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On Dreams and Reality

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“Penny. I saw Baz.” 

The mug Penny was washing clattered to the bottom of the sink, Simon hoped she didn't break it. He liked that one, it was shaped like a pig,  with a snout and everything.  Hands dripping with sudsy water, she spun on him, spraying little droplets all across the kitchen counter island. 

“You WHAT?!” 

Simon shrugged sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck, avoiding her eyes. 

“I went to see Baz so I could invite him to your wedding…” 

He tapered off a bit at the end and looked up, trying to gauge her reaction. 

She was going to burn a hole straight through him with the look in her eyes alone. 

“Simon. In what reality would you think I wanted that jerk at my wedding?” her gaze was cold. He couldn’t really tell if the look was directed towards him or towards Baz. When he and Baz first broke up Penny had taken it a lot harder than he would've expected, it probably didn’t help that Baz dumped Penny’s friendship at the same time. ‘ But you two twats have been at each other for years! Anyone with sight could see it! Why Simon? Did he say anything?” She always did ask a lot of questions. Simon had shrugged and shook his head. He wasn’t about to talk to Penny about why he broke up with Baz, at that time he was just hoping she wouldn’t want to leave too after she realized how much he was dragging her down. 

“You were friends!” 

“So!? We aren't now !” 

“Yeah but you could be!” 

“SIMON! Why the fuck would I want to be friends with the guy that dumped you?!” 

“He didn't dump me!” 

“SIMON, of course he did! Otherwise he would still be here wouldn't he!?” 

Penny rubbed at where her glasses rested on her nose, ignoring the fact that her hands were still dripping wet. A soap bubble got on her nose. 

Spinning a bit on the bar stool, Simon worried his bottom lip, “ Technically when we broke up, I dumped him...before he got the chance to dump me, figured it’d be easier that way. He was definitely going to Penny, definitely. He was being too nice to me.”

She sighed and leaned back against the sink, crossing her arms and looking up at the ceiling. Thinking...or maybe praying? He couldn’t tell if the look on her face meant she was going to start crying or yelling.  He didn’t like when Penny got quiet like this, usually the next time she spoke it was to tell Simon he was an idiot. Both Penny and Baz never held back when they thought he had done or said something stupid. He wasn’t an idiot. 

“Simon-” he held his breath as she uncrossed her arms a minute later, laying her hands on the counter top across from him, leaning in. The soap bubble was still there. 

“You are an idiot.” 

There it was. 

He pushed himself back from the counter, sitting upright, indignant. “Why? I'm not an idiot Penny!” 

“You are! How has it been four year-”

He cut in “five.”

She rolled her eyes, “five years and you are just now telling me that you broke up with Baz?” 

“I told you the day it happened Penny!” 

“You said, and I quote: We broke up! Then burst into tears and cried for the rest of the night!” 

“See!” 

“Simon! Do you not understand why you are an idiot?!” 

She was staring at him with something burning in her eyes, ready to pour out. 

“I am not an idiot Penny!”, the words ground out from behind his clenched teeth. 

“For snake’s sake Simon! Baz was being nice to you because he loved you!” she growled back.

“I’m telling you Penny. He was just taking pity on me back then! He loved who I was , not what I had become. I was holding him back! I was-” 

Simon can't bear to look at Penny anymore. So he doesn't. He puts his head down on the counter, covering it with his arms. He had come to tell her he saw Baz because he had to ask...he needed advice. Seeing Baz again-hearing Baz say Simon’s name like that, like it hurt . Simon thought that- he had thought- the kindness was just Baz taking pity on him...wasn’t it? There was no way Baz could have actually still loved him after Simon lost his powers. Not after Simon couldn't get it in his thick head that he was Bi.

 

Simon was in love with Baz and he had fucked it up. Big time. Because he couldn't get over himself. Couldn't get over the fear of what others were saying. Whether or not he was still interested in girls. He was so confused and just-well, he was scared. So scared. Scared by how much he wanted Baz. Scared of how jealous he had become when he saw others appreciate Baz when they weren't looking with sneers at the boys holding hands. He wanted Baz only for himself.  To look only at him. He wanted to hold Baz closely and never let go but he also couldn’t stand to be touched by him. Couldn’t stand to not be touched by him. He didn’t know what he wanted. He had just been in a relationship with the most beautiful girl to walk through Watford's gates for the last three years and now he was in a relationship with the most beautiful boy?! He had never been so jealous when he was with Agatha. Hadn’t wanted her as much maybe. Simon hadn’t had the time to process what that meant-about him-about Baz-about their past. It caught up to him.  

He fucked up. 

He had pushed Baz so far away, was so sure Baz was done with him. Baz was going to end it any day.  

Maybe.

His therapist had always asked, “did you ask him if that was what he wanted?” whenever they broached the topic. Simon had just sworn adamantly that Baz didn’t want him anymore, there would’ve been no point in asking him what he wanted. It was clear what he wanted. At Least Simon had thought it was clear...

Simon Snow is a dumbass. 

Penny was right. 

Someone slid into the seat next to him and he felt something warm and wet on his back. Sliding his hands through his hair and dragging them down his face he sat up, looking at Penny. Defeated. She kept her hand on his back and patted him gently.  All the fight had bled out of the both of them as they sat on the stools staring at each other. The faucet dripped in the background. 

“...you think he would have still been here now?”  Simon’s voice sounded fragile, even to his own ears. 

Penny grimaced and wiped at her nose, removing the soap bubble. “I know he would.” Her response was soft, softer than Simon deserved. 

Simon returned the grimace with one of his own. 

Now, more than ever, he knew he had to see Baz again. 

This time for the sake of himself. 

Chapter Text

It was the first week of school and Baz’s first time seeing Simon Snow in person was anticlimactic. The almighty ‘chosen one’, heir to the Mage; “Simon Snow”. Baz had heard so much that summer about the boy causing a big stir in the magic community, the mage's heir, the supposed prophesied mage of great power. The coming of the ‘chosen one’ overshone everything, like the sun, Simon Snow's existence bleached out all the color from the world with its exposure to him. There were only faded hues left, those of Baz’s hopes and dreams.  Baz had been looking forward to starting at Watford before then. His whole life he had been looking forward to it, to going back to the one place he associated with his mother (His real mother, not Daphne). His family had been excited for him as well, even though they had already begun his magical training; a Pitch had to be exceptional, even from the start. There was no more excitement for Baz now. None of the encouraging and exciting comments on how much Baz would grow and shine at Watford anymore. The only thing anyone cared about anymore was the unknown Simon Snow and what his coming meant for the old families. Baz was sent off to school that year not with a ‘enjoy yourself son, bring the Pitch name honor for your mothers sake’ like he had been expecting but rather with a ‘keep an eye on that boy and report back what you learn.’ 

Baz was no longer a child in their eyes. He was just a means to an end. The only thing he was good for was to bring honor to his family name and to aid in protecting the old families' ways against the mage and this ‘Simon Snow’. 

He was only eleven. 

They had built up Simon as some sort of monster, someone that if kept unchecked would take everything from them ... ‘do you really want to see our way of life come to an end, Basilton? Do you even want the family to keep their magic? Do as you’re told.’ 

They were wrong. 

Simon Snow was just a boy. 

When the crucible drew Baz towards the other boy, standing small and lanky, unsure of himself in the crowd, Baz recognized him immediately. Messy Bronze hair, clothes too large for his small frame, an apprehensive look on his face that said ‘I’m not supposed to be here but I'll fight you if you try to tell me to leave’. He’d held a hand out to Baz without hesitation and with increasing impatience.  Baz couldn’t bring himself to take it.  His ears rang, he could hear his aunt and father in the back of his mind telling him to do whatever he could to get close to the chosen one. He had been planning on avoiding the other boy. The last ember of hope for any semblance of a normal school life at Watford sputtered out as he took Simon’s hand. They became roommates, a guarantee to see eachother every single day. Baz’s family was delighted.

It never once crossed Baz’s mind that he and Simon Snow could ever be friends. 

◽◽◽

The first and possibly the last time Baz made Simon cry was something he wouldn’t easily forget. He never did forget all the things he had to do back at school... Simon hadn’t said more than a few words to him since they moved in that weren't antagonistic. Asides from their small interactions, Baz noticed that in general Simon didn’t speak all that much. He just stared for the most part. The weight of his looks followed Baz everywhere. It set him on edge. Did Simon know his family was plotting against him? That they were doing everything they could to make sure Baz sabotaged whatever the mage wanted from Simon? Was Simon keeping an eye on Baz too? Did the mage ask him to? Had he figured out Baz was a vampire? Why was he always staring at him? The pressure and the added stares were driving Baz mad. He just wanted to go to school. Simon had never done anything out of the ordinary yet, so why wouldn't everyone get off his back ? - It was on a day that Simon had trudged into their room with a sullen expression. Baz had probably said something insulting when Simon didn’t acknowledge Baz’s presence, something not out of the norm for their brief but sharp interactions that he had gotten used to in the first month of school. Simon had a chip on his shoulder, always rearing up to pick a fight. Baz hadn’t expected the other boy to plop on the edge of his bed and fall to pieces. Simon's body had shook with sobs. Baz didn’t know what to do. He tossed his handkerchief on the bed, muttering an apology and left the room. 

He didn’t know if Simon noticed. 

He hadn’t meant to make him cry.

Things returned to normal and their antagonistic dynamic continued after that day, although Simon was a bit rougher with his responses now. At least he responded. At Least he didn’t cry again.  Baz kind of liked Simon, liked being noticed by the other boy, the boy at the center of everyone's attention. 

Baz was a dick and it was fun.

He never got his handkerchief back.

◽◽◽

Baz was a dick and it fucking sucked.

He was so done with everything by the time he got together with Simon he just was happy to have Simon in any capacity. For years he had longed for the boy with a chip on his shoulder, all his toxic masculinity and bravado that radiated off of him in waves (literally). Simon had convinced him to ignore the duties he owed his family for him. Baz would gladly give it up. He finally felt like he was alive. 

He wasn't though. 

He was on fire and he couldn't see. 

But Baz could see now, all these years later, how much he had been blinded by his emotions at that time. The things he did. The things he said. How he had made a rotten situation worse, not for Simon...well...not intentionally for Simon.  He thought he had been a man but he was still a child. He had done a horrible thing. Seeing Simon the week before had brought it all back. Everything. All the years of before and those after. Everything and everyone that had existed on the periphery as he and Simon had orbited each other, constantly clashing. Everything and everyone that was lost, burned up in the flames.  

