Valkyries Winter Solstice
I finally finished iiiit. This was not supposed to be that long
Sooo.. Yeah. Im not really a fan of the Valkyries joining the Inner Circle. I want them to have their own celebrations together. Also I refuse to believe that everything is laughs and smiles between Nesta and the IC.
In my world. Nesta never apologized to Amren. And things with Elain aren't the best. Same with Mor
I live for Nezriel brotp. Nessian and Gwynriel.
Azriel and Cassian were having lunch in the dining room up in the House of Wind. They were discussing the progress with the Illyrian camps. Things had been between good and bad after the events of the past Blood Rite. Cassian was about to finish telling Az about this argument he had with Devlon when Nesta stormed into the room.
"Ok, but what about the food?" Nesta asked, talking to the air. Or the House they supposed. That is something both of them still have trouble getting used to. Answering Nesta's question a big chocolate cake appeared in the middle of the table. "As much as we love chocolate cake, we can't just eat that all night" Nesta said laughing, resting her hands on her hips. The cake disappeared. "Maybe we can cook something" she murmured.
Cassian didn't think she was aware of their presence. And his brother's face showed he thought the same.
"Ehem" Cassian coughed trying to get her attention. Nesta actually jumped a little, and turned to them.
"Oh Mother, I didn't see you guys there" She approached Az and gave him a peck on the cheek, then kissed Cassian.
In the past year Az and Nesta had grown closer, she refers to him as her favorite of his inner circle, and he's happy for them. Az was hesitant to get closer to Nesta at first, fearing Cassian's reaction. But he assured him that he was glad they were friends and not to worry. Since then Az was relaxed around Nesta, stopped hiding his shadows and let them show with confidence. His shadows were free to go around the house, she told him once, as long as they stayed away from her clothes. He had laughed at that.
"What are you doing that's got you so distracted?" Az asked her.
"I'm checking everything for Solstice tomorrow... Hey, can I have my list please?" She asked the House. Forgetting about them again.
"What do you mean Solstice tomorrow? The party is at the River house." Cassian said. She lifted her head from the paper then.
"Didn't I tell you? I'm going to spend Solstice with Emerie and Gwyn"
"You most definitely didn't tell me"
"I would remember something like that, Nes"
"Oh" she scratched her head "Well, I'm telling you now"
"So you're not coming with us tomorrow?" Az was as shocked as Cassian, but hid it better.
"No, I'm staying here. Wish Happy Solstice to your circle for me tho."
She refered to them as his circle often. Throughout the year she went with him to a few family dinners, but even though things seemed to have improven between her and their family, soon enough things got a bit cold again. She said she didn’t feel like she fits in with them but that it was okay, she didn’t need to. In meetings she would play with Nyx and maybe talk a bit with Feyre but it didn't go further from that. Things with Elain, we're... Tense, to say something. Amren had yet to apologize to Nesta for the events in the Sidra, when Nesta told him about what had actually happened he went all overprotective bitch as Nesta likes called it. She calmed him down and said she didn't really care anymore. Regarding Mor, she never told him why things weren't good between them, said that she preferred to just forget about it. He knew she just wanted to avoid any conflict between him and Mor. She's your family, she had told him before dropping the topic.
Nesta avoided to talk about them. She didn’t mind Cassian mentioning them when he talked about his day, told him he didn't have to hold back about it, and that she loved hearing him talk. Most of the time. Except when she was reading, she would threaten to push him of the stairs if he interrupted her reading.
The person she would talk more in reunions apart from Cassian was Lucien and he didn't show up often. Their friendship was something no one expected, Elain in particular didn't seem very pleased about it, even though the female had yet to recognize the bond. She went with Cassian to meetings with the Band of Exiles often. The first time she went, she spent hours talking with Vassa, about her father, Nesta cried a lot that day and Vassa comforted her. Nesta and Lucien would talk a lot about the other courts, make fun of some of the High Lords with very little discretion and he would tell her about some places he has traveled to. She wanted to visit Autumn some day, preferably when that joke of a High Lord was long gone. He had very much agreed to take her when those conditions were settled. Nesta recognized Lucien as a respectable male, and Lucien kept that silent admiration towards the female. He also had finally stopped fearing her, or that's what he wanted her to believe. Cassian could feel his subtle panic every time he thought he made Nesta mad.
Cassian made a sad face to Nesta. "Oh, common. Don't look at me like that" She grabbed Cassian's face between her hands and said "I don't do much there anyway. Lucien told me he's not going and you guys will be with your family"
"They're your family too" Cassian said.
"I know, I know. That's why I'll be sending my gifts for Feyre, Nyx and..." She hesitated "And Elain, with you" She kissed Cassian gently on his cheek. "Gwyn and Emerie are my family, I want to be with them tomorrow"
He cupped her cheek with his hand and said "I understand"
"Great" She smiled and went back to get lost in her thoughts. She spend some good two minutes checking her list while Cassian and Az returned to their meals.
"Oh!" She jolted and faced them.
"I almost forget. If you two aren't too drunk or tired tomorrow night, Gwyn said she's gonna bring some games she found on the library, maybe you could join us."
It was Az who asked "Is she okay with us coming?"
