a scene where gwyn asks az about the ppl he's been with and it's a hard conversation for her to have to hear all the ppl her mate's been with but she also she's not surprised? I mean he is 500 years old but also I dont HC it to be all fluff... idk the idea's not really come together as a whole in my head yet, what do you think?
Hi, sorry this took so long! I hope this is what you imagined. I figured that everyone has that one ex that they just regret, so I decided to explore that a little with this one.
Thanks for sending me this prompt!
Title: Difficult Conversations
Azriel and Gwyn finally have a much needed conversation after an accidental encounter at a party.
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Azriel x Gwyn
Word Count: 2,480
Gwyn pulled out of Azriel's arms the second he winnowed them home, dashing up the stairs toward their bedroom before he could say a word. He ran after her, taking the stairs two at a time, reaching their bedroom door in time to have it slammed in his face.
He didn’t pause before pushing open the door, striding after her as she slammed the door to their bathing room. He tried the knob, but she had locked it, of course. He leaned his head against the doorframe and let out a deep groan of frustration, anger with himself bubbling to the surface.
“Gwyneth,” he called through the door, knowing she likely wouldn’t answer but needing to try anyway. How could he have been so stupid? “Gwyneth, open the door. Please. Just talk to me. Gwyn. Please.”
He waited several minutes, but she stubbornly remained silent. He groaned, then pushed off the doorframe, running his hands through his hair as he walked to their bed and sat down. He propped his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands, tired and frustrated.
Of all the females who could have been at Helion’s party tonight, it had to be the one that Azriel regretted having sex with the most. She had been a drunken mistake more than two centuries ago, a random female who happened to be at the party he and Cassian had attended all those years ago. Later he had learned that the female in question frequented parties where she thought powerful males would be, attempting to snag one of them by offering her body first and her hand in marriage later.
She was an awful person, and he couldn’t stand her, but, of course, she had been there tonight. And, of course, she had latched onto Gwyn the moment he had walked away for fresh drinks. She had nursed a grudge against him ever since he had not only refused to see her again after their encounter, but then refused to set her up with Cassian. The moment he had realized how conniving she was, he had regretted sleeping with her and had wanted nothing to do with her, and he was now being proven exactly why he had done that.
He lifted his head when he finally heard the bathing room door open to reveal Gwyn, clad in one of his sweaters, hair loose around her shoulders. She looked less angry than she had when they had left the party, but now her face was full of sadness and a familiar insecurity that he hated whenever he noticed her sinking back into it. Fuck, he needed to fix this.
“Gwyn, honey, can we talk?” He hesitantly asked, not daring to move toward her. “I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.”
“Azriel, I’m not angry with you,” she told him, slowly moving to sit on the bed next to him. She crawled onto the mattress and crossed her legs, causing the sweater she wore to bunch up around her waist. Normally he would have had his hands on her bare thighs in seconds, but he hesitated, not wanting to see her push him away.
“Gwyn, I’m sorry,” he apologized again, angling his body toward her. He loved her so much, and he hated that she was upset because of him. “I didn’t mean for that to happen. I didn’t know she would be there.”
“I know, it’s just…” she trailed off, avoiding his gaze as she toyed with the duvet underneath her. He waited for her to go on, desperately wanting to make things right. “I know you’ve had sex with other people, I’ve known that for as long as we’ve been together, and I’ve never minded. But…hearing her talk about it as if…as if being with her was the best sex you’ve ever had…it made me feel awful, Az.”
He closed his eyes for a moment, needing to calm himself. When he opened his eyes, he carefully put his hands on her thighs, pulling her closer to him like he normally would. She didn’t argue, allowing him to bring her legs over his so she was half on his lap, his arms wrapping around her waist.
“Gwyn, honey, I’m sorry she made you feel that way,” he quietly said, holding her gaze even though he wanted to look away in shame. “I’m sorry that I made you feel that way. I know I can’t erase the fact that I slept with that female, but I promise you that it meant nothing to me. I barely even remember the actual sex because all I can think of is how horrible she is. It definitely wasn’t the best sex I’ve ever had though.”
“What do you mean she’s horrible?” Gwyn whispered, her voice achingly soft, her bottom lip trembling slightly. He brushed back a lock of her hair, gently cupping her cheek before explaining.
He told her everything about the female at the party. How he had been drunk when he had sex with her. How she was manipulative and power hungry. How she was known for doing to other females exactly what she had done to Gwyn tonight. And how she held a grudge against Azriel.
Azriel still felt horrible that Gwyn had gotten cornered tonight, but at least she understood everything now. It was a start. Now he could work on getting her smiling again.
