with the moves

I have such a strong love-hate relationship towards MM:

• I love how well-rounded the characters are and make me believe that they actually care about me.
• I hate how I’m reminded of how lonely I am for not having people like them IRL.
• I love how real the characters can get and just resonate with me with their struggles and worries.
• I hate how the game hits way too close to home and draws lots of gross sobbing from me.
• I love how the game is set-up in real-time to make it more immersive.
• I hate how the chats are set up at odd hours, thus ruining my sleep schedule even more.
• I love the text and call features.
• I hate how those are the only texts/calls I’ll ever receive.
• I love how the game breaks the fourth wall sometimes.
• I hate how I’m reminded that it’s just a game, and they’re not real.
• I love this game.
• I hate how much I love this game.

No. You don’t get that from me. 
I refuse to let you feel better, 
You deserve to live with what you’ve done. 
Live with the fact that your girlfriend loves you,
But I’m still pretty enough for you to kiss.
Live with the fact that you put a girl in the hospital, not once,
But twice.
You have a record of causing pain with those brown doe eyes.
Too bad all I see now is black.
Your Move

The nine times Simon and Baz prank each other and the one time they don’t

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10

March 27

Simon

My palm is still raw from wrenching it off of the doorknob.  My phone was on my bed, too far away for me to reach, so I couldn’t even call for help.  I was left to grit my teeth and peel my skin off the metal bit by bit.  Then I had to use about five cleaning spells to get all the glue off the doorknob.  It was ridiculous.

           I use my left hand to sift through the books on the shelf I’m scanning.  My right hand is still bandaged around the palm.  I can wiggle my fingers, or hold a pencil, but it still hurts, so I move my hand as little as possible, letting it become stiff in its cocoon of bandages.

           “Simon?”

           I turn to find Agatha peering into my aisle, a quizzical look on her face.  Even when her eyebrows furrow her features remain smooth, like no matter what configuration she pulls them into, that’s exactly where they’re meant to be.

           “Hey Agatha,” I give her a half-smile, inching a book off the shelf little by little with my free hand.  I make a mental note to practice operating left-handed, in case anything worse ever happened to my right hand again.

           “What are you doing here?” she asks, drawing nearer.

           “This is the library.”

           “I know that,” she says, “but what are you doing here?  This is the curses section.”

           “Looking for curses.”

           “Who are you planning to curse?”

           I clench my jaw.  “Who do you think?”

           She nods knowingly.  “What did he do this time?”

           “He super-glued my hand to the bathroom door.”

           “And what did you do to deserve it?”

           I shoot her a raised eyebrow and she shrugs. “Penelope told me about your prank war,” she explains.

           “I tied his wand up in my cross necklace.”

           Agatha just nods, not admonishing my actions like I’d thought she would.  “So you’re going to curse him?”

           I open the book I’m holding to the middle, throwing a glance over the words but not registering a thing.  “That’s the idea.”

           Agatha peers at the book’s title.  “Curse First: A Guide to Harmless Cursing,” she reads aloud.

           “I don’t want to actually hurt him, just give him something to think about,” I say, flipping through a few pages but not seeing anything to catch my eye.

           “Have you tried psychological?”

           “Sorry?”

           “From what I understand, all of your pranks so far have been physical,” Agatha replies.  “You’ve both attacked the body, so why don’t you try the mind?”

           I hold her gaze, weighing the idea.  “How would I do that?”

           “Unwanted thoughts can be maddening,” she tells me, her eyes cool and clear.  “If you can make the brain your weapon, you’ll have won.”

*** 

I take out the book and spend the next few hours poring over it in a far corner of the library. Every footfall has me looking up to see who’s there, to make sure Baz doesn’t find me studying up.  Even if I weren’t searching for spells to bring him down, I can’t concentrate when he’s around anyway.

           Returning to the room much later isn’t nearly as terrifying as it was last night.  I suppose it’s possible that he could break the rules and pull something out of turn, but somehow I know that he won’t.  His last move was strong enough that he’ll give me time to retaliate.

           I wonder how he’ll react if he doesn’t know I’ve made my move.

           I’m lucky tonight, he doesn’t go out gallivanting who-knows-where for a change, meaning I don’t have to wait as long.  I repeat the lines I’ve written to myself as I get ready for bed, ignoring the fluttering of my heart.  Curses tend to bring on spurts of adrenaline, which makes them harder to control.  If I can’t pull this off tonight, I’ll have missed my turn.

           When I emerge from the bathroom, Baz has already turned out the lights and climbed into bed.  He’s facing away from me, but I can be sure he’s not asleep yet.  So I pull back the covers on my bed, crawl in, and check to make sure the notepaper with my curse scribbled on it is still in my pocket.  Then I settle down to wait.

           Falling asleep is always easier when you need to stay awake.  Before long, my eyes are burning from holding them open.  The lines of my curse repeat and mingle in my head as sleep threatens to take over.

           Just a little longer, I tell myself, then I can rest easy.

           My eyelids slide closed involuntarily, and I blink hard to force them back open.

           I strain my ears, listening to every sound I can pick out.

           Baz breathes long and deep.

           Finally.            

