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#aelin whitethorn
miserablesmusings · 18 hours ago
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transgressions | part ten
(couldn’t make y'all wait - I did post part nine yesterday so if you haven’t read about the stakeout yet, go back to part nine!) 
masterlist ; general tw for this story, mentions of murder, blood, assault, crime.
*
She hated hospitals.
She hated the smell, the white walls, the purposeful steps of the staff, the distant beeps of machines, and the cold plastic of the seats. She could feel that, now. Hyper-focus on it. The press of the plastic against her tailbone as she sat, her spine ramrod straight, her eyes fixed and not blinking. She could shift herself, certainly. Find a more comfortable position. Stand, even.
She couldn’t, though. Not when Rowan was in surgery.
Aedion had stepped outside to make a phone call. He had mentioned who he was calling - Lysandra, maybe - but Aelin had already forgotten. She pulled Lorcan’s jacket tighter around her shoulders, the soft, well-worn fabric a comfort against her bare skin. She was sure that the doctors had disposed of her blood-soaked shirt by now.
Lorcan sat beside her, his chin in his hands, his eyes fixed on the floor. He, too, had barely moved. When they’d arrived at the hospital, Aedion had approached the front desk, as both Aelin and Lorcan were both too numb, too shocked to speak. The nurse at the front had informed them that only Rowan’s emergency contact could get information on his condition. Lorcan had sworn aloud; Rowan’s mother lived more than two hours away, and it was the middle of the night.
Aedion had inquired who the emergency contact was, and Lorcan, who was midway through dialing Rowan’s mother’s number, had nearly dropped his phone in shock when the nurse read off his name.
“I’m his emergency contact?” He’d asked, dazed. The nurse had nodded, asking to see his identification, before showing the trio to a waiting room near the surgical wing. Ten minutes later, a nurse had come out to the waiting room to inform them - Aedion and Aelin included, as Lorcan had approved their presence on his partner’s behalf- that Rowan was undergoing surgery to repair the damage, would need a blood transfusion, but barring anything unexpected, would be completely fine.
When Aedion stepped out to call Lysandra, two hours had passed since they’d last heard anything.
To Aelin, it felt like two days, but she tried to focus on the nurse’s assertion that Rowan would be completely fine. Let that reverberate around her skull. Not the old panic that had seeped into her gut on the way to the hospital, the cold dread that Rowan would die like Sam had, and that she’d been involved, part of it, again, to blame, and -
“Do you want a coffee?” Lorcan asked suddenly, his voice scratchy from disuse. Aelin inclined her head, feeling the sudden onslaught of exhaustion hit her at the mere mention of caffeine. She nodded.
“I’ll come with you.” She said, waving off his argument. “I need to stand, anyway. Let’s just get Aedion back in here in case the nurse comes back.”
Aelin walked toward the door, her legs numb from the hard chair. She knocked lightly on the glass, waving toward Aedion as he looked toward her. He pushed open the door, his eyes wide and expectant.
“Any news?”
“No.” Aelin said shortly. “But we’re going to get some coffee. Can you sit in here?”
“Yes. And get me one, please.”
Aelin nodded in confirmation, stepping back so Aedion could re-enter the waiting room. She joined Lorcan at the far door and followed him into the hall. They were silent for a moment, before Lorcan spoke.
“I’m sure he’d have changed you to be his emergency contact had he had the time.”
Aelin snorted softly, the first time she’d smiled since they’d arrived. “I’m not worried about that. I’m glad it was you.”
“I’m…surprised it was me.”
“Who is your emergency contact?” Aelin asked, and Lorcan looked at her sheepishly.
“Rowan.”
“Well, then, there you go.” Aelin said, bumping his arm with her elbow. He inclined his head, and the pair lapsed into silence once more.
The cafeteria was empty, save the worker at the lone coffee cart. It was four in the morning; breakfast would not be served in the hospital until six. Visiting hours for normal circumstances didn’t start until ten. Aelin hoped that by then, Rowan would be awake.
Lorcan ordered three coffees to go, handing Aelin two filled cups to fix for herself and Aedion. As she stirred them, she glanced back at Lorcan.
“Did you text or call Maeve?”
“I texted her. She didn’t answer yet. I also texted Fen, though I’m sure he heard over the radio.”
“Is he coming?”
“They’re…still in pursuit.”
Aelin’s brow furrowed. “Of the suspect?”
Lorcan nodded, snapping the lid onto his coffee and turning toward the door. He held it open for Aelin, who nodded her thanks, before falling into step beside her. “It would be a win, certainly, if they catch up to him. Rowan wouldn’t mind being shot at all if it meant closing the case.”
Aelin huffed. “I would prefer he hadn’t been shot, period.”
“Me too.”
As they rounded the corner, they came face to face with Aedion, who was striding up the hallway. Aelin felt her stomach drop, the soft smile on her face fade as she regarded him. Panic once again seeped into her gut, but she pushed it down, willing it to subside. To not consume her. Not until she knew what he was about to say, anyway. She swallowed, opening her mouth to ask what he’d heard, but Lorcan beat her to it.
“What is it?”
“He’s out of surgery. In the recovery room. They need two hours for him to wake up and then they’ll move him to his own room and we can go up.”
Relief flooded Aelin’s body, her knees nearly giving out as Aedion’s words washed over her. She looked at Lorcan, who had slumped in relief, his entire body relaxed for the first time that night. Aelin handed Aedion his coffee, her steps lighter as she followed him back to the waiting room.
She felt guilty that Rowan had been hurt. Had she considered this possibility weeks earlier, though, her response to the situation would have been completely different.
Weeks ago, after ensuring he’d survive, she would have broken things off with him immediately. Taken the situation as proof that she was better off alone, that people around her would just get hurt. Get killed. Because of her. Because they were close to her.
Now, though…Rowan’s words, spoken only days before - though it felt like years - had breathed new life into her. Opened her eyes to how foolish she’d been before. How keeping people at an arm’s length didn’t keep them safe. Even if Aelin hadn’t been there with Rowan, even if she wasn’t his girlfriend and was just another member of law enforcement…nothing would have stopped him from running after that suspect. And his relationship with Aelin didn’t make the man pull the trigger.
These were all events out of Aelin’s control, and though she was still panicked, the remnants of hysteria still sitting in her stomach like lead, she could see it now. Understand how Sam’s death, years ago, wasn’t directly her fault. He was targeted because of her relationship to him, certainly, but the blame for his death lay squarely with Arobynn Hamel, who now rotted in prison.
Being friends with Rowan had made her see that. The relationship with him - new that it was - had cemented it.
*
Ninety minutes later, the door creaked open, and Aelin, Lorcan, and Aedion all snapped to attention. The nurse smiled widely at them, her eyes kind.
“He is awake and responsive. One of you may go up at a time.”
“You go.” Lorcan said immediately to Aelin, who shook her head vigorously.
“No, you go.”
“He wants to see you more than he wants to see me.” Lorcan countered. Aedion smirked as they argued back and forth, their words clearly tinged with relief that Rowan was awake.
“But I might want to see him for longer. You want to make sure he’s in one piece and do your bro thing, or whatever. So you should go.”
“Bro thing?”
“You know,” Aelin said impatiently, her hands gesticulating wildly. “That thing guys do where you’re going to be all ‘hey man, so glad you’re alright, thanks bro’ blah blah.”
“If you guys don’t decide soon, I am going to go.” Aedion remarked. Aelin glanced at him, before turning to glare at Lorcan.
“Go, Salvaterre.”
He huffed but obliged her, standing on numb legs and walking toward the nurse. The pair disappeared, the door closing quietly behind them. Aelin let out a whoosh of air, collapsing back into her seat.
“You okay?” Aedion asked. She looked at him, lip wobbling.
“I will be.”
“He’s okay.”
“He almost wasn’t.”
“But he is, and that’s what matters.”
“I know, Aedion. I’m not going to…regress.” Aelin said impatiently. At Aedion’s raised brow, she continued. “You’re thinking I’m going to take this as some sign that I should be alone. I’m not.”
“Truly?”
“Yes.”
“What changed?”
“Staying alone wasn’t sustainable. Rowan made me see that.” Aelin admitted, her eyes fixed on her lap.
“And you like him.” Aedion pointed out, a crooked smile on his lips. Aelin let out a breathy laugh, the tears still fresh in her eyes.
