“I would have helped,” I say. “It wouldn’t have taken six weeks with me helping.”
Baz is scornful. “You never would have helped my family.”
“I would! It was driving me mental not knowing where you were. I thought you were going to jump out from every corner.”
It will never work. It will never bloody work. No matter what I do it just won’t work.
Crowley. I am never going to find Basil.
I’ve used every spell, I’ve juiced them, twisted them, and magnified them in every language, in every permutation. I’ve used spells from centuries ago, brand new ones that are full of the current zeitgeist, mottos, and battle cries. I’ve taken every bloody bit of magic in the Pitch family and channeled it all through every turn of phrase I can think of and it doesn’t work.
I can’t let myself think about why not – about how maybe I can’t find Basil because he isn’t – no. I simply cannot let that happen. Not to Basil. Not to Natasha’s son.
I endlessly prowl the streets of London. I search and cast and spell as far as I can, draining my magic time after time. I try it over maps, just in case he isn’t in London – or England at all – anymore, Crowley forbid. It’s been a week since he was taken. Then two. There’s nothing of Basil besides the ransom request and, besides the fact Pitches never pay ransoms, I don’t entirely trust paying it would do any good. (There’s a reason we don’t pay, they chopped up one of the great-great-great-great aunties a few generations back, even after they had the gold. A Pitch learns their lesson.)
The spells turn up nothing, threatening and even lightly attempting to bribe people turns up nothing. Questioning people who were at the club, schmoozing every member of the Families who might have even the slightest idea, none of it turns up anything. I am this close to trying to accost one of the Mage’s foot soldiers and demand info but I’ll be damned if I show that asshole the slightest bit of weakness.
It’s a month now. I would never admit it out loud, but I’m getting desperate. Watford is back in session. Basil should be there, getting ready to graduate at the top of the class, spying on that traitorous Mage, tormenting his useless fucking roommate.
His useless fucking roommate.
Simon bloody Snow. The most powerful mage in the world.
I have an idea so stupid it just might work.
I can’t sleep. I can’t stop.
Baz is out there – somewhere – and I have to know what he’s doing. Our room is driving me mad (It’s not even really our room anymore. I thought it’d just become my room, by default, but it’s worse than that. Now it’s like nothing, now it’s like that space where Baz is supposed to be is taunting me.)
I’ll comb every inch of Watford. I’ll find him, I’ll find out what he’s up to and I’ll stop him.
I keep being pulled into the Wavering Woods. Maybe because that’s the last place I saw him – holding onto Agatha, yeah, but still. The Wavering Woods basically vibrate with magic, so I guess that’s part of it too. And, honestly, they’re dark and deep and I can work out some of the … the … feeling burning under my skin by hacking away at them.
So I already have my sword in my hand, out there in the woods, when a woman steps out of the darkness.
I spend a day trying to figure out how I am going to get inside Watford and get to the Mage’s Heir. And then, for the love of Christ, he wanders right out into the woods. All on his own. In the middle of the night. How this idiot has managed to stay alive so long is beyond me.
I hope he’s not on some kind of Chosen One mission.
Though, honestly, I don’t care if he is. Because what he’s going to help me with is much more important.
I think I know her. She’s … I’ve seen her.
She’s dressed like she should be leading a punk rock band. She wearing a tightly fitted black leather jacket, faded jeans, and knee high leather boots. She … she’s …
And then I see the swoop of black hair falling across her forehead and, more than that, the haunted, frantic look she has in her eyes and it clicks into place. I know that look.
This is Baz’s aunt.
“Hello, Chosen One,” I say softly, raising my wand towards him in a slow, deliberate move. He rolls his sword over in his hand restlessly in response. What kind of terrible mage leads with a sword instead of his wand? I think of all the silly, stupid threats he’s about to throw at me. He might even try a spell. I haven’t let myself think about Snow and his mentor being involved with Basil’s kidnapping. They might well be – but it’s Snow’s power that’s simmering in my mind and it’s what I’ve come here for. I’ve got to be prepared for anything – even the possibility this boy knows where Basil is. Not that I think he’ll admit to that. He’ll say something about the Mage, something about righteous justice. Some kind of action movie cliché, I imagine. I’m ready for anything.
