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#elain archeron
fawnandshadows · a day ago
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25 Days of Elriel — Day 1
Ice Skating
Warnings: Language
Word Count: 2.5k
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“Does it look ok?” Elain asked, eyeing her exposed legs in the mirror. Well, maybe not exposed, per se, but the fleece lined tights left absolutely nothing to the imagination, and the pink leotard was just as snug against her skin. Her only saving grace was the flippy black skirt that she had to pry from her sister’s frostbitten fingers. They were all wearing skirts, but Elain’s was the only one that had shorts sewn into them. Elain was horrified at the prospect of wind blowing her skirt up for everyone to see that she nearly tackled Feyre when she reached for it.
“You look hot Elain,” Nesta said with a smirk. She looked stunning in a dark green sweater, black skirt, and tights. “I know how much you hate that.”
Elain glared at her sister who was braiding her hair in a crown over her head.
“You know I don’t like attention,” Elain said and cringed at the way all of her curves were exposed with the skin-tight clothing. “Maybe I should wear my sweater dress? The purple one?”
“You look perfect, Elain,” Feyre said with a kind smile. The youngest Archeron sister was beautiful, as usual, in an overly large cream sweater — one that she most definitely stole from her boyfriend, Rhysand. “And the guys are going to be here any second, so you don’t have time to change.”
As soon as those words were out of Feyre’s mouth a knock sounded from downstairs. Feyre’s blue eyes lit up like Christmas lights as she ran from her sister's bedroom, her french-braid practically smacking Elain in the face with the velocity at which she turned. If Elain knew anything about the laws of physics she would have said that Feyre broke one, or two. Maybe three.
“Let’s go, kiddo.” Nesta said, got up from the vanity, and pushed Elain out of the door and down the steps.
Feyre had her arms wrapped around Rhysand as Azriel and Cassian inspected the already familiar Archeron house, politely avoiding the spectacle of adoration. It was on the small side, the coffee house and book store that they ran managed to pay the rent, but it was nothing compared to Rhysand’s family home. The three hulking men took up almost all the space in the foyer and left very little room for the actual air she needed to breathe, at least that’s what Elain thought every time she was around Azriel. He was simply too big and sucked all of the air out of the room — why else would she be so light headed around him?
Azriel turned to her and offered a polite smile in exchange for all of the thoughts in her head. His black hair was dusted with melting snowflakes and hung in waves around his dark brows, and his brown cheeks were tinged pink from the chilly air.
“Good morning.” Elain managed and hurried past him to get her snow boots, her eyes fixated on the floor. She stuffed her feet into the boots, ignoring the conversation happening around her, and grabbed her white skates from their hook on the wall where they hung between Nesta’s black skates and Feyre’s navy ones.
Azriel couldn’t breath. The house was too small, and there were too many people, and all he could see was Elain’s legs as they came down the stairs. The little ankle bone, the way her calf curved, and her soft thighs were forever burned in Azriel’s mind. There was no way for Azriel to know her thighs were soft, but they looked like it — full and fleshy. It looked like the perfect place to rest his head after a long day at work, where he could tell her everything about his day as she ran his fingers through his hair.
Fuck, Azriel thought, Elain had nice legs.
For the months that he had known her he’d only seen her in long skirts, dresses, and pajama pants. Never had he ever seen so much of an ankle, but now the shape of her entire legs were on display, and Azriel could barely remember to breath.
“Everything ok?” Rhysand asked and clapped a hand on his shoulder. Azriel blinked and saw that everyone had filed out of the house to make their way down to Cassian’s truck while he had been busy staring at the steps Elain had walked down.
“Yeah, fine,” Azriel said, but his brother’s violet eyes looked skeptical. “Just lost in thought.”
Azriel wasn’t sure if he was being punished or rewarded, but he knew someone somewhere was laughing at him.
The length of Elain’s stocking-clad leg was pressed against his. Somehow Nesta had wrangled the passenger seat from Cassian, with Feyre’s tiny frame separating her and Rhysand. For some reason Rhysand was driving Cassian’s truck, and Cassian was squashed into the back seat, with Elain sitting between them.
Elain had chosen Azriel to cling to. Her legs tossed towards his direction, her jasmine perfume fogged his brain, and her face perpetually turned in his direction. He tried not to think too much about it, and it probably was an unconscious decision with no hidden meaning or layer to be examined, but dammit his mind wouldn’t let it go.
Her thigh was pressed against his. The girl who he had been silently crushing on for three months, ever since he saw her at Rhysand’s Halloween Party dressed as Hermione from Harry Potter; Nesta had been giving her shit about how the costume was played out and childish, but Elain wouldn’t let herself be cowed by her sister.
“Hey, Rhys-krispy-treat,” Cassian said and leaned forward. “Can you change the station?”
“I like this song.” Elain said delicately, her pink-painted fingernails gently tapping along to the rhythm of the jingle bells. A smile lined with hidden strength graced her lips, as if it took an exorbitant amount of courage just to share her opinion of a song, as if she was mentally bracing herself for an onslaught of off-handed comments directed at her taste in music.
“I think we should change it,” Nesta said and scrunched her face. “It’s way over played.”
“Leave it.” Azriel said with entirely too much authority for somebody crammed into the back seat, but nobody defied him. In fact, Feyre had turned the volume up and they were all listening to Mariah Carey’s voice. Conversation had halted because no one wanted to get scolded by Azriel for talking over the song.
Violet eyes looked at him knowingly in the rearview mirror, but Azriel ignored them. It was incredibly easy to ignore the rest of the world when Elain Archeron was smiling at him as if he had just performed some incredible feat of strength. And then when she wasn’t smiling she was singing along, and Azriel had never listened so intently in his life.
“Do you like skating?”
Elain looked up at the sound of Azriel’s voice coming from over her head. The late morning sun was glaring behind him, highlighting his raven hair, and shrouding him in a golden halo.
“I haven’t been in forever,” Elain admitted and finished tying the laces on her skate. It didn’t escape her notice that everyone else ran towards the frozen pond as soon as they were ready, and that it was only Azriel waiting for her. “I’ll probably end up looking like a fish out of water — Just kind of flailing.”
Her cheeks flamed and she prayed that Azriel thought it was from the cold.
He simply extended two mittened hands towards her, they were covered in tightly knitted black yarn, and Elain placed her hands on top. Her mittens were grey with purple flowers embroidered on them. Nesta scoffed and called them girly when Elain picked them out, but Elain didn’t care until she saw her mittens on top of Azriel’s. She didn’t want Azriel to see her as girly and childish the same way everyone else did.
“Cute,” Azriel said, gazing down at her hands with a silly smile on his face. “I like flowers.”
“You do?” Elain asked, ignoring his impressive strength as he helped her up from the iron bench and led her to the ice. Most people looked down on her gardening hobby as nothing more than a way to pass the time; They didn’t feel the skin ripping apart as a thorn sliced her palm, or the feel the aches in her knees and back from spending hours hunched over weeds.
“It’s hard work to sustain life like that, and to create beauty,” Azriel smiled down at her and stepped on to the ice. “My mother’s a florist,” He explained, one hand clasping hers as she stepped unsteadily onto the pond. Her ankles wobbled on the new terrain. “She owns a shop called Rosehall.”
Elain let out a full body gasp that almost knocked both of them over. Luckily, Azriel managed to steady them.
“Magda is your mother!” Elain exclaimed as they started moving forward. Their mittened hands a bridge between their bodies. “She’s so sweet, and she grows the most beautiful Azaleas. I love her shop.”
She smiled at him as they continued their slow crawl around the pond. They really were moving at a snail's pace. Elain was uncertain on her feet, like a toddler taking her first steps, but Azriel was gracious enough not to say anything. He didn’t even look at Nesta and Cassian who were practically dancing across the ice, or Feyre and Rhysand who looked like they were engaged in an epic game of tag.
“You can join them if you’d like,” Elain offered quietly, her eyes downcast and locked onto her skates. “It might be more fun for you, so you can actually skate, and not be stuck babysitting.”
His hand squeezed hers.
“Hey,” Azriel said kindly. “You’re much better company and conversation than my brothers, and much prettier,” Warmth flooded down to her bones and melted the icicle of self-doubt that was cleaving her heart. “I can help you, if you want me to?”
“Yes, please.” Elain said with a small nod of her head, curls flouncing around her blushing face.
Azriel smiled at her as he maneuvered in front of her, and brought their hands together. Somehow he was skating backwards, but Elain couldn’t think past the delightfully chilly air passing over her cheeks, and she could look past Ariel's lips as the formed words that she thought were instructions.
She should really be paying attention to what he was saying, and not just basking in the sound of his voice.
Elain was too busy getting lost in Ariel's eyes, too absorbed with the feel of their mittened hands holding each other, to notice the small pine-cone chipping that was in the path of her ice-skate. Her ankle bent sideways, causing her to fall on her flat on her bottom on the frozen pond, and when she tried to stand her legs ended up flailing wildly. The blades of her skates sliced through the ice, unable to find anything substantial to dig into, and the creeping thoughts of somebody accidentally skating over her fingers caused Elain to panic.
“Just breath,” Azriel’s strong, steady voice cut through the frenzy swirling in Elain’s mind. “Take my hands.” She hadn’t even noticed his hands held out for her.
The small clap of their mittens could be heard from those circling them, and Azriel effortlessly lifted her up and pulled her into his arms before she could even think to put pressure on her turned ankle. Her arms were around his neck, and Elain peered up at him breathlessly, silently grateful for the opportunity to watch him openly. Even if the price was a throbbing ankle, humiliation, and a hit to her pride. The straight line of his nose jutted out proudly from his face, the corner of his lip looked more appealing than it had any right to, and the cold air had stained his cheeks. Elain had the tantalizing urge to kiss his cheeks until they were warm and ruddy.
Azriel gracefully skated them towards a bench, and Elain became fully aware of how much he had held back while skating with her, his muscles flexing as he held her close to his chest. He gently placed her onto the bench, the coldness from the iron seeping through her tights, and he swiftly undid the laces of the skate.
A surprised squeal eked out of her as Azriel tugged off the skate, a hot pain radiated from her ankle, which caused him to curse under his breath.
“I’m sorry,” Azriel muttered and delicately grasped her swollen ankle in his hands. Somehow he had managed to free his hands from their mittens. His hands were large around her ankle, and so deliciously warm. “How does this feel?”
He rotated her ankle just a bit, and Elain’s teeth sank into her bottom lip.
“Hurts.” Elain pouted.
“I think I know the cure,” Azriel said seriously and Elain looked at him in confusion. He brought his head down just a little and pressed a gentle kiss into her injury. “How’s that?” Azriel asked with a smile tugging at his lips.
“Better,” Elain replied, completely mesmerized as she watched his smile grow. “Much better.”
Elain didn’t know how long they were like that —  staring at each other with dopey twin smiles on their faces — and Azriel grasping her ankle while one knee was bent into the snowy ground.
“I say,” Azriel’s thumb rubbing into the sole of her foot, the latex of the tight wrinkling with each movement. “That we ditch our siblings, drive home, and spend the rest of the day on the couch watching movies and drinking hot chocolate while we ice and elevate your ankle.”
“We can’t just ditch them.” Elain protested weakly, and the smile she tried to suppress spread across her lips.
He raised an eyebrow and said, “Can’t we?”
They most definitely could. No one had even noticed that Elain had fallen, and they weren’t even looking in her direction.
“I guess we can,” Elain said, her smile widening to the point where the apples of her cheeks obscured some of her vision. “But only if we watch Christmas movies. I’ve had Love Actually recorded for over two years now, and I need to keep the tradition alive.”
He quickly got up from his knees, sat next to her on the bench — sent her a knowing grin when he heard the catch in her breath — and swapped his skates for his snow boots. It wasn’t long until she was back in his arms, and when Azriel was changing his shoes Elain managed to swipe the keys Rhysand had left tucked into his boots, and they were walking towards the truck. Her feet bobbed with every step Azriel took, but the pain was already easing.
“How mad do you think they’ll be?” Elain whispered giddily, her warm breath skittering across Azriel’s neck.
“They should be thanking us,” Azriel said. “We’ll be giving them a romantic walk home.”
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tagging: @thefangirlofhp @tswaney17 @jujugirlfrombookstore @impossiblescissorspeachpaper
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sciencebaetch · 12 hours ago
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Elain Art by bethgilbert_art. Azriel by jessdraw.s
But the second male, the more classically beautiful of the two … Even the light shied from the elegant planes of his face. With good reason. Beautiful, but near-unreadable. He’d be the one to look out for—the knife in the dark. Indeed, an obsidian-hilted hunting knife was sheathed at his thigh, its dark scabbard embossed with a line of silver runes I’d never seen before.
I tried to pull back to read the beautiful, icy face, but he tightened his grip, a silent warning to brace myself.
Then Elain’s face appeared over Mrs. Laurent’s round shoulder. Beautiful—she’d always been the most beautiful of us. Soft and lovely, like a summer dawn.
Azriel, his face a mask of beautiful death, silently promised them all endless, unyielding torment, even the shadows shuddering in his wake. I knew why; knew for whom he’d gladly do it.
Pale skin started to glow. Her face had somehow become more beautiful—infinitely beautiful, and her ears … Elain’s ears were now pointed beneath her sodden hair.
“Put the prettier one in first,” the king said, Mor already forgotten
And I think Elain—Elain would like it, too. Though she’d probably cling to Azriel, just to have some peace and quiet.” I smiled at the thought—at how handsome they would be together.
Azriel tucked in his wings, his beautiful features uncharacteristically soft. Contemplative. “I’ll teach you.”
Amren bared her teeth at him. Azriel’s beautiful face didn’t so much as shift
Gone was the faint glow of immortal health; the face that had become a bit sharper. Gone were the pointed ears, the grace. Muted. Drab—or in the way that someone as beautiful as Elain could be drab. Even her hair seemed to have lost its luster, the gold now brassy, the brown mousy
Even wasted away by grief and despair, Elain’s beauty was remarkable. Hers was a face that could bring kings to their knees. And yet there was no joy in it. No light. No life.
I found Elain studying it, beautiful in her amethyst-colored gown. I made to move toward her, but someone beat me to it.
Azriel was nothing short of beautiful. Even with those scarred hands and the shadows that flowed from him like smoke, she’d always found him to be the prettiest of the three males who called themselves brothers.
Side not: 👆🏻prettiest of the three 👇🏻
Nesta met her sister’s warm brown eyes. When human, Elain had easily been the prettiest of the three of them, and when she’d been turned High Fae, that beauty had been amplified. Nesta couldn’t put her finger on what changes had been wrought beyond the pointed ears, but Elain had gone from lovely to devastatingly beautiful. Elain never seemed to realize it.
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sakurakittypeach · 2 days ago
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friendly reminder that both nesta and feyre approve of elain and azriel <3
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seerandshadows · 2 days ago
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It's the way both Elain and Azriel just fit
He saw and heard her when no one else cared enough to. He listened to her during her visions, knew what she was. Even her own mate couldn't figure it out. Her mate which the most powerful object chose for her, couldn't look deeper into her "madness" to see how she was hurting. Confused as to what was happening to her. 3 entire months. She had to deal with her mind for 3 entire months.
I don't care what anyone says, but Azriel was the catalyst for Elain to start living again. By telling her she was a seer, it showed her that she wasn't loosing it.
Azriel noticing that Elain was missing, Azriel risking his life for her, showed her that someone noticed her presence. Someone cared enough to save her without hesitation.
