Baz woke up to the sound of bells jangling obnoxiously. His head throbbed. Vampires didn’t get hangovers, or so he thought...He must’ve drank himself to death. As if. With his metabolism he was sure that whatever pain he was feeling now would be gone within the hour, that is, if he could just deal with whoever was interrupting his rest. Didn’t he lock the door when he got back last night? It’s a weekend, who would be here? He stood up, letting a blanket slide off and to the floor. He’d pick it up later… How did he even get home last night? Pausing, he eyed the blanket suspiciously. He snatched it up and sniffed it, there were faint traces of leather…and cider. He hates cider. There isn't time to consider this, there were scuffling noises and low voices coming from the front room that needed to be dealt with. Sighing, Baz tossed the blanket back down, and opened the door, squinting against the barrage of light. He definitely didn't come home alone, he never drew the curtains in the backroom to prevent the morning light...
There was a wordless shout and suddenly Baz found himself being knocked back into the room, almost tumbling to the floor, his arms full of someone and their arms cinched around his waist, squeezing. He blinked, trying to orient himself against the light as an overwhelming sweetness filled his senses. His sinuses burned. Unruly dark hair tickled his chin from where its owner had their face buried in his chest.
There was barely a moment to stammer it out before the owner of the name reared her tear streaked face back to look Baz straight in the face. She looked furious. Baz wanted to laugh. He was delighted to see her, and terrified. Baz loved Penelope Bunce. Her friendship meant almost as much to him as his relationship with Simon had. Joy bubbled up in his throat and he could feel his lips curling up into a smile-well, they were until Penny pulled back entirely and started pummeling her fists into his chest.
“YOU! DICK!” she cried.
This was what he was scared of. Sighing and closing his eyes against the sun he let her go at it. It didn’t hurt. Vampires could be hurt, Simon proved that to Baz when he broke his nose in fourth year. Penelope just wasn’t trying hard enough to actually hurt him. He wasn’t awake enough for this really…
“Bunce. What did I do to deserve such violence so early in the day?”
He stopped her hands with his own, holding them loosely between them. Baz had wanted to be best friends with Penelope. He had started to consider her a crucial part of his own little family outside of Watford and the Grimm-Pitches after graduation. At that point in time his view of family had included Simon as well. Simon didn't like Baz though, never really viewed Baz in that way... You can see why Baz decided it was for the best to stop talking to Penelope. She was Simon’s best friend for a long time and would definitely dislike Baz as well if Simon did. There were years of proof from their time at Watford. They were an inseparable duo. Baz was just an outlier, an appendage easily removed .
“Basilton!” She was clinging to his hands now. “It's almost midday! THAT'S BESIDES THE POINT” Merlin, he forgot how loud she could be when she wanted to be,”-I can't believe you stopped talking to us and avoided me for years because this one is a dumbass!”
She huffed out in indignation, obviously unappreciative of Baz’s attempted casualty. ‘This one’ must be referring to Simon, which means that Simon must be here, again . Simon Snow was back. Baz glanced over Penelope’s head towards the dark silhouette standing by the front entrance. The light was too bright, Baz had to squint to make out the sullen yet sheepish look on Simon's face. The air left Baz’s lungs, his chest hitching. Baz could feel his face twitching into a sneer, Simon’s eyes widening at the sight.
“None of that!” Penelope still had fresh tears on her cheeks but her usual determined expression had returned. Crowley , Baz missed her, glad to see a familiar expression even after so long. Although, it was directed at him. She slapped both of her hands to his face, squishing it as she pulled him down to eye level. He was actually sneering now, maybe he didn’t miss her.
“Basilton. Simon needs to talk to you, and I need you to listen to him. It’s very important.”
He tried to argue, her hands squishing his face made it difficult to speak. “Bunce-”
“No. Listen. You two are going to talk here and now. If you don’t talk then I am going to spell you two to a boat and push it out to sea. Your hands and feet will be glued to the bottom and you won't be able to save yourselves until you talk. So make your choice. Talk now or ship off”
It may have been a while but he knows when Penelope is being serious, she's someone not to take lightly when magical threats are involved.
