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#elriel fic
exquisitley-obsessed · 3 months ago
Cardinal Catastrophe
Author: @exquisitley-obsessed
Summary: Elain reaches out to Azriel after that dreaded Solstice night and they once again meet under the moonlight in the River House - but everything is different now (post ACOSF, Azriel’s the focalizer) 
Pairings: Azriel x Elain, Elriel
Word Count: 13,300+
Warnings: This does get a bit smutty and then there’s some violence towards the end.
A/N: This is like super long. It basically has everything it’s fluff, smut and angst so yeah, something for everyone. This is probably the longest oneshot I’ve ever written, I don’t know where this has come from but it’s taken me way longer to write than any of my other stuff. There’s a lot of catharsis in this and reflection on how I think both Azriel and Elain think of the situation. You’ll also get a bit of Rhys’ pov towards the ned ;)
Preview: With Elain’s eyes closed he allowed himself to greedily devour the sight of her. Just her face alone captured his attention entirely. With his eyes he memorised the curve of her cheekbones, the specific angle of her brows, even the exact chocolatey shade of her lashes. He went over it again, and again, and again, like a worshipper devouring the holy text. Azriel needed the perfection of Elain committed to memory, because he was sure that one day his luck would run out entirely. That soon he would not be permitted to even these meetings in the dead of night, with only a thousand stars as witness to their mutilated fate.
“Elain...” He tried again; his voice softer than he had ever heard it before. The person he became around Elain was foreign to himself. He had never been someone privileged enough to both love and be loved, not like this. Now that he had tasted such passions, he found he could not always recognise himself. Because he was Azriel, and he was cursed and damned, destined to be alone, to be unloved, mutilated both in mind and morality. He could not love; he shouldn’t be able to love - and yet.
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It was no exaggeration to say that Azriel’s work was of a most gruesome nature. His daily routine involved cutting into people, making them sing to his shadows, working them like a carcass in a machine until they’d spilt their guts to him before painting the walls with those same organs. As the Night Court’s spymaster, Azriel knew things that would bring kings to their knees, secrets that were interwoven into the foundations of courts, hidden information that would dissolve alliances in seconds; and yet, here he was, pacing the room like a schoolboy as he tried to swallow the fluttery ‘butterfly-like’ feeling twisting his gut.
He’d noticed the note the minute he’d entered the room. A tiny slip of paper that glowed in the moonlight from where it was perched on his work desk, a stark contrast to Azriel’s messy, tea-stained paperwork. Azriel had smelt her on it before he read it, in fact, the second he opened the door to his River House bedroom he was surrounded by her faded aroma. She must’ve breezed in and out, not wanting to overstep her bounds as she left him a note no one else was to read. Knowing her, she was probably currently riddled with guilt for entering his private space, even though, quite frankly, Azriel wouldn’t mind her invading on every aspect of his life, personal or not. Not wanting to face what her scent in his room did to him, he’d crossed the room in three strides and devoured the note in seconds; the words still rang in his head.
I need to see you.
Everything had been fine. Ever since Rhysand’s outrageous demand of Azriel several months prior, Azriel had fallen into a routine, stricter than the last, for ignoring Elain Archeron. He was working more than he ever had before, not just in quantity but in quality. Unnecessarily detailed reports were showing up on the High Lord’s desk of situations that were entirely irrelevant to the current political climate and yet, Azriel thought it was only fair Rhysand suffered somewhat from this situation too.
I’m sorry for everything.
While he was anywhere but Velaris, Elain was never anywhere else, specifically in the River House, a place he had thus far avoided with painful success. Until his High Lady had demanded he come to dinner to celebrate Nesta’s birthday, Nesta who was happier than he had ever seen her before, practically glowing with the dreaded mating bond. It still baffled him how much prevalence mating bonds had played in his life the past few years after 500 years of silence, strings of fate which seemed to only bring about the greatest happiness or the wickedest pain.
I just want to make things right.
They were so happy, all of them. Rhysand with Feyre and Nyx, Nesta and Cassian - and though he just wanted to be glad for his family, the miasma of their bliss was suffocating. Because Azriel had never felt more alone, had never been so buried in his work, so achingly tired from the unnecessary flights and dreary missions, and his harmful behaviour was turning his body into something foreign. Azriel never used to have the constant tautness across his shoulders, nor the constant black shadows under his eyes from the sleepless nights, or the aching muscles that never seemed to heal. But it was necessary – if he wanted to obey Rhysand’s order, if he wanted to maintain civility between courts, and for a plethora of other supposed noble reasons – it was necessary.
I miss you.
He just wanted her. Not in any possessive way, he just wanted to be around her. He’d come to find a specific kind of peace in her company, something about that soothed his worries and aches. So, he missed their walks in the gardens, their shared book recommendations, their inside jokes, their unspoken understanding, their healing. And above all he missed her: her smile, her laughter, the shade of her flushed cheeks, her kindness, her silence.
Azriel hadn’t realised what had been happening to him as they had gotten closer, hadn’t realised how far he’d fallen till Rhysand had pulled him out of the air. Now all that was there, was a lacking. He was busier than ever, but all around him hung the privation of her.
Meet me in the foyer when the sun sets.
So he couldn’t be around his family, couldn’t face their overwhelming joy when he was so, so alone. Maybe it would’ve been better if he had never met Elain, or at least if he hadn’t allowed himself to fall for her. But in those soft moments he shared with her, the brushes of fingertips to the sun-kissed smiles, he’d been forced to face just how alone he was, how alone he had always been. Through Elain, Azriel had had a taste of honest, unwavering love - and yet he was expected to turn his back on such a discovery, by his own family no less.
He would meet her in the foyer when the sun set. He would follow her to the ends of the Earth if she asked him to, because maybe he was just so masochistic that he didn’t mind meeting Elain only to be reminded of everything he couldn’t have. Reading the note Azriel couldn’t help but think bitterly of how the flower-grower was far more courageous than he. That she was reaching out to him after he had rejected her so brutally. Azriel jolted, flaring his wings slightly to stop the train of thought. That pained, confused look in Elain’s eye when he had said that word, haunted him. Mistake. He’d called it a mistake. Azriel raked his hands down his face and sighed.
He wished he were strong enough to either commit or drop it entirely. He wished he had it in him to do something. Azriel should’ve bitten back at Rhysand all those months ago, should’ve just dealt with this catastrophe back then rather than let it fester and rot under the proverbial carpet.
As time passed in Azriel’s knotted thoughts, the sun plummeted towards the horizon. It was a perfect summers evening, and Azriel stilled at the window to watch as the sun melted the sky into shades of pink and purple. He saw it and thought of the colour of her dress tonight, or even that dress she had worn when she’d made traditional Illyrian biscuits and demanded he tried one. He’d taken it in his pocket and only took a bite when he was alone in the shadows of a different court, and he had savoured every bite, quietly smothering his growing adoration as he did so.
Elain, Elain, Elain. His shadows whispered to him, as though they knew they would soon be in her presence. No one had ever had such an effect on his shadows, and around her he was more aware of them being a separate entity to himself. Though they were bound, around Elain they seemed to grow more confident, they acted of their own accord and would often disappear in her presence, as though his shadows knew he wished to be entirely alone with her.
Foyer...Elain...flower-grower...beautiful. Azriel was inclined to agree. And before Azriel could lose himself to shyness, the sun finally dipped behind the curve of the land, allowing a thousand glimmering stars to prickle through the endless black sky.
She would already be waiting for him, and though Azriel was nervous, he had to restrain some part of himself that longed to throw open the door and jump down the stairs two at a time. Instead, he used the shadows, stepping through them to the base of the large foyer staircase. It would be more silent this way. He wouldn’t make the same mistake of not listening to the corridors as they spoke. For Elain’s sake, he would demand the utmost privacy, even from his High Lord and Lady.
He could see her before she saw him. She was leaning of the Foyer’s centre table, fiddling with the bouquet of flowers in a glass vase - of course she was. All he could see of her was the lower half of her pale gown and her dark golden hair, cascading down her back like a waterfall. The moonlight streaming in through the large French windows gave her an angelic glow, whereas the more sensuous light of the flickering candles painted shadows across her thinly veiled curves. Both warm and cold light coming together to worship the woman who seemed to him as light herself. At the sight of her, Azriel involuntarily sucked in a breath and felt her scent hit the back of his throat, his entire body seemed to sing from her aroma alone, as though it were his own personal drug. Dangerous, this was dangerous, to be with her and to be so alone. He didn’t care.
“Elain,” she didn’t start as he spoke into the thick silence. If she had the confidence to call him here tonight, then he must source some of his own. He at least owed her that. Delicately, Elain turned and looked over her shoulder, her beautiful brown eyes finding his and melting the whole world away.
“You came,” She breathed, her shoulders sagging slightly out of relief. She turned to him properly then, and Azriel flickered his eyes over her so quickly she might’ve mistaken it for a mere blink. But he saw her, saw what she was wearing, and some core part of his soul longed to weep at the sight of her beauty.
Elain was in a nightgown, off-white cotton and silk, with cream and dusty pink lace. Pale ribbons pulled the nightdress around her breasts and down to her naval, dipping in a slight ‘v’ before the skirts flowed around her natural curves and then dropped to the floor. The neckline was agonisingly flattering, though Azriel was sure he wouldn’t look twice at the nightdress on anyone else. Her creamy skin seemed browner in the warm candlelight of the house, and as the shadows flickered, he was aware of how her collarbones stretched out to the curve of her shoulders, how she didn’t have freckles on her chest and arms but rather a specific constellation of moles, even how her hair was impossibly thick and, if memory served him well, soft too. Upper sections were pulled away from her face in an intricate pattern of braids and ties, and yet lock after lock of pale brown hair cascaded down her back and over her shoulders, framing her angelic face. Oh, that face. Poets and painters alike would weep at the sight of that face. The small, angled eyebrows that somehow made her doe eyes bigger, the freckles across her cheeks and nose, her plush lips-
“I know that you’re avoiding me,” she began, crashing Azriel back into reality. He shifted slightly, ruffling his wings as though to wake himself up. Her voice wasn’t accusing, but calm and quiet, “I know there’s a reason why you’re never around. For a while I thought you were just cooped up at the House of Wind but Nesta says that she never sees one ever sees you anymore.” Azriel stayed quiet, just holding her gaze. He never needed to speak around Elain, she had quickly understood that when he had something to say, he would say it, but till then, he was comforted by the silence. And so she continued, more nervous now.
“I don’t want to be...narcissistic...but it seems to me that you’ve been distancing yourself with everyone after what happened on Solstice and...” She shifted uncomfortably, her confidence running out as she looked down at the floor and wrung her hands. “I can’t take it. I can’t take being the person whose pushed you away and I...I think we need to talk about it - or not talk about it - I’m not sure. I just, I don’t want you to avoid me anymore, even if that means we pretend that it never happened, that’s fine. I just...”
He could tell her right now the exact reason why he couldn’t be around her. Elain, he would say, I would do anything to be around you. I would kill a thousand men just to have the privilege of your company. But I can’t, Elain. Because when I’m around you, everything turns inside out, I forget everything I’m supposed to be afraid of. I become this person around you Elain, I become someone who I’ve always wanted to be, and I don’t know how to be him, if I even can. I’m not used to this, to wanting something so viscerally it feels as though I might fall apart every day I don’t see you. Elain, I don’t know how to choose happiness, I don’t know how to be selfish in that way, and above all...I don’t know how to fix this.
“I don’t care if you don’t want me like that, not if it comes at the price of your friendship. I still...need you in my life, Az,” Elain was whispering now, her large eyes slightly glassy in the candlelight. 
Azriel couldn’t help but think that Elain was evidentially stronger than him, that she could still want to be around him even if he supposedly didn’t want her. If the roles were reversed, if it had been Elain who had pushed him away, he was pretty certain he would’ve manipulated his work to make him leave the Night Court for at least several years. Of course, she was stronger than him, he was beginning to think she was stronger than them all, because of this exact trait of hers - forgiveness.
“Please...say something,” Elain’s broken voice rose through the silence. She looked at him again, tears threatening to spill. Her looking at him in such a way made something deep in his chest twist, and twist and keep on twisting. 
He didn’t know what to do, so he took a step forward, and another and another, until he was a foot’s distance away from her. The whole time her eyes never left his, her hands still twisting together at the front of her beautiful, beautiful dress. He opened his mouth to speak but once again Elain had rendered him speechless. Where could he begin, how could he begin - how could he fix this?
“Elain...” was all he managed in the end, but that seemed to be enough to soothe her as her eyes fluttered shut and she breathed deeply at the sound of her name mingled with his breath.
With Elain’s eyes closed he allowed himself to greedily devour the sight of her. Just her face alone captured his attention entirely. With his eyes he memorised the curve of her cheekbones, the specific angle of her brows, even the exact chocolatey shade of her lashes. He went over it again, and again, and again, like a worshipper devouring the holy text. Azriel needed the perfection of Elain committed to memory, because he was sure that one day his luck would run out entirely. That soon he would not be permitted to even these meetings in the dead of night, with only a thousand stars as witness to their mutilated fate.
“Elain...” He tried again; his voice softer than he had ever heard it before. The person he became around Elain was foreign to himself. He had never been someone privileged enough to both love and be loved, not like this. Now that he had tasted such passions, he found he could not always recognise himself. Because he was Azriel, and he was cursed and damned, destined to be alone, to be unloved, mutilated both in mind and morality. He could not love; he shouldn’t be able to love - and yet.
“I’m sorry,” He began, his voice barely audible. And by the way Elain’s brows furrowed slightly and her mouth tightened, he knew that she knew he was talking about the last time they’d been here, in this foyer. “I wish things were different,” He whispered, now trying to memorise the exact constellations of her freckles.
“Me too,” She breathed, her eyes still closed. “I wish I was different,” She surprised him by whispering.
“Don’t...” He murmured, silently stunned, “ don’t know how you...” But he had to stop himself mid-sentence, had to bite his tongue between his teeth hard enough to draw blood. Because if he started to talk, he wouldn’t stop. He would tell her everything, and he wasn’t quite ready to be so vulnerable, not when he didn’t know how to be vulnerable at all.
“I...” She opened her eyes and seemed to look at him as though for the first time. After a long pause she spoke again, “I wish I had courage.”
“Courage?” Elain paused and shifted slightly from foot to foot, as though she were debating what she would say next.
“I want to be strong, like my sisters...I want to etch out my own path rather than fumble in the dark.” Azriel thought for a moment.
“You are strong, whether you perceive yourself to be or not.” He wanted nothing more than to reach up and stroke his hand along her smooth cheek, instead he dug his nails into his already marred palm and focused on the pain’s bite.
“I will never be a general,” Elain whispered, her eyes still damp, “I will never be a High Lady or a leader, I don’t care for any of that...I wish I did. You can’t imagine how badly I wish I...” Her words ran out and her eyes became slightly glossed over and detached. Again, he felt the urge to touch her, to ground her back in reality, but he just dug his nails in deeper. “I don’t belong on battlefields, though I’d always fight when the world needed me but...I’m not a warrior; and that petrifies me.”
Again, Azriel paused, taking time to absorb every word Elain offered to him under the moonlight. Azriel adored Elain, he could’ve stood there for an hour and listed everything about her that had brought him hope. How her outlook on life had been so foreign to him, so unrealistic when he first met her, that it was extraordinary now just how jealous he was of her ability to look at the morbidity of the world, and still seek out the good.
“In a world of endless bloodshed and bitterness, do not be ashamed of not wanting to be a warrior,” Azriel whispered.
“But I’m useless,” Elain quickly interjected, “I have all this power, I feel it stirring in me and there is no part of me that wishes to manipulate it or-or exploit it.” Elain’s hands came up and danced in the air as she spoke, another quirk of hers he’d both memorised and adored. Azriel thought again, long and hard, before he spoke.
“I’ve been around a lot longer than you, and from what I’ve learnt of people is...that they’re horrible,” Azriel watched as Elain’s eyes widened and drank in his words and something twisted in his chest. People didn’t look at him like that when he talked. His brothers would wink and laugh with him, his enemies cowered and flinched, those whom he bedded would smile slyly or watch his mouth as he murmured dirty things in the dead of night. But no one looked at him like that, as though he were reciting poetry, as though he were beautiful enough to say something worthy of those big eyes and parted lips.
“You wouldn’t believe the horrors I’ve seen, or the court secrets I’ve uncovered. The way people, particular those in positions of power, treat each other, treat those around them and those below them - it’s tragic. It’s merciless and cruel.” Elain was still drinking him in, still hanging onto his every word.
“I think over the centuries, I myself became desensitised to the horrors of power and politics. Especially given my start in life. When you were human I understood your naivety, your belief in the good of the world, especially after your riches had returned and your life was content.
“But what I didn’t understand was how you continued to believe good after everything you went through. After facing the most brutal torture from the Cauldron still chose to believe in the wonderful and I-I didn’t understand that. Because I couldn’t do that. Because I’d never believed in the good of people the way you do...I had never even believed in the good of myself.
“Please don’t think that kindness is something small, or something that can be overlooked. Because when the world is little more than ruin and rubble, kindness is all we have left. We’ve just been alive so long that we forget about it, us Fae, we’ve spent so much of our lives at war that it’s easy to forget why we’d even engage in such bloodshed. It wasn’t till I met you that I was reminded that such things as tenderness and humanity even existed outside my family, and once the wars were about defending those virtues rather than snuffing them out…I just, I can’t help but think that if there were more people like you in the world, maybe Prythian wouldn’t succumb to carnage every few decades, just so that the heartless noblemen of this land can feel something.”
Azriel hadn’t meant to speak for so long, in fact, he didn’t quite understand where the words had even come from. They were true, of course. He did whole-heartedly believe everything he had just said, he just hadn’t realised how much he’d ached to say it aloud. Elain was still staring at him wide-eyed, and then there was the worst thing of all, a single tear spilling over her damp eyes and trickling down her cheek.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to-”
“No,” Elain whispered, suddenly reaching out and sliding her palm into his from where it was hanging limp at his side. Electricity shot through his arm, and he forced himself to look at her in the eye as he tensed his legs so that they didn’t crumple underneath him. “No, it’s good I’m, I’m glad you said it I...”
But again, words seemed to evade Elain as she looked up at him. Azriel was now hyperaware of her how close she was, of her smooth palm that fit so nicely in his own. His body often reacted on its own accord around Elain, and he had spent months leashing his desires into chains, beasts that could only come out in the dead of night. But since that dreaded Solstice night last winter, everything had changed.
Life these past few months had consisted of the battle between two extremes. Either he was drowning in the way his body seemed to ache and beg for her, his mind obsessing over their stuttering relationship as though it were a philosophical debate. Especially since he now knew that some part of her wanted him and had wanted to kiss him even with her mate sleeping upstairs. The fact that he now knew what her scent tasted like, how her voice sounded when it was breathy and desperate - it all fuelled the fantasies that haunted him the moment he made it back to his room. He could be on the other side of Prythian and somehow the presence of Elain Archeron would find a way to him.
The other extreme was complete and total deprivation. The reality that he hadn’t seen her for months, that she would soon exist more in memory than experience. Even though his fantasies of her were so visceral, so tangible, the reality that she was not in the room with him always came crashing down by the time his head had cleared - and then he’d feel more alone than ever before.
But when he was here, with her, the argument ceased. The torture and the pain, the writhing mind and aching debates, it all fell into beautiful silence. And so, looking at her now, he was unable to help himself. And without thought, he reached up and tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear as he murmured under his breath, no more than a whisper, “Elain Archeron...saviour of the cursed and damned...”
As Azriel’s fingers grazed Elain’s cheek, a horribly confused and upset look twisted her face. She seemed to freeze at the contact and Azriel halted at her discomfort, internally berated himself for pushing her too far, for being so arrogant in thinking he could touch her in such a way.
“I...Azriel...I don’t understand,” Elain’s breathless voice seemed to caress him, and once more he found himself tensing his legs so that they wouldn’t give out under him. “You don’t want said it was a mistake...” Azriel stilled, and he caught her eye in a moment of alarmed sobriety.
“You and I both know that’s not true.”
He couldn’t stop the words before they spilled from his lips. It didn’t matter how soft, how quiet, his voice was, the words were innately harsh and something deep against his spine lurched at the thought of her hurting her - of hurting her again.
But Elain didn’t flinch. Her eyes, instead of widening in shock, stayed stoically still and calm. And then Azriel watched as those honeyed eyes he loved so much lapsed darker and darker, the floral musk of her arousal drifting to him like a moth to a flame, the same scent he’d been dreaming of for months, the memory of it alone making his body achingly hard and taut, as though his own skin existed only to respond to the call of hers.
The scent surrounded him, sending blood to his cock which was now throbbing viscerally against the seams of his leathers. His arousal had never felt so tight before, so extreme and sudden. He felt it, heavy in his lower abdomen, twisting and knotting his guts in both pain and pleasure. That was familiar, that he’d felt a hundred times before, but for Elain Acheron his whole body seemed to sing. His blood burned under his skin as it pounded through his body, whilst his heart was light and fluttery in his chest, as though it might edge up his throat and fall from his lips. His eyes felt heavy lidded as though he were drunk, and even though he were standing stoically still, even though he hadn’t done anything yet, he found himself short of breath.
He had never wanted something more - never. Not Mor. Not a job. Not a secret, not information. Not salvation, not mercy. God, it seemed as though in this instant, Elain had invented want for him.
He would beg for her. Right now, in the foyer where he’d first tasted this personal drug. Had Elain not been holding him up by her eyes and a single palm he would already be on his knees. He moved to fall down before her, like a worshipper at a temple, when movement at her mouth caught his eye. Azriel watched as her delicate, pink tongue slowly dragged along her lower lip to wet it as she blinked innocently at him. Azriel’s resolve was gone in a puff of smoke.
Fuck Rhysand. Fuck Lucien. Fuck the Mother, the Cauldron, the world. Fuck anyone who stood between him and Elain who he knew, he knew, wanted him as badly as he wanted her. Because of course she did. Because whatever this was, whatever was happening between them, was otherworldly and impossible to ignore.
And good luck to them, was the last though Azriel had before he leaned in. Good luck to anyone who ever dare stand between him and her, because he’d kill them - he’d fucking kill them.
Despite his body beating like a drum for Elain’s melody, he did not kiss her right away. Once he’d accepted that he would kiss her, once he’d come to that inevitable conclusion it felt like a thousand doors of golden light opened before his eyes, and it took everything he had to not sob with joy.
All those fantasies he had revelled in for the past year that had been shrouded in a miasma of fantasy and shame, rolled through his mind clear as day. He could kiss her lips. Those soft pads of blushing rose that he had already committed to memory. Or he could trace down and press his lips to the sensitive spot between her neck and shoulder, a crook of intimacy that he’d already figured out from watching her protect it with her hands when someone stood behind her. He could kiss her temples, her cheeks, her throat - every fucking inch of her.
Now that his resolve had snapped like an elastic band stretched too far, he found that he was finally free. Looking at her he hadn’t realised how long he had taken, how slowly he was leaning in until Elain’s fingers suddenly gripped the leathers across his chest and her brows furrowed as she pulled closer to him, her eyes dark and desperate, her mouth wet and parted as she half-gasped, half-whispered, “Please....Azriel...”
He did moan then. A low, throaty sound that escaped him at the sound of his name intertwined with her breathy gasps. He snapped.
He had intended to savour every second of kissing her, but the moment his lips touched hers, he felt fire. Elain’s hands ran up his chest before intertwining themselves in his hair as she pulled herself against him and he moaned again, the second time in a minute, into her mouth. Because he could feel her, all of her, pressed against his hot throbbing body. The soft pressure of her breasts, the bones of her hips, even one of her legs had tucked between his own, the sides of their knees brushing together. She was going to kill him. She was going to fucking kill him.
And then there was her mouth. Softer than petals, and so obviously hers in taste and touch. Every time their lips brushed, every time he felt her perfect breath mingling with his own, shivers erupted across his body. Unable to stop himself he brushed back her hair before firmly grasping the side of her neck, his hand was so large against her velvet skin that he knew he could probably hold her entire throat in one hand. He put it there as an ode to the last time he’d been here. He’d put it there as a fuck you to fate.
His other hand curled around her waist and pressed against her back where - and he moaned again - Elain’s exposed skin greeted him.
He wanted to take her right her. Wanted to lie her down on the carpet and bury his head between her thighs as he had done so many times before in his fantasies. How he ached to taste her, all of her, to pin her writhing thighs back with one hand and wrists with the other. He wanted to look at her perfect angelic face as he made her sing sinful sounds for him. Wanted to make her toes curl and back arch as she came on his tongue. Again, and again, and again.
Elain tugged slightly on Azriel’s hair and he was thrust back into his body, back into the present, and he had to stifle another moan because those thousands of fantasies had nothing, nothing, on this.
In response to Elain’s needy tug, Azriel bent slightly and curled a hand around the back of each of her thighs and hoisted her up against his chest. Elain, much to his delight, snapped her legs around him as he lifted her against his chest, their lips still ferociously dancing. He only had to walk a few paces to set her against the edge of the lobby table, but that particular move was one that had been haunting him more recently of late.
He went to pull away after she was set down on the wooden tabletop. He wanted to see her, with her hair ruffled and her cheeks flushed, her lips swollen and her chest heaving. He wanted to commit that image to memory because there was still some part of him that could not believe this was real.
