AN: Hello Grimmsters! A what if that started when I was writing "The Biest Within." Decided to build on it and this is the result. Will be told in roughly seven parts, with each part reflecting the POV of what's going on with Nick and Adalind and what's happening with the Scoobies in Portland. The gang's all here (eventually). Will post a new chapter once a week or so. Does not follow my Nadalind universe from "Coming to Terms." Hope you enjoy regardless.
The lights of the streets flash across Nick's face, illuminating the Land Cruiser's cabin in short bursts, enough that Adalind can see the tense angle of his jaw. She doesn't know where he's taking them, and she doesn't think Nick knows either. She wants to talk to him, to ask, to apologize, to plead, to fill the weighty silence, to tell him she loves him, that everything she did was because she loves him and her children, but Diana's with them, awake in the backseat of Nick's Land Cruiser, and so she holds her tongue. She's not sure how her profession of love will be received: by either Nick or Diana.
She's not sure what's motivating Nick in this metaphorical and literal run for the border. If it's anger or fear or what. She's not sure if the only reason she's with Nick now as they flee isn't because she's the mother of his son and nothing else, and despite everything, maybe Nick really is intent on ensuring his son never has to know what it's like to grow up without a mother. That given extraordinary circumstances, Nick is extraordinarily skilled at putting aside his own feelings and misgivings about a situation or person and doing what is right, especially if it's his son.
She's living proof of that.
Right now, she's grateful.
She tells herself she's grateful, anyway, that it's enough that Nick has brought her along. And because he knows Adalind won't be without her daughter, Diana's along for the ride too, and Adalind's grateful for that too.
Adalind's not sure if Diana has made the connection yet; that Adalind's wholly in love with the man sitting in the driver's seat, but she's scared of what Diana might do if she realizes that Nick is the reason Adalind will never be with Sean. Remembers with startling clarity what Diana did to Rachel, and she can't imagine what she'd do if something happened to Nick.
If something happened to Nick and her daughter was the cause of it. Adalind has already been the cause of so many things that have happened to him.
Adalind looks at the side of Nick's face again, the line of his jaw and tense profile so familiar. Her mind flashes to what they were only weeks ago: lovers. It seems like a lifetime ago now. She's thought of little else but Nick, and their fledgling relationship, and what her actions might have done to something that was just barely getting off the ground. That she might have broken what little trust existed between them when she took his son away from him.
She desperately wants to know if he understands why she did what she did. If he believes her. That it was to protect him, that she loved him so much and her children so much, that it was the only way she could see that would keep them all safe. She had been outmaneuvered by Bonaparte and Sean. They would use her children against her; they would use Kelly against Nick. They could hurt them. She wants to touch him so badly. Things are so much clearer between them, Nick's feelings for her more apparent, when he's touching her, or kissing her, or making love to her.
She can't stand the silence any longer.
"Where are you taking us?" she ventures. It seems the safest question she can ask, everything else complicated and emotional and loaded, and with Diana with them she doesn't want to risk an emotional conversation. She's afraid the emotion might be misconstrued, or Diana will act rashly, not understanding Nick's anger at Adalind might be justified. They're heading towards the industrial part of town, near where they lived, but if they're going to the loft he's taking a circuitous route. "The loft?"
"I can't take you back to the loft. The loft is compromised."
Yes, she did that. She ruined their sanctuary. She looks away, wondering if her warning was enough. It must have been because he's here, beside her, obviously alive and well, or well enough that it didn't impede his plan to find her and rush to get to them. It's been days though since she had Diana warn him, his Grimm healing…she's not sure what signs of injury would still remain, but given what she's pictured in her head that probably met him, he's seems okay. She looks again at Nick, scrutinizing his appearance, but other than a few bruises and the fatigue in his eyes, he's like any other time she's seen him coming home after a long day at the precinct.
"Then where?" she persists, because this isn't the way to Monroe and Rosalee's either. She's trying to think of a friend of Nick's she knows of where Nick might feel safe enough to take them, to impose upon, but she comes up empty.
"Out of the city," Nick says. He glances in his rearview mirror, checking for a tail Adalind assumes, as his mouth sets in a grim line.
