Chapter 1: Chapter 1
I stare at the empty bed next to mine so intensely it’s like I’m hoping to make him appear there just with my gaze. (Maybe I am. My magic has done some crazy shit before.)
I flop down on my bed, feeling exhausted but at the same time so restless that I’m sure there’s no way I’m sleeping tonight. Well, even if I were to fall asleep, I would only get three hours tops. Once again I spent the night scouring the grounds – the Wood, the Catacombs, even the hills – looking for Baz. No sign of him. It’s driving me crazy.
I have to do something. I can’t just sit here, chasing my tail in circles. I’ll drive myself nuts. I need to know where he is, to make sure he isn’t plotting my demise.
There’s only one way to know for sure. And it’s insanely dangerous. Absolutely ridiculous.
I’ll have to go to Pitch Manor and ask his family.
As soon as the sun is up I shower, get dressed and leave Watford (after grabbing a few scones from the dining hall for the road). I run all the way to the station and there I catch a train to Hampshire. Then I take a taxi, but the driver refuses to take me all the way to the manor. (He thinks it’s haunted.) (Knowing Baz and his family, it probably is.)
I have to run all the way to his manor from the main road. When I reach the gate my shoes are covered in dirt and my hair is all ruffled, which is fine because the Pitches already hate me. Looking sharp wouldn’t make any difference.
I walk to the door bravely (but also keeping my one hand on my hip, ready to draw my sword) and I ring the doorbell. After a little while, the door opens and I see some maid, scrutinizing me from head to toe.
“May I help you?” she says cooly.
“Oh, hi!” I say nervously. “I’m Simon. Simon Snow. Baz’s classmate.”
“And how can I help you, Mr. Snow?”
“I, um… I wanted to see Baz. Is he here?”
“I’m afraid Mr. Pitch is indisposed.”
“Indisposed? What is that supposed to mean? Is he busy? Does it mean he’s ill? Or maybe he’s out?”
She opens her mouth, probably to tell me to go to hell (maybe a bit more politely), but at that moment Baz’s father appears behind her.
“Vera, who is-” He trails off when he sees me. “Mr. Snow,” he says in such an icy tone that my blood freezes in my veins. The maid takes that as her cue to leave. I’m not sure if I’m relieved or terrified to be left alone with Mr. Grimm. Even with the dark circles under his eyes and his hollow cheeks, he still looks intimidating. “You’ve got some nerve, coming here.”
“I- I just-”
“Good day, Mr. Snow.” He begins to close the door in my face.
“Wait!” I yell. “Just tell me where Baz-”
The door slams shut and I’m left to stand there like an idiot, seething. I utter a few curses and then I turn to leave.
“Stand your ground!”
“Shit!” I try to move my feet, but they’re stuck to the ground. I look up and see Baz’s aunt, Fiona, looking enraged.
“You’ve got some nerve coming here, Chosen One,” she hisses.
I grit my teeth and draw my sword. “You Pitches are so original.”
“Malcolm is no Pitch.”
“I don’t care. Now let me go!”
She narrows her eyes menacingly. “And why would I do that? You and your Mage kidnapped my nephew! I should kill you where you are!”
A chill runs down my spine. “Wait, what? Baz- Baz was kidnapped?”
She takes a few steps closer, but remains out of the range of my sword. “Don’t play dumb with me, Chosen One. You and the Mage did this together!”
I feel my anger rise up my throat. “Oh, really? I got Baz kidnapped and then I came here to… what? Boast?”
She shrugs. “You’re powerful. Nobody said anything about you being smart, though.”
“Well, I’m definitely not that stupid.”
She snorts, unconvinced. “Well, if you didn’t come to boast, then why are you here?”
“I wanted to know where the hell Baz was. It’s been more than two weeks since lessons started.”
“And what’s it to you?”
“I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t plotting my death.”
“Pfft.” She waves her hand dismissively. “I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you. Basil’s gone soft lately.”
I splutter. “Soft?” I echo incredulously.
She raises an eyebrow. (I’m starting to see where Baz got the habit from.) “Well, he hasn’t tried to kill you in two whole years, has he.”
“Yeah, that’s the exact definition of ‘soft’,” I mutter.
She squints at me. “Though, now that I see you properly, I’m starting to get it.” She grins wickedly. “You’re a handsome bloke, aren’t you?”
I shudder. Getting compliments from Fiona Pitch can’t be a good sign. “Whatever,” I say, eager to change the subject. “Did the kidnappers contact you? Did they ask for ransom or something?”
Fiona huffs. “Of course they did.”
I frown. “And you paid it, right? So he’ll be back soon.”
She shoots me a look of utter contempt. “Pitches don’t pay ransoms.”
I stare at her, appalled. “Are you people crazy?” My voice has risen. “He could be dying right now! He could be tortured!” My stomach twists as soon as I utter the words and I think I’m going to be sick. He isn’t dead, I tell myself. Baz is not dead.
“Why do you care?” she inquires, narrowing her eyes at me.
“I- I don’t!” I shake my head vehemently. “I just can’t believe how little you care about your own family!”
I expect her to yell at me, or curse me. To my surprise, she smirks at me, a knowing look in her eyes. “Uh-huh,” she says unconvinced, still grinning slyly.
I scowl at her. “What?”
She tilts her head, eyeing me with a calculating look on her face. “Alright. I’ll let you go.”
I blink. “What?”
Her smirk widens. “If you help me find Baz.”
“Deal,” I say, way too quickly, and my eagerness seems to amuse her immensely.
