Nick wasn’t terrified. He was perfectly content with being dropped off at a new school in the middle of the semester, his parents still fresh in the morgue. Aunt Marie had just dropped him off with a smile and a wave and sent him on his merry way and he was not terrified.
He took a deep breath and hugged his bag closer to him, his eyes wide as he took in the two story building, he didn’t even know schools could get that big. The bell chose that moment to ring, and a mass of students started for the entrance. He got bumped and shoved a bit after he hurried into the school and stumbled back when he saw some one's face change and snarl at him.
He was not terrified. Nick reminded himself as another creature shoved at the one snarling at him, whispering something in its ear before pushing him down the hallway. Nick finally remembered to breath and tried finding the office.
The secretary smiled brightly at him and pulled up a schedule for him, and pulled one of the kids from student government to lead him around. Nick offered the kid a small smile, but didn’t really pay attention to what they were saying as he was led to his first class. He took a deep breath and was shoved into the room and just barely managed not to stumble over his feet.
The teacher didn’t look away from the board. “Late!” She snapped.
“I, the, I was getting registered, and getting my schedule?” He half offered half asked, and flushed when the rest of the class snickered. He pulled his bag up on his shoulder and offered her his freshly printed schedule. “I just moved here.”
“Burkhardt.” The woman muttered under her breath and then nodded. “There is a book in the back of the room, get a desk and be quiet.”
Nick took back his schedule, booked it to the back of the room and slipped into the first desk he found.
The day was uneventful, some teachers made him introduce himself, and some didn’t and he managed to slip around unnoticed. That was, until lunch.
Lunch presented a whole new problem, he thought to himself as he stood at the end of the line and craned his head around looking for a table that looked empty. He hadn’t made any real friends that he could sit with, and as he slowly walked to the back of the lunch room, his heart snuck to the bottom of his stomach. Various sneers from the humans and morphed faces from the creatures he was supposed to kill one day made him take the first seat he could and duck his head down.
“Wow.” Nick looked up, and looked up again at the person who had spoken. He was ridiculously tall.
“Sorry.” Nick said, grabbing his tray. “If this is your table, I can just,” He started to stand, and swallowed when he heard a snort of laughter from the guy.
“Y’know I thought you were pretty scrawny for a Grimm, but I figured you’d be tougher.” Nick blinked at that and scowled, opening his mouth to protest, but then the Blutbad tilted his head at him. “You can sit here with me and Hap.”
Nick released a deep breath and gave him a smile. “I’m Nick, Burkhardt.” He offered his hand to the other boy. He looked down at it and his smile spread a bit into a smirk and he nodded and took his hand. “You can call me Monroe.”
Monroe, and his friend Hap, just happened to be seniors; and the only Blutbad’s in the school. Neither of them seemed very motivated to take advantage of that, Hap more likely to devour some bacon or try and get you in on “the best prank to ever grace Portland High, I swear” than to intimidate the other kids, and Monroe just told Nick that the status quo was stupid in the first place.
Monroe was smart too, he was in all the advanced classes and said words bigger than Nick’s new house. He knew things about everyone in school, whispering answers to Nick’s questions in the mornings before school, huddled together with Monroe’s other friends, and at lunch, trying to avoid Hap’s spray of food as he talked.
Amazingly enough, he learned more about what he was going through from Monroe than from his Aunt, who was gone more often than she was home, and when she was home it was to pick up a mace, or a triple barrel shotgun, or a poison, and sometimes just to check up on him.
From Monroe, Nick learned how to pick his way through social interactions with the Jagerbar football players, the gossipping Mellifers that giggled their way through the halls in crowds of three and four, and taught him how to befriend the creatures that everyone else considered the bottom of the barrel.
It didn’t take long for him to make friends here and there, and eventually even the Jagerbars realized he wasn’t going to just suddenly attack them out of nowhere. Things were easy for a while, well, at school. His aunt didn’t exactly know that his friends were the sons, daughters, cousins, brothers, sisters of the people she was off killing every night, the people that, when she was home, she muttered about under her breath, mentioning the atrocities they had committed.
