"What do you think, Harry?"

"Hmm..?" The dark-haired man looked up at his two friends, one of whom was looking at him expectantly and the other who was wide-eyed and clearly trying to tell him something non-verbally, judging by the strange gestures he made with his head. He blinked and wondered what he'd missed when he wasn't paying attention.

"Are you alright, Monroe?" Harry raised an eyebrow at the man's strange behaviour.

"Oh yeah, I'm perfectly fine! We were just wondering what you thought about something," Monroe said just a little too loudly, "You know, something Grimm-related that has to do with everyone in the Wesen world, really. So it's just a question out of curiosity. In fact- "

"What do you know about Royals?" Nick interrupted the rambling explanation.

"Royals?" Harry wondered, "They're the rulers of the Wesen world aren't they? I really only know what Monroe told me."

"Yes!" Monroe said, "Yes, because we talked about it this one time when – when we were talking about it. Exactly. So that's all he knows."

And now they were both staring at Monroe. Subtle the Blutbad was not in, and coming from Harry that was saying something.

Harry shook his head with fond amusement before he turned to Nick, "Why?"

"Well, don't panic or anything, but Portland has a Prince," the detective carefully informed him, as if this was a revelation.

The wizard nodded easily, "Ok. And…?"

"I don't know if Monroe told you this, but in the past Grimms used to work for the Royals as some sort of enforcers. That was a long time ago, though. Nowadays we don't work for them anymore and they don't want anyone in their territory they can't control, so if a Royal finds out about our presence here, they might try… to get rid of us."

The Grimm had clearly done his research about this – some of it was new information to Harry, despite his earlier conversation with Monroe. He filed it away for further dealings with the captain, though he suspected that this particular Royal was not entirely like his ilk. "That's… good to know?"

Nick stared at him. "You're not panicking."

"You told me not to panic," Harry, quite reasonably, pointed out.

The two supposed Grimms had a momentary staring match that was only broken by an agitated Monroe. "We're not panicking! That's good, that's very good. Well, I think this conversation went well."

"Monroe…" Nick started, turning to his friend, clearly the easier target, "What do you know?"

"Who me? No, nothing. Nothing important at all. I was just remembering – that conversation. That we just mentioned. That's all."

The Grimm crossed his arms and looked pointedly at his nervous friend, and Harry knew exactly where this was going. The wolf was not the best at keeping secrets - at least not when he got all anxious.

"The Prince already knows about us both," he said, instead of waiting for Monroe to work himself up to that confession.

In the immediate silence that followed, Harry took a breath and continued as casually as he could, as if he wasn't finally spilling a secret that he'd been guarding from Nick for quite a while now. "He came to see me some time ago. To… well, I think he was just trying to figure me out. I'm not sure if he found what he was looking for."

"You've met this Prince?" the Grimm asked in surprise, before immediately jumping to where that logically led, "You know who he is!"

"Yes," he admitted, because the secret was out in the open now and that wasn't something he could regret - it was one less thing pressing on his throat, wanting to come out.

And the wizard thought that perhaps Nick might start yelling at him, but for all that the man was an emotional person, he was still a police detective and a good one at that – the kind of person who could keep his head cool in most situations and could keep his anger quiet if he needed to.

Nick frowned at him and there was a hint of anger there, but his mind was obviously still whirring, "You met this Prince," he affirmed to Harry and then turned to Monroe, "And you knew about it."

"Ah. Well. Yes." Monroe admitted, "Harry asked me about Royals. Well not Royals exactly, because of course he didn't have a clue just who he'd been talking to. But - yes. But Nick, we would have told you… it's just…" The Blutbad looked away and his eyes met Harry's.

"The Prince ordered me not to tell you," he told the detective straight out, because what use was keeping this a secret now? "He doesn't want you to know about him."

Something about that sentence seemed to hit that radar the detective appeared to have, the one that made him treat those who were hurt or frightened with a careful, sheltering hand.

"Did he threaten you?" the man asked, switching far too easily between quietly angry and protective.

"No. Well, I don't think so," the wizard answered, straightening his posture to show that no, he wasn't hurt or scared or anything like that, "Sometimes it's hard to tell, because I always feel like I'm in a verbal chess-match when I talk to him."

"Always?" Monroe asked before the Grimm could. "You met with him again?"

Harry shrugged, "He stopped by after that thing with the Mauvais Dentes with the breadknife. Who knows how he found out about that? And after that he started the infrequent night-time visits to my bakery."

And if Harry left the part about his spell out, well… that wasn't really relevant right now, was it? That had seemed rather personal.

"What does he want?"

