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The Illusion of Impressions

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September 1st 2010:

How long had she been waiting, vision cut off by the stuffy hat? It must’ve been minutes at most, but each second passed like hours. Zelda forced it aside, repeating her mantra again and again.

Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw, please just say-

“GRYFFINDOR!” Zelda’s skin turned to ice as the sorting hat’s voice rumbled around her head, hands creaking as they clutched at her skirt. That was wrong, this stupid hat was clearly broken!

She saw the applauds – the table lined with wild, red trimmed cloaks, and the students wearing them waving frantically for her and whooping into the air – but the noise was like rain on a roof; present, yet dim under the objections shouting in her head.

But they never vocalised, pushed down by the soft smile she painted on her lips as she joined them. She barely noticed the hat get plucked from her head. Her legs were stiff as they carried her, as if they’d fall under her weight if they relaxed for a moment. It was fortunate, then, that she didn’t have to walk far – as a tall girl, third or fourth year she guessed, with long white hair running along her back, scooted up the bench to give her a seat at the end of the table. She snuggled in as the crowd was shushed, the wood cold against her as she curled up amidst the other students, keeping her gaze low to avoid the staff table that lined the top of the hall.

The applause died down as the next student, a smarmy boy, postured his way up to the sorting hat. The hat hardly glanced his head before yelling “SLYTHERIN” and the boy, stupidly wide grin on his face, no doubt joined his chosen house.

An elbow tapped her side, bringing her attention to the older girl’s small but warm smile, “don’t let it get to you,” she whispered, “the hat wasn’t even needed there, I could have placed him,” she glanced past Zelda, to the staff sitting above them, before her hand flashed to the table’s centre. Zelda had barely registered the movement before the older girl held out a small chicken drumstick for her, pilfered from the plate sitting away from them. Zelda shook her head and the girl, shrugging before tearing a bite from the leg, spoke through mouthfuls, “besides its not normally that quick, I was a Hatstall myself, nearly took five minutes for me to be placed.”

That did manage to settle her stomach somewhat, enough that Zelda managed to whisper a response, “thank you, erm?”

She swallowed. “Impa. We’ll talk properly in a bit, best watch everyone else first,” Impa said, nodding behind Zelda as another applause broke out, and the short, sweet seeming girl – Mipha was it? – she’d seen at the train station sat amongst the Hufflepuffs, already seemingly at home.

And was followed by the blond boy who’d been accompanying her, his uniform still messy and untucked, only rivalled by his mop of unkempt hair. He sauntered up to the stool, falling onto it as the sorting hat was dropped onto his head. He swayed as they waited, as if the floor was rolling under him, seeming like he’d fall over before he was even placed.

“RAVENCLAW!”

Zelda clenched her skirt in her fist as he gave a whale like yawn and the hat was yanked off his head. A storm of chuckles rumbled the hall, but was nothing compared to the thunder in her stomach.

How? How had someone like that been accepted into Ravenclaw? He didn’t even care enough to stay awake, or dress properly, he barely seemed to know what was going on – of all people he didn’t deserve that.


October 24th 2010:

“What are you doing now?!” Link practically shouted, accidently crushing the Lionfish spines he’d been preparing into a pile of dust as his nutty desk mate dropped an unhealthy amount of Moondew into her cauldron.

“Its Moondew,” Zelda growled back, each word more stressed than the last, “it dulls pain, it just adds to the Wiggenweld’s effect – and gives it a stomach-able taste.”

“No! That is not how it works!” he shoved her now bubbling – goddesses it was bubbling – cauldron aside before she got any more ideas, “you only add drops, drops, of Moondew even when making a Draught of Living Death – that much in Wiggenweld could kill someone!”

She glared at him, jabbing a finger centimetres from his face “Oh? And I suppose you’ve tried my exact combination yourself?”

He opened his mouth but no words came out – she couldn’t really think that helped her case could she?

“No? Of course not, because no one has – you don’t know it won’t work till someone’s tried it, so let me experiment as I wish.” She grunted in disgust as she turned back to her cauldron, just in time for them to see the now overflowing concoction leak through the freshly made hole in the wooden desk.

“I didn’t try,” Link said, throwing his open hands towards the mess, “because it’s obvious.”

Zelda spun back to him, face redder than the potion she’d been mixing, “An easy thing to say in hindsight – if you know so much maybe you should-”

“Twenty points from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw,” Professor Maple said coldly as she passed behind them, vanishing Zelda’s disaster with a flick of her wand.

The two stewed in silence for the rest of the lesson, air thick between them; though Link kept finding his gaze going to Zelda time and time again, each one bringing a swell of emotion to his stomach.


December 22nd 2010

The castle was strangely loud as Zelda briskly walked through the empty stone hallways - every subtle creak, every vile drip and every ghostly moan rumbling that much louder around the passageways with every step. She passed a window, letting the roar of the snowstorm outside join the castle’s orchestra of noise.

It was already dark, despite dinner still being a few hours away – a fact her stomach was determined to remind her of. Her eyes ran over the campus below; the odd sparkle of lantern light the only sign anyone else was even there.

Her neck tingled, a soft chill blowing through the less than finest window. Was the enchantment on this one running out? She’d have to report it, no doubt; but that was future Zelda’s problem, poor girl. She shivered again, and pulled her thick winter cloak even tighter around her shoulders as she pushed her way through a grandly carved wooden door.

The library opened up from the corridor. Lined with towering, rainbows of shelves among twisted luscious brown posts and beautifully ornate tables and chairs neatly scattered around; it still cried grandness despite the lack of students.

That was, except the lone boy sat by the lofty window, cloak discarded in a pile on the table as he rocked in his chair, a small, bright red book in one hand as he jotted down notes with the other.

Her giddiness fell away. There were at most twenty other people in the whole castle right now, so why was he the one person here.

