We're Back (Part 2 of We're Leaving)
Velaris, River Palace, Morning, One Day After Nesta Returned From Illyria
Nesta and Rhysand
They were all there, in the study where Nesta had dramatically left twelve months ago. She thought to herself, what a difference this time. I don’t hate myself. I’ve got Cassian and we adore each other. We sisters are together. But there is a relationship I need to fix for all our sakes.
Nesta and Cassian stood side by side, resplendent in their fighting leathers, the perfect picture of strength and health. Nobody could fail to see the power that both of them exuded in the room. Yes, his liege lord and her younger sister had more magical power (although in Nesta’s case that was up for debate), but this couple was lethal. A swift slide of her eyes to the right saw Amren and Mor looking at them with respect and perhaps a little awe. The last year had seen Nesta mend and create their relationships in a slow, sometimes painful but completely honest way. She didn’t see herself as part of the Inner Circle and frankly had no interest in joining. The cause on which her mind was most focused was the plight of Illyrian females, and her friendship with Emerie had brought a distinctly personal element to it.
Everyone had visited Illyria since she had moved there, except Rhysand. Nesta had also mended her relationships with her sisters. That belonged solely to them and none of them brooked the slightest interference of others providing opinions as to how they spoke amongst themselves. Which had brought them to this point.
“You’re back and I understand that you both recognise the mating bond but haven’t accepted it,” rumbled Rhys, “I can’t say that I was ecstatic when I realised it wasn’t going away, that you wouldn’t reject him…” A soft snarl emerged from Cassian and Nesta gave a squeeze on their entwined fingers. I’ve got this. “However, it does seem to mark a fresh start for us. Perhaps it’s the end of the beginning.”
Nesta looked him in the eye, “You’re right in that it’s a fresh start. Two brothers with two sisters, one couple officially mated and one not. It’s either a recipe for disaster or something strong can emerge from this.” She paused, “Could we discuss this more privately? We have rather a lot to thrash out, but it’s for us to do this, not anyone else.” Rhys gestured to the window, “Shall we take a walk outside? I’ll put up a sound barrier if you prefer?” Nesta dipped her head in agreement and they both left the room walking side by side.
Outside the sun was shining and it was warm, with a welcoming breeze coming off the Sidra. They walked to a small, iron table which had two chairs with cushions placed next to it. Both sat down and looked at each other. Nesta started, “We’ve never seen eye to eye, largely because we started with prejudiced positions. I hated and feared Faeries and I believe you despised me because of what happened to Feyre in the cottage. I appreciate you always want to protect your mate, and I have started to acknowledge the same feelings for Cassian as well.” A nod from Rhys. “And our positions never changed, in fact got even worse over time. Our actions after the Hybern War, mainly my actions in pushing everyone away, solidified this position to almost a point of no return. But neither are you blameless, you could have done more to understand, or rather I think you understood all too well and didn’t want to look into that mirror again. The dark year in Velaris allowed the Inner Circle to despise me without any prospect of redemption. Except him. If the Cauldron hadn’t been mated me with Cassian, I have no doubt that I would be dead or enslaved in another Court. And I think the savage part of you would have been happy, no matter how hurt my sisters may have been.” Another nod from Rhys, this time slower. “Despite everything, I do love Elain and Feyre even if I struggle to show it in an …..orthodox manner. In a way which is acceptable to the rest of you. I’m not lightness and love, I’m dark, fierce and utterly loyal to those that I give my love to. It’s not easy, not wanting to show how I feel, but it was the only protection and choice I had left. Something which I know you’re fully aware of by your actions to keep Velaris safe when Amarantha had you in her clutches.”
Rhys sighed, “All of us have made sacrifices for those that we hold dear. You included Nesta, I’ve always seen that, especially by your valour in the Hybern War making yourself a target for the King.” He shook his head, “The essential nature of the Fae is primordial. We love and hate to extremes, so much so that the logical part of our mind is swamped by emotions. Even as I know we couldn’t have won the War without your interventions, the pain felt by Feyre because of your actions is something I struggle with. It’s simply how we are, well those of us born fae. You were made and I can sense your desire to hold onto some part of your humanity. It’s the last piece of your identity to the world in which you were born into, and you’re not going to give it up.”
Nesta listened carefully and knew the next part would be hard for her to say. “One of the most difficult things actually does not stem from being fae. My youngest sister is now a High Lady and I am mated to one who has sworn service to her. It’s a humiliation for me, that somehow everyone feels I have to serve her. I don’t begrudge her riches and love that she has found with you. I do hate the fact that apparently I have to do as she instructs me and I can’t fend for myself outside of all this.” She waved her hand at their beautiful surroundings. “I can’t trust the fact that she can force me to do things which have been driven by your detestation of me, and quite possibly enjoyment of seeing me suffer. I can’t reconcile this situation just yet.”