But as he moved to step back, Elain caught him off guard as her legs tightened from where they were wrapped around his hips, something of a growl arising from the back of her throat as she fisted his leathers and pulled him against her. Azriel obeyed her, like a puppy on a leash, leaning his hands against the table, either side of her hips, in order to stay standing.
She was flushed against him once more. Her breasts pushed against his chest which felt suffocated by the Illyrian leathers, he ached to have her skin brushing against his own, but all in good time. He slipped his tongue into her mouth then and revelled in the juxtaposing thrill and relaxation of exploring her in this way. But there was still an inch of space between their hips. He didn’t know why he left it there, even when Elain dragged him against her, perhaps it was because he knew the minute they were aligned in cardinal perfection, there would be no turning back. He would be hers and vice versa, and she would be his muse and his priority, and he would put her before everything - even his High Lord.
To steady himself, Azriel made the mistake of taking his hand and bracing himself on Elain’s thigh. What he was not expecting was for his palm to find the soft, exposed flesh of her leg from where her dress must’ve mischievously ridden upwards when he had lifted her.
Purely on instinct, Azriel moaned and drove his hips forward into her core, earning a breathy sigh from them both as they finally found an inch of friction in their writhing. There was only fabric now. Measly layers of fabric that came between them.
“Fuck...” Elain gasped into his mouth and some outrageously animalistic part of him growled in satisfaction at having pulled a sinful swear from her angelic mouth. Azriel kept one hand against the wood near her hips to stay steady, to stop himself from grounding his hips into her like an uncontrollable beast, the other stayed on the warm, smooth flesh of her exposed thigh.
Slowly, he began to trace rough circles with his thumb on her inner thigh earning a flutter of breathy sighs to dance from her lips which pleased his soul to no avail. Azriel parted from her lips and began to pepper kisses along her jawline as he torturously inched his thumb up, inch by inch with each circle. When Azriel began to kiss and suck on the spot just below her ear he allowed himself to peek at her as he worked.
Her head was tilted back slightly, her throat bobbing as high hums fluttered from her. If he could paint he would paint the perfect blush of her swollen lips. If he were a poet he would turn her breathy moans into the sweetest of sonnets. And then she tugged on her bottom lip with her teeth as a soft moan escaped her and he had to look away, if only to stop himself from reaching down and fisting himself at the sight of it.
With his head turned Azriel hissed out of surprise as his thumb rubbed against a sticky sweetness coating her inner thigh. God she was wet. And as he rubbed further, coating his thumb in her essence, he had to bite his cheek as to not come in his pants like a schoolboy. Azriel stopped rubbing circles in favour for taking his first finger and tracing back and forth over the highest point of her thigh, slow and torturous as he familiarised himself with the feel of her. His heart threatening to beat out of his chest when his fingers brushed against a lacy frill at the apex of her thigh. Tilting his head Azriel was able to husk into her ear.
“What do you want Elain?” His voice was low and breathy before he caught her lobe between his teeth. Another shuddering gasp floated from her lips. 
“I want you to touch me...and I don’t want you stop,” the sound of her voice so mingled with pleasure and need was almost enough to undo him. “Ever,” She went on, “Not until I don’t know my own name.” 
She was going to kill him. Growling in satisfaction he rewarded her answer with one quick brush over her lace underthing's, the touch was like electricity for them both. Elain physically tremored as Azriel finally brushed where she needed him most, and Azriel shuddered at the contact with the girl of his dreams. 
“Please, Azriel,” Azriel stilled for a moment, wondering how she would react to his instinctual next move. His particular flavour of making love.
“Say that again,” He said slowly, his voice barely more than a brutal, low husk. As he spoke Azriel allowed some of his power to ebb into the words, the siphons a top his hands guttering as they came to life. It felt slightly wrong to use such a voice on her, the one he so often used with enemies, but Azriel watched as Elain’s lips parted, her pupils expanding as her breath grew heavy in response to his dominant voice. Oh, Azriel couldn’t help but think in agonising awe. Maybe his deep assumptions, the ones that only haunted him in that void he entered before he fell asleep, were true. That Elain, the purest of sisters, was also the filthiest.
“Please, Az,” Her voice was breathy and pleading, but there was something alight in her eyes as she begged him.
“Good girl,” Azriel couldn’t stop himself from husking as he peeled back the top of the lace. They both stared unwaveringly into each other’s eyes as Azriel dipped his hands along her, not touching just hovering. He held his hand there, an inch away from where she needed him most, waiting until she almost whimpered before he slid a single finger slowly through her folds. 
Her reaction was blissful to see. The way she bit her lip, her back arched, and her eyes fluttered shut. Azriel moved with her, his own mouth parted, and brows furrowed as he stroked her again.
“Don’t close your eyes,” He murmured in his voice of steel, “Look at me.” Elain’s eyes snapped open, and it was his turn to be caught off guard. Gone was the hazelnut colour, even the sensuous black he had somehow lulled them into, what met him was the colour of bright honey and her eyes, they were glowing. They stood out like gemstones being pierced by golden light. It was then that Azriel began to take note of their surroundings and realise that the thrumming was not just happening inside him but all around him. Ripple after ripple of raw, ancient power was bleeding from Elain, fizzing into the air and turning the entire foyer into something alive and electric. A shiver ran along Azriel’s entire body as his own powers itched to sing in harmony with hers; cobalt energy rising to meet her golden light.
Her folds were dripping, and he was having an internal debate on whether or not to rip off her underwear. On one hand he would have better access, he would be able to pleasure her better, and he could even push her back against the table and lower his head and taste her. On the other, he couldn’t stand being disconnected from her for a second. 
Whilst he debated, he slowly raked his finger up her again before finding that small bundle of nerves. When he caught it with his fingertip and began to drag slow, luxurious circles over it, a throaty, guttural moan escaped her lips. He bit his cheek again. He wondered if anyone had fucked her like this and again, that pride bloomed when he realised that he might be the first. Not her first, but the first person to show her the true ecstasy of pleasure.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck,” Elain gasped as her head fell forward on his shoulder. Azriel allowed the eye contact to break, too absorbed by the feeling of having Elain writhing under his fingers to care.
He’d always thought that he could die a happy man if ever he was blessed enough to experience such a joy as Elain Archeron, but now he realised what a stupid notion that was. Because Elain wasn’t cause for death but cause for life. He’d live for Elain, Azriel realised. Elain who was writhing and mewling into his shoulder as he slowly brought her to the ecstasy she deserved. She was close and following this he would winnow them away to either his unused apartment in central Velaris, or deep in the gardens on this summer night, where they would be entirely alone, and everything would be perfect. And once they’d had their fill on the pure bliss of one another they could talk about everything, and they’d find a solution and they’d work it out, and everything would be okay - and then Rhysand walked in, and everything came crashing down.
Some part of Azriel’s hazy mind had been aware of the movement deep in the house but it had been so, so inconsequential compared to what was in front of him. And his shadows, well his shadows were nowhere to be seen, not with golden light quite literally thrumming from Elain. There had been no warning, and as Rhys met Azriel’s eye when he still had his fingers flush against Elain some primal part of Azriel reared its head.
In an instant Azriel’s siphons were spluttering to life as power surged through Azriel, his wings instinctively flaring as wide as they would stretch, so that the cresting talon of each wing scraped into the polished walls. Rhys, who was standing at the edge of the foyer, an unrecognisable expression scorched into his face, was a threat at that moment, and the whole world seemed to still as Azriel slowly came down from the high of his arousal.
Slowly, Azriel removed his hand from Elain’s underwear and smoothed down her skirts to cover her legs, all the while never moving his eyes from Rhys. He didn’t care if he was in for the doghouse, didn’t give a shit about what consequences his happiness had just induced - Elain came first.
And right now, even though it was a ludicrous thought, Azriel was preparing himself to protect Elain from Rhysand. Elain’s whose nightgown had slipped down her shoulder, whose eyes were wide as she glanced over her shoulder at her brother-in-law, exposed and vulnerable just as she’d been on the worst night of her life.
“Azriel,” Rhysand finally spoke and Azriel shifted slightly to pull Elain closer to his chest. “My” It seemed as though all sense of formality had dropped as Rhysand’s High Lord voice billowed into the room. Azriel didn’t speak, didn’t move either, just shifted his eyes to Elain whose face was blanch and confused.
“Can’t this wait?” Azriel asked, his voice low and full of strength. Instantly he realised that he should’ve worded his question better. He didn’t want time in order to finish off what he and Elain had begun, but rather to give Elain a moment to breathe, for her to fix her dress and smooth her hair, for her to do whatever she needed to do before she was forced to face her family. Rhysand’s eyes darkened, and he entered the room in a low stride, both hands digging deep into his pockets. Azriel moved instantly, stepping around Elain to put himself in front of her as Rhysand approached.
Without a word Rhysand came closer and closer, and Azriel continued to stretch his wings to cover Elain from whatever vitriol was about to be thrown his way. But Rhysand didn’t say anything, he didn’t even move suddenly, just reached out a single hand until it was barely touching Azriel’s arm as darkness surrounded them both.
Before Azriel even had a chance to realise that Rhysand was winnowing them away – away from Elain – they were standing in his office, and Azriel couldn’t help but shake his head at the slight Deja-vu of the whole situation. Except this time, he wouldn’t be bounding himself in shackles, he’d be setting himself free, whether Rhys wanted him to or not.
Azriel was standing in front of the large mahogany desk of Rhysand’s office whilst it’s owner moved behind it, one hand still in his pocket. Already the air in the room was taut with energy, as though the very air were cowering in the face of the upcoming argument. And still Azriel’s mind was still thinking of the girl in the foyer, her name like a mantra beating through his body,
“Put your cock away Azriel,” Rhys immediately spat in response to the ripples of cobalt energy rippling from Azriel’s form. Azriel didn’t deem the childish comment with a retort, though his arousal was already gone, and quickly replaced by the tautness of anger and frustration. His shadows had returned to him now that he was away from Elain, and they were writhing uncontrollably around his legs and back.
Azriel stayed standing, folding his arms over his chest just for something to do. It was then that Rhys sighed heavily, leaning against his desk and hanging his head. He wasn’t as tired nor as desperate as when they’d last spoken like this - of this. No, now Rhys had everything. Everything he had ever, and could ever want, and now his fight lay in protecting the paradise he had found in Feyre and Nyx. Whilst Azriel was still in the dark, still alone, still secretly in agony - they were not the same.
“I gave you the simplest of orders,” Rhys sighed like a disappointed father and something brutally aggressive awoke in Azriel. How dare he, how dare Rhys speak to him like that?
“I know,” Azriel said, his voice indiscernible and calm. Rhys swung his head up to glare at Azriel, something emotional lingering in his violet eyes.
“You know? Then, Azriel, why did you take it upon yourself to disobey me?” Azriel’s grip on his biceps tightened. 
“Elain is...” Azriel began before he had to lower his eyes. What was Elain? How could he explain to Rhys the inexplicable way he felt about the angelic gardener? The effect she had on him, it was both irrational and yet made perfect sense. And right now, he could barely focus with knowing that somewhere in this house she was looking around confused, wondering what the hell had just happened. “She’s important to me. More than you realise.”
“She has a mate.”
“That is irrelevant-”
“Irrelevant?” Rhysand looked as though he might laugh and Azriel once more gripped his arms tight enough to bruise. “I thought I made it perfectly clear to you Azriel that the bond between Elain and Lucien-” Azriel growled at his name, Rhys ignored him, “-is paramount to the civility between us and not just the Autumn Court, not just the Spring Court or the Day Court, but also the Band of Exiles and the Human realms.”
“And have you ever wondered if maybe Elain deserves better?”
“Better than Lucien-” Rhys practically squawked. 
“No,” Azriel growled, allowing his anger to show, “Better than us. Better than a family who reduce her to little more than a political pawn-”
“She is my sister,” Rhysand spat, standing up straight with a newfound intensity. “Don’t you dare question my treatment of her, don’t you dare suggest I don’t care for her.”
“Are you truly so out of touch that you do not see the shackles you’ve tied around her wrists?” Azriel uncurled his arms, “You’ve stripped her of any choice-”
“This is not about choice!”
“This has everything to do with choice!”
“Elain is a valued member of my family but also of my court. As her High Lord, I have made a difficult decision but one that will undoubtedly strengthen this us in the now impending war. It was a tough decision and if you want me to be the bad guy, fine, I’ll be the bad guy, but you will obey my orders as this is the best choice for Elain.”
“Then why don’t you ask her,” Azriel growled, grappling with the internal leash on his powers, “Why don’t you actually include her in the decisions you’ve made about her life.”
“I don’t know what you’re insinuating,” Rhys flicked invisible lint from his suit, “But Elain is a valued member of these discussions.” 
“Then why isn’t she here?” Azriel husked quietly, full of venom. Rhysand apparently didn’t have anything to say to that, so Azriel went on. “You claim to value choice Rhysand, and yet you’ve stripped Elain of not just her own volition, but the simple knowledge of the choices made about her life.”
There was something bitter clanging through Azriel as he spat the words, he knew what it was, it was a word - hypocrite. Because whilst Azriel was fighting for Elain, really he should be allowing for Elain to fight for herself. He should’ve left the office the minute Rhysand winnowed them and searched for Elain. He should’ve told her, all those months ago, about why he could no longer be around her. And that’s why Elain deserved better, better than Rhys and better than him, because even now they talked of her rather than with her.
“You are to stay away from her,” Rhysand said at last, glaring out the study’s window almost as though he was ignoring Azriel.
“I can’t do that. Not anymore,” Azriel husked, and Rhys paused, catching Azriel’s eye before he hastily looked to the side and raked a hand through his hair. 
“I told you, Azriel. I told you to stay away from Ly-” Both Azriel and Rhys’ eyes widened at the name that nearly fell from Rhysand’s lips. A revelation occurring to them both as the name Rhys’ long deceased sister was brought into the room. “Elain,” Rhys corrected himself, acting unbothered by his slip. “I told you stay away.”
Azriel didn’t know how to respond. He’d spend hours in training rings, on long haul flights or espionage ventures thinking of this specific argument. The way he’d tell Rhys all the things he should’ve said on that Solstice night, about the disservice they were both doing to Elain, about how it was outrageous of Rhys to demand Azriel put politics before his happiness after, well, everything. 
After Azriel had spent 500 years alone with only a doomed infatuation with a woman who would never love him back. After Azriel had always favoured to be alone, to suffer in silence, to take the blame, and now he finally had an out. After Azriel had to put up with both his brothers finding their perfect happiness, Rhys himself almost starting a war by perusing and protecting Feyre.
Why was it so different for him? Why was it the moment Azriel had happiness within an arm’s reach there were a thousand excuses for him not to have it? What was so poisonous about his desires? About him?
“She’s not Lydia,” Azriel said at last. It was a low blow. Especially since Rhys had so clearly tried to cover up his slip a moment ago. “For one, you would never treat Lydia with such little respect. Elain is her own person and I’m not going to fight with you, or Lucien, or anyone for that matter like she’s some kind of prize.”
This argument was too real. Of course, they’d had arguments before, all three of them had. Azriel could remember a particularly nasty one between Cassian and Rhys where they hadn’t spoken for a year, Azriel bouncing between them like an owl. But this wasn’t a brotherly squabble, not when the stakes were so high.
Rhys sighed, still not meeting Azriel’s eye as a muscle in his jaw ticked. It seemed as though the High Lord also understood the irregularity of the dispute, or maybe he was just furious at facing his own errors, at his spymaster criticising him on failing someone so important on a matter which Rhysand prided himself on - the volition of the women in his life. After what happened with his mother and his sister, to find out he was now failing his new family must be driving him mad.
“You just can’t keep it in your pants can you Azriel?” 
It may have been less shocking if Rhys had just leaned over and stabbed Azriel in the gut. His words clanged into the air with a sour metallic taste, and for a moment Azriel lost his breath, his jaw slackening as his shock registered before he could swiftly cover the expression with the mask of steel he’d perfected. The silence following the comment was perhaps worse than the blow itself. Now it was Azriel who couldn’t stand looking at his brother. He didn’t care if Rhys looked apologetic, didn’t care for him at all. 
“Do you really think so low of me?” Azriel’s voice was deathly quiet, before he finally shifted his eyes up to see the raw regret plastered on his brothers face.
“No, I-” A vicious knock came at the door then, interrupting whatever apology Rhys was going to throw his way.
“Open the door,” Came Elain’s voice, more brutal than he’d ever heard it before. Something electric shot through Azriel at the sound of it, of her. If anything, her voice was a reminder that this was real, that his hair was tousled, and lips swollen because of Elain-fucking-Archeron.
Rhys didn’t move for the door, so Azriel did. Turning around, he walked the length of Rhys’ office to the large double oak doors and pulled one back without hesitation. He knew she deserved to be here, that she should’ve been here from the start. 
Azriel was so set on opening the door for the sake of justice and fairness that he momentarily forget that it was Elain on the other side, and the sight of her made his breath stop in his throat. Her hair was still ruffled from where he had raked his hands through it, and her lips still blushed from where he had tugged on them with his teeth. There was also a faint flush of her cheeks, either from their previous activities or from running through the River House searching for him and his brother.
Something electric and charged ran the entire length of his body at the sight of her - not arousal, something deeper. And by the way her glowing eyes drank him in, he knew she felt it too. Azriel stepped aside and let her pass into the office and walk up to Rhysand’s desk. As he followed her, something bitter twisted in his gut - whatever was blooming between himself and the gardener was a thing to celebrate. Such love, light and warmth in his life which had thus far consisted of cold loneliness was a joyous and wonderful thing. And yet he was made to feel ashamed of his happiness, by his brother. His own damn brother.
“What’s going on?” Elain spoke in her traditionally soft voice, but even Rhys must’ve picked up and the unwavering steel that seeped from her tone, so similar to Nesta’s pitch. 
“Nothing, Elain. Just a dispute between myself and Azriel. It’s nothing you need concern yourself with,” Rhysand’s easy smile warmed through his cheeks and Azriel was sure he was going to punch him before the night was out.  
“Don’t lie to me Rhysand, it’s not a good look for a High Lord,” Elain spoke smoothly, folding her arms over her chest as Azriel had done moments ago. Rhys’ expression only flickered in response. “Now, what’s going on?” Elain asked again.
“Well,” Rhysand began, “Me and Azriel have been discussing you actually, you see, your bond with Lucien is unfortunately paramount to a lot of peace and unity between our court and others.” Rhysand looked blankly at Evie as he spoke, completely dethatched from the emotional anger he’d unleashed on Azriel moments ago.
“Is this about me breaking the bond?” Elain said, her voice smooth like honey, healing the sparking energy in the room as Azriel and Rhysand had geared up for a fight. Something about the question twisted Azriel’s guts. It was her terminology; it was all wrong. There was no such thing as breaking a bond, one could reject it and render the attachment limp and lifeless, but breaking a bond was only achieved in death, and even then some believe the bond to continue in the next life. It was just a reminder that Elain knew nothing about this world, Lucien had placed the acceptance or rejection of the bond in her hands, but she did not even know what either option would truly entail. Her education, it was another thing they’d all failed her on.
“If you wish to reject your bond with Lucien I, nor anyone in this court, will prevent you from doing so,” Rhysand said smoothly, “However, given the current political climate, I must say it would be best to leave this till after the war.” Elain did not look away as she thought.
“I don’t want the bond,”
“That’s perfectly okay-”
“No,” Elain interrupted, “I don’t want the bond at all. I don’t want to have to accept or reject anything - I just don’t want don’t know what it’s like, to be pulled apart limb by limb, and be remade against your will, to find yourself destroyed and then re-crafted by something as unapologetic as the Cauldron itself. I was violated to the most extravagant degree and when I finally came around, when I finally managed to find something recognisable in myself, months after that night, I came around to find that I had been reduced to some ancient claim a stranger possessed over me. You are all kind, and you all mean well, but I know you all see myself as his.
“It was on the worst night of my life, the night when I had been pulled apart till I was only vessels and blood, he called me his. He is not a bad person I can see that,” her voice wobbled slightly then, “He is kind and witty, he’s working harder than any of you for the forgiveness of my sister. He doesn’t deserve…” She choked up slightly, but cleared her throat to cover it up, “He’s not bad…but this bond is terrible, it’s worst then terrible, it’s suffocating. And when I think of that bond, tied around my ribs like some kind of violating shackle, I just think of how it felt to suffocate on black water...that’s what this bond means to me, it’s a violation on top of a violation. So, to hear that to you, this bond gives you a political advantage, that you get a gain out of it and that you wish me to continue living in torment I...
“I wish I could be sorry about feeling this way, but I don’t. I have stayed quiet, and I have played the role you needed me to play. I keep out of your way; I busy myself with the gardens and dinner and I do everything I can to not bare my teeth every time he visits. But I...” Her wide, damp eyes turned to look at Azriel, “I have found something living in the never ending grave of my life. After I found myself again, all those months after the Cauldron, it felt as though it was only then I emerged from the black water. After I found...” She trailed off, stilling holding Azriel’s eye, “...I was not just out the black water, but back on the ground.” 
A small silence settled over the room as Azriel and Elain found themselves quickly lost in one another again, Rhys was merely glancing between the two, his mind whirring as he tried to click together the puzzle in front of him.
“I tried Rhys…I really did,” Azriel finally whispered into the heavy silence, still not looking away from his beloved. “I’ve done everything short of chaining myself in the dungeons to stay away, but I can’t.” It wasn’t until the words had left Azriel’s mouth that he realised his error. And it wasn’t until Elain’s brows furrowed and her eyes moved to Rhysand, that he felt his heart drop.
“What?” Elain whispered. One of the thousand questions she no doubt harvested. Azriel couldn’t look away from her, couldn’t meet his brothers eye. He had this awful feeling now twisting his guts, the feeling that everything was about to come crashing down.
“I ordered Azriel to stay away from you,” Rhys said evenly. Always the honest man.
“I...what?” Elain spluttered softly, her eyes narrowing on Rhysand. “What?”
“He called me away on solstice night when I was about to kiss you, that’s why I stopped.” That’s why I called it a mistake. Elain’s eyes burned even brighter and Azriel wondered if he should’ve held his tongue. If he should’ve just waited to have this conversation tomorrow where whatever ancient power that was stirring in Elain had calmed down. Now Elain’s glowing eyes seemed to fill the room with golden light, even the black night shrouding Rhysand’s figure ebbed back and inch.
“What?” Elain’s voice rung out, the magic in the room quickly turning volatile.
“I am sorry Elain; I didn’t mean to meddle with your private affairs, but with Lucien under the same roof it would’ve been too risky for those in the house. He could’ve invoked something called a ‘blood duel’.” Of course, Elain didn’t know that, of course none of her friends or family had taken the time to explain that to her. 
“You…you sanctimonious dick,” Elain spat. Had it been any other day, Azriel would’ve had to fight an astonished grin at hearing the words on her lips, but not tonight, not when everything was turning so morbid in front of his eyes.
“I’m sorry Elain, I truly am. But I’m not just your brother-in-law but your High Lord and I cannot risk my entire court for the mild infatuation of a-”
“Don’t speak to her like that,” The words were writhing in venom as Azriel spat them out. He would go down with her. 
“No, Azriel, you don’t speak to me like that,” And with that Rhys’ last straw was gone. In an instant his power was billowing into the room in clouds of black smoke. Rhys acting in such a way in front of Elain, who was already vulnerable, her dress already ruffled and her eyes wide in alarm, made Azriel furious.
“I am your high lord, Azriel, and I gave you a direct command and you have disobeyed me-” Without thinking Azriel’s own icy power rose to the surface, his siphons lighting on fire at the surge. If Elain was frightened by their display of bottomless power she did not show it, perhaps as her own fire was still burning vividly behind her eyes, perhaps since she knew she had more power than them both.
“Have you ever thought perhaps you stepped out of line by asking such a thing of me?” Azriel had never heard his voice so loud and angry before. He didn’t do this. His arguments were stoic and brutal, but mostly silent. He never fought politics - he carved into people who were in chains, and when there was an argument he stayed in the shadows and listened.
“You are my spymaster-”
“I am your brother!” Azriel’s choked sob echoed into the room. “Do I not deserve to be happy?” Rhysand at least had the decency to flinch, to reel back and allow his jaw to slacken in shock.
“Of course, you deserve to be happy brother,” Rhysand’s voice was low and strangled, “But this isn’t just romance – it’s never just romance – this will be a battle-”
“And I’m willing to fight!” Azriel roared, his hands slamming into Rhysand’s desk, his power causing the entire house to shudder, right down to the foundations.
“Azriel,” Rhys’ voice was deathly quiet, “I need you to calm down.” For a moment Azriel didn’t understand, his mind was so focused on Elain, on his own shuddering heart and writhing powers that he simply could not comprehend the words that came out his brothers mouth. Finally, the message registered in his mind and he became aware of his shadows, flourishing and filling the entire room, crawling over the windows and blocking out all the light. The only way he was seeing Rhysand was via the golden glow that came from Elain’s eyes. Disgust racked through his body at the sight of the manifestation of his swirling pain, but before he could do anything, the leash on his powers snapped.
