fafs, twenty four
so i was definitely going to wait to post this until tomorrow or the day after but then decided to say fuck it and in the spirit of rowaelin month am just giving it to you now, whatever. who needs rules. or regulations. not me.
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It was nowhere near the worst injury she’d ever had, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant.
The living room floor of one of her smaller sanctuaries had been turned into a makeshift operating room. A trash bag was laid out beneath her, rustling with every move she made. The first aid kit that had been untouched and hidden under the kitchen sink was open with all its pieces scattered around her. A brand new bottle of vodka sat to her right, several shots worth already buzzing through her veins. It would take at least one more swig before she got started, but it was already difficult to slide the thread into the needle, so she was holding off until she was just about ready to begin.
Gods damn the agent that shot her. Aelin would bet money that it was Remelle, the blonde bitch that had been pawing at Rowan for years. Before, when she was Lilian, she’d heard a wide array of stories about the woman and her unwanted advances. Ever since Aelin had been introduced to the FBI as a criminal informant, she had shot daggers at her in every meeting, likely angry Aelin was spending so much time with Rowan. Despite how much of that time was angry banter from Rowan, no matter if Aelin was trying to thaw out his icy inner and exterior.
None of that mattered now. She could have Rowan if she really wanted him. Maybe they were already together and--
Aelin stopped those thoughts in their tracks, eyes focusing on the task at hand. There were bigger things to worry about, like getting out of the city and, most importantly, the bleeding wound on her thigh. She chewed on her lip until the thread finally made it into the curved needle, and she held back a cheer as she sloshed some vodka over the wound on her thigh. Hissing through her teeth, she thanked the gods that it wasn’t any worse.
It wasn’t even that bad, considering everything else she’d experienced. There was the time Arobynn had stabbed a dagger through her palm, and she’d had to stitch up the injury herself. She wasn’t sure how many times she’d been sliced and jabbed in training. Her list of broken bones and scars was a long one. Once she got older and was better at her job than all of the men combined, training had become more of a game of survival. They had been out for blood, shedding hers in red tears on the floor until she managed to incapacitate them enough to claim the victory for herself.
This gunshot wound was minor. It hadn’t nicked anything major, and it had taken a while for Aelin to realize she’d even been shot. The adrenaline from running from the full force of the FBI had been enough to repel the pain until she was nearly to her safehouse. She was four blocks away when she realized her pace was slowing and that there was a sharp, hot pain throbbing in her left thigh. A glance down told her everything she needed to know. She had limped straight through the front door and to the first aid kit, where she now prepared to stitch her own leg up.
At one point, there had been a numbing agent in this bag, but she remembered using it on Sam after a nasty fight with Arobynn one night when she was twenty-one. Since then, she’d seldom been to this safehouse and had neglected to restock her kit. There was barely enough of the nylon thread left over, but she would manage. Aelin made a mental note to have someone, either Nox or herself, replenish the missing items.
With a deep breath and a final swig of vodka, she picked up the forceps and shimmied the tension from her shoulders while she hunched over her leg, ready to begin.
With the first stick and the drag of the thread through her skin, Aelin bit her lip so hard she drew blood. It was a bizarre and uncomfortable feeling accompanied by a slight burning sensation. Several times she groaned while she sewed her skin back together. By the time she was finished, her mouth tasted metallic, and the trash bag beneath her was covered in droplets of blood. Her bare thigh looked grim and would leave behind a jagged, ugly scar, but she doused it once more in vodka before wiping away the blood with a damp piece of gauze. Her hands were mostly steady while she placed a bandage over the top and taped it down.
It was just another painful memory that would soon fade to silvery skin. How many more would it take until she was free?
Shaking her head to pull her from any thoughts too negative to deal with right now, Aelin smiled a bit. She was almost pleased with herself for handling the entire situation so well, but the reality of the situation was soon to crash down on her. It didn’t take long for her to get up, going about the tiny house and jerking all the curtains closed. Hardly any natural light was able to filter in through the gaps in the curtains for how tightly she’d twisted at the blinds until they were sealed completely shut. Thumbtacks were shoved into the walls to keep anyone curious from peering inside. She would move to another place in a day or two, she promised herself, after she had time to dye her hair and her wound wasn’t so fresh.
