dontgetsalmonella
dontgetsalmonella
A Court Of Horny Immortals
                  •Nightwing, Dorian, Nikolai, Poppy, Jude, and Cassian stan ♊︎                  •Ask boxes=vv empty •PFP by @nearixx on insta (: •6teen •Uni Student
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dontgetsalmonella · a day ago
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The way heather and vivi would be so supportive 🥰
Everyone’s reactions to Jude and Cardan announcing they’re having a baby
Madoc:
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Taryn:
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Vivi:
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Oak (to the lil baby):
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Oriana:
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Lady Asha:
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The Roach:
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The Bomb:
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Locke:
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BONUS: Jude and Cardan living their best family life
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dontgetsalmonella · a day ago
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Life As We Know It {Chapter Seven}
Summary: After the sudden deaths of Nesta’s sister and Cassian’s best friend, they gain guardianship of their nephew, Nyx.
Based on Life As We Know It (2010) and a prompt sent in by anonymous for our Nessian fanfic contest. This is a modern au.
Instead of doing a tag list for this story, we have decided to have a set posting schedule. Chapters will be posted weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. Chapters will be posted on both my and Tara’s blogs! >> @tacmc.
Life As We Know It Masterlist
Shelby’s Masterlist
Tara’s Masterlist
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Nesta was out with Elain, Mor, Emerie, Amren, and Gwen for the night.
She had no idea when she’d be home.
This meant one thing and one thing only.
It was Cassian’s first night alone with Nyx.
It was no different than being home alone with Nyx during the day, which Cassian had been a handful of times thus far. However, Nyx didn’t seem to need as much during the day.
Eat, sleep, play, repeat.
At night, he needed a dinner, a bath, his bottle, to be rocked, to be put down for the night…which was something he never liked doing. A daytime nap? He didn’t mind. Sleeping for nine hours? Apparently that thought just pissed him off.
Nesta was a pro at getting him to sleep for the night. Cassian had offered once to do it and failed miserably.
“Not tonight, little man,” Cassian said to Nyx as they sat at the dinner table together. “Tonight, you’re going to bed the first time for Uncle Cassian.”
Nyx looked at Cassian and giggled.
Cassian scoffed. “Don’t mock me.”
Dinner with Cassian meant Nyx got the good shit. No puréed green beans or mashed carrots tonight. After he’d polished off a small jar of the cinnamon apples, Nyx had eaten nearly half a tube of puréed sweet potato, and Cassian was eating his own food. He took a bite of supreme pizza and pointed at him, before holding up a single finger. “After this, we’re gonna take a bath, and you aren’t going to throw water everywhere or poop in the tub, got it?”
Nyx just banged his little hand on the tray of his high chair, causing more sweet potato to fly onto himself, grinning up at Cassian.
“Then one last bottle before bed, while I read you a story,” he said, holding up a second finger. “I’m sure there will be a diaper change in there somewhere, so please go easy on me, yeah?”
Nyx played in the mess of mixed food in front of him.
“And then you go to bed, so I can watch a movie and pass out myself, and boom. Nesta can’t say anything about my parenting anymore cause I managed to keep you alive for a whole night.”
Nyx blew a raspberry at him before he started babbling.
Cassian took that as agreement.
“Perfect,” Cassian said, ruffling Nyx’s dark hair as he shoved the rest of the pizza into his mouth with his other hand.
He got up to clear his plate, and by the time he went back to Nyx’s high chair, he had managed to make orange streaks in his black hair.
Courtesy of the sweet potatoes.
With a sigh, Cassian took the tray off the high chair and unbuckled Nyx, picking him up and carrying him toward the bath.
“You first, tray second,” Cassian said.
Nyx started patting his little potato covered hands on Cassian’s cheeks, giggling at the sound it made.
Cassian cringed at the way it felt. “Thanks for that.”
He filled the bathtub up, ensuring it wasn’t too hot, like Nesta had shown him, and got Nyx out of his messy clothes and into the tub. After he’d wiped his own face clean of sweet potato, he went to work on Nyx, who had somehow managed to get it on the back of his knees.
Twenty minutes and a full change of wet, soggy clothes later for Cassian, he was sitting in Nyx’s nursery, in the rocking chair in the corner, a book open in his lap.
“This would be a book your parents bought you,” he muttered, opening the front cover. After clearing his throat, he began, “The night sky of Velaris greeted all the townspeople, letting them know it was time to go to bed.” Nyx patted the page and babbled something incoherent. Cassian nodded. “Yeah, it’s a nice picture, isn’t it?” He went on reading the story, written by a local author, no doubt, and Cassian found himself snorting at some of the sentences, but Nyx was fully engaged.
By the time he had finished the book, Nyx was leaning back against him, fully relaxed in his pajamas.
Even Cassian let out a yawn.
“You know, the Velaris starlight was important to your parents,” Cassian said, rocking Nyx back and forth. “They fell in love on Starfall. At least, that’s what Rhys always said. He was in love with your mama long before that, but she started falling for him on Starfall.” Nyx’s dark lashes began to fall, his eyelids drooping. “That’s why they named you Nyx. In Greek, Nyx means night.”
Nyx’s hand gripped Cassian’s thumb. He looked down at the sight and chuckled, quietly.
The baby looked up at him then, with those big, blue eyes, eyes that were so blue, they looked violet in the dark. That dark hair that was starting to need a trim, falling into his eyes. Cassian blinked quickly, trying to keep the sudden tears from spilling over. “You look so much like your dad,” he whispered.
Nyx just continued to watch him, pacifier in his mouth, those eyes getting sleepier with every rock of the chair.
Swallowing harshly, Cass set the book down and resituated Nyx so he was laying against his chest. He gently rubbed his back, the way he saw Nesta do when he would get fussy.
“I miss your dad,” he said, softly. “I know you do, too, you’ve known him your whole life, but—. But so have I. And after twenty-eight years he’s just…gone.”
That dark head snuggled in closer against him, one of his little hands clutching Cassian’s t-shirt.
Cassian said nothing else. If he had, he wouldn’t have gotten them out clearly.
He rocked. He rocked and he rocked and he rocked until Nyx was snoring, softly. As carefully as he could, Cassian rose and laid Nyx down in his crib.
After waiting a moment to make sure he didn’t wake up, Cassian tiptoed out of the room and across the hall to his own bedroom.
He had just laid down and unlocked his phone when he heard crying.
Tossing his phone back on his pillow, Cassian was instantly up, hurrying back across the hall. Nyx’s feet were kicking, his arms waving wildly, perfectly unhappy.
“What’s going on?” Cassian asked, picking the baby up out of the crib and cradling him against his chest. “Huh? You were sleeping so nicely.”
He continued to cry, and no amount of bouncing or patting his back was seeming to work.
“Come on, dude,” he muttered, sitting back down in the rocker. He resumed the slow back and forth motion, praying it would soothe Nyx back into peaceful sleep. “We did the bath. We did the bottle. We did the book. This is when you go to sleep.”
He kept crying and Cassian just shushed him quietly, his hand resuming the gentle rubbing he had done before. It helped, but Nyx still sniffled. “I don’t know what to do,” he admitted. “I don’t know how to do any of this. I’m still scared I’m gonna do something to fuck up and I wouldn’t just be doing it to you, it’d be to Rhys, too.”
Nyx’s wailing returned, and Cassian tried to close his eyes and take deep breaths. It wasn’t working. With everything he tried, Nyx only cried more and more and more.
“Come on, buddy,” he begged. “It’s time for bed, alright? It’s time to calm down.” Nyx let out a cry so loud that Cassian nearly jumped, which only scared Nyx, making him cry louder.
Cassian tried changing his diaper, tried getting him to take his pacifier, but nothing helped. He continued to rock, continued to pat, continued to walk Nyx around his room, but nothing worked.
Nothing.
Defeated, Cassian laid Nyx back down in his crib. “Come on, bud. Come on.”
Nyx kept crying, and Cassian rubbed his temples, trying not to join his nephew in his agony.
“Shhhhhh,” Cassian began, leaning over the crib, patting Nyx’s stomach. “It’s time for bed, Nyx. It’s time for bed. If your parents were here right now, I’m sure you’d already be asleep. Shit, if Nesta were here, you’d already be asleep.” He shook his head. “It’s me, isn’t it?”
The baby replied by continuing to cry.
He swore quietly, and hurried across the hall grabbing his phone, dialing a number he’d unknowingly memorized. She answered on the second ring.
“Is everything okay?”
He couldn’t hear music and laughter in the background of the call, but heard how panicked her voice was. She must have stepped away from her friends. It only made him feel that much worse.
“I can’t get him to stop crying and go to sleep,” he admitted. “I don’t know what else to try.”
“You gave him his bottle?” She asked, and he nodded. Then audibly answered her. After that, she ticked off the checklist of things she usually went through. Every single one he’d already tried.
“It’s like it’s just me,” he said, trying to calm him down while he held the phone to his ear. He scooped him up into his arms and sat down in the rocking chair. “He hates me and won’t go to sleep.”
She was quiet for a minute. “You know that’s not true, Cassian. He loves you.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” he said, quietly, low enough that he wasn’t sure if the receiver could pick it up over Nyx’s wailing.
But it didn’t matter, because he heard footsteps hurrying up the stairs.
When Nesta rounded the corner, she wasn’t expecting to find Cassian looking defeated in the rocking chair. She pretended not to see the tears on his handsome face as she dropped her purse by the door of the nursery and took Nyx. She began to soothe him and tried to give him back his pacifier, but he wouldn’t take it.
“He’s cutting a new tooth,” Nesta said, carefully looking into his mouth, wide open thanks to a drawn out sob. “That’s all. He’s just uncomfortable, isn’t he?”
By the end of the sentence she was looking at Nyx, an over-exaggerated frown on her face.
She handed him back to Cassian and was downstairs and back with cooling, teething toy she’d pulled out of the freezer. He began to chew and gnaw on it the moment she handed it to him.
The crying quieted.
“There,” she said, smoothing his dark hair back from his forehead. “Better, yeah?”
Taking him from Cassian who hadn’t said a word since she walked in, she put him back into his crib and gently rubbed his belly. Within minutes, he was asleep again.
He murmured, “Thanks. You…didn’t have to end your night early for me.” He gestured toward the front door. “You can head back out. I can— I can handle it now.”
