When King Frederick decides to conduct an Electio Sponsae for his son, Captain Sean Renard, it sends Portland, particularly the wesen community, and the Grimm and his friends, into a flurry of efforts to ensure Sean isn't married off to someone undesirable.
Set in a universe where everyone (except Sean's royal family) are friends.
Light-hearted fluff for the lead-up to Christmas.
Incorporating audio and images, along with text.
Wishing the Grimm fandom a very merry Christmas from @tolieawake, @TeamRenhardt and @wesen90
(12 chapters posted over 12 days, starting 13 Dec)
Chapter 2: Day 1
With so many deaths in the 'family', Sean's father decides to conduct the Electio Sponsae - where potential 'brides' can petition to marry Sean.
there is an embedded audio file in here, if it isn't showing up properly for you, please try another browser. Unfortunately I have yet to figure out why, but it works in one of my browsers (chrome) but not the other (firefox).
Sean glanced up at the knock on his door. Sergeant Wu was standing there, a slightly bemused look on his face.
"There's a 'Misitque Rex' – his words not mine – here to see you," the sergeant said.
Sean frowned. "Really," he asked. Then he sat back with a sigh. "Send him in."
Nodding, Wu ducked back out of the office.
The man who entered after the sergeant was dressed in a suit, high-end, with a briefcase in one hand.
"Prince Sean," he said, coming to a halt before the Captain's desk.
Leaning casually back in his chair, Sean surveyed him.
"I bring a message from your father," the man said. "May I?" He motioned towards the desk.
Sean nodded shortly.
Lifting his briefcase, the man placed it down on the desk, flicking the locks and lifting the lid. He spun it around to face the Captain.
Staring down at the contents, Sean refused to let any emotion cross his face as he reached out, lifting them out one by one.
A thin silver circlet, a thick piece of parchment, latin writing etched in gold crossing it, the Renard family crest proudly displayed, and a small decorative silver dagger. He glanced up at the other man. "Message received," he said.
Nodding in a half-bow, the man closed the briefcase, backing towards the door, before turning and leaving.
Sean turned back to the items on his desk, a brief frown crossing his face.
Bounding up the stairs towards the bullpen, Nick grinned. He and Hank had just wrapped up their case - so neatly that he was hoping they would be able to get out of there early.
Entering the bullpen, he glanced towards the Captain's office. Something about the stiff set of the other man's shoulders had Nick changing direction.
Knocking on the door-frame, he poked his head into the Captain's office, not waiting for a reply.
"Hey," he said, "do you have a minute?"
The Captain glanced up. "Of course," he said, motioning Nick inside.
Stepping inside, Nick closed the door behind him. "Is everything okay?" he asked.
Sean gave him a considering look. His relationship with the Grimm had changed over the years, growing and developing as each had learnt to trust the other and be open and honest about their dealings. He had slowly been included in the Grimm’s group of friends, and knew the other man considered him as such – but there were still times when Nick’s genuine concern and ability to see when something was troubling Sean still took him by surprise.
“Just a message from my father,” Sean replied, motioning towards the items still laid out on his desk. Nick took a step closer, taking them in. He blinked.
“No,” Sean replied.
Nick pouted. “I didn’t even say anything!” he exclaimed.
Sean fixed him with a disbelieving look. “You didn’t have to,” he replied, “and No. I am not putting it on.”
Still pouting, Nick glanced down at the silver circlet, mind whirling as he imagined how it would look placed upon his Captain’s head. A grin tugged at the corners of his lips.
“What’s it say?” he asked. “The message?”
Sighing, Sean poked at the parchment with one finger, a look of distaste crossing his face. “It’s notification that my father has decided to conduct the Electio Sponsae in regards to me.”
Nick frowned. “The what?” he asked.
“The Electio Sponsae – or Bride Choice,” Sean explained. “No doubt in response to the sudden, diminishing, of the family,” he shared a glance with Nick as they thought of Eric and Kenneth – both dead after their dealings with Portland’s Prince and its Grimm, “he has decided that it is important that I carry on the family line.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” Nick said. “This is some kind of, arranged marriage thing?”
“More along the lines of throwing a ball where the Prince must choose a Princess, but yes,” Sean agreed. “Essentially, in many ways, it’s an arranged marriage.”
Nick whistled. “Just when I thought your family couldn’t get any worse,” he said. “You don’t actually have to do anything about it, though, right?” he asked. “I mean, you can just refuse?”
“I could,” Sean agreed, “if I wanted to offend every Potential Princess invited to the thing, along with their families, any wesen who hold with the Old Ways, not to mention my own family. Those who are offended in such a way would likely retaliate by trying to have me killed.”
Nick scowled. “I’d like to see them try,” he muttered, which coaxed a small grin from his Captain at his Grimm’s protectiveness. And yes, he, too, would enjoy seeing Nick cutting off anyone who wanted to do him harm. What he didn’t want was to see the effect such actions would have on Portland.
“Just, tell them you’re already in a relationship,” Nick suggested.
“I could,” Sean agreed, “but that wouldn’t stop the Electio Sponsae. All it would do would be to ensure that person was able to participate in it as one of the Potentials.”
“Seriously?” Nick gaped at him.
Smiling tightly, Sean nodded. “Perhaps it won’t be so bad,” he said, though Nick could tell he thought it doubtful. “Perhaps there will be at least one tolerable Potential.”
Nick didn’t examine the twisting feeling in his gut too closely.
Nick: Addie. Dearest, loveliest, Addie!
Adalind: What do you want?
Nick: How do we get Sean out of an Electio Sponsae?
Adalind: His father’s announced an Electio Sponsae?
Nick: that’s what he said. And he had, like, some parchment, a circlet and a small dagger sitting on his desk.
Adalind: this is bad. Yes, that’s for the Electio Sponsae. But I don’t know of any way to stop one.
Nick: there has to be something. Meet you at the Spice Shop later?
Adalind: only if you bring the wine. We’re going to need it.
“Okay,” said Sergeant Wu, glancing around them, before fixing Hank and Nick with a serious gaze. “Does someone,” his gaze switched solely to Nick, “want to tell me exactly why the Captain has a knife, mini crown and old-style Hogwarts letter on his desk?”
Nick shrugged. “Well,” he said, “you know how in Cinderella the King throws a ball so that the Prince can choose a Princess?...” he let his voice trail of leadingly.
“You don’t mean?” Wu asked.
Letting out a short whistle, Wu glanced back over towards the Captain’s office. “So glad I’m not him,” he said. “What are we doing about it?”
“Meeting at the Spice Shop after work,” Nick replied.
“I hope you’re bringing reinforcements on this one.”
Pushing his way into the Spice Shop, Nick shook his head to try and brush the chill from it. The days were getting colder and colder as Christmas approached, and he was feeling it.
Looking up, he blinked at the strands of twinkling lights that flashed back at him. Grinning, Nick turned towards Rosalee.
“I see Monroe’s managed to get some of his decorations into the shop,” he said.
“He has,” Rosalee agreed. She leant forward across the counter confidentially. “But really,” she said, “when he does that thing with this tongue – who am I to argue?”
She shared a sharp grin with Nick.
“Oh, I know that grin!” called a voice. Turning, they watched Adalind push her way into the shop, rubbing her hands together as she did so. She grinned at them. “So, what juicy tidbit are we sharing today?”
Nick: if I kill your father, will that fix things?
Sean: And you know you shouldn’t text things like that. Someone may think you’re serious.
Nick: I am serious. If he’s dead, he can’t throw this Electio Sponsae, can he?
Sean: He can’t. But, doubtless, the families would insist it go ahead – like fulfilling his last wish or something.
Groaning, Nick let his head rest upon the ancient book spread open before him.
“You know, that’s not going to help you read it,” Adalind commented.
Nick waved her off. “I don’t think me reading it is going to help anything,” he said.
“Everything I’ve found suggests that there’s no way to get out of an Electio Sponsae without gravely offending, like, everyone,” Rosalee exclaimed, slamming her book shut. She sighed. “Sorry, this is just… well, it makes me mad to think of Sean’s family treating him like this.”
“You’re not the only one,” Nick assured her, getting nods of assent from everyone else in the room.
“Where is the Prince, anyway?” Monroe asked, “shouldn’t he be here?” He glanced over at Wu.
“Why are you looking at me?” the sergeant asked, “just ‘cos I know everything that happens at the station doesn’t mean I know what he does outside of work. Nick?”
“Hmm?” Nick glanced up. He’d pulled some paper over towards himself and was studiously drawing something on it.
“The Captain?” Wu asked.
“Oh, he’s got some meeting with the Mayor this evening,” Nick replied, turning back to his papers. There were a few raised eyebrows shown between the guys, a few knowing glances between the girls.
“I give up!” Monroe said. “This isn’t working.”
“Not unless we want to put a Potential into the pool that we know Sean will be willing to marry,” Adalind said. “That’s the only way to deal with this that I’ve ever heard of.” She glanced over towards Nick. Rosalee grinned.
“Nick,” Adalind asked, frowning at the papers spread out before him. “What do you have there?”
“Huh?” Glancing up, Nick stretched, moving back from the pictures. “Oh,” he said, “I’ve just been writing up plans for how to deal with this,” he explained, all calm-like.
Adalind’s eyes narrowed. “I see,” she said. “You want to share them?”
Leaning over Nick, Hank stared down at the papers. “Those are not plans,” he said, “those are….”
Monroe also leant over. “Dude!” he exclaimed. “Do you, like, have plans to kill every member of the seven royal families here or something?!”
Nick shrugged. “If that’s what it takes,” he said.
“Let’s shelve those plans for now,” Hank decided, pulling the papers away from his partner.
“Did you find anything else?” Nick asked.
“We have one possible solution,” Rosalee said.
“Sean picks someone he’s willing to marry – then we make sure they get to be one of the Potentials.”
Nick gaped at her. “That’s not fixing it!” he exclaimed, “he’s still being forced to marry someone!”
“He is,” Adalind agreed, “but it would be someone he chose, not someone there because his family thought they were a good pick.”
“That’s it,” he said, “I’m bringing out the big guns.”
“The big guns?” Wu asked.
“Does this mean we’re making a trip to trailer?” Monroe wanted to know.
Nick shot them a glance, fishing in his pocket. “I’m telling Elizabeth,” he replied.
Nick: Elizabeth, sorry to interrupt your evening. But it seems Sean’s father is being an ass. Again :( He sent Sean a message today, something about an Electio Sponsae? What do you know about it? What can we do?
Elizabeth: Apologies for my late reply, Nick, dear. I’m afraid I had to blow off some steam before I could answer. Yes, I know about the Electio Sponsae. Unfortunately, from what I recall, there is no way to get out of it without causing the equivalent of a war. And you and I both know Sean won’t do that.
Nick: I have plans to kill off the seven royal families. Attachment: Plans.pdf
Elizabeth: Oh, I needed that! Thank you for sharing, my boy. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time.
Nick: I’m serious.
Elizabeth: I know. That’s why I was able to laugh.
Elizabeth: the only option I can think of off the top of my head would be for Sean to choose someone he wants to marry, and then we can ensure that person is placed into the Potentials pool.
Nick: that’s what Adalind said
Elizabeth: well, she does know her royal politics. She couldn’t think of anything else?
Nick: No :( and Rosalee also looked through all her books. And we went through the ones from the trailer.
Elizabeth: I’ll have a look through mine this evening. But perhaps you better start thinking of ways to convince my son he needs to pick someone
Nick: Thanks, Elizabeth
Elizabeth: anything for my boys
Standing in front of his mirror, Sean examined himself. It was a face he had seen many times before. One he had grown used to. He had also, he realised, grown used to the freedom and friendship he had found in Portland.
He was not the closed off, defensive man he had once been.
But he had forgotten just how easily his father’s side of the family could destroy everything he worked towards.
His phone rang. Sighing, he picked it up, blinking as he saw the name on the screen.
“Mother,” he said.
“Sean, dear,” Elizabeth replied, voice sweet, but with a hint of steel beneath that let him know she was not pleased. “Explain to me just why I had to hear about the Electio Sponsae from Nicholas?”
Sean grimaced. “I only received the message today,” he said, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
“And I should have been the first person you told!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “You think I’m going to stand idly by and let your father -”
“You can’t do anything,” he cut her off. Sighing, Sean dropped back onto his bed, staring up at his ceiling. “There’s no way out of it,” he said. “I know. I looked – back when I was younger and feared it was something he might do.” He let out a soft laugh. “He’s left me basically alone for so long, that I thought I had nothing to fear in that area.”
“Oh, Sean,” Elizabeth replied. “Who have you told?”
“Just Nick, but I didn’t ask him to keep it to himself, so no doubt he’s told the rest of the group by now,” Sean admitted.
Elizabeth smiled softly to hear him talking of ‘the group’, and not in a political sense. “Good,” she said. “They can support you.” She paused, wondering if it would be better coming from her, or Nick? “You know,” she said, “there is one way to try and get around it.”
“There is?” Sean asked.
“Yes. Pick someone. Pick someone you’re willing to marry, and we’ll make sure they become one of the Potentials.”
Sean shook his head. “I can’t ask that of anyone,” he said.
“And if they offer?”
“Who would offer that? To marry me?” There was an underlying tone of self-derision Elizabeth wanted to smack her son for.
“You know -”
“I know there are many who would marry me for politics,” Sean replied. “But I… I don’t want that,” he admitted.
“And I’m not suggesting it,” Elizabeth replied. “Just… think about whether there’s anyone you would like to be marry – or at least be willing to. Someone you could get along with.”
“Think about it,” she insisted.
Nick: Just wanted to check on you
Sean: I’m fine
Nick: No, you’re not
Sean: Fine. I’m not.
Nick: want me to come over?
Sean: Thank you, Nick, but it’s rather late. And you need your sleep.
Nick: so do you :)
Sean: I’ll see you in the morning
Nick: I’ll be there, with bells on!
Nick: probably not. But considering the fact that Monroe’s Christmas decorations have managed to make it into the Spice Shop, who knows what could happen?
Sean: Sleep well, Nick
Nick: you too, Sean
Chapter 3: Day 2
Sean's being stubborn about picking someone to stand as a Potential, Nick is determined not to let Sean's father win, and Elizabeth gives the boys some advice...
Nick woke to the sound of someone moving around downstairs. Suppressing a groan, he pushed himself out of bed, grabbing his kanabo from by his bedroom door and gun from the top of the dresser.
Slipping down the stairs, he raised his gun before him, listening carefully.
Sighing, he lowered it, stepping into the kitchen. “Elizabeth,” he said.
The blonde woman glanced up, smiling at him. “Nick, dear,” she said, “I hope you don’t mind me popping over.”
“Of course not,” Nick replied. Placing his weapons down, he stepped forward as she held out her arms, allowing her to wrap them around him. Turning his head, Nick placed a kiss upon her cheek.
“Did you find anything?” he asked, stepping back from the hug.
“No,” Elizabeth replied. She scowled down at the kitchen table.
Turning towards the coffee pot, Nick had to hold himself back from hitting it. “You’re sure I can’t just kill them all?” he asked.
“While I, personally, would love that,” Elizabeth replied. “I have a feeling Sean would have a problem with it.”
Making a face, Nick turned back to her, cup of coffee in his hand. “You’re right,” he agreed with a sigh.
“Which means,” said Elizabeth, “we need to convince my son to pick someone he’s willing to spend his life with.”
“I was thinking about that,” said Nick. “When I suggested he just tell his father he was already dating someone – he said that would only get them listed as one of the Potentials – rather than getting the whole thing called off.”
Elizabeth nodded. “It is the easiest way to get someone listed as a Potential,” she agreed. “But it would need to be someone the families would believe he’d been dating for a while.” She gave Nick a speculative look, but he didn’t appear to see it.
Nick’s phone rang.
“Burkhardt,” he answered. Making a face, he listened to the call before turning back towards the stairs. “Sorry, Elizabeth,” he said, “death calls.”
She waved him off.
With a grin, Nick hurried up the stairs to get dressed, returning moments later to give the Captain’s mother another kiss on the cheek and disappear out the front door.
Elizabeth watched him go fondly.
“So,” Wu asked, as Nick was bent down over the middle-aged man spread out upon the ground, lying in a pool of his own blood. “Any progress?”
Nick glanced up at him. “We just got here,” he said.
Wu rolled his eyes. “I meant with our other problem,” he replied.
Nick scowled. A few nearby wesen drew back nervously, but it was a testament to Nick’s reputation in the community that they didn’t flee. “Elizabeth checked her books, too,” he said, “and nothing. There’s no way to call it off now it’s been announced.”
Wu shook his head in disgust.
“So we’re back to looking at Potentials?” Hank asked.
“Yeah,” Nick agreed. “If Sean tells his father he’s been dating someone for a while, they automatically get listed as one of the Potentials.” He frowned. “I still think I should just chop off all of their heads.” There was more nervous shuffling from the wesen on-lookers.
“As enjoyable as that would be,” Wu replied. “I am not dealing with the Captain should you do so.”
Nick grimaced in agreement.
Nick: stuck at a crime scene :(
Sean: And you felt the need to inform me of this, because?
Nick: I figured you’d be missing my awesomeness over there
Sean: Do I need to schedule you another appointment with the department shrink?
Nick: harsh. Did I at least make you smile?
Nick: yes, you did!
Nick: not even a little one?
Sean: Get back to work, Detective
Nick: Aye, aye, Captain, Sir!
Stepping into the bullpen, Nick glanced around. There was a strange feeling in the air. He’d come to know various detectives and officers who were wesen over the years, particularly as his friendship and allegiance with the Captain grew, and he noted that they seemed somewhat on edge.
Which likely meant there was something wrong regarding the Captain.
For all they acted, for the most part, as though they were no different to anyone else, Nick had found the wesen community to be insanely protective of their Prince.
Considering how he’d heard that the rest of the royal families treated their subjects, he wasn’t surprised. The Captain was what a Prince should be.
Moving over to the Captain’s office, Nick knocked on the door-frame, sticking his head inside.
Sean glanced up. “Nick,” he said.
“Miss me?” Nick asked, grinning his boyish grin.
“Considering how often you remind me of your presence, I never seem to have time to miss you,” Sean replied.
Still grinning, Nick moved into the office. “ Hey, Addie,” he said, noting the lawyer sitting to the side. She was dressed professionally, as always, though she didn’t appear that pleased. Nick glanced between them. “What’s going on?” he asked.
Sighing, Adalind smoothed out her skirt, giving Sean a glare. “His Highness is being difficult,” she replied.
Nick raised an eyebrow. Adalind rarely called Sean by any of his titles, their relationship close enough that it was not needed. When she did, it usually meant she was annoyed at him.
Taking a seat, Nick turned to Sean. “What have you done, now?” he asked.
Sean scowled at him. “Who said I did anything?”
Nick motioned towards Adalind. “You just got called ‘your highness’,” he replied. “Pretty sure that means you did something.”
“He’s trying to partition off his power in the canton into sections to be delegated to others,” Adalind explained.
“What?!” Nick exclaimed, coming to his feet. “Are you insane?!”
Sean gave him a stern, yet somewhat tired, glare. “As I don’t know who I will end up being tied to at the end of these 12 days,” he said, “it seems prudent to ensure they will be unable to have any control over the Canton.”
“Twelve days?” Nick asked.
Sean nodded. “From the announcement of the Electio Sponsae until the choosing of a Partner is twelve days. This is day two.”
Nick gaped at him. “I’ll kill them,” he said.
“You cannot kill them,” Sean replied.
“I can too!” Nick argued, folding his arms over his chest and sticking his lower lip out.
Sean pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “While I’m sure you could ,” he said, “you won’t.”
Nick narrowed his eyes.
“You won’t,” Sean repeated.
“Fine,” Nick replied with a pout. “I won’t. Yet.”
Adalind cleared her throat. “Much as I enjoy watching you two interact,” she said, “there are decisions that need to be made.” She made a face, as though she completely disagreed with those decisions.
“Not yet,” Nick cut in, when Sean appeared about to say something. He shot the Grimm a look. Nick rolled his eyes. “Look,” he said, “while we haven’t found a way to stop the whole thing yet,” once more, Sean was touched by the genuine concern his friends in Portland had for him, “there is a possibility...”
“Which is?” Sean asked when Nick’s words trailed off.
Nick sighed. “You choose someone you want to marry,” he said, “and we make sure they become one of the Potentials.”
Sean frowned, opening his mouth to reply, when Wu stuck his head into the office.
“Sorry to interrupt,” he said, “but there’s been another homicide, like the one this morning.”
“Right,” Nick agreed, pushing himself to his feet. He glanced back at Sean. “Don’t sign anything away yet,” he said, “the twelve days aren’t up, and we will figure something out.”
Nick spent most of the rest of his day running around, tracking down their killer – which concluded with a foot chase through the park in the evening. The perp was unlucky enough to have tried to run from a Grimm – one who was particularly frustrated with circumstances at the current time and enjoyed the opportunity to work off some energy.
Glancing down at his phone, he grimaced at the time. Juliette, one of the first people he met when he moved to Portland, a good friend, and current house-mate, had spent the last week visiting her parents for an early Christmas. He was meant to be picking her up from the train station. Five minutes ago.
Nick: Sorry! Got caught up in a case. On my way, now.
Juliette: no worries. Train was late, anyway.