"Of course, it was her idea to invite you. She said that the more the merrier. And that she has this game that requires to be played by at least six people, so you would be necessary".
"But with us it would only be five" Cassian asked, doubting his math skills for a second. The moment he finished the question his meal disappeared. His eyes went ridiculously wide.
Nesta chuckled to his reaction. "I think you're forgetting someone" she looked up "The House enjoys games as much as it enjoys books"
"Oh. Of course...I'm sorry" he said while looking up, facing the ceiling. He felt so ridiculous but he knew the house was listening.
"Brother, I can't believe you. Where are your manners?" Azriel teased him. Cassian threw him a letal stare
"It's okay, he apologized, dude, give the grumpy male his food" Nesta said. And his meal appeared again just as he had left it. "Thank you" he smiled and devoured the rest.
"So... Can we expect you tomorrow?" She said glancing between him and Az. The males look at each other in a silent conversation and Cassian said "We'll see, no promises tho"
"Okay" Nesta returned to her list.
They finished their drinks and after leaving Nesta to her thoughts again, curiosity filled him so he asked. "What are you girls doing tomorrow?"
Nesta was silent and then looked at him. "Did you say something?" he chuckled. Wow. She really was excited for tomorrow and wanted everything to be perfect. He approached her from behind and put his arms around her waist, resting his head on her shoulder, while Az took the list from her hands and put it on the table. Then leaned on it.
"He asked what are your plans for tomorrow with them" Az repeated, he was amused by Nesta's behavior, and was having fun watching her so focus and distracted at the same time.
"Oh, well. Emerie and I are going to the priestess ceremony to watch Gwyn sing. We're gonna stay there a little while to accompany Clotho and the rest, and then we're coming up here to eat dinner and play those games I told you about. Exchange gifts and maybe read a little, I don't know. We'll see"
"Sounds fun" Cassian said and kissed her neck.
"Yeah, I just want everything to be perfect for them. It's our first Solstice together as a family and I want it to be great" She leaned back to Cassian, relaxing to his touch "Don't worry yourself too much about it. It's gonna be perfect no matter what. You should just relax a little, maybe I can help with that" Cassian murmured to her ear.
"And that's my cue to leave" Az said, turned around and headed to the door. Cass and Nesta laughed at the male "See you later brother, I didn't finish my story earlier" He only waved a hand and disappeared through the hallway.
“So, how exactly can you help me relax?” Nesta said turning to face him now.
“I have a few ideas” he winked at her and kissed her.
Nesta winnowed outside Emerie's shop the day after. She’d told Rhysand to put wards around her shop after the events of the Blood Rite, She was the closest one to danger of the three and the Illyrians were unpredictable, so their reaction to her victory at the Rite might be dangerous. Fortunately, any accidents had yet to happen. The wards didn’t allow winnowing inside so she had to appear outside. She might have lost most of his powers, but the little that remained was enough to compare to Rhysand's. One of the first things she learned to do was winnow, so she could go visit Emerie on her own and stop asking others to take her.
"Hello" she said as she walked through the door. Emerie was finishing cleaning to close the place "Hey!, I'm almost done, just give me a sec" "Sure" Emerie disappeared in the back room and returned seconds later carrying a bag
"What is that?" She asked pointing to the enormous bag she was holding "A bag. What's inside is a secret tho" she winked at her. Nesta just smiled and said "Shall we?" offering her hand to Emerie "We shall" she replied taking her hand, and they were gone.
Nesta winnowed to the main room of the House and showed Emerie where to leave her things. For some reason that they still couldn't explain, the House wards didn't stop Nesta from winnowing in. The court found it worrying, she just found it oddly convenient.
After Emerie left everything, they changed into some simple dresses, nothing extravagant. And then headed to the library to meet with Gwyn.
She had yet to leave the library as she had promised on the Blood Rite, said she wasn´t ready. They understood and didn’t push her, however they were making progress with her. Baby steps, Nesta told her the day she invited her to walk the ten thousands steps of the House with her, they made it in their first try and stood in front of the door for hours, Gwyn didn’t open it, and they went back up. She started to go down often, Nesta most times with her; and two weeks later she finally opened the door and stood outside, only to find Emerie waiting for her with open arms, Gwyn was unaware of her sister’s presence at the other side. She had waited there every day during those two weeks, so she would know that whatever pat she took, they would be with her. Gwyn had cried that day. After cleaning her tears, they took her for a short walk around the city, to the less crowded areas. It would take time, but she was more comfortable every day. She could now go to the city with them, they would go to restaurants and take night walks around the Sidra. Gwyn had teared the first time she saw how the river glows at night.
They arrived to Gwyn's room, only to find her freaking out and walking from one side to the other. She was wearing a cute dress that matched her eyes and had her cloak on top of it. "What's wrong?"
She squeaked in surprise, she didn’t hear them enter. "N-Nothing... Am just a little nervous"
"Why? I thought you did this all the time" Nesta questioned her "I do, I do. It's just that you guys are gonna watch me tonight and am scared of screwing up" Emerie put a hand on Gwyn's shoulder and told her not to worry, that she was gonna do great with little effort. To that, Nesta laughed, remembering her conversation with the brothers the day before. "Nesta" they were botch watching her now. Emerie seemed mad "You are not helping" she said between her teeth. Nesta laughed harder "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It's just that you reminded me of me yesterday. I was so determined to have The House perfect for today that Cassian and Az had to stop me so I could relax" after that she just interlaced her sisters arms with her own and walked them out.