“So, she hates you because you wouldn’t set her up with Cassian?” Gwyn asked, her face less sad than it had been. He silently thanked the gods; he was on the right track. Honesty had always been the best policy with Gwyn, and tonight was no exception.
“More or less, yes,” Azriel affirmed, slipping his hands underneath Gwyn’s sweater to stroke her sides. She allowed the movement, gently resting her hands on his shoulders. “She has a habit of trying to make other females feel like they can’t satisfy their partners as well as she can. Which is just complete and utter bullshit.”
Gwyn let out a small laugh, a smile finally teasing her lips. “So, she’s basically the antithesis to everything the Valkyrie stand for then?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” he agreed, softly chuckling before turning serious again. “But that doesn’t change how sorry I am that you even had to deal with this tonight. If I had realized she was there, I never would have left you, even for a minute.”
“Azriel, it’s okay,” she replied, playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. “You didn’t know she was there. It’s not your fault. I just…I wish I would have known who she was before she started talking to me. At least then, I don’t know, I could have handled the conversation better rather than shutting down like I did.”
He hung his head, staring resolutely at the carpet while she ran her fingers through his hair. This was never a conversation he had wanted to have with her. No one before Gwyn mattered, so he had never wanted to relive his past sexual encounters. But he could see that she needed him to talk about this, to help her see that what was in the past has stayed in the past.
“Gwyn, I can’t take back my past, and I hate that, but I will answer whatever questions you have so that this never happens again,” he whispered, finally lifting his head to meet her gaze. The words tasted like ash on his tongue, but he knew his mate well enough to know that she needed this. She needed to know that she was the only one who mattered.
Her nose scrunched as she mulled over his offer. “Will you tell me about all your past sexual partners? We’ve discussed some of them before, but I want to know about all of them. Please.”
“If you want me to, then yes,” he promised, mentally preparing himself for the long conversation ahead. “But I will only do this on one condition.”
She raised an eyebrow in question, silently urging him to go on.
“Gwyn, I will only tell you about this if you promise to tell me if it starts to make you feel insecure. I won’t talk about this otherwise. I don’t want you to feel that way ever again.”
“Okay, I can do that,” she agreed with a nod, running her thumb along the curve of his jaw. He let out a deep sigh, then kicked off his boots before pulling her farther onto the bed. He nestled against the headrest, dragging Gwyn into his lap as he did so. When they were both comfortable, he finally spoke.
He started from the beginning, reminding her of the female he had first had sex with who they had discussed previously, then continuing through the rest of his many sexual encounters. There were some he could barely remember, but he explained everything to Gwyn as best as he could, holding her tightly the entire time. She asked the occasional question here and there, but otherwise remained silent, her face calm but serious.
When he finally finished speaking, his heart was hammering in his chest, his hair ruffled beyond help from all the times he had run his fingers through it. But Gwyn was still watching him, silently perched on his lap just like when he had started.
“That’s it. That’s everything,” he mumbled, toying with the hem of the sweater she wore. “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” Gwyn questioned, wiggling until she was straddling him, her arms around his neck so he was forced to look at her. “For not waiting to have sex until you met me. For telling me exactly what I asked you to. Az, there’s nothing to apologize for. It’s okay.”
He let out a huff, running a hand across his face. “I just hate the idea that my past might make you doubt me. Doubt us.”
“I don’t doubt you, or us,” she argued, moving her hands down to his chest, her fingers pulling at the buttons on his shirt lightly. “I don’t have an issue with anything you said. I knew you had a past, and I would never hold that against you. I’m not bothered by any of that. I just…tonight brought back so many old fears. It made me worry that maybe…maybe I don’t satisfy you as well as others have.”
By the time she had finished speaking, her voice was barely above a whisper, a flush coloring her cheeks. He pulled her against him, cradling her face with his hands. His jaw was working furiously, a cold rage filling him. He hated that anyone would make her feel like this.
“Gwyneth, listen to me very carefully,” he instructed, eyes blazing. “I love you, and I love being with you. You are the only female I want. No one else compares to you. And don’t think for one second that I am merely telling you that to make you feel better. Because I mean it. There is nothing that satisfies me more than being with you.”
She gave him a small smile, her body relaxing against him. “Not even beating me at chess?”
He let out a deep rumble, then kissed her jaw, mumbling against her skin. “Not even beating you at chess, sweetheart.”
He felt her thighs clench around him at the use of that particular pet name, the one he reserved only for when they were engaged in very specific activities. He chuckled, pushing her sweater down so he could kiss his way down to her shoulder.
“Are you just trying to distract me now?” She interrogated him breathlessly, her hands fisted in his shirt. He brought his head back up to look at her, flashing her a crooked grin.
