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Boo'd Up

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Suffice to say, Zayn hates Halloween with his whole being. That one damned day of the year when everyone thinks it’s just so terribly funny to dress up and pretend like they’re “supernatural” being or other shit. One year, he tried to count all the people dressed as witches he saw and he got a headache from the number.

Living as a real witch in modern society isn’t that easy so you can see why he hates Halloween so much. When he goes out to the shops to get a pack of smokes in his basic black cape, people stare at him like he’s just ran out of a mental hospital but when the regulars do it on Halloween, it’s all fine and dandy.

In the past few years, Zayn decided he’s going to avoid going outside on Halloween as much as he can. When he was younger he even attended a few of those terrible Halloween parties since his non-magical friends begged him to, but it was a truly awful experience. Now he uses Halloween as a day to catch up on his potions, tidy up around his house a bit and just chill.

This year however, there is a slight disturbance in his peaceful ‘me time’ thanks to his cat.

He got Gwydion just a few months ago. Well, Gwydion got Zayn because he just started hanging around the garden and since Zayn’s not a heartless prick, he started feeding the little black kitten. It is a terrible cliché to have a black cat but Gwydion captured Zayn’s heart so sue him.  He named him after a magician from Welsh mythology and now the cat pretty much controls Zayn’s whole life.

Since Gwydion was a stray and he was used to running around, after he spent a few days sitting on all of Zayn’s window sills and meowing, Zayn decided to get a leash and start taking Gwydion out for walks. And Gwydion loves it so now Zayn has to walk him like a dog at least every few days as long as he doesn’t want to hear Gwydion singing sorrowful songs about his captivity.

Now Gwydion decides he wants to go on a walk on Halloween. At first, Zayn ignored the meowing but it gets truly unbearable after twenty minutes.

“You just won’t let me avoid the outside world today, will you?” Zayn asks while looking at Gwydion. The cat just meows again, as if he was saying a rude ‘No’.

With a sigh, Zayn puts the last of spider legs into his black cauldron that’s sitting on top of his stove, giving it a stir before turning the heat almost to zero. He won’t be long, the potion can simmer for a little.

“C’mon then, you spoiled little brat,” Zayn says, already walking to his front door. Gwydion dutifully follow him, the little bell on his collar jingling along.

Zayn puts on some boots and his black cape before strapping Gwydion into his cat leash. Considering what a diva Gwydion is, Zayn’s quite surprised the cat wants to walk on a leash.

They don’t even get to the end of the street before they meet at least ten kids going around trick or treating. Zayn doesn’t really mind the kids dressing up but adults should know better.

After walking for a few minutes, Zayn spots an adult. Dressed as witch. Complete with a pointy black hat and a damn live cat in his arms. For a moment he thinks it’s a fellow witch but when the man gets closer, Zayn sees the gaunty fake pentagram symbol hanging from his neck and he knows it’s just another fool going to a party. He rolls his eyes and decides not to get annoyed over it because it’s not like he could change anything.

Costume be damned but as they’re walking past each other, their cats start hissing at each other. The man is holding his black and white cat in his arms but it jumps out and lands right on Gwydion. The leash slips out of Zayn’s hand with the shock and the force Gwydion pulls at it.

It’s chaos from then, Zayn and the stranger yelling their cats’ names but they ignore them and keep fighting on the pavement like it’s the third world war. The stranger then makes the terrible mistake of squatting down and getting his bare hands in the middle of that cat tornado before Zayn can stop him.

“Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck! Ouch! Evie, what the fuck are you doing?” the stranger talks to his cat as he separates her from a very angry Gwydion.

Zayn sees Gwydion stare up at Evie in her owner’s arms and before he can jump and scratch the poor man’s face, he grabs him and firmly holds him in his arms.

“I’m so sorry she attacked your cat,” the stranger says. “I had no idea she would do that, she’s usually so nice to other animals.”

Zayn looks up at the stranger from Gwydion’s angry eyes. He notices the man’s long curly hair and damn him, the bloke is handsome.

“‘s fine,” Zayn mumbles while scratching Gwydion’s head. “This stupid little arsehole wasn’t being very nice either.”

“It’s alright, Evie started it,” the stranger chuckles and yep, he’s hot. “Anyways, what’s his name? So I can properly scold Evie about this later.”

“His name’s Gwydion,” Zayn smiles. The stranger might be a witch-costume wearing prick but he’s really good-looking. A little flirting never hurt anyone after all.

