#nessian fan fiction
The Perils of Being Mr. Nesta Archeron
It’s important you understand this is my incredibly poor attempt at comedy and I just wanted to write some nonsense.
This popped into my brain after seeing all the posts about how awesome Nesta is and how she had a ridiculous amount of marriage proposals and interest from human men, fae males and demons alike.
I just kind of took it from there...
“I still like what Nesta’s done to the place.”
Feyre looked around the grand drawing room of the House of Wind, her dozing son on her lap and her bored mate at her side who murmured something which could be taken as an agreement while pulling off imaginary pieces of lint from his sleeve.
The House was now Nesta’s, in as much as anything sentient could truly belong to anyone, and as such was rarely used for official Night Court business. Its predominant function was as home to Nesta, Cassian and a reluctant Azriel, who’d been gifted the responsibility of ‘supervisor’ – a gift which Feyre suspected he’d like to return.
The Inner Circle still held Starfall at the House and, like now, the High Lord and High Lady of Night, would visit. When she visited alone, Feyre visited in the capacity of sister and friend but when with Rhys, it was all work.
Nesta and Cassian had embraced their titles as the Lord of Bloodshed and Lady Death and their combined reputations proceeded them sending them into every corner of Prythian and the many dark outer reaches was a tactic Rhys now employed.
The aim was to achieve negotiations and encourage peaceful surrenders where necessary but if there was resulting collateral damage, it was of little consequence to Rhys.
The other reason that the House was seldom used for official Night Court business was the unnerving issue of the House itself. Whilst the majority of the architecture remained unchanged there was the occasional surprise addition. Or subtraction.
Amren discovered the House’s penchant for the latter when, on one uninvited call, she opened a door which should have led to private chambers only to find herself plummeting through the air onto the ground. She swore blind the House foundations quivered like it was laughing.
Feyre wondered how independently the House acted from Nesta and how much it carried out her wishes. She suspected that this room, the grand drawing room, had been one of Nesta’s heart fulfilments or, at least, something for Cassian.
The room was sizable, entered from the hallway via a series of doorway arches wide enough for splayed Illyrian wings. Oversized plush furniture filled the room and the floors were strewn with thick sable rugs.
The most spectacular draw to the room was the window which stretched from ceiling to floor and from wall to wall on the side opposite the doorways. The view, one across Velaris’ golden rooftops and shining turquoise waters of the Sidra, filled the space like a painting.
Feyre sighed, at least this current visit was expected and so they weren’t risking the windows opening of their own accord to fling them out. The occupants of the House had been gone for longer than anticipated on this task and so Rhys sent ahead a message that he wanted a full debrief when they returned.
Feyre opened her mouth to speak again but stopped when she heard the thud of boots and flutter of wings.
“Finally,” Rhys said with a glance towards Nyx whose eyes flickered open.
“He’ll be happy see Aunt Nesta,” Feyre said in a sing-song voice to her now awake baby, turning him so he could view the entrance. “He loves Aunt Nesta.” She wasn’t above using her infant son as a tactic to avoid her eldest sister’s potential irritation at the intrusion into her home.
Rhys eyed up the shaking walls, “Yes, as does the House.”
Nesta entered first and Feyre breathed a sigh of relief that the floor remained solid underneath where she sat.
“Hello,” Nesta said, her voice soft and cooing. Her welcome wasn’t to her sister or brother-in-law but to the now beaming baby in Feyre’s lap whose legs and arms flailed in the air as he wriggled.
Nesta stepped further into the room, treading over the rugs, arms outstretched, “Come to Aunty Nesta.”
The vast windows let in the bright sunlight, sunlight which illuminated the state of the Illyrian leathers Nesta had clad herself in.
Feyre shrieked, twisting in the chair and blocked Nyx from Nesta’s grasp, pointing at her sister’s waist. “What is that?””
Nesta paused and frowned, looking down.
Aside from the interesting splotches of red across the leathers, the utility belt tightened around Nesta’s waist contained the usual items Feyre expected; knife, pouch, knife, another knife and then... another item she hadn’t.
A leather strap was wound in multiple knots around the thick band and tied to an uneven, lumpy dome the other end. The lumpy dome ended in a stump clotted with congealed blood.
“Oh,” Nesta said with a shrug, “I forgot.” She untied the leather strap and pulled the lump away. “Just another one for the collection.” With a graceful arm movement, Nesta threw what Feyre realised was a decapitated head onto the floor where it landed with a thud, a dribble of blood oozing fresh from the neck wound.
“Well, you can’t hold the baby until you’ve washed your hands. Thoroughly.”
Nesta frowned at her, an ice-cold glare fixed on her face. “Fine,” she snapped, as though Feyre’s request was unreasonable.
Cassian, unlike her sister, had taken some time to remove his blood encrusted leathers before greeting his guests, and he wandered in through the arch with a nod of his head towards Feyre and Rhys.
His hazel eyes noted the bloodied head by the door and he released a sigh.
“You need to stop doing that.”
“The House doesn’t mind.”
The shutters covering the windows in the other rooms started to clatter up and down.
“Yes, but I mind and besides,” he gestured across to Feyre, “an infant is present.”
Nyx, now bouncing on Feyre’s lap, slapped his hands together as hard as he could in time with the House. He gazed at Nesta as though she’d sliced her way through necks especially for him.
“He doesn’t care,” Nesta said in a sing-song voice eerily similar to the tone Feyre herself used earlier. She beamed at her nephew, “He’s clapping with the House.”
Rhys’ face turned white, “The House is applauding you?”
“Oh yes,” Az said, arriving at last and pushing his way through where Cassian and Nesta stood to flop down onto the armchair next to Feyre. “Nesta always gets rapturous applause when she brings home a kill.”
Feyre glanced from Azriel, legs sloping over one armrest while his head flopped across the other, to Nesta and then onto Cassian who was pinching the bridge of his nose.
“As much as I am ecstatic to see you all,” he said, “I’ll leave Az to deal with the debrief. I need to go lie down for a while.”
Cassian exited as swift as he entered, Az not bothering to open his now closed eyes. The concerned glances of the other room occupants followed Cassian’s retreating back.
Nesta turned back to Feyre, the ice-cold glare melted away. “Excuse me while I disappear.” Then, in a heartbeat, her expression was one of joy, “Bye-bye baby, I’ll see you in a little bit for snuggles.”
Nyx let out a small sob as Nesta left and Feyre quickly turned him towards her, readying him for a feed, knowing that the small sob would turn into a loud shriek.
“Well,” she said, “she obviously prefers Nyx to me.”
“Feyre, darling – you got spoken to,” Rhys said. “I think it’s safe to say Nesta didn’t acknowledge my existence. Which I’m fine with,” he added, nervously eyeing up the House’s stone walls, “whatever makes her happy.”
Nyx, thankfully, latched onto Feyre’s bared breast and for a moment no noise sounded in the room other than his greedy milk-hungry gulps.
A thought played over and over in her mind though; Nesta’s look of concern, Cassian’s uncharacteristic broodiness. “Are they ok?” she asked Az, at the same time Rhys enquired as to how the recent mission went.
Az’s eyes fluttered open and he gestured to the head on the floor. “As you can tell – we won.” Then, his voice gentler, he turned to Feyre, “They’re fine.”
“Is Cassian upset at the violence? At Nesta doing the um...,” and using her free hand Feyre motioned across her throat with a finger.
Az laughed, such a rare sound it reminded Feyre of the bells on Solstice evening. “Not at all. He likes that she does those things it’s just-”
Rhys, satisfied that the mission went well and not caring about anyone’s romantic woes, settled back into the loveseat while Feyre leaned forward, careful to not disrupt her feeding son.
Azriel nodded towards the head, “Before the Anguis went the way of Hybern and the Kelpie, he managed to propose.”
“Not another one!”
“Don’t worry,” Azriel said, “I’m sure Nesta is reassuring Cassian of her love as we speak.”
As though cued up with expert timing, or, as Feyre suspected, the House lifting a self-imposed sound barrier to prove a point, the thumping drifted down to the grand room from several floors up.
Suddenly Azriel appeared just as exhausted as Cassian had. “Nesta reassures Cassian of her love at least twice a night anyway, and when she’s done reassuring him, he feels the need to thank her back.”
Feyre winced, her face contorting into one of displeasure while Rhys didn’t try to hide his smirk. “This is what – the fourth proposal? Fifth?”
Az closed his eyes and dropped his head backwards once more. “Ninth. This isn’t the worst we’ve had.”
Nyx snuffled and Feyre moved him to her other breast. “Wasn’t the first in the Winter Court?”
They’d been in Winter for the naming ritual of Kallias and Viviane’s baby and once the ceremony was done, all guests mingled in the palace hall. The High Lord and Lady of Winter stood on the dais, draped in silver and grey, Viv beaming as she held her pink cheeked daughter.
The music, food and wine flowed freely but Feyre could barely hear the former over the laughter of the high fae and the chime of glasses as toast after toast was declared. The Inner Circle members had dispersed throughout the crowds earlier, all intent on seeking their delight in various forms.
Feyre had seen Nesta on the dance floor for the opening songs but she’d long since gone and Feyre wondered if Nesta and Cassian had snuck away to take advantage of the Winter palace’s numerous private bedrooms.
She had done her duty as High Lady of Night, walking around the hall, ice blue gown sashaying around her legs as revellers congratulated her on the arrival of her own child.
Feyre had smiled and thanked them but she tired easily after Nyx’s traumatic birth and it wasn’t long before she sought out the fur-decked chaise longue tucked in one of enclaves on the far wall.
As Feyre made her way towards it, movement from the corner on her right drew her attention.
Nesta was standing by another enclave, glass in hand, virulently shaking her head. Nesta’s golden-brown hair had been braided into a complex knot adorned with diamonds which caught the fae lights and casted shapes on the ceiling. It had been this that captured Feyre’s eye.
“No,” Nesta said, “I don’t think so.” She smoothed down a non-existent crease on her dress, a pale grey-blue that shimmered like mist over ice, ever changing.
The male she was speaking to was some high-ranking courtier from Winter who Feyre had been introduced to earlier that evening but whose name escaped her. He was tall and handsome enough, gazing at her sister with sapphire blue eyes, but Nesta’s demeanour suggested nothing other than sheer boredom.
Cassian emerged from the crowds, seemingly drawn to what was happening in the corner of the room like a moth towards a flame, his body screaming nothing but fury. Still, he interjected himself between Nesta and the Winter male with a decorum Feyre felt he should be proud of. His fists were clenched and his jaw twitched as he ground his teeth but there was no violence. Yet.
Feyre moved quickly to them.
Side by side there was no contest that Cassian was the larger, broader and less refined male. He wore scuffed Illyrian leathers and the most he’d done for the event was clean his hair and tie it back.
The courtier wore ivory silk brocade strewn with pearls and viewed Cassian up and down with a sneer.
“And who, exactly, are you?”
Cassian spat out his answer, “Her mate and husband and your executioner – you are?”
“Ah yes,” Rhys said. “The naming ball. Was it just the one dance Nesta performed before she had the males panting over her?”
“Still,” Feyre said, “that one was the easiest to smooth over. No one was killed. Or maimed.”
“I think the proposal with Chrysos was when Cassian was aware this was going to be a repeat issue,” Az said.
Chrysos stood before them, undulating between the visage of a male and of something else, something other – possibly human but not quite. His skin was translucent and his gold blood ran through his veins, clear to their eyes, like streaks in white marble.
He was horrifying and beautiful and Feyre struggled to tear her eyes away.
“I must marry you,” he said, directing his words to Nesta. Chrysos’ voice echoed around the cave chamber, strangely melodic, a harmony of angels singing in chorus, one voice on top of another. “I shall make you my Queen and take you into the darkness where we shall make the sweetest music and-”
Nesta’s shoulders sagged, energy sapped from her as she gave a frustrated sigh.
“What the fuck?!”
Feyre jumped at Cassian’s yell, the noise bouncing from the tops of the cave to the bottom, deep into the darkest part and back again.
“Seriously! For fucks sake, I am standing right here!”
Rhys chuckled. “That ended quick enough if I remember?”
“We were on a recruitment mission though, we wanted him on our side,” Az said, “not dead.”
“Cassian maintains he slipped.”
“From six feet away?”
“With his sword aloft?”
“I didn’t think the proposal in Summer was too bad,” interrupted Feyre, now with Nyx resting against her shoulder so she could pat his back with soothing circles.
The party on Tarquin’s barge was held at the height of the season the Court was most famous for.
The weather was idyllic; sunshine beating down on Feyre’s skin, endless blue skies stretching ahead while a cool ocean breeze drifted from the teal waters teaming with coral. Dolphins pranced in the frothy waves around them, shimmering and shining, their scales a rosy pink.
“Look, Nyx, look!” Feyre held her cooing baby high, pointing the dolphins out to his curious violet eyes.
The barge moved at a comfortable pace and again, like all parties the High Lords arranged, the music, food and wine flowed. Guests streamed from the top desk to the lower one and lower still when they felt like taking to the private cabins, the heat in the air turning into heat in the blood.
The decks were vast enough to not see the same individuals constantly but small enough to see them often and Feyre had smiled every time she walked past a relaxed Cassian and Nesta.
On their first stroll about the deck, Nyx had been awake and grinning, Nesta peppering his small face with a flood of kisses that had him squealing and his limbs flailing with joy. Cassian had joked about knowing his place in the pecking order and Nesta smiled at him in turn.
Cassian’s hair was tied back into a loose bun, strands of black hair falling past his jaw. It was too hot for leathers and, with his white linen shirt with sleeves rolled up to expose the black tattoos on his arms, he was the most casual Feyre had ever seen him.
Nesta stunned in a dress of blue which started ice blue at her shoulders before blending into a shade so dark at the hem it was almost black. The front was a demure and delicately scalloped neckline but Nesta’s back was entirely bare, held up by invisible straps.
Multiple pairs of eyes glanced their way but Nesta’s hand never left Cassian’s and his free one travelled the length of her spine dipping beyond the fabric at her lower back.
You’re borderline indecent, Feyre told them with pretend outrage and continued to walk the deck.
The second time Feyre passed them, they had been talking to Tarquin and Feyre only caught a brief snippet of their conversation, trying to settle a now restless Nyx against her shoulder.
“One apology,” Tarquin had said, “that was my mother’s favourite building.”
On Feyre’s third pass, Nyx now in Rhys’ arms, Tarquin had gone. In his place stood a fae Feyre didn’t recognise.
“I had turned away for a couple of seconds,” Cassian said, his hands in fists, “and you thought this was your opportunity to sneak in here like a panting-”
“Cassian,” Nesta warned, “we don’t want another incident in this Court.”
“Well, there will be one if this prick doesn’t move out of here. We’ll see how he fares with my foot up his as-”
“She’s married and mated. Can’t you see the matching rings? Can’t you smell the mate bond?”
The high fae nodded his head, “Yes, but...”
“But? But what?! That’s it,” Cassian said, “we’re leaving this fucking party.”
Rhys and Az stared at Feyre as she burped Nyx, their mouths open.
“What?” she asked.
“You didn’t think it was too bad?” Rhys said, his voice incredulous.
Feyre shrugged, “No one died and no wars were started.”
“They’d only just removed the ban on Cassian to have to enforce it again.”
“I don’t think the second ban was fair though.”
“Feyre, darling. He destroyed the barge.”
“We spent hours fishing everyone out of the sea,” Az said. “Then we had to work out where Nesta’s unfortunate suitor had landed after Cassian threw him towards the cliff.”
“Wasn’t he clinging onto the side of the rockface?”
“And didn’t Cassian destroy another building in his haste to get away?”
“Alright,” Feyre said, frowning. “So maybe it was bad.”
“I quite liked the proposal from Locuples,” Az said, “that was the best for all involved. No one died and we ended up with a pretty good trade agreement.”
“Oh, I remember that,” said Feyre, “I was here when Nesta and Cassian came back.”
Feyre and Az had been in the grand room, as they were now, sitting opposite each other in companiable silence. Steam from their tea cups swirled in the air and Feyre gazed out the windows at the white clouds over the city.
Feyre’s head snapped round, surprised at the uncharacteristic shock in Az’s voice. He stared towards the door archways and Feyre followed his eyeline.
Cassian and Nesta had returned, surprisingly quietly, as she hadn’t heard them land on the roof. Or perhaps, looking at the display in front of her, they’d travelled by some other means.
Nesta sat on a throne on an open topped litter, carried by two lithe creatures who were more shadow and smoke than real and whose feet never touched the ground. Nesta herself, bedecked with jewels, a tiara and clutching a sceptre, wore an expression of confusion.
Cassian followed on foot, wings tersely tucked in, heaving a trunk filled with gold, jewellery, silks, furs and bottles which wafted exotic scents.
Cassian glanced at them from the corner of his eye, “Don’t ask.”
“I thought we expected this to be a hostile negotiation?”
“I said don’t ask.”
“We still receive gifts on a monthly basis,” Feyre said and slid to the floor to lay a barely awake Nyx on the soft furs - one of those aforementioned gifts. She traced a thumb on the arch of his foot and watched it curl, his lips smacking in contentment.
Feyre swore the floorboards underneath him adjusted to accommodate his shape.
“Don’t you receive monthly gifts from Helion as well?” Rhys asked. “Or did Cassian put a stop to that?”
