Hello everyone! Sorry that I've kept some of you waiting for a couple of weeks.. My muse kinda died once Christmas came and so I gave her through the holidays to rest and come back.
At any rate, I hope that you lot enjoy this next chapter and that it was worth the wait. I apologize for any and all mistakes within - I literally just finished it and thought that I should get it out to you all before you start rebelling. ;)
Let me know what you think!
"She loves you," Sean told Nick. He made sure to keep his voice confident, yet soft, hoping the grimm would believe him.
Shortly after Kelly had left, Sean had physically forced Nick to spread out on the couch. He'd propped the injured – and obviously hurting – leg on top of a few pillows and then had gone to grab some makeshift ice packs to place on top. Since then Nick hadn't moved. He looked… well, the best word Sean could think of was stunned but he doubted that even came close to covering how the detective was feeling.
Though he kept his head bowed, Sean could still see evidence of tears forming in the beautiful blue eyes and he longed to be able to wipe them away. Perhaps that was what had had him telling Nick something he'd known despite Kelly's attempts at making it seem otherwise.
It had been clear as day to Sean that the woman loved her son and that was the only reason she was there at the moment. Well, that and to assure herself, that should anything happen to Nick, that she'd done all she could have. Since she'd spent her life pretending to be something that she wasn't – espionage and traitor were all part of being employed by the Renard family – she'd been able to convince her son that she didn't care for him, something which Sean had happily helped with. He could hear the goodbye that she would never say and he knew that she was trying to sever ties without giving false hope.
"Well that's something," Nick quipped, not believing him as expected.
Sean let the comment go by. He knew that he wouldn't make any head-way with Nick and so there was no point in wasting his breath to do so. Instead he sighed and put his hands into his pants pockets. The acrid smell of Nick's pain was slowly diminishing from the air, leaving him able to breathe freely again. Though, considering he wasn't planning on staying it wasn't like that did him a lot of good.
"Okay, look, I've got some errands to run but I'll be back before nightfall. Will you behave until then?"
"Behave?" Nick questioned, finally looking up at him.
Sean ignored the reflection of tear tracks on his cheeks and chose to focus on the confused tone in the other man's voice. He smiled.
"Yes, behave. If the past twenty-four hours has taught me anything, it's that you don't necessarily like to take care of yourself and try to keep pain free."
Nick smirked, the look a little colder than Sean would have liked.
"How do you know that I'm not just trying to tough it out because you're here?" he challenged.
Sean tilted his head. "Fair enough," he conceded. "But if that's the case, then you should stop. I can always tell when you're in pain and so there's no point in trying to hide it."
Nick blinked and then looked down at his hands, which Sean took for a concession that the grimm wouldn't actually voice. He nodded, satisfied, and gathered up his coat and keys.
"You should call your friends," he suggested as he donned his heavy overcoat and pulled on his leather gloves.
"Why?" Nick asked, his head cocking slightly in confusion.
"To warn them. As your mother said, they are on the lookout for her, not for a new hitter. And if the guy that I think is coming, is being sent, they will want to be on alert for signs of him." He paused for a moment to adjust himself, making the coat sit comfortably on his shoulders, and then added, "Trust me when I say, Nick, that Sergio is a vicious killer, and a grimm. He won't hesitate to kill any wesen he sees no matter who they are and if any grimm opposes him, he'll go after them as well."
For a second Sean debated being more intimate with Nick but the grimm was radiating the need for distance and so Sean respected it, despite not wanting to.
"Be careful," he added before walking out the door and heading to his own apartment.
Monroe had just finished replacing one of the gears on a 1967 Omega wristwatch when his phone went off. He looked down at the ID and then sent a silent prayer to the timing Gods, thanking them for fixing Nick's apparent bad timing when he called.
"Yeah," he answered, knowing that he needn't have identified himself since it was Nick.
"Hey," Nick's low, grated voice answered. While Nick's voice usually sounded low, this time it sounded it hadn't been used for a while. Or, you know how someone's voice sounds after they've been crying? Yeah, it kinda sounded like that too. "Are you busy today?"
"Uh, no?" Monroe answered, curious as to where this is going.
"Is that a statement or a question?" Nick asked, sounding a little bit annoyed, though Monroe doubted that he was.
