Quick Nessian because I missed drawing soft romantic scenes
Nesta Archeron and Cassian from A Court Of Thorns And Roses series by Sarah J. Maas DO NOT REPOST WITHOUT PERMISSION!
Nyx: Uncle Az, why have you forbade me from entering the delicious chamber?
Cassian and Gwyn, holding back laughter:
Nesta, shaking her head:
Azriel: It's called an oven and you will die.
Nyx, puffs up little chest: I am strong, Uncle.
Dear Azriel - Part 3
A/N - some slight talk of injury etc but no other trigger warnings I don't think! I can't get over how many of you are loving this story!!❤️
Your head fell back and found its place between the Shadowsinger's shoulder and jaw as Azriel gently and carefully cleaned your wounds. You cast your eyes down to where the wolves claws had slashed your skin and saw that someone had stitched the skin back together, the first two slashes were uneven and sloppy, the remaining were neat and clean "Sorry about the stitches, I tried my best but you were losing so much blood and I didn't want to call Rhys incase he sent you away again and I was panicking, so my mother took over after seeing the mess I made of the first two" your heart warmed "You were panicking? The Great Spymaster of the night Court, the Angel of Death, panicking? Sounds unlikely" he nudged you gently "Don't tease, I nearly lost my mind when Lucien came through those trees with you in his arms."
Feeling brave you stretched your neck up and lightly placed a kiss on his jaw "Thank you for looking after me, Az, you're the best nurse a girl could ask for" he rolled his eyes at you and then frowned "What's wrong?" His eyes met yours, big and sad "They'll scar, especially the first two I messed up" he murmured as he ghosted his fingers over them. Unsure of what had come over you, you twisted from your position, the movement pulling on your stitches and turned so you were facing him, your legs over his "It doesn't matter Az, I already have the one from the war, besides, it means I'll have battle scars, just like you" you beamed up at him as your fingers ran over some of the scars on his chest. You'd never seen him like this, so soft, he ran his fingers through your hair to tame some of the tangles and then he proceeded to wash it, you sat still as a statue in his lap, just watching his beautiful face as he did this for you, careful not to get any of the soap in your wounds.
The two of you sat there when he was done, just staring at one another, you broke the silence with a question "What are you thinking about, Az?" He took a deep breath before he spoke "I'm thinking about how the mother can be so cruel, making you human and me Illyrian, I'm thinking about how I couldn't breathe while I brought you here, I'm thinking it was selfish of me to bring you here rather than to Feyre to heal you, I'm thinking of that kiss on Starfall, how it was all I'd been thinking about since we met and then you were in my arms and kissing me and by the time my brain caught up with what was happening and I kissed you back, it was over and I'm thinking that if I could do what I wanted to do to you right now we'd rip your stitches and you'd get hurt again." blush was crawling up your neck again at his words and something in you, maybe your self-control, snapped as you threw your arms around his neck and pulled yourself as close to him as you could as your lips met his.
When he'd lifted you with him out of the bath you didn't know, your brain caught up when you felt the bed underneath you and the littlest amount of his weight on top of you, the rest he was supporting with his forearms on either side of your head and you were all to aware of his length pressed against your thigh and his shadows crawling up your legs. His kisses were dizzying, addicting and you never wanted to stop kissing him. You were about ready to beg him to touch you when he stopped in his tracks and pulled his lips from yours and you let out a small whine of complaint when he stood "We have company." Was all he said as he walked naked and glorious to the airmorie in the corner of the room, his room, you'd been unconscious in his bed for three days. You watched as he dressed himself with a slight pout on your lips.
"Please don't look at me like that Princess" Princess, your toes nearly curled at the nickname, he took your hands and pulled you to your feet, it was then you realised he was redressing your wounds, he kissed you quickly when he completed his task and said "I'll meet you downstairs when your dressed" and left you alone to do just that. Your brain caught up with you again, guests, he said there were guests.
