Nick went home after that. He walked into his house - the same one he'd shared with Juliette - and slammed the door behind him as hard as he could, causing the window in the top of the door to crack. He ignored it and went upstairs to the master bathroom. He stripped his shirt off and turned to get a look at the bite mark in the mirror. It was wide and deep and still bleeding. Just looking at it made Nick furious.
He growled to himself and put a towel over the wound to staunch the bleeding. He held it there for a couple minutes, fuming as he remembered what happened in the Captain's office and what was said. He shook his head, tossed the bloody towel on the floor and stripped the rest of his clothes off, noticing that the blood had seeped down into the fabric of his jeans as well and made a mental note to check the driver seat in his car for blood later.
He decided to take a shower and wash the stink of Sean Renard off of him. He was pretty sure it wouldn't work and it would probably make his wound bleed again, but he was still going to try. He even grabbed a pumice stone and used it to 'exfoliate', though it was more like scraping the entire top layer of his skin off.
Once he was finished, his skin was red and he was still fuming and spoiling for a fight. He put a gauze bandage over the bite mark and got dressed, grabbed his keys, and left for the trailer.
Hopefully, his ancestors will have something to say about Claiming or Anspruch marks and pheromones. He'd never really done any major research into Royals either, so he thought it was about time to do that as well, all things considered. He stopped at a little Japanese restaurant and grabbed some take-out on his way by, then headed straight for the storage yard. He sent a text to Monroe to tell him where he was and asked him if he had time to come by and help or offer advice. Monroe quickly sent a message back saying that he would be there soon with Rosalee, after they stopped at the spice shop to grab a couple books that Rosalee had about the subject.
For a good fifteen minutes after he'd gotten to the trailer, Nick sat in silence at the small desk and used that time to eat his teriyaki chicken and draw a few sketches of Wesen to help himself calm down a little more. He pulled his own personal Grimm journal out of the pile and made another entry about a Wesen he saw at the Japanese restaurant.
Ever since he found out what he was and what he was seeing, Nick made a point of drawing and describing every single Wesen he encountered in his own journal. He would write the person's name, if he knew it, and their breed and then he would draw a perfect likeness of both their human face and then their woged face from memory and then filled in the rest of the space on the page with his story of how he saw or met that Wesen and how he felt about the way that Wesen was living their life, or at least of what he'd seen of their life.
Most of his entries had good things to say about the ones he'd seen or encountered, especially the ones he hadn't met while on the job. He'd made several entries about Monroe, Rosalee, Bud and even the Captain, since he spent the most time with them. And, though they may not be Wesen, Nick had even made entries about Juliette, Hank, and Wu, and also his own mother, Kelly, and Aunt Marie.
He brought his pen up to start a new entry about Renard, but his hand shook as it hovered over the page as his fury rose again. He was too angry to draw or write about that bastard right now, so he dropped his pen and closed his journal, just as Monroe and Rosalee knocked and came inside the trailer.
"What happened?" Monroe asked right away, as he sat down on the small bed. In answer, Nick took his shirt off and carefully peeled the bandage off of his shoulder. Monroe came over to get a better look at the gaping, jagged, semi-oval shaped wound in his friend's shoulder. "Jesus! What did he do? Maul you!?"
"No, I don't think he meant to make it so deep," Nick said, honestly. "But I wasn't exactly happy about being strong-armed into renewing the mark. So, I hit him and left before he even had the chance to lick it." Nick sighed and added, "Or before I had the chance to do more than just punch him in the face."
Rosalee fished a small jar out of her purse. "I had a feeling something like this might have happened." She went over to Nick and applied a little bit of the cloudy viscous contents of the jar to Nick's wound. "This is a special healing ointment, it'll work in a similar fashion to how the licking would have. It's not as quick or thorough as licking, but it'll scab it over at least and reduce the pain."
The ointment made the wound tingle and the throbbing sting started to abate. "Thank you," Nick said, sighing in relief.
Rosalee smiled and wiped her hands off on a handkerchief, then plopped the jar back into her purse. "So, you want to know about the Binden Process?" she asked.
"Binden Process?" Nick asked.
"The Anspruch marks and pheromones are only the first step in the Binden or Bonding Process," Monroe said.
