He should have seen this coming.
Monroe can blame himself all he wants, but the fact is that Nick knew as soon as he shot his first Reaper that something was different about him. He hadn’t been happy about shooting the man, but there had been a vindictiveness, a thrill, a certainty that it was right and good. Nick had never shot anyone before, but that had felt wrong to him, to feel that way.
It had only gotten worse. And now, he’d killed one. Not because he had to, but because the man was a Wesen and because it felt good. The solution was a simple one: Nick had told Monroe he was going to turn himself in.
Monroe had objected, strenuously. There were Wesen in prison, he said, and there was no way to ensure that Nick didn’t hurt them as well. There was another way.
Wesen had royalty, apparently. And one of them was in Portland.
Renard raised an eyebrow. “You’ve come to see me as Prince of Portland, Detective. Show the proper respect.”
Instincts Nick had never wanted warred with reason—Wesenbadkillstopwrong versus the simple fact that he had no other option. He knelt before the captain—the Prince—and lowered his gaze to the rug.
“Why have you sought me out?” Renard asked. His tone was no different from the one he had when they were in the station; professional, interested but dispassionate. Somehow it made it easier for Nick to answer. Monroe had warned him that question would be asked. It didn’t matter if Renard already knew the answer; Nick had to say it.
“I killed him,” he said now. “Billy Capra, the Ziegevolk. He was a killer, but—I didn’t have to kill him and I did.”
“That’s a matter for the police captain. You came to the Prince of Portland.”
Nick took a breath. “Monroe—he said that you can help me. Stop this happening again.” He kept his eyes on the ground, forcing back the instinct to attack.
“I can,” Renard agreed. “Did he mention the cost?”
Nick shook his head. “He didn’t know specifics. He said it was a bond of some kind.”
He could hear the shift in position as Renard sat forward. “It is a bond, Nick.” The sudden informality startled Nick, and he looked up to find Renard’s gaze intense on his. “It’s the most powerful bond we have. More powerful than a marriage. I would have complete access to your mind. You would be bound to obey my every command. Should you ever defy me, the bond would break and you would probably revert to a bloodthirsty monster worse than those you hunt now. I would own you, in all practical senses of the word. I would be your master, not just your captain. Is that worth it?”
“I don’t see that I have a choice,” Nick said honestly.
“Of course you do. Your Blutbad friend, he holds his instincts in check. A Grimm’s drive for vengeance is more powerful, but not unmanageable.”
He thought about that, looking back to the ground. Finally, though, he said, “I’ve already killed once.” He met Renard’s eyes again. “The next one might be Monroe. I won’t risk that, no matter what.”
“Then it’s worth it.” Renard nodded, and stood. “Keep very still. This won’t take long.”
Nick stayed perfectly still as the Prince placed a hand on his head, murmuring a long stream that Nick could tell included words from German, French and Latin, among others. He let the Royal lift his wrist to his mouth—and then hissed in pain when Renard bit him, breaking the skin.
“What—” But Renard shook his head and Nick fell silent at the implied order. Renard raised his own wrist to his mouth and bit, then pressed the wound to Nick’s mouth. “Drink,” he ordered. Nick swallowed, and tasted blood on the way down.
Renard stepped back. “Stand up,” he ordered.
Without thinking, Nick found himself rising to his feet. “That’s it?”
“That’s it.” Renard nodded. “I’ll see you at the precinct.”