A great capacity for adaptation was one of the strongest points for the Grimms all through history, making them gain abilities that far surpassed those of a regular human and, sometimes, even those of Wesen. Nick, in particular, was also a good and fast learner, despite what his occasional cluelessness could make people think, but there was a solid reason he was a damn good detective, and it sure as hell wasn’t his pretty blue eyes; it was more what said blue eyes could find and notice, for his mind to go over and lead him to the right conclusions.
Having had months to closely observe and study his object of interest, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Nick had learned to read his lover, even if the captain had one of the most impressive poker faces Nick had ever seen in his life. It was with that information, born of long and careful observation, that Nick chose his timing.
It certainly wasn’t the bravest thing he’d done, or a plan he was particularly proud of, but it was practical, in that it’d let him observe Sean’s reaction in the moment where he was the most emotionally open, and it’d give him a good chance to save his own pride if it turned out he had miscalculated and misunderstood everything.
So the carefully chosen moment was a Thursday pre-dawn time, at his small apartment, with the cheap bedside lamp letting the Grimm see Sean’s darkened eyes, gold-green irises a thin shining halo around wide-blown pupils. He saw all the signs on his lover’s face, heard it in his gasping breathing, felt it in the way his body moved.
He arched his back, saw the moment come as the prince was buried impossibly deep inside his body.
“Sean, Sean…” he panted, “I love you.”
He forced himself to keep his eyes open, fixed in those of the captain, to gauge the reaction, just for an instant, before it was replaced by the electric current that was their shared orgasm.
Sean collapsed on top of him, and Nick let him lie there for a couple of minutes, until lack of proper oxygenation forced him to nudge Sean to the side. They took their time to rest, and Nick was a bit disappointed when Sean didn’t answer, or even acknowledge his words in any way. Perhaps he had taken them as meaningless words, said in the heat of the moment… but he saw no rejection either, so he took his chance and said them again as they showered together the next morning.
“I love you,” he’d said against his cheek, with hot water spraying on both their bodies.
Sean looked at him, smiled, and kissed him.
There was no doubt this time, no misunderstanding about whether he meant it or not, and if it had been anyone else, they would’ve taken it the wrong way and maybe demand an answer or something even more dramatic. Or so Nick thought. Luckily, he knew his zauberbiest lover well, and so he waited.
He waited for right moments to present themselves, and in those times they didn’t, Nick made his own.
Over the course of the next weeks, he said it many times: as he handed him a cup of coffee, as they made love, as they ate breakfast or lunch together, as they watched a really bad movie on Sean’s ridiculously expensive TV… even once when he was handing in a case report. And all those times, all he got was a smile, a kiss, a shadow passing through Sean’s eyes…
It was almost a full month after the first time Nick had said the words when Sean finally addressed the matter directly.
They were at Nick’s apartment, making love after a romantic dinner they’d both sorely needed after solving a particularly gruesome case, and Sean barely managed not to crush Nick under his weight as he got his release, and strength temporarily fled his whole body.
“I love you,” Nick panted against his ear.
Time seemed to stretch as they both focused on getting their breaths back to normal. Sean looked at Nick’s slightly unfocussed eyes as he spoke.
“You keep saying that.”
Nick swallowed, because his throat was dry, not because he was nervous. Sean knew the difference full well by now.
“Even though I haven’t returned the words.”
“That’s not a good reason to not say something that is true,” he paused. “Does it bother you?”
Sean didn’t answer immediately, but he didn’t take too long, either.
“A little. But not because of what you might be thinking.”
“Then enlighten me,” Nick said, knowing his smile looked as fake as it felt, even though he rationally knew there was hope.
“I don’t... usually open up to people. The Renards would have been happier if I hadn’t been born at all. And my mother once said she loved me… when she was leaving me alone in the hands of a group of Laufer members. I once told a girl that I loved her. I was young, stupid, and naïve. It didn’t occur to me that just because she was as young as me, it wasn’t impossible of her to be an agent, or easily swayed by money and empty promises,” he half-shrugged. “She almost got me caught… and very possibly killed.”
Nick nodded gravely, as he did sometimes when Sean shared shards of his past with him.
“What happened to her?”
“The Laufer killed her.”
“She trusted the wrong people, and I had made the mistake of telling her too much.”
“So you don’t say the words,” Nick said after a long pause. “Well… I’ll just have to keep saying them to you until you believe me.”
Sean smiled, caressed his cheek.
“I do believe you, Nick.”
“Then I’ll keep saying it until you can say them back.”
That particular tone of green that overtook Sean’s eyes was pure pain, if only for an instant.
“I might never be able to.”
“Then I’ll just have to hear it in the other ways you say it. Like when you make me coffee or explain to me wesen history, or when you give me flowers,” he laughed, because that was something that had taken a bit getting used to. At the end, he’d simply accepted that Sean being European, royalty and simply Sean Renard was good enough reason to accept the occasional flower for what it really meant. “Or many other things,” he shrugged as best as he could while lying on his side. “I love you,” he repeated.
Sean smiled, then closed the space between their mouths.
Nick closed his eyes, enjoying the kiss and smiling against Sean’s lips.