Baz saw them now, the realities of his actions.

“M’sorry” he slurred into the table top. His face felt sticky. He never was one to hold his liquor. A rough grip hoisted him up by the waist. That was refreshing. No more sticking to the table. He didn’t deserve it.  He was going to be sick. He tried to push away from the leather clad figure. “No. No. M’sorry. I can’t.” 

He might be crying. He’s not sure. He doesn't deserve to cry.

He's back in a chair. 

The table top is sticking to the side of his face again. 

A chair screeches as it's dragged across the floor.  

Peeling his eyes open he can see Nicodemus, bathed in the dim blue light. He’d look just like her if he wiped that look off his face, they were twins after all. 

“M’sorry Nic-” 

“Sorry for making me leave my bed to come get your drunk ass from the bar?” 

Had he called Nico? He couldn’t remember...

“No-”

“Sorry for making me have to deal with your drunken shenanigans right when I got back from holiday?” He smirked.  “Thought we taught you to hold it better than that Basilton.” 

Baz couldn’t take it.

“...for Eb” He choked out. He wanted to let his eyes fall shut again but knew he couldn’t. He was determined. He could feel the bass of the music thumping through the soles of his feet. He didn't deserve Nicodemus as a friend. She might’ve survived if he let Nico come with him. Nico might've killed the mage before that weight fell on Simon and Penny. None of them deserved that. 

Baz was a dick. 

Nicodemus’ turned away, towards the shadows. The voices of the other vampires in the bar washed over them. Baz wouldn’t close his eyes now. He may be drunk and glued to a table but he knew this was important. He should’ve called Nico in the morning (Did he call Nico?), they should’ve had this conversation somewhere Nico could murder him without witnesses. They never talked about Eb. It was Baz’s fault Eb died.  Baz should’ve died instead.

His eyes must’ve closed on their own. 

He remembered the cold air on his face and then nothing.

Someone tucked him in, brushed a strand of hair out of his face. The words “You were just a kid.” finding their way into his dreams. 

◽◽◽

...Nobody loved him.

Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

Baz woke up to the sound of bells jangling obnoxiously.  His head throbbed. Vampires didn’t get hangovers, or so he thought...He must’ve drank himself to death. As if. With his metabolism he was sure that whatever pain he was feeling now would be gone within the hour, that is, if he could just deal with whoever was interrupting his rest. Didn’t he lock the door when he got back last night? It’s a weekend, who would be here?  He stood up, letting a blanket slide off and to the floor. He’d pick it up later… How did he even get home last night? Pausing, he eyed the blanket suspiciously. He snatched it up and sniffed it, there were faint traces of leather…and cider. He hates cider. There isn't time to consider this, there were scuffling noises and low voices coming from the front room that needed to be dealt with. Sighing, Baz tossed the blanket back down, and opened the door, squinting against the barrage of light. He definitely didn't come home alone, he never drew the curtains in the backroom to prevent the morning light...

There was a wordless shout and suddenly Baz found himself being knocked back into the room, almost tumbling to the floor, his arms full of someone and their arms cinched around his waist, squeezing.  He blinked, trying to orient himself against the light as an overwhelming sweetness filled his senses. His sinuses burned. Unruly dark hair tickled his chin from where its owner had their face buried in his chest.  

“P-Penelope Bunce?” 

There was barely a moment to stammer it out before the owner of the name reared her tear streaked face back to look Baz straight in the face. She looked furious. Baz wanted to laugh. He was delighted to see her, and terrified. Baz loved Penelope Bunce. Her friendship meant almost as much to him as his relationship with Simon had. Joy bubbled up in his throat and he could feel his lips curling up into a smile-well, they were until Penny pulled back entirely and started pummeling her fists into his chest. 

“YOU! DICK!” she cried. 

This was what he was scared of. Sighing and closing his eyes against the sun he let her go at it. It didn’t hurt. Vampires could be hurt, Simon proved that to Baz when he broke his nose in fourth year. Penelope just wasn’t trying hard enough to actually hurt him. He wasn’t awake enough for this really…

“Bunce. What did I do to deserve such violence so early in the day?”

He stopped her hands with his own, holding them loosely between them.  Baz had wanted to be best friends with Penelope. He had started to consider her a crucial part of his own little family outside of Watford and the Grimm-Pitches after graduation. At that point in time his view of family had included Simon as well. Simon didn't like Baz though, never really viewed Baz in that way... You can see why Baz decided it was for the best to stop talking to Penelope. She was Simon’s best friend for a long time and would definitely dislike Baz as well if Simon did. There were years of proof from their time at Watford. They were an inseparable duo. Baz was just an outlier, an appendage easily removed .

“Basilton!” She was clinging to his hands now. “It's almost midday! THAT'S BESIDES THE POINT” Merlin, he forgot how loud she could be when she wanted to be,”-I can't believe you stopped talking to us and avoided me for years because this one is a dumbass!” 

She huffed out in indignation, obviously unappreciative of Baz’s attempted casualty. ‘This one’ must be referring to Simon, which means that Simon must be here, again . Simon Snow was back. Baz glanced over Penelope’s head towards the dark silhouette standing by the front entrance. The light was too bright, Baz had to squint to make out the sullen yet sheepish look on Simon's face. The air left Baz’s lungs, his chest hitching. Baz could feel his face twitching into a sneer, Simon’s eyes widening at the sight. 

“None of that!” Penelope still had fresh tears on her cheeks but her usual determined expression had returned. Crowley , Baz missed her, glad to see a familiar expression even after so long. Although, it was directed at him. She slapped both of her hands to his face, squishing it as she pulled him down to eye level. He was actually sneering now, maybe he didn’t miss her. 

“Basilton. Simon needs to talk to you, and I need you to listen to him. It’s very important.” 

He tried to argue, her hands squishing his face made it difficult to speak. “Bunce-”

“No. Listen. You two are going to talk here and now. If you don’t talk then I am going to spell you two to a boat and push it out to sea. Your hands and feet will be glued to the bottom and you won't be able to save yourselves until you talk. So make your choice. Talk now or ship off” 

It may have been a while but he knows when Penelope is being serious, she's someone not to take lightly when magical threats are involved. 

“Alright Bunce, but I need a coffee first.” He forced out between her hands. This headache was only going to get worse, he could just tell. Simon probably felt bad for breaking up with Baz and showing up again after all this time. Simon had a good heart, he couldn't just leave well enough alone. Baz wishes he hated him for it. He didn't. 

Baz made eye contact with Simon. He had that ‘we won't take no for answer’ look, his jaw jutted out stubbornly. If Simon wasn't going to go then he might as well come in and make a mess of Baz’s life again. There was a reason Baz avoided them both for years, not just because he was hurt and heart broken, but because he was a weak man to the pair of them. He always hated that about himself…

Whatever Snow and Penelope were feeling about Baz currently would be easily placated once Baz reminds Simon that he isn't actually a dumbass. He would just be himself and Simon will remember how much he hates Baz and will leave, or Baz will...It shouldn't be too hard.  All he would have to do was thank Simon and then let him go.

This was fine.

Baz was fine.

“Come along, Snow.” 

◽◽◽

Simon

◽◽◽

After Penny had released Baz, Simon followed Baz through the office to a stair that led up to what appeared to be Baz’s current flat (the floral pattern fainting couch gave it away). Simon half expected Baz to be leading him out a back door to go to a coffee shop or maybe even to try to escape talking to Simon entirely...

Simon stood awkwardly just inside the closed door at the top of the stairs, watching as Baz busied himself around the small kitchen located along one of the walls of the small apartment. The space itself pulled Simon's attention after it became apparent that Baz wasn't going to say anything until he made his coffee. The machine gurgled in the background as Simon looked around. The flat was smaller than Simon remembered Baz’s bedroom at the Pitch estate being. There were only two other doors aside from the one Simon stood in front of, probably led to a bedroom and a bathroom. Surprisingly almost everything was white with a few little pops of color here and there.

 He wondered if this was what Baz’s apartment had looked like back when they had been dating...he had never gone over so he didn’t know...Did Baz have a favorite color? There were minimalist decorations around the space, otherwise empty walls were decorated in pinks, blues and greens. He didn’t know Baz preferred this to the creepy dark goth style of the Pitch mansion, he had always just assumed-   and that was exactly Simon's problem wasn’t it.

He was always just assuming. 

He was here for a reason, he turned his attention back to Baz. 

“Baz, we need to talk”  

Baz had his back to him as he pulled a mug out of a cupboard, “so Bunce has said.”

Baz.“ Was he really not going to turn around ?

Baz was filling the mug with coffee now, back still turned and rigid. His hair hid his face from Simon’s view. There was a time Simon would have stepped closer. He would have dragged Baz into his orbit and forced him to look at him- Oh Crowley, he had already done that hadn't he? The last time he was here. That was something he tried not to do anymore. To anyone.

He shifted his weight unsteadily, “look, Baz, I need to apologize-the other day-“

“You know Simon.” Baz spoke clearly, cutting Simon off, his back still turned as he puttered around his kitchen, taking an awfully long time to make one cup of coffee. He was adding so many things to it Simon wasn’t sure it could even still be considered coffee. 

Simon had seen him take less time to make a cup of tea. 

Why didn't he just use magic?

“I should be the one to apologize,” Baz said as he turned around, looking down casually into his mug as he stirred what was probably a ridiculous amount of sugar into it, “ I forgot to thank you.” 

Simon clenched and unclenched his hands, trying to relieve some of his tension. 

 “Oh yeh? What for?”

Baz looked up over his coffee as he took a sip. His eyes were clear and sharp, the cool grey of storm clouds yet without the lightning. Simon watched as Baz set the mug down, tongue darting out over his lips (no fangs?) before they turned up into a smile. 

Simon felt hope bubble up inside him. Baz’s nonchalance was starting to make Simon wonder if Baz had actually been upset the last time he saw him. He didn’t appear to be upset (yet) or trying to throw Simon out (yet), maybe Baz would be more willing to talk and hear him out than Simon had thought. 

Penny was right. 