Every lock on every door was twisted into place-- seven locks on both the front and back doors. Only two of those locks could be opened with a key from the outside. The other five were inside only, a variation of deadbolts and chain locks that made her feel secure.
Only when she was satisfied that she was as safe for the time being did she go to the single bedroom and lock the door behind her. In a handful of heartbeats, she collapsed on the old quilt and drifted into a fitful sleep.
The news that it would take weeks, maybe months, of physical therapy to have his shoulder back to one-hundred percent was irritating to say the least. Rowan would be out of work for a while, but that wasn’t the most frustrating part of the situation. He would be wearing the restrictive sling for weeks, only to take it off when he changed clothes or showered. They didn’t even allow him to take it off to sleep, for gods’ sake. Rowan would be sleeping sitting up for the foreseeable future, and he was fucking annoyed about it.
The last few nights sleeping in the hospital had been anything but fruitful. Not only was he woken by the nurses coming in to check on him every few hours, every single time he tried to adjust to a more comfortable position, he was reminded of the sling. The pain was nearly suffocating. Rowan had heard from Fenrys about how bad shoulder injuries were, but this was on another level of anything he had ever experienced.
So why he was standing in the abandoned apartment of the woman who had shot the bullet through it in the first place was beyond him at the moment.
It wasn’t the apartment littered with cameras and paid for by the bureau. It was the one she’d lived in privately before her beating and arrest. It was the one decorated with opulence and taste. With artwork that wouldn’t surprise Rowan to find it had been stolen and was priceless. The one with books stacking shelves every which way, those novels bookmarked and annotated, as he had just learned. Like she loved them so much, she couldn’t help but document her favorite and least favorite parts.
The linens closet was filled with the softest blankets and nicest sheets Rowan had ever felt in his life. Silk sheets were currently stretched over the mattress in her bedroom, a thing that Rowan had thought she’d quipped as a joke once.
“Sorry, the sheets aren’t Egyptian cotton for whatever the hell you’re used to,” he’d said, a bite in his tone as he showed her the dump of an apartment the bureau had decided on for her.
“Silk,” she winked. “Feels good against my skin when I sleep naked.”
It hadn’t been a joke. He ran his fingers over the fabric and almost smiled at the memory but forced his lips into a frown instead. As he looked around the room, the nearly ostentatious yet somehow tasteful room, he missed her. He hated himself for it, but he missed her. The woman had shot him through the shoulder, but the pain in his heart was somehow worse. His first thought when he woke in the hospital from surgery had been about if they’d found her and she was safe, gods above. Everything about himself was secondary, and he didn’t really care.
But they hadn’t found her. There was no trace of her after her anklet was cut. Nobody had seen her; traffic cams had stopped picking her up like she had just… vanished. He hated that she was so good at her job, so good at being a criminal.
Deep down, Rowan knew that wasn’t what bothered him. It never really had. There wasn’t a part of her soul that he had seen and didn’t understand or want to love. Nothing she had ever done had pushed him away in the slightest. Her honesty about her life and the vulnerability she had shown him only made him respect and love her more.
He wasn’t mad that she shot him. Was he annoyed that he couldn’t use his arm? Of course. But he understood. Rowan understood that she felt backed into a corner and betrayed, and she went into fight or flight mode. In this case, it had been fight and flight. He had stepped too close and got shot in return. It was fair. She was used to fighting her way out of situations, so of course, it was the route she’d taken.
He just wanted her to slip up for once so he could just find her and talk to her. Figure out whatever the hell was going on when they’d argued before she shot him, then disappeared in the middle of the day in a bustling city. Rowan wasn’t even mad that she hadn’t been caught. In fact, he was glad they hadn’t caught her.
