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the body will remember

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It’s cold out, even for December in Greendale. Zelda has half a mind to think that the snow will never stop falling, that it’ll build and build until it swallows up everything and she’ll wind up living out her days in a perpetual snow globe. She keeps the fire burning in the hearth and brews kettle after kettle of hot tea, but it’s not enough to drive out the ever-present chill that’s taken root in her gut. If Zelda were the sort for self-pity, she would say it feels remarkably like loneliness.

 

Ambrose is in Europe with Prudence, tracking Blackwood across mountain ranges and down into the villages. Sabrina stays at the academy most nights, and Hilda at Doctor Cee’s. That leaves Zelda alone in a house with entirely too many rooms and walls that can never manage to seal in the warmth. She stays busy easily enough during the day; being the first High Priestess to date of a coven still in the ground stages is, to put it bluntly, a lot of fucking work. There are class curriculums to be reworked and prospective students to be interviewed and deep-seated patriarchal traditions to be overturned. It’s exhausting, and some days she feels as though she’ll never be through playing catch up, but it’s nice to feel needed. And then she goes home to a tumbler of whiskey for dinner and pounds her way through cigarette after cigarette, chasing a heat that never comes.

 

December 25thsneaks up on her, with Sabrina not being around enough to insist on decking the halls and whatnot, and the kitchen counters are void of the typical onslaught from Hilda’s incessant baking, so it had been rather easy for the Solstice season to slip under her radar. Sabrina comes flying through in a tizzy of red the evening of the 23rd, throwing clothes haphazardly into a bag and babbling endlessly about things that Zelda only vaguely grasps, but she sits on the girl’s bed and drinks it in all the same. There had been a time, in the not-so-distant past, where Zelda would brace herself every time her niece opened her mouth, sure that whatever would spill from her lips would bring about unneeded drama. But that felt like eons ago, and the waters of today aren’t nearly so turbulent. She can’t pinpoint the exact moment that this change unearthed itself, but she finds herself missing those days. The ones with a household of people turning to her for guidance, for comfort. For warmth.

 

They decide on the 26thfor a family gathering, Sabrina and Hilda each having their respective engagements the day of the 25th, and Zelda musters up enough perspective to be grateful. They care for her, she knows it to be true. She can’t be angry with them for cultivating other relationships, for having others to whom they turn when once they turned to her. She isn’t angry. She’s just cold.

 

Solstice day passes unremarkably, and apart from phones call from Sabrina and Hilda, she speaks to no one for the duration of it. She gives up working on her manifesto at 4, trading in a pen for a glass of the oldest whiskey on the shelf. It is a holiday, after all. She’s comfortably buzzed within the hour, a record droning in the background if only to disrupt the suffocating silence. When the doorbell sounds, she almost thinks she imagines it.

 

She slips her heels on, downs the rest of the amber liquid in her glass, and makes her way to the front door. She steels herself before pulling it open.

 

“Ms. Wardwell?” The words sound raw leaving her lips, disappearing into the stiflingly cold evening with a puffy cloud. She watches as the woman’s eyes widen almost comically, an ungloved hand coming up to push a stray hair behind a pink tipped ear. She’s pulled the dark tresses into a low knot that sits just above her neck, but there are errant strands that must’ve been tugged out by the wind and are falling into her eyes. Her tongue darts out to wet a chapped, worry-worn lip, and as far as Zelda can tell, there isn’t a stitch of makeup on her face. So different, Zelda muses, from the wild-maned creature she had come to recognize as Lilith.

 

“Ms. Spellman! Hello,” she greets, a mess of fidgeting fingers and darting eyes. “Sabrina invited me round for Christmas dinner. I assumed she told you, but-”

 

“That’s tomorrow,” the witch interrupts, the familiar spark of annoyance rearing its faithful head in her temples. She folds her arms protectively over her middle, willing the woman to get back into her car and go back to wherever she came from. Although… “Did you walk here?”

