Simon seemed to be the only person on the planet who actually enjoyed group projects. There’s just something about being a part of something, collaborating, conversing, and creating together. It felt right. It felt important.
No one else seemed to agree.
For his finals in Poli Sci, Simon and the rest of his classmates were expected to get into groups of three and make a presentation (given without notes, which Simon was definitely not looking forward to) about the effects of blah blah blah on blah blah blah.
There was this one girl, Rebecca, who sat next to him and who he got on fairly well with, who’d agreed to work with him. She said her friend would join them, and that made three.
Simon was currently nestled into the corner booth of a little café by his flat, waiting for Rebecca and her mystery friend to show up so they could get started. Idly, he dicked around on his phone as he waited, until the sound of the door chimes caught his attention.
There was Rebecca, long red hair all askew and glasses on wonky, followed by a short girl around Simon’s age. She had a laptop clutched to her chest and looked around the shop vaguely before shrugging. They waited in line and ordered.
Simon waved, and Rebecca and Co. arrived at his booth. Katie slipped into the booth across form him, Rebecca sliding in after her, both holding coffees.
“Simon, this is Katie.” Rebecca introduced, gesturing. Katie nodded and opened her laptop, sipping on her coffee. “Katie, this is Simon Snow.”
Katie spit coffee on the table.
“Uh?” Simon tried, pushing a napkin over to help her sop it up.
“This is… Simon? Simon Snow?” Rebecca repeated, supremely confused. She raised an eyebrow, tilting her head. Katie ignored her, turning to Simon wide-eyed.
“You’re Simon Snow?”
“Um, yeah?” What was this girl’s problem? Why was she looking a him like that?
“Simon Snow or Simon Snow?”
Katie set her drink down now, leaning across the table conspiratorially. Rebecca leaned in too, but Katie only shoved a hand against her chest and pushed her out of hearing range. “Hey!” Rebecca cried, but Katie ignored her again, whispering instead to Simon,“…Ever heard of the Insidious Humdrum?”
Oooohhhhh. That makes more sense.
“Oh! Yeah, that’s me.”
”Oh. My. God.” Katie looked shook, mouth open still, cheeks beginning to flush, “You’re Simon Snow! Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening! Oh my god! Merlin and Morgana, Alister Crowley fucked by a numpty, holy shit.”
“What the hell are you saying?” Rebecca asked, hands falling flat on the table, “You two know each other?”
Katie cut her eyes at the other girl. “No.”
“Nothing, Rebecca. Hey, would you be a dear and go get me another coffee?”
“You haven’t drank any—“
Katie looked downright murderous, making a face at Rebecca, who cringed back in her eat. They looked at each other quietly for a few minutes, having some conversation Simon couldn’t for the life of him understand, then Rebecca sighed and stood up, stalking off to the counter to wait in the long line again.
Katie turned her attention back to him and cleared her throat, placing her hands primly in front of her and leaning back towards him across the table. Suddenly, Simon felt uncomfortable. She was looking at him a little too intensely, a little bit like Baz sometimes looked when he hadn’t fed. He noticed only now that she had large purple bags under her eyes. There was dirt beneath her nails.
“So.” He tried, leaning further back in his booth, “You’re a Mage?”
“No. A pixie.” She smirked. He teeth were a little pointier then they should have been, Simon realized.
“Oh. That’s… nice.” What was the pixies’ and Mages’ relationship again? Should he be worried? He couldn’t exactly go off on her anymore, though surprisingly the Sword of Mages still came when he called. (He hoped that meant his magic wasn’t completely gone, just dormant.) Even if he had to call it, this was a pubic place in the middle of London, full of Normals. He couldn’t exactly chop her head off in a posh café.
“Yeah, yeah.” Katie giggled, a greasy kind of sound. Rebecca was approaching again, setting the coffee on the table with a huff. Without taking her eyes off Simon, Katie reached over and swatted the cup off the edge of the table, sending it tumbling to the floor in a wet mess.
“Oops.” She said monotonously, smirking just he slightest bit.
“Jesus Christ, Katie.” Rebecca sighed, but moved to clean it up anyway. Katie stood, and for a blessed moment Simon thought maybe she’d leave, but she just moved to sit beside him on his side of the table. Rebecca left to grab more coffee or something, and Simon wanted to cry. He was on the edge of panic.
Katie scooted closer in the booth, a hand landing lecherously on his thigh He wanted to push it off. He didn’t.
“You know, there’s still a pretty price on your head.” Her grin was downright ugly, “You know what I could do with pall that gold? So much,” She giggled, a hollow and humorless sound, “But I think I rather like this prize instead, “ She was leaning so close now, her pointed nose almost touching Simon’s, his back pressed far into the corner, limbs stiff and muscles tensed, and she was pushing in and he couldn’t find his voice to tell her to back off and he couldn’t find the force to make her back off and—
Someone cleared their throat.
Katie sprung back, a safer distance away now, and Simon breathed in. Her hand was still on his thigh, and he pushed it away, turning to look at his savior.
Oh. What was Baz doing here?
“Mind telling me why you’re trying to kiss my bloke?” He asked casually, but Simon could see the cold fury in his eyes. He tried frantically to get his attention, to let him know he was okay. He worried how it might have looked—him pressed into a booth with a girl, inches apart. But one glance at Simon and Baz’s eyes softened with understanding. He smiled the slightest bit at him, and Simon felt the cold dread recede back into his spine and out his stomach.
“Your what?’ Katie asked, crossing her arms over her chest. Baz turned back to her, eyes hardening, jaw setting,
“You heard me, bitch.”
Katie stilled beside him, and Simon had to hold back a sigh. Why did everything always have to be so messy?
“I suggest,” Baz continued, looking down at his perfect nails in faux calm, but his voice was ice, “that you move the fuck away from him right now or I’ll rip your throat out.”
Katie opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by a frightened squeak from behind Baz. Rebecca dropped the coffee again, eyes wide and darting between Baz and Katie.
No on e spoke for a second, before Rebecca jolted forward and grabbed Katie fiercely by the hand, scooping up her laptop and purse before hurrying away. Just like that.
Baz slid into the booth across form him.
“There goes my project.” Simon said, a fake smile taking his face.
“Thank you.” Simon said awkwardly, “For… that. Listen, Baz, you know I didn’t- I wasn’t- I would never-“ The stuttered, and Baz held up a hand.
“I know, Snow. Your morals are too fucking good for that.”
“Uh, okay.” Was that an insult or a compliment? He still could never tell. “What are you even doing here?” Baz raised an eyebrow. “Not that I don’t appreciate it!” He rushed to add, continuing, “But, I thought you were at Fiona’s?”
Basil shrugged. “I felt like I should find you.”
“You… felt it?” Simon repeated, stunned.
Baz only shrugged again. “Saved you though, didn’t I?”
Simon swallowed, and watched Baz’s eyes trail over the movement.
“Let’s get out of here.”