“Cassian put a stop to that one,” Az said.
“Doesn’t Nesta still have the first gift though?”
Az groaned and placed his scarred hands over his eyes. “Yes, and I cannot express how much upkeep it takes.”
Feyre smiled, “Oh, I remember that one too.”
The shriek took Feyre by surprise and she leapt from her chair, readying herself for action. It was only seconds before she realised it wasn’t a shriek of pain but one of sheer, childlike joy.
Once again, her and Az were in the House and, once again, she hadn’t heard the arrival of the House’s other permanent occupants.
“In the name of the Mother,” Az breathed and, in what was a familiar pattern, Feyre turned to where he was looking. This time, instead of Az looking towards the doorway, he was staring outwards at the windows.
Nesta, clad in her leathers and with windswept hair was sat astride a glorious white winged horse, her black leather a stark contrast to the white of the creature she sat upon.
“Someone find Gwen and Emerie! They need to know about this; they need to come here!”
With another shriek of joy and a gentle nudge to the horse’s sides Nesta rose higher, the wings of the horse flapping with enthusiasm, happy to appease its new owner.
There was a sigh from behind them and Feyre and Az turned. Cassian leant against the doorframe, fingers rubbing his temples.
“Cass... isn’t that Helion’s last and most prized flying horse?”
“Please – do not ask.”
“That thing is a nightmare,” Az said, “it eats everything, likes very few fae and can somehow find its way into the House in the dead of night. Do you know how terrifying it is to wake to find a winged horse hovering over you demanding sugar cubes while stealing your blanket? I can’t live like this.”
Feyre shot him a sympathetic smile while Rhys laughed. In the brief silence which followed, Feyre could hear the rhythmic banging echoing its way through the house.
“Aren’t they done yet?”
“Doesn’t sound like it.”
“At least it will be over soon.”
“You think this is bad?” Az said, “You weren’t here after the proposal with the Peregryn.”
To Feyre, the Dawn Court was one of the most beautiful. Its shades of gold and red weren’t bright or ostentatious but were the softer golds found in the rising sun, the reds not vermillion or scarlet but something akin to a dusky rose.
Every town held a thousand clock-towers, every hand matching perfectly, the chimes on the hour synching in a glorious song, calling to the skies in praise of a new day, of promises to be made, of joy to come.
The peace of that particular morning had been broken by the shouts of males, all raised in the ecstatic spirit of competition. Nothing violent or aggressive but it spoke to Feyre of knuckles and bone crunching all the same.
She’d pushed her way to the front of a crowd, the fae recognising her and making room for her to pass. A fighting circle had broken out in a section of the town square, cheers raising into the air as one of the fighters scored a blow.
In the circle stood two males, both tall and broad, barefooted and bare-chested. One had wings similar to the Pegasus which Nesta now owned, white and gold-feathered, and the other had wings as black as night, the rising sun highlighting veins and patches of amber.
A female was eagerly watching them, a female Feyre shoved past fae to move next to.
“Nesta! Why is Cassian sparring with a Peregryn?”
Nesta didn’t tear her eyes from the males. “Some old nonsense about fighting for the right to take my hand.”
Cassian landed a punch to his opponent’s jaw, the crack reverberating through the air as the crowd cheered on.
Sweat trickled down Cassian’s own jaw and onto his neck. His muscles were strained, his abdomen contracting. As the fighters turned positions, his back faced Feyre, black tattoos against dark skin, his shoulder blades gleaming with oil.
Feyre glanced at Nesta who was dressed in a pale peach dress adorned with pearls, her hair up but with soft stands framing her face. She would have looked a wholesome picture of innocence if not for her darkening eyes.
“Shouldn’t you stop this?”
“Are you going to?”
Nesta’s eyes flickered from the top of Cassian’s head down his back and then, as the fighter’s moved again, to his stomach where they lingered on the trail of hair leading down to the waistband of his trousers. She sighed.
“A few more minutes.”
Feyre blinked as if she could rid herself of the memory. “I can only imagine.”
“If I didn’t visit the river house for dinner I would have starved. The House had to perform a deep clean.”
The walls shook in what was akin to a shudder.
“The bard was wholesome enough,” Rhys said.
Az groaned, “And yet ridiculous.”
In a concerted effort to apologise to the Courts on behalf of the behaviour of some Inner Circle members during previous gatherings, Feyre and Rhys had invited the High Lords and their significant others to Starfall.
The House remained still, either curious as to who all the guests were or silently sulking that there were guests at all.
The tang of a rich red wine was on Feyre’s tongue, not from anything she had drunk, but from a stolen kiss from Rhys, under the night sky, in a moment solely theirs before it became everyone else’s.
The night was filled with laughter and talking and Feyre slid into the embrace of her mate, content in the knowledge that Nyx slumbered underneath the watchful eye of the House’s nursery, a room which hadn’t existed before this very evening.
Her heart hurt, but in a good way, as though each chamber was bursting with a joy they couldn’t contain and her happiness spilled out into every corner of the rooftop.
Azriel was intently speaking with Nesta’s red-haired friend while Elain watched on from a distance, either not aware of, or ignoring, her own red-haired watcher.
Amren and Mor stood amongst another group, Mor’s golden hair cascading down her back like a waterfall and near the balcony was Cassian and Nesta, pressed side by side, hand in hand as they gazed upwards, Cassian pointing to a constellation.
Nesta glanced at him as he spoke, her face softening in a way Feyre never thought possible, a smile on her lips. When Cassian looked back at her, to check her understanding of what he was saying, he brought their intertwined hands up to his mouth, to kiss her fingertips.
Feyre smiled, all was well and all would continue to be well. That was until a voice, clear and resolute, spoke out into the crowd.
“My High Lords and Ladies and Paramor’s, I am a bard from the Spring Court – famed as the best in all the Courts!”
Chatter drifted into murmurs as heads turned expectedly to the fae now standing in the centre. Feyre noted his lute fixed upon his waistband but the bard made no attempt to reach for it.
“I have travelled across the land, coming to the Court of the High Lord and High Lady of Night with one purpose and one purpose only – to serenade with tales of fortune and love!”
A ripple of anticipation broke out amongst the crowd to hear such songs and Feyre turned to Rhys. “Did you arrange this?” but his face was twisted in confusion.
“I dedicate my melodies to one female, one who understands music as though her very bones were formed by the notes. My song to you, Lady Nesta and also my hand in marri-”
Feyre let out a sigh. “I felt so sorry for the bard. He must have seen Nesta on one of her visits. To think, he spent all those weeks travelling on foot to arrive to the House and then Cassian threatens to dangle him from the roof.”
“Cassian did dangle him from the roof.”
“No one’s going to invite us to any more parties,” said Rhys with a sorrowful sigh.
“I think we can handle an overly amorous high fae or two,” Az said, “it’s the demons which worry me.”
“They’re no cause for concern,” Rhys said with a wave of his hand. “In fact, we have a valuable asset on our side. Drag Nesta in front of them and it tends to shut them up.”
Feyre frowned. “That is my sister you’re deciding to use as romantic bait. Besides, the issue we had with the Caligo demon was that it didn’t stop talking. There was such a mess.”
Screams filled Feyre’s ears as terrified Night Court citizens ran past her, almost a blur.
Tears streaked down terror-stricken faces as they grabbed the arms of their loved ones and scooped up children too small or young to so anything other than shiver and cry.
Cracks appeared in the ground beneath their feet, the cobbles of the street twisting and turning before jutting upwards like the jagged, sharpened edges of broken bone. The air was thick with acrid smoke which stung Feyre’s eyes causing them to stream with the tears she saw running down her people’s faces.
Rhys was to her right. Or that’s what she hoped. He had been standing but he’d gasped in pain and then she no longer saw him through the gaps in the cloud. When she managed to glimpse him, he was on his knees, thick red blood pouring down his face from a cut on his scalp.
Feyre choked back a sob and clambered over the rips in the earth to reach him.
Steel clashed with steel in the darkness, the shouts of Cassian and Azriel tearing through the blackness as they pressed forward. A shimmer of magic absorbed as much of the darkness away as it could and created a halo around the members of the Inner Circle.
Hands, strong and steady, circled Feyre’s waist and Nesta held her up, helped her over the torn earth.
“I am destroyer,” the thing hissed. “I am consumer, I am flesh ripper and soul tearer and I-”
It turned, watching them all, gloating in their misery and gorging itself fat on their pain. One of its bulbous eyes slid to where they stood, Feyre leaning into Nesta’s side. Her sister’s hair was dishevelled, her arms smeared with blood but Nesta’s eyes remained cold and hard upon the demon.
“And I – oh, oh, you are spectacular.”
A roar ripped through the darkness; a bellowing from powerful lungs as the words of the creature reached the ears of all present.
“Absolutely fucking not!”
Cassian advanced from the void, red siphons blazing as though he were shrouded in flame. “I am her mate; I am her husband and I suggest you put those sloping tongues back into your mouth or Mother help me...”
Feyre swallowed the rising bile. She tried not to think about the events of that night, though she didn’t know what was worse – that night or now, with the thumping above their heads gaining momentum.
“He got the job done,” Rhys said and then smirked, “and he’s doing the same now from the sounds of it.”
“Rhys!” Feyre admonished and placed her hand on Nyx’s stomach to calm herself. “Why do you think he puts up with it?” she asked Az.
“What choice does he have? Besides, he loves and trusts her. There’s no one for him but her and no one for her but him.”
“Disgusting,” Rhys said with slight mockery to his tone.
“No,” Feyre said, “what’s disgusting is the head in the corner.” She eyed up the lump that had once been somethings head; the glassy eyes, the bloodied stump. She wouldn’t relish touching the thing but she would happily remove herself out of earshot of Nesta and Cassian’s post proposal love affirmation. “Where do I take it?”
“The House created a trophy room three doors down,” Az said.
Anguis’ mouth hung open, razor sharp rotted teeth all lined up on display. Feyre felt a slither of pity. “I’ll take it there.”
“No, Feyre darling, I’ll do it.”
Feyre breathed a sigh of relief and nodded before turning to Az. “Shall we wait for them to be done? We need to discuss the next mission which is rather sensitive.”
Az shook his head, “No, you may as well go home. It was a proposal so they’re not stopping until – what day is it now, Thursday? – they’re not going to be fit for purpose until Monday.”
Rhys, still lounging, stretched out into the space Feyre previously occupied. “We can’t wait that long.”
“Do you want to volunteer to interrupt them?
Feyre glanced between them both. “Cassian did look rather sad.”
Azriel laughed again, the sound echoing throughout the room, his head thrown back. “Don’t pity Cassian, he knows what he’s doing.”
“And Nesta falls for it?”
“No, she definitely doesn’t fall for it.”
“But isn’t she in their chambers um...reassuring him?”
Feyre bit her lip, “So surely...”
“Oh Mother,” Az rubbed his hand across his face. “It’s their form of twisted foreplay. When Nesta received a proposal from – well, I can’t remember which one, I came home early and almost went blind. Have none of you questioned the indoor swing?”
Feyre’s voice was quiet when she spoke, scooping up her son into her arms with haste. “I thought they were creating an inside playground.”
“Ah,” Az said, his voice soft, “not quite.”
The thumping reached its crescendo and blessedly, stilled.
“Oh, thank the Mother,” Rhys said, “they’re done after all. Az, go retrieve them. We need to discuss the next mission.”
“You live here.”
“You’re the High Lord.”
Feyre looked around her, Nyx clutched in her arms. “I think the floor is sloping us out towards the door.”
“I don’t think so Feyre, darling.”
“No really, the head - which you said you’d deal with by the way - is rolling away.”
Feyre wasn’t imagining what was happening, she’d passed under the entrance to the room, Rhys and Az’s chairs beginning to follow.
“This happens,” Az said with a calmness Feyre didn’t feel. “Usually when they don’t want anyone to overhear the next part of their ‘Nesta got proposed to again’ sex marathon.”
“Why? What could they now be planning that’s so much worse?”
“I don’t know,” Az replied, “the House always shuffles me out at this point. One time I was trying to prep my knives and almost stabbed myself in the eye.”
“Right,” said Rhys, “I think we can walk out of here without a sentient lump of stone forcing us to. Which,” he said with an eye to the steepness of the floor angle, “is completely within its’ right.”
Feyre nestled a snoring Nyx into one arm as Rhys helped her up. Az was already on his feet, out the door and into the hallway before he got flattened by an oversized, burgundy armchair.
He turned to them both.
“So, where’s the next mission to anyway? Where are you sending our glorious Lady Death and Lord of Bloodshed and can I sit it out?”
Feyre and Rhys exchanged glances. “I think we might need you in attendance,” Feyre said.
Az raised an eyebrow. “Well, I know King Lascivus is causing some problems with his tithe but as long as you weren’t planning on sending us to his palace, it will be fine. He’s famous for his side hobby of trying to find a muse to depict as the Mother in his artworks. Borderline obsessed.”
Feyre cleared her throat, “Sounds like he’s fervently religiously devout.”
“Hardly. The issue isn’t him trying to depict the Mother but that he’s spent centuries convincing everyone that she needs to be represented in her naked glory and I quote ‘with the petals of her flower fully opened.’”
Rhys coughed and moved fast down the hallway towards the roof entrance his wings already forming.
“Rhys!” Feyre called out. “You know I can’t run when I’m holding the baby!”
Az’s voice was quiet. “Feyre?”
“You know we love you,” she said, not meeting his hazel eyes, “and you’re always welcome at the river house. For as long as you want, whether that’s weeks or months.” Her voice dropped to a whisper, “I swear on the Cauldron, if you need to you can stay for centuries.”
She turned and didn’t look back, picking up her own speed to follow Rhys, ignoring the quiver in Az’s tone.
“We love you Az,” she shouted over her shoulder, propping Nyx into a position ready for flight as the House opened its doors to hasten her exit. “Always remember that.”
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My Gift to You
I received an anonymous request to write something about Nesta and Rhys’ relationship post ACOSF and them having a conversation. The requestor said that their relationship didn’t feel genuine enough and that they had a lot of work to do before they consider themselves brother/ sister.
I mean.... same anon. Same. The relationship was definitely not one of happy families in my eyes and personally Rhys buying Nesta gifts just felt like the cheapest way to close the lid on their ‘relationship.’
I don’t know if this is what anon wanted but I just can’t write a future where those two truly bond and get along. So this is Nesta and Rhys as I feel would be most appropriate.
‘Brother,’ she’d called Rhys. It was not a word which drifted from her lips as easily as it did from Feyre’s when she used the term to refer to Cassian, or for Cassian himself when he spoke of his kin.
There had been no time for thinking, not with the screaming and shrieking and the copper tang of blood filling her nose. Rhys was losing his mind and the healer, Madja, was next to useless, pleading with Feyre to fight death - an act as impactful as a raindrop at the bottom of the ocean.
If fighting death were easy, everyone would win.
Nesta knew if you needed to beg for a life, you needed to beg to what could heed you.
The memory of what transpired for Nesta, when she stepped from one form into another, had faded over time like some strange fever dream.
There had been a presence swimming next to her, a shark with a sharp fin and razor teeth, twisting and arching, waiting to tear from her what she had torn out first. But something else was with her, someone else, with a golden light to illuminate Nesta’s way.
Something given and something gained. Those were the thoughts floating in her mind once she’d been present again.
Nesta sought out the opening of Feyre’s eyes, desperately listened for a new-born’s wail and thankfully, she received both.
Afterwards, in the calm, long after she’d embraced Rhys, Nesta wondered what she had meant by that word - brother.
Even as she cradled Nyx’s delicate head in the nook of her arm, stroking the tufts of downy black hair, she didn’t think of him as someone she shared with Rhys. No, despite the hair and sleepy violet eyes, he was someone Nesta shared with Feyre.
Sister. That was a stronger word.
The first infant Nesta ever held was Feyre. She remembered a scrunched up red face peeking behind a blanket as her new baby sister was placed in her arms while a toddler Elain sobbed in the background, upset at not being baby anymore.
I already have one of these.
That was her first thought, her first memory of Feyre.
“Look”, someone had said as Feyre opened her eyes, “they’re the same as yours, Nesta. The very same.”
For a long time, that’s all they had in common. The gift of the same eyes.
Perhaps Nesta had called Rhys brother because in that moment he was. He was her mirror counterpart, not a piece of her heart or soul the way Feyre, Elain and Cassian were but something prominent nonetheless. A shard of glass slicing into each other’s bones that they just couldn’t pull out.
Thank you, he’d said and she wanted to tell him not to say those words. She didn’t do anything requiring praise, she did what she did for the love of her sister and her sister’s child.
Do not thank me for my very nature.
They drifted into an uneasy peace. A gulf remained between Nesta and Elain which Nesta had no energy to remedy, but a bridge had been built between Nesta and Feyre and the connection was one Nesta strengthened as much as possible.
Nesta walked with Feyre around her gardens, joined at dinners and was polite and nodded and minded her manners and, when she had enough, she would return to the House of Wind and let Cassian love her.
As time passed, so did Nesta’s thoughts of Rhys as a brother.
Once again, he became her sister’s mate, her mate’s friend, her nephew’s father. Once again, he became High Lord. Ruler. Overseer.
Months after Nyx’s birth, Rhys and Feyre attended Winter to visit Viviane who had recently birthed her first child - a girl and rumours had followed of secret meetings between the High Lords. Rhys had purchased numerous furs; thick, luxurious pelts in sable, fawn and silver and sent them Nesta’s way.
