Baz is acting weird.
It's pretty much a staple of Simon Snows existence at this point; Baz acting weird. He is weird.
He's a vampire who went to magick school for 8 years and then went into economics. He likes flavored coffee and hates canned pasta sauce. He's a cat person. Plus he's dating Simon Snow. So he's definitely a weird guy.
None of this explains why he's acting weird, though. Simon wipes down the counter and watches as Baz, again, lifts his head off the cafe table, glances at his phone, types something with it held at arm's length, groans and lays his head back down. This is roughly the 8th time this sequence of events has happened since he sat down thirty minutes ago. His hair fans out on the table.
It's pretty slow today at the cafe where Simon works, it's currently completely empty except for the two of them, so he'll let Baz have whatever crisis he's having uninterrupted. The cafe is a pretty sweet gig. There's enough space between the couches and tables that Simon can maneuver without slapping anyone with his wings. They have a decent tea selection available. They don't get a lot of customers asking for complicated drink orders and the regulars are pretty cool. Plus, Simon can take whatever baked goods are left at the end of the day home with him. They don't even have sour cherry scones, double bonus. He's only worked here a few months but he feels good.
Baz's phone buzzes on the table again as Simon is cleaning the espresso machine. Simon watches as Baz swipes his hand across the table and knocks the phone to the floor. Simon grabs the carafe of coffee and walks it over to Baz's table. He picks up the discarded phone and refills Baz's cup. Baz mumbles a "Thank You" into the table.
"You have a text from your dad." He says.
Baz groans and reaches for the phone. Simon holds it just out of reach for him. He could reach it if he sat up but he's insisting on being dramatic and keeping his head laid out on the table. Baz grabs at one of the front pockets of Simon's apron and tugs hard until Simon stumbles a step closer. Then he swipes the phone from his hand.
"So?" Simon prompts.
Baz lifts his head an inch and fixes him with a look. Simon rolls his eyes, "How's your dad?"
"It's my mother's birthday this weekend." He says and slides the mug of coffee closer.
"Yeah. They want me to come home for the party." He answers into the mug.
"Oh, cool. Uh. How long do you think you'll be gone?" It's insane and desperate but Simon really does not enjoy being apart from Baz for any extended amount of time. He can keep himself busy for the few hours Baz is in class but they honestly haven't been apart for more than three days since Baz finished Watford.
Baz shakes his head, "I was thinking you should just come with me."
Simon felt his eyes widen, "I? Should?"
"Yeah, I think it makes sense." He leans back in the chair and crosses his arms. He looks blasé and casual, but he won't look Simon in the eyes directly.
Simon tries to match his stance, but he’s got nothing to lean against. He stumbles a little, “Last time I was at your parents house I left the land devoid of magick. And now that we’re dating th-”
“They don’t know that.” Baz interrupts and Simon stops short. He blinks at his boyfriend. "Um. They don't know about what? That we are???" He gestures between them and Baz raises his eyebrows in judgement. Like it's not a big deal. Simon drops his hand to his side and heads back towards the counter.
Simon hears the chair Baz was sitting in scrapes its legs against the floor. Baz catches his hand before he reaches the espresso machine. There's a tug on Simon's palm until he turns around.
"You look really sexy in your uniform,"Baz tells him and grins. Simon frowns but he feels his cheeks betray him.The space between Baz's dark eyebrows wrinkles, "It's just," he starts, "We just, we never talk. You've met them. It's impossible to tell them anything. When I tried to come out to them at breakfast the summer after fifth year my father finished his orange juice without looking at me then told me 'That's a problem for another day.' They acknowledge the whole blood drinking thing as little as possible. Even if I had told them they would probably, I don't know, pretend they couldn't hear me."
Simon sighs, "But what other reason would you have for inviting me over for your stepmother's birthday?"
"You said that last time I invited you to stay at my family's place."
Simon rolls his eyes and stretches up to kiss Baz. Baz softens into the kiss. He practically melts. He mumbles into Simon's lips, "This is a food service establishment. God, how unsanitary."
Simon ignores him and kisses him deeper. He dimly acknowledges the bell above the door ringing. There's a soft cough from behind Baz and Simon pulls back. He leans around the boy in front of him to blink sheepishly at a woman in her mid thirties, "Hi, Miss. We here at Bean Around The World are very dedicated to customer service. What can I get for you?"
Baz covers his face with his hands as the woman gives her order. And Simon turns to make the latte. After he rings her up, she takes her order to go and Simon turns back to Baz. He’s returned to the lumpy chair he spent the morning in. His head is back on the table.
“Stop looking so dejected, I’m going with you.”
Simon stays over at Baz's the night before they drive out to Oxford for the weekend. He's got his laptop on his stomach and his head resting on Baz's shoulder. He’s looking at pictures of dogs. Baz is on his phone pretending to be looking at his phone instead of looking at Simon looking at pictures of dogs.
Simon is a heavy, warm weight pressed up against Baz from the legs up. His hair smells like raspberries and molasses and Baz wants to bury his nose in it and never leave. He wants to only breath air that has been filtered through Simon first.
