If I Could Turn Back Time
A/N I'm a sucker for Hanahaki fics, so I decided to try writing one myself. This is a two part. Second will be uploaded in a few days.
I’m disturbed. Ask anyone.
When I first coughed up a flower petal, I felt nothing but relief. I would either die, or have the surgery, but either way it would be over probably within a month or so, maybe even sooner. I wouldn’t have to go through the next year watching Simon sleep, watching his hatred build toward me, knowing he was going to kill me in some epic final battle.
I wouldn’t have to be the villain in his story anymore.
I'd swear to merlin and morgana and every bloody mage in the book that I was relieved by this. It was probably my disastrous experience with the numpties, but I was just so damn exhausted of the saga of Basilton Pitch and Simon Snow.
I was done. Tapped out. And this was finally giving me a reason to hit the game over button, to fold. I had my out.
I knew what it was of course. Hanahaki disease. My love for Simon, the repression of my feelings, and my magic had caused flowers to grow in my lungs. I was young to be coughing up petals. Usually those under 20 found themselves with natural immunities. Our love was fickle, often growing and evolving and changing. If every 15 year old suffered from Hanahaki every time their feelings were unrequited, we’d have too many cases of dead teenagers.
But my love was different than a usual teenager. It was truer, stronger, had lasted longer. In some ways I was also relieved that was the case, that I hadn’t spent so many years wallowing in something that wasn’t real. It was real, I was truly in love. And now that love would kill me.
I just hoped it would be quick.
I hid it for a few days as it progressed. I constantly kept a spell around me so that other's wouldn't hear my coughs (none of your business had many uses depending on your infliction. It was one of my favorite spells.) It lasted for a week or so, but then it was becoming too much for me to cast. The cough which occasionally produced a petal or two was suddenly producing a handful of white petals every time. My magic felt like it was constantly drained and I was exhausted through and through. I could barely bring myself to hunt, only able to catch enough to keep me somewhat sane.
It was only a matter of time before I couldn't hide it anymore. Dev and Niall were already suspicious. They were both trying to get me to go check in with the nurse. I suspected Dev might even be in contact with Fiona, but I was definitely ignoring that for now. I probably should have gone to the nurse on my own, but what am I if not stubbornly proud.
It was about a week after the first petal appeared that it all went tits up. I went back to the room after class to lie down when I felt the petals making their way up my throat. I was terrified that Simon would come in and find me covered in petals on my bed, but I didn't have the strength to leave the room. I crawled to the en suite, locking the door behind me in hopes I could clean up before Simon got in.
These were the worst coughs yet, and it was a wonder I managed to stay conscious. When I managed to force my eyes open I saw that I was not just surrounded by petals but whole flower heads were littering the floor. Lovely little things they were, white bells with long droopy petals. It made sense, given who I was in love with.
As I collapsed in a field of white flowers and petals, all I could think was that I was done. If this is the end of me, so be it. I closed my eyes thinking maybe I could just go to sleep here and maybe I would never wake up again when knocking and yelling jarred me back to consciousness.
Of course, Simon bloody Snow.
Something was wrong with Baz. I know Penelope was sick of hearing it from me, but something was seriously wrong with him.
He’d been a bit off since he got back from wherever the heck he was the first month of term, but he had been looking better in recent weeks. He was starting to look like the old Baz, he had taken his spot back at top of the class, he was playing football again, I was fairly certain he was going out every night to drain small mammals. I probably shouldn't be as relieved about that part as I was.
But it was one step forward and three steps back. He looked ill. I’d hear him coughing in the middle of the night. I suspected he was coughing a lot during the day but probably casting some spell so those around him didn’t notice.
He was paler than usual, moving without his usual grace. He wasn’t going to football practice anymore. He wasn’t laughing with Dev and Niall.
He seemed to be forcing himself to go to class and then immediately going back to the room. I didn't see him in the library or any of his usual study haunts. I barely even saw him in the dining hall, and he was looking thinner again.