“I don’t want these things he gives me,” she told Cassian soon after, standing in a room filled with Rhys’ tokens.
“The furs aren’t too bad,” Cassian replied. “They make the floor more comfortable,” he said, his mouth hot on her neck.
She allowed him to distract her but at night while Cassian slept, she walked around the House, grazing objects with her fingertips and glared at the ones which seemed to shimmer too bright, too long. The House itself rippled with unease.
“They’re all junk,” Nesta said to the darkened hallways. “Jewels and silks and throw cushions.”
Feyre and Rhys had told her once, not long ago, how embarrassed they were at the quantity of their money she’d spent on her path towards destruction. Her pulse jumped underneath her skin at the memory.
There had been no love for her life back then, no begging and pleading to a higher power. No, it had been their love for their finances, their concern for their reputation, their lack of control over Nesta which spiralled into entrapment.
Die, she’d heard. Just do so cheaply and in the dark.
Although the word ‘brother’ faded from her mind, Nesta let her animosity go with it. She had the sweetness of her nephew to immerse herself in and she marvelled at the smile on his gummy mouth and the way he wriggled across the floor on his belly towards her, perfect black wings tucked against his body.
One day he would use them to soar the skies and his freedom, his life, was the best gift Nesta had ever received.
His life was the best gift Nesta would ever give.
Nyx was shy of a year old when the whispers started. One day they didn’t exist and the next – they did. They held a metallic quality as though they being spoken through the clang of steel on steel.
One night, while Cassian rested on the furs, naked and sated, she trailed her fingertips up his knee, up his thigh to where his flesh lay, warm and re-hardening.
“Tell me,” she said, circling a finger around the tip, “what did Rhys speak to Kallias about all those months ago?”
Cassian exhaled a long breath. “Rhys wants Kallias to accept him as ruler.”
“Of the Night Court?”
“No, he – ah, don’t stop – of Prythian.”
“And what was their arrangement? How could Rhys obtain Kallias’ agreement?”
Cassian’s gasps filled her ears. “Through Nyx,” he forced out, “a promise he would marry Kallias’ daughter.”
After that she listened more to what the clanging whispers told her across the breeze, to what the House told her, to what she heard outside closed doors in Rhys’ home on visits to her sister.
Nesta was as serene as the Mother herself when she drifted to Rhys’ study and lingered by the locked door where he and Amren held counsel.
“They are the same as before, inert and useless.”
“Get her to the blacksmith, boy.”
“Her ability is gone.”
“Possibly, but test her to be sure. If she forges a hundred thousand swords then at least one might be Made.”
“She won’t do it.”
“Ban her from seeing the child until she does. She’ll forge then.”
Nesta closed her eyes, clenching her fists until her nails dug into her palms and blood trickled through her knuckles.
For a moment Nesta became a blade, sharp and dangerous, mounted on a wall and viewing Rhys and Amren from a height. The shadows danced from the lit hearth onto Rhys making his face sunken and hollow. For the first time, Rhys looked every inch the ancient creature he was.
Amren walked to the blade that was Ataraxia, that was Nesta, her silver eyes reflected in the shining metal, a palm splayed outwards with the reverence a worshipper showed their god.
“Turns out she wasn’t a pathetic waste of life after all.”
From then on Nesta would listen to what the blades told her.
Rhys took them from their mounts and held them, caressed them as he should his sleeping mate, his violet eyes passing from hilt to blade tip as his pupils grew fat with want.
They spoke to him but they didn’t listen and Rhys struggled with the push and pull every time he lifted a blade from the wall.
He practiced with them in the safety of his study but the blades were too heavy and made him clumsy, leaving the usually graceful High Lord stumbling over his feet. A ripple spread through the metal almost as though the sword were laughing.
We are no advantage to him, the whispers told her and Nesta knew they were infused with the anger she held towards Rhys when she Made them. Now, they said, now he believes himself your brother and he would like a new gift.
Instead that was what she asked him for, next time she was at his home.
“Hello, sister,” and his smile was akin to a wolf’s as it waited in the field for lambs.
He agreed vigorously to her request before she even named her price. Maybe Rhys thought he could eventually turn the bee itself into honey.
“I’ve given some thought,” she said, “and I’d like something back. Eris has the dagger but you have two swords remaining in your possession. Keep the small one but Ataraxia, I would like her to be mine. I will never ask anything else from you.”
The smile on his face froze into place as though he’d gone into the depths of Winter and been lost.
Though the blade wasn’t his, he didn’t want it to be hers.
“I don’t think so,” his voice soft. “What if someone tries to take advantage of you and steals the sword away?”
“I’d destroy it first.” However much the thought pained her, Ataraxia’s destruction had been considered - a gift to the other High Lords, one they would never know they’d received.
Rhys shook his head, his eyes dark. “No,” he said, “I need them.” Despite their resistance they were the only Made weapons in his hold.
He said nothing.
Nesta’s lip curled into a sneer. “To be High King, Rhys?”
He glowered at her.
“You know you’re starting a war among incredibly powerful High Lords?”
“I’m the most powerful.”
“There are more of them, they will combine their powers.”
“I have allies.”
“You have enemies.”
“I have friends.”
Nesta sighed and looked to the two swords, the metal glinting as though caught by firelight although the fire was unlit. Her name was murmured, the rasp of metal on metal.
“They’re your friends now but you’re demanding they give up their people, their lands and heritage to you and for what? Why would they do that willingly?”
She turned away from him and stood before the mounted blades. Her reflection was as clear as though they were mirrors, as was Rhys’ behind her, a dark mist forming over his skin.
“This is a war your son will likely reach adulthood in,” she continued, “do you want that for him?”
“I’m doing this for him,” Rhys spat, “you’re no mother, you wouldn’t understand. This is his legacy. My gift to him.”
A calm transcended over Nesta, as though she were wading through the clear waters of a pool, a loving hand on her back reminding her of their presence.
“Your gift to him should be allowing him to live his life. To allow him to care for the people of the Night Court, to give him the chance to fall in love and choose a partner of his own calling.”
“You don’t understand,” Rhys said again, “you had power for mere months and you think you’re the authority of giving it up. It’s a choice you wouldn’t have made if you understood what powerlessness meant.”
Once, when she wore another body, she could count the ribs underneath her skin by tracing them with her fingertips.
Once, in that same body, a man had pressed himself against her, his tongue forced into her mouth.
Once, Fae had ripped away her bedsheet and dragged her from her bed while Elain’s screams echoed in the dark hallway. She had drowned in the depths of the Cauldron, she’d watched her father’s blood spray across the grass, and she’d been dragged from her bed once more to be drugged and bound with her new body useless.
“If you say so.”
Nesta repeated Amren’s actions and traced her finger against the blade, Ataraxia shivered as though Nesta were running a finger down the spine of a lover. The sword moved, almost imperceptibly, but Nesta saw and wondered if Rhys did.
She’d bargained for the lives of his mate and son and yet Rhys wasn’t satisfied. Nesta was his mirror and so he gave her gifts believing she would want them as much as he did, because he continually sought out tokens to keep. He believed she would never be satisfied because he never was.
Nesta left, leaving him with the blades. They would be no benefit for him anyway and it wouldn’t be long before Ataraxia came back to her. Nesta understood now that Ataraxia had been her gift to herself.
All gone now, the Inner Circle assumed. After saving Feyre’s life, Nesta’s gift from the Cauldron is exhausted.
Lies, she thought as she walked the paths of Velaris to head home. All lies. The Cauldron had never gifted Nesta with anything. Everything she held had been stolen, ripped from something that never intended her to have it.
The sky was black, the fae lights of the taverns and restaurants glowing amber against the pitch and the happy chatter of the city revellers emerged from behind doors. All these fae living their lives as best they could, trusting in the protection of their High Lord.
They weren’t the same, her and Rhys, they were mirrored on the surface only.
Yes, they both stole power from those who never intended to gift it but she would die for those she loved while Rhys would kill for them.
The cold air was sharp and drew Nesta’s thoughts from the corners of her mind like a knife drew blood when sliced against skin. She drew her cloak around her shoulders and wrapped her arms around her middle.
There had been screaming and blood and Nesta’s pleas. There had been the dark slithering laughter of something taking something back. But there had also been the warmth of a hand, ethereal and eternal on her back and a golden magic which poured into Nesta until it overflowed.
The Mother had welcomed Nesta and received her gift with open arms, re-gifting to her in return.
Death transmuted into life. Quieter but no less powerful. No less valuable in the future to come.
This is yours, Nesta was told, and will remain so until the end. This is my gift to you.
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hi!!! can you help me maybe locate a fic? i think it was nessian... and...i feel like it was pretty recent? i just remember the graphic that went with it had a coffee with it. and i feel like there was something about guns? i know this is literally nothing to go off of and i wish i would have saved it but alas i did not. it might have been called black and bitter or something like that? I THINK IT HAD TO DO WITH COFFEE
Oh hmmm... I’m not sure which fic this is? I’ll put it in the tags, and if anyone else knows help a nonnie out!!
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Good at Starting Fires
I really hated the overly sexualised way that Cassian looked at Nesta in ACOSAF and ACOSF when he commented on her drastic weight loss. Instead of being concerned that she was losing weight at a drastic pace he was more 'boobs man, great they're still there' and it wound me up no end.
I was sent a prompt by an anon that said 'angsty Nessian set in the Illyrian camp where Cassian sees Nesta in her underwear for the first time' and I found that I wanted to try and right that 'wrong' in relation to the above. Probably not quite what the requestor had in mind but hey ho.
Some mention of weight loss and concerns surrounding it.
The rain lashed onto Cassian’s exposed skin.
The deluge hadn’t turned into a full storm quite yet but still, this was the worst weather he had seen in a long while, the wind barrelling into him warranting his full concentration in order to continue to fly upright.
Cassian would have chanced some different manoeuvres to make flight easier but he wasn’t flying alone.
The female in his arms had said nothing to him since they left the ground, perhaps planning to ignore him for the remainder of their eternal lives. Cassian would usually provoke her into retaliating against some jibe but tonight, with thick darkness surrounding them and the harsh pelt of the cold rain against their skin, goading wasn’t suitable.
Instead, Cassian flew through the onslaught, clutching onto a shivering Nesta.
They’d exited the river house in silence. Cassian thought she would fight the decision, fight Feyre, fight him, but she hadn’t. Her lips pursed together with her spine rigid and shoulders defiant; a stubborn refusal to give any indication of defeat.
Nesta hadn’t looked at any of them, or spoken either, instead turning with clenched fists to walk out the door she’d walked in from.
“Bye then,” taunted Rhys from his place by the fireplace.
A sharp rebuke came from Feyre while Cassian rubbed his hands over his face before glaring at his High Lord. His next action was to move fast to follow Nesta.
Feyre had been on his heels but if Nesta wanted nothing to do with him she wanted less to do with her sister. Cassian reached her first and Nesta stared at him with cold eyes. “We go now,” she demanded through gritted teeth.
“Nesta!” Feyre called out from behind, half running towards them.
“Now,” she demanded again her voice thick and trembling.
For a moment it seemed like Feyre was going to shift into her wings and fly after them but maybe there was something in his expression, or Nesta’s, which stopped her.
Nesta had clung to his neck the way a child clung to their mother but he got the impression she really wanted to use her hands on his throat in a different way. The rain followed them from Velaris to the mountains; Nesta spending the entire flight with her face buried into his shoulder.
Cassian would pretend along with her that it was only raindrops falling onto her cheeks.
If the betrayal had cut her, she’d resolutely decided to not let the wound show. She’d been cornered like a wild creature by one sister and the other, the one Nesta adored with the fullness of her heart, hadn’t shown to say anything at all.
When they arrived at the cabin it was Cassian’s pity for her which made him absorb the spite spilling from her lips. The force of his landing caused mud to splash up their legs and Nesta pulled away from him the second her feet hit the dirt.
Despite the rain and with dripping hair and sodden clothes she was beautiful. The words from her mouth, decidedly not so.
“Pathetic,” she hissed at him over the roar of the thundering rain and he somehow understood her meaning underneath – how Cassian was a grovelling sycophant to his High Lord who would never place a wing out of line and never fight back.
Nesta spoke with fists clenched at her sides. Cassian wondered if there was a part of her that wanted to strike him and he wondered if there was a part of him that would let her. She turned away, her back as rigid as before, every bump of bone showing through the fabric.
Cassian frowned. The dress was drenched, clinging to her flesh in a way it hadn’t when dry, illuminating what the material would otherwise hide.
He shouldn’t have been able to see the sharpness of her spine.
“Do we have a place to go or are you reducing me to sleeping in the mud?”
Those words were small, sharp cuts which stung though Nesta had no knowledge of how Cassian’s nights as a youth were spent doing just that, with the smell of putrefying leaves on his skin and clumps of dirt under his nails.
“Well?” she snapped, turning her head to glare at him from the corner of her eye. This was a glance which said he was beneath her, that she didn’t need to turn to address him, that the sight of him offended her glorious eyes.
What Cassian saw painted a different picture; tinged pink eyes, and a red nose. The skin around her eyelids swollen.
He let the stings dissipate. Nesta had been thrown from one world into another and from that one into something new. He would hold his tongue.
“This way, sweetheart.” Well, to an extent.
They trudged across the mud, Cassian’s feet sinking into the earth as he overtook Nesta to show her the way and he didn’t bother glancing behind him to see if she followed. She had no choice, there was nowhere else for her to go.
Rain had seeped into Cassian’s clothes, his skin damp and his wet hair dripped water down the back of the neck. He was feeling wet and miserable and wondered how worse this was for Nesta in her heavy woollen dress.
His siphons emitted a soft red glow and that was all there was; them, the rain and the glow in the darkness. Not even the moon greeted them.
The cabin was a welcome sight.
Their belongings were there, mostly Cassian’s with some provisions Feyre had arranged for Nesta. The door creaked on the hinges as Cassian stepped into familiar, if slightly musty, surroundings.
A perfume of earth and open skies lay underneath the dust and he inhaled the scent through his nose and into his lungs. He hadn’t been here in so long with wars and commitments keeping him far away; but if Velaris was his home, this place was his sanctuary.
There was a shuffling behind him and for a moment, lost in euphoria, Cassian forgot he wasn’t alone.
Nesta stood in the entrance, surveying her new domain. Her wet hair had unravelled from her coronet braid and tendrils clung onto the side of her face. A fat raindrop travelled from her temple past her cheek and hung from her jaw before finally dripping onto her collar.
Cassian frowned again.
Nesta’s dress buttons had popped open in the flight and he saw her neck and collar bone, a strange sharpness protruding from the stark white of her skin. Shadows, he told himself, from the candle that had flamed into life. They cast shapes and make everything harsh.
Nesta’s fists were now balled into her gown as a puddle grew around her. If she noticed Cassian’s gaze she never let on and continued to sweep her eyes around the room with a bored detachment.
“This is it,” she said, “my prison for the indefinite future.” Her lips curled into a sneer. “If Feyre was going to keep me caged she should have at least made a gilded one.”
Yes, he wanted to say, because your residence was so lavish.
“Move,” but Nesta didn’t wait for Cassian to step aside before pushing past him, head high and eyes forward. She stopped in the living room, her head turning left to right as she took in more of her surroundings. Her face gave nothing away as she scrutinised the spacious open living space which branched into the enclosed kitchen.
Cassian shook his head and ground his teeth as he closed the door behind her, the wind bringing sheets of rain into the cabin. A trail of water led across the floor to where Nesta stood.
The middle of the cabin was lighter, framed by the multiple fae lights and candles, and Cassian saw so much more. Nesta’s skin was white all over but her pale hands had red, cracked knuckles and dark circles like old bruises hung underneath her eyes. A shudder rippled through her.
Rain smashed against the window panes and Cassian looked to the vast inglenook fireplace which took over one full side of the cabin.
The hearth was filled with grey ash and lumps of half burnt wood and the basket aside the fireplace held strips for kindling. There were no pieces sizable enough to get a full fire going and getting a fire burning was exactly what they needed.
“Upstairs and to the left,” he said and Nesta turned to him. “That’s where your room will be. Mine’s next to it, same side. Both will warm up quick when the fire’s lit as the floorboards heat too.” Cassian jerked his head to the stairs, “Go and get changed, I’ll grab wood for the fire.”
Her face, one of permanent indifference and as smooth as porcelain, changed. The expression lasted only seconds before Nesta schooled it into something passing for neutral.
“Fine, I shouldn’t have expected you to be prepared.”
She stormed past him, leaving enough space so not a single part of them touched, not her dress brushing against his leathers – nothing.
Cassian waited until she’d gone before releasing a sigh. He hadn’t imagined what he saw; her eyes wide in alarm, flickering to the fireplace and back, a jerk of her body like someone had slapped her with the palm of their hand.
He’d best watch for that again.
A sandstone path ran down the left side of the cabin which wound around a small vegetable patch, a smaller pool and down into the sloped garden. At the very bottom was an alcove of trees and the shed containing Cassian’s axe, a chopping block and, if he was lucky, some pre-cut pieces.
Through the haze of rain, the distant lights of a camp flickered beyond. Cassian was fortunate to have this place for himself, not that he didn’t reside in the centre of camp on occasion to make his presence known, but this was his slice of comfort in the otherwise endless trudge.