Elain then getting Azriel a gift when it wasn't required showed him that she thinks about him.
Not only that, the gift was made specifically for, Azriel. It showed that she cared. A gift so dear to him, he looked at every night for a year. A few pages before the gift giving, Azriel was rubbing his temples, why did Elain get him the powder? Because he was rubbing his temples, she knew how he got headaches from those around him.
Them both sitting together, of choice, listening to each other is such beautiful imagery.
How can people call them toxic? What sin have Elain and Azriel done to get so much hatred?
They both love each other, what's so wrong about that? Why this obsession with asking sure they stay apart?
I don't want to read a story where they both don't end up together. Where they fall for someone else, not after all this time when all we got shown was how precious and understanding they are off each other.
I want to read the story of the seer who felt heard and seen by the shadowsinger.
The story of how the shadowsinger finally felt true love because a seer chose him.
I want to read the story of Elriel.
And what a beautiful story it will be.
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silverdreamscapes · 7 hours ago
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Do we talk enough about the fact that Azriel buried his hand in Elain’s hair and then tilted her face at just the right angle that he wanted it to kiss her? No we do not.
Because that was so sexy of him. And Elain let him, and fluttered her eyes and he groaned with relief. When they finally kiss, it’s going to be so epic and I can’t wait.
Also, Elain is totally the type that would wear a sexy lingerie set. She’s going to drive Azriel insane in ACOTAR 5 and have him by the throat.
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stilettoarchive · a day ago
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elain and azriel headers.
like/reblog if you save, or give credits to © daisynlincoln on twitter.
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Day 128 of Spreading Elain/Elriel Positivity
I want to try and spread as much positivity to the Elain stans and Elriel shippers as I possibly can
ACOWAR Chapter 74 "Nesta did not move from where she shielded Cassian’s body. The king raised his hand, power whirling like a dark galaxy in his palm. I knew they’d both die the moment that power hit them. Anything, I begged the Cauldron. Anything— The king’s hand began to drop. And then halted. A choking noise came out of him. For a moment, I thought the Cauldron had answered my pleas. But as a black blade broke through the king’s throat, spraying blood, I realized someone else had. Elain stepped out of a shadow behind him, and rammed Truth-Teller to the hilt through the back of the king’s neck as she snarled in his ear, 'Don’t you touch my sister.'"
Elain Archeron everyone
Put some respect on her name.
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gripefroot · a day ago
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A Court of Dusk and Shadows ❲20❳
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“There’s no need to fuss.”
“I’m not fussing.”
Elain tilted her head towards the corner of her bedroom, where she could scarcely see Azriel’s outline in the dimness where he hid in the dusk shadows - and she lifted a brow. He stared back, and then sighed, running one scarred hand through his hair and sending blue light reflecting from his Siphon.
“I’m allowed to fuss,” he growled back. 
An adorable change of tactic. Elain merely smiled, and shifted in the armchair with her book on her lap.
The subterfuge was so simple it barely deserved to be called one: Madja had been summoned at long last to ensure that Elain’s health and the health of their baby were in order. Azriel’s insistence - he claimed that as he hadn’t visions and the confidence that all would be well - he would sleep better at night knowing that a trained healer was keeping close watch on both mother and baby and could be called at a moment’s notice. 
Azriel had assured her Madja could be trusted not to tell a soul. And Elain knew it to be true. 
But still, after many rounds of discussion, they’d decided not to disclose who the father was. Azriel would stay, invisible to Madja, neither seen nor heard. Elain could sense him where he waited with his infinite, beautiful patience, and the shadow that lingered in her hair felt as solid as if he’d been at her side, tenderly touching her for assurance. 
One breath in, one breath out. 
If Madja was shocked by her condition, she didn’t show it. But that must be part of being a trained healer - keeping a calm, neutral expression that kept her personal feelings or speculations at bay. Elain made a few polite, murmured comments to ease Madja into friendliness as she laid on the bed and submitted to an examination. 
“You seem to be in perfect health,” Madja said with a smile - but her smile was strained as she held her hands over Elain’s stomach, and they began to glow. 
Quiet stole over the room. Elain counted her breaths, refusing to hold them - and over Madja’s shoulder she saw a flicker of gold eyes in the shadows, narrowed with concern. 
“And...your child appears to be in perfect health as well.” But Madja didn’t look at her. She stayed focused, an expression of intensity on her face as her power grew. “A strong heart. All the organs are in order. The anatomy…” Her eyes flickered to Elain at last, widening slightly. Then back to her belly. 
“All is well?” Elain prompted. 
“It does seem to be,” Madjam murmured. She withdrew her hands, power fading. “I am curious...an anomaly, to be sure…” 
“Madja?” Elain asked, when the healer’s voice had trained off, the older female’s eyes gone contemplative and hazy - but Madja jolted, and smiled, unbuttoning her sleeves to roll back down. 
“Unlike your sister, you have no current risk of complications during birth,” Madja told her. “It seems an interesting twist of…” Again her voice went quiet, but then she smiled a more sincere smile and shook her head. “You are truly Cauldron-blessed.”
Elain’s face warmed, and she took Madja’s offered hand to sit up on the bed, swinging her legs over the side as dizziness swarmed around her, and then faded. 
“Your child’s heritage may not be obvious to anyone untrained in Fae physicality,” Madja offered in a quiet voice. A warning - it prickled across Elain’s skin as she blinked. “It may be wise not to offer that information freely.”
“We have no intention of making a spectacle,” Elain said back, her voice just as soft. “Thank you for your...silence, Madja.” 
“If that fire lord returns, keep me out of it,” Madja said tartly. Gathered up her things to leave as Elain rubbed her temples - she needed food to settle her stomach and water for her head - but she could’ve sworn Madja’s gaze narrowed in on the shadows in the corner. “Congratulations,” the healer added in a breezy voice, and closed the door behind her. 
“She guessed.” 
Azriel’s low voice heralded his appearance from the shadows - shadows which now slithered away, leaving him to walk across the room alone. His golden gaze was for Elain, and she smiled up at him as she reached for his hand. His fingers were cold, his smile tight. 
“She won’t gossip,” Elain said. 
“No.” But his smile still faded into a frown. 
“Az,” she added quietly, because it would draw him from his brooding, if anything, “Can we sneak down to the kitchen for a snack before we go to dinner?”
That eased some of his darkness. In the dimming of day, with the sky bruised and yawning beyond the window - Azriel bent over to kiss her head, and then her mouth, lingering with a soft groan that heated her from the inside. Later, later - Elain wrapped her fingers around his wrists, sliding them beneath the fingerless gloves that held his glowing Siphons in place just to feel his skin against hers. 
They were quiet in the kitchen. Nuala and Cerridwen had gone up to the House of Wind to assist with the family dinner - but Elain nibbled on a spiced bun from breakfast as Azriel stood at the window, arms crossed. She might have thought he was looking for threats - but his eyes were on her as she ate at the work table. 
“You’ll be shielded by the shadows,” Azriel said softly, when she was nearly finished. “They’ll keep your scent from...from showing.” 
Elain nodded. 
“As long as you don’t vomit into dessert, there’s no reason anyone would suspect.” Azriel grinned as he walked over to her, a hand extended. Elain took it, and stood. 
“And then afterwards,” she whispered, pushing the fallen, dark hair from in front of his eyes with her other hand. “We’ll come back here.”
His brows lifted. “Of course.” 
“And you’ll...stay with me.” 
The darkening of his eyes...into shades of deep emerald and sapphire that glinted...she knew that look. She could live in it - live in his desire for her, his love, his devotion - 
“I will stay with you,” Azriel promised, just as quietly. 
Elain had little fear of discovery - she supposed Rhys could make things difficult, but without forcing his High Lord power over them, there was little he could do. And in any case, she was not afraid of him. Not when she knew so many golden bridges to the future, each one better than the last: even he could not withstand fate. But Azriel...she watched his composed face as he flew her to the House of Wind, and knew that his feelings were...different. Complicated. And she rested her head on his shoulder, because she didn’t know what else to do for him. 
But no attention turned to them when they stepped into the dining room under the first stars of evening - bickering voices, angry spewing - Elain did not flinch from the noise as she took a seat beside Nesta with the half-eaten supper spread out in front of them. Her fingers inched towards the pork roasted with onions and apples, already hungry again. 
“It’s just an excuse,” Cassian was blustering with a snarl. Azriel, in contrast, was cool beside him. Elain kept her eyes away from the platter of potatoes being nudged in her direction by a shadow. “He wants to gloat.” 
“Be that as it may,” Rhys drawed. “There’s no real reason to refuse him. If he wants to gloat, he can gloat to Kier all he likes. We don’t have to stay for the entire visit.” 
“He’s going to figure out sooner or later why we’re almost never at the Hewn City,” Feyre said. Nyx was sleeping in her arms, one fist clutching a fistful of her hair. “I wouldn’t put it past Kier to drop hints as to why.” 
Mor grunted in agreement, slouched in her chair with an empty glass of wine in her hand. 
“Who are we talking about?” Elain leaned closer to Nesta to ask, and Nesta whispered back,
“Eris. He’s requested a formal meeting with the Night Court.” 
“Ah.” 
“It’s to honor alliances.” Rhys’s eyes were on Elain as she sliced into her serving of pork. “Or so he says. He wishes as well to...thank us for our friendship.”
“Friendship is a stretch,” Cassian said nastily. 
“But what’s the harm of it?” Elain asked. Everyone was looking her way, as if bemused that she was there - too distracted to have noticed when they entered - or confused as to why she was asking questions. Deep, hidden fury snarled at that, but she stamped it down to keep her expression as ordinary as Azriel’s. 
“The harm,” Cassian said in a slow voice. “Is that Eris is a scheming prick, and nothing he does is without reason.” 
“That doesn’t mean he can’t have his uses,” Rhys pointed out, fingering the base of his own wineglass. 
“He’s High Lord, now,” Mor said. Her eyes flicked to Rhys. “High Lords can’t be used in the same way their sons can.” 
“Or butchered.” Cassian’s teeth gleamed, and Elain shivered. 
“Oh, he could certainly be butchered, if we put our minds to it,” Rhys said. Glancing back at Mor. “It could be an inconvenience, but we’d manage.” 
A small clearing of a throat - Elain was surprised to see Amren leaning forward, her grey eyes sharp like a hawk as she looked down the table - at Rhys, at Mor, at Cassian. Deep emotion was hidden on her face, but her jaw was set.
“If I may offer an alternative perspective,” she said. 
Rhys inclined his head. 
“No one here has ever forgiven anyone,” Amren said, and the words fell like stones from a great height, clattering around them and making them flinch. “None of you. You all feel the bitterness and resentment and hatred living inside of you.” 
Cassian bore his teeth, clearly unhappy by this - but it was Feyre that was staring at Amren as if she’d been slapped across the face. Elain felt a wrench in her chest, unhappy memories and pain shimmering around her, escaped from where she’d put them to rest long ago - 
“The people you hate don’t feel it,” Amren went on coolly. “Just you. No matter how much you feel they deserve your hate - and I’ll be the last to say we should welcome Eris with love and open arms - he’ll never feel even a sliver of what rages inside of you.” This for Mor, for Cassian - even for Azriel, whose expression gave nothing away. “So what’s the point?” Amren settled back in her chair. 
And Elain knew that what she had said was...true. 
“Rich words for someone who simply outlives everyone she hates,” Rhys drawled. But in his eyes Elain thought she saw a deepening discomfort. An unwillingness. Everyone had stopped eating, and her stomach churned with nausea and hunger and illness. 
“Wise words for someone who outlives everyone she hates,” Amren clarified with a smirk. “When those people die - my hate doesn't die with them. It lives in me as long as I let it. Let it devour me, while they rest. Is that what you want?” 
Rhys had the courtesy to look abashed. 
“I can make Eris feel my rage,” Cassian vowed, fingers curling into a fist as his scarlet Siphon gleamed. 
“It wouldn’t be enough,” Amren said. “Nothing is enough because you can never force him to truly understand how you feel. Feelings don’t jump from body to body, you brute.” 
“You’re right,” Elain said.
Amren’s surprise was enough to screech the disagreement with Cassian to a halt. Elain swallowed, knitting her shaking hands together in her skirt beneath the table - and as if in response, a cool, slithering sensation curled around her hands, stroking them. 
“It’s easy to hate,” Elain added. She ignored the burn in her cheeks. “And sometimes...very hard to love.” 
Nesta ducked her head. 
“It would be difficult to mend things,” Elain said to Rhys. His gaze had turned contemplative, and next to him...she’d swear Feyre was blinking away tears, her face turned to her sleeping son to hide her expression. “To... forgive. To apologize. To accept that...that your feelings are entirely a product of your own making. It’s difficult to peer inside yourself and to fix that, too.” She swallowed. She couldn’t look at Azriel, not without letting out the tears that threatened to fall.
But it was Azriel’s voice that answered hers: “So - is it more difficult to live centuries with hate or to make the effort to heal?” 
“You’ll have to ask Amren that,” Elain told him. His eyes were glowing, so full of...of love that she wondered if the others would see it physically shining between them. “I haven’t lived for centuries, you see.” 
Azriel’s smile was lopsided but so, so warm and beautiful -  
“That’s a question each of you has to answer for yourself.” Amren drained her wineglass. “I’ve been around a long time. Sometimes listening to your petty hate and grudges gets tiring. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with them inside of me.” 
“I think a more tactful way of expressing that,” Elain said, offering Amren a sly smile, which the female returned in a toothy grin of her own. “Is that you can each choose which difficulty you live with. The hatred eating away at you, or the effort of moving past it.” 
A warm hand covered hers - Elain jolted, surprised to see Nesta’s shining eyes boring into her. Tears - Nesta had tears in her eyes - 
“You are so wise,” Nesta murmured. Just for her - the others were muttering amongst themselves. “When did you become a philosopher?”
“Never, because I’m not one,” Elain said gently, patting her sister’s hand. 
“It’s a gift to be able to learn such things.” 
Yet another gift, Elain thought with some exasperation. “If you call it a gift to see the darkest, ugliest parts of yourself and others,” she said aloud. 
“It’s a gift to see it and for your heart to remain true.” Nesta said the words in her usual steely tone. Elain merely inclined her head in a motion of agreement, eyes flickering across the table as she saw Feyre slip into the darkness - Nyx now slept in his father’s arms, Rhys’s face giving nothing away. 
Oh, Feyre…
“Your supper is getting cold.”
Elain felt Nesta’s hand move away, her sister’s narrowed gaze on her face. But she merely smiled a meaningless smile, and picked up her fork and knife again. 
It was Azriel’s eyes on her that truly meant something - the discussion of Eris and what to do had taken on softer notes, at least. And when she dared, she glanced across the table at her lover, and wished she could drown in the agonized devotion hidden beneath his cool facade. 
⚘ ⚘ ⚘
“You were thinking of Graysen.” 
Azriel’s voice was low in her ear, warming the skin around it as they flew over Velaris in the shroud of night. Stars spun endlessly above, the summer breeze cool rather than oppressive at this hour. Elain was still thinking of the second helping of dessert she hadn’t had, and regretting it - but she turned to gaze up at his face, shivering at the thundering flap of his wings. 
“Yes,” she said. “I was.” 
“You don’t hate him?”
An odd question. She frowned. “No. Why would I want to live with that?” 