“If it’s working or not.”
She rolled her eyes dramatically, shoving at his chest in mock annoyance. He laughed, flipping her onto her back in one swift motion, earning a squeal from her as he did so. He pinned her below him, reaching down to bring one of her legs up to him, stroking her thigh as he hovered above her.
“Distraction or not, the fact remains, I love you and I love being with you,” he stated, leaning down to pepper her face with kisses. She giggled, wrapping her arms around his neck. “There is no other female I would rather have in my bed. In my arms. In my life.”
“I know,” she promised, finally giving him the smile he had been hoping for. “But thank you for reminding me anyway. And thank you for being honest with me. As difficult as it is to discuss these things, it helped. Now I know I won’t ever be caught off guard. Thank you, Az.”
“Of course, love,” he replied, holding himself above her so he could study her face. “You know you can always ask me anything. I just never want you to doubt us, or yourself. I love you.”
She smiled again, leaning up to kiss him softly. “I love you too.”
He kissed her again, letting his lips linger this time. “Before I go back to distracting you, there’s one last thing you should know.”
“What’s that?” She hummed, playing his game. Good, she was happy again. That was all he ever wanted: his mate, happy and safe in his arms.
“If another female ever makes you feel insecure about our sex life, I want you to remember this,” he began, cradling her face in his hands once more. “You are the only female who can get me hard in a matter of seconds. Rest assured that I am very satisfied.”
She grinned, then burst into giggles, her laughter turning to squeals when he started tickling her, their bodies tangled together on the bed. When he finally relented, collapsing half on top of her, both of them breathless from laughing, she softly cupped his cheek.
“I think I can remember that, Az,” she promised, stroking his face with her thumb. “As long as you remember how much I love you.”
“I can do that,” he assured her, pushing up on his elbows so he was hovering above her again. “But for now, why don’t I show you just how satisfied I am?”
She bit her lip, her eyes darting between them to the bulge in his pants before meeting his gaze, a devious smile forming on her lips. She tangled her hands in his hair, pulling him down closer. He willingly leaned in, his body already warming just at the thought of having her.
“I think that’s a good idea,” she agreed, her eyes blazing with desire. He took one more long look at her, then crashed his lips into hers, sinking into the feeling of being with her. Of being with the only female who had ever held his heart.
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A Song of Shadows: Chapter 20
Title: Moonlight Magic
When Azriel takes Gwyn to his favorite hidden lake, the two of them revel in each other’s presence under the moonlight.
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Azriel x Gwyn
Warnings: Fluffy steam
Word Count: 5,487
Azriel carefully watched Gwyn look around her in awe, taking in the remote lake tucked in the mountains outside of Velaris. She kept spinning in circles, stunned by the beautiful surroundings, but he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
He had winnowed them here too quickly to explain where he was taking her, only stopping at the house long enough to throw on a shirt before whisking her away. All he wanted was to be alone with her, to lose himself in her presence, away from prying eyes and nosy family members. He loved Nesta and Cassian, but he hadn’t seen Gwyn in 11 days. He wasn’t sure he could handle one more interruption, especially not when Gwyn was being delightfully forward tonight.
As she spun around again, slowly making her way down to the small dock at the water’s edge, he couldn’t help but think about what they had just been doing in his bedroom. He could still feel Gwyn’s hands on him, drifting lower and lower and lower until he thought he might combust. He had desperately wanted her fingers to slip farther down, to continue tracing the scar on his hip. To see what she might have done after she found the end of that scar.
He shook his head, trying to ignore the wave of heat that ran through him, his body aching with need. He had missed her so damn much. He took a deep breath, following her down to the dock, commanding his shadows to keep a little distance tonight. He wanted her all to himself.
She turned to him with a grin as he stepped behind her, softly placing a hand on her back. He leaned down to kiss her cheek, twining their hands together and leading her to the edge of the dock. He settled himself at the edge, pulling her down next to him with a gentle tug. She sat down with a smile, threading one arm around his and toying with her priestess robes with the other.
“So, where exactly are we?” She finally asked, turning her gaze away from the glittering expanse of the lake in front of her and meeting his eyes. She was so close to him, and the moon bright enough, that he could count the freckles on her face if he wanted to. And gods did he want to. He wanted to explore everything with her, to learn what made this beautiful female tick.
“It’s a lake,” he teased, his lips quirking up at the corners. He shifted slightly, bringing his legs close enough that their thighs brushed. “In the mountains. It’s a mountain lake.”
She rolled her eyes theatrically, playfully shoving her shoulder against his. He laughed, the sound echoing across the mountains. He kissed her on the cheek again before giving in, letting himself sink into the feeling of just being with her.