Rowan didn’t want her to be found. The full force of the FBI would rain down on her like a hurricane and she would be shown no mercy. There wasn’t a single part of him that wanted her suffering in an interrogation room, throwing around the word allegedly like she used to throw daggers. For her to be thrown back in that dismal jail cell awaiting a death sentence that almost assuredly awaited her for what happened at the bureau.
But he was still frustrated as all hell that he couldn’t find her now, no matter how much he didn’t want her rotting in prison on the outskirts of the city.
It was while he stood with his fingers running over the silk of her sheets that he heard the jingling of keys at her front door. It was surprising, considering he’d had to pick several locks to get up here in the first place. Rowan flattened his body against the bedroom wall, listening to the front door open and close.
The footsteps that followed weren’t Aelin’s, though. They were a little louder, carrying a larger and heavier body. Rowan moved to stand in the doorway, startling the man in the center of the room. He dropped the bag he was carrying, swearing loudly as he bent to pick it back up.
“Gods above, Suit,” he murmured, dropping the bag on the kitchen counter. “What are you doing here? Getting something for Celaena?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” Rowan inquired, noting that the bag he carried contained nothing of real importance. If anything, it looked like a combination of garden tools and art supplies.
“I think I stashed something here if we’re being candid and off the record, which I would very much appreciate if we were, by the way. I’ve come to collect.” Haversham -- Rowan still didn’t know the man’s real name -- began digging around Aelin’s bookshelves, looking behind and even inside some of her books that turned out not to be books at all. They looked like books, but when opened in the middle were hidden pockets. Some were empty; some weren’t. Rowan noticed a few that had different bits of identification tucked away. None of that seemed to be what Haversham looked for as he simply closed them and put them back on the shelves.
“Where is she?” Rowan finally asked, a little boldly.
“Can’t you check that fancy anklet you have her wearing and figure it out? I haven’t seen her in a week. She isn’t calling me back, either, so when you do see her, can you tell her that I…” The man trailed off after looking up from his search and seeing Rowan’s face. Rowan’s hard, unyielding face and the concern that was likely etched in his features. The wrinkle between his brow, the stiff way he held his lips. Haversham’s head tilted curiously.
“Holy gods, did she make a run for it?”
“Something happened at the bureau. I can’t find her. Neither can they. But I need to talk to her. I can’t help her otherwise.”
“Do you want to help her?” The sound that came from Rowan was nearly a growl, and Haversham retreated a step with his hands raised defensively. “Look, I’m just saying. She wouldn’t make a run for it unless it was something serious and you’re incapacitated at the moment. Which leads me to believe that she did it; otherwise, you wouldn’t be hurt at all. Celaena wouldn’t let somebody hurt you. So either you really fucked up--”
“I did, but only by not protecting her and defending her when it mattered.”
Haversham twisted his mouth to the side while he gave Rowan a hard once-over. It was like he was assessing everything he knew about his character while deciding if he would help him or not. There was a prolonged silence that made Rowan want to throw something at the man, but he waited it out.
“I’m only going to help you because you make her happy. And I don’t mean superficially. I mean that for the first time in the eight years I’ve known her, she’s been happier and more alive than I’ve ever seen her. I know she trusted you more than she’s ever trusted anyone else. More than me, which doesn’t say much considering I think she trusts me as far as she can throw me. But she trusts you more than Sam even.” Finally, he ripped a page from one of the books and began to scrawl across the page until it was nearly full. When he handed it to Rowan, he realized it was a collection of addresses. Some were in the city; some were in other countries. Some were a handful of hours of a drive into nowhere. One was practically around the corner from where they were now.
“What is this?”
“Safehouses. Those are the ones I know about. Celaena has… a lot of secrets. I don’t know even half of them. I have my suspicions about a lot of shit, but I’m letting her come to me with it when she’s ready. So I don’t know all of her safehouses, but I know those ones. Those are the ones she’s let me use in times of trouble. That’s the only help I can really offer you besides calling if I hear from her.”