Azriel gave a shrug - as much of a shrug as he could give with her in his arms. “Maybe he doesn’t deserve forgiveness for what he did.” 
“That’s not my judgement to make,” Elain said gently. Stroking the soft, black hair around his ears. Rounded, as hers used to be. “But I can say that I will not live with resentment and anger burning in my heart. I deserve to live how I so choose.” 
His eyes - dark in the night - glimmered with the reflection of the lights of Velaris below them. They turned his eyes utterly, completely gold, molten and warm as they flicked over her face as if to read her. Not that Azriel had ever not read her well - whatever he was sensing, she trusted him with. 
“You have the best heart I have ever encountered in all my years of existence,” he said quietly. “I...I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that humans have more to teach the Fae than the Fae are willing to admit.” 
The townhouse was rapidly approaching. Elain tightened her arms around Azriel’s neck, breathing in the night mist of his fragrant skin, savoring the vibrating hum in his throat in pleasure. The need that throbbed inside of her day and night lifted its head, as if to sniff around...and it purred; purred that Azriel was there, that the day was over, and she was his and he was hers…
He carried her to her bedroom, but after settling her gently on his feet Azriel stroked her cheek with a knuckle, smiling as he murmured, “I’ll be right back,” before disappearing into the shadows. 
Elain let the silence settle around her, putting away her slippers and unbuttoning her dress alone. She could have waited for him...Azriel would always help her undress, she knew - but it was feeling tight around her stomach, and shucking off the layers of tulle and silk made it so much easier to breathe. The corset she wore underneath was strained, and she hadn’t even tied it as tightly as she used to…
She slipped into a nightgown of ivory and a robe of dark blue, trimmed with lace. Both were new: looser around the stomach than she usually bought, and the nightgown was slitted daringly up each side so that when she walked, tantalizing glimpses of her calves and thighs could be seen. 
Elain had absolutely been thinking of Azriel when she’d bought it. 
At the mirror she stood, removing the rose-gold earrings from her ears before pulling pins from her curls. And then her breath caught - he was back, though he hadn’t made a noise. 
A clatter drew her attention - Azriel was staring at her, even stooping at the table in front of the banked fire as he was. Setting down a plate filled with scones and little cakes. His eyes smouldered as he looked her up and down. Elain bit down on her bottom lip to keep a whimper from escaping. 
“You were still hungry when we left,” he said in a strained voice. “So I thought…”
“Thank you, Az,” Elain told him with a smile. Winced as she got out the final pin, and a strand of brown-gold hair with it plucked from her scalp. Immediately he was at her side, wings flared sightly as he took the pin from her fingers, his warm grip around her hand matching his warm lips pressed to her hair. Her eyes closed, her smile broadening. 
“May I?” Azriel nodded towards the silver comb on the table. She nodded. 
His motions were methodical, his fingers untangling her curls to draw the comb carefully through. Elain shivered at each tug, goosebumps breaking out across her scalp to travel down her body like a bucket of warm water. This was bliss: his soft, even breathing; his large presence that spoke safety and care to her very soul. 
Though it was difficult, she forced open her eyes - to gaze into the mirror, to see Azriel’s face behind her. His brow was pinched in concentration, but otherwise he seemed as content as she felt. As if nothing mattered beyond this moment. 
Eris was long forgotten, as were the others. 
“How am I doing?” His lips lifted, ever so slightly, as he met her eyes in the mirror. Burned into hers, and she shivered again. 
“Perfect,” Elain told him. “You could put me to sleep like this.”
“Do you want me to?” 
“No.” What she did want must have shone in her tone - or her stance, or her scent - because Azriel showed his teeth to her in a grin, chuckling in his deep voice. 
“I love watching you in the mirror,” Elain said. He glanced at her again, still smiling. “You...you look at me like you see me.” 
“Of course I see you,” Azriel said dryly, lifting his brows as amusement gilded his voice. “You’re right here.” 
“Not just see. See.” She rubbed her arms with her hands - her very skin was alive with him so close behind her, but the shivering was making her think she was cold, though she truly wasn’t. “You aren’t just looking,” Elain said. “You see me.” 
Azriel was quiet. Her hair was perfectly smooth and untangled, now, and he silently put the comb aside. Gathered up her curls to twist around a single finger, his eyes never leaving hers as he wrapped her hair into a twisted mass that he lifted to his face, and buried his nose into. Elain’s breath caught as his eyes closed, a low growl reverberating from him and into the deepest parts of her. 
“Az,” she whispered, shuddering on the syllable as he opened his eyes again, predatory focus on her in the mirror. “You - you once said...long ago, that if I...if I…” And she swallowed, pressing herself back against him as another growl ripped from his throat. Azriel let go of her hair at once, the strands falling over his shoulder as he leaned forward to sink his teeth into her neck. Elain’s head fell back, a moan rasping out of her throat. 
“Is this what you want?” 
In the mirror, his gaze fastened onto hers, holding her captive. Over where he’d bitten, Azriel swiped his tongue. Lazily, carelessly at first - then gentle, tracing from the base of her throat all the way to her ear. Elain could feel him behind her - his chest against her back, his legs against hers; strong and immovable - and she could feel his arousal, too. A deep breath in - she smelled his need for her in the way pine and cedar could be chock full of warm spice. 
“Yes,” Elain said. 
His scarred fingers trailed over her shoulder, over her throat - wrapped just slightly as he made that path with his tongue again. She was quivering, barely able to keep herself standing when he was doing this to her - her head lolled, giving him more access to worship with his mouth as he groaned. His other hand...oh, Cauldron, it was skating down her thigh to disappear between the folds of her robe. Rucking up the silk skirt of her nightgown, his teeth nibbling gently, enticingly on her ear - Elain moaned as he rubbed himself against her, wanting him, needing him inside of her right now - 
“Please,” she hissed out, reaching back to grasp the ends of his hair, tugging as he snarled, rubbing between her legs as she writhed, she cried out - “Please, Az - please - ”
His patience snapped. Azriel tore their bodies apart, pulling up her nightgown with both hands now, breathing like an animal as his hungry eyes devoured the sight of her in the mirror - Elain shrugged the robe from her shoulders, exposing her breasts to him - 
“I don’t have enough hands,” he said in a snappish voice. “Cauldron - I can’t touch you enough - ” 
And he ripped at the laces of his trousers as she trembled, falling forward with her palms on the edge of the vanity. One breath in, one breath out - only a moment more and he’d calm that blazing fire, the all-consuming desire that singed in her veins, spreading through her bones - 
He pushed against her entrance, and Elain bit down so hard on her lip she wondered if it would bleed - without waiting she sunk back against him, something primal in her utterly delighted to hear his ravaged groan behind her as he was fully inside of her. Azriel spanned her hips with his hands, holding her steady as he thrust slowly, letting her adjust - but Elain didn’t want that, she needed more - 
“More,” she said. 
Her voice was barely hers - she stared into the mirror, meeting his eyes - his expression was so beautiful, so still and controlled even as his fingers dug into her flesh. Her elbows trembled with effort to keep from falling, from letting him simply unravel her as she went limp - and their gazes held as Azriel grinned a dark grin that promised such untold desires...he entered her again and again, and Elain watched him as long as she could before the pleasure rolled her eyes back in her head, back arching as he stroked that part inside of her over and over again; relentless, solid steel - 
Her climax began in the freezing of time - a breath caught in her throat, the world gone still and quiet - and then Azriel hoisted her up so that her back was against his chest, feeling the steady thunder of his heart against hers as his hands held her breasts. Squeezing, his breath ragged in her ear - still he thrust into her - time began again at the first aching cry that came out of her, his name on her tongue and he was everywhere - around and inside of her - 
“Again,” Azriel snarled, and the dominance in his voice was irrefutable - Elain gasped, wanting to touch him, to hold him - his hair slid through her fingers like silk, his lips so gentle against her neck, a contrast to how he was touching her everywhere else. “Again.” 
One of his hands dipped between her legs where they were joined, stroking furiously and so perfectly, like he could play her body as well as he could wield Truth-Teller - she was coming on him within moments, his delicious, broken groans taking her higher, tumbling her down further - 
She was limp in his arms. When she opened her eyes again, dazed and heavy, his expression remained predatory. Though he was so, so achingly sweet as he slipped out of her, steadying her with his hands on her waist as the skirts of her robe and nightgown fell back to the ground. 
“You - you didn’t - ” Elain panted, ignoring the welling hunger in her stomach for those scones. Azriel jerked his head in a nod, as if he couldn’t tear his eyes away from her in the mirror - 
She turned around to face him. Immediately his fingers were on the ties at the collar of his shirt, staring into her face as she yanked free the knot on her robe. It fell to the ground, and her nightgown she tore over her head. He cursed in a weak voice, staring her up and down, but Elain merely slipped her fingers into the waistband of his pants, pushing them all the way down as he stepped backwards, tumbling awkwardly on the bed as his wings splayed out to catch him. 
Her lips crashed to his as she tugged his shirt off of his shoulders, tossing it behind them. Azriel gripped her by the waist as he tried to move them back, more centered on the bed where they wouldn’t fall off - Elain laughed, her tongue in his mouth, trying to drink him up -
He watched her with soft, hooded eyes as she rode him. Gold and blue and green flecks, all pretty and glowing in the faelights while Elain traced over him, memorizing him beneath her fingertips. The planes of his stomach, his chest - the whorls of beautiful black that she loved so much - over his taut, rippling shoulders and down the muscles of his arms, flexing as he held onto her waist. She felt drunk on Azriel; on his smell and feel and beauty - on his grin, as he devoured the very sight of her. His fingers came up to trace her sensitive nipples, soft enough to rile her up.
“Don’t make me go for your wings,” Elain teased, out of breath - and his responding laugh filled her soul like a crest of warm light. 
They climaxed together; after she leaned over to kiss him and kiss him and kiss him - pouring her love into him and him pouring his love into her as their breath mingled sweetly between them. Watching Azriel, the face he showed her and no one else - his release tightened his expression, head thrown back and forehead glistening - he was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful - Elain scarcely noticed the climax that went through her like wildfire as he lifted her hips to pound into her -
For several minutes afterwards, he held her. Held her and kissed her, pushing her hair back behind her ear, whispering his love in the shadows as she absently traced the tendons of his wing slung over her. 
“Food,” Azriel murmured after a while. “You need food.” 
It was a perfect evening, she thought drowsily to herself. Hours later, when she was satiated and lulled in every way possible, their skin washed clean of sweat in a bath that had ended with her spread on the carpet for him to pleasure her with his head between her legs. It must have been two in the morning by the time they drifted to sleep. 
“And water.”
“And water.” His smile flashed white teeth and mirth, and something surged in her - Elain grasped his face and brought it back to hers for a bruising, perfect kiss - 
It was perfect, Elain thought before she began to dream - and she rested her hand over Azriel’s, splayed on her belly as if to protect their daughter even in his sleep. 
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fawnandshadows · 18 hours ago
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25 Days of Elriel — Day 2
Snowed In
Warnings: None
Word Count: 2k
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“Truth or Dare?” Elain asked skeptically as she entered the room with a tray full of steaming cups of hot chocolate. Her fingers white-knuckled the silver tray as she bent down to where Azriel was sitting and offered him a mug, his hazel eyes never left her face as he accepted her offering — Every instinct in him wanted to take the tray from Elain, tell her to sit down, and let everyone else serve themselves, but he didn’t. Elain was kind and giving and got pleasure out of serving her friends and family — Azriel just wished that they appreciated it more.
The snow was coming down too heavily in Velaris to do anything that wasn't sit inside and entertain themselves, and while Elain had been busy preparing drinks for everyone Nesta had suggested a game of truth or dare.
Elain gave him a shy smile. One that spoke of secrets and stolen glances, and the smile faded as quickly as it appeared.
They had been seeing each other in secret for almost two months now, and somehow no one had managed to find out about it. She muttered a quick ‘you’re welcome’ to his ‘thank you’ and moved to offer a hot chocolate to Cassian. “We haven’t played that in forever, Nesta.”
“Don’t be a bore,” Nesta said and grabbed one of the mugs from the tray. She was sitting curled on the couch next to Cassian, somehow Cassian had managed to convince her to wear the matching pajamas he got them for the Solstice. “Truth or Dare was how I got you to kiss Graysen for the first time.”
“I remember.” Elain said with a blush. A bore? Was that how Nesta saw her?
“I think it will be fun,” Feyre said and she walked over with Nyx placed on her hip. Nyx grabbed his small mug, the one with two batwing handles, and almost knocked over the rest of the tray. Her sister grabbed hers with a smile. “I never got to play as a child.”
“Oh,” Elain said breathlessly, it was nothing more than a little puff of air that flowed through her lips as the crushing feeling of guilt set in. Even though she knew Feyre didn’t intend for it, but the reminder of what Feyre had sacrificed as a child outweighed whatever trepidation she was feeling. “I’ll play if everyone else wants to.”
Azriel came up to her, took the tray, and shoved it not so gently into Rhysands chest. Apparently succumbing to his gentlemanly instincts. The High Lord had just crawled out of his office, most likely because of whatever conversation he was having mind-to-mind with his mate.
The shadowsinger smiled at Elain kindly and said, “Would you rather do something else? I know there is a pie recipe that you’ve been wanting to try out. I could help you — if you’d like.” His hazel eyes warmed as they settled on the face of his beloved. Her plump cheeks were perpetually pink ever since the first time he kissed her — In the middle of the night after he had just come home from a mission in the Winter Court. Elain had been waiting up for him, worried and anxious when he appeared five hours later than he was supposed to, and handed him a cup of peppermint tea and biscuits as soon as he winnowed in. They stayed up all night catching up about his mission and when they said goodnight Azriel leaned down and kissed her. It was so natural that he hadn’t even thought to stop it, and as soon as they parted he apologized profusely and got cut off with another kiss.
“I really think we should all play.” Rhysand said loudly, looking at them in a way that caused Azriel’s lips to curl around his teeth.
Elain looked at her secret boyfriend and said, “Thank you for offering, but it might be fun to play.” She hoped he didn’t hear the distaste that coated her voice, but he probably did. He heard everything. As a child the other girls would always dare her to do stuff she didn’t want to: ask the Old Baker for a loaf of bread because they knew he never said no to her face, but as she got older he had asked her for something in return, and she ran away crying. Elain knew, logically, that nothing like that was going to happen again, but that feeling of being fifteen years old and being leered at lavaciously by a gross, sweaty old man still hung around her. They never went back to that shop again.
In his hazel eyes she saw his understanding and concern shimmering, and she quickly looked away. She grabbed the last mug of chocolate from the tray that had been discarded on the table, and sat on the floor facing the circle table in the middle of the room, and not two seconds later Azriel sat next to her. His pinky brushed hers from where their hands rested between their bodies.
“Is this a team game?” Rhysand asked, eyeing where their hands met. “Maybe we should play brothers verses sisters?”
“Don’t be silly,” Nesta scrunched her face at him, and gracefully sat on the other side of Azriel. “Actually, it’ll work better if we sit boy-girl.”
Cassian and Feyre followed in suit, and then Rhysand begrudgingly plopped himself down next to Elain. His eyes shifted from where the Shadowsinger and the Seer’s pinkys were pressed together to his son, the lone silhouette above them on the couch, his pajama clad legs swinging back and forth, a whipped cream mustache on his lips as he clutched his hot chocolate.
“I’ll go first,” Nesta’s icy eyes gazed around the circle like a predator choosing its prey, and her smile turned feral as they landed on Rhysand. “Alright, Rhysand, truth or dare.”
