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the First, the Beautiful, the Afterwards

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1 // the First

All I see is red. My blood is boiling and I feel like I’m on fire – for all I know, I really am. I’m storming through the hallways of the boy’s dorm, lengthening my strides as much as I can. I’m going to kill Baz when I get to him; though I suppose I’ll have to get him out of our room first so I can actually do it. That stupid, arrogant prick with his tricks and his stupid cronies and his angry-looking hairline – suddenly I’m in front of our door, and for just a moment I pause, and stand outside the door and simmer.

Baz is the reason that Agatha no longer likes me. Baz is the reason the Mage thinks I’m crazy – he never did believe me when I told him Baz was a vampire. Baz is the reason that Penny keeps giving me these looks, like she can see something I can’t. I don’t know how he’s the reason behind that, but I know he is. Baz is the reason that Penny and Agatha accuse me of being obsessed. Baz is the reason that I hate my own room. It’s all Baz’s fault –

I hate him.

…I think.

Sometimes, I’m not really sure. He infuriates me to no end, constantly humiliating me and showing off his big vocabulary and gorgeous wardrobe and good grades and perfect control over his magic. Everyone keeps making me out to be some kind of hero, the most powerful magician ever to walk the Earth, but compared to Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch III I’m hopeless. “A fucking tragedy,” he once told me. He’s right (as usual).

Sometimes, I see things I’m not supposed to, and they make me think that maybe I don’t hate him. Like that one time I walked into the room really quietly, planning on scaring Baz, and I heard him playing his violin. He never lets me hear him play, but he’s surprisingly good at it, and the music was beautiful. Or that one time when it was storming out, thunder and lightning, and a first year tripped on the pathway to the dorms and dropped all his books and papers. Baz had been halfway through the doorway, still perfectly dry, but he turned around and went back out and helped the boy pick up his things and spelled them both dry afterwards. Things like that make me think that maybe he’s not so bad after all.

But then I remember – he’s a vampire.

No one believes me, but I know it’s true. The places he goes at night, the way I’ve never seen him smile, the way he eats behind his hand, the way he’s pale and mysterious. It all fits.

We’re enemies, me and Baz – destined to kill each other, to be bitter rivals until the very end. He’s always hated me, ever since he first saw me, and he’s always been mean. But then, sometimes, I catch him picking up my papers off the floor, muttering to himself about my “insufferable habits” and my “obvious lack of organization”, and making my bed, and part of me melts. I normally push that feeling away – it’s weird to think about Baz in a good way. Like he’s my friend, or… something.

Just as I’m about to reach for the door (though now I’m not really mad anymore and I don’t know what I’d say), someone else opens it from the inside. “Honestly, Snow, are you just going to stand outside our door all night?” I glare at him and walk through the open doorway, heading for my side of the room. I flop onto my back and cover my face with my hand, my body still bouncing slightly from the used mattress springs. It’s silent in the room, the sound of our breathing the only thing disturbing the quiet. When I finally open my eyes I catch him looking at me, but when our gazes meet he quickly looks away. His skin looks slightly less pale than normal, and he is very pointedly looking at anything other than me. I’m full to the brim with questions and feelings and suddenly I’m tired. Tired of avoiding him and tired of exchanging insults and tired of feeling worthless – and before I know it my voice breaks the silence, joining in with the sound of our breathing.

“Why do you hate me?”

My voice seems unusually loud in our room, and Baz’s head whips towards me. For a moment he just stares at me, his expression blank. “…What?” he manages to get out. “Why do you hate me?” I ask again. He stares at me a little longer, then turns away back towards his desk. His eyes are narrowed and his eyebrows furrowed like he’s deep in thought. “Baz?” I question hesitatingly, because he’s not reacting at all like I thought he would and I don’t know what to expect anymore. He mumbles something under his breath, and I don’t catch it. “What was that?” I press. “I said I don’t.” I look at him confused. He sighs and repeats himself like it’s the most arduous task in the world: “I don’t hate you, Snow.” Silence once again settles over us as I process that information. “You don’t?” I ask him, now looking at him with curiosity and confusion. “No,” he whispers softly, still not looking at me. Neither of us move. Then I stand up.