Adalind turns and looks behind her, catching Diana's eye momentarily as her daughter wordlessly watches the dark scenery fly by. She's still in her pajamas and bathrobe, the rush to leave, to escape as quickly as possible, not allowing for anything else but grabbing her shoes, and a couple of changes of clothes stuffed hurriedly in a case. Her desire to stay with Adalind helped to facilitate their departure, but Adalind wonders when she realizes they're not going to go back to Sean any time soon if she'll be so agreeable. Adalind looks at Kelly, sound asleep in his car seat, head resting against the side of the carrier. Blissfully unaware of the turmoil his parents are embroiled in, and Adalind envies his innocence.
"They'll be looking for us."
She turns back to the windshield and stares out into the abyss.
There's no question who Nick is referring to. Sean and all the Wesen that serve him now, hoping for a place among the new hierarchy; they'll all be looking for them. There's no place for them to run to here, so now they have to keep running. Someplace out of Portland, someplace where Sean has no influence, because Sean wants his daughter. She doubts he wants Adalind, but he needs her. There's no other way to control Diana, to maintain the lie he and Black Claw created, of a wife and family, and Adalind's eyes dart to Nick, wondering what he'll say when he sees the ring on her finger. If he'll be capable of helping her keep Diana in check, and scared what that might mean.
He wouldn't hurt her, would he?
Would Diana hurt him?
Adalind's terrified that Diana might do something that will necessitate a firm hand, maybe a Grimm hand. She's terrified that they might not be able to keep her daughter in check. Nick doesn't know what Diana's capable of. What she's already done.
They need to get out of Portland, if nothing else so they can regroup and figure out how they're going to fix this mess.
They clear the city limits and then the county and still Nick doesn't stop.
An hour later they blow past the Oregon state line.
"Where are we?" Adalind asks, breaking nearly two hours of silence. Nick glances at her in surprise, clearly pulled away from whatever thoughts were occupying his mind, thoughts he's kept close, and Adalind rubs a hand over her eyes. She had drifted off, the lull of the engine and the endless night, the emotional toll of the last few weeks finally succeeding in pulling her under into sleep.
"Idaho," Nick says softly and Adalind turns to check on her children.
"They both fell asleep shortly after you did," Nick says, glancing at them in the rearview mirror.
"Wait a sec, did you say Idaho?" she echoes, turning back to him. They had been in Washington when she fell asleep, she had thought.
"Yeah," Nick says. "Go back to sleep," he says. "I'm just going to pull over for some gas."
"How long are we going to keep driving?" she asks him. She squints at the clock radio and notes with surprise it's well after two in the morning. Or maybe it's one. She's not sure if Idaho is an hour behind them.
"Until we've put enough distance behind us."
"Do you think there's an APB out on us?"
Nick doesn't say anything. She wonders if Sean has an Amber alert out for her and Diana. If there's a warrant out for Nick. Wu had said he assaulted Sean; was arrested and thrown in jail, and given what little she's been able to glean she doesn't think he was bailed out.
"We'll have to ditch the car," Nick says after a moment, and Adalind looks around at the Land Cruiser, as much a part of Nick as his badge and gun. He had to give up those, too.
"Where are we going?" she asks him, wondering how much of this Nick has figured out and how much he's just winging it.
"Someplace where we can all be safe," Nick says.
"Where's that?" she wonders, though she's pleased she's included in that we.
"I don't know," Nick sighs, almost to himself.
"Nick, you're exhausted. I'm exhausted. The kids are tired. Let's find someplace we can stop and rest and try and figure this out," she says and Nick frowns in the darkness, his expression illuminated by a sole pair of headlights as a vehicle drives past going the other way. Adalind looks back out onto the road they're on. It's a two-lane highway, winding through tall, knotty pines and hills. It's remote and barren, and Adalind wonders if there's anywhere to stop, much less refuel, but after another thirty minutes she spies a decrepit looking sign promising lodging and gas and ten minutes after that their bed for the night comes into view.
Adalind almost tells Nick to drive on, but the spotty parking lot lights cast just enough light for her to see how exhausted he is. She keeps her mouth shut and watches as he parks over to the side, away from the office - and the highway - and shuts off the vehicle. He hands her the keys a moment later.
