Title: A Matter of Opinion
Summary: It's been two weeks since Oleg attacked Nick and he thinks he's ready to return to work. What happens when others don't agree?
Spoiler: Tag to Game Ogre. This is an AU though since Juliette is not in the picture.
Characters: Nick, Renard, Hank
Disclaimer: Believe me, I owned Grimm, you guys would know it by the increasing Nick whump. ;-)
Author's Note The idea for this fic came to me as I was watching Game Ogre. I know there are a few "after Nick gets out of the hospital" fics out there but there aren't any showing when he goes back to work so I thought I'd try to write a semi-plausible one. :-)
2: I apologize if anyone's OOC, characterization isn't necessarily my strong suit.
"Nick, what the hell do you think you're doing here?" Detective Hank Griffin demanded of his partner. His hands were on his hips and there was a look of great annoyance on his face that Nick was familiar with. He'd seen that look more than once in the past couple of weeks and it was always directed at him. To be fair, he hadn't exactly been a model patient but still, enough was enough.
"I'm coming to work," Nick supplied, looking at his partner like he should have known that.
Hank looked him up and down with raised eyebrows. Nick ignored the look, choosing to hurry as quickly as he could over to his desk. He knew what he looked like and he knew that if that was brought into the fray, he wouldn't last long.
Though he no longer looked like a raccoon that had lost a fight, he still looked pretty beat up. The once livid bruise covering his right eye was now an ugly mixture of brown and yellows; it no longer encompassed his entire eye, just the part over the edge of his eye socket. His right shoulder, which had been badly bruised, was still sore to rotate but it was healed enough to be useful and bore a fresher yellow and green bruise. The left shoulder, which had been dislocated, was more tender and less flexible than his right, was healing satisfactorily according to his doctor.
As was obvious by how slow he was moving, his ribs were the slowest to heal; every pivot, every quick move, and every stretch sent sharp jabs of pain through his side making him remain slow and cautious. The bruising that still marred his left shoulder was more present over his bruised ribs with small tendrils of faded red, yellow and green streaking outward; it looked like someone had poisoned wound rather than just punched him repeatedly.
The chair to his desk wasn't particularly comfortable with sore ribs but he gave a contented sigh nonetheless. It felt good to be back at work and actually doing something. From his desk he could see the Captain watching him very closely from within his office; his green eyes tracked Nick's every move and noticed Nick's every wince. Sean hadn't been any happier about Nick's decision to return to work than Hank currently was, But the Regnant had been wise enough to recognize that if Nick didn't get out of the house and become a productive member of society once again, they would both end up strangling each other.
In the back of his mind their bond began to hum. It was a sweet song, one of welcome and joy that things were back to normal but beneath that lay a staccato tune of anxiety and concern. He closed his eyes while he listened to the sweet melody, smiling when he heard the worry underneath it all.
The smile must have looked like a grimace because soon he heard Hank ask, "You okay?"
"Hm? Yeah, I'm good," Nick replied, opening his eyes to see Hank looking unconvinced. "Really, I'm fine," he tried again. His reassurance would have worked if Wu hadn't chosen that time to clap a hand on sore right shoulder causing him to wince.
"Hey Nick. God to see you back," Wu welcomed while one his way between desks.
Hank waited until Wu had walked away before he commented, "You're fine huh? Maybe we should head down to the gym later and work on our defensive training."
"Very funny," Nick retorted with a mock-smile. He knew it was important for all people on the force to keep in some form of shape so they could keep up with suspects who ran as well as being able to defend themselves should someone attack them but at the moment Nick was lucky to be moving as quickly as he was so he wasn't going to push it.
"I'm just sayin', if you're fine, you should be able to handle a bit of training," Hank replied all too innocently.
"Well, maybe you're right. Maybe you should go down and train; we all know that you need it more than I do," Nick teased. People always picked on Hank for being so out of shape, something they knew Nick wasn't.
"Watch it," Hank returns, "paybacks are a bitch and she bites."
Nick flicked his computer to life and launched his email so that he could check his messages, smiling all the while. It felt good to be back to bantering with Hank. Lately it seemed that whenever Hank was around he was more interested in being a mother-hen than his normal self.
"Hm, where have I heard that before?" Nick pondered aloud as he cleared all the junk mail. "I think it was when I put the fake rat on the pizza. By the way, do you know when she was planning on biting because I'm still waiting?"
Hank opened his mouth to retort but he was stopped by a new voice joining the conversation.
"Gentlemen, don't you have work to do?"
Both men turned in the direction of the Captain and gave boyish smiles. Nick's grin was broad and one he's used on his partner a lot but Hank's promised punishment for the remarks Nick made.
"I know I do," Hank replied nodding his head towards a guy that was being brought in for questioning. "But Nick doesn't."
