The ingredients for a perfect slumber party are as follows:
- Comfy couch with pillows!
- Lots of snacks!
- Anime to binge-watch!
- A friend!
- “Hooty!” says Hooty.
Luz jumps about a foot in the air. “You have to stop doing that!” she says. “I could have lit you on fire!”
“You couldn’t have,” says Hooty – cheerfully, and yet somehow with incredible menace. He watches her with blank, unblinking eyes, and then says: “Also, you have a guest!” His neck retracts with the creaking of wood as he recoils back to his post at the front door. Outside the front door is Amity.
She has a bag slung over one shoulder, and she isn’t wearing her school uniform – she’s dressed casually, like Luz! Because they’re casual and this is a casual sleepover! For friends! Also, she looks nice. Her hair tie matches her eyes.
“Amity!” says Luz, and bounds over to the front door. “Hi! Thanks for coming! Eda and King went to cheat at Bingore, which I guess is just Bingo but with more, uh, gore, but basically that means it’s just you and me!”
(“And it means I’m in charge,” says Hooty. Luz ignores him.)
“Oh,” Amity says. “Oh!” Her cheeks flush. “Just you and me! Here! At this sleepover! Together! Alone! Your friends, I mean, our friends? I mean, Willow and, uh—”
“—yep, they aren’t…they aren’t going to be here?”
“Nope!” Luz says. “BEAUTIFUL WITCH ☆ ENCHANTING AZURA is basically only for super hardcore Azura fans, and no matter how much I try I can’t get Willow or Gus into it. Or King. Or anyone. And plus, I – I don’t know, I thought we could hang out? We haven’t had a lot of one-on-one hang time since Grom. So. What’s better for friendship than staying up super late watching two seasons of anime that were legally barred from being aired in the United States?”
(And, like, secretly – secretly, quietly – Luz hadn’t wanted anyone else there. She’d just wanted Amity.)
(She loves her friends! And she loves Amity! But it’s different.)
(It’s just different.)
“I don’t know what half of those words mean,” Amity says. There’s a smile tucked into the corner of her mouth. “But sure. I knew there were Azura movies, but I didn’t know there was a whole series?” She steps in through the door, and Hooty closes it behind her.
“Well, technically there wasn’t a whole series,” Luz says.
“I’ll just be out here!” Hooty calls through the door. “Don’t mind me!”
Luz does not mind him. “It got recalled before it could – it’s complicated. Just know that I had to go through a lot of stuff to get my hands on a DVD copy of Seasons 1 and 2, and it’s my baby.” She picks up the DVD case and kisses Azura’s beautiful face: mwah. “I haven’t actually watched it with anyone before, mostly because, y’know, like I said, I can’t get anyone to – I guess what I’m saying is that I’m glad my first time is with you! Let me go make the TV work, you have to jolt it with a lightning spell to make it go to DVD mode.”
“Oh,” says Amity. “Excellent.” She puts her bag down before sitting, primly and precisely, in the exact center of the couch. Her hands are on her knees. She looks like a nerd; Luz’s heart swells up with affection, and then swells up with an electric surge as she whacks Eda’s old junky television. It sputters offended static at her before grudgingly whirring to life with the title screen of the BEAUTIFUL WITCH ☆ ENCHANTING AZURA Season 1 DVD.
Luz plops herself down on the couch next to Amity. “Okay,” she says. “So they take a lot of liberties with canon in this, but the animation is gorgeous so I forgive it. Also, you can spread out if you want! I’m pretty sure Eda’s barfed on this couch before, so.”
Weirdly, that doesn’t make Amity seem more interested in spreading out. She tucks her hair behind her ear and carefully places her hands on the couch, one hand on either side of her. She looks questioningly at Luz: do I get an A?
“Sure!” Luz says. “I’ll take it. Work in progress.”
She sprawls. She’s always been bad at sitting “normally” on couches, so she watches the first two episodes while slowly sliding off of the couch. The next two she watches from a perch on top of the couch’s back. After that she slides back down onto the couch cushions and leans against one of the arms – and she loses track of what episode they’re on, because after a while she just starts watching Amity.