Years later and it’s still mind blowing at times that he gets to have this. Quiet moments. There’s no fighting. They aren’t trying to kill each other and no one is trying to kill either of them. Baz gets to keep this moment where nobody except Simon cares what he is or what he does. He gets to have his arm around Simon Snow’s shoulders while they lay in bed and the setting sun casts long shadows over the bedroom. He gets to rub his thumb over Simon’s arm as the last productive thing he does today.
“I still can’t believe you think you’re about to successfully pretend not to be in love with me for three days.” Simon yawns.
He mumbles into Simon’s hair “I’m pretending not to be dating you. They’ve seen me be in unrequited love with you before. Shouldn’t be that hard.”
The hair tickles his nose as Simon turns his head to look at him, “You’re going to crash and burn, baby. There’s no way you’re going to resist all of this for three whole days.” He gestures over his body. The laptop slides half off when he lets go to do so. There's chocolate on his chin. He’s wearing Baz’s pajama pants. He’s probably right.
They wake up early on Friday to make the drive up to the Grimm-Pitch hunting lodge in Oxford. Early enough so they can get there by tea. Early enough that neither of them say much to each other while they stumble through last minute packing. When they finally make it out to the car Simon is still in his pajama pants. He’s got a brown paper bag with leftovers from the cafe in one hand and a duffel full of clothes for the weekend in the other. His hair is a fucking mess. Baz smiles.
“Open your eyes when you’re walking, Snow. You’re about to run into the car.” He says as he throws his suitcase in the trunk. Simon groans in response, “That's impossible I’m too tired.”
Baz rolls his eyes and takes the bag from Simon. They slide into the car and Baz starts the engine. They're only on the road for about ten minutes before Baz turns to say something to the boy in the passenger seat and sees that he's already asleep. He's got one knee propped up on the car door and his face is smashed into his seat belt. His mouth is hanging wide open. Baz has to very purposely turn his head back to the road then, before he gets totally swallowed up by watching Simon drool against his upholstery.
They’re about an hour away from their destination when Simon jerks awake. He glances around for a moment before he reaches into the backseat to grab the bag from the cafe. He pulls out a muffin that smells like it's probably lemon and begins tearing it apart. Simon briefly holds it out to Baz, offering him a bite, but Baz shakes his head. Simon finishes demolishing the muffin; that poor pastry never stood a chance. He looks down and brushes the crumbs off his lap. Then he grimaces.
"What's wrong?" Baz asks.
"It's just. I should have changed before we left. I'm going to arrive at your family's place in crumb covered pajamas."
Baz reaches over and brushes a crumb out of his hair. "And what? You'd have preferred to impress them with crumb covered jeans?"
"Come on." Simon rolls his eyes. "Look at you. You look great. You're wearing jeans and look perfect! I look like I just woke up."
"You did just wake up."
"Ugh shut up. They're going to hate me!"
"If it makes you feel any better," Baz says, "They hate you much less than they used to."
Simon groans again and lets his head fall back against the headrest. He reaches over and grabs Baz's hand. He holds it for the duration of the ride, worrying the pad of his thumb over Baz's knuckles, until Baz needs to take it back to put the car in park.
There's a long walk from the garage to the front door. It's practically a hike. Baz is itching to take Simon's hand again, and even though the trees are mostly shielding them from view he doesn't want to risk it. Just before they reach the front stoop, Simon grabs his shoulder and turns him around. Simon looks around to make sure they're hidden from any windows, then kisses Baz quick on the lips.
"Last one of the weekend," He says, "I'm going to date the hell out of you when this is over to make up for missing three days."
"I won't object." Baz tells him.
He sighs and grabs the big ornate knocker on the front door. After two loud knocks they're greeted by Baz's parents. His father takes their bags and they're lead inside. Baz shakes his father's hand and kisses his mother on cheek. Then he turns back to Simon. Simon smiles at them politely, if not a little sheepishly.
"Mother, Father. you remember my boyfriend Simon," He says and Simon whips his head to glare at him. His own words smack Baz in the face. "Ah, Fuck."
The front entryway of the large estate is absolutely silent for exactly six seconds. Six never-ending, eternal, seconds.
"Hello, Simon." Baz's mother finally says, like a true diplomat, "So nice to have you here again."
"Hope it goes better than last time," Simon answers, "I mean, no I had a wonderful time last time I meant the thing where I left your home in a dead zone. I mean, thank you."
Merlin, maybe if he just keeps embarrassing himself Baz's parents will forget they heard the word boyfriend.
"So," Baz's father begins, "Boyf- . Boyfriend? That's new."
There's probably an old grave somewhere nearby that Simon can go bury himself in. Baz's father is looking at him expectantly. He reaches out to shake the man's hand, "Uh, yeah. About that."
"Actually it's not all that new, father." Baz interrupts, effectively ruining any chance of playing off the situation as a joke, "We've been together since. Well, since last time Simon was here honestly."
"Well not here here, of course," Simon clarifies. "The place I stayed last time is uninhabitable."
"They know, sweetie. You don't have to keep mentioning it." Baz reaches for his hand while his father visibly flinches.
His mother claps her hand together, "So, tea?"
Simon nods and smiles at her. Baz's parents turn and lead them down the hallway. They're walking with a modest and respectable foot between them. As soon as his parents’ backs are turned, Simon darts over to Baz's side.