The ceremony was beautiful. And Gwyn's voice made it even more gorgeous, Nesta loved the freedom she saw on Gwyn when she sings, how she glowed with every word. She probably feels the same as her with her dancing. The three of them gave a small gift to Clotho, a portable white board so she could write her messages without having to use any more paper. Clotho nodded in thanks, and they could have sworn she smiled. Then they said their goodbyes to the other females and left for the House.
They arrived to The House and were fascinated by the looks of it. The dining room and the small library were decorated with beautiful candles, and small decorations that Nesta and the House agreed on so the place looked pretty but not overwhelming. The library was filled with cushions on the floor, with a space in the middle, ready for game night. And the table at the dining room was already set.
"Looking good" Emerie said to the House, offering a smirk. A small wave of wind was the its only answer. "So what are we gonna eat?" Gwyn asked.
"About that...I was thinking we could cook something. We couldn't think of much to eat except for chocolate cake" Gwyn and Emerie laughed at that. "Can either of you cook?" Emerie questioned. Already taking control of dinner. "I can" Gwyn said rising her hand "I...I could be your pretty assistant" Nesta said, cooking wasn't one of her abilities. At all.
"All right. What are you lazy asses waiting for? Let's get to work!" She clapped and made her way to the kitchen. She and Gwyn exchanged a look that confirmed they were in big trouble. Before starting they changed into some comfortable pajamas.
They ended up with all types of dishes, from perfectly seasoned meat, to chocolate chips pancakes. Emerie loved to cook meat, meanwhile Gwyn loved to bake sweets and soup. Nesta just ran around the kitchen for the past hour trying to answer to Emerie's request. You better be more than just a pretty face she had told her before they started. Nesta took a mental note to always fear Emerie when cooking, she took it way to seriously. The dining room was full of food, most of them weren't even dishes appropiate for a dinner, but who was there to judge them? They weren't sure they could eat all of it. But they sure as hell would try.
It was close to ten when they finished eating. They took their sweet time devouring everything, they barely talk during dinner, maybe because their mouths were constantly full. When they were done, they picked everything up and cleaned, The House could have done it for them, but they wanted to give it a break for the night, so they could all enjoy together. The House ended up helping a bit by drying the dishes. And after they were done they headed to the small library.
They took their places at the pillow circle, “So, what do we do now?” Gwyn asked. She was not used to celebrate Solstice this way. Emerie answered “We can exchange gifts and read something or play the games you brought. Oh, speaking of, will Cassian and Azriel be joining us?” “They said they would see, but no promises” Gwyn looked a bit dissapointed at her answer. She quickly shaked it off and clapped her hands “Gifts! Yes, lets do that.” She said and went to pick a bag she left outside.
“Ok then, who starts?” Nesta said.
“Actually, there was something I wanted to do first” Emerie said and took out a list of her bag. “What is that?” Nesta asked, both her and Gwyn looked at Emerie in confusion. “So. You know how we always call the house “House”. I was thinking if we could name it? I feel bad of only calling it that. So i did some research and came up with some names. I also dont like calling it “it”, i think we can agree that it’s more than an object, so i thought we could ask what it would prefer to be referred as?” Nesta and Gwyn looked at her in shock, that was definitely not what they were expecting. The lights flickered in excitement and they laughed. “Looks like it would like that”
Emerie placed a paper with -She-He-They- written on it, it dissapeared for a few seconds and then came back with “She” marked with a cross. “She then” Nesta said looking up. “And what about the name?” Emerie placed her list on the center of the circle and it dissapeared again. When it came back the name “Zaviera” was circled. “Is Zavi okay?” Gwyn asked a little timid. The light flickered again and she smiled “Ok Zavi, I actually brought you something too.” Nesta was now thinking she should have gotten something to Zavi too, perhaps she would pay her a visit later at the bottom of the stairs. Gwyn took a stuffed animal out of her bag. She didn’t recognize the animal, it had a lot of legs tho. ”A stuff animal? What animal is that?” Emerie asked. She didn’t know either.
“I’m not sure. but that´s not important. Watch this” She turned the toy inside out. The smiley face switched into a sad one. Then lifted up “It’s so we can know your mood. So if one day you’re not feeling well, put it with the sad face and we won’t bother you, we are capable of doing things ourselves, so you can rest.” Gwyn offered Zavi a smile and then the toy dissapeared from Gwyn’s hand. The lights grew even brighter and then a giant chocolate cake appeared in front of them. The animal appeared again with the smiley face out. They all laughed and took a piece of cake.
“Ok, we can continue with the gifts now” Nesta said. “Me first” Emerie hurried to say. “Yes! I’ll finally know what’s in that giant bag” Emerie huffed at her and opened the bag. Clothes, she handed them to them. No, not just clothes
“Is this what i think it is?” Gwyn asked, without taking her eyes of the clothes. “Yes, it is” Emerie smiled proudly.”Oh, Gods” she said and threw her arms around Emerie.
