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Girl Genius fic: Wax in the Frosting

It’s been nearly a year since time stopped, freezing his friends in the town below, but Gil doesn’t even know what day it is. Luckily, Bangladesh Dupree has his back and a cake. Written for day seven of Girl Genius Week 2018 (better late than never).
980 words | [PG]


Gil jerked away from his desk, nearly knocking his coffee onto the papers he’d been reading as Bangladesh Dupree deposited a cake in front of him. It listed to one side some and the creamy frosting was smeared on one corner where it looked like she’d helped herself to a taste. Oddest of all, twenty-three tiny, colorful candles stuck out of the top at various intervals with no discernible pattern.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a cake,” she said, plopping down in a chair across from him.

“I can see that. Why?”

She cocked her head. “What do you mean ‘why?’ It’s your birthday.”

Gil frowned. “Is it?” He had no idea what day it was. He pushed things around on his desk, looking for the calendar.

“Trust me,” Bang said with a laugh. She pulled a lighter from some hidden pocket and flipped it opened, eyes intent on the little flame.

His birthday? Already? The year had gone by so fast, and yet, dragged for eternity. Time, he’d learned, was funny that way.

“Well,” Bang said after a moment.

Gil shook the darkening thoughts away to see the candles flickering before him. He just stared. Bang looked from him to the cake. He was obviously missing something.

She sighed. “Are you going to blow out the candles or what?”

“Um, why?”

“Because it’s your birthday.” She said it slow like he was challenged in some way.

“We established that already. I don’t-”

“I swear, I’m going to strangle Klaus the next time I see him. You’ve never had a birthday cake before, have you?”

“Umm-”

Bang rubbed her temples, lips mumbling some personal curse—probably directed at his father. He could see the anger building through the tension in her face. He didn’t want to make her mad. She was scary when she was mad.

“I’m supposed to blow out the candles?” Why? What was the purpose? He didn’t know, but it would make Bang happy, he guessed. He took a deep breath.

“Wait!”

Gil nearly choked on the breath. “What?” His eyes darted around looking for hidden danger.

“You have to make a wish first.”

“A what?”

“A wish. You make a wish, and if you blow out all the candles in one breath, your wish comes true.”

“That’s-” He scowled at the candles. “That’s just absurd. Wishes don’t come true.” Gil was intimately aware of that. His life would have been entirely different had they worked.

“Gil,” Bang whined. “There’s wax in the frosting. Just make a wish and blow out the damned candles already before I punch you.”

“All right. Geesh. You can’t punch me on my birthday anyway.”

“Says who?”

“It’s like a law or something.”

Her brow furrowed. “It is not. You made that up.”

“Well, I’m the Baron, and if I say it’s a law, then it’s a law.”

“Pft. I’ll believe it when I see it written in a law book.”

They stared each other down before they both cracked. It felt good to laugh. Bang pointed at the cake in the most menacing way. He shook his head, pausing. A wish?

There was only one thing that came to mind. He held on to the images of Agatha and Tarvek. It was silly—he’d given up on wishes and magic as a child. There were only so many disappointments a boy could handle. And yet, he found himself taking a deep breath, and with one puff, blew out all twenty-three candles at once.

Bang clapped. “What did you wish for?” Before Gil could formulate an acceptable answer, she put her hand up. “No, wait, if you tell me it won’t come true.”

Gil rolled his eyes as he helped her remove the stubs of the candles. “It’s not going to come true either way.”

“Well, then let’s just say I don’t want to hear about whatever kinky thing you’re thinking that I’m sure involves that Heterodyne girl or worse-” She shivered dramatically. “-Prince Squealy.”

Gil’s face burned. He ducked behind the desk, looking through the drawers for something to cut the cakes. Of course, Bang had that covered, too. She slipped a knife from her belt.

“That’s not poisoned is it?” he asked when she tried to hand him an uneven slice.

She didn’t answer, but since she was eating the cake too, he figured it was safe enough. Bang smiled at him around another bite. Gil leaned back with his eyes closed, content for these few moments. So maybe he wouldn’t get his wish today, but he would get them back. There was no failing in this. Until then-

Well, there was cake to eat so things couldn’t be all bad.

“Kinky,” Bang mumbled, causing him to choke on his next bite.

Okay, maybe the company could be better. He ran his finger through the frosting then flicked it across the desk at her. Bang laughed in that slightly murderous way she had.

“You’re going to pay for that, Herr Baron.”

“Worth it,” he said as a glob of frosting landed between his eyes. Bang’s eyes twinkled with mischief. At the same moment, they both leaped to their feet, reaching for more ammunition.

“It is so on,” Bang yelled.

The food fight lasted only a minute, but it would take hours to clean up his office. Gil found he didn’t even care. They collapsed onto his sofa, leaning against each other.

Bang’s smile faded. “We’ll get them back, Gil.”

His heart clenched. “How can you be so sure?” he whispered.

“Because I know you,” she said confidently like that explained everything.

They sat in silence, lost in their thoughts for a long while. Gil couldn’t remember anyone having such faith in him, and it bolstered his determination. “Thank you,” he said softly.

“For what?”

“Being here.”

Bang blushed slightly behind the layer of frosting. “Happy birthday, Gil.”

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