Olympic Dreams Chapter Five
I’m sorry it took so long, but it’s finally here!
Summary: Join all of our favorite characters from Throne of Glass as they take on the Olympics. And by everyone, I mean everyone. I literally have 14 main characters to work with. I might be in a little over my head. Watch as out characters experience life and relationships with the Olympic Games as their stage.
Warnings: Language for sure, but I think that’s it.
Weaving his way through the crowd, Sartaq let out a relieved sigh when he spotted his best friend’s dark hair - braided, as always, this time over one shoulder. Borte was leaning against the railing at the bottom of the stands, eyes fixed on the targets in the distance and the archers gathered before them. He joined her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and hugging her quickly before leaning his elbows against the rail.
“Morning,” he greeted, stifling a laugh when she yawned. “Yeran’s not joining us?”
Borte shot him a glare dark enough to kill. “Don’t fucking start with me - it’s too fucking early for your bullshit.”
He chuckled again, raising one hand placatingly as she continued to glare at him. Yeran was on the track team with them - he ran the 3200 and Borte ran the 1600 - and Sartaq knew there was something going on between the two of them. His best friend liked to deny it - vehemently, and to anyone who would listen - but he happened to know they trained together practically every morning.
And - “I saw the two of you kissing outside the locker room when you thought no one could see you.”
Eyes widening, Borte slapped her hand over his mouth. “You hush!” He was laughing into her palm, and she just shook her head at him. “I can’t believe you saw that - there was no one around!”
“I was around,” he told her, pulling her hand away from his face. “I finished my run early. Now - spill. The truth.”
Borte groaned. “Okay, fine, but you owe me. Yeran and I, we’re kind of a thing, but we’re keeping it lowkey until after the games. Neither of us wants a distraction.”
Nodding, Sartaq opened his mouth to reply, but was distracted by the sight of Nesryn joining her teammates out by the targets. They were at the archery team quarterfinals, so he shouldn’t have been surprised by seeing her, but he couldn’t help himself. Something about her just drew him in. She spotted him and offered a small wave - which he knew did not go unnoticed by his best friend - before focusing back on the event ahead of her.
He waved back before he answered Borte. “Honestly, that’s fair. I get not wanting to be distracted.”
“Mmm, I’m sure you do,” she murmured, wiggling her eyebrows at him. “Don’t think I didn’t see that little exchange there. Is that your new running buddy?”
“Yeah, that’s Nesryn.” The teams started moving into their places, so Sartaq and Borte took their seats. “But, if you guys are a thing, how come you both want everyone to think you hate each other?”
His best friend rolled her eyes. “When did I ever say I hated him? We just like to argue - I think it’s our thing.” She paused for a second, teeth sinking into her bottom lip. “Yeran just knows how to get under my skin - and don’t think you’re getting away with changing the subject! Tell me more about Nesryn.”
Sighing, Sartaq pushed a few stray strands of hair out his face, fixing his eyes on the teams out on the field. The first archers were getting ready for their opening shots. He wasn’t quite sure who the archer stepping up to the mark for Erilea was - he thought it might have been Dresenda - but he noticed that Nesryn was toward the back of the line. Saving the best for last - smart.
He turned back to Borte. “I don’t really have that much to tell you. I was out for a run and we literally ran into each other, and then it almost happened again, and now we’re friends? I mean, I guess we are. We’ve decided to run together every morning.”
“And?” Borte gave him a questioning look. “You like her, don’t you?”
“We’re friends, of course I like her,” he muttered. When Borte dug her elbow into his ribs, he relented and added, “yeah, okay, maybe I like her a little.”
She nodded. “I figured. That’s why you’re spending potentially an entire day watching her compete.”
It was true. Even though they were currently watching the team quarterfinals, the semi-finals were in the afternoon, and the final match was that evening. He was prepared to spend the entire day cheering for her, as long as the team made it that far.
Sartaq nodded, and he was about to respond when he realized Nesryn was stepping up and taking aim. Gripping Borte’s hand, he squeezed her fingers and tilted his head toward the archer, a gasp loosing from his lips when she let her arrow fly.
Straight and true, despite the breeze that twisted around it, it hit the direct center of the bullseye.
“Wow,” Borte breathed, and he heard the awe in her voice. He’d known Nesryn was good - she wasn’t called Neith’s Arrow for nothing - but she was on a level all her own.
“I know,” he replied, sitting on the edge of his seat as the competition continued. He really hoped he got to spend the entire day watching her do what she was best at.
Easing herself into a split, Aelin folded her body over the leg stretched out in front of her and leaned into the stretch. She stayed like that for a few moments before twisting her legs underneath her body and reaching for her bag. She’d been at qualifiers all morning, and they still had one event - floor - to go. However, that was also the event that took the longest, which meant Erilea would have a while to wait before it was their turn.