"Oh, um, no, I'm not busy. Well, I just finished fixing an antique Omega and I think I had a Westminster Mantel to work on next. But if you needed me, I could come over. Why, what's up?"
"I just had a visit from my mother," Nick said, his voice getting, if possible, a little lower as he talked. There was some emotion that was corrupting it, that was for sure. But whether it was grief, sadness, or anger, Monroe honestly couldn't tell.
"Dude," Monroe said, his heart skipping a beat at the mention of Nick's mother. He hadn't come into close, personal contact with the Grimm but even he didn't need to to know that she scared the crap outta him. "Is the house okay?" He winced at the question. He honestly didn't want to know if the house was okay; he wanted to know if Nick was okay. But since he doubted that Nick would answer honestly, asking after the house had slipped out instead.
"Yeah, Monroe, the house is fine." In Nick's voice, Monroe could imagine the expression of ridicule on the Grimm's face. "Look, can you and Rosalee come over? There's something that I think you need to know."
"Yeah, well, um, you know, I definitely can but I'm not so sure about Rosalee. I mean, I don't know what she has going on today." He paused and then remembered that he and Rosalee had a sort of date and added, "Well, actually, she and I did have lunch plans. There's a large delivery coming in today and I told her I'd help her put it away."
"Monroe, why don't you just ask her out?" Nick asked, a smile now coming through. He sounded amused by Monroe's predicament which annoyed the blutbad to no end. But even so, it was nice to hear the change in tone and it made him smile in turn.
"Because," Monroe answered, making it sound like that was all he needed to say. "Look, she's had a really hard time of things lately and I don't think she's open to starting a relationship right now. Okay?"
The words 'back off' were implied and he assumed that the Grimm could hear them because Nick didn't argue against his reasoning. He chuckled a little, the sound coming across as breathy and making Monroe wonder if the man was in pain.
"Fair enough," he conceded. "So when do you think you guys would be available to come by?"
"Oh, well we could grab some dinner and come by tonight," Monroe suggested, guessing that the delivery was going to take a while to put away. That and he just wanted to spend some more time with Rosalee without the Grimm or Grimm business getting in the way.
"Sounds good," Nick answered, sounding placated if not a bit unhappy at the lateness. "Bring enough for four."
Monroe wrinkled his nose a little. "The Captain going to be there, I take it?" he ventured, knowing precisely who the other portion was for.
"Yeah," Nick said, though he volunteered no further information on the subject. "Oh, and Monroe? Be careful."
Well now, that was a bit puzzling. Evidently assuming that the conversation was over, Nick hung up without giving Monroe a chance to ask why he had to be careful. He shook his head and put his phone back down onto the table.
That was how Nick liked to operate. He would drop hints or say random but important things and then not give an explanation, leaving Monroe to attempt to figure out what in the hell was going on. It frustrated the blutbad to no end but as he'd steadily gotten used to it, he let it slide and went back to the watch. He had just enough time to put it back together as well as replace the band – at the request of the client, of course – before he had to meet up with Rosalee.
While he worked, his mind started to run. Nick was right, he should just ask Rosalee out. But his reasons for not doing so were valid.
Damaged wouldn't be the correct term to apply to the fuchsbau. It had the wrong connotation. But it was the only word that Monroe could currently come up with and so it was what he used. Her brother's death had hit her harder than she would ever admit. It had left her guarded and somewhat distant. Monroe knew that wasn't how she normally was as she'd shown herself to be warm and inviting in the right circumstances. He'd intentionally pulled her into his and Nick's little club, hoping that being around two somewhat familiar faces in a place she no longer called home would help make her feel a bit more… well, loved. Sure, one of the two people was a Grimm, but she seemed to get over that really quickly once Monroe had vouched for Nick and the Grimm had helped catch the guys that had killed her brother. Now, it seemed that she didn't mind helping the two out; she even appeared to enjoy it as far as Monroe could tell and if Thanksgiving was anything to go by, she had accepted them both as friends.
Even so, that didn't mean that she was ready for a relationship and he wasn't about to force her into one. When – or if – they got together, he wanted it to be because they both wanted it; not because he wanted it.
The watch on his wrist chirped, reminding him that it was time to leave and he did so gladly. He couldn't help the smile that had spread onto his face at the thought of spending some alone time with Rosalee. But then again, why should he try? After all, there was no one around to see it. Right?