 

“Oh, heavens no,” she says hurriedly, and Zelda forces a grimace from materializing on her face at the phrase. “I had a work colleague drop me at the top there. My car’s been giving me trouble.”

 

“I see,” Zelda says, watching the woman before her fold into herself, rubbing her arms against the chill. She allows her to struggle silently for a second more before sighing and stepping back into the home, a crook of a defined eyebrow the only invitation she’s willing to put forth.

 

“Oh, I couldn’t impose…”

 

“How exactly would you plan to get home, Ms. Wardwell?” At that, the woman’s hands still their incessant fumbling. “Get inside, before you catch your death.”

 

More whiskey is poured, a glass exchanges hands, and Zelda finds herself sat at the kitchen table while the brunette flitters through her kitchen, pulling out spices and cooking ware that Zelda didn’t know she owned. She had steeled herself for an evening of unpleasantries, but what followed was surprisingly less revolting than she’d originally imagined it would be. She talks, and she talks, but she doesn’t expect much from Zelda, for which she is immensely grateful. Sometimes, her eyes will glaze over, breathing out a frustrated sigh as though she were trying to conjure up something that’s on the tip of her brain but that she can never manage to grasp. She’ll shake herself soon enough, attempting an airy laugh that always falls short of being authentic. Zelda tries to not think too deeply about this.

 

They talk about Sabrina, mostly, about her transfer to a private school a town over. The Wardwell woman furrows her brows as she plates chicken and green beans, casts a sideways glance at Zelda that causes the little hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end, but if she doesn’t buy the story, she doesn’t say so.

 

She’s a good cook, doesn’t even dry out the chicken the way Zelda always manages to, and it strikes her that this is nice. She supposes it could be that she’s midway through her fourth glass of whiskey, or maybe she’s simply been deprived of human contact as of late, but she finds herself smiling at Ms. Wardwell’s attempts at humor, a throaty chuckle sounding as she listens to the other woman’s anecdotes concerning what teaching a throng of hormonal teenagers actually entails. The smile falls from her lips swiftly when her hand is being snatched up, fork falling to the ceramic with a loud clank. She attempts to extract it to no avail; the Wardwell woman has a vicelike grip on her wrist, one finger in particular drawing her focus.

 

“Are you married?” Blue eyes flash with surprise, and Zelda doesn’t know what she had been expecting, but that certainly wasn’t it. With a sharp tug, she wriggles out of the grip, covering the offending hand with her other.

 

“I beg your pardon?” she asks incredulously, placing a cigarette between her lips and lighting it up.

 

“I’m sorry, it’s just,” she laughs lightly, seemingly regaining her sense of propriety but pushing through anyhow. “It’s just you have a tan line, right where a wedding band would go.” This has Zelda knotting her brows together, drawing on her cigarette and eyeing the woman wearily.

 

“You’re very observant for a history teacher,” she says, not unkindly. She watches a blush rise to the apples of her cheeks, but she’s not given a response. “I was, yes.”

 

“When?” she asks, and seeing the expression on Zelda’s face, adds, “I’m sorry. I know it’s probably not my place.” A hum of agreeance from Zelda. “I just didn’t know. Where is he?”

 

Zelda considers lying. It would be rather fun to paint Faustus as the egotistical manwhore that he was, list off his more revolting tendencies and finish it off with her leaving him when she found him screwing a younger woman on his desk. She wouldn’t even have to embellish much. Instead, she finds herself saying,

 

“Dead.” She doesn’t add the hopefully that’s scratching against the roof of her mouth, but the Wardwell woman chokes all the same, actually chokes on the whiskey attempting to slide down her throat, and she raises a napkin to the corners of her mouth, a mortified expression contorting her features. Zelda fights the urge to smirk.

 

“Oh God, I am so sorry, Zelda.”

 

“Don’t be.” Startled blue eyes connect with unphased green, blink a few times before she clears her throat.

 

“Not a nice man?” And Zelda does laugh at that, though it’s borderline humorless. She hums deep in her throat, tilting the rest of the liquid in the tumbler so it pours into her mouth, and stands to fetch them refills.

