Baz has started smoking. I can smell it on him every time he comes back in from a “walk” outside mine and Penny’s flat. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s being subtle.
Baz hasn’t been subtle about anything in his entire life.
Not even his fancying me for most of our time at Watford was subtle — it just wasn’t obvious to me because I was, well, dealing with other shit at the time, I guess.
Said other shit has culminated to make me who I am today, right now. A half-dragon man sitting on my couch, holding my boyfriend’s hand, and looking at Penny with a forlorn feeling as she shows Shepard how she uses magic to keep her hands from getting dry.
It’s her lotion spell that she refuses to tell Baz because she doesn’t want him to “start using it in bed.” We haven’t even had sex yet, but I guess she doesn’t know that.
I guess we’ve gotten better. We’ve done a bit more than kiss, but it’s difficult for me to get really intimate with Baz. Not because of Baz himself, but because not being in control is sort of hard for me now. My therapist has started giving me words and phrases that actually describe what’s wrong with me — I have some PTSD and touch-aversion and a real issue with not being in control, considering I spent most of my life in care homes and/or being ordered around by The Mage.
Anyway, being with Baz makes me feel vulnerable and open, and it freaks me out. So sometimes I close up. Thankfully, he usually can pull me out of it when I go deep into a funk, like when I tried to break up with him in America a few months ago. He didn’t let it happen.
I do think that trying to take care of me like this makes him especially stressed, though, and I feel sort of bad about it. So I let him go on his walks and I don’t bring up the fact that he smells like cigarettes.
He smells like them now. Not that I really mind the smell — lots of people around me smoke. I just know Baz is doing it because he needs an outlet and not because he looks really cool.
He does, though — look really cool, especially when I peak out the window and he’s smoking the last of his fag out on the porch. (Even though he’s flammable and it makes me nervous every time.)
I squeeze Baz’s fingers and lean over to tuck my head onto his shoulder. I can do that now. “Alright?” I ask quietly.
Baz nods and squeezes my hand back. “I can’t believe she’ll tell Shepard the lotion spell and not me,” he says dramatically.
I laugh quietly. “You could probably figure it out,” I mutter. “It can’t be that hard.”
Baz turns his head enough that I can see half his face from where I’m lying on his shoulder. “You’re probably right, but the sting is in the fact that she won’t tell me. We always share spells.”
That hurts a little bit. It’s hard to have gone your whole life with so much magic — too much magic — and then be left on your arse with nothing. And then to see your best friend and your boyfriend’s lives filled to the brim with magic; magic they don’t even realize is a part of their lifestyle. I doubt either of them could go more than a day without some sort of spell.
But I’m getting over the loss of magic thing. It’s less about actually being magical and more like not having a place to really fit anymore — not having a place with Baz and Penny who are the most interesting people I know.
And there’s something that’s been happening recently that I haven’t told either of them about that’s weirdly making up for the magic thing.
I can breathe fire.
Well, okay, I can’t shoot columns of flame out of my mouth or anything really cool like that, but I can huff out a little ball of fire and watch the light of it dance through the air for a few seconds. I’ve even tried sustaining a bit of flame like a lighter and I can do that if I really concentrate.
I haven’t shown Baz (or Penny) because it feels like a me thing right now. Something that I get to have for myself. Plus, I’m nervous about not being able to control it and accidentally lighting my boyfriend on fire.
“Do you not just own actual lotion?” I ask Baz. “One of those bottles you insist on keeping in my bathroom has to have lotion in it.”
“It’s the principle of it.”
I shake my head, knocking my nose against Baz’s neck. “You’re just being a git.”
Baz pushes me off him (not unkindly) and raises an eyebrow at me. “And you’ve probably never even used lotion.”
He’s got me there.
“Maybe I don’t need it,” I mutter, trying to lean my head back on him, but Baz still has me held back with a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t need it?” Baz lets go of my shoulder only to pick up my hand in his, eyeing my cracked knuckles. (They’re not that bad.)
“Oi,” I say, trying to tug my hand back. He stops me and leans down to press a kiss to the back of my hand.
I stop trying to take my hand away.
Baz smiles softly at me — a smile I don’t get to see very often. He drops our clasped hands into his lap and I put my head back on his shoulder. We watch Penny and Shep again who are now in an argument about the benefits and drawbacks of 3-in-1 shampoo.
A lot of conversations between Baz and I are sort of thinly veiled attempts to check in with each other. A lot of what we say is careful and cautious, just in case one of us says the wrong thing. But this is nice. Being able to touch him is nice.
