Of healthy relationships.
“That’s different,” Nick protested hotly.
“How is it different, exactly?” Sean pressed, his voice not raising above a discrete whisper, even if his tone was harsh.
“Killing someone in self-defense is one thing,” Nick said, the poor door to his apartment becoming the outlet for his frustration. He entered his place and tossed his jacket over the back of the couch, too tired to properly deal with the thing at the moment. It was full of dirt, leaves and, most likely, blood. Getting dirty all over was unavoidable when dealing with hundjagers and getting rid of their bodies, even with help. He waited until Sean was inside and the door to his small apartment was closed and locked; then, he continued. “But capturing someone, bringing them somewhere else and torturing them, that’s another thing entirely.”
“As if they would show you such consideration.”
“Maybe not. But that’s what makes the difference between justice and survival, and being a plain murderer… a monster.”
Sean huffed out an unhappy laugh.
“Keep telling yourself that. At the end, Grimms are no different from other monsters as you like to call us.”
Nick rubbed a hand over his face.
“I’m not saying you’re a monster. I’m saying the potential to become one is there. If you had tortured those guys…”
“Oh, so you were saving my poor misguided soul when you killed them.”
The Grimm didn’t appreciate the sarcasm. Nor the reminder that he had killed the Verrat agents in absolute cold blood and without hesitation, if he was honest with himself.
“I was saving our lives,” he said in exasperation.
“And now we have no idea what they were doing here.”
“Well, whatever it is the Verrat does all the time!”
“They do a hell of a lot of things, Nick! That’s why we needed to know exactly what they were doing! And we maybe we could have information if you hadn’t gone ahead and just dispatched them without asking questions first! But then, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s what Grimms do.”
“Asking questions? Is that how you like to call it? It’s torture! That’s exactly what you had in mind!” he tightened his jaw. “But I guess that’s what you royals do, half-wesen or not.”
“I guess that’s what we do,” Sean gritted out. “But at least I admit to what I am, royal or bastard or half-breed. I know the kind of monster that I am. I’m not some hypocrite shedding blood and going through life pretending to be a white knight just to appease my double standards. But maybe we can’t help it… after all, such things run in the blood.”
Nick didn’t think about it. He didn’t even notice the enraged guttural sound that escaped his throat as he shoved Sean, hard, making him stumble a couple of steps back, until the wall stopped him.
Sean didn’t freeze. He reacted fast, using the wall as a support point to move, cover the space that separated them, and aiming a punch at him. Nick deflected the fist, so instead of impacting square in his plexus, it razed his ribs. It still hurt, though, and he returned it with an elbow to wherever he could land it.
Neither said a word or stopped, stumbling through the small apartment and bringing down lamps, upturning tables and chairs, knocking down random things as the mat in the middle of the living room slid to one side of the room and sent them tumbling down on the sofa, which ended resting helplessly on its back. An armrest dug into Sean’s back, and he growled, more in rage than in pain, and woged.
“Is that how we’re doing this?” Nick said though gritted teeth.
“Why? Are you scared?” he scrambled to his feet, pulling Nick up with him and slamming him into the big mirror on the wall, which exploded in a thousand shards.
The Grimm cursed, broke Sean’s hold on him with his forearms, and kicked him hard to try and put some distance between them. He knew that, no matter how strong he was, if the zauberbiest got him on his back, the size and weight differences and sheer physics would win the battle for his lover. So he took a half step back, and tackled him with all he had, not caring if he brought down the coat rack and a bookshelf along with them.
He landed on Sean’s abdomen, and experienced some animal satisfaction at knowing full well how it felt to have your breath knocked out of you.
Sean’s hand fisted on his clothes, and Nick raised an arm, high, knowing he could connect the fist directly on his lover’s unprotected face. He’d been there enough times to know the punch would break his nose, to know how the shattering bone and exploding blood vessels would feel under his hand. But this wasn’t a common criminal pinned under him, even if he had been mad with him for killing the hundjager killers before he had the chance to torture them.
The red over his vision hadn’t really faded when a quick maneuver wiped his supporting arm from under him, sending him sprawling forward to hit his chin on Sean’s solid collarbone. White pain exploded through his jaw, and his lower lip burst against his teeth. He couldn’t even feel satisfaction at the pained groan coming from the man under him.
He stayed there, down against Sean’s body, as they both tried to catch their breaths. Nick felt fingers grabbing the hair at the back of his head, but refused to get up like those fingers demanded, instead moving just enough to kiss Sean’s mouth, at that corner where his skin was not flayed by his zauberbiest form. Instantly, the strength fled those fingers, and lips parted to welcome his tongue, the hand in his hair becoming a gentle caress instead of a punishing grip as his body relaxed and looked fully human again. Tension melted from their bodies.