“Azriel-” The next series of events was a blur. Power billowed into the room in a quick explosion, God knows whose it was. Perhaps it was initially Azriel who had finally lost control on that leash on his Illyrian gifts, perhaps Rhysand moved to repress Azriel’s powers with his own, premature or not. Maybe the quiet Elain had had enough of the noise. In an instant, a cocktail of three brands of magic billowed towards each other before exploding outwards, sending a wave of pure, unhinged chaos through the room, the house, and the whole of Velaris.
They all were thrown back from each other, Rhys flying up and landing on his feet, bracing himself against the ornamental globe as his wings appeared and flared. But even he, the most powerful High Lord in history had his knees bent and his arms raised as he braced himself against the fizzling aftershock of the ancient power that tore through the air. Azriel’s centuries of training kicked in as he was catapulted the length of the room, his own wings flared to slow his flight before he caught himself on the doorframe, the weighty wooden doors having flung open, it took an immense amount of physical upper body strength to keep himself upright as the wave of power subsided, his teeth grinding together as his muscles screamed.
But he wasn’t aware of the pain of his screaming muscles, wasn’t thinking about how his wings were in danger of being shredded by the power that ripped through the room. There was only one person, that his entire being seemed to lurch for as his mind screamed her name over and over. Elain.
He had seen as her pale form was flung away from him towards the cabinets, had heard the shattering of glass over the howling in his ears. Of course, he and Rhysand were okay, they had centuries of power and training under their belts but Elain…Elain didn’t have training, and she had flown through the air the fastest, taking the brunt of the powers rebound, her small form crashing into the case of Rhysand’s prized artefacts.
The minute Azriel had control of his own body and wasn’t being thrust back into the hallway, he winnowed to her, stepped into the shadows with a haste and urgency he’d never felt before. Wrong. He’d felt this fear before, he recognised it’s taste from the poisonous memories of that night Elain had been ripped away from them, leaving behind nothing but a vacant cot and warm sheets. Memories of that night often haunted his dreams; how ridiculously lucky they had gotten that they had reached Elain minutes before the King of Hybern got his hands on her. In his dreams he was too late. In his nightmares he fails her, and by the time he and Feyre find the tent she’s already gone. Sometimes there’s a body, and sometimes his unconscious mind is kind enough to just leave behind her lingering scent. That night he learned what it was like to truly fear, to have the blood leave your body, to feel the world still.
And that’s what the world did as he stepped onto the other side of the shadows. Elain was crumpled on the floor underneath the large bay windows, moonlight streaming into the mutilated room and illuminating her still form. It was as though the starlight was searching for her, reaching out to her with hands made of silver shadows.
Glass crunched under Azriel’s boots as he took a step forward, and another, and another. Because he could scent it before he saw it – the blood. The sour metallic taste that clogged up the air, interwoven with her own delicate scent. Wrong, it was so wrong, to have Elain’s scent fused with that of blood. She was facing away from him, crumpled on her side in a foetal position, and he could see her arms, her beautiful nimble arms so like the legs of a doe, limp on the floor and marred with what seemed to be a thousand cuts.
Her blood was black in the moonlight, and was colouring her beautiful, beautiful night dress. The roaring in Azriel’s ears was nothing short of explosive. And before him he saw a black wave, taller than the Ramiel, heading straight for him. One that was made of self-loathing, anger, frustration and agony, and as he dropped to his knees in front of Elain he felt it wash over him, burying him deeper in himself than he’d ever been before, and he knew he would not resurface.
Slowly, as not to hurt her further, Azriel rolled Elain over onto her back and into his lap. With shaky fingers he pushed back her hair, just as he had done less than an hour earlier. Her eyes were shut again, but this time he didn’t look at her face for beauty, but for a sign of life.
“Elain…” He whispered; his voice was softer than petals. She did not stir.
“Elain…” He murmured again as he bowed his head and pressed it against her chest, sticky blood rubbing against his cheek as he did so. For a moment it was all silent, and Azriel felt the world drop away, felt himself falling through bottomless black water only to never resurface.
And then there it was. The familiar ‘thu-thump’ beating slow and steady in her chest, the sweetest melody Azriel had ever heard. But before he could revel in the relief of Elain being alive, movement at the side of his eye made him snap his head, turn up his top lip and let loose a nothing but feral growl. It was his brother, and a small wave of shame rolled through him at having behaved in such a way to someone whom he owed so much.
“Azriel…” Rhysand’s voice was soothing, calm, “She’s having a vision…look, Azriel look. She’s okay, she’s just having a vision.”
And so, he looked again and yes, she was having a vision. Behind her eyelids Azriel could see her pupils flurrying side to side as though she were engaged in some riveting dream.
She’s having a vision; she’s having a vision. His shadows chanted to him, running up his back and whispering in his ear. It didn’t soothe him, but rather caused the cloud of anger around him to disappear, so that he was numb again. Some movement deep in the house pulled at his attention, but it was like a ribbon trying to move an ocean, there was nothing for it to hold onto.
And soon both men were turning to the worst thing of all: Feyre and Nesta, standing at the doorway looking at their sister unresponsive in a pool of blood, both primed and ready to kill. 
“Get away from her.” Nesta’s voice clanged through the room like steel as she strode forward, seeming to fill the broken room with her strength alone. As she moved she revealed a slightly dazed Cassian behind her, still dressed in his night clothes and yet armed to the teeth, clearly having been awoken in a haste. Rhys took a step back, there was too much power, too much energy, in the room already, provoking Nesta would surely lead them all to their sudden deaths.
Then there was Feyre, walking into the room behind her sister, quiet but observant, the perfect High Lady. She seemed to assess everything around her. The tautness of her husband’s stature, the silent flood of emotions that seemed to be rippling from her spymaster, Elain’s shallow breaths and bloodied night gown. After a moment of quiet assessment, she moved forth to the stoic and emotionless figure of her shadowsinger.
“Azriel,” Rhys recognised Feyre’s tone as she approached his brother, it was the tone she used with Nyx, motherly and soft. Azriel pulled his eyes from Elain to look at Feyre vacantly. “It’s okay, everything’s going to be okay…but I need you to let me take her.” Azriel’s mouth contorted in pain as he pulled Elain slighter closer to his chest.
“I know,” Feyre whispered, dropping to her knees next to him, not caring that her own silken nightgown was turning splotchy and red. “I know it’s hard but everything’s going to be okay. She’s my sister, and I as your High Lady will not let anything harm her.” There’s no need, Azriel thought bitterly as he looked down at Elain’s deathly pale skin, her abuser is here, right in front of you. The only harm you need protect her from, is me.
But he didn’t say any of that out loud, he wasn’t even sure his voice would work for him in that moment. Azriel didn’t quite hand Elain over to Feyre, rather he just let his arms go limp around her, and Feyre was able to scoop her sister out of his arms as though they were passing Nyx from one another. Every instinct Azriel had was screaming at him to take Elain back, to at least look at her unconscious form in Feyre’s arms as they moved away from him, but he kept his eyes on the floor, now kneeling to only the pools of Elain’s blood.
Voices began to erupt around him in hushes whispers, he could distantly hear Rhysand guiding his subjects through the plan, explaining to them what had happened whilst withholding the reason why. It was all numb to him as he continued to float under that black wave, sinking deeper and deeper, their voices were above the surface and so they just sounded warbled and strange.
But one movement did catch Azriel’s eye. It cut through the room’s silent chaos like a knife, a figure appearing at the ruined doorway that caught Azriel’s attention the same way an earthquake would. It was him.
“What happened?” Lucien growled out and something roared in Azriel. He knew that tone of voice, could smell the mate-tarnished anger that was rolling out of him. That animalistic claim on the woman Azriel had nearly lost himself in only moments ago. That’s why he was here, because he would’ve felt the energy down the bond, because even though he was at the other end of Prythian with his own family, he had that claim. 
“She’s okay,” Feyre breathed softly as she lifted her sister up into her arms, “Her cuts are already healing, it looks worse than it is. She’s just had a vision so it might take a while for her to come around.” Feyre’s voice was so like her husband’s, even and balanced, reassuring everyone in the room that everything was okay, even if that were not necessarily true.
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
Azriel didn’t want to hate Lucien, even now he could see that the Autumn son was grappling with the bond that was no doubt screaming at him to rip his mate from Feyre’s arms and winnow them both to the other side of the continent. Azriel knew, because he felt it too. Like Elain he didn’t really hate Lucien, he hated the bond, hated what it told him about himself, clear as day, that he wasn’t worthy of Elain. And though some part of him already assumed just as much, no one was so self-deprecating to not at least hold of a sliver of hope in the face of such agony.
“She’s fine,” Nesta snarled at Lucien, one hand on Feyre’s shoulder, the other on Elain’s pale and bloodied forehead as she guided her sisters towards to mutilated door frame. They were right to take their sister away from the scene, God knew that no one there could help Elain now.
And so Elain disappeared around the corner, and Azriel slowly brought himself off the floor, trying to ignore the sight of his marred hands, covered in her blood.
What...even...Cassian’s voice swam into Rhys mind, dripping in confusion and concern. Did you and Az have a fight?
Rhys put off audibly groaning. Whenever he and Az fought it was normally not difficult to keep Cassian oblivious, he didn’t always pick up and stuff like that and sometimes it was just easier to deal with debates behind closed doors. Not to treat Cassian as his and Az’s overgrown child, it was just that Cassian was never meant to be a mediator.
It’s complicated, Rhys reported back keeping his voice level and calm - his High Lord voice.
I’ll let you off for tonight but, Rhys, you have to let me help you. Especially when it comes to Az. He was right of course, just like Azriel had been.
Deal, Rhys shot back, for tonight I need eyes on Az, I don’t care if he pushes you away I need someone with him at all times, at least until Elain comes around. We’ll re-group then. Cassian didn’t respond besides the smallest of nods. He stayed where he was, more awake now with his eyes trained on their other brother, and Rhys knew Cassian wouldn’t take his eyes off him for the foreseeable future.
Rhysand couldn’t help but sigh, it’s not as though Azriel or Lucien were aware of him to notice. This was a mess. Worse than a mess, it was a catastrophe. Everything Azriel had said was right but, he had broken his order, he had defied rank in a way he’d never done before and that squeezed something deep in Rhysand’s gut. Above all he needed to be able to trust his friends, so that when push came to shove he’d be able to make the tough decisions and his friends would let him go into the belly of the beast. But tonight, that had changed. Everything had changed.
And Elain, Elain who he had nearly called by his sisters name, she’d stood up for herself tonight. And then there was the situation of her powers, savage and rippling out of her like a beast. He had tasted those powers when they’d tore out of her, and they were ancient. The same power that was interwoven in the very fields of the earth, concentrated in the form of the sweetest girl of all. Rhys knew at least a thousand fae who would pay a hefty price to possess Elain, a hundred who might be willing to go to war - and then there were the Fae who would claw for her hand, the noblemen who would see her for her potential offspring. Rhysand physically shuddered as he sent his wings away.
Yes, tonight had been a catastrophe all right.
Rhysand looked away from Cassian’s half-hidden grimace and turned to the two males standing off, the blood of the woman they were unspokenly fighting over still pooling across the hardwood floors. Lucien glaring with restrained anger at Azriel, his masculine mating bond clogging up the air, whilst Azriel wore an impenetrable mask, hiding the bottomless torment and agony that was no doubt running rife in the shadowsinger, as he stared at the weeping puddle of Elain’s blood.
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featherymalignancy · a month ago
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Omertà—A Nessian Mob Story
Summary: When Cassian Şahin—a member of a successful organized crime syndicate—goes into Italy on a fact-finding mission for his friend and boss brother Rhysand Javed, there is only one rule: speak to no one and do not interfere. However, when Cassian’s mission brings him into contact with the devasting and powerful Nesta Archeron, daughter of the most powerful crime lord in Italy, he finds his mission (and his good sense) quickly blown off course. When circumstance forces Nesta and Cassian into close quarters, the line between hatred and desire begins to blur, leaving both of them to question whether their loyalties truly lie....
Okay so I know it’s not an update on any of my OTHER ongoing projects and I’m sorry! All I can say for myself is that this idea has been bubbling in my head for a few weeks and for the first time in a long time I sat down today and I wrote and this is what came out.
Some quick things before we jump in.
1. this was partially inspired by @tswaney17’s Elriel fic I Do Bad Things With You, if you haven’t read it, go do it now!
2. Despite a name which looks like it came from a over-eager wannabe fantasy novelist, the ‘Ndrangheta is a very real organized crime syndicate in Italy similar to the Sicilian mob. Most of the details about 'Ndrangheta are based in truth, if only very loosely.
3. I literally have not edited this at all yet so it’s full of typos and I’m sorry but just consider me posting this a form of therapy and pretend you‘re my therapist by ignoring the typos. I will eventually fix them, I swear.
So yeah, let’s get into it!
Omertà, Part I
Under any other circumstances, Cassian Şahin would have dreaded the order to go to Cosenza.
It wasn’t that he didn’t find the city beautiful, because he did. Nestled in the valley of the Crati river and surrounded by rolling hills, it was idyllic and beguiling in that classic Italian way, and unlike the bland shit they ate in Lazio and Tuscany, the cuisine this far South was spicy, hearty fare that reminded Cassian of the types of dishes his Venezuelan grandmother used to make.
Still, none of that mattered. Not really, anyway. Cosenza was still ‘Ndrangheta territory, and for a man like Cassian who made his living outside the law, it was enough to know he was trespassing in enemy territory.
Besides, the city wasn’t run by some two-bit Sicilian cosche —it was run by the Archerons.
Originally hailing from Bari on Italy’s Western coast, it was rumored that the Archeron family descended from an illegitimate branch of the powerful and savage Sforzas, who ruled Milan and later Pesaro with iron fist throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Having heard stories about Calogero Archeron, Cassian didn’t find it difficult to imagine the Archerons were pedigreed in both warfare and violence.
Not only were the Archerons the most influential of Calabria’s ‘ndrine, they were famous the criminal world over for their cunning, their resourcefulness, and their power.
It was why—on any other night—Cassian would have begged Rhys not to send him to Cosenza. After all, their business wasn’t one which often had dealings with the likes of Archerons
As Rhys was so fond of pointing out, “we aren’t that type of criminals.”
Where the old-school outfits like ‘Ndrangheta and Cosa Nostra still made their money off of racketeering, extortion, and smuggling, Rhys was far more interested in making his billions the modern way: through technology. From online gambling to wire fraud, Rhys wasn’t interested in anything as pedestrian drug smuggling or gun-running.
In Rhys’s mind, this meant that he had no quarrel with the Italian crime syndicates. Unfortunately, the ‘Ndrangheta— and the Archeron ‘ndrina in particular— didn’t seem to agree. Archeron capos had been nosing around Rhys’s Swiss accounts for months, and one poor bastard had even been stupid enough to attempt to blackmail Azriel in order to get to secure a cut of Rhys’s lucrative dealings.
Though Rhys had limited his punishment to breaking the would-be extornist’s wrists and Calogero Archeron—old-school, honors-bound mafiosi that he was—had chosen not to retaliate, they’d known for months that it wasn’t the last they’d heard of the Archerons. When the Archeron outfit found leverage over Rhysand—as they’d done with so many others before him—they’d be back to demand their cut.
It was why—up until tonight—Cassian and Azriel had been ordered to give the entire peninsula a wide berth.
“I don’t want either of you in Italy,” Rhys had said in that voice that always reminded Cassian of Rhys’s father.
“Until when?” Azriel had asked.
Though he claimed to hate the food, Azriel had always had staunch bias for Italian tailors, and—more importantly—a weakness for Italian women.
“Until I can be sure that Calogero Archeron won’t cut off your head and feed your body to the pigs in order to hide the evidence,” Rhys had said.
Cassian, for his part, settled into the declaration with relative ease, quickly finding peace with the knowledge that he may be an old man before he ever set foot in Italy again. This in mind, he’d never imagined himself being ordered back to Cosenza, of all places, within six months.
Then again, he’d also never imagined a man as powerful as Calogero Archeron could die of something as mundane as a heart attack. And yet he had, so here they were.
It had been Cassian’s idea, actually, to go to Cosenza once they’d heard of Calogero’s death.  The Archerons—he’d argued to Rhys—would be vulnerable while they worked to fill the void Calogero had left. It was the best chance they’d get to get intel on the Archeron ‘ndrina .
As Rhys’s head of security, Azriel had insisted it was too much of a risk for Rhys himself to go, and the stakes were too high to send any of the more junior captains. So in the end it was only he and Cassian who’d gone to Italy, their directive clear.
They were to gather information and they were not to be seen, not to interact with anyone, even seeming civilians and—above all—not to interfere in any way.
“Whatever the Calabrians are going to do,” Rhys had said. “Let them do it. I don’t need a war because one of you decides to try your hand at being a diplomat.”
“Yes sir,” they’d both said.
And so here they were, both dressed in funeral black and doing their best to blend in with the crowd at L’Opera, a swanky nightclub at the heart of the old city which served as the Archerons’ unofficial seat of power.
“You’re full of shit, you know.”
Azriel’s voice—smooth and cold—echoed in the earpiece Cassian wore. Despite his slight accent, Az still spoke Italian like a poet. Cassian had been told he spoke it like a peasant. Or worse, a tourist.
Cassian fought the instinct to touch his ear. Normally it would have been suicide to come wired into an Archeron club, but once look at the security on the way in earlier had told them that no one within the Archeron outfit would be looking for spies tonight.
“Excuse me?” He said instead.
“You don’t give a fuck about gathering information,” Azriel said. “You’re normally garabage on intelligence missions. You just think tonight might be your chance to finally see her .”
“Che?” Cassian said,  speaking softly to avoid looking as if he were talking to himself.
“Don’t play dumb with me,” Azriel said. “You know exactly who.”
“As a connoisseur of Italian beauty, I don’t know how you aren’t more curious as well.”
“Next time you want to know what Nesta Archeron looks like, just google her instead of putting both our necks on the line.”
“We’re gangsters, Az; ‘necks on the line’ comes with the territory.”
Azriel, whose father had been a high-ranking shateigashira for one of the most powerful Yakuza in Kyoto, let out a soft snarl at the word. Despite what they did for a living, Azriel refused to acknowledge that—like his abusive father—he’d ended up in organized crime.
“Speak for yourself,” he snapped
“I’m sorry,” Cassian said. “I didn’t mean to—”
“Just keep your head on a swivel and stop thinking with your cock,” Azriel said, the bite gone from his tone.
“This isn’t about my cock,” Cassian said, and for the most part, that was true. “This is about seeing whether the Calogero’s chain of command really is strong enough to outlive him.
Nesta Archeron—Calogero’s eldest daughter and his heir apparent—was due at the club at 11 for a meeting with her family’s second in command, a man known only by the nickname “ Il Barone ”, which—more often than not over the years—had been shortened to more colloquial iteration of Beron.
Beron had taken over as acting-leader of the Archeron ‘ndrina, and the few rumors they’d managed to collect suggested there was tension between Il Barone and the eldest Archeron, and that though her father had named her his successor in his will, Beron was apprehensive about put the ‘ndrina in Nesta’s hands.
At 29, Beron likely wasn’t the only one within the organization who deemed Nesta too young and too female to take over the ‘ndrina now that her father was dead. However, Cassian had been watching Nesta’s work within the organization the last few years, and he’d frankly been impressed with what he’d seen.
Far from the sex workers and smack her grandfather Anselmo built his empire on, Nesta’s vision for the family was far more advanced—and far less exploitative of the poor and desperate who made up the majority of Calabria’s population.
Nesta had a masters in economics from Oxford and a MBA from Harvard, and—much like Rhys—her criminal ideology was centered in the money markets. Insider trading, exchanges fraud—it was still messy work, but it also tended to end with far less bullets to the head.
If Nesta did, in fact, attend the meeting with Beron, the outcome would be telling either way.
And yes, if Cassian was being totally honest with himself, he was... curious about Nesta Archeron, enemy though she was. Despite Az’s flippant suggestion earlier, Cassian had caved to boredom once or twice and googled Nesta, though information had been scarce and photos even scarcer. Still, the one he had managed to find had been taken of her during days on the rowing team at Oxford, and even in a shapeless kit with her hair scraped back into a braid, she’d been mesmerizing.
And that had been ten years ago. Cassian couldn’t deny he was eager to see how time had changed her. Az could call it what he liked, but the way Cassian saw it, gorgeous women were a perk of the job.
“There’s chatter at the door,” Azriel said, breaking Cassina’s reverie. “She’s on her way, five minutes.”
“And Il Barone ?”
“He’s already here, Private VIP lounge upstairs. Don’t even think about trying to sneak up there, Cassian.”
Cassian didn’t heed his friend, already on the move up the stairs.
“We need eyes and ears or this is all for nothing,” Cassian said. “I’m going to send a little friend up there.”
He unpocketed the discreet recording device—which had been designed to resemble a drink straw, and began the ascent, carefully to watch his step to avoid making uncessary noise.
He needn’t have been so cautious.
Il Barone was on the phone, speaking in what Cassian was surprised to realize was Dutch. The ‘Ndrangheta, like their Sicilian counterparts, were generally unwelcoming of outsiders.
Then again, Vito Corleone’s consigliere had been German-Irish, so what did Cassian really know about any of this Italian mafioso business?
From what Cassian could pick up from Beron’s conversation, he was assuring the person on the other end of the line that he and Nesta would work out their differences and everything would be fine.
Cassian wondered—as he gently tossed the recording device onto the semi-private landing and watched into roll into place—what Nesta Archeron would make of the fact Beron had just promised to “handle her with care”.
If he had to bet, she’d probably be pissed.
“Cassian, get out of there,” Azriel said, voice barely above a whisper over the commas. “Archeron just walked in and she’d heading straight to you.”
Cassian soundlessly slunk back down the stairs before melting into the shadow closest to the stairs and asking, “What’s she wearing?”
Azriel’s groan was more audible than below.
“You can’t miss her.”
Cassian didn’t bother with the rest as he glanced up to watch the most gorgeous woman he’d frankly ever seen striding towards him. As Az had suggested, it was obvious—even beyond her beauty—that this was the famed Nesta Archeron.
However,  where Cassian had imagined lush curves poured into a slinky cocktail dress, he was met instead with a woman who—perhaps somewhat fittingly—looked prepared to execute a hostile corporate takeover.
Though she was dressed in a black sheath, it was neither short nor overly tight, though it did hug her slender frame in a way that told Cassian it had obviously been made for her. A large mink coat sat over her shoulders, make her look like a mix between Tony Montana and Cruella DeVille.
And her eyes—
Given that her father was Calabrian and her mother Corsican, Cassian had lamely assumed that her eyes would be brown. Instead they were a scalding artic blue, so bright and cold Cassian was sure one glance from her would be enough to burn.
Oh fuck, she was gorgeous. Cassian felt his heart rate kicking up as she neared him, even as he melted farther into the shadows, knowing he couldn’t be seen.
But goddamn, what he wouldn’t give for even more look from that woman, burn hazard or not.
“Focus,” came Azriel’s voice. “I can practically hear you panting from across the room.”
“Relax,” Cassian breathed, risking a glance around the corner to watch Nesta Archeron and that gorgeous, heart-shaped ass ascending the stairs before drawing out his phone to check the feed from the recording device. “I’m a wraith.
As luck would have it, it had fallen into what would be a perfect viewing angle once Nesta sat down, which she did a moment later.
Beron was only partially in frame, but Cassian caught a decent enough glimps of his face as he leaned across the table to brush a lingering kiss on Nesta’s cheek.
“That’s enough, Vanserra,” she snapped, her accent a mix of Italian lilt and posh British-English. “Just because my father is gone doesn’t mean I’m suddenly yours to slather over.”
That name alone would be worth the trip to Consenza, assuming that Cassian and Azriel both made it out of L’Opera alive.
Beron only chuckled.
“You misunderstand my affliction, bambina. You’re young enough to be my own daughter, younger even than my own sons.”
Nesta’s lips—which had been painted a sinister crimson—curled into a sneer.
“Don’t speak to me like I’m a child, yours or otherwise. And you may tell those sons—” at this her eyes flicked up, presumably to the person standing guard over Beron’s shoulder. “—that I am not their prize to covet, either.”
Another soft chuckle.
“I would never presume the right to covet a beauty like yours, Nesta,” a new voice answered.
“Then keep your eyes off my neckline, Eris,” she shot back.
“Now, now, children,” Beron cut in, Nesta’s eyes flashing even hotter at the deliberate jibe. “We’re not here to fight.”
“No,” Nesta agreed. “I’m here for my father’s ring. Give it to me and I’ll be on my way.”
“So soon?” Beron asked. “But you’ve only just arrived.”
“I don’t have time for your games or stalling tactics. That ring is my birthright, and my father left it and the ‘ndrina to me.”
Though the camera was angled too far away to catch all of Beron Vanserra, his hands at least were visible, as was the heavy gold signet ring he twirled around a finger.
“Perhaps,” Beron said. “But one could argue that he wasn’t his right to give this ‘ndrina away without the approval of the council. We aren’t Sicilians, Nesta; it’s not for one man to choose his successor.”
“I see,” Nesta said, and Cassian could see the cold ire limning her every muscle. “And I suppose this is the part where you tell me you think perhaps you would be a better fit for the role.”
“Perhaps I think I would be. Age before beauty, m’donna. I have critical experience you lack.”
“You’re also not Calabrian, which means the council will never accept you.”
“Except...they already have,” Beron said. “That is, the ones who are still alive. The others, obviously, had to be replaced before we could reach an equitable consensus.”