Pulling up outside the train station, Nick saw Juliette waiting for him. She grinned as she saw him pull up, moving over to open the car door and toss her carry on inside.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey,” Nick replied. “How are your parents?”
“Good,” she replied, slipping into the front seat beside him. “Mom tried to get me to stay longer – as always. Until Dad reminded her they’re going on a cruise, hence the early Christmas.” She shot him a grin. “How about things here?”
“That good, huh.”
So Nick proceeded to tell her.
Sitting back, Juliette tried to wrap her mind around what Nick had told her. “So,” she said. “Sean’s father is organising a marriage for him, and the only way we’ve found so far to help out is to place someone we choose as one of the Potentials?”
“Yeah,” Nick agreed.
“So, when are you going to offer?” Juliette asked.
Nick frowned. “Offer what?” he asked.
She rolled her eyes. “To be Sean’s long-time lover and therefore one of the Potentials,” she said.
Nick gaped at her. “Why would you suggest -” he began.
“Road!” Juliette snapped, making Nick turn back to watch where he was going. He shook his head.
“I can’t suggest that,” he said.
“It’s… it’s… presumptuous!”
“And who else would you suggest?”
Scowling, Nick concentrated on his driving. Truth was, he’d been thinking on it all day, and there wasn’t anyone else he wanted to suggest. Sean didn’t find it easy to trust or let people close to him. Their small group of friends were really the only ones he was close to. He supposed that maybe Adalind or Juliette could pretend to have been dating Sean. But the very thought made his stomach twist into knots.
Juliette: Nick just filled me in one what’s going on. I may need some help convincing him of the right course of action.
Elizabeth: Is he being stubborn again?
Juliette: more like thick-headed. A blind person could see how much he loves Sean, but he won’t suggest himself as a Potential!
Elizabeth: That does sound like Nicholas. You should see his solution to the situation. Attached: plans.pdf.
Juliette: Oh my! He is so smitten!
Elizabeth: Should I stop round to talk with him?
Juliette: that would be great. We’re almost home.
It was after dinner, as Nick was washing up, and still tossing up, and rejecting, possible Potentials in his mind, that Elizabeth waltzed into the kitchen. He blinked at her, considering mentioning the fact that they have a doorbell, before deciding not to bother.
“Elizabeth,” he said.
“Nicholas!” she replied. “Juliette! How lovely to see you both.” She fixed Nick with a stern look. “Nick, darling, do you like my son?” she asked.
Nick blinked at her once more. “Uh -” he said.
“Do you want to help him with this terrible situation his father has put him in?” she continued.
“Of course!” Nick exclaimed.
“Then why are you here?” she asked.
Nick gaped at her.
Elizabeth sighed, shaking her head. “My son is incredibly stubborn,” she said. “I have informed him that he needs to pick someone we can place as a Potential but he refuses to do so.”
“What?” Nick asked. “Why?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “He seems to think no-one would want to marry him,” she replied.
Nick scowled. “Half of Portland seems to want to marry him at times,” he replied. The plate he was scrubbing creaked, and he stepped backwards, letting it slip into the sink so that he didn’t break it. “Not to mention this entire stupid tradition where people will be vying to marry him.”
“Yes,” Elizabeth agreed. “However, he seems to think no-one would want to marry him for him. Or want to spend their lives with him.” She shot Nick a look out of the corner of her eyes. “I told him he doesn’t have to be in love with them. Just like them and trust them enough to marry them. You don’t think you could have a chat to my son, do you?”
“I will,” Nick decided, turning away from the sink and giving Elizabeth a resolute look. “He needs to pick someone.”
“Excellent,” Elizabeth replied, reaching out to grasp Nick’s hands. “I knew I could count on you!”
Blushing, Nick looked down and away. “I just want what’s best for him,” he said.
“I know you do,” she agreed. “It’s why I like you so much.”
Glancing up, Nick grinned at her, eyes lighting up.
Nick: on my way to yours
Nick: which means you better be there
Sean: And if I had other plans this evening?
Nick: cancel them
Feeling unaccountably nervous, Nick wiped his hands against his jeans as he waited for the lift to take him up to Sean’s penthouse apartment. He had been there to visit the other man many times, and couldn’t understand why he suddenly felt nervous at the idea.
“Nick,” Sean greeted him as he knocked on the door, opening it wide to let the Grimm inside.
“Hey,” Nick replied, almost jiggling in place. It was best to just get it over and done with, he decided.
He drew a deep breath.
“You need to choose someone,” he said.
Sean blinked at him. “I need to…?” he asked.
Nick nodded. “Yes. You can’t go letting your father pick someone for you. Which means we need to put someone in as a Potential – so you need to choose someone!”
“I can’t ask -”
Nick scoffed, cutting him off. “Are you insane?” he asked. “Anyone, anyone, would be lucky to have you ask that of them! If there’s no-one you love like that, then, at least pick someone you trust. Someone who will be good for the canton!” He paused. “That, or let me go kill them all,” he added.
Glancing up, Nick was surprised to see Sean fixing him with a serious look.
“Sean?” he asked.
“Will you?” the other man said.
Nick blinked. “Will I what?” he asked.
“Will you be one of my Potentials?” Sean asked. “Will you agreed to stand as a Potential knowing I plan on choosing you? That you would need to marry me?”
Nick stared at him. His mouth went dry, mind screeching to a halt. In the back of his head, someone seemed to be screaming ‘Yes!’ very, very loudly.
Sean blinked. “You will?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Nick agreed, heart pounding rapidly in his chest. “I will. I’d be honoured.”
Sean smiled. “Thank you,” he said.
Attachment: plans.pdf (part one)
Chapter 4: Day 3
Adalind tries to teach Nick royal etiquette, Trubel returns, and Nick asks Bud to ask the wesen community to say he and Sean have been dating for a while...
Juliette: Guess who didn't come home last night? ;)
Elizabeth: Perhaps we won't have to lock them in a closet together...
Hank: I don't want to know. I *really* don't want to know!
Wu: Details? (for the betting pool, of course, I personally have no interest in knowing)
Adalind: Spill! ;)
Trubel: Wait, wait, wait! You mean, Nick didn't come home last night?! What's been happening while I've been gone?
Juliette: So. Much! When do you get back?
Trubel: this afternoon. Wait 'til you see the ride I got!
Juliette: Does Nick know about this new ride?
Juliette: You can be the one to tell him about it
Stretching, Nick reached out for his phone. Thankful, for once, that he hadn't been woken by his phone - or anything else really.
He felt particularly well-rested and content.
Blinking up at the ceiling, he frowned. That wasn't his ceiling. But it was somehow familiar.
Sitting up, he realised he was in the Captain's spare bedroom. That's right - he'd stayed at the Captain's the night before, talking about anything and everything... he must have fallen asleep at some stage and the other man had put him to bed.
Pushing down the blush that wanted to rise, and studiously ignoring the warmth pooling in his gut, Nick got up.
He found Sean in the kitchen, frying omelets. He was barefoot, pajama pants slung low around his hips.
Swallowing, Nick forced himself to drag his eyes away from the flex of those long muscles along his Captain's back.
Then again, a little voice inside his head reminded him, he was going to be marrying the man.
The thought was still so foreign.
"Morning," Sean said, turning to face him.
"Morning," Nick replied, blushing once more as he ran his hand through his hair. "Sorry to fall asleep on you last night."
Sean's eyes softened as he regarded the Grimm. "It was no problem," he replied.
Juliette: he's still not back!
Adalind: at Sean's. Will survey the situation ;)
Knocking on Sean's door, Adalind smiled to see Nick opening it.
"Nick, darling," she said, smiling brightly at him.
"Addie," he replied cautiously.
"Tell me this means half our problems are solved?" she demanded, pushing her way in.
"Nick has graciously agreed to stand as one of my Potentials," Sean said, joining them in the living room.
Adalind let out what may have been called (by far stupider men than they were) a squeal.
"Excellent!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands together. "Congratulations! Both of you!"
Nick started. That was right. He'd just agreed to get married. He was, effectively, engaged.
Even if he still had to go through all the motions of making it through the Electio Sponsae.
"Right," said Adalind. "This means you and I," she motioned towards Nick, "will need to go over etiquiette and things."
Nick frowned. "I know how to behave," he said.
"Maybe," Adalind replied. "As a human male. As a Potential in an Electio Sponsae, not so much."
"You can always back out," Sean told him, voice emotionless.
Nick shot the other man a glare. "Not gonna happen," he replied.
Adalind: He was at Sean's!
Adalind: although it looks like he slept in the spare bedroom
Adalind: But, we do have our Potential!
Rosalee: Thank goodness. I was beginning to think we were going to have to stage an intervention.
Juliette: pretty sure that's what Elizabeth did last night ;)
Stepping out of the front of Sean's apartment building, Nick glanced back towards where he knew the Captain's apartment was.
It felt incredibly strange to think that, baring the next ten days all going well, he was engaged.
Turning back to the street, he nodded at a family of mauzhertz, who were staring at him in shock.
Pushing away any thoughts about that - after all, he generally found those wesen to be rather timid when faced with a Grimm, Nick headed towards the Precinct.
Hank was already there when Nick arrived, plugging away at his paperwork.
"I don't want to know," he said, holding up one hand when Nick opened his mouth to speak.
Nick pouted. "You don't even know what I was going to say!" he complained.
"Let's just say that Juliette has been sharing with us all this morning," Hank replied, "and I'd like to think about something else for a bit."
Still pouting, Nick dropped down into his chair. "Adalind reckons she's going to have to teach me manners - etiquette," he complained.
Hank laughed. "Really?" he asked. "Aren't you a lucky guy?"
Nick threw a pen at him.
"Perhaps she does need to teach you manners."
Nick glanced up to see Captain Benson standing by their desk. He nodded at the steinadler. "Captain," he said.
Benson gave him a smile, though there was an intrigued look in his eyes. "Know when we'll be graced with the Prince's presence?" he asked.
Nick shrugged. "He was still at home when I left this morning," he said. Benson's lips twitched. "But I think Adalind was determined to get her claws into him, so..." he let his voice trail off.
"So nice to know what you really think of me," Adalind called, sweeping into the room as though she owned the place.
Hank, who had angrily opened his mouth in order to tell Nick to shut up, slowly closed his mouth.
Nick hid a grin at his partner's reaction to the blonde's presence.
"You know I love you, Addie," he replied.
She smiled down at him. "Not as much as you love Sean," she said.
Nick shrugged. "Sorry, Addie," he replied. "But he's just got some things you don't." He winked at her.
Hank choked. "That's it!" he declared. "I'm going to find someone sane to spend some time with."
Having sat through over an hour of Adalind explaining to him - in detail - which knife and fork to use when, and the numerous forms of address for various royalty and courtiers and when to use each one, Nick was ecstatic to escape when Sean popped his head into the interrogation room Adalind had appropriated, saying he needed to speak to her.
Nodding, the blonde got to her feet, elegantly following the Captain from the room.
Also taking the chance to spring to his feet and make a getaway, Nick headed in the other direction.
"I love you, Sir!" he called back to them. "You're a life saver!"
A few officers and a couple of detectives paused to give Detective Burkhardt a speculative look.
"I don't know whether to be offended or pleased," Adalind said.
"Go with pleased," Sean told her. "In Nick's case, it makes everything easier in the long run."
Nick: Any dead bodies? At all???
Wu: surprisingly, Portland appears to have made it through a morning without any murder being committed. So, no, sorry. Why?
Nick: just escaped Adalind. I need something to keep me busy!
Hank: there's a pile of paperwork sitting on your desk
Nick: as tempting as that is, Adalind's at the Precinct, so I can't go back there
Driving aimlessly around, Nick smiled at all the Christmas decorations strung up over the place. Lights and tinsel and fake santas and reindeer were everywhere.
Spotting Bud's shop, he pulled over, before getting out and deciding to say hi.
"Nick!" Bud exclaimed when he entered. "How are you?"
"Well," Nick said, "I just had a very close brush with a hexenbiest."
Bud's eyes widened in surprise and horror.
"No!" he breathed.
"Oh yeah," Nick agreed. "If it weren't for Sean I'm sure Adalind would still be torturing me."
Relaxing at Adalind's name, Bud gave Nick a slightly fond, slightly exasperated look.
"Really?" he asked.
Nick nodded. "Don't believe her if she says she just wants to talk about etiquette!" he said. "I'm fairly sure she's brushing up on a new version of torture."
"Why would she want to teach you etiquette?" Bud asked.
"Oh, for the Electio Sponsae thing. Speaking of -"
"The what?!" Bud exclaimed. "The King's throwing an Electio Sponsae for the Prince?"
"Yeah," Nick agreed. "Do you think you and the others at the Lodge - and anyone else you think would help out, could do something for us?"
"Of course," Bud agreed. "What can we do?"
"Well," said Nick, "if anyone asks, can you tell them that Sean and I have been dating for a while?"
"Sure," Bud agreed.
"I mean, I know it's probably coming out of nowhere, but -"
"Oh, no, we already know about your relationship," Bud reassured him, cutting the Grimm off.
Nick blinked. "You do?" he asked.
"Sure," Bud agreed. "Everyone does. I mean, you guys are kinda obvious." He gave Nick a grin. "We just haven't said anything yet 'cos neither of you had said anything, so we figured, you know, you'd rather it be kept quiet - and we were respecting that. By not saying anything.
"Does this mean it's out in the open now? Only I know a number of folks at the Lodge who have just been dying for the official announcement to be made so that they can offer you their congratulations. We're really very pleased for you.
"Have been. This whole time."
"Right," Nick agreed. "Thanks."
He considered saying something about the fact that they hadn't actually been dating - but figured it was best if the wesen community thought they were telling the royals the truth when saying he and Sean had been dating for some time.
After all, that was what he'd hoped to convince them to say. He just wasn't quite sure why they were so certain that they had been.
Leaving Bud's shop, Nick pulled his phone from his pocket.
He was, he admitted, somewhat surprised and unsettled by Bud's assurance and that the whole wesen community already knew he and Sean had been dating.
What were they seeing that Nick wasn't?
Still, he also wasn't entirely sure he trusted this whole Potential process, or the royals to play fair.
Nick: When are you getting back?
Trubel: this afternoon. Why?
Nick: may need your help with something. Attachment: plans.pdf
Trubel: Count me in! Those are my kind of plans!
Trubel: why the sudden interest in killing off the Captain's family?
Nick: long story. Tell you when you get here.
Heading back to the station, Nick frowned.
He hadn't, he realised, spoken to Sean before deciding to speak to Bud. Hadn't asked the other man if he was comfortable with the entire wesen community claiming that they'd be in a relationship for some time.
Yes, he knew it was implied considering the fact that they were going to have to say that to Sean's father.
But he wasn't entirely sure he'd done the right thing in spreading it out to the community.
Was he simply projecting his own wants?
Nick: may have done something stupid
Nick: told Bud to tell the community to say that Sean and I have been dating for a while
Rosalee: isn't that the plan? To get you placed as a Potential based on your long-term relationship?
Nick: yeah. But I didn't ask Sean first.
Rosalee: I don't think he's going to mind
Nick: what if I'm just subconsciously using this as a way to get what I want? I don't want to take advantage of him!
Rosalee: talk to him
Nick: but Rosie!
Rosalee: TALK to him!
Entering the station, Nick climbed up the stairs to the Robbery and Homicide division.
He noticed as he went that a few of his colleagues gave him either nods or speculative looks.
He grimaced, wondering just what rumour was making the rounds now.
Reaching the bullpen, he bypassed Hank, heading towards the Captain's office.
"Hey," he said, poking his head in.
"Hey," Sean replied, smiling and motioning him in. "I see you're none the worse for wear despite your 'torture' this morning."
Shuffling in sheepishly, Nick ducked his head. "Yeah," he agreed.
"Was there something you wanted?" Sean asked, when Nick didn't say anything else.
"Just... I may have done something without asking you?"
"Are you asking me that or telling me?"
Rolling his eyes, Nick plopped himself down in one of the chairs before Sean's desk.
"I saw Bud," he said. "Thought maybe it would be a good idea to ask him to ask others to say we've been dating for a while."
Sean nodded. "Makes sense," he said.
"I should have asked you first," Nick blurted out.
Sean waved him off. "I think people knowing about us was a given as soon as you agreed to stand as one of my Potentials." He paused. "Does it bother you?"
"No!" Nick exclaimed. "It's just..." he blushed. "Bud said he already knew! That everyone knew we'd been dating for a while! Why would he..."
Sean blinked. Huh. That was interesting. He wondered what the wesen community was seeing that he was missing.
"It will lend credence to our story," he said.
"It will," Nick agreed.
"And you don't mind?"
Nick shook his head. "I'm the one who said 'yes', aren't I?" he asked, grinning across at the other man.
"Good," Sean said. "We'll need to present you to my father tomorrow evening."
Nick grimaced. "We can't get out of that?" he asked.
"Afraid not," Sean replied.
There was a knock on the door. "Visitor for you guys," Wu said, poking his head in. He ducked back out, before returning his head to the office. "If you have a moment later," he added, "there are some questions I need answers to."
Nick frowned. He had a feeling Wu was talking about the betting pool.
Behind Wu, someone moved into view, and Nick grinned.
"Trubel!" he exclaimed, pushing past Wu in order to gather the younger girl up in a large hug.
"Hey, Nick," she replied, patting half-heartedly at his back, yet pressing in close to him.
Grinning, Nick stepped back, surveying her.
"How have you been?" he asked.
"Fine," she replied, rolling her eyes. "What I want to know is what's been going on around here?"
Sean cleared his throat, making both Grimms glance up. Grinning, Trubel moved into his office.
"Hey, Sean," she said.
"Trubel," he replied, eyes raking over her carefully, searching for any injuries.
"I'm fine," she repeated. "But I hear there are things going on here I should know about?"
So they told her.
Trubel: Ok, I've gotten their version of things - who managed to convince the clueless ones they should pretend they've been dating?
Juliette: that would be Elizabeth. She's a genius.
Elizabeth: Thank you, dear. But I only gave them a push in the right direction.
Trubel: must have been more like a shove. You should have seen Nick's face when he explained that the wesen community 'already know' they're dating ;)
Attachment: plans.pdf (part two)
Chapter 5: Day 4
The other Potentials arrive in Portland... and Sean takes Nick to dinner with his father, in order to introduce the Grimm as his long-time lover.
Wu: what’s up with Nick? Should I bring a fire extinguisher
Hank: he’s watching the CCTV feed from the airport
Hank: the first of our dear Captain’s ‘Potential’ brides are arriving
Wu: I’ll call the fire brigade
Glaring at his screen, Nick resisted the urge to stab his pen into it. Really, it wasn’t the poor computer screen’s fault that Sean’s father was an ass who had decided to resurrect an old tradition just ‘cos some of his family members had ended up dead and he thought he needed to ensure a line of succession or something…
The pen snapped in his hand.
Cursing, Nick pushed backwards, dropping the broken pen into the waste basket and trying to shake the ink from his hand.
There was a muffled snort that had him glaring in Hank’s direction.
“Here, Nick.” Glancing up, Nick nodded to Sergeant Franco, who was holding out some tissues for him.
“Just be glad it wasn’t a red pen,” Wu snarked, “or you might be giving our dear Captain a heart attack.”
Nick’s eyes narrowed. All the wesen in the room shivered.
Patting Nick on the shoulder – a dangerous activity that most in the room thought might lose him his hand – Wu headed past him. “You know,” Wu said. “You could glare much better from the actual airport.”
Nick got to his feet.
Hank groaned. “You just had to tell him that, didn’t you?” he asked.
Wu grinned. “Hey,” he said, “there’s a lot of money riding on this.”
Nick: meet me at the airport?
Trubel: sure. Why?
Nick: grimm business
Entering the bullpen, Sean glanced around, surprised not to see Nick sitting at his desk. While he knew that the other man was not one to sit around when he could be up and doing something, he hadn’t heard of any new cases that would have taken Nick away from his desk.
Considering the way Hank was managing to look both exasperated and apprehensive all in one, he figured it was likely that the Grimm had managed, once more, to give those around him a few more gray hairs.
“Hank,” he said, approaching the detective.
Hank glanced up, giving a slight grimace.
Sean repressed a sigh. “Do I want to know where Nick is?” he asked.
“Probably not,” Hank admitted. “Though you probably should know – he went to the airport.”
Pausing in order to take a few deep breaths, Sean tried to calm himself. “You let him go to the airport?” he asked.
“Oh, no,” Hank replied, holding his hands up in the air. “If you want to blame someone for that – blame Wu. Nick was happy just glaring at the CCTV until he spoke up.”
Sensing a menacing gaze upon his back, Sergeant Wu suddenly found a way to make himself scarce.
Sean: We may have a problem
Adalind: how big a problem? On a scale of one to ‘oh no, Nick’s done it again’?
Sean: ‘Oh no, Nick’s done it again’
Adalind: :( what’s he done this time?
Sean: He’s at the airport. ‘Greeting’ the arriving Potentials
Adalind: I’m going to kill him
Adalind: There will be pain involved
Adalind: When did he leave?
Sean: About half an hour ago. Good luck.
Adalind: some days, I think I should leave Portland.
Arriving at the airport, Nick pulled haphazardly into a parking space, leaving his lights flashing as he stormed out of the car and headed inside.