Her teammates were stretching on the floor around her, trying to keep their muscles warm so they would be ready, and Aelin knew she needed to do the same. She pulled her phone from her bag before stretching her legs out into a straddle and leaning forward until her elbows rested on the ground.
Unlocking her phone swiftly, she fired off a quick message to her boyfriend, hoping his game hadn’t started yet. They were still in the first round, but she knew she’d feel awful if she didn’t get to wish him good luck before the game.
<< Good luck today, Ro. I know you’re gonna be amazing, baby! Kick some ass for me.
She didn’t have to wait long before her phone buzzed with his reply.
>> Thanks beautiful. I’ve got like 20 minutes until game time. How are qualifiers?
<< Good! We’ve just got floor left, but it’s been promising so far.
A promising performance at qualifiers was the first step for any gymnast at the Olympics. It was the day where teams and gymnasts went through each event to find out where they ranked. That ranking determined which gymnasts qualified for each event (whether that was individual event finals or the all-around final) and how teams would be ranked for the team finals.
Performing well at that event meant a continued Olympic journey.
>> I assume that means you’re already kicking ass and taking names?
She chuckled out loud at Rowan’s text, drawing concerned glances from Kaltain and Nehemia where they were sitting next to her.
Aelin would be lying if she said she wasn’t incredibly proud of herself. Chances that the team would qualify were good, though she refused to jinx them by thinking about it - which was why she focused on how well she’d been doing. There was also a good chance that she’d qualify for the other five individual events, and her routines so far that day were backing that up. As one of, if not the best gymnasts Erilea had ever seen - she’d never been modest and she wasn’t about to start - she knew how important her consistency was for the team.
It was why she continued to work so hard - both for herself and for her team.
<< Of course I am - I’m nothing if not fucking amazing.
>> I know you are, baby.
>> Alright Ae, it’s game time. I’ll text you after if you don’t make it to the game. Keep killing it!
<< Good luck Ro! You guys are gonna be awesome.
Tossing her phone back into her bag, she dropped the rest of the way into her stretch, pressing her torso into the floor and reaching her arms out in front of her. Glancing toward the mat, she groaned when she realized there was still another team that had to go before they could.
“Missing your boyfriend already?” Kaltain asked, nudging Aelin’s foot with her own.
“I mean, obviously,” Aelin chuckled, rolling her head to the side so she could see her teammate. “But mostly I just forgot how long floor takes. We’ll be here forever.”
Kaltain just shook her head. “You’ve been a gymnast for this long and that still surprises you?”
“Oh, leave her be,” Nehemia chided. “You know Rowan’s got a game right now, and I’m sure she’d like to be able to see part of it.”
“Thanks, Mia.” Aelin sat up and immediately flopped down on her back. “Kal’s right though - you’d think I’d know how long this stuff takes.”
Both girls chuckled, Kaltain dropping to the floor next to her and Nehemia leaning against the chair behind her. “She has a point, though,” Kaltain agreed, sighing dramatically. “We’re going to be here for a while.”
Shaking her head at them, Nehemia just rolled her eyes. “You’re both missing the point. The longer we’re here, the more time we have to see what we’re up against.”
Kaltain actually gasped, and Aelin just laughed. “There’s that devious, competitive streak coming alive!”
They collapsed into giggles again, and Aelin felt some of the tension that had been building in her shoulders starting to fade away. Though she rarely got nervous anymore, she found she got tense when she had a meet and she knew Rowan couldn’t be there. Her teammates were great, and she loved that they were part of her family, but having her boyfriend there had really set her mind at ease.
She knew he was supporting her even if she wasn’t physically there, but it was still difficult. Being able to laugh with Nehemia and Kaltain reminded her that she loved what she did, and it set her mind at ease.
She knew that she was ready. After all, floor was her best event.
Cracking her neck, Nesryn rolled her shoulders, hoping that would ease the tension building there. Quarterfinals had been a breeze that morning, and they’d made it through semi-finals with only a few hitches that afternoon.
But the final round was well underway, and Nesryn knew there was a lot riding on her performance.
While each archer on the team was skilled, the other teams had some of the best competitors in the world. Even though she knew that she was known as the best, Nesryn knew that didn’t always matter in the team event. A few of the first of her teammates to go had some issues - an arrow that got caught in the wind or a string that didn’t release quite right - and that meant that they were currently off the podium.
She and Dresenda were the last two left - it was up to them.
Dresenda had stepped up and taken her place. She was a solid archer, and Nesryn knew that if anyone could help pull the team back, it would be her. She lined up her shots carefully, taking her time before releasing each arrow. Nesryn held her breath as each one found the target, all solid shots that would move the team into third place.
Rolling her shoulders one final time, she offered Dresenda a high five as they swapped places before she fixed her eyes on the target in the distance. This was her gift - it’s what she had been born to do - and she was ready to put her gift to good use.
