This is fucked.
"This is fucked," I say, and I don't bother trying to blink the tears away.
Baz is frowning at me though, in that way that's just to make me feel better. He really wants to smile or laugh, and apparently it's so bad that he has to kiss me to hide it.
It doesn't work. He's grinning against my lips, laughter bubbling up in his chest. And even though I'm crying and feel like proper shit, I can't help but laugh too.
Baz pulls away and holds me by the face.
"You taste like a campfire."
"Sorry," I giggle.
He wipes the tears and sweat on my cheeks, along with other residue. "I should be angry."
He should. If I were Baz, I wouldn't know how to handle the situation. But I can't be bothered with the fact that he's past being angrily concerned. We're both still laughing so this whole shitshow seems more worth it than I thought.
I'm a mess. My hair is still smoking, and I have yet to see myself in the mirror, but whenever I look down, my hands are streaked red, brown, and black. My entire body is tingling. It's a familiar feeling but still so fucking weird.
"You weren't supposed to be here."
Baz lifts an eyebrow. "Crowley, Snow, what would you do if I wasn't? You look ridiculous."
"I know. At least I'm not dead."
"I don't think you could die if you tried you absolute nightmare."
He's moving to kiss me again but I put my hand on his stomach. "Are you okay?"
Baz shakes his head too nonchalantly for me to dismiss it.
"Are either of us okay? You're scorched to high hell smelling like smoke and magic and your hair—"
"Just pretend I went off."
He gapes and I start to laugh again. Baz does too, and it's good, everything feels good. I fucked up and he's not supposed to be here, nobody is, and I think everything is going to have to go down tonight. And I'm overwhelmed with something but I'm not exactly sure how to find out what it is.
Baz can't look away from me. There must be something in the air. Something in the night. His hands go down to my shoulders, then he's squeezing.
"Don't ever do this again."
I shrug. "I don't think I will ever need to."
He looks beyond relieved. "I'm running you a bath and coating you in spells. Then you're going to tell me what the fuck you were doing in a dragon's lair."
The result of visiting that dragon's lair is heavy in my back pocket.
Baz drags me to the bathroom and only lets go to turn on the water. I don't think I'll have to do much explaining once the moment arises tonight. It wasn't supposed to be tonight. I've been planning this for months and Baz suddenly being at the flat is sadly something I never considered. I also never considered my whole dragon visit going the way it did.
The dragon in America had called me a kitten. She thought I was one of them, she was stock sure of it. So I thought, logically, if that dragon thought I was a kitten, surely every other dragon would see me in the same light. I've got leathery wings and a tail. Maybe not a dragons tail, but a tail.
After finally finding the lair, I thought luck was on my side since the dragon having her own kittens would make things much easier. I was positive I could just sneak in alongside them, blending in amongst the litter. And dragons are known to take in other orphaned kittens if the chance arises.
So I went in, cautious, but sure I wasn't going to run into any problems…
I'm just glad I got out alive. Shaken a bit, wings a tad singed, but alive nonetheless.
Penelope is away with her family for the holiday. It's a week before Christmas and Baz and I are supposed to be heading out to his family the day before Christmas Eve since I spent it with Penny last year. So yeah, no one was supposed to be here. Baz had said he was going to finish his project for university that was due after winter break is over, and I didn't question it. He stayed at his own flat to do it.
He still hasn't told me why he's here, and I'm too dead-man-walking to care. My plans called for the end of the year. I wanted to go into 2020 as a different man. I wanted Baz to go into 2020 as a different man.
But right now, I can't stop grinning, and Baz is having a really hard time leaving me alone. And for fucks sake, I could have died today.
The bath is warm, almost cool, and it's soothing against my skin. Baz also spelled the water, so it smells like lavender, bergamot, and lemon. The bubbles and the water itself are also orange. I wasn't paying much attention to what spell Baz casted on it.
Whatever cuts and scrapes from earlier start to wash away as Baz kneels at the side of the tub and drags a flannel over my face.
"What business did you have with a dragon?"
"Remember America?" I ask.
Baz dips it into the water. "Yes, the miles and miles of shitty sandwiches and suffering."
"And a mountain of dragons."
"She had called me a kitten."
He reaches to wash at my neck. "And an abomination."
"I thought, you know, maybe since she thought I was a dragon, any other dragon would think the same."
"She was clearly senile or something, Simon. All dragons aren't idiots."
"That explains why my plan didn't work."
"I'll tell you," I say, "After you wash my hair."
"How about you tell me or I don't."
I can't help the whine. "Baaaasilton."
"Don't Basilton me." And I think he's being serious now. Whatever atmosphere we entered when I got home is settling down like a blanket and Baz is starting to seem more on edge. I don't want him to be, because I love him and he looks prettier when he's not stressing over me.
"We'll do it at the same time."
I wait for him to ask for details but he doesn't. He drops the flannel and reaches for his shampoo (I use it sometimes). It's being squeezed onto my head before I know what I'm supposed to be doing.
My heart is simultaneously protesting and anticipating what I'm about to do next.
Once Baz's fingers go into my hair he starts massaging the shampoo in while giving me a look. A look that's unimpressed and unamused and he's doing the eyebrow thing again. It's so him that I lean up to kiss him. He very easily allows me to do it, so easily that his hands pause on my head and he doesn't notice me digging into the pockets of my trousers on the floor.
It's not now or never, but fuck, does it feel like it.
I clench it tight in my fist. I had a speech for this. I had a speech but my mind is blanking. And maybe when I stop kissing him and it'll come to me, but I do, and it doesn't, and Baz's grey eyes flick down to my fist in confusion.
"I— it's just—"
Back to me. "Simon. What did you do?"
I shake my head. "Not— I didn't do anything bad— I just—"
I don't want him to figure it out before I say it, because he's smart as all fuck and it's completely within his capability. But my words are struggling to get out and the doubt is struggling to get in.
'What if's are starting to scream at me from every direction. Baz has gone silent, his brows so furrowed with concern that it's almost funny. Almost.
Maybe I don't have to use my words. But isn't that what this whole proposal thing is all about? I'm not even on a knee. Baz is. This is—
"You look like you're about to shit yourself," Baz whispers, and it's so serious that it is funny and I'm laughing before I can stop myself.
And the words, they just spill out.
"Because I want you to marry me."
Baz looks as if he's about to question reality, but I open up my fist between us to reveal the ruby I swiped from the dragon's lair.
He stares at it in silence and I should probably let him have it, but it would probably destroy me.
"I wasn't supposed to do this now," I'm saying, "but I'm bad at keeping secrets. And you— I don't know, you mean the world to me right now. Always have, Baz," he looks pained, "Always will. It's just— I couldn't stop thinking about you, about us, as something more than we already are. I wasn't sure if you were even going to care, but it's been the only thing on my mind all year because— I love you. I love you and I want you to be my— I want us to be married. Can we do that, Baz? Will you—"
Baz nods and clasps the ruby in my hand, around my hand, and leans over where I can't see his face.
"Yes," he whispers, but it's so breathless that I almost didn't hear it. "I know this is going to sound dreadfully fucking stupid of me but I think I'm going to faint."
"Simon, I'm going to faint."
I chuckle, nervously. "Don't."
"I am," Baz giggles. And he does.