Helga was flopped across her bed in sheer comfort. Her silky butter yellow nightdress clung to her sweaty form. The heat of an encroaching summer was pressing down on her. That and the fact that she was sharing a small area of space with another human being. That had to add to the heat.
Salazar was sprawled next to her, completely clothed, in his regular day clothes. Just looking at him made Helga blush. The impropriety of this moment would have made her mother’s hair curl. It wasn’t as if anything had happened—last night he had been extremely upset by Godric’s actions… She had to comfort him. They ended up heading back to her chambers to talk. And there she had changed into her night clothes, and he had just sat at her desk while they spoke of their plans for the school. And he ended up, somehow, asleep next to her.
“Sal,” she whispered, poking him with her fingertips. He mumbled something incoherent under his breath. She poked him again. His eyes flickered open.
“Helga?” he wondered hoarsely.
“No, it’s your mother,” she said, rolling her eyes.
He sat up quickly, looking around. “What am I doing here?”
“You feel asleep down here,’ she informed him, noting truly for the first time that there was much less than a foot between the two of them. She wanted to make it less, but coughed and slid away, standing up and heading toward her window instead.
“Right,” he said, his eyes following hers. She closed her eyes, pressing her forehead against the cold window. A flash flitted into her mind—Godric, holding his raven-haired daughter, laughing with his sons. His wife hooked on his arm, genuinely smiling. She wrinkled her forehead—Salazar was standing with her, their foreheads pressed together, his arms tight around her. She let the image continue, until their lips met and they started to kiss. Another flicker—Salazar riding away, on his onyx horse, barely looking back, save to spare her one last glance.
She knew her future ended in heartbreak. Distress made her unable to see past Salazar’s leaving for both herself and for him. It was the point of no return, she feared, the point after which they would never see each other again. And perhaps that was why she was too scared to let the first image of the two of them come to be.
“What’s wrong?” Salazar wondered. She heard him rise from her bed and walk up behind her. He was so close that she could lightly feel his breath on the back of her neck.
“Nothing,” she murmured.
“I don’t believe you, Helga,” he said, touching her shoulder. She flinched at his touch, which rose goosebumps from her cream skin.
“Believe me,” she whispered, pressing her entire cheek against the cool window.
He sighed gently and wrapped his arm around her, clearly out of his mind.
“What…” she said, instantly opening her eyes and jerking away from him.
“Helga…” he said. “Tell me what you see.”
She shook her head. “No.”
“Why not? Is it that horrible?” he wondered.
“It scares me,” she murmured.
“But what is life without a little fear?” he questioned.
“You sound like Godric,” she informed him.
“There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity,” he said, shrugging gently.
“He’s your best friend,” she said.
“Yes, I know, but he has to be more rational, or he will get us all in trouble,” Sal said, shaking his head.
“Why should we take chances?” she wondered. “Why can’t things go without a problem?”
“Because,” he said. “I know what you see, and I don’t want you to stop it. And I don’t want you to want to.”
“Helga, I see it in your face,” he said. “You see an us. But you are too afraid of it, of something that happens afterward. But you’ve said yourself a million times, nothing is set in stone, so who is to say we cannot change it? If we only try?”
He held out his hand for her and she stared at it. Then she looked at his face. And then back at his hand.
“We can’t have distractions,” she mumbled, feeling her resolution waning.
“then we won’t be distracted!” he said. “We could just… I… have fun? I’m not exactly certain what that entails, but I can’t keep seeing you and not… acting on this.”
“Fun?” she repeated the word. Then she glared at him. “I’m not a whore, Salazar.”
He laughed. To her face. He threw his head back and let out an almost manic chuckle. “Helga, really, that was not what I was implying.”
“Well I don’t know how else men have fun with women,” she scoffed.
“We could… spend a lot of time together, alone,” he said.
“I’m not exactly sure that is proper… or conventional,” she said, completely unsure of what his words implied.
“Helga,” he said. “You ran away from your home to live with two grown men. Nothing about you is proper or conventional.”
“I didn’t run away!” she argued. “They let me go.”
“With much protesting,” he added.
“All the same… Conventionality? Not your strong point, Helga. No, I’m thinking, judging by the way you are dressed in front of me, is propriety.”
She looked down and realized how revealing her nightdress was. Heat crept into her cheeks and she fumbled around for her dressing gown, pulling that on. He reached over and let the braid out of her hair.
“I like it better that way,” he informed her.
She shook her head. “You’re going to get us in trouble.”
“Who is here to get us in trouble with? The Lion and the lady out there? I doubt it. They’re as much in trouble as we are, even if she doesn’t know it,” he said.
She nodded, admitting.
“SO what do you see, Helga?” he wondered, stepping closer to her.