 

“Not exactly, no.” She tops off the brunette’s glass while she has the bottle in hand, though judging by the telltale flush in her cheeks, Zelda knows she probably shouldn’t. Mary Wardwell does not strike her as the type to indulge frequently, but who is she to deny a guest in her home?

 

“I had a fiancé,” she says, bringing the glass to her lips. “He died, too.”

 

Something twists inside Zelda’s gut. “Recently?” she asks, but when she looks into the eyes staring into hers, she knows.

 

“Yes,” she confirms. “Very recently.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Zelda says, and she means it. She reaches a hand to bridge the distance between them, places it softly atop one of the other woman’s. She’s met with a tired smile, and it’s only then that Zelda notices the deep indentions carved under her eyes. Zelda doesn’t ask how he died; she doubts the other woman even knows.

 

“He was my best friend,” she says, and Zelda doesn’t know if she can stomach more of this, already feels the souring in her stomach when she thinks about why this woman is suffering. It could be said that Zelda had never possessed a fondness for any sort for mortals, but she didn’t want them to suffer. And from what she’s gleamed from the faraway look that often graces her face and this, she knows that Mary Wardwell has suffered plenty.

 

“Come,” she says, standing and holding a hand out. The hand placed into her palm is shaky but firm, fingers gripping tightly as she allows Zelda to pull her up and lead her out of the room.

 

“Where…”

 

“I saw some old photo albums in the study earlier. I spotted you in one of them with Sabrina at some school function. I think I saw some of her baby pictures, too.”

 

“Oh, I do love babies,” she says, and when Zelda turns to look, a genuine smile has found its place on her lips. Zelda can’t stop the chuckle from rising in her chest.

 

 

It’s nearly midnight before they’ve sifted through the bulk of the albums; there was indeed one of Ms. Wardwell with Sabrina, both smiling brightly in front of the punch bowl at one of Baxter High’s dances. The blue in the Wardwell woman’s dress, Zelda notes absentmindedly, did something positively ethereal for her eyes. She looks up, in what she hopes is a discreet manner, to catch a glimpse of the suspects in question. The fire from the hearth seems to pool in them. Like hellfire, Zelda thinks, and before she can look away, they’re flicking up to meet hers. A warm smile slides into place, and Zelda has to physically refrain from brushing fallen hair from a flushed face.

 

“Well,” Zelda manages, chastising herself silently. How far had she fallen that she would resort to lusting after a mortal woman? It didn’t matter how ridiculously blue her eyes were, it simply wasn’t done. Not where Zelda Spellman was concerned, and especially when she knew things about said woman that she could never admit to knowing. Things which would snap her mortal sanity in two if she were to know them.

 

“Oh, heavens,” Ms. Wardwell says, and Zelda doesn’t have enough energy to refrain from curling her lip in distaste this time around. “Look at the time. I should really be getting home.”

 

“How do you plan to go home without a car?”

 

“Well, I was planning to walk,” she says, and the seriousness with which she says it makes Zelda laugh in disbelief.

 

“In this cold? Please, you’d freeze to death,” she says, rising from her seated position near the fire. “You’ll stay here. We have plenty space.”

 

“Oh, really, Ms. Spellman, you’ve been so kind already. I couldn’t-”

 

“You can, and you will,” Zelda says, and this time she receives only a bashful smile in response. “Besides, Sabrina would never forgive me if I sent her favorite teacher to a cold grave.”

 

∆ ∆ ∆

 

She’s woken from slumber by screams. Her first thoughts fall to Sabrina, and then to Hilda, and then finally, when she shakes off the last dredges of sleep enough to think clearly, to the woman she’d left in the guest room. She doesn’t bother with her robe or even slippers, sliding out of bed and following the noise until she’s standing before a closed door. She doesn’t knock, knows that it wouldn’t be heard, much less acknowledged, so she braces herself before pushing open the door and peeking into the moonlit room.

