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In Deniall

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Niall

Apparently, Snow is part of our crew from now on. It's like he's permanently glued to Baz’s side. Or Baz to him, hard to tell. He eats with us, sits next to us at classes, drinks the afternoon tea with us. And it's not just him, he brought the whole package. Snow+Bunce in one. Dev complains they could have brought Agatha with them at least, but she sits alone at the other end of the room.

And don't let me start on their sappiness, for magic’s sake. They constantly hold hands and when they think we're not looking, Baz puts his tongue into Snow’s mouth. Gross. Like watching your parents do this. Right next to your grandparents.

"You've wasted 7 years of our lives plotting against him, Pitch, so you could share his saliva?" Dev asked when we first found out. Not that they'd tried to hide it. After the Christmas holidays, they marched to the dining hall together, hand in hand, and sat next to us. Casually. Bunce came shortly after, bringing a book, and joined us like it was the most normal thing in the world. She didn't seem affected by the fact our venom might have been contagious.

Baz gave us one of his sneers and replied: "As if you had anything better to do." 

"Actually, we had," Dev said but we all knew we hadn't.  

"Are you a gay chicken, Dev?" Baz arched his eyebrow and Simon next to him growled. He didn't interact with Dev and me at first. Probably afraid we'd have taken his Bazzy away from him or something. (For all the Aleister’s love, don't tell Baz I've just called him Bazzy. He would skin me alive.)

“ 'course not,” Dev said, his jaw pushed forward. 

“Yeah? So this doesn't freak you out?” Snow said boldly and grabbed  Baz’s chin. He gave him a proper kiss right in front of us, the first of many to come. He then winked at Baz making him blush like crazy, I swear on Morgana.

“I liked it better when he was just plotting,” Dev murmured towards me, so Baz wouldn't hear him. Though, I think that bloody prick could still hear him somehow.

I wish you could see Baz blushing. I've never seen him blush before, but now he does it almost constantly. I took a photo of him on Dev's phone, and we plan to send it to him as a Christmas card. He will probably make us drink the potion Alice had, to reduce us to the size puttable to a bottle he will be able to throw to the bottom of a sea, but it will be worth it.

 

Dev  

"She still hasn't replied," I complain when Niall comes back from the shower. I'm on my bed, phone in my hands, and checking the text messages for the millionth time today. I know we aren't permitted to have phones, but I met this girl, Lessia, during Christmas break and she gave me her number. I brought my phone with me 'cause she said she'd write. But nothing, yet.  

"Maybe she just forgot? Try again and if she doesn't reply, then you will know," Niall offers while putting on his black joggers.

I do as he says, but honestly, I don't expect much. My luck with girls shows me its back. There's a middle finger involved, too. 

"You think I could finally have a chance with Agatha now?" I slide the phone under my pillow. 

Niall chuckles, knowing about the stupid crush I've had for ages. "You and your Agatha. Give her time, bro. Snow's just broken up with her."  

"Yeah. You're right. So what are we doing now?"

Niall looks at me pensively, then at the window, and then he grins. I know what this means really well, so I stand up, put on my shoes and grab my jumper from a chair. Niall does the same, and soon we're sneaking out the window to the lawn. They say the first floor of Mummers house has the crappiest rooms but we can't complain. The rooms are small in here, but I'm not able to count how many times we've snuck out like this. We aim to the Cloisters, synchronized.  

"I was thinking we could ask out those two next to Keris’ room… Sandy and Mandy?" 

"Yea, bro, good pick," I confirm. Niall bumps his shoulder against mine. I cast Knockin' on heaven’s door! the romantic spell used for asking girls out. We wait under the windows, hypnotizing the one on the second floor. The window opens and Sandy’s face peeks out, her brown hair waving around her like a hand fan. There are two lamps nearby, so we know she can see us.

"What do you want?" she hisses.  

"Come out!" Niall shouts, although not too loud because it's already ten and he doesn't want to attract any unnecessary attention.  

"And bring Mandy too!" I add. 

"You crazy? It's past ten, guys!" Sandy says shaking her head. 

"Oh come on, it's just walking, not breaking into Minotaur’s cabinet!"  

"Still, it's past the curfew!"  

"Who's there?" Mandy’s head shows up in the window too. 

"Hey, Maandy!" Niall greets her, extending the first syllable of her name which reminds me of one old song. I go over the lyrics in my head, grinning. It's perfect.

I start singing, Niall quickly catching up. You kissed me and stopped me from shaking ... and I need you today, oooh Maaandy!  

"You're both crazy," Mandy is laughing, putting her hand in front of her mouth. I hope she blushes a little but in this light, it's hard to see it. 

"Go to bed. It's late," Sandy repeats again and hushes Mandy inside. 

"Just for fifteen minutes!" I try.

"We promise to give you back safely," Niall adds. Mandy sends us a smile, blows a kiss, and then disappears inside. 

"We're going to sleep," Sandy says resolutely and I know we lost the battle.  "And you should do the same. If someone finds you here, you're cleaning the kitchen for the next month. Good night!" she waves and disappears too. I'd knock again but I know it would be pointless. 

"Let's just go to the pitch," Niall says, not happy but not sad either.

I look at him wearing the challenging smile I'm sure he knows well by now. "The last one buys drinks at Captain’s!" I shout already breaking into a run. I don't turn to see if he follows. I know he does.

 

Niall  

We're running for our lives, I manage to spell our legs Quiet as a mouse! so we don't get caught. But this distraction earns Dev a few seconds on me. And he sure as hell won't win.  

We jump the waist-high gate and run to the centre of the pitch. The brat is still two steps ahead. He's almost there, so I jump at his back bringing him down. We land on the grass, not really softly, and roll in the dirt, wrestling for the win. 

We finally stop, laying on our backs and heavily panting.  

"I won anyway," Dev turns his head to me, the winning smirk on his lips. I mean, probably. It's too dark here to see properly. 

"You forgot to spell your sneakers, idiot. We could have got caught," I say but I'm not that angry as I sound.

"You're paying for all my drinks, mate.” I bet he's sticking his tongue out, awfully pleased with himself. 

"Lucky me you don't like dandelion wine," I wink though he can't see it. We tried it once and stayed with the beer. It was also too expensive. 

"We could go to Captains’  this Saturday," he suggests. 

I hum approvingly and we stay there lying in silence for a while. It's January, and I'm ashamed I didn't think of wearing a coat. Crowley, I'm nineteen, I should know such things. We're still heated up from the run for now, and also it's nice to be here, thus I'm not standing up yet. 

Dev breaks the silence first. “I didn't know Baz was gay.”

“I didn't know Snow was gay.” We're both laughing. 

It's me who speaks next. "You know we're slowly running out of girls here?" 

"I know. It's shit," he sighs.  

"Don't worry bro. We'll rock it on Saturday."  

"Because we're sexy motherfuckers," Dev adds.

"Yeah. We fucking are," I agree.

Chapter Text

Niall

I love Saturday. It's a completely free day. 

I also hate Saturday. We sometimes don't know what to do with this much freedom. 

It's a no practice day, even though I guess this doesn't matter now anyway since in winter season we have reduced schedule and train mostly in the gym next to the pitch. However, when Coach Mac finds us too lazy, he sends us doing laps outside.

Usually, we'd meet with Baz before lunch and he'd think of some plan. But it's been two weeks into this term and all Baz seems to care is Snow. I don't get how he manages to still excel at every subject, always knowing stuff in advance. It's a torture to study what we currently have to, why would I want to do extra work? 

Dev totally agrees. We're good at doing everything on last minute.

It's been weird without Baz, I gotta admit. It's just Dev and me. We kind of sworn Bros for life! not to let other girls separate us.

We have no one else. 

Even though we still hang out with Baz, it's not the same.

I have an ongoing bet with Dev. I gave them two months. Dev says five, but for magic’s sake, I can't imagine Baz tolerating Snow for that long. He is now madly in love but when it passes, he will notice how much Snow is annoying. That guy cares only about food, just go ask Merlin. I can't wait to see Dev in a ballerina dress. That's what he will have to wear when he loses. And now hold yourself, on leavers ball. I know, his name is Dev, but I´m the real devil in here.

Remember that. 

This is one of the Saturdays when we're mostly bored. We have plans for the night, but not for the day. We ate, went for the run and watched 3 movies so far. The run was quick because it's bloody cold outside.

I crack my knuckles.

 

Dev

Niall cracks his knuckles. It's a bad habit of his which he's not willing to give up. 

We've just finished watching The Shawshank Redemption because we're idiots and haven't seen it sooner. It was devastatingly amazing, and we're definitely gonna rewatch it. 

We're bored. A little. Niall is still pissed off about Baz befriending Snow. Much more than me. I think it's fine, at least he doesn't command us all the time. He can be scary a bit. (If you ever mention this to anyone, I will deny it all!)

I slightly turn towards Niall, bending my arm at the elbow so I can prop my head on a hand. "One more movie or we're going to the town sooner?" 

He thinks for a while. And shrugs. "Dunno. Either kills the time." 

"Let's go to the town." I close the laptop and push Niall out of the bed. "I need a new shower gel and we can grab some food."

"You owe me dinner. I was buying the last time," Niall says poking in the pile of clothes on his chair. He spells it all clean and chooses black jeans and a blue t-shirt with an octopus. The octopus looks disturbing in my opinion, but Niall likes this buddy, so don't offend him. If you were wondering, his name is Roger.

"They were supposed to open a new shop. Donutteria or something." I put on a black t-shirt.

Niall turns to me with a wicked grin. "Put on a pink t-shirt." 

"Huh? I don't have any," I frown because I don't get his point. Why would I ever own a pink t-shirt?

"You sain' you're a gay chicken?" he says mockingly. 

I remember the way Baz asked me this exact question. Like it was an offence. "But I don't have any pink t-shirt." I'm really not a gay chicken nor a bloody quitter.

 "No problem," Niall smiles and casts Pink is the new black! on my t-shirt. I look down at the new cover, the neon pink blinding my eyes. 

I cock my eyebrow at him saying "Just you wait, prick." The colour is disgusting.

We take the bus to the town, neither of us having a car. I mean, mine is uselessly parked in the garage at home. And Niall’s parents can't afford to buy him a car. He doesn't complain though. He talked me into taking a summer job with him last summer. We were selling ice cream and could watch girls all day. I really didn't complain. Then I took him to our family vacation on a yacht. We sailed the Mediterranean Sea. A new girl every night. Almost. You know how it goes.

Anyway, I tried to give him my money from the ice cream job but he ain't have none of it. He's too proud for that. It makes me a bit ashamed of my own wealthy family. His is used to share and live more modestly. It makes you think. 

I didn't try to give him any money after that, scared I'd offend him. I believe he'd asked if he needed to.

 

Niall

After we get off the bus, Dev takes me to that new Donutteria he was talking about. It's a small shop with only four tables, but the smell is amazing. I couldn't work here, it would be a constant temptation to taste everything. I would be selling half-bitten doughnuts.

They got this section with special toppings, Merlin and Morgana I couldn't decide. Dev lost his patience with me and bought me the chocolate ones with the topping looking like the galaxy. Dev gets the ones with that famous Van Gogh’s painting. We chose the table in the corner and debate if the fairy he donated his ear to still lives. And whether she still keeps the ear. 

"What a strange courting gift," I say. 

"Yeah, man, pretty fucked up. But I guess it's better than cutting off his cock." 

"Now, that would be completely different devotion," I say jokingly.

"Just imagine it. Here, my lady, accept my ear as a gift and please consider dating me," Dev lampoons. 

"I will consider running off," I say stuffing the last bite into my mouth. Dev finishes too, we put the used napkins to the bin and leave the shop. 

It's a really small town, everything is near the walking distance. We pass a restaurant, The Nymph’s whisper (I know, sounds more like a name for a sex shop), the grocery, the coffee shop, and then we enter the drugstore. Dev is a bit obsessed with smelling good, so we spend the next twenty minutes choosing the right shower gel. Infinite passion, it is. I will keep my comment to myself this time.

We're marching to the register when Dev stops out of the blue, causing me to bump into him.

"Warn me the next time." I kick him to his calf before he turns to me.

"Are you a gay chicken, Niall?" he casts me the same wicked grin I gave him before. 

"No," I say, hesitantly, not knowing where this is going.

"Oh, I hoped to hear that. Now, pick something for your dry lips." He shows me a regal with his hand full of those things for lips. 

I bite off any snarky comment I have because I'm not backing off the challenge. 

"How do I know what to choose tho'? There are too many." 

Dev stops me a shop assistant and barely holds a laughter while she's explaining me the difference between a normal lipstick, a lip balm, a chapstick and ...what were the others? I swear that fucker enjoys it too much. With her help, I finally chose a berry chapstick, still not knowing what it is at the end. Something chaptastic, hopefully. Why are there so many different things?

I let Dev pay for it, out of spite. Good thing he wears his winter coat, if the shop assistant saw Dev’s t-shirt, she'd think we're a couple or something. Ugh.

There's not much to do outside, so we end up in Captain’s, even though it's only seven. Captain’s is the only bar in town. It has two floors with wooden tables, benches and thick metallic pipes on the ceiling. U-shaped bar counter dominates the lower room, with the owner always behind it. There are no bar stools – you order your drink and go sit to the tables. There's a rumour the owner is an elf who fell in love with some captain whose ship sailed, so he never came back to her. I don't know. I mean, shouldn't elves be extraordinarily beautiful? She seems pretty normal to me. 

I order beer for us since I lost the run, and take it to a billiard table in the corner. Dev is already there, balls set on the table in the black triangle.

"I'll beat your ass today," Dev says taking a cue and drying it with the chalk. I put our glasses on the table, strip my coat and join him. He hands me the cue and dries the second.

"As if. You couldn't hit a ball if it landed on your nose."

"Don't you remember who won last time?" he asks mockingly.

"And don't you remember who won right after?" I ask back. 

We play a few games, the score 4:4, but we're too proud to admit we're equally good. 

"Finally," Dev licks his lips. 

"Are they pretty?" I don't want to turn yet. I have a promising chance to win this round.

"You bet. Both brunettes, look sympathetic."

We play one more game, then rock-paper-scissors who goes to ask them. I lost. 

"Be right back, bro."

I confidently march to their table. "Hello," I smile at them. "I was wondering there with my friend – ” I point towards Dev´s direction.“– if you´d play a few games of billiard with us?" 

The brunette on my left smiles shyly, the other sends unsure looks at her friend. "I'm afraid we don't know how to play," the one on the left says. 

"Doesn't matter." That's actually very good. "We will show you." 

"I don't know... Tessa, what you think?" 

The one on the right raises her head, making direct eye contact with me. I smile again. And wink for a good matter. She studies me for a few seconds and smiles back. "Okay. Let's try." 



Dev


Niall is coming back with the girls. Amazing guy, my mate. I'm not that surprised, with his brown hair and blue eyes, he's a girl magnet.

"Hey, girls. I'm Dev," I introduce myself when they come. And secretly bump Niall’s fist behind our backs. We're gonna get laid today. Amazing night.

 

Chapter Text

Dev

"What did we do wrong this time?" I wonder out loud. I'm lying on my back, legs up on the wall. I'm trying to read a book for Greek. Trying is the key word here.

"Wrong where?" Niall asks from behind the desk. I can say he is more successful at studying than me today. Which is weird, because I'm usually the one saying we should study, and he's the one doing whatever in order to avoid it.

"With the girls," I sigh. They didn't call us again. Surprised? Nah.

"Why would you think something's wrong with us?" He turns on his chair to face me.  

"Because they didn't call back."

"Exactly, they. They couldn't see how awesome we are."

"No, seriously, Ni. What do we do wrong that they never call?"

"I don't know," he shrugs, sighing loudly. "Maybe we don't seem like the relationship types."

"How does that look like?" I wonder.

"No idea."

 

***

We're divided to work in pairs on Miss Possibelf’s class. I end up with Gareth, while the lucky asshole is with Mandy. We're doing a bloody roleplay.

"Could you pay attention for a while?" Gareth asks with irritation, but I still don't care. My mood is shit. I register he tries to talk to me, but I shut him out.

I pour all of my bad mood into the practice. We're in the indoor gym, a smaller hall with too many ropes for my liking which Coach Mac loves to spell super slick. Just because he can. We're doing the dribbling drills – a hard-core bitch. Coach Mac yells at us a lot, but he is content with me today. I had a lot of energy to burn.

After the drills, I feel pleasantly tired. My muscles burn, but it's a good sort of a pain because you know you've achieved something. We go back to our room with Niall, take turns in the shower.
I face plant on the bed deciding I'm not gonna study today, not even if you bribe me.

"I saw you smiling there with Mandy a lot," I say teasingly, but it comes muffled by the pillow. In reality, I only saw one smile before I zoned out.

"Umm. Yeah, she is cute." That makes me immediately sit up on the bed. I study his face, few flocks of his dark hair cover his view, but he doesn't blush. When I think of it, he never blushes. He only wears his ever-present cocky grin.

"I've never heard you call a girl cute before," I say in amazement.

"Well... I plan to ask her out," he says with a small smile, brushing off his hair from his forehead. It's still wet from the shower, so all that happens is the hair stays standing vertically. Niall looks like he's wearing a snapback now.

"Yeah, bro." That makes me feel happy. "You should definitely do that. Spell her flowers or whatever."

"Nah, that would be too much."

"No, trust me, dude. Girls like those shits," I try to convince him. I want him to succeed in this.

"Girls, huh? How come you never ask flowers from me then?" he jokes.

"Haha, funny," I say ironically. "I don't need flowers from you." We laugh at the ridiculous image. What a prospect, me getting flowers. Strange.

 

Niall

Dev is a bit down because of the girls. I can see it.

He can be moody sometimes. See, he isn't self-conscious, but he can be...okay, yeah, he is a bit self-conscious now. He thinks something is wrong with him. But there isn't. How can I show him?

This guy is not just good looks. That blond hair which is too light, almost like peroxided. And his eyes. Overwhelmingly green. Like the lawn on the pitch. If your breath doesn't catch in your lungs looking into his eyes, you're doing it wrong.

But there's so much more than this.