“Alright Bunce, but I need a coffee first.” He forced out between her hands. This headache was only going to get worse, he could just tell. Simon probably felt bad for breaking up with Baz and showing up again after all this time. Simon had a good heart, he couldn't just leave well enough alone. Baz wishes he hated him for it. He didn't.
Baz made eye contact with Simon. He had that ‘we won't take no for answer’ look, his jaw jutted out stubbornly. If Simon wasn't going to go then he might as well come in and make a mess of Baz’s life again. There was a reason Baz avoided them both for years, not just because he was hurt and heart broken, but because he was a weak man to the pair of them. He always hated that about himself…
Whatever Snow and Penelope were feeling about Baz currently would be easily placated once Baz reminds Simon that he isn't actually a dumbass. He would just be himself and Simon will remember how much he hates Baz and will leave, or Baz will...It shouldn't be too hard. All he would have to do was thank Simon and then let him go.
This was fine.
Baz was fine.
“Come along, Snow.”
After Penny had released Baz, Simon followed Baz through the office to a stair that led up to what appeared to be Baz’s current flat (the floral pattern fainting couch gave it away). Simon half expected Baz to be leading him out a back door to go to a coffee shop or maybe even to try to escape talking to Simon entirely...
Simon stood awkwardly just inside the closed door at the top of the stairs, watching as Baz busied himself around the small kitchen located along one of the walls of the small apartment. The space itself pulled Simon's attention after it became apparent that Baz wasn't going to say anything until he made his coffee. The machine gurgled in the background as Simon looked around. The flat was smaller than Simon remembered Baz’s bedroom at the Pitch estate being. There were only two other doors aside from the one Simon stood in front of, probably led to a bedroom and a bathroom. Surprisingly almost everything was white with a few little pops of color here and there.
He wondered if this was what Baz’s apartment had looked like back when they had been dating...he had never gone over so he didn’t know...Did Baz have a favorite color? There were minimalist decorations around the space, otherwise empty walls were decorated in pinks, blues and greens. He didn’t know Baz preferred this to the creepy dark goth style of the Pitch mansion, he had always just assumed- and that was exactly Simon's problem wasn’t it.
He was always just assuming.
He was here for a reason, he turned his attention back to Baz.
“Baz, we need to talk”
Baz had his back to him as he pulled a mug out of a cupboard, “so Bunce has said.”
“ Baz.“ Was he really not going to turn around ?
Baz was filling the mug with coffee now, back still turned and rigid. His hair hid his face from Simon’s view. There was a time Simon would have stepped closer. He would have dragged Baz into his orbit and forced him to look at him- Oh Crowley, he had already done that hadn't he? The last time he was here. That was something he tried not to do anymore. To anyone.
He shifted his weight unsteadily, “look, Baz, I need to apologize-the other day-“
“You know Simon.” Baz spoke clearly, cutting Simon off, his back still turned as he puttered around his kitchen, taking an awfully long time to make one cup of coffee. He was adding so many things to it Simon wasn’t sure it could even still be considered coffee.
Simon had seen him take less time to make a cup of tea.
Why didn't he just use magic?
“I should be the one to apologize,” Baz said as he turned around, looking down casually into his mug as he stirred what was probably a ridiculous amount of sugar into it, “ I forgot to thank you.”
Simon clenched and unclenched his hands, trying to relieve some of his tension.
“Oh yeh? What for?”
Baz looked up over his coffee as he took a sip. His eyes were clear and sharp, the cool grey of storm clouds yet without the lightning. Simon watched as Baz set the mug down, tongue darting out over his lips (no fangs?) before they turned up into a smile.
Simon felt hope bubble up inside him. Baz’s nonchalance was starting to make Simon wonder if Baz had actually been upset the last time he saw him. He didn’t appear to be upset (yet) or trying to throw Simon out (yet), maybe Baz would be more willing to talk and hear him out than Simon had thought.
Penny was right.
