juniperberry: Cordelia (queen c)
[personal profile] juniperberry


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, coaxing and demanding and Burkhardt followed his lead, as though the Grimm hadn't started this 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 Nick Burkhardt.

Nick Burkhardt, who liked it when Sean bit his lips and tugged on his hair.

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

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

"I probably shouldn't have done that," Nick 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."

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

~~~

The thing about kissing someone is that on a certain level, it lets them in. Sean was in a bad temper even two days after the party, angry at himself and at Nick--because he couldn't just be Burkhardt any longer, not when Sean knew the way he liked to be kissed. Monday morning was not something he was happy to see; but he had no reason to call in, and that right probably belonged to Nick.

None of the party participants looked at him any differently. Griffen apparently decided not to push his luck, and while Sgt. Wu gave him an inquiring look, Sean countered it with one of his most forbidding, and Wu wisely said nothing. Things went as normal until mid-morning, when Nick slunk into his offic and shut the door.

"Detective," Sean said quietly. "Do you need something?"

Nick had his hands shoved in his pockets again. "Maybe," he said. "I thought we ought to speak about the, uh, other night."

Sean debated for only half a moment. "I thought it was the rum talking," he said. Part of him prayed Nick would take the out, take the hint, and bow out with grace.

Nick was a stubborn bastard.

"It wasn't just the rum," he said. His face was a dull red, and his mouth was pinched tight. He didn't really meet Sean's eyes. "This is sort of horrifyingly embarrassing, but I really did mean it. Sir."

Fuck.

"I see," Sean said, a rare occurance of stalling. "Internal Affairs isn't usually so literal."

Nick shifted back and forth, unhappy. "I know this is a big thing to drop on you, especially after this summer," he said. "But I've been thinking about it for a long, long time, and I guess I sort of...." He shrugged. "It seemed the thing to do."

Sean concentrated on his papers for a moment. "I'm flattered," he said, "and very tempted. But there's a great deal of things that you don't know, and I can't in good conscience pursue this."

Nick rocked a little on his heels. "If there's things I don't know, why don't you tell me?"

"Aren't you supposed to be working on the Summers' case?"

"I'm taking a coffee break." Nick dropped into the chair in front of Sean's desk and met his eyes. "So. Things I don't know. I'm listening."

Turned out Nick Burkhardt was just as much of a little shit as Nicolai ever was. "Detective," he said, "you shouldn't be under my command if you want to start a relationship. Think about a transfer to another department or another precient, and then we'll talk."

"I don't see why we can't talk now--" Nick began, leaning forward as if he were going to haul the answers he wanted out of his captain. The door swung violently open, though, and cut off whatever it was he would have said.

Sean groaned inwardly. Marina Dichtung, a member of the fractious Meerjung community. Her hair was swept into a braid and her dress was deep blue, and her sealskin hung from her shoulders as a sleek, deep brown coat. Her face was pinched and stormy. Adalind followed right behind her, and the hexenbiest's eyes were apologetic. Sean could well understand--the Meerjung, when in a temper, were as difficult as their favored element, and just as hard to hold back.

"I protest," Marina said. "Sire, I protest at you allowing that thing to live." She sidled a glance to Nick, and for a moment her face became something other--deep, liquid brown eyes and a whiskered snout. Worse, Nick saw her looking, and slowly got to his feet, prudently putting the chair between them. "I protest that you have not elimnated it."

Adalind had had the good sense to close the door, and Sean had seen the racing tracery of light that would keep this conversation private--a concern which Marina, at least, did not seem to share. "Ms. Dichtung," he said, slowly, "I would ask that you keep to my usual hours for this sort of thing."

She dropped her eyes for a moment--only a moment, because she was the spokesperson of her kind, and a vassal. "Sire," she said, "Anders found Malaiya. She was gutted by a Grimm." Now she looked at Nick full force. "I do not understand why you allow this one to live when you have protected us so well from the others who would hunt us."

"You know my arguments on this topic, Ms. Dichtung," Sean said. He stood, slowly. Part of him was sitting back, watching everything he had worked toward fall apart; the rest of him was present and ready to deal with Marina in a temper. Distantly he noticed Nick attempt to speak, and Adalind shushing him with a look and a few low words.

"I have always disagreed," she said, strident. "My lord, you have protected us so well until you allowed that thing to live."

"He is a thinking being, Ms. Dichtung, and under my command. I would appreciate a little respect."

"He killed Malaiya! He gutted her and left her for the sharks, and took her skin as a trophy! Sire, he's not worth your mercy, and he's proof that Grimms are not worth the breath their mothers give them." She crossed her arms, and her fingers dug into the skin of her coat. "My lord," she said, more calmly, "you know we are not the only vassals under your banner who disagree with letting a Grimm live. Please, I love you as my king. Things would be much more stable if he were dead."