She shook her head. “I was on the way home. Turns out I wasn’t really in the going out mood.”
Cassian nodded, and said no more. He simply watched Nyx, his chest rising and falling. Nesta gave him a curt nod and walked out, back into the hall.
Cassian followed, shutting the nursery door quietly behind him.
“You did that so effortlessly.”
Nesta stopped and turned to face him near her bedroom, a brow raised. “Effortlessly?”
“I’ve been struggling for hours and you came in, and less than five minutes… He was out.” Cassian shook his head. “I’ve known him since the day he was born and I had no idea what he wanted.”
“He’s a baby, Cassian. He doesn’t even know what he wanted.”
“You knew,” he said, exasperated, exhausted.
She blinked, not expecting the tone of his voice to have sounded so…empty.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Nesta said, looking at him, willing him to meet her eyes. He didn’t look up.
“It’s not okay,” he said, and suddenly his words were sharp. “Rhys trusted me to take care of him but I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.”
She shook her head. “They trusted us, but they knew it wouldn’t be easy. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. We just have to take it day by day and-.”
“It’s not okay!” His words weren’t loud but they were panicked. “I have to provide for him and I can’t fucking do it if I don’t know what he needs.”
“Cassian-.”
“Why would they choose me?” He asked, his voice quiet. Tears filled his eyes. He hated himself for it. “I never even wanted kids! I have no idea what to do with a kid, Nesta. I don’t know what parents are supposed to do, what dads are supposed to do, I didn’t even fucking have one.”
Nesta remained quiet, afraid to speak, afraid to move. She had never seen Cassian like this.
She didn’t think anyone had ever seen Cassian like this.
“I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to do this,” he repeated. “I can’t— I can’t do this.”
She knew her words would mean nothing, reassuring him that he wasn’t alone in this, that they would figure it out together. It wouldn’t help him, wouldn’t ease his mind or his heart. That heart that was still broken from the loss of his best friend, his brother. So she did something she never thought she’d do.
She closed the space between them and wrapped her arms around him.
Cassian didn’t move for a moment, he just let her slim arms wrap around his waist, not realizing that he was on the brink of losing it. He was fairly sure that right now, she was the only thing holding him together, both mentally and physically. But after a long minute, his own arms wrapped around her shoulder and he buried his face into the top of her hair. He didn’t care that his tears were soaking her hair, didn’t care that this was the woman he’d spent the past five years hating and avoiding like she was the damn plague.
He didn’t care that he was falling to pieces.
Standing in that hallway, with Nyx sleeping behind the closed bedroom door, Cassian wept, and he didn’t care who saw it.
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dontgetsalmonella · a day ago
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Who is your favourite character from inside out and why is it not joy...!?
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dontgetsalmonella · 2 days ago
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*chef’s kiss* 🥰🤌
A Favor: Part Twenty-One
Nessian Modern AU
Masterlist
a/n: as someone who is physically incapable of reading fics and other long tumblr posts line by line and word for word, i think it’s so fucking cool that a bunch of you regularly, excitedly read what i post. i would not blame you at all for skim reading. thank you.
***
The majority of Cassian’s life was spent battling with the fact of his own existence. First he was fatherless, then motherless, then homeless. Being taken in by Rhys’s parents, who bought him nice clothes and nicer gifts, was like putting a bandaid over a stab wound. It couldn’t change the questions that made up Cassian at his core: was he equal to everyone else in this world, or had he been born inherently inferior? Did he deserve the same happinesses that his friends so carelessly reaped, or should he step back and know his place?
The older he grew, the more he grappled with those questions—until the night he learned who his father was, and the truth behind his existence. That he was likely a product of rape. Nearly driving himself drunk off a mountainside in Monte Carlo was enough to make him realize with a startling clarity: he couldn’t keep asking himself the same questions for the rest of his life. At some point, he was going to have to buck the fuck up and make his peace with the world, whether he believed he deserved to be in it or not. And though it might have taken him a while to reach that conclusion, Cassian can proudly say he did it. Not long into his post-college years, Cassian finally grew up.
By twenty-seven, he was secure enough in himself and his place in the world to not have to deal with those doubtful voices every waking minute. His life was figured out, and his ego was unshakeable. Until Nesta Archeron entered the story.
Now at twenty-eight, Cassian is again unsecured—this time in a less tragic but more confusing way. Because everything he thinks he knows about himself, about life, she insists on proving wrong.
Including the issue of celebrating his birthday.
“I feel like I should have asked this earlier,” Cassian mutters to Nesta as they stand in the cozy resort lobby, “but why is Az here?”
Nesta looks both humiliated and resigned when she mutters back, “He wouldn’t pay for the resort unless I let him come with us.”
“At that point you should’ve just let me pay, babe.” He watches Azriel’s back as he chats up the lady at the front desk while getting their room keys.
“On your own birthday? It would have ruined the point,” Nesta says.
Cassian doesn’t retort that having his brother present at their couple’s retreat also ruins the point. He’s sure she already knows.
Nesta’s reaction when Cassian told her that he didn’t celebrate his birthday was unforgettable.
“No one in our inner circle really cares about birthdays,” he had shrugged. “Feyre’s birthday is the exception because she’s sort of the outsider, and Rhys will find any excuse to worship at her feet. But the rest of us? I don’t know, it was never a big deal.”
As someone who’s never skipped a birthday once in her life, even when she was isolated and ignoring her family’s phone calls, Nesta took this as a personal offense. “I need to get you out of this cabin,” she stated.
Which brings them here, to Colorado’s finest ski resort situated high in the Rocky Mountains. The lobby is littered with overstuffed armchairs and a crackling fireplace, and huge windows look out over the blinding white mountains.
Az starts heading their way, key cards in hand, when Cassian suddenly turns to Nesta. “We need to find him a woman,” he whispers.
“What?”
“We can’t let him third wheel with us for the whole weekend. We’ll never get time alone.” Cassian is set on this new plan, already scanning the lobby for women around Azriel’s age.
“I agree, but—”
Azriel reaches the two of them, tossing a room card to Nesta. “You can stop talking about me now. I’ll be spending most of my time hitting the slopes.”
Cassian and Nesta mumble a halfhearted, “We weren’t talking about you.”
He narrows his eyes at them. “Uh-huh. Just remember whose credit card this is going on.” Picking up his ski gear and duffel bag, he turns for the elevator.
Nesta frowns up at Cassian once Az is gone, more adorably than she probably intends. “Do you think he’s upset?”
He scoffs. “We should be upset at him.” He doesn’t want to have to worry about his brother while he’s on vacation, and Az definitely wouldn’t want him to worry either, but it isn’t something that can be helped.
Despite his irritation, he might go skiing with Az later this afternoon. Just to keep him company.
***
Nesta will give it to Azriel—he’s a man of fine taste, and also generous with his spending. She originally wanted a normal room for her and Cassian, preferably the cheapest one, but Az went behind her back and upgraded them to a fully decked out penthouse suite.
“This is too much for just a weekend,” she tells him over the phone while Cassian is in the bathroom. “How am I supposed to pay you back for this?”
“Why would you pay me back?” he says dismissively. “I’m rich.”
When Nesta tries arguing with him, he only replies, “I don’t take money from poor people,” and hangs up on her.
Which leaves Nesta to enjoy the four-spray shower and heated bathroom tiles free of charge. By the time she comes out of the shower, Cassian has already left with Azriel to hit some slopes before dinner, though not before leaving her a note promising to teach her how to ski tomorrow.
Nesta doesn’t even get to unwrap her towel from her body before realizing her phone is ringing incessantly, all the way from the other side of the suite. Jogging over to the living area, Nesta answers Emerie’s call. “What’s up?”
“Where are you?” Emerie greets without introduction.
“At the ski lodge?” Nesta answers, confused. “I already told you, for Cassian’s birthday.”
“I know that,” Emerie hisses. “I mean what room are you in? This place is huge.”
“Wait—you’re here?” Nesta looks quickly around herself, as if Emerie will pop up from behind the couch.
“Not just me. So is Gwyn.” Nesta hears rustling on the other side of the line, and then Emerie saying from a distance, “Answer for your crimes, Gwyneth. Say hi.”
A new, clearer voice comes over the phone. “Hiii, Nesta.” Gwyn sounds weak, like she is not having fun at all.
“What the hell do you two think you’re doing?” Nesta demands.
“Well, it’s a long story and I need to see you first. Also, I have to pee. Where is your room?”
Five minutes later, Gwyn and Emerie are sitting obediently before the roaring fireplace in Nesta and Cassian’s suite.
Now fully dressed, Nesta stabs a finger at Emerie. “Explain.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Emerie says indignantly. “Gwyn barged into my place at eight in the morning and dragged me all the way here—”
“It was an emergency!” Gwyn tosses her hands in the air. “It still is an emergency. That’s why we’re here.”
“I’m here because Gwyn is scared of traveling alone,” Emerie interjects. “And driving on highways.”
“Guys!” Nesta snaps.
Gwyn makes a whining sound of defeat and drops her head into her hands. After a long moment, she speaks. “He asked if we could go to dinner together. Like, right to my face. And I panicked and said yes, because I couldn’t think of a reason to say no, but obviously I can’t do that. So this morning I cashed in my sick days and told him I was going on vacation for a whole week.” Gwyn looks up at Nesta with pleading teal eyes. “Please can we stay here the whole week?”
Nesta stares at Gwyn, feeling like her brain was just sucked dry. “First of all, who’s ‘he’?”
“Max!” She stands in her outburst. “The love of my life. The man who works on the fourth floor of the library. Do you pay attention to the groupchat at all?”
Oh yeah, that guy. “You came all the way here,” Nesta drawls out slowly, “so you wouldn’t have to have dinner with your crush?”
“It wasn’t just any dinner.” Gwyn flops back onto the couch. “It was a date. I can’t go on a date with him. First dates lead to second dates, and second dates lead to—sex.” She whispers the last word.
“Really?” Emerie frowns, not missing a beat at the mention of Gwyn’s deepest fear. “What kind of dates have you been having?”
“I haven’t been having any dates,” Gwyn says. “Why, how long do you usually see someone before doing it?”
“First date, at most,” Emerie shrugs.