Around him, people parted, as though somehow able to sense the anger and frustration rolling off the Grimm.
It simply wasn’t fair, Nick thought, for Sean’s father to treat him like this. And Nick was going to ensure that things went as smoothly for Sean as possible.
Having been watching the CCTV, he knew exactly where he needed to head, badge already in his hand and flashing whenever someone looked like they were going to approach him.
Coming to a halt by the exit through which all VIP arrivals left customs, Nick folded his arms across his chest, badge held loosely in one hand and ready to be used should anyone question him, and a large scowl across his face.
His sharp hearing picked up movement. Footsteps. Another Potential was arriving.
Eyes narrowing, Nick lowered his chin, glowering. Hard. Monroe called it ‘grimming’. Nick didn’t care what it was called, so long as it was effective.
Shifting his stance, he made sure his jacket fell open enough to show the gun strapped to his side.
The automatic doors swished open, a small group heading out. A heavily-made-up woman walked in the centre, flanked on either side by two other women. Behind them walked three bodyguards. The woman came to an abrupt halt, staring at the Grimm.
As Nick let his steely gaze move over them, the bodyguards all woged, verrat. He gave a toothy grin.
“Welcome to Portland,” he said, his tone indicating anything but welcome.
The woman swallowed. “Uh… thank you,” she said. Her face had paled and she appeared like she wanted to twist her hands together. Nick resisted the urge to smirk.
There was no way Sean would look twice at her.
The woman glanced behind her, towards the verrat, unsure what to do. Nick didn’t move.
Fidgeting, the woman took a step forward, pausing again when Nick still didn’t move. Gulping, she turned to her side, edging past him. Nick watched her go, turning to keep the entire group in view as they left.
The verrat glanced back at him, one of them snarled. Nick grinned. He’d love to have an excuse to work out some of his aggression.
They moved off.
Nick returned to watching the exit.
His phone buzzed.
Adalind: NICHOLAS BURKHARDT!!
Adalind: SO HELP ME!
Adalind: IF YOU HAVE CAUSED AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT
Adalind: OR MANAGED TO MAKE YOURSELF SO DISAGREEABLE NO-ONE WILL ACCEPT YOU AS A POTENTIAL
Nick: Wait. What?
Nick: I thought I was guaranteed to be a Potential!!
Adalind: Your relationship with Sean does guarantee you the RIGHT to be a Potential. Undesirable behaviour, however, may revoke that right. >:(
Nick: But I haven’t done anything!
Adalind: Why don’t I believe you?
Pouting at his phone, Nick pushed it back into his pocket. He was sure Adalind would be there soon to tell him off in person.
In the meantime… here came another group!
Bud: So, I heard from Frankie,
Bud: who heard from Fred,
Bud: who heard from Matt,
Bud: who was told by John,
Monroe: Just. Tell me what you heard. I don’t need to know who told you.
Bud: Uh. Right. Well. Apparently, Nick… as in, our Nick. The Grimm. He’s at the airport. Grimming all over the place.
Bud: Yeah. Standing in arrivals and making everyone woge in fright!
Bud: You’re asking me? I’m not there!
Bud: and no-one I know, knows either. No sane wesen would go up to him when he’s like that!
Bud: can you do something about it?
Monroe: Oh. So, no sane wesen would go near him – but you’re asking me if I will. Great. Thanks.
Bud: will you?
Monroe: Fine. Fine. I’m on my way.
Bud: the Lodge’ll send you a thank-you basket!
Striding into the airport, Adalind could immediately see the effects of Nick’s presence. People scurried around in small packs, darting furtive glances around them. Wesen woged randomly, reacting in fear.
Holding back a sigh, and firmly telling herself that the Grimm was going to owe her big for this one, as was Sean, Adalind headed towards Arrivals.
“Nick,” she said, voice flat, when she caught sight of him.
He was, she admitted, a rather impressive Grimm when he decided to be. Only most people didn’t know that as Nick generally didn’t decide to act all Grimm.
It was, she admitted, if only to herself, slightly adorable how jealous he was of all these Potentials, but she had no intention of letting Nick get himself dismissed as a Potential, even if his way of doing so was adorable.
The Grimm ignored her, standing with his arms crossed and glaring at the group which was trying to edge its way past him. Adalind was fairly sure she saw a Countess, two Lords and a minor Princess in the group. Wonderful.
Striding up to Nick, she placed her hand on his arm (ignoring completely the fact that she shivered at the feel of his Grimm aura pressing against her), giving a tug.
“Nick,” she repeated.
“Nicholas Burkhardt!” Adalind hissed, “if you don’t start paying attention to me, I will have to show Sean those pictures.”
Beside her, Nick stiffened. “Those,” he muttered, before spinning to face her. Those in the group he’d just been intimidating looked at her with awe. “You said you’d never show anyone!” Nick hissed at her. “You can’t show Sean!”
“In that case,” she replied, welcoming smile for the group firmly plastered on her face, “you’ll take a step backwards with me, and tell me just how many problems you’ve already caused.”
In the end, it turned out that Nick was allowed to stand there and glare and grimm at anyone who arrived – partly because Adalind found it adorable (and may have snapped a few photos to send to the girls), and partly because she decided they could say Nick’s presence was a visible show of the strength and protection available in the canton, and therefore an acceptable welcome rather than a threat – so long as he stayed to the side and stopped trying to stand directly in their way!
Trubel showed up not long after Adalind, and was allowed to stay on the proviso she stopped laughing at Nick’s glare, and also stayed to the side (it was better, Adalind decided, to ‘showcase’ both Grimm’s as their guests arrived – and looked less like Nick having a jealous fit).
Monroe: Dude! Not cool!
Monroe: Got asked to come rescue everyone from you
Nick: rescue them from me?
Monroe: apparently you’re grimming all over the place and scaring everyone
Nick: Oh. Sorry. You on your way?
Monroe: been. Now leaving
Monroe: saw Addie had things in hand. Do try and behave.
Nick: when don’t I?
Trubel: Check it out!! Doesn’t Nick just have the cutest glare? Attachment: image236.jpg
Rosalee: Oh, that is adorable! He’s so jealous!
Elizabeth: Is that at the airport, Trubel dear?
Trubel: Yep! Seems Nick decided all Sean’s Potentials need a nice welcome ;)
Elizabeth: I love that boy
Elizabeth: he’s not getting himself in trouble, is he?
Trubel: Nah. Addie’s here, keeping him in line.
Elizabeth: Good. I fully expect to be attending his wedding to my son quite soon.
Rosalee: speaking of – I saw the best arrangements the other day. I’ll send you the link.
Finally, Nick allowed himself to be cajoled into leaving – both with assurances that no-one else should be arriving that late in the day, and also with the promise that he would get to see Sean again if he left.
“You’ll have your first meeting with Sean’s father this evening,” Adalind told him, glaring until Nick sheepishly turned off his police lights. Nodding, Adalind took the passenger seat.
“See ya!” Trubel called, heading towards her bike.
“How’d she get here?” Nick began.
Having seen where Trubel was headed, Adalind firmly distracted him. “Never-mind that,” she said. “Focus! You’ll be meeting with Sean’s father -”
“Do I have to?”
“Yes.” Giving Nick a glare, Adalind pointed at the ignition until he sighed and started the car.
“This evening’s dinner,” Adalind explained, “will be Sean introducing you as his long-time lover. Basically, it’s his presentation of you, to his father, for consideration as a Potential.”
“I thought was I guaranteed to be a Potential.”
“You are – but the whole thing is wrapped up in tradition. So yes, you absolutely have to go through with this. And please,” she added, “try to remember that you still have to impress Sean’s father.”
Smoothing down his suit, Nick grimaced at the tie Adalind and Juliette had wrapped tightly around his throat.
“Nick.” Turning, he saw Sean walking towards him. As always, the other man took his breath away, appearing simply stunning in his suit.
“Hey,” Nick managed to get out.
Sean’s lips twitched, one side quirking up into a smirk. He held out his arm for Nick.
Raising an eyebrow, Nick placed his hand on Sean’s arm, allowing himself to be led into the hotel restaurant.
Upon learning that his son wanted to introduce someone to him, Frederick had suggested they use one of the smaller rooms off the main restaurant area of the Hotel DeLuxe.
Allowing himself to be led by Sean, Nick took in their surroundings, ever watchful for potential threats – especially where his Captain was involved.
Frederick, he found, was not at all like Sean – and boy was Nick glad that Sean had obviously inherited his mother’s good looks. His fingers twitched to text that to Elizabeth, but he had a feeling it would go against all the courtly protocol Adalind had tried to press into him.
“I was surprised,” Frederick admitted, taking a bite of his food, “that you wished to introduce someone to me.” He gave Sean an inquiring look. “I had heard nothing of this before.”
Nick blinked. “Seriously?” he asked. “You expect Sean to tell you all about his life?”
Adalind kicked him. Her shoes were rather pointy.
Pouting in the hexenbiest’s direction, Nick admitted silently that maybe he’d been a little rude.
“I had made mention to you that I was courting the Grimm,” Sean replied easily.
“You did,” Frederick admitted. “Though I thought that had more to do with getting the key than anything else?”
Nick froze. The key! Should he say something?
Sean’s hand dropped beneath the table to gently squeeze his thigh.
“If that’s the way you wanted to take it,” Sean said.
Frederick laughed, smiling at him.
Nick: how much longer?
Adalind: stop texting from the bathroom
Adalind: stop hiding out in the bathroom
Adalind: and get back here!
Adalind: it’ll take as long as it takes
“So, Detective Burkhardt,” Frederick said as Nick rejoined them at the table. “I hear you were greeting other Potentials today.” There was a kind of laughter in his eyes.
Nick shrugged easily. “They’re entering Sean’s Canton,” he said. “It’s best that they realise it’s a little different to where they’ve been in the past.”
“Oh? In what ways?”
Nick gave him a disbelieving look. Adalind’s shoe tapped against his foot in a warning.
“Well,” he said. “For starters, everyone here likes Sean.” The tip of Adalind’s shoe pressed into his calf. “And, last I heard, no other Cantons actually have a Grimm.”
“Two Grimms, I heard,” Frederick replied, gaze assessing.
Nick shrugged. “Only the best for Sean’s Potentials,” he said, grin feral.
“I find it amazing that a Grimm, such as yourself, would not only deign to work under my son, but also be in a relationship with him.”
“Was there a question in there?” Nick asked. “I can’t help your opinions.”
Oh – that was going to bruise. He resisted the urge to rub his leg where Adalind had kicked him.
“You don’t mind taking orders from my son?” Frederick asked.
Nick shrugged. “Bit late for that to be an issue, don’t you think?” he replied. “I’ve been doing so for years.”
Frederick gave him a nod of acknowledgement. “And you think you’re a sufficient Potential for my son?”
Nick’s gaze narrowed. Frederick’s bodyguards – all verrat – shifted nervously in place. “Why?” Nick asked. “What do you think he needs in a Potential? I’m a Grimm, so I understand the Canton in ways others don’t. I work closely with him, and have for some time – so he trusts me, and I trust him.
“The Community in this Canton know to follow Sean’s rules – and that if they don’t, they may just get a visit from me.”
“I’ve heard you’re more of a ‘catch and release’ Grimm than anything else,” Frederick said.
Nick scoffed. “Just because I don’t go around killing Sean’s subjects needlessly, doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t do so when needed.” He smiled, teeth sharp, with an edge of danger that was inherent to the Grimms. “You have heard about the Reapers, haven’t you? That mauvais dentes? Then there was the nuckelavee, oh, and we can’t forget the Wildesheer, can we?”
“Of course not,” Frederick agreed.
Interestingly, Adalind didn’t kick Nick’s shin for those ones.
Nick: I think I have a permanent bruise on my leg!
Nick: those shoes are dangerous!
Adalind: why do you think I wear them?
Adalind: someone needs some reminders on how to behave
Adalind: just – remember you do need to try and make Frederick like you
Nick: but I don’t like him
Adalind: that’s fine. Don’t like him. Just make him think you’re a good match for his son.
Adalind: keep talking about wesen you’ve killed – Frederick is a typical royal, he likes power, so just keep being a badass grimm and you should be fine.
Adalind: and try NOT to insult him to his face!
Nick: you think I’m badass!!
By the end of the evening, Nick was fairly sure he had a permanent imprint from Adalind’s shoe against his calf. His thigh tingled from Sean’s hand resting there. And he may have bent a few knives and forks trying to restrain himself from stabbing Frederick in the face.
But Frederick seemed happy enough for Nick to stand as a Potential, so that was good.
Sean: thank you, again, for this evening
Sean: I really appreciate all that you’re doing for me
Nick: you’re welcome
Nick: and it’s my pleasure
Nick: I mean, I’m happy to
Nick: I said yes, so…
Sean: you can always back out
Nick: what? When I’m this close to marrying you? No chance!
Collage from Trubel's phone:
Chapter 6: Day 5
Nick is... not impressed by the other Potentials... and enlists some help to find out more about them...
Juliette: I’m pretty sure Nick was here last night – I heard him come in, but he’s not here this morning.
Rosalee: maybe he got an early call?
Hank: if he did, then I didn’t get it
Monroe: it’s Nick. He’ll be fine.
Adalind: maybe he’s ‘checking’ on Sean?
Rosalee: maybe ;)
Monroe: isn’t it a little early for that? It’s not even seven yet.
Juliette: which is why I thought to mention that he’s not here.
Adalind: well, maybe he was very *eager* to check up on Sean?
Hank: it’s bad enough I have to work with Nick every day. Do you need to text me these things as well?
Rosalee: Oh? And what’s Nick been saying lately?
Hank: please don’t make me repeat it. Ask Wu, I’m sure he’d be happy to share
Wu: I am! And I do believe he has said such things as ‘I love you’ to the Captain. Called the Captain’s eyes ‘mesmerising’, and his physique ‘incredibly fit, kinda statuesque’. He’s also been seen staring longingly at the Captain’s office, and is always eager to turn in his reports ;)
Hank: the idea of you telling them was so that I didn’t have to live through it again!
Wu: and he’s here, by the way. At the precinct.
Rosalee: what’s he doing there?
Wu: whatever it is, I was told he got here bright and early and has been incredibly focused on it ever since
Adalind: do we need to send someone to assess the situation?
Wu: so far, no-one’s run screaming from the room. And he hasn’t destroyed anything. So I think we’re good.
Hank: I need to get to work, anyway, I’ll let you know how he is.
Wu: and I’ll let you know if anything starts breaking before Hank gets here
Glaring at his computer screen, Nick carefully input the next name on his list. Lord Puffington. The name alone was enough to make Nick snort. But the smarmy smile on the picture made Nick’s eyes narrow. This ‘Lord Puffington’ seemed to think he was good enough for Nick’s Sean. He wasn’t.
Nick tapped against his keyboard, bringing up the details on the so-called ‘lord’. Height. Weight. Date of Birth. It wasn’t enough.
So he entered the man’s name into the police database. Searching for any hint that the man had secrets in his past. Secrets that Nick wanted to know. Needed to know. In order to best protect Sean. And prove that this man was not the one for his Captain.
Police database exhausted, Nick moved on to any other searches he could think of…
Nick: Alexander, the Wesen Council keeps detailed tabs on most people of importance in the wesen community, right?
Alexander: It does.
Nick: So, if I sent you some names – you’d be able to tell me any information the Council has on them, right?
Alexander: That information is not something the Council simply gives out.
Nick: but I have a *really* good reason for needing it!
Alexander: I’m listening
Nick: Sean’s stupid father has announced an Electio Sponsae for him. I need to make sure none of his Potentials have a chance to try anything… the more I know about them, the better!
Alexander: You mean to say that you want me to divulge sensitive Council information in order for you to check out the competition?
Nick: they’re not competition. But they may be a threat! We can’t let Sean’s stupid father do anything to destroy what he’s worked so hard for in this Canton!
Nick: Alexander? Please! You said the Council is happy with how Sean runs things here
Alexander: And they are.
Alexander: That still doesn’t mean I can give out sensitive information
Alexander: Perhaps if you could tell me the names of those you want to look into, I can check for you and let you know if there is anyone you should be looking more closely at
Nick: that would be great! You’re the best! Thanks, Alexander.
Nick: attachment: names.docx
Alexander: Just out of curiosity, does this mean you’re standing as one of the Prince’s Potentials, based on longi necessitudo ?
Nick: I have no idea what you just asked. But yes, I get to be one of Sean’s Potentials. Apparently if he’s been dating someone for a while, they automatically get to be a Potential.
Alexander: I thought so. Know that we’ll be rooting for you.
Entering the bullpen, Hank glanced over to where Nick sat, hunched over his computer. He grimaced, glancing around until he caught Wu’s eyes. Hank gave him a questioning look. The Sergeant shook his head minutely.
Great. Nick hadn’t moved from his spot. Whatever it was…
Carefully, Hank edged forward, peering over Nick’s shoulder to see what he was doing. He gaped.
“What?” he asked.
Nick had a number of databases open – some, Hank wasn’t even going to ask how he got access to (although he was definitely blaming Wu!) - and was running a number of names through them. Strange names.
Nick glanced up at Hank. There was a scowl on his face, and a dent in his bottom lip where he’d been chewing on it. “These,” Nick said, stabbing more than gesturing at the list of names he had, are all of Sean’s Potentials.
“Please tell me you’re not running background checks on them!” he said.
“I’m not running background checks on them,” Nick dutifully parroted, before adding. “I am doing extensive and exhaustive background checks on them!”
Hank sighed. “Don’t you think this is a little bit over the top?” he asked.
Nick frowned. “Why?” he asked. “We need to make sure no-one is able to do anything to threaten Sean.” His scowl increased.
“They just want to marry him, not kill him,” Hank replied.
“So they say!” Nick snapped back. “Besides, we can’t let him end up with someone… unsuitable!”
Hank frowned. “I thought we got that sorted?” he asked. “Aren’t you going to stand as a Potential so that he can just marry you?”
“That doesn’t mean we can slack off!” Nick replied. “I refuse to leave anything to chance!”
Deciding that, well, he’d done his bit to try and dissuade the Grimm, Hank took his own seat, pulling out some actual police paperwork. “We do have other work to do, you know,” he said.
Nick ignored him.
Nick: Look. Just LOOK at this! Attachment: potential12.jpg
Addie: Nick? What are we looking at?
Rosalee: Is that one of the other Potentials?
Juliette: I’m sure Sean will still pick you ;)
Nick: She’s like, fifty!
Nick: why did they allow someone who’s fifty to be a Potential?!
Addie: Well, Sean isn’t exactly in his twenties any more
Nick: He can’t marry someone that much older than him! She’s old! She won’t be able to look after him! Or protect him!
Rosalee: does Sean know you’re so adamant his Potentials meet all those criteria? ;)
Nick: >:( attachment: potential16.jpg
Juliette: Oh dear
Rosalee: Well, I suppose that is rather unfortunate for the young man
Addie: Yes, Nick, we know. You’re hotter than all the rest of Sean’s Potentials put together
Addie: Is Nick okay? He didn’t respond to me calling him hot – usually that would get me some kind of witty reply.
Hank: He is glaring at his computer screen quite hard. Has been doing so all morning. Perhaps we should try and distract him?
Addie: It may be a good idea. You know how he gets when he works himself up
Hank: If you stop by the precinct, we could both drag him out somewhere?
Addie: Good idea. We’d need somewhere he’d be willing to go…
Hank: how do you usually distract him?
Addie: attachment: seanprofile.jpg
Hank: Ok. Forget I asked.
Hank: Though, from an objective point of view, I can see how that would work
Hank: are there any tasks the Potentials need to carry out?
Addie: they do have to get Sean a gift each – but that’s after the first dinner, so that they’ve had a chance to meet him and can try and come up with something he’d like
Addie: you know, there’s this bakery that does the best cheesecake – he won’t admit it easily, but Sean loves cheesecake…
Hank: it’s a plan. See you soon?
Addie: see you soon, Hank.
Nick: and this one is a juvenile delinquent! Attachment:potential15.jpg
Nick: what’s to say she gave up her shoplifting ways?
Nick: I bet they just pay people off!
Nick: Sean’s a police Captain! He can’t marry a shoplifter!
Rosalee: pretty sure the only person he’s going to be marrying is you, Nick
Elizabeth: Nick, dear, if you’re that worried about these Potentials, why don’t you take your concerns to Sean?
Nick: he’s at city hall :(
Stepping into the bullpen, Adalind glanced around. There was a strange kind of tension permeating the place – centered around the Grimm. She sighed. Her eyes flitted over towards Detective Griffin.
Looking up, Hank caught sight of Adalind, a large smile crossing his face. “Life saver!” he mouthed to her.
Smiling back, Adalind walked into the room. She moved right over to Nick, standing behind him, her heels clicking against the ground, but he made no response.
Sighing, Adalind cleared her throat.
Nick’s marker, which he was using to scribble something in red on a photo with, scraped across his paper. He turned to glare up at her.
“What?” he asked. “If you think I need more manners lessons, then you are sorely mistaken! Have you seen the disasters that are the other Potentials?!”
Folding her arms across her chest, Adalind glared back down at him.
After a moment, Nick began to look a little sheepish. “Sorry,” he said, ducking his head.