Violet eyes looked at her inquisitively, trying to gauge which choice would result in the least amount of damage possible before saying, “Truth.”
A long finger tapped on her chin as Nesta asked, “How long does it take you to primp on an average day?”
“About an hour and a half.” Rhysand huffed and rolled his eyes, but Nesta's penetrating glare stayed on him and the entire circle watched as he admitted, “Ok, more like an hour and a forty-five minutes.”
“Honestly, I’m surprised it’s that short.” Nesta cackled and prompted him to go next.
Rhys looked around his family, silently debating who he wanted to pick on, before turning to his mate.
“Feyre Darling,” He purred, and Elain felt a giant weight light off of her chest. She was half convinced he was going to confront her and Azriel right then and there. “Truth or dare?”
“Dare!” Feyre exclaimed. She set her mug on the table, chocolate sloshing over the side, and was practically vibrating with excitement.
From his perch on the couch Nyx was chanting “Dare! Dare! Dare!” His black hair bouncing around his face, and his fleshy cheeks were two round balls on his face from his wide smile.
A huge grin appeared on Rhysand’s face as he took in his mate and his child, and Elain had the distinct impression that he was thinking about how lucky he was.
“I dare you,” He said and trailed off, his hand coming up to rub his chin. “I dare you to kiss the most handsome man in the room.” Rhys smirked with satisfaction even though his dare was met with a resounding rejection of boos.
“Alright,” Feyre said and sprang to her feet. She walked away from Rhysand and playfully swiveled around Cassian as her mate jokingly glared at her, and Feyre made her way over to Azriel and was about to lean down to kiss his cheek when she wrapped her arms around her son and planted smacking kisses on his chubby, sticky cheek.
Nyx’s high-pitched giggles filled the air, and he let out random shrieking syllables as his mother smothered him with love, his little onesie clad feet kicking wildly. His pudgy fingers managed to stay locked onto the batwing-handles of his mug and not spill anything despite how he thrashed and fidgeted.
With one last loud kiss Feyre pulled away, her face merry and bright with love, and returned to her seat next to Rhysand on the floor, but this time the High Lord held one arm up and the High Lady crawled into it, worming as closely to her mate as possible.
Elain felt a long, hollow ache fill her chest.
All she wanted was to have that casual affection with the male next to her, but she couldn’t, so she just wrapped her pinky around his. The rough, scarred digit tightened around her own before pulling away and Elain knew that he was experiencing the same thing.
“Someone else go.” Feyre said as she nuzzled into Rhysand’s neck.
“Oh, I have one for Az!” Cassian exclaimed and took a large drink of hot chocolate. “Tell us about the girl you’ve been seeing.” Apparently Azriel didn’t have the luxury of choosing truth or dare.
If Cassian didn’t have all five heads already looking at him, then the rest of the group would be experiencing an intense case of whiplash. Elain felt her eyes start to go cloudy as her heart worked overtime, and her brain had gone completely still. She held her breath.
“What?” Nesta and Rhys said at the same time; Hers was a waspish shrill, and his was a deadly command.
Feyre sat there watching them all with a secret smile.
“He,” Cassian leaned over and ruffled Azriel’s inky hair. “Has a little girlfriend that he won’t talk about,” Azriel swatted his hand away, his face burning red and he leaned closer to Elain to get free of his brother's teasing. His face coming close enough to hers that she could feel his humid breath on her face, so close that the air grew heavy between their skin. “So, I dare Azriel to tell us about her.”
“If,” Elain said in a clear and confident voice, attracting all the attention away from Azriel. “If Azriel doesn’t want to talk about her, then he doesn’t have to.”
She felt the lightest brush of a pinky against hers.
“She,” Azriel said in a thick voice. “Is the most beautiful girl in the world.”
“Lame.” Cassian said and leaned back, his wing almost knocking over Rhsysand’s hot chocolate. Despite Cassian’s disappointment in Azriel’s confession Elain felt her heart start to sputter.
“Is it Gwyn?” Nesta asked sharply and pointed a finger at him. “You know she has a crush on you.”
“It’s not Gwyn.” Azriel said in a clipped voice. He came dangerously close to glaring at the oldest Archeron sister.
“It’s Lain!” A tiny voice piped up from the couch.
Nyx sat there, his limbs limp and dangly, with dried, brown hot chocolate residue caked onto his chubby cheeks. His eyes were glazed over just a little, and Elain realized that her nephew must have downed the rest of his drink after Feyre’s display of affection. He was drunk off of sugar.
“Lain and Azth kiss in the kitchen! I’ve seent it,” All eyes swiveled towards them. “Ma did too.” All eyes swiveled towards Feyre, who was grinning uncontrollably as if she she was the bat that ate the canary.
Out of all the possible ways for them to have been exposed Elain didn’t think it would be from Nyx, who was staring at his family with heavy eyelids and a dopey grin.
Cassian was the first one to break the silence — He launched himself across the table and wrapped two large arms around his brother and almost-sister-in-law, a choked sound of excitement came from deep inside Cassian's chest. Azriel and Elain almost toppled over from the force of his hug.
“Since when?” Nesta asked, her voice somewhere between pleased and curious.
“A while.” Elain responded and threaded her fingers through Azriel’s, who looked at them with delight.
While he was busy looking at their hands something lightweight hit him directly in the chest, whipping him out of his stupor. Azriel looked down to see a sprig of mistletoe laying on his leg.
“Just kiss her.” Rhysand grumbled, and Feyre gave him a loving jab to the gut.
Elain tilted her head up to Azriel, her eyes warm, molten honey, with a lightness to her expression that Azriel had never seen before. The happiness on her lips created a gravity that was magnificently alluring, and he didn’t even realize that he bent his head to kiss her until Cassian’s loud wolf-whistle filled the air, but it soon faded as Elain’s lips moved against his.
A glowing, golden, lovely feeling filled his heart and rushed through his veins.
His hand reached up to cup Elain’s face, and he tried to deepen their kiss, but it was impossible — They were both grinning too broadly.
--
tagging: @thefangirlofhp @tswaney17 @impossiblescissorspeachpaper @jujugirlfrombookstore
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thegirleatbooks · 2 days ago
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I found this in twitter 🤣💖
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🕯 🕯
🕯 elain 🕯
🕯 💕 🦇🌸 💕 🕯
🕯 azriel 🕯
🕯 🕯
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cassianfanclub · 2 days ago
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Lol all of Gwynriel's dialogue takes place in ONE chapter is ACOSF. I don't know how people can't see that they aren't going to happen
When I first read this I was convinced this wasn’t accurate. But I just looked in my book and their first and last line of dialogue is in chapter 60. And it all involved training.
I fully believe people should ship whomever they want to ship. But holy crap, people are SUPER confident that Az and Gw*n are going to happen even though there’s only one chapter and part of a limited bonus chapter to base that ship off of. Elain and Lucien didn’t even talk in ACOSF, so I guess the have them beat at least.
And then there’s Az and Elain who have 3.5 books worth of dialogue, interactions, and foreshadowing.
When SJM said she thought it was obvious who the next book is about, she was correct. It is obvious.
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foxybananaaaz · a day ago
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The Failed Resistance
{Part One? Prologue?}
Summary :: Elain finds herself once again in the Human Lands.
Pairing :: Elain x Lucien
(Pretend you don’t see the names from Outlander opening credit okay? okay Cause this is the perfect gif)
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There she stood, looking up at the house, that, admittedly, was much larger than she had allowed herself to imagine. Not that she had allowed herself to imagine this house much, or at all.
She had wanted to get back to the human lands, yes, but this was not what she had had in mind. She had also hoped in some way her sisters would join her, and that the past few years would have never happened. As if it were all a simple dream. But each morning she wakes up, and each morning her life reveals to hear she is still Fae, and the past few years are indeed, not a dream.
It took her many minutes after the humans disappeared inside, and the red haired fae male followed, carrying her luggage, a as well as many minutes after her younger sister had given her a solem glance as if to say she was sorry, before winnowing out herself, that the female stood there alone, once again in the human lands.
This was a place she only hoped to come back to, but now felt a sense of unease, and an unwelcome air around her that kept her from moving, something almost having the faint hairs on her arms standing on edge, and she was sure it wasn’t the cool Autumn breeze.
The fae female instinctively moved her hair to cover her now pointed ears, as a human gardener came into view, remembering the fae legends she grew up hearing. She knew she didn’t need to, especially since a fae already lived here, but her last time in the human lands, her former fiancé, the way he reacted to her transformation, and then the legends she grew up with, she felt it best to hide the obvious evidence that she were fae.
She hadn’t realized how long she had been standing there alone, stuck, unable to move, due to the uneasy feeling, until the door to the house opened, and there he stood. The red haired fae male. The one who set off all different kinds of emotional responses in her at his presence, or words, or even-
“Elain?”
-when he spoke her name. The fae female, Elain Archeron looked to the ground in hopes to keep her visual reactions hidden as she felt her face heat up, as her fae mate spoke her name. She was not use to many aspects of her fae body, by choice, as she actively chose to keep as human a life as she could this whole time, and that meant distancing herself from her mate. Unfortunately distancing herself was no longer an option, and so she had to figure out how to live with the sensations, while fighting her fae instincts all at once, while getting the information needed.
“Sorry, yes, I’m coming.” Elain found, and walked inside, past Lucien, holding her breath, so she wouldn’t smell his heavenly scent, keeping her eyes off of him, and going as quickly as she could, walking into her new home for the next few months.
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Do I continue?
Would anyone even be interested to read more?
Would anyone even want to be tagged if I posted more?
This is just a quick Prologue I wrote, of an idea thats been floating around in my head, just to see if people would want to read it.
So let me know.
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nikethestatue · 6 hours ago
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Snowed In
(25 Days of Elriel Solstice)  Day II
Events take place two months after the infamous Solstice 
(Prequel to Of Fawns and Shadows)
Words: 4326
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It was a disaster.
Everything was a disaster.
The mission was a disaster. Elain’s inability to exercise her magic was a disaster. Azriel getting shot was a disaster. The two of them was a disaster.
Certainly not what Elain had expected when she offered to travel to the Human Lands, meet with Vassa and Jurian, and even endure an uncomfortable meeting with Lucien, if he was to be around. To her surprise, Rhysand agreed to send her, and she was pleased. She was pleased because it was going to be the first time she was going to be traveling on her own, on an official mission to the Human Lands, and as emissary of the Night Court. She was given a task, and she was going to accomplish it.
However, ‘alone’ quickly turned into ‘travel with an escort’. And the escort was none other than Azriel. The last person she wished to spend any time with, especially this close, and for the duration of her trip that was going to be at least a few days long. She was planning on three, maybe four days, but once she heard that he would be accompanying her, she figured that two days would have to do. If she didn’t spend too much time with him directly, if he lurked in the shadows as he was so want to do, if they didn’t need to communicate more than absolutely necessary, then maybe she could handle it. Maybe, she thought, as she packed her travel bag and Cerridwen arranged for dresses to be placed in waterproof bags and neatly folded in a flat carry-on, Azriel would stay true to himself and just not talk at all. He was excellent at that. Simply wonderful at leaving her standing there, anticipating his kiss and then telling her that she was a mistake.
“Does it have to be Azriel?” Elain asked Feyre, who was brushing her beautiful chestnut hair in front of a mirror.
“Who do you want it to be?” Feyre asked, confusion written on her face. “I thought you liked Azriel? What’s wrong?”
Elain shrugged, slipping a mask of indifference and calm on her face. Unlike Nesta, who never hid the disappointment or disdain that was written on her face, Elain preferred not to be so easily read by anyone.
“No, he is perfectly fine,” she assured Feyre smoothly. “I just thought that he had other business elsewhere. I did not want to pull him away from his duties…serving as a bodyguard.”
“He isn’t a bodyguard to you, Elain,” Feyre argued, rising from the couchette, her stomach round and prominent under the green velvet robe. “He’ll have other assignments that he would complete while you are in discussions with Vassa. It’s a good opportunity to kill a few birds with one stone.”
Elain only nodded.
Feyre scrutinized her further and then proceeded to explain,
“You know that Cassian can’t winnow. And I think that it would be prudent to have someone with you who is able to do that,”
“I thought it was difficult to winnow outside of Prythian,”
“Difficult, but not impossible. Rhys and Azriel are capable, should the need arise.”
Feyre came closer and took Elain’s hand in hers. “Thank you for doing this,” she said softly.
“Of course, it’s my pleasure.”
“You don’t have to, you know…”
“I am a member of this court, and I will do whatever is asked of me,” Elain retorted simply.
“Does he make you uncomfortable?”
“No, not at all,” Elain lied smoothly. “He is always a polite gentleman.”
“Gentlemale,” corrected her Feyre with a wink.
Elain gave an impatient little eye roll and walked away, offering a strained smile.
 Things were…tolerable.
They’d met in the foyer of the River Estate and stood in tense silence, waiting for Rhysand. Elain, dressed in along hooded jacket, with a thick, plush cashmere scarf around her neck. Azriel only inclined his head in greeting and remained still, dressed in a warmer version of his usual uniform.
“You’ll winnow to the border,” Rhys rattled on, as he handed Azriel a folder with documents, “and then Azriel will fly you to Vassa’s estate. He will be on different assignments while there, and here are the specifics of what I’d like accomplished while you are there,” he handed her another folder. Spoken like a true High Lord. Everyone had a use and were expected to do their part.
Azriel extended his big, scarred hand to her and she took it. It used to be that she loved those hands—she still did—and she wouldn’t have minded kissing them, wouldn’t have minded caressing them with her own, having them touch her body, those long, strong fingers on her lips, on her face. Yes, she would’ve loved all those things. But she was a mistake.
She’d never winnowed with Azriel before—or rather, shadow walked, since his winnowing was different from that of Feyre’s or Rhys’s. It was cool and dark between the shadows, the pockets of time and space opening up almost in slow motion, and Elain clutched his hand tighter, afraid to let go, terrified that he’d lose her and she’d wander in this darkness forever. But Azriel held firm, his hand gripping hers, holding her close to him, as they emerged from the shadows and he caught her in his arms. One, two…and his wings unfurled to their magnificent size, (something that Elain always marveled at) and then, they were airborne. He caught a stream of air, which propelled them forward and then adjusted, finding a smooth rhythm. If Elain had to admit, there was something vaguely sexual about flight. The steady beat of the wings, the slight push and pull of his body against hers, the hold of his arms over her back and knees. She’s only had sex once, with Graysen, and it was satisfactory enough, though nothing to be amazed at. She thought that perhaps, she’d be amazed, one day, by Azriel. Well, that wasn’t in the cards now.
 “You are bleeding!” Elain struggled against Azriel’s broad chest, wiggling in his arms and he grunted his displeasure,
Unlike his usual manner, he ordered through gritted teeth, “Stop moving,”
“Set us down!” she commanded.
The snow was coming down hard, affecting everything, including visibility and his laboured movements.
Things went well enough at Vassa’s, and Elain was relieved not to have met with Lucien, who was at Spring Court. Lucien never liked winter, having had little experience with it, and when the opportunity presented itself, he escaped to Spring. Not that Elain could blame him. Shivering in Azriel’s arms, her coat providing little warmth, even bundled up in a thick scarf—thanks to Cerridwen’s wise thinking—and a big fur hat, Elain was miserable. Though probably not as miserable as Azriel.