“No,” Nesta steps in, sending Emerie a bewildered look. “Gwyn, you’ve known this guy for a while now. If he’s half as decent as you think he is, he won’t expect sex by the second date. And even if he does—”
“What does it matter?” Gwyn wails. “It’ll come up eventually. And when it does, he’ll think I’m a freak.”
“He won’t get a chance to think anything before I kill him,” Emerie says, eyes darkening.
Nesta says nothing, knowing this is something she can’t advise Gwyn about. Whether or not Gwyn chooses to share her past and unresolved trauma with another man, and whether or not that man reacts in an unshitty way isn’t something Nesta can determine. So she just states for the record, “You’re not a freak.”
“But it’s what he’ll think.”
“Then you shouldn’t be with him in the first place,” Nesta says firmly. Even though she knows better than anyone that it isn’t always that simple.
Proving her point, Gwyn scoffs and looks away. “You don’t get it.”
“What I really don’t get,” Nesta says, “is why you took your lie so literally. Why did you come all the way out here instead of hiding out at home for the week?”
“Merrill sees and knows everything. I can’t lie to her.” Gwyn cringes. “If I stayed at home, she would sniff me out as soon as she got me on the phone, and then I’d really be screwed.”
Nesta cocks her head at Gwyn, squinting her eyes in something akin to fascination.
“I had the same reaction,” Emerie pipes up. She shakes her head at Gwyn. “I’ve never met a more melodramatic idiot, truly.”
Gwyn curls into herself on the couch, looking ashamed.
Nesta sighs sharply, then whips out a hand. “Give me your wallets. I’ll go downstairs right now and see if I can book a room last minute.”
Emerie sits up at that. “Uh… I’m not sure I can afford a place like this.”
“Neither can I,” Nesta says. “That’s why Azriel paid for all of us.”
Gwyn’s eyes go comically round. “Azriel’s here?”
“Unfortunately.” She snaps her fingers at both girls. “Credit or debit, now.”
“So… I’m assuming we can’t just share this huge suite with you guys, huh?” Gwyn says hesitantly.
There might be actual flames in Nesta’s eyes. This is Cassian’s birthday, goddammit. Cassian, who hasn’t celebrated a birthday since he was eleven. “Please don’t push me.”
Gwyn and Emerie, very reluctantly, hand their cards over to Nesta. Emerie hands over two, just in case.
In the end, Nesta doesn’t use any of their money, but charges the new room to her own account. She’ll work it off by putting extra hours into Night Court, she tells herself.
When she returns to the penthouse suite, she spies tracks outlined in melted snow at the doorway. Shit. She barges inside to find Cassian and Azriel standing in the middle of the living area, with Emerie looking awkward on the couch.
“Uh, we just got back—” Cassian starts.
“I can explain,” Nesta interrupts.
A faucet turns off in the distance, and Gwyn peeks her head out of the bathroom door.
“Oh, shit,” Azriel says in delight. “Freckles is here too?”
Gwyn looks like she’s about to turn right back around to the bathroom. Nesta and Cassian both throw Az a baffled look, but Nesta says, “I can fix this. I’ve already fixed it.” She goes over to Emerie and hands her a key card. “You and Gwyn are going to stay on the first floor, and you won’t bother me or Cassian for the duration of our stay. It’ll be like you’re not even here.” She whips toward Gwyn, who still hovers near the bathroom doorway. “And at the end of this weekend, you’re going back to work like the adult you are and taking care of your shit.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Gwyn says quietly, lowering her head.
Cassian comes over to Nesta, whispering, “So, you didn’t invite them to keep Az company or anything, right?”
“I can hear you,” Azriel says.
“Of course not,” Nesta whispers back. “That’s a terrible idea.”
“Really? Because I thought it was kind of convenient—”
“I can still hear you,” Az repeats.
“So can I,” Emerie nods.
“Shut up,” Nesta hisses at the both of them. Grabbing Cassian’s still-gloved hand, she drags him upstairs and away to their bedroom. When the door shuts behind them, she turns to him and blurts, “I’m so sorry.”
Cassian only laughs, taking his ski jacket off and brushing away the wet snow from the back. “I’m not.” He tosses his jacket and gloves over a chair and approaches Nesta, tugging her closer by her oversized turtleneck. “And what did I tell you about wasting your apologies?”
Nesta doesn’t care. “I ruined your birthday.”
“My birthday’s not until tomorrow,” he says with a straight face. “But honestly, I like this a lot more than just you, me, and Az. At least he can’t third wheel anymore, right?”
She shakes her head insistently, frustration boiling in her blood. “Everything’s going wrong.”
“But you solved our problems.” He finds Nesta’s clenched fists and unfurls them with gentle hands. “You got the girls their own room, and now Az can be distracted with those two. We can still be alone. We win.”
Nesta purses her lips, unconvinced, when Cassian adds, “But seriously, though—what the fuck are they doing here?”
She exhales deeply, letting her head drop forward onto Cassian’s chest. “I don’t know,” she mutters. “Gwyn panicked about some personal stuff and thought it was a good idea to come to me. I don’t want to make her leave, though.” Gwyn is being stupid right now, without a doubt, but Nesta won’t abandon her. Neither will Emerie.
God, having friends sucks.
Cassian threads a hand through her loose hair and hums. “Gwyn was smart for coming to you.”
***
Dinner is held outside in the snow and cold, but everyone bundles up and sits down at a table that surrounds one of the multiple fire pits in the courtyard. Cassian convinced Nesta to let Gwyn and Emerie hang out with them for the weekend, because what else are those poor girls supposed to do, and now the women babble over each other as they decide what to drink.
Cassian sits back and takes it in, the sight feeling heartwarmingly familiar and strangely brand new at the same time. Nesta ends up being the one to order everybody’s drinks, and once the waiter scampers back inside, Gwyn releases a terse breath. “Sometimes I still get scared of that tone.”
“I’m always scared of it,” Az mutters, eyeing Nesta from the corner of his eye.
“What tone?” Cassian laughs. He knows Nesta is still a little wound up from her plans going off the rails, but she hasn’t done anything scary.
“I’m used to it,” Emerie says through a mouthful of fries, “but I think that waiter almost cried.”
“That’s how I sound all the time.” Nesta shrugs, sitting back.
“What tone?” Cassian repeats.
Nesta clicks her tongue impatiently. “You know how I talk. I’m straightforward.”
“And harsh,” Azriel adds. “Even aggressive.”
“Watch it.” Gwyn turns stern eyes onto him over the fire pit.
“I have no idea what you all are talking about,” Cassian says. He turns to Nesta. “You sound perfectly normal to me.”
She narrows her perfect brows at him, and Emerie laughs, “I don’t know if that’s romantic or ignorant.”
But now that they’re discussing it, Cassian does distinctly remember Nesta having a sharp edge to her words while they were getting to know each other. Did it disappear over time, or has he really stopped noticing it?
He doesn’t get to think about it before their drinks arrive, followed soon by a dinner of fancy sandwiches.
Cassian cuts his beef sandwich in half and gives the other half to Nesta, and she does the same with her turkey sandwich. They eat and drink around the crackling fire, laughing and talking about tomorrow’s plans (“It’s not your birthday, Azriel,” Nesta says. “Stop asking about gifts.”). Cassian and Emerie talk idly about video games over wine, and even though it isn’t really his thing, he can see her excitement over it and gladly indulges it.
Once everyone is finished eating and is slightly drunk, Gwyn pulls a small sleeve of crackers out of her puffy jacket, followed by a fun-sized Hershey’s bar and a handful of mini marshmallows.
“What are you doing?” Nesta says.
“Making dessert.” Gwyn builds a mini s’more and places it carefully on her fork so she can toast it over the fire pit. When it’s done, she leans forward even more to try to put it on Nesta’s plate. “For you. Thank you for letting me and Emerie stay.”
Nesta jumps, catching the s’more with her plate and batting Gwyn away from the fire pit at the same time. “You’ll set your hair on fire,” she hisses.
Gwyn’s hair remains safe, but now Cassian catches his brother watching Gwyn amusedly from the corner of his eye. “Can I have one?” Az says.
“I’m all out.” Gwyn says while building another s’more, refusing to meet his eyes.
Cassian and Nesta share a look, a hundred words thrown back and forth between them in that glance. She scoots her chair closer to him to slip her cold hands into his warm ones, but while the conversation carries on around the table, she leans in and whispers, “I’m not a busybody but…”
“I am,” he whispers back. “Az is being weird, weirder than usual.”
Nesta nods. “I’ve never seen him so—outgoing.”
Neither has Cassian, but before he can mention anything else, he looks up to find that Gwyn and Azriel’s seats at the table are empty. “How much did those two drink?” he breathes.
Nesta follows his gaze, seeing what he’s seeing: Azriel and Gwyn wandering clumsily around the snowy courtyard. Or rather, Az is trying to chase Gwyn down for a s’more, while she clutches her mini marshmallows to her chest and vehemently yells, “They’re mine!”
Meanwhile, Emerie is half asleep at the table.
Cassian watches as Gwyn nears the towering fir tree at the center of the courtyard and slips. Az shoots out a hand to catch her, but not before her ass hits the stone, hard. He pulls her back up, no longer fooling around, and Gwyn rubs her butt in pain.
Cassian suddenly feels Nesta squeezing the life out of his hands, and he looks over to find fury written across her face. For a heartbeat, he feels worried for Az.
“Go deal with him,” Nesta says lowly. “Before I do.”
Not needing any more words to understand, he stands out of his seat and heads out into the courtyard. He doesn’t know why Nesta thinks Gwyn needs protecting, but it makes him feel protective himself. Approaching the duo, he sees that Azriel finally acquired the leftover s’more ingredients from Gwyn.
“There’s only like half a cracker left,” Az mutters to himself, shaking the baggie.
“Is he bothering you?” Cassian asks Gwyn, who still looks grumpy over losing their skirmish.
Whipping her head to Cassian like he’s her savior, Gwyn nods furiously. “Please make him stop.”
Cassian turns to Azriel with rage in his eyes, a clear What the fuck do you think you’re doing?
But Az shakes his head in denial. “It’s not like that. Look, she’s smirking at me!” He points over Cassian’s shoulder.
When Cassian looks, Gwyn is already walking back to the fire pit, holding her bruised ass.
Az starts, “What a fake little—”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Cassian interrupts. “Yesterday you’re crying over Elain and today you’re flirting with Nesta’s friend?”