“That too.”
*
Thirty minutes later, Lorcan reappeared in the doorway. Aelin sat up, her eyes expectant.
“How was he?”
“Pasty.” Lorcan said shortly, to which Aedion laughed aloud. “But in good spirits. I told him you’re on your way up, so he’s primping.”
Aelin stood, walking hastily toward the door. The nurse was in the hallway, waiting to bring her up to the room. She followed her down the hall and into the elevator. They went up several floors, Aelin’s heart pounding in anticipation the entire time. She didn’t know why, but she suddenly felt nervous. What if Rowan blamed her for what had happened?
She didn’t have long to consider the possibility. Rowan’s room was near the elevator, and the nurse only knocked once before opening the door. Aelin followed her tentatively, her eyes searching the large room, before landing on Rowan.
She wouldn’t have thought it possible, but he looked awful.
Pasty was the right way to put it; his face was devoid of color, the tattoo snaking on his neck standing out starkly against his skin. He was hooked up to a monitor and two IV bags, a tube of oxygen under his nose.
Aelin’s lip wobbled as she beheld him, the blame seeping into her gut like cancer. All earlier thoughts of moving forward with him, of not blaming herself, of not running evaporated. How could he look so small in the hospital bed? So vulnerable? How had she let this happen?
Rowan’s head turned lazily toward her, his eyes half-closed. They widened slightly, and he started to push himself up with his arm.
“Mister Whitethorn, don’t you even think about it.” The nurse chastised, hurrying past Aelin to stop Rowan from moving any further. “She can come to you.”
As if commanded, Aelin’s feet shuffled toward his bed, her eyes trained on his. Rowan cleared his throat, allowing the nurse to push him back toward the mattress. He looked at her, whispering loudly. Conspiratorially.
“Brenda. She’s going to try to break up with me, watch this.”
Aelin snorted in surprise. The nurse - Brenda, it seemed - looked toward Aelin in a long-suffering kind of way. “He’s high as a kite.” She said. Rowan looked at her, scandalized.
“Brenda! No, I am not.”
Aelin bit her lip to stop her smile, his voice bringing life back to him, making her see less machines, less suffering, and more Rowan. The fear, the guilt in her gut receded a bit.
“I’m not going to break up with you.” Aelin whispered, and Rowan’s lips split into a smile.
“She has a hero complex. It took a lot of moves, Brenda, I’m telling you.”
Aelin continued to stifle her laughter, finally reaching the bed and perching herself carefully at Rowan’s side.
“Well, Mister Whitethorn, you have wonderful friends, I’ll tell you that.” Brenda said, smiling to herself as she checked his IV. Rowan again looked at her in mock indignation.
“Aelin is my girlfriend.”
“You have a wonderful girlfriend as well, Mister Whitethorn.”
Aelin’s stomach was beginning to hurt from holding in her laughter. Brenda smirked, glancing once toward Aelin.
“If you need anything, I’ll be right outside.”
Aelin nodded, watching her go, before finally turning to look fully at Rowan. His eyes were still half-closed, a lazy smile on his lips.
“You’re not going to try to break up with me, then?”
Aelin hesitated. “No.” She conceded, and Rowan grinned, puckering his lips toward her. She laughed, leaning down to peck them once, before sitting up again. “But I don’t like this for you. I don’t like you being hurt.”
“I am, honestly, having a great time.”
“You are on pain medicine, Rowan, you weren’t having a good time a few hours ago.”
“You said you’d be my girlfriend, and there are no take backs.” Rowan said stubbornly, his hand shooting out to grip hers. “They said two weeks recovery, no big deal, then I can go back to light work. Paperwork.” He frowned slightly, before plowing on. “And I would have run after that guy no matter if you were there or on the moon, so no take backs.”
“Deal.” Aelin said, squeezing his hand once. “No take backs.”
Rowan’s face split into a grin, and Aelin leaned down again to kiss him softly. “Good.” He said, resting his head back on the pillow. “That’s good. Because I’m pretty confident I love you already.”
Aelin’s eyebrows shot up as Rowan’s eyes widened suddenly, his mouth dropping open. “Oh shit, I didn’t mean to say that outside my head.”
Aelin fought the blush on her cheeks, the butterflies in her stomach as she winked at him. “It’ll be our secret, okay?” She could certainly stew on that later.
Rowan, in his medicated state, nodded happily. He put his head back down, his eyes closing, before popping open again, this time in panic. “Bucket.” He said loudly, and Aelin barely had time to grab the small bowl from the side of the table before he vomited. Thankfully, most of it made it into the bowl, and the bit that didn’t was nowhere near Lorcan’s jacket.
Aelin reached over for tissue, wiping the sides of Rowan’s lips gently. His eyes locked on her face, his lips parted. “Sorry.” He whispered. She waved him off.
“Don’t apologize. Why don’t you try to sleep some?”
Rowan nodded, closing his eyes again. Aelin hesitated, waiting for the nausea to hit him again, but a moment later, a soft snore escaped his lips. She stood, dumping the bowl in the sink. As she washed her hands, the door creaked open, and Brenda poked her head in.
“Is he sleeping?”
Aelin nodded, inclining her head toward the sink. “He was sick.”
“Probably the pain medicine. I can take you back down to the waiting room, if you want.”
Aelin hesitated, her eyes falling on the chair next to Rowan’s bed. “Can I…” she trailed off, and Brenda nodded once.
“You may.” She clicked off the light, pulling the door half-closed. Aelin walked back to the chair, situating herself in it sideways, her elbow cradling her head, her eyes trained on Rowan. She reached over for his hand, placing it in her lap, her fingers laced between his.
Had anyone else - medically induced or not - told her they might love her after only dating a couple days, Aelin would have laughed aloud. Deemed them insane. Run away, immediately.
As her eyes closed, though, she realized she might have been steadily falling in love with Rowan over the past several months in Doranelle. With his hand clutched in her own, she drifted off to sleep.
*
A little shorter than I anticipated, but a good spot to break before diving back into the murder investigation/a few day’s time jump. we’re getting closer and closer to the reveal of the murderer - leave me your guesses :D 
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fairyqueensworld · a day ago
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This just breaks my heart.. And I'm not even on this book yet... The net is bad for me haha I am spoiling myself here.
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justreadertings · a day ago
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Queen of Shadows page 536
Thinking about: Chaol and Aelin entering the glass castle for the last time with her escorting him by manacles and chains and how theyve come such a far way from the loyal Captain of the Guard and the Assassian with no loyalty in a lightless prison
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gobbledy-gluk-gluk · a day ago
Conversation
Dialogue Directly From Ch 45 of Heir of Fire
Aelin: Yeah, you're my centuries-old fae mentor and I'm getting over a breakup, but I'd fuck you if you asked
Rowan: What?
Aelin: What?
Valg Prince Hiding Behind Tree: She said she'd fuck you if you asked
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tomtenadia · a day ago
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A Little Braver - ch. 5
So, here is ch. 5 for you all.
We finally get to meet the mysterious man that Aelin was kissing.
Also, the firehouse gets a great news
Enjoy it!
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Ten days had passed. Aelin had been discharged from the hospital and allowed to move around in crutches providing she took it easy, a concept totally alien to her. She had gone back to the station as soon as she could do it.
The deadline for the performance review was fast approaching and she had spent the last few days at the station. They only got a week extension so she had offered to help but all she could do was sit and direct the show. Also, working kept her mind off… things… and as in things she meant a certain arsehole who had gone completely awol. She had texted him and never got a reply. Lately every time she tried to phone him she was told that the phone was not available. So she had stopped. He clearly was offended by what she had said. She just wished he had spoken to her, explained why her confession had terrified him so much. Just as she had finally found the resolve to try again after losing Sam, he had gone and ruined everything.
A glove hit her face “planet Earth calls Aelin.”
She refocused for a second and noticed Ansel’s red mane of hair in front of her.
“Dorian is looking for you. He is in your office and Aedion is there already.”
Aelin groaned “can they come to the couch? I am so comfy here.”
“Apparently not.”
“Fine.” She dropped the documents she was revising and grabbed her crutches and pulled herself up.
At snail pace she made her way to her office and once she got there she saw Aedion standing in front of her desk while Dorian had his feet up on it and was sitting relaxed on her comfortable chair.