Dev is a really good guy. His family is as rich as Crowley’s ass, but he never acts superior. My family can only dream about such wealth, and Dev never made me feel less because of it. He is also really caring. And protective. And funny, if you just let him show you, he will try his best.

I wish all girls could see this.

I gotta do something.

It went quite well with Mandy today. Yeah, that's it! Mandy has a roommate too, right? Bingo.

 

Dev

We're sitting with Sandy and Mandy, few tables from our spot at the afternoon tea. Baz and Snow don't look like they've noticed our absence yet. If it goes this way, Niall loses our bet. I can't wait to see him flirt with Coach Mac. It will be hilarious.

I've just realised, the girl’s initials make S&M, nice, right?

"What are you girls doing this Saturday? We could have dinner together." Niall winks at them. "Like a double date," he specifies.

Mandy steals glances at him when she thinks he doesn't look. From the way he smiles, I know he knows. Sandy plays with the teaspoon, circles it around the cup.

"Good idea," Mandy agrees happily. Sandy raises her head and looks at me searchingly. Then she nods. "The Nymph’s whisper?" she asks and laughs a little. Right. Where else? The Nymph’s whisper is the only restaurant in town.

The rest of the week passes in a blur. It's the beginning of a new term, so we're free from the exams for a while. Baz is still highly enamoured, and Bunce interacts with us only a little, something with “too many friends” I'm not sure. But she is nice and crazy otherwise.

Finally, it's Saturday and we're sitting at the Nymph’s. Sandy is to my left side, Niall with Mandy opposite us.

"Do you go often to town?" Sandy turns to me just as I was thinking about how to start a conversation.

"Yeah, you could say that. We're usually bored at the weekends so we go here to kill time. But we go to Captain’s mostly."

"That's the bar, right? I've never been there." She takes a decoration from the table and studies it intently. I have no idea what it is either. Maybe something between an elephant and a lollipop?

"We go there to play billiard. Right, bro?" I ask Niall. "Tell Sands who won the last time." I bump myself in the chest in case it wasn't obvious.

"Definitely not you." Of course he'd say this.

"That's ’cause you weren't able to recognize a winner through all the tears you shed."

"Yeah, I was laughing my ass off at your terrible skills."

"You know yours are the same as mine."

We tease each other like this until the food comes. I dig into my fried cheese and ask Sandy: "You're at the dancing club, aren't you?"

"I am. But they're thinking of cancelling it. There are only five of us now, and we didn't make it to DMAC. That's an international school magic-dancing competition," she explains.

I put some fries into my mouth and reply, "Didn't you try to recruit some first and second years?"

She smiles sadly, "We did, but seems like dancing is not that popular these years." She eats a fork of her pasta, then continues. "Guess you don't have such problems with football."

"Haha, no we're lucky. Coach thinks he will be able to open a new team in autumn."

"How is the Coach? I´ve heard he is just yelling all the time."

I laugh, thinking of Coach Mac’s nickname after a hamburger. Big Mac for coach’s big mouth. I don't share this with Sandy though, it's just between us footballers. "He yells. Like a lot. And swears. Like even more. But he's great. Strict, but makes sure we do everything right. And he loves kids, that's obvious." I really do like our coach. He´s something like our second father here.

The date goes on, we mostly talk about school and so related things. After dinner, we go for a short walk and take a bus back to Watford. We accompany girls back to the Cloisters. We make our goodbyes, Mandy letting Niall kiss her fully on the mouth. I planned to do the same with Sandy, but she shows me her cheek instead. I lightly kiss her there and start walking slowly to Mummers. I put my hands in my jean pockets, realizing I'm not disappointed.

"What do you think?" Niall wants to know when he catches up.

"Dunno. Nothing much."

"Why?" he puts his arm around my shoulders and bumps us from side to side as if we're on a ship. Or drunk. “You seemed to talk a lot,” he adds and I nearly trip on his long legs. I guess it fits well with our drunk walk.

"Yeah, but it was all about stupidities. Nothing interesting. Mandy seems to like you, tho’," I elbow him lightly to his stomach.

"I think it's finally going somewhere. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, bro."

"Oh, it's ok. I think I'm gonna take a break with girls anyway."

Niall hums and we're slowly walking to our room, still floating from side to side.

Chapter Text

Niall

Mandy breaks up with me a week and a half later. Seems like I'm the king of long-term relationships, huh?

She stopped me before the afternoon tea to tell me she was sorry but I was too childish for her. That really hurt my ego, if you need to know.

"I'm taking a break with girls too." I join Dev at our table.

He looks at me and squeezes my thigh. He understands.

"Here. Pineapple-mango tea," he passes me a cup with Watford logo. We're probably the only ones who experiment with the flavours.

"Which one you got?" It smells amazing. That kind you want to come to when it's raining outside and you can stay the whole day in a bed.

"Plum and strawberry."

Soon after, Snow joins us. Alone. We both raise our eyebrows at him, in unison.

"Where's your lover boy?" Dev asks.

"He stayed in the library with Penny," he shrugs and puts his tea with a plate full of scones on the table, sitting opposite us. We've created a seating plan – okay, Baz have – we sit to the wall, Baz and Snow opposite us with Bunce. She could have picked a side, it's not my fault she chose the wrong one.

"I was hungry," he states as he's cramming a whole scone into his mouth. This guy has such wonderful eating habits, I must grant him that.

"So, how's it going with Baz?" I investigate nonchalantly to study the terrain. We still have a bet.

"Great," he shrugs again after he swallowed, but is smiling from ear to ear. "Still an asshole, but still mine. He's teaming up with Penny against me, actually."

"Like how?" I ask. I find this prospect really funny.

"They say I was neglecting my studies so they tryina catch me up on everything now. It's a torture, and they both love it," he sounds miserable. I still find it funny.

"Are you complaining again, Snow?" Baz shows up empty-handed. He sits next to him and steals his tea. Snow curls his hand around Baz like they were alone in the room. They don't seem to care what their surrounding thinks, just want to be close, I guess. It's kinda adorable.

"Where did you leave Penny?" Snow asks.

"She stayed in the library. When I told her I had the next lesson already mastered, she said she didn't have time for tea because she had to go over two now to beat me."

Snow just rolls his eyes. He then points at me with his half-eaten scone. "Why do you spell your eyes?"

"What?" I have no idea what he's talking about.

"This muddy blue colour,” he circles with the scone in front of my face. "Why do you spell it?"

"Saint Morgana, why would I spell my eyes, Snow? That would be an annoying thing to do every day," I respond scathingly just as Dev twists my head to him, inspecting my eyes. "Did you say muddy? He ain't have no muddy eyes."

"Where did you take this information, Snow?" Baz asks, laughing.

Snow just shrugs. I guess that's a thing of his. Shrugging.

"You're a complete moron, Simon," Baz announces, but pecks him loudly on the cheek.

"What's up with you guys?" Baz turns back to us. "I've heard you're dating Mandy?"

"Not anymore," I say like it doesn't matter. Because, after all, it doesn't.

Snow stands up and tells Baz he will see him in the library. He takes his last scone for Penny and leaves. I hope he doesn't get hungry on his way, for Bunce’s sake.

"I wonder why you two can't keep a girl," Baz tell us, however, his tone suggests he knows exactly why.

"Screw you," I tell him nicely.

"Were you good at him?" He wants to know, turning serious abruptly.

"We're not evil, Baz," I object. That’s why he came? To check up we're not putting Snow in tea bags?

"Good." That's all he says.

"Maybe we could do something together?" Dev suggests. "Get to know him better?"

Baz stares at us blankly, his expression so hard to read. I can never guess what he thinks. For all I know it could be anything from spelling us to giraffes to singing a death lullaby.

"Great. Think of something and let me know," he nods, finishes the tea and leaves too.

"Is it just me or is Baz even scarier when he's in love?" Dev asks me. Thank Morgana it's not only me.

"Poor Snow. Do you think Baz spelled him?"

"There's no other logical explanation.” Only if Snow was a masochist, but he doesn't seem like one.

“We gotta ask Baz about the spell. It could be handy sometimes.”

We grin at each other.

 

Dev

The next day, we're sitting in the dining hall again. Alone.

I have a surprise for Niall in my pocket, but it has to wait for when we get to our room.

"Hey, look!" he elbows me to my side. "They're serving the indiana cakes again!" They're small cakes in the shape of a mini volcano with a cookie at the bottom, all covered in chocolate. Inside is a whipped cream from egg whites, making it light and smooth.

"Are you thinking what I am thinking?" I smirk at him.

"Deffo, bro."

We stand up and walk to the table with the first years. They are all eating the idiana cakes nicely seated in a row.

Niall takes it from one side, I take the opposite. Quickly, we're pushing the heads down, dipping the kid’s noses to the whipped cream.

I get nine kiddos before they begin to notice what's happening around them.

We run from the hall, laughing like crazy.

"I wish they'd serve those cakes more often," I say once I've caught my breath in the safety of our room.

"How many did you get?"

"Nine."

"Nice. I got eleven," he pats me on my back like a peacock showing off his feathers.

"Easy, otherwise you'll be grown donkey’s ears," I stick out my tongue. It really happens. If you become too proud, you will wake up with a nice pair of donkey’s ears.  My grandpa had them.

Niall flips me a middle finger as a response.

Not even five minutes after we get to our room, we have a bird knocking with its beak on our window.

"Aleister Crowley, they are fast," Niall curses, opening a window. He takes a note from the bird, reading out loud. I join him next to the frame, so I can pet the bird for a few times before he flies off. I then close the window.

"Dear mister Devious Grimm and mister Oleniall Reynolsky. For the incident you caused in the dining hall 7 and a half minute ago-" there's a timer spelled on the note "-I punish you to the kitchen shift ... blah blah, in the duration of one month, starting today. Sincerely, blah blah ... Not that bad," he finished and high-fives me.

"I bet Cook Pritchard misses us."

He throws the note to the bin, where he burns it so it stops ticking, and we both sit up on the bed. Washing the dishes is not bad. Especially when you can throw soap bubbles at each other and have an access to secret candy storage. Cook Pritchard usually uses a spell for the dishes, but we have to do it old-timey manually, ´cause ya know, it's a punishment. But the cook likes me. I don't really know why.

"Oh, I have a surprise for you, Ni." I remember, a colossal grin forming on my lips. "Tell me, are you a gay chicken?"

"Never," he announces triumphantly with a hand on his heart.

“Pathetic,” I taunt him, pulling a nail polish out of my pocket. Black.

"Thank Morgana it's black and not pink. Where did ya get it?"

"I asked Bunce. And she asked around." I hand him the nail polish and he inspects it like it was a hand grenade. He gives it back to me and moves to sit by his desk. "If you want me to wear a nail polish, paint it yourself," he says resolutely.

"As you wish, your highness."

I've never painted nails to anyone, of course. Having one brother doesn't require it. So, like you'd expect, the result is far from charming. I'm afraid no manicurist career awaits for me. I somehow created little hills on Niall’s nails, coloured the skin all around his nails, and blackened the tip of his nose (don't ask). I have few island-shaped dots on my palm and the desk has a zigzag line (again, don't ask).

Niall examines his nails closely and tells me the verdict. "It looks like three years old painted it."

"Well," I rub my hand over the back of my neck. "I did my best." And he hasn't even seen his nose yet. I think I'm not gonna tell him, and wait until he notices.

"How long till it dries off?"

"Do I look like I paint my nails regularly?"

He eyes me carefully, even tilts his head to the side. "Yes."

"Asshole."

I jump to my bed, taking my laptop with me. "Let's watch Misfits."

Niall stands up, keeping his hands up, so he doesn't ruin the fresh paint. He takes the two steps it takes to my bed from the desk and sprawls next to me. I'm laughing so hard at him, for some reason he reminded me a frog. I tell him so.

"You have a very disturbing imagination, Devious," he pokes me to my arm with a finger as he's saying my full name. He rarely does so. I'm glad.

We watch only one episode – we're rewatching, so we try to savour every part - and then Niall checks his awesomely painted nails. I´m not sure what he expects as he touches the paint, but it looks like he expects a dwarfed troll at least.

"It's fine, let's go eat."

We arrive in the dining hall and find all three of our companions already there. I'm smirking conspiratorially, waiting who notices first. It's Bunce. Not to take her credits away, but it wasn't that hard since Niall’s nose is still black.

"Someone did a really poor job on you."

"Hey, cool nails, Niall!" Snow takes a look too.

“At least someone can appreciate my work,” I nod towards him. I'm giving him five extra points for this.

Baz just sneers.

We quickly eat the dinner, and then go fulfil our duty with Cook Pritchard.

                                                                                                    
Baz
I think they are going completely nuts without me.

Chapter Text

Niall

"You go first, I'll wait." I push Dev in the direction of our bathroom, kicking the front door shut.

"You sure?" he verifies.

"Yeah, man. Go."

It's raining as fuck. We've just come from our kitchen duty and are soaked to the tip of our souls. That said, if we still owe them. There's already a puddle forming underneath me onto the carpet in the colours of our team, so I spell it away. The winter is poor. And it looks like a huge storm is coming.

"You can go!" Dev shouts from behind the closed doors. I open it, the humid air hitting me in the face. Crowley, how can he shower in such hot water? We swap places, I manage to slap his ass on his way out, and not even four minutes later, I'm walking out the bathroom, towelling my hair dry.

"It's cold here," Dev announces from the bed. He's wearing my favourite grey jumper and is rubbing his arms. I quickly put on some clothes at the sound of a thunder.

I crack my knuckles. "You could have casted a spell, at least."

"Still cold."

"Should I, perhaps, make you a cup of tea, darlin'?" I say in an outrageously mocking tone.

He curls on the bed and flips me a middle finger.

"You're such a lazy-ass," I sigh. "Hold on." I open the front door and make a run for the massive supply wardrobe at the end of the hall. I grab the first blanket, checking if it's not too itchy, and hesitate when I spot candles the shelf under. Are you gay chickening over a candle? Like I was hearing him. So fuck it, I take two and run back.

Dev sits against the wall now, hugging his knees. I throw the blanket at his face and put the candles on the desk.

"Move," I push him to the side – a totally useless move, the bed is big enough – but I can't waste an opportunity to provoke him. I wrap myself comfortably in the other end of the blanket, feeling my muscles finally relax. The practice was tough today and the cold weather only made them stiff. We sit like this for a while, listening to the heavy rain smashing the window sill.

Soon, I'm bored, so I crack my knuckles. "Wanna play cards?"

"Yeah, let's." I let Dev have the blanket and reach for the deck of cards with the princess on its cover that I keep on my desk. This is the only thing in our room I can find any time.

We haven't played in a while, and it's a delight to awake this game again.

We're in our fifth game or so when the electricity goes off.

"Great," Dev says to the darkness.

I stay quiet, lightly brushing my fingers up his thigh, letting him think it's a spider.

"Twat," he shrieks, slapping my hand away at the sound of my laughter.

"One would think you're scared of the darkness, Grimm. Don't worry, I brought you candles, wimp," I say triumphantly.

"Isn't there a spell to repair the electricity?"

"Ugh, not sure. I can't even remember the spell for lightning those stupid candles," I admit.

Dev goes to the desk and tries So light 'em up up up! and it works. We're both surprised. The room is still dark, the candles are more for creating an ambience than light, but whatever.

"One would think you're a helpless romantic, Reynolsky," Dev fires my words back at me.

I put the cards away. "A guy has to try hard with a pretty girl like yourself."

He snorts in reply, wrapping himself back in the blanket, his back against the wall.

"Rain always makes me feel miserable," he puts his head on my shoulder.

"But it's awesome," I oppose. I really love rain, the thunderstorms even more. They are wild and unrestrained.

"It's not. Just gloomy and sad."

"Rain is life. It makes nature alive," I try.

"Well, it certainly doesn't make me alive." Crowley, he can be moody sometimes.

"Just listen to it. It's soothing."

It works because he stays quiet. Or fell asleep, I don't know. I don't check.

 

Dev

It's Saturday again, our free day. We went to help Cook Pritchard to the kitchen but she sent us away telling us she wouldn't need us for the day.

So we went to the town. For the past week, we studied for the test Minotaur gave us, and I don't think it went particularly well.

"Don't you feel like we're falling into a routine?" Niall asks me. We're walking aimlessly around the town. "Like nothing interesting happens? Just a school, practice and studying. Then we have Saturday and that's it."

"We should do something," I offer.

"But like what? There's nothing in this hole." He kicks something on the ground.

"We could go camping," I blurt the first thing that comes to my mind.

"Where? Wavering wood?" He asks jokingly, raising his eyebrows at my ridiculous idea.

"For example," I shrug with the hands in my pockets.

"That's crazy," he barks a laughter and adds in one breath, "Let's do it."

"We could invite Baz and Snow to go as well."

"Let's buy some alcohol then."

"But it would have to wait a month or two when it's warmer."

"Doesn't matter. Let's buy it anyway. We've also run out of chips."

The shopping cart looks funny. Three bottles of Jäger, two six-packs of beer, and stuffed full with bacon chips. Niall stops at the section with glues and puts yellow stick tapes to the cart. Four big rolls.

"Why do you need those?" I ask him.

"You will see."

"Are you going to mummify Baz?" I guess.

"Good idea," he winks and adds one more tape.

We pay and go back to our aimless walking again. All of a sudden, Niall steps up in front of me and puts his hands on my shoulders to stop me.

"Dev, now listen carefully and swear with the hand on your heart," he says, completely serious. "I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

I'm dumbly looking up at him. I've never seen him this serious. I feel suddenly itchy in my own skin.

Finally, he asks, "Are you a gay chicken, Devious?"

"You prick. I should have known you can't be serious for a minute."

He is laughing, I guess at my own expression.

"So what is it this time?"

He casts me a mischievous look. "You're getting a piercing."

 

Niall
I let him choose. After all, he's the one who's gonna wear it, so he should pick something he will like.

I didn't plan this. I was actually going to ask to get pizza, but then I spotted this small tattoo and piercing shop opposite the street. You have to really look otherwise you'd miss it.

"How can I help you, guys?" asks the pale man from behind the front desk. "I'm Nico."