“It really is just a mountain lake,” he explained, brazenly placing his hand on top of her thigh. She didn’t resist his touch, instead using her free hand to idly trace his scars. Gods he loved when she did that. “It’s in the mountains, a few miles outside of the city. I found it while flying, kind of like the meadow I took you to.”
“It’s incredible,” she murmured, looking back out across the water. “Why did you bring me here?”
He chuckled, affectionately squeezing her thigh. “Because I wanted to share it with you,” he shrugged. “Like the meadow, it’s one of my favorite places. I like to come swim here when I need to think. And conveniently, it is extremely hard to get to if you can’t fly or winnow. So, we won’t need to worry about anymore rude interruptions.”
That earned him a giggle, her face turning a noticeable shade of pink even in the moonlight. He reached out his free hand, tracing his fingers along the warmth building in her cheeks. She looked up at him through her lashes, her eyes full of the same desire that was making his head fuzzy.
“We certainly don’t want more interruptions, I suppose,” she quipped, her eyes heavy lidded, her scent turning sweet. His grip on her thigh tightened involuntarily, his restraint slipping. He wanted to lay her back on this dock and let her continue what she had started earlier.
“No, we wouldn’t want that,” he replied, his voice coming out far rougher than he had intended. She shyly smiled at him, lightly squeezing his bicep. He swallowed, forcing himself to tear his gaze away, feebly attempting to collect his scattered thoughts.
“I didn’t know you liked swimming,” she remarked, resuming her soft tracing of his scars. He snuck a glance at her, his breath catching as he took in her moonlit frame. She was so damn beautiful.
He took a calming breath, forcing his eyes back on the water. “Yes, it’s peaceful in the water. Do you swim?”
She shook her head, an amused smile teasing her lips as he turned back to her. He stared for a moment; too lost in her beauty to realize why she was amused. Then it hit him.
“Ohh, I’m sorry, I should have realized,” he apologized, his cheeks warming. Of course, she wouldn’t swim, even if she was part nymph. She had probably never been close enough to anywhere she could swim.
“Sangravah was too remote, so I never learned,” she noted, a wistful sadness filling her teal eyes. He wanted to take it away, to get her smiling again.
“I could teach you,” he offered instinctively, the words leaving his mouth before he could think them through. She blinked, her eyebrows raising.
“Yes. I mean, no. Sort of,” he rambled, not sure what he was trying to say. All he knew was he wanted her to be happy, to experience something he was sure she would love as much as he did. She studied him, waiting for him to collect his thoughts, her lips fighting a smile. He ran a hand through his hair out of habit, biting his lip while he mulled over his suggestion.
“We probably don’t have enough time for me to teach you now,” he finally told her, averting his gaze, his face growing warmer. “This is probably the last time it will be warm enough to go into the water until the spring. But I could teach you then, when it warms back up, if you want me to.”
She nodded, a small smile spreading across her face. “I’d like that.”
His chest tightened, her simple words filling him with happiness. Spring was months and months away, yet she was willing to make plans with him. He wasn’t sure why, but that single promise made him feel almost overwhelmed with emotion. Maybe it was that, or maybe it was just that he wanted to see if she would say yes, but words suddenly tumbled from his lips, an offer and a request in one.
“We could take a dip now,” he suggested, tilting his head toward the water. Her eyes narrowed, a nervous laugh escaping her lips.
“How?” She questioned, the sound coming out in a breathy whisper, her chest rising and falling rapidly. “We didn’t bring anything to swim in.”
He blinked, his jaw working as he tried to figure out how to calm her nerves, and his own. It was too late to take his words back now, so he plowed forward.
“I don’t normally bring anything to swim in,” he confessed, his throat tight as he watched her carefully. He quickly added, “But I could keep my undershorts on, and you could wear my shirt. Only if you want to, of course.”
She stared at him, and for a moment he worried he had ruined the evening, but then she hesitantly nodded, the smallest of smiles turning up her lips. He breathed a sigh of relief, the tightness in his throat easing.
“Okay, but…” she began, his heart taking a dip as she trailed off. “I want to go in with you, but I can’t swim.”
“I could hold you,” he instantly responded. He was willing to do just about anything if it meant she enjoyed herself tonight. “I can even jump in first.”
She nodded again, eyebrows scrunched together, a smile spreading across her face. He quickly stood up, a sudden wave of nervousness filling him as he slowly unbuttoned his shirt, her eyes tracking his movements. She had seen him in nothing but his undershorts before, but this felt different, more intimate somehow. Maybe it was because she was watching him strip, a surprisingly hungry look in her eyes as his shirt came off. His heart rate quickened, his hands shaking as he continued undressing, holding her gaze the entire time.