Link looked over, probably hearing her enter, and his face was soft when their eyes met, with an almost excited smile on his face – only to quickly form an annoyed glare, an apt mirror of how she felt, a moment later.

Well it wouldn’t matter for much longer anyway, she hardly wanted to stay there herself, and quickly passed him towards the Transfiguration section.

“Wait don’t go in there, Madam Paige is- ”

Link’s words clicked in her head as something flashed in the corner of her eye, quickly enough for her to lean back just enough for a tough mass of something to skim her instead of colliding with her head. Unfortunately, its weight was enough to carry her balance away, and she quickly felt the floor smack against her behind; ripples of pain shaking her bones.

Looking around the room above, her vision was swarmed by books. Dozens, possibly hundreds, darting around the library every way she looked; blues, reds, every colour imaginable swooping around and mixing like a rainbow river above their heads. Occasionally one would split off, thumping into a shelf with enough force to shake it, yet always perfectly lined up as they slotted into place at the last second.

“You alright?”

She turned to see Link, having crouched down at her side as she was distracted by the dance above. She only managed half a breath as their eyes met. His expression was taught, eyes focused on hers as his hand hovered next to her; not close enough to touch, but there if it was needed. Overall he seemed…genuinely concerned.

The cold flushed from her body, her blood boiling, and she was sure he felt the heat she was giving off. She left his eyes, scrambling to find elsewhere to look, replying to his question with rapid nods.

“It’s…I’m…uh,” she finally settled on the show above, “what’s happening?”

“Madam Paige is re-arranging while everyone’s on break, we’re not allowed in ‘till she’s done.”

“She’s doing all that herself? That’s…” Incredible? Ridiculous? There were thousands of books in here, and that old lady was sorting them so quickly by herself?

Link nodded in the corner of her eye, “I know, she’s been at it for hours too, only stopped when I came in – and that was only because I did the same as you,” he rolled up his sleeve, showing off a deep bruise on his forearm.

She sighed, standing, and feeling a smirk grow across her face, “Oh so you can be hurt; after what you did in flying practice I’d assumed you thought you were indestructible.”

Link scoffed, heading back towards his seat, “I wasn’t that high, I didn’t even reach the third floor,” he fell into the chair, “besides that was Revalli’s fault.”

She followed, running her hands along the back of the opposite chair. “Ah yes, after all how could you not accept his challenge, I mean with your whole five minutes of experience obviously it was logical.”

Link rolled his eyes, going back to his book – a very familiar book. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was emblazoned on the front in bright gold, though the letters were flaking with age, with an equally golden unicorn underneath.

“You’re reading ahead?” Zelda said without thinking, pausing as Link cocked his brow at her, “Ah - well, I mean that book. We don’t need it ‘till third year.”

“Oh I…didn’t know that, it’s just…” Link pulled his head into his shoulders, pulling the book to his chest, “it just sounded interesting is all.”

It dawned on her then that, of all people, Link was being shy. The brash boy who, despite her best intentions, still pulled her into an argument at least twice a week, was nervous that she’d found this out? She skimmed his notepad under his quill, page filled with scribbles of text, and the myriad of similar pages scattering the desk. She picked up one, ‘Winged Horses’ was scrawled along the top followed by a rather crude sketch – though that was being generous – of just that.

She peeked past the page to Link; still focused on his book and now picking at the corners, but not missing how he glanced to her every couple of moments.

“Did you know there’s a type of horse that can run on water?” she asked.

Link’s head shot up, turning to her with a sparkle in his eyes, “oh I read something about that,” he scrambled through his notes, flinging each discarded one into an ever growing messy pile. He finally found the page, running a finger over the section as he read it out, “Originating in Greece, the Hippocampus has the head and forequarters of a horse and the tail and hindquarters of a giant fish. Though the species is usually to be found in the Mediterranean, a superb blue roan specimen was caught by merpeople off the shores of Scotland in 1949 and subsequently domesticated by them,” his eyes flickered back to her, “they sound amazing, do you know if we have any here?

She cocked her head, though found herself chuckling at his enthusiasm, “why do you think I’d know that?”

Link’s face fell again, “You…you just know a lot, I figured…never mind.”

Zelda giggled. It was involuntary, obviously, she wouldn’t normally laugh at him of all people. Then again, this wasn’t the normal side of him was it. She sat in the chair opposite, propping her elbows on the desk and chin into her palms.

“Well thank you, but I have no idea.” She nodded out the window, “Owlan would be your best bet, he could probably recite that book from memory.”

“Thanks,” Link cocked his head, “what were you looking for?”

“Transfiguration tomes,” she sighed, glancing towards the swarm of books beyond their area, “though that doesn’t seem likely now. I wanted to read up on the Draconifors spell.”

“Draconifors? The one that makes tiny dragons?”

She raised an eyebrow, “In rudimentary terms, yes. Though it’s a little more complex than that.”

“But they work like normal dragons right?” Link asked, leaning towards her, “you need a fireplace or something for it to sleep in and other stuff?”

“Kind of, but it’s more like a replicate than a true dragon, see…”

She ended up lost in their conversation, only roused hours later when the call to dinner shouted over the blizzard outside.


November 18th 2011:

“What were you even doing out there?” Her father yelled, the flames on every candle about the room growing larger with every word. Though his voice was loud, it stayed level – barely overpowering the rain from outside; only the tempest of emotion on his face betraying him as he gazed at her over his desk.

“I thought…there’s a flower.” Zelda shrunk into the small wooden stool she sat on as he towered over her, cutting off her view of the ceiling. “It’s very…I haven’t seen one before, apparently it grows at a fountain in the forest and only blooms under moon-light so…”

Her words ran off under her father’s unchanging expression – no if anything it actually got harsher, each wrinkle standing out that much more under damp candle light.

