Two weeks after her confrontation with the Emperor, Luz returns to Hexside. She’s stayed away on Eda’s orders, waiting for the furore to die down and for Eda to confirm with Principal Bump that it’s safe for Luz to return. Luz has spent the time teaching Eda how to use glyph magic, and trying to get used to Lilith.
Now she’s back, and she’s grateful for the change of scene. Eda and Lilith are working on repairing their relationship, but they have a ways to go. There’s a level of tension in the Owl House that wasn’t there before.
She’s excited to see her friends again. Willow and Gus have visited her a couple times, but she’s used to seeing them almost every day at school. And she’s only seen Amity once. Her friend had showed up the day after she’d freed Eda, out of breath from hobbling all the way there on her crutches.
She’d seemed really worried, and Luz had been genuinely touched by it. But she was also concerned that Amity may have over-exerted herself. Her face seemed redder than usual, and Luz thought she might have a fever.
Amity hasn’t been back since. She’d explained to Luz that her parents were keeping her confined to bed until her leg healed. Luz has missed her, and she’s worried that, since Amity snuck out to see her, she’s made a bad impression on Amity’s parents. She hopes they won’t forbid Amity from spending time with her.
As she enters Hexside and makes her way towards her locker, Luz can’t help but notice that she’s attracting more than the usual number of stares. It’s even worse than when she first started at the school.
I guess it’s to be expected. A lot of them probably saw me escape with Eda, and those who didn’t will have heard all about it by now.
She’s relieved when she spots Willow and Gus. “There you guys are!” she exclaims, running up to them and pulling them into a group hug. “I’ve missed you. And it sure is nice to see some friendly faces.”
Her friends smile back at her. “We’ve missed you too, Luz,” Willow says.
“Yeah,” agrees Gus, “It’s been really boring around here without you.”
“What have I missed? I hope it won’t take me too long to catch up. Oh, hey Amity!” Luz’s attention shifts as she spots the other girl. “Your leg is healed! That’s awesome!”
Amity is getting her books out of her locker. When she hears Luz, she jumps as if startled, whirling to face her with her books clutched protectively to her chest. “Oh… hey Luz! You’re back!” she says, voice uncharacteristically high and loud. Luz notices that her face is red again.
“Hey Amity, are you okay?” she asks, approaching the other girl. “You look flushed.”
“I’m fine!” Amity squeaks. “I’ve… gotta get to class! See you later!” And then she practically speed walks away, in what Luz is pretty sure is the wrong direction.
“Huh,” says Luz, not sure what to make of her friend’s strange behavior. She turns to Willow and Gus. “Hey, is Amity okay? She was acting kind of strange just then.”
Gus just shrugs. “I’m sure she’s fine,” says Willow. She doesn’t appear concerned.
“Are you sure? She seemed kinda jumpy… and her face was really red. Do you think she’s sick?”
Willow shoots her a decidedly unimpressed look. “Um, Luz? She’s been acting like that for a while now. It’s not a new thing.”
“It’s not?” Luz searches her memory, but she doesn’t remember noticing anything strange about Amity’s behavior.
Willow just shakes her head. Gus looks confused.
“I guess I didn’t notice,” Luz admits. “Oh, no! This makes me a bad friend, doesn’t it? Something’s bothering Amity and I had no idea! I have to make it up to her! Willow, do you know what she’s upset about?” she asks frantically, grabbing Willow by the shoulders.
But Willow just shakes her head. “Firstly, you’re not a bad friend. You’ve had a lot going on lately. And second… it’s not my place to say. Why don’t you just talk to her?”
“But Willooooow …”
“Nope!” Willow cuts her off. “C’mon guys, we’re gonna be late for class.”
As the three of them enter their first class of the day, the classroom goes quiet. Luz can feel the eyes of the other students on her as they make their way to their seats. She does her best to ignore them.