“Is that Welsh?” the stranger asks, his face lighting up with a smile.”

“Uh, yeah,” Zayn laughs because it’s a bit ridiculous, this conversation.

“Sorry, I just went to uni in Wales so I’m a bit emotionally attached to that place,” the stranger shakes his head with a smile. He outstretches his hand then for a handshake and Zayn notices blood all over it. “Out cats know each other, so I’m just gonna introduce myself really quick. I’m Harry. I’m nicer than my cat. Pleasure to meet you.”

Zayn takes the hand, eyeing the scratches on Harry’s hand that he no doubt got while trying to break up the cat fight. “I’m Zayn. Nice to you meet you, Harry. And you’re bleeding.”

Harry takes his hand back quickly, looking at the wounds. “Oh, yeah. I know. Would it be stupid to ask if you have some antiseptic on you?”

He grins, like his hand wasn’t mangled by two angry cats. Zayn lets out a little disbelieving laugh. Harry can truly keep being charming even though he’s losing quite a lot of blood. Those scratches must hurt too. Zayn would knows since Gwydion likes to stick his claws into his skin from time to time.

“No, I’m afraid I don’t,” Zayn says. “But it looks bad, are you okay? Do you, like… do you need to go to a hospital? That’s quite a lot of blood.”

“Oh god, no. No, I’m fine. It just looks bad cause it’s smeared,” Harry says as he examines his hand again. Evie hisses. Gwydion does too.

“Oi, will you shut up?” Harry asks Evie and holds her a bit tighter. “I’m really sorry for this situation. So embarrassing. And I’m sorry for holding you up, we’ll be on our way now.”

“No, it’s fine,” Zayn protests because it really is fine. He’s not in a rush and it doesn’t hurt to look at Harry either. But he is pretty fucking worried about Harry’s hand. “Are you on your way to like a party or something? Somewhere near where you can take care of your hand? Because these two little rascals have some nasty germs on their paws and under their claws.”

“No, actually,” Harry says, fixing his ridiculous “witch” hat with one hand. “I was visiting my god-daughter. She’s sick with fever and couldn’t go trick or treating so I dressed up and brough Evie along so she can play with her a bit. I should be getting home now since it’s quite the journey. I live on the other side of the city.”

Zayn smiles at that, seeing a little piece of Harry’s life and personality. He gets an idea then, one that’s quite risky but he would regret not giving it a shot.

“You know, I live like three minutes away,” Zayn starts carefully. “If you want to, you can get your hand cleaned there and I might even have some antiseptic… cream there. I promise I’m not a serial killer.”

Harry doesn’t seem discouraged or creeped out by the idea since he grins. “How about a first time killer?” he asks then.

Zayn plays along, displaying a smile of his own that’s gotten some people into his bed before. “Can’t know that yet, can I?”

“I guess I’m just gonna have to take a chance,” Harry smirks. “Lead the way then. But beware of Evie. If you try to kill me she will get her claws out and even Gwydion won’t be able to save you.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Zayn says as he drops Gwydion on the pavement and they start walking. “This little dum-dum needs his walk time because otherwise he will meow until I get a headache and walk him anyways so I’m hoping he doesn’t try to climb you like a tree to get to Evie.”

“No, don’t worry. He’s terrified of my witch costume,” Harry chuckles. “By the way, I love your cape! Is that a costume too?”

“Uh, not really,” Zayn hesitates. “Just a… sartorial choice.”

“That’s sick,” Harry says. “You know, if I weren’t in a costume right now, I’d be probably wearing something weird too.”

Zayn looks at him with raised brows, acting like he’s offended. Harry gets flustered, his cheeks heating up a bit.

“No, I meant it like… not what everyone wears kinda way,” Harry explains. “I wasn’t trying to imply your… witchy clothes have to be a costume. Fashion is a form of expression after all.”

“It is,” Zayn agrees with a grin. Little did Harry know Zayn’s ‘witchy’ clothes are actually witchy because he is in fact a witch.

They walk the rest of the way in a companionable silence that’s a bit strained because they are strangers after all. There’s no cat hissing so Zayn’s more than okay with silence as long as the cats are quiet.

Zayn stops walking in front of his house. “This is my place.”

“Doesn’t look like the house of a serial killer,” Harry remarks.