"If I'm not out in ten minutes, leave."
She opens her mouth to reply when the slam of his door greets her as an audience. She watches him stroll across the parking lot, his senses tuned into his surroundings, whether the innate nature of a Grimm, or just years spent as a detective she's not sure, but her senses are tuned into their surroundings, so she thinks it might be the former.
"Why are we stopping?" a voice from the back interrupts her study.
"We're going to get a room for the night and rest," Adalind says and Diana's blonde head peers out her side window curiously, and she follows Nick's progress as he makes his way to the office.
Fifty feet away he disappears from view, the angle no good where they're parked, and Adalind feels apprehension set in. She wonders how long he's been in there, if it's been even two minutes, and silently starts counting down the time, but whether she'd actually leave him when she hit the ten-minute mark is debatable, if not laughable at this point.
Fortunately, she doesn't have to wonder long. At eight minutes in (she estimates) Nick comes strolling out, once again carefully observing his surroundings. He takes note of a derelict Nissan parked on the other side of the lodge, closer to the office, and an unassuming Ford pickup truck as he walks back to the car.
For a second she wonders if he was even able to procure a room – clearly her subconscious' wishful thinking – when he flashes a key card at her and opens her passenger side door.
"Got us a room," he says, handing her the card. "33," he adds, and opens the door behind her and reaches in for Kelly.
"Come on Diana," Adalind coaxes, and Diana, with another look at Nick and her brother, opens her door to follow. Kelly makes a muffled noise, still mostly asleep as Nick pulls him from his seat and shifts to hold him against his shoulder. Nick's hand rests for a second against the back of his son's head, eyes briefly closing as he revels in the familiarity of holding his son in his arms once again, and Adalind feels a pang in her heart at the sight.
He had smiled so widely when he had seen Nick and it unhitches something inside her that she had kept Kelly from his father. That she had taken Nick's son away from him, when she knew how much he loved their baby, how devoted he was to their son. She had done to Nick what he had done to her. Instead of feeling a sense of retribution, she feels sick. She bites her lip, wondering if Nick will forgive her. She had forgiven him, she supposes. At least she understood why he did what he did, though she may not agree with it. She can only hope that maybe he can do the same and they can move past it, but what they had together - it was so fragile to begin with, the trust so frail, she's not sure now it can survive under the weight of everything that's happened.
She remembers that feeling, though, of holding the child you thought you had lost forever in your arms that first time (of course it's not like it's that long ago, she reflects), how nothing would ever keep you from them ever again, and wonders at the quandary she and Nick are in. If they can't work out the differences and they can't be apart because being apart means one of them is without their child, then what are they going to do?
They have no choice but to work it out, since neither is willing to be without Kelly. The realization fills Adalind with hope, because maybe Nick realizes it too.
Maybe there's hope for them. She glances at Diana to find her staring expressionlessly at her mother. Adalind summons a smile, trying to blink away tears before Diana or Nick can see them and says instead, "I think our room is this way."
"I'll get the bags," Nick says behind her, and she nods. She doesn't offer to take Kelly, help him free up his hands. She knows, too, of how there's no such thing as holding your child too long when you've been reunited after they were taken away.
And besides, it's not like they have much in the way of belongings with them anyway.
Adalind fumbles with the key card for a moment before the door finally unlocks and she and Diana step into the room for the night. She flips on the light and stifles a sigh as she looks around.
It could be worse, she decides.
Then again, it could be better.
There's a single queen bed in the room, two chairs that have some cigarette burns in the cushions, and table between them that's scarred and chipped. A lumpy, questionable sofa sits against a far wall, in front of an old-style TV, not one of the new flat screens, but the old cathode ray tube type that weigh a thousand pounds. It's cold in the room, the heater positioned underneath the window that looks out into the parking lot, looking so dusty and old Adalind doubt it's been run in the last five years. The bathroom, like the room itself, is old, dated, and seen better years - and clientele for that matter.
"You and the kids can take the bed, I'll take the sofa bed," Nick says, shutting the door behind him and locking it with a flimsy chain that's been bolted and reattached to the door a couple of times judging by the holes beneath it.
