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azriel x gn reader
warnings: blood, light scene spoilers
I took some creative liberty with a scene in acowar :)
There were nights – drunken and sober – when Cassian, Azriel, and I had argued and placed bets on who would kill Eris Vanserra.
I was not expecting to have a chance so soon.
Eris spat on the ice, the mixture of blood and saliva landing next to my face. One of his brothers wiped at their forehead, glaring at me through bloody fingers, while another cradled his broken arm carefully.
Dragging my hands underneath my shoulders, I forced my body up, back up, I was not done yet—
A knee dug deep into my spine, forcing me back down. Injuries both new and old sparked with agony and holding in the groan was a battle in itself, but I refused to give the Autumn Fae any once of satisfaction.
“Stand,” Eris taunted, crouching over to smirk at me. His brothers began to chuckle, and the tip of a boot lodged itself in the side of my bruised ribs.
I might have responded if dragging every individual breath through my lungs did not require all of my energy and focus.
He smirked again, pivoting on the ice. “Drag her,” He commanded over his shoulder. Before he even finished speaking or the knee had lifted, rough hands were pulling me across the ice. I scrambled for purchase, desperate to stop. No, no, I had gotten so close.
Just across the frozen lake lay the border and beyond that – home. My mate, my family, the city I had missed so dearly during my time in the Spring Court.
Searing pain roared through my blood as cloth ripped and bare skin scraped along the rugged surface and each jolt pulled apart injuries. I dug my numb fingers deep into the snow and ice – this was survival. We were on the brink of war with no idea who our allies were. I would not let them take me ; what was waiting on the other side was worse than death. I will not give up Velaris. I will not ruin what Rhysand sacrificed fifty years for.
But the march was unforgiving. Ten long gauges in the ice behind us was all there was to show for my effort, and we were close enough now to the Autumn side of the lake to hear the sentries murmuring to each other, waiting for us.
I let go. I had no strength to spare. Driven on fear and adrenaline alone I twisted – stretching for the nearest weapon. If I could take at least one of them with me—
There! A knife.
Fingertips only a hairsbreadth from the hilt, I froze.
Even with the dampener on my magic I could feel the change in the air – the crackle of energy before a fight.
An Illyrian warrior slammed into our path, dark leather wings cleaving through the cold air. Familiar crimson siphons glinted as Cassian crossed his arms, his face twisted with rage and violent intentions.
The Vanserras halted, drawing into a loose protective circle.
I wanted to sob, scream, kiss the feet of Madja and the healers who had saved his wings. And once I was home I would. But I was not there yet.
I forced my body to move again, to pry my limbs from their hands, but before I could get up Eris latched onto me with enough force to crush bone and I was forced back into the ice just as another figure crashed onto the ice.
This time, overwhelmed with relief at the sight of my mate and exhausted by pain, I did cry out. Tears fell – their tracks turning cold on my skin.
There was something terrible about the way Azriel approached Eris. There was no thundering rage like Cassian. It was quiet, mute, the way priestesses approach the bloody and dying on a red-stained battlefield. The shadows cloaked his body like fog, almost swallowing the light from his siphons. Yet his head and neck remained bare, as if not even darkness itself wanted to be too close to the cold hatred barely contained behind those dark eyes. His gaze went immediately to the grip Eris held on me and it was then I realized Cassian and I were going to lose the bet.
“I suggest you let go,” Cassian spoke first, the whisper of two blades unsheathing accompanying his threat.
Eris did not turn away from the shadowed Illyrian in front of him to respond. He yanked my head up and tucked the tip of a knife under my jaw, ignoring the threatening growl from Cassian and my hiss of pain at the awkward angle.
He tutted, tilting the blade to turn my face to look at him. “You were such a compliant, easy captive” —he dragged the blade along my jaw— “ready to be dragged back to Autumn.”
“Not alive,” I snarled, spitting at him.
The light from Azriel’s siphons guttered completely as the shadows engulfed him. And when I heard the tell-tale song of his sword being drawn, I moved – rearing my head up into Eris’s chin and rolling from his loosened grip before he could react.
Azriel was by my side in an instant, helping me to my feet with a gentle but firm hand, and setting himself between Eris and I. Shadows wound eagerly around his shoulders, some of them reaching for me as his wings stretched partially to keep me tucked safely behind him.
Eris swore, wiping at his bloody mouth and drawing his sword. The air sparked with energy again, the taste of a bloody fight tangible in the air.
Cassian, who had stalked around the group to meet us, lowered into a fighting stance next to his brother.
Cassian flinched. Azriel froze. Even the Autumn Fae looked at me in confusion.
I stepped around Azriel, gripping a crevice in his leather armor to steady myself, and lowered a baleful glare on Eris. “As much joy as I would receive from getting revenge on this frozen lake, I will save the honor of killing you for someone who deserves it far more than I do.”
Eris’s eyes narrowed but Azriel did not give him a chance to respond. He leapt into the sky with me in his arms and in a few seconds, we were sweeping north across the lake to the Night Court.
Only once we were well across the border did I finally let my body relax, wrapping my arms tighter around Azriel. He tucked me in close, his gentle touch as comforting as greeting the other half of my soul.
I may not have made my way home, but home had found its way to me.
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