“Thanks?” Zayn chuckles as he opens the door. “You know what, I’ll just put Gwydion in the bathroom so him and Evie don’t start another fight.”

“You don’t have to,” Harry says as he tries to bend down to get his shoes off with an armful of a cat. His ‘witch’ hat falls down and Evie jumps out of his arms but this time, Zayn snatches Gwydion before she pounces at him.

“Trust me, I do,” Zayn says and he’s already walking to the downstairs bathroom. He puts Gwydion inside and promptly closes the door. He didn’t even take his leash off which will surely come to bite him in the ass.

Evie runs past him, Harry walking closely behind her, trying not be suspicious when he’s clearly trying to catch her.

“Harry, it’s fine. Let her run around,” Zayn laughs. “I’ve got the antiseptic in the kitchen. On your right.”

“Okay,” Harry smiles nervously, eyeing Evie who’s perched herself on the window sill before he steps into the kitchen.

Zayn’s walking close enough behind him to hear Harry’s quiet “What the fuck” when he walks in. After a second, he realized what made Harry said that.

In the middle of the stove is just simply hanging out a black cauldron. That has a potion being cooked inside of it. And the countertops covered with ingredients that a non-magical human probably considers quite strange.

“Um, sorry for the mess?” Zayn tries but he knows Harry is probably quite weirded out.

Harry turns around to look at Zayn, his eyes wide and mouth in a silent gasp. “Mess? What the fuck is this? You can’t tell me this is a Halloween decoration.”

“I, uh,” Zayn tries to say something but what could he possibly say to a stranger who just saw a brewing potion in his kitchen?

“Wait a minute,” Harry says. “You were looking at my outfit weird before our cats attacked each other. And you’re wearing a cape, even though it’s not a costume. And now this shit.”

In that moment, Zayn tries to remember the best spell to freeze a person and then erase their memory as well. He fucked this up majorly.

But Harry smiles slowly, a realization clearly showing on his face. “You’re a witch.”

Zayn’s left speechless. He just stares at Harry, lowkey hoping all this is just a vivid bad dream and he’s gonna wake up lying on his couch with Gwydion lying in his lap. But no, this is all too real.

“You’re a real life witch,” Harry continues, the smile still on his face. “And you were brewing a fucking potion. This is so sick! Wait, you are a witch though? Like, with powers and everything? You’re not one of those crazy people that worship the devil and scam people with tarot card readings? Because my mate dated one of them and it was terrible.”

“No, I am a witch,” Zayn says, still confused over Harry’s reaction. “You’re… you’re just okay with this?”

Harry shrugs. “Yeah. Why not? Unless you lured me here to use me as a human sacrifice I’m okay with it.”

Zayn lets out a disbelieving laugh. “No, don’t worry. I don’t do that kind of magic.”

“Great,” Harry smiles and then gasps. “You can like… heal my scratches, right? With a spell or whatever?”

Zayn laughs, shaking his head. “No, I can’t do that. But I do have a salve that will heal that for you.”

“Can you do spells?” Harry asks then.

Zayn walks past him, rolling his eyes. “Sit down at the kitchen table.”

He takes a clean towel and wets it with water, giving it to Harry before he opens a cabinet full of small mason jars. After he finds the right one, he joins Harry at the table.

“Yes, I can do spells,” Zayn answers the former question as he takes Harry’s hand in his. “Not like… whatever they do in the movies with pentagrams and shit.”

“Interesting,” Harry drawls. “Is Gwydion somehow magical?”

Zayn laughs as he applies the salve on Harry’s skin. “No. He’s a stray cat I adopted because he just wouldn’t leave my garden alone.”

“My mum saved Evie,” Harry says. “She was abandoned, left in the rain. She was just a small kitten. And since my mum already has a few cats, she gave her to me.”

“That’s sweet,” Zayn says before letting go off Harry’s hand. “There. Done. Leave it on for a few hours and the scratches should be mostly healed.”

Harry examines the hand, holding it out like he was looking at his brand new engagement ring or something. “Thank you. This is much better than a nasty antiseptic spray.”

“You’re welcome,” Zayn says. “I’m quite surprised you’re not… freaked out.”

Harry furrows his brows. “Why would I be? I always knew there was more to our world. And also that the whole fantasy genre didn’t originate in minds but had some basis in real life too. Not to mention the witch trials in the medieval and later eras.”

“That’s an interesting view to have,” Zayn says.

