black_sluggard: (Default)
Title: Grimm Reflections
Series:
Grimm Reflections
Fandoms: Castle, Grimm
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Fantasy, Angst, Romance, Humor
Details: Slash, crossover, AU, genre!crack, fairytales, mythical creatures, unbetad.
Characters/Pairings: Castle―Javier Esposito/Kevin Ryan, Richard Castle, Jenny O'Malley. Grimm―Nick Burkhardt, Hank Griffin, Monroe, Drew Wu.
Wordcount: 1,888
Summary: A close call on the job exposes Kevin Ryan to a hidden world that has always existed just out of sight―and leaves him viewing the people closest to him in a whole new light...
Notes: Follows Until Lambs Become Lions.


Chapter Three: The Shepherd

"Something strange is going to happen today."

Nick Burkhardt looked up from his desk, raising an eyebrow. He hadn't noticed Sgt. Wu's approach, and he was honestly regretting it just a little. Some days, it required a little extra preparation to deal with the other officer—primarily when that man was bored.

"What?" Nick asked.

Because he knew from painful experience that, in the long run, it would probably be better for everyone involved if he simply took the bait.

"Oh, yeah," Wu continued, "it's been real quiet."

The sergeant paused meaningfully.

"Too quiet."

Beside him, Nick heard Hank stifle a snort.

"You go ahead and laugh," Wu said blandly, "but my bizarro-sense is tingling. Mark my words, gentlemen, something is going to happen today. And when it does, I will be fully justified in saying the customary 'I-told-you-so'."

"Uh-huh," Hank said.

His skepticism was tinged with affection, however, and Wu all but preened under the attention. That was one of the weirder things about Wu, Nick had always thought—not only did the man seem to thrive upon pretending he was under-appreciated, he seemed to genuinely enjoy it when others chose to play along. And quite honestly, given all the drama and terror the sergeant had been subjected to in recent months, it felt damned good to see him in high spirits once again.

Though if Wu's spirits got any higher, Nick thought, he should probably start to worry...

"Anyway, Burkhardt, you've got a visitor," Wu said, giving a nod down the hallway. "He's NYPD. Says he needs to consult with you on a case back home."

Nick turned in his chair to follow Wu's gaze. He found the man easily enough. He was of about average height with blue eyes and light brown hair. He was wearing a grey three-piece suit that, while once fairly nice, appeared somewhat worse for a few day's wear. Most of all, what stood out to Nick was the way the man watched them—intent, with a focus that felt almost desperate—and the nervousness apparent in every motion he made.

"NYPD?" Hank said, sounding understandably confused. "That's a long way from home. Couldn't he just call or something?"

"I don't make the news, I just report it," Wu said.

"Alright, we'll take care of it. Thanks," Nick said.

"Of course," Wu said, breezily. "Anyway, when that inevitable something does happen, there are various alternatives to the classic 'I-told-you-so'. In fact, I have it on very good authority that there is a bakery on 8th Avenue in Manhattan whose Red Velvet Twinkies are amazing. Maybe your new pal can help make that happen, hm?"

Hank shot back with something, but Nick ignored both of them, focusing on the newcomer as he waved the man in. The man gave an almost startled flinch at the gesture, hesitating briefly before making his approach with visible determination. By then, Nick saw, Wu had successfully been shooed away by his partner.

Up close, Nick's diagnosis of nervousness and desperation appeared to have been painfully accurate. Though he had seemed eager to close the distance, once he reached their desks he had become rather more reluctant, hesitating even in making his introduction.

"I– My name's Kevin Ryan," he said. Reaching slowly into his jacket he pulled out his badge and his identification. "I'm a detective with the 12th precinct in Manhattan. I'm looking for a Detective Burkhardt?"

Nick looked over the ID quickly but carefully. Finding no obvious flaws, he nodded.

"I'm Nick Burkhardt," he said, offering his hand before tossing a nod Hank's way. "This is my partner, Detective Griffin. Sergeant Wu said you needed our cooperation on a case? Must have been important to bring you all the way across the country."

Detective Ryan shook hands with both of them readily enough, but Nick saw the man wince faintly at his words. The reaction was barely noticeable, but it was there.

"Yeah, um, sorry about that," Ryan said nervously, and the apology in his tone sounded genuine. "It's...not a case, exactly. I guess it's really more of a personal problem."

Ryan hesitated, looking over Nick and his partner carefully. He seemed somewhat wary of Hank's presence, and for a moment Nick thought the man might ask to speak to him in private. As that moment ticked past, however, Ryan seemed to abandon his reticence with what Nick could only imagine was some kind of embarrassed mental shove, releasing a weary breath.

"Look," Ryan began very slowly, looking Nick carefully in the eye, "I know this is going to sound totally random and crazy, but I kind of need to know... Just what the hell is a 'Grimm'?"

. o . O . o .

