juniperberry: renard from the tv show grimm (renard is skeptical)
[personal profile] juniperberry
(I have no idea when or where this fic will end! It's kind of fun!)



Things were quiet for a long while, as the summer stretched and faded into autumn, with the turning of leaves and the rainshowers that constantly visited Portland. Sean threw himself into both of his jobs, the day and the night and the overlap between the two, and tried to forget the way Burkhardt's eyes reminded him of Nicolai. It wasn't easy; true to his word, Burkhardt hadn't asked for a transfer, though more and more Sean thought that might be the best idea. Gradually, slowly, he was noticing a change, both in Burkhardt and in the creature community he ruled over.

Burkhardt looked at him more--not that he hadn't ever looked at his captain, but now Sean would glance up and find Burkhardt studying him with a pensive face and a tight cast to his mouth. He ignored it as best he could; he had been honest when he said he would keep his personal feelings out of it. Burkhardt, outside of those looks, did his best to do the same. They were perfectly professional around each other, which caught the attention of both Griffen and Wu, not to mention a few other officers; but nothing ever came of it in the rumor mill, and Sean let it lie.

In the creature community, there was a lessening of animosity when it came to Portland's resident Grimm--not a complete ceasation of hositlity, but there were rumors circulating, that the newest Grimm on the block was not interested in the pelts of everything from blutbad to bauerschwein, only in those who ignored the rules that their lord had laid out. A law-abiding Grimm was a new thing to these creatures, and Sean was satisfied that at least something good was coming out of the whole mess.

It all fell to pieces the October day Voorhann arrived in Portland.

~~~

"Hah, you there," Nicolai said, and slammed into Sean with all the subtlety of a subway train. "You hear of any new Grimms in Londontown?"

Sean pulled back and looked into Nicolai's eyes. "No," he said. "Grimms--barring one exception--are not allowed in London, by my brother's order. Why would you ask such a thing?"

"Eh, no reason," Nicolai said, and pushed his way into Sean's flat. "Do you mind if I stay over?"

Sean watched him shrug off his jacket, watched the muscles play under the thin material of the black jumper. "No," he said, his voice low. "No, I don't mind." He stepped closer and pushed his hands up beneath the jumper, to Nicolai's chilled skin. "I ought to buy you some decent clothes."

Nicolai laughed. "No. Last thing I need is to be kept man. I would get lazy."

Sean pulled him close. "I'm a taskmaster," he said against Nicolai's ear. "You would be too busy to be lazy."

"Mmm, tempting." Nicolai leaned against him. "But I like buying my own clothes, meile."

Sean bit his earlobe. It was an old argument. "So you want to stay the night?"

Nicolai turned and leaned against him. "If I won't crowd your bed too much."

"Not at all," Sean said, and it was a long time before either of them spoke again.

The strains of "Eleanor Rigby" woke Sean out of a light sleep. Nicolai was by the record player, mouthing the words as Paul McCartney sang, swaying back and forth on bare feet. He had pulled on his jumper and a pair of loose pants that were too long for him. Sean half sat up and Nicolai whirled, the practiced move of a predator--but he relaxed once he realized who it was. He walked back to the bed and crawled back under the covers as the rest of the album began to play. Sean leaned back on his elbows, even as Nicolai braced himself over Sean's chest.

"Sean," he said lowly. "Remember when I asked about reincarnation?"

As if he could forget. "Yes," he said.

"I was just thinking. If something happens to me, don't be lonely like Eleanor."

"You're not going to die," Sean said. He ran his fingers through Nicolai's dark hair and tugged. "I won't allow it."

"You can't stop death," Nicolai said. "It's one of those things, Renard--even royalty can't tell death not to take them, no matter how long they live."

"I'd try," Sean said. His fingers were tight in Nicolai's hair, but the Grimm said nothing about it. "I won't allow you to die. You're mine."

Nicolai looked at him with old eyes. "I know," he said, and Sean released his hair so he could pull the Grimm closer, safe for a little while from the world.

~~~

It was a weider blutbad that brought the disturbances to Sean's attention. The blutbad had been found strung across a pair of trees in the forest, gutted and disembowled, his head attached to his body by a few threads of flesh. His eyes had been missing, gouged out, and only Sean's sense of smell told him the body had once been a blutbad.

