NOTES: For PP-PhantomPhoenix and AnonymousP who wanted Renard and Nick having THE TALK. And for Bookqueen604 who wanted: Nick meeting Adalind, since in this AU he has no reason to hate her guts. She snuck into Renard's story.
I'm assuming this is going to happen right after Game Ogre which happens at some unspecified point after Change of Atmosphere 2. Had to give Nick a leeeetle bit of whump free time. But just a little.
Thanks to everyone who gave me the name of Renard's housekeeper. She is no longer nameless!
WARNINGS: Renard in blue jeans doing domestic things and showing off those big manly hands and forearms.
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Renard wasn't wearing a suit.
It wasn't that Nick had never seen him wearing a suit. There had been dress shirts without the jacket and tie when he was called out after hours, the occasional turtle neck in the winter months, and, on one memorable occasion, a team jersey from his beloved Portland Timbers.
It wasn't that he'd necessarily expected Renard to be wearing a suit in his own home. On a Saturday morning. Except he kind of was.
It was just that his boss answering the door in jeans and a heavy, cream-colored, cable knit sweater with the sleeves pushed halfway up his forearms was...about as weird as being invited to the frickin Prince's condo for lunch.
"Come in," Renard said, opening the door wider.
The only other time he'd been to Renard's place was actually right before he'd made detective. Renard had reluctantly been under protection detail for threats made by some local thug and Nick had come by to drop off food.
He'd decided right then that he was going to have to climb the employment ladder a lot higher if it meant he could afford a view like that. Of course half the department gossips had it out that Renard was on the take. The other half knew about the family money. Personally Nick had always figured that if Renard were taking bribes, he'd hide it a hell of a lot better.
He'd been right in a sense. Renard was very good at hiding things.
"Nice place," Nick said. "It's very…clean." Tidy to the point of sterility actually.
Renard led the way to the kitchen where two women were talking in low tones near the stove. The older one was poking at a pot on the burner. Nick immediately pegged her as the cook or housekeeper. Mid to late fifties with a little silver in her hair. Judging by the nice dress and low heels, she wasn't working today.
The other woman was at least thirty years younger. That was a hundred dollar haircut and probably another hundred a month to maintain the manicure. Designer jeans, silk blouse, and spiky heeled shoes no blue-collar worker would consider affordable. Or comfortable. Gah, looking at them made him appreciate all over again that he'd been born with boy parts.
Renard smirked at his attempt at small talk. "That would be Patty's doing. I'm going to have to send her on that vacation she's been hinting about."
"And what would you do without me for so long, young man," the older woman said, tapping the spoon on the edge of the pot and putting it down.
"Perish, no doubt," Renard said dryly, but there was a wealth of amused affection in his voice Nick had rarely heard before.
"Oh I don't know," the younger woman said with a sly smile, "I think he would at least be able to call for takeout. He's had some practice with that."
Renard did not roll his eyes but Nick could tell he wanted to. He'd seen that look before. Several times. Not always directed at him either.
"Nick, this is Adalind Schade and Patty Pothier. Ladies, Detective Nick Burkhardt."
Patty was the older of the two. She wiped her hands on a dishtowel and came over. "Detective. It's so rare to meet one of Mister Sean's co-workers."
Nick pulled up his manners and shook her hand. "It's a pleasure, ma'am." She had strong hands, calloused and scarred and used to work.
"Patty," she insisted warmly.
He watched her eyes skitter over the remains of the bruising on his face and neck from Stark pounding him into his own furniture, but she was kind enough not to say anything.
"Nick," he replied and broke out the smile Hank said made him look cute and adorable. He liked her already. She reminded him of his first foster mom. The one who thought that cooking and coupon clipping were skills every child needed.
"Sean," Schade said coming around the island in a click of heels, "you didn't tell us he was so handsome."
"Must have slipped my mind," Renard commented blandly.
Nick stared at the younger woman. He knew her from somewhere but couldn't quite place it.
"Three minutes," Patty said to Renard. "I've set the alarm."
Renard looked amused that she apparently thought he didn't know how to work a kitchen timer.
She gathered up a coat from the back of a kitchen chair. "I'm headed out then. I'll see you Monday morning."
Renard walked her to the door leaving Nick alone with the other woman.
"What?" she asked, smoothing her hair nervously. One hand twitched towards her face like she wanted to check for crumbs.
Nick realized that he was still staring. With what was probably a weirdly intense look. "Sorry," he said, tacking on a smile that was mostly hope she wouldn't think he was too rude. "I knew I'd seen you somewhere before and I just remembered where."
