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On Dreams and Reality

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“Penny. I saw Baz.” 

The mug Penny was washing clattered to the bottom of the sink, Simon hoped she didn't break it. He liked that one, it was shaped like a pig,  with a snout and everything.  Hands dripping with sudsy water, she spun on him, spraying little droplets all across the kitchen counter island. 

“You WHAT?!” 

Simon shrugged sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck, avoiding her eyes. 

“I went to see Baz so I could invite him to your wedding…” 

He tapered off a bit at the end and looked up, trying to gauge her reaction. 

She was going to burn a hole straight through him with the look in her eyes alone. 

“Simon. In what reality would you think I wanted that jerk at my wedding?” her gaze was cold. He couldn’t really tell if the look was directed towards him or towards Baz. When he and Baz first broke up Penny had taken it a lot harder than he would've expected, it probably didn’t help that Baz dumped Penny’s friendship at the same time. ‘ But you two twats have been at each other for years! Anyone with sight could see it! Why Simon? Did he say anything?” She always did ask a lot of questions. Simon had shrugged and shook his head. He wasn’t about to talk to Penny about why he broke up with Baz, at that time he was just hoping she wouldn’t want to leave too after she realized how much he was dragging her down. 

“You were friends!” 

“So!? We aren't now !” 

“Yeah but you could be!” 

“SIMON! Why the fuck would I want to be friends with the guy that dumped you?!” 

“He didn't dump me!” 

“SIMON, of course he did! Otherwise he would still be here wouldn't he!?” 

Penny rubbed at where her glasses rested on her nose, ignoring the fact that her hands were still dripping wet. A soap bubble got on her nose. 

Spinning a bit on the bar stool, Simon worried his bottom lip, “ Technically when we broke up, I dumped him...before he got the chance to dump me, figured it’d be easier that way. He was definitely going to Penny, definitely. He was being too nice to me.”

She sighed and leaned back against the sink, crossing her arms and looking up at the ceiling. Thinking...or maybe praying? He couldn’t tell if the look on her face meant she was going to start crying or yelling.  He didn’t like when Penny got quiet like this, usually the next time she spoke it was to tell Simon he was an idiot. Both Penny and Baz never held back when they thought he had done or said something stupid. He wasn’t an idiot. 

“Simon-” he held his breath as she uncrossed her arms a minute later, laying her hands on the counter top across from him, leaning in. The soap bubble was still there. 

“You are an idiot.” 

There it was. 

He pushed himself back from the counter, sitting upright, indignant. “Why? I'm not an idiot Penny!” 

“You are! How has it been four year-”

He cut in “five.”

She rolled her eyes, “five years and you are just now telling me that you broke up with Baz?” 

“I told you the day it happened Penny!” 

“You said, and I quote: We broke up! Then burst into tears and cried for the rest of the night!” 

“See!” 

“Simon! Do you not understand why you are an idiot?!” 

She was staring at him with something burning in her eyes, ready to pour out. 

“I am not an idiot Penny!”, the words ground out from behind his clenched teeth. 

“For snake’s sake Simon! Baz was being nice to you because he loved you!” she growled back.

“I’m telling you Penny. He was just taking pity on me back then! He loved who I was , not what I had become. I was holding him back! I was-” 

Simon can't bear to look at Penny anymore. So he doesn't. He puts his head down on the counter, covering it with his arms. He had come to tell her he saw Baz because he had to ask...he needed advice. Seeing Baz again-hearing Baz say Simon’s name like that, like it hurt . Simon thought that- he had thought- the kindness was just Baz taking pity on him...wasn’t it? There was no way Baz could have actually still loved him after Simon lost his powers. Not after Simon couldn't get it in his thick head that he was Bi.

 

Simon was in love with Baz and he had fucked it up. Big time. Because he couldn't get over himself. Couldn't get over the fear of what others were saying. Whether or not he was still interested in girls. He was so confused and just-well, he was scared. So scared. Scared by how much he wanted Baz. Scared of how jealous he had become when he saw others appreciate Baz when they weren't looking with sneers at the boys holding hands. He wanted Baz only for himself.  To look only at him. He wanted to hold Baz closely and never let go but he also couldn’t stand to be touched by him. Couldn’t stand to not be touched by him. He didn’t know what he wanted. He had just been in a relationship with the most beautiful girl to walk through Watford's gates for the last three years and now he was in a relationship with the most beautiful boy?! He had never been so jealous when he was with Agatha. Hadn’t wanted her as much maybe. Simon hadn’t had the time to process what that meant-about him-about Baz-about their past. It caught up to him.  