Azriel goes serious, his face turning colder than the night air. “How do you know about Elain?” he says gruffly.
“Everyone knows, Azriel.” Cassian stares down his brother, wondering if he’ll finally get him to get his head screwed on straight after these past weeks of secretive bullshit.
Azriel sets his jaw, but a muscle there ticks.
“Will you finally at least tell me what’s going on in your head?” Cassian pleads. “Because I can’t keep guessing.”
Azriel glances toward the dinner table, as if checking to see that no one is paying attention to them. Looking back, he inhales a breath. “You want to know why I left Velaris?”
Like Nesta, Azriel is not one to quickly make himself vulnerable. So there’s no blatant emotion in his voice when he says, “I started seeing her at the end of summer, not long after she broke up with her ex. And it was so…nice after every other relationship I’ve been in has gone wrong. We kept it quiet, and because of that, it was peaceful.” Azriel’s eyes meet Cassian’s twin ones, and he smirks without humor. “But you already know what that’s like, don’t you?”
He does. Cassian crosses his arms, waiting for Az to continue.
“Anyway, we had a good run. For a long time, it was mostly just sex, but I liked her. I liked her a lot.” Az kicks at the snow-dusted cobblestones. “Then Christmas came around, and Rhys found out.” His face darkens as he remembers, and Cassian stiffens, knowing what’s next isn’t good. Sometimes Rhys forgets the boundary between boss and brother.
“He didn’t say anything about it to Elain, of course,” Azriel says. “But he dragged my ass aside and gave me this huge lecture about us using each other as rebounds. Said ‘Feyre’s sister’ deserves better or some shit. I told him there was more to it than that, but he wouldn’t listen. Instead he brought Vanserra & Co. into it, like his business matters had anything to do with me and Elain.” Azriel’s eyes crinkle at the corners in a puzzled way. “So I got to thinking, ‘why would he bring the Vanserras up?’ He made it seem like such a big deal.” The toe of his boot digs a hole into the ground.
Sympathy churns alongside anger in Cassian’s chest for Azriel’s situation, anger at Rhysand for crossing that line between brothers. He’s only momentarily grateful that Rhys never tried doing something similar to him and Nesta.
“I thought she was over that other guy, Lucien,” Az continues. “But maybe she’s not, if Rhys is so concerned about what Lucien’s stepfather thinks. Anyway, that’s why I ran. Because I knew she liked me, but I also knew she didn’t love me. I didn’t want us to cause all that trouble with Rhys just to end up backed into a corner one day, having nowhere else to go because she loves someone else and I’m just a rebound. It would be awkward for everyone involved.” He scratches the back of his neck. “It’s mostly my fault, for always chasing after women I can’t have.” He finally looks up at Cassian. “When you talk to Elain, does it sound like she hates me?” The question is quiet, straightforward.
“No,” Cassian answers, voice rough. Even if Azriel wants to hide his feelings, Cassian won’t. “She doesn’t seem like she hates you. I don’t even think she’s mad at you.” Concerned, anxious, upset—that’s Elain as far as he knows.
“She should hate me,” Azriel says. “She should get pissed, burn my old clothes, and swear to never talk to me again. That’s the only way she can move on.” Maybe even move back to Lucien, is what goes unsaid.
Cassian isn’t so sure about that. Even as he feels for Az, he thinks both of his brothers should get slapped upside the head for how they’ve been acting lately. He won’t be the one to do it, but he might get Nesta to relay a message to Elain. It’ll be the same thing. “I’m sorry,” he tells Az instead. “I know I’ve been hard on you lately. When we get home, I’ll start doing better.” He claps Az on the shoulder and squeezes.
Azriel surprises him by scoffing, looking away in disbelief. “Wow, being compassionate is really a full time job for you, huh?” He claps Cassian’s shoulder back, pulling him into a sudden hug. “You’ve already done more than enough,” he says into Cassian’s ear. “Go to your girlfriend and take a rest.”
Taken aback, Cassian nods and pulls away. He’s about to turn around and leave when Az says, “By the way, I wasn’t flirting with Gwyn.”
Cassian raises a brow. “You were definitely doing something.”
Az rolls his eyes. “I’m not giving her anything she can’t handle. But in case you haven’t noticed, I have no interest in other women right now.” He makes a face. “Especially not her.”
Cassian chuckles. “I believe you. It’s Nesta you need to worry about.”
“Whatever. I’m not scared of her.”
That makes Cassian laugh even harder, but he turns around, ready to go back to said girlfriend. As he nears the fire pit, though, he finds that Gwyn is already there and cuddled up to Nesta. On Nesta’s other side, Emerie now sits in Cassian’s chair, asleep on her friend’s shoulder. He stops in his tracks.
Cassian wasn’t lying when he told Nesta that he was happy about their changed vacation plans—he believes the more the merrier, and he loves these people. Yet he can’t help but wish the two of them could be alone for just one day. Only one.
God, sometimes having friends sucks.
***
a/n: this is a two parter so next chapter we’ll finally be getting more nessian alone time
tagging: @hellasblessed @sjm-things @thewayshedreamed @drielecarla @valkyriewarriors @superspiritfestival @aliveahaahahafuck @cupcakey00 @sayosdreams @rainbowcheetah512 @claralady @thebluemartini @nessiantho @missing-merlin @duskandstarlight @lucy617 @sleeping-and-books @everything-that-i-love @cassianscool @swankii-art-teacher @wannawriteyouabook @awesomelena555 @julemmaes @wickedqueenoffantasy @poisonous-bloom @observationanxioustheorist @gisellefigue08 @courtofjurdan @theoverlyenthusiasticwriter @wolfiixxx @cass-nes @seashade @royaltykxx @illyrianundercover @queenestarcheron @monstrousloves-explodinggalaxies @humanexile @that-golden-lyre @agentsofsheilds @mercy-is-alive @cassiansbigwingspan @laylaameer01 @verypaleninja @maastrash @bow-dawn @perseusannabeth @dead-on-the-inside666 @jlinez @hungryreadingaddict @anidealiveson @planet-faerie @shallowhighwaters @ghostlyrose2 @chosenfamily-valkyriequeens @rarephloxes @readiajin @nessiantrashh @live-the-fangirl-life @ifinallygavein @xoblivisci @sjmships @jungtaekwoonie-is-life @lysandra-tiara @lanyjoy-13 @frosted-crackers @post-it-notes33 @loosingdreams @fromthelibraryofemilyj @18moneytoad @dontgetsalmonella @champanheandluxxury @togreblog @arinbelle @ladygabrielli1997 @meridainthedisneyland
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dontgetsalmonella · 2 days ago
Text
A Favor: Part Twenty-One
Nessian Modern AU
Masterlist
a/n: as someone who is physically incapable of reading fics and other long tumblr posts line by line and word for word, i think it’s so fucking cool that a bunch of you regularly, excitedly read what i post. i would not blame you at all for skim reading. thank you.
***
The majority of Cassian’s life was spent battling with the fact of his own existence. First he was fatherless, then motherless, then homeless. Being taken in by Rhys’s parents, who bought him nice clothes and nicer gifts, was like putting a bandaid over a stab wound. It couldn’t change the questions that made up Cassian at his core: was he equal to everyone else in this world, or had he been born inherently inferior? Did he deserve the same happinesses that his friends so carelessly reaped, or should he step back and know his place?
The older he grew, the more he grappled with those questions—until the night he learned who his father was, and the truth behind his existence. That he was likely a product of rape. Nearly driving himself drunk off a mountainside in Monte Carlo was enough to make him realize with a startling clarity: he couldn’t keep asking himself the same questions for the rest of his life. At some point, he was going to have to buck the fuck up and make his peace with the world, whether he believed he deserved to be in it or not. And though it might have taken him a while to reach that conclusion, Cassian can proudly say he did it. Not long into his post-college years, Cassian finally grew up.
By twenty-seven, he was secure enough in himself and his place in the world to not have to deal with those doubtful voices every waking minute. His life was figured out, and his ego was unshakeable. Until Nesta Archeron entered the story.
Now at twenty-eight, Cassian is again unsecured—this time in a less tragic but more confusing way. Because everything he thinks he knows about himself, about life, she insists on proving wrong.
Including the issue of celebrating his birthday.
“I feel like I should have asked this earlier,” Cassian mutters to Nesta as they stand in the cozy resort lobby, “but why is Az here?”
Nesta looks both humiliated and resigned when she mutters back, “He wouldn’t pay for the resort unless I let him come with us.”
“At that point you should’ve just let me pay, babe.” He watches Azriel’s back as he chats up the lady at the front desk while getting their room keys.
“On your own birthday? It would have ruined the point,” Nesta says.
Cassian doesn’t retort that having his brother present at their couple’s retreat also ruins the point. He’s sure she already knows.
Nesta’s reaction when Cassian told her that he didn’t celebrate his birthday was unforgettable.
“No one in our inner circle really cares about birthdays,” he had shrugged. “Feyre’s birthday is the exception because she’s sort of the outsider, and Rhys will find any excuse to worship at her feet. But the rest of us? I don’t know, it was never a big deal.”
As someone who’s never skipped a birthday once in her life, even when she was isolated and ignoring her family’s phone calls, Nesta took this as a personal offense. “I need to get you out of this cabin,” she stated.
Which brings them here, to Colorado’s finest ski resort situated high in the Rocky Mountains. The lobby is littered with overstuffed armchairs and a crackling fireplace, and huge windows look out over the blinding white mountains.
Az starts heading their way, key cards in hand, when Cassian suddenly turns to Nesta. “We need to find him a woman,” he whispers.
“What?”
“We can’t let him third wheel with us for the whole weekend. We’ll never get time alone.” Cassian is set on this new plan, already scanning the lobby for women around Azriel’s age.
“I agree, but—”
Azriel reaches the two of them, tossing a room card to Nesta. “You can stop talking about me now. I’ll be spending most of my time hitting the slopes.”
Cassian and Nesta mumble a halfhearted, “We weren’t talking about you.”
He narrows his eyes at them. “Uh-huh. Just remember whose credit card this is going on.” Picking up his ski gear and duffel bag, he turns for the elevator.
Nesta frowns up at Cassian once Az is gone, more adorably than she probably intends. “Do you think he’s upset?”