Amity doesn’t move a muscle. She just sits there and watches the TV, occasionally gasping when something particularly dramatic happens or beaming when Azura does something awesome (which is most of the time). Her hands are still on the couch. They look like birds. Which is – stupid, they look like hands, it’s just that – something about the way – anyways, her nail polish looks nice. Luz has never seen any chips in it. She’s tried to paint her own nails before and the polish chips in like a second and then she gets frustrated and peels it all off and Amity’s hands are just there, on the couch, very still and pale and somehow perching like birds against the ratty old fabric. Was Luz supposed to hold her hand? They’ve held hands before, but mostly just when Luz was pulling Amity somewhere or when something terrible was happening and it seemed especially vital to have Amity right there and touchable and real. It feels vital now, to touch Amity and know that she’s really here and that Luz is really here and they’re really here together. Is that weird? Maybe it’s weird. The pink light of the BEAUTIFUL WITCH ☆ ENCHANTING AZURA credits sequence lights up Amity’s face like a sunset, and Luz doesn’t know if that’s weird either.
Amity’s gaze flits over to Luz, and then back to the TV, and then suddenly the full force of her attention is back on Luz. “Is there something—” she says, and then “am I—” and then “Look, you can tell me you didn’t cry when this happened in the books, but I know you’d be lying, it was extremely touching.”
Luz doesn’t remember what episode they’re on. She feels like a fake Azura fan. “Will you paint my nails?”
“What?” Luz says, and then her brain catches up with her. “Your nail polish looks really nice pretty much all the time, so I was wondering if maybe you’d do mine? Painting nails is an important part of the human sleepover ritual anyways, soooo…”
“Well,” Amity says. “If it’s an important part of the human sleepover ritual.” Her eyes crinkle up a little bit when she smiles; this is basically the Amity version of an exaggerated wink and finger guns. “Sure. Do you…know the, um, human equivalent? I mean. Not that you’d want to paint my nails or anything, though you can, if you want to, not that you’d want to! I’m saying a lot of words. Oh, look, the next episode’s starting.”
Luz rifles through her notepad and flings a lightning glyph at the TV; it sputters and goes dark. “Are you saying you paint your nails with magic?”
“Yeah?” Amity says. “How else would you – oh, your eyes are all sparkly. Humans…paint their nails…with a paintbrush?”
“Close enough!” Luz says. “Witches don’t! That’s so cool!” She shoves her hand out in front of her. “Will you show me? Please please please please plea—”
“I already said yes,” Amity says. (She’s still smiling!) She reaches out and takes Luz’s hand, holds it careful and still. Her face is lighting up with the beginnings of another blush. “What color do you want? I have the most practice with black, but you don’t really seem like a – not that I’ve thought a lot about what color you’d paint your nails, or what color I could paint your nails, or anything like that.”
(I hope you did, Luz thinks.)
(Her heart lights up with the idea of it, small at first and then expanding and unraveling; her heart always does this, it takes small things and pours love into them until they’re enormous. Like this: the concept of Amity, in her giganto house, frowning and carefully painting her own nails and thinking about being with Luz at the Owl House and maybe even thinking about—
—and the idea of Luz in Amity’s mind as a person she sees in color, a full rainbow of a person, and the way Amity might look at colors and think oh, like Luz and then think about Luz, and the way that Luz sees Amity in her own mind, the million colors of magic and all of the colors on top of that that are just Amity—)
“Surprise me!” she says.
Amity huffs a laugh. “You’re so weird,” she says. “I should paint your nails…uh…orange. Like Hecate’s hair. Shoot. That was a dumb reference. I used to be way better at being mean to people.”
“Well, the joke’s on you,” Luz says loftily. “Azura and Hecate become best friends later, like us! So orange is a great color and I would love to show that I’m a Hecate stan. Fan. You guys probably don’t have stanning here.”
