Prompted by: pennythepants
Beta-read by: pennythepants
Characters: Nick Burkhardt, Juliette Silverton, Monroe, Bud
Spoilers: Possible spoilers up till Cat and Mouse
Word Count: 2783
Summary: Nick is becoming who he's supposed to be
A/N: Fic number eighteen the alphabet_soup challenge.This fic was written right after Cat and Mouse aired, before I had a chance to watch Leave It To Beavers (so it might be seen as a kind of AU, though not that big of a leap). I hope you'll still enjoy the fic:)
R is for Rumor
There was a rumor going round in Portland's fairytale grapevine. It was about a young, fresh Grimm. One that hadn’t been trained by his ancestors, one that hoisted a gun and a badge instead of a warrior’s blade. He brought with him double the danger, because he had the law on his side. At first, every creature shook from fear that a new Grimm showed up in town. But they soon learned that this Grimm was something different.
This Grimm was one that could accept their differences, as long as no one crossed his path and hurt the innocent. As weeks turned into months, they realized that meeting the Grimm didn't automatically mean death. They could co-exist in peace. As long as the law was obeyed. It was a fragile status quo – one that both sides were learning to accept.
The Grimm was standing guard on the line between the good and bad, until one day that line became too thin to stand on and he lost his balance. It was a hard fall, but one that all Grimms had to experience. When he got back on his feet, the Grimm dusted off his clothes and looked up towards the line, realizing it was impossible to get back on it. He had to choose a side, and if that was the only way to continue being a Grimm, there was no question which side he had to pick.
It started with small things. The pie and basket from Bud the fridge repairman, the quilt, and the fixed door. The boys who’d previously stalked Nick's house, now biking around it every day peacefully. Unfamiliar people smiling at Juliette when she went into a local shop or her car being fixed the same day she brought it to be serviced. Small things that by themselves weren't really worth noticing, but she noticed anyway. She smiled back and gave a friendly wave to the children on the bikes, who seemed both startled and happy at being recognized. Juliette mentioned it to Nick during dinner. Nick's fork paused mid-air and something dark glinted in his eyes, but it was gone as quickly as it had appeared and Juliette wasn't sure she’d even seen it. Was it fear or anger? She didn't know and it made her stomach roll unpleasantly.
“I think it's sweet of them. You remember our neighbors when we moved here together?” she asked, trying to put that bad feeling away. Nick finished his bite and looked at her questioningly. “How George from next door played that awful music in the middle of night? Or how Mrs Pierce always threw her trash into our bin?”
“It's hard to forget,” Nick grimaced, remembering how he’d been assaulted by the smell of diapers one morning when he went to take out the trash, or how he’d been woken up mere minutes after falling asleep after a long tiring shift when George decided to play his favorite hard rock in middle of the night. “What are you getting at Juliette?”
“Once they learned you were a cop, they stopped. They were afraid of you, Nick.” Nick wanted to protest, but Juliette held up her hand to halt him. “They were afraid, because they didn't know you, all they knew was that you had the power to make their lives more difficult. So they stopped doing those things and even started trying to get back on your good side.”
“Yes, I remember that cake Mrs Pierce brought us,” Nick said with a grimace. “I'm still not sure if she's just such a bad cook or if she was trying to poison us.”
“She's a pretty bad cook,” Juliette agreed with a smile. “My point is... Once they got to know you, they stopped fearing you. Sure, they still respect you and know you could mess with them, but they don't feel the need to bribe you anymore.”
“And thank God for that. I'm not sure I could survive another cake from Mrs Pierce.”
“It is kinda your fault you ate almost all of it,” Juliette jibed with a smile but then her face became more serious and Nick put the plate away, feeling the mood change.
“What are you trying to tell me, Juliette? That these people are trying to get on my good side by acting nice towards you, just because I am a cop?” Nick already regretted finishing his food as it now lay hard as rock in his stomach. Did Juliette know the truth? Had someone told her?
Juliette watched Nick and was momentarily taken aback by the reappearance of the worry in his eyes. She expected a twinkle of amusement, maybe a smirk at the chance of getting some more pies in the future. But there was worry hiding behind the dark eyes and Juliette felt the need to reach out, to touch Nick's hand and squeeze it, to push away the shadows that lurked there ever since the attack in their home.
