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I Want To Fly Away

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I Want To Fly Away

Simon

I push myself up, the sand sinking under my hands. My head spins as I try to sit so I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

Alright then.

I’m on my knees. There are vampires everywhere.

But there’s only one voice I recognize.

“Simon!”

It’s Baz.

Our eyes meet. He’s covered in blood. Drenched in it. He reaches his hand out in my direction, as if he could touch me across the span of sand that divides us. “Stay down,” he bellows.

I don’t. He’s fighting twenty-six vampires and I’m not about to let him do it on his own.

I’m probably going to get shot again.

I get to my feet and try to spread my wings but the left one won’t straighten out and it hurts like hell when I try. It’s still bleeding.

They’re part of me. I mean, I know that, but this might be the first time it really feels like that. Like they’re really mine. That the blood pouring out of them is mine. That the pain is because they’re as much me as my arm or leg.

I’m off balance. I try to bring my wings in tight, to keep from stumbling, but that hurts even more. I do it anyway.

I stumble across the sand in Baz’s direction.

He’s as brilliant at fighting as he is at anything. Strong. Graceful. Fucking ruthless.

Then one of the Land Rovers catches fire and all I can think about is the fact that Penny and Agatha were in that car.

I don’t think about my wings anymore.

All I think about is how many vampires I can take down before they start shooting me again.

Baz

Penelope Bunce has once again managed the impossible. She’s walking away from the blazing inferno of the Land Rover, hand in hand with Agatha.

It’s the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen.

“Baz!” She’s shouting at me. “There’s magic!”

I whip my head in the direction she’s pointing and squint.

There are people. People in the midst of this god-forsaken desert. Normals.

Normals mean magic.

I can feel a lick of heat as I flick my wrist. Light a match. I can hear my mother’s voice. All you need is a spark.

I’ve got more than a spark.

The vampires are a roiling mass, a tumult of shouting and bodies and blood.

One of the khaki clad Next Blood acolytes is headed my way.

I hit him with an “off with his head” and I can’t help but laugh as the magic courses through me again.

Bunce shouts out a spell and the guns transform into … well I’m not quite sure what they transform into. Farm implements?

I can see Simon, looking like the angel of death, dripping blood, a great bloody scythe in his hands and vampires circling him warily.

His wing’s still bent.

Penelope and Agatha apparently have mass vampire destruction well in hand. Good to know.

I turn away from them, looking for my next victim. There’s smoke and flames and far fewer vampires than there were a few moments ago.

Good.

Then Lamb materializes right in front of me, his hair a mess, suit torn and stained. I take satisfaction in the fact that his imperturbable façade has cracked; his expression is furious and his eyes are wild.

He looks grim and worn and I’m glad that I’ve had some part in that.

He grabs my arm and I shake him off. He grabs again, tries one more time to charm me with his voice, with the mirage of a life lived in the open—without subterfuge and shame.

With the confident assertion that I am just like him.

“I’m not like you. I’ll never be like you.” The words come spitting out of my mouth.

“You’re a vampire, Baz.”

“I’m what I was born to be, Lamb. I am a Mage.”

“You’re a foolish child.”

I shake him off again and he runs this time. Runs over the dune and into the desert, back to his illusions of vampiric normalcy, to the depraved and debauched kingdom he’s created.

It’s almost over. There are a few of the Next Blood vampires still circling around, caught between Simon’s bloodstained scythe and the flames that surround Agatha and Penny.

There’s one headed my way, already alight.

I flick my wrist and cast. “Fuck off and die.

He keeps coming.

I hold my wand out, straight and steady, and I cast again but I don’t feel the warmth rush through my hand.

This is how it ends then. Here, halfway across the world in an American desert. I always thought it would end in flames.

I’m going to end in flames. Surrounded by the ashy remains of a dozen other vampires. I never expected that.

Just like my mother, I suppose. It makes a macabre kind of sense, a coming full circle.

The vampire is almost on me. There’s no time to run. There’s no time to cast. There’s no magic coursing through me.