I gingerly raise one foot and see that I’m no longer stuck to the ground. I raise my eyebrows at Fiona.
“Let’s get going then,” she says, grinning crookedly at me.
“Where?” I start feeling anxious. Maybe agreeing to work with the Pitches wasn’t such a good idea.
“To rescue Baz, of course.”
I have no idea where we’re driving to. Probably to some altar, where she’ll perform some kind of dark ritual to find Baz, using me as a sacrifice. This was a really bad idea. I can already picture the reproachful look Penny will give me when I tell her what I’ve gotten myself into. (If I live that long.)
When we stop at a red light, Fiona starts looking for something in her bag. Finally, she takes out a folded piece of paper and gives it to me.
“What is it?” I ask, eyeing it suspiciously.
“A spell to find Baz.”
I frown. “If you already had a spell to find him, then why didn’t you use it before?”
She grins mischievously as she starts driving again. “Because it wouldn’t work for me.”
“Well, for one, it’s a very powerful spell.”
I’m not satisfied with her answer, but still I unfold the piece of paper, curious. My eyebrows shoot up. “The Beatles?”
“So, I just say the lyrics?”
“Yeah, but think of Baz while you’re casting.” She shoots me a warning glare. “And no angry thoughts.”
I huff as I take out my wand, but when I start casting, all I can think about is: Please, come back. Or at least don’t be dead. Please?
“Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you/ Tomorrow I’ll miss you/ Remember I’ll always be true/ And then while I’m away/ I’ll write home every day/ And I’m sending all my loving to you.”
Something warm and fuzzy forms inside me and I feel it exiting my body. I look down and I see a small ball of light float in front of my chest for a few moments before it starts moving. I watch it pass through the windshield in wonder.
Fiona cackles loudly next to me. “It fucking worked! When we find Baz, I’ll tease him to death.”
I have no idea what she’s talking about, but I’ll worry about it later. “Now what?” I ask.
“Now we follow it.”
And that’s exactly what she tries to do, but there’s lots of traffic at this time of day and the ball of light doesn’t wait for us when we fall behind.
Fiona grits her teeth impatiently. “Make way for the king!”
A car moves aside to let us pass, but there’s still a whole line of other cars in front of us. I groan loudly.
“Why don’t you cast it? Aren’t you the Greatest Mage?” she snaps at me, enunciating the last two words mockingly.
I raise my wand tentatively. My spells have a tendency to go terribly awry. But the light is already way ahead of us. We’ll lose it if we don’t hurry. “Make way for the king!”
All the cars as far as I can see part to let us through. I blink and Fiona laughs, amused. “That’s more like it,” she says and slams her foot on the pedal, sending the car flying in pursuit of the light.
“I’ll take care of them!” Fiona yells at me. “You keep following it!”
I don’t wait for her to tell me twice. I let her send curse after curse at the numpties and I start running after the ball of light that’s still floating deeper and deeper at the big cave-like room, all the while thinking: Don’t be dead, don’t be dead, please don’t be dead. In my one hand I hold a torch Fiona gave me and in the other my wand, which I point at all the numpties that get in my way. Half the things I shout with magic aren’t even spells, but it still sends them flying.
Finally, the ball of light stops over some sort of box. When I reach it, I point my torch at it and all the air is knocked out of my lungs like I’ve been punched in the gut.
It’s not a box. It’s a coffin. Baz is in a coffin.
He isn’t… He can’t be…
The light slides downwards and disappears inside the coffin. I take a few deep breaths to calm myself down, and when I raise my wand I realize my hand’s shaking.
Don’t be dead, don’t be dead, please don’t be dead…
The lid flies open and gets ripped from its hinges before it falls on the floor with a bang that echoes all around the chamber. I point my torch towards the open coffin and look inside with dread.
I’m awakened by a blinding light.
I open my eyes but I close them again immediately, blinded by the painful brightness. I stretch out my hands in front of me and I touch the wooden lid of the coffin. I frown. If the lid’s still closed, then where’s this light coming from?
I blink many times, and then a few more, before I can at least squint at the source of the light and see that it’s… just light. A small ball of pure white light floating above my chest, having no source that I can see. I look at it, baffled, and then it lowers itself until it touches my chest.
The warmest, sweetest feeling in the world seeps through me when the light slips inside me and it spreads to every part of me, chasing away all the pain, the fear, the hunger, the despair. All that’s left is this pure cleansing feeling and an image of bronze curles, blue eyes and freckles.
I sigh and close my eyes, feeling peaceful and happy for the first time in (three?) weeks. But I open them again when I hear the lid burst open with a loud noise. I’m blinded by a light again and I blink away the tears. The light moves away from my eyes and I can see again.
Simon Snow is looming over me, smiling.
I blink again, certain that I’m hallucinating. I suppose starvation can have such an effect on people. (And on vampires, I guess.)
“Baz,” he whispers.
“Simon,” I breathe before I pass out.
My knees almost buckle when I see him blink at the light pointed at his face and relief washes through me. I can’t stop a smile from spreading on my face as I point the torch lower so as not to blind him.
When he can finally see me he blinks in bewilderment a few times. My smile falters now that I’m taking in the terrible state he’s in. He’s practically skeletal, his jawline too prominent, his cheekbones sharper than ever above his now hollow cheeks. His face is greyer than usual and his eyes are sunken deep inside his skull.
A lump’s lodged in my throat. “Baz…”
I see a small smile form on his lips and I think that maybe he doesn’t recognise me. But then he says my name. Like, my first name. I don’t think he’s ever called me by my first name before.