Cassian watched as the rage melted to something colder on Nesta’s face, his own heart rate inexplicably picking up in response.
“You think it’s that easy?” Nesta asked, but Cassian could hear the growing apprehension in her voice. “To just steal my family’s dynasty?”
Beron only laughed.
“I know it is, because I’ve already done it.”
Nesta reached for her phone, making Beron laugh harder.
“Go ahead and check for yourself, if you like. Ruggieri, Lanzano, Perratta, all your most ardent defenders—all dead. All that remains now is for you to submit. Your days as capo are over, of course, but I think we might still find some position for you to continue to provide value. On your back, perhaps.”
“I was going to suggest on her knees,” Eris cut in.
“Get fucked,” Nesta snarled.
“You first,” Eris shot back.
“I’d rather die,” Nesta said, smoothly unholstering a gun from the belt of  one of the two bodyguards she’d brought with her.
However, she was never given the opportunity to fire. No sooner had she raised the gun than the very same guard produced a garotte, stringing isn’t expertly around her neck.
“Fuck,” Cassian breathed, watching and Nesta kicked her legs, fighting viciously around the vice at her throat.. “They are going to kill her.”
“Tough shit,” Azriel said. “You know our orders.”
“Az, they are seriously going to kill her!”
“Then that’s her fault for not bringing better guards. Stand down, Cassian!”
For a split second, Cassian did actually consider following the order. But when he remembered what it was Nesta Archeron represented, and what she was being sacrificed to uphold, his decision was made.
Bounding up the stairs and unholstering the gun he’d snuck past the metal detectors earlier, he immediately fired at the man currently choking Nesta,  hitting him twice in the chest. He went down with a thud, but before the other guards—or the Vanserras could react—there was a loud bang and a shattering of glass below, followed by screams as one of the massive crystal chandeliers smashed on the floor.
Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Cassian fired at the next two guards hitting one in the chest and one between the eyes. Beron and Eris, clearly not willing to become Cassian’s next victims, both dove for the balcony, preparing to use the crowd below to cushion their fall.
Just as the famed Il Barone turned to flee, he pointed a finger at Cassian in menace.
“Whoever you are, you are dead. You both are.”
Cassian’s only response was to fire his final bullet at Beron, which grazed his shoulder just as he and Eris escaped.
“If by some miracle we make it out of here alive,” came Azriel’s voice as Cassian crawled towards where Nesta lay, still unmoving, on the ground. “Please know that your days are still numbered. I am literally going to kill you for this.”
“Get in line,” Cassian said, tentatively reaching to check Nesta’s pulse. “ IL Barone just promised the same.”
Just as Cassian’s fingers brushed the soft, delicate skin of Nesta Archeron’s neck, she flipped over, eyes bloodshot but still full of alacrity as she broke twisted his hand with a hard jerk, snapping two of his fingers.
“Fuck!” He said, but she didn’t stop, using his pain as a means of distraction before ripping the baseball cap he’d been wearing off his head and staring dead into his eyes.
“Whatever it is you think you want from me,” she snarled, eyes continuing to devour him. “You can’t .”
Cassian only bucked her off of him, breaking her grip on his wrist and—broken fingers be damned—flipped her onto her stomach, jabbing her in the soft part of the hip with a fast-acting sedative he kept on him for an emergency that—until now—he hadn’t really understood was possible. In less than a minute her struggling ceased, and a quick check of his wrist told him that she was alive but unconscious. Not that it mattered; the damage was already done.
She’d seen his face.
“Are you clear?” Came Azriel’s voice. “Back door, five minutes. Naz is already waiting in the alley with a car.”
“I can’t,” Cassian said, surprised to find his voice cracking with emotion. “Archeron made me.”
“She what ?”
“She got the jump on me and saw my face. I’m not going to go with you and risk blowing your and Naz’s cover.”
“I’m not leaving you,” Azriel said, voice stern.
“You don’t have a choice. When she comes to—”
“Fine, then just shoot her before she does.”
“If I kill her, what was any of this for?”
“Then I’ll shoot her—”
“Just go, Az! I’ll lay low here for a while and when I’m sure the heat has died down and it’s safe to come home, I’ll call you.”
There was a long-suffering sigh before—
“Bring her.”
Cassian, despite everything, felt the absurd need to laugh.
“Excuse me?”
“Bag her and let’s go. We’ve been here too long already.”
“Our orders were not to get involved. What do you think the boss is going to say when we come home with an Archeron as a hostage?”
“If you don’t bring her, then you might as well shoot her,” Azriel said. “Because when Il Barone finds her, he’s going to kill her.”
He had a point there.
Glancing around for a suitable blindfold and finding none, Cassian ripped the hem of Nesta’s dress and tied it around her eyes.
If she didn’t hate him already, she was definitely going to hate him now. Kissing the archangel medallion hanging around his neck, Cassian heaved a still-unconscious Nesta over his shoulder and took off down the stairs, marveling at the chaos that Azriel had managed to created and then escape as he jogged to the back door.
His friend was already there waiting for him, his normally glossy black hair damp with sweat and his eyes teaming with high emotion.
“Az, I—”
“No time,” Azriel said, kicking the door opened with a booted foot and all but shoving Cassian through into and into a waiting SUV. No sooner had Azriel leapt in behind him and shot the door then bullets began pinging off the armored side panels.
“Drive, Nazaret!” Azriel demanded, and the Land Rover peeled out down the alley and into the narrow streets of Cosenza. It took  25 minutes of elusive drinking, but eventually Naz was able to lose their tale, guiding the car to a secluded helipad where a chopper was already waiting to take them to where Rhys’s jet was standing by to take them across the Adriatic to his summer hideout in Croatia.
All told, the journey took about four hours, and with Azriel refusing to speak to or even look at him, Cassian had nothing to do but debate his sins.
He’d gotten in the middle of a ‘Ndrangheta dispute, killed Italian made-men, and kidnapped mafiaso royalty—all offenses the ‘Ndrangheta would never let go unpunished. And Christ, that was to say nothing of Nesta Archeron.
His fingers still throbbing from where she snapped them. Good God, was she going to be furious when she woke up.
And what about her sisters? Though both younger and—by all the intelligence Rhys had managed to gather on the Archerons—less involved in ‘ndrina business than Nesta had been, they were still ‘Ndrangheta by blood and birthright. Cassian seriously doubted they’d be taking the abduction of their sister sitting down, which meant that they’d have to be dealt with as well, and soon.
But before all that, he’d have to deal with Rhys.
Cassian had (rather stupidly) hoped that perhaps Az would pity him enough to delay telling Rhys what had happened in Cosenza. However, he knew it had been wishful thinking when the plane touched down on the small runway which abutted Rhys’s villa and the man himself was standing on the tarmac, arms crossed and dark hair whipping across his forehead from the engine.
Glancing at Nesta’s form to assure she was properly attended, Cassian didn’t waste him dowdelling. He trotting down the steps, he opened his mouth to begin explaining himself before his friend held up an imperious hand to demand silence before gritting out, pearly teeth bared in a snarl,
“What the fuck have you done?”
Tagging some random parties: @tswaney17 @keshavomit @live-the-fangirl-life @katexrenee @mightymorphingayagenda @justgiu12 @vasudharaghavan @sayosdreams @123moiaussi @readingismyonlyhobby @jungleslang @nikethestatue @empress-ofbloodshed
If you don’t want to be tagged or you do, let me know!
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illyrianbeauty · 2 years ago
It Must Be an Illyrian Thing...
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Please let me know what you think! I love getting comments and constructive criticism! Enjoy! ~Rachel 
Elain lowered herself onto the stool, a contented sigh escaping her lips.  With the Winter Solstice being less than a week away, her shop, The Lily Vates, had been busier than ever.  Since the grand opening a little less than a year ago, business had been increasing steadily. The corners of Elain’s mouth quirked up as she glanced around, confirming that the shop was in fact void of customers.  She stretched her weary limbs, grateful for a small break in an otherwise hectic day.
Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, Elain searched the counter for her invoice book.  She flipped through the pages, taking note of the orders she would need to begin preparing to ensure that they would be ready for delivery tomorrow. Her new assistant, Asher, was out making the last deliveries of the day.  Though she had been a tad reluctant at first to hire someone temporarily to help with the influx of orders for all of the Solstice celebrations, he had turned out to be a real lifesaver. She would never have been able to handle delivering all of the bouquets on her own. Elain rested her chin on her palm as she read over a particularly large order, which consisted of several boughs and garlands.  
Stifling a yawn, Elain stood from the stool, stretching out her body like a cat.  By the Mother, she was tired. Maybe she should seriously consider hiring Asher on a more permanent basis, especially if business continued to increase as it had been over the past few months. As Elain was reaching for a spool of ribbon, she noticed a small bouquet which had been placed half hazardously on the floor.  After setting the scarlet colored ribbon down on the counter, she knelt down to inspect the bouquet in question. Asher must have overlooked it when he left earlier, she determined after a moment of careful consideration.
Well, she would just have to deliver the flowers herself.  In all the months The Lily Vates had been open for business, she had never once failed to make a delivery, and she wasn’t about to start now.  Her skirts billowed around her as she stepped out of her shop and into the frigid winter weather. Clutching her cloak tightly, Elain began traversing the bustling streets of Velaris. She could just barely make out someone calling her name over the howling of the wind.  Elain spun around in an attempt to discover the source of the sound, only to collide with the fae male who was walking beside her. A shrill scream sounded as she lost her balance and tumbled towards the ground. Strong hands grasped her around the middle, setting her upright on her feet.    
“By the Cauldron! Are you alright?  I’m so sorry Elain,” Asher panted, holding onto Elain as she steadied herself.  
“I’m fine, Asher. Thanks to you,” Elain huffed, her cheeks reddening from both the cold air and the slight embarrassment she felt.  
“Take your hands off of my wife,” Az said, his voice void of any of the warmth and love Elain had become so accustomed to.  One look at the shadowsinger’s face, which was contorted in rage, had Asher leaping away from Elain.
“Az, there’s no need to be rude.  Asher and I ran into each other by accident.  He kept me from falling over,” Elain said, placing a hand on his arm.  
“That doesn’t explain why he had his hands all over you,” he growled, the wings at his back flaring out slightly in agitation.
“I wasn’t… I wouldn’t…” Asher stammered, his face becoming extremely pale.  Az pulled his lips back in a snarl, taking a single step towards the other fae male.          
Narrowing her eyes severely, Elain snapped, “Azriel, I don’t know what has gotten into you, but I definitely don’t like it.  You need to stop this. Now.” She placed her hands on her hips before continuing, “And I believe you owe Asher an apology.”
Azriel crossed his heavily muscled arms over his chest.  The glare he sent in Asher’s direction was vicious enough to make any other fae quake in their boots.  
Thrusting a finger in Asher’s direction, Az snapped, “He’s the one who should be apologizing.”  
Elain ran a hand through her hair as she drew in a long breath.  Why was it that all of the men in her life sought only to control her?  Graysen had wanted her to be the pretty, mindless wife whom he could show off at parties.  And Lucien… Lucien had wanted her to believe that they should be together simply because the Cauldron had made them mates.  One of the reasons Elain had eventually fallen in love with Az was because he didn’t expect her to be anyone or anything, other than herself. He had done so much to help her to heal after the war, help her to accept her new life.  She had thought that he was different… that he would stand beside her, not try to control her. Maybe she had been wrong about him after all.
“Asher, why don’t you head home early? I’ll close up the shop tonight,” Elain said, fighting back the tears that threatened to fall. Flashing her a grateful smile, Asher turned on his heels and scurried down the street.
“I don’t like him,” Az ground out, his eyes not leaving the retreating form of Elain’s assistant.  
“How could you, Az?” Elain choked out, wrapping her arms around her chest.  
“Ellie, I…” he said, faltering when he saw the hurt expression on her face.
“Go home Az. I don’t want to talk to you right now,” she said quietly, but not weakly.  Without another glance at her husband, Elain walked back into her shop. When the door was locked behind her, then and only then, did she let the tears fall.
Elain went through the motions of closing her shop up for the evening, though her heart simply wasn’t in it.  She kept replaying what had happened over and over again in her mind, until all she could see was Az’s enraged expression.  Sighing heavily, Elain removed her cloak from its hook, grudgingly admitting that she wasn’t likely to get anything useful accomplished that evening, not in her current state anyway.  
Not feeling the least bit eager to go home and face Az, Elain found herself knocking on the front door of the riverfront house.  While she had always gone to Nesta with her problems in the past, her younger sister Feyre had more experience with the temperaments of Illyrian males. Insufferable bats.  Much to her mortification, it wasn’t Feyre who answered the door.
“Elain!  This is a surprise. What…” Rhys trailed off as he took in the appearance of the middle Archeron sister.  Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, Rhys led her into the spacious family room and over to the couch. Rhys’s expression seemed to soften imperceptibly, as it often did when Feyre was nearby.  Elain assumed he was communicating to her sister mind to mind. For once, she found she wasn’t envious of that particular ability.
“Feyre is on her way down.  Can I get you anything to drink?” Rhys asked, his voice lined with concern.  
“No, I’m fine,” she muttered, tucking her legs underneath her.  Matching Rhys’s love of the dramatics, Feyre winnowed into the room and instantly enveloped Elain in a bone crushing hug.  
“I must look far worse than I thought,” Elain said in a watery voice.
“Tell me what’s wrong,” Feyre pleaded, using her sleeve to wipe away the tears streaming down Elain’s face.  
“It’s Az,” she wailed, laying her head on her sister’s shoulder.  
“Would you like me to winnow you home?” Rhys offered, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
“Yes please.  Thank you, Rhys,” she said, the corners of her mouth curving into a smile.
“Are we still on for lunch tomorrow?” Feyre asked, pressing a kiss onto Elain’s cheek.
“At the one place that serves the chocolate cheesecake, right? I’ll be there,” she said, her face lighting up at the thought.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
“Good night Fey.  And thanks for tonight,” Elain said, flashing her sister a grateful smile.
“So, this is where you’ve been all night long.” Elain whirled around, taken aback by the sudden appearance of her husband.  
“Az…”  Whatever Rhys had been about to say was cut off by the vicious snarl that escaped Azriel. Rhys took a step forward, placing himself between Az and Elain.  Ariel’s hands formed into fists as he glowered at Rhys. Their wings flared out in unison as they both took a single step towards each other.
Stepping between the two males, Feyre barked, “What the fuck is your problem Azriel?”
“Stay out of this, Feyre,” he growled, his eyes remaining focused on Rhys.  
“Not a chance in hell.  Elain is my sister. And as your High Lady, I’m ordering you to pull your head out of your ass,” she snarled, placing her hands on her hips.  
“Careful Az.  You don’t want two Archeron sisters pissed at you,” Rhys goaded, crossing his arms over his chest.  
“Let’s take this outside,” Az side, a predatory smile forming on his face.  Rhys thrust his hands in his pockets, giving his brother a considering look.
“You’re wound up pretty tightly, brother.  If I didn’t know any better, I would think that Elain is…” A giant grin spread across his features as he continued, “Of course!”
“Care to share, prick?” Feyre huffed, her eyes darting back and forth between the two Illyrian males.  
Rhys smirked, “Az is behaving like most Illyrian males do, when their mate is with child.  I do believe that congratulations are in order, Elain.”
Elain turned to her sister and huffed, “Feyre, would you please send word to the healer and have her come as soon as possible.”
“Of course.  Are you wanting the healer to confirm Rhys’s suspicions?” Feyre asked, taking hold of Elain’s hand.
Elain snorted, “Cauldron no.”  She pointed a finger in Az’s direction before continuing, “We need a healer because he’s about to faint.”  Rhys and Feyre tipped their heads back and roared with laughter. As Az’s body hit the ground, Elain loosed a long suffering sigh.  
“Insufferable bat baby,” she muttered, though the corners of her lips twitched up
If I you would like to be added to or removed from the tag list, just let me know! If I left you off the tag list, or it didn’t work, please send me a message!! I try to be really organized with the tag lists, but I do make mistakes! 
Always and Forever Tag List: l @abillionlittlepieces l @acer6437 l @acourtofglass l @aelins-fire-queen l @aelinthemaassassin l @alexisnm95 l @amazinginglyawesomeperson l @ame233 l @amren-firedrake l @amusedowl l @awesome--username l @bitchypan l @bookaholic1012 l @booklover04 l @brittpetersen l @burritowithfeels l @carlyrollsroyce l @dreamerforever-5 l @ellenoftroy l @faelightsstarfall l @faequeenaelin l @fae-queen-of-the-east l @feeoly l @fireheart-of-your-dreams l @fucking-winchester-trash l @highlady-of-dusk l @highladyofidris l @highlordrhysie l @howtotameyourillyrian l @illyrian-bookworm l @irrelevant5 l @itsfine-imfine-everythingsfine l @kissesforsunshine l @leulivy l @librarian-of-orynth l @lorcanswife l @mariamuses l @mikaylamee l @musicmaam l @my-ships-will-never-be-sank l @nephelle-warrior-scribe l @notesfromalabprincess l @photofeesh l @rainy-bookish-days l @rapunzelswiftie l @sannexwhoops l @soccerstud004 l @starsofshadowanddust l @the-annabethchase l @thelaughingzeebra l @theoceanisnotsilent l @tswaney17 l @urbisie l
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1islessthan3books · 3 months ago
Elriel fanfic writers
Hi! Here are some amazing Elriel fanfic writers! 
Icon keys: angst:  💔 fluff: 🥰 , nsfw:  🔥
AU:  🌍  in ACOTAR world: 🌠
@abraxos-is-toothless ​ Masterlist 🥰💔🌠🌍
@acciowests ​ Masterlist💔🌠
@dreamerforever-5 ​ Masterlist🌍🥰
@elrielllll ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌠🌍
@elriel-oblivion ​ 🥰💔🌠
@featherymalignancy ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@harmonyindark245 ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌍
@illyrian-lover-flower ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@inkedstarlight ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@insulindsay ​ AO3🥰🌠
@julesherondalex ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌠🌍
@lady-therion ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@librarian-of-orynth ​ Masterlist🥰🌠
@maastrash ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌍
@mardereads19 Masterlist🥰💔🌠
@modern-fae-female ​ Masterlist💔🌠
@nightcourtcinnamonroll ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌠🌍
@nikethestatue Masterlist 🥰💔🔥🌠
@queen-archeron ​ Masterlist🥰🌍
@rosehallshadowsinger ​ AO3🥰🌠🌍
@stars-falling ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@rhysanoodle ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@rhysismydaddy ​ Masterlist🔥🌠🌍
@snelbz ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@tacmc ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@tanaquilpriscilla ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌠🌍
@thefangirlofhp ​ Masterlist🥰💔🌍
@themissyvonne Masterlist 🥰💔🔥🌠🌍
@tswaney17 ​ Masterlist🥰💔🔥🌍
I hope I got everything right. If I have made a mistake or you know someone I should add, let me know 😊 
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sacksvilles · 3 years ago
Christmas friendly reminder:
Because of their wings, the Illyrians are really top heavy so they must have some balance issues. Illyrians probably suck at ice-skating, pass it on.
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illyrianbeauty · a year ago
A Prank Gone Right
This time, Cassian had gone too far. Az wouldn't soon forgive his brother for this latest stunt. At least not until he returned the favor, paying him back in kind for the embarrassing predicament in which he now found himself, that is.  All thoughts of bloody vengeance vanished as the most beautiful woman walked past, her eyes alight with amusement. 
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A huge shout out to @notesfromalabprincess for the inspiration for this one! Love you babe! Thank you for sharing your crazy adventures with me! 😂😘
Hope y'all enjoy this! This is a oneshot and there will not be a part 2.  Please let me know what you think! I love getting comments and constructive criticism!! 
~ Rachel
A soft huff escaped past his lips as Azriel gently pushed Shadow, his midnight black cat, off of his stomach and onto the empty mattress beside him.  It was far too early in the morning for her to be kneading invisible dough, especially considering the feline’s utter distaste of getting her nails trimmed.   She gave him reproachful look, nimbly leaping from the bed onto the hardwood floor.  Azriel chuckled lightly to himself as her tail whipped back and forth with an air that could only be described as haughty.  Without so much as a backwards glance, she stalked through the bedroom door, vanishing from sight altogether.    
Az stretched lazily, grimacing slightly at the sore muscles he had earned during the workout Cass had put him through yesterday.  Az had to give it to his brother, the bastard knew what he was doing.  His reputation of being Velaris’s toughest, albeit newest, personal trainer was well deserved.  Though the gym he owned, The Steppes, had only been opened for a few months, it was thriving.  When Cass had announced that he wouldn’t be returning to the University of Prythian for his final year, Az had thought him a fool, an impulsive one at that.  Out of the three of them, Cass had always been the one with the need to forge his own path, to make his own way in the world.  
Stifling a yawn, he yanked the pillow out from underneath him and unceremoniously slammed it over his face, effectively blocking out the glaring sunlight that was streaming in from the window.  Between his full-time job at Night Tech, the company Rhys had taken over shortly after the death of his father, and his workload for his graduate classes, Az was completely exhausted.  Cauldron, he needed a break.  After finishing an especially difficult assignment last night, he had fallen into bed well past two in the morning.  Curiously, he felt more rested than he had any right to, considering the long hours he had been working lately.  In fact, the past few weeks, he had been arriving to work just as the sun was beginning to rise.  
Az jolted upright, his pillow fell onto the floor, long forgotten as he stared out at the window, at the sunlight streaming in.  Shit.  His alarm must not have gone off.  He should already be at work.  His lips formed a thin line as he scrambled for the cell phone that was sitting on his bedside table.  Az didn’t allow himself to make such careless mistakes.  When they were children, his brothers had teased him mercilessly about his meticulous tendencies.  Being deliberate, scrupulous even,  had served him well in life though.  His brows furrowed deeply as he saw what lay on the table- not his phone, but a wrinkled, torn piece of  paper.  He plucked the paper from the table, his nostrils flaring as he took in the  messy, scrawled handwriting, familiar to him as his own careful script.  
Better hurry up!  You don’t want to be late!  ;) 
Cursing his brother’s name soundly, Az scrambled out of bed, his long limbs becoming entangled in the blanket in his haste.  His lips pulled back in a snarl as he freed himself from his fluffy snare and rushed towards his dresser.  He eyed his watch, a glittering monstrosity that Rhys had gifted him upon his graduation.  If he hurried, he should be able to make it to Night Tech before anyone noticed his absence.  
Precisely eleven minutes later, Azriel was hurtling past the threshold of his front door, shaved and immaculately dressed in an all black suit.  His steps faltered, and then stopped altogether as he reached the edge of the driveway.  Dead.  Cassian was a dead man.  He was going to kill his brother, slowly, viciously, and then kick him out of the townhouse they shared.  Cold fury swept through his body as he eyed the monstrosity before him.  How long Cass had been planning this prank, he didn’t know, nor did he care to be honest.  In the spot where his truck usually sat, was Cassian’s motorcycle.  Az loosed a string of filthy curses as he neared the bike.  It wasn’t that Az didn’t know how to ride, or not enjoy doing so.  In fact, he had even taught Cassian how to ride when they where younger.  Truth be told, he loved the freedom to be found in racing through the streets of Velaris.  it was as though he were flying on wings.  It was something he hadn’t been able to indulge in much over the past few years, busy as he had been.  It wasn’t the bike itself that made him pause, that made his eyes burn with anger.  No, it wasn’t the bike… it was the dozens of barbie dolls attached to it that had his blood boiling.      
Az pinched the bridge of his nose, a low growl emanating from the back of his throat.  Each damned thing had been attached with multiple zip ties.  It would take far too long to remove each and every one.  The way he saw it, he had two choices.  Call a cab and explain to Rhys why he was late.  Or… drive Cassian’s bike, barbies and all, to work.  And pray to the Cauldron that no one saw him.  He gritted his teeth and climbed onto the barbie-mobile, images of him pummeling Cassian flashing in his head.  
Though the backroads he had taken had added a few miles onto his journey, they had been nearly empty.  He thanked the Mother for that small mercy as he turned off the bike’s engine.  Wanting to avoid his busy body coworkers, he had found a spot to park a few blocks from Night Tech, with every intention of abandoning that monstrosity for Cassian to collect later.  Asshole.  He begun straightening the lapels of his jacket, making sure that he didn’t appear too disheveled, when he heard the tiniest of giggles.  His head whipped up at the sound and his eyes met those of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  Her  chocolate brown eyes were alight with amusement as her gaze flickered between him and that accursed bike.  A jolt coursed through his body as he gaped at her, wide eyed.  
“That’s… ummmm… a very interesting bike you have there,” she said, the corner of her mouth quirking up into an amused smirk.  
“It’s not mine.  It’s my brother’s,” he stammered, taking in the sight of her, from the golden- brown curls that hung down her back to the stack of books she held. 
“Your brother has very unusual taste,” she giggled, the sound reverberating through his entire body, down to his wildly beating heart.  It was as though his very soul sighed in relief, in recognition, in something he couldn’t name quite yet.  For the first time that morning, or maybe for the first time ever, a genuine smile spread across his face.  
“Cassian, my brother, thinks himself a comedian.  This was his idea of a practical joke,” he said, shaking his head slightly, unwilling to break eye contact with the mesmerizing female before him.  