He pauses as he brushes beside Adalind, tilting his shoulder down in a silent indication for Adalind to take their son and she does, tucking him close to her body as she and Diana watch Nick fumble with the heater for a few minutes before it finally kicks on with a dramatic rasp. It rattles noisily and smells like something is burning, but it surprisingly works and after a few minutes the smell dissipates a little and the chill starts to abate.
Adalind pulls back the blankets and sheets from the bed, half expecting a startled varmint to dart out in surprise with the action, but nothing happens and she motions for Diana to sit and take off her shoes and robe.
"Do you need to use the bathroom?" Adalind asks her, and Diana shakes her head in the negative. Diana had said nothing – hasn't said much at all – when they had peeked inside there, but Adalind can't help but think she's reconsidering her decision to so blindly follow her mother.
"Here, under the covers," Adalind says trying to ignore the restless activity of Nick about the room. He's checking everything out, the window (singular), door, the bathroom, making sure everything's as secure as possible, where the exit (again, singular) is, and inventorying the paltry cache of weapons they have among them or could makeshift with.
Of course, their best weapons are themselves, two Hexenbiests and one Grimm (and, she supposes, one as yet unrealized hexengrimm).
Diana holds her arms out for Kelly, who's waking up from all the activity, as Adalind helps Diana settle under the covers. He stares at his half-sister, as though trying to make sense of his situation, and Diana smiles benignly at him. Her daughter's eyes also flick to the man behind them, tracking Nick's agitated movements before he disappears into the bathroom.
Adalind reclaims her son, tucking him close against her again, and Kelly shifts restlessly against her, emitting another muffled noise. She pats his back soothingly, contemplating the conundrum of what to do with her infant son. She wonders if Nick can procure a crib from the office, and then further wonders if she would want to set her son down in it, given the state of the room, and the lodge in general. She hadn't grabbed his little bassinet in their haste to leave. She barely was able to snatch his baby bag, and she's suddenly aware of how unprepared they are to be on the run with an infant.
She's out of practice, she thinks wryly, though there's nothing funny about the situation she's in, then and now.
She thinks it will be best to have Kelly sleep between her and Diana, but she worries about Diana rolling over in her sleep and possibly smothering him, but there's really no better alternative, so she lays Kelly next to Diana and just as Adalind's pulling her arms away he begins to cry.
"Shhhh," Adalind murmurs, picking him up again, but it's in vain. Kelly's awake and unhappy, and Adalind searches for the diaper bag she's sure Nick brought in. She finds it on one the chairs and searches through, thankful that she's hyper-prepared and the bag is typically full of any and all contents that might be needed with a baby. Several changes of clothes, pacifiers, teething rings and keys, baby wipes, some food, a couple of toys, bottles, and a pitifully inadequate supply of diapers. She manages to free one from the mass and lays Kelly gently on the table. The surface is cold and his crying intensifies when Adalind unsnaps his garment and removes his diaper and the cold air hits him in earnest.
"Shhh, it's okay, mommy will be really fast, okay?" she says to him quietly, and she hurries to hold up her promise. She's just snapping his sleeper back together when Nick appears from the bathroom.
"Here, I can take him while you get ready for bed," he says and Adalind reluctantly hands him a tired and fitful Kelly. "Did you find the bags?" he says, indicating a black bag that Adalind had stuffed with things for Diana and Kelly, but hardly anything for herself. She thinks she may have grabbed a pair of leggings or jeans, perhaps another sweater (at least she hopes, suppressing a shiver), but little else.
"I didn't bring any pajamas," she says and Nick looks at her for a moment, pulling his eyes from his son as he cradles him in his arms.
"You want one of my shirts?" he asks her and she's taken back to a memory of Nick giving her one of his button ups when they first moved in. The subtle electricity that was igniting between them in close quarters when they had called a detente.
"No, what I'm wearing is fine," she replies, shaking her head. She's adorned in a soft cottony tunic and a cottony pair of skinny jeans, that kind that are more like leggings than denim. "I'll help you pull out the bed," she says instead, not sure if she's ready for his continued scrutiny, and the questions or accusations it might bring. She looks at the couch, and wishes there wasn't so much distance between them.