Now, this place was also hers, for however long deemed necessary.
The rain bounced off the paving slabs as he approached his destination. The shed was old but well-kept and thankfully, stocked with thick slabs of timber.
“Thank you, old friend,” he said with a hand to one of the trees. They were fast growing and long burning, a house warming gift from Rhys half a century prior.
Cassian gathered what he needed and turned back, the cabin an angular silhouette outlined upon the backdrop of the night sky, the mountains looming some distance away. The candles and fae lights had lit the building up from within and shone through the dark at every window.
He was halfway up the path when he noticed how bright they lit Nesta’s new room.
Cassian had never been concerned with decoration, shoving a blanket onto a bed and gossamer curtains onto the window had been enough, but now he realised how thin those curtains were, how visible the room was from the outside.
Nesta wouldn’t be able to see him, not with his leathers black against the night, but he saw everything as though she stood before him in the flesh.
She’d untied the laces that bound the stays of her dress and Cassian imagined the wet thud as it fell to the floor.
He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t wanted Nesta in front of him, unrobing for him, those long, graceful fingers sliding up her collarbone and dipping down towards the ribbons of her bodice. In his dreams he would help her, his thick fingers weaving into hers, pulling at the material until it gave way to pools of silk and satin on the ground.
Imagination gave him options.
Maybe she would have been naked, with expanses of creamy skin readily available for his viewing or maybe there would have been a delicate piece of chiffon covering her like there was now, something flimsy for him to move aside.
He would have started by kneeling. His fingertips would trace the skin of her ankles before moving upwards to her calves, her knees and to her thighs which he would have kissed until she was breathless. Finally, he would have travelled upwards with his mouth, towards the apex.
This was his fantasy. Smoothing his palms over her curves, travelling up the cord of her spine, his tongue sliding over her skin, teasing with his teeth and all the while her breath would turn into pants, his name a prayer in her mouth.
This was a dream. Nothing more.
He stood alone in the dark, pounding heartbeat thundering in his ears and pouring rain saturating his hair as he spied on a female he now never hoped to hold.
By the Mother though, her body was far from what his mind had conjured and his heartbeat turned into a pain sinking between his ribs.
He’d thought he’d seen glimpses but here was the truth.
Her collarbone jutted out severely while her breasts and curves of her buttocks shrunk as her starved body ate away at whatever flesh it found. Nesta’s ribs - Cauldron her ribs – Cassian was able to count every one, the indents of her bone visible as though her skin was the thinnest paper. When she turned, he saw the same with the column of her spine.
He swallowed the lump in his throat down, a sting in his eyes that was nothing to do with the chilled wind.
Inside the cabin, Cassian dried out the wood and lit the fire, the red and orange flames dancing in the hearth.
Nesta might not eat but he would try and convince her, starting with something simple and small which would fill her but not make her sick. Shoving a plate of meat in front of her face was a bad idea so he decided on a light broth consisting of flavoured water and leafy vegetables and herbs grown from his garden.
Cassian was surprised she came when he called her down but was pleased when she did. Nesta stepped along the floor with bare feet, a new gown just as thick as the last covering the bones of her body.
She stayed close to the wall when she passed through the living space, the fire cracking and snapping opposite and she eyed the flames as though they would reach across the room and snatch her.
Cassian wasn’t sure where this fear had come from, tried to dredge any memory of where they’d faced fire and came up wanting. He’d ask her – not now – but when they’d reached a point of peace.
Still, she walked toward him, her throat moving as she swallowed fast.
“I’ve made us dinner,” and he gestured to the two watery bowls in front of him. Opposite each other. Face to face. Her eyes narrowed but she sat, suspicion on her face.
“What is this slop?”
He took a deep breath. Imagined her words as darts and his skin as impenetrable armour.
“An Illyrian broth; vegetables, herbs, some spices and the thinnest slices of poultry you’ll ever find.”
“It looks revolting.”
A muscle twitched in Cassian’s jaw. The dish was plain, colourless and watery but was filled with flavour and had what Nesta needed nutritionally.
He would refrain from telling her this was the staple of Illyrian’s recovering from sickness or injury, that he’d spooned this liquid into the dribbling mouths of multitudes of his brethren over the years and how he wasn’t above doing the same to her.
“Try it,” was all he said. “You might like it.”
But she picked up the spoon, a tremor in her hand. Fear, withdrawal, or exhaustion he didn’t know. Maybe all three. Maybe rage.
Nesta bent her head forward, bringing the spoon to her lips and as she did, her dress, far too large for her frame gaped at the collar once again showing Cassian the sharpness of the bone under her skin.
Something sat heavy in his stomach, something like guilt and shame. He’d once thought of her as sharp tongued and soft curves, his mouth watering at the promise of the swell of her breasts and the shape of her backside.
His thoughts had been occupied with images of grabbing her with his hands, fingers digging into the folds of her flesh while they pounded the force of their desires onto each other. Nesta was no less beautiful now but when he thought of her body, thought of what he knew, he considered differently as to what his body would do with hers.
His fingers would likely bruise her, leaving crescent moons into her skin and the bones of her spine would be obvious to his gaze. Now, he wanted to use his build to hover over her, to envelop her with his wings and cradle the back of her skull with the palm of one hand and cup her cheek with the other.
Cassian needed to make this situation right but he didn’t know where to start other than this meagre offering of broth.
Nesta ate two spoons, possibly three, but at least she ate, her eyes fluttering closed as she savoured her meal, the shadows of her eyelashes playing on her cheekbones. He smiled at her enjoyment, however brief, feeling his heart soar.
Nesta opened her eyes and looked straight at him. Cassian dropped his smile and her eyes narrowed.
I’m happy you like the broth, he wanted to say, however little you take. I’m happy you tried. I think you’re dying. I don’t want you to die. I want you to want to live.
A log fell in the hearth and banged against the grate, popping into the air and Nesta flinched, her eyes snapping towards the sound.
The flames seemed to hypnotise her as they whirled among the wood, consuming what they needed in order to grow. Wherever she was in that moment she wasn’t in the room with him.
The moment passed and Nesta snapped her head back to Cassian, slamming the spoon into the bowl.
“I’m not here for your entertainment.”
“I know that.”
“Then stop staring at me like I’m a festival showpiece.”
Cassian frowned, “I wasn’t staring.”
“Tell your gawping eyes that.”
The muscle in his jaw twitched again. He was exhausted, not only from the long day but from arguing with Rhys about the plan, and from convincing Feyre that he and Nesta would be fine. His blood, already on the rise, had gained extra heat when Amren made her parting comment to him and all this was before he began flying.
“I wasn’t staring,” he repeated, “believe me when I say there’s nothing worth looking at.”
His temper was still hot, irritation singing a song in his veins and this was default for him, the well-travelled road to flinging insults.
It was a road Nesta travelled herself.
“Well, believe me when I say that even if I’m nothing I’m still worth twice of you, bastard.”
“You’ve been exiled to the camps so that’s not what your sister thinks. Either of them.” He gestured around with his hand, “Do you see Elain begging to be let in the door?”
Nesta’s nostrils flared, her hands now clenched into two fists, those red cracked knuckles on display.
“Well, this shows what your ‘friends’ think of you, if I’m worth little to nothing in their eyes and they have you taking care of me?”
“You should be thankful, sweetheart. No one else volunteered to listen to your temper tantrums.”
“Let me ease your burden then.” She stood, jolting the table and the bowl moved, spilling liquid over the side. “I would hate to bore you with one of my childish tantrums.”
“By all means, take yourself off to bed. You’re obviously in need of a nap.”
Nesta bared her teeth at him and Cassian schooled his face into one of boredom. She turned, her gown brushing against the furniture and as she passed through the living room, she grabbed a thick blanket draped across one of the chairs.
There was a change to her face as she went, fleeting but not fleeting enough for his sharp eyes. Regret? Yes. What she regretted he didn’t know but the snarl had also turned into a smirk, a twist of her mouth which screamed, I am victorious.
What had she won? The prize was a night alone in an unlit room with a blanket and empty belly.
As she left, the bored expression slid from Cassian’s face to be replaced by a furrowed brow.
Nesta was playing a game, one which required her to start fights so she could flaunt from the room as though leaving were her choice. He’d seen her grip, the furrow of her own forehead and the stark whites of her eyes.
She didn’t like the fire and she didn’t want to eat - or she couldn’t eat.
All Nesta’s choices had been stripped away from her in one afternoon and her decision to exit swiftly and in outrage was all she had.
He let her. He goaded her, stoking the small flame she held burning until she felt something, even if that emotion was irritation and anger - anything as long as it wasn’t cloying fear. If Cassian told her to leave then she would have stayed in her misery to spite him.
Cassian lifted a clay pot lid, surreptitiously positioned beside him on a chair, to cover her bowl. He would leave the dish outside her door with a slab of buttered bread. Maybe she would eat if it wasn’t in front of his watchful eyes.
He would eat his own in his room, the space of the kitchen and the living area seeming too big now, too empty without Nesta’s presence.
As he passed by the hearth, he lowered the flames with his siphons, letting them burn down. As he did, he thought of another fireplace, in another home, in a time which seemed forever ago.
He would help her even if she hated him for it. Cassian would prefer her vitriol to the nothingness living inside her where even her scent had turned glacial; ice cold to the bone.
So yes, Cassian would let the embers burn low for now but he was a creature of air and flame. He was good at starting fires.
You are the only person who has ever requested a tag from me so thank you so much! :)
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No Falling, Only Flying
A request from @my-fan-side sent millions of years ago where they asked for Nesta using her powers with Feyre’s help to gain wings so here we are!
Happy Sunday and I hope you enjoy!
They were in their bed in the camp listening to the rain hitting hard against the fabric of the tent, Nesta’s head on Cassian’s chest, his heartbeat beating a rhythm in her ear.
“I wish,” he said, his voice a low murmur as his fingers played with her hair, “you could fly with me.”
She raised her head, blinking sleepily as he tilted his face towards hers. The smile he gave her made her own heart beat faster.
“I do fly with you,” she replied, her voice thick with sleep. “We flew here.”
Cassian let out a sigh and Nesta reached up to smooth the wrinkles appearing on his forehead with his frown. He chuckled and grabbed her hand with his free one, drawing her fingers to his mouth to kiss her fingertips.
I know,” he said, “but I was meaning more of what Feyre and Rhys do where they fly side by side.”
Nesta drew a breath and shifted, only a little, out from his arms. “Ugh,” she said, now fully awake, “we’re in bed, having made love and you want to bring up my sister and her idiot mate? You’ve been hit hard on the head today.”
The camp bed shifted as Cassian sat up, sheets pooling around his waist bringing his naked chest into view. Nesta gathered them up to wrap around herself, a barrier against the conversation - albeit a flimsy one.
“What I mean,” he continued, “is that I love you, and love having you in my arms while I fly but I want you to experience what I experience – what they experience.”
“And what exactly is that?”
“Freedom. Independent but still joined, flying to a destination together but being able to explore the sky, to dance together in the sky.”
Cassian sighed once more and lay back down, tucking an arm underneath Nesta’s body and drawing her close. “I don’t want to be Feyre and Rhys,” he said, “I want you to experience the freedom I love because I think you would too. I want you to have everything I have.”
Nesta shifted again, trying to position herself into a more comfortable position, her bare legs entwined with his, the sheets now tugged in a way to cover them both. His arms wrapped around her and with the heat from the furs and their bodies and the pattering of the rain, Nesta listened as Cassian’s breathing evened out until he fell asleep.
His eyes moved under his eyelids and not for the first time Nesta wondered what he dreamt about. Her? Possibly. Velaris? Likely. The camp? She hoped not. This place left him aching and tired.
The act of flight was when he was the freest and even in sleep, Cassian’s wings twitched and quivered. He would die if he couldn’t fly again, she thought, and she wished she had something in her life she revered with that desperate passion.
He murmured in his sleep and his arms held her tighter. In the shadows of the candlelight his face looked softer, his black hair splayed across the pillow mingling with her golden-brown strands
Perhaps though, she did.
Where death touched, power remained.
To others, death meant destruction and decay but to Nesta, death meant potential.
As she walked along the grasslands in the dark, she sensed the gentle flickers of power trying to reach her, all from the death of bugs, birds and the variety of small creatures which foraged in summer and slept in winter.
In a camp this size, despite the pitch of night, not everyone slept. Fighting and fucking filled her ears, drunken revelry and arguments rippling through the darkness. In a war camp the air was always thick, whether from adrenaline or sorrow; snoring from some tents, sobbing from others.
Joy was never easy to find here but was the one thing she wanted to give. This place ate away at Cassian and the longer he stayed, the less of himself would remain.
She walked from their tent until she reached the outskirts.
The Illyrians spent their days training in the vast field beyond the camp. Years ago, this place had been the site of a battle but only Nesta tasted the war as she stepped, the ground offering her all the flavours.
The metallic tang of blood reached her nose and though she trod on hardened soil she was drowning in the echo of its thickness from the lives slain. She hadn’t asked for this gift, if what she had could be called a gift. The magic had been forced upon her on a night as dark as this one as the Cauldron stole her life and that of her baby sister.
Death, it told her, is yours.
She was meant to die in the endless dark, her lungs filling with a liquid too thick to be water, but she refused what the Cauldron offered and re-shaped the meaning to suit her.
Soon Nesta stood in the middle of the field with nothing but wisps of death desperate to caress her.
She’d first discovered her power when she found the dead mouse. With some strange understanding, Nesta knew the small thing had crawled into the granary tent and died happy with a filled belly. She’d picked it up by the tail and the first flicker came from her fingers.
Now, she didn’t want to waste what was available to her. As her eyes closed and she breathed in something squirmed within her as though it were a living thing.
Place your feet, she told herself, and ground yourself.
The power came from beneath her and hummed through her bones until her teeth rattled and her skin prickled. Nesta held out her hands, palms flat to the ground until the vibration made her fingers convulse into jagged shapes.
Nesta slowly opened her eyes until they adjusted. She had yet to master the ability of muting the sheer brightness of the initial stage of the surge which was akin to throwing a log on the fire; a flare of sharp, sheer power before dimming into a bearable glow.
She smiled. Now all that was left of the night was her concentration.
At first light, the Illyrian males marched towards the very field Nesta stood upon, so she made sure to be gone before dawn.
Now, in their bed, Cassian’s body stirred next to hers before rising. Although her mind was awake her eyelids were heavy and she moaned at the loss of his heat, reaching across the scratchy sheets to curl into the space Cassian occupied only minutes before.
Her eyes opened to see Cassian watching her as he strapped on his leathers.
The fabric of the tent opening flapped in the morning breeze, the soft golden sun shining through. She must not have fastened the ties in her haste to return and she groaned and turned away.
“Where did you go last night?”
She flipped back over and stretched out her limbs, sliding a bare leg out of the sheet on purpose, revelling as Cassian glanced down her body.
Cassian stepped forward and skimmed his rough fingertips up her exposed calf.
“Hmm,” he murmured, “it’s almost as though you think you can distract me.”
Nesta huffed, ignoring the glint of mirth in his eyes.
“Fine,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep after you’d fallen asleep, so I went for a walk.”
Cassian frowned and Nesta braced herself. “Alone?” he asked. “At night?”
She fought the urge to roll her eyes. “I have power,” she told him, “and besides, no one will dare come near me.”
She drew her leg further out from beyond the bed to trail her toes up the length of his leather clad thigh.
“Nesta,” he warned and grabbed her ankle. “No distractions.”
She snatched back her foot. “I only walk to where the females are,” she lied.
The females were ensconced in a separate part of the camp, heavily guarded at night by magic barriers set up by Cassian and Rhys and patrolled by Illyrians loyal to the Night Court.
Nesta was their teacher and so her statement believable enough.
Cassian trained the females but due to the archaic notions that many Illyrians still held, he had to do so separately and often in the dim twilight of the evening while the males ate and rested. During the day Nesta taught them other important lessons – reading and writing. She’d failed Feyre but she wouldn’t fail them.
The camps don’t just need female foot soldiers, she’d once told Cassian, strength can be found in many ways. There’s a strategist or two amongst them, she’d said, female warriors whose skills lie elsewhere.
Cassian spent his days with knives while Nesta’s weaponry became chalk and boards.
The females held a begrudging respect for Nesta; they wanted to learn and she wanted to teach. Friendship didn’t come into the equation, but trust did.
The males, however, held no respect for her unless Nesta considered their fear respectful. She was a witch to some and cursed to others. Some referred to her as the General’s whore but Nesta didn’t care, she knew who she was to Cassian and who he was to her. Everything else was dust.
Cassian sighed. “I don’t want you getting hurt, all it takes is one cocky soldier...” he trailed off, the look in his eyes haunting her.
Nesta stood, wrapping the sheet around her nude body, holding it in place with one hand, steadying herself on the tips of her toes to kiss his cheek. Her free hand cupped his face, his skin warm against the cool of her palm.
Cassian captured her lips with his. They kissed a million times but each kiss felt like the first, excitement reverberating through her body, her heart pounding.
Cassian’s lips were soft and his kiss started out gentle before increasing in intensity. She sighed against his open mouth and slid her tongue lazily against his, Cassian’s large hands sinking into her hair, tugging at the strands.
Nesta let the hand on his jaw slide into his hair while the other dropped the sheet.
