This is finally finished! Huzzah! This is my first foray into Grimm fandom, and my characterization is still working itself out, so there's a little OOC-ness. Much thanks to darkorangecat for her help in getting this beast finished. OC's are mine, NBC characters are not. Comments are awesome and I hope this is enjoyed! Yeah... there will probably be a sequel...
He gets Nick as far as the main road out of the woods before he calls for an ambulance. He could call Hank, but then that would lead to sharing Nick with Juliette once they get to the hospital and he doesn't want that right now. Not when there are going to be questions about what all that was about once Nick's awake. He doesn't want to have to explain blutbaden mating habits in front of any more people than necessary. Usually, they only bond to their own kind, though there have been exceptions before. The attachment to another male aspect is not the issue, and is, in fact, not a rare occurrence at all. No, it's definitely the Grimm part that's pissing off his family.
When the paramedics arrive, Eddie gives them a fake name to buy some time. "I found him on the side of the road like this," he lies, "I don't know what happened." They let him ride along.
Nick wakes up in the ambulance, dizzy and nauseous. The paramedics give him pain medication and patch up the wounds on his chest and wrist as best they can. They give him an oxygen mask once the coughing starts up again.
Eddie watches on carefully, keeps himself from growling every time the medic has to hurt Nick to help him, keeps himself from reaching out.
They spend a while in the ER, but it looks like there's no avoiding the getting admitted part of the process. The wrist wound requires stitches, though thankfully it was from the top and therefore mostly superficial. Had it been from below, where veins and arteries would have been severed, Nick would have bled out long before they escaped the cabin. The cut on his head requires a few stitches, too. The claw marks get cleaned and re-bandaged, and the only lingering issues are the concussion and the coughing – which turns out to be a rather badly timed case of pneumonia. The stress of what happened had certainly exacerbated it, but he's on oxygen and IV fluids and antibiotics to help with that; along with some blood to replenish what was lost. So, they want to keep him overnight, mostly for observation.
Eddie's not allowed in for a while, not until they've got him stable and mostly fixed up. And somehow, despite all the pain medication, Nick is still awake when they let him in.
"How'd you get us out?" Is the first thing Nick asks, the words muffled through the oxygen mask they're making him wear.
Seeing that Nick's okay lets Eddie relax a little bit, but not much. He makes sure to face the door at all times, and he's grateful that the room doesn't have a window he'd have to watch. "I knocked my brother out, the others stopped after that."
"There are rules. They opted not to break them." Another round of coughing interrupts Nick's next question, but Eddie's pretty sure it amounts to 'Rules for what?' so that's the question he has to answer. "Oh, boy. So we've already established that blutbaden get compared to wolves a lot, yeah? Well, wolves mate for life. And so do blutbaden. Mates are generally off-limits to attack since the chances of actually finding your mate are really, really low."
"And you think I'm-" Nick starts, but Eddie's not sure if it's another coughing fit or just shock that makes him stop mid-question.
Eddie shakes his head. "No, I don't think you're my mate. I know it. What happened at the cabin proved it, I wouldn't have reacted the way I did if you weren't." He drags his hands over his face and sighs in something beyond exhaustion.
Nick, apparently, interprets those actions differently. "Guess you weren't expecting this, either, then." He manages, though his voice is hoarse from all the coughing now.
"No, it's… protecting you is going to be exhausting."
"Who says I need protecting?" Nick counters, but all Eddie has to do is motion to their surroundings to prove that his point is obvious.
"Ugh, dude, I don't know if you've noticed but you're in the hospital," he adds, which is inherently unnecessary. "But, really. Watching your back from a distance is going to make this so much more difficult. I met Juliette earlier tonight, so I know I can't keep you on my territory." He hates that he has to let whatever it is that Nick and Juliette have together burn out on its own – it has to, or else Nick wouldn't be his mate – but there's not really another option that ends well.
This seems to throw Nick. "You're not… I mean, I can stay with Juliette?"
Eddie laughs, a dry mirthless sound that lacks his usual wittiness. "What? Are you asking my permission? You're mine as far as all the other blutbaden are concerned and right now that's all that matters. We'll deal with the rest later."
"Yeah. Later. They're gonna kick me out of here soon. At least out of your room. I'll stay nearby."
Nick isn't convinced by Eddie's explanation of 'later,' but he's stuck in yet another round of protesting from his lungs, when Eddie's prediction comes true. A nurse enters and politely requests that Eddie take his leave so Nick can get some sleep. They both watch her carefully, verifying that she isn't a creature, and he promises to leave in just a few minutes.
