Inspired by Carry On, the (absolutely perfect) book by Rainbow Rowell.
I’ve never done a #fanfiction before. It was kinda fun!
It’ll only make sense if you read the book.
I wake up panting, drenched in sweat. I sit bolt upright and check to see that nothing is on fire, and that my magic isn’t pouring out of me again. But then I remember, my magic is gone.
I fall back down on the bed and take slow, deep breaths, trying to stop my heart from pounding. The dream had been so real. It was urgent, important. It was about something I needed to fix. I close my eyes and try to remember. The Mage’s face swims before my eyes, “Give it to me, Simon!” He yells, “Don’t make me take it!” I look round and see Eb’s body, covered in her own blood. “Give it to me!” The Mage screeches at me. He’s shaking me but then he’s being held up and Baz has his fangs out and I am terrified he might bite the Mage and I will lose them both. But I can’t speak. My voice has been swallowed up by an ancient tape recorder Ebb is holding. She is clutching it in her dead hands. My voice is in there. But maybe it’s not. I think I poured my voice in to a hole? I look for the hole but all I see is Ebb. Dead. But then her face changes and she isn’t Ebb any more. She has long blonde curly hair, and eyes like mine. She has my face. She is even wearing similar jeans and she has a ball now, instead of a tape recorder. She is pale as a ghost and all I want is to save her but I know she’s too far gone. I crouch over the body, the Mage has broken free of Baz and is pulling at me, pulling me away, but I reach for the body. Suddenly her eyes open, and stare straight at me. “He said we’d be stars,” she says and the world disappears.
I open my eyes again, the room is dark but the street light outside casts enough light for me to see the door. I get up and make my way out. I move quietly through flat, trying not to wake Penny, she’s a nightmare when tired, properly scary. When I reach the kitchen, I gently close the door, turn on the light and reach for my coat. It’s hanging on a chair, still damp. I had walked for hours last night, I just needed to keep moving and without my magic I couldn’t fly, for fear of being seen. Thankfully the spell Penny had cast before she went to bed had held and so I could at least walk around, without my wings and tail being seen.
I reach into my jacket pocket and pull out an envelope with an airmail sticker on it. It’s a letter from Agatha. Well I say letter, it’s more of a note.
I think the Mage would have wanted you to have this picture of him.
(Well, I guess we don’t really have much to say to each other any more.)
Inside is an old Polaroid picture of the Mage and a girl.
I take the photo and walk over to the fridge. I mean to get a snack or drink but when I get there I stare blankly inside, not taking anything in. I close the fridge door and a shiver runs over me. I lean against the kitchen cabinet and I look at the picture again; it isn’t the Mage who draws my eye, it’s the girl. She’s pretty, not beautiful, but there is an attractiveness there. She has long curly blonde hair, soft loose curls, blue eyes and long strong arms and legs. She is sitting on the ground next to the Mage and beaming up at the camera. Something about her feels familiar. I wonder why the Mage never mentioned her. Was it too painful? Or were we never as close as I thought? On the back it says Lucy and Davy. Lucy. Lucy and the Mage. The Mage is young here too, and I guess he looks pretty fit and probably the happiest I have ever seen him. Happy for the Mage. But I don’t dwell too long on him, my stomach turns when I look at him and I don’t know if it’s grief, guilt, or anger that causes it. I decide not to think about the Mage. But I can’t not think about Lucy.
I don’t know how long I stare at the picture, but I become aware of a sound coming from the hallway outside the flat. There is a soft scraping noise and the sound of someone turning the handle. I reach for the door, (although I don’t have my magic, I don’t run from a fight and I’m pretty useful with my tail) and I pull it open with a bang. The hall is suddenly illuminated and the light lands on a large person creeping to the hall.
“For fucks sake, Snow,” gasps Baz, “I nearly died! Again!”
My heart is racing too, but it calms at the sight of Baz. Then a knot in my stomach tightens and I move back. He throws his keys into the bowl and steps into the kitchen, closing the door behind him. He’s flushed, and not just from the shock. Fed then.