Things are weird. Awkward. She wants to know where she stands with him, but as she grabs the cushion and turns to toss it off to the side she catches sight of Diana again, she knows it's not the right time to get into their complicated relationship.
It's never the right time for them, she despairs, and now she wonders after everything if it ever will be.
She removes the other cushion, glancing at Nick as he quiets Kelly, brushing a kiss against his son's head. He looks like he still can't quite believe his son is back with him again. She grabs hold of a metal bar within the hide-a-bed and tugs and tugs on the folded up frame but it refuses to budge. Nick hands a calmer Kelly back to her and tries as well, grunting a little with the effort, but after a moment he shakes his head.
"It's fine, I don't need it pulled out anyway," he says, grabbing and tossing the cushions back onto it. "Get some sleep, we may have to leave out early."
It's unsaid that the reason might be because their pursuers have caught up to them. She doesn't know if they're even close, or if Sean and everyone working to find them have any idea where they're at, or if they're even trying to find them at all. Nick had tossed their phones out the window of his SUV before they even left Portland, so if they were trying to track them that way, Adalind thinks they may have a small advantage.
But Nick's right. They have to ditch the SUV. If the plates haven't already been notified to every state, county and federal agency it's only a matter of time. She wonders, too, if her face is plastered on every news outlet in the tri-state area for taking Diana, if Nick's got a bulletin out on him, too, if this whole flight from Portland is just an exercise in futility. She's tempted to turn on the TV just to see what's being said, but she doubts it works and it's not the kind of thing Diana needs to see. It's possible everything that happened is still confined to the Portland area. That Sean maybe didn't expect Nick to just grab his son and her and Diana and run. Perhaps he expected more of a fight from Nick, given the highly contentious nature of their relationship.
Truthfully Adalind's surprised at his behavior, too, but things haven't exactly been normal for a while now.
"Nick, you can't sleep on that thing like that. We can all share the bed," Adalind says quietly. She'd feel better with him close. They can each take a side and her children can lie between them. It will be tight, but it's not like she's going to sleep that well anyway. Too much rattling around in her brain. Too much at stake to rest.
"It'll be fine," Nick insists. "Besides, I think it's best considering the circumstances," he adds and Adalind can't help wondering if there's a double meaning to his words.
For a place in the middle of B-fucking-E, it's noisy. There's hardly any traffic noise, not surprising given how few cars they came upon on their way here, and the time of night, but what little there is blasts through the night like a foghorn. She can hear wildlife in the hills behind them. She estimates it's after four in the morning now, but she's not sure. She can hear the rhythmic deep breaths of Diana beside her as she sleeps soundly. The heater continues to come on periodically with a noisy clang and hums obnoxiously in the quiet. The faucet in the bathroom drips, too, and still it doesn't drown out the noise of Nick's restless shifting across the room.
He's wide awake, too, and Adalind wonders when was the last time he's slept.
She feels his eyes on her, she thinks, periodically. It's that instinct, the Hexenbiest aware that a predator has her in his sights. She's lying with her back to him, facing her children, and after a long moment of listening to the relative cacophony in the room she hears Nick shift against the couch again and sigh.
She can't sleep, not with everything boomeranging inside her head, and there's no point in pretending otherwise.
She rolls over to face him and, as her eyes adjust, in the hazy darkness she can just make out he's staring at the ceiling. He looks—well, uncomfortable. The couch, even though Nick's not what she would call excessively tall, is too short for him to stretch out properly on. He's got his (booted, she notes) feet propped up on the arm opposite him. He also looks worried, and yet she takes a moment and catalogues the shape of his nose, sharp and straight, and maybe even a touch aristocratic? Grimms have long had ties with royalty, were esteemed patrons of the royal families. Perhaps one or more of his ancestors was more than just an enforcer to a noble family. His (soft, she remembers) mouth, the defined line of his jaw, the long eyelashes, and the dark, thick hair she can remember running her fingers through as he brought her to ecstasy.
He turns his head suddenly, as though aware he's being watched, and catches her observing him. They stare at each other for a long moment in the darkness, something in Nick's eyes that have her sliding carefully out from under the covers, and going to him. He pulls himself up into an upright position and watches her approach, his hair sticking up where it was pressed against the arm of the couch.