“And for that you…” he started, fist clenched till all colour drained from it, “there’s a reason that forest is forbidden Zelda, you know that, why would you go in for a flower?”

Her eyes were glued to her skirt, hands clutching it so tightly the still slimy mud squeezed through her fingers. There was no way she could actually tell him the reason, the person, she did it for. That would undoubtedly make everything worse.

“I thought I’d be alright. I’ve learnt…I’ve been studying defensive charms recently so I thought it’d be ok.” It was only a half lie; she was confident in herself. “I didn’t think…”

Her father sighed, chewing the inside of his cheek. “No, obviously. Zelda if I can’t trust you then maybe you shou-”

A sharp thump reverberated against the door, followed moments later by a much calmer, though rapid, light knock.

Her father’s eyes flickered to it, pausing as if debating if the intruder was worth his attention. He went to answer.

Once opened, while most was blocked by her father’s body, bright light burst into the room.

“Headmaster, it’s not, Zelda’s fault.”

That was…Link? His voice clear, even through his panted words. But why was he here now, of all times?

Her father shifted his weight – still blocking Link form her view – but somehow seeming even larger as he filled the doorways frame.

“And what makes you say that?”

“I…dared her to,” Link said, his voice shaking, “I was teasing her about not being brave enough to be a Gryffindor.” He took a breath, giving a firmness to his words, “I’m the one who said she’d never go into the forest – she’d never do that otherwise, so she shouldn’t get expelled for it.”

“In that case, are you saying it’s your fault?” Her father asked, “you do understand that means you’ll be punished instead?”

Link went quiet, and she only heard the scuffing of shoes against stone. After a moment of silence, he said, “does that mean Zelda could stay?”

“Link only said that because I said he didn’t deserve to be in Ravenclaw,” Zelda interrupted before her father could speak, her chair toppling behind her as she marched to her father’s side. “Father I wound Link up first, he didn’t even actually do anything; I’m the one who went out to the forest, you can’t punish him.”

She finally saw Link. He was a mess; his usually chaotic hair clinging to his face and dripping with rain water, clothes in disarray and mismatched – seemingly just thrown on - he wasn’t even wearing a cloak. He stared at her, eye’s wide and face white.

“Oh…Zelda’s…I thought you’d…gone,” he murmured.

They stood in silence, the air muggy and thick as mud.

Her father looked between them and sighed for so long she was afraid he’d pass out.

“Neither of you are getting expelled.”

She whipped round to face him, but froze when she met his eyes.

“But,” he continued, “Zelda, you did make a thoughtless decision, regardless of why. And both of you should know by now that we don’t judge people based on their house,” he looked at her, gaze softening as his face twisted into a mix of unease and sombre, “everyone’s put into them for good reason, even if why isn’t obvious yet.”

Her chest warmed, as if he’d given her a half-hug. Only he didn’t really, and the warmth soon evaporated into the cool air.

“Because of that, you’re each losing house points. 50 for Zelda, 25 for Link.” He spun away, walking towards the grand, circular wooden desk sitting at the rooms centre. He waved a hand and her abandoned chair wriggled, then spun round and round, until it stood upright once again. “And you’ll both have detention together with Owlan for a week starting tomorrow evening. Understood?”

They both nodded in silence. It seemed a little unfair to Link in her opinion, but she wouldn’t help by speaking up now.

“Good, now go to bed,” he lifted a finger into the air, “actually, clean up first, you’re both messes.”

With that Zelda spun on her heel, keeping her head down as they left her father’s office. While they walked together, they didn’t even look at one another, only their footsteps echoing through the corridors. Then, as they reached the courtyard that crossed to the Ravenclaw tower, she risked glancing at him.

He was looking at her too, lip bitten and a tiny smile on his face. The heat was back in her chest, and she brushed her hair over her ear and changed her gaze to his shoulder.

“Thank you.”

Link gave a tired laugh, “don’t be, like I said it was my fault.” She shook her head, but he only laughed again, adding, “I’m glad you’re staying.”

“Me too.” She bubbled with warmth at the thought. “I suppose I’ll be seeing you tomorrow evening then?”

He hummed in agreement, offering her a “good night” before they went their own ways.

But, while she wasn’t sure why, after a couple of steps Zelda found herself turning back to him, just in time to glimpse Link disappearing around the corner. She didn’t miss the pang of disappointment that brought to her stomach. Though, as she entered the Gryffindor tower, she noticed that the image of his grin had stayed in her mind, and the warmth had only grown in her chest.


February 17th 2012

Impa stretched into the fresh, mid-afternoon air as she left the Transfiguration classroom, shoulder popping as she rolled it. Despite the advantages having another form could offer, it was nice, she considered, to be in a more natural shape. That was especially so when, judging by the mass of students gathered around the Transfiguration courtyard, it seemed she’d need it.

There was some kind of commotion, clearly, with the crowd having grown large enough to completely cut off any chance of her seeing it from where she stood. Although, she thought, scanning the small roof of the outdoor corridor – if a commotion was afoot, it was a safe bet she’d find some help nearby.

She spotted her target only a few metres away and, excusing her way past a couple of first years who’d clambered onto a wall to see over the crowd, hoisted herself onto the roof to join them.

“I see you’re keeping busy, Purah,” she said, balancing along the rim of the roof to reach the slightly older girl’s side.

Purah looked up at her, throwing another Exploding Bon Bon into her mouth, followed by a soft pop as her cheeks blew outwards, “but Arithmancy takes soooo long, I needed a break,” Purah said, smoke puffing from her mouth as she grinned, “and there happened to be a great show just in time, that’s practically Divination right?”

Impa rolled her eyes, “And if you were in Divination for half as long as you spent digging through ruins, you’d know that’s not how it works,” she peered over the crowd, the odd flash of a spell shining from the centre, “so what’s going on?”

