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#Nessian
yazthebookish · 2 days ago
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Happy Nessian week!
Dilf Cassian for you all with his little Valkyries😏❤️
By Ellyness5🤍 (commissioned by me)
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nessiandaily · a day ago
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nesta & the bat bois
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credit: goldshadeart [instagram]
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Cassian: So is this thing between Az and Gwyn supposed to be a secret?
Nesta: Hardly. The only people who don't know Az and Gwyn are mates are Az and Gwyn.
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lightitup-1989 · 2 days ago
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Nesta: I have come up with a three-step plan to get Azriel to marry you.
Gwyn: Okay, I'm listening.
Nesta: Step one, get him to play Truth or Dare.
Gwyn: Oh god, stop.
Nesta: Step Two, wait until he picks dare.
Gwyn: Nesta, no.
Nesta: Step three, dare him to marry you.
Emerie: [shouting from the other room] it could work!
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broodybatboy · 2 days ago
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Cassian: What are you and Emerie arguing about?
Nesta: We have a bet going about what Azriel is like in bed. Emerie thinks he’s really romantic, but I think he’s kinky.
Gwyn: He’s actually both.
Nesta: *stares*
Emerie: *stares*
Cassian: *nods approvingly*
Gwyn: I mean... how would I know? I don’t know what Az is like in bed... but I would assume he’s both.
Cassian: She's right. He's both.
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duskandstarlight · 2 days ago
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Embers & Light (Chapter 42, teaser)
Notes: Welcome to the angst-fest that is chapter 42! I can't wait for you guys to read this chapter on Sunday <3
“Do you know what I think?” Cassian continued softly, his voice so dangerous it was as sharp as the sword strapped to his back. He’d stepped closer to her and Nesta could feel the heat radiating off of him. His siphons flit their ruby light at her and Nesta’s magic glowed at her fingertips in answer.
Desperately, Cassian searched her face for something he could cling onto—anything—but Nesta wouldn’t yield. Would not cave when it came to this subject. “I think you’re a romantic at heart, who doesn’t believe she deserves anything. I think you’d rather be miserable than happy, but you can’t help but taste a slice of what it could be like to be with me. I’m your addiction, Nesta, and your mine, and if you only just accepted what’s between us, we could be something great.”
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 @lovelynesta @melphss @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 @nessiantrashh​ @miamorganvel18 @kawaiteacup
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talkfantasytome · 2 days ago
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Justified Confidence
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Nessian Week Prompt: Rivalry
Cassian and Nesta meet at a bar, and Cassian offers a challenge to determine the outcome of their night.
Warnings: None | Word Count: 2,111 | Read on AO3
a/n: As soon as this idea popped in my head, I knew I had to do it. Seems like something they'd do. Hope you enjoy!
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Nesta strutted into the bar, taking in the atmosphere around her.
There was really nothing special about Wings and Embers. The top floor was more like a dance club - the DJ already blasting the music, loud enough down on the first floor to be heard but not to hinder conversation. The downstairs was more of a true bar. The walls were a dark red, peppered with wall lights that were dim enough to provide an 'ambience', as they would likely call it. Between the lights were various photographs of the skyline of Velaris.
In the center of the room, the black-painted bar stood in a massive, squared "U", the ends of each side up against the back wall. And scattered around the large room on either side were booths and tables for people to sit at after they got their drinks.
Thinking of…Nesta walked straight up to the bar, finding an empty stool on the left side to sit on, and flagged down a bartender. She ordered a gin and tonic and then relaxed, scanning the room as she waited.
She hadn't even received her drink yet when she met a pair of hazel eyes fixated on her from across the bar, warm and twinkling with something akin to mischief. She held the gaze as the bartender handed the gin and tonic to her, and then held up her glass in return as the man lifted his, a half-smile on his face.
Nesta had barely taken a sip when the man stood and started toward her, revealing his near-monstrous height. He walked surprisingly gracefully for being as tall and broad as he was - probably three times as wide as Nesta - his t-shirt tight enough to reveal the corded muscles on his bicep and hint at an uncommonly chiseled chest. She couldn't stop her eyes from rolling over his body before snapping back up to his face, as handsome as it was rough, with hard lines that she could easily trace with her tongue. He had an almost russet hue to his tan skin, and his ebony hair had the tiniest hint of a wave, flowing to just above his shoulders.
She would have been embarrassed for staring so blatantly, were he not doing the same thing, his eyes trailing the bare leg that she had crossed over the other.
Nesta was wearing a simple black dress, the bodice tight until it reached her hips before flaring out in a skirt that didn't even reach mid-thigh. Over it she had on a fitted leather jacket that fell to her waist, the sleeves scrunched up to make them more three-quarter lengths for the evening. And she opted for no tights or socks, only a pair of black, heeled booties on her feet, leaving her legs free and easily admired.
"Well, you're rather bold, aren't you?" she taunted by way of greeting. He was now leaning against the bar, standing just to the left of her stool, which she'd pivoted in to face him.
"Would you have preferred it if I just eyed you from across the bar for an hour first?" he asked in a rough timbre that sent shivers down her spine.
She smirked up at him. "That's what most men would do."
"I'm not most men," he shot back with a playful smile.
"Too concerned about the competition? There do seem to be quite a few good options for me here tonight." She looked around the room to emphasize the point.
He chuckled, the sound low and heavenly. "Some good ones for me, too. Yet here I am."
"So confident," she sighed. "Who's to say you could get any of their numbers, or even mine, for that matter?"
"Is that a challenge, sweetheart?"
Nesta offered him an innocent smile. "I didn't say that. And my name isn't sweetheart."
"What is your name, then?" he requested, his eyes never leaving hers, as if he were mesmerized by a swirl of blue and grey.
"Tell me yours and I'll decide if mine's worth sharing."
He grinned at that response. "I'm Cassian."
"Interesting name," she remarked, not wanting to stoke his ego by calling it beautiful. "Nesta."
"Nesta," he repeated in a whisper, accentuating the second syllable slightly, making Nesta's toes curl. "Well, now that that's settled, I do accept your challenge."
"And what was my challenge, exactly?"
"You want proof I have options," he explained, a knowing smirk on his lips telling her he knew she was blatantly aware that he could get almost any person in this room. "Let's make it a contest, eh? See who can get another person to offer their number first. No asking for it."
Nesta felt her eyes sparkle at the concept, a wicked smiling growing. "And what are the prizes."
"If I win, I get to take you out," he stated. "I'll let you choose your prize."
Her face scrunched for a moment as she contemplated the offer. "If I win…you take me back to your place and show me whether or not that confidence is justified."
"Doesn't sound like I'll be losing, sweetheart," he murmured.
"Then it's fair."
Their eyes remained locked on each other for another moment, the tension between them thick and tangible. Then Cassian downed the rest of his drink and walked off, searching for his first target.
Nesta laughed to herself and took another sip, waiting for another man to catch her eye. Or, at least, be attractive enough she could convincingly flirt with him.
She was just finishing her drink when a presence appeared at her side, tall and broad enough for her to know he was fit and strong, but nothing compared to what Cassian was. Looking him over, the only similarity she found was the length of his hair. Beyond that, he was the complete opposite to the other man. Pale with a golden glow, blonde hair, emerald eyes, and a refined face that made him look like he could be a prince. He was good looking, certainly, but after Cassian, she found herself rather unimpressed.
"Need a refill?" he offered, taking the spot Cassian had been standing in, resting an elbow against the bar as he met her eyes. His movements were graceful, to an extent, but still a bit stiff, and the smile he offered her couldn't be described as 'easy' the way all of Cassian's had been.
She smiled politely up at him, tucking her loose, golden brown curls behind her ear. "That would be lovely," she responded, her voice schooled into a flirty tone. Nesta could hear the fakeness in it, but she doubted he could - she was well practiced in donning a mask.
He requested the bartender get her another gin and tonic, on his tab, and turned back to Nesta. "I'm Tamlin."
Weird name. "Feyre." No way was Nesta giving him her real name. She probably shouldn't have used her little sister's, but she doubted it would be an issue. Feyre never ventured out of the Sidra neighborhood in Velaris, let alone end up all the way in Illyria on the opposite side of the city. It was too 'seedy', as she and her obnoxious fiancé often said, but Nesta loved it.
"It's lovely to make your acquaintance, Feyre," he crowed.
"Likewise…Tamlin." Accepting the drink from the bartender, she took a sip, her eyes landing on Cassian, who was sitting at a table, twirling strands of some blonde's hair in his hand as he met Nesta's gaze. He gave her a smug smirk that heightened Nesta's resolve, even if what she really wanted to do was pull all that bitch's hair out and then drag Cassian to the alley out back.
So she looked back at Tamlin, offered him another smile, and began a conversation, asking him about his work and hobbies. He enjoyed talking about himself. A lot. Didn't actually seem all that interested in Nesta, which was all the better for her. Fewer lies she'd need to come up with.
Instead, she was able to focus on laughing at the right points, asking him follow-up questions, appearing interested and doe-eyed, the latter something he definitely seemed to enjoy. She would place her hand on his arms and chest every once in a while, every time her eyes locked with Cassian's, and she'd smile to herself whenever the brown in his hazel seemed to turn red at the sight.
She spoke with Tamlin for almost an hour, and was about to call it quits and find someone else when he received a text message that had his face falling into something close to rage. It wasn't a good look.
"My apologies, something just came up that I have to handle," he sighed. "But, I enjoyed the conversation. Could I, maybe, get your number? Maybe we can go out sometime?"
Nesta inhaled sharply, grimacing slightly as she tried to look like she was thinking it through. "I…I don't know," she murmured, confident that the shy demeanor she was attempting to present was exactly right.
"How about this: why don't I give you my number, yeah? And you can call me?" he offered, pulling out a business card.
Nesta nodded as if that were an acceptable alternative and took the card, giving him a fake, small smile as he closed out his tab and bid her good night. She waited for him to be out the door before standing up, card in hand, and heading toward where Cassian was still sitting with the blonde, now struggling to hide the boredom he seemed to be feeling.
He looked up as she walked over to them, his eyes widening at the sway in her hips and triumphant grin on her face. Without stopping, she dropped the card on the table in front of him and then placed herself near the doors to the bar.
She watched as Cassian picked up the card and read it, realizing what it was. His eyes sparkled with something she couldn't quite read as they met hers, and then he was quickly making his excuses to the girl he'd been hitting on before he stood up and headed straight toward her.
"Looks like I w-"
Cassian's lips crashed into hers before she could finish her sentence, one arm snaking around her waist while he lifted the other, brushing his fingers into her hair. His lips were warm and soft, even when filled with an intensity she'd rarely felt before. It was more than just a show of feeling, it was a claiming. And as he pulled her tighter to him, telling Nesta exactly what effect watching her flirt with another man had on him, she felt herself moan, her lips parting on their own accord to let Cassian's tongue sweep in.
His taste was familiar and comforting, like the kiss of snow and a sparking embers, and she melted into it as she'd done so many times before, unable to help herself. Her hands sat on his chest, holding the fabric of his shirt tightly as he deepened the kiss for a moment before gently pulling away and resting his forehead on hers.
They were both smiling as they shared breath, once again drowning in each other's eyes.
"That was fun," Cassian huffed, chuckling softly. Nesta couldn't help but laugh with him. "I think it's best if we not do it too often, though. I got way too close to punching that guy when I saw him place a hand on your thigh."
"Seems like it worked to me," she teased, giving him a quick, soft kiss. She hadn't been expecting Cassian to propose such a challenge when he'd suggested they go out and pretend they didn't know each other, that they were meeting for the first time. She'd expected some heavy flirting until one of them cracked. This…as much as she'd wanted to tear into that blonde - physically or with her words, either would've worked - she couldn't deny she'd never been so ready for him to take her. "Let's go home."
Cassian beamed at her, at the words she used, still fairly new to them - they'd only moved into their shared apartment a few weeks before - and it took her breath away. She offered him a full, sincere smile back and noticed the hitch in his own breathing before he was kissing her again, passionately.