Azriel's mother appeared in your doorway 10 minutes later just as you were struggling into a pair of soft leggings you had found on the chair next to the bed "Would you like some help?" She asked gently and you nodded at her, once she'd helped you into the leggings she walked over to Azriel's armoire and held out two jumpers to you, a cream and a black one "Choose one, Rhysand is downstairs and thinks he's gonna convince my son to send you away again so let's send you down there in one of his jumpers, just to prove a little point" the two of you shared a small smile as you pointed at the cream, you couldn't picture Az wearing a cream jumper but the idea of it made you smile. It was massive on you and hung off one shoulder, you could've worn it as a dress and the two of you shared a giggle at the big holes in the back ready for wings you didn't have.
"I love that boy but he can be blind sometimes, he loves my son, I know that, but maybe you are the best thing for him" she told you quietly as she handed you a pair of cosy socks to put on.
"Am I really the best thing for him though?" You asked "I won't live nearly as long as he will, I'll grow old and grey and he'll still look like him, I'll die." She sat you down at the desk in the corner of the room and stood behind you, taking your wet hair in her hands "My son hides behind his shadows, hides behind the armour his built for himself, he'll lead legions into war, throw himself into danger without Rhys having to ask him, but he needs you, to him your like spring after a long winter, he needs to come back from his tasks and his jobs to goodness, my son's job is a terrible one and he needs the goodness in you to keep him anchored so he doesn't lose himself in it. He'd rather love you and lose you to old age than not have you at all." Tears welled in your eyes "I don't want to hurt him in the long run" she gently placed a hand on your shoulder "You won't and the High Lord downstairs might be like another son to me but I won't allow you to be sent away again if you want to stay, you are always welcome in my home." It was then you had noticed she'd done two braids down each side of your head. "I always wanted a daughter" your heart warmed as you smiled up at her.
You quietly followed her downstairs and stopped on the bottom step next to her as she sighed while you took in the shadows pouring out of the dining room. It was going well then, Feyre appeared through the shadows and gave you a small smile, protective hand on her stomach, pregnant, she was pregnant. "Az told us what happened, are you okay?" You gave her a tight lipped smile and said "Yes, I'm okay, thanks to Lucien, Azriel and his mother." She really did look sorry but you were still mad that she and her mate were allowed to be happy, together, that they were starting a family and no one had told you and they wouldn't even give you and Azriel a chance to try, his mother squeezed your hand and led you into the dining room. Rhys and Azriel both cocked an eyebrow when they took in your appearance, shadows racing towards you as if you were their home, it was almost comical how similar they looked even if they were looking at you for different reasons "Dinner is almost ready, will you and Feyre be joining us Rhysand?" Azriel's mother asked from beside you, shadows flared again, Az wanted his brother out of here, and soon but he would never kick him out, he was his High Lord after all, before he could answer the door burst open and heavy footsteps came towards the dining room "Y/N! You're alive!" Cassian. The giant illyrian took you in his arms and span you round and Az looked like he was about to explode "I think it's best you put me down" you whispered to Cass who did as you suggested and smirked at his brother, he then turned to Azriel's mother "Hi Mama" he smiled as he wrapped her in his arms, Nesta smiling gently at him from the doorway of the dining room.
The seven of you sat down to the most uncomfortable meal you'd ever experienced. Azriel sending defiant looks at Rhys, Feyre sending sorry ones at you, how could no one tell you she was pregnant, Cassian was being Cassian, Nesta slightly amused by the whole situation and no one had spoken in 17 minutes, you knew that because you'd counted them in your head "So Nes, where's Elain?" You attempted to break the silence and thought Nesta was your best shot after the two of you had formed an unlikely alliance over smutty books "She's with Lucien, they are getting to know one another'' you smiled at the oldest sister, knowing her feelings for the red head "He's a good one Nes, I promise" she nodded at you but you could tell she didn't agree "What about Emerie and Gywn? How are they?" She smiled now, thinking of her chosen sisters "Good, Emerie and Mor are getting closer and we had to talk Gywn out of walking to the human lands to see you with a bag full of books." Your heart warmed and cracked at the same time, you loved the three Valkyrie's and you couldn't help but smile at the idea of Gywn turning up at your door with a bag full of books, a shadow curled round your wrist like a bracelet.
It was then that Cassian spoke up through a mouth full of mash potatoes "Don't grin like that, when we stopped her she hit me with the bag of books, I had a black eye for days and that was after she'd hit Az upside the head with them" Nesta looked at you and you back at her as the two of you burst out in fits of giggles.