Climbing into his car, Monroe drove away. Completely unaware of a set of strange and unfriendly eyes tracking him with malicious intent.
Sergio watched from the shadows as the blutbad came out of its house, a wide grin on its face.
He had been in Juarez, keeping tabs on a mark when he'd received Mr. Renard's call. The temptation to say no to another job had swiftly dissipated when he'd heard the price. Without another thought, he ended the current target's life and left the poor excuse for a bar, intent on heading straight to Portland. Once Mr. Renard had heard this, he'd told Sergio to be patient. He'd said that he was sending a file over to the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Apparently Sergio already had a room reserved and paid for in his name. He was to remain there for a day or two to peruse the file he was being sent and then he could take the first flight out to Portland once he was done.
Having worked for Mr. Renard before, he didn't argue against the instructions; merely followed them. He was curious as to why he was being told to wait but he'd held onto it until he'd received the file and then it was obvious. The target he was after was a Grimm. Grimm's were known to be harder to take down, fair enough. But that wasn't all. Not only was the target a Grimm and he was being told to toy with said Grimm, but Mr. Renard's brother was closely connected with the Grimm. That would make things more difficult, but not impossible. Since the target was the Grimm and not the brother, all Sergio had to do was separate the two – a feat that wasn't too hard to accomplish since it didn't appear that the two were particularly close beyond their acquaintance on the job.
Now all that was left was to put his plan into motion.
He smiled - the thing a cruel twist of his lips and nothing more.
Smile all you like, blutbad. We'll see how long it lasts once you're within my grasp.
The day passed without incident and soon the sun started to set. Nick had done his best to stay busy so that he could keep his mind occupied while also taking care of his leg but it had been difficult. He'd been able to start a load of laundry and it had taken all his energy just to do that. Apparently doing simple things was going to be difficult for a while and it was beginning to frustrate him. He knew Sean would see this as a perfectly good reason to continue staying with him until he was more mobile. It wasn't that he didn't want Sean to stay with him. Truly, it wasn't. It was more that Nick was used to a certain level of independence and privacy and with Sean here, he wouldn't necessarily get either.
He hated being injured. Well, injured enough to be off his feet, at least. Bruised ribs and sore muscles were easy to deal with and fairly decent to work around. Being on crutches was another matter entirely. He glared at the instruments that leaned against the wall, just off to his left. He hadn't tried going without them because he knew that he wouldn't get far if he did. But though that may be the case, he still hated them for what they represented – weakness. He already knew that an apparently weakened Grimm was a target – he hadn't needed Sean to tell him that last night – and now, between that and his mother's visit, he was on edge.
Kylie's nails clicked on the floor as she came over to him and put her head in his lap, her tail wagging. Throughout the day she had been a constant presence; always there at his side wherever he went. She seemed unnaturally attached to him and he couldn't figure out why. Sure, he'd given her a warm place to sleep and some food. But that didn't necessarily result in this level of loyalty, did it? She was even protective of him, which he couldn't figure out either. Though he hadn't put much thought into her reactions towards Sean and his mother at the time, he was now and he was puzzled.
She'd just given his hand a lick, her way of saying that she wanted some attention, when her ears perked up and she took her head out of his lap and turned towards the door. Her body looked tense as she listened for whatever it was she heard and then she was walking over to the door to sit and wait for whoever would undoubtedly be there.
"Hey, Nick, you mind getting the door? Our hands are kinda full," Monroe's voice called through the door.
With a smile, Nick got up to do as he was asked. He was puzzled by the fact that both their hands were full but he supposed he'd find out why in about four seconds so he didn't ask.
"What's all this?" he asked once he had the door open and saw their arms laden with grocery bags – paper, not plastic. He hobbled back to allow the pair entry, watching them with a smile of surprise as they shuffled in with warm smiles on their faces.
"Well, we couldn't decide on what to grab so we went with making something instead," Rosalee answered as the three of them went into the kitchen.
Nick made sure to stay out of the way, off to the side, as they began to pull an assortment of vegetables, some rice, olive oil, as well as a bottle of white wine out of their bags and sort them onto the counter. He watched with a small smirk as Rosalee handed all the vegetables over to Monroe to let him chop them while she began to pull out a couple sauté pans and went to work with those.
"And you decided on?" he prompted, although he was pretty sure he already knew what it was.
"Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto," Monroe answered with a broad grin and a little eyebrow wag that reminded Nick of the promise the blutbad had made to get him eating better.