Amity blinks at her a few times – looks away – looks back again. Her hand twitches where it is holding Luz’s hand. Oh no! Luz thinks. I’m going to have to explain stan culture!
But Amity jerks her head down and stares very intently at Luz’s fingernail without asking any questions about stanning at all. She lifts her other hand and traces a teeny-tiny spell circle in the air; with a flick of her index finger the circle slides over the tip of Luz’s thumb and leaves her fingernail a perfect, glossy red. Amity keeps her gaze locked on Luz’s fingernail. She is very deliberately Not Looking At Luz.
Quietly, she says: “We’re best friends?”
“Well, yeah,” Luz says.
“Are you sure?” Another spell circle chimes into life and delicately shivers along Luz’s index finger. Orange. Amity lets out a little self-defeating laugh. “My track record with best friends isn’t, well, the best.”
Luz grabs Amity’s hand – the hand that is holding Luz’s hand in place, so it’s a complicated tangle of hand-holding. Amity startles, and then jerks her head up to look at Luz with her weird magic wonderful golden eyes.
“Amity,” Luz says. “You are so cool, and smart, and kind, and pretty—”
(“Pretty?!” Amity says.)
“—and you have great ideas, and really good taste in witch-based media, and you keep backing me up when I need help even when it’s stupid and could totally get you killed, and obviously I would want you as a best friend!” She squeezes Amity’s hand. “You’re the coolest person I know!”
“You’re the coolest person I know,” Amity says softly. She brings her other hand over to clasp Luz’s hands and squeeze.
“Shucks,” Luz says. She can feel her own face heating up. “Look at us! Just two cool people having a cool sleepover. Watching anime…painting nails…talking about friendship…we are seriously good at this, Amity.”
“I’m a Blight,” Amity says wryly. “I’m good at everything.” One hand disentangles itself and flicks another spell circle into existence; Luz’s middle fingernail becomes a yellow the color of the sun.
“A rainbow!” Luz says.
“Shh,” Amity says. “You’re spoiling the surprise, Luz!”
“Oop. Sorry.” Luz bites her lip and watches Amity’s frown of concentration as she turns Luz’s next nail green. And then blue. And then they’re switching hands.
“I didn’t mean you had to stop talking,” Amity mumbles.
“Oh,” Luz says. “I guess I got distracted. This is a really good sleepover.”
“Great,” Amity says, sounding relieved. “I’m glad I’m doing okay. This is my first human sleepover.”
“Mine too!” Luz says.
“Yeah! Willow and Gus and I did a moon ritual before, but so far I think this is going better. No property damage or anything.”
Amity lets out a little laugh of disbelief. “Property damage?! What were you animating?”
“Luz,” Amity says, with that fond exasperated way she has of saying Luz’s name. What Luz is learning, here in the Boiling Isles, is that there are a lot of ways to say Luz’s name and have it mean something else entirely. When her mom says Luz she means I love you and I’m worried; when Eda says Luz’s name she means I love you but I’m scared I’ll hurt you so I’m going to pretend I don’t care one bit, and when Amity says Luz’s name it means something incredibly special and real. Luz doesn’t know what it means, yet; she just knows that Amity turns her name into a magic spell of its own.
So she smiles at that – can’t help it – and then shrugs. “You’re invited next time?”
“I am not doing any magic with that—” Amity gestures vaguely behind her, and then turns around to glare at the door for good measure. No movement; Hooty knows better now than to mess with Amity. Her shoulders relax. She turns Luz’s other thumbnail red and says: “It’s honestly pretty surprising that you’ve never, like, done a sleepover before. I figured you’d have a bunch of weird human friends to do stuff like this with.”
“Nah,” Luz says. “I’m just too weird for other humans! They can’t handle me. Haha.” Orange, yellow. The streaky part of Amity’s hair where the dye hasn’t quite touched her roots. The hair tie that matches her eyes.