"I'll call your partner, let him know what's going on. I'm sure he'll tell Juliette where to find you." Eddie says, heading toward the door. "I'll be back if there's trouble."
Eddie is surprised that the rest of Nick's time spent in the hospital goes smoothly. Hank and Juliette show up shortly after Eddie calls, since Detective Griffin can wave his way past visiting hours with his badge. He spends his time in the waiting room when Hank and Juliette aren't around to ask him questions or circling the building, searching for traces of any scents that could mean trouble. He finds none.
In the afternoon, Nick is discharged. He looks better, but the coughing is still persistent. Hank drives them home and Eddie isn't far behind them. Once he's sure Nick is safe and relatively secure in his house, he heads back to his own place to try to catch a little sleep.
He stays awake long enough to secure his own place, making sure none of his family has been around recently. As soon as he's sure he's clear, he collapses on his bed and passes out.
Fear. Pain. Anger. Help. Eddie. Eddie. Eddie. Help. Pain. Agony. Terror. Eddie. Mate. Eddie. Danger. EddieEddieEddieEddie.
The same feeling that started all of this is back. It violently pulls Eddie back to consciousness and leaves him with a string of words echoing in his head that do not suggest good things. He feels like he's going to be sick as a more intense version of the feeling surrounds him, like he's drowning in it. He's dizzy when he stands up, and sore from all the fighting and struggling, but he stumbles toward the door even though the world is spinning.
His vision clears when he gets outside. It flashes red as he senses trouble. More trouble, that is. James.
The blow comes out of nowhere. That actually isn't true. It comes from behind him, just as Eddie is wheeling around to where he's figured out James is hiding. And because James is a giant ass, he aims for the blutbaden weak spot. Again. Eddie goes down hard, the air knocked from his lungs as he struggles to his feet before his brother can attack again.
"You might be older, but you won't beat me," Eddie says, blocking a couple of claw-swipes aimed at his face. He manages to get in a kick that knocks James back a few paces. "You're not fighting for anyone."
James growls, "I'm fighting against someone. How does that work?"
Eddie gets in a few hits before James catches him in the face with an elbow, which is way less painful than claws, at least. James tackles him to the ground and has him pretty effectively pinned when luck gets him out of trouble. A young man in a bright red t-shirt jogs by. He looks startled by the fight and pulls out his phone to call the police, but James is already closing in. Eddie grabs for him, stopping him before he can actually reach the jogger and drags his claws down his brother's lower back, digging in as much as he can.
James is cursing and writhing in pain on the ground, clutching his wounds. Eddie would like to make sure his brother is no longer a threat to his mate, but this was meant to be a diversion, to keep him away from the Grimm, he's sure, so he takes off as fast as he can for Nick's place. Where the real trouble is.
The speed at which he gets to Nick's place suggests a complete disregard for the speed limit and various other traffic laws. It is an absolute wonder that he doesn't get pulled over on the way there, and he barely remembers to stop the car before he's out of it and running for the door. He can already smell blood and that is not good. Especially since he also smells his Grandma.
He shoulder rams the front door until it gives and he's inside and searching instantly. He finds Juliette passed out just inside the door with a bump to the head rather similar to the one Nick received when he was taken, but she's still breathing, so he continues on.
Eddie clears the first floor and is heading upstairs when another wave of the awful feeling hits him. More pain, more fear. A scream follows those feelings and he's almost afraid to see what his grandmother could be doing to make Nick scream like that.
He finds his answer in the room at the top of the stairs. He opts for a more stealthy approach there, barely cracking the door open, and the sight that greets him is one that he'll never forget no matter how much he'll want to.
"Eddie," Nick says, and Eddie absently wonders how Nick can see him, since he's tied face-down to the bed and his head is turned away from the door. Then he realizes Nick hasn't seen him, "EddieEddieEddieEddieEddie," he just keeps saying it over and over again and maybe that's why the connection between them is so much stronger now.
"He's won't save you, Grimm. Shut up, and let me finish leaving my message." His Grandma complains, thwacking him on the back of the head before she returns to her work. She leans over him again, a sharpened claw poised over Nick's lower back, where his shirt has been pulled up to expose unmarred skin. Blood is dripping down his sides and pooled over the line of his spine, and Nick is shouting again so Eddie barges in as the rage takes over again.