He scoffs. “We should be upset at him.” He doesn’t want to have to worry about his brother while he’s on vacation, and Az definitely wouldn’t want him to worry either, but it isn’t something that can be helped.
Despite his irritation, he might go skiing with Az later this afternoon. Just to keep him company.
***
Nesta will give it to Azriel—he’s a man of fine taste, and also generous with his spending. She originally wanted a normal room for her and Cassian, preferably the cheapest one, but Az went behind her back and upgraded them to a fully decked out penthouse suite.
“This is too much for just a weekend,” she tells him over the phone while Cassian is in the bathroom. “How am I supposed to pay you back for this?”
“Why would you pay me back?” he says dismissively. “I’m rich.”
When Nesta tries arguing with him, he only replies, “I don’t take money from poor people,” and hangs up on her.
Which leaves Nesta to enjoy the four-spray shower and heated bathroom tiles free of charge. By the time she comes out of the shower, Cassian has already left with Azriel to hit some slopes before dinner, though not before leaving her a note promising to teach her how to ski tomorrow.
Nesta doesn’t even get to unwrap her towel from her body before realizing her phone is ringing incessantly, all the way from the other side of the suite. Jogging over to the living area, Nesta answers Emerie’s call. “What’s up?”
“Where are you?” Emerie greets without introduction.
“At the ski lodge?” Nesta answers, confused. “I already told you, for Cassian’s birthday.”
“I know that,” Emerie hisses. “I mean what room are you in? This place is huge.”
“Wait—you’re here?” Nesta looks quickly around herself, as if Emerie will pop up from behind the couch.
“Not just me. So is Gwyn.” Nesta hears rustling on the other side of the line, and then Emerie saying from a distance, “Answer for your crimes, Gwyneth. Say hi.”
A new, clearer voice comes over the phone. “Hiii, Nesta.” Gwyn sounds weak, like she is not having fun at all.
“What the hell do you two think you’re doing?” Nesta demands.
“Well, it’s a long story and I need to see you first. Also, I have to pee. Where is your room?”
Five minutes later, Gwyn and Emerie are sitting obediently before the roaring fireplace in Nesta and Cassian’s suite.
Now fully dressed, Nesta stabs a finger at Emerie. “Explain.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Emerie says indignantly. “Gwyn barged into my place at eight in the morning and dragged me all the way here—”
“It was an emergency!” Gwyn tosses her hands in the air. “It still is an emergency. That’s why we’re here.”
“I’m here because Gwyn is scared of traveling alone,” Emerie interjects. “And driving on highways.”
“Guys!” Nesta snaps.
Gwyn makes a whining sound of defeat and drops her head into her hands. After a long moment, she speaks. “He asked if we could go to dinner together. Like, right to my face. And I panicked and said yes, because I couldn’t think of a reason to say no, but obviously I can’t do that. So this morning I cashed in my sick days and told him I was going on vacation for a whole week.” Gwyn looks up at Nesta with pleading teal eyes. “Please can we stay here the whole week?”
Nesta stares at Gwyn, feeling like her brain was just sucked dry. “First of all, who’s ‘he’?”
“Max!” She stands in her outburst. “The love of my life. The man who works on the fourth floor of the library. Do you pay attention to the groupchat at all?”
Oh yeah, that guy. “You came all the way here,” Nesta drawls out slowly, “so you wouldn’t have to have dinner with your crush?”
“It wasn’t just any dinner.” Gwyn flops back onto the couch. “It was a date. I can’t go on a date with him. First dates lead to second dates, and second dates lead to—sex.” She whispers the last word.
“Really?” Emerie frowns, not missing a beat at the mention of Gwyn’s deepest fear. “What kind of dates have you been having?”
“I haven’t been having any dates,” Gwyn says. “Why, how long do you usually see someone before doing it?”
“First date, at most,” Emerie shrugs.
“No,” Nesta steps in, sending Emerie a bewildered look. “Gwyn, you’ve known this guy for a while now. If he’s half as decent as you think he is, he won’t expect sex by the second date. And even if he does—”
“What does it matter?” Gwyn wails. “It’ll come up eventually. And when it does, he’ll think I’m a freak.”
“He won’t get a chance to think anything before I kill him,” Emerie says, eyes darkening.
Nesta says nothing, knowing this is something she can’t advise Gwyn about. Whether or not Gwyn chooses to share her past and unresolved trauma with another man, and whether or not that man reacts in an unshitty way isn’t something Nesta can determine. So she just states for the record, “You’re not a freak.”
“But it’s what he’ll think.”
“Then you shouldn’t be with him in the first place,” Nesta says firmly. Even though she knows better than anyone that it isn’t always that simple.
Proving her point, Gwyn scoffs and looks away. “You don’t get it.”
“What I really don’t get,” Nesta says, “is why you took your lie so literally. Why did you come all the way out here instead of hiding out at home for the week?”
“Merrill sees and knows everything. I can’t lie to her.” Gwyn cringes. “If I stayed at home, she would sniff me out as soon as she got me on the phone, and then I’d really be screwed.”
Nesta cocks her head at Gwyn, squinting her eyes in something akin to fascination.
“I had the same reaction,” Emerie pipes up. She shakes her head at Gwyn. “I’ve never met a more melodramatic idiot, truly.”
Gwyn curls into herself on the couch, looking ashamed.
Nesta sighs sharply, then whips out a hand. “Give me your wallets. I’ll go downstairs right now and see if I can book a room last minute.”
Emerie sits up at that. “Uh… I’m not sure I can afford a place like this.”
“Neither can I,” Nesta says. “That’s why Azriel paid for all of us.”
Gwyn’s eyes go comically round. “Azriel’s here?”
“Unfortunately.” She snaps her fingers at both girls. “Credit or debit, now.”
“So… I’m assuming we can’t just share this huge suite with you guys, huh?” Gwyn says hesitantly.
There might be actual flames in Nesta’s eyes. This is Cassian’s birthday, goddammit. Cassian, who hasn’t celebrated a birthday since he was eleven. “Please don’t push me.”
Gwyn and Emerie, very reluctantly, hand their cards over to Nesta. Emerie hands over two, just in case.
In the end, Nesta doesn’t use any of their money, but charges the new room to her own account. She’ll work it off by putting extra hours into Night Court, she tells herself.
When she returns to the penthouse suite, she spies tracks outlined in melted snow at the doorway. Shit. She barges inside to find Cassian and Azriel standing in the middle of the living area, with Emerie looking awkward on the couch.
“Uh, we just got back—” Cassian starts.
“I can explain,” Nesta interrupts.
A faucet turns off in the distance, and Gwyn peeks her head out of the bathroom door.
“Oh, shit,” Azriel says in delight. “Freckles is here too?”
Gwyn looks like she’s about to turn right back around to the bathroom. Nesta and Cassian both throw Az a baffled look, but Nesta says, “I can fix this. I’ve already fixed it.” She goes over to Emerie and hands her a key card. “You and Gwyn are going to stay on the first floor, and you won’t bother me or Cassian for the duration of our stay. It’ll be like you’re not even here.” She whips toward Gwyn, who still hovers near the bathroom doorway. “And at the end of this weekend, you’re going back to work like the adult you are and taking care of your shit.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Gwyn says quietly, lowering her head.
Cassian comes over to Nesta, whispering, “So, you didn’t invite them to keep Az company or anything, right?”
“I can hear you,” Azriel says.
“Of course not,” Nesta whispers back. “That’s a terrible idea.”
“Really? Because I thought it was kind of convenient—”
“I can still hear you,” Az repeats.
“So can I,” Emerie nods.
“Shut up,” Nesta hisses at the both of them. Grabbing Cassian’s still-gloved hand, she drags him upstairs and away to their bedroom. When the door shuts behind them, she turns to him and blurts, “I’m so sorry.”
Cassian only laughs, taking his ski jacket off and brushing away the wet snow from the back. “I’m not.” He tosses his jacket and gloves over a chair and approaches Nesta, tugging her closer by her oversized turtleneck. “And what did I tell you about wasting your apologies?”
Nesta doesn’t care. “I ruined your birthday.”
“My birthday’s not until tomorrow,” he says with a straight face. “But honestly, I like this a lot more than just you, me, and Az. At least he can’t third wheel anymore, right?”
She shakes her head insistently, frustration boiling in her blood. “Everything’s going wrong.”
“But you solved our problems.” He finds Nesta’s clenched fists and unfurls them with gentle hands. “You got the girls their own room, and now Az can be distracted with those two. We can still be alone. We win.”
Nesta purses her lips, unconvinced, when Cassian adds, “But seriously, though—what the fuck are they doing here?”
She exhales deeply, letting her head drop forward onto Cassian’s chest. “I don’t know,” she mutters. “Gwyn panicked about some personal stuff and thought it was a good idea to come to me. I don’t want to make her leave, though.” Gwyn is being stupid right now, without a doubt, but Nesta won’t abandon her. Neither will Emerie.
God, having friends sucks.
Cassian threads a hand through her loose hair and hums. “Gwyn was smart for coming to you.”
***
Dinner is held outside in the snow and cold, but everyone bundles up and sits down at a table that surrounds one of the multiple fire pits in the courtyard. Cassian convinced Nesta to let Gwyn and Emerie hang out with them for the weekend, because what else are those poor girls supposed to do, and now the women babble over each other as they decide what to drink.
Cassian sits back and takes it in, the sight feeling heartwarmingly familiar and strangely brand new at the same time. Nesta ends up being the one to order everybody’s drinks, and once the waiter scampers back inside, Gwyn releases a terse breath. “Sometimes I still get scared of that tone.”
“I’m always scared of it,” Az mutters, eyeing Nesta from the corner of his eye.
“What tone?” Cassian laughs. He knows Nesta is still a little wound up from her plans going off the rails, but she hasn’t done anything scary.
“I’m used to it,” Emerie says through a mouthful of fries, “but I think that waiter almost cried.”
“That’s how I sound all the time.” Nesta shrugs, sitting back.
“What tone?” Cassian repeats.
Nesta clicks her tongue impatiently. “You know how I talk. I’m straightforward.”
“And harsh,” Azriel adds. “Even aggressive.”
“Watch it.” Gwyn turns stern eyes onto him over the fire pit.
“I have no idea what you all are talking about,” Cassian says. He turns to Nesta. “You sound perfectly normal to me.”
