TITLE: The Silent Sound of Loneliness
Prompt: When He saw the coins, he knew they'd give him the ability to charm his way back into full power, reporters and subordinates alike bent to his smile.
Except for the one he wanted most.
He wanted Nick to submit to his charm, move to his control, but the coins didn't give him that, no matter how hard he tried.
But maybe Nick of his own free will, can give him what the coins wouldn't.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
"Nononono! I… I can't find them. He took them. I can't…. Nick!"
Desperation. Panic. Confusion. Mild bouts of hysteria.
The expression in the green eyes, tinged with something more; something… wesen. The terror of losing the coins had broken Renard's defenses. Nick was looking at something he had never noticed around his captain before, and he felt it almost physically.
Nick looked back at that moment, aware of what he had seen in a brief second, what he had felt, and like the last pieces of a puzzle things slid into place. Smoothly, seamlessly, perfectly.
"You have to help me find them!"
Hands clinging to his jacket. Burning eyes drilling into his head, trying to impose a will on him. The will of an addict. The will of his captain.
"Who took them?" Nails that looked wrong, almost like claws about to grow. Hard and slightly pointy, digging into his jacket. "Nick!" Harsh breaths. Like he had run a marathon. Like he was going through the worst kind of pain.
Nails that looked wrong, almost like claws about to grow. Hard and slightly pointy, digging into his jacket.
Harsh breaths. Like he had run a marathon. Like he was going through the worst kind of pain.
But it was over now. For good. Nick knew it. He had hidden the coins.
What he hadn't been able to get rid of was the sensation that whatever had affected Renard, whatever he had tried to do with the coins, it was just now leaving his system.
The captain had been looked at by the paramedics, but the blow to the head hadn't even left a concussion. The little blood from the split lip had been removed, then the man had disappeared. Giving his statement to an officer, leaving almost unnoticed. Slinking away.
Hiding, running, shame and hunger for the coins racing through him, most likely.
Hank had described the sensations to Nick, had told him that he had been unable to think clearly, so the captain was most likely just as badly affected. Hank had become more assured of himself, more aggressive, had given him a dangerous edge. Uncontrollable. Possibly lethal.
Poisoned by the coins, unable to fight the desire they launched, Renard had given in to the harsher nature inside him. He hadn't been as aggressive as Hank, but he had opened Nick's eyes to Renard's goals in life.
Not bad ones, actually. Protecting Portland from the criminal element was a laudable dream. But the coins removed inhibitions; they made you a puppet. They gave the primal side command and power. Even the best ideas would become twisted into nothing but black shards of their former selves. Until nothing of that person was left.
Not even Sean Renard could fight this.
Not had he been able to fight the longing, the hunger, to get them back. It had been an edge of madness and Nick had seen the fever in his eyes, had seen it all swirl in there. Renard would have given everything to get the coins back.
Like Farley Kolt. The steinadler had been just as enthralled by them, chasing the coins all those years, claiming to be on Nick's side but actually only wanting them for himself.
Renard had lost himself completely for just a second in front of Nick Burckhardt.
x x x
It was why Nick was now standing in the clear-cut, very expensive looking apartment of his superior officer, eyes on the dark sky outside the window front. He had no idea just how much Renard had sunk into this place, but the money reflected in the clean, structured place his captain called home.
Looking at the man, Nick saw fine tremors race through him. He looked… not good. 'Bad' would have been too strong a word for it, but there was a gray sheen around the edges and his eyes held a duller than normal expression. Something tickled Nick's senses, like a shift in the air, a reflection of something else in Sean Renard.
He was something else.
Nick knew it, but he didn't know what. He had caught a brief glimpse in the garage, but now… now he so very close.
Their eyes met and the burning green gaze was flecked with gold. Dressed in only a black t-shirt and equally black sweat pants, Renard looked very different from the man Nick saw at work every day. Like his armor had been stripped away, like he was laid bare before the Grimm's eyes, and if he squinted just a little bit, the difference was even more visible.
He had let Nick in. With hardly a fight. Just looking at him, almost lost and alone and so… sad. Renard had simply turned away and walked into his apartment, leaving the decision up to Nick. Come in or go away again.
He had come in, shutting the door quietly.
Renard had gone into the kitchen and offered Nick a beer. He had taken it, but had yet to drink from the cool bottle. It was an expensive brand, microbrew, and something Monroe would probably have fawned over.
He studied the other man. Sean Renard was a commanding presence, tall and powerful, with a voice that carried even if he didn't raise it. Nick had seen the expressions of the people at the press conference. Not all had been the coins; a lot was Renard's charisma.
Nothing of that commanding presence was visible now. Here was a man going through withdrawal, who felt beaten, alone, lost and unable to comprehend what had truly happened to him. The madness of the coins was receding, but the emotions that remained were probably troubling and confusing and unlike anything the man usually felt.
"You don't need them."
His words broke the silence and Renard flinched a little. He looked almost devastated.
"What you do, what you did, that's you. You never needed the coins. They were pure poison."
Renard licked his lips. "Their power is hard to resist."
"Some can ignore them."
Renard smiled humorlessly. "Like you?"
"I was warned. I thought I could handle it. Even then they were in my head, in my very soul, guiding my actions, showing me what I could be."
Nick approached, trying to push the image of the frantic man sitting against the pillar out of his mind.
"You already are the protector of Portland. You don't need the corruptive force of the coins."
The flare of gold was brighter now, almost like a trick of the light.
"Am I right? The coins enhanced your dreams and your desires."
Like they had enhanced Hank's take-charge-nature, had made him more aggressive toward achieving his goal.
"I heard the speech You want this city save. You keep it save. You have claimed it."
Renard stared at him, silent, unguarded, his shields shattered, and the Grimm could read him. For the first time since Nick had met the man, he could read him.
And he could sense something.
In the back of his mind, like a soft pull, like something that had been there for a long time and he had never really recognized it. It was a presence that had come and gone, had been there, then disappeared, like a ghostly touch he had never been able to pinpoint.
He had blamed it on the Grimm side of his life.
He had blamed it on stress and too much work and too much going on in his life.
But if he was truthful to himself, it had been there for a lot longer. He had never made the connection until today.
In an underground parking lot, with fingers clenching into his jacket and his superior officer begging with him to find the coins.
In that moment the sensation had been all-powerful, a need projected into him, a hunger that wasn't just fueled by the coins. It had been emotions and colors and images, a mind so close it couldn't really be possible, but it had been.
He had somehow understood, in that one moment. He had looked beyond the shields, had torn away the veils, and he had seen more than Renard had probably ever wanted him to know. He had touched another soul and it had been wounded and weak and keening for a drug that would kill it.
And Nick had caught a few stray… images. Not thoughts. Just… like ideas.
"You tried them on me, right?"