Purah offered her the bag of chocolates, but took another herself when Impa refused, “they’re at it again,” she said, words muffled by her treat, “honestly I don’t even know if they’re arguing or flirting anymore.”

Zelda and Link, of course.

“And you’re just letting them? Honestly, this is why they passed you up for prefect.” Purah just shrugged, too focused on the duel to defend herself.

“Alright, let me have one of those then,” Impa said, scanning the crowd for an easy enough path through.

Purah shook the bag towards her, “two Galleons each.”

Impa smirked as she took one, “how about instead I don’t tell the faculty you have them, you know they’re banned,” she said, hopping off the roof.

“Ha, right. Then you could explain to Mum why I got kicked off campus!” Purah called behind her, voice dimming as Impa entered the crowd.

Thumping into the ground, she shot off; dodging her way through the crowd, the cracks in the wall of students offering her an easy path to the centre. Once she had space to breath, she took a second to study the scene.

The second Impa stepped into the clearing, a bright ball of scarlet - the expelliarmus charm – flew by.

Zelda stood to her right, her usual poise evaporated with her heavy panting. Still, she remained unfazed as the jinx bounced off a deep blue barrier around her. Then, despite having to stamp into the ground to keep herself up, Zelda’s arms danced through the air as she yelled, “Rictusempra,” the tickling curse bursting from her wand.

She glanced to its target as the spell flew. Link leapt to the side, hopping behind the large armillary sphere in the courtyard’s centre. His head poked through the rings showing the sun and moons paths through the sky, clear enough she could see the excited smirk on his face. Usually it would be a terrible position, each band was barely large enough to cover his eyes, but given who he was duelling it very well may have been the safest place on campus.

As predicted, Zelda’s spells stopped.

“Come on Link, don’t tell me you’ve given up already,” Zelda shouted, a grin plastered on her face and trying to stand tall, though from the deep breaths she took it was clear she welcomed the break.

Link didn’t let her take one though, leaning around the statue and yelling “Petrificus Totalus,” followed by a flash of purple that shot at his opponent.

She took a moment to be mildly impressed, it seemed Link of all people had finally actually managed to add a second spell to his arsenal.

Zelda’s eyes went wide, and she just managed to swipe her wand to cast the shield charm in time for Link’s spell to bounce off it. She wasted no time, instantly sending a jelly-legs jinx past Link’s head, hitting the ground inches away from the gathered crowd and launching dirt and grass over the onlookers.

Right, she decided, that was enough.

She tossed the Bon Bon at Link’s feet, and quick as he was Link jumped up just in time, the explosion licking his feet.

“Expelliarmus,” Impa said, lazily flicking her wand. Unfortunately for Link, stuck in mid-air, he had no way of dodging Impa’s spell, and his wand shot from his hand and twirled through the air. Impa snatched it mid-spin, just in time to hear Zelda’s protests.

“Impa, you can’t interrupt a duel!” Zelda yelled, stamping on the ground. “The rules say that as long as we’d agreed to the terms and-” she was cut off as Impa sent her wand flying from her hand too.

“Last time I checked, Zelda, the school rules say you can’t duel without permission.” She gave Zelda a coy glare, the younger girl shrinking into herself, and placed her wand to her neck as she spun to the crowd. “Alright, everyone clear off,” despite her soft tone, the spell caused her words to boom around the courtyard, “you have ten minutes ‘til next period and anyone still here will lose house points.”

That was enough for the crowd to disperse, with the show clearly finished no one seemed to want to test her patience.

“As for you two,” she spun to the pair, both having meandered behind her. They both opened their mouths to speak before she cut them off, “I don’t care why, next time come find me first or I’ll let the headmaster know,” she glanced to Zelda for the last part, and she shrunk down even more.

“Sorry,” they both said quietly.

Impa sighed, despite the circumstance she didn’t want to kill their fun. Handing the wands back to the pair, she added, “you’ve both improved though, I’m impressed. Now go to your lesson.”

They both perked up at that, thanking her before spinning towards a pair of bags, discarded by one of the archways.

“Impa’s right," she heard Zelda say to Link, “when did you learn the body-bind curse? I can’t believe you hid that from me.”

Link chuckled, swooping down to grab their bags, “for all the good it did me, I’m never going to actually hit you behind all those defensive charms.”

Zelda laughed back, taking her bag from him, “look who’s talking, I barely get chance to aim at you; it wouldn’t kill you to stay still for two minutes you know.”

“It may do, you know too many spells for me to remember what they all do,” he chuckled, “then again your aim still sucks, you need to make sure you can do your spells without thinking so much, then you can focus on that; I nearly got you with that last spell ‘cause of it.”

Zelda eyed him with a side glance, sticking her tongue out at him, “only because you surprised me, if you only know the two spells it isn’t hard for me to stay safe, you could do with fleshing out your repertoire more.”

Impa sighed, the two’s conversation becoming inaudible as they rounded the corner. Purah was right, she had no idea what those two were either.


October 30th 2012:

Hogsmeade was nice in Link’s opinion. A little small, and ancient compared to where he’d grown up, but nice. Though, as he scanned the window of Mungo’s Magical Menagarie, it was clear he had a smidgen of bias. Fire Crabs scuttled around the bottom of the window, jewelled shells sparkling as they occasionally hissed out a flame when another got too close. Bouncing around the shelf above them was a collection of Puffskeins, round blobs of hair that seemingly lack any concern as they bumped and sprang off one another. There were countless creatures littering the store, so many he didn’t even know where to start. Although, looking at the price tags littering the window. 10000 galleons was the closest to what he had, and they only went up from there. He huffed, forcing his attention from the shop window before he got too attached, gazing down the street for anything to take his mind off his killed mood. The intricate sign of Dervish and Banges, the whizzes and explosions coming from Zonko’s Joke Shop, Zelda.

He froze at the last one, eyes meeting Zelda’s as she offered a small wave and began crossing the street towards him. She was alone, unusually so, not even Impa or Purah with her.