Nick stared at them slack-jawed. "Bonding process?! He wants to bond with me?" Monroe and Rosalee nodded. "Define bonding?" he asked, in hopes that it would be something other than what he thought it was.
"Bonding as in binding, uniting, tying, unifying... marrying," Monroe said tentatively.
"He wants to marry me?!" Nick shrieked in a higher voice than he even thought was possible for him to do. Monroe cringed at the volume.
"That would be the only explanation," Rosalee said, shrugging her shoulders. "That is the only reason a Wesen would do this process. He wouldn't have made this decision lightly, because once it's been initiated there is almost no way of going back."
Nick sighed and put his face in his hands. Did he trip and fall down a rabbit hole? "You said almost no way. So, is there a way to stop it?" he asked.
Rosalee chewed on her lip a moment. "There is, but it depends on what stage you're at in the Binden Process. What all has the Captain done, that you know of?"
Nick took a deep breath and thought about it. "Just the pheromones and the biting that I know of. He kissed me... and there was obvious evidence that he wanted to do more poking into my back when he bit me."
"So, he's obviously had your blood, but have you tasted his?" Monroe asked.
Nick stopped and blinked. "Why?" he asked apprehensively.
Monroe and Rosalee gave each other a despairing glace. "If you've traded blood, then you've already gone past the point of no return," Rosalee informed. "At this point, the bond has been started and it'll act like it has a mind of its own, driving the two of you together until it's completed. You can try to fight it, if you want, but I've never heard of anyone successfully backing out after blood sharing."
Nick gave a deep suffering sigh and slouched to put his head on the desk, drawing his arms up to wrap around his head, like he was trying to hide from the world.
"What if I just avoided him?" Nick asked, his voice muffled under his arms.
"What do you mean?" Monroe asked. "You can't exactly avoid him, man. He's your boss."
Nick sat up and looked at his friends. "Well, what if he wasn't my boss anymore? I could transfer to another precinct or something. Would I be able to avoid this if I stayed away from him?"
"You can try," Rosalee said. "But don't any transfers or resignations have to go through your captain to be accepted? I don't see him approving something like that."
"Usually, it would have to go through him," Nick said, nodding. "But if I take it to the Police Chief and tell him that I'm having a dispute with the Captain and that it's affecting our work, he would be the one to handle it."
"You sure you want to just quit your job?" Monroe asked. "Or even transfer to another precinct. You'd have to leave Portland. Isn't that a little extreme for fighting a battle that you'll probably end up losing anyway?" Nick sighed again and put his face back on the desk with a dull thunk. "Not to mention the fact that Renard isn't going to just let you leave, man. He seems like the type that would just lock you up and throw away the key, just to keep you from leaving."
Nick sat up again. "Well, I'm not going to give him a choice, or make it easy for him," he said decisively. "This is my life, I don't need him fucking with it any more than he already has!"
Monroe held his hands up in surrender. "Fine, fine. It's your choice. So, what are you going to do?"
Nick took a deep breath. "I'm going to go find an apartment out of town, then hand my request for transfer to Renard. If he denies it, I'll go to the Police Chief and hand in my badge."
"What if the Police Chief denies it?" Rosalee asked. Nick looked at her with confusion. "Nick, Renard is a Royal and a Zauberbiest. He's a master at politics and manipulating people and he has the money to do it. I wouldn't be surprised if the Police Chief and even the Commissioner and the Mayor were in his back pockets. He probably has influence over anyone with any shred of power or importance. Especially importance to you. Nick, he tried to buy Monroe's and my loyalty as soon as he was sure we knew who he was." Nick stared at them, dumbfounded. Rosalee smiled mischievous. "Don't worry, he didn't succeed."
"He was kinda pissed when I told him to go away. Though, I didn't say it in so many words," Monroe said, shrugging.
Nick snorted and sighed again. "Well, then I'll throw my badge and gun on Renard's desk and just leave."
"What would you do for a living then?" Monroe asked.
Nick shrugged. "I don't know, I don't really have any other skill sets." Nick sighed and shook his head. "I'll figure something out, if it comes to that. I'll give it a week, hand in my transfer request and see what happens."
"Okay, man," Monroe said, shrugging.