“Their loss,” Amity mutters. Green: the fading dye of Amity’s hair. Blue:
The lake, the memory of the beach; the wall of the hallway outside her old principal’s office; the sky at noon; the magic that brought the house to life and the jet of energy shooting from Amity’s training wand and the paint smeared under their eyes for Grudgby and the way the whole room wobbles into a vague blueish blur when Luz tears up and starts crying.
“Luz,” Amity says; she packs ten paragraphs’ worth of quiet sadness into the one word.
“I’m fine!” Luz says. “Haha, sorry, I’m – I’m fine, I just—”
Amity’s jaw sets and she pulls in a breath before surging forward and slamming Luz into a hug. Her arms are like nervous spaghetti noodles, but she holds Luz like it’s something she is bound and determined to be the best at. She smells a little like laundry detergent and a little like dewdrops. Probably magic laundry detergent.
“I don’t know if I’m doing this right,” Amity says into Luz’s shoulder. “You always do this for me and you’re – a really good hugger, so I thought I would try it. Is it okay? Too loose? Too tight?”
Luz lets out a choked, snotty laugh. “It’s great, actually. You really are good at everything, Miss Blight.” She hugs Amity back. Something soft in her heart unwinds and releases itself, goes floating up into the sky. Luz closes her eyes. Her heart says: I’m safe here. I’m safe here, let’s stay.
She can feel Amity’s ribcage rising and falling as she breathes; she can feel her own shoulders lowering, tick by tick.
“Sorry,” Luz whispers.
“Don’t be sorry,” Amity says.
“It’s just…sometimes I can’t believe you’re real.”
Amity is quiet; the thudding of her heart is very loud in the dark of Luz’s closed eyes.
“We’re real,” Amity says. “This is real. And you’re not too weird for anyone, Luz, I promise. You’re just weird enough to be amazing.”
“Aw, Amity,” Luz says, voice wobbling a bit. “I’m gonna start crying again.”
“That’s okay. We fought off the manifestations of our deepest fears together, I can handle a little bit of crying.”
Luz chuckles. Snorts some snot back into her nose. “Can we keep watching?” she says. “Is that okay? You can finish painting my nails later.”
Amity squeezes her and then lets go, curling into her little ball on her end of the couch. “Alright,” she says. “You did turn off the show right after a cliffhanger.”
Amity laughs a little. Luz flings another lightning rune at the TV, and it kicks back into the tail end of the credits sequence. The sun has mostly set by now; there’s dim light outside, staining everything orange and deep blue. Most of the color comes from the television screen and the gorgeous and totally oversaturated colors of Azura’s magical adventures – fighting evil but mostly befriending evil and realizing that it wasn’t evil at all, just lonely. Luz watches Azura and pokes at the soft unfolded shape of her heart and has a million conversations with Amity, but just in her head.
I meant you, she tells her. Not everyone else, not the entire Boiling Isles. I meant I can’t believe that you’re real. Like obviously magic is completely crazy and none of this is, like, “Believable™,” but you—
I meant you, she tells her. I can’t believe you’re real, Amity, because you’re so amazing and—
I meant you, she tells her. I wanted you to hug me and you did and I can’t believe in that. It’s too good to be true – I wanted you to like me and you did. I wanted you to dance with me and you did. I wanted you to be close to me and you were. Amity, I want you to be close to me all the time. You smell like magic laundry detergent and—
She shifts positions – and then trips over her own intentions and barrel rolls down the hill of her actions and sees, as if from a mile outside of her head, as she flops across the couch and onto Amity. Amity makes a little squeaking sound, but adjusts her weight so Luz is more comfortable. Her hand perches nervously on Luz’s shoulder.
Why do you want me to be close to you all the time? Amity says.
I don’t know.
You do know, though, Amity says.
“Azura was my first crush,” Luz says.
Amity doesn’t say anything; onscreen, Azura twirls her wand around and begins transforming. Her ordinary clothes peel away from her and are replaced with magic frills and ruffles and about sixteen thousand layers of skirt.
“Mine too,” Amity says, while Azura is halfway through transforming. “I always thought she was amazing. She was just so – good. So brave. I used to write – actually, you know what, that’s too embarrassing, forget I said that.”