I glanced over at Dev and Niall, Baz’s usual seat empty once again.
Maybe I was making this up, but they looked worried to me. They kept glancing at the door to the dining hall and at Baz’s empty seat as if it would magically produce their missing friend.
I don't know what compelled me to act. Maybe it was the thought of missing so many meals. Even my worst enemy should not go through that. Maybe it was the look of concern on Dev’s face when the door opened, and it still wasn’t Baz. But something made me grab some food from dining to sneak in back into the room for him.
When I got back to our room, it seemed empty. But I knew something was wrong. Baz’s bed was unmade. His bed was NEVER unmade. He made it every single time he left the room. It was maddening. I glanced over toward the en suite.
The door was shut.
Usually Baz would cast a silencing spell when he went into the bathroom, but he clearly didn’t this time.
It sounded like he was throwing up. I could hear painful, racking coughs. It sounded awful, like he was trying to hack up a lung.
I placed the plate of food down and moved toward the door. He sounded terrible.
“Baz!” I shouted with a loud knock. “You need me to get someone? The nurse?”
I stopped to listen. There was no response for a few seconds. Then there was another scary sounding round of coughs.
“Baz! Let me in!” I yelled, reaching for the door knob. It was locked of course, but when he coughed again, that didn’t matter. I thought I heard a thunk that could have been his body. Was he even conscious?
“Open up!” I yelled, not meaning for it to be magic, but my magic clearly didn’t care and the door unlocked and opened on it’s own.
Baz was slumped along the wall next to the toilet, knees pulled up to his chest. He raised his head as I approached. He looked miserable. He had tear tracks running down his face and he was pale and sweaty from exertion.
“Crowley Baz. Let me help you to the infirmary.” I said as I approached him. I moved slowly, hands up to placate him, like he was a skittish deer.
“Go away, Snow.” He said, before putting his head back in his knees and taking a labored breath.
“Yeah, or not.” I said, finally taking in the rest of the bathroom. There were flower petals everywhere. They were white, about an inch or so long. Some of them appeared to be whole heads, white drooping petals with a small bell in the middle
There must have been hundreds of white petals.
“Where you cursed?” I asked, not able to think of any reason else that Baz would be sitting in the bathroom looking as miserable as he did, surrounded by flowers.
Baz let out a sharp laugh that quickly turned into another coughing fit. It was then I realized that the flower petals were coming from him. Like on the inside of him. He was coughing up flower petals.
I couldn’t stop to think about that because the petals kept coming up out of his throat and suddenly it seemed like he couldn’t get any air in. I ran to his side and put my arm on his shoulders.
“Breathe, Baz. Breathe.” I encouraged as the petals seemed to lesson slightly. I felt his shoulders shudder as he took in a pained breath.
“I’m taking you to the infirmary” I said as I looked around the en suite. I didn’t know if this was a curse or something worse, but Baz seemed to be having a lot of trouble breathing and the bathroom looked like it was covered in snow.
I grabbed a handful of petals and shoved them in my pocket, intent to show the nurse, before helping Baz to his feet.
I thought it was going to be a fight, but to my endless relief, he nodded and let me help him.
It took us a good twenty minutes to make our way to the infirmary, but we got there. I fully intended to stay but Nurse Printz was not having it.
“Patient confidentiality, Mr. Snow.” He said with a growl and practically shoved me out the door.
“Well don’t let him lie to you.” I said back with a bite. I reached into my pocket and took out a few of the petals I grabbed. “He was coughing these up. And not just these few, our en suite looks like it’s covered in snow.”
Nurse Printz looked at the flowers before looking at me.
“Leave.” He said. I looked back at the bed Baz was in who refused to meet my eye and sighed. I knew a lost cause when I saw one.
Now I had to find someone who would figure out what was going on with my roommate.
I checked the dining hall first where tea was being served, and helped myself to a scone. I didn’t actually expect to see Penelope in here, but it seemed as good of a place as any. Plus scones help me think better. It’s always easier to think on a full stomach.