Rosalee nodded. "Well, if you need anything, call us. In the meantime, I'm going to do some research and see if there's a way to reverse or nullify a bond. But you should do some thinking too, Nick." She put her hand on his uninjured shoulder to make him look at her. When he did, she smiled sadly at him. "You need to think about if being bonded to Captain Renard is such a terrible thing." When Nick opened his mouth to argue, she cut him off. "I know he did it behind your back and without your permission, but the point is, he would not have done it lightly. There's every likelihood that he did it this way because he thought there wasn't any other way of winning your affections. He is a man, Nick, and you've only ever been known to go for women. If he didn't do this, you probably wouldn't have even given him a chance."
"I just don't understand what he hopes to accomplish with this," Nick told her, looking a little helpless. "Wanting to bond with me because he's attracted to me is one thing - and he did admit to being attracted to me - but he said that having a Grimm with him would also give him more power and standing over his enemies. He pretty much told me right to my face, that he would have killed Juliette to get her out of the way, if she and I hadn't broken up." Monroe's eyes widened and flashed red; he liked Juliette, and would have torn Renard apart if he'd done something like that. "Why, so he can build his own kingdom? And then what? What's he going to do with it?"
"I don't know," Rosalee confessed. "But, if he plans on making a different kind of Wesen government, having someone like Renard as a leader would be the lesser evil, compared to the Royal families. Especially after seeing all the lives they almost destroyed as collateral damage from that last stunt to try and capture you. But whatever he's doing, if he wants to overthrow his family or something like that, he plans on taking you with him."
Nick furrowed his brow in slight apprehension. He wasn't sure he liked the sound of that.
"I don't know what his end game is, Nick," Rosalee continued. "But it involves you and he's probably going to hold onto you with everything he has." Rosalee sighed and chewed on her lip. "My point is, I'm just not sure fighting this Binden Process with the Captain is such a good idea for you, him, or anyone else that would be affected by the outcome. And, considering this is you and the Prince of Portland we're talking about, anyone else would be the entire Wesen community of the State of Oregon." Nick sighed heavily and put his face in his hands.
"And, you know, Nick," Monroe started. "I'm not one for politics, you know I'm not one for politics. Politics generally just make my head hurt."
Nick chuckled lightly, nodding his agreement to that sentiment.
"But with the way things are now," Monroe said. "Every Wesen in Portland and even the whole Northwestern portion of the United States, and Renard's family back in Austria and the other Royal Families, even the guys from the Dragon's Tongue over in Japan, know that you and Renard work together to protect and take care of Portland and the rest of Oregon. And everyone knows that you're butting heads with the Renard family." Monroe paused.
"They think of the two of you as one unstoppable unit," the Blutbad continued. "If you just up and disappear, that's likely to turn a few unsavory heads in the Captain's direction. All the vultures and the bottom feeders are going to move in and try to take over. People are going to go after Renard's head, and even more are going to hunt you down and try to take yours. Renard's family is going to jump at the chance to put him in his place and put you in yours - or at least what they think is your place. You two split up, in the end Renard is going to get killed and you will either be killed as well or forced to comply with whatever they want you to do. I'd personally rather see you and Renard bonded than to see both of you dead."
"So, what? I'm just supposed to let the Captain decide what to do with my life?" Nick asked, now looking stricken. He hadn't thought about the possible repercussions of quitting his job. He honestly hadn't thought further than he just wanted to get away from Renard. He didn't think about what other lives would be changed by it.
"No, we're not saying that," Monroe hurried to reassure him. "I totally disagree with what Renard has done to you. Hell, I'd love to rip his throat for doing this to you. But I think you should think this through a little more before you jump off the deep end. You're not just Detective Nick Burkhardt; cop by day, Grimm by night. You're a pillar of the Wesen community. More than that, you're the frickin' load bearing wall now, man. Remove you from the picture and the whole construct caves in on itself, and people know that. A lot of people have come to rely on you just being there to protect them, something they didn't have before. The Wesen community of Portland was a pretty leaky boat, before you came along and plugged up all the holes."
"The point is, Nick," Rosalee continued. "You've helped a lot of people, you've saved even more, you've scared all the bad guys off..."
"Well, most of them," Monroe cut in.
"And more good Wesen have moved into Oregon just to be near someone who is willing to protect them," Rosalee continued, sending a small glare at Monroe. "You've changed the way most Wesen look at Grimms. Instead of a nightmare, you've turned into a guiding light. No one has seen a Grimm that was willing to do all that in centuries."