"Michael Forester," Burkhardt said, as he flipped open the wallet with a pen. The victim's clothes had been shredded, but his wallet and keys were lying next to the scene, disregarded and forgotten. "Says here he drives a truck, but I haven't seen one."

"I'll call the station, get a phone number and any next of kin," Griffen said, and turned away to do just that. Sean savored a brief flash of amusement; Griffen was a talented detective, but he was exceedingly squemish.

He picked his way carefully over to Burkhardt, and crouched down next to him. The only benefit to this miserable scene was that the smell of the body was overwhelming every other scent, including Burkhardt's. "The victim was a blutbad," he said in a low voice, nearly whispering, and Burkhardt shot him a startled look.

"How can you tell?" he asked. Sean scratched his nose.

"I just can," he said. "Ask your friend about him--they might know of each other."

"You know Monroe?" Burkhardt asked. Sean gave him a cool look.

"Very little goes on in Portland that I don't know about, Detective," he said, and left Burkhardt to his work. He picked his way away from the scene and made all the necessary phone calls he was required to by human law and convention, and as soon as he was out of the Grimm's earshot he opened his cellphone and called Adalind.

"Yes, my lord?" she asked, completely unsurprised. "What do you need?"

"Anything you can get me on a blutbad named Michael Forester," he said. "He's been murdered, and it doesn't look like any of the rituals I know. I want to know who is new to Portland in the last few weeks. This was not a normal killing."

"Yes, my lord," Adalind said. "I'll get back to you as soon as I can."

"Good," he said, and snapped his phone closed.

One of his people had been killed on his watch, and it wasn't authorized. Burkhardt would never have prolonged a creature's suffering this way--if Forester was guilty of anything, it would have been a bullet, or proof of guilt that would lead to a prison sentence. Something clean--not this torture, this warning display. It made him think of some of the Grimms he had known before Nicolai, before Burkhardt--some, like Kessler, were indiscriminate killers, but they were clean kills. Some Grimms, however, prefered a more visceral technique, a warning to all other creatures in the area.

Sean focused his thoughts on the job at hand, and did his best to set aside the cold fear that swept through him and left sweat beading his face.

~~~

"Here, There, and Everywhere" was playing through Sean's brain. He rather wished it would stop; it made him anxious in a way he couldn't quite fathom. It was being away from London, from a city where he felt rooted and needed, but Richard had asked him to visit the Duchess who held Paris, and Sean could hardly refuse.

Thankfully, the Duchess did not believe in midnight meetings. They would meet in the morning, in the bright light of day--Annette did not believe in hiding in the dark, and since Grimms were considered particularly unwelcome in her territory, she felt she had little to fear. Sean privately thought that a foolish illusion, but he was here to be diplomatic, not honest.

He leaned against the balcony railing, and gazed down at the city, lit up as always with a great many streetlamps and porchlights. The air smelled of fall, and oncoming winter; but the cold was not here yet, and he could enjoy the evening without a coat. So he leaned on a railing and sipped fine red wine, and missed Nicolai's warmth and smart observations.

He didn't like being separated from Nicolai. They weren't anything so cliched as mates or the like--monarchy lines such as the Renards were not the slaves to instinct that some creatures were--but Sean was a possessive bastard and honest enough to know it. He wanted his lover beside him, where he could keep the fool safe and relatively protected.

He had tried to plead his case to Richard, but his brother had shaken his head.

"Sean," he had said, "the Duchess Annette hates Grimms. In her experience, there is no such thing as a Grimm with higher reasoning functions. If you took Nicolai with you, you would not only leave our people without an enforcer, you would give Annette the best excuse she's had in years to throw a party themed like the Revolution, complete with guillotine."

As in many things, Richard had the right of it. That didn't make Sean like it any better.

Restlessly he moved back into his hotel room and turned on the small radio. The melody caught him by surprise.

"Knowing that love is to share, each one thinking that love never dies--"

Sean switched the radio off and downed his wine in a bad temper.

~~~








(Future scene)

Ferns and twigs slapped against his legs and tugged at his coat as he ran, but Sean paid them no attention. He was concentrating on the sounds he could hear, distant but immediate, and concentrating on the smell of Nicolai in the rain. Burkhardt was somewhere in the woods nearby,



Holy crap, I'm going to break 7,000 words soon. Yikes!

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