“I don’t care if you are the chief. First, feet off my desk, second, arse off my chair.”
Dorian moved away and let her sit down and grabbed her crutches.
“So, what is so important that I had to leave my spot on the couch?”
Dorian passed her the documents he was holding, with a grin. He was positive this was going to cheer her up.
“No fucking way. You did it.”
He smiled at her smugly “Not entirely my merit.” He confessed “As you remember, the community protested in front of the government in the aftermath of the embankment accident. They did it just before the budget review was due. The government could not ignore them and what you all did that night. And I guess that the statement from your cheerleader had helped a lot as well.”
“Who?”
“Someone I am not allowed to mention in your presence.”
Aelin stare darkened all of a sudden.
“We are getting a second engine, but that engine needs staff.” She pointed out, her excitement taking a hit “I was just getting to that” added Dorian quite quickly, “Thomas has offered to give you a few men to help staff the second engine. It will have a mixed crew of newbies and experienced staff for a while. Aedion and I thought it was the best way to go.”
Aelin nodded “I want to help interview the candidates. Aedion is busy with drills. I, on the other hand, I have plenty of time.”
“As if I can sideline you. You are the captain after all.” Added Dorian knowing full well that if Aelin had her mind set on a task it was almost impossible to dissuade her.
“I want a bigger female presence. I can’t believe that from all the candidates that graduate from the academy there are no good female firefighters.”
“I can spread the news at the academy and see who applies and go from there.”
“Good.” Aelin relaxed on the chair.
“We have also have been invited to a party thrown by the mayor.”
“You are joking.” Aelin hated that kind of party. She had been to a few and it had been a nightmare.
“There is no escaping it. We have all the be present and dress mess is required.”
“My leg is in a protective support, if I wear dress mess I need to wear the skirt which means heels and can you see where I am going with this?” Aelin protested.
“I guess we can do an exception for you. Wear your regular blue trousers, make sure your boots are shining and wear your uniform shirt with the tie, not the t-shirt. And don’t forget the hat.”
“I can live with that.”
“When is the dreadful event?” Asked Aedion who hated those ceremonies just as much as Aelin.
“This Saturday.”
“We are on night shift, you genius.”
Dorian smiled dangerously “Not anymore. Second team is taking the night shift. Let me remind you that attendance is compulsory and pass the info to the team.”
“Yes, Chief.” And Aelin was very tempted to flip him off, but he was still her boss.
“Lys and Elide are to come as well. They are part of the team.”
“Oh so, no one is immune to this horrible shenanigans. Lovely.” Aelin sat back, still annoyed at the invitation.
“No darling, if I have to suffer, you will all go down with me.” And with that Dorian disappeared behind the door.
“Come on Aedion, let’s go and ruin the team’s day.”
Slowly the two made their way back in the common area where the squad was relaxing. Aedion had put them through a gruelling session of drills in the morning and now they needed time to unwind. No one had taken nicely the fact that the review has been postponed only by a week, but at least they hadn’t asked Aelin to attend as well with a destroyed knee. She would be there of course but on the sidelines.
“Ok, people,” Aelin shouted as she slowly made her way to her team “Brullo, switch off the tv for a minute.”
“That doesn’t sound promising,” complained Ren.
“Where are Lys and Elide?”
“In the ambulance doing inventory.” Replied Nox.
“Ok, can you please go and get them?” She asked him.
He nodded and ran away and got back a few moments later with the two ladies in tow.
“Ladies, sit.”
“Uh oh.” Said Lysandra, sitting on Aedion’s lap.
“Now that everyone is here, I have an announcement.” She smiled wickedly and the team shivered. That was her scary smile “Our esteemed mayor has decided to throw a party this Saturday. Bad news is… we are all invited so that he can show us how he appreciates what we do for the community.”
“Fuck no,” shouted Ansel, while finishing the bowl of cereals she was eating.
“We are on night shift.” Added Brullo.
“No we are not. Dorian gave the shift to second team. We are all free.”
A chorus of very rude words erupted from the team. Yeah, everyone hated those parties.
“Oh and by the way… it has to be dress mess.”
The protests grew louder. Aelin let them vent for a moment before putting an end to it.
“Guys!” She shouted, and the room went quiet “I know none of us like those parties, but my hands are tied. Dorian made it pretty clear that this is mandatory. So, protest how you want but there is no getting out of it.”
The team went back to their protest when Aelin raised her voice again “Did I say I was done?”
The group went silent again.
“The second piece of information is hopefully a bit more welcome.” And she really hoped so “we are getting our second engine.”
The cheers that erupted from the team were of pure joy.
“How did you do it?”
“You have to thank Dorian. He is the one who pulled the trick.” And Rowan apparently. No, she was not going there.
“He really is better than his old man. We have been pleading the old bastard for ages and nothing. A few months in charge and Dorian gives us the second engine. If it wasn’t that I am I straight I’d kiss the guy.” Said Ren happily and everyone laughed. 
Good, Aelin thought, they needed the good spirits.
“How will we do for crew?” Asked Ansel.
“Thomas is willing to give us some of his experienced men from one of his engines and take a few newbies. We’ll man the engine with a hybrid crew. Half experienced and half newbies. I need everyone to help with training. Aedion and I will do the main stuff but you guys are involved in this as well. I am out of commission for a while so I can only do classroom training.”
“We’ll help you, cap.” Chimed Nox happily.
Aelin turned to Ansel “I have asked to have a few more ladies in the team.”
“Thanks for that. Far too much testosterone in here.”
Aelin sat back down on the sofa, her knee started to get sore again “We are going to have other women hopefully, just don’t break their hearts.” She told Ansel.
Two of the guys sprayed what they were drinking, Aelin laughed “Oh come on, don’t tell me you had no idea Ansel was swinging on both sides.” Joked Aelin smiling at the woman.
“Both…” asked Brullo still quite shocked.
Ansel drank her coffee very calmly “Men, women, on a few occasion both at the same time.”
Aelin laughed at the expression of the guys.
“Ansel, I think you broke our boys.”
Aelin mobile went off and for a moment she hoped. But that hope had been short lived.
“Give me two minutes,” she said at the person at the phone. She stood and very slowly she made her way back to her office.
Once she got off the phone she stayed in her office to work. Then the dispatch siren went off and she heard the team depart and staying behind broke her heart.
She worked a bit longer but her mind could never fully concentrate. So she decided to do something stupid while the team was out on a call. She booked a taxi and not long after she was in front of the station waiting for her ride.
The driver got her at the airbase pretty quickly. She took out her pass and she hoped it worked even without him about. The man at the main gate let her through after checking her badge. So apparently he had told people she was allowed on the premises. That was a start. Painfully she reached the second check point and a guard approached her. Ok, her luck had already ran out.
“Can I help you, miss?”
“Yes, I am here to see captain Whitethorn.”
The man looked at her with curiosity for a second.
Did she got to the right airbase? As far as she knew there was only one and the first guy let her in.
“I am sorry miss but the captain and his team left a week ago.”
“Left?” Her voice trembled.
“Yes ma’am. They have been recalled and deployed a week ago.”
“Oh.” Was all Aelin managed “Th— thank you.” She turned and made her way back to the exit. Her heart slowly breaking. She sat down on a cement wall and let the sobs come. She took the phone and dialled his number and it went to voicemail “You could have told me. Instead you left. You just left me. Do you really hate me that much?” She sobbed and brushed her hand against her eyes “I hate you and I wish I never met you. Don’t ever bother look for me when you come back… I don’t want to see your face anywhere near my station. I am done with you, captain.” She hung up the phone and lowered her head and kept crying. She was done with men. She was done with pain and a broken heart. It was not worth it.
Eventually she pulled herself upright again and started walking. She had no idea to where, which she then realised that with crutches was a really bad idea. She had to stop a few times, exhaustion taking root. But the pain in her leg was keeping away the pain in her soul. It was much later when she realised she ended up in the west of Orynth and decided to go to west station, perhaps she could bribe the guys to give her a lift back to her firehouse.
Once outside the station, Thomas was the first one who noticed her. He ran to her and Aelin collapsed in his arm.
“Aelin, what are you doing here?’
“I need to sit” was all she managed. He lifted her in his arms and carried her to the section with all the bunk beds. He placed the crutches on the floor and sat on the bed at her side.