 

The other woman is a convulsing shapeless creature in the middle of the bed, all twisting limbs and clenched fists, screams unlike anything Zelda’s ever heard forcing their way from her throat. For such a slight woman, such sounds take her by surprise. Zelda’s by her side in an instant, a flurry of hands that she doesn’t know where to place before settling on shoulders.

 

“Mary!” she yells, pressing her into the bed firmly, and she’s nearly thrown to the floor from the spastic movements of the brunette. She hikes up her gown and crawls atop her, using her whole body as a grounding force. “Mary, wake up!”

 

It takes a few more moments, but slowly the convulsions stop, and teary eyes flutter open, mouthfuls of air swallowed between trembling lips as she fights for breath. Tears leak from wild eyes, shaking hands coming up to grip Zelda’s sides.

 

Zelda,” she breathes, and then she breaks, bringing her hands to her face and letting out sob after sob, doesn’t stop even when Zelda slides next to her and wraps her own trembling arms around her frame. “I couldn’t- he was just… he was dead right there, and I-”

 

“It’s okay now, you’re safe,” Zelda whispers, pressing a kiss to the top of her head and running her hands soothingly across her back. She’s reminded of a time when Sabrina was small, when she would wake crying in the night and Zelda would hold her until she fell back to sleep. Sabrina’s eyes had never seemed quite so haunted as those of this slight woman, though.

 

“No, no,” she sobs, furiously shaking her head. “It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me. Oh God, what did I do?”

 

“You did nothing, Mary,” Zelda breathes out, fighting back tears of her own. “It was just a dream.” But she knows it wasn’t. Lilith had used her body for who knows what, and if there’s one thing that Zelda knows for certain, it’s that the body doesn’t forget.

 

Eventually, the body racking sobs die out, replaced by soft whimpers that cut right into Zelda’s stomach, and at that particular moment, she hates Lilith for what she’s done to this mortal. She knows why she did it, knows that someone had to bear the brunt of the ordeal, but it shouldn’t have been Mary Wardwell. She wonders if Lilith knows what she’s done. She wonders if she’d care.

 

“I’m sorry,” the woman whispers when she’s able.

 

“Don’t,” is all Zelda says, tightening her arms momentarily around the small frame next to her. “How often?”

 

“Every night,” she admits after a moment, and Zelda grimaces. “They vary. But they all feel the same.”

 

“I’m sorry,” she murmurs, dropping another kiss to the crown of her head. And then, “Would it help if I stayed?”

 

“I couldn’t ask you to-”

 

“You didn’t. I offered.” She disentangles herself from the woman and slips out of bed. “I’ll be right back.”

 

Between her and Hilda, there had never been a question as to whom was more inclined when it came to herbs and potions. But there was a time when sleep only graced Zelda after she’d downed a sleeping draught, so this particular recipe is relatively easy to call to memory. She masks the taste with honey and carries it with shaking hands, Mary asking no questions and taking it gratefully.

 

Sleep comes swiftly after that, Mary’s body curled around Zelda’s seamlessly, and Zelda thinks briefly how warm she feels before succumbing to dreams of her own.

 

 

∆ ∆ ∆

 

 

They fall into a routine of sorts after that first night. Zelda tells herself that she lets the Wardwell woman into her bed out of pity, that it’s atonement on her Queen’s behalf. That doesn’t account for the waking hours the brunette spends inside the Spellman Mortuary, or the times Zelda goes over for dinner. But honestly, who can blame her? The woman can cook. Mary had attempted to teach Zelda a recipe- a simple one, she had sworn- but somehow Zelda had managed to catch the pot on actual fire, and if there weren’t the very real fear of burning the cottage down looming overhead, Zelda would have laughed at the other woman’s face, eyes moon-wide and mouth agape as she watched the fire born out of noodles. Apparently, Zelda hadn’t added enough water. Mary had promptly restricted her to stirring duty, and stirring duty only.