“Remind me never to get on Cassian’s bad side,” she grinned, adjusting her hold on  the books she carried.  She held her hand out as she said, “I’m Elain, by the way.” 
“Azriel.  It’s very nice to meet you Elain,” he said quietly as he took her hand in his.  A faint blush crept up his cheeks at the contact.  All too soon, she removed her hand from his and took a step back.  
“It was nice to meet you, Azriel,” Elain said, flashing him a smile as she began walking down the sidewalk, heading in the opposite direction from Night Tech.  Something in his heart cracked at the sight of her walking away, so much so that he called out to her without  a second thought.
“Elain, wait!” She paused at the sound of his voice, turning around slightly to face him.  An arched brow was there only response.  “Would you perhaps like get a cup of coffee with me?” Az asked, feeling slightly breathless as he waited for her to answer.  
She offered him a dazzling smile and said, “I’d love to, Doll Face.” 
“Doll Face?” he snorted, crossing his arms over his chest.  
Elain pointed to the bike and gave him a saccharine smile, “Doll Face is pretty fitting, don’t you think?” Az tipped his head back and barked out a laugh.  
His eyes twinkled with amusement gestured with a hand and said, “After you, Flower.” Elain looked down at the many books she held and grinned. 
“You are very observant, Doll Face,” she giggled, falling into step beside him.  
“Are you studying botany or is it a hobby of yours, Flower?” Az asked, taking his phone out of his pocket.  After a quick text to Rhys letting him know he wasn’t coming in until after lunch, he turned the device off, and turned his attention back to the beauty beside him.  Maybe he wouldn’t have to kill Cassian after all. 
Please let me know if you would like to be added or removed from the tag list! I try to be organized with the tags, but I do make mistakes.  Please let me know if I accidentally left you off! 
Tagging: @rosehallshadowsinger
Always and Forever Tag List: @abillionlittlepieces // @acer6437 // @a-court-of-dreams-and-hopes // @a-court-of-gays-and-glitter // @acourtofglass // @aelinarcheron7 // @aelins-fire-queen // @aelinthemaassassin // @alexisnm95 // @amazinginglyawesomeperson // @ame233 // @amren-firedrake // @amusedowl // @armixers-unite // @awesome--username // @azrielismycinnamonrollprimary // @bitchypan // @bookaholic1012 // @booklover04 // @brittpeterson // @burritowithfeels // @carlyrollsroyce // @cookiemonsterwholovesbooks // @dreamerforever-5 // @ellenoftroy // @eve-of-the-night-court // @faelightsstarfall // @faequeenaelin // @fae-queen-of-the-east // @feeoly // @feyrecursebreaker // @feysand-dot-acotar // @fireheart-of-your-dreams // @floramagix // @fucking-winchester-trash // @highlady-of-dusk // @highladyofidris // @highladyofthesith // @highlordrhysie // @highqueenofelfhame // @homicidalbaker // @howtotameyourillyrian // @illyrian-bookworm // @inaffiare // @inrealiampain // @irrelevant5 // @itsfine-imfine-everythingsfine // @julesherondalex // @kissesforsunshine // @kiss-my-maas // @lemon-check // @leulivy // @librarian-of-orynth // @lorcanswife // @mariamuses // @maastrash // @mikaylamee // @musicmaam // @my-ships-will-never-be-sank // @nomattertheoceans // @notesfromalabprincess // @notyourclassicshadowhunter // @photofeesh // @propagandaprincess // @rainy-bookish-days // @rapunzelswiftie // @ricekrispy // @rhysands-highlady // @running-with-thieves // @sannexwhoops // @schmlip-scribble // @sheburnswithit // @sleeping-and-books // @soccerstud004 // @soparticulaar // @starsofshadowanddust // @the-annabethchase // @thelaughingzeebra // @theoceanisnotsilent // @tswaney17 // @urbisie // @whydoineedtowriteanamehere // 
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mademoisellenimbob · 2 years ago
Elriel- Kiss me
Heya guys! I know its been a while since I’ve posted but I’ve got another Elriel fic for you lot. There’s a part where Az sings, the song is called ‘Kiss me before I fucking lose my mind’ by Charlie Puth. I have been struggling with writing quite a bit lately, so any tips on how to improve and things like that are really appreciated, I hope you like it!
Summary: Pure fluff, Az and Elain meet at a cafe and what happens a few years later after that. 
The sky was clear, not a cloud in sight, the sun beaming down upon the small cafe. Rays of sunshine streaming through the wide windows, making Elain’s hair glow like a little halo. The cafe itself was huddled between the huge city buildings, hunched in on itself, hidden by the looming shadows. Hundreds of people rushed by it, outside on the crowded streets.
As the door swung open, dozens of customers glanced up, a gentle summer breeze stirring Elain’s bronze hair. The inside of the cafe was warm and cheery, with bright lights and colourful walls. It was a calm and relaxed place, and as it appeared, quite busy today as well. Conversation kicked back up as the door swung shut.
Being a student Elain found herself studying half the time, thus spending most of her days in the tiny cafe. Tests and exams were coming up, so Elain had come here from early morning to get in a few more hours, before she had to meet up with her sisters for dinner.
They would be finally meeting, what Feyre likes to call, her inner circle. She had already met Rhys, who was such a sweet man despite what people said, Elain felt a lot of gratitude towards the man for what he did for her little sister. Feyre and Elain had to beg and pester Nesta for weeks for her to agree to meet them. Elain knew that even if Nesta moaned and grumbled about this, she was happy for Feyre.
Which left Elain, after Greyson and that whole disaster she hadn’t been on a single date. Hadn’t wanted to, for she was afraid of getting hurt. A year had gone by and yet she remembered it like yesterday, the wound still fresh, festering.
She lifted her porcelain cup to her lips, but day by day the pain lessened, it became easier to smile.
She realised her cup was empty, with a sigh she stood up to get a refill, this was what? Her fourth cup?
Leaving her papers in a neat stack and closing her laptop she quickly rushed over to the counter, got another steaming cup of coffee and plopped back down with another sigh, as the aroma of freshly brewed coffee washed over her. She sat there pondering for five minutes, she was definitely nervous for the dinner yet excited. But before anything she had to finish up her studying, botany was not easy by any means but she was happy, she loved what she was doing.
Upon opening her laptop, her stomach dropped and a little squeak left her lips, a few heads turning at that as Elain’s cheeks flushed. This could not be happening she thought as the empty battery flashed and then returned back to the black screen.
Elain pinched her nose between her thumb and index finger, what if all her progress was gone? All the work she did, it couldn’t of. She must’ve saved it. She had to turn it on and check, these notes were so important. Elain scanned the room, and once her eyes landed on a certain dark eyed man she was as red as a tomato.
How had she not noticed Azriel Kage?! He was something to behold, golden hazel eyes, night sky hair, and a body carved from stone. He was not bulky like other kids on campus, he had muscles but he was more lean, tall. There was no denying that he was hot. There was a sense of a more classical beauty about him.
He looked up from his papers and Elain’s heart stuttered, he smirked at her amusement dancing in those beautiful eyes.
He caught her staring, by the cauldron she wanted to hide as she snapped her head back to her still black screen.
But what was a girl to do? Elain had seen him around campus a few times in the morning, running. Shirtless. Sweat glistening off his golden tan skin, half the time Elain was so occupied watching him that she’d walked into a wall. Elain couldn’t help but daydream about him, a small blush adorning her cheeks. He reminded her of a greek god, and it was totally unfair, no one should be able to look that good.
Her cheeks burned, turning a rosy pink. Get it together she chided herself, she felt like a 15 year old girl, giggling as her crush walked past her. She bit the inside of her cheek, and glanced around again, this time looking for what she actually needed, a plug socket.
Ah ha!
Yet as she spotted the empty plug, her stomach did a backflip, because that socket was at Azreils table. Elain gulped audibly, she could go home but she wouldn't do as much work there and she only had three hours.
She glanced up, hoping not to seem so obvious, but he wasn’t there. Huh? Where’d he go?
“You okay there?”
Elain almost fell out of her chair, her heart catching in her throat as she peered up.
“Sorry didn’t mean to startle you,” Azriel said with a slight chuckle. Elain wanted to die right there on the spot, his silky voice washing over her.
“I-uh- I’m fine,” Elain stuttered, trying to play it off with a small laugh.
“Are you sure? You seemed a bit lost,” he said as he peered over her shoulder noticing the black screen.
“If you need to charge your laptop you can join me at my table, there’s a plug socket.”
Elain swallowed, “are you sure?”
And that’s how Elain spent the three hours, she and Azriel chatted for a while, until they settled into a comfortable silence as Elain typed away. She had to admit, it was quite difficult not to stare at him as his brows furrowed and this determined look fell across his face.
Now Elain sat at the restaurant with Nesta waiting for Feyre to arrive with her friends. Elain wore an off the shoulder, floral, flowy dress, and Nesta wore a navy blue cocktail dress. It fit her like a glove.
The door swung open, and Elain smiled as Feyre’s laugh rang through the room. She smacked a large, very muscled man with rough hewn features, on the shoulder. Elain heard Nesta choke on her drink as the man gave her a cocky grin.
Rhysand followed behind with never ending amusement in his eyes. Next to him was a tall blonde with a smile so bright and vibrant, that it could blind her.
And lastly a short woman with short black hair and piercing grey eyes, entered with a frown. Her fur coat and jewellery making her look regal.
What Elain didn’t expect was for Azriel to enter behind them, in a black button down shirt, the first two buttons undone and his sleeves rolled up showing off his toned arms. Her mouth went dry at the sight.
“Elain?” He said with nothing but surprise in his voice.
“Hi,” she said with a little wave, as he rubbed his neck, his eyes traveling up and down her form.
“You know each other?” Feyre said, looking over to Azriel and then back at her.
“Yeah,” they both said at the same time, his cheeks reddened as he looked at Elain again.
Summer, three years later.
Elain’s eyes were filled with awe as she watched Az on stage, his voice was sweet, his face open and proud. For the three years she had know Az, he never once let her hear him sing. She found out he could sing from a very drunk Cassian, Rhys had piped in and said he had won talent shows with that voice.
Elain knew that he didn’t like the attention, but that didn’t stop her from wondering. What his face looked like when he hit a high note, or what his voice was like. Was it soft? Gruff? She was so curious, but never dared ask him. And now that she looked at him she thought she might combust. His voice was smooth and clear and quiet yet, powerful. Soothing, in a way. It was the promise of tomorrow and the rest of eternity. It was beautiful, and she wished that he would never stop. His voice flowed with the melody bringing back joyful memories; all the sweet smiles he gave her that sent her heart racing, all the small touches that set her skin on fire, and the gentle hugs that were so warm she felt like she was basking in the sun's heat. Elain never understood what that feeling was or why she felt that way, but now, looking at him. Elain knew that somehow, she had fallen for this man without realising. Before Elain realised he had started a new song, soft notes sounding on the piano, his fingers sweeping over keys with the grace of an heavenly being. Elain swayed slightly on her feet loving the melody, she watched his face and his lip quivered. Elain’s brows furrowed, was he alright? Was there something wrong? He looked so nervous but he took a deep breath, lifting his head up and looking straight at Elain. She smiled at him, big and broad, love and passion burning bright in her eyes. “I should have told you how I feel a little in advance.” Elain couldn’t get enough of his voice, it was like light, bright and beautiful. His eyes stayed on Elain the entire time at the tempo increased and he began the the pre-chorus. “For the last three years I just hid it so well Hoping that you’d figure it out because I never could tell it straight to your face,” Elain watched him, listening carefully. “Never have I ever woken up in a cold hard sweat from a dream wondering, If you’d ever say "goodbye" If I didn’t say it first,” who is this about? Elain didn’t think this was just a song, it told a story, it unnerved her slightly that his gazed stayed on her. “I’m done playing these games,
I can’t believe what I’m about to say,
I won’t tell you goodbye with my love left behind, Kiss me before I fucking lose my mind,” Elain inhaled a sharp breath, her lips forming a small O. He had looked at her, a small nod as he sang that last lyric, did he mean her? Did he feel the same way? Curiosity filled Elain, this feeling of exhilaration and hope. She knew that they had been friends -best friends- for three years, and she wouldn’t want to ruin that for anything. Even if it meant he would see her as a friend for the rest of their lives, even is she suffered in silence. Yet, she couldn’t help the hope that bloomed in her chest, as his lyrics poured over her; an enchanting smile spreading across her face, her eyes wide and bright... they were clear and hope was the only thing you could see in them. As he hit the last notes, as the melody melted away into the stunned silence Elain’s heart jumped. The room erupted into cheers and whistles and clapping. Azriel was breathing hard, a grin on his beautiful face, still his eyes frantically searched the audience for Elain. His heart raced to the point where he thought it might jump out of his chest, he’s loved this woman for so long, since the day they sat together at that small table; her cheeks rosy and her eyes shy. She typed away furiously like her life depended on it... she was his little flower. His whole body felt tense and loose as he jumped off stage, the next performer already setting up. He still couldn’t find Elain... something in his chest cracked. Had she understood and left? He knew that it was unlikely that she would ever return his feelings, that she wouldn’t understand what the song meant. Yet he didn’t expect it to hurt that much... A small hand wrapped around his wrist, dragging him to the exit. He would always know what her touch felt like, it was this electrifying feeling that ran through him whenever they made contact. His heart calmed as he watched Elain dragging him, her golden locks bouncing up and down. Elain pushed the door open, the cold air kissing her damp skin. She took a deep breath, the smell of metal filling her nose. She heard the door shut, a small click sounding and finally turned to face Azriel. Thoughts whirled in her mind, emotion running high, she was excited and terrified. When she looked up at Az, saw the worry in his eyes her stomach knotted, doubt creeping in. “Ellie the song I-“ yet when he started talking she realised it was nervousness that edge his voice not worry, his was rambling. His fingers playing with the bracelet she gave him... She couldn’t stand it anymore, as her eyes landed on his lips. She couldn’t think of anything else other than kissing him, damn the consequences. She pushed off her tiptoes, and pulled him down by the collar, crashing her lips to his. Elain was surprised when he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her impossibly closer. It was slow, comforting in the way that words could never be. Her hands slid over his shoulders, tangling in his midnight hair while he ran his fingers over her spine. He tug her closer, she could feel the beating of his heart; in time with hers. She could melt right there in his arms, it was like breathing fresh air, like having the sun embrace her; she didn’t have words to describe it. His lips warm and gentle, kissing the corners of her mouth and then the centre. They pulled apart, the need for air to great, yet they still held each other. His palms spread across her back, Elain laid her hands on his cheeks, her thumps caressing the sensitive skin. Her heart gave a jump once he leaned into her touch. His breaths were ragged, but a vibrant grin tugged at his lips. Elain couldn’t help but smile and lay her head on his chest, listening to his raging heart. “That was…”
“Amazing.” Azriel grinned, pecking her on the lips again.
Tagging: @queen-of-ink-and-paper @illyrianbeauty @cassianpeia @jemma-nessian-and-elriel @faequeenaelin @rhysanoodle @booklover41802 @dreamerforever-5 @highqueenofelfhame @highladyofthesith @highladyofdusk @happy-smiling-things @maastrash @fireheart-of-your-dreams @books-and-words-addict I’m really sorry if I’ve missed out anyone let me know so i can add you to the list.
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librarian-of-orynth · 2 years ago
“Are you mad at me?” —Elriel fic please ❤️❤️
Azriel hadn’t seen Elain in two days. 
Usually she’d be home by the time he returned from his latest mission, the smell of baked goods flooding through the small cottage they shared. 
They both fell in love with their new home as soon as they stepped foot into the cozy space that Azriel–with the help of Cassian and Rhys–had built for Elain. The cottage was situated right outside of Velaris, surrounded by trees and greenery. Azriel had chosen this place not only for its safety, but for the views it offered. Not to mention the ample gardening space. And the quiet.
The townhouse had been too loud for them, too crowded, too hectic. Feyre and Rhys spent most of their time–and nights–there, and so was Cassian, when he wasn’t stuck at the Illyrian camps. Then there was Nesta, who had her own apartment, but chose to sleep in Cassian’s room when he was home. 
One particularly unfortunate night, Elain and Azriel learned just how loud the townhouse could be. After all, they shared walls with not just Cassian, but Feyre and Rhys as well. And they’d forgotten to sound-proof their room. 
Azriel and Elain didn’t sleep that night. Instead, Elain told Azriel they needed a place of their own. Azriel agreed without question. 
But he didn’t want to just “find a place” for them. He wanted to build it, to create her dream home. And he knew just what it would look like. 
Building their dream home only took a few months. Azriel worked night and day, claiming to be out on spying missions (lest he spoil the surprise). When it was finally done, furnishings and all, he flew back to the townhouse to find Elain. 
“I want to show you something,” he’d said, wrapping his arms around her and whispering in her ear. She gave him a confused stare but nodded, and let him take her into his arms. Then they were flying to the woods. 
Azriel asked her to close her eyes and she obliged. Only when she was on solid ground, standing in front of their new home, did Azriel tell her to open her eyes. 
And then she burst into tears, smiling and kissing Azriel as he explained that the cottage was their home, that he’d built it, and even ensured that the garden attached was located exactly where the sun would shine the brightest in the heart of day, ensuring her shrubs and flowers would grow beautifully. 
The first day she was missing, Azriel checked the garden for Elain, to no avail. He checked the kitchen, and then the bedroom, but Elain wasn’t there. Hadn’t been there. Her scent was faint, as though she’d been gone for some time. 
He sped to the Townhouse looking for his wife but was stopped by Feyre. 
“Just where do you think you’re going?” she asked.
“Where’s Elain.” 
He could smell her; she must be here, somewhere–
“She’s here, and she’s safe. She’s okay,” Feyre said, but that did nothing to calm Azriel’s nerves. 
“I want to–”
“She needs some space, Az. Give her a couple days.” 
Two days ago Elain had left their cottage with not even a word to him. No message, nothing. Azriel was going out of his mind. What did he do to make her run away? To leave their home, to leave him? 
No, no she didn’t leave you, he reminded himself. She would have said something. 
But he didn’t know what this was all about. He’d racked his brain, searching for something he’d done wrong, a mistake he’d made, anything that could have sent her running, but…
He sighed and dragged a hand through his dark hair. He couldn’t think of anything–
And then he caught the scent of lilacs and daisies drifting towards the cottage, towards him.
She was home. 
Azriel couldn’t help but run outside to his wife and embracing her, holding her tight and planting what seemed like hundreds of kisses on her forehead.
“Elain,” he breathed, relieved to finally see her again, “I’ve missed you so much.”
“I missed you too, Az.”
Giving her one last kiss, he moved back a step, enough so that he could see her, and she him. He took her hand. “Are…are you mad at me, Elain? You were gone for two days, and I–”
“I know. I’m sorry,” she interrupted, “but, well…I have something to tell you.” 
“So you are–”
“Of course I’m not mad at you, Az. I could never be mad at you.” 
Azriel loosed a relieved sigh. 
“But,” she continued, “I left because I needed to talk to my sisters first, because I know how hard it is, and, well…I wanted to be sure before I told you.” 
“You can tell me anything, Elain. You know that.” 
She smiled at him. “I’m pregnant, Az.” 
Send me fic/Headcanon prompts!
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mehlisssa · 3 years ago
Happy - Elriel’s Love Story (Masterlist of Chapters)
A/N: I find Tumblr excruciating and deeply confusing (but I love it to death too). Like linking chapters of ongoing fics in every post just seems incredibly inconvenient for me. So I’m going to do this instead. 
So, every time I post a new chapter of my fic Happy (to summarize, I’d describe it as the love story Elain and Azriel need and the happiness they deserve), I will link every single chapter that’s up on this post. I’ll update it as I go, and let you know when it’s finished. 
I will now only be linking this masterlist in future chapters, so please refer to it to find any chapter you want to. 
I understand that I’m being super extra, but please bear with me. Tumblr is confusing and I’m a complete noob. 
Read on AO3 (this is just a link to the entire fic on AO3)
My stuff: Goodreads AO3
Tagging: @alicethelonerabbit @abillionlittlepieces 
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librarian-of-orynth · 2 years ago
“What did you say ?!”- elriel ❤️😊😏
Azriel was always quiet. 
It wasn’t that he had nothing to say; in fact, he was quite vocal when necessary, but he preferred the quiet. The solace. 
Unfortunately, the rest of the Inner Circle didn’t seem to agree. 
Which was why now, at the dinner table, Azriel was cloaked in shadows, drowning out the voices of Cassian and Rhys, who were going at it over Cauldron-knew-what. Azriel didn’t seem to care. As soon as Cassian’s voice turned into a yell–more like a roar, really–Azriel’s shadows sprang up, protecting him from the volume. Lest he get another headache. 
Granted, he had Elain’s elixir for that, but still. He’d rather not waste the product.  
He rubbed his temples. No headache yet, thank the Cauldron, but if they didn’t stop soon…well, then he’d be out of luck. 
These Illyrians had no manners. None, he realized, as the shadows curled around Az, shielding him from the noise. Normally, his shadows could protect hi from any and all noise. It was a blessing, really, to be able to drown out these Illyrians when these things happened, but tonight…tonight Azriel could hear muffled screams, his shadows unable to keep them out. 
“YOU LISTEN HERE CASS–” Rhys, must’ve been red in the face from yelling.
Azriel couldn’t make out the words and frankly, didn’t care to. So long as he was cloaked in shadows, the volume to a minimum, he was set until this whole fight blew over–
But then there was a crash, and Azriel sighed. Of course they were fighting. Of course. It wasn’t as though they could have one normal, civil dinner. Nope, his family didn’t operate like that. 
They definitely wouldn’t be finishing this meal. 
A jumble of sounds made it through the shadows. Az could make out plates crashing, fists flying, and of course, more yelling. This time, though, he heard female voices. 
“Can you at least–”
“Cauldron, Cass–” he could hear Nesta hiss. 
And then a muffled voice–a whisper–pushed through the shadows. 
He knew the tone, the female lilt that sang to him, calling his name whenever she was near.
But his shadows had never let him hear whispers, not when they were surrounding him, cloaking him in quiet. 
“Az…?” She called again through the shadows. He let them part slightly, enough for him to see her. 
“Elain? Is everything alright?” He asked as he took in her features, eyes wide and brow furrowed. She was worried. About what, though, he had no idea. 
“I just, well, you’ve been in the shadows so long and, I, I just…I wanted to make sure you were okay.” 
Azriel strained to hear her over the onslaught of noise brought on by the Inner Circle. Cassian and Rhys were still going at it, it seemed. He tried not to notice the food that covered the walls, the table, even Elain. 
“I’m okay,” he said, “just trying to get some peace and quiet while they hash this out.” 
“Oh…well, I’m not sure it’ll end anytime soon,” she said, picking peas out of her hair. 
She didn’t deserve to be caught in the crossfire, Azriel thought, having to pick tonight’s dinner from her body. Elain was the last female who should’ve been subject to this–this immaturity. 
“Would you like to join me?” Azriel whispered a little too quietly. 
Elain saw his lips move, but heard no sound. 
“What did you say?” 
“Would you like to join me–in here,” he said louder, gesturing to the shadows around him. “It’s quiet, and food-free, and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting caught in their fight…” 
She smiled. “That would be great.” 
Soon shadows cloaked them both, shielding them from the flying food and the screams and yells of the Inner Circle. 
“So, what exactly happened?” Azriel asked her. “I retreated before I could hear what this fight was about.” 
Elain rolled her eyes. “It was the stupidest thing, really. Apparently Cassian stole Rhys’s cologne…” 
And so Elain told Azriel the story of the stolen cologne, the shadows shielding them from the hectic world beyond. 
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mehlisssa · 2 years ago
Cake & Kisses - Elriel Oneshot
Summary: A fluffy, Elriel pregnancy oneshot based on this post. Enjoy!
Words: 1604
Rating: G
Read on AO3
“Are you sure you’re not tired?” Azriel asked again. He was walking through the grassy field with one hand in Elain’s, the other gingerly holding a picnic basket.
She gave him what she hoped was a somewhat healthy-looking smile, even as she was shuffling down the grassy hillside with all the comfort and grace of a waddling goose. “I’m fine, really,” Elain assured him.
Azriel seemed to relax at her smile, something she had found always brightened his mood - as if her face alone made everything more bearable. Azriel would come back late at night, familiar shadows in his eyes that came from the life he led of torture and secrecy, and Elain would smile and pat the space on the bed next to her. Sometimes, neither of them would even say a word, she letting him collapse beside her, and smile until the darkness drew back, leaving Azriel content to let Elain lie with the barest, most vulnerable version she had of him - her favorite.
“I could carry you,” Azriel tried again, looking down at her honestly.
Elain gave him a look. “No, you can’t” she chastised him gently. Up until the sixth month of her pregnancy, he’d insisted on flying her everywhere in his arms, a safe haven he knew he could protect - both for her and their unborn child. Elain had not minded at first, loving the feeling of being cocooned in his warm arms, strong and unyielding against the world. But then, last week, she’d found him red-faced and panting outside the store he’d dropped her at, clearly trying to hide his fatigue.
“It’s not that you’re too heavy!” he’d protested when she’d found him, eyes wide and panicked. “I’d fly you anywhere, Elain, I can -”
She’d stopped him, a laugh bubbling up in her throat. “You should’ve told me! Azriel, I’ve gained thirty-five pounds - I’m under no illusions that I’m easy to haul around Velaris.”