“What happened?” He asked when he noticed her puffy eyes “Why are you over here? On your own?”
“I was at the airbase.”
Thomas looked at her in shock “are you telling me that you walked in your condition from the airbase to here?”
Aelin nodded. “Can you give me a lift back?”
“Of course,” he patted her leg “let me go and tell the guys.”
He came back not long after, and lifted her in his arms “Let’s go.”
Once in the car Aelin relaxed and leaned her head against the window.
“Excited about the big night with the Mayor?”
Aelin groaned and Thomas laughed.
“Exactly the reaction my whole team had as well.”
She sighed “Dorian said it’s mandatory and I think for the very first time I have been this close to hit him. But he still is my superior.”
Thomas chuckled “If there is someone who can hit the chief without repercussions is you.”
Aelin turned and looked at him with a questioning stare.
“I mean because you are close. It’s not news that the man is madly in love with you. He might let you off if you beat him. Actually he might even like it.”
This time it was Aelin’s turn to laugh “Dorian and I… nothing ever happened. We are just really good friends. Not even a kiss.”
“So now the news is that you have your eyes set on a certain airforce captain.”
Aelin tensed at those words “You all are a bunch of crazy gossiper, you know that?”
Thomas shrugged “What did he do?”
“I don’t want to talk about him.” Her tone hard and the man at her side realised it was time to shut up. They were at her station anyway.
Aelin noticed the engine was back and she knew she was in trouble. They clearly had noticed her absence. When she decided to look at her phone again she saw a lot of message and missed phone calls from Aedion. Damn, she was screwed.
“Here you are, my lady.”
Aelin leaned over and kissed him on the cheek “thank you so much for the ride.”
“Anytime.” He opened his mouth as if to speak, then stopped and tried again “if you need to talk, I am here. I know you have your friends, but if you prefer to talk with someone who is not around you all day, I am here.”
“You are wonderful.”
He helped her get out of the car, they said goodbye and he drove away again.
Aedion came marching on as soon as he noticed she was back “where the hell have you been? Why don’t you answer your bloody phone? We came back and you were not here, where you were supposed to be.” She felt bad for making them all worry but she did not feel like explaining herself so she just moved past him and in silence she dragged herself to her office and slammed the door shut.
She sat down at her desk and plopped her leg on the spare chair the guys had placed at her side so she could stretch her injured leg, hoping for the pain to subside. She took a few minutes for herself, then texted Lysandra telling her she needed her and Elide.
The two women arrived a few minutes later. They sat on the chair in front of her desk and Aelin knew that Lys was just as mad as Aedion had been.
“Where were you? We came back and you were gone.”
“I went to the airbase.” She confessed, looking outside the window, the sky looked heavy grey and she was positive snow was coming.
“As in the airbase. His airbase.”
Aelin nodded “I needed answers. I needed to know why he left that way. I had to ask him why all this hate.”
“And?”
Aelin felt tears sting her eyes again “he was gone.” She paused “the whole team has been recalled and left for a mission a week ago. No goodbyes. Nothing. He just took off.”
Lysandra stood and ran to hug her friend “what an arsehole.”
Aelin started sobbing again “all I could do was leave him an angry voicemail telling to get away from me forever.”
“I am seriously going to kick his arse.”
Aelin pulled back from the hug “Not worth it remember?”
“We all go to that stupid party and we’ll find you a man there. Perhaps a hot wealthy man.”
Aelin chuckled “You know what, screw it. I’ll remain single all my life and if I want a good time I might ask Ansel.”
The two women laughed “she might take you up on that, you know, right?” Added Lysandra.
“Can we just stop talking about it? Fine he is hot but is he not a nice man. I want to forget that I even contemplated the fact that I had feelings for the bastard.”
“Copy that. I will pass the message along.”
“Have you considered that he might not be able to reply to you because of where he is? Perhaps he is on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the sea.”
Lysandra and Aelin stared at Elide.
“What?” She said shrugging “Lorcan gave me his number, he told me to text him. But he added as well that in the case he was going to leave for a mission not to worry if he did not reply because sometimes their phones don’t work.”
“So you knew they were away?”
“No,” replied the woman lifting her hands “I haven’t heard from him in a while. He is not the greatest of texter and I haven’t spoken to him in a while. I had no idea he was away until now when you told us.”
“Basically airforce boys do not know how to communicate. Got it.” Sarcasm dripping from Aelin’s voice.
Aelin shifted uncomfortably in her chair and Lysandra noticed that.
“Are you okay.”
“Just my leg, bothering me like hell today.”
“Sure, if you only just didn’t walk from the airbase to west station…”
Dispatch alarm went off and the two ladies ran out as the ambulance was needed.
Aelin tried going back to work but her brain was not there.
Out of boredom and curiosity and probably a deep desire for punishment she looked up the captain online. The search engine brought up a page about him. He was only two years older than her. Native of Wendlyn but moved to Terrasen when he was quite young for his father’s job. According to the article he climbed the ranks quite quickly and was thought to be one of the most promising captain in the TAF in a very long time.
“Nerd.” She joked.
Then she scrolled down to personal life and she got even more curious but froze when she read the paragraph.
Fuck.
The man had been married. His pregnant wife had died in a car accident over a year and a half before. She opened the link to the newspaper article about the accident and noticed the picture of the accident site. Her eyes fell on one detail of the image and swore.
She stood and wobbling she went to the file cabinet where she kept the reports for the old cases. She found the one she needed and sat back down. Lyria Whitethorn, that was the name of the woman. She had a look through the case file. She did remember it. It had snowed heavily and the road and had been icy and pretty bad in some areas of town. That accident had been horrendous and it had involved quite a few cars. Lyria’s car had been stuck under a lorry. According to the police it seemed like it had lost control and smashed under the lorry that had crashed against the barriers at the side of the road. She died on impact. It had been an horrendous night. They spent hours working under the snow and only one person had come out alive from that disaster.
She leaned back and felt tears running down her face. They had one big thing in common. They both had lost someone they loved. And all of a sudden it hit her. His reaction. His fear. And for a moment contemplated that he was just as scared as her to get involved again. She closed the file and  grabbed her head in her hands. How badly had she fucked up? 
She took her phone and dialled his number. The number was not available and she left him a voicemail message again “Hey it’s me again. I know you are away and probably can’t get this message. If you listen to the old one as well, just ignore it. I was mad. I did not mean it. I… just… let’s just talk when you get back. Please. Be safe, okay?”
She leaned back in her chair, closed her eyes and cried for both of them, for what they had lost and for the fear of committing again. 
Saturday eventually arrived and Aelin was at home getting ready for the party. Lysandra and Elide had joined her since Lys was going to drive them all.
Aelin had been in a bad mood since her discovery about Rowan but had not told anyone about it. To do so would mean reveal his secret and she could not to do that. It was far too personal.
“You’d think that being barely able to walk would excuse me from such horrible events.” She growled while tying her tie.
“You have been in a funk for a few days. Are you okay?” Lysandra had noticed her bad mood.
“Fine.” She snapped. “I am sorry…”
“Just don’t piss off any politicians, okay? We need them.”
Aelin sighed “I will behave.”
They arrived at the venue not long after and they noticed the already high number of cars present.
“Are we too late to bail?” Asked Elide who had been uncomfortable as well at the idea.
“Unless you want Dorian to rip you a new one, I would leave aside that plan for now.”
The three women made their way to the main entrance where someone checked their names against a list. Aelin for a moment hoped that someone had messed up and forgot to add them.
But that hope died quickly when the man greeted them a bit too happily.
“Ok, are we ready?” Said Aelin gathering the courage she needed to face such a horrible night.
They entered the venue and the notes of classical music hit them.
“At least they have great taste in music.” Commented Aelin staring at the great hall.
Dorian spotted them from the distance and walked to them with a brisk pace “Ladies, you made it. wonderful. Go, mingle, have fun. There’s plenty of food.” He grabbed Aelin’s hand “You come with me. The mayor wants to meet you.”
“What?” Blurted Aelin, sweating cold all of a sudden.
“The mayor would like to speak with you. He met Thomas already. Now it’s your turn.”
“I am not speaking to the mayor.”
“Aelin… this is an order from your superior.”
The woman growled back “Oh, so pulling rank, now?”
“Come,” he repeated.