"Yes," he whispered against her lips after another minute. "Let's go home."
Each wrapping an arm around the other, Cassian placed a kiss to the top of her head as they walked out the bar, a sweet and tense anticipation growing with every step they took toward their home.
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a/n: I know it's weird to use Tamlin in something like this, but you know he'd find Nesta pretty if he thinks Feyre is. And I just couldn't bring myself to use someone else, like Eris or Tarquin or Helion, in a scenario where Nesta was only ever using them for a contest like this. Even if I do have Nesta using one of them in other stuff, it's typically in a way that could offer them something at some point, maybe. lol
@live-the-fangirl-life @generalnesta @secretlovelybeauty @nehemikkele @nestaisgod @julemmaes @live-the-fangirl-life @boredserpent @autumnbabylon @bo0kmaster69 @angelic-voice-1997 @moodymelanist @nessianweek
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Wing Woman
Nesta Archeron x Cassian - Trick or Treating
While Nesta is handing out candy on Halloween, Cassian shows up with a little extra help to ask her out.
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Masterlist | Read on Ao3 | Halloween Collection
Warnings: Language
2024 words
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“Trick or treat!” A chorus of small voices yelled as soon as Nesta opened the door.
She plastered on a smile that was more of a grimace, and grabbed a handful of candy from the bowl so she could hand out chocolates to the group of children dressed up in costumes on her front porch.
The leaves on the trees had turned a dark red, creating a crimson canopy over the street. In the dim light of the jack-o-lanterns it almost appeared to be dripping blood which Nesta saw as perfectly fitting for Halloween.
As soon as the last kid turned around, she shut the door and leaning back against it, rubbing a hand down her face as she flung her tall, pointed hat onto the couch.
A rush of movement made her open her eyes to see Feyre run down the stairs and hastily throw open the closet door to grab her jacket that she attempted to put on while simultaneously tying her shoes. It wasn’t very effective.
“Nesta, hey,” Feyre said startled and wide-eyed, trying to keep her breathing steady as she inched towards the door. “You’re here.”
Holding in her smirk, Nesta raised a brow at her youngest sister who was obviously trying to look nonchalant as she attempted to flee their house.
“I am here. You told me you wouldn’t be because you had some…” Nesta trailed off, feigning forgetfulness as Feyre sputtered for a response.
“Studying! I have important studying to do tonight, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be going.”
Nesta didn’t hold back her eye roll this time, “Studying? It’s Halloween and it’s a Friday night.”
Feyre ignored her, but Nesta could see a faint blush creep up her face as she rushed out the door. “Bye! Have fun with the candy.”
When Elain had insisted someone had to be at the home they shared to hand out candy for trick-or-treaters, Nesta was less than thrilled. Feyre immediately claimed she couldn’t do it, and Elain then said she and her boyfriend, Lucien, had been invited to his family’s party. Which meant that it fell on Nesta to put on the costume and stand around handing out candy to sugar-filled children. When she rolled her eyes and asked why they couldn’t just leave a bowl of candy out on the porch, Elain claimed only lazy neighbors do that.
It wasn’t that Nesta disliked Halloween—she adored it, really. It wasn’t even all the kids because she liked that too; sometimes the costumes were downright spectacular. No, her disdain came more from the forced cheerfulness she had to exude every single time she opened the door. It was exhausting.
The first half-hour hadn’t been so bad, but then the sun finally went down, and all the kids came out in force. It felt like she hardly got a minute or two of reprieve before she had to put her witch’s hat back on and coerce a smile when all she wanted to do was fling herself on the couch, turn on some cheesy, steamy movie, and have a glass of wine.
The doorbell rang again and Nesta groaned as she reached for the hat she’d tossed aside earlier before opening the door. She wasn’t expecting who she saw, but she supposed she shouldn’t have been so surprised.
A large, overgrown bat stood on her front porch, taking up almost the entire front steps. A tall, tan, and tattooed, overgrown bat with a shit eating grin.
“Cassian,” Nesta leveled an unimpressed look at him as he climbed the steps. “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?”
She took in his all-black attire from the worn black boots and black jeans to his black t-shirt stretched over his chest and his black leather jacket. All pulled together by the large, plastic black bat wings that sprouted from his shoulders. She could just make out the thin elastic straps around his shoulders holding the wings on.
“Not excited to see me, Nes?” he grinned impossibly wider. “And who says you’re ever too old to go trick-or-treating?”
Nesta arched a brow, trying her best to look unimpressed until she spotted a second, smaller pair of wings peeking out from behind his legs.
She looked down to a see a young girl, maybe six or seven, with long, black hair and violet eyes. She wasn’t hiding or huddled behind Cassian, but he was so large that it appeared so. That is, until she stepped out from behind him and pushed her way up the step. She was dressed similarly to Cassian with an all-black ensemble and plastic bat wings that looked almost as tall as her.
“Trick or treat!” she grinned widely, not sparing her apparent guardian a second glance.
At Cassian’s exaggerated annoyance and the little girl’s eye roll, Nesta chuckled and held out the candy bowl so the little bat could grab what she wanted.
“Who’s this?” Nesta directed the question to Cassian seeing as the girl was too enthralled with the candy she’d just picked.
Cassian grinned and ruffled the girl’s hair, causing her to laugh at him and duck out of the way. “This baby bat is Seraphina,” when she glared at him, he chuckled and corrected, “Ser, sorry. She’s Rhys’s little sister.”
“Rhys was supposed to take me out trick or treating this year, but he said he had to study.” Ser said.
Nesta’s brows flew up as she looked at Cassian who was smirking. “Study? Really?”
Cassian smirked even wider, “What, Nes, you think Rhysie isn’t actually studying?” he asked with mock surprise, quiet enough not to draw his sister’s attention
She snorted and rolled her eyes, “Not unless Study is code for hooking up with my sister, which I’m certain it is.”
Cassian tossed his head back and laughed loudly and Nesta tried her best not to smile at the sound of it, but she got her expression under control before he looked back at her.
“Wait a second,” Nesta crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at Cassian who didn’t balk from her glare. “You all live on the other side of town, why are you two here? Aren’t the fancy houses with the good candy over there?”
Cassian rubbed the back of his neck looking sheepish before regaining his smug attitude, “Aw, you know where we live? I think you’re a little obsessed with me.” His wide grin was maddening.
Rolling her eyes again, she scowled, “I’ve picked Feyre up from a study session once or twice. I know that it's almost twenty minutes to drive from there to here.”
“We’re here,” Ser’s voice cut in, “because Cass is desperate, and in love with you.” She said it casually, looking a cross between annoyed and disgusted.
Nesta’s brows flew to her hairline as Cassian gaped at the little girl before he stammered, “I—, that’s not—, Phina—, I mean—, what she meant was—, Fuck—, Nesta—"
Maybe it was because she’d never seen Cassian so flustered, looking like a deer caught in headlights and genuinely apologetic and stunned, but Nesta surprised them all as she laughed.
“Is that so?” Nesta leaned against her door and looked at the girl for answers, ignoring that surprised look that crossed Cassian face. He probably expected her to yell at him or slam the door in his face or call him an insufferable brute as she often liked to. He wasn’t expecting the small smile that tugged at her lips.
“Mhmm,” she nodded rapidly, shaking the wings strapped to her back, “He said that if we came here and I helped him then he would buy me a caramel apple because he knows those are my favorite.”
Nesta’s eyebrows were still high as she glanced at Cassian before the little girl plowed on.
“And,” Ser stepped closer to Nesta but whispered loudly enough so Cassian could hear, “I told him that if he needed my help to get a date then she was probably too smart and too pretty for him anyways.”
Nesta snorted loudly. Cassian pretend growled and swooped down to lift the little girl up and toss her over his shoulder. She was giggling and it only got louder as he proceeded to tickle her, “You think that’s funny?” he asked, keeping up his attack, “I confide in you and you go ahead and call me out in front of the pretty lady?”
Nesta knew Cassian was a big softie despite his size and roughened appearance, but she’d never seen him like this. He grinned but feigned betrayal as he hoisted Seraphina over his shoulder to carefully set her back on her feet.
Nesta didn’t hide her smile at the sight.
Once the two bats had calmed down, Cassian caught her eyes before nudging Ser’s shoulder and giving her an encouraging nod. The girl just rolled her eyes but took a deep breath and readied herself for what Nesta could only predict was some rousing speech.
She cleared her throat and looked up at Nesta with her best sweetheart eyes, “Nesta Archeron,” she began and Nesta snuck a glance to see Cassian watching the little girl while mouthing along to the words she spoke, obviously having coached her on what exactly to say. Nesta found it charming but reigned in a smile as she refocused in the girl in front of her.
“Will you allow Cassian the honor of taking you out on a date? He’s really nice, he’ll make you laugh, and he,” he paused and furrowed her brows, “he, uh…” she turned towards him and gestured for him to come closer.
Cassian quickly leaned down and whispered something into Ser’s ear that caused her to roll her eyes and scrunch her nose is disgust, before standing back up and allowing the girl to continue.
She sighed, still looking grossed out about what she had to say, “And he knows you think his butt is cute.”
Nesta choked on a laugh which seemed to stoke Cassian’s grin, but Ser wasn’t finished.
“If you say yes, Cass promised me a caramel apple.”
Cassian pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation but Nesta grinned, far too amused with his annoyance. Huh, maybe this is how he felt every time she huffed away at his antics. At least this time he seemed to be the one frustrated.
“Ser.” He groaned.
But Nesta was crouching down to be eye level with the little bat. “I do recall you mentioning a caramel apple.” She looked up at Cassian and asked, “You’re resorting to using your friend’s little sister as your Wing Woman to get me to agree to go out with you?”
“Worth a shot.” He said, that damned smirk resurfacing. He stepped behind Ser and rested his hands on her shoulders. “And you haven’t answered this sweet, adorable, little girl’s question that she so kindly asked you.”
Nesta was impressed with the intensity of Seraphina’s eye roll. Nesta dragged her eyes from a grinning Cassian whose expression, while cocky, also looked sincere and a little nervous, down to Ser who mouthed the words caramel apple.
Nesta laughed. It was a loud and happy sound and if her eyes hadn’t shut then she would have seen Cassian’s grin fall into a wide, almost reverent smile. When she managed to take a breath, Nesta wiped a tear from her eye and smiled.
She leaned towards Ser and told her, “You’ve been a wonderful Wing Woman, but the big bat over here was actually doing just fine on his own.” She stood up and smirked at Cassian. “Pick me up tomorrow at eight. I expect flowers.”
She stepped back towards her open door and said to a jaw-dropped Cassian, “Don’t forget her caramel apple.”
With a final wink in his direction, Nesta walked back inside her house and shut the door.
As she pressed her back against the closed door, biting her lip to keep from smiling too hard, she heard a loud Whoo! and giggling before two sets of footsteps hurried down the front porch.
She could’ve sworn she heard Cassian promise to buy Ser all the caramel apples she could want.
*****
Taglist:
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moodymelanist · 2 days ago
If you’re taking nessian prompts they show up to the same halloween party accidentally wearing matching costumes so people think they’re a couple bonus points if cassian has the sluttier costume
OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS HAHAHAHA. also shoutout to @talkfantasytome for the funniest line in here. @nessianweek
Nesta and the girlies look something like this and Cassian looks something like this but with shorter shorts hahahah
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“Are you almost ready to go?” Nesta called out to her friends while she adjusted her costume in front of her bedroom mirror. She was dressed as Hugh Hefner, complete with a silky, dark red robe, a lacy black corset, tiny matching shorts, and dark black tights. 
“Yeah, I just need to find my shoes!” Gwyn shouted back as she raced around their apartment. She, Nesta, and Emerie shared a three-bedroom apartment about five minutes from campus, and it had been one of the best decisions Nesta ever made to live with them.
Nesta pulled on her own heels and found the sailor’s hat to complete her costume before looking around for their other roommate. “Emerie? Status update?”