Their teacher is surprised to see her as well. “Oh... hello, Luz. Good to… have you back,” she says, unconvincingly. Luz tries to ignore this as well.
She does her best to focus on the lesson but keeps getting distracted, trying to figure out what could be upsetting Amity. She remembers that Amity wanted to ask someone out to Grom. She hasn’t mentioned it since, but maybe something happened with her crush?
Or maybe it’s her parents. Maybe they don’t want her to be friends with Luz anymore, and that’s why she’s acting so strangely?
Luz really hopes it isn’t that, but unfortunately it seems likely. She knows a bit about what Amity’s parents are like, from seeing the memory where they forced their daughter to end her friendship with Willow. And she knows they were angry with Amity for going to see Luz while her leg was still healing. They’re probably even more against the idea of their daughter hanging out with a human who literally attacked the Emperor.
Luz frets about this for the rest of the period. As soon as the bell rings and they exit the classroom, she pounces on Willow.
“Did Amity get in a fight with her parents? Did they forbid her from speaking to me?!” she whispers frantically in Willow’s ear, clutching her friend’s arm.
“No?” Willow says, seemingly taken aback. “Not that I know of.”
“Oh, that’s good!” Luz sighs in relief. “Wait, you even said that Amity’s been acting this way for a while now. So it couldn’t be that. I’ve been worrying for nothing!” She smacks her forehead in frustration. “It must be about her crush, then.”
“Her… crush?” Willow asks, and Luz realizes that Willow probably doesn’t know about Amity’s Grom letter.
“Oh, shoot! Look, you can’t tell anyone, okay? You especially can’t tell Amity that I accidentally told you! But Amity wanted to ask someone to Grom.”
“And you don’t know who?” Willow asks. Her tone is suspiciously neutral.
“No… wait a minute!” Luz narrows her eyes. “Do you already know about Amity’s crush? Do you know who it is?”
“I don’t know anything,” Willow says, unconvincingly. But she’s saved by the fact that they don’t have the next period together, and need to split up to go to their respective classes.
“This conversation isn’t over!” Luz declares, as they part ways.
Her next class is with Amity, presenting Luz with an opportunity to go straight to the source.
“Hey, Amity!” Luz says brightly as she slides into the seat next to her friend, who is idly drawing something on a bit of scrap paper as she waits for the lesson to start.
“Oh, hey Luz!” Amity replies, hastily shoving the bit of paper back in her bag. She seems… flustered, Luz thinks, taking in her wide eyes and pink cheeks. She begins to worry that her presence is making Amity uncomfortable.
“Hey, are you okay?” Luz asks quietly, conscious of the other students. “I can sit somewhere else, if you want.”
“What?” Amity seems genuinely surprised. “No, of course you can sit here! WhywouldyouthinkIwantedyoutomove?” She says it all so fast, it’s a struggle for Luz to understand her.
“Oh, you just seem… kind of uncomfortable around me today, and I wanted to give you space if that’s what you need,” Luz explains, hoping she isn’t making things worse.
Amity’s face is really red now. “I… do?” she asks.
“Well, yeah. And I wondered if…” Luz drops her voice to a whisper, “Maybe something happened with your parents? After you came to see me? Like, maybe they forbid you from being my friend anymore, and you’re not sure how to tell me?”
She knows Willow said it wasn’t that, but she needs to make sure.
“Oh!” Amity says, and Luz could swear she sounds relieved. “No, nothing happened! They… actually don’t know I was visiting you.”
“Oh,” Luz says, somewhat reassured. “Okay.”
Their teacher begins the lesson then, putting a stop to the conversation for the time being. Luz takes notes half-heartedly as she mulls things over, every so often sneaking glances at Amity out of the corner of her eye.
So. It’s not about her parents. They probably don’t even know she’s friends with me, and that’s probably for the best.
Then it’s gotta be about her crush.