“I don't think they are acting that way because you are a cop, Nick,” she said and gave him a small smile. “You said they thought you were some guy they were scared off, but that it got sorted. I... I think maybe they are not that convinced you aren't him, that they don't want to take the chance. Hence them trying to get on your good side.” She shrugged and stood up, crossing the space between them. Nick pulled her into his lap and looked into her eyes. Juliette was surprised to see the tension leaving his body.
“Oh, so as soon as they realize I'm not who they think I am, they will start ignoring us again?”
“Or maybe they will start asking you to void their parking tickets, like George’s been trying to do for the last six months,” Juliette said with a grin and leaned down to give Nick a kiss.
“In that case, I should get back to frowning at everyone, and chasing kids down the alley, what you say?”
“Or... You might smile at them and be nice, so I could get better service at the Garage, and you could eat more awesome pies from handmade baskets?”
“My girlfriend is a genius,” Nick laughed and pulled Juliette into another kiss, the conversation swiftly forgotten.
Several weeks passed before Nick was abruptly reminded of the conversation again. He was sitting in the office, finishing a report on their latest case. Hank was down booking some evidence and Nick was in the middle of a rather boring description when his phone rang. Saving the file, Nick picked up the phone, seeing the caller's ID.
“Hey Juliette,” he relaxed back into his chair but his face quickly turned into a frown. “…What? Are you okay? ... Where are you?” He was already on his feet and grabbing his car keys.
“I'll be there in ten. Love you.” He hung up and was out the door, ignoring the curious looks. Despite his promise, the drive took him almost fifteen minutes and that was with the sirens on and several red light crossings. He didn't care.
A police car was already parked in front of the entrance to the antique shop, but there was no ambulance in sight and Nick knew Juliette was okay, he’d talked to her. Still, seeing the broken glass and the drops of blood spattering the floor of the shop made Nick's gut clench in worry. He showed his badge at the street cop guarding the entrance and walked straight up to Juliette, who was sitting in a chair, holding a bloody handkerchief to her hand. Sitting next to her was a sobbing older woman, most likely the cashier, and next to her was a nervous looking man talking to another officer, his knuckles bloody and raw from a fight. Nick pulled Juliette into a hug, and then his eyes fell on her hand and the bloody handkerchief.
“It's okay, it's just a cut. The robber shoved me out of his way and I landed on some glass. I'm okay,” she assured him and Nick nodded, willing his heart to calm down.
“I can't let you out of my sight, can I?” He asked with a shaky smile and Juliette returned it. He wanted to ask what happened, when his attention was turned towards the officer and the nervous man.
“Why should I go to the station? I didn't do nothing wrong!” The man protested and pulled away as the officer put a restraining hand on his shoulder.
“Sir, you were in contact with the suspect. There might be evidence on your clothes and we will need to get your statement,” the officer said in a cool voice, but the man shrugged off his hand and Nick saw his face morphing into a creature that looked like a far removed cousin of an Eisbiber. In that moment something inside him clicked and the pent up fear and worry of the last twenty minutes was released. Nick shot up from Juliette and pushed the surprised man against the counter.
“What were you doing here?” he hissed and saw the creature recoil in fear, while he heard Juliette's shout and felt the officer pulling him off. “Why are you following her?”
“Nick!” Juliette grabbed his arm and turned him towards her, suddenly looking pissed. “Are you mad? He just saved my life!”
“I was just keeping her safe,” the Eisbiber repeated again and again and Nick blinked.
“Will you calm down detective?” the officer asked, frowning at Nick, while standing between him and the Eisbiber. Nick looked at the scene, at Juliette's angry face, at the fear emanating from the man that supposedly saved her life, at the quivering cashier sobbing in the chair. He let out a breath and run his hand over his hair. He couldn't be losing it like this... It wasn't like him. Not the cop side of him, anyway, but obviously the Grimm side jumped out anytime Juliette was threatened.
“I'm sorry. I'm calm now. It was just nerves. Sorry.” The officer nodded, still looking suspicious but at least he stepped aside, no longer a body shield to the Eisbiber. Speaking of which, the man was looking equally scared and confused. Nick could relate with him on those feelings. “Sorry,” he said to the man and got a careful nod in reply.
