Captain Sean Renard was hanging from the ceiling of an old abandoned warehouse at his cousin’s and his men’s mercy His feet barely touched the floor and the pull on his arms was almost unbearable. He didn’t know how much time had passed since they brought him here. He didn’t know how many cuts and bruises and wounds now covered his body and he was pretty sure that at some point he had blacked out for a while.
After a lifetime spent running away from his family, always looking over his shoulder for possible threats and betrayals, Sean wasn’t afraid of dying. He had always known that one day they would catch up with him and kill him. He had often imagined how it would happen, and usually in his mind he would die fighting and taking with him as many people as he possibly could. Never in a million of years he thought that he would die helpless, chained in a warehouse.He never thought that he would ever care for someone enough to even considering dying to protect them. And if someone told him that one day he’ll die protecting a Grimm he would have thought that they were crazy.
There had never been space for caring in Sean's life. Caring was dangerous. Caring only brought heartbreak and pain and death.
Sean knew that his mother cared for him, he would maybe go as far as to say that she loved him, and where had that love led? To him being left behind while she went away, Sean had no idea where. “For your own safety” she had said. But back then Sean still loved and he couldn't care less about his safety, he just wanted to be with his mother. Growing up he had cared for a bunch of people, friends and lovers. And they had been taken from him, all of them, one after the other. One day they were there with him and the next they were gone, killed by someone who wanted to get back at him.
So Sean had just stopped feeling, it was easier and less painful. Even when he had come to Portland and reached a reasonable level of safety he had never let himself care for anyone.
And that’s why he missed the signals when Nick Burkhardt had come along, he didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late.
From the moment Nick joined his precinct Sean had known that there were good chances that he would become a Grimm. So he had decided to keep an eye on him. He wanted to be ready to make a move and convince Nick to work with him when the time was right.
He'd spent years convincing himself that the only reason he had to look out for Nick was the chance of having a Grimm work for him, with him. And he had been very successful in lying to himself,
So successful than when Marie Kessler came to Portland he didn't spare a thought for Nick and his pain, he ordered her murder and, to be honest, to this day he never regretted it. He only regretted that it had hurt Nick and the strain it put on their relationship, on Nick’s trust in him.
It took Juliette’s being cursed to finally make Sean see that Nick wasn’t just a chess piece in his plans, and he hadn’t been for a while now, maybe he never was. Nick was the strongest, most caring and resourceful person he knew and Sean just wanted Nick to trust him and be… his friend.
He'd been too focused on his plans to realize what was happening, or maybe he just didn’t know anymore how to recognize when he was feeling something. He thought that he wasn’t able to feel anymore, so when he finally figured it out it was to late. He was already caring for Nick far too much to stop.
And caring for Nick had brought him here. Chained in a warehouse, helpless, at the mercy of his cousin and his men, and with no chance to escape.
He'd always known that feelings only brought troubles and death and yet he hadn't been able not to feel for Nick. And even now he couldn't stop, not even to save his own life. He wouldn’t tell Viktor what he wanted to know. He would die protecting Nick’s secrets, even if Nick didn’t trust him anymore, even if Nick hated him. Cause it wasn’t about Nick, it was about Sean and his feelings.
The door of the warehouse opened and Viktor walked in. Sean closed his eyes. He didn't know if his cousin would try once again to “convince” him to talk or if he would just kill him. Either way he wasn’t in any shape to endure another round of Viktor’s persuasion techniques. He was going to die. He was going to die alone, no one was going to miss him. Hell he was sure that no one had even noticed that he was missing. He wondered how long it would take to find his body, he wondered if his cousin was going to leave his body to be found. He wondered if someone would at least look for him. He wondered how long it would take for his colleagues at the precinct to find out that he was missing. He wondered if Nick was going to know that he was dead. And he wondered if Nick would feel something if he knew. Maybe he would be relieved cause he wouldn't have to deal with someone he didn’t trust.
But it didn’t really matter what Nick would feel the only important thing was what Sean felt and all things considered there were worse ways to go than protecting someone he loved. And only now at the end of his life in the privacy of his own mind Sean allowed himself to finally admit what he felt for Nick. He loved Nick. And dying to protect him was worth it.
Nick Burkhardt glanced at Captain Renard’s empty office and frowned, worried. The Captain had left early the previous evening and no one had heard from him ever since. And this was so not like the Captain. Nick could count on the fingers of one hand the days the Captain hadn't been at work. And even in those rare occasions Renard had always, always, called to let them know he wasn't coming.
But this time he just didn't show up. And Nick knew that there could be a lot of plausible explanations for this, and he also knew that Renard could take care of himself, considering the kind of life he had lead, the fact that he was still alive was proof enough of that. And yet he couldn't shake the feeling that something was very wrong and they had very little time to figure out what.
