and mountains that made up his kingdom, and life went on, as it tends to do.

Then Burkhardt came to the station with bags under his eyes, looking as though he'd had tea with Death and come out the worse for it. Griffen had remarked, quietly to Sargent Wu, that Burkhardt and his pretty, sweet fiance were breaking up, and it didn't look like they'd get back together.

Sean had to squash the tiny seed of hope that the news brought him, ruthlessly and firmly and almost certainly in vain.

~~~

"Won't you please, please help me," a young man sang, off-key and with a distinctly Eastern European accent, but Sean would recognize that voice anywhere, even off-key and singing a popular song.

He followed the voice through the tunnel, keeping one ear out for rats, trains, or any creature that might be lurking. Nicolai had no concern, the way he sang.

"...When I was younger, so much younger than toda~y, I never needed anybody's help in any way!"

Water was dripping from somewhere to Sean's right, and he concentrated on finding Nicolai and keeping his own steps silent. The tunnel was dark, but not completely without light--Nicolai, just ahead, had a torch, and he was heading for the entrance, which was grey with early morning light. Sean followed silently, until he could see Nicolai's shape outlined against the tunnel mouth.

"...And I do appreciate you being 'round. Help me get my feet back on the grou~nd--"

Sean surged forward and caught Nicolai in his arms, up against the gritty tunnel wall. Nicolai yelped, moved as if to pull a knife, but once he caught sight of Sean he grinned and relaxed.

"Won't you please, please help me," he said, and yelped again when Sean pushed him more firmly into the wall.

"You want this?" he asked, and Nicolai nodded, frantic. His torch had fallen to the ground and it shone fruitlessly back into the tunnel, the way both of them had come. Sean hitched one arm just beneath Nicolai's ass and hoisted him up, trapping him between Sean and the wall. Nicolai grabbed his shoulders and hung on, his grin firmly in place.

"You have to want this," Sean said. It was the only warning he could give, but Nicolai breathed out "Please, please," in perfect tune, and Sean almost stopped listening. Nicolai was wearing a stretchy jumper beneath his coat, and Sean dived for the neck of it, locking onto the hollow of his throat and biting hard enough to bruise. Nicolai made a muffled noise and he wound his legs around Seans waist. He moaned softly, and Sean felt the vibrations through his lips and teeth and the bruised flesh of Nicolai's windpipe.

Nicolai wound one hand into Sean's hair, and the other clenched Sean's shoulder. He was light and easy to hold up and when Sean reached for his mouth Nicolai was already there, waiting and wanting and impatient.

"'Bout time, you silly wanker," he said, inbetween kisses, and Sean ignored his complaints; all that mattered was the warm mouth beneath his and the warm body pressed against the wall, pressed up against him, and Nicolai's legs tight around his waist. Together they were an island of warmth in a sea of cold, damp air.

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