Actions

Work Header

i've walked with you

Chapter Text

 

     She finds herself sitting at a conference table in a room with about 15 or so other people. There’s a person at the head of the table, clearly leading the group in a discussion on some topic she is not certain of, but the instructor’s face never seems to be in focus. As she averts her eyes to the others, she realizes that the same can be said for them. She blinks quickly, willing herself to find her bearings, and tries again, frustratingly yielding the same results. The voice speaking (a man’s, she thinks) is distorted in her ears, and the few words she’s able to pick up sound foreign.

            Before she has ample time to work herself into a proper state of panic, she vaguely hears what sounds like a bell, and the people beside her rise from their seats and begin to exit the room. It takes her a moment to realize that she’s followed suit and is in the midst of the throng of people shuffling through the door, and yet another to process that she is not in control of her actions. Her feet lead her away from the others, a few quick turns down dimly lit corridors until she’s standing in front of a door. She knocks swiftly, entering after an affirmative phrase is given from the other side. She finds that the voice belongs to a man, one of high importance judging by the size of the room, and unlike the people from earlier, she’s able to discern his features easily. His white hair and crinkles around his eyes almost seem familiar, but not quite.

“Miss Spellman, what can I do for you?” The man asks, and she doesn’t have a chance to question this unfamiliar title because she hears herself speaking.

            “I’d like to propose my advancement into second year classes after Solstice break, Your Excellency.”

            “Second year classes? My dear, it is required that students finish the classes they are currently enrolled in before advancing into higher levels.”

            “I am familiar with the rules, sir. But if you would admit me to partake in a placement exam, I am confident that you will be pleased with my results and see fit to advance me anyhow.”

            “Is that so?”

            “It is, Your Excellency. If I may speak frankly, I am becoming rather bored in my current seminars, seeing as how I finished the required readings within the first quarter and don’t have access to higher materials.” She hears the man chuckle, watches him shuffle through a drawer in his desk before extracting a stack of papers.

            “If I had any doubts about you and your brother being kin, they have certainly vanished,” he says, and she inwardly furrows her brows. Brother? “Take this to Mrs. Beazley at the front office. Have her find a suitable time and proctor for your exam, preferably before this Friday. I’d rather not have extra paperwork during the break.”

            “Yes, Your Excellency,” she says, taking the papers from his outstretched hand. “Thank you very much.” She turns to leave, catching a glance of herself in a mirror running along the wall. Had she been in control of her movements, she’s certain she would have dropped the papers in her hands, because she very nearly did not recognize the woman staring back at her. She was at least 20 years younger, but that wasn’t what startled her the most. Her strawberry hair was a mess of curls and styled off to the side, and she adorned makeup dark as night around her eyes and blood red lipstick. She’s a bit put off that she’s not able to recall exactly how she’d looked when she was younger, but she’s absolutely certain that she never wore makeup as dark as this. No, for as long as she can remember, she’s preferred soft shades and rosy cheeks, and very rarely has she ever allowed for her hair quite so… wild. But she’s not afforded a moment to spin these thoughts through her mind because she’s leaving the office as quickly as she came, her body perusing the hallways like it’s second nature.

            She’s walked to a courtyard, and despite her increasing confusion, she has to marvel at the beauty spread out before her. There are flowers, hundreds and hundreds of them presented to her by light of several lit torches and the seemingly endless amounts of stars above her. There are a few other students wandering, but unlike the man with whom she’d earlier spoken, their faces pass by in a series of blurs. She finds herself turning, her head craning to make out a figure sitting on a bench in the distance. And she doesn’t know why, doesn’t know much of anything at the present moment, but she feels her lips quirk up in the beginnings of a smile and a warm feeling unlike anything she’s familiar with begins to spread throughout her chest.

            She knows this person; that’s the only thing of which she’s certain. Her feet bring her closer and closer until finally she’s standing before this man, arm outstretched and fingers preparing to tap lightly on his shoulder, a beaming smile present on her lips. At her touch, his head turns to look at her, and she’s allowed the slightest glimpse before she’s gone altogether.

 

 

     She shoots up quickly, one hand reaching up to press against her racing heart and the other clutching the fabric of her blanket with white knuckles. She surveys her whereabouts briefly before allowing herself to swallow in relief. She’s home, on her couch, in her living room. In a place she recognizes. She stretches out her arms simply because she can, swings her legs down to the floor and presses her toes into the plush carpet beneath her.