 

Mary loves her job, genuinely enjoys going to work despite the melodramatics of the teenagers present, and sometimes when she’s telling Zelda about her lesson plans, about something that she’d happened upon in the Greendale library, she glows. She’s enamored with history, especially that of Greendale, and when Zelda admits to knowing a fair amount about the Greendale witch trials, she can feel the excitement radiating from the other woman’s body. She’s cautious when divulging information, always minding her words and making sure to not come off as overly knowledgeable, but Mary doesn’t seem to mind if the beaming of her smile is anything to go by.

 

She is frustrating at times, almost childlike in her naivety. She eats the entire gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream, ignoring Zelda’s warning of an impending tummy ache but always crawling next to her on the couch with a pitiful expression when said tummy ache arises. She comes to the mortuary one day with a dog of all things, ribs protruding from its sides and mangy hair presenting itself in sporadic patches over its flea-bitten body. Apparently, she had spotted it on the side of the road and immediately pulled over to rescue it, and she sends Zelda to the store for flea shampoo while she works over his body with one of Zelda’s combs, flinging fleas down the drain of the guest bath and subsequently rendering the whole room permanently soiled in Zelda’s mind. Mary calls him Tramp (after her favorite movie, naturally), and Zelda is met with a horrified expression when she throws the word “pound” into the mix.

 

“Fine. But he’s not sleeping in the bed,” she says, and Mary nods obediently but gives Tramp a conspiratorial glance when she thinks Zelda isn’t looking, and she knows that it’s a battle already lost.

 

She still has nightmares, but at the first whimper, Zelda’s there holding her close and whispering sweet nothings into her ear until she’s calm again. There’s now an additional toothbrush keeping Zelda’s company on her sink, and one for Zelda at the cottage, and more than one of her dresses has wound up in Mary’s closet. It is so un-Zelda, falling into step beside a mortal woman, aligning her habits with hers. Perhaps, she thinks with not a small amount of disdain, she’s softening in her age. The domesticity of it all nearly sneaks up on Zelda, and she probably would have never noticed if it weren’t for her sister’s comments.

 

“You sure are spending a lot of time with Ms. Wardwell, Zelda.”

 

“And what of it? It’s not as though I have you to constantly entertain me with your childish antics anymore, do I?”

 

“Alright then, no need to get snippy. I was only saying…”

 

“Saying what, Hilda?”

 

A sigh, and then, “Nothing, Zelds. I wasn’t saying anything.”

 

But she had said something, and now Zelda notices when her shoulder instinctively brushes up against Mary’s when they’re walking through town, and when she makes Mary’s drink instinctively as she goes to make her own. She casts protection spells in her name nearly every night and doesn’t hesitate before opening her arms and allowing the other woman to slink down next to her in bed. There is a line, Zelda realizes, between atonement and devotion. Zelda can’t quite distinguish between them, anymore.

 

 

∆ ∆ ∆

 

 

She falls into love in the spring. Mary gardens, because well, of course Mary gardens, and they’re out in the space behind her cottage. It’s warm, one of the first warm days since the brutally cold winter, and the sun is beaming down as the small woman hacks away until the earth gives, using her fingers to tackle the more resistant roots. She plants seeds in rows and pats the earth gently atop them, dark hair falling into her eyes but a serene smile firmly in place. A hallowed image, in Zelda’s mind. She wishes she had brought along Hilda’s polaroid.

 

“Zelda?”

 

“Mmm?”

 

“Could you bring me the geraniums?”

 

She sets her newspaper aside and rises from her place on the porch, does what she’s asked. When Mary looks up from her place on the ground, the breath is stolen from her lungs. There’s a spattering of dirt on her left cheekbone and more on her chin, and her eyes glow up at her in the morning sun, and Zelda is stricken by the need to touch, to feel. So she does, drops her hand to gently cup a pink-tinged cheek, brushes off the dirt with a soft thumb. Mary leans into her palm, eyes fluttering shut briefly before opening again to peer up at the witch. A lazy smile forms on her lips.