Setting her feet in the stance they knew so well, Nesryn stared down the target in the distance, letting the breeze swirl around her. She pulled an arrow from the quiver sitting on the ground just to her right, testing its weight carefully as she nocked it on her bow. Even though they’d been using the same arrows all day - hell, they used the same arrows for every competition - it was still part of her routine. She let her fingers dance lightly over the arrow before resting them on the string and pulling it back to her ear.
Nesryn took a deep breath, and as she released it, she let the arrow fly. The sound of it hitting the target was as familiar as the sound of her own breathing, and she allowed a small smile to grace her lips as she saw where it had landed.
Her eyes didn’t leave the target as she waited for it to be cleared. This was always the hardest part - the waiting between shots. She was used to rapid fire, just getting into the zone and firing one arrow after another.
But she managed, and her remaining two shots were identical to the first.
She wasn’t known as Neith’s Arrow for nothing.
Turning, she waved once to the crowd, even as her eyes landed on the scoreboard. A grin broke over her face as she read the results - her performance had been enough to secure a silver medal for the team.
As one, her teammates rushed her, Dresenda being pushed into the middle of the huddle as well, since her skills had certainly helped them to their silver medal. “Well done!” she cried, pulling Nesryn into a tight hug as everyone laughed and cheered around them.
“You too!” She allowed herself to be passed from person to person, hugging everyone while accepting comments and handing out many as well. They turned to their coach, wide grins on all of their faces as they posed for a fair amount of pictures.
Eventually they all broke off to celebrate with their friends - they had some time before the medal ceremony - and she’d barely taken two steps before someone wrapped her in a hug and spun her around. Looking down, she laughed when she saw a head of dark hair and realized Dorian was the one holding her.
“Put me down!” she giggled, hugging him properly when he set her back on her feet.
“Congrats, Nes!” Stepping back, he offered her a wide smile before nudging his best friend and giving him a pointed look.
For his part, Chaol just rolled his eyes and shoved him gently in the shoulder. “Way to go, Nesryn,” he congratulated her. “A team silver is an impressive start for the Games.”
“Thank you,” she replied. They stared at each other for a moment before realizing that they were both being ridiculous. Laughing, she pulled him into a hug. “It’s good to be friends again,” she murmured, and she felt him nod.
She meant it too. Their past was complicated, but she was glad to have him back in her life. He’d always been a steadying presence.
They spent a couple more minutes chatting before she saw someone else waiting in the stands for her. Giving them both a hug goodbye, she darted to the bottom of the stairs and took them two at a time until she was standing in front of Sartaq.
“That was amazing!” he cried, offering her a hug that pulled her off her feet. “I’ve always heard how good you are, but seeing it… wow.”
Nesryn blushed and ducked her head as he released her. “Thank you, really. But it was a team effort.”
“Yeah, but it seems like you really know how to hold your own.” That was the woman standing next to him, a smirk stretched over her lips as her eyes darted back and forth between them. “Neith’s Arrow, indeed.”
Sartaq scoffed good-naturedly. “Nesryn, this is my best friend, Borte. She’s on the track team with me, but we’ve known each other since we were little.”
Holding her hand out for the dark-haired woman to shake, Nesryn smiled. “Borte Eridun, current Erilean-record holder for the 1600. It’s nice to meet you.” When Borte gave her an impressed look, she added, “I was on the track team once upon a time. You always did make quite an impression.”
“The same can be said for you,” Borte replied, nodding toward the target that was still standing. “I can see why Sartaq is so taken with you.”
The man in question just groaned, and they both laughed at him, Borte patting his cheek affectionately. “Thanks a lot, Borte.”
“Oh, don’t be mad at her,” Nesryn chuckled. “I’m quite fascinated by you as well.”
Sartaq’s eyes sparkled at her words, and she happily leaned into the arm he wrapped around her shoulders. “You’re definitely an intriguing running buddy,” he agreed.
Borte was grinning at the two of them, and Nesryn would’ve been content to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out with them. However, she heard her teammates calling her name, and she knew she couldn’t.
It was almost time for the medal ceremony, and she wanted nothing more than to stand on the podium with her team. She was so proud of every single woman she would be sharing her award with - and she couldn’t wait to celebrate with them.
Waving to her friends, she jogged back down the steps and linked her arm with Dresenda’s, since she was waiting for her at the bottom.
“Ready to go get a medal?” she asked, pulling her toward the rest of the team.
Nesryn smiled. “Absolutely.”
Looking around the room, Fenrys couldn’t help the sigh that escaped him. The Cadre was sprawled out in Lorcan’s room, resting up after their game that afternoon - which they’d won - and taking advantage of the practice-free day waiting for them in the morning.
And they were enjoying it… by lazing around the room and doing absolutely nothing.