It's even a smaller shop that I initially imagined. There's this counter, one tattoo chair and something like a bed. There are images drawn with a black pen stuck on all walls. It looks amazing. And metal music plays in the background. I immediately like this guy.

I step closer. "Here my friend is getting a piercing," I say for Dev who still inspects the wall sketches.

"So, what would ya like to get, gentleman?" the guy asks with a cheerful smile once Dev pays him attention.

"Actually, I have no idea. I've been told about this a few minutes ago."

The guy laughs heartily and with his arms covered in ink starts showing Dev metallic pieces he can choose from. I peek from behind Dev’s shoulder. I'm one head taller than him, so I don't have any problems with that.

The guy, Nico, shows Dev different pieces and explains what each one is for. Dev makes a strangled noise when the guy tells him about cock piercings. Nico chuckles.

"I think I want to get my ear pierced," Dev says finally.

 

Dev
I'm told to lie down on the bed.

"Do you want me to hold your hand?" Niall offers nonchalantly.

I show him a middle finger.

"You two are complete mugs," Nico laughs. He sits on a chair next to the bed, a piercing gun in his hand.

"It will sting like from a bee, so hold still. On three," he puts the gun closer to my ear. I keep my eyes glued to the ceiling.

"One...Two...Three." There's a hollow ping and Nico sits up straighter, looking at me expectantly.

"Is it done?" I ask.

He laughs again. "Yes, sir."

"I didn't feel anything," I wonder out loud. I sit up, put my feet on the floor and check my ear. The earring is small and cold.

I lift my eyes towards Niall, turning my left side for him to see.

He whistles.

 

Niall
Dev’s green eyes flash at me, waiting. I whistle. I don't know what would sum it up better.

He looks hot with the earring.

I love our game.



Dev
I follow Nico to the counter.

"Keep the one I gave you for three weeks, don't change it no matter what. It might inflame, so buy some disinfection. After three weeks, you may put this one." He hands me the earring I chose in a black box with a skull. I'm still wondering why I chose a green one with a black moon in a c-shape. For now, I have a simple black one in.

I pensively look at the other piercings arranged on the counter. Nico laughs at me again. "Guess I will see you again."

"Maybe." I'm still considering a nipple piercing. But I didn't want to start with that.

"Are you from around?"

"Yeah, we go to Watford."

He nods. "Thought so. I'll be around when you decide for more." He slaps me on the back and I'm sure I will feel it for the rest of the day.

"Yeah. See you," Niall says for both of us, 'cause I have problems with breathing.

Once I've caught my breath in the outside air, I tell Niall: "You've put our game to a higher level."

"You're glad, aren't you?"

"I guess."

He puts his arm around my shoulders and bumps us from side to side.

"Let's go grab a pizza. And buy you disinfection."

Chapter Text

Dev

"Mine is bigger."

"Totally not."

"Yeah, just look at it."

"I am looking. And I'm telling you, mine is still bigger."

"Like hell it is."

"Spell yourself a better vision, you clearly need it."

"I will spell a better vision to you."

"Merlin and Morgana, are you two talking about your dicks?" Baz interrupts us, sitting next to us on a bench and starts untying his football boots.

"Don't you dare, Niall," I say warningly before he has a chance to bring out the gay chicken or any other challenge of his. "We're almost done in the kitchen, I don't need to risk getting another month. I'm so sick of the fucking plates." I swear like a Normal to punctuate the meaning. It was fun the first day, Cook Pritchard welcomed us with the words: "Ah, I knew you two were behind it!" She said that with a mysterious smile, then confessed she used to do the very same thing with her friends. What can I say, indiana cakes are to be eaten with your nose.

Niall just shrugs, letting the challenge be for now. I know he would do it, the locker room full of our teammates wouldn't be any burden for him.

"We were comparing our biceps," I explain to Baz, so he doesn't get any funny ideas.

"Who has a bigger bicep?" Niall promptly catches an opportunity to ask.

We look at Baz expectantly, showing off our muscles. He could solve our issue in seconds.

But the tall boy just smiles, locking his locker with the football boots already in it. "I honestly couldn't care less."

"Oh c'mon, Baz."

"You two are worse than bloody kids sometimes," he says slowly, tying up his purple Converse. Come to think of it, maybe there were indications Baz was gay all along. I'm not trying to say they aren't cool, just so we're clear.

"We're not," I say quickly and drum my fingers on my thigh. Only Baz can make 2-minute shoes changing into a half-day lasting procedure.

He stops, still bent with his hands holding the unfinished ribbon from his ties, and raises his head to arch one of his eyebrows at me.

"Shut up, Dev. Let the adults talk," Niall elbows me.

"I'd shut up on your place too, Niall," Baz says. Something in his tone makes us sit straighter. I smooth my hair. He stands up, for Morgana’s hat, finally, and points at my ear, "Since when do you have this?" We leave the pitch and start walking towards Mummers house, Baz in between us. I'm on his left, Niall on his right. Always this way.

"Few weeks?" I touch my earring. I already have the green one on, with the moon. When I opened the box from Nico, I found he had left me a note with the spell The moon is here to stay! I casted it, and now I have the best earring ever. Both moons – the real and the one on my earring – got synchronized somehow, so I can see in what phase the moon is any time during the day. On my earring. It's bloody awesome.

Baz inspects me. It feels like a ghost is breathing at the back of my neck. We see each other every day, but he usually has Snow at his side, so he gets distracted. "Why?"

"Niall dared me."

Baz casts Niall a look for change, I'm taking a moment to breathe freely because there's no guarantee how long it will last. 

"In your game," Niall adds.

"I don't have any game."

"I mean gay chicken. You said it the other time and we've been daring each other to do things ever since," Niall rants.

 

Baz

I seriously can't tell whether they are plainly dumb-struck or if they possibly do it in some sort of a support for me. Like, hey Baz, we are okay since you're gay, look, we play gay chicken to show you we support you and your boyfriend? I kind of doubt they would be thinking about it this way, though. I know I shouldn't be letting them too long on their own, but it´s either Snow or them. The answer is obvious.

"We've been thinking," Dev starts.

"That we could go camping. All four of us," Niall finishes.

"Where?" I ask sceptically. Camping could be fine, I'm already imagining how romantic The Lake District could be with Simon –

"Wavering wood," they both grin, the first sign of madness.

"You are retarded." I take it back, it doesn’t sound fine. I haven't heard anyone would ever want to go camping in Wavering wood.

"It will be fun," Dev beams happily.

"We bought Jäger," Niall winks. And cracks his knuckles. I really hate when he does that – which is practically all the time – but nothing I've tried made him stop so far. Maybe if I asked Penny, we could find a spell to make him boneless and Dev can arrange him on the floor in front of his bed as a rug.

"You're not scared, Baz, are you?" Dev teases me. I'm not. But I'm not stupid either. I appreciate their effort to accept Simon. They're good guys, loyal.

"When it's warmer a bit," Niall tries to convince me too. I hate it when they team up against me.

"Okay," I finally agree. "Fetch some tents and other stuff."

"Great." They are like happy puppies. I swear to Chomsky, if they had tails, they'd be wagging it with the force to create a small tornado. Another spell for later.

Dev

"Keep quiet," Niall shushes me and lands like a cat under our window.

It's the middle of the school week, long past the curfew, and I don't hesitate to follow him into the night, even though I have no idea what we're up to. All I know is we're going somewhere to do something with those tapes we bought a few weeks ago when I got my ear pierced.

He doesn't want to tell me anything. So I just follow.

Our destination seems to be the parking lot, I can recognize the Mage's Jeep in the corner. That big cow is an indication enough. I still have no clue what our purpose is in here, I only hope we don't get our punishment prolonged now, when it's only two days left.

"What are we doing here?"

"Why, committing a crime of course," Niall replies. I ONLY HOPE…

"Are we stealing a car?"

"Hmm… Maybe next time. Now," he pauses dramatically and continues with a low voice for the effect, "Now, we're here to decorate." He hands me two yellow sticky tapes.

I look around at nothing but cars around - "Oh." Finally the enlightenment happens in my mind.

There are eight cars plus the Mage’s. We split up, each taking four cars. I stick the tape as far as I can reach – not the roof obviously, I'm not that tall as certain someone. I make messy lines on the front cowling, definitely-not-mathematical objects on the sides and some attempted-to-be-flames at the back. To be completely honest with you right now, it looks like a goblin vomit. To my defence, it's only a shade lighter than in a black hole here. But again, I wouldn't do any better in the daylight.

We meet when we've finished.

"Do you have something left?"

"A bit."

"Me too. Should we do the Madge’s, too?"

We pause. I think we're both speculating whether there's a spell which would lead to us.

"Nah, fuck it," Niall decides it. We've already done eight cars, so what difference does it make if we add the Madge’s on the list too? I don't want him to get offended for ignoring his precious baby.

So we mark the Madge´s car too. I don't like that overgrown Peter Pan anyway. He always looks like he's seconds away to steal your candy. And no one touches my candy.

 

Niall

I've painted my nails black three times since Dev dared me to. I strangely like it. I also use that berry thing for my lips – it should make them lush. Cannot wait to test it - if you know what I mean. It is that sweet it makes me want to lick my own lips. Constantly.

Dev wears The Moon on his ear now. Just when I thought it couldn't get any cooler. We might come back to do him a nipple piercing. He told me later that night, all intrigued. I was too, cuz I think it would look bloody awesome on him. Hope he gets it.

"Man, I'm so fucking bored," he says from where he's sitting on the floor. I'm behind the desk, as usual. We were studying for the past two hours but we kind of…simultaneously threw our books away. There's limited time for how long one man can study without a break.

"Me too," I say cracking my knuckles.

"You're the one with ideas."

"Hmm…" I'm thinking. "Let's watch some porn."

 

Dev

That's such a Niall thing to do. I'm actually worried his vocabulary contains five words only. Let's count them: football, girls, challenge, porn… See, I overrated him, only four.

I hand him my laptop so he can pick something.

Watching porn together used to make me really uncomfortable. Or rather, jerking off. I reserved it only for the shower. You know, privacy.

But then, Niall just made it somehow casual to tug one out in the bed before sleeping.

That guy was born with zero shame.

Niall chooses a clip with two chicks and a dude and puts my laptop on the chair between our beds, so we can both watch.

This is another aspect that used to make me really uncomfortable. Our beds are only two half-steps from each other, meaning we're incredibly close. Meaning I'm not as shameless as Niall is. But he thought me to relax, being best buddies made it easier for me.

All in all, we're just two horny teenagers, I don't know what else you expected.

"Morgana, she has a great ass," is the only line Niall says, referring to that blonde.

I stay quiet, focusing to keep the steady pace. A moan escapes from my mouth before I'm coming on my hand and stomach. I stay lying with my eyes closed, catching my breath.

"I'm still horny," Niall croaks between breaths.

"Celibate life sucks, bro."

We clean ourselves up and go back to studying. Just a typical study night.

 

Niall

I'm so fucking horny. All the time. I have to wank two or three times a day and it's still not enough. I'm like a grenade full of hormones.

How does Dev manage to control himself all the time?

I told him we have to go to the town. I seriously need to get laid.

"Go fuck a sheep," he advised me generously.

"My hand is good, thank you."

But I'm still the same horny when we're playing cards on my bed. Saturday is momentarily too far away. It's only a bloody Tuesday.

I tug on my joggings.

Dev puts down 5 with a sheepish grin. He knows I have 8.

"Fuck you." I fold my cards. He takes them all, shuffles and deals a new round.

I get two 1s, put one of them down, asking, "Do you have 4?"

"Nah," he sticks his tongue out. We always do this in the first round. It's like a private joke. If you get 1, you ask if the other keeps 4 in hands.

"Oh, by the way, mate. It's been two months and Baz is still dating Snow." He puts down 3. "You know what that means. You lost the bet," he is smiling blindingly from ear to earring.

"I did," I acknowledge. We're having a duel, but I know I´ll lose with my 1. "But you haven't won, yet. You know what that means."

"Shit." His face falls in disappointment. Well, not so fast, bro.

I deal this time. He puts down 1 asking whether I have 4.

I shake my head, taking a new card. I cross my legs, immediately changing my mind to bent my left leg in the knee so I can put my elbow on it.

We play and play, and I keep changing my position every other minute, because man, I'm restless, and I don't know what to do with myself. This walking-sitting testosterone grenade is no fun. I search my mind for a spell, curse, anything, but my bud brain is a poor useless thing these days. I can't even blame him.

Dev is shuffling. I try to crack my knuckles in desperation, but they've been cracked too many times already, it leaves me unsatisfied. Great, just what I needed.

"Why are you so itchy, man?" Dev asks, dealing a new round.

"Horny," I say automatically looking at my two cards. I get rid of 7 cuz I have the king as well.

"Wank," he says simply, putting down 5.

I take a new card and wriggle uncomfortably. I'm not hard though. Not even semi-hard. Just horny. I put down six, changing my Princess with Dev’s card. He had 1. Excellent.

He takes a new card, getting 2, and we both know he's screwed.

He folds his cards and I stretch my joggings so I can show my hand in them.

"What are you doing?" Dev squeaks and turns his eyes away.

"You told me to wank."

"I didn't mean right away!" he yelps, his posture alarmed.

"Why not?" I have a hand in my pants, for Merlin’s beard, and he's the one who looks ashamed? Moreover, I think he seems a bit red in the face too. "C'mon Dev, don't be a prude. You've jerked off with me many times before."

"Not face to face!"

"Close your eyes if you're scared." I start working on my fellow with vigour, and as expected, it doesn't take long until I'm fully hard.

"'M not scared.”

"Then you're just a gay chicken," I announce him, smiling triumphantly.

"'Course I'm not."

"I think you are." I circle my thumb on my slit. I shiver.

"No, I'm not," he tilts his chin forward.

"Prove it," I say to see how far I can stir him. Once I'm in the mood, there's no stopping me until everyone's defeated.

He crosses his legs too and puts a hand in his pants. Very shyly.

"Crowley Dev, it's just me. It's the same as always."

"It's weird," he replies and whimpers.

"Just chill," I advise him and stop my hand to wait till he regains his confidence.

He's a strange guy. Full of contradictions. Like when it's a one night stand he can be sheer confidence. You could see how long it took me to relax him for a good nights wank. Nearly two weeks, for magics sake.

He is pumping his dick slowly while I still wait. I go back to sitting with my legs crossed and our knees slightly touch.

"Swap cocks?" I can recognize a good challenge and this looks like one. Dev often says I had to be born without any shame. He's never been more right in his life.

He looks at me with his mossy eyes blown wide. I count. It takes him exactly eight seconds till he nods. We footballers don't like to back down.

I strip off my joggers and tug my boxers down enough to free my cock. Dev does the same.

"Its just a handjob," I try to assure him before he starts freaking out.

"No shit, I thought we're playing golf with mermaids, bro." He's not freaking out obviously if he can joke.

I look at his dick and follow a thick vein going to his base with my eyes. His tip is brown and dry. I remotely realize I'm looking at another man’s cock, but before the thought can deliver, I relax, because this is Dev, my mate.

"You have a pretty dick, bro," I say teasingly and lick my palm before curling a hand around his shaft.

"While yours is just ugly," he snaps back without malice, yet reaches for me too. His grip is tight. We match our tempo to the same speed.

I'm staring into his deep eyes, noticing the contrast between his light hair and darkness in the eyes, the moon earring only punctuates the greenness of his eyes. He carries our whole pitch in them.

I circle his slit with my thumb and he moans, doing the same to me. "Yeah," I gasp never breaking the eye contact. I work my hand up and down his length quickening the strokes, daring him to catch up. 

I can feel the pressure slowly building in me.

Our pace is nothing but frantic now. Dev is breathing heavily, biting his lower lip, making it ruby red. I can't look away, Merlin and Morgana, I didn't know his face could look like this. This…perfectly wrecked.

I groan before I'm coming hard in his hand.

It takes several more strokes and Dev is coming too, with his eyes closed and head thrown back. Include his soft moans and he'd be a great candidate for Viagra adverts.

"Not bad," I say once I've recovered. Which is quite quickly, for everyone’s disappointment. I reach for my wand, spell myself clean and do the same for Dev, who is still high on riding his post-orgasmic wave.

I put on my joggers and start shuffling the cards, humming a melody I can't recognize, thanks to my spent brain. I feel empty, but the best kind of empty there can be. My skin's not itchy anymore and I don't behave like I swallowed an unlocked grenade. I feel bloody awesome.

Dev gets dressed and goes to the bathroom, singing from there, "And Sugar, we're going down swinging, I'll be your number one with a bullet…"  Oh. So this is the song. Where did you come from?

When he's back, I deal us a round.

He puts down 1. "Do you have 4?" he smirks.

Chapter Text

Dev

I remember coming to Watford for the first time. I was wearing expensive clothes my parents literally forced on me using several spells, deaf to all my protests. The thing was ugly, brown and so incredibly itchy I was considering going rather naked. I didn't, of course – too notable. And humiliating; but again, the suit was humiliating enough on its own. I was only ten, for Merlin’s sake, and my parents made me wear an ugly suit as if I was some dumb businessman. Even Baz, who was already eleven at that time (and didn't miss any single opportunity to remind me I was precisely seven months younger, the prat), didn't have to wear a bloody suit. It just wasn't fair.

My parents didn't give me a lift to Watford, Uncle Malcolm did. I was glad, because not only was I too pissed off at my parents, I was also quite antisocial kid despite my parent’s best efforts and was relieved I didn't have to go alone. I spent the whole drive calming myself down, preparing for a new setting with new people and new…everything. Baz knew about my anxiety and didn't try to provoke me for once. He played a playlist to which he and Uncle Malcolm were singing to, going from Aladdin’s Brave New World to Highway to Hell. It was all so ridiculous we were laughing by the time Uncle Malcolm dropped us in the Courtyard. However, it didn't last long when I took the whole place in sight. I can't describe it differently than mind-blowing. Like, in a paralyzing way. I stayed close to Baz and I believe he would have let me hold his hand if I'd asked. But I hadn't, because Baz had an image to keep, and I wanted to prove him – and myself – I wasn't a whiny little kid.

