When Amity returned to Luz’s room, Luz had disappeared. The bed had been remade and the whole place cleaned and shining as if Luz had never been there at all. So, after throwing on her normal clothes and hoping she wouldn’t be recognized as an actual patient, Amity asked the front desk receptionist where Luz had gone. “I’m not allowed to disclose that kind of information to strangers,” the receptionist said, “but you look like a harmless little kid, so what bad could it do. Luz wasn’t supposed to be discharged until tomorrow, but a tall lady with a lot of white hair came in a few minutes ago and demanded she go home, and we certainly weren’t about to mess with this woman, so we let Luz go with her.”
Oh, thank goodness. Amity had been terrified that Luz’s condition had somehow worsened and she’d been moved somewhere else- but no, Eda had finally fetched her, which meant she was curled up safe and sound at the Owl House. She thanked the receptionist and went on her way.
When she arrived in the woods just outside the Owl House, just as the sun was beginning to slide below the trees, she sent a quick text to Emira. Spending the evening with Luz at Owl House. Not sure when I’ll be back. Make up an excuse for mom and dad if you can.
Em replied immediately. They think ur staying overnight @ hospital lol… asked if they wanted 2 visit u and said no. Not surprised but sry abt that
It’s all good, Amity texted back. It wasn’t anything she wasn’t used to.
As soon as Amity emerged into the clearing that surrounded the house- dry-humoredly taking a note of the crack that still spanned the ground from the moonlight adventure a few weeks ago- Hooty spotted her and stretched to meet her. “Hoot hoooot!” he greeted her. “You looked really good for someone who almost diiiied!”
“If I wasn’t so excited to see Luz I would punch you,” Amity said.
“You probably shouldn’t disturb Luz, hoot. She’s sleeping. She’s veeerrry tired.”
“Too bad. She promised we’d talk.” Amity barged past Hooty, but he followed her all the way back to the door.
Amity opened the door. “It’s none of your business,” she said loudly, and slammed the door behind her before Hooty had a chance to fully retract.
The first person Amity spotted was Eda, who was in the corner of the kitchen, and appeared to be cooking… something. Whatever it was, it was burning, and the smell drew Amity sharply back to the terror-filled morning. “Hi, Eda,” Amity greeted the older witch, ignoring the fear that was bubbling up inside her again. “Is Luz… is anyone allowed to visit her?”
“Only you,” Eda replied, throwing Amity a wink.
Amity blushed. “Is she in her room? Can I go see her?”
“Of course you can.” Eda drew her spoon out of the pot and pointed it at her. “She told me what happened at the hospital, though, so no funny business.”
“Actually, that’s what… that’s what I’m here to talk to her about,” Amity muttered. She guessed it wasn’t too surprising that Luz had told Eda about… that. Eda was basically Luz’s mom for the time being. Briefly she wondered what it would be like to have parents she felt safe communicating with… but she quickly dismissed the daydream and shuffled away, climbing the stairs as fast as her sore muscles would let her.
“Don’t make any extremely stupid decisions!” Eda yelled after her. “Minorly stupid ones are okay, though!”
She knocked on Luz’s door before she opened it. “Hey, Luz,” she called softly. “Can I come in? It’s just me.”
She heard shuffling footsteps inside the room and the door cracked open, revealing Luz’s bandaged face. “Hi,” she said hoarsely. She looked and sounded exhausted, but her brown eyes lit up when she saw Amity. “Thank goodness it’s you,” she murmured, and fell slightly forward, wrapping her arms around Amity’s midsection and burying her head in Amity’s shoulder. Amity returned the embrace.
“How do you feel?” Amity asked when Luz stepped away. “Better, I hope?”
Luz shrugged and flexed each arm in turn. “I can move,” she reported.
“Does it hurt?”
“Then what are you doing still standing here? Go lay back down and relax!”
A slight smile appeared on Luz’s face. “Of course, Your Majesty Amity Blight.” With one last feather-light touch to Amity’s arm, she turned around and made her way back into her room.
Amity followed her in and gazed around for a moment. She hadn’t been in here since the first Grom, and even now she could see the corner of the otter onesie peeking out of Luz’s chest. Luz’s sleeping setup seemed to be the same- a few pillows and blankets and a sleeping bag sprawled across the wooden floor, with a picture frame set up right next to where Luz would lay her head. Amity crouched down and saw that it was a photo of Luz and an older woman who she presumed to be Luz’s mother. An unexpected pang of sadness sliced her heart. She hadn’t really thought about that whole Luz-going-home thing lately.