Before I can dwell on it too much, he loses consciousness. I panic again. I put my wand in my pocket and then place two fingers on his throat, searching for a pulse. (Do vampires even have a pulse?) I think I feel something but I’m not sure. I consider casting healing spells on him, but I decide against it. My magic is too unpredictable. I might cause more damage than I fix.
I put the torch between my teeth and scoop him up from the coffin – bridal style. He’s really light now that he’s lost so much weight. I carry him back to Fiona who’s just finishing off the last numpties standing.
“Is he alive?” she asks when the last numpty hits the floor. Her face is like stone and I’m sure she expects a negative answer.
I spit the torch from my mouth. Fiona’s is enough. “Yes, he’s alive.” I’m sure now – I can feel his breaths on my shoulder where his head is resting.
Relief flashes in her eyes momentarily before she shakes her head disdainfully at him. (Bloody Pitches. It’s like they think feelings are some sort of contageous disease.) “Jesus Christ. Baz Pitch, kidnapped by numpties. Fucking ridiculous.”
I roll my eyes. “What a touching reunion.”
She actually smirks at me before she starts casting one healing spell after the other. My arms start feeling a little numb from his weight but I don’t complain. Baz shifts a little in his sleep, nuzzling the crook of my neck, and I almost smile. Fiona doesn’t miss that, and her smirk turns even more mischievous. I scowl at her, but she just laughs. “Come on, Chosen One. Let’s get him home.”
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
For the whole ride back to Pitch Manor, I keep looking over my shoulder at the back seat where Baz is lying unconscious. He looks even worse under the light of day. He’s just skin and bones and his dirty tennis clothes are loose on him.
“We should probably get him something to eat,” I say.
An amused smile plays on Fiona’s lips. “There’s plenty of food in Pitch Manor.”
“Will he even make it there? He looks on the verge of death.”
She huffs. “Vampires are more resilient than most people. I wouldn’t worry too much.”
I do a double-take. “Wha- Did you just-”
Fiona rolls her eyes. “Use your words, Chosen One.”
I groan. These two are way too much alike. They even insult me in the same way. “You just admitted that Baz is a vampire. To me.”
She snorts. “Why, are you going to tell the Mage?” She cocks a dubious eyebrow at me.
“I-” I have no idea how to finish that sentence. Am I going to tell the Mage? If I do, then the Coven will kill him. And that would ruin all the work I did to rescue him, wouldnt’ it?
Which brings me back to the most important question. Why did I rescue him. It’s not like I made some magickal promise to Fiona before she lifted the spell that immobilized me. After I had made sure that Baz wasn’t out to get me, I could have just left and went back to Watford, not having to worry about Baz plotting against me anymore.
I could have. But I didn’t. It didn’t even occur to me. I just went along with Fiona bloody Pitch on a quest to rescue my arch-enemy. And now I’m concerned about his well-being. What the hell’s wrong with me?
Like she can read my mind, Fiona smirks. “That’s what I thought.”
I feel offended for some reason. “I could tell the Mage, you know.”
“Please,” she says. “You’re such a softie, I’m even considering letting you live.”
I blink. “Seriously?”
She shrugs. “You’re not worth the trouble. I mean, it would be amusing to kill the Mage’s Heir, but it’s just not worth putting up with Baz’s weeping.”
I huff. “Yeah, he would be really disappointed if someone other than him got the pleasure of finishing me off.”
Fiona turns to look at me, which is really dangerous considering the speed with which she’s driving. “You really are an idiot.”
That shouldn’t have stung as much as it did.
She rolls her eyes. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”
“If you were a little more specific, I might,” I snap.
She sighs. “Well, if you must know-”
“If you say another word,” comes a low menacing voice from behind us, “I’ll burn you alive.”
Fiona snorts. “Basil, you’re being an even bigger idiot right now, and that’s saying something.”
“Not. Another. Word.”
I have no idea what they’re talking about, so I just turn and look at Baz. He has sat up and he’s fully awake now, but he still looks terrible. I bite down the urge to ask him if he’s okay, because I know the response will be another “why do you care” and I still don’t have an answer to it. He’s already scowling at me, no doubt wondering why I rescued him.
Another question I don’t have an answer for.
We pass the rest of the car ride in silence. Well, mostly in silence, because Fiona keeps humming some Beatles song she doesn’t even like and smirking at me through the rear-view mirror in a way that suggests it’s supposed to say something to me. I want to snap at her, but I’m too relieved she took the fact that I’m in love with my nemesis so well. (Thank Merlin I regained consciousness before she blurted anything to Snow. He’s oblivious, but not that oblivious.)
As for Snow, he keeps shooting me (concerned?) glasses over his shoulder and I have no idea what to make of that. I have no idea what to make of the fact that he’s here at all, saving my life.
It doesn’t make any sense. None of it makes sense.
It’s almost dusk when we arrive at Pitch Manor. Fiona glances back at me when she parks.
“Can you walk on your own?”
“I can walk,” I sneer. I’m not entirely sure (I’m so fucking weak after three weeks without food), but I’m not going to say that. Fiona and Snow have already exited the car when I open the door. I gingerly stand on my feet, but before I can take two steps my knees give away and I collapse on the ground.
I see Fiona roll her eyes. “That settles it. Chosen One, you’re carrying him.”
“What?” exclaims Snow, indignant. “Can’t you do a levitating spell or something?” I know Snow wouldn’t attempt one himself. He would probably send me flying to the stratosphere or something.