They were uniforms, Valkyrie uniforms, for them. No more Ilyrian leathers, they were Valkyries after all, they needed their own clothes. Emerie told them how she asked Mor about the clothes they wore. Mor even showed her the uniforms in the Veritas. She changed the designs a little, so they would be more comfortable for training. She then had the clothes made. They weren’t full black as the Ilyrian’s, they were white and dark gray, with golden details in the sewings, she tossed them two pairs of boots that matched the clothes. Gwyn was glowing wih joy and Nesta was hugging Emerie a bit too tight. They finally calmed down and continued with the exchange
“My turn” Gwyn said and gave them a paper with a date and location. “What is this?” Nesta said. Gwyn’s grin grew bigger as she said “It’s an appointment, with a tattoo artist” and then gave them another paper with a drawing. It was a sword with wings emerging from behind. “It’s something like a Valkyrie symbol. They rode pegasi, you know? That’s what the wings are for. I asked Azriel about his tattoos, and where we could get some too. That’s the adress, apparently and old Illyrian woman lives here in Velaris and she agreed to do it.” Emerie and Nesta looked at each other in disbelief, and Emerie asked “Are you allowed to get tattoos?” “I’ve never been told I can´t as a priestess, but I don’t care, I want to do it” she then hesitated “Unless you don’t want to...”
“Of course we want to” Nesta hurried to answer “It’s going to hurt like hell but it will be worth it” she smiled broadly “Yeah, it’s gonna be great...Does it really hurt that much?” Emerie asked a little shy “Are you scared?” Gwyn teased her “Of course not. You are the one that’s scared” she shot back and dismissed Gwyn with her hand, she only giggled in answer.
“I guess it’s my turn now” Nesta declared and a box appeared infront of Gwyn and Emerie. She took a breath and said “I’m going to open the box, and you have to grab one, if it’s heavy then try the other. They will choose you, not the other way around” They had no idea what she was talking about but only stared at her, waiting. Nesta lifted the lid and great power filled the room. Then a sword and a dagger floated out of it. They were her magic weapons, the ones she accidently Made that day with the blacksmith. Nesta was still mad at Feyre for giving the dagger to Eris, but took it upon herself to retrieved it, Eris didn’t hesitate when she told him to give it back. Said he wanted nothing to do with such powerful weapon, less when it obviously didn’t want to be held by him. Apparently the dagger got too heavy when Eris wielded it, so it was useless to him.
She thought about it for a long time. Ataraxia was hers, and the sword and dagger too, but she alone could not wield them all. She heard by Cassian that Ataraxia was heavy for Rhysand too, like it didn´t want to be touched by him. Three weapons and three sisters, the voice in her head kept saying, Nesta knew it didn’t mean Feyre and Elain, so she decided she would try it, she would show the weapons to Emerie and Gwyn, and see if the weapons were actually meant to be wielded by the three of them. The moment she opened the box Nesta knew she was right, because she had never planned for the weapons to fucking float.
They all stared at the weapons in complete silence, no one dared say a word. Then Gwyn and Emerie reached their hands at the same time, they looked hypnotized. Then the sword slowly floated to Gwyn and put itself on her reaching hand, Gwyn hold it tight. At the same time the dagger made it’s way to Emerie, and she closed her hand around it, a powerful pulse of magic arose when their hands closed and brought them out from their trance. “What in the Seven Courts just happened?” Emerie said, looking as confused as one can be, the dagger still on her hand.
“Congratulations, you now own one of the first Made weapons in existence in the past ten thousand years” Nesta said, she couldn’t hide her happiness.
“Who Made them?” Gwyn asked, still a bit confused. “I did” Nesta answered cheerfully “Just like a Made Zavi, I accidently poured my magic in those weapons when I hammered them, they called them Made weapons. The last one to ever existed was lost ten thousand years ago”
“Are you sure we can have this?” Emerie’s face was filled with concern.
“They are yours. You are the only ones capable of carrying them. Eris and Rhysand tried to wield them, but they turned heavy to their touch. But they want you, they chose you to be their wielders.” And also, she didn’t give a fuck what Rhysand thought about it, they were her weapons, she had told him as much the day she went to pick up Ataraxia from the River House. Gwyn and Emerie were completely mute now. Nesta remained quiet so they could process everything. She lost count of the seconds, and started to fear they would not want them, but then Gwyn leaned to her sword and whispered to it “Thank you” she could have sworn the sword glowed in answer. “I’m going to need a place to hide it. Clotho won’t be happy with me having a sword in my room” The tension eased and they all laughed at Gwyn’s concern
“You can leave it here, Zavi will take care of it”
“I’ll take mine home, who knows when I might need it” Emerie said, and gently put in her bag.
And without any warning, both of them threw themselves against Nesta, hard enough to make her fall on her back. When they didn’t let her go, she patted them in the back returning the hug and said “All right, all right. Enough of that. Let’s play something now”
Gwyn let go of her enough to say “Get ready to get your asses kicked”
Azriel and Cassian arrived to the River House a bit later than expected, Az was glad that he dropped their gifts earlier that day because now they were both carrying the three boxes that Nesta had thrown at their arms. She pointed which one was for who, then said she would give them theirs when they came back. The biggest box was for Nyx, the smaller ones were for Feyre and Elain. Az carried the last two, while Cass almost crashed twice in their way down with the other, the box was big enough to block his view.