“Nesta,” Cassian murmured, pulling his mouth away from her, trailing his lips to her cheek and up to her ear. He nibbled on the lobe while her breath hitched. “No distractions,” he said and nipped at the shell before pulling away.
She slid a fingertip across the skin of one of his wings. “Tease.”
He sighed again, his eyes fluttering close. “Same about you.” He opened his eyes, “I have to get to the training field.”
Nesta placed a chaste kiss to his mouth before reaching for the sheet she dropped, in fairness she needed to dress and head to the females herself.
However, Cassian made no move to go and observed her with careful eyes. “I’m serious, Nesta - one cocky Illyrian. I’ve seen what happens when their arrogance and pride take over and there are many who don’t respond well to what they seem as disrespectfully flouting tradition.”
“I keep telling you - I have my power. All I need is to display a little.”
That was Cassian’s main concern - her power. So far rumour and reputation kept the males at bay as Nesta hadn’t displayed anything to anyone. The power was still within her, writhing and waiting, but she had yet to be its master if such a thing were possible.
If the others discovered Nesta didn’t have control, the fear which kept them away would dissipate in the wind, but that was why, when Cassian slept deep at night exhausted from days spent toiling and training, she crept into her field.
“I want you to be safe, it’s all that matters to me,” Cassian said. His wings twitched, a thought forming which he wanted to turn to reality. “I wish there was some other way you were able to defend yourself or flee if you needed to.”
“I won’t run.”
“I know,” he said, scrubbing one of his large hands down his face. “I wish you had wings,” he said, repeating his statement from the previous night, “that way you would have another option.”
It seemed churlish to mention even if she did have wings, so would her attackers.
Stand and fight or stand and die. Two possible options. Nesta was careful though, she wouldn’t get herself into that position in the first place. But it didn’t mean that trouble wouldn’t find her.
Nesta cast her eyes around the tent for a dress, drawing the conversation to a close. “I’m no Illyrian,” she said, “and no Feyre. No wings grow on my back.”
Cassian fixed her with a smile so sad her heart hurt. “I know,” he said, “but that doesn’t change the wishing.”
That night, following their conversation, magic flowed up through the soles of her feet and the palms of her hands, stronger and quicker than before leaving her exhausted. When done, she crumpled on the ground, the wet dew soaking her dress and blades of grass kissing her hair.
Too much but still not enough.
Nesta was too tired to focus. The day had felt longer than most with one brash soldier disturbing the peace of her lessons. She’d wanted to display her power to him but all that was left was a dull ache in her bones.
Several of the Illyrian females managed to get rid of him with more physicality than Nesta imagined mustering.
The night chill sunk into her flesh and her teeth clamped together as her muscles tensed and shivered.
Not enough. Never enough.
“What you need to determine before any interaction, whether in a strategy meeting or warlord council, is what you want to obtain. This will allow you to decide what your actions will be.”
A hand rose.
“What if the meeting doesn’t go your way?” The female who spoke was young but with black eyes as old as the mountains.
“Have a secondary plan of action for when your original plans change. Evolve or die, if you adapt yourself you can still succeed. An initial failure is not the end.”
“Do you do that? Adapt yourself?”
Nesta turned towards another female, also young. The question wasn’t a jibe, but reminded her of when Cassian asked her questions, like he was hungry for the answer.
“Yes,” she said, “Of course.”
Nesta sat on one of the chairs Cassian lugged around with him. The wood became uncomfortably cold in the winters and the chair was so old that splinters in sensitive places were a realistic health hazard. Thankfully the many furs covering it were thick.
Cassian’s desk in front of her was enchanted so only certain fae were allowed to touch the contents, Nesta being one of them. A spy for another camp had once fled the tent screaming; blood pouring onto the ground while the fleshy tendons of his hand hung like grotesque ribbons.
Dusk was drawing in and through the uncovered tent opening, Nesta saw the Illyrian’s bustling though camp. The moon was up and soon the stars would follow; the thick ashy smoke of the newly lit fires danced in the early evening breeze.
The males were back and the females who wanted to train in combat had left with Cassian.
One of those females was the young Illyrian from earlier with the old eyes – Aja. She’d once told Nesta she didn’t want to fight; she wanted to be in the war rooms, on the councils, devising strategies and planning opportunities. Strength isn’t only in the body, she’d said and Nesta quirked a smile.
Aja trained because fight was her alternative plan. If held in a council room with a sharpened blade to her throat, wits and cunning would only help her so far. She had no magic and no wings. Her uncle had pinned her down and seen to that when she was a child.
If you adapt yourself you can still succeed.
It was a sting to Nesta’s chest to realise that she didn’t live by her own words. During her night practices she did the same routine over and over without getting any closer to mastery.
I am a hypocrite, she thought. I state what they should do and don’t follow the same action. I have not tried to adapt myself.
Nesta picked up a quill and scribbled a message on a piece of enchanted parchment waiting for the response to her words as they appeared somewhere else. Now, she needed to go the field and wait.
After all these years, a part of Nesta still wondered if she would be left, alone and waiting in the vast expanse of dark, for someone who would never show. But, in the pitch of the field stood a familiar figure who had arrived early and who was visibly brimming with excitement.
“Nesta,” they tried to whisper but their volume control was erratic.
Thank the Mother, Nesta thought, that we’re far from the camp. Still, a warmth filled her and when she was near enough, Feyre skipped forward to wrap her arms around her.
“This is so cloak and dagger,” Feyre squealed with a squeeze and pulled back. “Look, I’m wearing a cloak – and a dagger!”
Nesta arched an eyebrow, “Do you need to carry blades around?”
“Not a bit but I thought they would add to the ambience.”
A throbbing began behind Nesta’s left eye near her temple. She’d had another long day and the night was about to be longer.
In Nesta’s dream she moved so fast everything blurred. She could still pick out the colours though; the sapphire shine of the sea, the green mountains with white snow caps and a sky of deep azure which changed once the sun rose to a pink the same as Nesta’s lips.
A strange thing, Nesta thought upon waking, to refer to sky a colour as one’s own lips.
The golden thread hummed between her and the male lying beside her, their souls long merged into one. Sometimes the thread was as thin as spider silk and others as thick as rope but the link was always present, anchor and feather all at once.
Cassian’s wings shuddered as he slumbered and Nesta knew in his dreams he was flying alone.
“I truly hate this,” Nesta gritted out through clenched teeth. Sweat dripped down her sternum, a droplet trickling a path between her breasts.
“Yes, but you’re progressing. You need-”
“I need to take a break.”
Nesta clamped her outstretched palms into fists and opened her eyes, the magic snapping off as soon as she’d given up. That was progress in itself, the magic coming to rest under Nesta’s heel instead of coiling like a snake with a life of its own.
With Feyre’s guidance she’d managed to force it to do something she wanted it to do.
“You can’t just stop controlling your magic when you’re tired. That’s when you need to be wholly in control because that’s when you’re the least in control.”
“Yes, thank you, Feyre.”
Several weeks of training had now passed with Feyre winnowing every night to meet her without complaint. Nesta was more grateful than words would express but her fatigue and frustration made her snap, the danger being that she would reward her baby sister’s time and effort with sharp words.
Nesta turned her head to where Feyre stood beside her and reached out to grasp her hand. Feyre jolted in shock but, after a second, curled her fingers around Nesta’s so they held hands in the dark.
“I think you’re scared of where you draw your gift.” Feyre’s voice was quiet. “I see you gain momentum and watch you, well... give up. On purpose.”
Nesta didn’t say anything.
“You treat your magic like a dog you need to train but you don’t. Your gift isn’t separate from you Nesta, it is you. Until you conquer that you’ll never move forward.”
Cassian’s sleep didn’t solely contain sweet dreams.
Nesta had her own share of nightmares, the most prominent was being held down in the dark. She was in the Cauldron but instead of water, it felt like air. That was how much nothing was around her. But then the bodies arrived brushing against her with cold, twitching fingers. Some were dead and others were dying.
All tried to grab her.
She woke from those nights dripping in sweat and clawing at her throat with her fingernails. One time, in the throes of somnambulist she’d reached for the knife underneath Cassian’s pillow and pressed the blade to her neck.
The bond had screamed Cassian awake. Nesta was lucky it had, otherwise he would have woken to her bloodied body next to his, a handle buried in her windpipe.
Cassian also had his prominent nightmare, one Nesta had managed to glimpse.
Instead of darkness, Cassian was shrouded in a light which burnt too bright and grew too hot. He was flying from something and the bodies in her dreams surrounded him too.
In this nightmare, he didn’t fly alone. He held something in his arms, fragile and bleeding, with water pouring from its mouth and down its hair. Nesta easily recognised the drowned thing.
In the dream it never mattered how high Cassian flew or how fast, his wings caught fire and as he burned the scent of smoke and charred flesh filled the air. With his wings gone, he fell and so did the creature in his grasp.
He always screamed her name.
Maybe Feyre’s words from the previous night had unlocked something in her mind. Maybe it had been Cassian’s nightmare. Maybe something in her had been unleashed, something she’d been trying to close off.
Nesta saw what had once lived and died on the ground. Blood had been spilled and death had come swift and slow but, in all death, existed a remnant of life.
No one left the world without making their mark. That mark allowed Nesta to gain a firm hold of what she was unable to previously grasp and so, she looked past death and tenderly cradled the imprint of life.
Light emanated from her feet, swirls of colour spreading fast past her, up and up until coming down through the crown of her head and rooting next to her heart.
Illyrians had died here. Violent and painful.
Nesta would honour their lives and absorb them into her, turning their death stamp into something substantial.
She closed her eyes and pictured an image in her mind. Wings; outstretched and pitch black with veins of silver and gold running like rivers to her heart as their source.
Would they be nothing but smoke? She questioned. Impressive to look upon but with no use?
No, if they were to be real, they would be real in all things. They would snap and break just like Cassian’s once had and they would sense every cool breeze and warm ray of sun.
Over the rushing of the blood in her ears she heard Feyre’s delighted laugh and her name being called, over and over, jubilant into the night.
“Come with me.”
Nesta led Cassian by the hand, her smooth fingers weaved into his calloused ones. If he’d noticed the shadows under her eyes, he’d decided to say nothing. He wore his own exhaustion on his face but only in their tent. When he lifted the cover to go outside the mask of the hardened Commander of the Night Court fell on.
The Illyrians were like sharks, Nesta had surmised early on, one scent of weakness and they moved in for the feast.
She couldn’t be a weakness for him. His fraught filled slumber already left him sapped and exposed.
Nesta led him to the field and instructed him to take her into his arms. “Fly us,” she said, “and high.”
Cassian grinned at her, “Why Nesta, you should have told me you were feeling adventurous. I would have enchanted the tent to become more sound proof.”
She swatted him. “Hush bat, do as I say,” but there was no malice in her tone.
His grin slid into cockier territory, “If that’s what my darling mate wishes.”
Nesta stepped into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his neck while he positioned her so his forearm held underneath her knees. He murmured words into her neck, pressing his lips and tongue against her throat to feel her fluttering pulse.
Honestly, she thought, the hint of wind on his wings and his mate wrapped around him and his mind flew to one place.
The joy residing in Cassian when he flew was palpable. The love he had of the skies radiated from every pore in his skin and he glided along the currents as though smoothing his palms across the skin of a lover.
At the beginning of every flight, he closed his eyes in reverence. Nesta understood why he wanted this for her, understood how Cassian wanted to share one of his biggest joys with the other.
She smiled at him, the look on her face so unusually tender than when his eyes re-opened, he looked to her with a questioning gaze.
“What?” she asked.
“I’d say you’re plotting something,” he said, “you practically reek of scheming.”
Nesta crinkled her nose at him but loosened her arms. “Do you love me?” she asked.
“Of course,” he said without hesitation.
“Do you trust me?”
They’d long soared above the Illyrian camp, leaving behind the clanging of weapons and the scent of sweat and leather.
Cassian’s gaze immediately turned suspicious.
“Do you?” she asked again.
The sky was an endless ocean growing colder the further up Cassian flew. Nesta was reminded briefly of the Cauldron and the chill sinking into her flesh before she realised it was her own life leaving her body.
I drowned in the dark, she thought, but I will swim in the light. Even if it isn’t swimming at all.
Cassian’s body was taut, his muscles primed as he took in Nesta’s removal of her arms from around him.
“I do,” he said but Nesta heard the wave of nervousness in his voice.
“Good, then trust me.”
When they were children, Feyre broke a vase. She’d been running after Elain and had slammed into the table it stood on. Feyre and Elain had frozen in shock, as did Nesta when she rounded the corner after them.
The vase wobbled before smashing onto the marble floor. Collectively they held their breath in the hopes not breathing would somehow stop the inevitable. Afterwards, they bent their heads over the pieces and agreed if they fixed it and turned it into something more beautiful, than their mother wouldn’t care it had broken at all.
Cassian’s face when Nesta dropped through his arms was the same expression on Feyre and Elain’s while they waited for that vase to fall.
Nesta plummeted towards the earth, heart racing and stomach churning, and the noise in her ears was part air rushing around her and part the roar of a terrified Illyrian.
Nesta needed to smash his fear and turn it into something wonderful.
No one, aside from the sisters, would know the hours spent piecing that vase back together just as no one, other than Nesta and Feyre, saw the effort Nesta had to endure to get to this point.
Her back arched as she fell and her wings materialised into existence.
During practice, many attempts had occurred before her wings made an appearance and there were many more until they became skin and bone. Thankfully, less time was needed for Nesta to get used to them and once she took to the air with Feyre’s guidance it was as though she had been born with them.
Still, Nesta was not as fast as someone who always had wings from the moment they entered the world and Cassian reached her in a heartbeat. She turned, mid-air, to face him.
Traces of terror lingered on his face and she felt a stab of guilt.
“Nesta,” he began, his voice quaking but she answered before continued.
“I’m sorry, I promise I won’t do anything like this again, I just needed to show you. I learnt this for you. You want to fly with me? I’ll fly with you. You wished I could take to the skies to escape if I needed and I’ve made it so. I can bend them to my will, just like Feyre can.”
“How did you-?”
“At night, when you slept. Feyre helped.”
“Feyre was here? Cauldron.” Cassian rubbed a hand over his face. “I knew you were sneaking out at night.”
“Are you pleased?” she asked him.
When the vase broke Nesta, Elain and Feyre had gone to the local blacksmiths, their jewellery in hand; silver rings, gold bracelets, anything they found. He’d melted them down until metal became liquid and they’d used that as glue to hold the pieces.
The vase had been a delicate blue and white thing and when they placed it back on the table it ran with veins of silver and gold just as Nesta’s wings did now.
“You’re like a baby bird,” he laughed and she was forgiven.
She scowled at him, “I would say this is pretty good for a beginner.”
“One strong breeze and I’ll end up having to chase you over the mountains to bring you back.”
“I’m stronger than I look.”
He reached out to hold her hand and drew her in close, the front of his body pressed against hers. Their wings beating in time with their hearts.
“They’re beautiful,” he said. “You’re beautiful.”
The wind whipped his hair around his face and tugged strands of hers from her braid. Nesta clasped Cassian close to her, not because she needed to - she’d crashed to the ground enough with Feyre to perfect her flight- but because she wanted to.
“I can go higher,” she said, “I won’t fall.”
“I’ll catch you,” he said, “I’ll always catch you.” Nesta saw the darkness overtake his joy and she was reminded of his nightmare.
“Of course, you will,” she reassured him, “but there’s no falling now. Only flying.”
This was the least she could offer, the gift of peace of mind.
But there was more to Cassian than a protector and she caught the sly smile he gave her. Here was the carefree Cassian, the one who wanted to fly higher or faster and now he had someone to match him.
Nesta flexed her wings and flew above him and he reached to grab at her ankle, his smile turning into a wider grin.
“Let’s go,” she said, “we’re made for higher.”
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The Journey Begins with a Smile
So ages ago (and I do mean ages) I asked people to give me some Nessian prompts and I had four requests. Not many so that’s completely doable I thought.
Since my request, things didn’t go so well for my personal life and then, on a global scale, a pandemic hit. Both those things meant I wasn’t writing or even reading much.
BUT I was determined to fill those requests - even if the requesters had forgotten or no longer cared! Luckily I have managed to get my groove back so am trying to ride the writing train for as long as it will carry me!
@ekaterinakostrova requested something where Cassian made Nesta smile for the first time. I’ve taken some liberties to fill the prompt but here it is. Finally.
I hope you enjoy!
The multi-level gardens of the Day Court stretched outwards like a labyrinth.
Unlike the Night Court, whose gardens were sensibly flat, Day’s held winding staircases which lead to a plethora of mezzanines, stacked one after another. Each offered a new delight; pools of water swimming with gold and white fish, pagodas draped with ever blossoming honeysuckle or fountains carved with the curved forms of caressing lovers.
Some paths appeared to lead to dead ends, but the experienced visitor long learnt appearances were deceiving. As long as the explorer had the foresight to move thickets of ivy and trailing roses aside, they would find smaller paths twisting towards secret grottos.
Aside from the romantic allure of mystery, the garden’s contained an energy which reverberated through Cassian’s bones. Although the deep calm of the Night Court lands was his preference, Cassian found staying in Day was never an unpleasant experience.