“I wanted to thank you for breaking up with me.” The smile took on an edge, almost a sneer with the way it looked like Baz’s features were fighting the expression. No fangs in sight but Baz’s mouth still cut him.

Penny was wrong. 

Simon swallowed. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at the floor. Right . That answers his question of whether or not Baz actually wanted to break up, if Baz actually had loved him back then? He had wanted to ask if Baz hadn't been let down by Simon irreparably. Simon could feel heat creeping up the back of his neck and prickling at the back of his eyes. This wasn’t going exactly how he had pictured. How had he pictured this going anyway? He’d apologize for breaking up with Baz, ask him if he had really meant it, if he hadn’t been with Simon out of pity. Ask if he had fucked everything up too much to be able to have Baz back in his life. For Penny to have Baz in her life. Penny wanted Baz at her wedding. Baz would talk to him and say okay and then maybe Simon could start working on making it up to Baz for being such a fuck up. Maybe they could get a second chance…

Simon had practiced with Penny about what he would say to the point she had to leave the room out of frustration, calling Simon the ‘world's biggest bi disaster’. Penny had told him to be patient, to take his time and listen. In all the scenarios he imagined he found himself comforting Baz, the same Baz who had looked at him with so much pain in his eyes. They would finally have a talk where Simon could articulate how he felt. He could apologize for how he was. He could finally hear Baz’s feelings that he had so willfully ignored before. The one thing Simon hadn’t imagined was this: Baz treating Simon today as though nothing had happened. As if Simon hadn’t made him cry a little over a week ago. Maybe it had been a trick of the light before...

Even if things weren’t going how he expected, had hoped , Simon wasn't going to react. Baz may not care about Simon anymore but Simon wasn’t going to make this worse than it already was. He already ruined things between them once. He wouldn’t let his own disappointment and shame get in the way of trying to make things right, atleast where it pertains to Penny. Baz obviously wants nothing to do with Simon anymore. 

Right.” He forced out, trying not to let his emotions control him like he had before, couldn’t let the hurt and frustration show. Baz hadn’t loved him, didn’t love him now. Baz was glad they broke up. He said thank you. Simon had to reword his apology now. He looked up and met Baz head on, “I’m here to apologize because I didn't get to tell you I was actually looking for you the other day.” 

Baz was leaning against the counter, his body angled back towards the cupboards like he couldn’t stand to be anywhere close to Simon. 

“Oh? You really must be a dumbass then, Snow. I did ask you if you needed anything from me” He said, looking towards the window and taking a sip of his coffee.

Baz was acting as though no time had passed, like they were still at Watford. Old school mates having a casual conversation. Why did Simon listen to Penny? Had Baz actually been on the verge of tears the last time Simon saw him? Baz had never felt so far away. Had Simon just imagined it all. He must've. He was going to choose to ignore the insult. If Penny asks, he's going to say they talked about their relationship. 

“Penny is getting married.” 

There was a small clatter as Baz set down his mug on the counter and turned. Some of the liquid sloshed over, dirtying the white countertop. “ To Micah?” He was looking at Simon now. Face unreadable in that way that always annoyed Simon. Or would have. Simon knew now how to not let others push his buttons. 

“No. Someone else. He’s nice though.”

Baz nods, a soft expression falling over his face. 

Baz used to look at Simon with that expression. Or at least Simon thought he had. The heat was rising up the back of Simon's neck again, the stinging behind his eyes burned. His eyes felt so dry.  If Simon still had magic he would swear he was blurring at the edges. He had to leave now before he went off. He had to get this over with. He dragged a hand through the short  hairs at the base of his neck, looking away as Baz cleared his throat.

“So. Will you come?”

Baz’s expression is frozen when he looks back. “Who- with you?” Baz’s lip starts to downturn. 

Shit Simon fucked up.

“No-I mean, Penny wants to invite ya.”

Baz’s lips flatten to a straight line. “And this is why you came to look for me the other day?”

Simon nods, sheepishly. It wasn’t necessarily a lie. 

Baz stared at his coffee before replying. His very familiar expressionless mask slipping back into place as he looked up at Simon.

 “Very well, Snow. Let her know I would be honored to attend.” 

Snow. 

Simon sucked on his teeth. Maybe he still had some buttons left to push. Only Baz had ever been able to push this one, and he knew it. 

Great . I'll let her know so she can send you the details.” 

He turned to leave and then looked over her shoulder at Baz. Baz was just watching him go, mask securely in place. As always.. Simon was just ‘Snow’ after all. Why would he get a smile like Penny did?  The disappointment and hurt was palpable in his chest. Consider Simon pushed.

“You’re welcome by the way,” he tossed out. A crack appeared in Baz’s mask, an eyebrow arching beautifully in question, a flash in his eyes. Simon ignored it and opened the door to the stairs that would take him down and back to Penny. 

“Glad I could save you the trouble of breaking up with me.” 

——

With a curt nod when asked ‘did you two talk?’ and shake of the head to  ‘is Baz coming down to see us off?” Penny and Simon headed out. It wasn’t until they reached the next block over that Simon realized he had fucked up. Penny yammered in his ear from the second the door closed behind them, about how happy she was to see Baz, asking if Baz said anything about why he disappeared for five years and was it because Simon broke his heart? She knew that was why...She was glad they talked, glad Baz was going to come to her wedding. She would stop by again, Simon should come too. He’d nod along, going with his lie that they talked everything out and then just never come back again, except...

Simon had fucked up.

Again. 

He stopped walking.

“Shit. Penny. I have to go back” 

“ Wha- but Simon?” 

“Go on ahead! I’ll see you at dinner!” He turned and ran back down the street. 

Once again, Simon Snow was a dumbass. Not only was he a dumbass but he was also a bit of an asshole. After dating Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch for almost a year and living with him for much longer, he had learned a lot about the other boy.. It was just the same as five years ago. He had felt so incompetent and been so lost in his own world of self-loathing and confusion that he forgot. Baz wore a mask of disdain and boredom when he had bullied Simon for attention, saying cruel things to push Simon away before he would dare to say what he really meant, or what he really felt. Baz wasn't the mask he wore. Simon really was a disaster.

Simon had seen Baz when he was soft. Those moments of softness became so frequent when they first started dating and then became rare the longer they went on. He had seen the looks of hurt and fear Baz had sent Simon's way when he thought he wasn't looking. Had noticed in his periphery when Baz stopped himself from reaching out, the aborted outheld hand when they had walked in the street, played off with a laugh and a cruel joke, the mask slipping back into place. Back then Simon took that mask at face value. If Simon really thought about it, when had Baz ever really been assertive about how he was really feeling, and if he had, then had Simon snuffed him out? Was he too caught up in trying to maintain their ‘norms’ that he forgot that he actually knew Baz? The first time they had ever kissed Baz had lied right to his face about what it meant to him only to later say that he had wanted it for a long time. 

When had Baz ever been honest to Simon in regards to his feelings to Simon?

When had Baz ever pulled instead of pushed? 

He thought he was going to drown in his own thoughts as he ran back around the corner. He had seen the flash of something more behind the mask, he had struck a low blow. Crowley he just kept fucking up. Baz was just being a dick as usual to throw Simon off his trail and Simon fell for the bait. 

He just wanted Baz to pull him.

 He needed him to just tell Simon what he felt for once. 

Simon Snow was a terrible boyfriend to Agatha but he was a downright shit boyfriend to Baz. It made Simon mad. Mad that it took him over five years to realize that all those times that mask slipped into place and Baz said something cruel or said nothing at all was just to push Simon away. Or maybe it was to hang on. 

His heart was making its way up his throat and he felt like he was going to be sick. As he yanked open the door to Baz’s building, it occurred to him that everytime Baz had pushed maybe, just maybe he had wanted to pull, to stay. 

Simon was the one that didn’t even try to hold on. 

He was the one that told Baz to go. 

◽◽◽

Baz

◽◽◽

The door swung idly in Simon's wake. 

Clearing his throat, Baz swallowed.

If there were tears making their ways down his cheeks then Baz ignored them, staring out the window. Coffee forgotten.  

He did it. 

He thanked him.










Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

Love, they say, is not pain.

Being with the one you love should not hurt

Being with Simon Snow had hurt. 

Loving Simon Snow was painful.

Baz wasn’t sure that he still loved Simon Snow, the pain at seeing him now wasn’t telling. Was Baz in pain because he still loved Simon? Or was he in pain because he had loved Simon and that love had left him scarred and afraid? Too scarred for his hands to hold another close for fear of being told he was pushing them too much, asking for too much. Being too much.

Loving Simon Snow wasn’t a pain that was easily healed from.

It didn’t help that Baz had thrown himself into the fire without looking back.

The story of Simon Snow and Basilton Pitch was not a romantic story, it was never a story of romance. There was a time that Baz had thought it was. He was in love with his greatest enemy. The boy he had been groomed to defeat. The boy that would never look at him the way Baz wanted him to. Baz was fine with that. It was a tragic romance in his mind, it fell in with what he had been told when he tried to come out to his parents “you will never find love being like that.” It was a romance that fit into his view of what being gay meant. No one could ever love Baz.  Simon Snow would never. 

But then Simon had looked at Baz, and it was a tragedy.

Baz had never expected anything from Simon, but he had hoped,and that hope brought him pain. 

Because they were right, no one could ever love Baz. 

No one could be happy like that if they were gay.

Baz had burned until he was a hollowed out shell, his soft heart a bleeding pile of pulp.  It had taken years for that shell to crack, for some air to slip in, for Baz to start healing and growing again...for the wreck that was Baz’s heart to take some sort of shape again. 

Seeing Simon Snow again hurt. 

His heart squeezed in his chest and Baz hoped that he wouldn’t lose himself again.

They were young. He would have done anything to have whatever Simon would give him. 

“Glad I could save you the trouble of breaking up with me.” 

Baz slumped over the kitchen counter, holding his head in his hands. 

Listening to Simon Snow hurt. 

“I was a fool.” Their story was never a romance.

This was the last time Baz would ever let himself cry over Simon Snow, the last time he would let Simon Snow tug at the unraveling of Baz’s own fragile existence. 

Penny was getting married. Simon would be at the wedding. Surely, Penny wouldn’t notice if Baz didn’t show. She may have been excited to see him but she could go longer without seeing Baz again. 

He doubts she will even remember to send him an actual invitation.