They were shot at right as they left Vassa’s territory behind and moved towards the vast forest that used to separate Human Lands from Prythian. Now that the Wall was gone, the forest still remained, serving as a demarcation line between the two realms.
The two of them were cordial throughout their three-day stay, appearing together at dinners and for breakfast, though they kept their interactions minimal and Elain attempted to spend most of her time with Vassa or in her rooms. Azriel did not seek her out and did not speak with her unless it was necessary.
The plan was the same as before—to fly to the border and then winnow back to the Night Court. And everything was going according to plan, minus the relentless snow that was falling in heaps around them, enrobing the world in unnatural stillness and quiet. So it was a shock when Azriel’s shadows suddenly went wild around them and then, to Elain’s horror, he buckled. A violent tremor went through his body and only by some miracle did he manage to hold on to her, gripping her painfully around the waist, pulling her instinctively against himself. Then…free fall.
She was too terrified to even scream.
And for those endless seconds when they tumbled down, down, down, only one thought crossed Elain’s mind. We didn’t have time.
They didn’t have time. To be. To be together. To love.
It was all somehow taken away from them—by the Cauldron, by their histories, by Rhysand. All that they wanted, everything that they secretly desired and hoped for was snatched away. And now, as she clutched at him in her desperation, Elain didn’t think of herself. Even as the treetops loomed beneath them, resembling spiers and spears, she didn’t think of her own death, of the pain that was surely coming once her spine was severed by a tree trunk. No. She thought of Azriel and how he never found his happiness. For whatever reason, the fate was cruel and unkind to him, and he never tasted the sweetness of love or affection, never got the chance to love another, and be loved in return.
She thought that perhaps, maybe, it was alright…Because at least, they’d die together. And his would be the last face she’d see. And that didn’t seem like the worst way to go.
She wrapped her arms around his neck as he fought to stay afloat, and tucked her face into his shoulder, breathing rapidly, breathing him in. The scent of him—the cedar and chilled air—always brought her comfort. The most familiar scent of all, for it was the one that she first learned and recognized once she became Fae. She could see that he was shot, probably with an arrow, though whatever it was, it went right though his wing, which now howled with a gaping tear in the membrane. Wind pushed right through it, tearing the wound even further, while another jolt rocked him, and Azriel cried out quietly.
“Oh Mother, oh Mother,” Elain couldn’t help herself, wailing in terror, hoping that the wounds weren’t mortal. “Set us down!” she begged, “Set us down. You need help,”
“Where the fuck are we setting down?” he grunted, almost angrily. His breathing came in heavy pants.
“You can’t fly!” she cried. “We need to patch you wing…where are you shot?”
“In the ass.”
“What?”
“Yeah. In the ass.”
Well, she guessed that it was better than some other parts of his body.
He winced, almost moaning.
As amusing as the ass wound was, Elain realized that it was not a laughing matter, and that he needed to get her off himself as soon as possible and have his injuries looked after.
Beneath them, nothing but a sea of trees. A dense forest, shrouded in snow. Light was diminishing minute by minute and both Elain and Azriel knew that they needed to make some decisions before the sun set.
She was thinking feverishly and then snapped her fingers, “Where are we?’
His brow furrowed and he reminded her dryly, “By the forest.”
“Thanks,” she rolled her eyes. “I gathered…How well do you know it?”
Crossly, he protested, “Elain, respectfully, I am not playing twenty questions with you now.”
She pursed her lips and even as her anger and annoyance rose inside of her, she pushed them down and said, her tone cool, but even, “You can keep your natural Fae rudeness to yourself. There is a reason why I am asking,”
He flushed, and muttered, “I am sorry.”
“I don’t care.”
Goodness, she was sounding like Nesta. It seemed that he thought the same, because even in his pain, he smirked.
She finally explained, “Gray…Graysen. My former fiancé Graysen,”
“I know who he is,” Azriel reminded her, annoyance lacing his voice, which she chose to ignore.
“He and his father Lord Nolan have a hunting cabin in the forest. It’s not terribly deep inside the forest, so I was thinking that if we are in the vicinity, we can stop there.”
Azriel glanced down at her and nodded, once.
‘It was north of their estate. North-east. I’d recognize it,” she said, “if we are closer to the ground. I’ve been there a couple of times.”
Darkness fell rapidly, long, deep shadows spreading out from the forest.
Both Elain’s and Azriel’s teeth were chattering from the cold.
He retracted the warming shield, in order to conserve energy and now cold wind whipped around them, as drifting snow iced their cheeks and all bits of exposed skin. They did not speak, as he descended lower and lower, but Elain threw half of her scarf around his neck, wrapping it around him, trying to keep him warm. Thankfully he was wearing gloves.
“There!” she pointed down, “by that meadow! Once we cross it, set us down and we’ll have to walk to the cabin.”
“We’ll have to walk through the forest,” Azriel noted, rather stupidly.
“Yes,” she said patiently.  “You can’t exactly fly in the forest.”
He hummed, and did not answer, though he listened and followed her direction.
By the time they crossed the meadow, it was almost dark.
Azriel banked and came to a halt just before slamming into a tree, his usual agility and grace completely destroyed by exhaustion and blood loss.
She caught him by the waist, and wrapped her arm around him, supporting him on his feet. His wings drooped limply and he attempted to lift them off the ground, but without success.
“Wait, wait,” he groaned, trying to catch his breath. “I…”
Elain cupped his cheek in her hand, her mitten covered in ice, and said, “We need to walk. Please, Azriel. I know you are hurt, but it’s not very far. If you don’t move, you’ll lose more strength.”
It was the first time she called him Azriel.
He glanced at her and took in the fear and worry that simmered in her chocolate-brown eyes. Her expression was pleading, full of concern, and he knew that it wasn’t for herself.
“The wings,” he grunted.
She scrambled and lifted the ends of the wings off the forest floor, grumbling under their weight, while still supporting him. “Come on,” she murmured softly, her tone gentler and kinder than before. Actually, a nicer tone than she employed for the past 2 months with him. “Come on.”
They trudged together, knee-deep in snow. Azriel allowed himself to wrap his arm around her shoulders, supporting himself on her, knowing that he was so terribly heavy, as she kept sinking into the snow the more he pressed his weight down on her. But his strength was waning rapidly and there was no alternative. He had to rely on her. She was quiet, steady, and did not complain or show any displeasure. Once in a while, she threw concerned looks at him, checking on the state of him.
The pain in his ass was intense, and he didn’t even want to think about what’s going to happen once they reach that blasted cabin and how’s he going to deal with it. Not to mention his wing. The wing throbbed and ached and hurt, but the fact that she was carrying part of it wasn’t exactly helping his overall state.
If they didn’t reach the cabin within the next 10-15 minutes, he was going to start worrying about hypothermia. Yet Elain went on, step by step, her arm wrapped tightly around him.
“Elain,” he began, but she shooshed him and said, ‘no talking’.
Then, in a few moments, she pointed ahead and said, ‘there it is!’.
To call it a cabin was generous. It was a little tiny hut. This fact that only filled Azriel with further dread, because it would be a tight fit there for the two of them.
‘Oh, it’s locked!’ she cried out in frustration, while she pushed at the door with her shoulder and frantically pulled on the handle. Azriel was too exhausted to even say anything, so he touched the knob and the door creaked open.
“You can do this?” she gasped.
“Spymaster,” he reminded her, and they entered the cold, dark space.
“Stay,” she commanded, as she bustled about and then there was a spark of light, the smell of smoke and in the next moment, she lit a candle, and then another, until finally, she found a lantern.
Azriel looked around and sighed.
There was a fireplace at least, in front of which Elain was currently crouching, stacking sticks and flint inside the hearth.
“I can,” he began, but she waved him off.
“Do you seriously think that I can’t light a fire?” she bristled.
“I didn’t mean,”
“None of you mean anything. It just comes out that way. Condescending. Who do you think cooked and cleaned when we lived in our less-than-glamourous hovel? You think the Little Folk came around and magically peeled the potatoes, boiled the water, ploughed the snow and dusted the floors?”
“Elain,” he felt himself blush, and became flustered, as he tried to explain, but she only shrugged indifferently, as she finally lit a small flame in the fireplace.
“Elain, Elain, Elain…I know,” she muttered, as she tore off her hat and tossed it on a wooden chair. “Stupid little Elain, the flower grower,”
He cut, “I never thought of you as stupid,”
“Well, congratulations!” she rose to her full height and unbuttoned her sodden coat. “You are the only one. Anyone ever thought that I liked flowers because they brought some beauty into my life? Cheap beauty? Anyone ever thought that between the snarling Nesta and the sullen Feyre always at each other’s throats I needed a tiny place to escape? That my little garden with its few flower bushes was just that escape? I couldn’t travel, I couldn’t even go to the fair, because it cost three coppers to get in…I couldn’t get new clothes, and a few ribbons for my hair was the only thing that I could get for my birthday? Yes, Azriel, stupid little Elain can chop wood and start a fire, and even rustle up something to eat for you…”
She came up to him, standing taller than she’d ever stood before and then, with noticeable aggression, she began unbuttoning and unlacing all the stays and clasps on his jacket. He stood still, shamefaced, silent. Blood slowly dripped down his thigh and seeped into the trousers.
“I don’t know how to undo these,” she admitted at last, once the jacket was off and she was faced with the slats on the back of his shirt.
“Just untie them and pull down,” he instructed. She did, and then said, “you can remove the shirt yourself. I’ll be right back…”
Before he could protest, she wrapped her scarf around her and stepped out of the cabin. She returned quickly, blowing on her frozen, red hands and set a bucket full of snow on the floor.
“Why are you still wearing your shirt?” she snapped at him, as she hung the bucket over the fire.
He sighed and asked quietly,
“Elain, can we talk?”
“We are talking, Azriel,” she reminded him, and then squatted in front of him.
He pressed himself into the wall and hissed, “What are you doing?”
“Helping you remove your boots, obviously,” she explained, and took his leg, pulling off the tall boot, utterly unbothered by her position or the task at hand.
“I am sorry,” he murmured, his voice quivering, broken.
“About what?” she wondered, “getting shot in the ass?”
“Everything,” he admitted.
She pulled one boot off and then started on the other.
“Too late, Azriel. I am sorry, but it’s too late,” she murmured, shaking her head sadly.
“But why?”
“Because I was a mistake,” she reminded him, and angrily tugged on the other boot, almost ripping it off his foot and making him stumble.
He reached for her, his scarred hand almost touching her head, but she pulled away and said, “No. Once we are back in Velaris, I am done. I am done with all of you. With Lucien. With you. I am done.”
Tears filled those beautiful dark eyes and she wiped them stubbornly, with a closed fist, like a child, and Azriel’s heart broke. It broke with her and for himself, and for all the mistakes that he’d made with her. He should’ve stood up to Rhys back at Solstice and told him to bud out, but he took an oath of loyalty and he was bound by it. And now,
And now Elain’s tears ran down her cheeks, and she wiped them off and he was forced to watch them streak down her lovely, flushed face. Made himself watch her tears, because he had caused them.
“Please don’t,” he pleaded.
She rose yet again and said,
“What? Don’t what? Give up on the poor lonesome shadowsinger?”
“That’s not fair,”
“Life is not fair, Azriel. Of all people, you should know that. Please go and lie down on the bed. I need to pull an arrow out of your behind.”
Frankly, Azriel forgot about the arrow which was embedded in his flesh. He even forgot about his wing. He didn’t notice hot blood which still trickled down his leg. Because his pain meant nothing when Elain was clearly aching, when he had caused her so much sorrow.
“It’s alright, I can,”
“What? You’ll pull an arrow out of your own ass?” she hissed impatiently. “Don’t be ridiculous. And don’t try my patience. I am tired and I am hungry and I want to be done with you so I can rest.”
Slowly, he made his way to the narrow bed, which obviously was never meant to house a huge Illyrian warrior or his wings. Obligingly, he lay down on his stomach knowing better than to argue with her. He’d have to explain. But later. He’d have to explain himself and all the whys and tell her how he felt about her. He would have to tell her that no bond in existence was more powerful than what he felt for her. No pull was stronger than his adoration of her.
The cabin finally began to warm up and Elain lit more candles, while she rummaged in the drawers and finally found some cloths and a knife.
“What’s the knife for?” he asked.
“Scared?” she played with the blade, weighing it in her palm.
“If you are going to end me, then end me with Truth-Teller at least,” he proposed.
She came to the bed and sat on the edge, telling him, “I have no desire to explain to Rhys why you are dead. So you live to see another day. I need to cut through your trousers.”
Azriel had imagined himself without pants in front of Elain Archeron before, more than once, was not in the way it was happening right now. Him tearing at her clothes and her impatiently ridding him off his trousers while locked in an embrace of passion and desire was more of how he thought it would happen. Not her slicing into his pants, then pulling them down to his thighs and finally, to his utter horror and embarrassment, sliding his underpants down as well.
And then he heard a ‘hmm’.
A judgmental sort of hum.
“Gods. What?” he groaned, burying his face in his arms.
“Nothing,” she said lightly.
Hmm. Again.
“If it’s nothing, then why are you making these noises?”
She lay her soft small palm on his buttock and he jerked, thrusting his hips into the mattress.
“You have a nice behind,” she then said evenly. Like they were discussing boiled beets. “It’s very…muscular.”
He chose not to respond.
After a pause, she said, “This may hurt.”
“It will definitely hurt,” he corrected.
Then he felt her hand close on the arrow, right at the entrance to the wound and her other hand pressed into his ass, as she gripped and then yanked, slowly, but firmly, her touch assured.
“Fuck, fuck,” he winced and moaned into the pillow, feeling the arrowhead travel upwards and widening the wound.
“Almost there,” Elain cooed softly, and then, with one tug, the arrow was removed.
He grunted and huffed with pain and relief, while she continued working on the injury, steadily wiping the blood with the wet cloth and then, after warning him, she pressed a whiskey-soaked rag into the wound. It stung and hurt, but after that, Elain placed her hands over his butt and stayed still.
“The healing touch is true then?” he wondered, feeling the pain ease and disappear slowly, but surely.
“So they say. I am not sure,” she admitted, “does it feel better?”
“Remarkably so!”
“Good.”
They stayed quiet for a while, her soft palms soothing his pain, resting on his behind, and he felt both stupid and self-conscious and mortified that this was what she was forced to do for him.
At last, he dared to pull his face out of his arms and looked around.
Behind the two windows, snow swirled and fell steadily, forming little mounds atop the sills. The fire crackled and crunched amidst the dry logs, and the cold and the damp of the cabin dissipated at last.
“Rest,” Elain said at last.
“I,”
“You will rest,” she wanted no argument. “We are completely snowed in. Until your wing heals, we won’t be able to leave here, because I am not stomping out of this forest again on my own two feet.”
“Thank you, Elain,” he said softly.
Something changed in her demeanor and she looked down at him. Was it pity in her eyes? Or just simple, tender care? Affection even?
He hoped it wasn’t pity.
Her knuckles brushed over the apple of his cheek and she said, “You are welcome. Rest. I will try to find something to eat. It might just be a jar of pickles.”
“Everything you make is good, Elain.”
He was feeling sleepy and warm, especially when she covered him with a blanket.
She smiled at that.
“You know, there is only one bed,” he pointed out the obvious.