He fucked up. 

He had pushed Baz so far away, was so sure Baz was done with him. Baz was going to end it any day.  

Maybe.

His therapist had always asked, “did you ask him if that was what he wanted?” whenever they broached the topic. Simon had just sworn adamantly that Baz didn’t want him anymore, there would’ve been no point in asking him what he wanted. It was clear what he wanted. At Least Simon had thought it was clear...

Simon Snow is a dumbass. 

Penny was right. 

Someone slid into the seat next to him and he felt something warm and wet on his back. Sliding his hands through his hair and dragging them down his face he sat up, looking at Penny. Defeated. She kept her hand on his back and patted him gently.  All the fight had bled out of the both of them as they sat on the stools staring at each other. The faucet dripped in the background. 

“...you think he would have still been here now?”  Simon’s voice sounded fragile, even to his own ears. 

Penny grimaced and wiped at her nose, removing the soap bubble. “I know he would.” Her response was soft, softer than Simon deserved. 

Simon returned the grimace with one of his own. 

Now, more than ever, he knew he had to see Baz again. 

This time for the sake of himself. 

Chapter Text

It was the first week of school and Baz’s first time seeing Simon Snow in person was anticlimactic. The almighty ‘chosen one’, heir to the Mage; “Simon Snow”. Baz had heard so much that summer about the boy causing a big stir in the magic community, the mage's heir, the supposed prophesied mage of great power. The coming of the ‘chosen one’ overshone everything, like the sun, Simon Snow's existence bleached out all the color from the world with its exposure to him. There were only faded hues left, those of Baz’s hopes and dreams.  Baz had been looking forward to starting at Watford before then. His whole life he had been looking forward to it, to going back to the one place he associated with his mother (His real mother, not Daphne). His family had been excited for him as well, even though they had already begun his magical training; a Pitch had to be exceptional, even from the start. There was no more excitement for Baz now. None of the encouraging and exciting comments on how much Baz would grow and shine at Watford anymore. The only thing anyone cared about anymore was the unknown Simon Snow and what his coming meant for the old families. Baz was sent off to school that year not with a ‘enjoy yourself son, bring the Pitch name honor for your mothers sake’ like he had been expecting but rather with a ‘keep an eye on that boy and report back what you learn.’ 

Baz was no longer a child in their eyes. He was just a means to an end. The only thing he was good for was to bring honor to his family name and to aid in protecting the old families' ways against the mage and this ‘Simon Snow’. 

He was only eleven. 

They had built up Simon as some sort of monster, someone that if kept unchecked would take everything from them ... ‘do you really want to see our way of life come to an end, Basilton? Do you even want the family to keep their magic? Do as you’re told.’ 

They were wrong. 

Simon Snow was just a boy. 

When the crucible drew Baz towards the other boy, standing small and lanky, unsure of himself in the crowd, Baz recognized him immediately. Messy Bronze hair, clothes too large for his small frame, an apprehensive look on his face that said ‘I’m not supposed to be here but I'll fight you if you try to tell me to leave’. He’d held a hand out to Baz without hesitation and with increasing impatience.  Baz couldn’t bring himself to take it.  His ears rang, he could hear his aunt and father in the back of his mind telling him to do whatever he could to get close to the chosen one. He had been planning on avoiding the other boy. The last ember of hope for any semblance of a normal school life at Watford sputtered out as he took Simon’s hand. They became roommates, a guarantee to see eachother every single day. Baz’s family was delighted.

It never once crossed Baz’s mind that he and Simon Snow could ever be friends. 