When he was in nothing but his undershorts, he backed up slowly and jumped into the water, sending a small splash in Gwyn’s direction. She laughed, the lovely sound echoing across the water, vibrating in his bones. She slowly got to her feet, backing up a few paces away from the edge of the dock, watching him steadily, her face oddly calm. He blinked, realizing he should stop staring.
“I’ll turn around while you undress,” he assured her, wanting her to be as comfortable as possible. “Um, just let me know when you’re ready.”
“You don’t have to turn around,” she told him, knocking the wind out of him. He froze, halfway turned away from her. He slowly turned back, facing her, his heart pounding. “You can look, Azriel. I don’t mind.”
He couldn’t find the words to respond; he was frozen, caught in the magnetic pull of those teal eyes. He wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or if this was real. It certainly felt like a dream as she began undressing, shrugging off the outer layer of her priestess robes, revealing the leggings and tunic underneath. He desperately gulped down air, feeling almost like he was drowning despite having his head above water.
She paused for a moment, long enough to take a few calming breaths, then slowly lifted the hem of her tunic, dragging it over her head and dropping it on the wooden dock. His breath caught, his cock hardening despite the cold water as he took in the sight of her. She was wearing the midnight blue bra with silver stitching that she had picked out at the lingerie shop, the sheer fabric revealing the peaks of her breasts. He couldn’t breathe.
He was so focused on her almost bare torso that he almost didn’t register her removing her leggings, each second revealing more and more of her long legs. His heart started pounding, barely able to remember to keep treading water, unable to rip his eyes away from her. Unsurprisingly, she was wearing the panties that matched her bra, that blasted sheer fabric hugging her perfectly.
She paused again, still holding his gaze, letting him take in all of her. He couldn’t look away even if he wanted to, not with those lovely eyes keeping him frozen in place. He waited for her to reach for the shirt he had discarded, to cover herself, but she just stood there, letting him look his fill. Just when he thought he might be able to breathe again, she began moving once more.
Her hands moved from her sides, slowly twisting around to her back, her eyes never once breaking their hold on him. His heart pounded, his chest heaving as he watched her hands inch farther and farther back. There was no way she was going to do what he thought she was doing, but she had already done more than he had anticipated, so maybe he was wrong. A moment later he got his answer; he was wrong.
Her fingers deftly maneuvered behind her back, then slowly, so slowly, she pulled her arms forward, taking the straps of her bra with her. The bra fell to the ground, leaving her in nothing but her all too sheer panties. He wasn’t sure he was breathing anymore. He wasn't sure about anything. Was this even real?
She stood still for a long moment, holding his gaze as he drank in the sight of her, too scared to blink for fear she might disappear. But there she was, practically naked in front of him, a delicious flush creeping across her skin. He knew he should move, or say something, but he couldn’t stop staring. Couldn’t rip his eyes away from her gorgeous body.
Bared like this before him, he could see almost everything. He had dreamt of seeing her like this a hundred times, but nothing could compare to the real thing. Her chest heaved with every nervous breath she took, drawing his eyes to her naked breasts. Her pink nipples were peaked from the cool night air, her skin pebbled with goosebumps, the flush on her skin spreading across the tops of her breasts. She was absolutely, devastatingly beautiful.
He watched as she slowly stepped forward, walking to the edge of the dock, not bothering to pick up the shirt he had offered her. She sat down at the edge, legs dipping into the water, her breath coming in unsteady waves. She was nervous, but the look on her face said she was determined.
She wanted to do this, wanted to take this step with him. The simple fact that she felt safe enough with him to bare herself so fully was something he would never take for granted. He would cherish this. Cherish her.
“Well, now what?” She asked, breaking his trance. He shook his head, trying to focus on her and not his throbbing cock. He slowly moved forward in the water, gently sliding between her slightly spread thighs, pushing them open a little more. The feeling of her skin on his made him want to moan; he wanted her so fucking bad.
“Hold on to me,” he instructed, gliding his hands up her hips to her waist, taking his own sweet time wrapping his hands around her back. He carefully watched her face, searching for any sign of uneasiness, but there was none, only a mild sense of nervousness. She let out a tiny gasp as he pulled her off the dock, sliding her body against his. He eased her in until she could comfortably rest her arms around his neck, her legs wrapping around his waist.
She stared at him as he pushed back, propelling them deeper into the lake, desperately trying to think of anything besides her warm body pressed against his. He closed his eyes, letting the water wash over them, his skin feeling almost feverish even in the cool water. He could feel everything, and it was driving him crazy in the best way possible.