“I’m ready,” Emerie declared while walking into Nesta’s bedroom. Her friend looked absolutely stunning in her Playboy bunny costume, the tiny black bodysuit showing off Emerie’s toned figure wonderfully. Instead of white bunny accessories, Gwyn and Emerie had decided to wear black ones instead, and Nesta whistled lowly as Emerie turned around to show off her little tail.
“You look amazing,” Nesta complimented. Emerie twirled again, flipping her dark waves around while Nesta looked on appreciatively. “I think Mor will lose her mind.”
“She already has,” Emerie replied, smirking. “Who do you think came costume shopping with me?”
Nesta laughed as the two of them made their way to the living room to wait on Gwyn. Thankfully, their redheaded friend didn’t keep them waiting too long, emerging from her bedroom in a similar outfit to Emerie but slightly more conservative. 
Emerie whistled lowly under her breath. “Damn, Berdara. Are you trying to kill someone?”
“Just you two,” Gwyn said cheekily. She looked amazing in black, Nesta thought, the color contrasting nicely with Gwyn’s bright hair and pale skin. 
“I think Azriel will have thoughts about that,” Nesta teased as she grabbed her keys.
“Not as many as Cassian will have,” Gwyn fired back. Nesta rolled her eyes but couldn’t help but wonder what he’d have to say about her costume -- probably something incredibly inappropriate, knowing him. 
“Let’s just call this Uber,” Nesta muttered, ignoring Emerie and Gwyn’s snickers. “I don’t need to respond to that kind of allegation.”
“It’s not an allegation if it’s true,” Emerie taunted. “Let’s just see what happens when we get to the party, hmm?”
Twenty minutes later, Nesta, Emerie, and Gwyn found themselves outside Rhys’ townhouse in awe. He’d gone all out on decorations, including cobwebs, skeletons, fake gravestones, a smoke machine... whatever it was, he had it. There were a couple people milling around outside, but from the bass pounding so loud they could feel it, the party was clearly going strong.
The three friends were swarmed with people the second they stepped inside. Nesta spotted several people she knew dressed in great costumes -- Tarquin as Aquaman, Elain and Lucien as Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming, Amren as Edna Mode from the Incredibles -- but nothing made her jaw drop like seeing Cassian dressed up as a playboy bunny.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” she yelled over the music. He somehow heard her and did a similar double take before a wide smile took over his handsome features. “Cassian, what the fuck!”
“Nes, this is too perfect,” Cassian shouted back. Unlike Emerie and Gwyn, Cassian had every bare inch of skin on display that he could get away with. He only had on a tiny pair of black underwear, a tiny collar around his neck, and a pair of white bunny ears on top of his hair. “We’re matching!”
“Who the fuck told you my costume?” Nesta fumed. She spun and glared at Gwyn and Emerie, both of whom shook their heads and shrugged. “Someone did this on purpose.”
“I lost a bet,” Cassian explained. “Azriel told me I had to wear this as punishment.”
“That motherfucker,” she muttered under her breath. She told herself she was mad that Cassian matched her costume and not because of the way several partygoers were eyeing him appreciatively. She didn’t care how good he looked and certainly wasn’t wondering what his skin would feel like under her hands.
“What do you think, though?” Cassian asked. He spun around and she pretended that she didn’t sneak a peek at his ass. “Impressive, huh?”
Nesta snorted. “You’re nowhere near as impressive as you think you are, sweetheart.”
“Why don’t you look down and see just how impressive I am?” he fired back cheekily.
“Oh, fuck off --” she started to say.
“You look great, though,” Cassian interrupted her, complimenting her before she could really work herself up. He raked his eyes over her, his eyes lingering over her breasts and legs far longer than it should have. “What’s under the robe, Nes?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she replied. “And I thought I told you not to call me that.”
His eyes gleamed with challenge. “Are you inviting me to undress you?”
“Absolutely not,” she snapped. She crossed her arms over her chest and quickly dropped them after she realized what it did to her breasts, his smirk only infuriating her more. “Stop looking at me like that!”
“Like what?” he asked, leaning forward so he didn’t have to yell so loudly. She held back a shudder as his lips barely touched the outside of her ear. “You look sexy as hell. How else am I supposed to look at you?”
Nesta was saved from having to come up with a witty response when Mor appeared, dressed in a cute Tinkerbell costume. “Picture time, my bunnies! Everybody act like they like each other!”
Nesta spent the rest of the night actively denying how it felt way too good to have Cassian’s body pressed against her during the photos.
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c-e-d-dreamer · 2 days ago
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Okay, I know hockey player versus figure skater is a super cliché rivalry, but all day today, my brain was like “hockey player Cassian! Hockey player Cassian! Hockey player Cassian,” so here we are. Also, fun fact, this exact event actually happened to my little brother at one of his games. TW for blood and injuries. Hope you enjoy :) @nessianweek
The cool rush of the air conditioning is the first thing that hits Cassian as he pushes through the doors. The throwback pop song pumping out of the speakers and the smell of popcorn from the snack bar hits him next. He shifts the strap of his bag on his shoulder, resettling the weight, his sticks clacking together in his other hand. He makes his way over to the board declaring the locker room assignments for the day, squinting until he finds the Illyrians. He's about to head off toward their locker room when his eyes snag on someone. 
Nesta is perched like a queen on one of the benches in the lobby, her white skates resting beside her. She has a sweatshirt pulled on, but the red skirts of her dress skim across her thighs, and Cassian can see the jeweled embellishments peeking out under the collar. Unsurprising, she has a book opened in her hands, probably another of her smutty romances. Even in the harsh fluorescent lighting, Cassian finds himself drawn into her eyes, the way they glint as they dance across the pages. 
Cassian doesn't have to think twice before he's sauntering over to her. He drops his bag with a loud thump at her feet, a smile pulling across his face at her answering glower. He loves this game they play. The way he pushes her buttons and she pushes his always leaves flames licking up his skin in the most delicious way. He's sure they make quite the sight, the hockey player and the figure skater, but he'll never stop going back for more. 
"What do you want, Cassian?" 
"Love the outfit today, Nes. The sparkles really contrast well with your dark soul." 
"Don't you have to go smash someone into the boards?"
"I'd love to press you up against the boards." 
Cassian throws a wink her way for extra good measure, and the way Nesta's eyes narrow has his heart ticking up slightly in his chest. 
"Prick," Nesta mumbles, opening back up her book. 
With a chuckle, Cassian takes it for the cue that it is, picking back up his bag and heading for the locker room. He offers Azriel an easy grin as he passes him, his brother merely shaking his head at his antics yet again. 
~ * * * ~ 
Nesta hears her sister before she sees her, Feyre's laughing bouncing off the walls of the lobby. She closes her book and grabs her skates, but as she heads for the door, her steps falter and pause as she takes in Elain walking in beside Feyre. 
"Since when does it take both of you to pick me up?" Nesta asks once her sisters are close enough to hear. 
"Actually," Feyre starts slowly. "We were thinking we could stick around for the game." 
"What," Nesta deadpans, taking in both her sisters' expressions and inwardly sighing when she sees they're both actually serious. "Fine. Give me the keys, and I'll pick you both up later." 
"Oh, Nesta," Elain says, taking Nesta's hand in her own. "It'll be fun. Besides, you and Cassian are friends. Don't you want to see him play?" 
"We are not friends." 
"That's for sure," Feyre pipes in. "There is way too much sexual tension for that to be considered friendship." 
Nesta shoots a glare Feyre's way, but her sister merely smiles innocently. The mischievous glint swirling in her eyes tells Nesta she's not getting the keys from her youngest sister anytime soon. Which is how Nesta ends up pressed between her two sisters, the cold of the metal bleachers biting into the underside of her thighs and a shared blanket draped across their three laps. Elain keeps clapping excitedly to her right while Feyre shouts, "go, baby, go" every time Rhysand cuts up the ice on her left. Nesta thinks her eyes might actually get stuck from rolling them so much. 
Despite the equipment and jerseys making it hard to tell the players apart, the whole team blending together into a mash of blues and gold's, Nesta finds she can pick Cassian out fairly easily. She tells herself it's because he's clearly the biggest guy on the team and the hair sticking out the back of his helmet is a dead giveaway. But either way, her eyes always seem to find him any time he's on the ice, whether he’s sweeping along the blue line to make a play or throwing his body against the other team. 
They’re into the third period when Nesta watches Cassian jump over the boards, joining the rush before falling back into the neutral zone as the other team gains possession. He guards his man well as the play shifts to their defensive zone, the other player trying and failing to shake Cassian loose. The player tries to deke around him, but Cassian is quicker, their sticks clashing together. 
It's like it all unfolds in slow motion. The puck popping up into the air between them. The other player raising his stick like he plans to bat the puck down. The stick colliding with Cassian's head. 
There's a collective gasp from the crowd watching the game as Cassian crumbles to the ice, falling onto all fours. And then there's red. A few drops at first, but soon it's a steady stream. It seeps into the ice, spreading out around Cassian like a crimson puddle. 
"Oh my gods," Feyre whispers.
"I hope he's alright," Elain chimes in. 
Nesta knows that her sisters keep speaking, but all she can hear is a ringing in her ears, like a high pitched screaming sinking its claws into her mind. Her hands fist into the blanket in her lap, and she watches with wide eyes as a trainer walks onto the ice, pulling the cage of Cassian's helmet up and sliding a towel under. With the help of two teammates, Cassian's on his feet and skates back to the bench. Nesta's stomach roils as one of the rink staffers and the referees scrape Cassian's blood from the ice, and even when the game resumes, she can't take her eyes off Cassian slumped over his knees on the bench. 
~ * * * ~ 
Cassian can't help but poke at the bandage on his forehead as he checks himself in the locker room mirror. It's still tender, and he winces at the pain that radiates from that spot. Definitely going to leave a scar. At least he got a goal tonight. Small victories. With a sigh, he shoulders his bag, grabbing his sticks by the door and heading for the rink exit. 
When he steps into the lobby, he finds Nesta standing there. Cassian knew that both her sisters were here earlier, but a quick sweep of his eyes around the room shows them nowhere to be found. When his eyes dance back to Nesta, she's already looking at him, something intense brewing in her eyes like storm clouds rolling in. It leaves Cassian captivated, and in a few strides, He’s standing in front of her, dropping his bag at their feet. 
"What are you still doing here, sweetheart?" 
Cassian throws as much cheek as he can into the question, letting that cocky grin he knows gets under her skin slide across his face. He expects Nesta to scowl, to make some snide remark back, to pick up their game right where they left off, but Nesta's face remains serious. He watches in confusion as she crosses and then uncrosses her arms across her chest, takes a deep breath like she's steeling herself. 
"I just wanted to make sure you're alright," Nesta explains, her eyes glancing up to the bandage before settling back on his own. 
"Oh," Cassian says dumbly, blinking down at Nesta a few times before his brain finally catches up. "It was just bad luck. Stick hit just right for one of the screws in my helmet to go right into my head." 
"It looked… bad." 
"Well, head wounds bleed a lot." 
Nesta nods and silence falls like a blanket between them. Cassian's brain kicks into overdrive, suddenly desperate to keep whatever this precarious moment is going, keep her talking to him, keep those eyes on his. It sparks in his chest like a piece of flint, fire burning under his skin. He's so busy floundering, trying to will his head and mouth to produce actual words, that he almost misses the frown that takes over Nesta's face, her eyes caught on his hand. 
"You're not thinking of driving, are you?" 
The sudden question takes Cassian by surprise, and Cassian’s brow furrows in confusion until he remembers his car keys are in his hand. 
"How else would I get home?" 
"You can't drive with a concussion."
"What makes you think I have a concussion?"
"How could you not have a concussion?" 
"If I had a concussion, why would I have gone back out on the ice to finish the game?"
"Because you're an idiot." 
Before Cassian can even splutter out a protest at the insult, Nesta is reaching forward and snatching the keys out of his hand. Then, for good measure, she reaches out and takes his sticks out of his hand too. 