In no time, dirty and rumpled clothes had joined the general mess, and after a quick pause from Nick to locate a bottle of lube that had been knocked down halfway down the short hall to the tiny kitchen, they were locked close, moving together and not against each other.
A while later, Nick was bonelessly lying on top of his lover, his eyes fixed on the clogging blood on Sean’s cut brow while he let the zauberbiest lick at his split lip. He’d wondered sometimes if his lover got some kind of strange satisfaction from taking his blood and knowing his mixed heritage meant he was immune to that particular hexenbiest weakness.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Me too,” was the almost lazy answer from the prince.
“I know it makes no sense. But killing when it’s needed, and torturing someone…”
“You’ve tortured suspects before.”
“I haven’t,” Nick said, offended.
“Of course you have. Twisted arms, pressure on wounds or bruises…”
Nick took a few moments to answer.
“It’s not the same,” he protested.
“It is. It is causing pain on purpose, with a very clear goal,” and another gentle lick across the torn lip. “Just like injuring someone and killing someone, when they need to be stopped. The purpose is the same… but different levels of intensity might be needed at times.”
The Grimm didn’t say anything for a long time, content to just lie there, returning the kissing and licking slowly, almost distractedly, even as he felt the new bruises bloom under his skin. He knew Sean would be feeling the same.
“I don’t think I could ever enjoy torturing someone,” Nick said, at last.
“I don’t think you could. I know I couldn’t. That’s not the kind of men we are.”
Nick nodded, his eyes going to the cut on Sean’s brow again.
“Sorry for that.”
“Likewise,” Sean answered, sucked gently on his lip, and then kissed him once more. “I love you. Even if you’re a bit of a hypocrite at times.”
“I love you, too. Even if you can be a bit scary at times.”
They both laughed, quietly.
“You like the scary.”
Nick shrugged, conceding the point with a smile.
“Not sure I’m looking forward to cleaning up this mess,” the Grimm sighed, finally looking up at his wrecked apartment. “You should help me with the clean-up.”
“Or you could hire someone to do it.”
The Grimm gave him a raised brow.
“Every now and then, I momentarily forget who you are…”
Sean smiled, smug, and leaned up to press a kiss to his lips.
“I have a better idea,” Sean said, resting his head back down.
“Care to share?”
“Move in with me.”
Nick just stared at him.
“I mean it.”
“Just so we can demolish your expensive new house next time?” Nick said, jokingly, because this had gotten too serious, too fast.
“Some things at my house are truly irreplaceable. Their presence there might make us think twice before we do something like this again. Or we can take it out to the terrace.”
“That sounds healthy.”
“At least we won’t break things,” another kiss. “So, what do you say? Do you need to think about it?”
Sean’s smile was calm and confident, but Nick knew him too well to buy it. He knew that subtle tension around his eyes when his lover was nervous. The detective found he didn’t need to think it over.
“How long will it take you to make me some drawer space?”
The tension vaporized, replaced by that happy glint that Nick just loved seeing in those gold-green eyes.
“Two days,” he answered, then considered and corrected himself, “or one.”
“I might need help to pack.”
“Help can be hired.”
“I need to sort through some things. Some I might keep, some others I might not keep… and so on. Hired help can’t do that for me.”
“Pack a suitcase. We can replace the rest of the things.”
Nick gave him a raised brow, though he knew the effect was lessened by the grin he couldn’t wipe off his face.
“I happen to like my old, worn, peasant-cheap things, your highness.”
Sean laughed, that low, discrete sound that Nick was in love with.
“I know you do. You barbarian.”
They kissed again, and Nick started thinking on how to tell his friends that he was moving in with Sean and recruiting them to help him with the moving while at the same time minimizing Hank’s jabs and Monroe’s flooring honesty. The kiss deepened, and he winced at the sharp sting from his busted lip.
“You know… there’s something the guys have been saying…”
“What is it?”
“That we, you and me, only make progress in our relationship when there’s blood involved.”
“Is that so? Who’s been saying that?”
“Just Monroe,” and suddenly, he wasn’t so sure sharing that bit of information with his lover had been a great idea. But it was already out there, so there was no taking it back. “And Hank. And Wu…” he paused. “Rosalee and Juliette might have commented on it, too.”
Sean seemed to think about it for a moment.
“We do talk. We are talking, right now.”
“Nobody said our communication sucks, it just… kind of does happen when there is blood. I mean, it’s just something they’ve pointed out, and I think they’re not too wrong.”
“Not that many times.”
“They’re just jealous.”
Nick wondered on something else, and decided to ask the question, since they were doing that at the moment.
“Sean, can I ask you something?”
“Do you like the taste of blood?”
The prince smiled, and kissed him again.