“Better,” Adalind agreed. “Now, Hank tells me you’ve been sitting here stewing for some time. And you need a break.”
Nick pouted. “Tattle-tale,” he said in Hank’s direction, before turning back to Adalind with a grin. “And you’re talking to Hank now, are you?” he asked.
Adalind barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Of course we talk,” she said. “Get up.”
Nick crossed his arms, leaning back in his chair with a shake of his head.
“Huh,” Hank said, moving around to stand by Adalind. “Guess we’ll just have to be the ones to get the Captain that surprise, then,” he said, turning to walk away.
“Wait! What surprise?” Nick demanded, springing to his feet and hurrying after them.
Hank and Adalind shared a glance.
“Well,” said Adalind, “we were thinking that, with everything that’s going on, the Captain deserves a little treat, don’t you think? And, after all, all the Potentials will have to get him a present,” she was pretty sure the Grimm growled at that, but decided not to say anything, “after the first dinner. So, we figured, why not remind him that you get him presents at other times, not just when tradition says you should?”
Nick adamantly agreed.
The mission to buy some cheesecake for the Captain distracted Nick just long enough for them to get to the bakery, purchase the largest, most decadent slice, and then head back to the precinct.
“And this one!” Nick complained, dragging Adalind over to his desk where he had photos of all the Potentials spread across it, red marker decorating their faces or making red comments on them. “Look!” Nick snapped. “Doesn’t she just have a look of ‘I just want to marry royalty’ about her?”
“Yes, Nick,” Adalind agreed. “None of them are good enough.” She patted the hand he still had on her arm. “Now, why don’t you go leave this,” she gestured with the cheesecake, “on the Captain’s desk?”
Grinning at her, Nick did as he was told. Seeing her chance, Adalind escaped, blowing Hank a kiss when he gave her a pleading look. She didn’t have to stay, so she wouldn’t be.
“You know,” said Wu, ambling over towards the mess Nick had made of his desk. “Wouldn’t it just be easier to do your own surveillance?” He peered over Nick’s shoulder at his computer – where he had a number of CCTV feeds open, flipping through them in search of the other Potentials.
Around the room, detectives and officers alike froze in horror, eyes turning towards Wu.
“You’re right,” Nick agreed, pushing himself to his feet.
Grimming pretty hard, he turned and left the bullpen.
“You just had to go and suggest that to him, didn’t you?” Hank demanded.
Wu shrugged. “You have to admit it’s kind of amusing,” he replied.
Nick: Bud? Remember when you said the Lodge would be happy to help me out at any time?
Bud: Uh, yeah, sure, Nick. Happy to help. Anytime. Do you need our help? You need our help, don’t you? What can we help you with?
Nick: I’m sending you a list. These are all the so-called ‘Potentials’ for Sean, along with where they’re staying in Portland. I need to know everything about them. What are they wearing? What do they eat? Any bad habits? Are they a threat? Do they have any weapons? Etc attachment: list.docx
Bud: Oh, so, like, you want us to keep an eye out? Watch what they’re doing? Is that it? ‘Cos we could do that. I think. I’d have to speak to some of the others. How many are there? We could put one or two of us per Potential. Make sure we really see if they’re up to anything!
Nick: Excellent! Knew I could count on you!
“Hank,” the Captain called, poking his head out of his office and glancing around. “Where’s Nick?”
Hank glanced up. “Ask Wu,” he replied.
The Captain raised an eyebrow. Hank sighed. “I believe he’s off canvassing your Potentials,” he said.
Renard frowned. “Why?” he asked, confusion in his voice.
“Because, apparently, they may be a threat,” Hank replied calmly.
Sighing, the Captain turned his attention towards the exasperating sergeant. “Wu!” he called.
Shifting where he sat, Nick pulled the binoculars back up to his eyes, peering through them at Potential number 3, who was sitting at the vanity in her hotel room, having others continuously brush her hair for her.
Nick: I wonder if this one can even dress herself?
Juliette: that’s a bit mean, Nick, don’t you think?
Nick: you’re not the one watching her get others to do everything for her
Rosalee: are you stalking the other potentials, then?
Nick: surveilling. It’s necessary.
There was silence for a moment, before Nick’s phone buzzed, and he glanced down at it. A smile lit his face as he saw his Captain’s name on the message.
Sean: Nick, I believe I have you to thank for the cheesecake in my office. So, thank you.
Nick: You’re very welcome, Sean. :) *heart*
Sean: Although I did hear that you have been a little concerned about the other Potentials?
Nick: we can’t take any chances! I won’t let them hurt you!
Sean: while I appreciate the sentiment, I am able to take care of myself, you know
Nick: :( I know. I have seen you
Nick: those muscles are *very* impressive
Nick: but that doesn’t mean I still don’t want to look after you
Nick: I mean, you’re good for the Canton!
Sean: thank you, Nick. But I find the ‘looking after’ I prefer tends to be more along the lines of leaving me cheesecake and less along the lines of getting yourself arrested for stalking. You wouldn’t want to be arrested, would you?
Nick: depends who’s doing the arresting ;)
Sean: Nicholas. Come back to the station.
Nick: Yes, Sir.
Pulling into the underground police car park, Nick felt his phone buzz. Putting the car in park and turning it off, he pulled it out, a slow smirk crossing his face as he saw the new email he had.
I was able to have a look through the names you sent. There’s nothing major to worry about, but I’ve included a list of any minor past infractions or suspect political leanings you should be aware of.
This means we fully expect you to take good care of the Prince when he chooses you.
Entering the Captain’s office, Nick grinned at the other man. “You wanted to see me, Sir?” he asked.
“I did,” Sean agreed, folding his hands before him and fixing the Grimm with a look. He sighed. Perhaps it was time to take a different tack. “Why don’t you gather your files,” he suggested, “and we can go to dinner and look over them?”
He almost regretted his offer as soon as he saw just how many files Nick was gathering up from his desk – but the Grimm’s haste to comply was somewhat gratifying.
Sean: Nick is….
Elizabeth: What happened?
Sean: He decided he needed to ‘check out’ all of my Potentials.
Elizabeth: Oh dear. What did he find? :)
Sean: a lot. I’ve just finished dinner with him – if he put half as much effort into his paperwork…
Elizabeth: Then you’d never get anything done because you’d always be reading it?
Sean: I still can’t believe he agreed to this
Elizabeth: But he did agree. Don’t take that away from him. Besides, who wouldn’t want to marry my son?
Sean: You’re biased
Elizabeth: Perhaps a bit. But, really, I don’t think you have anything to worry about, Sean, dear. Take his dedication to this as an indication of how much he wants you
Sean: I just don’t want him agreeing to this just to spare me
Elizabeth: Oh, I doubt Nick’s doing this just for you, Sean. He seems rather taken with the idea. Now, go to sleep. You have the First Dinner tomorrow.
Elizabeth: due to longi necessitudo you can make sure Nick is placed beside you
Chapter 7: Day 6
Nick expresses some of his displeasure for the other Potentials, Sean is ordered to distract him, and Adalind takes him shopping for the First Dinner...
Elizabeth: Addie, dear, I’m sure you’ve already got this all organised, but you are taking care of outfitting Nicholas for the dinner tonight, aren’t you?
Adalind: Of course ;) I’ve got us booked in to see Schuman’s at 2 o’clock
Elizabeth: Excellent. He’s such a dear, but I’m not sure he’d know what to pick out himself
Adalind: You and me both!
Elizabeth: What was his reaction when you told him about the appointment?
Adalind: I haven’t told him yet. I figure the less time he has to try and come up with an excuse to get out of it, the better
Adalind: Sgt Wu, if you can help ensure that Det. Burkhardt is not off investigating anything between 1-5pm, that would be excellent. And I will give you an accounting of our shopping trip.
Wu: Is this shopping trip perhaps in preparation for the ‘dinner’ this evening? And of course, Ms Schade, I shall endeavour to do so.
There was a steady rhythmic thwacking. Groaning, Juliette rolled over, pulling her pillow over her head, before giving up and going to see what was going on.
Nick was standing in the back yard, two-headed axe lifted above his shoulder, a pile of broken firewood scattered across the ground before him.
“Nick?” she asked.
Nick turned to face her. There was a scowl on his face, and a light sheen of sweat – which suggested he’d been at this for some time.
“I think we’ve got enough firewood,” she said. “And I’m pretty sure that’s not the axe you usually use to cut it.”
Nick just glanced back towards the latest piece he’d stood up, ready to break down the middle. Juliette sighed. He’d taped a picture of someone to it – someone she was fairly sure was one of Sean’s Potentials.
“I need to make sure this is sharp,” Nick replied, hefting his axe before thwacking it into the wood, neatly cutting the Potential’s face in half. “And that I know how best to use it.”
The wood snapped down the middle, pieces falling aside.
“Looks like you’re good, there,” Juliette told him.
Nick ignored her.
Rolling her eyes, she took in the row of wooden poles set up further away, also with pictures on them, all arranged about head height. It appeared Nick was going to be a while. And that she wouldn’t be getting any more sleep.
It was a good thing she liked her room-mate.
Juliette: guess who’s decided to chop wood this morning. With pictures attached to it.
Rosalee: He isn’t! Is he?
Juliette: Oh yes. Attachment: image413.jpg & image414.jpg
Monroe: is that the axe from the trailer?
Juliette: Yep ;)
Monroe: Oh dear
Rosalee: maybe we should let Sean know? Or Elizabeth? Surely they should know how dedicated he is to ‘winning’ Sean?
Adalind: Excellent idea! While you’re at it, remind Sean that I’m taking Nick clothes shopping this afternoon. He’s expected to organise his own clothes, but I don’t trust Nick to do so.
Rosalee: Shopping? Oh – that’ll be fun!
Juliette: send pictures!
Monroe: not to me, thanks. I’m quite happy without
Hank: is there any way I can get off your group texting lists?
Juliette: Sean and Elizabeth, thought you’d like to see what Nick’s been up to this morning. Attachment: image413.jpg & image414.jpg
Elizabeth: Tell me the dear boy is chopping off their heads?
Juliette: Oh yes. And it doesn’t look like he’ll be stopping any time soon.
Sean: Is he planning to send photos to the other Potentials as a warning or something?
Juliette: not that I know of. And don’t you dare suggest it to him! You know he would!
Elizabeth: Sean, dear, maybe you should go distract the grimm, hmmm? You don’t want him making everyone in the Canton nervous just because he doesn’t like your other Potentials
Sean: what do you suggest?
Juliette: take him to breakfast. Kiss him. That might derail his thoughts for a little bit ;)
Watching his axe slide cleanly through yet another stake, sending the picture of the Potential’s head flying, Nick smirked. That sharpening stone he’d found in the trailer worked a treat!
“Feeling a little violent this morning?” a voice asked. Turning, Nick saw Sean. The other man was dressed elegantly in one of his usual suits, looking put together and ready to work. Despite that, he leaned casually against the side of the house, amusement in his eyes as he watched Nick.
Swinging the axe back up onto his shoulder (so what if he maybe thought it looked cool? It wasn’t like he was posing or anything), Nick shrugged.
“Just making sure I’m ready for any eventuality,” he said.
“Well,” said Sean, “I was asked to come distract you.” Nick blinked. “Have you had breakfast yet?” the Captain continued.
“No,” Nick replied, “why? And who asked you to distract me?”
“I believe you may have woken Juliette up this morning.”
Nick cringed. “Oops,” he said.
Sean glanced him over. “Get changed,” he said, “and we’ll go get breakfast.”
Grinning, Nick hurried to comply.
Juliette: ladies, Nick and Sean just left to go get breakfast together :)
Rosalee: Ooh! Do you know where?
Adalind: How did you manage that?
Juliette: asked Sean to distract Nick. Also suggested he kiss him, but I’m not as confident that one will pan out.
“Thanks,” Nick said, leaning back on the booth of the small breakfast nook Sean had taken them to. He felt more relaxed, sitting opposite the other man, and away from all his thoughts – thoughts which kept spinning around the other Potentials, and what would happen if, somehow, Sean’s father made him choose someone else.
“You’re welcome,” Sean replied. Their breakfasts were spread out before them, half eaten.
The door to the cafe opened, bell jingling above it, and Sean’s eyes narrowed slightly as he watched someone enter. Nick quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Sean!” a voice said, “and, is this the Grimm?”
Around them, a few other patrons stiffened, shooting glances in their direction and Nick sighed. Great. Just what he wanted. Concerned wesen afraid of the big, bad grimm.
“Father,” Sean replied flatly.
Twisting in his seat, Nick glanced up at Frederick, noting the two hundjager who were standing really-not-so-unobtrusively behind him.
“I just thought I’d stop in for some breakfast,” the king continued. “Something it appears you’ve both decided to do as well.” He smiled at them. “Well,” he said. “I don’t want to keep you – I’m sure the Electio Sponsae is taking up enough of both of your time lately. Enjoy.”
He moved away, but not too far, sitting down where he had a view of them.
“Is he watching us?” Nick hissed, scowling at the thought.
Sean gave a minute nod of his head.
“Well,” declared Nick, “let’s just ignore him!”
That said, he dug back into his breakfast. Sean appeared still somewhat annoyed at his father, so Nick reached out with his fork, stabbing one of the other man’s pieces of bacon. Sean raised an eyebrow at him, but his face softened, eyes showing his smile. Nick grinned back at him.
It was as their plates were being cleared and they were standing, preparing to head to work, that Nick realised perhaps Frederick was watching them for any signs of affection.
He stepped closer to Sean, tilting his head up and leaning in.
The taller man leant towards him, as though drawn in.
Their lips touched.
Sean’s tongue darted out, coaxing Nick’s mouth open before tangling with his own. Nick sighed into the kiss, arms reaching up to wrap around the other man’s shoulders.
Finally, feeling the need to breath, they drew apart.
Blushing, Nick stepped backwards, casting Sean a grin, before heading out to the car. Sean followed him.
Frederick sat back with a satisfied look on his face.
Nick: I kissed him! I kissed Sean!
Juliette: I didn’t think he’d actually do it!
Nick: what? No. I kissed him!
Juliette: so he didn’t kiss you in order to distract you?
Nick: I kissed him!
Nick: what did I do?
Nick: what if I’ve ruined everything?
Adalind: did he kiss you back?
Adalind: did he kiss you back?
Nick: yeah. But, his father was watching, so….
Nick: what if I made him feel awkward? Like he had to kiss me or something?
Nick: I need to move states. No, countries.
Rosalee: I’m sure it’s not that bad. Was it a good kiss?
Nick: sorry, got a little distracted
Juliette: I’d say it was a very good kiss, then!
Nick: I’m ignoring you all
After the embarrassment of his morning, Nick was happy to put his head down at work and get through most of his paperwork. For once, the citizens of Portland seemed to be behaving themselves, and he and Hank were stuck at their desks, instead of out solving a murder.
“So,” said Wu, wandering over to their desks that afternoon. “Is anyone going to explain to me how this dinner tonight works?”
Hank glared at Wu for bringing it up.
Wu mentally started sorting the bets.
“It’s called the ‘First Dinner’,” Nick said. “The idea is to give all the Potentials the chance to meet Sean, and for him to get a chance to meet them. They each have 15 minutes to sit near him and talk to him.
“The idea is that they aim to use the time to impress him and/or figure out what gift they should give him.”
His pen stabbed through his paper as he spoke.
“Right,” Wu said. “And how many Potentials are there?”
“Twenty,” Nick growled.
A few officers made a wide berth around their desks.
Wu nodded. “So that’s…….” he whistled, “five hours for dinner?”
Wu glanced at Hank. “What if some of the Potentials decide they don’t need the full 15minutes?” he asked.
Nick looked thoughtful.
Hank looked like he wanted to bang his head against his desk.
Wu mentally added another column to the bets ‘how quickly will Nick manage to make them finish the dinner?’
Adalind: Nick, sweetie, get your cute lil butt down here
Nick: are you feeling okay? I think you just called my butt cute?
Adalind: If you don’t start heading downstairs now, Burkhardt!
Nick: all right, all right, I’m on my way. Why?
Adalind: We need to get you an outfit for the dinner this evening
Nick: what’s wrong with the ones I already have?
Adalind: Where do I even start?
Nick: and mean
Adalind: poor little Grimm.
Adalind: and hurry up! You’ll make us late for our appointment.
Nick: how can you have an appointment with a shop? You just walk in and buy something.
Adalind: Oh, how little you know.
The phones of three ladies spent a long time that afternoon buzzing, as numerous images of the Grimm trying on various outfits were sent between them.
Nick: Sean!!! Hank!! Monroe!! Wu!! Rosie!!! Help!!!! Adalind won't stop making me try clothes on!!!!
Nick: rescue me? :(
Hank: Working a case with Wu
Monroe: Helping Rosalee with a detailed order. Sorry dude.
Sean: I trust Adalind is finding suitable attire.
Adalind: I don’t know why he’s complaining, and yes, I did. I think you’ll be rather pleased.
Rosalee: Oh yes! The pictures are great!!
Adjusting his tie, Nick scowled. The suit Adalind had forced him into was, admittedly, rather nice. But that didn’t mean he enjoyed wearing it. Or wanted to think about how much she’d forked over for it.
Still, his view of the Captain was even nicer…
Letting his eyes drag over the other man, Nick grinned. Then he caught sight of the huddle of Potentials on the other side of the room. His grin turned into a fierce glare.
Around the room, hundjager guards shifted uneasily, feeling the heavy press of the grimm’s aura.
“Sean, my son!” Frederick declared, “why don’t you take your seat?” He motioned Sean towards a medium-sized table, draped with a white cloth, that was sitting in the corner. Sean’s seat in the middle of one side. “Your Advisor, of course,” Frederick added, nodding to Adalind, “can sit beside you.”
Adalind easily took her seat to Sean’s right, ready to whisper advice to him.
“And -” Frederick began.
“Actually,” Sean cut in, before his father could state who was going to sit on his other side. “I believe Nick will also sit by me.”
Frederick blinked. “As one of your Potentials,” he began.
“Actually,” Adalind cut in sweetly, “due to longi necessitudo, the Grimm is entitled to sit by the Prince this evening.” She smiled up at Frederick.
“Of course,” he agreed, giving a nod.
Glancing at the table, Nick noted how far away from each other the place settings were. That wouldn’t do. Striding forward, he picked up his cutlery, moving it closer to Sean’s, before grabbing his chair and dragging it closer as well.
It scraped across the floor. Everyone froze.
Smiling tightly, Adalind shot Nick a glare. Grinning sheepishly back at her, he took his seat.
Soon they were all seated. Sean, with Adalind to one side and Nick to the other. Then, round the corner from Nick sat Frederick and his Advisors, there to survey and assess the Potentials as well.
The Potentials themselves could either choose to sit opposite Sean, or round the corner from Adalind. Most chose to sit opposite.
It provided Nick with ample opportunity to glare at them.
And glare he did.
These so-called ‘Potentials’ thought they were good enough to try and steal his Sean. And that wasn’t going to happen. Nor was he going to let any of them hurt the Captain!
The first Potential sauntered up, looking cool and confident – until he caught sight of the glaring grimm. Immediately, his face paled, and sweat broke out upon his brow.
Lifting his soup spoon silently to his mouth, Nick continued to glare.
Potential number 1 only lasted nine minutes.
Potential number 2 made it to twelve minutes, before the way Nick was calmly hacking at his dinner roll sent her scampering.
“Oh please!” Nick declared, watching Potential number 3 take a seat. “That nose is obviously fixed!”
He could feel the glare from Adalind as though it was a physical thing.
Widening his eyes, he turned to face her. What was wrong with what he said? Potential number 3 was looking decidedly flustered and would likely leave early!
Deciding there was nothing for it, as she had no intention of hissing across the table at him, Adalind sent Nick a text.
Adalind: Try to remember not to be blatantly rude to them!
Nick: they’re trying to steal my Sean! They don’t deserve manners
Adalind: perhaps not. But you need to conduct yourself appropriately. Remember that the king is watching you as well as them!
Nick: what am I supposed to do then? If I can’t insult them?
Adalind: I never said you can’t insult them. Just don’t do it so blatantly. Polite insults are actually encouraged.
Adalind: for example, Potential number 3 – what you could have said is something like: you simply must tell me where you got your nose done! I heard one of the other Potentials was looking to have some work done and thought I could pass on the details.
Adalind: See? Polite, but insulting ;)
Nick: Addie! I’m impressed!
By the time they reached Potential number 6, Nick’s eyes were completely black. The hundjager stationed around the room were shifting nervously, almost constantly woging.
Nick hid his smirk at this fact.
Potential 6 only lasted five minutes before scuttling away.
Potential 7 decided to try her luck leaning across the table towards Sean. Nick, determined not to be outdone, returned her flirtatious gaze with his steely ‘grimm glare’, leaning up against Sean’s side.
Sean shifted, lifting his arm to wrap it around Nick’s shoulders.
The grimm shot Potential 7 a triumphant smirk.
She made it to the full 15 minutes, but kept interrupting her flirtatious looks to scowl at the grimm.
By the time they reached Potential 11, Nick was pressed so close up against Sean’s side that Adalind was wondering whether she needed to remind them that Nick couldn’t actually climb into Sean’s lap – it wouldn’t be appropriate.