"There's an Urgent Care like five miles away that should still be open." 
With that and a final, firm nod, as if she's decidedly made up her mind and Cassian can't change it, Nesta turns on her heel and makes for the doors. Cassian is left there gaping, blinking dumbly after her retreating form, while his sluggish brain tries to grasp what exactly is happening. Maybe he is concussed. Not giving himself another second to contemplate, Cassian scrambles to pick up his bag, tossing the strap over his shoulder as he hurries after Nesta. 
"Can I at least buy you dinner after?"
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arinbelle · a day ago
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Nessianweek: Rivalry
Notes: Because I wanted to give something for Nessian week but I suck at time management, you get this nonsense late for the Rivalry prompt. I hope you enjoy!
Oh and yes, the quote about the Hustle is from Zootopia. I love that movie.
~*~
Nesta tore her eyes from the pages of her book and forced herself to look up. Right there in front of her, embroiled in a match of the ages, Feyre and Cassian were going at it viciously.
"You're cheating!," Feyre exclaimed again, swearing crudely under her breath.
Cassian flipped her off, laughing with so much open radiance, she felt her breath stop short in her chest. He was so beautiful.
So beautiful that Nesta thought about how she could manipulate the situation to get Cassian to come away with her. Play with her in other ways...a different game altogether.
Azriel cleared his throat loudly and Nesta whipped her head behind to see him raising his brows at her. 
Don’t judge me, she almost hissed out, pursing her lips at her interruption.
Azriel’s smirk almost answered back, I think someone should. 
Shadows whirled around him, slithering onto her couch and nipping her on the hand. She swatted angrily and them until they slinked off, almost shamefully.
“Serves them right,” she muttered under her breath.
“Some people just can’t control themselves,” Azriel whispered into the papers in front of him.
“Like you control yourself around Gwyn?,” she shot back at full volume, not caring who heard. Azriel’s expression mirrored that of a horrified child who’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He leveled her with a severe look, pointedly looking at Feyre and Cassian, not three feet away from them.
Thankfully, neither were paying any attention to the world around them, only focused on spewing vitriol at each other. They bickered like young children for a few more minutes, and then Feyre lost again.
"Third?," Elain whispered to Nesta as she sat down next to her. She was asking about the number of losses Feyre had already suffered at Cassian's hand. Her sister curled her feet under her body and half of her tucked into Nesta too.
"Fifth," Nesta replied, nestling closer to Elain as well. It was rare for them to sit like this anymore. Soak up each other's warmth as there was no need for it in the always temperate House of Wind and the general lack of poverty in their lives.
Nesta flicked her eyes forward and looked at Feyre's face concentrated on the scene before her. Tongue peeking out between her lips while she thought hard about her next move. It was shockingly adorable and for a moment, Nesta thought about how young her sister looked even now to her. Even with a baby and a marriage and a kingdom to run. Cassian stuck his tongue out suddenly, mocking her, and Feyre smacked his arm sharply.
And the bickering began anew. Nesta rolled her eyes.
"Technically," Nesta muttered to Elain, "she should have one at least one by now. Rhysand switched Cassian's cards when he went for water during their third game because he felt bad for Feyre. Cassian saw it and ignored it. And she still lost."
Azriel choked on his drink behind her and Nesta turned her head to share a conspiratorial smirk with him. They'd been making bets for the past five rounds and Azriel had lost a hefty sum in betting against Nesta's mate.
Why Azriel was still trying to be loyal to Feyre after her disastrous losses, she would never know. But she would admire the loyalty if that was what it was. Nesta was more convinced it was based on brotherly jest to rile Cassian up each time he met his eyes and passed another gold coin to Nesta. 
Nesta was no better. She was running on triumph alone that her mate was doing so well. Triumph and pride.
"You can't!," Feyre exclaimed suddenly. Nesta hadn't been paying attention and scrambled to understand what had happened.
"I already did. We agreed. I win and I get that beautiful bow of yours."
Feyre's ears began turning red. "It was a gift."
Cassian snorted. "Hardly. Rhysand took it from my weapons storage to gift you. It's pirated goods at this point."
Feyre opened her mouth. Shutting it and opening it over and over so much that Nesta was tempted to warn her about stray bugs that may wander in.
"I want a rematch," her sister demanded with a curl of her lip.
Cassian was the picture of boredom, leaning back in his chair, settling calmly. Unfazed. He drawled slowly, words dripping sardonically off of his tongue. "You lost five games in a row. You won't win. Let's get on with it Feyre. The bow please." Cassian's large hand lay outstretched in front of the table between them and Nesta wondered if Feyre may slap it.
"I want a rematch," Feyre said again. “You tricked me. I don’t know how, but you did.”
He had. Nesta had seen him lead her into believing he was playing one move for another so many times, she’d wanted to scream at Feyre for not catching it sooner.
“It’s called a hustle, Feyre. Deal with it.”
Feyre ignored him, turning her head to the couch where Nesta and Elain sat, and widened her eyes emphatically. It was a look only sisters would understand.
Help me.
Nesta struggled to keep her face straight as Feyre's voice exploded in her skull.
Ouch!
Sorry. I'm just angry. Your mate's being an ass.
Nesta snorted and Cassian's eyes began tracing her body as she rose from the couch and approached the table.
Fine.
Feyre emptied her chair and Nesta took it.
Cassian's pose broke, and he leaned forward expectantly, meeting Nesta's eyes head on.
"What's this then?," he asked affectionately.
Nesta sighed. "Feyre's whining for help." A noise of indignation left Feyre, standing to her left, which Nesta ignored. "So I'm helping."
Cassian's smile was blinding. "You're going to play for her?"
Nesta turned to Feyre. "A bow, is it?" Feyre nodded her head, shooting Cassian a withering glare in the process.
"Sure. I'll play." Nesta examined the cards in front of her. "What are we playing?"
Cassian looked startled. "Er, it's a Fae card game. I'm not sure if you know it." His hands picked up the cards with a flourish and he shuffled them with ease. "Ever heard of Flenaia."
Nesta blinked.
Cassian nodded. "That’s okay, I’ll go over the rules.”
Nesta snuck a glance at Feyre before nodding. "Alright."
He turned to Feyre. "You sure about this? She's never played. She's not going to win." He cast a quick glance to her, a dazzling smile shot her way. "No offense sweetheart."
Nesta shrugged. After all, she was only here because her book had gotten to be too ridiculous. There was only so many monsters with "engorged cocks" that Nesta could read about before losing interest.
Nesta hadn't said anything else so Cassian began.
He spoke in that lovely baritone of his, explaining the ins and outs of the game to her. Guiding her through different plays. Having her repeat the basic rules out to him.
Feyre breezed off soon after, claiming that Nyx needed a feeding even though Nesta knew he'd been fast asleep not even an hour ago.
"Good. Okay I think you understand how to play now. How many rounds?"
Nesta thought about it. Turned to the hallway behind her where Feyre was nowhere near.
"I don't know," Nesta admitted slowly. "I'm playing for Feyre's sake so I'm not sure..."
Elain chimed in, "Do five. A tribute to dear Feyre for her losses." She chuckled at her own joke and it wasn't long before everyone in the room joined her.
"I heard that," Feyre accused with laughter in her voice. Nyx cooed and fussed on her hip, Rhysand trailing in quietly behind her.
It wasn't long before Mor and Amren were suddenly just there with them.
Rhys was the first to add his input. "You're playing against Cassian, Nesta? Flenaia? Good luck sister. You'll need it."
"Thank you, brother," Nesta replied with a grin. "I'm not sure you mean it though."
Rhys gave a huff of laughter before sitting down beside Feyre, taking Nyx into his lap and stroking his head. "Oh I mean it. Cassian doesn't lose when it comes to card games. Hasn't lost in," he turned to Mor, lounged out on the opposite couch, "how long?"
Mor didn't look up, riveted on the table between Cassian and Nesta. "Three centuries. And it would have been a record of five centuries undefeated had it not been for that one loss."
Cassian's hand flexed in irritation and he began shuffling the cards again.
"Why did you lose?," Nesta asked carefully.
Mor perked up, ready to answer but Amren beat her to it. "Don't you know about what happened in the Summer Court?"
"Careful Amren," Cassian warned darkly.
Amren bared her teeth in a smirk that bordered on seconds from being a real bite. “Well he lost girl, and then he destroyed that building. It’s why he’s not allowed to go back to the Summer Court.”
Nesta didn’t react, wanting to take Cassian’s mind away from whatever had irritated him so much that he was now aggressively shuffling the deck.
“Let me,” she spoke softly, taking the cards from his grasp and starting the game.
Nesta played slowly, taking her time with her cards, staring at Cassian’s furrowed, scarred brow for far too long. Until he met her eyes with a knowing grin and she had to feign disinterest. Stupid bat, always distracting her with his looks.
“Doesn’t look good for you, Nes,” Cassian finally spoke after a three minute standstill that she’d taken during her turn. She ignored the playful tease in his voice. 
Rhys had foregone the couch altogether now, Nyx squirming in his steady grasp as he stood over the card table. Feyre was watching, now in her old seat, curled next to Elain who was watching with a knowing look the few times Nesta turned to meet her eyes.
Nesta placed her card down to finish her turn.
There was a sudden silence in the room. A hushed explosion of confusion. And then...
"I don't fucking believe it," Rhys exclaimed. "She beat him. She really fucking beat him."
Nesta stared at Cassian, whose eyes had gone wider than she'd ever seen before. "Did I really?," she asked him.
Cassian stared at the cards in front of him. Stared and stared and stared. He nodded slowly to no one in particular and finally met her eyes, crinkled in confusion.
“Yes. You did...”
A squeal to Nesta’s right stole her attention away from her perplexed mate, and suddenly Nesta was being crushed in a hug that made it difficult to breathe.
“Feyre...Feyre!”
“Sorry,” Feyre said as she extricated herself from Nesta. “I just got excited,” she admitted sheepishly. But all that disappeared as she turned on Cassian and glared. “She won. She only needs to win two more rounds and then we win.”
Cassian gave her a slow grin. “Don’t you mean she wins? When did this become “we”?”
“Shut up, Cassian,” Feyre growled, walking back to her seat.
And so it was on to round two.
“It was beginner’s luck,” Nesta assured him gently.
“I don’t mind sweetheart,” Cassian responded a little too quickly.
Big Illyrian baby.
I know, right?, Feyre’s voice boomed in her head.
Get out of my head Feyre!
Sorry. I’ll go. Nesta felt the presence leave her consciousness but just for good measure, she stacked up her mental shields again, brick by brick. When she was done, she realized everyone was expectantly staring at her. Cassian most of all.
Nesta apologized with a bob of her head and placed down her card.
The round ended within a few minutes with Nesta as the victor.
It might have been comical the way Feyre began dancing around Cassian’s chair, swinging her arms over her head as her hair whipped back and forth. Half of it smacked Cassian in the face at one point, and Nesta swore she saw murder in his eyes.
“It’s just luck, Cassian. And it’s just a game,” she reminded him. 
“Definitely." But the words seemed hollow.
Poor thing. She almost felt sorry for him. The pitiful look on his face that was practically begging her to kiss it away.
Cassian shuffled the cards this time, taking extra care to place them down slowly in front of Nesta and then herself as well. Nesta let him. Let him take his time, brow furrowed, lip pinched between his teeth, distracting her with memories of how his teeth felt leaving marks in her skin.
"Damn," Feyre muttered as Cassian made his second victory. He was good. She would admit that now. She'd taken a full offensive and gotten more difficult to work around with each slightly loudening slap of her card on the table.
Cassian had paid it no mind, caught in his own flurry to get his move done and deal with the next hand Nesta had played.
Rhys let out a low whistle as Feyre herself took it upon herself to shuffle the cards for Nesta.
Cassian's eyes narrowed on her and Nesta knew the game was up as the final round ticked in. As Feyre's hand left the cards in their respective positions, and she breezed away, muttering to Nesta that she'd better win her bow back, Nesta knew it wouldn't do anymore to keep the lies going.