“I wanted to thank you for breaking up with me.” The smile took on an edge, almost a sneer with the way it looked like Baz’s features were fighting the expression. No fangs in sight but Baz’s mouth still cut him.
Penny was wrong.
Simon swallowed. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at the floor. Right . That answers his question of whether or not Baz actually wanted to break up, if Baz actually had loved him back then? He had wanted to ask if Baz hadn't been let down by Simon irreparably. Simon could feel heat creeping up the back of his neck and prickling at the back of his eyes. This wasn’t going exactly how he had pictured. How had he pictured this going anyway? He’d apologize for breaking up with Baz, ask him if he had really meant it, if he hadn’t been with Simon out of pity. Ask if he had fucked everything up too much to be able to have Baz back in his life. For Penny to have Baz in her life. Penny wanted Baz at her wedding. Baz would talk to him and say okay and then maybe Simon could start working on making it up to Baz for being such a fuck up. Maybe they could get a second chance…
Simon had practiced with Penny about what he would say to the point she had to leave the room out of frustration, calling Simon the ‘world's biggest bi disaster’. Penny had told him to be patient, to take his time and listen. In all the scenarios he imagined he found himself comforting Baz, the same Baz who had looked at him with so much pain in his eyes. They would finally have a talk where Simon could articulate how he felt. He could apologize for how he was. He could finally hear Baz’s feelings that he had so willfully ignored before. The one thing Simon hadn’t imagined was this: Baz treating Simon today as though nothing had happened. As if Simon hadn’t made him cry a little over a week ago. Maybe it had been a trick of the light before...
Even if things weren’t going how he expected, had hoped , Simon wasn't going to react. Baz may not care about Simon anymore but Simon wasn’t going to make this worse than it already was. He already ruined things between them once. He wouldn’t let his own disappointment and shame get in the way of trying to make things right, atleast where it pertains to Penny. Baz obviously wants nothing to do with Simon anymore.
“ Right.” He forced out, trying not to let his emotions control him like he had before, couldn’t let the hurt and frustration show. Baz hadn’t loved him, didn’t love him now. Baz was glad they broke up. He said thank you. Simon had to reword his apology now. He looked up and met Baz head on, “I’m here to apologize because I didn't get to tell you I was actually looking for you the other day.”
Baz was leaning against the counter, his body angled back towards the cupboards like he couldn’t stand to be anywhere close to Simon.
“Oh? You really must be a dumbass then, Snow. I did ask you if you needed anything from me” He said, looking towards the window and taking a sip of his coffee.
Baz was acting as though no time had passed, like they were still at Watford. Old school mates having a casual conversation. Why did Simon listen to Penny? Had Baz actually been on the verge of tears the last time Simon saw him? Baz had never felt so far away. Had Simon just imagined it all. He must've. He was going to choose to ignore the insult. If Penny asks, he's going to say they talked about their relationship.
“Penny is getting married.”
There was a small clatter as Baz set down his mug on the counter and turned. Some of the liquid sloshed over, dirtying the white countertop. “ To Micah?” He was looking at Simon now. Face unreadable in that way that always annoyed Simon. Or would have. Simon knew now how to not let others push his buttons.
“No. Someone else. He’s nice though.”
Baz nods, a soft expression falling over his face.
Baz used to look at Simon with that expression. Or at least Simon thought he had. The heat was rising up the back of Simon's neck again, the stinging behind his eyes burned. His eyes felt so dry. If Simon still had magic he would swear he was blurring at the edges. He had to leave now before he went off. He had to get this over with. He dragged a hand through the short hairs at the base of his neck, looking away as Baz cleared his throat.
“So. Will you come?”
Baz’s expression is frozen when he looks back. “Who- with you?” Baz’s lip starts to downturn.
Shit Simon fucked up.
“No-I mean, Penny wants to invite ya.”
Baz’s lips flatten to a straight line. “And this is why you came to look for me the other day?”
Simon nods, sheepishly. It wasn’t necessarily a lie.
Baz stared at his coffee before replying. His very familiar expressionless mask slipping back into place as he looked up at Simon.
