After a break of several years, I'm giving fanfiction a try again. It's safe to say that I'm more than a little rusty, so bear with me! My favourite part of any story is that brief bit at the end where everything has been solved and you get a few pages or maybe a chapter of the characters just living their lives, so as I'm a bit obsessed with Carry On at the minute I thought I'd have a go at writing what I think life would be like for Simon and Baz after Carry On.

All these characters belong to Rainbow Rowell.


"Stop it, stop hurting me!" The Mage gasps, then falls to the floor and lies still. "Oh God, Penny, I think he's dead! I think I killed him!" I lean over the Mage's broken body, my brain rejecting the information my eyes are sending. My eyes are telling me that the Mage is dead, which is obviously a mistake because the Mage can't die. He's the Mage. I grab his shoulder and shake him. "Wake up!" I scream. "Wake up! Don't leave me here alone. I need you. I need you. This can't- No! No no no no no no!" I'm screaming for him, but he doesn't respond. This is what makes me realise that he really is gone. I take his hand and clutch his arm against my chest. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. I need to say sorry a million times, and a lifetime's worth of goodbyes. But there isn't time for that. Penny and Baz… They were right next to me. Where are they? Are they okay? I gently lay the Mage's hand down on his chest, over his heart. My own heart is more than broken; it's been pulverised. I start to stand up, but I've barely moved when I feel an ice cold something grab my arm. I look down in horror and see a grey, skeletal hand fastened around my wrist. My eyes travel from the dead hand to the Mage's body. I scream. He's decayed 4 months in 4 seconds. His skin is rotting. His eye sockets are empty. And those hideous, empty cavities are turned towards me.

"Simon," he hisses, and I recoil in terror. His mouth is writhing with maggots. "You did this…," he whispers. "You killed me and left me to rot. I was like a father to you… And you killed me." I'm shaking my head and trying to pull away from the monstrous Mage, but he won't let me go. "Murderer!" he accuses.

"NO!" I shout. "I didn't mean to! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry…" I wrench my wrist out of his grasp and scramble backwards away from him, before stumbling to my feet and running like all the hounds of hell are behind me.

"Simon!" the Mage calls after me. "My boy… Don't leave me here alone…"

I wake up drenched in cold sweat. I'm all tangled up in my duvet, which is half over me and half hanging off the edge of the bed. I sit up slowly, and press the heels of my palms into my closed eyes. The image of the warped and decaying Mage is seared onto the backs of my eyelids. I dig my palms in harder, until it hurts, hoping that the pain will erase the image. It doesn't.

The Mage is dead, because you killed him.

Right on cue, my mind replays the fight in the Chapel: how I screamed "Stop it, stop hurting me!" and the Mage just… crumpled. Like a puppet whose strings had been cut. I remember the sickening lurch of horror that washed over me when I realised what I'd done.

Oh God oh God oh God oh God.

I'm going to throw up. My heart is pounding and my chest can't contain it. I try to take deep breaths, like my therapist said to do, but it's as though someone's dropped a suitcase packed for a three week family holiday in Florida on my chest. I can't breathe. The Mage's death is on replay in my head. I'm going to die too. I'm going to die right now, and I'll deserve it because I killed him.

You killed him you killed him you killed him.

Baz. I need Baz. I look over at his side of the bed and find it empty. I stare uncomprehending at his pillow for a moment, before my brain catches up and I remember that he stayed at his flat tonight because he had a lot of uni work to do. I fumble around in the dark for my phone and yank it off the charger. My hand is shaking, and it takes me three tries to correctly type in my lock code. I find Baz in my recent contacts, and press call. He answers on the second ring.

"Can't sleep, Snow?" His voice sounds weary. I try and speak, but the words get stuck in my throat and all I can do is draw hoarse, shallow breaths.

"Snow? What's wrong? Are you alright?" He sounds wide awake now, and scared.

"Baz." I manage to choke out. "I can't-, can't breathe-."

"Easy there, Snow, easy there," he says gently. "I'll come over right now. Just hang on, okay? I'll be there in ten minutes. Want me to stay on the phone to you?"