His eyes flick towards me and he looks me up and down before finally meeting my eyes. “I don’t know if I hate you either,” I tell him. “Sometimes I do, I really do, but other times I feel like I don’t really know you, so I can’t hate you.” He stares into my eyes as I speak, never looking away, never blinking; it’s a little unnerving. His eyes don’t look blank anymore, but they don’t look angry or mean either. They look – full. He looks like he’s full of something, but I can’t tell what.

“You should hate me.” His voice sounds so cold, so pained and bitter and broken, that I can’t help but stare. “Why?” I ask, though such a simple question sounds dumb even to my own ears. “Because,” he whispers. “Because why?” “Because!” he yells. “Because you’re Simon fucking Snow! Because you’re my roommate! Because you’re the Mage’s Heir, and I’m a Grimm-Pitch. Because you’re the good guy, and I’m a monster, and you’re supposed to kill me.” He’s panting after his outburst, his face betraying pain I’ve never seen on him before. “I don’t want to kill you,” I admit (I’ve admitted it to myself before, but it’s the first time I’ve told him that). “I don’t either,” he mumbles back. For a minute we just stand there, looking at each other, but – maybe, seeing each other for the first time.

“Baz, you’re not a monster.” He looks at me disbelievingly. “I mean it! You’re not a monster… not really.” This time he outright laughs, though it’s not a pleasant sound. “Crowley, Snow, surely you can’t be this dense?” I flinch, because I thought we were getting somewhere and here he is insulting me again. He sees it though, and he walks towards me, clearing the distance between us in one, two strides and getting his face right up in front of mine.

“Say it again Snow. Tell me I’m not a monster. Look me in the eye and tell me I’m not a monster.” I stare defiantly into his eyes and open my mouth to do just that when he opens his mouth – and in that moment, all my years of suspicions are confirmed. I can’t help it – I gasp.

I take a step back.

He laughs again, cold and hurt and resigned, and flashes me a sneer, his fangs sharp and glinting in the dim light from our bedroom window (he never did like the blinds open). “C’mon, Snow. Say it again.”

“You’re not a monster, Baz Pitch. You’re not.”

His manic grin is gone and he’s looking at me again, his gaze full of disbelief and scorn. “Yes, I am,” he argues. “If my family knew what I was, they’d hate me. If the Mage knew what I was, he’d have me killed on the spot, as would most of the kids in this school if they found out, and – Crowley, even my Mother would have me killed, Snow! She’d probably do it herself! I’m the fucking tragedy, and you know it. You’ve known all along.” I shake my head and move towards him. “You’re not,” I tell him again, but he’s frozen stiff. For a moment I’m confused, and then I see where he’s looking. My hand is halfway to his face, outstretched as if ready to cup his cheek. I can feel my face heating up and I can’t read him.

“I hate fighting with you,” he blurts out, looking even more shocked than I do when he realizes that he actually just said that. “I hate fighting too,” I say, because I’m not sure how else to respond. I was trained how to fight, not make up with long-time roommate-enemies, and I really don’t know what I’m doing. But it feels right.

“Agatha likes you.” I don’t know why I said it, but it’s out there now. Baz looks at me, the faintest hint of disgust on his features. “I know,” he says, rolling his eyes. I look at him, disbelief plain in my eyes. “What do you mean, ‘I know?!’ Aren’t you happy? That you finally stole my girlfriend from me?” “We both know she’s not really your girlfriend, Simon.” I open my mouth to retort when I realize that -

“Simon,” I repeat, echoing him softly.

He’d drifted back towards his side of the room, but he glances towards me when I speak, confusion etched into his vampiric features. “Huh?” “Simon. You called me Simon. You’ve never called me that.” His eyes widen and for a moment I catch a glimpse of -oh shit- in his eyes, but then his back is to me and he’s denying the whole thing. “No I didn’t.” “Yes you did! You called me Simon!” “Don’t be silly, Snow. We’re hardly on a first name basis.” “And why is that?” I demand. “We’ve been living together for almost seven years, Baz, how come you still call me Snow?”

When he turns towards me, presumably to answer, his eyes are once again full to the brim with something I can’t quite name. Bitterness and hopelessness and… was that… hope? Desire? Fire? “Because calling you Simon is dangerous,” he whispers, so soft I barely catch it. “Why?” I whisper back, advancing towards him. “Why is it dangerous?” “Because,” he mumbles, “that’s too close to having you.” We’re a mere foot away from each other now, and I still don’t understand. “Have me?” Baz doesn’t say anything. He remains a stoic statue in front of me, unmoving, unfeeling – or maybe feeling too much – “You… want… me?”

