juniperberry: Cordelia (queen c)
[personal profile] juniperberry
It's officially titled "Love Me Do" on the kinkmeme. Yay?



London had changed not at all in the month and a half that Sean had been gone. Certain pop bands were more popular than when he left, the rains had come sweeping in, but other than that, little had changed. It soothed something in him to feel the rightness as he stepped off the boat and onto the soil his brother called home.

One day, somewhere in the world, he would find a kingdom in need of a king, and then the connection would not be the faint echo he could feel here in London. The creatures he commanded power over would look to him for protection, for reassurance, for discipline and security, and he would give it to them with all he had.

And he would save what he could of himself for Nicolai.

~~~

He stepped inside his flat with a sigh of relief. It was unchanged from his absence--a little more dust, perhaps--but it was the closest he could come to home at the moment, and he savored it. He would have to run down to a pub for take-away, since he hadn't left any food in the place, but that was a small concern compared to the joy of being back. All he needed was food and Nicolai--not necessarily in that order--and he would be content.

The pub did a decent meal on short notice, and Sean climbed the stairs to his flat with a bag full of shepard's pie and some local ale, kept warm. He paused as he rounded the corridor to his flat.

"Mr. Carpenter," he said, with a smile he didn't truly feel. "Did you need something?"

The old gentleman held up a wide, flat envelope. "A young man wanted me to give this to you when you got back," he said. "A scruffy hooligan with an accent--foreign."

"Ah," Sean said. "Well, thank you, Mr. Carpenter. I appreciate it."

"Hmph," the old man said. "I don't know, Mr. Renard, associating with such a person...."

"He's an old friend, Mr. Carpenter," Sean said, as patiently as he could manage. He took the envelope from the man with a quick gesture, not quite a snap, and turned to open his door. "As I said, thank you for keeping it and delivering it to me, I truly appreciate it. Good evening."

"Mph. Good Evening, Mr. Renard," Carpenter said, and shuffled back to his flat.

Nosy old codger, Sean thought, but he soon pushed Carpenter out of his mind in favor of Nicolai's message. There was something hard and flat in the envelope; he set down his dinner and tore it open. A small singles record fell out, which Sean managed to catch, and a fluttering piece of paper, which landed with its folds akimbo on the carpet. The record had had both songs blacked out with marker, but a small paper note taped to it read "Play Side B" in Nicolai's distinctive handwriting.

Amused, Sean found side B and placed it on his record player. In a few moments a poppy guitar sound trundled out, and a familiar band began to sing.

"As I write this letter, send my love to you, remember that I'll always, be in love with you...."

"Nicolai, you're a sap," Sean said, even as he scooped up the folded paper on the floor. This was a proper letter, in Nicolai's near-illegible scrawl.

"Renard, can't write you a long letter, but I think the single will speak for me. I got word of some jagerbars up north of London, out in the country. It could just be a real bear or someone badmouthing their neighbors, but I need to investigate it. I'll be taking my Volkswagon, it's in good shape, and I'll be back soon. Hopefully we'll laugh over this together. I should be back by the 17th, but it might go long, so don't worry. Nicolai."

Sean absently turned off the record player. Nicolai was gone, hadn't arrived back when he should have--it sent a cold prickle of fear down Sean's spine. He clutched the letter in one hand and strode over to the phone. He had a network of spies in place, to assist his brother and to keep an eye on a certain foolish Grimm, and now it would come in handy.

A young woman answered the ringing on the line. "Hello, how may I direct your call?"

"I need Abigail Birdswaith, in Buckinghamshire," he said, and rattled off any further information the operator needed. The phone rang again, a few more times, before he reached the woman he needed.

"Mrs. Birdswaith? This is Sean Renard, in London. I need to know the location of a Grimm--he's not dangerous unless you curse people, Mrs. Birdswaith. He was investigating the rumors of some jagerbars north of London, and now he's late back."

"I can probably do a location spell, but I need to know a great deal about him," she said, matter-of-factly, and Sean silently blessed the practicality of hedgewitches.

~~~

The location spell pulled Sean to a small town just outside northern London, where Nicolai had apparently laid up for an extra few nights. Birdswaith had located the Grimm at a small youth hostel, where he had been since the sixteenth at the earliest. Nicolai did not have much money, living as he did on the occasional stipend from Richard and the occasional odd job.

As he pulled up to the address Birdswaith had given him, Sean saw Nicolai's battered dark blue Volkswagon in the parking lot, and it gave him another shiver of unease.

The man who ran the hostel gave Sean a distinctly uninterested look when asked about Nicolai. "He's in room seven," the man said, stinking of cheap, bad ale and tobacco. "Hasn't paid the last couple nights, was about to chuck him out."

"I'll pay the difference in his bill," Sean said, and the total really wasn't that much. The hostel rooms aren't that much, to be fair; but they're for adventuring tourists and college students, not poor Grimms returning from a hunt.

