black_sluggard: (ryan and esposito)

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 Six: An Interlude

Given a choice, Kevin would have loved to just crawl inside Nick's books and stay there until the world started making real sense again. Unfortunately, his partner was right. Leaving New York without a word or any plan had been a pretty stupid thing to do, and Kevin knew he really couldn't afford to stay for long.

Nick was understanding on the subject, and in the absence of time enough for answers he had been willing to keep in touch. It wasn't much, but it was something at least.

They probably would have left that night, if they were able but though the spirit was willing, the flesh was dragged down beneath the weight of an apocalyptic adrenaline crash to end all others. The kind where you barely had the chance to feel tired before you were sleeping fully-clothed on top of the bedsheets and drooling.

As it was, he and Javier almost didn't make it back to the hotel.

Kevin wasn't even sure what time they had faded out, only that it was past seven the next morning when he finally stirred. Even then it was to a desperate and bleary search trying to silence the incessant plinking noise coming from Javier's phone. The sound Javier had somehow trained himself to ignore long ago because it meant a text message from Castle. But like many a true phone addict, there was something about unanswered texts that managed to tear at Kevin's very soul, and as much as he would have loved to roll over and dive back into sleep he couldn't just let it go.

Fortunately the phone was found in short order, and Kevin was able to extract it from Javier's front pocket without waking his partner who was still fast asleep beside him.

There were several texts piled up, some from the day before, but just as many from overnight. According to the time stamp, they hadn't actually been rolling in every ten seconds, but due to the weird time-dilation that occurred when you were abominably tired it had certainly felt that way. Most of them were simple inquiries along the lines of "Are you there yet?" or "What's happening?", though they seemed to have gotten a little needier and more desperate overnight. The most recent one simply read "Are you dead?" which made Kevin smile for about two seconds before he remembered why they had come to Portland in the first place.

Harried hyperbole or not, it was entirely possible that Castle considered Javier's demise a very real possibility.

The writer clearly deserved something. Not wanting to wake Javier, it was left to Kevin to respond.

"Not dead. Let us sleep. – K"

Castle's baffling reply was some sort of lion emoji and a winking heart, which left Kevin briefly wondering if curiosity and anxiety hadn't finally finished the job of driving the writer totally insane.

"Coming home?" was the question which followed it moments later.

And when his hesitant "Yes" was answered in mere seconds by a link to their ticket booking, Kevin's smile managed to stay.

They were able to grab just a few more hours sleep before having to wake up and get ready to make the airport on time. Javier's head still ached dully from the fight the day before, and Kevin was so tired that he felt half-dead. It made for a subdued start to their return journey, and it was an hour or so into the flight before either felt revived enough for anything approaching an intelligent conversation.

Even then, though the question had been resting in the back of his mind for some time, it was a long time before Kevin finally drew up the courage to ask.

"How are we going to explain all of this to Kate when we get back?"

He could tell from the slow, measured breath his partner took that Javier had been expecting the question would come.

"We're not," Javier answered slowly, firmly, the words holding a faint edge meant to discourage further argument. "If she asks if anyone asks you had a family emergency. Castle will have been playing interference for us, I'm sure, so it shouldn't be too hard."

Though, in spite of the certainty in his words, Javier seemed to be having difficulty looking him in the eye once again.

"What? Javi–"

But the words died in his throat. And as it sank in what his partner was asking him to do what he realized Javier, and Castle, and Nick and his partner and everyone, all of them, had obviously been expecting him to do from the start Kevin felt more than a little bit stupid. While it certainly should have been obvious, until that moment somehow it really hadn't been, not to him.

He wasn't a total idiot of course he would be expected to lie it just hadn't really hit home until that moment that he would be expected to lie to a friend.

"If we went around telling everyone we were sure we could trust, do you think any of this would have stayed a secret very long?"

There was sympathy in Javier's words, but more than anything Kevin thought he sounded tired. That they each knew some share of the disappointment and betrayal the other had seen in their lives went unsaid.

"But it's Kate," Kevin argued weakly, more because of that shared history than in spite of it.

Kate, who was his friend, and Javier's and who was so close to Castle that sometimes Kevin just wanted to knock their heads together and get it over with. Kate, who they both knew had suffered more than her fair share of disappointment and real betrayal at the hands of those she should have been able to trust...

"I know it's not easy, Kev," Javier told him quietly. "Believe me, I know that. Do you think there weren't times I wanted to be able to tell you? I wanted it so badly. And Jenny–"

Javier cut himself off, glancing down the aisle. The cabin was quiet. No one was paying much attention to anything beyond their own seats, but Kevin thought it likely wouldn't take much for that to change. Javier must have been thinking roughly the same thing, for he stood slowly, motioning for Kevin to follow. Kevin was dubious where could you honestly go for a private chat in a moving airplane? but it didn't discourage him from allowing himself be led.