Wandering the gardens would have been its usual satisfying activity if not for the frustration simmering in Cassian’s veins. Not an hour before he’d bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted the copper of his blood before storming from the bedroom suites, leaving the other occupant behind.
His anger, and hers, were twins to each other. When the subject matter at hand arose, rational discussion dissipated like smoke in a storm and, as they were both apt to lose their tempers, that’s exactly what they did. After those times, it was best they stayed apart.
Being away from the Night Court brought up the familiar argument.
Cassian scrubbed a hand over his face, they were in Day on Rhys’ orders otherwise they wouldn’t have been there at all.
The knowledge of who Lucien was to Helion, and who the Lady of Autumn had been, was now widely known. Now, the painful possibility of civil war loomed over the Courts, brought on by the betrayal of an unwritten code of conduct. Helion was thinking ahead, reaching out to all potential allies in the hopes if he gained enough, Autumn would be dissuaded to start conflict.
There was no question Rhys would pledge to Helion.
It didn’t hurt though, Rhys said, to pay Day a visit.
Rhys spoke about contingency planning and counter-measure tactics but Cassian had known Rhys long enough to understand the guise. Under everything lay the ripple of the question of Spring’s allegiance and the inevitable shift of power towards the next generation of High Lords, including those Rhys was unable to befriend.
Custom dictated High Lords, and now High Lady, were the only ones to be allowed in the sanctum to speak politics. However, Rhys requested the attendance of his Inner Circle - where Rhys went, his most trusted followed.
What was less clear was the rationale behind Rhys’ request that those connected to the Inner Circle also attend. It was, Cassian believed, Rhys’ attempt to keep his friends compliant and a way to curry favour from others - namely Lucien who always hungered for time with Elain.
This secondary request was the one which opened the festering wound close to the surface of Nesta’s skin.
In an effort to find some calm, Cassian took to walking the gardens, like he had many times before. Like those times before, his steps took him a familiar route. Maybe, in the depths of his subconscious mind, he sought out what would bring him solace no matter how measly a sliver.
He ventured down a staircase, overflowing with floating lilacs, and onto a terrace which was surprisingly spacious for such a narrow-arched entrance.
This particular mezzanine was paved with sand coloured stone and framed by apple trees, their branches reaching towards each other like fingers. The waist high balcony overlooked the next level down – the glass domed ceiling of the sunken library.
This terrace, tucked away in the constructed gardens, housed the collection of seven statues who all faced inwards, into their circle, for eternity.
Like all statues in Day, the figures had been carved from marble run through with thick veins of gold and silver. Unlike the other statues, Cassian held an interest for these and these alone.
Whichever sculptor Helion found, he found one with talent. Despite the fact they were rock the sculptures contained something so painfully real. They were motionless yet their bodies held motion, they were emotionless yet their faces held emotion. When Cassian reached out to touch them, he swore there was bone beneath their stone skin.
Day was never more glorious then how she was now, in the full swing of her namesake and the wide blue sky called to Cassian to dance. Though his muscles ached to obey and his wings quivered in anticipation, he wouldn’t fly. Day was filled with sharp, ornate spires and he’d navigated a similar path unsuccessfully before.
But being trapped on the ground did nothing to help his mood; his legs shook, his eyes stung. Cassian was tired of the burning sun, tired of being apart from his friends, tired of the endless political deliberations of the other High Lords.
When he was unable to fly, Cassian needed to find other ways to curb his energy. One of those ways often involved his willing mate.
Except, at this current time she was not quite so willing. The blush pink rooms they were guests in were uncomfortably close to the rooms of others so Nesta didn’t want to make love to him here. She was even less likely to be inclined towards Cassian’s persuasions following their argument.
This was a radical departure from how they were in the isolation of their mountain cabin, especially in those final days. Time had turned into hourglasses and the sand of their lives trickled through their fingers fast then they breathed.
They couldn’t move to each other quick enough then, couldn’t remove their clothes fast enough, couldn’t press their bodies close enough.
Since their return to Velaris it was as though Nesta was turning into stone as cold and hard as the material of the statues Cassian now stared at.
Cassian sighed, drawing a deep breath of the lilac scented air into his lungs and walked towards one statue in particular. The one he thought of as his twin.
The stone fae stood high on the ends of its toes, as if it couldn’t bear to have any part of itself touching the ground. The arms stretched over its head, fingers straining upwards, begging for the sky to claim it. The figure didn’t have wings but Cassian imagined them, stretched out behind, broad and strong.
Cassian’s own wings, tangible flesh and bone, twitched as a breeze drifted past.
The circle existed for centuries but grew in number over the years. The first ones, the original ones, hadn’t changed but the way Cassian looked at them had. Once a carefree nature danced about them but, like all things weightless, that had floated away.
The invisible weight on them now was hard and heavy. Even the figure for the sky had something buried under the surface that hadn’t existed before.
Cassian was no fool – he recognised his own transference. What he saw; fatigue, anger, sorrow – these were his own burdens and in turn he projected them onto the poor stone creature in front of him willing it to absorb what he didn’t want.
Cassian ran his hand once more over his face. He wanted his effigy to take Nesta’s words which today were sharper than usual with insults flung towards his family with flippant ease. He reminded her that when she spoke with venom against them, she spoke venom against him.
Take your antidote then, she’d sneered, beg your friends to draw it all out if you think I’m such poison.
Nesta hadn’t been fully happy in the mountains but she’d been as close to peace as he’d ever seen. Finally, a part of Nesta was at rest, and the female Cassian loved was in a place he loved. All had been right for a time, their hearts in full growth, only to shrink into themselves when they were summoned back to Velaris.
Cassian would be misguided to think their arrival in Day was what agitated Nesta to begin the fight that morning. He could pretend she picked up on his restlessness or that she didn’t care much for the Court however the latter was a lie.
During her lengthy rehabilitation Nesta had visited Day on numerous occasions, sometimes with Cassian but often without. On the instances he visited her he was forced to choke down his jealousy at seeing Nesta and Hellion walking arm in arm, understanding that the High Lord of Day was playing a significant part in helping her heal.
Nesta would spend every minute in this place if Helion asked her to.
No, everything triggered from Rhys’ request that Nesta come to Day.
In Nesta’s eyes, Rhys’ request was a command; a command which served only to appease Rhys’ ego and prove he would always be able to demand the lives of those around him bend to his will.
Rhys wanted Cassian to be in Day and Rhys wanted Nesta to provide a pleasant distraction for Cassian’s restless nature. There was no other purpose.
The bitterness bled into Nesta at the fact Rhys demanded her attendance in a place she adored and would visit without complaint. Rhys had smirked it was the ‘without complaint’ he’d wanted from her for once.
She came only because Cassian had pleaded.
The heavy honeysuckle cloyed at Cassian’s nose and he decided to leave the gardens before he drowned in the scent of flowers. He’d find Az, a permanently sympathetic ear, who would patiently listen to Cassian’s complaints about how suffocated he was in a place he longer wished to be.
As he turned, a flash of marble hidden in the trees caught his eye.
Cassian hadn’t noticed anything else on this mezzanine before but it was no surprise, the white figure among the deep green leaves was set apart from the circle and tucked out of sight.
Drawing closer he saw the statue stood with its back to the rest, head titled downwards. The marble designed to be the hair splayed outwards as though caught in a tumultuous wind. Something about the statue, something about her, hollowed out Cassian’s chest.
“Why didn’t Helion put you with the others?”
“Because she doesn’t belong with the others.”
A voice, smoky and deep, carried across the space and Helion appeared from behind a wall of ivy onto the terrace next to him.
Cassian quirked an eyebrow. “I didn’t know about that secret passage.”
“That’s the whole point of it being a secret,” Helion said with a wistful sigh. “Now I’ll have to move it.”
“Don’t on my account.”
“And have you get here quicker to start your sulking? I don’t think so.”
Cassian opened his mouth to refute Helion’s words but the High Lord spoke over him.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” he said with a nod to the statue. “Out of all them, this one’s my favourite.” Helion turned to Cassian, dark skin glowing from the light within, mischief in his eyes.
Cassian bit his teeth together.
She was beautiful though, curves and angles, and the strength of stone. But who were they speaking of? The statue or Nesta herself?
“Why is she over here and not with the rest?”
The smugness slid from Helion’s face, his dark eyes scanning Cassian’s face, categorising every imperfection and scar as though he searched for something. Perhaps he wasn’t able to find what he wanted and a sad smile crept onto his face. “I told you – she doesn’t belong with the others. If I put her in the circle where would she gaze? At the ground? I won’t have that for her.”
Cassian’s mouth twisted, “She’s already looking at the ground.”
Helion cocked his head to the side, like one of the curious dogs in the mortal realm who sensed an invisible Cassian without truly perceiving him.
“Interesting how we can view something so differently. Tell me,” Helion said, “what are you seeing?”
They stood, arm length apart, one a High Lord and one a General. One draped in white and gold silks and the other clad in black leather. Winged and grounded.
Centuries existed between them with decades of Helion’s decadent parties where his fingertips would trail across the skin of Cassian’s muscled forearm, his mouth curled into a sensual smile. They’d not gone to bed with each other but shared at least one female over the years.
Here they stood in the sun; no lustful invitations, no pulling of rank. They were two males, competing in a game with stakes Cassian didn’t care for.
Still, he described her. Head downward, eyes downcast, eyelids. No sculptor would ever be able to create something so fine but Cassian swore there were delicate, long eyelashes casting a shadow against the sharp sculptured cheekbones. The graceful neck curved into a collarbone and clavicle with strands of stone hair caught in a storm of her own making.
Head and eyes down. This is what Cassian relayed to Helion. “Are you satisfied?” he growled, “I’m tired of playing.”
Cassian had jested over the years that Helion had a way of undressing him with his eyes, of looking beyond the armour and siphons to the male underneath. Helion had roared with delight and asked Cassian if he wanted to put that feeling into action.
Now, with the High Lord’s dark eyes on him, Cassian believed Helion was witnessing something deeper, that he was now staring beyond bone and blood.
“I know when you’re upset,” Helion said, glancing away, “and where you go when you are. You’ve walked this pathway numerous times and besides, these are my gardens, they tell me everything.” Helion’s eyes flickered back to Cassian, “You’re not as prone to idiocy as Rhys would have you be. Look again and try and do it properly.”
I have, Cassian wanted to tell him but he hadn’t.
Her stone feet were planted on solid ground, the stone hands down by her sides with the palms facing upwards. Her head was still down as were her eyes.
The figure seemed to change the longer he looked, one expression melting into another, completely different from before; disinterest, anger, peace. Cassian followed the line of her eyes to the gold domes roof of the sunken library glinting in the sunlight on the mezzanine below.
The statues full lips were tilted upwards into a smile, small but there.
“You don’t love Day,” Helion said to him, his deep voice breaking through the storm of Cassian’s thoughts.
“I enjoy it.”
“But Day will never be home.” Helion raised a robed arm towards the sky, long dark fingers stretching out, the light greedily swimming around his skin. “You seek freedom and you can’t find that here. So, my question to you oh miserable one, where do you find freedom?”
Cassian shrugged; this was an easy question and though Helion already had the answer, Cassian would play a little longer. “Velaris. The mountains.”
“And who are you free with?”
Helion’s tone was sly and conspiratorial as though he was inviting Cassian into a darkened room and asking him to share all his secrets, whispering across velvet pillows or through draped curtains. It was like honey dripped from Helion’s mouth.
Cassian’s fists clenched, tendons sliding over bones as he flexed his fingers.
Helion was skilled at drawing out confidences that most fae wanted to keep hidden. He emitted some strange magic which made Cassian want to dash to the nearest scribe and spill everything he had. Names and faces swam into Cassian’s mind, seemingly at Helion’s bidding, the most prominent being the one who spent her morning scowling at him.
Her name took shape at the end of Cassian’s tongue.
“You know who,” Cassian choked the words out in lieu of the ones that was forming, “don’t play your games.”
Helion stepped closer to the statue with a sigh and trailed a graceful finger across the carved lifeline on her upturned left palm. The line cut off not long after it started before beginning again, half a nail width away. It matched the real version perfectly.
Helion pouted and peered over the ledge. “It’s no fun if you don’t want to play but let’s not then, let me share with you a truth which your own truth speaker doesn’t care to bring to you. Nesta isn’t free in Velaris, but then you do know this.” Helion’s eyes glanced from the sun glinted library roof to Cassian’s face.
“She’s free here though. My statues, my darling beauties, represent the hearts of my most welcomed guests and while you are quick to immediately assume that Nesta spends her time staring at the ground, I see she is simply seeking her own peace.” Helion shrugged, gold and white silk sliding over smooth dark skin. “Freedom looks different for everyone.”
“I know that,” Cassian snarled, teeth bared, “I don’t need some heavy-handed lecture.”
The air began to pulse as an energy reverberated around the stone of the terrace. The tree branches shook and the leaves rustled. One growl of power to a disobeying dog. A warning; never bear your canines at a High Lord in the very Court his blood runs through.
Cassian uncurled his fists, splaying his fingers in Helion’s eyeline. Acquiescence. Cassian was guilty of foolish behaviour but he was no fool.
Helion’s tone had bite. “I’ll forgive your misjudgement on account of your poorly developed emotional response mechanism but only this once. You get away with burying your head when in the Night Court but I won’t have it here. Let me speak plain - this statue is an everlasting part of my garden but it’s rock, expensive rock, but rock. I would happily welcome the originator of its visage to become a permanent member of my Court. I think she’d accept, don’t you?”
Although the power of Helion still sang its presence, Cassian restrained the urge to turn feral. He didn’t, wouldn’t, because despite what others thought, Cassian was no animal. Besides, some part of Helion’s words wormed their way through Cassian’s brain.
Perhaps Helion discerned the calm Cassian was desperately trying to maintain because his voice was soft when he next spoke. “You have two options my handsome friend; go together to a place where you are both equally as free or find your freedom apart. Sacrifices have to be made and they shouldn’t all be hers.”
The sweet scent of roses and lilacs drifted through the mezzanine and Cassian looked down at the statue’s open palm.
“You can spend your time out here staring at an exquisitely carved piece of stone or you can reach for something real,” Helion said. “Your choice.”
Cassian thought of the circle of statues at his back, most especially the one on its toes spending centuries reaching for something that never came.
The squeeze on Cassian’s shoulder was gentle. “You’ll find her in the library,” Helion told him, “but then, you already knew that.”
Cassian sighed and closed his eyes and when he’d opened them, Helion had gone. Only the hanging ivy swaying by the wall was any indication of where he’d gone. Cassian looked back at the statue’s calm and serene face before trailing a fingertip onto the other open palm, half expecting her hand to curl around his, finding that he wanted it to.
“Yeah,” he murmured, “I knew.”
Cassian wanted everything; Nesta, the Inner Circle, Velaris. He wanted his freedom; long fought for and hard won. He could have all those things if he pushed hard enough - but only for a time. His desires co-existing side by side would have lasted as long as a breath in the span of his lifetime.
There will be cost and Cassian understood the price.
He left the mezzanine and its sculptured delights behind. They were just statues, fixed to stand forever. Living things were meant to move.
The library was cooler than outside, filled with white marble columns and an expansive white marble floor making the space larger and lighter. Ivy weaved its way up the columns while the golden domed roof provided a welcoming warmth, counterbalancing the coolness of the stone.
Nesta was exactly where Cassian knew to find her, tucked away in her favourite loveseat under an arch in the romance section.
In the mountains Nesta told him how she spent her days in the Day Court; meals with Helion, walks with Helion, talks with Helion.
They all made Cassian’s stomach twist.
Nesta also told him she learnt to be alone with her thoughts. In those moments she went to the library, one of the few places she found comforting. There hadn’t been many safe spaces on offer to her in Prythian.
Cassian stood a small distance away behind one of the larger columns, folding his wings in as tight as he was able.
Nesta would always be one of the most beautiful females he’d ever seen. As she was now, with her head bent to her pages, she matched the statue above their heads; watchful and waiting.
Her face, smooth and still, could have been carved from stone, a testament to how expressionless she could be. If Cassian hadn’t experienced the passion, the sadness and the rage which existed underneath he would have believed she felt nothing at all.
Her cool voice carried across to him.
“Are you going to spend all your time lurking in the shadows?”
“I don’t lurk.”
Nesta looked over briefly, a delicate eyebrow raised, her pink lips downturned. Those blue-grey bore into him. She wasn’t in the mood for playing.
Cassian sighed and walked toward her. At least, he thought, Nesta shifted on the loveseat to make room for him. After their argument he thought she would be more inclined to try and beat him with the book she’d turned back to read.
They sat in strained silence. Nesta’s soft breaths out of sync with Cassian’s. She inhaled on his exhale. Everything was out of sync with them, even down to the core.
Cassian let out another sigh. Maybe he could fix this, re-set where they were going wrong. He shifted, his leg brushing against hers, so he could see her while he spoke.
“I was speaking with Helion,” he said.
Nesta kept her face to her book but raised an eyebrow again, “Oh.”
“Yes, in the garden.”
“Hmm,” she murmured and turned a page.
“He found me through one of his secret passageways.”
Nesta’s lips quirked into a small smile, “Now he’ll have to change it, so you don’t find it.”
“Yes, that’s what he said.”
“He has many that he’s always changing. I wouldn’t worry.”