I can see the flames lick up his arms, spread to his legs. He might burst into ash before he gets to me but I don’t think I’ll be that lucky.

I’d have liked to have one more moment with Simon.

 

Simon

It’s more a melee than any kind of organized battle. The vampires are keeping their distance from me, too caught up in the fact that Agatha and Penny keep shooting fireballs from their hands and turning them into smoking piles of ash.

I know fire kills vampires but I wish they’d try something else. Something, well, something less fiery.

Baz is flammable.

Baz used to say it would all end in flames.

It would take just one spark. One spark.

One spark for me to lose him forever.

I’d be on him. I’d be slapping the fire out with my bare hands. I can take the heat. I can manage a burn.

Baz used to say it would all end in flames.

Would I be quick enough, could I put it out fast enough to keep him from going up like a Roman candle? I don’t ever want to find out.

Baz used to say it would all end in flames.

It’s why I’m moving right now, stumbling across the space between me and Baz. It’s not that far. But I don’t think I’m going to be fast enough, my progress hampered by the fact that my feet keep sinking into the sand, that my bent wing keeps throwing me off balance, and I can’t go fast enough.

The vampire is going to get to Baz before I can.

Baz used to say it would all end in flames.

I think the fuck not, you vampire arsehole. Not my boyfriend.

Fuck America. Really. Fuck it all, there may be grand vistas and wide skies, open roadways.

But fuck if America doesn’t want to kill Baz.

This country has chewed Baz up and spit him out.

Except for Las Vegas. He could have been a prince in Las Vegas, seated at Lamb’s side, heir to the vampire throne.

I know he’s bulletproof. I know what that means. I don’t want to think about it, not now. Maybe not ever.

It’s one more way that Baz and I don’t match. Can’t match.

Baz used to say it would all end in flames.

He’s bulletproof, but he’s not fireproof and I’ll be good god damned if I let this end in flames.

I extend my wings. There’s a snap and jolt of searing pain as the left one spreads. It catches but I push on through the sting of it, and then I’m up, airborne.

Not today, you fucking parasite.

Not today.

Baz

And then Simon Snow sweeps me out of the way and into the air.

I hold on.

I hold on to dear life.

I hold on to Simon.

Simon

I’m high above it all now. I’d keep going, far away from here, away from all of it, if I even knew where to go.

If I thought my wings could take us there.

Baz is trembling in my arms, and at first, I think it’s because of the blood staining my skin, my shirt, trickling from my wings. But he’s got his face buried in my neck, buried just above that smear of blood on my collarbone, so it can’t be that.

I wonder if it’s because I’m flying, that the reason he’s clinging to me so tightly is that I’ve got him up too high. But Baz cast “float like a butterfly” and stepped off the highest ramparts at Watford, into thin air. So, it can’t be that either.

I hear him murmuring “Simon” over and over again into my neck.

I think about how I need to keep him safe. How I need to know that no one is hurting him. That no one can keep hurting him.

I want him in my arms.

I don’t think I can keep flying. I’m trying to keep my wings going but the left one stutters and we drift down too low. Too close to the flames.

I push through the pain and bring us up again. And my wing catches and I feel us sinking. I’m not ready to go back down there. It’s not safe for Baz. I need to keep Baz safe. I need to keep him away from all of that.

The flames.

The vampires.

Lamb.

So I keep my wings going, keep them beating in the air to keep us afloat.

I wish we could stay up here, where it’s quiet, where it’s just the two of us with no one else around. Where I know he’s safe.

No static in my head. My arms around Baz, holding him close to me. Where I always want him to be.

I can’t do much, but I can keep Baz safe. I can do that. I just need to keep my wings beating, I need to keep us high enough that no one can touch him.

His face is still buried in my neck, his arms gripping me tightly, his legs bumping against mine. I can smell the blood and smoke on him.

I bury my face in his hair.

I can catch the faintest hint of cedar and bergamot as I do and the longing for him makes my heart ache.

I want him still.

I love him so much.

I would stay up here forever if I could.

I could almost believe we match, up here.