juniperberry: Cordelia (queen c)
[personal profile] juniperberry
One or two more flashbacks, some re-working the present day side of things before Voorhann comes in--I want Nick to find out about Renard ordering Marie's murder--and I should get things all set up for part 2 (because this fic apparently needs a part 2). So yeah.

Also, I am spelling Adalind Schade correctly! Whoo!

For a long while, things balanced. Sean walked the usual tightrope of Captain Sean Renard, ordinary human police officer, and the Rege Renard, who was cold and calculating and had to maintain control with tight iron fingers. And for a while after Burkhardt realized he was not the only human involved with creatures, things balanced.

In October, things went to hell.

Adalind was not the catalyst, to Sean's surprise, though he almost wished he could have sent her to another city--San Francisco on the edge of his lands, or Seattle, or Vancouver--somewhere away from Burkhardt, who did not become a detective because he was pretty. She certainly didn't help the situation, but in hindsight, she'd done all she could, and Sean would not punish her for things out of her control.

"So, boss," Griffen said one morning, leaning on the doorjamb, "when was the last time you went to a party?"

"Beg pardon?" Sean asked, and met Griffen's eyes with a sharp, irritated glare.

"Sir, if you don't mind me saying so, you've been wound tighter than usual. A few friends and I are having a Halloween party this weekend, we wondered if you'd like to come. Relax for a night."

Sean raised an eyebrow the tiniest bit. "'Wound tighter?'"

Griffen shrugged in a self-concious sort of way. "If I may be frank, sir, you're more tense than you usually are. And if you think that description is bad, you should hear the way Wu put it."

Sean could imagine that for himself. "No, I think I can live without that," he said. "I'll think about the party, Detective. In the meantime, don't you have cases?"

Griffen gave him a salute that was only a touch mocking. "On it," he said, and disappeared into the pen. Sean devoted himself to his paperwork and ignored most of the outside world for as long as he could.

Sgt. Wu interrupted approximately an hour later, his eyes bright and fox-like. Sean had always simultaneously liked him and been extroidinarily wary of him for exactly that quality.

"Are you going to Griffen's party, sir?" Wu asked. Sean sighed and set down his pen.

"I'm not going to get anything like peace until I agree," he said. "Is that about the size of it?"

Wu grinned widely. "That's about it, sir!"

Sean sighed. "Fine. I'll make an appearance and have a drink. Now go away, I have work to do--and so do you."

"Yes, sir," Wu said, entirely too cheerful.


The party was more or less what Sean thought it would be--loud, annoying, full of adults in ridiculous costumes, with "spooky" music that was somehow also appropriate for dancing. He had, briefly, thought of wearing a costume, but his dignity rose up and strangled the thought before it had fully formed. Mingling with co-workers wasn't a terribly good idea off the clock as it was; no need to make it worse by dressing like something foolish. Higgins from Traffic was dressed rather badly as Cupid, and McCann from Vice was wearing something that looked vaguely like something the Beatles wore at one point.

Altogether, the party wasn't a total loss--if nothing else, Sean was having a hard time not laughing, chuckling, or smirking horribly at most of his co-workers and underlings. It was both amusing and a good exercise in control, and Sean liked to multitask.

"Hey, Captain!" Griffen said, as he approached Sean's chosen corner with a drink in one hand. He was dressed in a suit and wore a geeky pair of glasses. "Where's your costume?"

"I came dressed as a police captain," Sean said mildly. "Who are you supposed to be?"

Griffen pointed to a fake press badge pinned to his pocket. The name 'Kent' was written in black marker. "Clark Kent," he said. "Everybody expects Superman at these things, man. I'm more subtle than that."

"Indeed," Sean said. He sipped his punch--thankfully spiked, though he had no idea by whom. "I don't suppose I can escape to the backyard for a moment?"

Griffen pointed the way. "Right through there. Watch out for Wu, he got a little too much to drink."

Sean wondered exactly how much that would have had to be, then disregarded the thought and headed for the back door. His spine was starting to itch from all the people, many of whom were not in his department, nor even acquaintances. A few minutes outside, outside of the press of people he did not know nor care to know, and he could recollect himself and perhaps spend a few more minutes before making his excuses and his escape.

The backyard was surprisingly empty. It wasn't too cold yet, though it was damp, as always when one lived by the ocean; there was no table or place to gather, and Sean supposed that was why it was blessedly free of party-attendees. He leaned against a tree and closed his eyes, breathed deep of the Portland air.

The back door slammed sometime later--Sean had lost track of the minutes. Burkhardt had wandered outside, dressed in his usual apparal of jeans, t-shirt, jacket. Sean didn't bother holding still or hiding; he was well within reach of the porchlight.

"Hello, Detective. I didn't see you here."

Burkhardt shrugged. "Hank badgered me into coming," he said. "I came to get him to shut up. I didn't think you'd be here, sir."

"Sgt. Wu is persuasive. I think he's also the one who spiked the punch."

"Oh," Burkhardt said. He held a cup full of rum-spiked punch in one hand; it was mostly gone. "I've had about three cups. Guess I should call a cab home."

"It might be wise," Sean said. He remained next to the tree, and he was a little surprised when Burkhardt shuffled a few steps closer.

"So what's your costume?"

"Police captain. What's yours?"

Burkhardt's smile was a quick flash of light. "Hipster," he said. "You know, trendy, snobby, looking down their nose at people. You can't tell the difference between a hipster and a normal person."

Sean felt a smile tug at his mouth. "I can see that," he said. "Have you gotten a lot of flack for it?"

Burkhardt shrugged. "Wu's been on me about it," he said. "Hank says it isn't festive. Harper thought it was funny."

The ME would have that sense of humor. "So it's not a complete failure, then."

"You liked it, too. More a middling success," the detective replied. He swirled the punch in its paper cup. "Maybe this is the rum," he said, "but there's something I kind of wanted to say to you."

Sean stood up a little straighter. "What is it?" There were a dozen things that could go wrong--he tended the threads like a spider, but he couldn't be everywhere and if one or three or ten had snapped, he had to know what to do to control the fallout.

Burkhardt set his cup down, leaned close, and kissed Sean very softly on the mouth.

There were so many, many reasons to stop this, but Sean found it hard to remember most of them. Burkhardt's mouth was soft and he tasted like rum and Hawaiian Punch, sweet and sharp. Sean had one hand in his hair before he caught himself.

Burkhardt was under his official command. Sean had ordered the murder of Burkhardt's aunt. And he looked too much like Nicolai. None of that stopped him from kissing back, from pulling Burkhardt closer and allowing the detective to slide his hands around Sean's waist.

He had missed this--not sex, he could find any number of willing, temporary partners. He had missed kissing someone who knew anything about him, who had any inkling of who and what he really was, someone who wanted him for himself. There had been a few since Nicolai, but none with the same sort of potential, until Burkhardt.

Burkhardt, whose aunt lay dead on Sean's order.

He pulled away. Burkhardt blinked up at him, his breath a little fast.

"I probably shouldn't have done that," Burkhardt said. Sean licked his lips and tried to think of something to say.

"We can blame it on the rum," he said, slowly. "If you'd like."

Burkhardt's eyes were large and dark, his back to the light and no moon in the sky. "Maybe," he said.
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