The corridor smelled of hashish and other, less legal things, but Sean didn't smell blood. Room seven was firmly locked, and when he knocked there was no answer, though he could hear a heartbeat inside. Sean studied the lock and braced himself against the door and doorjamb, then jerked the doorknob hard enough to break the lock. The manager didn't even look up from his BBC News broadcast when Sean chanced a glance back, and he swung the door open with no resistance.

Nicolai was dead to the world, asleep on the small hostel bed. He was still, but alive--Sean could hear the steady heartbeat if he tried, and Nicolai's breaths came even and slow. Sean closed the door as best he could--he really had wrecked the lock, but he couldn't regret that--and dropped down beside the bed.

"Nicolai," he said. The Grimm didn't move at first, but when Sean shook him, he raised his head and moaned.

"'Sat you?" he mumbled, and followed that with a small, mumbled flood of Romanian. Sean hadn't even realized Nicolai knew Romanian.

"Nicolai," he said, quietly, and gently stroked the man's dark hair away from his face. "Nicolai, can you tell me what happened?"

It came in a mix of languages, but Sean wasn't a member of his line for nothing--he understood most of it. The jagerbar had been real, but it had only been causing trouble because of a new Grimm that had been hunting it. Nicolai had warned the other Grimm off, and the jagerbar had disappeared, but not before knocking Nicolai into something. Sean ran his fingers through Nicolai's hair and found a tender bump, but no blood.

"You're an idiot," Sean said, torn between relief and astonishment. "Nicolai, if you're hurt, go to a hospital, get a doctor! You could have died in here, you stupid--"

"Shh, shh," Nicolai said. His eyes were still dialated, but he lifted one hand and patted Sean's face. "Ez nem baj, en kiraly," he said, and tried to fall back asleep.

"Nicolai," Sean barked, and the Grimm came awake. "Do not fall asleep," Sean ordered, and Nicolai nodded, slowly. Sean checked him for any other injuries, and when he found none, he pulled the young man up and to his feet.

"We will go to a hospital and get your head checked out," he said, sternly. "Once I know you'll be fine, and once you've recovered, you can yell at me all you like."

"Okay," Nicolai said, in a dazed way, and Sean led him out of the hostel to his car.

~~~

“I cannot believe you did that,” Nicolai hissed three days later at Sean's door, a plastic tag still tied around his wrist from the local hospital. “I cannot believe you, you—you--”

“Next time I'll try to forget that you could have died,” Sean said coolly. "Do come in," he added as Nicolai stormed past him into the flat. "Please, it's no trouble."

"You is the one in trouble!" Nicolai snapped. "You are lizenzgebuhen, you are preklad, you are familiei regale! I knew this and I trusted you and still you use the voice on me?"

Sean bit the inside of his cheek. He knew Nicolai would be upset; he did not realize Nicolai would be so furious, given the circumstances. "You were hurt. You had been lying there hurt for two days."

"And I am fine! I was fine! You could have called the ambulance, I would still have been fine!"

"I didn't know that," Sean said. He was holding onto his control rather well, but Nicolai barely seemed to notice. "I told you there would be consequences, Nicolai. I told you to be sure."

Nicolai seemed to lose all his anger in a breath. "I have never heard of preklad using the voice on lovers," he said, bitterly. Sean let loose a sigh of his own.

"I've only used it this once," he said. "There have been regale in the past whose consorts were nothing but puppets under the voice. I would never do that to you. But you know how I am and you know how I feel about you being in danger and putting yourself in danger unnecessarily."

"I know. You get stupid." Nicolai's anger was back full force. "You get dumb, think you have to use the voice on me. Don't you dare do that again! I won't forgive you if you do that again! I won't be puppet for a regale, not for anything, not even for you!"

Sean closed his eyes and nodded. "I swear," he said. "I won't do that to you again, Nicolai."

Nicolai lost a little of his angry, tense posture. "Ever again," he said, and there was no room in his voice for compromise.

"Ever again," Sean agreed, and only then did Nicolai move close enough to touch.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I thought I would sleep it off, be home before you got back."

Sean pulled him close and breathed in the smell of his hair. "Don't do that to me again," he whispered. "Just...just don't. If I need to I'll find a hexenbiest or a rienigen or something that will follow you to watch your back if I can't be there, but don't scare me like that again."

"Mah, I can take care of myself," Nicolai said, but he slung his arms around Sean's waist and tipped his head to the side. "Hey, you, your mark has faded. You ought to fix that, yes?"

"In a minute," Sean murmured, and Nicolai let him have a moment of peace, standing quiet in a silent flat.

~~~



One more flashback should kill Nicolai off. That sounds so horrible, but if I don't I can't ever get to the Nick/Renard proper, so.

Languages used: Hungarian, Slovak, German, Romanian.
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