“I was just keeping her safe,” he repeated quietly, making sure Nick listened. “I wanted to buy a pocket watch for my father and your wife and Miss Lee were helping me choose the right one, when the masked man came into the shop. When he started waving around that gun, I... Jumped him and we fought. I kept your wife safe,” the Eisbiber added in a whisper, his eyes wide and scared, and Nick felt a sudden wave of nausea. Was the man more scared of him than an armed robber? What did it really mean to be a Grimm in this world?
“Thank you,” his voice caught as he said it, and the relief on the other man's face felt like a hit in the gut. Juliette was right. They were still scared of him, but they saw a chance to bribe him with Juliette's safety. Nick didn't know what to do with that information. It was too much all at once and he couldn't handle it right now, not there, with so many unknowing witnesses.
“Where's the robber?” he asked after a moment and the Eisbiber looked away, the tension back in his body.
“He ran away. I couldn't stop him.”
“Not that he didn't try,” Juliette jumped in, still glaring at Nick. He threw her an apologetic glance and she let out a sigh. “He had a gun, Nick, but Kevin here still tried to follow him. I... I stopped him. No sense in letting him get himself killed.”
Nick nodded and pulled Juliette into an embrace, and then looked at Kevin. “You did good.” This time the Eisbiber nodded, the look on his face no longer scared.
Things got a little busy after that, with more officers arriving, taking statements and the forensic team looking through evidence. It was several hours later, back at the station when Kevin Franklin was finally allowed to go home and Nick got a chance to pull him aside.
“First off, I am grateful you helped Juliette. I won't forget it,” Nick started. “But I must admit I am more than a little concerned about the fact you were there and knew who she was in the first place.” The Eisbiber tried to look away but Nick didn't let him. “What's that all about? Come on, I won't hurt you, but I need answers. I need to know that you and your friends aren't a danger for my family.”
That brought the Eisbiber's attention right back at Nick. “Oh, no, we pose no danger,” he hurried to say. “We are protecting her.”
“Because... You are different.”
Nick shook his head, a little confused. “I’m a Grimm,” he said carefully.
“You’re also a cop,” the Eisbiber said, then huffed irritably. “I shouldn't need to explain this to you.”
“But you need to. So explain.”
“Throughout most of history, Grimms were a danger to all of our kinds. They were quick with the sword and had the power. Everyone feared them. They were legendary, but deadly. You’re different. You didn't kill Bud when you met him. You didn't hurt the apothecary or his sister and you saved a Seltenvogel. That's... Different.”
“How do you even know about-” Nick started asking but then shook his head. Obviously the creature world had a grapevine of its own. “If I am that different, why are you so scared of me? Why would you risk your own life to protect Juliette?”
“If something happened to her, and you learned I could have stopped it, I would be dead already. Not even a badge would stop you,” Kevin said seriously.
“True,” Nick admitted, realizing he probably wouldn't have been able to stop himself from lashing out in such case.
“We protect you, so you can protect us,” Kevin said and without another word left the station.
Nick thought about those words even as he was pulling up into his driveway later that day. His eyes landed on the new window and the fixed door and he could swear he spotted a familiar kid on a bike passing him. Despite that, it was the first time in several months that he felt comfortable entering his own house. First time in months when he felt that maybe he wasn't all alone against the whole world, and there were people who would help him keep Juliette safe. Of course it wasn't for free, nothing ever was. But if the price for their cooperation was acting more like a cop than a Grimm, he could live with it. As long as they didn't ask him to void parking tickets. There was a line to be drawn after all.
There were new cases, some normal, and some that brought Nick deeper into Wesen world, dragging more shadows into the light, the Grimm side of him settling in. Sometimes both worlds crossed in a way Nick thought would bring it all down, but in the end it always worked out. They worked it out, because the alternative was not acceptable. There were no more attacks on his house, and while Nick's work sometimes brought the danger a little bit close to him, Juliette handled everything well, and Nick's love only deepened. He almost forgot her words about the fear being replaced by favors. Until one day, his phone rang and an unknown woman asked for detective Nick Burckhardt.
“Speaking. How can I help you?”
“A friend gave me your number. He told me you’re a cop. He told me that if someone of my kind gets in trouble, you're the man to go to. Was he right?” The voice asked shakily. Nick hesitated and the woman must've sensed it, because there was a stifled sob then a deep breath. “Please, I need your help,” she said, and Nick ran his hand through his hair, before letting out a breath. It seemed like his side had been chosen.