"Still can't believe they're tied," Rhys murmured, rubbing a hand through his midnight hair, to which Nyx gurgled at before grabbing a fistful of it to pull on.
Nesta kept quiet, instead picking up her deck and sorting through what she’d gotten while Feyre wrestled Nyx away from pulling out more of Rhyand’s perfect hair.
“Demonic child,” Rhys muttered, all while allowing Nyx to grasp his chubby fingers onto his own, only to but them in his gummy mouth. 
“What?,” Feyre asked, irritaiton lacing her voice at the attention she’d lost from the game as Cassian made his first move.
A good move if Nesta had ever seen one. But not that good.
“I bet Cassian wins this round. Twenty coins.”
“Cheap wager,” Feyre shot back. “You seem to have no confidence in your brother. But fine, you’re on. Nesta is going to win.”
Rhys scoffed. “Cassian’s never lost a card game ever. Not in hundreds of years.” Rhys’ eyes met Nesta’s as she paused on her move to watch the new game unfolding to her right. “Don’t you know, Cassian doesn’t lose. Not in Flenaia least of all.”
Feyre winked at her and Nesta had to fight to keep the smile off of her face. “Oh but don’t you know Rhys? Nesta doesn’t lose either. Especially not in Flenaia. Bet’s on. Make it thirty coins.”
Cassian’s face snapped up from his deck to glare at her.
“I thought you said you’ve never heard of the game.”
Well, the ruse was up now. “Did I say that?,” she sing-songed, placing down her card. “Or did you just assume that because it’s a Fae game and I was human for most of my life.”
Cassian sputtered. “You asked me to teach you the rules!”
Nesta corrected him. “You offered to teach me the rules. You didn’t ask about whether I already knew them or not.”
Nesta had learned Flenaia in the bars she’d frequented during her stay in Velaris. She’d picked it up slowly and had been completely enraptured by the little game played so stealthily and quickly. She’d lost so many rounds in the beginning and the fervor it gave to her, to win, to best the game and herself was why she’d gotten so good at it.
“You tricked me,” Cassian accused, using Feyre’s own line of complaint from not too long ago.
Nesta smirked, dragging a finger sensually down Cassian’s hand that lay flat on the table in front of her. “It’s called a hustle, sweetheart. Deal with it.”
Cassian seemed to be the embodiment of rage as she threw his own words back in his face. Good. She’d like him to turn that anger into something useful for her later on at night. In the confines and privacy of their bedroom, where he could...
“Are you paying attention?,” Cassian’s irate voice snapped her out of her fantasies. “It’s your turn.”
“Is someone upset?,” Nesta mocked, flipping her hair behind her back as she placed her card down without a moment’s pause.
Cassian stared at her. “You sure about that? You didn’t even look at what you put down.”
Nesta shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. I’m going to win either way.”
The corner of Cassian’s lip turned up, and she bunched up her fingers in her lap as she fought the urge to trace it. “If you weren’t hell bent on making me lose, I’d admire the confidence.”
“You admire it regardless,” Nesta volleyed back.
Cassian didn’t say anything, looking through his deck, but they both knew she was right. 
“So when I win-”
“If,” Nesta corrected haughtily. “If you win.”
Cassian ignored it. “When I win, I get to keep my bow. But what should I get from you?”
The words were deliciously coarse against her skin and the fabric she was wearing suddenly felt too tight. 
Nesta’s voice lowered. “What would you like from me, Cassian?”
She knew how much he loved it when she spoke his name. She couldn’t help it most times. It was a beautiful name, so much so, that butchering it with the shortened nickname felt almost like sinning. The way it rolled off of her tongue like syrup when she crooned it in mocking jest, or the way it stole her breath when she moaned it underneath him was a weakness of hers. But Cassian loved it most, she knew, when it was whispered under her breath in innuendo. Like she was doing now.
Cassian opened his mouth and-
“No!,” Feyre’s voice cut harshly through the spell Cassian’s eyes had had her under. “We don’t need to hear the answer to that question Cassian. Keep it in your pants.”
Cassian leaned back,  grumbling something incoherent. 
“And you,” Feyre focused on Nesta. “Focus on what you’re here to do. He gives you a few sultry looks and you’re done for.”
Nesta tried to defend herself, but Feyre stopped her with a raised hand. “Don’t deny it. Whatever you two want to do to each after Nesta wins isn’t my business. But let’s deal with the task at hand first, please.”
Nesta rolled her eyes, Cassian following suit. 
Cassian threw down three cards with an arrogant wave of his hands. “Well Nes, it was a valiant effort. But unfortunately, the bow is mine.” Nesta stared at them. “And so are you,” he added salaciously.
Nesta placed down her last card. “Adorable. But you still lost the game.”
The grin on Cassian’s face disappeared almost comically fast as he looked down, nose almost touching the table and cards on top of it.
“She won?,” Mor shrieked, sitting upright abruptly.
“She won?,” Azriel whispered to himself.
Rhys ran over to the table. “She won?”
“She won?,” Feyre shouted out, Nyx babbling in response.
“The girl won?” Amren’s gravelly voice floated around them.
Cassian’s eyes skimmed furiously over the set of cards she’d played. Just right so that it hadn’t seemed likely for a victory until she placed down her final card. Her winning card. She’d set him up the moment she’d admitted she’d conned him.
Cassian leaned back in his chair, defeat worn all over his face. “She won,” Cassian admitted softly. Nesta swore she saw a hint of pride when he looked at her before examining the cards again.
There was a moment of silence around them, and suddenly noise erupted in the room. Feyre began screaming, Nyx started shrieking in response. Mor began dancing. Nesta swore Rhys shed a tear. Azriel laughed softly and Elain clapped to her when Nesta looked back to see them.
Feyre brought out her bow within record time, brandishing it more like a sword as she skipped around Cassian, chanting about her win.
Nesta decided then that it was time to make their exit as she saw Cassian glower harder and longer at Feyre’s prolonged victory dance. She swore she saw his eye twitch too.
Nesta weaved her fingers through Cassian’s and pulled him up from his chair. While he didn’t object to her leading them away from the clebration in the living room, she saw the sour look on his face.
“Why the face?”
Cassian pouted.
Nesta let out the laugh she’d been keeping in from the moment Cassian had lost his game. Grasping the hand she was holding tighter, she brought it up to her face and kissed the scarred knuckles. “Oh I’m sorry alright. It was all harmless fun.”
“You tricked me,” he repeated with another pout.
“I’ll make it up to you,” she promised with a grin.
Cassian raised one scarred brow, almost in protest. “How?” Before she knew what was happening, she was pinned against the wall, Cassian towering over her, his arms trapping her in on both sides.
Nesta didn’t balk, pressing herself closer into him. “However you want.”
“I didn’t win,” he reminded her gently.
Nesta rose up on her toes, kissing the skin on his neck where a faint curling of ink peeked out from his shirt. “Are you sure about that?” His pulse hammered under her lips at the question and she nipped lightly at it. 
“I-”
“You win me, Cassian. Most people wouldn’t complain about that."
"Awfully arrogant of you," Cassian let out with a groan, skimming his nose down her cheek.
Nesta laughed. "You love it."
Cassian pulled back, humor dancing in his eyes.
"I do love it. I love you."
Nesta rolled her eyes. "I love you too, bat. Now, what were you about to do to me?"
Cassian winked. "Glad you asked."
~*~
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nessiandaily · a day ago
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You know that one scene in ACOSF where Nesta was being stubborn and wouldn’t get off her rock? But then Az and Cas decided to start competing to see who would get the most push ups done and Nesta just seemed unimpressed but was low key simping? Yeah.
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art and caption credit: marssketch [instagram]
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*Gwyn after Nesta tells her to pitch her plan to the Valkyries for a mission*
Gwyn: VALKYRIES.
Gwyn: I stand before you... because if I were behind you, you wouldn't see me.
The Valkyries:
Nesta:
Emerie:
Nesta: *clears throat* Moving on—
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thewayshedreamed · a day ago
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The Next Life
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Written for Nessian Week 2021, AU day! (Even though my post is late because I fell asleep. 🤦‍♀️ 
Hope y’all enjoy this Nessian meetcute, inspired by some of their interactions/ dialogue in acowar. 
@nessianweek​
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There was something therapeutic about a casual stroll through a bookstore. Nesta hadn't wasted any time of making a full-blown coping mechanism out of it years before, allowing the smell of paper and the musings of various writers to distract from her own life.
She walked through the new releases and found herself in the poetry section, as she often did. The selection was vast; everything from Homer to Edgar Allen Poe to a tiny assortment of contemporary prose.
Nesta slid a finger down the spine of a book of poetry, watching the letters slide behind her fingers and reappear. She remembered seeing the poet's name on social media and quoted in the forwards of some of the books she'd read most recently. He was everywhere, and he'd apparently released his second collection not too long ago. How Nesta hadn't managed to get her hands on the first in his series by that point was a shock.
Nesta fanned the pages with her thumb, relishing in the way the draft of air felt across her cheeks. She stopped at a random page to sample the content; her usual method to see if she cared for the writer's style. Her eyes trailed the ivory paper and took in the minimalistic, black font. Rarely did a sequence of words, an innocuous string of letters truly make her breath still, but the burning in her chest proved that they could.
 I have no regrets in my life but this.  That we did not have time. That I did not have time with you.
I will find you in the next world— The next life. And we will have that time.
I promise.
                         — e. nalius
 Nesta blinked at the page, blinked again. There was something so beautifully tragic about the message; how unfortunate that he'd found a half of his soul on borrowed time. She couldn't claim to be a hopeless romantic by nature, but Nesta believed in something bigger than herself. That meant that she understood very little about her universe and anything beyond, and by logic alone, the concept of soulmates was possible.
Maybe she was a little romantic.
She flipped through a bit more, scanning another couple of short poems before tucking the book into the crook of her elbow. The poetry collection wasn't as balanced as she would imagine for Temple Books, which led her to believe that another display existed somewhere. It was a bad day for Gwyn to have the day off.
That left Nesta the options to wander around aimlessly to look herself, or worse, speak to someone to ask them if they knew of another display. She strolled through a couple of sections, weighing the costs of each option against her desire for the companion to the book in her grasp.
Her eyes stayed locked on the various books as she moved from one aisle to another, and she added several to her mental "To Be Read" list along the way. The store wasn't busy since it was week day, which meant she could take her time perusing the other genres in her pursuit of the poetry section she still wasn't sure existed at all.
She rounded a new aisle, stopping short when a broad form came into her periphery. A man shared the space with her, still nearly 12 feet down the aisle, but his presence startled her nonetheless considering she'd grown used to being alone.
He was impossibly tall, broad-shouldered. His forearms were so long that he managed two stacks of books in his hold side-by-side, pressed against his side. His brows were furrowed as he scanned the various titles and moved to place them in the appropriate place. Admittedly, she could do much worse for herself if she was forced to ask a clerk for help.
Nesta approached him on quiet feet, careful not to startle him out of his concentration. "Excuse me?"
He oriented toward her, his eyes dragging from a title on the shelves before his attention snapped to her fully. His height was even more disorienting up close. That was without mentioning the way his scent; clean, yet smoky somehow, complimented the smell of books around them.
His bronze skin was the perfect backdrop for his features; onyx hair and eyebrows, full and dark eyelashes that framed bright hazel eyes. Nesta swore she saw three different shades of green alone.
"Hi," he greeted, a soft smile on his lips. His very full lips, if she was the type to notice such things.
Her cheeks heated, but she refused to seem affected by his attention. This was business, after all.
"Sorry—" she stammered. "—I'm sure you're busy." She took a deep breath. "You're clearly busy. Anyway, I was wondering if you all have another display or table of poetry? Contemporary, specifically?"
His lips quirked up in a sideways smile, his amusement drawing a thread of gold through all the greens she had noticed before.
"I really wish I could help, but I don't know much about poetry, and uhh—" He gripped the back of his neck. "I don't work here?"