He steps towards me and kisses me quickly. I shove my hands behind me, crumpling the picture in my hand. Crowley, I’m like a child caught playing with something he shouldn’t.
Baz steps back and looks at me puzzled.
“Are you OK, Snow?” he asks.
“I’m fine,” I lie. “Just got a bit hungry and fancied a snack. I didn’t think I would see you tonight.”
“I finished my essay quicker than I thought,” he replies, still looking at me, his brows furrowed.
I don’t meet his gaze and instead duck round him to open the fridge again. I reach in with my other hand and under the pretence of looking for something in the back of it, hide the photograph behind some of Penny’s favourite cheese. I keep searching in the fridge, moving other foods round for no reason, but I can feel his eyes on me.
“Do you want anything? We have some of that posh ham you like,” I say, my head still buried in the fridge.
“Snow…” he says, and puts one hand on my lower back, “what’s wrong?”
I gulp. The cold from the fridge is seeping in to me, at least my face won’t be flushed and give me away.
“Nothing. I’m fine.” I rush. “Just hungry. You know me, I can’t cope when I am hungry.”
I move more things round in the fridge. “Hmmm, do I want yoghurt, or do I want pizza? I just can’t decide. Yoghurt is healthier-”
“Simon…” he cuts in. “Look at me.”
I slap a smile on my face and wheel round to face him. His eyes are narrowed but full of concern, his jet black hair is falling loosely around his face, and he’s hunched slightly to meet my gaze. As soon as I see him I feel like crying, he’s too much sometimes. He’s too trusting, too good, too much softness and too much love for me to handle. My face crumples and tears pool in my eyes but before they begin to spill, Baz’s arms are around me and my head is buried in his chest.
“I can’t…” I begin, “I don’t know how…” I sob.
He quietly holds me. He smells of smoke and the cold night air. But he is warm, and he is here, and he is mine. He puts his head on top of my own and we just stand there, me falling to pieces and him holding me together.
I have cried a lot in the year we have been together, killing the Mage and everything, well that wasn’t the best start to a relationship. But Baz never judges and, crazily, he still loves me. Powerless and everything. (He likes to argue that he is the powerless one, because I have all the power over him, because he is obsessed with me and has been for years. I argue that I am catching him up, plus I have no magic. I win. He says I won’t ever be caught up.)
I don’t know how long we stand there for, only that my toes go numb on the cold kitchen floor.
When my sobs subside, I don’t want to look at him, but he brings a hand to my face and lifts it up. He kisses my forehead and I close my eyes and drink it in.
“Can you tell me now?” He asks softly.
I don’t want to.
“Yes,” I say and step back out of his grasp. I rub my hands over my face, wiping away the tears and hassle my hair, it’s still all matted from the nightmare.
I open the fridge again and reach in for the photo. I hand it to him, without speaking.
I recognise the Mage at once, even without that ridiculous moustache he sported in later life. He’s younger here, with fewer lines and grey hairs, but his expression is still as serious, still as bitter. I wonder if he was born that way? The old anger rises inside me at the sight of my mother’s murderer, but I am aware that Simon doesn’t need my rage right now. I swallow it down and my gaze shifts to his companion in the photograph.
The girl I do not recognise, although she seems vaguely familiar. She’s pretty if you like that sort of thing, and she seems to hold herself in a strong, superior way. Her back is straight and her smile is steadfast. Where the Mage seems bitter, she seems joyful. Her eyes are an average blue, and her hair falls in bronze curls around her shoulders.
I look at Simon, who is looking at the photograph in my hands. I try to stop them from trembling. I look back at the photograph. It can’t be, can it?
“Who is the woman?” I ask, keeping my voice steady.
“Who sent you this?” I ask. If I keep asking questions maybe I won’t have to say what I am thinking. It seems too preposterous.
“Agatha,” he replies. “It came this morning but I was at Uni and then at work, so I only got it when I got in.”
“Has Penny seen it?”
“No. I didn’t know what to think, so I just went for a long walk.”
“You went for a walk? Where did you go?”
“Just around. I just kept walking.”
“Why didn’t you call me?”