And, as they both squeezed uncomfortably into the cramped airplane bathroom, he was just confused enough not to argue.

"You have to know she wanted to tell you, Kevin," Javier said him, his voice strung tight with a weary intensity. "If nothing else I say manages to communicate just how important these secrets are to us, think about that. She married you you were going to spend the rest of your lives together and Jenny still felt the need to go looking for an excuse in order to justify telling you the truth."

"I don't understand," Kevin just barely managed to say.

He did his best to stifle his frustration swallowed easily enough by grief for his failed marriage because it went so easily without saying he might as well have the words tattooed on his face at this point.

"She was the one who knew first, Kev," Javier told him quietly. "She was looking into your family's history. She wanted to tell you, and she thought that if she found some wesen heritage it might make telling the truth a little easier."

And obviously she hadn't liked what she found, because just knowing what Kevin's family once was what he had then only held the potential to be had been enough to scare her away.

"It still doesn't make any sense, Javi," he argued forlornly. "I've never– I could never hurt her. Did she really think I'd–"

The unanswered question of just what she thought he might have done choked him back into silence. Even knowing what Nick had told him about past Grimms, he just didn't understand

Kevin wasn't sure he wanted to understand.

"Look," Javier said, "seelenguter aren't exactly the bravest wesen when they're on their own and can't count on the herd to protect them. Hell, credit where it's due, Jenny's a lot braver than most. I can't say I understand why she thought she had to, but if she honestly thought you were capable of hurting her I doubt she would have confronted you with divorce papers, Kevin not when she could have just run. It probably wasn't easy for her, and it wasn't much, but she wanted you to have that much closure, at least."

While Kevin found it impossible to dispute Javier's logic, the argument wasn't exceptionally comforting.

"It was never you that she was afraid of, Kevin," Javier told him quietly, "it was the Grimm. I mean, some of the stories we grew up hearing as kids would make the Saw films look tame but that's not on you, Kev. That's not your fault."

Javier reached up to give Kevin's shoulder a gentle squeeze.

"Jenny and I and Castle too we've known you long enough to know the kind of man you really are," Javier said finally. "Anything else we might see is just our own cultural baggage getting the better of us and that's not your weight to carry, Kev, so don't let it be."

He knew Javier was probably right, but it was hard for Kevin to unburden himself of the fact that, whenever Jenny looked at him anymore, what she apparently saw was a monster.

Kevin hesitated, taking a slow breath.

"What do you see, Javi?"

Javier looked him over quietly, considering. For a moment, Kevin almost didn't want him to answer. Finally, his partner released a sigh.

"I won't say the idea doesn't throw me a little bit, Kev," Javier admitted, "but I don't scare anywhere near that easily. If it was anyone else, maybe I'd be a bit nervous..."

He trailed off for a moment, shaking his head and offering Kevin a determined smile.

"At most, Kev," he said, "when I look at you, what I see is a challenge."

Which Kevin felt was lacking as an answer. Unfortunately, Javier never got the chance to explain himself if he had even intended to because it was at that moment the flight attendant chose to knock on the door. And they might still have taken the time if she hadn't threatened to grab the air marshal if they weren't out in the next ten seconds. That had successfully lit a fire under them, because being detained by airport security was a complication that neither of them needed at this point.

Javier offered a bullshit excuse about Kevin needing his help with eye drops which Kevin was fairly certain the attendant recognized as bullshit. The whole thing was dropped with surprisingly little trouble, though they returned to their seats through a sea of embarrassed glances and disapproving stares. And Kevin really did have a whole lot on his mind, so he didn't honestly get it until the girl across the aisle caught his eye, tossing him a smile and a quick thumbs-up.

(And the issue of Kate still hadn't been resolved to Kevin's liking, but reviving the topic would have been difficult when he could scarcely look at Javier without blushing for the rest of the flight.)

Chapter Seven: The Foxes (Part 1)
Author's Note: Apologies for the long wait. Certain developments on Grimm kicked me out of my happy fic-writing headspace. Now that the season is finished, I should be able to focus a bit more without having a sad about the way things on the show were going.

I hadn't intended for this to be it's own chapter. However, I've decided that a. it's been way too long since last update, b. it's long enough to be it's own chapter anyway, c. it's fairly self contained and makes a good transition, and d. the rest of the planned chapter threatens to run pretty long, so it's probably a good idea to bite this off early...

(Unfortunately, since it's breaking my outline, there's no artwork for this chapter.)


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