I hoped Baz would be my roommate. The thought of sharing a room with a complete stranger made me nauseatingly panic on the inside, yet I tried to maintain a brave face. I have no idea how well I managed to keep the act up.

But on the sorting night with Crucible, Baz was being pulled towards another boy, a boy with curly hair and a red ball he was clutching so forcefully it made me slightly less stressed.

"Good luck. I've heard merwolves hunt the blond ones, especially at night," Baz shouted at me from behind his shoulder, breaking his good-cousin role.

I didn't have a chance to ask him what merwolves were, because I was being pulled as well. I ended up in front of a brown-haired boy with long legs. Yeah, he was taller than me even then. He wore simple shorts and a blue loose jumper, and I envied him so much because it looked far more comfortable than the monstrosity I had.

He was smiling at me wildly as we shook hands. "I'm Niall."

"I'm Devious. Do you know what merwolves are?" I blurted. I was getting really scared there.

"Don't worry, Dev, we´ll find them," he said conspiratorially to my utter horror. He called me Dev though, and I immediately liked it. My name sounded too...hellish to me. I wonder what for bloody magic my parents thought when picking my name.

Two weeks after, we earned our first punishment in the kitchen.

"Earth to Dev! Or as I like to say, hell to Dev!" Niall waves his hand in front of my face. "Where have you gone?" I slap his hand away.

"Just remembered our first meeting with Crucible," I smile at him.

"Here? In the middle of a class?" he casts a look towards Miss Possibelf, who is vehemently explaining a difference between…some formulas? I haven't been paying attention much, and well, I think it's pointless to start so now. "Do you have any better place?" I frown.

Penny, sitting in the row with Baz and Snow in front of us, sends us one especially dirty, accusing look. "Shut up, you two, some of us wants to pay attention." She turns towards Snow and Baz. "You too. Cut it out with the flirting."

"I'm quiet," Baz objects with his hands up in a defensive gesture.

"Remember that terrible thing you wore?" Niall whispers to me.

"Uh. No need to remind me," I whisper back. He helped me get rid of it and lent me his blue jumper. He told me it was his older sister’s who didn´t wear it anymore, it had those little clots from too much washing, but I absolutely didn't mind, because it was the best piece of clothing I ever had.

"You were such an innocent little kid," he winks.

"I was. Until you ruined me two weeks later."

"Right. You're lucky you got me," he laughs remembering why we got punished. There came some delegates from a school in Europe to participate in one of the Madge’s research or something. Niall welcomed them with his bare ass on display. I'm not kidding. I just stood there mutely, dumbstruck at the situation. The Mage was so furious he put us both to two months of dishwashing, even though all I did was standing there. My first big crime.

"Remember our first match?" Niall continues.

I nod. How could I forget? "I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up any second."

I also remember how we got to playing football. After we were sorted out, we went to take our things to our room. I was awkwardly quiet the whole time while Niall looked completely at ease, humming some song all along. He let me choose a bed and when we unpacked, he simply asked: "Do you play football?"

"No." My parents kept me away from sports.

"You do, from now on," he said. “Let's go sign up tomorrow.”

We did, with Baz joining us, complaining how idiotic his roommate was. If only he'd known at that time. Or did he?

"But you were awesome," Niall tells me now with an elbow to my side, tearing me from the past. "You did that perfect save at the last minute, so bloody awesome." We received five more minutes, and Baz managed to score in the last two with Niall getting an assist.

I am a goalie. I used to play as a right winger, but then Coach Mac came replacing our previous coach in our second year and placed me to the middle of a goalmouth. Right in that second, I knew that was where I belonged.

"I guess I'm getting nostalgic," I confess quietly.

Niall pats me on back. "Don't worry buddy, we still have three months."

"Reynolsky. Grimm. Can you repeat me what I have just said?" Miss Possibelf demands in a tone that makes me want to shrink in the place.

You bet we can't. We haven't been listening at all.

"She's too young to have Alzheimer," Niall says, pissed off.

In the end, she gives us extra homework. Research what spells were used in War of Roses. Thrilling.

 

Niall

It's Saturday. It was supposed to be my lucky day and do you know what I'm doing instead of getting laid?! Fucking homework. No pun intended.

"Guuuh," I say in frustration and throw my pencil across the room. It stabs the wardrobe and falls uselessly to the ground, rolling and rolling until it stops somewhere under the bed. I doubt I will see it anytime soon.

"Shh. Easy," Dev soothes me from his bed.

I'm sitting behind my desk, legs propped up on the desktop, reading a crappy book from the library. "This is a bullshit."

"C'mere." Dev pats a spot in front of him. I go, otherwise, I'd rip that poor book to pages.

He sits behind me and starts slowly rubbing circles with his thumbs at my nape.

"You're the best," I murmur. "I hope you know that."

He chuckles. "Guess I am."

He kneads my back muscles, I can't resist closing my eyes wishing I could purr like a cat.

"´S good," I mutter, my head falling to my chest. He slowly works my muscles to easiness - I didn't even know how much I'd needed this. Reading dusty old chronicles all day, comparing almost every line with the list of ancient spell formulas had to damage my soul in a way. Hope it's not permanent.

"Swap time," I announce quickly when I'm on the verge of falling asleep and we do one-eighty. However, I don't start massaging him, I'm scratching his back in long lines instead.

"Maaan," he groans. "You're the second best."

"You very well know I'm the first, babe," I whisper to his ear.

I tell you a secret: five minutes of scratching Dev’s back and he will tell you his deepest fears. Now, a fair warning: If you ever ever torture him, I will spell your veins to knot themselves and feed your ugly corpus to a chimera. Baz knows how to summon one.

We stay quiet. I move backward when I sense my legs getting cramps, so I rest my back against the wall to free my legs. Dev lies down and puts his head on my thigh so I can keep scratching him. It's very calming. Like listening to rain.

"Ni?" Dev says hoarsely indicating he'd fall asleep too.

"Yup?"

"What are we gonna do after Watford?" Right. We haven't really talked about our future yet. It goes without saying we're not separating. We've sworn bros for life! after all.

"Dunno." We've been avoiding this topic for as long as we could. You can't talk about something when you have no clue what you want. "I kind of don't feel like the type for uni."

"I know," he whispers with his eyes still closed.

"What about your parents?" I bet they'd be pushing him into some posh expensive university, and then arrange to marry some posh girl with strong posh magical heritage.

"They want me to go for magickal management," he sighs. What did I tell you?

"How about you? Do you want to?"

"Crowley, no."

"Well, then fuck 'em." I do respect Dev’s parents, but I don't like that they don't give Dev much freedom.

"Everyone's been sending their applications. And I just...feel out of place. I don't want to end up cleaning front car windows on a gas station.”

“You won't.”

“I feel lost…“

“We gotta just think something up. What are we good at?” I try to stay positive for the both of us.

It's not remembering spells, obviously. I'd like to see you how you'd manage that, in different languages and all. Not that easy how it sounds, huh?

“Well, you're good at painting nails,” he says grabbing my hand and putting it in front of his face, inspecting closely. Not the same hand I'm scratching him with, of course. “You've become quite good at it.”

“You've forgotten I have 3 sisters, bro.”

“Are you saying you've actually painted your sister’s nails?”

“I've done worse.”

“Humour me.”

“Once, I volunteered myself to Kirina to do makeup on me. I had eyeshadows, lipstick...all those shits. Worst mistake I've ever made.”

“Did she take a picture?”

“Probably,” I say before I realize I shouldn't. It's dangerous to give Dev something to mock me for.

“Great. I have a trade to make,” he says mischievously and I make a mental note to ask Marcus, Dev’s brother, about something on Dev too. Just in case.

He turns to his other side so I have better access to do my job. “Are we even good at something?” he says then, all light tone disappearing from his voice.

I pause. Dev’s parents are hard on him. Now, look at the results. “It's not what you're good at, more like what you enjoy doing.”

“Football,” he blurts without thinking. “But it's too late to make a career out of it.”

I don't have time to think about it before he jumps up to face me, his face lit up like firefly potion. “We could be coaching! Would you like that?” he asks in one breath, hope colouring his eyes to the same colour as his earring.

I try to imagine it. Leading kids. Sharing the same enthusiasm with them for football. Have an impact on their lives.

I know what you think. That I can't keep a serious face for three minutes straight. And I deffo agree, but I also realize I can't make a career out of my shenanigans.

I just want to be useful.

“We could try asking Coach about it. Maybe he will help us.”

“Great.” He looks happy. When he's smiling this widely, one corner of his mouth, the left one, is curving higher on his face. It looks adorable.  

“Scratch me some more?” he doesn't wait for my reply, settling back on his side and showing me his back.

“´Kay babe,” I reply anyway.

 

Dev

He called me babe. The second time now.

I've never been called babe before.

It makes a funny feeling in my insides.

Chapter Text

Dev

After the Easter holiday, it's finally warm enough for our camping trip. I brought everything we'd need from home and honestly, I pulse in excitement (scratch that, I cannot believe I said something weird like this) – I'm excited (much safer) because being home was truly maddening. My parents kept talking about my future without taking in it's my future and when I was on the verge of screaming and breaking things and spelling my ears away, my brother joined in, because his job is to annoy the heck out of me, and wouldn't shut up until I promised to watch all parts of Pirates of the Caribbean, for the ninth time. Ninth. I like Marcus, I really do, but I'm perfectly alright with an occasional wave on the corridors, tables distancing us in the great hall and a quick talk in the locker room when our teams change on the pitch. I'm glad he is two years younger hence we don't have to share classes and most importantly, I don’t have to listen to him all the time. He just talks and talks and talks and it makes no sense but he keeps going anyway. I suspect it might have a sense but it's hard to catch because that requires paying attention which is too tiring. One time, Miss Possibelf couldn't stand him any longer and banished him from her class to the kitchen and I swear he got trapped in a dumbwaiter there. Yes, that's my brother. Later, Cook Pritchard told me and Niall – I'm not sure what got us to punishment duty that time, hmmm…probably spelling all the washing machines in Mummers House to turn clothes into rubber ducks, I loved that one – that Marcus barely noticed he was in the dumbwaiter and kept on telling his story. It echoed all the way to the great hall and however hard I prayed to all Chomsky’s degrees not to be it my brother, it didn't help in the end. Marcus Grimm was stuck in the dumbwaiter and Baz and Niall would laugh at it for weeks. Along with the rest of Watford but I'd rather not think about it.

“Okay. I think we're ready to go.” I check our backpacks one last time and carry them to the door.

“I'm going to take this one upstairs to Baz. Be right back," Niall announces, takes the backpack full of food and leaves the door. I'd love to see how he convinces Baz to carry it. But I want to take a shower before we leave to the wilderness, away from a basic hygiene. I use twice as much shower gel than usual in hope to stay fresh for a long time.

"Did you spell the shower gel in your veins?" Niall stands by the door in our room when I get back from the bathroom. "I could smell you from the second floor."

"I just want it to last. We won't be able to shower for two days." I open my wardrobe in search of some clean, properly washed with washing powder and all, clothes.

"Bro, you realize you have a wand, right? It means you can spell yourself clean anytime."

"But it's not the same. A spell doesn't make me smell good."

"You stink no matter what you do."

"Excuse you?! Does this stink to you?" I attack him, one hand securing the towel around my waist, the other pushing his head to my armpit. He is fighting me but I'm holding him in a strong headlock. He attempts to free himself by tickling me, but I kick him in the stomach with my knee and tighten my hold, his height useless for once.

"Okay! Okay! I surrender," he cries frantically. "You smell amazing, Dev."

"Why, thank you, roommate." I take pity on him and let him go to repeat fishing for a shirt. The only one I can find is the neon pink one. Of course. When we get back, we're doing laundry, no delay, I need to have my clothes and jerseys washed, all my ties are overspelled clean and I hate that feeling around my neck.

"Did Baz agree to carry the backpack?" I try to detect, my voice coming out muffled because of my strange process of putting on a t-shirt.

"What do you think?" I think you'd have to bribe Baz with at least Snow’s clone for him to agree. I hop around my own axis with only my left leg in my camo joggers but don't see the backpack anywhere. "Well, you didn't bring it back."

"When I mentioned there's food in it, Snow very gladly offered himself." I laugh. You have to be blind not to notice Snow’s relationship with food. I would be dead jealous at Baz’s place.

"Did you tell them to meet us in ten?" I check. I worry a bit because it's getting late and holy magic, I don't fancy the idea of getting lost in Wavering Wood. We'd have set out sooner if it wasn't time for our practice.

"I told 'em but I'm not sure they make it on time. They were having Troye Sivan karaoke."

"Um, what?"

He sighs. "Shame on you. Don't you remember that pretty wizard from Youtube Baz was crushing on four years ago?" We didn't know Baz was gay that blissful summer four years ago, but it didn't stop us from tormenting him. Baz sure as hell is way too secretive. Had we known, he'd have obtained much more tormenting.

"Did you say pretty?" I tease him.

He rolls his eyes. "Yeah, is that too gay?"

"You are too gay," I stick my tongue out and throw a dirty sock from a floor at him.

He dodges it for my utter disappointment, sends me a smacking kiss accompanied with his middle finger and cracks his knuckles. I finish dressing up, ruffle my hair and zip my jacket to hide my ghastly t-shirt. "Let's go."


Niall

We had to wait for Baz and Snow only a few minutes. They showed up red-cheeked and I don't want to imagine how the karaoke went on. Where are those times when we had five different spells at the tip of our wands ready to turn Snow’s scones into a toad? I think Baz would appreciate more if I knew some snogging spells – roommate edition! nowadays. Sad times, really.

I'm trying to man up and get past my aversion towards Snow, for Baz. This trip should help and maybe if it goes well, we get our Baz back, I will even learn to tolerate Snow.

"How come you know where to go, Snow?" Dev asks him suspiciously. Snow self-appointed himself a leader of our group, and a confession: I'm not really pleased about that. But hey, I'm a well grown-up man so I know how to keep my mouth perfectly shut.

"Eer. Well, I was searching for Baz at the beginning of the first term when there was a rumour he was kidnapped."

"Right. Kidnapped," I laugh heartily, not caring what Snow thinks about it, and Dev doesn't hesitate to join me. I can see Baz’s lip twitch, but he stays loyal to Snow and doesn't break out in laughter.

It was actually my idea Baz showing up later for the term. Snow went nuts thinking Baz was somewhere hiding, plotting against him. It was excruciating to keep a straight face whenever we passed him on the corridors. Then we got reckless and spread a rumour he was kidnapped by numpties. It was way too easy, all it took was to mention it to Marcus and voila. Crowley, numpties. Only Snow could be so oblivious to believe it.

"So where do you plan to take us?" Baz asks him and distracts him by taking his hand. Baz is the only one who doesn't carry anything. Such a princess.

"Actually, not far away. There's something like a clearing, maybe an hour or so from here? I remember it looked nice and could be a good place to build tents."

"Cool," I say, still not sure if we can trust him. If we're lucky, he leads us straight into a troll’s den. I say, if we're lucky. I don't want to imagine what happens if we're not. Please, pray for us.

We're hiking through the lucid forest and it's both beautiful and creepy.

Beautiful, because the ground is covered in soft moss and there are bunches of giant ferns with raindrops on its leaves. If you'd sprinkle some fairy dust in the air, it would look godly unreal. Like from Epic. And hey, I'm allowed to know that movie! Kaja, my younger sister currently obsessing over Normal’s animated movies, made me watch it during this holiday, ok? And for the record, I rooted for Mub and Grub!

And creepy, because we're still in Wavering Wood. This as an explanation should be enough.

True to his word, Snow brings us to a clearing where the moss is not that thick and therefore the ground not too moist. Baz does quantum of spells anyway – half are in some foreign language I don't recognize but I'm sure he wants to show off in front of Snow – and with a flick of his wand builds our tents. The second flick lights a fire and another creates blanket nests around it. It's all too grandiose for Wavering Wood, and it's all too Baz. I praise him for his work because it looks cosy, don't mind what I say.

Thanks to all Baz’s spell-work we don't have to unpack, we don't have to do anything besides take a seat around the hearth and attack our food supplies. Dusk is covering the sky in the lilac shade, studded bubblegum clouds are disappearing behind the towering trees or into the darkness of upcoming night and we chat about everything and nothing; discuss which teams have the best potential to crush us this season, place bets on scores. Baz asks me about my sisters so I give him an update, admitting Sabina has found a new guy to crush on. It was about bloody time, she was crushing on Baz for almost as long as I've known him and she is three years older, Morgana. When I told her Baz had got a boyfriend she was merely pleased ("I knew it!" "You knew Baz was gay and didn't tell me?" "Why else would he resist me for so long?" she waved her hair in my face and left me cringing about woman’s logic, because seriously?) and demanded to meet him. Snow goes all red and jerks nervously at this part, and I don't envy him a bit. He seems he survived the whole meet-my-parents part at Christmas, although I have no idea how it went – or why for that matter – but if he thinks that was all, he has terribly miscalculated. He will have to endure it once again with my family as well because we're all obviously a bit … mad? stupid? helpless? /you choose/, for liking Baz and treating him like one of us. Although Baz doesn't visit us too often, every time he does, it's like Alexander The Great himself pays us a visit, in other words: there's a lot of fussing (my parents), screaming (my sisters), licking (Rumple, our two-headed hellhound), tickling (Dracu, my talking bat) and general chaos with other animals altogether (my dad is a weird magickal creatures collector, we could open a ZOO, not exaggerating). It's much calmer when Dev comes over, thank Morgana, but that's maybe because he has technically his own room at our house. Practically, a nice spot on the floor near my bed.

After the awkwardness of the whole Snow, I can't wait till you meet my parents because my sister needs to approve of you situation, we move to talk about our future which is not as awkward but definitely weird to voice our coaching plans out loud.

I wait for Baz’s reaction – not that we'd need his approval or anything – but it's surprisingly Snow who beats him to it, "I think you both will be great coaches."

I open my mouth in astonishment mixed with surprise, too lost for any response. What has just happened? I flick a glance to Dev, but he only mirrors my own confusion – the good kind of confusion, I assume? – and Baz just shrugs and nods amiably.