"Nick," she breathes, and it's all there, ready to come out, everything she's been wanting to say since she saw him again.
"It's okay," he says, and she thinks he's just trying to delay the inevitable, and she shakes her head, because it isn't.
"I'm sorry," she says, and her voice cracks. "I'm so sorry, Nick. I never wanted to hurt you. I didn't want to take Kelly away from you."
"I know," he interrupts. "I know why you did what you did," he says, and he doesn't sound angry at all, just resigned and matter of fact. He pulls his legs up and swivels to plant them on the floor, sitting up, and Adalind drops onto the cushion beside him.
"I was so scared of what they might do. Nick they threatened Kelly—they threatened you—"
"Adalind," he interjects with a sigh. "It's okay. I'm not angry. I know that Renard and Black Claw didn't leave you with any options and I know how much you love your children. And I know what it meant for you to have Diana back again."
And he knows they used her to manipulate Adalind into joining their cause. He rubs his face tiredly with both hands and sighs deeply and Adalind falls silent. Despite his assurances he understands, she still feels like there's a chasm between, widening slowly with each passing hour.
"Did you get my note? Did Wu give you my message?" she asks him after a moment. "I tried to call you but Wu answered your phone, he said you'd been arrested," she whispers, and Nick looks away.
"I found your note after you left, yes," Nick says, but he doesn't comment on the other half of her statement and Adalind wonders what that means.
Nick snorts, and pulls his hands away.
"I was pissed when I found out what Black Claw had done. When I saw you and Kelly on TV with him."
"I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to help them with their plans. I tried everything in my power to protect you, and I refused to cooperate with them," she says quietly. For as long as I could.
"Is that how you got the bruises?" Nick asks her, pointing to her neck, and Adalind shifts uncomfortably, ducking her head down, as though she can hide her neck. They'd almost faded away. She thought between her hair and clothing she had done an admirable job of hiding them, but Nick had never missed much and he'd clearly taken notice of them.
"Did he do that?" Nick asks, with a note of anger, and Adalind looks at him.
"Sean?" she asks him, hand reflexively going to her neck. Nick's eyes glitter dangerously in the dim light of the room. She shakes her head. "Bonaparte," and his eyes darken and his mouth sets in a thin line. "He wanted me to give him your address and I wouldn't," she says.
Except she did.
"I tried to warn you," she says, feeling emotion choke her again. "I had Diana—"
"I got your message," he cuts her off. "Thank you. It probably saved our lives."
Least she could do, after all, after her actions threatened it. Them. Him. Adalind shakes her head, and feels tears well in her eyes. She tries to blink them away, and succeeds, and she hesitantly presses a palm against Nick's cheek and his eyes lock on hers again.
"I was scared something would happen to you," she confesses.
"I'm a lot harder to kill than Black Claw anticipated," he says, but there's something in the way he says it that makes her wonder at his conceit. She notes he doesn't pull away from her touch and he keeps staring at her with that same expression in his eyes that had her getting out of bed to come to him. She's not exactly sure what it means, but she feels a buzzy warmth in her stomach, and tells herself she's being hopeful. She tries to focus on something else, but she can't bring it in herself to pull her hand away.
"Rosalee and Monroe and the others?"
Nick nods against her palm.
"They hid in the tunnels. Everybody's okay, considering," Nick says, and Adalind wonders what that means. Considering her actions almost killed them all?
"You and Trubel must have had your hands full," she laments.
"She stayed with Eve in the tunnels."
"What? Eve hid out?"
"Eve was injured in the fight when they busted me out of jail, but I think – I think she's going to be okay," he adds, moving away from her touch at last, and of course the subject of Eve kills whatever attraction was buzzing between them. His perfect mouth twists a little, almost as though he's not sure what to think about it, whether or not Eve's okay, whether that's a good or bad thing. His response answers one question and prompts a dozen others.
Likely there is or will be a warrant out for Nick.
"Bonaparte," Nick replies. "He and Eve fought and he managed to inflict some damage."
Yes, Bonaparte. Of course. He's orchestrated quite a bit of damage among them.