Simon shrugs again. (Not bloody this time, Snow.)
“Simon,” I press “why didn’t you call me?”
“You were busy.” He says, not meeting my eye.
That’s not it. He’s called before when I have been busy. The LSE isn’t exactly a doddle but it isn’t taxing yet either. I am only in my first year and so it’s not like I am writing my thesis. Sometimes Snow calls me at midnight just to check I am home safe. Which is ridiculous. I am a Vampire, one of the darkest creatures out there. I have super strength and heightened senses. London at night is my playground. Or would be, if I wanted to drink Human blood. Normally I just break in to Regent’s Park and drain a deer or a few rabbits. When Simon calls, he likes to say that he’s just checking I haven’t been ‘kidnapped by Numpties’. (Moron. That joke got very old, exceedingly quickly.) My essay is not the reason, and he knows it.
I decide not to say anything. I slowly place the photo on the counter beside me, lean back against it, cross one foot over the other, and put my hands in the pockets of my jeans. Then I just look at him.
I am fucked.
Simon looks around, still avoiding my gaze.
“And…you hate the Mage,” he continues, the silence and the lie weighing uncomfortably between us. He’s standing against the other side of the counter, wings low, each hand grabbing on to the counter top behind him. He can’t wear tops to bed, but he’s wearing my old red pyjama bottoms. His tail is swishing restlessly behind him. (If Simon ever had a chance of having a poker face, it vanished the day he created that tail.) “If that photo is what I think it is then…you might not want to…then you might be…you might not…”
I swallow and clench my jaw. He notices and his eyes grow wide, tears well up in them. It’s like gazing out to sea.
“You can go,” he rushes. “You don’t have to stay. I’d understand if you can’t…don’t want to… to look at me.” He says, facing the floor.
Sometimes I swear I could tear this boy’s throat out. Frustration isn’t even the word.
“For Crowley sake Snow, when are you going to trust me?!”
He looks up, his face full of shock and confusion.
“What?” he replies. “I do trust you.”
“Well obviously not,” I spit back, more angry than I intend. “You still don’t get it!”
“Don’t get what?” He asks
“This! Me! Us! How much I love you! You! You for who you are. Not what, but who! Why can’t you get that into your exceeding thick skull?!”
“But Baz, that photo-”
“Is just a photograph,” I sigh. “Do you really think a photograph could really stop me from loving you? Have you learned nothing about me this last year? Does the fact I have loved you since I was 12, mean nothing?”
“No. I just – “
“Didn’t think.” I finish for him. I let the sentence hang there in the air. He didn’t think, he never does.
He takes a deep breath and rocks back against the counter top. I realise I am panting a little.
“No,” he says steadily. “I just didn’t want to upset you.” He takes another breath and looks at me, eyes dry, his gaze steady. “I didn’t want you to have to deal with what that photo might mean. Not until I had dealt with it. Not in front of me. You might have needed time to process… to work shit out. I know you love me Baz. But that woman…Lucy. She looks like me. You can’t deny it. She looks like me and she looks the right age to be…to be my mother. She was the Mage’s girlfriend, they have their arms around each other! I didn’t want you to deal with the fact that you may be in love with the son of the man who killed your mum.”
Wanker. Doesn’t he realise that I love him too? For fuck’s sake.
I feel like a proper wanker.
I lift the photograph again and look down at the happy, smiling, strong woman, with the Mage’s arms wrapped around her. The woman who could tear my world apart. No. That man already took my mother from me, he can’t have Simon too.
I hand the photograph back to Simon, he takes it, puts it back in the Fridge and turns quickly to face me. (Idiot, he’s probably forgotten that it’s not actually a block of cheese. Or maybe he thinks we are safe from it, if it’s in there. He’s maybe been watching too much television.)
“Say something,” he pleads.
My head sags and I’m suddenly very tired. “I’m sorry,” I say “I shouldn’t have-” but before I finish my sentence he is close to me again. One hand round my waist, the other on my stomach. “I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I wanted to protect you. To protect us.”
“I know,” I whisper back, “but Simon…”
“But we should have dealt with this together,” he finishes.