The silence fell over them again like a fog. They’d reduced themselves to small talk between strangers, Cassian at a loss for what to say and Nesta with no desire to help him find his words.
“He found me in the statue circle.”
She was about to turn another page, although she hadn’t really been reading since he sat down, but her fingers stumbled and she dropped the book which landed with a thud.
Cassian picked it up, the gold embossed words on a cover of rich green telling a story of love. Nesta reached out and as she did, Cassian used his other hand to grasp her wrist, “Nes...”
She wouldn’t meet his eyes, her throat bobbing as she swallowed. “Let me go.”
It was a weak command, her voice shaking as she spoke but Cassian would always obey her will and he released her wrist. Nesta snatched at her book.
She didn’t open the cover, abandoning her pretence of reading and instead placed the volume on her lap, staring upwards towards the ceiling.
“I hate those statues,” she said.
“You have to visit them every time you’re here.”
“Not every time,” he replied but she turned, looking him in the eye.
“Yes, every time. I’ve seen you and I’ve felt you through the bond.” She looked away and started to trail the lettering on the cover with a fingernail. “Besides, Helion tells me you visit them a lot.”
Well, Helion is a spy and a snitch, Cassian wanted to say but bit those words down. This was Helion’s court and those were his garden’s, his statue’s. He went where he pleased and talked to whomever he pleased, and that, unfortunately, included Nesta.
“After our argument this morning I knew you would go there instead of coming to see me,” Nesta continued, “you and that damned circle.” Her voice cracked and she bent forward, placing her face in her hands so Cassian couldn’t see. Strands of hair fell from her crown braid over her forehead.
“Nesta,” he said, and Cassian took her wrists in his hands, gently pulling them away from her face.
Her face had blanched a stark white and the rims of her eyes were tinged pink. Despite the sheen of tears in them, Cassian knew she wouldn’t allow herself to cry. Nesta always found a way of shoving everything into a box in her soul.
“You all get to spend eternity gawping at each other in every Court in every form, don’t you?” She snatched her hands away, smoothing down the frayed hairs away from her face, wiping at her eyes.
“They’re just statues,” he said.
“I know,” she hissed, “Don’t be belligerent Cassian, we both know you’re too smart for that.”
“I’m not being-” but he stopped speaking and sat back against the marble wall, his wings hitting them with a bang.
Cassian closed his eyes, trying to think of what to say to make any of this better. He thought back to their argument in the bedroom, mere hours ago which felt like days, surrounded by excessive amounts of silk in various shades of pink.
“There’s a statue of you,” he said, envisaging it like some lost old memory and not something he had been staring at less than hour ago. The image was clear in his mind; the windswept hair, the upturned palms, that lovely but sad face with its hopeful, delicate smile.
“Do you like it?”
“Yes, I think I do.”
“It’s set apart from the others.”
Cassian heard the rustling of her dress as Nesta shifted. “Helion told me he wanted it separate from the rest because it didn’t suit the others.”
Cassian’s heart picked up its pace, “What do you think about that?”
“I agreed. The statue should be away from the rest. It doesn’t fit with the others.” Nesta let out a gentle sigh. “I don’t fit with the others.”
Cassian opened his eyes and stared into the distance.
The gardens were a labyrinth and the sunken library even more so, rows of white bookcases lined with vibrant colours, pastels or even shimmering golds stretched outwards until they stopped short of the central atrium, right underneath the top of the dome. The light shone through in beams and specks of dust danced amongst them.
They both sat rigid and unmoving with muscles locked into place and stared ahead, not at the rows of books but at the future in front of them, at decisions that would take them away or bring towards.
“Would that suit you?” Cassian asked, his voice thick. “Being apart from us? Elain? Amren? Me?”
Nesta’s fingers twitched on her lap, digging deep into the material of her skirts. “I don’t need to consider Amren in my plans and she knows this. Elain will understand in time; besides she has her own life now and gets to live the way she wishes so I don’t understand why I cannot.”
She paused. “Feyre will be irritated but she’ll come around in time. She’ll have to.”
The seconds of silence lasted longer than Cassian liked. There was no definitive answer, no immediate outpouring of emotion. His breath rasped in his ears and now he could hear Nesta’s, finally in time with his own. Her voice was quiet, travelling from a universe away.
“You can’t seem to understand why I don’t love the Night Court as much as you do so I don’t know whether you’ll come around in time.” Nesta picked at a loose thread on her dress. The more she pulled, the more it seemed she unravelled the sinews in his heart. “I don’t know how much longer I can wait until you do, if you do. I don’t heal in the Night Court; I can’t heal among those who hate me.”
Cassian wanted to reassure her; to say he would understand why she couldn’t love the Night Court, that eventually she would heal amongst the copper roof tops of Velaris and she was never amongst those who hated her. The words stuck in his throat and burned.
His love for the place he called home was built in his bones, constructed as part of him as he had wings on his back. Without his home he wouldn’t be Cassian of the Night Court, he wouldn’t be anyone.
“Helion has offered me a home here,” she continued.
Cassian nodded, his head bobbing on a neck that now felt too thin. Cassian understood Helion wanted to offer Nesta a home in Day, he wasn’t aware he already had. “Would you be happy here?”
“I think so.” Nesta let out a mirthless laugh, “Day is the opposite of Night and so the Court would suit me just fine.”
Something burnt inside his chest. His overworked, overwrought centuries old heart was now in flames and this was the beginning of it turning to ash.
“I can’t live in Day,” he said. “The Court is fine enough but this place would become to me what Night is to you. It wouldn’t sustain me.”
“We’re at an impasse then. The road ahead of us is splitting.” Nesta spoke the words with cold, impassive authority, the kind of tone she used for others which led them to assume she was a heartless creature.
But Cassian could feel her as he always had. A crack across her heart ran deeper than anything before. She’d been through hell and come out the other side carrying what pieces of herself remained within her clenched fists. This couldn’t be the event which broke her, he couldn’t be the fae that broke her.
Sacrifices, Helion told him less than an hour ago, needed to be made. But not all sacrifices needed to be a bad thing. Sacrificing something didn’t mean you would always lose; it may mean winning something more valuable.
“Yes,” he said, voice soft, “if you think the road only has two paths to choose from.”
Nesta took in his words, and Cassian could sense the moment they landed in her mind, how she sounded out their meanings. A strand of wavering hope rose between them.
“Oh,” she said but her voice held a tremor, the edge of anticipation she was clinging to and the thread wound itself tighter round her finger until her flesh turned white.
“I believe this morning an angry female hissed at me about retreating back to the mountains and staying in the cabin forever.”
Nesta pursed her lips. “Well, I believe the female had a right to be angry as I believe said female was being abandoned by her mate.”
“He would never.”
Cassian ran a hand through his hair, tugging at the roots. “I don’t want to leave them,” he said.
Nesta’s shoulders sagged and her hope dissipated from her like smoke. “I know,” she said, “I just-”
“However,” he interrupted, “that doesn’t mean I won’t leave them. At least on a semi-permanent basis.”
Nesta took a deep breath in.
“I can’t live here,” he gestured outwards to the marble pillars and trailing ivy and streams of violently bright light. “Day isn’t for me but Night isn’t for you. My life is in Velaris and I have responsibilities that I can’t leave and friends I want to see, but as long as I’m somewhere near, somewhere I can fly to them I think that will be fine.”
Nesta released her breath and Cassian carried on. “I can’t lose them Nesta but I won’t lose you. I’ve waited a long time for you even before I understood what I was waiting for. If Velaris will destroy you then at some point the city will destroy me too.”
He continued to stare ahead but Nesta’s arm brushed against his as she moved, her slight frame against his broad one. From the corner of his eye, he saw her pale face gazing at him and if he turned to her, he would see her hope anew.
“The cabin needs more work to make it habitable all year round and the winters are hard and isolating. I’ll need to fly to Velaris more often than you would want and you’re still going to have to visit your sisters. Honestly, I’d hate to make Elain angry.”
There was a soft sob next to him. “I’d hate to make Elain angry too,” but she smiled through her tears.
“We’ll have to think of a way to transport all your books. I’m not flying them to the cabin, not if you’re bringing that twelve book saga you’re into with the-”
Nesta grasped his chin in her slender fingers and turned his face to hers. Shining in those blue-grey eyes through the misty layer of tears was pure delight.
“Thank you,” she whispered and brought her mouth to his. The kiss was sweet on his lips, soft and slow and filled with the promise she would always love him. Cassian deepened the kiss, sliding his hands over her waist before trailing upwards on her back to tangle in her hair.
They stayed like that for a while, his tongue seeking out and sliding against hers; wet, luxurious kiss after kiss. Cassian groaned and gripped Nesta’s hips, fingers digging into the flesh beneath her dress and he swung her up and over onto his lap.
She pulled her mouth away and gasped, “No! Not here, not in front of the books!”
“The gardens then?” he joked and received a flick to his chin for his trouble.
“Helion will be disappointed.”
“No,” Nesta crinkled her nose, “that I won’t be making my home here.”
Cassian trailed his hands up Nesta’s back to her hair, tangling the strands around his fingers, looking forward to when he could make it took as disordered as her glorious statue’s. “Make this place your holiday destination. I’m sure you’ll frequent Day every time I’m in Velaris.”
“I’m sure you’re right.”
“And when we’re done appeasing the world we’ll be together again, at home.”
Nesta’s eyes scanned his face, the way Helion’s had done earlier, but instead of an assessment that had left Cassian found wanting, her eyes were soft and the blue-grey was the colour of the sky in the Night Court just after a storm.
“Yes,” she said, “at home.” She leaned in to kiss him again and before Cassian closed his eyes he soaked in the image, letting it burn forever into his mind. A perfect picture of Nesta in the flesh; her fluttering eyelashes, freckled nose and the sweetest smile he’d ever seen.
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Songs (in order) you can listen to that follow the order of the leaked six chapters, with notes to explain:
(To help u get through the hurt and betrayal a little easier 🥰)
1-800-273-8255 by Logic
~I could defiently see this as an opening if acosf was a movie and the credits were rolling in surrounded by images of nestas apartment and Velaris
Death Bed (coffee for your head) by Powfu
~An alternate intro (I think this one works better for your imagination)
Crying in the Club by Camila Cabello
~Cut to a scene where Nestas in a club dancing with a guy while drunk and just not in reality
Falling (specifically the slowed and reverb version) by Harry Styles
~Nesta walking home to her apartment late at night thinking about the expensive bill she just sent to Feyre- think about cassian and Elain too.
To Sad to Cry by Sasha Sloan
~Nesta in her apartment being angst
Castle by Halsey
~The scene where nestas walking into feyres estate, very much pissed off
In the end (the Mellen Gi remix)
~When Feyre is telling Nesta she needs to go and she feels helpless
Therefore I am by Billie Ellish
~Nesta leaving feyres estate, knowing there is no bond that holds Feyre and her together anymore Becuase she feels betrayed.
Am I supposed to Apologize? by Maria Mena
~listen to the whole thing- it’s very self explanatory
Hallelujah (the Tori Kelly Cover)
~Nesta in the House of Wind, not wanting to think about her life anymore
No Time to die and Listen before I go by Billie Ellish
~Nesta thinking about Feyre and Elains betrayal
I love you by Billie Ellish
~Cassian thinking about when Nesta leaned over his body and was gonna die with him, and when he kissed her, also knowing she’s not the same person anymore
Boss Bitch by Doja Cat
~This song is nestas character when upset, doesn’t really fit into the first six chapters but I think it works for nestas character
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I have an exam in one hour and I’m writing fan fiction. I don’t know if this is dedication or madness. Or depression.
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Y’all the Feyre stans are attacking me on Instagram 😭😭 WHOS GONNA TELL THEM THEIR FAVE IS TURNING INTO TAMLIN 😭🤚
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silence and noise (nesta x cassian)
Hey everyone! I’ve been wanting to publish something of these two for a long time but never actually found the courage untile now. I apologize for any mistakes you may find. Please read it and let me know what you think, even criticism is well accepted as long as it helps me grow and get better in what I love to do. I hope you are all well, God bless you and enjoy.
read on ao3
The walls became narrower and narrower. It was a dark room, the darkness solid enough to climb all the way up over her legs, torso, arms, and chest. Yes, the darkness tightened her chest, overbearing.
"Surrender" whispered in her ear with her muffled voice. But Nesta could not respond.
She continued to drown. And drown.
"Nesta" she called her.
Her name sounded like a hiss. "Nesta", another voice was added. And another one.
She closed her eyes, trying to drive away the noise but with no result. She could not send the darkness away, she could not silence the voices.
She tried and tried again every night. But it was all useless.
So, she surrendered.
She woke up reeling, her hands clasped to her heart as if this would be enough to calm its tumult.
It was still late at night, barely a ray of moonlight came in through the window.
Nesta closed her eyes, inhaled deeply for a few seconds and then let her breath go.
The process had to be repeated for a good half an hour before it took effect. When her heart finally calmed down, the woman decided to get out of bed and head for the kitchen.
This wasn't the first time she had a nightmare, nor was it the first time this particular scenario had tormented her like this. She did not understand its meaning, and most of the time she preferred to forget rather than think about it.
Cassian's small house was cozy. A medium-sized cottage, clearly not intended to be shared with several people. The bare walls showed signs of aged paint. Everything was reminiscent of the past, a small casket suspended in time.
Sometimes, Nesta felt she could get used to that simple life. She had been living there for a few months now. She was not happy, yet she could not say she was sad. Somehow, staying away from Velaris made it easier for her to ignore some of her demons.
The male who lived with her tried every day to knock down her walls, never discouraged by how his fire went out once it fell on the stone fortress she had built. Cassian burned with a living fire. It was very different from the chilling one that consumed Nesta.
He was as welcoming as the four walls that housed her, and like the latter, she felt as if he were surrounding her.
He was in everything she did, in everything she thought, in the few times she opened her mouth. He flowed in her veins like her blood, and while everything seemed to her as a fruit of her own mind, he was an undeniable reality for her. Maybe that was the reason why sometimes she found it hard to face. Reality had the bad habit to make her suffocate, and the only solution , the only way she could breathe again was by ignoring it completely. And yet, the darkness followed her around. Sometimes quietly, not making a sound. Other times louder and louder, inviting her to welcome her embrace. This were the times where she had to fight with all of her fragile strength, and also the moments when she thought most of giving up. Cassian saw it all. Like her darkness, sometimes he stood by her silently. Other times, he made noise. He provoked her, sometimes screamed at her, sometimes teased her. As if he wanted his light to overcome her.
For this reason, she was not surprised when she entered the kitchen and found him sitting in a chair, silent.
His arms were resting on the table. His head tilted, his defeated gaze pointed at the wood as if it could reveal some hidden truth to him.
She knew that he had heard her footsteps and felt her closeness, yet he did not look up.
"Can't you sleep either?" he only asked her in a soft voice.
Nesta answered with a small sound of assent.
He looked up at her, who stood in front of the door.
He pointed a chair at her with his hand, inviting her to sit down.
"I will prepare a herbal tea," he said, and he stood up without waiting for her answer.
The woman had the impression that he was not doing it to do her a favor, but rather to have something to do, a goal although small.
For once, she did not stop him.
She was too tired even to fight, she realized. And from the way his shoulders were curved, she knew that the same was true for him.
Neither of them could sleep well at night.
Sometimes Nesta would hear him fidgeting in his bed, whispering words in a language she did not know, but which seemed familiar to her because of the desperation with which they were pronounced. Other times, on those nights when all she could do was stare at the ceiling hoping that it would collapse on her, she would hear him get out of bed and wander around the house like a ghost, looking for something.
Those were the times when Nesta felt a strange instinct making room inside her, to move the blankets and go to him, just to make him aware of her presence. She would not tell him anything, she would just show herself to him. She would show herself.
What would have changed? How would it have helped him? She did not know.
But when, at the beginning of her alcohol detoxification, she had found herself hugging the toilet and throwing up whatever was still in her stomach, he was there.
He never went into the bathroom with her, knowing that she did not want to be seen in that painful state.
He remained outside the closed door, invisible to her eyes but present.
He wouldn't leave until her pulse calmed down. When her ears would ring from the pain, from the voices who did not shut up inside her head, she would find herself concentrating on his heartbeat. It marveled her how fast it was, a continuous sound, that managed to distract her mind. There were times when that heartbeat lulled her to sleep, so she often fell asleep on that cold floor, but miraculously woke up on the warm bed.
Cassian was as attracted to her coldness as she was to his warmth. And while neither of them ever wanted to admit that somehow their souls were always searching each other in the dark, they both welcomed the crumbs that the other left them.
Cassian put a steaming cup of tea in front of her. She whispered a "thank you" and drank. For a long moment, neither of them said a word.
"Is it to your liking?" asked the male in front of her.
She looked at him. Seeing him so tired made her heart ache a little bit, but her face remained unreadable when she replied "I will be satisfied", her tone the personification of superiority.
He laughed slightly.
"What would I do without your sweet words, darling?"
"It doesn't concern me," she replied, and then "don't call me that".
"Admit it, you actually love it when I call you that". He came slightly closer when he said those words. She didn’t know if the teasing was just a device to get his own mind off whatever was keeping him from rest, from peace.
Nesta puffed annoyed, hoping this would hide the slight redness that had risen to her cheeks due to the proximity. Even after months, she couldn’t stop herself. Mostly so when she felt this vulnerable.
