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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“research” Rhysand x reader - reader is a Peregryn descendant from Dawn court acting as Emissary. Rhys takes reader to a museum.
Rhys’ approving stare burned into your back as you stood on the balcony, wings flared. Your Peregryn feathers were a lovely contrast to his dark Illyrian like bat wings. He often muttered his envy about them to you, especially after being intimate. He loved to stroke them and admire the softness and his muttered approvals soothed you to sleep.
Maybe his approval was coming from the sight of your naked body in the silver moonlight. You felt a swell of heat rush to your cheeks as he approached, his wings also extended. They flared as he reached the open air on the balcony. The shimmering lights of velaris in the snow far, far below. The magic of the House retained the slight wind that blew through, but warmed it instantly.
“Quite a fancy house for one cruel high lord. I imagine most would think that the Night Court would also be cold.” You remarked, tucking your wings in slightly so he could stand next to you. He tucked in his as well, understanding the sensitivity of such a part being touched.
Rhysand knew how such a simple touch of a wing could be the undoing of many different feelings. From the pain of them being bent wrong, or pleasure of them being toyed with exactly right. Toying - for research he had called it. Figuring out which form of wing was more sensitive.
“Cruel or no, most of us here have spent far too much time in the cold of Illyrian mountains to settle for less. Azriel usually says if he wasn’t aligned with me, he’d move to the Summer court.” He leaned over the railing, taking in a deep breath of the fresh air. Something in his eyes gleamed, and a small smile appeared.
“Seeing the master of Shadows in a place so bright would be quite the contrast.” You grinned, gripping the railing tight. The urge to jump off and fly was nearly overwhelming. Your wings extended, craving the cold bite of the wind. Despite being such a small heritage, your instincts were sometimes overwhelming. You felt the corners of your lips fall, the memories of your few cousins falling to enemies during the War coming back.
Rhys tucked his wings in, turning to you. Something like sadness was there in his eyes, making you nervous. “You may leave when you wish. I only ask that you give me...a warning. So I can have a story ready for my court when you go.” He said too formally, as if he had practiced this. After the months of you visiting as a communication link with Thesan, you knew you would have to leave at some point. But you had yet to hear the order to do so. And you much preferred the scenery of Rhy’s court than the safe harbor home Thesan kept sunny constantly. It was… refreshing. Much like Rhy’s presence.
“Are you telling me to go?” You nudged him slightly, knowing it’d rattle him. His eyes shot to you, and he nudged you back. “Never. I just… wish you could stay.”
He had more to say than that, and you knew it. “Then why ask me if I need to go?”
“Because the longer you stay the less I think I will be willing to let you go.” He wrapped his arms around you, the evidence of claim apparent through his thin cotton pants. “Even if Thesan is one of my closest allies. I may just have to keep you for myself.” His head lowered to your ear as he said it, his lips grazing your skin. You felt your core tense and heat.
“I dont know what you’re talking about. I am merely a communicator between two courts.” You grinned, nipping his ear. His low growl was anything but agreeing. His hands were on you, slowly palming your sensitive areas, lighting your insides on fire. He gave you a lingering kiss before pulling away. He eyed you suspiciously, seeming to deliberate to himself.
Then, he snapped and suddenly you were fully clothed, and he was standing on the balcony railing. The silver light painted his hair and wings in a dull blue hue. “I have a different idea for us tonight… if you can keep up that is.” His wild smile told you all you needed to know. He leapt gracefully, before catching the wind below with a fading laugh. You cursed quietly to yourself, hauling your body up to the pillar and sending yourself soaring.
“Dont tell me this is some kind of Illyrian initiation.” You chided, matching his pace as best you could. It was hard to not outpace him as he glided, his enormous wings gliding on the cool air.
He laughed, banking slightly as you approached the small city below. Nestled into the mountain side along the sea, it didnt seem as harsh as the Illyian camps he had showed you from afar. Your mind flashed to those camps, the tents and the tooth chattering cold. No, this place was much too homey for such a camp.
“This is… a gallery of sorts. Not many come here, but I thought it would also be nice for you to be able to tell Thesan about such a place.” He slowly began descending as he explained, and indeed the location seemed to have many large ancient looking items outside.
As soon as you landed you were taken aback. The sight of an enormous, dark stone that took up the majority of the space outside the carved entrance to the gallery. A path had been worn around it, as if the spot had many visitors. You doubted many but Rhys even knew about the place.
“It’s- it reminds me of you.” You were in awe. The stone glittered in the torchlight, but remained dark where the light wasnt refracted. It was smooth as well, besides the jagged and pointed edges.
Rhysand turned from the mountain entrance “The rock? Darling just wait until you see inside.” He smiled, waving you over. With a wave of his hand, the door opened, pulling back then sliding away. Faelights slowly hummed to life inside the cavernous space. You couldnt see the entire room but the area must have been enormous. No way to see all of the things held inside in one day. Not even multiple days you were willing to bet. “Priestesses are the only others allowed here besides residents of Velaris, but not many of either ever visit. He explained, sending more faelight into the dark cavern.
“There are a few things in particular I wanted to show you.” He took your hand, guiding you to the right down a large archway. The lights bobbed and followed, casting strange shadows along the uneven cave walls.
The sound of water flowing at a trickling pace filled the new, smaller room. The sight of the armor before your took your breath away. Ancient, well kept and utterly deadly looking. You felt a thrill of panic, as well as pride at the sight of it. “How-” You stammered, covering your mouth with a trembling hand.
The white and silver plates were excruciatingly detailed, the sword beside the set a shining silver, as if freshly forged by the sun itself. Thesan had no armor of this quality still available at the Dawn court. The quality, the beauty of such a piece was exquisite. “If Thesan wishes to have this back, please feel free. But let him know that we have only recently acquired it. We have not been hoarding.” Rhys spoke from behind you, his voice soft and patient.
Memories of being a child and playing with wooden swords flashed into your head. Envisioning such perfect armor like before the War fitting you, guilding you, marking you as the highest of warriors among the Dawn court.
“W-who is we?” Was all you could manage as you reached out to touch the solid breastplate. Memories of parades, children cheering and high fae clapping as generals in shining armor marched home from the War. Centuries had passed since such armor was needed, thus they began to disappear.
Rhys took your hand again, rubbing a thumb over yours. “A few high priestesses found it among their… storage. Closer to an abandoned temple but - I had Cassian clean it up for me a few weeks ago.” He chuckled before saying “I almost had to threaten him to get him to give it back to me. He was in awe and wanted to keep it for himself.”
Your lips curve upwards, heart hammering. You pulled him in quickly for a tight hug. “Thank you.” You said deeply, wishing you could put the thoughts you were having directly into his head. Wishing you could tell him how much this meant.
He pulled away from you, his callused hands going to cup your face as he pulled you in for a kiss. “Maybe I wont tell Thesan… and I’ll have to come back more often to take a look at the rest of this place.” You bit his lower lip and grinned at his darkened eyes.
“For research purposes only, surely?” He began kissing down the column of your neck, biting playfully.
“Research, of course.” You sighed as his hands began tracing over your body.
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