He would swallow back his comments and think about Monroe, who painstakingly didn’t eat meat at all, or Barry, who trained harder than anyone else on the football team, because he didn’t want to actually kill someone, or Roddy who skittered around in the shadows, trying to be noticed without being noticed. He would just press his lips together and nod, and hoped that she didn’t want him to say anything to her about it, and prayed that she never would ask about school or his friends.
One morning Hap was shoving Monroe around, laughing brightly as they tussled in the almost spring air. “C’mon dude, just tell me!”
Nick let his bag drop to the ground and hopped up on the wall as he watched the scuffle, Monroe’s flannel shirt flapping around.
“Grimm, get him to stop bothering me.” Monroe said as his face was pushed into the ground.
Nick snorted and shook his head. “Why should I?”
“Because I’m your best friend.”
Hap gasped at that. “What? Dude, we’ve known each other since we were in diapers, you dated my sister, how am I not your best bro!?”
Nick blinked at that and felt his stomach curl in, like he had just been tackled to the ground. “Wait, you dated his sister?”
“Angelina?” Hap asked, sitting on Monroe and looking up at Nick. “Yeah man, she took off last year to find herself or something.” Hap said. “I forgot you weren’t here.”
Nick’s eyes flickered down to look at Monroe, who finally managed to shove Hap off of him and started to brush the dirt off of his flannel. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t mess up my shirt next time.” he said.
“It’s an ugly shirt.” Nick told him, tilting his head.
Monroe looked up at him with large eyes. “Are you serious?”
Hap burst into laughter. “He’s right, its U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi for that shirt.”
This time it was Nick that was laughing as he fell off the wall and onto the grass. “You did not just say that.” He gasped out, snorting when Monroe jumped the wall and Hap followed a little less gracefully behind him.
A week later, Nick found out that the scuffle had been about Monroe’s birthday present, Hap didn’t know what to get him apparently. Nick hadn’t even known it was Monroe’s birthday.
“Why didn’t you tell me it was coming up?” he asked as the group laid out in the courtyard on the grass, taking in the sun before lunch was over. Monroe shrugged at that. “It’s not that big a deal.”
“Is too.” Nick said, shoving at him a bit. “Are you having a party?”
Monroe shook his head. “Yeah, let me just invite a bear, a rat and a Grim to a party at my place, my parents would love that.”
“Okay, I see the problem there, maybe, but you’ve gotta do something.” Nick paused and rolled over to look at Monroe. “Come over to my place, Aunt Marie is never home.
Monroe looked over at him. “You want me to willingly walk into the house of Marie Kessler, aka the woman who started the Blutbad massacre of ‘98?”
Nick flushed. “Well, when you put it like that.” Nick trailed off. “I’ll think of something.” he said brightly, giving Monroe a huge grin. “It’ll be an awesome birthday.”
Nick should have never said that really, because that weekend when they were hanging out at Hap’s house, his sister showed up. Well she didn’t so much as show up, but throw herself at Monroe like an animal in heat. Hap just kept eating and watching tv like it was nothing, but to him it probably was.
Nick felt the blood rush to his ears and he shook his head. “I just remembered, something, my aunt?” he blurted something out to Hap and grabbed his bag before practically running out of the house.
He managed to make it back to his house and up into his room before he started freaking out a bit. Pacing his room seemed like a really good idea and he ran his hand through his hair a few times as he thought. Okay, so maybe he might have, feelings, for Monroe, but they were totally best friend feelings. Then his brain betrayed him by reminding him how Monroe’s breath had hitched and there had definitely been tongues and he maybe sort of had feelings for Monroe that went in the way of more than friendship.
Nick shook his head and flopped down on his bed. He was pretty much doomed.
The next day Monroe arrived looking more awkward than usual, which, if you asked anyone but Nick, was a major accomplishment. Nick on the other hand, was amazed at the fact he was wearing glasses and wouldn’t have noticed if Roddy and Barry started making out.
“So.” Monroe said, sitting down in his seat next to Nick.
“So.” Nick parroted back.
“That was my ex.” Monroe scratched the back of his neck a bit. “Apparently she didn’t get the memo that if you leave for a year that coming back doesn’t automatically mean that you get your previous boyfriend back.”
“Huh?” Nick said then, sitting up straight. “You’re not dating her anymore?”