Dev recovers first, clears his throat and smiles at Simon warmly. "Thanks." Simon nods, giving the smile back, and Dev, the blessed boy, changes the topic, it was leading to awkwardness again. "Hey guys have you seen that document about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?"

"Quite dramatic, right?" Snow says in an exaggerated voice as if talking about a secret he shouldn't be thinking about, let alone mentioning.

"Yeah, imagine if it happened here at Watford," Dev says pensively, scratching at the back of his neck.

I laugh, partly because it sounds ridiculous, I mean, come on, Watford is probably the most boring school in the whole galaxy, and partly relieved because I imagine it has to be a lot of trouble. "How would we call the villain, tho?"

"Eer…Humdrum?" Snow blurts.

"Crowley, why Humdrum, Snow?" Baz frowns at him, curling his upper lip.

"No idea. Sounds about right," he shrugs and I'm not sure if he's serious or just joking. But he wouldn't keep such a stony face, would he?

"Probably."

"Who would be the Chosen One?" Dev is somehow intrigued in this topic, judging by the way his body is leaning forward and the furious twisting of his fingers in his lap.

"Simon," Baz replies, sneering, "You'd be the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen."

"And Baz would be a vampire," I add quickly, not really knowing why. I'm sure there weren't any vampires in the document, but it'd just kinda suit him, you know? A dark lord of the night. Yes, I can totally picture it.

As soon as I've said this, Simon starts laughing like a last madman, Baz joining him – and did I miss something? I'm almost sure I haven't dissociated but I doubt it was THAT humorous.

"What's so funny?" Dev pops the question and we exchange a confusing glimpse.

Baz stops laughing, only to shoot us a grin, then says in a perfect nonchalance, "Nothing."

"Tell them, hun –" Snow elbows him – "they are your best friends."

"You're my best friend," Baz whispers to Snow’s ear, kissing him lightly, but I bloody heard him!!!

"Hey!" I shout, clenching my fists. I feel betrayed. He surely couldn't have meant it that way, he couldn't, all those years –

"Merlin," Baz rolls his eyes, "you have to know already you two are my best friends too," Baz says in a completely bored tone and I sigh, reassured because that's practically him confessing his love. I was just afraid he's replaced us.

"C'mon, Baz," Snow urges him again, choosing to ignore our little emotional crisis and I might be thankful for that.

Baz nods once, twice and when he raises his head to look at us with a smile so wide –

"Holy fuck," me and Dev gasp in unison, "ARE THOSE FANGS?"

"Morgana, Baz, you've been a vampire all those years…and you didn't tell us?" Yet another thing we didn't bloody know.

Baz looks ashamed and a bit self-conscious and we're caught up in the middle of yet another emotional crisis. Fangs included. 

"He's telling you now," Simon says determinedly, grabbing Baz’s hand and pushing his jaw forward ready to fight us if necessary. I'm thinking rapidly and try to suppress the pain of not being trusted enough to keep a secret…but maybe Baz was too ashamed and didn't feel comfortable enough with it himself? He tends to take a role of a martyr, sometimes.

"Wow." I recover first deciding to be laid-back about it not to startle him. "Have you ever bitten someone?"

"Of course not." If I'm not mistaken, I think Simon is blushing, but it can be just a shadow from the fire. Surprised, I cast a look up to the sky, realizing we're surrounded by soothing blackness, and for all I know we could be sitting here for hours.

"I eat rats mostly," Baz continues, bringing me back to the conversation. About him being a vampire.

Just you wait, I smirk and ask innocently, "How is sex, Snow, does he have super speed?"

"Ohmygod, Niall, I don't want to hear this," Dev grimaces and covers his ears.

"Can you control someone’s mind?" I ask instead.

"No," Baz replies and turns to Snow, "that's a myth."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, that would explain a lot," Dev joins in and bumps his fist with mine.

"Sod off." He then curls at Snow’s side, his teeth chattering, and Snow pulls him into his lap, tight against his body, letting them wander into their own private world.

 

Dev

I watch Snow gently stroking Baz’s hair, I watch Baz close his eyes, his face smooth and relaxed with a hint of a smile, I watch both of them creating a comfortable skein of calmness, I watch them get lost in each other. They fit perfectly together, and I realize I'm jealous. I'm incredibly happy for them, but at the same time, I can't help feeling bitter jealousy swallowing me from the inside.

I blink rapidly, fighting off stupid tears which I didn’t see coming. I've dated some girls but I've never felt loved. I snort, hating how lonely and pathetic I feel right now, but determined not to cry about it. No.

 

Niall

Dev pulls his knees up, resting his chin on them and I focus on his face because he looks kind of sad and…scared?

I look between him and Baz on the opposite side of fire and panic a little. I shift closer to him, whispering, "He would never bite us, you know, right?" realizing a bit too late Baz probably heard me anyway, since well, he is a vampire with excellent hearing (this one can't be a myth, can it?). I'm still getting used to the idea, but it's still the same Baz we've known for almost eight years, which is a small forever, and I know he'd never hurt us.

Dev turns to me, tensing and sending me another look, but this time I can't read it at all. "I know."

I arch my brows in confusion. What is it then?

Baz stands up and calls it a night, but before he can drag Snow to their love tent, I ask for two things: warming spell to last through the night and a pack of his cigarettes. He throws me the latter with a wink, recites a spell and then unzips their tent and disappears inside. Snow manages to mutter a quick goodnight before he's gone as well.

I open the black box of Marlboro’s, take one fag out, using my magic to light it and silently pass the rest to Dev. I feel already lighter with the first exhale. We're something like, I'd call it, occasional smokers, we started because Baz did and got addicted too fast, then had to stop completely for a while (got caught), and now you know, do it when the occasion calls.

We sit in silence, every once in a while tapping the top to remove the ash. Something is wrong, I'm sure of it. I can't ask him, though, he'd say it's nothing and that'd be it. Even with a knife in his stomach, Dev would say everything's fine.

I look up to the stars, slowly losing patience, unable to appreciate the beauty of the raw night sky. I hate it when Dev is sad, he ought to only smile.

"Dev," I murmur quietly.

He takes one last drag, throwing the stub to the fire and immediately lights another one. "They are truly happy, aren't they?"

Putting the fag to my mouth, I nod and wait for him to explain further.

But nothing comes and I panic again. What am I supposed to do? The more I look at his face, the more I don't like the sad expression. He is still hugging his knees and no, this won't do, Dev can't be sad if I can say something about it.

Having three sisters made me an excellent hugger, I think as I throw the butt to the fire, and reach for Dev, hesitantly, making him fall to my side. I hug him with one arm, not wanting to make him feel vulnerable or anything, but he has none of it. He clings to me and I can hug him properly now, loving this sensitive side of him he lets only me to see.

I hug him with such vehemence, leaving sadness no other choice but to sod off. Good. Stay the fuck away from Dev.

"I just…," he mumbles, head buried in my chest, "thought… I've never felt that way." He buries even further into my jumper, squirming, and mutters something which sounds like I feel lonely, y'know? and it just doesn't sound right coming out of his mouth.

Oh. "You're never alone, knucklehead," I assure him. "I'm always here."

He freezes and I give myself a mental kick for saying the wrong thing, but a moment later he relaxes so I guess it wasn't that bad after all. I start swinging him in my arms until he giggles and pinches me, declaring he's not a kid.

I pat him on the head once before he frees himself, and scan my head for something, literary anything to improve his mood. I turn to look at our tents, contemplating. My options are poor, still, nothing is lost.

"Did you bring your hand sanitizer?" I ask Dev and grin as his eyebrows fly up.

"Yes, but why-"

"You know how Baz likes to use his mouthwash in the morning…," I wink, waiting for him to catch on.

He laughs and shakes his head but whatever, he is laughing and I'd do anything to make him laugh more.

"Let's make a surprise for Baz."

Chapter Text

Niall

I slept like shit.

We have two-person tents, and I don't know who designs it but those gits definitely didn't think of tall people. I can't fully stretch my legs.

We fall asleep on our sides, our backs turned to each other, and it could be all fine assuming Dev doesn't start tossing in his sleep and kicking me, making me wake up with some seriously murderous thoughts I'm taking into consideration as I push him off to his side. At least five times. When he elbows me right under my ribs and knocks the breath outta me – I don't want to wake up like that ever again, thank you very much – I blindly hook my fingers around his sleeping bag in the dark, changing my tactics, and pull him tightly against my body, drape my arm around his middle to stop him from further attacking me. Believe it or not, it works.

I wake up once again, foggy light piercing the tent, indicating early hours, Dev still pressed against my chest. Without moving much, I look around, searching in the small space for what could possibly woke me up, finding nothing. Dev takes even, smooth breaths, his hair tickling me on my cheek, but I don't move, I don't want to. All I can see is Dev’s sad expression and his watery eyes. For fuck’s sake, he sounded so lonely. You're not alone, I told him and bloody meant it. I squeeze him, in hope to erase anger from my mind, loneliness from him.

When he said he'd never felt that way, did he mean he'd never been in love? Or never felt loved? Or never loved? Either option breaks my heart a little, and I sigh, knowing there won't be an opportunity to ask him about it anytime soon. One simply does not broach this subject at breakfast. And I'm not exactly the type to sit and discuss feelings with.

I free myself from the sleeping bag and unzip the entrance, stepping out to the chilly morning air.
Everyone's asleep thus it's eerily quiet. I decide to take a quick walk.

 

Dev

When I wake up, Niall is not in the tent. I sit down, stretch my limbs taking a surprise at how well I slept, no back pains.

I walk out of the tent to the abandoned, smouldering circle of ash. While I'm trying to salvage it with my wand, I realize the bag with the food is in Baz’s tent. I silently curse.

I sit by the fire, drinking in the quietness, taking advantage of it to clear my treacherous mind. What bloody trick are you trying on me this time, brain? This sure can't be happening. I can't be having this…reaction to Niall. When he comforted me yesterday, when he hugged me like he wanted to squeeze the sadness out of me, I won't lie, it felt bloody great. Then he said three simple words, I'm always here, and it left me petrified with that warm strange feeling and – no.

Niall is my best buddy, I – no.

He surely wouldn't – no.

But that hug – no.

Crowley.

Edward Alexander Crowley.

This has to pass, it will surely pass…will it?

When Snow appears out of their tent, dishevelled and bleary-eyed, I pretend he didn't make me jump, and I pretend even harder all those noes didn't want to be changed into something else. You saw nothing brain, you useless bastard.

"Morning," I murmur quietly, hoping it doesn't sound sour because as a matter of fact, I'm glad he came. I'm willing to talk about anything as long as it stops me from thinking about…nothing. Correctly. Ugh.

Snow just nods, takes a seat on a blanket next to me and passes me a sandwich. It's still fresh, thanks to all the spells Baz's put into our food. I don't expect seeing Baz anytime soon, I know he is a late sleeper. We, presumably, talk about food and it's oddly nice, I expected such a conversation with Snow would be one-sided and dull, but as I said, it's nice.

I'm camping in Wavering Wood, Niall is Morgana knows where, my cousin is a vampire and I'm discussing with Simon Snow whether pistachios are better salty or plain. Nice.

Before we have a chance to come to a conclusion, Niall bursts running from the forest to our small provisional camp, out of breath screaming "trolls!". Snow jumps hurriedly to his feet, his sword in his hands while I hold my wand in an alert.

"Where are they?"

"How many?"

"How do we fight bloody trolls?"

We're shouting in panicked voices one over another.

"What for Crowley’s sake is happening here?" Baz’s voice carries from over their tent, only half of his body poking out. The unfriendly frown on his face doesn't indicate anything good.

"Trolls!!!"

He walks out of the tent fully, bundled in a blanket and takes a place by Snow’s side. It would look really comically if the situation wasn't so critical.

As suddenly as it happened, Niall bends in the middle, resting his palms on his knees, laughing hysterically.

"You arsehole," Baz spits. Snow looks around with a confused militant expression, his sword in a strong grip until it dawns on him.

"Twat," I say but go high-five him. He really got us here.

Baz declares he has a ruined day considering he didn't get his half a day beauty sleep and walks angrily back to the tent, leaving Snow with us. We all go for a walk in search for Nymphs, but Snow says last time he was here it was at night so we might not find them in the daylight. We find, however, strange looking mushrooms. They look strange because they're watching us. Seriously, they're looking up at us with real eyes and it's so creepy I'm sure I will have nightmares about them.

We go back to our camp in hope Baz will be out, but obviously, it's still too early. Niall says it's time to wake the princess up and with a few spells – to make sure he doesn't disturb any animals but at the same time making it loud, very loud – plays a song from my phone. And not just any random song but Seven Nation Army! The one and only anthem of our crew. It makes me ecstatic after a few beats, I find myself in the middle of retelling Snow about the very first time we three got drunk along with Fiona, who was our alcohol sponsor/supervisor, how Niall dared Fiona to a game of scaring wraths at Baz’s house, and how Baz was humming a melody, this goddamn melody whole night because he couldn't get it out of his head and didn't know what it was.  He was humming it for, approximately, four hours, until we reached the line of contamination and had to join him involuntarily. I don't tell Snow what I was doing the whole night of course. The next day, we were woken up by Fiona’s cheerful call telling Baz the name of the song. She was overly pleased she could be the one to wake us up to our first hangover.

Baz comes out of the tent and doesn't even yell this time, the song is really powerful. He attempts to use mouthwash but after he sniffs it, he changes it for my hand sanitizer and takes a swig with his eyebrows lifted at Niall. Niall curses his vampire senses, swearing to get him suitably next time.

We somehow manage to convince them into playing cards with us and when they adopt our habit with fours, Niall feels inappropriately proud.

"Why is it called Love Letter, again?" Baz asks, challenging Simon to a battle with a knowing smirk. Simon loses.

"No idea," I say watching Baz destroy Niall as well. He got me in the first round. So unsurprising of him to master the game in seconds.

We play Love Letter for most of the morning, eat a lot: "You guys brought spinach rolls?"

"Yeah, you gotta balance it somehow with so many garbage food."

The game is fairly addictive, I can tell you as much.

We go for a walk eventually, when our legs scream for stretching after sitting for half a day, turning into hide and seek in the forest. I hope no monsters do the seek part here.

 

Simon

I have a good time with Baz’s friends, actually (I refuse to call them minions). I can finally see what Baz likes about them. They are so...playful and lively. It's also relieving to know they aren't after my blood. Before we came here I'd been resigned to be used in some demonic ritual…but they just play cards and have fun. Baz tends to scold them a lot but it's obvious he cares about them...in his own way. I get to see Baz from a new perspective. Dev was eager to tell me some stories earlier and I hope I'll gain some more.

The other day, I bought a wish lantern for Baz. I couldn't help myself when I saw it. We watched Tangled together during the Easter holidays with Mordelia, and all the flickering lights were beautiful, even Baz thought so.

I took one for Dev and Niall too. As a truce. I was afraid they'd taunt me for it, but I doubt it now. Who'd think Wavering woods could ever be good for a romantic trip?

 

Niall

As we're heating our pre-packed food in the bonfire Baz created, I imagine how superb it'd be if we went hunting and had real meat right now. It could be easier with Baz’s vampire skills I reckon, I make a mental note to ask him about that later. It's rapidly getting dark and the air is colder than yesterday, fortunately, we have the whole bottle of Jäger, so we won't be cold in a while.

We sit just like yesterday, Dev and I on one side, Baz and Snow close to each other to keep warm opposite us. While we're eating, Dev tries to talk me into buying new boots, his never-ending obsession falling lost on me – I love my current boots and I intend to stay faithful to them till the very end.

When I look up through the flames, Snow is feeding Baz in a ridiculously sweet way – my fingers twitch to do something mocking – forgetting we are still here. Sure, don't mind us.

"I'm not going to feed you back," Baz tells him.

"That's fine." Snow smiles at him and licks his fingers veeery slowly for a show, I couldn't be rolling my eyes faster, not even if gravitation let me.

"Do you want me to feed you too, babe?" I turn and ask Dev who looks rather startled so I give him a nasty smile.

He swallows, then silently opens his mouth in response. I tear off a piece of bread that I've been idly squeezing like a stress ball and throw it at his face. I miss but he catches it with his left hand, promptly throwing it back at me. I catch it with my mouth, sending him a clear triumphant look. "Amateur."

"Can't miss an opportunity to show off, can't you?" He is shaking his head on my behalf, in a silent way of saying ‛I know what you're after’. I wink at him and just because I hope it will make him smile some more, I tear the rest of the bread to pieces and bombard him.

"Prat." He is smiling and I'm smiling with him.

After our spectacular dinner, I call for Baz and Snow, making place for them, suggesting Come join the dark side (that's not an actual spell but I'm considering making it one for finals) to play a few rounds of cards again, but with my devilish upgrade: this time loser takes a shot every time. In less than an hour, half the bottle is gone and I can, for all of us, say we're on the best way to tipsy heaven. And I told you, no need to bring more blankets.

"Hey, let's play truth or dare," Simon says clapping his hands. He drank most of the shots due to his losing, a convenience of being distracted by his boyfriend’s…breathing. 

"Crowley Snow, what are we? Twelve?" Baz is sneering at him, but his expression is rather loose, not the perfectly sculpted aristocratic mask of coldness and control he usually wears. I like this Baz more (in no way am I supporting him in drinking tho) but he is relaxed, more approachable (just cuz he isn't bitching so much, but we don't say the latter aloud). And you can read his face easily enough.

Simon pouts, his brow crease and "I've never played a bottle," was not necessary to add to make it clear what we're doing next.

"It will be dull with only just four people!" Dev is lying on his stomach, legs up and I'm tempted to ask if he doesn't want to paint his nails in such a posture, but that would be highly hypocritical of me.

"We can try, but only a few games," Baz says to no one’s surprise – seriously, this boy is such a goner, I'm worried about him…I knew I shouldn't have left him with Snow for that long – and fetches an empty plastic bottle formerly from vanilla soda (mental note #2: do not buy this tosh ever again, seemingly reduces brain cells).

We make a mini circle with the bottle in the centre and as I'm blinking away the blurry contours, I realize I'm not as bulletproof as I act. Uh…alcoholproof? Well, never mind.