Aelin turned to Lysandra and Elide “if I don’t come back soon, please come and get me. I love you both.”
Dorian rolled his eyes and he started walking and Aelin followed behind.
Eventually they arrived where the mayor was entertaining some guest and Aelin wanted to turn away, but Dorian sensed her intentions and placed a hand on her lower back in warning.
“Ah, Dorian, I see you have captain Galathynius with you. Wonderful.”
Aelin leaned on one crutch and extended her hand to the man “please to meet you sir.”
“The honour is mine captain. And thank you for coming even in your conditions.”
As if I had a choice and she looked at Dorian glaring at him.
“I just wanted to offer my thank you in person for what you do in the community and what you did the night of the embankment accident.”
“The community comes first.” She commented and Dorian gently nudged her sides at her comment.
“You are absolutely correct, captain. I am aware that you will be getting a second engine at east station, I hope this is a welcomed news.”
Aelin smiled “Very much sir. It has been a long time coming and we are very excited.”
“This is my email,” he gave her a business card “email me. Any idea, concerns or anything else related to your job. I will do my best to make it happen.”
Aelin took the card and was speechless. 
“Now unfortunately being the host forces me to go around and be pleasant with all these strangers. I don’t think there is alcohol enough to survive such an evening.”
He gave her a huge grin, waved at Dorian and walked away.
“Are we sure that was the mayor?”
Dorian nodded dumbfounded.
“Do you think he was drunk?”
Dorian shrugged, just as confused as her “Just don’t loose that card.” The man then left her and she had a moment alone to look around and enjoy the music. She hadn’t been at a classical concert in a lifetime and missed it. Or at the opera. She wanted to go to the opera again.
She had her eyes closed when she perceived a figure at her side. She opened her eyes again and noticed it was Thomas, looking at her in a curious way “Hey you.”
She looked at him and froze. The man in front of her was gorgeous. She was used to see him in his everyday uniform or the fire gear, and his hair tied and under an helmet. She almost did not recognise him. He had his dress mess uniform on, and his hair was free and she discovered it reached his shoulders. 
“I almost did not recognise you there.”
He grinned “I know, without soot and dirt on me it must be a challenge.”
She smiled back at him.
“How is your night going?” He asked, moving closer to her.
“Counting the minutes until Dorian tells me it’s okay to go home.”
She shuffled in her position and he placed a hand on her back “you should sit down.”
“Does this place have a balcony?”
Thomas grinned “Follow me, m’lady.”
“Did you meet the mayor?” She asked as they started walking.
“I did.”
“And?”
“He gave me his business card and told me to tell me if there was anything we needed.” He made his way through the crowd.
“Me too. I am going to email him and ask a bucket load of expensive equipment.”
“I have my wish-list ready.” Thomas commented smiling wickedly.
They arrived at the balcony and once there Aelin leaned heavily against the wall.
“Are you okay?” Suddenly Aelin noticed their proximity. Thomas was right in front of her.
“I am fine.”
“Want something to drink?”
“Please. Wine if they have it.”
He smiled and she noticed his dimples appear “I’ll be right back.” And she felt her face flush hot.
What was happening to her? Why all of a sudden she was attracted to him?
She saw Lys walking by and waved at her.
“What are doing here?”
“Hiding.” She said hurriedly “I have a problem.”
“What did you do?”
“I want to do something stupid.”
“As in?”
“Thomas.” She explained.
Lysandra looked at her friend with a puzzled face.
“As in he is the one one I want to … do”
“Holy fuck,” she exclaimed almost spilling all her wine on her uniform.
“How?”
Aelin looked up “I don’t know. He was here, he was nice, he smiled and I just… have you seen him tonight?”
“No I was with Aedion and the guys.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Don’t do… anything.” Then she moved away “he is coming back.”
Thomas came back with the drinks and placed them on the ledge beside them.
She had known and worked with the other captain for a very long time. They had gone through the academy together. And never, not once she had ever felt a smidge of attraction for him.
He leaned against the wall just beside her, shoulders brushing gently “is your team ready for the performance review?”
Aelin nodded “Yes, Aedion and I are going through as many different scenarios as possible. They are ready. But I hate that I will have to stare from the sidelines.” She told him “How did yours go?”
Thomas drank some wine “We had a few bad moments. My newbie fucked up a couple of things and threw the whole team off track for a moment but they did recover splendidly. Manon was the best in our individual challenge.”
“Ohh I like her. Can I please get her and Asterin for my new engine?”
“We’ll see.” The man gave her a wide smile that made his dimples come back.
She pinched his side and he grabbed her hands to block her. She stopped and stared at him for a moment and then they both moved at the same time. Their lips met and he pushed her against the wall and she left her crutches fall on the ground. His hand behind her back to hold her up. The kiss deepened and Aelin opened for him and a small moan escaped her.
“Oh shit.” Said a voice at her side and Aelin recognised Lysandra and Aedion at her side.
She and Thomas broke apart quickly. Thomas coughed embarrassed, looked at Aelin and excused himself.
“What the fuck was that?”
Aelin’s hand went to her mouth, her lips still swollen by the kiss.
Aedion kneeled to pick up her crutches and passed them to her.
In that instant the rest of the team arrived.
“Why is everyone out here? It’s cold.”
“Aedion and I just discovered Aelin making out with Thomas.”
“Do you mean captain Hamilton?” Asked Brullo.
“I thought you liked the silver haired fox.” Added Ansel.
“Are you and Thomas a thing now?” This time it was Ren.
“I don’t know okay?” Aelin shouted, frustration rising “It happened.”
“You… happened to trip on his lips?” Nox gave her a smug smile and Aelin would have stormed out if she hadn’t been on crutches.
Aelin placed the glass back on the ledge and started to walk away. Lysandra caught up with her “I am sorry. It just came out.”
“Lys, I don’t care.”
The woman grabbed her arm “Aelin, please…”
“What? I don’t know what I was doing okay? We kissed. And I don’t understand my feelings anymore.” She leaned against the wall, her knee throbbing with pain “I haven’t known my feelings since Sam died.” She sniffled “I work. I throw myself into work because that it’s when I do not think that he is gone from my life.” She closed her eyes and tried to put all her pain back “it just felt nice for a moment to have that again. And I know I am sounding like a pathetic mess… I don’t know why I did it.” Aelin sobbed “I am so tired of hurting.” A tear appeared at the corner of her eyes “you have Aedion. I don’t have anyone.”
Lysandra hugged her friend “I am so sorry.”
Aelin leaned into her friend “we are fine.” She pulled back “but I am going home. I am in a ton of pain and I really want to lie down.”
“I’ll tell Dorian if he starts looking for you.”
“We are off tomorrow. Fancy a girls day? We can invite Elide and Ansel.”
“Yeah. Yeah, please.”
“Good,” Lys patted her shoulder “now go home and relax.”
She was outside ready to call a taxi when she heard a voice calling her. She turned and saw Thomas running to her.
“Aelin,” he stopped in front of her “I am sorry. I have no idea what got into me. I was there and all of a sudden I wanted to kiss you.”
She turned to him and moved closer enough to kiss him. His hand slipped to her waist and pulled her closer. She melted in his arms and felt his hand caressing her back.
“I was going home.” She said against his lips.
“I can’t let you piss off Havilliard on your own.”
She kissed him again and then detached so he could call a taxi.
Their ride home arrived not long after and the journey to Aelin’s flat was not too long. 
They made it to her flat and he lifted her in his arms and walked to the bedroom. He dropped her on the bed and leaned on top of her and kissed her deeply, his hands trailing on the sides of her body and Aelin leaned into the touch. Her hand trailed up to his face and then fisted into his golden hair and pulled him down for another kiss. Maybe it was a mistake but she could not care.
Slowly he started to unbutton her shirt and Aelin did the same for him and not long after they were both naked and Aelin stared at his body and realised the man was so incredibly well built. 
“You will have to lead the dances, captain.” He lowered himself again over her and kissed her in a way that made her forget all the pain and hurt.
It was later, after their adventure in bed. 
Aelin smiled at him satisfied. The man had skills and for a while he made her forget the real reason why that night she had searched for comfort in him.
They were now sitting in bed, their back against the headboard and the blanket covering them up.