Asking his question at the station had yielded an immediate, strong reaction from both Burkhardt and his partner. In spite of the unease they both had displayed, Kevin had been almost overjoyed—it had been an unfortunate but very welcome confirmation that he was finally on the right track. And, thankfully, that brief moment of validation had given him the courage he needed to move forward in explaining his situation. He had told them about the things he was seeing, though he kept several details close to his chest. He had alluded to the identities of a few as people he trusted, but he had very carefully avoided identifying Jenny or Javier, either by name or by their relationship to him.

Though they each seemed to express some healthy degree of skepticism about some of Kevin's claims, the reality of the creatures he had seen was never in question. And though they had seemed reluctant to trust him Kevin would gladly take whatever he was given, because neither had they thought he was insane. While it had only served to ease a fraction of his overall anxiety, seeing their acceptance of that part of his story—their belief—had at last set some of his worst fears to rest.

The remainder of the conversation had not taken place out in the open, in the middle of their station—and even their anxiety on that front was somewhat comforting. Plainly, the secrets he had stumbled across were very closely guarded. That knowledge had helped him feel just a little better concerning the involvement of people to whom he had extended so much of his trust. Their betrayal still hurt, but as strange as it was to imagine Jenny and his partner as members of some sort of otherworldly conspiracy, somehow it was infinitely preferable to feeling like their bizarre secrets had been kept only from him.

Instead Burkhardt had asked his partner to drive Kevin back to the hotel room he had so hastily booked and wait there. Detective Griffin apparently understood what Burkhardt had planned, because he readily agreed.

"And maybe you should go ahead and give him 'the Talk'," Burkhardt had said on the way out the door, flashing a smile at his partner.

"What? Why me?"

"Because you're normal," Burkhardt had told him. "You don't have a stake in this like the rest of us. That gives you a cleaner perspective."

Though Detective Griffin seemed less than convinced.

The drive was quiet at first, Griffin watching him with an expression that was almost painfully sympathetic. On Kevin's end, that silence had grown steadily more anxious and uncomfortable with each second that passed.

"You know, I really don't envy you," Griffin offered finally. "This stuff still freaks me out sometimes, even without seeing them as often as Nick does."

"Them?" Kevin asked, though it was less a proper question than it was a gentle request for more.

"The creatures," Griffin said. "Wesen."

Kevin repeated the word quietly, testing it out on his own lips.

And for the remained or the drive, and the time spent after that waiting for his partner's arrival, Detective Griffin—Hank, he insisted—talked about his own run-ins with creatures of the kind Kevin had seen. How, for him, it had started first with a number of bizarre cases that just hadn't felt right—immolation, organ theft, corpses devoured by rats. He talked about shooting a man that hadn't been a man at the time he had fired, about the unnaturally strong criminal that had come after him seeking revenge, and about his sudden, unhealthy obsession with a woman named Adalind. All of these, Hank had only learned much later, had been instigated by wesen—the creatures Kevin was now seeing.

And, in the latter case, his strange behavior had been the result of an honest-to-God witch who had used him as a means to attack his partner, the Grimm.

"See, normal people usually can't see them," Hank told him, "not unless they want to be seen, and usually that's only if they don't intend to leave you alive. But people like you and Nick, you guys can see them when they let their guard down. You're...I don't know, special somehow. You guys can see them when most people can't. And I guess traditionally that sort of makes you the police of their world..."

He paused for a moment, frowning.

"And sometimes judge and executioner," he added, shaking his head. "I mean, Nick and I follow the rules and solve our problems with the badge whenever we can, but due process kind of goes out the window with some of the things we've seen. I never could have imagined keeping the kind of secrets I do now, on or off the job. But people would think I was crazy if I didn't..."

Hank must have seen Kevin's unease with this information.

"They're not all bad news, though," he offered quickly. "I've got a good buddy of mine—a man I've known since high school—who I only found out recently was a part of this. Jarold and his kid—my goddaughter—they're both good people, and I'd go to hell and back for either one of them. That hasn't changed one bit."

Kevin sat quietly for a moment, digesting fitfully before he released a tense breath, shaking his head.

"Why me?" he asked. "Why now? I've known– I've known these people for years and never suspected anything. Why am I seeing this now?"

Hank shook his head.

"From the way Nick explained it to me, it runs in families," he said, "but I don't know much more than that. His mom and his aunt were both Grimms. He started seeing wesen just before his aunt died of cancer. I never really knew whether those events were actually related—I don't know if Nick knows for sure, either."

While it lined up fairly well with what he had overheard from Castle, Kevin wasn't sure what to think of it. He had a hard time believing there was anything supernatural or special about himself...but as he listened to Hank's account, Kevin could certainly appreciate the wisdom in Nick's decision to leave the explanation to him. Because Hank didn't claim to be anything but a regular guy, yet it was obvious that he had found some way to accommodate all this craziness into his life.

And whatever Kevin might be—whatever Nick was, whatever being a Grimm actually meant—if handling all this was something that could be learned then, special or not, maybe he wasn't in as far over his head as he thought.


Chapter Four: The Huntsman

Author's Note: In the original outline, Hank didn't have his own chapter. In fact, he hardly had more than that opening exchange with Wu. But somehow this wound up becoming his chapter, and he even stole about half of Nick's scene in the next one.

Because Hank is just that awesome.

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