Nesta bristled at her mistake and felt her defenses rising to the occasion. "Are you asking me?"
A chuckle bubbled out of him, and despite herself, a small smile spread across Nesta's face. Even she had to admit to being unfair.
"I come here from time to time, but no. I don't work here."
How often did he end up in her bookstore? Surely she would remember someone like him wandering around among the mere mortals, but she supposed her nose was most often in a book. 
"I'm sorry I assumed. I saw you with all those books," she said, gesturing with her hand. "I thought you were putting things away or stocking the shelves."
The man looked at the heaping stacks in his arms and smiled sheepishly at her, a faint pink dusting his cheeks. It was hardly fair for him to be so handsome and seem so human all at once.
"Ah. Now that I think about it, that's fair. I'm actually shopping for a friend's birthday, but I overestimated my skills in picking something out for her. I've been here an hour already."
It was Nesta's turn to chuckle. She turned to place her book on a nearby shelf with her keys and phone, then turned toward him and extended her hands.
"Have you narrowed it down to genre, at least?"
She curled her fingers in a gesture to hand some of the books over. He paused for a second before snapping into action, transferring a few titles into her hold. His fingers brushed against hers in the process, and the contact sent a wave of heat all the way down to her toes. As much as his nearness made her heart quicken, there was something so familiar, so comfortable about him that made her feel as though he would appreciate the small favor.
"Historical fiction. Regular fiction. Some fantasy." he listed, brow furrowed again as if she'd asked him to recite Pi up to twenty decimal points. "Romance."
"So, you have too many options. That's the problem."
He looked up at her with one of the most earnest expressions she'd ever seen. "Yes. Exactly."
This had an unprecedented ability to force a smile over Nesta's face, but she didn't waste time picking that apart. Instead, she launched into problem-solving mode. They had narrowed down his haul to two books in a matter of minutes, and he decided then that the universe must have wanted him to get Mor two books for her birthday.
Nesta couldn't help her disappointment at knowing her name rather than his. They'd been talk too long for her to ask now, though, so she soldiered on with the hope that he'd offer it up casually.
"Just think, if I hadn't come to say hello, you could have been here for another 5 hours," she teased as they re-shelved the other books. Two of them never made it back to their original spot in favor of Nesta's own haul.
"I don't know if you can count mistaking me as an employee as 'saying hello'." He slid a playful glare her way through his side eye, daring to bump her shoulder with his. "Plus, I think you actually said, 'excuse me', Sweetheart."
Nesta rolled her eyes. "If that's what you call me, you don't know me well enough." She paused, allowing his laugh to skitter up her spine. "You know what I meant."
"I do." He turned to her with a serious look she hadn't yet seen. His throat bobbed as he swallowed, seeming to buy him a moment to gather his nerve. "For what it's worth," he rasped, "I'm glad you came over."
Her cheeks might as well have been on fire. She looked away to hide her blush, gathering the books she'd kept from their reject pile, along with her keys and phone.
"Right. Well, I'd better take off. I lost track of time and have some other errands to run before I get home."
Without so much as another glance, she turned to walk away. The man sounded as though he meant to call after her, but before he could get the words out, Nesta called out her goodbyes over her shoulder.
She lost herself several aisles down, trying and failing to convince her heart to stop beating roughly against her ribcage. There was a war raging in her mind, the interior of her chest. The intensity of what she felt around that beautiful stranger was terrifying, but there was a song in her blood that came alive in a way that she'd never experienced a day in her short life.
If she was the queen of anything, it was self-sabotage. Their interaction should have been something positive and exciting, something to revisit at another time in the interest of knowing him better. Instead, she'd gotten in her own head the second his behavior had even hinted that her interest was reciprocated. Her legs had carried her away as if the floor was on fire beneath her, and she hadn't even managed to get his damned name.
With another half-hearted pass by the center tables and several additional aisles, Nesta gave up her original search. She had the two she kept from Mr. Blood Song, so that would have to do for now. She gripped them tightly to her on her journey up to the check-out line, cursing her internal melodramatics.
The line moved quickly, and blessedly, she was soon walking up to one of the cashiers. The young girl was chipper, as sweet as could be, but Nesta could barely force her politeness over her need to escape. She wasn't sure she could risk running into him again after her more than embarrassing display of nerves.
As she set her books on the counter, she let out a low, rough curse. The cashier's eyes grew large, assessing Nesta for anything that could have been a sign of her wrong-doing.
"Miss, is everything alright?"
"Oh, yeah." No. "Well, kind of. I just realized I left a book that I meant to buy on a shelf somewhere."
The first damned book she had picked up. In her haste to grab her things— well, make a fool of herself, in hindsight— she had completely forgotten the book of poetry that had initiated the whole mess. Her smoothness knew no bounds.
"Would you like to go grab it? I'll hold these for you!" Nesta had to give the girl credit for her willingness to hold the two of them together with her enthusiasm.
She considered, but two things were of concern. First, the line had continued to grow behind her, and she didn't want to be that person who cut to the very front or held the line up altogether. Second, that book was somewhere near where she'd spent her time with the charming non-employee, and subsequently embarrassed herself. She wasn't enthused about the possibility of bumping into him when he likely thought her to be a crazy person.
"No, that's fine," she insisted, shaking her head. "I'm here enough. I'll pick it up on my next trip."
The girl nodded and completed the rest of the transaction. Disappointment threatened to settle over Nesta's shoulders at her decision, for multiple reasons, but she clung to a small silver lining to keep from sinking into it. Perhaps the second book would be in stock by the time she visited again, and she could pick them up together. She moved through poetry pretty quickly, so having the second one on standby was the better option.
Offering her thanks to the cashier, Nesta gathered her keys to unlock her car. Just as she eased the door open to slip inside, a distinctly male voice sounded from behind her.
"Miss!"
Was he talking to her? His voice wasn't familiar, so it was more likely that he meant to capture someone else's attention nearby. 
His voice sounded again. "Ma'am!"
Nesta paused, turning toward him slowly and making no attempt to mask her skepticism. The guy that approached her was young, and upon further inspection, she recognized him as one of the other cashiers from inside. He carried a small bag in his hand, holding it out to her as he approached.
"You left this behind. Glad I caught you before you drove off." He smiled, his eyes darting to his hand and back to her face in question.
"I have my bag right here," she countered, pointedly looking toward the bag hanging from her fingers. "I think you may have the wrong person."
"No, this is for you. The receipt is inside and everything. I meant to catch you if you didn't end up at my register, but I lost track of time." He deposited the bag into her hand, walking backward toward the store. "Have a great rest of your day!" With a broad smile, he was gone.
She looked in her own bag to see if maybe her own cashier had forgotten to bag both of her books, but they were both there. Something he said resonated with her while she settled into the driver's seat of her car, piquing her curiosity further.
I meant to catch you if you didn't end up at my register.
That insinuated that it had been there before she checked out. There hadn't been any books she'd pre-ordered recently, nor did she have anything on hold. Compelled by confusion and a base need to figure out the chaos of her afternoon, she shoved her hand into the other bag. She pulled out the contents to reveal the book of poetry she had insisted she would pick up later, E. Nalius' first collection. Her fingers danced lightly over the cover, offering her some mindless action to ground her while she thought through things. 
There was one last variable to investigate before she allowed herself to be properly sketched out. She opened the cover gently to reveal the receipt that had been jutting out of the top. Flipping it over, she noted the sharp, sleek penmanship on the back. The full smile she allowed herself was as genuine as the flutter in her stomach while she read the short message. 
 The next time, I'll come say hello.
— Cassian
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vidalinav · a day ago
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Stu(died)-Chapter 2
Summary: Nesta doesn’t date frat boys and that’s all you need to know. 
Nessian Modern AU-university setting.
Previous chapter on Masterlist 
~
The first time Nesta meets him, it’s freshmen year and she’s wiping down the counter at the register. Her clothes already smell like coffee this morning, and she can’t get the scent out of her nose. People come in bleary eyed and grim, walking zombies as most student seem, but all Nesta thinks about is Chemistry 301.  
That is until he comes in.  
He asks if there’s a way to order a cup of expresso. Not in those tiny mugs, he says, but a large. He makes a sign with his hands at the size of the cup and his hair falls in his face. He has kind, tired eyes.  
“Are you sure?” She asks, her eyes widening in a way she can’t help. “That’s... concentrated.”  
She thinks of the formula for molar concentration. Moles of solute over liters of solution. She wonders if she can find the concentration of caffeine in a large cup of expresso then shakes her head at how ridiculous that seems. She’s been spending too much time practicing problems.  
“I’m sure,” he says as if he’s given up hope. His lips pout and she chases that look straight to the permanent marker and the cup she reaches for. The largest, and Nesta looks at him one last time to make sure he’s sane.  
She supposes he’s given up being sane a while back, but he only grimaces. He gazes towards her marker.  
“Cassian,” he says and Nesta jots that down.  
He taps his fingers on the counter, and instead of directing him to the end of the stand, she waits. Nesta’s not one for conversation, so she’s not going to ask him how his morning’s going. She’s not paid enough to be attentive and sweet. But Cassian offers an explanation anyway.  
“I have an essay due at midnight and a test at 5.”  
Poor guy, she thinks.  
But it’s not like Nesta hasn’t had her fair share.  
“Well, good luck,” she says, her lips raising lightly. She knows it must seem more like a grimace, but Nesta merely shoves the cup towards him. She knows she should feel more sympathetic, but Nesta can’t find it in herself to care. It’s 8:30 in the morning and she has practice problems due by the end of the day and she’s counting the minutes before a rush comes forming behind this guy who appears to have no self-preservation skills. 
He’s just the start of her problems once the ice machine starts malfunctioning.  
“Thanks,” Cassian says, raising the cup in salute. “I’m going to need it.”  
~
Cassian looks lost in Dewey Decimals. A plain, crumbled piece of paper is held close to his face like a map. Nesta debates on whether she should lend him her hand. 
The thought of him being confused doesn’t really surprise her, though. She can’t exactly picture him in a library. Nesta’s seen him so many times at the coffee shop that she swears she knows how he is. He’s the type who only pretends to study, watching Youtube videos while he takes up space. He doesn’t open a notebook even once. 
You can do that at home, she always wants to say. Especially when people start pouring in, their books and their papers in their hands looking for a place to sit.
It’s not that he doesn’t look like he can read. She’s certain he does if he goes to a university. It’s just that... Nesta can’t imagine him with a book and here he is wandering through the stacks. He weaves through them in a way that fascinates her. Nesta can tell he has no idea where he is and yet... he trails his fingers along the spines as if there’s no difference between arithmetic and zoology, no time but the present.  
What about classes, she thinks. Studying?  
And yet, Nesta watches as he passes by her cart. It’s full when he first arrives and it’s almost empty when he passes once more. She’s across the other side of the floor and yet he manages to squeeze through, mumbling an excuse me as he looks.  
Perhaps he likes the smell of books. It’s always relaxed her. Nesta’s only five when she demands to go to her small community library every week and it’s her favorite place in the world until she’s turns ten, opting  then for the history museum. She can’t fault him if that’s his reason.  
Still... he’s looking for something. Nesta’s not sure he’ll ever find it and she’s not going to offer to help if she can help it. They don’t pay her enough to struggle with students who can’t read signs.
Cassian—the student who can and maybe can’t read—coughs a short sound as he tilts a book his way. He only reads the cover before shoving it back into its slot. She’s thankful at least that he doesn’t take it out and leave it for her to shelve... then she might really have to show him what students working on minimum wage can do.  
Nesta moves her cart as he shuffles through. Her hardly fits past. His size and his... backpack. It’s a forest green, and it doesn’t look even a little full... though if he’s planning on checking out a few titles, he might need room for them, she supposes. 
Nesta’s stuck contemplating the odds when she notices his stare. She tries to smooth out her expression. Something cool and detached. Nesta raises her chin just to prove it, that she wasn’t just looking at him and his empty bag. That there’s something more interesting in the space between shelves than this hulking man... boy. 