Luz pretends to forget that Amity said that. “I liked her ‘cause she was smart,” Luz says. “And amazingly magical! And she also just seemed like she’d be great to talk to and hang out with, as friends I guess but also…you know…on dates!”
“I thought so too,” Amity says. “Honestly, I’m sort of glad you weren’t here when I was little. I would have absolutely fought you for her.”
Luz snickers. “A duel for the hand of the fair lady Azura?” she says, as onscreen Azura creates an enormous magical laser that carves a hole through a mountain.
“Maybe not a witch’s duel,” Amity says. Her voice is steady, but her hand is a little trembly where it settles into Luz’s hair. Luz sighs out a warm happy breath and snuggles closer. She can feel Amity’s heart again – the warm drumbeat of it, steady and comfortable. Outside the night is very dark. Inside Azura keeps winning and keeps loving, the way she’s done a million times before. Luz loves her to pieces; she loves Amity more, though, because Amity’s real.
See? Amity says. You know.
Yeah, I know, Luz says. She looks away from the screen and towards her fingernails: red, orange, yellow, green, blue. Her heart crawls up her ribcage and perches like a bird in her throat.
“Amity?” Luz says, but at the same time Amity says “I know—”
They both pause.
“I was just—”
“Sorry, that was stupid, sorry—”
Luz pulls in a breath; she hears Amity pulling in a breath; she stops pulling in her breath. Amity stops pulling in her breath.
“Why don’t—” Luz says, and Amity says, “Seriously, you go ahead, I’m—”
“Can I kiss you?” Luz says, and then: “Eep.” She feels her face heating up in an Amity-style blush.
“What?” Amity says. “What?! You? Me? Kissing?!” She laughs in a hysterical rat-a-tat that sounds like a Coke-and-Mentos explosion. The only reason that Luz doesn’t immediately run out into the woods to bury herself underground is that the laugh also sounds hopeful. Terrified! But hopeful.
“Like, on the mouth?” Amity says. “Your mouth? My mouth? Together? On purpose? That’s—” and then there’s a jostling that tragically removes Amity’s hand from Luz’s hair. Luz rolls over and sees that Amity has buried her face in her hands.
“Um,” Luz says, stomach flipping over in frightened circles. “Was that a no? It’s, it’s totally okay if that was a—”
Amity sits up – her face is set in determination again, that face she makes when she’s gearing up to hug Luz or save the world. “No,” she says, “that wasn’t – that wasn’t a no. I really like—” Her hand lifts and then falls again; her hands twist together. “I mean,” Amity says softly, “do you – I don’t know—”
So Luz closes the space between them and kisses Amity. On the mouth. With her mouth.
Amity makes a little squeaking noise, which is adorable – but Luz forgets about it immediately, because Amity’s mouth is soft and Amity—
—Amity is kissing Luz back.
Giddy butterflies spiral out of Luz’s stomach and burst out of every inch of her skin. She reaches up a hand and touches gentle fingertips to Amity’s hair: it’s soft. It isn’t all crunchy and weird from the hair dye, which means magic dye, which is really cool – and honestly not surprising considering that witches also have magic nail polish, rad – and Luz is spiraling down a rabbit hole of thinking about Amity dyeing her hair with magic and how Luz could be there to learn the rune for magic hair dye and then maybe she could help Amity dye her hair again, or maybe Amity could stop dyeing her hair and Luz could see the real color grow in, and Amity has grabbed onto Luz’s face and she’s kissing her back (she’s kissing her back!) and the two of them are here, in a world of magic, and Luz’s absolute favorite anime is playing on the TV and Amity is kissing her and Amity could kiss her again after this and Luz can feel herself smiling into the kiss, grinning, beaming. She touches her thumbs to Amity’s temples and kisses her harder.
The sound from the television suddenly cuts out, leaving only silence. In the corner of Luz’s vision the screen goes black: end of Season 1. A notice begins to flash telling Luz to switch the disc. The light makes Amity’s face bright and dark, bright and dark, bright and dark.