Simon, a pouty manipulator, gets the privilege to spin first. It lands on Dev.

"Are you crushing on someone?" Simon asks him. Bo-ring.

"U-hh…I'm," Dev stammers and I raise both eyebrows at him, cuz seriously? This bloke has been crushing on Agatha ever since our third year. Long before he knew how to talk to girls. My sisters might have helped him with overcoming anxiety; I might have taken it from there. He keeps an eye contact with me for nearly a second before fidgeting uncomfortably and replying: "Um. I used to crush on Agatha." I want to congratulate him for abandoning the crush but then I think Dev possibly used past tense only as a courtesy to Snow. Bugger.

"You were crushing on my ex?" Simon is laughing so hard he's crying and Dev looks even more embarrassed, pointedly looking at his hands in his lap. He takes a bottle, spinning it forcefully and for a whole minute of twisting, I'm not sure I will live long enough to see it stop. When it does stop – it is pointing at me.

Dev offers me a bashful look, starting with "Did you-" but stops midsentence, shooting a wary glare at Baz. I catch a glimpse of his sentiment, wondering what that question was about, but it's gone too soon. At this point, I can't be sure all I see is true. "What is your happiest memory?"

I reach for the bottle and take a generous swig of herbal poison. I was not ready for such a self-exploring soul business.  

I think of all the nights we sneaked out of our room. Or the thrill when I scored my first goal for Watford. Or when Dev taught Dracu the word gobermouch who attacked my grannie with it afterwards and I had to do a lot of explaining. All of these are happy memories but none of them stands out. I dig much deeper, however hard it is in my husky mind, and see myself standing in the kitchen looking at half pissed half amused Dev. Yes.

"The day we got punished to the kitchen for the very first time? I think that's it," I say finally, breaking the deadly silence they left me for thinking. Dev frowns.

"What happened?" Simon asks curiously and I think I'm about to disappoint him.

"Nothing much, actually." I tell him the story containing one bare ass (mine), dumb shouting twat (the Madge), innocent victim (Dev) and a pile of plates (which, sadly, certifies the statement Watford students haven't been raised to leave their plates in a presentable manner, for fuck’s sake. All those stains? Shame on you!)

"I still don't get why it's your happiest memory, tho," Dev, wearing the same frown ever since I started retelling the story, states.

Here we go, emotionality. "I think that's when we became friends," I say with such seriousness that astonishes them all. They don't get to see me being sensitive very often. To be honest, I don't get to see me in such state either.

It wasn't anything special. That evening in the kitchen, I mean. Dev wasn't forced to go with me, if he reasoned he hadn't done anything, he'd have avoided the punishment. But he stuck by my idiotic side and that's what counts. Because he really didn't have to be there. But he was. And when I look at it now it means so much more than it meant back then.  

Dev doesn't say anything, I suspect he is fighting his own nostalgia and Baz…Baz gives me one of his rare full-force smiles and stays silent as well.

Crowley, don't do feelings on me, no. This ends now.

I spin my bottle and it stops at Baz. Great, I hoped it would. Won't go easy on him.

"What is your dirtiest sexual fantasy?"

Ladies and gentlemen, I did it! I fucking did it. I've taken the greatest Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch off guard. His eyes are stabbing me, burning a hole in my forehead, actually I think he is more creative in plotting my own death, but outwardly, he is capable of only blushing. And it gets better – Simon leans in, interested to see his answer.

"Well?" I prompt him, imitating his sly sneer.

He coughs two times before speaking, his sight lowered on purpose. "Being fucked in public...like at the beach or uh, cinema… I uh," he coughs again to clear his throat. "…daddy kink," he adds barely intelligible. Snow pretends something interesting is happening on his palm, but boy, he is not even blushing anymore, he wears a ketchup facemask right now.

I'm satisfied. I didn't expect anything less. "I told you, the quiet ones are always the kinkiest," I tell to everyone. Then I turn to our ketchup boy and slap him on the back. "You're welcome, bud."

 

Baz

Pure rage is swirling inside of me, I am too bloody close to peel his skin off like a banana and continuously keep stabbing him with a sharpen toothpick for hours. Fuck, for whole days until he bleeds out. I try to clear my expression into a mask one would wear when talking about different potion corks. Holy magic, Simon should not know anything about this, yet.

The arsehole will get his payback, quote me on that.

 

Dev

We keep drinking and playing the bottle. It's completely dark now but Baz casts some weird spell on the fire to give more light, so it's like a lamp but it doesn't blind you when you look straight to the flames.

After Niall’s question, things escalated far too quickly: Niall and Baz are in a war, and Simon and I happen to be right in the middle of a war zone. They don't need the bottle any longer, it lays forgotten at Baz’s feet, I can only hope it won't be dragged into their battle as a weapon. I already put the glass bottle out of their reach, but safety measures preach to hide this one too.

They fire the questions like those massive tank projectiles. I feel like I'm watching one of these movies that suck you right in, but every time you're expecting a hit, something else pops in, and you're only capable of repeating ‘wow’ in your mind because that's all you're able to process at the time. Snow is obviously too ignorant of the dangers of the war front as he is curled up next to Baz, unconcerned, eating spinach rolls AND chocolate muffins AT THE SAME TIME. Morgana. He takes a bite of each and only then starts chewing. He also makes a big mess of crumbs in Baz’s lap, but his lover is wearing an imaginary uniform momentarily and has to control an army. He made Niall reveal his darkest fears, most embarrassing moments, insecurities, things he's ashamed for, but see, nothing gets to Niall. He just shrugs and takes it with humour. When he admits we wanked together…each other (not even Harry Houdini can make me repeat this), I wish for the trolls to come, real ones this time, and take me as their dinner. I'd be more like a shitty appetizer, but you get my point. I want to jump into the void, but Niall is all unshakable confidence.

"Let's do the dare," Baz cocks an eyebrow at him.

"You think you can dupe me in dare, mate? You're forgetting challenge fuels me."

"Let's see if you're still so sure of yourself in a minute." He then notices Snow is trying to cuddle him and as he makes a place for him, his eyes catch on all those crumbles in his lap. "Crowley Snow, you are such a pig. When did you make such a mess?" Contradictorily, as he's saying this, he throws his arm around Snow, hugging him around the waist. I suddenly notice Baz is all bark and no bite. How come I've never seen it before?

"Well, dare me, Baz, if you think you can," Niall says impatiently. He is a bad drunk. He wants to prove to the world he isn't afraid of anything. Which he isn't, even when he's sober.

You wanna know what type of drunk I am, don't you? I am…a bad drunk. It goes like this: I'm lying on my belly, laughing because I'm holding my tongue while trying to rhyme potato with tae kwon do, but then I see a squirrel jumping from one tree to another and I'm like holy magic what if she falls? And then I'm imagining all those horrible deaths she can endure, so I scream at her to come back, No, Sisi, rather stay where you are, I'm coming for you, Sisi! I jump up but everything moves around me, it's like being in a mixer and the next moment I'm imagining the whole Earth being in a mixer at some alien party full of green buddies with black eyes and three fingers, smoking pipes, drinking Earth. /Don't ask next time.

Such sequence happens in less than one minute, hard to say where it'll end up. My mood swings are twice as terrible, three times as intense, and four times as pitiful for my companions.

So when Baz says: "Okay then. I dare you to kiss Dev," I'm laughing like crazy, throwing myself on the ground. "Don't drag me to your war. I'm Switzerland!" I shout.

"Don't have anything better, Bazzy boy?" Niall challenges him.

I tilt my head a little to see what Baz comes up with next, but he sneers, damn his sneering, saying "No."

"Okay, I guess kissing it is," Niall says recklessly – oh shit, oh shit. I feel too sober all of a sudden.

"You can't be serious mate, I'm not kissing you," I tell him, laughing way too hard to overpower the traitorous feelings from this morning. I'm fairly sure I can't kiss him. I can't be wanting to kiss him.

"Don't be a gay chicken, Dev," he lifts me up so I can sit properly on the blanket. "We show Baz we're much better kissers than he and Snow together."

"You have no chance, lads," Snow joins in but it only provokes Niall further.

"No? Fucking watch," Niall says and grabs me by the shoulders. As his face gets closer to mine, our noses almost touch, nervousness overtakes me and I splutter unintentionally. Oh shit.

Niall wipes his chin and if it wasn't for the fact he's still holding me in place, I'd be running to the forest, sacrificing myself to the first beast I'd spot.

"See? I knew they wouldn't be able to do it," Baz states.

Niall tsks at him, pulls me closer by few inches and I shiver upon seeing the sheer determination in his eyes.

He seriously plans to kiss me.

"Let's show them how it's done, babe," he whispers and the last word sells me in. Babe. It should be on the list of forbidden spells so it'd not-

My breath hitches, Niall’s face is so close to mine, too close, I think – I can't think.

I'm staring into his eyes, the blueness in them making me warm all over my body, I can feel my cheeks going embarrassingly red and my pulse speeding up and up over the limit. His gaze drops down to my lips for long, long seconds before searching my eyes again. I can't possibly be getting warmer, but I think I am.

I act on impulse, fisting the collar of his jumper vigorously, and closing the distance, turning his smile into a kiss, stealing it.

I'm kissing Niall.

And he is kissing me back.

He moves one of his hands to my neck and I bury mine in his thick hair, fondling it softly. He steals few kisses for himself, tenderly brushes his lips against mine. I can feel his tongue gently caressing my bottom lip so I open my mouth wider, meeting it with mine. He's licking into my mouth, in a touch so sweet I finally understand what it means to be melted. For a short while, we rub our tongues lazily against each other’s, and then Niall breaks the kiss, and I open my eyes to see him smiling exactly just like before. He reaches for me a second after, barely giving me a chance to take a single breath, pulling me to him. We're kissing again but it's nothing like from a moment ago. The kiss turns to more aggressive, dirtier. He drags me closer to him, petting me on the back at the same time as pushing me against him. I desperately clutch at the small of his back, dig my nails to his side with the other hand. He bites my bottom lip and I moan into his mouth, pushing him back against me with the same force. I tilt my head so he has a better angle to kiss me because I need him closer, I need more of him, more, more-

He breaks the kiss and we're breathing heavily like after a match. We're still holding each other, never breaking the eye contact, I search for something in his eyes, something to ease my insecurity, maybe a proof he feels the same warmness as I do.

"Oh my god, that was hot as fuck," Simon says, gaping at us. We quickly drop off the hold, I move to the side, pulling my knees up, and hope I can cover my face in a subtle way.

"So. This is how you kiss, Pitch," Niall says his voice hoarse and so fucking sexy.

Hold on. Did I just-? Oh shit.

 

Niall

Sometime after midnight, Simon brings two lanterns and gives one to me and Dev. He is even equipped with a marker to write wishes on it.

They are all cute with Baz as they are writing their wishes together.

"Here," Baz hands me the marker, leaning in to whisper to my ear. "Wish something. Maybe it will come true and Dev lets you into his pants finally."

"Sod off." He won't let me live down that kiss now, will he? He laughs at me, the devilish laughter mastered to perfection.

I cast a spell to keep the lantern in the air so I don't have to write my wish on the uneven ground.

The alcohol caused haze is all gone, the only thing that stayed is Dev’s taste in my mouth. It's nothing like chocolate or mint or any other cliché romantic trope, Dev drank with me after all, but still, it's different and I can feel it. It's maybe a bit distracting?

I'm thinking. What to wish? I'm thinking harder. I don't wanna wish for money, love or other petty things with zero guarantees.

Oh, I know.

I write down my wish, handing the marker to Dev. He takes it as if burnt and writes down his own on the other side, so it's covered and we don't see each other’s.

We light it up and watch it slowly rising to the dark sky. I cast To infinity...and beyond! on it, but Dev with his far-away look doesn't seem to catch it and murmurs Free as a bird! in addition to my spell. I hope the wishes have a better chance to come true this way.

I'm eyeing my sentence until it blurs and all I can see is an orange floating dot.

Let Dev be happy. 

It's like a star going home.

 

Dev

I only vaguely register what happens after the kiss, it's like someone switched all colours. Funnily enough, it's pitch as dark…I mean, dark as pitch…probably? I'm, yeah.

I'm not sure how exactly I happen to end up standing with a giant lantern floating in front of my face but I'm almost certain it's a black marker I'm clutching in my grip and I'm almost certain I'm supposed to write a wish on it.

What I know for sure though, I'm fucked. Because I'm flooded with fear and that's the only thing I can think about.

Don't take Niall away from me.

Okay, if I have to be honest with myself, that's not the only thing. I also know I'm screwed.

 

Niall

There's a body pressed next to mine. It takes me a few seconds of blinking into the darkness to realize it's Dev.

I'm lying on my back, legs bent in a weird position in the sleeping bag, stretching the walls of our tent. Dev has his head on my shoulder and his hand draped around my torso.

And I'm hugging him, I realize next. I pull him closer protectively and drift off back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Dev

Coach cancels the afternoon practice today, due to the upcoming inter-school championship, and let me quote him: “Your sorry arses could have been there as well if you'd played football and not slothball. Now do fifteen laps and thank Bollocks for taking me seriously and giving us chance to represent our school. I should have known, you're all just a bunch of useless, wrongly chopped logs…” We didn't make it this year to iMSFL, and I really don't feel like recalling our unfortunate epic loses, but at least Bollocks did. Bollocks is not the official name, by all means, it's Coach’s version of saying Team B. We're in the Team A alias (I guess you already know) Arseholes. Bollocks now have double practice (hope you're enjoying it, dear brother! Our team is still better!) and maybe I should be happy for more free time, which I could use for thinking about school-related stuff for example, but I'm not. I uselessly think about what to do with my Niall problem on overdrive.

Speaking of Niall, he's been working on a school project with Baz since lunch, which, curse me for saying, is perfect. I hate to think this way, but I'm glad he is not here right now because I have absolutely no idea how to act around my mate ever since we got back from the camping trip. I try to avoid him as much as possible without making it obvious, but it's too hard when we share everything from our room to classes to table in the great hall, even a bloody locker… It's like trying not to touch sand in a desert.

One night when I was feeling awfully confident and relying on darkness to cover my face, I was about to broach the whole what-to-do-now-after-we-had-kissed talk, but Niall’s no big deal attitude scared me off. Because obviously, it's a big deal for me and the last thing I want to hear Niall say to me is it was nothing. That it was just a dare. Something to remember as good old Watford years when we're both seventy and have the annual wheelchair race.

I take a bus to the town because I can't stay caged in our room a second longer. There's a limited time you can replay The Kiss over and over in your head without letting it suffocate you. I buy a pack of cigarette and a Normal lighter with blue and pink triangles on the cover in a hope it calms my nerves and distracts me. When I light my third fag, I realize I'm on the best way to addiction again but I don't care for now, I can always deal with it later.

I don't pay much attention to where I'm going, I only notice when I'm just a few steps from Nico’s shop. I theatrically peek behind my back, which is really stupid, I know. Who'd be spying on me here? A detective with a death wish? Would be an epic ending of one detective’s career, dying of boredom while watching me.

Deciding in a blink of an eye, I push the door open. Nico greets me over the customer, outcrying the buzzing sound of a tattoo pen. He works on a complicated design of a coral red fox on a girl’s thigh.

"Wow, looks cool," I whistle in admiration. The girl smiles at me and goes back to observing the lines appearing on her skin.

"Thanks," Nico tells me but doesn't raise his head from his work.

"Is it your design?"

"Yup."

"Wow," I repeat.

"So, what can I do for you, bud?"

"Umm… I think I want another piercing." I turn back to the nearest wall studying new sheets stuck on the wall. There's a girl sitting on a swing which looks hella amazing. Kinda melancholic, too.

"Hah, told you you´d come back for more."

I hum, moving to look at another wall. An unfinished sketch of a boy with wings reminds me of Snow a little. Then there's a row of different fonts and when I tip my head a little, I see a beautiful black rose with a skull. It´s become kind of a common tattoo but it would look great on Niall, I'm sure.

"If you have time, you can wait, I'm finishing in fifteen minutes."

"No problem, I'm not in a hurry," I say from behind my back, not turning.

When I'm sure I've admired every sketch, I dump myself ungraciously on the customer chair which has been added from the last time I was here and observe Nico’s work on the animal. The fox is beautiful. Wild, caught in the middle of running. She has a long curly tail with red and white stripes in her orange fur. When Nico finishes, he spells the tattoo so the fox’s tail waggles. The girl pets her and the tail waggles more excitedly in response. One day, I may get a tattoo too.

The girl pays but before she leaves, she sends me another bright smile that throws me completely off balance. Not because I suddenly fell in love, but because I didn’t. Normally, I would have and now, the prospect only seems ridiculous. She leaves and I stay sitting in my chair, not even turning to see her from behind. Nico time to properly clean his stuff.

"Where did you leave your friend?" Nico asks me while cleaning and disinfecting his stuff.

"He's working on a school project."

"So what are we doing you today, bud?" I stand up and go to the counter, Nico joining me on the opposite side.

Hesitantly, I tell him. "A nipple piercing?" I'm sure I want one but it´s kind of embarrassing.

"Don't worry, friend," Nico pats me on the back and tells me to follow him. He works fast this time and uses spells on me so all I'm feeling when I look down at my nipple is admiration, no trail of pain. I'm proud of it.

I stay chatting for a while about Nico’s shop, mostly about moving tattoos to which he laughs with a promise of next time. Then I take a bus back, marching right to the dining hall because my stomach has been grumbling furiously for the past hour.

"Hello, kids," I greet Snow and Bunce, sitting down with a full plate of meat and rice.

"Guys are still working?" I inspect.

"Yeah, I haven't seen Baz the whole afternoon."

"See? You are clingy, Simon," Penny points at him with her fork.

"But it's just normal," Snow defends himself, frowning.                            

"Whatever-" she rolls her eyes- "I'm going to my room to enjoy the silence while Trixie's out. See you later Si." She hugs him goodbye and on her way out the hall with the empty plate, she waves me. Wow. I wave back, dumbstruck, checking whether it really happened but Simon's too occupied with his food. I shake my head, miracles do happen.

"What were you doing this afternoon?"

