The nine times Simon and Baz prank each other
and the one time they don’t
“So, how did you respond to the stone-scones?”
I chuckle. “It was a bit risky.”
“What did you do, Simon?”
“I wrapped my cross necklace around his wand.”
Penny turns to me, wide-eyed. “You did what?”
“It’s no big deal, Pen.”
“Simon, you acted on assumption that he’s a vampire,” she says in a hushed voice. “If you’re right about that, which we still can’t be sure of, it means that you removed your only form of protection against him and put it into his hands.”
“Yeah, but he can’t touch it,” I reason, “so it’s no good to him.”
“You have it back now, right?”
“Of course.” It comes out a little indignant, even though I don’t mean it to.
She shakes her head, returning to her book. “That still wasn’t a very smart move.”
“I was in the room, it’s not like he could have attacked me.”
Penny reads a few more lines, I see her eyes scanning back and forth, before looking back at me with a curious twinkle in her eye. “Did it work?”
“Did what work?”
I shrug. “He took it off bare-handed, and it didn’t look like it was burning him.”
She looks thoughtful. “Have you considered the possibility that you’ve been wrong this whole time?”
“Of course I have,” I sigh, “but what if I’m not? You have to admit, Penny, there’s reason for me to be suspicious.”
“He hasn’t retaliated yet?”
I shake my head grimly, a touch of nervousness poking at my stomach. “Not so far.”
She raises an eyebrow. “Keep your guard up.”
Keeping an eye out for Baz has become something of a habit since I met him, but today I’m even more jumpy than usual, scanning the hallways almost constantly. It’s a little ridiculous, even for me. I wonder if maybe he won’t fight back, if the cross really didn’t affect him, but then again this is Baz. He’ll never pass up an opportunity to torment me.
By the time I return to our room after our last class, my stomach has worked itself into knots. I keep telling myself to stop it, but somehow the chance of Baz pulling something feels more imminent now that we have a… what even is this? A game? An agreement? A series of mutually bad decisions? A commitment to hate each other even more?
He’s beaten me to the room of course, which makes me even more anxious. He doesn’t look up from his phone as I kick off my shoes, casting a wary glance around the room. Nothing seems out of place, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t cursed something again like he did with my plate. When I move over toward the bathroom, my steps are light and slow.
“Something wrong, Snow?” Baz pipes up, still staring down at his phone.
“No,” I bluster, unable to come up with anything smarter on short notice.
“Then why are you acting like there’s a monster under your bed?”
“Funny, the only monster I see is on yours.”
His eyes cut up to mine briefly, flashing annoyance, but he doesn’t respond beyond that. I notice suddenly how tense my shoulders are and I give them a roll to loosen them. I need to relax. Quietly I take a deep breath and make for the bathroom.
“I wouldn’t go in there, if I were you.”
My hand freezes on the doorknob. “Why not?”
“I just wouldn’t.”
I turn to glare at him. “What did you do?” I growl.
He’s actually looking at me now, his face cool and innocent. “Who says I did anything?”
“This isn’t funny, Baz.”
“You’re right,” he nods, “it’s not, and neither was the salted tea or assuming I’m a vampire.”
“Those were harmless.”
He shrugs. “Go ahead then, see what happens. Or maybe I’m bluffing and there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
I glare back for another moment, trying to read his expression, but his eyes don’t betray anything. Slowly I turn the knob and push the door open a crack, peeking in cautiously.
“What am I looking for here?” I mutter. There doesn’t seem to be anything amiss, no rats in the sink, no roaches in the toilet, no spiders in the shower. My reflection in the mirror is unaltered.
“You tell me,” Baz muses in response.
I shut the door again. “You are bluffing, aren’t you?”
He meets my eye evenly. “You tell me,” he repeats.
I let go of the doorknob and fold my arms across my chest.
Or at least that’s what I try to do.
Except that my hand is now welded to the knob.
“What the-” I stutter as I try to pry my arm away, my skin smarting as bits of it rip off of the knob. “Are you serious?”
Baz stands, reaching into his pocket as he moves toward me. A smirk sneaks into the corner of his mouth, and from his pocket he produces a tiny bottle of glue. Extremely strong Normal glue, the kind people use to hold broken furniture together.
Just as I’m registering what he’s done, he leans closer than I think I’ve ever been to him, his breath dusting my ear and sending a prickle across my neck.
“Your move,” he murmurs, pocketing the glue and striding to the door. I don’t follow, I can’t. “See you at dinner,” he chuckles, halfway through the door, “assuming you make it down there.” And then he’s gone.