"You lasted, what? Two seconds?" He says, elbowing Baz in the ribs.
"Well I didn't think you'd completely fall apart! Who's crashing and burning here?" Baz whispers back.
"Yeah, because I had absolutely no warning! I had no prep time!" Simon pokes him in the side again.
Baz looks at him sharply and a devious grin blooms on his face. He grabs Simon's hands with lightning speed and holds them still. "I'll show you prep time."
He quickly releases Simon's hands and grabs onto his waist. Simon's eyes go wide. "Nooo no no no no." But Baz doesn't listen. His fingers dig into Simon's sides, tickling him. Simon makes another noise of protest and his knees buckle. He tries to stop Baz's fingers but extraneous movement only makes it worse. Simon shoves Baz into the wall, narrowly missing a side table with a very expensive looking vase on it.
"Simon?" They jump apart and Simon looks over at Baz's father who is now facing them again.
Simon coughs lightly. He hopes Baz's parents know his face is red because he was just attacked. Not for, like, any other reason, "Uh, sorry Mr. Pitch. We were just-"
"Would you like to change before tea?" He interrupts. Simon blinks for a moment, then looks down. He's still wearing pajamas. They’re Baz's. Merlin and Morgana, he hopes they don't recognize them.
"Uh yeah. That'd be. That would be great." Simon takes his duffel when it's offered to him. He smiles and says "thank you" when directed towards the bathroom. He scurries off and quietly closes the door behind him. Then he rests his head against the wood and exhales. He's in over his head. This was such a bad idea.
There's a quick tap on the other side of the door and suddenly Simon finds himself being pushed aside as the door opens and Baz slips in.
"What are you doing in here? Your parents know I'm in here getting changed!" Simon squeaks, "They're going to think we're doing stuff."
"We are." Baz states simply. He leans in, pinning Simon against the sink, and kisses him. He pulls away after a moment, "I wanted to make sure you're okay."
"I'm fine. I just. Needed a minute." He starts tugging at his pants, "Damn. Can you help me get this over my tail?"
After a minute of struggling they've got one pair off and a new pair of very respectable slacks halfway on. Baz is buttoning them, his tongue poking out from between his teeth just slightly. He only glances up at Simon for a second but must have seen something in Simon's expression. He looks up again and stills his hands. This is a lot for Simon to handle right now. He tries to remind himself they're in Baz's parents bathroom, but Baz is on his knees with his fingers on the front of his pants and his dark grey eyes are beautiful.
"Thank you," Baz says, instead of much more life ruining things he could have said. Simon cocks his head to the side, because he has no idea why Baz is thanking him. For the privilege of having to help his disaster of a boyfriend get dressed? Baz clarifies, "For coming here. For coming with me."
"Yeah, well I just didn't want to deal with you moping around all week." Simon smiles at him and buttons his pants up. Baz gets to his feet and Simon kisses him just under the jaw once, then asks, "Should we like. Leave at separate times? Like, you leave and then I'll wait five minutes?"
"Why the hell would we do that?" Baz shakes his head like he just got kissed by a crazy person.
"To not arouse suspicion."
"Oh my god don't say arouse right now. Just go. We go together." He grabs Simon's hand and Simon lets himself be tugged out the door and down the hall.
They stumble into the tea room. They have a formal tea room. Baz's half siblings aren't there. Even though Simon heard them running around upstairs. Suddenly this feels very much like an interrogation. He swallows nervously.
If Baz had a dollar for every time he's had to watch the goddamn spectacle of Simon Snow swallowing without being able to give into the urge of chasing Snow's adam’s apple with his tongue, he probably wouldn't need his family's money any more.
He hasn't had blood in a few hours, not since they left, so he hopes there's not enough in his system to let him blush. Even without the blush, he can't help tracking the movement with his eyes. He feels a little bad at blatantly objectifying Simon while he is clearly nervous, but Crowley.
Baz looks back to the table where his parents are seated. His siblings aren't here. When he was texting his sister yesterday he'd said 'See you at tea.' And she said 'K'. Implying that she would be there. They always take tea together when they're all home.
This, Baz realizes, is a trap.
"Everything looks great, Mother." His father's lips are sealed in a tight line. He watches Baz pull out a chair for Simon. Simon looks at him like he's insane. Which is fair. Baz just wants to shove it in his parents’ faces, just a little bit. Their son, the doting and perfect boyfriend.
Simon sits in the chair held out for him and slides it closer to the table. Vera arrives to pour the tea. It smells rich and earthy. There's a three tiered platter of small sandwiches that Simon reaches for as soon as the tea is poured.
"So, Mrs. Grimm, it's your birthday tomorrow? Happy early birthday." He says cheerily around a sandwich.
"Thank you, Simon." She sips her tea, "It was nice of you to join Baz in celebrating with us."
"Oh, well, thanks for inviting me." Simon says. Baz's father coughs. A subtle reminder to Baz that Simon was not, strictly speaking, invited.
Baz resists the urge to roll his eyes. Instead he lifts the teapot up and smiles, "Tea, Father? Your throat sounds dry."