She relaxed and the smile slid back on. She thought it was a pickup line, he realized. "I'm a lawyer. You've probably seen me at the courthouse."
Probably, but that wasn't it. "This was on the street outside the jewelers on Fourth." The day he'd gone to pick up Juliette's engagement ring with Hank.
"The jewelers on Fourth." She was hovering somewhere between confused and exasperated.
He'd been here five minutes and had already annoyed his boss'…whatever she was. He'd looked her up the first week he'd had access to Marie's books. Hexenbiest. They were some sort of servant for the Royals.
"My law firm is near there," Schade continued, perching on a stool at the Island. She crossed her legs daintily at the ankle.
"You were the first wesen I ever saw woge." According to the medical records he'd brought back from Montana that was the day Aunt Marie had been transferred from the hospital into Hospice where she'd died a few days later. He swallowed down a sharp pang of disappointment for things he could not change.
"I was your first. How sweet." She asked coyly, "Did you like what you saw?"
Actually it had been rather horrifying, but he was putting that in the category of things you don't ever say to a woman and changed the subject. "You won't make him jealous, you know." When he'd told Hank the woman they were watching was in love with her boss he would never have imagined it was his boss too.
The smile faltered for a moment before she pulled herself together. "I have no idea what you're talking about," she said airily and stood, smoothing her blouse.
Uh huh. "He doesn't date, he still wears his wedding ring, and he has their pictures up everywhere." He'd seen the pictures of a pretty brunette woman and little girl in the Captain's office, the entry hall here in the condo, his wallet. "Those aren't the signs of a man who is ready to move on."
He thought she was going to argue or possibly smack him in the face, but then she deflated a little and sank back onto her stool. Nick eased onto the stool next to her with care for his still healing bruises.
She looked at her hands for a moment then tucked back her hair, looking very far from the smooth, confident woman from a few moments ago. He mentally lowered her age to mid-twenties. "Was it a shock?" she asked. "What you saw, I mean."
"It was…a surprise," Nick said. "I convinced myself I'd seen a trick of shadows, a reflection off a passing vehicle or something. Hank was right there and he didn't see a thing. And he was staring pretty hard."
The smirk came back. "Hank is your partner?"
It was posed as a question but Nick had a feeling that she knew the answer already and he wondered what exactly being a royal servant entailed in the 21st century. "That's him."
"And exactly," the confidence came back along with the coy, little-girl smile, "how hard was he staring?"
Nick grinned. "Pretty hard. He thought you had a great…stride."
Thank God Renard came back at that point. He gave them both a suspicious look that only deepened when they both gazed back with matching innocent expressions. "Are you two playing nice?"
"Of course," Schade said brightly.
Nick pressed his lips together and looked innocent.
Renard's eyes narrowed. "Adalind was just leaving."
"I was," she agreed blithely. She gathered up a coat from the back of a chair and a heavy manila envelope from the counter. "It was very nice to meet you, Detective."
"And you, Miss Schade."
Renard walked her to the door also but returned in less than a minute. "Sorry about that. I made the mistake of mentioning I'd invited someone for lunch. I think Patty is convinced that I will burn the place down if I'm unsupervised."
Nick knew Renard could cook. Well, grill at least. The Captain inevitably ended up taking charge of the BBQ at the Precinct Summer Party to save their dinner from Lieutenant Plummer who was actually a decent cook, but tended to wander off to talk and forget about the food until someone ran by with a fire extinguisher.
"It's good to have someone worry about you," Nick said. "Have you known her long?"
Renard pulled two bottles of beer out of the big stainless steel fridge. "Longer than she would care to have mentioned."
He held up a bottle and Nick nodded. This was definitely going to be a beer conversation. It was a fancy label, something he'd never seen before but Monroe would probably recognize.
The timer went off, plates and utensils were laid out, and food was served. "I thought we'd eat out here," Renard said, laying out napkins for both of them, "rather than the formal dining room."
That suited Nick just fine. He had to jack up the stool a few inches. They were all set to Renard height.
They ate in silence for a few minutes then Renard set down his fork and took a long drink of his beer. "So. What do you want to know?"
Nick wiped his mouth with his napkin. He had a million questions but there'd been plenty of time to consider his priorities while he recovered from Stark's attack. "Did you know my parents?"
"No. I actually had no idea they lived in the city. If your mother did Grimm work here it never came to my attention."