“So I’ve noticed,” she muttered. “So I’ve noticed…”
  To Be Continued…
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thefangirlofhp · a day ago
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“Amusement dances like flames in her eyes and he has to withhold a smile that she incites in him. Everything about her captivates him endlessly— necessity is the mother of invention, and Elain Archeron's predicament has borne a person of might and majesty that he suspects never to tire of figuring out.
For every intention of hers he gets right, something blooms in him. When he expresses that sentiment —such an odd gesture in of itself; sharing his thoughts— she smiles almost mischievously and declares that the one garden her life's purpose will be to cultivate is one in his heart. This is expressed by the shadows, and the gleam in her eyes and her arms thrown out to the sides.
He laughs, she beams.
Lightheartedness is a beautiful melody, he has come to learn. Happiness, strange as it is, is a delightful stranger with a flute so clear.”
— From The Vault: your voice in spring, coming to your screens some time soon hopefully.
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seerandshadows · 2 days ago
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Elain was nervous. She didn't get nervous about many things, having learnt how to keep her composure at a young age, but nothing had prepared her for this. The fragile strings of her heart were being strung frantically. Her blood was racing, in time to the desynchronise tune her body was playing. Elain wanted to take a deep breath however she couldn't, without making her internel panicking obvious.
"Elain, all of these plans are lovely and so well thought out. I can't wait to see them come alive" Azriel's soothing voice seeped into her, calming her down. This was why she had been so nervous, no one had ever asked Elain about her gardening. When everyone had started to leave, she thought Az would as well. Instead he came over, sitting beside her. They had made small talk before he asked about her plans with the back gardens.
At first Elain was eager to share her details, Azriel did look interested, however as time went on the small voice in her head started to whisper its usual tauntings. Tauntings it had learnt from Mother. "What if he wasn't really interested but simply had asked to be polite?" "Surely someone like him, couldn't be interested in such a mundane activity" "Did Feyre or Rhys tell him to stay?" "Elain your talking too much, he won't speak to you again after this, no male likes a chatty woman"
Ignoring her inner musings, she looked up to return his gentle smile, "Thank you, Az. Though I probably have bored you by now." She chuckled awkwardly waiting to see what lie he would come up with to spare her sensitive feelings, instead he just blushed, "It wasn't...boring, fascinating actually watching you light up as each word left your lips." They both looked away, Elain wrung her fingers together, searching for anything else to talk to him about.
"Surely you have a hobby as well Azriel? Something your passionate about like I am with gardening? Something that makes you heart light up as well" Az stared intently at the fire before looking back towards her, "I suppose.. I suppose I love poetry"
This was a pleasant suprise to her, "Oh, me too. Father would have stacks of poetry books in his office, he introduced me too a few poets as well. I always found it fascinating how each poet had their own spin on certain concepts such as love"
The most beautiful smile bloomed on the shadowsinger's face, "Ahh yes, it is. Especially when it's based on their own experiences. I love reading a variety of poetry from across all courts, each poem is so vastly different from the other. One could talk about the pleasures of life whilst the other can talk about the peace in death. Over the years, I...have accumulated different poems, if you ever want to read them."
The last bit was said more shyly then the first. Az looked away again and she was pretty sure there was colour high in his cheeks. The strings of Elain's heart started to play another tune all together, she gently placed her hands on his, he looked back, the same Intensity in his eyes as before. She saw a question there, one only she had the answer too,
"I would love to read them, Azriel"
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daevastanner · a day ago
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TO WHOEVER FOLLOWED ME THANK YOH SO MUCH! IM AT 1K!
I’ll be prepping my Elucien novella for upload tonight and will do a live to celebrate!
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sydneymack · 18 hours ago
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ACOTAR Dust Jackets
Artist: @golden.rose.art / @goldenroseart
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fawnandshadows · 2 days ago
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You Painted Me Golden — Chapter 8
Summary: Elain enters her reputation era. This chapter includes: a ballroom, dancing, and roses.
Rating: 18+
Word Count: 8.8k
Warnings: Language and a smutty scene.
Chapter 8 — Dress
Our secret moments in your crowded room — They've got no idea about me and you
“I’ll die before I let him lay a finger on you.”
The words floated through the darkness, and it wasn’t long until the shadows at the edge of her bed cleared away to reveal Azriel. His arms crossed over his chest, his leathers taunt across his muscled body, and his wings pulled tightly into his back. There were only a few times that Elain had seen him so tense, and one of them was when his wings were shredded and she was in chains.
“I know,” Elain said with outstretched arms, her body not relaxing until Azriel had pulled her in close. Her knees teetering on the edge of the soft bed. “I just hate that there is another male who thinks they can claim me somehow. He can just state some archaic nonsense, some imbecilic ceremonial assertion — it’s bullshit. First the mating bond, and now this.”
Tears spilled down her cheeks and splashed off of his leathers.
His large hand came up and cupped the back of her head, gently massaging her scalp.
“I don’t want you to die, Azriel,” She muttered through her tears, a hiccup escaped her throat. “I just want to be with you.” Her chin wobbled and teeth rankled.
She sniffed and it pulverized his heart. The small sound left his heart beaten and tattered.
He cooed into her ear and held her tenderly to his chest. Azriel didn't know how to make the situation better, it wasn’t everyday he found himself with a sobbing Archeron sister in his arms, and he was deathly afraid he was going to screw it up and say the wrong thing.
So, he didn’t say anything. He just held her in his arms until her tears stopped.
Once her breathing gained some normalcy she looked up at him with wide, red rimmed eyes. Even with dried snot on her splotchy face she was still the most beautiful female he’d ever seen.
“This is the second night I’ve ruined,” Elain sniffled, her nose scrunched and she moved to remove her hair from its braided bun perched at the base of her neck, but Azriel stopped her. “I’m sorry.”
“Let me,” Azriel said. They shifted so that Elain was kneeling on the bed away from him, and Azriel started pulling out the pins in her hair. “You have nothing to apologize for Elain.” Her braid unfolded and it tumbled down the length of her back. Her pink flannel nightgown was a thin layer of protection against the bitter Illyrian cold, but at least a fire was roaring for her. His rough fingers gently tugged the cobalt ribbon that held her hair together. His heart lurched. Ever since they had started seeing each other Azriel noticed the little things Elain would do to represent him on her body: Illyrian braids decorated her hair, the pearl bracelet he got her was a staple in her wardrobe, and now a cobalt ribbon in her golden hair.
It gutted him.
“I’m not the easiest female to be with,” Elain said in an apologetic voice. Azriel slowly started untangling the braid and relished in the silkiness of her hair slipping through his calloused fingers. “I’m sure your life is stressful enough without my drama. There are,” She choked on the words. “There are countless other females that want you.”
“None of those females are you,” He said and watched a shiver move through her body. His finger gently rubbing her neck, his thumb going in soothing circles. “They don’t have kissable ears,” He placed a small kiss to the shell of her ear and felt a small twinge of satisfaction as it twitched, “They’ve never surprised me with a home cooked meal,” His hands moved to her shoulders, digging into the knots that had formed there. Her head rolled back, eyes closed, but a smile formed on her tear-stained face. “I certainly don’t dream about any of them.”
He leaned forward and planted a small kiss on her pert nose. Her eyes fluttered open, they were still red, but the sadness in them had fled.
She grabbed one of his hands and pressed a kiss to his palm.
“You really like my ears?” Elain asked, her finger skimming the length of her ears.
“They are endearing,” Azriel smiled at her. “They turn red when you blush, and I love how they stick out of your hair even though you try to hide them.”
“I hated them for the longest time,” Elain admitted, her eyes downcast but Azriel could tell she was blushing. Her ears gave her away. “They look so… not human. It took me a while before I could even look in the mirror after going into the Cauldron — all I could see were my ears. They just reminded me of how different I am — how I was forced to be something else. And they reminded me of Graysen’s rejection.”
Elain trailed the lines on the palm of his hand and fiddled with his fingers, with his free hand Azriel continued to massage her neck.
“Graysen,” Azriel started carefully. “Is the biggest bird-brained jackass I’ve ever met,” Elain blinked up at him, her mouth forming a small o. “The only reason I didn’t fly to him and pummel him into dust was because I knew it would upset you.”
A cheeky smile tugged on the corners of Elain’s lips.
“If you are trying to charm me,” Elain teased. “It’s working,” She took a breath before saying, “Thank you for always seeing me, and for not killing Graysen.”
A dark chuckle rippled through him.
“Mo chroí,” Azriel said, his voice light, “You said that like thinking of you is a hardship, and not my normal state of being.”
“What does that mean?” Elain asked, turning to face him fully. “Mo chroí?” Her mouth formed awkwardly around the unfamiliar words, testing out the sound and feel of them.
“My pointed-ear friend.” Azriel said quickly, his face dead-pan and emotionless. Inside his heart was pounding so loud he was surprised she didn’t hear it. He wondered how long it would take for her to ask what the Illyrian nickname he had given her was.
He felt lightheaded everytime he said it. At first it was just an accident, it had slipped out, and she didn’t even notice it. At least, he thought she didn’t notice it, but Elain noticed way more than anyone gave her credit for. Never, in his long, long life did Azriel ever think he would call somebody mo chroí.
My heart.
That’s what Elain was. She was his living, breathing, flesh and blood heart, and it fucking terrified him to realize that his heart was so thoroughly owned by somebody else — that his heart was somebody else.
“It does not,” Elain laughed, and gently pushed him. Azriel just smiled softly at her. “Will you stay with me tonight, please?” She asked quietly, her hand fiddling nervously with her night gown. Admittedly, it wasn’t the most attractive thing she owned. It was thick and flannel, it covered all of her skin, and wasn’t even fitted to her body, but Azriel still cherished seeing her in it. In fact, he liked it a little more than the little lacy things she would wear —This was something she picked out for herself, because she liked the color and it would keep her warm. It was a little peek into her mind.  “Just to hold me. I’m not in the mood to make love tonight,” Elain explained and stretched out her hands, palms up, offering him nothing. Her eyes looked nervous, as if she thought he would leave the second she turned him away from her bed. “I’m sorry.”
“Elain, don’t ever apologize for saying what you need,” Azriel said and captured her face in his hands. She immediately nuzzled into his palm. “I would be honored to spend the night,” his thumb rubbed soothingly back and forth on her plump cheek. “Anyway that you want me to.”
“Thank you,” Elain whispered with a brilliant smile. “I think I just need some cuddles tonight.”
“I’ll have to leave early though,” Azriel said as he remembered who they are, and where they were. “Just to be safe. My shadows will hide our scents, but I don’t want to put you in an awkward position.”
“You can sneak out when Nuala brings me my contraceptive tonic,” Elain suggested. On the 25th of every month one of her friends would take her up with the tonic, sweetened with peppermint to make it drinkable, and slices of toast. “She normally comes around 7:00.”
“So, right when Rhysand is in the middle of his morning primping. A perfect time to sneak out.”
Azriel delighted in the way Elain’s giggled shimmered in his ears.
He watched as Elain pulled back the dense comforter on the bed and climbed in, her large brown eyes peering over the edge of the blanket at him. Her eyes absorbed everything as he pulled his warm Illyrian pajamas from his shadows, and Azriel tried to not put on a show while he was changing, but he couldn’t help the way his wings flexed and stretched before her eyes. The damn appendages wanted to show off for her.
When he turned back to the bed, readying himself to climb in, Elain opened the blankets for him to huddle into.
The blankets were already soaked in her warmth and surrounded in jasmine.
“Have I ever told you,” Azriel said as he situated himself, trying to get comfortable. “That you smell amazing, like home.”
“Really?” Elain asked in surprise. She laid flat on her back and Azriel tried to find a way to cuddle her. It turned into an awkward jumble of limbs. He, with his wings, was a perpetual stomach sleeper, and she loved to wrap herself around him like a little weed; Her arms longed to circle his chest, and her legs wanted to tangle with his. The position they settled into was Azriel, on his stomach, but turned slightly towards the side with Elain resting underneath the heavy weight of his arm. And two of her legs surrounded the one closest to her. Their mouths and noses were perfectly aligned, and they both fell asleep with the others breath dancing across their faces.
There is an indentation in the shape of you —Made your mark on me, a golden tattoo
The room was soaked in gold as Elain woke up just after dawn. The blankets tangled between their feet from when they had been kicked off in the middle of the night, and her nightgown had ridden up to her hips exposing her tattoo to the early morning light. Her leg was brazenly wrapped Azriel’s hip; He had somehow managed to maneuver their positions so that he was on his stomach with his face tucked snuggly into her neck, the humidity of his breath leaving her skin sticky and damp. His wings were relaxed and fanned out completely, a sign of trust and comfort which he never felt when he visited Illyria, but it was how he felt when he slept next to Elain – blissfully, and unaware of the ghosts of his past that still haunted his homeland
A soft snore escaped his mouth and skated across her throat.
“Good morning.” Elain said softly, her fingers tangling in his hair, her nails gently scraping against his scalp. She placed a gentle kiss into the shell of his ear, silky strands of ebony caressed her face, but instead of waking up the Iyllrian warrior snuggled closer to her. He pressed his face deeder into the crevice of her neck, as if he could burrough himself deep enough into her and the blankets that the entire outside world would become obsolete. Elain had more than half a mind to indulge him, but their problems would still be there, nagging and mocking the little world they created together, so she whispered again, “Good morning, mo chroí.”
The words still felt awkward and unfamiliar on her tongue, but it was worth it to see Azriel raise his sleepy head and blink blearily at her. Sleep was heavy on his face, as if he had slipped into the deepest realm of sleep possible that no one had reached before. Hazel eyes were hidden behind half-drawn lids, and crease marks marred the right side of his face, and Elain delighted in the fact that even when they slept in the most innocent way possible his hair seemed to take on a life of its own. A small shadow dusted his chin.
“Good morning,” Azriel said, propped up on his arms so that his face was right above hers. Elain was suddenly very aware of her morning breath, and the fact that she hadn’t brushed her teeth yet. Rapidly, he blinked his eyes, as if he could brush away the clouds of sleep. “What time is it?”
“Just after dawn,” Elain said and settled her hand on the cozy warmth of his shoulder. Savoring the heat that he had worked up just by sleeping. “Nuala should be here with my tonic soon.”
Azriel nodded sleepily and leaned down to pepper lazy kisses on her face. Sleep still muddled his mind, so his lips were velvety and lingering and a little awkward — catching right under the eye and accidentally kissing eyelashes, the side of her nose that was dangerously close to nostril, and the little point of her chin — it was as if he wouldn’t be satisfied unless he had kissed every inch of her skin good morning. The slow drag of his lips and whiskers were absurdly drugging in a cocoon of flannel and early morning glow.
Elain secretly hoped that in his sleep-drunken-haze he would give in and kiss her lips.
He didn’t.
He looked at her with a silly, contented grin and said, “Good morning.”
“Good morning.” Elain said, a sunny, silly smile.
Azriel had seen a lot of sunsets, but not one of them compared to the warmth and beauty on Elain’s face as she smiled up at him, her golden, honeyed hair spread on the pillow, and nightgown askew and twisted. Her incandescent eyes were bright and beautiful, her skin pink from where his chin had scratched her face.
Lovely. She was lovely.
Three words almost slipped from his heart, passed the walls he had put up, and out his mouth, but the knock on the door stopped their great escape.
Nuala gracefully walked through the door holding Elain’s bubbling peppermint tonic. She added the peppermint after the first time Elain drank the bitter contraceptive tonic.