“Thank you,” Rowan said softly, and he meant it. It was the biggest and only lead that he had on her whereabouts, and even if she wasn’t crashing on a bed in any of these places, it was a start. It was the only hope he had so far that maybe, just maybe… he might find her.
Rowan had decided to start on the outside and work his way in, and it was wasting a lot of time. Everyone he was friendly with at the bureau was constantly calling and texting to see how he was doing, asking what he was up to. Fenrys told him he’d stopped by his apartment a few times this week, and he hadn’t been home. Rowan replied, saying he was just taking some time to himself, which seemed to satisfy the man, and that had been that.
In reality, Rowan had been in Terrasen trying to find Aelin. She wasn’t in either of the two listed near the border of Adarlan, so now he was slowly working his way back toward Rifthold. It just didn’t seem likely for her to be hiding somewhere in the city, not when she would have to leave for food and other necessities at some point. So he’d gone as far out as he could before making his way back. So far, it had turned up nothing. Both of the cabins he’d visited in the woods had seen better days and likely hadn’t seen Aelin in years.
He was driving toward his fourth destination now, so deep in Oakwald, he wasn’t entirely sure he wasn’t back in Terrasen at this point. The location pinged on the Adarlanian side of the border, but he had little hope of actually finding her. There were only two safehouses left on the list, and both of them were in the city itself. Would he still check them? Of course. But did he think that she was stupid enough to be there? Absolutely not.
The energy of the place was different as soon as he made it up the drive. Halfway up, a gate that covered the driveway, and Rowan had to abandon his car and hop the fence. It was a bit of a feat, as it was taller than him, and he only had one good arm to use, but he managed. Even if it had taken him three times as long as it usually would have. Feet pounding down against the dirt so hard it caused a small cloud, he proceeded up toward the small cottage with a little more confidence than he’d had the rest of the drive.
Smoke was wafting from the chimney, and a dim glow flickered in the window. The window that a lithe body stood in, peering through the curtains and backlit by the fire. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew it was Aelin, knew he’d been spotted, and knew she was watching. How she had known he’d arrived, he wasn’t sure. Being overcautious her entire life likely meant that there were tripwires that alerted her of his presence somewhere on the driveway.
As he got closer, she disappeared, and the curtains slipped back into place. When he got to the door, he reached out but hesitated for a moment. Aelin clearly didn’t want to be found and was clearly mad at him. What if she did worse than she had the last time they’d seen each other? Part of him thought she wouldn’t, but he hadn’t ever thought she would shoot him, either. Rowan wasn’t sure how many times she had told him she hated guns, but desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.
It took more courage than he cared to admit to turn the knob. Much to his surprise, the door opened, and he slipped inside, shutting it behind him quietly. To be frank, Rowan couldn’t believe his luck. He couldn’t believe he’d managed to find her at all, much less on a list of places that Haversham managed to remember.
As his eyes adjusted to the room, he saw Aelin sitting across the room with a bottle of rum in one hand, balanced on her thigh. She was slumped down a bit in the chair; her hair dyed a muddy reddish-brown color. A dagger was in her other hand, being twisted in circles against her bare leg. Rowan wanted to tell her to stop, that she would hurt herself, but faster than he could register, she was moving. He was stunned further into silence by the whistling of the wind and the slight breeze by his ear. A loud thud had him whipping around to the door.
Embedded in the wood, millimeters from where his head had just been, was the dagger she’d been holding, and when he looked back at Aelin, she was smirking.
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AMONG MEMORIES - rowaelin month day two fic
summary: Aelin Ashryver Galathynius knows she's bound for great things, even if she's shy and a bit confused when she first lays eyes on her soulmate, the gorgeous Rowan Whitethorn.
warnings: there is mentions of underage drinking there’s no actual like... scenes of underage drinking. soft/light smut.
paring: rowan x aelin bby <3
❤️🔥on the archive ❤️🔥
Moving into a new dorm on the opposite side of campus was a fucking blessing. She was far away from Lys and Aedion’s fucking and sucking. She didn’t know how they squeezed sex into every available moment of the day on top of everything else. But they did and it infuriated her. Because she’d never been with a man that way, and she longed to. She’d almost gone that far with Chaol, but he’d asked if she was sure, and when she couldn’t give him a straight answer he’d broken things off. It had left her feeling jagged like a wound.