     “Just a dream,” she whispers to the empty room. She repeats it in her mind like a mantra, not sure whether she’s trying to calm or convince herself. It had seemed so real, like somehow, she’d walked those halls before, been in that school. Not to mention that man in the courtyard- she was so sure she knew him. He had felt so familiar, even without a proper view of his face. She presses her hands lightly together, remembering the feeling of his jacket clad shoulder underneath her fingertips. And that other man- the principal, she assumes. He had called her Miss Spellman.

     “Addie?” The voice sounds abruptly throughout the room, making her jump, her hand finding its way back to rest on her chest.

     “Yes?” she replies, willing her voice to sound calm.

     “What are you doing down here?” The voice asks, and she turns to see Robert making his way toward her in his pajamas. “It’s midnight, come to bed.” He reaches for her hand and pulls her up to him, laying the blanket back down on the couch.

     “Yes, I must’ve dozed off down here,” she says easily enough, sliding on her slippers and allowing him to tuck her under his shoulder and lead her toward the staircase.

     “You’ve been having trouble sleeping lately,” he says, and she finds herself agreeing. “Maybe call Dr. Porter in the morning, see if he can fit you in.” She hums noncommittally, running her fingers across the banister as they climb the stairs. Then, another thought strikes her.

     “Robert?”

     “Yes, dear?”

     “Do you know where we’ve put any old photo albums? I can’t seem to remember,” she says, and she doesn’t know if it’s her imagination or if he tenses briefly for a moment before relaxing again.

     “I’m not sure, love. I’ll see if I can dig some up in the morning, how’s that sound?” he replies, and she smiles her thanks up at him. He excuses himself to the bathroom, her shrugging off her robe and walking over to the vanity. She runs her fingers through her shoulder length hair before pressing her fingers to her lips. The images of wild curls and bright lipstick run through her mind when she drifts back to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

To her credit, the second time Adeline arrives in the dream world, she retrieves her bearings commendably quickly. She’s sitting cross legged on a blanket in a grassy area, the courtyardshe notes, next to a man who, despite his uncanny familiarity, is not the man from the previous dream. There are books spread out between them, five or six thick, leather-bound books that give her a headache just from looking at them. But Dream Her seems to have taken quite an interest in them if the plethora of highlighted passages or haphazardly scribbled notes in the margins are any indication. Currently, however, the books are not of much import judging from the manner of conversation between her and this man. On second thought, “man” might be a bit of a stretch; he doesn’t appear to be much older than in his early twenties. He calls himself Edward.

“You’ve placed into third year classes, Zelds?” The disbelief in his voice is undeniable, and the way he says “Zelds”, like she’s been on the receiving end of it a thousand times before despite first hearing the name today, and the pride emanating from his pleased smile leaves her feeling warm. “You’ve barely begun your first!”

“I know,” she hears herself saying, reaching down to pluck a grape from the inside of a wicker basket. “Apparently, stealing those notes from your years as a student actually payed off.”

“You took my notes without permission?” He asks, his voice taking on a note of seriousness. “Zelda, you know that studying materials above your level is forbidden, not to mention oftentimes deadly.” Deadly?

“Oh, relax, brother,” she says, and her heart skips a beat. “It’s not like I’d actually practice it. Although, there was a necromancy spell in one of the chapters that caught my eye…”

Necromancy spells? A brother? Apparently, her subconscious resented her only child upbringing so much that Dream Her, Zelda, conjured herself a sibling. Now as for the necromancy, she has no logical explanation. Perhaps she should lay off the nighttime television for a while.

“You’d best be joking around, sister. Those spells are dangerous- not even to be practiced by the most esteemed witches and warlocks. If one went badly, it could bring about-”

“Disease, famine, death. YesEdward, thank you for stating the obvious,” she interrupts, and she inwardly chides herself for the bad manners. In no circumstances would she ever conduct herself so distastefully in the waking world, but here she has no choice but to sit back and listen to whatever nonsense was being thrown around. Besides, something tells her that this Edward is used to his sister’s antics and quick tongue.