"Basilton," He warns, but Daphne jumps in, "It's just a bit of a surprise, darling. We just don't understand why you didn't tell us, is all."
"And what would you want me to tell you?" Baz holds his cup up to his lips, desperately trying to keep the frustration from turning to anger in his voice, "When would you have liked to know that the kid you were hoping I'd kill is now dating me? When was that going to be convenient to hear?"
"Err" Simon mumbles, "Should I-"
"Honey, it's not like we didn't know," Daphne says, "You wouldn't let go of him when we came to fetch you after that awful night."
His father puts his hand on her knee, "And we've acknowledged your, er, preferences," Baz groans at the word but his father continues, "But you've never brought anyone home before. Honestly Basil, it would have been nice to at least give us a little warning."
“Tell me about it.,” Simon mutters and Baz’s parents seem to just now notice him sitting there. His mother smiles and asks, “I’m sorry Simon, what was that?”
“It’s just, yeah a little warning would be nice." He sits up a little straighter and reaches for another sandwich, "I didn't know we were going to be formally introduced this weekend either. You know, as someone more than just your son's old roommate."
"But you are?" Baz's father looks between the two of them, "You are, um, his boyfriend?"
"Oh yeah, definitely. Totally." Simon nods emphatically. The look his parents share at that is not a big confidence booster for Baz. The look is conspiratorial. The look implies something dark. His father turns back to the two of them and smiles. The smile is overly saccharine and doesn't reach his eyes. His grin strains further as Simon reaches for another sandwich, oblivious. The moment serves to remind Baz that his whole family has groomed him since birth to hate this boy. They’d both been raised to destroy each other for some presumed Greater Good.
The Greater Good can shove it as far as Baz is concerned. Whatever future The Families had planned for him and Simon, Baz can’t imagine it would be better than how warm Simon’s skin is against his when he first wakes up in the morning. He takes hold of Simon's hand, squeezes it gently, then finishes his tea.
Baz's father excuses himself before they're all done, which is fine. Daphne stays. She doesn't say much more but every once in awhile she'll offer an encouraging smile. Baz doesn't feel very encouraged by them. When they're done, Baz stands.
"Thank you, Mother. I'm going to take Simon up to get settled." Still holding Simon's hand, Baz begins to lead him out of the parlor.
"Oh, Vera already took his things up to the guest room." His mother tells him.
"Guest room?" He feels Simon's fingers tighten around his hand.
"Ah, yes." She drops her eyes down and refolds her hands across her lap. When she glances back up she looks uncomfortable. "Well, you see. Your father and I think it would be best if Simon slept in the guest room."
"Why? Do you have a trap set up in there?" Baz wouldn't put it past them.
"No," Daphne says, "We just think it wouldn't be appropriate for you to share a room. Given that you're. Well-"
"It's not like you have to worry about me getting him pregnant, mother." Which is true but possibly the least helpful thing to have said.
"Wraiths!" Simon blurts out. Daphne turns to him, like she forgot the person she was talking about was in the room. "I- uh. I don't like the wraiths. I mean, I'm sure they're lovely. I just, uh, don't know if I can sleep in a room with one."
"Don't be silly darling, this estate is far less haunted than the manor in Hampshire." Her eyes go ice cold at the mention of the old house.
Baz rolls his eyes, "Mother, please."
Her lips slide into a tight line, "I'm sure I can find a cot or something for him to bring to your rooms." She glides away before Baz can thank her.
"Listen, if your dad tries to off me in my sleep, I want you to know that I love you." Simon says as he throws the duffel on the bed.
"Shut up," Baz tells him. He's leaning against the headboard of his bed. It's much less ornate than the one at his old house. The gargoyle one. This is far less intimidating.
"No, listen. I'm serious." Simon says again. He stops taking clothing out of his bag and reaches out to take hold of both Baz's hands, "If I'm brutally murdered at dinner with your family, I want you to know there are three aero bars in my bag. I want you to have them."
Baz rolls his eyes at him. He tries to pull his hands back but Simon tightens his grip and tugs at him. Baz falls forward slightly. He looks like he’s about to say something sharp so Simon brings one knee up onto the bed and kisses him before he gets the chance. Simon keeps pushing until he’s got Baz back against the headrest again.
Simon has so many good intentions of pulling back but Baz tilts his head back on the headboard and lets out a small satisfied sigh, and all good intentions fly out the window. He climbs fully onto the bed now. He moves his knee to rest between Baz’s legs and settles in. Simon closes his eyes as soon as he feels Baz’s hands grip his hips. Baz’s fingertips dig into his skin and Simon bites off a moan as Baz kisses down his neck. Baz slides his hands across Simon's back and hold him closer.
Simon doesn't register the tapping noise as a sound he should have been paying attention to until Baz's bedroom door swings open. Baz sits up so fast that he smacks his forehead into Simon's.
"Knock!" He yelps. Then rubs the red spot just above his brow, "Christ, Snow. Your head is hard as a rock."
"I did knock," Baz's sister says as she strides in, "It’s not my fault you weren't paying attention.
She eyes them carefully. Her name is- something. Simon can't remember. Frankly Simon is still a little light headed from all the blood rushing south, and then suddenly north again. And from being hit in the head. He should say hello but he still can't remember her name.