◽◽◽

Simon

◽◽◽

When Simon burst through the door to the small flat he didn’t know what he was expecting. He was out of breath, slightly sweaty, and without a plan. The bells had clammored loudly downstairs and he wondered if the door closed behind him or if he should've stopped to make sure the door was closed before he ran up the stairs three at a time. There wasn’t anything he could do about it now, not after he just made a scene bursting back into his ex-boyfriend's apartment. Baz had been slumped over the counter when Simon arrived, but now he lifts his head to glare stonily over his crossed arms at Simon. Simon’s heart lurches up into his throat  at the sight of Baz’s tear streaked face.  The other man's eyes are rimmed with pink, standing out in sharp contrast to his pale skin and not for the first time in his life, Simon finds himself struggling with finding the right words. 

Baz rolls his eyes and props his chin up on his hand, glower undiminished even as another tear rolls down his cheek and a growl slips out through his clenched teeth. 

“What did you forget this time?” 

The words are tired. Simon runs a hand through his hair. He messed this up, again. He made Baz cry, again.  You would think after all the years of therapy he would be better at this. Well, he wasn’t worse. He was at least aware now, all he had to do was try. 

“I didn’t mean what I said before.” 

Baz’s eyebrow raises in its trademark arch, “oh?” his tone dry as he snarled “which part? I don’t think there’s anything you’ve ever said to me that you’ve meant except when you were threatening to kill me so, go ahead. Tell me what you ‘didn’t mean’ and then just get the fuck out of my life Simon.” 

It's like all the blood in Simon's body has decided to rush to his head. If Simon throws up right now it definitely would not help the situation. The feeling won't go away though, his stomach has joined his heart in trying to evacuate his body through his throat. He hopes he doesn't pass out.  What was Baz insinuating?  Simon’s hand tangles in the front of his t-shirt as he attempts to formulate a response. 

“Uh-what? No. Wait. Nevermind. Baz, I didn’t mean it when I said the thing about breaking up with you, I was just mad about you thanking me, because I actually didn’t come here to talk about Penny-I mean- I did! I did come to talk about Penny the first time but uh, t-today I came to talk about us-”

Baz buried his face in his hands and slouched over the counter again, breathing out heavily. 

“Simon. Use your words and spit it out already!” 

Heat coarsed through Simon. His face felt like it was on fire. It had been a long time since anyone had said that to him. His hands clenched.The only thing he could hear was the roar of his own blood through his veins. Crossing the floor he slammed his hands down on the counter on either side of Baz’s arms.  

This . This is why I broke up with you. You obviously hate me. You hated me before. Who says stuff like that to people? I have a fucking speech problem. You fucking know this. Y-you know! Why else would you always say shit like that to me unless you hate me?” 

Baz is looking up through his fingers now. He’s just watching as Simon flares up, brows drawing together in the middle of his forehead. 

Simon was better now but he still went off. 

“Simon-” 

“D-dont- ‘ Simon’ me!”  Simon spit out, spinning away from the counter... away from those eyes. 

“I take it back. I did mean it. I am glad I could save you the trouble of breaking up with me. You were so mean Baz. So mean. You are still so mean. You hardly ever said my name when we were dating, how could you possibly say that I-” 

Simon came to a stop in front of the opposite wall of the flat. He hadn't realized he was pacing. Turning back around, prepared to continue his train of thought he caught a flash of movement at the top of the stairs. 

Baz was leaving. 

“-Shit!” 

Simon dashed across the flat and down the stairs, hardly noticing if he missed a few steps along the way. He landed heavily on the bottom landing, the door chimed just as he turned the corner. Baz was hurrying away from the building in the opposite direction Simon had come. 

Simon didn’t come all this way not to talk it out with Baz, or yell it out, fight it out. Whatever they had to do to go forward from here. Simon was going to do it. He needed closure. He needed to be able to go back to Penny and say that ‘yes, Baz definitely hated me and I was right to break up with him’. He needed that...or something. He wanted to tell Baz how he felt. He wanted to know what Baz felt...even if it was just a confirmation of the obvious.

It wasn't until five blocks later that Simon lost track of Baz. One moment, his tall dark figure was stiffly walking swiftly ahead through the grey streets and then, in a blink of an eye, Baz was nowhere to be seen. Simon stopped and ran his hands through his hair, pulling at it while he looked around. There was an alley ahead on the right, that seemed like the only viable place for Baz to have gone, unless he cast some sort of invisibility spell on himself... Simon wasn’t going to let him get away, not this time. If he did let Baz go, Simon had a feeling he really wouldn’t ever get to have this talk with the other man. It felt like they were back in school when Baz had led Simon on a wild goose chase, not letting Simon get a chance to tell Baz about his mom visiting.  Why couldn't Baz ever just stay put when Simon wanted to talk to him? 

Approaching the alley, Simon surveyed it cautiously. The thin path was dark and the bricks of the buildings on either side were dirty with the grime of years of neglect. A soft green shone through a cast iron gate at the end. The gate was swaying softly as though someone had recently passed through it. Simon took a deep breath and crept to the gate, pushing it open gently. The alley led into a small yard, filled with grass and scattered trees. There were a few benches scattered around the small outdoor space. Looking around, Simon spotted his target, partially obscured by one of the few patches of overgrown grass.

Baz sat with his back to the brick wall of one the buildings enclosing the space, his knees drawn up. His shoulders were shaking and his head was tucked against his chest, arms crossed over the back of his exposed neck.  As Simon got closer, he could hear the ragged breaths of the other man.  He paused for a moment, staring down at Baz, reminded of the time back in the catacombs when he had confronted Baz about being a vampire. Was this not a similar situation? Although this time instead of trying to expose his darkness, Simon just wanted to expose the truth? Wanted to hear what Baz was feeling? Maybe he went about it the wrong way...again…With the way Baz was behaving, Simon could almost say it was similar to when Baz had thrown him out on the street recently...Simon honestly felt it was more similar to how Baz had been when he tried to burn the forest down and himself along with it. There was no fire now but Simon felt the flames of shame burning in his gut. He had just wanted to talk.

“Baz?” Simon crouched down in the grass. 

The ragged breaths stop, Baz going eerily still before lifting his head to stare at Simon with open bewilderment and-Simon swallowed hard-despair. Simon looked at the ground. It was that look again. He didn’t know what to do with that look. 

“Wha-?” Baz choked

“I just need to talk to you. I am sorry I lost my temper-”

A cold hand gripped Simon's shoulder, causing him to look up and meet Baz’s wet eyes. He looked so far away. 

“No! No, don't apologize. You are right. I shouldn't have said that.” Baz choked out, almost frantically before looking back down into his lap. His grip tightened to an almost bruising pressure, “I never should’ve said that ever. I am an asshole, you are well aware, but I am truly sorry for that.”

Baz let go.  

Simon was speechless. 

A tremble ran through Bazs body as he curled back in on himself. 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he gasped as his hands tangled in his hair, shielding his face from view once again. 

Chewing his lip, Simon was unsure how to proceed. He really should have come up with a plan or talked to his therapist about how to approach the situation. He wished now that he hadn't brushed off all attempts to talk about it before. Baz wasn’t the same as he was five years ago; he reacted sometimes predictably but mostly in a way so unfamiliar to Simon…it was terrifying. 

◽◽◽

Baz

◽◽◽

 

Mean.

Too much.

Pressure.

Mean.

Has he changed at all ?

Did he change at all?

Was Baz still the same?

Could he change? 

Was that an option?

Did he-

Names. 

Names are important. 

Simon is important. 

Simon is precious. 

‘You hardly ever said my name-’

“I'm sorry. I’m sorry”

A precious name. Baz wasn't allowed to say it. Baz could never touch something so precious. He would sully it, with his hands. With his mouth. He wasn't allowed.  He had tried...hasn't he tried? Was he still mean when they started dating? Was he still mean when he had called Simon ‘love’? Was he wrong...this whole time…had Simon thought so little of Baz? Baz wasn’t allowed. Simon thought he hated him. Baz knew Simon didn't love him. But Simon thought Baz hated him. He had always thought he hated him. Baz couldn’t breathe. 

Has he changed at all ?

Did he change at all?

Was Baz still the same?

Could he change? 

Could he-

Did he-

Was he-

Has he-

The world was starting to grow blurry around its edges. Baz dug his nails into the base of his neck where it met his shoulders, dragging his nails forward. The burning sting trailing behind his nails calmed him. He was there. He was real. He was himself. He wasn't unravelled. He had shape. He felt pain. He was fine. He was fine . He could breathe. He had lungs and he could breathe. 

The air slipped back in as soon as he remembered. It was cool and refreshing. The smells of the grass and the trees had always soothed him. That's why he was here. He was safe here, from himself and from others.  

He struggled through the first few breaths. It was always like this. He focused on the ground. The ground was real and steady. He would not fall if he stood up. He could breathe. 

Bringing his bloodied fingertips down to where his chin rested against his chest, Baz rubbed his eyes with the backs of his hands. He had to get a grip on himself. Simon had surely gone by now. The area around Baz was dark with impending dusk, he could see it in the way the fading light turned the grass almost blue beneath his bloody fingers. Uncurling, Baz groaned, his muscles sore from the tension and the elongated stillness. The cuts along the back of his neck were surely already healed. Breathing in deeply, Baz let his legs and arms stretch out as he rested his head against the brick, eyes closed. The faint smell of smoke tickled his senses. Odd…

Looking up and around, Baz startled. Simon was still there. He was sitting on the ground opposite of Baz. Staring. 

Baz shifted uncomfortably, trying to sit more upright against the wall.

 “What are you still doing here?” he croaked. Wincing at how his own voice came out. 

Simon’s lower lip looked like it was bleeding, or it had been. Maybe that's where the smell was coming from? How long had he sat there? Oh, he was chewing it again. 

Simon released his lip, “Baz” he said softly, “are you-are you alright?”

Wearily, Baz smiled. “Peachy.” 

Simon's hands clenched in the grass next to him. “Baz, you just-” 

Ah, Baz thought, Simon was worried. This is a first. Baz was a bit too tired to address it. “Yeah. It happens. Don’t worry about it.” 

“How can I not? D-did that happen the last time I was at your office too?” 