She narrows her perfect brows at him, and Emerie laughs, “I don’t know if that’s romantic or ignorant.”
But now that they’re discussing it, Cassian does distinctly remember Nesta having a sharp edge to her words while they were getting to know each other. Did it disappear over time, or has he really stopped noticing it?
He doesn’t get to think about it before their drinks arrive, followed soon by a dinner of fancy sandwiches.
Cassian cuts his beef sandwich in half and gives the other half to Nesta, and she does the same with her turkey sandwich. They eat and drink around the crackling fire, laughing and talking about tomorrow’s plans (“It’s not your birthday, Azriel,” Nesta says. “Stop asking about gifts.”). Cassian and Emerie talk idly about video games over wine, and even though it isn’t really his thing, he can see her excitement over it and gladly indulges it.
Once everyone is finished eating and is slightly drunk, Gwyn pulls a small sleeve of crackers out of her puffy jacket, followed by a fun-sized Hershey’s bar and a handful of mini marshmallows.
“What are you doing?” Nesta says.
“Making dessert.” Gwyn builds a mini s’more and places it carefully on her fork so she can toast it over the fire pit. When it’s done, she leans forward even more to try to put it on Nesta’s plate. “For you. Thank you for letting me and Emerie stay.”
Nesta jumps, catching the s’more with her plate and batting Gwyn away from the fire pit at the same time. “You’ll set your hair on fire,” she hisses.
Gwyn’s hair remains safe, but now Cassian catches his brother watching Gwyn amusedly from the corner of his eye. “Can I have one?” Az says.
“I’m all out.” Gwyn says while building another s’more, refusing to meet his eyes.
Cassian and Nesta share a look, a hundred words thrown back and forth between them in that glance. She scoots her chair closer to him to slip her cold hands into his warm ones, but while the conversation carries on around the table, she leans in and whispers, “I’m not a busybody but…”
“I am,” he whispers back. “Az is being weird, weirder than usual.”
Nesta nods. “I’ve never seen him so—outgoing.”
Neither has Cassian, but before he can mention anything else, he looks up to find that Gwyn and Azriel’s seats at the table are empty. “How much did those two drink?” he breathes.
Nesta follows his gaze, seeing what he’s seeing: Azriel and Gwyn wandering clumsily around the snowy courtyard. Or rather, Az is trying to chase Gwyn down for a s’more, while she clutches her mini marshmallows to her chest and vehemently yells, “They’re mine!”
Meanwhile, Emerie is half asleep at the table.
Cassian watches as Gwyn nears the towering fir tree at the center of the courtyard and slips. Az shoots out a hand to catch her, but not before her ass hits the stone, hard. He pulls her back up, no longer fooling around, and Gwyn rubs her butt in pain.
Cassian suddenly feels Nesta squeezing the life out of his hands, and he looks over to find fury written across her face. For a heartbeat, he feels worried for Az.
“Go deal with him,” Nesta says lowly. “Before I do.”
Not needing any more words to understand, he stands out of his seat and heads out into the courtyard. He doesn’t know why Nesta thinks Gwyn needs protecting, but it makes him feel protective himself. Approaching the duo, he sees that Azriel finally acquired the leftover s’more ingredients from Gwyn.
“There’s only like half a cracker left,” Az mutters to himself, shaking the baggie.
“Is he bothering you?” Cassian asks Gwyn, who still looks grumpy over losing their skirmish.
Whipping her head to Cassian like he’s her savior, Gwyn nods furiously. “Please make him stop.”
Cassian turns to Azriel with rage in his eyes, a clear What the fuck do you think you’re doing?
But Az shakes his head in denial. “It’s not like that. Look, she’s smirking at me!” He points over Cassian’s shoulder.
When Cassian looks, Gwyn is already walking back to the fire pit, holding her bruised ass.
Az starts, “What a fake little—”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Cassian interrupts. “Yesterday you’re crying over Elain and today you’re flirting with Nesta’s friend?”
Azriel goes serious, his face turning colder than the night air. “How do you know about Elain?” he says gruffly.
“Everyone knows, Azriel.” Cassian stares down his brother, wondering if he’ll finally get him to get his head screwed on straight after these past weeks of secretive bullshit.
Azriel sets his jaw, but a muscle there ticks.
“Will you finally at least tell me what’s going on in your head?” Cassian pleads. “Because I can’t keep guessing.”
Azriel glances toward the dinner table, as if checking to see that no one is paying attention to them. Looking back, he inhales a breath. “You want to know why I left Velaris?”
Like Nesta, Azriel is not one to quickly make himself vulnerable. So there’s no blatant emotion in his voice when he says, “I started seeing her at the end of summer, not long after she broke up with her ex. And it was so…nice after every other relationship I’ve been in has gone wrong. We kept it quiet, and because of that, it was peaceful.” Azriel’s eyes meet Cassian’s twin ones, and he smirks without humor. “But you already know what that’s like, don’t you?”
He does. Cassian crosses his arms, waiting for Az to continue.
“Anyway, we had a good run. For a long time, it was mostly just sex, but I liked her. I liked her a lot.” Az kicks at the snow-dusted cobblestones. “Then Christmas came around, and Rhys found out.” His face darkens as he remembers, and Cassian stiffens, knowing what’s next isn’t good. Sometimes Rhys forgets the boundary between boss and brother.
“He didn’t say anything about it to Elain, of course,” Azriel says. “But he dragged my ass aside and gave me this huge lecture about us using each other as rebounds. Said ‘Feyre’s sister’ deserves better or some shit. I told him there was more to it than that, but he wouldn’t listen. Instead he brought Vanserra & Co. into it, like his business matters had anything to do with me and Elain.” Azriel’s eyes crinkle at the corners in a puzzled way. “So I got to thinking, ‘why would he bring the Vanserras up?’ He made it seem like such a big deal.” The toe of his boot digs a hole into the ground.
Sympathy churns alongside anger in Cassian’s chest for Azriel’s situation, anger at Rhysand for crossing that line between brothers. He’s only momentarily grateful that Rhys never tried doing something similar to him and Nesta.
“I thought she was over that other guy, Lucien,” Az continues. “But maybe she’s not, if Rhys is so concerned about what Lucien’s stepfather thinks. Anyway, that’s why I ran. Because I knew she liked me, but I also knew she didn’t love me. I didn’t want us to cause all that trouble with Rhys just to end up backed into a corner one day, having nowhere else to go because she loves someone else and I’m just a rebound. It would be awkward for everyone involved.” He scratches the back of his neck. “It’s mostly my fault, for always chasing after women I can’t have.” He finally looks up at Cassian. “When you talk to Elain, does it sound like she hates me?” The question is quiet, straightforward.
“No,” Cassian answers, voice rough. Even if Azriel wants to hide his feelings, Cassian won’t. “She doesn’t seem like she hates you. I don’t even think she’s mad at you.” Concerned, anxious, upset—that’s Elain as far as he knows.
“She should hate me,” Azriel says. “She should get pissed, burn my old clothes, and swear to never talk to me again. That’s the only way she can move on.” Maybe even move back to Lucien, is what goes unsaid.
Cassian isn’t so sure about that. Even as he feels for Az, he thinks both of his brothers should get slapped upside the head for how they’ve been acting lately. He won’t be the one to do it, but he might get Nesta to relay a message to Elain. It’ll be the same thing. “I’m sorry,” he tells Az instead. “I know I’ve been hard on you lately. When we get home, I’ll start doing better.” He claps Az on the shoulder and squeezes.
Azriel surprises him by scoffing, looking away in disbelief. “Wow, being compassionate is really a full time job for you, huh?” He claps Cassian’s shoulder back, pulling him into a sudden hug. “You’ve already done more than enough,” he says into Cassian’s ear. “Go to your girlfriend and take a rest.”
Taken aback, Cassian nods and pulls away. He’s about to turn around and leave when Az says, “By the way, I wasn’t flirting with Gwyn.”
Cassian raises a brow. “You were definitely doing something.”
Az rolls his eyes. “I’m not giving her anything she can’t handle. But in case you haven’t noticed, I have no interest in other women right now.” He makes a face. “Especially not her.”
Cassian chuckles. “I believe you. It’s Nesta you need to worry about.”
“Whatever. I’m not scared of her.”
That makes Cassian laugh even harder, but he turns around, ready to go back to said girlfriend. As he nears the fire pit, though, he finds that Gwyn is already there and cuddled up to Nesta. On Nesta’s other side, Emerie now sits in Cassian’s chair, asleep on her friend’s shoulder. He stops in his tracks.
Cassian wasn’t lying when he told Nesta that he was happy about their changed vacation plans—he believes the more the merrier, and he loves these people. Yet he can’t help but wish the two of them could be alone for just one day. Only one.
God, sometimes having friends sucks.
***
a/n: this is a two parter so next chapter we’ll finally be getting more nessian alone time
tagging: @hellasblessed @sjm-things @thewayshedreamed @drielecarla @valkyriewarriors @superspiritfestival @aliveahaahahafuck @cupcakey00 @sayosdreams @rainbowcheetah512 @claralady @thebluemartini @nessiantho @missing-merlin @duskandstarlight @lucy617 @sleeping-and-books @everything-that-i-love @cassianscool @swankii-art-teacher @wannawriteyouabook @awesomelena555 @julemmaes @wickedqueenoffantasy @poisonous-bloom @observationanxioustheorist @gisellefigue08 @courtofjurdan @theoverlyenthusiasticwriter @wolfiixxx @cass-nes @seashade @royaltykxx @illyrianundercover @queenestarcheron @monstrousloves-explodinggalaxies @humanexile @that-golden-lyre @agentsofsheilds @mercy-is-alive @cassiansbigwingspan @laylaameer01 @verypaleninja @maastrash @bow-dawn @perseusannabeth @dead-on-the-inside666 @jlinez @hungryreadingaddict @anidealiveson @planet-faerie @shallowhighwaters @ghostlyrose2 @chosenfamily-valkyriequeens @rarephloxes @readiajin @nessiantrashh @live-the-fangirl-life @ifinallygavein @xoblivisci @sjmships @jungtaekwoonie-is-life @lysandra-tiara @lanyjoy-13 @frosted-crackers @post-it-notes33 @loosingdreams @fromthelibraryofemilyj @18moneytoad @dontgetsalmonella @champanheandluxxury @togreblog @arinbelle @ladygabrielli1997 @meridainthedisneyland
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dontgetsalmonella · 2 days ago
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Embers & Light (Chapter 37 teaser)
Notes: Sorry it's taking me so long to bring you guys the next E&L chapter--life is hectic atm! But here is one of my favourite moments in this chapter (and it's extra long!). The next update is most likely going to be next Sunday
I hope you guys like it! Drop me a comment, reblog or an ask if you'd like :) I always love to hear from you <3
“Ladies,” Cassian greeted breezily, pausing in the doorway to say hello to Sala who had padded over from her spot by the window.