"Mordelia, we're busy." Baz tells her. Mordelia. Right. Do all the Grimm-Pitch's have such vampiric sounding names?
"I can see that." She says with a sneer. How can such a tiny person have so much judgement in a single expression? Shouldn't she be happy and playing with dolls and loving horses or something? Where does all this resentment come from?
To be fair, Simon figures, all the Grimm-Pitches probably pop out and begin criticizing the decor of the new baby wing of the hospital.
Baz doesn't flinch. He just rolls his eyes and slides up to sit against the headboard again, "Alright. Drop the look. Just because you missed me doesn't mean you can be rude. Come here, I have something for you."
She trots over and jumps on the bed. Baz reaches into Simon's bag and pulls out one of the candy bars he packed. "Hey!" Simon protests, but Mordelia is already tearing it open.
At the crinkle of the wrapper, two heads peak around the corner. They look identical, not only to each other, but to how they looked last time Simon saw them. It's comical. Two little heads, turned sideways, poking out of the doorframe. Simon stifles a laugh.
"Do you have chocolate" One of them says, as they slip inside. They both climb up on the bed next to Simon, framing him like they can tell he's the one with the goodies. Simon avoids their pleading stares and looks at Baz instead. He smiles warmly at Simon, which is frustrating. He's got no right to look that nice when he's giving away all Simon's snacks. Simon groans and shoves his hand in his duffel when Baz winks at him. He passes out the last two bars to the twins.
They immediately wiggle away from Simon. One crawls up to Baz while the other slides off the bed and trots out of the room. She comes back a moment later with a book in her hand. She's got Simon's aero bar clamped between her teeth like a little demon.
She hops back on the bed and worms her way into Simon's lap. She hands the thin book to Baz then settles against Simon’s chest, "Can you read a story before dinner?"
"The dragon story," the other one asks. Her big sister reaches across and pinches her arm. "Don't be insensitive." She says and all three of them look Simon. No, they’re looking at his wings. Simon feels his ears heat up.
"How about," Baz interrupts, "You all leave?" But there's no heat to his words. One of the twins even scoffs at him. He rolls his eyes. "Fine. But no dragons. I'll tell you the chimera story."
The twins clap, Mordelia even smiles, which is vaguely terrifying. Baz begins his story and it only takes Simon about a minute before he recognizes the story. It's a grandiose and highly embellished version of their third year. Highly embellished. Baz, of course, sounds like the hero. The Simon in his story sounds like an idiot.
The twin on Simon's lap starts playing with his tail. She’s petting it like she would a cat. The three of them are hanging on Baz's every word. And Baz, he's incredible. Sound effects and big hand gestures. He pauses at all the right moments to build tension. He even does little voices for each character. Simon can't help but smile. There are some warm, weird feelings blooming in the pit of his stomach. And when Baz looks up at him and smiles, just as the Simon in the story does something incredibly thick-headed, the feeling in his stomach tugs sharply.
Baz looks good with a family.
Like, really good.
Eventually the tried and true chimera story comes to an end when the maid comes up to tell them dinner is ready. She's lugging along a deflated air mattress with her. Baz wants to tell her not to bother, that there's no way Simon is sleeping anywhere but within his immediate reach, but he doesn't want the command to get back to his step-mother.
She plops the air mattress on the floor and begins tugging it open. Baz's three sisters run past her and scurry downstairs. Simon is waiting for him at the door. Baz doesn't see the electric air pump for the mattress, so he quietly casts a quick Huffed and puffed and blew the house down to make her job a little easier. If she takes deep breaths it'll be done in two exhales.
Baz grabs Simon's hand on the way out. He's got a funny look on his face so Baz kisses him.
Dinner isn't nearly the disaster Baz was expecting. His father doesn't say any more to him, but with all his siblings finally there it softens the blow a bit. And Daphne is very polite to Simon. Which feels stilted and awkward but it's a nice effort. All things considered the only one who cries is his baby brother.
The only disaster comes when Victoria turns to Baz and Simon and asks if they kiss “like Mother and Father do, even though you're both boys." His father chokes and Simon knocks over a wine glass, staining the tablecloth red. Baz hides a giggle in his napkin.
But finally, finally, dinner is over. Baz excuses himself and Simon before desert, and before any more weird questions from his half-sisters. Simon looks a little dejected about missing desert, so Baz asks Vera to send some up in a little while.
Instead of taking Simon straight back to his bedroom (and living out all of his sick teenage fantasies he wanked over during every long summer spent here since fifth year) Baz leads Simon to the library.
Simon looks nervous. Which is fair, there's at least a dozen dangerously cursed books in the library. But they're all on the top shelves, out of reach. And besides, he's with Baz. He's not going to let anything bad happen to Simon.
"Are we? Not going to your room?" Simon asks.
Baz rolls his eyes and grins, "Keep it in your pants for two seconds, Snow. I want to show you something."
"Why in here? Is it a book?"
"No, the acoustics in here are just better." Just like the Hampshire manor. Like all houses, Baz suspects, unless they have a specific room just for string instruments. He picks up his violin and tucks it under his chin.