“Welcome to my humble abode,” Luz chirped. She sat down cross legged on her sleeping bag and tapped the space next to her, and Amity obliged the silent request. She didn’t say anything once they were both seated, and neither did Luz, so a strange silence stretched between them. There was very clearly a demon in the room that neither girl was willing to address.
After a minute, Luz cleared her throat. “So,” she began awkwardly, and Amity instantly knew what the human was about to bring up. “About… what happened in the hospital.”
Amity flushed red from the tips of her pointed ears down to her neck. “Yeah…”
“I’m sorry,” Luz said.
“What?” That had been the last reaction she’d expected from Luz. A you’re actually a terrible kisser, so never mind, or Amity Blight, I am totally and irrevocably in love with you would have made more sense. But she hadn’t expected an apology.
“That was dumb of me,” Luz confessed. “To just, uh… kissyoulikethat. Sorry.”
“Luz, I… I liked that.”
Now it was Luz’s turn to blush. “You did?”
“Why do you think I kissed you back?”
“Oh.” Luz seemed to ponder this for a moment. “I’m not sure.”
Now Amity’s nervousness was beginning to catch up to her again. “Unless you didn’t like it. I won’t ever do it again if you didn’t. Not that I was thinking about ever doing it again anyway. Not even the realm of possibility. Unless you want it to be. Or if you think that’s creepy-”
“Amity, stop.” It might have been Amity’s imagination, but she thought Luz scooted just a hair closer to her.
She shut her mouth.
“I like you,” Luz insisted. “Like, I have a crush on you. Wow, that is terrifying to say out loud. For the longest time I couldn’t even think it!”
Amity’s mouth fell open.
“I’ve been pondering my feelings for a while,” continued Luz, “and I think I’ve finally figured them out. I really like you, Amity. Like, a lot. And I wasn’t sure if I should at first… maybe a lot of my denial was because of the fact that logically, I could never truly be with you. We’ll always be a whole world apart. And when I go home… I wouldn’t want to lose you.”
Oh. Amity looked away. I hadn’t thought of that. “I was scared you wouldn’t even like girls, and you’d think I was weird…”
“ I’m bisexual,” Luz confirmed. “I like everyone. Anyway, I think I made up my mind about what’s important.” Leaning into her, Luz took Amity’s hand and lightly traced the back of it with her thumb.
“Me?” Amity whispered. She hated that she sounded like a desperate little kid, but she wasn’t sure what else to say.
Luz nodded. “You.”
“If I’m not reading things wrong, and you actually said you liked kissing me and I’m not just super stuck-up or something, Amity…” Luz gave Amity’s hand a squeeze. “I kind of want you to maybe… I mean I was wondering if… we could be…” She swallowed. “Girlfriends?”
Girlfriends. Immediately, Amity’s chest exploded, launching invisible fireworks and making her whole body tingle. “Girlfriends!” she yelped. “Yes!”
“I… I mean…” Amity quickly brought herself down from her high. She squeezed Luz’s hand back as cordially and gently as Luz had done. “I would like that. A lot.”
“Girlfriends,” Luz murmured. She sunk her head onto Amity’s shoulder and nuzzled into the crook of her neck. Amity stretched an arm around to rest on the small of Luz’s back.
For a moment, she was scared her heart would burst with happiness.
“I can’t believe that just this morning we were trying to escape Hexside with our lives,” Luz said.
“This is infinitely better.”
“I just wish I hadn’t failed my exam. We could go to school together.”
“We will. The school will be repaired by Monday, just watch. I’ll get you in yet.”
Luz groaned. “I was hoping you’d have a day off so you could stay with me.” She pouted, which was both hilarious and endearing and gave Amity a million butterflies.
“Today’s Friday. We have the whole weekend,” Amity reminded her. “And the weekend after that is Grom. Maybe…”
“Grom,” Luz echoed. “You’ve mentioned it. What exactly is it again? I caught something about a dance, certain death, battles...”
“Hang on. Let me readjust a little bit.” As nice as it felt to have her arm around Luz, Amity wished they could somehow be closer. After all, they were girlfriends now (though this all did still feel like some crazy fever dream) so as long as they were both okay with it, they could cuddle without feeling weird. Amity sat up against Luz’s wall, just under the window, using a pillow to support her back. She motioned for Luz to make herself comfortable, and Luz set herself in front of Amity so that Amity could rest her chin on the top of Luz’s head and wrap her arms around her new girlfriend’s middle, pulling her closer. She shut her eyes and let out a breath of contentment. “This is okay, right?” she asked.