“Very well, Snow. Let her know I would be honored to attend.”
Simon sucked on his teeth. Maybe he still had some buttons left to push. Only Baz had ever been able to push this one, and he knew it.
“ Great . I'll let her know so she can send you the details.”
He turned to leave and then looked over her shoulder at Baz. Baz was just watching him go, mask securely in place. As always.. Simon was just ‘Snow’ after all. Why would he get a smile like Penny did? The disappointment and hurt was palpable in his chest. Consider Simon pushed.
“You’re welcome by the way,” he tossed out. A crack appeared in Baz’s mask, an eyebrow arching beautifully in question, a flash in his eyes. Simon ignored it and opened the door to the stairs that would take him down and back to Penny.
“Glad I could save you the trouble of breaking up with me.”
With a curt nod when asked ‘did you two talk?’ and shake of the head to ‘is Baz coming down to see us off?” Penny and Simon headed out. It wasn’t until they reached the next block over that Simon realized he had fucked up. Penny yammered in his ear from the second the door closed behind them, about how happy she was to see Baz, asking if Baz said anything about why he disappeared for five years and was it because Simon broke his heart? She knew that was why...She was glad they talked, glad Baz was going to come to her wedding. She would stop by again, Simon should come too. He’d nod along, going with his lie that they talked everything out and then just never come back again, except...
Simon had fucked up.
He stopped walking.
“Shit. Penny. I have to go back”
“ Wha- but Simon?”
“Go on ahead! I’ll see you at dinner!” He turned and ran back down the street.
Once again, Simon Snow was a dumbass. Not only was he a dumbass but he was also a bit of an asshole. After dating Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch for almost a year and living with him for much longer, he had learned a lot about the other boy.. It was just the same as five years ago. He had felt so incompetent and been so lost in his own world of self-loathing and confusion that he forgot. Baz wore a mask of disdain and boredom when he had bullied Simon for attention, saying cruel things to push Simon away before he would dare to say what he really meant, or what he really felt. Baz wasn't the mask he wore. Simon really was a disaster.
Simon had seen Baz when he was soft. Those moments of softness became so frequent when they first started dating and then became rare the longer they went on. He had seen the looks of hurt and fear Baz had sent Simon's way when he thought he wasn't looking. Had noticed in his periphery when Baz stopped himself from reaching out, the aborted outheld hand when they had walked in the street, played off with a laugh and a cruel joke, the mask slipping back into place. Back then Simon took that mask at face value. If Simon really thought about it, when had Baz ever really been assertive about how he was really feeling, and if he had, then had Simon snuffed him out? Was he too caught up in trying to maintain their ‘norms’ that he forgot that he actually knew Baz? The first time they had ever kissed Baz had lied right to his face about what it meant to him only to later say that he had wanted it for a long time.
When had Baz ever been honest to Simon in regards to his feelings to Simon?
When had Baz ever pulled instead of pushed?
He thought he was going to drown in his own thoughts as he ran back around the corner. He had seen the flash of something more behind the mask, he had struck a low blow. Crowley he just kept fucking up. Baz was just being a dick as usual to throw Simon off his trail and Simon fell for the bait.
He just wanted Baz to pull him.
He needed him to just tell Simon what he felt for once.
Simon Snow was a terrible boyfriend to Agatha but he was a downright shit boyfriend to Baz. It made Simon mad. Mad that it took him over five years to realize that all those times that mask slipped into place and Baz said something cruel or said nothing at all was just to push Simon away. Or maybe it was to hang on.
His heart was making its way up his throat and he felt like he was going to be sick. As he yanked open the door to Baz’s building, it occurred to him that everytime Baz had pushed maybe, just maybe he had wanted to pull, to stay.
Simon was the one that didn’t even try to hold on.
He was the one that told Baz to go.
The door swung idly in Simon's wake.
Clearing his throat, Baz swallowed.
If there were tears making their ways down his cheeks then Baz ignored them, staring out the window. Coffee forgotten.
He did it.
He thanked him.