 

“Thank you,” she says lowly, and Zelda can only hum in response, giving her cheek one more pass with her thumb, though the dirt is now long gone, before dropping her hand. If she thinks she hears a shaky intake of breath come from below her, she chalks it up to her own imagination.

 

She’s afraid; she would be lying if she said she weren’t. She watches Mary as she scrambles eggs, humming along to a tune only she is privy to, and the fluttering in her gut makes her nauseated. She holds her in the night, smells the sweet lavender of her shampoo, and feels cold chills run up her spine. The woman is good, kind and warm, and Zelda would damn herself to heaven before ruining that. She feels the corpse of her former self rolling in its grave: Zelda Spellman placing the wellbeing of a mortal above her own want. A sight to be seen, truly.

 

This resolve is not destined for longevity. They’re at Mary’s cottage for the night, Zelda lounging comfortably on the sofa with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette perched precariously within the other. Mary, at Zelda’s insistence, is sat at the piano. Mary plays piano, because well, of course she does. And she doesn’t just play piano; apparently, she had been quite the piano prodigy in her younger years. Her fingers fly effortlessly over the keys, eyes falling shut as she loses herself in the music, and Lilith in hell, what a vision she makes. She’s let her hair out so it falls down her back in a beautiful mess of curls, and Zelda would love nothing more than to run her fingers through it. She’s swallowed by a hoodie twice her size, and not much else, and while Zelda loves that she feels comfortable enough around her to forego pants, even with a hoodie hanging nearly to her knees, it’s a bit too easy to allow for her eyes to wander.

 

Zelda’s eyes drift shut, and she doesn’t realize that Mary’s stopped playing until the soft sound of a violin fills the room. Of course, she plays the violin, too, Zelda thinks, but upon opening her eyes, she realizes that the sound is emanating from a record player spinning in the corner, and the woman is no longer a safe distance across the room, but rather standing before her, hand extended outward and a goofy grin making her eyes crinkle adorably.

 

“Dance with me,” she says, and despite herself, Zelda finds herself smiling incredulously up at her. Against every sound-minded cell in her body screaming at her to do the exact opposite, she places her own hand in the proffered one and allows herself to be pulled upward. Her body fits faultlessly against Mary’s, and then they’re swaying, Mary’s head resting on Zelda’s shoulder. She sighs, deep and happy, and it’s as easy as breathing.

 

The record scratches, jolting Zelda out of her silent reverie, and she opens her eyes, breath catching in her throat when she peers down into blue eyes turned stormy grey. She can’t resist raising a hand to brush an errant lock of hair behind her ear, and when Mary turns her face into the open palm, nuzzling it softly before dropping a kiss to the center, Zelda knows she’s done for.

 

The sensible part of Zelda, which used to account for a solid 95% of her being, knows that she should bring her arms from around the other woman’s waist, that she should place their empty wine glasses in the sink and call it a night. The sensible part of Zelda goes into system failure the moment warm lips are pressed against her own, a ghost of a thing at first. Mary trembles in her arms, and Zelda realizes that she isn’t sure, that she’s worried she’s overstepping a boundary, that she’s misread the signs. And all Zelda can think to do is assure her that, no, she most certainly has not misread the signs. That Zelda Spellman is hopelessly in love with her, and that she can hardly believe that she’s stood in this room with this glorious woman, and that she’s allowed to kiss her.

 

So she does, presses more insistently, cups a colored cheek with a shaking hand as Mary sighs against her. She’s being pulled close by a hand at the small of her back until she’s flush against her body, and a soft groan slides out before she can stop it. Mary takes the opportunity to slide a tongue between wet lips, and then Zelda is well and truly done for, groaning more loudly at the feeling of a tongue tracing the roof of her mouth.