Baz breaks.

He takes the final step and closes the distance between us, his face an inch away from mine and his hands gripping my shoulders tightly. His eyes aren’t hiding anything now, and I see things in his eyes so strong they scorch me. There’s pain and desire, and hatred (but not at me I can tell), and love, and I can just see the words IwantandIwantandIwantandIloveyoubutIcan’thaveyouandI’mburning -

His nose is almost touching mine. “I want you, Simon Snow. I want you so fucking bad. I’ve wanted you ever since first year, since the first time I saw you stumbling towards me, your hair a mess and looking horribly lost and confused. I wanted you even more second year, when you were still a mess, all the bloody time, and I fucking loved it.” I’ve stopped breathing – I’m completely captivated by this boy in front of me, pouring out his heart and soul. There’s something about him, and I just can’t look away. I should probably be worried.

I’m not.

He’s still talking. “And third year, when you were always hanging around with Bunce and Wellbelove, and fourth year, when you were yelling insults at me from across the courtyard. And even more fifth year, when you and I were getting into fights and breaking each other’s noses, and sixth year when you and I were getting into trouble, and all these years while you’ve been following me at night and failing at magic and just acting so fucking good, and looking so bright and beautiful, and I had to keep pretending to hate you, and keep hurting you, but I just really loved you, and I’m broken and burning-”

My hand is halfway to his face again, and suddenly I realize – and I laugh. I laugh and laugh and Baz is standing in front of me, squeezing my shoulders like he never wants to let go, and he looks like he really is burning. I’m still smiling when I look at him again, and I stare into his eyes and see all the way down into him, into his core, where he’s at his most vulnerable.

I love it.

I love him.

And I tell him that.

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2 // the Beautiful

Baz floods my senses until I’m overflowing. His body is so close to mine – I feel my magic buzzing through me and I drown in euphoric sensation. Baz’s eyes are moons, hanging clouded and alluring against his face, a pale white sky. My fingers reach out to touch but he grabs my hand. The skin-on-skin contact, no matter how innocent, sends my heart racing.

His silver eyes are staring at me now, boring into my own blue ones. I feel exposed, vulnerable –he moves closer. My lips part slightly as a gasp slips through them, and his eyes flick downwards. Slowly, after what seems like an eternity of Baz staring at my mouth, his eyes travel up my face, across my freckled nose and cheeks, and back to my eyes.

I can’t hold back any longer.

I shoot forwards, pressing my lips against his, and I’m drowning in that sensation of him again. He freezes, and then starts pushing back just as forcefully as I’m pushing against him, and his tongue follows the intake of breath that my lungs suddenly take in. My head is spinning and my magic is roaring in my ears, making it almost impossible to hear anything. Somehow though, his voice slips through my internal cacophony.

“Simon.” He breathes out my name as if it’s sacred, as if it’s anything and everything he’s ever wanted. “Simon.” My name rolls off of his lips, his tongue, again and again, and his hands are in my hair, his long fingers hopelessly tangled in my unruly golden curls. “Simon.” His eyes are half lidded and he’s breathing heavily, but that doesn’t stop him from gasping when I murmur his name back.

“Baz,” I whisper. “Baz, Baz, Baz.”

Our lips meet again and everything else disappears. In this moment, all there is, is Baz. Just Baz. My Baz. Baz, who’s beautifully dangerous and breathtakingly close and angelically mysterious. And maybe misunderstood too, because what we’re doing right now doesn’t exactly scream ‘roommates who hate each other’. This is the real Baz. The Baz who loves me and breathes into me and runs his hands down my chest and presses hot, open-mouthed kisses to my neck and jaw. My shirt is off, and I think his is too. I don’t know when that happened. I‘m pretty sure we’re on my bed, but honestly, all I can think about is his mouth on mine, and his tongue swiping across my parted lips, and his body just barely hovering over mine —

“Baz, Baz,” I moan into his open mouth. “Baz.”

“Simon,” he whispers back, his lips now pressing against my nose and cheeks and his forehead leaning against mine. His kisses are fluttery and light, soft against my skin. We both take a minute remembering how to breathe again as we simply lie against one another. My hands are in his now, our fingers intertwined. The room is comfortably lit, the only source of light being his ridiculously dim lamp on his desk. I suppose that’s because he doesn’t need much (if any) light to see. Vampire perks, I guess.