Azriel seemed put-out at his own lack of strength, as if it were a fault of his that he wasn’t able to carry someone six months pregnant without breaking a sweat. “Still - I’m sorry. . .I really wanted to help,” he’d mumbled, almost ashamed.
Elain just shook her head and grinned, touched that her husband cared so much about the smallest things, trying to please her in every way. “You’re already helping enough,” she’d answered reassuringly, then kissed him before he could protest.
Even today, Azriel pouted at her response, refusing to accept the fact that there were actual physical limitations to what he could do for her.
“The picnic grounds are fifty feet away,” she said, squeezing his hand tighter in hers. He swiftly brought their intertwined fingers up to his lips, kissing her knuckles. “Which is why I wouldn’t get tired carrying you there,” he murmured, smiling sweetly against her skin.
Elain was struck then, by the shadowsinger before her, looking like an absolutely lovestruck boy instead of a cold-blooded spymaster he portrayed himself as to so many. Even his closest friends rarely passed through the veil of silence he draped around himself, curtains to shield his heart, feelings he was so content to close off to others. To so many, he was cold and deadly, his reserved nature simply a reflection of his brutality. But not to Elain. She got to see the warm, loving heart underneath the still mask of his face more than anyone. Even for his brothers, it was a compassion that came out rarely, a treasure to be remembered. For Elain, it was a daily fortune, from the sweet kisses he gave her to the scarred hand that would never shy away from her touch. She knew that there was a closeness she had with Ariel that he wouldn’t have with anyone else, an intimacy that was always so ready to let her behind the curtain, forgoing any illusion at all - just for her.
“What are you smiling at?” he asked softly, with a gentleness that seemed to break her heart. Azriel tugged her closer to him, sending her lightly stumbling into his chest.
She braced her other hand on his tunic, a blush forming around her grin. “You,” she murmured back, quietly tracing the lines on his shirt.
“I make you that happy?” he answered back, reverent and yet. . .serious, an edge of sincerity that wasn’t there before.
And Elain was half-startled, half-wrecked at the question, as if he truly didn’t know. Wouldn’t believe it, unless she gave him proof. That he doubted it, questioned even for a second that her heart didn’t wholly belong to him, made Elain feel like breaking - at the insecurity that still festered in the beautiful shadowsinger. A stain on his soul she would try until the day she died to erase, with all the love she could give him.
“Of course you do,” she answered, staring intensely into his wary eyes, wanting to banish any and all blackness that still lingered.
And then there was only adoration left in those eyes, as if all he could see was her, and nothing else. He leaned down, having to bend his back even farther, and took her lips with a soft, cherishing kiss that expressed his appreciation for everything. For loving him, for her happiness - and now, the child they would share together.
A long, blissful moment passed before they broke, and Elain halted an inch away from Azriel, letting their breaths mingle together. “We should probably go sit at the picnic site now,” she observed quietly, backing away from her husband (no matter how much it pained her to do so).
Azriel nodded, resuming their walk again. She could feel him visibly relax, both in the fingers laced in hers and the calmer set of his shoulders, not as tight as before. Soon enough, Azriel was spreading the blanket over the ground and helping Elain down onto it. She spread her legs out under her loose, flowing maternity dress, bracing her arms behind her back to keep herself upright. Azriel sat down in front of her in a crouch, bringing the basket between them.
“What did Nuala and Cerridwen make today?” Elain asked, eyeing the basket. She’d wanted to help, but she, as the two wraiths had recently starting doing, was shooed out because they ‘wouldn’t be responsible for any of her discomfort.’ “They wouldn’t let me help.”
At that, Azriel dropped his head, but Elain could still see the red blooming on his cheeks through the dark hair he tried to hide it behind. “Actually,” he started, clearing his throat nervously. “I made it. With them - they asked you leave because I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“Really?” Elain gasped, a surprised smile lighting up her face. She scrambled towards the basket, trying to reach over her belly, but Azriel held it aloft.
“I don’t want you to get disappointed if it’s not as good, okay?” he said in warning, seemingly intimidated by her expectations. “Don’t be afraid to tell me.”
Elain couldn’t care less, only reached up to grab the basket from him. He reluctantly let go, and Elain wanted to laugh at the fearful anticipation in his expression. She pulled back the basket covers and peered in to find two small cakes in the bottom. They were messily frosted, with pastel fondant flowers and leaves pressed onto the tops - fingernail prints both on them and around the decorations. She giggled at the sight, imagining her husband painstakingly molding the tiny pieces of fondant with clumsy hands, frustratingly spreading frosting onto them in an effort to smooth the layers out.
“It’s that bad?” Azriel answered, playfully wrinkling his nose at her reaction. “Cerridwen must’ve really pitied me. . .”
Elain shook her head and got up on her knees over the basket. “I love it,” she whispered, as if it was a secret, and reached up to cup his cheek in her palm. Just the fact that he’d tried to do something he was so inexperienced at, on the off chance that it would please her, made them perfect.
A small smile slipped out from Azriel at her words, and she could feel him almost imperceptibly lean into her. Elain’s thumb moved to the dimple forming on his cheek, a feature that very few knew he had. It was such a small thing, a miniscule little indent that seemed to take over his entire face when he smiled. She thought it made him even more beautiful, like it was a secret only she knew. Elain would never forget his smile, how easily it came to him when he was around her, the vulnerability it represented. She hated the person Azriel’s work made him pretend to be, and wanted to live only here, in this moment, when there was no spymaster or shadowsinger - only the man she’d fallen in love with. She thought of how lucky their child would be, to have Azriel as a father - with none of the titles people associated with him.
“I hope our baby has your dimples,” Elain said to him, and he brightened at her words - smiling wider now.
“I hope our baby gets everything else from you, then,” Azriel countered adoringly. And it was the way he’d looked at her, as if it wasn’t just a joke - as if he really did love everything about her - that made Elain lean in farther to press a smiling kiss to his lips.
It was a beautiful day, and she was sitting on a blanket with her beautiful husband, and she wished she could freeze time right then and there - so she could live in that moment forever.
A/N: Hello! I hope this lived up to your expectations, @fucking-winchester-trash. I made a lot of it up, considering the picture doesn’t give much context. But thank you so much for reading anyway, and I hope y’all have an amazing day!
Goodreads AO3
Tagging: @alicethelonerabbit @abillionlittlepieces @rhysanoodle @acotar-feels @julesherondalex @dragonselene @hiwhyamihere @elriel-haline-rowaelin @flxwer-petals @courtofdreamsandterrasen @rosehallshadowsinger
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gripefroot · 11 days ago
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A Court of Dusk and Shadows ———–>
The Cauldron never bothered to give explanations - not when it mattered. Elain could hear its wicked voice in her dreams sometimes, waking or sleeping, when it would stroke her hair and fawn and tell her she had to earn what it had promised it. Do what it wanted; what it schemed and plotted and lied for, and her heart would be free. 
It knew she would obey. Because it kept her spellbound, and everything she wanted slid between her fingers, grasping at shadows that pulsed with the beat of his willing heart, and held back with a hiss. 
Not yet, pretty, lovely thing, it crooned, and a scream built in her throat. Not yet -
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Chapter 1  ⚘  Chapter 2  ⚘  Chapter 3  ⚘  Chapter 4  ⚘  Chapter 5  ⚘  Chapter 6  ⚘  Chapter 7  ⚘  Chapter 8  ⚘  Chapter 9  ⚘  Chapter 10  ⚘  Chapter 11  ⚘  Chapter 12  ⚘  Chapter 13  ⚘  Chapter 14  ⚘  Chapter 15  ⚘  Chapter 16  ⚘  Chapter 17  ⚘  Chapter 18  ⚘  Chapter 19  ⚘  Chapter 20  ⚘  Chapter 21  ⚘  Chapter 22  ⚘  Chapter 23  ⚘  Chapter 24  ⚘  Chapter 25  ⚘  Chapter 26  ⚘  Chapter 27  ⚘  Chapter 28  ⚘  Chapter 29  ⚘  Chapter 30
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librarian-of-orynth · 2 years ago
"Will you just hold still?" for elorcan or elriel pleaaaase?
I’m feeling the elriel tonight BUT I’ll write a full on elorcan oneshot for this too b/c I LOVe i t 
Elain couldn’t hold still. 
She knew, of course, that it was imperative that she not move. Azriel had told her how important it was that she stay still. He’d already told her as much. Twice. It wasn’t her fault she was moving! Needles hurt. 
“Would you just hold still?” Azriel sighed, lifting the tattoo needle from her skin once again. “I can’t get a good line if you’re moving around like that.” 
She narrowed her eyes at the Shadowsinger. “You try sitting like this,” she gestured to her current position on the couch, grumbling, “with a needle pushing into your skin constantly.” 
Az just pointed to his own tattoos and shrugged. 
Elain sat up. “That’s different! You–” 
“I what?” he chuckled. “It’s the same pain, Love.”
“I know,” she mumbled, and laid back down. “Let’s try again.” 
“Okay, Love. Three, two…” the needle plunged into her skin, and Azriel got back to work.
Elain winced at the pain but forced herself to remain still, though she couldn’t hide her discomfort, her face twisting as the needle pricked her skin again and again. 
She never thought she’d be getting a tattoo. She was never a fan in her human life, but since the Cauldron…the idea of a tattoo seemed better and better every day. She supposed this was her way to reclaim a body that had been forced to change against her will…forced into something else. With a tattoo of her choosing, Elain’s body would become hers again, the art a permanent piece of her, as well as a reminder of what she’d endured, and that she was free now. 
And she knew exactly what she wanted. A small peony, placed delicately on her ribs. 
She’d never expected Azriel to be her artist, though. She’d first asked Feyre, but her tattoos were only the results of bargains. And Rhys, she said, was no artist, nor was Cassian. Apparently Azriel had been the one to put the ink on their bodies all those years ago, and so a few days ago, on one of his regular visits to the garden, she blurted out, “will you tattoo me?” 
Az’s eyes widened. “You want a tattoo?” 
“I heard that you tattooed Cass and Rhys all those years ago…and, well, I’ve had an idea for about a year now, and, well, I thought since you knew how…” she trailed off, still blabbering a bit. 
“Love, you know it’ll hurt, right?” 
“I know.” 
“And that it’s permanent?” 
“I know,” she repeated. 
“If this is what you want, I’m happy to be your artist,” he said, interlocking his fingers with hers and giving them a squeeze. 
“Thank you,” she replied, smiling, and proceeded to tell him what, exactly, she wanted him to tattoo. 
“Almost done,” Azriel told her, the final needle pricks feeling like agony to her skin. 
“Oh, thank the Cauldron,” she sighed, “I’m not sure I could sit for much longer.” 
“All done,” he said, “let’s get you to a mirror.” 
He led her to their bedroom, to the full-length mirror on the wall. Elain gasped when she saw the final result. 
“It’s…Az, oh my–thank you! It’s beautiful, thank you.” 
“Thank you for letting me tattoo you, Love. This was all you.” 
“You even added color! Oh, Az, it’s perfect,” she said, wrapping her arms around him and planting a kiss on his cheek. 
Az could only smile at her while she admired his handiwork in in the mirror. 
“I love it Az, I absolutely love it.” 
“I love you, Elain. I love you,” he murmured into her hair. 
“I love you too Az.”  
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abraxos-is-toothless · 11 months ago
Congrats on 300!! For a prompt: “the fire alarm just went off in our dorm at 2am and you ran outside without a coat, wanna share my blanket?” for Elriel!!! (Elain not bringing the coat cause she’s a klutz)
Thank you!!!! Soooo, I didn’t do the blanket thing, but I did the next best thing. I really hope you like it because this is just what my brain provided me when I saw this:))) Using my usual acotar list for this<3
Elain started awake at the sound of an extremely loud ringing. Looking at the time, her clock read 2:02am, a perfect time for the fire alarm to go off. She had two very important exams to sit through tomorrow, and no she was going to have to do it with no fucking sleep. She was about to climb out of the bed when her roommate, Mor, came bursting through her bedroom door. “Time to move Elain, let’s go!”
And then she was gone again, just as soon as she’d arrived. If Mor was rushing, then it might have been bad, her roommate never rushed to get anywhere. She got out of the bed as quickly as she could, slipping whatever was closest onto her feet, and only realising it was her slippers when she was half way down the hall. When she finally got outside, Elain couldn’t see Mor anywhere amongst the crowd of people and she sighed, moving herself to the edge and sitting on one of the benches. There was a gust of wind and her whole body shivered, making her wrap her arms around, cursing herself for not even grabbing a fucking jacket or something. So now it was 2am, she would be getting no sleep, and she was wearing only a thin tank top, shorts and her slippers. Life was just fucking great, wasn’t it?
“Jesus Christ, you must be freezing.” Elain looked up at the sound of the voice, and her breath caught in her throat at the sight of beautiful hazel eyes, dark hair and oh, he was very tall. She liked him already. Mystery boy in question pulled his jacket off and wrapped it around her shoulders before sitting down next to her. The jacket helped a little but she was still in shorts, still shivering. An arm made its way around her waist and pulled her into a very warm body, a hand rubbing up and down her arm. Elain tilted her head back from where it was pressed against a hard chest to see the mystery boy smiling at her. It was a fucking mesmerizing smile and if she were standing, her knees would have given out from under her.
“Do you do this with every girl or am I just lucky?” He chuckled and her toes curled in her slippers at the sound.
“I’m not really one to talk to girls much but you, you I just couldn’t resist.” Her brows furrowed slightly at what he meant by that until he clarified, looking down at her a little sheepishly.
“I’ve actually seen you around campus quite a bit and I keep trying to come and talk to you, but I always chicken out in the end. Rhys and Cass always tease me about it, but it’s actually quite intimidating because you are very beautiful.” Elain felt her cheeks go warm and her eyes widened, opening and closing her mouth a few times, not knowing what to say but then something about what he said clicked in the back of her mind.
“Wait Rhys and Cass? That means you’re Azriel right?” His brows shot up towards his hair line and he blinked at her before nodding slowly.
“Yeah, that’s me. How do you know the two idiots?”
“Feyre and Nesta. I’m Elain, their sister.”
He froze, his whole body going tense and Elain’s stomach twisted. “Oh gods. I never actually said who you were, just said there was this girl that I liked. I talked about things in front of your sisters that they definitely should not have heard.”
He hid his face behind his free hand, mumbling things under his breath and she tried to hold back but she couldn’t do it. Elain tipped her head back and laughed, laughed until it brought tears to her eyes. When she finally calmed down, she brought a hand up to wipe away the tears and caught his gaze again, seeing him staring at her with what looked to be awe and something she couldn’t quite place.
“As lovely as the sound of your laugh is to me, I’d much prefer if you weren’t laughing at me. Do you have any idea how scary Nesta is? She’s going to rip my balls off and feed them to me when she finds out.” She brought a hand up and patted his cheek a few times, listening to his breath hitch at the touch and feeling him pull her more tightly into his side.
“I’ll protect you, if that means you’re finally brave enough to ask me out?” There was a sly smile on his face as he tapped her nose with a finger.
“Elain Archeron, would you like to get coffee with me this Friday? If that suits you of course.”
“I would love to Azriel and Friday is perfect.” She grinned at him and there were butterflies in her stomach when he smiled back. They both jumped when someone at the front of the crowd shouted;
“False alarm people! You can all go back inside now!”
They both stood, Azriel pulling her up by the hand, not letting go as they just stared at each other, He cleared his throat gently, free hand going into the pocket of his sweats, pulling out his phone and handing it to her. At her confused look, he said, “So you can put your number in there, then we can actually talk to one another.”
Elain took the phone, quickly adding her name and number into his contacts and handing the phone back. She bit her bottom lip a little, not knowing what to say now, but she could see his eyes track the movement and she watched as they darkened. Azriel’s face flushed when he realised he was just staring at her mouth, turning his head away. “Uh, I have to go find Cass, but we’ll talk yeah?”
She nodded, whispering a quiet, “Yeah”, watching as he backed up. His hand eventually fell away from hers and he turned to walk in the opposite direction. She had no idea why but she missed his touch already. Elain made her way back inside, taking the steps two at a time until she got back to her dorm room and pushing her way inside. Mor still wasn’t back yet, so Elain assumed she got distracted with her gossiping, just as she usually did. When inside of her bedroom, she kicked her slippers of and went to climb back into bed when she noticed she still had Azriel’s jacket. As if he had known what she was thinking, her phone pinged from her bedside table with a text from a new number.
I thought my first text to you would have been much smoother and much more interesting but um, you still have my jacket. God, I’m so stupid. I don’t mean that you can’t have it I just meant...ugh never mind. I’m sorry for disturbing you. –Az
Elain giggled at the nervousness, before texting back;
It’s fine. I guess this means that now you can’t back out of coffee on Friday. But just so you know, I might have to sleep in it. You smell great;) –E
There were three little dots to say he was typing before another one came through.
Only five minutes of knowing each other and you’re already teasing me, little minx. At least I have something good to dream about tonight. Sleep well, Elain –Az
She smiled, making her cheek hurt with how wide it was. Elain felt giddy as she typed out a quick good night and climbed into bed, pulling the covers up to her shoulders. She drifted off flashes of hazel eyes and an intoxicating smell that was oh so comforting.
Maybe fire alarms could be good for something after all.
I really do hope you liked it!:)
Tags: @bryaxisthefaceofnightmares @starlitfangirl @starsauroras @drunken-starz @myfriendscallmeraba  @thesirenwashere @empress-sei @elrielllll  @stars-falling @elain-shadowsinger @verifiefangirl  @theshadowsinger-and-thefawn @fancyclodpaintercookie @acourtofterrasenandvelaris @silver-flames @queen-of-glass @bamchickawowow @empress-ofbloodshed @sleeping-and-books @kvi-arts @tswaney17 @awkward-avocado-s @courtofjurdan @junkiejosten10 @mu-si-ca-l @agem10 @harmonyindark245 @slightly-sane-fangirl @tanaquilpriscilla @starrynightsbooks @maastrash @kendarbahr   @elriel4life @illyriangarbage @b00kworm @thewayshedreamed @snowflakesandstarlight​  @nightcourtcinnamonroll @acourtofmarauders @liquifyme @rhyswhitethorn @bo0k-h0e
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onceupona-chaos · 3 months ago
The Storm
Notes: So, I did something. Maybe there will be a part II, but I wanted to post this one first and now I can only hope whoever read this, might enjoy it. Also, forgive for any mistakes, English is not my first language, but I wanted to try something knew and practice a little.
Warnings: language, self-harm and slightly NSFW.
Enjoy! 😊
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Elain was trying hard to pretend she wasn't picking a fight with a bush after spending the entire afternoon working in a elderly faery's garden. She didn't know how old Arya was and didn't ask either. Despite the wrinkled face that made her expression look grave at first sight, Arya was gentle enough to bring a fresh lemonade cup every few minutes. Even if Elain hadn't finished hers, it would be replaced by a full cup with two ice cubes and the right amount of sugar - and a warm smile from Arya.
So when she had sent word asking if her garden could be fixed, Elain gladly embraced the distraction, even though it didn't seem to be a particular good day for gardening, if the cloudy sky was any indication.
Kneeling on the dirt, she had been digging and pulling for hours now as she tried to get rid of the ivys surrounding the beautiful blooming roses.
Usually her gardening was a pretty distraction - her mind would focus entirely on what she was doing, her hands moving on their own accords, until every single thought that made her throat tighten was nothing but mist in the distance.
But lately something's changed.
Hateful thoughts, old anguishes, almost familiar as any part of her body, and new ones found themselves in her mind, making her remember what she longed to forget. She didn't bother to wear gloves, wanted the feeling of rough rocks and sharp thorns against her skin. Wanted to focus on the physical pain, to be as far away from her own mind as possible.
And yet it wasn't enough to keep those too many thoughts, cravings and needs at bay.
Her frustration grew with each passing second, her work getting sloppy when a thunder filled her ears.
It was definitely not a good day for gardening.
Elain couldn't decide what was worse: that her work no longer pushed her thoughts away or that she was literally fighting a stubborn rose bush, pulling a branch out with both hands and groaning a curse that would make Cassian proud.
Elain pulled and pulled, the branch slowly, Gods, so slowly giving up - and then it broke in half, leaving the part covered in thorns still buried deep in the ground. She didn't hesitate though, just wiped the sweat off of her forehead, grabbed the branch, thorns and all biting her skin, and started again.
When Arya came back once again, the lemonade cup hit the ground.
She looked at Elain, taking in the blood staining her cobalt dress, big red drops running down her hands. "It's nothing to be worried about, it's already healing."
It wasn't a lie. But Arya still insisted that Elain went home, claiming that a beautiful lady like her shouldn't remain covered in blood and sweat. A scream caught in Elain's throat that bagged for a few more minutes of distraction, just a few more. But she knew Arya was thinking about her well being, so she made a gentle smile bloom on her face and thanked her for the limonade.
"Hurry up now or you're going to get caught in the storm."
Indeed, Elain could already smell the rain, the air charged with electricity, the wind colder than usual, the promise of thunder and lighting.
Yet her steps were lingered, heavy as she walked by the vibrants streets of Velaris
When the first drops came… she tilted her head and let them pour over her, only wishing it could wash away every burden in her heart.
It didn't take long for the cold rain to soak her, making her own bones shivered. A walk back to the lake house would took long enough to make her catch a cold and since being stuck in a bed was the last thing she needed, Elain made her way to the town house. It was still empty, but at least she could warm up and wait for the rain to pass by.
Elain had just crossed the front door and immediately sighed as she felt the cozy warmth. She was freeing her hair from the braid, combing it with her fingers, taking in the sitting room of the empty house - and froze. Because that was a very, very light fireplace. She only had time to take a step back when the scent of mist and cedar hit her nose.
After a long visit to the eyes and ears under his command, one would think Azriel would take a warm bath and go for several hours of sleep to put away the feeling of the cold rain against his wings that had chased him for miles and miles.
He could have winnow into shadows. But he hoped the exhaustion of flying through the storm combined with a hot bath to relax his sore muscles would help his body to give in to some poor, few hours of sleep.
Azriel had just gone out of the bath, his hair still damp, when he heard the front door shutting. A shadow curled around his ear, registering someone's presence, and he made his steps quiet as death, aiming for the sitting room.
He hadn't seen Elain alone since Solstice and even at the few dinners on the river house he still tried to attend, Azriel could barely look her in the eyes, the memory of her pain too much for him to handle.
But there she was.
She was staring at him, wild-eyed, soaked to the bones. He allowed himself to drink the sight of her, let his eyes travel slowly through her face. Usually, in those dinners, he would hardly steal a glimpse in her direction - well aware of Rhysand's eyes almost daring him to challenge his orders. But here, alone… It was exactly this kind of situation he tried so hard to avoid, knowing it would be the death of him.
Azriel's eyes dropped to her body, the wet fabric hanging to every curve, and spotted the dark red stain on her dress. He scanned her furiously, looking for injuries, stooping at her bloody hand. There were only a few drops, the rain must have washed the blood away - but it was enough to make him want to roar at the sight of it, the predatory instincts inside him ready to kill and kill and kill whoever was responsible. Before he could say anything though, Elain blurted, "I… I thought the house was empty."
Her voice was almost a whisper above the rain, but the words hit him with the force of a thunder. Azriel swallowed hard. He knew she wasn't looking for him. Not after Solstice. But the way she'd say it...
Without even thinking, he closed the distance between them. Elain lifted her chin to keep her gaze locked with his.
Even in a filthy, soaking dress, her damp hair grabbing to her neck, her bloody hand… She was so breathtakingly beautiful, so full of light.
He took her hand in his, so delicate between his scarred fingers. The soft skin marked with small scars, no doubt from her gardening. He turned her hand, exposing her palm and saw the multiple, small bruises. His calluses brushed hers as he asked, "What happened."
She was shaking slightly, not only from the cold rain, "Usual gardening."
He couldn't take it. It was some kind of cosmic joke to be in an empty house with her, so many words hanging between them. He wanted her to know them all, but some he didn't know how to say, and others he couldn't .
Azriel almost choked on his own pain. He stared at her, letting every feeling unsaid, his own longing and despair, rise to his eyes, unable to stop it as he whispered, "I'm sorry."
Her doe eyes flickered, and Azriel knew she saw beyond those words. She knew he wasn't talking about her bruised hand still in his, the only connection between their bodies.
And when Elain squeezed his fingers, he knew she understood him. Perhaps not everything, but enough.
Azriel didn't know for how long they stood there, watching each other, their hands still intertwined, the rain pouring outside, the sound of heavy drops hitting the roof interrupted only by the rumble of thunder. Without knowing who moved first, he realized his face was inches from hers, enough to share breath. Elain inclined her head and brushed his nose with hers, the gesture so tender.
A moment later, their mouths collided at last and everything else faded away.
Her mouth was soft against him, and the scent of jasmine, honey and rain filling his nose made his eyes roll back behind his eyelids.
Such a sweet kiss as if The Mother or whoever was wanted Azriel to just have a taste of what he couldn't have. Despite every cell in his body screaming at him, Azriel made to pull away, but Elain held him in place and brushed her tongue against his bottom lip. He moaned her name and yielded himself to her.
The kiss wasn't desperate or frantic as Azriel had imagined it would be for so fucking long. No, the kiss was slow and deep, like pouring honey. Their thongs danced with each other, stroking and caressing.