Harry frowned, a bit concerned despite himself. Because while the captain, the Prince, had never seemed very threatening, the wizard did know that the man held some sort of power and, he mentally snorted, it was 'a power he knew not'.

He wasn't so arrogant that this didn't worry him just a little. But so far, the man hadn't actually done anything. So what did he want? He'd come for help with those Wesen sent by his brother… was the captain truly just looking for an ally? Nick said that Grimms used to be enforcers for the Royals, but Harry wasn't a Grimm… and the captain knew that. "Well, I strongly suspect it wasn't just the coffee." While the words were flippant, his tone wasn't.

"You're worried about this. About him," Nick discerned, "Who is he? What did he say to you?"

And Harry stared back at him, hesitating. It was one thing to tell the detective about meeting the Prince. It was another to tell him that the Prince was his own boss. Still, this was Nick – his friend and someone he trusted.

But Captain Renard, for some reason, seemed to trust Harry. Not fully perhaps, but to some extent – enough to come to him for help. And he didn't want to betray that trust, even if he didn't quite know the man's motives. It seemed… wrong, to betray a confidence like that.

"Nick…" Harry started and stopped, looking at the man almost helplessly. And he must have looked young again, or hurt, or scared or any of the things that he wasn't, because Nick seemed to fold, whatever fight there had still been in his stance falling away as if it had never been there in the first place.

Now instead of a Grimm trying to catch the scent of his prey, the wizard was faced with pure, earnest Detective Burkhardt. "Harry, we can protect you. Trust me. Just tell me who he is, and we can keep you safe from him, I promise."

And if there was one thing Harry didn't want, it was the man thinking that he needed protection – especially not from his own captain who, the wizard guessed, had sought Harry out mostly to ascertain the detective's safety. Though perhaps Harry being an unknown presence in the city the man supposedly ruled had something to do with it as well.

He needed to explain, he needed Nick to understand that this wasn't about fear.

"I'm not afraid of him, Nick," he said plainly, "And I do trust you. But I don't want to betray his trust in me. That just seems like… the wrong thing to do right now." Harry sighed and ran a hand through his messy hair, "It's hard to explain. I don't fully trust the man, but I don't think he means either of us harm and he's… I don't know. Not bad?"

"Not bad?" Monroe asked in the ensuing silence, looking at him as if he was barking mad.

The wizard shrugged his shoulders; "He's powerful, somewhat manipulative but also honest. And unfailingly polite. That's important to us Brits, you know."

"Polite, of course," the wolf said with a good dose of sarcasm, "Well that's alright then."

Harry bit his lip, looking between his two friends with hooded eyes, "Is it? Alright?"

Nick stared at him for a moment longer, but finally sighed deeply, shook his head and gave him a tolerant smile. "Yeah, alright. I trust you too."

Harry winced at that, unable to forget the other large secret he was keeping – about who and what he was. When he looked up again, two pairs of eyes were staring at him with disbelief.

"Ok, now I'm actually worried," Monroe stated, and yes, the wizard could see that from the way red had snuck back into the wolf's eyes.

"Sorry, just," he shrugged a little helplessly, "I have a lot of secrets. I don't want either of you to get hurt because of that."

That was about as honest as he got, and even an admission like this – of feelings rather than the hidden truth - felt as if he was leaving himself vulnerable.

Other people probably didn't feel that way about a simple conversation, but Harry was far too used to people looking at him and finding him wanting. Not Ron and Hermione, of course, but even with them, there were some things he had difficulty talking about – and he trusted them more than anyone.

But, somehow, he was reaching that point again – the point of trust and believing that his friends wouldn't judge him for being him.

And while that thought was comforting, it was also rather terrifying, like getting on a broom for the very first time and shooting off into the air before you were completely certain that it would be able to hold your weight and wouldn't plummet back towards the earth. That moment of uncertainty, when you had nothing to go on but your faith in something, your hope and trust that it would turn out alright – Harry felt like he was standing on the edge of it now, that all he had to do was take the chance. He was a Gryffindor, it should be as easy as breathing.

It wasn't.

Before he could make up his mind, Nick stepped forward and put a warm hand on his shoulder.

"Are you on my side, Harry?" the Grimm asked him, voice soft despite the words that could have, should have, been a genuine challenge.

"Yes," he answered without a second's hesitation. Because that, at least, was never in question.

And Nick smiled at him as if it was that simple. "Then we're going to be alright, Harry. I promise you that."

The wizard swallowed, feeling strangely small beneath the wolf's protective gaze and the Grimm's sure but gentle grip, but Harry didn't take it back – he couldn't. It was the truth after all.

(Word Count: 1950)