“I’m serious, Zelda. If something were to happen to you…”

“I’ll be fine, Edward,” she finds herself reassuring him, moving a hand over to lightly squeeze his. “I promise.” The look that passes between them strikes something inside her, and in that moment, there is no doubt in her mind that this man is indeed her brother, and she feels an overwhelmingly strong need to protect him at all costs, as if some terrible doom might be lurking just around the corner. But when she releases his hand from hers, the feeling subsides, and she remembers herself. This man, whomever he may be in this dream, is no more than a figment conjured up by her own self. Adeline Ingram is an only child. She has no siblings. No family, for that matter.

“On a lighter note,” Edward says, “Professor Blackwood has asked me to convene with you on a matter of utmost import.”

“Oh?” She says, and the cool way in which the word slips from her lips is in no way any indication of how quickly her heart has begun to beat. That name, Professor Blackwood. There’s something about it that she can’t place her finger on.

“Since the High Priest announced the good news to the faculty of your timely advancement in your studies, Faustus has expressed interest in taking you on as an apprentice,” he explains, and she feels as though she might explode on the spot, although she doesn’t have the faintest idea as to why. She feels herself cross her legs and smooth down the black skirt she’s wearing, and she knows that Zelda is nervous.

“Is that right?” She pops another grape in her mouth. “And why did he not see fit to ask me himself?”

“I think he wanted my blessing,” he replies. “Wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest, seeing as how you’re my sister.”

“Oh, please,” she scoffs. “I am a witch, first and foremost. My kin should have no bearing on my studies.”

“Which is exactly what I told him. If you accept the apprenticeship, you begin weekly meetings with him after mid semester exams,” he says easily, and she has to struggle against the smile threatening to form on her lips.

“I see.” She pushes a few rebellious strands of hair back behind her ear, and honestly, this is why Adeline opts for more sensible hairstyles. “I’ll think it over.” But somehow, she already knows that Zelda’s made her decision, and she feels joy radiating from her body.

“Speaking of Professor Blackwood, I believe his seminar begins soon.”

“It seems so,” she says, gathering up her belongings into her bag. Before she turns to leave, she spares one last glance at the man. “Oh, and brother? For that necromancy spell, does the breed of goat have any special significance? The text didn’t specify.”

 

 

            The location for the seminar is on the opposite end of the school, so Adeline is able to get a good glimpse of the campus. From what she’s gathered, Zelda is part of a cult. The Church of Night, or so she sees written on the stone hanging outside what she can only imagine is the Chapel. She had never been incredibly religious, but her other persona partaking in satanic practices seems overkill.

She arrives to the seminar early, and she finds herself feeling nervous, though she can’t discern whether that’s on behalf of Zelda or her. It appears as though Zelda’s feelings are beginning to seep into her subconscious, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate herself from them, especially when Zelda begins reading over notes from the last class and she finds her head swimming with information that seems both familiar and foreign to her. She doesn’t have a chance to ponder this before all of the other students’ voices go quiet and the sound of someone walking into the seminar room fills the silence. Even before looking up from her book, she knows who this person is. She can feel him.

“Good afternoon, class,” he greets them, and her eyes fly up to him. His gaze passes over her for a few moments, the smallest hint of a smile on his lips, before continuing his scan of the class. “I hope you all have begun preparing for your midyear examinations. Am I correct?”

“Yes, Professor Blackwood,” she says along with the rest of the class, but unlike the groans that follow from some of her classmates, she knows that Zelda is more than prepared for her exam. In fact, she feels excitement from the prospect of practicing magic alongside this man. For some reason, she’s drawn to him.

“Glad to hear it,” he says. “Now, shall we begin with last minute preparations?”

 

 

When the class ends, she packs her bag and slips it onto her shoulder before hearing Zelda’s name being called from being her.

Zelda Spellman,” a boyish voice calls, and she turns to face him. One glance at the snide look on his face leaves her feeling disgusted.

“Frederick,” she hears herself addressing him, feeling her face contort into something resembling a grimace.

“I hear you’re the big shot on campus now,” he says, inching his way closer to her. She jerks her head away when he lifts an obnoxious finger to toy with one of her curls. “Maybe you and I could get together one night and practice a few spells.” From the frankly ridiculous way he was staring at her, she knows that he’s implying they practice more than just spells. She feels herself clench her jaw, sure that she’s about to tell him exactly he can stick those ugly fingers of his when she hears a voice sound from being her.