And that’s it. Together. When we do things together, everything makes sense, it’s easier to see how to do things, fix things. I sag into him and he into me. We are holding each other up and if one of us was to move, the other would surely fall. I place my head next to his and bury my nose in his neck. I breathe in his scent, bacon and cinnamon buns.
“Baz?” he says softly.
“Do you want a sandwich? We really do have that ham you like.”
I breath deeply and stand to look at him.
“Is that why you were out of bed? To make sandwiches? Crowley Snow, how are you not the size of a house by now?”
“I keep active,” he replies, his eyes twinkling at me and a wide grin spreading across his face. I raise my eyebrow at him, smothering my own grin “ I don’t know what you mean.” I say in mock tone.
“Oh really?” he replies and he pulls me in to a hot and heavy kiss. My knees buckle slightly, even now, after a year, his kisses still slay me. He pushes me back against the counter and I hear a plate fall, smashing on the floor. I don’t care. We keep kissing like this until the door bursts open (maybe even off its hinges) and a harassed and tired looking Penny is standing there. She is wearing a Unicorn onesie and a look that could kill.
I pull away from Baz and turn to face Penny with the most apologetic look I can muster.
“Sorry Penny,” I say, not really sure how to explain.
“I am going to spell your both mute and stupid in a minute, my Struck Dumb lasts for hours! I may even get a whole day without you flirting!” she finishes with a bluster. Her hair is wild and her face is creased on one side. She looks unbelievably cute. (Well, if you discount the murderous look on her face and the fact she just threatened to curse us.) A second later, Micha appears behind her, he’s over visiting for Christmas. He gently takes her hand and leads her back to her room, she scowls at us the whole way, but at least she doesn’t do any magic.
I breathe out and look up at Baz, stifling a laugh.
He takes out his wand, points it at the plate and casts “Back to the start”. It flies through the air and appears beside us, completely fixed. “Come on,” he says “Let’s get you that sandwich and go to bed.”
I frown slightly. I don’t relish the idea of sleep, the sight of a dead Lucy, (maybe Mum?) covered in blood on the ground, swims into view again.
Baz sees the frown and waits, his head tilted to the side, his eyes fixed on mine.
“I didn’t really want a snack,” I explain. “I just couldn’t sleep.” Realisation dawns on his face and he wraps his arms around my shoulders and pulls me into him. “What was it about?” he asks softly.
“Her. Lucy. The Mage. You. The night he died. The night Ebb… She was Ebb. Ebb was Lucy.”
Baz breathes deeply and I feel him exhale, his breath tickles my ear. He doesn’t say anything, there’s nothing to say.
Then I feel him lightly kiss my neck. I close my eyes and let out a little moan. I like him kissing that mole as much as he likes to kiss it.
I kiss my favourite mole and then I open the kitchen door and, taking Snow by the hand, lead him back to his room. He hesitates in the hall.
“I really don’t want to sleep yet,” he protests quietly, still scared Penny will strike him dumb.
“Who said anything about sleeping?” I say over my shoulder as I pull him in to the room.
I can’t believe it’s dawn. Light is creeping in to the room now, replacing the harsh yellow street light, with a softer shade of cream. The bed is in the shade, where the light never reaches, but I watch it creep across the floor on the other side of the room. We haven’t been to sleep. Baz seemed to take my unwillingness to sleep as some sort of challenge. He has his arms draped over my shoulders and I have my head resting against his chest, my legs intertwined with his. (If you saw our legs I think it would be hard to work out which leg belonged to who, well apart from Baz’s are pale and mine are covered in moles.) I wonder how long we have been awake. How long we have kissed and talked, giggled and whispered, and how long we made love for. I’m tired now, and feel so content and safe, that I know if I fell asleep, my dreams would be filled by a grey eyed vampire, wearing dark blue jeans most probably. I’m just on the verge of sleep when Baz whispers, “I’ll help you,” and he says it so softly I think I may have dreamed it.
“What?” I reply, lifting my head and looking up to him. His eyes are closed but he’s not asleep and his next line comes out clear as day. “I’ll help you find your mum.”