Aelin was a sophomore in the biochemistry program at Harvard. She was talented and brilliant and hoped to go on to work for a pharmaceutical company someday. She hears a low bell ringing and finds a group of people in the dorm’s main common area. She leans into the room, balancing in the door frame, and finds that this is indeed a co-ed dorm and even their RA was a guy.
—A hot guy. Oh, gods above she was in trouble. He had to be six foot five, without shoes. He looked like one of those guys who was very typical of the Harvard elite. She notices he’s wearing a black dress shirt, which is immaculately pressed and his slacks made his ass look fucking glorious. Oh god, oh god she could see the outline of his obviously huge cock in his pants, she feels a rush of warmth between her legs and realizes he’s looking at her.
“Isn’t that right Ace?” He asks her in front of the group.
“I’m sorry—w-what?” Aelin blinks and her cheeks flush. “How did you know my name?”
“I said,” the hot guy repeats, “there had better not be anyone doing any underage drinking this weekend. The campus living and dean’s office will take it very seriously, and if anyone barfs in the hallway clean it up!” Her last RA for freshman year was nothing like this, you might’ve caught Lorcan Salvaterre puking in the hallway for all he cared. He’d certainly never given a shit about her habit of getting a hard cider every Friday night and drinking it in the common room.
Aelin knew college was about pushing limits, and frankly, she’d lived a very sheltered life with Evalin and Rhoe’s nationally best-selling crime novels. Ace had traveled the world, had seen Madrid and Moscow, and London. She was still just a nineteen-year-old girl, who had very little experience with living a life full of everything she needed. Her parents were kind but strict. She’d wanted to do something different than her parents, hadn’t wanted to do writing as a career.
So science it was.
Some of the girls giggle, and Aelin nervously adjusts her hair.
“Seriously, though, have fun, this weekend. There are so many Harvard traditions that don’t revolve around drinking.” Some part of her wonders if this is a speech he’s practiced, and just felt like he had to give out. Rowan grins, and then crooks a finger, at her.
Oh shit—no she couldn’t talk to him in front of all these people, but she tries to look away from him as if she didn’t see his finger crooking. The room is steadily getting more and more empty, and after a moment only two girls she doesn’t know are watching TV on the lounge room television. She approaches him and tries to smile but it comes out a grimace.
“Are you a transfer student?” Rowan asks, not unkindly.
While she didn’t know Rowan personally and had never been close to him, she’d seen him coming and going from Lorcan’s dorm, they were in the Political Science program together.
“No.” She frowns, “But I’ll admit that I’ve never had an RA that gave a damn about underage drinking—my RA last year was Lorcan Salvaterre, he’s on the football team with you right?”
Rowan laughs, and she thinks she’d like to listen to nothing but that for the rest of her life.
“Yeah, yeah,” Rowan sounds amused, “he is and that sounds exactly like Lorcan.” Rowan gives her a smile, “I was going to invite you out with me, and the team tonight.”
Aelin quirks a brow, “I’m—I mean I was just going to study, I didn’t have plans.”
Rowan looks amused, “You arrived here five days before the semester starts, I’m sure you’ve had time to study, and you don’t want to go to an upperclassman party—“
Aelin for all her worth doesn’t understand this guy. He wants her to go to a party with her but doesn’t want underage drinking in the dorm he’s in charge of? Maybe it truly was an act. She wonders how old Rowan is.
“Can we talk somewhere else?” Aelin asks, a flush rising to her cheeks.
“Sure, step right into my office,” Rowan says, grinning at her.