Rising on her hind legs, the manticore climbed her front paws up Cassian’s torso until they were resting on his shoulders.
Cassian absent-mindedly ruffled Sala’s fur, his focus steadfast on the two females at the table. “It seems you have both risen early this morning. Tell me we’re about to eat breakfast and aren't partaking in a book club. I’ve not read whatever risqué romance is on the agenda.”
“Are you suggesting that Maya indulges in smut?” Nesta asked crisply.
Maya choked on a laugh.
Heat flooded Cassian’s tan cheeks and Nesta bit down hard on her lip to stop her icy facade from cracking: Cassian had a habit of speaking without thinking and this was a prime example.
“Apologies,” he told Maya with a rustle of his wings.
But Maya only shook her head. Stifled the smile that was halfway to her lips. Her hazel eyes sparkled with amusement. It made them take on a quality close to Cassian’s—the shards of amber in them glinting to gold.
Scratching the back of his neck like an admonished youngling, Cassian admitted, “That was assuming of me. It’s all Nesta reads.”
A hiss dragged itself from between Nesta’s teeth and heat swirled beneath her skin, but Nesta wasn’t sure it was from anger. Rather it was the way Cassian looked at her—that overfamiliar, beautiful gaze that made the back of her neck prickle.
A slash of a smile crept across Cassian’s face, as if he had dissected the thorny mask she was wearing and had seen what lay beneath it.
He opened his mouth to speak, but Maya cut in before silver began to mist from Nesta’s fingertips. “I was not permitted to read anything romantic at the Ironcrest residence,” she replied, taking a deliberate sip of tea.
The twin observed Cassian over the rim, her Illyrian eyes still twinkling like stars. “Perhaps I’ll have to start.”
Tags (let me know if you want to be added/removed): @arinbelle @superspiritfestival @sayosdreams @perseusannabeth @mylittlebigplanet @biggestwingspan-az @bellsqueen @ekaterinakostrova @bookstantrash @prophecyerised @rainbowcheetah512 @awesomelena555 @wannawriteyouabook @callmestarky @lovelynesta @melphss @darkshadowqueensrule @laylaameer01 @a-trifling-matter @grouchycritic7794 @thalia-2-rose @champanheandluxxury @swankii-art-teacher @princessconsuela02 @lavendergoomsltd @princessofmerchants-reads @jeakat @sjm-things @imwritingthesewords @nestable @inejbrekkxr @silvernesta @inyourmindeye @amelie775 @helen-the-weirdo @pizzaneverdisappoints @wishfulimaginings @trash-for-nessian @my-fan-side @sophilightwood @valkyriesupremacy @vidalinav @onceupona-chaos @inardour @thesunremembersyourface @teagoddess99 @ellies-iced-coffee @nehemikkele @misswonderflower
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dontgetsalmonella · 3 days ago
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Darker Shades
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Meet the Darker Shades team! Submit yourself to everything from that sweet and tender loving, to the no-holds-barred prolonged manage a trois. Come one, come all, and come again, if you please 😈
❧ ❧ ❧ @slightlyrebelliouswriter23
BIO:
Hi there, Folks! My name is Ember but you can call me Em (she/her). I lived in London pre-covid and found solace during isolation writing Jurdan fics. Still dreaming of living in a cottage in the forest with a secret library/dagger room, but for now I am so excited to see what this revel has in store for everyone! 🖤🗡
FAVOURITE TFOTA QUOTE:
"'I would,' Cardan says, standing. 'And perhaps one day I will.' On the way out, his hand goes to my hair. A light touch, barely there, and then gone."
FIC LINKS:
Masterlist
Fine Line -> Jurdan Quarantine AU
❧ ❧ ❧
@hazelsheartsworn
BIO:
Hi! I'm Bri (she/her). I'm from the DC area. When I manage to shoplift free-time from the universe, I read, craft, listen to lots of music, and recently, I write! This is my first time participating in a revel, having tumblr-stalked the previous one. I'm already really enjoying it and eager to see what everyone comes up to with!
FAVOURITE TFOTA QUOTE:
"'I can be charming. I charmed you, didn't I?' He rolls his eyes. 'Do not expect others to share my depraved tastes.'"
FIC LINKS:
Masterlist
❧ ❧ ❧
@lizziebxnnet
BIO:
Hi! I'm Kristen (she/her), I'm 29 and from Tennessee. Pretty much spend all my free time writing, reading, and going to the gym! This is my second revel, and I'm very excited to be a part of it :)
FAVOURITE TFOTA QUOTE:
"Come home and shout at me. Come home and fight with me. Come home and break my heart, if you must. Just come home."
FIC LINKS:
Masterlist
❧ ❧ ❧
@laequiem
BIO:
Hi, I'm Laety (she/they)! I'm 27 and from QC, Canada 🍁 I'm a geek of all trades: I craft cosplays, play video games, and read. I only recently started writing again so this is my first revel! You're not ready for what we have planned 😈
FAVOURITE TFOTA QUOTE:
"They are two people who ought to have, by all rights, remained enemies forever. He can't believe his good fortune, can't trace the path that got him here."
FIC LINKS:
Masterlist
❧ ❧ ❧
@figonas
BIO:
Hi, I’m Kaitlyn (she/her) 26 from Virginia. I love video games, reading and writing (clearly) as well as camping, hiking, kayaking & all manner of outdoor activities. I love to make others happy & the way to my heart is through a bottle of red wine 🍷 ✌️
FAVOURITE TFOTA QUOTE:
“If he touches me, if he even takes another step toward me, my deceit will be exposed. I don’t think I can keep the longing off my face.”
FIC LINKS:
Masterlist
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dontgetsalmonella · 3 days ago
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No but Asklepios made Hades’ job SO HARD 
Like imagine the paperwork that man had to do! Him and Persephone have a super busy schedule and Asklepios is over her interrupting their work looool
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greek mythology | cursed images
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dontgetsalmonella · 4 days ago
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Life As We Know It {Chapter Five}
Summary: After the sudden deaths of Nesta’s sister and Cassian’s best friend, they gain guardianship of their nephew, Nyx.
Based on Life As We Know It (2010) and a prompt sent in by anonymous for our Nessian fanfic contest. This is a modern au.
Instead of doing a tag list for this story, we have decided to have a set posting schedule. Chapters will be posted weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. Chapters will be posted on both my and Tara’s blogs! >> @tacmc.
Life As We Know It Masterlist
Shelby’s Masterlist
Tara’s Masterlist
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Nesta’s time for mourning was up.
As she pulled into Elain’s driveway, reality set in. It would be her first day back at the restaurant since the accident, since her life was thrown completely upside down.
She wasn’t ready
But, she had no choice.
Elain was already smiling when she opened the door, reaching out to take Nyx. “Hi, my baby! Aunt Lainy and Seph are so excited to spend the day with you, yes we are.”
“I’m glad, because Aunt Nesta isn’t so excited to not be spending the day with him,” she said, sighing.
Elain gave her sister a wistful look. “I get that. How about Cass, how did he feel going back to work last night?”
Nesta snorted. “Don’t know. He never came back. They started inventory around two this morning after last call, according to the short text I woke up to. He says he’ll be there for most of the day.”
Elain lifted a brow. “Wow.”
Nesta blinked. “He’s a bartender, what do you expect?”
“No,” Elain chuckled. “I meant: wow, looks like you two are actually communicating. I’m shocked.”
Nesta rolled her eyes. “We’ve been living together for three days. If we weren’t communicating, what exactly would we be doing instead?”
Elain carried Nyx into the living room, sitting him down in the playpen she’d set up in the corner. “I mean, honestly, Az and I just figured you were pretending each other didn’t exist.”
For all intents and purposes, they had been, but they had made sure to talk about important things. Like whether Nyx had been fed, when he needed to go down for his nap and what the schedule for the next day would look like.
To be totally honest, she hadn’t even realized Cassian had her number until she’d woken up to a text from one she didn’t have saved in her phone.
“We’re…adjusting,” she finally said, watching as Nyx crawled over to the pile of toys in the corner of the playpen. “I gave him a bath last night, and he said he would handle the next one, since he had to go to work. But… Gods, Elain, giving a one-year-old a bath is exhausting. I looked like I’d just left the pool, not to mention the entire bathroom was soaked.”
Elain chuckled and shook her head. “Seph loves baths, but we’re still having them in the sink right now. She’s not quite ready for the bathtub yet.”
The baby in question was asleep in a bouncer, resting on the floor by the couch.
Nesta glanced at her watch, whatever reply she had falling from her lips. “Shit, I have to go, I’ll be late.”
“Go,” Elain said, wrapping her sister up in a hug. “The day will fly by and you’ll be home with Nyx before you know it.”
Nesta nodded, even though her core was filled with dread.
Nonetheless, she was across town in fifteen minutes, hurrying into the café just before nine. She tossed her purse behind her desk after she unlocked the door to her office and looked around, only to find everything exactly where she had left it.
With a sigh, she pulled a bottle of water out of her mini-fridge, only to find it completely warm. They must have unplugged it when they were cleaning. It wouldn’t be the first time.
She didn’t have time to think on it too much, though, because there was a knock on her office door, her manager’s voice calling her name through the wood.
Her first day back had officially begun.
*
Cassian was exhausted.
For the past couple hours, he felt like he was lost somewhere in a dream. Now, as he continued to stare at the shelves of liquor in the back room, he debated curling up in the corner and falling asleep.
He’d messed up so many drink orders the night before, worrying about whether Nyx was okay or if Nesta had forgotten to do anything for him. He knew Nesta was perfectly capable of taking care of Nyx, had been doing so since Rhys and Feyre had died. But he still worried about him constantly.
He yawned as he shoved a box of tequila up onto the top shelf, turning to see how much was left.