“The High Lord is awake and talking to Lord Devlon in the study,” Nuala said as she walked towards the bed, her gaze politely avoiding the hulking spymaster hovering over Elain. Elain applied a gentle pressure to Azriel’s shoulder, signalling him to move, and she immediately missed the weight of him and the toastiness that radiated off of him. A protective growl rippled from Azriel’s throat as he settled himself behind Elain. “I thought I should inform you so the proper avoidances could be made,” Nuala cut a pointed look towards Azriel before handing Elain her tonic. Begrudgingly, Elain sat up and drank the tonic is three quick swallows before handing the cup back to Nuala with a thank you. “Cerridwen and I will be here at three to start preparations for the ball, Elain.”
“Three?” Azriel said in disbelief. The unspoken pretense of ignoring his presence was now completely shattered. “The ball isn’t until seven.”
“Barely enough time as it is, my lord.” Nuala said with complete politeness, but Azriel bristled at the title. Nuala had disappeared before he could correct her.
Azriel let out a deep sign as he moved her hair out of the way, his fingers tangled in the tangles of her tresses, and planted a kiss on her neck.
“I should go and find Cassian. I told him I’d help with the Valkyries this morning.” He said and slowly pulled himself away, hating every second as coldness crept over him.
He felt Elain watch his every move as he pulled his leathers from his shadows and changed into them as quickly as possible, but he was male enough to admit that he flexed his muscles before her eyes.
A small giggled erupted from Elain as she said, “Wings are weird.”
Azriel rolled his eyes as strolled over and pressed a kiss onto her forehead before saying goodbye and winnowing away.
Only bought this dress so you could take it off
Elain looked at her reflection with a pleased smile. Her hair had been fashioned so the top was plaited in two Iyllrian braids that met in a knot at the back of her head and slowly transformed into decadent curls. The rest of the ballroom was full of people behind her, but she stood with her back to them, gazing out the window to see Illyria in the moonlight, but all she saw was a mirror of the ballroom reflected in the glass.
Her dress was stunning, and completely impractical for an Illyrian winter.
The sleeves were two thick pieces of cobalt ribbon tied upon her shoulders, right above her collar bones, and the dress was made up of a base layer of black silk and a beaded layer of back and cobalt flowers embroidered on a thin, thin fabric. Her back was exposed in a deep vee, her knobs of her spine on display for everyone to see, but the vee of the bodice was surprisingly modice.
She was lucky that someone had thought of enchanting the ballroom to stay at a comfortable temperature.
She dressed for two people that night — herself and Azriel.
Yet, it seemed everyone couldn’t keep their eyes off of her. It seemed she sparked curiosity; Elain Archeron, the flower that somehow ensnared the War-Lord to commit to a Bhaile Rite. It made her want to throw up, but she managed to keep a polite, collected trace of a smile on her face all night, despite the fact that she hadn’t yet talked to Azriel.
He occupied her mind. Her brown eyes constantly flittered back and from his elegantly dressed form to the vases full of local flora, back to Azriel, and then to the couples dancing, and then to Azriel yet again.
Feyre and Rhysand were dancing, and so were Cassian and Nesta, while Elain had planted herself by the refreshments; Casually skimming the small sandwiches and vegetable platters, it seemed Illyrian cuisine wasn’t too far removed from the rest of the world. Azriel was surrounded by the Valkyries, each of them taking their turn to dance with him, and Elain hated herself for the jealousy that bubbled through her. It wasn’t their fault that Azriel could dance with all of them freely, but Elain had to mentally reassure herself several times that Azriel would most likely rather be dancing with her if he had the choice.
She took a deep breath, averted her eyes, and picked up a dainty cucumber sandwich. It was odd, to say the least, to picture strapping, masculine Illyrian Warriors cutting the crust off of the sandwiches and cutting them into triangles.
“You know,” A sharp voice cut through the chatter of voices and Elain felt the unnerving sensation or her hair standing on edge, like a million tiny droplets running down her skin. “That’s not actually Illyrian food,” Elain looked up to see Devlon looking at her from the opposite side of the table. He was dressed in Illyrian fineries, which were basically glorified leathers, and smiling at her in a way that was way too familiar. “It was the High Lady that suggested we make the refreshments more palatable for the outsiders.”
Elain barely managed a nod of her head and took a step back, she glanced over her shoulder — hoping to catch Azriel’s eye, but he was busy dancing a waltz with Gwyn — and carefully set the cucumber sandwich back on the table.
“My sister is thoughtful like that.” Elain said with a swallow. She clasped her hands delicately behind her back and immediately dropped them when Devlons hazel eyes fell to her chest.
“A quality I hear her sister possesses.” Devlon smiled, and even though it was friendly it left her feeling slimy. He started walking around the table, his wings pulled in tight to his back as if they wanted to burst forth proudly and he had to restrain them, and he stopped once he was in front of her.
“Yes,” Elain said dryly with a polite smile. “Nesta can be very thoughtful.”
A powerful laugh erupted out of him, booming and free and just a bit wheezy, and his hazel eyes sparkled at her. Everyone turned to look at them, and Elain would have bet it was the first time many of them had ever heard the War-Lord laugh.
She cut a quick glance to the dance floor and noted Feyre, Rhysand, Nesta, and Cassian all looked over murderously at Devlon, their dances cut short as they made their way over, while Azriel was still spinning Gwyn around. It didn’t take long for her family to surround her, the one person she wanted most was still preoccupied in his dance, and Elain internally fought with herself.
“Devlon,” Rhysands said from his position next to Elain, his body language was relaxed and his smile easy, but his voice sounded like sharpened glass. “I thought we talked this morning about what was expected of you tonight.”
Devlon’s lips curled round his face in a sneer, and Rhysand walked up to him, put a hand on his shoulder, and steered him away. Their body languages polar opposite: Rhys was casual and relaxed while Devlon looked ready to pounce — either at Rhysand for interrupting or at Elain for a reason she didn’t want to think of.
“Are you alright, Elain?” Feyre asked with a comforting hand on her sister's back. She looked absolutely stunning in her silky black dress with sheer, full length sleeves that sparkled like the night sky. She looked at Elain in concern, a frown marring her beautiful face.
“I’m fine,” Elain replied with a strained smile, and forced herself not to look towards the dance floor. It wasn’t as if she could tell Feyre the real reason she was upset — that Azriel wasn’t there when she wanted him. Luckily for Elain, Ferye couldn’t tell the difference in her smiles. The High Lady relaxed as Elain said, “Devlon was polite.”
“That’s surprising,” Cassian said distastefully as he glared at Devlon, who was having a heated discussion with Rhysand that was hidden behind pleasant smiles. “Would you like to dance, take your mind off of it?”
He extended a large hand to her, and the brotherly love on his face made Elain want to say yes, but she shook her head, smiled gratefully, and said, “No, thank you.” There was only one male Elain wanted to dance with.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Feyre asked as Cassian extended his hand to her. Nesta had planted herself by Elain’s side, silently glowering at Devlon in a dare.
“Or course.” She replied, her face perfectly arranged so that no one would see through her lie.
Feyre nodded and accepted Cassian’s outstretched hand. As they made their way to the dance floor Elain’s eyes latched onto Azriel.
All of this silence and patience, pining in anticipation
Elain couldn’t help the oiling feeling of jealousy that oozed through her veins. Logically she knew that Azriel was just being nice by dancing with Gwyn, but they looked so beautiful swirling along the other dancing couple, a blur of glowing scarlet and shadows. They were by far the most beautiful pair waltzing. Their second waltz in a row.
Her honeyed eyes couldn’t tear themselves away from the elegant couple. Nesta’s words kept rattling in her brain — Gwyn has the biggest crush on him — and it certainly looked that way. She kept batting her eyelashes at him while giving him coquettish smiles.
Elain watched them dancing together until they weren’t dancing anymore, but training.
They stood outside separated from the other Valkyries. Gwyn’s red hair was shimmering in the daylight, a beautiful array of burnt oranges and scarlet, and her teal eyes glowed as she gazed up at Azriel. Azriel’s large hands settled on her hips, adjusting them to whatever position they needed to be in for the move he was teaching her, and a polite smile was plastered on his handsome face.
Azriel said something to her, Elain couldn’t pick up on their voices, but she assumed that Gwyn was exposed to Azriel’s dry-sense of humor as her melodic laugh filled the air. Gwyn said something that Elain couldn’t hear, and then she started singing. Her lovely voice was hypnotic, all of the other Valkyries stopped to listen to her, and Azriel’s face glazed over into a euphoric expression.
Gwyn abruptly stopped and said something that caused Azriel to jerk back to attention. He shook his dark head and was stunned to see his shadows swirling Gwyn and called them back to him.
“Elain?” Someone asked and a hand gripped her elbow.
She blinked and saw Nesta’s fingers digging into her skin.
“Huh?” Elain said, blinking rapidly fighting the way her vision blurred and mentally brushing away the webs clouding her head.
“You were glowing.” Nesta said, her chilly blue eyes concerned as they took in her sister's pale skin. “Like little rays of sunshine radiating off of you.”
“I had a vision.” Elain said, her eyes floating to the dancing couples once again. Azriel was still looking at Gwyn, his face damnably blank.
“What was it about?” Nesta asked, her own eyes following Elain’s line of vision.
“Nothing,” Elain said with a perfectly fake smile. “It was just the Valkyries training.”
Nesta looked skeptical, but she gave her sister a hesitant smile that looked surprisingly like an olive branch. “You didn’t happen to see any of the games, did you? Anything I should know?”
Elain shook her head, her curls bouncing off her cheeks, and focused her attention on her sister.
“How are you feeling about tomorrow?” Elain asked, pushing the dancing couple out of her mind and focusing all of her attention on Nesta. She had been so preoccupied with training that Elain hadn’t been able to have a real conversation with her in over a month.
Nesta nodded her head with confidence, her braided-crown shimmering in the faelights, and said, “Good, it’s been nice to have something to focus on. A goal. I’m more than ready to kick some Illyrian ass, though,” Nesta smirked, her icy eyes frozen with determination. “Though there is someone I want you to meet, and I think he’ll help keep Devlon off of you.”
Nesta grabbed Elain’s hand and pulled her across the room, the click of their heels on the parquet floor were swallowed into the noisy abyss of the ballroom, and towards a broad Illyrian Warrior; His hair was cropped short to his head, so Elain wasn’t able to see if the darkness of his hair was tinted blue or red, and his dark eyes made it almost impossible to tell where the iris ended and the pupil began, but Elain could see another female — one who had complete ownership of her heart — could spend countless hours trying to find the dividing line. His skin was darker than most Illyrians, as were his wings, and Elain wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that he was part shadow wraith. He greeted the Archeron sister’s with a charming smile.
“Leon,” Nesta said with a surprisingly gracious grin. She had never given a grin that kind to Rhysand. “This is my sister that I was talking to you about.”
“Lady Elain,” He said, his voice rich and smooth. Leon turned his attention towards her, and even though his expression was nothing but politeness and curiosity Elain felt the need to cover herself. “I’ve heard so much about you. It’s lovely to meet you.”
He extended his hand to her, so she lightly placed her own in it and said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, but please just call me Elain.” Leon brought her hand up to his mouth and gently brushed his lips against her exposed skin, and it took all of Elain’s willpower not to rip it back. For all she knew of Illyrian culture she had just accepted some type of ancient rite and now Leon had to father half of her children.
“Elain,” Nesta said, her hand pressed on the small of Elain’s back to push her forward. “Is a marvelous dancer. Almost as good as me, and she hasn’t danced all night.”
Nesta couldn’t have been more subtle if she had gotten on her knees and begged Leon to dance with her.
“Would you like to dance, Elain?” Leon asked, his voice void of all teasing that Elain wouldn’t have blamed him for. She gently nodded her head and forced a polite smile as he led her to the dance floor, and Elain silently noted the fact that Azriel and Gwyn were no longer dancing, but stationed with the other Valkyries.
They danced in silence. It wasn’t exactly companionable, but it wasn’t necessarily awkward. Elain could tell he was broad and muscled, but he was still light on his feet and he never stepped on her toes. She spent half of the dance staring at his chest, avoiding eye-contact, and the other half of the dance stealing glances at Azriel.
It seemed all Elain needed to do was dance with someone else to garner his attention.
All of this silence and patience, pining and desperately waiting
After their dance Leon led her to the side of the ballroom, but he surprised her by saying, “Lord Devlon is a good male, or at least he tries to be. Subtlety aside.”
“I don’t know him at all, so I really can’t give an opinion.” Elain said with her head held high. Oh, she had an opinion, just not one she could give freely.
“I think you should give him a chance.” Leon said and as soon as they stopped walking Elain felt Devlon sidle up to them, his footsteps vibrating through the parquet floors.
“May I have this dance, Lady Elain?” Devlon asked, his face and voice perfectly polite, but Elain wasn’t fooled. Somehow they were the center of attention, which was masterfully orchestrated by Devlon, and if she rejected him it would have been rejection in the worst way. And tensions were already high between Illyrian and the rest of the Night Court, so Elain swallowed her pride and the vile lump that formed in her throat and placed her hand in Devlon’s.
My hands are shaking from holding back from you
“Do what has to be done, Azriel.” Rhysand commanded, his look of pure hatred fixed upon Devlon as he twirled Elain around the dance floor.
“With pleasure.”
“And Azriel?” Rhysand asked as his spymaster took a step away. “Please refrain from fucking her this time if you can,” Azriel bared his teeth at his High Lord, but Rhysand wasn’t deterred. Instead he took a step forward and poked Azriel in the chest. “The last time I checked you were in love with someone else, so if I find out that you,” He jabbed his finger again. “Are fucking my sister,” His finger punctured every word on the shadowsinger’s chest. “As some sort of rebound, or are messing with her heart in any way,” Rhysand gave one more hard poke before dropping his hand. “I’ll only be satisfied with blood.”
Azriel’s only response was to growl.
Rhysand adjusted his cufflinks as if he hadn’t threatened to murder his brother said, “Now, get that bastard away from our girl,” and walked towards where Feyre stood by the refreshments.
And if I get burned, at least we were electrified
“Elain,” Azriel’s dark, deadly voice instantly calmed her. Every inch of her skin was on edge from Devlon’s touch, which tightened on her from Azriel’s interruption. “May I cut in?”
“No.” Devlon snarled and glowered at Azriel.
“Yes,” Elain said and instantly dropped her hands, taking a step away from Devlon and towards Azriel. “Please.” But Devlon didn’t let go of his hold on her. He gripped her waist firmly in his hand, suffocatingly, in a way that made her trapped even if it wasn’t hard enough to leave and bruises or makes.
A beautifully scarred hand wrapped around Devlon’s wrist and squeezed, ripping the hand away with enough force to tear some of the beading off of her dress. All of the chatter had evaporated, and even though the musicians still played without missing a beat, Elain heard the plings on the beads hitting the floor.
The two Illyrians stood, loathing the sight of the other, but neither breaking contact. Azriel, forging his glare out of the threat of his beloved, and Devlon’s from an insult to his pride. Elain moved because neither of the males could see through their emotions, and tugged Azriel away, forcing him to wrap her in his arms and move to the music.
Devlon stood, still with his arms crossed, in the middle of dancing couples watching Azriel and Elain. Elain and Azriel. Noting how easy and familiar their touches were.
And then Azriel did something Elain never thought probable.
He lifted his shadows and ended their glamour.
Their mingled, intertwined scent permeated the ballroom. The evidence of all the hours that they were together, making love and basking in each other's company, was on display for everyone to see. As was the golden tattoo on his neck.