◽◽◽

The first and possibly the last time Baz made Simon cry was something he wouldn’t easily forget. He never did forget all the things he had to do back at school... Simon hadn’t said more than a few words to him since they moved in that weren't antagonistic. Asides from their small interactions, Baz noticed that in general Simon didn’t speak all that much. He just stared for the most part. The weight of his looks followed Baz everywhere. It set him on edge. Did Simon know his family was plotting against him? That they were doing everything they could to make sure Baz sabotaged whatever the mage wanted from Simon? Was Simon keeping an eye on Baz too? Did the mage ask him to? Had he figured out Baz was a vampire? Why was he always staring at him? The pressure and the added stares were driving Baz mad. He just wanted to go to school. Simon had never done anything out of the ordinary yet, so why wouldn't everyone get off his back ? - It was on a day that Simon had trudged into their room with a sullen expression. Baz had probably said something insulting when Simon didn’t acknowledge Baz’s presence, something not out of the norm for their brief but sharp interactions that he had gotten used to in the first month of school. Simon had a chip on his shoulder, always rearing up to pick a fight. Baz hadn’t expected the other boy to plop on the edge of his bed and fall to pieces. Simon's body had shook with sobs. Baz didn’t know what to do. He tossed his handkerchief on the bed, muttering an apology and left the room. 

He didn’t know if Simon noticed. 

He hadn’t meant to make him cry.

Things returned to normal and their antagonistic dynamic continued after that day, although Simon was a bit rougher with his responses now. At least he responded. At Least he didn’t cry again.  Baz kind of liked Simon, liked being noticed by the other boy, the boy at the center of everyone's attention. 

Baz was a dick and it was fun.

He never got his handkerchief back.

◽◽◽

Baz was a dick and it fucking sucked.

He was so done with everything by the time he got together with Simon he just was happy to have Simon in any capacity. For years he had longed for the boy with a chip on his shoulder, all his toxic masculinity and bravado that radiated off of him in waves (literally). Simon had convinced him to ignore the duties he owed his family for him. Baz would gladly give it up. He finally felt like he was alive. 

He wasn't though. 

He was on fire and he couldn't see. 

But Baz could see now, all these years later, how much he had been blinded by his emotions at that time. The things he did. The things he said. How he had made a rotten situation worse, not for Simon...well...not intentionally for Simon.  He thought he had been a man but he was still a child. He had done a horrible thing. Seeing Simon the week before had brought it all back. Everything. All the years of before and those after. Everything and everyone that had existed on the periphery as he and Simon had orbited each other, constantly clashing. Everything and everyone that was lost, burned up in the flames.  

Baz saw them now, the realities of his actions.

“M’sorry” he slurred into the table top. His face felt sticky. He never was one to hold his liquor. A rough grip hoisted him up by the waist. That was refreshing. No more sticking to the table. He didn’t deserve it.  He was going to be sick. He tried to push away from the leather clad figure. “No. No. M’sorry. I can’t.” 

He might be crying. He’s not sure. He doesn't deserve to cry.

He's back in a chair. 

The table top is sticking to the side of his face again. 

A chair screeches as it's dragged across the floor.  

Peeling his eyes open he can see Nicodemus, bathed in the dim blue light. He’d look just like her if he wiped that look off his face, they were twins after all. 

“M’sorry Nic-” 

“Sorry for making me leave my bed to come get your drunk ass from the bar?” 

Had he called Nico? He couldn’t remember...

“No-”

“Sorry for making me have to deal with your drunken shenanigans right when I got back from holiday?” He smirked.  “Thought we taught you to hold it better than that Basilton.” 

Baz couldn’t take it.

“...for Eb” He choked out. He wanted to let his eyes fall shut again but knew he couldn’t. He was determined. He could feel the bass of the music thumping through the soles of his feet. He didn't deserve Nicodemus as a friend. She might’ve survived if he let Nico come with him. Nico might've killed the mage before that weight fell on Simon and Penny. None of them deserved that. 

Baz was a dick. 

Nicodemus’ turned away, towards the shadows. The voices of the other vampires in the bar washed over them. Baz wouldn’t close his eyes now. He may be drunk and glued to a table but he knew this was important. He should’ve called Nico in the morning (Did he call Nico?), they should’ve had this conversation somewhere Nico could murder him without witnesses. They never talked about Eb. It was Baz’s fault Eb died.  Baz should’ve died instead.

His eyes must’ve closed on their own. 

He remembered the cold air on his face and then nothing.

Someone tucked him in, brushed a strand of hair out of his face. The words “You were just a kid.” finding their way into his dreams. 

◽◽◽

...Nobody loved him.

Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

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.  

“P-Penelope Bunce?” 

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.” 

◽◽◽

Simon

◽◽◽

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.” 

Snow. 

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.

Again. 

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. 

◽◽◽

Baz

◽◽◽

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.










Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

Love, they say, is not pain.

Being with the one you love should not hurt

Being with Simon Snow had hurt. 

Loving Simon Snow was painful.

Baz wasn’t sure that he still loved Simon Snow, the pain at seeing him now wasn’t telling. Was Baz in pain because he still loved Simon? Or was he in pain because he had loved Simon and that love had left him scarred and afraid? Too scarred for his hands to hold another close for fear of being told he was pushing them too much, asking for too much. Being too much.

Loving Simon Snow wasn’t a pain that was easily healed from.

It didn’t help that Baz had thrown himself into the fire without looking back.

The story of Simon Snow and Basilton Pitch was not a romantic story, it was never a story of romance. There was a time that Baz had thought it was. He was in love with his greatest enemy. The boy he had been groomed to defeat. The boy that would never look at him the way Baz wanted him to. Baz was fine with that. It was a tragic romance in his mind, it fell in with what he had been told when he tried to come out to his parents “you will never find love being like that.” It was a romance that fit into his view of what being gay meant. No one could ever love Baz.  Simon Snow would never. 

But then Simon had looked at Baz, and it was a tragedy.

Baz had never expected anything from Simon, but he had hoped,and that hope brought him pain. 

Because they were right, no one could ever love Baz. 

No one could be happy like that if they were gay.

Baz had burned until he was a hollowed out shell, his soft heart a bleeding pile of pulp.  It had taken years for that shell to crack, for some air to slip in, for Baz to start healing and growing again...for the wreck that was Baz’s heart to take some sort of shape again. 

Seeing Simon Snow again hurt. 

His heart squeezed in his chest and Baz hoped that he wouldn’t lose himself again.

They were young. He would have done anything to have whatever Simon would give him. 

“Glad I could save you the trouble of breaking up with me.” 

Baz slumped over the kitchen counter, holding his head in his hands. 

Listening to Simon Snow hurt. 

“I was a fool.” Their story was never a romance.

This was the last time Baz would ever let himself cry over Simon Snow, the last time he would let Simon Snow tug at the unraveling of Baz’s own fragile existence. 

Penny was getting married. Simon would be at the wedding. Surely, Penny wouldn’t notice if Baz didn’t show. She may have been excited to see him but she could go longer without seeing Baz again. 

He doubts she will even remember to send him an actual invitation.

◽◽◽

Simon

◽◽◽

When Simon burst through the door to the small flat he didn’t know what he was expecting. He was out of breath, slightly sweaty, and without a plan. The bells had clammored loudly downstairs and he wondered if the door closed behind him or if he should've stopped to make sure the door was closed before he ran up the stairs three at a time. There wasn’t anything he could do about it now, not after he just made a scene bursting back into his ex-boyfriend's apartment. Baz had been slumped over the counter when Simon arrived, but now he lifts his head to glare stonily over his crossed arms at Simon. Simon’s heart lurches up into his throat  at the sight of Baz’s tear streaked face.  The other man's eyes are rimmed with pink, standing out in sharp contrast to his pale skin and not for the first time in his life, Simon finds himself struggling with finding the right words. 

Baz rolls his eyes and props his chin up on his hand, glower undiminished even as another tear rolls down his cheek and a growl slips out through his clenched teeth. 

“What did you forget this time?” 

The words are tired. Simon runs a hand through his hair. He messed this up, again. He made Baz cry, again.  You would think after all the years of therapy he would be better at this. Well, he wasn’t worse. He was at least aware now, all he had to do was try. 

“I didn’t mean what I said before.” 

Baz’s eyebrow raises in its trademark arch, “oh?” his tone dry as he snarled “which part? I don’t think there’s anything you’ve ever said to me that you’ve meant except when you were threatening to kill me so, go ahead. Tell me what you ‘didn’t mean’ and then just get the fuck out of my life Simon.” 

It's like all the blood in Simon's body has decided to rush to his head. If Simon throws up right now it definitely would not help the situation. The feeling won't go away though, his stomach has joined his heart in trying to evacuate his body through his throat. He hopes he doesn't pass out.  What was Baz insinuating?  Simon’s hand tangles in the front of his t-shirt as he attempts to formulate a response. 

