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Seeing Through Masks

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It was a couple days after Halloween when Police Captain (and Wesen Royal) Sean Renard caught his two best detectives –not that he’d ever tell them that- harassing each other.

“Gentlemen,” he called out, coloring his tone with only the slightest bit of irony.

Nick Burkhardt reacted to the tone immediately and settled. His partner, Hank Griffin, followed his lead. Sean was always fascinated with the Grimm leading unintentionally. As the younger and less experienced cop, the dynamic should have been opposite. Sean approached their desks as Hank offered Nick a mask.

Sean intercepted it. “What is this?” he asked as he handled the heavy white fired clay.

“It’s a Dia de los Muertos mask,” Nick answered. “One of my CI’s found it and gave it to me and he’s being cagy about why, which isn’t like him. I’m not sure if it’s a clue or a warning.”

Sean eyed the stylized justice scales intricately wrapped around the eyes. Most of the mask was empty. Like the Grimm at the beginning of his career, a blank slate. Sean caught a flash of Nick’s Grimm face as he unconsciously tried to use his hereditary powers to decipher the hidden meaning.

Nick’s Grimm face matched the mask.

Sean was surprised. He knew that the Grimm was bucking centuries of tradition and was slowly but surely creating a web of Wesen ‘Confidential Informants,’ if not friends but this gift indicated a much more significant level of trust. Even those Grimms who took Wesen lovers rarely found out about their Grimm face and yet this CI willingly offered it to Nick. All Grimms’ faces began like a plain white Dia de los Muertos mask but the individualistic designs of each one were added throughout their lifetime to match their duties, actions and attitudes. No Wesen had ever traveled in the company of a Grimm long enough to see the designs change, so no one knew how or why it happened, just that it occurred. On active and older Grimm faces new designs would appear over old, removing the previous ones.

“It’s a high compliment,” Sean finally said. “See how it incorporates the eyes into the justice scales? How the scales are balanced? He’s saying that you offer just evaluations.” And that he was worthy to do so. It was an acknowledgement of Nick’s core values and a Grimm’s hereditable and oft forgotten place in the Wesen community, long before the Royals ruled. Sean should be annoyed, but the truth was written on Nick’s face, even if the Grimm couldn’t see it and never would.

Sean brought the mask to his face and breathed in. “Also, the CI lied to you. I hope he’s more honest in his other dealings with you. He didn’t find this. The oils in the paint are fresh. He either made it or commissioned it locally. This did not travel from a Mexico celebration.”

“Well, I think it’s freaky. That thing gives me the willies,” Hank confessed. And that precise reaction was why most Wesen fled from the Grimm on sight. If a Wesen didn’t fear the sight due to genetics or family horror stories, they grew angry that this Grimm had some sort of ancient authority to judge them and to carry out their sentences.

“It’s not scary,” Nick immediately refuted. “It’s stark and eye-catching and… beautiful.” Deep in his subconscious, he related to the piece of art and liked it. Nick had accepted his heritage. Good.

Sean handed the mask back to his Grimm and pronounced the final word on the matter. “It’s apt. Now get to work.”