They entered the main room and found that everyone was already there.
“Look who decided to show up” Rhys said carrying Nyx in his arms “We got a bit...slowed down” Az said, throwing a mocking look at Cass. He only snarled at him and went to leave the box with the other gifts, he followed him close behind.
Feyre entered the room, wearing a beautiful long black dress and hugged Cassian and him in greeting. She looked around noticing the missing person and asked “Where’s Nesta?” “She’s gonna sit this one out. She’s going to spend it with Emerie and Gwyn” Cassian answered simply. Feyre tried and failed to hide her reaction, she was sad and maybe a bit dissapointed, but only nodded in understanding and went to see Nyx.
“Let’s just forget about her and let’s eat” Amren said. Cassian wasn’t happy with her tone but Az looked at him to calm him down, Nesta made it clear that she didn’t want Cassian to get in any sort of trouble with his family on her behalf. She also gave the task to Azriel of keeping him in check. They went to the table and everyone took their seat. Rhysand and Feyre both at the head, Nyx in her arms, Amren and Mor to their sides. Varian sat next to Amren, Azriel took the seat next to the male, while Cassian sat next to Mor and Elain next to him. Leaving her in front of Azriel.
Their current relationship was between weird and tense. Since last Solstice, and Rhysand’s warning he kept his distance, but she kept making small signs of interest towards him every time he visited the House, they didn’t affect him anymore. Not since his conversation with Nesta, who apparently was the only one that noticed their attraction apart from Rhys. He couldn’t remember how he ended up telling Nesta everything that happend that day, maybe she confronted him about it, or he told her out of the effects of alcohol.
"Did he really say that? He really should start minding his own fucking business" Nesta said "Maybe he was right tho. I will only cause more trouble than we already have" he said defeated.
"Look, let me ask you something... Do you love her? Do you really have feelings for her? Or you only think that you should be with her? If it's the first. I'll tell you go for it. Fuck politics, it will hurt Lucien, yes, but better that than what my sister's doing with him now. Every time I see him I see a defeated male that's losing hope. He's a good male, and will let her go if she wants to, he deserves better than being a political asset. Same for her, she should be able to decide what she wants, politics aside.
"But if it's the other reason, then maybe you should reconsider. Because it might not be worth the risk. I know you're tired, that you feel left behind and are desperate to find someone that will love you. You have so much love to give, but no one to give it to. I know, I understand, but you don't have to stop having faith that that person will arrive. You just have to be patient"
He didn't really have an answer for that so he just said "When did you become so wise?" he chuckled. "I've always been wise. You bunch just were to busy hating me to see it" she replied with a grin.
"You know I've never hated you, right?" he knew the answer but he still wanted to be sure. "Yes, I know. That's why you're my favorite" she winked at him and finished her drink
He knew the answer to her question now. That's why Elain being there, didn't hit him like before. Once he left his reasoning aside, he found nothing apart from friendship in his heart.
The dinner went on without much trouble. They talked as usual, and Mor started to tell this story about when she was away making sure the treaty was signed, Az didn't hear much. He knew his brother wasn't either, probably thinking about Nesta and what she must be doing now. Azriel's mind kept going to what Nesta had said the day before Emerie and I are going to the priestess ceremony to hear Gwyn sing. He knew that Gwyn could sing, but he had never heard her. He asked her once if he coul, she answered with a grin and said that she must hear him sing first, and maybe she'll consider to give him that privilege. He had laughed, she was constantly challenging him like that. Gwyn was more comfortable with him and Cassian than before, she didn’t mind them touching her to correct her in training and he knew about her progress leaving the library. She told him about it one night he found her training in the roof and he was proud of her. The thought of her smile while telling about the stairs and Nesta and Emerie brought a smile to his own face. He had to hide it before anyone in the table noticed. That same day she had bombarded him with questions about Shadowsingers, he wasn't able to answer many, so she said she would find the answers herself, no matter what.
The gift exchanged went on. They opened Nesta's presents at the end. The big box for Nyx ended up being a bunch of clothes and a giant music box, it played a melody Feyre claimed their mother used to sang to Nesta. Apparently it was one of the few happy memories she had of her. To Feyre, Nesta got some special paint, enchanted by herself, it glows in the dark and changes color to her will, it's also infinite. And finally to Elain she got a small candle with the shape of a flower. Az didn't know which one, he never remembered the names Elain told him when they were in the garden, too complicated for him. What made the candle special is that it would never melt. Elain took the gift with a fake smile, saying nothing more than a short thanks.
Feyre gave a box to Cassian and told him to give it to Nesta. Rhys got her something too, despite her warning of no gifts from him, she had grown tired of his presents after Nyx's birth, mostly cause none of them were really her style. He tossed the box to Azriel and gave him the same speech than Feyre. When did we become Nesta's messengers? Az laughed at the thought only to realize that Elain had disappeared before anyone could ask if she got Nesta anything.
The clock had barely hit eleven, Nyx was long gone to bed and everyone else was already drunk. Except for Cassian and Az, they never said if they were really going to go to the girl's game night, but the lack of alcohol in their veins was answer enough.They were just going to wait a bit longer before leaving when Amren and Mor approached them, very very drunk.