“Uh-what? No. Wait. Nevermind. Baz, I didn’t mean it when I said the thing about breaking up with you, I was just mad about you thanking me, because I actually didn’t come here to talk about Penny-I mean- I did! I did come to talk about Penny the first time but uh, t-today I came to talk about us-”

Baz buried his face in his hands and slouched over the counter again, breathing out heavily. 

“Simon. Use your words and spit it out already!” 

Heat coarsed through Simon. His face felt like it was on fire. It had been a long time since anyone had said that to him. His hands clenched.The only thing he could hear was the roar of his own blood through his veins. Crossing the floor he slammed his hands down on the counter on either side of Baz’s arms.  

This . This is why I broke up with you. You obviously hate me. You hated me before. Who says stuff like that to people? I have a fucking speech problem. You fucking know this. Y-you know! Why else would you always say shit like that to me unless you hate me?” 

Baz is looking up through his fingers now. He’s just watching as Simon flares up, brows drawing together in the middle of his forehead. 

Simon was better now but he still went off. 

“Simon-” 

“D-dont- ‘ Simon’ me!”  Simon spit out, spinning away from the counter... away from those eyes. 

“I take it back. I did mean it. I am glad I could save you the trouble of breaking up with me. You were so mean Baz. So mean. You are still so mean. You hardly ever said my name when we were dating, how could you possibly say that I-” 

Simon came to a stop in front of the opposite wall of the flat. He hadn't realized he was pacing. Turning back around, prepared to continue his train of thought he caught a flash of movement at the top of the stairs. 

Baz was leaving. 

“-Shit!” 

Simon dashed across the flat and down the stairs, hardly noticing if he missed a few steps along the way. He landed heavily on the bottom landing, the door chimed just as he turned the corner. Baz was hurrying away from the building in the opposite direction Simon had come. 

Simon didn’t come all this way not to talk it out with Baz, or yell it out, fight it out. Whatever they had to do to go forward from here. Simon was going to do it. He needed closure. He needed to be able to go back to Penny and say that ‘yes, Baz definitely hated me and I was right to break up with him’. He needed that...or something. He wanted to tell Baz how he felt. He wanted to know what Baz felt...even if it was just a confirmation of the obvious.

It wasn't until five blocks later that Simon lost track of Baz. One moment, his tall dark figure was stiffly walking swiftly ahead through the grey streets and then, in a blink of an eye, Baz was nowhere to be seen. Simon stopped and ran his hands through his hair, pulling at it while he looked around. There was an alley ahead on the right, that seemed like the only viable place for Baz to have gone, unless he cast some sort of invisibility spell on himself... Simon wasn’t going to let him get away, not this time. If he did let Baz go, Simon had a feeling he really wouldn’t ever get to have this talk with the other man. It felt like they were back in school when Baz had led Simon on a wild goose chase, not letting Simon get a chance to tell Baz about his mom visiting.  Why couldn't Baz ever just stay put when Simon wanted to talk to him? 

Approaching the alley, Simon surveyed it cautiously. The thin path was dark and the bricks of the buildings on either side were dirty with the grime of years of neglect. A soft green shone through a cast iron gate at the end. The gate was swaying softly as though someone had recently passed through it. Simon took a deep breath and crept to the gate, pushing it open gently. The alley led into a small yard, filled with grass and scattered trees. There were a few benches scattered around the small outdoor space. Looking around, Simon spotted his target, partially obscured by one of the few patches of overgrown grass.

Baz sat with his back to the brick wall of one the buildings enclosing the space, his knees drawn up. His shoulders were shaking and his head was tucked against his chest, arms crossed over the back of his exposed neck.  As Simon got closer, he could hear the ragged breaths of the other man.  He paused for a moment, staring down at Baz, reminded of the time back in the catacombs when he had confronted Baz about being a vampire. Was this not a similar situation? Although this time instead of trying to expose his darkness, Simon just wanted to expose the truth? Wanted to hear what Baz was feeling? Maybe he went about it the wrong way...again…With the way Baz was behaving, Simon could almost say it was similar to when Baz had thrown him out on the street recently...Simon honestly felt it was more similar to how Baz had been when he tried to burn the forest down and himself along with it. There was no fire now but Simon felt the flames of shame burning in his gut. He had just wanted to talk.