I found Penelope in the library which, let’s face it, is where I knew she would be.
“Flowers?” Penelope said, even though she heard me clearly the first time. “You’re sure?”
“White flower petals” I said for probably the fifth time.
“And he was coughing them up?”
“Yes, he could barely breathe. It was so bad he actually let me help him walk to the infirmary.” I shuddered at the memory. My arm around his waist, holding his arm over my shoulder, bracing myself to catch him if he passed out. It was disturbing to see him so helpless, so weak. It gave me the chills to think about it.
Penny took a long sigh and leaned back in her seat.
“Wow” She said. I waited for her to continue but she just shook her head and repeated. “Wow.”
“What is it Penny? Do you know?” I asked
“Basilton Pitch is in love.” She said quietly. “So in love that it’s going to kill him.”
My heart dropped right to my stomach.
“What?” I asked, now making her the one who was stuck repeating herself.
She looked at me and sighed. “Hanahaki disease. It happens when a mage suffers from unrequited love. But it has to be true, pure love, not infatuation or lust, not even strong affection.” She stood up and bee lined to an area in the back corner of the library.
I looked above the shelf when she stopped walking.
“Magical ailments” The sign said.
“Fine tooth comb, Hanahaki” She said, her ring glowing purple. I ducked on instinct, which I had gotten in the habit of doing whenever Penny cast that spell in the library, but to my surprise only one book came off the shelf and went right into her hand.
I glanced at the title
“Rare Diseases and Unorthodox Treatment” the cover stated with bold letters. Penny walked toward a couch and started talking again.
“Hanahaki is extremely rare. The type of love that would cause it is the type that is only forged after a long-term relationship, where the parties know each other intimately usually for a long time, thus not making it unrequited. It’s almost unheard of in teenagers.” She whispered as we settled into the chair.
“But Baz isn’t seeing anyone?” I said, confused. “And also if it’s so rare, how do you know about it?”
She looked at me.
“It’s fascinating, isn’t it? And kind of tragically beautiful. It’s rare but well known among mages. There something fascinating about it that makes it a popular story line in fairy tales.” I must have looked confused because she kept going. “Think about it. Baz is so in love that his body is quite literally growing flowers in his lungs. It’s horrific, but kind of beautiful in it’s own way.”
I felt a rare moment of rage toward my best friend.
“He was choking to death. I don’t think that has any beauty to it.” I growled and Penny held her hands up in defeat. She then turned to the book in front of her and began to flip through it.
“Hanahaki Disease” she said, reading out loud “when a mage suffers from unrequited love, their magic can cause flowers to grow in their lungs. These flowers often have some sort of symbolism and take a form that has some meaning to the afflicted. The flowers will continue to grow until they ultimately suffocate the afflicted. There are only two known cures. The first is that the love must be requited, and second is through a procedure that removes the flowers from the lungs. This procedure is highly invasive and has a high mortality rate. Should the afflicted survive, their love for the individual will be removed with it."
She took a deep breath and continued. My stomach felt like I swallowed an ice cube.
"This disease is extremely rare. The love must be pure and powerful enough for the seeds to root, and unrequited long enough for the seeds to grow. The afflicted mage must also be powerful enough for the seeds to manifest to flowers. Because true love often takes time to form and grow, it rarely is unrequited. Love is often confused for lust or infatuation or even just strong affection. Nothing but unrequited pure love will cause Hanahaki.”
I leaned back in my chair, and tried to slow my breathing down. I thought I was going to be sick.
“What did the flowers look like?” Penelope asked. “It says they usually have some symbolism”
I reached into my pocked and pulled out one of the remaining flowers from earlier. It was quite lovely, although a little sad looking. It had a small white bell shape in the middle with four long drooping petals around it. It was entirely white.
Penelope picked it up appraisingly. “I’ve never seen this kind of flower before.” I shrugged in return.
“Who do you think it is, Penny? Do you think it’s Agatha?” I asked. My stomach gave another nasty jolt and the idea of Baz and Agatha together.