“Link, hello! How are...have you bought anything?”

She sidled up beside him, her shoulders oddly tight and head a little withdrawn.

“Nah, the animals look cool but there’s no way I could afford one.” He said, sticking a thumb towards the window behind them.

She smirked, letting her shoulders fall a little, “that’s a shame, probably for the best though; ‘cats, owls and toads’ - that’s all we’re allowed on campus.”

Oh, right. That’d slipped his mind; it definitely would’ve been worse to spend all that just for it to be taken away. They started walking along the street, no real goal in mind but hating the thought of just standing there.

“How about you? You were with Impa and Purah earlier right? Something happen?”

“We were supposed to be shopping together,” she said, holding up a brown bag to make her point, “but Purah saw something and ran off, Impa followed to ‘make sure she didn’t get in trouble’ and…I have no idea where they are.” She sighed out the last part.

He chuckled, “sounds about right, haven’t seen ‘em but they can’t have gone far right?”

Zelda sighed, “they could; Purah’s learnt to appirate so she’s been using it a lot, frankly she could be quite literally anywhere.”

Ah that did make things a little awkward.

As he thought that, patters of water splashed against Link’s face and, before he could even look up, the sky split apart – coating the two in a downfall of rain.

Their walk exploded into a dash, the quickly forming puddles drowning their robes with every step.

“Over there, Madam Puttifoot’s,” Zelda yelled over the rumble of rain, pointing towards a small shop, who’s pink stained windows stood out even more in the muted colours of the bleak weather. They dove towards it and Link threw the door open as they dove inside.

It was warm, and stuffy – as if he’d been wrapped in masses of quilts – and so cramped his shoulder pressed tightly against hers as they flooded the entrance way with rain water, almost soaking the poor couple seated by the door.

In fact, couples were exactly what the place was full of. So many that the stout, apron clad woman, who he could only assume was Madam Puttifoot, struggled to even tiptoe around the slew of tables and make her way over to them.

But make it she did, somehow stumbling with elegance in front of them, the plates she was carrying staying perfectly balanced as she placed them in front of the nearby couple. As she spun to them, he noticed a small notepad and quill hovering by her shoulder.

“Sorry dearies – don’t have many tables left, only some small ones by the corner.” She said, her voice aching for want of a break as she nodded to the dinky table, barely large enough for one person to fit around.

“That’ll be wonderful, I’ll have a tea, thank you.” Zelda said, turning to face him, “you’ll have coffee, right? With lots of milk?”

“Ummm, yes, please.”

Madam Puttifoot lead them to the table, the quill scribbling down their order as she dodged around tables without even looking. The pair stumbled behind her, Link falling onto the cushioned bench with all the grace of a seal on land.

Zelda, for her part, mustered some form of daintiness as she squeezed in besides him, shoulder pressing against his as they attempted to fit in what clearly wasn’t enough space.

“Well this is certainly cosy,” Zelda murmured, neatly folding her sopping cloak before setting it aside.

She wasn’t wrong, with its steamed windows, frilly decorations, and flood of couples holding hands – or kissing in some cases – the café certainly held a lovey atmosphere.

“You know,” Link said, following her lead and attempting to bundle his cloak into a ball, “if you wanted a date this much, you could have just asked.”

Zelda seemed unimpressed, glaring at the ball of cloth. He unfurled it, attempting to fold it properly this time.

“Yes…” she said, taking the mess of a cloak from him and straightening it out, shooting him a coy look as she set it by her own, “but you’re just so intimidating, I could hardly muster the courage.”

“Ha,” he laughed, “right, because after everything you’ve said to me that of all things is too embarrassing.”

Zelda chuckled too, “say what you will, how do I know it wasn’t you who planned this? Very coincidental that we bumped - oh, thank you.”

He followed her gaze, landing on Madam Puttifoot as she balanced some small, though just as garish as the rest of the café, mugs on their tiny table. He added a thanks of his own just in time for her to leave them again.

As his drink scolded his lips, he caught Zelda in the corner of his eye, fishing through the bag she’d been carrying.

“What’d you get?”

Zelda tensed up. Her eyes glanced over him. It was subtle, barely lasting a moment, but she seemed to take that to mull her answer over.

“I…just picked up some things from Dervish and Banges.” She said, pulling a small pack of cards from her bag. “These,” she said, flipping the pack open and scattering them across the table, “are self-shuffling cards.” She tapped a finger twice on the nearest card. As the echo of her tap faded, the cards shook on the tables surface, then exploded into movement. They rapped, spun and hopped across the table, all melding into a quickly growing pile.

“That’s amazing,” Link said, prodding at the now still stack, “how do they work?”

“I’m not entirely sure, I think it’s a variant of a command charm,” Zelda said, voice squeaking with excitement, “it must be more complex though, the instructions have over twenty styles.”

She flipped a small notebook onto the table, each with tiny images playing out different actions on the page.

He leant in, eyes flickering over the pages. The first showed Zelda’s simple tapping, another directing him to trace a large circle on the cards back, then one showed a person slapping one with their palm.

“I don’t quite understand how it’s done yet, normally an item can only have one charm at a time.” Zelda said, smile beaming on her face as she wildly gestured in the air, “I thought they’d put a different one on each card, but it doesn’t matter which one you hit – as long as you use the same technique it works the same way. So then I thought they may have layered some charms together and…”

Her eyes were sparkling. He was trying to follow her train of thought, but was caught by them as she bobbed besides him. The two were close, enough that he could see each rain drop in her eyelashes, the faint flush on her cheeks, the daft grin on her face as she rambled. His stomach bubbled with warmth. She was cute when she got excited.

Then she stopped.

“Ah – sorry,” Zelda said, smile disappearing as she shrunk into herself a little, eyes focused on her hands as she played with her fingers, “I lost myself for a moment.”