Only to find the store room empty of boxes. He let over a relieved sigh, pulling out his phone.
10:37
He knew the opener would be in at eleven, a shift that was usually his, but as the manager, he preferred to ensure inventory was done correctly, and with such a big shipment, thanks to his unexpected time off, he told them he would work the night before.
His feet damn near shuffling across the floor, he made his way into the office and sat down at the desk, to wait for Kallias. He didn’t see a reason to lock the place up when Kal would be here five minutes later to start setting up.
He didn’t realize he’d fallen asleep until he heard a knocking on the office door and sat up quickly, his feet falling from where he’d propped them on top of the desk.
Cassian found Kallias standing in the doorway, a small smirk on his lips. “Baby keeping you up at night already?”
He yawned, dragging a hand down his face. “No. Well, sometimes, but not this time. Didn’t finish inventory until about fifteen minutes ago.”
Kallias whistled. “Damn. You should’ve called. I would’ve come help.” Cassian shrugged. “No use having both of us exhausted.”
Kallias just shook his head. “If you say so. Go home, Cass. Get some sleep. I’ve got everything under control.”
Cassian didn’t need to be told twice. He stood, clapped Kallias on the shoulder, and walked out to the parking lot. After hopping into his truck, Cassian dozed off.
And six hours later, he woke up, his head against his steering wall, his neck hurting like hell, and his chin glistening with his slobber.
It wasn’t an attractive sight.
After a curse, he looked at the clock on the dash, and swore again.
It was just after five.
The truck was in gear and he was speeding home seconds later. When he rounded the corner, Nesta’s car was already in the driveway.
He parked beside her, hopping out and hurrying to the back door. When he threw it open, he found her standing at the stove, stirring something in a pan. It smelled delicious.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, collapsing in the nearest chair at the kitchen table, his head dropped into his hands in exhaustion. Even after his impromptu nap in the truck, he still felt like he needed another eight hours sleep. “Inventory took way longer than usual and then I passed out in the truck.” He shook his head, letting his obvious exhaustion explain the rest to her.
“It’s fine.”
He looked up and glanced at her stiff back. She hadn’t turned back to look at him, was completely focused on whatever she cooked on the stove.
Her tone said it absolutely was not fine.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep, but I’d been awake for over twenty-six hours.”
“Elain had to reschedule a shoot with a client tonight. She was expecting you to come pick up Nyx after you got off and got some sleep.”
He cringed. Nesta had texted him around ten, while he was still focused on inventory, asking him to get Nyx from Elain before three. He didn’t ask why, had honestly forgotten she’d even texted him.
“I’ll call her later, I’ll apologize,” he sighed.
Nesta turned abruptly and tossed the towel she was using to hold the warm handle on the counter. She was pissed, he’d seen that look in her eyes more than once. “I get that you worked and you were tired, but you have to be more responsible, Cassian.”
“I said I was fucking sorry,” he said, standing. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep in my truck, but I did. I’m fucking sorry.”
She rolled her eyes, but turned back to the stove.
Cassian scoffed, and was nearly ready to bite her head off, but then Nyx’s soft cries came from the living room.
“He fell asleep in the pack and play,” Nesta said, continuing to stir what she had on the stove.
Cassian took that as his dismissal. He hurried into the living room and picked up Nyx, who was standing up in his pack and play, gripping the edge. When he saw Cassian, his hands shot straight in the air.
“Hey buddy,” he said, quietly, as he lifted Nyx out of his pack and play. Nyx instantly relaxed in his arms, laying his head on Cassian’s shoulder.
“He’s probably hungry,” Nesta said, as the boys made their way back into the kitchen.
“I’m aware,” Cassian snapped.
Nesta’s shoulders tensed.
Cassian said nothing more as he opened the fridge and took out some leftover mashed potatoes, Nyx’s favorite.
“He should have some kind of protein with that,” Nesta said, her back still to them.
Cassian spun around, exasperated. “Shit, anything else you’d like to add?”
She said nothing, pretending he didn’t even speak. Cassian didn’t say anything else, but he fixed him a bottle, and set Nyx in his high chair. As Cassian shook it, Nyx held out his hands, reaching for it. He gave it to him, turning to the microwave to heat up the potatoes.
He heard plates being set down at the table and found Nesta setting two plates full of stir fry on the table.
He hesitated, but moved Nyx’s high chair closer to the table. He took the already empty bottle from him and got a small spoonful of potatoes for him. He quietly said, “You didn’t need to cook for me,” as he fed Nyx.
“I made too much,” she replied, simply, sitting across from him. She didn’t meet his eyes as she took a bite.
He watched as her eyelashes fluttered in satisfaction.
As Nyx grabbed his bowl from the end of his high chair and stuck his face into it, Cassian looked down at his own plate, at the steak, broccoli, peppers, peeled carrots, and snap peas that sat before him.
It smelled delicious.
He hesitantly took a bite as Nyx clapped his hands and began to babble.
“Afraid I may poison you?” Nesta asked.
Cassian blinked, meeting her eyes. They remained like that for a moment, staring at one another, then Cassian took another bite. “It’s good. Thanks.”
“I made too much,” she repeated. “Cut Nyx up some of the steak. It’s tender enough for him to eat, just make sure the pieces are tiny. The broccoli, too. He likes broccoli.”
Cassian did as he was told without a word. He set the food in front of Nyx, who instantly had his chubby little hands on them.
“Don’t think I’ll be cooking every night,” Nesta said, in the middle of their otherwise silent meal.
“I wouldn’t think of it,” Cassian said, then cleared his throat. “I can cook sometimes, too. I’m not bad in the kitchen.” A look crossed Nesta’s face that said she didn’t quite believe that statement.
“I make a mean breakfast,” he said, after chewing through another bite. “I’ll show you. We’ll do breakfast for dinner one night.”
Nesta nodded, but Cassian couldn’t tell if that was confirmation or just agreeing to shut him up. After a minute, she set down her fork and cleared her throat. “Speaking of breakfast, I’d prefer to not share the table with any friends you may bring home.”
Cassian’s brows lowered, not fully understanding. And then what she was saying clicked and he was coughing around the bite of food he’d been swallowing. He drank from the glass of water he’d grabbed, and cleared his throat, ensuring he could breathe. “I don’t see how that’s any of your concern.”
“If I live here, it is my concern,” she said, going right back to eating, as if she hadn’t just brought up an extremely unexpected topic. “I don’t want Nyx to see a revolving door of women leaving either, he doesn’t need to get the wrong idea.”
Cassian could only stare at her, though when Nyx heard his name, he paused his eating to look up at her. He finally said, “He’s one, first of all, so he has no idea what that would even mean, and secondly, I can have whoever the hell I want here, and they can stay for breakfast. I live here, too.”
“Would you care to see an endless string of men coming out of my bedroom every morning?” Nesta asked, her tone light, but her eyes full of hellfire.
Cassian’s chewing slowed. No, he wouldn’t care to see that, but he’d never admit it. He wasn’t even one to bring women home...well, at least not often, but apparently she thought of him as some unhinged casanova.
“As long as you ask me to join, I don’t care who you bring home,” Cassian said.
Now it was Nesta’s turn to choke on the bite of steak she just took. Her cheeks turned a bright shade of red as her eyes watered. After catching her breath and taking a long drink of water, she said, “That’s inappropriate.”
Nyx giggled, his lips covered in mashed potatoes, as if Nesta had just said the most hilarious thing in the world.
He took one last bite of his food before standing and carrying his plate over to the sink. “You don’t bring up my sex life and I won’t bring up yours. Deal?”
“Fine,” she said, picking up her plate as well and dropping it next to his on the counter. “You take care of the dishes, I’ll give Nyx his bath.”
“Fine.” That seemed to be their word to end conversations, as most of them ended with one of them snapping the word at the other, and it being repeated right back to them.
He wanted to fling more insults at her, wanted to snap that he wasn’t the man-whore she apparently thought he was. He never had been, despite the obscene amount of those stupid condoms she’d seen in his glove box all those years ago. But he knew she wouldn’t believe him.
He heard her unclipping Nyx’s high chair and then she was carrying him upstairs. Cassian was already wrist deep in soapy water when he heard the bathtub running from upstairs.
It was then that he realized he had originally told Nesta that he would give Nyx a bath tonight.
He didn’t pick him up from Elain’s.
He didn’t give him a bath like he said he would.
Maybe Nesta was right.
Maybe he was just setting himself up for failure.
As he scrubbed at the dishes, Cassian felt that sense of failure wash over him and sent a thought to Rhysand, wherever he was, hoping that his oldest friend wasn’t as disappointed in him as he was.
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dontgetsalmonella · 4 days ago
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“Keep reaching out your hand.” 🤍
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dontgetsalmonella · 4 days ago
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You called? 😈
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dontgetsalmonella · 4 days ago
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suddenly I am Cassian 
And Eris 
and Koschei 
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"Ataraxia" — Nesta Archeron by Gabrielleragusi 🖤
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dontgetsalmonella · 4 days ago
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Morning Doodle: Nothing better than a laugh from Nazyalensky
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dontgetsalmonella · 5 days ago
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Ok, who wants to give me Realm-breaker spoilers? 
I can’t handle another Maven
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dontgetsalmonella · 5 days ago
Are you vocal during sex?
I’m usually lead guitar
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dontgetsalmonella · 5 days ago
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Was this not the plot of ACOSF??
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dontgetsalmonella · 6 days ago
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There has to be some symbolism there with her not being fully developed yet. 
Nesta and Feyre are content with their lives, so they look to the stars currently in the sky and admire the present. 
Elain is unhappy with her situation and hasn’t been on her own journey, so she looks to the sunrise/bloom. To the future.
Also she’s a seer...?!
Feyre and Nesta look towards the stars. 🌌
Elain looks towards the sunrise and the blooms.
🌅🌸
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dontgetsalmonella · 6 days ago
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idk how this slipped by me a week ago but this is honestly some of the best RQ fanart I’ve ever seen, I’m so humbled by Melanie (@mimiscribbles on twitter) and her talent!
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IRON QUEEN, SHADOW QUEEN
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/WQGvN
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dontgetsalmonella · 7 days ago
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Live action Tamar...?
LIVE ACTION TAMAR!!!🥰
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dontgetsalmonella · 7 days ago
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Morning Doodle: Heading home
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