"Hey guysss!" Mor said, fighting to keep her balance while hugging Amren with one arm. "Why do you look so sober? Common, drink!" She handed Az the bottle she was carrying, but he didn't take it "I'm good, thanks"
"You seemed to be eager to leave. Any particular reason?" Amren said, she was as drunk as Mor. Even if she sounded in more control than her, she still had already lost control of the rest of her senses.
"We're not eager to leave, but we are leaving soon" Cassian answered. Wanting to end the conversation, he feared what Mor or Amren could say while drunk. They usually kept their comments about Nesta in check, they knew better than to mess with his mate. But with the alcohol blurring their judgment they could say anything and it could end badly.
"Is because of her, right? " Shit "Common, we barely see you these days. She's been keeping you captive all year. Have some fun"
"I don't know what you mean" Cassian was having the fight of his life trying to remain calm.
"Look, it's okay. We know the bitch can be too much sometimes, if you need a break anytime just say it. We know your instincts are telling you to go to her boy, but save yourself from a little misery and stay longer". Mor laughed and Azriel knew everything went to shit the moment Amren called her a bitch. Cassian's anger filled the room and Az put his arm around his middle to stop him from doing anything stupid.
"Calm down" he whispered to Cassian
"What's going on here" Rhysand said joining the conversation.
"Nothing, I'm leaving. Good night, brother" Cassian said and headed to the door, then turned to them "If I ever hear you speaking of my mate that way again, you won't see me again. Mor. At all. That goes to you all of you. Learn to shut the fuck up once in a while" and with that he left the room. Azriel knew he would wait outside for a while to see if he followed him. He was upset about the conversation too, he knew things were going to be a bit tense since they mated, but he should have known his family was not gonna make it any easier for her, that's why she had chosen to stay away. Azriel headed to the door soon after Cassian, ignoring Mor's cries of complain. He looked around very quickly and saw Feyre and Elain watching from the kitchen door, he looked at them in disappointment, her sister was being trashed right there and they were hiding in the kitchen. He looked away and crossed the door.
"Are you okay?" he said after catching up with Cassian.
"I don't know, it's just that-" he stopped walking and faced him "I don't understand why they act like this. After everything she's done, after everything she sacrificed, they still treat her like shit and I can't take it. I don't think I can let it slide any longer, I don't care what Nesta says, I won't just stand there quietly while they trash her. She doesn't deserve it."
Azriel placed a hand on Cassian's shoulder "I'm sorry" There wasn't much else he could say. Cassian let out a long sigh. "I didn't think you'd actually come"
"Nesta is my friend too. I didn't like how they spoke about her. I had no reason to stay and we've had this dinners hundreds of times. I would like a bit of a change anyways. Don't worry about the gifts, I'll pick them up later." They had left so quickly that they forgot their presents and Nesta's." Thank you"
"There's nothing to be grateful for. Let's go. I'm curious to see those games of Gwyn's" They started walking again and Cassian threw him a suggestive look "Oh, cut it" Az said trying to hide the small blush that he felt on his cheeks. They finally made it out of the House grounds and soared into the sky.
They arrived into The House of Wind, and went straight to the dining room, it was decorated just a bit. Not like Feyre’s house, this was more simple and surprisingly really pleasant to look at. "They're not here, maybe the library" as Cassian finished speaking, they heard it. Music was coming from some place in the house and a voice could be heard in the distance. They looked at each other and followed the music.
When they arrived to the library, what they saw would always live in Azriel’s memory. There was a piano in the middle of the room, Emerie was sitting on it, playing a song he recognized. He remembered Nesta telling them that Emerie had started piano lessons earlier that year, and that she was making great progress real fast. She was indeed pretty good at the piano, one key or two out of place sometimes but it could barely be noticed.
They were all wearing pajamas, a two sets pajama with long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. They looked so comfortable, very different from them, that were dressed too formal for their own taste, but it was tradition in their court to be formal in events like this. Emerie's shirt was yellow, Nesta's was a wine red and Gwyn's was teal, like her eyes.
But what left him breathless was not Emerie playing the piano, nor the clothes nor Nesta dancing around it with such grace that any other male would have asked for her hand in marriage. Again. Nor the objects flying around Nesta as if dancing with her. No, it was none of that. Standing next to the piano was Gwyn, singing the song Emerie was playing, and it was the most beautiful sound he's ever heard. His shadows started to dance around him and tried to go to the sound, Azriel had to put a lot of effort to stop them from doing it.
They stared at them for a long time, Cassian was smiling while watching his mate dance, they were unaware of their presence, too distracted to noticed their scents. He wasn't sure of what to do but then a wave of air pushed them inside the room, as in forcing them to take action. He always forgets that the House is now more than just an enchanted house.
Cassian didn't think of it twice and approached Nesta from behind and put her arms around her, then followed her in her dance. She smiled at him, a special smile, saved for Cassian, and Cassian only.The floating objects moved a bit away, giving him room. Azriel wasn't sure of what to do, but before he could think much of it, his own shadows started to push him towards the piano. Push him. Odd.