Cassian opens his mouth to speak and Nesta doesn’t know what to do--what to say. He clearly doesn’t know what to say either for he flounders and she imagines the shelves collapsing as she waits, falling to the floor like dominoes. 
“Nesta, can you try to find these?” 
She nearly jumps at the voice. 
The man who’s hardly her boss, merely a junior, rounds the corner, holding up a piece of paper. Cassian almost immediately jumps to turns back to the books as if they’re doing something scandalous in the stacks.  
Randall eyes them both, giving her a small, sneaky grin. 
Hot, he mouths. Nesta can only straighten, her shoulders going taut.   
“Anyway,” Randall coughs, holding up a list, “Some fuddy-duddies up on the third floor need these and don’t have time.. or feet apparently. Either way they don’t want to look for them... Could you look for me please? I’d do it but...”  
“Your project,” Nesta adds, nodding. Randall grins as if she’s got it. 
A few weeks ago, she might have been perturbed to be given his work. But Randall lets her hide in the one of the offices to study for her midterm last week, and she supposes she owes him one. 
“My best employee,” he sings. 
Nesta rolls her eyes and holds out her hand, “just give me the paper.” 
But Randall doesn’t. He takes his time. His eyes drift to the guy who’s trying hard to appear as if he knows what he’s looking for. Nesta’s surprised he hasn’t already moved to another shelf. 
Who is that? Randall mouths, waving his brows. 
Nesta grimaces and she tries not to think of how stupid the situation seems. I don’t know, she sneers silently. 
He waves to the unsuspecting student a little too exuberantly. Get going, he mouths and then he shoves the note in her hand. 
“I owe you one!” Randall cheers, winking and walking away.  
Nesta frowns as he disappears, looking to the note. There’s at least fifty books on the list! She thinks about cursing Randall’s grade for the task, but no... too far. 
“Nesta?”
“Yes?” she says expecting Randall back again to tease her, but when she looks up from the paper, it’s him.  
At her look of surprise, Cassian hikes up his green bag. Nesta’s never noticed just how tall he is—how large. He towers over and she thinks of the book she has tucked in her backpack somewhere. There’s a character just like him who takes the love interest up against a bookshelf. 
Such filthy things you could do with that height. 
Nesta hopes she’s not blushing, and she wants to slap herself for thinking such thinks. In a library Nesta? 
Cassian only smiles sweetly. 
There’s a dimple in his left cheek. 
“Sorry,” he remarks, “I heard that guy call your name. You work at the coffee shop outside of campus, right?”
Nesta nods, because she doesn’t know what to say. He’s memorably only because of the sheer volume of expresso he requests and the fact that he sometimes watches Law & Order, which she likes. 
“I order the large cup--” he gestures with his hands, the size and Nesta’s waving the image away.  
“I remember.”  
He shuffles in his steps, hiking up his bag. Such a nervous movement from someone so tall, so hulking. The library is the safest, most non-judgmental place in the world, Nesta thinks. What does he have to be nervous of?  
“Can you—” He looks to his list in his hand. It’s even more crumpled than it was before. “Can you help me find a book? I’ve... never been in a library.”
“You’ve never been in a library?” Nesta can’t keep the shock out of her voice.  
Cassian looks as if he’s debating how much to share, but he explains anyways, smiling sheepishly. “If you move enough times, you miss out on a lot of things... I was also homeschooled most of my life, so that didn’t help.”  
He doesn’t seem happy when he says it, even as his lips remain raised. Nesta wonders what exactly that means, but who is she to ask? They don’t pay her enough to conversate nicely with strangers. They’re certainly not friends. And, she doesn’t particularly like what that tone sounds like. 
Something almost too familiar. An ache she wants to ignore for a little while longer.  
“I can teach you where to find things,” Nesta says, holding up her own list as nonchalantly as she can. "What do I have to lose?” 
~
Privacy is what she loses. The beauty of being unknown. 
In fact, Cassian seems to follow her wherever she goes... either that or coincidence is a nosy bitch. 
Nesta’s in the dining hall when she sees him again and it’s not the first time this week. It’s not even the first time today. He’s sitting at one of the tables and she would throw up her hands if she wasn’t holding a tray of food. She ducks behind a soda machine, instead. 
But luck has never been on her side, so when Nesta dips back out intent to move swiftly, Cassian’s already spotted her. He waves her over with a gleeful hand. He’s wearing headphones, a bright red to contrast with his dark hair and his hair is tied up this time in what looks like a floral scrunchie. Interesting fashion choice... but okay.  
She tries not to grimace as she nears him. Nesta wonders if it would be rude to pretend she just doesn’t see him. She’s staring at him in the face, but she can just... dip. 
But there’s nowhere to go. All the tables are already packed. Chattering students with their laptops and their friends, taking up all this space. Why aren’t you eating, she wants to ask, this is a dining hall!   
Nesta sighs, resigning herself to the inevitable. 
“They ran out of spoons,” Cassian says as she sets down her tray and she’s shocked by the words until she sees that he’s eating a cup of yogurt with a fork. 
Nesta decides to shrug that off as college fodder. She’ll do him a solid this once since it’s not the oddest thing she’s seen. Her roommate, just last week, heated up a tortilla with a straightener... 
Tinfoil quesadillas she calls them.  
In any case, Nesta doesn’t know how to respond to that so she looks down at her own plate. 
“The macaroni is the best,” she offers casually. 
Cassian smiles in that way of his, one side of his lips raising as if something about what she says sounds funny to him. She wonders if she’s become a clown in her pursuit of higher education. Is that what her scholarship is funding? Clown school?
Nesta debates on whether she should pull out her book and distract herself from this moment. All of it bound to goad on her nerves. But what would he say about what she reads? Nesta shakes her head, the thought ridiculous. Who is he to judge her? Big, tough guy. Mr. Macho man who’s eating yogurt with a fork.
“Do you have a class over here?” He asks.  
Nesta nods, unzipping her bag to pull out her book, judgment be damned.  
“Statistics,” she says, opening up to where she left off. Nesta supposes she should ask him what he takes, but that might be inviting a conversation and Nesta would rather be reading. Lunch time is one of the only breaks she has and besides... does she really care to know? 
“You read romances,” he remarks, taking a look at her book. Nesta looks up to Cassian already glaring. He’s going to judge her for it she’s sure. There’s a raunchy cover on the front and everything.  
“Yes,” Nesta says, a scoff in her throat. 
She swears he’s going to laugh. After all, she’s enrolled in clown school... But he doesn’t laugh. Instead, the dimple on his left cheek appears and his eyes are soft and kind.
“That’s cool.” Cassian replies and she wonders if he means it. “What’s this one about?” 
Nesta squints as if she can read the hidden judgment in his face. “You really want to know?” 
He huffs a laugh, “I wouldn’t be asking you, if I didn’t.” 
Hmm. Nesta doesn’t know how she feels about that. 
“You’re not going to make fun of me?” She interrogates further. 
Cassian tilts his head as if that thought never crosses his mind. 
Well... shit, maybe she does go to clown school. 
“Why would I do that?” He asks as if the question genuinely surprises him. She doesn’t know what to do with that expression he makes. The confusion. “You should read what you want to, Nesta.” 
Well... shit. All Nesta can do is settle in, her body going limp in her seat. She looks to his tray, trying not to meet his curious gaze and all that’s left is a bowl of fruit. Nesta looks to hers and the tray is overwhelmed with food. 
She's always so hungry after class. 
Nesta takes one of her bowls and sets it in the middle of the table. 
“Do you want some fries?” She asks. Her own sort of peace offering. 
Cassian simply nods and when he takes a handful of them, he juts his chin to the book as if urging her to speak. 
~
It’s... nice to have a few friends, Nesta finds. 
She has two good ones now. Gwyn, who gets to their classes as early as she does—they share two—and Emerie who she finds wandering the print shop one day, in desperate need of a print card. Nesta uses her own.  
Emerie likes to call that fate.
Nesta only works there on Wednesdays and that’s when Emerie comes running in desperately in need of a printer. Her assignment is due at the beginning of her class which starts in fifteen minutes, and she’s been running from building to building looking for somewhere to print. At the manic look, Nesta doesn’t even explain that there’s only three locations. All of which need a print card.  
No, Nesta just swipes her own and that’s when Emerie declares herself indebted. Indebted, she finds out, means that Emerie comes to spend the hour break she has in between classes swapping out romances with her. 
It’s the most fun she’s ever had.  
Nesta looks forward to that hour, and without it there’s really not much to do. The print shop is in one of the more forgotten “government” buildings and for the most part it seems that only the nondescript classes are put there. The ones with only eight to ten pretentious English students and the few off the wall business students who come in wearing suits when it’s 90 degrees. 
Most days, Nesta just reads while she waits for the shift to be over, but it’s the easiest hunk of change she’s ever earned. At least with Emerie, she gets to enjoy an hour. 
Today, they’re discussing how to squeeze in time to go to the bookstore. Nesta has practice problems due and Emerie has a discussion post, but still... It’s one of their favorite authors and the book has just come out yesterday. It’s definitely not a good idea to buy it now. Ideally they should wait until the weekend when they can catch their breath but Nesta thrums with excitement and Emerie can’t help but gush. 
“Maybe we can go at 6. You’re done with econ then?” 
“Yeah, and that gives me enough time to finish my work before tonight.” 
“I’ll have to squeeze in some reading in my other class, but honestly that professor just posts the slides anyway so it’s not a big deal.” 
Nesta smiles her agreement. Emerie looks positively gleeful. And when Nesta can’t possibly think her day could get any better, Cassian finds them as if he knows all along where she is. 
Nesta doesn’t dare explain to Emerie who he is. She doesn’t even know if she can if she tries, so instead Nesta avoids her stare like a plague. 
“I swear I’m not stalking,” he says holding up his hands.  
Nesta smiles. Just a small one. It appears on her face as if she’s happy to see him and she is...
It’s the familiarity she’ll tell herself. Nothing to do with that hoodie that keeps appearing in front of her, a deep burgundy with their university written on the front. Nesta has to tilt to her head to meet his gaze—she only comes up to his chest—but when she does, his eyes are the smoothest hazel. Like pouring a latte into a cup and drizzling out the cream.  
“You need a print card,” she says, because she already knows. Nesta wants to roll her eyes at how soft her voice sounds.  
Cassian gives her a smile. Something friendly, something... a little more. A secretive, hint of something that could be more... if she dared to dream just a little.  
Someone would be lucky to have him, she thinks. Not just because he’s good to look at, his hair long and probably soft. Not just because of his eyes. Or the way he’s so tall and large. Her arms probably don’t fit all the way around him unless she squeezes. It must be because of his smile... it fills her with ease—familiarity. As if she’s known him her whole life. A well-loved book she keeps on her shelf but can’t stop reading over and over again.  
Cassian shuffles his feet and Nesta blinks.  
“Can you show me?” He asks.  
Nesta shrugs a little sheepish, “I can give you a pamphlet... but you have the go the university service building to get a print card.”  
Cassian hums his response and Nesta finds she likes that sound from him. It rumbles through his chest and she can probably feel it if she lays a hand there. 
“Is your assignment do soon?” Nesta asks, out of curiosity.
“Nope,” he declares happily, “I have a few more days. I just finished early.”  
Nesta feels herself swoon at the words.  
Cassian gestures to the tiny space of xerox machines and files. “I didn’t know you worked here, too. You work a lot of jobs.” 
Emerie gives her a look at that, but Nesta ignores it. She supposes her new friends don’t know everything about her. Or at least... not as well as her stranger who’s not so strange to her. 
“It’s only this semester,” she says, but that’s probably a lie.  
Cassian brows furrow and he opens his mouth and Nesta’s sure it’s going to be a question she doesn’t want to explain. He asks so many questions, she thinks. She doesn’t know why she finds that fascinating. 
“Here,” Nesta says, handing him the pamphlet. “It’s the same building you go to get a student ID. If you go now you might catch them before they go on lunch.”