I shake my head, then remember he can't see me. "No, it's okay, just…" I don't say hurry, but he understands.

"Ten minutes, Snow." He hangs up.

I put the phone down on my bedside table, then curl up in a ball and wrap my wings around myself. Baz is coming. Hang on.

Less than ten minutes have passed when I hear the click of our front door, followed by footsteps, and then the sound of my bedroom door opening. More footsteps, then the bed dips slightly as Baz lies next to me. He taps one of my wings lightly.

"Knock, knock. You in there, Snow?"

I lift one wing and look up at him. He's lying on his side, propped up on one elbow, and he's looking down at me with wide eyes full of concern. My last scrap of control evaporates and I start sobbing, only I still can't breathe, so they're horrible, shuddering sobs that rock my whole body as I cry and suffocate all at once. Baz lies down properly so that his head is resting on the pillow, and holds out the hand he was leaning on to me.

"It's okay, love. You're okay. Can you take my hand?" I take his hand and squeeze it tightly, like how Frodo gripped Sam's hand in that bit in the last film where Sam is the only thing keeping Frodo from falling into the fires of Mount Doom. That feels like an appropriate metaphor right now.

"You're having a panic attack, Simon," he says, softly. "I know that the memories you have are awful. But they can't hurt you. And they will fade."

I'm looking in Baz's direction, but I'm not looking at him. All I can see is the Mage, and the Chapel, and blood. I squeeze my eyes shut and turn away from Baz, burying my head in my pillow.

"Simon, look at me," Baz says, squeezing my hand. I turn my head back to him.

"Where are we right now?" he asks.

My head is full of images of the Chapel. But that's not where we are, is it?

"We're in my flat." I say, hesitantly. He squeezes my hand again.

"Yes. That's where we are. And what month is it?"

Getting to the answer feels like wading through deep snow. Ha. Snow. "…September. We're in September." Not December.

"That's right," he says, giving my hand another squeeze. "The things you're thinking of… That was then, and this is now. You're here with me now."

He places my hand in his over his heart. I try not to think about how I placed the Mage's hand over his heart in my nightmare.

"Try and breathe with me," he whispers. "Breathe in when I do, and out when I do."

I try. It's hard. I focus on his chest. I watch it steadily rise and fall. This helps me to block out the things I don't want to see. I breathe when he does. I keep doing that. My breathing gradually becomes slower and easier.

"Better now?" he asks, stroking his thumb over my hand. I nod, then wriggle closer to him and press my head into his shoulder. He extracts his free arm from where it's trapped between us and wraps it around me. I feel like I need to apologise for dragging him over here at 3am. I've been apologising a lot recently. When I talked to my therapist about this, she told me to try saying thank you instead of sorry. "It seems to me, Simon, that you feel this need to apologise because you're afraid that your friends view you as a burden. Is it possible that this isn't actually the case? If Baz or Penny needed your help, I don't think you'd consider them a burden. I'd like to make a suggestion, if that's alright with you. Next time you feel like you need to apologise to your friends, perhaps you could try thanking them instead?"

The words "sorry for being such a pathetic, needy mess," are on the tip of my tongue. I don't say that, though. Instead I say: "thank you for coming, Baz."

"Any time, Snow." I squeeze his hand again and he squeezes mine back. "I mean it. Any time."

We lie together in silence for a little while. I'm aware that I'm still shaking. Baz must be aware of this too, as he hugs me closer to him and asks "so, what shall we do today?"

"Haven't you got lectures?"

"It's Saturday, Snow."

"Oh yeah. I dunno." I still can't think.

"Okay, here's what I think we should do. First, we're going to have a lie in. Then when we wake up, we're going to go to that bakery at the end of your road and get some scones and coffee. Then we'll bring them back here and eat them in bed while watching Netflix. We can even watch that stupidly unrealistic vampire programme you've suddenly become obsessed with. How does that sound?"

I bring our joined hands to my lips and kiss his hand. What did I do to deserve you, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch?

"That sounds perfect."