When he finally arrived to the piano. Gwyn looked at him, finally noticing his presence and smiled broadly, the gesture made Azriel’s heart to stop beating for a second, then he returned a short smile and leaned on the piano. Gwyn was now looking at him while singing, her face was a silent invitation for him to join her. Azriel wasn't sure of what took over him, but he did just that.
Thankfully he knew the song. Gwyn's eyes went wide when he joined her, but never stopped singing. For a moment the room disappeared and it was only them, infront of that piano, singing. Their voices sounded so perfectly together, as if they were never supposed to be apart. He smiled at her and her smile grew even bigger than before. Beautiful. The song hit a non-lyrical part and they continued to just stare at each other, he totally forgot that he had to restraint his shadows. Taking advantage of his distraction one of them approached her, Azriel almost ruins the moment with his panic but she only looked at it in awe and intrigue.
She giggled and extended her hand for the shadow to wrap itself on it, then more shadows started to dance around her. Azriel had feared she would be scared of them, but she was fascinated. The song reached its final verse and they finished it together.
They were quiet for a few seconds, only staring at each other's eyes, shados around them. Then the moment was interrupted by Cassian's whistling "Why didn't I know you could sing like that, brother?" He said with his head resting on Nesta’s. He suddenly remembered they were not alone and forced himself to look away from Gwyn to answer his question. "You never asked" he replied with a small smile. He walked to his brother, that had just let Nesta go to join her friends, and told him "Just, don't tell anyone, okay?" Cassian offered him a wink that implied that his secret was safe. He could see that Emerie said something to Gwyn that made her blush and she hid her face as quickly as possible, he had an idea of what she had said, probably the same that Cassian was going to say to him for the next week. Minimum.
"We were promised games" Cassian yelled, clapping his hand together.
"Oh, we were playing. But Emerie here lost, so she had to show us her piano progress. Which was amazing by the way" Nesta grinned at Emerie. She only waved at hand at her and said "Whatever, this wouldn't have happened if Zavi here wasn't a big cheater"
Zavi? "Oh common, don't be a bad loser. She didn’t cheat" Gwyn answered, pushing Emerie slightly on the shoulder. The lights flickered in agreement. "Nah, don't come at me with that. You literally have eyes everywhere. You knew my cards" she said with a frown at the ceiling, a wave of air messed up her hair in answer.
"Who the hell is Zavi?" Cassian asked before he could.
Gwyn answered with cheerful eyes "Zavi is the House. Actually it's Zaviera. We named her tonight. And it's also a her, so don't call her it anymore." Azriel and Cassian exchanged a surprised look. So the House was now Zavi... "Oh!" Gywn jumped and grabbed a stuff animal. "With this you can know her mood. If it has the smiley face means that Zavi is happy, and has no problem helping you. But if it's sad it means that she's not feeling well, so leave her alone until it changes back. I'm sure a couple of five hundred year old warriors are more than capable of taking care of themselves for a few days" She was now teasing them. Emerie and Nesta laughed at her comment. Azriel huffed but wasn't sure of what to say so he only looked up and said "Well... Nice to meet you Zavi" and a piece of cake appeared in Azriel’s hands. He smiled and started eating it. "Yeah, nice to meet you" Cassian said following his lead and another piece of cake appeared for him. He murmured Niiice and filled his mouth with it.
The piano disappeared and the girls sat on the pillow circle. The males made a motion of doing the same when Nesta stopped them "Before you even try to enter our fort, you must change" she said pointing at their attire.
"What's wrong with our clothes?" Cassian looked at her offended. "It's screams filthy rich" Emerie yelled from her place. The three of them laughed and then looked at them again.
"Zavi, could you, please, get these males some comfortable non-ostentatious clothes?" And just like that two pairs of pajamas appeared folded in their hands. "You know we usually sleep in shorts, right?" Cassian raised a brow at Nesta "I do, now go change" she made a small grin and went to sit with Emerie and Gwyn. They left the room to get changed
The pajamas were... comfortable, nice even. Azriel couldn't remember the last time he wore something like that. Unlike the girls, they had short-sleeves shirts, but the pants were pretty much the same. Cassian's outfit was completely black, with red at the end of the neck and sleeves, Azriel’s was the same, but with blue instead of red.
"Now we're talking" Emerie said when they entered the room. They had placed themselves in a semi circle, leaving space for them, Nesta and Gwyn were in the corners and Emerie in the middle. The center of the room had a board and pieces on it. Cassian moved to sit next to Nesta and Azriel took the seat next to Gwyn. He wanted to ask her if it was okay for him to be there but Gwyn was distracted setting the game "So what are we gonna play? " Cassian asked while moving Nesta to sit her in his lap.
Gwyn looked at them and there was no sweetness in her eyes, just pure fire and spirit of competition filled her face. Azriel loved that look, not that he would admit it out loud. She explained the rules and they started playing.
The Hou- Zavi won the first round, but Gwyn was not happy with that so they had a rematch. They played all night, laughed and ate a bit too much of cake. Az lost count of how many times Emerie accused Zavi of cheating. Finally, they all fell sleep in the middle of their last game, Nesta and Cassian were holding each other, Gwyn had her arm on Emerie's face while Emerie had her foot on Gwyn's stomach. Azriel despite his attempts, fell sleep too.