The bubbles burst. It was silly, just a little thing really, but every nerve in him was screaming to do something, every brain cell rattling to find a way to bring back her smile.

“Wait how would you ‘layer’ spells?” He asked carefully, as if trying to lull a nervous puppy from its bed for the first time.

It worked, Zelda whipping to him with a new light on her face.

“Oh that’s actually fascinating – it’s quite a new technique but it’s based on linking homonymic words to connect the effects of different charms together…”

The sparkle was back on her face, causing the bubbles to rise into his chest. He unfurled into the seat as he listened to her explanation, the soft rumble of rain harmonising with her voice. He just sat there, enjoying the moment. There was an oddly relaxing charm to it and part of him thought that if this had been a date, he would have rather liked it.

Oh…


December 16th 2013:

“Apparently Groose asked Impa to the Yule Ball,” Zelda said, giggling when Link’s eye’s nearly popped from his head, “she turned him down, though apparently she was flattered.”

“Of course she did, she’s a Triwizard champion, and she’s Impa, she could choose literally anyone, why would he think that was a good idea.” Link said, slinging his bag onto a nearby boulder. Good, she’d gotten his attention on the topic, now she just needed to push him a little further.

“They’re both on the Quidditch team,” she said, hopping onto a higher spot up the rock and taking a seat, “they probably spend a lot of time together.”

“I know they are, it’s terrifying to have one of his bludgers fly at you, but still…” Link said, picking a pouch of food that fit neatly into his palm from his bag and slipping in into his robe pocket. He took a while messing with it, not looking at her when he asked, “have you been invited yet?”

“Revali asked me last week, I turned him down though.” She hopped along the rock, just a little closer to him, so her legs were dangling by his head. If she looked carefully, she could make out his grin.

“Mipha did the same when Mikau asked her.” Link muttered, and she didn’t miss how his eyes ran over her legs as he stood. “Why don’t you girls go with them? Aren’t you risking not going at all? I mean I get it, Revali’s an arse-”

“He’s charming.”

“…so an arse, but clearly you don’t think so.”

“Well I shan’t put words in Mipha’s mouth, even now you know her better than I ever could,” she said as Link began scraping his foot along the ground, gathering up a sizeable pile of dirt. “But I’d guess she’s waiting for someone in particular.”

Link sighed, “I just hope she isn’t waiting for nothing. Mikau’s a nice guy, and he flirts with her all the time so he’s keen, she shouldn’t pass him up for someone who may not even ask.”

“I’m sure Mipha will be fine – she’s hardly lacking admirers.” It was cute seeing his concern, even if her nerves stiffened at the thought of him giving it to someone else.

Link hummed in agreement, standing back to admire his completed pile…and tumbled into it

“What are you doing?” Zelda asked, sputtering a laugh as Link rolled around like a puppy experiencing grass for the first time.

He hopped up, coated in dust, only giving himself enough of a pat down to remove the worst of it.

“It’s important for when you first approach them; they can literally smell the magic on you, you do this to make them more comfortable,” he said, so matter of factly it almost seemed like he thought she was the crazy one.

“Well you look ridiculous,” she said, readjusting her faux seat on the bolder, “it certainly wasn’t in our text books, is that something you picked up from helping Owlan?”

Link played with his hands, managing to look awfully sheepish, and refused to meet her eye as he spoke, “it…it was more personal experience actually.”

She cocked an eyebrow, “really? I didn’t take you as the experimenting type, given how you react to me doing so.”

He chuckled, “clearly spending more time with you has caused me to slightly lose it – besides I’m never as daft as you are.”

She laughed too, though felt the burning in her ears, “right, because you never do anything reckless do you? Like when you tried to climb the whomping willow last year – perfectly safe.”

Link looked like her ears felt, rubbing his side – the same one he’d injured at the time – and turned away from her ever so slightly. She found herself lingering on him, drinking in the way the colour highlighted his cheeks, and swelled the desire to pull him close within her.

His eye’s flickered to her, and the swell became a storm.

“So is this right?” she asked quickly, scooping up a handful of dust above her head and dropping it over herself.

Link seemed as stunned as she was, taking a second to stare at her, before bursting into laughter, “you didn’t have to…never mind, too late to go back now,” he nodded beyond the treeline, letting his laughter peter out before walking towards it, “come on, it’s just over here.”

That was stupid, but…could have gone worse. It may have ruined the makeup she’d borrowed from Purah, but at least he’d found it funny. Her gaze lingered on him as he walked away, rather enjoying the sight. Link, it seemed, had been growing, now actually just slightly taller than her – not that she’d let him know. Coupled with his daft dust, it gave him an unusually rugged look. Her stomach swelled with desire, demanding she pulled him over, though she pushed it down, hopping up to follow before he disappeared into the shrubbery.

Zelda stamped on brambles as they went, following the thin path Link carved through the foliage. It didn’t take long till the bushes pulled away, revealing a large clearing.

A small pond sat in the centre, filled with water so clear that even from there she could see right to the bottom. Aside it was a grand Sakura Tree, its pink petals sparkling in the afternoon light. Then, difficult to see at first but soon coming into focus, were a dozen or so rabbit like creatures, hopping around the edges of the pond, with plant like antlers and shimmering with blue light as the sipped from the water – Blupees.

She took a step forward, but didn’t move – held in place by Link’s surprisingly strong grip on her arm.

“Hold on,” he said in a hushed voice, gently tugging her down so they were crouched in the brush, “they’re very flighty, disappear if you spook ‘em.”

He crept forwards, moving almost silently, only the brush of grass against shoes making a sound. A couple of Blupees looked his way, but seemed unbothered and soon went back to drinking.

Link fell to his backside, landing softly into the grass. He flashed a look her way, holding up two fingers before turning back to the animals.