“Where – is – Baz?” His voice is ragged, torn from somewhere dark, I can tell. But there’s no magic in. Just, well, something that sounds akin to desperation.
Well, I wasn’t ready for that.
I lower my wand.
What is she here for?
Why is she in the Wavering Woods?
Is Baz here? Is she meeting Baz? Did she know I’d be here? Is this a coincidence? Is this a trap ?
I should never have come out here with Penny.
Of course, if it is a trap at least I’ll finally know where Baz is.
Yeah, definitely should not have come out here without Penny.
“My name is Fiona Pitch,” I say, keeping my voice as level as I can. I watch as Snow holds his sword in front of him, still obviously cautious. Maybe not as stupid as I’d thought then. He’s right to be wary of me.
“I’m Basil’s aunt and you’re … you’re going to help me find him.”
There are so many ways he could react. Lunge at me with that sword like some kind of childish barbarian. Try some spell on me – though I know from Basil and others who’ve seen Snow try to cast that he’s shaky with magic unless he’s blowing up. Which, maybe, he’ll blow up, I suppose that’s possible. But, honestly, I don’t think that will happen. In fact, I think …
He lowers the sword. “Yeah,” Simon Snow says, tilting his chin and meeting my gaze head on.
“Yeah. I will.”
Why did I say that?
This idea is mad . It will never work.
But then I glance behind Snow and see Watford silhouetted against the night sky. Natasha. She should be here: in her school, in the place she loved the best. And since she can’t be I am going to make damn sure her son has every chance to…to survive.
And Simon Snow, incredibly, seems ready to help. I’m not going to turn my back on that.
“Excellent,” I nod once. “We leave now. Put the sword away and follow me.”
And what do you know? He actually does.
She’s got the exact kind of car you’d expect, some kind of vintage boxy sports car and for some bloody reason I’ve hopped right inside it and am driving away from Watford with her. She’s not even talking to me about what’s going on.
When Penny finds out – if I live through this – I am going to be in so much trouble.
We have to make time from Watford if we want to start work in London tonight. It makes sense to me to start there and work outwards. I’m not sure how much difference Snow’s magic is going to make but we might as well start in the most populated area to make the most of the time we have. I realize that we have to get as much done as possible tonight because God forbid the Mage and his secret police wake up tomorrow to find their Chosen One in the wind.
I pull down for my magic and center my desire to find Basil. With all I have, I cast Time is of the essence and then we’re a blur.
We’re flying. Fiona’s Time is of the essence makes the world bend around us. Before I can even open my mouth to dare inquire about a plan, I see London. We can’t be more than 10 minutes from the Eye and I wonder if that’s where we’re headed.
She thinks Baz is in London and she doesn’t know where and she can’t find him on her own, with all her power and all her connections and all her money and she’s so desperate about it, she’s come to get me from Watford for help and –
What if it’s a trap?
What if this was Baz’s plan all along?
Why did I agree to this ?
I know why. It’s because I can’t go on not knowing. It’s because I haven’t been able to sleep, to rest, to stop, without knowing where Baz is. It’s because our room is so silent and so empty and I can’t look any deeper into why that means I feel so empty, I just can’t. What I can do is get some answers. Even if the answers are another scheme. But Fiona – she doesn’t look like she’s in on any scheme. She looks distraught.
As always, I find myself stumbling over the words (there’s just so much I want to know) when I start talking. “I – you’re going to have to – do you know where – you owe me – I need to – can’t you – “
She makes a low frustrated noise that reminds me so much of Baz. “Finish the sentence, boy.”
“What has happened to Baz?” I say, stupidly, the question I can’t get out of my brain.
