A/N: This is practically a companion piece to the episode 'Organ Grinder' with an AU twist. It was written as a gift to edenlilith for the grimm_exchange. It is quite possible that I will continue this at some point and develop it into a fully fledged story.
Being a cop is a hazardous occupation. Joining the force means that at one time or another, you will have to see the worst that one person could do to another. As a beat cop, that is a certainty; thefts, beatings, abuse and murder are the things that will surround you.
There are some police officers that go through the entirety of their careers without taking a life, but for most of them, it is a given that at some point they will have to. To protect and serve, they will have to kill another human being. No one becomes a cop without considering this fact. One has to have the stomach for it, even more so if one aims to be a detective—especially in homicide. It's where one has to face the real darkness that hides inside the hearts of people—violence beyond measure, murder for money, love, revenge, power or murder just for the sake of murder.
It is a difficult existence. Nightmares follow you. The faces of the people in their death haunt you. Eventually you learn to live with it, because it is your reality. If you can't accept it, you are not cut out for the job. But it is not an easy thing to live with.
When you start out, you know what you will have to face. You think you are prepared. No one really is. Imagining something and actually living it are two very different things. There is no way to foresee how you will feel the first time you come across a dead body; the coldness, the disgust, the sadness you will feel. Catching the person responsible gives some measure of closure and relief. It puts things in perspective and makes it all worth the effort. Once you realize that, it gets a little easier and you finally feel that you know where you stand in this world and what it is you are meant to do.
That was how Nick had felt until that evening when Aunt Marie reappeared in his life.
He had been seeing people's faces shifting into other, animalistic ones, for some time. But he had dismissed it, attributing it to fatigue or a trick of the light and using any other rational explanation he could think of. But deep down, he had known that it was real.
With Marie's death and his initiation into the Grimm world, many things changed. The world was now a darker place for Nick. There were creatures that lived among humans, some peacefully, but others fed on the unsuspecting and only he could see them for what they truly were. In the span of three days, Nick had lost the woman who had raised him, found out his family's dark legacy and had killed for the first time. Overwhelming as all this might have been, Nick had to face it or break down.
He made a decision. Grimm or human, he would protect those that needed it and not care about anything else.
Four months after his life as a Grimm began, that decision was the one thing that gave him strength. In such a short time, he had seen many dead bodies some of which he had been responsible for. He had been too late for the others. But there were some people he had been able to save, and that was what kept him going. He thought himself used to the gore that came with creature attacks, but even the brutality of certain cases stood out.
The precinct nicknamed his most recent the 'organ-grinder,' and it was a particularly difficult one. It had been one of those that really hammered home the fact that to the creatures, humans where something they hunted and ate. Even the peaceful ones could use extracts from human bodies for their remedies and other needs.
A soft knock on the door startled Nick from his thoughts.
He put the beer bottle he had been holding on the coffee table and went to see who it was. A glance at the clock made him frown. It was a little before midnight, hardly the time for visitors. Momentarily he thought about getting his gun, but decided against it although he did make sure it was within reach.
He unlocked the door carefully and was surprised to see his captain standing on his porch.
Nick couldn't help but smile as he asked, "Did you forget your key?"
"Yes, I left in a hurry," Sean replied as he leaned to kiss Nick's soft lips. It was quick and chaste but held a lot of feeling.
Nick made way for the older man to enter and then locked the door, "Escaping paperwork?"
"No, I finished it," Sean replied as he hung his coat before turning back to Nick. With slow, deliberate movements he took him into his arms, placing a soft kiss in his hair as he held him in a tight embrace.
Nick did not shy away but was puzzled by the gesture, even more so since he could feel how tense Sean was. "Sean? Is something—"
"Just…let me hold you like this for a moment," the other man muttered and there was something in his voice that spoke of urgency and need, so Nick relaxed and returned the embrace.
Ever since he had started dating Sean a few months ago, he had never seen him so...anxious. He was usually very in control of his feelings and reactions. This was uncharacteristic, which meant that something must have happened.
When they parted, Sean seemed completely composed.
"Are you okay?" Nick asked, looking straight into his lover's eyes.
Sean just nodded as he moved towards the couch.
"I'll get you some wine," Nick said as he made his way to the kitchen.
He was puzzled by Sean's behavior, but he didn't want to push him. It was obvious that he was bothered by something, enough to forget his keys, which was uncharacteristic of him. Everyone knew that Captain Sean Renard was a composed, organized and efficient man. He ran his precinct strictly, but he supported his detectives and he made sure to protect them when it was necessary. For that he was greatly admired by the entire precinct.
The man had impressed Nick ever since he was assigned to the precinct as a recently minted detective. He had also been attracted to him from the very first time they met. Slowly, that had blossomed into something more and soon Nick had found himself making the first move, hoping his feelings would be reciprocated, but fearing that they wouldn't be.
Sean had seemed surprised when the rookie detective had asked him out to dinner. He had hesitated before agreeing but by the end of the night he had seemed as eager as Nick to enter into a relationship with him. They had agreed to keep it quiet, because of work and their respective roles.
With a good deal of effort, they managed to keep their personal lives away from their work. Even if at some point Nick had given Sean a key to his house, the older man didn't spend every night there. Which was good given the fact that Nick's life had become quite complicated recently. He had no idea how he could have hidden his Grimm related outings from a person as perceptive as Sean.
Not that he didn't feel guilty about hiding it from him.
But he couldn't tell him. Not only because Sean might think him crazy, but because if he did he might be putting him in even more danger than he already was by being a part of his life.
Aunt Marie had warned him to not get attached to anyone, because life as a Grimm was perilous and would put the people closest to him in mortal danger. If he wanted to protect them, he would have to push them out of his life. But Nick could not do that, no matter how selfish it might be. He loved Sean and he couldn't lose him. If he did, he would be alone.