“Pfft. Waste of magic.”
“Fiona, I’ll murder you,” I hiss.
“You can try.” And she’s off to the house.
Snow growls and kneels in front of me. He pulls me up and throws my arm around his shoulders, while he wraps his arm around my waist. We stumble to the front door, me leaning heavily on him and pretending I don’t enjoy feeling his touch, his warmth.
“You don’t have to do this,” I say, hoping to save a little of my dignity.
“Shut up, Baz.”
Fiona holds the door open for us, smirking. I glare at her as we pass by her and then Snow helps me up the stairs, while Fiona goes to tell my father and my stepmother that I’m alive.
“How big is this house,” mutters Snow and I almost smile.
I direct him to my bedroom. He pauses for a second to gawk at the room in disbelief. (Must be the gargoyles.) “Should I leave you at the bed?” he asks eventually.
“I want a shower first,” I say. I’m so filthy I’m surprised Snow can bear to even touch me, much less practically carry me.
Snow looks dubious. “Can you even stand?”
I think of Snow helping me shower and I’m glad I haven’t had blood today, otherwise I would turn as red as a tomato. “I’ll manage,” I mutter.
I spend less time in the shower than usual, because quite frankly I can’t stand for long, but I already feel much cleaner. I clumsily dry myself and put on my pajamas before I stumble back to my room.
The second I enter the bedroom, I’m attacked by my stepmother who encloses me in her warm embrace. “Oh, Basil,” she whispers. “We were so worried.”
“I’m fine, mother,” I reassure her, patting her back. Over her shoulder I see my father standing a little further away, looking like he hasn’t slept for days. He looks incredibly relieved – save the uneasy and suspicious glances he keeps shooting towards Snow, who’s standing awkwardly next to Fiona.
Finally Daphne lets me go, wiping the tears from her eyes. Father puts his hand on my shoulder. “It’s good to have you back, son.”
I nod, feeling a little emotional myself. It’s so good to be back.
Daphne takes my hand and drags me to the bed. “You should eat and rest now.” I sit on the bed with my back against the headboard and she puts a tray full of food on my lap. My stomach rumbles loudly.
“What about you, Mr. Snow?” asks Daphne politely. “Are you hungry?”
“Of course he is,” I intervene. “He’s always hungry.”
Snow blushes and Daphne smiles at him. “I’ll tell Vera to bring some food to your room.”
He blinks. “My- What?”
“You’re our guest for the night,” says my stepmother.
“Oh, no, there’s no need!” says Snow, alarmed.
“Nonsense,” my father waves him off. I can see he doesn’t like this, but, contrary to common belief, my family is honorable. “It’s the least we can do after you helped bring my son back to us.”
“I- Well- Penny’ll be looking for me,” he says lamely.
“We’ll contact the school, don’t worry about that,” says Daphne reassuringly.
It’s obvious Snow’s run out of excuses. “I-” He sighs. “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Grimm.”
“It’s our pleasure,” Daphne beams at him. “Vera is preparing the room right across the hall for you-”
“The boy’s staying with Baz,” Fiona interrupts.
Oh, fuck. “Fiona,” I hiss.
She cocks an eyebrow at me. “He’s afraid of wraiths, aren’t you, Chosen One?”
“I- What? You’ve got wraiths?”
“See?” says Fiona, grinning slyly. “Don’t worry, there are no wraiths in Baz’s room – they’re afraid of vampires.”
Daphne gasps loudly. “Fiona!” says my father, eyes suddenly widening. Even I almost dropped the tray in my surprise. This is the first time my condition is acknowledged out loud in front of my family.
Fiona rolls her eyes. “He already knows, Malcolm.”
My father narrows his eyes at Snow, who lowers his gaze, uncomfortable. “I’ve known for some time,” he says. “It’s okay, I won’t say anything.”
We’re all staring at him in stunned silence. Except for Fiona, who starts cackling. “Softie.”
Snow’s ears turn red but he doesn’t answer.
“Well, then,” says Daphne, still looking baffled. “I’ll tell Vera to prepare Baz’s couch for you and bring you something to eat.”
“Thank you,” says Snow.
“And don’t worry, Fiona will drive you back to Watford in the morning.”
“You mean both of us,” I say.
“Basil-” starts my father.
“I’m going, father,” I say firmly. “If you won’t take me, I’ll find a way and sneak out. There’s no way I’m missing my last year at Watford.”
I can tell he wants to argue, but he knows just how stubborn I am. (After all, I’m a Grimm and a Pitch.) He sighs. “Alright. Fiona will drive you both to school tomorrow. We’ll pack and send your stuff there within the week.”
I nod, relieved, and my father and stepmother leave the room with Fiona. Now it’s just me and Snow in my room. (It’s embarrassing just how many times I’ve fantasized about a similar scenario.)
Snow sits on the couch looking really awkward as I start devouring the food on the tray. Crowley, this is good. I’m so fucking hungry. Snow’s looking at me the entire time, which makes me really uncomfortable. I never liked having people watch me when I eat.
“You’re staring, Snow,” I say.
“Your fangs are showing,” he says simply. “I’ve never seen them before.”
“That’s because I’ve never eaten in front of you, have I?”
I can’t believe we’re talking so calmly about this. In my house. In my room. Right after he rescued me from being starved by numpties.
It’s so fucking surreal.
By the time I finish eating, Vera has already come, prepared the couch and given Snow some food as well. Now he’s the one eating and me the one watching him curiously.