“If I knew that I wouldn’t have come out looking for you, would I? I think your bloody Mage has taken him somewhere and –“
I cut her off. “The Mage didn’t take Baz.” But I’m not so sure of that, honestly. It’s not that I’d put it past the Mage, not if he got it in his head, it’s that I haven’t been able to figure out a decent reason why he’d do it.
Fiona snorts a little and pulls her car into a tight space in front. She jerks the car into park and turns to stare at me. “Look, I don’t know if your precious Mage has taken Basil and I don’t really care at this point. I’ve spent the past month – “ I choke back a little gasp. A month? Baz has been gone a whole month? “tearing England apart looking for him. I’m going to find him and once I do, there will be plenty of time for vengeance. Pure vengeance for anyone involved in the plot.” She narrows her gaze and I can practically feel the suspicion rolling off her in waves.
“If you think I had something to do with this –“
Now it’s her turn to cut me off. “I wasn’t quite sure, honestly. I didn’t even really have a plan when I showed up at Watford … but then you came stumbling right into my path. You … you were looking for Basilton, weren’t you? That’s why you were alone out in the Wavering Wood, swinging your sword around in the middle of the night, isn’t it?”
I shrug and turn my face away from her.
“Yes. As I thought. Even if your Mage took him, you don’t know where he is. You want to know where he is too much for it to be an act. You … you want him back too, don’t you?”
My voice is barely louder than a whisper and I can’t meet her eyes. “Yeah.”
Oh my. I think Simon Snow might actually care for Basilton.
Crowley. I want Baz back.
“Good,” I say and I think I might even mean it. “Because we’re going to find him. We’re going to use your magic and we’re going to find him.”
I gesture to the empty lot we’ve pulled up beside and swing open my car door. “Come on,” I tell him. “We’ve got work to do.” I grab my bag of supplies out of the back seat.
For the first time in weeks I feel the faintest stir of hope that this might actually work.
I have to tell her about my magic. I have to tell her what it’s like when I go off. But then … she’s directing me to a huge, desolate lot with nothing around. Maybe she knows. Maybe she’s willing to take the risk. And since I’m following her out of the car I think I must be too.
“My magic – “ I shout as I trail behind her, headed towards the center of the lot. “It’s not always stable. Sometimes it’s … I just … it – my magic – explodes sometimes.”
She tosses the bag she’s pulled from her backseat roughly down on the ground. “Oh, I know that, Snow. I’ve seen the chaos you’ve caused.” She smiled at me. “That’s what I’m looking for.”
“But I – I don’t want to hurt – it – it could blow – I don’t know how – I don’t even have a spell to – to,” I am stumbling over my words.
She sighs. “Crowley, no wonder you’re bad at spells, you can’t get a whole sentence out.” She digs through the bag and pulls out a giant map. She quickly stakes it down to the ground and then stares up at me. “You’re going to cast a finding spell, Snow. You’re going to use all that ‘most powerful Mage prophecy magicks’ inside you and you’re going to cast. And then I,” she pulls out her wand and points it at me, “I am going to try to manage it. I don’t suppose your Mage ever tries that because he likes the fucking destruction but I actually want to use your power, not just detonate you.”
Manage it ? Was that a real thing? Could someone – a powerful Mage like Fiona – actually manage my magic? Would that work? If it would why hadn’t the Mage ever … if that was an option, if I didn’t have to explode and hurt people and burn magic … what could that be like?
“But what if I –“
“If you explode with it, I’ll deal.”
And for some reason, I actually believe her.
“Yeah. OK then. Let’s try it.”
She waves her hand. “Stand ON the map, it’s enchanted too and it should help with the location and maybe even the containment.”
I step forward, onto the map. “One thing, though. If – if it works – if it gives us a place and I don’t blow up half this block … you have to … I want to go with you to find him.”