To be honest Nick had no idea why he was worried. He had always looked up at his Captain, he admired him and the way he led his men, he wanted to do a good job for him and he trusted him. But now everything was different. Renard had his aunt killed, had lied to him for months and then Juliette’s mess. Nick had no reason to like him, let alone worry for him, everything was complicated and he didn’t know what to think anymore.
Regardless of his feelings for the Captain Nick knew with absolute certainty that he would never miss a day of work without letting them know. And he also trusted his instinct more than anything else in the world and right now it was telling him that something was very wrong.
Convincing Hank to go check the Captain’s apartment was a real challenge and during the whole ride there his partner kept telling him that everything was surely fine and that he would leave Nick alone to deal with the Captain.
Showing the security guard their badges was enough to convince him to let them up. And when they reached Renard’s floor Nick was proven right. The door of the apartment was opened, there were traces of blood that lead to the door that led to the stairs and then out of the building and when they went inside the apartment was trashed.
-Everything is okay, right Hank?- Nick asked bitterly.
If Nick had just acted on his instinct sooner, if Hank had listened immediately… they had lost precious time. The security cameras showed that the Captain had been taken last nigh around midnight.
At the moment they didn't have any lead to find the Captain, not even a little shred of clue.
Renard had been gone for little more than 12 hours. Nick thought he knew who had taken Renard, the members of his family were the only ones who could him by surprise enough to take him. He had no idea what they wanted from him, but whatever it was he was afraid that by now they either got that or killed him. Because Nick had no illusion that the ultimate plan of Renard's family was to kill him. After all they had tried to do just that for the Captain’s whole life.
And then he found something and finally, finally after what felt like an eternity but was in fact just a couple of hours, Nick was driving to the place where he though Renard might be held.
Ever since he came back in the warehouse Viktor had been more vicious in his blows, he wasn't holding back anymore. Now that he knew that Sean wouldn't say anything about Nick his only purpose was cause him as much pain as possible before killing him.
On his part Sean could say that he had really underestimated his body. He was sure that he wouldn't be able to hold on to consciousness for long and yet after what felt like hours, he was somehow still conscious.
Vicktor hit him square in the chest, probably breaking one of the few still intact ribs, and Sean didn’t even feel the pain, he just felt the blood from one of the freshly reopened wounds tickling down his chest.
His cousin was talking, but his voice was just an annoying buzzing in the back of Sean’s head. He felt Viktor move in front of him and tensed in anticipation of a blow that never came.
Instead the door of the warehouse busted open.
-Take him down, now, and I might consider not killing all of you.-
Sean thought he heard Nick’s voice. But it couldn’t be.
He didn’t know how long he'd been there, but he was reasonably sure it wasn’t more than a day, and it was unlikely that Nick or anyone else would worry for him if he missed just one day of work. So there was no way Nick knew he was in trouble and even if he knew he surely didn’t care for him enough to threaten to kill someone for him.
There was a moment of suspended silence in the room and then sounds of a fight filled the air.
Sean struggled to open his eyes and Nick was there, with Hank and Wu and Monroe, fighting his cousin. He wanted to keep his eyes open and see what was happening, but he was too tired and in too much pain. He let them slip close.
The next thing he knew someone was standing in front of him with his arms around his waist, then his own arms were free and he collapsed dragging on the floor the person that was there to help him. The controlled fall awoke all the pain that his body had somehow kept at bay until now. He took a deep breath and Nick's scent filled his senses.
His brain still couldn't make sense of Nick there, of Nick saving him.
The last think he thought before finally passing out was that he felt safe, safe in a way he'd never felt in his life.
The Captain’s surgery lasted for more than three hours and the doctors had said that they had found him just in time, even half an hour more in the hands of his captors and he most likely wouldn’t have survived. Nick had used these three hours to go the precinct and question Viktor. He needed to know what his Captain had almost sacrificed his life for. At first Viktor hadn’t said anything, but Nick had kept asking and asking until finally he said.
-You must be very important for him, no matter what we did he never said a word about you. Who would have thought someone like him would die to protect someone like you.-
Nick had left then, asking Hank to finish question Viktor and find out what he wanted to know. He honestly didn’t care at the moment. Whatever that was Viktor still didn’t know it. And he didn’t know because the Captain hadn’t told him. And sure maybe Renard hadn’t said anything because he really didn’t know, but Viktor had looked awfully sure of himself when he told him that Renard almost got killed to protect him. And sure Viktor might be lying but Nick couldn’t imagine why he would.
When the Captain was wheeled in his room after his surgery Nick was already there. He sat at his bedside and wouldn’t leave. He sat there holding his hand and looking the rise and fall of his chest to reassure himself that he was really alive.