Her breasts were tightly pushing against him, her peaked nipples pressing into his chest, her bare thighs squeezing his waist. He moved one arm under her backside, the other resting on her back, holding her firmly as they floated in the lake. He knew she felt his cock pressing against her, but there was nothing he could do to stop it, not without letting her go. But she didn’t seem to mind, which only made him want her more. She was so damn brave and curious and lovely.
He opened his eyes, swallowing rapidly. “Gwyn, ask me something,” he commanded, desperate for a distraction. Holding her like this was heaven, but it was testing his willpower like nothing else he had ever experienced.
“What?” Gwyn mused, eyebrows quirking in amusement. “Do you want to play Question for a Question?”
“No, I want you to ask me anything,” he begged, his voice coming out breathless. “Please. Whatever you want. As many questions as you want. I’ll answer anything.”
“Azriel, are you okay?” She pressed, lightly gripping his hair at the nape of his neck. He couldn’t help himself, the feeling of her almost naked body combined with her hands in his hair brought a moan to his lips, the sound rumbling through him. Her eyes widened, a small smile teasing her lips, a look of satisfaction slowly filling her eyes.
He timidly smiled back at her, not bothering to explain himself. There was no way she didn’t understand why he had just moaned, so there was no point hiding it. He hesitantly ran his hand along her spine, reveling in the feeling of her soft skin beneath his fingers, his motions earning a small hum of satisfaction from her.
“Bird, I’m fine,” he assured her, ignoring his racing heart. “Ask me anything.”
“Why?” She pushed, running her hands through his damp hair. He shivered, involuntarily tightening his grip on her backside, causing her to clench her thighs around him. She gasped just as he groaned, the two of them looking at each other with slightly shocked expressions. He stared at her for a moment, breathing hard, trying to find an answer for her question, but he couldn’t think.
“Because I can’t think straight with you almost naked in my arms,” he blurted, choking back the fear he felt that she would pull away from him. When she didn’t, he kept talking, his voice growing softer with each word. “I don’t want to scare you, but I can feel every inch of you, and it’s making me want you more than anything. I need a distraction. Please.”
He looked at her, jaw clenched, praying she wouldn’t be scared. But she only stroked his hair, pressing a kiss to his jaw, then leaned her head back for a moment, seeming lost in thought. He watched her, utterly in awe of the female he held in his arms.
“Hmm, will I ever get to hear you sing?” She finally asked, a teasing smile on her face. He laughed, relaxing again. She asked him that same question at least once every other day.
“Maybe,” he promised, as he always did. He knew he would eventually give in, but he liked how persistent she was, so he kept holding out.
She teasingly pouted, her bottom lip quivering. He smiled, leaning in to kiss her, taking her trembling lip in between his teeth and nipping playfully. She kissed him back, pulling him tighter against her. He let her guide the kiss, losing himself in her for a moment.
He finally pulled back with a breathy laugh, his body warmer than ever. “Ask me another question.”
“Why do you like swimming so much?” She whispered, leaning her forehead against his while she caught her breath. He thought about her question, idly tracing the curve of her spine with his fingers.
“Because it’s feels similar to flying,” he explained, using his wings to keep them floating as they talked. “It feels free. Unconfined. I like that feeling.”
“It’s free,” she murmured, peppering his face with soft kisses. “I like that. How are you and Mor doing?”
He raised an eyebrow, pulling back to fully meet her gaze. “That’s an odd question. What do you mean?”
She laughed, tilting her head back, her hair dipping into the water. “I mean, how are you doing? We haven’t talked about it in a while. I just…I don’t know. I want to make sure everything is okay.”
He studied her, the happy ache he was growing accustomed to swelling in his chest. Gods he adored her. “Things are good. I’m happy that…that we can just be family now. I like being able to talk to Mor. And I’m happy for her. I’m just happy.”
“Good, that makes me happy,” she hummed, rubbing her cheek against his, her skin brushing along his stubble. “Can I still ask more questions?”
He nodded against her cheek. He still felt almost dizzy with distraction, the feeling of her breasts against him an intoxicating sensation, every nerve in his body screaming at him to touch, to taste. But he would answer as many questions as she wanted him to. He would do anything to make this moment last, to stay with her like this for as long as possible.
“Where did you get that scar on your hip?” She shyly asked, looking at him through her lashes. He let out a deep laugh, tucking his head into her neck until he recovered. Of course, she would want to know about that.
“I lost a bet,” he mumbled against her skin, tenderly kissing along her shoulder. He felt her shiver, the sensation going straight to his already hard cock. Fuck. This felt good. Too good. He forced himself to pull his lips away, meeting her gaze, a soft flush on her cheeks again.