The arm he grabs to stop whatever it is that she's doing to Nick makes an audible cracking noise as it breaks with the force he uses when he twists it, but she's swinging at him with her other hand, claws out and prepared to do as much damage as possible. She gets in a decent swipe that rakes its way down his arm, drawing blood. "You won't stop me! I will kill him!"
Eddie is beyond words again, as the possessive defensiveness builds and builds and he lets his instincts take over. All he sees is red and the loud, growling roar he emits would probably suffice as a warning to most anyone with half a brain to back off. In dodging a few more blows, he catches hold of his grandmother, dragging her backward and away from Nick. He slams her hard into the nearest wall and the fact that this results in a forceful blow to the lower back seems kind of like justice.
"You better watch him close," she warns as she struggles against Eddie, trying to dig claws in wherever she can. "I'm not the only one not okay with this. If it isn't me who gets him, someone else will. So don't go getting too attached." With that threat in place, Eddie's even more unglued, so when she manages to get a hand free and he sees it stabbing toward his chest, he makes the first move. The next thing he knows, she collapses to the ground, her head at an unnatural angle that suggests she won't be waking up again.
Eddie just stands there. Suddenly he feels dizzy with the rapid decrease in adrenaline as his claws retract and he shifts back to human. He's shaking, and his eyes can't quite focus on the body on the floor because he's honestly not sure how he's supposed to react. There are conflicting interests forming in his mind – one of family and grandmother and pack, the other of mate and Nick and everything – and mate is winning out, so he feels nothing in response to what he's done other than a small sadness that he couldn't talk her down.
He finds himself spurred back into action when Nick makes this awful, pathetic noise that sounds almost like his name. Eddie's beside him immediately, hands settling on Nick's shoulders in a reassuring motion as he snaps the ties keeping him bound to the bed. "I, ugh-" Nick starts, voice barely audible from the rough combination of screaming with pneumonia induced coughing. He tries to sit up, but Eddie pushes him back down, with a soft 'No, stay still,' when he finally spots what his grandmother had been doing and suddenly her comment about leaving a message makes more sense.
Red lines blemish the skin of Nick's lower back – like that placement wasn't symbolic at all for blutbaden – and it takes a second for the word to stand out amongst the pool of blood.
'Rächen,' it reads. It takes Eddie a moment to register what the word means, it's been a while since his mom taught him bits and pieces of German and his tenuous grasp on the language eludes him at present, but eventually he gets it. "Revenge." His fingers move along the edges of the red and inflamed wounds and he's pretty sure they won't be fading away any time soon.
"She was going to," cough, "kill me and leave that for you when you found me." Nick explains, and when Eddie goes rigid and his eyes flash red, Nick reaches out and grabs Eddie's non-injured arm. "But that didn't happen. So relax."
Eddie nods, "She's… she's can't hurt you anymore." The words and shaky and, really, they're both probably in shock right now with everything they've been through. "Don't move," he says, when Nick tries to sit up again. "Let me get something to cover that up – then you're going back to the ER."
Nick catches his arm again and keeps him close. "Thanks, Eddie," he says quietly.
And that's when Hank bursts through the door, gun raised and turned suspiciously on Eddie who is about two seconds away from considering this yet another threat and putting an end to it here and now. Luckily, Nick is still holding on to him, and amongst a lot of coughing, he manages to keep Hank from shooting and Eddie from attacking.
"What are you doing here?" Detective Griffin asks, surveying the room and jolting in surprise when he spots the body on the floor. "What the hell happened?"
"Saved me," Nick wheezes out, clutching his chest as Eddie carefully helps him to sit up, keeping the wound out of his partner's sight for now so he doesn't have to explain what exactly is being avenged. "She attacked me; Eddie was acting in my defense."
Eddie calms himself down as best he can once the gun gets put away. "He needs to go back to the hospital."
"An ambulance is on the way. Looks like it's gonna be crowded with you two and Juliette."
"Juliette?" Nick asks, clearly concerned.
"Someone knocked her out, but she's up and moving – she's the one that called me here." Hank explains.
They hear the sirens before anything else can be said.
Eddie is, unfortunately, separated from Nick upon arrival in the ER. Someone whisks him off to stitch up the long gashes that descend down his arm in a distinct claw pattern. Once that's bandaged up, they give him an ice pack for the black eye he received in the fight with James and the bruises over his lower back from the numerous strikes it's taken in the last day. They release him soon after that.
Juliette is kept a little longer since they want to keep an eye on her concussion for a bit, make sure there are no issues.
