Author's note: I don't really know if I'll be continuing this or not, I just felt an urge to exorcise my Grimm obsession, and I noticed there weren't many (any) non-slash Captain Renard/Nick stories circulating. I never really saw their relationship as romantic, but I do find it intriguing, thus this fan fiction was born. Enjoy and remember: reviews are always welcome!
Renard sat at his desk, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. Events were escalating far too quickly. He hated this, this impotency, this feeling of things being beyond his control.
It had all begun with Adalind's botched attempt on Marie Kessler's life. Marie Kessler, the rogue Grimm considered by many to be one of the most ruthless and deadly of her kind. The woman who, despite being on her deathbed, had managed to fend off two of her would-be killers. Renard had felt a grudging respect for Nick's aunt, even as he ordered her assassination.
His concern had been that Kessler would poison her nephew against him. Although he'd known the Grimm by reputation only, Kessler had had more than her share of encounters with other members of his extended family. She would undoubtedly have advised Nick against getting involved with any of them. That did not suit Renard's interests.
Nick had the potential to be an incredible valuable asset, both in upholding the peace between human and Wesen and as a deterrent against any family members that thought they could muscle in on his new territory. Silencing Kessler had seemed the logical move at the time, but thanks to Adalind's incompetence there was the chance Nick would one day trace the act back to him. If that happened everything he'd invested in the Grimm would have been for nothing.
In the months since Nick had inherited his Grimm legacy, Renard had been doing all he could to protect and cultivate his investment. In the process he'd managed to incur the displeasure of the Reapers, the Verrat, and his cousins. He'd lost an asset and when that asset turned on him, he'd been forced to personally intervene to undo her damage. He faced excruciating pain and the loss of yet another subordinate. All these sacrifices and all this effort and he still had nothing to show for it. Not the key, not the coins, and not Nick's pledge of fidelity.
Renard had wanted to secure Nick's trust and loyalty before revealing himself to the Grimm, but time was running out. Subtly pulling strings from the background would no longer do. His family was coming for him and his canton, the Mauvais Dentes confirmed it. He needed Nick's allegiance and he needed it now, or there was a fair chance neither would survive the coming storm.
The knock on his door pulled Renard out of his private thoughts. He looked up, and found the object of his musings standing stiffly in his doorway. There was something…off about his expression. Renard waved him in, wondering what could have brought Nick to the station now, hours after his shift had ended.
"Nick, come in. Something wrong? Is Juliet alright?" Renard had slipped out of the hospital room 24 hours ago, confident he'd assured the woman's recovery, but Nick's obvious tension indicated otherwise. If he'd gone through that hellish purge with nothing to show for it, someone was going to pay dearly for it. Catherine was clearly no longer an option, but Adalind couldn't hide forever. Not from him at any rate.
"It was you." Renard blinked once. What did Nick mean by that?
"I'm sorry, I don't follow." He trained his face into a practiced expression of confusion. Renard's mind was reeling. How should he play this? Best to let Nick talk, gauge what he knows and what he doesn't know.
"Only the prince can save her. That's what the hexenbiest said." This wasn't good. Catherine had obviously talked before her untimely demise.
"Nick, you're not making any sense. I think you should go home and get some rest." This wasn't how this was supposed to go. He was supposed to bring Nick into the fold under his own terms. He wasn't supposed to be…exposed like this.
"No, I don't need rest, not when I just woke up to something that's been right under my nose for months. I was so busy chasing down Adalind that I forgot to ask myself why Catherine would be brewing a counter-curse for something her daughter did. Not for my sake or Juliet's certainly. She had to be working for someone. A royal. I checked the hospital surveillance videos. Guess who I saw ducking out of Juliet's room just minutes before she woke up? " Renard was slipping. Nick had him on tape. He couldn't bluff his way out of this one. He supposed it could have been worse. All Nick had caught him doing was saving the love of his life. That fact could easily be turned to his advantage.
"Well done, Nick. I keep underestimating you. Scotch?" Renard took two glasses and a bottle out of desk, poured and offered one to Nick, who eyed it like it might be poison.
"No." Renard shrugged, sipped his single malt and set it down on his desk. Nick clearly hadn't yet said all that was on his mind, but he seemed to be waiting for Renard to speak first.
