Nick feels empty, much like his house, much like his life. He feels lost. Juliette is gone. He was going to marry her and now she's just gone. She didn't feel the same or he wasn't enough or they weren't enough. He's not sure why. He just knows she's gone. He doesn't know what to do without her. He doesn't know what he's going to do.

His phone rings. It's Hank, again.

He should go to work. He should take a sick day, he's in no shape to work, but work is better for him than sitting alone in his empty house. Showing up late is better than not showing up at all.

He pushes himself off the floor and out of the house.

The captain pulls him aside at the end of a long shift. "What happened?"

He knows what Renard means even though he doesn't know how Renard knows. He looks away because there's no way he can meet Renard's eyes while he admits his failure. "Juliette left me."

The hand Renard still has lingering on his shoulder squeezes once before letting go. "I'm sorry. Get your stuff."

Nick stills. "Are you firing me?"

The look Renard shoots his is partially confused and partially withering. "No. Hank and I are taking you for drinks. I'm driving."


He feels a tiny bit of tension leave his shoulders. Maybe he's not so alone after all.

Nick gets phenomenally drunk. He passed wasted five drinks ago. The fact that Hank, Wu, and, surprisingly, Captain Renard don't leave when he starts listing off all the things he's going to miss about Juliette is a testament to their friendship. He owes them all cookies or something. His mom used to make the best cookies. He's pretty sure he still has her recipe somewhere.

There's a chuckle right beside his head and Nick tries to look over but the source of the noise is far too close to see properly.

"You don't have to bake us cookies, Nick."

He opens his mouth to respond. He hadn't even realized he was talking or that his arm was over the captain's shoulders, but then there are steps that require all of his attention.


Renard leans him against the wall and Nick fumbles in his pocket until he pulls out his key-ring and offers it up. Renard unlocks the door for them, gets Nick as far as the couch before pushing him down on his side and putting a bucket near his head.

"Don't even think about coming in tomorrow. Hank and Wu will drop off your car in the morning."

He hears his keys settling on the table at the foot of the couch.


The receding footsteps pause.


"Sleep well."

The door shuts, leaving Nick alone, but he's too drunk for that to keep him awake for long. Loneliness doesn't hit him until the morning.

Life goes on, even when he doesn't really want it to. He has a spectacular hangover the next morning, and he's glad for the boss-sanctioned day off. It's not like he has any reason to hold on to his PTO. No more social engagements to plan around. No more engagements at all.

Instead of cookies, he brings in coffee his next day back to work. The baristas at the Starbucks across the street know the well enough to get him the right drinks for Wu, Hank, and Renard. Wu grins at him. Hank claps him on the shoulder. Renard regards him with a strange expression as Nick sheepishly hands the cup over.

"I'm sorry," Nick says.

"There's nothing to be sorry about."

He hesitates with his hand on the door. "Thanks. I'll try not to do that again."

"It won't be a problem if you do."

Nick smiles hesitantly and shuts the door before he can say anything else embarrassing.

The bullpen is empty for a change. Nick has some paperwork to finish up and he's grateful for the quiet to make it go faster.

"Do you like baseball?"

Nick jumps and looks up. "Captain?"

Renard repeats the question and Nick nods dumbly. Renard reaches into his jacket pocket at pulls out a ticket. It's not front-row but it's still a damn good seat.

"I'll pick you up at eight."

Renard is gone before Nick can even think about refusing. It takes him another five minutes before he realizes Renard just asked him on a date.

Nick shoves his hands in his pockets as he awkwardly walks to the door with Renard trailing him. It feels so different to be doing this sober. He stops in front of the door and turns. Renard is watching him with an intent gaze.

"Thank you for tonight. I had a surprisingly good time."

Renard takes a step closer. "Surprising because of the game or because of me?"

Nick flushes. He rubs a hand over the back of his head. "I've never... I've never done anything like this before."

Renard takes another step forward, until they're inches apart. "You've always been a quick study." Before Nick can think of a response, Renard grips Nick's chin and brings their lips flush together.

He can't help but compare it to kissing Juliette, even though there's barely even any room for comparison. Kissing a man is different. Kissing Renard is electrifying. He's strong and firm where Nick is used to soft and pliant and he finds himself falling into that role, letting his mouth be molded under Renard's direction.

Their tongues twist and slide against each other briefly before Renard steps back, his fingers lingering on Nick's chin momentarily before dragging away.

"We should do this again. Come over Saturday. I'll text you the address."

"Okay." He agrees without thinking. There isn't much to think about.

He lets himself into his lonely house with his lips still tingling from the kiss. They stay that way until he falls asleep.

He's never been to Renard's apartment before. It's surprisingly homey. The furniture looks sturdy and worn, like it'd been part of a home before being moved here. Renard greets him with a kiss on the side of his mouth as he lets Nick in.

Renard is a surprisingly good cook and the wine Nick brought goes down smoothly, complementing dinner nicely.

He's a little surprised to find himself on his back on the couch less than an hour later but only a little surprised. His lips are bruised from kissing and Renard is a heavy weight on top of him. He can feel Renard's hardness pressing against his hips, and instead of being a turn off, it's a surprising turn on. He wants to spread his legs for Renard and see where things will go.

