This is a one-shot (or rather, a linking series of them) which I made about Zelda and Manfred's relationship
It's set after Beth and Zelda get carried off by the bird Emma (though I can't remember which book that occured in)
I'm not very practised at romance and mushy stuff, but enjoy!
Zelda groggily left the enveloping darkness that her mind had occupied for the last three days and gradually swam up to the suddenly terrifying lights and sounds of consciousness. She opened her eyes, and gasped with pain as her head suddenly felt like a nail had been hammered in, second by agonizing second.
"Are you alright?" a highly familiar and comforting voice asked, threaded with worry, and she felt a hand clamp down protectively around her arm.
"My head hurts!" she wined pitifully, turning to look at the boy sitting next to her. She felt the hand on her arm slink smoothly up to her bony shoulder, and continue up till it rested on her forehead.
"That better?" he asked teasingly, smiling. She sighed and closed her eyes.
"Yes" she breathed. She hadn't just been saying it; the pain had actually become almost bearable upon his touch, much to her great relief. She wondered idly whether maybe this was because of the peculiar heat that always seemed to radiate off his body, or whether it was simply his presence that brought her that wonderful feeling of serenity, but she did not like to dwell on reasons; she had far more important things to think about.
Now she was able to think without her throbbing head stealing her every thought, she realised that, due to the lavish, old fashioned furniture and recognisable bright colour scheme, she must be in one of the Bloor's private rooms, though exactly which she had no idea. Excluding Manfred, she had been in more places behind that innocent-seeming door in the west wing than all of the students in the academy had put together, but even she hadn't seen all of them.
She could have lain there forever, in the oasis of calm and quiet, but with her ability to think had came memories that had begun to creep into her mind like armies of unwelcome insects scurrying towards a nest.
"What did they do to us?" she asked in wonder. Manfred's hand stiffened in anger and his voice went cold.
"I don't know" He was silent in brooding thought for a few seconds, then his voice took on a vengeful tone "One thing I do know, though, is that they will certainly not get away with it"
Zelda opened her eyes eagerly, knowing from Manfred's voice what she would see. She was not disappointed. His handsome face was lit up by the devious, crooked grin that she loved to see so much, and his coal black eyes glinted with the fresh sparkle of anticipation that they always wore when he was plotting something.
"What?" he said, slightly self-consciously, as his smile faded.
"You" she smirked gleefully, suddenly sitting up and winding her arms round his waist. He smiled and did the same, then leaned closer to her whispering
"I won't let anyone hurt you ever again"
Zelda perched miserably on top of her suitcase, her hands under her chin. She knew that she should really get up, as her thighs were aching under the pressure of her sharp elbows, but she simply didn't have the energy. She sighed.
"Well, doesn't someone look miserable" came a mocking voice from a considerable distance above her. She smiled for the first time that day, that week, even.
"I didn't think you would come!" she cried happily, jumping up and hugging him. He stayed frozen.
"So you're really leaving" Manfred murmured desolately, staring at the suitcase behind her.
Zelda stepped back from him, still keeping her arms round his waist, her fingers securely linked, as if trying to lock herself in that position forever. She looked down guiltily.
"Because I want to. I love maths, you know that. And taking this university course will get me closer to my dream"
"So you care more for that than me?" he said bitterly, refusing to look at her. This was a very bad sign, she thought. Manfred always looked into people's eyes: it was a habit that came out of being a hypnotiser and severely enjoying it. He only ever didn't look at people when he was upset, and when he didn't want them to see that.
"Of course not. I'll come back, I promise. And it'll be just like old times" Her voice brightened unconvincingly. Nothing they ever did could match the experiences they had had in 'old times': helping Asa scare the living daylights out of that infuriating, miserable excuse for a picture traveller in the ruins, capturing that idiotic boy, Henry…sure, they hadn't ended up well, but the pair had had the greatest fun in doing them.
"No" she froze at the icy, emotionless chill behind his voice. She wondered if Manfred was thinking the same thing.
"I…what – what do you mean?" she stammered, scarcely able to breathe. He finally turned his eyes towards her. They weren't the same intense, solemn eyes she knew and loved, they were scarily distant and surly.
"I mean that maybe its best if we don't see each other again"
"But – but – why? We can still –"
"No" he repeated, then he reached back and slowly but firmly teased her fingers apart and pushed her hands back down by her sides.
"Manfred. Manfred, you don't have to do this" she said, tears bestowing her sad blue eyes with a sorrowful shine. He took a deep breath.
"Yes. Yes, I do."
"But why?" she wailed, grabbing his hand with both of hers and interweaving their fingers, as if she could twine them together forever.
"Because you're a weakness. I can't afford weaknesses"
"This is your dad, isn't it? He's never liked me" she said sullenly, suddenly understanding.
"He does like you, it's just that….it's our...relationship that he doesn't like"
"You know why. It gets in the way of everything"
"But – but…"
"But nothing. We knew this would happen. Just accept it and move on" He reached up with his free hand and gently wiped a tear from her wet cheek. Zelda sniffed, looking down at the floor.