Where Az, Rhys and Cass had gone after dinner you weren't sure but you were sure Cassian had gone to play referee. Nesta sat beside you in the small cosy drawing room, both of you watching the flames dance in the fire place when she said "I think I can do it" you looked at her "Do what Nes?" She met your eyes and said "I think I can make you Fae, if I use the trove" she said it so quietly you almost didn't hear her. The trove, the one that had almost killed her, the one that made her almost as feared as Azriel, Lady Death. "I can't ask you to do that Nes, it's too dangerous, it nearly killed you last time" she shook her head "You deserve to be with him and if can do it I will, let me do more research?" You nodded "Nes?" She looked at you "Don't mention it to Az, don't get his hopes up." She nodded in agreement.
You weren't sure when Nesta had become more of a friend to you than Feyre but it had happened, the youngest of the sisters was completely taken by her new life, her new role as High Lady and her Mate. It was like she wanted no reminders of her old life, any ties to the human realm, it was then you realised she was pregnant when they sent you away, she didn't even tell you. Didn't want you to know. You were pulled from your thoughts when you ventured into the grounds of the estate and saw the three Illyrians in some kind of stand off and headed towards them, sick of the rift you'd caused between the brothers. "She's not going anywhere Rhys!" Azriel was losing his temper, Cassian looked nervous and Rhys was stood arms across his chest, cocky as always, you quietly took your place next to Cass, the only one who had noticed your arrival, deciding it was safer than standing next to Azriel in case he or Rhys lunged for the other. The High Lord went to speak when you cut in before he could "What is your problem with me Rhys? I thought we were friends? Feyre's pregnant and no one told me, she didn't tell me, was that you as well?" His Violet eyes shot to you at the same time as Azriel's shadows wrapped around your back, ready to protect if they needed too. "I don't have a problem with you, Y/N, not at all, I have a problem with this relationship" the Shadowsinger's jaw clenched at his words "Why?" Your tone demanding "You're human" was all he said in way of an explanation "So was Feyre" you shot back "So I know that's not the case, have I just not proved myself like she did? Am I not good enough for your brother? Or are the rules just different for you, my Lord?" Cassian took a step closer to you, you were pushing Rhysands temper and you all knew it.
Rhys didn't answer you, just stood and glared "Fine" you turned to head back to the house "She stays Rhys, or I'm done, you'll never see me again" you span to look at Azriel, Cassian's eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his head at his brother. Rhys' eyes snapped to Azriel as you spoke again "Az, you don't mean that, you can't mean that" the way his shadows were dancing round him like a storm told you that he very much meant what he'd said "She's mine Rhys." He didn't wait for Rhys to respond as he pulled you to him and shot into the air.
You arms were wrapped so tightly around his neck you wondered if you were strangling him as he glided through the air away from the estate and his family, into the mountains, he didn't speak to you, he just flew. You weren't sure how long you'd been in the air, head on his shoulder enjoying the closeness but it shocked both of you when Azriel let out a roar that was almost a scream and your eyes snapped open, the first thing you saw was blood running down his left wing and then you saw the arrow protruding through it and your breath caught in your throat, he tried to hard not to flinch as two more arrows hit him no matter how much he tried to avoid them, by the time the 4th found its mark the two of you were falling, Azriel never once lost his grip on you as the trees from the forest below were approaching you fast, he roared again as he flipped the two of you so it was his back that took the impact of the trees and the ground, not you and you clinged to him as you hit the ground and skidded to a stop, his wings shredded to bits and you cringed at the sight of them. Please don't be dead, please don't be dead.
You wiggled your toes in your boots that you had shoved on before heading into the garden and they moved and responded as you wanted them too, okay so nothing serious was broken and you peeled yourself off the injured Illyrian and stood, it was darker in the forest than it had been while you were flying, the trees blocking out the starlight. "Well boys, looks like we bought down the Shadowsinger" a voice spoke from the dark as terror ran down your spine, your eyes adjusted to the darkness as a group of Illyrians appeared through the trees, Azriel still on the ground, no strength to help you, you unsheathed Truth Teller from his thigh and mirrored the stance that you'd seen him make many times before without taking your eyes of the group in front of you, these must be the rebels, the ones who fought against Rhysand's rule and the leader laughed at you "Don't try and pretend you know what to do with that girl" Fucked, the two of you were absolutely fucked, that was your last thought before something hit the side of your head and you crumbled next to Azriel on the floor.