“Hell no.” Monroe said. “She’s, well I’ll always love her like a sister, which is a bit weird now, but she’s too, well she’s just Angelina.” His voice was a bit wistful, but he was staring at Nick the whole time he said that and Nick shivered from the goosebumps that ran up his arms.
“Right.” he managed to croak out, then cleared his throat. “I just, yeah.” he said.
Monroe flushed a bit and looked down at the empty table. “Okay.”
Hap sat down across from them with a grin his face. “Brooos, how about I try and interest you in the greatest-”
“No.” Monroe said.
“But dude, I haven’t even told you-”
“No, just, no.” Monroe shook his head with a bit of a laugh and Nick most certainly did not melt.
It was the day before Monroe’s birthday, and Nick still had no idea how he was going to make it awesome. He had badgered everyone else, trying to find out what they had gotten him. Only Hap had a gift ready, an all you can eat buffet at a vegetarian place.
Nick was all alone trying to figure out the perfect gift for his best friend, but gift giving was harder than he thought. It wasn’t until he was surfing the latest news that he was struck with an idea. he begged to borrow his Aunt’s truck, citing a camping trip with friends and texted Monroe with his plans.
He was waiting down the street from Monroe’s house, just outside of his parent’s territory, and watched as Monroe dragged all of his equipment down the street. Monroe threw it in the back of the truck and then swung into the passenger seat. “Are you going to tell me what this is about?”
Monroe just sighed and flopped out bonelessly in his seat. “Fine.” he said.
It wasn’t too far of a drive, and soon they were leaving the city, the lights falling away behind them. Monroe looked up when they left the city, but Nick stayed quiet, a grin stuck on his face.
Nick finally reached the place he wanted and put the car into park. “Ta da.” he said, jumping out of the truck and spreading his hands out around him.
Monroe warily got out and looked around. “Am I supposed to be impressed?”
Nick’s face fell. “Isn’t tonight that big star thing you’ve been not talking bout for weeks?”
Monroe turned to look at him with wide eyes. “You brought me out here for star gazing?”
Nick flushed at that. “Well, yeah, I mean, I know how important this stuff is to you, it was either this or saving up for some sort of clock convention.”
“You hate clocks.”
“Dude, they’re creepy, with all the ticking, and stuff, but its your birthday, we’re supposed to do something you like.”
Monroe was staring at him with a emotion Nick had never seen before. Nick wondered if this was the part where Monroe jumped him for being so considerate, but instead of hurrying towards Nick and pinning him to the truck, he went for the bag of things he had brought with him, and started to set up his telescope.
Nick sighed and gave Monroe a grin. He had prepared for that, as he didn’t think Monroe even liked guys really, and grabbed a sleeping bag out of the cab and threw it open in the back of the truck. He didn’t need a fancy telescope to see some stars falling.
Monroe settled into an easy chatter, describing everything that was going to happen tonight in excruciating detail, and as the stars started to fall, even Monroe’s exclamations of happiness couldn’t keep him awake.
The early morning sun painted the back of his eyelids red, and he groaned a bit as he tried to sit up. the grooves of the pick up truck dug into his back, he hadn’t planned to spend the whole night sleeping in it after all. He yawned, realized that Monroe was resting on his stomach, a blanket was draped over the both of them and that if the sleeping bag hadn’t been there, their legs would have been tangled together.
Nick’s breath caught in his throat, and the sudden action had Monroe awake, blinking sleep out of his eyes as he sleepily stared at Nick.
“Hey.” He mumbled, not lifting his head up from Nick’s stomach.
“Hi.” Nick whispered, really wishing he would.
Monroe stretched then, his hands reaching behind his head as he leaned up and pressed a kiss to Nick’s mouth. “It really was the best present I could have asked for.” Monroe said, leaning his forehead against Nick’s.
Nick’s breath stuttered again and he grabbed Monroe’s hand when he settled. “You, I mean?”
“I always have to spell everything out, don’t I?” Monroe said, laughter in his voice as he shifted and was sitting in Nick’s lap so he could have easier access to his lips. “I’ve known for ages that you liked me, I just, wasn’t sure how to go about it.” He pressed another kiss to Nick’s lips.
“This works.” Nick said, his hand’s slipping to Monroe’s hips. “This totally works.”