Luz nodded. “Now tell me about Grom!”
“Okay. Well, it is a dance, but… see, there’s kind of a monster that lives underneath Hexside that can turn into your worst nightmare.” Plus, we kind of have a history, which is weird. “It becomes powerful enough to escape once a year, so Bump holds a dance, picks one lucky student warrior, and sends them under the school to fight it. They’re the Grom Royalty. This year is the first year I’ll be allowed to attend, since it’s only for ninth grade and up… and it’s the first year I could technically be picked as Grom Queen.”
“If I fought that thing, it would turn into a carton of milk and I’d drink it to death,” Luz bragged.
Amity didn’t have the heart to tell the human what her real fear was, and how hard it would be to fight it. “I’m sure you would.”
“Wait, but there is a dance? Does that mean we can go together? Since we’re, you know…” Her voice dropped to a timid quietness. “Together?”
“We can, if you want.” Amity blinked. Had it really been that easy? Would Luz have gone to Grom with her the whole time if she’d just asked?
“I do want! I want to be your date!”
Amity giggled softly. “Then it’s settled. We’ll be Grom Queens together.”
Luz shivered. “Ugh, I hope not! That sounds horrible!”
“Not literally,” Amity lied. She was consciously aware that that was one aspect of the past she probably couldn’t change. Not that she’d make Luz fight this time. She knew she needed to face her demons on her own.
But what will my fear be? Now that Luz and I are together… it can’t be rejection. Will Grom show me Luz going home? But how would that even work? Would Grom just… disappear?
“And we can dance…” Luz murmured. “Like at the festival. It’ll be so much fun.”
Amity reached down to tuck a stray lock of hair behind Luz’s ear. “I’m surprised you still remember the festival.” So many things have happened since then.
“Of course I do. That was when I realized… that night when I got home, I talked to Eda a little bit, and I thought… well, maybe I liked you maybe a tiny bit more than a friend.”
“I’m glad you did realize. Otherwise I’d be stuck… what was that word you always use in your fanfictions?” Amity racked her brain. “Oh! Yearning?”
“Yeah, that,” Luz laughed. “Well just between you and me, I think I might have been doing a little bit of that too.”
They fell into a comfortable silence. After a moment, Luz wriggled a bit, snuggled into Amity’s chest, and shut her eyes. An instinctive low rumble rose in Amity’s throat at the sight of the tired, adorable girl in her arms.
Luz cracked her eyes open and peered up at her. “Amity- are you purring?”
“What? No!” Amity cried indignantly. “I don’t-” she tried to protest, but the rumbling grew louder, and she couldn’t suppress it.
“That is literally the cutest thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life,” Luz whispered, her eyes big. “Witches purr. Oh my goodness. You’re like a kitty!”
“I am not a kitty!”
“You’re a cute fuzzy kitty!” Luz cooed.
Despite herself, Amity continued purring. “Shut up!”
“No,” Luz said sweetly. “You signed up for this.”
Amity sighed. “I suppose I did.” But I wouldn’t change anything about it.
Luz smirked, and Amity’s heart melted.
“Can I kiss you?” she blurted. She wasn’t sure what had come over her, just that she knew that Luz was very, very close right now, and they were girlfriends, and kissing is a thing people who are girlfriends do, and as much as she loved their adorable banter she really really wanted to remember what her girlfriend’s lips felt like on hers.
Luz didn’t look away, and Amity noticed that she was blushing. “I- of course!” She seemed a little shocked, but she didn’t shy away from their proximity.
“Um.” What do I do now? Amity honestly hadn’t thought she’d get this far. “Hey, do you wanna… wanna watch Azura afterwards?” She silently cursed at herself. By all the stars, Blight, why do you have to be so AWKWARD? “Maybe the fourth one?” she added.
“Fourth one sounds… good,” Luz said.
“Okay.” Amity didn’t say anything for a moment. She wasn’t unsure what to do- here Luz was, staring at her with those irresistible chocolate eyes, and Amity was frozen. “Sorry, I’m not very good at this-”
“Shh. I understand.”
Luz cupped Amity’s cheek with one hand and slowly, softly kissed her. Amity felt herself melt into Luz’s touch, and she hugged Luz closer.
Please let this never end. Please let us be like this forever.
When the two girls separated, Amity rested her forehead on Luz’s and shut her eyes. “I think we’re gonna be okay,” she murmured. She wasn’t sure what she was referring to- their temporary injuries sustained from the fire, or everything that hung in the balance of time, or all the danger that she knew they’d soon be facing together, but whatever it was, Amity knew that she was right.