"So, obviously you came here to say something to me, but it's late, so why don't you just say 'Thank you' and we'll call it a night." Nick's frown deepened as he took slow deliberate steps toward Renard's desk.
"I would, except that I didn't come here to say 'thank you.'" Renard couldn't say he was surprised given the Grimm's body language.
"Really? Then why did you come here, if not to express gratitude for my saving your girlfriend's life?" Never had Renard done so much for someone and have so little to show for it. Nick must really have no idea of the agony Renard had gone through for his sake.
"To ask you why you did." Renard raised both his eyebrow in what he knew to be the perfect expression of surprise.
"Why? Is so hard to believe I'd want to save an innocent woman's life?" Nick opinion of him had obviously taken a turn for the worst. It was a bit unfair of Nick to assume Renard was completely devoid of compassion. He was no bleeding heart, but he took no pleasure from pointless cruelly or the suffering of the innocent.
"So you were just being a good Samaritan? Helping someone with no thought of personal gain?" The underlying accusation did have some truth. He'd wanted Juliet to live so that Nick would remain in Portland, tied to him.
"Isn't that why we became cops?" Renard had hoped his deflection would remind Nick of their common ground but the Grimm wasn't having any of it.
"I doubt you and I joined the force for the same reason."
"Then enlighten me Detective, why else would I help Juliet the way I did, secretly? How would that possibly benefit me?" Nick's arms crossed his chest and Renard was briefly reminded of a belligerent teenager.
"I don't know, but I do know that you do a lot of things 'secretly', things that in no way resemble good deeds." Here it was, the accusations churning in Nick's mind, the reason his favorite detective was glaring at him as though he might very well be the devil incarnate.
"Meaning?" Renard kept his face carefully blank. He would need to handle this cautiously.
"Meaning Katherine isn't the only Hexenbiest in your employ. Adalind was yours too, making you responsible for nearly killing Hank AND trying to kill Aunt Marie." Clever Grimm. Nick was putting the pieces together, just as Renard had feared he would.
"Interesting theory, but where's your proof?" Renard raised his glass to his lips, taking another slow deliberate sip of scotch.
"Proof?" Nick's eyebrows furrowed as if he'd never heard of the word before.
"Yes, proof. You're a cop, you know you shouldn't accuse someone, particularly your boss, of a crime without proof." Renard worked to look as unperturbed as possible, keeping every muscle relaxed, and speaking with the same measured tones he used when discussing any of Nick's regular cases.
"How about the fact that Hexenbiest work for royalty and you're a prince?" If that was the best the Grimm could do, Renard was in the clear. He'd been nervous Nick had been about to whip out surveillance photos or maybe audio recordings.
"Flimsy. Even if I was the only royal in the area, and you have no way of knowing that for sure, who's to say she wasn't working on her own. You said yourself I reversed Adalind's curse. Why would I do that if she was working for me?"
"You have an answer for everything. A true politician." Nick may have meant that last sentence as an insult, but to Renard it was just the opposite. Politics had been Sean's world from the cradle, as it was for any child of the royal bloodline. He'd been raised in the vicious arena filled will deception, manipulation, and betrayal. He'd been given two options: play or die. He wasn't dead yet.
"I am what I was born to be, just as you are what you were born to be. We follow different paths, but I see no reason we can't co-exist, even become allies." At last what he'd been waiting months for, the first step toward acquiring his political prize.
"I can. I don't trust you." Nick's refusal was unfortunate, but not unexpected under the circumstances. The important thing at this stage was letting the Grimm know the offer stood. Nick would be much more valuable as a willing accomplice, than he would be if Renard was forced to coerce his cooperation. Not that Renard had ruled the option out, but it was more strategic to set it as a last resort.
"That's your prerogative, but the time may soon come when you're in need of a friend. When it does, please remember, my door is always open. I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, and Nick? Please send my best to Juliet." Nick turned slowly and exited the way he had come, leaving Renard to nurse his Scotch and review what had just transpired.
Overall Renard felt satisfied with the way the interview had gone. Nick had caught him by surprise, but Renard had recovered and ultimately won the day. He was one step closer to reaching his goals, one step closer to fortifying his position. Let his challengers come. Soon enough Renard's champion would be ready to meet them. It had begun.