I plan to say no, he can’t come along, I can’t do what needs to be done with his smug goodness following me around. But his power … his power could be a real asset, he has such deep wells of magic. And, more than that, I do believe the Chosen One wants to inflict some damage.
“Of course,” I say, as if that was never up for debate.
I meet his eyes. “Cast Little Bo Peep,” I tell him. “It’s not the most precise finding spell but I’ve put a twist on the map to magnify it and since it’s so well-known it’s very powerful.”
He nods. He doesn’t even use an object to cast. He closes his eyes and booms “Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them!” His voice is suddenly clear, steady, and loud – especially on the last four words.
And it glows – a corona of light magic rises up above him – I have never seen anything like it, the sheer power of it. Snow has actually levitated off the ground, he’s floating seemingly through the sheer force of his magic. For a moment, it is so beautiful and so pure. For a moment, I am stunned.
But I can tell the magic is about to overwhelm us. I have to counter-cast and try to balance the wave of magic radiating out. I think of Basil, of how much I need to find him.
And then I do a thing I never imagined. I point my wand and all my magic at the Mage’s Heir and instead of trying to end him, I try to save him.
“Slow and steady wins the race!”
“Easy does it!”
“Moderation in all things!”
Merlin and Morgana, it’s working.
The map is burning.
The world is burning.
I am floating, lighter than air, not even here .
I am fire.
I am on fire.
But I keep pushing. I push my magic out, all the way out into the universe, as far as I can.
And I think – I think –
Baz. Baz. Baz .
I’m about to go off, I am about to explode, I know it.
Baz. Baz. Baz .
And then I…don’t.
He crumples and falls but…he didn’t level this whole block. He didn’t explode.
I walk cautiously over to him. “Snow?” I’m not even sure he’s still conscious.
Against every odd, he sits up. “Hullo?” His voice wavers. “Did it – am I… do we know? I didn’t – I didn’t go off.” His voice is laced with the same kind of wonder I’m feeling.
“Step off the map,” I say, trying not to hope.
He pulls himself up, a little shaky, but definitely still awake, definitely OK, and definitely moving on his own. And I see it.
The Pitch family crest burned neatly onto Blackfriar’s Bridge.
Aleister Crowley, it worked . It worked exactly as I’d been trying to get it to work. It took him less than five minutes.
I’ll never admit this to anyone, not ever, but for a second I am actually too stunned to move.
Simon Snow doesn’t have this problem. He gives himself a single good shake and then starts running to my car. “Come on then!” He yells at me.
And as I watch his back I realize two things with absolute clarity – two things I may be the only person in the entire magical world to know.
One is something I’ve always suspected but the implications are still terrifying. The Mage has no interest in managing or directing Simon Snow’s power. He wants him to explode and he doesn’t care what it does to Snow.
The other is something I could have never believed but I now can’t deny.
Simon Snow cares deeply about Basilton.
There’s so many thoughts running through my head.
Fiona Pitch just managed my magic.
I didn’t go off. I used my magic and – and – I didn’t go off. My magic was useful and strong and like so many other mage’s and – and –
Why hasn’t the Mage ever done that or tried to teach me how do it ?
Fiona Pitch just managed my magic.
And we found Baz. We’re going to Baz.
“I’ll cast the finding spell now,” I say as we exit the car in a mad dash. We’ve parked at the Blackfriar’s Station, the crest appeared closer to the north end of the bridge. “We should be close enough to not risk your mag-“
By the time I look over he’s already got his sword in his hand and a grim look on his face.
“Right then. You let me lead with the magic, Snow. Do you hear me? We can’t have you exploding – we need to get him and we need to find out who did this. You let me lead with magic!”
“I’ve got my sword,” he says, his voice serious, “you can do the magic.”
I cast “where oh where has my little dog gone?” and follow the pull to Basil.
It takes us almost a mile but then I see an encampment. Jesus Christ, Basilton has gotten himself kidnapped by numpties .