“It happened when I was much younger. I learned how to fly late, so most of the other males in the camp thought I was weaker than them in the air. After the Blood Rite, they were more antagonistic toward Rhys, Cas and me. So they kept trying to goad us into silly challenges. One day, I had had enough and agreed to race one of them in this ridiculous air course. It was littered with traps. I won. By a lot. But I crashed into a rock outcropping and sliced my hip open at the very end.”
She gaped at him, eyes wide, her face a cross between anger and fear. For a moment, he wondered if he had scared her, but she tightened her hold around his neck, hugging him close to her. Her cheek was pressed into his hair, her firm breasts crushing into his chest, her grip so tight he had no choice but to tuck his head into her shoulder again, letting her hold him.
“Don’t ever do something so stupid again,” she mumbled, her voice strangely shaky. He ran his fingers along her back in soothing strokes, confused why she was so worried. “Azriel, you have to promise me. Don’t do something like that.”
He gently pried her back, tangling his hand in her hair, shocked to find her staring back at him with tears in her eyes, her lips trembling. “Bird, I don’t understand. What’s wrong?”
“You could have gotten yourself killed,” she shot at him, anger in her normally soft voice. “I don’t care how long ago it was. You can’t do things like that. You just can’t.”
“Bird, I…okay,” he agreed, letting her put her head on his shoulder as he stroked her back. “Okay. I promise. I’ll try not to do anything stupid like that again.”
She hummed her response, letting him quietly soothe her. They drifted in the water like that for a while, reveling in the moment. He let his mind wander, luxuriating in how bare she was in his arms. He wanted every night to be like this. To have her wrapped around him, exposed in a way only he got to see. To fall asleep with her cradled in his embrace.
They had only spent one night together, and he was already hooked. He had slept better that single night than he had in longer than he could remember. Something about her presence made his normally chaotic thoughts calm. He could just be when he was with her. He’d never felt like this with anyone. Not even all the years he thought he was in love with Mor. The way he felt with Gwyn was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
“Azriel, can I ask you one more question,” she whispered, bringing him back from his thoughts. She tiled her head up, leaning her forehead against his once more.
“Of course, bird. Anything.”
She scrunched her nose in the way he knew meant she was concentrating. He waited, curiosity building. What had her so hesitant?
“Az, you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but…” she trailed off, seeming to gather her thoughts. “Have you been…were you…touch starved at some point?”
He blinked, the question taking him by surprise. No one had blatantly asked him that. He swallowed, trying to figure out how to tell her. He hardly ever spoke about his past, let alone this, but he wanted her to know, to understand.
“Umm, yes. I was,” he admitted, jaw working rapidly as he looked into her eyes. She patiently waited for him to continue, silently stroking his hair while he collected himself. “I’m…the bastard son of an Illyrian lord. My mother was a maid, and she…he used her. I was the result. He and my stepmother, they…kept me in a cell, in complete darkness except for an hour a day. And I only saw my mother for an hour every week.”
He stopped, his breathing erratic. There was more he needed to explain, but he couldn’t breathe. She continued stroking his hair, holding him while he recovered enough to go on. When he finally caught his breath, he tucked his face into her shoulder, breathing in her scent to stay calm.
“I was kept like that for 11 years, until my father decided I was growing too strong to be held captive. That’s when I was sent to the Illyrian camps, where I met Cas and Rhys.”
“Is that when you got your scars?” She asked when he went quiet again, his fingers digging into the soft skin on her back. She didn’t complain, only holding him tighter in response. “When you were in that cell?”
“Yes, I was burned,” he continued, taking deep, gasping breaths. He hadn’t spoken about this in years, but she needed to know. He wanted her to know. “My two step-brothers decided to find out how fast I could heal, so they burned me. I was eight. By that point, I knew I was a shadowsinger, but I didn’t understand it well enough to defend myself.”
He paused again, focusing on her calming presence. He could feel her shuddering against him, a sure sign she was crying. He hated that his story was causing her pain, but she quietly urged him to go on, so he did.
“When I was in that cell, I only ever experienced affection from my mother. And that was only for an hour each week. When I left, it took years before Cas and Rhys and I grew close, close enough to be affectionate with each other. Rhys’ mother tried, but I was so scared that it took me years before I would accept any physical touch from her, or the rest of Rhys’ family. And even then, the only ones who have ever seen all of me and not run away have been Rhys and Cas. Everyone else has only seen parts of me. Until you.”