Nesta woke up before everyone else. It was still dark. She freed herself from Cassian's embrace and admire the view. They were all death sleep, Emerie and Gwyn were having some sort of fight with each other while they slept and Az was resting peacefully. He had gotten better sleep these past few months.
She looked around and took a breath. Tonight had been awesome. She felt happy, surrounded by her family, she had been so scared by the many ways this night could have gone wrong, but there was never nothing to worry be worried about. As long as they were together, anything they do would be perfect.
She smiled, then sneaked back into Cassian's arm and whispered to him before falling sleep “I love you”
Azriel found himself in the roof, sitting on the edge and enjoying the morning breeze. When he woke up everyone was sleep, he didn’t want to wake them up so he went upstairs, he would meet them for breakfast later. He kept replaying last night on his head, how his soul had felt at peace when singing with Gwyn. The way she frowned everytime she lost a match. Last night had been a caos, but one he enjoyed deeply.
“What are you doing up here, Shadowsinger?” Gwyn took him by surprise. Again. He wondered why his shadows never alert him about her presence. “Nothing, just taking some air” he turned to look at her. Her hair was messy and her face sleepy. She hummed and moved to sit next to him on the edge, keeping a comfortable distance.
“You are not such a bad singer. You managed to follow my lead pretty well last night” she looked at him with a teasing smile. She looked really beautiful with the morning light, Azriel didn’t answer her and just stared at her a bit longer. She looked away and handed him a small box he didn’t know she was carrying.
“What is this?” Azriel asked after taking the box.
“Your Solstice gift” She wasn’t looking at him. Shit. He didn’t get her anything. He had been so busy that he had bought most presents last second.
“I- I didn’t get you anything” He said a bit ashamed. “It’s okay, it’s mostly to thank you for helping with training outside of the normal hours. It’s also a bribe, I might need your help again to train with this new sword I just got” She was now looking his way and smiling “Just open it, Shadowsinger” Azriel obeyed.
It was some sort of powder, he had no idea what for. Gwyn most have noticed his confusion, because she took it and said “I remembered you said your shadows didn’t like sunlight and that they usually hide from it. While doing my research on Shadowsinger, I found the recipe for this. You put a bit of powder on yourself and it grants a temporary immunity to the sun to your shadows, it makes it more comfortable for them. I’m not sure if it works tho. It was an old book” Azriel looked at her, Gwyn never failed to amaze him. “Thank you. I can’t wait to try it” “Let me know how it works” And silence fell. It wasn’t an awkard quiet, it was sweet and comfortable. They continued to stare at the city below and then it hit him, he knew what he could give Gwyn.
“I want to show you something” he said and stood up from the edge, extending his scarred hand to her “But I need you to trust me” She blinked in surprise and remained quiet for a few heartbeats. She finally rose and took his hand “Always”
He didn’t try to hide his blush. He motioned to pick her up and asked “May I?” she hesitated but nodded. Azriel tried to ignore the way his heart hurried at the feeling of Gwyn in his arms “Hold tight” and then he launched to the sky. Gwyn screamed in surprise and closed her eyes. They were flying for a few minutes and then Azriel murmured to her hair “Open your eyes, Gwyn. You won’t want to miss this” she sinked herself in his arms a bit before opening them. And when she did, the expression on her face was something he would tattoo in his mind for eternity. The joy she expressed was lovely.
“Oh, Gods” she breathed. They were flying above the city, everything could be seen from up there, he loved watching the city from above, and when he thought of something to give Gwyn, he could only think of sharing this with her.
She moved her eyes from the view and faced him. “This is beautiful” he looked at her, and saw the way her hair shined with the morning sun, the way her eyes always seemed to know the darkness inside of him but never feared it. He loved all of it. Az shaked his head and pushed his thoughts aside then said “Happy Solstice”.
“Happy Solstice, Azriel”
They were sitting on the edge again. It had been around fifteen minutes since they returned from their little trip, they were quiet, the only sound was Gwyn softly humming a melody. He kept replaying the way his name had sounded on her lips, it had felt so right. All of it. He savoured the memory until he heard the footsteeps of the other three people in the house nearing.
“Good morning, guys. What you up to?” Cassian said appearing through the roofs doorway. Nesta was infront of him hugging Emerie with one arm.
“Running away from your snors” Az replied with humor. Cassian looked at him with eyes that said that it was too early for this. “We were just watching the city” Gwyn said, hitting him in the stomach soflty. Az only laughed quietly. The three of them joined them in the edge. Emerie took the place next to Gwyn, Nesta next to her and Cassian sat next to his mate, placing an arm around her shoulders. Nesta leaned on him.
They stared at the horizon for a while and no one spoke.
No one seemed to count how much time passed. It could’ve been minutes, it could’ve been hours, they didn’t know, nor care.
To everyone’s surprise, it was Azriel who broke the silence and said "Let's get some breakfast"
This definitely turned out to be way longer than I had anticipated. But I couldn't stop myself.
The scene with the Inner Circle was as short as I could do it. I didn't develop much because writing them makes me angry. But I had to add a little angst to the story so I couldn't help it
I got inspired for some parts by some fanfics and headcanons I've seen.
Hope you liked it! :3
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