“It’s fucking numpties!” She’s come to a halt in front of what looks like a dark cave entrance. “Fucking numpties!” She says again and I swear, I think she’s laughing. “That’s a numpty den!”
“So …” I begin.
“So, we’re going to go in and kill some numpties. And look for Basil. DON’T explode, Snow. No matter what we find – don’t. explode. I won’t have time to manage you. Just swing away.”
She’s afraid of what we’ll find too. Merlin, I hope I can keep my magic under control.
We move forward, Fiona with her wand out, shouting “ Paper covers rock!” over and over as we breach the numpty’s den.
It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the dark but I can hear Fiona’s spells landing as numpties crumble. I swing my sword as hard as I can, trying to send just a little bit of magic through it. (It shouldn’t work that way – not without saying words – but I’m still a livewire from the spell earlier, my magic is right on the surface and I can make it flow in ways magic shouldn’t flow and if there was ever a time – ever – that time is now.) It works, numpties seem to melt under my sword. We’re surrounded by rubble and the gravelly, groaning sound of numpties fleeing and stumbling in confusion.
And then out of the corner of my eye, I spot it. A coffin. A bloody coffin . I forget about fighting numpties. I forget about everything but getting to that coffin. I drop the sword and run.
He’s going to get smashed to bits. I am going to have to save the Mage’s Heir again because he’s just dropped his sword and left himself open to be smashed by a stupid numpty and I can’t let it happen because he’s going to – to – a coffin .
“Between a rock and a hard place!” I scream, aiming my spell at the numpty going for Snow. The numpty flies into pieces and Simon Snow couldn’t care less that he almost got smashed, that pieces of numpty are flinging past his head, because he won’t stop running for the coffin.
I rip off the lid of the coffin. I don’t even care that the coffin is basically implying everything I have been saying about Baz for YEARS is actually true (I told everyone!) I don’t care about anything really other than – than –
“Baz!” I shout.
Please be alive.
He looks like shit. His leg has obviously been injured and is lying at an odd angle. He looks wan and pinched around the edges. Baz is always pale but now he looks entirely blanched dry. I can see the bottom of the coffin is littered with giant drink cups and twisted straws. I’m guessing he hasn’t had food.
Please be alive.
Slowly, so slowly, he blinks open his eyes.
His voice is a tremulous whisper. “Simon?”
I dunno what it is but hearing him say my name that way – my actual name - I – I dunno what happens but before I can think twice, I reach into that disgusting coffin and pull him out of it and into my arms.
I’m holding on to Baz with all I have, clinging to him, really, my face pressed into his chest even though he’s filthy, Crowley I think that’s crusted blood on his shirt, and he smells bad, and I don’t care. I don’t care.
I’ve got him.
And I’m not sure I’m going to be able to let him go.
Well, I’ve done it. I thought I’d managed to keep myself together, that I’d managed to keep myself from losing the plot entirely but obviously I’ve gone around the bend because here I am, imagining that I am looking up into Simon Snow’s stupid blue eyes and he’s staring at me with unabashed concern and –
Aleister Crowley, now he’s holding me. Simon Snow has rescued me and is holding onto me like I am a lifeline and … well, yes. I’ve finally lost it because this – this can’t possibly be real.
Oh for Christ’s sake.
Simon Snow is cradling Basil – cradling him – and Basil has a disbelieving and almost transcendent look of contentment on his face.
This is a thousand bloody times worse than when Natasha fell in love with a Grimm.
I heard Fiona charging towards us but she’s mad if she thinks I’m letting Baz go. In fact, I have a plan.
“Let him go, Snow!” she shouts.
“No! Can’t you see? He needs help! I - I can - I can - we can - if you -” use your words Simon “Manage it. Manage my magic. I’ll cast a get well soon and - do you have enough left to manage it again?”
I see her considering. I know she’s not just considering how much magic she has but if she want to let me try to spell Baz. She doesn’t want to, I know it. But she can also see how wrecked Baz is and she saw what my magic could do.