"And Renard, who was raised and taught the history of the Royals and the Grimms," Monroe picked up. "Has seen the possibility of fixing what's been broken all these years."
Nick stared at Monroe, suddenly feeling like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. And in hindsight, it probably was. He was a different kind of Grimm, and his effort to just be himself and do his job, had turned more heads and changed more lives than he ever thought possible. It was never his intention to be more than just Detective Nick Burkhardt, but now that he was more than that, apparently there was no going back.
Monroe stared at Nick for a moment, thinking things over in his head. "Remember, you told us your mom said that the Grimms used to work for the Royals. Well, when you told us that, Rosalee and I were intrigued and we wanted to find out what the hell happened. So, we've talked to some people, pulled some strings and called in some favors and done our own research. Turns out, the Grimms used to be the arbitrators, the police of the Wesen world, if you will." Monroe shifted in his seat.
"Royals were the rulers, they made the decisions for what was best for the community," Monroe explained. "And they counted on the Grimms to keep the trouble makers in line and protect those that needed protecting. That way of thinking went out the window about eight hundred years ago during the Fourth Crusade, and since then, things have just gone down hill and gotten completely out of hand."
"Instead of protecting Wesen, Grimms started killing Wesen," Rosalee cut in. Both of them seemed eager to finally get all of this out and to take the opportunity to tell Nick everything they'd found and what they'd figured out on their own . "Without the Grimms, instead of protecting their kingdoms and ruling with fairness and mercy, Royals turned into power hungry tyrants and it's been that way ever since."
"Now, fastforward to the present era," Monroe started. "People have forgotten what it used to be like, Wesen are scared, Grimms are feared, Royals are desperate and bloodthirsty. Then suddenly, there's a half-Royal who wants to be more than a bastard son of the King of Austria and to be a better ruler than his father or fore-fathers ever were. Then, there's also a Grimm who wants to be the good guy, who is making friends with almost every Wesen he meets and all he wants to do is help Wesen and humans alike and as fairly as possible."
"By some miracle, you're both in the same city and you know each other and you both want the same thing. But that's all it takes," Rosalee continued, smiling. "It completely blows my mind to say this, but this is where a new world order would start, Nick. A new order that the Wesen world badly needs. Renard has seen that possibility, everyone has seen that possibility. That's why Renard's family is so desperate to get you and your key away from him. He gains too much power by having you around, and his family doesn't like that. And he wants to make sure that you can't be taken away from him. With the two of you bonded, most Wesen would see it as some kind of sacrilege to separate you two. Which means, more people would fight to keep you together. He's trying to protect you both by doing this." Rosalee paused. "He's going about it all wrong, but his intentions are logical and mostly pure. Quite frankly, I still want to whollop him with my tea kettle for forcing this on you, but this could still be a good thing."
Rosalee watched Nick for a moment, hesitating before she added the last piece of information that Nick needed to know. "Nick, remember Ian? Ian Harmon, the leader of the Resistance that you helped a couple years ago?" Nick nodded, struck speechless by everything that was being laid on him. "I've been in contact with him. Do you know that even the Laufer have people in Portland? They moved them in a few months ago, and they're here to protect you. Just to protect you! I'm sure they're here to keep an eye on Renard as well, but they are mostly here to keep you safe from any assassins that the Royals might send after you. They know that you and Renard are the key to getting what they and most other Wesen have always wanted. Freedom from the Royal Families."
Nick once again had his head buried in his arms over the desk. "This is too much," he whispered.
"It's still up to you," Rosalee said, wrapping Nick in her arms from behind as best she could. "It's still your life. We will support you in any decision you make. We just wanted to be sure you thought about everything beforehand. I know it's alot and it's a big decision and really I don't envy you, but you needed to know all the angles involved."
"Like you said before, give it a week, hand in your transfer and see what happens," Monroe put in. "You and Renard don't have to be together to continue to protect the Wesen community. Honestly, I can see why he did this, but I think he jumped at the chance way too fast. And, hey, maybe Rosalee and I can find something that will either stop the bond or at least delay it until you're ready for it."
Nick looked up at Monroe, glancing around at Rosalee who was still holding him. He nodded his head. "It would be great, if you guys could find something to help out. I'll... think about everything and make a decision. Maybe I'll just see how things go at work for the next few days."