Nick proceeded to roll his eyes but gave a small laugh anyways. "Right, well, what can I do?"
"You can go sit down and get out of the way," Monroe answered as he busily chopped and then minced garlic. He paused to switch vegetables and gave Nick a pointed look, his eyes moving from Nick's face down to his braced leg before looking away.
"What are you talking about? I'm not in the way," Nick argued, holding his arms wide as though to show that he was the epitome of 'not in the way'.
He looked over at Rosalee for help, but she merely raised her eyebrows and went back to prepping the pans and cooking the rice. Nick shifted a little to look back at Monroe, his injured leg coming down to touch the floor so that he could do it well. He instantly stopped and retracted his foot, though he had plans to put it back down once he thought he could breathe a bit easier. With the majority of the pain emanating from his knee, Nick didn't even feel anything coming from the injured ankle; it was more a feeling of weakness than anything, really.
"Well, I was going to say that your friends want you to get off your feet before you hurt yourself, but I see that that is a moot point now."
Sean's voice startled the group and almost as one, they all jumped in surprise. The reaction wasn't all that noticeable to anyone who'd been observing the group. But with the entire group being wesen or something else entirely, their sharp eyes noticed the movement and Sean smirked at them all.
"Dude! Don't sneak up on someone with a knife in their hand," Monroe chided, apparently having gotten over his fearful awe of Sean's position and/or what he represented. "I could have cut my finger off or something."
Sean's smirk remained in place, his hazel eyes dancing almost merrily in amusement. Apparently he didn't care that he could have potentially caused any of them harm. He was quiet enjoying the fact that none of them, with their inhanced hearing – well, Nick excluded since he had normal human hearing – had heard him enter the house.
"Letting yourself in, again, I see," Nick sarcastically said. He shifted so that he could lean against the counter without the use of crutches and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Well, I knew how much you'd enjoyed it the last time I did it so I thought I'd do it again," Sean returned offhandedly.
"You what?" Monroe interjected with wide eyes and a scandalous look on his face.
"No, not like that," Nick shut down, his face wrinkling into an almost disgusted expression. When he looked back at Sean, it was to see that the regnant's smile had gone and in its place was an unhappy frown, though Nick doubted any but him would have noticed it. "As I recall, I asked you not to let yourself in anymore. You should be careful, Captain, when you enter a detective's home; you could find yourself with a bullet in your chest."
At this, Monroe practically choked but he wisely said nothing and continued to chop what now appeared to be basil. Out of the corner of his eye, Nick saw Rosalee give an eyebrow raise at him but she too remained silent as she stirred the risotto.
Instead of perceiving the statement as a threat, Sean smirked. "We both know that you could never shoot me," he said, his voice dropping ever so slightly and his eyes heating in some undefinable emotion.
"Okay," Monroe said, apparently picking up on something in the air that Nick had yet to grasp. "Should we leave you two alone?"
"No," Sean answered for Nick. "It would be best if you both stayed. There's some things that we all need to discuss."
Wait, that we all need to discuss? What was this? As far as Nick knew, he, Monroe, and Rosalee were the only ones that needed to talk about anything. Sean wasn't needed for any part of this conversation and the regnant knew it.
"Oh we do?" he asked, wanting to confirm that Sean meant to be in the middle of the conversation.
"Yes, Nick, we do," Sean answered. His hands had remained inside his pants pockets all this time but now he pulled them out and crossed his arms over his chest, mirroring Nick to an extent. "I'm sure your friends would like to know what all we've talked about concerning us. And since I know the blutbad can be very protective of you," – at this Monroe let out a small puff of annoyance and Rosalee choked on a chuckle – "I thought it wise to assure them that I'm not taking advantage of you or of my position."
Nick cocked his head to the side and his left eyebrow rose in a challenge while his mind echoed with, "As though you could take advantage of me."
Sean returned his look with an even expression. Then, in a flash, he was standing in front of Nick, blocking the Grimm's view of everything else. Without waiting for Nick's mind to catch up to his eyes, Sean leant in and kissed Nick, making sure to take care not to hurt him in the process.
The kiss was soft, almost as though it were asking for permission to happen. But behind it, Nick felt all the love that Sean felt and he felt the passion and desire to not only do this more than now but to deepen the kiss and add more strength to it.