“Baz?” Simon crouched down in the grass. 

The ragged breaths stop, Baz going eerily still before lifting his head to stare at Simon with open bewilderment and-Simon swallowed hard-despair. Simon looked at the ground. It was that look again. He didn’t know what to do with that look. 

“Wha-?” Baz choked

“I just need to talk to you. I am sorry I lost my temper-”

A cold hand gripped Simon's shoulder, causing him to look up and meet Baz’s wet eyes. He looked so far away. 

“No! No, don't apologize. You are right. I shouldn't have said that.” Baz choked out, almost frantically before looking back down into his lap. His grip tightened to an almost bruising pressure, “I never should’ve said that ever. I am an asshole, you are well aware, but I am truly sorry for that.”

Baz let go.  

Simon was speechless. 

A tremble ran through Bazs body as he curled back in on himself. 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he gasped as his hands tangled in his hair, shielding his face from view once again. 

Chewing his lip, Simon was unsure how to proceed. He really should have come up with a plan or talked to his therapist about how to approach the situation. He wished now that he hadn't brushed off all attempts to talk about it before. Baz wasn’t the same as he was five years ago; he reacted sometimes predictably but mostly in a way so unfamiliar to Simon…it was terrifying. 

◽◽◽

Baz

◽◽◽

 

Mean.

Too much.

Pressure.

Mean.

Has he changed at all ?

Did he change at all?

Was Baz still the same?

Could he change? 

Was that an option?

Did he-

Names. 

Names are important. 

Simon is important. 

Simon is precious. 

‘You hardly ever said my name-’

“I'm sorry. I’m sorry”

A precious name. Baz wasn't allowed to say it. Baz could never touch something so precious. He would sully it, with his hands. With his mouth. He wasn't allowed.  He had tried...hasn't he tried? Was he still mean when they started dating? Was he still mean when he had called Simon ‘love’? Was he wrong...this whole time…had Simon thought so little of Baz? Baz wasn’t allowed. Simon thought he hated him. Baz knew Simon didn't love him. But Simon thought Baz hated him. He had always thought he hated him. Baz couldn’t breathe. 

Has he changed at all ?

Did he change at all?

Was Baz still the same?

Could he change? 

Could he-

Did he-

Was he-

Has he-

The world was starting to grow blurry around its edges. Baz dug his nails into the base of his neck where it met his shoulders, dragging his nails forward. The burning sting trailing behind his nails calmed him. He was there. He was real. He was himself. He wasn't unravelled. He had shape. He felt pain. He was fine. He was fine . He could breathe. He had lungs and he could breathe. 

The air slipped back in as soon as he remembered. It was cool and refreshing. The smells of the grass and the trees had always soothed him. That's why he was here. He was safe here, from himself and from others.  

He struggled through the first few breaths. It was always like this. He focused on the ground. The ground was real and steady. He would not fall if he stood up. He could breathe. 

Bringing his bloodied fingertips down to where his chin rested against his chest, Baz rubbed his eyes with the backs of his hands. He had to get a grip on himself. Simon had surely gone by now. The area around Baz was dark with impending dusk, he could see it in the way the fading light turned the grass almost blue beneath his bloody fingers. Uncurling, Baz groaned, his muscles sore from the tension and the elongated stillness. The cuts along the back of his neck were surely already healed. Breathing in deeply, Baz let his legs and arms stretch out as he rested his head against the brick, eyes closed. The faint smell of smoke tickled his senses. Odd…

Looking up and around, Baz startled. Simon was still there. He was sitting on the ground opposite of Baz. Staring. 

Baz shifted uncomfortably, trying to sit more upright against the wall.

 “What are you still doing here?” he croaked. Wincing at how his own voice came out. 

Simon’s lower lip looked like it was bleeding, or it had been. Maybe that's where the smell was coming from? How long had he sat there? Oh, he was chewing it again. 

Simon released his lip, “Baz” he said softly, “are you-are you alright?”

Wearily, Baz smiled. “Peachy.” 