“Did we just mess up our friendship?” He asked turning to her “I am not complaining I just…”
She sighed at his side “I think we did it for the wrong reasons.”
He agreed “Epically awesome rebound sex?”
Aelin nodded and Thomas turned to her “you are stunning though, and if the captain can’t see it, well, it’s his loss.”
“You are a sweet man” and she caressed his face “and your ex is a bitch.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him down, “fancy watching stupid movies? We can also order in. There’s a place round the corner that stays open till late. I had no food at that stupid party.”
“I’ll get the beers.” He said getting off the bed and putting his briefs back on. 
Aelin grabbed a discarded t-shirt “I’ll order the food.”
He came back with the beers and offered one to her “to our own party.”
They clinked the bottles and went to camp on the sofa.
TAGs: 
@rowaelinismyotp
@swankii-art-teacher​
@courtofjurdan
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miserablesmusings · a day ago
Text
transgressions | part nine
masterlist ; general tw for this story, mentions of murder, blood, assault, crime.
*
Aelin awoke to a heavy arm thrown across her midsection. A hand was planted firmly against her stomach, holding her against a warm body. The previous evening came back to her in pieces: spending the first night at the bar as Rowan’s girlfriend, the tense ride to his house, perching on the bed in anticipation, and then…
She frowned, trying to remember. What had happened next?
She could have slapped herself, was half of her body not tucked into Rowan’s sleeping form. She’d fallen asleep when he’d gone into the bathroom, Gods above. After all that anticipation, all the worrying over her boundaries, and finally - finally - admitting that staying away from him was fruitless, and she’d fallen asleep?
In her defense, she supposed, she had been exhausted recently. After the second body was found, it seemed to be one late night after another. Rowan couldn’t hold her need for rest against her.
She lifted her head a fraction of an inch, taking in the throw blanket covering them. She smiled softly to herself; Rowan must have decided on it instead of getting under the quilt as to not disturb her sleep. She relaxed back onto the pillow, her eyes drifting to the window. It was still dark outside, a sure sign that she had some time left to sleep.
Waking up in Rowan’s arms, she decided, as her eyes closed again, was a very nice way to wake up.
When she awoke next, the sun was starting to sift through the curtains into the bedroom, and Rowan’s hand was running gently up and down her side. She stretched her legs down to her toes and turned herself over to face him, her eyes meeting his, which were still rimmed with sleep.
“Good morning.” She whispered, the smile spreading on her face as he leaned in to press a soft kiss to her lips. “I’m sorry I fell - “
“Don’t apologize.” He said quietly. “We both needed it. You, especially, after your night undercover.”
Aelin raised a brow. “As if you were the picture of relaxed in your car.”
“Touché.” Rowan agreed, pulling Aelin by the waist closer to him. He slotted one thigh between hers, tucking his nose into her hair. “Five more minutes?”
Aelin chuckled, pressing a kiss to his neck. “I figured you’d be ready to jump me.”
Rowan pulled back suddenly, his hand on her shoulder. “Are you?” His tone, exhausted moments before, was suddenly alert. Excited.
Aelin smirked, pulling a hand from beneath the throw blanket to stroke down the side of his face. She cupped his chin lightly, her fingers tracing his jawline. “I am.”
“Are you still tired?” Rowan asked seriously, his hand wandering down to Aelin’s hip, his other hand propping himself up. “Because I can do all the work.”
At her inviting smile, Rowan gently pushed himself up, sliding his body on top of her, his hips resting lightly on her lower back, pressing her stomach into the mattress. He braced himself on his elbows above her, and she turned her head to meet his lips again, a lazy smile on her face.
“I like this wakeup call.” Aelin said, as Rowan ground his hips into her backside. “And, I think you do, too.”
Rowan huffed, leaning on one elbow. He brushed Aelin’s hair from her face with his opposite hand, kissing her lightly on the nose. “I like you,” He said, and her smile widened.
“The feeling is mutual, detective.”
Suddenly, the radio crackled to life on the headboard, jarring Rowan. Aelin chuckled softly below him, the movement further grinding her body into where he was pressed against her. He gritted his teeth, leaning forward to nip her ear playfully.
“Damn it all to hell.” Rowan groaned, rolling himself off of Aelin’s body to reach for the radio. He clicked the button once, letting his gaze wander to where she still lay on her stomach, her hand propping up her head as she watched him with lazy eyes. Rowan cleared his throat.
“Whitethorn. What is it.”
Aelin snorted as his tone. As Lorcan’s voice drifted over the radio, the smile faced from her face.
“Another body. I need you to come into the station.”
Rowan inhaled sharply, his eyes finding Aelin’s. He cleared his throat again. “I’ll meet you at the scene, where - “
“No. The station is the scene.”
**
The front door of the police station was surrounded by people and yellow tape.
Aelin, Rowan, and Aedion exited the squad car hurriedly; Aelin had contacted Aedion immediately after Lorcan’s call, and she and Rowan had scooped him from the apartment on their way to the station. Given the tense situation, Aedion hadn’t even had the time to process that Aelin had awoken at Rowan’s house instead of their shared apartment, let alone tease her for it as he would have normally.
As the trio walked toward the scene, Lorcan approached them, a drink carrier laden with coffee in his hand. They accepted it gratefully, Lorcan tucking the empty carrier under his arm before taking a deep breath.
“I got here early and found a body outside the door to the station.”
Aelin sucked in a breath. “The front door?”
Lorcan nodded. “Working on an identification now, but it was overnight.”
“What about the officers and dispatcher who worked the night shift?” Rowan prompted.
“They went out the back door. Didn’t hear anything.”
“Has someone pulled the security tape?” Aedion questioned, nodding toward a camera mounted near the front entrance. Lorcan hesitated.
“That’s the thing.” He said slowly, glancing once at Rowan. “The camera is broken.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Rowan growled, his shoulders stiffening in disbelief. “I asked Fen to change that out weeks ago.”
“He is already aware. Leave him alone, Rowan.” Lorcan advised, nodding toward a squad car parked over to the side of the building. Aelin squinted, and could barely see Fenrys in the driver’s seat, his head resting on the steering wheel, his elbow obscuring his face.
“So, someone knew that it was out.” Aedion said, shrugging his shoulder once. “That’s…useful.”
“That, along with the case notes about the knife. Like Dorian said.” Aelin pointed out, one eyebrow raised. Maybe Dorian had been right - maybe it hadn’t been such a coincidence that Aelin’s joke, written in the case notes, had been followed by a larger knife used in the next murder. Despite the fact that anyone could have heard the knife joke from Fenrys, the added layer of the security camera couldn’t be ignored. 
“So, what, you really think we’re looking at someone here? And not that the perp just obscured themselves from the camera and dropped the body here?” Lorcan asked in disbelief, glancing around at the officers near them. “You think it’s one of us?”
“Not for certain.” Aedion said, glancing once at Aelin, before plowing on. “But it’s not unheard of. A criminal can be a police officer, as you very well know.”
“But here…” Lorcan said under his breath, his tone clear: he did not believe it to be possible, even with the security camera coincidence. He rolled his neck, nodding toward the front door. “Let’s go check this out, and then talk, deal?”
Without waiting for an answer, he strode toward the building, the others trailing in his wake. Aelin glanced toward Rowan, noting the hard set of his jaw. Her eyes wandered toward Fenrys, still hunched over his steering wheel.
“It’s not his fault.” She said quietly. Rowan said nothing, just inclined his head toward her. “If the killer didn’t dump the body here, he would have dumped it somewhere else.”
“You’re right.” Rowan agreed. “But I also told him to change that out, and he didn’t, and now there’s a body here.”
The other police officers surrounding the yellow tape parted, allowing Aelin, Rowan, Lorcan, and Aedion to proceed closer to the scene. As the body came into view, Aelin swallowed, forcing herself to focus. It was never easy, never pleasant to process a crime scene, but she owed it to the victim to do her damndest.
“Much larger knife.” Aedion commented. Aelin drifted to his side, her notebook already in her hand, her coffee cup set firmly on the ground. Aedion slipped on a glove, raising the hand of the victim delicately. “And fibers. Look the same as before.”
“Got it.” Aelin said, noting it. “The body angle, it’s less…”
“Thrown?”
“Right. She’s been placed here.”