That matched up with what Nick remembered. After the move to Portland the late nights had stopped. Mom and Dad had both worked, but one of them was always home when he got off the bus. There were weekend trips that didn't involve anyone disappearing for half a day. He hadn't appreciated then how hard they must have worked to keep those last years so…normal.
"I thought Kelly must have made contact with you when they arrived," Nick said, disappointed at the answer for a lot of reasons. "I can't figure out why else they choose Portland."
Renard looked thoughtful. "Perhaps because this is the last place one would expect to find a Grimm."
He had a point there. Nick couldn't imagine the amount of control it must have taken his mother to hide what she was from the heavily wesen population. "What would you have done if she had continued her Grimm activities in Portland?"
Renard regarded him with a level gaze. "Your Mother did not have the reputation your Aunt had. I like to think we could have reached an understanding about her…work in my territory."
"That understanding being that she would work for you," Nick clarified.
"I doubt she would have agreed to that." Renard cracked a smile. "However, I don't believe we would have been at cross purposes. She hunted those the judicial system would no doubt consider guilty of Capital Offenses." He paused, pretending surprise. "As do you."
Nick glared a little. "As a cop," he said pointedly. Renard might be boss of his day job, but he wasn't sure yet if he was going to let the Prince have any say in his Grimm work.
He understood that Renard's hands had been metaphorically tied by his oath to Marie. Blood oath, man, Monroe had said in a tone that he usually reserved for rare and precious clock related things or that frozen yogurt place downtown with unlimited toppings, you don't screw around with those.
Looking back with a more knowledgeable eye, Nick could pick out a dozen times Renard had helped and hinted and even gone so far as to not so subtly nudge. He appreciated Renard's attempt to skirt the spirit of his promise without breaking he letter of it. Didn't mean Nick wasn't going to hold it over his head for a good long time though.
Renard nodded once, solemnly, one eyebrow ticking up a notch.
Lord, Nick knew that look. Time to move on then. "What about my Aunt? When did you meet her?"
Renard picked up his fork again. "The first and only time I met her in person was a few days after your parents died. She promised to keep her Grimm activities out of my territory…."
"And you promised to look after me."
There was a lot of irony happening there. For both of them.
That day…that day he'd known something had happened as soon as he'd passed the school secretary. Her eyes had been red and she'd looked at him with such a sad look he'd half thought he ought to hug her or get her a glass of water or something. There had been a very, very, very tall policeman in uniform waiting in the principal's office. He'd introduced himself, but Nick hadn't retained the name, had barely remembered the man existed until he'd come by the foster home later in the week to check up on him.
"Did you know what I was back then?" Nick asked curiously.
"No." Renard picked up his beer. "Until the Grimm manifests you appear perfectly human to a wesen."
His boss was hard to read on a good day, but usually Nick was trying to judge his expressions from across a dimly lit office. This was inches apart in a well lit room, looking right into Renard's eyes and Monroe might call him foolish for trusting a Royal (apparently there was a lot of backstory there with Monroe's family pre-immigration and some serious grudge holding) but he didn't think Renard was lying.
"So Marie was here in Portland after my parents died." And she had left him behind.
Renard sighed and put down his beer. "Don't think she didn't want you, Nick."
He had…he didn't now. In their quest to bring the Grimm into the electronic age they had come across a battered, coffee stained folder of newspaper clippings, internet printouts, pictures, and stacks of letters she had written but never sent. Marie had kept up with his life, kept track of him, even been there when he'd graduated from high school, college, and the police academy.
"It wasn't safe for her to stay. And it wasn't safe for her to take you with her."
"I know," Nick admitted. He understood, but he still didn't like it. It should have been his choice, not at sixteen perhaps, but at eighteen or twenty or even a year ago.
I know you'll be angry with me for the choices I made, a letter dated from a year ago had begun, but you are alive to be angry and that is worth it. I don't know if it was right to leave you ignorant of our family legacy but I saw what growing up under that weight did to my sister and I didn't want that for you.
"She did what she thought was best," he added quietly.
"Sometimes that's all any of us can do," Renard said, "no matter the consequences."
Nick resisted his own eye roll. That was laying it on a bit thick.
Abruptly Renard laughed. "God. That sounded like something my grandmother would have said." He made a face like he'd bitten something sour and drained the last of his beer, getting up to fetch another one. "What else do you want to know?"
Nick took a deep breath. "Everything."
Notes: One more ticked off the list. Big, big thanks to littlebounce for all the help.