Every time he closed his eyes he saw Sean dangling from the ceiling of that warehouse, battered, bruised and bleeding. Every time he felt the same rage blossom in his chest, like he was still there looking as Viktor got ready so inflict what Nick suspected would have been the final blow. And every time he saw the resigned look on Sean’s face. He was usually so guarded with his emotion, but this time in that warehouse his resignation was written all over his face. He didn’t think that someone would come looking for him, he probably didn’t even think that anyone had noticed his absence. If Nick believed Viktor’s words, and he had no reason not to, Sean had been ready to die for him, and he would have died thinking that Nick didn’t care enough to even notice his absence, that Nick didn’t care enough to know that if he missed even one day of work without calling in then there was something wrong. The worst part of this was that Nick knew that it was his fault. With his behavior he had made Sean think that he didn’t care, and even worse was the fact that Nick himself hadn’t known he cared until Sean had gone missing. And wasn’t it a big cliché? Realizing that you care for someone right when you’re about to lose them forever. Until this morning he really thought that he didn’t trust Renard, that he didn’t care what happened to him, he had really believed that he hated him. He was so focused on feeling for Renard what his friends thought he should feel ( distrust, anger, hate) that he didn’t realize that he wasn’t feeling any of that, not really, and that he probably had never felt that. Deep down he had always known that even if Renard had done some questionable things he had done them because he believed they were the right things to do, he had made mistakes but his heart had been in the right place. And sure this knowledge didn’t made the anger over some of these things go away, but surely it dialed it down a bit. And the desperation he felt this morning, when he’d seen Sean’s apartment trashed and the traces of blood, when he had realized that his Captain was really missing and that they didn’t have any trace to find out where he was, had been a huge wake up call. He wasn’t mad with Renard and he surely didn’t hate him. He had told himself that he had stayed under his command to keep an eye on him, but it was a lie, he had stayed cause after all that had happened he still trusted Sean to have his back. He had told himself that the attention he gave to Renard, the almost obsessive way he followed his every movement was a way to make sure he wasn’t doing anything shady, but it was a lie, he did that because he cared. He cared for Sean Renard, if he was honest was himself he was probably in love with him, and it had taken almost loosing him to finally realize it. Sean had almost died protecting him and thinking that no one cared about him, that Nick didn’t care about him, and it was all Nick’s fault. So now he was determined to be there when Sean woke up.he wanted to be there for him, to tell Sean that he cared, that he had always cared, that he’d been stupid and that he would always come looking for him.
Slowly Sean’s world started to make sense again and the darkness he’d been immersed in started to clear. He could hear the steady beeping of some kind of machine, there was someone next him whispering quietly, probably on the phone. He could smell the antiseptic in the air and there was a light source over him and the world behind his closed eyelashes was painted in light orange. There was a warm pressure on his hand. It took him a few seconds to figure out that someone was holding it. Most likely he was hooked to some heavy painkillers, cause his body felt numb and his mind, always so sharp, was slow and confused. He tried to focus on the voice to figure out who was in the room with him. The person sounded like Nick, which meant that the foggy memories of Nick coming to his rescue were probably be true. But still Nick’ presence in his hospital room made no sense and the fact that he was holding his hand made even less sense. When silence fell in the room Sean forced his eyes open, it took a moment to adjust to the sudden light. He looked around the room and saw Nick sitting on a chair next to him, holding his hand. He cleared his throat to get his attention. Nick immediately turned to him. He smiled, his eyes shining with relief and maybe happiness and he didn’t let go of his hand. Sean frowned. When Viktor had kidnapped him Nick had hated him and now he was in his room holding his hand.
-What…- he tried to say but his voice was too dry and he couldn’t get the words out.
Nick let him go and Sean bit back a groan of disappointment. He didn’t really care why Nick was doing it, but he wanted to enjoy the moment for a little longer, wanted to bask in the illusion that Nick cared for him for just few more seconds.
-I’m going to get a doctor.- Nick said before disappearing from the room.
Sean closed his eyes again and waited.
When the doctor left Nick came back in the room and sat in the chair next to his bed. Sean frowned again. He was more lucid but he still couldn’t make sense of Nick here.
-We arrested Viktor and the few of his men that decided to stop fighting. Viktor is flying back to Vienna, but his men are in prison.- Nick said and Sean nodded.
So that was why Nick was there, to tell him what had happened after his rescue, now he would surely leave. Still Sean was grateful, knowing that Viktor wasn’t in the country anymore was a relief, it meant that himself and more importantly Nick were safe.
But Nick didn’t get up, instead he tentatively reached out and took his hand again. Sean frowned and looked at him. There was something in Nick’s eyes that he couldn’t quite decipher, something that he used to see in his detective before, before he became a Grimm, before Aunt Marie and Juliette.
-Before he left Viktor said something. And I think we should talk about it-
Sean blinked. He couldn’t imagine what Viktor could have told to Nick that required a discussion.