His voice was subdued and eyes were lowered, “And you’re right in that my thoughts and actions towards you have been driven from a horrible place. I don’t feel proud about it, and it needs to change. So I’m sorry for not being a better brother and seeking to help you in the right way. We’re both fortunate that Cassian is the better male and never gave up on you. I’m sorry.”
She could see the genuine remorse in his eyes and words and she whispered, “I’m sorry too.” His eyes glimmered with acceptance of her words.
“I don’t know what I want to do next,” she admitted, “but I know I do need to do something beyond hugely enjoyable sex with your brother and supporting females in Illyria. It’s a start, but there is more out there. I’m a better fighter now, but the diplomatic side,” a shared chuckle between them, “is something I want to explore. Being Emissary to Humans wasn’t really a job, I didn’t want to do it and the Mortal Queens certainly had nefarious intentions which meant the whole thing was set up to fail.” A wince from Rhys. “I need to do something which gives me autonomy and serves the people. I can accept being under the auspices of the Night Court, but not in servitude to it. That’s a hard ask of you as a Ruler, but if you truly want us to create a new future this is how it needs to happen.”
Rhys considered this, “You have power and talents which no-one in the Inner Circle has. I want to give you a role that you want to do. It’s quite possible, nay highly probable, that the Night Court is too small for what you can do. But, take time and steps to reach your potential. Mother willing, you now have centuries to achieve this and with Cassian by your side. Velaris wasn’t built in a day!”
The High Lord of the Night Court sat in silence for a minute and Nesta was content to let him work out his thoughts. “I don’t have anything to give you like that. Yet. And you’re right, it’s an anathema for me to consider this type of role. In essence you would be representing the Night Court but doing what you felt was best in achieving a particular goal. I will need to think on this later and discuss with Feyre if we can proceed on this basis. For now though, I suggest you continue with your current enjoyable lifestyle,” a smirk from Nesta, “and sterling work in Illyria. You can also think of what you might want to do.” He sat back and gave her an appraising look, “I can’t pretend to like you in a day, but I am grateful we’ve had a chance to talk and start figuring out where we go from here. It would do no good to Feyre and Cassian if you and I are shredding each other all the time or just simply not speaking to each other. I think we love them both too much for that.”
“A truce then?” she offered.
“No, that will never do.” came back the answer. Her face stilled and stomach churned. After all we’ve just said we go back to where we were before?
“A peace. A new start. We’ll work this out together. You and I” he smiled back to her.
A thought occurred to him. “Cassian says you’ve become a great fighter, have learnt to harness your passion rather than your anger. My mother was almost clipped until the Cauldron saw fit to mate her with my father. This cause is one I’ve championed for centuries, but you...you are making a difference in Illyria. You have my thanks for that as well.”
He gestured in the vague direction of the House of Wind. “You’re aware that the Library gives home and refuge to some….fractured souls?”
Nesta shuddered at the memory of her experience with Hybern’s Ravens and Bryaxis. “Yes, I remember”, she replied cautiously not knowing where this was going.
“Given your ongoing championing of females, I thought that you might like to split your time between Illyria and the House of Wind. A particular priestess named Gwyneth Berdara has raised some persistent requests to have an instructor they can trust to show them self defence techniques and possibly something more.” He left the obvious question unsaid, the genuine choice that she could make.
Her lightning fast brain considered the technical feasibility and logistics of such a proposal. Constant movement between Windhaven and Velaris, but a cause close to her heart. Being closer to Elain and Feyre and enjoying the finer things that this city had to offer were a definite positive as well. But, she was no instructor, that would have to come from Cassian, as Nesta couldn’t envisage another who she felt could help struggling females without arousing fear and panic in them.
“I agree,” she started slowly, “but Cassian would have to as well as I’m not at a level to instruct. It would feel good to help here and in Illyria, that’s the honest truth.”
Rhys looked over at her, “We have an accord and I’ll let you handle Cassian’s acquiescence to your request.”
“My request……?” she trailed off.
“You wanted an assignment with autonomy? You have it. Pick your team and methods to help the priestesses and let me know the progress.” He grinned at her disarmingly.
Nesta returned these words with a genuine smile of her own. They embraced quickly and walked back towards the River House, straight into a welcome roar of approval by everyone else.
As always, let me know if you want to be added/removed
@arinbelle @vidalinav @thewayshedreamed @darklove9314-blog @duskandstarlight @champanheandluxxury @secretbondsandloveconfessions @my-fan-side @angelofmusic81 @frosted-crackers @sjmsstuff @sjm-things @sannelovesreading @vasudharaghavan @sapphomoony @cassianscool @fakesnakesablaze @woodland--fae @min-yoonglezz @thron3ofbooks @gabstluz @thepinaka @chaotichurricaneoffandoms @youngthote @ncssian @ladynestaarcheron @vidalinav @courtofjurdan @rogertaylorsfalsettogivesmethehives @callmestarky @caotica-e-quieta @bookstantrash @readiajin @regolithheart @cami-reads @rainydaysanddustybooks @highfaenesta @schattensaenger @wannawriteyouabook @thegoddessaltenia
2 notes · View notes