“You’re staring, Baz,” he smirks at me.
I ignore him. “Why did you save me?”
He shoves so much food in his mouth that it takes him a full minute to chew it and swallow it. (He probably did it on purpose to buy some time. Or maybe he’s just being Simon.) “It wasn’t my intention,” he says, but he doesn’t meet my gaze. “I just came here to figure out what you were up to. I thought you were scheming again.”
I roll my eyes. “Of course you did.”
He bites his lip. “You should probably get some rest. You look like shit.”
“Thanks,” I sneer, but I lie back at the pillows nonetheless. My bed is so much more comfortable than the coffin. It’s so comfortable that I instantly fall asleep.
I wake up in the middle of the night to find Baz’s bed empty.
I panic briefly, until I spot him sitting on the window seat, bathed in moonlight. The window is open and his eyes are closed as the wind blows his hair back softly. He looks really peaceful and calm at this moment, eerily beautiful in the moon’s pale glow. I don’t realize I’m staring at him until his eyes open and meet my gaze.
I look away nervously. “I- Um… What are you doing?”
He exhales deeply. “I’ve been in a coffin for weeks, Snow. You can’t blame me for longing a little fresh air.” His voice is unusually soft, like he doesn’t want to break the spell of peaceful silence the night has woven in the room.
“Oh. That makes sense.”
He doesn’t answer. He just closes his eyes again and sucks deep breaths, his chest rising and falling in a slow steady rhythm. Feeling slightly hot wrapped in the warm blanket Vera brought me, I stand from the couch and sit next to Baz on the wide window seat, letting the night breeze cool me. He doesn’t acknowledge my presence in any way, so I guess he doesn’t mind. (If he did, he wouldn’t shut up about it.)
We just sit like this for a while, Baz breathing in the night air with his eyes closed and me alternating between looking out the window at the forest surrounding the manor and looking at Baz. In the end, my gaze settles permanently on him. It’s only because he still looks pretty weak after his ordeal and his parents would kill me if something happened to him in my presence.
Still, when Baz’s eyes open again and catch me staring, I can’t stop the blush that’s spreading on my face.
“How are you feeling?” I ask quickly.
He cocks an eyebrow at me. “Fantastic.”
I shake my head. “I’m serious, Baz. If you’re going to faint and fall on the floor, your parents will blame me for your broken neck.”
Baz snorts. “Your concern is touching, Snow.” Then he sighs. “Don’t worry, I’m going to bed anyway. Not much risk breaking my neck on the soft matress, is there?”
He starts to stand and I have to swallow my disappointment. It was sort of nice, sitting here in the quiet of the night, for once not fighting or pointedly ignoring each other. It was almost… amicable, and I kind of liked it.
Baz takes a step towards the bed, but then he starts swaying dangerously. I’m on my feet in less than a second and manage to catch him before he falls on the floor.
“This is getting ridiculous,” he mutters under his breath.
I laugh and pick him up on my arms like I did in the numpties’ den. He yelps in surprise and slaps my chest weakly but, probably realizing that he is going to be the one hurting if I drop him, he stops struggling and groans loudly. “Do you have to carry me like that?”
I smirk at him as I take a few steps towards the bed. “Well, you are my damsel in distress, aren’t you?”
He bristles. “Snow, if you call me a damsel ever again,” he says menacingly, “I’ll bite you.”
I gasp dramatically. “How inappropriate of you, Mr. Pitch!” Then I grin mischievously as I place him on his bed. “At least buy me dinner first.”
Fuck. Is he… flirting with me?
I start to freak out a little, until it hits me that he’s probably playing the whole damsel in distress thing.
Oh, is that how you want to play it? I grin wickedly. Well, two can play that game.
Baz’s eyes widen for a second and I worry I might have overstepped a line. But then he smirks at me and I realize I’m totally screwed.
“Won’t you tuck me in?” he says in an exaggeratedly sweet voice.
“What?” I splutter and then curse myself.
His grin widens. “Won’t my knight in shining armor make sure that his damsel is warm and comfortable after her terrible ordeal?”
I start to glare at him but I catch myself, because I suddenly realize the rules to this game. The first one to lose his cool loses. So I decide to play along.
“Sure, dear,” I say pleasantly. I cover him with his warm blankets and wrap them around him. Then I smile sweetly at him. “Would you like a kiss goodnight, as well?”
Well, too late to back out now.
“Of course, my love. Nothing would give me greater pleasure.”
His eyes widen a fraction. He didn’t expect me to agree. But then he smiles again and leans in. My breath hitches when his lips touch my forehead and he notices, judging by the smirk spreading on his face.
Oh, you think you’ve won? Let’s raise the bar a little.
I knew I’d regret the smirk as soon as my lips formed it. And of course, Baz never disappoints.
“Won’t you sleep with me?” he says, pouting innocently.
“What?” It stumbles out of my mouth without my permission.
“You’ll leave me to sleep alone after such a terrible ordeal? Won’t you stay and protect me from the nightmares?”
I’m ready to give up and accept defeat, but then his lips start curling in a triumphant grin and I set my jaw. “Of course, my love.” I smile broadly as the grin freezes on his face. “I’ll protect you.”
This was a terrible idea, I think as he raises the covers and slips in the bed beside me. I should have fucking known. Snow never backs out of a challenge.
I move over to give him more space, but I roll a bit further away than what’s strictly necessary. I’m not about to make this more difficult than it already is. And all the while I’m trying to keep my demeanor impassive, even though I’m freaking out inside.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit.