“Well,” Harry smiles. “It’s not the worst thing in the world to be optimistic and open-minded.”

“That’s true,” Zayn agrees.

An awkward silence falls upon them and then both nervously look around.

“Is this whole… magic thing also your job?” Harry asks after a moment.

Zayn wants to laugh but it would be rude considering Harry doesn’t know a thing about all this. “No. I’m a uni lecturer. You can’t really make a living with magic these days.”

“Do you wear a cape when you teach?” Harry teases and Zayn does laugh then.

“No, I don’t,” he answers. “But I do wear it just like… normally? I don’t know, I don’t find it weird since I grew up in a pretty close-knit community of… you could say old-school witches.”

“You know,” Harry starts, looking at Zayn while biting his lips. “I would love to hear more about you but I’d like to kiss you first?”

Zayn’s eyebrows shoot up his on his forehead and he breathes out a laugh. Harry’s cheeks get flaming red and he looks down, hiding his face in his hands for a moment and groaning.

“I’m sorry,” Harry says then. “I was being a bit forward but truth be told, when I agreed to come here I did it with the hope that you’d get your shit together and ask me out because you were flirting with me out there. And now you’re sitting here and you’re too fucking gorgeous and I hate myself right now.”

“It’s okay,” Zayn says with a smile. “I was flirting with you. And I would’ve asked you out if you weren’t trying to bleed out on me.”

Harry scoffs. “Bleed out. These little scratches. It’s nothing.”

“How about that kiss you mentioned?” Zayn teases.

“You know what?” Harry looks at Zayn with his head tilted to the side. “After that date you mentioned. I’m not easy. I won’t just get my kit off right here and happily hop into your bedroom. You might be a witch but that makes you no more special than any of my other sexual partners.”

“You’re already talking about ‘sexual partners’. A bit presumptuous, aren’t you?” Zayn teases. “But just for your information, my bed is quite comfortable.”

“I want to verify that for myself,” Harry retorts.

“You’re welcome to,” Zayn says.

xxx

“Are you fucking kidding me, Gwydion?”

“What did he do?”

“Your damn cat just brought in a dead rat.”

Zayn walks to the living from the kitchen, laughing when he sees Harry, naked like the day he was born, standing next to the back door with a disgusted look on his face. Gwydion is sitting on the doorstep, a fat dead rat laying right by his front paws. He ignores Harry and scratches Gwydion’s head, picking the rat up and walking back into the kitchen.

“What the fuck, Zayn?” Harry calls, now walking to the kitchen too. “Is that the behaviour you encourage your cat to have?”

“Yes, I need the tail for a potion,” Zayn replies calmly. He hears Harry scoff behind him and he tries to keep his smile in. He loves riling Harry up with regular magical things that Harry hasn’t seen before.

“You’re taking the piss, aren’t you?” Harry asks.

“Nope,” Zayn says as he washes his hands in the sink. He might need the rat but it’s still nasty. “Why are you still naked? It’s ten AM.”

“Well,” Harry huffs. “I wanted to drag my boyfriend into bed but little did I know he was up here brewing potions and having his cat bring him dead rats to his doorstep.”

Zayn finally drops the act, walking to Harry and wrapping his arms around Harry’s waist. “We’ve been together just two months and that’s not nearly enough time for you to learn about my potion brewing schedule.”

“Oh, you have a schedule?” Harry raises his brows as he wraps his arms around Zayn’s neck. “How about you create one that concerns us fucking so I don’t have to run around here with my bollocks out?”

“I don’t believe there’s a need for one since you’re always naked and eager,” Zayn grins and presses a kiss on Harry’s cheek.

Harry scoffs. “It’s not my fault. I’m never like this. You must’ve hexed me or something.”

“Yeah, course, I did,” Zayn rolls his eyes. “As if your mates didn’t tell me all about your exes.”

“Alright, that was one time-”

Zayn shuts up Harry with a kiss because honestly who talks this much at 10 AM in the morning?

“Didn’t you want to go to bed?” Zayn mumbles into Harry’s lips.

“Yeah,” Harry nods eagerly. “Yeah, I did. Sex’s much better than dead rats.”

As they stumble back upstairs while kissing, Gwydion meows in protest because those arseholes haven’t given him breakfast yet. He’s no peasant, he won’t eat the dead rat. Well, they will regret this morning sex once they come downstairs to see cat pee on the floor and a turd in Harry’s boots by the front door.