The nine times Simon and Baz prank each other
and the one time they don’t
Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10
We’re not supposed to have food in our rooms. It’s one of Watford’s most ignored rules. It’s never enforced, and if the rooms themselves have anything to say about it, they tend to keep their mouths shut.
Nearly everyone I’ve talked to has some sort of stash in their wardrobe or under their bed. Agatha loves her sherbet lemons, and Penny has a seemingly endless supply of licorice hidden in a locked cupboard. Only she knows the whereabouts of the key, assuming she’s telling the truth and there is a key at all. As for me, I keep at least two mint Aero bars tucked away at all times, though it seems no matter where I hide them, Baz always manages to find them. Further evidence of vampiric senses, if you ask me.
Baz is more of a bring-food-from-the-dining-hall-into-the-room kind of person than a secret stash person, at least I’ve never seen any evidence of a stash. I have to wonder what sort of things Baz would keep hidden away. Rats maybe, still alive to keep their blood warm for when he gets peckish. But then again, I would probably have noticed something like that.
I don’t know how he always manages to get food up to the room unnoticed, but I also know he’s on a first-name basis with Cook Pritchard, so maybe he gets special privileges.
When he appears in the door this evening, tall and silent as ever, he’s holding a steaming mug of tea. I don’t say anything about it, I know better at this point. He’ll just snap at me.
He crosses the room and sets the mug down on his nightstand, dropping down to his bed and uncurling to his back. I raise an eyebrow at him, stretched out like a cat. “What’s with you?” I muse.
He throws a glance my way. “What?”
“I dunno, you’re just being… weird.”
“Thank you for your opinion, Snow, it’s entirely uncalled for as usual.”
I roll my eyes. “Forget I said anything.”
“I already have.”
I turn back to my textbook with a scowl. Serves me right for trying to start casual conversation, though maybe I was a bit rude about it. At least I can say I tried.
Baz lays there on his bed for another moment or so, staring up at the ceiling, breathing slowly and deeply like this is the first time he’s properly filled his lungs in weeks. I glance at my watch. I’m supposed to meet Penny in the library to study in half an hour, I don’t need to go just yet.
When Baz stands, he takes a detour on his way to the bathroom to reach over and flip my book out of my hands.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I call after him, but he responds simply by slamming the door in my face.
Classic Baz. Simple, stupid, but effective. Like a playground bully.
I wonder if he gets any actual joy out of it.
The heat of my anger is already fading, but it still frustrates me that he’s been getting away with this kind of abuse all our lives and nothing I do ever seems to deter him. It’s like he’s a giant and I’m a pissed-off ant, biting and crawling and trying to hurt him, only to be flicked away by a giant indifferent finger.
His mug on the bedside table catches my eye, steam still curling off the tea. He hasn’t taken a sip yet, which is surprising. Usually he drinks the stuff practically straight out of the kettle, like it isn’t scalding his entire throat on the way down. Maybe it’s not, maybe that’s some obscure vampire thing. Or maybe he’s just a prat that wants to look tough.
The lightbulb that goes off in my head is almost audible as I watch the steam dance above the mug.
Grabbing my wand from the sheets beside me, I stand from my bed as quietly as I can and tiptoe across to Baz’s nightstand, wincing with every creak from the floorboards. The tea is that perfect smooth colour, brown and soft with cream and sugar. Sparing a fleeting glance at the bathroom door, I dip my wand down so that the tip just barely breaks the surface of the tea, sending ripples floating away from the intrusion.
“Needs more salt,” I murmur in as soft a voice as I can manage, pushing the crackle of magic from the base of my neck down through my wand arm and into the tea.
“What was that, Snow?” Baz calls from the other side of the door. There’s a sudden splash of the sink.
“I didn’t say anything, twat,” I call back, carefully bringing my wand over my mouth and letting the stream of droplets fall onto my tongue. It’s flowers and cream and… salt. Definitely salt.
I smirk as I return to my bed. Mission accomplished.
When Baz re-emerges, I pull my textbook closer so he can’t knock it away again. I try to look appropriately engrossed. He doesn’t pause at the door, just goes straight back to his bed, and though I can’t see his face in my periphery, it seems as though he doesn’t suspect anything.
Needs more salt isn’t a proper spell, per say. More of a charm. Penny says that spells occur when the words play the biggest role. They are usually well-known sayings or lyrics, things that carry a little bit of their own magic, which makes them the easiest for beginning mages to master. Charms are different, harder to control. The power of a charm doesn’t lie in the words but in the intent. The magic comes entirely from the mage. Often charms come out as accidents, when something is said with so much feeling that magic simply slips in.
Penny is quite good at charms, at putting magic into whichever words she chooses. She insists that anything can be a charm with enough magic.
As Baz reaches for his tea, I can’t help but watch.
I sure hope Penny is right.
Baz raises the mug to his lips and takes the first sip.
His features freeze like he isn’t quite sure how to arrange them.
After a beat he lowers the cup and stares at it like it’s a puzzle, his brow beginning to furrow.
He takes another thoughtful sip, and this time the tiny curl of his lip betrays a hint of disgust.
I make sure to be staring back down at my book when he turns his gaze on me. I feel it burn into the top of my head, and the burn spreads to my cheeks as I try not to crack.
I can still feel his eyes on me as he takes a long, pointed drink from the mug.
I glance back at my watch. It’s still too early, but Penny will probably be in the library already, and I don’t know how long I can handle Baz’s stare.
I close my book and stuff it in my bag, wearing what I hope is a neutral expression and not a beet-red blush. I stand from my bed and slip into my shoes. I see him take another sip. When I look at him, he’s still watching me, and his face is surprisingly clear for someone drinking salted tea out of spite.
I’m not fully sure which one of us is the winner here.
I’m halfway out the door when I decide to break the tension.
“April Fool’s,” I state like it’s a simple good-bye before I shut the door.
I’m two stairs down as he yells “IT’S NOT EVEN FUCKING APRIL YOU TWAT!”