 

She allows herself to be lowered to the couch, pulling Mary down with her, and she cranes her neck upward when Mary begins dropping wet kisses down the line of her neck. Her hands scrabble for purchase, sliding beneath the oversized sweatshirt and up a lithe back, fingers slipping under the hem of her underwear and kneading her ass, and Mary keens above her, mouth clamping around the skin behind her ear and sucking. She’s leaving a mark, her remaining sensibility argues, but Zelda bends her knee and slots it between Mary’s, and Zelda finds that she doesn’t give a damn about a mark when Mary’s moving against her like that.

 

Christ,” she breathes out, all rocking hips and swollen lips, and it shoots enough perspective into Zelda’s veins for her to pause, retracting her hands from beneath the fabric and placing them firmly on her shoulders. Mary growls, chases her mouth with a determined glint shining in fervid eyes.

 

“Mary, wait-” She’s cut off with bared teeth and her bottom lip being pulled between them, biting down just hard enough to elicit a low moan. When Mary releases her, she’s looking down at her with a self-satisfied smirk, and Zelda could melt from the sheer intensity of her gaze. But she doesn’t, because she tries again, “Mary, there’s something…” More kisses pressed to her neck, inching lower until a bite is placed on her clavicle, and Zelda’s eyes roll to the back of her head. “There’s something you need to…need to ahh… to know about me.”

 

“I don’t care,” is all the response she gets, hips resuming their rocking on her bent knee, a hand palming her breast through the thin fabric.

 

“But Mary-”

 

Please, Zelda,” she breathes out, finally ceasing her movements long enough to pull away and peer down into Zelda’s eyes. Her pupils are blown to heaven, lips pink and swollen and hair a tangled mess from where Zelda’s fingers had run through it. And how, pray tell, is Zelda supposed to deny her when she looks at her like that ?

 

She wiggles out from beneath her, ignoring the whimper of dismay from Mary at the loss of contact, and pulls her up by the elbow, leading her into the back bedroom. Because if Mary Wardwell is asking to fuck her, Zelda hardly has the wherewithal to refuse her, but she’ll do it right.

 

She lays her out on the bed, crawls until she’s hovering above her and drops a kiss to her forehead, the apples of her cheeks, each of her closed eyelids. Mary’s squirming beneath her, and Zelda smiles softly at the impatience manifesting beneath her. She places a single kiss to her parted lips before tracing the curve of her neck with a sharp nail. Now, it’s her turn to kiss along the hard line of her jaw, up and up until she takes the fleshy lobe of an ear between her teeth and bites down gently.

 

Mary hooks a leg around her, sharply drags her back to her mouth so she can part her lips with her tongue, hands running up her thighs, hiking the fabric of Zelda’s dress around her waist. Zelda chuckles into her mouth, rewards her with a thigh pressed firmly to a sticky center, and the warmth she’s met with has her quickening her pace, hooking her thumbs under the bottom of Mary’s sweatshirt and pulling up, Mary bending at the waist to expedite the process. When she’s finally, finally gloriously bared to her, Zelda can’t wipe the grin from her face for the life of her.

 

“Beautiful,” she whispers, catching a glimpse of flushed cheeks reddening even further before she’s dropping to kiss down her neck, hands running across bare flesh and her mouth leaving a wet trail along her chest.

 

She finds traces of a body possessed, then, when there’s nothing impeding her vision from connecting with the woman’s middle. Just below her right breast, a puckered scar rears its head, and Zelda feels Mary tense beneath her when her fingertips lightly trace over it. She looks up to find wide eyes boring down at her, and she wastes no time before covering it with a warm tongue, a sharp gasp leaving the other woman as hands come down to thread in coppery golden hair.

 

“Beautiful,” she repeats against skin, placing a final kiss to the raised flesh before resuming her downward path. Lilith may have left her mark on this body, but when she hooks her fingers in the waistband of silky underthings and drags them down, she smiles a positively wicked grin. The soft, throaty whimpers sounding in an otherwise silent room, the soft pads of fingers trailing through her hair, anchoring and encouraging, the warmth radiating out from in front of her: that’s all Mary, and Lilith be damned, but she couldn’t love her more if she tried