"Er- nothing much," he shrugs. "Just hanging out with Penny. She's working on her exam spell already." Right. I should remind Niall. "How about you?" Snow asks, few of the noodles falling down his fork. There are sauce stains all around his plate.

"Nothing interesting. I went to the town." He hums and we stay silent except for the slurring sound he makes.

"Listen, Snow, can I ask you something?" I ask him hesitantly, hoping he won't read too much into my words.                   

"Sure thing."

I take a deep breath, suddenly feeling nervous. "How did you know you were gay?"

"Um. I didn't."

"What do you mean?" I take the last bite and push the plate aside.

"Well. I didn't think about it. I still don't," he shrugs. "It's easier but also I don't need to think about it. It's simple for me. I'm in love with Baz, and that's all that matters. I'm not sure if I'm attracted to anyone else, but with Baz, it just feels right."

I nod. I'm still nodding a few seconds later, processing his last words. It just feels right.

"And you should call me Simon."

"Okay, mate," I tell him automatically which makes him smile so wide it's almost blinding. I think we've just become real friends. Feels great.

 

Niall

I'm having The Talk with Baz. Like two responsible, trustworthy, duty-filling adults. You can cackle however hard you want, I stand behind my statement.

We bring our work outside and nestle under a yew tree. Baz talks using his education-is-bliss voice for full fifteen minutes then orders me to write notes, and only after I've given him my powerful blank stare does he realize I have no idea what he's been talking about. He scolds me and starts explaining who Charlie Dickens was. There comes an easy answer, obviously, but I keep my mouth wisely shut when such a small detail as mispronouncing Charles for Charlie makes him throw a tantrum. Nonetheless, I save it for Dev. Three hours and several failed murder attempts later, I force the book closed and refuse to open it again. We have magic for fuck’s sake, why cannot those books be spelled to have a reading aloud button? Anyway, who has time for reading books nowadays? We stay sitting with our backs against the trunk, the perfect aura of despair surrounding us; the kind you gain after three hours of studying without a break, and so we talk to ease our minds, and suddenly, we talk openly like never before. Baz confesses how it is for him being a vampire and all. He doesn't have to say it directly, but I can read between the lines he's a bit ashamed – a lot ashamed – and considering issues with his family, I understand. They don't talk much at home (apparently family name pride is more important than Baz’s well-being), but I make a silent vow to support him however he needs until he feels comfortable with being himself. He has Snow now, but I've been his mate first. However, I don't say any of this audibly; instead, I promise to be his spare dealer when he's found himself in a bloody emergency. He snorts, "There's no chance of stopping you from making idiotic puns now, is there?"

"No. You will have to suck it up, mate." He laughs, so I continue, encouraged. "You robbed me of making those puns years ago, now suffer. I will not rest until your blood's boiling."

"Just make sure it's not your blood that will boil in my veins."

"You wish."

We sit under the tree in a comfortable silence, watching students pass by leisurely, some are sitting on the grass in small groups bathing in the almost summer sun, creating a false image of the weekend idleness. I wonder what Dev's doing right now, whether he is too bored or found something to entertain himself with. He should have joined us, but he seemed somehow relieved he didn't have to. I sigh.

"What's this melodramatic sigh for?" Baz asks, but before I can form a sentence in my mind he, naturally, guesses it. "It's about Dev, isn't it?"

I nod, glad I don't have to explain my feelings. "He is...odd."

Baz searches my face, making me shrink under the intensity of his grey gaze; the look way too intimidating for us, mortal people. "For how long has he been acting...odd?" he asks slowly, giving me one of his finest sneers. Niall Reynolsky is never afraid, I have to remind myself. Shush.

"A couple of days?"

"Since…?" he raises an eyebrow, making me feel stupid. With only one bloody eyebrow.

"I'm not sure, I don't survey him," I wave him off, half-annoyed.

"Don't you?" He is playing with me now, I know, but I also know he won't give me anything for free so I must play cat-and-mouse with him. Or is it rat-and-vamp now?

"I think…ever since we got back from the camping trip?" I say sheepishly, making it sound like a question. Like he's given me a test I didn't study for.

He nods and I wait for him to say something more, to clear things for me, but he doesn't, and I'm more and more confused with every passing second. Finally, "Look, Ni, you should probably talk with Dev about it."

"He won't talk to me. You tell me," I demand, the need to know what's wrong with Dev too strong. I tried to talk with him but he shrugged me off every time. I hate it when he's detached.

"Well. He's freaking out, obviously."

"Obviously?"

"Crowley, sometimes you're as thick as Simon," he murmurs to himself but I can still hear him clearly. Tosser.

"Has Anathema ever stunned you?”

"No, but your question just did." What it has to do with Dev, I have no idea. I search for the last shreds of my patience wondering why everything with Baz has to be so difficult.

He gives me a painful expression I'm sure is uncalled for. "Do you know how the Anathema works?"

"Anathema? Never heard of it. Don't you mean antenna? In which case, I have absolutely no idea how it works. Too much physics and abstract shits," I let my sarcasm out (could you tell?), ignore Baz’s unimpressed look and urge him to talk.

"I'd very much like to tell you, but you have to see it for yourself."

"Okay."

"You say you've never been concerned with the Anathema, even though you and Dev always throw punches and stuff at each other," he pauses and I nod, making a gesture with my hand for him to continue. "In our first year, Simon threw a book at me and his hand was stunned for three whole days," he finishes dramatically, leaving me time to process.

I gape at him in wonder, no such thing ever occurred to me.

Series of mixed blurry flashbacks run through my mind: flying socks, pillows, pencils, elbow in my ribs, elbow in Dev’s ribs… It goes on and on and on but not even once has Anathema interfered. How is it possible?

"How...?" I manage through the growing confusion inside of me.

"First, I thought it's because you're friends, Snow hated me when he threw the book. But have you ever considered deeper feelings could be involved?" he has still one of his eyebrows risen in a daring expression, otherwise is looking calmly at me – and how can he stay so bored when talking about such things? Me having deeper feelings towards Dev?

"What?"

Baz, the ever annoying bastard, chuckles and leaves.

I rub my temples, blink several times, but nothing changes. No spectacular revelations in or around me. Things are as they've always been; I still want Dev to be happy, and I still want us to start a coaching program. I still want to be there when he proves his parents he doesn't have to have a boring overpaid job to mean something.

I just- want to be there. But that's hardly anything new. Of course there have to be deeper feelings, we're bros for life.

Well. Whatever.

I'm not a fan of cryptic…well, anything.

I pack my things and hurry to the great hall to get late dinner, finding our spot deserted. I wave Rhys who's just leaving, and eat in silence, trying to fight off the tiredness slowly creeping behind my eyelids. We didn't have practice today and yet I'm twice as beaten. Studying consumes your soul, I'm telling you.

When I enter our room, I find the traitor of my roommate in his pyjamas, watching Misfits in his bed.

"You absolute bastard, you didn't wait for me," I say offended and throw myself on him, forgetting my tiredness, and bury his head under the pillow. "I cannot believe you didn't wait."

He is furiously kicking me with his legs, but no chance, I'm too heavy and mostly sitting on his back so it does him no good. I choke him (safely, yet threateningly) just so he can remember not to watch our TV shows without me, and free him at last, taking a place next to him on the bed. I throw my shoes across the room in the process.

"I'm the bastard?" he says, gasping for breath. "You nearly choked me to death after you ditched me for a day," he sends me a resentful look and fixes his hair. His earring is star-spangled and it glows. He had to use a new spell for it.

"Nice earring," I compliment him, ruffling his hair and ruining his efforts.

"Hey!" he protests.  I reach past him to pause the episode.   

"Did you go to see Nico?"

"Yup. Was bored," he says with a glint in his eyes. "How did your project go?"

"Uuuh," I groan. "Let's focus on the most important part: it's done. But Crowley, it was so fucking tiring. I think my head has exploded several times." The very recent one was when I noticed the Anathema really didn't interfere when I tried to choke my roommate with a pillow just moments ago. Sure, it was meant to be playful but still. I should find out if it's normal, but sometime later, probably.

I drop my head to Dev’s pillow. It smells like him. Like outright freedom the second after you step on the pitch.

"D'you wanna join? I've just started."                         

"Mhmmm."

"But first go take a shower."

I make another unintelligible sound and show no sign of moving. I don't know what's happening – I'm lying on the bed and the next moment I find myself on the floor. I consider staying here, the carpet's sort of soft after all, but that wanker pokes me with a foot.

"Uh. C'mon, mate. Go take a shower."

"Aren't ya goin' to wash me?" I try in a sleepy voice.

"Shut up and hurry up or else I'm not waiting for you.”

 

Dev

He falls asleep during the first ten minutes of a second episode. He is nestled next to the wall, his feet on the plastering, probably to cool down. I do it as well before falling asleep.

I turn off my laptop, bookmarking the next episode, and put it down on the floor. I sit on the verge of my bed, thinking about our closeness for the first time.

I'm nervous. And confused. I've been confused ever since I woke up in the middle of that night of The Kiss to Niall pulling me to himself and hugging me. I put my head on his shoulder, to the crook of his neck, breathed him and I felt...like I belonged there. It was the same feeling like when Coach Mac had put me in the goal.

The next morning we woke up and everything was…normal. Niall grinned at me and ruffled my hair because he knows I hate it, and that was it. No awkwardness, it was just us. As always. As if I didn't want to repeat the kiss. Because I definitely wanted to. And I desperately wanted to talk to him about it but I was afraid he'd say it was nothing.

I turn to look at him. Properly this time. He is so tall. He's taller than me by more than a head, his six and a half feet making him look like a giant next to me. He is muscly but at the same time, his legs are like toothpicks. Muscly toothpicks? Good job, Dev, that definitely sounds sexy.

He is pale. He always gets paler in the winter, the tan from last summer's completely gone. He has a scar near his elbow from one time when we jumped a fence and didn't see there was a barbed wire. I have the same scar on my wrist. We were proud to be marked the same, our own bad boy tattoo. I want to trace down his scar with my fingers but I fight this sudden desire...that would be too creepy, wouldn't it?

Besides the scar, I think I like his hair the most. They are so rich and give him a badass look. I've always known he was handsome but I've never considered I might be attracted to him.

Because I think I am.

I think I'm falling in love with my best friend. Or rather, I already have.

In any case, it just feels right.

I pull out my wand and spell our room to darkness. I let him sleep in my bed, moving to take his, but before I can change my mind, I bend and peck him subtly on the cheek. I try not to touch him more so he doesn't wake up.

 

Niall

...I felt it…

Dev lightly kissed me on my cheek just now.

I want to tell him not to be such a sap but I can't seem to find my voice and my limbs feel too heavy. Soon, I'm drifting off again.

 

Dev

He stirs and I can feel my heart beating in my throat. I'm petrified. He couldn't have felt the kiss, right? I had to imagine it. Don't panic, Dev.

I bury myself under the blanket and try to pretend I know what I'm doing. In general.

Chapter Text

Niall

I wake up before Dev does. We've switched beds, indicating I must have fallen asleep sometime before "Kelly kickin' the shit outta Hitl'r," and I tell you, my friends, if that's not a real shame I don't know what is. I'm aware it was highly disrespectful towards this masterpiece, and I swear it will not happen again.  I cast a quick How soon is now! spell to check on time. 07:23. Nice, I have some time to catch up on homework. I sit, smoothing my messy hair – now even messier from the sleep – then take a probing look around our room and when I spot the stack of papers stashed under my (or is it Dev’s?) jersey on my desk, I decide it's not worth abandoning the bed yet. Minotaur has to be overly gullible if he expects me to write him a three-page essay. In Greek, may I add. Thank Aleister I' ve discovered soon enough bribing Baz with krówki will get me almost anything. I collapse back onto the pillow, speculating why I've never heard about some cheating spells. Surely there had to be some lazy buggers like me who wanted to do homework easier? Why have I never heard of anything? Magic is supposed to be for helping people, as far as I know. I'm going to invent a nice, savage cheating spell and I'll be a hero for the next generations! They won't be even able to forbid the spell being it for our final exam, and moreover, the look on the Mage’s face will be bloody priceless.

There's nothing to contemplate anymore, the greyish colour on our ceiling makes me slowly sick, so I turn to my left side, facing Dev’s back. Well, not really his back – more like my comforter with a bunch of short blond hair poking out of the top of Dev’s head. Crowley, wrapped up like this and with the whole concept of his hair, he looks like a little hedgehog over there. Don't ask me where this came from, it's probably Baz’s fault.

I get bored quickly, he doesn't even stir! With a wicked grin, I stand up and catapult myself on top of him.

 

Dev

I wake up, gasping for air. Again. It wasn't funny the first bloody time, Merlin show some mercy!

"The fuck?" I rasp, kicking him off me. I can't breathe for a few, long moments and he doesn't look even slightly bothered he shocked me out of my dream.

"What time is it?"

"Time to do homework," he says enthusiastically from where he's sitting on the floor where I've sent him, arms crossed on my – well, actually his - mattress.

"Uhh y' can do mine," I mumble, righting the comforter over my shoulders, no desire to function today. Or anytime soon, as I see it.

"Rise and shine, darling!" he shouts to my ear and to punctuate his words, he takes the comforter off of me and throws it on the carpet. Prick.

"Fuck off," I snap out with my eyes still closed. I'd throw Black and blue bruising spell on him, if only I wanted to move, but it's too soon to deal with his shits. I hear him smashing something on the desk and sadly, the noise doesn't let me fall back to my sleep. And I'm bloody cold. I stand up on my wobbly legs, perform something like a half-drunk walk to the bathrooms, bumping into some kids who are brushing their teeth in front of the sinks, toothpaste running down their chins. The scowl on my face must scare them off considering their quick retreat. I hope it's the scowl and not my reputation.

When I get back, Niall is – am I seeing right or is there something wrong with my eyes? – doing his homework at the mess on his desk. Looking at him like this, still in his mismatched pyjamas (he just can't wear matching shirt with trousers, it offends him or so he says), one barefooted leg bent in the knee on my chair as if he's leaving and the pencil between his lips he's chewing on; the image so ordinary, so familiar I'm flooded with the want, the urge to hang myself on him until I feel warm again. We all know I wouldn't be doing it for the warmness only.

Instead, I do nothing.

I know I should talk to him but I stay stubbornly silent. Call me a coward, I don't care; I just don't know how to tell my best friend, my bro of eight years, I am desperate for him. He taps his pencil on his lips and it does me no help forgetting the desire to kiss him.

Miserably, I force my legs to move and start putting on my school clothes, for the first time ever not bothering to spell them clean.

Niall, catching something so un-Dev-like, stares at me openly. "You alright?"

I turn to face the wardrobe, not trusting my treasonous face to hide my emotions. Maybe I'm obvious in my glumness – but see how many craps I give. Minus ninety-nine.

"Yeah, I'm fine, mate."

"You sure?" he asks doubtingly. I hate it.

I nod and grab the nearest thing to throw at him so he stops asking me questions.               

Man up Dev, just ask him, no big deal. He's your bro.

Fuck off, brain. Later.

***

 

Niall

Afternoon practice doesn't cheer Dev up as much as I hoped, so I have to do all the work by myself.

I open our wardrobe, inspecting the stuff we have here, letting my eyes drop to the bottom shelf with the Tic Tac boxes. I take four of them – The Simpsons, Minions and Christmas edition along with the apple mix. I drop it on the floor between our beds, my arse quickly following. I clear my throat to catch Dev’s attention. It doesn't work, so I do it again, and voilá, he turns to me, marking the page in his book. I shake my head in an inviting gesture to which he raises his eyebrow but goes to sit opposite me – seriously, it's either me or homework, the answer should be obvious.

"How much of these can you stuff into your mouth?" I ask pointing at the Tic Tac boxes.

He rolls his eyes, yet he smiles: challenge accepted.

I wave my wand above the Tic Tacs, doubling the boxes.

"You're insane and you know it," he says opening the first box. I mirror him, giving him my most mad expression; The Joker has no chance against Niall Reynolsky.

"My dad is Hades, why do you think we have a hellhound at home?” He chuckles at the image of my dad being the devil and empties the content of the first box into his mouth. We get all four in, exchange encouraging looks and start chewing.

Shit.

I'm choking.

And I can't open my mouth otherwise it'd fall and I'd lose.

Dev is cursing internally too, I can see it; I want to laugh and scream and spit it all out.

I settle on the last, spitting maybe half of it on Dev who widens his eyes, tears rolling down from them. There's a middle finger in front of my face and I attempt to laugh, but my mouth is still too full, saliva gathering at the corner of my lips. I'm chewing, the taste too sour and too sweet it stings. I can feel my eyes watering.

Dev spits some of it on me as well, and with my wand, I send the pastilles to – I'm not exactly sure where, I just hope it doesn't land on someone’s head. Not because I have a sudden sense of humanity or anything, only because I wouldn't see it. I swallow the rest cautiously as soon as I'm sure it won't choke me, regretting my whole decision. From the look on Dev’s face, he regrets our whole friendship. I should have gone simply with tickling.

"Is it too late to want a new roommate?" he asks and I hope my middle finger is a good enough answer.

"You won't get rid of me."

"I hope not," he murmurs silently but I catch it. I grin, cracking my knuckles.

All at once, It's oddly quiet in here. I don't do well in silence, I need to talk, but Dev beats me to it.

"Don't you-" he starts hesitantly, not meeting my eyes. "Don't you think itsweirdwekissed?" he mumbles so quickly it takes me a moment to translate his gibberish.

"Why would it be weird?"

"Dunno...just."

"Bro. Are you denying it was the best kiss you ever had?"

Pause. "I don't.” He pointedly doesn't look at me, too busy studying his hands.

"Dev, are you blushing?"

"Sod off."

I shift closer, tilting his chin so he doesn't have any other option but to look at me. He meets my eyes, peering straight inside of my sinner soul and I don't know what he finds there, but I'm positive he's blushing even more. I drop my hand, not wanting to make him look more embarrassed than he already does. I meant it teasingly...but this is just... What exactly is this?

"Bro, I was your best kiss?" I ask disbelievingly. He looks extremely startled but doesn't reply. I go over the kiss in my head, remembering this possessive mode that switched on in my stomach and how I needed my Dev closer. My Dev.