“Probably in an attempt to stay quiet.” Aedion reasoned, to which Aelin nodded, jotting it down. “I see seven stab wounds, but at least these three - “ He indicated the woman’s lower torso. “These were post-mortem.”
“The coroner can tell us how long post.”
“This is new, though.” Aedion said, standing back with his hands on his hips. “The murder location and the dumping site aren’t one in the same. They have been for every other case.”
“It was a statement.” Aelin reasoned, nodding once toward the station. “It was them saying that they can get away with dumping a body at law enforcement’s front door.”
“Aelin,” Lorcan called, and she turned, noting another officer at his side. “This is Roberts, he was in the building last night.”
“Hi Officer, I’m Aelin Galathynius.” She said warmly, reaching over to shake his hand. Once pleasantries had been exchanged, she nodded toward the front door. “You don’t use this one, then? You go out a back door?”
“There’s no reason to use the front.” Roberts said shortly. “We park in the back for night shift, and unless someone knocks on the front door, we stay near dispatch in case we’re needed.”
“And you didn’t hear anything last night?”
“No.”
“What time did your shift begin?”
“Midnight. I’m on from midnight to eight in the morning before we changeover.”
Aelin glanced toward Aedion. The other murders had been committed in the two to four in the morning timeframe, given the timing of when the victims had been walking home. Whoever their killer was, he was a night owl. Or at least, he was awake enough for several hours after midnight to commit murder on a somewhat-frequent basis.
“The driveway,” Aelin said, pointing toward the entrance to the station’s parking lot. “You’d see the front door as you came up the drive in order to get to the back parking lot. And you didn’t see the body, or anyone hanging out around the front door last night when you arrived?”
Roberts shook his head. “No, and I know for a fact there was nothing here, because I was looking at the light above the front door. It was flickering. Driving me crazy as I drove up. So I know I looked.”
Aelin nodded. “Thank you.”
Dismissed, Roberts retreated from the scene, his eyes purposely avoiding locking onto the body. Aelin couldn’t blame him. The victim, much like the others, had been mutilated by the killer.
“They’re going to swab for DNA,” Aedion said, turning to where he’d been talking with one of the crime scene processors. “Should we head inside, start laying out the facts?”
Aelin reached down to pick up her coffee, balancing it on her notebook as she looked over the scene one more time. Even without identification - just based on previous cases - she’d bet money that this victim worked at the Black Hat, or in another profession that kept her out late at night.
She followed Aedion and Lorcan into the building, her shoulder brushing against Rowan’s arm as they walked, his presence beside her a welcome comfort to the horrors of the day’s beginning.
*
Later, Rowan, Aelin, Aedion, and Lorcan sat at a table at Moonbeam, stuffing their faces in anticipation of the upcoming evening.
Laying out the facts of the cases presented one thing as crystal clear: this was a killer who prowled the streets late at night. He favored women who were walking alone - the latest murder victim had been identified mid-morning as a waitress who worked part-time at a hotel in town. There had been an event that evening which had lasted past midnight, and she’d likely been walking home when she was grabbed. The team was still scouring the city for the murder location, as the body had been dumped in a place other than where she was killed. Her name was Christina Taylor, and Aelin had sent up a quiet prayer for her when she’d been identified.
The killer was getting bold; that was two murders within four days. Either he was ramping up to fulfill his sick need to murder, or, in Aelin’s opinion, he was baiting them after the press conference. He had already proved he had a sick sense of humor with his taunt left behind for Aelin and Aedion. Leaving a body at the front door of the police station was another bold way to mock them. To say he was out there, killing, and they hadn’t found him.
Not yet, anyway.
Aelin knew that Lorcan - and Rowan, to a certain extent - found it hard to believe that the killer could be someone on the inside. Another office, another detective…someone who had inside information. Who had heard things, or read them in case notes. Lorcan thought it was more likely that the killer assumed the camera was working and obscured his face with a mask or a hood, and had just gotten lucky that the camera was out. 
Aelin thought it was just too coincidental.
Instead of focusing on it, though, she and Aedion pushed Lorcan and Rowan toward their other point: the late night angle. It may be hard to get them onboard with the theory of an inside job, but connecting the dots of murders after midnight was easy.
Which led them to the bar, scarfing down their food ahead of a long night’s stakeout ahead of them.
They’d assembled teams of officers to stakeout various areas around the city: the parks where murders had already been committed, the streets near the Black Hat, and the area of town where drugs were traded for money and favors.
“You’re sure the two of you will have Hyde Park okay on your own?” Lorcan asked mid-meal. Rowan nodded, glancing once toward Aelin.
“We’ve got it handled.”
“We’ll be close by.” Aedion confirmed. He and Lorcan would be staking out Green Park, the location of the second murder in Doranelle. “If you need anything.”
“We’ll give you a call if we do.” Aelin confirmed. In her gut, she wouldn’t be surprised if Hyde Park was the next site; it was the only park in town where a murder hadn’t already been committed. They didn’t want to scare the killer away, though, by having too many people in the park. She and Rowan could blend in, and make the killer feel as though they were alone. 
“We haven’t done a good old-fashioned stakeout in awhile!” Aedion said cheerfully, in a weak attempt to diffuse the tension. Aelin rolled her eyes at him, turning instead to fiddle with the jukebox on their table. A moment later, a Madonna song filled the bar as Rowan turned toward Aedion.
“What was your last one?”
“Aelin’s parents’ murder.” Aedion said simply. “It was our big break for the case.”
“Well,” Lorcan said, glancing around the table. “Let’s hope this is ours, too.”
*
Hours later, Rowan scanned the heat sensor on his lap, checking for any evidence of other people within the park. He and Aelin were seated on the ground on the far-end of the rectangular space, leaning against an oak tree, partially obscured by a large hedge.
“Nothing.” Rowan whispered, turning the screen toward Aelin. She nodded once, glancing at her watch. It was one in the morning. They’d been in the same position since eleven, and her legs were starting to cramp. She said as much to Rowan, who handed her the heat sensor and patted his hands on his lap.
Aelin swung her legs toward him, and he immediately set to work, kneading the muscles in her calf. She swallowed her moan of contentment, instead whispering her thanks to him. He smiled softly, continuing his ministrations as they sat quietly.
A twig snapped nearby, and Aelin pulled her legs from Rowan’s lap, her eyes darting down to the device in her lap. Rowan looked toward it as well, noting the faint outline of heat in the far corner of the park.
Someone was there.
Aelin shifted to her feet, standing silently as Rowan extracted his gun from his hip, his eyes darting around the park. They walked forward, careful to step softly as they ventured into the park, toward the lone figure walking on far-side of the tree line.
Rowan squeezed his eyes shut briefly, trying to focus in the darkness of the night. The park itself had no lights, and the sky was so black that even the trees barely stood out. The metal of his gun was cool in his hand, his heart racing. Had it been he and Lorcan in the park together, he may have been calmer, maybe filled with the thrill of the chase. The potential to catch the killer.
Instead, with Aelin at his side, despite knowing she could take care of herself, despite knowing she was a trained FBI agent, he felt nothing but fear for her safety. The keen sense that he could barely see a foot in front of him, and that they were walking blindly toward a stranger.
Aelin held out a hand and Rowan stopped abruptly, his eyes darting down to the heat device in Aelin’s hand. The screen was dim, but the faint outline of the stranger on the far-side of the park had gotten clearer and larger as they moved closer. Aelin shifted it to one hand, reaching into her holster for her own gun, her finger brushing the safety to ensure it was off.
A heartbeat later, the figure across the park began to move, and quickly, the shape on the sensor moving and blurring as they sprinted across the park. Rowan didn’t have time to glance at Aelin before he sprinted toward where the figure was darting toward the far gate, his voice loud and commanding, splitting through the darkness of the early hours.
“Doranelle Police!”
Aelin hurried after him, dropping the heat sensor unceremoniously on the ground, her feet pounding the leaves. She felt the familiar thrill of her job curl in her stomach, alongside a cloud of fear for Rowan. Despite knowing he was a trained officer and detective who could certainly take care of himself, she couldn’t help it. The person in the park could be anyone, a harmless bystander who’d been spooked, a criminal with nothing to do with the serial murder case, or the serial murderer himself.
She got her answer as the crack of a gunshot echoed through the park and Rowan’s form, which she’d been barely able to see ahead of her, crumpled to the ground.