She was also inwardly thanking whoever had decided their meal for the evening should include steak. The way the grimm was wielding his steak knife…
Nick stabbed his knife viciously down into his steak, eyes clearly suggesting to Potential 12 that he wished he was stabbing her head instead. He may have also made a face aimed at giving her the impression he found her excessively old. She left after eight minutes.
Potential 15, Nick remembered clearly from his ‘background checks’ the day before. He smiled, all teeth, at her as she sat down.
“So,” he said, “I believe you’re rather into fashion? Particularly clothes?”
She lasted nine minutes.
Potential 16 may have caused Nick to crack his plate. In his defence, 16 managed to make it past the thirteen minute mark, and Nick hadn’t intended to break the plate – just stab his steak illustratively.
Besides, he was pretty sure Sean was hiding a smirk as the waiters came to clear away Nick’s broken plate and get him a new one.
Plus – the broken plate finally managed to get Potential 16 leaving – after 14 minutes.
Potential 17 was noteworthy only in that he barely lasted three minutes. Just before leaving, he woged, making Nick raise an eyebrow. He hadn’t thought Sean’s father would want him picking a wesen.
They were just starting on dessert as Potential 20 – who appeared a somewhat nice girl, or, she would have been, if she wasn’t attempting to steal Nick’s Sean – made her exit.
Frederick sighed. “I suppose I should have expected you to chase them all off,” he told his son, disappointment heavy in his voice.
Nick opened his mouth to make a cutting reply, when his fork turned over and poked the back of his hand. He switched his glare to Adalind. She met his stare evenly. ‘Polite’ she mouthed.
“Please,” said Nick, turning to Frederick, “while I’m sure they’re the best of the best from Europe, it seems clear that none of these Potentials are yet quite up to the standards required to deal with working with Prince Sean in Portland.” His smile had the hundjager around the room shifting once more.
With the Potentials all gone through, and dessert waiting, Nick finally dropped his glare, instead turning slightly towards Sean as he leant against him, chatting quietly while they ate.
Elizabeth: So? How did it go?
Adalind: I almost stabbed Nick a few times, but everyone’s still alive
Elizabeth: Well that’s a relief! Now, why is my son actually home early? I expected him to be out much later.
Adalind: oh, you can blame Nick for that. I do believe he may have scared off a few of the Potentials. In fact, only a few of them managed to last the whole 15 minutes.
Elizabeth: I’ll have to think of some way to reward that boy!
Adalind: help me start the wedding planning?
Elizabeth: Of course! We’ll have to get Juliette and Rosalee involved as well
Chapter 8: Day 7
There are some determined Potentials, a very unhappy Grimm, Nick picks a present for Sean, and there may need to be a change in the betting pool
Trubel: Have been keeping an eye on Sean’s, like you asked. You may want to get over here.
Nick: What? Why?!
Trubel: caught someone trying to break in :(
Nick: are they still there?
Trubel: Yep. Holding them for you ;)
Nick: on my way
Slamming his car door, Nick stalked towards Sean’s house. He didn’t care that it was 2 in the morning. Didn’t care if he woke someone up.
Someone had tried to break into his Sean’s house – and that was unacceptable!
A figure moved by the front door, Trubel stepping into the soft moonlight.
“Hey,” she said, gesturing towards the side of the house, “I’ve got them here.”
Scowl firmly fixed on his face, Nick followed her. A young man was lying there, all trussed up. Nick nodded. “Nice knots,” he said.
Trubel grinned. “Thanks!” she replied.
Rolling the man over onto his back, Nick glared down at Potential number 16. The young man glared back up at him.
Nick sighed. “And what, exactly, do you think you’re doing here?” he demanded.
16 scowled, mouth shifting around his gag.
Leaning down, Nick pulled the gag free.
“Release me!” the man hissed. “Do you have any idea who you are accosting?”
“Nope,” Nick replied, giving a shrug. “Don’t care.” He tilted his head to one side. “Actually,” he said, “I do know who we have here – we have someone who tried to break into a Police Captain’s house. I do believe that means we need to call this in.”
He pulled his cell phone from his pocket.
The entire time Nick made his call, 16 glared up at him, hissing imprecations. Smiling as he tucked his cell away, Nick turned to Trubel.
“There,” he said, “we should have some officers here soon, who can come take this, trash, away.”
“Excellent,” said Trubel. “I was getting kind of tired of watching him.”
There was a soft sound.
Leaning down, Nick pushed 16’s gag back into his mouth, tilting his head to listen carefully. He sighed.
Trubel gave him a questioning look, but Nick just motioned for her to wait, before heading off towards the other side of the house.
Reaching the other side, he stared up at Potential number 7. She was rather determinedly climbing up the side of the house. Her foot slipped, and Nick watched, waiting to see if she would give up and make things easier for him. She kept climbing.
Rolling his eyes, he glanced towards the two hundjager she’d bothered to bring with her, who were wincing as they watched her ascent. Nick guessed that one of them had been the one to throw the rope up for her.
Then he considered that perhaps he was being a little harsh. Just because she was trying to steal his Sean didn’t mean she couldn’t be a skilled climber.
Whatever the case, he wasn’t going to let her reach her destination.
Moving swiftly, Nick stepped up behind the two hundjager – and really, amateurs! They were standing far too close together! - and cleared his throat.
Startled, the hundjager spun around. Nick lashed out with both fists, neatly knocking them out. They sank to the ground with muffled thuds.
Glancing up, he saw that 7 hadn’t noticed. He grinned.
Coming to a halt in his own climbing, just opposite Potential 7, against the wall, Nick cleared his throat once more.
She glanced up, eyes wide and startled as she caught sight of him, before giving a little shriek.
Sighing, Nick reached out, grasping her hand as she let go of the rope, preventing her from falling to the ground below.
“You know,” he said conversationally, “this isn’t exactly the way to the front door.”
Despite having his grip on her arm being the only thing holding her up, she glared at him. Nick had to give her points for determination and bravery. Even if he still thought she was incredibly stupid to be attempting to steal his Sean.
“Just wait until my guards deal with you!” she hissed.
Nick blinked. “Oh,” he said, “you mean those guards down there?” he nodded towards the two unconscious hundjager on the ground. “Really,” he added, “you might want to talk to someone about that. Normally hundjager are a little harder to get the drop on. But those ones...” he let his voice trail off.
Potential 7 glared the whole way back down the wall.
As they reached the bottom, flashing lights could be seen headed in their direction – although the sirens were silent. Nick was glad. He didn’t want anyone waking up Sean unnecessarily.
Marching Potential 7 over to the front of the house, he smirked when he saw which officers had responded to his call.
Officer Paella – a short but fiery dynamite of an officer who could intimidate men twice her size easily, and, like everyone who worked for him (wesen or not), was fiercely protective of Captain Renard; Franco – who after Wu had perhaps the most to do with Nick and Hank; Officer Lim – who was a drang-zorn, and Captain Benson – a steinadler.
“You didn’t have to come,” Nick said to the Captain, pushing Potential 7 before him.
Benson glanced around. “Yes, I did,” he said. “Considering the electio sponsae they haven’t just tried to break into a Police Captain’s house, but also violated the rules of the electio sponsae by sneaking around. I’ll stand as witness to that fact.”
Nick blinked. “Wait,” he asked, “there are rules like that?”
Benson chuckled. “Relax,” he said, “you’re longi necessitudo, which means most of the rules don’t apply to you. It would hardly be fair to tell a long-standing partner he now has to make a request whenever he wants to see his lover, would it?”
Nick didn’t bother correcting Benson – the more people who thought he and Sean were really together – and had been for some time – the better.
“So why would they risk it?” he asked.
Benson shrugged easily. “Perhaps they thought that, a few minutes alone with the Prince were worth whatever penalties may be imposed against them for breaking the rules. In the end – unless the king has strong feelings against a particular Potential, it’s only the Prince’s Choice that matters. They may have been trying to influence that Choice.”
Nick scowled. No-one was going to be influencing his Captain’s Choice while he was around!
“Right,” he said, eyes narrowing as he considered the house.
Glancing around, he saw the officers had bundled up Potential 16 and the hundjager, and placed them all into the cars. He gave a brief nod.
“Thanks for this,” he said to Benson, angling towards Trubel.
She glanced up as he approached – from where she’d been sharpening her machete. “Hey,” she said.
Nick nodded at the machete. “Nice touch,” he said.
Trubel grinned. “Thought you’d appreciate it,” she said.
“I do. And, if I can, I’m going to ask you for another favor.”
Trubel shrugged. “What can I do?” she asked.
Fishing in his pocket, Nick handed her his keys. “I’m going to stay here tonight,” he said, “make sure no-one else tries anything.” Trubel suppressed a smirk, nodding seriously at him. “Could you head back to mine, grab me some things so I don’t need to leave Sean alone in the morning? If the Potentials are willing to break the rules to try and break into his house, then we need to make sure he’s protected.”
Biting her lip, Trubel nodded, taking the keys. “So,” she said, “you’re going to move in with him, for protection.”
“Of course,” Nick agreed, “what other reason would there be?”
Refraining from saying what was on her mind, and inwardly jumping up and down that Nick hadn’t refuted her claim that he was moving in – Trubel stepped past Nick. “I’ll go grab you some things,” she said. “But I might not stop ‘round until a decent hour this morning.”
Nick shrugged. “That’s fine,” he said. “So long as I have some clean clothes to wear to work.”
“Hey, if I’m late,” she replied, “I’m sure you could always wear some of Sean’s clothes.”
Nick’s eyes kind of glazed over.
Laughing softly, Trubel left him there.
Stepping into the Captain’s living room, Nick froze in the process of putting his key to the Captain’s place – given to him a couple of years ago – back into his pocket.
Sean was sitting on the couch, calmly watching him.
“Uh, hi,” Nick said.
The other man was dressed in low-slung sleep pants and a white t-shirt that molded to his muscles. It made Nick’s mouth go dry.
Sean gave him a rebuking look. “Were you just planning to come inside and sit around guarding me all night?” he asked, “without saying anything?”
Nick shrugged sheepishly. That had been his plan.
Pushing himself to his feet, Sean motioned Nick after him. “Come on,” he said, “you may as well be comfortable while doing said ‘guarding’.”
He led Nick up to his room, where, after a rather stern look, Nick scrambled into the large bed, kicking his shoes off as he did so. In his rush to get to Sean’s after Trubel’s text, he was still wearing his own sleep pants, jacket thrown on over the top.
“Jacket off,” Sean told him, sliding into the other side of the bed.
Blushing, more from embarrassment at forgetting to do so before getting into bed than from the knowledge that without his jacket he’d be shirtless, Nick did so.
He shifted where he lay, trying to get comfortable. Reaching over, Sean slung his arm around the grimm, stilling his shifting. “Sleep,” Sean muttered.
So Nick did.
Trubel: Guys! Guys! Guys! Wake up!!!
Trubel: Look!! attachment: image34.jpg
Juliette: it’s way too early in the morning, Trubs
Juliette: Is that??!
Rosalee: how on earth did you get that photo?
Trubel: so, Nick had me keeping an eye on Sean, just in case anyone tried anything, right?
Trubel: and last night a couple of Potentials tried to break into his house :(
Trubel: so I let Nick know – and he decided he needed to move in – for protective purposes, of course
Adalind: of course ;)
Juliette: ;) ;) ;)
Trubel: anyway, he asked me to take him some clothes and stuff, so he wouldn’t have to leave Sean alone…
Juliette: sounds like him
Rosalee: oh definitely!
Trubel: so I did. And this is what I walked into this morning ;)
Adalind: something tells me you didn’t *have* to enter their bedroom…
Trubel: oh, like you’re complaining about me getting the visual proof
Rosalee: there is definitely *no* complaining going on here!
Elizabeth: Nick, darling, I’m at yours, but you’re not here. You haven’t had to go to work this early, have you?
Nick: at Sean’s. Some idiots tried to break in last night.
Elizabeth: You’re at my son’s house
Elizabeth: And you were there all night
Nick: well, ever since Trubel and I stopped those idiot Potentials >:(
Nick: I couldn’t take the chance that someone else would try anything >>:(
Elizabeth: thank you, darling. You ease my heart knowing you’re looking after him for me.
Elizabeth: you don’t think you could stay at Sean’s at least for the rest of this electio sponsae, do you? Just in case?
Nick: already planned to :)
Elizabeth: you’re a treasure!
Juliette: Just so you know – there have been some developments attachment: image34.jpg
Wu: ooooh. I see some changes happening to the betting pool!
Juliette: I thought you might ;)
Both men were, thankfully, dressed by the time Elizabeth breezed into Sean’s house that morning, smiling at them both.
“I hear you had an eventful night,” she told Sean.
He shot the grimm a look. Nick just grinned back at him. “It was… interesting,” he said.
Smiling back at him, Elizabeth turned to Nick. “Nick, darling,” she said, “I’m going to have to borrow you for a moment. Tomorrow’s the Gift Giving day.”
“The what?” Nick asked.
Sean sighed. “You know Nick doesn’t have to participate in that, mother,” he said.
“Oh, I know that,” Elizabeth assured him, before she turned back to Nick, “but I have a feeling he’ll want to.” She smiled.
“Participate in what?” Nick asked.
“Well,” said Elizabeth, “between the two official Dinners, each Potential is expected to provide Sean with a Gift – to show their affection for him, what they intend to bring to the partnership, how much they value him, and so on.”
“As you are longi necessitudo,” Elizabeth continued, “you’re exempt from having to do so. The idea is that, as you have been with Sean for some time, you have already given him many gifts before and spoken about and shown him those things. However,” she said, “I figured you’d still want to participate in giving Sean a gift.”
“Of course,” Nick eagerly agreed.
Elizabeth smiled at him, giving him a pat on his arm. “Excellent,” she said. “I’m sure Sean won’t mind if I steal you for a little while today, then? We have some shopping to do.”
Nick glanced over at Sean with a brilliant smile, before pausing. “What if one of the Potentials tries something?” he asked.
“I’m sure I can defend myself,” Sean cut in dryly. “But, if it makes you feel any better, I will be at the Precinct all day. And I’ve no doubt I’ll have plenty of help there should I need it.”
“It does,” Nick agreed, reaching out to give the other man a quick hug, before stepping back and turning to Elizabeth. “All right,” he said, “let’s go.”
Elizabeth’s eyes twinkled as she watched her son’s reaction to the impromptu hug. “Let’s,” she agreed.
Nick: Addie! Rosie! Juliette! Trubs! Look!! attachment: image520.jpg
Adalind: Is that?
Nick: my present for Sean!
Rosalee: a picture of you and Santa?
Juliette: I think you may have sent the wrong picture, Nick, dear
Nick: try again. Attachment: image521.jpg
Juliette: much better!
Rosalee: Awww, Nick!
Adalind: it’s perfect!
Nick: :) :) :)
Sean didn’t see much of Nick for the rest of the day – Elizabeth keeping him busy for much longer than a ‘little while’.
Still, when he arrived home that evening, the grimm was there, smiling in greeting and moving to help Sean remove his coat.
“Hey,” Nick said.
“Hey,” Sean replied.
He was struck, suddenly, by the fact that this could become his life. That, if all things went well, this would be his life. Coming home to the grimm each evening, sharing his life with him.
And, he realised, he was 100% okay with that. More than that, he actually looked forward to it.
It was something he wanted.
He just hoped it was something Nick wanted, too.
Chapter 9: Day 8
Elizabeth asks Nick for help getting rid of a 'persistent potential', it's the day Gift Giving - so Sean gets a lot of gifts, and then comes up with a way to help his jealous Grimm cheer up.
Elizabeth: Nick darling, not to be a bother, but are you close to the station? Sean's got a rather persistent potential in his office
Nick: on my way
Wu: so. how many speed laws did he break on the way here?
Hank: I don't want to think about it. He is never driving again!
Monroe: Hey Hank...you heard from Nick. He was supposed to meet me to train at Forest Park like 20 minutes ago.
Hank: He's at the station. You don't want to know why.
Adalind: Nick, darling, that was brilliant! I don’t think I've ever seen the Count so desperate to leave somewhere before!
Adalind: but don't keep Sean shut up too long, there are things he needs to do today, you know.
Glaring down at his phone, Nick shoved it back into his pocket, before turning to continue his glaring at the ‘gifts’ littering Sean’s desk.
“Are they insane?” he demanded.
Suppressing a smirk, Sean glanced up at his grimm. “While I’m not entirely sure any of the royals are operating with a full deck, I’m not sure we can conclusively say they’re insane just from this.” He motioned towards his desk.
Moue of distaste firmly on his face, Nick reached out, poking one of the ‘gifts’. It was wrapped in shiny pink paper that twinkled up at them.
“That is…. Rather unfortunately wrapped,” Sean admitted.
Not only was it wrapped in shiny pink paper, but the paper was adorned with a sprinkling of glued-on pink glitter. As anyone who has ever used glitter before knows – glued-on glitter does not entirely stay on.
A few of the Captain’s reports were sprinkled with the stuff.
Nick’s fingers twitched, itching for his kanabo. There was a knock on the door. Both men turned, to see who was there.
“I’ve ah, got a, Princess Coquette here to see you, Sir,” Wu said, poking his head in and making a face. His eyes lingered on the gifts on the Captain’s desk, before he glanced back up at his superior. “Should I show her in?”
With a sigh, Sean motioned for him to do so.
“Why do you let them in?” Nick asked, completely ignoring the sound of the door opening behind them. “If you don’t want to do so? Wasn’t one of the rules that they can’t approach you without asking first?”
“It is,” Sean agreed, also ignoring the Potential who stepped into the room. “However, unfortunately, I do need to at least allow them to deliver their gifts – failure to do so may be construed as not taking the electio sponsae seriously enough, and be cause to offend all the Potentials.”
Nick grimaced. “I still think I should just kill them all,” he said.
There was a soft squeak from behind them.
Turning, Nick smiled, all teeth, at the nervous-looking Potential. “Hello,” he said.
“H-hello,” she squeaked. She was carrying a gift before her – hands shaking. At least this gift, Nick noticed, was not wrapped in pink paper, but a much more elegantly understated off-white with gold ribbon.
Wu, who had ushered the Princess in, gave Nick an amused smirk.
“You have something for me?” Sean asked.
“I do,” the Princess replied. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward, holding the gift out towards him.
Shifting, Nick reached out, taking it from her – there was no need for his Sean to get any closer to the Potential, after all.
“Right,” said Nick, “now that’s been taken care of...” he let his voice trail off, raising an eyebrow questioningly.
Princess Coquette glanced towards Sean, but, seeing no help there, gave a brief nod before spinning on her heel and leaving. As she left, Nick noticed a couple of hundjager join her outside the office – no doubt her bodyguards.
Giving the gift-strewn desk of his Captain another look, Nick made a quick decision.
Grabbing one of the chairs from the front of Sean’s desk, Nick dragged it around to the side, pushing some of the gifts out of the way as he did so.
“Nick?” Sean asked.
“I’m not leaving you here alone to deal with them!” Nick declared.
Holding back the urge to roll his eyes, Sean gave his detective a stern look. “I think I’m more than capable of dealing with receiving a few gifts, don’t you?” he asked.
Nick paused, realising that he might be slightly overstepping his bounds – and unintentionally implying that he didn’t think Sean could deal with the Potentials. Blushing, he ran one hand through his hair.
“Sorry,” he said, “I mean, I…. I don’t want you to have to deal with it alone. Let me help you.” He paused. “It’ll make me feel better,” he added.
“Well,” Sean said, “if it makes you feel better.”
Nick grinned at him.
Hank: So you know, you may want to come by the station
Adalind: What has Nick done now?
Hank: Let’s just say he’s helping the Captain receive his gifts from the Potentials
Hank: how did you know it was a Nick problem anyway?
Adalind: Are there any other kind of problems lately?
Hank: hey, it’s almost lunch. After you’re done chewing Nick out, you want to grab something to eat?
Adalind: I’ll have to see what level of Burkhardt-induced stupidity we’re dealing with first, but there’s a definite possibility
Adalind stepped into the Captain’s office to see Nick, paperwork in front of him, had taken over a corner of the other man’s desk. Sean was working diligently away – as always – although there was a softening in his posture that suggested he was more relaxed than usual – despite the pile of gifts which was teetering to the other side of his desk. A few had even fallen to the ground, but neither man seemed too concerned by this.
“I do hope,” Adalind said, “that you aren’t doing anything that would get you barred from being a Potential, Nick, dear?” she asked.
Blinking, Nick glanced up at her. He pouted – but she was unmoved. Unlike some (*cough*Sean*cough*) she couldn’t be swayed by having her attention drawn to his lips. “I’ve been very well behaved!” he said. “In fact, most times, I don’t even say anything!”
Adalind glanced over at Sean to see him repressing a smile. She sighed.
“Really?” she asked, fixing Nick with a stern gaze. “What are you doing instead, then?”
Nick squirmed. “I maybe,” he admitted, “might, sometimes, be glaring?”
Adalind’s own glare intensified. “Really?” she asked. “And is that entirely necessary?”
Nick’s pen stabbed through his paper viciously, making her raise an eyebrow. “Yes!” he declared. “They think they’re good enough for my Sean!”
“And when you have managed to say anything?”
“I’ve been almost polite?”
Closing her eyes for a moment, Adalind took a deep breath. “Do remember that until the Choosing you could still be barred!” she hissed, “and I have no intention of allowing anyone else to marry Sean!”