I suddenly knew and feared what Penny meant when she said it was beautiful. I could imagine Baz presenting Agatha with a bunch of these white flowers, stating how pure his love was for her. How could that not win someone over? Most people are lucky if they get to know love like that.
I’m not sure I love Agatha like that. In fact, I’m fairly certain I don’t.
Penny looked at me sadly. I couldn’t figure out what that meant.
I took the book off the table.
“Suffocate the afflicted.” I read again.
“So it either has to be requited, he has to get this awful sounding surgery, or….” I stopped as if my brain refused to put the rest together.
“He’ll die.” Penny finished.
Nurse Printz called Dr. Wellbelove, who came that evening. I cringed at the idea of Agatha finding out, but I figured since Snow knew about the flowers, even if he didn’t understand what they meant, it was only a matter of time before the school found out.
Dr. Wellbelove offered to contact my parents and was trying to sell me on the surgery. Although the disease was rare, Dr. Wellbelove assured me had high success rate. “I’ll admit it’s never been anyone as young as you…” He started before shaking his head. “But I’ve performed the surgery a few times, and although the recovery is long, there is in fact a recovery.”
Nurse Printz admitted he’d never seen a case during his tenure at Watford but seemed as well versed as he could be.
“We don’t have a separate mental health counselor since the Mage’s last budget cut.” He said, and I appreciated the slight jab at the Mage. “But I’m happy to talk to you in anyway that might help you, Basilton, I can only imagine how traumatizing this has been for you.”
I was left alone that evening, with nothing but a basin of flowers to keep me company. My dad and Daphne would likely be in first thing in the morning and I wanted to make a decision before they got here.
Another coughing fit wracked my body. It went on for so long, I thought I was going to pass out. I wondered briefly if I suffocated here, right now, if it would save me the agony of making this decision. My head felt like it was floating.
It passed, leaving me exhausted and shaking, with difficulty getting a full breath. I felt tears leaking out of my eyes and I allowed myself that indulgence.
No one could see my crying here.
The thought of dying was terrifying. Even the knowledge that my mother was hopefully waiting for me didn’t make it any less terrifying. I was 18 years old. Even with all my fantasies of Snow offing me, I never actually wanted to die. I just knew I could never kill him. But who am I kidding?
I don’t want to die.
I choke out a sob, and more petals float to the ground. Soon I can’t control myself and I’m choking on petals as I cross the line into hysterics.
Nurse Printz must get some alert because he comes running into the room in a dressing gown. Without missing a beat, he casts “you need to calm down” and “just keep breathing.”
I feel better almost instantly, as he sat in the chair next to my bed.
“I know pop songs make fickle spells, but I have found that when they are popular, they are incredibly powerful.” He says, handing me a glass of water.
I take a long sip before meeting his eyes.
“I don’t want to die.” I choke out, feeling my emotions rising again.
He looks sadly at me. I keep thinking that his eyes are the wrong shade of blue.
“Oh Basil, it’s okay.” He starts, and I brace myself for nameless platitudes, but then he continues.
“This love, it's a part of you, it’s created something so beautiful. It’s okay to want to live. You will love someone else, and that beauty can be directed towards something that won’t hurt you.”
I never thought of any part of myself as beautiful. Sure I was attractive, but as Snow liked to remind me, I was also a monster. But, for the first time I found myself wondering if a monster, someone who was dead, could love the way I do. Maybe I had some good in me after all.
“You think I should get the surgery?” I asked.
He sighed. “My job and my oath require me to do no harm. I wish your love was requited, and I understand if you don’t want to tell us who it is. If it’s truly not requited, I don’t want you to keep harming yourself. You have so much beauty inside of you to offer, if not to this person, then to someone else.”
I sighed and leaned back. Eventually he left with instructions to summon me if I needed anything.
I didn’t want to die.
I barely slept that night. It felt like I just laid in bed starring at Baz's empty one. As soon as the hour was somewhat respectable, I got dressed and made my way to the infirmary.