Before he can, Renard pulls back. "There's something I need to show you, before we go any further." Renard's hand brushes against Nick's cheek. "Despite what you might think, I would never hurt you."

Then Renard shifts into a Hexenbiest, but it's not a full shift, not like Nick is used to. Only part of his face changes. "What?"

"I know you're a Grimm. I'm a Zauberbiest, half Hexenbiest on my mother's side and royal on my father's."

Nick stares. He wants to touch, but Renard's face shifts back before he can. "Royal?"

"The seven royal houses that oversee the Verrat."

Nick startles, pulling back. He's heard of the Verrat.

"Don't worry. I'm not allied with them, I just carry their bloodline. I'm more loyal to the Laufer."

Nick shakes his head. "I don't know what that is."

Renard leans back, still sitting partially on Nick's hips but giving him space. "I can explain if you want."

He looks down at the erection tenting Renard's pants. "Later. Why drop all of this now?"

"Because I want you to know what you're getting into before we go any further."

Nick flushes, remembering his thoughts from earlier. "Further?"

A grin slowly spreads across Renard's face. "Do you want to?"

He nods.

Renard stands, holding out his hand. "You should know I'm not an easy man to be with. I like obedience." Nick takes the hand, shivers as Renard pulls him close. "Can you be obedient for me?"

He shivers again as he nods. The idea of not being the one in control is thrilling. He's had too much in his life already – too many responsibilities, too many people depending on him. It would be nice to give a piece of that up.

Renard leads him into the bedroom. The bed draws Nick's attention. It's huge – wide with no frills save for the black silk sheets that Nick knows are going to feel amazing against bare skin. Renard starts on Nick's clothing, stilling Nick's hands when he tries to reciprocate. Nick lets Renard undress him, turns when Renard's hands direct him, and crawls on his hands and knees to the center of the bed like Renard directs him to.

He can hear fabric rustle as Renard undresses. Renard walks up to the bedside table on Nick's left and pulls out a thin tube before climbing on the bed behind him.

"Have you ever had someone inside you?"

Nick blushes and shakes his head.

"This may hurt a little."

He nods, not trusting himself to speak right now. Renard shifts behind him. Then there's a wet finger pressing against him and into him, sliding relentlessly down until Renard's knuckles are flush against his ass. Nick's head falls forward, not quite hitting the pillows but close. His hands fist in the sheets.

Nick's breath is forced out of him as Renard's finger pulls out. It doesn't go all the way out, stopping only partway before pushing him back in. It's just a finger but it might as well be a sword by the way it cuts through him.

He doesn't realize he's shivering until Renard places a hand on the small of his back. "You okay?"

It takes a moment, another thrust and pull of Renard's finger, before he can force his voice to work. "Yeah," he says, his voice coming out as shaky as he feels. "I will be."

"Can you take another?"

He thinks about it for a moment before nodding.

Renard's finger pulls out and then two are pushing in instead. Nick groans and falls forward against the pillows. Renard's hand rubs circles into Nick's back as he slowly, relentlessly fucks Nick open with his fingers.

"That's it," Renard says, his voice starting up a quiet litany of encouragement. "You can do it. Open up. Take me in."

A third finger joins the others. Nick feels like he's slowly being taken apart. It's amazing what Renard can do to him with just three fingers. Nick feels fragile, like he could shatter into a thousand pieces with the wrong touch.

He trusts Renard not to shatter him. He doesn't expect Renard to break him, but that's what happens when the fingers finally pull out and Renard pushes in. Nick is broken with Renard inside of him, gasping against the sheets and shivering like he's naked in the middle of the Arctic. When Renard moves, uttering a soft "so good, just like that" Nick can feel himself being rearranged, put back together in a new configuration.

It's the kind of configuration that craves this fullness, that doesn't think he can live without this feeling, without Renard inside of him. There are tears in his eyes, part pain and part pleasure. The pillows muffle his screams as Renard fucks into him, taking him apart.

His knuckles hurt. His ass hurts worse. Deep inside of him he can feel bone white pleasure, growing hotter and brighter with each of Renard's thrusts inside of him.

"I can't..." Nick's voice comes out broken. "I can't..."

"It's okay," Renard says. "I've got you. I'll protect you."

He comes apart with Renard's arms around his waist, spilling seed into the warm curve of Renard's palm. He collapses into the sheets and they are exactly as soft as Nick expected. Renard is still moving, his voice too low for words but still speaking, pushing Nick against the sheets with each thrust.

Nick could get used to this feeling. His limbs are heavy. Pleasure fills his core, spreading out through every part of him.

Renard's hips finally stutter and still. He stays there, inside of Nick, for a good, long minute before finally pulling out.

"You did well for your first time," Renard says as he settles into bed with Nick at his side. Nick flushes at the complement and has no idea what to say. "Your next time will be even better."

Nick raises an eyebrow. "Next time? How soon is next time?"

Renard grins. "That depends. How do you feel about being tied down?"

"I think I could be talked into it."

Renard stood. "I'll get the ropes then."

Nick shifted against the bed with a groan. He was glad it was Saturday because there was no way he was going anywhere tomorrow.