When you awoke you were in a camp, you barely had time to register what was going on when someone spoke "What are you to him?" They had Truth Teller in their hands and pointed it from your throat to Azriel who was in chains hanging between two trees in front you, alive, awake but weak, relief flooded through you as his eyes met yours but it vanished quickly when you saw the terror in them "I'm no one" you lied "Just a human who wondered too far, I was being returned to the human lands with a warning from the High Lord" they seemed to contemplate your answer as they walked over to Azriel who met their eyes, the terror in his gone and defiance filled them, you flinched as they dragged the blade down his chest "See, your reaction tells me that isn't the case."
Anger started to fill you and your veins felt like they were on fire, who did these Illyrians think they were, Azriel was one of the strongest of them all, and they stood there and laughed as their leader was carving him up, you stood on shaky legs, they hadn't thought to put you in chains, you were human, you weren't a threat "Don't. Touch. Him" voice mimicking the tone you'd heard Azriel use maybe twice in your presence, they laughed at you, laughed and much like the day before something in you snapped and a white hot light shot out of your palms and chest.
When your vision came back to you the Illyrian was gone, his boots were all that was left of him and Azriel's eyes were wide with shock. "Impossible" one of the others murmured, you took a step towards them, they took a step back, you let the unknown power in your veins run free as you took them out one by one as they tried to flee. Exhausted, you were exhausted as you turned back to Azriel and ran to him "Az, Az, how do I get you down?" His head nodded towards where they'd anchored the chains, you could see he was exhausted too, his wings still shredded, the arrows still in them, he had bruises on his face and all over his body, they'd beaten him while you'd been unconscious, anger flooded you again as you took the chain in your hands and it disintegrated into nothing, his knees hit the ground so hard you cringed and you caught him as he started to slump forward.
You were starting to panic when he croaked one word at you "Cabin" your eyes looked around desperately to see what he was talking about and there it was, what you assumed was the leaders cabin, you had to get him into the cabin "Okay, Az, I need you to help me, just a little bit okay?" You told him as you tried to pull him to his feet so you could swing one of his arms around your shoulder, he complied, using what you were sure was the last of his strength to get to the cabin.
Thankfully the fire was roaring when you stumbled in, Azriel fell to the ground again, closing the door behind you to keep out the cold of the mountains, you took in the damage on his body, not only were his wings shredded, so was his back, anger settled in you again as you realise this wasn't damage from your crash landing, they'd done this to him, they'd flogged him. "What do I do, what do I do first Az? Your back? Your wings? Your chest?" He was barely holding onto consciousness as he said "Wings. Break the arrows. Take them out." And then he passed out, you supposed that was a good thing, you couldn't imagine the pain the arrows were causing him, without you having to break them and pull them out of the leathery skin. Rhysand!! Rhys its Az! Help me! You screamed in your mind as you dropped the shields he'd taught you to have, hoping to gods he could hear you, you weren't entirely sure how it worked.
You marched back out to the camp and grabbed Truth Teller from the floor, you needed to cut the arrows rather than snap them, you weren't sure how much damage that would cause, running back into the cabin you almost slammed into Rhys' back as he looked down at his brother "You came" you breathed out, he looked over his shoulder at you "You called" you and Rhys worked silently as you worked to remove the arrows, you had tried to do it under his guidance but your hands were shaking and tears were welling in your eyes at the sight of the warrior in front of you so he took over while you worked on cleaning the wounds on his back and wrapping them in gauze. When the two of you had patched him up as best as you could, Rhys carried him to the bedroom and placed his brother on his front in the bed and motioned for you to follow him.
