The nine times Simon and Baz prank each other
and the one time they don’t
I haven’t had nightmares like that in years.
Replaying the scene of my mother’s death is a classic, and it’s been a while since I’ve dreamt it, but it almost always has me waking in a cold sweat. Occasionally I see it as I did when I was a child, but often it’s me as I am now, and the last thing I see is the look in her eye. It’s not afraid, it’s just sad, disappointed that I’ve carried my sickness with me all these years. That I never finished what she started by sending the nursery up in flames. That I’m still walking the planet with vampire’s poison in my blood.
There’s always the reassuring thought that I’ll wake up as soon as I’ve seen that look and the fire takes over, but this time it doesn’t work. I keep dreaming, and it gets worse. It turns into the nightmare that haunted my dreams almost every night for all of fifth year.
I have to bite Simon. I’m starved of blood and he is placed before me, veins pumping like drums in my head. Someone somewhere is egging me on, sometimes it’s Fiona’s voice, sometimes my father’s, sometimes my mother’s. I keep telling them no, and then Simon picks up a knife. He tells me it’s okay and he presses the blade to his neck, tracing a shallow line and drawing just the thinnest stream of blood but the smell alone is enough to set my senses blazing. I’m begging him to stop and he just walks calmly up to me, like the hero that he’s always been destined to be.
Sometimes I wake up in time. Sometimes I don’t.
When I don’t, I give in. I always give in.
His blood tastes real and alive and after one drop I lose control, drinking from his neck like I’ll never eat again.
Sometimes I stay in the nightmare long enough to feel him run his sword through my stomach before I wake up.
That’s what happened last night. Before I was shaken awake, clutching at the phantom blade in my stomach, to find him gazing down at me with wide, fearful eyes.
In the moment all I wanted was to pull him into my arms, to convince myself that he was real, we were awake and alive. Well, him at least.
Instead I burst into tears in front of him. Of course.
He made no further move to comfort me, which is for the best. Where in Merlin’s name would we have gone from there?
When my alarm goes off this morning, I don’t bother hitting snooze. I just slam the off-button and sit up. My eyes are fuzzy and heavy, and I can feel the tears dried onto my cheeks. I feel like a bear waking up from a terrible hibernation.
Simon hauls himself out of bed, his curls standing up off his head like he was the one who didn’t get any sleep. When he looks over at me, there’s a sort of caution in his gaze. “You alright?” he asks tentatively.
“Brilliant, Snow,” I croak, my voice raw from crying and the little sleep I got, “never been better.”
He doesn’t move to get ready or even get off the bed, just keeps staring at me, and I can only imagine what I must look like right now. Red, puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks, probably a rat’s nest of hair. A wreck. A vulnerable wreck. Wonderful.
“Maybe…” he ventures, trailing off.
“Words, Snow, I’m not in the mood to read your mind.”
“Maybe you should skip class this morning.”
I scowl at him. “I know I look like death, but it’s nothing a hairbrush won’t fix.”
“No,” he shakes his head, bronze curls falling in his eyes, “I mean you need your sleep. I can say you’re sick or something.”
I raise an eyebrow. “Since when are you invested in my well-being, Snow?”
“You didn’t hear yourself last night,” he mutters, and I think I see him shudder, staring at the floor, and it dawns on me that I must have been talking in my sleep. My blood runs cold imagining what he might have heard, what I might have revealed.
“No need to worry yourself,” I say, though I can barely keep my eyes open.
At this point, he gets up and crosses over to me. I’m too shocked to protest when he gently pushes me back to the mattress and pulls the covers over me again, but I look up at him quizzically.
“Just go back to sleep,” he tells me before heading to the bathroom to change.
I’m practically asleep again by the time he leaves the room, shutting the door slowly and quietly, like I’m a sick child in his care. The thought should be terrifying, but I’m out like a light before I can finish it.
Even though I sleep for another few hours, I still wake up in a bad mood. The rain pouring down the window doesn’t help, and I just have too many thoughts swimming around my head to feel refreshed.
Second class has already started, so I take my time in the shower, scrubbing the feeling of the sword away from my torso. If I think too long about my nightmare, the tear-tracks on my face start to feel like Snow’s blood, and I rub the sensation off until my cheeks are burning and red.
I don’t think about the nightmares.
I don’t think about the concern in his eyes last night.
I don’t think about his gentle touch pushing me back into bed.
Instead, I think about our game.
Snow never made his move. So what does that mean? He sure didn’t look like he wanted to pull anything on me this morning. In fact, he looked quite the opposite, almost guilty, like he felt responsible.
So who’s move is it?
Mine,I think as I shut off the water. He forfeited his turn, so now it’s my move.
I wait until classes are over to act. I haven’t seen much of him since this morning (Crowley knows he can’t be seen talking to me in a civil manner outside the room), but I find him in the study hall. Bunce and Wellbelove sit across from him, the three of them engrossed in their notes and textbooks. Snow has a set of earphones in, and his phone sits on the table beside his work.
None of them notice me when I come in, nor when I take a seat on the other side of the room. I open one of my own books but I can’t concentrate when I look down at it. I’m still feeling the effects of the terrible night I had, plus I’m not even here to study.
I see Snow say something to Bunce without removing his earphones. He must have the music low enough that he can still hear. Perfect.
I wait a few more minutes, until he’s lost in his notes again, before pulling my wand out of my pocket. I won’t be able to swing the wand as usual with this many people around, but I discreetly aim it at Snow from across the room. More specifically, at Snow’s phone.
“A little bit louder now,” I whisper.
Snow jumps back from his table, frantically ripping at his earphones as his music goes from quiet to blasting in less than a second. Wellbelove actually stands in shock, and someone’s papers go flying.
I don’t see the tail end of Snow’s reaction, as I have returned to staring pointlessly at my text. When I glance back up, he’s turning the phone over and over in his hands, trying to figure out what happened. Bunce hands him her earphones. Classic.
This time he only puts a bud in one ear, and he’s visually stiffer, ready to react if it happens again. Which it will, of course it will. Once he’s dropped his guard and I get bored of skimming over my book.
This only takes approximately fifteen minutes. After another five, he’s noticeably flagging, his eyes drooping closed, the heel of his hand pressing a red mark into his cheek.
As if he lost sleep last night. As if he’d had the nightmares about killing me. Well, not me, I suppose. Someone who matters to him as much as he matters to me. Wellbelove, maybe.
That thought alone makes me sick. Stupid Wellbelove and her stupid perfect hair and perfect face and perfect clothes. I almost want to turn my curses on her.
They haven’t dated in almost a year now, but the fact still remains that they did. At one point, Simon looked at her in that way that makes bystanders sigh and go all mushy. He doesn’t look at her that way anymore, but it’s like a stain that won’t come out. I can still see it, or imagine that I’m seeing it. I wonder if it will ever go away.
It’s with this thought in mind that I cast the spell a second time, expecting some sort of satisfaction when he once again jumps a mile into the air, but finding nothing but bitterness. Stupid Snow and his stupid golden curls and splatter of moles. Fuck him. Fuck the way his eyes turn into oceans in the dark. Fuck his crooked smile and the way his laugh makes the rain turn into sunshine.
I forget to look away when he catches me glaring at him, and too late I see him figure it out. He doesn’t glare back defiantly like I expect him to, just holds my gaze levelly like he understands. What in Merlin’s name he’s understanding is beyond me.
Thrusting my chin forward I mouth the words “your move” slowly and obviously. He just nods once before turning back to his books, deliberately leaving his earphones on the table.