Baz wasn’t going to answer that. Did he have to? He didn't think so. Simon seemed to have everything figured out and was just doing his old routine of dragging Baz along for the ride of whatever story he had made up. Guess the vampire thing wasn’t made up. Baz wishes it was. Simon was right about a lot of things. Baz should never have teased him when they were kids about being an idiot. 

“Baz. I know what a panic attack looks like by now.” 

Baz was well aware Simon knew. He had sat through many panic attacks with Simon before. Baz blamed almost all of the ones Simon had when they were dating on his own presence, the rest he blamed on the Mage. 

“So? What do you want me to say? What can I say to finally get you to leave?” 

Simon didn’t flinch, he had flinched at everything else before. Maybe Simon had changed. Lucky him. 

“I’m not going to leave.”

Baz scoffed.

“I’m not . I want you to talk to me Baz. I realized when I saw you the other day and you reacted like,” he gestured with a hand to where Baz still sat slumped against the wall, “ well, sort of like this. Along with like some of the stuff you said, well, I don't know. I realized when we broke up, I assumed you hated me, that you were already planning on breaking up with me. I still am assuming you hate me...I wanted to ask if my assumptions were uh-correct?” his voice tapered off and he looked bashful but did not lower his gaze. 

Baz felt like he just aged another twenty something years. It really hit him. It felt like a ton of water had just drenched him from head to toe and he was weighed down by layers upon layers of wet clothes. For the last six or seven years, not only had Simon Snow hated Baz, but he thought-he thought - had assumed - that Baz, who had been in love with them since they were twelve-Simon Snow-the boy that Baz had poured his heart out to about how long he had loved him, how he would always choose him. Even after that. Simon Snow still believed that Baz hated him. Even after dating him for a year after. Was Baz so horrible? Baz didn't know if he wanted to kill Simon or kill himself. He definitely had strong feelings about both situations. Looking up at the greying sky he tried to calm himself again. 

He could breathe now. 

So he let himself feel. 

“You are unbelievable. Absolutely, unbelievable.”

 Baz shook his head. He wouldn't kill himself and he wouldn't kill Simon, no matter how infuriating the other man was. No matter how much Baz had been hurt by him. Baz had moved past this once. It was impossible for Simon to have believed him. Look at Simon now. Past his current facade of concern, Baz could see that he was a healthy weight. Simon had a glow to him that spoke of care and good health. Simon was finally free from Baz and the Mage and the weight of the world. Baz felt his gaze soften. Of course, this was just how Simon was. This was how Simon had always been. He wouldn't hold it against Simon, the fact that he couldn't believe Baz would love him. Simon never really understood how precious he was, of course he wouldn’t have believed it when it came from Baz. He would only believe it when it came from someone he truly loved. From someone he trusted completely and Simon had once told him when they started dating that he didn’t trust Baz. Honestly, Baz felt like even more of a fool now looking back. How could he have let someone else break him so thoroughly? But when had Baz ever done anything for himself?  When had he not been broken? If not by Simon then by his father or his mother...When had Baz been anything but a side character in everyone else's plot? Baz was thoroughly, and finally defeated. 

“Simon Snow,” Baz pulled himself up, using the bricks behind him for support. 

There was no more to gain from running. 

Simon would drag this out until he got what he wanted. He always did. 

“I have been in love with you since we were twelve years old. I was elated when you asked to be my boyfriend and I was heartbroken when you dumped me.” 

He stood tall now, free of the wall. Baz looked down at Simon, the other man's eyes were wide as they looked up at him, speechless. Smiling, genuinely for the first time in five years at the other man, Baz shrugged,  

“I understand that you never loved me-” his smile grew rueful, honestly, they were adults. None of this mattered anymore. Simon had moved on. Baz had mostly moved on. So what if Baz had just had a panic attack again? He could regain his will and his composure like a pro, who cares if Simon saw? Simon didn't care. Simon wouldn’t even begin to understand why what he said would trigger Baz. Simon never believed that Baz loved him.  

The only thing Baz had ever truly done was love Simon Snow. 

Apparently, that was worth nothing. 

Simon would forget this whole incident, just like everything else; all of Baz’s attempts to show love, any soft moment that had maybe meant something. Maybe Baz didn't know how to show love properly. Maybe he never will. Simon thought Baz hated him. He would just shove Baz right into whatever character role fit best into his story no matter what Baz did or said. So, Baz might as well be honest…

“and I understand even  now, more than ever, that you never wanted me to love you. I apologize if I ever made you feel like you had to date me back then. I am sorry that I made you feel like I hated you after we started dating. I am sorry for being mean. I am sorry that I pushed you. I am sorry for pressuring yo-”

Simon jumped to his feet, frantic energy rolling off of him in waves, his hands clenched in his t-shirt with white knuckles. 

“Baz! I - no! That’s not right! None of this- You didn-”

Holding up a slender hand to stop Simon’s arguments, Baz felt the panic creeping back through his body, numbing his limbs. He didn't want to hear what role Simon had stuck him in.

The truth still hurts.

Loving someone isn't supposed to be painful.

Loving someone isn't supposed to leave you broken. 

Seeking Baz out for a reason other than Penny’s impending marriage meant that Simon probably needed this to move on or something. Maybe he had a new girlfriend and that's why he keeps coming back. Maybe that's why he won't just leave already. He probably needs the closure of hearing Baz tell him all of this.  Fine. They could get it all out on the table then. Baz was going to call in sick for the next month and go on a trip. Just somewhere. He needed a break. Some air. 

A different story. 

No story at all. 

Maybe he would just quit. 

Simon could rewrite this narrative after Baz had his say, not that his saying anything would make an actual difference. Simon was happy now, without him. 

“I did Snow. You made it very clear that I was being too much, that I pushed you too much. I understand now that I was. I was wrong back then. I am sorry for putting you through everything I did when we were younger. You can move on from whatever this is. I am sorry for all the discomfort and agitation I have caused you, hopefully this gives you whatever closure you need to leave me alone. You asked me to go, so I went. I don't understand why you keep coming back. Tell Penny that I wish her all the happiness in the world, and Simon, I too wish you all the happiness in the world.”

Baz would really go this time. He would leave England. There was nothing here he could trust not to be sullied by his presence. Little Linus would be better off if he weren't around. Simon would return to laughing the way he had when it was just him and his new friends. Penelope would give up looking for him after a few years, maybe she would be mad enough for him skipping out on her wedding that she wouldn't even try this time. Baz clearly was only capable of being a villain here, an undesirable. 

He was a vampire - his mother would want him dead.

He was gay - his father would never stop being passive aggressive until Baz conceded and married a woman. 

He apparently was incapable of compassion. 

He was surrounded by people that he had hurt or people that had hurt him. 

Everything just felt...dull now. 

Baz watched Simon as he ran his hands through his hair again, it was truly a mess at this point. Baz always liked how Simon's hair was wild and unmanageable at times, it was very in character for him. Somehow Baz found himself leaning back against the wall again. He might as well stay here until Simon left, Baz wouldn't be going home. Simon was suddenly standing a lot closer to him now,saying something. What was he saying? Baz couldn’t really tell. Had he been talking this whole time? Did it matter? Did Baz? 

Did Baz matter? 

Simon was in his face now. 

There was something warm on Baz’s face. Why was Simon so close? Baz wanted to laugh, so he did. 

Simon had kissed him the last time Baz felt like this. It saved Baz’s life. It wouldn’t save his life this time. Baz’s life wasn’t his to live anyway so why did it matter? Simon’s concerned face was close to his though. Why were his arms nearby too? Those must be Simon’s hands on his face, that's what’s so warm. Simon wouldn’t kiss Baz now anyways, not after everything. That was one thing Baz knew for sure by now, he had known since they were young: Simon Snow was unforgiving. 

He would never forgive Baz for playing the villain when they were young. 

He would never see Baz as anything other than someone living to oppose him, just like Baz’s family and the mage had wanted. 

He would never see Baz as someone he could love. 

He would never see Baz as someone who loved him. 

Apparently, he never did. 

Baz closed his eyes, waiting for the moment to end so that he could breathe again. The warmth on his cheeks, an unforgiving burn.

Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

 

The moment ended a lot faster than Baz expected. 

With an indignant yelp, Baz found himself being hoisted off of his feet. 

Simon

◽◽◽

Simon was wrong. 

Really wrong. 

Baz didn’t hate him. Baz had spent all these years avoiding Simon and Penny because he thought that Simon hated him.

He thought Simon didn’t want him. It only made things worse that Simon completely understood why Baz would think that. 

Simon hated himself. 

With desperation, Simon watched as Baz’s eyes slipped back into unfocused pools of grey. He felt his own tears start to slip down to his cheeks. Removing his hands from Baz’s face, Simon made a decision. Baz looked like he would be content to stay slumped against the wall until the moss covering the cracks decided to swallow him up as well. Maybe it would...unless Simon did something. 

Clenching his jaw, Simon scooped Baz up bridal style, ignoring Baz’s shout of surprise and his flailing limbs as Simon brought them both out through the alley. If Baz really wanted he would have made Simon set him down with his vampire strength, but he didn't. By the time they had turned back onto the street to Baz’s apartment Baz had returned to his sedated state, confirming that Simon had made the right decision to bring the other man home. Simon didn't know what he was going to do...he never was good at comforting people, he was terrible at it when Penny was fighting with Micah and he definitely was never good at it when it came to Baz…

◽◽◽

Baz stared at him incredulously from the floral couch, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders like a shawl and a cup of steaming coffee clutched in his hands where Simon had forced him to take it. Simon sat on a chair that he dragged across the room to sit directly across from Baz, close enough for their knees to touch.

It was silent...it had been since the bells jangled when Simon pushed open the door, refusing to set Baz down until they were back in the flat above with the door firmly shut behind them and Baz securely settled in on the couch. Simon had dried his eyes and rummaged around until he found whatever he could that might make the other man more comfortable and relaxed...

“Baz.” Simon clasped his hands together, leaning forward on his elbows to make sure their eye contact held. “What can I do?” 

Baz blinked, looking between Simon, the coffee, and where their knees were touching. He pulled back slightly from where Simon was leaning forward. The tears were dry on his cheeks and his eyebrows were slowly inching together again as he cleared his throat. 

“...I don't understand?”

“What can I do to help you right now Baz? What do you need from me?”  