I had to find out who it was that Baz was in love with. The thought of him with Agatha made my skin crawl. I was hoping it wasn’t her, but I wanted him to tell me so that I could at least get used to the idea.
I crept to the infirmary and noticed who had to be Baz’s father leaving the room. I ducked behind some old statute of Elizabeth Blackwell (did you know she was a mage? Shouldn’t surprise me anymore to learn a lot of these historical figures had magic). I glanced at Malcom Grimm. He looked like he had been crying which made me uneasy.
Dr. Wellbelove was taking some vitals from Baz. I could see numbers floating in the air that had to mean something to him.
“Your blood oxygen level is disturbingly low.” I heard him say. “Obviously you don’t have much of that to waste” (Wait? Was that because he’s a vampire? Did Dr. Wellbelove know?). “Let’s move you now, and we will do the surgery as soon as you get to my office. I don’t think we should waste any more time.”
I sighed in relief. Baz was doing the surgery. He wouldn’t die.
When Dr. Wellbelove left, I moved to Baz's bedside. I don’t know what compelled me, but I felt the need to wish him luck. To let him know I was relieved he wasn’t going to die. That he could move past his feelings for Agatha, and I wouldn’t have that guilt on my shoulders that our happiness literally choked him to death.
“Baz” I whispered as I walked over to him, not wanting to startle him. He looked absolutely miserable. White petals filled a basin by his bed, and his breathing sounded labored.
“What are you doing here, Snow?” He said, with a gasp and I frowned.
“I wanted to wish you luck. With the surgery.” I said and he looked at me, eyes looking somewhat vulnerable. “I’m glad your doing it.”
“You are?” He asked. I’ve never seen him look as sad as he did right now. Did he really think I wanted him to die?
“Yes, you’ll be able to move on, find someone to return your feelings.” I said, “No one deserves to die because of unrequited love at 18.” I was sure of that. Baz might be a vampire, but he was also just a teenage boy.
“I’m sorry it couldn’t work out. I want you to know that.” I repeated, rambling. I assumed he had talked to Agatha, and amazingly she must have turned him down. No idea why, but he wasn’t getting any better, so it must have been unrequited.
To my absolute horror, tears started to run down his face. “Leave Simon, please.” He said, and I’d swear he was begging. I felt cold. My stomach rolled at the unbelievable sadness on his face.
“Leave.” He said again, and I don’t know if he used magic on me, but I found myself out of the room without knowing how I had even gotten there.
I knew he’d never love me.
I knew that. If I knew that, why did it hurt so much?
I don’t know how he figured it out, but I’m guessing it was the flowers. Pretty on the nose, if you ask me. Penelope probably told him.
He was probably coming here to try and relieve himself of his guilt. Since I was getting the surgery, he didn’t have to feel bad about the fact that his inability to love me was quite literally going to kill me.
I knew that, but it didn’t stop the tears from spilling again.
I couldn’t even control them as my father came back and he and Nurse Printz helped me to the car.
I wandered aimlessly for a while. I suppose technically, I was supposed to be in class, but I had no intention of going.
News of Baz was all anyone could talk about. Apparently he was the youngest mage known to be inflicted with Hanahaki disease. Students were asking questions about the history and treatment in classes and I almost went off when I overheard a fourth year girl telling another how romantic it was to be loved like that.
I had to get away from the other students.
I don’t know what brought me to the wavering woods, but when the dryad came to scold me, I held up a few of Baz’s flowers. I had grabbed a couple from our bathroom for reasons I couldn't verbalize.
“Do you know what kind of flowers these are?” I asked, hoping that I could get an answer. The Dryad looked at me appraisingly.
“The pretty boy is sick isn’t he?” She asked, glancing up towards the Chapel.
I nodded, hoping some honesty would give me a straight answer.
She took the flowers from me and peered at them.
“These appear in late winter, often marking warmer days to come. They symbolize hope and renewal.” She looked at me sadly. “But their common name is a Snowdrop flower.”