"Everything okay in here?" Sean's soft voice pulled him from his thoughts, as he came to stand behind him, close enough that Nick could feel his breath on his neck.
"Yeah," he said quietly, their closeness making his heart beat a little faster, a familiar warmth spreading in his chest. He couldn't resist turning around to face his lover who was looking at him with a hint of concern, lust and something else that Nick could not decipher.
He wrapped his arms around Sean's neck and pulled him into a decisive kiss. Unlike the one they had shared earlier, this was not chaste. It was intense and passionate; lips parted, tongues intertwined and breaths mingled.
Sean responded by grabbing his lover's thighs and lifted him to the counter, before deepening the kiss further. Nick moaned with pleasure and gave in completely to the passion and lust that was overwhelming him.
Two hours later, Sean was in bed next to Nick, lying on his side, watching his lover sleep as he often did on nights when sleep evaded him. He knew every inch of his partner's body, his every little quirk and sound he made. Still, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the pale skin, the dark eyelashes, the dark strands of hair that fell on his forehead. The younger man looked completely at peace tonight, no lines marring his face and he was breathing in a soft even rhythm.
He looked lovely and very vulnerable.
Sean knew very well how reckless it was to fall in love with a Grimm—especially for someone like him. He had been brought up knowing that he would have to be a leader, a ruler over the Grimm-creatures. As such, he would have to uphold the ancient laws and punish the ones who broke them. Attachments, he had been taught, led to bad decisions and could ruin any man or creature. To fulfill his role he would have to be impartial and make tough decisions for his people.
In his many years, he had stood by those teachings and they had served him well. But then, Nick had come along and he had changed everything.
Having always kept an eye on Marie Kessler, Sean had been aware of the potential Grimm from the moment he came into her care. His people had watched from a far as he grew up. When Nick decided to become a cop, Sean had used his influence to make sure he would be assigned to him.
If Nick became a Grimm and the chances were, given Marie's declining health, that he would, Sean would be in the perfect position to use him. But something happened that he had not foreseen.
From the moment he met Nick he had felt the attraction. It had puzzled him at first, the intensity behind it, but he knew he could resist it. That is until Nick had asked him out. It had been a bold move and it had taken him by surprise, but what made things worse was that he had actually agreed to it.
He had told himself that he was simply trying to get closer to a potential asset, that he was not indulging in his own feelings and wants. Just one night and the damage was done. For the first time in all his long years, Sean was intrigued by a human and unheeding of his own instincts he had sought his companionship.
Knowing that it was a mistake did not deter him. There was a strange connection he felt for Nick. Certainly the younger man was attractive, but that had never before influenced Sean's decisions. No, this thing had not been just about physical attraction, from the very beginning it had been more. Nick was charming and gentle and honorable and his soul was a bright light that had Sean mesmerized.
Sean's kind rarely mated. When they did it was mostly for political reasons and scarcely to find simple companionship. They did not feel things like other creatures; their emotions were dimmed mostly because of their long lives. Living through centuries made it very easy to forget some of your emotions. Love was usually the first one to be forgotten.
There were of course legends about soul bonds, blood bonds, mystical rituals that bound individuals together so tightly that one could experience true emotions with his counterpart, but Sean had never paid them any heed, but perhaps he should have.
Even amongst his own kind, Sean was regarded as the perfect ruler. He was completely in control of his feelings, cold and rational at all times. He could fake reactions when he needed, especially when he was dealing with humans but deep down he would remain composed. Except when it came to Nick.
In many ways, his lover was his greatest weakness.
Sean knew that the protection he should provide had its limitations. The fledgling Grimm needed to learn and to find his own way. For that, Sean would have to sit back and let him drown a little before he learnt to swim. But he had kept a careful eye on him, making sure his life was not in danger. In that aspect, Nick's friendship with the Blutbad had proven useful, and Nick had been mostly kept from harm. Until the Ogre that is.
That case had made Sean furious. There had been no indication that Nick could be a target but he had kept close to him after removing Hank from the field, just to make sure nothing happened during the investigation. He had not expected the creature to attack Nick in his own home. Luckily, Juliette, who had come over for a visit had intervened and probably saved Nick's life.
Sean had been furious about the whole thing. Seeing Nick in the hospital, so weak and in pain had broken his self-control and he had been about to storm off and find the creature himself, if Adalind had not stopped him.
In the end Nick had recovered and the Ogre had been dealt with and Sean had managed still to remain in the shadows. But that no longer seemed an option.
While the Ogre was a potent enemy, the threat he had posed had been due to chance. But there were others who were targeting Nick specifically and they had made their intentions very clear.
Anger welled inside Sean as he flashed back to the call he had received earlier that night. It was a primal and directed fury towards the ones who threatened his lover, his Grimm. This threat he had to take seriously and deal with himself. The Hässlich were potent enemies and Nick could not hope to face them alone. If they came for him, Sean would intervene and they would discover very quickly how unwise such a decision was.
But there was a high probability that in doing so, he would reveal his true nature to Nick. It had been purely due to his age and experience that he had managed to keep his secret from him until now. The revelation would be a blow to Nick and Sean did know that it would be very damaging to their relationship.
He may have had good reasons but the truth was that he had lied intentionally to Nick and he would have to pay the price.
With care he bent down to place a soft kiss on Nick's forehead. The younger man stirred but didn't wake up, instead he mumbled something incomprehensible as he shifted his position and ended up even closer to Sean.
Sean couldn't help but smile, but there was a hint of sadness in it.
He would protect this man, no matter what. Even at the cost of losing him. He was that important to him.