Simon's hands clenched in the grass next to him. “Baz, you just-” 

Ah, Baz thought, Simon was worried. This is a first. Baz was a bit too tired to address it. “Yeah. It happens. Don’t worry about it.” 

“How can I not? D-did that happen the last time I was at your office too?” 

Baz wasn’t going to answer that. Did he have to? He didn't think so. Simon seemed to have everything figured out and was just doing his old routine of dragging Baz along for the ride of whatever story he had made up. Guess the vampire thing wasn’t made up. Baz wishes it was. Simon was right about a lot of things. Baz should never have teased him when they were kids about being an idiot. 

“Baz. I know what a panic attack looks like by now.” 

Baz was well aware Simon knew. He had sat through many panic attacks with Simon before. Baz blamed almost all of the ones Simon had when they were dating on his own presence, the rest he blamed on the Mage. 

“So? What do you want me to say? What can I say to finally get you to leave?” 

Simon didn’t flinch, he had flinched at everything else before. Maybe Simon had changed. Lucky him. 

“I’m not going to leave.”

Baz scoffed.

“I’m not . I want you to talk to me Baz. I realized when I saw you the other day and you reacted like,” he gestured with a hand to where Baz still sat slumped against the wall, “ well, sort of like this. Along with like some of the stuff you said, well, I don't know. I realized when we broke up, I assumed you hated me, that you were already planning on breaking up with me. I still am assuming you hate me...I wanted to ask if my assumptions were uh-correct?” his voice tapered off and he looked bashful but did not lower his gaze. 

Baz felt like he just aged another twenty something years. It really hit him. It felt like a ton of water had just drenched him from head to toe and he was weighed down by layers upon layers of wet clothes. For the last six or seven years, not only had Simon Snow hated Baz, but he thought-he thought - had assumed - that Baz, who had been in love with them since they were twelve-Simon Snow-the boy that Baz had poured his heart out to about how long he had loved him, how he would always choose him. Even after that. Simon Snow still believed that Baz hated him. Even after dating him for a year after. Was Baz so horrible? Baz didn't know if he wanted to kill Simon or kill himself. He definitely had strong feelings about both situations. Looking up at the greying sky he tried to calm himself again. 

He could breathe now. 

So he let himself feel. 

“You are unbelievable. Absolutely, unbelievable.”

 Baz shook his head. He wouldn't kill himself and he wouldn't kill Simon, no matter how infuriating the other man was. No matter how much Baz had been hurt by him. Baz had moved past this once. It was impossible for Simon to have believed him. Look at Simon now. Past his current facade of concern, Baz could see that he was a healthy weight. Simon had a glow to him that spoke of care and good health. Simon was finally free from Baz and the Mage and the weight of the world. Baz felt his gaze soften. Of course, this was just how Simon was. This was how Simon had always been. He wouldn't hold it against Simon, the fact that he couldn't believe Baz would love him. Simon never really understood how precious he was, of course he wouldn’t have believed it when it came from Baz. He would only believe it when it came from someone he truly loved. From someone he trusted completely and Simon had once told him when they started dating that he didn’t trust Baz. Honestly, Baz felt like even more of a fool now looking back. How could he have let someone else break him so thoroughly? But when had Baz ever done anything for himself?  When had he not been broken? If not by Simon then by his father or his mother...When had Baz been anything but a side character in everyone else's plot? Baz was thoroughly, and finally defeated. 

“Simon Snow,” Baz pulled himself up, using the bricks behind him for support. 

There was no more to gain from running. 

Simon would drag this out until he got what he wanted. He always did. 

“I have been in love with you since we were twelve years old. I was elated when you asked to be my boyfriend and I was heartbroken when you dumped me.” 

He stood tall now, free of the wall. Baz looked down at Simon, the other man's eyes were wide as they looked up at him, speechless. Smiling, genuinely for the first time in five years at the other man, Baz shrugged,  

“I understand that you never loved me-” his smile grew rueful, honestly, they were adults. None of this mattered anymore. Simon had moved on. Baz had mostly moved on. So what if Baz had just had a panic attack again? He could regain his will and his composure like a pro, who cares if Simon saw? Simon didn't care. Simon wouldn’t even begin to understand why what he said would trigger Baz. Simon never believed that Baz loved him.  

The only thing Baz had ever truly done was love Simon Snow. 