"What happened?" He spoke through gritted teeth. So you told him. Told him everything that had happened since Azriel had taken off with you the night before. "Impossible" he murmured when you finished retelling the part about the power you had unleashed for the the sixth time even after letting him see it all in your mind. "That's what one of them said" you told him "It appears you aren't as human as we thought" he mused "The power you described is a power from a long lost court, one we thought was long gone, Dusk" you just stared at him "I'll do some research" he said as he stood "In the meantime, I think the two of you should stay somewhere safe, he's not going to forgive himself for this, and he's not ready to see me yet, come" you followed him back into the bedroom where he again, picked up the Shadowsinger as if he weighed nothing and offered you his elbow and Winnowed you to his cabin "Stay here for as long as you need, the cabin will look after you and it's warded against anyone who's not family" he placed Az down gently again, smiled at you and left.
You dragged a chair into the bedroom and sat next to Azriel for hours, hoping that he'd regain consciousness sooner rather than later, you were absentmindedly ghosting a finger up and down the curve of his wing book in your other hand when he started to stir "Feels nice" were the first words he spoke to you, he turned his head to look at you and when your eyes met your chest tightened and for the third time in two days, something in you snapped.
This is more of a guilty pleasure fic and kind of a weird/random idea but-
Basically like a sicfic (?) where Nesta is ill but nobody (Cassian&rest of the IC) believes her and later on in the day she like blacks out or something during something important and then they realise she wasn't lying and feel really bad about it so then it's just a lot of fluff/comfort/apologies after that.Oh and if you decide on post ACOSF then maybe have the valkyries reaction to the others ignoring her and established bessian dynamic...idk you have full creative liberty,you're the artist.
Oh and it's ok if you don't want to do this at all really.That's understandable really.
I’m glad you said “creative liberty” because uh … I was very creatively liberal with this prompt lol - it started and then just took on a mind if it’s own!
Nesta Archeron saw different stars than her sister. Feyre looked up to the sky and dreamed, or whatever. Her gaze lit up with a thousand thousand shining lights set against a midnight blue backdrop that planted a painting directly into her mind. Feyre loved her city of Starlight. Would do anything to protect it, no, not protect, preserve. Keep the city a brilliant beacon of rainbow rivers and wishing upon the first star to the right every evening. A magical place. A place that didn’t exist. It never had.
Velaris was just as dark and twisted as the rest of the world. No place was pristine, no person untouched by darkness. Nesta knew this, and she accepted it. She chose to sink into the parts of the city that fit her.
Nesta had never looked up to the sky and wished. Wishes didn’t come true for people like her. That was probably why she loved romance novels so much, what a beautiful escape to read about the girl that has a happy ending.
Feyre was a girl who could have a happy ending. Nesta had always thought that, it is probably why she found the girl so insufferable. Even Elain, sweet Elain, was not the sort of girl who got a happy ending.
Happy endings and wishes on stars were for the brave. The ones who ran blindly into battle and pretended there could ever be victory there. The ones who smeared their hands in blood and then shoved fear and loss and pain down their throats until a crimson coated smile rose like iron gates around their true feelings. A certain amount of delusion was required for a happy ending.
Nesta had never been delusion. Nesta was not a nice girl. She was not a brave girl. She was not interested in hiding or pretending or smiling.
Nesta Archeron was a bitch.
And that suited her just fine.
Until she got caught in the crossfire of her happy ending, star wishing, night sky painting, sister.
Until she got caught in the crossfire of this infernal warrior heart with duty and honour inked across his muscles and the mistaken belief that he knew what is was to be hopeless the way Nesta was hopeless.
The kind of hopeless that does not rage, but sags. Completely devoid of fight. Nesta was so tired of fighting.
Cassian thought she was fighting him, but she wasn’t. She was just sitting on a rock, staring at the stars that blurred across her vision with every frozen blink.
“Nesta,” Cassian growled. Long past teasing grins and coaxing offered hands. “Get up.”
“I can’t,” she whispered. She hadn’t meant to say it out loud. Hadn’t meant to say anything out loud, truthfully.
“Yes you-” Cassian cut himself off, head tilting to the side. Likely taking in the sorry state of her pale skin and trembling hands.
“Cauldron,” Cassian cursed loudly, sinking to his knees in front of her in an instant. His hand came up under her chin, long fingers holding her entire face in a single palm. Nesta wretched herself backwards, desperate to be free again. To be left alone. “I don’t understand. How did this-”
“Stop,” Nesta spat, blinking too rapidly as she fought to push down the stars that blurred out his face and the nausea roiling in her empty stomach. “Stop trying to understand.”