And her taste… like honey and spring sunrise. He couldn't get enough. He needed more, needed her printed in his very bones, until their souls intertwined.
He was breathing hard, one of her delicate hands wandered across his chest and arms, the skin beneath her fingers burning. Elain traced every muscle, every inch of tattoo ink, as if to reaffirm he was real, that he was there. She buried her other hand into his hair, pulling slightly, and Azriel let out a sound between a moan and a purr, barely audible above the rain.
The world faded away and there was only her, only her mouth, her scent, her body. He needed her closer, wanted to merge himself with her so they would never be parted.
Everything about that kiss was so sweet and so sensuous as if it was a song sent from heaven to lure him to the deepest of hells, where every sinful idea would take form. It was his paradise and ruin, and he was utterly, thoroughly hypnotized.
He'd lovers, many throughout the centuries. But he never felt so drowned, so lost and found at the same time. Nothing had ever felt so good, nothing. Azriel could only pray to the old gods that at least one part of him would be his at the end of it.
They continued that taunting dance, touching, exploring, seducing. Their tongues met stroke for stroke until Elain parted and sucked on his bottom lip, and any sane part of him ceased to exist.
Azriel groaned and his hands moved from her waist to find that generous, gorgeous backside of hers, squeezing possessively with both hands, making her moan into his mouth. Elain ondulated her hips, pressing herself against him, and gasped when she felt exactly how much she was affecting him. How much power she had over him. A small smile curved her lips and Azriel traced it with the tip of his tongue.
More more more
Azriel could feel her shaking in anticipation, smell her arousal in the air.
He was going to devourer her inch by inch. He was going to -
Elain suddenly pulled back just enough to look at him in the eyes, and Azriel almost fell on his knees. Sheer desire was printed on her face, those pink, perfect lips swollen, making his mouth watering. A blush stained her cheeks, and he wondered what other places he could make her blush. He needed to know them all.
But all of that was nothing compared to that look on her face. The honey-brown almost entirely gone, her eyes flashing with molten desire as if those black expanded pupils were windows to her soul and his particular way through.
Both of them were breathing each other's air. Elain stared and stared and stared at him as if she was undoing every single wall and shield he'd ever raised.
Azriel let her. Didn't need them with her anyway.
He cupped her face with his hand and brushed her cheek with his thumb, making her shiver. His eyes never left hers, and he could almost see a bridge of light and dark taking form between their souls, honey-brown and hazel in each end.
When his thumb moved to trace her bottom lip, Elain cupped his hands with hers, mouth parting slightly before she kissed the tip of his finger. Azriel didn't know who he was, where he was, because there was only her, only that female accepting every part of him.
Then Elain sucked his thumb into the wet heat of her mouth. Pure desire ran through his body like a lighting straight to his groin, and he had to brace his other hand on the wall to keep himself standing, to not fall on his knees.
Elain let go of his thumb, her eyes glimmering in a way he'd only dreamed about. She inclined her head, baring her throat, and Azriel knew he was in deep shit.
He couldn't help the sound that came out from somewhere deep inside of him, his nostrils flaring at the sight of her delicate, creamy skin covering her pulse point and totally exposed to him - and only him.
Offer and permission.
A thunder rumbled outside, but all Azriel could hear was his blood singing her name as he lowered his head and brushed his nose along the side of her neck, breathing greedily and letting her scent fill his nose, his lungs. Elain arched a little, asking for more.
Azriel then kissed her neck tenderly. Wanted to savor every second of it, every taste of her. Didn't want to rush this - not with her, not when he had the chance. He prayed that the storm would never end, wanted to take his time, worship every part of her body until one stroke at the right place would be all that would take to make her come. Hard.
He kissed the spot beneath her ear and where her neck met her shoulder. Elain's hand tightened, pulling his hair in silent command. Azriel bared his teeth, brushing his canines against her pulse point. He pressed lightly - just enough to make his teeth sink into her skin, claiming her.
Elain moaned louder at the sensation and tightened her hold on his hair - and pure male smugness washed over him. Because he was the one she bared her throat to. It was his mouth on hers, his hands covering her ass. He could already smell his scent on her, mist and jasmine, cedar and honey.
And it was his name she moaned.
Before Azriel could unleashed himself, he first dropped to his knees.
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mehlisssa · 2 years ago
Fire & Light - Elriel Oneshot
A/N: This is one of the most unique fics I’ve ever written, and I’m extremely excited about it! It’s a oneshot written for the Elriel Secret Santa Fan Art/Fic Exchange coordinated by the one and only @rosehallshadowsinger here on Tumblr! I wanted to start by thanking her for organizing it, and checking in and being so so supportive this holiday season! She’s truly an amazing, elriel-shipping person and I’m so happy she contacted me to do this! 
My person for this “secret santa” is @julesherondalex, so I really do hope you enjoy this fic! 
Before I begin though, this oneshot is so unique to me because it’s a Diwali story for Elriel, instead of the more popular christmas themed holiday stories. I reference a lot of things from this holiday in the fic, so I wanted to start with a small key just in case anyone reading doesn’t know what all of the words mean. I promise, I’m not trying to be rude or condescending, I just want to make sure everything comes across properly. So thank you for bearing with me, @julesherondalex!
Diwali: a Hindu holiday celebrating the return of the god-king Rama from war, known as the Festival of Lights. 
diya: a small clay bowl filled with oil and a cotton wick, lit on fire and placed all around a house and on the street during Diwali. 
rangoli: colorful powder drawn into designs along the sidewalk and driveways as a signature Diwali decoration. 
havan: a Hindu ritual involving a huge bonfire and praying around it. 
kurta: traditional Indian dress for men. 
lehenga: a two-piece traditional Indian dress for women. 
sari: a long cloth and blouse wrapped in a specific way that is another traditional Indian dress for women.
ghungroo bracelets: ankle bracelets filled with bells worn by women.
mehendi: it’s like henna, but for Indians. 
This key is to my own knowledge only, based on what I know about my own culture and religious beliefs, so I hope it was as informative as needed! It’s also subjective, and different parts of India have different customs, so this is written purely based on my own experience. 
Read on Ao3 Masterlist
Azriel woke up to find his hands burning. Fire licked up his palms and the pads of his fingers while oil crackled and sizzled, drawing swirling lines and veins of red-hot pain on his skin. He couldn’t think beyond the agony, couldn’t open his mouth to scream for help - not that anyone would hear him. He was back in the dungeon, back in the pitch black cell illuminated only by his own fire-lit hands, a light that did nothing to stop the pain, only feed it. More and more it took, replacing fingerprints with whorls of twisting, agonizing burns, reaching a crescendo of pain and heat until-
Cool fingers covered Azriel’s, snuffing out the fire. They curled around his hands, lovingly caressing the scars. Soon, the pain had been replaced by the soothing chill of those hands, focusing Azriel’s mind down to the simple movement of those fingers.
Azriel, finally, opened his eyes. “Elain,” he rasped,  because staring back at him were not cruelly delighted eyes, reflecting back the pain and fire engulfing his hands. They were warm and brown, concerned and soft. Elain’s hands tightened on his, searching his face for any of the terror that had seized him mere minutes ago. He had no doubt she could see the haunted look in his eyes, feel the dead plume of his shadows, dark and somber.
“It was just a dream,” she whispered. Slowly, Elain picked up his hands, bringing them to her face. Azriel could barely stand to look at them, having to avert his eyes at the sight. Not tonight. Not when it would be so easy to feel them burning all over again. But she still took them to her lips, placing a soft kiss on his knuckles.
The fire hissed out into oblivion.
Azriel leaned into her touch, sighing. He was here, in Velaris, sleeping in an apartment with his beautiful, amazing, wonderful wife. He was not eleven years old anymore. He was not trapped.
I am free, he told himself, over and over as Elain threaded her hands through his hair, brushed her thumbs over his hands. I am free, he chanted, until he fell back asleep, this time without seeing fire as soon as he closed his eyes.
When Azriel awoke the next morning, he realized where his panic attack had come from. In his sleep-deprived, nightmare-chased state, he hadn’t realized that it was no ordinary day - it was Diwali. It was the Festival of Lights, where everyone else was celebrating with fire-lit diyas and colorful rangoli and. . .well, it was everything Azriel himself had not gotten when he was eleven years old, locked in a dungeon. When his brothers had decided to take oil and pour it on his hands instead of a diya, when they lit Azriel on fire instead of the cotton wicks.
Elain was still cradled in his arms when the realization hit him, but as if on cue, her eyes fluttered open, and she gazed up at him with a sleepy smile. Azriel admired the curve of her lips, the set of her eyes, for only a second before his wife rasped, groggy but clear, “Happy Diwali.”
Elain certainly hadn’t forgotten.
Azriel’s heart swelled at the sight of her, so beautiful even this early in the morning. He couldn’t help the smile that took hold of his lips, momentarily forgetting that anything else existed except for Elain. “Happy Diwali,” he answered back, because for her, it would be happy. She wouldn’t be plagued by the fires outside, illuminating the night. She wouldn’t find her hands shaking every time she had to light a diya. And Azriel would never, ever wish it on anyone - especially not Elain.
But his wife knew him better than anyone else, and could sense the hollow cheer in his words, no matter how good he was at hiding it. She frowned, and Azriel’s heart twinged - of all things, he wanted her to be happy today, like everyone else. Not concerned with his bullshit.
“Do you want to talk about last night?” Elain asked tentatively, eyes troubled and searching.
Azriel shut his eyes, pulling Elain closer to him. He grounded himself on the constant thump of her heartbeat, drawing circles on her back with his hands. Elain simply waited for him to answer, content to let him be there with her without a care in the world. She curled her fingers around his neck, playing with his  hair.
“It’s the fire,” Azriel said, after a long moment. Elain stilled - almost imperceptibly, but she did. As if she wouldn’t be able to hear him otherwise. “We light fires all day and night, in the diyas, for havan, and. . .I don’t see any of the light, or the celebration. I only feel it burning my skin, the agonizing pain.” Azriel was unable to stop his shudder, remembering last night. It was too much for him to take, every year around this time. It was a reminder that he would live with these painful ghosts for the rest of his life, that although Rhys found him and took him away, the burns and the scars would never leave him. Never.
Elain drew her head out of his chest, tilting it back to look at him. She ran a finger down his cheek, simply staring into his eyes for a moment. “You deserve better,” she finally said, as if it hurt her that Azriel couldn’t be happy during the biggest celebration of the year, where everyone found the light within themselves and let it shine. “You deserve better than this pain. I will never forgive them for what they did to you, what they continue to do to you, even from their graves.” Her fingers tightened around his jaw in emphasis.
Azriel’s heart swelled at the female in his arms, so righteous and willing to fight - for him, of all people. So many people underestimated her, assumed because she was so kind and wonderful that she could not be strong and brave. But Azriel knew, that under Elain’s warm smiles and gentle nature was the toughest females he knew, and he was only lucky that she loved him so much, that he could wake up next to her every single morning.
“I know,” Azriel said, brushing back Elain’s hair. She couldn’t save him from his demons, but she had done more than anyone else ever had. And that was more than enough for him.
“We don’t have to light them, if you don’t want to,” Elain offered. And Azriel knew that should he say it, theirs would be the only house on the block completely lightless, because Elain truly did care about him.
But he wouldn’t make her do that.  It was Diwali.
“No,” Azriel said, pulling her back into his chest. He never wanted to let her go. “It’s okay. I’ve survived five hundred years, I’ll be fine.”
Elain looked up to protest, and maybe Azriel should’ve let her, but her lips were so close and she just looked so, so adorable in that moment, that he cut her off with a kiss. She simply melted into his arms, curling her body into his touch, and that alone took Azriel’s mind off of Diwali - at least for a little while.
Azriel stood in front of the mirror eight hours later in full kurta suit, trying not to look as hollow as he felt. Night had fallen upon Velaris an hour ago, and the fires had lit up the night to the point where he couldn’t look outside without seeing children running in pretty new kurtas and lehengas, fluttering flames in diyas lined across every window sill and house, every door and entryway.
Azriel sighed. There would be a party tonight, at the House of Wind. And he’d have to pretend that his scars didn’t feel like they were burning all over again, that the burning oil didn’t smell like every nightmare he’d ever had about his past.
He was so caught up in his own reverie that he almost didn’t notice when Elain entered the room - almost. But when he caught sight of her in the mirror, all of his attention was unmistakably on her. Elain looked absolutely stunning in a sparkling pink sari with little mirrors and crystals sown into the delicate silk, catching all the light in the room and turning her into a beautiful beacon. Gold bangles jangled on her wrists, just like the ghungroo bracelets around her ankles. Amidst the gold jewelry plated around her face and the amazing sari itself, and she had rendered Azriel absolutely speechless.
There was a determined look in her normally soft brown eyes as she walked over to Azriel, plaits swishing and bells ringing. He let Elain curl her arms around his neck, pulling him into her body, and he settled his hands gently on her waist, absolutely reverent. “Hey,” he said softly, pushing the pain far down inside. He wouldn’t let it touch Elain, the purest and best thing he had in his life.
“Hey,” she answered back, threading fingers into his hair. “How are you feeling?”
Azriel knew it was a carefully veiled question inquiring after his panic regarding the day, and it took him a moment to decide how to respond. He had done this, lived out Diwali, for five hundred years - he could handle one more. But that didn’t mean it didn’t break his heart a little more each time.
“I’m. . .managing,” He settled for that word only because he knew he couldn’t lie to Elain, but that didn’t mean he wanted her to worry.
That look hadn’t left Elain’s eyes. “I know you are, but. . .I’d hope I can make it a little bit easier. I want to give you a good memory of today, that’d maybe stand out a little more than the bad ones.”
Azriel froze, waiting. No one had ever said anything of the sort to him, and his mind was whirling with thoughts of what she could mean, what he could say -
And then every thought eddied out of Azriel’s mind as soon as his wife placed a mehendi-covered hand lovingly over her stomach. He knew it was a deliberate movement, at the look in Elain’s eyes, nervous and excited, hopeful for him and his reaction.
Most wouldn’t be able to see anything different in Azriel’s expression, but his wife was accustomed to the involuntary blinks and twitches that would give away whatever he was feeling. This was no different, and his shock was practically written on his face, and for a long moment, it was the only thing he was capable of feeling.
Far too long after he’d realized, Azriel finally found his voice. “Are you. . .” he started, the shock beginning to ebb away.
Elain moved her hand in circles over her stomach, patiently. “Azriel,” she started, tentatively, as if unwilling to say anything without knowing what his reaction would be. “I’m pregnant.”
The words seemed to suck all of the astonishment from Azriel’s mind, instead filling it with an intense excitement, growing with every beat of his frantic heart, shaking his hands. A ragged exhale tore from his mouth, and he felt his lips stretch into a stunned smile.
At the sight of his expression, Elain too began to grin, all tension leaving her shoulders. “Are you happy?” she asked softly, leaning into his body.
“Cauldron, yes,” the words rushed from his mouth, as if the emotions themselves had taken hold of him. Azriel’s arms shook as he wrapped his arms over Elain’s body, so fast and forcefully that she let out a small oof at the impact. Azriel was so overtaken he didn’t know if he should loosen his grip, or hug her tighter.
“You’re pregnant,” he murmured into her hair, his words sounding almost unbelieving. But no, it was only the awe and reverence of his amazing, bold, and brilliant wife, who was carrying his child, right there.
Elain leaned back, and Azriel loosened his grip around her, but still kept his hands on her shoulders. He felt like he could never let her go, ever again.
But Elain had other ideas, and she reached up to her own shoulders to bring his hands down, down to her stomach. There was no bulge, nothing whatsoever beyond Elain’s own words to show that she was pregnant, but he still felt like he was touching glass, a fragile part of her that he would protect with his life. Their child.
“This is what I want you to remember,” Elain started, and Azriel tore his eyes away from her stomach to meet her. “This moment. You are here, and it is Diwali, and we are going to have a baby, Azriel. A baby. And it happened on this day.”
Azriel took a deep breath.
“Enough darkness, enough pain. Make some room for the light.”
His eyes fluttered shut, but this time, he didn’t see fire and scars and dungeons. He saw his wife, standing in front of him with an extremely pregnant belly. He saw a newborn baby, swaddled in her arms. He saw tiny hands and feet, soft skin and big, curious eyes.
He only felt absolute love in that moment, none of the fear and pain he’d woken up with. Here was a future filled with life and light, and Azriel was ready to leave his past of death and darkness in favor of it.
A/N: So, I hope y’all liked it, hope you liked my take on a more diverse Elriel than usually seen in this fandom, and I hope everyone has an amazing day!
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suncities · 2 years ago
Lights Down Low
my elriel secret santa to @razrushya hope u enjoy!
Azriel really, really sucked at cooking. And baking. Hell, he could barely boil water. Basically, he was incompetent when it came to anything requiring an oven.
Cassian usually cooked for Christmas, but he was stuck at the office with Nesta - not that Cass minded  in the slightest - and everyone was snowed in. So, Cassian called Az and told him that dinner would have to be up to him. Rhys and Feyre were away on vacation anyway, it was just going to be Nesta and Elain joining them, no big deal. The instructions are on the table, Cass told him, all you have to do is follow them. Easy peasy.
Not easy peasy, Azriel thought to himself. Definitely not easy peasy. He had no idea how to separate an egg, or how long the butter was supposed to be softened before it as ready. Thankfully, dinner was basically ready and all Az had to do was pop it in the oven. But, that still left dessert, which Cass always went all out on. Sugar cookies, cake, brownies, and cheesecake squares; all made from scratch.
Sighing, Azriel took another look at the instructions for the cake, and then his batter. He squinted. That is not how Cassian’s cake batter looks. In fact, he’s pretty sure that six year old Cass would’ve made better cake batter.
Oh well.
He reached above the counter, searching the cabinets for the bundt pan - which, by the way, he had to google to figure out what it was. Ah, there it is. Sitting at the very top, stacked on top of various pots and pans, is the oddly shaped piece Az needed. He reached up further, and grabbed the edge.
Then his phone rang. Loudly.
Now, make no mistake, like everyone else under the age of 30, Az usually had his phone on vibrate. But, he turned it on for tonight in case Cass had needed anything urgent.
Unfortunately, the  loud sound startled Az so much so much so that he pulled the pan down quickly, consequently knocking down the entire cabinet-full in the process with a loud cRASH!
Azriel just stared at the plethora of kitchenware on the ground in silent defeat.
There was a knock at the door. Followed by, “Az? I heard something crash, are you alright?”
He crossed the room to the apartment door and opened it for his friend.
“Everything’s fine I just -
He was cut off by Elain when she pushed past him gently to see the mess in the kitchen and said, “what the fuck Az?” A sheepish pause when she turned to look at him. “I knew you were relatively useless in the kitchen but oh my this is …”
Azriel rubbed the back of his neck and mumbled out what may have been able to pass as a half explanation.
Elain didn’t even look at him. She just got to work. Moved all the pans back to the cupboard - this proved to be fairly difficult at her short height, but she managed - and immediately began on the desserts.
Az just watched as Elain moved through the kitchn, pouring and sifting and mixing and a whole bunch of things that he didn’t even know the name for.
Within the next two hours, Elain had finished the bundt cake, the cookies, brownies, and was taking the cheesecake squares out of the oven. She placed them on a hotmat sitting on the counter, the delicious smell wafting out of the oven throughout the apartment. Az had done everything that Elain needed him to (mainly consisting of him wiping down the table and putting everything away) and just as she set down the pan, he came up behind her and exhaled deeply, thanking whatever god was listening that Christmas dinner wouldn’t be a bust.
“Elain,” he said, “you are a lifesaver.”
She spun around and grinned at him, “I know,” she said simply.
A phone rang out loudly - it was Elain’s, god knows Azriel didn’t get many calls, definitely not two in the span of a few hours. She picked it up, telling Az that it was from Nesta, and hit the speaker button before going back to cutting the squares.
“Elain?” Nesta’s voice came, “are you at home?” “No I’m at Cass and Az’s, I’m helping him with dinner,” she responded to her sister before asking, “when are you guys gonna be back?”
A pause.
“Yeah, uhm, here’s the thing,” Az gave Elain a look that said ‘this isn’t going to be good’ and she frowned at him. “Cass and I don’t know if we’ll make it back in time.” Elain’s eyebrows furrowed at her older sister’s words. “What do you mean you won’t be back in time? It’s not snowing that badly is it?” “When was the last time you guys took a look out the window?” Nesta asked incredulously, “it's a blizzard out there!”
The pair shared a glance, and both immediately hurried towards the window. Azriel threw open the curtains and they stood in stunned silence; staring at the storm outside, so intense you could barely make out the buildings across the street.
“Guys?” Came Cassian’s voice from the phone. “Are you still there?”
Snapping out of it, Az rushed back to his friend. “Yeah, we’re here. Don’t worry about it, it's not like we’re gonna finish all the food or anything. You made a feast, man.”
Cass laughed at that, “save me a plate of - holy shit!” “Cass?” Elain asked, concern laced in her voice. “Is everything okay?” Nesta’s voice came through this time, “the power just went out here. Everything’s working over there?” “Yeah, nothing on this end,” Az responded. And then, as if in response to him, everything in the apartment went dark. Azriel sighed. “Scratch that,” he told his friends, “power’s out here too.” _ Azriel and Elain got to work finding the blackout supplies quickly. He gathered candles and matches while Elain set out to find blankets and sweatshirts. “It's gonna be freezing once the heat goes out,” she’d said.
She returned from her apartment - right next door to Az and Cass - in a few minutes with a mountain of blankets that looked bigger than her own body. Az smiled warmly when he opened the door to that sight. She dumped her pile on the couch and tossed a sweater at Azriel.
Once they were done, Azriel made them both plates of dinner - he had finished that before Elain had gotten there, thank god - and set them down on the floor where Elain was sitting, atop a few blankets. They ate in silence for a minute or two, before Elain set down her fork, looked at Az, and said, very seriously, “let’s play a game.” He looked at her, “a game?” she nodded. “What kind of game?” A shrug. “I don’t know. Truth or dare?” Azriel laughed a little at that.
She frowned. “Okay, not truth or dare,” a pause, while she thought, “what about 20 questions?” When he didn’t object, she took it as an invitation to start. “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?” Azriel thought about  it. “I'm not sure,” she gave him a look that said ‘bullshit, I know you have an answer’. “Maybe Turkey. Or Spain.” she tilted her head in silent question. Why? “It’s beautiful. And different. Different is good.” They were silent again until Elain spoke again, “I’d go to Paris.” Azriel laughed. “Why are you laughing? It's the city of love!” “I’m sorry,” he said warmly, “it's just that Paris is such a cliche answer and -
He never got to finish, Elain interrupted him by throwing a pillow - she had brought many of those as well from her apartment - right at his head. When he looked up, her arms were crossed, her face set in a sort of defiant expression.
They moved on to another question.
An hour later - and many more than 20 questions - the two friends were still playing the game. Somehow in the process, the pair had moved closer together, with Elain leaning her back into Azriel’s chest, her head resting on his shoulder.
“Next question,” she said, looking up at him. “What’s your idea of a perfect date?” Azriel shrugged noncommittally, “nothing fancy. Maybe dinner or a movie, and then to just hang out with each other at home. Just .. enjoy each other’s company,” he said. “What about you?” Elain stayed quiet for a moment, gathering the courage for what she was about to say.
“Elain?” Azriel prodded.
She took a deep breath and said softly, but still confidently, “a perfect date would be .. sitting in his living room, surrounded by candles and blankets, playing stupid party games.”
Azriel gaped. She wasn’t serious. Was she? He hoped she was because goddamn, he didn’t know what he’d do if she was only messing with him.
Elain, however, took his silence in another fashion. She shook her head, glad that he couldn’t see tears well up in her eyes as she muttered, “forget I said anything. Next question?” No, not next question.
Az, slowly, softly, tilted her chin towards him so he could see her face. Her eyes were brimmed with tears she’d held back, and she looked down, avoiding eye contact with him. “Elain,” he whispered, searching her face for any sign that she might not want this - him.
She looked up at him, and god, his heart jumped clear out of his chest when her eyes met his. For what seemed like an eternity, they sat there like that, Azriel cradling her face in his hands, her looking up at him through those long lashes.
He swallowed, hard, and finally, finally, brought his lips down onto hers.
He tasted like Christmas, was the only thought Elain had. He tasted like waking up and opening your presents, he tasted like making cookies and taking the first bite.
This, Elain thought, is what a kiss is supposed to be.
There were no sparks, not at all.
No, this was a firework show, the kind that makes everyone stare at the sky even after its over.
When they finally broke apart, Elain was straddling Azriel, both breathing heavily, foreheads resting against each other.
Then, all at once, the lights came back on. The entire apartment was lit up with the decorations Cass had put up all around the room.
Az pulled Elain close, felt her smiling against his neck.
“Merry Christmas Elain,” he whispered softly into her ear.
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onceupona-chaos · 2 months ago
Feathers and dawn
Day 15 of Elriel month/ Explosion of power
The half-wraith gave her friend a feral grin, white teeth flashing against her dark skin, and said quietly in her midnight voice, “Stealthy as a doe.”
Elain matched Nuala’s smile, sending a thrill down Azriel’s spine. “Fierce as a wolf.”