Apparently, that was worth nothing. 

Simon would forget this whole incident, just like everything else; all of Baz’s attempts to show love, any soft moment that had maybe meant something. Maybe Baz didn't know how to show love properly. Maybe he never will. Simon thought Baz hated him. He would just shove Baz right into whatever character role fit best into his story no matter what Baz did or said. So, Baz might as well be honest…

“and I understand even  now, more than ever, that you never wanted me to love you. I apologize if I ever made you feel like you had to date me back then. I am sorry that I made you feel like I hated you after we started dating. I am sorry for being mean. I am sorry that I pushed you. I am sorry for pressuring yo-”

Simon jumped to his feet, frantic energy rolling off of him in waves, his hands clenched in his t-shirt with white knuckles. 

“Baz! I - no! That’s not right! None of this- You didn-”

Holding up a slender hand to stop Simon’s arguments, Baz felt the panic creeping back through his body, numbing his limbs. He didn't want to hear what role Simon had stuck him in.

The truth still hurts.

Loving someone isn't supposed to be painful.

Loving someone isn't supposed to leave you broken. 

Seeking Baz out for a reason other than Penny’s impending marriage meant that Simon probably needed this to move on or something. Maybe he had a new girlfriend and that's why he keeps coming back. Maybe that's why he won't just leave already. He probably needs the closure of hearing Baz tell him all of this.  Fine. They could get it all out on the table then. Baz was going to call in sick for the next month and go on a trip. Just somewhere. He needed a break. Some air. 

A different story. 

No story at all. 

Maybe he would just quit. 

Simon could rewrite this narrative after Baz had his say, not that his saying anything would make an actual difference. Simon was happy now, without him. 

“I did Snow. You made it very clear that I was being too much, that I pushed you too much. I understand now that I was. I was wrong back then. I am sorry for putting you through everything I did when we were younger. You can move on from whatever this is. I am sorry for all the discomfort and agitation I have caused you, hopefully this gives you whatever closure you need to leave me alone. You asked me to go, so I went. I don't understand why you keep coming back. Tell Penny that I wish her all the happiness in the world, and Simon, I too wish you all the happiness in the world.”

Baz would really go this time. He would leave England. There was nothing here he could trust not to be sullied by his presence. Little Linus would be better off if he weren't around. Simon would return to laughing the way he had when it was just him and his new friends. Penelope would give up looking for him after a few years, maybe she would be mad enough for him skipping out on her wedding that she wouldn't even try this time. Baz clearly was only capable of being a villain here, an undesirable. 

He was a vampire - his mother would want him dead.

He was gay - his father would never stop being passive aggressive until Baz conceded and married a woman. 

He apparently was incapable of compassion. 

He was surrounded by people that he had hurt or people that had hurt him. 

Everything just felt...dull now. 

Baz watched Simon as he ran his hands through his hair again, it was truly a mess at this point. Baz always liked how Simon's hair was wild and unmanageable at times, it was very in character for him. Somehow Baz found himself leaning back against the wall again. He might as well stay here until Simon left, Baz wouldn't be going home. Simon was suddenly standing a lot closer to him now,saying something. What was he saying? Baz couldn’t really tell. Had he been talking this whole time? Did it matter? Did Baz? 

Did Baz matter? 

Simon was in his face now. 

There was something warm on Baz’s face. Why was Simon so close? Baz wanted to laugh, so he did. 

Simon had kissed him the last time Baz felt like this. It saved Baz’s life. It wouldn’t save his life this time. Baz’s life wasn’t his to live anyway so why did it matter? Simon’s concerned face was close to his though. Why were his arms nearby too? Those must be Simon’s hands on his face, that's what’s so warm. Simon wouldn’t kiss Baz now anyways, not after everything. That was one thing Baz knew for sure by now, he had known since they were young: Simon Snow was unforgiving. 

He would never forgive Baz for playing the villain when they were young. 

He would never see Baz as anything other than someone living to oppose him, just like Baz’s family and the mage had wanted. 

He would never see Baz as someone he could love. 

He would never see Baz as someone who loved him. 

Apparently, he never did. 

Baz closed his eyes, waiting for the moment to end so that he could breathe again. The warmth on his cheeks, an unforgiving burn.