“I think I’m going to go on a walk,” Baz says, tearing his eyes away from the couple arguing in front of us. He lets go of my hand and moves to stand up from the couch. “I’ll be right—”
“Can I come with?” I blurt out.
“No,” Baz says quickly. And then it looks like he feels bad. “I’m just going to—”
“I know,” I interrupt. I try to tell him what I mean just with intense eye contact.
“Okay,” he says slowly. He stands up and I follow suit. “Yeah, you can come.”
I have Penny spell away my wings (which thankfully gets her out of the argument with Shep) and put on a jacket before following Baz outside. I wonder if Baz will finally have to admit to me that these “walks” are just excuses to smoke.
But we start actually walking, Baz slightly in front of me because I don’t know where we’re going. I reach out to carefully take his hand. Nobody’s really outside right now — it’s pretty late in the evening — but I’ve been getting better at not feeling weird when people look at us. I like Baz enough that I think I can handle a couple of dirty looks.
Baz looks back at me when I take his hand.
We don’t talk. The only sounds outside are the distant sounds of cars from the busier street just a few blocks down and the occasional sound of wind whipping through the trees.
Baz rounds a corner and then stops, sort of abruptly.
“What?” I ask, stopping next to him.
“Simon—” he starts, turning to me and letting go of my hand. “I’ve been going on walks in order to smoke.”
Baz looks a bit taken aback. “You’re not upset?”
I frown. “You can do whatever you want, Baz. And I know you’ve been smoking — you smell like cigarettes every time you come back.”
I think if he was capable of it, Baz’d be blushing right now. “Oh,” he says. “Sorry, I should be more careful.”
I shrug. “It’s fine. Just don’t catch yourself on fire, okay?”
Rolling his eyes, Baz leans against the wall of the building we’re next to and he looks so natural doing it that this sort of seems like Baz’s designated smoking spot. Sure enough, he tugs a pack of fags from his pocket and pulls one out, setting it between his lips.
He looks bloody cool.
He puts the rest of the pack back into his pocket and then checks all of his pockets for something else, but doesn’t seem to find it.
“Fuck,” he mutters, his voice sort of slurred around the fag. “I swore I brought one with me.”
“A lighter?” I ask.
He looks up at me and nods. He sighs and takes the cigarette out of his mouth. “Oh well.”
As usual, I don’t really think before I speak. “I can light it for you.”
Baz raises his eyebrows at me. “And why would you be carrying a lighter around, Snow?”
I blush. “I’m not.”
“Then how do you expect to—”
I take a preemptive step away from him and take a deep breath. I carefully blow out just a little bit of fire from my mouth. It’s out just a few seconds after it starts.
“Crowley,” Baz whispers. “Simon. How long have you been able to do that?” He sort of looks awestruck, which is really doing it for my self-confidence, I have to say. Finally, I can do something that Baz finds impressive.
“Not too long,” I murmur. “I sort of think I’ve been able to do it all along, but I just figured it out.”
I do it again because I want Baz to keep looking at me like that.
“Practically a Normal, my arse,” Baz mutters, stepping over to me and wrapping a strong arm around my waist. “ You ,” he says, carefully pressing a hand to the side of my face, “are a marvel.”
He checks to make sure it’s alright with a flick of his gaze to my mouth and then back to my eyes. I nod. He kisses me.
Despite the fact that I literally just breathed fire out of it, Baz doesn’t seem to notice any difference in my mouth, which is a relief. If I couldn’t kiss my especially flammable boyfriend, I’d be pretty upset.
We’re snogging against a building and I kind of think Baz is getting turned on by me breathing fire which should probably be concerning. It’s not, though, it’s just hot.
He tugs away from me and sets the fag back between his teeth. “Light me?” he asks.
I nod and take in a gulp of air because I’ve just been snogged to death against a wall. I focus on making the flame small but consistent, using it to light the tip of Baz’s cigarette. It catches and Baz breathes in.
He sighs softly when he breathes out. “Thanks,” he says.
I don’t think we say that to each other a lot.
Baz finishes off his smoke and crushes the filter into the gutter. We walk back to the flat hand in hand and I can’t stop thinking about how Baz looked at me. Like he thought I was magical. Not magical like a Mage, but magical , like a miracle.
I love him a lot.
And when we get back inside the flat and find a note from Penny saying she and Shep went to grab some food, I tug Baz into my bedroom. I snog him up against the door.
And then I take him to bed.
He looks at me the same way he did when we were kissing out in the street — like I’m a wonder.