The lovers twirled on the dance floor, the center of everyone's attention, but so completely absorbed in each other that they did care — It would be an issue for future Elain and future Azriel, and they would weather it together. A unit, two souls fighting to stay together.
As the last notes of the song played, droning into a low, slightly melancholic note, Azriel asked her, “Would you like to leave.”
To which Elain replied, breathlessly, “I would love to.”
So, Azriel’s shadows surrounded them as they danced even though the music had stopped, and they left. Everyone in the room was aware of how comfortable Elain looked, how willingly she embraced the shadows that enveloped her, and they danced off into the darkness.
Everyone in the room stared at the empty space where they had stood.
Everyone thinks that they know us, but they know nothing
Elain was dizzy as the shadows cleared and she found herself back in her temporary bedroom, in Azriel’s arms in a delirious state of living. An emotion so happy, so blissful was emitting from her heart that she was certain no one had felt it before — the way she was feeling didn’t have a name, no one had ever felt this deliriously ecstatic before her.
She felt like a ray of golden sunlight personified.
They were finally free.
Free to be with each other in the open. Free to kiss, to hold hands, to be with each other.
Her lips started pressing onto every patched of exposed skin, and she started clawing at his leathers, but didn’t get very far. In frustration she took a step back and gave the orders for him to undress himself as she did the same. Her dress dropped to her feet, and she kicked it away, the fabric snagging on her heel and she furiously kicked her leg until the dress went flying.
Her little silk slip was next, and then she was just standing there naked in nothing but her heels. Her nipples pebbled in the cold air and ached for the warmth of Azriel’s mouth.
She stood there, arms crossed over her round tummy, silently loathing whoever created Illyrian leathers as she tapped her foot waiting for Azriel to be fully undressed.
Once he as naked, shoes and all, she launched herself at him Her legs wrapped around his waist and the points of her heels digging into his rounded and muscled butt. Her fingers were tugging his head back and she kissed at his face, desperately trying to get his lips, but he moved his own lips trying to get her skin.
Azriel walked her backwards until they were at the bed, and bent at the waist so that Elain’s back was flat on the bed.
He straightened himself, taken in the euphoric heaviness of her expression and the glistening wetness between her legs, and lined his cock up to her waiting center. His rounded head prodded at her opening, her scream told him that she wasn’t in the mood for teasing, so he entered her in one movement. Her body stretched warm and hot around the hard length of him, and Elain moved her hips desperate for friction, so Azriel pulled his hips back before snapping them into place. Again. And again. And again.
He felt his release mounting inside of him, so he brought one hand to where their bodies joined and frantically started circling her clit. Elain’s walls started clenching around him, so he worked his thumb faster and faster, trying to get their orgasms to arrive at the same time. Sweat was dripping down his back, and the smell of their desire was heavy and heady in the air and pushed him over the edge. His cock buried deep within Elain as he shot his release. He kept his softening cock within her, and paid even more attention to her sensitive clit, and relished in the feel of her liquids rushing over his cock and her release finally came.
Panting, Azriel pulled back and undid the buckles of her shoes before tossing them over his shoulders and dropping his body on top of hers. Exhausted after such a short but frantic and cathartic bout of love making, the two of them slipped into a short sleep.
Even in my worst lies, you saw the truth of me
They woke up two hours later. Elain letting all of the thoughts in her head and all of the feelings in her heart out in the open.
“There are nights,” Elain whispered as her fingers traced along the back of his beautiful hands. “Where I wonder how it’s possible we aren’t mates.”
Azriel heard his heart drumming in his ears. He himself had been plagued by that same question which resulted in many sleepless nights, but to know that Elain had thought the same thing made his throat clog with emotion. A shiver racked his body from the weight of her finger on his skin.
“I’ve,” Azriel swallowed. “I’ve wondered the same thing.”
She laced her finger through his and sent him a warm smile. Half of her face was hidden in the fluffy, down pillow and her golden hair was spread behind her.
“I’ve also thought about,” Elain started and bit her lip nervously. “Breaking the mating bond.”
Azriel couldn’t breath. The air in his lungs had turned to cement which caused the crushing weight in his chest. He untangled her fingers from hers and stood up, his wing knocking over the faelight lamp on the nightstand, but he didn’t register it. He had to put distance between them otherwise he might tell her to do something stupid, like tell her it was a good idea and something he had dreamed about.
“You can’t,” Azriel said and started shaking his head violently. “You can’t just break the mating bond because we’ve been fucking Elain.”
Devstation clawed at her face, and Azriel watched as she gripped a pillow to her chest. She slowly raised herself from the bed and stood in front of him. Confusion furrowed her brows and sadness drove tears from her eyes.
“How can you say that?” She whispered.
“You can’t break the bond because I know how you liked to be fucked El—” He was cut off by a pillow smacking his face.
“How dare you?” Elain asked furiously. Her face had turned red and chested heaved in anger. “You know that’s not what this is. We— we’re together. We aren’t just fucking.” Her voice cracked. “How could you insult our relationship like that? How could you insult me like that? I-I’ve never shared my life with someone before, not like how I’ve shared it with you.”
Feathers floated all through the room, and the pillow Elain clenched between her hands was decidedly more limp than when she picked it up. She was vaguely aware of tears streaming down her cheeks, and the little snot that bubbled on her nose, all she could think of was Azriel’s words.
“Do you think I’m stupid?” Elain asked, her throat raw and raspy like someone had rubbed it with sandpaper and made her drink lemon water laced with salt. “Do you think I somehow don’t know my value?” Her weak and wavering arms hit him with the pillow again.
“Of course not.” Azriel replied, tears glistening in his own eyes.
“Then why would you possibly think that I would share my life with someone you deem so unworthy, huh?” She asked, her knees buckling through her sorrow and fury. “How could you possibly insult my love like that? I love you, Azriel. So, obviously I must either be stupid or - or -or -.” Her entire body shook from the sob that tore through her, and her knees gave way as she collapsed onto a heap of flannel on the floor. “How could you say that?” She hiccuped in a broken voice.
“I just don’t think you should break the mating bond just yet, Elain,” Azriel sank to the floor next to her, his own voice shaky and shattered. “It would kill me that you might make the biggest mistake of your life because of me. What if you regret it? What if you wake up some day and realize I’m not the male you think I am? And you finally understand that I’m not deserving of your love? Not that— Not that Lucien diverse it,” His lips curled vilely around the name of her mate. “But how can I ask you to do that?”
“You’re not asking me, Az,” She sniffled and grasped his mangled hand in hers. “I want to do it. And-and no one can decide who is worthy of my love but me. I hate it when you do that, when you throw around words like ‘deserve’ and act like I’m somehow perfect or blameless or above you in any way.”
Azriel just stared at her, silent tears swimming in his eyes.
“I love you.” Elain whispered with tears in her eyes.
“For now,” Azriel choked on his words as he saw the hurt shimmering in her eyes. “But you can’t give up your mate just yet, Elain. One day you’ll realize I’m not enough, and you’ll—” Elain watched his throat work as his words got caught on his emotions. Realization was sinking into every fibre of her being, and suddenly she could see through the fog of her emotion.
She held the hand she was clasping close to her heart, her fingers gently tracing the scars that went far deeper than the skin and bone and straight into the soul. Two tears born of fury and self-loathing ran down his cheeks, and she pressed her lips into his skin to catch them.
“For always.” Elain whispered into his skin. She hooked her finger under his chin and moved his head so that their lips were aligned, but she didn’t move closer. It was his choice to make.
Small lifetimes passed as her pressed his forehead into hers, his uneven breath warm on her face, and the tickle of his eyelashes as they fluttered over her skin like nervous, tittering butterflies threatened to undo her, but then he moved forward and gently touched his lips to hers.
Soft, so soft.
The lips that had caressed every inch of her skin were finally against hers, and she couldn’t breath. Her body tensed. As if it was worried that any sudden movement would scare him off, and she’d be left on the floor in a puddle of her own tears and he’d be telling her it was a mistake.
And I woke up just in time — Now I wake up by your side
Luscious.
That was how Elain felt under the crushing weight of Azriel, who was snoring delicately on top of her. She didn’t even realize that snoring could be delicate until she heard the soft chortles coming out of Azriel’s throat.
His head was pressed into her stomach, wing outstretched and relaxed. Elain was briefly astounded that this wake up was somehow better than the one before, despite the fact that salty tears had caked her eyelids together and she had to pry them apart.
This was the best morning of her life.
She had finally told Azriel how she felt, and they didn’t have to leave each other.
And she got to kiss him.
She kissed him away. Soft lips on soft lips. Morning breath mingling. She kissed him awake and he kissed her back.
It took them almost thirty minutes to dress for the day because they kept kissing. And then it took them twenty minutes to walk down the stairs because they could keep their hands off of eachother. Azriel kept pressing Elain into the wall to kiss her. And Elain would turn, plant her hands onto Azriel’s shoulder because it had been sixty whole seconds since their lips had touched.
It wasn’t until they were in full view of everyone else that they kept their mouths to themselves.
Who knew that crying worked up an appetite? Cassian would be proud of the amount of eggs Elain had scooped onto her plate, and he would even turn a blind eye to the sizzled bacon and crispy home fries, but she could see his disappointed look turned to the small sweet bun sitting on top of her place. She grabbed a small cup of fruit to balance it out.
Azriel had been piling his own plate high with food. A small kernel of satisfaction nestled into her chest. She, Elain Archeron, had managed to not only tire the Shadowsinger out, but she also caused him to work up an appetite.
As they walked to the High Lord’s table they ignored all of the leers and lascivious whispers. Elain kept her chin high and face serene, and even though Azriel was unreadable and stone-faced it was hard to ignore his aura of smug male pride as he sauntered through the cafeteria. If Elain didn’t know better, then she’d say he was flexing his wings and peacocking in front of all these Illyrians.
A smile tugged at her lips as he pulled a chair out for her.
Feyre and Rhysand were sitting in two throne-like chairs above the rest of them, and Cassian and Nesta flanked them on either side with two empty seats besides them both at the end of the table. Elain placed her food on the table and sat.
“Hungry, Elain?” Nesta laughed as she took in her sister's heavy plate. “I didn’t realize you’d be joining us in the competition.”
Nesta’s cackle was cut off by a deathly growl coming from deep within Azriel. Nesta paled just a little and turned to her food.
And right there, in front of everyone, Azriel dropped a sweet, tender, chaste kiss on top of Elain’s golden hair and walked to his seat beside Cassian, who was grinning wolfishly at his brother's approach.
Elain ate her breakfast, all of it, with a goofy grin and a flushing face.
Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me
The frigid air didn’t bother Elain. She stood with Azriel outside the stadium waiting for the games to begin, trapped in her warm, lovely feelings. Not even the greyness of an Illyrian winter day was going to ruin Elain’s contended bliss.
“Azriel,” Devlon’s voice boomed loudly from a couple yard’s behind them. Elain watched as tension sprung into Azriels body and how his muscles looked like coils that were wound too tightly at the smugness in Devlon’s voice. “I noticed, as many of us did, how important family is to you last night,” Rhysand and Cassian sidled up to the Shadowsinger and the Seer, and Feyre stood with her head held high. Elain couldn’t see past Azriel who had slowly turned around. “So, I thought it might be nice if you got reacquainted with your own family.”
The leathery wings became rigid in front of Elain’s eyes.
She tried to peer around, but was blocked by Rhysand and Cassian, who were just as tense as Azriel. Death manifested on both of their faces.
The air was so poisonous it felt someone had laced it with faebane.
Elain was trapped between three Illyrian warriors, unable to move freely, so she gave Azriel the only type of comfort she could cocooned between his wings and warriors — she placed her hand gently, but firmly on the base of his wing. The bitterness of Iyllrian winter had fought with her body and lost, the frigid air no longer encased her fingers, and the warm print of her hand on his chilled wing grounded him.
It made him remember that his present was different from his past, and that for once his future was bright.
Azriel looked at his brothers and fought every instinct that told him to hide his hands behind his back. His brothers. It had been hundreds of years since he had seen them, and now they were standing in front of him. Azaria flanked Devlon’s right, his black curl hung roughly around his face and his oily green eyes were unnaturally bright against his dark brown skin. Azriel had seen those green eyes in the shadows of his worst days. Avram, who had posted himself to Devlon’s right, slicked his raven hair back to expose every inch of cruelty on his sharp features. Azaria and Avran could have passed as twins, their faces were made of straight lines, sharp edges, and innate nastiness that permeated through their bones and into their souls, even the ever-present snarl of their lips were identical. The only difference was that Avran held a scar on his upper lip that Azriel had given him when he was finally big enough and old enough to fight back.
“Brothers.” Azriel’s lips curled around the word, and he fought the revolting, acidic, disgust that sludged through his veins. It was a perversion of the word, and the bond, to call Avram and Azaria brothers while standing next to Cassian and Rhysand. They may have a father in common, but that was it.
The warmth of his wing vanished, and Azriel was vaguely aware of a tussling to his left, and then Elain’s golden head appeared next to him. Her chin held high and gaze determined as she took in the three males standing before her. She never broke eye contact as they stared her down.
“So,” Avram said, his lips curl in a sneer as his toxic eyes ran up and down the length of Elain’s body. “You’re the one that has our brother by the throat?” His tongue wet his lips as his eyes settled on the curve of Elain’s hips. “I can’t say I blame him.”
Azaria also leered at her and said, “I can see why Azriel would disregard an ancient rite just to fuc—”
Azriel lunged for him, but Elain wrapped her hand around his. The uneven scars pressed against her palm, and he turned his head to find Elain staring down the gaze that haunted his nightmares. She didn’t flunch. She didn’t balk. She took a graceful step forward, a finger pointed at them, and said,
“I don’t care for you,” Death had never sounded so lovely, but it had never been in Elain Archeron’s voice before. “And if you bother any of us again, you’ll regret it.”
Azaria’s grin turned slimy as he said, “Azriel has taste. I’ve always loved a female that can put up a fight.”
It astonished Elain that she could hate someone that looked so similar to the male she loved.
Devlon looked at her, his face void of all pleasantness as he said, “Did the bastard fuck you —”
He was cut off by Elain’s hand cracking against his cheek.
“Don’t call him that.”
Everything had gone still.
Devlon stared at her with wide eyes, and then there was nothing but a flurry of movements and everyone talking over each other.
Azriel wrapped strong arm around her waist. Shadows surrounded them and they were suspended in depthless air for longer than Elain had ever been before. When the shadows finally dissipated she was looking at a lovely, small cottage shrouded in pink and red rose bushes. Steam was snaking out of the chimney.
“This,” Azriel said, gesturing with his free hand. “Is Rosehall.”
My one and only, my lifeline
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I'm sorry it took so long for me to update!!! I've spread myself pretty thin between classes, this fic, and 25 Days of Elriel. I really, really wanted to get this chapter out before December and I'm actually amazed that I accomplished that. This fic will be going on a small hiatus, but I will be continuing to write it!! Expect the next chapter to be posted towards the end of December or maybe early January. If you enjoy my writing make sure to keep an eye out for my 25 Days of Elriel one-shots. Much love *blowing kisses at you guys from behind my laptop screen* I have a tag list going for 25 Days of Elriel, so if you are interested in being included let me know (:
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tagging: @thefangirlofhp @the-laughing-bubble @justheretoreadsposts @swankii-art-teacher @achelois-daughter
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