Strong arms wrapped themselves around him and it was then that his mind registered that he'd been knocked off balance by the addition of another person and that Sean was essentially keeping him upright. Pain flared in Nick's side where Sean's hand had fastened itself but he barely felt it. His mind was awash with many thoughts that he knew he'd spend the night sorting through. However, topmost of those was the constant change of, "More!"
It was then that Nick found himself pulling Sean against him, just enough to get them closer. He deepened the kiss, chewing a little on Sean's lip in the process.
"Uh, guys?" Monroe's voice broke through, hesitant and confused. The two men stopped and looked over at the Blutbad. "You wanna take this to the living room so that Rosalee and I can continue making dinner?"
Okay, so that hadn't been the reaction that Nick had expected Monroe to give. He was thankful that his friend was being so accepting of the whole situation but he hadn't thought that the blutbad would have been so blasé about it, given his reaction the night before.
Even more puzzling was Nick's own reaction. Though he'd recognized that he and Sean were now bonded, he hadn't realized just how much he felt for the man. Until now. His nerves felt as though they were buzzing with need. His heart had picked up in speed and though he couldn't see himself in the mirror, Nick knew that his cheeks were flushed and his eyes were brightened by arousal. Oh, he wanted Sean, probably just as badly as Sean evidently wanted him – there was no doubt about that.
And, to some degree, Nick refused to. He knew that it was only natural for him to question his "sudden" physical and emotional attraction to the man. But, he realized, that part was over with. He'd accepted both. He'd accepted that there was something more to his and Sean's relationship above boss-employee and he was open to exploring things further. Nick realized with so much clarity that he was done with guessing or doubting his feelings for and around his boss. He had them. They were there. Now, he wanted more. And if the heat in Sean's eyes were anything to go by, so did the regnant.
Sean and Nick gave each other a questioning look – each one asking the other if they were alright with that. Nick did want to go into the living room and continue the make-out session. Oh how much he wanted to! But! He didn't want to leave his friends in his kitchen, alone and working. It felt discourteous somehow to him. He felt like he should lend a hand somewhere, somehow.
His knee chose that moment to remind him that he'd put too much pressure on it earlier and that it wasn't happy about it. A particularly nasty throb vibrated through his leg and Nick couldn't stifle his reaction to it. His muscles tensed and his grip tightened around Sean's waist as the pain engulfed him. His jaw clenched and he drew in a hissing breath – the only sound that he'd give if he could help it.
"Come on, let's get you on the couch," Sean whispered as he wrapped his arm around Nick's back.
Blue-green eyes shot up to meet concerned hazel and any thought that Nick had about arguing dissipated like morning mist. Though he wanted to stay and help, he knew that he was limited on what he could do and apparently his knee was wanting him to elevate it for a bit. So, he gave in.
When it appeared that Sean was about to carry him, Nick glared at him and grabbed his crutches. The corner of Sean's lips quirked upwards in a smile but he stepped back and gave Nick room to leave. He was very aware of Sean dogging his steps as though he expected Nick's own to falter and the Grimm to fall. But he reached the couch without incident and as soon as Sean saw that, he left to go back into the kitchen, returning with a couple familiar-looking icepacks in his hands.
Nick sat down on the couch without complaint and began to lift his leg onto the spot beside him. Strong hands soon joined in the effort as Sean helped and then he sat down so that he was in a good position to place pillows beneath the leg and the icepacks on top.
"I see you've accepted things," he casually dropped in as he placed the first icepack on top of Nick's knee.
Nick squirmed away from the cold, but Sean's hand firmly held onto his shin, his thumb rubbing along the muscle in soothing strokes. Nick's eyes closed as he simply let himself feel the touch and he slouched a little in the process.
"So what if I have," he challenged, wincing when cold enveloped his ankle and foot.
"That, my dear Grimm, I shall leave up to you," Sean responded. His hand left Nick's leg and his weight disappeared from the couch.
Annoyingly, Nick found that he couldn't command his eyes to open. He suddenly felt very tired and no matter how much he wanted to, he just couldn't bring himself to physically look over to see what Sean was doing.
Above him, he heard Sean chuckle and then he felt Sean give him a kiss on the forehead.
"Rest, Nick. I'll wake you when dinner's ready."
And with the feeling of love surrounding him, Nick drifted off into a dreamless sleep.