“So,” Adalind added, smoothing down her skirt. “You will sit here, glare if you must, and keep your mouth shut – unless you’re going to employ any of the etiquette I’ve been trying to drill into you! I, will be having lunch with Hank. When I return, I expect to find you still following my orders.”
“Lunch with Hank, huh?” Nick asked, giving her a grin.
Adalind sniffed. “Those of us who are sane need to stick together,” she replied.
“If that’s the reason you want to give,” Nick said, eyes sparkling with mirth.
Ignoring him, Adalind turned on her heel and left.
Nick: stuck guarding Sean – bring me food?
Trubel: no can do - out to lunch with Juliette ;)
Nick: I’m going to starve. Wither away and die.
Trubel: so go get something
Trubel: right. ‘cos you’re ‘guarding’ Sean
Nick: what’s that supposed to mean?
Trubel: I’m sure you’ll figure it out ;)
Trubel: or hey, maybe you could get something delivered. Do they deliver pizza to police stations?
Nick: dunno… how bad a glare do you think I’ll get from Sean if I do that?
Trubel: one way to find out!
Nick: Elizabeth, wonderful, amazing, Elizabeth!
Elizabeth: What, exactly, are you after this time, Nick, dear?
Elizabeth: And you can’t go get some yourself because?
Nick: helping Sean with receiving all his so-called ‘gifts’
Elizabeth: Ah. Of course you are.
Elizabeth: I’ll be by soon. Has my son eaten, either?
Nick: if you bring cheesecake, he may even smile!
Elizabeth: I do remember that particular fondness of his
By the time most of the detectives and officers were leaving for the day, every single one of Sean’s twenty other Potentials (not including Nick, of course), had stopped by to leave him a gift. Nick was glaring at them.
Pushing himself to his feet, Sean gave the grimm a considering look. “Come on,” he said, “I know something that will make you feel better.”
Nick gave him a curious look, but also pushed himself to his feet. Grabbing a large garbage bag (Nick’s lips twitched at the sight), the Captain shoved all the gifts into it, before motioning Nick out of the office before him.
Sean: Everything ready?
Monroe: all set up.
Sean: Thank you
Monroe: no worries, dude. You want either of us to stay?
Sean: No, you head home. Enjoy your evening.
Rosalee: we will! Thank you, Sean!
Car slowing down, Nick opened his eyes, blinking to see that, instead of being back at Sean’s house, they were out in the forest somewhere. He vaguely recognised it as a place he’d gone with both Monroe and Sean in order to train before.
“What are we doing here?” he asked.
“You’ll see.” Reaching over, Sean grabbed the garbage bag full of gifts, dragging them out into the grassy clearing. The sun was setting, but there was still enough light to see by.
Climbing out of the car, Nick noticed a familiar duffel bag sitting at the base of a tree. He grinned.
“Seriously?” he asked.
Sean shrugged. “Of course,” he replied.
Nick glanced at the gifts. “Some of those could be really valuable or important,” he said. “They are trying to impress you, after all.”
“And I don’t need them,” Sean assured him. He motioned Nick over towards the duffel.
Pulling out his kanabo, Nick hefted it in his hand, smiling at the weight of it. There was a soft sound. Spinning, he struck out, kanabo hitting the incoming gift neatly in the middle, sending it flying.
Nick’s grin grew larger. Shifting his grip on the kanabo, he got into a ready stance.
Sean, it seemed, had no trouble whatsoever tossing the gifts towards Nick. Six gifts were destroyed via kanabo. Then Nick switched it up, shooting another four out of the air with his crossbow. The following five were slashed in half with his double-headed axe (he claimed he needed the practice as he hadn’t used it much before), while the last five were punched, thrown, stomped and otherwise physically harmed.
Panting, Nick came to a halt, glancing around at the gift and wrapping-paper strewn clearing.
“Feel better?” Sean asked.
Nick nodded. “Yeah,” he said. Impulsively, he reached out, drawing Sean into a quick hug. “Thanks,” he said.
“Of course,” Sean replied. Then he sighed. “I suppose we better not leave this here if we want to call ourselves responsible adults.”
Nick chuckled, moving to help him gather up the detritus. “You didn’t want to know what any of them were?” he asked.
Sean shrugged. “I’ve already made my Choice,” he replied, “the rest is just formalities.”
If his words caused a warmth to suffuse Nick, well, Nick was learning he quite enjoyed the closeness the Electio Sponsae had forced between them.
Gathering the broken gifts, Nick noticed that most of them included expensive metals and jewels of some kind – others included ingredients he thought might be rare. He gulped. His gift for Sean wasn’t anything like this.
But it was too late to change it now.
By the time they pulled up to Sean’s house, Nick was fidgeting in his seat, making Sean give him a sideways glance.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, fine,” Nick agreed. Jumping out of the car, he made his way to the house, opening the door and letting himself inside. Shaking his head, Sean followed after his grimm.
Nick was standing by the kitchen table, shuffling in place as he glanced at something on it.
“Nicholas?” Sean asked.
Glancing up, wide-eyed, Nick made an abortive motion with his hands, before indicating the table. “Uh...” he said.
Stepping closer, Sean glanced down at the table to try and see what had his grimm all tied up in knots. There was an envelop on the table – a soft lilac colour that matched a few of Sean’s favourite shirts. His name was written on the front – in Nick’s handwriting.
Reaching out, he picked it up, turning it over in his hands. A soft scent wafted up to him from it - Orchids. He hadn’t realised the grimm had noticed his fondness for them.
Carefully prying open the envelope, he pulled out a thick card. Cafe Gateau , the logo across the top read. Beneath that, in cursive writing, was lifetime Cheesecake voucher.
On the back was To Sean, Love Nick, along with some fine print.
Sean glanced up. “Nick?” he asked.
Nick shuffled in place. His mouth opened and closed a few times.
Sean leant in and kissed him. It was quick – just a short peck on the lips, but it did the trick. Nick calmed, his nervous shuffling ending, as he stared up at Sean.
“Is this your gift to me?” Sean asked.
Nick nodded. “I know it’s nothing like the others -” he began, but Sean cut him off.
“No,” he said, “it’s not. It’s perfect.” Smiling, he pressed another kiss against Nick’s lips. “Thank you,” he said.
Nick grinned up at him. “You like it, then?” he asked.
In truth, Sean couldn’t think of a more perfect gift. The gift was meant to show a Potential’s affection for him, what they intend to bring to the partnership, and how much they value him.
What could show Nick’s affection better than a gift that showed just how much attention the grimm paid to his small likes and desires? What better thing to bring to the partnership than the aim to provide Sean with those little things in life that make him happy? And what better value to place on it than a lifetime?
No matter how expensive, none of the other gifts could compare.
“Thank you,” he repeated.
Blushing, Nick leant up to kiss him.
This, he thought, this he could get used to. Sean’s arms came up around him, pulling the grimm closer and Nick melted into the embrace.
This was, he realised, the man he was going to marry. The man he was, sort-of, engaged to. They had an understanding, at least.
Which meant this was what he could look forward to – for the rest of his life.
It was an entirely wonderful thought.
Slowly, they drew apart, smiling at each other, before heading to bed. There would be plenty of time for more later.
Chapter 10: Day 9
Elizabeth interrupts their morning, Sean gets to cross off some of his Potentials, and there is Christmas shopping, jealousy, and snowballs.
Nick: Rosie!! Addie!! Juliette!! Trubs!! I kissed him!! Last night!! I kissed him!!
Adalind: Well done.
Juliette: this is good, right?
Rosalee: Go Nick!
Trubel: ugh. You woke me up to tell me this?
Trubel: didn’t I hear you kissed him the other day, too?
Nick: that was in front of his father! This was alone! In his house! By ourselves!!!
Rosalee: so, a lot more relaxed, then?
Nick: And more than once!!
Adalind: :) :)
Nick: what am I going to do??!
Rosalee: kiss him again?
Rosalee: What? Did he dislike your kiss or something?
Juliette: did he like it then?
Nick: I guess…
Juliette: you guess?
Nick: well… I mean… he did kinda kiss me first…
Adalind: and you didn’t think this important to tell us!
Adalind: this is great news!
Adalind: I need to tell Elizabeth
Nick: What? No!
Nick: she’s his mother!
Nick: you can’t tell Sean’s mother I kissed him!!
Adalind: pretty sure she’s been waiting for this just as long as we have, sweetie
Adalind: but fine, I won’t say anything – so long as you promise to either tell her yourself or kiss Sean again sometime today ;)
Rosalee: oh, I think it’s a great deal!
Juliette: me too! You’re not getting out of this one, Nick!
Nick: :( Fine. I promise
Trubel: does this mean I can go back to sleep now?
After his early morning freak out, Nick fell back asleep, only to wake later tangled up in Sean. The taller man had one arm wrapped around Nick’s waist, the other holding onto his shoulder, and his legs wrapped around Nick’s.
Then again, Nick had one hand at the base of Sean’s skull and his other arm latched over the other man.
He sighed, pressing further into the warmth of the Prince. If this was how he would get to wake up each day, then he couldn’t see being married being a chore – at all.
Sean shifted, drawing Nick even closer, and nuzzling into his neck.
“Boys? Are you up?”
Startled, Nick flung himself upright, glancing around the room.
That was Elizabeth, he realised. That was Elizabeth – Sean’s mother – who was in Sean’s house, looking for them!
Scrambling towards the end of the bed, he accidentally kicked Sean, making the other man groan and roll over to give him a glare.
“What?” Sean asked, voice rough with sleep.
“Your mother!” Nick hissed back at him, snatching up his shirt from the day before and pulling it on over his bare chest.
Sighing, Sean propped himself up on his elbows, glancing towards the doorway. He, too, had forgone wearing a shirt to bed, but didn’t think it would surprise his mother in the least.
A moment later Elizabeth appeared in the doorway, eyes twinkling as she took in Nick’s lopsidedly buttoned shirt.
“Hello boys,” she said brightly. “And how are you this morning?”
“Better before you woke us up,” Sean complained. He shot a mournful look towards the grimm, but knew it would be very unlikely for him to get said grimm back into his bed that morning. Sighing, he pushed himself upright, stepping out of the bed.
“Was there a reason you decided to disturb us so early on our day off?” he asked.
Elizabeth gave him an unimpressed look. “Is that any way to speak to your mother?” she asked.
Sean ran one hand over his hair. “You’re right,” he said, “I’m sorry, mother, I’m afraid this whole thing has me on edge.”
Her face softened. “That’s understandable, dear,” she said, “but really, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Either of you.” She included Nick in her smile. “Now, I have some news you may not have thought of yet and which I think will brighten your day!”
Sean gave her an inquiring look.
Elizabeth smiled. “It’s Day 9,” she said, “that means you get to cut your list of Potentials in half.”
The way Nick perked up made her glad, once more, that her son had met and befriended the grimm (although she suspected it was more along the lines of the grimm befriending her son – Sean had been so closed off before).
“Really?” Nick demanded to know.
“Oh yes,” Elizabeth agreed. “Tomorrow night is the Second Dinner,” Nick scowled, “which means that, today, you get to halve the Potentials.”
“We can’t get rid of all of them?” Nick asked with a pout.
“Not yet, I’m afraid,” Elizabeth replied. “But there’s only a few more days.”
Nick froze. Only a few more days. She was right, he realised. The days had passed so quickly he hadn’t quite realised just how much time had passed. In only a few more days, all things going well, he’d be properly engaged to Sean.
Biting his lip, he glanced over at the other man. He was, he thought, entirely looking forward to that.
“Right,” said Elizabeth, unrolling an actual scroll across the kitchen table-top. Nick stared at it. “These are the current Potentials,” Elizabeth continued, pointing towards the fancy calligraphic writing that covered it.
There were twenty-one names listed, all elegantly penned. Nick’s gaze darted down to the last one on the list – Nicholas Burkhardt – and his mouth went dry.
“We know, obviously, that you want to keep Nicholas on the list,” Elizabeth said. “Which means there are ten others you can cross off.”
Smiling, she pulled out a pen – no, a feather, Nick realised. He wondered if they’d need an actual inkwell in order to write with it.
Sean stared down at the list of names. “What does it matter?” he asked. “I certainly won’t be choosing any of them, so we can just cross off the first ten names and be done with it.”
“You could,” Elizabeth agreed. “Though it might look better if it appeared as though you’d given it some thought.”
Nick frowned. “Numbers 16 and 7,” he said. “They’re the ones who tried to break into your house the other night. And 7 tried to lean across the table towards you at the first dinner.”
Sean nodded, gesturing towards Elizabeth.
With a flourish, she struck a line through the two names. “Who else?” she asked.
“The Count from yesterday morning,” Sean practically snarled out. Nick nodded vigourously, eyes bleeding black as he remembered the pushy Potential.
“Done,” Elizabeth declared, striking his name from the list. “Who else?”
Sean cleared his throat. “There was that one Potential yesterday...” he said.
Nick gave him a curious look. “Was I there for that one?” he asked.
“No,” Sean replied, “thankfully.”
“Why ‘thankfully’?” the look Nick gave him was rather unimpressed.
“Because I have no desire to have to explain why there was a homicide in a Police Captain’s office,” Sean replied blandly. Nick blinked him, gaze going stormy.
“What -” he began.
“Oh, I know the one you mean!” Elizabeth said. “Number 2 tried to lean across the desk and hug you.”
Sean gaped. “How did you know?” he asked.
“Sergeant Wu was happy to keep me apprised of things,” was Elizabeth’s calm reply.
“If they don’t get cut off the list,” Nick hissed out, vibrating with fury, “then I am going to cut off their head!”
“Done,” Elizabeth replied, striking through the name.
Nick relaxed – but only slightly.
“3, 11, 12 and 5,” he said. “They were not kind enough to make themselves scarce during the first dinner.”
Elizabeth hid a smile. “Yes,” she said, “I heard you managed to break a plate.”
Nick nodded. “That was 16,” he said, scowl darkening.
Elizabeth crossed them off the list. “Two to go,” she said.
“18 and 15,” Sean decided, “18 is far too close to my father, and 15 would too easily be blackmailed due to her past indiscretions. Not that I intend to marry anyone other than Nick,” he added.
Nodding, Elizabeth crossed them off the list. “That leaves you with Potentials 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 17, 19, and 20, plus Nick, of course.”
“Still too many,” Nick declared.
“Not for much longer,” Elizabeth assured him, giving him a pat on his shoulder. “Well,” she said, pushing herself to her feet. “I’ll let Frederick know your choices so far. Do enjoy your day off, boys.”
With that, she left.
Nick: Rosie!! What are you getting Monroe for Christmas!?
Nick: with this stupid ‘royals are stupid’ thing going on, I completely forgot to think about presents!!
Rosalee: I don’t think you want to get Monroe what I’m getting him, Nick, dear ;)
Nick: Ooh? Do tell? ;)
Rosalee: Not today, I’m afraid. Why don’t you see what Sean’s getting Monroe?
Nick: spoilsport. Fine. I’ll ask.
Looking up from his phone, Nick glanced over to where Sean was reclined against the couch, a book held comfortably between his hands.
“Sean,” he said.
The other man glanced up.
Nick made a face. “What are you getting Monroe for Christmas?” he asked.
Sean blinked. “I must confess,” he replied, “that with everything else that has been going on, I have yet to organise all my presents this year.”
Nick: Help! What are you getting Monroe for Christmas? Rosie won’t tell me, and just said to ask Sean. Sean hasn’t gotten him anything yet, either!
Juliette: why don’t the two of you go shopping together, then, Nick? You could find something to get Monroe together?
Making a face, Nick glanced over to Sean once more, only to find the other man’s eyes on him. There was a spark of humour in them.
“What?” Nick asked.
“Your face is very expressive,” Sean replied.
Rolling his eyes, Nick pushed himself to his feet. “Well,” he said, “seeing as neither of us have done our Christmas shopping yet, why don’t we go do that now?” Reaching out, he gently took Sean’s book from him, setting it aside, before pulling the other man to his feet.
“Are you sure you want to brave the Christmas crowds with me?” Sean asked.
Nick laughed. “You’re kidding, right?” he said. “Considering how tall and commanding you are – yes!”
They took Sean’s car, driving down towards the shopping district. The streets were filled with other shoppers, all out and about desperately trying to get those last few things before Christmas.
Jumping out of the car, Nick shivered, hunching into his winter coat. His breath misted before him in the air. Nearby, he could hear carollers singing.
Reaching out, Sean looped his arm through Nick’s. “Don’t want you to get lost,” he said, before leading the other man through the crowds.
They moved from store to store, Nick smiling and laughing at the seasonal festivities strewn about the place, and the way Sean’s nose would wrinkle when he caught sight of what he considered to be an ‘overdone’ amount of decorating.
“Who have you got presents for?” Sean asked.
“No-one,” Nick replied, giving him a sheepish grin.
That decided on, their wandering became more direct, as each began to think of things they could get for the others, though still with an element of meandering that sent them through many a store.
Within a few hours, both were red-cheeked, bright-eyed, and beginning to feel the stirrings of hunger.
“You know,” said Nick, “there’s a nice little cafe near here...”
“Lead the way,” Sean replied.
The cafe was, surprisingly, only half-full, and they were able to grab a table. Placing bags around them, Nick cast a critical eye over them.
“We’ve got something for Monroe,” he said, “Trubel and Hank. We still need to get things for Adalind, Rosie and Juliette. Not to mention your mother.”
For a moment, Sean appeared as though he was going to say something, but he closed his mouth without doing so.
“What?” Nick asked.
Sean shook his head.
Leaning forward, Nick grabbed up Sean’s hand, tugging it towards himself. “Come on, what?” he asked.
Sean sighed. “My mother has declared that all she wants for Christmas is the assurance of a wedding between us in the future.”
Nick snorted. “Like that’ll be hard to do,” he replied. “Surely she wants something else?”
Sean’s gaze softened. “I believe she is thoroughly enjoying her time here in Portland,” he replied. “It is a long time since we have been able to spend so much time together.”
Nick grinned at him. “So maybe we could organise a Christmas dinner or something, for her?” he asked.
Sean smiled. He needed to smile more often, Nick decided, as it completely lit up his face. “I think that would be perfect,” he replied.
They ordered drinks – hot chocolate (because Nick insisted), and just sat for a little while, enjoying the other’s company.
At one stage, Sean got up to use the restroom.
“Hello,” said a voice.
Turning, Nick looked up at Potential 7, surprised to see her. “Hello,” he said cautiously.
Smiling, she stepped closer to him, reaching out one hand to rest it on the table.
“You’ve been cut from the list, you know,” Nick said. If he felt a phantom pain from someone kicking his calf – well, he ignored it.
“Oh, I know,” she replied. “That’s actually why I’m here.”
Nick frowned at her.
“Surely you understand that you can do much better than a bastard half-biest?” she asked. Leaning forward, she let her coat fall open.
“Hang on,” said Nick, “you’ve lost your opportunity to marry Sean, so now you’re trying to persuade me I can do better than him? When I’m your second choice?”
She shrugged. “You’re a Grimm. A powerful Grimm if the stories are true.” She shifted closer. Nick pushed his chair back away from her. “And I’m sure you’ll be pleasing in other ways, too,” she said, eyes dragging over him.
A large hand landed on her shoulder, tightening and pulling her backwards.
Nick glanced past her to see Sean, looking rather unimpressed (rather angry, actually), bodily moving her away from him.
She turned to look at Sean. “Now, now,” she said, “I’m just having a discussion with the Grimm, here. No harm in that.”
Staring at her, Sean tilted his head, letting his woge rippled over his face. “Really,” he snarled out. “He’s my Grimm, and you’re leaving.”
Her face paled, eyes darting over where Sean’s skin faded away with his woge. She took a step back. Sean released her shoulder. Turning, she hurried from the cafe.
Reaching out, Nick gave Sean’s hand a tug, pulling him back down into his seat. “You’re really sexy like that, you know?” he said, grinning at the other man.
Twisting his hand, Sean twined their fingers together. They sat there for a while.
“Come on,” Sean said finally, pushing himself to his feet. “There are still a few more presents for us to get.”
Nodding, Nick followed after him.
They continued their shopping, as the sun sank down towards the horizon, and Christmas lights started to come on all around them. Staring around at the lights, Nick grinned in delight.
“Is that everyone?” he asked.
“I believe so,” Sean replied, “although I do have one more person to shop for.”
“Oh.” Biting his lip, Nick glanced up at Sean through his eyelashes. “I suppose I also need to get a present for you,” he said.
Sean shook his head. “You’ve already given me so much,” he said. “All that you’ve agreed to….”
“Is because I want to,” Nick replied. They were standing close, so it seemed only natural to lean in and press his lips against Sean’s. The kissed for a long moment, before a need for air forced them apart.
Without words, they turned, heading back towards the car to deposit their shopping, before splitting up to shop for each other.
Gift for Sean safely ordered, Nick hurried back to where they had agreed to meet. Stepping out of the large shopping mall, he gave a soft burst of laughter as he realised it was snowing.
It must have started just after he had headed inside, for the ground was covered in white, and it was quickly piling up in places.
Grinning, Nick glanced around, before reaching down and scooping some snow up – forming a snowball. Hefting it in his hand, he headed towards the small park where they’d agreed to meet. Sean was standing there, waiting for him.