I look him in the eyes, into those beautiful green eyes that could possibly replace the sky and everything within as long as I'm concerned.

I suddenly recall the light peck on my cheek from the night before, and Crowley, CROWLEY, the conversation I had with Baz yesterday suddenly makes sense. It all clicks.

IT CLICKS.

Gandalf’s pipe, I can't believe I'm this stupid.             

I glance at his pink bottom lip he's chewing on.

I need to be the one biting that lip.

I reach for him, grabbing him by his shirt and plaster our lips together.

He collapses onto me and I have to quickly alarm my reflexes to reach for the floor as a support with one of my hands, wrapping the other around his waist. He fists my t-shirt to get closer.

We're kissing. Merry Morgana, this is a completely different kiss than the one by the fire. That one was aggressive, this is purely sweet. Experimental. He's playing with my hair, threading his fingers through it and pulling on it. I meet his tongue with mine in a sloppy kiss. He tastes like Tic Tac and I smile into the kiss. It's perfect. I finally bite his lower lip, working my hands down his back, under the hem of his t-shirt. I rub small circles on his skin, making him shiver ostentatiously.

He's making those low needy noises and I think it's the best thing I've ever heard.

We're kissing and hugging and drinking in each other’s eyes lighted up by sharing a secret. For a few seconds, I'm just looking at the top of his head where his hair is longer than at the sides and my hand naturally ends up on his nape. He hides his head into the crook of my neck, tickling me and making me giggle. I'm petting him lightly, the buttermilk needles stinging my palm in an addictive way. He clings to me, my blond hedgehog. I chuckle at the terrible simile; it's getting more and more embarrassing inside my head.

"I didn't know you were such a cuddle slut, mate," I say in an attempt to bring some normalcy, yes brain, make new friends.

"Pfft, you're the one holding me, bro."

"You have a wrong person, I'm definitely not holding you." As I say this, I tighten my grip on him. Just to remind him it's me, not anyone else.

"Your dick says otherwise," he tells me innocently, making it sound kind of sheepish, and sticks his tongue out.

"I can feel your dick too so shut up."

He stays quiet. I trace some unartistic shapes on his back, the ones that wouldn't make Da Vinci quite proud. "This feels nice," he says contentedly after a little while, longing colouring his voice.

"The feeling of my dick?" I tease him, the opportunity too golden to just let it pass.

"Cut it out you horndog-" a slap on my back- "... I just meant this," he waves his hand in the air between us.

"Yeah," I say simply, sharing his sentiment.

He drops his head back to my shoulder and holds my neck on the other side, tracing my pulse. "Ni." His breath dances on my skin. "This isn't another game, right?" The trail of uncertainty in his voice snaps me right in the middle of the chest. No one's hurting Dev, that's the rule number one. I tighten my hold around him, lifting one hand up to cup his cheek.

"It's not, babe," I say and peck him on the nose. But I'm still me so I add: "But we can make it one. Do you think you can give me more kisses than I can give to you?"

 

Dev

Crowley, this fool.              

"I think you're used to losing by now," I smirk stealing a kiss.

 

Chapter Text

Niall

The world, you out there? You listening?

I have a boyfriend now.

Yes. You're seeing right, not a girlfriend. A man.

I have an amazing, beautiful, funny, good-hearted boyfriend.

And! My boyfriend is my best friend. The closest person to me, my ever-present accomplice in committing crimes. We've had each other’s backs since forever, and now we've refined it to holding hands as well. If I get too sappy, just tell me, ok? I won't listen anyway.

I open our front door, head poking into the hallway, and shout as loud as I can so even Baz three floors above us will inevitably have to hear it. "Dev, hurry the fuck up!" When Dev is in the bathroom, he takes an eternity. I don't get why, I've seen him sweaty after a match, I've seen him being sick, and I mean, we've been roommates for eight years so there is nothing decent to salvage anymore, and I don't exactly expect him to be all pretty for me. I just want the usual.

"I'm coming, sweetheart!" Gareth shouts back in a ridiculously sweet tone.

Rhys joins a second after with an imitation of a suggestive, flirtatious voice; the fake type Coach Mac uses when he's about to double the drills at the end of the practice. "Yes, wait for us! I want that quickie before dinner!"

"Watford brothel!" chants Gareth.

"I'm sorry but I'm afraid you can't afford a single night with me. Such a pity I'm too expensive!" I yell back.

"Looks like you two will have to entertain each other,” I hear Dev saying and I chuckle before closing the door. That's my sassy boyfriend. I'm so proud of him.

I think I should do something for him. Aaaaand I'm getting sappy again. I look around our messy room in search for some inspiration, but I doubt I could make him a bouquet from a stack of dirty socks... Or could I?

I could spell him a rose, what do you think? I've never given any flower to a girl, not once in my life.

Crowley, I think I'm turning into second Baz. I hope I won't start blushing all the time now. Morgana, that would be embarrassing!  

Dev catches me idly standing between our beds and the wardrobe, all plans for my big luscious romantic gesture flying out of my mind when he drapes himself over me, the wet towel between our chests.

"I'm here, I'm here," he says between kisses, manoeuvring his clothes along with the towel on the headboard, where – according to my hearing – it drops to the floor. He swears under his breath and stops the kiss to right his precious clothes. I'd tell him to just leave it for later but I've come to face his obsessive cleaning manners more times than I'd consider healthy, so sensibly, I stay quiet. In the meantime, I make myself comfortable on his bed, watching him with a grin, and then he's finished and he's smiling at me as if he's just got a free beer – or maybe I am the beer, I must be because he's throwing himself partly on the bed and partly on me with that beer-fuelled smile.

I immediately draw my hands around him, bringing him closer to me – let's call it a new, healthy obsession I want to overdose on, stress on the word healthy – and breathe him in. He finds the place between my shoulder and neck to hide his face in, his half-dry hair rests on my cheek.

"Mmm," he purrs contentedly and I drop a few kisses to his hair. And then just some more because I can't stop myself, and why should I?

Softly, he sighs and shifts, so now his hands are folded on my chest and his chin is resting on them. He finds my eyes before he blurts nervously, "You okay with this?" and waves his hand between us. I stroke his hair.

"Why wouldn't I be?"

" 'cause, well, I am a bloke?" That makes me chuckle, who would have known?

"I'm okay with it," I assure him.

"But...That's it? You're just – so calm."

Am I? Yeah, you're right, I guess I am.

"Do you want me to be freaking out and throw you out the window so I have time to think?" My attempt to make him smile doesn't seem to be working. "I don't need to freak out. I like you, I trust you and I reckon it's quite brilliant we took the whole concept of being bros to a higher level.”

He's looking at me as if I've just grown horns on my head or maybe on my ears, so I pull him closer and kiss his expression away. When he pulls back, he shakes his head and starts laughing.

"Merlin and Morgana and Chomsky ... and Fucking Wizard of Oz – who would have known that we two end up together?" He pinches me under my neck as if to make sure it's real, but I'm as real as I can be. He then kisses the spot he just pinched and I grab a fistful of his hair, moaning unashamedly loud.

"Babe..."

He groans in response; I've noticed what effect it has on him when I call him babe and I might be using it against him a little – massively little – but I'm already addicted to the sounds he makes every time. I have no clue how I managed to live without it before.

I manhandle him in a swift, fast move so now I'm on the top, kissing every spot I can reach and petting him, getting into the possessive mode again. I'm petting him all over his chest and stomach and arms and chest again and-

"Holy fucking Crowley’s arse is that-" I inhale eagerly, maybe too eagerly but hell take it all, and tug on his t-shirt, maddeningly rolling it up to his neck.

"Wow," I say pathetically for the lack of better words cuz just WOW I don't know what else to say. "You have your nipple pierced." I exhale and sit between his legs, pinning him to the bed with my hands so I can properly admire his chest.

"You wanker... For how long?"

"Two days..." he bites on his lower lip self-consciously and blushes. He is blushing because of me. Dev is blushing. Because of me. Holy fuck. I reach for it and twist the metal thing between my thumb and pointer finger.

He whimpers, "It's sensitive."

"Oh yeah?" I shoot him my best wicked grin before lowering my head to his chest. Firstly, I breathe on his nipple, my eyes never leaving his so I don't miss any reaction. He looks like he's just stopped breathing and sending me this hungry look of his which I can feel deep in my guts. I run my tongue across his nipple then, sucking lightly and blowing again, which earns me another moan and I need to hear it again so I repeat everything.

He crosses his hands behind my back, pushing me against him.

"I love this," I tell him breathlessly admiring my new toy. "Think we're gonna be a bit late for dinner."

 

Dev

We are indeed late for dinner. Simon has an empty plate in front of him and Baz is just finishing his. Penny is eating while reading a book, which would be quite alright - but please someone explain to me how she manages to be replying to Simon and never losing focus.

"Hello, ladies," we greet them, put our plates on the table and sit down, side to side. The last plates left were with fish and while Niall doesn't mind any food in particular, I absolutely hate fish. But I don't want to complain if that'd mean less snogging with Niall. I smooth my tie, suddenly nervous in front of our friends. Niall grabs my hand under the table and squeezes, a sweet gesture I appreciate very much. To be honest, I'm in that enamoured stage right now I'd consider every gesture sweet. Just don't tell him about it, the devil knows what he'd end up doing. I send him a small bashful smile, catching him winking at me.

"So, Niall, what have you been up to?" Baz asks in a provocative manner, one of his eyebrows pointedly risen.

"Oh, you know," Niall responds, stealing fish from my plate. Not that he'd already finished his, but I guess it has to do something with a better taste of someone else's food.

I will take some of his chips later.

"I suppose you didn't do a lot of thinking."

"No, I had better things to do," Niall says with a smirk. I kick his leg strongly for making me blush but his grin only widens.

Simon frowns at us and with a cup halfway to his mouth, he asks, "Like what? Studying is not considered to be ‘better’."

Dear Crowley, don't let Niall do something stupid right now. Dear Crowley, don't let him do something stupid in front of our whole school. Dear Crowley, don't -

"Not studying. This," Niall says and grabs me by the back of my neck and plants an open-mouthed kiss on my lips. CROWLEY YOU DICK YOU DIDN'T LISTEN.

Niall pulls away in time to see Simon coughing, choking on his tea, liquid drops falling to the table while the violent cough continues. He has tears in his eyes and it makes me feel a little less mortified. Actually, seeing him like this makes me chuckle, I'm a bastard I know. Blame Niall.

Baz doesn't move to help him, just keeps sitting opposite us with a self-satisfied, smug look. I can hear someone cat-calling, someone who sounds a lot like Rhys, but I don't turn. Niall is, of course, enjoying the show, he looks like he's just saved the world.

"Merlin, couldn't you wait one more month?" Penny says sullenly, handing Baz a handful of coins.

"Oh, that wasn't necessary." Baz takes the money, pocketing it, not even attempting to look sheepish.

"You've betted on us?" I ask incredulously.

Simon asks, still processing: "You knew?"  

Baz gives him a look which I freely interpret as "I'm offended you doubt my skills" and I really don't want to know how he knew.

Niall pats me on the back and we get back to our abandoned food, chatting idly about potions, dragons, singing posters and caves.

We leave the great hall together, shortly stopping only when Penny turns to the Cloisters. Soon after, Niall breaks into the run, screaming "The first one buys beer!" We join him, knowing Baz must finish as the first with his vampire powers if he doesn't cheat and go easy on us. He is the first, indeed.

"Captain’s on Saturday?" Niall checks with him.

"We should do something more memorable," Simon interjects. I exchange looks with Niall and he nods.

"Just bring beer, then."

We part ways, they take the stairs up and Niall grabs my hand, intertwining our fingers and leads me to our room. We meet some seventh years but they only slap our backs. I wonder how long it will take till my parents know I have a boyfriend. I don't doubt too long thanks to my brother’s mouth, and for a second I panic – what will they say? will they accept me? will they look at me the same? - but then Niall taps with his wand on our door and unlocks it, squeezing my hand with his other one. As soon as we're inside, I hug him tight, not caring about anything else but him. I won't give him up for anything.

I bury my hands in his hair, tugging lightly on his chestnut mane, and lean in for a kiss. I hear a distant thud of my back hitting the door and I chuckle.

"What," Niall grumbles with a raspy voice, kissing my jaw.

"Nothing," I lose myself for a while when Niall’s mouth travels lower and sucks on my neck.

"It's just- still surreal, finally admitting ...this. Being able to have it."

Niall looks me in the eyes, kissing me lightly on the nose. "For as long as you want ...it. Me," he says and wraps his arms around me. I hook my arms around him and push, leading him backwards to his bed, which is momentarily closer. I force him to sit, not wasting a second to climb into his lap and attacking his mouth, prying it open to push my tongue in.

"That's...gonna be...long," I say, giving him a kiss after each word.

We end up lying on our sides, fingers entwined, giving each other a squeeze every once in a while, and strangely, there's only one sock on my feet.

 

Niall

Dev’s mosh green eyes are giving me an intent glance and I don't need to look at anything else, ever.

"You have a whole pitch in your eyes," I whisper.

He smiles shyly, averting his look and I scoop him closer and wait until he looks at me again. When he does, I let his eyes be my whole world.

"Love you, babe" I blurt, surprising both him and me. His hand stops stroking my hair and his eyes widen; I must look just as startled as him. What the hell Niall.

I don't know where this bloody came from, but at the same time, I know I don't want to take it back now. So I wait.

"You do?" he asks with small hope.

I exhale, laughing wholeheartedly. "Of course I do, you fool," I say and pinch him on a cheek.

"Prick," he slaps my hand away and rolls his eyes for a good matter. After a minute of eye gazing, he whispers: "I love you too."

My smile turns into a grin and then we're laughing and kicking and shaking and wrestling and kissing.

"Crowley, we're so unbelievably thick," I say once we're back to acting like normal human beings.

"But Baz knew," Dev reminds me. I hum.

"Why haven't we… ever-?" Dev drifts off but I see what he means.

"Hmm… I-" I pause. "I think I've always loved you. I just think we were so obsessed with running after girls to realize it could be enough to have each other."

He kisses me.

 

Dev

I'm obsessed with kissing Niall.

He pulls me closer, possessively, and I love it.

During one unpleasant sobering moment when I'm reminded of reality, I ask, "Shouldn't we do homework?" hoping he says no.

He doesn't disappoint me. "Shut up, Dev."

***

 

Niall

"Pass the beer," I direct towards Baz but it's Simon who obliges.

"Thanks, mate.”

"Shouldn't we put hoods on our heads or something?" Simon asks, our rebelliousness clearly rubs off on him.

"Your hair alone makes you look like a hooligan, you don't need a hoodie for that."

"You like it."

"No one sane can like the monstrosity on your head."

I roll my eyes but restrain myself from breaking the news to Baz by telling him he is insane. Dev takes me by the hand, leans in to whisper "I like your hair," and pecks me on my left cheek.

"So, how are we doing this?”

Baz takes a long drag from his beer and looks at the pitch searchingly from the stand, our current strategic position. He takes out his wand and claps it on his palm a few times with a pensive expression on his face.

"I can make a template and then we use I want it painted black! together."

"Really Baz, Rolling Stones?" I say just for the sake of irritating him.

He sends me an unimpressed look and gestures with his beer in a welcoming act, "Oh, I will gladly take your own spell into consideration. Go on."

Dev sends him an ugly glare "Let's start before we get caught."

"Must it be black, though?"

"What- now that you're gay or whatever you want it rainbow?"

"How about orange?" Simon suggests. I strongly suspect…

"I'm not writing anything in fucking orange." …Yes, Snow's taken my side where the purpose in one's life is to irritate the hell out of Baz. See, it takes more than one person.

"Black is too emo."

"Baz is too emo."

"And you're all tossers, what a surprise."

Dev tries to interject yet again. "Black is good."

"See? At least Dev has a good taste."

"Oh, suddenly you like him."

"Only when he's responsible. So almost never."

"Baz, you're turning into an old bat."

"That was a nice pun," my sweet boyfriend admits and claps my hand.

"You two are so childish." The traitor Snow breaks our alliance – I will remember it for the next time, don't think I won't.

"Sod off, Simon."

"You all shut up right away. Let's work," Baz ends our banter and raises his wand. With a quick, elegant stroke he shapes a template of a sentence we spent an hour arguing about and lays it on the ground. "It's going to be in black. On three." He counts us down and we raise our wands together as one. The words filled with black slowly appear on the poorly lit grass.

Long live the queers.

"Coach Mac is going to kill us," Simon says, admiring our work. Our sentence is outspread all across the pitch in colossal magnitude, and the spell Baz used is protected against rain and any vanishing spells so it should stick more viciously than a normal paint spray.

We've actually just graffited our pitch.

 

Dev

I take Niall’s can and finish his beer. Niall takes it back from me and throws it at Baz who simply catches it with three fingers, crumples it like it's paper and lets it drop to his feet. "You're becoming predictable, Reynolsky," Baz says with no emotion and shows us his back.

I move my eyes back to the pitch, feeling powerful seeing what we've perpetrated without being stopped.

"Hey, Dev," Niall shifts closer, hugging me from behind and resting his head on my shoulder.

Leaning into him, I tilt my head to see his face. "Hm?”

He gives me the look. The devilish one.

"Are you a gay chicken?"

"Not bigger than you are," I tell him and bite him on the neck, not too softly, and receive a sharp gasp from him.

"Are you willing to prove it?"

I bite him again, making sure to leave a mark. "Isn't this enough?"

"I want everyone to see."

"How?"

"Come to the leaver's ball with me? As a date," he asks so surely without any hesitancy and with a smile, one of his fingers tracing feathery lines on my cheeks. I want to engrave his happy face to my memory, but then I think I don't have to, I can see his smile anytime I want.  He reads the answer in my eyes, smiles wider and leans in for a kiss.

"Of course we're going. Cannot let Baz and Simon win the prize for the cutest couple now, can we?"

"We have to show them who the most adorable motherfuckers are," he winks at me.

"They've been too much in the spotlight anyway. I think it's our time."

"Damn right," Niall says between kisses. "It's our time now, babe."

 

 

~The End~