"Sit down, Snow." Baz says and Simon plops down on the big velvet reading chair so fast he nearly misses.
Baz begins to play. He lets the notes pour out of his fingertips and bow. He's not playing anything in particular. A bit of the Nick Cave song they danced to the last time Simon was at Watford, because it inevitably reminds him of Simon now. A little bit of Bartok because it sounds impressive. A little bit of the song on the radio Simon stuck his tongue out at on the drive in, because it'll make him laugh (He does). And just a little bit of random notes that sound nice.
He plays for a little while, letting himself get immersed. Watching Simon's reactions. He plays until he can't think of any more notes to play, so he lets them fall away.
"Wow" Simon says after a beat of silence. He sounds awed. Baz smiles to himself.
"Liked that, did you?" Baz says.
"I had no idea," Simon tells him. Baz is practically preening.
"I had no idea," Simon starts again, "That you were such a nerd."
"What?" Baz drops his bow hand.
"Wow. You're a huge nerd."
"Oh my god. You play violin. Fuck, you graduated top of your class too. Nerd. Oh no, you go to business school. This is worse than I thought. Wow."
Baz places his violin back on its stand and lays his bow down. He strides over to Simon, stops about an inch away.
“How did I not know this?” Simon wonders. Baz wraps his arms around his waist, hands trailing down over his jeans. He pulls him in and says, “You’re not particularly observant.”
“Nerd.” Simon says into his mouth. Baz rolls his eyes then lets them fall shut. It no longer tastes like fire but Simon’s mouth is still hot. He still kisses Baz like the rest of the world is on fire. And Baz is still fine being ignited.
Baz slides one hand up the firm line of Snow’s back until his fingers run through Simon's hair. He tugs. Simon pushes into him with enough force that Baz steps back. He keeps pushing until Baz backs up against the sprawling floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. Baz hits the shelf with a thud and three books fall off onto the floor. Simon pulls back for a moment, startled by the sound, and looks up at Baz. But literally any moment where Simon’s hair looks that crazy and he isn’t kissing Baz is a moment wasted, in Baz’s opinion. He fists his fingers into Simon’s absolutely absurd hair again and shoves their mouths together.
"Getting rowdy in a library. You are a nerd." Simon whispers a hair’s breadth away. He bites Baz's jaw. Baz ducks to the other side and kisses his favorite cluster of freckles. He's claimed these as his own. He might as well plant a flag and declare himself king of this particular mole. Or maybe he should just lick it. Simon sucks in a sharp breath when he does and his hips rock forward, pinning Baz against the bookshelf again.
Simon's got one hand gripping Baz's shoulder tight. Baz feels the other hand slip under the bottom hem of his shirt. Simon's fingers twitch for a moment when they come in contact with Baz's skin. Like he's hesitating at the cold.
'He is' says some dark part of his brain, 'Of course he is. Your skin’s cold because you're dead.'
That part of Baz's brain, the part waiting for his tragic doom, hasn't gone completely quiet yet. But it’s easier to ignore now. Especially right now as Simon's palm relaxes against his waist. Especially as Simon's thumb starts tracing little circles just above his hip. He hums against Simon's skin.
Suddenly a pair feet walk by in the hall and Simon jerks back.
Which is the opposite of what should be happening. Baz leans down to find his lips. Simon pushes him back against the bookcase, but doesn't bring his mouth to join this time.
"What are we doing? This is a library."
"I thought you were getting off on your nerd boyfriend getting deflowered among the shelves."
Simon blushes. All the way up to his ears. "That's not the point. This is your family's library. Anyone could walk in."
"Could. But probably won't." He steps forward into Simon's space.
"Baz. We're not" He glances around quickly, then mouths, 'having sex,' without any sound coming out, "In your family's creepy house."
"What the hell Snow? God, no. Of course not."
"I'm just saying." Simon says, "The more you do literally anything you’re doing right now, the less important where and when seem to be."
Baz covers his face with his hand. He plants one palm on Simon's chest and gently pushes him back. Simon stumbles a bit.
"Okay. Good point." He runs his tongue across his teeth. His fangs haven't dropped yet, thank Crowley, but his gums feel swollen. He remembers he hasn't fed since the morning before.
"Plus, you look like you could, uh, use a drink." Simon shrugs. Baz rolls his eyes at him but smiles at the end of it.
Baz tells Simon to wait in his room while he goes out to the garden to "catch a pigeon or something". But that's not happening. The Oxford house is much less creepy than the old manor. Still creepy though. At the first ominous creak Simon is off the bed and out the door.
He trots out the back door, pulling on his jacket and trying to look like he didn't just sprint down a flight of stairs. Just out for a casual night stroll in the garden. Hoping to find an attractive creature of the night looking desperate for make-outs.
Simon spots Baz just before Baz spots him. He squares off.
"Simon." Baz says. He lisps it, just a little. Around his teeth. "Please go back."
It's a regular argument with them. Regular and real enough that both of them tend to try to avoid the issue until they absolutely have to face it. Baz still doesn't like showing his overtly vampiric tendencies in public.
Okay, in public is one thing. But he still won't let himself go in front of Simon.