Luz quickly scribbles “Did something happen with your crush? Is that why you’re upset?” in the margin of her notepad and slides it towards Amity, gently nudging the other girl to get her attention. Amity reads it, and blushes harder than Luz has ever seen her blush before. Even her ears turn red. Luz can practically feel the heat radiating from her face.
She watches as Amity frantically scribbles in her own notebook. She writes something, crosses it out, writes something, crosses it out.
It seems as though the crush guess was a good one.
After a few more attempts, Amity finally settles on one and passes her notebook to Luz. The message reads:
I guess you could say that. Nothing’s happened, though.
The teacher glares at them, and Amity and Luz hastily resume paying attention.
For Luz, though, it doesn’t last long. Amity’s cryptic answer demands consideration.
So. It DOES have to do with her crush, but nothing specific has happened. Or is it BECAUSE nothing’s happened?
That’s probably it. Amity’s upset because her crush hasn’t noticed her yet.
Poor Amity, Luz thinks, it must be really frustrating for her.
Luz hasn’t given much thought to Amity’s mystery crush since Grom, but she finds herself wondering again who it might be.
Whoever they are, she must like them a lot, to be this affected by it.
Luz feels for Amity. It must be tough, to be super into someone and feel like they don’t even know you exist. She’s angry at this unknown person for upsetting her friend, for not noticing how amazing Amity is. Amity is great! She’s smart and talented and fun, and she’s become a much nicer person lately! She’s a great friend, and she’s really pretty. How could Amity’s crush not notice these things?!
Clearly they’re not good enough for her, Luz thinks darkly, whoever they are.
The thought surprises her. Who is she to judge? She doesn’t even know this person.
Wait a minute. Is she… jealous?
No, of course not. Luz dismisses the thought immediately. I’m just concerned for my friend!
The friend you shared a romantic dance with at Grom?
It wasn’t like that!
Now Luz is more confused than ever.
At lunch, Luz hurries to meet up with Gus and Willow. The other students are looking at her again - she can feel it - but she’ll deal with that later. She hasn’t forgotten that Willow seems to know more about Amity’s crush than she’s letting on.
When she reaches their table, she launches straight into it. “Okay, here’s what I know so far. Amity IS acting weird because of her crush, but she says nothing specific happened between them. And I still don’t know who it is. But I think you do,” she adds, looking pointedly at Willow.
Willow sighs. “I have my suspicions, but I don’t know anything for sure. And even if I did, I couldn’t tell you, Luz. I already said it’s not my place.”
“But how can I help her if I don’t know who it is?!” Luz practically whines, dropping her head onto the table for dramatic effect, “I just want to be a good friend,” she adds, feeling the need to justify her interest in this information. Whether this clarification is for Willow’s benefit or her own, she couldn’t say.
She raises her head again, looking at Willow expectantly. Willow just shakes her head.
“Look, Luz, I think if you-” she starts to say, but she’s interrupted when Boscha slams her hand down on their table.
“Saw you on the orb the other night,” Boscha says, loud enough for everyone to hear. The lunch hall is suddenly quiet.
“What were you even doing there?” she continues, “It’s not like it was your place to get involved. You’re not even from here. And now you’ve let that beast loose!”
“Eda’s NOT a beast!” Luz exclaims, incensed. “And-”
“Whatever she is, she’s a wanted criminal,” Boscha interrupts, “And so are you. Honestly I have no idea why they even let you come back to school. Why don’t you just leave already? Go back where you came from!”
Every eye in the hall is trained on the confrontation.
Luz would normally shrug off the insults and hit back with a snappy retort of her own. But Boscha’s words have brought it all flooding back - Eda’s capture, Luz’s fight with Emperor Belos, the destruction of the portal that was her only way home. It’s as if she’s back in that underground room, watching it burn.
She can’t go home.
She just sits there in the face of Boscha’s onslaught, feeling the walls of the room closing in around her.
“Boscha!” yells a familiar voice, “Back off!”