"Yes, but I meant, what happened to you? You didn't fight Black Claw off by yourself," she says, because not that she doesn't care about Eve, she just doesn't care about Eve when there's Nick in front of her, and it's impossible to think however skilled he is as a Grimm, the sheer number of Wesen that were coming after him...
Nick shrugs. "I had help."
He shrugs again, and Adalind narrows her eyes at his evasiveness.
"Would you believe Renard killed Bonaparte, not I?"
"What?" she says, almost forgetting to lower her voice.
"Stabbed a sword right through him just as he was getting ready to finish off me."
"What?" she says again sharply. She looks him over again, but she can't see any signs of a debilitating injury, a near-fatal wound or blow.
"Looked like he was as surprised as I was by what he did," Nick remarks almost casually, and Adalind stares at him wordlessly. "Especially after everything that happened between us."
"What happened?" she asks him. Nick huffs a laugh derisively.
"You left me and I kind of went a little crazy."
You left me. She feels a thrill at his choice of phrasing, and reminds herself again to not get carried away.
"I didn't want to leave you," she insists.
"I know. I know you didn't feel they gave you much choice in the matter. But I saw you on TV with him, holding our son, and I wasn't about to lose someone else I love to him."
Someone else I love. Of course he means their son, but she can't help the flip her heart makes at his words, at the possibility, he might just mean her. You left me.
"Finally just had enough one day and we had it out in his office. We beat the hell out of each other before he threw me out of his office. Actually, he threw me through his office. He ordered my arrest and then threw me in jail, where I was basically a sitting duck for Bonaparte and Black Claw. He came for me offering to trade Kelly if I gave them a book."
No mention of her, though. Was she even thought of when Bonaparte made him the offer. She wondered if he was tempted, knowing that one child had been taken away from her, just a few short years ago, that he had been instrumental in the taking, and yet if it meant getting his son back would he even hesitate to do it again.
She knows the lengths a parent will go to, to be reunited with their child. Even though she should be angry, indignant, defiant, she finds she can't fault him for it if he was.
And all this was for a book?
"A book? All this was for a book? What book?" Adalind says in surprise, forgetting to lower her voice again for a moment. Her eyes dart to her children, still thankfully asleep and she breathes a quiet sigh of relief.
"It's a long story," Nick says tiredly. "And not the most important thing going on right now."
Yes, but she can tell there's more to the story, that he's not saying something, trying to put her off, but she has to concede he's right.
"What's the plan?" she asks him. "Where are we going?"
"I don't know," he breathes out in a sigh. "My only thought was to protect my family. I can't fight a revolution with you and Kelly at stake. I've lost everyone I've ever cared about. My mother, my aunt, Juliette, and then they tried to take away my son. They tried to take away you. I'm done."
Her eyebrows shoot up in surprise.
"Nick-" she says but she's not really sure where to go with it. What she wants to touch on first. That he possibly considers her part of his family, perhaps even in the same capacity as someone as beloved as his mother and aunt and Juliette were; that losing her was a blow he couldn't take, as equal in measure to losing his son. "So what are we going to do? Are we just going to keep running?" she finally stutters. She can't imagine a life of running, two small children, of always looking over her shoulder. It's not the life she wanted for her children. It's not the life she dreamed of when she started allowing herself to be carried away by her relationship with Nick.
"We need to find someplace off the grid and lie low."
"For how long? Black claw-"
"Black claw is dead. Bonaparte's dead, and right now everything's in disarray. We need to take advantage of the confusion and stay out of Portland. We can start a new life somewhere else."
"What?" she asks stupidly. "You can't be serious," she says.
She stares at him as he stares back, finally breaking eye contact and looking around the cramped hotel room.
"Is this how you want to live? Wondering who's going to come for our son next? Your daughter? Because of me? Because of what we are? We just need to get far enough away, someplace remote, and live quietly."
"You honestly think we can just settle down somewhere and raise a family?" she retorts.
"I do," he says and she snorts in disbelief. "I'm not saying it won't be difficult. We'll have to be careful—make some changes—no one can know who we really are."
"You can't just stop being a Grimm," she cuts in.