-And I know that this probably isn’t the best moment, I know that you just woke up and you probably are a bit foggy, but…- Nick trailed off unsure how to continue the sentence.
-No, go on, tell me. –
- Viktor said that you were tortured within a inc of you’re life cause you didn’t want to tell him something about me… he didn’t said what but he seemed sure that you knew and didn’t tell him. He seemed sure that you were ready to die to protect me… and he could be lying but I can’t see why he would…. Is it true?-
Sean widened his eyes, he didn’t know what to say. He wanted to say that it was true, he wanted to tell Nick how he felt. Being so close to dying had made him realized that his biggest regret was not trying to talk to Nick, to fix things between them. But he was sure that revealing his feelings would only give the Grimm a weapon against him, because Sean knew that he couldn’t possibly return his feelingS. Telling him that he loved him would only make him vulnerable. So he just shrugged.
While he was talking, Nick was looking at Sean. He saw a shadow of uncertainty and fear and maybe sadness wash over the other man’s face. And wasn’t it weird? How his Captain has always been unreadable and now Nick could read him like an open book.
-Is it true? – he asked again and Sean closed his eyes, he seemed to be fighting an internal battle and then he took a deep breath and said.
-Yeah, it’s true.-
-You risked your life to protect me?- Nick asked -Why? I’ve been horrible with you in these last months, I gave you no hope that one day I could work with you, so why did you do that, if I hadn’t got there when I did you would have died.-
Sean took a deep breath and then said something that Nick was sure he would never say if he wasn’t under the influence of painkillers.
-It would have been worth it, cause I love you.-
As soon as the words left his mouth Sean cursed the painkillers. They slowed his brain and he ended up say things that he didn’t mean to say, things that it was better not to say, ever.
He closed his eyes, he didn’t want to see rejection in Nick’s eyes. He already knew that Nick didn’t feel anything but hate for him, but there was a difference between knowing and be certain of something. Knowing left some room for doubts, hopes and silly dreams.
Nick stared to talk.
-You know, this morning when you didn’t show up for work and then when I saw all the blood in your apartment… I didn’t know that I could feel such despair. I felt so powerless and I was so worried that I wouldn’t find you in time. And when we rescued you and you fainted in my arms… I thought you were dead and I just… I couldn’t bare the thought that you would die thinking that I hated you, thinking that I wouldn’t notice your absence, thinking that even if I noticed I wouldn’t come looking for you. I know it’s a cliché, but when I got this close to loosing you I realized how important you were for me. –
At Nick’s word Sean’s heart started beating faster and he dared to hope a little, surely Nick didn’t love him, but at least he cared. Still he didn’t have the strength to open his eyes and see Nick’s expression.
-Open your eyes, please Sean-
Sean snapped his eyes open. Nick had never called him by name.
-Sean I will always come looking for you. Because today I realized that I never hated you and I just refused to let myself feel what I was really feeling. Everyone seemed to think that hate was the only reasonable reaction to what you have done and it was easy to convince myself that they were right. But I was only angry. I never hated you. And I almost lost you. And I can’t lose you. I realized that I love you too. –
Sean closed his eyes again, since he woken up he’d spent a lot of time with his eyes closed running from emotions.
-You… how can you love me? – he asked -You can’t love me… -
Nick squeezed his hand and softly said.
-I can and I do.- Nick said.
And Sean opened his eyes again. Nick’s gaze was fixed on his face and when their eyes met he only saw love and affection. He took a deep breath and decided that he wanted to be believe him, he desperately wanted to believe him and for once have a chance of real happiness.
-I love you.- Sean repeated and Nick smiled.
-Good.- he said and then leaned in to kiss him.
When their lips touched Sean almost stopped breathing, he couldn’t believe it was really happening. Ever since he had realized his feelings for Nick he had imagined this kiss countless of times.
The kiss was soft, full of promised and passion and Sean leaned into it, his hand went to rest on the nape of Nick’s neck and keep him close. When they parted Nick leaned his forehead against his and said again.
-I love you.-
-I love you too- he said and Nick kissed him again.
When Nick looked at Sean he saw a look in his eyes that he had never seen before. He looked like he was happy but still couldn’t quite believe that he really could be happy. Nick had no illusions the road ahead of them was long and hard, they would have to face his friends, and honestly Nick had no idea how he would explain his sudden change of heart, they would have to figure out what to do to both keep their jobs, and the news of them dating would surely create chaos between Wesens and the Laufer and the Royal. It wouldn’t be easy. Now looking at the astonished but happy look in Sean’s eyes Nick decided that they had the right to enjoy this moment for a while longer. All the worries would still be there tomorrow. For one night it was going to be only the two of them.
Nick squeezed Sean’s hand and leaned in to kiss him again. It would be difficult but it was going to be worth it cause now with Sean he was happier that he ever had been. It was worth it.
FINALLY THE END.