“Miss Spellman,” Professor Blackwood says, and when she turns to him, she sees his narrowed eyes gazing coolly at the boy next to her. “Do you have a moment?”

“Of course, Professor Blackwood,” she says sweetly, throwing a menacing smile to Frederick before readjusting her bag and making her way to the professor. She smiles a genuine smile when she sees the boy saunter out of the classroom, a grimace marring his face. She turns her attention back to the professor, noting an expression on his face that she can’t quite place.

“And how are we doing today, Miss Spellman?” The way he says her title, like there’s something bordering humorous about it, gives her a jolt.

“Doing very well, sir. And yourself?”

“Likewise,” he says, leaning back to rest on the desk. “I trust Frederick wasn’t giving you any trouble.” The slight edgy tone that he’s taken does not go unnoticed. She turns to conduct a quick sweep of the classroom, ensuring that everyone had indeed departed before she looks back at him, a sly smirk on her lips.

“Surely you don’t think I can’t handle a few child warlocks, do you, Faustus?”

Faustus. Faustus Blackwood.It feels like she’s said that name a million times over, but the way he grins devilishly at her makes her stomach clench.

“Of course not. Forgive me, Miss Spellman.” She throws him a leveling gaze. “Zelda,” he corrects, his voice lowering slightly. And Satan help her now, if he doesn’t stop talking with that velvet accent and looking at her with those blue, blue eyes, she’s going to have her way with him on that desk in this very public seminar room.

Oh, for fuck’s sake, she thinks, chiding herself on her inability to even pretend to not be attracted to this man whom her own imagination conjured up. She makes a promise to herself to immediately cease all nighttime television from now on.

“Now, on to more pressing matters, Edward told me that you wish to take me on as an apprentice,” she says.

“That is correct. Professor Spellman has assured me that it would not prove any conflict of interest,” he says, and she feels herself repress an eyeroll. Seriously, her manners need some work. “If it’s any indication from your class performances and examination results, I believe you to harbor great potential.”

“Oh, Faustus,” she leans forward, feeling power in the way his eyes widen ever so slightly at the close proximity. She raises a hand to his face, lightly running the backs of her fingers down his cheek. “You have no idea.”

 

 

This time when she wakes, she’s considerably less shaken up, though her heart is beating rather quickly, and she swears that the backs of her fingers are burning. She doesn’t know where she conjured up such a man, or where in heaven’s name she came up with names like Zelda or Faustus, but dream or not, he had certainly felt real. And those eyes- she’s certain she’s never seen anything bluer. Not to mention his voice. She almost feels guilty, shivers running down her back at the thought of some other man’s voice while her husband sleeps beside her.

Recognizing the beginnings of a headache pressing against her temples, she reaches for a water bottle near her bed. She doesn’t feel the burn of her husband’s gaze on her back as she returns the water to the nightstand. Nor does she notice the time blinking from the clock on her dresser. 12:04.

Chapter Text

“I’ve scheduled you an appointment with a sleep therapist,” Robert says the next morning, popping two pieces of bread into the toaster. She’s sitting at the kitchen island, and after attempting to thumb through a novel one of her friends had recommended to her and finding she couldn’t stomach reading further than the second chapter (the main character is absolutely abhorrent ), she’s opted for the newspaper.

            “Why would you do that?” She asks, narrowing her eyes at him from behind the paper. She’s perfectly capable of scheduling her own appointments, and even if he had made the appointment in an attempt to show his love and concern, he missed the mark.

            “Because you’ve been having trouble sleeping lately,” he says simply, cracking an egg into the frying pan. “And I know you wouldn’t have made it yourself.”

            “You don’t know that,” she counters, but after the disbelieving look he shoots her, she relents. “Maybe I wouldn’t have, but you still should have asked me before making it.”

            “I’ll keep that in mind for next time,” he says, flipping an egg and sprinkling some cheese on top. “It’s Monday at 3:30. I’ll text you the address.” She hums her acknowledgment, thanking him when he plates her food and slides it over to her. “Don’t forget you have lunch with Ramona and Grace later,” he says, popping a quick kiss on her lips and heading for the stairs to change.