Lorcan was sprawled against his headboard, looking intently at his phone and smirking every few minutes. Fenrys had a feeling he was texting Elide - he was quite smitten with the diving coach - but he’d never admit it. Vaughan, Connall, and Gavriel had found a deck of cards and quickly entered into an intense game of poker. They kept trying to talk Rowan into joining them, but he was sulking in the armchair in the corner with his headphones over his ears. Aelin, exhausted from being at qualifiers all day and on strict orders to get a good night’s sleep, had kicked him out of her room, hence the sulking.
For his part, Fenrys was sprawled on the floor, his laptop playing one of their favorite shows even though none of them were paying attention. He sighed again, shaking his head when Rowan narrowed his eyes in his direction.
“What’s your issue?” Connall asked, chucking a pillow at his head.
Fenrys chucked the pillow back without even looking in their direction, laughing when he heard it hit its mark. “Look how lazy we’ve gotten, boys. Is this literally what we’re doing with our night?”
“Fuck you, Moonbeam, we’re not lazy.” That was Lorcan, finally deigning to look up from his phone. “We’re enjoying a rare moment of peace.”
Vaughan nodded in agreement, dodging the pillow Connall swung at his head because had just put down a winning hand. “Exactly! And we’re hanging out. That’s very important shit.”
“Well, Rowan’s being grumpy,” Gavriel amended, “but yes, we’re spending time together, being friends.”
The silver-haired man in question merely extended his middle finger in Gavriel’s direction, but the hint of a smile crossed his lips and he did climb out his chair, motioning for them to deal him in. He swatted Lorcan in the foot as he joined the circle, and, grumbling good-naturedly, he joined the game as well.
Fenrys was just rolling over to join them when his phone rang, the song Asterin had set for herself years ago filling the room. Clicking the “answer” button, he lifted it to his ear. “What’s up, Blackbeak?”
“Fen…” She sounded upset, and he was instantly on alert. “Are you busy right now?”
“I’m just hanging with the guys. What’s wrong?”
She laughed, though it sounded a little half-hearted. “I’m just nervous, I guess. Big day tomorrow and everything.”
He swore, already standing and shoving his feet into his sneakers. “I’ll be right over.”
Asterin tried to protest, but he just told her not to worry about it and slipped his phone in the pocket of his hoodie. “Alright, boys, I’m out,” he informed his friends. “I have a best friend in need.”
“Everything okay?” Rowan asked, all the boys giving him concerned looks behind him.
Nodding, Fenrys pulled the door open. “She’s just worried about tomorrow. It’s the final day of competition for the rugby teams.”
They all nodded, Gavriel, Connall, and Vaughan reaching for their phones immediately, no doubt checking in on the other half of their group - Lin, Vesta, and Sorrel.” He slipped out the door, their shouted words of encouragement echoing behind him as he started jogging down the hall.
Five minutes later he was knocking on her door, and she practically climbed into his arms the minute she’d closed it behind him. Fenrys just sank to the floor against the wall, letting her collapse into his lap. Keeping one hand against her back, he slid the other into her hair, letting strands of it slip through his fingers as he scratched his nails against her scalp.
Once she’d calmed down, Asterin pulled back enough to look at him. “Sorry,” she murmured, a sheepish grin slipping over her lips.
“Don’t even think of apologizing,” he told her, tapping his index finger against the tip of her nose. “Do you wanna talk about it, or would you like to be distracted?”
She thought for a moment. “Distraction, please. I’ll just get more nervous if I talk about how nervous I am.” She sighed, falling sideways off his lap and sprawling on the floor. “It’s already happening.
Chuckling, Fenrys stood and lifted her from the ground, making her squeal as he grabbed her around the waist. He merely dropped her on her bed and grabbed her laptop from the nightstand, since he’d left his in Lorcan’s room. “Midsomer Murders?” he asked, already clicking to the appropriate tab on her computer. They’d discover their mutual love for the series when they’d met, and it was common for the two of them to watch the show for hours on end.
“Absolutely,” she replied, flipping her hood over her long blonde hair and sinking into her pillows. “Start at the beginning, though? The Gavin Troy seasons are the best ones.”
He laughed again - she’d always loved Troy, even when they were younger - and just pressed play on the very first episode before turning off the lamp and falling against the pillows next to her.
It didn’t take long for Asterin to shift her head onto his chest, and his heart fluttered in his chest when she started playing with his hands. It was something she did often - she’d always been fairly tactile - but lately it had stirred certain… feelings in his chest that he didn’t want to think about.
There was no way he could do anything that would hurt their friendship, and those feelings certainly had that potential. She was the most important person in his life.
He couldn’t lose her.
Pushing his concerning thoughts about his best friend far from his mind, Fenrys lost himself in the familiar show. She’d asked for a distraction, and he’d be damned if he ruined that for her.
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