"I would say that you say these things to sleep better at night but clearly, this is not the case".
Cassian burst out laughing, throwing his head back. The sound sent a vibration inside her, and she chilled a little.
He looked at her with his eyes wide open. "Did I really just hear a joke from Nesta Archeron?"
"Please don't let anyone hear you. I have a reputation"
Cassian whistled, "I don't think people could be less terrified of you even if you were to pursue a career as a court jester, sweetheart."
Nesta smiled a little. When he described her that way, he did so with admiration and respect. Almost as if she were a dreaded general like him.
It made her wonder if he saw her that way, as an equal. It wasn’t a thing men did when confronted to her. She knew she didn’t meet the expectations of human society, that as a woman she wasn’t meant to be proud and strong-willed. Ever since she was a kid, she had hoped inside of her that she could change the rules somehow. Be just as the heroines in her precious books, and make a man fall in love with her just by existing. But she had learnt the hard way that somehow dreams were just meant to be that. Thomas had proved it to her. And yet, Cassian was everything she never expected a man to be. Especially towards a woman. He was teasing and provoking, sure. But he could also be gentle and respectful. He never forced himself on her, defying her most profound fears. Instead, he waited patiently for her to give him what she wanted, even if she knew her drops left him unsatisfied.
"You are not terrified of me, though," she reminded him.
He sneered, "Oh no, the truth is danger has an annoying tendency to attract me."
She laid her arms on the table and leaned a little towards him. She couldn't help but notice the way his jaw tightened, and his eyes fell for a brief moment on her lips.
A thrill of energy burst inside her, enjoying the distraction that this conversation was giving her.
"Are you saying I'm dangerous, General?"
In response, she smiled.
They continued to observe each other, two tired souls awakened by the same desire. It would have been so easy to abandon herself in his arms, allowing him to hold her tight to himself until he suffocated her.
But this would have given him a power that Nesta was not ready to give away.
She didn't know if she would ever be.
She desired him. And yet, the idea of lowering her defenses for a time, even just to have sex, terrified her.
And she was sure that no matter what she repeated to herself, sleeping with him would please her heart as much as her body.
And she could not allow it.
In Cassian's eyes seemed to burn the same battle.
Their faces were a few inches away. She could see the way he looked at her.
If only she had come a little bit closer, just a little bit -
"What nightmare won't let you sleep?" he suddenly asked her.
She violently withdrew, as if someone had slapped her in the face.
She had forgotten her dream.
"What do you care?" she asked him abruptly.
How dare he bring her back to reality like that? But as she demanded it to herself, with rage, she also gave herself the answer: he is as real as a forest fire can be. She could pretend he was not there, but that wouldn’t stop him from getting closer and closer, until she could feel her skin burn, she could feel herself be marked by him. There was no way to stop it. And again, the only solution was to run away. To build a tower that was so high, so hard, that all his fire could was to accept the defeat.
He shrugged "Simple curiosity."
But from the way he kept staring at her, Nesta knew it was much more than that.
"What is it? Are you anxious to tell your beloved High Lady that her devastated sister can't sleep at night?" she spat poisonously.
Feyre was a delicate subject between them. His loyalty to her sister made her angry. No one seemed to notice the faults of the young fae, or rather they decided to justify them without too much thought.
"She cares about you," he replied, just as she expected.
She snorted. "Sure, because my little sister is so good and dear, isn't she? She is doing all of this for me, not to get rid of a dead weight."
Cassian stood up and stood in front of her. His fists were clenched.
"Don't talk like that" he imposed.
She remembered his face in battle, his eyes lit up with rage, his body alive and full of a force capable of destroying everything around him.
She remembered his words
I have no regret but this.
No. Nesta repelled those thoughts with all her strength, closing herself in her coldness.
She watched him recognize her defense mechanism instantly. Cassian's face changed.
"I think I'll go to bed now," she announced, before she could turn around and climb the stairs ignoring the male who called for her blood like a siren, he grasped her hand. They both seemed to paralyze at the gesture. They were brought back in time, at a terrible night who had scarred them deeper than they could admit. Nesta looked at him in the eyes, daring him to plead her as he did when she broke his heart. But he didn’t. Instead, he let go gently, and with a tired tone he asserted ”I wish I could hate you.”
It was a punch she didn’t expect, but she knew she deserved. She did not know what hurt more: the fact that he had tried to feel like that towards her, or his impossibility of him to do so despite everything, despite her. She climbed the stairs with fury.
She reached the door to her room quickly, anxious to get rid of that annoying feeling that had been insidious in her belly. That desire to scream, to destroy something, to fight.
She closed her eyes as soon as she was in her room.
She breathed deeply, then let her breath go, trying to catch her control again. For a moment, there was only the dark inside her room. No sound was made by either of them, as if scared of the consequence it could cause. If only a few words could make her burn and get cold at once, what would happen if they were to sit down and actually have a discussion about every single thing they felt? Before she could go back to bed, though, she heard his voice faintly whisper "you are not a dead weight".
She stopped in front of her bed for a moment. And, before she could stop it, before she could go back to pretend that nothing could ever touch her, a quiet tear slid on her cheek.
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Sarah J Maas Masterlist
(TOG & ACOTAR Fics)
Multi Chapter Fics
The Night Shift (Rowaelin)
Summer Of Carmine (Rowaelin) Coming soon
She’s Casual (Elorcan) Coming soon
Ruined Part 2 (Rowaelin)
Hoping to write more stuff soon.
I don’t write for Elriel, sorry :)
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I'd love it if y'all could check out my fanfic on wattpad and give me feedback 😚
My @ is shamelessforcardan cus why nOt
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Me to myself: DID YOU WRITE ANOTHER AU???
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If there are any A Court of Thorns and Roses fans on this blog, I have just started a new side blog. Shipping Elriel, Nessian & Freysand. But TBH mostly Elriel. I might be jumping back into the fan-fiction writing so if you wanna follow me, I’d love to see you there. @flowers-shadows
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Let’s talk about power
Yes this is about the current fandom assholery, but I’m not going to talk about that issue in particular because it wasn’t even mentioned by OP and people are taking those comments out of context and twisting them because somehow the idea of Elain having more than two (2) friends is so threatening that they had to turn into Stretch Armstong, but OP is my friend and so this is my contribution.
What I will do, is I will break down the various power dynamics in the acotar world and why it can make some relationships more difficult than others.
The presence of different classes, races, and genders is part of the acotar world. You know how some people say “why build a fantasy world with sexism when you don’t have to?” This is what they mean. SJM has built the acotar world to be sexist, to be at least somewhat homophobic, to have this massive gaps in power between those at the top (see: Rhys) and those at the bottom (see: the water wraiths).
There are multiple types of power. In the acotar world, since that’s the relevant context, power can come from five main sources, as far as I can tell, and it’s based on what privilege a character has been afforded:
Magic - how much has the Cauldron gifted a character
Social - is the character a High Lord, a High Fae, or a lesser fae? Are they from an important family? Is there potential to inherit the court?
Racial - similar to social, but from birth. Is this character High Fae, are they lesser fae, are they Illyrian or lightsingers or Suriel etc etc.
Gender - the importance of this depends on the culture the character lives in, but we’ve seen several examples that men have power over women or nb characters (if there are any).
Political - basically High Lords versus everyone else
Knowledge is another, if lesser form of power. It’s mostly relevant when Feyre is first in Spring, which I talk about below. It’s also relevant when they need to know about ancient objects and creatures, but it isn’t valued as highly or the library priestesses would be in charge, not High Lords.
For more on power read Pierre Bourdieu. He’s quite complex and heady, so he takes some work to read, but if you’re really interested...
Why is this important? Because being friends with servants, or friends with your employees, or friends with your Uber driver, or friends with your teacher, or even friends with your local friendly High Lord, is never going to be an equal relationship. It just isn’t. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. It’s just that because the relationship isn’t affording both people equal privilege and power, there is always the chance that one person will be able to wield their power when they want.
That’s what it comes down to. Is the person with more power/privilege in the relationship trustworthy enough not to use that power/privilege to their advantage, to the detriment of their friend or partner? We just hope so.
This is actually one of the major roots of the problem with Tamlin and Feyre’s relationship, and is especially clear in acotar when she first comes to the Spring Court. Yes, he was emotionally and physically abusive, but no one could challenge him because he is at the top of the power/privilege pyramid. Feyre lacked power because she lacked knowledge about how that world worked, she was a woman, she didn’t have any social or magic power - she was, in every way possible, at the mercy of everyone around her. It’s no wonder that feylin went south, even if Tamlin hadn’t ya know.... been Tamlin.
This imbalance in Spring is also why Lucien was limited in what he was able to do re: Feyre. Loosing the social support of his powerful family literally left him homeless, despite being High Fae and magically powerful and male. He couldn’t just go live anywhere because Beron & Co. wielded too much political and social power and would make his life hell. He had to have the protection of a High Lord because he was at such a disadvantage. This is also how Tamlin was able to take advantage of and abuse Lucien. Lucien was, to an extent, at Tamlin’s mercy because of the power imbalance.
You’ll also note that by the time nessian and feysand got their HEAs, they were equals. High Lord and High Lady, Carynthian and Valkyrie. Those relationships turned out well because we know neither of them will (or can!) take advantage of the other. I don’t know if it was sjm’s intention to write the relationships in this way, but it will work out better for the ships either way.
And so if you’re wondering about the IC, yeah! This can also cause a major power imbalance between them. Some High Lords yield their power with impunity (see: Beron). Some don’t (see: Rhys). However, the potential for that to happen is always there. The potential for the person with more power in the relationship, which in this case would be Elain re: N+C, will always have an impact on how close they can be or how honest they can be with one another. The IC, in general, has done a good job of balancing. When Rhys had to wield his power in the Az POV, it was shocking.
Our positions within the fandom are also imbalanced. I would never, ever claim to talk for fans of color because I might make tamales with my family every year but I look white. I would never, ever claim to talk for someone with a disability that I don’t have. Even though my “things” include queerness and anxiety and substance abuse, I am never going to talk about those things as if I am the representative, or as if I am doing someone else a favor by taking on their “burden” while at the same time taking away their voice. That’s some white savior bullshit.
So basically - there are a lot of power imbalances in acotar, just as there are IRL, and these imbalances are the result of how SJM has written the story. Saying that Nuala and Cerridwen are servants is fact, and maybe the fact that they are WOC servants is a problem, but it’s an SJM problem. It’s not a problem for us to state that fact, but we can critique it. The way that we talk about these issues is limited by the way that they have been written. Or at least, it’s limited to the point where if people decide to make these massive, Olympic leaps, we’re going to rein them back in and remind them that the people on the other side of the screen are people, that if this world has power/privilege imbalance then that’s on SJM, and to stop attacking real people in order to defend fictional characters.
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Fanfic asks : 2, 7
2. What’s next on your ‘to-read’ list? (Fan fiction or otherwise)
For fanfic, I’m currently anxiously awaiting updates for @wbficaholic ‘s masterpiece Control. (Have I mentioned lately how obsessed I am with this fic? I literally scream when I find an update.)
For books, I’m in the middle of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, and the next book on my tbr list is Villette by Charlotte Brontë... also strongly considering rereading the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas in anticipation of the new novel dropping next month. (I am Nessian trash, sooooo I really can’t help myself.)
7. What’s the last thing you read that made you cry?
For fic... I think the last fic that made me cry must have been.... What Signs Remain by lindentree??? Really gorgeously written fic. I don’t even remember there being a particular scene that got me, just the general beautiful and melancholic atmosphere of the work.
As for books, okay, so, the part in Love in the Time of Cholera when the first husband dies in a senseless ladder accident (which, is just so typical of GGM, because yeah, that’s life-- you live a wonderful and meaningful life trying to do the best you can, and then one day you’re on a ladder trying to get your pet parrot out of a tree and your foot slips and you fall to your death in an utterly meaningless way) and he’s in his wife’s arms, and his last words to her are “Only God knows how much I love you.” Yeah, I sobbed.
Also, the end of Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood, when Bryce is at the gates begging anyone to respond to anchor her while she makes the Drop and no one is coming but then the Bone Quarter Gate lights up and it’s DANIKA and Bryce starts screaming LIGHT IT UP, DANIKA. I sobbed. I sobbed uncontrollably. It was the truly cathartic moment I really needed. (Every time I’m not certain about an SJMaas novel, she gut punches me with some utterly sincere emotional moment and truth and I remember why I read all of her books.)
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Have you noticed any changes in the fandom you would say are positive since you joined? There are a lot of posts about how much fandom has come to suck and I was just wondering as someone who has been in this one for a bit what your thoughts were on more positive notes.
I would say there are 2 things that stand out for me-
Little to no shipping fights. IDK who else was here before ACOWAR but people used to get all in a tizzy over Moriel vs Nessian. I’m not the kind of person who cares enough about fictional characters to get any particularly strong emotions, especially not to the point of fighting some Random online about it. I think it’s because of how long it’s been between proper novels (it’s getting towards 4 years since WAR and 3 since FAS). Plus I mean... The only shipping debate left is Elucien vs Elriel and of the blogs devoted enough to having an opinion on those to actually argue... They’re pretty much all mature enough to not bicker. At least the ones I’ve noticed.
I’m allowed to have followers, but I’m very liberal with the ‘block’ button so it might just be that the douchbags aren’t able to interact. For a while there was a “destroy big blogs” mentality. People would attack fanfic readers for recommending fics by blogs with large followings, attack blogs who posted milestone follower counts, and just overall give people shit for the simple fact that other people decided certain blogs were more fun to follow than what I’m guessing is their own pages. Like I said though, I’m very liberal with the block button, but I’m getting close to a milestone follower count, so we’ll have to see if it’s really gone...
Specific things that have changed are kind of hard to shine a light on, but I’d say overall- and the still-present issues aside- overall this fandom seems to be fairly chill. It’s all in who you follow and interact with, and maybe it’s because I’m liberal with the ‘block’ button and finally got ahead of the trash heap, but it’s pretty nice here.
And a lot of the problems that do exist in this fandom (fandom-specific, not the reblog issue because that’s more of a tumblr-wide one) are because compared to others this fandom is fairly shallow? Like, we have novels, 2 coloring books, and a handful of officially licensed fan art that’s been used as promotional materials. Oh, and a card game but I’ve never seen anything about anyone actually owning that come to think of it...
Anyways, there’s no visual medium beyond the fan art and book covers. I always draw lines to The Untamed fandom, which looks very chill and rich and has an incredible range of materials-- but that’s because there’s a novel, graphic novel, audio plays in 2 languages, extra content from the author, an anime (donghua), a *chibi* anime (donghua), and a live action show IN ADDITION TO fan art. They’re balls-deep in content.
If this fandom had half as much for people to play with a lot of the issues you see would just up and vanish. Untamed fandom has so little fan art theft that I haven’t had to add a single blog to my permanent block list (yes there’s a list). That’s directly because of how rich the existing content is.
So for a fandom stuck in the kiddie pool until we get a show, we’re doing pretty well. Again I block the douchbags but everyone seems very chill and calm. At least right now. Before ACOSF. Before everyone probably loses their shit again...
**I do also want to slap onto the end of this a bit of an apology for my attitude the last while. Things have been stressful IRL, always, but my big problem is that as quiet as the fandom is... I’ve still been judging it for what it was back in... early 2019? Dealing with the people who wanted to attack this page for the note count on fanfics or my position against fan art theft... it just exhausted me. And I’ve been interacting and posting partly from that frustration mindset when I should have been letting the fandom show me what it looks like right now. I will work on that, and know that I love each and every one of you and I promise I’m trying to be fun again <3
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Winners for the 700+ followers celebration
Fan fiction: @lanyjoy-13 (Rowaelin)
Playlist: @highladyofthefangirlcourt (Nessian)
Headcanon: @nahthanks (Elriel)
Fan art: @thalia-2-rose (Jessa)
Edit: @the-regal-warrior (Elorcan)
Each thing will be posted as soon as I finish them:)
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This is be my friend acotar edition. If you apply to 5 or more of these we are automatically besties. Be my friend if...
Your favorite book in the series so far is acowar
If your favorite ship is nessian
If you don't like Tampon but understand that everyone in the series has trauma and it shouldn't be invalidated
If you love Nesta (and acknowledge she has room to grow)
Even if you don't like Nesta that much but you are excited to see her growth, her story, and her journey to self healing and could possibly eventually learn to like her
If you are not a Rhysand stan
If you think Lucien deserves the world and more appreciation. (Bonus if you ship him with happiness)
If you think Feyre is a strong character but has a big mouth (I'm joking lmao... Maybe)
If you acknowledge that Elain stabbed the king and was not utterly bland
If you write acotar fan fiction especially Nessian ones (cause you guys are the ones keeping me sane until February)
If you think Amren is underrated (and would love to know what happened to on the summer solstice)
Are we besties?
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Have you ever considered writing fan fiction. You have a lot of analyses and theories that could be used to write them. Especially Nessian ones. I feel like you get the characters
I've thought about it. But l'm one of those people who have the ideas and the imagination but when it comes down to putting it all together and making it flow into a story I'm hopeless. If I had the motivation I could probably do it. I've been thinking about writing a one shot of the Nessian battlefield scene in acowar from Nesta point of view and implementing my idea of her suicidal thoughts into it. I don't know if its something that people want to see though. But I would be more than happy to try it out.
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