"Seriously," Simon tells him firmly, "I'm fine out here."
"You're not fine out here," Simon fixes him with a stare and Baz drops the rabbit he's holding, "I mean it. You don't have magic right now. You can't defend yourself."
Simon's wings twitch. The tail swishes behind him, challenging Baz. There's a moment of very very loud silence.
"Whatever." Baz kicks at the dead rabbit on the ground, knocking it under a bench, "I was done anyway."
"I can take care of myself," Simon says as Baz strolls by.
"Yeah" Baz says, leading him back towards the house, "You better be able to take care of yourself. We've still got tomorrow to survive."
Tomorrow. With Baz's extended family.
Fuck, he thinks.
They walk back together. Simon walks close to Baz, but his hands are in his pockets. Baz doesn't like touching anything right after drinking. He's never specifically said so but he's always markedly less handsy right after he drains something. Simon lets their shoulders brush every few steps.
They sneak in the back door. One of the maids is in the kitchen. She doesn't turn or acknowledge them in any way but Simon doesn't think they're being as stealthy as they could be. The snickering as they duck past probably gives them away.
When they get back to Baz's room, the vampire instantly heads for the bathroom. Simon hears the shower turn on. A moment later Baz pops his head out, steam billowing behind him.
"Hey. Do you want to hop in or anything?" He asks Simon, who shakes his head no. The door closes again.
A moment later Simon slides of the bed and cracks open the bathroom door.
"My parents would hate you for wasting all the hot water if we took separate showers." A voice comments from within the cloud of steam. Simon shrugs. He's probably right. Or at least Baz's parents aren't going to like him no matter what he does so he might as well go into the shower with Baz.
Once they're out of the shower, having gotten momentarily less clean before rinsing off, Simon changes into his flannel pajamas. It's still cold in April and it's drafty in the house, and his boyfriend doesn't exactly exude heat so the extra warmth from the flannel is welcome. Simon thinks he falls asleep after Baz but he's not sure. He does know that when he finally falls asleep, his head is resting on Baz's shoulder and Baz's hand is holding his hip.
Morning breaks with a rooster crowing, because that's the kind of people the Grimm-Pitchs are. Simon reluctantly wakes up for a moment. The boy next to him groans, reaches across him, and tugs the blinds down, sending the room back into darkness. They sleep for another few hours.
The day finally begins when a piece of toast hits Simon in the nose. He blinks his eyes open to see Baz sitting on the edge of the bed, fully dressed.
"What time is it?" Simon mumbles.
"11:45." Baz flicks another piece of toast at him. Simon groans and pulls the duvet over his head. He feels another crumb hit the blanket.
"You're a child." He grumbles from under the blankets.
"Says the man in the duvet cave. My step-mom's sister is here for lunch. She said she's very excited to meet you."
But under the blankets is so safe and warm, Simon thinks. "Thanks. Not giving me much incentive to leave my duvet cave, honestly."
The blankets pull back, but only a little bit. Suddenly there's a mess of black hair sliding up next to Simon. Baz blinks at him and wrinkles his nose.
"You can't just convince me to go to the slaughter by looking cute in my general direction." Simon tells him.
Baz frowns, "I hate admitting it but you’re right. Blanket fort is far superior to mingling with my family."
They lay there, under the blankets, just looking at each other. They lay there until there's a soft knock at the door.
"We'll be down in a moment mother." Baz shouts. From under the blankets his voice is muffled. He sounds like he's definitely underneath the covers. Simon feels his face heat up.
Simon turns over and rolls out of the bed. The floor is ice cold as he pads towards the bathroom with his clothes to change.
Once he's dressed Baz takes his hand and the two of them descend the stairs together. Baz's step-mother’s birthday lunch is out in the garden. Simon idly wonders if someone has gone out this morning and gotten rid of the rabbit from last night.
The affair is small, at least. There’s Baz’s father, step-mom, and siblings. There’s also a woman who clearly must be Daphne’s sister. A few kids who are not related to Baz are running around the yard. There’s an older man standing by an elaborate fruit tray, but Simon can’t gather who he’s related to. Hell. Baz’s Aunt Fiona is by the bar, pouring lemonade.
"Are you hiding?" Baz asks Simon, who is now standing behind him.
"Your Aunt Fiona's here."
"Oh come on. She hasn't actively tried to kill you in like three years." Simon just ducks when she glances over at them and waves.
"You're an adult." Baz tells him out of the side of his mouth.
"You're an adult. Shit she's coming over here."
"Of course she's coming over here. She adores me."
When Baz's aunt finally reaches them she smacks Baz hard in the arm and says, "What the fuck Basil?"
Simon snickers and Fiona continues, "Your father calls me up. Tells me you're coming home for the weekend and asks would I like to join the family for a Saturday Afternoon garden party? Neglects to tell me the party is for your stepmother. Now I look like an idiot because I didn't bring her anything. I brought vodka lemonade because I thought it was a party for you. I didn't even wish her a happy birthday when I arrived because I didn't know."
Baz rolls his eyes, "Fiona, I'm not responsible for your social calendars. You're an adult."
"You're an adult."