“I see… a girl,” she said. “Red haired, you know, a strawberry honey color. And a dark haired man, more like a boy, can barely grow a beard yet.”
“Oi—“ he protested, but she cut him off.
“And she’s scared, and he’s a little too bold for her liking. But he’s pensive too, in a good way, cunning. And she wouldn’t mind if they… well… she’s not so sure of the word… have fun for a while. And see what happens.”
He smiled at her, his typical Salazar smile. Like he’d always known he would win.
Secret-keeping was one of Salazar’s many talents. Helga, her nose buried into the soft fabric of his deep pine colored cloak, was also quite good at secret-keeping. To avoid potential conflicts, it was Sal’s idea to keep the “fun” a secret until they were sure of things, or until, at least, more of the school was underway.
At the moment, the fun consisted of nothing but her allowing him to put his arms around her, and for her to steal a quick, gentle kiss on the lips.
He could tell it was hard for her. She had been raised in a vassal family, with a strong sense of propriety. It had been her biggest qualm when making the decision to join Sal and Godric in bringing to life their plans for a school. Her magic family knew what a service she could be doing, but it was prominent, particularly to Salazar, who had a very good read of human emotion, that she had never been more torn in her life.
And now here she was in front of him, acting on emotions that had been screaming at her from the beginning--- begging her to follow him into the unknown. Emotions that had almost made her stay home.
Sal almost laughed to himself. What would her parents say now, if they saw them. He knew that he didn’t have the most docile-looking features of all of the eligible men in the world, but that was by choice. Reclusiveness was his preference and to retain it, sometimes an unappealing image was all a person needed. So his hair was long, his face scruffy. And that was how the world knew him.
He was almost certain Helga could see past it. Perhaps he needed to make sure though. After all, how much more reclusive could things get than living alone in a giant castle with three other people in the middle of nowhere Scotland. Perhaps a snake like image was not necessary anymore.
“Sal…” Helga said.
“Yes?” he said, stroking her hair gently with his fingers.
“When are you cutting your hair?”
That was what he got for kissing a seer.
He shrugged gently.
“It’s going to look very nice,” she informed him, reaching up to finger his long black locks.
“I’m glad you’re going to like it,” he said, wondering if he was going to spend the rest of his life answering to compliments on things he did in the future—he sincerely hoped so.
“Would you like me to do it for you?” she wondered.
“I suppose it couldn’t hurt if it was done by someone who can see the back,” he said.
She commanded him to sit in the chair behind her desk, and she brandished her wand once, starting to trim the sides. Sal watched as his hair fell in long tendrils onto the floor where they pooled like coiled snakes. He winced as he felt the air blow through the short hairs that shadowed the side of his head. It was the first time he’d felt hair there in a long time.
Helga’s fingers brushed over the top of his head, combing through the hairs there. Her hand caressed his cheek, fingertips brushing against his skin, feather light and gentle. He couldn’t help but smile to himself every time she leaned in closer to him and he got the faintest breath of her honey lemon smell. Among them many pluses of being a wizard, was the possibility for frequent baths. So Helga smelled fresh and perfect. Very summery. If a person could smell like a season.
“I think it’s done,” she said after a moment, brushing her fingers once more across the top of his head. He nodded, taking a deep breath. Beside him on the floor lay all of the locks of hair that once hung long and lank off of his head. He imagined himself looking better before he even saw it.
From thin air, Helga conjured up a mirror, which she held in front of him. He looked at himself, sighing deeply. He did look different, but that was most certainly to be expected. A greater portion of his face was visible now, without a shadow on it. And the clean silk texture was much more evident than it had been when it was hanging like rags off of the top of his head.
He flicked his wand at the floor, and his hair was Vanished. Helga smiled at him.
“Do you like it?” she wondered.
“I do,” he said.
“And you’re not just saying that to make me feel good?” she wondered.
“Never,” he promised,
“Well that’s always nice to hear,” she said vanishing her mirror as well. He smiled gently at her and stood up again, wrapping his arms around her and holding her close.
“I’m glad you think so,” he said. “Thank you for doing that. I probably would’ve backed out at the last moment.”
“Promise me you won’t regrow it,” she ordered.
“I can do that. I promise I won’t regrow it, Helga,” he said. “I value my life too much.”
She chuckled a little. “Oh Salazar. You know Godric will find this funny.”
“All the more reason to wear it proudly,” he said, laughing.
“You two are like an old married couple,” she said, shaking her head.
“However you want to see it,” he said. “We view it differently.”
“I know, I know,” she said. “Best friends that were born to be rivals.”
A/N: Hello everyone! Took me forever to update... but I did. I hope you still like it. I know it's fluffy, but there is a plot, underlying. I have twenty-some-odd chapters, and this is just the beginning. Please review! Much love!