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Kumbaya and Other Campfire Songs

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"At the risk of sounding ungrateful--"

"Which you do."

"Right." Monroe shrugs, uncaring. "I will not eat those."

"No?" Nick asks, with that edge of nonchalance that Monroe has learned means he is getting ready to be a total dick. "Monroe doesn't want a treat?"

"I take it back," he says, and shows his teeth when he smiles. "I mean to sound ungrateful. Ask me if I want a ball, and see how ungrateful I can get."

Nick smirks, long and slow, and probably a degree or two hotter than the fire. Monroe pushes down the urge to tackle him, because at this point he's almost certain would be positive reinforcement.

He's been trying to get better about accidentally encouraging dickishness in others. It's a new step he's just added to his own personal program. He kicks at Nick's foot instead. In a very discouraging manner.

Nick laughs and it's as full as the moon, as bright and warm as the fire. It's easy like the night, easy like they shouldn't be with each other. Monroe reconsiders tackling him, for a completely different set of reasons.

He smiles along, too soft and far too fond. He will, if required, swear under oath that it is only because he's been lulled into contentment by the great outdoors. It's the owls in the distance, and the fresh, pine scented air, the pop of the fire and the rustle of leaves in the breeze. Certainly, absolutely, it has nothing to do with the company.

"Stop lying," Nick says, like part of his freakish Grimm powers include the ability to read Monroe's mind. ("Why would I need to?" Nick had said, drunk on victory and Monroe's favorite beer, laughing against Monroe's couch cushions. "You're face says it all.") "You wouldn't trade me for any other Grimm in the world."

"You get by on the technicality of all the others trying to kill me." Monroe tries to frown, and even mostly succeeds, because he has an amazing control of his body and impulses.

The deer grazing in the brush 400 yards away, heart beating the steady rhythm of the unterrified--that's just further proof of Monroe's complete and utter--

"Your faith in me never fails to warm my heart." Nick grins, pulling his attention back in short order. He tosses the bag at Monroe anyway, so that instinct forces him to catch it before it can hit him in the face.

"Vegan?" Monroe asks, and tries to glare the stupidity out of the question right away.

"Animal product free," Nick confirms, hands spread wide and grinning like he's just won some kind of prize.

Monroe kind of feels like he has, but that's completely beside the point. He scowls. "I know what vegan means. I was just--"

"Underestimating me."

"--Surprised."

Nick hmms, a soft, doubtful sound. But he's still smiling, warm and open and inviting. Monroe's read the books, he knows what this feeling is, and what it's been from the start. His heart expanding out beyond where he can ever fit in back in, but it's alright, just means there's enough to give away now.

"Shut up and eat your marshmallows," Nick says, like he doesn't mean, and Happy Birthday, and thank you, and yes, of course, I'll keep it safe.

Monroe smiles, because he knows.