“Was that okay?” Luz whispers.
“Wowza,” Amity says, and then visibly processes that she just said wowza and covers her face with her hands again. Slowly, she falls over and lies with her face pressed into the couch.
“Amity,” Luz whispers, nudging Amity with her knee, “I really would appreciate some more words here. Any words. Do you have any words? Amity?”
“Umn,” Amity says. “Woo. Ha! Oh man, I have to – come on, Amity, stop being so weird – this is a lot. This is a lot! Um, thank you? Is that – no, that’s probably not – why did you do that? No, that’s also weird. I don’t…I don’t know what to say, I guess. That was really nice.” She peeks between her fingers and stares shyly at Luz. Luz puts her hands over her own face in solidarity.
“I did it because I wanted to kiss you,” she says. She peeks between her fingers. “I’ve wanted to kiss you for a while, I think, I just sort of didn’t figure it out until now.”
Amity’s fingers close like shutters over her eyes. Muffled, she says: “I’ve also wanted to kiss you for a while.”
Amity drops her hands. “You couldn’t tell?!” she says with hysterical relief.
“No, I…oh.” Luz thinks about it. “Ooooh.”
“Yeah,” she says, “actually, that was pretty obv—”
Amity is kissing her again. Luz completely forgets what she was talking about, and her brain floats back up to the land of wow! Amity is kissing me! wow! and doesn’t come back down until Amity leans back again. In the distant flashing light of the TV screen, her blush is there and gone and there again.
“I can’t believe that worked,” Amity says.
“Wowza!” Luz chirps, and Amity lets out a huge, embarrassing snort and leans back again.
“Okay,” Amity says. “Alright. Do you…should we…”
Luz kisses Amity again – and then breaks the kiss, because she’s laughing. Amity starts giggling and they kiss and laugh and kiss and laugh and Luz presses her forehead against Amity’s and lets herself keep laughing.
“This is seriously the best sleepover I’ve ever had,” she whispers.
“Luz, this is the only sleepover you’ve ever had.”
“Yup,” Luz says, and tucks a piece of Amity’s hair behind her ear. “So we should have more. That way you can be sure that you’re the very best at sleepovers. It’ll be like studying! You like studying!”
“I like this too,” Amity mumbles, and she scoots a couple inches closer to Luz and kisses her again. Luz’s heart throws itself giddily around her chest; she dances with it. She curls up closer to Amity and pulls Amity’s arms around her, rests her head against Amity’s chest to feel the beating of Amity’s heart.
“Amity,” she whispers.
“Luz,” Amity whispers back. This time she says Luz’s name in a way that Luz swears means I love you.
“Do you want to be my girlfriend?” Luz says.
“So much.” The only sound is Amity’s breathing, and Luz’s breathing, and the warm static hum of the television. In the quiet, Amity says: “Do you…want to be my girlfriend?”
“Miss Amity Blight,” says Luz, “I would be honored.”
Slowly, tentatively, Amity brings Luz closer until they become a big tangle of limbs on Eda’s couch. Their hands are laced together, and Luz looks to see their fingers in the blinking light: Amity’s perfect black nail polish, Luz’s half-finished rainbow. Amity still has to paint Luz’s nails. They can do that in a minute. They can do all the sleepover things in a minute – share sleepover snacks and gossip and tell ghost stories and maybe kiss some more (hopefully kiss some more!) and Luz can show Amity Season 2 of BEAUTIFUL WITCH ☆ ENCHANTING AZURA and know that Amity will understand that this is Luz unfolding her heart for her, thrilled and terrified. Eventually they’ll fall asleep. Eventually the sun will come up; the entire magical future will be in front of them, with tests and parties and dates (dates!) and sleepovers and lessons and monsters and Luz holding Amity’s hand. She’s so excited for it. She can’t wait.
“You ready for Season 2?” she whispers. “It gets even better from here.”
“Yeah,” Amity says. “Okay. I’m ready.”
“Me too,” Luz says, and goes to put the next disc in.