Witch, 111

If You’re Looking out for Each Other and Making Each Other Smile, You’re Doing Okay

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“That was twenty-four.”

“Oh. Are you sure?”

“Yes, you said twenty-three on the last one.”

“Oh. Okay. Twenty-four…I’m pretty sure I didn’t say twenty-three before.”

“You did.”

Ron frowned. “Okay. Sorry. Twenty-four.”

“Don’t apologize,” James said, hitting Ron again.

“I wasn’t trying to challenge you,” Ron explained. “Twenty-five.”

“I understand that,” said James, with another strike. “You’re a good boy. You just forgot.”

Ron’s ass was stinging reassuringly. “Twenty-six. I won’t forget again.”

Another hit. “I know. But if you do, it’s okay.”

“Twenty-seven,” Ron said, taking a breath. He was pretty sure he hadn’t said twenty-three twice. It was nagging at him a little. James wouldn’t lie to him or mislead him.

James hit him again.

“Twenty-eight.” People forgot stuff sometimes. It wasn’t that big a deal. He shouldn’t worry about it.

James hit him again.

“Twenty-nine,” Ron said. Or was it twenty-eight?

James hit him again.

“Thi-thirty,” Twenty-nine? James would tell him if he was wrong.

James rested his hand on Ron’s ass, stroking it with his thumb, silent for a second.

“Thirty-one,” Ron muttered.

“I didn’t hit you again.”

Ron blinked, the fog in his head clearing a little. “Oh. Sorry.”

James chuckled, rubbing Ron’s ass some more. “What’s bothering you, Ron?”

“I don’t know,” Ron admitted. “It’s just weird that I said twenty-three twice, right?”

“No. You were floating away again,” James told him. “You had been since nineteen. You were distracted.”


“Don’t apologize for feeling good,” James ordered. “All I meant was that I’m not surprised you misspoke.”

Ron nodded. That made sense. “Okay. I stopped floating after that.”

“I know. That’s why I started talking to you. Not because I didn’t want you to feel good. But the last time you got that high that quickly, you also came down very fast.”

Ron remembered that, and swallowed. “Yeah. You really are always looking out for me.”

“Of course I am,” James said, reaching up not to stroke Ron’s hair. “I want you to be safe.”

“Thanks.” Ron took a deep breath. “We’re done, right?”

“Yes. I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep going until you’re feeling a bit more normal.”

“Okay.” Ron let James help him up. “Sorry.”

James kissed him. “Next time you apologize it had better be for something you actually did wrong.”

“Promise,” Ron said with a small smile. He really did feel okay. “I need to go pee.”

“You want me to come with you?”

Ron started to say he didn’t need James, but before he could open his mouth he realized that he did. “Yes, I think so.”

James nodded and got up, helping Ron to his feet. They went outside together, and Ron leaned on James as they made their way to the river. “Let’s sit in the garden for a bit after,” Ron suggested.

“Sure. It’s a while yet before you need to start supper. If you’re up for making it.”

“I am,” Ron said. James held an arm around his back as he peed in the river, thinking idly that it was a bit weirder to do this now that he was facing Jay and Tanner’s house. But neither of them was outside at the moment. Tanner had said something about decorating their basement.

The wind blew Ron’s hair, and he risked peeing on it until James pulled it back for him. “Careful,” he said.

Ron nodded. “Can I ask you something?”

“What is it?”

“I know you like my hair long. But could we cut it a bit soon? It’s just a bit too long.”

“Sure,” James said immediately. “We can do it now if it’s bothering you?”

Ron shook his head. He felt stupid. He should have said something weeks ago but he’d been worried James would get upset. “Doesn’t have to be right now. Tomorrow is fine.”

“Not a problem.” James pulled open the front of his shorts and started to pee as well. “How long did you take to build yourself up to asking that?”

Ron shrugged one shoulder. His ass still stung. “A few weeks.”

“I wish it didn’t take you weeks to ask me about things that were bothering you.”

“I know. It’s not because of you.”

“I know. And I also know I’d do the same thing.”

“Hm,” said Ron. “Does getting better at talking about how we’re bad at talking about stuff count as getting better at talking about stuff?”

James snorted. “Yes, I think so. Is there anything serious bothering you?”

“No, promise. What about you?”

“No,” James pulled up his pants. “I’m fine. Let’s go sit?”

Ron nodded, and let James lead him into the garden. Ron stopped as soon as they came around the side of the house, looking at Charlie. He sighed. “Really?”

“Oh, I thought he sounded pleased with himself,” James said, looking down at him.

Jed and Micha were bound up inside Charlie’s vines, stuck together. They were struggling a bit. Charlie told Ron in great detail that they’d been arguing naked and it had seemed like they’d wanted to kiss, so he was just helping them out with that.

Ron believed him, but he crouched next to the boys, who were making out. “You guys okay?”

With a little difficulty, they managed to move so they weren’t kissing. “We’re obviously fine,” Jed snapped.

“We’re just stuck in your stupid plant,” Micha explained.

“Uh-huh,” Ron said. Charlie explained to Ron that neither one of them had even tried to use magic to get out. “So you don’t need any help?”

“I can get out on my own,” Micha insisted. “If this idiot would stop getting in my way.”

“Maybe if this loser wasn’t on top of me I’d have escaped by now,” Jed added.

“Right,” said Ron. “Okay, well, we’re having a lemon bean soup for supper. See you.” He left them there. They started kissing again. “They’re fine,” he told James.

“Good for them,” said James, taking Ron’s hand and moving him to a different part of the garden. “At least we’re better at talking about our problems than they are.”

Ron snickered at that. “How long do you think before Charlie lets them go?”

“Might be days. The house will be nice and quiet.”

“At least they’ll get along after that?” Since it seemed like Tanner had been right and they actually did want to sleep together. Now they could just be boyfriends. Nicely.

“Seems unlikely. I bet they spend the next two weeks fighting worse than usual when they’re not having sex.” James sighed. “Maybe they’ll do it mostly out here and we can stay inside.”

“But we have such a nice garden,” Ron said, as James sat them down near Milo’s patch. “I’m not about to let some annoying hormonal boys steal it from us for two weeks.”

“Maybe someone should teach them the virtues of spanking,” James mused. “Were you annoying and hormonal at their age?”

“Yeah,” Ron said. “I mean, not that annoying. But yeah, me and Owen were a pain in someone’s ass for sure.”

James nodded. “I wish I’d had friends at that age.”

Ron took his hand, because James wasn’t the only one looking out for someone all the time. “Now you and I? We’d have been as annoying as fuck together.”



James looked at him, and he started to laugh. “Sure you are, Ron.”

Ron wasn’t really. How could he be, when they were both smiling like this?

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