            “I won’t,” she says, furrowing her eyebrows as she watches him leave. It’s not that he isn’t observant in general, but this newfound attentiveness is a bit odd. She decides to not put too much thought into it and goes about getting ready for her day instead.

 

            Ramona works at the local high school with Adeline, teaching chemistry to a bunch of delinquent children. On second thought, teaching might be too generous; Adeline is fairly certain that the daily curriculum deals more with destruction rather than instruction if the tales of explosions and fires in the chem lab from her students are anything to go by. That’s where she’d met her, in fact. Ramona had been in the faculty bathroom, furiously swiping a powder brush over her slightly charred eyebrow when Adeline had walked in, offering an eyebrow pencil to stencil in the missing brow, and the two had been inseparable since.

            As for Grace, well she isn’t sure exactly where she’d met her, or even when, for that matter. She’s known her for as long as she can remember, their weekly tête-à-têtes often acting as more of a therapy session than anything for Adeline. Her friend has a rather odd habit of speaking with outdated phrases, as if she’d lived through an older era, but the ginger woman has never doubted her wisdom. There’s not a thing in this world that she keeps from Grace.

            When she arrives to the coffee shop, her friends are already waiting for her in their corner booth. They seem to be speaking intently about something, hunched over their untouched drinks, but when they notice her presence, smooth smiles slip onto their faces.

            “Adeline!” Ramona speaks first, leaning across the table to kiss her friend’s cheek after she slides into the booth. She smiles politely back, eyes narrowing and flitting between the two of them.

            “Is everything alright?” she asks.

            “Perfectly copacetic, darling,” Grace replies, smile perfectly in place. Something in her eyes tells Adeline that this is not the case, but having nothing else to go on, she decides to let it go.

            “I was just telling Grace about the havoc Owen’s been wreaking in class,” Ramona adds, playing with the straw in her iced tea and pushing her mess of dark hair out of her face.

            “I’m very familiar with his moronic tendencies,” Adeline says, rolling her eyes and recalling the frequents interruptions courtesy of her least favorite student. “There’s a reason he’s been expelled from his last two schools.”

            “Three,” Grace says nonchalantly, eliciting furrowed brows from her companions. “You’ve mentioned him before,” she adds quickly, raising her mug to her crimson lips and taking a sip. Adeline doesn’t recall ever discussing that particular student with Grace prior to now, but her memory has been a little hazy lately.

            “Of course,” she says, shaking her head slightly and reaching for her purse, pulling out a Tylenol bottle. Her headaches had been increasing in frequency over the last couple of days, and she’s finding herself going through more medicine than she’s accustomed, not that it seems to do any good.

            “Are you feeling under the weather?” Grace asks, eyeing the pills before they disappear behind glossy lips.

            “Been sleeping okay?” Ramona chimes in, and the narrowed look the brunette receives from Grace does not go unnoticed by Adeline.

            “Has Robert said anything to you?”

            “No,” Grace says quickly. “You seem tired, is all.”

            “Well, actually, I haven’t been sleeping as well as I usually do,” she admits.

            “Oh? Any particular reason why?” Grace inquires, tilting her head slightly in sympathetic gesture, and Adeline is tempted to reveal her recent dreams to her two friends. But even she doesn’t know what to make of them, and she’d rather not have her only friends thinking she’s a nut case, so she decides against it.

            “No, not that I can think of,” she says. “But Robert’s made me an appointment with a sleep therapist. A Dr. Ainsworth, I think.”

            “He’s wonderful ,” Ramona says, and Grace nods her head in agreement.

            “Yes, a sublime creature,” Grace adds. “Any troubles you suffer from, he’ll be sure to remedy.”

            “That’s great,” she says, and if a hint of sarcasm creeps into her voice, well it’s really not her fault. She came here with the hopes of relaxing with a couple of friends, not to discuss her health. She knows they mean well, but she can’t help feeling as though things had been off lately, and she longs for a sense of normalcy.

            She wouldn’t come to recognize the irony in that for quite some time.