She waited and waited, every second ticking by. Her legs began to ache, cramping up in her effort to hold still, and she placed a hand onto the rough bark of a nearby tree to gain some support.

Then an apparently brave, medium sized Blupee hopped towards Link, watching him with similar interest to herself.

Link was calm, fishing something from his cloak pocket before simply extending an open palm towards the animal. He seemed to have gained its trust, as no sooner had the first begun nibbling from his palm than a second, then third, hopped over to join.

Once they’d settled, seeming calm in his presence, he turned to her again, waving her over.

She followed his steps, slowly treading out – though nowhere near as skilfully – with a held breath and gently sat at his side. She was closer to him than she needed to be, enough that she could feel his warmth every time their shoulders brushed. Only one of the Blupees looked over, though none seemed concerned.

“They probably knew we’ve been here for a while,” Link said as the one that looked began nuzzling her leg, a cool warmth spreading from it, “otherwise they’d have run as soon as they saw us.”

She stared at the Blupee. Its fur glowed ethereally, a faint mist hanging around it that made her a little unsure of if it was really there. She ran a hand along its fur, letting a tingle run from her fingers and up her arm.

She chuckled, prompting Link to cock his eyebrow.

“I’m always amazed,” she said, letting the Blupee hop into her lap, “at how much you know about creatures – I know I shouldn’t be, but you always seem to have picked up something new.”

Link flushed, well-hidden but still clearly visible, and ran a hand through his hair the same way she’d painted into her memory.

“Thanks.” Link said, petting his Blupee’s head. His face twisted as if debating over what to say. “You know, it’s kind of thanks to you actually – I only started helping Owlan after we had that detention together.”

“You’re welcome,” she twirled a finger above the Blupee’s antlers, allowing them to wrap around it. The Blupee seemed to like that, giving an odd purr and stretching in her lap. “What do you suppose the antlers are for? They seem sensitive to touch.”

Link didn’t answer – which was odd given how it was usually the topic he was distinctly talkative about.

“Will you go to the ball with me?”

“I’m…sorry?” She froze, then everything melted, and it seemed like there was an explosion within her as her chest became a pin wheel of joy, excitement and panic.

Link almost went white. Then much quieter than the first time asked, “to the…yule ball, would you like to go with me?”

She laughed, not a little giggle but a full out and out laugh. “That’s how you’re asking? I mean; yes, I definitely want to, but still…”

“It…just seemed a good moment.” Link said, colour returning to his face and she could almost see him piece her answer together in his brain, “wait, yes?”

Now she was giggling, “yes Link – I would like to.”

He threw his arms into the air, wearing a grin so wide it almost cut his face in two. The Blupees startled, popping away in a single flash and leaving her lap cool.

He looked…delectably good. Even coated in dust and half flattened by Blupee’s, though maybe it was that distinctive Linkness that made him so attractive. She resolved herself, or maybe just let instinct take over, and leant in, letting her lips glance his cheek.

Link was quicker to act now, turning into her and letting his mouth hang open just a little as his gaze danced from her eyes to her lips and back again.

Her eyes flickered shut as their lips met, a soft fizzle running over hers. She was kissing him. He was kissing back. They were both clumsy, noses rubbing just a little; but for all the times she’d imagined it, thought she’d planned out every detail, it didn’t even come close.

Link pulled away, and her arms quivered as they stopped.

“That was…” she started. His grin had grown, if possible, though she knew she matched him.

“Fun?” He offered, running a finger over his lips.

“…enjoyable.”

“I think we scared the Blupees away.”

“We’ll have to find something else to do then,” she said, leaning into him again.


March 12th 2014:

Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule stole all the courage and pomp he could muster as he stood outside probably the most intimidating room in the castle. Now there was nothing particularly daunting about the door or room themselves, but rather who sat beyond. He’d been around long enough by now to be fairly confident in his ability to manage people, but that person was on the short list of three or four he still couldn’t get a read on.

He sighed. That being said, if he backed down now the past two weeks of effort would be for nothing – and besides, Zelda was worth the hassle. He rapped on the door, hoping that thought would carry him through this.

“Come in.” A commanding voice said, not even slightly quietened by the door.

“Urbosa!” Rhoam said jollily as he strode into the room, arms wide, “how are you? It’s been far too long since I’ve had the honour of catching up with you.”

Urbosa sat proudly in her chair, cheek resting against her fist as she raised an eye brow at his entry. She’d been expecting him, for better or worse.

“Quite, almost long enough that’d I’d forgotten your face,” she said, smirking at him. Good, seemed it was for better then.

He chuckled, stepping up the raised platform her desk sat on, “you can be so cruel, though it’d be a lie to say you didn’t have a point. I’ve heard the Lumpy Pumpkin has started serving a new drink, we should go try it sometime.”

Urbosa chuckled, “that would be enjoyable, I’ve been keen to discuss some students out of school anyway.”

He cocked an eyebrow, “Oh? Any in particular?”

“It’s nothing much, you know how it is,” she plucked her wand from her desk, giving it a light flick, and a pair of stout glasses flew to her, a decanter quickly following and topping them with a blue liquid – Volt Wine, “Misko’s smuggling banned sweets onto campus, Groose and his lot picking fights out of class, Karane attempting to fly one of Owlan’s creatures, the usual.”

“Sounds exciting,” he chuckled, running a hand through his beard as he picked up one of the glasses, crossing to the window behind Urbosa’s desk, “anything I can do to help?”

Urbosa waved a hand, “no need, like I say it’s nothing new, although…” she leant back in her chair so their eyes could meet, “Impa says Zelda’s taken over Purah’s research recently, apparently she’s working on using some ancient enchantments on some muggle artefact at the moment.”

His hand froze mid-way through lifting the glass. That…was actually new information. And something Zelda hadn’t wanted to tell him herself. A swath of guilt flooded his stomach.