Biting his lip, Nick glanced down at his snowball. Then he shrugged, hefted it, and let fly.
Something – something wet and cold and slushy – had just hit him in the back of the head. He turned around slowly, to see a bright-eyed grimm staring back at him.
Eyes narrowing, Sean reached down, scooping up some snow, before tossing it towards said grimm.
It was on!
Laughing, Nick dodged out of the way, scooping up his own snow in order to return fire. The park they were in wasn’t very large, but there was plenty of snow. Feeling the cold mush slide into his hair and down his neck, Nick shivered, tossing a few snowballs over his shoulder in retaliation.
Before long, he was laughing so hard he could almost stand. There was snow in his hair and down his shirt. His jeans were wet where he’d slipped. So he saw no reason to try and take cover. Instead, gathering up a pile of snow, he ran towards Sean.
Seeing the grimm headed towards him, Sean gathered his own snow, thrusting it into Nick’s face as soon as he was close enough.
Sputtering from the cold, Nick pushed forward, wrapping his arms around Sean and pushing his snow down the other man’s shirt. He felt Sean shiver.
Twisting, he went to dance out of reach, but Sean’s leg shot out, tripping him. Reaching out, Nick grabbed hold of the other man, dragging him down with him, where they tumbled into the snow, rolling over together.
Laughing as they came to a halt, Nick looked up at Sean, leant over him. He smiled.
Sean leant down and kissed him.
By the time they returned to the car, both was cold and damp and looking forward to the warmth of the car and then the house.
“Thank you,” Sean said, as he pulled away from the kerb. Nick glanced over at him. “I haven’t… played… like that in a while,” Seam replied. “It was… nice.”
Grinning, Nick leant back against the seat.
He was sure there were many nice things he and Sean could do together.
Chapter 11: Day 10
Nick has a good morning, Elizabeth gives some advice to Sean, there's an attack at the station, and, of course, the Second Dinner to attend.
Waking up entwined with Sean once more, Nick smiled contentedly. Turning his head, he pressed a kiss against the other man’s chest. There was a hum of approval from above him. Then his phone rang.
Groaning, Nick reached over, snatching up his phone. “Burkhardt,” he said.
“Sorry to disturb you so early in the morning,” Wu said, “but you know, death calls.”
Groaning again, Nick pushed himself upright. Next to him, Sean shifted, cracking an eye open and giving Nick’s phone a look of distaste.
“Right,” Nick said. “Tell me where to meet you.” Nodding as Wu gave him the address, he hung up, climbing out of bed.
“Nick,” Sean called.
Nick glanced back at him.
With a soft smile, Sean reached out, pulling the grimm towards him.
“I have morning breath,” Nick muttered as their faces neared each other.
“So do I,” Sean replied, and kissed him.
“You’re in a particularly good mood this morning,” Hank said, glancing Nick over. Nick, who was grinning broadly, gave a nod.
“Yeah,” he said.
Hank grimaced. “From the tone of your voice,” he said, “I don’t want to know.”
“What?” Nick asked. “You don’t want to know what I was doing when Wu called this morning?”
“Not at all!” Hank replied.
“Well, I do,” Wu said, walking up to them. “What were you doing?”
“Can I walk away first?” Hank asked.
“And, we’re back to work,” Wu replied.
Elizabeth: Sean, darling, how are things going with that grimm of yours?
Sean: Considering you saw us just yesterday, I would think you have a fairly good idea of how things are
Elizabeth: Oh yes, I was quite pleased to find you both in the room together. Can I assume you have been sleeping together?
Sean: He seems to think he needs to ‘protect’ me in case any other Potentials decide to try and break in. And yes, we’ve been sleeping together. Just sleeping.
Elizabeth: I do hope you’ve been letting him know that this is more than just a choice that’s been forced on you.
Elizabeth: Do I need to come over there?
Sean: Really mother, I am at work, you know. I do not want to push Nick – he has already agreed to give up so much for me
Elizabeth: He hasn’t looked like someone who’s agreed to give things up. In fact, I think he’s looked quite pleased lately
Elizabeth: Tell me you’ve at least kissed him?
Sean: I have kissed him. More than once. Happy?
Elizabeth: Almost. Give me a son-in-law and I will be.
Returning to the station, Nick couldn’t help but let his eyes drift towards the Captain’s office, taking Sean in. The other man was seated behind his desk – as usual – hard at work. Nick wanted to pop his head in – but couldn’t think of a reason to do so.
There was a commotion by the doors. Turning, Nick saw two men dashing into the room, woging as they did so. One was a nuckelavee, the other hundjager. The hundjager had a gun, pointed towards the Captain’s office.
Stepping forward, Nick placed himself firmly in their way, twisting as he did so in order to drive his shoulder into the nuckelavee’s sternum. His hand lashed out, driving into the hundjager’s arm – breaking it.
A snap rang out in the room, followed by a snarl as the hundjager dropped his gun, arm hanging limp before him.
Straightening, Nick tossed the nuckelavee over his shoulder. Spinning, he drove his fist into the hundjager’s temple, dropping him to the ground unconscious.
Turning back, he pulled his gun, pointing it straight at the nuckelavee’s chest. “Freeze,” he growled out.
Features fading back to human, the nuckelavee froze, raising his hands into the air. Immediately they were swarmed by other officers and detectives, all ready to take care of those who dared come into their Precinct and try to harm their Captain.
In his office, Captain Renard glanced up, eyes taking in the scene, before turning back to his work.
Nick stalked over to the man leaning by the side of the room.
“You can tell Frederick,” he hissed out, fury barely contained, “that everyone in this Canton has to follow the laws. Even so-called kings from other countries. Or they have me to deal with.”
He waited only a moment for the man to nod, before he moved off.
Juliette: so, you’ve got the Second Dinner tonight. What are you wearing?
Nick: don’t make me think about it :( Addie picked something out last time
Juliette: well, at least we know it’ll be something good then
Juliette: stop pouting. You do realise this means you get to see Sean all dressed up, right?
Nick: :) :) :)
Adalind: Elizabeth, dear, you will be attending the Dinner tonight, won’t you? Only from what I hear Nick’s getting *worse* as the days go by, rather than better
Elizabeth: Of course! Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Not when this is the Dinner where they allow Family!
Adalind: about that – I’ve been wondering, do you think Frederick would allow any of the others in as Nick’s family?
Elizabeth: Hmmm… perhaps Trubel – seeing as she is also a Grimm. And, of course, she would be able to bring a date. The others, I’m not so sure about, but I’m sure an argument could be made for including them.
Adalind: if anyone’s interested, Elizabeth assures me we can likely get you along to the dinner as one of Nick’s family.
Monroe: touching as that is – and it is – I have no intention of spending my evening surrounded by Royals.
Trubel: is there free food?
Adalind: there will definitely be food, yes
Trubel: count me in, then.
Juliette: I suppose it would be interesting to see what Nick and Sean have had to go through…
Adalind: great! You can go with Trubel, as her date. If anyone asks, Trubel’s related to Nick.
Trubel: got it
Rosalee: seeing as I’ll be missing this, I expect *all* the details later! And photos, if you can manage to get them ;)
It was somewhat different getting ready for the dinner with Sean, and then arriving by his side – but it was a different that Nick decided he definitely liked.
Moving into the large room set up for the dinner, he was surprised to see Trubel and Juliette standing nearby.
“Hey,” he said, moving over to them. “What are you doing here?”
Trubel shrugged. “I was promised free food,” she said.
Nick grinned back at her.
“Oh, I’m here for the entertainment value,” Juliette assured him, smiling as she grabbed a drink from a passing waiter.
“They’re my reinforcements,” Adalind claimed, also joining them. She gave Nick a stern glare. “Because, yes, I did hear about what you said to that hundjager at the Precinct today.”
Nick just smiled back at her. “I only told him the truth,” he replied. Adalind did not look impressed.
“Lucky for you,” she said, “I have it on good authority that Frederick was more amused than offended – apparently he appreciates your dedication to protecting his son. But you can’t afford to have it the other way around!”
“Excuse me,” someone said. As one, the group turned to look at the newcomer. One of the Potentials. She gave a tremulous smile.
Trubel grinned at her. “Hey,” she said, “you’re the one who practically ran away when we greeted you at the airport, right?”
The Potential’s eyes widened. She glanced around. Then hurried off.
“Yeah,” Trubel said, “kind of like that.”
Closing her eyes, Adalind sighed. “You’re meant to be helping me ,” she declared, “not him.”
Trubel just shared a grin with Nick.
The seating arrangement, Nick found, was somewhat different for the Second Dinner. Rather than Sean staying put in one place with all the Potentials making their way over to him one at a time, they were seated at a large table, each Potential with an empty seat beside them.
The idea was that Sean could move between the Potentials throughout the dinner, talking to them and getting to know them – spending more time with those he thought more compatible than others.
Nick’s knuckles turned white as he had this explained to him.
“Oh don’t worry, dear,” Elizabeth said, patting Nick on the shoulder. “I’m sure Sean will choose to sit with you the most.”
“Elizabeth!” Nick exclaimed, turning to face her. Around the, the room froze, startled gazes turning towards the hexenbiest.
It was no secret in the royal circles just who Sean’s mother was. He was somewhat amused to see the horror and fear crossing a number of his Potential’s faces as they realised she was here to support him – and, no doubt, provide her advice on who he should choose (though he already knew what she thought on that).
Stepping forward, Nick drew Elizabeth into a hug. Laughing softly, she wrapped her arms around him.
“Dear me, Nicholas,” she said, “you’d think I’d come to rescue you from a death sentence.”
Nick pouted at her. “Can’t I just greet my favourite hexenbiest?” he asked. All those who had thought the foolish grimm mustn’t know who or what she was, drew back in shock at those words.
Adalind cleared her throat pointedly. Nick shot her a grin.
“Sorry, Addie,” he said, “but I’m not planning on making you my mother-in-law, so yes, Elizabeth gets to be my favourite.”
Nick was led over to a seat, as each of the other Potentials glanced around, looking for a place to sit as well.
“Now,” said Elizabeth, “as I’m here to support Sean, I’ll be sitting with him, which no doubt means I’ll be seeing you very soon. As Trubel and Juliette are here with you, they’ll get to stay with you the whole time.”
Nodding, though unimpressed, Nick took his seat.
Seeing Nick sitting down, a few Potentials moved in his direction – no doubt aware that wherever the grimm was, the Prince would soon be there too.
Stepping up beside Nick, Trubel shot them a sharp glare. The Potentials paused, edging away.
Smirking, Trubel took a seat a few down from Nick, leaving space for Sean and Elizabeth to sit. Juliette sat to her side, while Adalind placed herself on Nick’s other side.
He glanced over at her. “Aren’t you meant to be with Sean?” he asked.
Adalind simply gave him a look. “And just who do you think I’m going to have to stop from causing an international incident?” she asked.
Once all the Potentials were seated, Frederick gave a little speech (admittedly, Nick wasn’t really paying attention to it – but who could blame him when Frederick had Sean standing by him and Nick could spend his time instead staring at his Captain?), and then motioned Sean forwards to choose where he was going to sit.
Pausing a moment, Sean let his eyes sweep over everyone, before he strode straight towards Nick. There was an audible sigh from the rest of the Potentials.
Taking his seat next to Nick, Elizabeth on his other side and by Trubel, Sean gave Nick a grin.
The Grimm smiled back at him.
Stabbing his knife into his food, Nick glared at the Potential seated opposite them at the table, who was leaning forward in order to display her cleavage. His knife scraped harshly against the bottom his plate.
“Nick, dear,” Elizabeth asked, glancing around Sean at him, “are you all right?”
“Fine,” he gritted out, shooting daggers from his eyes at the Potential until, finally, she sat up straighter.
“Hmmm,” Elizabeth said, a hint of amusement in her tone.
The toe of Adalind’s pointy shoe dug into Nick’s calf. “No incidents!” she hissed at him.
Reaching out, Sean placed his hand over Nick’s. “It’s okay, Nick,” he said, “I only have eyes for you – even if Potential 6 over there is batting his eyelashes at me.”
Nick’s gaze darted in that direction. His plate cracked beneath him.
Elizabeth lifted her napkin to her lips, hiding a smirk. “Oh, don’t worry, Nick, dear,” she said. “Sean’s right, he really does only have eyes for you.”
A waiter efficiently came over, replacing Nick’s plate.
“Burkhardt!” Adalind hissed.
“See,” Elizabeth continued, “he’s completely ignoring Potential 14’s hair-flicking over there.”
Nick’s gaze snapped to Potential 14. The woman shrank back immediately, catching sight of his all-black eyes. Nick’s knife bent double.
“Neat,” Trubel hissed, watching. “Hey, check out Potential 9 – those are some seriously flirtatious looks being sent in this direction.”
Nick’s fork joined his knife in being bent double.
“Grimms!” Adalind hissed, her own fork scraping against her plate as she stabbed down at it. She shot Elizabeth a glare. “And you’re no help!”
Elizabeth smiled calmly back at her. “I think it’s sweet,” she said.
“Oooh, Potential 17’s going for the ‘tilt the head back to draw attention to my throat’ move,” Trubel commented.
Nick’s plate broke.
It was replaced.
“If they don’t stop trying to get your attention!” Nick hissed out.
“If you don’t start behaving!” Adalind hissed at him.
“I think that one’s trying to get my attention,” Sean commented easily, motioning towards the opposite corner of the table.
Nick’s glass snapped. Holding out her hand, Adalind shot him a glare as she prevented the wine from going everywhere.
“If you manage to ruin that suit!” she snarled at him, completely ignoring the fearful looks of everyone else at the table as she twisted her hand, pouring the wine into her own glass (she had a feeling she was going to need it). “And you,” she added, shooting Sean a glare. “Stop encouraging him!”
Sean gave her an innocent look. “I’m not doing anything,” he said.
“Anything,” Adalind snorted. “You’re just trying to rile him up so that he gets jealous and you get to make out with him later!”
Sean gave her a bland look.
“Hey,” said Trubel, “do you reckon I could make some of them leave if I glared at them long enough.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t,” Juliette said, casting Adalind a look. The blonde shot her a grateful glance. Trubel pouted. “Oh, very well,” Juliette said. “But not too obviously!”
“Idiot Grimms!” Adalind hissed, “and their idiot partners who let them get away with anything just because they want to make out with them!”
By the time the dinner was over, Sean hadn’t changed his seat once (Adalind had to admit, when pressed that no, it wasn’t in the rules that he had to change his seat), Nick had destroyed five plates, three forks and six knives. And two Potentials had decided the glaring Grimms were too much for them and had left early.
“You know,” said Nick, stepping out into the cool night air with his hand clasped in Sean’s. “That wasn’t so bad.”
Making a sound of incoherent frustration, Adalind stormed away from them.
“We should probably send her some flowers,” Sean said, watching her leave.
“Better make it wine,” Elizabeth told him, “the poor dear will need it.”
Giving them both a kiss on the cheek, she headed off into the night.
“Well,” said Nick turning to face Sean. “Home?”
The smile Sean gave him was brilliant. “Home,” he agreed.
Chapter 12: Day 11
Nick's morning with Sean is interrupted, he endures some 'torture', and then there's the Ball...
Adalind: get your butt down here. Now.
Adalind: I’m waiting, Burkhardt
Nick: Addie, it’s morning. Early morning. I’m wrapped in Sean’s arms. I’m not moving.
Adalind: while that does sound nice – do I need to come up there?
Nick: you’re the one who kept telling me to ‘go for it’, why are you now trying to get me out of bed with him?
Adalind: Electio Sponsae rules unfortunately. Tonight is the Ball of Choosing. You have to get ready for it separately.
Nick: that’s tonight
Adalind: and you’re going to come down NOW
Adalind: I’m waiting!
Nick: Help!! Being assaulted!!
Juliette: I highly doubt that’s what’s happening
Rosalee: oh, is Addie getting you ready for tonight?
Trubel: for a moment I thought I was going to get to cut off someone’s head :(
Nick: it’s *tonight* How can she need me all day?!
Trubel: I suppose you do need some work to make you presentable…
Rosalee: just think about what Sean’s face will look like when he sees you!
Nick: Not. Helping.
Nick: apparently this thing involves masks. So I won’t get to see his face :(
Juliette: you’ll survive.
Nick: none of you are any help!
Nick: Hank! Wu! Help!!
Hank: what’s wrong?
Nick: I’m being tortured!!
Wu: why do I approach this statement with a high level of skepticism?
Nick: why does no-one believe me?
Hank: why don’t you explain?
Nick: how can it be necessary to try on a hundred different shirts?! They’re Shirts!! They look the same!! attachment: shirts.jpg
Wu: is this in preparation for the Ball tonight?
Hank: Wait, you’re complaining because you’re being made to get ready for the Ball?
Nick: it’s not even midday!! How can you need so much time?!
Hank: Which unfortunate soul has the task of getting you ready?
Nick: Addie :(
Hank: So, you have an incredibly gorgeous woman ordering you around and making you take off your clothes and you’re complaining… guess it just goes to show how taken with the Captain you are
Nick: I’m gonna tell Addie you called her ‘incredibly gorgeous’!
Nick: Elizabeth! Rescue me!!
Elizabeth: Nick, dear, what have you done this time?
Nick: :( why does everyone always assume *I’ve* done something?
Elizabeth: Past experience. Well?
Nick: Addie’s torturing me!
Elizabeth: Oh, is she getting you ready for the Ball? I do hope you’re not complaining as much as my son is – you’d think he’d know by now that I only have his best interests at heart
Nick: you’re helping Sean get ready?
Elizabeth: I am
Nick: what’s he wearing?
Elizabeth: you know I can’t tell you that, dear. The idea is that neither of you know what the other will look like
Nick: stupid idea. This whole thing is stupid.
Elizabeth: Yes, but at the end of it, you get to marry my son.
Nick: :) :) :)
Adalind: Hank, dear, do you think you could find something to wear for this evening and accompany me to the Ball?
Hank: Uh, sure. If you like.
Adalnid: Excellent. I’m afraid inviting Trubel and Juliette didn’t work out quite how I’d hoped. They keep encouraging him instead of trying to curb his jealous tendencies.
Hank: So, you want me to come along in order to help you stop Nick from causing too much of a scene?
Adalind: I do
Hank: you realise that is practically my day job, right?
Hank: was there any other reason?
Adalind: I may have been told you think I’m ‘incredibly gorgeous’. For the record, I consider you to be both charming and handsome.
Hank: I will be there
Nick: Sean!! Sean help!!
Nick: Addie’s so mean! :(
Sean: If you like, we can swap. And you can endure my mother’s fussing.
Nick: she bad?
Nick: I don’t think anyone can be as bad as Addie! I think these are the 90 th pair of pants she’s made me try on!
Sean: I’m up to my 110 th
Nick: :( harsh
Sean: I don’t know why she’s so fussed about it – I’m the one up for auction
Nick: It’s not an auction!
Nick: and if was, I’d empty my savings for you!
Sean: your sentiment is appreciated
Nick: besides, you get to do the choosing. So I suppose we’re the ones who need to try and look good for you
Sean: I would pick you even if Addie made you wear something horrible
Nick: she *does* have good taste… I just don’t see why we couldn’t have stuck to the first outfit she made me try on!
Nick: and these masks itch!
Sean: Nick, dear, while I’m glad to know you’re comfortable flirting with my son via text, I’m afraid I’ve had to confiscate his phone. You know neither of you can know what the other looks like before the Ball. *kisses* Elizabeth
By the time he was allowed to leave for the Ball, Nick was sure he’d been poked, prodded and pushed into trying on more clothes than the city of Portland contained. Then he’d been made to shower, bathe, wash with special oils (‘This isn’t actually the marriage, Addie!’ he’d declared), and then had to sit there (without complaining), while Addie played with his hair.
Then – she’d attacked him with the make up. He tried not to think about that.
In all, he was surprised she was satisfied before it was time to leave, and pouted quite a bit when her own ‘getting ready’ for the evening took far less time than his.
“I’m not the one trying to catch a Prince,” she told him firmly when he brought this up.
They were driven to where the Ball was taking place, and Adalind forced Nick to wear his mask the entire way.
“The point is that no-one knows who you are,” she said.
“It itches,” he replied. “Besides, you know who I am.”
The mask covered almost his entire face and, with all that had been done to him, and the clothes he never would have chosen for himself, he could imagine that it would be hard to tell who he was. Though he did hope that Sean would be able to tell.
Getting out of the car, Nick followed Adalind up the steps and into the large ballroom. Staring around, he saw the room filled with many others. Most, like Addie, had smaller-masks on their faces, while some, like Nick, had masks designed to obscure who they were.
“Now,” said Adalind, “all the Potentials are to mingle together, to not give away who they are by who they’re standing with.” Glancing around, she saw Juliette and Trubel standing nearby, and headed in their direction, leaving Nick by himself.
With a frown, he headed towards the small cluster of Potentials in the middle of the room.
As the number of Potentials increased, Nick noticed someone arrive who he was instantly aware of. Tall, with long legs, a commanding presence, and dressed all in white.
He narrowed his eyes. He’d forgotten to ask Addie whether Sean would be masked as well. But he’d never had this kind of reaction to anyone other than Sean before…
Making his way towards the other man, Nick grinned to see the man also making his way towards him.