It took more effort than Simon wanted to admit to refrain from reaching out. Touch wasn't something he did easily years ago but now....he wanted nothing more than to be on the couch next to Baz, holding him, doing whatever he could to comfort the other man. Whatever hesitations he had before when they were younger were completely gone now... now that his touch was no longer welcome. He realized he probably went too far earlier when he decided to carry Baz back...he would have to apologize for that as well...

Baz tilted his head, eyes squinting down into his coffee as he shook his head like he was trying to rid himself of flibbertigibbets. 

“I don’t understand...what-Simon, do you-are you doing this-” his voice was strained, “I’m fine. I’m okay. You can leave now? You got what you wanted right? I don't need anything from you.” 

“Baz I-” Simon's voice failed him and he choked on his emotion, “it’s not right-I can’t- I can’t even think of how to begin apologizing to you.” 

Grey eyes met blue through the steam from the coffee mug. Baz started to open his mouth, the ends dipping down even further than they did naturally when he argued. Simon cut him off before he could say anything, unable to bear it if Baz repeated what he said before. He ran his hands through his hair, trying to keep his calm to say what he needed to say. 

“Listen to me, I'm begging you. C-can I-Baz-I need you to understand.” Tears were working their way out of his eyes again but Simon ignored them and the heat they brought, “ I was a terrible boyfriend to you, and a terrible friend.” Baz’s face twisted and he set his coffee down on the floor, untouched once again, reaching out in a placating gesture 

“Simon, no-”. The heat behind Simon's eyes burned more at the sight of Baz trying to comfort him.

Yes . Baz. I was! Let me just-” he couldn't stop himself, he reached out across the space and grabbed one of Baz’s outstretched hands to clasp between both of his own. He stared down at their hands, his skin felt like it was burning around the cool slender fingers he cradled. He missed Baz.  The ache in his chest, the one planted there years ago apparently through his own actions , grew. He brought the hand up, pressing his lips to Baz’s fingers before pressing them to his forehead. 

“You are right. I got what I wanted. I know how much it-” he paused to suck in a shaky breath, letting go of Baz’s hand and turning away, “-how much it hurts for me to be here. I don't want to invalidate any of the things you said earlier...I know that’s what you really believe-it's just. I assumed a lot about how you felt back then and now that I hear how you actually felt I realize just how terrible I was...I need you to know that whatever you believe about yourself, in regards to…’us’...you’re wrong. I am the one that pushed us into a relationship I wasn’t ready for.” 

Burying his hands in the front of his hair, Simon continued. It was quiet aside from his own heartbeat thudding loudly in his chest. Simon would have thought that Baz left again if he couldn't see the other man's knees pressed against his own as he stared at the floor, watching as tears dripped occasionally off the end of his nose. He clenched his eyes shut.

“-and don't try to tell me I'm wrong, because I did. I pushed it. I shouldn't've. You were going through so much at the time, snakes so was I- all I could think about was how much I wanted to kiss you once I finally realized that I had spent all that time-,”he tugged his hair, “but I didn't take a single second to really process how I was feeling. You were the one good thing happening to me at that moment. I took advantage of your feelings; I wanted to cling to that feeling, to you . That wasn’t fair of me. I thought-I was-”

 He released his hair and ground his palms into his eyes. 

“You were the perfect boyfriend Baz…perfect at everything and I was a mess. I had messed everything up: the mage, my magic, my-” he gestured at his back, “I just-I couldn't take it and I was lost and I lashed out at you and Penny- I thought if I showed you who I really was, you wouldn’t want me anymore. I had convinced myself you were going to leave anyway. I really lived up to my proposal of being a terrible boyfriend...I just didn't realize how much...Baz. I am so sorry. I know this is nowhere close to the apology you deserve, I just want you to know that I am sorry that I took my own fears and insecurities out on you. I'm sorry that I made you think I didn't want to be with you-I- Im sorry that I broke up with you without even trying to talk to you. I didn’t want you to go...I didn't know how- I see now- I just...what can I do Baz?” 

Simon could feel it as his back muscles tried to hide him behind the phantom limbs of his wings. He wanted to disappear. He must look pathetic. 

No magic. No wings. No pride. 

Baz was probably taking back everything he said earlier. 

Simon had done it. He had finally shown Baz who he really was. 

He didn’t regret it though...

What came next? He didn't know… could he ask Baz if he would ever want to see Simon again? Baz had been happier before Simon showed up… Simon had not glimpsed anywhere near the level of weightlessness in Baz’s expression since that day he surprised Baz while practicing downstairs...he probably never would again...he lost that right…

There wasn't a way to mend the divide Simon had driven between them...he had thought maybe all he needed was Baz to pull him, he hadn't seen before how impossible he had made it. He had speculated but he didn't really understand.

Simon hadn’t truly been heartbroken until this moment, as he looked up and saw Baz sitting there staring at him like he truly saw Simon as a stranger. 

The distance between them laid out in front of Simon for the first time. 



Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

Time heals all wounds ...or so they say. 

Baz lowered his mug, the stale taste of the cold coffee lingering on his tongue as he watched the street below.  A glimpse of movement, the flash of curls, and Simon Snow was gone from sight, meandering away towards some future unknown. 

Baz had asked him to leave. 

Are things better now? 

◽◽◽

Obviously, Baz had no idea how to respond to Simon’s outburst. 

Baz had just finished having his own outburst. 

He was exhausted. How could he possibly have any energy left to react? 

How was he supposed to begin to even know how to feel? 

Someone can go their entire life believing something...having it reaffirmed for them over and over again until they know it to be a truth woven into the fabric that holds the universe together...how would they react then, if someone took a blade to the tapestry and ripped out those threads? 

Was the universe still whole without them? 

Did it make sense?

What was real? 

How? How was Baz supposed to respond?  How did he handle this? Whatever this was...this thing happening now and unfolding in front of him; a grown man crying in an armchair. Shaky hands clasped around his own. Hands that reached out with ease. 

This was something that Baz couldn't recognize. 

This should hurt, Baz thought as Simon crumbled in front of him. 

It did hurt but...it wasn't the same. 

This; t he two of them, weren't the same.

Simon Snow wasn't the same. 

Baz felt hollow, like a doll whose string had snapped leaving an empty porcelain shell behind; cursed to watch silently and never interact with the world. The strings holding his world together were gone and he didn't know what to do. Nothing was left holding him up. He felt light but at the same time weighed down by the growing ache in his chest...

It hurt...but- the omnipresent feeling of fear that his skin was made of broken glass, sharp and jagged should anyone try to touch him-was fading away...He hadn't even noticed the feeling until it was leaving...

He still didn’t know how to respond.

Baz should be burning. 

He wasn't...

With a loud snuffle Simon raised his head, looking at Baz like a sunflower turning to face the sun. Hopeful.. .but for what? Baz didn’t know. He was transfixed by the echoes of what could've been; the ‘what ifs’,..

What if Baz had turned Simon down?

 What if Simon had let him in earlier? 

There was no point thinking about it. Baz could see it now...none of those things would've happened...

They were just kids. Desperate, misguided and angry; caught up in a war that wasn’t theirs.

Baz heaved in a breath, fighting against his racing heart as he watched Simon rub at his face. It was blotchy from crying and the rubbing wasn’t making it better. Baz tugged the blanket around himself tighter. His lips twitched up in the corner.  In another time, he would have reached out to stop Simon from making the redness worse…

A headache threatened to overwhelm his thoughts as he replayed everything Simon said, flashbacks appearing and being viewed through a new perspective. Baz knew on some level that Simon was right. ..maybe. ..knowing that Simon cared, that Baz had meant something didn't instantly heal everything, instead the threads of Baz’s universe had been snagged and yanked. Simon Snow had successfully unraveled Baz yet again…

Now all Baz had to do was untangle the pulled threads until they were completely gone.

When they were gone..

Once he was untangled…

Then maybe Baz would know how to respond. 

◽◽◽

Things were definitely better. 

Baz told Simon he could come back.



Chapter Text

Baz

◽◽◽

Life carried on for Baz. Not much had really changed and yet everything had changed.

He was just trying to find some sense of normality again. It was weird, the strains of heavy thoughts that had weighed down his mind were absent and while he knew it was better for them to be gone, it was hard to adjust. The weight felt like it should still be there, he had to make a conscious effort to stop himself from putting it back. Who was he without it? 

Somehow he was still himself. 

He just...felt different now.

It was...nice.

It was new.

◽◽◽

An envelope came in the mail, heavy and embossed with gold; the invitation to Penny’s wedding. She was marrying the American man that had stopped by the other day to introduce himself. His name was Shepherd and he was going to be working with the coven and through the coven, with Baz. Baz liked him. Simon had been there when Sheperd came, eyes downcast as he introduced Shepherd to Baz, awkwardly calling Baz an old friend.  The smile on Baz’s face was genuine as he shook the other man's hand. Shepherd was outgoing and easy to talk to, pushing Simon and his awkwardness to the periphery of Baz’s attention for the duration of their visit. It wasn't the first time that Simon had been around since they last talked and Baz was growing used to his presence.  For him, things were feeling less awkward, even if the opposite were true for Simon. 

He would think about it later but that really was the first time in almost two months that Baz heard Simon speak...

Sure, the ball had technically been in Baz’s court to reach out to Simon. 

He was going to. 

At some point. 

Baz honestly hadn’t been expecting to see Simon so soon after their ‘talk’…he thought he would have longer…

He felt pretty sure that Simon knew he needed time, that didn’t mean that Bunce had gotten the memo. Or maybe she did and chose to ignore it in true Penny fashion. She showed up with Simon in tow at  Baz’s office the following week demanding they hang out during Baz’s break...She brought Simon with her each time she stopped by (a now weekly occurrence). The infamous duo always showed up with a tray of coffee and whatever snacks caught Penny’s eye from the cafe on the corner. Penny was exuberant as always and Simon never said a word. He just sat awkwardly on the edge of the couch in the backroom while Penny and Baz caught up. He always listened with rapt attention and his eyes would shoot away the second they made contact with Baz’s. Baz let him be and didn’t address him directly if he could help it. It didn't seem fair...not when Simon looked like he was waiting for the final shoe to fall; his presence dwindling under Baz’s attention.

He looked like all it would take was a single misguided breath from Baz’s lips to put out the flickering flame that was Simon Snow.

The sight made Baz’s chest ache. 