Aelin’s training screamed at her to drop to the ground, that staying upright was akin to being a sitting duck, but the fear in her stomach propelled her forward to Rowan’s side. She knelt beside him, her frantic hands finding his face.
“Rowan,” she said, her voice high and loud in the quiet park, the hysteria rising in her throat. “Where - “ He grabbed her hand from his face, pulling it toward his hip where his radio lay. She grasped it, her hand shaking as she pressed the button once.
“Lorcan, Aedion, anyone.” She babbled, her other hand still grasping Rowan’s cheek. “I have an officer down in Hyde Park, I need backup immediately.”
“Suspect, east.” Rowan grit out, his teeth gnashing together. Aelin nodded distractedly, wanting to tell him she didn’t give a flying fuck about where the suspect had gone, not when he’d been shot, but she relayed the message anyway.
“Suspect, due East from north-eastern gate exit. I need an ambulance in Hyde Park.”
As she let go of the button, the radio cracked once, Lorcan’s voice drifting toward them. “They’re on their way. We’re coming on foot.”
“Rowan, where is it.” Aelin asked desperately, kneeling on the ground and trying to pull her phone from her pocket. She finally extricated it, turning on the flashlight with shaking fingers, the beam illuminating Rowan’s body.
The stain on his shirt was steadily spreading, and Aelin scanned him, following his arms to where his hands were clasped over his right side.
“Okay.” Aelin said, her voice still shaking as she placed her phone on her knee. She removed her shirt in one fluid motion, putting one hand on Rowan’s side as she balled it up in her other hand. “I know it hurts, but I need you to rock to the side so I can get my knee under you. I need to prop you up so I can get pressure on it.”
Rowan let out a low groan as he rolled himself up a fraction. It was enough, though, and Aelin was able to get her knee under his back, propping his injured side up. She moved his hand from the wound, quickly replacing it with her own hand and shirt, pressing into it with as much pressure as she could without hurting him further.
Aelin picked up her flashlight again, pointing it toward the shirt on his wound. She pulled it back a fraction, noticing - thankfully - that there was an exit wound near the entry; the bullet had not lodged in Rowan’s body.
“I don’t think it hit anything vital.” Aelin whispered, willing herself to remain calm. She had to, for Rowan’s sake. At least until the ambulance arrived. “I think it went in and out outside your ribs.”
“This wasn’t how…I envisioned getting… you out of your clothes.” Rowan grit out, and Aelin laughed once, tears spilling out of her eyes and onto her cheeks.
“Don’t joke.”
“Sorry.”
“The ambulance will be here soon, you’ll be okay, okay?” Aelin said, realizing she was rambling, but unable to stay quiet as she listened to Rowan’s labored breathing. “Please don’t fucking die on me, okay?”
Rowan wheezed a small laugh, his body seizing in pain. “Don’t…joke.” He breathed, throwing her own words back at her. Aelin again balanced her phone on her knee, her fingers finding Rowan’s cheek.
“I’m not joking.”
At the sound of pounding feet, Aelin picked up her phone with one hand, her other still holding pressure on Rowan’s wound. She shone the light toward the sound, barely able to see Aedion and Lorcan in the faint light. She relaxed as they came into view, both out of breath.
“Gods dammit, Whitethorn.” Lorcan said breathlessly, and though his words were laced with exasperation, Aelin could hear the panic in his voice. “Do you need to switch?” He asked Aelin, nodding toward where her shirt was pressed against Rowan’s side. As she opened her mouth to respond, a siren cut through the night air.
“I’m okay.” She whispered, and Lorcan nodded once, shrugging out of his leather jacket and dropping it over Aelin’s shoulders. She nodded her thanks as Aedion sat on the ground beside her.
“Did you see him? Any features?”
Aelin shook her head. “We weren’t close enough to see anything. But he obviously had a gun.”
“Obviously.” Rowan agreed weakly, and Aelin glanced down at her shirt, noting the red still spreading. The ambulance needed to get there, and fast; just because the bullet hadn’t struck anything vital didn’t mean that Rowan couldn’t still bleed out.
Headlights illuminated the park as the ambulance pulled in, the flashing red and white lights dancing off the trees. Three first responders hurried toward them, a gurney between them. Aedion stood, allowing them more room, but Aelin stayed where she was seated, holding pressure on Rowan’s side.
“He was shot.” She said unnecessarily, feeling the cold sense of panic begin to set in as the EMTs took over. Now that she didn’t need to stay calm for Rowan’s sake, she could feel the hysteria begin to consume her. He’d been shot. Right in front of her.
“Aelin.” Aedion said firmly, one hand on her elbow. The EMT was looking at her, waiting for her to step aside, to allow him to put a pressure bandage on Rowan’s wound. She, though, was frozen.
“I -”
“It’s okay.” Rowan said quietly, his voice barely above a whisper. “I’m fine. You -” He stopped, seizing in pain, his lower back arching off of the ground. “-you did great.”
“Whitethorn. Rowan.” Lorcan said loudly. Aedion yanked Aelin back from Rowan, allowing the EMT to dress his wound. Aelin followed Lorcan’s line of sight to Rowan’s face, where his eyes had drifted closed.
“Rowan.” Aelin said loudly, panic lacing her words as his eyelids merely fluttered. “Rowan, wake up, Gods dammit.”
“Come on, you two,” Aedion said firmly, his hand still gripped on Aelin’s arm, his other hand reaching for Lorcan, who stood frozen, watching the EMT’s quickly dress Rowan’s side for transport. “We’ll meet them at the hospital.”
“His blood type is A negative, he - “
“Salvaterre, now.” Aedion said firmly. Lorcan snapped from his panic, his wide eyes finding Aedion. The EMTs were already halfway across the park, Rowan between them, their steps careful but hurried as they made their way back to the ambulance. “Aelin, take a deep breath, he’s going to be fine, we’ll meet them at the hospital.”
Aedion pulled Aelin by the arm toward Rowan’s vehicle, hidden just outside the park entrance. He glanced behind to ensure Lorcan was following in their wake. When they reached the car, Aedion pushed Aelin into the passenger seat, reaching across her to put on her seatbelt as Lorcan got in the backseat, sitting on his hands to hide their shaking.
Aedion got into the driver’s seat, flipping on the police lights before speeding off toward the hospital. The car was quiet, aside from Aelin’s muttering, the same words over and over, almost as a prayer.
“Not again, not again, not again.”
*
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intrxpide13 · a day ago
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SJM characters who should've been LGBTQ+
Cassian (a court of thorns and roses series) - pansexual
Nesta (a court of thorns and roses series) - bisexual
Manon (throne of glass series) - lesbian
Aelin (throne of glass series) - bisexual
Bryce (crescent city series) - lesbian
Dorian (throne of glass series) - bisexual
Hunt (crescent city series) - bisexual
Elide (throne of glass series) - lesbian
Amren (a court of thorns and roses series) - asexual
Sam (throne of glass series) - pansexual
_______
just my opinions :)
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positivewitch · a day ago
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Throne of Glass - Aelin Galathynius
“You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”
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intjfairy · a day ago
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Sarah J Maas and the expression “struck him stupid”:
Rowan, Queen of Shadows, chapter 29:
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Hunt, House of Earth and Blood, chapter 55
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feyre2001 · 2 days ago
Conversation
MANON: i get something in my gut whenever i look at dorian.
ELIDE: yeah those are butterflies. i get them when i look at lorcan.
MANON(touching her stomach): i didnt know we had butterflies living in our guts.STRANGE.
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tomtenadia · 2 days ago
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They were carranam
Heir of Fire, SJM
Just leave this one here because i don’t think i can fully explain how this sentence makes my heart flutter every single time. There’s so much behind. It’s the deep bond that will slowly develop in the books. It’s perfection. It’s them. 
And then he telling her “I claim you too, Aelin Galathynius.”
This books always give me sooooo many Rowaelin feelings... but it’s just superb.
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tomtenadia · 2 days ago
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Rowan looked into her eyes, into the very core of her and said"Fireheart"
Heir of fire, SJM
The first time he calls her Fireheart... ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
I love the whole series but HoF has a special place in my heart because of them... their beginnings...
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blackbeak-manxn · 2 days ago
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Aelin: Dont talk down to me
Rowan:
Rowan: Well I can hardly talk up to you. You are too short
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