Simon Snow is in my house. Sleeping in my bed.
Sleeping with me.
Aleister Crowley, I’m living a charmed life.
I can’t help a grin forming on my face as I settle on the bed next to Baz. Overall, this isn’t a bad arrangement. The bed is much more comfortable than the couch and it’s big enough for the both of us. The disappearance of his infuriating smirk is an added bonus.
I remember the previous nights of either sleeping alone in our room at Watford, tossing and turning all night wondering where he was, or scouring the grounds looking for him. This is better. Much better. Now I can sleep soundly, knowing he isn’t plotting anything. Knowing he is safe. Knowing he is close.
That last thought is a little unsettling, but it’s late and I’m tired and really comfortable, so I don’t question it. I just let it wrap around me like a warm cocoon as I slowly drift off.
“Cross to my side of the bed and I really will bite you,” is the last thing I hear and I fall asleep with a smile on my face, knowing that I won this round.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
So, it suddenly hit me that, in canon, Simon and Agatha haven't officially broken up yet by this point. (Oops.) Can we pretend they have? Otherwise I would have to rewrite the whole thing... (Sorry for that.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I wake up in the morning with Simon Snow wrapped around me.
I freeze, certain that I’m dreaming. Snow’s legs are around my hips and he’s clutching on my upper body like I’m a giant teddy bear. His lips are only inches from mine and I can feel his morning breath on my face.
And just as I was thinking that this couldn’t possibly get any worse (or better?), the door opens.
My heart leaps to my throat and I almost scream, but then I see that it’s Fiona and I calm down a little. Her eyebrows shoot up at the sight of us cuddling in my bed and a smirk forms on her face.
“Shut up,” I mouth at her.
She just laughs under her breath and winks at me before leaving and closing the door behind her. I roll my eyes before I focus on the problem at hand.
Now, I could wake him up and then have to face the awkwardness that’s bound to follow. (Not to mention his accusations that I’m plotting something, even though he’s the one who’s got his tentacles wrapped around me like some overly-attached squid.)
I could throw him off the bed. Now, that wouldn’t seem out of character.
Or I could enjoy this while it lasts and go back to sleep.
I pull myself even closer to him and close my eyes, a smile spreading on my face.
I wake up feeling pleasantly cool. There are warm blankets thrown over me, but there’s something cold in my arms and it feels really good. I sigh contently before I open my eyes and come face to face with a sleeping Baz.
I move away from him so fast that I fall off the bed. “Ow.”
“Snow?” I hear Baz’s voice from above, thick with sleep. His head appears over the edge of the bed, squinting at me under heavy eye-lids. “What are you doing?”
All my blood’s rushing to my face and my heart’s pounding like crazy. “Nothing,” I say, praying he didn’t realize that I was cuddling with him in my sleep.
He looks at me for a few moments before he shrugs and sits up, yawning and rubbing his eyes. I let out a sigh of relief.
Baz frowns at me. “Are you going to keep lying down there like an idiot?”
“Oh, right!” I scramble to my feet, almost tripping over my own legs in the process.
He rolls his eyes. “Get dressed. Fiona’s probably waiting for us.”
I nod. “Right.” I pick up my clothes from where I left them on the couch and go to his en-suite bathroom to change out of his stripped pajamas. When I get back to the room, Baz is already dressed and is now putting a few clothes and some other basic stuff in a duffel bag.
“You look better today,” I say.
He shrugs. “A satisfying meal and a good night’s sleep helped.”
“What about blood?” I ask.
“I can pass a day without feeding,” he says, feigning indifference.
He sighs and stops throwing stuff in the bag. “What.”
“If you need help hunting, you can ask.”
His jaw drops. “What?”
“You heard me. I’ll help you hunt.”
He shakes his head, incredulous. “Snow, I’m not a baby. You don’t have to take care of me.”
“You’re weak, Baz. You need help.”
“And you want to give it to me?”
I shrug. “I went to a lot of trouble to rescue you. It would be a pity if it had all been in vein.”
“Why did you rescue me in the first place? You hate me!”
“I don’t-” I trail off, not knowing how to continue.
He stares at me. “How did you even find me?” he asks finally.
I shrug, relieved that he changed the subject. “Some kind of spell. Fiona gave it to me.”
“Some Beatles song.”
I shrug again. “‘All my loving’.”
His eyes bulge and he drops the bag. “‘All my loving’?”
I frown at his reaction. “Yes. Why?”
He stares at me for many moments. “Snow, did you even pay attention to the lyrics?”
“Um… No. Why? What’s wrong?”
He opens his mouth to answer but he’s interrupted by the door opening. It’s Vera. “Oh, you’re awake. There’s breakfast in the kitchen.”
“Thank you,” I say and I go to follow her. I stop when I notice that Baz is frozen at the same spot. “Are you alright?”
He shakes his head, as if to clear it. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.” He picks up his bag and passes by me to follow Vera to the kitchen.
Baz didn’t speak at all during breakfast and he’s strangely quiet during the car ride. I keep shooting glances at where he sits at the back. (Fiona wouldn’t let him sit at the front. “The front seat is for people who’ve never been kidnapped by bloody numpties, Basil.”)
Fiona, on the other hand, is really chatty today and I have to admit I’m enjoying our conversation immensely. All the embarrassing stories from Baz’s childhood she’s currently recounting to me are perfect blackmail material. But the fact that Baz hasn’t stopped her from talking yet is a bit worrying. He looks so deep in thought that I doubt he heard a single word.