She nods once and points her wand at me.
“Baz,” I tilt my head up, almost whispering in his ear. “Baz, I’m going to do a healing spell on you but it’s gonna be alright, Fiona is going to help. Just - just let it work, OK?”
Before he can muster up what I am sure will be a classic Baz response of calling me an idiot who isn’t worth of my magic, I put a hand on his chest and start to cast.
Snow was whispering sweet nothings in my ear, Crowely, I’ve died here in this numpty den and am having the wildest post-death fantasy. Because there is just no way Simon Snow is here, with his hand on my chest, telling me he’s going to heal me and -
“ Get Well Soon! ” he booms and I feel - I feel something I have never felt before. It’s not a healing spell, it’s more than that. Snow is - he’s putting his magic inside of me.
I center my magic and get ready to stabilize Snow when I realize it’s not happening. The sonic boom of Snow’s uncontrolled magic that I had managed to contain with the map and my counterspells just isn’t coming. Snow’s magic doesn’t appear to be building or radiating off him at all, actually. If I didn’t know any better, it would seem like he’s -
No. It can’t be.
I pour it into Baz, I let my magic go.
Just like when I was floating above the map except now I’m giving it to him instead of just pushing it out in the universe. I’m not sure if it will work, but somehow, the minute I put my hand on his chest, I knew I could do it. I knew it would work.
And it does. Baz absorbs my magic and I let it flow into him - the feeling is almost beyond words, like a fire racing up my spine like I’m floating again but far, far farther than I ever have.
He stirs, reaching and wrapping his arms around my neck, pulling me closer.
I go. I just keep going.
The throbbing pain from my leg recedes, the gnawing in my stomach quiets from a screaming roar to a dull thrum. I don’t feel like every time I take a breath my ribs are going to crack. Snow’s magic is pouring into me like a river and it feels so bloody good.
I didn’t even know you could do this. I don’t think you can, actually, this isn’t supposed to happen.
But it’s Simon bloody Snow, since when has “supposed” to ever applied to him?
I let out a little involuntary sigh. I can’t help it, the magic, the healing, just feels too good. I’ve been shut up in that coffin for who knows how long (I lost track of time so quickly) I wasn’t sure when I would ever get out and now, now it’s all being washed away while I’m in Simon Snow’s arms . I loop my arms around his neck and he lets me, he lets me. I let it wash through me, I let go.
I am afraid I am going to have to spell these two away from each other.
How was I so blind to his feelings that I never noticed that Basil’s fascination with Snow was rooted in something other than hatred? How did I let him so easily convince me that the persistent focus on all things related to Simon Snow was only antagonism? But how could I have ever imagined Snow mutual obsession was rooted in the same thing? There’s just no way. This just can’t happen.
Yet there they are, practically nuzzling, Snow’s magic cracker-jacking between them, healing Basil faster than any set of spells anyone else could ever do.
“That’s enough,” I say, making my tone stern. “Snow, that’s enough. Basil, we have to go now.”
Snow slowly, ever so slowly, pulls his hand from Basil chest and they both give a soft exhale.
“Basil, how are you? Stand up if you can.”
Of course for Basil to stand up, they’ll have to let go of each other and I’m not even certain either one of them wants to. Snow lets go of Basil’s waist and sits back but he doesn’t take his eyes off him.
Basil rises in one smooth, strong movement. “Aunt Fiona, thank you. I believe I’m fine. But I am going to need some food.”
I grin. It’s so damned good to hear his voice. I am carrying his wand, as I have every night since I first went out looking for him. I hold it out to him. He grins back.
“Let’s go get you some food, then.”
He casts a quick “Clean as a whistle ” on himself. I note that he barely has any magic in the words, but the spell is flawless, leaving him looking like he just walked out of the club, not spent a month in a coffin in a numpty cave. He doesn’t seem worn out at all - neither his magic or his general health. I don’t know what Snow did but my God did it work.
