The nine times Simon and Baz prank each other
and the one time they don’t
I could have magicked the bleach out of my hair that same morning. I could have left the room looking like nothing had happened instead of enduring constant stares all day. Now that it’s been twenty-four hours, it would be child’s play to spell the bleach away.
Except I don’t.
Because Snow can’t stop staring at it.
And some things are worth the embarrassment.
Besides, I’m about to pay him back in full.
I strike early, immediately after breakfast. Snow and his ducklings stand in the hall outside our first class. Bunce sees me first as I stalk towards them. “Morning, Malfoy,” she calls to me, “isn’t the Slytherin common room the other way?”
They’re all looking at me, Snow, Bunce and Wellbelove. Good. Let them watch.
I whip my wand from my pocket as I reach them and cast before anyone can react.
“Not a word.”
Snow opens his mouth to say something… and his voice freezes before it can get out.
He clutches his throat and his eyes widen, and then the storm breaks.
“WHAT THE HELL PITCH!” Bunce actually manages to slam me against a wall with one mighty shove, and her wand is already at my neck.
“Get off me, Bunce.”
“Basilton Grimm-Pitch, you give him back his voice right now or I swear.”
“Relax, Bunce,” I hiss down at her, barely able to see her when she’s this close. “It’s only temporary. He’ll be back to babbling by tomorrow morning.” It’s an unfair thing to say, because Snow never babbles. Sometimes he has difficulty even articulating his spells.
“And what about in the meantime?” she snarls at me. “How’s he supposed to defend himself against whatever horrors you have in store for him if he can’t do magic?”
“What if I told you I don’t have any horrors in store for him?”
“Still,” Wellbelove pipes up, “stealing a mage’s voice? That’s cold, Basilton.” She says it like she’s discussing the weather or the homework or what she’d like to eat tonight.
“Not to mention totally illegal,” Bunce chimes in, and I don’t know if she’s correct on that or not, but I’m not about to fact-check her, especially not with her right in my face.
“He’ll still be able to retaliate,” I say with a shrug. “He certainly didn’t need magic to pour bleach in my shampoo.”
“Why haven’t you fixed that yet, by the way?” Wellbelove asks.
I look Snow directly in the eye. “The perks,” I smirk, and to my delight his face goes red. Merlin, this is fun.
“Your move,” I tell him before turning on my heel.
I don’t know what kind of charm Bunce has placed on Snow, but through some miracle he manages to get through all of our classes without being called on. It’s a little bit unfair that he has someone interfering, but I decide not to make a big deal of it. After all, Wellbelove was right. The voice is the most important weapon to a mage, and now that I’ve taken his, he’s no better than a Normal. At least for the day, anyway. And though the added humiliation of not being able to speak when spoken to would have been amusing for me to watch, I figure I’ve ruined his day enough already.
Besides, there’s a storm on its way. If everything goes according to plan.
Football practice goes longer than usual, until the sky is almost dark, and I can see Snow starting to flag by the time it’s over. It seems like he’s been trying to compensate for his lack of a voice by playing harder, and while he was admittedly almost unstoppable on the field, the extra work has clearly taken its toll. He’s still in the showers when I gather my things and head back to the room.
It’s another fifteen minutes before he clomps to the top of the stairs. He’s back in his regular clothes and his hair is extra curly from the shower, and before the door has fully fallen closed he flops onto his bed face-first and just lays there, breathing hard. I shake my head at him from my bed before returning to my tablet.
Eventually I see him kick off his shoes out of the corner of my eye. He hauls himself up slowly like he’s carrying a sack of bricks on his back and throws the window open, leaning out of it and into the cold night air, sucking it in like he could get drunk on it.
When he abandons the window to take his nightclothes into the bathroom, I decide I’ve gone long enough without being an arse.
I get up and shut the window, then sit back down on my bed.
Snow looks at it a long time when he comes back out, no doubt trying to remember whether he closed it or not. He opens it.
I wait until he’s sat on his bed again to walk over and shut it. It hasn’t even been open a full ten seconds.
Snow stares at me with a dismayed expression as I return to my bed. He holds my gaze when he opens it again. This time I spell it shut from my bed just to rub it in.
He stands in exasperation and starts wildly gesturing from me to the window and back again, his mouth opening and closing silently like he’s forgotten there’s no voice coming out.
“What is it, Snow? Use your words.”
I regret it the second it’s out. His hands fall to his sides and his mouth closes slowly. He looks so heartbroken and I hate myself. I hate myself.
So much, in fact, that I get up and leave, making my way down to the catacombs to feed and yell at the walls.
When I come back much later, Snow is sound asleep.
I take a long look at him, how his eyelids settle into place and make him appear so real. Like if I touched his skin right now it would feel different somehow, more physical.
I open the window before climbing into bed.