“Hey,” Nick said, tilting his head up to look into the white and gold mask.
“Hey,” the other man replied. Nick grinned.
Someone came up behind behind them.
“He-llo,” they purred to Nick. Turning, Nick saw one of the female Potentials. Reaching out, she placed her hand on his arm. “Why, don’t you look lovely this evening,” she said.
Shifting, the man in white neatly cut between her and Nick, placing his own arm around Nick’s shoulders and dislodging her hand. “Why don’t we move over here?” he asked.
Grinning – certain that it was Sean – Nick agreed.
They moved away, leaving the woman pouting behind them.
Music started up. Looking around, Nick saw Hank standing rather close to Adalind – no doubt hoping to get a dance.
Turning back to his partner, Nick nodded. “Of course,” he agreed, placing his hand on the other man’s arm.
His partner was quite a good dancer, Nick decided, and someone he was happy to let lead him. Spinning around, he laughed, letting his hand press up against the man’s chest as he came back in towards him, feeling the firm muscles beneath.
“Can I cut in?” someone asked.
Turning, both Nick and his partner glanced to the side, where one of the other male Potentials stood. He was looking Nick over hungrily, and held his hand out towards him.
“I don’t think so,” Nick’s partner growled, spinning them away.
It was, Nick decided, somewhat dizzying to be the one causing jealousy in another. He decided he rather liked it – insomuch as it showed that Sean cared about him.
The next Potential to attempt to cut in was angling for Sean (Nick was certain he was correct in his assumption of who his partner was), but Nick felt no guilt in acting as though he hadn’t heard them, simply moving Sean away along the dance floor.
A few more times they were approached, but it soon became clear that neither man had any interest in parting from each other in order to dance with anyone else.
The music slowed, and Nick noticed a number of waiters entering the room. He groaned. Finger food.
“I’m sure we can get something more substantial later,” his partner murmured to him.
“I’ll hold you to that,” Nick replied. “I’ve been through torture today and deserve a good meal.”
His partner chuckled. “I do hope it was worth it, however,” he said.
Nick looked up at him. “If it got your attention, it was,” he agreed.
A flash went off and he turned to see a photographer moving around the room.
“It is, unfortunately, somewhat of news in some places,” his partner told him, his distaste clear.
Spotting another Potential headed their way, Nick pulled his partner over to one of the waiters, snatching up the small hors d'oeuvres. He supposed they were designed to be able to be eaten around the masks, but it wasn’t something he was that impressed with.
He needed far more food than that.
Leading him around the room, his partner took him from waiter to waiter, pointing out the different foods they carried, and explaining what was in them, until Nick began to feel as though… well, he wasn’t full, but his stomach was no longer grumbling either.
Which was good, as at some signal he didn’t see, all the waiters left once more, and the music rose up, encouraging more dancing.
Nick couldn’t complain about that – not when it meant he could be pressed up close against his partner once more, feeling that firm body against his.
They moved easily around the floor – though there may have been some disappointed Potentials as both men continued to ignore or rebuff any attempt for someone else to move in and break them up.
In fact, Nick was also certain his partner had – at the least – sprained if not broken a particularly pushy Potential’s arm (he just wouldn't accept a 'no').
Over to the side he saw Hank leading Adalind around the floor, and nudged his partner to point it out.
“It’s about time,” the other man said.
Nick laughed. “Agreed,” he said.
Past them, he saw Juliette and Trubel moving together. And was that – yes! Even Monroe and Rosalee were there.
“Huh,” he muttered, “I didn’t know they were coming.”
“No doubt Adalind’s doing,” his partner replied. “She was adamant that everyone important to you come this evening.”
Nick glanced up at him.
His partner gave a light shrug. “It is considered,” he said, “in many circles to be rather a big deal.”
“Well,” said Nick, leaning forward. His partner leant forward to meet him, lips touching as yet another two Potentials attempted to cut in.
Ignoring all those around them, Nick wrapped his arms around his partner’s neck, feeling strong arms wind around his waist in response. He leant into the kiss, lips parting as a tongue licked against them, requesting entrance.
Tongues tangling together, Nick sighed into their kiss, pressing a light kiss against the corner of the other man’s mouth as they slowly drew apart.
“I could get used to that,” he murmured.
“Good,” his partner replied.
A bell rang out.
Turning, Nick saw Frederick standing at one end of the ballroom, looking around at everyone. The music died off, and the crowd slowly moved forward until they were standing an easy distance from Frederick.
“Welcome,” he said, throwing his arms wide. “Welcome, to this Ball of Choosing!”
There was some murmuring and shuffling.
“No doubt,” Frederick continued, “you have all had time to spend with each other, getting to know one another.”
There was another murmur, discontented this time, as glances were cast towards Nick and his partner. They had been rather exclusive with each other.
“As you are aware, this Ball has been thrown in honor of my son, Prince Sean.” Everyone fell silent, listening. “It is his Ball of Choosing. You are here,” he glanced at the Potentials, “because you answered the call for those who wanted to stand as possible Choices for my son.
“My son, the Prince, who is of royal blood, and invaluable because of this.” Nick leant against his partner, trying to convey that he thought more of him than his blood. “My son, through whom, my line will be carried on. Also, through one of you.
“Already, your number has been halved. And now, after hours spent together, masked, in order to wipe away any preconceived notions, you will each remove your masks at the stroke of midnight.
“And see if who you are standing by, is who you thought.”
Nick felt a thrill of anticipation run through him. A warm hand slipped down to twine with his, giving his fingers a soft squeeze, and he shot a grin at his partner.
Around them, the Potentials shuffled, pushing to get closer to Nick’s partner – though some paired off with others. Each time, Nick noted, one in the pair was taller than the other.
“Following the Reveal,” Frederick continued, “it will be time for my son to make his Choice. Though I caution him – pay special attention to the one you end up next to after this reveal, for it is when we are masked that our true selves and wants often show themselves.”
Taking a step back, Frederick turned to look at a large clock which was brought forward, second hand ticking towards the twelve.
Reaching up, Nick pulled off his mask, shaking his head as he lifted it free. At the same time, he felt the man beside him shift, and, turning, looked up into Sean’s face.
Smiling eyes stared down at him.
Masks for the Ball:
Chapter 13: Day 12
Sean makes his Choice, Frederick is... not nice, Elizabeth has plans...
Just a short note to let you know there is audio in this chapter again. If it's not working for you, please try another browser. It doesn't work for me in firefox, but works fine in chrome. ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Reaching up, Nick pulled off his mask, shaking his head as he lifted it free. At the same time, he felt the man beside him shift, and, turning, looked up into Sean’s face.
Smiling eyes stared down at him.
So Nick kissed him.
Leaning up, he twined his arms around Sean’s neck, pressing his lips to the taller man’s. Sean eagerly responded, pressing back against him and coaxing Nick’s lips open.
There was a loud clearing of a throat.
Reluctantly, Nick drew slowly back, pouting slightly at having to stop kissing Sean. He was pleased to note that the other man did not appear that happy with their situation, either.
“And now,” said Frederick, “it is time for Prince Sean to Choose.” He motioned towards Sean, gesturing him forward towards the microphone.
Dropping his hand down from Nick’s waist to twine their fingers together, Sean gave his hand a gentle squeeze, before making his way forward, tugging Nick along behind him.
He approached where Frederick was standing, turning so that his voice would be picked up easily by the microphone and spread throughout the room.
"I Choose," Sean said, "Nicholas Burkhardt." He drew Nick up beside him as he spoke.
Frederick blinked. "The Grimm?" He asked, astonishment in his voice.
Ignoring him, Sean turned to Nick. "I've made my choice," he said. "Are you still willing to tie yourself to me."
"Yes, sir," Nick replied - partly because it was habit to respond that way to Sean, but also partly because he was bristling at Frederick's disbelief that Sean could have him. "Yes, Sir," he repeated. As far as Nick was concerned, Sean could definitely have him.
There was a soft murmur from the guests and other Potentials at Nick's response. Nick was fairly sure he heard a groan from Hank and a snort of laughter from Trubel.
Leaning in towards Sean, Nick added, "I Chose you long ago. Not changing my mind anytime about that."
He thought maybe Elizabeth sniffed at that.
Smiling down at him, Sean leant down, touching their lips together.
Frederick sputtered. "This has to be a farce!" He said. "The Grimm has proven himself to be incredibly powerful and talented. Why would he choose you?" He stared at Sean in disbelief.
Nick tensed, he would have taken a step forward if Sean hadn't tightened his grip on Nick's hand. There was a shuffle of unease amongst the guests as Nick's Grimm aura lashed out, filling the room with a palpable sense of danger and his fury.
“Are you questioning my honor?” Nick asked.
Frederick turned to him, a tight smile on his face. “There is no question of honor,” he said. “However, you have shown your great worth and prowess throughout this Electio Sponsae, through my son is not the only way for you to join the family.
“As honored as we would be to have you join in such a way… I do not want you to think your options are limited to such.”
Nick’s eyes narrowed. If his fingers weren’t being squeezed by Sean, he would have crossed his arms over his chest. “I’ve made my Choice,” he said.
Frederick stepped closer to them, faux-discreetly (the microphone still picking up all his words). “Are you sure you are not doing this out of some false sense of duty to my son?” he asked. “Some idea that you owe him something? You cannot seriously be intending to follow through on this Choice and marry him. Not you.”
Nick’s lips compressed into a thin line. His knuckles went white.
Around the room, hundjager woged as the Grimm’s aura increased, pressing heavily against them.
“Right,” declared Elizabeth, striding forward towards them.
Frederick’s gaze snapped to her. “You dare to make a scene?” he asked.
“Me?” Elizabeth scoffed. “You’re the one who decided to throw this whole antiquated shindig. You’re the one who invited all these Potentials. You’re the one who has been playing Sean up as the best catch they could get.
“And now you stand there and question his Choice in front of everyone? I don’t think I’m the one causing the scene!”
Taking a breath, she turned to Sean and Nick.
“Nicholas,” she said, her voice easily carrying throughout the room. “Do you Choose my son? To be your future husband?’’
Nick nodded at her. “You know I do,” he said.
Elizabeth smiled at him.
“And Sean,” she added. “You have Chosen Nicholas for your future husband?”
“I have,” he agreed.
She gave a sharp nod. “Well then,” she said, “I call for a Proximum Nuptiarum Fidem.”
A wave of murmurs swept throughout the crowd. Nick turned confused eyes towards Sean. “A what?” he asked.
“An immediate wedding of proof,” Sean replied. “It can be called for where there are fears that the Electio Sponsae is not being taken seriously enough, although often in the past it has been called for simply when those involved have not wanted to wait.”
“So what happens now?” Nick asked.
“We get married,” Sean replied, staring down at him.
Swallowing, Nick nodded.
“Okay,” said Adalind, hurrying towards them, “Now, there’s no need to worry. We’ve got everything organised.”
Sean gave her a piercing look. “You mean,” he said, “my mother has been planning this since she realised Nick was going to stand as a Potential?” he asked.
“Oh, even before that, dear,” Elizabeth replied. Reaching out, she straightened his collar (not that Nick could see anything wrong with it), and smiled at them both.
“Wait,” Nick said, glancing around. “You mean, we get married now?!”
“Yes,” Adalind replied, tugging him forward and down so that she could fix his hair where his mask had disturbed it.
Nick stared around at them. “Now?!” he repeated. “But – but – we haven’t planned! Or anything!”
“You might not have, but we have,” Elizabeth assured him, giving him a pat on the shoulder. “Now, I’ve got a florist on hold, a pianist just waiting for my call, and your mother assured me she would be here soon after midnight.”
Nick gaped at her. “My mother?” he asked.
“Oh yes,” Elizabeth replied, “she wasn’t the easiest person to get a hold of, but I knew she’d want to be here for your wedding.”
Nick opened and closed his mouth a few times, glancing around at his group of friends and family. They smiled back at him.
“So,” said Trubel,” does this mean I get to be a Bridesmaid?” she gave Nick a broad grin.
“There is a reason we made you all wear blue, white and gold,” Adalind replied, giving the younger Grimm a fond smile. Trubel grinned back at her.
“Is there anything we need to know?” Nick asked, “what with this not being a normal wedding?”
“It runs basically like a normal wedding,” Adalind assured him, “it simply happens before all those who are here now at the ball.”
“Which is why you made sure everyone was here,” Nick said.
“Of course,” Elizabeth agreed. She slipped her phone back into her clutch. “The florist is on their way with the flowers. The pianist will be here in ten minutes.” She glanced around. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen your mother, have you, Nicholas? I haven’t actually met her yet.”
“I’m here,” said a voice.
Spinning, Nick felt his face breaking out into a broad smile. “Mom!” he said, stepping forward to give her a hug. She smiled back at him, hands smoothing over his shoulders.
“Well, don’t you look handsome?” she asked.
Nick grimaced. “I should!” he declared, “after what I had to endure all day.”
“Stop complaining,” Adalind said. She turned to his mother. “It’s lovely to see you again, Kelly,” she said.
“You too, dear,” Kelly replied. She glanced towards Hank, standing protectively close by. “I see things have progressed.”
Adalind smiled back at her.
“There’s the flowers!” Elizabeth declared, spinning away to direct the florists where she wanted them. Nick watched her go, feeling somewhat bemused, astonished, and disbelieving about the whole thing.
He wasn’t really about to get married, was he?
“We don’t have to do this, you know,” Sean murmured, dipping his head down so that his lips brushed against Nick’s ear. Nick shivered at the sensation, but shook his head.
“While it may not be how I ever imagined it,” he said, “seeing as I didn’t realise it was a possibility, it’s not… bad. It’s just…”
“Fast?” Sean suggested. He let his hands rest against Nick’s hips, squeezing gently. “We can always say no.”
“I don’t want to say no,” Nick admitted, biting his lip, and turning so that he could look up at the other man. “Unless you do?”
“No,” Sean replied. His eyes were filled with warmth and hope and something Nick thought he was beginning to recognise as love.
Leaning down, Sean kissed him.
Adalind: stop kissing and get over here!
Trubel: is it bad to put the moves on someone at a wedding?
Nick: I think it’s usually expected at weddings. Why? You have someone in mind?
Trubel: I’m not the one getting married! :)
Nick: no, you’re the one asking about putting the moves on someone.
Trubel: I’m not talking to you
“Now,” said Elizabeth, glancing between them. “As Best Man, Monroe will have the rings.”
“Rings?” Nick asked. He turned a panicked glance towards Sean. “We need rings!” he exclaimed.
“You have rings,” Elizabeth assured him, gaze moving over to Kelly. “Were you able - ?” she began.
Nodding, Nick’s mom stepped forward. “Of course,” she said. Reaching beneath her top, she withdrew a long chain with a number of rings hanging on it. She pulled one off, handing it over to Nick.
He stared down at it. “Is this...” he asked.
“Your father’s ring,” Kelly agreed. “We thought you might like to have it.”
Swallowing, Nick nodded, closing his fingers around it for a moment, before handing it over to Monroe.
“And this is for you,” Elizabeth said, placing another ring into Sean’s open hand. “It was my father’s, and has been in the family for generations.”
Sean stared down at it silently, giving a short nod. “Thank you,” he said.
Nick leant up against his side to add his support.
The wedding itself, Nick found, was not nearly as long as he had been expecting. Considering the fact that they had already danced and eaten, he supposed it wasn’t too surprising, but all that was really needed were the vows.
The flower arrangements Elizabeth had organised were set up around the room, including forming a small aisle for them to walk down.
“Wait,” said Nick, “don’t we need someone to officiate?”
“All taken care of,” Elizabeth replied. “Normally the king in these situations gets to do the honors, but we figured you wouldn’t want that.”
Nick made a face. “No,” he agreed. “Definitely not.”
Sean didn’t say anything, but the way he stilled beside Nick let him know the other man agreed with him.
“Now,” said Elizabeth, “shall we walk you two down?” She held out her hand, glancing at Sean as she did so. With a nod, he placed her hand onto his arm, turning and letting her lead him out of the small antechamber they had been standing in, and back into the ballroom as a few strains of music filled the air.
Feeling his hands begin to sweat, Nick wiped them on his pants, before turning a nervous glance towards his mother. He was honestly surprised that she hadn’t said anything about his marrying a royal.
As though sensing his thoughts, Kelly spoke.
“He may not be who I would have chosen for you,” she said. “but he seems to be who you have Chosen. And that’s enough for me.”
Smiling, Nick threw his arms around her in a hug.
Being led down the aisle – lined with a flowers, - by his mother, was not something Nick had ever thought would happen. First because he thought her dead, and then because he thought it was not something he would ever experience – not with his life as a Grimm.
Standing at the end of the aisle, waiting for him, was Sean. Nick felt his mouth go dry at the sight. Sean was, he decided, even better looking than he had been with his mask on. Nick could stare at that face for hours.
A gentle tug against his arm coaxed Nick forward, broad grin breaking out across his face at the thought of what was to come. Around the room people shifted, feeling the giddy wash of his aura.
And there, standing behind Sean, was Wu. Nick blinked. Then he let out a soft laugh. Of course Wu would have a licence to officiate.
Later, he could not say that he remembered all of what happened. He knew that he had walked down the aisle with his mother. Knew that she had handed him off to Sean – along with a look that suggested she would go all Grimm and kill the other man if anything happened to him – and he knew that he and Sean had held hands the entire time.
Frederick had obviously wanted to say something but Elizabeth, bless her, had intervened and gotten him out of the way.
Wu had said a few things, which Nick hadn’t really paid attention to (he was staring up at Sean’s green eyes, trying to memorise the way the other man was looking at him).
Then Sean had taken both of Nick’s hands in his, looked him straight in the eyes, and promised,
“I, Sean Renard, choose thee, Nicholas Burkhardt, as my husband. My partner, my lover, my confidant and my friend. My support in times of trouble and my delight in times of laughter. I choose to bind myself to thee, to share with thee all that comes after. To be thy support in times of trouble and thy delight in times of laughter. To share all of myself with thee, holding nothing back.”
By the time Sean finished speaking, Nick was blinking back tears, staring up at him.
“And do you, Nicholas Burkhardt, choose Sean Renard?” Wu asked.
“I do,” Nick replied, tightening his fingers around Sean’s. “I don’t know all the fancy words,” he admitted, “but I Choose you. I, Nicholas Burkhardt, choose you, Sean Renard. I choose you to be my partner, my lover, my confidant, my friend – my husband. I choose you to be the person I share the rest of my life with, whatever comes. I choose to tie myself to you – to stay with you and help you in the bad times, and relax and laugh with you in the good times. I choose to give myself to you, holding nothing back.”
“Then,” said Wu, “in front of all these Witnesses, you have Chosen each other and pledged yourselves to each other. Based on this, I am happy to pronounce you ut socii simul ad vitam.” He gave a sharp grin. “You may kiss your husband,” he said.
Nick leant up as Sean leant down, allowing their lips to press together. A thrill ran through both men – they had kissed before, but not as husbands.
Closing his eyes, Nick wound his arms around Sean’s neck, leaning against the other man as he deepened their kiss, coaxing Sean’s tongue into his own mouth.
A number of flashes went off, but Nick ignored them, only reluctantly pulling back when he found he needed to breath.
Squeezing their fingers together, Sean turned them to face the crowd. A warmth suffused his whole body, and he felt lighter than ever before. Nick had Chosen him!
They were wished well – though not always sincerely – received hugs and congratulations from their friends and family, and then Elizabeth practically shoved them out the doors, ordering them home to ‘enjoy what’s left of the wedding night!’ and a reminder that she would see them at midday for Christmas dinner. As would Kelly.
Blinking, realising it was Christmas, Nick turned to face Sean.
They were alone, breath misting before them, a few small flurries of snow falling down to brush against their faces in gentle kisses.
“I love you, you know,” Nick said.
“I know,” Sean replied.
Nick smiled up at him. “I would have Chosen you, without all of this,” he said. “And I was kinda jealous of the other Potentials.”
“I know,” Sean repeated, eyes sparking with laughter. He drew Nick towards himself. “I Chose you a long time ago,” he said.
Swallowing, Nick nodded. “I know,” he replied.
“And I love you,” Sean said. “I hated this, because I wanted you – wanted you to know I Chose you, would Choose you, without it. Didn't want you just to Choose me because of it.”
“Well,” said Nick, “the Electio Sponsae’s over. All those stuffy Royals have been satisfied.” He smiled. “Just you and me now, if you wanted to ask me anything.”
Sean’s lips quirked up into a smile. “Nicholas Burkhardt,” he said, “would you do me the very great honor of spending the rest of your life with me? As my Chosen partner?”
“I would love to,” Nick replied, leaning in.
And there, beneath the softly falling snow and the twinkle of the stars overhead, they kissed, before turning and heading for home and their new lives, together.
ut socii simul ad vitam = bound together as partners for life
And that's it. The End.
Sadly. (although there may be rumours about a Valentine's Sequel in the works...)
A MASSIVE, MASSIVE thank you to all our readers! You are all amazing, wonderful, and encouraging people!
We greatly treasure all your comments, kudos, suggestions, likes and retweets.
Feel free to contact us on twitter (@TeamRenhardt @tolieawake @wesen90) or leave us a note here.
And wishing you all a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays or whatever you celebrate) and a Happy New Year!!