"Oh, that won't be a problem much longer," Renard promised with a twinkle of giddiness in his eyes. So, now the payback for all the grief Nick's caused him comes into play huh? "Hank, I believe you are swamped with paperwork, are you not?"
The smile from earlier broadened into one of a fox, "Yes, Captain, I was and I can't think of anyone better to take over than my partner."
"Well then, Nick, I suggest you get started. You don't have all day after all," Renard instructed before turning on his heel and walking back into his office.
"What the heck was that about?" Hank asked once the door had shut.
"It was part of the compromise he proposed for my being allowed to return," Nick answered, never taking his eyes off his partner. Watching the man walk, whether it be away from Nick or toward him, was always a pleasure he liked to participate in. When he thought he'd been staring long enough, the Grimm focused his attention back on his partner. "I'm only here for half days for the next week until I have more range of motion in my shoulders."
Hank damn near glared at him, "You could have mentioned that earlier."
"What's the fun of that?" Nick shallowly laughed. The bond sang in warning as Sean silently reminded him to get to work, making him look over at his lover. Sean was staring at him and Hank. On second thought, staring was too gentle a word; no, Sean was glaring at them. Nick immediately stopped laughing and began to get to work.
"He sure has you whipped huh?" Hank whispered from his desk. He was fiddling around until they called him in to question the suspect.
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Nick mumbled, taking a moment to look at his partner before returning back to the paperwork. Hank had a gleam in his eyes that spoke of a secret he'd discovered but he otherwise gave nothing away.
"Hank," Wu called, "they're ready for you."
"Guess that's my cue," he sighed as he stood. He leaned down on his desk under the pretense of checking something on the computer then whispered, "You guys are idiots if you think we all don't know."
Nick's head shot up just in time to see Hank give him a smile then nod at everyone with his head before he walked to the interrogation room. Nick's eyes followed his nod and he found everyone trying not to stare at him. At first Nick thought it was because he still looked pretty beat up but then he noticed a few pairs flitting between Sean's office and himself.
"Hey, Wu," Nick called as the Sergeant passed him. The man stopped and looked down at him. "Is there a reason why everyone is staring at me?"
"I am so glad you asked me that Nick," Wu said unnaturally happy. He sat down in Hank's empty chair and crossed one leg over the other then placed his right arm on the desk. "You see, for the past two weeks we've been running a poll,"
"You mean a betting ring?" Nick corrected knowing how the officer liked to do things.
"Of course," Wu answered then continued his earlier explanation, "Like I was saying, we've been running a poll on how long you and the Captain have been together. Betting is still open and they," he swept his arm around the room to everyone who was watching them, "are simply trying to figure out the correct answer." He leaned forward so that only Nick could hear, "I've already guessed around the time all those women were found locked in the guy's basement but if you want you can tell me the truth and I'll cut you in. Pool's up to $100 and climbing."
Nick laughed out loud, unable to stop himself though he knew he'd pay for it when the pain began. The idea that everyone in the station was betting on when he and Sean had gotten together was entertaining to say the least. As expected, stabbing pain spiked in his left side as payment for expanding his still sore side. He stopped laughing instantly, though slight chuckles still made it out as he held his side with his right hand.
Wu's face went from confusion and shock to concern when he noticed Nick's discomfort but he didn't act on it.
"I take it that's a no," he confirmed without anything but a question in his tone.
"Yeah, that's a no," Nick answered with a slight grimace painting his features. At that moment he regretted his decision to leave his side unwrapped but he wasn't going to tell Wu that. As much as he liked the Sergeant, they didn't discuss things like that.
Throughout most of this, he'd been working on filling out paperwork from his past cases and he now had one done. He clapped Wu on the shoulder then went to go hand the file to Sean so he could process it. He wasn't prepared for the sound of commotion in the interrogation room and the corresponding weight that slammed into him.
As the guy from interrogation ran straight into him, Nick's arms went into the air, sending the papers within his hands flying like feathers around the office. Pain renewed itself in his left side as the suspect crashed into it and landed solidly on top of him. Thankfully Nick had been in the middle of the room so he wasn't close enough to anything to hit it as he fell but the floor he fell on wasn't necessarily soft either.
His back was the first thing to make contact with the ground, quickly followed by his sore shoulders then his head. Stars of pain exploded before his eyes as a cringe worthy thud echoed through the air. He felt the air leave his lungs and for a moment Nick felt as though he couldn't breathe.
Voices yelled and one screeched, adding to the confusion in Nick's brain. If only he could get the agonizing pounding in his head to stop!
As suddenly as it came, the weight was lifted from him, letting his lungs painfully expand. He gasped in a wheezing breath, thankful for the brief respite.