“Stop breathing,” Cassian looked her dead in the eye. Eyes hard and focused and he searched for something that wasn’t there. Nesta wasn’t surprised by the statement, he’d said similar things before. Everyone hates you.
“If you feel that way then let me go.” Nesta swayed as she tried to stand, legs suddenly not strong enough to hold her. “Help me leave Night.”
“Stop. Breathing.” His hands circled her shoulders, holding her upper body straight even though she couldn’t do so on her own. “That is what you are asking me to do, Nesta.” He pulled the growl from his voice, whispering softly as if she would topple over if he yelled the way he wanted to. With how her head felt, she might. “Stop trying to understand? Help you leave? Leave you like this? Stop fighting? You’re asking me to stop breathing.”
Nesta tried once more to blink around the blurring stars before giving up.
“Then stop breathing.” She said, before collapsing to the snow-covered ground.
Of course, Cassian caught her.
So you're gonna look at me and tell me this isn't Lucien and Tamlin in some alternative reality where they had sex?
nesta archeron, taryn duarte, vittoria de carlo. if you know, you know
Lady of Night ✨
🎨: scribbubbles on Instagram
Who fucking cares
I don’t really have any strong feelings about the Elain ship wars, but one argument that I DESPISE with every fiber of my being is “Elain won’t suit nightcourt fashion” because UM??? THAT’S ELAIN ARCHERON!! SHE’S GOING TO SLAY REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION!!! Seriously, just LOOK at these dresses and tell me that nc Elain wouldn’t rock these
I also can’t respect the fashion argument because those people want Elain to wear some kind of day court toga, which is sick and twisted. Elain in any kind of toga feels wrong on a fundamental level. Also also, I might draw Elain in one of these after I finish drawing Lucien
Y’know, I adore this series more than any other, but that spine not matching…pet peeve material right there 🙈
“Feyre.” He stumbled over my name, his throat bobbing. “You go somewhere new—and you make a name for yourself.”
At twenty-one, Feyre had saved their world, mated, and found true happiness.
Night Court Employee of the Month
Rhysand, in his office doing work: *silence*
Cassian, Amren, Azriel, and Mor: *burst into the room*
Azriel: We need to know who your employee of the month is.
Rhysand: We’ve never done that before.
Amren: We are now. Choose someone.
Rhysand: This is ridiculous.
Cassian: Actually, it should be an easy choice *points to himself*
Mor: Put your hand down Cassian. I have this victory locked in.
Rhysand: Fine, since you insist on this: I choose Feyre.
Feyre, from down the hall: I TOLD YOU ALL THIS WOULD HAPPEN.
𝐚 𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐠𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐭 - series masterlist
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series - wip ; taglist open
eris vanserra x reader; light tamlin x reader
warnings will be at the top of each chapter
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when you happen to be the princess of the night court and an illyrian, there are certain expectations one must meet. however, none of those expectations include being tormented with the memories of your mother's death, losing a wing, or falling in love with a boy from the autumn court.
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chapter two (coming soon)
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@/owllover123, @/theviewfromtheotherside, @/sol2694
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Please do not repost, translate or plagiarize my works.
For the times I was afraid to go out.
For the times I couldn't wear what I liked.
For the times I couldn't afford to by a scarf I didn't even want.
For the times I had to take a detour to avoid morality police.
For Iranian women, for Iranian people!
Stand with us and be our voice!🇮🇷🕊
Could u do a prompt where instead of nesta going upstairs and locking herself away at the end of acowar she actually stays and confronts the IC about the fact that their celebrating- i never got how everyone (especially Cassian) just let her go- like she was basically the reason they won
As usual, I took a few creative liberties here.
There was a pit where Nesta’s stomach used to be. There was a pit where a lot of things used to be.
Maybe she hadn’t been made immortal at all. Maybe Nesta Archeron had simply been hollowed out and puppeted by this strange magic she never understood and now that she had used it all up on a burning white battlefield there was nothing left except a hollow husk of flesh and defeat.
Defeat when everyone around her cried tears of joy and victory.