Cassian stammers, obviously wanting to say more as he turns over the page. Nesta doesn’t let him get that far. 
“They close in 15 minutes,” she urges. 
His brows crinkle at the center and he holds up the pamphlet as if waving goodbye. “Uhh okay... I’ll see you later then?”
“Probably,” Nesta answers. 
Cassian leaves with an infinitely confused look. She’s starting to grow fond of that expression on his face. Emerie huffs where she waits at the counter as she always is. 
“What?” Nesta says casually. 
Emerie rolls her eyes. 
“You need a print card,” she says with a bad imitation of her voice.  
Nesta shirks, “I don’t sound like that.”  
“True. You were much more sultry.” Emerie clears her throat, her voice dipping low.  “You need a print card, my love. Marry me and you might get to print for free.”
Emerie laughs and Nesta’s cheeks warm against her better judgement. 
“Why didn’t you just let him use yours?” 
Nesta makes a face, “I’m not ready for that level of commitment.”  
~
It’s the end of the semester and Nesta is knee deep in finals. She has three left and she’s not among the blessed who have their finals spread throughout the two-week period.  
Luckily, she has a schedule. If she studies for one class tonight and tomorrow morning, she should have enough time to finish her essay for another class which is due four hours after. She’s fairly knowledgeable about the subject of the last final, so twelve hours should be enough time to study and do the rest of her practice problems, which are due that midnight.  
Nesta’s already done two. What’s three more?  
But three more is a lot when Nesta’s main sustenance is caffeine and cynicism and so she readily agrees when Gwyn suggests a study night with Emerie. Emerie isn’t studying the same subject as them, but she’s writing an essay on the US political involvement overseas and she says she needs friends to watch over her mental state as she writes.  
Nesta’s just happy that they can all be together when they’re suffering. 
For the most part, Gwyn’s place offers ready accommodations and she doesn’t share it with anyone. A fact that both Emerie and her wow about. It’s a cute little apartment, too, up on the second floor. Not at all far from campus. 
They order take out. Thai food from the place down the street and Gwyn makes a large pot of coffee. 
“We’re going to need it,” she says. 
Emerie cheers at that and Nesta can’t help but soak up the sound. Dying from sheer exhaustion almost seems fun when she’s doing it with friends. 
But Nesta has never been lucky. 
There halfway through chapter 36 when the music starts. Nesta has the formula for entropy floating through her brain and Boltzmann’s constant bright in her notes. She thrums with this power, that feeling she gets when she knows she’s got this in the bag. Only eight more hours and yet... Nesta can practically feel the testosterone at the yells. Banging and shouts. 
Gwyn runs to the window, sighing at what she sees. Her friend yanks at the curtain, smiling sheepishly as she faces them. “So... I might have forgotten to mention that I live by a frat house.” 
Emerie snorts at that, but Nesta doesn’t find the situation so amusing. Not when blaring Carly Rae Jepsen. 
Who are these people?
“Are they really having a party? On finals week!” Nesta throws her pencil to the ground, stomping to the window. She can see a bunch of idiots bringing in the kegs. She can practically smell their sweat from here. Dirty gym socks and... farts. 
Whatever. 
“I’m sure we can still study,” Emerie shrugs off. 
Gwyn doesn’t look so sure and Nesta starts to feel outrage, vengeance and curses and bad thoughts all pointed to the house next door. But they sit back in their little circle. 
“Entropy is a measure of probability and the molecular disorder of a macroscopic system,” Gwyn says, reading off her notes. 
As the song ends, Nesta starts to hear Kesha. Did they get stuck in 2009? Still, Gwyn continues and Nesta takes a deep breath... 
She wants to hold that breath after twelve more songs. Twenty more songs. Nesta shoves a throw pillow to her ears. She’s going to be okay, she tells herself. She can study with the music, the shouts. She’ll just ignore them. It will be fine. 
It will not be fine. Nesta can’t ignore them. Especially not when the music gets louder. 
Emerie frowns, “Is it just me or is the music getting closer?” 
Gwyn runs to the window and groans. “They’re like cockroaches. They’re climbing up the rails.” 
“What?” Nesta and Emerie yell simultaneously. 
Gwyn gestures to the scene and Nesta can hear the heavy shouts through the wall. Go! Go! Go!
“What are they doing?” Emerie asks curiously. 
Nesta scoffs, “clearly being stupid.” 
“I’m telling you, they’re climbing up the railing!” 
“Can you see?” Emerie says, looking to Nesta. Nesta particularly doesn’t want to see any of this and she crosses her arms as if to say so. 
Emerie just grabs her hand, lurching the front door open, “Come on.” 
Indeed, the boys--because she’ll hardly call them men--are climbing up the railing. That’s the first thing Nesta notes. They’re climbing up the three floors and no one is stopping them. In fact there’s a crowd of testosterone at the bottom. 
It’s the worst thing she’s ever seen. 
Scratch that... Nesta peers past the railing up to the third floor and she spots dark hair tied into a bun with a scrunchie. She changes her mind. That’s the worst thing she’s ever seen. 
Cassian has the nerve to look down as he swings and when he spots her there he waves. He waves! 
She knows he’s too drunk to hold himself up with one hand, so Nesta does what any sane person would do. She simply looks to her phone and dials 911. She taps her foot as the number rings. 
When Cassian falls and she’s not the least bit surprised. Her friends huddle together, watching the commotion with wide eyes, mouths agape. Nesta has to bite her tongue. All sorts of curses sit wet in her mouth. 
“I’ll be right back,” she says, stomping down the stairs. 
Cassian is lying on the ground as she nears and he has the audacity to smile at her like that. Grass pokes into his dimple and his leg twists horribly. 
“Hey, it’s you again,” He beams. 
His... frat brothers look up at her, their eyes widening as if they recognize her from somewhere. Nesta pays them no mind. Something interesting? she wants to ask. She crosses her arms out of reflex. 
She’s never seen them before in her life and she never wants to see them again.  
“My Nesta.” Cassian grins as he says it and reaches out his hand. Nesta doesn’t take it.  
“I called the ambulance,” she explains, holding up her phone. “It shouldn’t be too long.”  
“You’re pre-med,” he laughs. Cassian tries to stand but his buddies hold him down. He doesn’t fight them, only settles further into the grass, jostling his other leg that’s not twisted in a funny direction. “Am I going to be okay, doctor?”  
One of his friends, a guy with hair as dark as his and the sharpest cheekbones Nesta’s ever seen, pats Cassian on the shoulder. “I think you’re too drunk to feel anything right now, Cass.”  
“Like I said the ambulance is on their way.” 
His friend nods appreciatively. But Cassian frowns. 
“Will you stay with me?” He asks, looking to her with those pitiful eyes.  
Not a chance.  
“I have a final tomorrow,” Nesta says plainly.  
Cassian looks sad at that, but she can’t find it in herself to care. In fact, he looks ridiculous lying on the floor with that puppy dog look while his leg is twisted to the right. She looks back to her friends who wait by the second-floor railing, and she thinks she really ought to be studying.  
“I should be getting back.”
“You’re leaving?” Cassian whines. “But you just got here.”  
“Yeah,” Nesta says, drawing out the syllable. She picks at her sweater impatiently. “Well. I’ll be seeing you around. I hope they can fix you up soon.” 
She doesn’t even bother with a goodbye as she turns away, walking quickly back towards her friends. Nesta can only groan, smacking her lips as if to get the bad taste out of her mouth.  
A frat boy?  
Nesta shudders. 
~
Nesta doesn’t tell Gwyn and Emerie about Cassian. They know about him certainly, but they don’t know she’s tutoring him for the fifth semester in a row. She can only imagine what they’d say--something about opportunity, fate...
Stubbornness, Emerie would inevitability note. She’ll say it’s because Nesta’s been ignoring what’s right in front of her and she still won’t let him loose.  
It’s not her fault he can’t pass a science!
But that’s not the issue, Gwyn will say.  
The issue is that they’re convinced Nesta likes him, way, way down deep in her soul. What? Past her cynicism and dislike for most people? Or past her annoyance for all those who don’t take things seriously?  
They’ll remind her of course... all the ways that he takes her seriously. The ways he burrows himself someplace behind her ribcage where textbooks and pencils live. He feeds her, they’ll say. Texts her about new shows to watch on Netflix. Remembers her birthday and holidays and every little day she’s deemed special. Taco Tuesdays and meet me at Belinda’s Saturdays. That beginning of the semester shopping for new notebooks week.  
You still have his hoodie, Gwyn will remark. Because she does. It’s on her chair, washed and dried, ready to be gifted back to him. It will be, she’ll say.  
How about the fact that you walk home together?  
Our homes are right next to each other, Nesta will dismiss with a wave of her hand.  
Emerie will merely shake her head. Gwyn will sigh, a little. They will look at her and Nesta will blush for no good reason.  
The reason is that you like him.  
No, she thinks. I could never date a frat boy.  
So, Nesta decides to save herself some trouble and not tell them at all... at least not yet.  
They're sitting in their shared apartment. Gwyn groans as she types up another essay. She has two due on Friday from not having taken any of her English pre-req's from freshman year. Emerie cooks dinner. She can hear muffled voices from her friend’s headphones. Some crime podcast that Emerie’s been absolutely obsessed with. Nesta clicks the volume button down on the remote, sinking into the couch as the TV plays Law & Order: SVU for the one hundredth time.  
They’re right there and she doesn’t say a word.  
Nesta simply stares down at her notebook, open on her lap. It’s filled with her neat script, color coded with pictures. She revised them enough times that they look good enough to print. Cassian says she ought to just give it to him to study off, but she doesn’t trust him to return it without bent pages or stains.  
“I forgot to ask, how was your tutoring session?” Gwyn lays her head on her palm and Nesta knows she’s only trying to find a distraction from Sylvia Plath. Nesta can’t say she blames her. “Is it a new person this semester?”  
New? Nesta wants to snort. She’s known him for two years now. Two long, annoying years.  
“Anyone hot?” Emerie calls, laughing as she takes out an earbud.  
Nesta shakes her head. No. No one hot enough to tempt her, anyway. "Just some freshman who’s taking too many classes.”
Gwyn nods and turns back to her essay, groaning something about killing her now. Emerie goes back to stirring her dish. Nesta can hear the clinking of plates as she tries to remember the details of the endocrine system.  
But all Nesta can think about is notebooks and cake and stupid frat boys... and when she looks back to her notebook, she’s written his name in the corner.  
Fucking Cassian can’t get out of her head.  
~ ~
Tag List: 
@arinbelle @my-fan-side @sophilightwood @nestaarcher0n @duskandstarlight @soitsgorgeous @swankii-art-teacher @lordof-bloodshed @thewhelk @daisy-in-danger @highqueenevankhell @lovelynesta @sirendeepity @champanheandluxxury @ladynestaarcheron @moodymelanist @teagoddess99 @spoilersteph @angelic-voice-1997 @bo0kmaster69 @drielecarla @generalnesta @cozycomfyliving08​
~
Obsessed with knowing that this fic would have ended right here, if not for the fact that I know what the next chapter is about. So you get sniffling, sick Nesta who’s gulping down cough medicine like soda and wearing Cassian’s hoodie next time. In Cassian’s POV.
Although this is against my better judgement and I’m already crying in pumpkin spice. 
Thank you for all those who motivated me and those who didn’t unfollow me even though I tried very hard to get you do so. Alas. Until next time. 
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generalnesta · 2 days ago
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NESSIAN WEEK day 5: Alternate Universe (AU) Day
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Mr. and Mrs. Archeron (by @moodymelanist ) inspired artwork for Nessian week
I swear she’s wearing heels, but cassian is still taller than her
@nessianweek
Follow me on ig @ s.drawsart
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broodybatboy · a day ago
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Azriel: I got us matching friendship bracelets, and you say I don't care about our relationship.
Gwyn: ...
Gwyn: These are handcuffs.
Azriel: Cuz we're partners in crime!
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