Fiona leaves us at the school’s parking lot, winking at us suggestively before she drives off. Baz doesn’t seem to notice. He just starts walking towards Mummers House, still seeming distracted. He still looks weak, so I keep glancing at him, making sure he’s not going to pass out.
Once we reach our room, Baz throws his duffel bag on his bed and sits down numbly. I’m starting to get really worried.
“Are you okay?” I ask him.
He blinks, like he’s just come out of a daze, and his eyes find mine. “You used ‘All my loving’,” he says, a slight question mark in his voice, as if he was asking me to verify the statement.
“Um, yeah. I think we established that.”
His forehead furrows, like he doesn’t understand what I’m saying. “Snow, do you even know what spell that is?”
I shrug, baffled by his fixation on the spell. “Tracking spell, I guess?”
Baz snorts, shaking his head, like he can’t believe just how much of an idiot I am. “What part of ‘I’m sending all my loving to you’ says tracking spell to you?”
I frown. “If it’s not a tracking spell, then what does it do?”
“And I repeat. ‘I’m sending all my loving to you’?” He quirks an eyebrow at my lack of understanding. “The ball of light?”
My scowl deepens. “I don’t- You mean-” I laugh nervously. “I sent you… love?”
“Not just love, Snow. Your love. Romantic love. Towards-” He snorts, a disbelieving sound, and trails off.
“Who?” I ask, thinking that there’s no way I won’t regret making that question.
He stares at me, suddenly looking really vulnerable. “Towards the person you were thinking of while you were casting.”
I scrunch up my brow. “But I was thinking of-”
I burst out laughing. Nervously. Hysterically.
“I’m not- Baz- I-” I keep laughing, as it gives me a perfect excuse not to look at his face. I barely manage to force out, “I- I hate you.”
I expect a retort. Something along the lines of, “Is that why you saved my life?” or, “Yeah, you cuddling with me in your sleep really leaves no room for doubt about that.” But the moments tick by and he doesn’t say anything, so I’m forced to raise my gaze and look at him.
His face quickly turns into a stony mask, but I just barely manage to catch a flash of something in his eyes. Surely, it can’t be… hurt? But it’s gone so quickly I’m starting to think I imagined it.
“Right,” he says coldly. “You do have a history of messing up even the simplest of spells. You probably managed to confuse even this one.” He shakes his head, standing up from his bed. “Whatever. I should go hunt now.”
“Wait,” I say before I think it through. He pauses on his way to the door and turns to look at me. “I- I mean. Are you sure you can- You know...”
Baz scowls at me. “Why do you care, Snow? You hate me, remember?” He’s out the door before I can reply.
It’s not the first time he told me he hated me. It shouldn’t hurt this much.
But it does. Because for the first time I had started to hope that it might not be true. He saved me. He cast ‘All my loving’ thinking about me. He carried me in his arms and slept in the same bed with me. I thought – I hoped – that it meant something.
Apparently not. I’m just a fool.
I open the door that leads to the Catacombs and I start wandering in the familiar tunnels. But the sense of familiarity is vanquished soon and something else starts stirring inside me.
The darkness. The stale air. The sense of entrapment. I feel like I’m back in the coffin.
My stomach churns and my breathing becomes shallower as the walls close up around me. The world starts spinning and I’m on my knees on the cold stone floor.
You’re not in the coffin anymore, I try to tell myself. Snow rescued you.
No, he didn’t, says the panic that’s swelling inside me and makes it hard to breathe – to think. He hates me, he wouldn’t save me. It was just a dream.
I curl up on the floor and start sobbing.
“Not just love, Snow. Your love. Romantic love. Towards the person you were thinking of while you were casting.”
He’s wrong. He has to be.
“Why do you care, Snow? You hate me, remember?”
And yet I rescued him. I took care of him. I slept with him.
I fall back on my bed and close my eyes, trying to stop thinking about it. I’m good at that – I’ve been doing it for years. But this time I can’t. Not after it was uttered out loud. From his mouth.
I remember the last few weeks Baz was missing. The sleepless nights, the restlessness, the frustration… The worry. I missed him. Crowley, I missed him so much. And then I remember last night. Watching his pale face, illuminated by the moon’s silver light. Teasing him. Fucking flirting with him. Kissing him good-night.
And then waking up, holding him in my arms.
Do I want that?
My eyes snap open. My heart’s pounding at how easily my brain answered. Yes. So simple. So obvious.
So fucking catastrophic.
“I hate you.”
That’s what I told him. And I know that it was hurt I saw in his eyes. And I remember the nervousness with which he told me about how the spell worked. It doesn’t make sense. If Baz had even the slightest suspicion I had feelings for him, he would never stop teasing me. Unless…
I leap on my feet. I need to find him. I need to tell him.
I take out my wand and start casting.
I can’t stop shaking.
I’m trapped. And no one’s going to come for me. I’ll die here, in the coffin, starved and scared. Alone.
I cry and scream in despair. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…
I try to distract myself before I lose my mind. I try to think of Snow, the only thing that kept me sane until now. But all I can see is his face as he’s telling me he hates me. Something inside me shatters.
Someone’s yelling, the voice echoing around me, and it makes my head hurt. I press my palms to my ears, trying to block out the sound, but it still manages to pentrate through my skull and pierce my brain. It’s getting nearer and louder and I want it to stop. I just want it to stop.
Suddenly, I feel something warm touch my chest. I open my eyes and there’s a bright light breaking the darkness. Then the light slips inside my chest and all the fear and despair is extinguished by the warmth that’s swelling inside me, reaching every part of my body and my soul.