Snow. Ah, yes. He’s still sitting on the floor, like a lump, surrounded by piles of numpty rubble we’d created and even the lid of the fucking coffin he’d ripped off with his bare hands. He looks dazed, for certain, but no worse the wear for whatever has just occurred between he and Basil.
I suppose, actually, he’s wondering the same thing I am.
I have no idea what’s going to happen now.
I’m hungry, there’s no doubt. But I’m not starving, I don’t consciously feel like I haven’t eaten in several weeks. It’s the buoy of the magic Snow gave me, I know, I can still feel it cresting through me.
Simon Snow gave me magic . He pushed it out and into me and, Morgana, that is not possible . That cannot be. But it was. Simon Snow ripped the lid off a coffin and slayed numpties and, in a situation I’ll surely have to hear all about later, came to cooperate and collaborate with my Aunt Fiona all to get to me. Then he looked at me and held me.
Simon Snow, the person I was sure I would someday end up locked in brutal, mortal combat with. Simon Snow, who I am hopelessly in love with.
I guess that’s what it comes down to.
I could pretend this all means nothing.
But after weeks locked away in a coffin not sure if I was going to get out, I find I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to pretend anymore.
So I look down at Snow, still sitting there, unsure. “Come along, Snow. I know you’re always starving.”
And then I do the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life.
I hold my hand out to him.
And he takes it.
I’m holding Baz’s hand and it’s electric.
And not because of magic.
Because I’m holding. Baz’s. hand.
I pull myself up and he sneers at me, the same sneer I have seen a thousand times before, and it makes me feel so grounded, so seen, so known. Baz doesn’t think I’m THE CHOSEN ONE. Baz doesn’t see me as THE SAVIOR OF ALL MAGES. Baz hates thinking of me as THE MAGE’S HEIR.
I’m just Simon Snow to him.
And that’s enough.
I pull myself up, holding his hand, and without letting myself get tangled or twisted or tripped on my words and my fears and all the reasons this is doomed, and I look at Baz, rescued and here and hungry.
And I kiss him.
What an incredibly terrible situation for my first kiss: a filthy, decimated numpty den where I’ve been kept as prisoner, my aunt looking on in horrified disbelief, my stomach roiling after having fed on only blood for weeks. It couldn’t BE less ideal.
Except the person kissing me is Simon Snow.
Which makes this the perfect first kiss.
I remember the day Natasha told me she was going to marry a Grimm . I curled my lip in disgust and laughed right in her face. “They’re farmers , Natasha. Farmers. We’re Pitches. Beneath you doesn’t even begin to do it justice. How can you even -”
She smiled serenely and reached out to clasp our hands together. “Oh Fee. That doesn’t matter. He’s the most brilliant man. He adores me and I am absolutely mad about him. We’re in love. That’s all that matters.” And then she’d laughed her beautiful laugh, the joyful one that rang out like bells.
Merlin, how I have missed that laugh.
Maybe it’s Basilton’s turn to learn to laugh that way.
Still, we really do have to get some food in him before he passes out. We can deal with the next set of crises involving the Mage’s Heir after Baz has had some McDonald’s.
I clear my throat. “Gentlemen, we should go.”
I don’t ever want to stop kissing Baz.
But I guess the rest of the world is waiting. This will be some mess to sort out.
I reluctantly pull away, I think Baz would stand here kissing me until he fainted from hunger. I dunno exactly why but the idea of that sort of … turns me on. I’m disturbed.
“Let’s go,” I breathe against his mouth, and I mean it in so many ways.
I hold his hand as we follow my Fiona out of the numpty den.
“I cannot believe you ran away from Watford in the middle of the night with my crazed aunt,” I tease him. “What in Merlin’s name is Bunce going to say about that, hmmm Snow?”
He ducks his head and then squeezes my hand. “You called me Simon before.”
“I did not,” I answer.
He did .
We step out in London, into the great unknown of what happens next.