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the trees

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“Love?”

“Yeah?

“I have- I have an idea for our anniversary, and I just want to run it by you because it’s still a sensitive subject for me, and for you, too.” Simon started, looking a little nervous. “I saw this cute thing on Facebook that was something about planting a tree in a place where something bad happened after you’ve, y’know, made your peace with it. So I  was thinking.”

“The forest. Where we kissed.” Baz completed his sentence. “You want to go there and plant a tree.”

“Exactly. Thoughts? I think it would be quite therapeutic, and it’s been long enough for me that it won’t just reopen old wounds.” Simon moved to lie his head on Baz’s lap, and Baz tangled his fingers in his hair. “But that night was much worse for you than it was for me. Would you be okay with going back there?”

“I think I would cope.” Baz said softly, leaning back against the sofa. “Like you said, it’s been four years, that should be plenty of time. And we’re happy now, we’ve come to terms with everything. I think that would be nice.”

“Mhm. I’ll procure a tree from somewhere. Thank you for not thinking this is dumb.”

“I’ll never think anything you say is dumb, love. It’s a very sweet idea.”

----

“Okay. We’re here. You ready?” Simon said, putting the handbrake on and unbuckling his seatbelt. He looked to Baz and grabbed his hand.

“I think so. It’s a little weird to be back after all these years.”

All these years ? You sound like you’re sixty, not twenty-two.” Simon scoffed. “But I get what you mean. Let’s rip off the plaster and go.” They hopped out of the car, grabbing the plant and a shovel from the trunk, and walking hand-in-hand into the forest.

The trees were significantly less charred than they had been when Simon and Baz last visited; the leaves were green on  and they could hear birds chirping from somewhere nearby. The ground was solid, practically frozen with the cold, but it was covered in grass. However, the bottoms of the trees were still blackened, a harsh reminder that that night’s long-lasting impacts hadn’t all been good. Simon squeezed Baz’s hand, and they walked further into the forest.

“Merlin, this walk is longer than I remembered.” Simon complained, adjusting his grip on the sapling. His hands were becoming numb, pins and needles irritating him, and he could see that Baz’s nose was almost red from the cold.

“Well, last time we were sprinting, and also running on adrenaline. So.”

“Hmm, true. We can’t be far away now.” They really weren’t; less than five minutes later they arrived in the clearing, and after taking a few seconds to take everything in, Simon walked over to the edge of the clearing and held out the shovel to Baz.

“Time to get digging!” When Baz protested, whining something about ‘dirt under my fingernails’, Simon shut him up with a kiss, and Baz wasn’t complaining any more. Simon did his best to help, but using his hands to scratch away the dry dirt wasn’t really helping, so he just stood to the side and took a turn whenever Baz needed a break. It didn’t take too long- within ten minutes they had dug a hole big enough for the tree. Patting down the soil around it, they took a step back from the tiny plant and looked up at the tall spruces around them. The evening light was filtering through the leaves, casting dramatic (and very aesthetically pleasing) shadows around them. Baz turned to Simon and held both his hands, pulling him so they stood toe-to-toe, and pressed their foreheads together.

“Okay, it’s romantic speech time. This was… good. Simon, I thought when we were walking through this forest that I wouldn’t be able to deal with coming back here. Back then… it was a pretty bad time. My father didn’t approve of me, I thought my mother would’ve killed me if she saw me now, and I thought we would end up having to kill each other.” Baz’s voice cracked a little. “But then you kissed me, and killed the Mage and destroyed the Humdrum, and everything’s been going uphill since then. And it’s all because of you. I am totally winging this, but I’m going to probably-inaccurately quote that fanfiction you were crying over the other night: ‘ I think we deserve a soft epilogue, my love. We are good people and we've suffered enough.’ That’s the only bit I kind-of practiced.” Simon laughed a little, weakly.

“I haven’t prepared a romantic speech, and I especially can’t wing one now that you’ve got me on the verge of tears from quoting that line. Seriously, Baz, why would you quote Stucky fanfic if you were trying not to make me cry?!” Baz laughed, too.

“Who says I wasn’t?” Simon swatted his arm, but continued talking.

“I- I don’t like thinking about that year too much. But I do like thinking about you, because you’re what keeps me going. I love you. And I think doing this has given me some closure on that bad part of my life. And now we have the rest of our lives to be happy.” Once Simon stopped talking, Baz tilted his chin forward so their lips met, and it was somehow so similar and ten thousand times better than that first kiss so long ago. Bending backwards a little, Baz pulled Simon closer so their bodies were aligned. They could’ve stayed for hours, but just a few seconds later Baz tripped and fell backwards, with Simon lying on top of him. They let out an ‘ooph!’ when they landed, and paused for a second before looking up and making eye contact. They both dissolved into giggles, especially Simon looking at Baz’s face as he realised he got dirt and dew on his blazer. When they got home, chilly but happy, it was the first night in a while that neither of them had been woken by the nightmares that just wouldn’t leave them behind.

Things were changing for the better.