Word count:  3838
Warnings: Language
Disclaimer: This was a huge challenge for me, because English isn't my first language, so I apologize for any mistakes. Part II is coming out on day 18 (I think). Be kind!
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Azriel was kneeling on the ground, panting through gritted teeth as he tried not to succumb to that invisible force covering him like a heavy blanket. Whatever spells and wards casted upon that place were draining his magic little by little as if he had been hit by several ash arrows - only ten times worse. 
Even with the cold rain soaking him, the raindrops like ice needles against his skin and wings, he managed to fix his eyes on the cave, scanning and scanning through the dark dots that were beginning to form, trying to see something, anything. 
But the cave was as dark as the sky above him. A never ending darkness that seemed to swallow any blue light from his almost drained Siphons.
His shadows detected nothing. Not a whisper, not a move, no sign of her. 
After Elain had disappeared inside the Cave and his shadows couldn't get a reading, he had immediately sent Nuala to get Rhysand whilst he tried to find a way in. But he couldn't pass the wards just like his shadows couldn't sense her.
When a female scream echoed from inside the cave, Azriel couldn't breathe, couldn't think. Pure, clear panic was all he knew.
When he had been summoned to the river house in the morning, not in his five hundred years he’d expected it to turn out like this. 
 Shit. Shit.
Azriel hadn't been able to sleep for more than a few hours, and even so dreams and nightmares made him roll in his bed the entire time. He’d  been awake for hours, staring at the two Solstice gifts he’d got from her when dawn came. And with it, Rhys’ orders. 
He made a point not to arrive earlier than he needed, so he wouldn’t be - couldn't be -  in the same place as her longer than necessary. Keeping his distance when he wasn't at the river house was torture enough, but being in the same house and still feel as if they were at opposite edges of the same abyss…  
And yet when Azriel landed outside the river house, his shadows quickly whispered in his ear that Rhysand wasn't alone in his studio. 
The warning did nothing to stop his body from stiffen when he stepped through the door, the illusion of a meeting only between him and his brother quickly dissipating, and his eyes shot straight to the window - and there she was.
He didn't know if it was the lilac dress or the sunlight casting through the window, but her eyes were almost the color of pure honey. But something was off, her usually open expression was stark and hard, and then he noticed the pallidness on that beautiful face and the faint black bruises under her eyes. Even though he knew his face was the portrait of boredom, his shadows swarmed him, sensing his unease.
Azriel made his eyes move to where Amren was sitting crossed-legged, her petite body almost hidden beneath a white fur coat. Feyre cradling Nyx in her arms was sitting next to Rhysand, the baby soundly asleep, warm against his mother's chest. 
Azriel looked back to where Elain was, her shoulders tensing a bit as if she could sense his gaze on her even when she was peering through  the window, and he knew she was deliberately avoiding looking at him. It was only a stolen glimpse from his part - Azriel was well aware of Rhysand's violet eyes on him, almost daring him to disobey his orders. 
Azriel made the boiling rage cool down, kept his face carefully blank, his mask of cool boredom still in place whilst he faced his brother, lifting an eyebrow in question. 
Amren, on the other hand, didn’t bother to mask her impatience. “We’re waiting, Rhysand.”
The High Lord of The Night Court nodded to Elain, and Azriel felt his body stiffened once again. Rhysand announced, "It looks like we have another Made object to worry about.”
Azriel’s blood went cold in his veins. He asked quietly, "How would you know?"
Elain didn't give many details. But she emphasized it was more of a sense than a normal vision, as if she could smell a storm coming but the skies remained clear. As if she could hear an ancient whisper in the wind. She wasn't sure what it was until last night - when  something long forgotten had presented itself in a dream. Azriel was well aware of what kind of objects could call for someone like that.
“What is this object?” Feyre asked.
Elain replied, “I… I can’t See what it is.” Azriel tracked the way she swallowed. “It’s veiled in shadows. Hidden among the silence itself."
Nodding more to herself, Amren said, "Whatever this is, it wants to be found at last.” She narrowed her eyes at Elain’s direction. "It's calling for you, girl."
Azriel's shadows gathered even closer, sensing his concern. He remembered of Oorid, how Nesta’s body shook after she retrieved The Mask. For Elain to be exposed to the same danger…
And yet, he couldn’t - wouldn’t interfere. He knew how much each choice Elain got to make was precious to her. She’d told him that herself on one of those nights in front of the fireplace. Her eyes had been filled with a mix of sadness and hope as if she still could feel her own choices slipping through her fingers as if they were grains of sand. 
He had only stared at her back then, imagining how it had been like for her going into the Cauldron - and then spending months trapped in her own visions to the point she couldn't tell dreams and reality apart. So he'd kept silent, let his understanding rise to the surface so she could see it and watched as her body relaxed under his gaze.
So different from now when she looked in every direction except his as she watched the harsh argument, Amren insisting vigorously that Elain should go look for the object. 
That explained why Nesta wasn't there, why Rhysand hadn't asked him to fly her down.
Whilst Cassian was in Illyria for an inspection of the aerial legions, the priestesses had recently received another female. Nesta didn't so much hesitate in wanting to help her the way she could and have been spending more time than usual at the library. But not to tell her, to keep this away from her… 
"Does Nesta know about this?", Azriel cut in.
"She would take this task for herself." Rhysand didn't even bother to look guilty. "And if it's calling for Elain, we can't risk sending anyone else, even if she chooses not to go. It could end very badly."  
"Maybe Nesta would be right to hesitate to send Elain,"  Azriel argued back, violet eyes narrowing. "Either way, that doesn't justify not telling her."
Feyre was glaring at her mate, undoubtedly saying something in his head, as if they had that discussion before. Many times. 
But before she could say anything out loud, Amren cut in, "It's not calling for Nesta, boy."
Azriel's voice was cold as ice. "Do not forget that we already kept information from her before." 
Amren didn’t even have time to open her mouth - to disagree or snarl, Azriel didn't know - before Elain stood up from her seat at the window, "That’s enough."
They all twisted toward her, brows raised. The only sound in the room now was the soft rustle of Nyx delicate wings.
Elain looked at Rhys, eyes sharp but voice even. "You of all people should know what it is like to want to protect those who you love and that is no excuse for keeping things from Nesta." Sadness coated her expression. “Not again, Rhys.” 
This time, Rhys had the decency to look at least guilty. Ferey intervened, "I'll tell her this afternoon. I want Cassian there, too."
Elain nodded. "I'm not a child for anyone to decide for me. If it's calling for me, I won’t run away.” She said squaring her shoulders, never looking away from her older sister, who was just about to say something. "And I am not asking for permission." 
And her posture, her words, her tone were so fierce, those large caramel-brown eyes flickering while she studied them all and Azriel knew that she’d do whatever was necessary to help this court. 
A  reminder that the Archeron sisters were forged by the same fire.
Azriel's chest ached with pride - and terror. Terror for her. But he pushed aside those instincts that were screaming to keep her safe, to not let her near any danger, and asked at last, "Then how do we find it?"
In a matter of minutes, Elain was sitting before a map, her eyes shifting beneath her lids as if she could See the entire world. Everyone was watching her as she searched for the right place, the one that appeared in her dreams - so Azriel used the moment to admire her.
Beautiful. She was so beautiful, he could admire her for the rest of his days in the same way he looked at the rising sun.
Elain’s hand hovered over that map, the creamy, soft skin marked by small scars, her delicate fingers were calloused, no doubt from her gardening. She cocked her head, as if listening to those whispering to find the right path. Azriel could’ve sworn the room was getting warmer.
She let a finger down and opened her eyes. For a second it looked like a faint golden glow shone behind the familiar brown, just like one could see the faelights behind a piece of glass, but then Elain blinked a few times -  and it faded away.
 "Here," she said.
Feyre sighted deeply as she cupped Nyx’s head as if she could protect him from her very words. "Of course it's in the Middle."
Nuala didn't ask any questions. She'd only showed up in the afternoon as they had agreed, passing right through the wall. Elain appeared a second later, opening the door and almost scrambling Azriel's brain cells to the point of uselessness. 
Her hair was braided behind her head, a blue surcoat, similar to the one she wore in the war, reached the middle of her thighs. It wasn’t Illyrian leathers, but the slits in the lower part of the surcoat  combined with her leather pants did absolutely nothing to hide her curves and the color made her skin look almost golden.
His shadows brightened as if to let him see all of her more clearly. He knew he was staring, that he should say something about them going somewhere, but he couldn't even remember his words. When Feyre had suggested he accompany Elain, he’d made his best to not look at Rhys, to just naturally nod in agreement. 
Rhysand wouldn't say a word about Solstice. Not in front of Feyre, that is.
But that didn't stop his High Lord to make Nuala play chaperone with a bullshit excuse that her gifts might end up being useful in the place they were heading to and her friendship with Elain could help. 
The message was crystal clear.
Azriel's eyes dropped without his acknowledgement to her lips, those sweet lips he had been so close to taste. He heard someone coughing, but his mind didn’t register the sound.
When he finally realized he was staring, he quickly snapped his eyes to hold her gaze. Despite the faint pink coloring her cheeks, a flicker of amusement sparkled in Elain’s expression.
Behind him, someone cleared their throat. 
Azriel ignored the smirk curving Feyre’s lips just like he ignored Nuala’s amusement, trying his best to contain the heat spreading across his cheeks at the thought of them watching the staring contest between the two of them.
Finally Nuala decided to put him out of his misery and asked, "Shall we?".
By the time the swirl of shadows disappeared, Azriel was half distracted by the feeling of Elain's small hand in his. But the moment Azriel was able to have a good look at the place before them, he felt the hair on his arms rose. 
A deep forest was revealed, huge, gigantic trees side by side, making him feel the same size as Amren. Nuala let go of his other hand and almost unconsciously he tightened his grip on Elain's as she looked wild-eyed at the view before them.
As if one could call it that.
Where the forest should be rejoicing with life, there was none. Not a single leaf remained in those trees, the naked branches curling above the small, meandering trail like black claws. There wasn't a single animal or insect anywhere beneath the dark gray sky, making the atmosphere grievously melancholic. 
No light, no life. A place of utter sadness, as silent as Death.
"I've seen worse." Nuala's midnight voice was almost a whisper, but still reverberated like a thunder in that deadly silence, her attempt of being playful covered by the tenseness in her tone.
Azriel studied Elain, who swallowed before saying, "Me too." Her face was cautious, tight. She cocked her head as if heading some inner voice.
He asked, "Can you See where it is?"
She gently let go of his hand, blushing a little as if she had just realized they were still touching. "No, not See it" She said, scanning the forest. "But I can hear it."
"The shadows don't hear anything," Nuala said, moving to be at Elain’s side. “Do you remember what we discussed?”
Elain nodded.
“Once we enter the forest, watch your steps and try to walk toe to heels most of the time. Listen carefully to our breathing,” Nuala said, gesturing to her and then Azriel, who was watching the scene with raised brows. “And match yours with it always. Be as quiet as you can.” 
To his surprise, Elain just lifted a brow at the command in Nuala’s tone, who gave her a Look. “I’m serious, if you can help it, do not make a sound in this place.” The half-wraith gave her friend a feral grin, white teeths flashing against her dark skin and said quietly in her midnight voice, “Stealthy as a doe.”
Elain matched Nuala’s smile, sending a thrill down Azriel’s spine. “Fierce as a wolf.”
And then they walk right into The Silent Forest, living an almost dumbfounded Azriel behind.
They had been walking for what it felt like hours now. 
Even with his five hundred years worth of daily training, Azriel could feel his strength being drained slowly as if a heavy hand was pushing them back. With every step he took, it was like the forest itself, every single inch of that damn forest, didn’t want them there.
He kept his wings tucked in tight while eyeing their surroundings, once or twice he saw what seemed a glimpse of eyes watching them. The children of The Silent Forest. He could only pray for them to get the hell out of that place before sunset. 
Nuala seemed just as uncomfortable. Shadows gathered around her like a veil of darkness as if they could shield her from that invisible force, even though she was holding Elain’s hand now. 
Elain, who did not balk. She just kept walking, stopping sometimes along the way, her head cocked as if she could hear an inner voice luring her into the right direction until, at some point, Elain left the small forest trail to venture in an invisible path between the trees. 
More than once Nuala looked at Elain and smirked, causing a blush to spread across Elain’s pale cheeks.  
Despite the circumstances why Nuala was there, Azriel was grateful for the female attempts to distract Elain from her visible, growing tension. So he kept a few steps behind, offering the two females some privacy.  And when the temptation of using his shadows to know the cause of that blush crossed his mind, which was every five minutes, he pushed it aside and tried to focus on the surroundings or on the infinity, dark sky above them. With the sun almost down, the charged clouds waltzing through it in a promise of desolation.
They kept walking against that invisible force, almost unbearable now until… there. Azriel stiffened.
Deep in the forest, where the darkness seemed to unfold out of it, the entrance into a cave opened as if it was a path to another world, one made of Darkness and nothing more.  
Azriel’s shadows whispered to not go further. 
Nuala seemed to sense the same thing. "It feels… so wrong.” Her voice was quiet, but it seemed to be swallowed by the cave as if it was greedy to devour any sound, any light. 
“Strange,” Elain whispered back, brows furrowing. “It doesn’t feel like that to me.”
Azriel looked once again at the sky. They didn’t have much more time before night - and the beasts - came. He was almost suggesting to turn around, maybe they could convince Rhysand to come along. 
"I’ll be right back."
It took a moment to her words sink in, to Azriel make sense of what had just come out of Elain’s mouth. Elain, who was already moving. Elain, who was already walking towards the cave, getting closer with each step. 
Azriel moved out of sheer instinct, rushing forward to grab her hand, but again that damn force was pushing him back now. He flared his wings, trying to find some balance to keep going. "Elain," he snarled. 
She paused right before the entrance and looked back at him,  "I can hear its calling, it won't hurt me.”
Azriel was breathing hard, so lost on his mind that he didn’t realize the rain soaking him. He didn't like that one bit. He wanted to reach her, put his arms around her and shot to the skies. But he only unsheathed Truth-Teller and offered it to her. Elain bit her lip and walked back.  
He pressed his dagger to her hands, their eyes meeting - just like he had done once. Elain didn't hesitate this time. “Just…” He took his hand, trying to find the words. And there were so many words. “Come back," he said at last. A request and a prayer.
Elain squeezed his fingers and looked at Nuala before turning around. Azriel tracked every breath, every movement she made. His shadows speared toward the cave, watching over Elain, until darkness swallowed her. 
He was still monitoring her through his shadows, Nuala by his side. None of them dared to speak - not that he wanted to. Nuala worked as his spy long enough to know he kept to himself. His shadows were still curling around his neck to whisper in his ear.
Then, they became silent. As silent as they could be as they lost Elain’s track.
The screams came not long after she disappeared. 
The female scream was still echoing in Azriel’s ears, his own panic was a fog he couldn't see through. He tried to use his Shiphons, but whatever twisted magic ruling that place, it could not be affected. 
And Elain was there somewhere. 
So Azriel lunged forward  - to be pushed back by that invisible form. He felt a tentacle of darkness grab him, sinking its talons deep in his very bones, sucking on his killing power.
He turned to Nuala, who was trying to summon her own shadows, to see beyond the darkness. “Go back, right now and bring Rhysand.” Her face drained of color. “Now, Nuala.”
“I won’t leave her.”
“That’s an order," he snarled.  
She looked back at the cave, before assuming her shadowy form and ran back, passing directly through the trees in her way. 
Fuck. Seven Shiphons never felt so powerless. He could only imagine what the hell was happening, ancient spells and wards, casted by god knows what kind of creatures and now Elain - Elain - was there and -
Think. He needed to try to calm the hell down and think. He was always planning, always calculating, that was his fucking job.
But he couldn’t think. Those talons thigned, more and more. He felt his magic leaving him slowly.
And then everything stopped.
When he  looked through the raindrops once more to the cave, - 
Elain’s head broke the darkness first. A solemn expression printed on her beautiful face and her eyes... they glowed. Nothing like Nesta’s silver fire, nothing like Amren’s once were, but gone was the familiar chocolate brown that Azriel had lost himself in it more times he could count, replaced by a light of white and golden. As if the sun itself was behind her skull and, just like that, the air in the forest grew hotter, wave after wave of heat crashing through him, his own strength being restored. He was only half-conscious about the dark forms of beasts older than Darkness who lived there in absolute silence, that now ran from that promise of light.
And in her hands… a small golden orb.
Any trace of that unholy darkness was gone as Elain stepped closer and on her back... the hair on Azriel arms rose, pure awe ran though his body. A pair of beautiful, strong, powerful wings, covered in feathers, each one white as snow, gleaming and glowing as if they have been sewed with golden thread, perfectly matching her otherworldly eyes. They seemed impermeable despite the water running down, like they were covered by a protection layer where drops glittered under starlight, similar to pearls. 
Azriel only stood there, drinking her image and memorizing it as she walked toward him. For she was something from dreams, from tales as old as the forest around them. 
Sweat began to run down his back, between his wings, in great rivers and in that moment she was the sun itself. Her face was sheer power, so luminous that radiated from her, warming the world, and he knew that despite the heavenly glow, she could release hell upon them all with nothing but a blink - no kindness, no mercy whatsoever.
Despite the heat, he did not flinch, did not so much as move. This was different from the fire that gave him his scars, a constant reminder of hate and fear. Whatever that fire was made of, this was something else entirely. 
It was the warmth of firelights on Solstice nights with his family, of spring days when he would sunny his wings. The warmth of Nyx’s laughter, of Elain’s smile. He wanted her closer, wanted to slide his arms around her and let her light cast through him until the darkness of his very soul faded away. For she was light, always have been. And for someone who is lost in the dark, light is salvation. 
Slowly Elain stepped out of the cave. The moment she crossed the dorway, after a few steps, that light dimmed, her wings dropped as if she couldn't sustain its weight any longer. Azriel saw when her hands tightened around the orb, bringing it to her chest. She blinked and every trace of light disappeared, her beautiful face was now mortal - and pale. 
Caramel-brown eyes met hazel ones before rolling back into her head. Azriel only had time to catch Elain in his arms before she could collapse on hard rock.   
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themissyvonne · a month ago
Writing Masterlist
Thank you so much for reading, liking, reblogging and/or commenting on any of my posts.
🗝 KEY 🗝
🌈 = Multi Chapter
💗 = Fluff
💙 = Angst
💔 = Hurt / Comfort
🌶 = 18+ / Sexy / Spicy / Smut
Historical AU 💙 🌶 🌈 (Coming in June)
Drunk And In Love 💙
Dark Academia 💙 🌈 (Coming in July)
I Will Take Your Pain 💙 🌶
Romeo And Juliet (Part 1) 💙 Teach Me How To Fly (Part 2) 💗
Harry Potter AU 💙 💔 🌈 (Continuing in July)
Elriel Month 2021 Masterlist
THE GAME - A series of connected Elriel one-shots. 🌈
The Pre Game - Elain and Azriel Friendship Fluff
Rosehall 💗
Your Lips On My Scars 💗
Round One : Let the Games Begin - Azriel Trains Elain in Secret
Just Breathe 💗
Traveling Together 💗
Your Sacrifice 💗
New Day New Recipe 💗
Round Two : Spy Games - Adventures in Spy Training
Field of Flowers 💙
Spies At Work 💔
“Azriel” 💗
Playing With Shadows 💗
Round Three : Endgame - After the "Solstice Incident"
Forbidden 💙
Dreamland 💙
Hold Your Hand While Dancing 💙
Meet Me In The Silence 💙
Your Ivy Grows 💗
The Distance Between Us 💙
Depth Of Your Eyes 💙
Baby, Kiss It Better 🌶
Explosion of Power 💙
Discovery Of The Bond 💙
Invisible String 💙
Against Your Morning Skin 💗 🌶
You Are Cordially Invited 💗
Adoption 💗
Reincarnation 💗
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librarian-of-orynth · 2 years ago
Tell me you need me for elriel? thank you!
I love that line omg. Enjoy!
Looking up at the sky, Elain frowned. 
It had been three weeks since she’d seen Azriel, three weeks since that…awkward encounter. That, she realized, was putting it sweetly. For Azriel, though, he probably never wanted to see her again. 
She’d been in love with Azriel for a while now. Ever since the war, ever since he started checking in on her, seeing how she was holding up–even bringing her a plate from dinner when she couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, when memories of her father would overtake her–she’d known her feelings were more than friendly. 
Whether he felt the same, she didn’t know. Gestures like that could just have been friendly, could just have been him understanding what she was going through…but she’d had a feeling. And dreams.  
Of Azriel, of them, together, two souls entwined, alight with smiles as he held her in his arms. In those dreams, he flew her around Velaris–around the world, even–his smile a beacon in the darkness. And every morning when she woke up, she wondered if those dreams were…prophetic in a way, like the visions she’d had during the war. These were certainly as frequent, and without a doubt as real as those had been, but she didn’t want to hope for nothing. Particularly if they were just dreams, and nothing more. 
And then there was the matter of the garden they’d cultivated together. The roses, peonies, flowers of every shape and color that they’d spent day after day tending and growing. That, she remembered, had been at Azriel’s insistence. She’d thought growing too many flowers would be too much for her to take on, especially with all of the greenery already growing on the roof. But he’d insisted, and even offered to help, promising that if the flowers died, he’d take full responsibility–and get her more seeds. 
But the flowers hadn’t died. Actually, they’d done the opposite, and proved Azriel had as green of a thumb as Elain, though he never took credit for any of it. She begged him to, even demanded that he admit that he’d helped grow the lilies and tulips, but he wouldn’t budge, not one bit. No matter that he’d gotten his hands and clothes and wings covered in dirt. This garden was hers, he’d claimed, and he was simply an aid. All of the work belonged to her. It was her magic that made them grow. When she told him she didn’t have that sort of magic, he shushed her, even giving her a rare smile and wink. It is your magic, he’d seemed to say, and don’t doubt it for a second. 
It was that very night that she’d admitted her love for Azriel. Not to herself–she’d known that for some time–but to him. 
And it hadn’t been with words. 
They’d been gardening, clipping some bushes that had overgrown. He’d been glancing over at her every once in a while, giving her a shy smile that made her eyes sparkle. And when he placed his hand on hers, telling her how beautiful the garden looked, she could’ve sworn the gleam in his eyes meant he wasn’t just talking about the garden. Maybe she’d just seen what she wanted to see. 
When she’d entwined her fingers with his and moved to kiss his cheek, she hand’t expected his entire body to stiffen, as though he were surprised by the contact. Nor had she expected the prompt goodbye as he shook off her touch and launched himself into the sky.
She waited until he was nothing but a speck in the sky before she let herself shed a tear. She’d been wrong. Her instincts, her dreams…they’d led her here. To this point. 
And yet, he’d left her on the rooftop without even so much as a goodbye. 
Elain missed Azriel. 
Every night he was gone, she forced herself to go to the rooftop, despite the embarrassment that lingered in that space. She tried to lose herself in gardening, tried to relax and enjoy herself as she planted flowers and tended to the flourishing garden, but then she would hear the flapping of wings. See a shadow coming towards her. 
It was always Feyre, or Cassian, or Rhys, who came to check on her. 
Never Azriel. 
Still, she wished. Though most days, now, she didn’t bother to look up at the sky, not when she always knew who was coming home. 
So when she heard the flapping of wings as she tended to her garden, when she saw the shadow growing larger as it prepared to land, she didn’t bother looking up. 
It was only when she heard a soft voice, as though it was muffled by shadows, call out to her, that she looked up. 
Elain’s eyes widened, though she tried to hide the shock on her face. “Azriel.” 
“I’m…can we sit somewhere? I owe you an apology.” 
She stiffened. “Of course.” 
He led her to the nearby bench, sitting down to face her. 
“That night, Elain, I’m–” 
“I’m sorry, Az. I shouldn’t have thought that you…” 
“No, no, Elain, I’m the one who should be apologizing. I’m so sorry.” 
Elain’s eyes watered as he repeated the words, over and over. And then he took her hand, and interlaced her fingers with his. 
“When you took my hands, when you tried…when you wanted to kiss me, I wanted it, too. Wanted it more than I can explain. I just…I haven’t been touched like that in a–a long time.” 
“I shouldn’t have tried, Azriel. It was my fault. I–” 
“No, no, Elain. I wanted you to. I’ve wanted the same thing for a while now. I just…reacted poorly. It was a shock, that’s all.” 
“And that’s why you flew away, leaving me humiliated? For three weeks, I waited. I wanted to explain to you what had happened–I wanted to apologize. But you were gone. For three weeks, Az.” Elain tried to hold in the sob that threatened to break free, but couldn’t. 
Azriel squeezed her hand. “I have no excuse for my actions, Elain. I shouldn’t have left. I…needed to figure things out. For myself.” 
“You left me, Azriel, on that rooftop. Humiliated, and alone. I thought I’d ruined everything.” 
Tears began to fall down Azriel’s cheeks. “How can I atone, Elain. I will do anything. I need you. Three weeks ago, I was too afraid to admit it. To myself, and to you. But I need you.” 
“You…what?” Elain asked, scooting herself closer to Azriel. He put his free arm around her, and drew her close. 
“I need you,” he repeated. 
Again, she moved closer. “Say it again. Tell me that you need me.” 
“I need you,” he breathed, and claimed her mouth with his. 
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