"Lewis Gibson, you are under arrest for the assault of an officer and conspiracy to a murder," Hank's confident but angry voice rang out far too loudly for Nick's liking. He was pretty sure it was just his ears that were sensitive but he wished he had the breath to snap at Hank to be a little quieter.
"What?" the guy, Lewis, cried. "Oh come on man! You can't arrest me for attacking a police officer. The guy got in the way!"
Nick's eyes slowly opened, closing just as quickly when bright sunlight attacked his vision. Though they hadn't been open very long, it had been enough for his mind to register that the suspect's face had morphed into that of a drugged out Skalengeck. The forked tongue licked almost happily in the air as it tasted Nick's pain.
"Of your escape," Hank snapped since apparently Lewis forgot to add that.
"You can't blame a guy for tryin' can ya?" the Skalengeck replied.
"As much as I'd love to arrest you for probably injuring my partner while you were trying to escape, I was actually referring to me," Hank retorted, spinning the guy around and shoving him into the arms of two uniformed officers who were waiting to take him down to holding.
"Oh come on man! I barely hit you!"
"Be that as it may, assaulting an officer is a crime," the Captain stated, drawing everyone's attention to him for the first time. In all the excitement no one had noticed that the man had come out of his office and had witnessed almost the entire thing.
At the sound of his boss and his friend's voice, Nick slowly opened his eyes, immediately grateful that it seemed someone had taken the liberty of pulling down the blinds on the windows. It took a second for him to get his eyes to focus but eventually they behaved and he looked up at Sean who appeared to be towering protectively over him.
Though the Regnant had too much control over his abilities to even think of morphing, Nick could feel the power of his position both as a Regnant as well as a Royal and as the Protector radiating off him and slamming into anyone that happened to be near him. He watched as the men of the office somewhat backed up a bit to give their boss some room but more importantly he saw the Skalengeck try to run away again. When Lewis couldn't get away he settled for cowering within the officers' arms.
"Now, Officers Dale and Gavin will you please escort Mr. Gibson down to the holding cells," the Captain evenly instructed. He didn't wait to see if his orders were followed before turning on to Hank, "Help me get Nick up then take him to the medic."
"Uh, Nick's right here and I don't need to see the medic," Nick interjected since they didn't know that he was awake.
Both men turned a look of 'whatever' on Nick then proceeded to do as they'd decided anyways. Their grip was gentle as one of their hands grabbed his arms and began to slowly hoist him off the floor. Nick's mouth flew open in a silent cry of pain as the aches from before became throbbing beacons of pain. They sat him down in a nearby chair to give him time to readjust to the change in position before they began making him walk downstairs.
The bond hummed soothingly in the back of his mind as Sean silently tried to ease the pain. It helped in the sense that it momentarily distracted him but otherwise they both knew it was useless. Nick opened his eyes and offered his partner a small look of thanks for his efforts. Green eyes remained calm and cool but Nick knew that he wanted nothing more than to run his hand through Nick's thick locks in comfort.
"You ready to get moving?" Sean in Captain-mode asked. His voice was softer than it usually was but Nick wasn't going to complain. He had the headache from hell currently trying to split his skull into a million pieces and it wasn't getting any better.
"Yeah," Nick answered, "But I don't need to see the medic."
"Nick, you are going to see the medic or I will reject your authorization to return to work and make sure it's another month before you can set foot in the precinct," the Captain threatened with a growl in his voice that few rarely heard.
Nick looked imploringly at Hank who just shrugged and hitched his thumb over in Sean's direction, saying, "What he said."
"You don't have authorization to do that," Nick remarked with a wince when someone slammed a file down on a desk.
"Won't stop me from trying," Hank promised with a half smile. "Come on, let's get going. The sooner we get you down there the sooner we can get you home which is where I know you actually want to go."
"Sounds like a plan," Nick granted as he slowly tried to ease to a stand. "Providing it's alright with the Captain, of course," he added when it occurred to him that they hadn't consulted the man. Though he knew that Sean wouldn't have a problem with it, he wasn't going to start assuming things just because they were in a relationship.
"I believe that can be arranged," the Captain replied, granting them permission. "Hank, I will see you tomorrow."
"I don't need to be watched," Nick argued knowing that was what he meant.
"I think the medic will say otherwise," was all the reply he got before Sean walked back into his office.
Hank helped him to his feet but let go once he was sure Nick wouldn't fall over. He remained close, though, prepared for in case Nick's strength and stubbornness should fail him.
"So," Hank said as they crossed the threshold of the precinct and started heading downstairs, "still feel fine?"
Nick glared at him and Hank loudly laughed. Yep paybacks are bitch and this one came up to bite Nick in the ass.
Epilogue to follow ;)