He still didn’t know what to say to Simon...let alone how to pick up their last conversation.

So Baz stuck to basic pleasantries, making sure to try to include Simon in the conversations so that he knew his presence wasn't unwanted but not enough to make the other man feel uncomfortable. He never asked Simon to speak...

Baz was so caught off guard when Bunce had shown up with Simon so soon that Nico had invited them in and guided Baz to the backroom before the moment had time to catch up with Baz. He still needed time before he could say anything, obviously , that didn't mean he wanted Simon to leave. He just-he had to get used to being around Simon again...and around Penny now that everything was different...Being around Penny was easier than expected. He could see why she and Shepard were together…She made it easier for Baz to be present, to relax... to process what life might be like with the duo back in his life again.

As always she didn’t beat around the bush, for snake's sake once they were settled down and awkwardly sipping coffee, Penny straight up asked Baz if Simon could stay and that she would make him go away if he made Baz uncomfortable (zero tact, Simon had flinched and almost spilled his coffee on the couch), Baz assured her his presence was fine and Simon gave a grateful nod in Baz’s direction without making eye contact. Things carried on from there. Baz ignored the amused grin Nico shot him over his paperwork when the three left the backroom an hour later. 

He kept ignoring Nico whenever the older man tried to broach the subject over the next few weeks with a teasing comment here or there, always laced with some edge of seriousness and concern.

Baz didn’t really want to talk about it.

A part of Baz was just relieved to have the two back in his life, even if things were still a bit weird...Simon never said anything, just nodded or shrugged or shook his head in response to anything directed at him. 

It went unspoken that neither Baz nor Nico would be mentioning ‘the return of Simon’ to Fiona. 

That would be pure chaos…

Fiona knows about Penny’s wedding at least;  she even tried to buy Baz a new suit for it. The suit was a wretched red, the color of blood with white stitching and garishly large white buttons. Baz had to firmly remind her that he could handle buying his own suits, he had been doing so for years thank Crowley . He wouldn't be caught dead in it. That red monstrosity would hang forever in the back of his closet until moths invaded and ate it. Perhaps it would disappear in a tragic yet extremely concentrated fire some day…

The suit Baz would actually be wearing to the wedding was subtle; slim at his waist and fit nicely around his shoulders, showing off their natural breadth without being too snug. The color was  just the right shade of Navy to compliment the silver cufflinks he had inset with a pale blue that matched the color of his mothers scarf (he was planning on tucking it in at his neck like a cravat.) It was going to be a look and a look that he was proud of. 

Maybe by the time the wedding came around Baz would know what to say to Simon...to know what he would need to say to start ‘ that ’ conversation.He would need to speak to Nico and Fiona before then, just to make sure that everyone would stay civil, no matter what Baz decided...

He was starting to think, maybe...if things were different now…then just maybe having Simon Snow in his life would be something he could have…

◽◽◽

Simon

◽◽◽

Simon felt like he was on a roller coaster.

Everything was tense and scary as it led up to the days Penny dragged him to Baz’s. 

It felt like he was about to be dropped off a ledge the entire time he sat on that couch; euphoric everytime his eyes met Baz’s, dust motes caught in the light surrounding the other man as he spoke…Simon did his best to focus on what his friends (was Baz his friend now?) were talking about but he couldn't shake the feeling of terror. 

Terror of not knowing what was going to come next.

He had to look away.

Would it be a drop? Would things take a wild turn? Would he find himself upside down? 

The twist never came. 

The apprehension would lessen everytime they left and Baz smiled at him with a parting tilt of the head. “See you again, Bunce. Snow.”

Then it ramped back up again the next week. 

It was an endless cycle and Simon wanted nothing more than for the ride to end. 

Except he didn't...he wasn't ready to acknowledge that there were no tracks at the end of this ride to catch his fall and he no longer had wings to carry him to safety. 

Simon was going to fall and it was going to hurt.

◽◽◽

After the first week of moping around his apartment after the ‘talk’ with Baz, Penny had dragged him out without even letting him know where they were going. It only dawned on him who Penny meant when she said they were ‘hanging out with a friend’ when he found himself carrying a tray of coffee down the road towards Baz’s office/flat. He had tried to get out of it then; tried to turn tail and run but it was too late. Nicodemus had spotted them arguing through the window and Simon had felt himself pale as Baz lifted his head up from his work with wide eyes as Nicodemous pointed them out through the aged panes of glass. 

Thus began the roller coaster ride of emotional distress.

Penny couldn't possibly understand why Simon was so scared. 

She made him go every week with her. 

She didn't know though… what had happened that day...

Baz had hugged him; pulled him in close with shaky fingers. Baz had closed the distance between them with such little effort after all of that time-he just reached out and pulled Simon into him. It was like the daunting chasm didn’t exist to Baz. Simon had no idea how to cross it. A hand had scratched soothingly at the back of Simon's scalp as he felt his own tears wetting the folds of Baz’s nicely pressed shirt...well it was wrinkled from the whole man handling situation-anyways that doesn't matter. 

What matters is that Baz hugged him. 

Baz had held him as he cried for who knows how long and never said a word. He didn't say a thing as Simon's tears wet through the shirt that probably cost more than Simon's entire wardrobe. He didn't say a thing when Simon turned to bury his face in Baz’s neck, trying to close the remainder of the distance between them.

He didn’t say anything but Simon knew that it was all an illusion. 

The chasm was still there. 

Simon was just thankful he had the unconscious decency to have stayed mostly seated in his own chair, slipping over the edge a bit instead of curling up on Baz’s lap. That would have been too much. 

For Simon and for Baz. 

The look on Baz’s face when Simon’s tears had finally run dry and he pulled away to rub at his nose said it all. There were fresh tears on Baz’s cheeks and when Simon reached out to brush them away Baz had grabbed his wrist...gently...and stopped him. Baz looked...startled? 

Simon couldn't cross the chasm on his own.

“Simon.” Baz breathed, dropping Simon's hand and clearing his throat  “I-I need time.” 

Gut clenching, Simon pulled back. 

He would give Baz all the time he needed. 

With a nod Simon had left. There was nothing left to be said. He would wait for Baz to reach out when...if he wanted to. He could do this much at least for the other man, in earnest now...he finally understood their situation. This time, making the decision to be away from Baz was actually the right one. 

It seemed to be a decision Baz agreed with this time. 

◽◽◽

As you know, Penny hadn’t agreed with the decision. 

The chasm felt smaller with each passing week but Simon was still scared. 

Scared he would fall. 

◽◽◽

‘Bow ties are cool,’ the Doctor said. 

Bow Ties. 

Are. 

Cool. 

Matt Smith’s doctor *was a liar. 

Simon Snow looked stupid. The grey bow tie around his neck looked out of place and awkward. Maybe it was too big, or too small? Simon tugged at it but it stayed in place, perfectly symmetrical. Perfectly straight. Penny had spelled it on for him, wanting it to look perfect, telling Simon he looked cool but Penny and Doctor Who lied; Simon looked ridiculous. 

Sighing he turned from the mirror and looked at the wide array of magical beings in the room around him, chatting and milling about. Penny’s parents had rented a fancy ballroom for the wedding reception. Simon had been the ‘best man’ although untraditionally, because he wasn't the groom's best man… he was the bride’s, Penny refused to ask one of her other friends to be the maid of honor or to even call Simon a ‘man of honor’; “what's wrong with having a ‘man of honor’? Simon is my best friend, there's no way we are conforming to stupid gendered ideologies of a wedding ceremony Simon! ” She carried on to inform Simon that as her best friend he would be the best man because why did his title have to change just because he was on the bride's side? Why should she choose another friend because Simon wasn't a girl? 

It made sense? 

So, Simon was the best man. He wasn’t sure he did a good job at being the best man for Penny but he got to stand next to her during the ceremony, up front and center during one of the biggest moments of his best friend's life. Penny and her family seemed to be happy so he probably hadn’t messed anything up...yet.

She was so happy. The vestiges of a fear he thought long gone started to arise as he watched the ceremony proceed. He remembered how he felt when he thought Penny was going to marry Micah; an American. Shepherd was also an American and even though Simon would be working with him, Shepherd wouldn't be staying in London for work. 

They were moving to America. 

Penny was going to move to America. 

Simon was going to be alone again. 

The tears in his eyes at the ceremony were not just those of joy for his friend's good fortune and bright future, but- and he was pissed at himself for feeling this way- sadness for the bleakness of his own future. 

He was wearing a bowtie, and he looked like an idiot. His best friend was leaving at the end of the month and Simon was going to be alone. 

A lonely idiot….with a stupid bowtie that couldnt possibly be knocked askew no matter how much Simon fidgeted with it. 

He tried not to frown. 

The bowtie was the only thing he wanted to mess up today. 

The clamor of the guests pulled Simon's attention back to his surroundings. Laughter came from every direction: Penny laughing across the room as Shepherd whispered in her ear, Agatha and her girlfriend, Ginger (Simon would remember it this time), laughing at something along with a group of friends from Watford... and then there was another laugh that tugged his eyes away from everyone else. This laugh was deeper, softer than most of the others but it was impossible for Simon to miss. 

Baz. 

He looked amazing, of course, the outfit he was wearing made him look like some sort of super model. Baz looked like he just walked out of one of those magazine advertisements for cologne; smooth, strong, and beautiful with a little bit of tasteful stubble around his jaw.  Simon could grow a beard now if he wanted to...it looked stupid though...just like this stupid bowtie. Baz laughed again at whatever their old school teacher Ms Posibelf said. Baz looked like he belonged here, smiling and socializing with other well dressed people...Simon wondered if Baz still did this sort of thing...mingling with rich people, laughing and dazzling onlookers. Even though he just reappeared in Simon's life, Simon had no hope that Baz was going to stay in it. Baz said he needed time…

Time to figure out what Simon could do to make things right. 

Time to figure out if he even wanted Simon around…

Time to figure out Baz really was better off without Simon around. 

The battle to keep the frown off his face was lost. Simon turned around so no one could see it as it broke across his face. As he turned around, the lights dimmed and a voice came over the speakers, a hush falling across the wedding party. It was time for Penny’s first dance with Shepherd. Simon did his best to watch discreetly over his shoulder, trying to be a supportive best man but eventually he gave in and turned around again, tugging at the bowtie in the mirror. 