 

 

            The rest of the day passes by uneventfully. She gets a fair amount of grading done, reading over her students’ essays and feeling increasingly more grateful for the few good eggs amidst the hoard of eggs who couldn’t give a shit about their educational careers. Robert cooks her favorite dinner and pours them both a glass of something ridiculously expensive, putting on a record from their collection after dinner and lighting a fire. He throws an odd look her way when she suggests they opt out of their usual watching of Criminal Minds before they turn in for the night, but he doesn’t question it. She tries to keep the image of blue eyes and dark hair out of her head as she prepares for sleep, but she can’t help hoping that he’ll make an appearance once she closes her eyes.

 

 

            She notices the difference in how she feels instantly. Gone is her headache, her reservations and her doubts. As Zelda Spellman, she exudes confidence, has a purpose in life that she can feel in the way she carries herself. She’s becoming more comfortable in this skin than she can ever remember being in the waking world. She recognizes the scent of the Academy, earthy and sweet, with a hint of pine, although she isn’t sure exactly where in the Academy she’s manifested.

            “Punctual as ever, Miss Spellman.” It’s him, of course. A smirk pulls at her lips as she rises to greet him, and she realizes that they must be in his office. “Are you ready to begin?”

            “Quite,” she says, reaching to take his offered hand in one of her own. The scratch from one of his manicured nails and the subsequent shiver that follows are the last things she’s conscious of before they’re ripped from his office. She’s jolted by the sudden shift of atmosphere, falling slightly into him as she regains her bearings. She delights in the feel of his hand resting on the curve of her lower back before he pulls away, and only then does she realize where they are.

            “The courtyard?” She asks, reaching up to push away a curl that it had fallen loose during the transition.

            “Familiar territory,” he shrugs, pulling a few items out of his bag, one of which being a blanket that he promptly spreads over the dewy grass.

            “So,” she drawls, watching as he sheds his coat and lays it on the blanket, “where are we beginning? I’ve been absolutely itching to cast something since we went on break.”

            “I figured we’d start with the basics,” he says, pulling a scrap of paper out of his pocket and handing it to her. She scoffs as she reads through the list.

            “Parlor tricks, Faustus? Really?” She laments, rolling her eyes as she hands the paper back to him. The amused grin on his face is absolutely infuriating.

            “Sometimes the simplest magic works best,” he replies.

            “Fine,” she gives. Hiking up her skirt slightly, she sinks down to the blanket, grabbing a bowl that he’s laid out for her. She uncaps a water bottle and pour its contents into it before rolling up her sleeves and closing her eyes. When she begins muttering something, Adeline feels a pull in her gut. Suddenly, it’s like all of the blood in her veins has gone into overdrive, and a feeling which can only be described as euphoric flows throughout her body. She’s dripping with power , and everything within her feels warm and at peace. This is right , she thinks. This is what she was created to do.

            Her chanting ends abruptly, and she feels specks of cold accumulate on her face. Looking up, she sees that it’s snowing, but this is no ordinary snow. Flakes of every color are drifting down from the night sky, casting a brilliant glow over the courtyard. She did this.

            “How naïve of me to believe you’d do this by the book,” she hears her companion chuckle, seeing him reach out a hand and collect some of the multicolored flakes on his palm. The top of his head looks like a rainbow threw up on him, and she laughs, thinking how she probably looks no different.

            “I thought maybe you’d appreciate a little color in your life,” she says cheekily, peering at him through lashes coated with snow. He’s giving her this look, one that makes her heart pound so loudly in her chest, she’s afraid he might hear it. And in that moment, she wishes to never wake up. She wants to stay in this dream world, with this dream man covered in rainbow snow who looks at her like he’s never seen a sight quite so magnificent in his life.

            He clears his throat, effectively breaking the spell, and the snow ceases falling as quickly as it had begun. She rises from the ground, shaking the snow from her body and nearing him. She raises a hand to brush some snow from his cheek, taking pleasure in the way his eyes fall shut and his breath hitches at the contact,

            “On to Encouragement, then?” She says softly, sliding past him toward a garden, shoulder just barely knocking against his as she does. She hears him mutter something unintelligible as she kneels beside a bed of roses, caressing a petal between her fingers and breathing out a soft incantation. She feels the power well up inside her again, and when she opens her eyes, she sees that the roses have bloomed. Full and bright and a brilliant shade of red. She rises slowly, marveling at their beauty. She almost thinks they’re glowing.