He exhales shakily and my eyes move to look at his figure, lying half on mine. His skin is a deathly shade of white, as usual, though his cheeks and lips are flushed and his eyes are closed, causing me for the first time to notice his eyelashes. They’re long and slightly curved, framing his eyes in the most beautiful way. I squeeze his hand gently, and his eyes immediately flutter open.

For what seems like forever he simply stares at our hands, still clasped together, fingers still entwined with one another’s. His fingers flex in mine as he turns our hands over on the mattress. I whisper his name again and he lifts his head ever so slightly to look at me. His eyes meet mine— stormy grey and icy blue, a clash of the elements — and I find myself breathless, unable to take in any air. He’s so perfect. Those prominent cheekbones, that angular face, that cut-from-marble chest… he’s absolutely beautiful. Amazing and handsome and flushed and scarred and cursed and—

“Beautiful,” I hear myself say, though I don’t feel my mouth move. His eyes widen, and he’s staring at me in shock and what looks like awe. For a few moments, neither of us moves. Then the corners of his mouth flick upwards, so small and fast a movement that I barely catch it. “Yes,” he breathes, leaning towards me once more, steely eyes boring into mine. “Beautiful.”

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3 // the Afterwards

I wake up with my head on Baz’s chest, rising and falling in a methodical pattern as he breathes deeply – in, and out; in, and out. I reach my hand up and trace his collarbone, his chin, his cheeks – every part of him I can touch. He shifts around on the bed a few times, but he doesn’t wake. I keep tracing, keep touching, until finally, I see that it’s just barely starting to get light out, and the sun isn’t even up yet, and Baz is so comfortable and warm and perfect –

I fall back asleep.

The next time I wake up the curtains are closed, and there’s just a small glimmer of light coming through the bottom. Something soft and warm is touching my skin, moving from place to place, and I realize oh- it’s lips, his lips, and he’s leaving soft kisses all over my body, and I shiver. The kissing stops and I open my eyes.

He must have switched who was laying on top of who when he got up to close the curtains because our positions are now opposite what they were. He’s lying between my legs, his chest on mine, his head hovering mere centimeters above my Adam’s apple. I let out a breathy chuckle and my hands rest on the back of his head, pulling him down on top of me all the way. I feel his lips curl upward against my skin and I can almost hear him smiling as he continues on his journey across my tanned body, kissing me all over my face, my neck, my chest. I think it’s random, but then I realize that he’s kissing my moles, every one of them, and it’s such a surprising thing that I stiffen underneath him. He stops and raises his lips off of my shoulder, looking at me questioningly. “You’re kissing my moles,” I say softly, a gentle smile on my face and my hands still resting on his head, in his hair. His face darkens ever so slightly, and I giggle and kiss his nose. He pushes me backwards and kisses my cheek, over and over, murmuring softly “Your giggle is cute,” and my cheeks turn red and he laughs and suddenly I’m completely awestruck. I stare at him, my fists tightening ever so slightly in his hair. He glances up at me. “Simon?” he asks. I open my mouth but nothing comes out. “Um, Simon? Snow?” I blink and look at him.

“Aleister Crowley,” I whisper. He raises a lone eyebrow at me. I blink again, and then shake my head in disbelief. “You laughed,” I say, wonder lacing my tone. “I’ve never heard you laugh.”

Baz looks embarrassed, and he doesn’t seem to know what to do, so I just laugh some more and yank him towards me and plant my lips on his and just like that it’s ok, it’s all ok, because we both know what we’re doing when we’re doing this, and it’s lovely and it’s real - and truly, I can’t help but smile into the kiss. He smiles back, I feel him smile back, and in that moment I feel like my chest will burst. Baz breaks off the kiss and gasps in a breath before swooping back in again, capturing my bottom lip with his teeth and gently running his tongue over my lips. Our mouths are open and our breath is hot, and we breathe in each other’s scent, each other’s touch, each other’s kiss, each other’s everything. We kiss and kiss and lay there and laugh and touch and love and honestly -defeating the Insidious Humdrum? Being the greatest and most powerful wizard to ever live?

They’ve got nothing on this.