The nine times Simon and Baz prank each other
and the one time they don’t
Technically, I might have cheated a bit. Then again, we never clearly laid out any rules. We never actually decided that each player had to wait until the next day to lay their trap, it was just sort of understood. So if I made preparations the night before, I would say that it’s completely fair. After all, how can you break a rule if none were ever written?
When Baz gets up before me to use the shower, I hide my grin under my blankets.
I dress as the water runs.
I take the planned precautions and double-check that I’ve remembered to wear my necklace.
When the water shuts off, I take my position, sitting on my bed with my back against my pillow, waiting. The picture of calm, even though I’m buzzing with anticipation.
I count down in my head as I hear the curtain slide back.
Three, two, one…
“WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?”
“I should think it would be obvious.”
“YOU’D BETTER START RUNNING, SNOW!”
I don’t move. I stay exactly where I am and straighten out a crease in my shirt. Crowley, I’m starting to act like him.
There’s a steady stream of cursing from the other side of the door. Normal cursing, not magical cursing, though he sounds angry enough to curse me right off the school grounds.
When he cracks the door open, he doesn’t lean around to look at me.
“Oh, come on,” I tell him, “get it over with.”
He takes a step forward and emerges, wearing only a towel around his waist, half of his body hidden behind the door. Part of my brain registers the fact that I’ve never seen him with this little clothing on, but I’m very much distracted by his hair. It’s slicked back with shower water, a few strands hanging in front of his eyes, and it’s blond. Yellow-blond.
A smirk takes control of my face. “Well, that clearly worked, then.”
“Do you have any idea how bloody dead you are.”
“Could you hurry up in there? I’d like to use the bathroom. Oh, and it’s your move.”
He slams the door in my face and I bury my laughter in my pillow.
He takes an exaggeratedly long time to get ready, probably to spite me, or maybe he’s busy trying to magic the bleach out of his hair. Trixie told me it was extra-long lasting, but it is only Normal bleach with no magical properties. Maybe I did charm it to be a bit stronger, but he could probably magic his hair back to normal if he tried long enough. I just wait on my bed, studying my nails casually like I assume he does when he’s tormenting me.
When Baz finally reappears in the doorway, he’s fully clothed and his hair is still blond, but it’s different now. It’s dry, and instead of yellow his hair is a soft white. He hasn’t slicked it back like he usually does, just lets it fall around his face like snowflakes.
His skin is so pale that white-blond hair shouldn’t look good on him.
But it does.
It’s light and soft and it makes his heavy gray eyes look gentle, even though he’s currently using them to shoot daggers at me. It’s striking against the green of his uniform, and it’s like he’s turned from a vampire into a wood elf, tall and elegant and smooth.
His hair looks so soft, freshly washed like this, that my hands actually twitch. I want to take a lock and rub it between my fingertips.
Crowley, it looks good.
There’s a lurch in my stomach, unfamiliar and cold, and I don’t know what it means. Not that it matters, I’m definitely not thinking about my stomach right now.
“I thought I told you to run,” Baz growls through his teeth, his cheeks pink. Maybe from shower steam, maybe from embarrassment. I wonder what my cheeks look like right now, with how I feel them heating up.
“I’m not stupid, Baz,” I reply calmly, even though there’s a weird shiver working its way down my back. “If I leave the room, you’ll just throw me down the stairs or something. This is the safest place for me right now.”
“Maybe I’ll throw you out the window and let the merwolves have you.”
“Try opening the window, Baz, see how far you get.”
“What did you do to it?”
“Nothing serious, just a simple precaution, but you won’t be getting it open.”
“What if I carried you out the door?”
“You’d have to fight me to get me there, and I don’t think the Anathema would like that very much.”
He seethes at me for another few seconds before storming out the door. I can hear his angry steps all the way down the tower.
I stay where I am for I don’t know how long. It’s like I can’t move, and my stomach is still feeling hollow. Not in a hungry way, more like someone took one of my organs out and left a giant empty spot, and now the rest of my organs are frantically shifting around to try and fill the space. I’m cold and hot at the same time.
“Crowley,” I say aloud to the empty room.
It looked good.
Penny and I are out on the hill when she sees what I’ve done.
“Mor-gana, Simon,” she breathes, her eyes wide. “How are you even still alive?”
I shake my head, watching Baz as he disappears into the castle. His hair is even more ethereal in the light of day. I can only imagine what he would look like if the sun were shining. He’d have a fucking halo.
“The better question is, why has he left it like that?” Penny muses, squinting at the doors even after Baz has passed through them. “Couldn’t he magic it back to normal?”
“Maybe the dye is too strong.”
“How exactly did you pull this off, anyway?”
“I poured hair bleach in his shampoo last night.”
She shakes her head with a disbelieving laugh. “Crowley, Simon,” she says, “when is this game going to end?”
I shrug. I hadn’t thought about it. “When there’s a winner?”
“And how do you determine a winner?”
“Maybe just until one of us concedes.”
“I know you two,” she scoffs, “that’s not going to happen.”
Something about her saying you two makes my heart beat a little louder in my ears for just a second.
“So let me get this straight,” she continues. “First you changed his sugar into salt, so he turned your scones to rock. Then came the necklace thing, and the glue on the doorknob. I know he kept turning your music up yesterday, but there’s something missing in between. Did you forfeit that day?”
“What did you do?”
The memory is sour and I grimace. “I don’t want to talk about it?”
“Why? Did it not work?”
“I cursed him.”
“So what? He’s cursed you loads of times.”
“I gave him nightmares.”
Penny doesn’t answer for a second. “You did what?”
“They were only supposed to be minor ones, but something went wrong, they were never supposed to hurt him.”
“How bad were they?”
I want to scrub the memory from my eyelids. “I had to wake him up because he kept shouting.”
“Simon, that’s… terrible, actually.”
“I told you, they weren’t supposed to be scary.”
“Still, you attacked the mind. Worse, you attacked the subconscious.” She looks at me like I’ve taken her food without asking. “Does he know it was you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Is that why you didn’t get mad yesterday when he pranked you?”
“Why would I get mad?” I shrug. “I deserved it.”
“I never thought I’d see the day that you felt bad for hurting Baz.”
I shake my head. “He might be a twat, but you didn’t hear him. No one deserves whatever he was dreaming.”
Penny watches me thoughtfully. “Hmm,” she muses.
“Nothing, just… maybe you guys don’t hate each other as much as you think you do.”
Baz’s hair is still white-blond later at night when we turn in. I still have to consciously remind myself to stop staring at it.
He hasn’t said anything to me since this morning, but I don’t think it’s because he’s mad. More just the normal silence that exists between us when we’re not actively fighting or shouting abuse at each other.
I wonder as he turns out the lights if his hair has always looked so soft, or if I’ve just noticed it now. When he turns it black again, will I still have the urge to touch it? Is it something I’ve always wanted to do but only just realized?
A thought occurs to me as his breathing starts to deepen across the room. “Hey, Baz.”
It’s ridiculous and not even close to true. My hair is the blonde of honey, while his is currently the blonde of fucking snow, but that makes it even more ironic and, naturally, even more funny to me.
Baz doesn’t say anything, just sits up and punts one of his pillows at me, and I can’t hold in a giggle when it hits me.