Simon loses it. He bends forward, bursting with laughter and clutching his sides. Baz is tugging at his shoulder, trying to get him to stand up, but he's laughing too. He's distantly aware of his own wings trembling violently. Simon rights himself, but only a little. As soon as he looks at Baz again he can't hold it in. He leans into Baz. He's laughing himself to tears in the crook of Baz's shoulder.
“Get it together, you fools,” Fiona grits between her teeth, “Everyone is looking over here and you’re practically rolling on the floor.”
Simon abruptly swallows his laughter. He looks around. Well, not everyone is looking at them. A handful of the kids haven’t paid any attention. But everyone over the age of 10 is looking directly at them. Simon catches Baz’s step-mother’s eye. She’s smiling warily at them. “Happy Birthday, Mrs. Grimm-Pitch” He shouts across the lawn. Perhaps a touch too loud. She looks startled. Everything about this is the most embarrassing thing.
“Why are you yelling? Come on, we should say hello eventually.” Baz says as he interlaces their fingers together. They cross the lawn and when they reach Baz's stepmother he kisses her on the cheek. Not even really kisses, just sort of brushes his cheek against her's in some weird attempt at feigning familiarity. Or non-vampirism.
"Happy Birthday, mother." Baz says. And he looks tense. Simon realizes he hasn't been back to Watford since he graduated. He hasn't been to the catacombs to visit his mother in years. He suddenly feels profoundly sad. Sad in a way that feels almost selfish to feel this sad at someone's fortieth birthday party.
Simon steels himself and plasters on a smile, "Happy Birthday." He's not sure if he should also do the cheek brushing thing. Maybe a handshake? Is a handshake too formal? Before Simon has time to act on the instinct to grab his boyfriend’s step-mom's hand in the most awkward way possible she stands and embraces him.
"Thank you Simon," She says. Simon's not sure what happening. One arm is pinned by his side, but the other one is free to return the hug. "Err. No problem."
When she releases him Simon steps, bumping into Baz.
The rest of the party drifts by without any incidents. [Awkward hug between Daphne and Simon notwithstanding.] [She smelled like she had been thoroughly enjoying Fiona's pseudo gift of lemonade. Baz understands.]
Baz and Simon spend the rest of the afternoon spread out on two lounge chairs. They had started sharing with one together, but one look from his father sent Simon scrambling away from Baz to find another chair and drag it over. Baz sat up only for a moment to tug Simon's chair closer, until they were practically overlapping. Until they were close enough to touch without sitting up or reaching far.
Fiona comes over and sits on the edge of Simon's chair after a while. Simon pulls his legs up close to his chest, as far from her as possible. He looks nervous until Fiona starts telling unfortunate stories from Baz's childhood. Simon laughs and stretches his legs out when Fiona does a horrible impression of a fourth year Baz ranting about Simon. She lisps, it's offensive. Baz tries to kick her in the shin without moving from lying down. He doesn't put much effort into it though, and ends up just sort of swinging his leg at her.
"What are you doing?" His aunt asks when she notices his faint kick in her direction.
"You're being rude. I'm trying to kick you."
"It's not working out very well," She tells him. He shushes her in response.
"He's so lazy." Simon tells Fiona.
"Says the boy who made me get up three times for more roast because he couldn't be bothered to."
The sun slowly drifts behind the trees and the shadows get longer. Baz feels his skin cool. He lets his blinks get slower and heavier. Simon begins running a finger up and down the length of his forearm.
The next time Baz opens his eyes it’s much darker. He sits up. The back garden is illuminated with strings of fairy lights. It's empty, everyone else must have gone inside. Simon is still there. He's got another plate of potatoes on his lap.
"I love you." Baz tells him
Simon looks vaguely horrified and for a brief moment Baz worries that maybe the past two years of intense domesticity has all been just a fantasy. "Oh my god don't let your parents hear you say that," He finally says, "They might try to sacrifice me."
"They won't try to sacrifice you. You're not a virgin. It won't be nearly as effective."
A cube of green pepper hits Baz in the chest, "They don't know that."
"I bragged to anyone I could after that first time. Frankly there's no guarantee that they don't know." Baz says, just to hear Simon stutter and fumble.
"I'll leave without you." Simon says after twenty seconds of his mouth gaping open like a fish.
"I drove." Baz counters. Simon pins him with a look and his wings open slightly. Baz lets out one sharp laugh, "You're going to fly home? I'd like to see you try."
"Yeah you would." Simon drops his plate on the seat of the chair and leans over to kiss Baz on the nose. Baz holds his collar and tugs, upsetting Simon's balance. Then he's got a lap full of Chosen One. Baz's preferred state, if he's honest.
They kiss for a good while longer. Long enough that the motion sensor lights on the patio click off. They kiss until until Baz is hungry. He excuses himself for a moment and when he returns to the backyard he and Simon head back inside.
Baz falls asleep tracing the freckles on Simon's stomach with his fingers.
They wake up early and join Baz's family for breakfast before driving back to London. The drive is uneventful. When Baz pulls up and parks in front of Simon and Penny's apartment, Simon grabs his duffel and hops out. He leans in through Baz's open window to kiss him once and ask "Are you headed home now?"
"Yeah," He says, turns off the car, and follows Simon upstairs.