There was a version of Nesta that screamed at them all, she knew. A not so distant version. A woman (not female or witch or death goddess or lizard monster or whatever the fuck she was now) who planted her feet in the centre of that room and stared at each one of them in turn with burning silver eyes. Hurled thoughtless insults and accused them of not caring. Wailed with righteous indignation about how they could possibly clink glasses and knock back amber spirits while the country still bled.
But, honestly? Who was she to tell anyone about right and wrong or decency or proper coping mechanisms.
They could have their party.
She would have her wake.
Except that of course the second Nesta turned to go upstairs, he followed.
A simple pronoun was enough even in a room full of males. Her body knew which one it was. Everyone knew who would go after her, if anyone bothered at all.
A strong, tan hand curled around her wrist and pressed gently. He did not tug, did not actually try to pull her back to the merriment. He just … held on, as if … as if asking what she wanted. As if offering to tuck her under his wing (literally) and cradle her there through the entire party if she wanted. As if offering to wrap her in his arms and fly the two of them all the way to the Illyrian mountains if she wanted. As if … as if the war had ended and suddenly nothing else mattered expect for the two of them.
And for a moment, Nesta wanted to live inside of that feeling. She wanted to breathe in the relief they all seemed to feel and let it cloud her head like some new experimentational drug from the Dawn Court. Nesta wanted, maybe more than she had ever wanted anything in her life, to be the girl who smiles and grips a male’s hand … this male’s hand and whirls with a single flip of prettily laid out skirts into a perfect life of magic and happiness.
She wanted to sluff this empty feeling off like a winter coat as summer’s rays warmed her skin. She wanted to smile. She wanted to fold herself, body and soul, into Cassian’s arms and stay there until the end of time.
But she couldn’t do that. Nesta couldn’t curl into those arms, so strong and steady and always outstretched, without remembering how they felt weak and limp and grasping her waist with the last bit of strength left in a nearly dead body.
Nesta couldn’t toast their victory without seeing every failure pressed into the underside of her eyelids. Every child that would now grow up without a father or a mother. Every life she should have been strong enough to save but wasn’t.
Nesta shook her head slowly, only once but Cassian dipped his chin respectfully as she slid her skin away from his.
It was wrong.
Deep down, somewhere ancient and vital, in the flames under her skin that created the world around them, Nesta knew that it was wrong for their skin to part.
But a lot of things were wrong this day.
A lot of unnatural things happened this day.
The world did not deserve balance this day.
No matter how some may celebrate.
He didn’t try to find her again. Nesta tried not to let that disappointment pile onto the mountain of painful thoughts pushing down on her brain like a tension wire about to snap.
It was weeks before she spoke to anyone again.
But it was him, of course. It was always him.
“We didn’t win the war,” she blurted. It was the only honest thing she could think to say and he always seemed to know when she was lying.
“Wars are fought,” Cassian set his jaw, “not won.”
“So you agree with me?” She hadn’t meant the breathy statement to sound so … relieved. Truthfully, she hadn’t realized until he spoke just how important it was that he understood.
“I agree with you about a great deal of things, Nesta. Those are just never the things you want to talk about.”
Nesta swallowed, “where would the fun be in that?”
Cassian grinned, a bit too wide for their casual conversation. Nesta swayed backwards without realizing she had - subconsciously terrified of such easy intimacy.
“It isn’t wrong to be happy, you know.” Nesta stared at him as he spoke. “The … celebration made you uncomfortable.”
Nesta bristled. “It didn’t feel like a time for fireworks and fine whiskey.”
“It is ok to take a moment to appreciate the air in your lungs,” Cassian took a step forward, bold considering Nesta already looked one second away from bolting like a dear into the forest. “A moment to remember everyone you love who is still alive,” his head bowed, “as well as those who fell.”
“You’re right,” Nesta nodded, “happiness is not wrong.” Head inclined to the side, she looked at Cassian for far too many moments. Studied the slightly furrowed brow, marked the pale pink scar on his left cheek which had been a bone deep gash only days ago, and reminded herself why it was such a bad idea to care. “It is just impossible.”
*whispers* did you know that people whose favourite trope is enemies to lovers are enticed by the idea of showing someone the worst parts of you and still having them love you