            “Beautiful ,” she hears from just behind her. He’s moved closer. So close, in fact, that if she were to lean back ever so slightly, she would be pressed against the front of him. And she doesn’t know if it’s the magic-induced high that she’s coming down from influencing her decisions, Zelda’s decisions, but that’s exactly what she does.

            Her body melds against his like something divine had sculpted them for this purpose and this purpose alone. She lets her eyes fall shut, drops her head back to rest in the swell of his neck and angles it upward so her temple is pressing against his jaw. She feels it clench, his breathing quickening to match her own, and she brings a hand behind her to cup his face. She feels a hand curling around her wrist, not resisting, just possessing , and she takes this as incentive enough to turn in his arms so that she’s looking up into his eyes. Those blue orbs have grown infinitely darker, and the hand that had earlier rested on her back returns, firmer this time. He drops his head almost imperceptibly closer, and she lifts her hands to lay against his cheeks, rising on the balls of her feet until they’re millimeters apart and practically breathing each other’s air.

            “Zelda ,” he breathes out, and the warm breath coming out so starkly in contrast to the cold, night air combined with the gravelly way he whispers her name makes the decision for her. She closes the distance, sealing her lips over his in a swift motion. The hand that was resting on her back is now pulling her closer to him, his other snaking up until he has a fistful of her golden hair. She smiles into his lips, clutching the fabric of his shirt and pulling him flush against her. At a particularly delicious pull against her hair, she lets out a soft moan, and that’s all he needs to slip his tongue into her mouth. Any hesitation she might’ve once felt at the prospect of kissing her former professor falls to the ground alongside her coat which he swiftly divests her of. Her hands find the top button of his shirt, fingers working furiously to undo it while his mouth sucks against a divot of her collarbone.

            They stumble backward to the blanket, her hands pausing their mission in favor of clutching his shirt and pushing him down until he’s spread out before her. She takes the opportunity to sink down until she’s on top of him, her skirt hitched up around her waist, one leg on either side of his hips. He rises up to meet her, resuming his assault on her mouth while she works to relieve him of his shirt. She becomes frustrated with the buttons quickly, opting to simply rip his shirt open instead, buttons popping off and flying to the ground. He growls into her mouth, teeth biting down into her bottom lip just hard enough to break skin and she groans, rocking down on him as her hands trace his bare chest and tasting blood.

            “Zelda,” he gets out after a few minutes of her rocking feverishly above him, and Satan she’s never felt more alive in her life. She can only imagine how terribly wrecked she looks, blouse unbuttoned to reveal dark splotches from her neck to her chest, lip bleeding and hair a tangled mess of curls. But she knows that voice, and it isn’t his for the love of Satan, I have to have you right here in this courtyard voice. That’s his hesitant voice, his second thoughts voice. And Satan damn them both if she finally has Professor Blackwood, Faustus, writhing beneath her, exactly where she’s wanted him since the moment she first laid eyes on him, and he stops them. So she reaches a hand up to his neck, gripping tightly, fingernails threatening to break skin, and moves her mouth down his exposed chest, leaving sloppy kisses in her wake.

            “Zelda,” he tries, voice strained and needy, but one of his hands pulling against the one at his throat has her unlatching her lips with a pop and looking up at him.

            “Stop talking, Faustus,” she croons, leaning up to kiss him. It’s all teeth and spit, but apparently, it’s not enough to silence him. Or stop him from picking her up and physically removing her body from his.

            “What in Satan’s name are you doing?” She spits out, attempting to level her breathing and not sound like she’s just had the ride of her life. Because she hasn’t. Not yet, anyways.

            “Edward,” is all he says. “We can’t, you’re Edward’s sister. You’re my student…”

            “Was your student,” she corrects, feeling anger begin to boil in her stomach.

            “But you’re still a student, Zelda. And I’m a professor, and it’s simply not appropriate…”

            “Oh, save me the morality speech, Faustus. Everyone on this campus knows just how appropriately you conduct yourself around other students,” she says, watching his face morph into something resembling indignation. She feels her face flush and knows she has to get out of there before hot tears reveal her disappointment to him. “But fine, Professor Blackwood, have it your way. I’ll see you next week.”

            “Zelda, wait,” he tries, but his hand barely makes contact with one of hers before she’s gone, exhibiting a power neither had been aware she possesses.