“Although speaking of Zelda, I believe that’s why you’re here – correct?” Urbosa said casually, eyes trained on her quickly emptied glass as she refilled it to the brim.

Damn, he’d lost his advantage before they’d even started.

“How did you…?”

Urbosa smirked, “you should’ve known better than to go to Daruk first, he’d never knowingly tell anyone but he’s terrible at keeping secrets when he’s overly excited.”

Of course, that’s what he got for trying to take the easy route.

“Although I’m surprised; of all people I didn’t think you’d try to set your daughter up with someone,” Urbosa continued, running her thumb along her chin, “though I agree Link would be a good match.”

He scoffed, “oh please, you say that like you all don’t put the couples you want together,” he said, staring down to the litter of dots – students – covering the courtyard below, “apparently Maple’s been seating them with each other since their first year.”

“Hah, has she really? Not too surprising, she’s always been a match maker – didn’t she do the same for you and…?”

His body tensed and he missed Urbosa finishing her sentence.

“Wait! Is…is that why she always claims she knew we belonged together?”

Urbosa stared at him, wide-eyed and slack jawed, “you…didn’t know about that?”

“I mean it sounds obvious now you say it…” he shook his head, “anyway, it worked, so I suppose I can’t complain.”

“It did, well enough that you’re wanting us to do the same with those two now – hold on, is that why you made them both prefects?”

His laugh rippled through him. “No, frankly it’d’ve been difficult to not pick them given their achievements - although I shan’t lie, since they’ll have to spend more time together, it’d be a nice benefit.”

“Well I can certainly help expedite the process,” Urbosa said, the sing song of cheek in her voice, “although it may be difficult with all the work I have right now,”

He sighed, it was obviously going to come to this – he’d just hoped he’d have a bit more negotiating power when it did. He spun, resting his weight on the window ledge, “there isn’t much of a budget left to offer you, everyone else pretty much bled the school funds dry over this. How much do you want?”

Urbosa’s laugh boomed throughout the room, “you’re really dedicated to this aren’t you? I never knew you were such a romantic.” She snapped her glass onto the table, her face falling into a mask of negotiation as she gestured to the sheets on her desk. “Help me with marking this year, you take seventy I take thirty – that’d be far better than a measly bit of money.”

“I can manage that, I’m sure if I pull some strings I can get some people to-”

“Rhoam we both know there’re few people who could, let alone be willing to, go through that work.”

Damn, this wasn’t really a negotiation was it? “Sixty : forty?”

“Sixty-five.”

His sigh was guttural, “deal, just drop whatever you have in my office.”

Urbosa smirked, raising her once more refiled glass to him, “perfect, I’m sure this’ll make everyone happy.”

He lazily matched her, clinking glasses before downing the drink in a single beat, shuddering as the flavour shocked his throat.

“You’re horrific sometimes – you know that?” he said through a wheeze, carefully placing the glass onto her desk, “you’d better not be teaching Zelda to be the same.”

She shrugged, “I’d be very disappointed if she wasn’t, she has a talent for that kind of thing you know?”

“You see that’s exactly what concerns me,” he made way to the door, “thank you Urbosa, we’ll go for a proper drink next time.”

Urbosa hummed in agreement, and he heard the clink of glasses as he shut the door. Zelda still stood at the front of his mind, Urbosa’s comment just behind her. Is that what their relationship had become, he only found out what she was doing through rumours and gossip?

He let instinct guide his legs through the castle so, with those thoughts in mind, it was with little surprise then that he soon found himself staring down the portrait of the beautiful, large, green skinned woman who guarded the Gryffindor common room.

“Good evening Oren, may I enter?”

The woman smirked at him, looping in her image as if swimming underwater, “sorry dear,” she said, pausing her spin upside down to look him in the eye, “even you need a password to get in.”

He pinched his nose – right, she’d always been particularly testy about that.

“I don’t know Oren – Jabun? Helmaroc Plume? Amber Relic?”

“Nooooo – sorry but you’ll have to waaaaiiitttt,” she sung at him, apparently distracted by the flowers adorning the top of her frame as she twirled them in her fingers.

“Oren I just want to see Zelda; you know it’s me, all this is just balderdash.”

She perked up, lulling her head to him.

“Bingo – balderdash is correct, welcome Headmaster,” she said all too sweetly as she swung her portrait aside to reveal a dank, though large, hole.

He muttered a thanks as he stepped into the cramped passageway, only lit by a couple of small, wall mounted torches, and the entry way shut behind him.

“And what will you do about it? I know you’re not exactly upset.”

His ears twitched. That was Zelda’s voice, perfect – he wouldn’t have to look for long then.

As he made his way towards the common room proper, he heard soft mutterings – followed by Zelda’s hushed giggle.

Rounding the corner, he realized it wasn’t just Zelda, but that Link was also there. Both were sat on one of the Gryffindor red sofas arranged around the roaring fire place. Zelda’s hands wrapped tightly around the collar of Link’s shirt as she pulled him into a deep kiss.

He froze. While a warm happiness swelled in his stomach – it quickly became apparent that all that time he’d spent the last two weeks had been wasted.

Zelda loosened her grip on Link, letting the boy pull away slightly, cheeky grin on her face as she let out a shuddered breath, and glanced towards him.

Her face fell away as their eyes met, and she gave Link a harsh push on the chest – sending the poor lad toppling to the floor with a thump.

“Fa-father! Er…hello!” Zelda yelled, face a roaring red as she stammered, “Link and I, we were just…discussing! Yes! Discussing our…ancient studies class. You see there was a particularly tricky part about ancient Egyptian spells and…”

Zelda continued to ramble for the next few minutes, giving an admittedly good – if unbelievable – cover up. As she did, he kept replaying his conversation with Urbosa in his mind; quickly realising that maybe, just maybe, that woman had known more than she let on and had successfully scammed him…again.