"I'm sorry. If this could be any other way, it would". The coldness slipped out of his voice and he was suddenly overridden with a desire. He – with some difficulty – untwisted his fingers from hers, cupped her face with his hands, gently lifting her head up, then kissed her like he never had before. Then his face twisted into austerity again, and her turned and quickly walked away, never looking back.
Zelda lay on her bed, bored. Although the challenging studies ensured her entertainment for hours, and her fellow students were both helpful and friendly despite the hostility she had initially shown them, Zelda was not enjoying herself. She missed being able to use her powers to thwart irritating do-gooders, and the thrill of creating new ways in which to do it. She missed being surrounded by people who felt exactly like her, and who understood the troubles that endowments brought. She missed the ancient building with its comforting shadows and lack of nauseatingly cheerful colours. But most of all she missed Manfred, whom she still felt a longing for even these long months after he had plunged his icy hand into her heart and dragged out every warm feeling, leaving an empty vortex in their place.
She sighed sadly and brought her knees up so that they were in line with her chin, and wrapped her arms round her legs. She had so often found that doing this gave her comfort on those dark moments when she was reminded that she was never going to see his handsome face again…
Suddenly there was an abrupt, metallic noise from behind her. It had been so quiet in her small, undecorated bedroom located at the top of the old, empty house that the unfamiliar noise made her jump, her telekinesis feeling a need to respond as well by causing the large pile of study books that were stacked precariously on top of her desk to crash to the floor. She rolled over and stretched her arm out to curl her fingers round a small object sat on her bed-side table.
As she brought it closer to her, she realised that the noise had surprised her so much because she had never received a text message since she had left Bloors so had no idea that was what her tone sounded like. This was also the reason as to why she was so puzzled, because she only kept her mobile phone on so she wouldn't miss the infuriatingly frequent occasions that students in her class would call her to enquire about a certain question or other in their homework. In fact, Zelda only put up with them calling her because it meant that she could call them when she herself needed help: not that this was very often.
Zelda flipped the phone open and brought it up to her face to see who had sent the message. The moment she had read it, she gasped and her dark blue eyes went wide in shock.
"Manfred" she whispered. She could see that her thumb was shaking slightly as it moved over to press the button that would show her the message. It paused on its way. Did she want to see this message? What would he want from her? She considered just deleting the message but knew that she could never bring herself to do it. She stabbed the button, angry with herself that the thought had even crossed her mind.
'Sorry. Go to the ruins at midnight. I'll be waiting'.
For a few blissful seconds, Zelda simply stared at the screen, as if the words were lovingly written by angels themselves. In fact it was, as far as Zelda was concerned anyway. Then she pressed the phone to her chest and bit her lip excitedly, her eyes painted with the most gleeful shimmer that they had worn in a long time.
Zelda cautiously approached the entrance to the ruins that both she and Manfred had used the most often: a secret entrance that wasn't known to anyone but the Bloor family…and her. This fact had always made her glow with pride, as it still did now, bringing forth a slightly more healthy tone to her pale complexion. Her heart was racing but she could hardly breathe: never had she been so excited yet so nervous at the same time.
Her footsteps slowed to a stop as she treaded towards the small stone archway, and she peered anxiously into the shadowy eeriness beyond. It would be just like him to leap out at her from no where with the intention of scaring her. He always had to feel like he had the advantage, no matter what the situation.
She was just considering whether she dared go in while it was so dark and – although she would never admit it – scary, when a confident, quaint voice from behind her said "Hello".
She jumped and instantaneously spun round to find herself only a few inches away from the boy who had broken her heart. As she searchingly looked up into his eyes, his arms suddenly whipped up and he gripped her elbows with his skeletal fingers.
"Scared?" he asked, a flicker of tease in his voice despite the seriousness of his expression. Zelda savoured a moment gazing into his eyes, before shaking her head. Despite the air of confidence that eternally surrounded him, she could see that underneath he was nervous too.
"But you've got to tell me – why am I here?" He looked away.
"I…I…made…" He dropped his arms and sighed "I made a mistake, Zel. I thought I could do without you" Zelda smiled and relaxed in the reassurance that he wanted to see her for exactly the reason she had hoped he would. She knew he was telling the truth, for Manfred did not lightly admit to his mistakes, and thinking back to the text, he had even said that he was sorry, which was almost unheard of for him.
"Oh!" She exclaimed, as she noticed something when he turned his gaze back to her. She reached up and gently stroked the faded scar that ran straight across his right cheek, ending just below his left eye. "What happened?" she gasped as she began to detect the numerous faint lines of other previous scars.
"The cats" he murmured darkly, his voice threaded with bitterness and a hunger for revenge. She looked at him, eyes innocently wide, burning with questions, but she could see that they were questions he was not willing to answer. She directed her thoughts somewhere else instead.
"Your father doesn't know I'm here, does he?" Manfred gave a mischievous smile and shook his head. She couldn't hold herself back anymore. She threw herself at him, wrapping her arms round his skinny frame tightly, almost crying with happiness as he did the same.
Even if you hated it, please review :)