And then I see him, kneeling beside me and looking at me with concern, and I can’t help launching myself at him and burying my face in his chest, drawing comfort from his warmth like he’s my very own ball of light.
“It’s okay,” I whisper as I wrap my arms around Baz. “You’re okay.”
Well, at least I hope he’s okay. I freaked out a little when I saw him curled up on the floor, shaking and sobbing hard. But then the light reached him and he quieted down and I was so relieved my knees almost gave away.
I stroke his back softly and whisper comforting things, absently realizing just how surreal this is. I’m comforting Baz. Baz is allowing me to comfort him.
After a little while he pulls away a little but not completely – just enough to look at my face. “Snow?”
“Yeah.” My voice is a little croaky. I clear my throat. “Are you okay?”
“I-” I can’t make out his expression in the darkness but I can hear the nervousness and confusion in his hoarse voice. “I’m fine.”
“Did you get to hunt?”
I feel rather than see the shake of his head.
“Hang on,” I say. I can discern a small figure speeding up past us. “Stop!” It’s not even a spell, but the rat freezes all the same. I crawl over to it to pick it up and then I return back to Baz, holding it out to him.
“Just take it.” He reaches out hesitantly, like he thinks it’s booby-trapped, and takes the rat in his hand. I stand up. “Wait here, I’ll find more.”
He leaves before I can protest. Though I don’t think I could utter a single word at the moment – not with the way my mouth is hanging open in astonishment.
“I hate you.” That’s what he said. And then went and sent me his loving, and comforted me, and now he’s hunting rats for me to feed on. Talking about mixed signals.
Shaking my head in disbelief, I raise the rat to my mouth and suck it dry. It doesn’t ease my hunger at all. I need more. Much more. I hope Snow’s hunting skills will prove to be adequate for the task.
After a couple of minutes he’s back, cradling more than half a dozen rats at his chest. The fact that the sight of him carrying immobilized little rodents for me to drain makes me melt into a puddle on the floor is testament to how far gone I really am.
He deposits the rats on the floor in front of me, looking pleased with himself. “There you go. Dinner is served.”
I snort and I’m glad he doesn’t have vampire vision or he’d be able to see the stupid grin on my face. (Seriously, it’s embarassing.) He sits on the floor next to me, watching me curiously.
I frown. “What?”
Snow rolls his eyes. “Aren’t you going to feed?”
“With you here?”
He shrugs. “Why not?”
“Snow, this isn’t a pretty sight.”
He shrugs again. “It’s pretty dark. I won’t be able to see much.”
I huff. “You’re an idiot.”
He bumps my shoulder. “Just eat.”
I roll my eyes and take a rat. I bring it to my mouth self-consciously, all too aware of his eyes staring at me. I pop my fangs out and pierce the rat’s skin, sucking at the warm liquid spilling out until it’s dry. Then I throw the carcass away and grab another one – Snow’s eyes never leaving mine for a second.
When I’m done, I feel a little fuller. My hunger’s not completely satisfied, but it will probably be a while before it is.
“Better?” asks Snow.
I nod, having my fangs retract back to my gums. “Yes.” I bite my lip. “Why- Why did you help me? Honestly, Snow, your inconsistency is driving me insane.” I briefly wonder if that’s his motive.
He turns his head away, his fingers toying with the hem of his shirt, looking extremely nervous. “Because- Because you were right before,” he says in a quiet voice. “When you said-” He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes like he can’t bear to look at me.
I frown. “That you’re an idiot?”
He lets out a small laugh. “I mean the other thing… The thing you said when we were back in our room.”
“That you fuck up all your spells?”
He groans. “Are you really going to make me say it?”
I cock an eyebrow. “Seeing as I have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about, yes.”
Snow laughs and finally looks at me. There’s no hostility in his gaze, but something softer, warmer. Something that reminds me of magickal balls of light that slip inside me and make my whole being swell with giddiness. But that’s nothing compared to what I felt next, when he cupped my face in his hands and kissed me.
I don’t stop to question just how wise of a decision this really is. I just act and wait for his response.
When his hands reach up to tangle in my hair and his mouth starts sucking at my lips, I let out a sigh that’s half-relief, half-contentment. I push back at him, letting myself get lost in the kiss.
This is so good. So mindblowingly good.
I like the way his lips feel against mine – cold and smooth. I like the way his hands tug a little on my curls. I like the hungry way he sucks at my lips, like it’s something he’s been longing to do. (Has he?) I like everything about this kiss. (Except maybe the lingering traces of rat blood. That’s just gross.)
When we finally break apart, we’re both breathless. Baz is looking at me with a confused and slightly dazed expression on his face. “Snow, what-” He licks his lips nervously. “What was that?”
I shrug. “A kiss.”
He snorts. “Yes, I got that. I meant, where did it come from.”
“Um…” I scratch the nape of my neck. “Remember the thing we were talking about before? Back at our room?”
“About the spell?”
“Well… Like I was trying to tell you before, you were right.”
His eyes widen briefly. Then he smacks my head. “Ow! What was that for?”
“That’s for telling me you hated me, you insensitive git.”
“Oh.” I look at the floor sheepishly. “Sorry about that. I was… kind of in denial.”
He huffs. “Kind of.”
“Shut up, Baz.”
He cocks an eyebrow at me. “Make me.”
I smirk. “Happy to oblige,” I say before I kiss him again.
So, this is it.
I would love to hear your thoughts about it :)