It was like I was hit by a lorry. The en suite was covered in white petals, like snow, snowdrop petals.
Penny’s words reading from the book about how the flowers take on symbolism.
There is no way. It couldn’t be possible.
Could Baz be in love with me?
I ran from the woods without any plan and went first to the infirmary. Baz was gone, which I had known, but it was hard to see with my own eyes. They moved him for the surgery, the surgery which was likely done by now.
I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I think I was smoking.
“Mr. Snow?” The nurse said, coming out of his office. I’m sure my smoking attracted his attention.
“Baz?” Was all I could croak out.
“I’m told the surgery was a complete success. He should be back next week. I can’t give you too much information, because of confidentiality, but I was told the student body could be notified as too that much. It’s a huge relief for all of us.”
I managed to smile, but I’m sure it came out as a grimace.
I don’t know how I got there, but I found myself back in Mummers staring at the ceiling.
Then, like a man possessed, I began to search through Baz’s things. Something, anything that might prove me wrong.
He left in a hurry, maybe something was left behind. I checked his beside table, his wardrobe. I tore the room apart.
I should have known he’d be too clever to hide something under his mattress like a normal teenager.
“Simon! What are you doing?” Penny asked, a plate of food in her hands. “You missed dinner, I brought you some food.” She took in the mess. “What are you doing?” She repeated.
“Baz got the surgery.” I started, and she nodded.
“And that’s bad?” She asked, looking confused.
“The flowers. The dryad. Ebb’s dryad.” I couldn’t get the words out.
“Simon, take a deep breath.” Penny said, setting the plate down and coming toward me. She put her arm around me and helped me sit on my bed.
“Breathe with me.”
I took a long deep breath and counted to ten. I leaned into Penny, trying to match my breathing with hers.
“The dryad said the flowers were snowdrop flowers.” I could feel her still next to me.
“Snow…” She whispered. “No way”
“It can’t be right?” I said, desperate for confirmation. “I was looking around to see if he kept a diary or anything that would let me know.”
“I don’t know, Simon. It actually does make sense if you think about it.” I didn’t want to think about it, that was the problem. Penelope stood up and held her ring up.
“SHOW YOURSELF” She said, loudly, and then turned to me. “Should let us know if anything has a concealment spell on it.”
Brilliant mage, she is.
I saw a book on Baz’s shelf, mingled in with his textbooks glow. I grabbed at it.
It was titled “Musical Theory and It’s Magical Practice.” I flipped through it, but it looked like a normal text book.
“It’s got a spell on it, I’m certain about that.” Penelope said, flipping through it.
“True Colors” She said again and the words faded from the page. Baz’s handwriting, neat, organized appeared. I snatched it from her.
I started at the end, hoping it might have some revealing information.
Then I saw my name. Clear as day. Black and white. No ambiguity in his words.
“ when I felt myself slipping too far, I held on to the one thing I’m always sure of—
The fact that Simon Snow is the most powerful magician alive. That nothing can hurt him, not even me.
That Simon Snow is alive.
And I’m hopelessly in love with him”
“what have I done?” The words choked themselves out of me. “What have I done?”
“You didn’t…” Penelope started, as gob smacked as I had ever seen him. “You didn’t know. How could you.”
“I told him to get the surgery. I told him he should. That I was sorry it didn’t work out.” I whispered, more to myself than her.
“You did know?” Penny asked, now confused.
“No. No. No. I thought it was Agatha... But I think… I think he thought I was rejecting him.” I felt a sob coming up my chest.
“Oh… Simon.” Penelope said then my tears started. They were uncontrollable. I didn’t understand why, or what it meant, but Penelope was smart enough not to ask. She laid in bed with me all night as I cried over the loss of something I never had.
A/N: Part two will be up shortly (It's completed but needs an edit). I've read a lot of Hanahaki fics, but none I think where Baz goes through with the surgery, so hold your breath for what happens next! As always, let me know what you think!