No one was paying attention to him anyways. 

No one would notice if he slipped off to the food tables to stuff his face while everyone was dancing. Stuffing his face seemed like the best idea right now, it would give him a good excuse to refuse anyone that wanted to dance in case any of Penny’s siblings spotted him. 

They always gave Simon a bit too much attention, as if they were his younger siblings and they were set on embarrassing him as much as they were set on embarrassing each other. 

Simon was embarrassed enough as is: the lonely bow tie man.. 

◽◽◽

Sour Cherry Scones. 

Penny added them as a last minute addition to the ‘snack’ table. 

Simon knew it was for him, he had been moping around far too much lately for someone who should be happy about his best friend's wedding. Simon wondered if Penny knew that Simon was upset she was leaving before he did. Baz had once said Penny wouldn’t forget him even if she moved to America, maybe these scones being included at her wedding were a sign of that. Simon would always be a part of her life no matter how uninvolved he was in her life... He tried to take comfort in that as he stuffed his face with another. 

She couldn't forget him, they would talk to each other every day for work. 

Another scone.

Simon wouldn't be completely alone...he had some new normal friends from uni...its not the same but-he was a normal now-

another.

Penny’s mother said he could come by for dinner every week but still-

A drink

-and Baz...well, Simon would wait again now that Penny wouldn't be around to force him into bothering the other man.  He was sure Baz was only being too polite because Penny had been dragging Simon with her. Those smiles weren't for him. He had to wait...he might never-

A soft touch against the back of his shoulder- A soft touch? 

Turning, half eaten scone raised to his mouth, Simon looked to see who had interrupted his brooding thoughts. 

Baz, backlit from the soft lighting, stood at the edge of the table like some sort of prince or mythical being, looking at Simon with a hand covering the bottom half of his face. The arch of his eyebrows betrayed nothing of his expression.  

Simon swallowed. 

Then choked. 

Damn scones. 

Baz let out a snort and handed Simon the glass that Simon had set down earlier. Gratefully he took it as his eyes watered. 

Baz was smiling.

The roller coaster feeling was back: the jolt of excitement that Baz had gone out of his way to find Simon. The fear that he hadn’t.  

Baz’s eyebrows pinched in concern as Simon cleared his throat aggressively.

“Hey Baz” he wheezed. 

“Hello, Snow.” Baz snickered. 

Simon winced and Baz’s signature smirk, something that hadn’t been directed at Simon in so so long, faltered. Good going Simon. 

Baz cleared his throat and turned to watch the dance floor where those who had not returned to their tables were throwing themselves around with reckless abandonment.  The excitement faded to disappointment as he realized...

“Am I in the way?” 

Baz whipped his head around, “what?” 

Simon took a step away from the food table and gestured, “did you come over here for the food? Am I in the way?” 

“...” 

Simon felt like he was going to crawl out of his skin under Baz’s gaze, flickering with the reflection of lights. He wanted to stand up tall and meet Baz straight on like he used to but he knows...he can’t do that anymore. He doesn't even really want to if he really thinks about it...he's thinking about it now. 

“-n, Simon” 

There’s a light pressure on his shoulder where Baz is gripping it. He lets go the moment Simon meets his eyes.  

Baz clears his throat again. 

“I didn’t come over here for the food.” 

“Oh?” Simon can’t help but tug on the bow tie again. 

Baz’s eyebrows are pinched again, he's glaring at the floor as if he's trying to light it on fire with his eyes alone. He probably could if he wanted to.  Simon wishes Baz would light this stupid bowtie on fire and put an end to all of Simon’s misery. 

“No, I came over to talk to you.” 

“-oh.” he choked out, looking down. The frown was back again, he was sure. He wasn’t doing a good job hiding it in the first place. If he wasn't careful he was going to ruin the wedding with his mood and then Penny would never speak to him again. She’d curse him with this bowtie for the rest of his life and he’d deserve it. 

“I figured out what you can do.” Baz said softly. Simon looked up to find Baz already looking at him. 

He was falling. 

Was his mouth dry because of the situation or was it because he ate too many scones…

A grunt was the only response Simon could muster up, his shoulders tensing. He was ready. He could take it. He would do whatever Baz said. 

He could do anything….except look at Baz.

“...” he could feel Baz’s eyes on him. 

Simon was on fire. 

Baz cleared his throat again,

“Well-uh. If you want- I-” he started. 

Simon clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes closed, bracing himself“I’ll do whatever you want Baz.  Anything .” 

Sometimes it's easier to ride a roller coaster with your eyes closed, especially if you don't know what's going to happen at the end. He couldn't take the anticipation anymore. 

“...would you dance with me?” 

“What?” 

Simon gaped at Baz as the other man fidgeted with a cuff link, his eyes roamed around the room and when he looked at Simon out of the corner of his eye, their gazes caught. 

Baz straightened up and patted down his cravat, looking flustered. Was Baz-was he blushing?!

“It's fine if you don't want to. I know you only came to see me all those times because Bunce brought you with her...I don’t really know what you want from me anymore, but we can start with a dance if you want? It's fine if you don't. Obviously... I don't expect anything. It's fine. I-I’m sorry for asking-haveagoodnight” 

He turned on his heel and started to walk back towards the tables. 

“Wait!” Simon half shouted, then winced as it drew the attention of the people standing nearby and at the closest tables.  Baz halted though, eyeing Simon warily. 

“I’m not a dancer-” 

Baz’s shoulders started to slump forward and he tucked a stray hair behind an ear, looking away “right. Sorry.” 

“no-Baz- I’m not a dancer but I would gladly dance with you, I just wanted to warn you I haven't improved at all…”

 

Baz hesitantly walked back over to the snack table, regaining some of his former posture. Simon felt his ears burn as he blushed and held out an arm. Baz’s arm wound around his own and Simon led them to the dance floor. 

◽◽◽

Simon was right to warn Baz, he wasn't a dancer.

 Even though their entrance to the dance floor had been formal, this wasn't a slow dance, he couldn't rely on Baz to lead him like he had all those years ago. While Baz moved gracefully to the upbeat pop songs playing, his smooth moves devolved to an almost stand still as they both devolved into laughter at Simons aborted attempts at uncoordinated outdated dance moves. Their dancing turned into a competition for who could bust out the most ridiculous move. 

It was fun. 

Maybe Baz was his friend now after all.

Eventually they were asked to leave the dance floor by an exasperated Agatha after a poorly executed chicken dance almost left Ginger with a black eye. 

Panting, Simon collapsed into a chair next to Baz at one of the tables in the back of the room. He watched with a toothy grin as Baz collected himself. Even when it fell out of place, Baz’s hair still seemed to frame his face perfectly. It wasn't fair. He was too handsome. Simon chuckled and settled back in his chair, running a hand through his sweaty hair. He probably looked a mess. 

If Baz was ever attracted to Simon, he definitely wasn't now, not after that show. Simon was oddly okay with it. He had made Baz smile. It felt like maybe Baz was going to let him make it up to him. Once he caught his breath he decided it was probably okay for him to say something. 

He wasn't going to fall. 

Baz wouldn’t let him. 

They were friends now. 

The chasm could remain but Simon was finally safe. 

Baz was watching the remaining dancers with an amused grin when Simon spoke up, resting his hand on the table between them with a gentle knock to get the other man's attention, “Baz, I know that I can never fully make it up-” 

“Simon.” Cold eyes flashed from behind a curtain of dark locks as Baz whipped his head around. A slender hand gripped his own, crushing it. “Don't you dare finish that sentence.” 

His hand was suddenly free and Simon shook it out, looking at Baz in confusion. What was going on...he thought this was what Baz wanted…  

He wanted to rip his own hair out in frustration. 

“ What do you want from me? Do you -do you not want me to make it up to you? Did you change your mind...” his voice tapered off at the end. Baz just wanted to dance with him so they parted on a good note in the end. Not that he wanted Simon to make up for all the hurt he caused. He didn't want-

“Simon. When we were dating-we were just kids and I would have done anything for you because I felt like I owed you for just giving me the time of day-” 

Simon tried to speak but Baz held his hand up.

“Let me finish. Whatever this ,” he gestured between them, “is. Whatever happens from here on out, you don't owe me anything Simon. Seriously. We can’t be friends let alone-” he averted his eyes, “anything else -if you feel this way. You don't have anything to make up to me. We both messed up. It's fine. Let's just move forward.” 

Simon was burning again, warmed from the inside out. He did his best but he couldn’t hold back a toothy grin.  He sucked at the side of his cheek and glanced around for eavesdroppers before leaning closer across the table to whisper. 

This huh?” 

Baz glowered and crossed his arms, looking out at the crowd. 

“I’m being serious, Snow.” 

Knocking their knees together, Simon leaned back. 

“So am I.” 

Baz met his gaze from the corner of his eye before looking away again, relaxing into his chair again. He snorted out a sigh as he returned his attention to the dance floor, some of the earlier amusement flooding his voice. 

“Good. We will definitely need to work on your dance moves if we are going back out there.” 

Simon hummed thoughtfully, knocking their knees together again. Their eyes met. He held Baz’s gaze. “If we are going back out there then can I make a request?” 

Baz tilted his head slightly, “...that depends on what you are requesting.” 

Running a hand through his hair, Simon exhaled, standing up to face Baz directly. “Alright then. I need you to start calling me Simon…”

Uncrossing his arms, Baz propped his head up on the table to look up at Simon. His eyes were twinkling with something like amusement. “Sure, Simon.”  the corner of his mouth twitched. 

Nodding Simon held a hand out to help Baz up, “g-great. And also,” he steeled himself, “ I’m still going to bring you coffee.” 

Baz quirked an eyebrow at him, taking Simon’s hand gently in his own. “...is that also a request?” 

Simon gulped, he hadn't phrased that well. “Uh-yes?” he squeaked, worried he was going too far. 

Maybe Baz needed more time. 

Simon yelped as Baz stood, pulling Simon in close.

“You can bring me coffee Simon, as long as you promise to stay and drink it with me.” 

Nodding, Simon flushed as Baz gave a tug on the bowtie then turned, pulling Simon back into the crowd.

Maybe -Simon thought as they joined Penny and Shepherd on the dance floor, Penny catching his eye with a knowing gleam in it…

  Maybe, Bow ties are cool after all.