She walks down the hall with him to his room, which turned out to be much nicer than her double dorm with some girl she wanted no part of. Ace takes in the room, it’s very male and sparsely decorated.
Her focus returns to Rowan, and she grins, “You’re uh—hot as fuck.”
Rowan roars with laugher, and winks at her, “You’re not so bad, yourself, fireheart.”
She watches as he laughs at her grin and sees his muscles ripple. He wasn’t like other football players where they had a lot of fat but a lot of muscle too, he was entirely lean and thickly muscled. She didn’t know a thing about football but she’d bet he was wonderful in bed.
Every sane thought flies like airplanes directly out of her stupid head, “So a party?”
“Yeah,” Rowan reclines in his office chair, and something between them connects—like a bridge.
Aelin stumbles backward, almost falling on her ass, and she realizes she’s made a grave error. Rowan is there to catch her, and she suddenly understands he will always be there to catch her.
He’s breathing hard, staring down at her, realizing what she is to him. “Holy shit—“
“Yeah,” Aelin breathes and leans into his big, warm body.
This was not how she’s expected to meet her soulmate. She didn’t want to think about how she’d never thought she’d meet him (or her). Rowan—Rowan was beautiful and tall and muscled and she could feel their bond settling in her heart and her mind.
There’s a knock on the door, and Rowan goes to answer it, the mask of the calm, unaffected RA and football captain back in place. She didn’t like it, she liked it when he was passionate. She didn’t care if she’d just met him.
“I guess that’s why I was so distracted,” Aelin blurts out, “Because when I walked into your little pow-wow I felt something in me—shift.”
Rowan murmurs, “Probably why I wasn’t making sense either. I was—fuck, Aelin, you make me want to break every rule in the fucking book.” Rowan for all the world looks like he’s trying to play it cool, but is quite clearly affected by Aelin.
“It’s ok,” Aelin says quietly, “lock the door, honey.”
He lets breathy noise of relief escape his body. He strips off his black dress shirt, revealing a muscle shirt underneath and physique that was straight out of an anatomy and physiology textbook.
Aelin pops off her shirt and pops the hooks on her bra. “Fuck, I’m so wet.”
She can see how badly he wants her, the bulge in his pants looks… absolutely massive. She feels her brain starting to short circuit.
Rowan kisses her and sparks fly, she has never felt so damn connected.
She wonders if she’ll regret doing this with him, right after meeting him. She didn’t even know him, but it was like she’d known him for eons.
Flashes of memory, that both did and did not belong to her. She was Aelin Whitethorn-Galathynius, the heir of Terrasen, she was the Heir of Ash, Heir of Fire, beloved of Mala Firebringer. She feels the light and fire of her past life with Rowan light up her heart.
“Do you remember me?” Aelin asks, feeling silly, he must think she’s insane.
“Fireheart,” Rowan says, and she feels the hint of some ancient power at her fingertips, the hint, the memory of their former powers, “How could I forget you?”
So they come together like waves crashing over the beach, and she remembers every touch of him. Every memory is there.
When he does finally enter her, after softening her with his mouth and fingers, she doesn’t feel a second of pain, despite Rowan’s size. She’s glad in this life she gets to give him all her firsts.
And though they are merely human in this lifetime, this revolution of their lives, it feels just as it always had, so many years ago.
“F-fuck,” Rowan sighs, and she feels him sink deeper into her, and she cannot think—can not even be without this pleasure.
“Rowan, I need you deeper, I need it harder.”
Rowan groans and he picks up the pace. He’s fucking her so damn good, and when he’s reaching deep and secret inside her, she cries out, and his hand goes between her legs. And she bites down on his powerful shoulder, to keep from screaming the building down with her pleasure.
Ace is reeling from her orgasm, the world goes dim at the edges and she clenches around Rowan, and then she feels the warm wetness of him spilling into her.
He’s begging, pleading to some long-forgotten goddess for this to be real.
They’d been apart for so long.
And now he was here. Real and strong beneath her fingers.
She was Aelin Fireheart, and she would never be without her love again.
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