Luz snaps back to the present to see Amity, who has evidently just entered the hall, approaching their table at top speed. She’s angrier than Luz has ever seen her.
Boscha whirls around to face her. “Defending the human traitor, Amity? You really have gone soft. What would your parents say?” she sneers.
“She’s NOT a traitor,” Amity says firmly, “She’s the bravest person in this room.” She addresses that last comment to the hall at large.
Then Amity turns to Luz. “Come on, Luz,” she says, holding out her hand, “Let’s get out of here.”
And Luz, still feeling a little stunned, takes Amity’s hand and lets the other girl lead her out of the hall.
They find a quiet spot in the courtyard. Amity leads Luz over to a bench, and they sit down. Luz can’t quite work out what she’s feeling. She’s rattled from the confrontation with Boscha, and she keeps thinking about Amity and the way she came charging in, full of righteous indignation, ready to defend Luz in front of everyone. She's never seen Amity act like that before.
Luz usually thinks of herself as the one who does the rescuing, but she's grateful for Amity's intervention. It's nice to know that someone has your back.
Her face feels warm, she realizes, and there’s a strange fluttering sensation deep in her chest.
“Are you okay, Luz?” Amity asks, bringing her out of her reverie. Luz nods vaguely. She looks down at their hands, and realizes that Amity is still holding hers.
Amity must realize it as well, because she quickly lets go with a murmured apology. Luz feels an odd sense of loss as Amity withdraws her hand.
“I hope I didn’t overstep,” Amity continues. “I know you can handle yourself. I just - seeing her treat you like that, I just… got really angry.”
Luz is having trouble focusing on the conversation. She’s not sure why, but Amity’s nearness is a lot more distracting than usual. Their faces are close together as Amity leans in, looking at Luz with concern. There’s a small furrow between her brows, and Luz wants to reach up and smooth it away.
Has Amity always been this pretty? Her pale skin seems to glow in the dappled light of the courtyard. The confrontation with Boscha has left her with a little color in her cheeks and a few hairs out of place. It’s a good look for her, Luz thinks.
“Luz?” Amity asks again, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m okay,” Luz says. She looks down at her hand, still halfway between them on the bench. She wishes Amity would hold it again. “And… thanks.”
“No problem,” says Amity, with a tenderness that makes Luz’s heart speed up.
Luz keeps her eyes down. “She… told me to go home," she explains. "And, well, it reminded me. That I can’t.”
“Oh, Luz,” says Amity, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “We’ll help you find another way.”
“I know. I just… I need a minute.”
“Of course,” says Amity.
They sit in silence for a few moments longer, and then Amity scoots closer. Slowly, carefully, she puts her arms around Luz, who immediately leans into the embrace.
The hug is immensely comforting. Amity is soft and warm and she smells nice, and the physical contact helps to ground Luz. She rests her head on Amity’s shoulder. It feels right. It feels… good.
Really good, actually.
She doesn’t want it to end.
Then Luz remembers that Amity likes someone else, and it’s as if someone’s just thrown a bucket of cold water over her. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem right to be hugging Amity like this.
She pulls away. Amity is blushing. Luz can feel that she is, as well. She hopes she hasn’t made Amity uncomfortable.
“You should probably go and eat before lunch is over,” she says, avoiding Amity’s gaze. “I’m just going to sit out here for a little while longer.”
“Okay,” says Amity, sounding reluctant. “If you’re sure.”
Luz nods. Amity leaves, and Luz, unfairly, wishes she’d stayed.
She sits there, connecting the dots with a growing sense of panic. Replaying the hug, the scene in the hall, her admiration of Amity’s beauty. The fluttery feeling in her chest. Her jealousy whenever she thinks of Amity’s crush.
The conclusion is obvious and inescapable. Luz feels like she’s been hit by a train.
I like Amity. As more than a friend. I have a crush on her.
Amity has a crush on someone else.
Oh, I am so screwed.