           Quietly I push myself up and peer over at Baz.  I can’t see his eyes, but the sheets rise and fall slowly.  Throwing back the covers and grabbing my wand from under my pillow (which is where I’ve started to keep it at night, just in case), I tiptoe across to his bed and squint to see his eyes in the dark.  They’re closed, and for a change his brow is light, smooth, like a boy instead of a monster.

           Perfect.

           I send out a quick prayer that he won’t wake up while I’m casting, and then I bring the wand low over his face.

“Deep sleep, crawl and creep,

From him sweet peacefulness keep,

Turn his dreams to nightmares foul,

Eerie fog and hoot of owl,

Dark, unpleasant, not for fear,

But to keep in misery,

Do not wake for terror’s cries,

Lest you flee his sleeping eyes.”

           By the time I’m done casting, my wand hand is cramping up in its bandages, and I have to force the last sparks of magic out. Baz gives a long sigh in his sleep, and his brow comes together slightly.  Something has worked.

           I return to my bed as my heart slows back to a normal rate.  Sliding my wand into its place under my pillow, my eyes fall shut faster than I can lie down.

 ***

           Baz is a silent sleeper.  He doesn’t snore, doesn’t mumble or toss and turn, doesn’t shout nonsensical phrases.  Sleeping with Baz in the room is like sleeping with a dead thing in the room. Ironic, if I’m right about the vampire thing.

           So when I wake up a little later to the sound of his sheets rustling furiously, I know something is wrong.

           I sit up to see his bed in a flurry of motion as he tosses from one side to the other.  I can’t see his face as he moves, but his breathing is short and heavy like he’s running from something.

           Clearly the curse has worked.  A little too well, by the looks of it.

           It’s harmless, I tell myself as I sink back down into my pillow, trying to ignore the commotion.  He’ll stop in a moment.

           Then the whimpering starts.

           I don’t think I’ve ever heard Baz make such a helpless sound.  It’s so quiet at first that I can’t even be sure I heard anything, but then it happens again and I’m certain.  He keeps tossing and turning, but now it’s vocal.

           He must be having a really bad dream.

           Which doesn’t make much sense.  The curse was only meant to conjure minor nightmares, things like falling, bugs, public humiliation.  Just enough to give the person a restless night’s sleep.

           Somewhere along the way, though, something must have gone wrong with my casting of the curse.

           Because Baz’s whimpers are becoming words, mumbled and then clear as day.

           When he blurts out the word “no”, it’s generic enough that I’m not overly worried, but then he’s saying things like “run” and “please”.  At the word “mother”, which he says louder than before, I flinch.  I don’t know much about Baz’s mum, but I know she’s long dead, and I know he was there, and old enough to remember for the rest of his life.

           I bolt upright when he says my name.

           Because he doesn’t say “Snow”.  He says “Simon”.

           I don’t think I’ve ever heard him call me “Simon” before now.

           I suppose we’re fighting in his nightmare, but there’s something about how he says my name.  It’s not angry or defiant, or even gloating.  It’s afraid, it’s pleading, it’s tearful.

           I shake my head and lie back down, trying to erase the memory.  What is it they say?  Most dreams only last a few seconds in real life even though they feel really long? Whatever Baz is dreaming, it will be over soon.  I pull my blankets closer over my ears to block him out, even though it doesn’t work. I can still hear him.

           It’lll pass.

           “No.”

           It’ll pass.

           “Please.”

           It’ll pass.

           “Simon.”

           It’s not passing.

           I jump out of bed and run to him.  He’s clutching the sheets to his face like he’s trying to hide in them, and I still can’t see his features for the frantic shaking of his head.  Just as I reach him he gives a wordless cry, and I throw my misgivings to the wind.

           “Baz,” I say as calmly as I can, grabbing him by the shoulders, but he just swats at me in a new panic.  This time I shout.  “Baz!”

           He sits up like he’s been shot from a cannon, gasping and panting and looking around in terror.

           “It’s me,” I tell him, still gripping his shoulders. “You’re alright, it’s just me.”

           When his eyes meet mine they’re wild and dark, and heavy with tears.  I see the few seconds it takes for him to recognize me, and then the relief that floods into them as I brush a lock of his hair back from his face with my fingers, not even thinking about the tenderness of the gesture.

           “It was just a nightmare,” I say steadily, my voice low with sleep, and I can see it grounding him.  “Take a deep breath.”

           He tries, but instead I feel his shoulder start to shake as he comes down from the panic.  The tears spill over from his eyes and he looks away from me, back down at his lap.

           Have I ever seen him cry?  Maybe, but never like this.

           This is my fault.

           Suddenly I want nothing more than to fall onto his bed and hold him through his tears, to rub his back slowly and ride out the terror with him. “Baz…”

           “Just go back to bed,” he manages without looking at me, and for a moment I wonder if he knows what I’ve done.

           Walking away from him is like pulling a magnet away from its counterpart.  It aches in places I’ve never ached and it tastes like copper in my mouth.

           I climb back into bed and the feeling hasn’t faded.  It’s just as strong and just as scary.

           I’m so sorry, Baz.

           Some perverse voice in my brain tells me to drop the “your move” line, but the thought is so appalling that it makes my stomach hurt.

           I say nothing.  I make no further move to comfort him, even though every bone in my body is screaming at me to do it.

           I just lie there as he sobs quietly.

           My eyes fill with my own tears more than once before we both calm down enough to fall into a deep, exhausted sleep.