He finally stopped, his voice barely a whisper. He normally felt shame sharing his story with people, but this time he only felt relief. Relief that Gwyn knew. She could now understand why he struggled to have people touching him. Why he couldn’t stop himself from needing to touch her constantly. Why he craved her touch like it was a drug.
She pulled back, gently lifting his head so she could see his face. Her eyes were full of tears, the ones that had escaped softly streaming down her cheeks. But there was a fire in her eyes, a fierceness that made him never want to let her go.
“Azriel, I will never run away from you,” she promised, her lip trembling but her voice firm. “You will never have to experience that again. Ever. Okay?”
“Okay,” he murmured, his breathing slowly returning to normal. He felt like a weight had been lifted off his heart. He opened his mouth to say more, but she stopped him.
“I’m not finished,” she shushed him, her fingers tangled in his hair. “I know I still need to take things slow when it comes to sex, but that doesn’t apply to touch. You can touch me as much as you need to. I never want you to feel like you can’t touch me. I trust you. If you’re not sure about something, just ask. Okay?”
He nodded, the lump in his throat preventing him from speaking. She was everything. Absolutely everything. And she was his. This incredible, selfless, lovely female was his. She held him quietly, letting him calm back down. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she asked one last question.
“Azriel, if you could have anything right now, what would it be?” She whispered in his ear, so quietly he almost wasn’t sure he had heard her correctly. He pulled back, studying her face. She watched him patiently, her gaze filled with something he wasn’t sure he was ready to name yet.
“What do you mean?” He asked, unsure he understood what she was asking.
“What do you want most? Right now. In this moment.”
“You,” he instantly responded, not even a second of hesitation. “I only want you.”
She smiled, brushing the hair off his forehead. “You have me.”
He gave her a crooked grin, grazing her jaw with the tip of his nose. She shivered, her fingertips digging into his scalp.
“Azriel, take me back to the dock,” she instructed, surprising him. His head shot up, confusion and worry filling him. But she only smiled, waiting for him to obey her command. He did as she asked, slowly propelling them back to the dock and setting her on the edge. She scooted backward, holding out her hand to bring him with her. He obeyed, utterly confused.
When he was kneeling in front of her, the both of them still almost naked, she gestured to the spot next to her. He silently obeyed, settling himself on the dock beside her. Then she wrapped herself around him, throwing one leg over his, laying her head on his chest, one arm reaching up to play with his hair. They were both soaking wet, her breasts still peaked from the cold, but it felt perfect, like she was meant to be in his arms.
“Gwyn, honey, what are we doing?” He asked, amusement slowly returning to his tone as he wrapped his arms around her. She laughed against him, pressing herself more firmly into his chest.
“We are cuddling,” she informed him, unexpectedly placing soft kisses along his collarbone. “You can’t cuddle the same way in the water. So, I thought this would be better. Is that okay?”
“It’s perfect,” he assured her, letting his hands drift along her bare skin. He knew she wasn’t quite ready for him to touch her in other areas, even if she was exposing some of those places tonight, but this was enough. It was more than enough. He hadn’t realized how much he needed this, to be able to touch someone without worrying if they would flinch away from him. But now that he had it, he couldn’t get enough.
“I am probably going to fall asleep if you keep doing that,” she mumbled against his skin. He paused mid movement, his hands stopping the idle circles they were tracing on her back. She let out whine, her head raising enough to look at him. “Az, I didn’t say stop.”
“Oh, I…but you just said…” He rambled, shaking his head at her incredulous face. He resumed his stroking, his fingers gliding along her smooth skin. She smiled, then set her head back down.
“I was just trying to tell you that I might fall asleep, but I want to stay with you tonight,” she explained, her fingers softly running along the top of the scar on his hip. “If that’s okay with you.”
“Of course, it is, bird,” he promised, thrilled she had brought this up before he had to ask. He had been hoping she would want to stay with him again.
“Good,” she hummed, kissing his collarbone again. “Then, if I fall asleep, I give you permission to take me to your bed, and to convince me to put on one of your shirts. I’d rather not sleep half naked.”
He softly chuckled, “Okay, I think I can manage that.”
“Thank you,” she murmured, her hand stilling against his hip.
“No, thank you, bird,” he insisted, hugging her tighter to him as he felt her breathing slow. She didn’t argue, too tired to debate with him like she normally would.
He let her drift off, content to just hold her, as she had intended. She had known exactly what he needed without even asking, somehow understanding that simply holding her was enough to soothe him after sharing his story. Underneath the moonlight, her soft body pressed against his, it felt like magic.
It was then that he decided: he would sing for her, eventually. Maybe not soon, but he would do it when the moment was right. When she needed him the most, just like he had needed her tonight. When she needed a little magic, whatever kind he could offer her.
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