But, Nick. Nick's not leaving any time soon. He's back on oxygen for the pneumonia; the stitches covering his wrist wound broke in his attempts to free himself from the ties on the bed, and so they have to be redone. The wound on his back doesn't require stitches but does require significant cleaning and bandaging, along with a plentiful amount of antibiotics.
Once they have him settled in a room again, Eddie sneaks his way in. Nick's half asleep on his side – so as not to irritate either the carving on his back or the claw marks on his chest from James – but he's awake enough to grab for the dry erase board and marker that have been provided for him so he doesn't have to talk.
"Police have cleared you. No charges." Nick writes out. "Know the story for when you talk to Hank?"
The story is the quick and dirty explanation they came up with during a few unsupervised minutes in the ambulance. The blame lands on Eddie's grandmother, who mistook Nick for the man who killed her husband so long ago and tried for revenge. Eddie's been estranged from his family – with the exception of enforced holiday meals – because of their penchant for mental instability. It works. The only bad news is that no one can find James.
"Yeah, I got it down, man," Eddie assures him, sliding into the chair at Nick's bedside, though he repositions it so that he can face the doorway and watch any passerby's for signs of an attack. The reapers should definitely be around. "Juliette's okay, I hear. They're letting her go soon. I'm sure she'll be by to see you."
"I'm leaving her."
Eddie stares down at the three written words and feels a sense of relief hit him hard. But then there's dread because he doesn't want Nick giving in for the wrong reasons and there are so many bad excuses right now. "Why?"
Nick frowns at him, clearly confused by the hesitant response. "To protect her from something like this happening again. Because Marie warned me that I should've done that right away. And for you, too."
So they aren't awful reasons, Eddie thinks, but rushing to this decision is still not a good idea. Once Nick's in, he's in for life. "Wait until you're sure about this."
"I am." Nick writes. "Aren't you?"
"You know that I am, but I need to know that you're not going to regret it." There's some concern on his part about Nick's easy acceptance of this mate thing. Sure, after discovering the Grimm thing and all the freaky stuff that came with it, it's probably not that hard for him to believe. But so far, Nick has shown no inclination that would suggest he'd even be remotely interested in this relationship if Eddie weren't claiming that there has to be something between them. Maybe Eddie isn't the only one affected by the instinctual pull of his mate, though, maybe Nick feels drawn to him, too.
"I won't. That's what you meant earlier, right? When you said we'd deal with it later?" He runs out of room so after he's sure Eddie's read that part he wipes it out and keeps scribbling. "It's going to happen sooner or later, right?"
Eddie gives in with a sigh. "Yeah. At some point you're supposed to end up with me."
Nick seems to get that there are parts of this that he doesn't quite understand yet, but he's writing again all the same. "It'll be easier to do it now. If I end things like this, then it won't happen later when someone I'm after uses her to get to me." Not that the same thing can't be said of being close to Eddie – he'd be a target, too – but at least he can defend himself.
"Alright, man. Well, you can't do it right now," he says. "Try and get some rest and I'll wake you up when she's released. I'll stay until someone kicks me out or Detective Griffin finds me."
Nick doesn't seem to need much convincing. His head hits the pillow and he's out soon after.
Eddie hears shouting when he gets back from a lengthy talk with Hank about what went on at the house. He lies smoothly, convincingly, and there isn't any evidence to contradict his statements, especially since his statement lines up to Nick's without sounding identical and rehearsed.
"I can't believe you're doing this, Nick!" Comes the next shouted statement in what is undoubtedly a lengthy series of them, and at least it's Juliette and not some monster out to attack the Grimm while he's injured.
He wonders what explanation he gave her. If he's telling her that he just can't deal with a relationship right now, or maybe he's telling her some semblance of the truth – that he's leaving her for Eddie. He hears a choked off "I'm sorry," from Nick, which isn't good because he really shouldn't be talking right now.
"You're sorry?" Incredulous, aggravated, exhausted. "You're just… up and leaving me and you're sorry? That's just great." There's some coughing then, Nick trying to get more words out. He doesn't start talking though, so maybe he switches to writing.
"Juliette," Nick tries to say, but he breaks off into one of the most intense coughing fits he's had since he woke up in the cabin, so Eddie cuts his losses and steps inside with the intention of making sure Nick stays quiet.
"Do you mind?" Juliette snaps at him, but Eddie's not really concerned by her aggravation. "We were having a private conversation."
"Exactly. He's not supposed to be talking." He crosses the room to stand beside Nick's hospital bed, so that she isn't between them. "Either he writes or this conversation is over."
