It took Nosderag a full day of rest and multiple potions to properly heal. Dalzonf wanted to stay with her but Mrs Pelletier insisted that her suspension end. After taking a healthy Daliki from her, the principal profusely apologised for the false accusations but sternly warned her that any less school time would potentially jeopardise her grades. Plus, Nosderag claimed to be doing fine.
That night, Dalzonf silently fed Nosderag a potion while the latter lay in bed. The love tolxer’s eyes were downcast.
‘Are you okay?’ Nosderag asked, her heart cracking as she watched Dalzonf mentally beat herself up. Upon that moment, Nosderag’s feelings became clear to her.
Dalzonf rubbed her eyes as tears began to seep out. ‘Shouldn’t I be asking you that?’
‘I told you I’m fine.’
Dalzonf crossed her eyes and raised an eyebrow. ‘You almost died.’
‘But I didn’t.’
‘But you almost did.’
‘But you rescued me.’
‘But I- Whatever.’ Dalzonf’s cheeks were set aflame as she turned her head. Nosderag giggled. Dalzonf’s downcast eyes returned. She dropped her arms to her side. ‘I’m not much of a hero when I’m the one responsible for you needing to be saved in the first place.’
‘I was annoying,’ Nosderag retorted with a chuckle.
‘I was an asshole.’
Nosderag paused, then nodded in agreement. ‘Why were you acting like that anyway? We were getting along super well when suddenly you pushed me on the ground. At least, I think that’s what happened.’
Dalzonf sat on her own bed and pulled out her pillow, hugging it tightly. ‘You kissed me.’
Nosderag blinked three times, then sat up straight. ‘Seriously?’
‘And… and I got scared and… mostly angry at myself since you were under the influence of love tolxing and yet I kissed you back.’ Dalzonf rested her palm on her face. ‘Stupid me somehow wound up victim-blaming you. It wasn’t your fault. It was the magic.’ She pulled her knees up until they were up to her chest, only her pillow between them. ‘My magic. If you want to change roommates, I understand.’
‘After what we’ve been through together? I can handle a kiss. I mean, don’t make a habit of kissing me when I’m under your spell, but it was one time and getting stabbed by icicles has given me a bit of perspective.’ Nosderag smiled and lowered her eyelids. ‘You could try kissing me when there’s no magic in my system if you want.’
Both girls gulped at the same time. Nosderag chuckled again. ‘Not right now, of course, but, you know, after we hang out some more. Maybe after coffee or something, I don’t know.’
‘Are you asking…’
‘Yes. I am.’
Dropping her pillow in the process, Dalzonf stared at her hands. ‘Are you sure? How can you trust a love tolxer, much less one who can give people heart attacks?’
‘By getting to know her. Like I said, coffee. Well, I don’t actually like the taste of coffee. Way too bitter. You can get coffee and I’ll get a hot chocolate with the little marshmallows.’
Soft, melodic laughter came from Dalzonf’s throat. ‘Marshmallows. Why am I not surprised?’ She scanned Nosderag’s body in search of the effects of love magic. ‘Are you sure you want to date me?’
Nosderag laid her back against the headboard behind her and let her head dangle close to Dalzonf’s.
‘You were who I thought of when I was on the verge of death. That has to count for something, right? I mean, Astra, you made me into a tired girl and now you’re not going to take responsibility?’
Dalzonf took a moment to think. ‘One date.’
Nosderag moved an inch closer. ‘Four.’
Dalzonf moved forward another inch. ‘Two.’
‘Three.’ When Nosderag moved, the duo had a pair of lips’ worth of distance between them.
Dalzonf ended the battle of proximity-based wits by pulling herself back. ‘Sure, if the first date goes well.’
The two engaged in a rather platonic handshake. A platonic handshake with hands sweaty from unquenched desire.
The school began installing security cameras bought from the omlerous world. New technology was added to the classrooms to work together with magic.
Nosderag began a campaign for better accessibility for omlers. She started in her own school but had no luck. The school claimed that electric elevators would cost too much. She knew she had to affect the other schools surrounding it to convince her own to make changes.
Every so often she would be taken out of the classroom and into another school to deliver speeches. Dalzonf stood behind her every time.
After several months of protests, the school gave in.
Nosderag held Dalzonf’s hand as she stood in front of the shiny new elevator. She pecked the love tolxer on the lips and led her inside it.
A giggle left Nosderag’s mouth as she pressed the button for her floor. Nosderag squeezed Dalzonf’s hand while the doors shut.
In their room, they read books in warm watercolour silence.