"What evidence do you have that it was Detective Burkhardt who killed Malaiya?" Sean asked. "Other than the fact that he is a Grimm, which is circumstancial at best. As to the others who disagree, I bring up Burkhardt's record--he's been a Grimm for the last year, and he has killed only eight creatures, all of them with my sanction under the law."

Marina shrunk into herself. "I have seen those killed by Grimms," she said. "This was no different, down to the missing sealskin and the disrespect for the remains. My king, please. If it was not this Grimm--" she grimaced, as though she disliked admitting such a possibility--"then there is another in your lands, and we ask that you protect us as you have done in the past."

"I shall, of course, do so," he said. Pulling the threads back into alignment was always a pain. "But please, Ms. Dichtung, I ask that you stop accusing Detective Burkhardt."

She glared fiercly at his desk. "What evidence do you have that he was not the one who killed our daughter?" she asked. "She went missing two nights ago, on the twenty-seventh, and Anders found her late last night."

Sean sighed. "I'm sure Detective Burkhardt would not kill someone who did not provoke it," he said, "and I have heard nothing about Malaiya that would indicate that I needed to sanction a kill." He paused, debated. "And I was with Detective Burkhardt for a portion of the evening on the twenty-seventh, between the hours of nine and ten. If you've called in the body to the local police, we can pin down the time of death and go from there."

Marina bit her lip. "I'm afraid her sisters were too upset to think of calling the authorities," she said. "Her funeral was this morning."

"Then there is a simple solution," Sean said, willing away the headache that dealing with clans always brought on. "Detective Burkhardt," he said, looking at Nick for the first time since Marina had sailed into his office. Nick was pale, and there was an angry tightness in his face. "I must ask you: Did you kill Malaiya Haas?"

The Grimm's eyes glazed a little. "No. I haven't shot anyone since that mugger on the fourth of September, when he wouldn't drop his gun."

Sean ruthlessly tamped down any feelings other than brisk efficiency. "There, Ms. Dichtung," he said. "Would you say he was lying?"

Marina shook her head, even as she darted a glance at Nick, and another at him. "No, my king," she said, and her voice was subdued. "I will tell the other Meerjung what has happened here."

"Please, do," Sean said coolly, and nodded to the door. Adalind swept forward and took Marina's arm, to lead her out of the station with no more incidents. She had the sense to close the door behind them, and the tracery of light brightened again. Nick twitched, a little, watching it race over the walls.

Sean closed his eyes for a moment, feeling the threads and strands of his web slide into place. Marina was right in that there were a great many unhappy clans in his lands, who did not like the thought of a live Grimm.

"You killed my aunt."

Sean swallowed the wince. Nick's voice was flat and hollow, gouged out of him with something sharp and merciless. Sean met his eyes and looked back at the anger and hurt he saw there.

"I ordered her killed, yes," he said. Nick looked away first, and his voice was cracked when he spoke again.

"Why? She was old, and dying--"

"And still a very lethal woman," Sean said. "I had no reason to believe she would treat with me, and if I had tried, my people would have rioted." Hell, they had nearly rioted when Sean made it known that Nick was not to be killed. Granting Marie Kessler a reprieve would have resulted in Portland needing a new king.

"She was dying already," Nick said, and Sean wanted to look away from the betrayal in his eyes.

"She knew what she was getting into, entering a kingdom," Sean said, almost gently. "There's not a kingdom on the continent that would have allowed her to live, N--Detective. There are the ungoverned territories, and all she needed to fear there were reapers, but in a kingdom she would have had to face the same thing, no matter where she was."

Nick shook his head. "And you kissed me," he said. "You ordered my aunt murdered, and you kissed me anyway."

Sean found he had to look away, at that. "You made a convincing argument," he said. "And I've wanted to do that for a long time." He paused, wondered if his words would make things better or worse. "I'm sorry for your grief," he said. "But I'm not sorry for protecting my people, nor am I sorry for kissing you. I just wish the circumstances were better."

"So you just--"Nick's voice choked off. "I have work to do," he said, and Sean watched him leave at something only a little slower than a run.

~~~



I'm calling it! END PART ONE.

AUGH.

Date: 2017-02-01 12:16 pm (UTC)
charismatennant: (Default)
From: [personal profile] charismatennant
Hi! Sorry for being a bit slow on the uptake, but I just wanted to tell you how much I loved this story! It's great and I simply adore your writing style! English is not my first language, so I always notice the way people write, and I must say - you're doing an awesome job! So, thank you)))
p.s. Can't help asking! Any chance you're gonna continue this story?))

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