She shakes her head, clearly even more on edge now that he's eavesdropping on their conversation. "What right do you have to be in here? It was your family that did this; it's your fault he's in the hospital. So why don't you leave us alone?"
Eddie opens his mouth to reply with a biting retort about just what his role in Nick's life is going to be whether or not Nick got that far in his explanation, but the sharp squeak of the dry erase marker moving fast on the board stops him. "I'm moving in with Eddie when I'm released," it reads, "Leave him alone."
"Where is this coming from!" Juliette asks in a frustrated growl of her own. "I'd never even heard anything about him until he showed up looking for you last night and now you want to live with him? What about me? His grandmother attacked us both! You don't think that matters at all?"
"She wasn't after you." Eddie tries to mollify her, but that's apparently not the answer she was looking for.
"I don't want to talk about that," Nick writes, though Eddie suspects that such a statement is for his benefit, as well. He's writing again when a doctor comes in to check up on his patient. "Wait," Nick says, voice rough and hoarse and the cause of more coughing and wheezing.
But she doesn't. "No, I can't do this right now, Nick. Just… just leave me alone."She scowls at Eddie as she turns to go, storming out of the room a second later, looking very much not happy with the world.
"I'm sorry to interrupt," the doctor says. "And I have to say that if you'd like to get out of here anytime soon, Detective, you should stick to writing and avoid talking."
"So I've told him," Eddie adds, hoping he doesn't get kicked out, because he doesn't really want to leave Nick alone with that unfinished conversation hanging over them. "Anything wrong, Doc?"
The doctor shakes his head, merely looking over Nick's chart and checking his vitals. "Nope, just checking in. You're actually doing better than expected, so we may release you tomorrow barring any more complications with the pneumonia. So take it easy."
"Will do." Nick writes and the doctor takes his leave.
"So. That, ugh, that totally went well…" Eddie starts, after a moment of silence lapses between them. "What'd you tell her?"
"That it's for her own good. Played the cop angle, how the job comes home sometimes and she doesn't need to deal with that. It's close enough to the truth." Nick explains, scribbling out his explanation quickly.
Eddie nods, "You're still sure about this, right? Don't do it if you're not," he warns. "The longer you stay close to me, the more intense this is gonna get, man. And there's no going back."
"I know," he writes, "I did some reading before your Grandma showed up, thought it might be useful to know what I was getting myself into." This surprises Eddie, though in a good way. The fact that he's still okay with everything despite all of the peculiarities that come with blutbaden mating habits only verifies that Nick's supposed to be his. "It's done now. I'm going home with you as soon as I can."
"Whatever you want, man," he agrees. "Now sleep so we can go home soon."
Nick's released late the next day with orders to aggravate his lungs as little as possible and follow all of the discharge instructions to the letter. Nick doubts that Eddie will let get away with doing otherwise.
The ride back to Eddie's place - their place - is a quick one, though there is a short detour to Nick's old place to grab some essentials whilst Juliette isn't around, and Nick sleeps most of the way back.
"Dude, we're here," Eddie says, nudging the other man lightly as they pull up to the house. Nick groggily blinks himself back to consciousness, which is slightly painful in and of itself given his own blackened eye, but he gets himself out of the car and follows Eddie to the front door without aid.
Nick settles on the couch on Eddie's orders and finds himself asleep again within moments. When he wakes sometimes later, he's covered with a blanket from the back of a nearby chair. Eddie's hovering over him with his various medications, some water and a bowl of homemade soup meant to help with his irritated throat. "Do you need anything else?" Eddie asks, offering another dry erase board and marker so Nick can easily respond.
"I'm good, thanks," he writes, downing the pills and chasing them with a decent sip of the water. The soup smells amazing – he has, by this point, discovered that Eddie is an awesome cook, so that's not surprising at all, really. "What time is it?"
"Still early, around 8," he says, claiming a seat beside Nick on the couch. "I fixed up the guestroom for you, so if you want to crash, just let me know, man."
Nick nods, just as he finishes inhaling the bowl of soup, but he shifts on the sofa until he's kind of leaning against Eddie's side. Eddie's surprised by how well they seem to fit together, and how easy they're falling into this sort of closeness, but he's certainly not complaining. He has every intention of taking this thing as slow as possible, the last thing he needs is to push Nick too far, too fast and mess it all up.
So, instead, he lets himself lean into Nick, too. He flicks on the television to some history channel documentary and leaves the volume low to avoid aggravating any lingering headaches. He inhales Nick's scent, all around him now, and for the first time since that weird feeling hit him, he lets himself relax.